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Stewart’s Actions Criminal? Stewart’s Actions Criminal?UPDATE Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, You know, it has been an interesting argument made of late in sports where malicious behavior is being considered as criminal acts. I do not disagree with this. Especially if the act is not an intended part of the competition.
For example, boxing would not be one where you would find an assault charge for pummeling a guy to death. But there most certainly may be an issue if one boxer kicked the other in the head while he was on the ground and killed him.
However, in basketball, fighting should be looked at the same as if it took place in a bar. Fighting is not even remotely connected to the sport itself. These guys would go to jail, and charges of some sort would be filed. There is no excuse for this type of behavior simply because it happens in the context of a sport.
A good case to consider is the teenager whose son was permanently brain damaged by a hockey check. It was after the end of regulation time, and a player from the other team sought him out and leveled him. Last I heard, that player was up on felony charges. Same goes for the basketball game where a kid came up on the return run down court after a score and blindside punched another kid out cold, and then stood over him pummeling him while his mom caught the entire thing on video, and his dad rushed out to the court while everyone else just stood there and watched. That kid is going to jail.
Tony Stewart intentionally endangered someone's life. He gestured obscenely, and then steered his car and intentionally wrecked them and endangered their lives unnecessarily and willfully, and freely admitted and made no apologies for it.
This man should be in front of a judge for assault with deadly intent. The law could keep him out of a racing car for a long time as a condition of probation, whether he goes to jail or not. zzzz
There is no excuse for this crap. I am pissed to see it. I am even more pissed to hear Tony Stewart fans around here glorifying it. Dale Earnhardt didn’t end up killing anyone. He ended up killing himself. I wonder what a hero he would be if it was the other way around?
Criminal charges need to be filed against this guy. Especially in such an obvious case.
What Tony Stewart did, just told everyone in the USA that road rage is acceptable. The law needs to step in. Name Withheld

07/24/06 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am shocked at what I saw on Sunday in Pocono!  Tony Stewart has serious emotional problems.  He intentionally sideswiped a guy at 185mph.  He is going to kill someone.  If NASCAR doesn’t penalize him more than a 1 lap penalty their credibility is a joke.  If a driver did that in Champ Car, F1 or the IRL I bet they would sit out a race or three to think about it.  To top off the arrogance of Tony Stewart he brought up Dale Earnhardt as though it makes it ok he does this stuff because Dale would of done it too.  Where is the logic in that comparison?  Where is the class in NASCAR?  NASCAR should be ashamed. Bruce Guthrie, Santa Monica, CA

Dear Bruce, NASCAR has a history of playing off of controversy to boost fan interest.  It gets the blood boiling.  Therefore we would be surprised to see NASCAR suspend Stewart.  Yes, they might slap him with a bigger fine, or dock him some points, but suspension?  No way. Mark C. 

Halliday becomes winningest female Halliday becomes winningest femaleLiz Halliday became the winningest female in ALMS series history with her sixth career win as she and Clint Field gave Intersport Racing its third LMP2 victory of the season in LMP2. Halliday took the lead with seven minutes to go as Penske Racing's No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder sat helplessly in pitlane with a blown engine. Entering the race with a 1-point lead in the class drivers championship, they leave with a 5-point advantage over Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen.

"This one's for the team," said Halliday.  "They are the ones who keep this Lola going around forever. Slow and steady wins the race has been our motto. We know we can't keep pace with the Porsches but they had some problems today that played into our favor. Great luck today."

Intersport's AER-powered Lola B05/40 opened the season with consecutive wins at Sebring and Houston. The car has finished every race except one this year and has earned championship points in each of the Series' six rounds of 2006. In the class team championship standings, the Ohio-based independent trails the Penske crew by just 3 points heading into the next round at Road America. Never one to back down to a challenge (just ask Penske and Porsche), Intersport is showing no signs of letting up even as three Acura P2 entries loom for 2007. zzzz

"We came away from Salt Lake a little disappointed. We took second which was great but we were disappointed with our pace," Field said. "This week we were a little closer to Porsche. The grip wasn't good. Our pace in the race was a second to a second-and-a-half off. We kept going around and were happy to capitalize on their reliability.

"When a company like Porsche comes into the Series, they're going to do it right," Field added. "We want to beat them outright. Toward the end of this year and next year, I think we can get closer and beat them fair and square. We have a good car, engine package and tires. With the announcement that Porsche was coming in, we upped our game and we'll do the same for Acura. Hopefully we'll be as quick as they are."

Rolex drivers test at Infineon Rolex drivers test at InfineonThree Grand American Rolex Sports Car teams visited Infineon Raceway on Thursday for a full day of testing on the challenging 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course.

Testers included the No. 19 Playboy/Uniden Racing Ford Crawford, No. 5 Make-A-Wish/Z-Line Designs Ford Crawford, and the No. 31 Team Cytosport Pontiac Riley, all from the Daytona Prototype class. The Rolex Series will visit Infineon Raceway, Aug. 25-26, as part of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma event weekend.

Novato resident Memo Gidley, driver of the Playboy/Uniden entry, was among the drivers at Infineon Raceway on Thursday, and said he looks forward to racing on his home track. The Playboy/Uniden team is currently ranked fourth in Daytona Prototype team point standings.

"It's going to be awesome to race on my home track," said Gidley. "This track is fun to drive - it always has been - and to have so many friends and family come out to watch me will be great." zzzz

Other drivers at the test were Michael McDowell (Playboy/Uniden), Michael Valiante (Make-A-Wish/Z-Line Designs), Rob Finlay (Make-A-Wish/Z-Line Designs) and Greg Pickett (Team Cytosport).

"The race is going to be very technical," said Gidley. "There are so many off-camber turns and combination corners that it's easy to make mistakes. I think there is going to be a fair amount of passing during the race - you'll just have to wait for a driver to make a mistake."

The Rolex Series will visit Infineon Raceway for the first time since its inception in 1999, Aug. 25-26. The series' Daytona Prototype and GT classes will compete in a two-hour, 45-minute timed event on Saturday, Aug. 26.

Stewart issues statement on Pocono incident Stewart issues statement on Pocono incidentOne day after his lap 32 accident in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway involving his contact with Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart issued a statement clarifying his stance on the crash, which also collected Carl Edwards. 

"I'm taking 100 percent responsibility for the final incident that occurred on lap 32 between myself, the 07 [of Bowyer] and the 99 [of Edwards]. It was totally my fault.

"At the same time, there were circumstances that led up to that wreck, and after talking with Clint this morning, we both have a better understanding as to what happened. He was trying to get out of my way and didn't realize that I had gone to the outside. He thought I was to his inside, and when he tries to give me some room, he slid into us and it put us into the outside wall. I reacted, causing the wreck that I take responsibility for and regret."

In the accident, Stewart hit Bowyer in Turn 3, causing Bowyer to slide into the car of Edwards. NASCAR penalized Stewart one lap for rough driving and did not allow him to regain his lap via the free pass on a caution.
NASCAR Busch Series TV rating NASCAR Busch Series TV ratingThe overnight rating on NBC for the NASCAR Busch Series Goody's 250 from Martinsville Saturday was a 1.7/4 share.
Petrov replaces Pla at DPR Petrov replaces Pla at DPRAs a consequence of the failure of the Direxiv Motorsport company to meet its contractual obligations to DPR, the British team will feature a new  driver line up from this weekend’s race in Hockenheim until the end of the GP2 season. 

Of the two Direxiv-sponsored drivers, Clivio Piccione has made alternative sponsorship arrangements and will remain with the team, but Olivier Pla will be replaced by Russian Vitaly Petrov. The 21-year-old 2005 Russian F1600 Champion, who is currently lying 4th in the Euroseries 3000 Championship, comes to GP2 with two Euroseries victories under his belt – the most recent being this past weekend at Mugello.   

DPR had some very encouraging results prior to the mid-season summer break, including a 4th and a podium placing for Piccione, plus a very positive test session at Paul Ricard at the end of June.

DPR Press Release

Papis to drive for Cheever Papis to drive for CheeverMax Papis, the versatile driver of open-wheel and sports-car racing, has been hired to drive the #39 Cheever Racing/Crown Royal Daytona Prototype, along with Christian Fittipaldi, in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car series race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama this weekend. 

The news comes just days after the birth of Max and his wife Tatiana's son Marco Fittipaldi Papis, who was born Friday, July 21 at South Miami Hospital. 

"I am glad to be back in the Grand-Am series," said Papis, who is a two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner and a 2004 Grand-Am Series champion. "It will be the first time I have teamed with Christian, who I have known since I was 14 years old, so it will be like a family reunion. It is a great way to celebrate the birth of my kid, Marco. I will work very hard to help bring success to the Cheever organization." 

Papis also drove for Cheever Racing this year at the Indianapolis 500, finishing 14th.  

"Max did a great job for us at Indy," said Cheever. "With his experience in the Grand-Am Series he will be a great pairing with Christian." 

A native of Como, Italy, Papis moved up the ladder of European formulas during his late teens and early 20s before finding a Formula One test ride with Lotus and Honda in 1994. The following year, he competed in seven Formula One races with Arrows.

GP of Denver to feature Red Bull action sports GP of Denver to feature Red Bull action sportsThe Grand Prix of Denver sponsored by Bridgestone today announced its action sports line up for race weekend. As an event sponsor, Red Bull will feature its TNT Freestyle Motocross team as part of the Life In The Fast Lane weekend experience, happening Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 13.  For the first time at the Grand Prix of Denver the Red Bull TNT Freestyle Motocross will perform for free multiple times throughout the weekend.

Twisting, high-flying motorcycles will be raining from the sky when the TNT Freestyle Motocross show goes trackside. In the 80-foot gap between two Red Bull freestyle ramps, top freestyle motocross (FMX) riders Tommy "Tom Cat" Clowers and Jeff "Full Tilt" Tilton will perform the mind-boggling, in-the-air tricks that have made FMX the most air raising entertainment going.

"Like the Champ Car drivers, Red Bull's TNT team embody the philosophy to be an elite athlete.  We are thrilled to have Red Bull as an official sponsor and to give our spectators a great show," said Grand Prix of Denver General Manager Rob Johnson.

For ticket information, concert dates and times for the Grand Prix of Denver sponsored by Bridgestone go to www.gpdenver.com <http://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.

IRL outdraws Champ Car in Milwaukee IRL outdraws Champ Car in MilwaukeeUPDATE #2 Correction, many in the sea of red hats were Marlboro/Team Penske giveaway hats.  Not sure if they included a free ticket, which is something Marlboro has done for years.

07/24/06 Of course what we were reminded of is the fact that there was a sea of red hats in the grandstands Sunday for the IRL race indicating most of the people present were there courtesy of free tickets from Firestone as can be seen in the photo to the right.

07/23/06 Today's IndyCar race from the Milwaukee Mile had an announced attendance of 30,610 by the track.  In June the track announced the Champ Car attendance at 28,357 .  The difference appeared greater to us as we doubt 28,357 were at the Champ Car race. Photos courtesy of IRL
Racing News
Quotes of the week - Edwards wants to bloody Stewart Quotes of the week - Edwards wants to bloody StewartUPDATE
EDDIE JORDAN, former F1 team owner
"One month on, I've been thinking a lot about Rascasse-gate, and I think most people have got it all wrong. There's gamesmanship and there's cheating. A cheat has a preconceived plan which I don't believe Michael had in Monaco qualifying. It's important to be a 'sportsman' but also to take every advantage: sometimes even the unfair one. As a former insider, this is my take. Alonso was threatening the pole, so when Michael locked up at Rascasse, he thought, 'Holy Shit!' then in a split-second unsporting moment, parked the car. I notice he later apologized to Fernando, which was correct. Why on earth did other drivers not within seconds of Michael's time, think they should get involved? The fact is, the finger-pointers are jealous of Michael. Let every driver be honest and ask himself, have I ever blocked anyone or tried to keep a car behind me for 20 laps? We've all seen brake tests, blocking, weaving and other dubious moves. I was particularly surprised by Jackie Stewart's and Keke Rosberg's remarks. They went too far, as did others who demanded his resignation from the GPDA. Most of those whining drivers aren't fit to tie Michael's boot laces."

FLAVIO BRIATORE, Renault F1 team managing director
"It's time for Michelin to wake up. 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." (Placing the blame for Renault's two successive defeats to Michael Schumacher on the Michelin tires)
WILLI WEBER, manager for F1 driver Michael Schumacher
Unabashed about handsomely sharing in Schumacher's whopping annual salary, Willi Weber said, "It is against my financial interests, but I would advise Schumi to stop immediately if he became world champion again this year." And he intriguingly said, "If he continues, then only with (Jean) Todt.'' (Referring to whether Michael Schumacher should retire at the end of this season if he wins the world championship for the eighth time)
ANDREW BENSON, BBC Motorsport editor
"His (Montoya's) incredible skills at overtaking - to which he brings an improvisation, bravery, deftness and flair that has arguably never been seen before - are inseparable from his mercurial character. It is easy to forget that until Montoya's arrival in the sport in 2001, overtaking in modern F1 was considered so difficult as to be almost impossible. That is still the case, but Montoya has been able to transcend the limits imposed on drivers by complex aerodynamics and shorter braking distances and pull off passing moves that can only be described as breathtaking. The fact that no-one else has been able to emulate him merely underlines his astonishing ability - he will probably be remembered as the best overtaker in F1's history."
BRUNO SENNA, British F3 International driver
"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." (Referring to the horrific accident Bruno Senna had with Salvador Duran at Snetterton in the Dallara-Mercedes]
CARL EDWARDS, NASCAR Roush Racing driver
"Man, I've got to choose my words carefully," said Edwards, not easily angered. "Let me just say this: If it weren't for respect of the sport and the people watching and his team and everything, he'd be out there bleeding right now. That's so frustrating. How can a person make it this far in life being that much of a jerk? He turned into Clint Bowyer and took both him and I out and probably made it just about impossible for us to make the Chase," Edwards said. "And then when I pull up beside him and wave my hand like, 'What was that about?' he gives me the finger. I mean, what a jerk. I don't even know what to say. It's amazing to me that someone can be that special. There are a lot of things you can't control, and I guess we just have to chalk the driver of that 20 car up as one of them," he said. (Commenting about Tony Stewart's actions during the Pennsylvania 500 race)

TONY STEWART, NASCAR Joe Gibbs Racing driver
"Ask some veterans and ask the guys that I run up front with every week," Stewart said. "I think I'm a pretty fair driver to those guys. If I'm wrong on that, I'll quit. I'll give you my hard card and retire tomorrow. But I'm pretty sure that those guys are going to say I race pretty fair 99 out of 100 times." (Responding to angry comments about Stewart's reckless driving during the Pennsylvania 500 race). "If the 3 car was here, I don't think we would have the same problems in this series as we have," said Stewart, referring to the late Dale Earnhardt. "He always had a way of letting drivers know where they stood and when to move and when not to move."

Pacific Coast Signs Frisselles for GT debut Pacific Coast Signs Frisselles for GT debutPacific Coast Motorsports has signed Burt and Brian Frisselle to contest the Barber Motorsports Park round of Rolex Sports Car Series competition in the Ironclad/Wine Country Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R.
The young brother driving duo have over twenty starts together in the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype ranks, and are looking forward to mixing it up in the highly competitive GT class. Burt and Brian recently had the opportunity to test the powerful Ironclad Pontiac GTO.R machine, which marked the first time that either of them had driven a race car with the engine in front of them.
“It was a lot different of course than what I have been driving lately, and certainly a different sight picture from the drivers seat!” said Brian. “But the car is a lot of fun to drive, and I am pretty sure that it will be even more fun to race, and to get the chance to do this with Burt is a great opportunity.” zzzz
After having so many laps under their belt in Prototype competition, the Frisselles are hoping to put that knowledge to use this weekend with their new GT ride.
“The GT class is really competitive, with a lot of good teams, cars, and drivers, so I know it’s going to be a tough fight,” said Burt.  “But the car is fast and the team obviously knows what they are doing, so hopefully we can get a good result in our debut. I also think that having driven so much in a Prototype is going to help us deal not only with the DP’s, but also the other GT’s in traffic, so we are really looking forward to the race at Barber.”
Pacific Coast scored a win with the No. 89 machine in the Phoenix qualifying race with Boris Said at the wheel, and is looking to build on that success with the Frisselles.
“I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Frisselles,” said PCM Team Director Tyler Tadevic.  “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to sign them up to compete for us at Barber this weekend and possibly for further events so I’m pleased we sealed the deal. The #98 Pontiac has a great pedigree already and I’m looking forward to having both Burt and Brian build on that.”
Canadian Bruno Spengler Takes First DTM Victory Canadian Bruno Spengler Takes First DTM VictoryLike Dario Franchitti and Jan Magnussen, Spengler won his first DTM race at the age of 22. Franchitti was 22 years and two days when he won his first DTM race at Mugello 1995, Magnussen won in Estoril at the age of 22 years and 33 days for the first time; today Spengler is 22 years and 334 days old. This demonstrates that the Mercedes-Benz concept of promoting young talents is successful for many years. After five out of ten races Schneider is the overall leader with 38 points ahead of Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM) with 30 points. Spengler moved up to third with 24 points. 147,000 spectators attended the event during the weekend.

Green started from his fifth DTM pole position and accelerated into the lead, with Schneider, Spengler and Häkkinen immediately behind him. Jean Alesi who had qualified the 2005 stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class in fourth place, was hit by Christian Abt (Audi A4 DTM). Alesi’s right rear suspension broke, he came into the pits and retired. zzzz

On lap 13, Häkkinen made his first stop, followed by Schneider, Green and Spengler on laps 17, 18 and 24 respectively. At the end of the first round of pit stops Green held the lead again; Schneider was second ahead of Häkkinen and Spengler. Entering the Esses on lap 34, Green was hit from behind by Abt. In the following lefthander Green slid into the wall. He pitted immediately; however, two laps later he spun into the tire barrier due to a broken right rear suspension and retired.

On lap 37 Häkkinen made his second pit stop. Schneider pitted on lap 38 whilst Spengler put in several fast laps with personal best times and came in from the lead for his second stop on lap 52. He resumed ahead of Schneider and Häkkinen with only 1.6sec separating the three Mercedes-Benz drivers. On lap 57 Daniel la Rosa (TrekStor AMG-Mercedes C-Class) had a brake problem at the Grundig hairpin and hit Susie Stoddart’s AutoScout24 AMG-Mercedes C-Class sideways. The Safety Car was deployed.

At the re-start on lap 64 Spengler maintained the lead ahead of Schneider whilst Häkkinen got stuck behind Jeroen Bleekemolen’s Audi. Five laps later Spengler won with Schneider and Häkkinen finishing second and third. Stefan Mücke, 19th on the grid, improved to eighth on lap 10 and was among the points positions. After an exciting fight with Kristensen Mücke improved to fourth, his best DTM result so far.

Bruno Spengler, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class 2006, winner: “This is like a dream come true. I’m really happy to achieve my first DTM victory here at the Norisring, because the atmosphere here is the best of the entire season. My team did a great job, our strategy and pit stops were perfect. When I resumed as the leader after my second stop I didn’t feel the heat in the car anymore. I want to thank everybody in my team.”

Bob Jenkins comments on Pocono disqualification Bob Jenkins comments on Pocono disqualificationFront Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins, whose car was found to be a quarter-inch too low following qualifying Friday, said Sunday his team did not intentionally attempt to skirt the rules for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. The #61 Dodge of Chad Chaffin was found to be too low in post-qualifying inspection and the team's qualifying time was disallowed. Because the team wasn't in the top 35 and locked in, it was one of the four teams to go home. The team said NASCAR's disallowing its time and thus knocking it out of the race cost the team at least $70,000 in purse winnings. Typically, a team does not lose as much money for being too low after qualifying because it still gets in the race by being locked in the top 35. "Our team is extremely disappointed in the series of events that took place at the track this weekend," Jenkins said in a statement. "I want to assure our fans and sponsors that we are committed to working within NASCAR's guidelines to maintain the integrity of our race efforts. At no time this weekend did anyone from our organization purposely attempt to circumvent those guidelines. We are unclear why NASCAR chose the course of action that they did. The penalty levied against our team does not seem to be consistent with previous penalties issued for similar offenses. This has left our team with a number of unanswered questions." SceneDaily.com
Final Edmonton attendance Final Edmonton attendanceUPDATE #2 It was either the second most successful Champ Car race in Canada ever. Or the third.

Whatever, it was another amazing race in the amazing place as Champ Car officials look at their new series stop.

With a race day crowd of 63,921, the second Edmonton Grand Prix ended up with a total of 171,391 fans for the three days of Edmonton 2006.

In its inaugural race last year, Edmonton set the record for a Champ Car/CART event on a Canadian track at 200,052.

That broke the record of 172,000 from the first Montreal Molson Indy in 2002 - an estimated crowd count some suggest may have been overestimated.

The official attendance record at a Canadian race was the 169,023 from the Molson Vancouver Indy, the race the Edmonton Grand Prix replaced, in 1995.

In 21 Molson Indy races in Toronto, the highest announced count attendance has been 169,023.

However you choose to view it, GM Ernie Pasemko was thrilled with the weekend, which included 47,932 Friday and 59,538 Saturday qualifying.

"It was fantastic. We're ecstatic. We're extremely happy with the numbers. It was another incredible response,'' he said.

"We're going to end up in fourth behind the races in Australia, Mexico City and Long Beach as the best attended of the 15 on the Champ Car circuit. We're right up there again. You're never sure the second year. There's always the novelty factor the first year.''

Last year the event drew 55,722 for qualifying Friday, a remarkable 66,250 in the rain Saturday and a ballistic 78,080 for the race on Sunday.

"We expected a drop in attendance but not a dramatic drop. We knew we benefited last year because it was the first one and because there'd been no hockey season ,'' said Pasemko.

"I think we were hurt a bit because Edmonton went hockey crazy this year,'' he said of a season which didn't end until June 19 and involved 11 home playoff games of ticket purchasing.

Pasemko said the walk-up crowds may have been hurt a bit by the weather as well.

"With heat of 35 C to 37 C ... well, that's pretty hot. But we're not complaining. We're thrilled. It's nothing to be ashamed of and lots to be proud of.'' Edmonton Sun

07/23/06   171,391 is the third-highest attendance figure ever posted for a Canadian CART or Champ Car race.

After today's race Sebastien Bourdais has now led 1,445 laps in his series career, and is just two laps away from tying Alex Zanardi for 19th on the all-time list.

07/23/06 Last year, the Edmonton Wall Grand prix of Edmonton saw Friday's qualifying draw 55,722. A total of 66,250 showed up in the rain for Saturday's qualifying. Sunday's race drew 78,080 for a total of 200,052.  This year's 3-day total was announced as 171,391, down just under 29,000, which was largely attributed to the extreme heat this year.
Andretti 2-seater ride auction Andretti 2-seater ride auctionNAZARETH,  Pa.  -  The  Michael  Andretti  Foundation  will  be  auctioning  off  the opportunity  for  one  lucky  winner  to  take  a  2-seater  IndyCar  ride  with  Michael  Andretti  at  Infineon Raceway on Thursday, August 24, 2006.

The auction will be available for bidding on eBay beginning Wednesday, July 26, for one week and will conclude   the   evening   of   Wednesday,   August   2.   The   2-seater  package  is  available  by  visiting www.ebay.com and searching Andretti.

The Michael Andretti Foundation is a 501(c)(3) foundation that was established to help people who have shown need and to help promote programs for better health, education and welfare of America's children and citizens.   For more information about The Michael Andretti Foundation, visit www.andretti.com.

Jordan defends Schumacher over Monaco move Jordan defends Schumacher over Monaco moveFormer F1 team boss Eddie Jordan has defended Michael Schumacher over his controversial move in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix, by saying that it doesn't make him a cheat.

"One month on, I've been thinking a lot about Rascasse-gate, and I think most people have got it all wrong," the Irishman wrote in his column in F1 Racing.

"There's gamesmanship and there's cheating. A cheat has a preconceived plan which I don't believe Michael had in Monaco qualifying. It's important to be a 'sportsman' but also to take every advantage: sometimes even the unfair one.

"That's as true of our sport as any other. I don't need to remind anyone of Maradona's 'goal' against England in the '86 World Cup.

"As a former insider, this is my take," continued Jordan. "Alonso was threatening the pole, so when Michael locked up at Rascasse, he thought, 'Holy Shit!' then in a split-second unsporting moment, parked the car. I notice he later apologized to Fernando, which was correct. zzzz

"Why on earth did other drivers not within seconds of Michael's time, think they should get involved? The fact is, the finger pointers are jealous of Michael.

"Let every driver be honest and ask himself, have I ever blocked anyone or tried to keep a car behind me for 20 laps? We've all seen brake tests, blocking, weaving and other dubious moves.

"I was particularly surprised by Jackie Stewart's and Keke Rosberg's remarks," added Jordan. "They went too far, as did others who demanded his resignation from the GPDA. Most of those whining drivers aren't fit to tie Michael's boot laces.

"Everything in this business is about getting to the line first. That makes a champion and Michael has displayed that constantly over the years, despite some unpalatable moves to which Damon [Hill] and Jacques [Villeneuve] can testify."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Alonso comments on Renault 'rumors'
Ferrari need rivals' help for '06 title
Trulli says he's staying at Toyota
No unfair advantage for McLaren, says Brawn
De la Rosa tries to focus on the present
Friday axe not yet certain - Mosley
NASCAR's lapping IRL field NASCAR's lapping IRL fieldNASCAR's boon as the most popular auto racing series in the U.S. might not directly impact the Indy Racing League, but it certainly exposes the disparity between the stock-car juggernaut and the lagging open-wheel series.

The biggest headline from the Indy Racing League this summer has been where 24-year-old Danica Patrick will drive next season. She has squelched speculation that a move to NASCAR was imminent, so the focus has turned to which IRL team will employ her. Patrick's contract with Rahal Letterman Racing ends after this season, and that became the talk of motorsports and fueled discourse about NASCAR's growing stature.

The IRL is in survival mode, with its drivers urging that league founder Tony George facilitate a reunification with Champ Car World Series. The IRL's TV ratings are foundering, and aside from Patrick, it lacks major star power. Its attendance is not comparable to NASCAR's, except for the Indy 500, which typically draws about 250,000 people. That's Racin

Hayden wins 2nd USGP in a row Hayden wins 2nd USGP in a rowNicky Hayden took his second victory of the season today in the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, and saw his championship lead extended to 34 points with the late retirement of Valentino Rossi.

Hayden becomes the first rider to win the race after starting off the front row. Reacting sharply when the red light went out, the Kentucky Kid spent the first half of the race on the trail of pole man Chris Vermeulen, finally passing him on lap 17. After that, the American was untroubled by the chasing pack and crossed the line with a 3.186 second advantage over team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

A heat wave on the USA west coast saw temperatures at Laguna Seca reached 88 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday afternoon, but by Saturday noon it was already 106 degrees and 108 degrees on race day.  Some said it was the hottest temperature they ever experienced at a race track.

The Spanish rookie, racing on U.S. soil for the first time in his career, looked to keep up the pace on his fellow Repsol Honda rider after fighting through a series of rivals. A high pressure battle with Casey Stoner saw the Australian slide off on lap 15, ending his race. Pedrosa then gradually moved up through the podium places and settled in second with a comfortable advantage. zzzz

Marco Melandri, who had started slowly, was in contention for the podium late on in the race, and was one of a number of riders to take advantage of Valentino Rossi’s exit from the race on the final laps. The Fortuna Honda rider overtook Vermeulen to take third in both the race and the World Championship.

Kenny Roberts Jr was the second highest finishing home rider, taking the holeshot from the front row and keeping up the pace even when passed by a handful of riders. Following Melandri, Roberts was also able to pass Vermeulen in the closing stages.

Rizla Suzuki’s young Australian was the day’s standout performer, defying many people’s expectations and holding onto the lead before finally being hunted down by Hayden. It was only towards the conclusion of the race that the 24 year old rookie bowed out of the podium places.

Team-mate John Hopkins completed the top six, ahead of Carlos Checa, Loris Capirossi, front row starter Colin Edwards and Sete Gibernau.

Alongside Hayden’s victory, the big story of the day was the enforced retirement of Valentino Rossi. The reigning World Champion looked to be closing in on the rostrum after a flying series of laps, and a repeat of his previous comebacks this season looked to be on the cards. However, on lap 29, after seeing smoke spew from the back of his M1, the Italian star was obliged to return to the pits and leave Laguna Seca without points.

Results, round eleven of the 2006 world championship.

1. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 45min 4.867 secs
2. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 45min 8.053 secs
3. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 45min 15.796 secs
4. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 45min 16.808 secs
5. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 45min 32.306 secs
6. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 45min 43.687 secs
7. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 45min 49.692 secs
8. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 45min 53.393 secs
9. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 45min 58.095 secs
10. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 46min 11.146 secs
11. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 46min 16.808 secs
12. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 46min 19.274 secs
13. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 46min 24.150 secs
14. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 46min 46.144 secs
15. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 45min 30.873 secs
16. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 45min 38.344 secs

Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 43min 14.667 secs (Engine)
Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 21min 29.242 secs (Crash)
Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 19min 44.864 secs (Engine)

Pagenaud wins in Edmonton over Rahal Pagenaud wins in Edmonton over Rahal
Mosley visits DTM Mosley visits DTM(GMM) A curious spectator at the DTM event at the Norisring this weekend was FIA president Max Mosley.

The popular German touring car championship is not officially endorsed by F1's governing body, but speculation in the German media contends that the current situation might not always be so.

''I am impressed with many things, such as the regulations,'' 'sid' quoted the Briton as saying in Nuremburg. ''The standard is very high.''
Weber's advice to Schu: quit with title eight Weber's advice to Schu: quit with title eight(GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager has dropped a hint that the Ferrari driver could retire if he wraps up an eighth career title this season.

Willi Weber told the 'Bild am Sonntag' newspaper in Germany that 37-year-old Schumacher will likely make his final decision about the future whilst on an upcoming holiday with both their families on the Cote D' Azur.

And he intriguingly said: ''If he continues, then only with (Jean) Todt.''

The Ferrari principal's current agreement at the Maranello based outfit is similarly due either for renewal or expiry.

Weber, meanwhile - unabashed about handsomely sharing in Schumacher's whopping annual salary - also gave some 'advice' to F1's most successful ever star.

''It is against my financial interests,'' he smiled, ''but I would advise Schumi to stop immediately if he became world champion again this year.''

So, crucially, what does 'Schumi' think about his manager's advice?

Willi Weber revealed: ''He just laughed. Even he does not yet know what he is going to do.''
Micklewright goes bald Micklewright goes baldAfter AJ Allmendinger won in Portland Forsythe Championship Racing team boss Neil Micklewright dyed his hair blond as part of a bet.  When AJ won in Cleveland he dyed it red.  To the right AJ Allmendinger shaves Neil Micklewright's hair to collect on a bet after winning the Toronto race.
Despite crash Clarke and team optimistic Despite crash Clarke and team optimisticSpeedy Dan Clarke spun out his car during qualifying in Edmonton Saturday and clipped the wall, taking out the rear end of his car. Following the session, his engineer Kelly Loewen and his crew were working frantically on getting the car ready for this morning's race.

Clarke, right, ended up qualifying 17th out of 18 entries today.  (Photo courtesy of Champ Car)

"I'm obviously disappointed as I'd just put in a solid lap, which had me second quickest at that point," said Clarke, a native of Maidenhead, England.

"We were fifth fastest this morning, so I think we had the package for a good grid position."

Loewen expects to have the car ready to go for this morning's race.

"The good thing is that we have a pretty fast race car," Loewen said.

"You can still win a race from last if you have a fast race car.

"So you'll be watching for us to do something different strategy-wise so we can move up to the front. We can still win. It's more difficult, but it's possible."

Overheard in Edmonton Overheard in EdmontonUPDATE The blistering heat in Edmonton meant 59,538 showed up for Saturday's qualifying, down slightly from last year's 66,250.

Rocketsports driver Nicky Pastorelli, right, passes in front of the massive crowd on Saturday.

It was so hot that paramedics had to attend to 100 patients yesterday at the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick.

According to the EMS, 99% of those were for heat-related issues.

One person was taken to hospital.

Today, organizers plan on installing mist tents where fans can enter to cool off and get away from the intense temperatures.

07/21/06 The weather is forecast to be hot and sunny all weekend......It's going to be another success story. That's now a guarantee for the second Edmonton Grand Prix, says GM Ernie Pasemko. "We expect to keep our position as the top Canadian race and in the top four of all the events on the Champ Car circuit,'' he said.  With 32 C weather forecast for the weekend, the question is how close the event will come close to the 200,052 three-day total from the inaugural Edmonton Grand Prix last year?  70% of the 43,000 grandstand seats sold in three-day packages so far..........All suites have now been sold, bringing the number to 4,000 tickets involved each day for pit row chalets and suites. Those numbers are not included in the grandstand seat total. Neither are the general admission (no seating) totals or the McDonald's bleacher section........Last year, Friday's qualifying drew 55,722. A total of 66,250 showed up in the rain for Saturday's qualifying. Sunday's race drew 78,080.

Michael: F1's loss is NASCAR's gain Michael: F1's loss is NASCAR's gain"Montoya had a massive amount of talent and I still felt he had at least another four or five years in F1 to prove that he could win again and I expected him to do that, So I felt it was a bit like a talent lost in F1 and a talent gained by NASCAR.

"In terms of when he drove for Williams we had some fantastic memories of the drives he did. Juan Pablo had a Latin temperament but that was also part of his passion. And that also resulted in some fantastic racing that he did for [our team], so I don't think he leaves F1 with nothing but good memories for Williams.

"I don't think you can say he was unsuited to F1. He has a lot more credibility than a lot of drivers in the sport. He had seven race wins, but it was his decision [to leave] and that was it. He got to the stage where he thought he had to go and do something else.

"I'm sure it's going to be a tough transition to NASCAR" Sam Michael, Williams F1 Technical Director.

His incredible skills at overtaking - to which he brings an improvisation, bravery, deftness and flair that has arguably never been seen before - are inseparable from his mercurial character.

It is easy to forget that until Montoya's arrival in the sport in 2001, overtaking in modern F1 was considered so difficult as to be almost impossible.

That is still the case, but Montoya has been able to transcend the limits imposed on drivers by complex aerodynamics and shorter braking distances and pull off passing moves that can only be described as breathtaking.

The fact that no-one else has been able to emulate him merely underlines his astonishing ability - he will probably be remembered as the best overtaker in F1's history. Andrew Benson, BBC Motorsport editor

Champ Car finally cancels Korean race Champ Car finally cancels Korean raceThe Champ Car World Series announced today that the inaugural Ansan Champ Car Grand Prix scheduled for October 15-17 in Ansan, South Korea has been removed from the series calendar..

The event will not take place as scheduled as part of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford calendar, as a number of factors have combined to prevent the series from holding the race on the yet-to-be-completed track in Ansan.

"It is regrettable that this event in Korea has failed despite our repeated efforts to bring it to fruition. We will not allow this setback to detract from what has been a very successful season" said Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. "Despite the unfortunate situation regarding the Korea event, we intend to further develop our presence in Asia and the Pacific Rim, and are continuing to build toward our goal of conducting world-class events in these regions."

Potekhen captures second win of year at Portland Potekhen captures second win of year at PortlandPortland, Oregon. Michael Potekhen, of Tempe, Arizona, narrowly avoided a first corner incident to drive on to victory in Round Seven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Portland International Raceway. Driving the #53 Apex Racing Avenue Communities Mazda, Potekhen led every lap to beat Kevin Lacroix in his #74 John Walko Racing Uni-Select Auto Parts Mazda to the stripe by 2.289 seconds to earn his second victory of the season. Hometown hero Ryan Justice would complete the podium in his #38 Northwest Autosport J&M Body Shops Mazda.

"After the disappointment of last weekend and the early exit from that race it feels great to come back and win this weekend," a jubilant Potekhen expressed afterwards. "All the credit has to go to the team for giving me a great car. I was able to go out there and build a little gap and just manage my tires throughout the race to stay out in front for my second win. With this being a brand-new team early in the season we were a little behind the curve but now we have really hit our stride as the crew continue to learn things each weekend." zzzz

For the third consecutive weekend trouble struck on the opening lap as pole-sitter Adrian Carrio spun as the field of thirty-two cars entered the first turn at the start of the race, in the ensuing melee Carrio and seven other drivers had their races cut short. "Coming into the first corner on the start I got pinched down by Potekhen and I clipped the apex curbing trying to avoid contact and spun as a result," Carrio, the championship points leader entering the weekend, explained. "It was a disappointing way for the race to end after all the work my team had done to give me a pole winning and a car I'm sure was capable of winning the race."

While others were getting collected in the incident both Lacroix, who started in third place, and Justice, who lined up fifth on the grid, were able to slip through the chaos and continue the pursuit of the checkered flag. As laps clicked off Potekhen was able to open up a gap on the duo as they battled for second place with Lacroix just holding off a hard-charging Justice to the finish line for his best finish of the season. "I'm very glad that there wasn't another lap because at that point Ryan was very fast and I was very slow," the seventeen-year old French-Canadian driver admitted. "This was another difficult race for some people and I managed to have my best finish of the season so I will leave here happy as we head to Trois-Rivieres in Quebec."

Harvick Wins Goody’s 250 at Martinsville Speedway Harvick Wins Goody’s 250 at Martinsville SpeedwayMARTINSVILLE, Va. – The Richard Childress Racing shop in Welcome, N.C. is just an hour’s drive south of Martinsville, Va., and its drivers were right at home at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday. Kevin Harvick won the Goody’s 250, in the NASCAR Busch Series’ return to Martinsville Speedway after an 11-year absence. It was Harvick’s fourth NASCAR Busch Series win of the season and the 21st of his NASCAR Busch Series career.

Harvick’s RCR teammate Clint Bowyer finished second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Reed Sorenson and Johnny Sauter in fifth place. The victory helped Harvick extend his lead in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings.

Bowyer and Harvick paced the field in the opening laps, while brothers Johnny and Jay Sauter pursued the leaders. After a series of caution flags and pit stops among the race leaders, Paul Menard briefly led before making a pit stop of his own on lap 102. zzzz

At the halfway point of the 250-lap race, Kevin Grubb briefly held the lead until Harvick returned to the front on lap 126. Over the next 15 laps, which included two more caution periods, Bowyer worked his way up from the sixth position and the race soon resembled its earlier running order, with Harvick and Bowyer occupying the top two spots.

With 100 laps remaining, Reed Sorenson took over the third position from John Andretti and began to chase down Harvick and Bowyer. A short while later, Hamlin, who started at the rear of the field, passed Andretti to take over the fourth spot on lap 162. Hamlin continued his forward charge and took over the third spot, when the field was re-started for the 14th time after Boris Said and David Green spun out in turn three.

As the field closed in on the finish, five more caution periods slowed the action but Harvick maintained his lead over Bowyer and Hamlin. Harvick’s 21st career NASCAR Busch Series victory also moves him into a tie with Dale Earnhardt and Harry Gant, in sixth-place on the NASCAR Busch Series all-time win list.

The NASCAR Busch Series continues its 25th anniversary season July 29 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, Mo.

8:00 AM Warm-up 8:00 AM Warm-upThe Sunday morning warm-up for the Champ Cars will be held at 8:00 AM local time (Mountain Time), which is rather early.  It is necessitated by the 11:00 AM MT start.
No IRL return for Dreyer and Reinbold No IRL return for Dreyer and ReinboldDreyer & Reinbold Racing issued the following statements today regarding its plans for the rest of the season.

DENNIS REINBOLD (Co-owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): (About the Sarah Fisher rumor): "Last week, I would have told you that we would have a pretty good chance at getting something together. As of now, it doesn't look very positive. Our whole contingency on that was that we needed to put a budget together for the three races that we have remaining that Ryan [Briscoe] isn't going to drive for us. We had talked to Sarah (Fisher) about that possibility and things gained some momentum and that momentum pretty much went away.  At this point and time, I don't know, but it looks pretty doubtful I would say." (About bringing Ryan Briscoe back next year): "We would like to, but we have a long way to go before we can really talk about that with him. He has done a tremendous job, and we are extremely happy with him and really like the idea of him being in our car." (Will Ryan run at Michigan?): "He will not be in the car at Michigan. The program with him was for here, last weekend, and also at Sonoma. So beyond this weekend and Sonoma, I really don't know what we are going to do in the future."

Carrio takes Portland pole position Carrio takes Portland pole positionPortland, Oregon. After waiting until the final seconds of qualifying at Miller Motorsports Park to capture the pole position one week ago Adrian Carrio came out swinging early at Portland International Raceway, posting the pole winning lap early in today's qualifying for Round Seven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Driving the #14 World Speed Motorsports Rockford Fosgate Mazda, the Monument, Colorado native lapped the 1.944-mile circuit in a time of 1:08.988 (102.487 MPH) to secure his second consecutive pole and third pole position this season. Joining Carrio on the front row for the second consecutive race will be Michael Potekhen who clocked a fast time of 1:09.045 (102.453 MPH).

"I may have left a tenth or two out there but I think we got just about everything out of the car this morning," the seventeen-year old Carrio revealed. "The car was working great, was really easy on the tires and it was nice to show that we could set the time to beat early in the session and watch it stand up. We are looking forward to the race this afternoon." zzzz

In making his second consecutive front row start Potekhen hopes to avoid the troubles that cut his race short at Miller Motorsports Park. "Setting the second fastest time of the session shows that I could've been a bit more aggressive in the session but it still feels good to put the car back on the front row," the pilot of the #53 Apex Racing Avenue Communities Mazda explained. "Everyone on the team was disappointed after last weekend and we are taking a different approach to the start of the race this weekend."

Capturing the third spot on the grid was Rookie-of-the-Year contender Kevin Lacroix. Driving the #74 John Walko Racing Uni-Select Auto Parts Mazda, the St Eustache, Quebec resident lapped the circuit in 1:09.090 (102.366 MPH). Ron White will line up forth with a time of 1:09.299 (102.027 MPH) in his #69 Ron White Racing Fulton Valley Farms Mazda, while Portland-native Ryan Justice, who had set the fastest time earlier in the weekend, will start from fifth place after setting a time of 1:09.397 (101.969 MPH) in his #38 Northwest Autosport J&M Body Shops Mazda.

Thirty-two drivers posted times in the 45-minute qualifying session for this afternoon's 35-lap race, which is scheduled to get underway at 3:15 PM Pacific Daylight Time.

Matos wins 2nd career Atlantics pole Matos wins 2nd career Atlantics pole
Vermeulen takes surprise pole at Laguna Seca Vermeulen takes surprise pole at Laguna SecaFull MotoGP qualifying times from the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, round eleven of the 2006 world championship.

1. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 23.168 secs
2. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 23.321 secs
3. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 1min 23.420 secs
4. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 23.490 secs
5. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 23.498 secs
6. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 23.536 secs
7. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 23.651 secs
8. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 23.656 secs
9. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 23.750 secs
10. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 24.047 secs
11. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 24.153 secs
12. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 24.230 secs
13. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 24.268 secs
14. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 24.578 secs
15. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 24.592 secs
16. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 24.634 secs
17. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 25.420 secs
18. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 25.763 secs
19. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 26.567 secs

Camara beats Cunningham in Milwaukee Camara beats Cunningham in Milwaukee
Edmonton: Tracy tops Saturday AM practice Edmonton: Tracy tops Saturday AM practicePaul Tracy  logged a lap of 58.811 seconds (120.773 mph) to lead the Saturday AM session in Edmonton, carding a time that was less than two-tenths of a second off the JAGflo Speedway track record.

The Canadian was the only driver to get under 59 seconds in the hour-long session, and was followed by Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Friday qualifying leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was fourth in the session after crashing in Friday's first round of qualifying.

Rookies Dan Clarke (#14 CTE Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Katherine Legge (#20 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) were fifth and sixth respectively, each posting times quicker than Bourdais' Friday-leading effort.

Pos Driver Lap Time Mph Behind Leader
1 P. Tracy 58.811 120.773 
2 J. Wilson 59.163 120.055 0.352
3 S. Bourdais 59.314 119.749 0.503
4 A. Allmendinger 59.424 119.527 0.613
5 D. Clarke 59.665 119.045 0.854
6 K. Legge 59.824 118.728 1.013
7 N. Philippe 59.840 118.697 1.029
8 O. Servia 59.870 118.637 1.059
9 C. da Matta 59.912 118.554 1.101
10 W. Power 1:00.215 117.957 1.404
11 B. Junqueira 1:00.241 117.906 1.430
12 A. Ranger 1:00.253 117.883 1.442
13 A. Tagliani 1:00.462 117.475 1.651
14 M. Dominguez 1:00.670 117.073 1.859
15 J. Heylen 1:00.867 116.694 2.056
16 C. Zwolsman 1:00.902 116.627 2.091
17 T. Kasemets 1:01.905 114.737 3.094
18 N. Pastorelli 1:01.940 114.672 3.129

Racing News
Marco Fittipaldi Papis is born Marco Fittipaldi Papis is bornMax Papis and wife Tatiana Fittipaldi, are happy to announce the birth of their first child. At right Max and his wife Tati Fittipaldi, daughter of racing great Emerson Fittipaldi.

Marco was born on July 21st at 1:30PM, weighing 6 pounds 13.4 ounces, and measuring 19 inches (Pictured left with his proud father).

Tatiana and Marco are at South Miami Hospital, and are looking forward to coming back home tomorrow.

Texas happenings for Champ Car Texas happenings for Champ CarAfter announcing the dates for next year's Grand Prix of Houston (April 20-22) this week, promoter Mike Lanigan had some thoughts on other issues:

•Fans can expect to see improvements in seating, corporate hospitality offerings, entertainment options and team paddocks in 2007.
Lanigan estimates more than $5 million was spent getting the event off the ground at Reliant Park. No problem. There's more where that came front, and he's intent on continuing his investment.

•The talk about a possible IRL race getting off the ground in San Antonio in 2007 should be taken with a grain of salt, says Lanigan. There's a better chance for a Champ Car race on the streets of San Antonio, but it may not happen before 2008, possibly as part of a unified IRL/Champ Car series.  "Champ Car is talking very seriously about it," Lanigan said. "If there is a race, it's my belief it will be a Champ Car race."

•Lanigan and Chuck Kosich, the general manager of the Grand Prix of Houston, say they have been assured that the race will not be affected if the Astrodome is converted into a resort hotel, as has been proposed. That's not to say Lanigan doesn't have concerns about the process, if it occurs.

"We're building up some momentum here, and we don't want to lose it," he said. Houston Chronicle

Weather wipes out Pocono practice Weather wipes out Pocono practiceFog and rain canceled practice for the Pennsylvania 500 Saturday morning at Pocono Raceway.  There is a 20 percent chance of rain Sunday at Pocono.

Eight drivers - Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Reed Sorenson, Kyle Busch, J.J. Yeley and Greg Biffle - are hoping to compete in the Busch event at Martinsville today.

Don’t count Champ Car out just yet Don’t count Champ Car out just yetEDMONTON - Give him at least 16 races and 22 cars, with a bottom line written in black, and that's Kevin Kalkhoven's vision of open-wheel Nirvana.

The Champ Car World Series isn't there yet, but it's closer today than even the most optimistic gearheads would have predicted when Kalkhoven, Gerry Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi shelled out big coin to rescue the circuit from bankruptcy, and provide continued employment for its better-known drivers a couple of years ago.

Kalkhoven said the series will break even this year and is due to start operating in the black next season. We'll just have to take him at his word. The car count plateaued at 18 but is due for a boost next year when the Lola chassis is replaced by Panoz, which is about 30 per cent cheaper to operate and should entice a couple of Champ Car Atlantic teams to move up a notch. Assuming the 15 current venues hang in with Champ Car next year, there will be at least 16 events on the schedule, as Las Vegas will host a street race in April 2007, harkening back to its CART heritage in the early 1980s.

''We're very comfortable. I don't know why anyone would think it would be doom and gloom for us. Certainly not me. I'm cool,'' said Kalkhoven.

His detractors, who cite a dearth of major multi-national corporate sponsorship, that smallish car count and the fact that only seven races are on U.S. network TV, would suggest he's whistling past the graveyard. But there are reasons to buy into his vision. In fact, there should be about 175,000 reasons in Alberta this weekend; a number corresponding with the expected crowd count at the Edmonton Grand Prix. Champ Car attendance is still one of its best advertisements. And, if you twist your rose-colored glasses the right way, so is the Indy Racing League's purported interest in a merger.

''In the last couple of years they really did what it takes. Champ Car did everything right to attract fans and teams. That's why there is an interest from IRL to try and get a merger done,'' said Team Australia driver Alex Tagliani. ''Yes, there is some strength the IRL has. They have good drivers and some sponsors and they have the Indianapolis 500. So now, if there is a merger, Kevin and Gerry and Paul need to see the advantage of giving it all up for one race, that's Indy.'' More.....

Edmonton: Friday Press Conference Edmonton: Friday Press ConferenceParticipating: Sebastien Bourdais, Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira. Transcript
Bridgestone talks tire technology Bridgestone talks tire technologyStatisticians had a field day at the French Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher's dominant victory was his record-breaking eighth win at Magny Cours and it also marked his 150th Formula 1 podium. But Michael wasn't interested in records; his win in France meant only one thing: he'd closed the gap on Fernando Alonso in the World Championship to 17 points. If he can continue his winning streak at Hockenheim next week, F1 fans around the world are promised a thrilling climax to the season.

As much as Bridgestone are looking ahead to the remaining seven races of the year, the building blocks for their championship challenge were laid in the first half of the season.

"Technically speaking, we are very satisfied with the progress that we have made so far this year,” says Bridgestone's Director of Tire Development, Hirohide Hamashima.

"After two years of development work, we introduced a new construction of tire last winter and it has proved to be successful. Williams were the first of our teams to discover its potential, then Toyota and then finally Ferrari, MF1 and Super Aguri." zzzz

Bridgestone's technical progress this year has been helped by an increase in the number of teams using the company's rubber.

"Having Williams and Toyota with us is a great help," says Hamashima. "All of our teams share data after each test, which assists our technicians a lot. I'd say our rate of development is five or six times faster than it was last year, when Ferrari were the only top team using our tires."

Despite all the technical progress, one source of frustration for Hamashima is that Bridgestone have only Schumacher's four victories to show for their efforts.

"The technical and sporting results haven't been engaged enough," he says. "Early in the season we struggled to convince our teams that the new construction was the right direction. In Australia Ferrari chose the old-style tire, but now they can see that it works well on all circuits and we are getting good results."

Looking ahead to the remaining races, only one strategy will suffice.

"We have to be even more aggressive with our development," says Hamashima. "Not only that, we need to make even more accurate predictions to do with compound range."

Bridgestone will also soon have to prepare for its role as sole tire supplier in 2007. With all the teams wanting to begin testing as soon as possible over the winter, Bridgestone cannot wait until after the season to begin its preparations for next year.

"At the moment," says Hamashima, "We're concentrating on this season. Then, from August we'll begin to turn our attention to next year, working out how best we can service the teams and what tires we're going to use. But, don't worry: these plans will not effect our development for this year." Source Bridgestone

Sadler has multiple options Sadler has multiple optionsElliott Sadler said Friday his decision to leave Robert Yates Racing at the conclusion of the 2006 season came down to a difference of philosophy with team owner Robert Yates. "They're great, great people, and I've definitely enjoyed driving for those guys, but pretty much we have just come to differences of opinions on which way the sport is going," said Sadler, 20th in Cup points. "I couldn't really make myself buy into the system and which way I think the company is going. So we just decided to split ways and do something different." Sadler said he's entertaining multiple offers at this point. "There are a lot more seats open than there are drivers available, I think. That's what caught me off this week with some of the phone calls I got. I'm not in a hurry to try to make a decision. I have no timelines." Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Bourdais: Allmendinger getting to Tracy’s head Bourdais: Allmendinger getting to Tracy’s headPaul Tracy says that from here on in, it's the checkered flag or nothing.

The 37-year-old Toronto racer, who hopes to turn his star-crossed Champ Car season around at this weekend's Edmonton Grand Prix, admits he's so far behind in the overall points standings, there's nothing left to do but win.

''Winning the championship is what matters most. Right now we're so far out of the points lead that all you can do is just go for it every weekend,'' he said.

It's been a torturous season for the one-time Vanderbilt Cup winner, who began qualifying Friday for Sunday's race (Global, 1 p.m. ET).

Sandwiched around two second-place wins, the 16-year veteran has had three first-lap crackups and a wonky car in Portland.

He has yet to start in the front row and sits sixth in the overall standings, 83 points behind the leader and arch track-foe Sebastien Bourdais.

That has been tough to swallow for Tracy. The barrel-chested goateed Toronto Maple Leafs fan with the swooping shock of platinum hair captured the Vanderbilt Cup in 2003 and has 30 career wins under his belt.    ''(I'm) going for it all the time, going for it on starts, driving as hard as I feel that I've ever driven,'' he said. ''I feel the same.''

Bourdais said Tracy may be feeling the pressure from new Forsythe teammate, A.J. Allmendinger.

Since coming over Forsythe from rival RuSport three races ago, the 24-year-old American has yet to lose.

''A.J. is stepping up in the team and kind of assumes the team leader role, and Paul's not really been used to that,'' said Bourdais.

''As tough as Paul may look, he's not indestructible.

''You can get to his head just like anybody else, and if you don't perform and you get your butt kicked by your teammate well that's going to get to you.''  More at Canadian Press

Laguna Seca: Americans 1-2 in Friday practice Laguna Seca: Americans 1-2 in Friday practiceFull MotoGP free practice times (1 and 2 combined) from the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, round eleven of the 2006 world championship.

1. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 1min 23.859 secs
2. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 24.125 secs
3. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 24.194 secs
4. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 24.223 secs
5. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 24.253 secs
6. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 24.310 secs *
7. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 24.339 secs
8. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 24.360 secs *
9. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 24.494 secs
10. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 24.608 secs *
11. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 24.674 secs *
12. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 24.883 secs
13. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 25.094 secs
14. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 25.150 secs *
15. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 25.294 secs
16. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 25.598 secs
17. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 25.651 secs
18. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 25.768 secs
19. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 27.020 secs

* time set in first free practice session.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Inside Drag Racing
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR RaceDay Pocono
11:30am-1:30pm (L) SPEED
The Fast Life -Andretti 3
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
Champ Car Edmonton
1:00pm-3:00pm (L) CBS
IRL Milwaukee
1:30pm-4:00pm (L) ESPN
NASCAR Nextel Cup  Pocono
1:30pm-6:30pm (L) TNT
Superbike World Championship Czech Republic
2:00pm-3:00pm (SDD) -Race 1
AMA Superbike  Laguna Seca
3:00pm-4:00pm SPEED
American Le Mans Series Portland
3:00pm-5:00pm CBS
MotoGP World Championship  Laguna Seca
5:00pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
AMA Formula Xtreme Laguna Seca
6:00pm-7:00pm SPEED
Speed News Sunday
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Pocono
8:00pm-9:00pm (SDD) SPEED
NHRA Seattle
8:00pm-11:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Guest: Colin Edwards (MotoGP)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Superbike World Championship Czech Republic
10:00pm-11:00pm (SDD) -Race 2 SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Friday attendance off slightly. Friday attendance off slightly.Following qualifying session crowds of 55,722 Friday and 66,250 Saturday, the 2005 Grand Prix of Edmonton drew 78,080 for a three-day total of 200,052.  It was the largest race-day crowd in Champ Car Series history in Canada and the largest three-day weekend crowd for the series in Canada.

This year the Friday attendance in Edmonton was 47,932, down slightly from the first year, but respectable for a work day.

Blue algae prevent Audi boat race Blue algae prevent Audi boat raceThe boat race of the Audi DTM stars scheduled to take place on the Dutzendteich lake in Nuremberg on Friday had to be cancelled. The Nuremberg public health authorities imposed a general bathing ban on the "Große Dutzendteich” which is immediately adjacent to the Norisring paddock. The enormous heat in recent weeks has promoted the generation of poisonous blue algae (cyanophyta) which may release so-called cyano-toxins. Contact with or swallowing of the water could trigger health problems such as nausea, vomiting or allergic reactions.
Since the planned race with "home-made” paper boats harbors the risk of capsizing, Audi – in coordination with team doctor Christian John – decided to cancel the boat race at short notice. "The risk of one of our drivers getting sick is simply too big,” commented the doctor.
The funny race which had attracted a lot of attention even prior to the event is now planned to be held as part of the DTM round at Zandvoort on the Dutch North Sea coast (1 to 3 September). The presentation of the ten boating teams will take place tonight in front of Audi’s Team & Media Hospitality at 8 p.m. as planned. A jury will be evaluating the creativity of the home-made constructions crafted by the mechanics of the Audi teams. This evaluation will be used for the starting order at Zandvoort. The boats will be photographed and may not be changed any more before the race in September.
Copper World Classic now a NASCAR support race Copper World Classic now a NASCAR support racePhoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber has announced that the annual Copper World Classic will be held under the lights at PIR in November, beginning in 2007. Through 29 years, the classic race weekend, featuring both the Silver Crown and Midget cars from the United States Auto Club (USAC) Series, has seen some of today’s brightest NASCAR stars emerge, including Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman. The 2007 Copper World Classic is scheduled for Thursday, November 8.

In front of its largest audience ever, the 2007 Copper World Classic will run under lights for the first time at PIR. The November race date will allow USAC drivers and teams to showcase their talent in front of NASCAR fans and race teams. In addition to Phoenix International Raceway, the USAC series is paired with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events at the Chicagoland and Kansas Speedways.

“Moving the Copper World Classic to November is a great stage on which to start an exciting weekend of motor sports here in the Valley,” said Sperber. “Running the Silver Crown and Midget Series’ under the lights is going to be a unique experience for drivers as well as a tremendous show for the fans.”

"It's great to know Copper World is taking on a new look and moving to the fall," said USAC President/CEO Rollie Helmling. "Phoenix and USAC racing have a strong heritage and our fans and racers always enjoy PIR."

Rules change knocks Audi off pole Rules change knocks Audi off poleFollowing another change of the regulations at short notice, the two Audi R10 TDI sports cars will start the sixth round of the American Le Mans Series at Portland (US state of Oregon) from the second and third rows of the grid. Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro (both Italy) had to be happy with third and fifth places respectively in Friday’s qualifying session after the toughest competitors in the LM P1 class, Team Dyson Lola, had been granted a further weight-reduction of 40 kilograms (88 pounds). This means the Lola is now 65 kilograms (143 pounds) lighter than the Audi R10 TDI.
For the first time since its début in March, Audi’s revolutionary diesel sportscar will thus not start from pole-position. At Sebring, Le Mans and Salt Lake City a week ago, the 650-hp R10 TDI has always been the fastest car in qualifying. This time, Dindo Capello, as the fastest Audi driver, had to be happy with third place on the grid – 0.319 seconds from pole. Emanuele Pirro in fifth position was outpaced by the fastest and even lighter LM P2 car.
Despite the further handicap, the drivers of Team Audi Sport North America will try everything to continue the winning streak of the Audi R10 TDI in Saturday’s race – the car has been undefeated in its three outings so far. The race at Portland starts Saturday evening at 6 p.m. local time (3 a.m. Sunday morning in Germany). zzzz
Quotes after qualifying in Portland
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "The team and the drivers did the best they could from this new situation. The decision at short notice to give our toughest competitor in the LM P1 class, Team Dyson-Lola, a further 40-kilogram weight reduction just before qualifying had an immediate influence on the starting grid. The situation is not nice for us. We had to accept a smaller diameter of the refueling rig last week now we must also accept this measure because we are interested in the health of the American Le Mans Series which has been created with the support of Audi to a large extent. We are sure that IMSA will correct the weights again to make sure there is a balance of performance.”
Dindo Capello (Audi R10 TDI #2): "Considering the new weight difference of the LM P1 Dyson Lola cars which qualified 1-2 and our Audi R10 TDI, I feel I did a good job to achieve P3 today. We are quite close to the front row times but importantly I was able to consistently set mid 1min 3.5secs laps which makes me hopeful for the race. I was on the limit in my first qualifying laps and decided to pit because it was a little too close at times. I think we will have a good race.”
Allan McNish (Audi R10 TDI #2): "I haven’t been here since 2000 but the track is identical – exactly the same bumps are still here! A track temperature of over 50 degrees Celsius means we’re sliding around especially in the low-speed, infield section but that’s the same for everyone. We’ve been tuning the car to get a good balance on ‘used’ tires which will be very important in the race. It’s difficult to assess how the latest weight adjustment in LM P1 will affect us but at this track and in these weather conditions, weight will definitely play an important factor in the race as we saw in qualifying.”
Frank Biela (Audi R10 TDI #1): "After the very good result of Salt Lake City it is a lot tougher than I expected. On the other hand Dyson was strong here last year. We must be happy with what we have. The race will be long and we have to look for a good strategy. This is definitely one of the shorter tracks, so it is difficult to overtake even the GT2 cars in the infield.”
Emanuele Pirro (Audi R10 TDI #1): "I am quite happy with my time. At this circuit, grip is very poor. The car was sliding a lot and we could not find more grip. We are very close to the Porsche, but due to the new weight rules the Dysons are unreachable. The race is long and anything can happen. The balance of the Audi R10 TDI is quite good. It is a very hard track for the car and the drivers. It is very difficult to overtake and strategy will be crucial here. Because of our good fuel consumption we can have a wider window when choosing to stop for fuel. I learned that when you keep it steady and cool, things can improve.”
Dave Maraj (Team Director Team Audi Sport North America): "We did a very good job taking everything into account. Dindo and Emanuele did fantastically well to get that close to the lighter Lola LM P1 cars. We just now have to wait and see how the race plays out. Everything is to play for and in the race and I feel we’ll have a very good car over the duration of 165-minutes. Obviously Audi Sport North America is aiming to keep our record on-going of claiming maximum LM P1 points in all of this season’s races.” Audi
IMSA rescinds rule to put Corvettes back on top IMSA rescinds rule to put Corvettes back on topThere was no relief from the 100-degree heat at Portland International Raceway today, but there was some relief for Corvette Racing from the rulemakers. After performance handicaps imposed at the preceding race in Salt Lake City were rescinded, Corvette driver Olivier Beretta won the GT1 pole for the 18th time, extending his American Le Mans Series record for career poles. Beretta covered the 1.94-mile road course in 1:09.399 with the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Johnny O'Connell qualified second in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R, just .126 seconds behind his teammate.

"I really wanted to do my best today because I wanted to show that the Corvette is the car to have even with the performance handicaps," said Beretta. "The track was unbelievably slippery today. The heat also doesn't help the handling, and the extra weight we are carrying makes it very difficult on braking."

Earlier today IMSA, the sanctioning body for the American Le Mans Series, rescinded the performance handicaps imposed on the Corvettes at the preceding round in Salt Lake City, citing a conflict with the series' prohibition on performance adjustments at consecutive events. Consequently the Corvette C6.Rs reverted to the specifications used in the Lime Rock Park race on July 1.  zzzz

"I think it's important to recognize that the decision announced today was the result of officials rectifying an issue with one of the series' fundamental rules about applying performance balancing, and I applaud them for that," commented Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "We still have the disadvantages of 199 more pounds and 10 liters less fuel, and Aston Martin is up one column in the intake restrictor chart, which is equivalent to 35 or 40 horsepower. We will have to overcome all of that in tomorrow's race. It's not a good situation, but it's certainly better than the last race.

"Pirelli is clearly making great progress in producing competitive tires for the Aston Martins," Fehan noted. "We saw that in the last race, and it's continued here. I hope that by the time the series goes to Petit Le Mans we will be running straight up according to the ACO rules. That would be good for the series because it says that we have two top-tier tire manufacturers involved."

IMSA continues to muck with GT1 rules IMSA continues to muck with GT1 rulesFollowing an IMSA decision earlier in the day to give Corvette Racing more power and increased fuel capacity for the Portland Grand Prix, qualifying results were as expected: Aston Martin Racing qualified third and fourth in GT1 Class.

Darren Turner (DBR9 No. 007) qualified third with a time of 1:10.016 and Stephane Sarrazin (DBR9 No. 009) was fourth in a time of 1:10.070. The Corvettes qualified first and second with times of 1:09.399 and 1:09.525.

"I think the balance of performance that IMSA wants to see in GT1 Class will be compromised this weekend," said George Howard-Chappell, team principal for Aston Martin Racing. "Nonetheless, Aston Martin Racing will not be deterred and be ready to do our best when the green flag drops on Saturday."

Howard-Chappell explained IMSA's ruling this way: "Friday morning, IMSA notified me of its decision to rescind a Balance of Performance bulletin in GT1 after Corvette Racing started a stewards enquiry which decided that IMSA had instigated changes without an intervening race having been run. This is a peculiar interpretation of this regulation, yet the stewards found in favor of Corvette. As a result, the Corvettes have enlarged their restrictors and increased their fuel capacity. The subsequent qualifying times are reflective of that decision.

"GT1 is a class based on a handicapping formula," Howard-Chappell added. "We need to trust IMSA that this will be corrected quite soon since the objective is, after all, a balance of performance. Competitive races and a competitive chase for the championship is what race fans want to see." Aston Martin

Backup for Enge on standby Backup for Enge on standbyA week after winning at Salt Lake City, Aston Martin Racing is preparing for the sixth round of the American Le Mans Series at Portland International Raceway. The 1.944-mile, 12-turn road course will be a tough test when combined with temperatures expected to reach triple digits.

The team had a little down time between races, and members of the team and the drivers stayed on in Salt Lake to enjoy mountain biking in the hills of Park City.

Tomas Enge injured his wrist while mountain biking Monday, but the Czech driver was encouraged by his first practice session this afternoon and is confident he will be able to drive in the race on Saturday.

The team flew Italian driver Andrea Piccini back to the United States as a precautionary measure to stand in for Enge, if required. zzzz

Team tire sponsor Pirelli organized a river rafting trip for Aston Martin Racing drivers Darren Turner and Stephane Sarrazin. The Aston Martin raft was competing against a raft manned by two Panoz drivers. The group headed out to an exciting stretch of the White Salmon River located in mountainous terrain between two volcanoes, Mount Adams to the north and Mount Hood to the south. Darren Turner said: “The scenery was breathtaking and the rapids were awesome. It was great to have some time away from the track with Stephane and the Panoz boys – everyone was in high spirits, we all had a great time.”

George Howard-Chappell, Team Principal, Aston Martin Racing: “It looks like we have a fight on our hands at Portland as the times indicate. We are slower than our competitors here but that won’t deter us, we will still try to do our best.

“This backs up what we thought, which is that the circuit at Salt Lake was particularly well suited to the car and the Pirelli tires. It will be a real struggle here.

“There has been a lot of reaction from our competitors regarding the handicapping process. But with three wins to Corvette and two wins to Aston Martin so far this season it would appear that IMSA has done a great job of balancing performance in the GT1 class which is, after all, a handicapped formula.”

CAR 007: 4th GT1 (12th overall) 1:10.190sTomas Enge (Czech Republic): “My hand is okay, I thought that it would be worse but it is fine. This is my first time at Portland. It is, again, one of the older, slippery and bumpy tracks like Lime Rock. But we have seen in Lime Rock that we can fight with our competitors and we beat them there so I hope this will be the same. Salt Lake was perfectly suited to our car and our tires but this is not the case here. On some parts of the track here it feels like you are driving on ice.

“The temperature is forecast to be high again but the race is in the evening and the car was ok to drive at Salt Lake so I am not too worried.”

Andrea Piccini (Italy): “The track is very slippery. I managed to do about 20 laps but at the end I was stuck in a lot of traffic and it is difficult to overtake here. This is so different to my last experience with the team at Salt Lake. You are sliding at the front and the rear, especially at the rear and it is just not possible to put down the power. We have to work on the car, maybe it is a bit too stiff.”

Darren Turner (UK): “My first impression of the circuit is good, it is an interesting track, there is a very fast chicane on the back straight which is pretty challenging. We are struggling with traction and a lack of grip and that is what we need to concentrate on for the next session.”

CAR 009: 2nd GT1 (10th overall) 1:09.658sPedro Lamy (Portugal): “I have driven here before back in 1999 but I don’t really remember the track. It is not a difficult track to learn again but it is difficult to be fast here. We are struggling a bit with grip and we are trying to improve the car.”

Stephane Sarrazin (Italy): “It is the first time I have driven here, it is a nice track but there is no grip. We need to tune the car. We are not very happy at the moment, the team need to work hard tonight and we (the drivers) need to push hard tomorrow.” Aston Martin

Briscoe crashes again Briscoe crashes againDuring the first practice session for the Indy Car race in Milwaukee this weekend, Ryan Briscoe spun into the outside wall off Turn 4 and then hit the inside, as well. He was not hurt. Photo right by Shawn Payne/IRL
Milwaukee: AGR drivers tops Friday practice Milwaukee: AGR drivers tops Friday practiceWEST ALLIS, Wis. - Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti led preparations for the July 23 IndyCar® Series ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at The Milwaukee Mile.

Franchitti, the 2004 Milwaukee race winner, topped the day's speed charts with a lap of 21.569 seconds, 169.409 mph in his No. 27 Klein Tools/Canadian Club Honda-powered Dallara in the first of two practice sessions.

Rookie teammate Marco Andretti turned the second quickest lap of the day in his No. 26 NYSE Honda-powered Dallara with a speed of 169.293 mph in the afternoon session.

Rounding out the top-five were Vitor Meira (169.061 mph), Tony Kanaan (169.293 mph) and Bryan Herta (169.061 mph) in their Honda-powered Dallaras. Marlboro Pole Qualifying for the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Selected quotes from the July 20:

DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (About having figurine): "I feel very special." (Does it look like you?): "It has long dark hair. And the suit and the helmet looks just like mine. The eyebrows are a little high and short and my lips are a little more glossy color than pink or red. I feel very lucky that I have a figurine. I don't think anyone else here has one. Do any other drivers have a figurine? I hope that it gives people another reason to come to the race. We have great racing. It's just a matter of bringing people in to see it. And as I've been told by my friends and family and other people, 'Once you see it, you're hooked.' We just need to hook them." (About being the big draw): "It's a very fortunate situation. It comes with some baggage. It's a lot of work and I end up doing lots of interviews, but it's good. I'm happy doing it. Being that draw requires some effort too. I want to do everything I can to promote the series. I don't want to let them down in any way. If I am that person, I want to help and I want do it. The series needs all the help they get and I'm happy to do it. I'm really lucky. Over the last two years of my career, people have written good things about me and have been very kind. That's not always the situation. I've been fortunate." (About last week's race): "Every time you improve, you're obviously going in the right direction. It seems like this past year has been a fairly unlucky one. It started being obvious at Indianapolis. New tires are their best when you put them on. I'd put on new tires, do a burnout or run maybe one lap, and every time the yellow would come out. I'd be like 'God, can this stop?' I caught the flags wrong. Finally at Nashville it came around for me. I was lucky. Things finally went my way and I was up front. That's the way things need to happen right now. We're not the fastest car, so we need to catch a couple breaks, and we did finally."  zzzz

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Klein Tools/Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone): ""It's pretty tricky out there. The difference between the darker patches on the track is significant. All is going well right now. We'll keep working tomorrow for a good race car and see what happens. We worked this afternoon on race set up, so we weren't as quick as this morning. I think this is a track that is more to our liking, and we might have a chance at racing with some of the other cars that have been out front this year. There are a lot of strong cars out there, but the Andretti Green foursome has a reasonably good chance.

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Being here last week makes a difference, for sure. I was back into the wall the first time I was here last year in a Pro Series car. I've certainly come a long way. We're finding what we need here. Things are definitely going good. I'm getting really comfortable. The test made all the difference for me. I'm able to keep building confidence, and each lap we seem to get faster and I continue to learn. The shorter tracks depends a lot on balance rather than pure speed. It lets us show our skills. Things are so tight out there that we really need to stay on top of the conditions to stay out front.

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Revive Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "This was a great day for us. We were confident coming into the weekend that the Revive Honda was going to be powerful. It is important for us to be careful and analyze the day only versus ourselves. It was an open day and everybody was doing different things. We improved every time that we went out and that's what proves to us that it was a good day. We've still got plenty of work to do, and we're looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The test that Dario (Franchitti), Marco (Andretti) and Jonathan (Klein) did here really helped to get us started down the right path. We are certainly a lot closer than where we've been at other tracks this year. It was a good day for Team 7-Eleven. We still have some work to do but it's nice having a couple cars at the top of the scoring sheet. That makes it easier for us to work on our race day and qualifying setups."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm pretty happy with the XM Satellite Radio car.  Unfortunately, we got behind on our tires because we cut a tire and had to put our old set on so we didn't get to run until the end of the session.  I definitely feel like we made a step in the right direction and none too soon; this team needs a good race."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We worked mostly on our race setup today, mainly trying to get the car to handle well in traffic and by ourselves over the course of a long run and everything is going as planned. We're really happy with how the Marlboro Team Penske car is handling, and hopefully, we'll be just as happy with it on Sunday. We weren't on the top of the speed charts, but that wasn't what we set out to accomplish. We have a practice session tomorrow morning where we can trim the car out and hopefully put it on the front row in qualifying."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We've been trying a lot of different things with the car. We're a little off the pace, but we're focusing on how the Marlboro Team Penske car will be handling throughout the race. I'm pretty confident with the progress we made today. The key to the race on Sunday will be consistency and that's exactly what we've been so far."

JEFF BUCKNUM (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It was a very productive day, building confidence for me since I never raced here. We're in a good window set-up wise and now we can massage it to go quicker. The team is coming together, and it's nice to have A.J. (Foyt) back."

Cunningham over Howard for Milwaukee pole Cunningham over Howard for Milwaukee poleWest Allis, Wis. - Defending series champion Wade Cunningham captured the pole position for Indy Pro Series Milwaukee 100 with a lap of 24.754 seconds, 147.783 mph. This is Cunningham's second consecutive pole and third pole of the season. Series point leader Jay Howard completes the front row with a lap of 25.013, 146.094 mph.

Qualifying Friday for the Milwaukee 100 IRL Indy Pro Series event on the 1-mile Milwaukee Mile, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:

1. (1) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 147.783
2. (7) Jay Howard, Dallara, 146.094
3. (27) Jonathan Klein, Dallara, 145.464
4. (11) Jaime Camara, Dallara, 144.868
5. (42) Tom Wood, Dallara, 143.532
6. (24) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 142.094
7. (26) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara, 141.973
8. (52) Nick Bussell, Dallara, 141.022
9. (3) Brett Van Blankers, Dallara, 138.952
10. (9) Michael Crawford, Dallara, no speed
11. (8) P.J. Abbott, Dallara, no speed
12. (51) Chris Festa, Dallara, no speed


WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing): "We were quick here at the test a couple of weeks ago. We were gutted with the result last week, so we've come here with that out of our mind now. We've got another race, so we just want to qualify on the pole, lead every lap and win. It's never that simple. Last week proved that. We've got a good car. We pushed really hard on qualifying, almost too hard. We've got the pole again. It's a testament to the team. Doug (Hoy), the engineer, really nailed it this time. I'm pleased to be on the pole again and look forward to tomorrow." (About Milwaukee being a tough track to drive) "It definitely is with the wind in Turn 4. It's a problem for everyone, even the IndyCars. In the race setup, you just try to take what you've got and race that, but in qualifying you bolt on what you think is going to work, and you keep your foot on it as hard as you can as long as you can. We stuck this time." zzzz

JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "The car was better in qualifying. It's the best it's been since I got here. Unfortunately, we weren't fast enough. But, we qualified second last week, and we won the race. Hopefully we can repeat that."

JONATHAN KLEIN (No. 27 Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging): "The IndyCar practice a couple of weeks ago certainly helped. I don't think we could have got third without it."

BOBBY WILSON (No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing): "It's the best the car has handled all weekend, so I'm pretty happy about that. I think we have a better race car than qualifying setup. The car is really consistent, and I know I'm going to be there at the end of the day."

THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers): "The car was not good in the first session, not set up the way I wanted it. We made some dramatic changes and really improved in the second session. In qualifying, the car was much faster in Turns 1 and 2. I just overdrove it into Turn 4, brushed the wall, no real damage. We should be in good shape for the race tomorrow."

MICHAEL CRAWFORD (No. 9 Michael Crawford Motorsports): "I'm really pleased. I had a really good time out there. I don't know exactly where the limit of the car is, and I think some of these other drivers have a better grasp of that, and they're looking for that. I feel comfortable out there, and yet I'm not in a position to challenge for a high-placing finish in my first race. I'm trying to be realistic. So far, today was perfect."

Pagenaud on provisional pole Pagenaud on provisional pole
Difference of opinion caused Sadler/RYR split Difference of opinion caused Sadler/RYR splitElliott Sadler says it was a "difference of opinion from which way the sport is going" that led to his decision to leave Robert Yates Racing at the conclusion of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season.

Sadler met with the media Friday at Pocono Raceway to address his departure from RYR after four seasons. He said he notified team owner Robert Yates earlier in the week, a two-hour meeting that he called, "one of the hardest two hours of my life."

"I've definitely enjoyed driving for those guys," Sadler said. "But pretty much [we] have just come to differences of opinion on which way the sport is going. This is not the first meeting we've had, we've had meetings all year long to try to meet in the middle, try to make some good decisions on what we think we need to do to make our race team better. We just could never get going in that direction.

"I just had a difference of opinion on which way the sport's going from those guys. I couldn't really make myself buy into the system and which way I think the company is going. So we just decided to split ways and do something different."

Sadler would not, however, elaborate on what those differences were. Scenedaily.com

IRL Nashville TV rating IRL Nashville TV ratingThe final TV rating for last Saturday night's IRL race from Nashville on ESPN was a 0.4 with 405,000 HHs tuned in.
Ferrari wraps up Paul Ricard testing Ferrari wraps up Paul Ricard testingThird and final day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working once again today at the Paul Ricard - HTTT circuit at Le Castellet, in the South of France.

As yesterday, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa continued with Bridgestone tire development, with both men at the wheel of a 248 F1. In contrast to the two previous days, the two Ferrari men ran on a different layout of the circuit, the 2A-SC, chosen to simulate the characteristics of the circuits which will be used over the next few weeks. Apart from tires, the two drivers also worked on development of aerodynamic and mechanical solutions.

The day in figures is as follows: 117 laps for Felipe (best time 1'06"470) and 147 for Michael (1'06"517.) With testing over, the Scuderia will be back on track on Tuesday 25th July at Fiorano, for the shakedown of the cars that will be used in the German Grand Prix, scheduled to take place at the Hockenheim circuit on 30th July: Luca Badoer will be at the wheel.

Milwaukee: Franchitti paces opening practice Milwaukee: Franchitti paces opening practice
Pos Driver Best Time Best Speed
1 Dario Franchitti (27) 21.5691 169.409
2 Tony Kanaan (11) 21.6426 168.834
3 Bryan Herta (7) 21.6752 168.580
4 Helio Castroneves (3) 21.6850 168.504
5 Vitor Meira (4) 21.7533 167.975
6 Tomas Scheckter (2) 21.7858 167.724
7 Danica Patrick (16) 21.9124 166.755
8 Buddy Rice (15) 21.9224 166.679
9 Marco Andretti (26) 21.9818 166.228
10 Jeff Simmons (17) 21.9949 166.129
11 Jeff Bucknum (14) 21.9967 166.116
12 Dan Wheldon (10) 22.1311 165.107
13 Ed Carpenter (20) 22.1856 164.701
14 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 22.1889 164.677
15 Scott Sharp (8) 22.3796 163.274
16 Scott Dixon (9) 22.4212 162.971
17 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 22.5145 162.295
18 Ryan Briscoe (5) 23.0395 158.597
Edmonton: Allmendinger tops opening practice Edmonton: Allmendinger tops opening practiceThe hottest driver in America right now, AJ Allmendinger, turning the fastest lap in Friday morning practice for Sunday's Champ Car Grad Prix of Edmonton.  He was followed by Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais.  Paul Tracy and Will Power rounded out the top-5.

Allmendinger turned a best lap of 60.463 seconds (117.473 mph), besting former teammate Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) by more than three-tenths of a second. The session was dotted with red flags as three of the series rookies had trouble throughout the 75-minute practice but the field was still able to get its work in, with everybody running double-digit lap numbers.

Defending Edmonton champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was third in the session, just .006 seconds behind Wilson.

Pos Driver Lap Time Behind Leader
1 A. Allmendinger 1:00.463 
2 J. Wilson 1:00.790 0.327
3 S. Bourdais 1:00.796 0.333
4 P. Tracy 1:01.008 0.545
5 W. Power 1:01.184 0.721
6 O. Servia 1:01.448 0.985
7 N. Philippe 1:01.641 1.178
8 B. Junqueira 1:01.665 1.202
9 A. Tagliani 1:01.807 1.344
10 C. da Matta 1:01.838 1.375
11 D. Clarke 1:02.028 1.565
12 K. Legge 1:02.358 1.895
13 A. Ranger 1:02.429 1.966
14 M. Dominguez 1:02.596 2.133
15 J. Heylen 1:02.785 2.322
16 C. Zwolsman 1:03.400 2.937
17 T. Kasemets 1:03.491 3.028
18 N. Pastorelli 1:04.097 3.634

Raikkonen tops final day at Jerez Raikkonen tops final day at Jerez
1. RAIKKONEN McLaren 1m17.199s
2. KLIEN Red Bull 1m17.320s
3. BARRICHELLO Honda 1m17.391s
4. KOVALAINEN Renault 1m17.461s
5. ROSBERG Williams 1m17.520s
6. ALONSO Renault 1m17.774s
7. DAVIDSON Honda 1m17.885s
8. KUBICA BMW 1m18.075s
9. PAFFETT McLaren 1m18.328S
10. VILLENEUVE BMW 1m18.075s
11. SPEED Toro Rosso 1m18.774s
12. R.SCHUMACHER Toyota 1m19.083s
13. ALBERS Midland 1m19.139s
14. ZONTA Toyota 1m19.955s
Liuzzi replaces injured Speed Liuzzi replaces injured SpeedLike all the teams in Jerez, Scuderia Toro Rosso had a busy time this week, preparing for no less than three Grand Prix, as Formula 1 testing is now banned until after the Turkish Grand Prix.

This year, it has been the usual practice for Scuderia Toro Rosso to rotate its three drivers with one day each at the wheel. However, following his accident in practice for the French GP, it was decided to give Scott Speed as much recovery time as possible to get over his back injury and so Tonio drove two days.

"We evaluated quite a lot of new aerodynamic components, with some positive results, so that some of the parts will be brought into use as soon as next week's race at Hockenheim," said Chief Engineer, Laurent Mekies.

"A lot of our time was spent working on traction control and optimizing traction in general. In these very hot conditions, the drivers did an excellent job to produce the consistent lap times needed in testing, which is no easy task at this track in the middle of a hot afternoon." Press release Toro Rosso

ALMS Utah TV ratings ALMS Utah TV ratingsUPDATE The final for the ALMS race in Utah was a 0.6/1 share on CBS.

07/17/06 Sunday overnight TV ratings of the American LeMans Grand Prix of Utah on CBS was a 0.6/1 share.
Katie Melua signs-up with Grand Prix Masters Katie Melua signs-up with Grand Prix MastersBritain's biggest selling female artist Katie Melua will be the headline act at the close down of the Grand Prix Masters of Great Britain on Sunday 13th August at Silverstone. Alongside other soon-to-be-announced acts, Katie will perform live in front of thousands on a purpose-built paddock stage. Katie is currently in the middle of promoting her album 'Piece By Piece' in the USA and has taken time out off her touring schedule to appear at the Grand Prix Masters of Great Britain.

"I'm a bit of a thrill-seeker," Katie confesses. "And I do love speed. The thought of being at the Grand Prix Masters at Silverstone, and being part of a huge crowd watching some of the greatest racing drivers in the history of Formula One, is really exciting," added Katie.

Katie's reaction, however, to the prospect of riding in the 200mph two-seater race car with former world champion Nigel Mansell can be described in three, simple words: "Bring it on! I can't wait. Will I be scared? I hope not. I'm sure I won't be. I've been driven around a circuit in a Jaguar by a professional instructor at 145 mph and loved every second of it, although I really felt the g-forces on my neck," she explains. I guess being driven by Nigel will be a step up from that to say the least while giving me a unique insight into what happens inside the cockpit of a 600 brake horse power Grand Prix car."

Ferrari and Renault dampers banned Ferrari and Renault dampers bannedUPDATE (GMM) With the flex-wing saga now out of the spotlight, F1's governing body has turned its attention to banning a different innovation.

Teams including title contenders Renault and Ferrari had developed pioneering 'mass damper' systems, fitted to the front of the cars, which equalized the effects of tire bouncing in the corners.

Renault reportedly initiated the systems' use in formula one, but it was since picked up by rivals including Red Bull. The FIA has had its eye on the technology for some time and now says it falls foul of article 3.15, which relates to the use of moveable parts.

07/20/06 Ferrari and Renault have been informed by the FIA that they have to change their front shocks because they have moving parts inside the shocks and moving parts are banned under Article 3.15 of the FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations for 2006. The rules state that all parts of the car must be "rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car" and "must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car". The FIA has concluded that weights inside the shocks cannot be acceptable. The aim of these weights is to reduce the amount of vibration from the tires that is transmitted to the chassis and thus make the car more stable. Reducing bounce from the tires means that the cars get more grip.
Richards' Prodrive eyes McLaren link Richards' Prodrive eyes McLaren link(GMM)  F1's twelfth team, Prodrive, could kick off its inaugural season in 2008 as a sort of McLaren 'B' team, it has emerged.

The outfit's principal, David Richards - who accompanied technical boss David Lapworth to Magny Cours - pointedly refused to dismiss the scenario in conversation with 'Racer' magazine.

''I wouldn't rule that out,'' he said.

With the Jean Alesi-involved 'Direxiv' operation now dead in the water, Richards' team could inherit McLaren's willingness to sell a complete Mercedes-Benz-powered package to a customer team.

Richards suggested that Prodrive, short of money and time, might be an ideal partner for Ron Dennis' 'B' ambition.

The Briton said: ''We're looking in the short term to see what partnerships might be established in the medium term to make us competitive in the first two years.

''If a competitive package came along as a turn-key operation I would certainly consider that.''

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Pocono
10:00am-11:00am (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Pocono
11:00am-12:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Pocono
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
1:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
Speed World Challenge Tooele, UT
7/15/06 3:00pm-4:00pm -Touring
4:00pm-5:00pm -GT SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Martinsville, VA
3:30pm-6:00pm (L) NBC
Speed News Saturday
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
Tradin' Paint (NASCAR)
8:00pm-8:30pm SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Seattle
8:00pm-10:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Performance
8:30pm-9:00pm SPEED
MotoGP World Championship Qualifying Laguna Seca
9:00pm-10:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Super Bikes!
10:30pm-11:00pm SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.

New Hampshire NASCAR TV Rating New Hampshire NASCAR TV RatingThe final TV rating for last Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race n TNT was a 3.9/4.3 million households, down 13.3% from last year's 4.5/4.9 million HH rating.  Week in and week out NASCAR's TV ratings continue to slide for a sport that appears to have peaked last year and now is on a downward slide.  This may be the right time for a Champ Car/IRL merger as the door might be opened for the open wheel boys to drive a wedge in the NASCAR monopoly machine.  

Related story - Fans agree, NASCAR is fading

Track News
The Glen hoping to host Montoya debut The Glen hoping to host Montoya debutUPDATE #2 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates confirmed that Juan Pablo Montoya will not be driving a Dodge festooned in Bully Hill Vineyards colors at Watkins Glen Inter-national, but it isn't out of the question for the international star driver's Nextel Cup Series debut to happen at The Glen. “(Ganassi) said he's already set up with his sponsor commitments, but he didn't say anything about (Montoya) debuting here,” said Eiron Smith, WGI's press liaison. “He appreciated it, but wasn't interested.” Officials from WGI released a statement Tuesday that revealed a pitch made to Ganassi's Nextel Cup operation from Bully Hill Vineyards owner Lillian Taylor. Taylor expressed interest in sponsoring a car driven by Montoya if the Colombian driving star made his stock car debut at The Glen. However, Ganassi has contracts with companies Chevron Corp., Dayton Hudson Corp. and Molson Coors Brewing Co. - to name a few - and told the WGI marketing staff “thanks, but no thanks.”

“She would have love to be on the hood of (Montoya's) car,” Smith said of Taylor. “She had high hopes, and we were working as liaison, but it didn't happen. Its disappointing we couldn't confirm (Montoya) would be in a car, but he could still race, (Ganassi) still hasn't released where or when Juan Pablo would make his debut, but I hope its here. It would be awesome.” The Corning Leader

07/20/06 Being a Champ Car, Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix champion isn't enough to ensure Juan Pablo Montoya of a Nextel Cup license, NASCAR officials hinted this Wednesday. Speaking to NASCAR's official website, the sanctioning body's VP of competition, Robin Pemberton, recommended that the 30-year old Colombian, recently signed to drive Chip Ganassi's #42 Dodge next year, start out in the Busch Series before dipping his toes in Cup waters - at least as far as ovals are concerned. "We would recommend that [Montoya and Ganassi get a couple of Busch races under their belt and get the dynamics of full-body, side-by-side racing and the problems that may arise on pit road at different places," he said. Ganassi himself isn't bothered by the demand, as that was his plan for the Colombian anyway. SpeedTV.com  zzzz

07/19/06 Watkins Glen International has partnered with Bully Hill Vineyards to work on a potential sponsorship opportunity for Chip Ganassi Racing driver Juan Pablo Montoya for the upcoming Zippo 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on August 12.

“When the announcement was made regarding Montoya’s involvement with NASCAR we thought; what better place for him to race, than right here at The Glen,” stated Craig Rust, President of Watkins Glen International. “We hope Juan Pablo makes his NASCAR debut here in 2006 and is able to take advantage of Bully Hill’s generous offer.”

“Juan Pablo Montoya is an iconic figure, and his entry into NASCAR will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact on the sport,” comments Lillian Taylor, owner of Bully Hill Vineyards. “We would be proud to have him represent our winery at The Glen.”

Although an announcement regarding Montoya’s NASCAR debut has not been made, Watkins Glen International has been contacted by members of the Colombian press for media credentials anticipating a possible track debut at The Glen. Montoya’s history at The Soul of American Road Racing includes a 6th place finish in the open-wheel cockpit of a Barber SAAB Pro Series race in 1994. During the 15 lap Skip Barber support race, he reached speeds of 103.751 mph driving for Nectar/Autoniza/Avianca Airline.

Founded in 1967 by maverick winemaker Walter S. Taylor, Bully Hill Vineyards has grown to become the largest selling family owned winery in the Finger Lakes. Located in Hammondsport, NY Bully Hill has developed a reputation for both innovative winemaking and marketing, as evidenced by the winery’s unique products and long involvement with motorsports. Bully Hill Vineyards has been actively involved in motorsports since 1996 with their initial sponsorship of the NASCAR Featherlite Modified event at Watkins Glen International.

NASCAR racing returns to Watkins Glen International in less than one month, featuring the cars and stars of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The Zippo 200 NASCAR Busch Series race is also back for a second year on Saturday, August 12 with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series taking center stage on Sunday, August 13th. The Rolex Sports Car Series also returns for a second time this season on Friday, August 11 for the Crown Royal 200 race. Information on tickets can be found on TheGlen.com or by calling 866-461-RACE.

Rusty practices Busch car Rusty practices Busch carRusty Wallace was back in a stock car Thursday for the first time since last year, but he won't be running Saturday's Goody's 250 Busch series race at Martinsville Speedway. Or any other NASCAR race. Wallace attended Thursday's test session to help son Steve, who has never competed at this track. Rusty Wallace drove some laps, which he said were his first in a stock car since last year's Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Wallace also said that he's been contacted about returning to the Cup series next season. There will be at least seven new rides next season, creating questions on if there are enough talented and experienced drivers for all the available Cup rides. Bill Elliott, who last drove fulltime in 2003, could be headed to Team Red Bull. Ward Burton, who last raced full time in 2004, also is looking for a ride. So, why not Wallace? "There's a lot of offers for big money to come back," Wallace said. "I made my decision, and I'm sticking to it. My six-year contract with ABC Sports forbids me from driving." Roanoke Times
Renault spoils home fans Renault spoils home fansWhat special operations did Renault run to mark its home Grand Prix last weekend, plenty, as it turned out! In the grandstands last Sunday, 6000 fans in blue and yellow, waving 3000 flags, made their allegiances clear to the watching world!

35 coaches packed with fans converged on Magny-Cours from Renault’s different sites around France, and 2000 special parking bays meant Renault’s personnel could enjoy the centenary French Grand Prix in comfort. 150 VIP guests enjoyed the hospitality in the Paddock Club and Renault Suite at this race.

Renault also made special provisions for the fans outside the circuit. The world champion R25 was on display, and trophies won in 2005 – including the constructors’ trophy – took pride of place in a zone dedicated to last year’s historic title success.

What’s more, a special 2005 F1 clip – and the roaring sound of the new V8 RS26 engine – meant the supporters were right at the heart of the action from the moment they entered. The display also made clear the links between F1 and the Renault Group’s road-going products: the Clio Renault Sport, Megane Renault Sport and Megane F1 Team limited edition were all on display.

Fun activities such as the pitstop challenge, simulators radio-controlled F1 cars and a full garage exhibit kept every fan, young and old, enthralled.  Renault

Honda Bonneville F1 team reaches 400kph Honda Bonneville F1 team reaches 400kph[Editor's Note: Despite running with no rear wing to reduce drag, the Honda F1 car, which costs perhaps 10 times as much as a Champ Car, finally beat (barely) the 241.428 mph run by Gil de Ferran when he qualified for the 2000 California 500 at Fontana and de Ferran did it on a 2-mile oval, not the flat-out Bonneville run in a straight line.

And it should be noted that the wing you see on de Ferran's Champ Car, above right, was the drag inducing Handford Device shown on the car of Michael Andretti, right. So in effect de Ferran was dragging a parachute behind him. That year the Champ Cars were hitting 260 mph (over 418 kph) on the backstraight speed trap. Someone should take a 2000 Champ Car to Bonneville, take off the parachute Handford Device, and annihilate the Honda F1 record of just 400.459 kph just for kicks.]

On the third day of running at the Bonneville International Speedway in Utah, USA, Honda Racing F1’s Bonneville 400 team achieved its target of a 400kph average across the measured mile – 400.459kph was recorded over one pass at 07:21 local time.

On this occasion the team weren’t able to match the speed on the return pass, so the time itself will not be recorded as a land speed record – although the average speed of the two runs was still a blistering 393.613kph (244.580mph) breaking another record in the process; the team’s own from Monday.*

Attaining this speed was reward for over 18 months of hard work from the dedicated team and Bonneville 400 driver Alan van der Merwe:

“Having finally reached 400kph today feels great. Although we were happy yesterday with 392kph, 400 has always been the magical number, and having done it in one direction, it must be possible to do it in both. We’ll be trying again tomorrow – that’s what it is about now, we just have to squeeze that little bit more from the car and keep pushing.”

In total today, the car made six passes of the track before 09:05 and within this time succeeded in breaking its own records. On Monday, driver Alan van der Merwe broke the previous FIA Category A, Group II, Class 8 (A-II-8) records, setting a speed of 354.974kph (220.571mph) for the flying mile and 355.499kph for the flying kilometer (mph). Today’s results convincingly surpassed these speeds.  zzzz

On hearing the news the previous record holder of 19 years, Jeffery Nish, traveled from Salt Lake City to Bonneville to congratulate Alan and meet the Bonneville 400 team:

“My first reaction was, ‘Dang, it didn’t make it 20 years!’, but these records are made to be broken. We are ecstatic for the team - although we are thinking about how to break it back now! The guys are working hard and I can see everybody’s tired – but that’s what it takes to break records out here. It’s all about the preparation: the crew, the driver and mental states – it’s a real team effort and you guys have done it. Taking a record that has stood for 19 years is something to be proud of!”

“I came out to Bonneville when I was 22 and something in me just wanted to be here and I’ve been here ever since, every year. I don’t know, I can’t explain it, it just has a special place in my heart to go fast.”

After making further changes to the car’s gear ratios overnight, the Bonneville 400 team will return to the Salt Flats at first light tomorrow morning to try and achieve the target speed that today’s performance has confirmed is now at its fingertips.

*Subject to FIA ratification

’GPMA’ lose biggest hitter ’GPMA’ lose biggest hitterUPDATE Burkhard Goeschel is set to remain on as chairman of the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association (GPMA) despite his imminent departure from BMW, autosport.com reports.

07/20/06 (GMM)  There was big news in the world of BMW and also the 'GPMA' alliance on Thursday, with the German carmaker confirming that Burkhard Goeschel would leave his post in November.

Goeschel, head of research and development but also leading the carmakers' rebel 'GPMA' movement against the governing body, is nearing the age of 60, the limit for top executives according to company rules.

Chairman Joachim Milberg said the changes 'will ensure continuity of management over the coming years and provide a basis for the continued success of the BMW Group'.

There was no immediate comment from the GPMA.

Capello, Dyson Lolas show way in Portland Capello, Dyson Lolas show way in PortlandPORTLAND – Rinaldo Capello last competed at the Grand Prix of Portland in 2001. He showed little rust in his return Thursday to the Rose City, posting the best time in Thursday’s test session for Round 6 of the 2006 American Le Mans Series.

Capello turned a lap of 1:03.383 in the diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI he will share with Allan McNish. The two lead the Series LMP1 championship standings heading into Portland and are hoping to return to their winning ways following a third-place finish at Utah a week ago.

Dyson Racing’s two AER-powered Lola B06/10s were in hot pursuit and sat 1-2 for a good portion of the session. Eventually, the No. 16 entry of Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver turned a 1:04.185, good for second on the time sheets. The No. 20 sister car of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith was less than 0.2 seconds behind. 

In LMP2, Lucas Luhr and Penske Racing’s No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder was the quickest car in class. The German turned in a time of 1:04.683 and was fifth overall behind the two Audis and two Dyson Lolas. Luhr, who won at Utah with Sascha Maassen, was in a dead heat with Intersport Racing’s Lola of Clint Field, Jon Field and Liz Halliday. The championship-leading Lola trailed by just 0.007 seconds and was a half second better than the other Penske Porsche of Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard. zzzz

Corvette Racing moved back to the top of the time chart in GT1, thanks to Olivier Beretta’s best lap of the 90-minute session at 1:09.249. The class championship-leading Corvette C6.R was 0.408 seconds clear of the No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9 of Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy.

The two Corvettes made an Aston Martin sandwich on the time sheets as the No. 3 entry of Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell turned in a lap of 1:09.784. The Corvette was 0.4 seconds clear of the second Aston Martin of Darren Turner, Tomas Enge and Andrea Piccini.

Once again in GT2, the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430GT posted the quickest lap in GT2 at 1:12.634 courtesy of Jamie Melo. The Brazilian and Mika Salo were winners last weekend at Miller Motorsports Park and are hoping the team has gotten over the hump having won for the first time in 2006. Melo, who has two class poles this season to go along with three fastest race laps, turned in the time on the 50th lap of the team’s 56-lap run Thursday.

Next up was defending class champion Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing with Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long driving the team’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The team’s time of 1:13.036 was 0.268 seconds better than the BMW Team PTG BMW M3 of Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand.

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. Kurt Dahlstrom provided the photo of the Corvette. Eric Gilbert provided the photo of the Penske Porsche

Rocketsports unveils 'herocards' Rocketsports unveils 'herocards'Rocketsports Racing introduced a unique design of herocards at the last race in Toronto featuring Tonis Kasemets and the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone as the team focuses on efforts to bring more to its great fans who share in the excitement of Champ Car racing.

Herocards are promotional cards of drivers, racecars, teams and sponsors.  There are many uses for these cards, but the number one reason is for promotional purposes.  From green to checkered, these cards are in high demand to all the fans that attend the racing events.  Herocards include a short bio of the driver, driver race history and career highlights, information about the racecar, sponsor names, contact information, and good pictures of the driver and car in action.  These cards are typically 8x10 inches in size, but Rocketsports new cards total a size of 11x7 inches, including a main card sized at 8x7 inches and two tear-off baseball cards that are 2 ½ x 3 ½ inches in size representing both the driver and Rocketsports Champ Car individually.

The exclusive design was created by Rocketsports Racing Public Relations Manager Heather Haupt as she looks to find different ways to give back to the fans in the Champ Car World Series.  The idea became a reality thanks to the help of a local printer in Lansing, Michigan by working with her to create and print these unique herocards for her two Champ Car drivers.  The Job Shop Incorporated jumped on the idea as the two worked together to design the first ever herocards with baseball cards included. zzzz

The Job Shop has been serving the Lansing community since 1976. Their mission has been and always will be to provide top quality printed materials for the clients they serve. Throughout the years, they have met client demands by adding equipment to meet all of your needs. From 1 color to 4 color process, they really can print everything but money!  With the collaboration of talent from the team and printer, a separate entity of www.herocards.biz has been created.  Working together to showcase the new herocard design and offering a way to meet the needs and demands of all drivers, teams, and sponsors in terms of not only herocard layouts, but all promotional materials needed during a race weekend, that is the mission of www.herocards.biz

“I have always been a fan and supporter of local and world-wide race teams,” said The Job Shop Inc. and www.herocards.biz owner Scott D. McCulloch. “This was a great opportunity to get involved with a ‘well-known’ team and the Champ Car World Series, as I have been trying to find a niche in the Racing environment to be more involved, in terms of printing and offering other services that The Job Shop Inc. has locally in Lansing, Michigan.  I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to all those who are in need of promotional items by creating a special site dedicated for team PR/Marketing reps and new/current sponsors in all forms of racing.  Knowing the high demand for herocards in any race series paddock; our mission is to produce high quality herocards with speedy turnover times.  This will help teams when they run low on these great promotional give-a-ways and also if any changes are made on a team during the season.”

Proud supporters of their local team, the www.herocards.biz logo will be appearing on the Rocketsports Champ Cars this weekend in Edmonton, as another edition of the special cards will make their debut with Nicky Pastorelli and the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone.  Fans can collect these cards in the Champ Car paddocks at the Rocketsports Transporter and can also request for signed autograph cards on the team’s re-vamped website at www.rocketsportsracing.com.

Frisselles test well with SunTrust Frisselles test well with SunTrust[Editor's Note: Word on the street is that this test could lead to a deal.]

(Indianapolis, IN) On July 16th and 17th, Brian Frisselle was invited to test the SunTrust Riley-Pontiac at Miller Motorsports Park. The opportunity to test with the SunTrust team was something that his brother Burt Frisselle had done previously at Daytona International Speedway.
Despite never having driven a Riley or a Pontiac and never having seen the impressive 4.5-mile Miller Motorsports Park track, Brian was up to speed quickly, keeping pace with the progress made by team driver and Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Max Angelelli as the team tested in preparation for the season-ending Discount Tire Sunchaser nine-hour event on Labor Day weekend.
“I am grateful that Wayne and Max gave me a chance to test with them, and am really excited about how well things went,” said Brian. “There is a lot to learn at this track, and this is a new car and engine combination for me, but I was able to get close to Max’s times pretty quickly, so it was really encouraging.”  zzzz
It wasn’t just a new car, track, and motor that Brian was experiencing, either, as it was also his first exposure to working with the SunTrust Racing team, which scored the overall victory in the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as the 2005 Driver and Team season championships.
“I was really impressed with the team,” said Brian. “The car was really quick, and after having raced against these Riley’s, it was great to get a chance to actually drive one!”
Burt, who had previously tested the SunTrust machine, was also enthused about the performance the Riley-Pontiac had to offer.
“I felt really comfortable with the car right away, and it is such a great opportunity to test with what is arguably the most successful team in the in Grand Am paddock,” said Burt.
The Frisselles were not the only ones who were impressed with the test, as the team took notice of the abilities shown by the young brother combination.

“I have always been impressed with Brian and Burt,” said SunTrust Racing owner/driver Wayne Taylor. “Unfortunately, they have not been in a car that has given them the chance to show their true speed and professionalism. Given the right team and environment, these guys are future winners.”
With a positive test under their belts, the two are looking forward to rejoining the Rolex paddock soon.

Ryan Justice leads Thursday practice Ryan Justice leads Thursday practicePortland, Oregon. Coming home was sweet for Portland native Ryan Justice as he set the fastest time of the day in Thursday’s unofficial practice for Round Seven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Portland International Raceway. Driving the #38 Northwest Autosports J&M Body Shops Mazda, Justice lapped the 1.946-mile circuit in a time of 1:09.431 (101.833 MPH) to lead the field of 32 drivers entered in this weekend's event.
With temperatures climbing into the high nineties for the second of two practice sessions today most drivers set their fastest times in the relatively cooler morning session. Setting the second fastest time of the day was Winston-Salem, North Carolina resident Daniel Herrington, who clocked a time of 1:09.501 (101.731 MPH) in his #3 AIM Autosport Bluetooth SIG Mazda. Kevin Lacroix, who finished second last weekend in Round Six from Miller Motorsports Park, was third fastest with a time of 1:09.823 (101.262 MPH) in the #74 John Walko Racing Uni-select Auto Parts Mazda. zzzz
Herrington topped the charts in the afternoon practice session with a time of 1:10.241(100.659 MPH) with championship points leader Adrian Carrio posting the second fastest time of the session at 1:10.347 (100.507 MPH) in the #14 World Speed Motorsports Rockford Fosgate Mazda. Michael Potekhen, who currently sits in third place in the championship, was third fastest in the afternoon sun, setting a time of 1:10.490 (100.304 MPH) in his #53 Apex Racing Avenue Communities Mazda.
The race weekend continues on Friday morning with the first of two official practice sessions scheduled to get underway at 9:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time.
Combined Practice Times

Pos No. Name Best Tm Best Spd
1 38 Ryan Justice 1:09.431 101.833
2 3 Daniel Herrington 1:09.501 101.731
3 74 Kevin Lacroix 1:09.823 101.262
4 53 Mike Potekhen 1:09.828 101.255
5 14 Adrian Carrio 1:10.003 101.001
6 39 Carl Skerlong 1:10.030 100.962
7 23 Logan Gomez 1:10.113 100.843
8 9 Gerardo Bonilla 1:10.368 100.477
9 69 Ron White 1:10.427 100.393
10 18 Rob Bunker 1:10.599 100.149
11 45 Matt Varsha 1:10.743 99.945
12 92 Mark Pavan 1:10.796 99.870
13 86 Charles Anti 1:10.799 99.866
14 60 Mark Patterson 1:10.887 99.742
15 87 Doug Peterson 1:10.890 99.738
16 29 Phil Fogg Jr. 1:10.906 99.715
17 43 Mike Anderson 1:10.981 99.610
18 28 Russell Walker 1:11.024 99.549
19 22 Ramiro Scuncio 1:11.065 99.492
20 93 John Faulkner 1:11.072 99.482
21 15 John Pew 1:11.092 99.454
22 40 Tom Sutherland 1:11.235 99.255
23 52 Ken Losch 1:11.593 98.758
24 77 Brian Thienes 1:11.650 98.680
25 85 Jay Poscente 1:11.798 98.476
26 71 Steve Hickham Jr. 1:11.861 98.390
27 46 Christopher Guerrieri 1:11.883 98.360
28 4 Doug Prendeville 1:11.904 98.331
29 24 Jon Brownson 1:12.498 97.525
30 91 Mike Guasch 1:12.681 97.280
31 26 Chris Cumming 1:13.023 96.824
32 16 Frank Mc Cormick 1:14.359 95.085
Industry News
BMW announces key management changes BMW announces key management changesBERLIN -- BMW AG on Thursday named production chief Norbert Reithofer to succeed Helmut Panke as chief executive, ending speculation about the German carmaker's future management.

Reithofer, 50, will replace Panke on Sept. 1, the Munich-based company said.

Panke, who has been chief executive since 2002, turns 60 in August, the limit for top executives under company rules.

Reithofer, who joined BMW in 1987, has been production manager since March 2000.

He previously served as head of BMW's Spartanburg, S.C., plant in the United States and as head of its Rosslyn factory in South Africa.

BMW said Reithofer would be replaced as production manager by Frank-Peter Arndt, the head of its Dingolfing plant in Germany.

BMW also said Klaus Draeger would take over as head of research and development from Burkhard Goeschel, 60, on Nov. 1. Draeger is currently responsible for developing flagship models including the BMW 5 and 7 series.

AGR confirms Acura ALMS program AGR confirms Acura ALMS programPORTLAND, Ore. - Andretti Green Racing, the two-time defending IndyCar Series champions and winner of the 2005 Indianapolis 500, announced today it will join forces with Acura as part of a three-team effort in the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS).

Andretti Green co-owner Kim Green made the announcement along with officials from Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD) and the other two teams involved.

Andretti Green Racing, Highcroft Racing Ltd. and Fernandez Racing will field Acura-powered LMP2 prototypes next season while competing against full factory and manufacturer-supported efforts from Audi, Porsche and Mazda, and a variety of independent teams. Andretti Green and Highcroft Racing will run Acura-Courage LC75 while Fernandez will campaign an Acura-powered Lola B07/40.

XM Satellite Radio, which has been affiliated with Andretti Green Racing since 2004, will support Andretti Green's move into ALMS. The drivers involved in the team's effort will be announced at a later date. zzzz

Andretti Green Racing, which is owned by Green and his partners Michael Andretti and Kevin Savoree, currently fields four full-time entries in the IndyCar Series for drivers Marco Andretti, Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta and Tony Kanaan. Michael Andretti joined the lineup for the 2006 Indianapolis 500 as the team placed five cars in the field of the 33.

Testing of the Acura LMP2 entries will begin next month, with the American Le Mans competition debut taking place next March at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Michael Andretti, Chief Executive Officer, Andretti Green Racing: "We're very excited to be expanding our operation and our relationship with Honda Performance Development by way of the Acura program. We believe this will provide valuable depth and diversity to our racing operation and should help us continue to be successful for many more years."

Kim Green, President, Andretti Green Racing: "Our ownership group at Andretti Green has a relationship with HPD that goes back to the mid-1990s, so we're thrilled to be able to expand that relationship and grow with them. HPD has proven its desire to win and to provide a world-class racing platform for its teams, and we are confident the 2007 Acura ALMS program will be more of the same."

Kevin Savoree, Chief Operation Officer, Vice President Finance, Andretti Green Racing: "Although Andretti Green is a relatively young company, we have a strong understanding of the importance of diversifying our business model and expanding where we see an opportunity. Our core business has always been competing in the IndyCar Series, but we have successfully launched Andretti Green Promotions through the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and feel very positive about growing our relationship with HPD and with our partners at Acura through the American Le Mans Series."

track news
Bridgestone increases role in Denver Bridgestone increases role in DenverThe Grand Prix of Denver today announced Bridgestone as this year's presenting sponsor and official tire sponsor. Bridgestone has supported Denver's Grand Prix for five consecutive years, and this year's involvement makes the official name of the event the Grand Prix of Denver sponsored by Bridgestone.

"This year's Grand Prix of Denver is a city-transforming experience. From auto racing to live music and action sports, the Grand Prix of Denver is featuring life in the fast lane, and thanks to Bridgestone's support, there will be more to enjoy during the entire weekend," said Rob Johnson, Grand Prix of Denver's general manager.

"Denver's Grand Prix has quickly become one of the most exciting Champ Car events on the circuit, and Bridgestone is pleased to become this year's presenting sponsor," said Al Speyer, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC. "This one-of-a-kind event will allow for car fans of all types to come together in a weekend festival. Our sponsorship continues Bridgestone's extremely active involvement in the Grand Prix of Denver since the event began here five years ago." zzzz

Besides being the presenting sponsor and Official Tire of Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, Bridgestone has been Official Tire for the Grand Prix of Denver since the first race in 2002. Bridgestone has sponsored many exciting activities surrounding the event, including the Blizzak Chill Zone inside Pepsi Center and last year's Bridgestone Street Party and Rocky Mountain Concours.

For ticket information, concert dates and times for the Grand Prix of Denver sponsored by Bridgestone go to www.gpdenver.com <http://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.

Hornish Jr. returns home for 500 victory celebration Hornish Jr. returns home for 500 victory celebrationSam Hornish Jr. will be honored in his hometown of Defiance, Ohio, on Wednesday, July 26 for his thrilling victory in the 90th Indianapolis 500. Hornish edged rookie Marco Andretti by .0635 of a second in the second-closest finish in the race's storied history.

The City of Defiance, Ohio, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy Racing League, Michigan International Speedway, Marlboro Team Penske and the residents of northwest Ohio will celebrate with Hornish, his family and friends.

Roger Penske, Marlboro Team Penske owner, Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer, Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League president and COO, and Mike King, the anchor of the IMS Radio Network, also will attend.

The event begins at 4 p.m. with a VIP reception at the Defiance Regional Medical Center. Fans then will enjoy a parade through downtown Defiance starting at 6 p.m. The festivities will conclude with a fan event in the Northtowne Mall parking lot at 7 p.m.

Acura Announces Three-Team 2007 ALMS Lineup Acura Announces Three-Team 2007 ALMS LineupPORTLAND, Ore. - Three teams with depth and experience in multiple forms of American motorsports will run Acura-powered sports prototypes in the 2007 American Le Mans Series, officials of the teams and Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD) announced today.

Highcroft Racing Ltd., Lowe's Fernandez Racing and Andretti Green Racing will spearhead Acura's entry into top-level sports car racing next season, pitting their Acura- powered LMP2 prototypes against full factory and manufacturer-supported efforts from Audi, Porsche and Mazda, and a variety of independent teams.

Andretti Green and Highcroft will each field Acura-Courage LC75 entries next season, with Highcroft designated the team that will work most closely with HPD in chassis development. Fernandez will run an Acura-powered Lola B05/40 and will be the team most focused on on-going engine development.

All three teams will utilize Michelin competition tires.  XM Satellite Radio will be the primary sponsor of the Andretti Green Racing Acura Courage.  Lowe's will be primary sponsor for the Acura Lola run by the Fernandez organization.  Complete driver and sponsors line-ups for all three teams will be announced in the near future. zzzz

"We're thrilled to have teams the caliber of Highcroft, Fernandez and Andretti Green join us in our entry into American Le Mans Series competition," said Robert Clarke, president of HPD.  "Both the Andretti Green and Fernandez teams have been  integral parts of our open-wheel racing effort, so it is entirely appropriate that we expand our relationships with them in our newest racing program.

"While new to our "family", Duncan Dayton's Highcroft organization is impressive and perfectly fits the needs of our new chassis development program," Clarke added.  A team that is young and with limited experience, but with aspirations of being a formidable team capable of competing against the best, Highcroft has expectations and goals that are in complete alignment with those of HPD.  Acura faces a huge challenge with its entry into American Le Mans racing and we do not under estimate that challenge.

The Acura Motorsports program will feature the first racing engine completely designed and developed in-house by Honda Performance Development of Santa Clarita, California, Honda's wholly-owned racing subsidiary.  It also will mark the first time HPD has taken on multiple concurrent motorsports programs in both the ALMS and IRL.

The American Le Mans Series draws on the heritage of long-distance "endurance" sports car racing in both Europe and the United States, as exemplified by the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans. The series includes the 12 Hours of Sebring - a U.S. fixture since 1952 -  plus events at the country's premier road circuits, including Road America, Mid- Ohio Sports Car Course, Laguna Seca, Miller Motorsports Park and Road Atlanta.

The American Le Mans Series is one of the fastest-growing racing series in the USA. Five of the 10 races in 2006 are broadcast by CBS, with the remaining five events shown on the cable/satellite Speed Channel.

Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced luxury performance vehicles through a nationwide network of more than 260 dealers.  The 2007 Acura lineup features five distinctive models, the RL luxury sedan, the TL performance luxury sedan, the TSX sports sedan, the turbo-charged RDX luxury crossover utility vehicle and the award- winning MDX luxury sport utility vehicle.  For more information about Acura vehicles, please visit www.acura.com.  For media inquiries, please go to www.acuranews.com.

Testing of the Acura LMP2 entries will begin next month, with the American Le Mans competition debut taking place next March at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Honda

Honda 1-2 at Jerez Honda 1-2 at JerezHonda drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button finished at the top of the time sheets today at Jerez.

1. R. Barrichello - Honda RA106 -1'16"981 - 76 laps
2. J. Button - Honda RA106 - 1'17"403 (+0"422) - 102 laps
3. H. Kovalainen - Renault R26 - 1'17"440 (+0"459) - 125 laps
4. R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.06 - 1'17"980 (+0"999) - 96 laps
5. K. Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4/21 - 1'18"025 (+1"044) - 57 laps
6. N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1.06 - 1'18"193 (+1"212) - 95 laps
7. D.
Coulthard - Red Bull Ferrari RB2 - 1'18"719 (+1"738) - 41 laps
8. O. Panis - Toyota TF106B - 1'18"802 (+1"821) - 127 laps
9. N. Rosberg - Williams Cosworth FW28 - 1'18"996 (+2"015) - 63 laps
10. R. Doornbos - Red Bull Ferrari RB2 - 1'19"104 (+2"123) - 48 laps
11. P. de la Rosa - McLaren Mercedes MP4/21 - 1'19"134 (+2"153) - 36 laps
12. V. Liuzzi - Toro Rosso Cosworth STR1 - 1'19"216 (+2"235) - 65 laps
13. T. Monteiro - Midland Toyota M16 - 1'19"286 (+2"305) - 75 laps
14. J.M. Lopez - Renault R26 - 1'20"634 (+3"653) - 47 laps
15. R. Zonta - Toyota TF106B – no lap time - 0 lap

Las Vegas race gets green light Las Vegas race gets green light
San Jose race fighting for survival San Jose race fighting for survivalAccording to this San Jose Business Journal article, This could be a make or break year for the San Jose Grand Prix.

In only its second year, it faces the prospect that a proposed consolidation of open-wheeled racing may eliminate it in favor of another Bay Area event.

And while more than 150,000 people reportedly went through the turnstiles in the inaugural 2005 event, how many will return remains an open question. Complaints over seating, crowd mobility and a distinct lack of racing drama were compounded when race organizers received a black eye over a $4 million subsidy via a quickie vote by the San Jose City Council Jan. 17.

"This is our big selling time," says Dale Jantzen, president of the San Jose Grand Prix. "The next week or three will decide how we'll fare in ticket sales."

The stakes for San Jose are high. Grand Prix organizers claim the July 28-30 event will bring in $500 million in local economic impact over the next 10 years. But race organizers also acknowledge the event lost several million dollars in 2005 and they expect to lose an estimated $1 million this year.

The $4 million subsidy from the city covers such things as police and fire department presence as well as some roadwork and about $1.5 million in cash to help with general staffing and other expenses. The Grand Prix's annual budget is $10 million. The 2005 event raised about $700,000 for the Canary Fund, a cancer research charity.

Talk of a merger between San Jose Grand Prix's sanctioning body, Champ Car World Series, and the Indy Racing League, which sanctions an Aug. 25-27 event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma County, shortens the time span San Jose Grand Prix organizers have to establish Silicon Valley as an urban racing destination. More....

Rocketsports picks up an associate sponsor Rocketsports picks up an associate sponsorVancouver-based Lexington Energy Services Inc. joins Rocketsports Racing this weekend as an associate sponsor on the #18 Rocketsports Champ Car entry piloted by Estonian driver Tonis Kasemets. Lexington Energy Services Inc. is an Energy Services Equipment Leasing Company that specializes in nitrogen generation, manufacturing of oilfield equipment, and oversees Lexcore Drilling Services Inc. Part of their specialty in equipment leasing is portable well testing packages, flare stacks, and well site office trailers. The nitrogen generation they provide customers is high purity 98%-99.5% nitrogen. In addition to the services they offer, they manage oil field equipment manufacturing. That includes design, custom fabrication of well testing units, and project coordination. Lexcore Drilling Services Inc. specializes in oil sands exploration coring, geo thermal drilling, coal bed methane drilling, and oil and gas well drilling. “Lexington Energy Services Inc. is one of the fastest growing companies in one of the hottest industries today,” said Larry Kristoff, CEO of Lexington Energy Services Inc. “The power and speed of the Champ Car World Series and Rocketsports is indicative of our company’s performance. We look forward to building a long term relationship with Paul Gentilozzi and Tonis Kasemets and of course the Rocketsports team as a whole.” The company logo will be displayed for the first time on a Champ Car for the world to see on Friday when the #18 Rocketsports car rolls out onto the 1.793-mile temporary road course at Finning International Speedway to kick off the race weekend. Round Eight of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford takes place this weekend, July 21-23, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, very close to Lexington Energy Services Inc. headquarters. The West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton Presented by The Brick takes the green flag on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. local time and can be seen live on CBS Sports with coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST. For live racing coverage all weekend, log onto www.champcar.ws and sign up for Race Director.  Rocketsports
Ian Global Shipping joins Grand-Am Ian Global Shipping joins Grand-AmDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As part of an overall Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve contingency program worth more than $1.4 million, Ian Global Shipping recently became the 41st contingency sponsor, offering awards for both Daytona Prototype and GT class competitors.

The Baltimore-based company’s contingency sponsorship provides winners of each class $300 certificates for shipping and logistics services.  Second-place finishers receive $200 certificates, while third-place finishers receive $100 certificates. The program runs through the remainder of the 2006 season, and race cars must carry the Ian Global Shipping decal to be eligible for the awards.

“The long list of contingency programs in the Rolex Series has paralleled the growing number of teams in our paddock,” Grand American President Roger Edmondson said. “We are delighted to have Ian Global Shipping join the Grand-Am family, and their generosity gives teams extra incentive to score podium finishes in the most competitive form of road racing in North America.” zzzz

In addition to the series contingency program, Ian Global Shipping also sponsors the No. 35 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 in the GT class. Owner/driver Michael Levitas was joined by Randy Pobst, Ian Baas and Spencer Pumpelly in the team’s No. 36 Ajilon Consulting Porsche GT3 to capture the GT class victory in the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona, which opened the 2006 season.

Ian Global Shipping was founded in 1987 by Glenn Lobas of Baltimore, Md.  The company offers comprehensive global shipping solutions by providing air and ocean freight forwarding, trucking, warehousing, and customs clearance services.  Ian Global Shipping also specializes in domestic and international auto shipping, particularly of rare and exotic vehicles and racecars.  Ian Global Shipping has built a reputation within the transportation industry for superior customer service and stress-free transactions.  Customers know that one phone call to Ian means one provider and just one invoice for each job.

Contingency decals and requirements of the program will be available at the Grand American transporter for all Rolex Series teams. For more information on Ian Global Shipping visit www.ianglobal.com or call 1-800-787-SHIP.

Williams to solve tire problem Williams to solve tire problem(GMM) Williams' problem with overheating Bridgestone tires at Magny Cours has been isolated to an 'error' with the car's setup.

Both Mark Webber and teammate Nico Rosberg were affected - also in terms of outright performance - last weekend, and the Japanese tire supplier said it would 'work closely' with the Grove-based team to get to the bottom of the inside shoulder problem.

But rookie Rosberg, 21, has now revealed that the glitch was a 'slight error with our setup'.

''The combination of the heat, the circuit lay out and specific corner cambers meant that the tires overheated a little bit and went over their grip limit,'' he told his column for 'Castrol'.

Rosberg said the problem would be solved 'very easily' this week at Jerez.

He added: ''That aside, I think the performance last weekend showed that we've turned the corner and are improving again.''

'Datuk' Todt honored in Malaysia 'Datuk' Todt honored in Malaysia(GMM) Ferrari boss Jean Todt was honored on Thursday with the official Malaysian title of 'Datuk', according to the Bernama news agency.

Datuk is the Malaysian equivalent of 'Sir' in Britain.

60-year-old Todt's girlfriend is Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, and the pair are reportedly building a home in the east of the country.

378 others were also honored in Malaysia on Thursday, local media said.

Racing News
Sam Schmidt speaks out against Bush’s veto Sam Schmidt speaks out against Bush’s veto“As a strong Christian, I was initially against the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. I felt, like many Christians, that destroying these cells for scientific research was wrong. I have had a change of heart because now I understand the issue much better.

I was in the hunt for the IRL Championship in 1999 up until the final race, winning at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, leading in the Indianapolis 500 and enjoying an impressive season. Then, in a devastating accident during practice at the Walt Disney World Speedway, my life changed dramatically. The injuries I sustained left me paralyzed from the neck down.

Shortly after the accident, I quickly learned that I was luckier than most. My deep, unshakable faith in God, a loving wife, two very small children, a strong family network, an undying love of motorsports, and most importantly a passion for living, sustained me. I felt it was important to help others who weren’t quite as lucky. With a few, close friends, I established the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation (SSPF). zzzz
The SSPF is dedicated to helping those afflicted with spinal cord injuries as well as promoting the funding of promising research in support of the cure and treatment of spinal cord injuries.  I know, first hand, that embryonic stem cell research offers great promise in the treatment – and ultimate cure – of spinal cord injuries and possibly many other devastating, disabling diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, to name a few.

God’s plan was not for us to suffer needlessly, but to use His gifts to sustain life. I don’t understand why are we questioning our ability to save lives, or, at the very least, improve the qualify of life and give a ray of hope to millions. Mr. President, I strongly urge you to sign the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810).”

Go to www.samschmidt.org for additional information on the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation.

[Editor's Note:  Bush vetoed the bill and Congress did not have enough votes to override it.  Bush is dead wrong on this issue as other countries will now carry out this research and become leaders in the medical benefits derived from it.  Bush vetoed it to appease the religious groups in the USA and with one fell swoop put the USA behind the rest of the world in this promising arena.  All the paralyzed people thank him...NOT.]

Waltrip questions whether Danica is strong enough Waltrip questions whether Danica is strong enough 

Question: Do you think Danica Patrick is strong enough and has the endurance to drive a stock car for 500 miles and compete favorably? In open-wheel racing, you don’t get much bumping, but there’s a lot of it in NASCAR. Is that something that Danica can cope with in your mind?

Darrell Waltrip.: I made that observation. Danica weighs 100 pounds or so and I think she’s about 5’ 3”. She’s a very small person. I think that is a huge advantage for her in an Indy car. The car fits her. I’ve never driven an Indy car so I don’t know how physically demanding they are. When you can go to Indy and run 500 miles on a Sunday afternoon. Then get in an airplane and fly down to Charlotte and be in physically good shape and be mentally sharp enough to come out here and run 600 miles, that’s 1100 miles of racing in one day. I know how hard a stock car is to drive. I know how grueling 600 miles is. I’m not saying Indy cars are easy to drive, but I don’t think they are as physically demanding as a stock car. That would be a concern if I were her. It’s not about her coming to NASCAR. It’s about her contract being up with Rahal Letterman Racing. She’s had a huge impact on the IRL. She probably thinks she’s a little underpaid. She probably didn’t get what she wanted, but she didn’t know how popular and how big she was going to be. Now, she’s trying to leverage that popularity. And, she’s had a little bit of success. She can realistically win an Indy car race. She could not realistically win a stock car race any time soon. There’s a huge amount of intimidation these drivers use. Like putting the bumper to you to knock and push you around. That takes some getting used to. The first time somebody puts a bumper to you going off into the corner at 180 mph it is quite an experience. One that you’ve probably never had before and you’ve probably not going to want to do again for a while. I just don’t know how you can jump out of an Indy car or a Formula 1 car and get in one of our machines, which is the hardest car to drive in the world. It’s going to be hard to get out of a precise car like an Indy car and get in a car that’s more of a handful and you’ve got to anticipate every move you make.

Hard earned victory for Risi Ferrari Hard earned victory for Risi FerrariPORTLAND – If there ever has been a hard-earned victory in the American Le Mans Series, it came from Risi Competizione last weekend. After coming up agonizingly short in the first four rounds of 2006, the Risi Ferrari F430GT finally crossed the finish line first in GT2 at the Utah Grand Prix.

Mika Salo and Jamie Melo did so in the most dramatic of ways, coming from the back of the grid for their first career Series victory. It also marked the first win for Risi and Ferrari in the Series since Lime Rock Park in 2004 and gave the ultra-competitive GT2 class its fifth winning team in as many races this year. Risi can become the first repeat winner in class with a victory Saturday in the Portland Grand Prix presented by Les Schwab.

“We have had our share of racing luck this season and we had a virtually flawless race,” team managing director Giuseppe Risi said. “The win is all the more sweet because everyone on the circuit, everyone on our team and all of our fans know how close we have been to breaking through this year.”

Risi’s Ferrari has led all but one race so far this season; actually the car has dominated at times leading the GT2 pack for the majority of the races at Sebring, Houston and finally Utah. But prior to last weekend something always seemed to come up and bite the Houston-based team.

It finally came together at Miller Motorsports Park, despite changing flat-spotted tires after Saturday’s warm-up session although Melo qualified on the pole. Risi said the advantages of taking on fresh rubber and starting in the back far outweighed the disadvantages of keeping the tires and remaining on pole position. Melo and Salo made him look like a very smart man. zzzz

“I just tried to be safe in the first three or four laps. After that, I just pushed to get the lead,” said Melo, who moved ahead after just 42 minutes. “The car was working very well, and the tires were good too. I overtook the leader just trying to keep the pace and conserving the tires.”

“Things will happen. Sometimes you wonder when things like that are going to end,” team manager David Sims said. “But it looked on paper like (Miller Motorsports Park) would favor drivers who have been successful at European circuits. It also suited our car very well. The only things we worried about the heat and 24 turns.

“Portland is a lot different,” he added. “It’s not as long but it has fast corners that can suit our car. We’re definitely looking forward to it.”

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.

Suzuki postpones World Rally debut Suzuki postpones World Rally debutSuzuki has postponed its full world rally championship debut from mid-2007 to 2008 after the sport’s governing body, the FIA, scrapped plans to run the season football-style over two calendar years.
Industry News
Ford loss worse than expected Ford loss worse than expectedFord Motor Company today reported a net loss of 7 cents per share, or $123 million, for the second quarter of 2006 and CEO Bill Ford Jr. said the company would take "additional actions" to right the company's course within 60 days.

The company's April-June loss is on top of a $1.2 billion loss posted during the first quarter, and significantly less than the 47 cents per share, or $946 million, Ford earned in the second quarter of 2005.

The performance is also worse than analysts had expected. According to 15 analysts who gave their estimates to Thomson One Analytics financial service, the average second-quarter estimate was a profit of 12 cents a share, or $222 million. More at Detroit Free Press
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for Friday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

NASCAR Live! Pocono
2:30pm-3:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Pocono
3:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Pocono
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Pocono
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Italy, Hungary, warned over F1 logos Italy, Hungary, warned over F1 logos(GMM)  With Germany already in the spotlight, Hungary and Italy have now been told by the European Commission to stop letting formula one cars race with tobacco logos.

The countries are now in the possession of 'reasoned opinions', according to reports on Thursday, after failing to properly implement the continent-wide tobacco advertising ban.

''The Commission is clear that there can be no derogations from the Directive's ban on tobacco sponsorship for cross-border events, whether it's for formula one or for other events,'' health commissioner Markos Kyprianou said in a statement.

Spain, too, was sent a letter of formal notice in April, while Germany has been referred to the European Court of Justice.

NASCAR Busch crew chief fined NASCAR Busch crew chief finedNASCAR announced Wednesday that Ronnie Griffin, crew chief of the No. 23 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been penalized due to rule violations at New Hampshire International Speedway.

Griffin was fined $2,500 for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules: Section 20A – 16.4.2A: Fuel cell vent tube exceeded maximum size) of the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book.

The infraction was discovered during opening day inspection on July 13.

Jarvis eyes A1GP race seat Jarvis eyes A1GP race seatMcLaren BRDC award winner Oliver Jarvis is hopeful that his test with the British A1 Grand Prix Team  last week will lead to a seat with the team next season.

"There was a great atmosphere within the team and it's a very professionally run set-up," Jarvis said. " I was actually quite surprised by how well the car handled. It's a really nice car to drive, the trick is just fine tuning the balance to get it set up to your own particular style.

"Hopefully given the chance I can work with them again and run some races for A1 Team GBR. This was a great opportunity for me and it's always a bonus when you can step up and test more powerful machinery.

"I'd love to be involved in A1 GP, I think it's a fantastic concept and the new season looks like it could be even more competitive than last year's."

Team boss John Surtees said: "He acquitted himself very well throughout the test.  Oliver's feedback was commendable, we purposely made some changes to the car to see how he would respond and he did so extremely well.

"It's given him a good base knowledge of the car to which he can build on in future tests, perhaps starting at Silverstone at the official A1GP tests at the end of August."

Tire race to settle '06 title - Symonds Tire race to settle '06 title - Symonds(GMM) The outcome of the 2006 championship will be decided on tire performance, according to Renault's Pat Symonds.

The engineering chief, whose blue and yellow camp is 21 and 17 points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors' and drivers' standings, admitted to 'AS' in Spain that Ferrari and Renault are 'very even' in terms of the actual cars.

''The difference (from now on) will be all about the effectiveness of the tires,'' the Briton was quoted as saying.

Renault's previously dominant supplier, Michelin, is pulling out of the sport in a little more than three months, while Bridgestone - after Michael Schumacher's back to back wins - is now beginning to dominate.

Indeed, Symonds thinks Fernando Alonso was lucky to finish second - not third - at Magny Cours, so it looking forward to yet another evolution of the V8 engine that will debut in Giancarlo Fisichella's car at Hockenheim.

''It is not necessarily an increase in power,'' Symonds insisted, ''but it is an improvement in the drivability of the engine.''

Both Renault and Ferrari are planning more bodywork upgrades for the next few races, leading Symonds to believe that defending its lead is not the best strategy for his team.

He remarked: ''Last year we won because we had better reliability than McLaren, but this year we have got to go for speed.''

Aguri want to race 'Honda' car Aguri want to race 'Honda' car(GMM)  Just as the fledgling Japanese team unveiled its newer 'SA06' car at Silverstone, a story emerged that Super Aguri would like to use a works Honda chassis in 2007.

At present, using a rival team's old - or current - car is prohibited, as each competitor must either build or hold the intellectual property rights to its F1 machine.

In the case of Toro Rosso, which uses a version of last year's Red Bull car, the rule is grey, in that the team's owner actually both built and holds the rights to the 'RB2'.

Moreover, the Italian team has never fully admitted that the first Toro Rosso racer is actually a repainted 'Bull.

Super Aguri, meanwhile, has been chugging along with the 'SA05' since Bahrain -- defunct Arrows' reworked yet uncompetitive 2002 car.  The Leafield-based squad's original plan was to run a Honda racer.

The motorline.cc publication suggests that Aguri team manager Daniele Audetto is trying to get every other team to sign a document that would allow the team to use a works Honda chassis in 2007.

Bridgepoint wins control of MotoGP Bridgepoint wins control of MotoGPUPDATE (GMM)  CVC's control of formula one is now official, after it was confirmed that the investment company sold its stake in MotoGP for a cool $626m.

The new controlling owner of Dorna, the Spanish MotoGP company, is 'Bridgepoint Capital', a private equity firm.

CVC, which bought Dorna for $82m in 1998, was forced to sell the three-quarter stake by competition regulators after it gained control of formula one, London's The Times said.

'Bridgepoint' is believed to have beaten five other bidders for control of MotoGP, which is F1's two-wheeled equivalent.

A Bridgepoint spokesman said MotoGP's governing body has been informed, and that the transaction is 'subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities'.

07/19/06 Private equity firm Bridgepoint acquired a controlling stake in Dorna, the Spanish company that owns the rights for MotoGP.

The company is thought to have paid up to €500 million (£344 million) for the stake in Dorna, which was put up for sale when fellow private equity firm CVC, was told by the European Commission that it had to sell as a condition of its acquisition of Formula One earlier this year. Bridgepoint is thought to have beaten off competition from other private equity interests Permira, PAI, Advent, Apax and Lion Capital.

CVC paid around £45 million to buy a 75-per-cent-stake in Dorna in 1998. The remaining shares are held by Dorna’s management, led by Carmelo Ezpeleta.

Melbourne still not guaranteed 2007 opener Melbourne still not guaranteed 2007 opener(GMM)  Australian grand prix boss Ron Walker is hopeful that Melbourne will reclaim its spot at the head of the formula one calendar in 2007.

At his own request, the race was delayed a few weeks this year to make way for the Commonwealth Games, with Bahrain instead hosting a successful opener.

But even though Australia is contractually and traditionally the first race of the season, Walker admitted that it is not entirely certain that the original date will be restored next year.

''I've just been in Paris at the FIA meeting,'' the Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman said, ''and it wasn't decided as of midnight last night.

''(The 2007 race) could be March 4, 11 or 18.''

While March 4 and 11 are likely to be season-open spots, March 18 - or the third weekend in the month - is traditionally the date for F1's second race.

Australia's 'Herald Sun' newspaper, meanwhile, reported that the latter date is most 'likely' for the Albert Park event of 2007.

''(The FIA) is expected to confirm the grand prix dates by the end of the week,'' the newspaper article added.

Bernie won’t promote Spa race Bernie won’t promote Spa raceUPDATE (GMM)  Spa Francorchamps' highly popular Belgian grand prix looks certain to return to the formula one calendar next season.

After the race's promoter went broke, the historic event fell off Bernie Ecclestone's 2006 calendar because important track renovations could not be completed.

But the local Walloon government is now in charge, and has appointed a big-hitter - former vice-president of the European Commission, Etienne Davignon, 73 - to run the new company in charge, called 'Newco'.

Walloon minister-president Elio di Rupo, meanwhile, told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper that Bernie Ecclestone will indeed restore the race's spot on the calendar, pending the circuit modifications.

Elsewhere, also apprehensive about the future of its grand prix, San Marino GP host Imola's owner - the Automobile Club of Bologna - has announced that it will sell its stake in order to fund necessary circuit improvements.

07/19/06 For some days a press release has been expected from the Belgian authorities regarding the future of the Belgian Grand Prix. The authorities originally tried to get Bernie Ecclestone to agree to promote the race but no deal could be found and so a new promotional company has been established, for the moment under the name of Newco which will run the event in 2007. The new company will be presided over by the eminent Belgian politician and businessman Etienne Davignon. More at Grandprix.com
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