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Champ Cars to test at Road America Champ Cars to test at Road AmericaUPDATE #3 Notice the new bend and kink at Turn 11. The sharp, temporary left-hander, then right-hander at Turn 11 may have been removed. Click Road America map for a track map.

07/27/06   Race fans are invited to attend a free Road America Champ Car Fan Appreciation Day, Friday, August 4, 2006. Spectators will be able to watch a field of 13 Champ Car drivers test for September's Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America. Gate 1 will be open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. with testing ending at 5:00 p.m. A free autograph session will be held at noon at each team's transporter and concessions will be available for purchase in the paddock.

Drivers attending the open test day include:
1 Sebastien Bourdais  Newman/Haas Racing
2 Bruno Junqueira Newman/Haas Racing
3 Paul Tracy  Forsythe Championship Racing
4 Nelson Philippe CTE Racing HVM
6 Oriol Servia  PKV Racing
7 A.J. Allmendinger Forsythe Championship Racing
9 Justin Wilson  RuSPORT
10 Cristiano da Matta RuSPORT
11 or 19  Jan Heylen or Mario Dominguez Dale Coyne Racing
14 Dan Clarke  CTE Racing HVM
18 Tonis Kasemets Rocketsports
20 Katherine Legge PKV Racing

A bonus ticket promotion will be held in conjunction with the fan day. People who purchase advance tickets to the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America, while attending the test day, will be entered in a drawing to win Champ Car Fanatic prizes including race day passes for the hot grid, starter's bridge and winner's circle. The grand prize is a Champ Car FANatic Package: accommodations and waterpark passes for a family of four at Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, a Road America merchandise package, and four fast-lap pace car rides.

People who have purchased Champ Car Grand Prix tickets prior to the Fan Appreciation Day will also be entered in the drawing for prizes.

The Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America, September 22-24, is a three-day festival of speed featuring Champ Car Series, the Champ Car Atlantics Series, the Rotax Kart Challenge, and the Aprilia Supermoto Shoot-Out. An OktoberFAST Celebration will be held throughout the event, with German food, beer and entertainment enhancing the Champ Car weekend festivities.

Located in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, one hour north of Milwaukee, Road America is a 628-acre, year-round motorsports facility which celebrated its 50th year in 2005. In addition to major race events, Road America offers the Suzuki Supermoto School, corporate ATV and karting programs, and top-of-the-line hospitality.

Special promotions are held throughout the year and can be found on-line. For more information visit www.roadamerica.com or call 800/365-7223.

07/26/06 FAN APPRECIATION DAY – August 4th

8am – 5pm – FREE Admission through Gate 1.

Concessions available for PURCHASE at St. John’s in the paddock

FREE Noon Champ Car Autograph session at their transporters with drivers (between 13-15 drivers will be here)

The 4-Mile Merchant will be open during the day as well.

Fans will enter Gate 1 and proceed to the left to the Tunnel for parking – they will be able to enter the paddock area through the tunnel only.  Gate one will be staffed for greeting fans and CCWS sales as well as the booth near the tunnel for questions and information

07/08/06 15 of 18, and possibly more, Champ Cars will test at Road America in a Champ Car sanctioned test on August 3rd and 4th.  Champ Car will return to Road America in September after missing a year and we hear they may race in August in 2007, possibly in a doubleheader with ALMS.  At least one of the two test days will be open to the public.
MSR Houston Racing School backs Ranger MSR Houston Racing School backs RangerThe MSR Houston Racing School has agreed to a sponsorship deal with the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team for this weekend’s Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose Presented by Taylor Woodrow. The MSR Houston Racing School logo will be featured on the #27 car driven by Andrew Ranger.

“MSR Houston Racing Schools are proud to sponsor the #27 Mi-Jack Conquest Race Car,” said Ben Moores of the MSR Houston Racing School. “The Conquest Team has always worked with young drivers and helped them develop and grow in Champ Car. At our racing school we develop young drivers who want to make it to the big leagues so it is a natural fit for us to become one of their partners. We would also like to wish Andrew and the whole Team good luck this weekend in San Jose.”

Eric Bachelart, co-owner of the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team is also pleased to have MSR Houston on board for the weekend, “it is always a testament to us as a team when a new sponsor joins our family and shows their support toward our organization, and we hope that this partnership may continue to grow in the future.”

MSR Houston has Racing and High Performance Driving Schools that run year round. They also have a team of qualified instructors that help develop more competitive racers or that help simply turn people into better drivers. The facility at MSR Houston contains a 2.38 mile road course with 17 turns that is reconfigurable to accommodate different events or needs.

Edmonton win gives Pagenaud some breathing room Edmonton win gives Pagenaud some breathing roomIndianapolis, IN —With six front row starts in the first eight rounds of the 2006 Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season, it was only a matter of time before French racer Simon Pagenaud converted his blistering qualifying speed into a race victory.
Indeed, Pagenaud’s time came last weekend in the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick, as he crossed the finish line more than ten seconds ahead of fellow championship contender Graham Rahal to score his first Atlantic victory and grow his lead in the championship standings.
“This feels fantastic,” said Pagenaud. “My car was the strongest this weekend and I wanted to win because it's not every weekend you can have this kind of car. I am very happy for Team Australia and of course this is very good for the championship.”
Pagenaud put an exclamation point on his first win by setting the fastest lap of the race and scoring an extra championship point for the feat.
“I want to thank Derrick Walker and everyone with Team Australia who is working so hard on this program, because everyone from the mechanics to the engineers to the team manager is giving all their effort,” said Pagenaud. “We are a strong team and everyone here is determined to win the championship.” zzzz
The Team Australia pilot once again impressed on a track that he’d never seen before, scoring his fourth Friday pole of the season on the fast Edmonton layout to secure a front-row starting position. Pagenaud got a good jump at the start, and was in the right place at the right time as he pressured race-leader Raphael Matos into a mistake to take the lead.
“I couldn't really pass Matos,” said Pagenaud. “I was trying and I was damaging my front tires. So, I backed up a little bit and I set the fastest lap at this time. I tried to push him a little bit more and he made this mistake. I was not expecting this mistake at this time, but it was good for me because I was able to go even faster when he was not in front of me.”
The race pace was hectic, setting a new Edmonton record for a thirty-six lap event on the temporary airport-based track.
Pagenaud will be looking to keep his momentum up this weekend as the Atlantics visit San Jose, California for the Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose Presented by Taylor Woodrow for round nine.
With an eighteen-point lead in the championship and four rounds of Atlantic competition remaining in the season, Pagenaud knows that now is not the time to let up, as he is determined to see his name on the Championship trophy, not to mention wanting to see it on the $2 million dollar check that will go to the champion’s Champ Car World Series 2007 effort.
“My main focus is winning the championship, but of course as a racer, you want to win every race,” said Pagenaud. “I knew that if I was consistently at the front, that a win would come, so I will just try to keep up the pressure in the next rounds and hopefully keep moving closer to the championship.”
Simon Pagenaud 2006 results:
Long Beach Qual: 2nd Race: 4th
Houston Qual: 4th Race: 2nd
Monterrey Qual: 2nd Race: 2nd
Portland Qual: 2nd Race: DNF/contact
Cleveland 1 Qual: 2nd Race: 2nd
Cleveland 2 Qual: 1st Race 5th
Toronto Qual: 15th Race: 4th
Edmonton Qual:2nd Race:1st 
Top-5 in points:
Simon Pagenaud (R) 187
Andreas Wirth 169
Graham Rahal (R) 163
Jonathan Bomarito (R) 140
David Martinez (R) 113
TV News
Andretti 3 to highlight Indy 500 Andretti 3 to highlight Indy 500Marco Andretti's first Indianapolis 500 will be highlighted in this weekend's episode of Andretti 3, the reality series chronicling the third-generation driver's rookie season in the IndyCar Series. The episode airs at noon (EDT) Sunday on ESPN2. . Danica Patrick will appear on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" and "The Dan Patrick Show" on July 28. Check your local listings for the ESPN Radio affiliate in your area.
Andretti returns to where it all began Andretti returns to where it all beganThe Andretti family, which will be represented by third-generation driver Marco Andretti, has also enjoyed success at MIS with Mario and Michael combining for five victories at the 2-mile oval. Marco Andretti drove an IndyCar Series car for the first time during a private test at Michigan International Speedway.

"Back then I didn't know how I would stack up, so I definitely had an open mind about things," Marco Andretti said. "I'm looking forward to getting back up there. If there's a place for Andretti Green Racing to get back in Victory Lane, it's definitely at Michigan International Speedway." IRL

Hornish honored by hometown Hornish honored by hometownIndianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. was honored by his hometown of Defiance, Ohio with a parade and rally on July 26.

Commemorative banners attached to light posts flapped in the mid-summer evening breeze. Downtown merchants' windows were painted with replicas of Hornish's distinctive No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske car and congratulatory messages. A DVD of the final 30 laps of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," in which Hornish made a dramatic pass on the frontstretch to win by a car-length, was being looped through a television in another store window.

Thousands mingled on sidewalks and craned their necks out second-floor windows during the 40-unit parade of custom cars, marching bands, Shriners and even the Gordon Pipers. When the Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car of the 90th Indianapolis 500 -- with Sam Hornish Sr. driving and his son atop the rear seat -- passed, children waved miniature checkered flags and cameras recorded the moment. zzzz

An hour later, it appeared half of Defiance County congregated in a parking lot of Northtowne Mall for welcome remarks, thank yous and the unveiling of a more permanent recognition.

"Sam Hornish Jr. Day" might have been bigger in scope and civic pride than when President Dwight D. Eisenhower attended ceremonies for the laying of the Defiance College Library cornerstone on Oct. 14, 1953.

"He keeps putting Defiance on the map," Ron Nagley said of Hornish, who is in contention for his third IndyCar Series championship.

"He's still a small-town guy," said Erick McCoy of Defiance, who attended the 500-Mile Race on May 28.

Even a family from Washington State was in attendance at the rally, holding a sign that read, "We drove 2,208 miles to support Sam," which Hornish noted in his brief remarks to the crowd that spurned umbrellas during intermittent sprinkles. T-shirts reading "Samtastic" and "Sam Hornish Jr.; NW Ohio's Hometown Hero" also caught the champion's eye.

"I love Northwest Ohio and being back here as much as I can," he said to a thunderous cheer. "I have a huge number of fans who have followed my career from the beginning, and I thank you for that. You're a large part of my success.

"Sometimes at the races, I'm the driver who gets a bigger cheer during introductions than Danica (Patrick). That makes me so proud and the other guys jealous."

Residents of Defiance, Archbold (where he graduated high school) and Napoleon (where he and wife Crystal live) have followed and supported Hornish since he began making a name in the karting ranks. Bus loads of "Sam Supporters" annually attend the IndyCar Series race at Michigan International Speedway, and more than 300 fans will watch the Firestone Indy 400 this weekend.

Defiance Mayor Bob Armstrong, who unveiled a granite monument recognizing Hornish's achievement in May, said community spirit was displayed in organizing Sam Hornish Jr. Day.

"If you take a look at our community, something like this wouldn't surprise you," said Armstrong, who told the audience the monument would be placed in a city park. "In a happy occasion you see everyone turn out, and in a sad occasion everybody turns out. When we said let's have a parade, everyone came together to make this the best we can."

Even the Batmobile - the 1966 vehicle that Adam West drove in the campy TV series - was included in the parade, courtesy of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Indiana. "From one Superhero to another, congratulations Sam," a sign read.

"It's been a whirlwind, but it's one of the things that comes with winning the Indy 500 so I've enjoyed it all," Hornish said in a rare quiet moment. "I try to be a normal guy when I'm at home and live my life like anybody else. It's kind of different for me to sit up there and have all these people waving and stuff. I'm really honored that they wanted to do all the things they have done for me.

"The community has always been a big part of coming to my races and my life outside Northwestern Ohio. It's been a tremendous experience, and if they have more stuff to do the second time around I'd be more than happy to do it." IRL

Penske's IRL profit center Penske's IRL profit centerDon't expect to see Roger Penske moving his IndyCar team out of the IRL anytime soon.  It seems his Ilmor company, which does rebuilds and other work for all the IRL engines is a nice exclusive business, that in Roger Penske style, is probably turning a nice tidy profit.  Some think it may be generating enough revenue that when the Marlboro sponsorship goes away per the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, it will sustain his IndyCar team indefinitely.  Therefore, if you are Roger Penske, would you want a merger of the IRL and Champ Car that could possibly disrupt this nice profit center?

With that said, credit must go to this typical well run Penske organization that, through excellent quality control, produces highly reliable IndyCar engines.  So reliable in fact that there was not a single failure during the entire month of May at Indy. 

This Detroit Free Press article talks about what Ilmor is doing for Honda and the IRL with regard to engines.

Drivers out of loop on merger hang-up Drivers out of loop on merger hang-upIn this MLive.com article, IRL driver Bryan Herta makes it clear that the drivers on both sides of the Champ Car/IRL merger talks are out of the loop when it comes to the hang-ups preventing a merger of the two series.

Late last month, Champ Car World Series head Kevin Kalkhoven and Indy Racing League founder Tony George made what many hope will be the first step toward unifying open-wheel racing in the United States.

According to published reports, the two series leaders agreed to an ownership-sharing deal. But as Fred Nation, a spokesman for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, told ESPN.com on June 25, "it's still not resolved who would own what."

So much for a quick resolution to a decade-long problem.
A merger, IRL driver and Firestone Indy 400 defending champion Bryan Herta said, cannot come soon enough to energize open-wheel racing.

Having two rival open-wheel racing series is simply not working for either organization. Neither Champ Car nor the 10-year-old IRL have been able to put much of a dent into NASCAR's dominance of the American racing scene in recent years.

Champ Car -- formerly CART -- and the IRL have raced separately since 1996.

"I couldn't put in strong enough words how important I think it would be for a unified open-wheel series," Herta said. "It's the crucial first step to getting the sport back to where it was.

"I'm one of the older guys. My first year was 1994, before the split. I remember what Indy car was like. It was a lot better."

Herta said that drivers and crew guys -- just about everyone in the sport -- made more money then. More....

Rahal comments on Champ Car/IRL quotes Rahal comments on Champ Car/IRL quotes"Given the confusion that seems to exist surrounding some comments made during the Edmonton weekend, I think it best to clarify.

  "First, I do not speak on behalf of nor do I know the future racing strategies of either Penske Racing or Target Chip Ganassi Racing.  

"Any comments about the likelihood of such changes by RLR were made in the context of the discussion of a reconciliation in open wheel racing vs. other forms of racing.  

"Rahal Letterman Racing has, and we have previously confirmed, a multi-year agreement with Ethanol regarding its participation in the IRL IndyCar Series. RLR, as previously stated, intends to compete in the IRL IndyCar Series with multiple entries in 2007 and beyond.  

"Discussions about the future of Graham Rahal and whichever series he intends to compete in the future are a completely separate issue from those of Rahal Letterman Racing." --Bobby Rahal--
Steve Wallace plans full Busch season Steve Wallace plans full Busch seasonSteve Wallace said this week that he plans to run the entire NASCAR Busch Series next season, as well as eight more Busch races this year and a handful of ARCA events as well. “I am going to run full time for next year, so (I’m) real excited about that,” Wallace said. The youngster, who drives for this famous father, Rusty, said how he does at the track also sets his mood at home. “Well, when you run bad or when you run good it just all depends,” Steve Wallace said. “Mom is real big on cooking. We have dinner every night. We sit down at the table and talk about stuff. So if I run bad and look like an idiot, he (Rusty) makes me feel like one. But if I run good, I'll kind of the superstar at the house. So it's definitely a real mood-setting-type deal.” Speed Channel
Marlin-Nemechek to stay at MB2 - looking to expand Marlin-Nemechek to stay at MB2 - looking to expandNew MB2 Motorsports owner Bobby Ginn said Wednesday that drivers #14-Sterling Marlin and #01-Joe Nemechek will stay on, and he hopes to give them a pair of teammates next season. "We won't have any major restructuring this year," said Ginn, who purchased the Mooresville, N.C.-based Nextel Cup team from Nelson Bowers, one of the co-founders in 1996 [see full PR and story below]. "Our focus will be on next year, when we will strive to become a four-car team." Ginn said he will add some new equipment this year in preparation for next year's big expansion. He said NASCAR's "Car of Tomorrow," which is scheduled to debut next season, will make all models more alike and level the playing field. Jay Frye, who will remain the team's chief operating officer, said the sale will end speculation about the team's future and make it easier to secure sponsors for next season. Tennessean
Reminder: Champ Car unveiling webcast Reminder: Champ Car unveiling webcast 
Link to information about the live webcast:
German GP: Thursday press conference German GP: Thursday press conferenceParticipating: Nick Heidfeld (Sauber BMW), Nico Rosberg (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota). Transcript
Lazier back in at Michigan Lazier back in at MichiganDreyer and Reinbold Racing will indeed race at Michigan International Speedway. Buddy Lazier returns to the seat of the #5 Escort Radar Detectors car.

“My goal when I came to this team has been to help them get more competitive, and I really hope we can build on some of the positive steps we made at Kansas,” said Lazier the 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner who qualified a season best seventh at the Kansas Speedway.

The other driver change for Michigan will be the addition of Marty Roth and his Roth Racing entry. Roth, 47, is a Canadian businessman that has been racing for decades, including various IndyPro Series races over the past few years and the 2004 and 2005 Indianapolis 500's. His best finish was 24th in 2004.

Midland looking for engine supplier Midland looking for engine supplierThe MF1 Racing team currently is running with Toyota's customer engines. This morning Toyota announced it would supply its customer engines to Williams next season. The announcement didn't come as a big surprise but it does mean Midland needs to look out for a new engine deal.

"It's no secret that we won't run the Toyota engines next year," Kolles told F1Racing.net. And thus Kolles will have to search for an engine to power their cars with. "There are enough possibilities out there for us, I'm not worried. We hope that we can make an announcement very soon."

There are several players on the market that are willing to supply a customer engine to Midland. A possible new engine supplier for the team could be Renault or Cosworth. F1Racing.net

Webber says Toyota deal will help team Webber says Toyota deal will help teamMark Webber says Williams should be “a lot more competitive” in 2007 after securing a Toyota engine supply contract.

“To be on top is hard; to be a lot more competitive is easier, should be a lot more straightforward," he told reporters at Hockenheim.

“To be consistently on top is not a five-minute job.”

Williams’ current engine supplier, Cosworth, used its V8 expertise to produce one of the most powerful engines on the Formula 1 grid this year.

“Cosworth have always had the brains, it’s just the resources at this level sometimes can be a bit tough for them,” Webber said.

“It’s nothing against their quality of material, it’s just that they don’t have the bank like Toyota has.”

American built Champ Car to feature unique paint scheme American built Champ Car to feature unique paint schemeINDIANAPOLIS – The new Panoz DP 01 Champ Car that will carry the Champ Car World Series into 2007 and beyond will feature a paint scheme befitting its status as the Future of Racing as a design from renowned racing artist Troy Lee will adorn the car at the July 28 unveiling ceremony in San Jose.

The legendary designer made his name in the world of motorsports by creating revolutionary paint schemes for the helmets of many of the world’s top racers. Now Lee and his crew will undertake the task of designing an entire car for the first time however, as they tackle the new-look Panoz DP 01 that will be the exclusive chassis of the 2007 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

"This was a great project for us.  We love to push the envelope with everything we do and developing the design for the new Champ Car really allowed us to explore new colors and showcase some innovative techniques," said Lee.  The car itself is a high tech machine that just screams speed and we feel that the paint scheme really brings it to life and truly captures everything that the car represents."

The car features the latest in Planet Color technology from Sherwin-Williams, the Official Automotive Finishers of the Champ Car World Series, and was completed by PKV Racing brushman Jason Smith and Team Australia painter Scott Turner  .

The first Champ Car in seven years to be constructed in the United States, the Panoz DP01 will feature cutting-edge technologies in aerodynamics and chassis design, providing the world’s best drivers with a new car that will run better in traffic and will be less affected by cars around them. These advancements are designed to produce closer racing and more passing opportunities for the fans that follow the Champ Car World Series around the world. zzzz

“We are very excited about having someone of Troy Lee’s status providing the paint scheme for our new car at the launch,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “This car represents the future of open-wheel racing in this country and it is only fitting that such an advanced race car carries a paint scheme from one of the leading designers in the sport.”

The new DP01 Champ Car will be unveiled to the public July 28 in a ceremony at San Jose City Hall. Tickets for the charity function surrounding the launch are available for purchase, while Champ Car will provide a live webcast from the event on the official website of the series, www.champcar.ws.

Liz Halliday: In her own words Liz Halliday: In her own wordsBRASELTON, Ga. – Following three wins, a second place and two thirds in the opening six races of the 2006 American Le Mans Series, Liz Halliday’s attention now turns to a pivotal stretch of the season. Four races remain for Halliday and her co-drivers, Jon and Clint Field, in the No. 37 Intersport Lola.

After running three events during July, the Series will draw breath and next be in action August 18-20 for the Generac 500 at Road America. During this slight break in her driving schedule, but not in her other pursuits (Liz also is an international equestrian), the winningest female driver in Series history (six victories) took the time to reflect on the first half of the sports car season.

Question: All in all, are you happy with how the first portion of the season has unfolded for you and the team?

Answer: By and large, yes. Getting the LMP2 win at Sebring was a huge confidence-builder for all of us. Winning that race over the 12-hour period proved that our car had the durability you need to win out here.

Q: At the end of 2005, Porsche debuted the first of its LMP2 cars with Roger Penske managing the team. What was your initial reaction?

A: The more top-of-the-line manufacturers we can attract into the Series, the better it is for all of us. We knew from the start that we could not match either of their cars in terms of flat-out speed. Where we could compete, however, was in our ability to finish races.”

Q: The Penske cars have won an overall race (Mid-Ohio) and led in several others, and some feel it is the equivalent of an LMP1 car.

A: I would not want to speak for them, but their stated goal has been to win as many LMP2 victories as they can, and I think they are sincere in that belief. Lucas (Luhr) and Sascha (Maassen) are both champion drivers. They are tough to beat no matter what car they might be in.  zzzz

Q: You ended July with a come-from-behind win at Portland. Explain how it came about?

A: Both Porsches showed early speed. But the No. 7 car got tangled up with Duncan Dayton’s prototype and needed extensive repairs. That allowed us to move up to second position. Then with about 15 minutes to go in the race, the No. 6 blew its engine and now it was up to us to take advantage.

Q: When Luhr went out, you were in the car. What did the team tell you on the radio?

A: Just the normal lap information followed by the fact that I was running in first place! After that I was just told to keep the car on course, and not do anything too risky that would jeopardize a win.

Q: Of the three wins so far, which was more satisfying: Sebring or Portland?

A: You can’t categorize winning. Sebring was great because it set a tone. When the Porsches came on the scene, a lot of people thought we might not win again. Both Sebring and Portland were gratifying from the standpoint that we had a reliable car, managed to avoid trouble, and came home first in class.

Q: Intersport and Porsche are currently locked in a tight battle in the LMP2 points race. How do you see that playing out?

A: We are, and I hope we will continue to be all the way to the final event at Laguna Seca in October. All of us at Intersport have a lot of respect for the team that Penske/Porsche has put together. At the same time, I hope they have the same respect for us.

Q: How has your driving improved from last year to this?

A: I believe I get better from race to race, but there are still some rough spots along the way. At Salt Lake City, I thought my first stint (to open the race) was one of my poorest as I always have very high standards for myself. Jon pulled me aside and said, ‘We all know you can do better,’ and put me back in the car for the finish of the race. That meant a lot. I’ve only been driving this type of car for about a year and I’m improving all the time, but I’m competing against some of the best drivers in the world and I try to learn from each of them as I go along.

Q: At Portland, you “debuted” as a CBS reporter during a feature segment. How did that go?

A: It was a lot of fun. Television commentary is something I want to pursue career-wise and the more experience I can get now, the better. My job was just to talk to the other drivers about some fun topics that were a bit different than the average interview, racing or non-racing. I think I came off OK!

Q: What will you be doing between now and the next race at Elkhart Lake?

A: I’ll be concentrating mostly on my horses and eventing in England. I left the States the day after Portland, and for the most part, I’ve just been working my horses out in preparation for several events in early August. It will be good to spend a couple weeks focusing on my horses consistently, but I also think that I’ll be more than ready to get back in the car by mid-August. It’s going to be a fight to the finish in our class and I’m greatly looking forward to being in the middle of it.

The Generac 500 at Road America, Round 7 of the 2006 American Le Mans Series, is scheduled for 2 p.m. CDT on Sunday, August 20. The race will be televised live by SPEED at 3 p.m. EDT, and MotorsTV will broadcast the race live to Europe from 9 p.m. to midnight CET. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

No vacation for Gordon No vacation for GordonRobby Gordon, taking every opportunity to get back to his roots of off-road racing, will participate in this weekend’s SCORE International Desert Series Off-Road Race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) Dirt Track.

Held July 27th through 29th while the majority of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series regulars take the weekend off, Gordon will race his No. 83 Red Bull/Toyo Tires-sponsored Chevy CK1500 Trophy Truck around the 1.5-mile course designed specifically for this uniquely fan-friendly event.   With almost 90 percent of the track viewable from the over 12,000-seat grandstand area, Gordon and the other competitors will tangle on the man-made course in front of a packed house.

Gordon will be filling in for the No. 83 Chevy’s driver of record, Andy McMillin, who competes in the truck for the majority of the six-race season.   For more information, please visit scorelasvegas.com or call (818) 225-8402.

“This is a great race for the fans,” said the 37 year old Gordon.  “The track is almost completely viewable from the stands and it gives the fans an opportunity to see these trucks perform.  Usually we are out in the middle of the desert racing, so this is a great chance for fans to see what these trucks can really do up close.  I haven’t been in the truck since the Baja 500 back in June and I am really looking forward to getting some seat time in my Trophy Truck. 

“Thanks to great sponsors like Red Bull and Toyo Tires, I am able to get a chance to go back to my roots and get a little dirty.”

Rahal was the last to know Rahal was the last to knowIRL rookie Jeff Simmons, Danica Patrick's Rahal Letterman Racing teammate, indicated Danica's decision to leave for AGR caught team principal Bobby Rahal off guard.

"In a way, we were kind of the last to know," Simmons said. "Bobby has been with her from the beginning, bringing her up in [Formula] Atlantics and all that, so I thought that she would try to stick it out through the bad times."

Meanwhile, Simmons said that while he is not sure if he will return to the Ethanol-sponsored Dallara/Honda in 2007, Rahal and partner David Letterman are planning a two-car operation (down from three) next year. Star Telegram

GP2 series gears up for final flurry GP2 series gears up for final flurryUnder glorious skies and amidst blistering heat, the GP2 series is preparing itself for a back-to-back double-header of races beginning in Hockenheim, Germany, this weekend as the 2006 season reaches its final third. With seven events behind us, just four now remain before the champions will be crowned at Monza. The drivers’ championship is still wide open, and with four very different circuits facing our boys over the following weeks, it is still anyone’s title.

Chasing Rainbows: There’s a chance of rain this weekend, a big chance… apparently. The heat wave which has struck at the heart of the European summer looks set to break at any moment here in Germany with forecasters predicting, in their traditionally open-ended style, that we should be expecting thunder storms, light rain and / or heavy rain, at absolutely any point over the course of the weekend. In other words, nobody knows what the weather’s going to do, but everyone is hoping, beyond hope, that the temperature drops. zzzz

For the 26 drivers of the GP2 series however, come rain or shine, this weekend promises to be a fantastic contest. Hockenheim last year saw Nico Rosberg take his first Saturday win for ART Grand Prix, and after a stunning race on Sunday the eventual champion came close to taking the first ever double win in a weekend. It was not to be though, and he spun trying to pass Giorgio Pantano as Olivier Pla took his second Sunday win in a row. What was evident however, was that this Hockenheim track was perfectly suited to creating epic GP2 series races.

And after the thrilling encounters we were treated to in Magny-Cours last time out, there seems no reason why such a tantalizing feast of racing should not be presented before us once again this weekend. The men on the money right now are Timo Glock and Alex Prémat. Timo, winner of race one in Magny-Cours, will be racing in front of his home crowd this weekend, and will be running high on confidence. Alex, too, is bubbling over with enthusiasm after two hard-fought and fruitful races on his home track in France, while his team-mate Lewis Hamilton suffered a comparatively poor weekend. Nelson Piquet Jr, Lewis’ main rival, had a much better weekend in France, as did Giorgio Pantano who took his first GP2 series win in race two, and all these drivers will be looking to continue their successes of late this weekend.

Meanwhile over at DPR, we welcome Vitaly Petrov to the GP2 series family. Vitaly comes in to replace Olivier Pla in the #20 car for the rest of the season, while over at Arden International, everyone is happy to see Nicolas Lapierre back in the fold having finally recovered from the back injuries he sustained in Monaco.

What about the championship? Lewis leads the drivers’ championship on 70 points, but Nelson has cut into his lead and now trails him by just 14 points. Alex is third in the title race on 48 points, eight behind Nelson, with Timo fourth on 28.

In the teams’ championship, ART Grand Prix have amassed a whopping 118 points to lead second placed Piquet sports on 64. iSport International are third with 55 points and Arden International are fourth on 50.

Still no renewed contract for Trulli Still no renewed contract for TrulliJarno Trulli is in his second full Formula 1 season with the Panasonic Toyota Racing team. The Italian hopes he can remain at the Cologne based team for another season and is still close to renewing his contract. A month ago Trulli already said he was negotiating a new contract with Toyota and was close to a deal but at the moment a contract still has not been signed. Speaking about the current contract negotiations Trulli told Gazzetta dello Sport: "At the moment I'm discussing the renewal of the contract with the managers of the team. Nothing has been signed yet, but we are very close to a deal. I would like to stay at Toyota as I feel at home there."
Mosley tips Alonso for title Mosley tips Alonso for title(GMM)  Max Mosley has tipped Fernando Alonso to win his second successive world championship this year.

The FIA president doesn't think that the Spaniard's title rival, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, can claw back the 17-point deficit in the last seven grands prix of 2006.

''I don't see Fernando becoming nervous,'' Mosley was quoted as saying by Sport-Informations-Dienst (sid).

''He only needs to finish the remaining races second, so it's not easy for Michael.  But it is not impossible.

''I hope the title is decided at the last race in Sao Paulo.''

Schumacher's manager, Willi Weber, agrees with Mosley that the 37-year-old German faces a tough task, but insisted that he has 'a chance'.

The German explained: ''From now on each race is a crucial race, but I firmly believe in Michael.''

Mosley, meanwhile, opted out of adding to speculation about Schumacher's future beyond 2006.  ''I don't think even Michael knows what he is going to do.

''I hope he continues,'' he added, ''but I would understand if he did not.  He has achieved everything that a racing driver can achieve.''

The removals experts The removals experts
Fisher looking for 2nd chance Fisher looking for 2nd chanceIt wasn't too long ago that Sarah Fisher was in the position now occupied by Danica Patrick: a female racing sensation with unprecedented success on the track and runaway popularity off it.

But while Patrick just signed a new contract with a championship-caliber IndyCar Series team for next season, Fisher simply is looking for a place to race.

Fisher recognizes the disparity, but figures there's no sense dwelling on what now appears to be her ill-fated attempt to switch to NASCAR two years ago _ or the wave of Danicamania that swelled after Fisher left the series.

"We're separate entities," Fisher said. "She does her thing, I do mine. I just want to race race cars."

That isn't as easy as it sounds - even for someone whose racing resume is, at this point, more complete than Patrick's.

Fisher attended Sunday's IndyCar Series race at the Milwaukee Mile as a guest of the Dreyer & Reinbold team, which is trying to put together a sponsorship deal to put her in a car for three of the last four races of the season.

It hasn't found the money.

"I'm trying to put something together," Fisher said. "They have interest, I have interest. It just has to make sense financially." zzzz

Although she hasn't raced an Indy car since 2004, Fisher is confident putting her back in a car would be as simple as "plug and play" at a high-speed track such as Michigan, Kentucky or Chicagoland.

"I haven't gone 220 (mph) in a while, but the league realizes that and realizes that I need a little bit of time to get back up to speed," Fisher said. "But that's not going to be a problem."

Team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said now that Fisher has tried stock-car racing, she seems to realize that she belongs in the IndyCar Series.

"I think she very much wants to be back," Reinbold said. "She has more of a hunger about her than she may have had for a little while."

Fisher puts it more simply.

"Man, I'll get in anything," she said.

The 25-year-old Fisher was voted the Indy Racing League's most popular driver three straight years. She finished a career-best second at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2001; Patrick's career-best finish so far is fourth.

But she never landed a ride with an elite-level team - like Patrick has had the past two years with Rahal Letterman and will have with Andretti Green Racing beginning next season - and then had a hard crash at Nazareth Speedway in 2003.

"We got right back on the horse again after that," Fisher said. "It's nothing crazy. I didn't have any bodily injuries past the normal."

After driving in the 2004 Indianapolis 500, she decided to try stock cars.

She established an informal alliance with NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and began racing in the NASCAR Grand National West Series.

"We did good, it's just, that's in California, and all the decision makers are in Charlotte and in Daytona," Fisher said. "So it's really hard to express to them, when you come from the tail to the front, you make this cool pass here, this cool pass there, it's hard to describe that on the phone unless they see it and say, 'Oh, this is for real. Let's sign on.'" More at News and Tribune

Racing News
Global sponsors to converge in Monaco Global sponsors to converge in MonacoThe global sponsorship and marketing directors of some of the biggest companies in the world will be brought together for the first time at the 2006 Motor Sport Business Forum.

The two-day conference and exhibition, which takes place in Monaco from December 6 2006, will welcome top executives from financial giants Allianz and RBS, fuel group Total, computer firms Intel and SAP, and beverages company Diageo. These six companies alone represent over $350 billion in annual turnover.

Speakers include Marty Olivero, Intel’s director of global sponsorship, Sean Jefferson, Diageo’s global sponsorship director, RBS’s head of sponsorship David Webb and Denis Marcel, competition director for the Total Group. These speakers will be joined at the conference by F1 team principals, leading sponsorship agents and circuit bosses. Also present will be representatives from the sport’s governing body Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, and commercial rights-holder Formula One Management.

Bobby Hamilton Jr. to run at Indy - Cup and Truck Bobby Hamilton Jr. to run at Indy - Cup and TruckFastenal and Bobby Hamilton Racing have joined forces and will be pulling double duty, competing at both venues. Bobby Hamilton Jr. will drive the #04 Fastenal Dodge in the NASCAR Nextel Cup event at the Brickyard (The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard) and he will drive the #18 Fastenal Dodge Ram in the Craftsman Truck Series event at Indianapolis Raceway Park (The Power Stroke Diesel 200). In pre-race testing at the Brickyard Hamilton Jr. was the 11th fastest driver posting a time of 50.406 which equates to a 178.550 mile per hour lap around the 2.5 mile oval. fastenalracing.com
The commercial side of F1 The commercial side of F1Talk about preparations for this weekend's German Grand Prix and the natural tendency is to think of the work carried out at last week's test at the Paul Ricard circuit or developments coming out of the factory in Maranello.

However, Formula 1 is very much a commercial sport these days and, away from the technical side, other members of the team have been preparing as usual to meet the needs of commercial partners, for whom every grand prix is a chance to promote its products through association with Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.

The main point of contact for these partners is the team's Sponsor Manager, Massimo Cusimano.

"My role is divided in two: one part is liaison with existing sponsors and by liaison that means to ensure that contracts are respected and to coordinate with the other areas involved, which are merchandising, communications, licensing and even internet, making sure everything is managed properly," he explains. "The second part is to find new sponsors: carrying out market research, evaluating sponsorship proposals, looking at legal aspects such as marketing rights and so forth."

The planning of sponsor events and requirements is carried out a long time in advance.

"Before a grand prix we meet with all the sponsors via conference calls, with most of them mainly based in UK," says Cusimano. "We prepare and plan all the marketing activities at the circuit for the local market involved. Usually, we start with a yearly plan in order to share the time fairly. When we say 'time' this means mainly the drivers' time as they are the most requested elements of our package. Senior management, for example Jean Todt are also requested to take part in some sponsor activities."

Ferrari's sponsors are international companies, which means they have pretty much an equal interest in all the grands prix around the world: in other words, Bridgestone for example is interesting in promoting its products at all the grands prix, not just in its native Japan. zzzz

"It is crucial therefore to plan in advance and to try and combine all the requests to satisfy them all," reckons Cusimano. "There is no need for example to have two media press conferences on the same day at one race. Hockenheim is a very important race for us and our sponsor Vodafone as Germany is a very big market for both of us and the Vodafone subsidiary is very active. On the Thursday before the race, they have organized an event involving Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa. Because it includes the drivers and because its location is quite a long way away from the circuit, which is our base for the weekend, it involves quite a bit of organization.”

“The event takes place in the city of Heidelberg, around 20 minutes away by helicopter. The drivers' logistics have to be perfectly organized, coordinating Felipe's and Michael's arrival. Usually, they tend to arrive at the very last minute, so as not to waste time. We will organize a helicopter to a spot near the venue and then a car will be available to ferry them to the square where the event takes place."

The FIA always organizes a Press Conference on the Thursday afternoon at 3 pm at the circuit and the team is not informed until a couple of days before if either of its drivers is required to attend. They therefore also have to be prepared to change logistics plan if one of the drivers is summoned to the FIA event.

"Historically, Ferrari tended to be rather conservative in its approach to this type of event," comments Cusimano. "The one sponsor that has come up with ideas that have really pushed us in a new direction is Vodafone. The purpose of their sponsorship is to be known all over the world and they want to enlarge their community. Their events are purely commercial, so it is important to them to have an "attraction" for their events, such as beach soccer in Spain or rugby with the Australian team or beach volleyball in another country. Before we reached an agreement regarding the Heidelberg event, some ideas were rejected by us as we are conscious of having to manage the image of the drivers and the team. We tend to suggest to our sponsors the type of events that we know our drivers like, so football is a safe bet! And the public likes it too!"

To put the sponsor's viewpoint across, we spoke to Vodafone's Global F1 Sponsorship Manager, Aled Rees.

 "Vodafone is launching a product called "Radio DJ" in Germany which enables users to select a music genre from a WAP site and find tracks that can be downloaded onto their phone," explains Rees. "We wanted to use the opportunity of the German GP to promote this product, which is being launched at around the same time as the race, using the Ferrari drivers in a consumer-based event in the centre of Heidelberg. Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa have already selected about ten songs each and they will each be paired with a professional DJ and the theme of the event is a "battle" between the two drivers in the style of DJ competitions."

It is not unusual for companies to take their product to the people with city-based events, however, the link with Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro is what makes this particular event in Heidelberg stand out from the crowd.

"We can bring the event to life using the drivers to show what the consumer can do with this product," says Rees. "The purpose of having the Ferrari drivers there is that this of course will generate a great deal more publicity and media coverage than a straightforward product promotion. To start with, the German TV company RTL will be involved in hosting the event, while footage will be syndicated to other stations. Using the drivers in this way will achieve two things for us: firstly, it will meet our specific German PR objectives and secondly, from a brand point of view, the drivers' presence involved in fun activities that are of interest to consumers, spectators and television stations produces a positive story about our sponsorship and the products and services we are trying to push using the sponsorship as a marketing tool."

Just getting the Formula 1 drivers to attend is in itself a draw for the general public, but according to Rees, Schumacher, who is now a veteran of these events having been involved since Vodafone first appeared on his race car five years ago, is the perfect promotional tool!

"Michael is a consummate professional. Whenever he is called upon to take part in these events, the beauty of using him is that you only have to explain everything once. He immediately understands what is required and likes to be briefed in advance as to what is expected from him and what we want to get out of the event. He always completes the tasks in a very professional manner and we are happy with his ability to endorse our products." Ferrari

TV News
Replay Edmonton Champ Car race Replay Edmonton Champ Car raceReminder:  The West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix presented by The Brick, Champ Car race, will be replayed on Friday, July 28, 2:00 pm-3:30 pm ET on SPEED.  It was originally broadcast on CBS.
TV News
Will Ferrell on Jay Leno Will Ferrell on Jay LenoReminder:  Will Ferrell, one of the stars of the new NASCAR movie, "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" will be a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Thursday night, July 27.  The show airs at 11:30 pm ET on NBC.  Check your local listings.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Hamilton close to F1 debut - Dennis
Rubens slams quit rumors
Paffett no threat says Pedro
Red Bull call off driver 'deadline'
F1 was 'too loud' for young Schu
Schu gets winning start in Germany
Williams and Toyota agree Formula One engine supply Williams and Toyota agree Formula One engine supplyOxford & Köln. WilliamsF1 and Toyota Motorsport GmbH today confirmed that an agreement has been reached yesterday evening between the two parties for a three year Formula One engine supply partnership. The agreement will see WilliamsF1 powered by Toyota engines commencing with the 2007 season.

Under the terms of the agreement, WilliamsF1 will use the same specification of engine as Panasonic Toyota Racing. Both Williams and Panasonic Toyota Racing see significant benefits from a relationship based on robust on-track competition and close off-track co-operation.

On the announcement of the agreement, Toyota's Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto said, "We are delighted to be supplying Williams with engines from 2007 and working alongside a team rich in history and Formula One spirit."

John Howett, President of Toyota Motorsport, added: "We are pleased to be selected as the engine provider to Williams and look forward to establish a strong relationship with them. We look forward to both teams using each other as a comparative benchmark from which each can improve its own performance and to competing with each other at the front of the grid."

For his part, WilliamsF1's Team Principal, Frank Williams commented, "This agreement is the cornerstone of Williams' challenge for the World Championship. Toyota is an impressive and remarkable industrial giant, with the most phenomenal reputation for achieving the goals it sets itself. We are proud to have secured their support in our efforts to return to our competitive best."

Dennis: Not if, but when for Hamilton Dennis: Not if, but when for HamiltonIt is now looking increasingly likely that Lewis Hamilton will become the first Afro-Caribbean to drive in Formula One next season.  Ron Dennis, the team principal at McLaren Mercedes, who has supported Lewis Hamilton’s career for 11 years, told The Times this week that the 21-year-old from Hertfordshire is on the verge of what he called an “inevitable” step up to Formula One.
Speaking at McLaren’s £250 million Sir Norman Foster-designed headquarters at Woking in Surrey, Dennis said the plan with Hamilton has been that he should dominate each successive formula he races in and then move up.

Right now, with four race weekends left this season in GP2, the Formula One feeder series, Hamilton is enjoying a 14-point lead over his nearest pursuer, Nelson Piquet Jr, having won or come second in six out of the 13 races to date. zzzz

This record includes two impressive doubles at the Nürburgring and Silverstone, where Hamilton won both races on Saturday and Sunday. This despite the fact that the Saturday winner drops to eighth on the grid for the Sunday race. “He is dominating GP2 at the moment,” Dennis said, “and, if that continues, there is an inevitability that he must move forward and the only place there is for him to move forward to is Formula One. The question then arises, with whom?”

“He should be ready for the move [to Formula One] but there is a difference between a move into a mid-team and a move into a top team,” Dennis said. “The simple fact is it would be jumping into the deep end if we put him into one of our cars. There are, however, certain things that could unfold that would make the decision easier.”

Dennis explained that if Fernando Alonso, who is set to join McLaren from Renault in the close season, does succeed in retaining his world championship title this year, that could make it easier for the team to go with Hamilton. “Certainly if Fernando is successful in his own mission and we’ve got a very mature two-time world champion in the car, that makes it easier but it’s not a decision taken,” Dennis said.

Hamilton, who some have talked of as having the sporting and marketing potential of Tiger Woods, is regarded as a prodigiously talented driver with an intensity of focus that marks him out among his peers as a future champion at the highest level. As one experienced trackside observer who has watched him throughout this season put it: “Lewis is the perfect blend between Prost and Senna. He has that aggression and passion but he can control it and he is very, very clinical.”

“I’m working my a*** off not only to do the best job possible but also to get that seat at McLaren,” he said. “I really want that and it’s an opportunity not many people get. If I can get that seat, then I feel very confident that I can make the best use of it.”

What is bugging Dennis is not if to bring on Hamilton but when, especially given the likely explosion of media interest when he does take his place on the Formula One grid. “I don’t want to be a constraining force on his motor sport career but I think we’ve brought good judgment to bear on it and I don’t want it to go wrong when he is so close to achieving his goals,” Dennis said. “The only issue is timing — the timing of his next move.”  More at The Times

Said and Cunningham to Co-Drive at Barber Said and Cunningham to Co-Drive at BarberBIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Road racing stalwart Boris Said and third-generation racer Brian Cunningham will share the No. 8 Synergy Racing Porsche Doran in this weekend’s Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park (LIVE on SPEED, Sunday, July 30 at 3 p.m. ET), Round 11 of the 14-race 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.

Said was victorious in his last Rolex Series start, with Daytona Prototype points leader Jorg Bergmeister in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley, in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June. The California native also won the GT class qualifying race in the GAINSCO Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this season.

Cunningham, the grandson of sports car pioneer Briggs Cunningham, has competed in numerous Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup Series events during his career, finishing third in the 2003 Rolex Series GT class championship. The Porsche 250 will be Cunningham's first Rolex Series start of the season. zzzz

The No. 8 machine—which had been driven by brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle in the first nine races this season—missed the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona last month as a result of crash damage suffered in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio. The crew has worked endlessly to put the machine back on the grid and the No. 8 Porsche should be considered a factor in Sunday's 250-mile event.

“We’ve only had this car completed and ready to go for about a week,” said Synergy Racing team owner Cole Scrogham. “It’s hard to put together a strong driver lineup in one week’s time, but we were able to do it. We’re fortunate to have drivers with the experience of Boris and Brian in the car, and hopefully, the bad luck we’ve endured throughout the season has gone away.”

Thursday is a scheduled promoter test day at the 2.38-mile, 16-turn permanent road course. The first official practice for the Porsche 250 will take place Friday at 9:10 a.m. local time. The official website of Grand American Road Racing, www.grandamerican.com, will provide live timing and scoring for all on-track activity throughout the race weekend.

Papis to make NASCAR debut Papis to make NASCAR debutMax Papis has had an exciting year.  He ran the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and most recently, watched his native Italy take home the World Cup title.  If that is not enough, the 2004 Grand Am Rolex Series Champion just became a father for the first time when his wife, Tatiana, gave birth to their first child, a son, Marco, on Friday, July 21st.

Now the open-wheel and sports-car racing sensation will make his NASCAR debut on Saturday, August 12th in the NASCAR Busch Series race in Watkins Glen, NY.  Papis will pilot the #36 McGill Motorsports Chevrolet, with sponsorship from his Indy 500 sponsor, Sport Clips, All*Star Haircuts for Men & Boys.

Papis, whose father-in-law is famed race car driver, Emerson Fittipaldi, is widely regarded as one of the most versatile race car drivers in the world.

He is excited about the opportunity to get involved in NASCAR.

"I'm excited to get the opportunity to drive in NASCAR," Papis said.  "I've been working hard for a long time to make this happen and I thank team owners John and Nancy McGill for giving me the chance. He continued, "It means a lot to me that Sport Clips, who was my Indy 500 sponsor, has stepped up to support my Busch Series effort.  Sport Clips CEO Gordon Logan and I have had a great relationship and I'm looking forward to giving him a great finish."

Papis continued, "I've had an exciting year this year.  I've run the Daytona 24 Hours race, the Indy 500, Le Mans, watched Italy win the World Cup and, the most exciting thing, watching my son, Marco, being born.  It's a very special time in my life right now and my NASCAR debut is another great challenge.  I'm proud to represent my country, Italy, and to be the first Italian in the modern era to be in NASCAR and I'm going to work as hard as I can to make the most of the opportunity and make my country proud.  I hope to have a great weekend at The Glen."  zzzz

Papis' father-in-law, Emerson Fittipaldi, has two Indy 500 wins and two Formula One World Championships, but Papis said he does not feel the pressure.

"Personally, he's one of my best friends," said Papis, who has competed this year in both the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  "We share a lot of things, racing and non-racing.  He's amazing, and it's a great opportunity for me to listen to the advice of someone who's won all over the world.

He's a legend, but more importantly, he cares a lot about me."

McGill Motorsports team owner, John McGill is pleased with the opportunity to have Max in the #36 car in Watkins Glen.

"This is very exciting for McGill Motorsports and we believe that having a high-profile driver like Max Papis in the car will give us the opportunity to showcase our abilities on a road course," McGill said.  "It will also bring us extensive exposure and allow us to compete against the Cup drivers and give us the opportunity to run up front and win a race.  Max is a great person with an intense, competitive personality and we're looking forward to working with him."

Sport Clips was Max Papis' sponsor on his Indianapolis 500 car in May, but they have experienced great success in the NASCAR Busch Series over the last three seasons.  In 2004, Sport Clips was in Victory Lane at Daytona with driver, Mike Wallace.  In February 2005, they sat on the Pole at Daytona with driver, Joe Nemechek, and, most recently, they are the primary sponsor of Champ Car star Paul Tracy in his 2006 NASCAR Busch Series effort.

Sport Clips Founder and CEO, Gordon Logan, was excited at another opportunity to partner with Max Papis.

"Sport Clips is proud to partner with Max Papis for the second time this year," Logan said.  "We had a great experience with Max in the Indy 500 and we're proud to be able to support him in his NASCAR debut.  We have always looked for first-class teams and drivers to represent Sport Clips, and this is a winning combination.  Our 200+ Franchisees and 3,500 Stylists are looking forward to seeing the Sport Clips Car in Watkins Glen."

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.

In 1996, Papis posted three wins in IMSA World Sports Car, then joined CART, where he won three races in five years.  Since then, Papis has been one of the top competitors in American sports-car racing. He posted an overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2002, a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series championship in 2004, and class wins at the

12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Daytona and two runner-up finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Papis also drives in the Crown Royal IROC Series and does road course testing in NASCAR.

Unleaded Fuel debuts at Gateway Unleaded Fuel debuts at GatewayNASCAR will take its first major step toward switching to unleaded fuel this weekend when the Busch Series cars will run it at St. Louis. The Busch cars will have unleaded fuel for the next four races. The change has created extra work for the engine builders. "We've had to do a lot of work with the valve-face coating," said Chris Robinson, who overseas the Busch engine program at Roush Yates Racing. "The lead in the leaded fuel worked as a lubricant on the valve train, so we've had to go back and make sure the valve coatings will compensate for the unleaded fuel." Tampa Tribune
Danica Patrick hands out free IRL tickets Danica Patrick hands out free IRL ticketsRace driver Danica Patrick hands out tickets for an upcoming IndyCar race at Chicagoland Speedway to Dax McLochlin, 9, left, and his brother Drew McLochlin, 11, during a promotional event Tuesday, July 25, 2006, in Chicago. More.....
RCR lose appeal RCR lose appealOn July 25, 2006, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Richard Childress Racing regarding the #21 Busch car.  The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following post-qualifying inspection on June 30, 2006 for the NASCAR Busch Series event at Daytona International Speedway. 

The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules”; Section 20A-2.1E “Unapproved modifications in the trunk area to enhance aerodynamic performance”; Section 20A-3.9F “Deck lid must retain the stock shape and contours; lower edge bent to allow air to escape”; and Section 20A-16.3G “Shock absorber access doors missing.”

The penalties assessed were:

• Loss of 50 NASCAR Busch Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Richard Childress.

• Loss of 50 NASCAR Busch Series Championship Driver Points for driver Kevin Harvick.

• $15,000.00 fine, suspension from the next six (6) NASCAR Busch Series Events; suspension from NASCAR until August 16, 2006, and probation continuing until December 31, 2006 for crew chief Shane Wilson.  The Appellants did not request a deferral of the suspension pending the Appeal hearing.  zzzz

The Appellants did not contest the infractions, but appealed the severity of the penalties, primarily arguing that penalties of 25 points with fine and suspension, or a fine and suspension only, had been more typically assessed by NASCAR in recent times for infractions of this type.

In deciding the Appeal, the Commission considered several factors.  The infractions were intentional and premeditated.  The crew chief was already on probation, and the car owner and driver had each been penalized 25 championship points earlier in the season, for a different rules violation of an aerodynamic nature (car too low).

The Commission notes that penalties are not predetermined, but are based on the nature, extent and circumstances of specific violations.  Similarly, if NASCAR determines that the general range or relative levels of penalties are no longer having the desired effect as a deterrent, infractions are proliferating, and/or a team has had multiple violations, then NASCAR can and should adjust penalty levels accordingly.

The Commission finds that penalties are correct for the infractions and circumstances in this case.

Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR.  The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.

Lee Baumgarten
Terry Eames
George Silbermann, Chairman

Benny Parsons battling Lung Cancer Benny Parsons battling Lung CancerUPDATE NASCAR is saddened to learn about Benny Parsons’ battle with cancer. As one who has seen this battle fought head-on in my own family, I am confident that with the support of his family and the entire NASCAR community, Benny will show all of us, once again, why he is a true champion. On behalf of the France family, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Benny. Brian France

07/26/06 CONCORD, N.C. – Benny Parsons is all about winning. He’s the 1973 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion; a Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 winner; and, in recent years, has emerged as one of NASCAR’s leading television and radio commentators.

Now, Parsons is calling upon that winning attitude as he battles lung cancer.

Parsons, 65, had experienced difficulty breathing and, after consulting with physicians, was informed by his family doctor, Dr. Scott Moss of Charlotte, that he has the disease. His treatment regimen starts immediately.

“Needless to say this was a huge shock,” said Parsons. “I’ve got a great deal of faith in all of my physicians, including Dr. Steven Limenpani, who treated NASCAR car owner Rick Hendrick during his battle with leukemia. I’m determined to pull through this and I appreciate everyone’s concerns and prayers during this time.

“The first thing everyone asks me is, ‘are you a smoker?’ The answer is that I smoked my last cigarette way back in 1978 and since then I’ve hated being around smoking. I don’t even allow anyone in my foursome to smoke on the golf course.”

Parsons is an analyst on NBC and TNT’s coverage of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing and hosts “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons” on the Performance Racing Network. He plans to continue his duties with NBC/TNT and PRN throughout his treatment.

“Everyone I work with has been gracious and accommodating,” said Parsons. “I plan to keep on talking about racing for as long as I can.”

Friends and fans wishing to send words of encouragement to Parsons can do so by e-mailing him at bp@goprn.com or on a special message board at NASCAR.com. zzzz

Joint NBC/TNT Statement Regarding NASCAR Analyst Benny Parsons

“Benny is an important part of our television families. We respect his privacy and will support him in any way we can in his efforts to get well.”

Question & Answer

Q. When will Benny be returning to the booth?
A. Benny has begun treatment and was not scheduled to work this weekend. He plans to be in the booth at The Brickyard as scheduled. 

Q. Will you replace him if he is unable to return?
A. It is too early for us to even consider that scenario. We will continue to support Benny through his recovery, and bring continue to bring them NASCAR coverage through the conclusion of the Chase.

Q. Does this rule out Benny being an analyst for TNT next season?
A. Our thoughts are with Benny as he faces this latest challenge in his life. That being said, we will always have a place on our NASCAR telecasts for Benny Parsons.

All's quiet on the merger front All's quiet on the merger frontThis San Jose Mercury newspaper article says, Last month, reports heated up again that Champ Car and the Indy Racing League were deep into talks about merging their open-wheel series back into one.

Since then?


There have been numerous false alarms about reunification since open-wheel racing broke into two more than a decade ago. As Champ Car comes to town for this weekend's San Jose Grand Prix, veteran driver Paul Tracy thinks this is yet another one.

``Obviously it was a big hoax,'' Tracy recently told the Canadian Press about a possible merger. ``It was signed, sealed and delivered, but it was all a hoax. There's lots of things in the media that get blown out of proportion. It's going to take time. I don't see it happening next year.''

Kevin Kalkhoven, Champ Car's co-owner, said he and IRL head Tony George continue to talk -- but he's not going to speak about their discussions.

``We've said that the best prospect for unification is that we work quietly,'' Kalkhoven said. ``It's more in the press than it should be. We'll just have to wait and see where it all ends up. But unification by itself is not the silver bullet. It doesn't automatically say that the world will be golden.''

But it would help. Champ Car is on better footing than when Kalkhoven and two partners purchased the bankrupt series in 2004. Still, Champ Car is racing only 17 or 18 cars each event and just announced the cancellation of a late-season race in Korea.

San Jose driver A.J. Allmendinger said he believes potential sponsors won't invest in open-wheel racing until there's a merger.

Kalkhoven has his own thoughts about the comments of Tracy and Allmendinger.

``If the driver's business card said `businessman' on them as opposed to `driver,' their opinions should be sought,'' he said. ``But I'm not going to teach them to drive cars and they're not going to teach me to run businesses.''

Team Penske shoots for first MIS IndyCar Series win Team Penske shoots for first MIS IndyCar Series winPenske Racing has nine Indy-style wins at Michigan International Speedway, but has yet to visit Victory Lane in the IndyCar Series.  Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves hopes this is the weekend that he or Sam Hornish Jr. will  join Rick Mears (1981, 1983, 1991), Bobby Unser (1979, twice), Mark Donohue (1971), Tom Sneva (1975), Mario Andretti (1980) and Danny Sullivan (1988) as Penske drivers who won at MIS.  "It would be fantastic to give Roger a win at Michigan," Castroneves said. "It would mean a lot, but it would have a different meaning for me. Roger's team is where I have achieved so much - my first podium, my first pole position.  I really hope to win at Michigan for Roger."
AGR reaps benefits from association with Indy Pro Series program AGR reaps benefits from association with Indy Pro Series programWhen IndyCar® Series teams were told they could earn bonus testing days by fielding full-time entries in the Indy Pro Series, only one team jumped at the chance - Andretti Green Racing.

On July 22-23 at the Milwaukee Mile, the fruits of the team's effort began to pay off.

Tony Kanaan earned his first IndyCar Series win of 2006 in the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225, while Kanaan's protégé, Jaime Camara, netted his first victory of the season in the Milwaukee 100.

The weekend sweep - AGR's first on an oval - came less than two weeks after Indy Pro Series driver Jonathan Klein and IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti shared an Andretti Green Racing IndyCar Series machine at the 1-mile oval. Rookie Marco Andretti also tested at Milwaukee.

"I should thank Jonathan Klein, Marco (Andretti) and Dario and the team for the IPS program, because that really helped us," said Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion. "I think the test was very important. That put us in the right spot right from the beginning of the weekend. It's much easier tuning a good car than finding a good car." zzzz

As part of the bonus test program, IndyCar Series teams that field full-time entries in the Indy Pro Series can earn up to six bonus tests. Test days are earned after every four Indy Pro Series event and must be shared by the Indy Pro Series driver and an IndyCar Series driver.

Andretti Green Racing has used three bonus testing days this season -- Camara and Kanaan shared a car at Nashville Superspeedway on June 16; Klein and Franchitti shared a day at Milwaukee on July 10; and Camara and Kanaan tested at Michigan International Speedway on July 19. Klein and Franchitti are scheduled to test together at Kentucky Speedway on July 31.

"I really like what they did with the Indy Pro Series thing," team co-owner Michael Andretti said. "I just wish more teams would jump on board. Maybe now they'll look at it, because it is an advantage to get those extra days. I think it had a lot to do with our win here. Jonathan (Klein) and Jaime (Camara) have done a lot to help us, as well. It's been a good program for us."

While the benefits to Andretti Green Racing's four-car efforts are evident on the track, the program also aids in the development of the Indy Pro Series drivers, who turn laps under the watchful eye of their more experienced teammates.

"I think it has (helped) in a sense that track time is track time," Klein said. "No matter what kind of car you drive in, it's going to be beneficial to whatever your program is. Track time is track time and seat time is seat time. There's nothing that can make up for that."

Added Franchitti, who enjoys the role of mentoring young teammates, such as Marco Andretti, Klein, Camara and Jay Howard: "(Testing is) pretty golden right now. That was a huge bonus, to be able to get in the car, especially somewhere like Milwaukee that's so tricky. That's part of the deal. They're trying to help the IPS series. We definitely reaped the benefits of that relationship this year."

Track News
Mid-Ohio completes track upgrades Mid-Ohio completes track upgradesOfficials from AMA Pro Racing and Truesports Incorporated, the managing entity of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, today announced the completion of ongoing track improvements in advance of this year’s AMA and AMA Pro Racing events.

The latest upgrades, primarily the reshaping of curbing, are in addition to the ongoing track enhancements performed by Mid-Ohio in conjunction with the AMA over the past two years. A complete track and pit lane resurfacing, reformation of the Turn 1 gravel trap, wall and guardrails, relocation of a permanent wall along the course’s back straight, gravel trap expansion in the Keyhole, catch fencing replacement and the addition and implementation of air module safety barriers have all been part of a comprehensive track improvement plan undertaken by Mid-Ohio.

“Mid-Ohio and the AMA have enjoyed a strong partnership for decades and we appreciate the efforts that have gone into upgrading this beautiful, historic track,” said AMA CEO Patti DiPietro. “Their investment in the facility, especially in making it better for motorcycles, should be lauded by both professional and amateur road racers alike.” zzzz

DiPietro noted that the AMA and AMA Pro Racing will conduct four major events at Mid-Ohio this year. Along with two AMA Superbike Championship events, including the championship finale, the venerable facility will also host the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days as well as the AMA Sports Road Race Grand Championships.

“2006 marks our 23rd anniversary of hosting AMA Superbike races,” confirmed Truesports, Inc., President Michelle Trueman Gajoch. “Motorcycle racing is very important to us and certainly part of our track’s heritage. Our ongoing objective has always been to invest in our facility to ensure that it remains one of the premier motorcycle road racing facilities in the United States. These latest improvements are part of that philosophy.”

2006 AMA/AMA Pro Racing Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Schedule

Event /Date
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days / July 28-30
AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited / Aug. 4-6
AMA Sports Road Race Grand Championships /  Sept. 22-24
AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited / Sept. 30 -Oct. 1

De la Rosa: Hamilton, not Paffett is biggest threat De la Rosa: Hamilton, not Paffett is biggest threatPedro de la Rosa says that Lewis Hamilton has the best chance of knocking him out of a fulltime ride in F1 in 2007 at McLaren.

"British people are always trying to sell their product," de la Rosa told Spain's Marca newspaper.

"But I have always been faster than Paffett under any circumstances and there is no real base for anything to happen.

"Brits have Button in crisis and they are trying to find a new star, but I'm staying calm because the reality is that [Lewis] Hamilton, and not Gary, is the biggest threat."

Danica keeps IRL afloat Danica keeps IRL afloatSomebody please tell Indy Racing League czar Tony George he can breathe now. The crisis, the looming iceberg facing the Titanic of open-wheel racing, has been averted. Danica Patrick, the only driver the casual fan recognizes from this series, has decided to stay -- albeit with Andretti Green Racing, and not Rahal Letterman.
Although, it should be mentioned, now that Patrick has committed to remaining in the IRL, Indiana University basketball coach Kelvin Sampson has begun recruiting her.

(Seriously, I've been waiting about a week to use that line.)
But back to George. He and the IRL didn't want Patrick back; they needed her back. Their very existence depended on it. And it's fair to assume, if Andretti Green's stable of corporate sponsors had not come through with an offer to entice Patrick to stay, George would have reached deep into his pockets and found a way to keep his most important driver in the family.

Let's be honest: Without Danica, the IRL was toast. And don't tell me, "Well, they have lots of terrific drivers and Marco Andretti is going to be a star some day.'' Simply stated, the IRL without Danica would have been the PGA without Tiger Woods. It doesn't matter that she hasn't won a race, or that this season, she hadn't even come close while driving the inferior Panoz chassis through the Indianapolis 500. If she had decided to bolt for NASCAR, George might as well have pulled up his stakes and turned the Speedway into the home of the world's biggest flea market. zzzz

With only 18 cars at the past two IRL races, and the reunification talk apparently cooling, at least publicly, the league had lost whatever momentum it gained from the Indianapolis 500.

It needed something to stop the bleeding.

This isn't just good news for the IRL because Danica is staying in the IRL. It's also good news because she's joining a top-rate team, although one that has struggled this season as Penske and Ganassi have dominated.

(By the way, isn't it interesting, just one year ago in Milwaukee, the Andretti Green guys were having a hissy fit because Danica was getting special treatment in the autograph sessions. Now, they're falling all over themselves to get her signature.)

The better chance she has to win races, the better it is for open-wheel racing.

Please spare me the talk that Patrick owed Rahal Letterman her loyalty and she shouldn't have switched teams. You can take issue with the very public manner in which the negotiating dance was done -- Danica's father, T.J., was quite transparent in his dalliance with NASCAR -- but she had every right to get the best deal for herself.  More at Indy Star

Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 7-26-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 9.073
2. (2) Michael Schumacher (F1) 8.610
3. (5) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 7.816
4. (12) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 7.748
5. (11) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.694
6. (3) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 7.591
7. (9) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.341
8. (8) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.335
9. (18) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.310
10. (21) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 7.184
11. (NR) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 7.133
12. (4) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 7.104
13. (10) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 7.103
14. (15) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 6.876
15. (32) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 6.495
16. (NR) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 6.470
17. (6) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.276
18. (NR) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 6.189
19. (16) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.091
20. (14) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 5.870
Dropped out: Scott Dixon (IRL), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Vitor Meira (IRL), Helio Castroneves (IRL)

Provided by STATS Inc.

Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

What to look for at San Jose GP What to look for at San Jose GP
Wilson’s Winning Ways - After finishing in the runner-up position four times, winning a pole position, and leading numerous laps in 2006 Justin Wilson recorded his first win of the season in Edmonton last weekend. Wilson led the final 21 laps of the race holding off Sebastien Bourdais during two separate restarts. Wilson’s win vaulted him back into the second position in the championship battle.

An Eye on the Future - The Panoz DP01 Champ Car, which will be raced during the 2007 Champ Car season and beyond, will make its first appearance in public on July 28 in San Jose. The Panoz DP01 will be the first American-built Champ Car to compete in the series since the 2000 season, having been constructed entirely at the Elan Motorsports Technologies facilities in Braselton, Georgia.

Hometown Hero – Los Gatos native A.J. Allmendinger recorded his fourth consecutive podium finish last weekend in Edmonton. The Californian had been plagued by flu like symptoms all weekend, but was able to persevere, keeping his streak of not qualifying outside of the top four this season alive and  was able to hold on for a third place finish. This season Allmendinger won three consecutive events and has one pole position to his credit.

The Champ Returns– Going into last year’s inaugural Grand Prix of San Jose Sebastien Bourdais was on a hot streak after winning in Edmonton. The Flying Frenchman exhibited how easy it was for him to adjust to new tracks two weeks in a row when he paced the field for 63 out of 93 laps. Bourdais started the day on the pole before crossing under the checkered flag. 

Track Improvements – After a successful debut in 2005 the San Jose Grand Prix decided to rework the track for 2006, including widening areas and resurfacing Almaden Blvd, so that the curb is flush to the railroad crossing.  In all, the changes will make the San José Grand Prix track wider, smoother and safer with the potential for more speed and passing.  zzzz

Racing and More - The San José Grand Prix will be more than a race. It’s a week-long festival both on and off the track. Activities include Speedfest, Pit Stop Park and Festival Areas with interactive games, live music featuring David Lee Roth and Pete Escovedo, driver autograph sessions and more. Off-track events include a golf tournament, a drivers’ VIP party, the CXO Go Kart race and the Canary Foundation gala fundraiser. All proceeds from these events are benefiting Canary Foundation.

Paul’s Progress –Last weekend Paul Tracy further detached the bad luck that has loomed over him this season when recorded his fourth top five finish. The Canadian began his day from the outside pole position in Edmonton and finished in the fifth position. This result helped him move from the sixth position into fourth in the championship standings.

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

Powering on – Last weekend Will Power held the lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year battle for the second week in a row. The Australian set a new career mark for his best finish on a road course when he brought his car home in the sixth spot in Edmonton last weekend.

Close Quarters – Even though Sebastien Bourdais is the clear leader in the point standings, there are some very close races throughout the points chart. Currently second place Justin Wilson is five markers in front of A.J. Allmendinger. Three points currently separate fourth place Paul Tracy and fifth place Andrew Ranger. While a scant three points separate sixth through eighth and four markers separate ninth through twelfth in the points standings.

Rookie Radar - Last year the Edmonton track was extraordinarily kind to rookies as three first-year pilots finished in the top 10. With the close rookie battle going on, San Jose could be vital in who takes home the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year title. Currently Aussie Will Power leads Brits Dan Clarke by nine points and Katherine Legge by seventeen.

Nelson no longer a Novice –After scoring his first podium finish in Milwaukee, Nelson Philippe has been making progress each week. In the last two events he has led a total of forty-one laps, but has not won his first race yet.

National Pride –As the grid is set for the Grand Prix of San Jose each driver will have the colors of their homeland displayed proudly as they try to win the Nation’s Cup for their country. Currently France leads the standings as it looks to defend the 2005 title with England just 19 points back. The United States’ lone flag-bearer A.J. Allmendinger is third, nine points behind the Britain trio of Clarke, Legge and Wilson.

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

Ganassi denies he’ll leave IRL Ganassi denies he’ll leave IRL“Target Chip Ganassi Racing has no plans nor have we entertained any plans of leaving the Indy Racing League for any other league or organization.  Further, we have had no contact at all with either Bobby Rahal or Kevin Kalkhoven regarding our team’s future racing plans. We wish nothing but the best to Kevin and Champ Car and to Bobby and his son, but we are part of the IRL and have no plans of changing that."

[Editor's Note:  Ganassi had previously made public that he was staying in the IRL next year, so this statement comes as no surprise.  We would expect Roger Penske to issue a similar statement because we expect his team to stay in the IRL as well.  Both Ganassi and Penske have strong ties to the Oval Track Cartel.]

Cosworth race into AE1rospace Cosworth race into AE1rospaceCosworth's AE1 engine attracted attention from key international players in the UAV sector at this year's Farnborough International Air Show. During the week long show, Cosworth's stand was attended by major defense equipment contractors, airframe manufacturers, UAV design and development companies and the general public.

Cosworth's advanced single cylinder 100cc direct injection compression-ignition all-aluminum-alloy, port and reed-valve induction motor; designed to run on multi-fuels ranging from JP5, JP8, DF1 and DF2 specification - was of great interest at a show with significant presence of UAV and UAV related products. "It was a delight to see the positive response from so many exhibition visitors, a credit to the entire Cosworth AE1 engine program team that has worked very hard to get the engine to the prototype stage in readiness for flight tests" said Ian Pocock, Director of Cosworth Engineering.

Over the next 10 years the market for reconnaissance & surveillance UAVs is expected to be worth $11 billion, according to experts in this sector.

We also received many enquiries for our "make to print" AE1rospace components service; Cosworth is regularly winning new contracts from clients requiring precision engineered AE1rospace components in short lead times.

"We are very pleased with our inaugural exhibition with the Midland's AE1rospace Alliance at the 2006 Farnborough International Air Show, it provided a great opportunity to network and obtain very good quality leads from major international players", commented Jog Lall, Marketing Director, Cosworth.

Pressure builds for $2 million prize Pressure builds for $2 million prizeThe pressure is on Champ Car Atlantic drivers Simon Pagenaud, Andreas Wirth and Graham Rahal. All three are in contention to win the $2 million prize that goes to the champion, a prize that will certainly guarantee them a Champ Car ride in 2007.

With just four races to go, any one of these three can take away the crown. This weekend's race in San Jose is especially important because Pagenaud has a 24-point lead, and a win by him would put Wirth and Rahal behind the eight ball with then just three races remaining.

This fact isn't lost on the young Rahal.  Rahal has a clear aim for this weekend, as he says, "I need to go one better this weekend and take another win. Pagenaud, Wirth and I are always running close, so it's finding that little extra, and having the competitive edge that's going to bring me more points than the other two. With four races left to go I need to be fighting hard every session and bagging the bonus points whenever possible, as it might come down to those at the end of the season. In San Jose I'll take each session as it comes and just keep trying to do the best I can. I think qualifying position at this track, as it so tight, will be very important, so we'll be focusing on that as well."

Massa has a ’tough job’ - Barrichello Massa has a ’tough job’ - Barrichello(GMM) Rubens Barrichello has painted a drab picture of life alongside Michael Schumacher at Ferrari.

The Brazilian, who after six years at the Italian team moved to Honda in 2006, sympathizes with countryman Felipe Massa, who filled his seat.

'All I can say is that Felipe has a tough job,'' Barrichello, 34, was quoted as saying by Auto Bild.

''(Massa) must help Michael to win the title in order to have any future at Ferrari.''

Rubens said there is a 'more relaxed' atmosphere at Honda, while in contrast the pressure 'was enormous' within the red-colored team.

''Often I was told exactly what to say in interviews,'' he revealed. ''Sometimes I felt under too much pressure.''

Barrichello explained that he always had the same single seater equipment as Schumacher, but regularly 'could not do what I wanted'.

Racing News
New website for Motorsports Insurance company New website for Motorsports Insurance companySteve Chassey Motorsports Insurance Company has launched their new website.  They offer the following types of motorsports insurance:

Personal Accident Coverage for Drivers and professional Athletes
Accidental Death (AD&D)
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)


• Atlantic series
• Mazda Series
• Cooper F-2000 Series
• Indy Pro Series road & street only
• Grand Am / Rolex Series
• For 2007 the Champ Car Series

Race Facility Insurance

• General Liability up to $20,000,000
• Participant Accident
• Liquor Liability
• Auto Master Policy
Ask me about my program for Indoor Karting Facilities

Prize Indemnity coverage

This coverage offers the sponsors a guarantee of costs and expenses, for one or more seasons, regardless of how their teams and / or Drivers perform.  Prize Indemnity protection transfers the risk of contingent liabilities to insurers so the Sponsors bottom line exposure is known up front.

Virtually any prize or promotion can be insured!

Contractual Bonuses

Sponsor may insure Contractual Bonuses for Drivers or Race Teams
For targeted races, Wins, Points, Laps or even the Championship
Any limit up to $2,000,000

Contests or Promotions
Enhance Product Recognition / Sales
Increase Attendance and or Television Ratings

Off-Track Coverage

• Property: Buildings, Inventory, Tools, Equipment, Business Interruption

• Liability: General Liability including Spectators, Owners, Sponsors,
Participant Legal & Products

• Auto Liability: Trucks, Autos and Trailers

• Auto Physical Damage: Replacement Cost for Trucks, Trailers & Equipment

• Multi Year Policies: 3 Years, up to 5 Years Available, enabling Owners the
Equivalent time period to equal the Sponsorship Contract

• Kidnap There has been a rise in Extortion, and Kidnapping
We have the necessary coverage for this

Former NBA star joins NASCAR team Former NBA star joins NASCAR teamMOORESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA - Former NBA veteran and collegiate basketball All-American Rodney Rogers has finally taken the “next step” in his love of NASCAR, agreeing to become a partner with the Mooresville-based Key Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series organization.
The 6’ 7”, 270-pound Rogers played 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association from 1993 to 2005 after a brilliant collegiate career at Wake Forest University where he earned All-American honors. He played with seven NBA teams, the last being the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2004-05 season.
The Durham, North Carolina native, who still makes his home there, has been a long-time NASCAR fan and has been a long-time friend of Key Motorsports crew chief Barry Dodson who befriended Rogers during his playing days at Wake Forest. Dodson is an avid supporter of the University’s athletic program.
Rogers said it was just a matter of time before he got more involved in another sport that he has loved for many years. zzzz
“Growing up in Durham and in North Carolina, NASCAR was everywhere, and I became a fan at a very early age,” Rogers said. “I always said that when my basketball career was over that I would look seriously into becoming more heavily involved in the sport, and I always promised that when that day would come, it would be with Barry.”
Rogers will assume a role as a marketing partner initially with team owner Curtis W. Key, Sr. and has not ruled out becoming financially involved. Whatever he does with his involvement in NASCAR and the race team, Dodson said that Rogers would dive in just as hard as he did on the basketball court.
“Rodney only knows one speed, and that’s full bore,” Dodson said. “He loves racing, so much so that it would not surprise me at all if he became not only a financial partner with
Curtis but also works with the race team. He’s that kind of individual, and you won’t find a nicer, more caring person either. Rodney will be a huge asset for this growing race team,” he added.
Kalkhoven bullish on Champ Car’s future Kalkhoven bullish on Champ Car’s futureThis ChampCarWorldSeries.com article has some key quotes from Kevin Kalkhoven:

Everyone in Champ Car is excited about the new Champ Car's unveiling because it is an essential component in the organization's reconstruction plan. Kevin Kalkhoven is as pumped up as anyone about the first public appearance of the new Panoz. Kalkhoven says Champ Car has three objectives with the new car.

"One is to level the playing field among the teams," Kalkhoven explained. "Two is to provide closer and more exciting racing for the fans. A lot of the downforce made by the new car will come from the underbody rather than the wings which will make it easier to overtake which is what fans want to see--exciting racing [Note: This idea was originally proposed by our Mark Cipolloni (a Design Engineer by trade) and backed up by Dr. Mark Handford on AutoRacing1.com in 2000 - related article]. The third thing is to reduce the cost of entering Champ Car and allow the Atlantic teams to move up. The measure of that success will determine the future success of Champ Car.

"The car is critical because it serves those three functions--to provide closer racing for fans, provide a level playing field for teams coming in, and to make the racing economically viable. The next thing is to see if the teams come on board and if the venues come as well. One of the key elements will be the number of new teams we can attract for '07."

"Part of the strategy was to introduce the new champ car a year after the new Atlantic car," Kalkhoven commented. "The Atlantic series is obviously a critical part of the rebuilding process because without a good feeder series you'll never get the stars of the future. The success of the Atlantic series is critical to the longterm success of Champ Car. That's where the new drivers, new teams and new sponsors will come from.

"When we introduced the new Atlantic car and championship a year ago, we anticipated getting maybe twenty cars. What has happened has been beyond our wildest dreams. The number of teams and the quality of the drivers is quite remarkable and it's obvious that over the next few years many of them will move up to Champ Car.

"If we get a team coming up from Atlantic then the strategy will have worked. We will be in the process of the creating the new teams, stars and sponsors that we need in the future. That was really the strategy behind Atlantic, to build our ladder series and provide an entry point for Champ Car. Then with the new car, we wanted to enable teams to come and race in Champ Car, and I believe we will see teams coming up from Atlantic, proving the viability of the strategy."

Last week's announcement that a street race in Las Vegas will host Champ Car's season-opener is another shot in the arm for the series. Coming just a week before Long Beach, the new race in Las Vegas will help provide a strong kick-off to the season.

"Vegas of course, is a huge coup because everyone from Formula One to you name them, have tried to race on the streets of Las Vegas," Kalkhoven remarked. "And to have a unanimous vote from the city council for a Champ Car race in Vegas and the support of the casinos from the world's number one resort destination is a huge accolade for what we're trying to do."

With Las Vegas, San Jose and Edmonton joining Denver and long-standing races in Long Beach and Portland, Champ Car will race in six cities in North America's west in 2007. If the controversial Phoenix street race comes together for 2008 the Champ Car World Series will race in seven western cities.

"The issue is not so much street racing as racing close to urban centers and providing an urban festival type of environment," Kalkhoven said. "We'll see other races come on board that will be conventional road races, but we've also been approached by a number of cities to hold street races.

"So the plan is pretty much working. We need to keep working away at it. We wanted to build our geographic area and that's what we're doing. All these events will help build our fan base across the western half of the country."

Kalkhoven is confident that Champ Car's efforts to stage a race in Phoenix in company with Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks co-owner Dale Jensen will bear fruit. Jensen also will promote the race in Las Vegas.

"The Phoenix city council reassembles in September after the summer recess and they'll vote on it then," Kalkhoven commented. "We're obviously very comfortable and confident that they will pass a bill in favor of us racing there, particularly based on the experience we've had in Las Vegas."

Kalkhoven confirmed that Champ Car's 2007 schedule will be announced sometime in August.

"We don't know the exact date yet of the announcement," he said, "but I think it will be a schedule that will be fascinating to people. It will contain a number of new events and a number of great, old events, like Road America. It will be a pretty good balance of between fifteen to sixteen races.

"The success of the business plan will be fundamentally determined by the new events that we add to the schedule and by the new teams that enter Champ Car in 2007. If we get one new team, then we will have succeeded. If we get two teams, that will be a great indication. And if we get three teams, it will be beyond our wildest dreams."

TV news
ABC/ESPN grab FOX motorsport producer ABC/ESPN grab FOX motorsport producerNeil Goldberg, the producer for NASCAR coverage on Fox Sports since 2001, has been released from his contract to join ESPN's production team, Goldberg's agent confirmed Tuesday.

Gary Rosen said that Fox Sports chairman and chief executive officer David Hill released Goldberg as a favor so that Goldberg could take advantage of the opportunity to help steer the production team that ABC and ESPN are putting together for their return to NASCAR coverage in 2007.

Goldberg helped shape the look and feel of "NASCAR on Fox" that won a Sports Emmy award for outstanding live series for their work in 2005.

Rosen said Goldberg felt he would have more opportunities in motorsports and original entertainment with ABC/ESPN.

ABC/ESPN will broadcast the entire Busch Series schedule on its family of networks beginning next season. ESPN will air six Nextel Cup races and ABC will do 11, including all 10 races in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, in the new contract.

Former Nextel Cup star Rusty Wallace will be an analyst for the ABC/ESPN telecasts of NASCAR. Sources have told The Charlotte Observer that Allen Bestwick is a leading candidate to join Wallace in the booth for the network's coverage.

ABC/ESPN officials have also said that Jerry Punch will have a role in their NASCAR coverage. ThatsRacin.com

Industry News
GM shows improved 2nd quarter results GM shows improved 2nd quarter resultsDETROIT – General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) today reported significantly improved 2006 second quarter financial results. Global automotive operations were profitable on an adjusted basis, excluding special items, for the first time since 2004, and the company posted a second consecutive quarter of record revenue.

GM reported a net loss of $3.2 billion, or $5.62 per share, for the second quarter of 2006, compared with a reported loss of $987 million, or $1.75 per share, for the year-ago quarter. The net loss for the quarter included a total of $4.3 billion, or $7.66 per share, in special items that reflected a previously announced $3.7 billion after-tax charge related to the successful accelerated attrition program, in which 34,400 hourly employees participated. Other special items included a loss related to the pending sale of 51 percent of GMAC, a gain on the disposition of Isuzu stock, and restructuring charges.

GM posted 2006 second-quarter adjusted net income, excluding special items, of $1.2 billion, or $2.03 per share, on record revenue of $54.4 billion. This reflects a $1.4 billion improvement from the year-ago adjusted loss of $231 million, or $0.41 per share, on revenue of $48.5 billion.

“With the support of our employees, unions, dealers, suppliers and stockholders, we are moving rapidly and aggressively to address our challenges and restructure GM for future success,” said Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and chief executive officer. “It’s rewarding to see our automotive business return to profitability on an operating basis and a clear sign that we’re on the right track, but there is more work to be done.”

Wagoner also said the success of the accelerated attrition program in the United States , along with other cost initiatives, led GM to increase its structural cost reduction target in North America to $9 billion from $8 billion on an average annual running rate basis by the end of 2006.

“Our turnaround has not just gained traction, it’s accelerating into high gear,” Wagoner said. “While significant work still remains, our ability to identify and initiate $9 billion in cost cuts over the course of the past year is unprecedented in this industry.

“We’re particularly pleased with the speed with which our people have implemented our turnaround plan. Conventional wisdom is that you can’t turn a ship as big as GM around quickly. We aim to prove that conventional wisdom wrong.”

Gordon's pit crew wins pit stop competition Gordon's pit crew wins pit stop competitionJeff Gordon's DuPont pit crew claimed its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition, helping boost the Hendrick Motorsports driver to a third-place finish in Sunday's (July 23) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Pocono Raceway. "I'm glad this over-the-wall crew is getting the recognition it deserves," said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet. "They've been great all year long, especially during difficult days when the car wasn't handling well." Gordon's over-the-wall team edged out other crews by spending the least amount of time in the pits during the Pennsylvania 500. Gordon's 324 Chevrolet spent 228.349 seconds on pit lane.

His pit crew will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. The #24 over-the-wall team includes: Jeff Cook (jackman), Mike "Tiny" Houston (front-tire carrier), Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear-tire changer), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Jason "Penske" Seitzinger (eighth-man). The pit crew coach is Matt Clark. With four wins in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge, Jimmie Johnson's team leads the season-long competition. Tony Stewart's and Kyle Busch's pit crews are tied for second place with three victories each.

The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com. DMF Communications PR
Kinser group buys Sprint Car series Kinser group buys Sprint Car seriesSteve Kinser has joined with Guy Stockbridge, who owns the No. 14 wheeled by Jason Meyers, and Don Lamberti and Lonnie Parsons, the co-owners of the No. 6 steered by Tim Shaffer to buy the National Sprint Tour Series from Debbie Brownfield rather than let the series die.  In doing so Kinser ensures the sport's ultimate demise rather than success under one series instead of two.

"My friend Fred Brownfield, together with all these race teams, sunk their hearts and souls into this series," Kinser said. "It was the right thing to do when we did it, and it's still the right thing to do. Fred's death was a devastating blow to his family and friends. He was a great man admired by so many.

"But partly because of that, and all the hard work he and his family had put into this thing, the last thing in the world we could do was to just walk away from the series when so much good had already been accomplished. The only alternative to us buying it was for it to be sold to someone else who would just liquidate the assets and shut it down. We couldn't let that happen."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Villeneuve's future still insecure
Montagny retains 'Friday' drive
Yamamoto worried about emulating Ide
Indy boss cancels meeting with Bernie
Haug urges Kimi to stay put
Todt to stay at Ferrari in 2007
San Jose GP Fact Sheet San Jose GP Fact SheetThe Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San José presented by Taylor Woodrow -  Round #9 of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, Fact Sheet. More....
A lap of Hockenheim with Kimi A lap of Hockenheim with KimiThis weekend, the F1 circus moves to Germany for the German GP at the circuit of Hockenheim. It's the 12th stage of the 2006 Formula One season. Kimi Raikkonen, the McLaren-Mercedes star, takes us for a ride along the circuit in his MP4-21.

Kimi Raikkonen "Powering down the pit straight at the revised Hockenheim circuit, you reach 305km/h in sixth gear before dabbing the brakes for the fast Nordkurve. Taken at 211km/h, it is important to maintain your speed through this right-hander. Jumping the curbs as you exit, you accelerate along to Parabolica, a tight right hander, which we believe will be negotiated at 93km/h in second and marks the beginning of the new section of the track.

A slight left hander immediately follows Parabolika and flicks you onto a long sweeping left curve. Taken flat out, it is estimated that you will reach speeds of 326km/h in sixth gear, before braking dramatically for the right-handed hairpin that has replaced the Ostkurve. Probably taken at some 59km/h, it is the tightest corner on the track and sees you rejoin the old circuit momentarily.

Accelerating out, it is estimated that you will reach 285km/h in sixth before braking for the new Spitzkehre complex. This begins with a fast right hander that will probably see speeds of 96km/h in second gear. A quick burst of power follows along a short straight, before negotiating a tighter left hander.

A slight left kink is followed by a sweeping right hander, which will take you back onto the original back straight. You will again build up speed at full throttle as you burst out of the forest and into the Stadium complex. The Mobil 1 Kurve marks the entry to the complex and this fast right hander is taken in fourth gear at 205km/h.

Next is the long left hairpin of Sachs, shifting down into second it is negotiated at 111km/h. The track then sweeps through a slight left-right kink on the approach to the final section of the Stadium complex and the lap, the S¨¹dkurve. This double apex right hand hairpin is taken at some 169km/h in third and leads you back onto the start-finish straight to begin another lap."

TV News
John C. Reilly on Jay Leno John C. Reilly on Jay LenoReminder:  John C. Reilly, one of the stars of the new NASCAR movie, "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" will be a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Wednesday night, July 26.  The show airs at 11:30 pm ET on NBC.  Check your local listings.
track news
Records to fall in Las Vegas Records to fall in Las VegasLAS VEGAS - Records will fall and excitement will rise when the stars of the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the annual NASCAR Weekend March 9-11, 2007. Tickets will go on sale Sept. 16.

This will mark the first visit to the speedway for NASCAR's premier series since the speedway raised its banks from 12 to 20 degrees, moved pit road approximately 250 feet closer to the grandstand and erected the state-of-the-art, fan-interactive area as part of the Nextel Cup garage.

"The high banks certainly are going to produce more speed and closer racing," said LVMS general manager Chris Powell. "We will have new track records in both divisions. The fans will love the new location of pit road, and we have had an overwhelming amount of interest in our new fan-interactive area already." Again in 2007, the March 11 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 is scheduled to be the third stop on the NASCAR Nextel Cup tour. The Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series event will precede the NASCAR Nextel Cup event on Saturday, March 10. Qualifying for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 is set for Friday, March 9. zzzz

Race fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-644-4444, logging on to www.lvms.com or in person at the LVMS ticket services office.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway also is offering a special Jackpot Pass, which allows fans access to both the fan-interactive area and the pits throughout the three-day event. All tickets to the fan-interactive area and pit passes must be accompanied by a race ticket. For the third consecutive year, LVMS is offering pre-race activities passes, which allow fans to stand on the racing surface during all pre-race activities including Sunday's driver introductions and VIP speeches.

Times for all events will be announced at a later date.  FOX Sports will televise the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 for the seventh consecutive year, while ESPN2 will carry the Sam's Town 300.

Jimmie Johnson is the defending champion of the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, while Kasey Kahne captured this past year's Sam's Town 300.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE:TRK), a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States. In addition to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, SMI owns and operates the following premiere facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte, Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and Texas Motor Speedway.

SMI also provides event souvenir merchandising services through its SMI Properties subsidiary, and manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars through its 600 Racing subsidiary.

IRL all by itself at MIS IRL all by itself at MISDanica Patrick, Sam Hornish Jr., Marco Andretti, Bryan Herta and the rest of the IRL will spend the weekend by themselves at Michigan International Speedway.

The series is making a stop in Brooklyn, and it will mark the second one-race weekend in as many years for the Indy Racing League at MIS. Prior to that, the last stand-alone open-wheel weekend at MIS was in August 1986.

The setup means no Thursday or Friday practice or qualifying at the speedway. The track will open at 9 a.m. Saturday. Practice sessions will be held beginning at 10 a.m., with qualifying set for 2:45 p.m.

The race is 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Last year, track president Brett Shelton called the one-race weekend "a blip on the radar." Now, Shelton and his crew can call it two blips.

"This issue is, what do you put with it?" MIS spokesman Bill Janitz said. Mlive.com

track news
PEAK announces promotion for Chicagoland event PEAK announces promotion for Chicagoland eventPEAK Antifreeze announced a promotion that will reward one lucky fan should Danica Patrick win the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean on Sept. 10.

One fan, who registers online at www.300forthe300.com, will win $300,000 courtesy of PEAK and Mr. Clean if Patrick wins the race.

"PEAK is pleased to be part of the thrills and excitement that IndyCar Series racing brings to Chicagoland Speedway," said Jeff Stauffer, vice president of marketing at Old World Industries. "This year, we're hoping to make our race even more exciting for fans by offering them the chance to enter the PEAK 300 for the 300 Sweepstakes.  If Danica wins the PEAK-sponsored race, so does one lucky consumer."

Patrick has served as spokesperson for the PEAK brand since mid-2005 and is featured in the PEAK national advertising campaign. PEAK Antifreeze announced earlier this year that the brand signed an agreement with the Rahal Letterman Racing Team to feature the PEAK logo on Patrick's No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Argent Honda-powered Dallara. The logo debuted at the Indianapolis 500 and will be featured on her car during the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean.

"I'm thrilled to be returning home for the Chicago race and to be part of the PEAK 300 for the 300 Sweepstakes," Patrick said. "It offers one of my fans the chance to feel like they are a part of the race and adds a fun and unique element to the racing experience. Not only am I able to compete for my team and for PEAK and Mr. Clean, but also my fans that have been so supportive of me over the years."
Patrick thanks Rahal Patrick thanks RahalDanica Patrick, coming off her second consecutive fourth-place finish, was in the final year of her contract with Rahal Letterman Racing, but today announced she was moving to Andretti Green Racing in 2007. The Rahal team also fields cars for Buddy Rice and Jeff Simmons.

Danica took the time to thank Rahal for the big break he gave her in racing.

"I obviously informed them [Rahal Letterman] recently that I wasn't going to be coming back to the team, and thanked (Bobby) for every thing he's done," Patrick said. "Nobody stepped up four and five years ago. He did and gave me a chance and brought me to the Indy Racing League. I wouldn't be here without him. I will be forever grateful for what he's done for me."
New Champ Car really a Lola? New Champ Car really a Lola?No the new Champ Car is not a Lola, it is indeed a Panoz.  However, the design team, led by ex-Lola Director David Bowes, has a lot of Lola engineers/technicians (12) working on the project so one can expect the new Panoz to be better than the Lola it replaces having drawn on the experience gained at Lola. One thing is certain, being lighter it should be faster everywhere despite the narrower track.
San Jose GP has major impact on local economy San Jose GP has major impact on local economyAs the excitement grows for the Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San José, July 28-30, so does the size of the positive impact on the local and regional economy. In 2005, City managers reported that the inaugural Grand Prix had a total economic impact of $41.6 million. For 2006, the impact from the city’s second downtown street race is looking strong again.

Positive indicators of the strong impact include Grand Prix direct regional spending, Corporate Partnerships and downtown hotel bookings.

Direct Regional Spending by the Grand Prix already exceeds $5M:

Direct spending by the Grand Prix with local and regional entities for goods and services has already surpassed $5 million. By the end of the race, direct spending is expected to equal last year’s figure of $7M. The Grand Prix expenditures are made with large and small local companies, contractors and individuals. The Grand Prix is a local company headquartered here in San Jose and employs people year round to prepare the annual event.

Grand Prix Corporate Partnerships at 55 up 52% from 2005:

The Grand Prix has reached corporate partnership agreements with 55 companies, up 52% over last year. These companies not only bring clients, customers and employees to the race but they also engage in additional spending to activate their marketing programs. This means local merchants and businesses will directly benefit through the sale of a wide array of activation products and services including advertising, hospitality and promotions which reach beyond of the race itself.

The corporations which have committed to participate in 2006 include returning partners and new friends of the race. They range from companies traditionally associated with racing, like Toyota and Bud Light, to nationally and internationally known businesses, such as presenting sponsor Taylor Woodrow Homes, AAA, Costco, Comcast Cable, FedEx, Hertz, Togo’s and Redback Networks as well as local businesses including Autobahn Motors Mercedes Benz, Il Fornaio, the City of San José, The Sainte Claire Hotel, and Westfield Corporation to name just a few. zzzz

Grand Prix weekend Hotel Room Bookings:

One strong indicator is the occupancy level and pricing of downtown hotel rooms. For the 2006 Grand Prix the hotels situated in and around the race track have benefited from rate premiums averaging 35 to 40% over 2005 levels. Also, they have booked more rooms already this year for race weekend than they did last.

“At this time the Hilton hotel has as many room nights booked for the race as it did in its entirety last year, so our expectation is that the race will exceed last years numbers,” stated John Southwell, General Manager of the San Jose Hilton and Towers. “Obviously race fans are coming back to San Jose.”

Commenting on the overall economic benefit to San Jose, Director of the Office of Economic Development Paul Krutko said, “In 2005, Grand Prix delivered an economic impact of almost $42M for San Jose. We’re working with businesses to maximize the benefits again in 2006. We plan to deliver a detailed, robust economic impact report for all of our downtown events this summer. We’ll have those reports available early in 2007 and will continue to assess the benefits.”

“While we are pleased with these early indications for 2006, our focus remains on planning and delivering a great experience for the fans who come out for the Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose. As long as we continue to deliver a great event for San Jose and the fans support it, then the economic benefits for the City and the region will continue,” said Dale Jantzen, President of the San Jose Grand Prix.

Tickets for the 2006 San José Grand Prix can be purchased online at www.sjgp.com, www.Ticketmaster.com, by visiting a Ticketmaster ticket center or by calling 408-998-TIXS (8497), 415-421-TIXS or 510-625-TIXS. Tickets start at $25 for general admission and go up to $160 for a three-day Gold Grandstand seat. For additional information go to (www.sjgp.com).

Companies receiving direct payments for good and services from Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San José:

Almaden Press Inc. – Printing
Briggs Cardoza - Engineering
CF Archibald – Construction Contractor City of San José – Design
Essence Printing and Steve Chin – Printing
Hexagon Transportation and Valley Transportation Authority – Transportation
HP Pavilion Management/SVS&E
Josephines Personnel – Labor
Lisa Ferdinandsen Graphic Design
San José Convention Center – Rent
Macanan Investment – Rent
McCabe & Totah LLP – Finance
Meade Construction Group Inc.
Morris Steel Co. Inc. and RC Benson – Bridge construction
National – Fence
Orlandi Trailer Inc.
Peninsula Crane – Construction
San José Mercury News, KNTV (NBC11), KSTS (T48 – Telemundo), Clear Channel – Advertising
Stages Unlimited – Suite construction
Team San José - Facility

Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San José Corporate Partners:

Presenting sponsor: Taylor Woodrow Homes
AAA Towing – Auto Club Membership IKON Office Solutions
Allied Waste, Inc. Il Fornaio
Allstate ILoop Mobile
AP Stumps Jones Soda
Aruba Wireless Networks Krispy Kreme
Ask Advatar/South Bay Segway KNBR Radio
ATM’s of America KNTV NBC 11
Autobahn Motors Mercedes Benz KSTS T48 Telemundo
Barracuda Networks Lollicup
Bonita Magzine McCormick & Schmick’s
Bud Light – Bottomley Distributing Orchard Supply Hardware
Chipotle Poor House Bistro
Chevron Redback Networks
Cinglular San José BMW
City of San José San José Mercury News
Clear Channel – Radio (KFOX/WILD 94.9) Sainte Claire Hotel
Comcast Cable Skylar Haley
Costco Smoke Tiki Lounge
Draper and Esquin Swift Optics
E & F Plastics Togo’s
El Azteca Tony Soprano’s Pizzeria
Executive Transportation Toyota
FedEx Verizon
Garage Doors Inc./List Master Wave Magazine
Go-Kart Racer Westfield Corporation
Hertz Corporation (Car Rental) Yellow Checker Cab Co.
Hertz Equipment Rental Zuca

IRL to conduct test at new Iowa Speedway IRL to conduct test at new Iowa Speedway The Indy Racing League will conduct a one-day private compatibility test on Aug. 2 at the recently constructed Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, the first IRL test at the facility.

The test is part of the normal process the IRL follows for new and potential venues, according to John Lewis, IRL vice president for league development. IndyCar Series driver Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Indy Pro Series driver Wade Cunningham of Brian Stewart Racing will represent their respective series during the test on the 7/8 mile oval.

"A compatibility test is due diligence by the League to make sure our equipment is compatible with a facility," Lewis said. "IndyCar Series cars are the most versatile in motorsports. This test will allow both us as a League and Iowa as a facility to make adjustments as needed."

The IRL has conducted compatibility tests at every facility which has played host to either the IndyCar Series or an Indy Pro Series event, including tests at Watkins Glen International and Infineon Raceway prior to their debut events in 2005. The league also conducted tests after Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway after they were reconfigured.

The goal of the test is to see how IndyCar Series cars react to the racing surface and to determine what changes, if any, are needed for IndyCar Series or Indy Pro Series cars, engines, chassis or tires to race at the facility.

 "We look at everything from the track surface, pit lane to race track transitions, the walls and pit and paddock areas." Lewis said. "Whether the track is in Motegi, Japan or Newton, Iowa the Indy Racing League conducts such tests to assure the best product available is delivered to our fans."
Race for the Chase, battle for 10th place Race for the Chase, battle for 10th placeShakeups throughout the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 continued following Sunday’s event at Pocono Raceway with Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) taking the biggest tumble – seventh to 11th place following his second consecutive 43rd-place finish.

However, reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet), bounced back into the top 10 – from 11th to 10th – following an eventful seventh-place finish at Pocono.

Beginning with the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 6, six races remain in the “Race To The Chase,” the 10-race stretch – it started July 1 at Daytona and ends Sept. 9 at Richmond – that precedes the Chase. Post-Richmond, the top 10 drivers in the points and anyone else within 400 points of the standings’ leader will quality for the Chase.

The pressure is on -- starting with Earnhardt. He’ll go into Indy trailing Stewart by 15 points. zzzz

As for some others currently on the outside looking in:

• Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford) fell two spots in the standings to 12th following a 24th-place finish at Pocono. He trails Stewart by 44 points.

• Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge), the 2004 series champion, remained 13th following his second runner-up finish this season at Pocono – and his second consecutive runner-up finish in the last two events. He trails Stewart by 166 points.

• Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), dropped one spot following a 39th-place finish at Pocono. He trails Stewart by 235 points.

• Casey Mears (No. 15 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) remained 15th following a 23rd-place finish at Pocono. He trails Stewart by 292 points.

DEI's return to prominence DEI's return to prominenceRichard Childress Racing has returned to prominence in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series – in the process, reminding everyone of its storied past.

Childress, who won six series championships with Dale Earnhardt as his driver, has his organization on the rebound this season.

This week – the season’s final open week, to be followed by the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 6 – Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet) is in third place in the standings, Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) is fifth, and Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet) is 19th.

For sake of comparison, this time last year Burton was 18th in the standings and Harvick was 13th.

Both drivers are now in prime position to qualify for the third annual Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, which starts Sept. 17 at New Hampshire International Speedway.

Both are trying to make the “Chase” for the first time. zzzz

A major rededication of personnel, information and resources during the off-season is one factor behind RCR’s reemergence. Burton, now in his second full season with RCR, also has meshed with Harvick and Bowyer. The crew chiefs – Scott Miller, Todd Berrier and Gil Martin, respectively – also are working together well.

Burton’s story is nothing sort of remarkable.

A 17-race winner and fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor since 1994, he last tasted success in 2000, when he finished a career-best third in the final standings. Since, Burton endured five consecutive seasons of finishing 10th or worse, including 10th in 2001, 12th in 2002 and 2003 and 18th in 2004 and 2005.

Harvick also leads the NASCAR Busch Series standings by 348 points over Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford). The 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion, he also seems poised for his first top-10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup finish since 2003, when he finished fifth.

Worth noting, going into Indy next week: RCR has two Indy victories, Dale Earnhardt’s in 1995 and Harvick’s in 2003.

ARCA slams cheater ARCA slams cheaterBased on post-race technical inspection after Saturday’s Pennsylvania 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race event at Pocono Raceway, the Tri-State Motorsports #46 team has been fined $1500 and team owner Larry Clement and driver Frank Kimmel have been penalized with the loss of 25 championship points. The penalties were issued for violation of the minimum rear quarter panel height and minimum roof height rules per the 2006 ARCA Rulebook.  It cuts his lead from 60 to 35 points.  Actually a pretty big deal.
Andretti Green Racing Signs Danica Patrick for 2007 Andretti Green Racing Signs Danica Patrick for 2007INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Andretti Green Racing announced today it has signed Danica Patrick to drive one of the team's IndyCar Series cars, beginning in 2007.

Patrick, who was named 2005 IndyCar Series rookie of the year and 2005 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year, becomes the third driver under contract to Andretti Green for the 2007 season. She joins 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan, who won Sunday's event at The Milwaukee Mile, and Marco Andretti, who was named 2006 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year after finishing second in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Andretti Green currently fields four full-time entries in the IndyCar Series and intends to do so again in 2007. The team fielded a fifth car in the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 for team co-owner Michael Andretti, who drove to a third-place finish.

Andretti Green Racing, which won the 2004 and 2005 IndyCar Series championships, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and is the winningest team in IndyCar Series history, also campaigns two cars in the Indy Pro Series and announced last week it will be entering one car in the 2007 American Le Mans Series.

 Michael Andretti, Chief Executive Officer, Andretti Green Racing: "Today is an exciting day for everyone at Andretti Green Racing. Danica has shown great talent during her first two seasons in the IndyCar Series and has impressed Kim [Green], Kevin [Savoree] and myself with her development as a driver. Our focus has been and always will be on winning races and winning championships. We certainly believe Danica will do that. She has made it very clear that one of her goals as a driver is to win the Indianapolis 500 and we are looking forward to giving her a great opportunity to do that."

SellyourCell.com sponsorship gets results SellyourCell.com sponsorship gets resultsSellyourCell.com’s 2006 personal sponsorship of the American Le Mans Series 2005 Rookie of the Year Guy Cosmo has been paying dividends, according to SellyourCell CEO Keith Ori.

Cosmo has proved to be a worthy ambassador for the brand, representing SellyourCell.com in the American LeMans Series as well his recent efforts with the Daytona Prototypes of the Grand-Am series. SellyourCell.com was displayed on Cosmo’s Mazda LMP2 prototype for the 12 Hours of Sebring and he has actively promoted the company within his considerable fan base.

“We have worked throughout the season with Guy to identify and utilize marketing opportunities that are mutually beneficial, and Guy has been a dedicated champion of our brand from the beginning,” Ori says.

SellyourCell.com specializes in recycling used wireless phones, PDAs and Apple iPods by offering to purchase them directly from consumers, businesses, and charities right on their web site. The website shows the offer price for any given device, and upon accepting the offer the customer is sent a postage paid box in which to return their device(s) in exchange for payment. SellyourCell.com pays up to $200.00 per phone, and offers to purchase over 500 different cell phone, PDA and iPod models.

“I think what SellyourCell.com is doing is great; a real win-win situation” Cosmo adds, “It’s great for their customers, great for the environment, and it obviously works for them. It is easy to represent a company like theirs to my fans because it is such a beneficial arrangement.” zzzz

SellyourCell.com welcomes the opportunity to continue assisting Cosmo in his efforts to succeed in the 2006 American Le Mans series as well as his other racing efforts during the season.

“We have set up a co-branded promotional site with Cosmo at www.sellyourcell.com/cosmo where fans and consumers can get paid to recycle their cell phones and Apple iPods, with SellyourCell donating a portion of it’s profit on each unit to Cosmo’s racing efforts. The consumer receives full value for the phones they recycle,” Ori said.

“Continuing to be a part of SellyourCell.com’s growth and success within their industry is a pleasure and I am confident that we will continue to find success,” Cosmo added.

SellyourCell.com is a six-year-old subsidiary of Sundog Inc., based in Orlando, Florida. Sellyourcell.com offers to pay consumers to recycle their used cell phones through their website www.sellyourcell.com. This process eliminates a number of hazardous and harmful substances from coming into contact with the environment and provides a financial incentive for doing so. SellyourCell.com is one of the oldest companies offering this service and continues to be a leader in the wireless recycling industry.

Tracy Hines Leaves FitzBradshaw Racing Tracy Hines Leaves FitzBradshaw RacingMOORESVILLE, N.C. – Tracy Hines has decided to resign his duties as a part-time driver for FitzBradshaw Racing.

The decision was made after Hines was pulled from the No. 12 car before this weekend's race at Gateway.

"I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to drive for FBR in the Busch series this year, but it's time for me to move on and look for something else," Hines said. "I'd like to find another ride with a team in NASCAR, either in the Truck or Busch series. I feel like I can be an asset to any team."

Hines, who has competed in both the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, will most likely return to running USAC races until another seat opens up for him in the NASCAR ranks.

"It's frustrating to be in a situation where we're constantly losing team members to other teams and I feel like I'm just waiting my turn for the driver's seat to open up," Hines explained. "Each race that I drive, I feel like I'm continually trying to prove myself behind the wheel." zzzz

Hines has run 10 races for FitzBradshaw in the 2006 season. His best start of the year came in Atlanta where he qualified 18th for the Nicorette 300, but a blown tire on lap 99 took Hines out of contention early on.

In Bristol, Hines and his crew made a gutsy call to stay out on tires for more than half the race in order to keep track position. During his final pit stop on lap 147, Hines told his crew after they put four fresh tires on the car that he wouldn't be coming back in unless he absolutely needed to.

Hines was running in the top five and would've had a top-10 finish had it not been for a run-in with Reed Sorenson during the last 50 laps of the race. However, Hines was able to rebound from the spin and earn a 13th-place finish in the Sharpie Mini 300.

"We've had some decent runs this year. Bristol was probably our best, especially considering we were running on a very low budget for that race," Hines said. "FBR isn't a Cup-backed Busch team, so it is hard to compete with teams that have million dollar budgets at their disposal."

"We gave it a good try for these last six months, but I don't feel like my skills are being used to the fullest at FitzBradshaw," Hines stated. "Dodge Motorsports has been very good to me for a number of years and I'm grateful to them for helping me obtain this position at FBR. I'm looking forward to an ongoing relationship with Dodge in the future and hopefully, we'll be able to find something that benefits all of us a little better."

Racing News
Wicks sets speed record at Bonneville Wicks sets speed record at BonnevilleSeattle, Washington - World speed record holder Russ Wicks recently established a new World Stock Car Speed Record in a NASCAR-spec Autodesk Ford Taurus of 222.623 miles-per-hour on July 3, 2006, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.  The previous milestone of 216.946 mph was set nearly 35 years ago by Bobby Isaac.  Today's announcement comes on the heals of the recent Honda Formula 1 team's effort to break the 400 kilometer-per-hour (248 mph) speed barrier in Bonneville.

Wicks, of Seattle, Washington, is now the only living driver to have set official speed records of over 200 mph on land and water, as he also holds the mile record for propeller-driven boats of 205.494 mph, set June 15, 2000 in the Miss Freei unlimited hydroplane on Seattle's Lake Washington.

"This has been nearly a year in the making and we overcame a number of hurdles to set a new world record," said Wicks, whose American Challenge Team will continue to embark on a number of speed record breaking initiatives.  "I'm ecstatic to have been able to set a new stock car record at Bonneville.  There is so much history associated with the Salt Flats and to be able to join the list of speed legends that have set records here is certainly a dream come true.  I could not have accomplished this without the incredible support of my family, team and Autodesk.  We're looking forward to our next speed record breaking challenge coming in the near future." zzzz

Wicks' stock car record was certified by Mike Cook, Chairman of Bonneville Nationals, Inc., and was run in accordance with FIA timing and scoring standards for speed records.  The Autodesk Ford Taurus, a 1999 ex-Jimmy Spencer superspeedway car and run under the direction of PTP NASCAR team owner Chris Diedrich, was in accordance with all current NASCAR Nextel Cup stock car templates and specifications.

Time-trial rules dictate that the test speed must be achieved past a one-mile timing point along a "track" on the salt, as well as a return trip within one hour, with the official speed being the average of the two runs.  The average speed of the run down the course was 223.229 mph, with a return run average speed of 222.020, for an official overall mile average speed of 222.623 mph.  Despite an engine failure on the first day, Wicks set the record on his first full attempt.  Isaac's previous record was also set at Bonneville, in a NASCAR-spec Dodge Charger Daytona on September 12, 1971.

Wicks' latest record is part of his ongoing American Speedking television series, which will begin airing this Fall and feature a behind-the-scenes look at the American Challenge Team's pursuit of setting new world speed records.

FIA ban BMW's 'twin towers' FIA ban BMW's 'twin towers'(GMM)  F1's governing body has banned the so-nicknamed 'twin towers' because they impede the vision of BMW-Sauber race drivers.

Just as rival teams began to investigate copying the bodywork innovation, which passed scrutineering and debuted at Magny Cours, the FIA says it falls foul of Article 2.3 of the Technical Regulations, which relates to features that could compromise safety.

Concerns in the paddock had also been raised about the questionable aesthetic effect of the vertical fins, which were designed to better distribute rearward-bound air.

A recent advisory note to all teams, written by the FIA's Charlie Whiting, warns that front bodywork should no longer be fitted higher than the top of the cockpit, it was reportedly widely on Tuesday.

''We respect the FIA's decision to ban such elements,'' a BMW-Sauber statement read, adding that the FIA had been consulted even before the wings were tested.

Lola to Produce Further Updates to B05/40 Lola to Produce Further Updates to B05/40Lola has announced that further developments will be made to their B05/40 LMP2 chassis. A dedicated aerodynamic program is in progress at Lola’s state-of-the-art, on-site wind tunnel in Huntingdon and is set to add to the already enviable downforce that the B05/40 currently enjoys. Lola’s renowned CFD capability is also being maximized by its aero team, led by ex Jaguar F1 engineer, Phil Tiller.

A mechanical design development program is also underway with a schedule of runs on Lola’s in-house 7-post vehicle dynamic test-rig. Significant weight reduction has already been found, particularly on the new for 2006 bodykit.

Lola’s existing HT (high-torque) LMP transmission has shown race-proven performance and reliability in the B05/40. More development on the gearbox is being carried out at Huntingdon. Already, the gearbox has shown its strength at this years Le Mans 24 Hours when RML, Binnie Motorsports and Intersport Racing completed a unique 1-2-4 in class and RML finished 8th overall, the first time ever that an LMP2 car had finished in the top ten. zzzz

Lola Group’s Executive Chairman, Martin Birrane, set in motion the successful family of sportscars by introducing the Lola B98/10 in 1998, a year after he acquired the company and invested in its now world beating technical capabilities.

“We have embarked upon a program that will ensure that this package will continue to dominate races and championships in the second part of this decade,” confirmed Birrane.

“We are committed to continued race and championship wins. Our existing and our future customers will continue to enjoy performance and reliability that will ensure that we still keep ahead of the competition."

300th race for Honda 300th race for HondaThis weekend's German Grand Prix will mark Honda's 300th Grand Prix since the company first entered Formula One in 1964 as a works team. Since then, Honda has been involved in three generations of F1 participation: 1964-1968 as the initial works team, 1983-1992 as an engine supplier and from 2000 initially as an engine supplier to the BAR Honda and then Jordan Honda teams, before finally taking 100 per cent ownership of the Honda Racing F1 Team at the start of this season. In more than 40 years of F1 participation, Honda has won 71 races, taken 173 podiums and 77 pole positions. Only Ferrari, Ford and Renault have contested more GPs.

"Hockenheim is one of the more historic circuits that we go to, and it is quite appropriate that we celebrate our 300th GP at such a venue," says Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director who is cautiously optimistic that Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button will be back in the points on Sunday after an encouraging test last week in Spain.

"Both our drivers have done well at Hockenheim in the past, and so has our car, which is always positive. It seems from the test results of the chassis and engine development items in Jerez that we have made a step in the right direction, hopefully these results will translate well for the weekend."

Racing News
Astone dies Astone diesTommy Astone Sr. died Saturday, July 22, 2006, in Fresno, CA. He was 88 years old. Tommy owned race cars for over 30 years and had such drivers as Tommy Jr., Jimmy Caruthers, and other racing greats from the 60s and 70s. Tommy is the father of Joyce Vukovich, Tommy Astone Jr. and Sandra Saroonian. A racing family in Fresno for over 65 years. Joyce is the wife of Billy Vukovich Jr., one of the greats from the 60s and 70s, father of outstanding midget driver Tommy Astone Jr who is married to Wally Meskowski's daughter, Joy, and father of Sandra Saroonian whose husband John owned race cars for years.

Services for Tommy Astone Sr. are Wed July 26, 2006 at Belmont Memorial Park in Fresno, CA. at 0900 hours. Whitehurst Funeral Chapel in Fresno is in charge of services.

Hockenheim is more challenging says Michelin Hockenheim is more challenging says MichelinGermany is one of Formula One’s traditional hosts and this year marks its 54th appearance on the world championship calendar. The German Grand Prix originally took place on the classic, 22.77-kilometre (14.15-mile) Nürburgring Nordschleife. It moved to Avus in 1959, then returned to the Nürburgring before switching to Hockenheim, on a one-off basis, in 1970.

Hockenheim became the event’s permanent home in 1977 and has since hosted the German GP every year bar one (1985, when the modern-day Nürburgring staged it for the only time). In addition to its ‘home’ event, Germany has also staged another 13 other world championship F1 races – since 1984 there have been two Luxembourg GPs and 11 GPs of Europe, all at the Nürburgring.

Hockenheim used to be one of the longest circuits on the calendar, at 6.825 kilometres (4.241 miles). It was shortened by a third in 2002, however, and its distinctive, tree-lined straights were consigned to history. If you walk around the perimeter of the current circuit, gaps between the forestation remain as a poignant reminder of the previous track’s silhouette. zzzz

Michelin has scored four of its 100 F1 world championship victories in the German GP, in 1984 (Alain Prost, McLaren TAG turbo), 2001 (Ralf Schumacher, Williams-BMW), 2003 (Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams-BMW) and 2005 (Fernando Alonso, Renault).

Michelin’s view with Nick Shorrock, Formula One director:
“It requires the use of rubbers that are capable of resisting high temperatures. For tire manufacturers, Hockenheim is a more challenging venue than Magny-Cours, where we raced a fortnight ago, because of its abrasive nature. The track surface has a high level of macro-roughness that places significant demands on the tires. Hockenheim has less of a tendency to promote graining than Magny-Cours, but it requires the use of rubbers that are capable of resisting high temperatures and will not be prone to blistering.”

“The rears are subjected to particularly high loads – cars reach speeds of more than 300kph (186mph) through long, sweeping curves and there are significant traction events as drivers accelerate hard out of slower corners, such as Turn Six and Turn 13. Preparing tires for conditions such as these is a very intense process. We evaluated our Hockenheim tires in Jerez, Spain, during weeks 27 and 29. We tested six compounds and seven tire constructions and did some analytical work that will assist our progress in future races.” Michelin

track news
San Jose GP track construction photos San Jose GP track construction photos
Grandstands and Walls
Andretti hopes team will keep on winning Andretti hopes team will keep on winningSpeaking in the press conference after last weekend's Milwaukee IndyCar race, Michael Andretti said he hopes the team has now broken the ice and they will return to their winning ways on a regular basis.

"It was a great day for the team. We were back being competitive. Hopefully we can continue that the rest of the year. I’m just really proud of Tony. He just drove very, very well all weekend. He and the 7-Eleven crew deserve this one. He's been our go-to guy the last three or four years. He came through again.

"I’m really proud of him. I'm really proud of the job Marco did, as well. He drove very, very well. It's a shame, the tires went off there in the end and the other guys have fresh tires, otherwise he would have finished third. But he still did really well.

"It was good, to have all four cars running up front. We haven't had much of that all year. It was looking good. At lap 200, I just wish it would be a 200 mile instead of 225. Would have looked a lot better. But it was still good.

"It's been very frustrating. We're a team that's used to winning. I think we could have been in the winner's circle two or three times this year. For whatever reason, it didn't happen. To finally do it and do it here at Milwaukee, it feels good.

"I love Milwaukee. It's been a great track for me and my family. My dad and I have won, I don't know, like nine races here. We've won here two years ago with Dario (Franchitti) as a team. It's a great place for us, and I'm glad we were finally able to break the ice here."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Title foes eye battle of Germany
Fisi, Massa, step up for supporting role
Mercedes-Benz crack 20,000rpm barrier
Drivers don't mind back-to-back burden
'Direxiv' abandon F1 plans
McLaren sponsor switched to golf
Renault soften tire 'wake-up' call
Lauda tips Schu to pip Alonso
BMW to debut another aero innovation
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