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San Jose postscript San Jose postscriptSebastien Bourdais’ victory was the 13th of his career, tying him for 17th on the all-time Champ Car list with former series champion Tom Sneva.
Bourdais led 63 laps on the day, giving him 930 for his Champ Car career. He moves into 24th on the all-time laps led list, passing Dario Franchitti (917) and Cristiano da Matta (918). Next on the list is Helio Castroneves, who led 946 laps in his time in Champ Car.
Paul Tracy made his 231st career start today, moving him ahead of Roger McCluskey and into sole possession of 10th spot on the all-time series list.
Today’s crowd of 62,371 boosted the three-day attendance total to 153,767, marking the third consecutive race where Champ Car has drawn over 150,000 fans. The total this weekend boosted the total attendance for the year to over one million after just eight races.
Sebastien Bourdais has finished all but one of the 841 laps run this season, putting him on pace to eclipse Rick Mears’ record for percentage of laps completed in a season.
For Paul Newman, 80, racing isn't just a hobby For Paul Newman, 80, racing isn't just a hobbyThis San Jose Mercury News article is a good read about Paul Newman, co-owner of the Newman/Haas Champ Car team and a real force behind today's success of the Champ Car World Series.
Another expensive day for Ganassi Racing Another expensive day for Ganassi RacingThe Target Chip Ganassi team has seen car after car torn up this year in the IRL races.  Sunday at Michigan was no better.  On lap 180 Townsend Bell's fine run in the #2 Panther Racing entry lost control in turn 1, causing those behind to scatter. Kosuke Matsuura clipped the slowing car of IRL returnee Jaques Lazier (who replaced Darren Manning, who was let go by the Ganassi team), sending Lazier broadside into Bell and the outside wall, where the helpless Roger Yasukawa found himself pinned between the two. 

All victims were unhurt although it took the safety workers no less than 13 laps to clear the debris, which was scattered liberally over turns two and the first half of the back straight.

Seen at San Jose Seen at San JoseEx-CART and IRL driver Darren Manning was at San Jose today making the rounds and seeing what he might be able to drum up in the way of a ride for next year. Manning was let go by the Target Chip Ganassi IRL team even though he had scored the most points of all drivers. Manning said he was happy to be off those dangerous ovals, having survived in one piece. Whether he can find a ride in Champ Car next year remains to be seen, but given the success of the series we suspect a lot of drivers will be eying Champ Car in 2006. The problem is this - will new team owners come in and buy a Lola for just one year knowing that there will be all-new cars required in 2007? We don't think so, and expect the car count to go up only slightly, if at all in 2006, making it difficult for guys like Manning to find an open seat.
Formula BMW
Piscopo wins Formula BMW round Piscopo wins Formula BMW roundEdoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational) capitalized on his first career Formula BMW USA pole to take the Round 10 victory today at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. In leading the race from start to finish, he completed 14 laps of the 2.3-mile circuit in the 30-minute contest, finishing 6.311 seconds ahead of Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing). James Davison (HBR Motorsports Team USA) finished third.

Piscopo made an excellent start and was never challenged for the lead by the balance of the 20-car field. Every lap he was able to extend his margin, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap seven (1:28.224). Soulet also made a heads-up start from the fifth position and moved up two spots before the first turn.

Overall Points leader Kevin Lacroix started second, but a spin on the third lap dropped him to an eighth-place finish. He now leads Richard Philippe by only one point, while Philippe's fourth-place finish today moves him to the top of the Rookie Points for the first time this season. Zzzz

Race Johnson continued to have a good weekend, finishing a season's-best fifth.

Piscopo said, "I am very happy for my team and myself. We really worked hard on the car. We improved the setup from yesterday because today it was even hotter. The heat also made it difficult to keep concentration, but I pushed really hard in the first laps and later I started to manage the car better because I didn't have to risk too much by driving too fast."

Soulet added, "I had a very good car today. The setup couldn't have been better. I had an excellent start. I passed James Davison and Richard Philippe on the start and after three laps Kevin Lacroix made a mistake and I moved into second position. I want to thank my team for working so hard this weekend."

Davison said, "I got an average start and Maxime did very well. Richard Philippe was behind me the whole race, 14 laps. It was hard keeping him behind me and I am really happy to have held him off. My car was better towards the end. I want to thank my team HBR for doing their best. We got our best qualifying position and we finished where we started, scoring 12 points."

Lacroix continues to lead the Overall points with 110 points. Philippe is second (109), and Soulet third (94).

Philippe takes over the Rookie points lead with 116 over Lacroix (114) second and Wickens (106) third.

The top finishing Rookies were Piscopo (P1), Davison (P3), Philippe (P4), Johnson (P5) and Bunker (P6).
Singleton and Eidswick SJ postscript Singleton and Eidswick SJ postscriptBoth Dick Eidswick and Bob Singleton addressed the media after today's San Jose GP. Eidswick said the city was really behind the event and they were very enthusiastic. He congratulated everyone including the local media that really got behind the event to help make the event a success.

Singleton rattled off the people who helped make the race a success. He said the downtown Marriott hotel had their two biggest cash nights in their history.

Singleton promised more bridges and more grandstands next year. "We now know the traffic flow and next year will place bridges and signs so next year the inconvenience to our fans will be less. We will sit down in the next few weeks with all those involved to make it better next year. I would like to build a horseshoe shaped grandstand at the hairpin next year."

Paul Tracy had this to say - "I think it was great. I think it was a great success for the city. The buzz in the city was great. Having it right here in the downtown is fantastic. I mean, most of the street courses that we've been to, whether it be Vancouver or Toronto, they were centered kind of around a park or roads that aren't used that often, not really in the downtown sector, in the business sector, in the entertainment district so to speak.

"The crowds that were here after everything was done, all you had to do was walk right outside the track, you could have something to eat. That's where everybody was staying basically, right on the premises. It was a great event, a great festival event. Obviously the track needs to make improvements. But the city is behind the event 110%. Those improvements will come."

Taylor and Angelelli Take Third Win of 2005 Taylor and Angelelli Take Third Win of 2005Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli kicked off the second half of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season the same way they opened the first half, as the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley co-drivers picked up their third victory of the season in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park.

After running as low as 14th at one point in the race by adopting a different pit strategy, the No. 10 teammates patiently worked themselves back into position to challenge for the victory. Angelelli led 14 laps early in the race before handing the car over to Taylor, and took over to drive the final stint on Lap 51 of the 95-lap race. The Italian carved his way through the field to second place by Lap 78 and kept the pressure on the race-leading Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley.

Angelelli pulled alongside Fittipaldi in Turn 5 on Lap 88, but was unable to close the deal and Fittipaldi began growing his margin and looked to be headed for victory. However, with three laps remaining, Fittipaldi pulled onto pit lane for a late splash of fuel, surrendering the race to Angelelli and Taylor. Angelelli was not challenged in the final three laps, beating Memo Gidley’s No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley to the finish line by 18.585 seconds. zzzz

“I had a feeling he was pulling away from me on the straights and going up on the corners, so there was either one of two things – more horsepower, which was not the case, or a lighter car,” Angelelli said “I was expecting him to pit for fuel. I was worried because I know how difficult it is to overtake here at this track. You really need to take huge risks every time to overtake a car. The car in front of you needs to understand that that it is not the end of the world to lose a position, but some drivers really don’t get it. They don’t care and they don’t want to lose a position and that really ticked me off. I was more worried about myself.”

It was the first victory for Angelelli and Taylor since they opened the season with back-to-back wins in the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona in February and the Grand Prix of Miami in March. They were also able to extend the lead they share in the Daytona Prototype driver standings, as Taylor and Angelelli are now 14 points ahead of defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Scott Pruett and his No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-driver, Luis Diaz (247-233).

Danica... and Sarah? Danica... and Sarah?No press report is complete this season without extensive coverage of Danica Patrick.  Let's face it, she looks a lot better in a picture than any other driver in the IRL (or Champ Car, ALMS, or NASCAR...).   However, at this stage of her career, high banks are a challenge for her.  Sarah Fisher is smiling somewhere, remembering how Danica claimed that Sarah lacked courage.  As you might recall, Sarah passed for the lead at Michigan 3 years ago at the end of the race, and held on for 6th place amid a very scary pack of cars. Tim Wohlford
Injured reserve Injured reserve
Paul Dana, injured at Indy, will be out of his back brace in 2 more weeks.  He will begin his rehabilitation by running shifter karts.  His back injury, a compression fracture of 2 vertebrae, was caused as his seat belts pushed down on his shoulders as his body tried to leave the vehicle on impact.  He hopes to return to the IRL next season.  The black box on his car recorded some 80 g's. 
Tomas Enge suffered two small fractures in vertebrae in a crash at Nashville.  He says he feels fine, but cannot drive until he's healed since an accident that would occur before he's healed would certainly cause massive problems for him. Tim Wohlford
Montoya - I had race in hand Montoya - I had race in handThe Colombian was involved in a three-way fight for the lead at the time of his retirement with teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher. But it was Montoya, on a 2-stop instead of the 3-stop strategy of Schumacher and Raikkonen, who held the advantage, though, and was certain he would have held on for victory had it not been for his gearbox failure.

"I pretty much had the race in the pocket, I was pitting a lap later than Kimi," Juan told ITV. "Even if Kimi had caught up with me I don’t think he would have…so it's a bit of a shame.  It's just one of those things, we are pushing right to the limit."

Rossi slays Hondas for Sachsenring win Rossi slays Hondas for Sachsenring winValentino Rossi clinched his eighth win of the 2005 MotoGP World Championship and the 76th of his Grand Prix career on the occasion of his 150th appearance at the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland on Sunday. A mistake by Sete Gibernau on the final lap handed Rossi a crucial advantage that the Italian was unlikely to waste, eventually crossing the line just 0.685 seconds ahead of the Spaniard to extend his advantage to 120 points over Marco Melandri in the championship standings.

“It was a hard race throughout, in some places we were fast and some slower but the bike was working well after all the hard work we put in yesterday,” said Rossi, who moved level third with Mike Hailwood in the all-time Grand Prix winners’ list. “Sete made a small mistake at the first braking marker, which is an easy thing to do at this speed, and I was able to take the lead. I don’t know if I would have won if he hadn’t made the mistake but I would have tried! I made a small flag to apologize to Mike Hailwood for matching his 76 wins in Grand Prix because when another rider arrives at your level it is always disappointing! Mike is one of the greatest riders ever and now I am beside him on the all-time winners’ podium which is a fantastic achievement.” zzzz

Despite coming so close to victory in a 30-lap race that was stopped after five laps when John Hopkins crashed his Suzuki and left it stricken in the middle of the track, Gibernau will be more than satisfied with second place today after the disappointment of crashing out of the lead at Donington Park just seven days ago. The Honda rider also ousted Colin Edwards from third spot in the championship and now lies just a single point behind his team-mate Melandri as the series takes a four-week summer break before the next round at Brno on August 28th.

After taking his debut pole position at Laguna Seca three weeks ago Nicky Hayden started from the front of the grid twice today, having led from pole for the opening five laps until Hopkins’ crash. His lead in the second part of the race only lasted one lap before he was passed by both Gibernau and Rossi but the American fought back bravely in the second half of the race, taking second back from Rossi and holding on for seven laps until the Italian launched his late attack. However, Hayden’s second podium of the season was a fitting way to celebrate his 24th birthday yesterday and the HRC rider now lies level with Alex Barros in sixth place overall.

After three crashes and a front row start Barros ended an eventful weekend with fifth place in today’s race after conceding fourth to Max Biaggi in a tough battle over the final few laps. Shinya Nakano produced his best performance of the season to take sixth place, crossing the line just 4.557 seconds behind Rossi to provide a welcome boost for Kawasaki after both his team-mates, Alex Hofmann and Olivier Jacque, crashed out in a first-corner collision with Shane Byrne.

Whilst Rossi looks to have his fifth MotoGP title in the bag at the top of the standings, the battle for second place is heating up after Melandri could only manage seventh today. With Gibernau just one point behind him, Edwards is now a further point back after taking eighth place today whilst Biaggi trails the American by the same gap. Loris Capirossi missed out on the lap record by just 0.003 seconds as he launched a charge in the middle of the race before suffering problems with the left side of his tire. His time of 1’23.708 was only beaten by Gibernau’s best effort of 1’23.705 as he lapped with the lead group on the Ducati before eventually slipping back to ninth place. Makoto Tamada completed the top ten ahead of Kenny Roberts, Toni Elías, Ruben Xaus, Roby Rolfo and Franco Battiani. Troy Bayliss was the only other faller.

Reminder: Legge on Wind Tunnel tonight Reminder: Legge on Wind Tunnel tonightShortly after completing her ninth Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama race on Sunday in San Jose (a race she won today), series rookie Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing) will spend part of Sunday evening as a featured guest on SPEED Channel’s popular motorsports talk show Wind Tunnel.

Legge, who became the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America when she captured the checkered flag at Long Beach in April, will join host Dave Despain and special guest co-host Rusty Wallace on tonight’s show. Wind Tunnel will air from 9-11 p.m. ET Sunday evening on SPEED Channel, the nation’s top motorsports network.

Currently ranked fifth in the Atlantic series standings, Legge earned her second series victory two weeks ago on the Edmonton airport road circuit. She rallied from a third-place starting position, and recovered from a Turn 1 incident with two other cars, to pass polesitter and series leader Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) halfway through the race. The 25-year-old native of Great Britain then held off Zwolsman late in the race to win in front of a capacity crowd in Edmonton. Legge will start fourth in today’s Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose Atlantic race.

In tonight’s episode of Wind Tunnel, Legge is scheduled to join Despain and Wallace at 9:20 p.m. ET for an extended interview segment broadcast live via satellite from the track in San Jose.

SF Bay Area media embraces SJ race SF Bay Area media embraces SJ raceThe SF Bay Area media has really jumped into the spirit of the San Jose Grand Prix with extensive television coverage coming from NBC's KNTV 11 and Telemundo 48. Both affiliates are broadcasting live from the track through the day, while KNTV is anchoring their weekend newscasts direct from the street circuit.
Istanbul hotels sold out ahead of F1 race Istanbul hotels sold out ahead of F1 raceOn the eve of Istanbul’s first Formula 1 Grand Prix on August 21, 40,000 of the 50,000-bed capacity 4 and 5 star hotels are reserved for the period from between August 19 and 21.  The hotels which rented their rooms four times the usual expense to 20,000 Formula 1 fans, recommended to their regular customers that they should not travel to Istanbul on those days.

Faxes sent by the hotels write: “No vacant rooms available in our hotel. Do not organize any activities in Istanbul during the Formula 1 period. If possible, please return after the Grand Prix.” Nearly, 100,000 people will come to Istanbul from around Turkey and abroad for the Formula 1 race. The hotels increased room prices to quadruple the regular price. The price of the 5-star hotels, which is between 100 and 400 euros nightly, reached as high as 300-1,000 euros during the Formula 1. The price of 4-star hotels, which is usually between 60-130 euros, reached 120-180 euros, while the price of 3-star hotels reached 50-120 euros up from 25-80 euros per night. Hotels used to drop their prices when you bargained under normal circumstance, are making group booking reductions during this period and they are apply the “door price” method. Even some 3-star hotels increased their prices from 25 euros per night to 120 euros. All 200 rooms of the Antik Hotel in Beyazit are already booked for the Formula 1 period.

The hotel’s General Manager, Sevda Yilgaz noted that they have rented their rooms for 150 euros for this period but normally the price of a room is 60 euros. According to Yilgaz, who said that they rented the rooms for cash, say there are Iranians, Israelis, Brazilians, and British among those who made reservations at the hotel. The Hilton Hotel normally offers a room from between $300 and $700. The hotel’s suits are rented for $1,000, $3,000 and $10,000 depending to their level of luxury. More at Zaman

A1GP adds French, Swiss and USA teams A1GP adds French, Swiss and USA teamsA1 Grand Prix's unrelenting trail-blaze through the world of international motorsport continued today as Founder, President and Chairman Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum announced three major new signings for the FIA-approved motorsport series during the launch of A1 Team India.

France, Switzerland and the USA will join the 16 other countries which have already announced their participation in the first ever World Cup of Motorsport. Jean Paul Driot, creator and owner of Driot Associates Motor Sport (DAMS) has been confirmed as Team Principal for A1 Team France while the franchise for the crucial American market has been secured by Communications tycoon, Rick Weidinger. A1 Team Switzerland has approached former Sauber Formula 1 and Porsche Motorsport Director, Max Welti, to head up their national side.

A1 Grand Prix's CEO, Tony Teixeira confirmed the involvement of the three new teams saying: 'The inclusion of France and Switzerland significantly increases A1 Grand Prix's European footprint providing traditional competition for the likes of A1 Teams from Great Britain and the Netherlands. Looking across the Atlantic, Mr Weidinger's support has presented a significant opportunity to develop A1 Grand Prix's profile in the influential American market. By giving American fans the opportunity to race against 24 other nations in 550bhp single seater cars with equalized tires and technology, I am sure with an American entry into A1 Grand Prix, the Series will be backed by the patriotism of the American fans and will prove a major success in North America'. [Editor's Note: A1 GP will flop in the USA. The IRL and Champ Car have enough trouble competing against NASCAR's huge popularity, let alone a support series 550 HP car series.] zzzz

Highlighting the global reach of A1 Grand Prix, Mr Teixeira spoke from Beijing while Sheikh Maktoum attended the launch of A1 Team India in Delhi. At yesterday's evening ceremony, Sheikh Maktoum spoke of the significance of including India in the first A1 Grand Prix season. 'India is the largest democracy on the planet with over 1 billion people, bringing A1 Grand Prix ever closer to its goal of representing 80 per cent of the world's population.

He continued: 'The world has witnessed India's passion for national sports through its zealous support of international cricket and squash, and now through A1 Grand Prix, the people of India have their first opportunity to be represented in the exclusive world of motorsport on a level playing field with the developed world. With the possibility of racing for their own national team, young Indian drivers now have the chance to compete on the international stage. Alongside this, Indian business can promote their skills and technology by sponsoring their national team, demonstrating India's formidable economic power on a global scale.'

Yesterday's ceremony formed part of a two-day program during which, Sheikh Maktoum and Atul Gupta were welcomed by Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh at his New Delhi residence. Dr Singh expressed his enthusiasm and support for his country's first national motorsport team a sentiment that was echoed in the evening's speech by A1 Team India's national seat holder Mr Atul Gupta.

Mr Gupta said: 'We, as part of A1 Team India, are extremely delighted to contribute to the growth and development of the motorsport sector in India. Our aim is to position motorsport within Indian sport and generate national pride while doing so. A1 Team India aims to bring high level motor racing to the common man and through its proposed Training Academy will contribute towards the development and professional training of local drivers to compete on a world stage. We wish to showcase India's rich vein of motorsport driving talent that is abundant in the local Asian circuits. A1 Team India aims to fast track motorsport infrastructure giving India an equal opportunity to host the World Cup of Motorsport.'

A1 Team India's President, high profile Bollywood film star, Anil Kapoor went on to say: 'We are looking forward to the A1 series and this could very well be the next biggest sport since cricket. From my side, I am going to ensure that India is represented with a sense of optimism and eagerness. We want the world to see that India is both efficient and responsible in this endeavor.'

The launch of A1 Team India concluded today as the series witnessed another historic event when Sheikh Maktoum drove the A1 Grand Prix car through the streets of Delhi, the first time that a high-powered single seat race car has run in India. Decked in the orange, green and white of the Indian flag, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh and Anil Kapoor flagged off the car as it left the imposing arch of India Gate heading up the Rajpath.

IRL fines Andretti Green Racing IRL fines Andretti Green RacingUPDATE According to this SPEEDTV.com article, the AGR drivers are not backing down over the protest at the Milwaukee autograph session. It's not about jealously as some ill-informed journalists wrote this past week, it's all about the IRL's favoritism shown toward Danica Patrick over the other drivers. We said that was not fair and that the sanctioning body must remain neutral and treat all drivers equally. It's one thing for the media to favor Dania Patrick (or not), but not the sanctioning body. 07/28/05 To rub a little salt in the already bitter wounds, the Indy Racing League fined the owners of IRL IndyCar Series entrant Andretti Green Racing (AGR) an undisclosed amount for failing to require its drivers to participate in the mandatory autograph session on July 23 at The Milwaukee Mile.

AGR was penalized for violating Section 7.1 (B) of the IndyCar Series Rule Book (Additional Driver Activities) which states: "During events, IRL shall conduct Driver autograph sessions and Driver introductions. Failure to participate or failure to attend for the designated amount of time may result in fines and/or other penalties."

The fine was announced after IRL officials held face-to-face meetings with AGR earlier this week." The decision by the team principals not to have their drivers appear at the league-mandated autograph session is a very serious situation," said Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer of the Indy Racing League. "I know that all of our teams, including AGR, understand that an important aspect of the League's identity is accessibility."

"Moving forward, the league will not hesitate to transition from fines to more severe penalties such as moving cars to the back of the field or even a deduction in championship points. AGR may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the protest and appeal procedures in the Rule Book. This may result in an increase, decrease or no change to the penalty."

[Editor's Note: And you thought the AGR team was performing blocking tactics at recent races by running side-by-side at the front so no one else could pass, thereby ensuring a win for AGR? Nothing illegal about that. We suspect there will be a wall of AGR cars in front of Danica Patrick every chance they get. The four AGR cars are a formidable team to begin with, let alone when they get mad.]

Officials try to address drivers concerns at SJ Officials try to address drivers concerns at SJIn the kindest possible description, the new street course here in downtown San Jose is a 1.4-mile chuckhole. It's bumpier than a motocross track and there are RAILROAD TRACKS on the fastest part of the circuit that get the cars airborne.

"It's like being in a paint shaker," said Paul Tracy. It's also like driving in a shoebox since some parts of the course are less than 10 feet wide and there are very few runoff areas bordering the 10 turns. The original layout had drivers exiting the pits right into the fastest part of the front straightaway and Turn 4 wasn't wide enough for two golf carts to run side-by-side

Following Friday's practice sessions, the drivers were understandably concerned about:
1) Running 175 mph into a hairpin with only a few rows of tires to slow them down if their brakes failed.
2) Running 165 mph through a chicane that, after the car was launched into the air by the bumps and railroad tracks, then looked head-on at a wall of concrete.
3) Going through the blind left-hander at Turn 4 and hitting the tire wall, which effectively blocks the track.
4) Pulling out of the pits in front of cars traveling 170-plus. More at SPEEDTV.com

Ganassi approached Pruett Ganassi approached PruettChip Ganassi has offered former CART Champ Car driver Scott Pruett the opportunity to drive the team's No. 10 car at the two road courses later this season, but Pruett has a conflict with the first of those, at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.  Pruett, who drives the Ganassi-owned Daytona Prototype with Luis Diaz, has a Grand American Road Racing Series event that weekend (Aug. 26-28) at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.  Grand Am and the IRL are together at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Sept. 22-25.  "I don't know what we're going to do," said Ganassi, who has Jaques Lazier in the car vacated this week by the firing of Darren Manning. "You'd like to have (the same driver) for both races." Indy Star
IRL Milwaukee TV rating IRL Milwaukee TV ratingThe final TV rating for the IRL's race at The Milwaukee Mile last weekend was a 0.4 on ESPN.  This was one of the IRL's lowest TV ratings of the year indicating the Danica Patrick factor may be fading.
Johnnie Walker joins McLaren Mercedes Johnnie Walker joins McLaren MercedesToday's Hungarian Grand Prix will see Team McLaren Mercedes display the Johnnie Walker livery for the first time as a ground breaking Partnership is launched.

The iconic Johnnie Walker Striding Man and Johnnie Walker wording will appear on the air intake of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya's Team McLaren Mercedes MP4-20s as well as on the drivers' overalls and team's race suits.

In addition to the brand's annual marketing investment of £15 million, £2 million will be invested in programs designed to promote responsible drinking with the global message; "Take The Lead, Drink Responsibly". At the same time Johnnie Walker will communicate responsible drinking to its large global audience through advertising themed on control and individual responsibility; the need we all have to demonstrate responsibility in the way we enjoy ourselves.

"With a viewing audience of more than 2 billion annually, Formula 1 provides a unique global platform for us to take the lead and promote responsible drinking. As a company, we have made a long-term commitment towards promoting a shared understanding of what responsible drinking means and it will be at the heart of our Formula 1 activities with Team McLaren Mercedes," said Charles Allen, Marketing Director, Johnnie Walker.

"We believe that with their commitment to leadership, their strong values and their technological excellence, Team McLaren Mercedes will be a great partner in this mission."

"McLaren is supported by highly-valued, long-term partnerships with some of the world's most distinguished brand names, and we're delighted to welcome Johnnie Walker to this group," said Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO, McLaren Group. "Working with Johnnie Walker and our other partners, we are contesting the 2005 season with a highly competitive car, fantastic drivers and a great opportunity to challenge for the championship. We look forward to winning together."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport commented "The commitment of Diageo to join our team with their world-renowned brand Johnnie Walker is another good signal demonstrating the attractiveness of Formula One in general and especially our team for prestigious sponsor partners. Diageo's plan to use their involvement with Johnnie Walker as a platform for responsible drinking messages will be strongly supported by us as it is an important aspect of our partnership." McLaren Mercedes

BAR drops Lucky Strike BAR drops Lucky StrikeThe B·A·R team will race in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix without cigarette advertising because of new European Union anti-tobacco legislation. Owners British American Tobacco said the team had decided to drop the Lucky Strike branding normally displayed on the car. "While British American Tobacco are aware of recent efforts by the (British) government to clarify the position regarding tobacco branding, we had made a decision to run unbranded at the race on advice we had at that point," a statement said.
Premat wins his first GP2 race Premat wins his first GP2 raceAlex Premat took his first GP2 series victory today ahead of his ART Grand Prix team-mate Nico Rosberg, and Super Nova International's Giorgio Pantano. The Frenchman won despite two safety car periods which saw the race finishing on the 45-minute mark, rather than at its 120km conclusion. Yesterday's winner Neel Jani took fourth place, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen and Nicolas Lapierre. Clivio Piccione took the fastest lap on the very final tour.

Alex Premat and Nico Rosberg, who started on the back row in race one after their team was penalized for a technical infraction, resuscitated their weekend by taking first and second places in race two ahead of Giorgio Pantano.

The ART pair were handed an early present when polesitter Xandi Negrao stalled on the warm up lap and was pushed into the pitlane, and they slotted in immediately behind front row starter Olivier Pla and Ernesto Viso into turn one after the lights went out at the start of the race.

Behind them Scott Speed stalled on the grid but eventually got away. The space gave him the ability to run the fastest lap on the second time through, but he was into the pits on the next lap for a slow stop. zzzz

At the front of the race Pla was pulling away on a Sunday morning once again, with Viso seemingly unable to do anything about the Frenchman’s pace. Viso, who looked extremely fast for most of race one, dropped back like a stone on lap three, and was soon into the pits and another bitter retirement.

Premat was now up to second place, but he was some five seconds behind Pla, who looked set for his third race win in a row. The gap had widened by another second when, on lap six, Jose Maria Lopez lost the rear of his car and pitched into another spin into the wall, prompting his second safety car in as many days.

Four laps later they were released, with the gap between Pla and Premat reduced to almost nothing, but it didn’t seem to bother Pla as he set about pulling away from his countryman once again.

Behind them Pantano was keeping Rosberg honest, even if he couldn’t quite get next to him, but behind them Heikki Kovalainen was trying everything he could think of to get past Neel Jani, who was driving completely different lines on track and leaving no chance open for the Finn to get by.

Juan Cruz Alvarez however did find a way to overtake – he was able to sail past Gimmi Bruni after the safety pulled in, and was pushing up towards the points paying positions.

On lap 15 Clivio Piccione pushed hard to try and take tenth place off Adam Carroll into turn one, but he outbraked himself and ran wide, handing Nelson Piquet and Ferdinando Monfardini a free position just by being there.

Just one lap later Pla suddenly slowed and pulled off to the side of the road. He couldn’t get far enough away from the track, however, and the safety car was deployed once again.

Piccione and Negrao took the opportunity to come into the pits next time by, Piccione to change his nose after an impact with Carroll, and the top six got ready for a last ditch attempt to improve their positions. On lap 22 they were released once more, but no one was able to find a line through the man in front.

And just two laps later it was all over – Premat took the checkered flag just ahead of teammate Rosberg, with Pantano falling just off the pair but ahead of Jani, who once again absorbed race long pressure from Kovalainen to keep his position.

Nicolas Lapierre took a point for sixth place, just ahead of an unlucky Alvarez, and Piccione claimed two by taking the fastest lap of the race on the final one.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Paddock notes - Hungary
Dodging the tobacco ban
'Schu are too light'
'Schu can win' - Alonso
'Breakaway still alive'
Schu nears Senna record
'Kimi's not too wild' - Ron
Work crews working on track bumps Work crews working on track bumpsIt's 10:30 PM PT and work crews are busy trying to smooth out bumps over the railroad tracks that the Champ Cars cross twice per lap.  In the Turn 1 chicane crews are adding thin epoxy cement overlays both before and after the railroad tracks in an effort to level out the hump that is launching the cars.  On the backstraight chicane over the tracks crews are grinding the concrete between the tracks to remove the unevenness.
Boris Said wins inaugural San Jose race Boris Said wins inaugural San Jose raceBoris Said proved to the 50,962 fans here that he is always a threat by dominating Saturday’s Cytomax Sport Drink 100 Trans-Am Series race at the inaugural Grand Prix of San Jose. Said, driving the No. 33 ACS Express Ford Mustang, took the lead on lap nine of the 57-lap event and then held off a charging Greg Pickett to record the victory, his first this season in just his second start.

Pickett, the 1978 Trans-Am champion, finished second, just .147 of a second back, driving the No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR. Rookie Klaus Graf drove from last on the Trans-Am grid to finish third in the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR. Championship leader Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) was fourth, and holds the championship lead going into the next race in two weeks at Denver. Hima Maher (No. 78 Centennial Motorsports of Calgary Chevrolet Corvette) was fifth. zzzz

Joey Scarallo led the event from the start in the No. 06 Group A Wheels/Auto Trend/Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette), but lost the point to Pickett in the hairpin on the tight 1.448-mile street course on lap eight. Said passed Pickett in turn four one lap later.

Pickett charged into the final turn and, as the checkered flag waved, he nearly took the lead from Said as the two former Trans-Am champions crossed the stripe side by side.

“I wanted to slow down, but Greg was pushing me really hard,” said Said, the 2002 Trans-Am titleholder. “I had a great time here. Greg is a great guy and he ran me really hard and the finish was really close. It was a lot of fun.

“I knew he was going to be there in that last turn,” added Said. “I was expecting it. I was just waiting for him to slow down; for his tires to go away or something, but he really ran me down at the finish. We put on a really good show. It was a riot racing here.”

Pickett held on to second, despite being involved in an incident with a GTA competitor late in the event. Pickett, from Alamo, Calif., debuted his new fuel-injected engine package this weekend, developed by longtime Toyota Atlantic Championship engine builder Hasselgren. Pickett also set the race’s fastest race lap, a 1:05.382-minute effort. The runner-up effort marked his third such finish this year, and his fourth 2005 podium. Pickett won Round 5 at Edmonton, but missed the Cleveland round due to previous business engagements.

“I have to compliment my crew,” said Pickett, who moved up to third in points, just 16 markers away from Ruhlman. “This was a very, very difficult track on the equipment. The transmission, the suspension—everything took a beating this weekend. We wanted to finish the race. That’s what we set out to do. Any time you can run like that with a guy like Boris Said, you have to be happy. Boris is a fierce competitor. I guess I might feel just a tiny bit better, but we’re happy.

“Corporately, we’re very pleased about our sponsorship of the race,” added Pickett of his company’s backing of the event through its Cytomax Sport Drink brand. “It was a big success for us. San Jose did a wonderful job getting this event together.

Graf started last on the grid after changing tires on his Jaguar prior to the race, which disallowed his qualifying time. The third-place finish marked the German rookie’s third podium this season. Graf was involved in several incidents on track and received a black-flag penalty late in the event for contact with Ruhlman.

Rahal wins Star Mazda race Rahal wins Star Mazda raceGraham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio, captured his first professional victory in his Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Mazda at Portland International Raceway today in Round Eight of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, edging out James Hinchcliffe in his AIM Autosport Mazda at the finish line by 0.317 seconds. Robbie Pecorari of Aston, Pennsylvania, captured the final podium spot, finishing third in his SAI Hydraulics Andersen Walko Racing Mazda, 0.854 seconds behind Rahal.

Rahal (pictured right , Photo credit - ©2005 Eric McCombs) the son of 3-time IndyCar Champion Bobby Rahal, revealed a special bond with Portland, winning his first karting race in the Rose City and now his first professional open-wheel victory. "When I got here this weekend and was riding around the track I just had a good feeling," Rahal explained. "With the success in karting and the success Max Papis had driving for my dad here in the past Portland has been a special place. The team has worked really hard and after coming so close at Pikes Peak I wasn't going to finish second this time around."

The race, originally scheduled for 35 laps, would ultimately cover 28 laps as a result of several caution flags, culminating in a two-lap shootout to the finish between Rahal, Hinchcliffe and Pecorari. With Hinchcliffe and Pecorari already recording victories at Infineon Raceway and Pike Peak respectively, Rahal knew he would have to push to hold them off. "The officials had told us in the driver's meeting that we could accelerate once we could see the starter's stand, so when we came onto the front straight I just punched it," Rahal explained. "James and I went pretty deep into the Festival Chicane and I actually had to shift down to first gear but I was able to get a good run out of the corner and didn't make any other mistakes the rest of the way."

Though disappointed about the second place finish, Hinchcliffe, from Oakville, Ontario, Canada, praised Rahal on his victory. "I feel like we had the fastest car out there today but the caution periods hurt us," He would explain. "Each time I was able to open up a gap but on the final restart Graham made a great move when I though I had protected the corner and was able to get through. We raced each other pretty hard into the chicane, and we both went too deep but we managed to make it through without any contact. It has been an interesting few races in that a few weeks ago I was thrilled to just be on the podium but now I'm crushed that we didn't win because everyone at the team has worked so hard."

Pecorari, who entered the race in second place in the championship, gained ground on championship points leader Raphael Matos with his fourth podium finish of the season. "My car was really good on restarts but as we got heat in the tires it would get loose," Pecorari said. "Finishing a few spots ahead of Raphael was good though as we were able to move a little bit closer in the championship battle."

All three drivers attributed their success to a level of cooperation between their two teams as AIM Autosport and Andersen Walko Racing have shared information and personnel, a collaboration proved successful today as the two teams would claim six of the top eight spots, with Hinchcliffe's AIM Autosport teammate, Mark Wilkins, finishing fourth and the final Andersen Walko Racing drivers, Pablo Donoso and Jonathan Klein, finishing sixth and eighth respectively. . "Our two teams have always had a special relationship where our goal is to get all seven of our cars to the front," Rahal commented. "Last season one of AIM Autosports' owners was Robbie engineer and we're all friends that have racing together in karting for years."

Championship points leader Matos, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, finished fifth in his Ocean Tomo Racing Mazda, surviving close calls on the opening laps of the event to protect his championship lead. With eight of twelve races complete Matos sits in first with 309 points while Pecorari inches closer with 278 points. Hinchcliffe remains in third place with 274 points while moves into fourth place with 250 points. Donoso, who earned his third consecutive pole position this weekend, moves into fifth place with 230 points.

In the expert series championship, for drivers aged 30-44, Ocean Tomo Racing driver James Malackowski posted his first victory of the season ahead of Portland, Oregon-native Phil Fogg, Jr. Micky Gilbert continues to lead the Expert Series Championship in his Eurosport Racing Mazda with 131 points, while Mike Anderson in the Team HASA Racing Mazda is currently second with 109 points, and Brian Thienes is third in the Hearn Motorsports Mazda.

Formula BMW
Kevin Lacroix wins Formula BMW round Kevin Lacroix wins Formula BMW roundFormula BMW USA Junior driver Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) won Round 9 of the 2005 Formula BMW USA Series today at the Barber Motorsports Park. The 16-year old Canadian led wire-to-wire, in the 30-minute contest completing 14 laps of the 2.3-mile, 16-turn circuit. In taking his fourth victory of the season, he consolidates his lead in Overall points and moves back to the lead in the Rookie points. 

Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational) came from the seventh starting position to finish second, .414 seconds behind Lacroix. Following post-race technical inspection, Piscopo was excluded from the results, moving Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica) to second place. Philippe maintains his hold on second place in both the Overall and Rookie points. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing) was credited with third, with the rest of the field moving up one position after Piscopo's exclusion. 

18 cars took the standing start as Ryan Campbell dropped out on the formation lap and Jules Duc started from the pit lane. Lacroix took charge immediately with Philippe, Robert Wickens, Piscopo and Maxime Soulet filling out the top-five in the early laps. Reed Stevens, required to start from the rear of the grid, quickly moved into the top-10. He ended the day in sixth place. On lap six, a crash by Adrien Herberts in turn three brought out the safety car. As the green flag restarted the race on lap 10, Piscopo passed Philippe for second. Robert Wickens slowed with mechanical problems in the final four laps and dropped from fifth to 10th. Tom Sutherland, Stevens, Rob Bunker, Race Johnson and Justin Moon all took advantage of his slowing car and moved up for top-10 finishes. In holding off Piscopo on the final lap, Lacroix set the fastest lap of the race (1:28.503).  zzzz

"It was a really good race," said Lacroix. "Richard seemed to be a bit slower than me so I was pulling him. After the restart, I saw Piscopo right behind me and I knew he was faster. With only four laps left I was able to hold him off and win the race."  Philippe said, "On the restart, my tires were a little cold and I made a mistake, allowing Piscopo to get by me. Now there are five more points between Kevin and  me, but there is still tomorrow and other weekends where I can still win some races. I will have to look for any advantage. We will do the best we can tomorrow."

Round 9 - Results (14 laps)
1 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport 26:14.054
2 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 26:16.635
3 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing 26:19.113
4 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 26:20.467
5 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 26:23.585
6 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 26:24.392
7 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 26:24.757
8 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 26:25.129
9 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 26:25.196
10 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 26:26.353
11 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 26:26.363
12 Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 26:26.831
13 Darin Marcus (R) Gelles Racing 26:27.271
14 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 26:27.602
15 Jules Duc (R) Jensen MotorSport 26:37.909
16 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 26:53.685
17 Dan Abbale Atlantic Racing Team 10 laps
18 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 5 laps
19 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 0 laps
20 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational excluded

Championship points after 9 of 14 races:
1. Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport, 107), 2. Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica, 99), 3. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 85), 4. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing, 79), 5. James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 65), 6. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 63), 7. Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 34), 8. Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational, 26), 9. Justin Moon (Gelles Racing, 23), 10. John Zartarian (Jensen MotorSport, 23), 11. Rob Bunker (AIM Autosport, 22), 12. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 22), 13. Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing, 22), 14. Daniel Herrington (Jensen MotorSport, 18), 15. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 13), 16. Matthew Lee (Twintooth/BRM Motorsport, 8), 17. Adrien Herberts (Atlantic Racing Team, 8), 18. Darin Marcus (Gelles Racing, 7), 19. Doug Boyer (Jensen MotorSport, 2), 20. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 1), 21. Derek Burseth (Burseth Racing, 0), 22. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 0), 23. Nathan DePagter (DRE Autosport, 0), 24. Jules Duc (Jensen MotorSport, 0), 25. Scott Harnell (SDH3 with Cinema Concepts, 0), 26. Ryan Phinny (Gelles Racing, 0)

Zwolsman wins Atlantic pole Zwolsman wins Atlantic poleTaking advantage of others mistakes are sometimes a part of racing and Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama series points leader Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) was there to pounce when his chief rival for the Atlantic crown stumbled on Saturday.

Zwolsman, the 26-year-old native of the Netherlands, earned his fifth career Atlantic pole position and established a new course record on the 1.448-mile San Jose street circuit when he recorded a fast lap of 1:02.657 (83.196 mph) in the final round of qualifying for Sunday’s Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose (tape-delayed broadcast on SPEED Channel – Saturday, August 6 at 1:30 p.m. ET)

After leading the opening round of qualifying Friday at the new downtown street circuit, second-year driver Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil) looked poised for a qualifying sweep as he led the session and was continuing to set the pace for the other 20 drivers in the circuit. About halfway through qualifying, however, Kasemets made contact with the wall in Turn 4, bringing out a red flag. Kasemets was penalized for stopping qualifying as he lost his fast lap time and he wasn’t able to continue to try and fight for the pole with the damage to his car. Kasemets ended the day with a best lap of 1:02.854 (82.935 mph).

With his chief rival in the Atlantic championship chase on the sideline, Zwolsman saw his opportunity. The Dutch driving sensation moved to the top of the timing sheets with just three minutes remaining in qualifying, and when C2 driver Dan Cobb (#9 Camelot Construction) hit the wall just a few seconds later, bringing out a red flag and checkered flag to end the session a few minutes early, Zwolsman secured yet another pole in his impressive rookie season.

The result was particularly frustrating for Kasemets as the Estonian-born racer had closed to with 14 points of Zwolsman in the title hunt after his performance on Friday. Zwolsman earned back the bonus point today with the pole and now leads Kasemets 217-202 in the series point standings.

Champ Car and Atlantic officials announced the 2006 Atlantic formula, featuring a new Swift chassis design and a Cosworth engine, at a press conference in San Jose today. A new Champ Car Atlantic incentive plan was also announced that will call for a $2 million bonus to be awarded to the ’06 Atlantic champion.

San Jose native Grant Ryley, seeing his first Atlantic action this weekend since the 2002 season finale, qualified 11th today for Jensen Motorsport with a time of 1:04.280 (81.095 mph).
Charles Zwolsman has now claimed four consecutive poles in Atlantic competition this season.

A crowd of 50,962 fans were in attendance at the San Jose circuit today, bringing the two-day total for the first year event to 91,396.
Results from Saturday’s Toyota Atlantic final qualifying session at the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose, with car number in parentheses, driver, type of car, top time and speed:
1. (11) Charles Zwolsman, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, *1:02.657, 83.196 mph.
2. (6) Tonis Kasemets, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:02.854, 82.935 mph.
3. (7) David Martinez, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:02.693, 83.148 mph.
4. (12) Katherine Legge, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:02.943, 82.818 mph.
5. (24) Kyle Kelley, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:03.263, 82.399 mph.
6. (3) Antoine Bessette, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:03.263, 82.399 mph.
7. (27) Alan Sciuto, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:03.367, 82.264 mph.
8. (8) Andreas Wirth, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:03.379, 82.248 mph.
9. (41) Phil Giebler, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:03.795, 81.712 mph.
10. (10) Al Unser III, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:03.919, 81.553 mph.
11. (22) Grant Ryley, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:04.280, 81.095 mph mph.
12. (2) Ryan Spencer-Smith, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:04.584, 80.713 mph.
13. (15) Justin Sofio, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:04.840, 80.395 mph.
14. (48) Lee Atkins, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:16.836, 92.441 mph.
15. (49) Dan Selznick, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:05.482, 79.607 mph.
16. (63) Daryl Leiski, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:05.751, 79.281 mph.
17. (19) Brian McAtee, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:06.493, 78.396 mph.
18. (9) Dan Cobb, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:07.059, 77.735 mph.
19. (18) Bob Siska, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:07.144, 77.636 mph.
20. (71) Mark Ishikawa, (C2)Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, 1:07.541, 77.180 mph.
21. (56) Chris Souliotis, Toyota/Swift/Yokohama, no time.

Nelson Philippe posts best qualifying result Nelson Philippe posts best qualifying resultThe Champ Car World Series is once again making it’s debut this weekend on a brand new circuit in a new market, and second-year Champ Car driver Nelson Philippe has shown that he’s a big fan, posting times near the top of the order in Friday and Saturday’s practice sessions for Sunday’s Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose. Philippe kept up the momentum when it counted too, posting a 54.878-second lap in the Saturday qualifying session to score sixth on the grid, his best starting position yet as a Champ Car pilot.

”I’m very happy for the team, they truly deserve this,” said Philippe. “I’m happy also because all the hard work I’ve been doing lately is finally showing in the results. In the first half of the season, I did some good stuff but I knew I had to work more and try to get all the elements in my mind to work well. My engineer Don Bricker is doing a great job and it’s rewarding to work with him.”
Team co-owner Eric Bachelart was encouraged with the job Philippe did in the Wellbox/Mi-Jack Conquest Racing machine, and sees the result as a good demonstration of the team’s increased strength and capabilities.
”I’m very pleased with Nelson’s performance today,” said Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team co-owner Eric Bachelart. “This is a confirmation of the progress we are seeing race after race. Top 6 for him and if you look at the guys ahead of him, it makes you feel good. I’m very excited about his qualifying and looking forward for a good race tomorrow.”

Atlantic series to do standing starts Atlantic series to do standing startsThe following questions were asked at today's announcement of the new Champ Car Atlantic car:
AUTORACING1.COM:  I noticed on the handout there's a possibility of standing starts returning to the series.  I was wondering what the chances of that actually happening are. 

KEVIN KALKHOVEN:  I would love to do standing starts, for heaven's sake.  I mean, let's get these guys working. 

VICKI O'CONNOR:  It's on the list. 

AUTORACING1.COM:.  Will the series remain North American based only or will there be any overseas travel? 

VICKI O'CONNOR:  At the moment, it's going to remain in North America. 

Team Australia announces 2-car Atlantic team Team Australia announces 2-car Atlantic teamTeam Australia has announced it will campaign two cars in next year’s new-look Champ Car Atlantic Series as part of its growing development program.

The announcement was made by Team Australia co-owners Craig Gore and Derrick Walker at the series’ announcement of a new Cosworth-engine/Swift-chassis package for the 2006 championship at the San Jose Grand Prix in California today.

Team Australia has already signed its two drivers for the 2006 Atlantic season and they will be announced in the coming weeks.

It was also announced at the launch of the new-look series that the winner of the 2006 title will be awarded a bonus $US2 million to help pay for a ride in the Champ Car World Series in 2007.

Team Australia was applauded by Champ Car Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven for being the first Champ Car team to commit to the new-look series. zzzz

“The fact that we have put up our hand for the first two cars for the new-look series is testimony to our commitment to the Team Australia program and to Champ Car,” said Gore.

“The Atlantic series has been a long-time feeder series to Champ Car and there is no doubt that the new chassis and engine package and the announcement of the $US2 million winner’s bonus provides plenty of incentive for young talent to become involved.

“We see Atlantics as the important “middle” step for any young driver wanting to make it to the top in this sport. Therefore the series is an important part of the Team Australia commitment to developing young talent.”

The commitment to the Atlantic Series is the next piece in the puzzle of the Team Australia program which will incorporate six different categories, racing in eight different countries on four different continents next year.

The total program will be exposed to a live audience of 10 million fans, a TV viewing audience of more than 1.4 billion and produce a minimum of between five and six hours of branded viewing.

The full program, including cars and drivers, is expected to take a total investment of almost $US20 million and will be officially launched in September.

“In the past we have seen Champ Car champions learning their craft in the Atlantic Series. I think the announcements made today will only help enhance that in the future,” said Walker.

“We have made no secret of the fact that Team Australia is focused on developing young drivers and that we want young professionals coming out of Atlantics and straight into our Champ Car program.

“The team will be run out of our Indianapolis shop and we intend to be a serious championship contender.”

Kalkhoven, who has played the premier role in re-building the Champ Car series, is a big supporter of the Team Australia program.

“I think Craig and Derrick and the guys at Team Australia should be applauded for their vision and their commitment to developing young drivers,” said Kalkhoven.

“Their commitment to Champ Car and the Atlantic series is fantastic.”

The Atlantic Series is in its 32nd season and has helped produce former Champ Car champions such as Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti and Jacques Villeneuve.

Team Australia’s current Champ Car star Alex Tagliani also is a graduate of the Atlantics Series.

F1 teams meet with Mosley F1 teams meet with MosleyUPDATE The meeting between the F1 manufacturers and FIA President Max Mosley in Cannes yesterday appears to have resulted in the FIA accepting all of the technical and sporting proposals put forward by the teams, but we hear that the federation is baulking at some of the legal questions which have been raised by the proposals, notably the control of the rule-making process and the way in which the FIA Court of Appeal system operates.

There are other minor disagreements over press credentials but otherwise it seems that progress has definitely been made. However, Mosley is said to be adamant that he will not back down on the legal questions because it will undermine the power of the FIA and it is his job to defend that position.

The teams may now agree to accept the situation because there are signs that the Court of Appeal is being overhauled and there are even hints that the corps of F1 stewards is beginning to change with new names appearing in recent races. This may just be a coincidence but it is something that will do no harm at all as the sport moves towards finding a solution to the problems that have beset F1 this year.  More at Grandprix.com

07/29/05 Formula One's rebel carmakers have met FIA president Max Mosley for the first time since December to discuss future rules and regulations for the sport.  The meeting represented the first talks between the two sides since seven teams expressed doubts over their continued involvement in F1 beyond 2007.

"It was very good," said McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh. Both sides were able to establish they were much closer to one another than perhaps had been supposed."

A spokesman for the FIA, motorsport's governing body, also described the meeting in Cannes as positive.  Three teams - Ferrari, Jordan and Red Bull - have remained in talks with the FIA all along and committed their future beyond 2007, but the others refused to enter into discussions until now. More at BBC Sport

Gentilozzi withdraws from Trans-Am race Gentilozzi withdraws from Trans-Am raceFour-time Trans-Am series champion, Paul Gentilozzi withdrew from the today’s running of the inaugural Cytomax Sport Drink 100. Gentilozzi was scheduled to make his 203rd career start when the green flag dropped today. In 2005, the Michigan native has a win (Toronto-his 30th career victory) and a pole (Edmonton).

“This year I am focusing on the Champ Car World Series cars that we field, not running for the Trans-Am championship,” said the Trans-Am series’ all-time wins leader. “In Trans-Am our goal is for Klaus (Graf) or Tomy (Drissi) to win not me. This weekend we were short a few crew members who weren’t able to make the trip and for me to run we would be taking resources away from the No. 5 and No. 7 cars.” 

The Cytomax Sport Drink 100 is schedule for today at 7:00 pm Eastern Time. You can watch the taped-delayed excitement from San Jose on Sunday, August 7th on SPEED Channel at 12:30 pm Eastern time.

Gurney takes Grand-Am pole Gurney takes Grand-Am poleIn an abbreviated qualifying session that saw several different leaders, Gurney-the son of racing legend Dan Gurney-posted a best lap of 1:22.266 (100.649 mph) in the No. 99 machine slightly before Matteo Bobbi spun and made contact with the pit wall while attempting to put together his own pole-worthy lap in the No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve Ford Doran for Doran Racing. Gurney will share the No. 99 Daytona Prototype with co-driver and car owner Bob Stallings in the Porsche 250. "The car was very good," Gurney said. "It was my first chance to qualify and I knew it was a big opportunity. Everything just clicked.

Following (No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driver Luis) Diaz was perfect because he was just enough slower to be a carrot for me. We knew it was important to get a good lap early because rain was threatening. There's still a lot for us to learn but I think the whole team is doing a stellar job for us to be this quick right away."

Gurney is joined on the front row by a driver from another famous racing family, as Christian Fittipaldi claimed second on the grid by a miniscule eight-hundredths of a second with a lap at 1:22.274 (100.639 mph) in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley. Fittipaldi-the nephew of Formula 1 world champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi-has been quick throughout the weekend at Barber Motorsports Park and throughout the season. However, the Brazilian and his No. 66 co-driver, Jorg Bergmeister, enter Sunday's race still looking for their first Rolex Series victory of the season.

"It's definitely not a bad place to be for the start tomorrow," Fittipaldi said. "We did our homework this weekend, and we definitely had a car that had a shot at the pole. But, we'll see what happens tomorrow."

Bourdais again fastest in San Jose Bourdais again fastest in San JoseNewman/Haas driver Sebastien Bourdais topped morning practice for the Champ Cars in San Jose ahead of Paul Tracy and Oriol Servia. Mario Dominguez and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top 5.
Pos Driver # Lap Time Mph Leader Previous
1 S. Bourdais 1 53.968 96.591
2 P. Tracy 3 54.643 95.397 0.675
3 O. Servia 2 54.814 95.100 0.846 0.171
4 M. Dominguez 7 54.975 94.821 1.007 0.161
5 A. Allmendinger 10 55.075 94.649 1.107 0.100
6 N. Philippe 34 55.169 94.488 1.201 0.094
7 R. Sperafico 11 55.451 94.007 1.483 0.282
8 T. Glock 8 55.463 93.987 1.495 0.012
9 R. Bremer 19 55.559 93.825 1.591 0.096
10 C. da Matta 21 55.562 93.820 1.594 0.003
11 J. Wilson 9 55.661 93.653 1.693 0.099
12 A. Tagliani 15 55.751 93.501 1.783 0.090
13 A. Ranger 27 55.852 93.332 1.884 0.101
14 R. Hunter-Reay 31 55.960 93.152 1.992 0.108
15 B. Wirdheim 4 56.043 93.014 2.075 0.083
16 J. Vasser 12 56.194 92.764 2.226 0.151
17 R. Lavín 55 56.259 92.657 2.291 0.065
18 M. Marshall 5 56.653 92.013 2.685 0.394
Scheckter and Dixon top Michigan practice times Scheckter and Dixon top Michigan practice timesPractice 1
Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 4 Tomas Scheckter 32.8758 219.006 14 26
2 11 Tony Kanaan 32.9808 218.309 6 33
3 27 Dario Franchitti 33.0972 217.541 8 31
4 8 Scott Sharp 33.1161 217.417 15 28
5 55 Kosuke Matsuura 33.1176 217.407 16 34
6 95 Buddy Lazier 33.1387 217.269 20 32
7 26 Dan Wheldon 33.1705 217.060 7 30
9 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 33.2112 216.794 24 39
10 51 Alex Barron 33.3005 216.213 9 35
11 3 Helio Castroneves 33.3374 215.974 22 39
12 15 Buddy Rice 33.3375 215.973 18 27
13 9 Scott Dixon 33.3516 215.882 21 35
14 7 Bryan Herta 33.3567 215.849 25 34
15 17 Vitor Meira 33.4367 215.332 23 37
16 16 Danica Patrick 33.4664 215.141 33 34
17 10 Jaques Lazier 33.4881 215.002 38 47
18 14 A.J. Foyt IV 33.5211 214.790 13 30
19 83 Patrick Carpentier 33.5474 214.622 10 39
20 33 Ryan Briscoe 33.7153 213.553 26 39
21 24 Roger Yasukawa 33.7694 213.211 25 25
22 20 Ed Carpenter 33.7933 213.060 27 37
23 91 Jimmy Kite 33.9661 211.976 30 31

Practice 2
Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 9 Scott Dixon 32.7738 219.688 13 13
2 26 Dan Wheldon 32.9316 218.635 39 41
3 27 Dario Franchitti 32.9506 218.509 35 41
4 4 Tomas Scheckter 32.9656 218.409 9 10
5 7 Bryan Herta 33.0313 217.975 4 34
6 11 Tony Kanaan 33.0457 217.880 25 26
7 95 Buddy Lazier 33.0726 217.703 22 33
8 55 Kosuke Matsuura 33.0763 217.679 34 37
10 8 Scott Sharp 33.0953 217.554 32 38
11 15 Buddy Rice 33.1004 217.520 26 38
12 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 33.1728 217.045 22 38
13 16 Danica Patrick 33.1740 217.037 28 33
14 3 Helio Castroneves 33.1764 217.022 16 28
15 10 Jaques Lazier 33.1875 216.949 4 25
16 17 Vitor Meira 33.1918 216.921 36 39
17 33 Ryan Briscoe 33.3525 215.876 8 15
18 24 Roger Yasukawa 33.3616 215.817 37 37
19 51 Alex Barron 33.5097 214.863 3 14
20 83 Patrick Carpentier 33.5145 214.832 8 41
21 14 A.J. Foyt IV 33.6416 214.021 3 4
22 20 Ed Carpenter 33.7716 213.197 30 30
23 91 Jimmy Kite 33.9396 212.142 30 31

Jani wins GP2 race Jani wins GP2 raceNeel Jani has won today’s GP2 series race from Heikki Kovalainen and Giorgio Pantano. The top three drivers were covered by just 1.7 seconds at the flag after a nail-biting battle. Alexandre Prémat came from last on the grid to finish a fine fourth, with Nico Rosberg fifth, Ernesto Viso sixth, Olivier Pla seventh and Xandi Negrão in the final points-paying position of eighth after passing Adam Carroll on the final lap. Hiroki Yoshimoto sealed two points for fastest lap.

Jani, who started from pole after Nico Rosberg lost the position due to a protest on his team’s cars, made a strong start to lead Pantano into turn one, with Scott Speed passing a slow Kovalainen on the dirty side of the track and following the pair through. zzzz

The fast starting Olivier Pla was the next man by, moving up from eighth to fourth off the line and leading Gimmi Bruni and Ernesto Viso through turn one. Behind them Hiroki Yoshimoto was in the wars, having stalled the car and needing to be pushed into the pitlane, along with Nicolas Lapierre and Ferdinando Monfardini.

But at the front Jani was starting as he meant to go on, setting the early fastest lap and easing a gap back to Pantano as Nelson Piquet, Nico Rosberg and Gimmi Bruni peeled into the pitlane for early stops.

Juan Cruz Alvarez, up to sixth place early in the race, was piling on the pressure to Pla, and after a few laps he claimed his scalp – Pla ran slightly wide and Alvarez was through and off after a fast charging Ernesto Viso.

On lap thirteen Speed was the first of the front runners into the pits, coming in from third but coming out behind Rosberg after initially stopping in the wrong pit and having to push up to his iSport mechanics.

He made up slightly for the error three laps later after taking Rosberg, who just put a wheel on the grass and lost three seconds in his lap. Kovalainen and Pantano were into the pits in the interim, with the Finn winning the battle of the pit crews.

But the one that everyone was waiting for came on lap 18 – Jani had a strong lead as he dived into the pitlane, and after a solid pitstop was able to emerge just ahead of Kovalainen and Pantano at turn one.

Behind them Negrao was the only man not to pit, and he was running fourth and twenty seconds behind the top three with a train of drivers behind him – Alex Premat, Jose Maria Lopez, Rosberg, Bruni and Piquet were all looking for a way past the Brazilian, who was clearly running at a slower pace than the others.

Premat, Lopez and Rosberg muscled his way past on lap 24, and one lap later Negrao released the remainder as he finally stopped. It came too late for Alvarez, who was now running right on Piquet’s rear wing but stopped two corners later and parked on the side of the road.

There were now two distinct races being run simultaneously – Jani, Kovalainen and Pantano was the main event, while Viso tacked on to the end of the battle for fourth place behind them.

Viso was clearly on a charge – on lap 29 he forced his way through Piquet for eighth place, and one lap later he stormed past Bruni and started to close on Rosberg.

The Venezuelan driver was forced to slow down when, two spots ahead of him, Lopez lost the rear of his car into the final corner and had a big impact with the pit wall, bringing out the safety car for four laps.

Everyone’s lead was closed at a stroke, with Premat gaining the twenty seconds he lacked to the front three. A dramatic final eight laps was in a certainty.

And so it proved. Jani was strong at the restart but Kovalainen threw himself up the inside to push just ahead into turn one. The Finn was unable to slow down sufficiently for the corner, however, and Jani was back inside and past him into turn two and trying to rebuild his lead again.

Behind them Piquet was unable to find a line past Can Artam, who was two laps down but in the middle of the action on track, and the Brazilian had lost four places the next time around. More bad luck came three laps later, when his car slowed and stopped by the side of the track.

Adam Carroll looked to have a good reward out of the restart when he took eighth place from Bruni, while Yoshimoto gave himself a gap and set the fastest lap of the race, albeit one lap down on the leaders.

At the front Kovalainen and Pantano were climbing all over the rear wing of Jani, but the Swiss driver was equal to the task – he took the checkered flag to win race one, with the gap to Pantano in third place just 1.7 seconds.

Premat and Rosberg, making the most of a race started on the back row of the grid, were next through, with Viso and Pla right on the tail of Rosberg. The luck of the Irish had deserted Carroll, however, as Negrao just got by him on the final lap to claim the final point of the race and pole for race two tomorrow.

Pos. Driver Team Gap Laps
1 N. Jani Racing Eng. - 42
2 H. Kovalainen Arden 00'00"400 42
3 G. Pantano Super Nova 00'01"700 42
4 A. Premat ART 00'07"300 42
5 N. Rosberg ART 00'10"400 42
6 E. Viso BCN Comp. 00'10"500 42
7 O. Pla DPR 00'11"200 42
8 A. Negrão Hitech Piquet 00'21"100 42
9 A. Carroll Super Nova 00'23"000 42
10 G. Bruni Coloni 00'33"200 42
11 B. Garcia Racing Eng. 00'39"400 42
12 N. Lapierre Arden - 41
13 H. Yoshimoto BCN Comp. - 41
14 C. Artam iSport - 40
15 N. Piquet Hitech Piquet - 37
16 J. Lopez DAMS - 29
17 J. Alvarez Campos Racing - 25
18 S. Hernandez Campos Racing - 24
19 F. Monfardini Durango - 21
20 S. Speed iSport - 18
21 M. Lauda Coloni - 18
22 F. Fauzy DAMS - 16
23 G. Mondini DPR - 11
24 C. Piccione Durango - 8

CDW chairman and CEO wins 2-seater ride CDW chairman and CEO wins 2-seater rideLast night at a charity fundraiser in San Jose, the Chairman and CEO of CDW John Edwardson bid $6,000 and won an auction to get a 2 seat Champ Car ride. Two other CEOs also are going for rides, Mike Fulton, President and CEO of Comerica Bank Western Division, and David House with Brocade who also won the ride in the auction. $0.5 million was raised for the Canary Fund.
Champ Car fixes dangerous chicane Champ Car fixes dangerous chicaneAs can be seen from the photo at the right, the dangerous first turn chicane on the new San Jose track has been improved overnight by moving the walls so that the cars navigate through without having a end of wall nose and tire barrier staring them in the face.  Now this chicane is configured similar to the chicane on the backstraight - as a flowing left right.  Notice that the wall separating pit out from the race circuit has been lengthened as well.  Yesterday it was a blind exit and was an accident waiting to happen as the cars exiting pit road merged into traffic at speeds far slower than the 160 MPH cars on track.
Penske warns Hornish Penske warns HornishThe incident where Sam Hornish bumped Helio Castroneves from the low side occurred on lap 187 of the 225-lap event. Castroneves, who started the race second behind Hornish, finished 16th.

"It was one of those days you hope you don't have too many of, but it was a good win for the team," Hornish said. "I haven't seen Helio since the race. I tried to call him, but we haven't talked yet."

"Roger said we want to make sure that doesn't happen again," Hornish said. "I didn't think Helio was going to be able to win that race. I knew the way our car was handling and with my ability that I could win if I could get around him.

"I knew that he was going to be the toughest person to get around. And it was the toughest person to get around."

"That's a first," Hornish said. "Obviously, hopefully, it's a last. I've run over 80 races in the IRL, and that's the first time I've run into somebody like that.

"We race each other really tough. We're both really competitive. You always want to beat your teammate. It's unfortunate that that happened to him."

Castroneves declined to discuss the matter until they could meet as a team. That opportunity should come today at Michigan International Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Firestone Indy 400.  "For me, it's a case of (it's) over," the Brazilian said. "There's nothing there." 

ASH statement on tobacco livery ASH statement on tobacco liveryWhat follows is a press release from the British based Tobacco pressure group ASH with reference to the EU tobacco advertising legislation that comes into force this weekend.

'EU-wide tobacco advertising ban jeopardized by threat of non- compliance by Formula One teams, currently sponsored by tobacco companies. The EU law banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship comes into effect from 1 August but its effectiveness is being threatened by possible non-compliance by at least two Formula One teams, currently sponsored by tobacco companies.

Both the Renault team, sponsored by Japan Tobacco, and Ferrari, sponsored by Marlboro have said they will carry the tobacco livery in defiance of the new law. This is despite the fact that the teams have been on notice of the law’s implementation date for at least three years. The situation has not been helped by the fact that the European Commission has failed to give member states clear guidance on how the law should be implemented and what sanctions should be applied in the cases of non-compliance.

“It is deplorable that Formula One teams, under pressure from their tobacco sponsors, are threatening to undermine the new law when its intention is perfectly clear – that is, an end to the glamorization of smoking via sport," said Deborah Arnott, Director of ASH. "It is also regrettable that the European Commission has not given member states clear guidance on the implementation of the Directive. But that does not give Formula One free rein to ignore the law. All EU member states should implement the Directive into national law without any further delay.”' Source ASH

Raikkonen tops practice 3 times Raikkonen tops practice 3 timesThe McLaren Mercedes team of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Montoya made a sandwich of a surprise 2nd fastest Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari in practice No. 3 for Sunday's Hungarian GP.
1. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M 1:21.686
2. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:21.842
3. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:21.980
4. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1:22.712
5. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M 1:22.798
6. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M 1:22.888
7. NICK HEIDFELD Williams-BMW M 1:23.167
8. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1:23.583
9. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M 1:23.678
10. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M 1:23.715
11. JENSON BUTTON BAR-Honda M 1:23.902
12. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:23.932
13. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:24.006
14. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M 1:24.070
15. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M 1:24.078
16. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:24.200
17. ROBERT DOORNBOS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:25.691
18. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:25.721
19. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:25.947
20. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:26.600
Formula BMW
Lacroix wins pole for round 9 Lacroix wins pole for round 9Today's qualifying session for Round 9 of the Formula BMW USA Series was cancelled due to severe weather and lightning in the area. The starting grid will be formed on the basis of Championship Points, thus earning Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) his first pole of the season.
Round 9 - Qualifying Results
1.    Kevin Lacroix (R) (AIM Autosport, 87)
2.    Richard Philippe (R) (Team Autotecnica, 84)
3.    Robert Wickens (R) (Team Apex Racing USA, 84)
4.    Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing, 67)
5.    Reed Stevens (R) (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 57)
6.    James Davison (R) (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 55)
7.    Edoardo Piscopo (R) (EuroInternational, 26)
8.    Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 26)
9.    Justin Moon (R) (Gelles Racing, 21)
10.    Daniel Herrington (Jensen MotorSport, 18)
11.    Rob Bunker (R) (AIM Autosport, 18)
12.    Race Johnson (R) (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 10)
13.    Adrien Herberts (R) (Atlantic Racing Team, 8)
14.    Matthew Lee (R) (Twintooth/BRM Motorsport, 8)
15.    Darin Marcus (R) (Gelles Racing, 7)
16.    Doug Boyer (R) (Jensen MotorSport, 2)
17.    Derek Burseth (Burseth Racing, 0)
18.    Ryan Campbell (R) (Gelles Racing, 0)
19.    Jules Duc (R) (Jensen MotorSport, 0)
20.    Dan Abbale (Atlantic Racing Team, 0)
Industry News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Hungarian Grand Prix
7:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland
Sachsenring, Germany
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland
Sachsenring, Germany
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Porsche 250
Barber Motorsports Park
1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Firestone Indy 400
Michigan International Speedway
3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET (Live) ABC
Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose
4:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose
4:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-host: Rusty Wallace
Featured Interview: Katherine Legge
Featured Interview: Dick Trickle
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
For a complete listing of Sunday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.
Paddock notes - Hungary Paddock notes - HungaryThe biggest anomaly on track on Friday was the gap between Minardi's 42-year-old 'Friday' driver Chanoch Nissany and the next slowest car.  The Israel-born driver, who spun into the gravel after eight laps and did not appear in the afternoon, languished an incredible seven seconds off Christijan Albers, in an identical PS05.  Nissany, who used to be an anti-terror agent in the Israeli forces, was thirteen seconds slower than the ultimate pace.

Like Nissany, world champion Michael Schumacher had time for contemplation on Friday afternoon after his Ferrari - with a broken alternator - had to be hauled back to pitlane on the back of a truck.  Rubens Barrichello, in the searing 36-degree heat, compounded the team's problems by smashing into a barrier, but his lap times led some to hope for a slight improvement at the scene of last year's triumph.

More surprisingly, Renault also didn't look great at the twisty circuit that usually suits the title leading outfit.  ''We don't seem particularly quick,'' said birthday boy Fernando Alonso, eighth, while teammate Giancarlo Fisichella's woes continued with a spin and stall.

Hungary celebrated its twentieth grand prix by unveiling special postage stamps bearing Bernie Ecclestone's face.  The access road to the Hungaroring is called Bernie Avenue.

Jordan-Midland's Colin Kolles admitted that the appointment of former grand prix winner Johnny Herbert is to improve relations between the team and the press.  ''Maybe some things went in the wrong direction,'' the boss conceded.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Williams' engine on way
Work stopped on 'RB1'
Pedro set for McLaren return
'GPMA' met with Max
Tobacco races on in F1
Jordan retain Toyota power
Button's not for sale
No engine change - Schu
Irvine is Minardi buyer '37'
No 'big' aero change - teams
Walker Racing Team Australia announces new sponsor Walker Racing Team Australia announces new sponsorUPDATE The Team Australia entries of Alex Tagliani and Marcus Marshall will race with VISA signage for the first time at this weekend's San Jose Grand Prix – the eighth round of the Champ Car World Series, presented by Bridgestone.

VISA is the latest of a list of major corporate partners to join Team Australia, which was created at the beginning of this year by Australian businessmen Craig Gore and John Fish and Indianapolis racing identity Derrick Walker.

Today's VISA announcement, which has been signed with VISA Australia, is the beginning of a major partnership with the Team Australia organization which will incorporate six different categories, racing in eight different countries on four different continents next year.

The total program will be exposed to a live audience of 10 million fans, a TV viewing audience of more than 1.4 billion and produce a minimum of between five and six hours of branded viewing. The full program, including cars and drivers, is expected to take a total investment of almost $US20 million and will be officially launched in September.

VISA is already on the two cars which are campaigned by Gore's WPS Racing team in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series.

WPS Financial Services and VISA combined forces at the beginning of this year with the Bendigo Bank to produce the highly-successful V8 Supercar VISA card in Australia.
"There is no doubt that a relationship with a major international brand such as VISA is a fantastic development for our team and for the sport of Champ Car and the other categories in which we are involved," said Gore.

"Today's news is just the start of some terrific announcements we intend to make over the coming months.  I think the involvement of VISA is testimony to the great progression Champ Car has made in the last 18 months and to what a terrific future is has." 

Walker, who is one of the stalwarts of the Champ Car Series as both a manager and owner, was delighted when asked to have the team prepare the VISA signage for the cars this week.  "It is always great to have a brand like VISA on your cars," said Walker.  "I would like to think that this is the start of a long and successful relationship and that we can get to the point where our performances on track emulate the success of VISA.  "I look forward to seeing the cars on track this weekend with VISA beaming out from the front wings." Team Australia also has great support from Aussie Vineyards, WPS Financial Services, Qantas and the R.M Williams clothing company.

07/29/05 Team Australia (Pictured right team co-owners Derrick Walker and Craig Gore) and Derrick Walker has announced that VISA has come on board as a sponsor for their Champ Car team. The deal has far reaching effects because the program will spread across their Formula BMW, Formula Atlantic (to be announced Saturday) and Craig Gore's SuperV8 team. Gore is co-owner in Team Australia in Champ Car. Gore said that the team will soon announce another major international sponsor. The full program is expected to involve a total investment of $20 million.
San Jose chicane a barnburner San Jose chicane a barnburnerUPDATE Crews were moving some of the barriers for this chicane Friday night and as we understand it, when they put them back the opening for the chicane will be wider.  The thought is if the drivers are doing it at full throttle anyway, why not open it up and make it safer.  Photographers we spoke with who said they stood in the chicane to shoot photos said they never get scared at races.  "That was scary," said one photographer.  "When I was standing there the first time to shoot the third car by was a Dale Coyne car who came through at full throttle.  I said to myself holy shit, these guys are nuts." 07/29/05 The drivers are calling the Turn 1 chicane in San Jose a real barnburner. On a hot lap it is. Fast left-right taken at full throttle at 155 MPH while flying over the railroad tracks with a wall staring you right in the face.
Toyota announces Jordan engine extension Toyota announces Jordan engine extensionToyota Motorsport GmbH has today announced that it has renewed the existing contract with Jordan Grand Prix and the Midland Group, which will see Toyota supply customer engines to the team for the 2006 season.

Details of the contract will be similar to the existing deal with Jordan in that Toyota will ensure that Midland receives the latest specification of RVX-06 engine throughout the entire season.

Tsutomu Tomita, Chairman of Toyota Motorsport GmbH said of the announcement: "We are very pleased that Jordan Grand Prix and Midland have opted to renew the one-year contract. It has always been a priority for Toyota to support the independent teams in Formula 1, so we are happy to be in a position to continue this successful collaboration with the team for 2006. We are in an advanced stage of our V8 engine program for next season and by finalizing this new one-year deal with Jordan Grand Prix and Midland for 2006 at an early stage we will be able to accelerate development."

Kasemets takes provisional pole Kasemets takes provisional poleFriday seems to be a day that agrees with Estonian-born racer Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil). The second-year driver led the opening-round of qualifying Friday for the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama as the series prepares for Round 9 this weekend in San Jose.

Kasemets, who currently resides in Mundelein, Illinois, posted a fast lap of 1:00.339 (86.392 mph) on his 21st of 23 turns in qualifying around the nine-turn, 1.448-mile downtown street circuit. The effort marked the third time this season that Kasemets has led Friday qualifying in nine races this season. The Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis driver also secured his sixth front-row starting position of the year as he can now start now lower than second in Sunday’s Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose Atlantic race (tape-delayed broadcast on SPEED Channel – Saturday, August 6 at 1:30 p.m. ET)

With the championship point earned for leading today’s provisional qualifying, Kasemets also closed the gap in the season-long Atlantic title chase. He now trails leader Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports), 216-202 entering Saturday’s final round of qualifying at San Jose. zzzz

Zwolsman, the 26-year-old rookie from the Netherlands, wound up posting the second-fastest time overall in today’s qualifying at 1:00.708 (85.867 mph). The Condor Motorsports racer led qualifying before his car brushed a wall on the tight street circuit late in the session, and he watched as Kasemets posted the fastest time of the day. With a series-leading four poles to his credit this season, Zwolsman will have another shot at making it five in the final round of qualifying.

Mexico’s David Martinez (#7 Roshfrans/US RaceTronics) produced his best series result of second place at Toronto in the last true street course on the Atlantic schedule. Using the same setup that his team used in Toronto, Martinez produced the third-fastest lap in qualifying of 1:00.812 (85.720 mph). The result ended the day on an up note for Martinez, as his car suffered a broken suspension early in the first practice session of the day.

After leading the afternoon practice, Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design) was fourth-quickest in qualifying. The 23-year-old Canadian earned his first series victory in Toronto on the last street course on the schedule and he said he enjoyed the bumpy and challenging first-year street circuit in San Jose. Bessette carded a lap of 1:00.953 (85.522 mph) today for Polestar Racing Group.

Bessette’s Polestar teammate Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing), fresh off her second victory of the season two weeks ago in Edmonton, rounded out the top five in qualifying with a mark of 1:01.093 (85.326 mph). Germany’s Andreas Wirth (#8 Wurges Windows and Doors) of Brooks Associates Racing was sixth in the provisional qualifying rundown at 1:01.438 (84.847 mph). In his series debut, 17-year-old California rookie Alan Scuito (#27 Dean R/C Products/Sparco) had a strong first Atlantic experience. The PR1 Motorsports driver had the second-fastest time in afternoon practice and he finished his first series qualifying session seventh with a top time of 1:01.478 (84.791 mph).

In his first Atlantic action since Round 4 in Portland, rookie Kyle Kelley (#24 UP Racing.com)  was eighth with a quick lap of 1:01.573 (84.660 mph), while another driver seeing his first series action this weekend, Phil Giebler (#41 Jos. J Albanese Concrete Construction), was ninth in provisional qualifying at 1:01.631 (84.581 mph). Completing the top 10 from the first day on track in San Jose was Al Unser III (#10 BOSPoker.net/PKV Racing), who was clocked at 1:01.776 (84.382 mph).

The Atlantic cars return to the track on Saturday morning with a 30-minute practice session beginning at 9 a.m. PT. Tomorrow’s final round of qualifying will take the green flag at 1:15 p.m. Follow all of this weekend’s action from San Jose live through the Timing link on the series official web site, www.toyotaatlantic.com.


TONIS KASEMETS (#6 Flexovit Abrasive Prods/MK/TMI/Red Line Oil – Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis): (On his ability to be fast very quickly on a new track) “I guess it is because I am old and experienced (laughing). Yesterday when we did the track walk, I did not know what to think about the track but then I got in my racecar and it was fun.  When it clicks it clicks. (On the course) I like this track. It feels natural for me. (On the battle for the championship) Charles has been ahead of the game the whole season and I am trying to close the gap a little bit before the end of the season. I will see if I can a get a few points on Sunday. (On passing on the track) There are a couple places where you can pass, but it is going to be close. So I am worried about these guys who will never give up.”

CHARLES ZWOLSMAN (#11 Condor Motorsports): “I brushed the wall three laps before the end of session. Not easy to get a clear lap around this lap. It is all about finding the right spot on the track at the right moment. (On the championship) I don’t put myself any pressure in leading the championship and protecting my lead. I just take one race at a time and I try to score as many points as possible in each race. (On passing on the track) I think that the first hairpin will be a good spot to make a move but it will be hard to pass the fast cars.”

DAVID MARTINEZ (#7 Roshfrans/US RaceTronics – US Race Tronics): “The suspension broke this morning so we could not really work on the set up. It was actually better that it happened during practice than during qualifying. The team did a great job putting the car back together and then we went out and try to learn the track a bit more. We put the Toronto set-up for this qualifying session and the car was decent but the fifth gear is too short. But overall third place is good and we’ll have another shot tomorrow.”

San Jose Friday Press Conference San Jose Friday Press ConferenceSan Jose Friday Press Conference transcript.
Said wins Trans-Am pole Said wins Trans-Am poleBoris Said went two for two in 2005 Friday at the Grand Prix of San Jose, winning his second Trans-Am pole in just his second start this season for tomorrow’s Cytomax Sport Drink 100. Said, driving the No. 33 ACS Express Ford Mustang, turned in a 1:04.899-minute lap (80.322 miles per hour) on the 1.448-mile temporary street course.

Rookie German driver Klaus Graf was second fastest in the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR and earns one bonus point for the outside pole, while points leader Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) was third quickest. Greg Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR) and Joey Scarallo (No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend/Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top five. Said will start fifth tomorrow due to Trans-Am’s Fast Five invert, while Scarallo will roll off first.

Said, the 2002 Trans-Am Drivers’ Champion, is running a part-time Trans-Am effort this year, while he spends the bulk of his time competing in NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup Series. Said earned three bonus points for the pole.

“This is an interesting situation because the guys on my left and right are racing for points and I’m just racing to win,” said Said. “I have a really fast Ford Mustang. When they announced this race, I jumped at the chance. It’s a unique place to have an auto race. This is the Wall Street of the West Coast. To see the fans out here and all of the fun they’re having, this is a great place to have a car race. I think it’s going to be a good show for the fans.

“This is going to be a really physically demanding race track,” added Said. “It’s going to be fun charging up from fifth. I’m sure we’ll trade some paint and give the fans a great show.”

Newman/Haas duo top 2nd practice in San Jose Newman/Haas duo top 2nd practice in San JoseAfter the second 45 minute Champ Car session on the downtown San Jose Sebastien Bourdais showed he has taken a liking to the newest track on the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

The defending series champion bettered his morning practice time and ran a lap of 52.615 seconds (99.074 mph). Bourdais' Newman/Haas teammate Oriol Servia was second quick.  Rookie Timo Glock was third fastest and Nelson Philippe was fourth quick.  More later.... Full Story

Rosberg stripped of GP2 pole Rosberg stripped of GP2 poleUPDATE The ART Grand Prix cars of Nico Rosberg and Alexandre Prémat will start from 23rd and 24th on the grid for tomorrow’s race after the team’s qualifying times were taken away. Following today’s qualifying session the Stewards of the meeting received a report from the Technical Delegate which stated that car 9, Nico Rosberg and car 10, Alexandre Prémat had a suspension irregularity with regards to the steering rack position.

The Stewards, after hearing the explanation of the Competitors representative, referred to Article 10.1 of the 2005 GP2 Series Technical Regulations which is specific regarding the compliance of automobiles with the regulations.

It is the Stewards’ view that the car did not comply with the regulations, and by virtue of that the Stewards’ decision is deletion of all qualifying times for car 9, Nico Rosberg and car 10, Alexandre Prémat.

The ART Grand Prix cars will therefore start from the back of the grid, in championship order, with Nico 23rd and Alexandre 24th.

Neel Jani (Racing Engineering) will start tomorrow’s race from pole position, alongside Heikki Kovalainen (Arden International).

07/29/05 Nico Rosberg has obliterated the competition in qualifying at the Hungaroring, finishing one second ahead of second placed driver Neel Jani and another two tenths in front of Heikki Kovalainen at the conclusion of the session.

Rosberg (pictured right) set a time of 1:31.459 just four minutes into the session, and no one was able to come close, allowing the German to run just four laps in the half hour and handing him the advantage of an extra set of new tires for tomorrow’s race.

With track temperatures reaching fifty degrees at the Budapest track, tempers were reaching boiling point in the pitlane, after a number of drivers had off track excursions.

Mathias Lauda, Sergio Hernandez, and Nelson Piquet all spun in the first half of the session, while Adam Carroll beached himself in the gravel, Ferdinando Monfardini found the wall just next to Carroll, and Piquet spun on his second hot lap but managed to hold his car off the wall in the second half.

Jani’s fastest lap came with seven minutes to go, with the Swiss driver giving his all to put his car on the front row for tomorrow’s race, a tremendous fillip for his Racing Engineering team after a lot of bad luck in recent races.

Three minutes from the end of the session new driver Giorgio Mondini coasted to a halt and stopped him from pushing off the bottom of the timesheets, 4.5 seconds off Rosberg’s pace.

The first eleven drivers were split by just two seconds, but with a one second gap between first and second Rosberg will have a clear advantage for race one – on a scorching day his speed was just too hot for the rest of the grid.

Position Driver Team Gap Time
1 N. Rosberg ART - 01'31"459
2 N. Jani Racing Eng. 00'00"998 01'32"457
3 H. Kovalainen Arden 00'01"193 01'32"652
4 G. Pantano Super Nova 00'01"207 01'32"666
5 S. Speed iSport 00'01"248 01'32"707
6 A. Premat ART 00'01"449 01'32"908
7 H. Yoshimoto BCN Comp. 00'01"546 01'33"005
8 E. Viso BCN Comp. 00'01"643 01'33"102
9 G. Bruni Coloni 00'01"660 01'33"119
10 O. Pla DPR 00'01"713 01'33"172
11 N. Lapierre Arden 00'01"900 01'33"359
12 B. Garcia Racing Eng. 00'02"143 01'33"602
13 J. Alvarez Campos Racing 00'02"173 01'33"632
14 C. Piccione Durango 00'02"175 01'33"634
15 F. Monfardini Durango 00'02"369 01'33"828
16 S. Hernandez Campos Racing 00'02"672 01'34"131
17 J. Lopez DAMS 00'02"733 01'34"192
18 N. Piquet Hitech Piquet 00'02"797 01'34"256
19 F. Fauzy DAMS 00'03"149 01'34"608
20 A. Negrão Hitech Piquet 00'03"226 01'34"685
21 A. Carroll Super Nova 00'03"570 01'35"029
22 C. Artam iSport 00'03"664 01'35"123
23 M. Lauda Coloni 00'03"727 01'35"186
24 G. Mondini DPR 00'04"457 01'35"916

Ford statement on Kahne lawsuit Ford statement on Kahne lawsuitStatement by Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology:

"We're obviously disappointed in the judge's ruling in this case. We felt strongly that our agreement with Kasey should have been enforced requiring him to continue to drive for Ford Racing. We believed it was necessary to resolve our dispute in a court of law as it was important that we take steps to protect our business interests. Despite the outcome of this case, we will continue to do what we believe is necessary to protect our interests in the future."

"We designed Kasey's contract with series and team flexibility built-in because he was unsure of which direction he wanted to go in his career. We wanted to ensure that Kasey could grow and try several forms of racing, if required. Unfortunately, that flexibility appears, according to the judge's opinion, to be a key reason the court declined to enforce the contract as we contend the parties intended from the outset. Therefore, instead of continuing to enforce the mutual commitments made between Ford Racing and Kasey, the court ruled that he was permitted to sign with another manufacturer's racing team."

"The judge ruled we had a contract, but was not supportive of our expectation that Kasey would be committed to remain with Ford Racing until it expired. Perhaps we did not do everything legally possible to insure that Ford Racing reserved the right to determine Kasey's driver commitments; however, we intentionally constructed the contract to be both broad and flexible so that we could assist Kasey in whatever direction he wanted to take his career. Bottom-line, that flexibility hurt us because being flexible assumes both parties will act in a mutually beneficial manner. In this case, perhaps that didn't happen."

"The letter and spirit of this contract was always intended to do the right thing for Kasey.  Regrettably, in the end, the resources, trust, and good faith invested in this relationship did not work out as we had hoped. While disappointed by the court's ruling, we are moving on. Ford Racing remains committed to supporting and developing other top-notch drivers and racing teams. As such, pursuing an appeal is unlikely."

Andy Wallace grabs pole in Portland Andy Wallace grabs pole in PortlandFour familiar faces won class poles at the Portland Grand Prix on Friday as track qualifying records continued to fall in the 2005 American Le Mans Series. When all was said and done, Andy Wallace netted his second consecutive pole of the season, and all four class pole-winners were repeats from last year.

Wallace posted a fast lap of 1:02.712, about 1.5 seconds faster than the previous track mark set by David Brabham in 2001. Wallace also won the pole at Portland last year in the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola, which he will share Saturday with Chris Dyson. Wallace also was on the pole two weeks ago at Infineon Raceway.

The No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola of Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver will start second, giving Dyson Racing its second front-row sweep, the last coming at Infineon on 2003, when the team fielded a pair of LMP675s.

Champion Racing's two Audi R8s will start on the second row. Marco Werner and JJ Lehto qualified third in the No. 1 Audi, followed by the No. 2 entry of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. zzzz

In LMP2, Clint Field put the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola on the pole for the second straight race. He'll drive in Saturday's two-hour, 45-minute event with Gregor Fisken. Field beat out Jeff Bucknum of the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage on his second-to-last lap with a 1:05.744.

Olivier Beretta, in the No. 4 Corvette Racing C6-R, took back sole possession of the ALMS' all-time record for career poles with his 16th, a 1:08.193 effort. It shattered his mark set last year by almost two seconds. It was his second this year, the first coming at Lime Rock Park earlier this month.

Beretta will share driving duties Saturday with Oliver Gavin. The two won at Lime Rock and this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.

"It's very important for us to win because we're 11 points back (in the championship standings)," Beretta said. "If we win, we'll be 7 points behind (assuming the No. 3 finishes second). The important thing is that a Corvette wins. We need to win, but the important this is that a Corvette wins. If you look back last year, we have been leading every race. Sometimes we have bad luck under yellow. The No. 4 car has been quick since last year and has won Le Mans twice. So it's been good."

Behind Beretta by 0.178 was the No. 3 sister car of Johnny O'Connell, who will team with Ron Fellows. The two are class leaders in points and have won three times this year. Third fastest in class was the No. 63 ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R of Johnny Mowlem and Terry Borcheller. Actually, all six cars in class went under Beretta's fast lap last year of 1:09.981.
Romain Dumas in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche qualified on the GT2 pole as he and Timo Bernhard go for their fourth straight class win.

In GT2, the top four cars in class broke last year's record, headed by Romain Dumas in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche at 1:12.653. He and Timo Bernhard are going for their fourth straight class win. Dumas was part of the winning GT2 duo last year with Marc Lieb.

1. Andy Wallace, England; Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Lola EX257 AER (P1), 1:02.712, 112.744
2. Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; James Weaver, England; Lola EX257 AER (P1), 1:02.836, 112.521
3. JJ Lehto, Finland; Marco Werner, Germany; Audi R8 (P1), 1:03.262, 111.764
4. Emanuele Pirro, Italy; Frank Biela, Germany; Audi R8 (P1), 1:03.579, 111.207
5. Gregor Fisken, Scotland; Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Lola B05/40/AER (P2), 1:05.744, 107.544
6. Jeff Bucknum, Lake Havasu City, AZ; Chris McMurry, Phoenix, AZ; Courage C-65 (P2), 1:05.865, 107.347
7. Bryan Willman, Kirkland, WA; Michael Lewis, San Diego, CA; Riley & Scott MRK IIIC (P1), 1:06.827, 105.802
8. Oliver Gavin, England; Olivier Beretta, Monaco; Corvette C6-R (GT1), 1:08.193, 103.682
9. Ron Fellows, Canada; Johnny O`Connell, Flowery Branch, GA; Corvette C6-R (GT1), 1:08.371, 103.412
10. Johnny Mowlem, England; Terry Borcheller, Gainesville, GA; Saleen S7R (GT1), 1:08.661, 102.975
11. Mika Salo, Finland; Fabrizio de Simone, Italy; Maserati MC12 (GT1), 1:08.846, 102.699
12. Ryan Dalziel, Scotland; Alex Figge, Hollywood, CA; Corvette C5-R (GT1), 1:08.940, 102.559
13. Jamie Bach, West Palm Beach, FL; Guy Cosmo, Long Island, NY; Courage Mazda (P2), 1:09.311, 102.010
14. Michele Rugulo, Italy; Tom Weickardt, Whitefish Bay, WI; Dodge Viper (GT1), 1:09.926, 101.113
15. Timo Bernhard, Germany; Romain Dumas, France; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:12.653, 97.317
16. Jorg Bergmeister, Germany; Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:12.794, 97.129
17. Martin Jensen, Denmark; Wolf Henzler, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:12.960, 96.908
18. Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Jon Fogarty, Palo Alto, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:13.046, 96.794
19. Lonnie Pechnik, Pacific Grove, CA; Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 1:13.466, 96.240
20. Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Ian Baas, Noblesville, IN; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR(GT2), 1:13.495, 96.202
21. Bryan Sellers, Centerville, OH; Robin Liddell, Scotland; Panoz EsperanteeGTLM (GT2), 1:13.542, 96.141
22. Christophe Tinseau; Marino Franchitti, Scotland; Panoz Esperante eGTLM(GT2), 1:14.298, 95.163
23. Justin Jackson, Buford, GA; Michael Galati, Olmsted, OH; Porsche 911 GT3RSR (GT2), 1:15.354, 93.829

Fittipaldi fastest in opening practice Fittipaldi fastest in opening practiceChristian Fittipaldi has some unfinished business at Barber Motorsports Park. The Brazilian driver—who will co-drive the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley with Germany’s Jorg Bergmeister in Sunday’s Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant (SPEED Channel, Live, 1 p.m. ET)—was in contention for victory in last year’s race at the state-of-the-art facility, only to crash within sight of the checkered flag.

Fittipaldi got his weekend off on the right foot as he looks to avenge last year’s disappointment by topping the time charts in Friday’s official practice sessions with a best lap at 1:21.888 (101.114 mph). The quick lap came in the morning practice session, on the heels of Thursday’s promoter test day at Barber in which Fittipaldi also clocked the unofficial quickest time.

“I think we just continued very good progress from yesterday, and I’m going to say what I said yesterday, that I’m still very confident that we can stick it in the top-two tomorrow,” Fittipaldi said. “We’ll see what happens. We definitely have a car to go for the pole over here and when it comes down to the race it’s a little bit different. We also have a very good race car, but it’s different because of yellow flags and traffic. So many things can happen and it’s never the quickest car that wins in this series, but usually the most consistent. We’re going to try and split it in two and hopefully put it on pole tomorrow or at least try our very best. The competition is tough, but we’re going to try our very best, and when it comes to Sunday, have a good, solid, consistent car and finish very well.”

Max Angelelli logged the second-quickest time of the day in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley at 1:22.024 (100.946 mph). Angelelli and his co-driver and car owner, Wayne Taylor, share the Daytona Prototype points lead and enter Sunday’s race looking for their third victory of the 2005 season. The duo finished second at Barber Motorsports Park last October, and has been among the quickest throughout the season.

Friday attendance in San Jose Friday attendance in San JoseFriday attendance here in San Jose was announced as 40,434.  There are a lot of people all around the circuit.  San Jose has embraced Champ Car.  This number dwarfs the entire weekend attendance the series drew at Laguna Seca and further justifies the new Champ Car business model. Mark C.
Bourdais leads opening practice in San Jose Bourdais leads opening practice in San JoseDespite delays this morning in San Jose, the Champ Car drivers put on a nearly perfect practice session as only one red flag flew during the session. Sebastien Bourdais set the quick time with a lap of 53.701 (97.071 mph).

Bourdais traded the top spot with rival Paul Tracy through most of the session and rookies Timo Glock, Bjorn Wirdheim and Ronnie Bremer both putting in impressive performances in on the new circuit. Alex Tagliani was third fastest and Oriol Servia was fourth in the session.

There will be no qualifying session today as the Champ Car's will return to the track later this afternoon for another 45 minute practice session.

Pos Driver # Lap Time Mph Leader Previous
1 S. Bourdais 1 53.701 97.071   
2 P. Tracy 3 53.894 96.723 0.193 
3 A. Tagliani 15 54.209 96.161 0.508 0.315
4 O. Servia 2 54.320 95.965 0.619 0.111
5 R. Hunter-Reay 31 54.484 95.676 0.783 0.164
6 C. da Matta 21 54.495 95.656 0.794 0.011
7 J. Wilson 9 54.553 95.555 0.852 0.058
8 M. Dominguez 7 54.585 95.499 0.884 0.032
9 B. Wirdheim 4 54.609 95.457 0.908 0.024
10 T. Glock 8 54.651 95.383 0.950 0.042
11 J. Vasser 12 54.854 95.030 1.153 0.203
12 A. Allmendinger 10 54.917 94.921 1.216 0.063
13 R. Lavin 55 55.009 94.763 1.308 0.092
14 R. Bremer 19 55.087 94.628 1.386 0.078
15 R. Sperafico 11 55.134 94.548 1.433 0.047
16 N. Philippe 34 55.137 94.543 1.436 0.003
17 M. Marshall 5 55.507 93.912 1.806 0.370
18 A. Ranger 27 56.125 92.878 2.424 0.618

Champ Car still confusing to most Champ Car still confusing to mostA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Just watched a report on CNBC about BayTSP CEO Mark Ishikawa and his Toyota Atlantic team. At the very end host Maria Bartiromo inadvertently referred to the Atlantic cars as Champ Cars and said "Champ Cars are just one step below an IndyCar". An obvious slipup, but where were the Champ Car & Atlantic PR people to help explain or define the two series?  Even though it was a simple error, it is yet another example of the series PR people not "engaging" the media.  The report was from San Jose, Unbelievable again. Brian Kellione, Colorado Springs, CO. Dear Brian, The Champ Car staff can't be everywhere. The real crux of the problem is that most of the world has no idea what a Champ Car is at this stage. It is not yet a branded name. That will take quite some time. It is not a name we would have chosen for the series. It is interesting to note that OWRS was wise to call their company something people can relate to better. Unfortunately the same common sense logic was not used for the Champ Car series. Mark C.
Boris Said leads opening practice in San Jose Boris Said leads opening practice in San JoseBoris Said marked his return to Trans-Am competition by setting the fastest time in first-round practice Friday for tomorrow’s Cytomax Sport Drink 100 at the Grand Prix of San Jose. Said, from Carlsbad, Calif., turned the 1.448-mile temporary street course in one minute, 8.186 seconds (76.450 miles per hour), driving the No. 33 ACS Express Ford Mustang. The 2002 Trans-Am Drivers’ Champion returned to Trans-Am competition here, after a four-race hiatus.

Paul Gentilozzi was second fastest in the No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR, ahead of GT-1 competitor Paul Fix (No. 77 Stop Flex/Jongbloed Wheels/Drive Magazine Ford Mustang). Points leader Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) and Greg Pickett (No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR) completed the top five.

Qualifying is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. today. The Cytomax Sport Drink 100, Round 6 of the 2005 Trans-Am Championship, is scheduled for tomorrow at 4 p.m. PDT. Saturday’s race will air on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. EDT on SPEED Channel.

TV coverage for Allstate 400 TV coverage for Allstate 400The NBC and TNT television networks and IMS Radio Network will provide more than 15 hours of coverage during the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard weekend on Aug. 5-7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Television coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will include on-track action and a view of the many behind-the-scenes efforts from the famed Gasoline Alley garage area, as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams and drivers work toward a coveted victory in one of NASCAR's most prestigious events.

TNT will provide live coverage of NEXTEL Cup qualifying from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, Aug. 6.

NBC's live broadcast of the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will begin with pre-race coverage at 2 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, Aug. 7, followed by flag-to-flag coverage of the 160-lap race at 2:30 p.m. The broadcast television talent for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: Bill Weber, play-by-play announcer; Benny Parsons, analyst; Wally Dallenbach, commentator; and Alan Bestwick, Matt Yocum, Marty Snider and Dave Burns, pit reporters.

San Jose qualifying cancelled San Jose qualifying cancelledUPDATE Provisional Friday qualifying for the San Jose Champ Car race has been cancelled. Instead the series has announced two practice sessions for today. Saturday will resume with the previously announced regular schedule. There will only be one qualifying session instead of two. Kevin Kalkhoven and Bob Singleton met with the media and explained that concrete work between the railroad tracks last night delayed putting all the walls and fence down in time today. Cars are on track.  The Saturday qualifying session will be the usual format with the exception of lap allocation and tires.  All entrants will be allowed unlimited laps.  All entrants may use all four sets of qualifying tires during this session. 07/29/05 Because of the delay in setting up the race track, Champ Car practice is now pushed back to 1:50 to 2:35 PM in San Jose. First cars on track are the Trans-Am cars at 12:30 PM. This is not the first time this has happened for the first day of a downtown street circuit.
Lazier replaces Manning Lazier replaces ManningTarget Chip Ganassi Racing announced today the addition of IndyCar veteran Jaques Lazier to drive the no.10 Target Toyota Panoz for this weekend’s Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, round 11 of the 17-race IRL IndyCar Series season. Lazier takes over the seat previously occupied by Darren Manning, with whom the team parted ways earlier in the week.

“We were very glad that a driver of Jaques Lazier’s caliber was available to the Target team this weekend,” said Target team owner Chip Ganassi of the 34-year-old Vail, Colo. native. “We look forward to working with him on a race to race basis and getting him to the front.”

Lazier, the author of 45 career IndyCar Series starts, will make his debut for the team after most recently driving from 27th on the starting grid to finish 16th in this May’s 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. A former race winner in the series at Chicagoland Speedway in 2001, Lazier joins the Target Chip Ganassi Racing stables with two career poles, 7,550 laps completed and 226 laps led in IndyCar competition.

“We’re happy to be able to add an American driver with a wealth of oval racing experience to our arsenal,” said Team Managing Director, Mike Hull of the addition of Lazier. “The Target team is looking forward and we hope the introduction of Jaques into our racing program will help stimulate our team’s performance.”

Lazier’s prior experience with the combination of the Toyota powerplant and Panoz chassis earlier this season at Indianapolis should make for an easy transition into the Target team-prepared machine.

“Being given the chance to drive for Target Chip Ganassi Racing is obviously a dream come true,” says Lazier whose maiden race with the Target team will also be his 46th career IndyCar start. “Since the first day they joined the Indy Racing League it was a team you looked at with a degree of envy. I’d always wanted to be part of a team like this and I feel like the first 45 races of my career have been the testing ground for this kind of opportunity. It’s not often that I have been in a situation to be able to share information with teammates and be part of something bigger. I look forward to being a team player and hopefully I can help ignite a spark to get momentum back on the team’s side. I hope to make the best of this chance the team has given me here at Michigan.”

Condor Motorsports Joins Forces with Phil Giebler Condor Motorsports Joins Forces with Phil GieblerCondor Motorsports is proud to announce the addition of Phil Giebler to their Toyota Atlantic Championship effort for round 9 of the San Jose Grand Prix.  In the midst of a strong championship season, Condor Motorsports is excited to not only have the opportunity to work with Phil, but to strengthen their winning assault.

Phil Giebler with the support of, Jos.J.Albanese, Inc., a leader in concrete construction, will join Condor Motorsports and the Toyota Atlantic Championship for the first time. “This will be a really good opportunity for me, especially driving for a wining team” as Giebler went on to say, “I am just really excited, I did most of my racing in Europe and its nice to be back here in the US and I hope to respond to the support of Jos.J.Albanese with a good finish in San Jose.”

Carlos Bobeda, owner of Condor Motorsports, notes, “Phil is a great talent, I have been following his career since 1998 and he is very fast driver. Unfortunately, he had very few opportunities to show his capabilities due to lack of sponsorship”. Having Jos.J.Albanese as sponsor at San Jose may well be a turning point for this young and talented driver’s career. 

“We’ve had some really good success thus far and I think Phil will be a good addition to the team.  This weekend will give him a great chance to drive in a new race track in front of a very enthusiastic crowd  here in San Jose”. 

TNT’s NASCAR Ratings Set Records TNT’s NASCAR Ratings Set RecordsUPDATE TNT’s coverage of last Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Pennsylvania 500 earned a 5.7/ (5,137,000 HHs) Nielsen cable rating, up 21% from last year, making it the highest-rated and most-watched Nextel Cup Series event in Turner Sports’ 21-year history of airing NASCAR on TNT and TBS. The race was also the second-highest-rated Nextel Cup Series race ever on cable TV, trailing only the 6.2 rating for the ’99 Dura-Lube/Big K 400 at North Carolina Speedway on TNN TNT Press Release  07/26/05 Turner Network Television (TNT) NASCAR ratings have zoomed to the top, with the Pennsylvania 500 (Sunday, July 24th) and the New England 300 (Saturday, July 17th) driving home record-setting ratings for the network for the past two consecutive Sundays.  The Pennsylvania 500 earned a 5.7 US rating (5,137,000 households) - a 21 percent increase over the year prior - making it the highest-rated  and most watched NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event in TNT’s 21-year history televising the sport.  It also stakes claim to the title as the second highest-rated NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event ever on cable television (trailing only behind the 6.2 rating on TNN for a 1999 race at the North Carolina Speedway). 

The 2005 New England 300 delivered a 4.5 US rating (4,954,000 households), a 5 percent increase over the 2004 race, earning it the #2 spot on TNT’s highest rated and most watched races.

TNT, along with partner NBC, televises the second-half of the NASCAR season and the ‘Race to the Chase’ for the NEXTEL Cup.  NASCAR racing continues on TNT on Saturday, July 30th with NASCAR Busch Series racing from St. Louis on TNT at 8 p.m. ET.

German GP USA TV rating German GP USA TV ratingUPDATE The final rating for the German GP on CBS in the USA was a 1.1/3 share. 07/25/05 The overnight tape delayed TV rating for the German GP on CBS Sunday was a 1.2/3share.
Seen in San Jose Seen in San JoseHere in San Jose the schedule has been pushed back one hour as they put the finishing touches on this new track......The weather is spectacular and will be all weekend.......Grandstand tickets are extremely hard to come by.....Commercially this event has hit a home run. More Silicon Valley firms have now become involved in the series, the latest being Novell and we hear there are more to follow. . More later.
Lavín confirmed by HVM Lavín confirmed by HVMHVM, a competitor in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, today announced Rodolfo Lavín as the driver of the #55 HVM/Ford-Cosworth/Lola. 

Lavín, who turns 28 on Saturday, will make his HVM debut this weekend at the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose. Keith Wiggins, Owner and Managing Director welcomed Lavín to the team; “We are pleased to welcome Rodolfo to the team. He is a proven competitor in this series and his career made great progress over the past two seasons. HVM’s original roots derived from Mexico and we have a great affection and experience working with Mexico and so we are happy to establish this relationship.” 

The native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico is in his third year of Champ Car competition. Voted the 2004 “Bosch Most Improved Driver,” Lavín is coming off of his most successful year of Champ Car racing. He earned his first Champ Car podium finish last year at Road America when he finish second and started on the front row in Vancouver. 

Lavín’s 11-year relationship continues with the Mexican beer giant, Corona, and his #55 Champ Car will carry the Corona logo beginning at the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver in two weeks time. “I am really happy and excited for the opportunity to race for HVM, one of the most professional teams in the Champ Car World Series,” said Lavín. He continued, “I am very thankful to Mr. Keith Wiggins for giving me the opportunity to drive for his team and of course I am very thankful to Corona for their continued support. This is an extremely competitive series and for a Mexican driver with a sponsor like Corona, this is the place to be. Of course we have two very successful races in Mexico, but the series continues to grow in the United States and worldwide, offering a fantastic level of competition on the track and a massive global audience for me to promote my sponsor, Corona,” said Lavín.
Michael tells Mario to butt out Michael tells Mario to butt outMario Andretti has said he wants his grandson, Marco, to begin a path toward Formula One in 2006. Michael Andretti wants his father to stop talking about Marco's career.

Michael said his 18-year-old son will be in the IRL in some form next year. Yes, Marco might try a GP2 car at some point, but he won't be a European regular as Mario and Michael were at various times.

GP2 is the division just below F-1. The ART team, owned by Nicolas Todt, the son of Ferrari team leader Jean Todt, is interested in having Marco test in the fall. Mario wants that to be Marco's next ride.

"Why would we run him in a situation where we have no control, especially when we have a great thing going here?" said Michael, who co-owns the four-car Andretti Green Racing team. "We wouldn't know his teammate, how much control his teammate had over things, if they were giving him the right attention.

"That would be sending him to the sharks, and it would be a program destined to fail."

Michael said AGR will test Marco, who has won a pair of Menards Infiniti Pro Series races, in an Indy car later this year. Michael wants his son to run at least a partial Indy-car season next year. Indy Star

Zonta puts Toyota on top in 2nd practice session Zonta puts Toyota on top in 2nd practice session
P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'20"458 196.023 Km/h
 2. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'21"288 + 0'00"830
 3. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'21"406 + 0'00"948
 4. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'21"656 + 0'01"198
 5. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'21"685 + 0'01"227
 6. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'21"925 + 0'01"467
 7. 35 WURZ McLaren Mercedes M 1'22"435 + 0'01"977
 8. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'22"484 + 0'02"026
 9. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'22"531 + 0'02"073
10. 15 KLIEN RedBull Cosworth M 1'22"641 + 0'02"183
11. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'22"686 + 0'02"228
12. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'22"857 + 0'02"399
13. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'22"859 + 0'02"401
14. 37 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'22"916 + 0'02"458
15. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'22"969 + 0'02"511
16. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'23"456 + 0'02"998
17. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'23"515 + 0'03"057
18. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'23"548 + 0'03"090
19. 20 DOORNBOS Minardi Cosworth B 1'23"641 + 0'03"183
20. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'24"087 + 0'03"629
21. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'24"860 + 0'04"402
22. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'25"195 + 0'04"737
23. 39 KIESA Jordan Toyota B 1'25"266 + 0'04"808
Court dismisses Ford case against Kahne Court dismisses Ford case against KahneOn July 28, 2005, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed all claims by Ford Motor Company against NASCAR star Kasey Kahne, in connection with Kahne's move last year from Ford to drive a Dodge in Nextel Cup, the most prominent NASCAR series. The Court found "that the Kahne-Ford personal services agreement is not enforceable..." and that Kahne had been free to switch to Dodge and Evernham Motorsports when Ford failed to provide a full time Nextel Cup car as requested by Kahne for the 2004 season. Pointing to admissions by Ford racing executives, Dan Davis and Greg Specht, the court found that the contract had "intentionally left open for future joint agreement" the "essential" terms of the actual series and team that Kahne would join, and that this was fatal to Ford's claim.

Kahne stated: "I'm thrilled that this decision sets the record straight that my move to Evernham Motorsports and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series was in good faith and didn't breach my Ford contract. My manager, Rod Moskowitz of MMI and I didn't publicly respond to Ford's attempts to smear me during this case because we were confident I'd be vindicated in court. Now that we've won, I'm glad to put this unfortunate action behind me. Dan Davis told me that I wasn't ready to move to Cup, and Ford tried to hold me back. I think my performance proved them wrong." After leaving Ford, Kahne was named NASCAR's 2004 Rookie of the Year.

The decision came down after Kahne's attorneys, Paul LiCalsi and David Baum of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, moved to throw the lawsuit out on the basis of the documents in the case and the testimony given by Ford executives during depositions. "As we said at the onset, this case was nothing more than an expression of Ford's frustration with its own failure to recognize Kasey's ability to race at the highest level of the sport", LiCalsi said. Baum added, "For the last year and a half, Ford and its team of lawyers have tried to bully Kasey in court and demonized him in the press as someone who did not live up to his obligations. The court's decision is a complete rebuke of Ford's tactics." Clear!Blue PR

Industry News
HANS wins US Military contract HANS wins US Military contractThe Naval Air Systems Command have awarded HANS Performance Products an exclusive contract to develop a head and neck restraint to help reduce the injuries that pilots face when ejecting from fighter aircraft life the F22-Raptor.

With over 20 years of accumulated knowledge and experience of controlling head and neck motions in severe environments, HANS Performance Products, manufacturers of the acclaimed HANS(r) Device, was the Navy's obvious choice for this unique contract. Work will start immediately to perfect a design that will protect a pilot while ejecting at 300 mph or more.

Development will follow that same rigorous design and test programs that HANS Performance Products uses for its world leading motor racing products. Designs will be created to manage the severe range of neck loads that pilots experience when they are shot up and backward during ejection.

Jim Downing, one of the company's founders said: "We are honored to have has been chosen to work on a project to help the men and women of our military." He added, "Its amazing to see broader applications for HANS(r) Devices than Professor Bob Hubbard and I thought possible when we first started in this area over 20-years ago."

Details and other information about HANS Performance Products are available on the company's website http://www.hansdevice.com/ or by calling 1-888-HANS-999 or 770-457-1046.

Reaction to Patrick not a good sign for the IRL Reaction to Patrick not a good sign for the IRLCall it what you like — jealousy, envy, macho, lack of respect, pettiness — the latest flap over Danica Patrick and the attention she has received has done no good for either party involved, the Indy Racing League and the Andretti Green Racing team.

Upset that the IRL set up an autograph area for Patrick separate from the other 21 drivers at a mandatory signing session Saturday in Milwaukee, the AGR foursome of Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, series champion Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta refused to participate. The league announced Thursday that it would fine the owners of AGR — Michael Andretti, Kim Green and Kevin Savoree — an undisclosed amount for not having their drivers participate.

AGR felt it unfair that the IRL was publicizing Patrick while ignoring others who had actually won something. It wasn't only the signing, it was things like seeing Patrick's picture on the cover of six magazines, including TV Guide this week and Sports Illustrated the week after the Indy 500. And seeing a magazine advertisement for the series where Patrick's picture appeared above much smaller pictures of six other drivers, with the caption, "Get used to it, boys."

"The team didn't think it was appropriate for the [IRL] to set her apart from everybody else, to focus completely on her," said Herta, elder statesman of the group. "We felt the league should treat all drivers the same. What the media says, or the fans feel about Danica, is their prerogative, but our feeling is that the league itself should be impartial."

Patrick, who crashed last week and has only two fourth-place finishes in 10 races and is 11th in points, said she saw no feelings of antagonism from her fellow drivers.

"I think they recognize that I don't control the autograph sessions or anything like that," she said. "That's in the hands of the series and the tracks. All I do is kind of show up where I'm supposed to and sign as many autographs as I can and put a couple of smiles on some people's faces." Just imagine what will happen when she wins a race. More at LA Times [Editor's Note: Bryan Herta is 100% correct, the league (IRL) should remain impartial and not favor one driver over another, which they have done with Danica Patrick. It's OK for the media to favor Danica, but not the league itself. This disease has plagued the IRL since its inception, and in fact goes back to the USAC days of the 60's when AJ Foyt was favored over all others, yet the media favored underdog Mario Andretti. Before Danica, IRL posterboys/postergirls included Tony Stewart, Sam Hornish Jr. and Sarah Fisher.]

The party is in downtown San Jose this weekend The party is in downtown San Jose this weekendThe party is on in downtown San Jose for the weekend.  The inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose revs up today with three days of sleek, state-of-the-art race cars speeding around a 1.6-mile course through the streets of Northern California's largest city.  Featured will be the Champ Car World Series.

But it's also more, with many sideshows to go along with the racing, ranging from drifting competitions to motocross exhibitions on the track to off-track events designed to create a festival atmosphere.  Restaurants and hotels in the area expect booming business, and the night life of the nearby South First Street scene will beckon race-goers.

By all indications, the event's first edition appears headed toward being a big success featuring the Champ Cars along with various support races.  Close to 120,000 fans are expected over three days with 30,000 today, 40,000 on Saturday and 50,000 on Sunday.  More at Inside the Bay Area

Industry News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
FORMULA ONE - Qualifying
Hungarian Grand Prix
7:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
FORMULA ONE - 'Inside Grand Prix'
Hungarian Grand Prix
11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
Wallace Family Tribute 250
Gateway International Raceway
4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Portland International Raceway - Touring
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Wallace Family Tribute 250
Gateway International Raceway
8:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
Portland International Raceway
8:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
For a complete listing of Saturday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.
Wurz tops Practice 1 in Hungary Wurz tops Practice 1 in HungaryIn what was only a track dust cleaning session, McLaren Friday test driver Alex Wurz was atop the speed charts in Hungary today.  He was a massive 1.4 seconds quicker than the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello in second, and Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren was third quickest, but the times really are meaningless.
1. ALEXANDER WURZ McLaren-Mercedes M 1:21.411
2. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1:22.834
3. JENSON BUTTON BAR-Honda M 1:23.028
4. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M 1:23.159
5. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:23.234
6. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M 1:23.375
7. NICK HEIDFELD Williams-BMW M 1:23.384
8. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:23.558
9. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M 1:23.679
10. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1:23.706
11. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M 1:23.764
12. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M 1:23.833
13. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M 1:23.918
14. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:23.940
15. VITANTONIO LIUZZI Red Bull Racing M 1:24.174
16. RICARDO ZONTA Toyota M 1:24.270
17. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M 1:24.683
18. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:26.130
19. ROBERT DOORNBOS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:27.011
20. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:27.344
21. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:27.540
22. NICOLAS KIESA Jordan-Toyota B 1:28.230
23. CHANOCH NISSANY Minardi-Cosworth B 1:34.319
24. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M No Time
25. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M No Time
Dalziel talks about his Champ Car debut Dalziel talks about his Champ Car debutEarlier this month Ryan Dalziel made his Champ Car World Series debut at the Molson Indy Toronto, 8th-10th July. While the opportunity to compete with Dale Coyne Racing ultimately turned out to be a one-off, Dalziel’s ninth place finish was impressive not-least due to the lack of seat time heading into the event but also because of his ability to perform on the unforgiving streets of Toronto.

Returning to sports car competition in the ALMS alongside Alex Figge in the Pacific Coast Motorsports #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R, the 23-year-old Scottish racer took time out to reflect on his maiden Champ Car start and his ambition to return to the series full-time in 2006. Interview

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'06 is Schu's new target
JV feels secure at Sauber
JB threatens Williams strike
Kimi's future is still silver
Tobacco teams in panic mode
DC's milestone
Jos to A1
Kimi not 'sporting' - Flav
Ferrari development 'stopped'
A birthday in Budapest
F1 aces play football
Drivers back one-lap Quali
ISC hold town hall meeting for proposed WA. track ISC hold town hall meeting for proposed WA. trackUPDATE This ESPN article talks more about the proposed NASCAR Seattle, Washington track.  It certainly appears that opposition is mounting and this site may fall from favor quickly. 07/28/05 Florida-based racetrack developer International Speedway Corp. representatives mingled with Kitsap County residents last night at a meeting designed to convince them a NASCAR track would be a boon to the Bremerton area. Several hundred residents helped themselves to refreshments and entered a raffle in the commons at South Kitsap High School. Company bigwigs were available to answer questions about the 80,000-seat track they want to build on 900 acres near the Bremerton Airport. They offered assurances International Speedway Corp. (ISC) would work to reduce noise and minimize the track's impact on the environment, but they didn't offer many details. They still have not said how much public money they are expecting for the track, which they estimate will cost more than $250 million. The meeting had been planned for months, ISC officials said, but it came at a good time for the project. The State Patrol is investigating whether a Kitsap County traffic planner may have broken state public-records laws in an effort to keep the NASCAR proposal secret. In addition, a community group recently sued the Kitsap County Commission over meetings they held before ISC chose the Kitsap County site for a racetrack. Seattle Times
News from San Jose News from San JoseThis San Jose Mercury News article talks about the many fans who will get to see the San Jose GP for free from their high-rise office buildings overlooking the downtown street circuit.

This San Jose Mercury News article features an interview with Kevin Kalkhoven where he calls a spade a spade. ``The very worst moment for me,'' Kalkhoven said, ``was when, a month before our first race of 2004, two of our race teams pulled out and defected to the IRL as part of a plan to break us -- which they didn't, of course.'' But after that exit by the teams of CART veterans Bobby Rahal and Adrian Fernandez, Kalkhoven and his partners somehow assembled enough cars for the Long Beach Grand Prix, which came off with no hitches. ``That was the best moment,'' he said. ``When the flag dropped at Long Beach, it meant we had a race series. We were racing.'' Now, the word is that some of the teams that left might return. ``Drivers want to come back,'' Kalkhoven confirmed. ``They see the success of this style of racing. Is it much fun for a driver to race at an oval with 3,000 spectators? Or would the drivers rather race in front of 100,000 screaming fans who are having a ball?''

This San Jose Mercury News article talks about downtown businesses gearing up for the GP.

Fastest woman on motorcycle to visit SJ Fastest woman on motorcycle to visit SJSusan Robertson, the fastest woman on an open-wheel motorcycle, will be on hand for the inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose – round eight of the 2005 Champ Car World Series season.

Susan, a member of the Falkner/Livingston (FL) racing team, was clocked at 205.345 mph on July 16, 2005, at El Mirage Dry Lake in El Mirage, Calif. She became the fastest woman on an open-wheel motorcycle and one of only two women to exceed the 200-mph land speed mark. Susan rode into history atop a Makita Suzuki sport bike equipped with the Bridgestone Battlax BT014 tire.

“It was just so easy; when you’re going 200-mph you don’t even realize it,” said Robertson. “It’s hard to believe you’re going as fast as you are. You don’t have the indicators that you have on the street. It is indescribable and yet amazingly smooth.”

Susan will be in the Bridgestone Motorsport paddock area July 29-31, greeting fans as well as showing off two of her team’s bikes, the Makita Suzuki Hayabusa sport bike and the Makita Suzuki 750 GSX. On race day she will present the trophy to Champ Car’s Bridgestone Pole Award winner.

“We’re so incredibly excited to have Susan join us this weekend,” said Al Speyer, executive director, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC. “This is such an incredible accomplishment and we’re proud to have her represent us here. Her participation with our auto racing program just highlights the wide-ranging premier performance of Bridgestone brand tires in motorsports activities all over the world.”

In August, Susan will venture to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in an attempt to set a blistering 217-mph record.

“I want to go faster,” said Robertson. “I’m excited and look forward to it. I’m doing what I have always wanted to do.”

Susan is the marketing director for Red Mountain Retail Group, a developer of shopping centers throughout the western United States. In her personal time she pursues her love of speed. Susan has now set two land speed records and looks forward to setting more with FL Racing in 2005.

Drivers not happy with SJ track Drivers not happy with SJ trackIt looks like AutoRacing1.com isn't the only one calling the San Jose track Mickey Mouse in that it's too short and too narrow in places. Can you say crashfest? Talking to the drivers today we heard that the biggest safety issue is not enough runoff at the end of the straight at the hairpin - only about 100 feet from apex. There is also a massive crown just before you get to the Turn 3 hairpin on drivers left. Cars will get serious air unless they stay to the right and then dart back to the left before the turn. Also turn 5 has curbing which will launch a car. As we write this Grandstand 3a is being moved to allow more runoff. They need to move them to the east side of Almaden and allow runoff all the way to Santa Clara but that is unlikely. Fans with tickets for the Grandstand 3a are not going to be happy one way or another. They will either be too far away or not able to see down the track. Ziggy from Champ Car is here with Chris Kneifel and Bob Singleton and they are telling all the teams and drivers, “let us handle it and we'll report later.” Bob Heathcote
Dyson Lolas top practice at Portland Dyson Lolas top practice at PortlandIt's setting up to be another record-breaking weekend for the American Le Mans Series. The four fastest cars in Thursday's test session for the Portland Grand Prix were under the track qualifying record, and they also were faster than last year's quick time in testing. What's more, the top car in each of the four ALMS classes were quicker than the existing track records.

At the top of the speed chart Thursday were Dyson Racing's two Lola EX257s. The No. 20 entry of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson set the pace with a lap of 1:03.145, nearly a second faster than David Brabham's record time in 2001. Coincidentally, Wallace won the pole for last year's Portland race and the last round of the ALMS two weeks ago at Infineon Raceway.

"The first corner is a little faster, probably not more than a second," Wallace said. "I suppose the teams are working really hard, just like they did at Infineon. Everybody is honing their setups."

About 0.4 seconds off the pace was the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger. They were followed by Champion Racing's two Audi R8s: the No. 1 entry of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner, followed by the No. 2 of Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela. The No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola B05/40, which won in LMP2 two weeks ago at Infineon Raceway, posted a lap of 1:06.989 with Clint Field and Gregor Fisken at the wheel. Next in class was the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 of Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry.

Corvette Racing's two Corvette C6-Rs were quickest in GT1, with the No. 3 entry of Johnny O'Connell and Ron Fellows turning a lap of 1:08.864, more than a second faster than teammate Olivier Beretta's class qualifying record set last year. Speaking of Beretta, he and Oliver Gavin were second in class Thursday at 1:09.167. The third- and fourth-quickest cars in class (the No. 5 Pacific Coast Motorsports Corvette C5-R and the No. 35 Maserati MC 12) also were under Beretta's mark. Thursday's times, though, are unofficial. In GT2, the two fastest cars also were under their class records Thursday. The No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long, class point leaders, was fastest at 1:13.050. Less than 0.2 seconds behind was the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, who have won three ALMS races in a row. Boris Said holds the class mark of 1:13.291, set in August 2001.

Third quickest in class Thursday was the No. 24 AJR Porsche of Ian Baas and Darren Law at 1:13.834. Flying Lizard Motorsports' two Porsches, Nos. 44 and 45, were next.

The Portland Grand Prix is set for Saturday at Portland International Raceway. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel from 8 to 11 p.m. EDT, the first time an ALMS race has been broadcast in prime time. Qualifying is scheduled for 2:55 to 3:40 p.m. PDT on Friday. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

Why San Jose is important for Champ Car Why San Jose is important for Champ CarA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, With the San Jose track so short and Mickey Mouse, why does Champ Car even bother racing there? Dan Moon, Lansing, Michigan Dear Dan, Hopefully Champ Car and the city will find a way to lengthen the track next year. What's key about San Jose is that it is the heart of Silicon Valley. Attracting high-tech companies like Intel, who sponsor Justin Wilson for a limited number of races right now, should not be taken lightly. Intel as we know, is a very major company. If Carl Russo is able to woo them into a full-time sponsorship role, it would be a major coup and open the eyes of other Silicon Valley giants. Both Carl Russo and Kevin Kalkhoven have their business roots in Silicon Valley. Their connections run deep. MarkC.
Servia eyes P1 Servia eyes P1Oriol Servia, replacement driver for the injured Bruno Junqueira, feels that victory for his PacifiCare team is just around the corner. "The relationship couldn't be better,' said Servia of his experience at Newman/Haas Racing. 'From the first minute I joined the team I got a huge amount of support from all of the team members, the owners and my sponsor PacifiCare so it's been great. The good thing is that every session we go out, it's better, better, better ! We're getting closer and closer to the P1 position. I knew we weren't the fastest out there in Toronto when I was leading but sometimes things happen in racing and you can win even if you aren't the fastest. Four podiums in five races for the PacifiCare team with the past two being second place is pretty good and we are hoping to continue this in San Jose. We're really working to get the PacifiCare car to P1, which is what the team deserves."
Firestone 400 notes of interest Firestone 400 notes of interest
SPEED Channel Offers Unique Viewing Options SPEED Channel Offers Unique Viewing OptionsRace fans looking to feed their racing fix this weekend with Sunday's live SPEED Channel telecast of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant (Live, 1 p.m. ET) will have another unique viewing option with the television network's recently-launched On-board SPEED Pass.

Through its www.SPEEDTV.com web site, the new On-board SPEED Pass service gives fans the opportunity to toggle among as many as six live channels of live streaming race video from multiple on-board cameras. The interactive service makes its Rolex Series debut this weekend from Barber Motorsports Park and will be offered in conjunction with live Rolex Series telecasts from Watkins Glen International on September 24, Virginia International Raceway on October 9 and Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City on November 5.

''Viewers will have exclusive video and multimedia content for each race,'' said SPEED Channel Vice President of Business Development and Operations Kevin Annison. 'SPEED Pass lets the fans call the camera shots they most want to experience. This new service is a continued evolution of brand extension initiatives SPEED has entered into already in 2005.'

SPEED Channel is offering the service in partnership with Global Media Services. Fans may purchase the service á la carte for $4.99 per event, or may purchase an entire series package' which includes events for other racing series in addition to the Rolex Series' for a 10 percent discount.

''We are delighted that SPEED Channel has included the Rolex Series as part of its On-board SPEED Pass offering,'' Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson said. ''Not only will this fascinating technology enhance the viewing experience for our fans watching the SPEED Channel telecast, but it will also provide an opportunity for fans who do not have access to the television broadcast to see our race. This opportunity to ride along on-board our Daytona Prototypes and GT race cars through On-board SPEED Pass should prove to be a thrilling experience.''

Industry News
A major vote of no-confidence A major vote of no-confidenceDaimlerChrysler's chief executive Jurgen Schrempp will leave his job at the end of the year, several years before his contract was up. The news sent DaimlerChrysler's stock up by more than 8%, adding about $4.5bn to the value of the company indicating that investors were not happy with the way he was running the company. Under him the company did support F1, however, and that's not expected to change after he is gone.
Will Button guess wrong again? Will Button guess wrong again?Jenson Button is trying to get out of his contract with Williams next year because he believes the BAR Honda team will give him the best chance of winning because the Williams team has no car manufacturer behind them. Williams has been largely uncompetitive this year, probably making Button lose sleep over his commitment to return to Williams in 2006.

A year ago Button was making public statements about how good Williams was and how he wanted to drive there but there was no room for him. Those statements may come back to haunt Button if the case goes to court. And what happens if the Williams V8 from Cosworth is faster than the Honda next year? Will Button than regret he stayed at BAR?
Villeneuve thinks he is set at Sauber Villeneuve thinks he is set at SauberSauber driver Jacques Villeneuve said here Thursday that he is certain he will continue racing for his current team when it is taken over by BMW next season. Canadian Villeneuve, who won the world title with Williams in 1997, joined the Swiss team on a two-year contract at the start of this year but his position was unclear after BMW bought out the team at the end of June.

When asked if he would stay with the Swiss team next year, however, he said: "Yeah, I am not even questioning it. I have a contract and so my chances are very good. Why should it change? The team was sold with all the contracts in place."

Record number of cars to test at The Glen Record number of cars to test at The GlenWatkins Glen International announced today that 45 cars are expected to test in preparation for the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Zippo 200 NASCAR BUSCH Series races, August 13 & 14. The test is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, August 1 & 2. Several NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers are planning to test in a NASCAR Busch Series car – perhaps to take on double duty when they come back to compete in two weeks.

Among those expected to test in both cars are Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Elliot Sadler, Carl Edwards, Travis Kvapil, Robby Gordon and road course specialists – Boris Said and Ron Fellows. Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett and Joe Nemechek will be testing in NASCAR Busch Series cars as well. 

The 45-car line-up also includes NASCAR drivers like Jeremy Mayfield, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Busch.

Fans are encouraged to attend the test session on both Monday and Tuesday to watch between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. The first 50 fans to buy tickets to the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen and/or Zippo 200 events will get a free Thunder Road Tour ($25 value) and get a chance to “drive” the same track as these NASCAR stars. Fans that already have tickets to the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen and Zippo 200 event weekend will get FREE admission to the test session otherwise admission is $5 each day and fans can enter through Gate 4 or Gate 5. Call 866-461-RACE for details or visit www.TheGlen.com.

Alex Gurney to drive in Alabama Alex Gurney to drive in AlabamaThe past and the present will come together this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, as Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney are set for Sunday’s Grand-Am Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant, where they’ll make their third start in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley.  Alex will also give the Barber Park fans a treat by taking his father Dan’s historic Lotus 29 Indy car out for parade laps, courtesy of George Barber’s Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. “It’s going to be a really special experience for myself and the fans,” Alex said.  As for the race, Alex is fired up by the GAINSCO team’s intensive testing program conducted at the track over the past two weeks, which instilled him with a sense of confidence – and excitement.  “We were strong at Laguna Seca but Daytona was difficult for us,” Gurney said. “We feel much more prepared for Barber Motorsports Park. We joined a bunch of the other teams for a testing program here a few weeks ago and we feel really excited about being able to race here. It’s an amazing track, with tricky quick corner entries and big elevation changes.”   Alex said the heat and humidity of the Alabama days will pose a tough physical challenge – but one they’re ready to cope with as well.  “We know the heat’s going to be a factor, so Bob and I have really been training hard and the crew’s trying some different cooling systems, so we think we’ll be OK,” Gurney said.  The testing also gave Bob a taste of the challenge awaiting him.  “I was blown away by the beauty and the beast which is Barber Park,” Stallings said. “It very well may be the best-looking racing venue in America, but it demands great focus, attention and driving skill if you are to go fast and it will eat you up if you don’t pay attention.”
Bridgestone brings new soft tire to San Jose Bridgestone brings new soft tire to San JoseEach Champ Car receives nine sets of slicks (36 tires) for the weekend, to use in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. Bridgestone Motorsport has brought a brand-new specification for this weekend’s event.  The race tire development team has adopted a new raw material for Bridgestone’s street-course application which provides increased grip without sacrificing wear.  This new soft street course tire is expected to have performance standards similar to the tire used at Toronto earlier this season.
Bell back behind wheel of Panther's No. 2 Bell back behind wheel of Panther's No. 2Townsend Bell returns to the IndyCar Series this weekend as driver of the No. 2 ROCKSTAR Panther Racing Chevrolet-powered Dallara in the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Bell, who recorded five top-10 finishes in 10 starts for Panther Racing in 2004, will fill in for Tomas Enge, who is recovering from injuries suffered in an accident during the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway earlier this month.

"We're thrilled that Townsend was available and willing to re-join Panther Racing this weekend," team co-owner John Barnes said. "We are still looking forward to when Tomas Enge gets healthy and can get back in the ROCKSTAR car, but Townsend did a great job for us last year, and we know he'll be able to catch on quickly and have a great run this weekend at Michigan."

Bell, a native of San Luis Obispo, Calif., qualified seventh at Michigan last season and finished eighth.

"It's great to be back," Bell said. "I've been following the races this season, and I know all the Panther boys will make me feel right at home. I was sitting on the beach last year when Panther gave me a call, and I was pleasantly surprised that an opportunity came my way again this year. I hope (Tomas) Enge makes a full recovery, because he has learned what it takes to be competitive in the IRL, and I know how badly he wants to get back in this car."

Enge suffered small fractures to his T-12 and L-1 vertebra. His status will be re-evaluated prior to the Amber Alert Indy 300 Presented by GPS Industries at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 13.

Hungarian GP Thursday Press Conference Hungarian GP Thursday Press ConferenceHungarian GP Thursday Press Conference with Jenson Button, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jacques Villeneuve and Kimi Raikkonen. Transcript
A1 Grand Prix
Verstappen signs for Dutch A1GP team Verstappen signs for Dutch A1GP teamJos Verstappen has been named as Holland's driver for the A1GP series. Verstappen, who raced in Formula One for Tyrrell, Arrows and Minardi, is his country's most successful single-seater racer.

Team Holland manager Jan Lammers said: "We wanted to put together a team we could be proud of as a country and the icing on the cake is having Jos drive for us. He is without doubt the most popular driver from the Netherlands and his results speak for themselves."

"I am sure the thousands of fans who have followed his career closely will now be waving our country's flag in this innovative new series."

"Of course it's very unusual having to defend your country," added Verstappen. "The fact that next week I will climb into a bright orange car not to represent a team or a sponsor, but an entire population makes this very special."

Labor Day Weekend Races to Finish Under the Lights Labor Day Weekend Races to Finish Under the LightsOverwhelming fan reaction to night racing at California Speedway has resulted in later start times for the speedway's NASCAR Labor Day weekend events.  It was announced today that California Speedway's three September NASCAR events - NASCAR West Series 200, NASCAR Busch Series 300 and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series SONY HD 500 - will have night racing finishes.

Following the 2004 events, fans and competitors alike embraced the excitement of night racing.  The new race times are a direct result of fans desire to see more night racing at California Speedway.

"We're thrilled to be able to deliver on our fans' desire for later start times at California Speedway's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races," said Gillian Zucker, California Speedway president. "Guests will have the opportunity to experience daytime, dusk and racing under the lights all in one visit at California's largest sporting event and teams will face the challenge of changing track temperatures as the sun sets, adding to the excitement of the competition."

Growing interest in the sport of NASCAR and increased television ratings nationwide over the first half of the 2005 season has resulted in additional demand for events to be televised in primetime.

"NASCAR is always looking to make our fans' experience even better and night racing at California Speedway does just that," said Dick Glover, NASCAR VP Broadcasting and Media who runs NASCAR's Los Angeles office.  "As a SoCal resident, I can personally attest to the fun and excitement of night racing here."

Friday's West Series 200 will race completely under the lights with a start time of 8:00 p.m.  Saturday's action will feature NEXTEL Cup qualifying beginning at 2:20 p.m. followed by the Busch Series 300. This race has a start time of 5:35 p.m. (last year's event started at 3:00 p.m.) and "Finishes Under the Lights." Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series SONY HD 500 will begin at 5:10 p.m. when America's best racing talent lines up to take the green flag. 

Tickets to the NASCAR Labor Day weekend event are available now. For ticket and event information, call 800-944-RACE [7223] or visit www.californiaspeedway.com.

Hungarian GP - Looking for grip and quickness Hungarian GP - Looking for grip and quicknessThe Hungaroring which hosts the thirteenth round of the World Championship this weekend is unusual in that, although it is challenging to drive, it can be frustrating to race on because of the very limited overtaking opportunities. Therefore, a Formula 1 car’s set-up here has to be a compromise between ideal performance and the need to maintain or gain track position. Helping Rubens Barrichello make the right choices from the start of practice on Friday is his Vehicle Engineer, Rodi Basso, who hails from Naples.

Basso is qualified as an aeronautical engineer, having worked in the United States for NASA near Washington. “I used to fly high and now I keep my feet on the ground,” he jokes about the contrast between his past and present work. “I have been with Ferrari for five years, starting as a Vehicle Engineer on the test team which is how I started my “education” as to the work involved at the race track, how all the various roles operate and how to run an F1 car during test sessions. Actually, the work with NASA and Ferrari has similarities, in that involves detailed study of data, in one case on satellites and in the other in terms of vehicle dynamics.”

After two years with the test team, Basso moved to the race team, starting to work with Barrichello at the Italian Grand Prix in 2002. “My role is to make the car perform to its maximum while ensuring reliability,” summarizes Basso. “The main part of the job is divided into two: one looks at car set-up and aerodynamics to provide the race engineer with key data to help him understand what to do to the car to improve its performance. So for this, you need to have a good understanding with the race engineer, as well as the driver. Then there is a closer relationship with the driver as part of the performance is linked to the strategy of how the car functions corner by corner which we can alter using different electronic strategies. It is important to find a good set-up for the entire track and we have strategies that allow us to analyze the track corner by corner to eliminate problems and find solutions. This is achieved mainly through work on the differential, traction control and engine braking.”

Apart from improving the package, the role of the Vehicle Engineer also extends to helping the driver to get the most out of it. “With Rubens, we look at the drivability of the package, by studying the telemetric data, again corner by corner,” explains Basso. “We also study video analysis of the lap with the performance engineer to try and find the best lines through the corner. We can then compare this data to what the other driver in the team is doing which in our case means Michael, who is a great reference point.

“Rubens is a pleasure to work with in this respect as he is very good at analyzing everything. He is particularly good at understanding the telemetry and above all, after each session, he can describe corner by corner in such detail that I feel as though I am in the car. He can split up the various parts of each corner so that we can see where the problems are. From there, we try and solve them, working on the aerodynamic and mechanical set-up, to improve the drivability of the car.”

The Hungarian circuit is a challenge for the engineering team, partly because it is a low grip track. “So it is essential to get a good compromise in terms of grip from the tires, which means that ideally you would want to use a soft compound tire,” says Basso. “However, one of the peculiarities of this track is that there are a lot of changes of direction. Therefore you need a car that has good stability to accelerate and deal with the slow corners, while at the same time it has to flow well through the turns. Turns 6, 8 and 9 for example are quite quick and require rapid changes of direction. So you don’t want a lazy car. You need to find the right compromise between a car that is soft enough in terms of set up to provide good grip while also providing this rapid change of direction. For example, in the third sector of the track, mechanical grip and downforce are the key requirements, while the second sector requires the car to be more fluid and quicker in the corners.”

As at all grands prix this year, the teams have had to adapt to only being allowed to use one set of tires for the entire race. “This means you need a less aggressive approach in terms of the tires,” explains Basso. “You try and set the brakes to avoid them locking up which can have a negative effect on the tires, especially the life of the rear ones. In Hungary it is especially important to deal with the high track temperatures, which makes life hard on the tires and additionally, every braking point on this track is bumpy, so you need very stable braking to then allow you to accelerate out of the slow speed corners.”

Despite Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s good record at the Magyar circuit – three wins in the last four years, the team’s current form means this will be tough weekend for the world champions. “Because of the difficulty in overtaking, you want to be as high up the grid as possible, so we have to admit this could make it a tough race for us, as we have seen this year,” agrees Basso. “It has been a trend this season that sometimes the perfect race strategy has to be compromised to achieve a better grid position and that will most probably be the case here.” Ferrari Press

MB2 Close to Signing a sponsor for the old No. 10 team MB2 Close to Signing a sponsor for the old No. 10 teamIt appears MB-2 Motorsports is close to announcing a new sponsor to replace Valvoline which is leaving for Evernham Motorsports at the end of the season. Driver Scott Riggs says “I know that MB-2 is a lot closer to signing a contract with a sponsor and announcing that within the next week or two, so I know they’ve gotten closer and moved forward.” When asked if he would stay with the team is a full-time primary sponsor is signed, Riggs couldn’t say for sure. “Well, the chances are definitely a lot higher me staying with a sponsor than without.” PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show
Menard to run at Watkins Glen in No. 1 Menard to run at Watkins Glen in No. 1DEI #11 Busch Series driver, Paul Menard will attempt to make his first DEI Cup start at Watkins Glen in the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen on August 14th. Menard will drive the #1 Kraft Chevy. Menard will run in the Busch Series in 2006 with select Nextel Cup starts and plans got a full-time Nextel Cup ride in 2007. NASCAR Scene Magazine
Kahne testing his USAC car at IRP Kahne testing his USAC car at IRPKasey Kahne will be testing his USAC Silver Crown team owned car at IRP on Thursday for a possible run in the J. D. Byrider 100 Silver Crown race on August 4th, during Kroger SpeedFest. The test will run from 8:00 A. M. until Noon. The team has requested interviews be held following the session. Media outlets will be allowed to gather b-roll and photographs during the session. This test is not open to the public. Kroger SpeedFest is three nights of pulse pounding racing under the lights at IRP. On Thursday August 4th the stars of the USAC Silver Crown Series will take to the track in the J. D. Byrider 100. On Friday, the Power Stroke Diesel 200, featuring the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will bump and bang all the way to victory lane. The weekend concludes with the 24th annual Kroger 200, NASCAR Busch Series race. IRP PR
Industry News
'Women in the Winner's Circle' Luncheon 'Women in the Winner's Circle' LuncheonThe Lyn St. James Foundation will hold its third annual "Women in the Winner's Circle" luncheon from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4 in the Schwitzer Student Center at the University of Indianapolis, 1400 East Hanna Ave.  The luncheon seeks to help the advancement and promotion of women throughout the motorsports industry. It is part of the festivities surrounding the NASCAR and USAC races in Indianapolis that week leading up to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The luncheon is open to the public and a limited number of tickets are still available. Information on how to purchase tickets is available at www.lynstjames.com or by calling (317) 920-2251.All net proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the Lyn St. James Foundation, a 501(C)3 not-for-profit foundation.  This year's program features a reception, a silent auction and a luncheon with over 30 drivers, including Sarah Fisher, Erin Crocker and Allison Duncan, as well as many women who work in technical fields of motorsports.
CARA sells 30,000 bracelets CARA sells 30,000 braceletsOne of the hottest racing items during the 2005  season has made thousands of dollars for charity with institution of the "Buckle Up" Bracelet" or  the "Racelet" as they are now known on the racing campaign.  CARA Charities, one of motorsports' top charitable groups, introduced the "Racelets" in  April and has now sold over 30,000 "Buckle Up Bracelets in just four months.  Over $56,000 has  been raised this summer for selected causes nationally through sales at the racing facilities and  online.  Toyota, Bridgestone/Firestone and CARA combined to create a new project to continue  "Buckle Up" safety with the institution of the "Buckle Up Bracelet."  "We are thrilled with the reception of the 'Buckle Up Bracelet' throughout the racing  community," said Barbara Butz, president of CARA Charities.  "With the popularity of the silicone  bracelet across the world, we felt a checkered 'Racelet' would be a great addition for racing fans  as well as creating a more revenue for our successful Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund Buckle  Up Baby program. We are excited to give more money to needy families."  For over ten years, CARA Charities and the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund have  raised more than $700,000 through its "Buckle Up Baby" program.
Liqui Moly Joins HVM Racing Liqui Moly Joins HVM RacingContinuing their worldwide commercial efforts, HVM Racing and their driver, Bjorn Wirdheim are pleased to announce Liqui Moly, a leading European car care company that specializes in lube oils and additives has joined the team as an associate sponsor.

Wirdheim, a former F3000 Champion and Rookie in the Champ Car World Series will carry the Liqui Moly logo on his #4 HVM/Ford-Cosworth/Lola.  “I am honored Liqui Moly has chosen to come on board and support my Champ Car efforts.  Liqui Moly has a long history of supporting Motorsports and is a respected company in my home country of Sweden and throughout Europe. Champ Car offers them a massive worldwide audience as they grow their brand and I look forward to representing them to the best of my ability every step of the way,” said Wirdheim

HVM looks forward to a long relationship with Germany’s leader in the additive market, Owner and Managing Director, Keith Wiggins commented, “We are delighted to start this association with Liqui Moly. They are well known in Europe and have recently entered the American market.  In 2005 we will be working with them on their range of additive products and are already discussing with them a wider program for 2006 involving both additives and oil products and support for their US distribution. It is wonderful to see companies like Liqui Moly following the European drivers into the Champ Car Series.”

Peter Baumann, Marketing Director for Liqui Moly commented on their new marketing strategy, “Liqui Moly is really proud to be back on the map of international Motorsports.  After many years in Formula 1 and other European series, Liqui Moly now has joined Champ Car.  HVM and their popular driver, Bjorn Wirdheim gives us the opportunity to increase the awareness and the image of our brand worldwide and especially in the U.S. and Sweden.  We will use this impact to increase our business in these markets.”  For more information about Liqui Moly, please visit www.liquimoly.de.

Hungaroring - GP2 - Preview Hungaroring - GP2 - PreviewThe GP2 series moves onto its eighth round this weekend, at the Hungaroring just outside Budapest, Hungary. The circuit is a notoriously tricky venue, where corner follows corner, giving the drivers no opportunity to rest, and no margin for error.

The sheer number of turns makes the track incredibly difficult on which to pass, but it has been possible since a number of corners were re-designed in 2003.

The GP2 series arrives with its hopes high for yet another enthralling weekend as the battles for both the teams and drivers’ championships reach a critical stage.

This weekend, the paddock welcomes a new driver, Giorgio Mondini, to the GP2 series family. Giorgio is the reigning Formula Renault V6 Champion, and will be racing alongside double race winner Olivier Pla at DPR following Ryan Sharp’s request to have his contract ended early. A proven race winner over his career to date, Giorgio has been up against a number of GP2 series drivers in the past and is sure to be eager to renew old rivalries over the remainder of the 2005 season. zzzz

Last weekend two very different but equally hard-fought races at Hockenheim saw Nico Rosberg and his ART Grand Prix team take a huge points haul to overtake Arden International at the top of the teams’ championship. Nico himself set the record for the most points taken by a single driver in a GP2 series weekend to date (19 out of a possible maximum of 22) to cut Heikki Kovalainen’s championship lead from 20, to just six points.
For the first time in the GP2 series, the Saturday and Sunday race winners were identical to those at the previous round. With Nico taking the spoils in Race 1, Olivier Pla once again showed he had the mettle to bring home the bacon in Race 2 for his DPR team, just as they had in Silverstone two weeks earlier. There was a new points scorer too, in the shape of Racing Engineering’s Borja García.

The question on everyone’s lips in Hungary is sure to be thus: Who, out of Heikki and Nico, will leave the Hungaroring on top of the championship table?

With just six points separating the two drivers, competition is sure to be fierce. As Nico showed last time out, a great weekend from one driver in comparison to an ordinary weekend from another, could flip this championship on its head. And with a whole host of drivers waiting to pounce on the leading pair, it’s not just each other of whom the current championship combatants need to be cautious.

In Hockenheim, the lead in the teams’ championship changed hands for the first time this season. Arden International, for so long the benchmark in the series, have slipped from the top spot. ART Grand Prix’s sensational recent show of form has given them the championship lead. Super Nova International and iSport International are equal on points in third and, like their lead drivers Adam Carroll and Scott Speed, are ready to make the most of any slip up which might befall the two protagonists at the head of the standings. GP2

Schumacher predicts a tough weekend ahead Schumacher predicts a tough weekend aheadThis weekend's challenge for Ferrari comes in the shape of Hungaroring, a circuit situated close to Budapest. The very tight and twisty nature of the circuit will not play into the hands of Michael Schumacher who struggled with excessive Bridgestone wear last time out in Hockenheim.

Schumacher ran third for much of the German Grand Prix weekend only for his tires to go off in the second half of the race allowing first Jenson Button and then Giancarlo Fisichella past, pushing him down to fifth place at the checkered flag.

The F2005 has won just one race this year, the six car US Grand Prix, and any signs that the team are turning the performance problem around are not forthcoming. Simply put, the 2004 Champions are a second to a second and half off the ultimate pace in race conditions and that is too much ground to make up, despite the best efforts of all at the Maranello squad.

Michael Schumacher remains third in the drivers' championship, just four points behind the ever-unfortunate Kimi Raikkonen, while Championship leader Fernando Alonso is a massive 40 points ahead. Rubens Barrichello, who was unable to finish in the top-eight at Hockenheim, is fifth in the standings with 31 points. Ferrari are however a relatively comfortable third in the Constructors' Championship. zzzz
Michael Schumacher - "This is the last race before the brief summer break. Taking into account the results of the last few weeks, it will probably not be an easy race. There are only a few days separating Hockenheim and Budapest and so it is unrealistic to expect big strides to have been made. Naturally, we will go on trying to improve the current state of affairs."

"The Budapest circuit, after the modifications made two years ago, is technically very demanding and, in my opinion, more interesting as a result. However, it is almost impossible to overtake and this has always been a crucial factor here. We will see what we are able to do... I recently stated that I didn't want to make predictions and this stands for Hungary too. We will be trying to do our best." Ferrari

ACO hands down weight penalty to Vette and Aston Martin ACO hands down weight penalty to Vette and Aston MartinBecause the Corvette and Aston Martin lapped the LeMans circuit during this year's 24 Hours of LeMans under the 3m55s goal set by the ACO for the GT1 category, both will have to carry 25kg more weight (around 55 lbs) starting with the ALMS Road America race on August 21st. The move will make the Ferrari 550 Maranello more competitive.
Champ Car drivers talk about San Jose Champ Car drivers talk about San Jose
Sebastien Bourdais #1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “Our season has been kind of difficult so far but the McDonald’s team is leading the championship and maybe after the win in Edmonton things have begun to turn around. Hopefully we can keep the lead leaving San Jose and move forward for the rest of the races. We have had some frustrations in many of the events and have not had the kind of finishes we would have liked to have but we’ll see how it goes in the second half of the season. Definitely we would like to see the luck turn around as it did in Edmonton and start some momentum. There is a lot of guessing for a new track but Newman/Haas has been pretty good at it. I think street racing is obviously a big attraction for the racing. We’re going where the interest is. I heard a lot of very good things that are going to happen for the future. Champ Car is on the way up and that’s a very good sign.”

Paul Tracy #3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “From everything I hear the San Jose event is going to be a great event. The track looks interesting and we seem to have a really good street course package this year so I’m excited about the race. I understand ticket and chalet sales are strong, and that doesn’t surprise me since Bob Singleton is running the event. He’s made the Toronto event into one of the premier street festivals in all of racing so I’m sure the Bay Area fans are in for a real treat.”

Justin Wilson #9 CDW/RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “Edmonton definitely put a hiccup in the momentum RuSPORT had built, but we did show that even though we’re a new team, we could come to a track that none of us have been to and get the cars quick straight away. I feel pretty positive that we can come into the same scenario here in San Jose and do it again. We’re right there more consistently now, so it’s a matter of keeping that going.” zzzz

Oriol Servia #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “My relationship with the team couldn’t be better. From the first minute I joined the team I got a huge amount of support from all of the team members, the owners and my sponsor PacifiCare so it’s been great. The good thing is that every session we go out, it’s better, better, better! Four podiums in five races for the PacifiCare team with the past two being second place is pretty good and we are hoping to continue this in San Jose. We’re really working to get the PacifiCare car to P1, which is what the team deserves. I think it’s great to race in San Jose. It’s definitely the high tech heart of the state and probably the world so I think it’s important for high tech series like us to be racing in that area. The Newman/Haas team has done a lot of preparation for this event. They do a lot of simulation work on the computer and we were very well prepared for the new track in Edmonton. The cars were good in Edmonton and we finished 1-2 there so hopefully we can do the same in San Jose.”

AJ Allmendinger #10 Western Union/RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “I’ve really been looking forward to this race all season. It’s been my dream to drive Champ Cars and now I am and through the streets I grew up around! It doesn’t get much cooler than that. I was pretty gutted over the outcome of the Edmonton race, but if I could get my first win here, that would awesome. I have so many family members and friends coming to this race that they will probably take up a whole grandstand to themselves!”

Mario Dominguez #7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “The San Jose race is going to be big for us. I hear the Hispanic community is very big there, so hopefully we’ll see some Mexican flags in the stands and the people will come out to support our team. The track is going to be challenging since none of us have seen it before. You always wonder about things like the amount of grip and the bumps in the pavement that you don’t notice in a street car but which can make things very challenging in a Champ Car at 180mph.”

Timo Glock #8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “I am excited to go to San Jose, especially after coming from such a successful Champ Car debut event in Edmonton. It is another new track for the Champ Car veterans, but for me they are all new since I am a rookie. However, it is much easier for me to go into a new Champ Car event because everyone has to learn the track, not just me. The track looks small and very interesting. It will be a challenge to drive and definitely a hard race, come Sunday. I hope that we can have another chance for some luck – as we were so close to a good finish in Edmonton, before our luck ran out. We had a good car in Edmonton, so I am confident as we head to San Jose knowing that I felt good in the car and with a few changes, we should be running back where we belong – in the top five.”

Andrew Ranger #27 Tide/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “We are once again going to a new venue that is holding its inaugural race and I have a strong feeling it’s going to be as exciting as Edmonton was for the entire Champ Car community two weeks ago. Having only seen the track layout on paper, I still believe it will suit my driving style with its 90-degree turns and hard braking zones, much like the Toronto street course. Even though we have been quick in the last few races, we have missed out on getting points so we are really focused on getting a strong finish this weekend in San Jose. Hopefully, we can battle with the leaders and cross the finish line in the top-5, which would give us a great shot at regaining the rookie lead and making our way back into the top-10 in the overall standings.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay #31 Cytomax Sport Drink/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “It is great to be heading to another new venue. The series is coming off of its most successful Canadian race event after the new race in Edmonton, so it will be exciting to see how things go in San Jose. There couldn’t be a better market to stage a race in, than San Jose. Another new venue is also good for our current team situation, as it will be a level playing field once again. We have to take advantage of that and make good progress the balance of the car over the weekend in order to find us running up front and aiming for a podium finish on Sunday.”

Nelson Philippe #34 Wellbox Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: “I think this race is going to be a really cool one. Just like Edmonton, this is a place that nobody knows and it will give a fairer advantage to the less experienced drivers. My team has been awesome all year and I feel we are really starting to click. The communication is much better, the performance is up and we now have a lot of fun on race weekends. As far as results for this race, I am disappointed in my race pace from Edmonton, so I will be looking to improve my overall performance this weekend and go up the grid. I love street courses and this one seems no different than what we are used to, so I know that we will have a good car.”

Brawn calls for 90% aero reduction Brawn calls for 90% aero reductionFerrari's technical director Ross Brawn have called for a dramatic reduction of downforce in Formula 1. Several drivers has complained that overtaking has become extremely difficult with the introduction of the 2005 regulations, because cars are now incapable of following each other closely through high-speed corners.

Brawn agrees with the FIA's proposals for the 2008 technical regulations which call for a 90% cut in downforce, which would limit cars' dependence on aerodynamics.

"I'm advocating just forgetting downforce because it's the bane of F1," he told Autosport magazine. "It doesn't give us anything. It doesn't give any added value to F1 having the performance of the car generated by aerodynamic means. I would advocate a much stronger move back to mechanical and tire grip and much less dependency on aerodynamics."

"I think we can do this by producing a set of regulations that would produce a more streamlined car," he said. "We need to get rid of all these appendages and bits and pieces. I think there's a fear that the core of the aerodynamics departments will disappear, but aerodynamics will always be very important on an F1 car. I just think we could manage it in a nicer way and reduce the proportion of the performance from the aero."

Raikkonen's lap of Hungaroring Raikkonen's lap of HungaroringKimi Raikkonen's championship hopes may now be all but over following a host of problems for the Finn over the last three races, but as ever, he will be giving his best for McLaren Mercedes this weekend at the Hungarian Grand Prix. What follows is Raikkonen's description of a lap of the Hungarian circuit.

'As you cross the line at the Hungaroring, you reach some 290km/h in seventh gear as you power along the approach to turn one. As the downhill right-hander swings you round 180-degrees, your speed drops to 120km/h.

On the power as you exit, you reach 225km/h in fourth gear along the short straight that leads to turn two, a long second gear left hander that is negotiated at 80km/h.

The sweeping right of turn three follows immediately, and your speed increases to some 225km/h and takes you onto the back straight.

Powering up through the gears to some 285km/h in seventh, you dab the brakes as you enter the fast, left-hander of turn four. Changing down into fourth gear, it is taken at 200km/h.

You then climb uphill, reaching some 217km/h, still in fourth, on the approach to turn five. This long, bumpy right hander is taken at 128km/h in third gear. You push hard on the throttle for the short straight that leads to the right-left chicane of turns six and seven, which is taken at 90km/h in second.

The chicane leads you to turn eight, a third gear left hander, taken at 128km/h, which itself is immediately followed by the right flick of turn nine. It is important to maintain your speed through the corner as you accelerate out through the slight left kink of turn ten, reaching 225km/h in fifth gear.

Then softly on the brakes for turn eleven. The track tightens as you drive through the right hander. A short burst on the throttle takes you to the revised 90-degrees right of turn twelve. You brake from 235km/h to below 160km/h.

On the approach to turn thirteen, you reach 217km/h in fourth before braking hard for the left-hander hairpin, which is taken at 80km/h in second.

The final right-hander is negotiated at 136km/h in third gear and takes you back onto the start-finish straight.' McLaren Mercedes

Herbert takes role at Jordan Herbert takes role at JordanFormer grand prix winner Johnny Herbert has taken his first step into Formula One management as Jordan's new sporting relations manager. The Englishman, who won three grands prix during his time at Stewart and Benetton, has been out of racing since leaving the Audi sports car squad at the end of last season. But he will return to Formula One as Jordan's new sporting chief, effectively replacing Trevor Carlin who left his post last month.

Herbert, 41, is the first high-profile signing by Jordan since the team was taken over by Midland, a move which will see the squad renamed next year.

Former Le Mans winner Herbert said: "It is an honor and a pleasure to be back in Formula One racing with a team I feel so familiar with. Although I never drove for Jordan in Formula One, it still feels like a homecoming of sorts. At the same time I am excited about my new role and look forward to contributing as much as possible as the team repositions itself as Midland for the 2006 season. Management and I have discussed plans for the launch of Midland F1 and I'm thrilled to be involved at the inception of such a dynamic and ambitious project."

Herbert's role at Jordan puts him below managing director Colin Kolles in the hierarchy and gives him responsibility for driver, media and sponsorship management. More at Sporting Life

Industry News
Nissan profits fall Nissan profits fallProfits at Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. dipped 14% in the first fiscal quarter compared to the same period a year ago as it wrote down the value of its assets to accommodate new Japanese accounting rules.  Nissan said Tuesday that group net profit for the three months ending June 30 totaled 105.70 billion yen, or $949 million, down from 123.23 billion yen the previous year.   A charge for a new pension plan also eroded Japan's No. 2 automaker's earnings, which had otherwise showed solid growth in operating profit.  Sales during the April-through-June period jumped 13% to 2.145 trillion yen, or $19.3 billion, from 1.905 trillion yen the same period a year ago, the Tokyo-based manufacturer said. Detroit Free Press
Israeli driver to make F1 debut Israeli driver to make F1 debutChanoch Nissany will become the first Israeli to drive a Formula 1 car in an official world championship session when he takes up Friday testing duties for Minardi in Hungary.

The 41-year-old has tested several times for Minardi and Jordan in the last year and a half and also competed in three FIA International F3000 rounds last season.

"We are very pleased that, after an extensive F1 testing program, Chanoch will be able to assume the role of Friday Test Driver for the team at the Hungarian Grand Prix," said Minardi boss Paul Stoddart.
"Aside from providing our technical staff with useful additional data, I'm sure Chanoch's presence on track this weekend will help to raise the profile of Formula 1 in both Israel and Hungary, where he is a very popular figure," added Stoddart. "This can only be a good thing for the overall health of the World Championship."

Wheldon says boycott decision came from the top Wheldon says boycott decision came from the topDan Wheldon spoke before Danica Patrick on the this week's IRL media teleconference and an IRL official asked reporters not to question him regarding the protest.  But Wheldon said he would do whatever his team owners instructed regarding an autograph session this weekend in Michigan before the Indy 400.

“I’m assuming I will be there, but obviously any time that your boss either tells you ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, you have to respect their decision,” he said, comparing the situation to teams not racing in the F1 event at Indy last month.  It’s no different to a lot of the drivers at the Formula One race. I’m sure a lot of them wanted to race. In fact, a guy I know, Kimi Raikkonen, he was desperate.   But when your boss tells you ‘No’, you’re an employee of that particular team and you have to listen to what they say. If my boss says ‘Yes’, I will be there. If my boss says ‘No’, I won’t.”

And Wheldon does not blame Patrick for being popular.

You know what, what you've got to remember is what Danica has done for the sport. She was a big part of raising those TV ratings for the Indianapolis 500. What you have to remember is the Indianapolis 500, the TV ratings that compared to the Coca-Cola 600, which isn't the greatest for NASCAR. We totally blew those guys away so from that standpoint, you have to be very, very grateful to Danica."

"I know what it felt like for me when I was a rookie in 2003, and I didn't have the media attention anywhere close that she had. To know what I felt like and then on top of that she's got all of this media, it must be very difficult for her."

"To her credit, I think she handles it absolutely excellently. I don't think anybody could handle it much better than the way she has. I stress to the media out there that you can't consider her a failure for not winning a race this year. That would be completely unfair to her because, you know, just her achievements to this day have been fantastic. I mean, for somebody to come fourth in their first Indianapolis 500 and be leading, even given her different strategy at the end, but be leading, is pretty special."

Atlanta track will be repaired in time Atlanta track will be repaired in timeNASCAR president Mike Helton was back at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Wednesday, surveying the damage from a July 6 tornado and reassuring fans that the track will be ready for the Oct. 30 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.  Some of the worst damage, estimated at $40 million, was to the suites overlooking the Weaver grandstand, buildings that Helton, who once worked as public relations manager and general manager at AMS, helped build or remodel more than 20 years ago.

"It looks like my stuff didn't hold up too well," Helton said. "Oh well, you just have to take it in stride."

But after touring the track with its current top executive, Ed Clark, the NASCAR president was confident the upcoming Nextel Cup race will go on as scheduled.

He said the racing surface, as well as the catch fence and garage areas, are ready to race.

"The things that NASCAR needs to race are there," he said. "In a lot of ways it will be like nothing has happened."  More at That's Racin

Manning places some blame on Ganassi Manning places some blame on GanassiDarren Manning told Autosport-Atlas, "Obviously Richmond was Richmond, and we all went out. We had a conversation with Chip [Ganassi] on how things have got to improve and that he can't afford to keep pulling us out of the wall, and rebuilding the cars for us. And the performance level wasn't there.

At Milwaukee I retired because of the handling. Unfortunately, it did all stem from us deciding to take it easy after Ryan's crash. Chip spoke to both teams before we ran and gave us some stern words, and that determined the rest of the weekend.

"If you back off a bit on a short oval like Milwaukee and you have to adjust the set-ups accordingly. We didn't have time to do that. If you have an oversteering moment for example, it doesn't make you go faster which you really should do. It makes you back off and it gets worse and worse.

"You go slower and slower and the cars don't really like it. It spirals downhill, and we couldn't adjust the set up accordingly. And that meant by the race Scott and I were way off the pace.

"Scott obviously decided to continue and didn't have as big a handling problem as me, but he still finished six laps down. And that's not acceptable.

"The team has all the resources and mechanics and we're not that bad. We haven't been getting the consistent performance that we should be doing with the people that we have got. They needed to make a change somewhere and that's what has happened." [i.e. Manning was fired on short notice.]

"Unfortunately for a driver, you are the one who gets all the glory, and we try and give us much as we can to other drivers but it's our faces on the front of the magazines and lifting the trophy. So the buck stops with us. Unfortunately Chip needed to make changes and I was in the wrong place in the wrong time, and I don't know if I was in the weakest position of the three drivers - but obviously I was for whatever reason."

Legge winning races where Patrick couldn’t Legge winning races where Patrick couldn’tKatherine Legge began racing in the Toyota Atlantic Series this spring with little fanfare and a sponsorship deal that didn't guarantee her a ride beyond the first half of the season.

Legge not only performed well enough to remain behind the wheel for the duration of the season, the native Briton also has emerged as one of the up-and-coming stars of the developmental series, which will run a support race at this weekend's Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose.

The 25-year-old Atlantic rookie made a historic splash by winning her series debut in April at Long Beach. She proved that victory wasn't a fluke by taking the checkered flag two weekends ago in Edmonton, Alberta.

Before Legge, no woman -- not even Danica Patrick -- had won an open-wheel race in North America. Legge is the first woman to win an open-wheel race anywhere since Desire Wilson won an Aurora Formula One race in 1980.

``Winning at Long Beach was just like proving a point,'' said Legge, who drives the No. 12 car for Polestar Racing Group. ``Maybe people took me more seriously, but I just want to be seen as a driver, not just a female driver.''

With four events remaining, Legge (pronounced leg) has five top-five finishes in eight races and is fifth in the points standings.

Outside of the two victories, Legge's Atlantic performance has been comparable to Patrick's. Patrick drove for Team Rahal for two seasons in Atlantics, compiling five top-five finishes as a rookie in 2003 and 10 top-fives while finishing third in the points standings last year.  Patrick, of course, is a sensation in the Indy Racing League after becoming the first woman to lead at the Indianapolis 500.  More at San Jose Mercury News

Don't diss Danica Don't diss DanicaThis ESPN article talks about the Danica Patrick popularity issue in the IRL where her good looks and the fact she is female is overshadowing the sports best drivers in terms of media coverage. The punch line - Don't diss Danica, even if you are right.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
McLaren chef dies in fall
JB offers Williams $3.5m
Five teams ponder tire swap
F1 teams await tobacco advice
Abu Dhabi buy Ferrari stake
It's 'driver swap' time again
FIA issue 'flat spot' ruling
Kimi & Ron's 'arrangement'
Sato seat in doubt
No 'easy' ride - Schu
Kiesa keeps Jordan role
Industry News
BMW manager arrested on bribery charges BMW manager arrested on bribery charges A BMW AG purchasing manager was arrested on bribery charges, prosecutors said Wednesday, adding to a spate of corporate corruption cases in Germany.  The manager, who was not identified, was accused of taking $100,000 in bribes from a supplier in the eastern state of Saxony to ensure that the company's products were given preferential treatment, said Anton Winkler, a senior prosecutor in Munich.  The manager at the German automaker was charged with receiving three checks from 2000 to 2002, worth a combined $100,000, according to details read at a hearing in Munich. AP Story
Last 4 races to decide Toyota Atlantic title Last 4 races to decide Toyota Atlantic titleWith the final four events of the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama season looming, the cream has certainly risen to the top of the series standings.

The top five competitors in North America’s top open-wheel development series have begun to pull away from the pack as the 12-race championship enters its climactic final quarter. Atlantic’s “Fantastic Five” have all demonstrated at different points of the season the ability to take control on a given race weekend. The five drivers have accounted for all eight series victories and 95 percent of all laps led in competition this year. With only 40 points separating the talented quintet in the standings entering Round 9 this weekend, all signs point to a fight to the finish for the Atlantic crown.

The question of which one of these rising open-wheel racers will begin to show their fantastic side in the series first-ever visit to San Jose, California will be answered this Friday-Sunday, July 29-31 at the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose (tape-delayed broadcast on SPEED Channel - Saturday, August 6 at 1:30 p.m. ET). The Atlantic machines will attack the 11-turn, 1.448-mile temporary street circuit constructed around the San Jose Convention Center with the opening round of qualifying set for Friday, final qualifying on tap for Saturday and the 45-lap race staged in front of an expected capacity crowd witnessing the city’s first Champ Car Grand Prix on Sunday. zzzz

A season-high 21 entrants will be featured in the Atlantic field this weekend, and no driver carries as much momentum onto the San Jose streets as British rookie Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing). While capturing the checkered flag in her very first series race of the season at Long Beach, Legge became the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America. The up-and-down performances that usually come along with a first-year driver followed, along with some frustrations from the 25-year-old Polestar Racing Group pilot. But Legge has turned the tide again in the last two events, racing with renewed confidence and aggression, and she turned her best qualifying effort into her second victory of the season two weeks ago on another course new to the circuit in 2005 at Edmonton. Legge is looking to make it two wins in a row at new Atlantic venues this season as she continues to refine her road racing skills.

Although she might be the hottest driver in the series entering this weekend, Legge ranks fifth among the top five championship contenders, still only 40 points behind series point leader Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) of the Netherlands. Zwolsman has had a whirlwind rookie season that’s included six podiums and a series-high three victories and four pole positions. Still, the unflappable Dutchman hasn’t tasted victory in more than a month and, despite winning the last three consecutive poles, he’s been unable to put away his competition and now faces a dogfight the rest of the way. After some early contact with Legge and a race-long battle in Edmonton between the two series standouts, eventually won by the speedy Brit, Zwolsman is anxious to find his way back Victory Lane on Sunday.

One driver who will desperately try to prevent Zwolsman from reaching that destination is second-year series racer Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil). The closest pursuer to the championship leader, Kasemets is only 15 points behind Zwolsman in the season standings. He’s had his troubles recently, however, failing to produce a top-three result in the last three events after back-to-back wins and four consecutive podium finishes earlier in the year. Kasemets will try to turn his luck around and draw even closer in the title chase this weekend.

Sitting just 24 points out of the series lead is quiet Canadian rookie Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design). The proud owner of seven top-five finishes this season, Bessette staged a late rally to win his first Atlantic race on the streets of Toronto in early July. He nearly won on the other true street circuit on the series calendar, before finishing second to his Polestar teammate Legge at Long Beach. The native of St. Bruno, Quebec appears to be at home on streets so he’s also anxious for the green flag to drop in downtown San Jose.

The last of the top five championship hopefuls has been fantastically consistent in ’05. Andreas Wirth (#8 Wurges Windows and Doors) has quietly emerged as a legitimate suitor to the crown after producing an impressive six straight podium results, the longest streak in four years among Atlantic competitors. The 20-year-old German driver sits fourth in the standings, just 35 points behind Zwolsman, and after finishing third for the last four consecutive races, Wirth wants to see what the other two steps on the podium feel like.

David Martinez (#7 Roshfrans/US RaceTronics) of Mexico produced his career-best finish of second at the last series downtown street circuit event in Toronto. Currently sixth in the standings, 80 points out of first, he’s hoping for similar results this weekend for the California-based US RaceTronics team. Brooks Associates Racing’s Al Unser III (#10 BOSPoker.net/PKV Racing) has qualified and finished inside the top 10 in all six of his starts this season. The 22-year-old American will look to extend that run in San Jose as he continues to sniff out his first Atlantic podium performance.

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