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No Catfight rematch: Duno won't race against Danica at Edmonton
Danica Patrick won't have Milka Duno to kick around this weekend.  Or, put another way, Duno won't have a chance to give Patrick another pit-side towel face wash.

Duno, who shares a ride with Townsend Bell in the No. 23 car for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, won't be competing Saturday at the inaugural Rexall Edmonton Indy. Bell will compete alongside teammate Buddy Rice.

Patrick, known for her fiery temper and on-track confrontations with drivers, generated more headlines and web-video hits this week for challenging Duno in Duno's pit during practice prior to Sunday's race at Mid-Ohio.

In an impromptu video shot by a Duno friend, Patrick is seen striding over to the 36-year-old Venezuelan and berating her for driving too slowly and blocking her. Duno would have none of it and the two are seen trading off-color hot-tempered insults as Duno twice whips a towel at the 26-year-old American.

Duno has since said the story is over and wants to focus on being a positive role model.

Patrick has suggested the incident was blown out of proportion because of her popularity. She has one win in the IndyCar series but has become its marketing darling thanks to racy commercials and cheesecake swimsuit photo shoots.

The incident has race-watchers wondering what happens when Patrick meets up this weekend with Toronto driver Paul Tracy, who is driving in a one-race deal in Edmonton and is known for a quicksilver temper and aggressive driving style.

track news

Does Indianapolis Claim Racings TitleTown USA?
ESPN’s popular program Sportscenter is currently touring the country to find what city is the top sports town.  Fans will be able to vote from 20 cities that have been named finalists for the claim of “TitleTown USA”. Cities such as Ann Arbor, Boston, Chapel Hill, Green Bay, Gainesville, Lawrence, New York and others are among the “stick and ball” cities that are in the running.  But, what city can claim the motorsports title?  Is it Reading, Pennsylvania, the former home of Penske Racing and 11 open wheel championships?  Is it Level Cross, North Carolina, where Petty Enterprises made history, or is it Brownsburg, Indiana, the home of John Force Racing with 15 team titles?  With championships produced from stables all over the country, who deserves the crown of being the motorsports true “TitleTown USA”?

Marc Mitchell, driver of the #15 Ergon Tundra and Raybestos Rookie of the Year Contender:
“The state of North Carolina has grown to be  the heart of NASCAR. So many championships have come from towns within the Tar Heel State, but there’s one in particular that sticks out to me – Kannapolis. Dale Earnhardt has seven championships and was one of the best drivers ever.  He won just about everything there was to win in our sport. He was a threat to win at every race the circuit traveled to and definitely was one of the most respected drivers on tour.  Pound for pound, I don’t think there was ever a better driver than the “Intimidator,” so my vote for racing’s “TitleTown” is for his hometown, Kannapolis. 

Bobby Labonte, Sprint Cup Series Driver:
There’s one name and town that sticks out when you discuss success in motorsports – Petty and Level Cross.  There are a lot of deserving cities in America, many with deep racing roots and championships.  Owensboro, Kentucky and maybe even Corpus Christi, Texas (smiling) could be considered, but it’s hard not to pick the place where the Petty’s were born.  For me, it’s the one place that would deserve a title like this.  There are a lot of trophies collected in that area.  Richard (Petty) won seven championships, 200 races and Lee (Petty) won three championships.  That’s an amazing feat for just one small, rural town.  So, it’s a pretty easy decision for me.  Level Cross, NC is definitely racing’s “TitleTown”.

John Andretti, Open Wheel and NASCAR Sprint Cup Veteran
“I think Indianapolis is auto racing’s “TitleTown”. The Brickyard is hallowed ground as far as I’m concerned, and it’s the track that everyone wants to win at.  Whether it’s Formula One, IndyCar, NASCAR; I don’t care if it’s go karts or golf carts, everyone dreams of racing at Indianapolis. There aren’t many places like that in the world. It definitely brings the “best of the best” to the area every year.”

“Also, drivers migrate to Indiana to race. In USAC, they want to race against the best sprint car, midget and champ dirt car drivers there are. Some are born there, but the talent is so strong in the area that drivers will move there to compete.  Indianapolis has such a talented pool of drivers for all racing series.  They get started young and develop into some of the best drivers in the world. It is definitely a racing town, and I think the true “TitleTown”.”


Transporters arrive in Edmonton
EDMONTON - First came the Atlantic transporters and then, later in the afternoon, the IndyCar trailers began to slowly roll onto the cement of the Edmonton city centre airport.

Derrick Walker Racing's Atlantic trailers were first to arrive. Walker will be providing the crew for Paul Tracy's car in Saturday's Rexall Edmonton Indy and will be his race strategist. The car itself is being provided by Vision Racing and sponsored by Subway.

All corporate suites sold
Although Northlands hasn't released any figures for tickets sold to this point, they did reveal that all the corporate suites have been sold and only limited space remains in the Servus Credit Union Pit lane club.

"It's great to see Edmonton's corporate community embrace the Rexall Edmonton Indy as a one-of-a-kind hosting opportunity for their clients and staff," said Mike Burton, Northlands' director of major events.


New tires for Edmonton
Firestone Racing, which provides all the tires for IndyCar, is bringing a new road course dry (slick) tire specification to Edmonton. The tire features the same compound and construction that was used at Watkins Glen early this month, but with increased tread thickness.

"Our engineers have three seasons worth of experience at this track, so they have prepared a tire that is specifically designed to meet the unique demands Edmonton presents," said Al Speyer, Firestone's executive director.

Firestone engineers say the thicker tread is to withstand the high speeds and varying airport track surface.

As well, the grooved rain tire for Edmonton is the hardest in Firestone's road course inventory.


When it comes to IndyCar, Danica is indispensable
Danica Patrick - not the best driver, but certainly the most popular
Mark Scheuern/AutoRacing1
Danica Patrick roars into Edmonton as the poster girl for the Indy Racing League, the hot story, the highest-paid driver, the most sought-after interview.

Contrary to popular belief, she is not the only driver on the grid for Saturday's Rexall Edmonton Indy. Nor is she the best driver or the points leader. Such is the Danica dichotomy, which she does her best to quiet.

"It takes a whole series to put on a show and make the fans excited. If I was the only one who showed up at the track, I'm pretty sure the fans would be bored by that and there would be nothing to see, so you do need everybody," Patrick said during an interview last week from her home in Phoenix.

But there might not be an outcry if Enrique Bernoldi, Townsend Bell, Mario Moraes, Vitor Meira and Ed Carpenter defected en masse to NASCAR. If Patrick crossed the street to run with the good ol' boys, IRL would suffer. And she is smart enough to leave that door open just a crack, in case anybody wants to take her presence for granted.

"I always keep my options open," she said when asked about NASCAR or F1 aspirations. "You're foolish as an athlete and a business person to eliminate anything from your possible career path. But I love open-wheel racing. This is what I grew up watching and I'm happy here. I'm with a fantastic team. All I can say is it would have to be with a first-rate organization. I've always said, I'll race anything as long as I can be in a car that can win races. That's my rule."

It ought to be written down in the IRL handbook that they do whatever necessary to keep Patrick from jumping to NASCAR. Because she's running near the front, she's American, 26 and beautiful, Patrick is indispensable to the IRL. Everybody knows it and some people are willing to pay for it. That's why it's no surprise to hear she makes more money than any other driver. Crusty Canadian Paul Tracy said Patrick earns $5 million per year, $2 million more than her Andretti-Green teammate Tony Kanaan and points leader Scott Dixon, who drives for Target Chip Ganassi.

"I don't necessarily know if it's true," said Patrick. "That's quite private within the league and nobody talks about how much everybody is getting paid. All you can do as a business person is get what you can. Present yourself well. Hopefully you have a lot to offer and people in turn will reward you for that." More at National Post


No third team for Stewart-Haas in 2009
From Tony Stewart Live Monday night:
Question: "There are rumors of a third Cup car joining Stewart-Haas Racing for 2009. Is that true?"
Stewart: "That is not true. One of the guys asked if we were ever going to grow it to a four car team. And that is exactly what the plan will be eventually but right now we're going to concentrate on getting these two Cup cars exactly where they need to be, contenders to win a championship each year before we expand." Sirius NASCAR Radio


Vettel sets Jerez pace on first day
A  four  day  long  test,  the  last  before  the  summer  F1  testing  ban,  got underway  this  morning  at  Jerez  de  la  Frontera.  While  the  Hockenheim weekend had been cooler than expected, Spain in July lived up to its hot reputation with a track temperature high of 51 degrees Celsius recorded during the afternoon. Sebastian Vettel set his best time, the fastest time of the day, in the cooler morning.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:19.844 94
2. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.179 80
3. Badoer Ferrari 1:20.697 69
4. Hulkenberg Williams-Toyota 1:20.953 58
5. Buemi Red Bull-Renault 1:20.997 110
6. Grosjean Renault 1:21.223 71
7. Trulli Toyota 1:21.459 96
8. Wurz Honda 1:21.596 84
9. Klien BMW-Sauber no time 3


Ferrari puts past behind for F1 summit
(GMM)  Ferrari sees an upcoming meeting with its fellow F1 teams not only as an opportunity to discuss the future, but also symbolic of its desire to move on from the tensions of the past.

Inside the Williams motor home at Hockenheim, heads of the ten grand prix teams agreed to meet next Tuesday at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters to discuss in detail Max Mosley's desire for new rules in 2011.

Some practiced sages of the paddock predicted that the choice of location for the teams' group meeting is significant, given Ferrari's history in matters regarding formula one as a whole.

Stefano Domenicali now heads the defending champions' F1 effort, following a long period with Jean Todt at the helm, who was often accused of thinking insularly about the Italian marque.

Amid the manufacturer's initial 'breakaway' saga three years ago, Ferrari broke ranks and sided with the FIA.

The team was also at the centre of controversy last year amid the spying scandal -- but at Hockenheim, Ferrari figures including Domenicali accepted McLaren-Mercedes' invitation to attend a party.

Domenicali said of the upcoming F1 summit at Maranello: "Ferrari, and above all our president, is very keen to participate.

"Ferrari is part of F1 and Mr. (Luca) Montezemolo is really keen on that," he added.


'Bruised' Glock will test on Thursday UPDATE #4 Timo Glock will be back in action on Thursday when he joins day three of Panasonic Toyota Racing's four-day test at Jerez in Spain.

The 26-year-old spent Sunday night in hospital in Ludwigshafen for precautionary checks after his accident in the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. He returned home on Monday morning for rest and further medical tests. Those tests have confirmed Timo suffered no injuries or concussion.

Therefore he has been given the all clear to return to the cockpit on Thursday before he competes in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Immediately after Timo's incident at Hockenheim, an investigation to determine the cause began at the track and continued at the factory. This has been traced to the right rear toelink/trackrod.

After studying data from the car, it has been determined that there were no exceptional circumstances immediately before the incident and Timo running wide at the last corner on that lap was not the cause.

The team is now conducting a thorough analysis of the loading data from earlier in the race to determine if an event occurred which caused this. All available evidence is being studied to find the cause.

Q & A with Timo Glock

How are you feeling?
I am fine. I spent Sunday night in the hospital but only so the doctors could complete their checks. They ran x-rays and an MRI scan and found no problems at all, so I went home on Monday morning for some rest and more checks with my doctor. It was a really hard impact and my back hurt immediately after I got out of the car but now it is fine. Actually, it looked worse on TV than it really was.

Can you talk us through the incident?
I was running well and looking set for the points but I ran a little wide on the last corner of lap 35. That wasn't a major problem because most cars were doing that at some stage in the race but I just felt the back of the car go. I tried to catch it but I was not able to. I had no control at that point and was just a passenger. When I saw it later on TV I could see something broke in the right rear suspension.

Are you worried by what happened to you?
I'm not at all concerned because I trust the team completely. We are all working together to improve the car performance and reliability.

What are your plans now?
I have spent a little time at home relaxing and now I am ready to drive again. Physically I feel absolutely fine so I am looking forward to getting back in the car on Thursday. We will be preparing for the Hungarian Grand Prix so it is an important test and I am pleased I can contribute. Then of course I will be racing in Hungary where I expect the same strong performance level and hopefully a points finish.  Toyota PR

07/22/08 (GMM)  Timo Glock on Tuesday said he is wearing only a "light bruise" on his back following his big crash at Hockenheim that left him hospitalized 48 hours ago.

Toyota's German driver told Bild newspaper that his overnight stay at a local hospital was routine only, and he expects to be back in action at the Jerez test on Thursday.

"I am well," he is quoted as saying.  "I just slept and I have only a light bruise on my back."

Glock, 26, clarifies that he never lost consciousness after the shunt, and that he only stayed in the cockpit for a time because he was winded.

"Before the impact I thought, 'here it comes', but it didn't hurt at all.  I saw the replay on the hospital television, it looked violent but I have put it past me.

"I have full confidence in my Toyota and could drive already today.  In the factory they are looking over the car and will find the cause.

"I will make the journey to Jerez for Thursday as planned, and in Hungary I will be flat out again!" Glock added.

07/21/08 (GMM)  Timo Glock was discharged from hospital on Monday afternoon.

The Toyota driver spent Sunday night under observation following his violent backwards crash during the German grand prix at Hockenheim.

His manager, Hans Bernd Kamps, confirmed the 26-year-old German is not injured, and the news agency SID said Glock is likely to test at Jerez later this week.

According to FIA procedures, however, he will need to be passed fit by doctors in Budapest in two weeks before he can take part in the official sessions for the Hungarian grand prix.

"We are extremely confident Timo will be fit for Hungary," Toyota team boss Tadashi Yamashina said.

"All the checks have shown he is fine so we are not worried about that," he added.

07/20/08 (GMM)  Timo Glock will spend the night in hospital, but he should be fit to return to the wheel of the Toyota when the championship resumes in Hungary in two weeks, team boss Takashi Yamashina said on Sunday.

Glock, the team's German driver, crashed heavily at Hockenheim during the German grand prix and was flown to a nearby hospital for checks.

The X-rays showed no injuries and the 26-year-old does not have concussion, Yamashina said in a statement.

"He will be kept in hospital overnight as is normal procedure in these situations," the Japanese added.

"We are extremely confident Timo will be fit for the Hungarian grand prix.  Naturally he is a bit shaken by the accident but all the checks have shown he is fine so we are not worried about that," Yamashina said.

Read more & Comment...

BMW mechanic receives electric shock at Jerez
(GMM)  Yet another incident involving the development of KERS systems for next year has occurred.

The local fire department was called to Red Bull's UK headquarters late last week when the team was testing for KERS, the electronic energy-recovery system that is allowed in formula one from 2009.

But while smoke and fumes were the concern for Red Bull, the danger of electric shocks came to the fore on Tuesday as F1 teams began a four-day test at Jerez.

After three installation laps, test driver Christian Klien returned to the Spanish circuit's pitlane at the wheel of a modified 2007 BMW-Sauber that was running an early KERS system.

A mechanic, whose job was to push the car back into the garage, touched Klien's car and was thrown to the ground with a shock.

A statement said he had to visit the medical centre but escaped with only slight injuries to his left land and grazing on his left arm.

"Because the team is still investigating the incident, the car did not run in the afternoon," a BMW spokesman added.

It is believed the KERS car will not run at Jerez on any of the three remaining days of the test.


GM and Electric Utility Industry Launch Major Collaboration for Plug-in Vehicles UPDATE Bravo to GM for this initiative.  For once a USA automaker has it right.  Recall our article, Are Nuclear Power Plants (And electric cars) the way forward?  We also refer you to this Wall Street Journal article Let's Have Some Love for Nuclear Power.  The article debunks a lot of false myths about Nuclear Power.

07/22/08 General Motors announced today that it will collaborate with the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) - more than 30 of the top electric utilities in the United States and Canada -- to accelerate the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles.

General Motors will work with EPRI and the utility companies on everything from codes and standards to grid capability to ensure that when the Volt goes to market, the infrastructure is ready - and customers can realize the full potential of these revolutionary vehicles as soon as they leave the showroom.

Details of the alliance, which is by far the largest and most-comprehensive between an automaker and the electric utility industry, were announced today in San Jose during the Plug-In 2008 Conference.

Among the many things the coalition will address include ensuring safe and convenient vehicle charging, raising the public awareness and understanding of plug-in electric vehicles, and working with public policy leaders to enable a transition from petroleum to electricity as a fuel source.

Read more & Comment...

We have a lot more in the pipeline - Theissen
Two days after the BMW Sauber F1 Team's home Grand Prix at Hockenheim, BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen reflects on the weekend. The Hinwil-based outfit is confident that they are on the right track.

Mario Theissen "A home Grand Prix is always a bit special. Although there are no extra points on offer for a win, but this weekend in Hockenheim was very special for us: the BMW Group was in action on several fronts at the same time during the German Grand Prix weekend. Formula One, Formula BMW, MINI Challenge, BMW M1 Procar Revival, plus lots of other activities and events on and off the track, involving many guests, deadlines and obligations - our schedule has never been so jam packed.

"Of course, the main focus was on Formula One. Any team starting from grid positions seven and twelve, and heading home with seven points can be very satisfied. It goes without saying that the safety-car phase had a considerable influence on the race. While Robert lost his strong fourth place as a result, Nick actually benefited. Both drivers were error-free throughout the race. I am delighted for Nick that he clocked the fastest lap. Despite this, however, we still have a lot of work to do to make sure we are starting from the front again.

Read more & Comment...

Mugello Set For A1GP Season-Opener
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will race in Italy for the first time this season with the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello today holding a launch event including the first public running of the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car ahead of the 2008/09 season opener later this year.

A1GP Mugello, Italy will be held on 19 – 21 September 2008 and the focus for the patriotic local fans is sure to be A1 Team Italy, which today also unveiled its new car for the first time at its home track.

Piercarlo Ghinzani, A1 Team Italy Seatholder: “At present we are preparing the Italian driver team. Our goal is to run a team of four drivers: two rookies and two official drivers. The goal for this season is to guide A1 Team Italy to victory. If the Italian driver market will supply us with good drivers I will certainly provide them with what is needed in order to win.”

Today also marked the first public running of the A1GP Powered by Ferrari car. The extensive testing program the car has undergone since May has produced a car to be proud of, and the distinctive notes of the Ferrari engine that will be propelling all the cars on the A1GP grids round the world could today be heard powering around the Ferrari owned circuit.

Mario Almondo said: “It is a pleasure to cooperate with A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. The project and the development of the chassis-engine package has been done in a record-time frame. The 8-cylinder engine, which will be the basis of the new family of Ferrari road cars engines, has shown excellent performance and drivability. It is also important that the first race weekend of the 2008-2009 season will take place at the Mugello circuit, a top-class venue in motorsport in terms of safety and facilities, as shown during the last Italian Grand Prix of MotoGP”

Read more & Comment...

Gauteng Hosts A1GP race at Kyalami in South Africa UPDATE The press release below was amended slightly by A1GP.

Kyalami Aerial View.  Kyalami is a motor racing circuit, and suburb in Gauteng, South Africa north of Johannesburg. The circuit has been used for Grand Prix and Formula One races and has hosted the South African Grand Prix many times. In recent years, the area surrounding the circuit has developed into a residential and commercial suburb of Johannesburg. The circuit has also played host to five rounds of the World Superbike series from 1998 - 2002.
07/21/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has entered into a partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Government for the hosting rights for the South African A1GP event, ushering in a new era for both parties and promising to provide significant economic, social and tourism benefits for the province.

It is expected that the A1GP Gauteng event will serve as a catalyst for the creation of a wide range of employment opportunities in the motorsport, logistical, security and infrastructure sectors. It will also stimulate investment and benefit the hospitality industry.

Says Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa: “A1GP will give Gauteng international exposure, with about 8 million people expected to view the event on television worldwide. It will add more impetus to Gauteng’s efforts to position itself as the home of competitive sport.”

“A1GP will position Gauteng as a preferred tourist destination. The event takes the province closer to the achievement of its strategic objective of increasing Gauteng’s share of the tourism market to more than 50% of all international arrivals,” the Premier notes.

Paul Mashatile, Gauteng MEC for Finance and Economic Affairs says: “A1GP signals the beginning of the development of motorsport as one of the areas with massive potential to boost economic growth in Gauteng. Our association with A1GP is also in line with our approach to supporting the automotive sector as one of the critical pillars of the provincial economy”.

Read more & Comment...

Chrysler CEO disputes report of loss of low-interest loans
Chrysler's financing arm is not in danger of losing the ability to offer consumers low-interest loans, Chrysler LLC Chairman and CEO Bob Nardelli told the automaker's employees Monday.

Nardelli was responding to a Wall Street Journal report which suggested that Chrysler Financial's bankers are scrambling to avoid higher borrowing costs when the unit rolls over about $30 billion of short-term, car-loan-backed debt next month. If Chrysler pays more for its money, the Auburn Hills automaker may not be able to offer special rates on auto loans to entice customers to buy in a slow market, analysts say.

The credit review process under way is nothing out of the ordinary, Nardelli assured staff.

"As is customary for many auto finance companies, this renewal process takes place every year," he wrote in an e-mail sent to employees and obtained by The Detroit News. "We will continue to offer competitive financing and lease options for our customers and dealers."

Nardelli pointed out that the automaker is offering zero-percent financing for 72 months on Dodge Rams, among other offers.

Zero interest loans?  Imagine that!  The pea brain top brass in Detroit continue to come up with harebrained money losing schemes to further bury their companies in debt they can never recover from.  What a way to manage a company.  Instead of cutting production and costs they think that maintaining higher production while losing money just so they can show they sold more vehicles underscores how far out of touch with financial reality they are.  And for this they get paid millions of dollars a year.


Kova brings 'harmony' to McLaren - Hakkinen
(GMM)  Retired double world champion Mika Hakkinen has backed his countryman amid claims Heikki Kovalainen might lose the McLaren race seat at the end of the season.

While teammate Lewis Hamilton races into the lead of the drivers' world championship, 26-year-old Kovalainen, a Finn, has dropped 30 points behind and is notably struggling to match the race pace of the sister car.

But after Kovalainen charitably moved over for his teammate at Hockenheim last weekend, Hakkinen - the last driver to secure a title for McLaren - praised the "great harmony" that has descended on the team since its latest race lineup was brought together in 2008.

"He has been working really well with the engineers and with Lewis, and the harmony is now great, and that's a very important point," Hakkinen told PA Sport.


Webber slams 'joke' safety car rules
(GMM)  Mark Webber has slammed formula one's current safety car rules as "a joke".

Struggling Renault rookie Nelson Piquet secured his debut podium at Hockenheim last Sunday, but Australian Webber, 31, dismissed the result as "bizarre".

"I think the rules are a joke," he wrote in his latest column for the BBC.

Webber said he was happy for newcomer Piquet, but said formula one is "more professional and better" than for a bad set of rules to throw up such strange results.

"It looks very amateurish when the guy who nearly wins the race starts 17th and only overtakes one car, Kazuki Nakajima's Williams, because he spun.  For me, that is not what formula one is all about," Webber said.

There have been efforts to reshape the current safety car rules, but Webber said the teams and the FIA are "making heavy weather" of the change.


Hamilton's engine to be checked by FIA
From the race report at Germany the FIA have decided as part of their normal checks to process Lewis Hamilton’s engine in accordance to rule 5 of the 2008 Technical Regulations.

The report said:

"The engine of car number 22 is kept sealed in order to carry out further checks according to Article 5 of the 2008 FIA Formula One Technical Regulations. These checks will be done before the Hungarian GP."

racing news

Crash at Toledo Speedway kills driver UPDATE Terry Gibson was the Son of Todd Gibson and the Brother of Gene Lee Gibson. This is a long standing family in racing, with the father a many time champion in Super Mods and Gene Lee was a frequent USAC competitor.

07/19/08 A four-vehicle accident at the Toledo Speedway has killed one driver when the cars slammed into a wall at about 110 mph.  The Lucas County coroner's office says 46-year-old Terry Gibson of LaRue, Ohio, died at the scene. It is the first death at the site since 2000.


Honda to Boost Civic Output, Trim U.S. Minivans, SUVs
Honda Motor Co., the only large automaker to gain U.S. sales this year, will boost North American output of its Civic small car on increased demand and build fewer Odyssey minivans and Pilot sport utility-vehicles.

Light-truck production at Honda's Lincoln, Alabama, plant will be pared by 10,000 units from August through October, or about 3.3 percent of annual capacity, spokesman David Iida said today. He didn't give a figure for the Civic increase and said the truck cuts won't affect the 4,500-person Alabama workforce.

``There will be no layoffs. We're just adjusting production given market conditions,'' Iida said in an interview. ``We want to manage our stock of vehicles, and not let it get too high.''

U.S. first-half sales for Tokyo-based Honda rose 4 percent, bucking a 10 percent industrywide drop. Buyers favored fuel- efficient Civic and Fit small cars as gasoline neared $4 a gallon and shunned the Odyssey and Pilot, whose first-half totals slumped 9.6 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Bloomberg.com


Bill Gates Buys 5.5% Stake in AutoNation
Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft Corp., boosted his holdings in AutoNation Inc., the largest publicly traded U.S. car dealer, to 9.9 million shares through his investment fund and charitable trust. AutoNation jumped 86 percent in trading after the New York Stock Exchange closed.  Cascade Investment LLC holds 5.26 million shares, or 2.9 percent, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust has 4.64 million, or 2.6 percent, Gates said in a U.S. regulatory filing today. The 5.5 percent total makes him AutoNation's third- largest stockholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


NASCAR sponsorship money drying up
About a week after becoming a former Sprint Cup driver when his team was shut down, Dario Franchitti was asked how things were going. "Not great," Franchitti said. "It was a big shock that it happened." That shock, some around NASCAR are saying, could soon be spreading like crabgrass. Tough economic times have descended upon the American economy, and that spells bad news for a sport that is joined at the hip, shoulders and ankles to the business community. Sponsorship money for teams, cars and drivers appears to be thinning significantly, some are saying. Asked last week what he thinks the sponsorship picture looks like right now, Jeff Burton -- one of the headier drivers in NASCAR -- said, "It's lean. It's very lean." Kansas City Star


Q and A with Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton on the podium in Germany
Lewis Hamilton may have hoped for a more straightforward victory in Sunday’s German Grand Prix than the one he ultimately had to pull off, but it did give him the opportunity to show off his racing and overtaking skills.

In the following Q&A on his official website Hamilton talks through the key moments of his race.

Q: You looked particularly comfortable in the opening laps – were you pushing hard?

Lewis Hamilton: I was definitely pushing! But the car felt so good at the start of the race that it wasn't difficult to push to the limit.

I've said it before, but we've really transformed this year's car over the past six weeks.

It's now so well-balanced and responsive that it just feels fantastic to drive – you can always trust it and get something more out of it – and I was actually enjoying those early laps because I was able to get into a nice rhythm. I think my start was almost perfect, too.

Q: The team pitted you a little early for your first stop – were you concerned that might erode some of your advantage?

LH: Not really. As I said yesterday, I always trust the team's decisions and I had no problem with them calling me in a little early – it was just a precaution to avoid a random safety car period causing us difficulties.

Naturally, I wanted to make sure I got back into the lead and I did radio the team just after my first pit stop to ask if they knew if I was going to run longer than Felipe Massa to the second stops.

We were pretty confident we were going longer. After that, I had a few problems trying to overtake lapped cars. Despite that, the car felt really well-balanced and I knew I was comfortable in front.

Read more & Comment...

Mid-Ohio Saturday Notebook UPDATE #4 We mentioned below that the IndyCars were pathetically slow around Mid-Ohio compared to the Champ Cars.  In this SPEEDTV.com article, Robin Miller writes, The IRL cars must be given 150-200 more horsepower for road races. They look dog slow at places like Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen and Sonoma and a Champ Car test in the Panoz in 2007 at Mid-Ohio was FIVE SECONDS a lap faster than Helio Castroneves’ pole speed with NO RUBBER on the track. Indy cars should dazzle spectators when they blast by, not make them doze off.

07/20/08 Here is the video of the Patrick/Duno confrontation.  The F-word Danica used is edited out.  Another video.

07/19/08 To complete the story on the argument between Patrick and Duno, After getting out of her car, Patrick quickly walked to where Duno was pitted and confronted her about getting in her way several times during the practice.

The confrontation lasted about a minute, but witnesses said it grew heated and that Duno flung a towel in Patrick's direction at one point as the two exchanged words. Milka said, "You like the show. There is no problem here, and you are not welcome here. Go away."  Patrick eventually walked away.

Patrick, who appears to have a real hot-head, has previously confronted fellow drivers Dan Wheldon and Ryan Briscoe after racing incidents, downplayed the argument, saying, "I just wanted to know if she saw me out there."

On a video shot by a friend of Duno’s and shown to The Indy Star, Duno told Patrick on several occasions to “go away.” When Patrick didn’t leave immediately, Duno threw a towel in Patrick’s direction, prompting Patrick to direct foul language at Duno before the minute-long incident ended.

“She came to my team and our pit box in a very bad way with bad words,” Duno said. “If you come in a nice way, perfect, we can talk. If you come in a bad way, you are going to find my bad side.

“I don’t like drama, and I told her ‘go away, you are not welcome.’.”

Patrick said she didn’t regret her action.

“I wanted to know if she saw me (on the track) ..... it’s hard to locate people once they get away from their car,” she said. “I stayed behind the wall. I just wanted to ask what happened.

“Unfortunately, things involving me tend to evolve. I’m on the hot seat when I do something and when others do something (connected to me). It’s kind of the line that I walk because I’m popular.”

Duno acknowledged she was struggling in her first Indy-car event at the track, but she issued a warning to Patrick, who has confronted Dan Wheldon and attempted to confront Ryan Briscoe in separate incidents during the past two seasons.

“I don’t like the show she likes in every race weekend,” Duno said. “She can push the guys because they cannot do anything to her, but she cannot push me. We meet on equal condition (as women), and I know what kind of character I have.

“I know if somebody pushes me and finds my bad side they are going to get a problem.”

07/19/08 Retraction:  The quote below from Milka Duno to Danica Patrick is not correct as we got it second hand.  The team told us she did not use the word b&%$#.  We are going to get an exact quote from the tape of the incident, so stay tuned.......

07/19/08 Seems there was some sort of hissy fit between Danica Patrick and Milka Duno after Indy Car practice this morning.  Word is that Danica Patrick stormed down to Milka's pit box (The "I can't do not wrong" Patrick is always storming somewhere.  One of these days another driver is going to deck the miniscule driver and lay her right out) after the session and said to Milka "Do you even know what you are doing out there?"  To which Milka supposedly threw down the rag she was wiping her face with and said "Look b&%$#, you may be able to push the boys around in this series but you are not going to push me around."  Ouch, fighting words........Bruno Junqueira was 6th in the 2nd practice group this morning and told us he is much happier with the car now.  He is hoping for an overall top-10 in qualifying........Spotted ex-Champ Car technical honcho Scot Elkins now working for IMSA's technical team and Champ Car's ex-director of technology Steve Sewell working for X-Trac transmissions.  In fact between the IRL and ALMS paddocks you can find almost all the old Champ Car guys........Ex-Forsythe team manager old-timer Phil LePan (was with the team from 1992 through 2007) was walking around the Mid-Ohio paddock looking for work in the IndyCar Series after his Grand-Am team fell apart........The lap times for the ALMS cars and the IndyCars are again virtually identical at 1m7.7 seconds or so.  By comparison Simon Pagenaud ran a 1m3s flat lap in testing at Mid-Ohio last year in his Champ Car with no rubber on the track.  Mark C. reporting from Mid-Ohio


AAA to sponsor MotoGP event
AAA Hoosier Motor Club today finalized a three-year deal with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, making AAA Hoosier Insurance a primary sponsor of the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP event on Sept. 14 at the famed Brickyard. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

AAA signed on as the Official Auto Club, the Official Travel Agency and the Official Auto Insurance Company of the Indianapolis 500 in December 2005. In March 2007, AAA Hoosier Motor Club signed IRL driver Sarah Fisher to a three-year contract that made her the official spokesperson for AAA Hoosier Insurance.

“Involvement with the Red Bull Indianapolis GP provides us with yet another forum to stress the importance of practicing safe driving habits to both AAA members and non-members alike,” said Gary Michelson, AAA Hoosier Motor Club senior vice president.

The Red Bull Indianapolis GP will be the 14th of 18 races on the 2008 MotoGP schedule. IBJ.com


Hamilton Racing Statement Regarding the Future of Dennis Setzer
In response to some recent rumors around the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage area, BHRVA and driver Dennis Setzer is releasing a statement about their future together.  At this time, the team and driver are working collectively with each other and individually on options for the 2009 season.  Both parties will release statements at future times on their respective plans. Until this time, the team is focused on its performance in 2008 and will continue its contract together which is through the end of this season.


Truex Penalties Upheld
On July 21, 2008, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Dale Earnhardt Inc. regarding the #1 car.

The appeal concerned four penalties issued by NASCAR stemming from opening day inspection on July 3, 2008 at the Sprint Cup Series event at Daytona International Speedway. The Appellants did not contest the rules violations, but argued that the penalties were too severe for the infractions. The Appellants explained that rigorous checks and balances in the fabrication process were in place at DEI and could offer no explanation as to why the roof failed to meet the inspection templates. They argued that the infractions were minor in nature, not deliberate, and that the resulting lowered roof was a disadvantage according to their wind tunnel findings.

The Commission found that the infractions were clear-cut. The roof was low across a broad area. Accordingly, the penalties that were issued are warranted. Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The periods of the suspensions are to be adjusted from the date of this hearing. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner. --National Stock Car Racing Commission PR


Allstate 400 at the Brickyard notebook - Monday
For the fourth straight year, fans of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and help save lives by participating in the Blood and Bone Marrow Drive at the Brickyard on Saturday, July 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Drive is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Hall of Fame Museum East parking lot.

The Blood and Bone Marrow Drive at the Brickyard is a part of the national NASCAR Foundation Annual Blood and Marrow Drive, which is a partnership between The NASCAR Foundation, Hendrick Marrow Program and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. Fans can donate blood for the American Red Cross and join the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry. Everyone who attends the Drive will receive a free T-shirt or other giveaways.

Donor recipients and their families will be on hand to share their stories and to speak with participants. American Red Cross coloring books, crayons and stick-on tattoos will be provided to children while their parents give blood. Buddy the Blood Drop, official mascot of the American Red Cross, will be on hand to take pictures with kids.

Joining the National Marrow Donor Registry is easy. A small cotton swab is used to gather cheek cells from donors. The tissue type is tested, with information added to the Registry.

Read more & Comment...

Who holds advantage on first trip to Edmonton?
Of the 27 drivers entered in the Rexall Edmonton Indy, only eight have previously competed at the circuit. Those drivers, who are in their first season competing in the IndyCar Series, hope past experience on the 1.96-mile, 14-turn street circuit will give them the upper hand in the 13th race on the 2008 schedule.

“It’s going to be the first race that we’re going to that we’ve really know the track,” said Justin Wilson, who won at Edmonton in 2006 and finished second there a year ago. “It’s a very fast circuit. Some sections are like a permanent road circuit, and then there are places that are like street circuits. Because you have the walls so close, you can’t afford to make a mistake.”

Other drivers who have raced at Edmonton in the last three years include Mario Dominguez, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Bruno Junqueira, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Oriol Servia and Paul Tracy. The eight drivers combined for 10 top-five finishes in 18 starts. In addition to Wilson’s victory in 2006, Will Power won the pole at Edmonton last year.

The 19 IndyCar Series drivers who will be racing at Edmonton for the first time don’t necessarily think they will be at a disadvantage.

“It looks like we get plenty of practice, so there’s plenty time to learn the circuit and get up to speed,” said Ryan Briscoe, winner of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 20. “Not being able to go there in advance will be a bigger challenge on the teams that haven’t been as far as setup, gear ratios and all that. I love the challenge of learning a new circuit, and I understand it’s an exciting one.”


Tight turnaround as teams head to Edmonton
It’s a long way to Edmonton, Alberta, no matter how you measure it.

Indianapolis-based IndyCar Series teams’ transport drivers, many of whom left at 7 a.m. July 21, faced a 1,187-mile trip (about 32 hours). Of course, that was after loading up at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington 12 hours earlier.

For Team Penske, the two-leg trip from its Mooresville, N.C., headquarters to Mid-Ohio and then on to the Edmonton City Centre Airport venue is about 2,420 miles as the interstates wind.

“Going from Mid-Ohio to Edmonton, the biggest challenge is geographically,” team manager Tom Wurtz said. “It’s going to take us two days to get there. We will have to do turnaround work on the cars at the track on Wednesday. Normally, we don’t like to do that but given the situation there you have to. We end up using the (Mid-Ohio road course) car and basically rebuild that car with new bits and pieces.”

Team Penske was well-stocked for the 12-day trip -- parts, fluids, lubricants and “lots of paperwork,” Wurtz said.

Read more & Comment...

Star Mazda Replaces Champ Car at PIR
Rounds 4 and 5 of the 12-race 2008 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear take place July 25 – 27 at Portland International Raceway under… unique circumstances.  Not only is the series embroiled in one of the hottest championship battles in recent years with three different winners in the first three races, but, with the Champ Car/IRL unification scrambling the schedule, the Star Mazda Championship becomes the main event at this weekend's Mazda Grand Prix of Portland.

The Star Mazda Championship race at PIR race in 2007 was a rainy affair that saw a first-lap, first-turn accident take out both top qualifiers, including Dane Cameron, who went on to win the 2007 championship.  Rookie Devin Cunningham won splashed his way to victory in the #33 AIM Autosport/Discovery Channel Mazda, followed by Natacha Gachnang and Ron White.

This year’s PIR weekend will be vastly different than any before, and presents a unique opportunity for the Star Mazda Championship to take center stage as the main event of the weekend.  The Mazda Grand Prix of Portland will showcase an extraordinarily diverse variety of racing, including a Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear double-header as well as the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup.  Also on the schedule are the Oregon Brewers Festival, bicycles, drag racing and motocross, as well as a huge ‘cruise in,’ drifting and a ‘time attack.’

The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will race twice, once on Saturday July 26th and again on Sunday July 27th.  On both days the race, featuring the series’ new standing start format, will take place from 2 – 3 pm. 

Read more & Comment...

RLR finds a new side business in racing
Aston Martin DBRS9 reworked by Rahal Letterman Racing
At its essence, the end goal of motorsports is about making a car faster.

And while Rahal Letterman Racing has a myriad of experience in making open-wheel and sports cars go faster – as its 20 wins and 29 poles would attest to – its project to turn a back-of-the-pack Aston Martin DBRS9 into a fearsome speed machine was unlike any challenge it had ever faced.

In making a bold leap toward the burgeoning business of finding speed in high-powered race cars where no one else was able to, this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course RLR engineers and fabricators not only showed they were up to the task, they may have revolutionized the process as the DBR9 stormed to the front of the SPEED World Challenge grid, qualifying and finishing fourth with Tom Milner Jr. at the wheel.

“We have had a lot of success on many different levels of racing since we started this team in 1992,” said RLR co-owner Bobby Rahal. “But to take a car like this that has been off the pace, even though some of the best speed shops in the country have tried to work on it, and to make it faster than it ever has been, is very satisfying to us and could add a new facet to our racing business at Rahal Letterman Racing.”

The reformation of the DBRS9 came to RLR through car owner John Sinders, who campaigned the car in SCCA WC events in 2006. The car ran in five events, earning one top-five finish, but generally suffered at the hands of its rivals, being outpaced by nearly three seconds by the top cars in the field.

Read more & Comment...

A Lap of Rexall Speedway with Carl Skerlong
Carl Skerlong
Carl Skerlong’s need for speed started as a youngster, a two-year old on skis.  By the age of seven he was racing for his local mountain, the Stevens Pass Club just outside of Seattle.   

A specialist in Slalom and Giant Slalom, the four-time Junior Olympic ski racer turned his focus go-karts at the age of 14 and the rest is history.  Heading into this weekend’s double-header at Edmonton, 19 year-old Skerlong is battling for his fourth racing championship, this time the IMSA Atlantic title.  Skerlong’s season is off to a strong start, scoring two podiums in three races, he is currently ranked fifth in the championship.

A lap around Edmonton

Edmonton is truly a one of a kind circuit. It is as high-speed as any other circuit the Atlantic Championship runs on, however it is primarily surrounded with concrete walls. There is no room for error on this beast of a race track.

Heading into turn one, it is extremely hard to find your bearings after sweeping across what seems like a mile wide runway. As you fly through the very fast right hander, you are immediately thrown into a five-turn rhythm section starting off with a nearly flat out 4th gear chicane. You then have a backed right then two speedy lefts in a row, finishing this technical section with a right the throws you straight towards a large white wall.

Next comes the second fastest corner on the track, a bumpy flat out 4th gear right hand sweeper that gives you your first reminder of the track being a temporary circuit. From there you head into a decreasing radius left that takes you to the slowest corner on the track; a low speed double apex right that makes for a prime passing place. All that is left is the long straight away - that is broken in the middle by a 135 mph flat out 5th gear chicane.

This takes you to your second lap around the grueling Rexall speedway.


Ferrari orders probe into lack of pace UPDATE (GMM)  Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo personally chaired the post-race debrief at Maranello on Monday as the Italian team faces claims it has entered a crisis.

"Ferrari alarm," the sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport exclaimed, after the F2008 proved no match for Lewis Hamilton's McLaren at Hockenheim.

"The team from Maranello could only defend and never attack as it suffered its heaviest defeat of the year," the newspaper said.

After another second-rate performance at Silverstone two weeks earlier, Montezemolo said he did not want to see any more "stupid mistakes" as Ferrari tries to retain its crowns of 2007.

The Italian told his country's press on Monday: "We need to understand why we were slower in Germany as never before this year."

07/20/08 Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali was at a loss to explain the team’s lack of pace in the German Grand Prix and said a thorough investigation would be undertaken to understand the reasons for it.

The Italian squad was trounced by McLaren at Hockenheim on Sunday, with Lewis Hamilton winning from pole position while Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen finished third and sixth respectively.

“This was not a good day and there’s no point denying it,” said Domenicali.  Our rivals were stronger than us and we have to work out why, without however getting caught up in nebulous and superficial analysis.

“For the first time this season in a race, we did not have the pace we had expected to run at, with both Kimi and Felipe.

“We suffered constantly from a lack of grip and in the final stages Felipe’s brakes were also overheating, which complicated still further the management of his car.

“The safety car offered us the opportunity to give it another go and, all things considered, I think we made the right choice in terms of strategy.

“But when your pace is inadequate, it is difficult to get a good result.

“We have to work well over the coming days to react in the right manner to return to the level we were at just two races ago.”

[Editor's Note: Michael Schumacher has not been testing for the team lately and they are falling off the pace.  What made the retired champion so great was his ability to communicate with the engineers as to what the car was doing and what it needed.  Last year Schumacher tested more for the team and they won the world title.  This year he tested once in the off-season and the team started the year out strong.  In this area Raikkonen and Massa are inferior, so don't be surprised if Ferrari does invite Schumacher back to test in the near future.  He is their only hope.]


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Winkelhock knows F1 career is over
  • Alonso plays down Piquet podium
  • Brundle muses early retreat for Raikkonen
  • Toyota to discuss Glock rescue with FIA
  • Champions praise Hamilton's German drive

Winkelhock knows F1 career is over
(GMM)  Markus Winkelhock admits his abortive formula one career is now over.

The 28-year-old German, as a Spyker test driver, made his grand prix debut at the Nurburgring last year - and sensationally led a few laps amid the rain chaos - following the demise of regular racer Christijan Albers.

A lack of sponsorship meant he didn't retain the seat full-time, and Winkelhock - whose late father Manfred contested more than 50 grands prix in the 80s - switched to the German touring car series DTM.

To Spox.com, he admits he is not likely to ever return to the grid.

"It was a great experience, but I am a realist," Winkelhock said.  "The DTM is what I am concentrated on for the future.  Formula one, for me, is over.

"I am not really too sad about it.  I am happy with my situation now.  With the experiences and the race I had in formula one, of course it is nice to look back, but with Audi in DTM I'm happier than I was in formula one last year," Winkelhock added.

Alonso plays down Piquet podium
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has played down the impact of his rookie teammate Nelson Piquet's breakthrough podium in the German grand prix.

Team boss Flavio Briatore hailed the 22-year-old Brazilian's "amazing race" at Hockenheim, where the ideal timing of the mid-race safety car turned his one-stop strategy into second place at the checkered flag.

To the Spanish newspaper Diario AS, however, former world champion Alonso made clear Piquet's achievement was "down to luck".

"It was quite a bad weekend for Nelsinho, but suddenly he got a safety car on the best possible lap for him and he is on the podium.

"This is the safety car lottery," Alonso explained, insisting that the R28 is not good enough to be racing to the podium on merit.

"Without luck we can only be aiming for seventh or eighth," he added.

In the newspaper, Alonso also bemoaned the car's lack of general traction, and said the problem only has one remedy.

"Yes, wait for next year's car," he said.

Read more & Comment...

Patrick/Duno 'hissy fit' festers
Danica Patrick and Milka Duno spent another day talking about their pit-road altercation at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but they did not speak to one another.

Patrick seemed to suggest their emotional outburst following a morning practice session Saturday came as a result of not having a relationship with the Venezulean.  I've never spoken to her before," Patrick said after Sunday's Honda Indy 200. "I didn't know what to expect."

Duno got upset that Patrick came to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's pit box to discuss an inability to pass. Tempers flared when Patrick did not heed Duno's request to walk away.

The incident spanned more than a minute and was captured by a photographer who works with Duno.

Patrick shouted obscenities at Duno; the audio did not pick up all of Duno's responses.

Brian Barnhart, the president of competition for the IndyCar Series, has heard Patrick's complaints about Duno, but he does not have plans to take action on the matter, league spokesman John Griffin said Sunday. Indy Star


Priaulx returns to The Race of Champions
Andy Priaulx, dubbed the ‘Schumacher of touring cars’
Andy Priaulx, Britain’s reigning three-times FIA World Touring Car Champion, has signed up to compete at The Race of Champions 2008, when the star-studded event returns to Wembley Stadium on Sunday, December 14.  The announcement comes in advance of the ‘home’ fixture of Priaulx’s season, with the FIA World Touring Car Championship landing on British soil at Brands Hatch this weekend. Priaulx will be looking to repeat last year’s feats around the Kent circuit, where he secured one of his all- important race victories of 2007. 

Dubbed the ‘Schumacher of touring cars’, Priaulx presided over F1 ace Heikki Kovalainen and French WTCC star Yvan Muller in The 2007 Race of Champions before being eliminated in the semi-finals by the man whose sporting pre-eminence he is now seeking to emulate, seven-times F1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher. Guernseyman Priaulx is confident about turning the tables this year should he be paired again with the German maestro: “Michael is a tough competitor and we have a lot of respect for each other but when the lights go out there will be no holding us back. It’s fun, yes, but of course I want to win.”

Read more & Comment...

Night race, no problems as far as Singapore authorities can see 
Singapore Grand Prix officials are confident driver safety concerns such as glare on the track for Formula One's first night race have been adequately addressed.  The novelty value of a night race, as well as the first Grand Prix in Singapore, seems to have caught the imagination of F1 fans, with tickets selling quickly and the circuit expected to be full to its 100,000-plus capacity for the Sept. 28 event.

There has been more reticence among teams and drivers, though, due to understandable worries about the visibility of night driving and the potential danger posed by glare off a wet track under floodlighting. Singapore is subject to regular, at times drenching, rain.

Just how the combination of very powerful floodlighting and a wet track will be handled in the wheel-to-wheel action of cars travelling at 300 kph can not possibly be tested until the event itself - there will be one practice session and qualifying at night before the race - but organizers feel all precautions have been taken.

"Safety is of utmost concern to us, thus great care has been taken to develop a lighting system that is bright enough for night race conditions, and at the same time will not cause any glare for the drivers," race communications director Jonathan Hallett told The Associated Press.

"The lighting projectors have their internal reflectors positioned to specifically light the driver's path on the track.

"In the event of heavy rain, the reflected light from the wet road surface will not cause glare as it will not be reflected into the driver's eyes."

Using 2000-watt lamps, the lighting will generate a sum of 3,180,000 watts and 4200 kelvin degrees - that is four times brighter than normal floodlighting for an outdoor sports event.

The circuit will be fitted with 27 kilometers of optic cable and 110 kilometers of power cables.

The lighting engineers - Italian company Valerio Maioli - tested the system at the Paul Ricard circuit in France in 2007 prior to installing it around Singapore's track, in the Marina Bay area adjacent to downtown. More at AP article


Ferrari to host F1 rules discussion
Ferrari has offered to stage the next round of talks to decide the future technical direction of Formula One, following the FIA's push to slash budgets and make the sport 'greener'.

All ten teams principals have agreed to meet at the Scuderia's Maranello headquarters on 29 July to discuss proposals to cut the level of spending in F1, as well as mull over the latest technical requirements put forward by FIA president Max Mosley, who wrote to the teams earlier this month and issued a three-month deadline for their thoughts, after which the governing body would implement its own ideas. The teams held an interim meeting at the Williams motorhome during last weekend's German Grand Prix, but the main thrust of their thinking is expected to come at the Maranello get-together.

"Not a lot was done, we were trying to get some understanding of what we want to achieve at Maranello," team boss Frank Williams confirmed to Reuters, "There were no real specifics."

Mosley's letter, sent on 3 July, demanded that the teams produce their own suggestions - 'sufficiently detailed to allow precise rules to be drafted' - for the future shape of F1's technical rules by 3 October, covering areas such as reducing costs and improving both fuel efficiency and the spectacle of racing The timing of the Italian meeting is interesting as it comes just two days before entries for next season are closed, and could provide interesting food for thought for those not yet committed to 2009. Toyota team boss John Howett revealed that the Cologne-based operation has yet to pledge itself to next season, and others are thought to be in the same boat.

"All the teams just want to meet together and discuss Max's letter and see if they can find any common ground on a position," Howett explained, "He's written to us, he's given us a very short deadline and probably unrealistic targets, and I think the teams just want to sit down and say 'look, this is possibly the common position from everybody'."  More at Reuters article


ALMS cars as fast as IndyCar
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Let's hear it for Gil de Ferran.  He comes out of racing retirement and wins the ALMS pole position Saturday.  His ALMS Acura posts a time of 1:07.969 (119.596 mph) late Friday that basically mirrors Marco Andretti's 1:07.9102 (119.699 mph) on Friday.  I remember they had almost identical lap times at St. Pete too.  How pathetic is that?  An endurance car is as fast as an IndyCar? 

IndyCar is going to need to get themselves back at the competitive pinnacle of motor sports in North America.  Maybe it is time to deep-six the Dallara.  Just based on lap time comparisons where Champ Car always buried the ALMS lap times on doubleheader weekends, I think a turbo Cosworth DP01 Champ Car might go a bunch faster.  Tim Shaughnessy, Knoxville, TN

Dear Tim, Certainly the IndyCar looks slow.  Champ Car was more potent than an IndyCar, but that series went belly up and there was no way Roger Penske was going to buy all new equipment when the IRL absorbed Champ Car.  So if you want to buy a show car, you could probably pick up a Champ Car for pennies on the dollar. Mark C.

tv news

ESPN's Sprint Cup Coverage Launches with Big Week
The Sprint Cup Series returns to ESPN with a full week of NASCAR-related programming July 21-28, culminating with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 27, at 1 p.m. ET. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is the first of 17 Sprint Cup events on the ESPN networks to close out the 2008 NASCAR season. The first six air on ESPN, with the final 11 on ABC, including all 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. ESPN's coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway includes a live telecast of Sprint Cup qualifying on Saturday, July 26, at 10 a.m., and live coverage of two practice sessions for the Sprint Cup cars on the famed 2.5-mile track, all on ESPN2. ESPN360.com, the signature broadband TV network, and ESPN MobileTV, the company's 24/7 mobile video network, also will simulcast the race, qualifying and the two practice sessions. ESPN Deportes, ESPN's domestic Spanish-language channel, will simulcast the race. Sprint Cup champions will be an integral part of ESPN's coverage team at the Brickyard, including analyst Dale Jarrett who will work with Andy Petree and Dr. Jerry Punch in the booth. Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Tech Center, while pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will feature analysis by Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham, with host Allen Bestwick and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race. ESPN PR

NASCAR Programming Schedule on ESPN Networks July 21-28

Monday, July 21 Noon    1994 Brickyard 400      ESPN Classic 
Monday, July 21 5 p.m.  NASCAR Now      ESPN2 
Tuesday, July 22        3 a.m.  NASCAR Now *    ESPN2 
Tuesday, July 22        Noon    1995 Brickyard 400      ESPN Classic 
Tuesday, July 22        5 p.m.  NASCAR Now      ESPN2 
Tuesday, July 22        7 p.m.  Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears      ESPN 
Wed., July 23  Midnight        NASCAR Now *    ESPN2 
Wed., July 23  Noon    1998 Brickyard 400      ESPN Classic 
Wed., July 23  5 p.m.  NASCAR Now      ESPN2 
Thurs., July 24 Midnight        NASCAR Now *    ESPN2 
Thurs., July 24 Noon    2000 Brickyard 400      ESPN Classic 
Thurs., July 24 5 p.m.  NASCAR Now      ESPN2 
Thurs., July 24 7 p.m.  Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears *    ESPN2 
Friday, July 25 Midnight        NASCAR Now *    ESPN2 
Friday, July 25 Noon    2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard      ESPN Classic 
Friday, July 25 3:30 p.m.      NASCAR Sprint Cup practice      ESPN2 
Friday, July 25 6 p.m.  NASCAR Now      ESPN2 
Friday, July 25 7 p.m.  Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears      ESPN 
Sat., July 26  10 a.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying    ESPN2 
Sat., July 26  12:30 p.m.      NASCAR Nationwide Series practice      ESPN2 
Sat., July 26  2 p.m.  NASCAR Sprint Cup practice      ESPN2 
Sat., July 26  4:30 p.m.      NASCAR Nationwide Series qual.  ESPN2 
Sat., July 26  7:30 p.m.      NASCAR Countdown        ESPN 
Sat., July 26  8 p.m.  NNS at O’Reilly Raceway Park    ESPN 
Sunday, July 27 2 a.m.  Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears *    ESPN2 
Sunday, July 27 3 a.m.  Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears *    ESPN2 
Sunday, July 27 4 a.m.  NNS at O’Reilly Raceway Park *  ESPN2 
Sunday, July 27 10 a.m. NASCAR Now      ESPN2 
Sunday, July 27 1 p.m.  NASCAR Countdown        ESPN 
Sunday, July 27 2 p.m.  Allstate 400 at the Brickyard  ESPN 
Sunday, July 27 10 p.m. NASCAR Now      ESPN2 
Monday, July 28 2:15 a.m.      Allstate 400 at the Brickyard * ESPN2 
Monday, July 28 5 p.m.  NASCAR Now      ESPN2 
* indicates re-air


McLaren denies team orders at Hockenheim
McLaren boss Ron Dennis
(GMM)  McLaren boss Ron Dennis rejected any suggestion Heikki Kovalainen was the victim of team orders during Sunday's German grand prix.

As Hockenheim winner and championship leader Lewis Hamilton made his way back to the front following the mid-race safety car, his Finnish teammate Kovalainen - now a full 30 points behind in the drivers' standings - seemed to pull aside and let his British colleague past.

Hamilton, 23, and Dennis thanked the 26-year-old for his cooperation, but some sections of the German crowd registered their displeasure by whistling -- resurrecting memories of Austria in 2002, when Ferrari's Jean Todt famously required Rubens Barrichello to "let Michael (Schumacher) pass for the championship".

Dennis denied Kovalainen was ordered to cede, which would be a breach of the post-2002 rules.

"The only thing we do is advise our drivers of the respective pace of the other driver," he said.  "They ultimately call it.

"Lewis was nearly one second quicker and when he was told Lewis was quicker he just let him past.  It was a tremendous sporting gesture," Dennis added.

Referring to Kovalainen, he continued: "He knew that was the only way because the longer he would have held up Lewis the more difficult it would have been for him to have regained the lead.  It's what being in a racing team is about.

"True teammates do these things because that's the way they are," said Ron Dennis.


Michelin Become Official Tire Supplier to A1GP
Michelin is to become the exclusive tire partner to A1GP World Cup of Motorsport starting with the 2008/09 season. The French company which has a vast motorsport heritage has signed a three year deal to provide tires for the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car.

Michelin tire technicians have been working hard with the A1GP technical personnel to provide the best possible rubber for the series. Since the Powered by Ferrari car had its first run in Fiorano in late May it has been using the company's tires and has clocked up over 4,000 kilometers on tracks in Italy and Spain.

Feedback from testing, during which A1GP has been able to tap into the vast experience of Andrea Bertolini, Patrick Friesacher and Marc Gene, has been very positive. All drivers commented on the tires' consistency and that they were able to feel the difference between the various sets.

Michelin's involvement in motor racing has always been the result of a careful mixture of passion and reason for numerous decades. A commitment always combined with full responsibility for the design, manufacture and use of products during a competition, as well as the spirit of co-operation with their partners. The tires' technological development therefore results from close co-operation between A1GP and Michelin engineers.

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Quotes of the week
"She came to my team and our pit box in a very bad way with bad words. If you come in a nice way, perfect, we can talk. If you come in a bad way, you are going to find my bad side. I don't like drama, and I told her, 'Go away, you are not welcome.' I don't like the show she likes in every race weekend. She can push the guys because they cannot do anything to her, but she cannot push me. We meet on equal condition (as women), and I know what kind of character I have. I know if somebody pushes me and finds my bad side they are going to get a problem." Milka Duno, IndyCar driver, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, commenting on Danica Patrick confronting her after practice for the Mid-Ohio race

"Finally, something went our way. This is great. What a weekend for Team Penske. It just feels so good to get this win. It's been a rough couple of weeks in the lead-up to here and this one's sweet for sure. There was one point where we fell back in the pack, staying out a bit too long on the (rain tires). I was thinking to myself, 'I know it can be done. I know with Roger calling my strategy, we'll get up the front. If we win this, it's going to be awesome.' And here we are." Ryan Briscoe, IndyCar driver, Team Penske, winner of Mid-Ohio race

“I nailed it this afternoon. When the team told me I had to build a 23-second gap in just seven laps, I knew I had to drive over the limit – and I did. But I knew we had the best car this weekend and felt comfortable pushing hard to make up the gap. In the final stint, I had to work for today’s win. When the Safety Car came out, I questioned whether I should pit but I trusted the team to make the best decision on strategy. It didn’t quite work out, but I knew we had the pace in the car to keep pushing and want to say a big thank you to Heikki, who realized I was quicker I was able to slipstream past Felipe and then thought my work was done, then I had to do it all again to get past Nelson. But I made a couple of textbook moves to get past them both. Everybody in this team has worked so hard to make this victory happen. We mustn’t grow complacent but must feel assured that our efforts are being rewarded. We couldn’t have asked for more today.” Lewis Hamilton, F1 driver, McLaren Mercedes, winner of German GP

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Rossi beats Stoner at Laguna Seca

World Championship leader Valentino Rossi put an end to Casey Stoner’s victory run with a win at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.

Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner in action in Laguna Seca (MotoGP) 

Valentino Rossi added Laguna Seca to his list of conquered tracks on the MotoGP calendar in a breathtaking Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, ending Casey Stoner’s run of wins and garnering an important addition to his points tally heading into the summer break.

In contrast to his comments after Saturday’s qualifying session, Rossi needed neither a gun nor a 30-second head start to stop the man so dominant in practice. Instead he relied on a storming start and his best pace of the weekend to stifle Stoner’s breakaway attempt, presenting himself as the only object between the Australian and a fourth consecutive victory.

A speedy start, some shaky moments and two top caliber riders separated from the rest of the field made for a thrilling race, and the end result of a 33rd victory for Rossi for the factory Yamaha team –equaling his total for previous manufacturer Honda.

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Mid-Ohio Sunday Notebook
Ryan Briscoe motors to victory before a very large Mid-Ohio crowd
Dennis Ashlock/Firestone
Despite two heavy downpours in the morning before the race, a large crowd showed up on Sunday for the IndyCar race.  It was at least 50% larger than Saturday's ALMS attendance.........AutoRacing1.com learned that secret talks were held on Saturday between Subway officials and the IRL with the goal of hammering out a title sponsorship deal for the series.  From what we hear it is very close to being a done deal.  If they were smart, the IRL would suggest to Subway to create a sub-menu of sandwiches named after 6 to 10 drivers.  The AJ Foyt Sandwich could be an overstuffed tummy-buster.  The Danica Patrick sandwich could be the petite/low calorie vegetarian variety.  All kidding aside, this would be a great way to get the drivers names out in front of the public.  To this day open wheel racers suffer an identity crisis compared to NASCAR drivers, many of whom are household names........Many cars were seen leaving before the race was over because the 2-lane roads getting out of the track are inadequate causing massive delays, so they were trying to beat the rush......Jay Howard, Dan Clarke and Jan Heylen were in and around the pits again today looking for rides.  Dan Clarke tells us things are looking pretty good that he will have sponsorship for next year.......Something needs to be done about all the full course caution flags at IndyCar races.  It messes up the flow of the race and forces the fans to watch a boring procession behind the pace car.  Part of the problem is narrow tracks like Mid-Ohio, something you would never see F1 race on.  The narrowness leaves little room for error.  Mark C. reporting from Mid-Ohio


Raikkonen at a loss as to slow pace
Kimi Raikkonen had little to offer in the way of explanation for his lackluster performance throughout the German Grand Prix weekend.

The Finn struggled badly with the handling of his F2008 in qualifying and wound up a disappointing sixth place. The Ferrari driver eventually came home where he started, in sixth place.

“This was definitely not the kind of race we had been hoping for. We have struggled all weekend and we have to try and understand why.”

“Usually, our race pace is always good, but today that was not the case, because I almost always suffered with a lack of grip: only in the final stages did the situation improve a little bit, but it was never enough to be competitive.”

“We have a test in Jerez, where we will try and improve the car so as to arrive in Budapest in better shape. This is definitely not a crisis, but we have to study carefully the handling of the car to understand if we have taken the right road in terms of development.”


Mid-Ohio Indy Lights: Davison wins wet race 2
James Davison won a bizarre Firestone Indy Lights race that had three different drivers lead the final three laps.

A wet course due to heavy rain immediately before the race led to numerous cars going off course throughout the 20-lap race.

Pole sitter Jonny Reid led the first 16 laps before he was passed by Mitch Cunningham. Cunningham led Laps 17-18 but spun off course with two laps to go. Reid was the leader when the white flag flew, but mistakenly headed to pit lane before taking the checkered. Davison, who started seventh, was the beneficiary and claimed his first career victory.

Wade Cunningham finished second, and Pablo Donoso finished third. Richard Antinucci finished 14th and took a one-point lead in the championship over Raphael Matos, who finished 18th.

Results Sunday of the Mid-Ohio 100 Race 2 Firestone Indy Lights event July 20 at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed and reason out (if any) and money earned:

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

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Teams to test slick tires at Jerez
(GMM)  Bridgestone will supply two compounds of 2009-specification slick tires for teams to test next week, F1's official tire supplier confirmed on Sunday.

F1 teams will kick off a four-day test at Spain's Jerez circuit on Tuesday.


Four-Cylinder Vehicles Surpass 50 Percent for First Time
Sales of new cars and light trucks equipped with four-cylinder engines climbed to 51 percent of all new-vehicle sales in June, the highest level on record and the first time four-cylinder products have captured more than half of the market, according to the Power Information Network (PIN).

This rate has jumped five percentage points in just one month. Four-cylinder penetration climbed to almost 80 percent in June in the small crossover and midsize sedan segments, which are two of the largest segments in the industry. In contrast, sales of eight-cylinder vehicles dropped industry-wide to just 13 percent in June, driven in part by a shift to six cylinder powertrains in the large sedan market.

[Editor's Note:  Perhaps the IRL would do well to take a hard look at a turbo-4 instead of a turbo-6 for their new engine.  As for NASCAR, where does that leave them with their large V8s with carburetors?  Answer - out of touch with reality and soon to be out to lunch.]


Hamilton pit strategy not right - Dennis
(GMM)  McLaren boss Ron Dennis on Sunday admitted team strategists made a mistake that could have cost Lewis Hamilton victory at Hockenheim.

While much of the field pitted under the safety car following Timo Glock's violent crash in the middle of the race, leader Hamilton was told to stay on the track.

With a pitstop still to make when the safety car pulled off, Hamilton was told over the radio he had to build a 23-second gap to retain his lead -- in just 7 laps.

"I just kept pushing -- over the limit, pushing and pushing -- but I couldn't find the gap," Hamilton, who established a four point advantage in the drivers' championship with his dominant performance in Germany, told reporters.

After the pitstop, the Briton was let past by his teammate Heikki Kovalainen, and then overtook Ferrari's Felipe Massa and surprise leader Nelson Piquet's Renault.

But when he was behind the safety car, Hamilton admits he questioned McLaren's strategists over the radio.

"I said are you sure about this, and they said fine.  But we all have decisions and opinions and we'll learn from this one and move on," he said.

Dennis, McLaren principal, told British broadcaster ITV1 the team got the call wrong.

"We expected the safety car to come in early.  We thought the race could have started three laps earlier.  You can't get it right all the time," he said.


Germany to 'always' have grand prix - Haug
(GMM)  Norbert Haug, in charge of Mercedes-Benz's formula one activities, has allayed fears the sport might move away from Germany after 2010.

The current scheme, whereby Hockenheim and the Nurburgring annually alternate hosting a single grand prix in the country, is set to end in two years time.

Organizers of this weekend's Hockenheim race expect to lose about 3 million euros, raising rumors that German circuits will soon no longer be able to afford a presence on the calendar.

But Haug told the German news agency SID: "Germany will always have a grand prix.  Anything else is inconceivable."

Five of the active grand prix racers at present are German-born, while two of the involved manufacturers - Mercedes and BMW - are German.


Karun Chandhok wins GP2 sprint race
Karun Chandhok (IND, iSport International) celebrates his victory on the podium with Andreas Zuber (UAE, Piquet Sports) and Bruno Senna (BRA, iSport International)
Karun Chandhok has claimed his first win of the season in race two this morning at the Hockenheimring after soaking up race long pressure from Andreas Zuber, who had Bruno Senna on his rear wing as the checkered flag dropped.

The Indian driver had to briefly relinquish the lead at the start: he made a strong start from pole but was unable to stop Lucas di Grassi's storming run around the outside and into the lead at turn one after the lights went out, but kept his head to hold off fellow front row starter Andy Soucek and Pastor Maldonado, while behind them Michael Herck had a slow start and tapped Luca Filippi into a big spin on the front straight: luckily both cars were out of the way quickly and there was nothing to delay the field when they came back around for the first time.

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F1 team bosses meet at Hockenheim
(GMM) Formula one team bosses met in the Hockenheim paddock on late Saturday afternoon.

In the Williams motor home, together with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, they discussed the ratification of a new Concorde Agreement, and how to respond to Max Mosley's stance about future regulations.

The bosses also resolved to meet again, on 29 July at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters, to discuss the matters in more detail, including Mosley's request for new rules for 2011.

That meeting will take place two days before the FIA's accelerated deadline for teams to lodge an official entry for the 2009 season.

It is understood no team has submitted its entry yet.

skip barber

Daly wins at Barber Motorsports Park
Indeck/Cytomax driver, Conor Daly won round seven of the Skip Barber National Championship at the Grand Am Porsche 250 held at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday July 19th 2008.  It was Daly’s second consecutive Barber National win and his third win overall (having won the Ontario FF1600 race at Mosport). Daly took the lead on lap three and held off California’s Connor De Phillippi and Brazilian, Fabio Orsolon. Daly’s win moved him to within 6 points of the overall Championship lead.


Final Nationwide COT wind tunnel test
Wind-tunnel testing on NASCAR’s car of tomorrow for the Nationwide Series is heading into its final stages, as two manufacturers have been certified aerodynamically, series director Joe Balash said Friday at Gateway International Raceway.

The Dodge and Ford versions of the COT have met NASCAR’s wind-tunnel targets, while the Chevrolet and Toyota still have work to do.

“We’re taking Chevrolet and Toyota back to the wind tunnel,” Balash said. “We still have a little more tweaking to do to hit the target numbers that we have out there.”

Balash said NASCAR still hopes to introduce the new car in late 2009, but that could change, depending on what team owners in the series want. Many owners have indicated they would like the car to be rolled out in 2010.

“That’s still a fluid date right now,” Balash said. “Nothing’s changed between what we’ve talked about before, with August – no earlier than that and no later than the Daytona date.

“We are moving forward with talking with teams and the manufacturers.” More at Captain Thunder Racing


Edwards Claims Second Home Win At Gateway
It took three days for Carl Edwards to get to Gateway International Raceway from his home in Columbia, Mo. – on a bicycle.

Once at the track, however, Edwards picked up his pace considerably for Saturday night’s Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. In the final 55-lap green-flag run, Edwards’ No. 60 Ford streaked away from the No. 20 Toyota of Joey Logano, taking the checkered flag 6.877 seconds ahead of the 18-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing phenom.

“That was unbelievable,” said Edwards, who picked up his second win of the season and the 15th of his career to the delight of a strong contingent of supporters in the grandstands. “It’s unreal. There won’t be a guy tomorrow who has a better day than me. Thank you everybody up in the grandstands. Thanks a lot.”

“The 20 car has been great this year. Racing with them has been a challenge, but a fun one.”

The No. 20 Camry has nine victories this season with four drivers behind the wheel. Logano accounted for one of the wins, at Kentucky.

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Benson, Annett Lead One-Two Toyota Sweep In Kentucky
Johnny Benson made a daring, four-wide pass to take the lead with 32 laps remaining and cruised on to victory Saturday night in the Built Ford Tough 225 Craftsman Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Benson was third behind Bill Davis Racing Toyota teammate Michael Annett and Dennis Setzer for the restart on Lap 119 of 150 on the 1.5-mile track. Chad Chaffin was the top truck a lap down on the inside.

“I had a tremendous run off Turn 2 and got alongside the 18 (Setzer),” Benson said. “We both had good runs on the 22 (Annett), and we made a made dash to the corner (Turn 3). I expected (Setzer) to turn left, and he did and I had to turn left. I had the best spot.

“This track is extremely difficult to pass on. I think we had one of the few trucks able to hug the bottom, and that was a key to winning.”

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Jimmie Johnson Wins Best Driver ESPY UPDATE A reminder that the ESPY Awards will be aired on Sunday night, July 20, 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm ET on ESPN.

07/17/08 The 2008 ESPYs – WINNERS


ARTHUR ASHE COURAGE AWARD: John Carlos and Tommie Smith, 1968 Olympic medalists
JIMMY V AWARD FOR PERSEVERANCE: Kevin Everett, former Buffalo Bills TE
BEST COMEBACK: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers


BEST FEMALE ATHLETE: Candace Parker, Tennessee Basketball/Los Angeles Sparks
BEST MALE ATHLETE: Tiger Woods, Golf
BEST MOMENT: “Great Sportsmanship” (Central Washington University’s Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace, Western Oregon University’s Sara Tucholsky)

BEST TEAM: Boston Celtics
BEST COACH/MANAGER: Pat Summitt, Tennessee Women’s Basketball
BEST GAME: New York Giants over New England Patriots at the Super Bowl
BEST PLAY: New York Giants Eli Manning’s pass to David Tyree at the Super Bowl
BEST FINISH: Western Kentucky over Drake in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, winning on a buzzer beater by Ty Rogers

BEST UPSET: New York Giants over New England Patriots at the Super Bowl
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ATHLETE: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
BEST MALE COLLEGE ATHLETE: Tim Tebow, Florida Football
BEST FEMALE COLLEGE ATHLETE: Candace Parker, Tennessee Basketball
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE WITH A DISABILITY: Shay Oberg, Softball (Montana State-Billings)


BEST BASEBALL PLAYER: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
BEST NBA PLAYER: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
BEST WNBA PLAYER: Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm
BEST NFL PLAYER: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
BEST NHL PLAYER: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
BEST MLS PLAYER: David Beckham, Los Angeles Galaxy
BEST MALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE: Shaun White, Skateboarding/Snowboarding
BEST FEMALE ACTION SPORT ATHLETE: Gretchen Bleiler, Snowboarding
BEST DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson
BEST FIGHTER: Floyd Mayweather, Boxing
BEST GOLFER: Tiger Woods
BEST JOCKEY: Kent Desormeaux
BEST OUTDOOR ATHLETE: Captain Scott Smiley, Mountain Climber


HUMMER “LIKE NOTHING ELSE” AWARD: George Martin walks across America

UNDER ARMOUR UNDENIABLE MOMENT: Warner Robins, Georgia beats Tokyo to win the Little League World Series Championship Game with a Dalton Carriker walk-off home run in the bottom of the 8th inning (extra innings)

tv news

Duncan Dayton to appear on FOX Business News UPDATE A reminder that this program will be aired on Monday morning, July 21, 10:00 am - 11:30 am ET.

Duncan Dayton (C) with his two drivers David Brabham (L) and Scott Sharp
Duncan Dayton, founder and president of Patr¢n Highcroft Racing, will appear with host Brian Sullivan on Fox Business News at 10 a.m. ET on Monday, July 21. Dayton will discuss how he built the team, campaigned the Acura in its inaugural foray in motorsports and brought the business to where it is today. He’ll also talk about last weekend’s historic race in Lime Rock Park, a race that brought Patr¢n Highcroft Racing and Acura its first overall American Le Mans Series victory with drivers David Brabham and Scott Sharp.

Could that also include highlights of a second straight win at Mid-Ohio? It’s a home game for Acura this weekend.

FOX Business Network is a 24-hour financial news service that launched in October of 2007. The network covers business news on a local, regional and international level. Fox Business Network is owned by News Corp. This network broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Driving Force 
4:00am-4:30am (R) -Dad to the Rescue
4:30am-5:00am (R) -The Rival A&E
Check local listings for your time zone
NHRA Raceday Seattle 
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
GP2 Series Germany 
11:00am-12:30pm SPEED
American Le Mans Series Acura Sports Car Challenge Mid-Ohio
12:00pm-2:30pm (7/19/08) NBC
Formula 1 Pre-Race Show Germany 
12:30pm-1:00pm SPEED
Superbike World Championship Czech Republic
1:00pm-2:00pm (SD) -Race 1
2:00pm-3:00pm (SD) -Race 2 SPEED
Formula 1 German Grand Prix
1:00pm-3:00pm (SD) FOX Sports
IndyCar Honda Indy 200 Mid-Ohio
1:30pm-4:00pm (L) ABC
The Goodwood Revival Meeting UK
3:00pm-4:00pm (R) -Part 1 Discovery HD Theater
Check local listings for your time zone
Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 Birmingham
3:00pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix Laguna Seca
5:00pm-6:00pm (L) CBS
AMA Supersport Laguna Seca 
6:00pm-7:00pm (7/19/08) SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Confidential 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
David Ragan (NASCAR)
David Hobbs (F1 Anchor) 
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NHRA Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals Seattle
9:00pm-12:00am (SD) ESPN2
ESPY Awards
9:00pm-11:00pm ET ESPN
AMA Superbike Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix Laguna Seca
10:00pm-11:00pm (SD) SPEED

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

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