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Canadians fastest in Canada UPDATE Ticket sales have not been released, but general manager Martin Spalding said hospitality suites are sold out and the last of the grandstand seats were snapped up Friday.

Only general admission lawn seats are still available. At $30 each, fans can bring a lawn chair, picnic basket and take a seat across from pit road that would give them access to the Busch race and a Canadian Tire Series support race.

“This can really be a marquee event for NASCAR,” Spalding said. “It’s a terrific city, with two cultures, a wonderful nightlife. It’s safe, we have great food. The city is absolutely buzzing about this.”

08/03/07 As if you could not have predicted it, two Canadian open wheel drivers (Patrick Carpentier and Michael Valiante) topped final NASCAR Busch Series practice in Montréal, Canada Friday. Another Canadian, Ron Fellows, was 5th. This should help to sell tickets for Saturday's race.

Pos. No. Driver Time Speed
1 22 Patrick Carpentier 101.948 95.661
2 42 Michael Valiante 102.153 95.469
3 59 Marcos Ambrose # 102.207 95.418
4 1 Max Papis 102.365 95.271
5 33 Ron Fellows 102.434 95.207
6 9 Boris Said 102.542 95.106
7 14 Kyle Krisiloff # 102.696 94.964
8 47 Andy Lally 102.699 94.961
9 41 Scott Pruett 103.081 94.609
10 66 Steve Wallace 103.086 94.605
11 28 Niclas Jonsson 103.107 94.585
12 90 Stephen Leicht 103.526 94.202
13 *17 Michel Jourdain 103.903 93.861
14 7 Mike Wallace 103.911 93.853
15 18 Brad Coleman # 104.015 93.760
16 20 Aric Almirola 104.230 93.566
17 88 Andy Pilgrim 104.271 93.529
18 77 Ron Hornaday 104.431 93.386
19 27 Jorge Goeters 104.904 92.965
20 38 Jason Leffler 105.590 92.361
21 *98 Alex Garcia 105.828 92.153
22 60 John Andretti 106.089 91.927
23 *30 Stanton Barrett 106.321 91.726
24 37 Casey Atwood 106.363 91.690
25 36 Brent Sherman 106.671 91.425
26 99 Mark Green 107.247 90.934
27 10 John Graham 107.259 90.924
28 35 Bobby Hamilton Jr. 107.735 90.522
29 *72 D.J. Kennington 108.193 90.139
30 *0 J.R. Fitzpatrick 108.710 89.710
31 25 Richard Johns 110.229 88.474
32 *52 Scott Gaylord 111.074 87.801
33 *63 Mike MacKenzie 111.983 87.088
34 *71 Trevor Boys 114.029 85.526
35 *01 Joe Fox 118.409 82.362
36 *89 Morgan Shepherd 121.980 79.951
37 *76 Jerick Johnson 128.719 75.765


Earnhardt's car damaged after qualifying
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s pole-winning car was involved in a minor collision with a track vehicle following post-qualifying inspection at Pocono Raceway Friday.
Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. said that Earnhardt Jr.'s crew was pushing the car off the scales and down a ramp when medical personnel stopped their Gator vehicle directly in front of the car. The vehicles collided, and Earnhardt's car sustained front-end damage.  "It hit pretty good," crew chief Tony Eury Jr. said. "It smashed the nose back. It had a Gator tire print in it."

The crew worked to repair the damage and is expected to complete the work once the garage opens in the morning.  "It's pretty much fixed," Eury said. "I just gotta put these braces on underneath it in the morning." Scenedaily.com


Quote of the Week
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have a quote of the week for you that I picked up off a discussion forum: "When I grow up, I wanna be like AJ Allmendinger...$3M a year, and SUNDAYS OFF!"  The guy is referring to the fact that AJ fails to qualify for most NASCAR races and gets to go home early.  I just fell off my chair when I read that.  He had a winning combination in Champ Car with Mike Cannon as his engineer and Forsythe Championship Racing.  Now he has a big paycheck but not much else. He's a star. Peter Joseph


Angelelli and Magnussen win Montreal Grand-Am race
Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen scored their second victory of the season in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor Racing at Friday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Montreal 400K and pulled to within two points of the championship lead with three races left on the 2007 schedule.

It was the 11th victory in the history of SunTrust Racing since joining the Rolex Series in 2004, the third for the driving duo of Angelelli and Magnussen dating back to May of 2006, and the second for the Wayne Taylor Racing organization, which was formed just this past off-season to carry on the SunTrust Racing banner. Angelelli and Magnussen last co-drove to victory April 29 at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.

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industry news

Chrysler acquisition complete, now privately owned
Chrysler officially made the break with former German partner Daimler on Friday, to become the first major, privately owned North American automobile manufacturer in more than 50 years. Under the $7.4 billion deal, initially announced May 14, 2007, private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has acquired 80.1 percent equity interest in Chrysler LLC, as the automaker is now known. The German half of the now-defunct partnership will now be called Daimler AG. Pending shareholder approval in the fall, Daimler AG will retain the remaining 19.9 percent. Chrysler's break with German automaker Daimler became official Aug. 3, ending the nine-year old company, DaimlerChrysler. Workers are preparing for an employee celebration that is planned for Aug. 6 on the grounds of the Chrysler World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.


ALMS and Champ Car combo at Road America
Elkhart Lake, WI - Fans of sports cars and open wheel racers will be thrilled with the Generac Power Weekend at Road America, August 9-12, 2007. For the first time in the track's history, the American Le Mans Series and the Champ Car World Series will headline a race weekend together. Support series for the event include the Champ Car Atlantics, Star Mazda and Formula BMW USA. The Generac Power Weekend is sponsored by Wisconsin-based Generac Power Systems, which designs and manufactures top quality, long-life power generation equipment.  

The Generac 500, featuring the American Le Mans Series, will mark another track first with its four-hour format and twilight finale on Saturday. The series features prototype and production-based sports cars from the world's most elite auto manufacturers. At Road America these cars reach average qualifying speeds in excess of 133 mph for prototypes and 120 mph for production-based GT cars. Historically, finishing times within classes have margins less than 0.4 seconds and three of the 10 closest overall finishes in the series' history have occurred at Road America. 

The turbo-charged cars of the Champ Car World Series race on Sunday in the Generac Grand Prix.  Three drivers are embroiled in the title hunt: three-time champion Sebastien Bourdais leads the way followed by young upstarts Robert Doornbos and Will Power. Road America's natural road course with 14 turns and changing elevations offers many unique challenges for these drivers who race on several tight street courses. Fans will get to see the season's new DP01 cars crest the hill on the front straight at speeds faster than 190 mph.  

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Hungary: Friday Press Conference
Flavio Briatore (Renault),
Christian Horner (Red Bull),
Colin Kolles (Spyker),
Aguri Suzuki (Super Aguri).

Q. A question to all of you: the 2008 calendar has been released; what are your feelings about it and the lack of a US Grand Prix?

Aguri Suzuki: It's OK because our sponsor is not the United States and is very important in the Asian market or something like that. But Formula One is very important in the United States because it is a World Championship of Formula One. But otherwise the rest of the calendar is OK.

Colin Kolles: We are basically happy with the calendar. It's unfortunate that there isn't a race in the USA but it isn't up to us.

Flavio Briatore: Very happy. I believe that if you have the USA, we need a proper Grand Prix. Sure, that is not Indianapolis. The logistics are not great. If we do something in the future in America, I believe in doing it in the right place with the right advertising, the right commitment from everybody and make sure people know we're there.

Christian Horner: It's disappointing to lose a US race. It's an important race for us. For Red Bull it's our biggest market, so hopefully it won't be too long before it's back on the calendar. Otherwise the new calendar looks good with Singapore, with the new Valencia street race. It's going to be an exciting season.

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Fogarty/Gurney win Grand-Am pole
Grand-Am Top Ten Daytona Prototype Montreal Qualifiers:
1. Fogarty, Gurney, Pontiac Riley 1:35.071
2. Angelelli, Magnussen, Pontiac Riley 1:35.279
3. Szekeres, Carpentier, Pontiac Riley 1:35.871
4 Braun, Jonsson, Pontiac Riley 1:36.260
5. Frissell, Wilkins, Lexus Riley 1:36.494
6. Pruett, Rojas, Lexus Riley 1:36.594
7. Donohue, Law, Porsche Riley 1:37.237
8. Fittipaldi, Garcia, Pontiac Fabcar 1:37.284
9. Lewis, Ruhlman, Lexus Riley 1:37.703
10. Patterson, Negri, Lexus Riley 137.913

Top 10 Grand-Am GT Montreal Qualifiers:
1. Collins, Edwards, Pontiac GXP.R 1:42.610
2. Ham, Tremblay, Mazda RX8 1:43.042
3. Miller, Werner, Porsche GT3 1:43.646
4. Assentato, Longhi, Mazda RX8 1:43.747
5. Farnbacher, Baas, Porsche GT3 1:43.756
6. Nastasi, Borcheller, Ford Mustang 1:44.232
7. Lux, Nearn, Pontiac GXP.R 1:44.340
8. Lewis, Reese, Pontiac GXP.R 1:44.605
9. Lacey, Wilkins, Porsche GT3 1:45.537
10. Johnson, Davis, Porsche GT3 1:45.598


Hungary: Glock wins GP2 pole
Pos  Driver            Team                   Time     Behind  Laps
 1.  Timo Glock        iSport International   1:27.566           15
 2.  Andreas Zuber     iSport International   1:27.756 + 0.190   14
 3.  Lucas Di Grassi   ART Grand Prix         1:28.349 + 0.783   11
 4.  Giorgio Pantano   Campos Grand Prix      1:28.411 + 0.845   15
 5.  Pastor Maldonado  Trident Racing         1:28.546 + 0.980   14
 6.  Adam Carroll      FMS International      1:28.648 + 1.082   17
 7.  Luca Filippi      Super Nova Internation 1:28.715 + 1.149   14
 8.  Kazuki Nakajima   DAMS                   1:28.716 + 1.150   16
 9.  Nicolas Lapierre  DAMS                   1:28.775 + 1.209   15
10.  Andy Soucek       DPR                    1:28.797 + 1.231   14
11.  Borja Garcia      Durango                1:28.852 + 1.286   17
12.  Javier Villa      Racing Engineering     1:28.869 + 1.303   15
13.  Vitaly Petrov     Campos Grand Prix      1:29.038 + 1.472   15
14.  Roldan Rodriguez  Minardi Piquet Sports  1:29.127 + 1.561   16
15.  Sébastien Buemi   ART Grand Prix         1:29.209 + 1.643   14
16.  Ho-Pin Tung       BCN Competicion        1:29.330 + 1.764   13
17.  C.Bakkerud        DPR                    1:29.387 + 1.821   13
18.  Mike Conway       Super Nova Internation 1:29.477 + 1.911   12
19.  Alexandre Negrao  Minardi Piquet Sports  1:29.497 + 1.931   10
20.  Kohei Hirate      Trident Racing         1:29.560 + 1.994   15
21.  Adrian Zaugg      Arden International    1:29.588 + 2.022   14
22.  Karun Chandhok    Durango                1:29.899 + 2.333    4
23.  Jason Tahinci     FMS International      1:30.024 + 2.458   14
24.  Bruno Senna       Arden International    1:30.245 + 2.679   15
25.  Markus Niemela    BCN Competicion        1:30.801 + 3.235   14
26.  Marcos Martinez   Racing Engineering     1:34.670 + 7.104    3


Heavy Busch cars tearing up Montreal surface
Track press officer Normand Prieur said Friday that NASCAR was concerned about the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve surface nearly coming apart in the hairpin in turns 10 and 11 where recent work had been done.  Water from a brief morning rain shower on the hot track created the situation, but after a little work, the track was determined ready for the rest of the day.  The 80-minute Busch Series practice was shortened to 75 minutes.


NASCAR Allstate 400 TV Rating drops UPDATE The NASCAR popularity plummet continues unabated now for almost two full years. ESPN earned a 4.9 final Nielsen rating and averaged 6.57 million viewers for its coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, down 11% from 2006 and down 21% from 2005, both years on NBC.

07/30/07 NASCAR's TV ratings continue to plummet unabated.  Granted it was the first NASCAR telecast ESPN has done in 7 years, but the overnight USA TV rating for the Allstate 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race on ESPN Sunday was a 4.1, down 15% from last year's 4.8 on NBC.


Wirth to do Assen demo runs
Andreas Wirth will do the Champ Car demo at Assen's Rizla Racing Days next weekend.


Renault to attend spy saga appeal, not taking sides UPDATE (GMM) Flavio Briatore on Friday made it clear that he has not chosen a side in the Ferrari versus McLaren espionage scandal.

Having said earlier today in Hungary that spying teams should be penalized, the Renault boss did not then defend Ferrari from McLaren's accusation that it won the Australian grand prix with an illegal F2007 car.

A statement issued by Ferrari at the Hungaroring said McLaren's accusation was "both serious and false".

McLaren claims Ferrari was only compelled to change its Melbourne-spec car after 'whistleblower' Nigel Stepney alerted the Woking based team to the F2007's allegedly illegal floor.

Briatore told a news conference on Friday: "I think the floor changed after the (Melbourne) race. Looked like it was not right in the first place."

The Italian chief, meanwhile, refused to be drawn on Renault racer Giancarlo Fisichella's claim in Hungary that he is "expecting" to be offered a new contract for 2008.

"Today I don't know," Briatore said.

"At this moment I am thinking and I believe I will decide in September around Monza time, I don't want to decide before."

08/03/07 (GMM)  Flavio Briatore on Friday revealed that representatives for Renault attended the recent World Council hearing regarding the McLaren-Ferrari spy saga.

The French team's boss, who presided over championship triumphs versus McLaren in 2005 and Ferrari last year, also told reporters at the Hungaroring that Renault would again be at the upcoming appeal.

Briatore, who thinks the scandal is damaging the sport, said earlier this weekend that teams who break the rules should be punished.

"I want to know exactly what is going on," he said.

"I believe this story is damaging everybody a little bit, including me ... stuff like this is not good for the sponsors or anybody."

The Italian's counterpart at Renault-powered Red Bull Racing, however, told the same news conference that his team would not attend the hearing at the Court of Appeal.

Christian Horner said: "The matter doesn't concern our team or any employees of our team and we trust in the governing body to make the right decisions."


Dennis suggests end to spy row exchange
Ron Dennis has called for an end to the tit-for-tat public row with Ferrari and its supporters amid the scandalous espionage saga.

In yet another letter that has been also released to the press, the McLaren boss on Friday explained to Italian motor sport chief Luigi Macaluso that he only decided to publicly release the document because "your letter to me has been published".

"I suggest that we now leave this process to the internal consideration of the FIA," the Briton added.

Dennis' letter is the latest in an extraordinary and hostile exchange between the two teams, the FIA, and the Italian body ICA, following the decision of the World Motor Sport Council to not penalize McLaren for espionage.

Dennis also wrote to Macaluso: "We are not comfortable with any attempt to undermine the credibility of the decision of the WMSC by a misleading version or events portraying Ferrari as having had insufficient opportunity to present its case.

"It is not a case of an insufficient opportunity but just dissatisfaction with the outcome."


Hungary: Alonso tops practice 2
Fernando Alonso topped Friday afternoon practice at the Hungaroring with a fast lap of 1:20.919  The Ferraris were only sixth and seventh, with Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Felipe Massa, who spun at Turn 14 in the closing moments.  The two Toro Rosso cars were 19th and 20th with nearly identical times, proving the cars are still junk and it is not the drivers (Scott Speed replacement Sebastian Vettel is just as slow or slower than Speed ever was) but the car that is junk.

Pos  Driver        Team               Time      Behind  Laps
 1.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:20.919            29
 2.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:21.283  + 0.364   39
 3.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:21.338  + 0.419   32
 4.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:21.485  + 0.566   40
 5.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:21.517  + 0.598   37
 6.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:21.589  + 0.670   29
 7.  Massa         Ferrari            1:21.620  + 0.701   29
 8.  Fisichella    Renault            1:21.698  + 0.779   36
 9.  Trulli        Toyota             1:21.857  + 0.938   35
10.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:21.906  + 0.987   37
11.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:21.912  + 0.993   29
12.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:21.987  + 1.068   35
13.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:22.325  + 1.406   28
14.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:22.483  + 1.564   33
15.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:22.510  + 1.591   41
16.  Button        Honda              1:22.550  + 1.631   47
17.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:22.556  + 1.637   42
18.  Barrichello   Honda              1:22.727  + 1.808   29
19.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.136  + 2.217   42
20.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.148  + 2.229   39
21.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:23.673  + 2.754   34
22.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari     1:26.307  + 5.388   29


Enge to set up car for Duno again
Tomas Enge will be at Michigan International Speedway to help IndyCar Series rookie Milka Duno set up her car in preparation for Sunday's Firestone Indy 400.   The last time Enge set the car up for Duno, at Nashville, she promptly went out and crashed it.  Yes, she is THAT bad.


Tentative 2008 Sprint Cup Series UPDATE The Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2008 will move a week earlier to March 2, the track announced Thursday.  The move will eliminate the open date in recent schedules between the second and third races. Fox Sports had lobbied extensively for the switch.

Race# Date Track
  2/9 Sat Daytona, FL Budweiser Shootout*
  2/14 Thur Daytona, FL Gatorade Duels*
1 2/17 Sun Daytona, FL
2 *2/24 Sun Fontana, CA
3 3/2 Sun Las Vegas, NV
4 *3/9 Sun Hampton, GA
5 *3/16 Sun Bristol, TN
   3/23 Sun Easter - OFF
6 4/6 Sun Martinsville, VA
7 *3/30  or *4/13 Sun Fort Worth, TX
8 4/19 Sat night Phoenix, AZ
9 4/27 Sun Talladega, AL
10 *5/3 Sat Night Richmond, VA COT
11 5/10 Sat Night Darlington, SC Mother's Day Weekend
  *5/17 Sat Night Lowe's Motor Speedway Sprint Open*
  *5/17 Sat Night Lowe's Motor Speedway Sprint All-Star Challenge*
12 *5/25 Sun night Lowe's Motor Speedway
13 6/1 Sun Dover, DE
14 *6/8 Sun Pocono, PA
15 6/15 Sun Brooklyn, MI
16 *6/22 Sun Sonoma, CA
17 6/29 Sun Loudon, NH
18 *7/5 Sat Night Daytona, FL
19 *7/13 Sun Joliet, IL
     7/20 OFF
20 7/27 Sun Indianapolis, IN
21 *8/3 Sun Pocono, PA
22 *8/10 Sun Watkins Glen, NY
23 8/17 Sun Brooklyn, MI
24 *8/23 Sat Night Bristol, TN
25 *8/31 Sun Night Fontana, CA
26 *9/6 Sat Night Richmond, VA
27 9/14 Sun Loudon, NH
28 9/21 Sun Dover, DE
29 *9/28 Sun Kansas City, KS
30 *10/5 Sun Talladega, AL
31 *10/11 Sat Night Charlotte, NC
32 *10/19 Sun Martinsville, VA
33 *10/26 Sun Hampton, GA
34 *11/2 Sun Fort Worth, TX
35 11/9 Sun Phoenix, AZ
36 *11/16 Sun Homestead, FL

* Not confirmed


Stepney denial is another spy saga twist
(GMM)  With even more twists and turns than the sinuous Hungaroring layout, F1's spy saga continued to race ahead on Friday.

The latest twist is that beleaguered former Ferrari chief mechanic Nigel Stepney is even siding against McLaren, by denying that he 'whistle-blew' about the allegedly illegal Melbourne-spec F2007 car.

Ron Dennis' famous letter this week bordered on praising his countryman for the act, but Stepney's lawyer provided a quote attributable to her client to the Italian media.

"It is not true," he reportedly said.

"It was obvious to anyone who works in formula one that something was not right (about Ferrari's car).

"At McLaren, there was no need for a whistle blower."

McLaren-Mercedes' Norbert Haug, meanwhile, defended his team's participation in the tit-for-tat exchange of open letters in recent days.

"The letters on the internet was started by the other side," Mercedes' competition chief told the German broadcaster Premiere.

"It is not as if we enjoy writing letters, it was about clarification.  Up to the (World Council) hearing we were totally reserved."


Hamilton's mid-year dip continues in Hungary
(GMM)  Two weeks on from his disastrous race at the Nurburgring, rookie championship leader Lewis Hamilton's mid-season dip continued in Hungary on Friday.

Albeit only a few minutes before the end of the ultimate 90-minute session in Budapest, the 22-year-old's silver McLaren had to be craned out of the gravel trap at turn eight following a spun.

Hamilton ended the session third, nearly half a second slower than his teammate Fernando Alonso, who in the recent European grand prix closed to within two points of the drivers' standings lead.

Renault's Heikki Kovalainen showed promising pace throughout the 90 minutes and ended up second best, while his countryman Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa were just sixth and seventh.

Massa in particular had a scrappy practice and spent significant time in the garage apparently honing his setup.


Spy scandal 'a shame' - Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Friday described it as "a shame" that a tight championship contest has moved to Hungary but nearly every journalist is wound up in the so-called 'spy' scandal.

"What can I say?" F1's chief executive told La Gazzetta dello Sport in Budapest.

The latest chapter in the story was yet another Ferrari press release, received by journalists during afternoon practice, denying that the Melbourne-spec F2007 was illegal -- a sentiment amply delivered by Kimi Raikkonen himself on Thursday.

Ecclestone said: "It is a shame that it is happening but it is up to the journalists to decide what is important enough to report.

"I do not influence your choices."

Ecclestone, 76, played down the observation that his sport has never seen a scandal on this scale.

"There have always been scandals," he said. "At the moment I don't know how this one is going to end."

Bernie also refused to criticize his close ally and FIA president Max Mosley for perpetuating the saga by sending the decision of the World Motor Sport Council to the FIA's Court of Appeal.

"He acted within his powers," Bernie said. "The same thing happened a couple of years ago with Honda in Imola.

"I haven't spoken with anyone. There is the FIA, there has been the World Council meeting, there will be the appeal. They are problems of the Federation, not mine."


F1 spies should be punished - Briatore
(GMM) Even a few spots of Budapest rain for Friday afternoon practice failed to draw the paddock's attention away from the so-called 'spy' scandal, which looks set to overshadow yet another grand prix.

BMW boss Mario Theissen in Hungary called for a quick end to the scandal that has turned into an gloves-off fist fight between championship rivals McLaren and Ferrari, who accuse one another of cheating and espionage.

"It is not good for the sport when things like this are the centre of attention," the German told the Sport-Informations-Dienst news agency.

Theissen said a date for the Court of Appeal hearing should be set "as soon as possible", while urging a "clear judgment" so that the sport can move on.

Renault's Flavio Briatore, however, thinks it is important that the FIA comes to the right decision about McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan's possession of reams of Ferrari secrets.

"If they had that information then they should be punished," he said.

"I am not a judge, but we have ethical and sporting rules, and these must be adhered to."

Briatore said the saga has sunk beneath thousands legalese words and the tit-for-tat exchange of minute accusations.

"Really it is simple," he said. "The rules need to be respected, and those who do not respect them must be punished."


Doornbos setting new Dutch records
2007’s new “Flying Dutchman” Robert Doornbos is rapidly closing on the record for the most successful driver from the Netherlands in Champ Car World Series history.

After his second victory in San Jose last weekend, Doornbos is now only one victory away from joining Arie Luyendyk with a total of three victories in the championship.

However, Luyendyk’s total came from 142 Champ Car starts – Doornbos’ total of two victories has come from only nine races.

Now trailing Sebastien Bourdais by only 10 points in the Championship chase, Doornbos’ efforts could earn him the record for the best championship finish by a Dutchman as well. Luyendyk’s best season finish was 7th in 1987.

Should Doornbos win the championship, he will become only the third European driver to claim the title, following Nigel Mansell in 1993 and Sebastien Bourdais in 2004, '05 and '06.

With one race to go before heading to Europe, the Dutchman is eagerly awaiting the chance to race on home soil.

“It is going to be very special. Also, because we did a lot of preparations for it,” Doornbos said.

“For Champ Car it’s their first time there. For me not really, I raced there seven years ago, in 2000. It’s just great to drive in front of your home crowd. And for sure it gives you an extra boost that you need.

“The last time I won a race in front of my home crowd was in Spa-Francorchamps in F3000, the feeling afterwards is just great. I just hope I can give them a good show and get a good result.”  Press Release

tv news

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

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Nextel Cup Replay - Allstate Brickyard 400 High Definition
12:00am-2:30am (R) HDNet
Formula 1 Practice Hungary
8:00am-9:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Pocono
1:00pm-1:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Final Practice Montreal
2:00pm-3:30pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Pocono
3:30pm-6:00pm (L) ESPN2
6:00pm-6:30pm ESPN2
Survival of the Fastest Indianapolis
6:00pm-6:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Live! Pocono
6:30pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Pocono
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Rolex Sports Car Series Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve Montreal
8:00pm-11:00pm (SDD) SPEED

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Pantano leads opening GP2 practice in Hungary
Pos  Driver      Team                       Time      Behind   Laps
 1.  Pantano     Campos Grand Prix          1:28.992            10
 2.  Nakajima    DAMS                       1:29.197  + 0.205   14
 3.  Maldonado   Trident Racing             1:29.293  + 0.301   12
 4.  Filippi     Super Nova International   1:29.556  + 0.564   13
 5.  Glock       iSport International       1:29.569  + 0.577   13
 6.  Zuber       iSport International       1:29.588  + 0.596   13
 7.  Soucek      DPR                        1:29.620  + 0.628   13
 8.  Petrov      Campos Grand Prix          1:29.666  + 0.674   13
 9.  Rodriguez   Minardi Piquet Sports      1:29.877  + 0.885   13
10.  Negrao      Minardi Piquet Sports      1:29.928  + 0.936   14
11.  Carroll     FMS International          1:29.982  + 0.990   10
12.  Di Grassi   ART Grand Prix             1:30.052  + 1.060   12
13.  Lapierre    DAMS                       1:30.264  + 1.272   13
14.  Chandhok    Durango                    1:30.326  + 1.334   10
15.  Villa       Racing Engineering         1:30.419  + 1.427   13
16.  Zaugg       Arden International        1:30.550  + 1.558   13
17.  Hirate      Trident Racing             1:30.639  + 1.647   13
18.  Buemi       ART Grand Prix             1:30.644  + 1.652   11
19.  Tung        BCN Competicion            1:30.872  + 1.880   13
20.  Conway      Super Nova International   1:30.914  + 1.922   14
21.  Senna       Arden International        1:30.982  + 1.990    9
22.  Bakkerud    DPR                        1:31.083  + 2.091   12
23.  Tahinci     FMS International          1:31.418  + 2.426   13
24.  Garcia      Durango                    1:31.723  + 2.731   13
25.  Niemela     BCN Competicion            1:32.620  + 3.628   13
26.  Martinez    Racing Engineering         1:33.915  + 4.923   13


France / George family feud caused MIS axe
Management at Michigan International Speedway has determined they will not be made out as the bad guys and have gone public with the reasons why there will be no Indy Racing League race at the track next season. Curtis says he will not allow the Indy Racing League to make it look like MIS dumped open wheel racing, when it was the IRL that fed MIS a deal it couldn't swallow.

It's business, and it's a feud between America's ruling racing families. Indianapolis Motor Speedway's date for the Brickyard 400 got changed by NASCAR. NASCAR is run by the France family. The Indy Racing League, which is run by third generation Indianapolis Motor Speedway heir Tony George, changed the Indy Car date at Michigan International Speedway.

One of our readers, Tim Wohlford of Jackson, has analyzed the Indy Car problem at Michigan International Speedway and come to another conclusion:

"If you look at the map, there are 27 top-flight races (NASCAR, IRL, CCWS, NHRA and F1), selling well over 2 million seats, within a day's drive of MIS. The IRL alone has 10 of those races, trying to sell well over 600,000 seats. Might I suggest that our motorsports market is saturated, even before we look at ARCA, Truck and Busch races?" Detroit News


Fast Road America should play into Audi's hands
The Audi R10 TDI has been front page news in the American Le Mans Series since March 2006. With the revolutionary Diesel Sportscar, Audi is also proving just how efficient modern Diesel engines are on the race track. The program in the world’s most important Sportscar racing series is important in paving the way for AUDI AG’s forthcoming Diesel offensive in America.
Next stop on the Audi R10 TDI’s US tour is Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin state. The 6.563 kilometer (4.048 miles) long "Road America" circuit is the fastest on the American Le Mans Series calendar – and one which the Audi drivers are especially looking forward to.
The Diesel Sportscar, developed specifically for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is at home on fast circuits. This is why Team Audi Sport North America believes it has the opportunity to beat the preferentially treated LM P2 cars, which recently celebrated five successive overall victories. As a consequence, the LM P2 car’s minimum weight has been increased by 50 kilograms by the rule makers for the 2008 season.
Defending ALMS LM P1 Champions Dindo Capello and Allan McNish head to Road America as leaders of the LM P1 drivers’ championship. They hold an 18 point lead over their team-mates Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner. The race starts on Saturday (11 August) at 4.p.m. local time (11 p.m. in Germany) and lasts four hours. An extra three points are awarded due to the longer race distance. Audi is unbeaten at Road America to date.


Q and A with Nelson Piquet Jr
ING Renault F1 Team test driver Nelson Piquet Jr., who graduated from the GP2 Series to a test driver role with the Formula One World Champions for the 2007 season, provides an insight to the seventh round of the Bridgestone-backed GP2 Series which will support the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring (3-5 August). Piquet Jr. is the only driver in the history of the GP2 Series who has scored a maximum of 20 points during a race weekend - taking pole position, winning both races and setting the fastest lap in each race - in Hungary 2006.

What are your memories of racing in Hungary with the GP2 Series in 2006?
For the whole of last year we [Piquet Sports] had a good car at most of the circuits and had seven pole positions after ten races. But in Hungary, in particular, it seemed that the other teams just didn’t have a close pace to us.

What was the key to managing your tires at the Hungaroring?
For us last year we had a good set-up, and I managed to drive in a way that meant we kept the Bridgestones good for most of the race. It is the hardest track on the tires out of the whole year. My engineer did a very good job and in the race I was able to save the tires, something which we managed to do better than the other teams.

Read more & Comment...

Hungary: Kubica tops practice 1
Robert Kubica and BMW-Sauber set the pace in the opening free practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, but they did it with Bridgestone's softest tire compound.  Kubica put in a  1:22.390 lap in the final minutes to knock Ferrari's Felipe Massa off the top spot by 0.129 seconds.  Sebastien Vettel was immediately faster than his STR teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi which give STR more ammunition to fire him for performance reasons and bring in Sebastien Bourdais.

The 90-minute session at the warm track near Budapest was surprisingly topped by BMW-Sauber Robert Kubica, who respectively led the two Ferraris and McLarens.

Kimi Raikkonen, who like his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa and McLaren's Fernando Alonso did a 1.22.5 laptime on Friday morning, denied that the Monaco-esque Hungaroring would play into McLaren's hands here.

The Finn said: "I think we have made some progress and we should be stronger than we were in Monaco.

"Okay, it's similar to Monaco here but this is a proper circuit.  We've got some new parts from the test last week, so I think they are going to help."

Pos  Driver        Team               Time      Behind   Laps
 1.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:22.390            25
 2.  Massa         Ferrari            1:22.519  + 0.129   18
 3.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:22.540  + 0.150   21
 4.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:22.585  + 0.195   18
 5.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:22.654  + 0.264   19
 6.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:22.891  + 0.501   24
 7.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:22.983  + 0.593   19
 8.  Button        Honda              1:23.294  + 0.904   20
 9.  Barrichello   Honda              1:23.601  + 1.211   20
10.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:23.802  + 1.412   27
11.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:24.102  + 1.712   13
12.  Trulli        Toyota             1:24.318  + 1.928   30
13.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:24.321  + 1.931   12
14.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:24.474  + 2.084   17
15.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:24.733  + 2.343   18
16.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:24.905  + 2.515   26
17.  Fisichella    Renault            1:24.920  + 2.530   19
18.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:24.976  + 2.586   20
19.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:25.307  + 2.917   13
20.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:25.584  + 3.194   14
21.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:26.332  + 3.942   29
22.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari     1:28.118  + 5.728   30

Team USA

Seven Youngsters in the Frame For 2007 Team USA Scholarships
Seven talented young American race car drivers were interviewed by an illustrious panel of Team USA Scholarship judges last Saturday evening during the San José Champ Car Grand Prix weekend. Two winners will be selected and will be invited to contest the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy, which will take place over six races and two weekends at Brands Hatch and Snetterton in England later this fall.

The pair will follow in the footsteps of an accomplished list of former winners, including 1996 Champ Car champion Jimmy Vasser (who won the inaugural Team USA Scholarship in 1990); Champ Car and IRL race winner and current American Le Mans Series contender Bryan Herta (1991); Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series standouts Memo Gidley (1995), Paul Edwards (1998) and Andy Lally (1999); 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice (1997); this year’s Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Phil Giebler (2000); Champ Car race winner-turned NASCAR Nextel Cup competitor A.J. Allmendinger (2001) and current Star Mazda Championship leader Dane Cameron (2006).

This year’s candidates are:

Read more & Comment...

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Spy saga still sizzling in Hungary
  • No more GP visits for Schu - spokeswoman
  • Webber defends Ferrari fury in spy scandal
  • Trouble in Hungary for Red Bull teams

Spy saga still sizzling in Hungary
(GMM) A Ferrari spokesman in Hungary did not criticize McLaren for issuing a blanket 'no comment' on the ever-worsening spy scandal.

After Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were pulled from all media engagements in Budapest, Ferrari's media representative said: "We have nothing more to say on this subject."

Luca Colajanni did not even counter McLaren chief Ron Dennis' claim that Kimi Raikkonen won the Australian grand prix in March at the wheel of an illegal car.

He said: "We're not getting involved in a tennis match with McLaren; we've said all we're going to."

Ferrari did, however, allow its drivers to speak with the media on Thursday; a decision given "full marks" by the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

"At least (Raikkonen) took his place in the official press conference, which is exactly where Fernando Alonso should have been before being inexcusably pulled by his bosses," journalist Kevin Garside said.

Elsewhere, the only real development in the scandal was Italian motor sport boss Luigi Macaluso's written reply to Ron Dennis, whose attack on Ferrari in an earlier letter was scathing.

Read more & Comment...

Carpentier calls IRL racing unsafe
It took only one season of racing on the high-speed ovals in the IndyCar Series to convince Patrick Carpentier that he would be better off racing cars with doors and fenders.

Carpentier, a Las Vegas resident, has been racing sports cars this season after spending the previous nine years in open-wheel racing. He said he hopes to further his career in NASCAR with a strong showing in the inaugural Busch Series race Saturday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in his native Montreal.

It's not that Carpentier doesn't like oval racing - he said he just didn't like oval racing in the IndyCar Series.

"I loved the ovals - I always have - but I don't want to do the ovals in the (IndyCar Series) anymore for safety reasons," he said. "I want to do it with NASCAR."

To that end, Carpentier competed in a stock-car race last year in Canada's version of NASCAR. He started 21st and finished sixth on a 5/8-mile oval in Cayuga, Ontario, which fueled his desire to make the move to stock-car racing.

"I really love driving these cars," he said.

Carpentier, 35, made 140 starts in CART/ChampCar from 1997 to 2004 and won five races and five poles. He spent the 2005 season with Red Bull Cheever Racing in the IndyCar Series and posted three top-five finishes in 17 starts.

Carpentier said he has turned down offers to return to open-wheel racing so he could concentrate on this weekend's race.

"I don't miss the open wheel," he said. "I've had calls from (team owner Bobby) Rahal this year and a couple other teams that wanted me to get back into it and I said, 'No, I'm going to focus on NASCAR. I want to do well in Montreal in the Busch.'"  Las Vegas Sun


Champ Car drivers to raise money for cancer research
In just a week, elite drivers from the Champ Car World Series, The Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Series Powered by Mazda, and other racing series will experience the 4.048-mile Road America racing circuit from a totally different perspective – on bicycles rather than behind the wheels of their turbo-charged racing machines. 

The Tour de Road America benefiting Lance Armstrong Foundation brings together race fans, drivers, race teams, cancer survivors and cyclists in a fun, family-friendly bicycle ride around Road America’s beautiful permanent road course. For fans of the series, it will be a rare chance to pedal alongside their racing heroes. Participants can ride a single lap or up to 40 miles at their own pace. The ride takes place on August 10, 2007 at 6:30 PM, following the day’s racing events.

Champ Car World Series drivers participating include 3-time Champion Sebastian Bourdais, Graham Rahal,  Paul Tracy, Robert Doornbos,  Jan Heylen, Bruno Junqueira, Oriol Servia and Dan Clarke. They will be joined on the Champ Car Atlantics Championship side by drivers Simona De Silvestro, Ryan Lewis, Rafael Matos, Franck Perera, Adrian Carrio and Giacomo Ricci. 

Read more & Comment...

Gurney/Fogarty top Grand-Am practice
Preparing for tomorrow’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Montréal 400k, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty once again collaborated on a winning setup in practice at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. On his final trip around the 2.7-mile island road course, behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley, the second-generation star clicked off a lap of 1:36.344, at an average speed of 101.225 mph – the quickest time of the day, more than two-tenths of a second ahead of second-placed Bill Auberlen. Fogarty’s best lap wasn’t far adrift, and that puts him in strong position for qualifying tomorrow morning, where he’ll look to seize his sixth and the team’s eighth pole of the 2007 season. With just four races remaining in the 2007 season, the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team is seeking to close a 13-point gap in the championship points. But weather forecasts report a threat of rain on raceday, which could throw all the team’s hard work out the window.

Fogarty will make that pole attempt in a 15-minute session, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time, which is quickly followed by a 30-minute final practice at 10:50 a.m. The 92-lap, two-hour, 30-minute Montréal 400k is set to go green at 4:15 p.m., with same-day-delay television coverage beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time on SPEED Channel. Live timing and scoring and Internet radio coverage will be available at http://www.grand-am.com.

Driver Quotes:

Alex Gurney: “It was a good first day for the GAINSCO team – we got through a few setup things and the track kept getting better all day, so again the No. 99 was there at the end. We’re pretty happy with the car, but the weather is a big question mark – everyone will be going in blind if the rain comes down. The 99 seems like it’s hooked up relative to everyone else, so we should be good. With the GT traffic in this race, it’s a lot different than the DP-only events we ran. It was very difficult to get a clear lap in practice, and getting around the GTs will be a big challenge in the race. It’s probably good that we got some of that today, because now we know some of the good spots to pass, and where you’ll be held up.”

Jon Fogarty: “Track conditions were quite interesting this morning – going out in the beginning, the track was very slippery, but it’s gotten a lot better since then and I think it’ll continue to improve – which could mean we want to turn fast laps later on in qualifying. We have to balance that with making sure the tires are at their best. This circuit has an interesting rhythm – straightaway, heavy braking, straightaway, heavy braking, repeat. That creates an accordion effect, which makes it difficult with the GT cars, because they accelerate pretty decently. With the linked left-right-left-right corners, they really only have one option for a line, so if they get off-line to let a prototype by, it screws up the whole section for them. It’s quite different from most of the other circuits we visit, and it’s a fun track to drive, especially with the GAINSCO car working well again.”


Fellows tops practice 2 in Montreal
1 33 Ron Fellows Chevrolet 103.198
2 155 Robby Gordon Ford 103.392 -0.194
3 59 Marcos Ambrose* Ford 103.412 -0.214
4 41 Scott Pruett Dodge 103.424 -0.226
5 22 Patrick Carpentier  Dodge 103.532 -0.334
6 1 Max Papis Chevrolet 103.949 -0.751
7 47 Andy Lally  Ford 103.963 -0.765
8 60 Carl Edwards Ford 104.450 -1.252
9 42 Michael Valiante  Dodge 104.481 -1.283
10 9 Boris Said Dodge 104.632 -1.434
11 18 Brad Coleman* Chevrolet 104.660 -1.462
12 90 Stephen Leicht Ford 104.687 -1.489
13 88 Andy Pilgrim  Chevrolet 104.771 -1.573
14 17 Michel Jourdain Jr. Ford 104.853 -1.655
15 21 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 104.858 -1.660
16 28 Niclas Jonsson  Chevrolet 104.868 -1.670
17 29 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 105.079 -1.881
18 27 Jorge Goeters Ford 105.130 -1.932
19 66 Steve Wallace Dodge 105.270 -2.072
20 77 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 105.414 -2.216
21 37 Greg Biffle Ford 105.473 -2.275
22 14 Kyle Krisiloff* Ford 105.475 -2.277
23 20 Aric Almirola Chevrolet 105.553 -2.355
24 38 Jason Leffler Toyota 106.233 -3.035
25 230 Stanton Barrett Chevrolet 106.271 -3.073
26 6 David Ragan* Ford 106.776 -3.578
27 7 Mike Wallace Chevrolet 106.808 -3.610
28 35 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Ford 107.107 -3.909
29 0 J.R. Fitzpatrick Chevrolet 107.370 -4.172
30 298 Alex Garcia* Chevrolet 107.372 -4.174
31 36 Brent Sherman Chevrolet 107.441 -4.243
32 21 Brandon Miller Chevrolet 107.855 -4.657
33 99 David Reutimann Toyota 107.864 -4.666
34 16 Todd Kluever Ford 109.210 -6.012
35 72 D.J. Kennington Dodge 109.530 -6.332
36 25 Richard Johns Ford 109.931 -6.733
37 10 John Graham Toyota 109.971 -6.773
38 163 Mike Mackenzie  Chevrolet 111.438 -8.240
39 252 Scott Gaylord Ford 112.125 -8.927
40 271 Trevor Boys Chevrolet 115.688 -12.490
41 176 Jerick Johnson Chevrolet - -
42 01 Joe Fox  Chevrolet - -
43 189 Morgan Shepherd Dodge 


Hungarian GP: Thursday Press Conference


Q: Sebastian, when did you know you were actually driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso?

Sebastian VETTEL: Well, at the beginning of the week. All our talks and stuff started a bit earlier than that but 100 percent I knew it at the start of the week and then on Tuesday there was the announcement, so it wasn't a long time ago.

Q: There were announcements from both Red Bull and BMW; are you a Red Bull Sauber driver first or Red Bull second? Which way round is it?

Vettel: I think the most important thing is that I was supported by both of them quite early on. Since 2005 I was supported by BMW as well and earlier than that by Red Bull. I did the race at Indy for BMW as a reserve driver (standing in) for Robert. For sure, as a race driver, you want to race, so I took the possibility to come to Toro Rosso and race.

Q: So what are your aims and goals for the rest of the season?

Vettel: It's difficult to predict because I've never been in the car, so tomorrow will be the first time but for sure, the car is not as strong as the top cars in front and there is a lot of work to do, but I think I can bring some motivation to the team and try my best to improve the situation and then finally get some points.

Read more & Comment...

Carpentier tops opening Busch series practice UPDATE A reader writes, What a surprise! Patrick Carpentier fastest in first practice at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve! No prior experience in a Busch Stock Car, first session against circuit veterans at an inaugural national event, and the local hometown hero gets fastest time for the local press to write home about. This must be legit, because even Hollywood couldn't make this up ... and oh, gullible is not written in the dictionary. Alex Melikian, Montreal, Canada

Dear Alex, And for the Mexico City Busch Series races the Mexican drivers have almost always sat on the pole or qualified near the front. Remember, everything in NASCAR happens for a reason. It's big business, but the question is whether it is still a sport or more akin to the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Pos Car Driver              Team                                 Time             Speed
1 22 Patrick Carpentier Zellers & Komatsu Dodge 103.898s 93.865mph
2 41 Scott Pruett Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Dodge 104.091 93.691
3 9 Boris Said Hellmann's Mayonnaise Dodge 104.338 93.469
4 33 Ron Fellows Camping World Chevrolet 104.341 93.467
5 *55 Robby Gordon Camping World Ford 104.676 93.168
6 59 Marcos Ambrose # Kingsford Ford 104.816 93.043
7 42 Michael Valiante Texaco/Havoline Dodge 104.986 92.892
8 47 Andy Lally Clorox/TRG Ford 105.177 92.724
9 66 Steve Wallace HomeLife Communities Dodge 105.407 92.521
10 1 Max Papis Miccosukee Resorts Chevrolet 105.447 92.486
11 21 Kevin Harvick AutoZone Chevrolet 105.867 92.119
12 28 Niclas Jonsson Yellow Transportation Chevrolet 105.891 92.099
13 37 Greg Biffle Cub Cadet Ford 106.017 91.989
14 88 Andy Pilgrim U.S. NAVY Chevrolet 106.107 91.911
15 60 Carl Edwards Scotts Ford 106.571 91.511
16 29 Jeff Burton Holiday Inn Chevrolet 106.600 91.486
17 20 Aric Almirola Rockwell Automation Chevrolet 106.609 91.478
18 77 Ron Hornaday Dollar General Chevrolet 106.880 91.246
19 90 Stephen Leicht citifinancial Ford 106.907 91.223
20 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Toyota 106.909 91.222
21 18 Brad Coleman # FedEx Express Chevrolet 106.911 91.220
22 14 Kyle Krisiloff # Lilly/Walgreens Ford 107.100 91.059
23 36 Brent Sherman BIG LOTS Chevrolet 107.264 90.920
24 27 Jorge Goeters Scott Towels/Wal Mart Ford 107.510 90.712
25 6 David Ragan # Discount Tire Ford 107.616 90.622
26 99 David Reutimann NAPA Auto Parts Toyota 107.634 90.607
27 *30 Stanton Barrett Interush.net Chevrolet 108.100 90.217
28 *0 John Fitzpatrick Jr. Home Hardware Chevrolet 108.251 90.091
29 7 Mike Wallace GEICO Chevrolet 108.728 89.695
30 35 Bobby Hamilton Jr. McDonald's Ford 109.043 89.436
31 *17 Michel Jourdain Dish Network Ford 109.821 88.803
32 16 Todd Kluever 3M Ford 109.948 88.700
33 21 Brandon Miller AutoZone Chevrolet 110.929 87.916
34 25 Richard Johns freecreditreport.com Ford 112.346 86.807
35 *72 D.J. Kennington Northern Provincial Pipelines Dodge 113.449 85.963
36 10 John Graham Kick Butt Amped Energy Ballz Toyota 114.399 85.249
37 *63 Mike MacKenzie Forbes Chevrolet Chevrolet 115.085 84.741
38 *98 Alex Garcia Dixien/Omni Source Chevrolet 0.000 0.000


Indy Pro driver sidelined with fractured back
Three-time Indy Pro Series race winner Travis Gregg will return to the series to drive the No. 2 Team Moore Racing entry at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 11.

Gregg, a Camden, Ohio native, will substitute for Jonathan Klein.

"Travis is very professional, and we know he will represent the team well," team co-owner Mark Moore said. "He has a great history at Kentucky Speedway, and we'll do our best to give him a good car."

Gregg, 29, has competed at the 1.5-mile oval in each of the last three seasons. In 2004, he won the pole for the Kentucky 100 in his Indy Pro Series debut and went on to finish fifth after leading 57 of 67 laps. In 2005, Gregg earned his third career Indy Pro Series victory at Kentucky during his only full season of competition in the series. He led every lap after again starting on the pole. Last year, the Kentucky race was the third and final race of the season for Gregg. He started and finished fourth.

Read more & Comment...

Speed kicked out due to performance - bosses
(GMM)  Toro Rosso chiefs on Thursday denied that Scott Speed had been kicked out because his tenuous relationship disintegrated with the team at the Nurburgring.

Californian Speed, 24, is reported to have clashed physically with team principal Franz Tost at the European grand prix, after telling the press on Saturday that both Tost and Gerhard Berger wanted to "get rid" of both him and Tonio Liuzzi.

One set of fans at the circuit on Thursday held up a banner that accused Berger and Tost (pictured right) of being 'a--holes and dumbsh-ts'.

But at a press conference to welcome Sebastian Vettel to the number 19 car in Hungary, Tost said of Speed: "The progress of his performance wasn't done in the way we expected.

"It has nothing to do with what happened at the Nurburgring.  It was done before (that) because we were simply not happy with his performance."

Berger, who owns the Faenza based outfit alongside Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz, added: "I don't want to spend one more second talking about Scott Speed.  That's history.

"He didn't perform and that's why he isn't here anymore."

Berger confirmed that Speed could still test for the team, which ties in with reports that his contract has not actually been terminated.

Liuzzi is also under pressure from multiple Champ Car title winner Sebastien Bourdais to keep his seat in 2008, but Berger said on Thursday that the Italian regular "still has chances to deliver" before Vettel's teammate next year is decided.

"Tonio also has to deliver -- but he still has chances to deliver," the Austrian and former ten time grand prix winner said.

"I really hope for him that he works well with Sebastian.

"Recently, we didn't have a good atmosphere here -- and I'm not saying it's Scott's fault or our fault.  It just didn't work out and the only solution was to stop it."

[Editor's Note:  More BS from Tost as Speed has outqualified and outraced his teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi the last couple of races and they have always qualified within tenths of a second of each other.  In fact both drivers almost always qualified side-by-side toward the back of the grid underscoring the fact that the car was horrible.  Neither driver produced significantly better results than the other, so if performance was the issue, Liuzzi's days are numbered as well.....we suspect to make way for Bourdais, who we expect to be announced soon.]


Q and A with Spyker’s Colin Kolles
After dismissing Christijan Albers from their driver lineup after the British Grand Prix, test and reserve driver Marcus Winkelhock stepped up to the plate for the Spyker Formula One team and made history at the Nurburgring when he became the first driver in history to ever start his debut race from last and first! However, he has now returned to his former role after a magnificent race and former Super Aguri racer, Sakon Yamamoto has taken over the position as teammate to Adrian Sutil.

Here Colin Kolles, team principal and managing director speaks of the current situation….

A new driver lineup for the second Grand Prix in a row! What made you go for Sakon?
Sakon is a very good all-round package. We were very clear that the driver we chose needed to bring a certain financial benefit, but needed to have good, relevant experience too. Sakon has both covered. He has driven on all of the circuits we are going to in the second half of the season, except for Spa, which will be an advantage to the team as we move forward.

Will Sakon race in all the races this year?
Yes, Sakon has a permanent place in the team from now until the end of the season. As a team we are permitted four driver changes over the course of a season, and we have run four drivers, including Sakon, now.

Read more & Comment...

Heidfeld, Fisi, still waiting on 2008 deals
(GMM)  Mario Theissen on Thursday warned that an announcement about Nick Heidfeld's future at BMW will not be made this weekend in Hungary.

Recent reports said that a contract for 2008 was being readied by lawyers, but team boss Theissen said the 30-year-old might have to wait until after the looming summer break.

"We have had some very good discussions but still nothing is signed," Theissen said.

He added: "No-one should expect a conclusion this weekend -- it will probably happen only in the summer break."

The announcement on Thursday that former BMW-Sauber test driver Sebastian Vettel will drive for Toro Rosso in 2008, however, increases the likelihood that BMW will field an unchanged race lineup next year.

34-year-old Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella, meanwhile, told reporters at the Hungaroring on Thursday that he is "expecting" to be given a new contract for 2008.

Team boss Flavio Briatore has reportedly delayed his decision about drivers for next year, while it is a fact that tester Nelson Piquet Junior is desperate to make his grand prix debut in 2008.

Fisichella said in Budapest: "I'm doing my best and working really hard and for that I'm expecting once again to be confirmed for next year.

"Soon we'll know -- but I don't know when.

"I'm happy.  On this aspect, everything is under control and I'm quite confident.  I've done my best but unfortunately the car hasn't been so good."


STR confirm Vettel to also race in 2008
(GMM)  Toro Rosso announced in Hungary on Thursday that Sebastian Vettel will also race for the team in 2008.

Having already replaced the ousted Scott Speed, the German rookie's teammate for the balance of this season is Vitantonio Liuzzi, but Faenza based STR stopped short of confirming who will race alongside Vettel next year.

The front runner for the second seat, however, is multiple Champ Car title winner Sebastien Bourdais, but it is believed that Toro Rosso's contractual 'option' on the 28-year-old Frenchman actually expired on Tuesday.

It also emerged in the Hungaroring paddock on Thursday that McLaren, after being granted an official pardon for Fernando Alonso's scheduled FIA press conference appearance, also called off Lewis Hamilton's usual appointment for the media.

The British rookie was, however, spotted at a sponsor event for Vodafone, but 25-year-old Alonso has on Thursday not yet been seen at the Budapest venue.


Kimi says Melbourne car not illegal
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday hit back at his former boss Ron Dennis' claim that he won the Australian grand prix at the wheel of an illegal Ferrari.

Amid the espionage war of words with his counterparts at Ferrari, Dennis wrote in an open letter on Wednesday that the underbody of Raikkonen's winning F2007 in Melbourne was not legal.

Asked by a reporter in Budapest what he thought of Dennis' comments, Raikkonen - who drove for McLaren between 2002 and last year - said: "We would have been disqualified if the car had been illegal."

The Finn does agree with Dennis, however, that the long-lasting spy scandal is detracting from the on-track action.

Referring to the upcoming Court of Appeal hearing, 28-year-old Raikkonen said: "No matter what happens in the next weeks, it would be better if everything could be decided on the track."

Reigning world champion Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, had been scheduled to attend the official FIA press conference on Thursday, but - for reasons unknown - failed to show.


BMW pair clear air after Nurburgring clash
(GMM)  Teammates Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica on Thursday reportedly cleared the air following their clash at the Nurburgring.

The BMW-Sauber duo have always shared a slightly tense relationship, but it was strained even further when they both blamed each other for their first lap crash in Germany two weeks ago.

Kubica had reportedly said: "A driver who punts two of his competitors off the road within 20 laps does not have a very long future in formula one."

According to the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst, however, team boss Mario Theissen on Thursday convened a meeting with his drivers in the BMW motor home in Hungary to discuss the incident.

Heidfeld, 30, in Budapest played down talk of "tension" with his Polish teammate, who in Hungary marks a full year since making his F1 debut.

"We get along very well with one another, but on the track we fight really hard," said Heidfeld, who is German.

He said he understood Theissen's frustration about the Nurburgring conflict, because it dashed the Hinwil based team's chance of a podium.

Heidfeld also did not want to react to Kubica's alleged comment that his Nurburgring tactics might not assure him a long future on the grid.

"I only heard about it from someone else, so it doesn't bother me," he said.


In NASCAR, merger’s another word for downsizing
Everybody has put a positive spin on NASCAR's sudden merger fever because it's been exciting to see things like Mark Martin joining the retooling effort at Dale Earnhardt Inc.

But, when the dust settles, this really is just a glorified downsizing.

Teresa Earnhardt and Max Siegel  and Bobby Ginn talk about strengths in the future. But, the hard fact is two cars, the No 13 and No. 14, that weeks ago were qualifying for Nextel Cup races are parked. Dale Earnhardt Jr. pointed out his biggest concern the other day was wondering which of his friends at Ginn and DEI will lose their jobs as the shops combine to run four cars instead of a total of six.

More of this sort of thing appears to be on the horizon. The Robert Yates "merger" with Newman/Haas/Lanigan may only be part one of that deal. Another team like the Woods Brothers or Robbie Gordon or both may need to join to maximize the engineering potential from Newman/Haas with the sponsorship potential of a solid Nextel Cup team.  Detroit News

Industry News

Toyota U.S. sales drop 7%
Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. sales fell 7% in July to 224,058 vehicles for its second sales drop in the past four months compared to the same periods last year.

Toyota, which also took a 4% hit in April sales, saw a 29% drop in Corolla sales and a 20% decline in Yaris sales in July.

The Camry was up just 1%. The Prius hybrid and new Tundra full-size pickup were up 45% and 125%, respectively.

“The industry stumbled this month, on continued housing weakness,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales executive vice president, in a press statement. “Though Toyota didn’t match last July’s record–setting sales, heightened demand for hybrids and crossovers is reassuring, particularly with the next-generation Highlander just now hitting showrooms.” Detroit Free Press

industry news

GM sales dive 19%
General Motors Corp. sales dove 19 percent in July to 320,000 cars and trucks, according to sales data announced today.

Sales were down across each of GM's eight brands, including a 22 percent drop at Chevrolet, GM's top-selling nameplate. Truck sales were down 16 percent and cars sales fell 24 percent.

One bright spot: GM managed a 15 percent increase in retail sales to individual customers. The automaker has worked to increase retail sales while pairing back less profitable sales to rental fleets. Year to date, GM sales are down 9 percent.

Industry News

Big changes loom for Chrysler
The concept car had been shown publicly and critiqued internally. Business plans had been written, and Chrysler Group executives had debated for months whether to build the flagship luxury sedan.  But it would be up to Wolfgang Bernhard to ultimately approve or kill the Chrysler Imperial.

In mid-July, the incoming chairman of Chrysler made his call in dramatic fashion at a final product review, according to people familiar with the event.

"That car," Bernhard said, "will never see the light of day."

His swift decision is a preview of how Chrysler will operate under Cerberus Capital Management, the secretive private-equity giant that will soon complete its $7.4 billion buyout of the No. 3 U.S. automaker.

With Cerberus exec Bernhard as its hands-on chairman, Chrysler is expected to move quickly and forcefully to turn around its sagging domestic operations and grow its international business.

Cerberus is expected to close on its acquisition of Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler AG as soon as Friday, according to people close to the process.

It's the deal of the decade in the global auto industry and the beginning of a new era for Chrysler, the smallest of Detroit's struggling Big Three automakers.

Big changes are in store for the new Chrysler, including the possibility of an expanded alliance with Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and a deal to build cars in Russia, The Detroit News has learned.

But overseas projects and U.S. product moves are only part of the transformation awaiting Chrysler, which lost $680 million in 2006. More at Detroit News

Industry News

Big 3 market share falls to under 50%
Foreign rivals outsold domestic automakers for the first time in history in July, a grim milestone that came as the entire U.S. auto industry was battered by its worst sales month in nearly two years.

Domestic automakers had a record low 48.1 percent of the market in July. The passage -- though representing just one month's sales -- reflects U.S. automakers' steadily shrinking presence in a market they once ruled.

Across the country, high fuel prices, slumping housing markets and economic concerns drove down sales of almost every major automaker and further hampered recovery efforts in Detroit.

"This is certainly not the way we wanted to start the summer selling season," GM sales analyst Paul Ballew said Wednesday. "We have been running below where we discussed we need to be in terms of the North American restructuring plan."


Ganassi to shut down Montoya’s Busch team
Juan Pablo Montoya will race in his final Busch Series event next week at Watkins Glen, then the team will stop competing.  Chip Ganassi Racing officials said Wednesday the No. 42 Busch program was formed only to help Montoya adjust to NASCAR after six seasons in Formula One. He drove the car to a win in March on the road course in Mexico City, and will try for another one in Watkins Glen, N.Y., next Saturday.  After that, Ganassi will stop operating the team because the remainder of the schedule isn't a good fit with Montoya's Nextel Cup season.  ESPN.com


Female diversity stalled in NASCAR
It wasn’t that long ago - barely two years - that Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet seemed to be trying to be the first Detroit car manufacturer to get a female driver to victory lane on NASCAR’s Busch or Nextel Cup tours.

But over the past year, that competition has been pushed to the back burner.

Maybe that goal was a little overly ambitious. Nevertheless, Detroit seems to have given up on the effort, at least in any meaningful sense.

That comes just as Danica Patrick has become one of the biggest stars in Indy-car racing - certainly the most marketable.

So it seems odd that NASCAR team owners and sponsors have all but bailed out of the game.

Read more & Comment...

NASCAR's next frontier: Latin America
NASCAR has reached a deal with Mexico based Licensing & Promotions Latin America to be its exclusive licensing agent for consumer products throughout Latin America.

"Ultimately it's about exposing NASCAR to bigger audiences and growing the brand," said Blake Davidson, NASCAR's managing director of licensed products. "Plus it supports our diversity objective."


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Dennis slams Ferrari as saga enters third month
  • Berger fails to back beleaguered Liuzzi
  • Kimi admits title chances fading
  • Brawn admits rival team talks likely

Dennis slams Ferrari as saga enters third month
(GMM) Media reportage of the espionage scandal entered a third consecutive month on Wednesday.

McLaren made public a lengthy letter from team boss Ron Dennis to Italian motor sport president Luigi Macaluso, whose own letter to Max Mosley this week resulted in the re-opening of the FIA investigation into the spying affair.

In his letter, Dennis refers to sacked Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney as a 'whistleblower' who alerted chief designer Mike Coughlan to illegal floors and rear wings on the 2007 Ferrari.

"McLaren took steps to confirm whether (Stepney's) allegations were true, and we concluded that they were," Dennis wrote, accusing Ferrari of then winning the Australian grand prix with the illegal floor still attached.

He added: "Were it not for Mr. Stepney drawing this illegal device to the attention of McLaren, and McLaren drawing it to the attention of the FIA, there is every reason to suppose that Ferrari would have continued to race with an illegal car."

Dennis slammed as "completely misleading" Ferrari's claim that Stepney's whistle-blowing amounted to the divulgence of "confidential information".

"He acted properly and in the interests of the sport in blowing the whistle about this," Dennis said of Stepney.

He added: "No team can expect their employees to keep quiet if they suspect - correctly in this case - that their employers are breaching the rules of the sport."

Dennis also defended not telling Ferrari about Stepney because "it is in the interests of formula one that whistle-blowing is encouraged and not discouraged".

"If team members think that their identity will be revealed they will not whistle-blow," he wrote.

As for the separate issue of Coughlan's receipt of 780-pages of secret material, Dennis said Ferrari "has gone to extraordinary lengths to try to maximize the damage to McLaren".

He describes as "offensive and false" Ferrari's claim that other McLaren staff were aware that Coughlan was in possession of the Ferrari dossier, which the now suspended chief designer subsequently copied, shredded and burned in his back garden.

Dennis also rejects Ferrari's claim that it was not allowed to participate in the World Council hearing, revealing that Ferrari submitted a dossier of evidence, attended the meeting in Paris with lawyers who were "given several opportunities to ask questions and make submissions", while Jean Todt also spoke.

He said: "McLaren's reputation has been unfairly sullied by incorrect press reports from Italy and grossly misleading statements from Ferrari.

"We believe that the Ferrari press releases, the leaks to the Italian press and recent events have been damaging to formula one as well as McLaren."

Read more & Comment...

Women’s Scholarship Named for O’Connor
The Champ Car World Series, in collaboration with Lyn St. James, announced this past week, at the Women in the Winner’s Circle luncheon, the start of the Champ Car Vicki O’Connor scholarship. O’Connor is the managing director of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Series. The scholarship will be awarded to a female driver who will then have the chance to attend the Lyn St. James Driver Development Program this November.


Did Penske stick his foot in his mouth again?
On numerous occasions over the last five years Roger Penske has put his foot in his mouth by predicted there will be one Indy Car style series in the USA and it would be the IRL. In the latest issue of National Speed Sport News Penske does his best to stick his foot back in his mouth once again by predicting Champ Car's demise, or does he know something the rest of us don't? Is the IRL going in for the kill orchestrated by The Captain himself?

"When I look at Indy cars, I believe over the next five years we will see one open-wheel series," said Penske. "It appears that the Champ Car group is primarily looking outside the U.S. for its support, while the IndyCar Series remains anchored by the Indianapolis 500. It will be critical to continue to build a relationship with core tracks, and I think the IndyCar Series is doing that.

"We’ll have one series, with a mix of perhaps 60/40 with ovals and road courses. I think it’s important that ovals remain the majority. Because we are using the same cars on both ovals and road courses — and because we’re using common chassis, engines, and so forth — our costs have been brought to sustainable levels. I also see Indy-car racing partnering with sports cars on race weekends to build and cross-pollinate both fan bases."

racing news

Indy Speedway to reduce seats
Construction noise at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has drowned out the fact that the Indianapolis 500 will have fewer seats to offer in the future.  The remake of the facility’s road circuit for next year’s motorcycle race will eliminate a bleacher section known as the First Turn Terrace, which has 5,136 seats.  That loss will reduce the total number of seats available for the oval-track configuration to 252,189, based on The Star’s findings in 2004.   Track president Joie Chitwood called it “insignificant” during today's tour of the construction site.  Indy Star

tv news

San Jose Champ Car Atlantic race to be shown on ESPN2
The championship deciding Champ Car Atlantic race run in San Jose on July 29 will be shown on Thursday, August 2 at 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm ET on ESPN2.


McLaren press release on Spygate
Following a thoroughly misleading press campaign by Ferrari and pressure from the Automobile Club D’ Italia, the FIA has asked the FIA International Court of Appeal to consider the unanimous decision made by the World Motor Sport Council on 26th July 2007. Having considered in great detail the full submissions of both Ferrari and McLaren, the World Motorsport Council determined that there was no evidence that any information, passed by a Ferrari team member to a McLaren employee, had been brought into the organization or provided any benefit whatsoever to the McLaren program.

McLaren is not aware of any new information or arguments that have arisen since the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council and therefore assumes that these same materials will now be considered by the FIA International Court of Appeal. Whilst this is both disappointing and time-consuming, McLaren is confident that the FIA International Court of Appeal will also exonerate McLaren and we will in the meanwhile continue to focus on our current World Championship program. McLaren PR


Jourdain to drive for Roush in Montreal
Michel Jourdain, Jr. will return to the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend in Montreal to drive the No. 17 Dish Network Ford Fusion.  Jourdain is no stranger to the road course in Montreal having competed there three times in the Champ Car Series.  Of those three starts at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Jourdain has one win and two sixth-place finishes.  His win came in 2003 where he qualified fourth and went on to win the 75-lap Champ Car event.  

Jourdain last competed in the Busch series for Roush Fenway Racing in Mexico with the No. 17 Dish Network team where he qualified 11th and finished 25th after getting caught up in a late-race incident.  Since Jourdain's last outing in Mexico City he has been competing overseas in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) with SEAT. 

"I really like racing at Montreal," said Jourdain.  "As a driver you have to be really aggressive on the brakes to get a good lap, but at the same time you must take care of them to finish the race.  You can pick up a lot of time in the chicanes by being very aggressive.  I think the trickiest turn is the hairpin because there is a very long straightaway after it and there is a lot of time to be gained there.  I've been racing overseas this summer in the WTCC with SEAT and have had fun while learning a lot, but I'm excited to be back in the No. 17 Dish Network Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway Racing."


NASCAR, ATT continue court battle
NASCAR and AT&T go back to court this week, at odds over the paint scheme on Jeff Burton's No. 31 Chevrolet. But the larger issue of exclusivity in the wireless category will loom over the proceedings.

Sprint Nextel, NASCAR's top series sponsor, bought the largest sports sponsorship ever sold, exclusivity included, and has spent close to $100 million a year since 2004. Cingular and Alltel were allowed to stay as team sponsors under certain restrictions.

But in a preliminary injunction ruling in May, a judge said AT&T could replace Cingular on the No. 31 Nextel Cup car because the restriction on rebranding wasn't spelled out in NASCAR's contract with Richard Childress Racing.

Those in the industry said it was widely known that Cingular and Alltel could not rebrand if one of them merged with another company in the volatile telecom world. But NASCAR didn't put it in writing, so AT&T's blue globe has been on the hood of the orange No. 31 for the past two-plus months.

"AT&T has nothing to lose," said Zak Brown, founder and CEO of motorsports agency Just Marketing. "They might not have very good relationships in the industry, but they've got the globe on the car. It just shows how corporate the sport is.

"In the old days, you'd get called into the (NASCAR trackside) trailer and sort it out. But the days of going to the trailer are long gone."

AT&T's emergence in NASCAR this year has led Sprint Nextel to say that its exclusivity has been compromised. And it remains at risk, based on the current legal precedent. Alltel is ripe for acquisition, analysts say, which could allow another company to rebrand Alltel on the No. 12 Penske Racing entry. Alltel was bought earlier this year by two private equity firms.

"For Alltel and other brands with competitive categories, this will make them take notice," said Jonathan Gibson, vice president of marketing at Pierce Promotions and a former executive at Miller Brewing. "This is one of the first major cases of somebody pushing the envelope. NASCAR and other sanctioning bodies selling entitlements are going to have to closely monitor their language in these contracts and watch for potential changes. You can't predict every change, but you have to be strategic in your approach."

Unless the judge hearing NASCAR's appeal of the preliminary injunction on Thursday overturns the ruling, Sprint Nextel must prepare for its next move.  More at Sporting News


January Preseason Thunder testing dates at DIS
Testing dates for the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008 at Daytona International Speedway have been finalized.

The first wave of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams will test in preparation for “The Great American Race” on Jan. 7-9 with Jan. 10 serving as a rain date. The second wave of NEXTEL Cup Series testing will be Jan. 14-16 with Jan. 17 serving as a rain date.

The NEXTEL Cup Series teams will be split into two groups based on the owner’s points following the NEXTEL Cup race weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Among the drivers expected to be in the first wave of teams (odd-numbered teams in the owner’s standings) will be three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon, 2006 Daytona 500 champion Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch.

Read more & Comment...

Unser Sr. to be Grand Marshal
Open wheel racing legend Al Unser Sr. will be the grand marshal for the Firestone Indy 400 on Sunday, Aug. 5 at Michigan International Speedway. Unser Sr., the two-time open wheel champion, will give the command to start engines for the Firestone Indy 400.

Unser Sr. made 33 open wheel starts at Michigan between 1968 and 1989. Throughout his storied open wheel racing career, he captured 39 victories, one of which came at MIS in 1974.  Having placed in the top 10 in half of his open wheel starts here, it is no surprise that he led 345 career laps, ranking ninth on the all time lap leaders list in open wheel events at MIS.

Read more & Comment...
track news

Construction underway on MotoGP road course at IMS
Construction on the new, 2.601-mile road course to be used for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP motorcycle race has started at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

IMS officials plan to have all construction completed by Opening Day for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 in early May.

"Our motorcycle event is Sept. 14, 2008, and we have a little event called the Indy 500 in May and you really can't work on anything in May," said Joie Chitwood, IMS president and chief operating officer. "So the goal is to get it done as soon as possible so that we're prepared for May for the Indy 500 and our other events."

Construction began Monday, July 30, the day after the 2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, and is occurring in two places in the IMS infield.

Read more & Comment...

NASCAR fines Biffle
In response to a NASCAR penalty issued late yesterday for failing to fulfill his post-race media obligations this past Saturday night, following the NASCAR Busch Series race at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, Greg Biffle released this statement.

"First and foremost, I would like to apologize to the media who were present in the press box at ORP last weekend.  I talked to every reporter on pit road which included television, radio and print.  I also offered to stay and speak to any other media member at the track.  I believe there was a misunderstanding on my part as to how we would be getting to the press box and at the time it seemed that we would be trying to walk in the opposite direction of thousands of fans trying to exit the grandstands.  I want to be clear that I was very excited about the second place finish and was in no hurry to leave, it just seemed unreasonable at the time to try to get to the press box as the grandstands were emptying in the opposite direction.  I have always been a big supporter of the NASCAR Busch Series and willing to help promote the series in any way.   I understand the importance of the media obligations related to participation in all NASCAR Series and once again apologize to anyone who may have felt slighted this weekend at ORP."


Tost denies grabbing Speed by neck
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has denied grabbing Scott Speed by the neck after Speed claims he was punched in the back by Tost and then grabbed by the neck after the race in Nurburgring. Recall that after the altercation Tost told Autosport that Speed would still drive in Hungary, and as we all know they fired him instead, so we need to establish first that Tost lies.

"When Scott came to the pit wall after going off the track, he complained about the very bad performance of the team because of the delay he suffered during the pitstop," Tost told Autosprint magazine.

"By contrast, I firstly asked him why he went off, then I tried to explain to him that he was the one who actually caused the chaos, but he didn't listen to me. He carried on wanting to know why the team took so long to change his tires when he came into the pits.

"It seemed like that was his only worry, while mine is, most of all, that the team are not put in doubt and their job not denigrated.

"There was a reason why the pitstop lasted that long: in his in lap Scott overtook our other car - that of Vitantonio Liuzzi - in the last sector. The GPS fit on our cars did not show that Scott had overtaken Tonio, cutting through the chicane, just before entering the pitlane. [The GPS] maybe didn't have enough time to catch the move.

"The team there, who were expecting to see Tonio coming, were left dumbfounded and were unprepared. Scott overtook his teammate by avoiding the chicane and I think he would have had to give back the position to avoid a penalty, if he stayed in the race.

"That's why I got upset: I was annoyed by his attitude, by the fact that his only worry seemed to blame the team. I mean, he went off the track, he made a mistake: I make mistakes every day as well, that's not the problem. But I can't tolerate that he casts a cloud over the work of the team.

"That's why, when he turned around to leave, I followed him and grabbed him by the shoulder. 'While I'm talking to you,' I said, 'you can't leave like this.' I deny having grabbed him by the neck, while it's true that, once I had calmed down, I apologized to him."


Martinez joins Racing Engineering
The Racing Engineering team will have an all-Spanish line-up from the Hungary race after announcing Marcos Martinez will replace Ernesto Viso.

Martinez will be the fifth driver at Racing Engineering this season, and he will partner Javier Villa, winner of two sprint races this year.

Venezuelan Viso had competed in three races for the team, but had failed to score any points.

Martinez had raced for Racing Engineering in the Spanish F3 championship.

"The arrival of Marco in GP2 is good news for Racing Engineering as it shows once again how its F3 program, made possible by the continuous support of its sponsors Repsol and Telefonica, has been really successful not only in producing victories and championships for the team but also as a great feeder for the GP2 project," the team said.


Hunter-Reay vs. Duno for ROY
Despite just joining the IRL Ryan Hunter-Reay has a carrot of his own to chase despite making his IndyCar debut just one race ago. His seventh-place debut thrust him in the middle of the hunt for the Bombardier Learjet Rookie-of-the-Year award. He is only the third rookie to compete in Indy Cars this year and is looking to cut into part-time pilot Milka Duno’s 43-point advantage in the rookie standings.
“I just can't wait to get back in the Ethanol car at Michigan,” remarked Hunter-Reay. “Coming off a great first race together we have a solid platform to build on moving forward. I have a great teammate in Scott Sharp. I can learn a lot from him as he really knows the ins and outs of these cars and tracks. Jumping from a challenging road course to the high banks at Michigan is what makes this series so unique, you really have to be on your toes to get the most out of every weekend. I can't wait to get back to work with the Ethanol team. We only have three days on track together, but we already have a chemistry that we can use to our advantage. Just like Mid-Ohio we look to steadily progress through each session and get a good result.” RLR PR


Lienhard and Theys to drive Maserati
Three of the most successful men in American sports car racing have entered a Maserati MC12 in the American Le Mans Series’ next race, the Generac 500 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Aug. 10-11. Owner/driver Fredy Lienhard of Niederteufen, Switzerland and Belgium’s Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz., will drive the blue No. 27 prepared by Kevin Doran of Doran Racing, Lebanon, Ohio. The three men have a long and very successful history racing together in endurance sports car events, including back-to-back overall victories in this very race in 2000 and 2001 when another sanctioning body organized the event. Lista, Making Workspace Work, the worldwide leader in modular storage units, will be the primary sponsor of the Maserati, which will compete in the ALMS’ GT1 class. Lista Office, a state-of-the-art office furniture company, is an associate sponsor. The team will use Michelin tires. Road America will be this particular car’s first race ever. Its appearance is expected to add much excitement to the event, especially for those around the world who share a passion for the Trident marque and its storied history.


Former F1 champ takes driving lessons
Former triple Formula One motor racing champion Nelson Piquet has been sent to driving awareness school - for repeated speeding and parking offences. The Brazilian lost his license after racking up too many penalty points.

Piquet and his wife Viviane, who also had her license revoked, must attend a week of lessons to learn good and safe driving conduct, and then pass an exam. BBC


Ticket scalping legalized
Today Minnesota officially repealed a 94-year-old law that “made reselling tickets for more than face value a misdemeanor,” becoming the 42nd state to decriminalize ticket scalping.


Brawn denies Stepney’s ’breakaway’ claims UPDATE (GMM)  Ross Brawn, presently on 'sabbatical' following a long stint as Ferrari technical director, on Wednesday denied that he had planned to defect the Italian team to join a rival.

The Briton's sacked former colleague at Maranello based Ferrari, Nigel Stepney, claimed on Tuesday that Brawn was the ringleader of a band of workers who wanted to take their talents elsewhere in pitlane.

Referring to a 'breakaway' group, countryman Stepney said it "would have been led by my friend Ross Brawn".

Brawn responded to the Italian news agency ANSA: "Ferrari is the only team or group with whom I have discussed my future."

He added: "All the press articles that link me with other teams are either inaccurate or just speculative."

Brawn said he was motivated to speak to ANSA because of "recent reports about my situation".

He reiterated that he decided to take a sabbatical in 2007 purely for "personal reasons".

"After 30 years in motor racing I wanted to dedicate some time to my family and to pursue personal ambitions that I had been unable to do."

Brawn said he has now begun to negotiate with Ferrari in order to explore the "possibility to work together again in the future".

He added: "After ten fantastic years, the people and the culture of Ferrari and Italy are in my heart.  Ferrari is my team."

08/01/07 (GMM)  Ross Brawn, presently on 'sabbatical' following a long stint as Ferrari technical director, on Wednesday denied that he had planned to defect the Italian team to join a rival.

The Briton's sacked former colleague at Maranello based Ferrari, Nigel Stepney, claimed on Tuesday that Brawn was the ringleader of a band of workers who wanted to take their talents elsewhere in pitlane.

Referring to a 'breakaway' group, countryman Stepney said it "would have been led by my friend Ross Brawn".

Brawn responded to the Italian news agency ANSA: "Ferrari is the only team or group with whom I have discussed my future.  All the rest is speculation."

racing news

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
  • Montoya first to crack SPEED Weekly Top 20 in two different series (F1, NASCAR)
  • Champ Car drivers Doornbos, Neel make first appearances in Top 20

Updated 8-1-07
Pos.  (LW) Driver (Series)                    Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1)                  8.063
2. (2) Scott Dixon (IRL)                     7.986
3. (3) Dario Franchitti (IRL)                7.905
4. (7) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                  7.796
5. (26) Robert Doornbos (CCWS)               7.561
6. (6) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                 7.543
7. (14) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)                  7.284
8. (4) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)             7.166
9. (11) Jeff Burton (NASCAR)                 7.156
10. (8) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)               7.114
11. (9) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR)                6.932
12. (5) Carl Edwards (NASCAR)                6.865
13. (10) Felipe Massa (F1)                   6.814
14. (28) Will Power (CCWS)                   6.572
15. (NR) Juan Pablo Montoya (NASCAR)         6.550
16. (15) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)               6.517
17. (24) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR)           6.462
18. (13) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)               6.398
19. (35) Jani Neel (CCWS)                    6.270
20. (18) Kurt Busch (NASCAR)                 6.189

Dropped out: Justin Wilson (CCWS), Casey Mears (NASCAR), Ryan Newman (NASCAR), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR), Greg Biffle (NASCAR)

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


Punters 'deserting' Hamilton - bookmaker
(GMM) British punters have gone cold on championship leader and rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton ahead of the Hungarian grand prix.

Following the McLaren driver's disastrous Nurburgring race two weeks ago, where his run of podium finishes came to an end, betting agent William Hill lists 22-year-old Hamilton as only the third favorite to win in Budapest.

London based William Hill, one of the two largest bookmakers in the UK alongside Ladbrokes, is also offering 4/6 odds that Hamilton will lose his slender 2 point lead to on-form teammate Fernando Alonso this Sunday.

Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) and Alonso are joint favorite to win, at 2/1, and the pair is also at 9/4 to start at the front of the grid.

Hamilton, meanwhile, is 10/3 to win and 11/4 to secure pole.

"Punters are starting to desert Hamilton as Alonso hits form -- this weekend's result is make or break for Lewis," said spokesman Rupert Adams.

racing news

Meira debuts innovative driving suit
When OMP Racing introduced the conceptually new Monoposto suit at the 2006 PRI Show, many wondered if the product was really going into production or if it was just a “runway” item. Monoposto is a lightweight motorcycle inspired suit specifically designed for single seater and sportscar drivers. A three-layer suit (350 gr/m2) Monoposto holds both FIA 8856-2000 and SFI 3.2A/5 homologations.

The suit structure is kept together by a series of elasticized sections including a large horizontal band on the waist, which substitutes the traditional belt. The suit is ‘vertically quilted’ instead of ‘box quilted’ and SOFY DRY® treated for a quicker release of body heat.

The general concept behind the creation of the Monoposto is to provide drivers with a product that is closely fitted to the body in order to eliminate the excessive Nomex® material that drivers usually fight with once in the cockpit. The suit provides the following main advantages

  • Avoids the formation of awkward bulges on the chest and by the waist while in driving position;
  • The stretched fit adds comfort when the driver is strapped into the car.

    Read more & Comment...

Wurz admits rivals for 2008 seat
(GMM)  Alex Wurz admits that he faces competition to keep his seat at the Williams team in 2008.

The Austrian veteran, who has struggled to impress alongside his teammate Nico Rosberg so far this year, particularly in qualifying, revealed to the news agency APA that he is yet to secure a contract beyond the end of 2007.

Wurz, 33, said: "I sleep very calmly at night, although many people are knocking on the Williams door -- and some can offer a lot of money."

Current team test driver Narain Karthikeyan, with a swag of backing from India, wants to return to the grid next year, while Nelson Piquet Jr and Giancarlo Fisichella have also been linked with Wurz's seat.

The former long time McLaren test driver, however, said he prefers to concentrate on his race weekends rather than worry about the future.

"Everything else will then follow naturally," Wurz added.

He said: "Anyway, I think it is too early to think about 2008.  But that doesn't mean that I cannot keep my eyes open."


Dumbreck joins Petersen/White Lighting
Petersen/White Lightning Racing has announced that Peter Dumbreck will join Dirk Müller behind the wheel of the team’s Ferrari in the upcoming Generac 500 at Road America on August 9-11.  The Scottish road racing ace currently competing in the SuperGT Series, replaces Tomas Enge, who was terminated from his contract with the team following the conclusion of the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.
It will be Dumbreck’s debut race in the American Le Mans Series and also his first time competing in the United States. 

"It sounds quite daunting,” Dumbreck said. “I hadn't quite thought about it that it is my first race with the team, in the Series, with the Ferrari or at this track. I suppose it will be a bit of an eye-opener for me to get into the Ferrari. I have had various driver friends tell me it is a little tricky to drive but I have a lot of experience in different cars so I think I can get my head around it. The main thing for me will be to keep my head down and learn."

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Speed 'not released' from contract - manager
  • McLaren fume at spy case appeal
  • Silverstone agrees on $50m British GP upgrade
  • Spy appeal 'not good' for FIA image
  • Ape-like Kimi relaxes with beer

Speed 'not released' from contract - manager
(GMM) Scott Speed is yet to comment after being dropped by the Toro Rosso team.

Faenza based STR announced in a statement on Tuesday that former BMW test driver Sebastian Vettel would instead drive the number 19 car alongside Vitantonio Liuzzi for the balance of 2007, but made no mention of the contractual situation involving Speed.

The 24-year-old from America has not so far been reached for comment following the Vettel news, but his manager Glen Hinshaw replied to an email enquiry from the newspaper LA Times.

Hinshaw said Speed "is not released from (his) contract" and that further details "regarding the team and driver ongoing relationship" would be announced after Sunday's race in Hungary.

McLaren fume at spy case appeal
(GMM) McLaren expressed anger but also confidence after it emerged that the FIA's espionage case against the Woking based team would now be appealed.

Ron Dennis' team in a statement expressed cynicism that Max Mosley only decided to send the case to the Court of Appeal "following a thoroughly misleading press campaign by Ferrari and pressure from the Automobile Club D' Italia" (ACI).

The appeal will be heard in late August or early next month, according to sources.

Mosley, the FIA president, wrote in his letter to the ACI on Tuesday that - although McLaren were not punished by the World Council last week - there are "a number of suspicious elements" to the team's defense.

At the same time, Ferrari's board of directors met in Maranello and gave the green light for more legal action, this time presumably against McLaren.

"The Board gives its full authority ... to initiate and continue any necessary legal action ... in addition to those legal actions already underway in every legal, civil, criminal, administrative (and) sporting jurisdiction, be it in Italy or abroad," a statement read.

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Repsol and Honda agree to new two-year partnership UPDATE In the Repsol Honda statement issued on July 31 2007, the job title of Mr. Satoru Horiike was stated incorrectly. Mr. Horiike’s correct job title is HRC Vice President, a post he assumed on June 27 2007.

07/31/07 REPSOL YPF will continue its title sponsorship of the Honda factory MotoGP team after an agreement was reached for a new two-year partnership for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

The highly successful 13-year partnership between the Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) and the Repsol YPF brand has brought nine 500cc and MotoGP World Championship titles, 96 race victories in the premier class and 163 podium finishes to date.

HRC Managing Director, Mr. Satoru Horiike commented: “After 13 years with Repsol, HRC is very pleased to continue the relationship with a new agreement from the 2008 season.”

He continued: “The Repsol Honda team has enjoyed record-breaking success in the past 13 years and it is our intention to continue this. Repsol Honda is an established brand and we are very happy to be able to continue the growth of this image in the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing.”

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Wallace OK following attempted mugging in Indy UPDATE Battery charges have been filed against a man arrested for allegedly assaulting NASCAR Busch Series driver Steve Wallace in Broad Ripple on Sunday night after the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.  Mark D. Tharpe, 25, was freed on $15,000 bond after his arrest and booking and is scheduled to appear for a court hearing Aug. 7.  Wallace, 19, finished 17th in the Kroger 200 on Saturday night at O'Reilly Raceway Park and is 16th in Busch Series points. Wallace suffered minor cuts and abrasions, but will compete as scheduled this weekend at Montreal.  IndyStar

07/31/07 19 year-old RWI Racing Busch Series driver, Steve Wallace, is OK following being attacked in an attempted mugging Sunday evening in Indianapolis. Wallace suffered only minor cuts and abrasions in the attack and will compete as scheduled in this weekend's Busch Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. Wallace was attacked by a group of at least three men upon exiting a convenience store in Indianapolis Sunday night, where he stayed to watch the running of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Wallace participated in the Busch Series event at O'Reilly Raceway Park the previous evening. Upon entering the convenience store, the men commented on Wallace's watch, a gift given to him by a sponsor after he earned his second career pole position at Nashville Superspeedway in June. After exiting the convenience store, Wallace was jumped and attacked by the group of men, who were attempting to rob him of his watch. The men later fled the scene after being unsuccessful in robbing Wallace. A suspect was apprehended later that evening and is being held in an Indianapolis jail. RWI PR


Ferrari board gives Todt green light to legal action
Today, in Maranello, the Ferrari S.p.a. Board of Administration met to deliberate about the legal actions taken in the last weeks by the Gestione Sportiva.

The Board has ratified what happened until now, which is the action taken against Nigel Stepney over the fact of the powder found around the refueling aperture on the F1 cars during the Monaco Grand Prix tests. The submission of another legal action against Stepney concerning the theft of technical informations, the civil action presented to The High Court of London against Mike Coughlan, chief designer of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and his wife, concerning the theft of the aforementioned documents.

The Board took note of the FIA World Council's decision of 26th of July and of today's decision from the FIA President, Max Mosley, to refer this matter to a hearing of the FIA Court of Appeal, where Ferrari, as the injured party of the incident, will be accorded all the rights to which they are entitled in a trial, which was not the case at the World Council meeting.

The Board gives its full authority to the Board of Administration's President, to the CEO, and to the Managing Director to initiate and continue any necessary legal action, in the name of the Company, in addiction to those legal actions already underway in every legal, civil, criminal, administrative, sporting jurisdiction be it, in Italy or abroad.


Allstate 400 smallest ever
Not only were the TV ratings the smallest ever for the Brickyard 400, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway doesn't release attendance figures, but it was obvious in looking around the facility that Sunday's crowd was the smallest ever for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

A best-guess estimate was about 225,000, so let's keep things in perspective. That's still the biggest crowd for any Cup race all season, but it's far from a sellout for a facility that has 257,000 seats.

Many seats on the lower rows of the frontstretch were empty, along with blocks of open grandstands in Turns 2 and 3. ESPN.com


A1GP beats Champ Car to Zhuhai
The 2007/2008 A1GP race schedule has been released and it shows the A1GP racing twice in China, the first time in Zhuhai, beating Champ Car there where they will bring a Chinese driver and Chinese team and give the fans something to cheer about unlike Champ Car which has neither one.

    Date                Event                    
1)  30 September 2007   Zandvoort, The Netherlands
2)  14 October 2007     Brno, Czech Republic
3)  4 November 2007     Asia – venue TBC
4)  25 November 2007    Sepang, Malaysia
5)  16 December 2007    Zhuhai, China
6)  20 January 2008     Taupo, New Zealand
7)  3 February 2008     Sydney, Australia
8)  24 February 2008    Durban, South Africa
9)  16 March 2008       Mexico City, Mexico
10) 6 April 2008        Shanghai, China
11) 4 May 2008          Brands Hatch, Great Britain

Commenting on the third season’s race calendar, A1GP chief executive officer, Pete da Silva said: ‘This year’s race calendar sees a few changes and the addition of one new venue which I feel reflects the evolution of this fantastic racing series.

‘A1GP is growing throughout its markets, developing an exceptionally strong fan base across Asia. Our provisional television ratings clearly demonstrate that we have created a firm foothold in one of the biggest emerging markets in the world and it is for this reason that we are delighted to have the opportunity to return to China twice again this season. 2007/08 is going to be a bigger and better season with so much to look forward to.’

The venue for the 4 November event will be confirmed in due course following the conclusion of negotiations with the relevant parties.

track news

Repaved Bristol totally different
Last week’s testing on Bristol Motor Speedway’s new concrete is still being assessed, and “The track is entirely different,” Scott Riggs said. “All the holes and humps that made Bristol so difficult to get around - and also made it so hard to get around side-by-side - they took all those things away.  And they’ve extended the banking in the corners further down the straight, so the transition into the corner is a lot smoother.  Plus, they gave us about three more feet of race track. The track is three feet wider, and three feet at Bristol is like 10 feet somewhere else.   It’s really smooth and gentle getting into and off the corner.  It also has a lot of grip, and the tires are a little harder because they were trying to anticipate the grip and wanted to make sure they had something pretty conservative. I think the tire Goodyear is bringing back is even harder.”


Jon Wood OK after car accident
Wood Brothers/JTG driver Jon Wood was treated and released from a local hospital this morning following a single vehicle accident on his way to work. Wood’s pickup truck has a modified suspension system with pneumatic air bags on the chassis. Eyewitnesses reported that shortly after 8:00am/et this morning they witnessed a failure of his right front air bag, causing the truck to veer off the roadway into the woods. He was treated for a cut on his head and a bruising on his arm, but was released shortly thereafter. Wood Brothers/JTG PR

[Editor's Note:  This really is too funny.  A pickup truck with pneumatic air bags on the chassis that blow out.  Did the Wood Brothers design that?  Or perhaps the air bags were made of the same design as Goodyear's NASCAR 'blow out at any time' tires.]

industry news

Ford's lone shining star dims
Mazda reported a 62 percent drop in April-June profit on Tuesday, but Japan's No. 4 automaker stuck with its forecast for a record profit for the full year on growing global sales.  Mazda Motor Corp., a rare bright spot in faltering Ford Motor Co.'s group, said the latest numbers were within expectations, with the drop resulting mainly from foreign-exchange related accounting expenses and greater research investment.

Mazda's profit slipped to 2.48 billion yen ($20.9 million) for the three months ended June 30, down from 6.61 billion yen the previous year. A weak yen usually is a plus for Japanese exporters like Mazda but this time it resulted in some losses due to forward foreign exchange contracts, the company said.

Quarterly sales jumped 11 percent on-year to 814.29 billion yen ($6.85 billion), the Hiroshima-based manufacturer said.


NASCAR fines Biffle
NASCAR officials announced today that Greg Biffle has been fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, for failing to fulfill his postrace media obligations Saturday night following the NASCAR Busch Series race at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.  Biffle finished second in the race and was, therefore, required to fulfill postrace interview obligations. The Roush Fenway Racing driver did not do so.


Q and A with Pastor Maldonado
Q. Your debut season had a great turnaround after the win scored at Monte Carlo; did you expect an easier start, or were you prepared to fight some initial problems?

Pastor Maldonado: During the winter testing I always tried to push very hard, and in the last sessions I was constantly in the top-5; that gave me a lot of confidence. I really didn't expect to meet reliability troubles, that prevented me from showing the real potential of the team and, of course, mine.

I'm sure that without these issues we would have been able to fight for the top, as happened at Monte Carlo and in the following races. In the last rounds things got progressively better, and my standing position improved as well.

Q. In the last four rounds you scored four points finishes, climbing up several positions in standings; what was the difference with the first rounds?

PM: When you don't finish races, it's difficult to show your true potential, and make anyone aware of how your good work is putting you in the right direction. I was sure, together with the team, that everything would have been fine at Bahrain. Unfortunately, it took until Monte Carlo to have visible results, but nothing really changed for me between the first two races and the rest of the season so far.

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Belle Isle GP Announces Canadian Partnerships
A prosperous relationship between two dynamic cities in neighboring countries is now expanding to include to the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, Canada – separated by the Detroit River and connected via tunnel and bridge – have teamed up for many successful recent events, including Super Bowl XL and the popular annual river fireworks celebrations. The two cities are natural Grand Prix partners considering that the roar of the races on Belle Isle can be heard on both shores of the river.

When the Detroit Grand Prix returns to the beautiful Raceway at Belle Isle Park road course for the first time in six years August 31-September 2, 2007, the event will carry a distinct international flavor. Highlighted by partnerships with three well-established Windsor entities, the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix looks forward to promoting continued growth with its Canadian cousins. The City of Windsor, Canadian Club® and Casino Windsor have each extended their support across the river to help bring world-class auto racing back to the Motor City.

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industry news

GM announces $891M profit
General Motors (GM) has bounced back to report a second quarter 2007 profit of $891 million, compared to the $3.4 billion net loss reported in the year-ago quarter. After undergoing several restructuring changes, the automotive manufacturer has also announced an increase in its second quarter net income from $1.1 billion in 2006 to $1.4 billion this year. GM Vice Chairman and CFO Fritz Henderson says while the results are good, they are still unsatisfactory. Henderson says there is a real opportunity for further growth in the business and GM must focus on future expansion.


20 cars for Michigan race
The IRL entry list swelled to 20 cars for this weekend's Indy Car Firestone Indy 400 race at Michigan International Raceway.  Since MIS is an 'easy flat' track talent challenged Jon Herb and Milka Duno have been added to the entry list.  Herb will drive for Racing Professionals and Duno for SAMAX.


Valiante to replace Montoya
Michael Valiante has big-shoes to fill and the best way he can do that is by winning the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race at Montreal this weekend. With Juan Montoya, a former F1 driver and Champ Car champ, taking a breather, Valiante was called by Ganassi Racing to drive the No. 42.Texaco Havoline  car. 

“It is an honor to, not only be selected by Ganassi but to fill in for Montoya," the 27-year-old said.

He will  also be fulfilling his normal duties in the Grand-Am Rolex Series so it will be a busy weekend for the Canadian.


FIA ’Spygate’ correspondence
FIA President Max Mosley said on Tuesday he would be appealing FIA's decision to exonerate McLaren, accused of spying on Ferrari. The following is correspondence between President of CSAI, Luigi Macaluso, to the President of the FIA, Max Mosley.

Letter to Max Mosley from Luigi Macaluso

Dear President,

We have been informed about the outcome of the most recent meeting of the World Motor Sport Council held on July 26, 2007 in Paris. We have also exchanged views with our license holder, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro (owned by Ferrari SpA).

We must confess that we find it quite difficult to justify how a team has not been penalized while it has been found in breach of clause 151c of the International Sporting Code. Indeed, this probably is the most fundamental provision of our sport, In the present case the infringement is serious since it has been assessed that the team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has repeatedly breached such provision, over several months, though several top team representatives, to the detriment of its most direct competitor and therefore to it direct or indirect advantage knowing that such infringement would still be ongoing would it had not been fortuitously discovered.

The very fact that the breach of clause 151c has been assessed by the World Motor Sport Council means that all conditions of such breach were fulfilled.
We cannot see why additional conditions would have demonstrated in order for a penalty to have been inflicted, The recent history of Formula 1 offers several examples of causes in which a party was inflicted a severe penalty because of a breach if clause 151c, without the subject matter of such having been used by a team or having any detrimental effect of the competition.

We fear that the decision of the World Motor Sport Council could create a precedent which, at this level of sport and stage of competition, would be highly inappropriate and detrimental for the sport.

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Merger reduces Nextel Cup field
Forty-seven cars are entered in this weekend's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, making it the smallest Nextel Cup entry list of the season.  Ginn Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. last week, shutting down its No. 13 team and moving the points from its No. 14 to DEI's No. 15 of Paul Menard, causing the drop in entries.  Now only four cars will go home after qualifying, leaving 43 to race, thereby giving the struggling AJ Allmendinger a better chance to qualify.


CARA event at Road America UPDATE  

2nd Annual Champ Car Tailgate Party
Road America
Friday, August 10, 2007
6:30-9:30 pm
Please note time change due to Champ Car Qualifying

Please join us at the Champ Car/American Le Mans Series Hospitality Paddock
at Road America for a night of food, drink and entertainment.

The Great American Racing Auction
Great collectables from today’s stars and an array of racing memories from the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Something for every fan and every budget.


Proceeds will benefit CARA Charities, Champ Car Ministries, American Le Mans Series Grid Kids
Elkhart Lake First Responders & Elkhart Lake Volunteer Fire Department

Tickets $50 per person       $10 Kids under 12

To place a ticket order or sponsorship please call the CARA Charities office at 317-299-2277
or go online at www.caracharities.org

07/30/07 The Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary will stage its second annual Champ Car Tailgate Party at Road America on Friday, Aug. 10 during the Champ Car/American Le Mans Series doubleheader weekend. The Tailgate Party will feature good food, good drink and plenty of entertainment as well as the Great American Racing Auction where a bevy of collectables from current and past Champ Car and ALMS stars will be up for bid under the rubric of “something for every fan and every budget.”

Tickets are $50 per person and proceeds benefit CARA Charities, Champ Car Ministries, American Le Mans Series Grid Kids, and the Elkhart Lake First Responders and Volunteer Fire Department. Contact CARA Charities at 317-299-2277 or online at www.caracharities.org.


Münter to be 4th female Indy Pro driver
Leilani Münter, who completed her Indy Pro Series rookie test at Kentucky in May, will become the fourth woman to compete in the series when she makes her debut at the track with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Münter is transitioning to open-wheel cars after racing in stock cars since 2001.


Indy driver in more hot water UPDATE Former Indianapolis 500 driver David "Salt" Walther is being held in the Warren County Jail without bond and could face a new felony charge after allegedly running from police last week.

Walther was driving so recklessly while trying to avoid Beavercreek police July 18 that officers were forced to give up the chase because they feared other motorists could be hurt, said Detective Rodney Curd.

An anonymous tipster who "knew Walther had warrants" notified Beavercreek police July 18 the former race car driver was pumping gas at a BP station on North Fairfield Road about 8:40 p.m., Curd said.

When an officer approached him, Walther fled in a 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis, leading police on a chase on North Fairfield and Interstate 675.

Walther, 59, son of late Dayton industrialist George N. Walther, turned himself into the Warren County Jail at 1:37 p.m. Sunday. Curd said he would present a felony charge of failure to comply with police to a Greene County grand jury today.

Walther is wanted in Warren County for not appearing for sentencing July 11 after admitting in April that he failed to pay more than $20,000 in child support.  Dayton Daily News

07/27/07 According to WHIOTV.com Police are asking for the public's help in finding former Indy race car driver Salt Walther. There was already a warrant for Walther's arrest when a Beavercreek police officer spotted him at the BP Station on North Fairfield Road on July 18th.

"The officer told him to stand outside the car," says Beavercreek Detective Rodney Curd. "Mr. Walther got back in the car and fled out onto North Fairfield with the office in pursuit." Police have just released the video of the chase, which led officers through Beavercreek and south onto I-675 where Centerville police picked up the pursuit. "He was dodging in and out of traffic and being very reckless in his driving," Curd told WHIO-TV. "That's why the pursuit was terminated by both agencies."


Vettel also set for 2008 STR seat - Berger
(GMM)  Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger on Tuesday admitted that Sebastian Vettel would "probably" also race for his formula one team next year.

The Faenza based team confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that Vettel, formerly BMW's 20-year-old reserve driver, will replace beleaguered American regular Scott Speed for the balance of 2007, starting this weekend in Hungary.

The statement, however, made no mention of media speculation that German Vettel is also first in line for a full time seat with the team in 2008 and 2009.

But Berger, a ten time grand prix winner, told the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst: "Sebastian is in his twelfth year as a Red Bull man.  He has a long past and hopefully also a long future with us."

Berger clarified that it meant Vettel would race for Toro Rosso "probably also next year".

"He is an extremely intelligent and engaged driver," Berger continued, "who already knows formula one well through BMW.  Therefore he is the ideal man for us."


Mosley agrees to re-open McLaren spy case
(GMM) FIA president Max Mosley on Tuesday agreed to send the espionage case against McLaren to the governing body's Court of Appeal.

Following the written request of Ferrari's national sanctioning organization, the Automobile Club d'Italia (ACI), Mosley said it was right to further investigate the case because Ferrari had not been allowed to present evidence in last Thursday's hearing of the World Motor Sport Council.

McLaren in Paris was found to be in breach of clause 151c of the International Sporting Code but was not penalized, which in ACI president Luigi Macaluso's view is "quite difficult to justify".

He claimed that "several top team representatives" of McLaren knew about chief designer Mike Coughlan's espionage activities over several months, but that Ferrari had been unable to counter McLaren's defense that no employee besides Coughlan knew about the 780-pages of secret information.

In a written reply to Macaluso, who after the Paris hearing had also verbally questioned the FIA's decision, Mosley said probing the matter further was also important for "public confidence in the outcome".

He wrote: "I will send this matter to the FIA Court of Appeal ... with a request that the Court hear both Ferrari and McLaren and any other Championship competitor who so requests and determine whether the decision of the WMSC was appropriate and, if not substitute such other decision as may be just."


'Ferrari spy on me' - Stepney
(GMM) Nigel Stepney has turned the heat back onto Ferrari by claiming that his former Italian employer is still spying on him.

Michael Schumacher's sacked former chief mechanic, who is at the centre of the espionage saga that has scandalized formula one, hit back at Ferrari just days after Maranello based chiefs expressed rage that McLaren escaped punishment for spying.

"Ferrari spy on me," Briton Stepney is quoted on Tuesday as telling the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

He said he has again fled Italy, and revealed that he was followed "the whole way" from Modena to France.

"They can do whatever they want to me but they have dragged my family into this," said Stepney, who claims he is the victim of a set-up.

He added: "Someone gave away the (780 pages of) designs but it wasn't me.

"Someone set me up and that person is still working for Ferrari.

"But I don't want to say any more because I only know part of the story. Ferrari knows everything."

Stepney also said the 'white powder' and accusations of sabotage are part of the set up.

"They put the powder in my pants pocket while I was taking a shower," he insists.

He said he only thought about joining a band of disgruntled Ferrari employees who wanted to defect to another formula one team after his relationship with boss Jean Todt began to break down.

"It would have been led by my friend Ross Brawn," Stepney said.

He also revealed that he has accepted a new job outside of the sport, categorically ruling out joining McLaren after being labeled a 'McLaren informer' by Ferrari's Italian lawyers.

He said: "I do not like Ron Dennis. I met him (in the past) only once and he suggested that I work for him."


Glock to replace Vettel
With Sebastian Vettel's release to Toro Rosso today GP2 driver Timo Glock will replace Vettel as primary test driver for the BMW Sauber team.  The 25-year-old from Brensbach-Wersau is championship leader in the GP2 Series and would forgo a GP2 race should he have to step into the breach for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.


Super soft Bridgestones for Hungary
Formula One competitors make a return to Bridgestone’s super soft compound Potenza for the Hungarian Grand Prix, where Bridgestone’s softest tire in the 2007 F1 tire range is paired with the soft compound for the tight, twisty and slippery 4.38 km track. It’s the 22nd running of the race known locally as Magyar Nagydíj, and appropriately enough all 22 cars in the field are equipped with Bridgestone Potenzas.

The track provides a very particular challenge for teams and drivers. It’s tight and twisty, which precludes sustained high speed running, but it also has something of a reputation as a car-breaker. The weather is always an important factor in any grand prix, with the importance of correct tire choice for the conditions illustrated perfectly by the European Grand Prix last time out. With part of Europe under flood conditions and part of Europe experiencing a heat wave, Hungary could be interesting, although advance predictions are showing hot and sunny conditions.

The track is very smooth, meaning the softest compounds are used, but the hot weather and graining- inducing nature of the track mean that tire management will be critical over the race weekend and particularly in the race. Last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix was affected by uncharacteristic rain. It was won by Honda Racing’s Jenson Button, who scored his first F1 race victory. Button won by over half a minute from McLaren Mercedes’ Pedro de la Rosa with BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld coming third.

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Vettel replaces Scott Speed at STR UPDATE Scuderia  Toro  Rosso  announces  that  as  from  the  Hungarian  Grand  Prix,  Sebastian Vettel (right) will replace Scott Speed as the driver of car number 19.  Vettel  will  drive  for  the  team  in all  the  remaining  rounds of  the  2007  FIA  Formula  1 World Championship. Having joined the Red Bull Junior Team in his early karting years at the age of 12 and been  guided by  us  and  BMW through  his  Formula BMW and  Formula 3  career,  we now welcome Sebastian back to the Red Bull family.  Sebastian Vettel will be taking part in the FIA Press Conference in the Media Centre at the Hungaroring at 15h00 on Thursday 2 August.  Toro Rosso Press Release

"As our test and reserve driver Sebastian has carried out sterling work for us," said BMW boss Mario Theissen in a press release saying BMW had released Vettel. "When he stood in for Robert Kubica in the USA Grand Prix he made history by becoming the youngest debutant to earn a world championship point.

"However, the current testing rules mean that he barely gets a chance to drive for us. Now he has been offered the opportunity to get inside a Toro Rosso cockpit. We have sponsored and coached Sebastian over a number of years.

"To place obstacles in his career path now would go against our concept of talent promotion."

[Editor's Note:  The smartest thing Champ Car could do is get American Scott Speed in a competitive car immediately, i.e. at Road America, and sign him for a long-term contract.  The guy is fast and can prove he belonged in F1 if given a car that has a chance of winning.  Like Bourdais, Andretti, Montoya and Zanardi, Champ Car is a way into F1, unlike the oval-centric NASCAR and IRL series which do not rate with F1 team owners.  Being he is a Red Bull driver, Red Bull can easily make this move happen, and should.]

07/31/07 The BMW Sauber team have released Sebastian Vettel to drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso, the German squad announced today.  Sebastian Vettel will be been confirmed to replace American Scott Speed at Toro Rosso effective immediately. More to follow.....


Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Teams Up With Big Boy
The checkered overalls worn famously by Big Boy will take on a checkered flag racing theme over the next several weeks as area Big Boy restaurants are offering diners discount tickets for Saturday activities at the upcoming Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Big Boy customers will be able to experience the speed and excitement of both the American Le Mans Series and the IndyCar Series on Grand Prix weekend, August 31-September 2, 2007, by picking up a voucher while supplies last at over 130 Big Boy restaurants throughout the state of Michigan, and in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio only. The vouchers are redeemable for a $5 discount on any Reserved Grandstand ticket for Saturday’s action at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

“We are proud to be associated with the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and have the opportunity to give our customers a special offer to see the races in person,” said Tony Michaels, Chief Executive Officer of Big Boy. “We believe this will become a signature event for Detroit and the state of Michigan.” 

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ESPN continues to ignore Champ Car
A reader asks, While watching the Angles / Tigers game last night, ESPN's bottom line in the auto read:
Jonathan Bomarito wins San Jose' Champ Car Grand Prix. Raphael Matos clinches championship.
Do you think they can at least get the drivers in the correct series? No mention at all of Doornbos, Jani, or Servia. Not even the headliner race. Who's running the show there? Joe Stalker

Dear Joe, ESPN and ABC only care about NASCAR. They have to ensure the TV ratings are high for NASCAR because they have a huge financial obligation to NASCAR. Meanwhile Champ Car pays ESPN and ABC to air their races and they use that money to pay NASCAR (and the IRL) and none of it goes toward promoting Champ Car as you see almost zero promotion of Champ Car on ESPN like originally promised. Mark C.

tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Action from Pocono Live on ESPN
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series moves this weekend to Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania for Sunday’s 500-mile race and ESPN will have live coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET with the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program. The race telecast will be presented by Rush Hour 3.
ESPN, which has televised more NASCAR Cup races than any other network, returned to coverage of the Cup Series last week at Indianapolis, its first Cup event since 2000. ESPN and ABC will have live coverage of the final 17 races of the 2007 season, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup on ABC.
Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play for the Pocono race, joined in the booth for expert analysis by 1989 NASCAR Cup champion Rusty Wallace and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN DISH Tech Center.
ESPN’s Suzy Kolber will host NASCAR Countdown at Pocono, joined by analyst Brad Daugherty in the ESPN Pit Studio.
ESPN’s coverage from Pocono will include live NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, and Happy Hour final practice at 11 a.m. Saturday.
NASCAR Busch Series To Make Historic First Visit to Montreal Live on ESPN2  
The NASCAR Busch Series will make history this weekend as it becomes the first of NASCAR’s national series to race in Canada. ESPN2 will have live coverage of the race at world-famous Circuit Gilles Villenueve in Montreal beginning at 3 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown.
The road racing circuit, named for one of Canada’s most famous racers of all time and the home of an annual Formula One race, will present a level playing field for NASCAR Busch Series drivers and teams, as all will be racing on the track for the first time. Road racing star Scott Pruett will be ESPN’s In-Car Race Reporter for the telecast. Pruett will be driving for the Ganassi team.
Allen Bestwick will anchor ESPN2’s coverage from Montreal, with analysis by two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie. Pit reporters will be Gary Gerould, Marty Smith and Vince Welch. Bestwick also will host NASCAR Countdown.
In addition to coverage of the race, ESPN2 will televise NASCAR Busch Series practice from Montreal at 2 p.m. Friday, and qualifying at noon Saturday.
IndyCar Series Live on ESPN2 Sunday from Michigan
The IndyCar Series will return to action this weekend with Sunday’s Firestone IndyCar 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. The race telecast starts at noon ET.
Scott Dixon will go for his fourth straight IndyCar win and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti will look to maintain his series point lead as the IndyCars race on the high-speed, 2-mile oval. Danica Patrick, who has scored two third-place finishes in recent races, will continue her quest for her first IndyCar Series win. Sam Hornish Jr., Dan Wheldon and Marco Andretti are among other top contenders.
Marty Reid will anchor ESPN2’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by former IndyCar Series star Scott Goodyear. Jack Arute, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch will report from the pits.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Honda appoints new marketing man
  • Marko defends Red Bull driver program
  • Piquet Snr loses driver license
  • Hamilton best '07 driver - survey
  • Unhappy Massa reserves spy verdict opinion

Honda appoints new marketing man
(GMM) Formula one team Honda has appointed a new marketing director, following the departure in May of Alistair Watkins.

Alongside 19 Entertainment, Watkins - the son of former F1 doctor Prof. Sid Watkins - was responsible for the radical 'Earth Car' concept for 2007 but he left the Brackley based team to join the Swiss America's Cup squad Anlinghi.

On Monday, it was announced that David Butler - from the sports awards Laureus - had now replaced him, and his first challenge will be to build on the 'Earth Car' concept, Honda said in a statement.

Marko defends Red Bull driver program
(GMM) Red Bull's Helmut Marko has defended the energy drink's arguably failed junior driver development programs.

With Toro Rosso's Red Bull-developed lineup of Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi on the verge of collapse, former grand prix racer Marko - whose role at races is to liaise with Red Bull's drivers - insisted that the company's up and coming stars justify the driver program.

"We have some very good people (on the program)," the Austrian said in an interview with motorline.cc.

"One of them is Sebastien Buemi, who is in F3 and recently did a very good formula one test."

Marko also singled out Brendon Hartley and Filipe Albuquerque as young stars of the future.

"So we have a multiplicity of good drivers who are very successful in the junior categories," he insisted.

"If you make your judgment about Red Bull's junior program only on the basis of the performance of Speed and Liuzzi, then I don't think that is fair."

Piquet Snr loses driver license
(GMM) Triple world champion Nelson Piquet lost his driver's license in Brazil last month, according to reports.

The news agency Globo News said the 54-year-old, whose son Piquet Jr tests for the Renault team, lost all of his demerit points due to a range of traffic infringements, including speeding.

Piquet reportedly did not contest the cancellation of his credential.

Brazilian authorities would not however confirm the news, or answer speculation that the final infringement was a speeding breach of more than 50kph above the legal limit.

To regain his license, former Brabham and Williams racer Piquet began a driving reform program in the central capital Brasilia on Monday.

He will be accompanied throughout the eight days of classes by his wife Viviane, whose license was confiscated for bad driving, the newspaper O Globo added.

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