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For Earnhardt Jr., Chase dreams all but over For Earnhardt Jr., Chase dreams all but over"I ain't no fortune teller, but it ain't looking good," Earnhardt said. "It'll take something extraordinary to make the Chase for us at this point."

Earnhardt was struggling along near the back of the pack Sunday in the Allstate 400 when, on a Lap 61 restart, the field bunched up behind leader Casey Mears -- and in front of Earnhardt.

To elude the cars stacking up ahead, Earnhardt swerved and was tapped in the rear by Mike Skinner, sending the No. 8 Chevrolet head-on into the inside retaining wall.

"We were all in line," Earnhardt Jr. said. "The guys in front of me went, I went, then they stopped and I tried to stop, pulled out to let the guy behind me have that outside line in case he couldn't get slowed down enough and he hooked me in the right rear and sent me into the inside wall."

"I tried to stop and go out by the wall and Junior come back across right in front of me. Wrong place, wrong time.

"I had a terrible racecar [Sunday] and I'm glad it's over with," he said. "We tested real good, and we came here and we been junk. And it's frustrating when the car don't drive right.

"I was in the back and trying to work on it every pit stop and get it better. We did all we could do. Can't help circumstances like that.  We can't bring cars like this to the racetrack. I knew when the race started it'd be a miracle to get a top-10 with that car. As long as we're bringing cars like that to the racetrack, that's where we're going to finish."

Boris Said bowled over by Indy experience Boris Said bowled over by Indy experienceIn his first race at the storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Boris Said finished on the lead lap, posting a 31st-place finish in Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.  Said, who laid down a pressure lap Saturday to qualify for the 160-lap, 400-mile race, gave himself a B- grade for his maiden effort on the 2.5-mile oval.
"Once again I learned a lot," offered Said, driver of the No. 36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet. "We made a lot of adjustments early, but as the race went on I was feeling more and more comfortable.
"There was one run when I was really starting to figure it out. I passed the No. 12 car (Ryan Newman) and then a few more cars and I was feeling pretty good. But then we lost the power steering and had oil on the tires for another run. The car did get more difficult to drive at the end, but we hung in there and finished the race. The CENTRIX crew was fantastic today and they gave me a good piece of machinery to drive all weekend. I am so proud of this team and they're also a lot of fun to be with."
Said, known world-wide for his sports car success, was overwhelmed at the enormity of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"When I rode around the track in a Chevy Truck for pre-race introductions it was an experience I will never forget. It really hit home what a monstrous facility this is. I was taken aback. All those people cheering. It was huge. I've raced all over the world, but I have never seen anything like what I saw today. It was an honor and dream come true to race here."
While Said was analyzing his performance at the Brickyard, he couldn't help but interject his enthusiasm for next week's race at the Watkins Glen (N.Y.) road course.  "I am ready for The Glen," commented Said, a road-racing specialist. "If we can avoid bad breaks, we should be a contender. This MB/Sutton Motorsports team deserves it. We have the package in place and now it's up to us to get the job done."
Hendrick calls up Terry Labonte Hendrick calls up Terry LabonteTerry Labonte will drive Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 11 Chevrolet in next weekend's road course race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., team officials confirmed late Sunday.   Labonte drove the No. 11 in place of the team's regular driver, Jason Leffler, at the road course race earlier this season at Sonoma, Calif., and finished 12th – the team's best finish at the time.

Gibbs team manager Jimmy Makar said the No. 11 team's top priority right now is to remain in the Top 35 of car owners' points to be ensured a starting position in the field each week.

As a sign of possible trouble ahead for Leffler – who has struggled all season – Labonte has been asked about running additional races with the No. 11 after Watkins Glen, ThatsRacin.com reports.

Marks and Auberlen win at Trois-Rivieres Marks and Auberlen win at Trois-RivieresUnder bright sunshine and in front of yet another large and enthusiastic Canadian crowd, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 co-drivers Justin Marks and Bill Auberlen picked up their third Grand-Am Cup Series Grand Sport (GS) victory of the 2005 season in Sunday’s Trois-Rivieres Grand Sport 150.
Industry News
Delphi in race to save itself Delphi in race to save itselfThe new leader of Delphi Corp. says it should only take another six to eight weeks to reach a cost-cutting deal with former owner General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers, hopefully saving the nation's largest maker of car and truck parts from bankruptcy.

After losing $4.8 billion last year, and another $403 million in the first three months of this year, the Troy-based employer of 14,700 in Michigan and 185,000 worldwide is in desperate straits.

Delphi had to borrow another $1.5 billion to pay its bills Friday, prompting three rating agencies to once again cut the company's already terrible credit rating, and alarming investors who pushed the value of Delphi stock down 14% to $4.96.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Miller, a veteran of corporate rescues, must get help from GM and the UAW to survive, just as rival supplier Visteon Corp. did with its former owner, Ford Motor Co., and the UAW in May.  More at Detroit Free Press

Pruett to pull triple duty at The Glen Pruett to pull triple duty at The GlenPulling triple-duty in next weekend's race at Watkins Glen is Scott Pruett, who, if he qualifies for each, will drive Chip Ganassi Racing cars in Friday's Rolex Series race; Saturday's Busch Series race and Sunday's Nextel Cup race. Daytona Beach Journal
Luis Schiavo wins Star Mazda demo race Luis Schiavo wins Star Mazda demo raceLuis Schiavo of Caracas, Venezuela, drove to victory today in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear demonstration race on the historic Trois Rivières street circuit at Trois Rivières, Quebec, Canada. Evading a first lap incident between pole sitter Andre Desmarais and Brandon Thomas, Schiavo, driving the UltraLub/HASA Pool Products/Energy Freight/Venezuela/Grand Prix de Trois Rivières Mazda pulled away to victory by 31.512 seconds over Tim Jennings. Thomas, who set fast lap at 1:03.081 as he worked his way back to third place during the 40 lap event, was moved to the final finishing position after the event by the Chief Steward.
"This is a very special event for me," Schiavo, the 2003 Star Mazda Champion, explained afterwards. "My engineer Remi Lataigne calls Trois-Rivieres home and I fell in love with the track as soon as I completed my first lap. Remi has told me the history of the race and to finish on top of the podium here is tremendous although I was disappointed when Andre and Brandon crashed in the first corner as I would've enjoyed racing them, especially as Andre and I were once teammates and still friends."
Jennings, of Downers Grove, IL, driving the Kaminsky Racing Mazda, would inherit third place at the start and moved into the second position when hometown hero Stephan Roy, of Trois Rivières, suffered a mechanical failure after a spin as he came through the final corner. Holding on to score his first podium finish in the new Pro Formula Mazda, Jennings was both pleased and surprised. "This was my first start in a while and I was glad that I wasn't in the middle of the accident," Jennings said. "Schiavo pulled away and I was running on my own for most of the race although I knew Brandon was closing in on the final laps."
Finishing third in the event after the stewards action was John Faulkner, of Pittsford, NY, in the Peregrine Motorsports Mazda. Faulkner a championship contender in the Masters Championship, for Star Mazda drivers aged 45 and older, never put a wheel wrong as he made his first start on a road course.
Held as a non-points demonstration race this season, the event will become a full championship event starting in 2006 through 2008. Lataigne, who has worked to bring the series to his hometown, is thrilled with the weekend's turn of events. "Growing up in Trois Rivières, this is where I first got involved in auto racing and having worked for Formula Ford, Atlantic, and now Star Mazda here it is always exciting," he would explain. "I think the fans have had a taste this year and will be amazed next year when the full field of competitors takes to the circuit."
The series now heads to Road America, at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for Round Nine of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear on August 18-20. For additional information please visit www.starmazda.com.
Checkers Drive-In announces Riggs MB2 Sponsorship Checkers Drive-In announces Riggs MB2 SponsorshipCheckers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR®, today announced that it is accelerating its presence in the sport by signing on as the primary sponsor for five high profile, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races this season with the No. 10 MB2 Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs. This weekend’s Allstate 400® at the Brickyard (NBC, 2:30 p.m. EDT) kicks off the five-race sponsorship package with Rally’s® being the primary brand on the No. 10 Chevy. “This is our first year as the Official Burger and Official Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR. Halfway through the season, Checkers®/Rally’s has already realized tremendous brand exposure on a national basis,” said Keith Sirois, President and CEO of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. “We have successfully activated our NASCAR and numerous track sponsorships at our restaurants throughout the country. Our NASCAR Combo is one of our best selling combos system wide.” “In addition, we have effectively integrated our sponsorships into our local, regional and national advertising messages for both consumers and franchising prospects,” said Sirois. “Now, we look forward to adding a primary sponsorship of the No. 10 car to our already strong sponsorship initiative.” The other four primary brand sponsored races will be:
  • Sharpie 500, Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 27, TNT, 7 p.m.) – Checkers
  • UAW-Ford 500, Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 2, NBC, 1:30 p.m.) – Rally’s
  • Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway (Oct. 30, NBC, 12 p.m.) – Checkers
  • Ford 400, Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 20, NBC, 4 p.m.) – Checkers

“While giving our brand significant exposure during these nationally televised races, the tracks featuring our MB2 sponsorship align strategically with our core Midwestern and Southeastern market footprint,” said Richard Turer, Vice President of Marketing, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. “We look forward to cheering on our new Checkers/Rally’s racing team.” In addition to this primary sponsorship, Checkers/Rally’s becomes an associate sponsor of MB2’s No. 01 U.S. Army Team and driver Joe Nemechek. Checkers/Rally’s also retains promotional rights with MB2 for the 2006 NASCAR season. Checkers Drive-In/MB2 Racing PR

Stewart on Brickyard 400 name change Stewart on Brickyard 400 name change"I'm not saddened, I'm furious about it, to be honest," Stewart said. "It would be like saying the McDonald's 500 instead of the Daytona 500. I don't understand what they were thinking. "There is one thing in breaking some traditions, but to commercialize everything, I think they could have done it different. I think they could have said the Brickyard 400 presented by whoever it is. But we don't make the rules, and I guess it's not our pockets we're worried about filling. "So, they're going to do what they're going to do from that standpoint. But I'm very disappointed by it." Houston Chronicle
Industry News
Summer Heat Buckles Dover Track Summer Heat Buckles Dover TrackThe summer heat wave that has gripped Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region the past couple of weeks has caused a small portion of Dover International Speedway's concrete backstretch to buckle. Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of the track, said Friday he does not expect it to be a major issue and anticipates the MBNA-sponsored NASCAR weekend from Sept. 23-25 to go on as scheduled. "We've put a call in to NASCAR and let them know of the issue," McGlynn said. "It's something that we'll probably have fixed in just a few days. "This just goes to show that Mother Nature's a powerful force." Workers at the high-banked, one-mile track have installed temporary sprinklers on the frontstretch in an effort to cool the track down and avoid the buckling issue that has popped up on the backstretch. Delaware Online
Jimmy Spencer sponsor announcement Jimmy Spencer sponsor announcementJimmy Spencer, one of only twelve drivers to win in the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch Series, and the Craftsman Truck Series will compete in eight more Nextel Cup events for Arnold Motorsports in 2005. The eight races will be sponsored by Allied Steel Structures. Allied will be the primary sponsor on Spencer's #50 Dodge at four selected races, and will also serve as an associate sponsor at four other Cup events this year. "We're excited about our new partnership with Jimmy Spencer and Arnold Motorsports, and equally excited about our involvement in NASCAR," said Mike Lassner, President, Allied Steel. "We look forward to Jimmy having great success this season and the opportunity for Allied Steel to leverage NASCAR and Arnold Motorsports to grow our business in 2005 and beyond."  Spencer and Allied Steel will also compete in the Nextel Cup events at: Bristol, August 27; Richmond, September 10; Loudon, September 18; Charlotte, October 15; Atlanta, October 30; Phoenix, November 13, and Homestead, November 20. Arnold Motorsports PR
Evernham and Kahne to make announcement Evernham and Kahne to make announcementUPDATE #2 Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, announced a multi-year contract extension with Kasey Kahne as driver of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger. Kahne said: "I'm real excited to be able to do this, to be able to sign with Ray for a lot longer with Evernham Motorsports, all our sponsors and partners we already have with Dodge and Siemens and all the great sponsors we have we'll keep on being able to work with. Just to know I'm going to have the same race team with the same group of guys working on it. I pretty much know all the guys at the shop. I know everybody, but guys come in and out every once in awhile that you don't know. It's a big deal for myself. Ray is a great car owner. He taught me a lot. He wants to win races and the championship as bad as anybody in auto racing, and that's the kind of person I want to be with. I think it's a great opportunity, and I'm looking forward to the future with Evernham Motorsports. Clear!Channel PR

08/05/05 With a favorable result from his lawsuit with Ford in hand, Nextel Cup driver Kasey Kahne is set to formalize a long-term contract extension with Evernham Motorsports.  Team owner Ray Evernham is expected to announce Saturday that Kahne has signed a five-year contract extension that should keep him at Evernham Motorsports and in the No. 9 Dodge through the 2010 season, according to ThatsRacin.com. 08/04/05 Evernham Announcement at Indy: Team owner Ray Evernham and driver Kasey Kahne are scheduled to announce plans for 2006 and beyond on Saturday morning at Indy. Clear!Blue PR

Why didn't Jimmie Johnson get to qualify at Indy? Why didn't Jimmie Johnson get to qualify at Indy?Jimmie Johnson, points leader and driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevy did not make a qualifying lap, and will start the Allstate 400 at the rear of the field because the car did not make it through inspection and get to the line in time. From a GM Q&A PR with crew chief Chad Knaus:
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH PASSING INSPECTION? We just had a little problem with the chain that holds the droop on the right rear. NASCAR didn't like the way it was. It wasn't a big deal. We were trying to fix it; we just didn't have time. We didn't come up here and test, so we spent a lot of time after practice trying to make sure we had the exact shock and spring package on the car that we wanted. It put us behind from the get-go. We left the garage about 15 minutes later than we were supposed to and that put us behind. And then when we had that issue with technical inspection, we just couldn't recover from that and get out there in time.
CAN YOU GIVE US A LAYMAN'S EXPLANATION OF THIS CHAIN AND HOW IT GOES THROUGH INSPECTION? When you watch the guys do pit stops and they jack up the car, there's a chain that holds the axle housing to the chassis, and that's what picks up the tire. NASCAR just didn't like the way that was. It was a little bit too snug for them. So we had to adjust it.
DID YOU AGREE WITH NASCAR'S DECISION TO NOT ALLOW YOU TO TAKE A LAP? Oh, yeah. We didn't make it, plain and simple. They've got a five-minute rule and they hold to that pretty true. I don't think we were the first one. I think the #38 car maybe even had than happen here a couple of years ago, I don't know. It happens from time to time. When you're in a compressed schedule like what we've got here because of the weather and then putting it into an impound situation. And then we weren't able to test. We were really trying to dot all our i's and cross all of our t's and we just got behind.
WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THIS? Well, me. I'm the crew chief. Ultimately. Look at the rule book. Everything is my fault. GM Racing PR
Newman re-ups with Penske thru 2009 Newman re-ups with Penske thru 2009Penske Racing South President Don Miller said #12-Ryan Newman, whose original contract ran through 2006, signed a three-year deal through 2009 with an option for three more years. In an active "Silly Season" of lineup changes, Newman said he was courted by Roush Racing but had no intentions of leaving Penske. "I never had any temptation," he said. "I had teams looking at me for the first time in my career, and that was unique for me." Richmond Times Dispatch
It's now fashionable to race painted taxis It's now fashionable to race painted taxisThis Bob Kravitz article in the Indy Star talks about NASCAR's meteoric rise from being "uncool" back in the 70s to the greatest modern-day success story in all of American sports. Remember when soccer was supposed to be the Sport of the Future? So what happened?

This goes beyond NASCAR's marketing genius.

This is backlash.

This is part of America's revolt against modern-day sport.

Nobody holds out for a new contract in NASCAR. Nobody goes on strike or forces a lockout in NASCAR. Nobody pulls a Manny Ramirez and refuses to enter a race for an injured driver in NASCAR. Nobody intentionally or unintentionally tests positive for steroids in NASCAR; there's juice in NASCAR, but it generally involves barley malt.

I could go on. But you get the idea.

Even among the racing set, NASCAR seems to understand the importance of the fans and the common touch. Could you imagine three-quarters of today's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard field refusing to race on certain tires? Or Dale Earnhardt Jr. boycotting a required autograph session because Tony Stewart is getting special treatment?

They have never forgotten their roots. They have never forgotten that they were once bootleggers, good old boys whose idea of fun was to get behind the wheel of their Dukes of Hazzard cars and outrun the mopes from the Internal Revenue Service. Even as the money has poured in, turning NASCAR into a multibillion-dollar industry, the circuit has continued to reach out.

[Editor's Note: The author forgets to mention that NASCAR plays to the conservative, religious, Republican voters, the same group that George Bush rode on the backs to a second term in the White House. To this day NASCAR plays primarily to the Good 'ol Common Folk, to motherhood and apple pie. And it's working, so who can argue with their success.]

Theissen expecting high temperatures in Istanbul Theissen expecting high temperatures in IstanbulThe average temperature at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend was 35°C. On 21st August, Formula One will travel to Turkey, where similar conditions are expected.  “I think temperatures will be like those we experienced in Budapest, probably even slightly hotter,” says BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen.

For the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, the Istanbul race represents an extraordinary challenge, as little is known about the new circuit.  “Nobody is going there with clear, exact data, and so basically we have to wait and see,” explains Theissen. “What we do have is the track geometry. This allows us to make evaluations regarding the cornering, straight-line and average speed, which again give an idea with regards the cooling requirements.” BMW WilliamsF1 Team

Said forced to start at rear of field Said forced to start at rear of fieldSince this is an impound race, Boris Said, who hit the wall during his second qualifying lap for the Allstate 400 at Indy, will be forced to start the 400 miler from the rear of the field because of repairs made to the CENTRIX Financial Chevy following the qualifying run.  I think this is the most pressure that I ever felt in qualifying. I wanted to make this race so bad. At the Daytona 500 -- one of the biggest races in the world --  it was all car in qualifying and I had a great car there. Here, it is so easy to mess up and miss your marks. I don't have that many laps around this track so to be able to out qualify someone like Bill Elliott -- I mean I feel like I won the race so far. I'm in the show now and I'll get some experience and that's what I need. There's nothing left now in the world where I can race that I would even put on my list. I've done them all -- all the big ones."
Mears poised to win 2nd straight Indy pole Mears poised to win 2nd straight Indy poleCasey Mears looks poised to win a second consecutive Brickyard 400 pole after pacing Nextel Cup Series practice Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Practice was rained out Friday and intermittent showers threatened again Saturday. But after a brief weather-induced stoppage during the first session, the rain relented long enough for the Nextel Cup Series to an uninterrupted 90-minute practice.

Mears, who set the track qualifying record last year at more than 186 mph, coursed the famed 2.5-mile track Saturday at 184.843 mph.  Scott Riggs was second, two-tenths of a second off of Mears' pace. Kasey Kahne was third, Ken Schrader fourth and Brian Vickers fifth.

Rank Driver Make Time Behind
1 Casey Mears Dodge 48.682 Leader
2 Scott Riggs Chevrolet 48.874 -0.192
3 Kasey Kahne Dodge 49.056 -0.374
4 Ken Schrader Dodge 49.061 -0.379
5 Brian Vickers Chevrolet 49.063 -0.381
6 Mike Bliss Chevrolet 49.071 -0.389
7 Michael Waltrip Chevrolet 49.125 -0.443
8 Kurt Busch Ford 49.131 -0.449
9 Elliott Sadler Ford 49.135 -0.453
10 Matt Kenseth Ford 49.173 -0.491 zzzz
11 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 49.176 -0.494
12 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 49.177 -0.495
13 Kyle Busch* Chevrolet 49.194 -0.512
14 Ryan Newman Dodge 49.208 -0.526
15 Mark Martin Ford 49.244 -0.562
16 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Chevrolet 49.244 -0.562
17 Bobby Hamilton Dodge 49.245 -0.563
18 Mike Skinner Dodge 49.260 -0.578
19 Bill Elliott Dodge 49.284 -0.602
20 Jeff Green Dodge 49.320 -0.638
21 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 49.332 -0.650
22 Ricky Rudd Ford 49.339 -0.657
23 Sterling Marlin Dodge 49.396 -0.714
24 Greg Biffle Ford 49.422 -0.740
25 Boris Said Chevrolet 49.430 -0.748
26 Tony Raines Chevrolet 49.435 -0.753
27 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 49.469 -0.787
28 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 49.515 -0.833
29 Kevin Lepage Dodge 49.516 -0.834
30 Dale Jarrett Ford 49.526 -0.844
31 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 49.569 -0.887
32 Robby Gordon Chevrolet 49.595 -0.913
33 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 49.641 -0.959
34 Scott Wimmer Dodge 49.644 -0.962
35 Mike Wallace Chevrolet 49.833 -1.151
36 Jimmy Spencer Dodge 49.850 -1.168
37 Stuart Kirby Chevrolet 49.883 -1.201
38 Jamie McMurray Dodge 49.883 -1.201
39 Jason Leffler Chevrolet 49.893 -1.211
40 Terry Labonte Chevrolet 49.906 -1.224
41 Jeremy Mayfield Dodge 49.934 -1.252
42 Mike Garvey* Ford 49.936 -1.254
43 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 49.961 -1.279
44 Rusty Wallace Dodge 49.986 -1.304
45 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 50.081 -1.399
46 P.J. Jones Chevrolet 50.160 -1.478
47 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 50.220 -1.538
48 Travis Kvapil* Dodge 50.362 -1.680
49 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 50.417 -1.735
50 Kyle Petty Dodge 50.601 -1.919
51 Carl Edwards Ford 50.644 -1.962
52 Morgan Shepherd Dodge 52.129 -3.447

Maxwell Takes Grand-Am Cup Pole at Trois-Rivieres Maxwell Takes Grand-Am Cup Pole at Trois-RivieresScott Maxwell picked a fine time to take his first Grand-Am Cup Series pole position of the season, as the Canadian found the quick way around the tight confines of the historic Trois-Rivieres street course and will start from the inside of the front row in Sunday’s Trois-Rivieres Grand Sport (GS) 150.  Maxwell set a Grand-Am Cup Series track record with a lap at 1:11.855 (76.203 mph) in the No. 05 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT to take the seventh Grand-Am Cup overall pole of his career, but his first since the race at Mosport International Raceway in September, 2002. He will share the No. 05 Mustang with co-driver David Empringham, who also started from the pole position for last weekend’s race at Barber Motorsports Park and is looking to extend his lead in the GS driver championship in Sunday’s race.
Teams not happy with NASCAR rules package Teams not happy with NASCAR rules packageAccording to this Winston-Salem Journal article, the current rules lower-downforce package in NASCAR has made passing difficult and led to more crashes.  The racing action on the stock-car tour stinks, unless you like to watch one driver dominate.  And Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is expected to be another follow-the-leader race, dominated by one or two drivers, with the winner determined not by passing on the track but by work - and perhaps gambles, perhaps just luck - in the pits.

"Nobody can pass here - but nobody can pass anywhere," said crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain. "Unfortunately, if you don't come out first, second or third on the last pit stop, I don't think you'll have a chance to win here." More....

Champ Car on the upswing Champ Car on the upswingAccording to this Valvoline Racing Poll, Champ Car is viewed by most as the racing series on a major upswing.  As we predicted, 2005 would be a foundation building year, with real growth beginning in 2006.

Which racing series is more on the upswing? 
IRL 8%
Champ Car  81%
Rolex Grand-Am 7%

Feedback on Chapparrel article Feedback on Chapparrel articleA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have been a subscriber of yours for a few years. My father took me when I was dinky to Riverside, CA and that day it rained. But I could not get that "gasoline" smell, the sound of practice, the speed out of my memory. I don't really ever remember the cars running a race, only an airplane blower drying off the track since it was raining. I was a hard core TV fan, but it wasn't until 1994 that I truly became a die hard CART/Champ Car fan since 1994 when a high school friend of mine who work as a mechanic for Penske Racing invited me to Nazareth to see the cars up close. I have been hooked every since.

Anyway, I have had an obsession (as my wife calls it) with CART/Champ Car and I bought a few converted livery cars on Ebay from a guy named Gary Pino and Chapparrel One. Great story and I am glad that he has found his true passion. Keep up the great writing. Fans do appreciate it. Bart. Maeda
Italian authorities hit Capirossi with $2.5 million bill Italian authorities hit Capirossi with $2.5 million billItalian motorcycling star Loris Capirossi has been presented with a multi-million-euro bill by tax inspectors who disproved his claim that he lived in Monaco .

Hiding behind the fact that his official residence was in Monaco, Capirossi avoided paying taxes to Italian authorities on 8 million euros he earned between 1995 and 1998, the inspectors showed .

During the four year period the motorcyclist continued to live in Italy, spending much of his time at a villa he owned in Ravenna, on the coast of the Emilia Romagna region, they argued. Tax investigators proved their case by showing that Capirossi, 32, paid local ownership taxes on the villa and continued to use five bank accounts with Italian banks .

Authorities have not revealed exactly how much he will have to pay in back taxes and fines for late payment. He was found to have evaded both Irpef income tax and VAT on sponsorship deals .

According to judicial sources, the unpaid VAT alone amounted to 1.5 million euros.  More at ANSA.it

Wallaces test at MIS in preparation for race Wallaces test at MIS in preparation for raceRusty Wallace will be making his 44th and final start in the August 21, GFS Marketplace 400, while son Stephen Wallace will make his superspeedway debut during the August 19, ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200. In preparation for the special weekend at MIS, both Wallace's visited the 2-mile oval on Wednesday, August 3 for an ARCA RE/MAX Series testing day, where Rusty took to the wheel first to shake down the car, but quickly gave the wheel to son Stephen. The now 17-year old Wallace didn't take long to get up to speed, and turned a lap time of 40.20 on just his third lap, while eventually running a time of 40.10 during the morning session. zzzz

"I drove the car and really bombed one lap off and ran pretty quick," said Rusty. "My lap time was 39.80. I told Stephen to take it nice and easy. I don't care if it takes all day long to get comfortable. On his third lap, I looked and saw 40.20. He has never been on the track before and I said 'Oh boy, here we go'. We're here preparing and doing some race runs and qualifying runs and hopefully coming away from this day with some confidence. Our goal today is just getting up to speed, make some changes, and don't put dents in anything. It's important to have a good, clean race on August 19. It's going to be a tough weekend emotionally. I'm going to be here with Stephen on Wednesday night before the race and all day on Thursday. Nearly the entire #2 team is going to be here to support him," said Rusty. "The whole family will be here. It will be a great time. We don't dare leave the racetrack because we have so much racing going on that weekend. We've got Stephen in the ARCA car, my Busch car will be here and my Cup car will be competing. It's going to be a big weekend and I'm excited about it."

Stephen shared his father's enthusiasm about racing during the same weekend at MIS. "It's a lot different racing at these big tracks like Michigan. It's wild. This is by far the biggest track I will have raced at," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing my dad race in his final event at MIS. Hopefully we can both be successful that weekend. My goal is to win at Michigan for my Dad and Roger Penske (who is supplying the car for Stephen in the race). I think we'll run around 10 ARCA and 10 Busch races next year. Hopefully we can make it to the Cup circuit a few years down the road."

Stephen Wallace wasn't the only driver participating in the ARCA RE/MAX Series test session with a famous race car driving father, or driving for a NEXTEL Cup affiliated team. Kraig Kinser, son of World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser took laps around the 2-mile oval in a MBV Motorsports prepared car, the same team the fields NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series entries for Joe Nemechek and Scott Riggs. Kinser is also expected to make his ARCA RE/MAX debut in the August 19 Hantz Group 200 at MIS. MIS PR

Evernham still meeting with drivers Evernham still meeting with driversScott Riggs reportedly is under consideration to join Valvoline at Ray Evernham's new third team in 2006 [the No. 10 Valvoline Dodge]. Evernham said yesterday the team has been meeting with available drivers but has nothing locked in yet. "This is more about building the company and growing our partnership with Valvoline and to rush out and make a decision on a driver is not in our best interests," Evernham said. "We're trying to review that. Do you want a veteran? Do you want someone who has potential to produce and hasn't yet? We're going through the same things that probably the 6 car and the 2 car are. Finding the right fit nowadays is a lot harder." Riggs, who has had a contract offer from MB2 since May but was waiting on its sponsorship status, said he has set no deadline for a decision on whether to stay. Richmond Times Dispatch
Wood splits with Roush Wood splits with RoushBusch Series driver Jon Wood no longer is under contract with Roush Racing, with the split reported to be mutual. Wood, 23, had been considered to be a candidate for a Roush seat, but apparently the family-owned Wood Brothers have other plans. Wood had been on loan from Roush to ST Motorsports in Busch this season. Speed Channel
NASCAR Post Race Call-in Show planned NASCAR Post Race Call-in Show plannedNASCAR.com says it will launch an interactive post race show to air immediately following each Nextel Cup race, beginning with Sunday's Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Plans call for features news, interviews and race highlights and an interactive open forum where fans can call in, e-mail, log on to chat or send an AOL Instant Message to talk about the race or other issues. The show will be hosted by Shannon Wiseman and Chris Cotter. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
Busch to get Married Busch to get MarriedMentioned on ESPN Radio, All Night with Todd Wright whose guest was Kurt Busch.  Busch, defending NEXTEL Cup champion and girlfriend Eva Bryan recently took a trip to Europe.  Busch, got down on a knee for a marriage proposal to Eva and she accepted.
Busch giving rides in Indy Busch giving rides in IndyBusch, who turns 27 today, could end up driving home someone who lives within 20 miles of Downtown in a replica of his No. 97 Ford. "I'm definitely going to have fun with this," Busch said, "but I will be relaying the message of responsible drinking and hopefully I'll make an impression." Most of Crown Royal's 10 purple and gold cars will give rides home to customers age 21 and up from several designated Downtown Indianapolis areas -- just look for signs with the No. 97 -- from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. There's a four-passenger limit per car. Indy Star
Waltrip Entertainment Center Zoning Approved Waltrip Entertainment Center Zoning ApprovedMichael and Buffy Waltrip announced Friday their plans to build an innovative racing facility in Cornelius, NC, adjacent to Interstate 77 entitled Waltrip Racing World. The Waltrip Racing World campus will encompass over eight acres and more than 110,000 square foot of buildings, housing the world’s first truly interactive race shop that will be accessible to the public. Waltrip Racing plans to relocate its existing NASCAR Busch Series team and driver development programs to this facility, which will serve as the centerpiece of the entertainment for the interactive fan experience. The facility is a former 12-screen movie theater, located in a very visible and highly trafficked location, lending itself perfectly to converting it to the fan friendly experience Waltrip wants. Waltrip Racing World will consist of a skywalk through the facility, live pit road practice sessions and team training, movies, retail store, restaurant and more including a 40-space private motor coach area. The Waltrip’s have partnered with Noah Lazes, a longtime personal friend and president of the ARK Group. Lazes is a resident of Cornelius and has a tremendous amount of experience developing entertainment oriented projects around the country and creating experiences that entertain people, including North Carolina’s largest annual music festival. Lazes is helping the Waltrips to put all the necessary pieces together to turn their exciting dream into a reality. Michael Waltrip continues to weigh his options as they relate to his future driving plans. Michael Waltrip website
Heidfeld enjoying summer break Heidfeld enjoying summer breakThanks to a clever strategy, Nick Heidfeld finished sixth in last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. Although he benefited from a few retirements, he ended up not far behind Jenson Button in the BAR Honda.  “As they have been significantly stronger than us in recent races, I am confident that we are moving on up again,” Heidfeld explained.

At the moment, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver is taking a break in Switzerland, spending as much time as possible with his girlfriend and his new-born baby, Juli. Furthermore, he is still recovering from a slight stomach complaint which affected him in Hungary, but the German intends to be fully fit for the forthcoming Turkish Grand Prix, to be held in Istanbul on 21st August. BMW WilliamsF1

Industry News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
NASCAR This Morning
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'IndyCar Series: The Fast Life'
Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr.
12:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Cytomax Sport Drink 100
San Jose, CA (7/30/05)
Winner: Boris Said
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
Gilles Villeneuve Circuit (6/11/05)
Winner: Ralphael Matos
2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET (Live) NBC
Portland International Raceway (7/31/05)
Winner: Dino Crescenti
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
Victory Lane
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. (SDD) SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-host: Eddie Gossage
Featured Interview: Robert Hight
Featured Interview: Doug Wolfgang
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Finland - Highlights (August 5-7, 2005)
11:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, SPEED
For a complete listing of Sunday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.
IRL drivers and teams have mixed results in USAC event IRL drivers and teams have mixed results in USAC eventNASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Jason Leffler finished second in the USAC Silver Crown Series J.D. Byrider 100 on Aug. 4 at Indianapolis Raceway Park in a car prepared by two-time IndyCar Series championship-winning team Panther Racing.

It was Panther's best-ever finish in the USAC Silver Crown Series, bettering the team's third-place finish with Tyler Walker at the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway in March.

Davey Jones, a mechanic on the No. 4 Pennzoil Chevrolet-powered Dallara and the left-front tire changer for Tomas Scheckter, served as the chief mechanic of Panther's Silver Crown entry.

Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing driver Jimmy Kite finished ninth, while Menards Infiniti Pro Series standout Jay Drake finished 26th, after leading the first 13 laps of the race won by Bobby East.

Quotes from Allstate 400 Friday Quotes from Allstate 400 FridayROBBY GORDON (No. 7 Fruit-of-the-Loom Chevrolet): "I've watched it rain here a bunch over the years, especially during the month of May and all that. I'm definitely disappointed for the race fans that came out today that haven't seen the cars run yet, they're not going to get to see them until tomorrow, but I think that's why NASCAR is as big as it is. You've got people that will stand in the rain all day long to see the cars hit the racetrack and see different drivers hit the racetrack, and I'm just proud to be part of it.

(About setups): "We're fine. We came here and tested. I think we know where our baselines are. We know the things we're going to need to do to go fast. If the car does this, we'll go two steps this way, if the car does that, we'll go two steps that way. We have our recipe already made, and I hope that when we get the opportunity to hit the racetrack we go fast." More....

Jim Kelly’s son dies Jim Kelly’s son diesHunter James Kelly entered Heaven this morning, Friday, August 5, 2005. Hunter, the beloved 8-½ year old son of Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly and his wife Jill, staged a valiant lifelong battle with Krabbe Leukodystrophy.  Hunter was the longest living survivor of infantile Krabbe disease and served as an inspiration to thousands of other children and their families.  The Hunter’s Hope Foundation was founded in his name to fund research into the fatal disease and to offer hope and support to its victims worldwide.

Jim and Jill Kelly remain grateful for your continued prayers and support and ask that you respect their privacy as they mourn the sudden loss of their beloved son and offer comfort to his sisters Erin and Camryn. 

The Kelly Family would also like to thank everyone who has and will continue to uphold their family through prayer and support of the Hunter’s Hope Foundation.  It is the family’s hope that all who mourn for their son, Hunter would join them in thanking the Lord for his precious life.

In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation to the Hunter’s Hope Foundation.

The Kelly Family has requested a private family viewing.  A celebration of Hunter Kelly’s life will be held on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 at 1pm at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg.

Aside from his activities with the Hunter's Hope Foundation and the Kelly for Kids Charities, Jim Kelly is also part of the ownership group of Frank Cicci Racing, a NASCAR Busch Series race team sponsored by the Dollar General Corporation. The team is in Indianapolis this weekend for the running of the Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. 2-time NASCAR Busch Series driver Randy LaJoie is the team's driver.

Indy Speedway to support troops this weekend Indy Speedway to support troops this weekendThe Indianapolis Motor Speedway will continue its support of the Department of Defense's America Supports You initiative at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard by selling commemorative dog tags, with proceeds benefiting the Homes for Our Troops organization.

The Speedway first became involved with America Supports You during the 89th Indianapolis 500 in May 2005.

America Supports You is a nationwide initiative to showcase and communicate America's support for our men and women in the United States Armed Forces and their families. The dog tags, which are $5 each, and Homes for Our Troops information will be available at a booth located in the Pagoda Plaza from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5 and Saturday, Aug. 6, and 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on Race Day, Sunday, Aug. 7.

Homes for Our Troops is a nonprofit organization committed to helping members of the United States Armed Forces who have selflessly given to their country and have returned home with serious disabilities and injuries.

The organization assists injured service men and women and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor, and coordinating the process of building a new home or adapting an existing home for handicapped accessibility.

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a special tradition of supporting the United States Armed Forces since the track opened in 1909," said Joie Chitwood, IMS president and chief operating officer. "Our relationship with America's military deepened in May by participating in the America Supports You program, and we're honored and grateful to continue saluting our troops' bravery, sacrifice and service during the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard."

Rain washes out NASCAR Indy Practice Rain washes out NASCAR Indy PracticeSteady rain forced cancellation of the two scheduled practice sessions Aug. 5 for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It was the first complete rainout of an official event day in the 12-year history of the event.

The rain also forced a shuffle of the schedule for Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Qualifying Day on Saturday, Aug. 6. The schedule (all times local):

7 a.m.: Public gates open
8-9 a.m.: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series practice
9:30-10:30 a.m.: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series practice
3:10 p.m.: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard qualifications (best of two laps)

The rainout also forced the event to become an impound race, in which NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams can only do very limited work on their cars between the end of qualifying and the start of the race at 1:30 p.m. (local time) Sunday.

Reaction was mixed from drivers about how the loss of today's activity will affect drivers' attempts to earn a spot in the prestigious 43-car field and on the race.

"It changes little bit, but it really doesn't affect us that much," Michael Waltrip said. "We are used to doing this impound stuff. My team has been really good at the impound races. We sat on the pole at Pocono and ran real well up there with the impound.

"We feel really good about our chances. We think this only compliments our chances to get the pole and win the race."

Said Kenny Wallace: "Well, the whole game has changed now because within six hours we went from a race where you qualify and then you practice to now after the qualifying you line up and race. It's pretty big. You see a lot of teams walking around here now with springs and shocks in their hands. The whole game has changed."

Q and A with Greg Biffle during rain delay Q and A with Greg Biffle during rain delayGreg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus, comes into this weekend's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard with five wins this season and a third-place spot in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings.  He spoke about the weekend earlier this afternoon during the rain delay at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus - HOW HAS THIS TRACK SURFACE CHANGED SINCE LAST YEAR?  "The race track has changed considerably.  It had a lot of grip here during testing.  We know it's not gonna have near as much grip when it gets to the race and you get all the rubber built up on the race track with a little bit of heat and the sun.  So we know the race track is gonna become a little slicker and slow down a little bit, so those are gonna be some challenges that we're gonna have to address during the race, but we'll just keep after it and keep adjustability in the car and see what we can do." 

WHERE ARE THERE COMPARISONS BETWEEN THE BRICKYARD AND OTHER TRACKS?  "It really doesn't compare to anything we go to.  You can compare it a little bit to Pocono because of the long straightaways, but that's about all there is as far as comparisons.  Everything else is much different." 

DID THE OFF WEEK COME AT A GOOD TIME FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM?  "Yeah, I think so.  I think it came at a great time.  It was a good week off for us.  I think we caught up on some stuff that we needed to do.   We didn't do really any testing or anything like that, so it was a nice time away from the race track." 

WITH SUCH A LONG SEASON YOU'RE BOUND TO HAVE SOME UPS AND DOWNS.  YOU'VE SLIPPED BEHIND TONY IN THE POINTS TO THIRD, SO WAS IT GOOD TO REGROUP FROM THAT STANDPOINT AS WELL?  "I was hoping not to have a week off on bad terms, so to speak, but, really, I had to look at our Pocono finish as something we salvaged.  We salvaged a finish out of that.  We were gonna be sixth and were gonna gain points on Tony Stewart and were gonna gain a lot on the 48, and ended up having the tide turn with about eight to go.  But we were deep in the twenties - 25th or 27th, somewhere in there - and ended up 17th, so it could have been a lot worse than it was.  Only being 10 to 15 points behind Tony coming into Indy, I was able to accept that as our week off.  I'm just looking forward to get back going again and try to get back on top." 

FOR MUCH OF THE SEASON IT HAS BEEN JUST YOU AND JIMMIE JOHNSON AT THE TOP, BUT NOW TONY HAS JUMPED INTO THAT AS WELL.  "Yeah, that's one person to keep an eye on and so is Kurt Busch.  Here in about five or six races we're gonna have 10 guys to keep an eye on, so we'll just do the best we can.  That's all we can do.  If we get the best finishes we can, we can't control what other guys are gonna do and outcomes they're gonna have.  One plus for us is that Tony did not run as good at Pocono as he had been running, so that was a sign that they struggled a little bit there.  So did the 48, so that tells us that whatever they got hot on for a few weeks doesn't work everywhere, which is your fear -- they've got something that they're just gonna wipe us up very week now.  They struggled bad in practice and we watched them.  They qualified well and then ran mediocre, and so did we.  We didn't have anything stellar there, so that was a little bit of confidence, if you will, that the playing field is still pretty level." 

YOU MENTIONED CATCHING UP ON SOME THINGS DURING THE OFF WEEK.  WHAT?  "I mean it just kind of gives the guys a chance to get silly things - like getting the pit box organized the way they want, crash carts, giving us a little bit more time to get some stuff to the wind tunnel and starting on new chassis or what not - catch up on your road course stuff - kind of polish on things.  It's not the rat race.  It's just a chance to get some little pet peeve stuff done that you wanted to get done, but haven't had time to do." 

YOU HAVE A BIG TRACK LIKE INDY THIS WEEKEND, THEN A ROAD COURSE IN WATKINS GLEN, FOLLOWED BY A FAST TRACK AT MICHIGAN AND THEN BRISTOL.  IS IT SAFE TO SAY AUGUST IS THE MOST CRITICAL MONTH IN THE ENTIRE SEASON AS FAR AS THE CHAMPIONSHIP RUN?  "Yes, for a lot of guys.  This is a difficult place.  The Glen next week will be a challenge for me and a lot of drivers, and then Michigan, and Bristol can be an either direction race track, too.  Those are some valuable places coming up in the points that can make or break some of the guys trying to get in, and can put you into the chase a lot lower than you want to be.  Everybody is conscious of all those things." Ford Racing

Champ Car looks to continue riding upward surge Champ Car looks to continue riding upward surgeOne of the fundamental truths about the Champ Car World Series is that its loyal and enthusiastic fan support is a key component of its success.  Unwavering through the long history of the series, the fan support has jumped to an even higher level in 2005, as more than 1,000,000 fans have already come through the gates to catch the action of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

Champ Car reached the one-million mark in attendance after just eight races in 2005, the first time that the series had cracked seven figures after eight races since 2002. This year’s average event attendance after eight events is 128,403, and has the series on track to average over 150,000 fans per event this season – marking the first time in series history that the Champ Cars have played before such large numbers.

“We are delighted with the increased fan support this year as we continue to grow the Champ Car World Series,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “What is even more encouraging is that the increases are coming at nearly every event, and is not simply built on the strength of one or two events. Our long-time venues are pulling higher numbers and our new events have performed spectacularly. These numbers lend even more credibility to the fact that the Champ Car business model is paying dividends that will carry the series into a prosperous future.”

Five of this year’s events drew more than 150,000 fans for Champ Car’s three-day Festival of Speed, including each of the three events in July (Toronto, Edmonton and San Jose). The increases have not only been realized at the box office through the first eight events, but also in television and on the Internet. The Toronto event drew over a million households in its best showing on CBS while traffic on the series’ official website, www.champcar.ws, has doubled over the same time period a year ago to over 20 million page views.

The trend shows little sign of slowing down as the upcoming Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver (August 12-14) and the Molson Indy Montreal (August 26-28) are expected to have record attendance numbers after combining to draw nearly 250,000 fans a year ago.

“This week has been phenomenal for ticket sales,” said Jim Freudenberg, general manager of the Grand Prix of Denver.  “The Grand Prix and its surrounding festival events have made it the summer event to attend in Denver.”

The Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver can be seen on live on SPEED Channel Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The Molson Indy Montreal will be broadcast live on NBC August 28 beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Champ Car

Badoer completes four-day test for Ferrari Badoer completes four-day test for FerrariVeteran Ferrari test driver, Luca Badoer completed a four-day test for the Scuderia at Monza on Thursday. The Italian was again focusing on tire testing for Bridgestone and aerodynamic work aimed at improving the F2005 - which has failed to match McLaren's MP4-20 or Renault's R25. Badoer completed 65 laps in total, his best time a 1 minute 22.006 seconds. Like on Wednesday conditions were dry and sunny, allowing Ferrari to complete a further 376 kilometers, bringing their total for the week to over 2000 km.
MB2 Motorsports Announces Partnership with Checkers/Rally’s MB2 Motorsports Announces Partnership with Checkers/Rally’sCheckers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHKR), the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR®, today announced that it is accelerating its presence in the sport by signing on as the primary sponsor for five high profile, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races this season with the No. 10 MB2 Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs.

This weekend’s Allstate 400® at the Brickyard (NBC, 2:30 p.m. EDT) kicks off the five-race sponsorship package with Rally’s® being the primary brand on the No. 10 Chevy.

“This is our first year as the Official Burger and Official Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR. Halfway through the season, Checkers®/Rally’s has already realized tremendous brand exposure on a national basis,” said Keith Sirois, President and CEO of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. “We have successfully activated our NASCAR and numerous track sponsorships at our restaurants throughout the country. Our NASCAR Combo is one of our best selling combos system wide.”

“In addition, we have effectively integrated our sponsorships into our local, regional and national advertising messages for both consumers and franchising prospects,” said Sirois. “Now, we look forward to adding a primary sponsorship of the No. 10 car to our already strong sponsorship initiative.”

The other four primary brand sponsored races will be:
·        Sharpie 500, Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 27, TNT, 7 p.m.) – Checkers
·        UAW-Ford 500, Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 2, NBC, 1:30 p.m.) – Rally’s
·        Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway (Oct. 30, NBC, 12 p.m.) – Checkers
·        Ford 400, Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 20, NBC, 4 p.m.) – Checkers

“While giving our brand significant exposure during these nationally televised races, the tracks featuring our MB2 sponsorship align strategically with our core Midwestern and Southeastern market footprint,” said Richard Turer, Vice President of Marketing, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. “We look forward to cheering on our new Checkers/Rally’s racing team.”

In addition to this primary sponsorship, Checkers/Rally’s becomes an associate sponsor of MB2’s No. 01 U.S. Army Team and driver Joe Nemechek. Checkers/Rally’s also retains promotional rights with MB2 for the 2006 NASCAR season.

Industry News
Mercedes sales up Mercedes sales upSales of vehicles by DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes Car Group were up 2.2% worldwide in July, the automaker said Thursday, citing increased demand in the United States.   The Stuttgart, Germany-based unit said it sold 100,200 vehicles last month, up from 98,100 in July 2004. From January to July of this year, Mercedes delivered 674,200 cars, down from 682,900 in the same period last year.
Industry News
Goodyear sets sales record Goodyear sets sales recordThe Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company today reported net income of $69 million (34 cents per share) for the second quarter of 2005, reflecting record sales and increased unit volume. In the second quarter of 2004, the company had net income of $30 million (17 cents per share). All per share amounts are diluted.

Sales of $5 billion were a record for any quarter, and a 10 percent increase from $4.5 billion during the 2004 period. The increase reflects improved pricing, product mix and volume, as well as the favorable impact of currency translation.

Tire unit volume in the second quarter of 2005 was 56.4 million units, up from 55.0 million units in the 2004 period. Volume increases were driven by gains in the European, Latin American and Asia/Pacific markets.

“Five of our businesses had record second quarter sales, and margins improved in our North American and European Union tire businesses,” said Robert J. Keegan, Goodyear chairman and chief executive officer. “This success is further evidence that our strategies are working, and that our unwavering focus on key products, customers and markets is paying off. We continue to gain share in targeted markets,” he said.

“We have been successful in offsetting the impact of record high raw material costs through strategic pricing actions and by driving product mix enhancement. We will continue to concentrate on these areas to address the inevitable raw material cost increases that we expect in the second half of 2005,” Keegan added.

Penske winless at Indy Penske winless at IndyAlthough Roger Penske's Champ Car and IRL teams have won more Indy 500's than any other team owner in the history of the famous Indy Speedway, when it comes to NASCAR at the Brickyard, his team is 0 for 16.   His team hopes to break the slump this weekend in the Brickyard (now Allstate) 400.  Can polemeister Ryan Newman start up front for Penske?  It is raining now, but the forecast for the remainder of the weekend is good.
Q and A with Ralf Schumacher Q and A with Ralf SchumacherToyota driver Ralf Schumacher secured his first podium position for the German-based team on Sunday at Hungary and with the result Schumacher is moving up the championship table. Ralf Schumacher now has 32 points this year, one ahead of Rubens Barrichello and just two and four points behind Juan Pablo Montoya and Jarno Trulli respectively.

How did it feel to finish third and score your first podium for Toyota?
"Great. And the really positive thing is that we achieved it on merit. People had been suggesting that we have good qualifying speed but aren't so strong in the race. But at Hungaroring we proved that we had the speed in both qualifying and race. It was an excellent all-round performance by the whole team. And if you look at my race times at Hockenheim a week earlier they were strong too, and so I think the TF105 is also a really good race car."

Were you surprised to be so quick in Hungary?
"I think everyone was concerned about some tire limitations because we knew it was going to be really, really hot. Other than that, I don't think we had any worries and the whole weekend went really well."

But you did seem to have taken a step forward. What do you attribute it to?
"We thought that due to the temperature and the tire we were able to choose, it would all fit together well in Hungary and that's the way things worked out. But I must say, we didn't expect to be that quick compared to the Renaults. A lot depends on how you use the tire and how well it fits with the circuit and car. At Hockenheim that was good in the race and in Hungary it was even better."

Were you surprised by Ferrari's pace?
"Theirs was a better performance and perhaps the margin by which they took pole position was even a surprise to them. Maybe they just got everything to work the right way, which sometimes happens. Theirs was the only car to go really quick at the end of the qualifying session, because the circuit conditions seemed to deteriorate again from the middle of the session onwards. That might have been down to rising temperature."

What do you think of Hungaroring to drive? Is it quite physical?
"It is, because you don't have a real chance to relax anywhere on the lap except for the one straight. But it's a nice circuit now -- you have an overtaking possibility and it's safe."

Is overtaking really feasible into Turn 1?
"It is, and in the 2003 race I overtook quite a few cars there. I guess it's still possible but the problem is that in order to do it, you have to be very close to the car in front through the last corner. And when you do that, you lose the effect of the front wings and the car wants to understeer straight on. That tendency is even exaggerated a little bit this year because of the aerodynamic rule changes which make the front wings less efficient. It's not so much of a problem when you have a slow corner onto a straight but in Hungary the last corner is not that slow. It's the problem I faced when trying to pass Michael in the last few laps. I was quicker but unless he made a mistake I couldn't pass him. And he didn't make one."

Is the Hungaroring in better shape than in recent years?
"They have resurfaced almost everything but it still has quite a few bumps, but the layout is definitely better."

When will you have your first test with a 2006 specification V8 engine?
"I think it will be after the season. It is not really a necessity at the moment."

How do you see the rest of the year? Can you keep going forward?
"I hope so. There is still a development program going on and we have new parts at every race, so I'm quite positive. If it goes as it has done so far, I might even be able to score more podiums."

Which qualifying system would you prefer to see next year?
"On one hand it's quite good to qualify on your own when you can't have any traffic, although I still managed to have some here in Hungary! On the other hand, four chances on low fuel was quite a good system as well, and everyone knew who had the quickest package. But I'm not sure about having to do a lap every 15 minutes, as has been suggested."

The traffic you mentioned - was it Coulthard on his way back to the pits?
"Yes. It wasn't a big problem but it momentarily distracts you, takes your attention off what you are doing and it shouldn't happen. David apologized and it was all okay, so let's just hope it doesn't happen again."

Your brother has said that qualifying has been changed too much and that it's not good for the sport. Do you agree?
"I don't know. Under the old system people complained that only the last 20 minutes mattered, during which there was too much traffic. But rather than complaining, we need a better solution and, personally, I don't have one. Whatever they were trying to do was for the good of the sport. It hasn't worked out perfectly yet. With single-lap qualifying spectators can at least follow every car but the main problem on the outside is that they don't understand the different fuel loads and so on. They don't see the technical side of it and I think many of them just want to see a lot of cars running and things happening."

So you think there's no ideal solution?
"I guess you will never satisfy everyone because even among the team principals everyone has their own opinion and their own suggestions."

Is F1's secrecy necessary? For instance, if qualifying weights were known, TV could do a more informed job and it wouldn't really affect the racing?
"It would affect the racing. Not in the first stint because you can't change, but if you knew what all the other guys were doing and when they were stopping, you could adjust the rest of your strategy accordingly. So I think the secrecy is necessary, but on the other hand I agree that it makes it more difficult to explain things to the spectators, viewers or readers. And even for us drivers sometimes, it's impossible to give the press proper answers because we are not allowed to share the information. So we also have to live with some wrong assumptions or estimations."

Are you going to have a holiday in F1's three-week summer break?
"I'm not sure. I think we'll just stay at home. It will make a nice change not to be traveling for a while!" Toyota
Industry News
Germany fails to ban tobacco ads Germany fails to ban tobacco adsGermany has failed to implement a European Union directive prohibiting tobacco advertising, Deutsche Welle reported Wednesday.  A bill banning all tobacco advertising introduced by the governing Social Democrats in May is not likely to make it past the Bundesrat, Germany's upper house, which is dominated by opposition parties. The Christian Democrats in the Bundesrat last month spoke out against the ban. More at UPI story
Pam Griffith recognized Pam Griffith recognizedThe sign of a good business is when the workers get the spotlight and the boss is happy in the background. That has not been more evident than with PoleStar Racing in recent weeks. Co-owner Pam Griffith received an "Opportunity Award" Thursday as part of Lyn St. James' "Women In the Winner's Circle Luncheon." The luncheon was in conjunction with Ford's diversity program. The program, which helped fuel the career of Willy T. Ribbs, one of racing's few black drivers, also seeks to help women drivers.

The award was recognition for the joint effort of Champ Car owner Kevin Kalkhoven and PoleStar in getting Katherine Legge's career started in a big way. St. James, a native of Willoughby, praised the Chardon-based race team for its efforts with Legge, a rookie who has won three Toyota-Atlantic races this season, including the last two.

Yet, this is not a flash-in-the-pan effort by PoleStar. It is more along the lines of business as usual. Lost in Legge's well-deserved shadow is the fact PoleStar has won the last three straight Toyota-Atlantic races. The team's top driver, Antoine Bessette, got the string started with a victory at Toronto.

Griffith and company also have been car owners for Toyota Atlantic champions Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron and Buddy Rice.

"We're fine with it," Griffith said of PoleStar's background persona. "We've had a wonderful opportunity working with [Kalkhoven]. It will elevate us all in the end. So, it's a good thing." Cleveland Plain Dealer

St. James praises Legge St. James praises LeggeSt. James made a point of praising a long string of women drivers at the luncheon, including those knocking hard on NASCAR's door, Erin Crocker and Sarah Fisher. But afterward, she was not shy about praising Legge's performance this season. She also said Legge's victories are not getting the publicity they deserve.

"People only gaze at the top of the radar screen," St. James said of the more dominant NASCAR, Champ Car and IRL racing series. "Several women in several series have won races this season. But Katherine has truly elevated herself to where, right now, she is probably at the top, in terms of accomplishments, among all women drivers." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Danica billboards everywhere Danica billboards everywhereUPDATE The ads on TV say "Come see Danica Patrick take on the driver's of the Indy 500" at the Kentucky Speedway......They first only show her car and her picture, then the commercial adds a picture of Sam Hornish Jr. and Tony Kanaan at the end to the side of her picture, which is in the center indicating she's the real star of the IRL and the men must take a back seat, thereby ensuring she gets most sponsor endorsements. Winning races and championships does not matter, the men must get a sex-change operation or live with 2nd-tier status. Tony Kanaan can change his first name to Antoinette and Hornish can change his to Samantha. Derek Hughes 08/05/05 IRL spokesman John Griffin said there were "some hurt feelings over what seemed to not be a level playing field for all the drivers," but that the issue over the drivers missing the autograph session in Milwaukee "is over and done."

Griffin said the IRL tries to promote all of its drivers and went into the 2005 season with seven top drivers as its marketing focus.

"Every race, we go into, we focus on one or two drivers," he said. "Of course, we love what Danica is doing for the IRL and racing in general. And she is certainly a big part of the promotion of the upcoming races.

"We race next week at Kentucky Speedway, which usually puts up three billboards around the areas. This year, they've put up 15 billboards, all with Danica's image." Excerpt from AP article

Franchitti's high-tech helicopter Franchitti's high-tech helicopterThis IndyRacing.com article talks about Dario Franchitti's new toy - a high-tech fast helicopter.
Industry News
Honda trying to work with GM Honda trying to work with GMThis Reuters article talks about Honda's efforts to share its fuel cell technology with GM in exchange for help on getting through USA bureaucracy on issues.
Surfers Paradise by the numbers Surfers Paradise by the numbers
1:50.3768 - Mark Skaife holds the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge qualifying lap record of 1 minute 50.3768 seconds around the 4.47km circuit set last year.

11 - There will be 11 nations represented during the Champ Car racing at the Lexmark Indy 300. Australia, France, Canada, USA, Brazil, Sweden, England, Mexico, Spain, Denmark and Germany will all have drivers competing in the race.

60 - A V8 Supercar will use approximately 60 liters of fuel for every 100km. Throughout the 2005 season a team will use in excess of 90,000 liters of fuel for a two-car team.

96 - Construction of the Surfers Paradise street circuit took 96 days in 2004 encompassing 66 days construction, the four days of the Event and 26 days demobilization. The construction schedule has been streamlined from the 199 days it took in 1996. The schedule has been reduced each year although the infrastructure inventory has tripled from 1991.

420 - In total there are approximately 420 temporary structures used for the Event. There are more than 140 corporate hospitality suites that can cater for groups of 10 to 280 people. More than 70 hard- wall portable buildings are used for team and administration needs. Approximately 190 temporary buildings are used for facilities including the event Media Centre, Medical sites, Merchandise Sales and Emergency Services.

2515 - The circuit is constructed of 2515 concrete blocks which all weigh four tons each. They are moved to the circuit on the back of semi-trailers and then positioned by construction staff.

Industry News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
San Jose, CA  (July 31, 2005)
Winner: Katherine Legge
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
Barber Park 200
Barber Motorsports Park (July 29-30, 2005)
2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP - Final Practice
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Kroger 200
Indianapolis Raceway Park
6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
Kroger 200
Indianapolis Raceway Park
8:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
For a complete listing of Saturday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.
Tracy tests at Concord, talks NASCAR Tracy tests at Concord, talks NASCARPaul Tracy said team owner Jerry Forsythe would like him to stay with the team. But Tracy has an opportunity that could lead him away from open-wheel racing after this season. Tracy drove a stock car for the first time Tuesday on a half-mile oval in Concord, N.C. -- an experience he called "a completely, completely different deal." It was Tracy's first spin in a heavy stocker after logging 231 Indy Car [Champ Car] races and 30 victories. Tracy used a rented former NASCAR Cup car to acclimate himself to driving a stock car. Next, he faces a key test Monday and Tuesday at Michigan International Speedway in a Cup car owned by Richard Childress Racing. "I just wanted to learn how to start the thing and know how to put it in gear," Tracy said. "I needed to know how to put the seat belts on. It went OK. The test will be real important. I have to qualify for the (Aug. 21) race on time." If all goes well, Tracy will try to qualify Childress' No. 33 Chevrolet when the Cup series returns to the Michigan track in two weeks. "If I qualify for the race, I'll be happy to finish on the lead lap," Tracy said. "I'll take the chance. I feel I have the driving ability. Racing is racing is racing." Las Vegas Review Journal
Positive Feedback from the Paddock Club Suites at the SJGP Positive Feedback from the Paddock Club Suites at the SJGPA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, First, let me ask that you withhold my name and the name of my company since we sponsor a team in F1 and my company is very careful about making endorsements.
I'm an executive with one of the world's leading consulting companies and when I found out that Champ Car was coming to San Jose I convinced my company to buy a Paddock Club Suite at the Grand Prix. My reasoning to them was that we have so many C-level clients in Silicon Valley who love motor sports, why spend all the money to take them to Indy or Montreal for F1 when we can take them in their own back yard? After months of planning (I'm a technology consultant, not an event planner mind you) we were able to fill our suite with over 140 clients and company employees for all three days of the event. While there were a few gear-heads in the suite, many had never been to a race. To a person, they were blown away by the quality of the entertainment and the high-class nature of the suite. We had Wi-Fi and an iMac running Race Director. It fit right into our company's image in delivering high-tech innovation. The highlight of the event had to be when we were down in the Pits (which anyone can do for $30) just 10 minutes before the green flag milling about with the drivers, crews and cars. I overheard one of Tracy's guys tell a crewmember from Bourdais' team that "we'll see you in turn 1". You'd never get that close in F1 or NASCAR unless you are a movie or rock star.
The event went so well that it's in the budget again for next year and we're looking at doing Long Beach as well. My only critique (apart from the bridges and tight track that everyone has complained about already) is that the event organizers and Champ Car have to do something for the fan who buys a GA ticket and can't see anything. What's with all the green tarps covering the fences? At a minimum can't they build raised, standing room, platforms? When I was back at work on Monday I heard a few people mention that they paid $45 to "hear" the race since they couldn't see anything. Those folks will likely not return next year. Also, I agree with your cheap bleachers commentary. It was a warm day in San Jose and even though I live in Phoenix, I wouldn't have wanted to spend the weekend sitting on those metal bleachers.
So I'm now not only a fan of Champ Car, but a believer in its business model (urban street races) and its ability to help companies market themselves. Hey, and if consulting doesn't pan out for me, maybe I have a future in event / race promotion. Keep up the great work! Name Withheld

Dear Sir, Thanks for the positive feedback. The neglect of the San Jose General Admission customers as you point out is not a good thing, and they won't return in 2006 to "hear" the race. Too bad because you only have one chance to make a good first impression. At Long Beach the GA customers not only have at least one grandstand to use, they have many elevated vantage points to see the action. Yes, they have the same Mickey Mouse high-school quality bleacher seats, but other than that, they take care of their paying customers. The air-conditioned high-tech suites in San Jose set a new standard for street races and we're likely to see them pop up at other venues in the future. Hopefully the city of San Jose and the organizers will make major changes for 2006 that will see 1) A longer track, 2) A wider track, 3) More bridges, 4) More and better grandstands, 5) Better viewing areas for the GA customers and no signage on the fences blocking their view. The only way to accomplish this is to lengthen the track to around 2-miles so there is room for all this and that means impacting more of the city. We'll see just how serious San Jose is about making their race among the very best street races in the world. It will involve cooperation from everyone, including the businesses and residences that will be impacted by the larger track. Mark C.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Is Massa right for Ferrari?
DC back on podium
Pedro wants a BMW ride
1000 hp?
F1 tries 'diplomacy'
Ho-Pin Tung for Rotterdam
RB to BAR - still unofficial
BRDC official in court
Ron's 'stressful' finale
A1 Grand Prix
Christian Jones impresses in first A1 Grand Prix Test Christian Jones impresses in first A1 Grand Prix TestA1 Team Australia, with Christian Jones behind the wheel, impressed at the second day of the Silverstone A1 Grand Prix test, recording a time in the top ten, at one stage topping the time sheets.

Jones, whose best time was 49.203 on the abridged Grand Prix circuit, reported A1 Team Australia's car was strong and reliable for its first run, stating the team were "more concerned with ensuring all systems were in check, rather than showing outright pace at this early stage."

"I'm very happy with the car for its first run on track," said Jones straight after the test. "It was faultless and we achieved everything we wanted to from the last two days. It was also great to know I was the fastest driver out there at one point."

Setting the pace in both the second day's sessions was A1 Team France, with GP2 star, Alex Premat behind the wheel. He set a time of 48.183 - some 0.7s faster than yesterday's best time by A1 Team Great Britain. Premat commented afterwards that his team were concentrating on car setup throughout the test and he found the car nice and easy to drive. (Photos)  zzzz

A1 Team Australia's seat holder, Alan Jones, was pleased with Christian's achievements from the inaugural two day test.

"Christian performed well for the two days, the car is brilliant and is only going to get better with more time to develop it," the 1980 World F1 Champion said. "We're now looking ahead to Paul Ricard in a few weeks time."

With the first test under their belts, Jones and the A1 Team Australia outfit are eager for more.

"It was incredibly exciting to see all the cars on track and how the series has begun to take shape," he enthused. "We had 15 teams here and just under two seconds covered virtually the entire field - it bodes well for an outstanding series."

His comments were echoed by Christian.

"It's an honor to be the first driver to take A1 Team Australia's car on track," the 2004 Asian Formula 3 Champion reflected. "Looking at the closeness of the times between the fifteen teams here today, once all 25 are on track at Brands Hatch in September - it's going to be a real spectacle. By the time A1 arrives in Australia for the fourth round of the series at Eastern Creek on November 4-6, The World Cup of Motorsport will be in full swing and it will be just awesome!"

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum - A1 Grand Prix's Chairman and President - was satisfied, with all teams commenting on the outstanding reliability of the cars for their first time out.

"The competitive spirit of the teams has emerged, but the unity remains," he beamed. "All of the seat holders, drivers and engineers are happy with the way the car has performed over its first test session. We're looking forward to the next test and as more teams join the series, it should get more exciting!"

Sportlife to sponsor Albers Sportlife to sponsor AlbersSportlife chewing gum will be the sponsor of Christijan Albers and his Minardi for 2 events. Next Sunday (August 7th) the logo of Sportlife will appear the first time on the Minardi of Albers in Rotterdam, where Albers will give a demonstration with his F1 car.

The Dutchman said: "Am I dreaming? I am pushing the Minardi forward, proving my talent and speed. It goes better than anybody expected. More and more of my favorite brands are supporting me. I am a Sportlife lover since I am very young. I never leave home without them. Now they will be on my car for 2 races and hopefully much longer. It will keep me fresh and sharp. Wow, this is great news."

Erik Pijnenburg, Brand Manager Sportlife responded: "F1 is a worldwide sport with a spectacular reach. We believe that young and promising talent Christijan Albers will be a successful ambassador for our brand. Sportlife and Christijan are the perfect match. Both ambitious, young and extreme. He is very popular within our target groups. We are now trying F1 for 2 races to see if sponsoring of Christijan Albers in 2006 will be interesting for Sportlife. F1 is booming. Also in Holland and Belgium. That's why we do not want to let this opportunity go."

Fake IRL car on display in Milwaukee Fake IRL car on display in MilwaukeeA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I was at the Wisconsin State Fair Park today for our annual State Fair. Of course the track is being used for a parking lot. I saw something else that burned my eye and I'm sure Paul Tracy would feel the same. The Milwaukee Mile people had a Newman/Hass CART/Champ Car on display. It was driven my Michael Andretti and Paul Tracy. On the car has several stickers that made me want to spit. They had an IRL logo on the nose and ABC/A.J. Foyt 225 logo on the side pod and the rear wing. I doubt they asked permission from Newman/Hass to place those on as well as how PT feels having those logos on his old car. Being a Champ Car backer and living in Milwaukee I'm praying for Champ Car to stay, but it's getting less likely. I am disgusted with The Mile officials getting their cars and promos wrong all the time. Poor fans who know, know the real story or cars of each league to understand. That car today just made a casual fan more confused. It also says a lot about how hideous an IRL car looks that they have to use a 10-year old Champ Car to sell an IRL race. John Fletcher, Milwaukee, WI

NASCAR and NFL ticket deal NASCAR and NFL ticket dealHere's one great offer that NASCAR and NFL fans can't miss: enjoy a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race and an NFL game for under $150.  California Speedway and the San Diego Chargers have partnered up to bring a "Bolt to the Races" package to sports fans.

The package is $145 per person and includes one lower level grandstand ticket to the September 4th SONY HD 500 and one view level ticket to the November 20th San Diego Chargers vs. Buffalo Bills game.  Other great extras that are part of the "Bolt to the Races" deal include your choice of a bus ride to the race (from Qualcomm Stadium) or to the game (from California Speedway), a Sunday NASCAR Pre-Race Pit Pass, California Speedway hat, San Diego Chargers Yearbook and San Diego Chargers hat.

"This is a unique offering for sports fans in Southern California, blending two great sporting opportunities into one package," said Roger Curtis, California Speedway vice president of sales and marketing.  "We are pleased to be working with the Chargers on this new promotion and hope that NFL fans and NASCAR fans take advantage of this great opportunity."

This special ticket offer is only available through the California Speedway Ticket Office.  For more information, or to order your "Bolt to the Races" package, call 909.429.5000.  You must mention the "Bolt to the Races" package name to get this deal.

For more information about California Speedway and the SONY HD 500 event, visit www.californiaspeedway.com.  For more information about the San Diego Chargers, visit www.chargers.com.

Dalziel to make Trans-Am debut Dalziel to make Trans-Am debutJohn Dalziel is scheduled to make his Trans-Am Series debut next weekend, Aug. 12-13, during the Cytomax Sport Drink 100, part of the CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare weekend. Dalziel, who is the older brother of former Toyota Atlantic Championship standout Ryan Dalziel, will compete in Trans-Am’s GTA Class, driving for SS Racing. Dalziel will campaign the No. 52 ASILimited Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

SS Racing made its Trans-Am debut in June at Toronto with three-time ASA Champion Butch Miller at the wheel. Miller will be Dalziel’s crew chief at Denver.

“I’ve never been to Denver, so it’s going to be exciting visiting a new place and a new race track,” said Dalziel. “I have a lot of road racing experience in the UK, but the only road course I’ve run in the U.S. is Daytona, so it’s going to be interesting. I’m going to try to learn the course as quickly as I can and try to be competitive as possible.

“I used to race with my brother Ryan back in the UK,” added Dalziel. “He decided to move into Formula 3 and I came over to the States to race stock cars. This is a great opportunity, especially with Trans-Am’s new rules, allowing ASA cars to compete in GTA. Butch proved the car was competitive earlier this year at Toronto, so it should be a good race.”

Champ Car’s business plan raises awareness Champ Car’s business plan raises awarenessUPDATE Here is a similar AP article by Mike Harris that covers a lot of the same ground as the one below. 08/03/05 In January 2004, team owners Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerald Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi bought the assets of the bankrupt Championship Auto Racing Teams and announced to the world they were going to keep the nearly moribund open-wheel series going.

There was betting in some knowledgeable circles that the new series wouldn't finish its first year. Some observers were certain the Champ Cars would never get to their first race.

Last week, halfway through the second year of the reborn series, more than 152,000 people showed up over three days for the inaugural San Jose Grand Prix, run through the downtown streets of California's third-largest city.

It was just the latest in a string of hits for Champ Car, which is committed to making races on city streets or downtown airports its trademark.  In July, at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, one of the oldest venues on the Champ Car circuit, three days of racing drew 89,000 people, up about 13 per cent from the previous year.

That was followed by a race in downtown Toronto's Exhibition Place that drew 160,000 people over three days and a race-day crowd of 73,155, and new events in Edmonton at City Center Airport, that drew 200,052, including 78,080 for the race, and San Jose's big turnout.

Heading to another street race on Aug. 14, around the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver, where another big turnout is expected, Champ Car officials are feeling pretty good about the growing success of their new business plan, which focuses more on city events and less on natural terrain road courses and traditional American ovals.

"The numbers speak for themselves," Kalkhoven said prior to the San Jose race. "They are extraordinary. I think people love downtown racing. There's something about these races that brings communities together.

One of his partners with Team Australia, Craig Gore, echoed Walker.

"A lot of people doubted Kevin Kalkhoven's business model," Gore said, "but he has sure shown people it can be done."

The rival Indy Racing League, which was born 10 years ago as an all-oval series, even doffed its cap to the Champ Car plan, running the St. Petersburg, Fla., Grand Prix earlier this year and turning the race on a temporary circuit at a downtown airport into a huge hit. IRL races on natural terrain courses are also scheduled this year at Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Sonoma, Calif.

The IRL also made a run at taking over the granddaddy of American street races, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. But Kalkhoven outbid IRL boss Tony George and kept the Southern California event that annually draws big crowds on the Champ Car schedule.

Another part of Champ Car's business plan is aimed at foreign audiences, with the series adding an event in Seoul this year to races already run in Australia, Mexico and Canada.   Although it has not yet been finalized, there is tentatively a race scheduled in 2006 in Beijing.

"For business purposes, running races in the countries on the Pacific Rim simply makes good business sense these days," Kalkhoven said. "We had guests (at San Jose) from Asian countries and Asian companies that all deal with Silicon Valley, and our team, PKV, had 153 guests from various Silicon Valley companies, including lots of CEO's."  More at Canadian Press

IRL Michigan TV rating up IRL Michigan TV rating upUPDATE ABC Sports' coverage of the IRL IndyCar® Series' Firestone Indy 400 showed a 63 percent increase over ABC's coverage of the 2004 race.  The July 31 broadcast earned a 'final' 1.3 rating and a 3 share (1,387,000 households), down from the 1.5 overnight rating. In 2004, the race drew a 0.8/2. The national rating is the highest rating for a Michigan race in the four-year history of the event (but not as high as when it was a CART Champ Car race).  The race also posted the highest demographic performance among Men 18-49, Men 25-54, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54. 08/01/05 Still riding the Danicamania wave, and with no NASCAR race on TV, ABC’s coverage of the IRL Indy 400 earned a 1.5/3 overnight Nielsen rating, up 50.0% from a 1.0/2 in ’04, and up 87.5% from a 0.8/2 in ’03.
Ho-Pin Tung goes Dutch with Williams Ho-Pin Tung goes Dutch with WilliamsThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team confirmed that rising Dutch born Chinese racing talent, Ho-Pin Tung, would pilot one of the team's FW26 race cars around the city streets of Rotterdam in the Netherlands on Sunday August 7, 2005.

The event is one of many intended to take Formula One out of the confines of its usual race circuit settings to a wider audience in cities around the world. Ho-Pin's August demonstration in the Netherlands follows sights of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team running Formula One cars across Sydney Harbor Bridge, downtown in Melbourne and is part of a wider program that will see more events this year from Singapore to Edinburgh.

Ho-Pin is no stranger to the BMW WIlliamsF1 Team, having tested with the Anglo-German squad in late 2003 as a reward for a dominant racing performance in the Formula BMW Asia Championship that year. On his debut behind the wheel of a Formula One car at the Jerez de la Frontera Circuit in Spain, he immediately impressed seasoned observers with his mature command of a Grand Prix car.

After his successes in the Formula BMW Championship, Ho-Pin graduated to Formula Three and is currently racing in the 2005 German Recaro Formula 3 Championship with notable success.

The opportunity for Ho-Pin to drive in Rotterdam is a special one. The event organizers of the 'Monaco on the Maas' event in the city centre are staging a festival of powered machinery, of which the highlight will undoubtedly be the Formual One demonstration. Ho-Pin, as a Dutch national, is looking forward to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform to over half a million expected compatriots.

"It is exciting enough to climb behind the wheel of a Williams again, but it will be all the more amazing to do this in front of a massive home crowd. I think it is great that the BMW WilliamsF1 Team are actively taking the sport to the people and its great to be part of that in my home country," said the young Dutchman. Williams

Tagliani and Marshall to race V8 Supercar Tagliani and Marshall to race V8 SupercarIn a groundbreaking initiative, one of Australia's newest V8 Supercar teams WPS Racing has joined forces with Champ Car World Series debutants, Team Australia, to create a solid International contingent for their assault of this year's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 and Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000 endurance events.

The announcement of Canadian driver Alex Tagliani and his Australian team mate Marcus Marshall to fill the two vacant seats will have them joining regular WPS Racing campaigners, Aussie David Besnard and New Zealand driver Craig Baird.

The WPS Racing endurance team today conducted a test day in Ipswich to sort out driver combinations and racing strategies that will be put into place leading up to the September 9-11 Betta Electrical Sandown 500 and Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on October 6-9.

Tagliani has strong ties to this country having met his wife Bronte, a former Gold Coast Miss Indy entrant when he raced in Queensland's motorsport spectacular in 2001 and the pair subsequently married in January 2003.

Having never before steered a V8 Supercar in his career, Tagliani fully realizes he has a big job ahead of him before his debut in the Australian Series and that was typified with a solid full day of testing. zzzz

"In the beginning I was really struggling with the gears, particularly on the downshift because it's all back to front when you're driving on the right hand side as opposed to what I'm more used to on the left," said Tagliani.

"Once I had a couple of sessions out on the track I really started to feel a lot more comfortable. But I'm under no illusions this is a huge learning curve so I'm looking forward to getting behind the wheel as much as possible."

Marshall too is excited by the prospect of returning home and once again trying his hand at V8 Supercar racing.

The Queenslander boasts a reputable strike rate in Australia having secured back-to-back second placings at Bathurst and Indy in the 2000 Australian Formula Ford Championship Series, before placing second overall in the 2003 Porsche Australia Carrera Cup.

He's no stranger to V8 Supercars, Sandown or Bathurst and is grateful for another opportunity to conquer the mountain.

"I'm just getting back into the swing of things and it's going to be great getting the chance to race in V8 Supercars again after brief stints during the past two years," said Marshall.

"This is a lot different deal to the Champ Cars but like every driver in Australia you know how big Bathurst is and this is what everyone aspires to do .. race at Bathurst and to win.

"I'm so proud to be driving for Team Australia and representing my country overseas and to be a part of the biggest event back home is a great feeling and I'm so happy to be a part of that."

"Already for me it's been a major point in my career being the first full-time Australian driver in the Champ Car World Series and for that I have a lot of people to thank.

"Those same people have put the V8 Supercar deal together and I hope Alex and I can repay the faith everyone has put in us from WPS Racing.

"Neither of us are under any illusions of an easy ride in the endurance rounds and to have this opportunity present itself is mind blowing."

The WPS Racing, Team Australia move is a unique undertaking, involving two separate teams from different racing mediums and leaves the door wide open for greater synergy to develop between motorsporting bodies.

Having full-time drivers from each of the featured categories of the Gold Coast's Lexmark Indy 300 carnival on October 20-23 join forces is bound to attract a lot of interest.

WPS Racing team owner Craig Gore, who is also co-owner of Team Australia, sees the move as a huge leap in the right direction so far as creating a transitional path between International racing categories.

"There's no doubt this is a part of the vision of helping develop paths for young Australian drivers to take part in World-wide competition," said Gore.

"Through such development a two-fold proposition will present itself where International drivers can also filter in to our own V8 Supercar competition.

"It also further cements the relationship between our two racing entities following last year's initial venture that saw David Besnard take the controls of a Champ Car at Indy and manage a seventh placing on debut.

"With Alex and Marcus driving for WPS Racing, fans have the opportunity to witness their racing styles and abilities prior to the Team Australia Champ Car campaign at Indy.

Already this year Team Australia has proven itself a force in the Champ Car World Series as Tagliani has managed to capture two podiums, the first in Mexico and more recently back in his homeland.

But even the Canadian recognizes the massive task ahead of him to try and make a mark in the World's most renowned endurance campaigns.

His timely entry into the elite category of Australian motorsport comes hot on the heels of a career high 7th placing in the Champ Car World Series in 2004, which also netted him his first event victory at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin USA.

"I've been coming to Australia now for four years and have always marveled at the V8 Supercars," added Tagliani.

"This is exciting for me especially since the only race experience I've had in Australia has been at Indy in the Champ Cars.

"Every racer throughout the World knows about the endurance events in Australia, particularly Bathurst so I can't wait to have my first steer in V8 Supercar competition.

"It's a whole new ball game for me having never really been behind the wheel of a right wheel drive car, let alone one of these machines.

"But it's one that's got me excited, especially as the endurance events lead straight into the Australian round of the Champ Cars.

Internet sites http://racing.wps.net.au/

A1 Grand Prix
French team leads Day 2 testing at Silverstone French team leads Day 2 testing at SilverstoneAs the first A1 Team Test Session came to a close, the excitement and anticipation for a competitive first season grew between A1 Teams and Seat Holders as the top 14 drivers recorded fastest lap times separated by less than two seconds.

Over the course of the two days, three sessions were held involving 15 A1 Teams. It proved a largely trouble-free session with drivers and engineers all commenting on the reliability of the A1 Car.

A1 Grand Prix Founder, President and Chairman, Sheikh Maktoum said: 'I'm very satisfied with today's results. All the Seat Holders, drivers and engineers are happy with the way the car has performed over its first Test Session. The competitive spirit of the Teams has emerged, while the unity of the Series has been retained. We are looking forward to the next test at Paul Ricard, and it should get more and more exciting as new Teams join the Series.'

A1 Team France recorded the fastest lap of the two-day session this morning, slicing 0.705 seconds off yesterday's fastest lap time set by A1 Team Great Britain.

A1 Team France driver, Alex Premat commented: 'The A1 car is nice and easy to drive, it has a good gearbox, the engine is great and the car is very reliable. We've worked on the car set up and dampers and it has responded well to the changes. I'm very pleased to have the fastest lap time of the session and I'm looking forward to driving again at Paul Ricard.'

 A1 Team Malaysia Seat Holder and driver, Alex Yoong summed up the two day session saying: 'The test went well with the car performing well throughout. A1 Grand Prix has done a brilliant job, and it looks like this will be a fantastic Series. Everyone is very enthusiastic and looking forward to the first race. It will be extremely competitive and the race will reward the Team that is most consistent.' 

Test times follow: zzzz

Fastest lap time: A1 Team France 48.183 seconds.

Fastest lap times and number of laps recorded in the afternoon session (4 August):
France 48.251 59 laps
Brazil 48.439 62 laps
Malaysia 48.535 49 laps
Netherlands 48.766 62 laps
Portugal 48.835 54 laps
Great Britain 48.953 45 laps
Pakistan 49.046 30 laps
New Zealand 49.088 44 laps
South Africa 49.115 34 laps
Mexico 49.226 57 laps
Switzerland 49.422 6 laps
USA 49.514 40 laps
Australia 49.676 34 laps
Lebanon 49.876 66 laps
China 50.640 59 laps

Fastest lap times and number of laps recorded in morning session (4 August):
France 48.183 41 laps
Switzerland 48.408 38 laps
Pakistan 48.573 36 laps
Great Britain 48.585 38 laps
Brazil 48.848 79 laps
Malaysia 48.891 47 laps
Portugal 49.007 50 laps
Netherlands 49.192 67 laps
Australia 49.203 45 laps
South Africa 49.211 57 laps
New Zealand 49.430 49 laps
USA 49.530 33 laps
Mexico 49.557 48 laps
Lebanon 49.786 66 laps
China 51.685 33 laps

Collectively, the 15 teams covered 2394 miles today contributing to the 3569
miles covered over the total test session.

A1 Team drivers:
Australia Christian Jones
Brazil Nelson Piquet jnr, Danilo Dirani and João Paulo Oliveiria
China Qing Hua Ma and Tingyi Jiang
France Loic Duval, Alexandre Premat and Nicolas Lapierre
Great Britain Robbie Kerr and Alex Lloyd
Lebanon Kalil Beschir and Basil Shaaban
Malaysia Alex Yoong
Mexico Luis Diaz, Memo Rojas, David Martinez and Salvador Duran
Netherlands Jos Verstappen and Jeroen Bleekemolen
New Zealand Jonny Reid and Matt Halliday
Pakistan Adam Khan
Portugal Pedro Lamy
South Africa Stephen Simpson and Thomas Scheckter
Switzerland Neel Jani
USA Jeff Simmons

Wheldon and Andretti in fundraiser Wheldon and Andretti in fundraiserRacing legend Michael Andretti and Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon will make a special appearance at a fundraising dinner in honor of the Michael Andretti Foundation on Aug. 19 at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo. The dinner will feature a question and answer session by Andretti and Wheldon, while guests dine on a full service meal provided by the Broadmoor Hotel. Andretti Green Racing will be in town competing in the Honda Indy 225 IRL® IndyCar® Series Race on August 21st at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Jim Beam Brands will be hosting the dinner to introduce Wheldon, who drives the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam IndyCar Series car for Andretti Green Racing. Andretti, co-owner of Andretti Green Racing and founder of the Michael Andretti Foundation, will also address the guests. Jim Beam Brands is a sponsor of Andretti Green Racing.

The dinner is scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. with cocktails and appetizers. Following the special visit by Wheldon and Andretti, guests (ages 21 and over) will be able to participate in a brief tour through the Jim Beam Brands bourbon portfolio with samples from The Small Batch Collection®, followed by dinner and an auction of great items. Cost of the event is $75 per person and is tax deductible.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to The Michael Andretti Foundation. Fans can secure a spot at the event by sending an e-mail to: foundation@andretti.com. Checks must be made out to: The Michael Andretti Foundation and are tax deductible. Specific schedules & information pertaining to the event will be communicated with the participants and will be available on the Foundation website at: www.andretti.com.

The Michael Andretti Foundation is a 501(c)(3) foundation that was established to help people who have shown need and to help promote programs for better health, education and welfare of America's children and citizens. For more information about The Michael Andretti Foundation, visit www.andretti.com.

Hollywood stars and Champ Car drivers play for charity Hollywood stars and Champ Car drivers play for charityThe CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare will host its first-ever Celebrity Bowling, Billiards and Texas Hold ‘Em Charity event at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, August 10 at the Lucky Strike Lanes. As part of this action-packed night, Hollywood celebrities and Champ Car drivers join 12 teams to have fun during race week, and raise money for their favorite charity and the Grand Prix of Denver Foundation.

Scheduled to participate in the event are Jason Priestley, grand marshal of the Grand Prix and former member of the Beverly Hills 90210 cast; Anthony Edwards, Dr. Green of the ER cast and supporter of the Cure Autism Now Foundation; Bam Margera, star of MTV’s Viva la Bam; Hayden Christensen, Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader in the recent Star Wars movie; Steven Page, lead signer for the Barenaked Ladies; Benito Martinez, the Captain on The Shield and also seen in the hit Million Dollar Baby; Michael Buffer, world renowned sports announcer of “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” fame. Joining the entertainment celebrities will be Champ Car drivers Sebastien Bourdais, Oriol Servia, Colorado’s own AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson.

Premier viewing tickets are limited for purchase. Ticket price includes food, beverages and the opportunity to watch favorite celebrities bowl, play billiards and raise the charitable stakes in Texas Hold ‘Em. zzzz

At the celebrity event, a silent auction will take place for premier viewing ticket holders. Silent auction items include a Hyde Park/Breitling watch, a Carmello Anthony autographed jersey, a Kenyon Martin autographed basketball and an autographed racing suit of Paul Newman.

Date: Wednesday, August 10
Location: Lucky Strike Lanes, Denver Pavilions
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Tickets: $100 — Limited availability, includes cocktails and hors d'oeuvres
To purchase, call 303-391-3481 or e-mail alevine@centrixfinancial.com.

All proceeds from this fund-raising event will be divided among the winning celebrity’s charity of choice, and the Grand Prix of Denver Foundation beneficiaries, including Make A Wish Foundation, Children’s Hospital, Hole in the Wall Camps, Auraria Foundation Scholarship Fund, YouthBiz, Limb Preservation Foundation, Cure Autism Now and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

About The Grand Prix of Denver Foundation, Inc.
The Grand Prix of Denver Foundation, Inc. is a Colorado not-for-profit 501(c) 3 Corporation formed in 2002 in conjunction with the inaugural Grand Prix of Denver. The mission of the Foundation is to raise funds for youth oriented organizations and relies solely upon volunteers in order to maximize distributions to our selected recipients. Robert E. Sutton, chairman and chief executive officer of CENTRIX Financial, LLC serves as board chairman.

O’Reilly rails on Newman O’Reilly rails on NewmanA reader writes, Bill O'Reilly has started an anti ACLU campaign and anyone who supports them. On today's Radio Factor, he called out Paul Newman as one of its biggest supporters. Right now, Paul is out hustling new Champ Car events. The timing is really bad. Mario Andretti stated that Paul has never been so active in Champ Car. Could this derail an event? Hope not. Hector Sanchez, Corpus Christi, TX Dear Hector, O'Reilly is a Republican and Newman a Democrat. It's all about politics. I would not lose any sleep over it. Mark C.
Newman plays hustler to rev city to host race Newman plays hustler to rev city to host race[Key Excerpts] What do you get when you toss Councilman Frank Rizzo in a room with silver-screen legend Paul Newman? Apparently, a high-profile race on the Ben Franklin Parkway, featuring Champ Cars that reach speeds of nearly 200 mph.
Nothing is set in stone, but both Newman and Rizzo said after a two-hour meeting yesterday they were "enthusiastic" about Philadelphia's chance to host a Champ Car World Series race.

Philly could play host as early as next July or August, according to Rizzo, but a Champ Car World Series representative, Steve Shunck (who did not attend the meeting), said 2007 would be more realistic.

"2007 would be more attractive, to get the lay of the land," Shunck said. "We want to do what's best for fans and local businesses, but make sure the residents of Philadelphia are inconvenienced at the least." Champ Car is likely to finalize its 2006 schedule by month's end.

The deal would include five races in five years. Shunck said the event could haul in anywhere from $20 million to $30 million per racing weekend, each of which is predicted to draw an estimated crowd of 150,000.

"Lately, Paul has been more active than I've ever seen him in supporting Champ Car," Mario Andretti said. "He's very visible."  Andretti said a Champ Car series was selected over the Indy Racing League because Champ Car has more experience with "urban events." Three of the Champ Car series' seven U.S. races this year are on city streets in Long Beach and San Jose, Calif., and in Denver.

Rizzo said the main drag of Philadelphia's track would most likely be the Parkway, and racers would fly by the Art Museum, Logan's Circle, Pennsylvania Avenue and other nearby streets. When Newman laid eyes on the proposed track, he "fell in love with it," according to Rizzo. No mention was made of Martin Luther King or Kelly drives, which previously were considered.

When asked whether the race course was finalized, Shunck said, "A lot of things still need to be ironed out."  In the next few weeks, Champ Car executives and city officials will discuss the event, and an announcement could be made in a few weeks.

Newman, wearing a dark-blue blazer, tan pants and white tennis shoes, glanced at a sketch of the preliminary track and predicted high speeds for the city streets. "It's pretty hard, but just looking at this track, I would think speeds of 180 mph, maybe a little bit more than that," Newman said.

Champ Car World Series stresses that the weekend isn't about only racing. It's about music and food, and about accommodating visitors from around the world.  "It's a three-day event," Newman said. "It's a festival. It's a carnival."

Visitors also will have the advantage of checking out the Art Museum, the Liberty Bell and the Constitution Center, historic sites that other racing venues lack, Rizzo said.  "This is going to be good for the city and a real super financial hit for this region's economy," Rizzo said outside City Hall after Newman left in a black stretch limousine. "We are good at doing events, and I think we've proven that to the world."

Larry Needle, executive director of the Philadelphia Sports Congress, described the meeting as "very positive" and said the race would be a "regional draw."  "There's nothing like it for 500 miles," he said. Philadelphia Daily News

Newman, Champ Car present 5-year plan to Philly Newman, Champ Car present 5-year plan to PhillyNo one is saying, "Start your engines," just yet, but actor Paul Newman and his Champ Car World Series colleagues gave government officials plenty to think about yesterday as they mulled over whether to have a motor-racing event on the city's streets.

Newman and crew met for two hours with City Council members and Street administration officials at City Hall and presented a plan for holding a high-speed Champ Car race here in each of the next five years. They also met with the mayor in his office.

"At this point, the city leadership is really going to take a hard look at all the information that was presented," said Larry Needle, executive director of the Philadelphia Sports Congress, a division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

After the meeting, Newman, who co-owns a Champ Car racing team, told reporters that the races usually involve cars going at speeds of about 180 m.p.h.

Asked what it was about Philadelphia that makes the city attractive, Newman said, "To have a race in the Northeast is a good idea, and so Philadelphia is a very attractive town."

During the meeting, Needle said, Newman suggested Philadelphia officials contact officials in other cities that have hosted races, such as San Jose and Long Beach, Calif., to see what they thought of the events.

Councilman Frank Rizzo, who has led the effort to get a race here, said the Champ Car representatives are considering Fairmount Park and the South Philadelphia sports complex but are particularly interested in the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Rizzo said that while the city might have to pay about $800,000 to smooth out some streets for racers and make other infrastructure improvements, that would be worthwhile considering the money such an event would bring to Philadelphia.

Champ Car races typically draw 150,000 fans and bring cities from $25 million to $50 million in revenue, primarily in the form of restaurant and hotel bookings, city officials said.

"It's a five-year deal," Rizzo said. "This could be a $50 million source of revenue for the economy here each year." More at Philadelphia Inquirer

Champ Car announces official scooter Champ Car announces official scooterPiaggio USA, Inc., manufacturer of the world-famous Vespa® motor scooter, is pleased to introduce a Champ Car World Series and Newman/Haas Racing limited edition of the “Typhoon”, a compact 50cc scooter with sporty looks. The Piaggio Typhoon is the “Official Scooter” of both “Champ Car World Series” and “Newman/Haas Racing”.

The Piaggio Typhoon limited edition features a new livery that holds what made both Champ Car and Newman/Haas famous in all these years: The Racing Spirit. 

The scooter, available in both Black and Cosmic Blue, will be on sale throughout the United States and Canada through the Vespa dealers network.  For the closest boutique near you please refer to www.piaggiousa.com or www.piaggiocanada.com

As an added value and a token of appreciation towards fans that decide to purchase the Typhoon Champ Car - Newman/Haas limited edition scooter, Piaggio USA and Speedgear - the Series’ “Official Marketing and Promotional Partner” will offer a customer incentive of a $100.00 Gift certificate, redeemable at www.ChampCarStuff.com or through Speedgear’s catalog, while supplies last.

About the Typhoon
A sturdy frame and responsive engine make the Typhoon the ideal scooter companion. The Typhoon is perfect for darting through traffic or gliding the along open road. The Typhoon boasts a 50cc, single cylinder, two-stroke engine and thick 10-inch alloy tires to make for a powerful yet smooth ride. With a twist-and-go transmission, electric start, powerful halogen headlights and great under seat storage. For more information log on to www.PiaggioUSA.com

Denver GP to benefit many charities Denver GP to benefit many charitiesThe Grand Prix of Denver Foundation, Inc. announced today that eight charities have been selected as beneficiaries during the 2005 CENTRIX Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare. The charities include:

* Make-A-Wish Foundation (www.wish.org)
* Children's Hospital (www.thechildrenshospital.org)
* Hole In The Wall Camps (www.holeinthewallcamps.org)
* YouthBiz (www.youthbiz.org)
* Limb Preservation Foundation (www.limbpreservation.org)
* Cure Autism Now (www.cureautismnow.org)
* The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (www.cff.org)
* Auraria Foundation Scholarship Fund
Net proceeds from the race will be directed to these eight charities. In addition, there are several charity events over the course of the next two weeks leading up to race day. (For a complete listing of charitable events in the coming two weeks, please visit: www.gpdenver.com.)

Whether by attending a specific charity event during the next two weeks or by simply purchasing a ticket to attend the Grand Prix, community members can make a valuable contribution to these organizations and those they benefit.

According to Robert E. Sutton, CENTRIX Financial CEO and board chairman for the Grand Prix of Denver Foundation, "The Grand Prix of Denver has always served the community, and this year we're pleased to direct our charitable efforts towards these valuable organizations. We believe very much in the work they do and hope the money raised in the coming weeks helps them tremendously in fulfilling their charters and in continuing to help those in need."

Past recipients of Foundation proceeds include:
* Children's Hospital
* Gold Crown Foundation
* Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver
* Hole in the Wall Camps Foundation
* Auraria Campus Foundation Scholarship Fund
* The Sam Sandos Christmas Basket Program
* Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
* Larimer Street Arts Foundation

Schwarzenegger to return $50K donation to Forsythe Schwarzenegger to return $50K donation to ForsytheGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will return a $50,000 donation from a partner in a tribal casino project after The Associated Press raised questions about the governor's pledge to limit political contributions, an aide said.

Last week at a birthday celebration fundraising event in Yuba City, the governor received a $50,000 contribution from Yuba County Entertainment LLC, a partner in a proposed hotel and casino development south of the town of Olivehurst.

The AP questioned the donation Wednesday because Schwarzenegger made a promise during the 2003 recall campaign not to accept campaign contributions from groups that negotiate directly with his office. He specifically identified Indian tribal gambling as among those special interests.

A top political aide to Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that the governor would return the money promptly.

"After reviewing the nature of the business and realizing there is a connection to a potential Indian gaming location, we feel it is most appropriate to return the funds," said Marty Wilson, who oversees fundraising for Schwarzenegger's political committee, called the California Recovery Team.

Company officials said Wednesday that the donation was intended to support the governor's political agenda in the upcoming special election — not the casino project.

Alan Waskin, senior vice president and general counsel of Yuba County Entertainment, said the company is a subsidiary of Indeck-Forsythe, a private auto racing firm based in Chicago that has a variety of business interests in California, including the Yuba County casino project.

"The purpose of the donation was not to primarily back the governor but to back his initiatives that we think are important to the business community," Waskin said. The company's tribal partners, the Enterprise Rancheria, formerly known as the Estom Yumeka Maidu tribe, have been trying for several years to get federal and state approval for the resort project. More from AP Story [Editor's Note: At one time Forsythe wanted to build a race track in northern California, but now he appears to want to get into the Casino industry. He recently opened a huge water park in Michigan, so it's apparent he is diversifying his investments.]

Ford and Clorox join to support female drivers Ford and Clorox join to support female driversFord Racing has joined forces with Clorox and ST Motorsports to create the Clorox/Ford Racing Female Driver Development Program, the first time a corporate sponsor and manufacturer have worked together to develop young, diverse talent.

This multi-year commitment, announced here today at Lyn St. James' "Women in the Winner's Circle" luncheon, is designed to develop a driver in USAC and graduate her to a NASCAR Busch Series team campaigned by ST Motorsports.

"Ford's customer base is diverse, and its driver roster should be diverse, too," said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. "It is Ford's intent that when the first women wins a NASCAR Nextel Cup race and drives into Victory Lane, she will be driving a Ford."

"Clorox is very proud to be part of this wonderful program," said Tarang Amin, Vice President of Laundry & Home Care Marketing, at the Clorox Company. "We will be sponsoring the car that these two remarkable young women will drive on their journey, but it is their dream - the dream of women in racing - that will take them to NASCAR." zzzz

Alison MacLeod of Ontario, Canada, who two weeks ago scored her first career USAC Ford Focus Midget Series victory, and Destiney Hays of California are the first two drivers selected to participate in the program, which will be directed by noted chassis builder and USAC team owner Bob East.  

East, whose son Bobby will make his NASCAR debut Friday evening in a Roush Racing Ford F-150 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, has developed some of NASCAR's biggest names over the years.

"Finding a partner like Clorox who understands our driver development process, sees the value in it and has committed to building on it was very important to us," said Davis.  "There is no fast track to succeeding in motorsports, but having strong partners who share a common goal is necessary for this program to truly succeed and with Clorox and Bob East, we feel we have that.

"The thing that makes this program unique is that not only do we have an established 'ladder' system, but there is the opportunity for more young women to come along and follow in the footsteps of Destiney and Alison," Davis said.   "We want to establish a long-term program that will move these drivers forward and give them every opportunity to be successful at each rung of the ladder."

Ford Racing has a long history in developing diverse driver talent.   Ford was an early supporter of Lyn St. James' road racing career in the 1980s, as well as a supporter of prominent African-American driver Willy T. Ribbs' road racing career in that same time frame.

More recently, Ford supported Danica Patrick early in her career when she was racing in Europe, and last year did a formal test of four young women -- including MacLeod -- as part of a driver development pilot program.

Currently, the company is also supporting the efforts of Michel Jourdain Jr. as he tries to become the first Hispanic driver to race in Nextel Cup.

"We're committed to finding the next generation of racing champions," said Davis.  "We're proud that partners like Clorox, ST Motorsports and Bob East have joined the effort.   This is a huge step forward." Ford Racing

Another bomb in Turkey Another bomb in TurkeyTwo people were killed last night when a bomb exploded in Pendik, a town to the east of Istanbul, about seven miles from the new Formula 1 circuit. The blast followed the recent trend of bombs in the country, being hidden in a garbage bin. Earlier in the week there were two smaller bombs in the Aegean resort of Antalya. The Turkish authorities suspect that the bombs are the work of the Kurdish group PKK, which is trying to disrupt the country's tourist industry. Tourism is now Turkey's second biggest source of revenue with more than 13m visitors a year.

The current wave of attacks are small in scale but there is little doubt that in the circumstances the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix - designed to bring more tourists to Turkey - must be viewed as a potential target. More at Grandprix.com

Free Race Director a big hit with fans Free Race Director a big hit with fansChamp Car fans were able to experience the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose from a whole new angle as Champ Car and Intel offered the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford innovative subscription based online video service, Race Director, free for the event.   During the event more than 60,000 video streams were viewed by Champ Car fans wanting to experience every aspect of the three day festival of speed. 

The free trial of Race Director nearly tripled the number of video streams accessed during a typical event and more than doubled the total number of unique users viewing those video streams.  The worldwide online audience on race day was nearly equal to the number of fans who enjoyed the event in person.

"It is very encouraging to us that so many of our fans took advantage of the offer from Champ Car and Intel and used the Intel technology to follow the Champ Car World Series," said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. "The Race Director application played flawlessly with the help of Intel and Novell and we are excited about the possibilities that it raises for the future."

With the help of Intel, Champ Car provided free access to the subscription-only service to fans throughout the entire weekend, giving race fans access to live streaming audio and video as well as live timing and scoring of all on-track Champ Car sessions. Race Director also provided live in-car audio coverage, bringing fans inside the cockpit as their favorite drivers and teams worked their way through the inaugural San Jose race weekend.

Fans were also able to dig into the Champ Car video library that is a part of the Race Director service.  Race Director archives races back through the 2002 season giving fans a chance to relive their favorite memories of Champ Car. Champ Car

Toyota renewal with LB a BIG deal Toyota renewal with LB a BIG dealA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The renewal of Toyota sponsorship at Long Beach is significant. Given the focus of the IRL/Toyota/Honda et al over the last 2 years I think we can assume from the facts now in evidence that Toyota wanted to see Champ Car dead as much as Tony did. Toyota bet on the IRL and by the time it became painfully clear they made a loser bet they were in it way too deep to cut and run. They had to start throwing good money after bad to prop up the IRL long enough for Tony to finally kill Champ Car. Champ Car’s “Crown Jewel” is Long Beach. Tony had to do everything possible to take Long Beach away from Champ Car beginning with what I suspect were last minute BIG dollar deals, partially funded by Toyota [Editor's Note: They went with Honda engines, not Toyota, so can't blame Toyota] I would guess, that bought Adrian and Bobby’s well timed defections to the IRL just before the 2004 LB race. This was to have broken Champ Car’s back right then and there. But I imagine all it did was piss Kalkhoven off (Note To Self: Don’t piss off billionaires!).

If I recall correctly it was rumored at one time that Toyota corporate was pressuring their Southern California dealers, the actual “Toyota” in the sponsorship of the race, to make noise about wanting the IRL to replace the then struggling Champ Car. The dealers refused sighting, among other things (namely most of the dealers preferred Champ Car to the IRL) the abysmal IRL attendance at Fontana. As the outcome of all the recent battles between the IRL and Champ Car have proved, once again, the only guy to have actually read the LB contracts (can Tony or any of his lawyers read?) was Kalkhoven so he moved aggressively to secure the event from Dover knowing fully well that the city of Long Beach had right of first refusal on just about every aspect of the event and didn’t want the IRL running on their streets.

Long Beach was the key to the Champ Car house of cards and Tony “promised” Toyota he’d deliver it. Tony failed. The dealers held strong. Toyota corporate loses. So-Cal Toyota dealers and the fans win big. Champ Car moves to replace Toyota power in Lights, which was probably their last real connection back to corporate, and now the announcement “Toyota” has re-signed as the sponsor of the Long Beach Grand Prix. Game, set and match . . . again, to Kalkhoven and Company.

After the substantial investment in both manpower and yen Toyota has made in the IRL, to see the Toyota brand flying high above CHAMP CAR’S Long Beach Crown Jewel will cause someone in Tokyo to fall on his blade. This is a huge strategic and tactical failure for Toyota, a company not accustomed to such public failings. This is a cause of great embarrassment to their senior management who have lost much face. If Toyota and Honda were smart . . . they’d be trying to get back to Champ Car as quickly as their gas/electric hybrids will carry them. JN Anderson, Chicago, IL Dear JN, Don't be so hard on Toyota, they were a great partner for Champ Car for many years in the Toyota Atlantic Series and when they were in Champ Car. Yes, they made a mistake dropping both, but NASCAR will serve them well. Mark C.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Button threatens sabbatical
'Interesting' F1 test - Rossi
Massa earned top job - Schu
Ralf revival
Dream 'not over' for Narain
'06 Indy still not on
Rubens has 'multi year' deal
'A1' in action
Bourdais and Tracy test in Las Vegas Bourdais and Tracy test in Las VegasDefending Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy tested at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today in preparation for the Sept. 24 Double Down in the Desert NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series-Champ Car World Series doubleheader.

Bourdais and Tracy finished first and second, respectively in last weekend’s event in San Jose.  Coincidentally, they also occupy the same places in the current point standings.  Bourdais won the inaugural Champ Car World Series Bridgestone 400 Presented By Corona at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday last September.

Bourdais and his McDonald’s Newman-Haas team caught a break from the weather and avoided thunderstorms that plagued the area for the past three days.  Still, the weather conditions were hot and humid, even at sundown.

“When we came back in September last year (after testing in August), it wasn’t any cooler,” said Bourdais.  “When we tested last year, the sun was burning hot and it was something like 110 degrees.  Today it is 90 or 95.  I guess it’s a pretty average temperature for Las Vegas. It’s in the ballpark, that’s for sure.

“Today is just a tire test.  We are evaluating tires for Bridgestone.  They came out with a different compound.  They are manufacturing the tire in a different place now and they want to make sure nothing is different in the compound.  The tire at this year’s (Las Vegas) race is going to be a different tire.  Last year’s tire was manufactured in Japan and this year’s is manufactured in the U.S.

“Today’s testing is going all right.  We just basically baselined the car and made sure it was comfortable and then we’ll start doing long runs.  Nothing extremely exciting – just making sure that we have good tires from Bridgestone – a better-balanced set from one to another.”

Although Bourdais has three victories to date – Long Beach, Edmonton and San Jose -- he describes his 2006 season as “average.”

“Well, (the season) was pretty average until Edmonton.  We were still leading the championship at that point and that was kind of a surprise.  Then we came out of Edmonton looking pretty good after a lot of mistakes early in the week in qualifying.  We were able to make up for it.  San Jose was a pretty good weekend for us.  We had a strong car and ran up front all weekend long.  It was good to dominate again.”

Tickets for the Sept. 24 Double Down in the Desert NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series-Champ Car World Series doubleheader are on sale and may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.lvms.com.

Chris Prey to drive for Jensen at Road America Chris Prey to drive for Jensen at Road AmericaOne of America's top rising open-wheel racing talents has today announced he will be driving for the Jensen MotorSport team at the Road America 500 event taking place the weekend of August 19th-21st in Elkhart Lake, WI. This will be the 11th Round of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama.

Prey, an Oshkosh, WI native who considers Road America to be his home racetrack will be putting his track knowledge to the test as he gets his first taste of the Swift 014.a chassis during the series test day prior to the race weekend's proceedings. He will be racing in the # 2 entry with sponsorship from the fellow Wisconsin based Gehl Company and is also using this opportunity to promote 3 charities in which he both volunteers and strongly believes: Habitat for Humanity, ONE.org, and the American Red Cross.
"I will be facing a steep learning curve over the course of the weekend as many of my competitors will already have 10 races of experience along with their season testing schedules to rely on", says Prey. "But I'm a quick study, and with 4 additional practice sessions prior to the 1st qualifying, I feel that is sufficient time to get comfortable in the car and to be competitive. The championship battle will be in full swing and I look forward to mixing it up with the top drivers in the series."
Prey continues, "Gehl Company has been excellent to work with in the lead up to this event. We have come up with some fun and fresh ideas to help make this a successful weekend at the racetrack for both myself and in the marketing of their compact construction equipment and agricultural implements. I'm very grateful of this opportunity and focused on giving my best effort to the team."
Team owner Eric Jensen states, "I first recalled hearing a lot of Chris at the 2004 Road America race, as he battled with Marco Andretti and the top guys in the Skip Barber National Series race for the overall victory. So Chris obviously knows well how to be quick at Road America, and it is a real pleasure for me to continue to assist some of the talented young drivers to get their first chance in the pro Atlantic series."
For more details about Chris Prey and our plans for the Road America race, contact Jensen MotorSport via e-mail at team@jensenmotorsport.com

Jordan Wood Crowned Miss Teen International Jordan Wood Crowned Miss Teen InternationalJordan Wood, daughter of Eddie and Carol Wood won the Miss Teen International Pageant this past weekend in Chicago, IL. Eddie, Wood Brothers Racing co-owner was able to attend the preliminary competition before going to St. Louis for son Jon's Busch Series race on Saturday.

Eddie Wood: "I went to the preliminary program on Thursday night. I thought she did really well there from what little I know about it. They gave out the preliminary awards for each category and she didn't win any of those so we really didn't know what to expect. The finals were Saturday night and I was at the Busch race. I think from what Carol said, her on stage interview was really the key to winning.

"A lot of effort went into it. That beauty pageant arena is a lot like racing. Instead of a crew chief you've got a pageant coach and there are speech coaches and all that. You have to have the right stuff like we do on the cars.

"This is the second big one I've gone to. It's a different world than what I'm used to, but it's really competitive. We're really proud of her. She has worked really hard on this." zzzz

The following was released by Miss Teen International Monday.

CHICAGO, August 1: Miss Teen Virginia, Jordan Wood, was crowned Miss Teen International 2005 at the national pageant Saturday July 30 in Chicago. Jordan will tour the world promoting her platform, along with the morals and ethics of the Miss Teen International Pageant.

Jordan is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. She is a Chi Omega sorority sister and is involved in many activities including, cheerleading, softball, and Spanish Club. Jordan enjoys dancing, traveling, NASCAR Racing, and volunteering.

As the chosen winner of Miss Teen International Jordan Wood receives thousands of dollars in scholarship money and prizes, but more importantly the title will allow her the opportunity to help her chosen organization as its national advocate.

Jordan has already begun advocating for public awareness of teenage dating abuse. She worked with the 2005 Virginia General Assembly to pass House Joint Resolution Number 688, which designates the first week in October as Teenage Dating Abuse Awareness Week. Jordan will use the opportunity as Miss Teen International to create a partnership between the National Center of Victims of Crime, NCVC, and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Race team to promote this issue internationally. "I look forward to this exciting opportunity to work with the Miss Teen International system creating awareness of teenage dating abuse," said the newly crowned Miss Teen International. "As a survivor myself, it is my passion to counsel others and help them escape their abusive relationships."

The young women of the Miss Teen International Pageant are between the ages of 13-19, and originate from any part of the world. The national competition includes a private interview with a panel of esteemed judges. This portion consists of 40% of the score and is the most critical component of the judging process. The Fashion Wear portion, is the presentation of today's current fashion, and adds another 20% to the score. Fitness Wear lends an additional 20% to the score. Lastly, the evening gown presentation completes the program and contributes 20% to the total score. Ford Racing

Unser to serve as grand marshal of Infineon event Unser to serve as grand marshal of Infineon eventFour-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser will serve as Grand Marshal of the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 28.  Unser, who currently serves as driver coach and consultant for Indy Racing League, placed third in the last major open-wheel race held at the Sonoma, Calif., road course, the USAC IndyCar 150 in 1970.

The New Mexico resident is looking forward to returning to the twisting road course as grand marshal of the first event on a permanent road course in the 10-year history of the IRL.  "I've always liked running in Sonoma," Unser said. "Boy, I remember that race back in 1970 pretty well. There were things on the car that didn't go right that day and it showed because we were out-run by Gurney. He was strong."

Unser will be honored during the race weekend Aug. 26 at the IRL Grand Marshal's Banquet at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. All proceeds from the banquet will benefit El Nido Teen Center in Sonoma through Speedway Children's Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway. Unser also will participate in pre-race ceremonies on Aug. 28.

"That's a heck of a racetrack, and I know all the drivers are looking forward to coming out there," Unser said. "I'm real honored to be there, and I think the people of Northern California are really going to enjoy the show."

IPS Series
Andretti to compete at Kentucky Andretti to compete at KentuckyMarco Andretti will look for his third victory in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 13.  Andretti, the 18-year-old son of IndyCar Series co-owner Michael Andretti and grandson of Mario Andretti, made his debut in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series with a victory from the pole on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in April. He also won from the pole in the Liberty Challenge on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in June.

The Courier-Journal 100 at Kentucky will be Andretti's second career race on an oval. He qualified 10th and finished 16th in the Futaba Freedom 100 at Indianapolis in May.

"I'm looking forward to the Kentucky race," said Andretti, who drives the No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. "Our test down there last week went pretty good. It's pretty bumpy so it took me a while to go 'flat,' but I got there eventually. I'm just looking forward to running a Pro Series race again and getting another shot on an oval. It'll be something new, which is always pretty exciting."

Watson questions Massa at Ferrari Watson questions Massa at FerrariFerrari will be a weaker team as a result of signing Felipe Massa, ex-Formula One driver John Watson says.   The Brazilian has replaced BAR-bound Rubens Barrichello and is a "stop-gap" until Michael Schumacher retires, five-time winner Watson told BBC Sport.  Massa was the "best available driver" because no top name would be prepared to be subservient to Schumacher.  Watson added: "He's their best option. Whether the team is weaker as a result of Barrichello going, I suspect it is."

Eyebrows have been raised following the world champions' decision to pick Massa because he has achieved little in three years racing in F1 with Sauber.  He was outpaced by team-mates Nick Heidfeld and Giancarlo Fisichella in 2002 and 2004, and after a bright start to 2005 has suffered a similar fate in recent races at the hands of Jacques Villeneuve. More at BBC Sport

Schumacher welcomes Massa Schumacher welcomes MassaMichael Schumacher welcomed Felipe Massa at Ferrari. The seven times World Champion commented : "I am happy for Felipe. In my view he deserves this change as he is doing a good job since quite a while now. We have seen his talent lately in F1 but also when he was test driver for us. And we have not been the only ones who were interested in him. With Rubens I shared a nice time and a lot of beautiful memories. I wish him all the best in his new team” Ferrari
Third day of Monza testing for Badoer Third day of Monza testing for BadoerThird day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working once again today at the Monza circuit. At the wheel of an F2005, Luca Badoer continued working on a program centered on tire and aerodynamics development, aimed at the forthcoming races. The Scuderia’s official test driver covered a total of 86 laps, setting a best time of 1’23’’328. Testing at this track continues tomorrow, again with Badoer. Ferrari
Industry News
SMI reports solid Q2 results SMI reports solid Q2 resultsSpeedway Motorsports (SMI) today reported Q2 ’05 net income of $55.5M, or $1.26 per share, up from $39.9M, or $0.92 per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $216.2M, up from $164.9M in last year’s second quarter. However, the company said that the results “are not comparable to last year’s” because two races held during the quarter at Bristol Motor Speedway fell in Q1 last year BIZJOURNALS.com [Editor's Note: With profits like that for one quarter it's amazing that SMI had the gall to ask taxpayers to help pay for promotion of their NASCAR races at Texas Motor Speedway.  The taxpayers were smart enough to stand their ground and say no.  What is quite clear, given both SMI's and ISC's profits, they are raking the NASCAR fans over the coals with high ticket prices, and in return realizing a handsome return for their shareholders.]
2006 Ford Fusion takes to the track 2006 Ford Fusion takes to the trackUPDATE More photos from the test:

Photos courtesy of Ford Racing

08/02/05 Ford Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Dale Jarrett test drove the new 2006 Ford Fusion for the first time today in the official on-track NASCAR approval phase for the new car. The test took place Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in front of NASCAR officials.
Jarrett took to the AMS track at approximately 1:15 p.m. this afternoon, and completed a series of approval runs for NASCAR.  The Wood Brothers Racing team prepped and ran the car for Jarrett, who drives for Robert Yates Racing. 

The new Fusion race car was scheduled to go to the Lockheed wind tunnel later in the day in Marietta, Ga., for its final NASCAR approval stage.
DALE JARRETT - Ford Racing driver -  "I think things went really well. I was pleased with the way the new Ford Fusion was as far as the balance entering and exiting the corner.  It has a very nice look to it and performed well.  We were able to achieve the speed that we were looking for, and hold on to the speed we needed in a 10-lap run. I was very comfortable in the car." WITH ONLY A FEW LAPS, WAS THERE ANY WAY TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FUSION AND TAURUS? "I think the biggest thing we fight with the Taurus is if we get enough downforce in the rear to make it to where we can drive at tracks like Atlanta, getting into the corner, then usually we fight a problem of the front end not sticking as good as we need. It wants to lift up. This car seems to have a better balance about it.  That's what we were trying to achieve with the Fusion, and I think we've done that." YOU DROVE THE PRODUCTION CAR RECENTLY IN MICHIGAN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? "I think what we've done with the Fusion is that we built a car that's going to be very nice on the race track, but it's going to be one that the public will go to a dealership and want to buy one. That's what we want to achieve - something we can win with on Sunday and the public will buy on Monday."
EDDIE WOOD - Ford Racing/Wood Brothers team owner - HOW DO YOU FEEL THINGS WENT TODAY?  "From my standpoint, I just wanted to come down here and run what we were supposed to run without anything happening to the race car. That was our main goal. We brought an extra car (Taurus No. 21 car), just in case we needed an oil line or something like that. There is no parts truck to go to here, and nobody else to go borrow stuff from, so we came down and approached this just like a normal race week. Fortunately, nothing was needed. Dale got in the car and ran the speed that NASCAR needed and now it's headed to the wind tunnel." CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PROCESS OF BUILDING THE CAR? "Bernie Marcus (Ford aero expert) and Ben Leslie (Ford NASCAR Field Manager) did all the development work on the nose and the tail, and did it with our 40-percent scale model, and adapted it to the race car. Ford Racing did a really good job; they had a timetable to meet and we actually got the car in a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, so we are pretty happy with that. We did the last submission car Ford did, and with the Fusion being the new model for next year, it's pretty special."
GREG SPECHT - Operations Manager, Ford Racing Technology - THOUGHTS ON THE TEST? "The day couldn't have gone better in my opinion. We did the minimum amount of laps that were required to demonstrate the car's capability to NASCAR and it performed flawlessly. We even beat the rain, so I'm happy with the way things worked out." WHAT HAS THE MOOD BEEN SINCE THE PUBLIC UNVEILING OF FUSION TWO WEEKS AGO? "The unveiling went so well, and of course we still have the get the car approved by NASCAR, so there was a little bit of concern about today going well. But now the first part of the day is behind us, the car looked good, and we got very good feedback from Dale. He felt it was well-balanced. As I said, this part of it couldn't have gone any better." Ford Racing

A1 Grand Prix
UK team top A1GP test UK team top A1GP testUPDATE
A1 Team drivers
Australia Christian Jones
Brazil Nelson Piquet jnr, Danilo Dirani and João Paulo Oliveiria
China Qing Hua Ma and Tingyi Jiang
France Loic Duval, Alexandre Premat and Nicolas Lapierre
Great Britain Robbie Kerr and Alex Lloyd
Lebanon Kalil Beschir and Basil Shaaban
Malaysia Alex Yoong
Mexico Luis Diaz, Memo Rojas, David Martinez and Salvador Duran
Netherlands Jos Verstappen and Jeroen Bleekemolen
New Zealand Jonny Reid and Matt Halliday
Pakistan Adam Khan
Portugal Pedro Lamy
South Africa Stephen Simpson and Thomas Scheckter
Switzerland Neel Jani
USA Jeff Simmons

08/03/05 A1 Team Great Britain led the way through the pit lane this morning, first onto the track on what is sure to be a historic day with the first team running of the World Cup of Motorsport. 15 nations took their cars onto the track for the first time on day one of a two day official test and by the time the checkered flag fell this evening, A1 Team Great Britain was fastest.

John Surtees, Team Principal was pleased with the team's result. "Today obviously is when the team has been together for the first time, both with people and with the machinery. It has purely been a learning curve because with the structure of this formula, where there is no massive advantage in machinery, advantages are gained through close relationships with the team and drivers and the tuning of the car. The testing is a question of putting together that knowledge and this is the first part of that curve. I can't emphasize enough that at this moment it is very early days. I won't complain about being top and we need to make sure that we repeat it - it's very encouraging for everyone involved."

Robbie Kerr was driving the car today and was also pleased with the first outing. "It went well. We're all learning how each other works. We took our time and did our thing. Towards the end we put new tires on and it made a big difference. I had a lot more grip and could feel that the car was working better. With more work we'll learn how to get the times from new and used tires. Improvements can be made both by me and to the car so we'll see how it goes tomorrow."

1 Great Britain 48.888 57 laps
2 Brazil 49.069 67 laps
3 Switzerland 49.095 35 laps
4 France 49.271 41 laps
5 Portugal 49.393 68 laps
6 Pakistan 49.506 34 laps
7 Malaysia 49.634 40 laps
8 USA 49.740 48 laps
9 South Africa 49.864 42 laps
10 Lebanon 49.976 58 laps
11 Australia 50.066 52 laps
12 Mexico 50.265 44 laps
13 Netherlands 50.377 28 laps
14 New Zealand 50.610 59 laps
15 China 55.783 22 laps

Toyota renews with Long Beach Grand Prix Toyota renews with Long Beach Grand PrixThe Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, LLC announced today that it has reached a five-year agreement with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. and the Southern California Toyota Dealers Association to continue as the title sponsor of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The extension of the previous Grand Prix title sponsorship arrangement ensures that Toyota’s 31-year relationship with America’s premier street race will continue through 2010. Toyota has been title sponsor of the event since 1980.

"Toyota is proud to continue our relationship with one of America’s premier motorsports events,” said Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager.  “The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is believed to be the longest running motorsports title sponsorship in this country, and we are enthusiastic to continue to be a part of such a great event.”

The centerpiece of the 2006 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is the Champ Car World Series, which has been featured since 1984. The race weekend will also present the 30th anniversary running of the ever-popular Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, pitting Hollywood celebrities and sports stars against professional drivers in identically-prepared Toyota vehicles.

“We are absolutely thrilled to continue our relationship with Toyota Motor Sales and the Southern California Toyota Dealers Association,” said Jim Michaelian, CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “They have been an extraordinary partner in our event from the very beginning, and we look forward to extending this relationship to new heights in the coming years.”

Edwards to pull triple duty in Indy Edwards to pull triple duty in IndyIn 2005 Carl Edwards will spend 32 weekends pulling double duty in both the NASCAR Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series.  This week, when the two series visit Indianapolis, IN, Edwards will add a third race to his schedule putting his total races in one weekend to three.  Edwards will kick off his busy race week tonight in Pevely, MO when he takes part in Ken Schraeder's "Night of Stars".

"I'm looking forward to racing at Pevely," said Edwards.  "I think there are several other Cup drivers going like Dave Blaney and Casey Mears so I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun putting on a great show for the fans and at the same time raising money for charity."

Edwards will then travel to Indianapolis where he kicks off his triple-duty weekend when he races in the USAC Silver Crown race at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) on Thursday night.  Edwards will drive the No. 191 TMC Transportation car owned by R.E. Technologies, a team in which he is a part owner.  This race will mark his sixth career start in a Silver Crown car at the .686-mile oval.  His best finish in the series at IRP came in 2003 when he finished third and went on to win in the No. 99 Superchips F-150 the following night.  The USAC Silver Crown Series was the launching pad for Edwards before he went to Roush Racing and it's a series that holds many fond memories and lots of potential according to the rising star.

"The Silver Crown Series has produced some of the greatest drivers and they have a really rich history."  Edwards continued, "When I was little I thought, 'man, those are neatest cars' then I had the opportunity to race them and it was awesome.  To be able to drive for a team like R.E. Technologies is really neat.  They definitely have what it takes to win races.  I think their talent and equipment coupled with a Ford powered engine will make for a great combination at IRP.  I'm really proud to be a part of this team.

"I'm excited about the future of the Silver Crown Series.  I think the new car design and the new venues they will be racing at will really spark a new found interest in the series.  It's really an exciting time because I think they are on the verge of exploding in popularity and exposure and I'm just grateful to be a part of that."

No aid for development near Bristol track No aid for development near Bristol trackA luxury condominium project under way near Bristol Motor Speedway likely will not receive funding help from the city, council members said Monday.
The City Council deferred action last month on a request by Interstate Realty and Development for $2 million in tax increment financing. The Bristol Tennessee firm asked for the money to help offset infrastructure costs of the planned $43.7 million Raceday Center project.

Council members are scheduled to vote on the plan at tonight’s monthly meeting.

Tax increment financing diverts any increases in property tax collections, when values increase due to redevelopment, to help finance projects. To qualify, the property must be declared blighted and plans must be approved by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the City Council and the Sullivan County Commission.

The housing board unanimously approved the funding package in June, but the plans got a cooler reception from the council. Last month, at least three council members said they planned to vote against the plan and a fourth – Mayor Jim Messimer – said Monday he also is opposed.

"I think this is a great project, but I don’t feel the citizens of Bristol want us to give them $2 million," Messimer said. "I don’t believe this is the type of project a TIF grant should be used for. This is prime real estate."

A TIF is part of a loan package that is assumed and guaranteed by the developer. With the special financing, government entities agree to forego those tax increases for a period of years – 12.5 years in this case – and that money is applied to a specific part of the redevelopment. More at TriCities.com

A1 Grand Prix
Verstappen test A1GP car Verstappen test A1GP carJos Verstappen's website has photos from today's A1GP test at Silverstone.  AutoRacing1.com has a reporter on-site and will have further information later today.
German DTM
More Spectators at the Race Tracks and at the TV Sets More Spectators at the Race Tracks and at the TV SetsThe DTM gets more and more exciting and more and more popular as well. Three weeks prior to the seventh round of the 2005 DTM at the Nürburgring this coming weekend, ticket sales were up by 15 percent compared to last year when a total of 103,000 attended the three-day event. That was an all-time record for DTM races at the Nürburgring since the championship was launched. The last race at Nuremberg's Norisring two weeks ago attracted a crowd of 143,000 – a record in DTM history.

Exciting championship: The battle between Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes), who won three races so far this year and defending champion Mattias Ekström (Audi) is in the center of interest. After six out of 11 races, Paffett is the overall leader with 44 points ahead of Ekström with 41 points. They are followed by Tom Kristensen (Audi) with 28 points and Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) and Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes) with 17 points each.

Spectators: An average of 81,250 spectators attended the 2005 DTM races so far (as of Norisring), last year it have been 76,900 per event. Except for the season opener at Hockenheim, there have been record crowds at every other circuit this year. The race at Oschersleben was the event with the most spectators since the circuit exists.

TV viewers: The number of TV viewers for the LIVE broadcasts increased significantly. An average of 2.05 million people watched the six races so far, last year there have been 1.47 million. This means an increase of more than 30 percent. Accumulated, all TV reports reached 88.08 million people in 2005 (last year: 82.67 million). Outside Germany, DTM can be watched in 36 countries LIVE or delayed.

Internet: Between March and May 2005, the page impressions for the Mercedes-Benz motor sport web site www.mercedes-benz.com/motorsport doubled compared to the same time last year.

SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 8-3-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (27) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 9.022
2. (10) Michael Schumacher (F1) 8.716
3. (2) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.939
4. (3) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 7.820
5. (4) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 7.724
6. (16) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 7.645
7. (5) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 7.569
8. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 7.345
9. (7) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 7.078
10. (6) Paul Tracy (CCWS) 7.035
11. (35) Bryan Herta (IRL) 6.980
12. (9) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.958
13. (11) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 6.796
14. (15) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.601
15. (13) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 6.533
16. (8) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 6.395
17. (25) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 6.383
18. (12) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.353
19. (17) Dale Jarrett (NASCAR) 6.332
20. (18) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.315
Last week’s ranking in parenthesis
Provided by STATS Inc.
Richmond sells out 28th consecutive race Richmond sells out 28th consecutive raceRichmond Int’l Speedway announced its 28th consecutive NASCAR Nextel Cup Series sellout, a streak that spans 14 years, as all tickets in the 107,000-seat grandstands have been sold for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 on September 10th.
CARA charity Affair At California Speedway CARA charity Affair At California SpeedwayCalifornia Speedway's turn four parking area will be transformed into "Miss Kitty's Saloon" on Friday, October 14, for the third annual CARA Charities' Raceway Rendezvous charity affair known this year as  "Guns & Garters - a different kind of horsepower."

As the kickoff to the season finale (Toyota Indy 400) of the 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series 17-race campaign, "Guns & Garters" gives the racing fans the opportunity to donate money to charitable causes as well as mingle and meet the top IndyCar drivers, team owners, officials and sponsors in a light hearted night of fun, food and fund raising.

The large Toyota Hospitality Center at California Speedway will be turned back to the 19th Century with one of the IRL IndyCar® Series' most popular social events that annually raises thousands of dollars for charity including local and national needy causes. This year's event will help benefit the California Highway Patrol's Child Passenger Safety Program.

The annual Raceway Rendezvous event, one of CARA Charities' biggest charitable activities, will feature music, a grand food spread, a silent motorsports auction and a variety of western contests and games.  A "one of a kind" Cobra scooter, with autographs from the entire IndyCar Series field of drivers, also will be auctioned during the night. zzzz

This year's "Guns & Garters" extravaganza will be highlighted by a special "Texas Hold 'Em" Poker Tournament featuring many of the IRL participants from drivers, owners, officials and sponsors of the IRL IndyCar Series as well as racing enthusiasts who are invited to join in this unique card game.  CHIPs star Erik Estrada also will participate in the night's event.

"Each year's Raceway Rendezvous event becomes bigger and better," said Barbara Butz, president of CARA Charities.  "The first year we had Tony George and Al Unser Jr. dressed in 1950s garb and Laura George participating in the 'Hula Hoop' contests and last year we had IndyCar drivers playing volleyball and Rick Mears in a wildest Hawaiian shirt.  Who knows who'll have the best outfits this year with a Western theme?  But I guarantee the 'Guns & Garters' event will be another spectacular affair for fans, sponsors and racing teams.  And better yet, the event will raise money for some great causes through outstanding auction items, the poker tournament and other contests. We hope all of the IndyCar community and the Southern California racing fans can be a part of it."

A superb faire of western barbeque food and beverages will be part of the 6 p.m. charity event that precedes the fast Indy car action on Oct 15-16 during the Toyota Indy 400.

Tickets for this year's Raceway Rendezvous - "Guns & Garters" - can be purchased by calling the CARA Charities office at 317-299-2277, by e-mail at carachar@aol.com or on-line the CARA website at www.caracharities.org.  Individual tickets are $100 with special sponsorships and corporate tables are also available. 

Fan events leading up to AllState 400 Fan events leading up to AllState 400
John Andretti hosts the 10th Kroger Race for Riley presented by Cheerios from 2-7 p.m. at Mark Dismore's New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park. Also expected to attend: Sarah Fisher, Boston Reid, Ricky Rudd and Tony Stewart.

• Lyn St. James hosts the third Women in the Winner's Circle luncheon and silent auction from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the University of Indianapolis' Schwitzer Student Center. Among the drivers expected: Fisher, Erin Crocker, Allison Duncan, Janet Guthrie, Katherine Legge and Deborah Renshaw.

• Dodge drivers will be available for autographs during the fifth WIBC/Dodge Racers on the Circle in Monument Circle from 4-8 p.m. Tentative schedule: Ken Schrader, 4:30-5; Ryan Newman, 5-5:30; Brendan Gaughan, Steve Park, 5:30-6; Chase Montgomery, Bobby Hamilton, 6-6:30; Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, 6:30-7; Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Green, 7-7:30; Sterling Marlin, 7:30-8.

• Ford drivers will be available for autographs during the Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Day from 4-9 p.m. at South Meridian and Jackson Place. Tentative schedule: Dale Jarrett, 4:15-5:45; Rudd, Terry Cook, 4:30-6; Kurt Busch, 5:30-7; Matt Kenseth, 6-7:30; Elliott Sadler, David Green, 7-8:30.

• Jeff Gordon hosts his fourth annual charity bowling tournament at 5 p.m. at AMF Raceway Lanes at 4503 W. 16th St. Proceeds go to the Jeff Gordon Foundation benefiting Riley Hospital for Children. Among those signed up to bowl with Gordon are Brian Vickers, Kyle Petty, Kyle Busch, Chad Knaus, Robbie Loomis, Ray Evernham, Fisher, Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Eddie Cheever Jr., Allen Bestwick, Jeff Hammond and PBA professionals Parker Bohn III, Doug Kent, Mike Aulby and Danny Wiseman. zzzz

• Chevy Day at the Brickyard features question-and-answer sessions from 9 a.m.-noon at two locations. The tentative lineup for the American Revolution Stage in the east parking lot at the Hall of Fame Museum: Jason Leffler, Bobby Labonte, 9; Vickers, Scott Riggs, 10:30; Kyle Busch, Johnson, 10:45; J.J. Yeley, Terry Labonte, 11. On the Coca-Cola stage in Pagoda Plaza will be: Loomis, Jim Covey, 9:30; Joe Nemechek, Boris Said, 10; Richard Childress, Dave Blaney, Jeff Burton, 10:15; Greg Zipadelli, Pat Suhy, 11:30.

• Several drivers will head from their Q&A to the flag lot to race remote-control cars from 9:15-11:45 a.m. They also will be available for autographs in the plaza from 9:30 a.m.-noon. Tentative signing schedule: Leffler, Bobby Labonte, 9:30; Johnson, Kyle Busch, Riggs, Vickers, 10; Childress, Blaney, Burton, Nemechek, Said, Michael Waltrip, 10:30; Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, 11; Yeley, Terry Labonte, 11:30 a.m.

• The NASCAR pets calendar autograph session featuring Greg Biffle and Newman will run from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in front of Plaza Retail in Pagoda Plaza.

• Track announcer Tom Carnegie will sign autographs from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the retail shop in the plaza.

• At the Speedway, Bill Elliott has a fan Q&A session scheduled from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and Rudd from 1:15-1:30 p.m. on the Coca-Cola Stage in Pagoda Plaza. Also at noon, 10,000 fans will be treated to free food at Hank's Hog Roast. IMS entertainment includes Emerson Drive from 3-4 p.m. and Diamond Rio from 4:45-6 p.m.

Minardi duo set for Rotterdam spectacular Minardi duo set for Rotterdam spectacularThe Minardi F1 Team today confirms that drivers Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos will appear at this Sunday’s Monaco aan de Maas (Maas-side Monaco) event in central Rotterdam. The motorsport spectacular is expected by organizers to draw up to 500,000 fans, with the centerpiece of the day’s activities being demonstration runs by Albers and Doornbos in a Minardi Cosworth PS04B around a 3.4- km track laid out on the streets of the famous Dutch city.

“Wherever possible, Minardi is pleased to support programs that help to bring Formula One closer to the fans, as demonstrated by our participation during the last year in the highly successful London and Melbourne street events,” says Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. “We therefore had no hesitation in agreeing to take part in Monaco aan de Maas, particularly as Rotterdam is currently enjoying its role as European Capital of Sports for 2005. This should be a great event, and with our all-Dutch line-up of Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos, we expect large numbers of the country’s Formula One fans to turn out and see their heroes in action.

“This special appearance by the Minardi F1 Team and its drivers is also an appropriate way for us to thank our many Dutch sponsors for their enthusiastic support this season. We’re definitely looking forward to bringing the sights and sounds of Formula One to the streets of Rotterdam on Sunday afternoon.” Minardi

Industry News
Mazda profits down 96% Mazda profits down 96%Mazda Motor Corp., Japan's fourth-biggest carmaker, said its first-quarter profit fell 96% as it took a onetime charge to comply with new Japanese accounting standards.

Net income fell to 419 million yen ($3.75 million) in the three months ended June, from 11.6 billion yen last year, Mazda said today. Sales of the carmaker, based in southwestern Japan's Hiroshima Prefecture, rose 4.4% to 670.8 billion yen from 642.3 billion yen.

Mazda, a third owned by Ford Motor Co., booked a onetime charge of 21.2 billion yen to write down the value of its assets. The company's operating profit, which was not affected by the charge, rose 14 percent as the carmaker increased sales in North America and Japan. Detroit Free Press

Long-arm Wilson Long-arm WilsonDid you catch the San Jose race on TV Sunday?  If you did you would have seen an unusual in-car camera shot of Justin Wilson reaching out of the cockpit of his RuSPORT Racing Lola to fix a loose shock cover on the nose of the car. At 6'4", Wilson is likely the only driver who would have been tall enough to be able to reach the errant part. NSSN
Atlanta To Add Corporate Suites Atlanta To Add Corporate Suites With recent damage to the suites at Atlanta Motor Speedway, officials at the track have decided to reconfigure the suites and offer 16-person facilities. The track currently offers 30-person and 64-person suites.  Companies interested in leasing the new suites should contact the track at (770) 946-3918.
Industry News
Earnhardt Leads International Hall Finalists Earnhardt Leads International Hall FinalistsNASCAR candidates dominated the first round of voting for the 2006 class of the hugely NASCAR biased International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Dale Earnhardt led the NASCAR contingent as the top vote-getter, along with Red Byron, Jerry Cook, Harry Gant, Ray Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Cotton Owens, Les Richter, Jack Roush, Ralph Seagraves, Humpy Wheeler and Rex White. Other finalists include IndyCar standouts J.C. Agajanian and Pete DePaolo, Formula One star Rene Dreyfus, sports-car drivers Gene Fulton, Janet Guthrie and Brian Redman, sprint-car drivers Tommy Hinnershitz and Jan Opperman, drag racer Bill Jenkins and motorcycle champion Wayne Rainey.  The announcement of the 2006 class will be made Nov. 2.
For most, test driving a dead end street For most, test driving a dead end streetThe announcement that Rubens Barrichello is moving from Ferrari to be replaced by Felipe Massa sends out a clear message in the F1 fraternity: being a test driver these days is a ticket to nowhere.

Barrichello will slot into BAR where Anthony Davidson will just have to sit and watch another opportunity fading. Over at Ferrari they have given up even pretending: Luca Badoer and Marc Gene are handsomely paid to pound around and do the grunt work. It is a similar story at McLaren where Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa wait and hope that Juan Pablo Montoya will play some more tennis or perhaps even fall off a motorbike and down at Renault poor Franck Montagny must feel like the token gesture to France that he is. Ricardo Zonta at Toyota may also feel a little hard done by

Testing miles, it is very clear, do not equate to racing miles and thus it is better for a young driver to be racing for a smaller team (a la Massa) than to be testing for a big team. Anthony Davidson, Antonio Pizzonia, Ricardo Zonta and Franck Montagny are not names being mentioned much at the moment in relation to available drives in 2005 and yet they have all covered endless mileage in testing. More at Grandprix.com

A1 Grand Prix
Nelson Piquet to test A1GP Nelson Piquet to test A1GPNelson Piquet Jr will take part this week in the first group test of the forthcoming A1 Grand Prix series, for Team Brazil. On Wednesday and Thursday, 3/4 August, he will test at the Silverstone Circuit in the UK for the team, which is preparing for the brand new winter series. He will drive alongside compatriots Danilo Dirani and João Paulo Oliveira.

“A1 Grand Prix is a category that is going to be really interesting," said Piquet Jr. "It’s different to other categories and so people are really paying attention to it. I’m looking forward to testing the car. I don’t really know what to expect and as it is the first time the cars will be tested, the objectives are really to get to know the car and learn more about what the category is all about. I’m sure both days are going to be very productive for everybody involved, the drivers, the teams and the organizers. It should be a good couple of days.”
A1 Grand Prix has been designed by its founder, Sheikh Maktoum, as the ‘World Cup of Motorsport’, and it will take the form of a single- make series in which drivers will compete to win the championship for their country. The championship will begin at Brands Hatch in the UK on 25 September, with the winning nation lifting the championship cup at the season finale in Beijing on 26 March 2006. Races in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America have all been confirmed.

The A1 Team Brazil was launched on 29 June in São Paulo by two-times F1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, and three-times FIFA World Football Player of the Year, Ronaldo. Brazil is renowned for bringing some of the greatest sporting legends of all time to the world stage and A1 Team Brazil will give two drivers the opportunity to demonstrate their talent in this highly-anticipated series. And as the world’s sixth largest country, there is a potential 182 million fans for the talented two that are selected. Piquet PR

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Alonso to 'relax'
No Williams deal - BMW
Kurt Busch visits F1
'Calm down, Narain'
Villeneuve off to Canada
Haug's engine idea
John Andretti gets another truck gig John Andretti gets another truck gigBilly Ballew has appointed John Andretti as driver of the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports entry for the next two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) and Nashville Superspeedway to be held Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 13, respectively.  Andretti has competed in the No. 15 Chevrolet in two events already this season and racked up top-10 finishes in both races held at Kansas Speedway and Memphis Motorsports Park.

“We're glad to have John Andretti back with us for IRP and Nashville,” said team owner Billy Ballew.  “He’s had great success with our team at Kansas and Memphis.  Most of all, he’s a pleasure to work with.  He’s definitely locked in for those two races and after that, we'll have to see.  Without sponsorship for our team, we just have to play it by ear.”

Gelles Racing orders two Champ Car Atlantic cars Gelles Racing orders two Champ Car Atlantic carsBob Gelles announced the purchase of two Champ Car Atlantic cars with the new Swift 0.16a chassis and the 300-hp 2.3-liter Cosworth package. “We’re very happy to step up to this new exciting series in 2006, added the team principal. With four FB2 cars entered in the high-tech BMW entry-level series, we feel this will be the best step in the North American ladder series leading to Champ Car, Indy Racing or Formula One. We will be ready when the season starts next year. “
Felipe Massa comments on his Ferrari ride Felipe Massa comments on his Ferrari ride “I am very happy and proud to be racing with Ferrari in 2006. Maranello has believed in me since 2001, when I had yet to make my Formula 1 debut. Now, I am in my third season as a Sauber driver and I can also count on a year’s experience as a Ferrari test driver, an experience which helped me to grow a great deal. I feel ready for this new challenge, which is the best opportunity of my career. I am aware of the responsibility it places on me and I cannot wait to be part of a team like Ferrari, alongside the best driver in the world, Michael Schumacher. I wish to thank Peter Sauber for having had faith in me over these past three years. I will do my very best in the final six races of the season to get the best possible results for his team.” Felipe Massa
Smashing debut for San Jose Smashing debut for San JoseIf the attendance figures are anywhere close to accurate, the city of San Jose has thoroughly embraced the Champ Car World Series.

Before an announced crowd of 62,371 vocally enthusiastic attendees Sunday, Newman/Haas Racing's Sebastien Bourdais won his second consecutive race at the inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose, taking the checkered flag 3.724 seconds ahead of Forsythe Championship Racing's Paul Tracy.

The Sunday crowd -- which included sold out grandstands -- brought the three-day total to 153,767. That makes two consecutive highly successful first-year events for the series. Two weeks ago at the inaugural Grand Prix of Edmonton (Canada), the race-day attendance was 78,080 for a three-day figure of 200,052.

It also brought the series' season attendance to 1,052,193 in the first eight events with six remaining on the calendar.

"The numbers exceeded our expectations," said Bob Singleton, vice president and general manager of the San Jose Grand Prix. "We have room for improvement and we will grow."  More at Monterey Herald

Bumps aside, GP is full throttle Bumps aside, GP is full throttleThe race-car drivers could have done without those Houston-we-have-liftoff light-rail tracks. General-admission fans could have used someplace to sit down once in a while -- or at least more room to spread out along the fences. And some downtown bars and restaurants need to figure out how to capitalize on the booming (or was it vrooming?) business that others enjoyed.

Still, on the whole, this past weekend's inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose was a blast. Let's start now figuring out how to make the second-annual race even better.

The Canary Fund, a cancer charity, has a five-year contract with the Champ Cars World Series circuit to host races here. Getting it right next year would make the following three a breeze.

Some of the challenges for the race operation became challenges for downtown businesses as well. For instance, there weren't nearly enough foot bridges to carry fans over the streets where the cars were zooming by. The pedestrian gridlock annoyed the crowds and discouraged folks from coming and going from the race area, which short-changed restaurants outside the fence.

An informal survey Monday by the San Jose Downtown Association found businesses about evenly divided on weekend profits: a third did very well, a third about normal and the rest not so good. The race hype apparently drove some regular customers away, which is too bad. It should have been a party weekend all around, not just inside the fence. As it turned out, the streets outside the race area were not hard to navigate.

The event may have indirect benefits, however. The city looked terrific on television. And with three-day attendance more than 153,000, surely some racing fans who had never been downtown before will come back for a meal or a show.

In the Bay Area, it's easy to forget that auto racing is one of the most popular sports across the United States. California is not immune to this fascination, and San Jose was smart to grasp the opportunity presented by the Champ Cars.  Mercury News

Champ Cars Steal NASCAR’s Thunder in the Bay Area Champ Cars Steal NASCAR’s Thunder in the Bay AreaThe course wasn’t perfect. Logistics for the fans were horrific. And you could spend hours walking around trying to find driver gear and never, ever find so much as a t-shirt.

But in one weekend the inaugural San Jose Grand Prix accomplished what NASCAR has dreamed about for years. It captured the imagination of everyday people in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Over 62,000 people from near and far descended upon the oft-underestimated city of San Jose this past Sunday, ready for a sun-drenched day of open-wheel racing. It was an event many scoffed at when it was first announced. After all, if NASCAR’s Sonoma race could barely register a blip on the local radar, how in the world could Champ Cars succeed?

As the race day drew near, Champ’s advocates did things right. They focused on introducing racing to a populace that loves football, baseball and hockey. It wasn’t about Hollywood celebrities or manufactured championships or even sexy rock-star drivers. It was about racing pure and simple. Speed. Cool cars. And they never wavered from that theme.

Also, rather than expect Bay Area locals to venture to a track, the Champ Car series delivered the action right to their front door. It was a stroke of genius. Never has the region seen one of its cities transformed into playground for race cars. The race could not be ignored, or relegated to the back page of the sports section. It was in your face. Bold. It was exactly what was needed to make people listen and watch and even attend.

Even me. When I first heard about the race, I kind of shrugged. I’m a stock car racing fan, and never watch open wheel racing. I think I’ve watched part of the Indy 500 a few times, and maybe allowed a Champ Car rerun to stay on the TV while I worked on something else. I didn’t plan on attending the race until about a week ago, but I couldn’t ignore the excitement the pre-race publicity was generating. More....  [Editor's Note:  This article is from a pro-NASCAR website.  A must read.]

Teams line up to buy new Atlantic car Teams line up to buy new Atlantic carUPDATE #3 AutoRacing1.com has learned from inside sources that as of today the order count is up to 26 cars and it can go as high as 40. Will that many cars force them to run two heat races in a weekend and then a feature race for the top 15 in each heat? That's a good problem to have. Mark C. 08/01/05 According to this ESPN.com article, the count is now up to 20 new Atlantic cars ordered. Clearly, a lot of people are going to be clamoring to get into the new Atlantic series in 2006. 07/31/05 Kevin Kalkhoven told AutoRacing1.com that the phone has been ringing off the hook since yesterday's announcement.  Another Champ Car source confirmed this with us and told us that 18 cars have already been ordered since yesterday, meaning the new series is an instant success. 07/30/05 Team Australia/Walker Racing, Sierra-Sierra, and Brooks Racing all placed orders today for the new Champ Car Atlantic car and engine (6 cars total).  Sierra-Sierra announced they are returning to the series to complete unfinished business.

DERRICK WALKER:  Sure.  First of all, if I may take the liberty to thank and acknowledge Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe for their continuing efforts to revive Champ Car and the Atlantic Series.  I think this is a significant commitment and a dedication to the sport of open-wheel racing.  I'd like to compliment Kevin and Gerry. 

As far as Team Australia is concerned, our plan very early on was to enter into Champ Car and be a winning team as soon as possible.  We're well down that road.  But one of the things that Craig and I realized almost at the same time is that we needed to have a continuous source of talent, both in the cockpit and out.  So we're working on a program which we'll be announcing soon that will itemize and give in great detail how we're going to do that. But for today I'd like to take the liberty to announce our commitment to the Atlantic Series.  It's our intention to be racing next year with a two-car Team Australia effort.  We have drivers who are signed.  We're not going to release those names today.  We've got a lot more work to do, so we'll pick another time and day to do that because today is all about the announcement of Atlantic.  We're proud to be part of it for next year, look forward to competing in the series.  So congratulations again, Kevin and Gerry.  Thank you. 

MERRILL CAIN:  Thank you very much, Derrick.  Looking forward to having you in the Atlantic Championship next year.  Richard Raeder is the team manager for Sierra Sierra Enterprises.  The Sierra Sierra team competed the last couple of seasons in the Atlantic Championships with Ryan Dalziel.  Richard you're here to tell us today you're going to be returning to the series next year. 

RICHARD RAEDER:  That's correct.  Firstly, I'd like to thank (team owners) Dennis and Diane and the Kotke family for allowing me to make this announcement.  As we made this decision 12 hours ago, we are coming back with two cars and the orders will be placed today. 

We feel positive with the decisions made by Champ Car moving forward in ways that we like as a team.  The prize is obviously going to be a massive incentive for drivers all over the world.  For Sierra Sierra, we have some unfinished business (laughter)

MERRILL CAIN:  Excellent.  We hear you have a check in your pocket, is that true? 


MERRILL CAIN:  Thank you, Richard.  Happy to have you guys back next year. John Brooks has been a loyal supporter of Atlantics both as a racer and team owner over the years, competing with a two-car effort this season.  He’s done a very good job with his drivers this year.  John, we assume your team is going to be back next year, but I think you want to make a bit of an announcement as well. 

JOHN BROOKS:  Most certainly we'll be back next year.  One of the first things I want to do, though, is thank Toyota for all their support throughout the years.  If it wasn't for Toyota, this series wouldn't be as established as it is right now.  But the thought of moving forward, improving the equipment and everything, I think all the team owners are very excited about the future.  We will continue to support the championship.  We will be back next year with two cars at least, and my deposit is going in before Richard's.

Portland by the numbers Portland by the numbersTo say the Portland Grand Prix shook up the championship race for the American Le Mans Series would be a bit of an understatement. The weekend saw drivers standings change in three different classes, and two team championship leads changed hands as well.

It's getting toward crunch time with four events and 89 possible points up for grabs in all four ALMS classes. Next up is the Generac 500 at Road America Aug. 19-21, Round 7 of the 10-round ALMS.

Already, Michelin has clinched the LMP1 tire championship, thanks to victories in each of the ALMS' six rounds this year. Michelin supplies tires for Champion Racing's two Audi R8s and Dyson Racing's two Lola EX 257s. zzzz

With their second victory in a row, Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela went from a tie for third to sharing the lead in the LMP1 drivers standings. Pirro was at the wheel of the No. 2 Champion Racing Audi R8 for the final stint Saturday when he went by James Weaver, whose No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola lost fuel pressure with two laps left while leading. Coupled with a rare DNF for Champion's No. 1 Audi of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner, Biela and Pirro went from 3 points down entering the weekend to 11 points ahead of Dyson Racing's Andy Wallace.

"We did a great job this weekend," Biela said. "The car was prepared well, the crew guys found a great set-up for us, and we were really confident going into the race. For us it was a good race, a good weekend and very important for the Championship."

In LMP2, Clint Field now finds himself leading the drivers chase, thanks to his second consecutive victory in the No. 37 Intersport Lola, this time paired with Gregor Fisken. Coupled with Miracle Motorsports' DNF, Field leads Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry by 11 points. Intersport is ahead in the team race by that margin, as well.

Corvette Racing gave itself additional distance in the GT1 team standings with another 1-2 finish at Portland. The team could clinch a fifth straight title with a victory at Road America and if ACEMCO's Saleen finishes sixth (a fifth-place ACEMCO finish would mean Corvette clinches at least a tie).

The Ollies (Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta) are gaining ground in the drivers race with their victory in the No. 4 Corvette C6-R at Portland. They still trail teammates and defending GT1 champs Johnny O'Connell and Ron Fellows by 11 points.

GT2 saw Alex Job Racing and drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas move to the front in the class standings. Driving the No. 23 AJR Porsche, Bernhard and Dumas led from flag-to-flag for the second straight week while previous point leaders Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister in the No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche finished eighth after spending time early in the pits.

"They finally had some bad luck that we were able to capitalize on," Dumas said. "We seem to be getting faster every race. The team is giving us a really good car and we are taking care of business on the track. It will be nice to have Petersen chasing us for a while."

Two other title chases could come to an end at Road America: GT1 tire manufacturer, where Michelin leads Goodyear by 63 points; and GT2 auto manufacturer, where Porsche leads Panoz by 68 points.

FOUR AND COUNTING: Bernhard and Dumas are inching closer to rewriting the record books in the ALMS and passing a couple of pretty impressive names. The two now are tied for the series' GT2 mark for consecutive wins with four (Mid-Ohio to Portland) alongside Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr.

Generally thought of as one of the greatest driving duos in ALMS history, Maassen and Luhr won four straight GT2 races starting at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2002 and continued it through Sebring the following year.

Former GT1 competitor Karl Wendlinger holds the record for consecutive wins regardless of class with seven during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

FAST ANDY: Wallace came into this year with two pole positions. He now has that many in two straight races. One more, and he'll tie Biela for the longest LMP1 streak in series annals.

So what's been the secret to Wallace's success on qualifying day? He explained it like this: "Get in the car, strap yourself in and pedal like a madman for one minute, 2.7 seconds, and it works every time!"

Ex-GT1 driver Dirk Muller set a record in 2000 with eight straight poles.

The seventh round of the American Le Mans Series is the Generac 500 at Road America, set for 3 p.m. EDT Aug. 21 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel. Qualifying is scheduled for 2:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 20. American Le Mans Radio, and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

Herbert Baum Comes On As Exec Chair Herbert Baum Comes On As Exec ChairArizona-based Action Performance, which designs and sells NASCAR replica cars, as well as hats, T-shirts and other racing memorabilia, has appointed Herbert Baum Exec Chair of the BOD.  Baum will “share top duties” with Chair & CEO Fred Wagenhals. Baum said that he will “focus on cutting expenses, improving relations with Wall Street investors and increasing sales to Wal-Mart,” Action’s largest customer. Baum: “The bulk of [Action’s] business is NASCAR. NASCAR country is where Wal-Mart is, and Action’s sales at Wal-Mart are not where they need to be.” The company began to diversify in ’02 with golf products, sports-themed leather jackets and non-NASCAR motorsports die-cast items. Baum said that the diversification “was part of the company’s problems.” Baum: “We need to take a look at those businesses and try to fix them or sell them.” Baum declined to say which entities could be sold, but if “everything goes as planned,” Baum said that he “wants to put Action on the market for a takeover” ARIZONA REPUBLIC
Beer Companies Eye Younger NASCAR Drivers Beer Companies Eye Younger NASCAR DriversNASCAR driver Sterling Marlin will not drive Chip Ganassi Racing’s (CGR) No. 40 Coors Light Dodge next year in the Nextel Cup Series because Coors Brewing Co. “needed a fresher image,” according to Dustin Long of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD. The 48-year-old Marlin will be replaced by 28-year-old David Stremme. CGR Minority Owner Felix Sabates said that Coors “approached the team about a more youthful look.” Sabates: “Their marketing strategy had to be changed to the young people. That’s who buys the beer.” Coors Event Marketing Dir Steve Saunders said, “You don’t want your brand to start getting an older heritage to it.” Long noted the popularity of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who drives DEI’s No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, “makes him easy to market to beer wholesalers and consumers.” Wholesalers are likely to buy “more promotional items, such as inflatable cars and driver stand-ups, seen in convenience and grocery stores” if they are “excited about the beer company’s driver.” Anheuser-Busch VP/Global Media & Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo said that 98% of Budweiser’s wholesalers buy Earnhardt promo items, and that the “only Budweiser promotion that does better ... is the company’s Bud Bowl promotion with the Super Bowl.” Ponturo: “You’re not going to win every week, but you want to have a feeling you have a chance of winning every week. That’s important. You don’t want the perception that your brand is a loser” Greensboro NEWS & RECORD
Industry News
Bill would give tax breaks for hybrids Bill would give tax breaks for hybridsSome consumers will see a dramatic increase in tax breaks for buying gas-electric hybrid vehicles under an energy bill that has gone to President Bush for his signature.  The provision is one of the money-saving goodies aimed at consumers who conserve energy. The bill also includes incentives for homeowners.

But the feature that could cause the biggest stir is the hybrid tax credit. Consumers could slash tax bills by $1,700 to $3,000 depending on the model if they buy a hybrid starting Jan. 1, according to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which backs the legislation. It's "not a home run, but a good, solid double" in the drive to save energy and cut air pollution, says the group's David Friedman. More at USA Today

Ferrari announces Massa Ferrari announces MassaFelipe Massa will take over from Rubens Barrichello as Ferrari's second driver next season.  Massa, who is driving for Sauber this season, previously worked as a test driver with Ferrari.

"Ferrari announces that it has taken up a renewable option in a contract that dates back to 2001, tying the driver Felipe Massa to the Scuderia," Ferrari said Tuesday in a statement. "The agreement means Felipe will race for the team for the 2006 season.

"Rubens Barrichello will leave the Scuderia at the end of the 2005 season, after a successful and rewarding collaboration that dates back to 2000 and has contributed, to date, to the winning of five constructors' championships."

"I am very happy and proud to be racing with Ferrari in 2006," Massa said on his website.  Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher remains Ferrari's top driver. He is signed through 2006.

Industry News
Cody Unser’s Stem Cell battle Cody Unser’s Stem Cell battleUPDATE A reader writes, Congratulations on being suckered by a manipulative mainstream media propaganda piece. While I feel sorry for Cody Unser, the simple facts are these:

There is no ban on stem cell research in the United States. President Bush has simply withheld federal funds from research that would create human embryos for the purpose of destroying them. Researchers like the doctor shown in the piece are free to seek private funds to conduct their research, and are free to experiment on preexisting embryonic stem cell lines.

Adult stem cells are far more promising than embryonic stem cells, have already produced tangible cures for some diseases, and do not require the destruction of potential human life in order to achieve these ends.

Again, while I feel sorry for Cody Unser, blaming President Bush for her disease is hardly appropriate. Maybe she should try to raise money for private research funds. Mike Bara

08/02/05 This CBS news video about Cody Unser called "Teen's Stem Cell Battle" is an inspiration to many and underscores how ridiculous the ban on stem cell research is.  Cody Unser is the sister of Al Unser III and daughter of Al Unser Jr.
Keep your eye on Giebler Keep your eye on GieblerUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I just returned from San Jose ... I know you hyped Phil Giebler as one American to watch (for good reason, as Phil is a great talent and deserves to be in a full time ride) .. But, did you notice another young American talent and former "Stars of Karting" ICC Champion in 2004, 17 year old Alan Sciuto, who ran for the first time in an Atlantic car, with a first ever Atlantic run by Bobby Oergel's PR1 Motorsports team, better known for its forays and Championships in the F2000 Zetec wars ... To this point, Alan's total car experience has been limited to some Barber Dodge National Championship races and a couple of F2000 and Formula Mazda runs ... very limited exposure to the cars at this point ...

This was a one-off deal to see where Alan stacked up under immense pressure and to determine whether the Atlantic Series may be in the future plans for PR1 as well ... Friday's 1st practice had Alan P2 and he was consistently at or near the top in all sessions ... Sunday morning's warm up had Alan at the top of the time sheets until the final lap, where he slipped to 3rd quick .. Starting the event 7th and slipping to 8th at the green, Alan battled early with Andreas Wirth, last year's Formula BMW Champion and once Alan secured that position and took to running laps as quick as the leaders with a bent toe link from a brush with the wall on lap 5 ... The battle with Wirth allowed the lead pack of four drivers to get away a bit and had Alan running a solid 4th in the late stages, but after a late race caution, Alan was able to keep the pressure on 3rd place Charles Zwolsman, while the top 4 drove away from the rest of the field ... Alan crossed the finish line literally under the current Atlantic Championship points leader Zwolsman's rear wing, coming home a strong 4th and narrowly missing the podium in his first ever run ... Look for Alan Sciuto and PR1 to re-appear in Denver for another shot ... Another reason to root for the new Champ Car Atlantic Championship ...Michael Maroney Dear Michael, An impressive debut by Alan and PR1 for sure. After Kevin Kalkhoven announces the title sponsor for the new Atlantic series that he said he already has lined up, it will be clear that the new Atlantic Series will be "the" place to be for every young driver.......if it isn't already with the announced $2 million to the champion starting in 2006. It should be noted that even though Toyota is leaving the series (dumb idea) much credit must go to them for making the Toyota Atlantic series such a great development series for so many years. Unfortunately for open wheel racing, they have now thrown all their American motorsports money behind the France family (NASCAR and Grand-Am) and their successful model of dumbed-down racing. Mark C.

07/30/05 American Phil Giebler (pictured right) is doing a one-off Toyota Atlantic race this weekend in San Jose.  He has never driven an Atlantic car before and was P2 or P3 most of today's qualifying session.  Only at the end did he drop back to 9th fastest because he could not get a clear lap in, but he is hopeful for the race.  We rate Giebler as one of the best young American drivers, but he lacks the money to get a good ride long enough to show what he can do.  Just keep your eye on this kid.  If he gets a break he will raise quite a few eyebrows.
Button's full statement Button's full statementJenson has decided to release this statement as various allegations have been appearing in the media over the past few days casting doubts on his honesty and integrity."

"Jenson is particularly upset at suggestions that he did not accord Sir Frank Williams the respect due to him by not speaking to him face to face."

"The following factual statements are made to set the record straight: A meeting took place in the Conference Room at Williams' Grove Headquarters at 12 o'clock on Tuesday 12 July 2005. This meeting was attended by Jenson personally, together with his Manager, Richard Goddard."

"On the Williams side the meeting was attended by Sir Frank Williams, together with Patrick Head, as well as the Williams chief executive officer Chris Chapple, the Williams technical director Sam Michael, and the Williams in-house lawyer John Healey."

"The meeting lasted about one hour. During the course of the meeting Sir Frank Williams asked Jenson a specific question, 'From what you are saying it sounds like you don't want to be here next season. To this Jenson replied 'No, I don't'. There is no question of there being any lack of clarity or misunderstanding on this point."

"It has been suggested by Sir Frank Williams that a contract between Jenson and Williams (and there remain outstanding questions as to its validity) was signed seven months ago, which would be in January of this year. This is incorrect. There are two documents which are relevant, one dated August 2004, and one dated September 2004."

"Quotes have also been attributed in the media to Sir Frank Williams to say that Williams paid a substantial amount in option money on Jenson in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Again, to set the record straight, the facts are as follows:"

"Payments made were not payments made by Williams to retain an option over Jenson's services. In fact the payments were quite the opposite. They were payments made by Williams to Jenson in exchange for Jenson agreeing not to enforce a contract which he had entitling him to drive for Williams."

Watch Cosworth rev to over 20,000 RPM Watch Cosworth rev to over 20,000 RPMGo to Cosworth's website and watch the video of their new F1 V8 rev to over 20,000 RPM. 21K to 22K is predicted by 2006. So what did F1 accomplish by switching to a V8? Answer - higher revs and hence higher cost. The shorter crank of a V8 vs. a V10 allows higher RPM. The shrill of a F1 engine already damages eardrums at 19,000 RPM. We advise parents not to take children to F1 races without adequate ear protection to avoid permanent eardrum damage. We're sorry, but if F1 does not implement a rev-limit, or a minimum stroke, soon they are just being irresponsible.
Industry News
Employee killed in explosion at Michigan racetrack Employee killed in explosion at Michigan racetrackA fuel building exploded and burned at a stock car race track in southern Michigan, killing one employee and injuring two others, the Branch County Sheriff's Department says.  The explosion happened about 5 p.m. Saturday at Butler Motor Speedway in Butler Township, near Coldwater and about 30 miles south of Battle Creek, the department said. It said about 1,000 people were temporarily evacuated from the area.

When firefighters arrived, they found that a large fire had engulfed a building that dispensed fuel to race cars, the department said in a statement. It said the building contained methanol, gasoline and propane tanks.

According to WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Corsini was pumping methane fuel into a can when a spark caused an explosion that set off a methane tank and then tanks containing gasoline and propane. AP Story

Industry News
ISC to implement wireless networks ISC to implement wireless networksStrix Systems, the leader in high-performance wireless mesh networking, today announced that International Speedway Corporation (ISC), a leading promoter of motorsports in the United States, has selected Strix's Access/One Network wireless mesh solution to create instant, self-configuring networks at all 12 of its motorsports facilities. ISC has deployed Strix's Indoor Wireless System (IWS) nodes and Outdoor Wireless System (OWS) nodes at the race tracks and in each of the merchandise trailers that travel from track to track, providing wireless point-of-sale capabilities throughout each of their facilities. ISC selected Strix's multi-radio, multi-RF, multi-channel Wi-Fi mesh system as an extension of its existing wired network infrastructure because it was the only mesh system that could extend network capacity by dynamically creating a wireless network which includes its mobile merchandise vehicles.
NASCAR wants to start own news service NASCAR wants to start own news serviceNASCAR Chairman Brian France believes racing is not being adequately covered by the nation's newspapers and wants to create the sport's own news service for newspapers, television and radio stations, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. "You're going to see us get into the content business, very similar in one respect to the NFL channel," France told a cable television industry summit, writer Andy Bernstein reports. "We're going to have to create content that is customized for media outlets." No time table for a launch or other details were reported. NASCAR Scene Newsletter [Editor's Note:  What's wrong with their press releases?  By doing this they can slant the news to their benefit, which is a conflict of interest and undermines the meaning of "freedom of the press"....therefore, NASCAR will do it.]
Patrick-Legge-Crocker Patrick-Legge-CrockerOne could be considered a fluke and two a coincidence, but three has the makings of a trend.

Danica Patrick. Katherine Legge. Erin Crocker. Three determined young women from distinctly different backgrounds who are showing that, given a fair chance, they can compete at the highest levels of auto racing.

Patrick, 23, became a national phenomenon with her fourth-place in the Indianapolis 500, but Legge and Crocker have been no less impressive while toiling outside the media glare that has become a daily part of Patrick's life.

Legge, 25, is a rookie in the Toyota Atlantic series, one step below the Champ Car World Series. In her first race, in April at Long Beach, Calif., she won, something Patrick was unable to do in two years in the series.

The British driver has followed with two more victories to more than justify the faith shown by Kevin Kalkhoven, Champ Car's majority owner and a team owner, in sponsoring her.

Crocker, 24, is part of a NASCAR developmental program at Evernham Motorsports. Team owner Ray Evernham has thus far put her in four ARCA stock car races in which she has won two poles and had an average finish of sixth, including one second place and one third.

In September, she'll move up to the Busch Series, one step below Nextel Cup, for five races. A full Busch season is possible in 2006. More at Indy Star

Weekend race photos Weekend race photosWe bring your attention to new photograph pages we have posted to our Home Page from the San Jose Grand Prix (by Bob Heathcote) and the Silverstone (F1 and Group C) Classic (by Gary Parravani). The Silverstone photos were taken on dark cloudy days, so the colors are not as vivid as Bob Heathcote's excellent photos from San Jose taken in the usual bright California sunshine.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Button defends 'integrity'
Ferrari on August track
Driver summit 'constructive'
Herbert to keep racing
Ferrari to let Rubens go
Door 'still open' for Sato
New quali 'agreed' - reports

Indy-like farce avoided
Turkey GP 'nearly sold out'
'Ferrari back on track'
Liuzzi to try MotoGP bike
Klien set for Turkey, Monza
BAR Honda can use Lucky Strike on car BAR Honda can use Lucky Strike on carBAR Honda are free to continue running in their distinctive Lucky Strike livery, at least for races that are outside of the European Union, after the British government clarified new anti-tobacco laws.

Sport minister Richard Caborn has written FIA president Max Mosley explaining that the British based teams, namely BAR Honda, Jordan and Renault, can continue to use full tobacco liveries outside of Europe without fear of a criminal prosecution. BAR Talk

Israeli F1 driver was a danger to everyone Israeli F1 driver was a danger to everyoneFew in the Formula 1 paddock dared to call Chanoch Nissany’s Friday adventure at the Hungaroring what it really was: dangerous. A Israeli-born property developer who lives in Hungary, Nissany was Minardi’s third Friday driver this weekend.  "He doesn't belong in Formula 1," Nick Heidfeld complained. "Someone that is as slow as Nissany shouldn't be in a Formula 1 car. He is a big risk out there and he can be a danger to the others."

In fact, Nissany was so out of his depth that in spite of the Hungaroring being his “home” circuit - he lives in Budapest and is the reigning Hungarian F2000 champion - his best lap of 1:34.319 (over ten seconds slower than teammates Christian Albers and Robert Doornbos) would have placed him 19th in the GP2 Series grid. After eight laps on Friday’s Practice 1, Nissany spun on his own and ended up on the gravel trap, allowing the rest of the grid to sigh in relief.  More at SPEEDTV.com

Rossi renews with Yamaha Rossi renews with YamahaYamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and Valentino Rossi are delighted to announce that Valentino will stay with Yamaha for a further year. Rossi will continue to race in Yamaha's MotoGP line-up riding the Yamaha YZR-M1 in the 2006 MotoGP World Championship.

Rossi won the 2004 MotoGP World Championship with Yamaha and is currently competing in his second season with the Japanese manufacturer's factory team. The 26-year old Italian leads the 2005 MotoGP World Championship by 120 points, following his 8th victory at last weekend's German Grand Prix.

Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing, Lin Jarvis, stated, "Since we announced the signing of Valentino Rossi at the end of 2003 we had an astonishing first year with him, and are now enjoying great success again in 2005. This year is the 50th anniversary for Yamaha and is therefore a very special year for us.

We hope our MotoGP efforts will culminate in a second world title for Valentino with Yamaha. We are obviously very happy to have Valentino with us for another year and to keep him with MotoGP in 2006. The partnership with Valentino is the key point that will now allow us to proceed with our total MotoGP strategy for 2006."

"I am so happy to be able to announce the continuation of my relationship with Yamaha" commented Rossi. "Last year was magic, to win my first race with Yamaha, and then to win the championship. I have a fantastic relationship with this factory and my team crew, who have worked so hard to make the M1 as competitive as it is now, and it just made sense to stay with Yamaha for another year." Yamaha

Cheever Racing crew member released from the hospital Cheever Racing crew member released from the hospitalRed Bull Cheever Racing crew member Josh Junge was released from Foote Hospital in Jackson, Mich. on Sunday evening and traveled back to Indianapolis following an incident during the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Late in the race, the #33 car lost a wheel following a pit stop, and it traveled into the #83 pit at a high rate of speed and hit him. Junge is the outside rear tire changer for the #83 car of Patrick Carpentier.

“All I remember is something hit me, and I heard a really loud noise. I was thinking when is the rest of the car (not knowing it was a wheel) going to hit me. I am okay but very sore. I feel like I got ran over by a train,” Junge said.

Champ Car did what F1 could not Champ Car did what F1 could notThis SPEEDTV.com article talks about how Champ Car was able to put on a decent show in San Jose Sunday despite a difficult track for this first-year event.  Compare that to the USGP this year where politics got in the way of doing what was right for the fans.
Kurt Busch attends another F1 race Kurt Busch attends another F1 raceReigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch attended the Hungarian Grand Prix on the weekend before heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7. Like the rest of the NEXTEL Cup drivers, Busch wants to win at Indianapolis.  "It is a big trophy," he said in Hungary. "Every driver wants to kiss the bricks."

Busch spent time in the F1 garages at the Hungaroring, including chatting with 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, now sporting director of Lucky Strike BAR Honda.

"I was just talking to Gil de Ferran; what a champion he is," Busch said. "The amount of quality drivers you see come through this walk of life (F1) is amazing, and I am here to say hello."

This was Busch's second trip to Europe to attend a F1 race. He also went to the 2003 European Grand Prix at Germany's Nürburgring.  "I'm intrigued by this sport, on how it looks and how the people operate, and just the excitement," Busch said. "It is so different for me (compared to NASCAR). It is my only off weekend, and here I am at a racetrack halfway around the world."

"I am just beyond belief when I look at them," Busch said of the F1 cars. "The technology, the amount of money they pour into them. It's quite the show. I'd love to have the opportunity to try and drive one."

Champ Car announces key hire Champ Car announces key hireAs part of the Champ Car World Series continuing commitment to building the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, the Series today named Mark S. Reilly as its Vice-President of Broadcast Sales & Distribution.

In this role, Reilly will report to Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing Will Wilson and will implement advertising sales plans and program distribution strategies for both the United States and international markets.  He will also have responsibility of the domestic and world-feed television productions. 

Reilly was formerly the senior partner at Stedmark Associates in New York, following his departure from ESPN Inc. where he had worked for over twenty-two years.  During his career at ESPN, Reilly held a number of management positions in advertising/sponsorship sales, program and network distribution, as well as event staging.  Most recently he served within the international division as Vice President, Sales & Event Management.

“The opportunity to hire someone with Mark’s experience was too enticing for us to pass up,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “Television is one of the most vital components of our Series and we look forward to having someone with Mark’s credentials joining Champ Car.”

Reilly comes to Champ Car with extensive hands-on experience.  During the 1990’s, he was instrumental in developing the  international television distribution plan and led the host broadcaster negotiations in Japan, Mexico and Germany when the series raced under the CART banner and aired on the ESPN channel.  He was also responsible for the placement of the weekly series Nigel Mansell’s IndyCar which was broadcast in the United Kingdom on the ITV network for two seasons.

“I’m thrilled that Mark is joining us,” said EVP Sales & Marketing Will Wilson.  “His track record in the television industry speaks for itself.  And he will have an immediate positive impact on our media business as well as play a key role in shaping our strategic direction.”

 “The Champ Car World Series is a dynamic sports property with worldwide appeal,” said Reilly.  “I am looking forward to this opportunity and see enormous potential for its future growth.”

Positive feedback on San Jose race Positive feedback on San Jose raceThanks as always for your excellent reporting on the Champ Car World Series.  We were in San Jose this past weekend for the GP. We went Saturday and Sunday. Both days it was very crowded, but parking was painless, even on Sunday when we parked very close to the track. Getting in and out was also a cinch with no delays. This is very significant...I remember going to Laguna Seca at 5:30 am and waiting over TWO HOURS in traffic on a two lane road so we could park on a hillside. Ditto leaving the track. We could only deal with that one time in this short life. 

The city of San Jose did a great job organizing the event, the police were polite and helpful, the track staff were also upbeat and considerate in regards to the numerous inconveniences (the foot bridges were a disaster, you couldn't really walk from any point to another without getting squished by many bodies) but this was the result of a very well attended race. We watched the beginning of the race outside the front of the Hilton, into the fast chicane after the start/finish straight and over the train tracks. I know there has been some talk about the difficulty of converting the curious into Champ Car fans, but no-one who was there wasn't viscerally affected by the blast and noise and insane speed of the Champ Cars through that chicane and over the tracks. It's just an unbelievable experience, passing or no.

It really makes your jaw drop as you exclaim "how in the h*ll do these guys do it?" Many people were calling their buddies on their cell phones and holding them up in the air so they could hear it. A lot of people (including myself) were explaining Champ Car technology and the drivers to others not in the know. Street racing might not be a great television product, but in the long term you can't argue that fans will be created. Hopefully someday that fan base will reach critical mass and create the kind of success this series deserves.   Thanks again,  Patrick Harte, San Francisco, CA.

Hungaroring : fastest laps in the race Hungaroring : fastest laps in the race
1. Kimi Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes - 1'21.219 - lap 40
2. Juan Pablo Montoya - McLaren Mercedes - 1'21.237 - lap 20
3. Michael Schumacher - Ferrari - 1'21.476 - lap 13
4. Jarno Trulli - Toyota - 1'21.842 - lap 32
5. Ralf Schumacher - Toyota - 1'21.873 - lap 13
6. Nick Heidfeld - BMW Williams - 1'22.053 - lap 53
7. Takuma Sato - BAR Honda - 1'22.399 - lap 45
8. Jenson Button - BAR Honda - 1'22.406 - lap 70
9. Mark Webber - BMW Williams - 1'22.453 - lap 47
10. Giancarlo Fisichella - Renault - 1'22.506 - lap 19
11. Rubens Barrichello - Ferrari - 1'22.768 - lap 20
12. Fernando Alonso - Renault - 1'22.884 - lap 51
13. Felipe Massa - Sauber Petronas - 1'23.048 - lap 22
14. Jacques Villeneuve - Sauber Petronas - 1'23.118 - lap 23
15. Narain Karthikeyan - Jordan Toyota - 1'24.446 - lap 17
16. Tiago Monteiro - Jordan Toyota - 1'24.774 - lap 15
17. Robert Doornbos - Minardi Cosworth - 1'25.646 - lap 16
18. Christijan Albers - Minardi Cosworth - 1'25.956 - lap 8
--. David Coulthard - Red Bull Cosworth - no lap time
--. Christian Klien - Red Bull Cosworth - no lap time
Industry News
Automakers vie to make China the next Detroit Automakers vie to make China the next DetroitIt was one of those awkward moments for an up-and-coming automaker: as an alarm sounded, workers in bright blue uniforms rushed to rebalance an auto body that had gone awry on the assembly line.
It might be still close to its humble beginnings, but Geely Group, a privately owned Chinese car manufacturer, has global ambitions.

Geely and fellow Chinese upstart Chery Automotive are gearing up for expansion overseas, having seen sales of their compact cars soar in China at a time of slowing growth for bigger automakers such as Volkswagen and Toyota.

Geely’s Merrie, Maple and Haoqing economy models already are sold in almost 30 countries in Asia, the Mideast and Eastern Europe.

But the company, based in Ningbo, a port city south of Shanghai, is looking farther West.

“We’re planning to explore other markets in Europe. We’re planning to export our cars to America,” An Conghui, general manager of Zhejiang Geely Automobile Co., said during a tour of the company’s main factory.  “Of course there are difficulties, but we can overcome them,” An said. “Our goal is to meet the requirements of every market.” 

“The Chinese market is very good now. The market for our cars is very good,” An said. “But our goal is to sell to the whole world.”  More at FortWayne.com/AP

Foyt IV doesn't expect Academy Award Foyt IV doesn't expect Academy AwardThe general was indisposed during A.J. Foyt IV’s day of filming on the Baton Rouge, La., set of “The Dukes of Hazzard” motion picture. Battle wounds needed to be attended.

Foyt hoped he would have a chance to get behind the wheel of the “General Lee,” but all he got were welts on his back courtesy of Daisy Duke (a.k.a. Jessica Simpson). Such is the life of an actor without a stunt double.

Foyt filmed two scenes – both set in a fictional Hazzard County bar – with the film’s principles Johnny Knoxville (Luke Duke), Seann William Scott (Bo Duke) and Simpson last fall.

Set in present day, the story follows the adventures of cousins Bo and Luke Duke, who with the help of their eye-catching cousin Daisy and moonshine-running Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson), try to save the family farm from being destroyed by Hazzard County’s corrupt commissioner Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds). Along the way, the Dukes stay one step ahead of Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane (M.C. Gainey) in the General Lee, their 1969 orange Dodge Charger.

The movie, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, opens nationwide Aug. 5.

“The first one I was in was a bar scene where Johnny Knoxville threw me up against a wall,” said Foyt, who turned 21 in May. “He was about to punch me and then Sean runs up and says, ‘Don’t hit him; that’s A.J. Foyt.’ Knoxville looks at me and says, ‘Really?’ And I say, ‘The fourth.’ And I actually get to punch him. Then I get brushed out of the scene at some point.”  More at IndyRacing.com [Editor's Note: Indy Star turned Movie Star, what is this world coming to?]

Bell blames Hornish Bell blames HornishTownsend Bell was running strong in his return to the IRL, but he had only a damaged car to show for it at the end of the day.

Bell's car was struck hard by a sliding Jaques Lazier on the 182nd lap of 200. The incident started when Bell, who was in eighth place in the lead pack, lost control and spun while following Sam Hornish Jr.

"When we got in the corner, he (Hornish) decided to come across my nose, so I started to back out of it because I lost all the downforce," said Bell, who as Tomas Enge's replacement was competing in his first IRL race since the end of last season. "As soon as I washed up outside of him it caught me again.

"I saved it a few times but it just started dancing back and forth and finally stepped sideways."

Hornish could not be reached for comment, but a Team Penske spokesman disputed the driver's role in the incident, saying Hornish was "75 feet" in front of Bell. Indy Star

Patrick's move earns penalty Patrick's move earns penaltyDanica Patrick made a bold move Sunday to regain a lost lap at Michigan International Speedway, but race leader Bryan Herta wasn't impressed.  Herta said she went below the white line to do it, something Indy Racing League chief steward Brian Barnhart had said in the morning drivers' meeting was not going to be allowed.

"He said it 20 times if he said it once," Herta said of Barnhart.  Patrick was ordered to move behind Herta at the first available opportunity.

Herta dropped to fifth before recovering to win the Firestone Indy 400. But he didn't like having to lift off the throttle to avoid contact or being pushed up the track.  "It clearly wasn't in the vain of clean racing," Herta said.

Patrick later retired from the race on the 164th lap with what appeared to be a Honda engine failure. It was her first mechanical failure of the season. She finished 20th among the 23 drivers. Indy Star

SJ race has staying power SJ race has staying powerAs a car race, the inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose was not an artistic masterpiece. But as a first-year event, Champ Car's Silicon Valley debut was a huge success.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. The challenges offered up by the downtown street course, from bumpy railroad tracks to narrow construction zones, created a processional race in which the only major overtaking move occurred in the pits. The tricky track also created heavy attrition, as only half the 18-car field was running at the finish, with just six cars on the lead lap behind race winner Sebastien Bourdais.

Yet no one was complaining. The drivers sucked it up and put on a show, and the 62,371 fans on hand responded with enthusiasm, even if it took half an hour to get across to the other side of the track. Local businesses were happy too; the San Jose Marriott hotel reported record cash receipts for the last two days.

"The attendance was remarkable for a first race and they all had a good time," remarked Champ Car co-principal Kevin Kalkhoven. "The drivers will probably need a lot of Preparation H after all those bumps, but that's OK. Next year I think we'll find the track and some of the facilities will be significantly better.

"But what we've got here is an event. It's not just a motor race. The city and the community have come around to really enjoy this and I'm sure it's something that will be around for a long, long time, like Long Beach." More at ESPN.com

Race had too many bumps along way Race had too many bumps along wayThis Mercury News article sums up the feeling of the local media to the inaugural San Jose GP Champ Car race held Sunday.

This Mercury News article says drivers contended with flawed course, unlike the USGP where most teams did not run and it turned into a big fiasco.  Most fans went away from yesterday's race quite happy.

This Mercury News article says that despite bumps along the way, the first San Jose race ran smoothly.

Another Sports Illustrated article talking about the bumpy Mickey Mouse San Jose track.  Everyone agrees, however, something must and will be done to make the track better.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Massa's off - Sauber
Smoking light is on
Track notes - Hungary
Narain's 'no' to A1
Kimi - 'I'm back in it'
Alonso blames Ralf
Friendly Finnish face
Drivers off to FIA summit
The '06 F1 tire puzzle
San Jose tops 153K in first year San Jose tops 153K in first yearUPDATE #3 Champ Car announced that San Jose's attendance pushed their total for the year to date to over 1 million.  The goal is to exceed 2 million again this year by the end of the year. 07/31/05 The Sunday attendance was announced as 62,371 in San Jose for a 3-day total of 153,768, a fantastic number for an inaugural event on a small circuit. Not only were the grandstand seats announced as totally sold out, the general admission areas were packed with people, in some places 15 deep. Next year the track needs to be lengthened so more grandstands can be built and Bob Singleton said that was one of his goals. 07/30/05 The announced attendance for Saturday in San Jose was 50,962 for a two day total so far of 91,206, considerably above expectations. Sunday's predictions are for over 60,000. 07/30/05 Another large crowd has assembled in San Jose to watch the Champ Cars qualify.  Saturday's attendance has not been announced yet, but if the traffic at the bridges is any indication, attendance is higher today than the 40K that was announced for Friday.
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