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Baldwin Joins Bill Davis Racing Baldwin Joins Bill Davis RacingBill Davis Racing (BDR) announced today that Tommy Baldwin Jr. will join the organization serving as Competition Director for its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series multi-car efforts, effective August 1, 2006. Baldwin returns to the team after having spent four seasons with the organization from 1999-2002.

Included in Baldwin’s responsibilities as competition director will be overseeing Bill Davis Racing’s conversion to Toyota for the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Baldwin will work closely with leaders from Toyota Racing Development, Inc. (TRD) and Triad Racing Development, Inc. (a technical partner to TRD) to ensure a smooth transition and will also work with existing Bill Davis Racing crew chiefs to guarantee an efficient and effective transformation to Toyota.

“Tommy has worked successfully with Todd Holbert (General Manager of Triad Racing Development, Inc.) in the past and we see that as a huge asset as we move forward with our program,” commented BDR General Manager Mike Brown. “We look forward to their continued teamwork to play a vital role in the future success of Bill Davis Racing.”

“Tommy brought a lot of success to Bill Davis Racing during his time here and we’re looking forward to his return to our organization,” stated team owner Bill Davis. “Not only will he play a key role in the team’s physical conversion to Toyota, but he will also serve as the BDR representative in that change. Tommy is extremely qualified and driven to succeed and we can’t think of anyone who would do a better job working with the other Toyota team competition directors to make sure the program gets off on the right foot. We feel fortunate that he was available to us and we are looking forward to his return.”

Barraclough Named Crew Chief for the No. 38 Barraclough Named Crew Chief for the No. 38Robert Yates Racing announced today that Cully Barraclough will serve as interim crew chief for the #38 Ford driven by Elliott Sadler beginning at this weekend’s Allstate 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Barraclough will serve as the head wrench after the departure of crew Tommy Baldwin. Baldwin’s departure is a result of a mutual agreement between the veteran crew chief and RYR allowing Baldwin to pursue opportunities outside of the role of crew chief.

Barraclough has previously served as a crew chief in the Busch Series for drivers Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. He most recently worked as a consultant for Clay Andrews Racing prior to joining RYR.

SPEED Expands NASCAR Truck Coverage SPEED Expands NASCAR Truck CoverageSPEED has expanded its LIVE coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Beginning Aug. 4 at 8 p.m., ET, this new pre-race show will open the Power Stroke Diesel 200 broadcast by delving into the behind-the-scenes stories and unique personalities that make up the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Veteran NCTS reporter Ray Dunlap will host the 45-minute show, taking viewers up to green-flag action. Bob Dillner and Krista Voda will scour the pits for an inside line on what’s happening in the garage area. The show also will provide in-depth interviews, racing highlights and interesting features in and around the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

“I want our audience to really get to know the characters and stories behind the great racing,” said Chris Long, SPEED VP of studio productions. “People watch sports because they have a vested interest in how their favorite team or hero is faring in the heat of battle. Just like the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is made up of very interesting and colorful personalities. This new pre-race show will allow us to uncover all of these stories. zzzz

“This will be one of the many changes happening with our NASCAR on SPEED coverage as we head into 2007,” Long continued. “We are continuing to expand our depth, preparing us for next season, when SPEED broadcasts the 2007 NASCAR Gatorade Duel at Daytona and NASCAR All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte.”

LIVE race coverage from Indianapolis will be led by play-by-play announcer Rick Allen, voice of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on SPEED, while color will be provided by Nextel Cup Series pilot Michael Waltrip and former driver Phil Parsons. Dunlap and Voda will continue to report from pit road.

“I love the Truck Series,” Dunlap said. “There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes of every NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. This will be a great opportunity to see how creative everyone is, and to get a sense of the great stories and characters behind what their seeing.”

Heading into Indianapolis, the top nine drivers in points are separated by less than 300 points. New York’s Todd Bodine leads the way, despite a frustrating evening in the most recent event at Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park. Indianapolis traditionally is the starting point for the final run to a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship.

SPEED, celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2006, is the nation's first and foremost cable network

Verstappen re-signs with Netherlands team Verstappen re-signs with Netherlands teamJos Verstappen will again drive for A1 Team Netherlands in the 2006/2007 A1 Grand Prix season, which kicks off on his home soil at Zandvoort in October.

Verstappen, his advisor Huub Rothengatter and team boss Jan Lammers have agreed to join forces for a second season, aiming to build on a debut campaign that proved the orange-clad squad to be one of the most popular, if not the most fortunate or successful. Verstappen took one win during the 2005-06 season, triumphing on the streets of Durban, South Africa

"Continuity and stability are essential, and the bright orange car with Jos behind the wheel proved to be a combination of success last year, so we want to keep this and extend it further," Lammers reasoned, "Both behind the wheel and in front of the camera, Jos' behavior is pure and unpredictable - he is no media-trained robot, but someone who is spontaneous and reacts straight from the heart. That makes him refreshing and interesting but, of course, the Before the A1 season kicks off in October, Team Netherlands will be in action with a series of demonstrations at the BP Ultimate Masters at Zandvoort, the Rizla Racing Day at Assen and through the centre of Rotterdam during the Bavaria City Racing event.

"I am very happy that we have closed the deal," Verstappen admitted, "For myself and the fans, it is, of course, great that we will start the season in Zandvoort, both next weekend during the Ultimate Masters and then, in October, for the A1 series. We all learned a lot last year and can continue working with that. I hope I can reward the enthusiasm of the crowds with good results."

Todt to decide after last race Todt to decide after last raceFerrari team boss Jean Todt says that he will announce his future plans at the end of the current season. The Frenchman’s deal with the Italian squad expires at the end of 2006, along with those of Michael Schumacher and technical director Ross Brawn.

But while the 2007 driver line up is set to be confirmed at the Italian Grand Prix in September, Todt says that “team organization” issues will be cleared up by the final round in Brazil in October.

"About the team organization, end of the season," Todt told reporters in Germany. "Most of the time it has been like that, so it's nothing strange, nothing new. The drivers, we need to announce it earlier for different reasons, contracts and all that.”

Danica Patrick loses temper Danica Patrick loses temperUPDATE #3 Another writes, Was it the lack of an opportunity to drive for a CART team that led Danica to the IRL?  Or was it because she was already signed by Rahal Racing when he followed the yen to the IRL?  I think the latter. Alan Saliwanchik, Dayton, Ohio

07/31/06 Another reader defends Danica, Dear AutoRacing1.com, No matter what Mr. Waugh, or anyone else for that matter, thinks of Danica Patrick ‘Pop Tart’ is not justified by the facts and is disrespectful of all athletes that literally put their lives on the line each weekend.  The fact that the IRL is factually the most dangerous form of open wheel racing in the world only makes the comment more inappropriate.

The reality is that Danica is, whether we like it or not, the most famous and recognizable open wheel driver in America and that notoriety helps, not hurts, all open wheel racing to become more familiar with the public at large.  If someone was into conspiracy theories how about the ‘coincidence’ that the first race after Danica signs for another team Team Rahal’s ‘telemetry fails’ and they run her out of gas.  That conveniently takes away what would have surely been accusations of incompetence with the Team for running her out of gas.  Whatever you think of Danica, and she was very verbal in Formula Atlantics about preferring to race in Champ Car NOT the IRL but there was no opportunity for her there and she is entitled to make a living at her chosen career, driving around on ovals at 200 mph plus inches away from other drivers (some of which –like Ed Carpentier and Jeff Simmons- are clearly in over their heads) takes big …. ahhh… ummm… takes intestinal fortitude… normally attributed to men.  By the way this is the second year running she has outperformed her more experienced Indy 500 winning teammate Buddy Rice. Nicolas Hunt, Hicksville, NY

07/31/06 A reader writes, Why is a "7th place" car running out of gas with under 10 laps to go, "news"?  Especially when the driver has never won a race.  Quit hyping the pop tart! Greg Waugh, Renton, WA

07/31/06 With three laps to go and Danica Patrick appearing to lock up a seventh-place finish for Rahal Letterman Racing, her car slowed.

When it stopped, out of fuel, she remained in the car, pounding her fists on the wheel. She got out of the car, threw her helmet to the track and stomped off. Her frustration clearly taking over, she kicked over a plastic orange safety barrel, then slumped into a crouch, with her head in her hands.

"The guys didn't have any telemetry all day, so they were guessing on the fuel probably, and that's probably what happened -- that was their best guess, and we ran out of fuel. It's such a hard race. We were not very fast, and I don't know what the deal was. We were just slow. It was a brutal day, a brutal day. I wish I would have brought the car home in seventh where I should have, but things happen." Detroit News

RYR fires both crew chiefs RYR fires both crew chiefsRobert Yates Racing has announced that it has parted ways immediately with crew chiefs Tommy Baldwin and Richard "Slugger" Labbe as the team continues to transition with the departure of drivers Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett at the end of the season.  Baldwin will be replaced by Charles "Cully" Barraclough as crew chief of the No. 38 team and Elliott Sadler. Baldwin's departure was by mutual decision as he left for an opportunity to become a team manager at another team, an RYR spokesman said.
Michigan Firestone 400 attendance down Michigan Firestone 400 attendance downA very high estimate of 30,000 fans saw the start of the Firestone 400 race at Michigan Sunday, about 10,000 fewer than attended the race last year. (The track does not release attendance figures.) That doesn't bode well for the future of open-wheel racing at MIS......hence the rumors of Belle isle.

As for the 30,000 number.  They seat 137,243 at MIS.  If 1/5 of those grandstands were full Sunday, they must have been disguised as empty seats.

Tracy and Tagliani fight video Tracy and Tagliani fight videoYou can watch a short video of the Alex Tagliani vs. Paul Tracy fight at San Jose Sunday by clicking here.
Paul Tracy interview Paul Tracy interviewA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I really enjoyed the Paul Tracy interview.  Very well done, and very informative.  Please do more of these. Denise Jordan

Dear Denise, Our plan is to do more of these one-on-one in-depth driver interviews as time permits.  Justin Wilson and CDW's Bruce Delahorne were featured two weeks ago.  Next on the agenda is red-hot AJ Allmendinger in Denver. Mark C. 

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Changes to San Jose track praised Changes to San Jose track praisedDrivers praised a street course they condemned one year earlier.

Fans this time were able to get around the downtown track without frustrating delays.

And a dull, zero-passing race in its first go-round became so intense Sunday that two drivers ended up trading punches in the pit when their cars were eliminated.

Other than the fact that Champ Car leader Sebastien Bourdais won both events, the 2006 San Jose Grand Prix could not have been more different than the 2005 edition as organizers responded to myriad complaints with a series of alterations that seemed to fix whatever ailed the inaugural event.

``They learned a lot in one year's time,'' said Jim Padilla of South San Francisco.

Organizers said 67,128 people attended Sunday's racing, bringing the three-day total to 155,934, slightly ahead of last year.

That figure may surprise fans, some of whom said they were concerned about the grand prix's future in San Jose because of what they perceived as a significant drop in crowd size.

``I was expecting more people, especially on race day,'' said Virnard Magpantay of San Jose, who was sitting in an uncrowded Silver grandstand about 30 minutes before the race began. ``This is more like a Friday crowd. I hope it comes back next year.''

But race officials stuck to their numbers and said that the changes they made may have created the impression that fewer people attended.

``We dispersed the people differently,'' General Manager Bob Singleton said. ``Last year everybody was congested. This year there were more places for people to watch the race.''

Dale Jantzen, the grand prix president, attributed a surge in walk-up sales to media coverage that focused on track improvements.

``People were hearing that the drivers were saying good things about the track,'' he said. ``People recognized there was going to be some good racing this weekend, and that made a big difference.''

Jantzen also said it was too soon to identify how many of the 155,934 tickets were purchased and how many were distributed free to sponsors, staff and vendors.

The grand prix became a political issue in January after the city, largely behind closed doors, agreed to provide a two-year, $4 million subsidy. Though mayoral candidates Cindy Chavez and Chuck Reed were on opposite sides of that vote, both said Sunday that this year's race was a big improvement.

Chavez termed the subsidy ``a very good investment for the city of San Jose.''

Reed said the race looked great, but he didn't back away from his opposition to the subsidy. ``If the event is to continue, it's got to do so with less money from the city,'' he said.  More at San Jose Mercury News

tv news
Bill Weber staying with TNT Bill Weber staying with TNTWith NASCAR's current TV deals expiring this season, networks with new deals kicking in next year are putting together on-air lineups. A piece of those puzzles settled early: TNT, airing six midseason NASCAR Nextel Cup races next year, will announce Monday that Bill Weber will be the host and call play-by-play on its races. Weber said he "talked briefly" to ABC/ESPN, which next year inherits NASCAR late-season coverage from the current joint venture of NBC and TNT that Weber currently hosts. But Weber says he always figured he'd stick with TNT. Turner Sports executive producer Jeff Behnke says Weber won't be allowed to appear on any other network's NASCAR coverage, given "he'll be the face of our coverage." But Behnke says its possible next year TNT will use announcers who also appear on ABC/ESPN or Fox, which next year will continue to cover early-season NASCAR races. ABC/ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys suggested Sunday that the Disney network probably will require exclusive use of its NASCAR announcers given that, in picking up all NASCAR Busch Series races and adding a daily show on car racing, ABC/ESPN will have "a year-round commitment to covering racing." USA Today
San Jose race organizers happy San Jose race organizers happyBig crowd, happy hosts -- Organizers were very pleased by Sunday's announced crowd of 67,128, up almost 5,000 from last year's inaugural event. The 75-degree weather helped bring out several thousand fans who bought general admission tickets Sunday morning.

The announced three-day attendance total was 155,934, 2,157 more than last year. That pushed Champ Car's total attendance for 2006 past the 1 million mark after nine races with five remaining. Sacbe.com

Tracy and Tagliani fight photos Tracy and Tagliani fight photosUPDATE AutoRacing1.com  spoke to Alex Tagliani and team owner Derrick Walker after the accident and fight on Sunday.  Both said they will miss this week's open Champ Car test at Road America because of the lack of available cars due to a spate of recent crashes.  That is what Tagliani was most upset about.  The crash with Tracy cost them more crash damage, however, even before that the team was planning to skip the test.

"We were planning to skip the Road America test anyway," said Walker.  "With all the recent accidents we have to go back to the shop, regroup, and get our cars ready for Denver in two weeks." Mark C.

07/30/06 Exclusive Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy Fight Photos:

Tracy and Tagliani get into a shoving match (L), then they start wrestling (C) and then Tracy throws a punch and Tagliani ends up on the ground as officials restrain them (R)

Renault not competitive at Hockenheim Renault not competitive at HockenheimThe Renault F1 Team endured its most difficult race weekend of the season at today’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. The race was run in sweltering conditions, with track temperatures peaking at over 50°C – a factor the team had hoped would work in its favor compared to the cooler temperatures encountered in qualifying.

However, this did not prove to be the case and both Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella experienced severe rear tire blistering at different points in the race, during the first stint for Alonso and the second for Fisichella. In both cases, these problems were encountered at important strategic moments of the race and cost the drivers improved finishing positions.

In spite of the challenges encountered in Germany, the Renault F1 Team maintains its leadership of both championships at the two-thirds stage of the 2006 season. Fernando has scored 100 points and leads Michael Schumacher by 11 points, while team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella is now fourth in the championship on 49 points. In the constructors’ battle, the Renault F1 Team has scored 149 points and leads rivals Ferrari by 10 points. Renault

Industry News
Recalls dent Toyota image Recalls dent Toyota imageToyota Motor Corp. CEO Katsuaki Watanabe bowed deeply before the cameras on July 20 in a humbling moment for the mighty Japanese automaker.

Toyota has come under intense scrutiny as prosecutors in Japan investigate its handling of vehicle defects. Separately, the government told Toyota to review its policy on recalls and respond to the Transport Ministry by Friday.

Ritual apologies are common in Japan, where executives are expected to convey their regret for corporate shortcomings. It's unusual, however, to see executives from Japan's leading industrial company on the defensive. "That was a very big deal in Japan," said Daniel Baum, a Tokyo-based auto analyst.

Just as Toyota is poised to pass General Motors Corp. to become the world's largest automaker, a surge in recalls and the investigation in Japan risk tarnishing the company's sterling reputation for quality.  More at Detroit News

ABC Michigan race replay ABC Michigan race replayUPDATE Reminder:  The rain-delayed Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway will be replayed Monday, July 31 at 2:00 pm ET on ESPN2.  It was originally scheduled to be shown live on ABC, Sunday, July 30.

07/30/06 Due to a delayed start because of rain, the IRL race on ABC was not shown.  Tentatively the race will replay at midnight EST on ESPN2.
Formula BMW
Wickens wins Round 10 to extend lead Wickens wins Round 10 to extend leadSan Jose, Calif. - Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) rebounded after his 17th place finish in Round 9 to take the Formula BMW USA Round 10 victory today at the San Jose Grand Prix. The third win of the year extended the 17- year old Canadian's lead in the championship to 20 points over season-long rival Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) who finished second. Lee crossed the finish line .125 seconds behind Wickens. Winner of Round 9, Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) moved up from his fifth place starting position to take third.

Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational) finished fourth. Her sixth consecutive top-five finish - which included three visits to the podium - keep her in third place in the championship, only one point behind Lee. Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) rounded out the top-five finishers. He was the highest finishing Rookie. zzzz

Polesitter Wickens led the 25-car field from the standing start, but Lee, starting from the outside of the front row, had the lead by the end of the first lap. Further back Stevens quickly moved from the fifth starting spot to take third, but was repassed by de Silvestro on lap 8. As the race unfolded the top-five - Lee, Wickens, de Silvestro, Stevens and Race Johnson (Team HBR Motorsport USA) had broken away from the field. Chasing Lee, Wickens set the fastest lap of the race (1:02.679) on lap 15 to establish a new race lap record. On lap 17 the race's only caution period closed up the field. At the restart on lap 21, Wickens was able to pass Lee to regain the lead and in the final laps Stevens managed to pass de Silvestro and Morad moved back into the top-five.

Adrien Herberts (Gelles Racing) finished 12th after starting 24th. Gelles Racing teammate Joel Jackson finished 13th for the young Jamaican's best result of the season.

Firestone 400 post-race tidbits Firestone 400 post-race tidbits
- Television schedule. Due to rain delay, ABC abandoned its live coverage shortly before the race began. It will be shown on ESPN2, midnight Sunday night / Monday morning, with a repeat at 2:00 PM on Monday.

- The smell of burning Ethanol is definitely different than burning ethanol, or even NASCAR racing fuel. It smells somewhat like my Bunsen burner that I used in Junior High science class. For the record, this is the stuff you can drink should you run out of Everclear. Is it ironic that Indy cars now run on the moonshine that the NASCAR guys used to haul in the old days?

- Castroneves recorded a 216.777 mph pole speed, some 2 ½ mph slower than last year's pole by Bryan Herta. He completed the 400 miles in an average 193.972 mph, shattering the old IRL 400-mile MIS record by some 11 mph. Today's fastest lap was turned in by Kosuke Matsuura at 216.387. FOR YOU CART JUNKIES.... By comparison, in 1996, Paul Tracy recorded a trap speed of 256.948 mph at MIS, and in 1997, Richie Hearn recorded a trap speed of 249.018 mph. Paul Tracy still holds the track average qualifying speed record of 239.949 mph. Al Unser Jr averaged 189.727 mph in the 1990 Marlboro 500.

- The race ended at 8:25 PM, with darkness definitely a factor as it was almost too dark to take photos. MIS has only hosted one Monday race since opening.

- The first crash at MIS wasn't with a race car, but rather with a small airplane that was attempting to land on pit row.

 - At a press conference this afternoon, Investment Properties of America, has become an associate marketing partner with A.J. Foyt Enterprises for the final four races of the 2006 IndyCar Series season, beginning today with the Firestone Indy 400.
The No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone driven by Jeff Bucknum will carry the logos of companies affiliated with Investment Properties of America, including Montauk Financial Group, Crossroads Transportation and Logistics, BarterOne and Security 1031 Services.

ED OKUN (Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Investment Properties of America): "A.J. is a living legend, a four-time Indy (500) winner. As a former driver, he is more experienced than any other manager out there. His knowledge of cars and ability to see the track gives him an amazing advantage over others relying on computers. A.J. knows more about motorsports than anyone, and we are proud to be part of his organization."

A.J. FOYT (Owner, A.J. Foyt Enterprises): "It's great to have Investment Properties of America join our team. When I met Ed earlier this year, we really hit it off. He is a no-nonsense kind of guy. We began talking about working together, and he decided to give it a try." (About developing his team): "I've been making a lot of changes in our team, and I'm going to continue to change things until we get back to running up front like we used to." Tim Wohlford

Bergmeister and Braun win at Barber Bergmeister and Braun win at BarberBIRMINGHAM, Ala.– Jörg Bergmeister and the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley team tightened their grasp on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Daytona Prototype championship with a second-consecutive victory by Bergmeister and 17-year-old co-driver Colin Braun in Sunday’s Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park.

Braun, who started from the pole position for the first time in his Rolex Series career, led throughout his 35-lap opening stint before pitting to turn the car over to Bergmeister on Lap 36. With threatening clouds overhead and four full-course caution periods before the halfway point in the race, teams used a myriad of different pit strategies. That being the case, Bergmeister did not cycle back into the lead until Lap 78 of the 97-lap event when Alex Gurney finally pitted to turn the No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley over to co-driver Jon Fogarty.

As the day’s fifth full-course caution came out on Lap 83, Bergmeister managed to get on and off of pit road for a splash of fuel without surrendering the lead. However, on the ensuing restart, defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli closed right up behind Bergmeister for a battle to the finish. Bergmeister continued to lead through a final full-course caution from Laps 89-92, and Angelelli again pressured the German for the first few laps after the restart before Bergmeister pulled away to win by 1.327 seconds.

It was Bergmeister’s third victory of the season, following his triumph alongside Braun in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen with co-driver Boris Said last month. It was also his fourth-consecutive top-two finish and his sixth podium in 11 races this season, allowing him to open up a 39-point lead, 393-354, over Angelelli in the Daytona Prototype driver standings with three races remaining on the schedule.

“The whole team has really picked it up lately,” said Bergmeister. “I got a little lucky in traffic during my stint, using the GT cars to my advantage. We thought we could make it on just one stop, so I was conserving my tires early. It turned out for the best because even though I had to come back to the pits for a splash of fuel later in the race, I had enough rubber to hold of Max.”

Champ Car statement on Allmendinger Champ Car statement on AllmendingerChamp Car Vice-President of Operations Tony Cotman made the following statement concerning the A.J. Allmendinger pit penalty on Lap 53. “Although I understand A.J. and his team are upset, the facts are there are many different ways for the teams to be informed that the pits are open. They can be informed via Champ View, via radio and the pit open/closed sign at pit entry. I waited one extra lap to go green as I knew the consequences of my decision would be important to A.J. finishing on the podium. After listening to race-control radio recordings, using TV to show the pit closed board was out, timing and scoring data, and not to mention that all the other teams waited until the next lap to pit, I feel my decision was accurate.
NASCAR confiscates shocks NASCAR confiscates shocksNASCAR confiscated the front shocks on Tim Sauter's No. 36 Chevrolet after Saturday night's Busch Silver Celebration 250 at Gateway International Raceway.

NASCAR spokesperson Tracey Judd said the shocks will be "evaluated further" at NASCAR's research and development center in Concord, N.C. Sauter's McGill Motorsports Chevrolet was one of the random cars NASCAR picked to be inspected after the race. Sauter finished 22nd.

Any penalties would be announced early this week Scenedaily.com

AJ Foyt brings in help AJ Foyt brings in helpRacing great AJ Foyt will step down from running his AJ Foyt race teams and hand over the day-to-day operations to his son Larry Foyt.  AJ will still own the company and make the important business decisions, but it's clear he is preparing for an eventual complete transition.
Woods tops Schumacher in earnings again Woods tops Schumacher in earnings againTiger Woods, who won his 11th major golf title at the British Open this month, tops the list of Sports Illustrated magazine's top-earning athletes for the third straight year.

Woods earned more than $97.6 million in 2005, the magazine reported on its Web site. The world's top-ranked golfer made over $10.6 million in on-course earnings and another $87 million in endorsements with companies such as Nike Inc., the American Express Co. and General Motors Corp.'s Buick Division.

The earning figures include salary, bonuses, winnings, endorsement money and appearance fees. Woods headed last year's list at $86.4 million.

Formula One race car drive Michael Schumacher tops the list of international athletes with a total of $80 million, followed by Italian motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi ($30 million), Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho (29.1 million), Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova ($25.4 million) and English soccer player David Beckham ($23 million). zzzz 

Golfer Phil Mickelson is second among U.S. athletes on the magazine's list at more than $45.9 million, followed by basketball players Shaquille O'Neal ($34 million) and Kobe Bryant ($33.7 million) and pro football quarterback Carson Palmer ($31.6 million).

Rounding out the top 10 of American athletes are basketball's LeBron James ($28.6 million), baseball teammates Derek Jeter ($28 million) and Alex Rodriguez ($27 million), stock car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($25.8) million and football quarterback Michael Vick ($25.4 million).

Champ Car penalizes Pagenaud, Wirth Champ Car penalizes Pagenaud, WirthAfter completion of today's Champ Car Atlantic race in San Jose, Simon Pagenaud was penalized for blocking late in the race on #26 Sofio. As a result, the finishing position of the two drivers were swapped with Sofio 8th and Pagenaud 9th. In addition, Andreas Wirth has been placed on probation for the remainder of the 2006 season after "avoidable contact" in a late race incident with #10 Sperafico.
Fight breaks out between Tracy and Tagliani Fight breaks out between Tracy and TaglianiUPDATE Champ Car Race Operations is reviewing today’s physical confrontation between drivers Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy during the running of Sunday’s Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose Presented by Taylor Woodrow.

Tagliani confronted Tracy on Pit Lane after an on-track accident on Lap 54, resulting in a physical altercation between the two racers. Champ Car Race Operations will review the incident upon conclusion of today’s event, and will determine what, if any, penalties for misconduct will be levied because of the incident.

“We understand that this is a very competitive series and our athletes can get caught up in the heat of the moment but we do not condone this type of behavior,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “We will review this incident thoroughly and determine what needs to be done to make sure things like this do not happen in the future. Champ Car

07/30/06 Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani got into fisticuffs after a nasty accident during the San Jose GP Sunday. Tracy had gone down the escape road at Turn 6 and when he tried to re-enter the race he pulled out right into Alex Tagliani taking both cars out in a spray of broken carbon fiber.

Afterwards Tagliani was fuming and grabbed Tracy. Tracy pushed him away and then Tagliani came at him again and that's when Tracy swung at him and knocked Tagliani backward and to the ground. After that officials broke them up.

Tracy took blame for the accident, but not for the fight.

"I had gone off at Turn 6 and thought I could get out before Tagliani came around but I misjudged and I ran right into him. Tag was obviously mad and grabbed me. I told him to stop grabbing me. He started to walk away and then he came back at me again. At that point I had to defend myself.

"We'd had braking issues all weekend, and so that's why I went into the run-off. Then I got the car round, and came out. Yeah, I knew it was going to be close with Tag, but I was in panic mode because I could see up the road that everyone was bunched together so if I just sat there, I was gonna lose a whole load of positions.

"So I came out of there and went right over to the other side of the track, thinking Tag was gonna go on the normal racing line which was the outside of the corner.

"But he kept on the inside, I guess to give me room, and I ended up collecting him and pushing him into the wall."

Attendance up at San Jose Attendance up at San JoseThe San Jose Grand Prix announced the following attendance figures for this year's race:

40,127 Friday
48,679 Saturday
67,128 Sunday
155,934 3-day total

Last year the race drew a 3-day crowd of 153,767 with 62,371 on Sunday.

Weather update from Michigan Weather update from MichiganUPDATE #4 The sun is out, the track is dry.  They're drying pit road now.  The crews are bringing stuff out to their pit boxes.  Cars to the grid at 17:05 EDT.

07/30/06 The rain has mostly broken up on the upwind side of the track.  The jet trucks are out.  I'm guessing that, barring more rain, we'll start at 5:15 pm EDT.

07/30/06 The grandstands are now being cleared, and the people herded to shelter. It looks really bad outside.

07/30/06 At 14:05 EDT, radar indicates a line of strong thunderstorms nearing MIS at roughly 30 mph. Behind that is a band of light to moderate rain that extends for another 90 miles. Figuring that the rain starts at 14:15 pm, and ends at 17:15 pm, plus an optimistic estimate for track drying, it is very possible that the race won't begin until 6 pm tonight. Obviously, a rainout is very possible at this point. If the rain quits before 16:30 then the race will be held. If it is raining at 16:30 then the race is rescheduled for 11:00 tomorrow. Tim Wohlford

07/30/06 Strong thunderstorms are moving into the Michigan International Speedway area. Behind that is a massive light rain area. MIS can, with good weather, be dried in an hour, but the air here is very hot and very humid, which will make for lots of storms until the front moves through.
Both Midland cars disqualified Both Midland cars disqualifiedBoth Midland cars have been disqualified from the results of the German Grand Prix for having rear wings that were deemed to be flexible. Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro had finished 13th and 14th respectively at Hockenheim.

Article 3.15 of Formula One racing’s Technical Regulations requires parts of the car influencing aerodynamic performance to be rigidly secured to and remain immobile in relation to the unsprung part of the car.

After examining the Midland cars, race stewards decided that the lower element of their rear wings violated this, hence both cars were removed from the official results. Midland could appeal the stewards’ decision.

Shedden and Turkington win at Donington Shedden and Turkington win at DoningtonGordon Shedden and Colin Turkington shared the victories in today's three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at the Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire. But it is Matt Neal, despite an off-form day on one of his favorite circuits, who continues to lead the BTCC, albeit by a reduced advantage over Turkington as the championship now heads to the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk on 13 August.

Team Halfords Honda driver Shedden impressively achieved back-to-back victories in races one and two before Turkington, in his Team RAC MG, pounced later in the day to slash the gap to Neal from 37 points prior to Donington down to just 22. Turkington's victory came after a re-start, following a multiple pile-up on the grid, two safety car periods and a rain shower, all of which will have provided exciting viewing for those watching live national television coverage of the BTCC on the ITV1 channel.

Reigning champion Neal, who took fourth, fifth and seventh positions in his Team Halfords Honda, said: "That's one of the more bizarre days in my touring car career - we've been quick every time out and the podium was within reach several times, but it just didn't happen for us today. I was lucky to get away with a few bumps and I've been off the track, but somehow survived.

"I'm also fortunate that Colin didn't have a great middle race because he'd have been a lot closer to me. Snetterton should be good for us, but the way he's going in that MG we have to seriously watch out for him. But as I've said before, I'd rather have a lead than be playing catch-up."

Alonso blames blistered tires Alonso blames blistered tiresRenault's world champion Fernando Alonso blamed blistering tires for keeping him off the podium in Sunday's German Grand Prix. The Spaniard finished fifth to see his once-commanding overall lead slashed to 11 points by Ferrari's triumphant Michael Schumacher.

"We were not competitive this weekend," said the 25-year-old in a team statement. "But I did the maximum I could and so did the team. I think that without the blistering we experienced, the podium was a possibility for me today.

"I got a good start and passed both Hondas but the tires then blistered in the opening stint and I lost too much time to be able to fight for third place.

"When you look at the level of performance over the weekend, and consider the blistering, then the result is not too bad," said the Spaniard.

"But we did not have enough to fight Ferrari here and that was the problem for us," he added.

Matos all the way in San Jose Matos all the way in San Jose
Seen in San Jose - III Seen in San Jose - IIIIt's Chamber of Commerce weather here in San Jose Sunday and a big crowd appears to be gathering. We are still waiting for Saturday attendance figures but it felt a bit like Long Beach yesterday so the number is expected to be fairly high.........Spotted Ryan Hunter-Reay roaming the paddock after being missing most of the season. He tells us he is still trying to get back into Champ Car, but meanwhile will probably do the NASCAR Busch race at Watkins Glen in August. Why this bright young American, who has two Champ Car wins, isn't in the series is beyond us........The wind has shifted down the long front straight. Whereas it was a headwind the last two days, the flags are blowing the opposite direction today.....Spotted Paul Gentilozzi having dinner with Alex Tagliani, Andrew Ranger and others Saturday night.  The talk must have been about racing as Tagliani's beautiful wife Bronte looked bored."
Test ban hinders Renault fight back - Schu Test ban hinders Renault fight back - Schu(GMM) Michael Schumacher has put a dampener on beleaguered championship rival Renault's hopes of bouncing back as the formula one circus dashes from Hockenheim to Budapest.

After cutting Fernando Alonso's title lead from 17 to 11 points on Sunday, Ferrari's Schumacher suggested that the French team might struggle to improve in the midst of a test ban.

''It is definitely an advantage for us,'' said the German, ''because it is more difficult than usual for people with problems to solve them.''

Red-clad teammate Felipe Massa also finished an easy second on Sunday, moving Schumacher to observe: ''Clearly we are not having too many problems at the moment.''

Renault suffered 'severe rear tire blistering' at Hockenheim, according to a team statement, but 25-year-old Alonso observed that the Michelin product for Budapest next weekend will be 'totally different'.

''We need to regroup but stay calm,'' said team boss Flavio Briatore, ''analyze with Michelin what happened this weekend, and push hard to get back on top.''
Champ Car changes start procedure Champ Car changes start procedureChamp Car issued a technical bulletin this morning that stated for the San Jose Grand Prix the drivers are not allowed to use the power-to-pass button until after the turn 1 hairpin.  There was a concern among drivers that there will be a first turn pileup today given the long front straight and slow 25-mph hairpin first turn.  This won't, however, prevent brain-fade as some driver will think they can win the race in the first corner.
German F3
Ho-Pin Tung takes 1st and 7th at EuroSpeedway Ho-Pin Tung takes 1st and 7th at EuroSpeedwayKlettwitz – This weekend the JB Motorsport team had an excellent weekend on the Lausitz Ring Oval with Ho-Pin Tung winning the first race and teammate Ferdinand Kool the second. The two races were extremely exciting with many lead changes and great overtaking maneuvers but in the end the overall winner was Ho-Pin who extends his champion lead with another 12 points.

Although the oval track is completely different to all the other tracks on the Recaro F3 cup calendar, the JB Motorsport team was once again the team to beat. For the first race Ferdinand Kool and Ho-Pin qualified as second and third, for the second qualifying session the teammates worked together again to maximize the use of slipstreams and finished in pole position (Kool) with Ho-Pin in third place.

HO-PIN: “There was a lot of traffic during the session. Ferdinand and I were working very well as a team. By accident we gave Cyndle Allemann a good slipstream and she drove the fastest lap because of that. Third and second starting spot is a great result for us”.

Ho-Pin won the first spectacular race of the weekend on the Lausitz Oval. Starting third he drove a tactical race, in the beginning he was very conservative, saving the tires. In the second part of the race he could close the gap to the leaders and finish the super exciting race in first position.

HO-PIN: “It was a great race. In the beginning I took it easy to save the tires. Later I was fighting for the lead and the last nine laps I was the race leader. Unfortunately Joey Foster is not here, I preferred to be fighting for the championship with him".

Once again the JB Motorsport team was the team to beat. Ho-Pin drove a very tactical race together with Ferdinand Kool. In the later stages Ho-Pin slipped back to third after he was overtaken by his teammate and had massive understeer in turn two which caused him to slip back into seventh place behind race winner Ferdinand Kool.

HO-PIN: “I had a great race with Ferdinand, together we were running in the front. After he overtook me all of a sudden I had oversteer in turn two and to avoid contact with the wall I had to brake. It's a pity because I could have been on the podium”.

Championship: 1. Ho-Pin Tung (96) 2. Joey Foster (76) 3. Ferdinand Kool (69) 4. Nico Hulkenberg (62) 5. Harald Schlegelmilch (53)

Tire blankets to be banned Tire blankets to be banned(GMM) Tire blankets will be banned at the end of the season, it emerged at Hockenheim.

To compliment Bridgestone's monopoly in 2007, the Technical Working Group voted on the change on Saturday as a way of slowing the cars, because the Japanese supplier's tires will need to be able to operate effectively at lower temperature.

2007-spec tires are also likely to be safer, as they will not lose as much pressure during safety car periods.

Bowyer doesn't buy Stewart's lame apology Bowyer doesn't buy Stewart's lame apologyClint Bowyer said Friday he and Tony Stewart had talked about their incident at Pocono Raceway last weekend, but Bowyer didn't sound like he was satisfied with the discussion.

"I don't know exactly what you'd want to call it," Bowyer said. "I don't know if Tony knows what an apology is. It's probably as close as you're going to get with Tony."

"We drove from 14th to sixth in the first run, in 12 laps," Bowyer said. "It wasn't like we didn't have a fast car. It's a very long race. We over-adjusted a little bit and got the car too loose. I basically was giving spots up. I gave away four before him. I moved over to let him have it, but instead of going to the inside, he went to the outside.

"I guess he thought I was racing him. That's the biggest thing about the whole thing: I was trying to get out of his way. Somehow, he took it the wrong way and wrecked me for it."

Not seen at Michigan Not seen at MichiganUPDATE A reader writes, I live in the Detroit area and received a Corvette promotion from MIS, offering a Corvette show, two race tickets for Saturday, 2 for Sunday, and a parade lap around the track for $50.00. The majority of the people in the stands were wearing a Corvette "something". The crowd on Saturday was pathetic and if there hadn't been the Corvette promotion, they could have had qualifying and no none would have known. Tim DeCesaro

07/29/06 Typically we report what we see and hear at races, but notable was the absence of fans for qualifying at Michigan Saturday for Sunday's IndyCar race.   Under 1,000 people were counted in the grandstands.  Meanwhile in San Jose, well over 40,000 people showed up to watch the Champ Cars qualify.
Toyota fined for pit error Toyota fined for pit errorToyota has been fined $5,000 after being found to have come dangerously close to causing a collision in the pit lane in qualifying. The incident in question was when Ralf Schumacher was released from the team's area in the pit lane directly into the path of Jenson Button, who had to take evasive action. Schumacher was in the pits for repairs after a collision with Pedro de la Rosa.
Glock thrills in last lap win Glock thrills in last lap winTimo Glock has won today’s GP2 series race in Hockenheim, passing Jose Maria Lopez on the final lap. At right Glock crosses the finish line just ahead of Lopez.

At the start, Nelson Piquet Jr’s weekend went from bad to worse as he was left stranded on the grid for the warm-up lap. His car was back in the pits and being worked on by the time the 25 other cars made it through to the grid for the race start proper.

And what a start it was. Clivio Piccione led brilliantly from pole, with Jose Maria Lopez and Giorgio Pantano right on his tail into Turn one. Behind them all Vitaly Petrov made a belting start, running wide at Turn one as the field bunched up, but he emerged unscathed and scampered off just outside the top ten, while Hiroki Yoshimoto had an unbelievable start and shot up from 23rd to 12th.

At the hairpin, Lopez made a move on Piccione for the lead, sneaking up the inside. As Clivio tried to get back onto the track from the run-off apron, he struck Giorgio and was knocked into a spin, collecting the barrier and ending his race on the spot.

Glock meanwhile had also had a great start and at the end of the first lap was third, behind only Lopez and Pantano. His team-mate Ernesto Viso sat fourth, with Adam Carroll fifth and Lewis Hamilton sixth. The top three were covered by 0.9 seconds for the first four laps, but by the fifth, Glock was getting tired of the sight of Pantano’s rear wing. zzzz

Into the hairpin the German shot up the inside. The pair ran side by side down the straight, with Giorgio edging Timo towards the grass as he held his line into the next corner, but Timo refused to lift and held onto second place.

The battle had allowed Lopez to pull out a small lead of a second as the Argentine found himself leading the race having started race 1 from the back of the grid.

On lap six, Hamilton was right on Carroll’s rear and made a clean pass at the hairpin to set off after Viso. Up front however, Lopez pulled out another second on Glock to lead by 2.2, while Piquet finally got out of his dead car in the pits and called an early end to a weekend from hell.

By the ninth lap Alex Premat had caught up with Yoshimoto who was being held up by Villa in ninth. Next time through and Yoshimoto saw his chance, diving up the inside of the Spaniard at the hairpin, and Premat followed him through. They ran through the following right hander together and into the tight left, Premat left his braking way too late and the pair were forced off track to avoid an incident.

Yoshimoto was back on track quickly, but Premat wasn’t willing to let the Japanese get away and edged across the track and into his path. The pair span into the gravel, and Yoshimoto, fuming, jumped from his BCN to make his feelings known to Premat. He gesticulated wildly at the Frenchman, walked away, then turned round and threw the international symbol of discontent in his general direction.

Lap 12 saw Hamilton now all over Pantano for third, having passed Viso a few laps earlier, but the Italian put up a staunch defense and kept the championship leader at bay for three laps, with Lewis finally getting by on lap 15.

At the front, Lopez was holding a two second gap from Glock with what appeared to be relative ease. Adam Carroll was dropping off, and Race 1 winner Bruni caught and passed him on lap 18 while Lucas di Grassi’s weekend came to a halt with a terminal car.

One lap later and Ernesto Viso had caught Pantano, but the Italian was managing to hold him off despite the fact that Giorgio’s car sounded decidedly sick. As the laps rolled by, Ernesto cut the deficit to half a second, and kept the pressure on.

Michael Ammermuller came in the pits on lap 21 having been passed by Nicolas Lapierre, who then set off after Adam Carroll and passed the Briton on the same lap.

Two laps later and Viso was finally through Pantano after the pair had run side-by-side down the straight after the hairpin.

But up at the front Glock was starting to pull in Lopez. The German had the gap down to 1.7 seconds on lap 23, 1.3 seconds on lap 24, 1.2 seconds on lap 25 and 0.9 seconds on lap 26.

The pair started the final lap with the same 0.9 second gap, but into turn one, Lopez was slow. Glock caught up to his rear wing, and the Argentine pulled right to cover his line into turn two. Glock, as he had done the day before in passing Pantano, simply stuck to his line, and to the rapturous applause of the local fans, breezed by for first place and the win.

Timo won from Jose, with Lewis a distant third. Ernesto came home fourth, with Giorgio fifth and Gimmi sixth. Jose’s also collected the point for fastest lap, making up for the point he lost for the win.

Pos Driver Team Time
 1. Glock iSport International 38:36.598
 2. Lopez Super Nova International + 1.322
 3. Hamilton ART Grand Prix + 12.610
 4. Viso iSport International + 14.680
 5. Pantano FMS International + 21.351
 6. Bruni Trident Racing + 21.914
 7. Lapierre Arden International + 22.153
 8. Carroll Racing Engineering + 32.166
 9. Negrao Piquet Sports + 32.402
10. Fauzy Super Nova International + 35.370
11. Perera DAMS + 40.957
12. Monfardini DAMS + 44.342
13. Villa Racing Engineering + 44.586
14. Zuber Trident Racing + 50.383
15. Petrov DPR + 57.102
16. Filippi BCN Competicion + 67.422
17. Tahinci FMS International + 72.159
18. Porteiro Campos Racing + 72.570

Did not Finish:

 Driver Team Laps
 Hernandez Durango 22
 Ammermueller Arden International 20
 Valles Campos Racing 20
 Di Grassi Durango 14
 Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 9
 Premat ART Grand Prix 9
 Piccione DPR 0
 Piquet Jr. Piquet Sports 0

Fastest lap: Di Grassi, 1:24.477 on lap 13

Danica: I had to lie Danica: I had to lieBROOKLYN, Mich. -- For the first time in weeks, Danica Patrick can race without dodging questions about her future.

"I had to lie," she said. "It wasn't anything hurtful, I just couldn't answer."

Patrick will be driving for Rahal Letterman Racing in the Firestone Indy 400 on Sunday, the first race since her plans for next year were announced.

She chose to stay in the Indy Racing League by accepting an offer to join Andretti Green Racing next season after flirting with going to NASCAR. The only woman in the IndyCar series and its one mainstream star created a buzz earlier this month when her father and agent were guests of Roush Racing at a Nextel Cup event in Illinois.

Patrick insisted her possible move to NASCAR was not just hype.

"I'm not lying when I say we had offers," she said, declining to give specifics. "And, I'm not lying when I said I was interested.

"I'm not going to write that off for my future. I think it would be fun, eventually, but my heart is in IndyCar right now. I'm not done here."

Patrick is coming off consecutive fourth-place finishes -- her best of the season in which her average finish has been ninth.

She was the first to qualify Saturday, turning a lap of 213.357 mph that was quickly surpassed by Marlboro Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr.

"I had my best qualifying lap of the day, then the Penske cars go and crush it by 3 mph and make me look silly," said Patrick, who will start 11th in the 19-car field. More at Detroit News

Carl Edwards' Victory Thrills Hometown Fans Carl Edwards' Victory Thrills Hometown FansCarl Edwards passed Denny Hamlin with eight laps to go to win the Busch Silver Celebration 250 presented by Shop’n Save at Gateway International Raceway, his hometown track. Edwards, from nearby Columbia, Mo., had been running second to Hamlin for most of the race, but took advantage of good pit strategy to pull off the victory.

As the teams filed down pit road for the final green flag pit stops with under 20 laps remaining, the No. 60 team of Edwards opted to change right side tires in addition to adding fuel. When Hamlin came in a few laps later, his team decided to take their chances with their tires and went with fuel only. Edwards’ tires were the difference in the race as he easily passed Hamlin and coasted to victory in front of scores of friends and family.

The victory gives Edwards’ title chances a slight boost as he was able to shave 35 points off Kevin Harvick’s series lead. More significant is the fact that five drivers have won the championship after winning the race at Gateway. Edwards is currently second in the point standings, 318 behind Harvick.

Clint Bowyer, who spent most of the race in the top five, passed Hamlin on the last lap to finish second. He is third in the point standings, 387 behind Harvick. Hamlin led 169 laps in the race but had to settle for a third-place finish. He remains fourth in the standings, 430 out of first. zzzz

Kenny Wallace, a St. Louis native, finished ninth in the race, his fourth top-10 finish of the season.  The race didn't go as well for his nephew Steven Wallace who was driving the No. 64 Dodge for his father Rusty. Steven, making his eighth start of the season, got into the wall on Lap 92 and was never able to recover finishing 31st.

Psychological warfare at Hockenheim Psychological warfare at Hockenheim(GMM) Renault's Pat Symonds has declared psychological warfare in formula one.

As Michael Schumacher prepares to take another chunk out of championship leader Fernando Alonso's 17-point advantage at Hockenheim, the Briton has been quoted as saying by 'Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung': ''Schumacher will not win the championship this year.

''In addition, Fernando has the better car.''

Meanwhile, in another German newspaper, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been busy giving away hints about the likely appearance of next year's grand prix grid.

The 75-year-old clearly doesn't think 37-year-old Schumacher is going to retire, and hints that a certain Finn might just be his teammate.

''I believe that Kimi (Raikkonen) is perhaps a faster driver,'' Ecclestone told Bild am Sonntag, ''but that due to his experience Michael will beat him (at Ferrari).''

To the 'dpa' agency, Jean Todt labeled as 'ridiculous' speculation that Raikkonen has already penned some sort of a pre-agreement with Ferrari.

Asked if Kimi had signed a real contract, though, the F1 principal answered: ''Who will drive for us in the future will be announced at Monza.''

And what about rumors in the well-connected Italian press that Todt has also penned a new deal that will see him at the red team in 2007?

The Frenchman, 60, insisted: ''I do not comment on speculation.''

Todt did explain, however, that Ferrari will survive even without Schumacher in a car.

''One day,'' he said, ''in one year, in five years, in ten years, he - like myself and other team members - will stop. Ferrari will, however, go on. Life goes on.''

No Briatore announcement says Renault No Briatore announcement says Renault(GMM) A spokesman for the Renault team at Hockenheim has rejected reports that Flavio Briatore is planning to announce that he will stay at the team next year.

''That is not planned,'' spokesman Bradley Lord was quoted as saying by Focus Online.

Team principal Briatore's contract runs out at the end of the year, and it is speculated that - as has become the norm - he has agreed a one-season extension for 2007.

But other rumors suggest that the 57-year-old Italian could be looking for a new challenge, such as returning his private engine supplier 'Mecachrome' to the grid.

Hockenheim out, Ecclestone confirms Hockenheim out, Ecclestone confirms(GMM) In a major German newspaper, Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that Hockenheim will not host the German grand prix in 2007.

''We have so many countries wanting a race that we can no longer have two in one country,'' the F1 supremo was quoted as saying by Bild am Sonntag.

The Nurburgring will host the only German race next year, before Hockenheim takes its turn in 2008 in a season-by-season share scheme. This arrangement is said to be heading for confirmation by September.

Ecclestone, 75, ruled out altogether scratching the country from the annual calendar.

''No, that will never happen,'' the Briton told the newspaper. ''Never.''

Bernie also expressed regret at the departure of NASCAR-bound driver Juan Pablo Montoya, arguing that formula one 'needs' colorful characters like the Colombian more than those in the mould of Fernando Alonso.

He said: ''I think it's wrong when your world champion gives only one interview every weekend.''

Hockenheim: race day update Hockenheim: race day update(GMM)  Sakon Yamamoto will move to the very rear of Sunday's German grand prix grid after reverting to his 'new' Super Aguri.

The Japanese rookie had to qualify in the older 'T-car' after a practice shunt, but the SA06 has been repaired for the race.  Yamamoto, 24, was due to start in front of Jarno Trulli, Christijan Albers and Scott Speed.

Toro Rosso's Speed, meanwhile, denied that his own Hockenheim shunt had worsened a recovering back injury, incurred after crashing at Magny Cours two weeks ago.

''I went to the medical centre and had some treatment with the team,'' the Californian said, ''but Everything should be fine (for the race).''

There has been no word about the pit lane incident involving Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher, but Toyota were fined $5000 for a similar episode involving Jenson Button (Honda).

On the Alonso-Schumacher near-miss, former triple world champion Niki Lauda had this to say after the Spaniard waved his fist: ''Alonso should calm down.

''I don't know if he has a problem with dealing with the pressure, but it is not a good thing if a racing driver is too emotional.''

On the political scene, meanwhile, the engine quarrel raged on following Max Mosley's letter insisting on a 2008 engine freeze.  On Saturday afternoon a vote was taken about whether the homologation should be sped up to 2007, but too many teams said 'no'.

The likely result is that engine makers will now develop engines at huge expense next year, only to revert to the frozen June 2006-specification a season later.

New Swintal poster highlights new Champ Car New Swintal poster highlights new Champ CarTo commemorate the introduction of the Panoz DP01, Champ Car has commissioned motorsports artist and Champ Car Clerk of the Course Jim Swintal to create a new print featuring the Panoz DP01 surrounded by a collection of significant chassis that have competed in the series since the dawn of the rear-engine era.
Among the famous Marques in the 22 x 28 print are the Lotus 34, the first rear-engined victor in 1964, as well as  chassis from Eagle, Penske, March, Reynard and Lola.
The print will be available for $25 at the Champ Car World Series Merchandise Trailer at all events through the end of the season, or by contacting Jim directly at jswintal@yahoo.com
Formula BMW
Reed Stevens wins in San Jose Reed Stevens wins in San JoseSan Jose, Calif. -Californian Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) won Round 9 of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship in front of a home-state crowd today at the San Jose Grand Prix. The 21-year old, from Palo Alto took the lead from polesitter Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) on lap 3 and, in a race that saw nine cars not finish because of accidents, held on for the remainder of the 23-lap contest for his second Formula BMW USA victory of the year.

He finished .668 seconds ahead of Tom Sutherland (Jensen Motorsport) whose runner-up finish was a career-best for the Los Gatos, California driver who now holds the record for the most Formula BMW USA starts and finishes at 31. Rookie driver David Garza (EuroInternational) stood on the last step of the podium for his second third-place finish of the year. EuroInternational teammate Simona de Silvestro finished fourth for her seventh top- five result of the season. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA) rounded out the top-five finishers, equaling his season's-best finish. Despite setting the fastest lap of the race (1:03.172) on lap 13 championship points leader Wickens finished 17th after a rare mistake put him into the wall on lap 20 after a race-long chase of Stevens.

The race ended under the yellow brought out by Wickens crash. Other finishes of note were achieved by Doug Boyer (AIM Autosport) who started from the back of the field but moved up strongly to finish eighth. Matt Lee (Autotecnica), who started from the 24th position after yesterday's post-qualifying exclusion, finished 11th. The top-five finishing Rookie drivers were David Garza (P3), Maxime Pelletier (P7), Jordan Dick (P12), Steven Guerrero (P13) and Joel Jackson (P14). Formula BMW USA Wickens still leads the championship over De Silvestro whose fine finish today moves her to second. Stefano Coletti (EuroInternational), who had a guest appearance with Formula BMW USA for four Rounds, holds third place. Lee and Stevens round out the top-five.
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
GP2 Championship Series Germany
6:00am-7:30am (SDD) SPEED
Formula 1 Germany
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
Inside Drag Racing
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
The Fast Life -Andretti 3
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
Driving Force - Drag racing's John Force & daughters
12:30pm-1:00pm (R) -The Journey Home
Check local listings for other time zones A&E
Formula 1 Replay Germany
12:30pm-3:00pm (R) SPEED
2006 Red Bull US Grand Prix: Laguna Seca
Also 3:00pm-4:00pm PT (Pacific Time)
Check local listings for your time zone.
Rolex Sports Car Series Birmingham, AL
3:00pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
Champ Car San Jose, CA
3:30pm-6:00pm (L) NBC
IRL Brooklyn, MI
3:30pm-6:00pm (L) ABC
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Spring Valley
6:00pm-7:00pm SPEED
Speed News Sunday
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Sonoma, CA
8:00pm-11:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Steve Matchett (F1 Analyst)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

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

Matos knocks Rahal from pole Matos knocks Rahal from pole
Braun wins Pole Braun wins PoleDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Krohn Racing’s recent performances in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve were a perfect match for the hot temperatures during qualifying for Sunday’s Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant (SPEED, Live, 3 p.m. ET), as 17-year-old Colin Braun put the No. 76 Ford Riley on the pole position.

Braun posted a best lap at 1:22.022 (100.948 mph) in the 15-minute session to record the first pole of his Rolex Series career. The youngster did record the fastest time during qualifying for the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last month, but the time was disallowed for a technical infraction and Braun started from the rear of the grid. Braun and co-driver Jörg Bergmeister—who currently leads the Daytona Prototype driver standings—head into Sunday’s race looking to bring the No. 76 machine home with its fourth-consecutive podium result.

"It feels great to not only get a pole for myself, but also for all of the guys at Krohn Racing," said Braun. "Hats off to my engineer, Steve Newey, because we've had some pretty good tests here and have learned quite a bit. There's a fantastic bunch of guys working on this team."

Patrick Long will start second in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford after logging a best qualifying lap at 1:22.496 (100.368 mph).  It will be the seventh time in the team’s 10 races this season that the No. 23 machine is starting from the front row. Long and co-driver Mike Rockenfeller are looking for their sixth podium result and third feature race victory in Sunday’s Porsche 250. zzzz

"Our qualifying run was pretty positive," said Long. "It was definitely more than we expected since we've been battling some problems all weekend. This is a very tricky track, but our car seemed to handle pretty well during the session. It should be a barn-burner when the race comes around."

Starting third will be Jan Magnussen in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley following a best qualifying lap at 1:22.520 (100.339 mph). The No. 10 machine won in the last Rolex Series visit to Barber Motorsports Park last year and Magnussen will combine with defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli in an attempt to repeat the feat. Angelelli has not finished worse than fourth in his past six starts.

“Things went very well, I think,” Magnussen said. “We got the best out of it that we could. On my best lap, according to the data, I was blocked by traffic. Second was within reach, but pole was a bit far away. We have to work harder, but I think we have a really good race car, as we have had in the past. I think it will be good for tomorrow.”

Alex Gurney starts fourth in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley he co-drives with Jon Fogarty after posting a best qualifying lap of 1:22.524 (100.334 mph). Gurney and Fogarty have finished inside the top-eight positions in each of their last five Rolex Series starts with best results of second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen International, and both drivers are still looking for their first Rolex Series victory.

McDowell and Finlay Victorious in GA Cup race McDowell and Finlay Victorious in GA Cup raceBIRMINGHAM, Ala. – With approximately 30 minutes remaining in Saturday’s Grand-Am Cup 200 at Barber Motorsports Park, high winds, lightning and torrential rain showers descended upon the 2.3-mile, 16-turn Alabama circuit, forcing Grand-Am Cup Series officials to cancel the final portion of the 200-mile timed event, and handing the victory to No. 15 Playboy/Palms Casino Ford Mustang GT co-drivers Michael McDowell and Rob Finlay.
Formula BMW
Wickens doubles up in San Jose Wickens doubles up in San JoseSan Jose, Calif. - Following the exclusion of fastest qualifier Sebastian Saavedra's (Gelles Racing) car in post-qualifying technical inspection, Championship points leader Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) moved up to start on pole of the 26-car Formula BMW USA Round 9 field. Wickens first pole of the season comes after four consecutive outside-pole starts. Saavedra, the Rookie points leader, will start 24th followed by Autotecnica teammates Matt Lee (who had qualified third) and Robert Thorne (who had set the eighth fastest time) whose cars were also found not to be in compliance.  Capitalizing on their move in the top-five in the last few laps of yesterday's 30- minute session, Tom Sutherland (Jensen Motorsport) and Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) will start second and third respectively.
Formula BMW
Gelles announces massive Champ Car program Gelles announces massive Champ Car programBob Gelles (pictured right) announced today in San Jose that he will run 6 cars in Formula BMW, 4 cars in Champ Car Atlantic and two cars in the Champ Car World Series in 2007 for a massive 12-car effort.

"I'm very ecstatic to be a part of the Champ Car World Series for 2007, it's something I've truly dreamed about and been working on for five years and it's nice to see it come true.

"We have not chosen our drivers yet, but Colin Fleming is one guy we are talking to. Ideally we would have one veteran and one young driver. I have been involved in youth sports all my life and the Champ Car ladder program is a continuation of that."

Press Release:

INDIANAPOLIS – The entry list for the 2007 Champ Car World Series season gets its first new name today as Champ Car Atlantic Championship race-winning team Gelles Racing announced its intentions to move up to Champ Car competition beginning next season.

The announcement was made Friday night at the VIP launch party for the 2007 Panoz DP01 Champ Car, where the future of the open-wheel racing was unveiled to the public for the first time. The team, which scored its first Champ Car Atlantic victory earlier this year with Robbie Pecorari at the wheel, becomes the first Atlantic team to move up to Champ Car competition since RuSPORT made the climb after winning the 2003 Atlantic title.

“I’m very ecstatic to be a part of the CCWS for 2007 it’s something I’ve truly dreamed about and been working on for five years and it’s nice to see it come true,” said Gelles. “Everyone has had rave reviews over what Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerry Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi have created and it’s the best open-wheel racing series in the world.” zzzz

The Virginia-based team has been involved in the open-wheel developmental system since 2002 when former SCCA National Driver of the Year Bob Gelles formed Gelles Racing. Starting in Fran-Am, the Gelles team competed in Formula Renault, Formula BMW and Champ Car Atlantic series in recent seasons running six cars in the FBMW series in 2006.

“We are excited about welcoming Gelles Racing to Champ Car in 2007,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “The team has long demonstrated its passion for open-wheel racing, and we look forward to seeing them on the grid for many years to come.”

“We are excited about welcoming Gelles Racing to Champ Car in 2007,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “The team has long demonstrated its passion for open-wheel racing, and we look forward to seeing them on the grid for many years to come.”

The announcement coincided with the launch of the new 2007 Panoz DP01 Champ Car Friday night as the racing community saw the new chassis for the first time. The new chassis is lighter, quicker and is specially-designed to provide closer racing. The DP01 is also more affordable for the teams, which is part of the strategy to encourage Atlantic teams as well as teams from throughout motorsports to the Champ Car World Series.

"We set off on a strategy to rebuild the Champ Car World Series from the ground up," said series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. "The first step of that strategy was the rebuilding of the Atlantic Championship Series.  The second step was the introduction of the 2007 chassis, which will allow Atlantic teams to move up to Champ Car.  We welcome Gelles Racing as proof of the success of this strategy."

The 2007 Champ Car World Series season will begin April 8, kicking off with the newly-announced street event in Las Vegas. The race will be immediately followed by the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach April 15, with the second running of the Grand Prix of Houston coming April 22.


Bourdais tops morning practice Bourdais tops morning practiceSebastien Bourdais topped morning Champ Car practice, dipping down into the sub-50 second bracket. He was followed closely by AJ Allmendinger and Cristiano da Matta.
Bruni holds off Hamilton for win Bruni holds off Hamilton for winGimmi Bruni has converted his second 2006 GP2 series pole into his second win of the season after a determined and impressive race in which he held off the advances of championship leader Lewis Hamilton to take the chequered flag by just over a second. The pair were joined on the podium by Timo Glock, who reached third place despite serving a drive thru penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

Race Report: Gimmi led from pole into turn one as second-placed Timo bogged down and caught bags full of wheel spin, dropping him down to fourth behind the Italian, Nelson Piquet Jr and Giorgio Pantano. Nelson and Gimmi started pulling away from Giorgio, who began to build up a train behind him of Timo, Ernesto Viso, Lewis and Adam Carroll.  As the laps rolled past Timo was doing all he could to regain his lost positions. On lap four he shot up the inside of Giorgio at the hairpin and chased off after Nelson whom he caught and passed in the same place 12 laps later. Lewis meanwhile had passed Ernesto, and opted for an early stop.

By this point Gimmi had a two second lead over the pursuing Timo and Nelson, and on lap 17 the leader pitted, with Nelson following suit. A problem with Gimmi’s rear left lost him his two second advantage, and he emerged with Nelson right on his tail. Timo was in two laps later, and after a perfect stop he re-emerged in the lead and at the front of a three-way battle for the lead with Gimmi and Nelson. The three of them were covered by just one second.  zzzz

But the perfect battle was not to last, as both Nelson and Timo were forced to serve drive thru penalties for speeding in the pitlane. The order after their stops left Gimmi in the lead, with Lewis hot in pursuit, Giorgio in third, Timo in fourth and Nelson back in seventh behind Adam in fifth and Ernesto in sixth. The Brazilian however was in fighting spirit and dispatched Ernie in a single lap, taking just a further two to nip past Adam. He set off after Timo who was reeling in Giorgio at a rate of knots. With just seven laps left Timo had caught Giorgio, and at Turn 2 the Italian covered his line, only to see Timo power past on the exit having stuck to the standard line. Next lap round and Nelson pulled off the same move after some seriously late braking.

While Lewis threw all he could at Gimmi up front, Nelson was doing everything to get by Timo. On the last lap the pair touched and Nelson’s car slowed and ground to a halt, an apparent fuel issue bringing to an end a gallant race from the Brazilian. Gimmi ran home victorious, a second in front of Lewis with Timo a safe third ahead of his team-mate Ernesto, Giorgio fifth and Adam sixth. Jose Maria Lopez had driven an unbelievable race from the very back of the grid to finish seventh, while Clivio Piccione picked up the final points slot and pole for tomorrow with eighth. Alex Premat took the point for fastest lap after a tough race which had seen him lapped twice. 

1st Gimmi Bruni – Trident Racing. 57:40.763
I am really happy, especially because I had contact with Nelson at the start and he broke my exhaust. In the last 10 laps I couldn’t use sixth gear, but I held on, drove hard, and came out with the win!

2nd Lewis Hamilton – ART Grand Prix. +1.238
The car felt great for me, and we needed the points. Considering that Gimmi had so many problems, he was extremely quick. I really was extremely impressed with his pace and how he drove.

3rd Timo Glock – iSport International. +16.319
I just tried to make the pitstop too perfect and I knew straight away I’d been too fast in the pits. The guys did an awesome job. I wish I could have won for my home fans but there’s always tomorrow.

Michigan: Penske duo 1-2 in 2nd practice Michigan: Penske duo 1-2 in 2nd practice
Hornish - 216.116, top Penske
Castroneves - 216.048, Penske
Meira - 215.965, Panther
Dixon - 215.704, top Ganassi
Wheldon - 214.800, Ganassi
Kanaan - 214.169, top AGR

Other notables:
Danica - 212.681, 14th out of 18
Marco - 211.795, 17th out of 18, 4.5 mph slower than Hornish

Rahal tops Saturday practice Rahal tops Saturday practice
Pos Driver Car# Lap Time
1 Graham Rahal 18 55.664
2 Raphael Matos 6 55.717
3 Alan Sciuto 12 55.873
4 Jonathan Bomarito 23 55.950
5 Andreas Wirth  37 55.983
6 Colin Fleming 14 56.005
7 Richard Philippe 33 56.035
8 Leonardo Maia 7 56.059
9 Danilo Dirani 1 56.062
10 Tim Bridgman 2 56.081
11 Ryan Lewis 30 56.097
12 Robbie Pecorari 28 56.244
13 James Hinchcliffe 3 56.443
14 Simon Pagenaud 15 56.453
15 Alex Barron 21 56.476
16 David Martinez 4 56.484
17 James Davison 5 56.557
18 Steve Ott 35 56.798
19 Phil Giebler 42 56.873
20 Joe D'Agostino 34 56.895
21 Carlos Mastretta 8 56.998
22 Justin Sofio 26 57.002
23 Alex Sperafico 10 57.196
24 Richardo Vassmer 22 57.831
25 Brian McAtee 19 1:00.034
German F3
Ho-Pin Tung wins again Ho-Pin Tung wins againChinese-Dutch driver Ho-Pin Tung has won the first German F3 race at the EuroSpeedway this weekend.  With Joey Foster out due to injury, Tung extends his points lead and appears destined to win the German F3 title after easily winning the 2003 Asia Formula BMW with ease.  He simply is the best Chinese driver in racing today, even though he holds a Dutch citizenship.
Stewards probe Schu-Alonso incident Stewards probe Schu-Alonso incident(GMM) Renault boss Flavio Briatore has admitted to disappointment with title leader Fernando Alonso's seventh place in qualifying at Hockenheim.

The Spaniard has been consistently one second per lap slower than championship protagonist Michael Schumacher in Germany, and was even beaten by teammate Giancarlo Fisichella as a distinct slump in form emerges.

''A lot will depend on strategy and tire performance in the race,'' Briatore insisted, ''but still I expected some more from today.''

Alonso, meanwhile - who turned 25 on Saturday - showed his frustration by shaking his fist at Schumacher's red Ferrari after an incident in the pit lane.

''He didn't do what he is obliged to do,'' said Alonso, who suggested that Schumacher's failure to give way in the pits is being investigated by the stewards.

Schumacher commented: ''I was perhaps closer to him than what is normally the case, but I don't think it was so bad.

''Certainly I hope Fernando does not do much better tomorrow than he did so far this weekend.''

The 37-year-old German confessed to being 'a bit surprised' that Renault is struggling so much at Hockenheim, and similarly surprised at Kimi Raikkonen's pole-sitting pace for McLaren.

Schumacher said: ''I hope (Kimi) is a little bit lighter (on fuel) than us but that he has enough to be a problem for Fernando. That would be a help for the championship.''

A furious Tiago Monteiro, meanwhile, is also awaiting the outcome of a stewards' enquiry after slamming David Coulthard for blocking him on a flying lap.

MF1's Portuguese driver fumed: ''Mr. Coulthard has been around long enough to know better. It's unbelievable, because he's the first one to moan about it in the driver briefings and yet he thinks he can do it to everyone else.''

Castroneves tops opening practice in Michigan Castroneves tops opening practice in MichiganHelio Castroneves led the field in the first practice with a lap of 215.592. Dan Wheldon was second, over 4 tenths of a second slower, followed by Sam Hornish, Scott Sharp and Scott Dixon. Bryan Herta was the fastest AGR driver with a lap of 214.160. Danica's fastest lap was 213.356, the fastest of Rahal Letterman Racing. Tim Wohlford reporting from Michigan
Crash sidelines Vettel Crash sidelines VettelGerman rising star Sebastian Vettel is out of action after a big crash in the World Series by Renault race at Spa yesterday. Vettel crashed in Raidillon (the top of Eau Rouge) while running second in the first of the two races. The car went backwards into the tires and some of the wreckage from the crash hit his finger, cutting through flesh and bone. Fortunately, doctors were able to save the finger but the injury means that Vettel will be out of action for several weeks. The youngster came into the series to replace Colin Fleming when the American split with Red Bull recently. A tire torn from Vettel's car hit Alx Danielsson's car, destroyed the chassis. Grandprix.com
Opposing views of Danica Opposing views of DanicaCurrent teammate Buddy Rice is indifferent to Patrick leaving the team at season's end.

"We both have different ways of looking at life and going about things," Rice said. "Definitely, there's a professional level at the team. (But) we both live in Arizona; I don't think we're going out to have dinner together."

Marco Andretti said he's excited to work with Patrick next season. He and teammate Tony Kanaan told her that in a cell phone text message when her signing became official earlier this week.

"I'm definitely a Danica fan; I'm glad she's my teammate," Andretti said. "She'll bring a lot to the team, not only because of her last name and all the attention she'll bring, but she's a good driver and she can help out with the mechanical aspect and contribute to the team."

Andretti knows AGR's spotlight is going to be brighter.

"Bring it on; it's only good attention," he said. "It's going to be a fun year." Indy Star

[Editor's Note: Marco Andretti will be singing a different tune if Danica beats him on a consistent basis next year.  If that happens his chances of reaching superstar status will be over.]

San Jose ’massively better’ San Jose ’massively better’UPDATE Good news for the drivers. Bad news for one sponsor in particular.

The No. 6 car piloted by Oriol Servia and sponsored by jet manufacturer Gulfstream won't be taking flight over the light rail tracks at this weekend's San Jose Grand Prix.

``I'm going to have to find some other way, because the tracks are really, really smooth,'' Servia said. ``It seems like we are at a different track compared to last year.''

The early opinions on the improvements to the downtown San Jose track were mostly positive after Friday's practice session and provisional qualifying, which was won by Paul Tracy.

``It's 200 percent better than last year,'' Tracy said. ``The track is very smooth and so are the train tracks. You don't even feel them anymore. It's still pretty slippery because it's new pavement. But it's still a 200 percent improvement.''

The monumental transformation was at Almaden and San Carlos, where the light rail tracks launched cars off all four wheels last year, giving the race its signature image. This year, the asphalt approach to the tracks was lengthened, making for a more gradual rise to the train tracks.

The results have been remarkable.

``I thought it was going to be as bad as last year,'' Servia said. ``I'm so sorry I said that because I was completely wrong. This is a championship course now.''

After qualifying, Allmendinger agreed that the turn was much better.

``I didn't crash there, so it's really good,'' he said.

Da Matta pointed out that the track isn't perfect. He said the runoff area at the hairpin still needs to be longer and the fact that it angles off to the left instead of going straight is another drawback. Otherwise, he was happy with what he has seen.

``It's pretty amazing,'' da Matta said. ``We usually go from track to track and see some improvements year to year and they go step by step. But this was a big step. They've done some very good work here.''

Servia said, ``It's a real race track, and we can race here.'' Mercury News

07/28/06 Paul Tracy started today's post-qualifying press conference by taking a moment to compliment the improvements that were made to the San Jose track from last year.  "Massive improvements from last year," said Tracy.  "It's like night and day.  You don't even feel the bumps over the tracks this year, it's like they are not even there."  To right Bourdais approaches the smoothed RR track crossing.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Howett denies Toyota disagreement
'Damper-gate' means bumpy German ride
Bernie drops hints about 2007 calendar
Speed recovered from back injury
Trulli moves to ’T-car,’ engine freeze pushed Trulli moves to ’T-car,’ engine freeze pushed(GMM) Jarno Trulli has told reporters at Hockenheim that, with damage to his Toyota engine during Saturday practice, he will now slide into the 'T-Car' for qualifying.

It will cost the Italian, who was using a new V8 engine in Germany, ten places on the grid.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes in the paddock motor homes, team bosses were this morning digesting a letter from Max Mosley, in which the FIA president made it clear that a full engine freeze - with a 19,000rpm limit - is to be implemented in 2008 and hopefully also in 2007.

Chiefs on Friday had told the press that discussions about an alternate agreement were ongoing, but Mosley insisted that the time for compromise had passed because some 'GPDA' carmakers resisted contributing to a 'fighting fund' for an independent supplier.

It had been rumored that some manufacturers were worried that the 'fund' could go Flavio Briatore's way, as the Renault team principal also owns private engine outfit 'Mecachrome'.

With two weeks having passed since the original deadline and still no agreement over the so-called ‘Indianapolis Proposal’ for a partial freeze, Mosley said the time for discussion had passed.

The engines used in 2008 will therefore be those submitted to the governing body for homologation following the British Grand Prix.

“It is clear that we must stop discussing engine regulations and focus entirely on complying with those we already have,” Mosley wrote in a letter to all 11 teams.

“This means that engines used in 2008 will be those in use on 1 June 2006.”

The FIA president called on the teams to agree to bring forward the full engine freeze to 2007 to prevent the costly exercise of developing engines for a single season only to revert to June 2006 specification from the start of 2008.

“It is to be hoped that everyone will agree to use these engines also for 2007 and thus avoid pointless and wasteful development work for just one season,” Mosley wrote.

“Particularly as the seven different engines will be so close together in performance that a team with all the other necessary elements in place could win the World Championship with any one of them.”

Monteiro almost benched, Klien fastest Monteiro almost benched, Klien fastest(GMM)  Saturday got off to an eventful start at Hockenheim, with Tiago Monteiro being the most relieved racer on the German circuit after he narrowly averted a crisis.

It is understood that MF1 principal Colin Kolles was prepared to remove the Portuguese from his race cockpit, replacing him with Markus Winkelhock prior to qualifying, after Monteiro's sponsors were late in making a payment.

Ultimately, the sponsors coughed up and Monteiro slid into his car.

Sakon Yamamoto, meanwhile, took the blame for disrupting the usual order of the timesheets in the final pre-qualifying practice session.

The Super Aguri shunted his new 'SA06' in the dying minutes, meaning that Red Bull's Christian Klien was left in 'P1' because quicker runners like Michael Schumacher - who had just entered the circuit with fresh Bridgestones - could not prove their real worth.

Jarno Trulli was also left feeling a bit flat after twelve minutes when his Toyota V8 failed.  The Italian will almost certainly lose ten places on Sunday's grid as a penalty.

The two Hondas were second and third best, while David Coulthard also impressed with fifth place.  Title protagonists Schumacher, and Fernando Alonso, recorded the ninth and eleventh quickest times, after heavy overnight rain washed the circuit clean of rubber.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:15.628 14
 2. Button Honda (M) 1:15.651 + 0.023 15
 3. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:15.963 + 0.335 19
 4. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:15.977 + 0.349 13
 5. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:16.080 + 0.452 14
 6. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:16.130 + 0.502 16
 7. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:16.167 + 0.539 14
 8. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:16.218 + 0.590 12
 9. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:16.307 + 0.679 11
10. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:16.322 + 0.694 12
11. Alonso Renault (M) 1:16.427 + 0.799 15
12. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:16.532 + 0.904 18
13. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:16.600 + 0.972 17
14. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:16.690 + 1.062 20
15. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:16.834 + 1.206 16
16. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:17.419 + 1.791 17
17. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:17.740 + 2.112 16
18. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:17.793 + 2.165 23
19. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:18.643 + 3.015 19
20. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:18.668 + 3.040 21
21. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:19.254 + 3.626 15
22. Trulli Toyota (B) No time 2

Traveling Light to produce documentary on new Champ Car Traveling Light to produce documentary on new Champ CarA bit young to have a life story, the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car will have the events leading up to its unveiling chronicled by Traveling Light, as the award-winning company announced that it would be producing a documentary surrounding the new chassis.

Traveling Light, who produced the exhilarating video that preceded the unveiling of the new Champ Car, will create an upcoming documentary special on the creation and building of the newly designed, next generation Champ Cars. The show will detail the new car not only to its unveiling, but beyond the ceremony to the continued development of the car.  An airdate has not yet been set, but Adam Friedman, President of Traveling Light, is currently in discussions with The Discovery Channel and The History Channel, among others.

Traveling Light has a wealth of Champ Car experience, having produced the Champ Car 2005 Season Preview show, the fan favorite one-hour Speed Channel special Champ Car Garage, as well as numerous television commercials, one of which won a National Telly Award.  In 2004, TL founder Adam Friedman directed several Champ Car promos for Spike TV, closing down New York City’s Times Square and sending a 750 hp Champ Car racing through the streets. zzzz

Traveling Light has produced over 80 hours of television programming for networks as diverse as Arts & Entertainment (A&E), The History Channel, Outdoor Life Network (OLN), Home Box Office (HBO), Spike TV, The Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel, INHD and more.  TL is a major producer of the A&E Biography series including episodes on Bruce Willis, Kevin Costner, Sylvester Stallone, and an Emmy-nominated two-hour Special Biography on John Travolta.  The company has just completed its first feature film “…And She Was,” is in pre-production on another as well as a television movie for Fox and A&E.

Rahal slams Danica Rahal slams DanicaGraham Rahal slammed Danica Patrick's statement that there was no leader in Rahal Letterman Racing this year because Bobby Rahal has been going to races to watch his son.

"That's a horrible thing for her to say.  She says there is no leader in the team and that's just wrong.  When Kenny Brack won something like 1/2 the races in Champ Car that year, dad was in Europe running Jaguar.  There is a leader in the team."

Rahal to race A1GP, weighs his future Rahal to race A1GP, weighs his futureAmerican Graham Rahal confirmed to AutoRacing1.com Friday that he will race in the A1GP series this fall/winter.

As far as going to GP2 next year, Rahal said his dream is still F1, but he is cautious about GP2.

"As an American I want to see open wheel prosper, but my dream has always been F1. It's always tough to break into Europe. I have to make sure I get with the best GP2 team or there's no point in going. If you are not winning in GP2 you are not getting to F1.

"We can't talk to any GP2 teams until August because that is when the window opens up where they say OK you can talk to us."

Rahal welcomes the opportunity to test and maybe driver for Newman/Haas in Champ Car.

"Certainly I have some opportunities in Champ Car, but nothing has been determined yet. It would be very difficult to turn down an offer from a top team like Newman/Haas, especially if Sebastien is still there because you always want to have someone to measure yourself against and he's the best person to base yourself. It would be a tough offer to turn down, that's for sure," said Rahal.

Industry News
GM shares on record streak GM shares on record streakGeneral Motors Corp. shares rose for the 10th consecutive day, tying a 22-year-old record, according to Bloomberg data.

The shares rose 24 cents to $32.35 on the New York Stock Exchange. Detroit-based GM’s stock has climbed 67% this year.

Earlier this week, GM reported a second-quarter operating profit of $1.15 billion. Overall it lost $3.2 billion in the quarter, largely due to charges associated with its turnaround plan.

"Our turnaround has not just gained traction, it's accelerating into high gear," Wagoner said Wednesday. "Conventional wisdom is that you can't turn a ship as big as GM around quickly. We aim to prove that conventional wisdom wrong."

What he fails to mention is that the reports that GM may form an alliance with Renault and Nissan are what have fueled the rise, and those talks are being forced on him.

Maldonado wins in Spa Maldonado wins in SpaPastor Maldonado won today's World Series by Renault race at the illustrious Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. Canada's Sean McIntosh collected his first podium finish today with an impressive drive to second place. The drivers overcame treacherous track conditions, thanks to an Ardennes downpour.
British F3
Buurman wins first F3 race at Spa Buurman wins first F3 race at SpaFull results of the opening race at Spa in round six of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series.  There is one more F3 race this weekend.

1. Yelmer Buurman Fortec Dallara F306 Mercedes 31min 22.800secs 12 laps
2. Maro Engel Carlin Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda +0.472secs
3. Bruno Senna Double R Dallara F306 Mercedes +6.938secs
4. Mike Conway Double R Dallara F306 Mercedes +8.398secs
5. Oliver Jarvis Carlin Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda +9.647secs
6. James Walker Hitech Dallara F306 Mercedes +12.814secs
7. Christian Bakkerud Carlin Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda +18.763secs
8. James Jakes Hitech Dallara F306 Mercedes +22.031secs
9. Jonathan Kennard ADR Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda +27.301secs
10. Karl Reindler ADR Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda +34.939secs
11. Stephen Jelley Double R Dallara F306 Mercedes +36.201secs
12. Keiko Ihara Carlin Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda +46.311secs
13. Salvador Duran Hitech Dallara F306 Mercedes +50.959secs
14. Rodolfo Gonzalez T-Sport Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda +55.928secs N
15. Mario Moraes Carlin Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda +1min 06.273secs I
16. Cristiano Morgado Fluid Lola Dome F106/4 Mugen-Honda +1min 14.168secs N
17. Juho Annala Performance Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda +1min 49.990secs N
18. Basil Shaaban Comtec F3 Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda +2min 01.789secs I
19. Martin Kudzak Fluid Lola Dome F106/4 Mugen-Honda +2min 14.052secs N
20. Rodolfo Avila Performance Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda +2min 15.320secs N
21. Ricardo Teixeira Performance Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda +2min 31.291secs N

Not classified:

22. Alberto Valerio Cesario F3 Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 6 laps completed
23. Alex Khateeb Promatecme F3 Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 5 laps completed N
24. Michael Herck Bas Leinders Racing Dallara F306 Mercedes Non starter I

Bourdais fears the start Sunday Bourdais fears the start SundayChamp Car points leader fears the start of the San Jose Grand Prix Sunday because of the accordion effect braking for the 25 mph first turn hairpin.

Right, Bourdais navigates the tight right-hand 25 mph first turn hairpin.

"I'm afraid of the start, every sensible driver should be. I'm not sure what spacing they are going to set as a target or we have a 99% chance of a pileup in Turn 1. What we do is not in my hands," insinuating that the race Steward must set the rules in the drivers meeting before the race. "It's the trickiest start ever in Champ Car ever (referring to the long straight followed by the slowest corner on the Champ Car circuit). Tony Cotman (Chief Steward) has been thinking about this one for a long time."

During the race drivers can't block into the first corner. "You can't block in this series. If a driver gets inside you under braking you lost the battle right there, you have to let him by. And you can't change your line and block."

Fittipaldi Leads Practice Fittipaldi Leads PracticeBIRMINGHAM, Ala. – On a hot and sunny opening day of practice for Sunday’s Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant (SPEED, Live, 3 p.m. ET), Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi turned in the day’s fastest time around the gorgeous 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park road course.

Fittipaldi piloted the No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve Cheever Racing Porsche Crawford to a quick time of 1:22.355 (100.540 mph) during the first of the day’s two practice sessions, a time that held up throughout the afternoon session. The Brazilian is sharing the No. 39 machine for the first time with 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Papis, who also clocked the afternoon’s best time of 1:23.404 (99.275 mph).

“Needless to say, I’m a very happy guy for a lot of reasons after a day like that,” Fittipaldi said. “It’s only Friday, but so far, so good. I drove the morning session and we worked on a lot of performance things. The car did its job perfectly, and we ended up fastest. This afternoon, we wanted to give Max as much time in the car as possible because it’s his first time racing a Crawford chassis, where you sit on the right side instead of the left. He worked more on race setup things and ran on older tires in the afternoon session, and we came away with the fastest lap, again. In both situations, we ended up fastest. It doesn’t get much better than that. Again, it’s only Friday, but we’re definitely headed in the right direction.” zzzz

While the No. 39 team paced both sessions, both sessions were extremely close with 10 cars running within one second of Fittipaldi’s quick time in the morning and 15 cars turning laps within a second of Papis in the afternoon. Virtually all of the quickest times were posted during the morning session.

Alex Gurney logged the day’s second-quickest time aboard the No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley with a lap at 1:22.487 (100-379 mph). Gurney earned his first Rolex Series pole position at Barber Motorsports Park a year ago, and heads into Sunday’s race looking to record his first Rolex Series victory with co-driver Jon Fogarty.

"I'm pretty happy with the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac,” Gurney said. “Jon and I have been chasing the setup a bit but it seems like everyone's pretty much got the same push we do. In the second session we chose to save tires, so we've got an extra set of stickers for practice tomorrow and that should help. There's so many good teams out there right now - the No. 39, the No. 10, and the No. 76 - that qualifying is going to be a real shootout. I'm going to do what I can to get the pole here again for the GAINSCO team and we think we've got a good shot at it."

San Jose attracts 40K on Friday San Jose attracts 40K on FridayUnder beautiful sunny California skies and temperatures in the low 80s, the announced Friday attendance for the San Jose Grand Prix was 40,127.  The grandstands down by the hairpin were fairly full during final qualifying.  Sebastien Bourdais predicts they will be the best seats in the house come Sunday.  "They will be the most exciting place to watch a Champ Car race all year," said Bourdais referring to the long front straight followed by the heavy braking for the 25 mph Turn 1 hairpin, the slowest corner on the Champ Car circuit. "A lot of drivers will be dive-bombing under guys trying to make a pass there."  
Americans excelling in Atlantics series Americans excelling in Atlantics series
Americans 1-2-3 in Atlantic qualifying Americans 1-2-3 in Atlantic qualifying
Bruni takes pole at Hockenheim Bruni takes pole at HockenheimGimmi Bruni has taken pole in a thrilling qualifying contest this afternoon at Hockenheim. The Italian bagged his second pole position of the season by three tenths of a second from local hero Timo Glock with a lap of 1:22.588. The times were incredibly close and quick, with Gimmi’s pole lap being just six seconds slower than the fastest Formula One drivers managed in the day’s earlier practice sessions.

The session began with a flurry of activity as every one of the 26 GP2 series drivers made their way onto the circuit to make the best use of the rubber laid down in F1 practice. Giorgio Pantano was the initial provisional pole sitter, before Franck Perera stole that place from him. Giorgio was back up there again on the 10 minute mark however with the first sub 1:23 lap of 1:22.995 to lead Timo Glock, Franck, Gimmi, Ernesto Viso and Adam Carroll.

Five minutes later and Nelson Piquet Jr took provisional pole with a 1:22.928, only to see Timo steal it away from him with a 1:22.910. Lewis was now on his out lap, and at the end of his first flyer sat sixth. But while the cameras concentrated on the championship leader, it was Gimmi who was setting the track alight. The Italian had timed his run to perfection, getting the very most from his medium compound Bridgestone Potenza tires, and screamed across the line to record the lap that would net him pole. zzzz

And so it was that Gimmi took his second pole of the year for Trident Racing, and the two points that go with it. Timo will line up next to him on the grid in second, with row two consisting of Nelson and Ernesto. Row three sees Giorgio and Franck side by side, with Lucas di Grassi seventh ahead of Lewis in eighth. Andreas Zuber and Alex Premat complete the top ten, with less than three quarters of a second separating them all.

Last time Gimmi took pole, in Imola, he won the race. To repeat that feat here in Hockenheim tomorrow would be a sweet reward for the Italian, but with the top 16 drivers covered by a second, the potential for a great race is tantalizingly high. Oh… and there’s a rather large chance it could rain tomorrow afternoon. If the forecast proves correct, it really could be anyone’s race.

Gimmi Bruni, Trident Racing
"It was a good lap. I did a very good first and last sector so I expected to be in the first two… you just never know what the other guys are doing. It was the best I could do and in the end it was three tenths faster, so I’m very happy."

Timo Glock, iSport International
"I’m second which means one guy is quicker than me and I can’t be happy about that. I said from the beginning that I wanted to be on pole because Lopez beat me by two tenths in France and now Bruni beat me by three tenths. It’s a good position for us though and I will try to win again."

Nelson Piquet Jr, Piquet Sports
"I’m happy. I did a very good first lap and it was close at the front. I lost some time on the scales and then I didn’t really find a good space for my second attempt. But anyway I think Gimmi’s lap was very good. I don’t know if I could have gone quicker but my car was great."

1. Gianmaria Bruni Trident 1m 22.588s
2. Timo Glock iSport 1m 22.910s
3. Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet 1m 22.928s
4. Ernesto Viso iSport 1m 22.947s
5. Giorgio Pantano FMS 1m 22.994s
6. Frank Perera DAMS 1m 23.127s
7. Lucas di Grassi Durango 1m 23.147s
8. Lewis Hamilton ART 1m 23.169s
9. Andreas Zuber Trident 1m 23.302s
10. Alexandre Premat ART 1m 23.309s
11. Ferdinando Monfardini DAMS 1m 23.315s
12. Adam Carroll Racing Engineering 1m 23.457s
13. Nicolas Lapierre Arden 1m 23.472s
14. Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN 1m 23.539s
15. Luca Filippi BCN 1m 23.575s
16. Clivio Piccione DPR Direxiv 1m 23.692s
17. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova 1m 23.769s
18. Alexandre Negrao Piquet 1m 23.785s
19. Michael Ammermuller Arden 1m 23.898s
20. Felix Porteiro Campos 1m 24.035s
21. Sergio Hernandez Durango 1m 24.057s
22. Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1m 24.060s
23. Vitaly Petrov DPR Direxiv 1m 24.609s
24. Jason Tahinci FMS 1m 25.380s
25. Adrian Valles Campos 1m 29.211s
26. Jose Maria Lopez Super Nova 1m 54.731s

Americans 1-2-3-4 in opening San Jose practice Americans 1-2-3-4 in opening San Jose practiceAmericans Jonathan Bomarito, Graham Rahal, Alex Barron and Alan Sciuto led the opening Champ Car Atlantic practice in San Jose Friday.

Pos Driver Car# Lap Time
1 Jonathan Bomarito 23 56.795
2 Graham Rahal 18 56.806
3 Alex Barron 21 56.924
4 Alan Sciuto 12 56.960
5 Andreas Wirth  37 56.971
6 Raphael Matos 6 56.978
7 Leonardo Maia 7 56.982
8 Tim Bridgman 2 57.050
9 Ryan Lewis 30 57.112
10 Danilo Dirani 1 57.173
11 Joe D'Agostino 34 57.259
12 Richard Philippe 33 57.284
13 Simon Pagenaud 15 57.298
14 James Hinchcliffe 3 57.426
15 Steve Ott 35 57.469
16 David Martinez 4 57.607
17 Colin Fleming 14 57.684
18 Justin Sofio 26 57.703
19 Robbie Pecorari 28 57.724
20 Alex Sperafico 10 57.972
21 James Davison 5 57.991
22 Richardo Vassmer 22 58.805
23 Brian McAtee 19 1:02.758
24 Carlos Mastretta 8 3:16.533
25 Phil Giebler 42

German GP: Friday Press Conference German GP: Friday Press ConferenceParticipating: Norbert Haug (McLaren Mercedes), Christian Horner (Red Bull), John Howett (Toyota), Mario Theissen (BMW Sauber). Transcript
Ford engineer talks about switch to unleaded fuel Ford engineer talks about switch to unleaded fuelBeginning with this weekend’s NASCAR Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway, unleaded fuel will be used for four weeks before undergoing an evaluation period. NASCAR plans to evaluate the use of unleaded fuel over several NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events this season before making a decision on when it will be mandated for all three national series.
Chris Robinson, who oversees the Busch Series engine department for Roush-Yates Engines, spoke about the development of the motor, and the necessary changes associated with running unleaded fuel.

“We just had to do a lot of work with the valve-face coating. The lead in the leaded fuel worked as a lubricant on the valve train, so we’ve had to go back and make sure the valve coatings will compensate for the unleaded fuel. We’ve put in somewhere in area of 40 or 50 hours, including dyno time, to prepare for this four-race stretch.”

“No, it’s just having the right coating on the face of the valves, so that it doesn’t erode the valve or the valve seat. That’s the only major change we’ve had to make with engine components.”

“Just in the timeliness of being able to get the valves with the right coating on them. You order stuff a month in advance, and then all of a sudden your world turns upside down. With this being a standalone weekend, we have less motors on order for this weekend than if it were a companion event with the [NASCAR Nextel] Cup Series, so that has helped to lighten the load.” zzzz

“It’s probably backed us up by about two weeks. As long as we don’t have any problems with the valve train assembly this weekend, which we don’t anticipate, we should get caught up here by next week.”

“Not yet.”

“Once they leave here, they’ll stay in the car the whole weekend. We’ll inspect them after practice, but that will be it. We won’t actually take them apart and inspect them. We’ll just do the valve lash, the normal visual, and that will be all.”

“No, actually the fuel is pretty good. We were kind of surprised, and actually, we figured the horsepower level would drop off with the tune-up level, but it has stayed pretty close.”

“None that we saw on the dyno. Since we haven’t had a chance to run them in a car, we’ll find out this weekend. We don’t expect there to be any surprises, and once we get them back to the shop after the race in St. Louis, we’ll make any changes we need to before sending them out to IRP [O’Reilly Raceway Park] for the Truck and Busch races next week. It helps that we’ve got this week of only running them in the Busch cars as a first test, rather than running them in both series right off the bat.” Ford Racing

Champ Car Edmonton rating Champ Car Edmonton ratingUPDATE The final rating for the Edmonton Champ Car race was a dismal 0.6/1 share on CBS.

07/24/06 The overnight rating on CBS for the Champ Car race from Edmonton was a 0.7/2 share
ALMS Portland TV rating ALMS Portland TV ratingUPDATE The final rating for the ALMS race from Portland was a 0.6/2 share.

07/24/06 The overnight rating on CBS for the ALMS race from Portland was a 0.6/1 share, down 40.0% from a 1.0/2 for last year’s American LeMans Grand Prix on NBC.
NASCAR Pocono TV Rating NASCAR Pocono TV RatingUPDATE The final rating was the same as the overnight, a 3.9.

07/26/06 The overnight NASCAR TV rating for last Sunday's Cup race at Pocono on TNT was a 3.9, up 3% over last year.  3 million households tuned in.
Philippe leads opening practice in San Jose Philippe leads opening practice in San JoseNelson Philippe is once again proving he is the real deal by topping all challengers to top opening Friday morning practice in San Jose for the Champ Cars. AJ Allmendinger and Oriol Servia were close behind.

Pos Driver # Lap Time Leader
1 N. Philippe 4 50.856
2 A. Allmendinger 7 51.003 0.147
3 O. Servia 6 51.027 0.171
4 S. Bourdais 1 51.188 0.332
5 A. Tagliani 15 51.344 0.488
6 J. Wilson 9 51.350 0.494
7 C. Zwolsman 34 51.544 0.688
8 C. da Matta 10 51.608 0.752
9 B. Junqueira 2 51.647 0.791
10 M. Dominguez 19 51.653 0.797
11 A. Ranger 27 51.763 0.907
12 P. Tracy 3 51.804 0.948
13 D. Clarke 14 51.832 0.976
14 K. Legge 20 51.853 0.997
15 W. Power 5 52.242 1.386
16 N. Pastorelli 8 52.412 1.556
17 J. Heylen 11 53.084 2.228

Grand-Am announces Iowa race Grand-Am announces Iowa raceNEWTON, Iowa  – In a major 2007 race announcement for the new Iowa Speedway, track officials and officials from the Grand American Road Racing Association today unveiled plans for three different series to compete on the 1.3-mile infield road course on July 13-14, 2007.

Headlining the weekend’s activities will be the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve on the evening of Saturday, July 14. The Rolex Series has revolutionized North American road racing with incredibly close competition among its exotic, mid-engine Daytona Prototypes and production-based GT machines, and both classes will compete simultaneously under the lights at Iowa Speedway. Fans in America’s heartland will be treated to an action-packed, two-hour and 45-minute battle in the Rolex Series feature.

Joining the Rolex Series will be the Grand-Am Cup Series and the new MOTO-ST endurance motorcycle racing series. Iowa Speedway President Stan Clement said racing fans throughout the country will enjoy the 2007 schedule additions.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Grand American Road Racing Association and the Rolex Sports Car Series,” Clement said. “Rusty Wallace joins us in saluting this new racing partnership and, of course, the name ‘Rolex’ speaks for itself. We’ll do our part to showcase these races properly at the finest track in the country, Iowa Speedway.”

The two Grand-Am Cup Series classes, Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) will compete in individual races, with the GS race—featuring a battle between American muscle cars and storied racers from European manufacturers—slated for the afternoon of Saturday, July 14. The Grand-Am Cup ST class highlights the hottest “sport compact” cars on the market and will do battle on the afternoon of Friday, July 13. zzzz

Headlining the schedule on the evening of Friday, July 13 will be MOTO-ST. Contesting its inaugural season in 2007, MOTO-ST—which is sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association and organized by Grand American and Professional Motorsports Productions—will bring three classes of “sport twin” motorcycles with teams of riders for a three-hour race.

“We are overjoyed to have an outstanding new race track in Iowa Speedway,” said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. “We jumped at the chance to bring all three series to Iowa, and we are confident that we will deliver an exciting weekend of racing to the tremendous Midwestern race fans. Iowa Speedway is truly a first-rate facility and we look forward to an entertaining race weekend in 2007 and for years to come.”

NASCAR Champion Rusty Wallace, who earlier this year raced at Daytona, teaming up with open-wheel star Danica Patrick in the 2006 Rolex 24, said the Rolex Sports Car Series is a major development for Iowa Speedway.

“This partnership demonstrates that Iowa Speedway is a world-class race track,” said Wallace. “I’m very familiar with Daytona and its rich racing history, and this brings Daytona-style sports car racing to Iowa. It’s really awesome and I’m delighted to be a part of it all.”

Grand American is located in Daytona Beach, Florida, on the same corporate campus that is also home to NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation and Daytona International Speedway, but operates as its own stand-alone corporation with a group of independent investors and its own board of advisors. Among the company’s investors are several of the key people behind NASCAR’s success, but Grand American offers an entirely different product that features extremely competitive sports car racing on historic road and street circuits and in major market speedways throughout America.

ESPN statement on NASCAR schedule ESPN statement on NASCAR scheduleThis morning Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NASCAR announced that ESPN's return to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing will begin with the prestigious Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 29, 2007.  The complete 2007 NASCAR schedule won't be released until later this year.

"The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard has always been a marquee event on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule and we cannot wait to provide our flag-to-flag coverage from such an historic race track," said John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president, programming. "We will dedicate unprecedented multi-media resources to the sport beginning with the season-opening NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona, continuing with our opening NEXTEL Cup race at Indianapolis on ESPN, and until the season champions are crowned."
Seen in San Jose - II Seen in San Jose - IIThe Champ Car Atlantic field is back up to 25 cars, up from 23 in Edmonton. Phil Giebler has been added to the Condor Racing team and a rookie driver from Venezuela, Richardo Vassmer, have also been added. American Colin Fleming is also running for Gelles this weekend......The bumps over the RR tracks have been completely eliminated. One driver said they are as smooth as a baby’s a$$ .... The long front straight followed by the hairpin looks to be a great overtaking spot now......the weather has dawned sunny and cool, quite unlike the heat wave that California has been experiencing. It feels just like Long Beach in April.....More later.
Seen in San Jose -I Seen in San Jose -ISpotted the new Panoz Champ Car ahead of tonight's unveiling and what a beautiful car it is. Decked out in Orange and Silver livery, the new car looks even better than the half-scale model we saw previously. The car looks almost as wide as the existing car and we hear the car was not made as narrow as previously planned because it cost too much underbody downforce. The side profile is a bit swoopier than the half-scale model but the front view looks very similar. The rear of the car is the biggest change from the current car. The underbody tunnel exits are noticeably larger and the rear wing assembly has a lower element/wing at the rear suspension level much like the F1 cars of recent years. The rear wing endplates are very large. We hear that the plan is to have all car numbers located here so the fans can distinguish between similarly painted cars.
'07 Allstate 400 moves to week earlier '07 Allstate 400 moves to week earlierINDIANAPOLIS - The 2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will take place Sunday, July 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a week earlier than the event's traditional date on the first weekend in August.

The prestigious race will be the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event televised on ESPN since 2000. ABC/ESPN is returning to weekly NASCAR race broadcasts in 2007, airing the last 17 events of the NEXTEL Cup Series schedule.

ESPN will launch an extensive multimedia campaign early next year to promote its return to NASCAR at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. That campaign will run through Race Day.

"We're pleased to welcome ESPN and its team to the Brickyard in 2007," said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. "The promotional campaign that ESPN is planning for its first NASCAR telecast in seven years will create opportunities for the Speedway and our great sponsor partners, including our title sponsor, Allstate."

Promotion of ESPN's return to NASCAR and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be included on the full suite of ESPN media, including its cable TV networks, ESPN2, ESPN360, ESPN Radio, Mobile ESPN, ESPN.com and affiliated international networks throughout the world.

The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard has taken place on the first weekend of August, with race dates ranging from Aug. 1 to Aug. 8, in the event's 13-year history. This year's race is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 6.

"The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is one of NASCAR's major races," said Mike Helton, NASCAR president. "Indianapolis is a great place for ESPN's return to NEXTEL Cup, as well as a great place to kick off the ABC/ESPN season every year."

Some of the top drivers in NASCAR history have won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard since its debut in 1994, including season champions Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. IMS
British F3
Engel tops Senna for pole Engel tops Senna for pole
Race 2 Qualifying

Pos Driver Make Time
 1. Maro Engel Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:15.497
 2. Bruno Senna Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:15.579 + 0.082
 3. Christian Bakkerud Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:15.901 + 0.404
 4. Oliver Jarvis Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:15.956 + 0.459
 5. Salvador Duran Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:16.287 + 0.790
 6. James Walker Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:16.484 + 0.987
 7. James Jakes Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:16.531 + 1.034
 8. Stephen Jelley Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:16.765 + 1.268
 9. Mike Conway Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:16.773 + 1.276
10. Jonathan Kennard Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:16.910 + 1.413
11. Yelmer Buurman Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:17.097 + 1.600
12. Michael Herck Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:17.345 + 1.848
13. Karl Reindler Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:17.449 + 1.952
14. Alberto Valerio Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:17.868 + 2.371
15. Mario Moraes Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:18.911 + 3.414
16. Rodolfo Gonzalez Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:19.209 + 3.712
17. Cristiano Morgado Lola-Dome F106/4 Mugen 2:19.328 + 3.831
18. Keiko Ihara Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:19.526 + 4.029
19. Juho Annala Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:19.717 + 4.220
20. Rodolfo Avila Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:20.283 + 4.786
21. Basil Shaaban Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:20.389 + 4.892
22. Martin Kudzak Lola-Dome F106/4 Mugen 2:20.974 + 5.477
23. Ricardo Teixeira Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:22.543 + 7.046
24. Alexander Khateeb Lola B05-30 Mugen-Honda 2:22.676 + 7.179

Race 1 Qualifying

Pos Driver Make Time
 1. Maro Engel Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:15.777
 2. James Walker Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:15.787 + 0.010
 3. Mike Conway Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:16.214 + 0.437
 4. Stephen Jelley Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:16.522 + 0.745
 5. Bruno Senna Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:16.640 + 0.863
 6. Oliver Jarvis Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:16.822 + 1.045
 7. Salvador Duran Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:16.949 + 1.172
 8. Christian Bakkerud Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:17.023 + 1.246
 9. James Jakes Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:17.088 + 1.311
10. Yelmer Buurman Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:17.102 + 1.325
11. Jonathan Kennard Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:17.102 + 1.325
12. Karl Reindler Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:17.329 + 1.552
13. Michael Herck Dallara F306 Mercedes HWA 2:17.429 + 1.652
14. Alberto Valerio Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:17.721 + 1.944
15. Rodolfo Gonzalez Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:18.633 + 2.856
16. Cristiano Morgado Lola-Dome F106/4 Mugen-Honda 2:18.882 + 3.105
17. Mario Moraes Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:18.949 + 3.172
18. Juho Annala Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:19.592 + 3.815
19. Keiko Ihara Dallara F306 Mugen-Honda 2:19.983 + 4.206
20. Basil Shaaban Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:20.587 + 4.810
21. Martin Kudzak Lola-Dome F106/4 Mugen-Honda 2:21.413 + 5.636
22. Rodolfo Avila Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:21.823 + 6.046
23. Ricardo Teixeira Dallara F304 Mugen-Honda 2:22.701 + 6.924
24. Alexander Khateeb Lola B05-30 Mugen-Honda 2:22.945 + 7.168

Rosberg admits blame for Hockenheim smash Rosberg admits blame for Hockenheim smash(GMM) Williams' German-born Nico Rosberg accepted the blame on Friday for his morning smash at Hockenheim.

The 21-year-old rookie did not emerge in the afternoon session after his crew worked to replace destroyed front and rear suspension on the left side of his 'FW28'.

''It was my mistake,'' Rosberg said.

''The tires were cold and I just lost it. But with this rain then (not running in the second session is) not a big deal.''

Indeed, Friday's second practice was declared wet by race control, even if only a few more spots fell during the 60-minute period itself.

German GP: Schumacher shows his hand in practice 2 German GP: Schumacher shows his hand in practice 2BMW Sauber test driver may have been fastest in the 2nd practice today at Hockenheim for the preparation of the German GP Sunday, but it was Michael Schumacher's fastest time among regular drivers that shows he's ready to win again in front of his home fans. Schumacher's looking for wins to close the points gap on Alonso.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:16.225 18
 2. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:16.502 + 0.277 14
 3. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:16.549 + 0.324 18
 4. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:17.040 + 0.815 9
 5. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:17.205 + 0.980 11
 6. Davidson Honda (M) 1:17.294 + 1.069 26
 7. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:17.344 + 1.119 6
 8. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:17.516 + 1.291 10
 9. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:17.519 + 1.294 13
10. Button Honda (M) 1:17.542 + 1.317 13
11. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:17.672 + 1.447 10
12. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:17.844 + 1.619 13
13. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:17.895 + 1.670 14
14. Winkelhock MF1-Toyota (B) 1:17.962 + 1.737 20
15. Alonso Renault (M) 1:18.082 + 1.857 8
16. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:18.164 + 1.939 36
17. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:18.223 + 1.998 13
18. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:18.366 + 2.141 13
19. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:18.460 + 2.235 19
20. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:18.616 + 2.391 10
21. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:18.636 + 2.411 10
22. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:18.643 + 2.418 11
23. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:18.991 + 2.766 11
24. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:19.113 + 2.888 9
25. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:19.232 + 3.007 12
26. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:19.365 + 3.140 8
27. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) No time 2
28. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B)

Hugo Boss celebrates 25th year Hugo Boss celebrates 25th yearHugo Boss, one of the leading international fashion and lifestyle groups, and McLaren are marking their Partnership’s Silver Anniversary by extending this already record breaking Partnership further.

This weekend's German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring sees Hugo Boss and McLaren celebrate 25 years of Partnership. On Wednesday Team McLaren Mercedes ran its F1 car with test driver Gary Paffett at the wheel at the Hugo Boss HQ in Metzingen, Germany. The event was attended by Hugo Boss employees who also had the opportunity to meet Kimi Raikkonen.

On Thursday evening at the Mercedes-Benz grandstand area at Hockenheim a fashion gala and VIP party took place to celebrate the fusion of fashion and the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team. The fashion show was opened by the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car being driven onto the catwalk by Gary Paffett. Hugo Boss first became a Partner of McLaren in 1981. Since then the Partnership has claimed nine Drivers' Formula One World Championships (Niki Lauda: 84; Alain Prost: 85, 86, 89; Ayrton Senna: 88, 90, 91; Mika Hakkinen: 98, 99) and seven Constructors' Formula One World Championships (84, 85, 88, 89, 90, 91, 98). zzzz

Over the years Hugo Boss has provided the team with specially developed outfits to wear at the races reflecting the diverse requirements of the more than 120 people on track; management, marketing, mechanics, service staff and the drivers – a total of 20,000 individual parts. McLaren and Hugo Boss were also the first to introduce bespoke clothing for the team to wear whilst traveling to and from Formula 1 grand prix and tests. In addition Hugo Boss also provides the employees at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England, with a unique uniform. Formula One stands for fascination, dynamism and ongoing innovation," said Dr. Bruno Sälzer, CEO and Chairman of the Hugo Boss Group. "In this fast-paced world, the 25-year partnership between Hugo Boss and McLaren is certainly a remarkable achievement."

Hugo Boss will remain as a Corporate Partner of the team. The Boss logo will continue to appear on the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 cars adjacent to the drivers' names and on drivers' overalls and helmets as well as on team personnel. Press Release McLaren Mercedes

TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for FridayUPDATE Reminder that you can also watch the unveiling of the new Champ Car tonight live on the web. Details

Courtesy of TVRacer.com

Formula 1 Practice Germany
8:00am-9:00am (L) SPEED
Champ Car Replay Edmonton
2:00pm-3:30pm (R) SPEED
Originally broadcast on CBS
Speed World Challenge Tooele, UT
3:30pm-4:30pm (R) -Touring
4:30pm-5:30pm (R) -GT SPEED
9:00pm-11:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Lewis Hamilton tops opening practice at Hockenheim Lewis Hamilton tops opening practice at Hockenheim
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Hamilton ART 1:24.086 13
 2. Yoshimoto BCN Comp. 1:24.270 + 0.184 12
 3. Lopez Super Nova 1:24.382 + 0.297 10
 4. Glock iSport 1:24.483 + 0.397 13
 5. Pantano FMS 1:24.492 + 0.406 13
 6. Bruni Trident 1:24.529 + 0.443 15
 7. Piquet Piquet Sports 1:24.790 + 0.704 16
 8. Perera DAMS 1:24.821 + 0.735 14
 9. Premat ART 1:24.848 + 0.762 12
10. Di Grassi Durango 1:24.912 + 0.826 15
11. Lapierre Arden 1:25.075 + 0.989 14
12. Piccione DPR 1:25.100 + 1.014 14
13. Zuber Trident 1:25.121 + 1.035 14
14. Negrão Piquet Sports 1:25.154 + 1.068 17
15. Viso iSport 1:25.166 + 1.080 14
16. Monfardini DAMS 1:25.189 + 1.104 12
17. Filippi BCN Comp. 1:25.201 + 1.115 16
18. Valles Campos Racing 1:25.304 + 1.218 15
19. Carroll Racing Eng. 1:25.490 + 1.404 13
20. Hernandez Durango 1:25.557 + 1.471 17
21. Ammermuller Arden 1:25.636 + 1.550 17
22. Fauzy Super Nova 1:25.745 + 1.659 14
23. Villa Racing Eng. 1:25.806 + 1.720 16
24. Porteiro Campos Racing 1:25.942 + 1.856 18
25. Tahinci FMS 1:26.874 + 2.788 15
26. Petrov DPR 1:27.158 + 3.072 19
German GP: Wurz tops practice 1 German GP: Wurz tops practice 1Alex Wurz continued his strong 2006 form by topping the times in the opening free practice session for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. The Williams test driver set the pace in 1:16.349 on the last of the 26 laps he completed.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:16.349 26
 2. Davidson Honda (M) 1:16.523 + 0.174 29
 3. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:17.343 + 0.994 29
 4. Button Honda (M) 1:17.439 + 1.090 5
 5. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:17.835 + 1.486 25
 6. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:18.085 + 1.736 6
 7. Alonso Renault (M) 1:18.328 + 1.979 5
 8. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:18.539 + 2.190 24
 9. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:18.664 + 2.315 6
10. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:18.795 + 2.446 5
11. Winkelhock MF1-Toyota (B) 1:18.964 + 2.615 27
12. Villeneuve BMW-Sauber (M) 1:18.972 + 2.623 6
13. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:19.214 + 2.865 5
14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:19.507 + 3.158 7
15. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:20.102 + 3.753 14
16. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:20.132 + 3.783 5
17. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:20.575 + 4.226 7
18. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:20.950 + 4.601 7
19. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:21.218 + 4.869 21
20. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:34.942 + 18.593 3
21. Trulli Toyota (B) No time 4
22. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) No time 4
23. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
24. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) No time 1
25. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) No time 1
26. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B)
27. Massa Ferrari (B)
28. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B)

Indy to renew F1, add MotoGP Indy to renew F1, add MotoGPIndianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood said progress is being made on two future races at the track.

He said talks with Formula One are looking good for another U.S. Grand Prix in 2007. His boss, Tony George, has spoken with Bernie Ecclestone and they are working through the details of a new contract.

The other race would be for motorcycles, likely in 2009. Chitwood attended last weekend's MotoGP World Championship race in Monterey, Calif., for the second year in a row and came away feeling more optimistic than ever that he understands the sport's landscape well enough to host an event.

If a race were held in 2009, it would be the 100th anniversary of the track's first motorized event, which was a motorcycle race.

"I think I've got my arms around (the sport) now," Chitwood said. "I definitely think it makes sense to continue moving forward with this." Indy Star
Hemelgarn to step down to Silver Crown Hemelgarn to step down to Silver CrownRon Hemelgarn, who recently dissolved his IRL partnership with NBA star Carmelo Anthony, is purchasing a new Silver Crown car to debut at the Aug. 3 race at O'Reilly Raceway Park. A driver has not yet been announced. Indy Star
Lack of fans frustrates IRL drivers Lack of fans frustrates IRL driversIt was just more than a decade ago when traffic jams slowed the way to Michigan International Speedway for the annual open-wheel Indy-style race.

Now, with just a few days until Sunday's Firestone Indy 400 IndyCar series race, tickets are plentiful and inexpensive, $40 for the race, and children 12 and younger are admitted for free.

Open-wheel racing has become a victim of confusion and lack of awareness. Since 1995, when the Indy Racing League was created and split with then-Troy-based Championship Auto Racing Teams, the sport has slipped in ticket sales and television ratings, while the NASCAR Cup series has rocketed to new heights.

For the record, it is the IRL that will be racing at Michigan on Sunday. That series, anchored by the Indianapolis 500, saw an average television rating of 2.0 in 2005, sagging behind the PGA, the NASCAR Busch series and the NBA -- the NFL, NASCAR Cup racing and NCAA football are the top three in ratings.

Can open-wheel racing, featuring the fastest and slickest cars in motorsports, ever regain the foothold it once held in this country?

"It's not going to happen as long as there's a split," former Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, who drives for Rahal Letterman Racing, said, bluntly. "Until they get back together, it's going to be very difficult to draw."

IRL drivers are resigned to that reality. They don't like it, naturally.  More at Detroit News

Industry News
Ghosn sets bar high on GM alliance Ghosn sets bar high on GM allianceCarlos Ghosn, the chief executive of Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., said in France on Thursday that his companies would form an alliance with General Motors Corp. only if the gains exceeded the risks by 10 times, and he again denied any interest in taking the helm of the Detroit automaker.

He didn't make clear how quickly the gains from a partnership would have to be achieved. But his comments, following the release of weaker first-half earnings by Renault, left at least some analysts wondering whether he was trying to downplay the chance of a deal among the three companies by setting an unrealistic target.

"Ten times -- that's a lot," said Brad Rubin, a senior credit analyst with BNP Paribas in New York. "It may be backing off in light of GM's earnings. I think you could read into it like that, where he's coming up with unrealistic goals."

David Sowerby, a Bloomfield Hills portfolio manager with the investment firm Loomis Sayles, said he thought Ghosn might be stepping back from a deal. He said he can rarely identify investments that guarantee a return of 10 times the original investment.

"That's rarified air," he said, joking: "This is almost reminiscent of 'Simon says, take one step back.' " More at Detroit Free Press

SJ Grand Prix in search of smooth ride SJ Grand Prix in search of smooth rideWhen the curtain came down on last year's inaugural San Jose Grand Prix, the reviews were not kind from the most visible critics:

The drivers.

Paul Tracy called the spine-rattling street course ``like being in a paint-shaker.'' Champ Car veteran Jimmy Vasser felt as though he had been behind the wheel of the General Lee from ``The Dukes of Hazzard,'' as cars launched airborne over bumpy light-rail lines.

Only half the 18 cars completed a race that was less than grand -- including zero passes for the lead on the track.

So, with 12 months to make improvements, will it be any better the second time around? And can this ever be a good race? We'll find out starting today, as the 725-horsepower Champ Cars test the 1.4-mile downtown course for the first time during practice and qualifying sessions.

``Obviously the track wasn't great, but it's definitely better now,'' San Jose native A.J. Allmendinger said Thursday. ``As drivers, all we ask is to have improvements when we come back. They've done that.''

In 2005, race cars played follow-the-leader behind winner Sebastien Bourdais. But drivers say alterations have created more passing opportunities that will spice up the racing. Among them are:

• The Almaden Boulevard portion of the track is now mostly straight.

• Turns, including the left-hander from Almaden onto Park Avenue -- the site of much trouble last year, such as Allmendinger's race-ending wreck -- have been widened and smoothed.

• The infamous rail lines, which had drivers worried about breaking car parts a year ago, should be less bumpy now that the asphalt surrounding them is more flush with the concrete.

``We took one of the biggest critics in Sebastien and made him partially responsible for the redesign, and now he feels like there's going to be more passing in San Jose than on any other street race on the series,'' said Kevin Kalkhoven, co-owner of Champ Car.

But that might not be such a lofty compliment. Temporary street courses do not lend themselves to wheel-to-wheel racing, where the lead constantly changes hands. More often they are giant no-passing zones -- making events more parades than races.

Like San Jose last year.

Champ Car's philosophy, since Kalkhoven and two partners bought the series out of bankruptcy, has been to emphasize metropolitan courses that are as much festivals as they are car racing.

``There's something going on all the time,'' Kalkhoven said. ``You can go to a downtown where there are restaurants and bars, as opposed to being at tracks miles from anywhere, where you have to sit in traffic jams for hours.''

The inaugural San Jose Grand Prix drew big crowds. Downtown was packed. There even were more people than organizers could handle as infrastructure such as pedestrian bridges over the track became overwhelmed.

But it was a dull race. The question is: Does that matter?

``It's a trade-off,'' said veteran driver Bruno Junqueira. ``Road-course racing is the best, but today people don't want to spend hours driving out to a track. So it's better to have the race come to the people. They get more excited at street races, and it can still be good racing.''

Increasing the chances of a good race was the main reason behind track changes. The signature part of the course, in theory, is the Almaden straightaway. This now has the most potential for action.

The pit area was moved to the other side of the street, removing a kink in the course that had slowed cars. A runoff area has been created at the hairpin near Santa Clara Street. Last year, a chicane -- or curve -- had to be added before the turn for safety reasons, ruining a passing zone.

``Without that chicane, there will be passing,'' Junqueira said.  More at San Jose Mercury News

Q and A with Super Aguri’s Mark Preston Q and A with Super Aguri’s Mark PrestonProvided by Super Aguri's press office.

Mark Preston - Super Aguri's chief technical officer: We had our first shake down of the SA06 last week and everything went quite well. We ran through a number of issues as you do with any new car and everything was fine. We had a few problems that we were able to sort out overnight and then we continued with the second car on Thursday at Santa Pod where we just checked out a few of the things we'd fixed overnight. We were therefore mainly making adjustments to get the right settings on the car and those sorts of things. On the whole the shakedown went quite well so we're reasonably happy.

Q. Could you please explain about the new car and the changes you've made?

MP: It is hard to describe because - as you know from when Toyota started etc - it's an ongoing development. This development really has focused on the rear end of the car which has a new quick-shift gearbox from Honda R&D. It seemed to be working quite nicely during our first running last week. With the new gearbox comes a lot of integration. You've probably seen that the previous car had a lot of compromises to get the gearbox to match up with the engine, for example.

The rear end is now a lot neater; the gearbox is obviously made for the engine, to fit with the hydraulics etc. Added to that, obviously the SA05 had suspension from 2002 and tires have moved on a long way since then, so the rear suspension needed a lot of attention.

We did an amount of analysis at the start of the year and, with running the SA05, we could at least see the areas that we needed to change and we completed a lot of work with Bridgestone and have developed a new rear suspension.

Coming with that, integrating the gearbox and the engine together in a more efficient way, we've also saved a lot of weight, so we now have a reasonable amount of ballast on the car, a reduced centre of gravity and all those things that come from the integration of the two areas.

This should give the race engineers a bit of room to play with weight distribution which, as you know, is quite important for the tires nowadays. So there are a number of things that have been modified in that area.

Then moving on you may have seen things like the rear lower main plane on the car - the rear lower wing is very boring on the previous car, but we didn't have time to come up with something interesting, so now we're onto the twin pylon arrangement which has allowed the lower main plane to become much more aerodynamic which has then in turn allowed changes to the floor and changes to the top bodywork.

We have done a lot more work on aerodynamics and you can see now the SA06 has new sidepods, new style radiator inlet ducts, we've got new top body, the heat shielding across the gearbox now integrates properly with the engine .... so underbody and overbody flow is a lot better because of the changes to the rear end. More....

SJ Grand Prix to be faster, more passing SJ Grand Prix to be faster, more passingGrand Prix of San Jose organizers today promised that this year's race weekend will be even more exciting as they work to correct the glitches discovered during last year's inaugural race.

"I can promise you tomorrow at 7:59:59 there will be cars on the track, unlike last year," Grand Prix General Manager Bob Singleton said.

The 1.5-mile track that winds through the streets of downtown San Jose has been modified this year to encourage more passing. In addition, the bump caused by the light rail tracks on San Carlos Street has been minimized, allowing drivers to go over it at higher speeds.

"I remember the migraine I had" from going over the light rail tracks last year, driver Katherine Legge said at today's news conference.

Driver A.J. Allmendinger, a San Jose native, said that unlike last year, spectators should see actual passing during Sunday's main race because of the widening of the track in several spots.

"With the passing opportunities, we're crazy drivers. We see something, we're going to do it," Allmendinger said. ABC7 News

Maldonado takes first pole in Spa Maldonado takes first pole in Spa
1. Pastor Maldonado VEN Draco 2mins 04.059secs
2. Milos Pavlovic SCG Eurointernational 2mins 04.069secs
3. Alvaro Parente POR Victory 2mins 04.137secs
4. Sebastian Vettel GER Carlin 2mins 04.205secs
5. Andy Soucek ESP Interwetten.Com 2mins 04.322secs
6. Alx Danielsson SWE Comtec 2mins 04.310secs
7. Sean McIntosh CAN KTR 2mins 04.356secs
8. Tomas Kostka CZE Draco 2mins 04.507secs
9. Davide Valsecchi ESP Epsilon Euskadi 2mins 04.628secs
10. Alvaro Barba ESP Jenzer 2mins 04.552secs
11. Jaap Van Lagen NED Comtec 2mins 04.631secs
12. Borja Garcia ESP RC Motorsport 2mins 04.587secs
13. Christian Montanari SMR Prema 2mins 04.683secs
14. Michael Aleshin RUS Carlin 2mins 04.595secs
15. Patrick Pilet FRA GD Racing 2mins 04.886secs
16. Robbie Kerr GBR KTR 2mins 04.632secs
17. James Rossiter GBR Pons 2mins 04.965secs
18. Ben Hanley GBR Cram 2mins 04.920secs
19. Steven Kane GBR Epsilon Euskadi 2mins 05.102secs
20. Eric Salignon FRA Interwetten.Com 2mins 05.011secs
21. Gregory Franchi BEL Prema 2mins 05.123secs
22. Bruce Jouanny FRA RC Motorsport 2mins 05.658ecs
23. Ryo Fukuda JAP Tech 1 2mins 05.148secs
24. Matteo Meneghello ITA GD Racing 2mins 05.882secs
25. Carlos Iaconelli BRZ Eurointernational 2mins 05.273secs
26. Hayanari Shimoda JAP Victory 2mins 06.262secs
27. Celso Miguez ESP Pons 2mins 05.583secs
28. Marco Bonanomi BEL Tech 1 2mins 06.476secs
29. Alessandro Bonetti ITA Jenzer 2mins 06.198secs
30. Pasquale di Sabatino ITA Cram 2mins 06.985secs

Qualifying results determined by two separate qualifying sessions, with leading drivers from both sessions filling the front row, the second fastest drivers filling the second row and so forth.

Industry News
GM sales up overseas GM sales up overseasDETROIT – General Motors reported second quarter global sales (April - June) of 2,400,000 vehicles – an 8.7 percent increase over first quarter 2006 – powered by sales of Chevrolet and Saab. GM’s year-to-date sales of 4,600,000 vehicles are down 2.3 percent compared to the same period a year ago. This decline is largely attributable to last year’s highly successful employee discount incentive program in North America and lower fleet sales in Europe.

“We are encouraged by the stabilization of our sales in the United States and the continued strength of our four global brands (Cadillac, Chevrolet, Saab and Hummer) outside of our home market,” said John Middlebrook, vice president of global sales, service and marketing. “Our global market share grew each month of the quarter, concluding at 14.5 percent share performance in June.”

Chevrolet, GM’s foundational brand recorded year-to-date sales increases in Asia Pacific (40 percent), Latin America (15 percent), Middle East (12 percent) and Europe (12 percent). Most encouraging is Chevrolet’s growth in emerging markets such as Brazil up 13 percent (20,000 units), China up 81 percent (30,000 units), India up 47 percent (6,000 units) and Russia up 47 percent (14,000 units). Second quarter Chevrolet global sales are up more than 128,000 units, a 13 percent increase over first quarter results. Further growth for the brand is expected with the third quarter introduction of the Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup truck in the United States, and the expanded availability of the Captiva sport utility in Europe and Asia. zzzz

HUMMER sales remain strong with year-to-date sales up 104 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The Middle East, up 531 percent (1,300 units) and the United States, up 89 percent (15,000 units) are the leading markets for the brand. HUMMER sales should continue to strengthen with the production of a right-hand drive version of the H3 for markets outside of North America, at GM’s South Africa assembly plant later this year.

Saab global sales increased 11 percent compared to year-ago levels, helping the brand set a new record for the first half of the year. The largest growth was in Europe where sales increased 24 percent compared to 2005. In Sweden, the Saab 9-5 was once again the number one ‘green vehicle’ sold. The brand also experienced solid sales performance in Australia, up 51 percent compared to last year, making the island continent the brand’s third-fastest-growing market.

Cadillac sales outside of the United States grew 13 percent compared to year ago levels. In China, where the brand was introduced only two years ago, calendar year-to-date sales are up 93 percent. In Europe, the launch of the Cadillac BLS helped sales grow 30 percent. Sales in the United States are expected to further stabilize in future months with increased availability of the Cadillac Escalade, Escalade EXT, Escalade ESV, and SRX with an all-new interior.

Rosberg, Albers, Aguri in trouble at Hock Rosberg, Albers, Aguri in trouble at Hock(GMM) Nico Rosberg and Christijan Albers had an unfortunately eventful start to their German grands prix on Friday morning.

It escaped the glare of the television cameras, but it is believed that Nico Rosberg's (Williams) heavy impact against the guard rails was either caused by a broken rear wing, or he spun on MF1 driver Albers' blown Toyota engine oil.

After Thursday's scorching weather, it was a cooler start today at Hockenheim, with cloud, wind and 27C lingering in the sky.

Local hero Michael Schumacher did not even do a single installation lap.

The stewards, meanwhile, have had a busy morning, following the surprise allowance of Renault's damper system.

They later ruled that Super Aguri should stop using an illegal tire heating system, with the regulations stating that blankets are the only lawful means of preparing tires for use.

The banned device is a box-like structure containing rollers which beamed infrared heat onto the four tires.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
Toyota confirm Trulli contract
Stewards declare Renault device 'legal'
FIA to appeal own stewards
Montagny in Hockenheim no-show

Melbourne wins back 2007 opener
FIA ban won't hurt Renault - Alonso
Ralf plays down brother-rift claims
Alonso laughs at 2007 rumor
Bridgestone in the hunt says de la Rosa
Lazy rivals made Jacques quit 'GPDA'
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Inside Grand Prix German Grand Prix
4:00am-4:30am  SPEED
Movie: The Racers (1955)
6:00am-7:30am FOX Movie Channel
Formula 1 Qualifying  Germany
8:00am-9:30am (L) SPEED
Champ Car Atlantic Edmonton 7/23/06 
2:00pm-3:00pm SPEED
Star Mazda Tooele, UT 7/15/06
3:00pm-4:00pm SPEED
USAC Thunder -Silver Crown Chicagoland
5:00pm-6:00pm Outdoor Channel
Speed News Saturday
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Sonoma, CA
8:00pm-10:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Series  Madison, IL
Gateway Intl Raceway
8:00pm-11:00pm (L) TNT

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

Racing and Tennis unite Racing and Tennis uniteThe Bank of the West Classic and Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose Presented by Taylor Woodrow have come together for two unique promotions.  Two big media and photo opportunities for area media as two Bay Area events come together!

THURSDAY, JULY 27 1:30 pm

Defending Bank of the West Classic champion Kim Clijsters, the tournament’s top seed, was shown around the San Jose Grand Prix track with Newman/Haas drivers Bruno Junqueira and defending San Jose Grand Prix champion and 2004 & 2005 Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais. The drivers gave Kim a tour of their cars, and then take her on a tour of the track on a special edition Newman/Haas Racing Piaggio Vespa.  Bourdais is the driver of the No. 1 McDonald's Ford-Lola-Bridgestone race car while Junqueira drives the No. 2 Hole in the Wall Camps Ford-Lola-Bridgestone entry.


Bruno Junqueira, a member of the six-time Champ Car championship winning Newman/Haas Racing, and three-time runner up to the series champion, and French Open Semifinalist Nicole Vaidisova, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, engaged in a special hitting session at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium at Stanford University, site of the Bank of the West Classic.

Following the hitting session, Junqueira gave Vaidisova a tour of a Champ Car and some quick driving tips.

ABOUT THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC: The Bank of the West Classic, in its 36th year, is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world and is the first stop of the US Open Series. A Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Tier II event, the Bank of the West Classic features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $600,000. In 2005, Clijsters defeated Venus Williams 7-5, 6-2 in the singles final for her third BOTW Classic title, while Cara Black and Rennae Stubbs captured the doubles title. Held on Stanford University’s campus at Taube Family Tennis Stadium since 1997, former champions include: Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams.  The Bank of the West Classic is owned and operated by IMG.

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