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Ethanol scam
This Rolling Stone article calls Ethanol one of America's biggest political boondoggles of our lifetime.  If in doubt, just follow the money......


A lap of Hungary with Jenson Button
Round eleven of the 2007 Formula One world championship will take place this coming weekend at the Hungaroring in Budapest, a circuit that is well known for its difficulty to overtake on, making grid position all the more important. Unfortunately, Honda Racing hasn’t had a good history of strong grid spots this season, however that won’t stop Jenson Button from giving his all from opening practice on Friday until the checkered flag falls on Sunday afternoon in the hope that he will get a repeat of his one and only victory in the sport…

"The Hungaroring is a track with good rhythm and a good mix of slow-speed and high-speed turns,” he explained. “It was never really one of my favorite races before, but for obvious reasons that all changed last year. It will always be a special place as the scene of my first win. Obviously it will be quite a different race for us this year but hopefully we can keep up the steady progress we have been making and take another step forward.”

Here is what a lap of the 70 lap, 4.384 km Hungaroring is like to drive through Jenson’s eyes….

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Danica can’t help plummeting Motorola
Danica Patrick's primary sponsor Motorola reported a second straight quarterly loss Thursday after another quarter of subpar sales. The latest deficit, $28 million, raises pressure on the company and its chief executive, Edward J. Zander. The company promised financial improvement in its cell phone division in the second half but steered clear of estimates after weak international sales contributed to back-to-back losses for the first time in five years.

Its hopes for recovery, put off until next year, hinge on the reception of new phones like the Razr 2 and the Z8 that are just being shipped.

Some investors are also clamoring for the board to replace Mr. Zander, whose three and a half years as chief executive have been tarnished by the company’s faltering sales strategy after two years of notable success linked to runaway sales of the Razr phone.

Thomas J. Meredith, a Motorola board member as well as chief financial officer since March, said Mr. Zander still had backing from directors.

“The board is of the opinion that we have the right strategy and we have the right leadership team,” he said. More at NY Times

tv news

New starting time for NASCAR Now
NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily news and information program totally dedicated to NASCAR, will move to a new time of 6:00pm/et starting Tuesday, July 31. The 30-minute show on ESPN2 has aired at 6:30pm/et since its debut in February. NASCAR Now will continue with an expanded one-hour program on Mondays that will include extensive highlights of the weekend’s Nextel Cup and Busch Series races. The one-hour show will air at 5:30pm/et. The hour-long weekend edition of the program will continue to air at 10:00am/et on the days of Nextel Cup races, either Saturday or Sunday. NASCAR Now is hosted by Erik Kuselias, Ryan Burr or Allen Bestwick and originates from ESPN’s High Definition studios in Bristol, Conn., with reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Contributors include analysts Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Stacy Compton and Boris Said, along with NASCAR insiders Terry Blount, Angelique Chengelis, Tim Cowlishaw, David Newton and Marty Smith, as well as D.J. Copp, a member of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR team. ESPN PR


RCR, KHI to increase Busch Series relationship
Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Kevin Harvick Incorporated (KH) have reached agreement to expand their already successful NASCAR Busch Series relationship going into the 2008 season.

KHI will take a more active role in this increased technical alliance with regard to testing, aerodynamics, suspension and chassis. RCR has been the engine supplier to KHI since the Kernersville, N.C.-based team fielded its first NASCAR Truck Series entrant in 2002.

“The goal of this increased relationship is to make both programs stronger,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “Our plan is to field a fourth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team for 2008 so we’re going to work more closely with KHI on the Busch side. Kevin and DeLana have put together a very good program and I have all the confidence in the world that we’re going to have a better overall program than what we have already.”


San Jose Grand Prix postscript - 1 UPDATE #2 This San Jose Mercury News article talks about the local city reaction to the San Jose Grand Prix.  In summary it is largely very positive, which bodes well for the future of this event.

07/30/07 The engine shutdowns in San Jose on Sunday were not Cosworth engine related. In Bourdais' case it seems he inadvertently selected 7th gear coming out of the hairpin instead of 2nd and the engine bogged down and stalled. He realized his error, and with some quick thinking while the car was still rolling, got the car restarted on his own. As for Graham Rahal, he was using too much throttle on take off out of his pit stall and dumped the clutch when the boost was on the down side (against rev-limiter) and the small turbo engine has very little torque when the turbo is not pumping hard and hence died.

07/29/07 After winning for the 2nd time in four weeks, Dutchman Robert Doornbos went out of his way to say how happy he was to be racing here in America and the way he conducts himself and his mastery of the English language is winning him a lot of respect and fans in and out of the Champ Car paddock........Harry Muermans, who backs Doornbos financially was ecstatic with the win by his driver and in the post-race interview room was even clapping........Race promoter Dale Jantzen met the media after the event and said he was very happy with how well everything came off. He said the attendance appears to be close to last year's 120,000 3-day total but did not have final numbers yet. They built more grandstands this year and they were almost full to capacity as were the suites. He reiterated that he has a long-term contract with both the city and Champ Car and the race will definitely be back next year when they hope to finally break even on the event. Redback Networks stepped up their involvement with the event significantly this year and he appears confident they will be back next year, perhaps as a title sponsor, though he did not come right out and say that.


Canary Fund raises $1.1 Million during San Jose GP
Events related to the San Jose Grand Prix raised more than $1.1 million for the Canary Foundation, according to an early estimate Listwin announced at the gala.

The total was drawn from events that included a Thursday breakfast at Tiffany at Santana Row, the Drivers Party live auction on Friday and a trio of Saturday events: the CXO Celebrity Go-Kart Challenge, the Historic Stock Car "Ride of Your Life" and Cabana.

The Frank and Denise Quattrone Family Foundation became a big Canary Foundation supporter this year with a $250,000 donation announced at the gala that will go toward prostate-cancer research.


Honda F1 appoints new marketing boss
Honda Racing F1 has announced the appointment of David Butler as its new marketing director. Butler joins the F1 team from Laureus, where he worked promoting the Laureus Sports Awards, the Laureus World Sports Academy and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.


Don't appeal, Bernie tells Ferrari
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has urged Ferrari to pass up the temptation to appeal the FIA's decision last Thursday to not penalize McLaren for espionage.

The reaction from within Maranello and the Italian press has been universal in condemnation, and even Italian World Motor Sport Council member Luigi Macaluso broke ranks and FIA protocol last week and revealed that he thought guilty McLaren should have received a ban for possessing confidential Ferrari material.

"Juventus were sent down to Serie B for a lot less," he said last week.

The World Council's verdict was, however, apparently unanimous, and F1 chief executive Ecclestone says that should be the end of it.

And, having previously described the spying affair as "nonsense", he told the British newspaper News of the World: "If Ferrari think the wrong decision has been made they have every right to appeal and I think they will.

"But I don't think it will make any difference to the championship positions in the end."

Mercedes-Benz competition chief Norbert Haug also seemed unfazed by the prospect of his team facing another court test.

"Any appeal would have exactly the same result," he told German media. "I'm not worried. We're cleaner than clean."


News from the weekend
For those of you who may have missed some of the news from the weekend that already scrolled off to our archive pages, here is a link.


Toyota making gains in Busch and Cup
Toyota is slowly making gains in NASCAR, and Saturday night's Busch victory at cross-town short track Raceway Park by Jason Leffler was Toyota’s biggest yet in NASCAR. “It’s great to do that here in Indianapolis, with the exposure the races get,” Jim Aust, head of Toyota Racing Development (TRD). “It was something needed. I thought the second half of the season was going to be more successful for us. It shows our teams can win, and that’s a real shot in the arm.

“We have to look at the Cup side somewhat differently. The competitors are different in that series. And we still have different engines in the two series, and that’s significant. If anything, it (Saturday’s Busch win) adds pressure to the (Cup) program.”

Lee White, Toyota’s manager of TRD, sat on the first-turn grass with fans during the Busch event. “I didn’t hear one negative thing about Toyota’s participation in the Busch series, and that’s great,” White said.

Toyota executives have been sensitive to their company’s image among NASCAR fans since moving into Busch and Cup this season.  Winston Salem Journal


Jani’s luck fades with tires
Had it not been for a worn set of tires, rookie Neel Jani might today be enjoying his first Champ Car victory.

Not that a second-place finish is all that devastating.

Jani scored a third podium finish in his past four races Sunday at the San Jose Grand Prix. That's quite an accomplishment based on how his race weekend began.

He was last in Friday's provisional qualifying before recovering to nail down the fifth spot on the grid in Saturday's final qualifying session.

Jani moved quickly Sunday into second place after early trouble knocked No. 2 qualifier Sebastien Bourdais down a few notches and knocked out No. 3 qualifier Dan Clarke. Now running up front, Jani didn't have to depend on an alternate pit strategy and luck; that's how he had finished third in Cleveland and second in Toronto.

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Wilson upset with Dan Clarke
Justin Wilson's No. 9 car had been dialed in all weekend, and the Englishman was sitting pretty, having earned the pole position for Sunday's San Jose Grand Prix.

But he ended up planted in his cockpit on pit row for more than 21 minutes - burning up in the afternoon heat and seething after being hit from behind by Dan Clarke under a yellow flag on Lap 4. By the time his crew replaced a broken drive shaft and right-rear suspension, Wilson had lost 21 laps to the field.

Still, his RSPORTS team was determined to squeeze as many points out of this race as possible. Wilson finished in 13th place, 20 laps behind winner Robert Doornbos.

"We were in the middle of Turn 6 and I was radioing asking where can we restart," Wilson said. "I hadn't even got out of the turn when I got this bang from behind. I guess Dan was not paying attention - he just went flying into the back of me."

Wilson didn't plan to confront Clarke about the wreck.

"I mean what am I going to say, `Open your eyes'?" Wilson said. "I have never seen driving like that. I'm amused that he wasn't paying attention." More at San Jose Mercury News


Angry Ferrari will not appeal
Ferrari have accepted that they cannot appeal against the decision not to impose a penalty on arch-rivals McLaren in Formula One's spying row.

Ferrari said F1 rules did not allow an appeal against decisions made by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, the body that made last week's decision.

But a Ferrari spokesman said the team were "evaluating all possible options" when it came to pursuing the case.

He insisted the team's legal cases in Italy and England were ongoing.

The FIA ruled on Thursday that the title race was unaffected by McLaren's possession of secret Ferrari documents - nearly 800 pages of which were found in the home of the Anglo-German team's chief designer, Mike Coughlan.

McLaren, who insisted that they did not use or benefit from the information in Coughlan's possession, still face a championship ban if in the future they are seen to have gained any advantage from the data. Ferrari have taken action in Modena against former performance director Nigel Stepney, who they accuse of leaking technical secrets to McLaren.

The London High Court said on Monday that no more proceedings were planned in Ferrari's case against Coughlan, who has been suspended by the team.

But Ferrari said they were pressing on with their claim against the Englishman. More at BBC 


Renault invest $50m in CFD facility
The ING Renault F1 Team is pleased to announce a $50 million program of long-term technology investment, including a cutting-edge CFD facility to be housed at Enstone.

The ING Renault F1 Team is pleased to announce a major $50 million technology investment program at its Enstone base with the full support of the Renault Group. This long-term program will include investment in a brand-new Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) facility, which will provide the team with ten times its current capacity in this area and create an industry benchmark that will stand among the top 100 global computing facilities.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Singapore set for first night race
  • Salo backtracks after Ferrari spy charge
  • Bourdais now in NASCAR link
  • Title race 'tainted' for McLaren says Watson
  • Vettel disappointed to miss Speed's cockpit

Singapore set for first night race
(GMM) The inaugural Singapore grand prix will indeed be the first ever formula one race to be staged at night.

Following the breakdown of Bernie Ecclestone's night race talks with Melbourne, the local newspaper Today clarified that Singapore organizers are still keen to flood-light the 2008 event in September.

The FIA did not confirm the news, but its provisional calendar for next year lists the Singapore street course as 'subject to circuit approval'.

The Singapore GP's communications director Jonathan Hallett, meanwhile, said race organizers and corporate partners are "in full support of a night race", Today wrote.

Melbourne promoters were worried that spectators would not attend a night race but Hallett said the idea "makes sense" for Singapore.

Referring to Singapore's scorching tropical climate, he said spectators "will find it more comfortable".

But he cautioned: "We will carry out a night race only if the FIA and Formula One Administration find that the safety of drivers and spectators is not compromised."

Salo backtracks after Ferrari spy charge
(GMM) Former Ferrari racer Mika Salo on the weekend back-paddled after suggesting that the Maranello based team has also been guilty of spying.

Following the World Motor Sport Council's decision not to penalize McLaren for espionage, furious Ferrari chief Jean Todt accused the FIA of double-standards by saying "an exemplary punishment" would have been handed down if the Italian team had been in the dock.

But Salo, who in 1999 substituted for an injured Michael Schumacher for several races, told Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat that Ferrari also regularly spied on McLaren.

"After every practice session I had in front of me, on paper, all the discussions Mika Hakkinen had had with his engineer," he was quoted as saying.

After Salo's remarks were widely circulated, Ferrari provided to the media a clarification, quoting 40-year-old Salo as now insisting that the Ilta-Sanomat article did "not match the thoughts I wanted to express".

"I would like to make it clear that I was only referring to formula one in the late 90s, when radio technology was still at an almost amateurish level, which meant it could happen that some radio conversations could be listened to randomly because of interference," he added.

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Racing News

Quotes of the Week
"I am bitter about it: what happened yesterday is serious. On the one hand a verdict of guilt was handed down and on the other, no sanctions were imposed. I cannot understand it," reaffirmed Todt.  "As confirmed in that decision yesterday, the violation was already there in the simple possession of the information, which in itself constitutes an enormous advantage in a sport like Formula 1. In Ferrari's opinion, it is like playing a hand of poker with a rival who already knows what cards you are holding."

FERRARI, Formula One team
"Today’s decision legitimizes dishonest behavior in Formula 1 and sets a very serious precedent,” they said in a statement. “In fact, the decision of the World Council signifies that possession, knowledge at the very highest level and use of highly confidential information acquired in an illicit manner and the acquiring of confidential information over the course of several months, represent violations that do not carry any punishment.  The fact that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was in possession of such information was discovered totally by accident and, but for this, the team would continue to have it. This is all the more serious as it has occurred in a sport like Formula 1 in which small details make all the difference. Ferrari feels this is highly prejudicial to the credibility of the sport. It will continue with the legal action already under way within the Italian criminal justice system and in the civil court in England."

MIKA SALO, former Ferrari driver
"When I was driving for Ferrari we always spied on McLaren, listening to their radio traffic. After every practice session I had in front of me, on paper, all the discussions Mika Hakkinen had had with his engineer," said former Ferrari driver Mika Salo.

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Da Matta hopes for Champ Car return
Cristiano da Matta was a surprise visitor to San Jose this weekend. Da Matta told us he is scheduled to undergo an “impact test” next week by Dr. Steve Olvey and if all goes well, will get the green light to restart his driving career.

“They told me I should not just jump into Champ Car right away so I will probably start with go-karts and move up from there.

“It feels really weird to be standing here watching Champ Cars,” he said.

"That's a good idea," said da Matta when we suggested he drive in the season ending non-points Atlantic race in Phoenix as a tune-up for Champ Car.


Observations from the Allstate 400
Contrary to TV commentary – which drew lots of laughs of derision in the press room -- there were lots of empty seats in the grandstands. IMS officials told us that Brickyard attendance figures roughly mirror NASCAR's TV ratings, as well as the attendance trends at other events. In other words, attendance was down a bit again this year over last year, and scalpers were seen shouting, “Prices lower than box office.”

However, according to the Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin, there are 257,325 seats at Indy (he counted them). According to knowledgeable IMS people, that figure is a bit low, but in the ballpark. This means that IMS holds twice as many fans as Daytona, and given that both seats at both the Daytona 500 and this Brickyard 400, Indy still drew twice as many fans as the Daytona 500.

You know you're at Indy when you're  using the bathroom in Gasoline Ally, and notice that the obscene graffiti is in four different languages. Just to think, that I might've been taking care of my business in the same spot where Michael Schumacher wrote, “Here I sit, broken-hearted...” in German.

You also know you're at Indy when you see hundreds of racing fans who are totally oblivious to the fact that they're standing on an F1 track while waiting for an autograph, or that they drove their Winnebago on an F1 track getting to their parking spot.

Next week, NASCAR visits Pocono. Traditionally, NASCAR teams have used the same car for Pocono and Indy, which means that those that crashed will be at an disadvantage if they can't fixed the cars.
NASCAR crew chief “Bootie” Barker did a 90-second TV bit with Robin Miller. While the production version of the show is entertaining, the warm-up sessions were even better. Bootie knows from experience that NASCAR has “a line” that he cannot cross. When Bootie said somewhat jokingly that he didn't want to get fired, Miller responded, “Boy (pronounced “Bouyh”), I've been fired from more jobs that you'll ever know.”

A Speed TV reporter who was watching the event assured me – from firsthand experience – that NASCAR does have a way of explaining their point of view to journalists, including language that Tony Stewart might use in a post-race interview. Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy


Crash fest at Indy
Lap 95 Indy for the Allstate 400 Nextel Cup race and it's been a crash fest with the pace car leading the most laps. We're under a lap 95 caution, average speed is down to 103 mph and falling quickly, rivaling the 1935 Indy 500. 20 cars involved with accidents already.


Bomarito wins race, Matos championship
The San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway (ESPN2, 8/3, 5:30 p.m. ET) featured two Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda celebrations, as local driver Jonathan Bomarito (#23 Miracle Sealants/Konica Minolta/Dynacor) picked up his first victory of the season and Brazilian Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) clinched the series championship and the $2 million prize toward a 2008 Champ Car World Series ride with a fourth-place performance.

After starting from the pole position for the first time in his Atlantic career, Bomarito—a resident of nearby Monterey, Calif.—led every lap en route to the victory, beating French rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport) to the stripe by 0.898 seconds. It was Bomarito’s first Atlantic victory since taking the 2006 season finale at Road America and was his fourth podium result of the season. It was also Bomarito’s second consecutive top-two result, as he finished second in the second race of the doubleheader at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton one week earlier, and he moved back into fifth in the championship standings.

Cementing his place at the top of the championship standings, however, was Matos. The Brazilian started fourth and moved to third entering Turn 1 after the standing start. He spent most of the race trailing Perera in third place, but surrendered the position to Canadian Robert Wickens (#3 Red Bull/INDECK) in Turn 1 on a restart with six laps remaining and settled into fourth, where he would finish. The result—Matos’ 10th top-four performance in 11 races this season—was enough to secure the title, as Matos departs San Jose with a 36-point lead over Perera, 314-278, and a maximum of only 34 points are still available in the 2007 season finale at Road America in two weeks. Matos will be honored as the 2007 champion in the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship Awards Banquet at The American Club in Kohler, Wis. on the evening of Sunday, August 12.

It was the third North American title for Matos, as he previously claimed the Star Mazda championship in 2005 and the Formula Dodge National Championship in 2003. It was the first Champ Car Atlantic title for perennial front-runners Sierra Sierra Enterprises, which finished second in both the 2003 and 2004 seasons with current Champ Car World Series competitor Ryan Dalziel as its driver, and the team returned to Atlantic competition after a one-year absence last season.

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formula bmw

Rossi wins BMW race
On Saturday, Californian Alexander Rossi (Team Apex Racing USA) demonstrated that not only does he know the way to San Jose, but, more importantly, he knows the way through San Jose. Yesterday afternoon, 15 year-old Rossi, from Nevada City, California, scored his first Formula BMW USA victory in Round 9 at the San Jose Grand Prix. Starting from the pole and leading every circuit of the 25-lap race contested through the streets of San Jose, he finished 1.370 seconds ahead of Maxime Pelletier (HBR Motorsport Team USA). Pelletier set the fastest race lap (1:03.221) on the way to his fourth podium finish of the season. Robert Thorne (Team Apex Racing USA) finished third, the first time the second- year Formula BMW driver has reached the podium.

Esteban Gutierrez (Autotecnica) came from 16th to finish fourth however he was disqualified following post race technical inspection, but still retains his lead in the Rookie points. BMW Junior Ricardo Favoretto (HBR Motorsport Team USA) finished fourth, the highest finishing rookie and his fourth top-five finish of the season. Yannick Hofman (Eurointernational) finished fifth.

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Premat gifts Tomczyk win in Zandvoort
Alexandre Premat gifted Martin Tomczyk the win in Sunday's DTM race at Zandvoort.  Premat had taken the lead from the German in the closing stages, but on the final lap he slowed by three seconds, and he let Tomczyk through coming out of the last corner in one of the biggest racing farce's we have ever seen.

Alexandre Prémat was 2nd followed by Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider. Bruno Spengler was the best-placed driver with an AMG Mercedes C-Class in fifth place. Six points for third place allowed Ekström to extend his lead in the championship standings. Tomczyk now moved up into second (30 points) ahead of Spengler (26 points). Bernd Schneider (25.5 points), who was second in the points coming to Zandvoort, failed to score any points after finishing twelfth and dropped back to fourth in the championship standings.

Pos  Driver           Car       Time/Behind
 1.  Martin Tomczyk   Audi      1h02:31.668
 2.  Alexandre Premat Audi         +  0.297
 3.  Mattias Ekstrom  Audi         +  2.036
 4.  Timo Scheider    Audi         +  2.413
 5.  Bruno Spengler   Mercedes     +  2.994
 6.  Christian Abt    Audi         +  4.969
 7.  Mika Hakkinen    Mercedes     +  5.748
 8.  A.Margaritis     Mercedes     +  6.929
 9.  Gary Paffett     Mercedes     +  7.882
10.  M.Rockenfeller   Audi         +  8.914
11.  Jamie Green      Mercedes     + 10.536
12.  Bernd Schneider  Mercedes     + 11.805
13.  M.Winkelhock     Audi         + 13.279
14.  Paul Di Resta    Mercedes     + 13.758
15.  Mathias Lauda    Mercedes     + 29.626
16.  Lucas Luhr       Audi         + 41.986
17.  Susie Stoddart   Mercedes     +  1 lap
18.  Tom Kristensen   Audi         + 5 laps


Video: ING Race Index for Hungary GP

Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix on the Hungaroring on August 5, ING issues its Race Index, which assesses race features including the circuit itself, level of driver difficulty, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, the Hungarian Grand Prix obtains 51 points, occupying the 17th position among the 17 circuits.


Gilliland re-signed by RYR for 2008
David Gilliland said Friday that he’s signed a contract extension with Robert Yates Racing and will be back behind the wheel of the #38 Ford Fusion next season. “I’m really glad to have this behind me so I can concentrate on the future,” said Gilliland. Ford Racing


Menard's father not involved in transaction
With rookie driver Paul Menard being a major beneficiary of the Dale Earnhardt Inc.-Ginn Racing merger, and his father, John, being a multi-billionaire, it would be easy to conclude that maybe the Menard family played a role in bankrolling the merger.

DEI Vice President John Story said that was not the case in the merger, where Menard got the owner points from the No. 14 Ginn car and is now in one of the top 35 locked-in positions instead of having to qualify for races on speed.

 "John Menard got a phone call from us after the transaction was complete to let him know that it was done and Paul was now 30th in [owner] points," Story said Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"It was never contemplated nor [was] the request ever made to John Menard to be a potential player in this transaction. ... [Team owner] Teresa Earnhardt has done well for herself over many, many years." 

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Leffler Scores First NASCAR Busch win for Toyota
Jason Leffler drove Toyota to its first victory in the NASCAR Busch Series with a rousing run from seventh to first in the final 37 laps Saturday in the Kroger 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

It was Leffler's second Busch win in 139 starts. The 31-year-old Braun Racing driver was running fifth when he gambled and stopped for tires under caution on Lap 142 at the .686-mile track. He fell to 12th.

The top four cars of Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, David Reutimann and Ron Hornaday stayed out. Leffler showed his strength by charging back to seventh in nine green-flag laps wrapped around two cautions.

When the race went green with 37 laps to go, Leffler moved up to fourth behind Biffle, Edwards and Reutimann, who were waging a tremendous battle at the front.

Edwards and Biffle, both in Roush Fenway Racing Fords, ran side-by-side for five laps before Edwards pulled in behind his teammate on Lap 170.

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GP2 steers Ecclestone towards another winner
Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One motor racing's billionaire boss, is on track to make another fortune, this time from GP2, the F1 feeder series.

GP2 races are held during an F1 weekend on Europe's most famous circuits such as Monaco and Silverstone.

The GP2 series was launched in 2005, but soon raced to prominence after it was won last year by F1's current superstar, Lewis Hamilton.

It is run through the Kent-based company GP2 Motorsport. According to its recently filed 2006 accounts, its after-tax profit more than trebled last year to £342,000 compared to the previous 12 months. Perhaps more impressively, it managed to achieve this despite seeing turnover slip 19 per cent year-on-year.  The Independent


Champ Car tweaks start for San Jose
Sunday in San Jose will be the sixth standing start attempt this season for Champ Car. Because of the relatively narrow main straight compared to previous tracks, Tony Cotman has decided that the rows of cars will be spaced out further than usual to give drivers a chance to maneuver around a car should one stall on the start.


PCM Announces another new partnership
Pacific Coast Motorsports and driver Mario Dominguez are pleased to announce their partnership with Joseph J. Albanese Inc. Champ Car star Dominguez will carry the Joseph J. Albanese logos on the #28 DP01 at the San Jose Grand Prix this weekend.

Founded in 1955, Joseph J. Albanese, Inc is a full service, self performing concrete contractor specializing in all aspects of site construction.  Based locally in Santa Clara, the company’s motto, “Just Get it Done” matches the desire and dedication of PCM and Mario Dominguez, “I am very proud to represent Joseph J. Albanese, Inc. this weekend at the San Jose Grand Prix,” said Dominguez.  “They are a company based on integrity, hard work and dedication and that is why they are they are the leaders in the concrete contracting industry.  The Albanese company has many employees of Hispanic decent and being from Mexico, it is wonderful to represent them and I appreciate their support here at the Grand Prix Jose.   It is my intention this weekend to “Get it Done.”

A self-reliant construction company, Joseph J. Albanese effectively monitors and controls many aspects of site construction, including demolition, clear and grub, building pads, footing excavation, rebar installation, concrete pumping, laser screed floor, site grading, curb installation and more.  “It’s great to be involved with Pacific Coast Motorsports and a driver of Mario’s caliber.  He is a very popular driver within our company and it is obvious we are similar in our mission to “Just Get it Done.”


Bourdais still waiting on F1 call UPDATE AutoRacing1.com has been told that Sebastien Bourdais knows he is going to F1 for sure next year and is just waiting for the team to make the announcement.

07/27/07 After winning the provisional pole position for Sunday's Champ Car race we asked Sebastien Bourdais if he had any update on his possible Toro Rosso F1 ride.

"Well, it's not Tuesday, so I'm waiting. There's nothing I can say. I'm just like you waiting, I've got if they were to announce it, I guess it would have been done already. So I guess they're still weighing their options and trying to figure out what's right to do," said Bourdais.

"I hope I get the chance but right now I'm just waiting like the rest of you. I think the situation (relationship) with the current drivers over there is bad and it has been bad since the winter when things were said in the media. I have that working in my favor but I just don't know.

"I do hope I get the chance because I have nothing else to prove over here (Champ Car) and it would be nice to be back in Europe closer to our families. I sort of need a new challenge, but we shall see. Staying here is an option."


Bomarito goes even faster to retain pole
Jonathan Bomarito (#23 Miracle Sealants/Konica Minolta/Dynacor) will start his 30th career Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda race from the pole position for the first time in his career after a track-record performance in final qualifying for the San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway (ESPN360.com, Live, 3:30 p.m. ET).

One day after scoring the provisional pole position and guaranteeing himself a front-row starting spot, the Monterey, Calif. resident turned a best lap at 55.286 seconds (93.962 mph) in final qualifying to remain at the front of the grid. Bomarito’s lap eclipsed the previous track record of 55.495 seconds (93.608 mph) set by Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) last year. Bomarito—who has three podium finishes this season—is looking for his first Atlantic victory since winning the 2006 season finale at Road America. It was also the first pole position for the Fresno, Calif.-based PR1 Motorsports team since the 2005 event at Denver with driver Alan Sciuto.

Bomarito is joined on the front row by Condor Motorsports rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport), who qualified second with a best lap at 55.544 seconds (93.526 mph). The Frenchman will start from the front row for the fifth time this season and is looking to keep his championship hopes alive for the season finale at Road America in two weeks. Perera currently trails points leader Matos by 40 points, 291-251, and needs to be within 34 points of Matos following the San Jose Grand Prix to remain in contention for the season finale.

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San Jose: Rahal tops practice 3
After yesterday's first round of qualifying for the San Jose Grand Prix, Graham Rahal left Redback Raceway disappointed and wanting to put the day's incidents behind him, but today the American rookie must have gotten up on the right side of the bed as he forgot his misfortune and refocused himself. The result was him putting his Medi|Zone car on top of the timesheet at the end of this morning's practice session, with a lap of 49.366 (105.230 mph).

Lining up behind Rahal was fellow Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year competitor Robert Doornbos who orbited the course in his Minardi Team USA car in 49.389 (105.181 mph). Rounding out the top five in the session were Oriol Servia, Will Power and Justin Wilson. Provisional polesitter Sebastien Bourdais had a lackluster session posting the fifteenth best time.

In today's session less than a second separated first from 16th showing how the introduction of the DP01 has leveled the playing field on the streets of San Jose. The session saw three red flags fly. The two were for incidents involving Paul Tracy as he first made contact with Mario Dominguez in Turn 6 and the second was for a single car incident as Tracy locked up his brakes and slid into the tire wall in Turn 7. The third red flag period brought the session to an end as Alex Figge made contact with the wall in his Pacific Coast Motorsports racing machine. The second round of qualifying for the San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway will take the green flag at 2:00 pm local time.

Pos Driver Lap Time Behind
1 G. Rahal 49.366  0.000
2 R. Doornbos 49.389 0.023
3 O. Servia 49.423 0.057
4 W. Power 49.544 0.178
5 J. Wilson 49.721 0.355
6 D. Clarke 49.781 0.415
7 N. Jani 49.801 0.435
8 A. Tagliani 49.803 0.437
9 J. Heylen 49.826 0.460
10 K. Legge 49.926 0.560
11 S. Pagenaud 50.008 0.642
12 P. Tracy 50.060 0.694
13 B. Junqueira 50.071 0.705
14 T. Gommendy 50.072 0.706
15 S. Bourdais 50.108 0.742
16 M. Dominguez 50.205 0.839
17 A. Figge 50.518 1.152


Champ Car welcomes One Millionth fan in San Jose
The Champ Car World Series honored its one millionth fan of the 2007 season at the San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway today, an early milestone for the Series due to attendance being up 16% this year. 

Storm Vanderzee, John Walsh and family, who are attending the race weekend together, were showered with confetti and greeted by Champ Car personalities as they entered the turnstile. After television crews and photographers captured the special moment, they were whisked away to the Champ Car suite, where they watched the highly competitive 2007 Champ Car field prepare for today’s qualifying session, and headed to the paddock for lunch at the hospitality area of the Canadian Triple Crown winning team of Team Australia. The group ate with the crew, team owner Derrick Walker and drivers Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, who is involved in a tight battle for the Championship lead, where the top-four drivers are within 29 points of each other.

The milestone reached this weekend reflects the Champ Car World Series’ improved performance to date in 2007. Not only is attendance up but more fans have been tuning into the race broadcasts this year in order to follow the budding rivalry between Sebastien Bourdais and Robert Doornbos, the emergence as Team Australia as one of the top teams, or to see which rookie will make it on the podium. Television viewership is up 11 percent over 7 races this year compared to 2006.

Champ Car is easy to find on television after signing a five deal with the ABC/ESPN family of networks and fans can catch all the action from this weekend’s San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway on ESPN2 starting at 6:00 PM on Sunday, July 29, 2007.  Champ Car PR


San Jose: Hinchcliffe tops Atlantic Practice 2
Pos Driver          Time   Behind
1 James Hinchcliffe 55.286 0.000
2 Raphael Matos 55.377 0.091
3 Ryan Lewis 55.389 0.103
4 Carl Skerlong 55.392 0.106
5 Franck Perera 55.450 0.164
6 Jonathan Bomarito 55.484 0.198
7 Robert Wickens 55.528 0.242
8 Ronnie Bremer 55.616 0.330
9 Giacomo Ricci 55.665 0.379
10 Alan Sciuto 55.695 0.409
11 J.R. Hildebrand 55.724 0.438
12 John Edwards 55.746 0.460
13 Adrian Carrio 55.775 0.489
14 David Garza 55.783 0.497
15 Junior Strous 55.789 0.503
16 Simona De Silvestro 55.824 0.538
17 Matt Lee 55.832 0.546
18 Tom Sutherland 55.870 0.584
19 Justin Sofio 55.955 0.669
20 Steve Ott 56.265 0.979
21 Richard Heistand 56.315 1.029
22 Brian Thienes 56.371 1.085
23 Mike Forest 56.430 1.144
24 Frankie Muniz 56.614 1.328

British F3

Kennard breaks his duck in torrential rain at Spa
Jonathan Kennard (#2 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) scored his first British F3 win in a race hit by a torrential downpour and ended under the safety car. Kennard leaves Spa with a 1st and 2nd places plus a new British F3 lap record to his name. Maro Engel (#23 Carlin) was a fighting second ahead of Carlin teammate Sam Bird (#3 Carlin).

Sergio Perez (#31 T Sport) took a another win in the National Class, just missing out on a clean sweep with Frankie Cheng (#39 Performance Racing) taking the point for the fastest lap in second place.

The track was awash after overnight rain, with more rain continuing to fall as the cars formed up on the grid. The decision was taken to start the race behind the safety car and for two laps the 30 drivers played follow-my-leader before the safety car pulled in and racing got underway on lap 3 with Kennard the only driver with a clearer view of the track as the rest of the field disappeared in a cloud of spray kicked up by the Avon wet tires.

British F3

Bird swoops on second race win
Sam Bird (#3 Carlin Motorsport) took his second win of the season, beating Jonathan Kennard (#2 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) and Stephen Jelley (#1 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) to the flag in a typically thrilling Spa race. Sergio Perez (#31 T Sport) took the chequered flag for the sixth time in the National Class, well ahead of 'Frankie' Cheng (#39 Performance Racing).

Championship leader Marko Asmer (#7 Hitech Racing) drove from the back of the grid to finish in an incredible 6th place, claiming a further six championship points in the process. 

Racing News

Team USA Scholarship launches new web site
For close to two decades, the Team USA Scholarship has been providing opportunities for young American race car drivers to hone their skills as they aspire toward higher echelons in the sport.

Now the quest for greater visibility is set to be realized by the launch of a new web site, http://www.teamusascholarship.org/, which provides a full history of the program as well as regular updates on its alumni. Another major goal of the web site is to provide background information and credentials to attract potential supporters. The site has been generated by the Manifest Group, based in Carlsbad, Calif.

The first Scholarship was awarded in 1990 to a talented young Californian who was struggling to make a name for himself in the Export-A Formula Ford 2000 series in Canada. His name was Jimmy Vasser. The Scholarship enabled Vasser to contest the prestigious Formula Ford Festival and World Cup at Brands Hatch, England. While the results were disappointing – Vasser was taken out in an incident on the first lap – the experience stood him in good stead, and the contacts he made were to prove crucial to his future.

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Tracy embraces his role as the villain
It was a simple baseball cap with a couple of sponsor logos. But definitely black. And that seemed appropriate as Tracy answered questions about his image as Champ Car's resident bad boy, most notorious instigator, daring renegade and . . .

Well, you get the idea.

"I don't even think about it," Tracy said. "I just try to be myself. I make mistakes, but I do the best job I can do. I don't see myself playing a role."

He has been racing in the series for 17 years and won more times (31) than any other active driver. Yet that only partly explains why he remains arguably Champ Car's most visible driver.

Tracy always seems to be in the middle of mishaps that invariably result in busted race car parts strewed across the track and competitors wanting to get a piece of him.

Exhibit A: last year's San Jose Grand Prix.

The most memorable moment of the entire Champ Car season occurred on Almaden Boulevard when an irate Alex Tagliani went after Tracy for crashing into him. Their scuffle, shown endlessly on ESPN's SportsCenter and still found on YouTube, was a publicity gold mine for a racing series that struggles for attention.

"Now I don't want to say I condone that sort of behavior," said Champ Car CEO and president Steve Johnson, "but that sure got us a lot of exposure. There's always drama surrounding Paul. You never know what's going to happen in any given race with him."

Over the years, Tracy's aggressive racing style has earned him both fans and enemies. He has feuded with other drivers, gotten fined, been placed on probation and once even barred from a race. And even though he has been plagued by bad luck this year and is only 11th in the points race, opponents always need to be aware of where he is on the track. More at San Jose Mercury News


San Jose Grand Prix still looking for big-name sponsor
[Editor's Note: As we have said on numerous occasions, Champ Car is not going to draw the hardcore fan base necessary to increase TV ratings and hence land new sponsors, until it realizes that its emphasis must be on attracting and growing big name drivers, particularly American drivers, since it is American based. As NASCAR learned decades ago, any successful sport is ultimately driven by the popularity of its athletes. American race fans won't tune into TV to watch a 3-day street festival of speed, but they will tune in week-in-and-week-out to watch their favorite race driver compete.]

As the San Jose Grand Prix kicks into gear this weekend, event organizers are hoping it will lure enough fans and win enough attention to attract the kind of investment it needs from the local business community to keep it going.

But the young event lacks a coveted title sponsor, such as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which is considered crucial to its long-term success.

So far, San Jose Grand Prix Chief Executive Dale Jantzen said business is good.

"We're full of optimism here. The number of companies that have already contacted us for 2008 sponsorships is impressive," Jantzen said. "We have a handful of companies coming to the event to scope it out for San Jose next year."

The open wheel racing event in many ways epitomizes the struggling Champ Car World Series organization, said Bill Chipps, senior editor for the international marketing firm IEG Sponsorship Report.

While North American-based companies increased their spending on sponsorships for motor sports teams by 11 percent last year to $3.2 billion, a majority of that money went to NASCAR. The Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing League do not have the established fan base and drivers that NASCAR can boast, Chipps said.

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Menard Money helps DEI-Ginn Merger
[Editor's Note: By reading this story it sounds like all is not well in NASCAR land. Teams having to merge sounds like the rosy picture NASCAR is trying to paint is not all it seems. And while the author correctly points out that billionaire John Menard is behind the DEI Ginn deal to ensure a Cup ride for his son Paul, he doesn't seem to know what AutoRacing1.com does that billionaire Mari Hulman George is a secret partner behind the Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan deal to ensure a NASCAR ride for her grandson Kyle Krisiloff. It's ride-buying and nepotism at its best.]

Another day, another NASCAR team merger.

This time its owners Robert and Doug Yates who announced yesterday they will be “partnering” with Paul Newman, Carl Haas and Michael Lanigan, who are long-time Champ Car-car team owners. The hope is to rejuvenate the Yates’ slumping Nextel Cup team.

The day after Bobby Ginn announced a Chevy-Chevy merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc., the Yates, with Ford racing boss Dan Davis front-and-center, announced the Ford-Ford merger.

And Ray Evernham says he expects to close on his own merger deal with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. within the next two weeks, with a game plan that Evernham will run the competition side while Gillett runs the business side.

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Hornaday wins truck race
Ron Hornaday earned his second career victory at O’Reilly Raceway Park, holding off a furious charge by Johnny Benson in a two-lap overtime dash to win Friday night’s rain-delayed Power Stroke Diesel 200. The win was Hornaday’s 32nd in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and first at the track since 1997. He also was in solid position to win a second consecutive victory in 1998 when Jack Sprague punted him from behind late in the race to earn the win.  Travis Kvapil finished third, Rick Crawford was fourth and Ken Schrader completed the top five. Series points leader Mike Skinner finished 20th and holds an 83-point lead over Hornaday.


Walker ’surprised’ about ’08 Australian GP date
(GMM) Ron Walker, promoter of the Australian grand prix in Melbourne, admitted surprise when his race was reinstated in the top position on the formula one calendar for 2008.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation, having refused to stage night races, this week divulged that Bahrain had instead secured the honor of opening next year's championship.

But after the provisional 2008 was published on Friday, Walker told Melbourne newspaper The Age: "Bernie (Ecclestone) in the end decided that it was best to go back to where we were.

"It is a surprise but a very welcome one."

Melbourne, whose race is staged at Albert Park just south of the Victorian city, has opened the F1 calendar every year since 1996 -- except 2006 to avoid a clash with the Commonwealth Games.

The race next year will take place on March 16, with Malaysia's round near Kuala Lumpur following just seven days later.

Italy and Belgium in September will also be staged back to back, as will China and Japan the following month.


Yates Racing and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing join forces UPDATE Added logo for the new team below as well as photos from the event.

07/27/07 Robert Yates Racing (RYR) and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) have entered into a letter of intent for a partnership in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup and Busch Series.  The team will be named Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing effective immediately. 

“This is a wonderful partnership,” said Robert Yates (right), founder of Robert Yates Racing.  “This gives us a clear vision how to get to the top. It is our goal to continue to build so this team will be better positioned to contend for the championship.”

“I am very proud of our accomplishments in the Champ Car World Series and hope we can have the same success in NASCAR,” added Carl A. Haas, who has been a team owner in NASCAR’s Cup series on two previous occasions.  “We have been looking to add other forms of racing to our Champ Car program and when the opportunity came along to work with Robert Yates Racing, a team that shares the same drive for success that we do, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.  I think that the NASCAR and Champ Car programs can learn something from each other and only enhance the championship level that Robert Yates Racing and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing have competed at in previous years.”

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Dennis broke ’trust’ agreement - Todt
(GMM) The hostility between F1's arch rivals Ferrari and McLaren stepped up another gear on Friday, following the controversial verdict of the FIA World Council.

Maranello based Ferrari, enraged that its championship competitor escaped the sanctioning powers of the governing body despite being found guilty of espionage, took the unprecedented step of publishing a tirade against McLaren on its team website.

Jean Todt is quoted as accusing his team principal counterpart Ron Dennis of suggesting earlier this season that the pair sign an agreement to improve relations between the embittered teams while knowing that a rogue Ferrari employee was leaking secret information to his chief designer.

"There was an exchange of views," Todt is attributed as saying, "and, believing in their good faith, I agreed to sign this agreement on June 9."

The so-called 'spying' saga, that has scandalized the sport ever since, then broke out after a photocopy worker tipped off Ferrari that Mike Coughlan's wife had tried to manipulate some 780 pages of Ferrari documents marked 'confidential'.

Todt said: "So, on the one hand, they had come to say 'let us trust one another' and, on the other, they were hiding serious facts but making no effort to inform us as would have been in the spirit and to the letter of our agreement."

A McLaren spokeswoman declined to comment, but Dennis has previously insisted that he only learned about Coughlan's possession of secret data on July 3.

Todt, meanwhile, vowed to keep fighting for the 2007 championships but said it now felt like "playing poker with a rival who already knows what cards you are holding".

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San Jose GP celebrates Champ Car Fan Favorite Awards
Champ Car World Series Fan Favorite Awards were presented Friday night at the San Jose Grand Prix at Redback Raceway, with memories both comical and poignant highlighting the ceremony.

Ten different drivers were up for awards in nine different categories, but the big winner of the evening at the San Jose City Hall and Rotunda was undoubtedly Cristiano da Matta, who received the trophy for Best Podium.

Fans, voting for their favorite Champ Car moments of the last 12 months, took notice that it was one year ago, in San Jose, that the likeable Brazilian scored his last podium finish before an accident, in testing at Road America, put an early end to his season. Da Matta was present at the ceremony to accept the “Best Podium” award in front of fellow drivers, team owners and fans. The former Champ Car Champion continues to recover from the serious head injury he suffered in that terrible accident in Wisconsin, and hopes that he can once again get back in the cockpit of a single seater race car one day.

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Rain delays truck race
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is being delayed by rain Friday night at O'Reilly Raceway Park. The engines were scheduled to be fired at 8:11 p.m. EDT, but workers were still drying the track as a steady rain finally stopped around 7:40 p.m. Rain washed out qualifying, so series points leader Mike Skinner will start from the pole for the 200-lap event on the 0.686-mile track.


Redback Networks Sponsors PCM driver Alex Figge
Pacific Coast Motorsports, competitors in the Champ Car World Series, is pleased to announce its partnership with Redback Networks Inc., an Ericsson company that makes video-centric routers for 75 percent of the world’s largest triple-play networks. Already the title sponsor of the San Jose Grand Prix track, Redback Networks will cheer on American rookie Alex Figge in this weekend’s race. His #29 DP01 will carry the striking Redback Networks livery around the Redback Raceway.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to represent a company the caliber of Redback Networks.  We appreciate their support of the San Jose Grand Prix and their support of our team.  Similar to Champ Car racing, they are the leader of cutting edge technology in their industry and we intend to make them proud this weekend.”

“The world of racing is about much more than simply speed; it’s about determination, fortitude, and an indestructible will to win,” said John Spiliotis, vice president of sales and operations for the Americas at Redback Networks. “Redback subscribes to these principles and we see this passion in Alex Figge and the PCM team.  We anticipate a great weekend of racing on the Redback Raceway and are proud to support the Canary Foundation in its mission of early cancer detection.”


Underdogs Junqueira and Coyne opening eyes
Underdogs Bruno Junqueira and the Dale Coyne Racing team are slowly creeping up on the front of the Champ Car grid. After struggled for several races, the team has shown more promise recently.

In the last two races Junqueira qualified 4th and 5th and today in San Jose he was again 4th on the provisional grid - not bad for the low budget team against the "big boys."

We had the chance to sit down and ask Bruno why the recent surge in performance?

"We started out fairly strong the first three races, which were street races," said Junqueira. Then we had the break in the schedule and we did not test on the road courses while the other teams did, so when we started back again on the road courses we struggled.

"Between Toronto and Edmonton we had a really good road course test at Putnam Park where we were really able to try different things with the car. We (he and his Engineer Adam Schaechter) learned a lot from that test and now we think we have a good setup for the road courses too. And it showed - we ran well in Edmonton, which is not a street circuit. We still need to do a better job on the pit stops but that will come with time."

On a side note, did you know that Bruno is engaged to be married? Yes indeed. His fiancée’s name is Luciana and she is also from Brazil. Mark C. reporting from San Jose


Friday a complete washout at the Brickyard
Persistent afternoon showers washed out the first day of Allstate 400 at the Brickyard activity July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, forcing IMS and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series officials to adjust the schedule for Saturday's qualifying day.

NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will practice from 8:30-11 a.m. (ET) Saturday, and qualifications for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will start at 4:05 p.m.

The Gretchen Wilson Miller Lite Rock N Racing concert is tentatively scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. on the Miller Lite Stage in the IMS infield behind the Hall of Fame Museum.

Tickets from Friday will be honored on Saturday.

The lack of practice Friday afternoon will leave teams scrambling to find the right qualifying and race setup. Unlike previous years, NASCAR did not conduct an open test at the 2.5-mile IMS oval this year.

"It's the same for everybody, and I think the biggest thing is the way we ran at Chicago, the package is pretty good," 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Tony Stewart, who won July 15 at Chicagoland. "It's not the same setup, obviously, but the approach is the same, so I feel confident that the shorter amount of practice time that we have, the better opportunity that we have to be of being competitive out of the gate."

Despite the lack of on-track activity, fans were treated to a morning full of Chevy Day at the Brickyard activities, including Chevrolet driver autograph sessions, question-and-answer sessions and a concert by country music artist Tracy Lawrence.

The 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Sunday.


Bridgestone to bring new softer ’Red’ tires to San Jose UPDATE We confirmed with Bridgestone's Joe Barbieri in San Jose today that indeed this is the softest "red" tire they have ever supplied to Champ Car. The goal is to make more of a difference between the harder black and softer red tires. At some events the drivers have found the black tires to be as fast as the red tires and Champ Car wants there to be more of a gap. In some ways that puts Bridgestone in a difficult position because if a driver says his tires went "off" it makes it sound as though Bridgestone is at fault when in fact it's expected that the soft tires will lose their grip towards the end of a stint.

07/25/07 Bridgestone Motorsport is bringing its softest street-course primary and wet condition Potenzas to take on San Jose's temporary street circuit for this weekend's Champ Car race. The primary Potenza is the same tire used here last year, and it has proven its merit on the streets of Las Vegas, Long Beach, Houston and Toronto this season. Engineers have elected to bring a new spec of the alternate red-sidewall tire that has been designed to provide drivers with increased grip. The alternate tire for San Jose is an advancement of the alternate tire used in Long Beach earlier this season.

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Bridgestone Motorsport is bringing the same primary Potenza tire that we brought here last year, so drivers will have a good idea of what to expect. The new alternates, designed to give the drivers even more grip, should come in handy on this tight street circuit and provide some extra excitement for the large crowd of spectators that always turn up for this event. The new alternate tire contains cutting edge technology that we hope someday will improve the performance of Bridgestone's street tires. Using racing to develop better street tires continues to be an important element of Bridgestone's Champ Car program."


Bomarito takes provisional Atlantic pole
American Jonathan Bomarito of Monterey, CA put his Miracle Sealants/PR-1 Motorsports racer on the provisional pole for Sunday’s 11th round of the Cooper Tires presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda today at the Grand Prix of San Jose.  Bomarito’s lap time 56.018 seconds was set in the waning moments of the first of two qualifying sessions and was locked up when the red flag came out with 2 minutes remaining to end the session.

Bomarito sat atop the time sheets for most of the session having set the standard in the early going only to slip back to 3rd place temporarily with 8 minutes remaining.  Shortly thereafter, Bomarito got a clear run to better the fastest time to that point and felt that there was more speed to come had the session not ended prematurely. 

Bomarito earns one championship point as a result of winning the provisional pole and is guaranteed to start Sunday’s race from the front row.

"It feels great to have the provisional pole," said Bomarito.  "It’s been a long time coming and hopefully tomorrow we can repeat and keep the pole.  Our street course package is really strong and the car was quick right from the start today so I’m pretty confident that we can put it together once more.  Tonight, we’ll be looking at every little detail to get that last ounce of performance because it is a very competitive field and being on the front row here in San Jose is a real advantage."


Pos Driver Time Behind
1 Jonathan Bomarito 56.018 0.000
2 Franck Perera 56.056 0.038
3 Raphael Matos 56.095 0.077
4 James Hinchcliffe 56.179 0.161
5 John Edwards 56.258 0.240
6 Simona De Silvestro 56.262 0.244
7 Robert Wickens 56.306 0.288
8 David Garza 56.314 0.296
9 Ryan Lewis 56.483 0.465
10 Ronnie Bremer 56.557 0.539
11 Adrian Carrio 56.601 0.583
12 Alan Sciuto 56.629 0.611
13 Junior Strous 56.927 0.909
14 Matt Lee 56.768 0.750
15 Steve Ott 56.845 0.827
16 Tom Sutherland 56.633 0.615
17 Carl Skerlong 56.952 0.934
18 Brian Thienes 57.018 1.000
19 Justin Sofio 57.034 1.016
20 Giacomo Ricci 57.128 1.110
21 Frankie Muniz 57.311 1.293
22 Mike Forest 57.363 1.345
23 Richard Heistand 57.741 1.723
24 Natacha Gachnang 58.598 2.580
25 J.R. Hildebrand 1:00.925 4.907


First Allstate 400 practice rained out
Rain cancelled the opening practice session for the NASCAR Nextel Cup teams at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today.  The rain, which is predicted to continue intermittently through the weekend, started shortly before the 1:30 p.m. EDT session was scheduled to begin.  The forecast is for the possibility of rain in the afternoon so it is not known yet if practice will be held today or not.


San Jose: Team Australia tops opening practice
The Team Australia duo of Will Power and Simon Pagenaud (pictured right getting a front spring change) continued to show good form on street circuits by running 1-2 in opening practice for this weekend's San Jose Grand Prix Champ Car race. 

Run under typical delightful California sunshine, points leader Sebastien Bourdais was 3rd followed by CDW's Justin Wilson and Bruno Junqueira who is doing another good job in the Dale Coyne Racing car.

Pos Driver Time Behind Leader
1 W. Power 50.097  0.000
2 S. Pagenaud 50.286 0.189
3 S. Bourdais 50.389 0.292
4 J. Wilson 50.458 0.361
5 B. Junqueira 50.463 0.366
6 O. Servia 50.580 0.483
7 G. Rahal 50.707 0.610
8 A. Tagliani 50.716 0.619
9 D. Clarke 50.853 0.756
10 R. Doornbos 50.940 0.843
11 P. Tracy 50.959 0.862
12 M. Dominguez 51.051 0.954
13 A. Figge 51.114 1.017
14 K. Legge 51.141 1.044
15 J. Heylen 51.206 1.109
16 T. Gommendy 51.462 1.365
17 N. Jani 52.080 1.983


Q and A with Super Aguri's Gerry Hughes
Q. Gerry, your role in 2007 is very different to when you were Race Engineer for Car 22 last year. Why the change?

Gerry Hughes - Head of Research and Development: Having completed over one hundred Grand Prix events, I felt that I needed a change after eight seasons of Race Engineering.

As the SAF1 Team evolved, the opportunity to create an all new R&D department arose. In addition, I wanted to further myself as an engineer and the small R&D Department that we have here at the Leafield Technical Centre, where our factory is based, allows me to do just that.

Q. What are your main responsibilities as Head of Research and Development?

GH: Ultimately, I am in charge of a number of personnel, ranging from Technicians through to Senior Analysis Engineers. We have formed a great group of engineers here and whilst my role is to set targets, justify resource and communicate with other key departments, the group as a whole works very effectively by itself.

Q. What is your department currently working on?

GH: Basically anything that makes the car go faster. We are a very small group compared to other more established Formula One teams and as such we have limited resources. Developing the 2007 chassis is a challenge and one that both myself and the group relish.

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Kalkhoven Joins iRise Board of Advisors
iRise®, the world's leading application definition software and services company, today announced that Kevin Kalkhoven, former CEO of JDS Uniphase (JDSU) and co-owner of the Champ Car World Series and PKV Racing has joined the iRise Board of Advisors.

“As a CEO who funded IT initiatives during his tenure at JDSU, Kevin immediately recognized the difficulty in defining business applications, and likewise, the opportunity iRise has to solve that widespread problem,” said Emmet B. Keeffe III, chief executive officer and co-founder of iRise. “Kevin’s acumen when it comes to growing a company – both from a sales and global operations perspective – will help us tremendously as we scale the company to achieve our vision of simulating all business applications by 2020.”

“From having understood the immense value in IT investment for business innovation throughout my corporate career, it is very apparent that iRise can dramatically improve time-to-market for business products and services simply by simulating them before they’re built,” said Mr. Kalkhoven. “For many years, the racing industry has long understood the power of simulation to generate the most optimal performance and gain a competitive edge. I look forward to collaborating with iRise on their vision.”

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racing news

Weekend USA TV Ratings UPDATE The final USA TV ratings for last weekend were as follow:

IRL: IndyCar Series: Honda 200 ABC 1.7/5 Share
ALMS: Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio (taped) CBS 0.4/1 Share
MotoGP: Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix Laguna Seca Fox 0.9/2 Share

07/23/07 The overnight network TV ratings in the USA for this past weekend were as follows.  The IRL race was unusually high because British Open Golf viewers still had their TV's on when the network switched over to the race at 3:00 PM.  The IRL race ratings for the first half of the race on ESPN were more indicative of the normal IRL ratings this year.

IRL: IndyCar Series: Mid-Ohio ABC 1.9/5 share (High due to British Golf Open)
ALMS: Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio (taped) CBS 0.5/1 share
MotoGP: Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix FOX 0.8/2 share


No STR drive for Vettel in Hungary
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel will not replace beleaguered Toro Rosso racer Scott Speed at the upcoming Hungarian grand prix, it has emerged.

BMW's 20-year-old rookie test driver did travel to Mugello to meet with STR chiefs earlier this week, but an agreement to complete the 2007 season for the Faenza based team could not be reached, according to reports in the German press.

Bild newspaper reported that Californian Speed, who is 24, will stay in the car at least for the upcoming rounds in Hungary and Turkey, despite his spectacular falling out with bosses Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger.

Bild said "financial issues" fouled Vettel's move to the Italian team.

A Toro Rosso statement on Thursday, meanwhile, said Speed tested at Mugello with "severe lower back pain".  The Hungarian GP near Budapest takes place in eight days.


Lewis tops opening Atlantic practice
Walker Racing's Ryan Lewis (pictured right) topped opening Champ Car Atlantic practice Friday morning in San Jose ahead of American Jonathan Bomarito and Canadian James Hinchcliffe. A returning Ronnie Bremer and points leader Raphael Matos rounded out the top-5.


Pos Driver Lap Time Leader
1 Ryan Lewis 56.307 0.000
2 Jonathan Bomarito 56.433 0.126
3 James Hinchcliffe 56.515 0.208
4 Ronnie Bremer 56.545 0.238
5 Raphael Matos 56.560 0.253
6 Franck Perera 56.734 0.427
7 Tom Sutherland 56.762 0.455
8 Robert Wickens 56.779 0.472
9 Adrian Carrio 56.807 0.500
10 David Garza 56.818 0.511
11 Simona De Silvestro 56.822 0.515
12 Giacomo Ricci 56.832 0.525
13 Carl Skerlong 56.947 0.640
14 John Edwards 56.975 0.668
15 Matt Lee 56.975 0.668
16 Steve Ott 57.024 0.717
17 Junior Strous 57.037 0.730
18 Brian Thienes 57.067 0.760
19 Alan Sciuto 57.094 0.787
20 J.R. Hildebrand 57.107 0.800
21 Justin Sofio 57.141 0.834
22 Mike Forest 57.366 1.059
23 Richard Heistand 57.453 1.146
24 Frankie Muniz 57.617 1.310


Chevrolet working to retain all teams
Chevrolet officials remain hopeful that Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports will remain a part of the General Motors program in 2008.

GM is in the process of renewing all of its deals, with JGR and HMS being the crown jewels of their program.

Toyota has been linked with JGR in several news reports despite comments from team president J.D. Gibbs that re-signing with GM is his top priority.

Rick Hendrick, the owner of HMS, also has ties to Toyota through his dealership business.

Ed Peper, the general manager of Chevrolet Racing, said during a Thursday press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that he is very confident in negotiations to re-sign all teams currently under the Chevrolet banner.

Terry Dolan, the marketing director for Chevrolet Racing, would not comment on specific organizations.

"I am confident we will have strong teams continuing to represent Chevrolet, not only because we've got a pretty good track record of performance but because we've been dedicated to this sport for a long time," he said of the company that has won 15 of 19 Nextel Cup races this season with 12 of the wins coming from JGR and HMS.

"We have some of the tools and assets they need to succeed in their business."  ESPN.com


Chevy to use Impala in Busch Series
Chevrolet will use the Impala brand in the Busch Series next year, Chevy Racing manager Terry Dolan said Thursday.  Chevrolet was already going to use Impala in Nextel Cup next season since the car of tomorrow will be used full-time next year. It had been using the Monte Carlo for traditional car events and the Impala for COT events.

The manufacturer had been using the Monte Carlo this year for the Busch Series.

"At this point in time, I would expect that we would stay in the Impala realm," Dolan said when asked about a car make for the Busch Series. "It is our flagship for Chevrolet. It's worked very well for us on the track."


Watch the San Jose Grand Prix live on your PC
Redback Networks, an Ericsson company that makes video-centric routers for 75 percent of the world’s largest triple-play networks, today announced more than 40 broadband video camera feeds will provide a personal video experience for San Jose Grand Prix race fans, July 27-29.

The live broadband video feeds will be managed by Redback’s SmartEdge multi-service edge routers, and delivered to race fans over a wireless network infrastructure. The live video feeds can be accessed for free over Internet-enabled PCs and TV.  One of the key contributors to the ‘video-enhanced’ fan experience is Dr. Alan Lippman, Redback’s chief video architect, and one of the original creators of one of the largest streaming media platforms in the world.

“This sort of choice-driven, video spectatorship is the future of sports and Silicon Valley is a great place to try out new technologies and evaluate how they can be used in other sporting events,” said Alan Lippman, chief video architect at Redback Networks. “Fans are looking for a personal ‘video-enhanced’ experience that will help them follow their favorite drivers throughout the race – whether the cars are on the track or at a pit stop. Redback leads the market in delivering next-generation triple play networks for data, voice and video services. Redback is partnering with the San Jose Grand Prix to enable video-centric broadband services as a great way to bring race fans even closer to their favorite sport.”

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tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The full Sunday TV listings are now shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Movie: Grand Prix (1966)
12:45pm-3:45pm Turner Classic Movies
NASCAR Live! Indianapolis
1:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Qualifying Indianapolis
4:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
SportsCentury -Dale Earnhardt
5:00pm-6:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
6:00pm-7:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Trackside Indianapolis
6:00pm-7:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Power Stroke Diesel 200 O'Reilly Raceway Park
7:30pm-8:00pm (L) -Preshow
8:00pm-10:30pm (L) -Race SPEED
ESPN Ultimate NASCAR - The Families
8:00pm-10:00pm ESPN

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track news

Louisiana track to be ready in '08
A $100 million speedway in Tangipahoa (La.) Parish will be built to standards for NASCAR and Indy racing, and the complex could be used for concerts, boat racing and as a staging area for hurricane response, officials said Thursday.

The Louisiana International Speedway, financed by private investors, is scheduled to be ready for racing in the fall of 2008, said Michael Weber, the future track's vice president for marketing.

It's unclear whether the track would ever be home to a NASCAR race. Officials of the circuit don't consider a speedway until after it is complete, Weber said.

The track will be south of Kentwood, just off Interstate 55, on 1,500 acres bought by the investors. Chron.com


Provisional 2008 F1 calendar
F1's governing body on Friday published a provisional grand prix calendar for the 2008 season.

Contradicting earlier press reports, Australia is listed as the season opener atop an 18-race schedule; one more than this year.

With a May date, Turkey's round is much earlier than usual, while the Canadian grand prix is marked as provisional.

France has won a reprieve in the form of a solid June date, while the FIA confirmed that Valencia and Singapore will both stage races for the first time.

The season, meanwhile, will end in Brazil later than usual, on November 2.

16 March         Australia
23 March         Malaysia
6  April         Bahrain
27 April         Spain
11 May           Turkey
25 May           Monaco
8  June          Canada *
22 June          France
6  July          Great Britain
20 July          Germany
3  August        Hungary
24 August**      Europe ***
7  September     Italy
14 September     Belgium
28 September**   Singapore
12 October       China
19 October       Japan
2  November      Brazil
*   Provisional.
**  Subject to circuit approval.
*** The 2008 European Grand Prix will take place in Valencia.


Rahal to be featured in ESPN Magazine
An article on Medi | Zone driver Graham Rahal, will appear in the next issue of ESPN The Magazine on sale Wednesday, August 1.  The Magazine attended Graham's recent graduation from New Albany High School in June and spent a few days with him at his New Albany, Ohio home.  Chico Harlan wrote the article while Robert Caplin took photographs.  NHLR PR


Cracks beginning to show in NASCAR
The headline this week on NASCAR's Web site said the circuit is "looking to expand into the hip-hop lifestyle," which, to some people, might sound like St. Elmo Steak House looking to expand into vegetarianism.

Such is the reality at NASCAR, where, as in most sports, organizers are searching for new fans. But because of stock car racing's explosive growth, and its origins as a regional niche sport, questions have arisen about whether appeal has peaked.

NASCAR has a long record of leaving highbrow skeptics in its dust, and a crowd of 240,000 is anticipated at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

Yet there are warning signs. NBC declined to renew its television contract, TV ratings have been down since last year and empty seats are dotting venues that used to boast sellouts.

It's a noticeable difference from the high standard NASCAR set for itself by blasting not only into the mainstream of American sports, but into the orbit of the NFL.

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british f3

F3 Masters moves from Zandvoort to Zolder
Carlin Motorsport will take its current British F3 driver line-up to the Zandvoort Masters of F3 at Zolder next weekend. Maro Engel, Sam Bird, Niall Breen, Alberto Valerio and Mario Moraes will all compete in the European F3 head-to-head. The Carlin quintet has accumulated 16 podium positions in British F3 so far this season, including four race wins. The F3 Masters leaves its regular home of Zandvoort Circuit Park for one year, after the Dutch circuit was forced to move the event due to noise restrictions. The event instead moves to Belgium, meaning the team will spend two consecutive weekends racing in the country. The F3 Masters sees the major F3 championships from across Europe, including British F3 and the F3 Euroseries fight it out in one of the highlights of the F3 calendar. The F3 Euroseries cars are widely thought to have an advantage, running as they do on Kumho tires, the control tire for the F3 Masters. As part of its development program for the event, the Carlin team have recently tested on Kumho tires similar to those used at the Masters.


Record number of fines, suspensions handed out
In the process of NASCAR sending a stern message to its teams by coming down hard this season on rules violators, Jeff Gordon worries about the message being sent to those outside the sport.

Nine crew chiefs, including those of Hendrick Motorsports teammates Gordon (Steve Letarte) and Jimmie Johnson (Chad Knaus), have been penalized this season and NASCAR has been collecting fines and docking points at unprecedented levels.
Other than Michael Waltrip's car being found to have an illegal fuel additive before Daytona 500 qualifying, Gordon said the majority of infractions have fallen into categories not specifically covered in the rulebook.

"I know what the message is to us, but I'm not sure what message is being sent to sponsors and (disseminated by) the media," the four-time NASCAR champion said. "It's all labeled as cheating, and it's unfortunate when it's perceived and picked up that way. We have sponsors who don't understand why it's being put out there that way."

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NASCAR can't avoid conspiracy theories
Like any high-profile organization called upon to make difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions, NASCAR is accustomed to having its judgment questioned.
Be it external from media and fans or internal from teams and drivers, criticism comes with the territory. But in a season rife with penalties and suspensions, the questionable timing of caution flags and a new controversy seemingly every week, NASCAR is faced with a growing need to defend not only its judgment but its integrity.

Perhaps it stems from the public's general mistrust of institutions (government, media, big business) or a blogosphere and talk radio culture that allows everyone with an opinion, however outrageous, an easy means to express it to a broad audience.

Or maybe, as NASCAR president Mike Helton said, it's simply fans frustrated by their driver having a bad day needing someone to blame.

"We hear it and it doesn't sit well," Helton said. "No one works as hard as we do to protect our integrity and credibility.

"When I hear the conspiracy theories on how we can fix (races) and arrange things a certain way, I want to tell them two things: One, we're not that smart; and two, do you realize how many people you'd have to get involved to manipulate the outcome of a race?"

NASCAR reacted quickly in April when Tony Stewart, frustrated by a rash of debris cautions late in a race at Phoenix, went on his satellite radio show and compared the series to professional wrestling in trying to orchestrate close finishes.
Stewart was called on the carpet the following weekend, apologized and retracted his comments, but not before a feeding frenzy was set off on the Internet. More at Indy Star


DEI not allowed to sell #13 points
DEI wasn't allowed to sell #13 team's points: NASCAR wouldn't allow the new Dale Earnhardt Inc. to "partner" with another team to transfer the #13 team's points with that of an existing team because that would have given Bobby Ginn ownership of five teams, DEI Vice President John Story said Thursday. Teams are not allowed to just sell points, although most get around the requirement by remaining a minority owner after the "sale." The problem for DEI after its merger with Ginn Racing was that neither Ginn nor DEI could have the rights to more than the NASCAR limit of four teams. DEI used the #14's points to go to its #15 car of Paul Menard, which was outside the top 35. With the #13 team not entered this weekend, the 36th-place team of Bill Elliott in the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford will be automatically locked in the field. SceneDaily.com


Rahal hopes Champ Car will launch him to F1
Graham Rahal is a young man with a plan. Rahal, a rookie with the Newman/Haas/Lanigan team, wants to race in Champ Car for two years.

Then he would make the move to the Europe-based Formula One series.

"That's the whole reason to be here - to get there," said Rahal, 18, the son of Indy 500 champion Bobby Rahal. "To be honest, this isn't the series if you just want to make money. But I want to get to F1, and I'm here because they respect this series the most of the ones in America."

Champ Car races are held on road courses and temporary street circuits - which is good preparation for the Formula One-style racing. Rahal has had a strong start in Champ Car. He's eighth in the standings and is coming off a third-place finish in Edmonton last Sunday. San Jose Mercury News

Industry News

Chrysler tells dealers to improve sales
The Chrysler Group has warned 173 dealers, who have struggled to meet sales goals, to improve in six months or face losing their franchises.

"We're not going after any dealers to get rid of them," Steven Landry, Chrysler executive vice president for North American sales, said Thursday. "The notes that we sent out to 4% of our dealers basically is to say that you are under performing by a very high degree compared to other dealers in your market, and we'd like them to improve their performance."


Massa ups the pace on the final day
While the World Motor Sport Council deliberated in Paris, Ferrari were back in action again today at Mugello along with the Toro Rosso squad.

Felipe Massa took over testing duties from Luca Badoer and out in 68 laps of the 5.245KM circuit, recording a best time of 1:20.194s, some 1.5 seconds faster than yesterday’s best.

Massa brought to an end a program of new mechanical and aerodynamic component development, aimed at the next few races of this season.

The team will be back on track on Tuesday at Fiorano, for the shakedown of the cars to be used in the forthcoming Hungarian Grand Prix. At the wheel will be Luca Badoer. Ferrari


Bremer returns to Brooks Associates Racing
Ronnie Bremer, former Champ Car driver and Champ Car Atlantic Championship driver for Brooks Associates Racing and Polestar Racing Group, will pilot the #10 Wyndham Mazda-Cosworth/Swift/Cooper of Brooks Associates Racing for San Jose. Bremer last drove for the team in 2004, when he led the championship early in the season. Kevin Lacroix had not planned to run the race due to a conflict but will return for the season finale at Road America.

“With the generosity of several sponsors, including Wyndham Vacation Resorts and Sin City Motorsports, we were ecstatic to offer the ride to Ronnie,” said team owner John Brooks. “We’ve remained good friends since he ran with us years ago and honestly, putting him the car is a very welcome homecoming for us. Ronnie is the epitome of the type of driver our team has dedicated itself to working with, young, very talented drivers with the hunger, if not the budget, to succeed. With our well-respected engineer, Nick Harvey, our crew (Duarte Fidalgo, Randy Bryan and Mike Messner) and Ronnie behind the wheel, the combination will create a challenge for our fellow competitors! Ronnie has the focus and dedication to do very well in Champ Car, but this weekend, we’ll have some fun with him in the #10.”


No crew chief changes at the new DEI
There will be no immediate crew chief changes as a result of the Dale Earnhardt Inc.-Ginn Racing merger, but not all the crew chiefs will work out of the same shop. Paul Menard's #15 team will move immediately into the Ginn Racing building, where the former Ginn #01 team also will be housed, DEI Vice President John Story said Thursday. The DEI teams of #1-Martin Truex Jr. and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will remain at the current DEI shop until the end of the season. As far as drivers, Mark Martin and Aric Almirola will complete the season co-driving the #01 car. That leaves Regan Smith, who was named last week to drive the now-defunct #14 Ginn car, without a Cup ride. Having started the year as Martin's co-driver, Smith will compete in the Craftsman Truck Series race Friday night in Indianapolis. The rest of the schedule for Smith is still being evaluated. As far as crew chiefs, Dave Charpentier, who became Menard's crew chief in June, will remain as his crew chief, and Ryan Pemberton remains with Mark Martin. Former Ginn crew chiefs Richard "Slugger" Labbe and Peter Sospenzo (who worked with the now-defunct #14 and #13 Ginn teams) are in the pool of employees who are waiting to see what happens. Scenedaily.com


Karthikeyan agent slams Yamamoto signing
(GMM) Narain Karthikeyan's manager has hit out at Spyker's decision to run Sakon Yamamoto for the remaining seven races of 2007.

Karthikeyan, currently a Williams test driver, was touted as a favorite for the race seat following Christijan Albers' departure due to a defaulting sponsor.

The Indian's test colleague at Honda, Christian Klien, was also in the running, and he even tested the Spyker single seater.

But although 30-year-old Karthikeyan was promising to bring sponsors to Silverstone based Spyker, he could not compete with Yamamoto's late bid with an estimated (US) $22m.

"Spyker decided to go for a driver who brought in money rather than professional ability," Karthikeyan's agent, Mark Perkins, told the Press Trust of India.

He explained that Karthikeyan's negotiations with Spyker did not advance far enough to discuss the financial aspects.

Perkins added: "But obviously the team decided that Yamamoto's offer was too significant to ignore."


Ferrari fumes as McLaren dodges bullet
(GMM) Ferrari expressed outrage after McLaren escaped penalty in Friday's espionage hearing of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

In a statement, the Maranello based team, whose 780-pages of confidential information was found in McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan's possession, said it is "incomprehensible" that a team is not penalized despite being found guilty.

"Today's decision legitimizes dishonest behavior in formula one and sets a very serious precedent," an excerpt from Ferrari's lengthy statement added.

Ferrari also vowed to continue with the legal action already underway in Italy and Britain.

Despite McLaren chairman Ron Dennis telling reporters after the meeting in Paris that he was "not completely comfortable" with the outcome, meanwhile, a team statement accepted the FIA's findings as "very balanced and fair".

"McLaren is delighted that the World Motor Sport Council determined that (the) information was not used and accordingly imposed no sanction whatsoever on the team," the statement read.


Scott Speed ends test early at Mugello
Scuderia Toro Rosso had to end testing slightly ahead of the track being closed, as Scott Speed was suffering with severe lower back pain, which had in fact started yesterday. However, by jumping out of the cockpit after each run and much application of ice packs, the American driver still managed to complete 74 laps.

“The program was pretty much the same as for the past two days,” commented Chief Engineer Laurent Mekies. “We worked on validating some new aero components for the Hungarian Grand Prix, by doing some runs in maximum downforce configuration, as well as assessing various brake materials. High speed Mugello might not be the ideal venue to simulate slow speed Hungaroring, but at least the temperatures were similar to those we might experience next weekend.”

Even though Speed recently stated that no amount of money would make him race for the team again, at this stage it looks as if he will be in the driver’s seat at the next round in Hungary. AutoMoto365


Ferrari says FIA World Council legitimizes dishonesty
Based on today’s decision of the FIA World Council, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has been found to be in breach of article 151c of the F1 Sporting Regulations and to have therefore behaved in “a fraudulent manner and therefore in a manner prejudicial to the interests of competition or motor sport in general.”

The World Council has nevertheless decided that, in the absence of any definite proof that information that is the property of Ferrari has been effectively used on the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes car competing in the current championship, it can impose no sanction without further evidence.

Ferrari notes that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has been found guilty by the FIA World Council, and they therefore find it incomprehensible that violating the fundamental principle of sporting honesty does not have, as a logical and inevitable consequence, the application of a sanction.

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IndyCar Series drivers welcome off week
After winning three-straight IndyCar Series races in the last three weeks, the last person you’d expect to want an off week is Scott Dixon.

But the 2003 IndyCar Series champion welcomes the time off, not only for him, but his entire Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew.

“Personally, I think it's nice,” said Dixon, who has chopped 41 points off of Dario Franchitti’s point lead in the last three weeks. “We've had five in a row, and it's been tough. We're almost like the NASCAR circuit racing every week. I hope that we can maintain the success that we've had. It will give the mechanics some time off. For all of us, it's a weekend that we're looking forward to.”

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The NASCAR-ification of America
After watching the talk on televised media, reading reactions around the country, reading comments here and elsewhere, I'm going to throw down the gauntlet.

A warning to black athletes, coaches, GMs, and anyone else affiliated with sports who is black: WATCH YOUR BACK! "They" are after YOU!

Who is "they"?

"They" are sports writers, radio and television talking heads both black and white, the league commissioners, Senators, Congress people, the people who work in the White House and anyone else on those levels you can think of that I forgot.

None of these people give a damn about you. They only care to cover their backs, progress their agendas, and ensure that the peoples of this country are as divided as possible.

How do I know this?

I know this because last night ESPN aired a program titled "NASCAR Explosion." This program painted a wholly positive picture about NASCAR, from its roots to its present. It took the drivers with the least talent in auto racing - that's right the least; Formula One drivers are the best, Indy open wheel drivers 2nd, then NASCAR drivers - and glorified them to the point where Robert Lipsyte, I believe, called the drivers of today "real super athletes" - and likened them and their look to "astronauts!"

In an unbelievable display of racial insensitivity, the program likened these people, these "Scot-Irish" people as down to earth, hard-working, family-oriented, morally responsible people. These redneck, racist, string 'em up, tar and feather, shoot, beat to death, hang pregnant women and slice their stomachs so the unborn baby falls on the ground-ass people were glorified! Glorified, damn it!

These people and this sport were called truly and uniquely American. That ESPN would promote this way too predominantly "white only" sport as such is sickening. Sure, a large part of their motives revolve around the fact that their first televised NASCAR race of the season is this weekend. But you cannot tell me that this program was not offensive to every black writer at ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. More at Chicago Sports Review


An open letter to Kevin Kalkhoven UPDATE Readers respond:
To follow up on Mr. Steele's letter to Kevin Kalkhoven, as a European I have little interest in American drivers - however as a longtime Champ Car fan, I have to agree wholeheartedly that the series is in desperate need of talented American drivers. With half the schedule on U.S. soil, it is imperative fans have recognizable Americans to cheer for. The same can be said for Canada too, with three races, they also need to be well represented. So in my opinion, at the very least, half of the field needs to be from USA/Canada, with the other countries Champ Car races in also represented. This of course would be easier to achieve if there was a larger field to begin with, but that won't come until there is more long-term corporate sponsorship (not personal driver sponsors)... but that requires the series to have a higher profile/fan interest... which won't come without more North American star drivers. Unfortunately therefore, I think it falls back to Champ Car to invest in developing drivers such as the ones Mr. Steele mentions. Not until then will Champ Car have a chance of rising from anonymity... Stuart Page, England

I agree partially with this letter. It would be great to have big name drivers. But the writer of this letter is looking for a name that is hyped, not earned. Bourdais is a phenomenal driver. We may never see another driver accomplish what he has. As far as the list of nobodies, Wilson, Power, Doornbos are all proving that they are great drivers. They just need to be more personable or approachable. The drivers need to get their personalities out there. I really miss Mad Max and Darren Manning. Both had great personalities, and were hard to not like. Carpentier running Laguna Seca in his boxers was fantastic. You can't just dump a name in and expect success (Danica Patrick is a great example). The driver needs to be here for a couple of years and needs to get their personality out there. Papis came in with no fanfare. He then became very popular. I am babbling at this point, but will say YES there are a bunch of drivers that I don't really know. But, the racing has been great this year. Peter Swanson, Crockett, CA, Born and Raised Red, White and Blue

I must disagree with Mr. Steele on the driver situation in Champ Car. I have been a fan for forty years and have watched drivers come and go, I have always found that great drivers make great racing. Champ car needs more cars and sponsors that will enable them to retain the drivers they have and that is more important than where they are from. You build a fan base with drivers and sponsorship and good racing. All of the big name drivers in the IRL other than Hornish came from CART and outside of Andretti and Patrick are foreign. More cars will provide spots for more drivers and yes we do need good American drivers. I’ll watch Bruno over Buddy any day. I would like to see AJ and Hunter Ray back for sure but Sebastian, Will, and Robert are very talented drivers that make for fantastic racing. More cars and sponsors will make that possible. The owners of Champ Car are following their business plan and vision. They have not changed direction (All American drivers, all ovals, all US races). I believe they will get the car count and the sponsors they need and the best drivers where ever they are from will follow. Jerry M

07/25/07 A reader writes, Dear Mr. Kalkhoven:

I am a lifelong Champ Car fan. I hate Tony George and the IRL, and have always pulled for Champ Car and stayed loyal and supported the series. The events are done well, the new car kicks ass, and the racing is good.

I have one big problem, however. I am completely uninterested in the long list of foreign no-name drivers. Yeah, I like PT and Graham Rahal. The rest of them are a bunch of nobodies. I Tivo the races but rarely watch them. Even Bourdais, albeit a very good driver, holds no interest with us Americans. Simply, there is next to nobody to root for. Doornbos? Who? Dan Clarke? Who cares? Jan Heylen? Junqueira? Katherine Legge (What has she done except crash?), etc. Most of my friends that are die-hard Champ Car enthusiasts feel exactly the same.

So, I am urging you to save this series by convincing the other myopic owners that the IRL is correct on one count--the drivers are the stars. Your series has none. They have kicked your ass on that score. Carl Haas, Forsythe, PKV, etc. are all capable of hiring American drivers whom race fans in this country can care about. There are ample talented drivers. Lure AJ back--he is having a terrible time in NASCAR. Ryan Hunter-Reay is good, Buddy Rice has a name and can drive the cars well, Jonathan Bomarito would be a good add, and what about Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty? Somehow lure Marco Andretti from the IRL? Not that F1 doesn’t know his family. Marco is not going to F1 from the IRL. I view his Honda F1 test as simply a PR stunt requested by American Honda to get the IRL some PR because of the Andretti loyalty to Honda.

I am certain that if your most loyal fans are losing interest that you are in desperate trouble. Fred Steele

In reply to Fred, Champ Car has to decide what it wants to be - a domestic series with mostly American drivers, or an international series with a minimum of one driver from each country the series races in. And we don't mean a wanker driver with a big checkbook. We mean a real driver. Even if they choose international, they will still need many American drivers because America is still its home base. Mark C.

Track News

Dover reports drops in revenues and income
Dover Motorsports Inc. says second-quarter revenues and income dropped sharply, primarily because of weather woes and lower revenues from NASCAR's new television package.

For the quarter ended June 30 revenues were $40,806,000, down from $45,003,000 in the same quarter last year. Earnings before income taxes were $11,285,000, down from $15,012,000.

 In a news release, the company said weather affected four of its five event weekends and saw Dover International Speedway's June race rained out on Sunday for the first time in 32 years. Decreased revenues from admissions, sponsorship, program sales, concessions and merchandise as well as higher expenses from an extra day's activities contributed to the decrease in profitability.

In addition to the Dover track, the company owns Nashville Superspeedway and Memphis Motorsports Park, both in Tennessee, and Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. SceneDaily


Gommendy cleared to drive
Tristan Gommendy will be able to take part in this weekend's San Jose Grand Prix after receiving clearance from Dr Terry Trammell on Tuesday.  The PKV Racing driver, who crashed out in first qualifying at least weekend's Grand Prix of Edmonton and had to miss the race, went to Indy for a check-over, where Trammell was able to discover that the edemas around thoracic vertebrae 11 and 12 were milder than initially thought.

Mark Johnson, PKV's team manager said: "Dr Trammell has warned Tristan that there is still going to be some pain, but he felt confident putting him back in the car this weekend. It's good news for us.  We were in a real conundrum last weekend, but decided to err on the side of caution, and looking back, I think that was right."


Jerez Thursday: Wurz fastest
Pos  Driver        Team               Time     Laps
 1.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1.19.962   86
 2.  Kubica        BMW-Sauber         1.20.004   92
 3.  de la Rosa    McLaren-Mercedes   1.20.220  111
 4.  Barrichello   Honda              1.20.250   86
 5.  Buemi         Red Bull-Renault   1.20.318   68
 6.  Trulli        Toyota             1.20.377   70
 7.  Kovalainen    Renault            1.20.828   64
 8.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1.21.186  108


Dennis comments after spy hearing
(GMM)  Ron Dennis commented briefly in Paris on Thursday after his McLaren team escaped penalty in the spy scandal.

The FIA's World Motor Sport Council actually found the Woking based team in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code for possessing secret Ferrari information, warning that exclusion from the championship could occur if new damning evidence came to light in future.

"The process has been long and detailed," McLaren chairman and team principal Dennis said.

"Although I'm not completely comfortable with the outcome, the punishment fits the crime."

McLaren is expected to issue a statement later on Thursday.


McLaren found guilty, but no penalty
(GMM) F1's governing body on Thursday announced that McLaren will not be penalized following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

A statement, however, revealed that the 26 Council members did find Ron Dennis' outfit guilty of breaching the International Sporting Code for possessing confidential Ferrari information.

"However, there is insufficient evidence that this information was used in such a way as to interfere improperly with the FIA formula one world championship," it read.

But the FIA also said McLaren face exclusion from the 2007 and 2008 championships if it is "found in the future that the Ferrari information has been used" improperly.

The statement also said alleged spies Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan will now be pursued by the FIA's legal department and could be banned from international motor sport "for a lengthy period".


Ferrari boss merciless as spy hearing starts
(GMM) Luca di Montezemolo on Thursday made it abundantly clear whose side he is on as McLaren faced the FIA's World Motor Sport Council on spy charges.

As the emergency meeting kicked off this morning, the Ferrari president was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "My body is in Maranello but my thoughts are in Paris.

"We absolutely must expose disloyal behavior in formula one."

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis, unfamiliarly dressed in a tailored suit, was swamped by reporters and cameramen as he arrived at Place de la Concorde, as was his Ferrari counterpart Jean Todt a few moments later.

Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Max Mosley soon followed.

An outcome is expected on Thursday afternoon.

Industry News

Festive mood at Chrysler fades fast
Chrysler and Cerberus Capital Management won't be formally joined until at least next week, but it's already clear that their union won't begin with a relaxing honeymoon.

Can it be only two months since Cerberus Chairman John Snow and Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Tom LaSorda gave us their best Louis Armstrong impressions, warbling about what a wonderful world it will be for Chrysler under the nurturing wing of private ownership? But look what's happening now:

• Wall Street balked Wednesday at buying a $12-billion debt offering Chrysler was trying to peddle to raise cash, even after delaying the offering a week as Chrysler's banks tried to find takers for the debt.

• Chrysler has banned more than 450 of its dealers from attending factory auctions of used cars because those dealers were falling way short of new-car sales targets set by the company, according to Automotive News.

• And Chrysler has acknowledged sending letters to dozens of poor-performing dealers, threatening to force them out of business. Leo Jerome, a Chrysler Jeep dealer in Lansing, told the Free Press on Wednesday that he has been given six months to improve sales or face losing his franchise.

None of these problems are expected to impede or delay the closing of the deal for Cerberus, the New York private-equity firm, to buy 80.1% of Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler AG, Chrysler officials insist.

But they illustrate how rocky the road ahead remains for the Auburn Hills automaker, no matter how strong the commitment or how deep the pockets of its new owner. More at Detroit Free Press


Q and A with Toyota's Jarno Trulli
Q. Jarno, we don't see too many races (Nurburgring) like that, do we?

Jarno Trulli: No, thankfully! It was certainly a dramatic race. In situations like that, things can work for you or against you and I always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Q. A man starting on the back row leading his first GP by 33s after four laps showed what can happen in those conditions?

JT: I think the amount of risk you are prepared to take depends on how much you have to lose. If you qualify on the front half of the grid most people tend to keep a close eye on what the others are doing and on the grid at Nurburgring the rain had not started so everybody started on dry tires. We knew rain was expected but you can easily destroy the wet tires if you have to run on a dry track.

For Markus Winkelhock though, it was worth the gamble of putting wet tires on and when it rained straight away it worked out for him. His bad luck was that it rained so hard that lots of cars went off and the race had to be suspended. And that was bad for me, too.

Read more & Comment...
Industry news

Ethanol: Ranchers, farmers battle over corn
The farmer and the cowman should be friends, according to the lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers' musical Oklahoma. Their famous production was written decades before the ethanol boom, however.

Corn prices spiked from around $2.50 a bushel to more than $4 a bushel earlier this year in response to a surge in ethanol production. Prices have dropped in recent weeks, with corn for September delivery at $3.12 per bushel Tuesday. Higher corn prices mean higher feed costs for cattle, hog and chicken producers. Some ranchers are having a harder time securing grazing land, or are paying higher rents, as farmers convert acres to corn.

The result: one of the bigger shoot-'em-ups between growers and ranchers since the 1800s, when farmers fenced in the open range. Rather than firearms, the weapons of choice this time are lobbyists and dueling economic studies.

"Where is our feed going to come from, what is going to happen to our competitive position internationally?" asks Jesse Sevcik of the American Meat Institute, noting that the livestock sector is losing its position to ethanol as the main consumer of U.S. corn.

Read more & Comment...

Power looking to bounce back in San Jose
Team Australia Champ Car star Will Power is determined to bounce back from a disastrous round last weekend in Edmonton, Canada at the San Jose Grand Prix in San Jose, California this weekend.

Power, driver of the #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01, was neck and neck with rivals Sebastien Bourdais and Robert Doornbos heading into last weekend’s race and even qualified on pole position for the event.

But a manufacturer-defect in the steering rack of his car put him out of the event while in contention for the win, giving Bourdais a sizeable jump in the championship standings.

The 2007 Champ Car World Series is still in its middle stages, but Power and the Aussie Vineyards team realize how important it is to stay in championship contention with the likes of three-time champion Bourdais.

“San Jose is a pretty important weekend for us since we lost valuable points, but I’m confident that we’ll do well, because the San Jose circuit is one that I really enjoy,” said Power.

“We are still very much in the championship fight and we need to keep on going and get some more race wins.”


Bourdais heading back to where winning began
After scoring his 27th Champ Car World Series victory in Edmonton, Canada, last weekend, Sebastien Bourdais has his sights set on heading back to Europe where his winning ways all began.

The then rookie scored his first Champ Car victory the last time the series visited Europe back in 2003.

Bourdais won at Brands Hatch and Lausitz that year and backed that up with another victory at Cleveland. Pictured right on podium at Brands Hatch in 2003

He has come a long way since making his Champ Car debut from pole position at St Petersburg – landing in the US from Europe as the reigning Formula 3000 champion.

"I did not know what to expect when I first came to the US, all I knew is I was getting into the reigning championship-winning team and that I was going to have to perform if I wanted to stay," Bourdais said.

The Frenchman has not only earned his spot, but secured a place in Champ Car history as the first driver to earn three consecutive championships.

Born in Le Mans, it was no surprise that he followed in the footsteps of his racing driver father. Now based in Florida with his wife and young daughter, Bourdais is eagerly awaiting the chance to race closer to home.

"The best part of living in America is we have a great place in Florida and the weather is fantastic, living on the water has been really nice and I had never had the opportunity to do that before," Bourdais said.

Read more & Comment...

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Wurz not bothered about traction control ban
  • Bernie crosses fingers ahead of spy hearing
  • Vettel at Mugello but Speed keeps testing
  • Spying 'not the McLaren way' - Ramirez
  • Winkelhock resigned to DTM drive
  • Spyker confirms Yamamoto

Wurz not bothered about traction control ban
(GMM) Alex Wurz says he is not bothered about the impending ban on traction control in formula one.

Many teams have been experimenting with their electronic driver aids turned off at the Jerez and Mugello tests this week, as they prepare to install a standardized ECU in each car for the 2008 season.

Williams' Wurz is due to drive at Jerez on Thursday; the last test day before the summer break.

"Traction control doesn't make the driving easier," he told his team's official podcast.

"I'm totally open about what is coming. It's about the same for the drivers with or without traction control. The limit will just change slightly."

McLaren, Toyota, BMW, Renault, Red Bull, Super Aguri and Honda have also been testing at Jerez in the south of Spain, while Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso and Ferrari are in Mugello.

Spyker, meanwhile, tested the rear-end of its incoming 'B' car on Wednesday on the shorter Stowe circuit across the road from its Silverstone base.

Bernie crosses fingers ahead of spy hearing
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he will also have his fingers crossed when McLaren is put under the spotlight in Thursday's emergency hearing of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

F1's chief executive, who will sit alongside FIA president Max Mosley inside the FIA headquarters at Place de la Concorde at 9.30am, hopes any sanctions for espionage will not affect the outcome of a stirring four-way battle for the world championship.

"Please God, (I hope) nothing's gone wrong and it will all be a lot of nonsense," he is quoted as saying by The Times.

Ecclestone, 76, thinks the accusation of spying between Ferrari and McLaren has already negatively detracted from the track action this year.

"I don't like it," he admits.

Alongside Spanish steward Joaquin Verdegay, then, Ecclestone is the second member of the 26-strong World Council to indicate that he will not be voting to either disqualify Ron Dennis' Woking based team or interrupt the battle for the title by, for example, docking championship points.

Read more & Comment...

McLaren name hangs on testimony of fired employee
The elegant surroundings of the FIA's Paris headquarters will this morning play host to potentially one of the most explosive confrontations in recent formula one history when the McLaren team will be asked to explain how their chief designer, Mike Coughlan (pictured right), came to be in possession of almost 800 confidential drawings of their principal rival's car, the Ferrari F2007.

The investigation, to be conducted by the governing body's world motor sport council, could have profound consequences for McLaren if the verdict goes against them. The council has the power to impose draconian penalties on those found guilty of infringing the sport's rules and a worst-case scenario could see McLaren thrown out of the world championship or, failing that, Lewis Hamilton's title bid undermined by a loss of points. McLaren remain convinced that they can prove beyond doubt that Coughlan was acting independently. His motivation for acquiring the Ferrari documents seems unlikely to have been to enhance his position with McLaren.

Coughlan has delivered a sworn affidavit to the FIA detailing the sequence of events from his perspective. His words will be crucial.

This saga highlights the problems involved when engineers and mechanics switch teams. "This is one area where people in formula one tend to be rather paranoid," said a senior formula one figure. "The question is can McLaren have benefited from sight of the Ferrari data, if they had it? Ultimately it's difficult to see how they could have." For all that, Coughlan was a McLaren employee when he began trafficking in this information. McLaren's team principal, Ron Dennis, believes anything less than total vindication will be unfair but his company's reputation today lies in the hands of others. More at The Guardian

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