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08/12/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Button 'crazy' to ditch BAR - Montoya
Jenson buttons-up with 'no comment'
Coulthard 'targets' BAR's spare seat
Webber scoffs at Montoya's 'crazy' refrain
Renault to 'concentrate' on Alonso - Fisichella
Trulli signs for Toyota - unofficial
Schu 'surprised' by Button switch
Hungarian rain less likely - source
'I'm very famous in Hungary' - Baumgartner 
'I would sell' Minardi - Stoddart
'I've never said I'm the best' - Schumacher
F1 team Toyota say 'no' to Briscoe
'We need a bigger budget' - Jaguar's Purnell
Schu's not ruining F1 - Coulthard  
08/12/04
nascar
NASCAR Day declared in Michigan NASCAR Day declared in MichiganTo the thousands of NASCAR fans that will be traveling to Michigan International Speedway next week, Friday, August 20 is already “NASCAR Day,” as fans will get to see their favorite drivers practice and qualify for the Cabela’s 250 and GFS Marketplace 400. But Rick Johnson, the Speaker of the State House of Representatives, just wanted to make it official, as House Resolution No. 299 was recently passed making Friday, August 20, “NASCAR Day” in the State of Michigan.

"August 20th has been proclaimed NASCAR Day in Michigan as a way to recognize the increasing popularity of the sport and support a worthwhile cause,” said Michigan House Speaker Rick Johnson.  “Our state has always had a love affair with cars, and it's no surprise Michigan loves its racing, which is celebrated each summer at Michigan International Speedway and at tracks throughout the state."

Announced at MIS during the DHL 400 event weekend, NASCAR Day is an opportunity for the NASCAR community to unite and show its enthusiasm for the sport while raising money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. NASCAR fans at MIS along with places of business in the state of Michigan and across the nation can donate $5 in exchange for a commemorative NASCAR Day pin and the opportunity to wear NASCAR apparel to work. The Victory Junction Gang Camp, located in Randleman, North Carolina, opened this past June and is a non-profit camp for terminally-ill children and started by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their late son Adam. All donations will benefit the camp.

“We are excited to see the state of Michigan embrace NASCAR Day,” said George Pyne Chief Operating Officer for NASCAR. “To have Speaker Rick Johnson and the Michigan House of Representatives recognize this program is truly an honor. Just two months ago we announced our plans for NASCAR Day at Michigan International Speedway, and since then we have received overwhelming support from local business and race fans in the area. We look forward to seeing the state of Michigan show its NASCAR spirit on August 20 to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.”

08/12/04
champcar
Milwaukee promoter calls Economaki out Milwaukee promoter calls Economaki outNational Speed Sport News always paints Champ Car in a negative light every chance they get, including the illustrious Chris Economaki.  Recently Economaki wrote that a “Milwaukee insider,” estimating Milwaukee Mile's losses to be over $1 million for Champ Car.  This drew the ire of Milwaukee Mile's Mark Perrone who wrote a Letter to the Editor stating "I read Chris’s column that sources a “Milwaukee insider,” estimating our losses to be over $1 million for Champ Car. As the General Manager, I can assure you that I am as far on the inside as you can get and must say that these numbers provided were extremely inaccurate and positioned out of context."
08/12/04
Champcar
Dicksons move out from under Forsythe Dicksons move out from under Forsythe[Editor's Note: This is a very positive move for Champ Car and for Forsythe Racing as it removes any notion of conflicts of interest (by being under Forsythe, who is one of the owners of the series) and now the Dicksons can work for everyone in Champ Car, the track owners and governments freely.]   The Australian family track development team compiled of Ron, Jeremy and Heath Dickson whom are responsible for bringing to the Champ Car World Series the three largest and most successful events (Mexico City, Mexico, Surfers Paradise, Australia and Monterrey, Mexico) have resigned from Forsythe Racing Inc. and are venturing towards independency.  The move was agreed to by Gerry Forsythe.

"We wish to thank Mr Gerald Forsythe for our five years at Forsythe Racing Inc. It's been a pleasure working with Gerry and all involved within his motorsports departments. It has been our honor representing Forsythe Racing Inc. and we wish everyone the best", stated Jeremy.

"We have decided to move ourselves into a more independent role.  This decision was a very difficult one and took many hours of consideration, however we are confident that our new venture will move us towards our long term goals for both the series and ourselves. We have some very large events on the drawing board which will be as advanced and become as successful as the previous ones. The full details of our new venture will be available soon via our website. We wish Forsythe Racing Inc. continued success, and would like to thank Mr Forsythe for allowing us to be a part of his organisation" stated Ron.

Along with the move to independency, Champ Car recognized that D3's previous events have met and exceeded the levels of track quality and specifications and as such have granted approval for D3 Motorsport Development to be a preferred track developer for the Series. D3 Motorsort Development

08/12/04
nascar
Burton signs deal to drive #30 AOL car Burton signs deal to drive #30 AOL carRichard Childress Racing (RCR) has signed Jeff Burton to a multi-year agreement to drive its No. 30 America Online Chevrolet beginning at next week’s GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway.  Burton, 37, competed in one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race in 1993 before becoming a fulltime driver and earning rookie-of-the-year honors in 1994. In 352 series starts, he has earned 17 victories, two poles, 90 top-five and 147 top-10 finishes. The South Boston, Va., native finished in the top-10 in the championship point standings from 1997-2001. Burton also lays claim to 20 victories, 63 top-five and 106 top-10 finishes in 239 starts in the NASCAR Busch Series.  “Jeff will bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to the America Online team and all of RCR,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “I know back in 1998 and 1999, Dale Earnhardt talked to Jeff quite a bit about driving the No. 3 car when he retired. Then Kevin [Harvick] came along and the plan shifted toward him but Jeff was one of the few people we kept an eye on to be in our organization.

“I’ve really watched Jeff’s talent and his ability to race for a championship,” added Childress. “He is a driver who knows how to get the job done and we’re going to give him what it takes to be a championship contender.”    “I have always had the utmost respect for Richard Childress, and we’re both dedicated to winning and running up front every week,” said Burton. “This opportunity gives me a fresh start with a proven organization that is committed to success both on and off the track. I look forward to getting back into Victory Lane with RCR and I will work extremely hard to carry on the winning tradition.   “Since 1996, I have enjoyed some of the greatest days of my life with the No. 99 Roush Racing team,” continued Burton. “I will forever be grateful to Jack Roush, my driving teammates and my crew. I wish only the best for the entire organization.”  “America Online is very excited to have a driver of Jeff’s caliber in the seat of the No. 30 car,” said J.D. Ettore, America Online’s Director, National Brand Promotions & Sponsorships. “We are thrilled to have a multi-race winner driving for and representing America Online. America Online has a lot of respect for Jeff and his abilities and we, along with RCR, want to welcome him and look forward to great things with him.”

08/12/04
champcar
Putting the excitment back in Champ Car Putting the excitment back in Champ CarA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, It is my feeling that myself and many other fans have been holding on to support for the Champ Car series in hopes of seeing it return to its dominance and form of the late 1990's. The same goes for the past few years ever since the rpm limits have been reduced and the horsepower has dropped from 900+hp, to 800hp, now down to 750hp over the past 4 years. The chassis has remained the same and thus performance continues to get slower and worse each year, hardly inspiring and visually cumbersome compared to F1. For example, Champ Cars were roughly 4 seconds slower this year than their peak at Road America. Every year we have been clawing for a chassis some 250lbs lighter, narrower track, and in my opinion, at least 800hp. The type of performance from that type of car will make any fan proud, inspired, (especially if it is a V10), and regain great respect for performance from anyone involved in any open-wheel circle. In fact, I'm sure the driver's will be jumping to get into the seat of one of those beasts, especially if the current chassis, engine, electronics control, and traction control are all still the same and banned (traction control). It would truly be the world driver's/team championship series.....not a manufacturers series.....a la F1. We've been waiting for years for a new LIGHTER chassis.  Don't screw this one up with uninspiring crap that the IRL can claim to compare their cars to.....we don't want to even be in the same ballpark with the IRL......make them a permanent support series then start advertising the series as the TRUE driver/team world championship!  Derek Hughes, Jacksonville, FL Dear Derek, Champ Car needs manufacturer support to grow and thrive. The trick is to manage their support such that costs do not get out of hand. What you suggest is exactly what we have been preaching for quite some time now. Champ Car has lost that WOW factor. Certainly the current cars are better than, say, an IRL car, but the day Tony George burst onto the Indy Car scene with his dumbed down concept for what an open wheel race car should be, and with CART having to react by cheapening their series to stay competitve cost wise, was the day Indy Car Racing lost its sex appeal. A screaming V10 and a lighter car will bring back some of that lost excitement. None of the other proposals I have heard will. Mark C.
08/12/04
NASCAR
Fellows to Drive for DEI at The Glen Fellows to Drive for DEI at The GlenFactory Corvette Racing driver Ron Fellows will pilot the No. 1 Nutter Butter/Nilla Wafers Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in this weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup event at Watkins Glen in upstate New York. Fellows, widely recognized as one of North America's best and most diverse road racing drivers, has extensive experience at Watkins Glen and in NASCAR competition. "We're excited to have Ron Fellows behind the wheel of one of our Chevy NASCAR Nextel Cup cars," said Doug Duchardt, GM Racing director. "Fellows is one of the finest racing drivers of the modern era yet he has a quality that is increasingly becoming extinct in motorsports today: the ability to compete successfully in a wide variety of equipment, regardless of the environment. As we saw last weekend, Fellows brought home a Cadillac victory at the SPEED World Challenge GT race in a car he had never driven. Fellows has an amazing ability to adapt to a variety of race cars which is evident by his wins in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Busch Series, the 24 Hours of LeMans and the SPEED World Challenge." Fellows has five NASCAR wins to his credit, including a number of stellar performances at Watkins Glen. In NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition, Fellows has two wins and three poles in 14 starts. Driving a Chevy CK for Billy Hess in 1997, he became the first Canadian to win a major NASCAR race since Earl Ross in 1974. Fellows went on to win the Watkins Glen event again in 1999. In the NASCAR Busch Series, the Canadian has three wins and two poles in five starts. His victory in 1998, driving for Joe Nemechek's Nemco Motorsports Team, gave Fellows the distinction of being the first non-American ever to win a Busch Series race. He went on to win in 2000 and 2001 at Watkins Glen, driving the Bully Hill Vineyards Chevy Monte Carlo.
08/12/04
f1
BAR enlists top sports lawyer BAR enlists top sports lawyerBAR have enlisted the help of top sports lawyer Mark Gay as well as Gavin Kealey QC as they prepare to battle Williams over who has the rights to Jenson Button's services in 2005. According to reports Gay, a leading expert in sports law in England, and Kealey, a barrister who specializes in commercial law and international arbitration, were recommended to BAR team boss Dave Richards by Bernie Ecclestone. The F1 supremo has already made his feelings regarding the on-going Button saga known when he said he didn't think Button would be "much of a gentleman" if he did drop BAR in favour of Williams. Planet-F1
08/12/04
champcar
Date with a mission Date with a missionOn her birthday in 1969, Debbie Gentilozzi had an unusual first date with her future husband in Lansing, Mich. "We're 19 years old and driving along in his race car, and he picks up a drag race," the former Debbie Barratt said of Paul Gentilozzi. "He looks over and says: 'Get out of the car; you're too much weight. I'll be right back."' Waiting near the street, Debbie said she didn't feel disrespected, nor was she worried about her date's welfare. She was thrilled by the man, the machine and the mission.   Debbie fell in love with a person who seemed larger than life, someone she found equally charming in a fire suit or business suit. They married in 1971 and have been inseparable.  Gentilozzi has a master's degree in business administration from Michigan State. The couple owns Gentilozzi Real Estate in Michigan, and Debbie helped her husband produce one of the most extraordinary auto racing résumés in North America. More at Denver Post....
08/12/04
grandam
Stewart to make 3rd Grand-Am appearance Stewart to make 3rd Grand-Am appearanceWith a pair of third place finishes in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class already under his belt, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Tony Stewart will be going for his first career sports car victory in his third Rolex Series appearance of the year on Friday in the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen (SPEED Channel, 10 p.m. ET).

Stewart will once again drive alongside English sports car star Andy Wallace--who currently ranks third in the Daytona Prototype driver standings--in the No. 20 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford that he and Wallace debuted in the Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche at Daytona International Speedway last month. This will be Stewart's first sports car appearance at a venue other than Daytona.

"It's going to take a little longer to get used to Watkins Glen, I believe," Stewart said. "When I first started driving sports cars a couple of years ago, it was at Daytona with the Crawfords (Max and Jan) in an open-cockpit car. All of the track time I've had in (closed-cockpit) Daytona Prototype cars is at Daytona in a Crawford car. So, the learning curve may take a little longer at Watkins Glen."

08/12/04
Industry News
A little humor A little humorA hip young man goes out and buys the best car on the market, a brand new Ferrari GTO. It is also the most expensive car in the world, and it costs him $500,000.

He takes it out for a spin and stops at a red light.  An old man on a Moped, looking about 100 years old, pulls up next to him.  The old man looks over at the sleek, shiny car and asks, "What kind of car ya' got there sonny?"

The young man replies, "A Ferrari GTO.  It cost half a million dollars!"

"That's a lot of money," says the old man. "Why does it cost so much?"
 
"Because this car can do up to 320 miles an hour!" states the young dude proudly.

The Moped driver asks, "Mind if I take a look inside?"

"No problem," replies the owner. So the old man pokes his head in the window and looks around. Then, sitting back on his Moped, the old man says, "That's a pretty nice car, all right...but I'll stick with my Moped!"

Just then the light changes, so the guy decides to show the old man just what his car can do. He floors it, and within 30 seconds, the speedometer reads 160 mph.

Suddenly, he notices a dot in his rear view mirror. It seems to be getting closer! He slows down to see what it could be and suddenly
WHHHOOOOOOSSSSSHHH!  Something whips by him going much faster!
 
"What on earth could be going faster than my Ferrari?" the young man asks himself.  He floors the accelerator and takes the Ferrari up to 250 mph. Then, up ahead of him, he sees it's the old man on the Moped! Amazed the Moped could pass his Ferrari, he gives it more gas and passes the moped at 275 mph. WHOOOOOOOSHHHHH!   He's feeling pretty good until he looks in his mirror and sees the old man gaining on him, AGAIN!

Astounded by the speed of the old guy, he floors the gas pedal and takes the Ferrari all the way up to 320 mph. Not ten seconds later, he sees the Moped bearing down on him again! The Ferrari is flat out, and there's nothing he can do!

Suddenly, the Moped plows into the back of his Ferrari, demolishing the rear end. The young man stops and jumps out and unbelievably the old man is still alive.

He runs up to the mangled old man and says, "Oh My Gosh!  Is there anything I can do for you?"

The old man whispers: "Unhook...my...suspenders...from...your...side-view...mirror."

08/12/04
irl
Honda welcomes road races Honda welcomes road racesIn addition to defending its victory in this year's Indianapolis 500, Honda will return to its road racing roots next season as a pair of traditional road course venues have been added to the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series schedule for 2005, which was announced today.  The 16-race championship includes a race at Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York, home to the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race in the 1960s and '70s; and one at Infineon Raceway, located north of San Francisco in Sonoma, California.  "We're looking forward to the mixture of ovals and road courses next year," said Robert Clarke, vice president and general manager of Honda Performance Development.  "Honda has a great heritage in road racing, including Formula One, motorcycling and CART, where we won four Manufacturers' Championships (1996, 1998-99, 2001).  Hopefully, we'll be defending our first IRL Manufacturers' title as well."  Honda
08/12/04
cartatlantic
Tight at the Top Tight at the TopThe top of the Toyota Atlantic Championship point standings is getting to be a very select neighborhood. Through 9 of 12 complete rounds of competition in 2004, Jon Fogarty remains the series leader, however, Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks) has closed the gap on Fogarty to just six points (239-233) with two wins in a row, including last week at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Danica Patrick is also still very much in the hunt, just 24 points behind Dalziel and 30 away from Fogarty. With up to 35 points available to a driver on a given race weekend under the new series scoring system and three races remaining, including this weekend, there can certainly still be a significant amount of movement in the series’ final finishing order.
08/12/04
cartatlantic
Rookie battle is tight Rookie battle is tightThe chase for the $10,000 BG Products Rookie of the Year award has been close throughout the season and figures to go down to the wire. Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) wrestled the lead back in the tight battle with fellow first-year man Ronnie Bremer (#4 Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems) last weekend with a third-place finish at Road America. Bremer was the victim of a breathtaking crash that left him uninjured but 13th in the finishing order as he was forced to call it a day. Ranger now leads Bremer by eight points (188-180) in the rookie race. Jonathan Bomarito remains third in the freshman ranks with 134 points while Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) is fourth with 121 points. Josh Hunt (#15 Wright Patton Shakesepeare/Atkinson Gore Group) is fifth followed by Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil) of Brooks Associates Racing in sixth place among first-year drivers.
08/12/04
irl
cartatlantic
Unser does Double Duty Unser does Double DutyAl Unser (#10 200 + Marketing and Management/Masterplan Group International) will compete in his third Toyota Atlantic event of the season this weekend, but that’s not all he plans to do. The 21-year-old son of legendary racer Al Unser Jr. will attempt to do a rare open-wheel racing doubleheader weekend. After testing his #10 car for Brooks Associates Racing on Wednesday, Unser will spend Thursday with the team at track orientation and will attend the Atlantic pre-event drivers meeting. Then he’ll fly to Kentucky to compete in the Infiniti Pro Series event there on Friday and Saturday. He’ll return to Denver on Saturday night and run in the Atlantic race on Sunday. Unser will start from the back of the Atlantic field since he will not have the opportunity to qualify his car.
08/12/04
irl
Judd To Serve As Grand Marshal for Kentucky Race Judd To Serve As Grand Marshal for Kentucky RaceActress Ashley Judd will serve as Grand Marshal of the IndyCar Series Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 15.   "Our ownership group, administration and fans are proud of our Kentucky heritage and will be honored and excited to welcome one of our own as the honorary grand marshal of this year's Indy Racing League event," Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said. "Being an eighth generation Kentuckian, a University of Kentucky graduate and one of America's top actresses, Ms. Judd is certainly the perfect choice to join us for a showcase event at Kentucky's largest motorsports facility. That she is willing to participate in our event is a testament of her allegiance to our great state."   Judd is married to IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti, who is entered in the No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
08/12/04
irl
Luyendyk Jr. Joins AFS Racing Luyendyk Jr. Joins AFS RacingArie Luyendyk Jr. will drive the No. 27 AFS Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone for the remainder of the 2004 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series season, team officials announced Aug. 11.   Luyendyk, who competed in seven Menards Infiniti Pro Series events for Sam Schmidt Racing in 2004, tested for AFS Racing at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 6.  "The test went really well," Luyendyk said. "(Chief mechanic) Wilbur (Bunce) and I worked well together. We communicated really well. Everything was very positive.   "I think this is the change that I needed. It's good to have some stability for the rest of the season. I'll be able to concentrate on the results on the track."  Bunce has a long history with the Luyendyk family, having worked with Luyendyk's father, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk Sr., in the Super Vee series in the 1980s.  "All of us at AFS Racing, Inc. are very excited about having Arie driving with us through the end of the season," said team owner Gary Peterson. "With good equipment, good driver coaching, and Arie's natural talent, we should have some good races."
08/12/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ferrari can win at bogey track - Todt
Michelin to have 'edge' - Dupasquier
Hakkinen 'doesn't stand a chance' - Ickx
Journalist drives Hill's old Arrows
'Racing's in my blood' - Ricardo Zonta
Toyota were 'kind' to dumped da Matta - manager
Briscoe keen to demonstrate talent
BAR 'has now paid' Button's $3m bonus
Dumped Pasquali considers 'legal action' 
Hungary is crucial for Toyota, says Gascoyne
Rivals are on the pace, says Schu
BAR turns to top sports lawyer
Briscoe's grandad raced in Budapest   
08/11/04
Champcar
Champ Car announces change to mandatory pitstop rule Champ Car announces change to mandatory pitstop ruleUPDATE A reader responds, A sure sign that the head honchos are paying attention and that private ownership can implement rule changes at great speed is apparent. Thank you Champ Car for reevaluating the current rules!! The excitement of having many different strategies going at once is great for the show, but at the same time basically penalizes the leaders (the ones who have "earned" a place at the top). This new rule change shows me that the new owners are committed to avoiding "luck" racing and willing to adjust the rules to facilitate real racing. Furthermore, I have to give praise to Gentilozzi to see the logic in changing these rules, mainly because his driver and team benefited from the old rules. My biggest gripe with the old rules revolved around how Paul Tracy could pass Bourdais for the lead, pull out a lead, pit, and come back out without being passed on the track and have no chance of winning the race? It made no sense and was basically turning the day into a game of roulette rather than a race. We should all applaud the Champ Car owners for their thoughtful and quick decision to revisit and change the rules. Thank you!! REAL RACING....REAL SPORT!!! D. Hughes, Jacksonville, FL 08/11/04 The Champ Car World Series today announced that it had modified its mandatory pit-stop rules, effective immediately.   A single mandatory pit stop, made under green or yellow flag conditions, is now required within a specified race lap window during all Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford events. The one stop, during which the car must take fuel and four tires, will be the only stop mandated during Champ Car races.    The pit window, designed to eliminate fuel economy races, will vary from race to race and will be announced prior to the event by Champ Car Race Operations. Failure to pit during the specified window will result in a one-lap penalty to be assessed at the conclusion of the race.  The rule will go into effect with this weekend’s Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver, which is Round Nine of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule.
08/11/04
irl
 f1
Franchitti gives up on F1 dream Franchitti gives up on F1 dreamDario Franchitti says that he has given up his aspirations of a Formula 1 drive. The Scot, who switched from International Touring Cars as a factory Mercedes-Benz driver to Champ Cars in 1997, and has remained in U.S.-based championships ever since, has in the past frequently hinted that he would like to race in F1. However, Franchitti, who is married to American movie star Ashley Judd, says he has changed his mind.  “I really think my time for Formula 1 has passed,” said Franchitti, who scored his first IRL win last month at Milwaukee. “Maybe four or five years ago, but not now. I wouldn’t want to do it anyway."  SPEEDTV.com
08/11/04
champcar
Denver GP Hot Topics Denver GP Hot TopicsThe Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver (HDNet, 3 p.m. Eastern Time, August 15; Spike TV, 4 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, August 15), is Round 9 of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Following is a current round-up of the latest Champ Car news, trends to follow, names to watch and a few statistics to track as Champ Car racing heads to the 1.647-mile temporary street course in downtown Denver, Colorado. More.....
08/11/04
NASCAR
Two Motorsports Bills Signed by Gov. Easley Two Motorsports Bills Signed by Gov. Easley Today marked an important day in the history of motorsports in North Carolina, as Gov. Mike Easley signed two motorsports bills into law at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  “The motorsports industry is an important economic engine for the state of North Carolina, bringing in more than $1.5 billion each year and employing more than 10,000 hardworking North Carolinians,” Easley said. “These two bills send a strong signal that North Carolina is committed to this industry and its future here in our state.”

Easley signed Senate Bill 3, which amended House Bill 1414 (Appropriations Bill) to increase the appropriation from the General Fund from $2 million to $4 million for the N.C. Testing and Research Complex. The facility will be owned and operated in conjunction with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte automotive and engineering program. The money will be used to plan and design the facility.   “As the motorsports industry continues to grow and gain popularity, competition from other states for this industry is becoming more intense,” Easley commented. “Investing in the planning and design of this testing and research complex could result in drivers being able to practice on a state-of-the-art track without having to go out of the state or use a sanctioned track, such as the Lowe’s Motor Speedway.”

Easley also signed Senate Bill 754, which authorizes the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to issue a series of stock car racing-themed license plates. The plates will be available for purchase Oct. 1 and will include the NASCAR logo, car number and signatures of at least 28 drivers. The plates will cost $50 each. Proceeds from the plates will benefit the North Carolina Motorsports Foundation, which helps promote motorsports throughout the state.   “The North Carolina Motorsports Foundation is such a great economic piece for us in the state in that they encourage motorsports,” Easley said. “It helps to fund operations such as the Victory Junction Gang Camp, which is a great thing to have in North Carolina. It will also contribute to research for head injuries.”

“The North Carolina Motorsports Foundation will also work with the Department of Tourism and the Department of Commerce to help promote the business of motorsports in North Carolina,” said Ed McLean, executive director of the North Carolina Motorsports Foundation.

H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, said the bills were the first to be signed at the Concord race track. He applauded Easley’s efforts to promote motorsports in the state.   “He has done more for motorsports than any governor we’ve ever had,” Wheeler said.

08/11/04
champcar
nascar
Vegas SAFER Barrier up for Champ Car and NASCAR Vegas SAFER Barrier up for Champ Car and NASCARHere are some photos of the new SAFER Barriers that are now in place in time for the Champ Car/NASCAR truck doubleheader at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in September.

 

08/11/04
champcar
Denver getting ready for Champ Car party Denver getting ready for Champ Car partyHere is a photo of Larimer Square -- complete with banners and ready to host the Bridgestone Champ Car street party Thursday night.
08/11/04
nascar
Hendrick and Gordon statements on Brickyard incident Hendrick and Gordon statements on Brickyard incidentThe following are statements from Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon regarding Hendrick Motorsports' Brickyard 400 victory Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

RICK HENDRICK, OWNER OF HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:  (ON WINNING SUNDAY'S BRICKYARD 400 AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY.)  "Sunday's Brickyard victory was one of the most special moments I've ever experienced in this sport.  I really wanted to win that race and kiss the bricks to honor my father.  It was an unbelievable feeling for all of us.

"Nonetheless, I owe an explanation to the George family, along with everyone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The celebration was emotional, and it was fun to acknowledge the fans like that, but it became obvious that we had unintentionally disrupted the Speedway's program by not driving to Victory Lane after the checkered flag.  Speaking for everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, I personally called Mary Hulman George on Monday to apologize for any actions that may have been perceived as being disrespectful."

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Rick Hendrick's father, Joseph R. "Papa Joe" Hendrick Jr., passed away July 14.  He was 84.)

JEFF GORDON, DRIVER OF THE NO. 24 CHEVROLETS:  (ON THE POST-RACE CELEBRATION.)  "I can't adequately describe how emotional Sunday was.  When I got out of the car, it was my intention to get back in and drive to Victory Lane after waving to everyone in the stands.  Our team certainly would not disrespect any procedures on purpose, and I truly apologize to everyone at the Speedway for any problems we may have caused.  It was a classic case of being caught up in the moment.  I plan to support NASCAR's Victory Lane protocol going forward."

08/11/04
f1
Cape Town starts GP bid Cape Town starts GP bidA group of South African investors is hoping to attract a grand prix to a new track in Cape Town.   The plan involves the construction of a circuit near the airport. Cape Town is thought to offer better transport links and hotel facilities than Kyalami, the home of the South African GP which last ran in 1993.   The success of the plan could depend on the consortium’s ability to secure government backing. If the proposal does get the green light it could stage a race in 2007.  Autosport Magazine 8/12/04
08/11/04
nascar
SEM Products Sponsors BAM, Klaus Graf At The Glen SEM Products Sponsors BAM, Klaus Graf At The GlenSEM Products, Inc., will sponsor driver Klaus Graf and the #59 NASCAR Nextel Cup car fielded by BAM Racing this weekend at the Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course.  “SEM has done it again. This is the most colorful and exciting car on the track,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. “There is no way on earth you could miss this car coming by.”  The SEM custom paint finish is a one-of-a-kind custom paint scheme painted by Ron Fleenor, Color Horizons Manager at SEM. The design highlights SEM’s latest addition to the Color Horizons family, Hyperbase Concentrates. These concentrates are a creative mixture of candy colors and pearls that were developed to make candy jobs easier by taking a three-stage process to a basecoat/clearcoat system.
08/11/04
nascar
New NASCAR Outdoors show New NASCAR Outdoors showOutdoor Life Network®, NASCAR Images and NASCAR present NASCAR Outdoors, a brand-new, half-hour series featuring popular NASCAR personalities as they fish, hunt and relax off the track.  Featured in the series are: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Jeff Green and John Andretti; NASCAR Busch Series driver Kenny Wallace and owner Richard Childress.  This week, 1990 Daytona 500 champ Derrike Cope hunts fast moving quail in South Carolina.  Next week, NASCAR legend Bobby Allison and 1993 Busch Series champion Steve Grissom talk about racing, while fishing for bass near Atlanta Motor Speedway.  NASCAR Outdoors will air each and every Friday at 8 PM ET/PT as part of OLN's Field and Stream® programming block.
08/11/04
NASCAR
Quote of the Week Quote of the WeekHere is Ken Schrader's (driver of the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge) response when asked if Olympians are truly athletes: “Most of what you see in the Olympics, yeah, that’s some pretty serious athletic stuff. The guys jumping the bar (high jump) or (pole) vaulting, that takes a ton of strength and physical training. The kayakers, man, that’s big too. One of those things flips over, and it’s gonna be tough out there. Yeah, there are a few things out there that make you wonder (whether it is athletic). I haven’t figure out synchronized swimming yet, but it looks tough. The marathon is tough too, I bet, but it still would be a lot more fun if they had 42 other runners out there at the same time, all staying on the track and going around it, what, 100 or so laps? Slap Schwan’s decals on ‘em, and have ‘em go at it. Hmm . . . maybe give them points based on how well they do, and then have them run against each other week after week. Now that would be sports.” --WILLIAMS PR--
08/11/04
champcar
Montreal race promotion Montreal race promotionUPDATE A reader writes, In addition to what you've already posted about the Montréal promotion, during the broadcast of every F1 race (which on an over-the-air network in Québec where Champ Car needs to be) since the Canadian Grand Prix as well as all the Champ Car races on cable, they run ads for the event. Shaun Moore 08/10/04 Road America can learn a thing or two about proper race promotion.  Here are some examples of what's being done in Montreal.   There are a dozen billboards (14 feet by 48 feet) on Montréal's main highways like the one shown to the right.  Also, below is a sampling of the promotions the Molson Indy Montréal is doing with some of its partners:
Hot Laps with Miguel Duhamel:
After listening to Radio Énergie and identifying the drivers, listeners will register their answers on the Radio Énergie website. 5 finalists from the various Radio Énergie stations will have the chance to participate at the Molson Indy Montréal as well as have a hot lap of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve with Miguel Duhamel on a motorcycle. These finalists will each receive a key that will allow them the chance of winning a Honda CBR 600 valued at $12,000 CDN. The person, who will start the engine of the motorcycle, will become the owner.
Hot Lap with Patrick Carpentier or Alex Tagliani:
Radio Énergie listeners will also have the chance to win a hot lap of the track with none other than Patrick Carpentier or Alex Tagliani. One of these drivers will be calling the lucky winner and inviting them to take an unforgettable back-seat ride in the Champ Car World Series two-seater.
Race simulators:
Readers of the Journal de Montréal will have the chance to win the following prizes:

  • A race simulator on behalf of SIMULATEURS CFN as well as tickets for the three days of the Molson Indy Montréal;
  • A pair of grandstand tickets for the Molson Indy Montréal.

Ticket draws:
For the month of August, people watching TQS or listening to Mix 96, will have the chance to win a pair of tickets to the Molson Indy Montréal
Drivers’ parade:
During the weekend of the Molson Indy Montréal, fans will have the opportunity to visit the Radio Énergie tent and register for the chance to participate in the Drivers’ parade accompanied by one of the Champ Car World Series drivers.

08/11/04
nascar
Good Morning America Good Morning AmericaThe Richard Petty-Kyle Petty piece on ABC's Good Morning America, originally scheduled for last week, is now scheduled to run during the 8-9 a.m. (Eastern) segment of the show Thursday, August 12.
08/11/04
nascar
Interview with Kyle Petty Interview with Kyle PettyKyle Petty, a 44-year-old driver from Randleman, N.C., will make career start No. 700 on Sunday at Watkins Glen. Petty has eight wins and eight poles in his 699 previous Cup starts, and one of those wins came at Watkins Glen in 1992. In 16 starts at The Glen, Petty has scored four top-10 finishes. More....

Excerpt: COMMENT ON CONFLICTING SPONSORS IN VICTORY LANE “I’m going to be totally honest and tell you I don’t understand it. Maybe I’m so naïve that I don’t understand it. We’ve had these issues in NASCAR for years and years and years. We went through a few years there where it seemed like every other race you raced it was either a Budweiser or Miller race. Every time they had a Budweiser race, Rusty would win, so you had the Miller guy standing in Budweiser victory lane. There was never an issue with it. Rusty had his picture taken with Budweiser distributorships and Budweiser may be sitting on his car or whatever and you just didn’t acknowledge. I think now for some unknown reason groups out there have decided to acknowledge it. I watched the Jimmie Johnson thing on TV, and if Jimmie hadn’t set the Lowe’s thing up there or tried to knock off the POWERade, I never would have never noticed the Powerade was there. The best thing to do in a lot of cases is just to ignore it. If they don’t want to get out of the car, don’t get out of the car. Let them interview you in the car. It doesn’t make any difference, I think in a sport that’s grown to the point this sport has grown for us to be arguing what goes on a car and what goes on in victory lane and here and there is so small, it’s ridiculous for us to be talking about it. There are bigger issues out there for the whole sport in general. It’s tough to balance that. There’s a line of respect here, too, I think you’ve got to look at. I drive the Sprint car and we would go run an ALLTEL race. That wouldn’t mean ALLTEL didn’t want the Sprint car in the race. They respected the fact that we as competitors had sponsors. We had to respect the fact that they as racetracks have sponsors for the racetracks. They have to make a living, too. Sometimes we think they make more than a living, but they have to make a living, too. It’s important for them to sell the sponsorship for that racetrack. They’re not going to sell sponsorship to a racetrack that doesn’t conflict with somebody out there on the track. NASCAR is also in the sponsorship business, and they’re not going to sell sponsorship to NASCAR that doesn’t conflict with somebody out there, so if I expect the racetrack to respect my sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola or Georgia-Pacific or Dodge or whoever it might be, then I’ve got to respect their business practices and the way they did it. The victory lane stuff, once the car comes through the gate and goes through inspection, it’s NASCAR’s car. It’s under their jurisdiction. Wherever they want to push it, whatever they want to do to it, wherever they want to set it, they have the right to check it even at 2 o’clock in the morning. If we’re not there and they want to open up the gate and go look at our cars, that’s their right. You relinquish that stuff when you roll through. Some of this stuff, we’re being a little Junior Highish. I think we need to drop it and move on to something more important.”

08/11/04
f1
Minardi event draws 60K in South Africa Minardi event draws 60K in South AfricaThe Minardi team pulled in 60,000 spectators on Monday in South Africa with its Altech South African F1x2 Charity Grand Prix at Kyalami. The event featured two 10-lap races between the fleet of Minardi two-seaters. The first race was won by regular Minardi F1 driver Gianmaria Bruni. The race had been led by Johnny Herbert but he spun and then Christian Fittipaldi lost time during his compulsory pit stop and so Bruni came through to win ahead of Bas Leinders and Patrick Friesacher.  The second race saw victory go to local hero Alan van der Merwe, who beat Herbert to the flag with Bruni third.  The impressive crowd will certainly help the ongoing bid for there to be a South African Grand Prix in Cape Town in 2007. Grandprix.com.
08/11/04
nascar
Mid-Level teams worried about playoffs Mid-Level teams worried about playoffsWhen NASCAR announced its new playoff-style championship format in the offseason, mid-level teams began fretting that it might give sponsors an excuse to pay less.
The new system divides the Nextel Cup season into a 26-race regular season and a 10-race playoff where only a limited number of drivers — the top 10 plus any other driver within 400 points of the leader — will be eligible to run for the championship.

Cars not eligible for the championship will still be allowed to run in the final 10 races. But mid-level teams wonder if sponsors will begin pro-rating future deals to pay for 26 races then only pay for the final 10 if the team they sponsor is eligible to win the championship.

"I've not seen any concrete evidence of that, but I've been asked by our three main sponsors that exact question," team owner Chip Ganassi says.  More at USA Today....

08/11/04
irl
Interview with Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira Interview with Buddy Rice and Vitor MeiraThis week's guests on the weekly IRL media teleconference was Team Rahal Letterman drivers Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira.  Meira: ...... but the IRL is really having a real nice (recognition) there (Brazil). It's only going to grow. The TV packages are going to improve for next year. The IRL is doing a really good job not only here in America, but all over the world. I mean, it can only get better from now on.  More....
08/11/04
alms
Audi R8 gets new lease on life Audi R8 gets new lease on lifeAudi Sport director Wolfgang Ullrich has indicated that the German manufacturer is likely to continue with its R8 sports prototype for the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours after the endurance event’s organizing body, the ACO, suggested a change in the proposed rules for next year. Its successor, the R9, is still in development and is likely to be introduced in 2006.

In its latest rules circular, the ACO has indicated that it will now insist on older LMP-900 cars to run with 50kg (110 lbs) of extra ballast with a five percent power reduction instead of the mooted underfloor plank. The rules would give the R8, which has won the race for the last four years, a new lease of life.

“If we had to run with the plank, we would have to change the car completely and we might as well do an all-new design,” said Ullrich. “There is a good chance that we will go on with the existing cars.” SPEED TV

08/11/04
nascar
Greg Biffle would like to see more road courses Greg Biffle would like to see more road coursesGreg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus, has posted back-to-back top-10 finishes after a sixth-place run at Indianapolis and a fourth-place effort at Pocono.  He spoke about his team's recent success heading into this weekend's final road-course event of the season at Watkins Glen International.

GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus - INFINEON RACEWAY HAS CHANGED QUITE A BIT THE LAST FEW YEARS, BUT HAS WATKINS GLEN STAYED PRETTY CONSISTENT SINCE YOU'VE BEEN RACING THERE?  "Yeah, it really has.  There are just a few spots that have lost a little bit of grip.  Naturally, a race track will typically deteriorate just a slight amount of grip each year that you race there.  It gets better for a few years, but as the track gets older it starts going the other way.  It seems like it's been pretty consistent.  I haven't raced there in the trucks or a Busch car, so all I have to compare to is the Nextel Cup car, but it seems real consistent.  Obviously, Goodyear brought a new tire last year that was a pretty decent, so I really like racing at the Glen.  I like that race track.  It's fun to race on with the elevation changes and it's just a good road course."

MORE OF A TRUE ROAD COURSE THAN INFINEON?  "Absolutely.  It's the best.  Watkins Glen is as good as you can get in my opinion.  I've been to Topeka, Kansas.  I've been to Portland International and I've been to Infineon, and Watkins Glen - by far - is the best road course I've driven at.  It's a great race track and I hope they don't ever take it off the schedule."

THE LAST TWO WEEKS HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY GOOD FOR YOUR TEAM.  YOU MUST BE ENCOURAGED.  "I really am.  We actually had a better car this past weekend than we showed.  We lost bad track position in the pits every time and it's just because our pit box was all the way down at the other end.  We'd get caught behind the slow cars still coming in the pits and the cars on the back of the lead lap, and they would slow us down going down pit road and guys would get out in front of us.  We would pass a car - let's say we'd pass the ninth-place car and were catching the next guy and have a ways to catch him - we would actually run a tenth-and-a-half or two-tenths better than the leader most of the time catching that guy.  Then, of course, you stall out when you get to the next guy.  So I think we had a car that if I was out in front and Jeff Gordon was behind me, it's a possibility we had a car that we could run with him, but you never know because we weren't put in that situation.  Still, I felt really good about the car this weekend and we were really competitive."

DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN WIN ONE OR TWO OF THESE RACES STILL LEFT THIS SEASON?  "Yeah, absolutely.  I think we've been in position all year to win them because we've been running there, but we haven't finished there.  It's kind of the funniest thing in the world because we truly haven't run poor all weekend, except for a few places we've been.  We didn't run good at Martinsville and half of that is driver, and there have been only a couple other places that I can think of.  Other than that we've been real competitive and in the top 15 at least.  It's just that we've suffered bad finishes all the time."

ARE YOU READY TO GO ROAD RACE IN MEXICO IF THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTS ITSELF IN THE BUSCH SERIES?  "Yeah, I think so.  I think it would be good for our sport to explore the race down there.  I know they run the Baja 1000 and some other races in Mexico, so I certainly think there's a place for NASCAR down there."

SO WOULD YOU ENDORSE HAVING A THIRD ROAD RACE ON THE CUP LEVEL SOME DAY?  "Yeah.  If we're gonna road race, we might as well go three or four times a year.  It doesn't hurt us.  I know a lot of guys complain about it and a lot of fans have a hard time watching the whole event, but if we're gonna have diversity in our sport, we've got to road race.  We have to go road racing.  We've been doing it forever and we need to continue to do it."

DON'T A LOT OF GUYS GROW UP RACING GO-KARTS AND THE LIKE ON ROAD COURSE-TYPE LAYOUTS?  "Yeah.  The quarter-midgets are mostly oval, but a lot of go-karts and other divisions do some road-race type courses.  Think about the go-kart track you go to at the beach or anywhere else, not many of them are just an oval.  They've got turns and braking and other skills involved.  I like to road race, so I'm a supporter of it."

08/11/04
champcar
Interview with AJ Allmendinger Interview with AJ AllmendingerA.J. Allmendinger, driver of the No. 10 RuSPORT Lola, has established himself as one of the top rookie drivers in the Champ Car World Series this season. The defending Atlantic champion and 2002 Barber Dodge champion, Allmendinger made the jump to Champ Car with RuSPORT, which is also campaigning its first Champ Car season. Currently leading the Rookie-of-the-Year standings and ninth overall in the championship, Allmendinger talks about making the jump from Atlantics, the relationship he has with teammate Michel Jourdain, Jr., and handicaps the 2004 Champ Car title race. Transcript
08/11/04
cartatlantic
Bremer crash photos Bremer crash photos At Road America last weekend Toyota Atlantic driver Ronnie Bremer had a big crash at Turn 14 which landed him upside against the tire barrier.  The first report in from our photographer Mark Scheuern was that he thought the driver was dead.  The good news is that he was perfectly fine, which is more than could be said for our photographers nerves.

 

08/11/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
BAR, Williams, exchange Button blows
Toyota dump Kreyer, Pasquali
BAR lose 'torque transfer' appeal
Repsol to finance de la Rosa return
Bridgestone 'learnt' from Hungary
BAR's 'pulling away' from Williams
Jordan calls 'urgent' F1 meeting
Ant's manager 'supportive' of switch
It's 'nice to have a break' - F1 drivers
Glock eyes F1 drive in '05
I'm too weak in qualifying - Barrichello
Webber's 'not easy' to replace - Pitchforth
'Home race' for Finland's Raikkonen
No 'number one' in 2005 - Williams' Michael
Berger as Mosley's FIA deputy? More to follow....
08/10/04
f1
BAR loses torque-transfer appeal BAR loses torque-transfer appealBAR has lost its appeal to use its new Front Torque Transfer device at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. The software-controlled device was designed to ensure better braking and reduce the risk of locking-up.  The Court upheld the decision of the Panel of the Stewards.  FIA statement:
 
The FIA statement read: "The appeal concerned an 'electro hydraulic software controlled device which connects the front wheels via drive shafts and allows controlled torque transfer from a faster wheel to a slower wheel even under braking' on the T-car of the team.

"Having heard the explanations of both parties and having examined the various documents and other evidence, the Court upheld the decision of the Panel of the Stewards."

08/10/04
irl
Nazareth ticket free-for-all Nazareth ticket free-for-allIn their continued desperate attempt to fill grandstand seats and make it look good for potential sponsors free tickets are being given out by the boatload at IRL races.  How do we know?  Autoracing1.com staff received them in the mail.  But here is the real kicker, if you buy just one $30 Adult General Admission ticket you can bring an unlimited number of children for free, yes unlimited per the Nazareth Speedway website - "This year unlimited children 12 and under are FREE with the purchase of an adult general admission ticket. For tickets and information, please contact the Nazareth Speedway ticket office at 888.629.RACE or log online to the official Nazareth Speedway website. Nazareth Speedway."    So, load up those school buses teachers.  You can be a hero.  Each adult can take their entire school to the race (300 to 400 kids) for the price of one Adult $30 General Admission ticket.  That's a bargain if we ever saw one.  Now we understand why the race day attendance at the IRL races is up this year.  It's a ticket free-for-all.  We expect an announced sellout followed by chest beating by the IRL media shills.
08/10/04
nascar
Petty Enterprises shakes up both crews Petty Enterprises shakes up both crewsJeff Green and Kyle Petty will have new crew chiefs, and both teams have seen crew changes which begin immediately. Petty made the announcement today.  Three crew members, including crew chief Greg Steadman, will move to the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge of driver Jeff Green this week. The move was precipitated by former crew chief Gary Putman leaving Petty Enterprises by mutual agreement.  “I’m very grateful for the opportunity Richard Petty gave me at Petty Enterprises, and I am looking forward to the future too,” Putnam said. “We both agreed we needed to try something different, so I am moving on to look for other opportunities.”  Steadman, car chief David Hyder and race engineer David Hoelger move from the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge of Petty to Green’s #43. While engineer Garth Finley, considered one of the top in his field on road course setup, will handle crew chief responsibilities at the Watkins Glen, N.Y., race this week for the #45, a permanent crew chief will be named next week. Ironically, it is the third straight year Finley has served as an interim crew chief at the Watkins Glen race.  “We really appreciate the effort Gary and all of the guys have given us. These changes will be good for everyone,” Petty said. “Greg Steadman has worked with the #43 guys before and has done very well there, and we have some exciting things happening with the #45 too. We are looking forward to the future.” Petty Enterprises
08/10/04
champcar
Road America needs a date change Road America needs a date changeA reader writes, Given that RA attendance has been falling off in the past several years, perhaps some thought should be given to alternative weekend dates for the CCWS event.  For example, this weekend was an exceptionally busy one in southeast Wisconsin with the RA event, a Packer exhibition game Saturday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, Dave Matthews Band concert at Alpine Valley in East Troy, and numerous other local events.  The southeast Wisconsin market is a relatively small market and this is a lot of competition for entertainment dollars over a single weekend.  Also, despite George Bruggenthies' comments, NASCAR being at Indy the same weekend also has to take its toll on RA attendance, especially for avid racing fans.  A similar situation occurred last year with the State Fair, NASCAR at Indy, PGA in Milwaukee and EAA Fly-in in near-by Oshkosh (approaching 100,000 attendance) all occurring on the same weekend as RA.  Years back, the RA CCWS event was later in August and at one point held in September, and attendance was much better back than.  Granted, holding the CCWS event on another weekend won't be the total cure for RA's attendance problems, but it could be a positive move that warrants more consideration. Mark S. Graham, Naperville, IL  Dear Mark, When Road America brought the ALMS in they scheduled that race later in August so they have the date you suggest.  You are correct that the Champ Car weekend has too much competition from a variety of events.  The date needs to change, but there are simply too many races within weeks of one another at Road America.  Instead of having one really successful and profitable event in August, they have three events in the span of 5 or 6 weeks that all hurt each other attendance wise.  The ALMS and Champ Car weekends should be combined, bring in the big carnival company as previously suggested and make the whole affair very 24 Hours of LeMans-like and THE place to be in Wisconsin at the end of August. Mark C. 
08/10/04
nascar
More on Jeff Gordon controversy More on Jeff Gordon controversyOnSports’ Tom George appeared on ESPN2’s “Cold Pizza” today to discuss the Victory Lane sponsorship controversy. George: “NASCAR has been one of the better governing bodies at striking a balance between what’s healthy for the governing body and what’s healthy for the individual drivers.” But NASCAR “over the last several years has changed dramatically from a regional sport basically in the southeast to one that’s now competing on a national stage with national broadcasts competing with mainstream NBA, MLB and NFL. So this type of angst is going to happen at some level.” More George: “Eventually, they’ll find the balance. It’s not a winner or loser thing. ... It’s a shade of gray distinction” --“Cold Pizza,” ESPN2--. ESPN’s Mike Massaro said, “A lot of people are speculating that the reason Jeff Gordon didn’t go to Victory Lane was because he did not want to get involved in that whole situation and promote Powerade. Jeff, of course, is denying that whole situation and says that he simply wanted to go out on the front stretch and celebrate with his team and with the fans, and he did that”--ESPNews--
08/10/04
NASCAR
German Driver Attempts His Second NEXTEL Cup Race German Driver Attempts His Second NEXTEL Cup RaceKlaus Graf will drive the #59 SEM Dodge this weekend in the NASCAR Nextel Cup stock car race at the Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International race course. The car is fielded by BAM Racing, which also fields the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge of driver Ken Schrader. Graf will be making his second start in the Cup series, coming off a 17th-place finish in his inaugural Cup race at Infineon Raceway in June. In his first race in the large heavy stock cars, Graf was leading late and finished third in an ARCA race at Nashville, Tenn. The thoughts of #59 SEM Dodge driver Klaus Grad heading into Watkins Glen:

“My background is basically single-seaters. I was on the road to Formula One, but as we all know, it's very difficult so I changed my path and went to sports car racing. I lived in America from 1999 to 2001 and raced in the American Le Mans Series. I did that very successfully and also raced in the Le Man 24-hour race and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Since 1999, and even before, I always kept an eye on NASCAR. We all know it is very hard to break into, especially Nextel Cup. We finally managed, with BAM Racing, make it work out and here we are. I am really looking forward to racing Watkins Glen. No matter where it is or what form of racing, your first race in any series is difficult. It’s more than just what the cars will do or won’t do, and it’s even more than quickly learning your way around the track. Everything affects what you do. You walk in and, outside of your own team and family and friends, you don’t know anybody else in the garage. What might be an uneventful moment for a veteran driver could take five or 10 minutes out of your day. Simple things, like knowing where the bathrooms are.

“Getting that first race under my belt was good. I felt we were representative, especially on race day at Infineon. We did some pretty good things, moved up through the field and I learned a lot as driver in regards to what these Cup cars will do. My time at Infineon got a tremendous amount of attention in Germany. There were several journalists who came to Infineon to follow it, and many more who followed from over there. It was a big moment for me, but the race this weekend will be just as big. I am trying to build a career in NASCAR racing. Running with BAM and the expertise they bring is important too. Kenny (Schrader) is a good road racer. He has proved that in the past often. It's just a matter of bringing back the memory and the feeling for a road course and road race. These guys go 34 times a year on an oval, and on a road course, you need a different kind of approach and different kind of driving style - at least that's what I found out driving on an oval. It's hard, even if you have done some testing before this weekend, to adjust quickly to the different kind of driving style.

"I am used to heel-and-toe shifting. In my Porsche GT car in Germany we have to do the same thing, and it's very similar to the Cup car. I have always been someone that is used to this procedure of shifting. I don't think it will be a big change for me. You have to treat these cars, with the amount of horsepower and torque they have, in a little special way to keep them smooth on the track. So far in testing I didn't have any problems adjusting to it. Climbing into the car the first time, it was not culture shock or anything. Suddenly you are looking again at normal gages. You see the RPM, fuel, and the temperature gages. I am used to digital stuff and high-tech cockpits almost like plane cockpits, but then again when I started racing it was the same way. It's just a matter of adapting to it, and sometimes it's good to bring back old memories. You switch your memory on to remember to look at the gages and you cope with it. At the end of the day you're still getting the same information of it, it's just a different way of getting it."
08/10/04
nascar
NASCAR probably will not punish Gordon NASCAR probably will not punish GordonNASCAR "probably won't punish" Nextel Cup driver Jeff Gordon for stopping his car at the finish line rather than going to Victory Lane after winning Sunday's Brickyard 400, but the governing body is "likely to issue more specific guidelines regarding victory lane procedures this week," according to Chris Jenkins of USA TODAY. Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, after winning the past two Nextel Cup races, 'have taken steps to avoid participating in NASCAR's victory lane product-placement deal with Powerade,' as both are sponsored by Gatorade. NASCAR VP/Corporate Communications Jim Hunter: "We want to clean up this issue once and for all" --USA TODAY--.  When Gordon stopped at the finish line, NASCAR officials "were strenuously ordering the team to get the car to Victory Lane so the proper sponsorship protocols could be followed. Nobody was listening" --CHARLOTTE OBSERVER--
08/10/04
NASCAR
Bristol Testing Schedule Bristol Testing ScheduleTesting for the upcoming August race weekend will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 10, 11, 16 and 17. The following list of drivers testing is tentative and subject to change.

Aug. 10 Mark Martin - Roush Racing Stacy Compton - ST Motorsports
Aug. 11 Robby Gordon - Richard Childress Racing Jamie McMurray - Rusty Wallace, Inc.
Aug. 16 & 17 JJ Yeley - Joe Gibbs Racing Michael Waltrip - Michael Waltrip Racing Travis Geisler - DCT Motorsports Jay Sauter - Henderson Motorsports Ryan Newman - Penske Motorsports
Aug. 16 Only Mike Potter David Green - Brewco Motorsports John Hadden - Day Enterprise
Aug. 17 Only Jeff Green - Petty Enterprises Kyle Petty - Petty Enterprises Jimmy Spencer - Morgan McClure Racing Eric McClure - Morgan McClure Racing
08/10/04
champcar
Bourdais wants Newman/Haas team to stay together Bourdais wants Newman/Haas team to stay togetherTampa resident Sebastien Bourdais is trying to stay focused on winning a first Champ Car driver title amid concern that team owners Carl Haas and Paul Newman are about to end their 22-year partnership. Haas is reportedly considering a switch to the rival Indy Racing League and a deal with that series' dominant manufacturer, Honda. Newman reportedly prefers to stay in Champ Car. Bourdais, the Champ Car points leader, said Haas has not wanted to discuss the situation.  "I don't know what to think about it," said Bourdais, who finished third Sunday at Elkhart Lake, Wis. "They are trying as hard as they can to stay together; we just have to see what will be their answer. I wish everyone would stick together because everyone knows we are strong because we are together."  A relationship already exists between the team and Honda. Newman/Haas competed in its first Indy 500 since 1995 (and 14th overall) this season, finishing fifth with Bruno Junqueira.  Newman/Haas is in strong position to win a fifth series championship. Bourdais has a 47-point lead over second-place Junqueira. St. Petersburg Times
08/10/04
f1
Williams fires back over BAR Claims on Button Williams fires back over BAR Claims on ButtonIn relation to the statement issued by BAR ('Button Contracted to BAR in 2005'), the BMW WilliamsF1 Team reiterate it is Jenson's intention to drive for the team in 2005, and that his contractual position provides for this. The team would also like to clarify the following matters:-
  • The Contracts Recognition Board (CRB) is not a constituent element of the FIA, but an independent body set up under the Concorde Agreement between the Formula One teams, the commercial rights holder (FOM) & the FIA. It is  therefore wholly incorrect to refer or indicate that the decisions made by the CRB are an endorsement of a legal position by the FIA.
  • BAR's statement today is misleading. BAR have registered what they believe to be a valid claim over Jenson Button for 2005. The CRB have not endorsed the validity of this claim, but have simply confirmed receipt of BAR's documentation.
  • This does not mean that their contract is valid, or holds precedence over other contracts with Jenson Button.
  • As a matter of record, WilliamsF1 has a contract with Jenson Button deposited with the CRB in October 22, 2002. Receipt of this deposit was also acknowledged by the CRB.
  • In the opinion of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, BAR have failed in their responsibility to correctly exercise certain option clauses in their contract with Jenson Button, and as such, their contract has expired, and Williams' contract is valid.
  • The CRB does not, in all cases, make final adjudication on contractual disputes, and may refer cases to the appropriate legal authorities.

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team has a commitment to correctly represent the outcome of this process to the media as and when a conclusion is reached. WilliamsF1

08/10/04
f1
Toyota makes F1 personnel changes Toyota makes F1 personnel changesToyota Motorsport has made some personnel changes to its organisation aimed at further improving the efficiency within the Chassis Design group and at simplifying the lines of internal communication, both on the track and within the company.

The "Research and Vehicle Dynamics" and "R&D Testbench Chassis Engineering" areas will be merged into one group, headed by Loic David (previously Senior Manager Research & Vehicle Dynamics) as Senior Manager R&D. Loic David will now report directly to Chief Designer Gustav Brunner.

General Manager F1 Operation, Richard Cregan will take over operational team management functions, as well as the Toyota Drivers Academy (Toyota's young driver programme) and will also assume the position of Team Manager at races.

Chief Race Engineer, Dieter Gass will head the race and test organisation, reporting directly to Technical Director Chassis, Mike Gascoyne.

In line with the redistribution of responsibility and the objective of streamlining and simplifying the reporting and decision process within the organisation, both Norbert Kreyer and Ange Pasquali will leave Toyota Motorsport.

Tsutomu Tomita, Chairman of Toyota Motorsport and Team Principal of Panasonic Toyota Racing said: "We have discussed this decision with all personnel involved in the changes. We acknowledge that the action we have taken may be seen as severe, particularly in view of the significant contribution made by both Ange Pasquali and Norbert Kreyer, not only to the current Formula 1 programme, but also to the World Rally and the Le Mans projects. However, the duplication of function and responsibility created by this previously complex organisation and the need to establish a simpler and more effective organisational structure, which is acutely focused on achieving our ambitious goals, has led us to make and implement this difficult decision."  Toyota Motorsport

08/10/04
champcar
Vasser ready to break Unser's record Vasser ready to break Unser's recordWhen the bell rings to start Round 9 of the Champ Car World Series in this weekend’s Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver, it will mark 1996 Champ Car World Series Champion Jimmy Vasser’s (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) 192nd consecutive start in the series that boasts the most diverse championship in all of motorsport. History in the form of fellow series champion Al Unser Jr. will await the durable Vasser, as he is scheduled to pull alongside Unser for the series’ all-time iron man mark.

In Cal Ripken Jr.-like fashion, Vasser has strung together a mind-boggling streak of 191 straight races over a spectacular 13-year Champ Car career. He would break the iron man record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec Canada August 29th with consecutive start 193, and his current streak dates back to his 22nd career start at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (1993), with his first Champ Car start coming in Surfers Paradise, Australia in 1992.

“It’s not an accomplishment of tremendous skill – it’s just longevity,” said Vasser, who stands seventh in the championship with 127 points. “Maybe I’m humble, but I think it’s cool. It’s an awful lot of races consecutively, but it doesn’t feel like that. I still get antsy with anticipation the same way I always did. What it really says is that, knock on wood, I haven’t had an injury along the way. Other guys could have had streaks, but they have had injuries. And [Paul] Tracy got disciplined and missed a race to end his streak.”

Recently retired Unser Jr., who coincidentally won Champ Car’s first two forays into Denver from 1990-91, made his run of consecutive green flags beginning in Atlanta in 1983, and ending with the 1995 Indianapolis 500.

The Canoga Park, Calif. native will also be making his 213th start behind the wheel of a 750hp thoroughbred Champ Car– which stacks up fifth overall in series’ history [Modern Era, 1979 – Present], second only to fellow champion Paul Tracy (219) among active drivers.

08/10/04
alms
ALMS TV Rating ALMS TV RatingThe ALMS race shown live on NBC from Mosport, Ontario Canada  this past Sunday earned a 0.9/2 Share overnight TV rating.
08/10/04
f1
F1 contract board recognizes Button/BAR contract F1 contract board recognizes Button/BAR contractThe FIA Contract Recognition Board acknowledged, in writing, that, as of today, the B*A*R Contract with Jenson Button is the only valid contract registered for the 2005 season.  A driver's "super license" - his right to drive in Formula 1 - is only valid if his contract has been lodged with and registered by the CRB and all driver contracts contain a provision submitting all priority disputes to the CRB.  The CRB was established in 1992 to regulate driver contracts and resolve priority disputes where a driver enters into a new contract with a Formula 1 team when a clearly established and registered contract is already in existence.  The purpose of the CRB is to enforce driver contracts and provide a swift international resolution to conflicts which if channelled through national legal systems could be drawn-out and could result in a wholly inappropriate remedy for the innocent party and for the sport as a whole.  All signatories to the Concorde Agreement are bound by the procedures of the CRB which requires any new driver contract to be registered 'forthwith' i.e. immediately, and without delay, in order to establish its validity.  B*A*R has willingly submitted itself to this process which is final and binding on all parties. BAR Honda
08/10/04
champcar
Attendance so-so at Road America Attendance so-so at Road AmericaUPDATE This Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal article also said Sunday's attendance was 35,000 to 40,000.  Others have estimated lower. Either way the number was down significantly from the race's glory days. 08/08/04 Officials were estimating a crowd of 35,000 for today's Champ Car race at Road America.  The crowd is close to last year and we quizzed a couple of vendors who told AutoRacing1 that Friday and Saturday were flat but today (Sunday) business was definitely up over 2003.  While the attendance is not what it was three years ago, perhaps they have turned the corner.  AutoRacing1.com has learned that Champ Car would like Road America to step up their marketing/promotion for 2005 and to bring in a big carnival company a la the 24 Hours of LeMans and make the Champ Car weekend a special weekend in Wisconsin.  The idea of a carnival is brilliant as it not only gives fans who camp out over the weekend something to do at night, it allows Road America to co-market and co-promote the two together. Mark C.
08/10/04
champcar
Denver Karting track erected Denver Karting track erectedHere is a photo of Denver's newly-constructed go-kart track adjacent to the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver track.  It is a scaled replica -- 1/4 mile track.  Very cool.  They had a $500 per spot Mini Grand Prix last Saturday to raise money for local charities and will leave it up all week (including race weekend) for public rentals ($25 for ten laps)-- to raise more money for charities. Through it all the fans are having fun and they are raising awareness of the race this weekend. It is shaping up to be a great weekend.
08/10/04
f1
Renault to debut new engine in Hungary Renault to debut new engine in HungaryRenault will use a new, upgraded engine at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, engine technical director Rob White has said.   "The RS24D engine, racing in Hungary for the first time uses a revised cylinder head and related parts in the top end of the engine," White explained. "The RS24D represents a small performance step over the final RS24B and will be the platform for further refinement and development during the final part of the season. There was an RS24C development project, which was pursued on the dyno, but which did not go in the car. Elements of the RS24C will appear in future versions of our engine.  Although for base engine performance and reliability, it is the intention that track testing is confirmatory rather than exploratory, track testing remains an important final hurdle," he noted. "It is also the first chance to gauge the subjective impressions of the drivers and an opportunity to work on the final calibration and set up of control systems. The timing of the test ban is known in advance, so must be considered in the planning and management of engine performance steps. Of course, the absence of track tests during August reduces the scope of changes that can be introduced at races during and immediately after this period."
08/10/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Trulli aims for Monaco repeat
Jaguar to lose Beck's backing
Schu won't be lapped again - Bob Bell
Honda turn knife on Button saga
Sauber car gets more changes
Button will see out season in BAR - Richards
BAR to stick with Sato - report
Schu's hot weather training 'delayed'
Richards asks BAR to behave 'professionally'
Button will drive a Williams - Sam Michael
Minardi renews Russian link
Alonso expects winning Renault
'D spec' Renault engine is 'small step'
Stewart's son causes a stir
F1 to go radical to promote overtaking?
OPINION: Schu's not so unblemished  
08/09/04
transam
Trans-Am driver Mike Lewis OK Trans-Am driver Mike Lewis OKMichael Lewis reported only minor injuries after being involved in a fire during Saturday’s 35th Annual Trans-Am Rumble at the Road at Road America, during the Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune weekend. Lewis’ No. 12 Jaguar XKR suffered a fuel-line failure on lap 19 of the 25-lap Trans-Am event, causing the car to burst into flames.   "Everything’s fine,” said Lewis. “I’m a little singed from all the flame in the cockpit, but I am generally okay. It was a broken fuel line, so the flames got hot, really fast. I was trying to get up the hill to the corner worker station, but couldn't quite get there.   “I’d like to thank the Champ Car Safety Team,” added Lewis. “The car is not good, but it could have been much worse if not for their outstanding efforts.”  Lewis finished a career best third in points last year. Lewis’ sole victory in Trans-Am competition came at Road America in 2001, making him the first driver in more than a decade to win a Trans-Am race in a fuel-injected car. Photo 1 | Photo 2 | Photo 3 | Photo 4
08/09/04
nascar
NASCAR expected to clarify Victory Circle rules NASCAR expected to clarify Victory Circle rulesThis AP article says, NASCAR is expected to clarify its Victory Lane requirements this week after Jeff Gordon skipped the ceremony following his win at the Brickyard 400.   Gordon did not drive his car into Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Instead, he stopped his car on the track and got out, celebrating with his crew as they ran to join him. By doing so, he avoided being seen with a large bottle of sports drink made by a NASCAR sponsor that conflicts with Gordon's sponsors.   "I'm sure I'm going to get in some kind of trouble over it," he said after the race. "But, you know what? Right now I don't care."   NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said it was undecided Monday if Gordon would be penalized for failing to drive into Victory Lane.   However, Hunter said the sanctioning body would likely issue clarifications this week for what is expected from winning drivers after the race.
08/09/04
champcar
No RA support from Chicago Tribune No RA support from Chicago TribuneA reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, As a Chicago Tribune employee in the sports dept. our paper makes me sick.  We sponsor the Vintage weekends at Road America and run promos in the paper about them, we do nothing to promote the Camp Car race at all. The track has purchased some space to promote all the races and a few spots here and there for Champ Car. The Paper has done nothing to tell the public that we are involved in the race.  I was told by our marketing dept. that we were given the RA Champ Car sponsorship for free, or in advertising they called it extra added value for our vintage sponsorship. The reason we are even involved in the track is because our Chief at the Tribune (Cubs, WGN, LA Times, Chicago Tribune just to name a few) is a big club racer. A Fan of Champ Car  Dear Fan,  If what you are telling us is true, than the $500K Road America claims to have spent promoting the race wasn't used on the Chicago Tribune.  At this point we are beating a dead horse with any more letters.  Clearly both Champ Car and Road America need to work out a plan for future years that can make the event a success.  There is no reason that the Champ Car weekend could not return to its glory days of 5 to 10 years ago.  Champ Car needs to switch to F1-style cars, change the name of their series to something that is meaningful because Champ Car doesn't cut it (never has, never will), get a better TV package, hire the best drivers, and do proper brand marketing.  In turn, Road America would do well to bring in some new investors who can properly fund some much needed improvements for the future, not the least of which would be to build some proper garages and corporate suites and make the Champ Car weekend a LeMans 24-Hour type of weekend, complete with big carnival type amusements that will attract families from near and far.  Track president George Bruggenthies admitted "we are a small company."  Well by golly George, it's time to change that. Mark C.
08/09/04
cartatlantic
Could Formula BMW replace Toyota Atlantic? Could Formula BMW replace Toyota Atlantic?A reader writes, After watching some great Formula BMW racing at Road America this past weekend I am now thinking - would this series be a good next generation Formula Atlantic series replacement? The cars look and sound great and with a slight tweak in size and horsepower they would be the perfect replacement for the Toyota Atlantics, leaving Toyota free to spend even more useless money in the IRL and to make there F1 cars even slightly more competitive. Werner Fritz, Trevor, Wisconsin   Dear Werner, The Formula BMW cars are the right size and HP for kids moving up from go-karts, but they are too small and too underpowered to be the last step on a development ladder for Champ Car.  There is simply too large a step from Formula BMW to Champ Car for a driver to move up in one giant step.  OWRS has some irons in the fire with regard to replacing Toyota Atlantic.  Toyota is quite capable of stepping up, but as you say, their heart is now in the IRL, NASCAR and F1, though we see their interest in the IRL waning.  Whatever the formula, it must be a low-cost one-engine per season formula.  Toyota Atlantic as it exists today is still too expensive given the plethora of competing open wheel series out there.  As we recently wrote, open wheel racing is in dire need of some consolidation. Mark C.
08/09/04
champcar
It was a great race It was a great raceA reader writes, I just have a couple observations from this weekend's Road America race. First off everybody should be used to Michael Andretti's BS spewing mouth offs!  He's been this way even when he was still in Champ Car.  Funny thing though that he talked about the crowd there, when the amount of people there is still about the same or more than show up for an IRL race at most of their tracks!!!   I actually laughed hard on that one cause I really thought he was joking!  He must have waited a long time to say that one.
 
Sebastien Bourdais's comments about the fuel windows does not make much sense considering his European background and Formula 1 aspirations. These kinds of strategies take place at every race in Formula 1 and the 3 pit stop rule, I think makes it a little easier to overcome. His team could have done something to overcome it, but bad strategy and not being quick enough to react to what was happening on the track is not the fault of the rules in this case.
 
I also don't see why some press outlets complained about this race other than because that's what they do regardless of what really happens. I thought it was an incredible event. The on-track action was fantastic, the strategies playing out, and the toughness of that course all made for a great race. They were three wide a few times on that track and not just fast guy passing slow guys. That race really showed how tough it really is to drive those cars as lots of guys slid their cars in turns from driving too hard. And to say that strategy and luck gave Alex Tagliani the win is just plain ignorant (kind of like Mr. Andretti's comments). Alex had the speed right from the green flag working his way right to the front, and when Paul needed to get away from him and put up some time, He couldn't! Alex drove a fantastic race and earned that one regardless of yellow flags and pit stop strategy. I guess some of these guys are forgetting a few years ago before mandatory pit windows and 2-3 stops rules when they used to fly into the pits all together when the yellow flag came out just so they wouldn't get caught out. And speaking of luck, wasn't it Sebastien who got lucky that he was able to get to third after coming together with his teammate instead of spinning off just like his team mate did when he hit him! That's what racing is and yesterday was a great example of that! Byrce Freeze 
08/09/04
Corona Series
Mexican driver dies Mexican driver diesToday Mexican driver Marcelo Nunez died from injuries suffered 8 days ago in  the “Desafio Corona” race celebrated in Monterrey, Mexico.  Marcelo was a regular driver of the newly formed “Desafio Corona Series” (Mexico’s version of NASCAR).  Last weekend he had a terrible crash that resulted in a lot of fractures and a lot of damage in some of his internal organs.  After 8 days of fighting for his life in a Monterrey Hospital, Marcelo died. This tragedy reminds us that all drivers put their lives on the line. Rest in Peace Marcelo. José de Jesús Arrambide reporting from Mexico
08/09/04
champcar
Mucking with Champ Car rules Mucking with Champ Car rulesUPDATE Dear AutoRacing1, Watching Elkhart Lake from England, firstly congrats to Tag on his first, long overdue win. Second, great to have some coverage of pit to driver radios. I don't want to take away from the good points, but Derek Hughes is quite right to pan the RA race for a fuel win. It was obvious from lap 21 who was in the frame to win. You don't need to be Hitchcock to want a bit more suspense in your racing. The problems are the full course yellows and the mandatory pit stops. I want to see racing. When did the Kentucky Derby ever mandate three bags of straw and three shoe changes for the horses? Never, because the fastest horse and rider always win. Look at Road America.  Some guy goes off into the gravel, and they put out a caution. Dump the mandatory pit stops. The course is 4.048 miles long. They could scrap the safety car, and do this: The corner before an incident, a single yellow flag (no overtaking) and in the danger zone, to protect the sticken driver and safety workers. Ed McFarlane, Goadby, England 08/09/04 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com,  I have been one of the most staunchest supporters of Champ Car, especially over the past few years of turmoil. After already writing numerous emails about how dumb the new rules are, once again, the essence of Champ Car racing has been spoiled. We now have the old fuel conservation racing and more importantly (at least to Champ Car) we have luck racing again. Wasn't that what the new rules of 2003 were supposed to advert? 
 
In Champ Car racing you are not rewarded for being the fastest driver or having the best team. In fact, you actually get penalized as the slower cars dictate your strategies. You have a better chance of jumping ahead on some 15 minute yellow flag to pull one car out of a gravel trap. Still unlike F1, to make matters worse, if you are the Champion of the series, you are never given the benefit of the doubt and are, in fact, targeted. Daring to say any truth about an officiating, which creates controversy and makes great stories, media coverage, and gives our drivers the personalities we love, is absolutely banned. Furthermore, if you are the Champion, are the biggest and really only "name" left in the series, go out of your way to staunchly support the series, are basically THE icon of the series, you will get constantly threatened with losing points and given black flags to ruin your races, even on marginal "racing" events. As much as it breaks my heart to say it, after what I've seen with the treatment of Paul Tracy in Toronto with Justin Wilson and now with Bruno Junqueira, who was not in contention with any position, it wouldn't surprise me to see Paul Tracy in NASCAR next year. As a matter a fact, I almost hope he does. Almost when that happens now, it will be the end of Champ Car. Just plain stupid. This is absolutely no way to officiate a professional series in regards to rulings on the track, treating of your champion, and with creating "race" rules. If I wanted to watch fuel conservation and luck "yellow" racing, I'd watch the IRL or NASCAR.
 Derek Hughes, Jacksonville, FL [Editor's Note:  We see fan complaints about the officiating in every racing series.  It is a thankless job, though we do think Champ Car does fiddle with the rules a bit much.]
08/09/04
champcar
Reader claims Road America is to blame Reader claims Road America is to blameUPDATE #3 The mail on this topic keeps pouring in.  Following up on the readers comments regarding the Chicago Tribune's presenting sponsorship and lack of coverage of RA, Sunday's Tribune had a two sentence qualifying report from RA buried in the "Sports briefs" section.  Monday's Tribune had only this AP article regarding RA.  Clearly, the Tribune sports editors have little interest in RA and CCWS.  However, at the same time, CCWS and the Chicago-based teams, Newman-Haas and Dale Coyne, could do a much better job spoon-feeding stories to the local media.   Mark S. Graham, Naperville, IL 08/09/04  Yet another reader writes, I fully agree with JP from Madison, WI. I am also a Wisconsin resident and I am sickened by the lack of promotion by Road America management, not just this year, but for the past several years. I would love to see an audit as to where and how those $500,000 were spent, because besides some smaller ads in newspapers and a few schedule flyers I did not see anything else. As far as George Bruggentheis' proclamation that they provide flyers in grocery store inserts - are you serious? As if the NASCAR Bubba's shopping at Piggly Wiggly are going to pay a minimum of $60 to watch a Champ Car road race? No lower general admission entrance fee possibilities to attract the new fans? I swear, it would almost seem as if Road America was trying to keep the fans away! It's a miracle and a testimony to the strength of the fans of Champ Car that the estimated 35,000 showed up to begin with! The P.R. of this past year sure sounds like RA would like nothing better than to go with the IRL and have Uncle Tony pick up the tab, wouldn't it? So maybe it's all a moot point already. Now maybe they can get real busy and try to figure out where the paying fans for that would come from, but not to worry, the same people who filled the Milwaukee IRL race stands will make sure that free tickets will be available for all, won't they?  When Wisconsin's largest daily newspaper, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel thinks that their readership is better served by sending their motorsports writer to the Brickyard 400 instead of their own world class road circuit marquis event, well the promo malaise surely goes very, very deep.  It is truly my hope that Road America's Board of Directors have a vision that sees beyond the next 5 years and takes in the next 50 of their glorious history. Name Withheld on Request 08/09/04  Another reader writes, The lack of promotion for the Champ Car event at Road America was apparent.  The Chicago Tribune was the lead sponsor and they did have ads in the sports section of the paper.  These ran for the last few weeks and featured a picture of Paul Tracy.  In today's paper, there is already an ad for the ALMS event at Road America in two weeks.  I did not see single billboard.  Meanwhile, the PGA Championship is taking place in Kohler, WI this weekend and there are signs welcoming PGA fans EVERYWHERE.   While the crowd was estimated at 40,000, the bleachers across from pit lane had 100 people tops.  The paddock area at turn 5 (still the best spot for racing that I have seen), was not very crowded.  Nevertheless, RA is still a very good venue for Champ Car.  They need to make this work.  They need to attract fans from all over, but, they really must turn it up around WI, IL, and MN. Barry Sak  08/09/04 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com,  I read your update on the Road America and Champ Car relationship.   I live in the Madison area.  If RA spent $500K on marketing as indicated by them, they did NOT spend it here.  I heard one radio spot for the event, nothing on television, no billboards in the area or all the way to the track.  I don't read the local papers so I have no idea if they tried the papers in the area.  Speaking of papers, The Chicago Tribune was a presenting sponsor of some sort for the race.  Thanks to RA for the free Tribune papers on Saturday and Sunday.  I checked and double checked the Saturday edition of the Tribune for an ad, story, anything relating to a Champ Car race at RA.  Nothing!  The day prior to the event not a single story or ad in the largest market for RA and a sponsor. I quickly scanned the Sunday Tribune and I don't recall seeing anything in Sunday's paper either. Nice job George.  I would like to know if RA did any advertising in Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, or Green Bay?  In conversations with several fans at RA, they also indicated almost nothing with regard to  marketing the event in the area.

As for RA marketing, take one look around the place, notice the two largest billboards at the track in turn 5 and at the end of pit road had a second rate web site advertisement.  Must have been some great victory high fives in the RA marketing department to land such a prestigious advertisement.  By the way the billboards are not for the Champ Car event only they are for the entire season, they were up at the test on Memorial day.  I think AutoRacing1.com should bid on the the two spots next year, I bet you could get them for under $5k.  I also noticed, the "cheap" tickets that give outside viewing only are no longer offered. 

So looking at the examples given, it is reasonable to conclude a lack of fans at RA are a result of poor management and marketing at RA and not as much of a problem with Champ Car.  I think OWRS should rent the track and promote the event themselves, show the clowns at RA how to do the job.  Good thing RA is not hosting the PGA event, I can see it now RA presents the PGA tour sponsored by Bob's used golf clubs. JP from Madison, WI

08/09/04
champcar
irl
Feedback on Marco Andretti article Feedback on Marco Andretti articleA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Interesting article on Marco Andretti. He certainly seems to have the potential to go places. Therefore it seems a shame that his father looks to be standing in his way and not allowing Marco to hone his road racing skills, and getting him into Europe.
 
Surely Marco should be at least given the chance to get into F1. Star Mazda then IRL sure would be an unconventional route. My view would be: remainder of 2004 Mazda or Atlantics; 2005 British or German FR2000 and some Eurocup where schedules permit; 2006 Euro F3 - which paves the way to F1 maybe via GP2.
 
Even Michael had his chance in F1, though he was always up against it, being 30 by the time he raced in Europe, and commuting across the Atlantic between GP's (so I read somewhere). Being teammate to Senna was always going to make him look second rate.
 
I cannot believe Michael intends to guide his son straight into the IRL without a chance of greater things first. A few token IRL road races are hardly preperation for Grands Prix.   So seeing the Road America crowd makes him think Champ Car won't survive. I guess all those empty seats at IRL races is a sign of a healthy series then!  Stuart Page, United Kingdom  Dear Stuart, The IRL and some of its sponsors is trying to alleviate the problem of empty seats with massive ticket giveaways.  Perhaps they are trying to impress a potential series sponsor that Roger Penske alluded to.  Won't work, the plummeting TV ratings tell the story and the free tickets kill the market forever. Mark C.
08/09/04
grandam
Grand-Am Series adds another team for 2005 Grand-Am Series adds another team for 2005The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series series has been growing by leaps and bounds and Finlay Motorsports today announced today that it will field a Riley-built Daytona Prototype in 2005.   The team reports that the chassis is in the early production stages, and is slated for testing in the beginning of December. The team plans to make its Rolex Series debut in the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“We are looking forward to being a part of the Daytona Prototype program and to be racing in the Rolex Series next year,” said team president Rob Finlay. “I view the addition of a Daytona Prototype to Finlay Motorsports as an important strategic move for expanding and ensuring the continued success of our current businesses.”

The team has signed Michael McDowell as the chief driver for the Prototype for the 2005 racing season, and will be evaluating potential co-drivers over the coming months.  “With the explosive growth of sports car racing, I am very excited to be a part of the high-profile Rolex Sports Car Series,” McDowell said. “It is a great career opportunity for me as well as the entire team at Finlay Motorsports.”  The team has hired Cameron Motorsports Management to run the day-to-day vehicle operations and mechanics of the Daytona Prototype. Finlay indicated that the team will continue to campaign a car in the Grand-Am Cup Series through the remainder of the 2004 season and throughout 2005.

08/09/04
Industry News
Political candidate proposes Indiana racing initiative Political candidate proposes Indiana racing initiativeThis WishTV8 article says, Is Indiana doing enough to encourage the growth of the racing industry in this state? Republican candidate for governor Mitch Daniels doesn't think so.  Indianapolis might be the capitol of the racing world, but the Daniels campaign is making the case that Indianapolis is not the racing business capitol of the world.

Daniels thinks racing teams and racing related industries should be entitled to tax breaks, including a sales tax exemption, and new training programs aided by state government.  The announcement of his Motorsport initiative took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday even though his father, Mitchell Daniels Senior died unexpectedly last night at the age of 81.  “This is the one campaign event that we continued with today. We've canceled the rest of the schedule. That's because of its importance to him and the importance to the rest of the state of Indiana,” said Bill Oesterle, Daniels campaign manager.

With his campaign manager carrying on, the Republican candidate for governor got an assist from a number of people in the racing industry.  “It’s something that I feel a whole state can capitalize on in a big way by beefing up this racing industry we have,” said Chris Paulson, C&R Racing.

The Daniels proposal is patterned after initiatives that are already in effect in North Carolina which is already home to most of the NASCAR teams.  NASCAR driver and Indianapolis native John Andretti emphasized the point by telling reporters that he has moved to Charlotte. “Right now if you wanna be in racing, pack your bags and you head south,” he said. More....

08/09/04
champcar
Andretti predicts Champ Car's demise Andretti predicts Champ Car's demiseIn an exclusive interview with AutoRacing1.com at Road America where he was Sunday to watch his son race for the Skip Barber National crown, Michael Andretti predicts the demise of Champ Car, something he has done for a couple of years now. Excerpt:  Suddenly, this conversation is no longer about Marco Andretti’s future. It’s about what will happen to a sport that has been living its hardest years for almost a decade already. Michael brushes off my question with ease as he states his “vision” for American open-wheel racing: “Absolutely. The IRL will be road racing next year, and increasingly more in years to come.” It is clear that he believes Tony George’s league will eventually erode Champ Car’s fan base as it begins to turn both sides.  “Things are changing dramatically”, Michael proceeds. “Only the strongest series will survive. And from the size of the crowd I see here at Road America, I can tell you it won’t be Champ Car." More...... 
08/09/04
superfund
Kovalainen wins twice in Germany Kovalainen wins twice in GermanyHeikki Kovalainen was the winner in both of the EuroSpeedway races this past weekend.  He broke the track record at Eurospeedway's road course.
Race 1:
1. Heikki Kovalainen
2. Enrique Bernoldi
3. Tristan Gommendy
Race 2:
1. Heikki Kovalainen
2. Jean-Christophe Ravier
3. Enrique Bernoldi
08/09/04
champcar
George Bruggenthies on the Future of Champ Car at Road America George Bruggenthies on the Future of Champ Car at Road AmericaUPDATE This Sheboygan Press article paints a general negative picture for the future of Champ Car at Road America.  One interesting quote: “That’s a short-coming,” said Gentilozzi, who mentioned to a reporter he dined in Sheboygan Saturday and saw nothing to indicate there was a race at Road America.   "They own the tent to the circus. If they don’t tell people the circus is coming to town, they won’t get anyone to come watch it.”  Bruggenthies rebuffed that assertion.  “(Champ Car) has no plan to do any brand marketing,” he said. “We spent more in hard dollars and trade dollars than ever on this event. Plus we received some free advertising and exposure through some of the other weekend events, like the Tour de Road America (a bicycling fund-raiser held Saturday to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in which more than 400 cyclists participated).  “I can refute that easily. Show me the effort (Champ Car) did. There’s nothing there.”  [Editor's Note: Bruggenthies has a point, we see almost zero brand promotion for Champ Car.  That might be good.  The Champ Car name needs to go away and be replaced by something that describes the type of racing they do.  The words "Grand Prix" should be included in any rebranding they do.  The term Champ Car is meaningless to the general public and any further efforts to promote that name would be like pumping money down a rathole.  The comment most heard when you say Champ Car to a non-hardcore race fan is, "huh, what's a Champ Car?"  We have said this for years because the name CART was even worse.  This isn't rocket science OWRS.  Fix it.]  08/08/04 George Bruggenthies, President and General Manager of Road America, gave an informal press conference after today's Champ Car race at Road America. Several times, he said that he thinks that the "awareness of the product (Champ Car racing) is good." Although one reporter said that he didn't think local coverage was good, Bruggenthies said he could refute that with promotions that RA did locally in Wisconsin and with the near out-of-state markets in Minneapolis and Chicago. Bruggenthies said that the "Champ Cars today were exciting, and the drivers were good."

He said that he's still talking with Champ Car about future races at the track. Recent talks included a 1.5 hour meeting he had this weekend with Dick Eidswick, Champ Car President. Bruggenthies admitted, however, that "This weekend, both Champ Car and Road America lost money." He said that the series needs a title sponsor and added that the product has to be re-built. "Champ Car has challenges", but added, "they're spending a lot of money. This year was uncertain. It will takes years (for Champ Car) to recover." To bring the race at RA back to its glory years, both RA and Champ Car will have to share the risks. He went on, "Road America has lost $.5 million over the last three years" on the Champ Car races. By comparison, it has had profitable venues with AMA, Sprints, Vintage, and motorcycle event. Bruggenthies said that he's "happy with the product (Champ Car)" and added, "To pull the event off (this year) was amazing", given that the newly-formed company is only about 5 months old.

He said that Champ Car has to issue its schedule by September for the following year so that it gives everyone time to print up materials, finalize contracts, and put a TV package together.

When asked about this weekend's attendance, Bruggenthies said that it's down from last year which was also down from the year before. "Attendance figures won't be released for about a week." When asked about a possible conflict with lots of NASCAR fans in southern Wisconsin and the Brickyard 400 also being held this weekend, Bruggenthies said he didn't think the Indianapolis race had much of an impact on this weekend's attendance at RA. When asked about whether RA would still set aside the second weekend in August for Champ Car, he said that he's keeping this weekend open in future years for a major motorsports event, without mentioning Champ Car specifically.

The reason for the scoreboard on the barn not working in Turn 14 was due to an upgrade the track is making to the 100+ year-old building that will include a new scoreboard. Bruggenthies said that they will be improving the scoreboard at Turn 5 as well.
08/09/04
skipbarber
Rising star: Marco Andretti clinches 2004 Formula Dodge championship Rising star: Marco Andretti clinches 2004 Formula Dodge championshipUPDATE Here is the full race report. 08/08/04 Battling for the 2004 Formula Dodge championship, drivers Marco Andretti and Gerardo Bonilla got to experience firsthand an old piece of Juan Manuel Fangio's wisdom:"Carreras son carreras: hay que terminalas"  (races are races: you have to finish them). Coming into the second Road America event, Andretti carried a six point edge over Bonilla, meaning he only needed a second place to clinch the championship, in case Bonilla won. In the race's early stages, that's exactly what seemed bound to happen, as Gerardo led from the pole and Marco settled for second, trying to keep his nose clean.

Then, after a restart, Andretti seemed to throw the crown Bonilla's way when he spun all by himself on turn 5. Father Michael could almost hear the $100,000 champion's prize money flying away from his pockets.

But the pressure of imminent glory got to Bonilla: less than two laps later, he went off-course and got stuck in the gravel trap, putting yet another laurel in the Andretti family's trophy case. Both drivers managed to rally to the checkered flag, but the victory was Chris Prey's, who ended up third in the championship.

08/09/04
irl
nascar
f1
Indy Speedway to be repaved....again Indy Speedway to be repaved....againNow that all the races are over for 2004, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be repaved.  In order to do that, the SAFER Barriers must be removed so the paving can go underneath them.  Afterward they all must be replaced.  The speedway needs to be repaved more often than most tracks and some of this is due to the harsh Indiana winters coupled with low banking and hence not as good subbase draining as a high-banked track.
08/09/04
nascar
Gordon stops short of victory lane in apparent sponsor flap Gordon stops short of victory lane in apparent sponsor flapBrickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon refused to take the traditional trip to victory lane in defiance of NASCAR president Mike Helton, instead stopping at the finish line and celebrating with teammates. Earlier Sunday, Helton delivered a blunt message to drivers about cooperating with corporate sponsors in Victory Lane. While Gordon said his act was not intentional, he later hinted otherwise. Everybody has their sponsorships to take care of," Gordon said. "I think there needs to be a meeting of the minds to work this out. We all need to understand what it's worth to one another." USA Today
08/09/04
champcar
Denver Preview Tidbits Denver Preview TidbitsThe Fan Forum will be 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM in the Pepsi Center on Saturday.. Al Speyers of Bridgestone will be there...Drivers etc are being finalized for the panel this week.  Over 652 fans attended the Forum in Road America.

A free coupon book is now available for race-related events, automotive services, and performance-oriented products at participating Denver-area Firestone Tire and Service Centers, Peerless Tyre stores, as well as participating TiresPlus locations. The coupon book is available while supplies last and includes a coupon redeemable for free admission to the racetrack on Aug. 13 and 14.

Activities on Aug. 13 include the provisional qualifying for the Champ Cars on Bridgestone Potenza racing tires; the opening of the Bridgestone Blizzak Chill Zone inside the Pepsi Center; a free autograph session inside the Pepsi Center with Champ Car drivers; and a fun-filled ice driving competition featuring several Champ Car drivers and other celebrities. The Blizzak Chill Zone events are open to anyone attending the race activities throughout the weekend.

The Blizzak Chill Zone offers fans the opportunity all weekend long to relax in air-conditioned comfort inside the Pepsi Center, and to watch or participate in ice driving exhibitions demonstrating the Blizzak tires with professional drivers from the Bridgestone Winter Driving School. Consumers who attend the tire demonstration event on the ice rink will not only get a great education on winter tires, but will also receive a free lift ticket to Steamboat Ski Resort, while supplies last.

“Fans will be able to go from one temperature extreme to another. From seeing the amazing handling of our Bridgestone Potenza race tires on Champ Cars on the outside track, to experiencing firsthand the cool competition and grip of the Bridgestone Blizzak tires on the ice rink inside the Bridgestone Blizzak Chill Zone, “ said John Robinson, brand marketing sponsorship/events manager with Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC. “Consumers will learn firsthand how important performance and grip is – even on one of the most extreme surfaces.”

On the rink, consumers can test their limits as they pit an all-season tire against the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-Z3 ice tire fitted on identical Toyota RAV4 vehicles. Between driving sessions, consumers will also get the chance to take to the ice and skate on the same rink the famous Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League calls home. A sweepstakes will add to the overall festivities. Prizes include a trip to the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Bridgestone Blizzak tires and Carrera Sport sunglasses. While some restrictions apply, no purchase is required to enter the sweepstakes.

The Champ Car Fan Appreciation Activity Autograph Session runs from 4-5 p.m. inside Pepsi Center on Friday, Aug. 13. Several of the drivers, as well as some team owners and other surprise guests, will participate in the celebrity ice driving competition that follows the autograph session.

Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire is also sponsoring the Champ Car Night street party running from 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, along 14th Ave. between Market and Larimer Streets in downtown Denver. Bridgestone Champ Car Night is free to the public and offers another chance for fans to meet Champ Car drivers; to hear music by popular local band Opie Gone Bad; to change Bridgestone tires on a Champ Car; and to sample food and drink from area vendors.

08/09/04
champcar
Impressive Top-10 for Guy Smith Impressive Top-10 for Guy SmithSportscar champion Guy Smith made an impressive debut in the Champ Car World Series with a top-ten finish at the Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune. The young Englishman worked his way up from 16th position on the starting grid to finish tenth in his first-ever Champ Car race.

A true racer, Smith confidently jumped into the Champ Car with relatively little exposure to the 750hp Ford Cosworth Lola with Bridgetone Potenza tires. Smith has an extensive and successful history in sportscars, highlighted by his famous victory for Bentley in the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours. While he had two seasons experience in the Indy Lights series and some Champ Car testing, it was Smith’s first competitive outing in a Champ Car. He found the power and physical demands of the open-wheel machines significantly different from sportscars but rose successfully to the challenge with a competitive effort yielding a solid finish.

“My first Champ Car race was all and more than I expected.  It was a tremendous challenge and I’m pleased to have finished, but a little disappointed too.  I wanted a better finish, but as it was really only our first weekend working together and as a team, we did reasonably well.  My goal was to finish the race and take advantage of the yellows late in the race especially because the car got better as the race progressed.  The No.17 Rocketsports crew gave me a great car that performed well.  I’m looking forward to Denver and building on what I’ve learned today here at Elkhart.”   Hoping to build on the success of his first Champ Car race, Smith  looks forward to Round Nine of the Champ Car World Series, the Grand Prix of Denver August 15, 2004.

08/09/04
alms
Weaver/Leitzinger dominate at Mosport Weaver/Leitzinger dominate at MosportJames Weaver and Butch Leitzinger dominated most of the way and won the American Le Mans Series Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport on Sunday at Mosport International Raceway.

The two co-drove the Dyson Racing MG Lola EX257-AER to a 16.319-second win over the Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner. Lehto and Werner were trying to win for the fifth consecutive time in ALMS competition this season, while Weaver and Leitzinger won for the first time since July of 2003 at Sonoma, Calif.

The Audi team gambled by not changing tires on its final pit stop, putting Lehto ahead of Leitzinger by nearly 30 seconds with 45 minutes remaining in the timed event of two hours and 45 minutes. But 10 minutes later, with Leitzinger slicing seconds off the lead every lap, Lehto slid off the track in the fifth turn of the 10-turn, 2.459-mile road course due to a flat tire, handing the lead back to Leitzinger for the final time.

"I was very concerned when they did the fuel-only stop," said Leitzinger. "I was hearing the split times and I was catching up with JJ, but it was far from sure. Then I saw him in the barrier and breathed a sigh of relief. This win was awfully satisfying."

"It was absolutely perfect," said Weaver. "I couldn't make a racing car do better than that. We have a lot of miles at Mosport and it paid off handsomely."

"The tire just blew up," said Lehto. "Fortunately it was in a place where I could get back to the pits. We had a good race going and it was a lot of fun today, but I wish we hadn't lost that tire at the end."

Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta won the GTS class in a close finish, nipping the other Corvette Racing factory team entry of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell by only 0.240 second.

Timo Bernhard scored his third GT class win of the season, and co-driver Jorg Bergmeister his second, as they drove the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to a 17.914-second win.

Robin Liddell has teamed with Clint Field four times this season in the Intersport Racing Lola B2K/40-Judd, and each time the team has won the LMP2 class. The Mosport victory was the third straight for the duo.

08/09/04
f1
Richards won't back down Richards won't back downBAR team boss Dave Richards won't back down over the Jenson Button to Williams deal.  "There is absolutely no way I am going to back down on this matter. No way," Richards told The Guardian.. “The guy has a contract with our team. We are talking here about a point of integrity. You can't just welch out of your commitments.   “I've also had letters of support from several other team principals saying they support my position and said that this sort of behaviour just has to be stopped. Today was an opportunity to have a sensible dialogue with Jenson. I wanted to point out that it was beholden on him to come and explain himself before [he signed for Williams], not after."   "We're not descending to this type of behaviour," he said. "Jenson has a contract with us to the end of the year. The point of difference between us is whether or not he is committed for next year as well."
08/09/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'Performance bonus' soured Button deal
Hakkinen to test BAR in October?
Davidson in for Button at Hungaroring?
Webber's 'happy' with one-lap format
South Africa to bid for Formula One
F1 is 'not a sexist sport' - Goodman
Panis talking to other teams - manager
F1 bosses say Button should stay - Richards

'T1' will out-thrill F1 - Palmer
'I'm surprised' Williams ditched the nose
F1 doctor slams Bahrain organisers
'I won't move for the money' - Button
Button could lose F1 license - Ecclestone

Firman keeping fit for F1 return
Minardi and Toyota
China needs F1 'hero' - publisher
Mosley might stay beyond '05
F1 won't axe $48m new team bond - Haug
08/09/04
irl
Ganassi doesn't want to spend $$$ on road course bits Ganassi doesn't want to spend $$$ on road course bitsChip Ganassi said on Speed News Sunday that they should not touch the existing IRL cars for the two road course races next year.  Ganassi thinks the IRL should see how big the crowds are at the two events to see if there is enough fan interest in them before having the teams spend all the money needed to upgrade the existing cars, which were designed for ovals.  If the races are big draws then the teams could buy the new bits for the next year.  He's right, for just two races in 2005, it might not make much sense.  Brakes are not adequate?  So what, longer braking zones means more passing. Mark C.
08/09/04
champcar
Road America and Champ Car talking Road America and Champ Car talkingUPDATE This AP article says, "They own the tent and if you never bring the circus to town, you can't sell tickets," Gentilozzi said. "And I think conventional knowledge would dictate that Champ Car is the best potential show out there for tracks like this."   Bruggenthies said that despite a bigger advertising budget than ever he expects the track to lose $500,000 this year, the fourth straight year of such deficits.   "Yeah, well, we've lost five times that on Road America," countered Gentilozzi, pointing to the $2.5 million it costs Champ Car to put on a race at Elkhart Lake.

Gentilozzi said he didn't see the advertising on billboards or in newspapers or hear it on the radio or television. Bruggenthies said he wants to see a better television contract and business plan from Champ Car.  "Champ Car World Series is hurting, too, I know," Bruggenthies said. "It's costing the owners money. We're both losing money this weekend. That can't go on forever. This isn't a charity. And we're a pretty small company."

Bruggenthies had a 90-minute conversation with Champ Car president Dick Eidswick on Friday to talk about next year.   "It's too soon to say I'm optimistic," Bruggenthies said. "It's good that we're talking and we'll see what happens."

Gentilozzi said he's optimistic: "I always believe I can make a deal. If you go into it with pessimism you won't make a deal." [Editor's Note:  Earth to OWRS - there was a lot of passing on Sunday at Road America, something you don't see much of on street circuits.  In fact, it was the best Champ Car race of the year.  Make it work.] 08/08/04 AutoRacing1 did confirm with the President of Road America George Bruggenthies that he did meet with Champ Car officials this weekend and he was asked to submit a plan for the continuation of the series at America's greatest road course. Road America is a real drivers track as anyone could see today by all the action. Without the aid of traction control the Champ Cars are a real measure of driver skill. Champ Car must never drop this event from its schedule. They must find a way to make it work.

08/08/04
irl
 nascar
Stewart: Brickyard 400 now bigger than 500 Stewart: Brickyard 400 now bigger than 500In a story that appeared in the USA Today newspaper on Friday, Tony Stewart said “It wasn't that I didn't like stock car racing (back when the Brickyard 400 was first announced), I think it would be the same as if people asked if Indy Cars belong at Daytona - it just does not seem right. The only thing that ran at Indy at the time was the Indy 500. That was the only race at the Speedway and that's what the tradition of that place was. So I was pretty skeptical.  I have to admit I was excited when I first saw them run, but I still felt, tradition-wise, that it should not have happened.”

Stewart believes the Speedway has diluted its mystique by opening its gates to racing events other than the Indy 500 during the last decade. But he can't deny the Brickyard 400's importance.

”In all reality, I think it's bigger than the Indy 500 is now,” says Stewart, “but the Speedway won't admit it.” Once an open wheel star, to hear Tony Stewart say that the stock cars have surpassed the open wheel cars at the Speedway reveals further damage that Tony George has done to open wheel racing. Creating the IRL and splitting the sport in half in itself will prove to be terminal for Indy Car Racing, and to allow NASCAR to run roughshod over the one thing that means the most to Indy Car tradition will cement the IRL's fate.  Tradition?  33 is just a number.

08/08/04
champcar
Hats off to Lavin Hats off to LavinSay what you might about Rodolfo Lavin, but he kept his nose clean, his car on the track and put in another good result. On a day when the “stars” could not keep their cars on the track or avoid contact with others, Lavin drove a solid race. He is not quite ready to win yet, but he is showing improvement.
08/08/04
champcar
Future bright for GP of Denver Future bright for GP of DenverThis Denver Post article says,   The partnership of Centrix Financial, Champ Car has given the racing event a solid foundation.  For better or worse, the Grand Prix of Denver primarily is a marriage between Centrix Financial and the Champ Car World Series.   Alhough the race is in its third year, the event's co-owners are still in their honeymoon and looking forward to a bright future.  A year ago, neither party could say that the Pepsi Center-hosted and city-approved event was on solid ground. What has changed?

"They have a plan, and it's a good one," veteran Champ Car driver Jimmy Vasser said of series co-owners Paul Gentilozzi, Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven. "I believe in those guys a lot. I know we went through some rocky times, but I think Champ Car's tough days are behind them."

Title sponsor Centrix Financial increased its involvement as co-owner, giving the race much needed local ownership. The Denver-based company's interest stems from local promotion, which former owner Dover Motorsports might have taken lightly.  "We owe the people of Denver an apology for the races we've put on in the past .... the way it was marketed," said Gentilozzi, who fields the cars driven by Alex Tagliani and Guy Smith. "But I don't think we'll have to apologize after this year.  "Having Centrix involved really helps us a lot. They can touch the right people to get support. The thing was mismanaged (in the past). Now it's going in a positive direction."

"You couldn't ask for a better partner than Centrix for Denver," Champ Car president Richard Eidswick said. "Denver is an important market to be in, and we're pretty pleased to be where we are."  But make no mistake, there would be no Champ Car without Gentilozzi, Forsythe and Kalkhoven.

"You have to give these guys credit," Grand Prix of Denver general manager John Frew said of the series saviors. "They stepped up to the plate and made this series complete. They promised 18 cars and put their money up to make this happen. If they had their druthers, they would own the cars, not the series. But all of us are thrilled that they did this, otherwise we wouldn't be here."

IRL vice president Fred Nation said his organization doesn't believe in Denver street racing or Champ Car's ownership group. He said the conflict of interest in the paddock is dangerous business.  But Eidswick, who replaced Pook before bankruptcy proceedings began in December, said he'd rather work for racers than boardroom types.

"It's very healthy having three guys who know a lot about racing help restore the series to where it was," said Eidswick, co-founder of a strategic planning and corporate marketing company in Ann Arbor, Mich. "It completely overshadows any possible conflict of interest because they're working so hard to make sure this series succeeds.  "I get things done, but I often go to the owners for help, because things cost money. But they don't encroach on my authority at all. Sometimes, we don't agree, but that's human. It's a very good relationship."

Meanwhile, some may think Centrix has a conflict of interest, too. It is primary sponsor for Vitor Meira's IRL car, owned by Rahal Letterman Racing. Centrix CEO Bob Sutton said that's no different from Rahal Letterman fielding two cars in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, Champ Car's developmental series. "We're committed to this (Denver) race, and that's not going to change," he said. [Editor's Note: It should be interesting to see if the Denver race has any impact on the IRL race in Colorado Springs now that the Champ Car race is one week before the IRL race about 90 minutes away by car.]

08/08/04
German DTM
Audi scores 1-2 finish in DTM Audi scores 1-2 finish in DTMTom Kristensen and Martin Tomczyk clinched a superior one-two victory for Audi in blazing heat at the DTM's seventh round at the MOTOPARK Oschersleben. At the same time, Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom - finishing the race in fifth place - expanded his lead in the overall DTM standings to nine points. Right after the start, Martin Tomczyk, the quickest driver in the qualifying session, had taken the lead ahead of teammate Tom Kristensen. Yet the crucial decision favoring the six-time winner of Le Mans was taken in the pit lane: Kristensen came in for his second pit stop two laps earlier than Tomczyk, thus clinching his first ever DTM victory. Christian Abt, who finished ninth, barely missed scoring a point. Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro finished the hot battle in 13th and 15th place respectively.
08/08/04
Formula BMW
Hinchcliffe gets first win at Road America Hinchcliffe gets first win at Road AmericaWith four second place finishes to-date this season, Rookie Points leader James Hinchcliffe took his first Formula BMW USA Championship victory today in Round 10 at Road America. He completed eight laps of the 4.048-mile Road America circuit in the 30-minute contest, finishing 1.130 seconds ahead of Jonathan Summerton. Championship points leader Andreas Wirth finished third. As the field completed its first lap the yellow flag flew for the spinning No. 7 of Tom Sutherland. Hinchcliffe led followed by pole-sitter Jonathan Summerton and Brian Frisselle, who had gotten a great start from the fifth position. The green was shown on lap three and the battle continued. Round 9 winner Andreas Wirth moved past Frisselle for third on lap four and then past Summerton for second on lap five. Hinchcliffe continued to lead Wirth on lap six by 1.3 seconds. Summerton moved into third and Jaskol moved up to fourth. As the white flag was shown it was still Hinchcliffe, but by less than one second ahead of Wirth and Summerton. Summerton snuck past Wirth for second, but it was Hinchcliffe all the way for his first win. Wirth continues to lead the Championship with 147 points. Summerton is second (123), Hinchcliffe third (122), Jaskol fourth (101) and Johnson fifth (70).
Race 10 – Results 8 laps:
1.   James Hinchcliffe (R) (AIM Autosport) 20:41.969 (93.869 mph)
2.   Jonathan Summerton (R) (HBR Motorsport) 20:43.099
3.   Andreas Wirth           (HBR Motorsport) 20:45.285
4.   Matt Jaskol (Team Autotecnica) 20:45.769
5.   Billy Johnson                 (Team PTG Motorsport) 20:46.298
6.   Brian Frisselle          (PoleVision Racing) 20:46.472
7.   Graham Rahal (R)              (Vitesse Farm Racing) 20:48.043
8.   Lawson Aschenbach (Team PTG Motorsport) 20:48.060
9.   Tom Milner (R)                 (Team PTG Motorsport) 20:49.341
10. Robbie Montinola (Jensen Motorsport) 20:51.530
11. Kyle Herder (Atlantic Racing Team) 20:53.236
12. Alexis Fenton (R)    (Team Autotecnica) 21:05.112
13. Derek Burseth (R)            (PoleVision Racing) 21:19.335
14. Tom Sutherland (R)         (Team PTG Motorsport) 21:00.828
08/08/04
renault2000
Ponte perfect at Mid-Ohio Ponte perfect at Mid-OhioJuan Martin Ponte of Argentina held off a late race charge from Mark Wilkins to lead from lights-out to checkered flag and win the Formula Renault Grand Prix as part of the EMCO Gears Road Racing Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The win is the third of the season for the Eurointernational pilot, who also scored ten bonus points for taking the pole and for notching the fastest race lap, stretching his lead in the Formula Renault 2000 Championship standings with six of thirteen rounds complete. Wilkins took second at the finish, with GTI/Roshfrans driver Marcos Gomes coming home a close third.
 
“I was a little lucky that Marcos had a bad start,” said Ponte. “I pushed early in the race, but then the car had a big oversteer, and I had to work really hard to keep Mark behind me. I am proud to take the win, its of course great for the points, and getting the fastest lap again gives me a lot of confidence. The team just did a great job as always preparing the car, so it was just up to me to bring it home.”
 
Wilkins, who took the championship points lead with his pole position in the  Toronto round only to be knocked out of the lead of the race, was glad that his start was so strong, but wishing there’d been a few more laps.  “I got a great start,” a smiling Wilkins said. “I was able to get around Gomes-who left me the racing room I needed-and from there, I was trying to save the car for later in the race. I could see that Juan was struggling with his car, but he drove a great race to keep in front. Second is good for the championship after having had a couple of bad finishes, so we’ll happily take the podium.”
 
Gomes, who jumped up to second in the points after winning the Trois-Rivières race, had a slow start from the line, and his race didn’t get much better from there as he struggled to get the same speed out of his car that he’d shown all weekend.  “I’m not sure really what happened-we have had a great car all week-much faster than anyone else, but in these conditions, we just didn’t have the car we needed,” said Gomes. “But getting up to the podium again is of course good, and there are a lot of races remaining so we will get ready for Homestead and just keep working to improve.”
Provisional results, Formula Renault EMCO Gears Mid Ohio Sports Car Classic
 1/Juan Martin Ponte   20 Laps, 28:22.371
2/ Mark Wilkins   -.602
3/ Marcos Gomes   -2.270
4/ Antoine Bessette   -19.056
5/ Brandon Thomas   -26.419
6/Ricardo Imery   -26.617
7/Katherine Legge    -27.868
8/Michael Yager   -45.874
9/Tim Hauraney   -57.827
10/Blake Yager   -1:10.037
11/Bob Siska   -1:16.815
Best Lap-Juan Martin Ponte  1.:24.472 in lap 11
08/08/04
cartatlantic
Dalziel over Fogarty at Road America Dalziel over Fogarty at Road America Ryan Dalziel (No. 28 ProWorks) is hitting his stride at exactly the right time in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama.  After setting new Atlantic course qualifying records at Road America on both Friday and Saturday, the 22-year-old Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver completed his mission Sunday, leading wire-to-wire on the 4.048-mile fabled road course for his third victory in the last four races. The impressive performance enabled Dalziel to close the gap in the series championship hunt as he now trails current point leader Jon Fogarty (No. 96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) by just six points with three races remaining.  Dalziel captured his fourth win of the season to tie Fogarty for the series lead in victories. The result was the Scottish ace’s fifth podium finish of the year. Over his three-year Atlantic career, Dalziel has recorded 17 podiums in 33 starts.

·         With today’s victory, Ryan Dalziel (No. 28 ProWorks) has moved into an eight-way tie for 17th place in career Toyota Atlantic victories by capturing his sixth career win. He becomes the 24th driver in the 31-year history of the series to post at least six career wins. Current series competitor Jon Fogarty (No. 96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) has also earned six career Atlantic victories.

·         Danica Patrick (No. 24 Argent Mortgage Company) finished fourth for the third consecutive race. She earned the bonus point today for improving the most positions during the race. The Rahal-Letterman racing driver continues to lead the series in top-five finishes, now with eight in nine races. Patrick’s worst finish this season was seventh in Portland (Round 5), where she earned her first Atlantic pole position.

·         Argent Mortgage Company, the presenting sponsor of today’s race, will donate $2,000 to the Safe Harbor Domestic Abuse Shelter of Sheboygan County in Tonis Kasemets’ name for posting the fastest lap of today’s race. Kasemets recorded a top lap of 2:00.452 (120.984 mph), to establish a new race-lap record at Road America. Jonathan Macri held the previous record of 2:02.688 (118.779 mph), set in 2001.

Quotes from the top three finishers:
RYAN DALZIEL (No. 28 ProWorks), fourth win this season and second straight; closed within six points of Jon Fogarty, 239-233. "It's a huge recovery from the accident Wednesday. That's why this team is so great. It was a bad practice week. We destroyed our primary car. It shows how good this team is when we can roll out the second car and do so well. The car was fast right out of the box. We have the best engineers with Kyle Brannan and Dave Faustino and the best driver coach, David Empringham. Road America is notorious for drafting. We had a mega car. It was good on the restarts and extremely quick through the first couple of corners. It was an awesome result for the team and the Kottke family (team owners). (Regarding the championship battle) Bring it on. We've been very quick every time on the track. We've just had some bad luck, as has Jon. We're confident in the team and in the cars. We've made great strides all year."

JON FOGARTY (No. 96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment), his second-place finish gives him six podiums on the season and was his 13th in 23 Toyota Atlantic starts. "We have a positive outlook every weekend. We were strong. I thought we would be stronger for the race, so I'm a bit puzzled about that. Like Andrew, my top gear was too tall and that caused me to drop out of the draft. It's a tough circuit; physically demanding. It sounds kind of lame not to be happy with second, but it is just a matter of seeing the points go down. (He now leads Ryan Dalziel by only six points, 239-233, for the championship.) We'll just keep on. I'm going to bring the car home each race with the best it can do. (Mid-race, Tonis Kasemets closed on him.) I was not surprised to see him there. They (Brooks Associates Racing) did a good job. They had his car set up the way he needed to draft and go fast. (At Denver, the next race,) I would like to repeat what we did in 2002 (where he won the series title by winning the race); I'm sure Ryan wouldn't agree. It's a good circuit. Montreal and Laguna Seca are both great circuits. (The championship race) is going to be interesting. They are tracks that I enjoy driving. They are all tough tracks and some are physically demanding. We have as good a shot as anybody."

ANDREW RANGER (No. 27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye), this was the rookie driver's fifth podium finish of the season and third third-place finish. He took over the lead for Rookie of the Year over Ronnie Bremer, 188-178. "I had a great start, starting in third place. In the straights, I think my fifth gear was too long because when I shifted (into fifth), everybody could catch me. After the yellow (for Ronnie Bremer's crash), I tried to draft (Tonis) Kasemets but I could not because I had a push in the front end. In the ninth corner (on lap four), Danica (Patrick) came very fast and took all of the track. She put me in the grass. I was able to keep going but I dropped back. I just put my head down and pushed all the time. I'm very happy (with the result). This is a very fast track; it was difficult."

08/08/04
champcar
A Different Kind of Race on the Road America Circuit A Different Kind of Race on the Road America CircuitTaking the checkered flag a day before the Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune, Bruno Junqueira was the official winner of the Tour de Road America overtaking four hundred plus professional and casual cyclists on Saturday night. The Tour de Road America was a Peloton Project fundraiser in which cyclists, and some of the drivers participating in this weekend’s Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event, gathered in yellow to ride the 4.048-mile permanent road course Saturday night raising funds to support the Lance Armstrong Foundation. LAF’s purpose is to enhance the quality of like for those living with, through and beyond cancer. With Armstrong just winning his sixth Tour de France, the timing and event couldn’t come at a better time as many drivers use cycling as a major part of their vigorous workout and strength routines in preparation for driving a race car to enable them to be strong and win races. Champ Car driver Michel Jourdain Jr. who was on hand to celebrate the victory of Lance Armstrong and to participate in the event said, “This was a very unique and special event, and it’s especially great that we can continue the ‘Live Strong’ campaign on the heels of Lance’s sixth straight Tour de France victory. This cause is getting some of the attention it deserves right now due to Lance’s amazing accomplishment and Champ Car and the LAF are happy we can do something to contribute too.” Amongst some four hundred participants in the Tour de Road America was personal friend of Lance Armstrong, Paul Tracy from Forsythe Championship Racing, with fellow Champ Car drivers Oriol Servia from Dale Coyne Racine, Walker Racing’s Mario Haberfeld, Alex Tagliani of Rocksports, RuSPORT stablemates Jourdain Jr. and A.J. Allmendinger, the Newman/Haas duel of Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais, along with Herdez’ Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mario Dominguez. The host of Spike TV’s Dangerous Curves, Bronte Tagliani, also joined the drivers.
08/08/04
champcar
Champ Car gives drivers more push-to-pass Champ Car gives drivers more push-to-passThe new push-to-pass feature introduced on the Ford-Cosworth XFE engines powering the Champ Car World Series has provided enhanced passing opportunities for the drivers of the series, giving an extra boost to the drivers as they navigate the tricky circuits of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. 

The push-to-pass feature gives drivers 15 seconds of extra boost to use at their discretion, with a press of the button yielding approximately 50 extra horsepower by temporarily elevating the boost pressure in the engine.   This weekend’s Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune, however , provides a different challenge not only for the drivers, but for the engineers that spend their days finding the fastest way around the 4.048-mile Road America layout. The long straightaways can devour the 60-second allotment of boost in a few laps, leading Champ Car officials to introduce a one-time increase of 15 seconds to the push-to-pass reservoir.

“Our intent is to offer an extra element of excitement and provide great racing for the fans,” said Executive Vice-President of Champ Car Operations John Lopes. “The Road America circuit provides a unique set of opportunities for passing, and we wanted to make sure that we provided the ability for drivers to take advantage of those opportunities.”

The push-to-pass feature is available when the Champ Cars are at full throttle, and with the long straightaways of Road America, the time the turbocharged machines spend at max revs is much greater than at most other tracks.   “The length of the most prolonged full-throttle run on this track is 16 seconds, which means that with our normal levels, drivers would only have four pushes at their disposal,” said Champ Car Electronics Manager Kevin Vander Laan. “What we are doing in essence allows for one additional push.”  The increase will be in effect for the Road America event only, and will revert back to the 60-second level for next weekend’s Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver.

08/08/04
nascar
At least two more years for Jarrett At least two more years for JarrettDale Jarrett will continue in the Nextel Cup Series for at least two more seasons. “I think what I’m looking at as far as myself, I know that this isn’t something I’m going to do for 10 more years,” he said. “I can assure you of that. How many, I don’t know, but I know that I have two more years after this that I’m going to do this, and I wanted to lay the groundwork here to get our team back to where we could compete at a high level. That could benefit us for the next two years, and we knew that it was going to take the majority of the season to accomplish that [getting the team back up to speed]. That was basically what I was looking for with our team. Now what will happen after the 2006 season, if I’m still competitive? … I may continue on from there. But we’ll just have to see that as we go, but I looked at this year as one to help us rebuild and solidify ourselves for the next two years coming up.” Gaston Gazette
08/08/04
champcar
 skipbarber
Michael Andretti at Road America Michael Andretti at Road AmericaMichael Andretti will be here today at Road America to see his talented son Marco Andretti fight for the Skip Barber National Championship today against Bonilla.   The two are separated by 6 points with 21 points going to the winner today and 16 to 2nd place.  The two finished 1-2 yesterday.  If Bonilla wins today and Andretti finishes 2nd, Andretti is the champion.  If Bonilla wins and Andretti finishes 3rd or worse, Bonilla is the champion.  It should be a thriller as the two have battled for wins all season long.  Andretti made several moves to pass Bonilla for the win on Saturday, finishing just 0.229 seconds behind.  Could he have passed Bonilla?  Andretti said afterward, "The old Marco would have made a serious attempt to pass him, but I am thinking championship so I played it conservatively." Mark C.
Photo 1Photo 2
08/08/04
F1
Button to Williams is official Button to Williams is officialWilliamsF1 issued the following statement today:  Jenson Button’s management company, Essentially Sport, today confirmed that the British driver had met with BAR team principal Dave Richards this morning and confirmed that he will move to the BMW WilliamsF1 Team for 2005.  At the conclusion of the meeting Button said,"“Given the circumstances, the meeting was constructive. David is now in no doubt of my intention to return to BMW Williams in 2005. My contractual position allows for this. I have also clarified that I am not moving for money, and my motivation is straightforward determination to win a World Championship, determination which I am sure he as a competitive person well understands. Naturally, the main element of disagreement is whether these ambitions would be better served by BMW Williams or BAR, but I have made my decision.  Essentially Sport were not permitted to hold private contractual discussions with BAR. I do not feel it was constructive for BAR to leak details of these discussions. I have worked hard and contributed 7 podiums and 61 of the team’s 76 points this season. Drivers are changing teams up and down the paddock at the moment - an accepted and fundamental element of our sport - and I wish that my return to Williams would have been less acrimonious in light of the contribution I have made to BAR this season."     Button said, "Now that I have met with David and we have both had the opportunity to express our points of view, the most important matter is that the hard work and commitment to racing from everybody in Brackley is repaid with strong results for the remainder of the season, which I have every intention of doing."
08/08/04
F1
Montoya: Hungary track is too slow Montoya: Hungary track is too slowJuan Pablo Montoya doesn't think much of the Hungaroring. The Williams driver, who has been holidaying at home in Colombia of late, said even track improvements in 2002 did not spice up the narrow and twisty layout.  "It's too slow," he said. "It's like a kart track."  The McLaren-bound 28-year-old, however, likes the city of Budapest.  Takuma Sato, meanwhile, believes he deserves to stay at BAR-Honda next season because he is still learning the ropes at motor racing's highest category.  "I'm better now than when I was at Jordan," claimed the Japanese. "Physically and mentally I'm also stronger."
08/08/04
alms
Barbour cars to miss Sunday's race Barbour cars to miss Sunday's raceFollowing this morning's practice session for the sixth round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Mosport International Raceway, Ontario, Canada, the Krohn-Barbour Racing team has taken the decision not to run its two Lamborghini Murciélago R-GTs in Sunday's race.  In Friday's and Saturday's 90-minute and 60-minute practice sessions at Mosport, the cars of David Brabham/Peter Kox and Tracy Krohn/Scott Maxwell developed handling abnormalities which were found to be due to a partial and gradual deformation of the cars' rear lower suspension wishbones. The cars' straightline tracking was affected, requiring the drivers to hold the steering wheel off-center to drive in a straight line. If the cars were to continue running, the condition would likely worsen.
08/08/04
skipbarber
Andretti and Bonilla will decide title today Andretti and Bonilla will decide title todayWhile Gerardo Bonilla is doing what he has to do to win the championship, so is Marco Andretti. In a furious battle in Saturday's race, Bonilla came up the winner -- which he had to do to have a chance at the title. In so doing, Andretti had to finish second if Bonilla won -- which he did. Fourteen year old Sergio Perez scored his first podium in finishing third. Full stories covering both races will be posted Sunday. Box score from Saturday's round 13 below.
Race Results, Round 13,
Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER,
Road America, August 7, 2004
11 laps of 4.048-mile circuit/44.5 miles (conditions: dry/warm)
Margin of Victory: 0.229 seconds
Leaders: Gerardo Bonilla 1-4; Lorenzo Mandarino 5-6; Marco Andretti 7; Bonilla 8-9;
Andretti 10; Bonilla 12
Fastest Qualifier: Bonilla, 2:35.407/93.772 mph
Fastest Race-lap: Paul Albert, 2:35.011, lap 10
Finishing order (starting position in parentheses)
1. (1) Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, Fla., 11 laps, 89.455 average mph
2. (5) Marco Andretti, Nazareth, Pa.
3. (10) Sergio Perez, Mexico
4. (11) John Edwards, Little Rock, Ark.
5. (15) David Wieringa, Bridgeview, Ill.
6. (12) Paul Albert, Canada
7. (3) Chris Prey, Oshkosh, Wis.
8. (14) Jeff Relic, Flagler Beach, Fla.
9. (9) Andy Rossetto, Grafton, Wis.
10. (16) Jonathan Eriksen, Northville, N.Y.
11. (13) Brett Fenske, Appleton, Wis.
12. (2) Benny Moon, Shingle Springs, Calif.
13. Louis Albornoz, New York, N.Y.
14. (6) Victor Ramos, Brazil, 7 laps, accident
15. (7) Lorenzo Mandarino, Canada, 6 laps, spin
16. (17) Lucas McConnell, Springfield, Va., 4 laps, accident
17. (4) Robbie Pecorari, Aston, Pa., 2 laps, accident
18. (8) Mark Burt, Canada, 2 laps, accident
Points standings after 13 of 14 rounds:
1. Marco Andretti, 183
2. Gerardo Bonilla, 177 (incl. 2 pts. for both R.A. poles)
3. Chris Prey, 159
4. Benny Moon, 152
5. Robbie Pecorari, 141
08/08/04
F1
A brand new start for FW26 A brand new start for FW26This GP2004 article says, Montoya and Pizzonia’s FW26 race cars will also appear visually distinct in Hungary, with a revised, and more ‘traditional’, nose profile which has been validated as an improved geometry in relation to the other aerodynamic improvements released at recent races. The change represents the constant aero evolution of the FW26, and the redoubled commitment to drive competitive margin into the car for the final third of the season.
08/08/04
nascar
 f1
 irl
Has Indy reached a saturation point? Has Indy reached a saturation point?Does Indy now have too many races?  Some say yes and the numbers show it.  This AP article says, The race is shaping up to be the first of 11 Brickyard 400 races without all the estimated 320,000 seats filled by spectators.  Speedway spokesman Ron Green said there are still tickets available for the race, but would not release specific numbers.  The sluggish economy, traffic snarls around the race track and saturation of the market - the Brickyard is the third major race at the Speedway this summer including the Indy 500 and F-1 U.S. Grand Prix - could all be reasons for the dropping sales.  That news caught three-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon by surprise.  ``I see so many people that seem to love it, it's kind of a surprise,'' Gordon said. ``Maybe dealing with the traffic and as good as the television coverage is, maybe more people are choosing to stay at home.  Coming out here and battling the traffic and everything it takes to be a part of these events gets gruelling,'' he said. ``You really have to be avid and you really have to be dedicated. And the price does not go down.''  Green said track officials are not concerned that the buzz has been lost.  ``It's still going to be one of the largest crowds at a sporting event in the world, so there is no concern that the novelty is wearing off,'' Green said.  The Indy 500 in May drew an estimated 300,000 people, although there were large segments of the grandstand noticeably empty. A crowd of about 120,000 showed up for the F1 race in June (all on a downward trend).
08/08/04
nascar
 grandam
Pruett doing double duty Pruett doing double dutyScott Pruett already had a challenging weekend ahead before he was taken to a hospital on Friday following a crash early in practice.  Pruett was released from Methodist Hospital the same day after being treated for bruised ribs.  Running qualifying in a backup car, Pruett posted a speed of 168.171. Driving for James Finch in a one-race deal, he used a provisional and will start 42nd.  ``I'm sore,'' Pruett said. ``It hurts today. We just went out to be sure the car was OK. I didn't think we'd go fast enough to get in on speed just because we hadn't run the car.''  Pruett left after the first practice Saturday afternoon, taking a helicopter to the airport where a private jet was waiting to take him to Lexington, Ohio, for the Mid-Ohio Grand-Am sports car race. Pruett, who co-drives with former Indy driver Max Papis, was the pole sitter in that race. AP Story [Editor's Note:  Pruett won the race teamed with Papis.]
08/08/04
f1
BAR to meet with Button today BAR to meet with Button todayAccording to this Autosport article, BAR team boss David Richards has told Autosport that a meeting between himself and Jenson Button's management team to discuss the Briton's recent signing with Williams has been scheduled to take place on Sunday (today).

On Thursday BAR issued an ultimatum to Button's management company requiring him to attend a face-to-face meeting with BAR's management, by close of business on Monday, or face immediate action to enforce BAR's contract with him.   "The option was taken up by Jenson's management, there is no question about that,” he said. “The contract is lodged with the CRB in Switzerland and we have confirmation from them. My first priority now is to sit down and talk to Jenson about this, so far we haven't had the opportunity.

“There is a deadline for this and that deadline is the close of business on Monday. Frank Williams called me to say this was happening. He thought he had been assured by the management firm that Jenson was free to move. My opinion is that Jenson will be in our team next year.”  Richards added: “The only conclusion I can reach is that he (Button) hasn't heard our side. I will give Jenson the benefit of the doubt. He's 23-years-old and I have children of a similar age and occasionally my wayward son has done some extraordinary things, but I still forgive him and still think he's a wonderful son.

Meanwhile, Button himself still insists that he is on his way to Williams next year as he sees it as the best opportunity to become world champion.  "I am going to be driving for Williams next season,” he told Radio Five Live. "I'm not a legal expert but from the information I have I am able to race for Williams next year. My main aim in Formula 1 is to be world champion and I want to challenge Michael Schumacher for the next few years and to do that Williams is the best team.”

08/07/04
Star Mazda
McDowell wins 4th of season McDowell wins 4th of seasonMichael McDowell has captured his fourth victory of the season in the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear, bringing his Drive4USA/Star Race Cars/Sparco Mazda from third on the grid to the top of the charts in Round Six today at Mosport International Raceway.

McDowell, from Phoenix, Arizona, fought his way past Dan DiLeo and Raphael Matos, and had built up a three second lead before a full course caution period with six laps remaining closed the gap and found him fighting to hang on to the victory. "When the final full course caution came out I was nervous," admitted McDowell. "The gap I had built up went away and I knew Dan was going to do all he could to get around me, but I managed to hang on for the win."
.
Finishing second, his sixth straight trip to the podium, was series points leader DiLeo, of Toronto, Canada, who set the fastest lap of the weekend as he tried to find a way around his Star Race Cars teammate. "It was frustrating as I tried everything I could over those final four laps to get around Michael," DiLeo explained. "I would get a run down the backstraight and as soon as I would pull out of his draft I would hit the rev-limiter and have to fall back behind him. On the last lap I could have made an aggressive move to try to take the top spot but at this point in the season, with the points lead I have, it wouldn't make sense to do that."
08/07/04
Formula BMW
Wirth wins Round 9 at Road America Wirth wins Round 9 at Road AmericaAndreas Wirth (HBR Motorsport) scored his third victory of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship taking the Round 9 victory at Road America today. He completed 8 laps of the 4.048-mile circuit in the 30-minute contest that ended under caution. Brian Frisselle finished second and Matt Jaskol was third. On the opening lap outside pole-sitter Graham Rahal led his first ever Formula BMW USA lap as he held a slight lead over Andreas Wirth at front of the 14-car field. A real drafting battle began to unfold as the field snaked through the Road America circuit. Wirth took the lead on the second lap and as he completed lap four he held a two second lead over Brian Frisselle. The gap was short-lived however as James Hinchcliffe spun and the yellow flag was displayed in order to remove his car from the circuit. The green flag flew on lap six with Wirth still in the lead. The No. 15 of Alexis Fenton and the No. 2 of Jonathan Summerton got together in turn 14 bringing out the second yellow of the race on lap 7. The race finished under caution with Wirth taking his third win of the season and strengthening his Championship points lead. Both Hinchcliffe and Summerton did not receive any points, but held onto their second and third places in the Championship. Jaskol and Johnson stand in fourth and fifth respectively. Formula BMW USA The top-finishing Rookies were Rahal (4), Sutherland (7) and Burseth (10). Hinchcliffe still leads the Rookie Points. Summerton is second, Milner third, Rahal fourth and Sutherland fifth. Round 9 was notable as four drivers scored their season best finishes: Frisselle (2), Rahal (4), Tom Sutherland (7) and Derek Burseth (10). “It was a very cool race for me,” said Wirth.
08/07/04
alms
Weaver wins Mosport pole Weaver wins Mosport poleJames Weaver, driving on what he considers his favorite race track, won the pole Saturday for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport sports car race at Mosport International Raceway.

The English driver steered the Dyson Racing MG Lola EX257-AER Prototype to a fast lap of 1:07.430, averaging 131.283 mph around the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road racing circuit located east of Toronto. He will co-drive with Butch Leitzinger in the two-hour, 45-minute timed event.

Meanwhile, the upstart Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche team and driver Lonnie Pechnik pulled off an upset in GT class qualifying, snapping a 22-race class pole-winning streak by the Porsches of Alex Job Racing. The last time that a non-Job car had won the GT class pole for an ALMS event was in May of 2002 at Sonoma, Calif., when Kevin Buckler won the pole for The Racer's Group. Each of the four class pole winners received the $1,000 New Century Mortgage FastQual Award.

Weaver won his third pole of the season but he and Leitzinger are still pursuing their first win since July of 2003.  "This is just a brilliant, brilliant circuit, and I love driving on it," said Weaver. "Our car and the tires work marvelously here with the long straights and the high-speed turns. We've raced here a lot over the years and we tested here earlier this year, and the car is working perfectly."

JJ Lehto and Marco Werner, seeking their fifth consecutive overall race win in the ALMS this season, will start second after Werner qualified the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 at 1:07.875. Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace, driving a Dyson team car, will start third after Dyson ran 1:09.521.

"This is better for us than last year," said Lehto. "We are much faster and much closer than last year. The Dyson team was fast here last year and we were almost a second off. Now we're only less than half a second off which is a good sign that we are better than before. It will be a long race and a tough race. The teamwork will have to be perfect in order for us to win this race."

08/07/04
renault2000
Pole for Ponte at Mid-Ohio Pole for Ponte at Mid-OhioJuan Martin Ponte of Argentina grabbed five bonus points and extended his championship lead by winning the pole position for round six of the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship as part of the EMCO Gears Sports Car Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Trois-Rivièries race winner Marcos Gomes will start alongside Ponte in the front row for Sunday’s standing start in his GTI/Roshfrans machine, with Aim Autosports’ Mark Wilkins starting from the second row in third position and Katherine Legge of Guildford Surry, UK, taking her best starting position to date with fourth on the grid. The half-hour qualifying session was once again a competitive affair, with several drivers trading fast laps and trading the pole position until the closing moments of the session.
 
Ponte was happy to take his second pole position of the season after shading Gomes on the timing sheets all weekend.  “I just waited for the word from my team to go out, and set two fast laps, cooled the tires for a lap and then went for it again, but there was no more speed in the car, so I just brought the car in to the pits,” said Ponte. “I want to keep concentrated on the championship standings, but I know it is going to be a big battle tomorrow.”
 
Gomes was disappointed after the qualifying session, but knows that he is well placed to have a run at a victory from the front row.  “I just didn’t get the most out of the car when the tires were at their best, but we have been very fast all weekend, and I know that I have a good chance to take the win tomorrow.  Starting grid, Formula Renault EMCO Gears Mid Ohio Sports Car Classic
Juan Martin Ponte   1:24.240
Marcos Gomes   1:24.463
Mark Wilkins    1:24.530
Katherine Legge   1:25.407
Antoine Bessette   1:25.660
Ricardo Imery  1:25.669
Michael Yager  1:26.714
Brandon Thomas  1:26.717
Tim Hauraney  1:27.522
Blake Yager   1:28.887
Bob Siska   1:29.232
08/07/04
champcar
Road America Fan Forum Highlights Road America Fan Forum HighlightsThis week's guests for the Champ Car Fan Forum at Road America were Paul Gentilozzi, John Lopes, Jimmy Vasser, Danica Patrick, two reps from Formula BMW Jonas Krauss and Alex Schmuck, and Bruno Junqueira.  Here are some key quotes from the participants.

Paul Gentilozzi: When you buy a company you have to have either a great product or great clients. We are working on making the product better and we already have great clients/fans.

Jimmy Vasser: We have found something with our damper program and it is showing here.

Danica Patrick: One secret to a fast lap at Road America is to get a tow from the car in front of you so I try to suck up to the guy in front of me...which drew chuckles from the fans..  She finally figured out what she said that was so funny.

All the drivers said Road America is their favorite track - fast, flowing and challenging.

Paul Gentilozzi:  Is Champ Car going to become a feeder series for F1?  We are not feeding anyone.  We want drivers to make a career here.

Danica Patrick: When asked about which series she would want to drive in her answer was “without a doubt road racing is what I love most, it was what I have always done. However, we will have to see where my sponsors want me.”

Gentilozzi: When asked if he ever drove a Champ Car he said no, but he would probably get a chance later this year.

Gentilozzi: We have 21 races on the rough 2005 schedule and will probably get it down to around 16. We compete for fans time and we have to put on an event so that fans come back in the the big numbers of the past.

Gentilozzi: We intend to be back on Eurosport next year for our fans throughout Europe.

Gentilozzi: A percentage of 2005 races will be on network TV (CBS) and the rest on a more accessible cable channel in the USA.

Gentilozzi: Working on program next year to have Memo Gidley back in Champ Car in 2005.

Lopes: We hope to have news on the final TBA race on the schedule in two weeks (read that as Puerto Rico on November 21st).

Gentilozzi:  We will keep the existing formula next year and announce both a new engine and new chassis in the spring of '05 for the 2006 season.

Lopes:  Won't use push-to-pass in Vegas because drivers will run full throttle all the way around for 20 laps or more.

Gentilozzi: In next two weeks you will see announcements about commercial partners who will promote Champ Car the much needed TV and other advertising media.  He dropped one hint - we all like fast food (we know who it is, and we are sure you might guess.  The key thing is that a number of large companies are looking to come onboard as OWRS begins to turn the series around).

Gentilozzi:  Tracks like Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio and Road America are the core of the Champ Car culture, and we'd like to always race on them, but they need to be appropriately promoted to make business sense, since they're in remote locations.
 
Gentilozzi:  First priority is 2005 schedule, second is an improved TV package for next yeat, third is attracting more teams and expanding the field.
 
Gentilozzi:  With the series getting more and more stabilized, Champ Car should have a full line of team merchandise on Speedgear next year.
 
Lopes: There's a lot of manufacturer interest in the series, and we'll attract them once we have a new formula as long as we keep putting more and more butts on the seats and eyeballs on the TVs. 
 
Lopes:  After the Canadian fans outcry at Paul Tracy's absence from IROC this year, the series might consider inviting the 2004 Vanderbilt Cup winner for next season.
 
Gentilozzi: When asked about creating an IROC open wheel series on road courses and sending the NASCAR drivers home with their tail between their legs - Champ Car drivers can beat Cup drivers anywhere, even if it's a 100-yard dash. Have you ever seen Jimmy Spencer run?

08/07/04
cartatlantic
Dalziel takes Road America pole Dalziel takes Road America pole
 Another day, another record for Sierra Sierra Enterprises racer Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks).  After breaking the course record in provisional qualifying on Friday, Dalziel raised the bar even higher surpassing yesterday’s impressive time by more than two-tenths of a second as he captured the pole position for Sunday’s Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Road America Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Sunday, August 8 – 1 p.m. ET).   The pole was Dalziel’s fifth of the season to lead the Atlantic series and the record-breaking effort on the 4.048-mile Road America circuit enabled him to earn a championship point to draw within 11 markers of current series point leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment). Dalziel’s record time was 1:59.504 (121.944 mph), topping the mark of 1:59.743 he established on Friday.  With 10 of the 14 drivers topping their provisional qualifying times from Friday in cooler temperatures at Road America, the top three runners remained the same and qualified in the same order. Fogarty, who saw Dalziel shatter the course record he established while winning the pole in 2002, topped his time from Friday and remained second-fastest in the field with a lap of 2:00.148 (121.290 mph). The 2002 series champion looked to be primed to challenge his Scottish rival for the top spot, but an off-course incident involving Eric Jensen (#2 Penn Capital/Konica Minolta) caused a late red flag and forced the qualifying session to end a few minutes early.
Pos  Driver  Car#  Team  Lap Time  Mph  Kph  Leader  Previous
1  Ryan Dalziel  28  Sierra Sierra Enterprises  1:59.504  121.944  196.244  0.000   
2  Jon Fogarty  96  Pacific Coast Motorsports  2:00.148  121.290  195.192  0.644   
3  Andrew Ranger  27  Sierra Sierra Enterprises  2:00.509  120.927  194.608  1.005  0.361
4  Ronnie Bremer  4  Polestar Racing Group LLC  2:00.533  120.903  194.569  1.029  0.024
5  Alex Figge  69  Pacific Coast Motorsports  2:00.789  120.647  194.157  1.285  0.256
6  Danica Patrick  24  Rahal Letterman Racing  2:00.970  120.466  193.866  1.466  0.181
7  Tonis Kasemets  6  Brooks Associates Racing  2:00.997  120.439  193.822  1.493  0.027
8  Bryan Sellers  19  Lynx Racing   2:01.320  120.119  193.308  1.816  0.323
9  Josh Hunt  15  Lynx Racing   2:01.651  119.792  192.781  2.147  0.331
10  Chris Festa  25  Rahal Letterman Racing  2:02.343  119.114  191.690  2.839  0.692
12  Chris Souliotis  2  Jensen Motorsport  2:04.212  117.322  188.806  4.708  0.753
13  Tony Loniewski  34  Olsson Engineering  2:05.882  115.766  186.302  6.378  1.670
14  Cameron Binder  65  Binder Racing  2:09.478  112.550  181.127  9.974  3.596
08/07/04
champcar
Road America at risk to lose Champ Car race Road America at risk to lose Champ Car raceThis AP article says, Bruno Junqueira has a passion for Road America, the challenging road course that weaves through four miles of Wisconsin's postcard countryside.  He has two victories and a pole in three visits to the hilly, 4.048-mile circuit.  The Brazilian is making sure to soak in all the sights, smells and sounds of the cherished course as he prepares for Sunday's Grand Prix of Road America -- and not just because it's his favorite stop on the Champ Car circuit. There is no contract between the track and the series beyond Sunday's race.  So, there's no telling when -- or if -- Junqueira and his colleagues will be back at the track where he posted his first Champ Car victory in 2001 and won last year.  Road America has been a part of the Champ Car schedule since 1982, but general manager George Bruggenthies says sponsorships are down and the track has lost $500,000 in recent years. Road America's 2003 race was briefly dropped before Mario Andretti helped mediate a truce between the track and CART, the former owner of the open-wheel racing series.  Attendance in recent years has been about half the 70,000 that once crammed into Elkhart Lake on race day.  "I really hope they'll keep this race. Otherwise, I'll be really sad," said Junqueira, who had a gearbox problem during provisional qualifying Friday and spun out. That erased his best lap and pushed him from second place to third.
08/07/04
champcar
Bourdais fastest in morning practice Bourdais fastest in morning practiceFrenchman Sebastien Bourdais driving the McDonald's car was fastest in Saturday morning practice at Road America.   His lap time of  1:43.504 min. was slightly faster than Paul Tracy who lapped at 1:43.754 min.  Jimmy Vasser jumped up to third quick.  All three were faster than the provisional pole time set on Friday by Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Final qualifying should be interesting.
08/07/04
cartatlantic
Dalziel sets pace in Friday qualifying Dalziel sets pace in Friday qualifyingThe 22-year-old Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver recorded a top lap of 1:59.743 (121.701 mph) in afternoon qualifying to secure a front-row starting spot for Sunday's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Road America Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Sunday, August 8 at 1 p.m. ET), Round 9 of 12 on the Atlantic calendar. By securing the provisional pole, Dalziel also earned a championship point and now trails series leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) by just 12 points in the season standings. Dalziel's quick lap was the only time in qualifying to dip below the two-minute mark and it established a new Atlantic track record at the 4.048-mile Road America circuit.

Results
1  Ryan Dalziel  28  Sierra Sierra Enterprises  1:59.743  121.701  195.853  0.000   
2  Jon Fogarty  96  Pacific Coast Motorsports  2:00.247  121.191  195.033  0.504   
3  Andrew Ranger  27  Sierra Sierra Enterprises  2:00.830  120.606  194.091  1.087  0.583
4  Alex Figge  69  Pacific Coast Motorsports  2:00.876  120.560  194.017  1.133  0.046
5  Danica Patrick  24  Rahal Letterman Racing  2:00.970  120.466  193.866  1.227  0.094
6  Ronnie Bremer  4  Polestar Racing Group LLC  2:01.042  120.395  193.752  1.299  0.072
7  Bryan Sellers  19  Lynx Racing   2:01.469  119.971  193.069  1.726  0.427
8  Josh Hunt  15  Lynx Racing   2:02.243  119.212  191.848  2.500  0.774
9  Chris Festa  25  Rahal Letterman Racing  2:03.042  118.438  190.602  3.299  0.799
10. Al Unser   10    Brooks Associates Racing   2:03.459   118.038   189.963    3.716    0.417
11  Tonis Kasemets  6  Brooks Associates Racing  2:03.478  118.019  189.928  3.735  0.019
12  Chris Souliotis  2  Jensen Motorsport  2:04.212  117.322  188.806  4.469  0.734
13  Tony Loniewski  34  Olsson Engineering  2:05.882  115.766  186.302  6.139  1.670
14  Cameron Binder  65  Binder Racing  2:11.675  110.672  178.104  11.932  5.793

08/07/04
champcar
Nextel set for rest of year Nextel set for rest of yearLook for Nextel to remain on the side of the Roberto Gonzalez car for the remainder of the year. Previously the holding company NII Holdings was on the side of the car for the USA races.
08/07/04
Industry News
Indy Safety Patrol member killed Indy Safety Patrol member killedA member of the Indy Motor Speedway track safety patrol died Friday of injuries sustained when he lost control of his motor scooter and crashed into a concrete barrier in the infield at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.   The name of the person was withheld pending notification of relatives.   The accident happened at about 7:30 a.m. Friday, and the victim was pronounced dead three hours later at Methodist Hospital.
08/07/04
Champcar
Mario Haberfeld Speaks Mario Haberfeld Speaks[he pokes at Button, pans F3000 and Toyota F1]

Despite an impressive resume that included 1998 British F3 laurels, Mario Haberfeld hasn't been able to show all his potential since his 2003 Champ Car debut. Flashes of talent have abounded - his aggressive fight for position with Bruno Junqueira at St. Pete last year comes to mind - but, hampered by the "wrong" chassis on both of his seasons so far, Mario's first victory still seems distant. AR1 caught up with the vocal Brazilian after Road America's Friday activities.

On the Reynard's handicap (and how to deal with it): "The major problem with the Reynard is that it isn't just one. We have less downforce than the Lolas, we have less parts - some Lola teams are using oval sidepods here for instance, something that we just don't have. We need to run the car real low to get decent downforce, but then it becomes unstable when things get bumpy. It's a shame we couldn't raise enough sponsorship to get Lolas this year. Since it's practically impossible for us to be competitive in qualifying, we prefer to work on race setup all weekend long. That gives us a way to narrow the gap to the Lolas on Sunday."

On his three seasons of F3000: "The F3000 is probably the worst race car in the world today. After I won the British F3 championship in '98, I got to test the Stewart F1 car in Silverstone, and everything pretty much translated from F3 to F1 - braking and cornering points, and so on.. When I ran a F3000 car at the same place, it felt like a double-decker bus. I had to brake so early, it was just not pleasant. Plus, you can't practice, so it's almost impossible to impress a lot of people on your first year, when you don't know most of the tracks. But then you don't look all that good when you go for a second or third season on a 'minor-league'…"

On his move stateside: "Formula One is such a lottery. It all depends on when and where you start, and you can only establish yourself if you land somewhere decent right away. If you start at Minardi, you'll have a hard time getting anywhere else. But if you're lucky to be English when a British team needs a British driver, you'll score plenty of points on your first year, and, from then on, never have to drive a bad car."

On da Matta's release from Toyota (Haberfeld and CDM shared an apartment in England for a year): "It's obviously absurd, and so is the team's claim that it was due to poor performance. I think there's more to it than we know right now, but I haven't been able to talk to Cristiano since the news came out."

On racing at Road America: "It is similar to Spa indeed. It is my second most favorite track in America: first Laguna Seca, then Road America."

Haberfeld's contract expires at the end of the year, but he says he's happy in the U.S. and intends to stick around. Ideally, in a place where he gets to challenge the Corkscrew or the Carousel behind the wheel of a Lola. Cassio Cortes

08/07/04
irl
Final IRL Michigan rating drops 20% Final IRL Michigan rating drops 20%The final TV rating for the IRL race at Michigan was a 0.8/2 Share on ABC, down 20% from last year's 1.0 final rating and down from 1.2 in 2002.  The overnight was also down 20%.  This despite a massive newspaper ad campaign by the IRL and its constituents to let people know when it would be on TV.  The IRL's TV ratings have been falling steadily for 3 or 4 years now and despite a good effort by IRL staff, the fans just are not tuning in.  Stick a fork in Indy Car Racing, it's done.  For reference, when CART ran at Michigan the race was always the highest rated event of the year ranging from the high 1's to 3.5.
08/07/04
Formula BMW
Rookie Points leader Hinchcliffe scores his third pole of the season at Elkhart Lake Rookie Points leader Hinchcliffe scores his third pole of the season at Elkhart LakeRookie Points leader James Hinchcliffe (AIM Autosport) scored his third pole of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship with a lap of 2:19.786 minutes around the 4.048-mile Road America circuit. The 25- minute session was shortened by two separate incidents that brought out the red flag to remove cars that had spun. Graham Rahal will start second (2:19.842) in his best qualifying effort of the year. Brian Frisselle, also with his best qualifying performance of the season, will start third (2:20.143). The top-seven in the field are separated by less than one second ensuring another exciting Formula BMW USA contest in Round 9. Only seven points separate the top-five in the Championship battle. The top-five in points are Andreas Wirth (115), Jonathan Summerton (108), James Hinchcliffe (102), Matt Jaskol (79) and Billy Johnson (54). James Hinchcliffe leads the Rookie points with 140. Summerton is second (128), Milner third (95), Graham Rahal fourth (58) and Tom Sutherland fifth (54). The quickest Rookies in today's qualifying session were Hinchcliffe, Rahal and Summerton. Formula BMW USA "The two red flags did not help," said Hinchcliffe. "The cars take a few laps to come up to speed and on a circuit as long as this one having to stop compounds the difficulty in getting a good lap time. I was fortunate to get a fast time early and the red flags made it hard for anyone to catch me." A charged-up Rahal said, "The recent testing at Grattan and here on Wednesday has given me more confidence to drive hard. We are coming to the end of the season and it is about time that I put the learning experience excuse behind me and start to get some results." The Round 9 race is scheduled to start at 3:45 p.m. tomorrow after Round 10 qualifying at 11:35 a.m.  Sunday's Round 10 race is scheduled to start at 12:05 p.m.
08/07/04
Renault2000
Gomes leads opening practice at Mid-Ohio Gomes leads opening practice at Mid-OhioMarcos Gomes of Brazil paced the opening day of Formula Renault practice on Friday with a fast lap time of 1:22.794-seconds in preparation for Sundays race as part of the EMCO Gears Road Racing Classic at Mid-Ohio. Championship points leader Juan Martin Ponte was close behind in his Eurointernational machine, with Toronto pole winner Mark Wilkins netting the third fastest time of the day. Ponte's teammate Ricardo Imery was fourth quickest, with Gomes' teammate GTI/Roshfrans driver Katherine Legge in fifth.   Gomes has impressed in his first visit to the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio circuit and is feeling confident about his chances for the pole, but he knows the competition is not going to give up easily.  "My car is quite good, but I know that the times will be very close tomorrow," Gomes said. "I will have to work hard to be fastest again, but I feel like the team has prepared an excellent car, and our chance for pole should be good."
08/06/04
grandam
Max Papis takes pole at Mid-Ohio Max Papis takes pole at Mid-OhioThe No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley steamroller continued in today's qualifying session for Saturday's EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic (SPEED Channel, 8 p.m. ET), as Max Papis posted a new Daytona Prototype track record en route to the team's sixth pole position of the season.

With co-driver Scott Pruett qualifying for Sunday's Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis, the Italian toured the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road circuit in 1:19.496 (102.254 mph), and took his second personal pole position of the season. Papis' previous pole came in qualifying for the Food City 250 at Phoenix International Raceway in April, while Pruett took the top starting spot for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Grand Prix of Miami, the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant and the Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche. Papis is hoping the pole will translate to the team's third win of the season and will help him and Pruett build on their championship points lead.
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