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Hunter-Reay to Co-Drive with Angelelli and Taylor Hunter-Reay to Co-Drive with Angelelli and TaylorWATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - SunTrust Racing has tabbed American driver Ryan Hunter-Reay to partner with Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor in the Daytona Prototype division of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.  The nine-hour race on Sept. 2 at the sprawling 4.486-mile road course outside Salt Lake City is the season finale for the Rolex Series.

Miller will mark Hunter-Reay's debut in a Daytona Prototype, with the 25-year-old Dallas, Texas, native joining Angelelli and Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley as the trio look to add a second series championship to the one the SunTrust Racing Team earned in 2005.

"Ryan is everything we could want in a driver," said Taylor, driver/owner of the SunTrust Racing Team.  "He's very fast, young, all-American and Max rates him very highly.  He fits our team.  It was an easy decision to make." zzzz

The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Team is currently second in the championship standings with just three races remaining, including tonight's Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen.  They're locked in a tight point battle with the series leading Krohn Racing Team, as a mere 13 points separate the two.  Taylor knows that winning is the only way SunTrust Racing can earn a second straight title.

"Miller is a very technical circuit, with 24 corners in all.  We're going to give the car to Ryan on that first day of practice so that he can acclimate himself quickly," said Taylor.  "Good, fast race car drivers can get in anything and be consistently fast.  That's Ryan.  He's always shown to be a quick study, on and off the track.  He has a good head on his shoulders and is extremely professional - a perfect fit for our organization."

Hunter-Reay's career highlights prove Taylor correct.

By winning in Champ Car on the street circuit of Surfer's Paradise, Australia in 2003, Hunter-Reay became the youngest driver to ever win a Champ Car street race and the first American Champ Car rookie to win in 20 years.  The former Formula Barber Dodge Series champion and 12-time karting titlist added to his Champ Car accolades in 2004 with a dominating performance at the Milwaukee Mile, winning the pole and leading all 250 laps to become the youngest driver in Champ Car history to win on an oval.  And in leading wire-to-wire, Hunter-Reay broke the record for most laps led in a single race, a mark that had been set in 1993 by former Champ Car and Formula 1 champion Nigel Mansell.

"I'm honored SunTrust, Wayne Taylor and team partner Bill Riley have selected me to drive the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley in the Rolex Sports Car Series," said Hunter-Reay.  "SunTrust Racing is the defending series champion, and it looks like this year's championship may come down to the last race at Miller.

"World-class sponsors, teams and drivers make the Rolex Series one of the most competitive in the world.  I realize how crucial driver selection is, and I'm very grateful for this opportunity.  I've been looking for the right situation to make my debut, and this is it.  I could not ask for anything better than the SunTrust Racing Team and co-driving with two of the best drivers in the series - Wayne Taylor and defending driver champion Max Angelelli.

"With the championship on the line, I look forward to contributing to the SunTrust Racing Team's efforts in capturing another Rolex Sports Car Series title."

"Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and the entire SunTrust Racing Team are pouring all of their resources into defending their series championship.  Ryan Hunter-Reay's addition to the team for the season finale is proof-positive of that," said Craig Kelly, corporate executive vice president and chief marketing officer of SunTrust Banks, Inc.  "We're extremely proud of what this race team has accomplished.  To come from 29th in points at the beginning of the year to climb to second and challenge for the championship is a good indication of the strength and tenaciousness of the SunTrust Racing Team."

Allmendinger takes provisional pole Allmendinger takes provisional poleAmerican AJ Allmendinger nipped Sebastien Bourdais to win the provisional pole for Sunday's Denver Grand Prix. Alex Tagliani was 3rd. More later.....
Da Matta responds, but still not out of danger Da Matta responds, but still not out of dangerCristiano da Matta is off all medication but he remains for all intents and purposes, unconscious. The good news is that he is responding to stimulation. If you pinch one arm he uses the other arm to swat the pinching hand away, but he still is not responding to verbal commands nor has he opened his eyes. More.....
Formula BMW
Matt Lee takes BMW pole Matt Lee takes BMW poleAfter pacing the 24-car field in this morning's practice session, Matt Lee (Team Autotecnica) scored the pole position for Round 11 of the Formula BMW USA championship today at the Grand Prix of Denver. Lee, who stands second in overall points, took his fourth pole of the year with a 1:16.113 minute lap around the 1.657-mile temporary street circuit. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) will start second (1:16.440), equaling his season's best effort. Points leader Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) will start third (1:16.874), ending his string of six consecutive front row starts that included poles in both rounds in San Jose.

The 30-minute qualifying session was shortened by a red flag in the eighth minute for an incident involving Joel Jackson (Gelles Racing). Only 15 minutes remained after the green flag waved, but no one could best the times set in the opening minutes by the top-three. Simona de Silvestro (EuroInternational) moved into fourth in the 23rd minute to record her eighth top-five start. The fifth starting position was taken in the closing minutes by John Zartarian (Gelles Racing). zzzz

Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) will start sixth, the fastest Rookie in the field. He stands fourth in Rookie points, only 14 points from leader David Garza (EuroInternational). Gelles Racing teammates Maxime Pelletier and Sebastian Saavedra stand second and third respectively.

The fastest Rookies in Round 11 qualifying were Daniel Morad (P6), Jordan Dick (P8), David Garza (P11), Sebastian Saavedra (P12) and Robert Thorne (P15).

Other notable Round 11 qualifiers were Adrien Herberts (Gelles Racing) in seventh and Jordan Dick (Team Apex Racing USA) in eighth, both recording their best starts of the season.

"Denver is one of my favorite tracks. I like street circuits and this one flows very nicely," said a delighted Lee. "I am really excited about my pole position today. I needed this extra point so I can come back in the championship and try to win it. For tomorrow's race I hope for a good start, a clean race and that I can just take off and win. I know that my hardest competition is right behind me with Reed, Robert and Simona, but I am quite confident."

Stevens said, "It is very good to start second at this course because it makes it easier to pass for the lead. My car was really good today. Towards the end of the session my tires got a little bit hot. I slowed down to let the tires cool off, but ran out off time as I was not aware of how much time was left in the session. I think I could have had the pole. I really like the track. I think it is just as good as last year. I had the race record last year so I think to be on pace to do the same this year."

Wickens said, "I was expecting today's qualifying result. We were second in the practice session and now we will start third. We made changes to the car, but it was not quite enough. I don't think I had a car good enough to get the pole. We are still starting at front in the race, but obviously I would like to have had a 21 point lead and now I have a 19. The Denver street course is fun. I liked it last year and I like it now."

The Round 11 race is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m. tomorrow after Round 12 qualifying at 8:00 a.m. Sunday's Round 12 race is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m.

Qualifying: Round 11
1 Matt Lee Team Autotecnica 1:16.113 (78.373 mph)
2 Reed Stevens HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:16.440
3 Robert Wickens EuroInternational 1:16.874
4 Simona de Silvestro EuroInternational 1:17.171
5 John Zartarian Gelles Racing 1:17.414
6 Daniel Morad (R) AIM Autosport 1:17.423
7 Adrien Herberts Gelles Racing 1:17.514
8 Jordan Dick (R) Team Apex Racing USA 1:17.528
9 Ryan Campbell Gelles Racing 1:17.566
10 Race Johnson HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:17.635
11 David Garza (R) EuroInternational 1:17.656
12 Sebastian Saavedra (R) Gelles Racing 1:17.735
13 Doug Boyer AIM Autosport 1:17.877
14 Philip Major Atlantic Racing Team 1:17.882
15 Robert Thorne (R) Team Autotecnica 1:18.062
16 Maxime Pelletier (R) Gelles Racing 1:18.202
17 Yannick Hofman HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:18.218
18 Ryan Phinny Hearn Motorsports 1:18.406
19 Marco Santos Haberfeld & Walker Racing 1:18.558
20 Steven Guerrero (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:18.666
21 Scott Schroeder American Spirit Grand Prix 1:18.791
22 Jules Duc Hearn Motorsports 1:19.497
23 Joel Jackson (R) Gelles Racing 1:20.045
24 Frankie Muniz Jensen Motorsport 1:20.891
25 David Rangel Haberfeld & Walker Racing -.---

Da Matta replacement to be announced Da Matta replacement to be announcedRuSPORT President Jeremy Dale said in a press conference today that the team will make an announcement regarding a replacement driver for the injured Cristiano da Matta at the end of next week.  With the late decision it's doubtful the team will have an opportunity to give the driver at least one test day before the Montreal race.  We're not sure why they would put themselves and the replacement driver in that situation so they can fail.  Perhaps the decision will be to not replace da Matta at all and focus the team's efforts 100% on getting Justin Wilson the championship.
Da Matta update Da Matta updateGood morning, everybody. We are here today to talk about the August 3rd incident at Road America between Cristiano da Matta and the deer on the racetrack. I'm joined by Champ Car medical director Dr. Chris Pinderski, RuSPORT president Jeremy Dale. He'll take us through the events of the day and the ongoing process of Cristiano's recovery.

Jeremy, take us through the events. At the end here I would like to say we're on a very tight time schedule today with both Chris and Jeremy having to get out to the track. There will be no one-on-ones so please ask your question as a group. Transcript

Rahal wins provisional Atlantics pole Rahal wins provisional Atlantics pole
Busch and Stewart lead opening practice Busch and Stewart lead opening practiceKurt Busch and Tony Stewart led the way in Friday's first practice session for Sunday's AMD at the Glen Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen International.  Busch had a best lap of 71.921 seconds at 122.635 mph in Penske Racing South's No. 2 Dodge. Stewart was second with a 72.152 at 122.242.
Tracy tops Bourdais in opening Denver practice Tracy tops Bourdais in opening Denver practiceOn a hot but dry morning in Denver, Paul Tracy turned the fastest lap to lead opening practice for this weekend's Denver GP.  Recall that Tracy led this race last year before crashing out by himself.  Tracy's Forsythe teammate AJ Allmendinger was third.

Pos Driver # Lap Time Behind Leader
1 P. Tracy 3 1:01.651 
2 S. Bourdais 1 1:01.689 0.038
3 A. Allmendinger 7 1:02.000 0.349
4 J. Wilson 9 1:02.083 0.432
5 O. Servia 6 1:02.171 0.520
6 M. Dominguez 19 1:02.209 0.558
7 B. Junqueira 2 1:02.317 0.666
8 A. Ranger 27 1:02.743 1.092
9 N. Philippe 4 1:02.976 1.325
10 W. Power 5 1:03.056 1.405
11 A. Tagliani 15 1:03.062 1.411
12 J. Heylen 11 1:03.247 1.596
13 D. Clarke 14 1:03.424 1.773
14 K. Legge 20 1:03.494 1.843
15 C. Zwolsman 34 1:03.499 1.848
16 N. Pastorelli 8 1:05.917 4.266

Indy 500 Champ Buddy Rice Will Race At MMP Indy 500 Champ Buddy Rice Will Race At MMPTooele County, Utah -- Brumos Racing owner Bob Snodgrass announced today the addition of two drivers to the Brumos Racing teams for the season-ending Discount Tire Sunchaser nine-hour race at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday, September 2, adding Buddy Rice and Roberto Moreno as third drivers in their two-car Daytona Prototype effort.

Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 winner, will join David Donohue and Darren Law in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Red Bull's entry. Rice competed in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve earlier this season, finishing ninth in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Finlay Motorsports. zzzz

Brazilian Roberto Moreno, with experience in Formula 1, Indy Racing League, and ChampCar, will co-drive the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar entry along with J.C. France and Hurley Haywood. Moreno competed this year with Brumos Racing in the No. 59 machine in the Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami, finishing 12th.

"Each of these drivers' records and performance speak for themselves and we are very excited to have them on board with us," said Snodgrass.

Both Brumos Racing entries will be in Riley MKXI Porsche-powered chassis.
This race will be the last race of the season and will be broadcast live starting at 12:00pm MT on SPEED.

Tickets for the Discount Tire Sunchaser can be purchased on line at www.millermotorpark.com or by calling (801) 325-SEAT (7328).

GP Masters Friday practice report from Silverstone GP Masters Friday practice report from SilverstoneIn order to preserve their supply of engines, the drivers had limited running in the practice sessions at Silverstone today. Nigel Mansell, five times a grand prix winner on home turf, set a fastest time of 1:37.522. In second was double World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, followed by Stefan Johansson.

Scott Poulter (CEO, Grand Prix Masters): "We've had an issue with the engines. We've lost ten engines since yesterday morning, and therefore have had to adjust the running program for everyone, causing some disruption. We're analyzing the issues and are on track to recovery."

Nigel Mansell (Britain): "It's hard to just switch it on in a couple of days when you haven't driven in anger for a few months. I haven't raced competitively since Qatar. Yesterday I had a tough time with myself, but today it's a little bit easier. We've been very professional here today, we've all had limited running. This morning I only had one timed lap, because we've all agreed that it would be unfair to allow some people more time than others. By tomorrow everyone will have caught up with one another. Emmo got his car really hooked up today."

Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil): "I've grown back my sideburns, so hopefully this will deliver some extra speed as well as style. It's great to be back racing in England. This is where I started my career and it's like my second home. I have a lot of friends here - maybe not as many as Derek or Nigel, but there are a few of them here. It's a great honor to be back at Silverstone, and I like the new layout. It's challenging and there are two good places to overtake. I'm very pleased to be part of this group - great champions from all over the world, and we're having fun. I think this series is growing, and I think we have a great future as racing drivers!" zzzz

Stefan Johansson (Sweden): "My first win in Formula 3 was here at Silverstone, and my last grand prix was here in 1991. The track is very different to how it was in those days but it's still very challenging and fast."

Eddie Cheever (USA): "I think anyone who wants to start in open wheel racing really has to come to England. I did what everyone else did, coming here to do Formula Ford and Formula 3. I have fond memories of this place, but it's very different to how it used to be. I think some of the corners used to be a bit more exciting, and over my career I've probably been off at each of them!"

Derek Warwick (Britain): "I've got a lot of friends here from Jersey and my family from England. Hopefully all the local fans are going to turn up and support me and Nigel and the rest of the guys. I think the race is going to be exciting on Sunday. There's going to be close racing and a lot of overtaking. More so than Qatar or Kyalami just because of the nature of the circuit. It's also a lot more demanding. My target right now is to get pole position. And where Nigel is I don't really care!"

Hans-Joachim Stuck (Austria): "To try and keep myself fit I've been driving BMW touring cars, and a few weeks ago I did a funny thing by going truck racing. It was 5.5 tones with 1200 horsepower. It was absolutely no help at all today! I only had a six lap race in Qatar because unfortunately I had a coming together with my friend Stefan, but hopefully we'll do a few more laps here and I'm sure we'll enjoy it. I find it pretty difficult here because Silverstone is a very fast circuit, and having looked at Emerson and Nigel's telemetry I think I'd better go to bed early tonight."

Patrick Tambay (France): "I know the new format of the grand prix circuit fairly well having taken some Renault customers around the track for three days recently, but it's a bit different in a grand prix masters car. I need the mileage more than some of my friends, and I need to loose some weight!

Practice 1
rank no. driver laps fastest lap
1 12 Warwick Derek 3 1:38.741
2 100 No Name Provided 10 1:39.312
3 7 Fittipaldi Emerson 13 1:39.314
4 5 Mansell Nigel 4 1:40.577
5 14 Stuck Hans-Joachim 6 1:41.418
6 4 Arnoux Rene 9 1:47.169

Practice 2
rank no. driver laps fastest lap
1 5 Mansell Nigel 11 1:37.522
2 7 Fittipaldi Emerson 15 1:37.602
3 2 Johansson Stefan 9 1:37.836
4 6 Patrese Ricardo 11 1:38.148
5 100 No Name Provided 7 1:38.560
6 35 Van de Poele Eric 18 1:38.954
7 14 Stuck Hans-Joachim 9 1:41.142

Feedback on moving forward article Feedback on moving forward articleA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Great article on the continuing saga between Champ Car and the IRL.  You have brought to light, several factors that point to no merger at all in the very near future. Yes, Champ Car is moving forward, and yes, the IRL is moving forward as well, but which one will obtain financial stability, along with long term sponsorship, remains to be seen.  Keep up the good writings. Mr. Pat Rizk
NASCAR Allstate 400 TV Rating NASCAR Allstate 400 TV RatingUPDATE The final TV rating for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard last Sunday was a 5.5/13 share, down 11.3% from last year's 6.2/15 share final. Again this underscores the fact that NASCAR is past its peak as ratings and attendance has been down at most events this year due to their over saturation of the market and resulting fan push back.

08/07/06 The overnight rating for the Allstate 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Indy on NBC was a 4.8/11 share.  This compares to a 6.2/15 share final rating in 2005.  While we expect the final rating to be higher than the overnight, it appears doubtful it will match last year's 6.2 final rating, further indication of NASCAR's slide (which we have seen all year) and indicates the sport is past the saturation point. 
Da Matta won't be forgotten at race Da Matta won't be forgotten at raceFans attending the Grand Prix of Denver will be able to extend their get-well wishes to former Champ Car champion Cristiano da Matta.
Da Matta was injured Aug. 3 after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track while he was testing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

He continues to improve from a serious head injury at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wis.

The Denver Grand Prix, in partnership with Champ Car, will have a large get-well banner that fans can sign at the Champ Car display trailer on Chopper Circle.

A "shout out" for da Matta also is planned during the opening ceremonies.

"At approximately 1:40 p.m. Sunday, we will use our video display boards, truck announcer and volunteers in the stands to do a one, two, three, 'Get well, Cristiano' cheer," said Champ Car media representative Jana Watt. "The cheer will be videotaped as part of a video/audio get-well tape to Cristiano."

Da Matta's team, RuSPORT, said, anyone wishing to express support for da Matta during his recovery is asked to make a donation in his name to Hole in the Wall Camps, a charity of the Champ Car World Series. Information: www.holeinthewallcamps.org. Rocky Mountain News

Still no deal for '07 Indy GP Still no deal for '07 Indy GP(GMM)  A deal has still not been done, but the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway expects formula one to return in 2007.

With this year's race marking the end of the current US grand prix contract, the Indianapolis Star newspaper quoted Joie Chitwood as revealing 'frequent communication' between promoter Tony George and F1's Bernie Ecclestone.

The report said Chitwood 'expects F1's return', but cited time as an issue.

''The longer that (communication) goes, the harder it's going to be for us to get information to our customers.

June 17 or 24 are the most likely dates for a 2007 grand prix at the Speedway, scene also of America's famous Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 races.

Team Sahlen to campaign two Corvettes Team Sahlen to campaign two CorvettesTeam Sahlen will be making a full time return to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve with two Chevrolet Corvette ZO6 race cars in the Grand Touring (GT) Class.

"Everyone at Team Sahlen is very excited about our two car GT class Corvette campaign for 2007. "We accomplished our goal in GT in 2005 by winning the Bob Akin Award. We have spent most of 2006 making preparations for a strong effort in 2007. Today represents the accumulation of those efforts. We plan to shake down the Corvettes at the Rolex Winter Test Sessions held on the 4th, 5th and 6th of January at Daytona International Speedway." - commented Joe Sahlen

Team Sahlen currently competes full time in Grand American's Grand-Am Cup Series for street production race cars. The team won the season opener at Daytona in the Grand Sport class and is currently 7th in the Team Championship.

The Corvette has a long history in sports car racing, dating back to the1950's. The Rolex Sports Car Series has witnessed several of those wins, including an overall victory at the 2001 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Grand-Am
Racing News
Sprint Car driver killed Sprint Car driver killedKNOXVILLE, Iowa — Kansas sprint-car driver Steve King died Thursday afternoon from injuries suffered in a crash during Wednesday night's Knoxville Nationals, hospital officials and the family confirmed.  King, 33, of Jetmore, Kan., was pronounced dead at 4:32 p.m. ET, said Gregg Lagan, a spokesman for Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.

Reports from Knoxville Raceway indicate the wreck involved only King and happened when a part broke, sending his No. 88 car into the Turn 3 fence during a preliminary race.

King was taken by helicopter to Mercy late Wednesday night to undergo treatment for a brain injury, according to his website.

Knoxville race director Ralph Capitani said the four days of Nationals races would go on as scheduled.

"Our hearts, our souls, our prayers are certainly with the family," Capitani said. "He was a fine young man — a great loss to sprint-car racing."

A family update on King's website — www.88king.com — also confirmed King's death.

"He loved you all," a note on the website said. "Thank you so much for your support. Please keep our family in your prayers. Arrangement details will be posted once they have been made." USA Today

Fernandez in top 300 Fernandez in top 300One of Mexico's national magazines has named driver Adrian Fernandez one of the 300 most influential people in the country.  Fernandez is one of six athletes on the list that made the July issue of Lideres Mexicanos. The others were golf standout Lorena Ochoa, Oakland A's pitcher Esteban Loaiza and soccer stars Francisco Fonseca, Rafael Marquez and Oswaldo Javier Sanchez.

Fernandez will be busy this weekend at Watkins Glen, where he'll compete in both the Busch Series race and the Grand Am race. He is expected to be joined by three other Hispanic drivers - Carlos Contreras, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Eduardo Traconis.

Water caused Rosberg spin Water caused Rosberg spinNico Rosberg spun out of the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend. The WilliamsF1 driver spun of because there was water in his electronics system. Rosberg explained about his spin: "We got some water in the electronics system, it tricked the car into thinking I was in the garage and switched on the automatic rev limiter that normally kicks in at the pit lane entrance. Turning in on a left-hander I shifted down, expecting the revs to increase and match the lower gear, the limiter kept them low though and the engine braking effect locked up the rear wheels. In those wet conditions I had no chance and spun off."
Hill unsure of return Hill unsure of returnDamon Hill insists he currently has no plans to race again, but is not ruling out the possibility of competing in the Grand Prix Masters series altogether.  The 1996 world champion tested one of the 600bhp GP Masters machines at Silverstone on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s event for retired Formula 1 drivers.

There had been speculation that he would use the test session to get a feel for the car, before deciding whether he wanted to make his debut in the series alongside the likes of Nigel Mansell and Emerson Fittipaldi.

But in an exclusive interview to appear on ITV-F1.com on Friday, the BRDC president confirmed he would not be racing this weekend and said that while he still loves driving, he would not yet be going back on a vow he made when he retired from F1 in 1999.

“No I’m not going to be racing no,” he said.  “I took a decision not to race a long time ago. But it was definitely worth coming back and trying it out.  So I’ve got to say a big thank you to the GP Masters for giving me the chance to sample it and give me something to think about, anyway.  This series has created a space for old timers like myself to do what they love, so the possibility is there.  So I wouldn’t rule it out, but I can’t honestly say that right now I need to race.  That is the bit that is missing.  I love driving, I love pushing the limit and all the rest of it but racing for me…I don’t have an ambition to do it and I think that’s an important part of the equation.  You never know,” he added.  More at ITV-F1

Racing News
Andretti Foundation donates $30K Andretti Foundation donates $30KThe Michael Andretti Foundation recently donated $30,000 to the  Sam  Schmidt  Paralysis  Foundation  to  support  paralysis  research  programs.    The  money was raised from an eBay auction for a VIP trip to the 2006 Indianapolis 500 as guests of Michael Andretti. "We're so happy that we were able to put together a fun auction package to raise money for such a great  cause.   The  response  to  the  auction  was  overwhelming  and  we  had  such  a  great  weekend entertaining the winning couple at Indy," commented Michael Andretti. The donation for the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation (SSPF) will be used to further spinal cord research by supporting the work of the most accomplished medical investigators throughout the world. Through  the  Foundation's  Quality  of  Life  Programs,  funds  will  be  distributed  to  organizations  that directly  impact  the  lives  of  individuals  who  have  spinal  cord  injuries  and  other  types of disabilities.
A1GP adds NZ race A1GP adds NZ raceThe New Zealand round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has been confirmed, with Taupo hosting the sixth round of the Series on 21 January 2007.

The announcement was made in Auckland today by A1GP chief operating officer David Clare in the presence of Prime Minister Helen Clark, key Cabinet Minister Trevor Mallard and the race managers.

Taupo will be the first meeting of 2007. The event has been sanctioned by MotorSport New Zealand, and will be managed and promoted jointly by A1GP, MIT (the operators of the Taupo Motorsport Park) and A1 Team.NZL.

New Zealand franchise holder Colin Giltrap says the A1GP round will be the biggest motorsport event seen in New Zealand for 50 years.

“Not since the halcyon days of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore in the 1950s have we hosted such a major motorsport event,” Mr. Giltrap said. “This is a major coup for motorsport and will have far-reaching benefits for the country as a whole – economically and from a profile perspective.”

More than 20 countries compete in the nation versus nation series, which starts its second season in the Netherlands on 1 October, and the London-based Clare says A1GP is thrilled to be heading to New Zealand. zzzz

“Given A1GP’s growth and the increasing popularity of motorsport, it is an opportunity that needed to be seized now and I’m sure Taupo will host a memorable event and showcase this beautiful country to the world,” Mr. Clare said.

“New Zealand always punches above its weight on the world stage and the team’s performance in finishing fourth in the inaugural championship simply highlighted the Kiwi team’s talent and professionalism.”

The New Zealand Government has confirmed it will provide $2 million over the next three years to enable the Taupo Motorsport Park to upgrade its facilities.

Trevor Mallard, the Minister for Economic Development as well as the Minister for Sport and Recreation, said A1GP’s drive to include Taupo was another example of the country’s ability to host world-class events.

“This is a major achievement for New Zealand motorsport and a huge fillip for the tourism and event industries,” Mr. Mallard said.

“We’re eagerly anticipating the Rugby World Cup and World Rowing Champs in 2011. Now, we have a prestigious motorsport event taking place and it’s just around the corner.

“I’m sure New Zealanders will embrace such a quality event being held in our backyard and, as a government, we’re pleased to have helped with funding and will now be examining how we can leverage this significant opportunity.”

The countries involved in A1GP account for 80% of the world’s population and David Clare is certain the impressive media coverage of the inaugural Series will be enhanced in its second year.

In Season One A1GP had an average live television audience of 7.7 million for each round across 37 networks in 120 countries, with 127 different programs generated per round. Some 2000 media representatives attended the 11 events.

When the A1GP road show, including its own TV production arm, international media and the teams of more than 20 nations, descend on Taupo, the event is conservatively estimated to be worth more than $23 million to the New Zealand economy.

“It’s why we fought so hard to bring A1GP to Taupo,” said David Steele, Managing Director of track managers MIT.

“We’re determined to make this a truly special round and ensure its ongoing prominence on the A1 calendar because the economic benefits to Taupo and the country are so profound, especially as it’s an annual competition, not a one-off.”

Mr. Steele said the Taupo track was being upgraded to meet the requirements needed to run races of A1GP’s caliber and he promised a fast and exciting circuit.

“But it’s not just the track that will receive a makeover,” he said. “The government funding will be used primarily to build a pit lane complex, as well as media and corporate facilities in keeping with the stature of an A1GP event.”

Mr. Steele said accommodation had already been booked for the A1 teams and “great strides” had already been made in logistics and planning, from ticketing and entertainment through to crowd safety and traffic management.

“We will work alongside Motorsport New Zealand and A1 Team.NZL to release details as soon as we possibly can. Tickets should be on sale early September.”

The weekend will provide a feast of action for motor racing fans with MotorSport New Zealand announcing that the Taupo round of the New Zealand Championships, originally scheduled for March, will now be brought forward to coincide with the A1GP meeting.

Steven Kennedy, the President of MotorSport New Zealand, said the clash with the Timaru round of the championships has been resolved and all the racing classes will participate in Taupo.

“Achieving A1GP’s target date has required a major revision to the MotorSport New Zealand calendar and I would like to thank the South Island clubs and the six different championship racing classes who have accommodated the shift in their proposed meeting dates to March,” Mr. Kennedy said.

“We are delighted to see the A1GP race in New Zealand and will work with the A1GP organization to ensure a successful Taupo meeting.”

 Colin Giltrap is used to life in the fast lane, but he is still aghast at the speed with which New Zealand has embedded itself in A1GP’s consciousness.

“This time last year we were announcing that we were proud to have secured one of the exclusive seats on board the A1GP express,” he said.

“Then we went and finished a prominent fourth in the historic first-ever Series. Now we’re confirmed to host a round, one of only 12 countries to be accorded that honor.

“It has been a remarkable ride…and being in Taupo next January knowing that the motorsport world is taking great interest will be simply incredible.” Press Release

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Watkins Glen
10:00am-11:00am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Watkins Glen
11:00am-1:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Watkins Glen
1:30pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
IHRA Drag Racing Milan, MI
2:00pm-3:00pm  SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series  Watkins Glen
2:00pm-4:30pm (L) NBC
ARCA RE/MAX Nashville
3:00pm-5:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck  Nashville
5:00pm-7:30pm (L) SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Brainerd, MN
6:00pm-8:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Performance  
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
Tradin' Paint Watkins Glen
8:00pm-8:30pm SPEED
Champ Car Qualifying Denver
9:00pm-9:30pm (SDD) SPEED
Knoxville Nationals Knoxville, IA
10:00pm-1:00am (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Said, Kendall and Frisselle interview Said, Kendall and Frisselle interviewAn Interview with Boris Said, Burt Frisselle and Tommy Kendall ahead of this weekend's Rolex Series race at Watkins Glen, NY. Transcript
track news
Speedway Motorsports revenue off Speedway Motorsports revenue offSpeedway Motorsports Inc., which owns Lowe's Motor Speedway and other auto racing tracks, said second-quarter net income fell 18 percent to $45.5 million, or $1.03 a share, from $55.5 million, or $1.26, a year earlier, the Concord-based company said in a statement. Revenue fell 15 percent to $183.3 million.

Speedway Motorsports said the drop in income and revenue was due to NASCAR events at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee being held in the first quarter of 2006, after being in the second quarter last season. For the six months ending June 30, total revenue increased 7 percent to $334.4 million, while net income rose 12 percent to $77.7 million, the company said.

Gurney smashes Watkins Glen record Gurney smashes Watkins Glen recordWATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley co-driver Alex Gurney scored his third career Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve pole position Thursday afternoon with a Watkins Glen International short course record lap time of 1:07.496 (130.674 mph), and will lead the field to the green flag in Friday evening’s Crown Royal 200 at The Glen (SPEED, August 11 at 9 p.m. ET).

With 26 Daytona Prototypes in the field and GT machines not competing in the race, qualifying for the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen was split into two 15-minute sessions, with 13 randomly-selected entries qualifying in each session. Gurney posted his lap time late in the first session and watched as the second group tried to better his time. The lap time of 1:07.496 tops the old track record by more than a second, set at 1:08.409 last year by Fabrizio Gollin. The top-nine qualifiers bested the old mark.

“I’m obviously really happy to be on the pole here at Watkins Glen,” said Gurney. “We always like to go out with a time to shoot for, and fortunately, the car was working really well. It was tough to have to watch as the second group went out there, watching them get lower and lower. The team has been working real hard lately, and we definitely want to get our first win for GAINSCO as soon as we can.”  zzzz

Gurney is co-driving in the Crown Royal 200 with Jon Fogarty. The duo hasn’t finished worse than eighth in each of the last six races, with best results of second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May and on the long course at Watkins Glen in June’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

Australia’s Ryan Briscoe qualified second in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley with a lap time of 1:07.580 (130.674 mph) in the second session. Briscoe will team with defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli, and will be making his first Rolex Series start since the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. In that race, Briscoe, Angelelli and car owner Wayne Taylor drove the No. 10 machine to a third place overall finish.

“It’s great to be back here with the SunTrust team,” said Briscoe. “I love coming here to race because I love this track. It is my first time on the short course, but I’m definitely looking forward to the race. My job is to stay near the front during my opening stint and help Max move closer to the championship.”

No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford co-driver Mike Rockenfeller qualified third with a lap time at 1:07.750 (130.185 mph)—also in the second session. Rockenfeller and teammate Patrick Long have posted two feature race victories this season—at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March and at Virginia International Raceway in April. The No. 23 Porsche drivers are currently tied for seventh in the Daytona Prototype standings with 318 markers apiece, and have finished on the podium in each of the last two events.

“We are good, but not good enough,” said Rockenfeller. “I was able to improve on our best practice time, but you always want a chance at the pole. The car still feels a little loose. We have some work to do on the setup of the car in tonight’s practice. We’ll be looking to put a good, consistent car in the race tomorrow.”

Luis Diaz qualified fourth in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley with a lap at 1:08.012 (129.683 mph). Diaz and co-driver Scott Pruett—the 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion—are tied for third in the current point standings with 348 points, 45 points behind No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley co-driver Jorg Bergmeister. No. 12 Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley co-driver Mario Haberfeld rounded out the top five at 1:08.021 (129.666 mph).The top nine qualifiers turned laps within one second of Gurney’s pole-winning time. Grand-Am

A must read for open wheel fans A must read for open wheel fansUPDATE At right is a photo from Salem taken August 7, 1955 with Bob Sweikert on the outside pole and Andy Linden on pole in the Miracle Power Offy.  If you look close the pole car of Andy Linden has no front brakes!  We would imagine that they had a mix of cars with the new "disc" brakes on the rear and the old "drum" brakes on the rest.

08/10/06 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I just read Steve Levinson's latest article titled Salem Speedway: When the high-banks were on the road to Indy. I do not think the generation of today understands the history of open wheel racing. This article is a must-read.

For an old-fart like me, this article brought back many fond, yet sad memories of the days when sprints and midgets were indeed on the road to Indy. The sport was so dangerous back then drivers were lucky to live to 30 years old. Fans back then were enthralled by the danger that these drivers were up against to make it to Indy.
[Editor's Note: At right Mario Andretti sits on the wooden guardrail waiting for help in this photo taken sometime in the early 60s. Note the roll hoop on Mario's car and another wrecked car in the infield. Safety back then was an afterthought.]

In some ways the creation of the IRL brought back a lot of those memories, those days when drivers were injured and killed on a regular basis. If the IRL was successful at one thing, it was to resurrect the fear that existed back in the 50s and 60s. Bob Ashcroft, Fort Wayne, IN

Writer calls Danica Patrick an embarrassment Writer calls Danica Patrick an embarrassmentDanica Patrick? She'll sell tickets at Indy Racing League events. If she races in the IRL long enough, she might even win a race. Patrick isn't simply a marketing mirage, but she isn't a great race car driver, either. Which is fine. She doesn't have to be great. Few are.

But her "alluring" television commercials for Peak antifreeze are ridiculous, and her hubris is nauseating. Patrick made a stir last month when she said she was considering a switch to NASCAR. That would have been great, and not for the interest it would have generated for the Nextel Cup series. NASCAR doesn't need Danica Patrick, thank you.

Patrick's move to NASCAR would have been beautiful because she wouldn't have found herself racing every few weeks, and against fields of 17 or 18 other cars. She'd have been racing nearly every week, a deceptive grind, and she'd have been racing closer to 40 other cars -- assuming she got into the field at all.

There's qualifying, remember. This ain't the IRL, where entering every race has helped Patrick to a gaudy-looking 10th place in the points standings through 11 races. Sounds good, until you realize only 15 drivers have bothered to enter as many as 10 of the first 11 races. Tenth out of 15? Not so good.

Not that Patrick has a clue. When she was carrying on with NASCAR, she did an interview on ESPN where she smugly said she'd like to see the ratings of her first NASCAR race. If she could have squeezed in a first-person reference, she would have been a complete jerk as well as a boor.

The last athlete to get this much attention for this little accomplishment was Anna Kournikova, who ultimately was laughed out of tennis after failing to win a tour event in singles. The thing is, Kournikova reached the No. 8 ranking in the world. The WTA ranks almost 1,500 players, and Kournikova was once No. 8.

Patrick is 10th of 15 full-time racers on the IRL circuit. Let's not compare her to Kournikova. It's an insult to Kournikova.  Written by CBS Sportsline

Frisselle to team with Tommy Kendall Frisselle to team with Tommy KendallAfter posting a strong fifth-place run in his GT debut at Barber Motorsports Park, Burt Frisselle has been signed to race the Ironclad/Wine Country Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R campaigned by Pacific Coast Motorsports in the Rolex Sports Car Series debuts at Infineon Raceway on August 26.
Frisselle, who co-drove in the Daytona Prototype class with Al Unser Jr. earlier this season, will add another famous racing name to his co-driving resume, as champion road racer Tommy Kendall has signed on to share the driving duties with Burt.
“I had a great time in the Ironclad GTO.R at Barber and I’m glad to get another chance to race it again,” said Burt. “It’s of course really exciting for me to be sharing the car with Tommy, because he is a guy I looked up to long before I got to race myself, and to share a car with him on a track that he has so much experience on is just a great opportunity.”
The Infineon event will mark the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class debut for Kendall, who has one of the most impressive records in the sport.
“Since I retired in 1997, I have been very selective about what I’ve signed on to race in, with the main requisite being I have to work with a team and equipment that will give me a chance to win, and this opportunity definitely fits that bill,” said Kendall.
IRL announces Milwaukee date change IRL announces Milwaukee date changeOfficials from the IndyCar Series and Milwaukee Mile announced today that the ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt Indy 225 IndyCar Series event at the historic 1-mile oval will move to June 3, 2007, one week after the 91st Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, resurrecting a tradition that began in 1946.

"The Milwaukee Mile and Indy-style racing have had a long and storied history," IRL President and COO Brian Barnhart said. "For the last three years, we've been able to showcase our sport to the race fans in Wisconsin, and now we can complete the circle by reuniting the cars and drivers of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race with the traditional post-Indianapolis 500 date at Milwaukee."

In addition to the 225-mile IndyCar Series event, the Indy Pro Series will run its fourth race at the track, the Milwaukee 100, a 100-lap event showcasing the future stars of the IndyCar Series on the same race weekend.

"We are excited for our loyal fans to be able to bring the stars of the Indianapolis 500 back to The Milwaukee Mile the first weekend in June," stated Andy Randall, Milwaukee Mile President and CEO.  "We are proud to continue this strong racing tradition.  This multi-year agreement allows us to begin building toward an exciting June 2-3, 2007 event weekend starting today." zzzz

Originally a privately owned horse-racing track, the symmetrical oval has been in existence since at least 1876 and played host to automobile races since 1903, making it the oldest racetrack in continuous use.

From 1947-1995, The Milwaukee Mile traditionally hosted the cars and drivers of the Indianapolis 500 in the weeks following the 500-Mile race.  Eight drivers have been able to pull the Indianapolis-Milwaukee double, including four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, for whom the current IndyCar Series race is named.

In addition to Foyt, many Indianapolis 500 champions have competed at The Mile, including every Indianapolis 500 winner since 1946, with the exception of 1966 "500" winner Graham Hill.

"As new promoters entering the 2006 season, we were quite impressed with the cooperation and effort put forth by the Indy Racing League staff toward the success of our ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt Indy 225 event last month," Craig Stoehr, Milwaukee Mile Chairman said.  "On behalf of our fans, we thank Tony George, Brian Barnhart and the IndyCar teams and drivers for this opportunity - not only with respect to moving back to the traditional date, but for their willingness to enter into a three-year agreement with The Mile."

The Milwaukee Mile event is the fourth announced date for the 2007 IndyCar Series season.  Earlier this year, the IndyCar Series announced it would return to the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., for the third Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 1 and race from the first time at Iowa Speedway on June 24. The 91st Indianapolis 500-Mile Race will be held on May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The remainder of the 2007 IndyCar Series schedule will be announced at a later date. IRL

Denver Grand Prix rolls on without top sponsor Denver Grand Prix rolls on without top sponsorKeeping track of all the sponsors and promoters coming and going at the Grand Prix race in Denver is as dizzying as watching the cars whip around the Pepsi Center streets. Despite the confusion - the ailing auto loan company Centrix Financial just bailed as the main sponsor in the latest letdown - the event drives on. The fifth annual Grand Prix is set for this weekend, beginning Friday.

This time around, the race's official name is the Grand Prix of Denver, sponsored by Bridgestone. Last year, organizers dubbed the race the Centrix Financial Grand Prix, presented by PacifiCare. Before that it was known as the Shell Grand Prix.

Those changes make it tougher to build the event's brand, said Rob Johnson, general manager of the Grand Prix.

Finding a long-term sponsor to attach its logo to the race is a priority as the Grand Prix seeks a higher profile in Denver, he added.

"It would be in our best interests to find that partner," he said.

While Centrix backed out as a sponsor, its chief executive, Robert Sutton, is still co-owner of the race.

The instability should not be seen as a sign of weakness, Speyer added.

"In this economic climate, it's standard practice to have sponsors come and go on fairly short notice," he said. "The whims of a sponsor can change dramatically. It doesn't mean the organizers have done anything wrong."

The Grand Prix did not have "an appropriate amount of time" to replace Centrix in the title spot, Johnson said.

Johnson said the Grand Prix has been able to offset the loss of Centrix with Bridgestone and a number of new sponsors, including Red Bull, Jack Daniels, Hyatt and U.S. Bank.

More than 40 corporations - if not a title sponsor - have agreed to pay to tout themselves at the race.

Johnson also said that all 22 corporate suites for the event are sold out.  More at Rocky Mountain News

Teams must hand over engines at end of year Teams must hand over engines at end of yearFollowing the discussions between the FIA and the GPMA about engines at the start of the week, the FIA Formula 1 Race Director Charlie Whiting has issued orders that teams must hand over engines to be homologated for 2007 after either the Japanese or Brazilian Grands Prix, depending on whether or not teams are using the engine for the first or second time. This will stop teams building special super-advanced engines for the final race of the race and not caring whether they blow up or not.
Industry News
Quality improving on American cars Quality improving on American carsToyota Motor Co. again dominated this year's survey of most-dependable vehicles by J.D. Power and Associates, but General Motors Corp. landed its Buick and Cadillac brands among the industry's top five, while Ford Motor Co.'s Mercury brand ranked second.

The annual Vehicle Dependability Study ranks with Consumer Reports' surveys as the most closely watched measurements of an automaker's long-term quality and has helped some Asian automakers generate a lasting reputation for durability with American buyers.

Dale Jr axes his driver McFarland Dale Jr axes his driver McFarlandJR Motorsports announced today that Mark McFarland has been relieved of his driving duties of the No. 88 NAVY Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet. NASCAR Busch Series Champion Martin Truex Jr. will pilot the No. 88 at Watkins Glen International Raceway this weekend. "Mark was instrumental in getting our Busch program off the ground and he will always have a role in the history of JR Motorsports. But the reality is that as a business we have the responsibility of delivering a level of performance for our sponsors," said Team Owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. "This change is being made to address that concern." JR Motorsports
All-star race stays at Lowe’s All-star race stays at Lowe’sThe Nextel All-Star Challenge will remain at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte for 2007, Speedway Motorsports President H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler told financial analysts Wednesday.

In response to a question about the all-star race during a call to discuss second-quarter earnings, Wheeler confirmed the race, which has been run in Charlotte for all but one year since its inception in 1985, will remain in Charlotte as expected.

"The all-star event is back, we're proud to say," Wheeler said. "We're real excited about it because we had a great race last May."

Industry News
GM announces go ahead on new Camaro GM announces go ahead on new CamaroGM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced today that GM will build an all-new version of the Chevrolet Camaro sport coupe based on the award-winning concept that stole the spotlight at the North American International Auto Show and has ignited the passion of car enthusiasts around the world ever since - even spurring consumers to start petition drives and send in certified checks in hopes of placing early deposits.
Indian hopes to keep test seat Indian hopes to keep test seat(GMM) India's Narain Karthikeyan is hopeful of extending his tenure as a Williams test driver in 2007.

The Indian 29-year-old debuted last season, but after failing to impress his Jordan/Midland chiefs moved to Sir Frank Williams' squad this year as development ace Alex Wurz's test deputy.

With Wurz graduating to the racing role for 2007, Karthikeyan - whose team job this year has been limited to mainly acting as a representative for personal sponsor 'Tata' - this week expressed optimism that there will be room for him at Grove.

''I hope my future is at Williams,'' he was quoted as saying by United News Of India agency.

Karthikeyan added: ''I'm hopeful of a good seat in 2007.

''Sir Frank Williams is always commending my performance and let's see how it pans out.''

[Editor's Note: Karthikeyan should be in Champ Car where he can race. Being a test driver in F1 will do zero for his career - it's over. Would Champ Car know how to capitalize on an Indian driver and market to the large population of Indians in the USA? Not sure.]

Fans can race with Fisher Fans can race with FisherFans attending the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Meijer can ride along with Sarah Fisher during her return to the IndyCar Series.

Fans can sign Fisher's racing helmet during the IndyCar Series driver autograph session from 6:30-7:30 p.m on Aug. 12.

"I'm allowing my fans to sign my helmet that I will wear in the race on Sunday because I want to carry them with me the whole way," said Fisher, who recently gave away two pairs of tickets to the Meijer Indy 300 on her official website. "My fans have always been so supportive of my racing efforts from the time I started racing. I have missed them so much that I want them to be on board with me during the race so we can compete in the race together."

Fisher will be wearing a white helmet during the race, which will allow space for fans to sign the helmet. Space, on the helmet will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Press release IRL

Kubica to finish out year Kubica to finish out yearRobert Kubica is set to finish the season for BMW after he stepped in for Jacques Villeneuve at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Polish driver was being evaluated on a race-by-race basis, but after his strong drive BMW has decided to give him another five Grand Prix to prove himself worthy of a race seat next season, F1Racing.net can reveal. A BMW spokesperson told F1Racing.net: "Yes, Robert Kubica will be racing with us for the rest of the season. That is what we have planned at the moment."
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for FridayCourtesy of TVRacer.com

NASCAR Live! Watkins Glen
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying  Watkins Glen
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Watkins Glen
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Watkins Glen
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
Rolex Sports Car Series Watkins Glen
9:00pm-11:00pm (SDD) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Briatore slams taxes with a party
Renault could appeal 'mass damper' verdict
Museum to honor Alonso
Schu nominated for 'goal of the month'
Malaysian date raises F1 eyebrows
MF1 sale still possible, say reports
Stoddart's Champ Car plans still on - report
Dale Jr. is a busy man this week Dale Jr. is a busy man this weekUPDATE Reminder. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will be a guest on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" Thursday night, August 10.  The show airs at 11:00 pm-11:30 pm ET on Comedy Central.

08/08/06 Dale Jr. will be the first NASCAR driver to appear as an in-studio guest on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," the Emmy Award-winning news program. Dale Jr. will appear Thursday, August 10. The show airs at 11 pm ET and repeats throughout the following day. The Daily Show has featured a broad spectrum of celebrity guests, including political figures, Hollywood stars, and U.S. Presidents. Speed will also debut the Dale Jr. episode of "Payback" Wednesday night at 10 PM ET. Dale Jr. surprised his sister and business manager Kelley with a tricked-out SUV for the show. Following his visit to The Daily Show studios Thursday evening, Dale Jr. will join boxing champion and friend Arturo Gatti at the Budweiser One Night Stand music event at Mulcahy's in Long Island (8 p.m. ET). "Budweiser Racing
Mazda Raceway announces '07 MotoGP dates Mazda Raceway announces '07 MotoGP datesThe Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) announced today the dates for the 2007 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix featuring the MotoGP World Championship and the AMA Superbike Championship. The largest motorcycle race in North America will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca July 20-22, 2007. The date for the event is tentative, subject to the release of the full FIM calendar in September.

Despite record high temperatures, 145,111 spectators witnessed Nicky Hayden win his second consecutive home Grand Prix in 2006, stretching his World Championship points lead in the process.

The Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca remains the only North American stop on the MotoGP World Championship calendar.

Tickets for the 2007 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix will be available to the general public beginning November 1, 2006.

Tickets and information for the remaining events on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2006 calendar, including the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races August 18-20 and the Monterey Sports Car Championships featuring the American Le Mans Series October 20-22 are available by calling (800) 327-SECA or on-line at www.laguna-seca.com.

Da Matta shows signs of movement Da Matta shows signs of movementLOVELAND, Colo. – Champ Car World Series driver Cristiano da Matta (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone) is making steady progress and continued improvements in his condition as he recovers from a serious head injury at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisc.  Da Matta was injured after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track near Turn Six at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., last Thursday afternoon.

Champ Car Medical Director Dr. Chris Pinderski has been in frequent contact with Dr. Randall Johnson at the Neuroscience Group of Northeast Wisconsin, who has been in direct care of da Matta.  The following statement is an update on da Matta’s medical status.

"Cristiano's recovery from his head injury continues on a positive trend while still in the intensive care unit at Theda Clark Medical Center.  Most of his sedation has been removed and he now is moving all of his extremities spontaneously as well as in response to physical stimulation.  We are pleased with Cristiano's progress so far and are hopeful he will continue daily improvement."

Further updates on da Matta’s condition will be issued by RuSPORT as they become available.

Da Matta’s family, who has been at Theda Clark since Saturday morning, said today that they have been overwhelmed by the cards, letters and other messages of support they have received from fans of da Matta.  The following is a statement from the da Matta family, which they issued from Theda Clark Medical Center today.

“We have already received an incredible amount of cards, emails, letters and gifts from all over the world, and we would like to thank everyone very much.  The love and support that we have been given during this very difficult time has been very helpful to the family, and we know Cristiano would appreciate it, as well.  It has been very uplifting to see so much caring from so many people.  The care here at Theda Clark continues to be excellent, and we are very grateful to everyone involved in Cristiano’s care for all of their help.  To all of Cristiano’s fans, we want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” 

RuSPORT and the Champ Car World Series also announced that they will hold a press conference on Friday, August 11, at 9:30 am MDT, at the on-site Media Center at the Grand Prix of Denver.  The principals of the press conference will be RuSPORT President Jeremy Dale, and Champ Car Medical Director Dr. Chris Pinderski.  The purpose of the press conference will be to update the media on da Matta’s condition, and the progress of his recovery.

Since da Matta’s accident last Thursday, RuSPORT and Champ Car have received many messages of support for da Matta.  In response, RuSPORT also announced last Friday that, in lieu of sending flowers and gifts, anyone wishing to express their support for da Matta during his recovery is asked to please make a donation in his name to Hole in the Wall Camps, an official charity of the Champ Car World Series.  Donation information can be found by visiting http://www.holeinthewallcamps.org, or by calling 203-562-1203.

Parrott returns to Yates Parrott returns to YatesTodd Parrott has returned to Robert Yates Racing where spent nearly 10 years as a crew chief.
Parrott's move was announced by Petty Enterprises, which will replace him with Greg Steadman.

"Todd has been a vital part in getting Petty Enterprises and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker back to competitive form," said Robbie Loomis, Petty Enterprises executive vice president of race operations. "Todd made a decision to return to Robert Yates Racing where he has enjoyed much success throughout most of his career. It's where he has his roots. If there is anyone that understands what it's like to 'go back home,' it's me.

"I have been in those shoes before. I'm sure it was a tough decision for Todd to make. I have a ton of respect for him. I am extremely grateful for what he has done for Petty Enterprises this season. We're looking to move forward with Bobby, and we are confident that Greg will do the job for us."

Munoz to serve as Kentucky grand marshal Munoz to serve as Kentucky grand marshalPro Football Hall of Fame member and former Cincinnati Bengal standout Anthony Munoz will serve as grand marshal of the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret.
"Being a little 'heavy-footed' myself, it will be an honor for me to be at the race and be the grand marshal," Munoz said. "The fun thing for me playing football was that the offensive linemen, quarterback, defensive back, equipment manager and trainer had to work in unison to accomplish the same goals. It's the same with racing. When I have an opportunity to be around a team effort, it's exciting for me to see just how everybody works together."

Considered by many as the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history, Munoz is the only Bengal in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Though retired, he remains one of Greater Cincinnati's most accessible and involved advocates.

In 2002, he established the Anthony Munoz Foundation as a non-profit organization that engages the Tri-State region to impact area youth mentally, physically and spiritually. Since its inception, the foundation has reached thousands of children and raised more than $1,000,000 for foundation programs and select charities. Munoz also is involved in a variety of other local, national and international charitable activities.

RacePoints to Partner with TrackPass RacePoints to Partner with TrackPassNASCAR RacePoints, the official rewards program of NASCAR, announced today that it has added NASCAR.COM’s NEXTEL TrackPass and RaceDay Scanner interactive applications to their list of participating partners.  Beginning August 9th, NEXTEL TrackPass and RaceDay Scanner subscribers who register for the NASCAR RacePoints program on NASCAR.COM will earn points based on their length of subscription.  Accumulated racepoints can be tracked and redeemed online for exciting race-related rewards in the exclusive online NASCAR RacePoints catalog.  Rewards include once-in-a-lifetime "behind the scenes" experiences, such as becoming a race team member for a day, competing in a NASCAR Speedpark Driver Challenge or over 500 NASCAR products and merchandise. zzzz

About NASCAR RacePoints

NASCAR fans can join NASCAR RacePoints and be rewarded for their loyalty to the sponsors of the sport.  Currently, Bank of America, Domino’s Pizza, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ford, Goodyear Gemini, NASCAR.COM Superstore, the Official NASCAR Members Club, and Exide, are among the companies issuing NASCAR RacePoints.  Fans can also earn points by shopping at over 200 name brand merchants by using the NASCAR RacePoints Online Mall.  Additional issuing partners will be announced periodically, and an up-to-date list can always be found on the NASCAR RacePoints website.  Fans can sign into NASCAR RacePoints for free by going to NASCAR.COM and clicking on NASCAR RacePoints.

About NEXTEL TrackPass and RaceDay Scanner

NASCAR.COM's NEXTEL TrackPass is a paid content service that provides fans live track coverage of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series events, in-car audio of top NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers for every race and exclusive multimedia features.  The RaceDay Scanner shares the same functionality as the popular “In-Car Audio” feature of the Emmy Award-winning NEXTEL TrackPass, providing fans with their choice of live race day audio, from any available driver during NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.   Current NEXTEL TrackPass members automatically have access to the RaceDay Scanner at no additional cost

A1GP running out of options in Mexico A1GP running out of options in MexicoThe 2006 A1GP race in Monterrey, Mexico was a failure. The race was disorganized, the supporting series were almost nonexistent and the organizers (which are the owners of the Mexican team) failed to promote the race. After the race the state government announced that they would not support a 2007 race but they would be willing to rent them Fundidora Park. The race organizers announced that with no support from local authorities they would move the race to another city.

A few months ago they announced that the 2007 race would be held in Acapulco, but yesterday they announced that the local authorities there had no intentions of supporting the race and that the race will have to find another new city. They are in negotiations with the city of Queretaro (which has a permanent road course and is only 90 minutes from Mexico City) but are also trying to negotiate something with Monterrey and Mexico City authorities. 

Six months before the tentative date and they don't even have a venue. They better hurry if they want enough time to properly promote the race. J. J. Arrambide Gonzalez reporting from Mexico

'07 Allstate 400 tickets on sale '07 Allstate 400 tickets on saleFans who followed the thrilling drama of the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, including winner Jimmie Johnson's rousing recovery from early-race woes, and wish to renew, upgrade or order tickets for the 2007 event are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway ticket office is accepting ticket orders for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, which is scheduled for Sunday, July 29, 2007, a new date one weekend earlier than the event's traditional date on the first weekend of August.

Existing customers who renew or request an upgrade of their tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com will receive a free 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard commemorative DVD. All of the exciting highlights of this year's race, capped by Johnson's unlikely victory in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, are featured on the DVD.

To purchase tickets, camping or parking, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com. The ticket renewal deadline is Monday, Aug. 21. 

Customers who are upgrading or purchasing Allstate 400 at the Brickyard tickets for the first time should act quickly to increase their chances of obtaining their desired seats, said Joie Chitwood, president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Our fans are also our customers, and we are asking them to help us honor their requests for 2007 tickets and upgrades by returning their ticket requests on time," Chitwood said. "And when fans upgrade or purchase tickets for the first time, we ask them to provide the IMS Ticket Office with several seat location options so we can match them with the best available seats to their liking."

Industry News
Gas caps on the way out Gas caps on the way outGas caps will soon be a thing of the past, Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, told a crowd at the Center for Automotive Research’s 40th annual Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.   That means consumers can fill up like cars on the race track through a suction-type device, with no messy caps to unscrew that muck up hands and nails. The innovation also helps protect the environment, by preventing gas fumes from escaping into the air. “Capless fuel filling will make its way throughout our lineup going forward, and it’s the direct result of listening to our customers, as we know that even small innovations deliver big customer benefits,” Fields said. Detroit Free Press
Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver RankingINDIANAPOLIS – Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has made a number of passes on-track this year, but made his latest on a Wednesday afternoon where nobody turned a wheel.

Bourdais moved to the top of this week’s SPEED Driver Rankings for the second time this season, taking the top spot from seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher. Bourdais leads the Champ Car World Series standings by 31 points with five races remaining on the schedule, continuing to build his lead two weeks ago with a win at the Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose.

The two-time defending series champion holds a narrow lead over NASCAR points leader Jimmie Johnson in the ratings system developed by STATS Inc. and done in conjunction with the motorsports cable network.  Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is the next-highest open-wheel driver in the SPEED rankings, holding down the sixth spot. A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who already has three race wins this season, is 11th one spot behind Schumacher.

Bourdais will look to solidify his perch above the rankings with this weekend’s Grand Prix of Denver Sponsored by Bridgestone, taking place on the streets of the Colorado capital Friday through Sunday, August 11-13. For more information, go to www.champcar.ws. .
Updated 8-9-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.141
2. (5) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.830
3. (13) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.613
4. (12) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 7.570
5. (10) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 7.373
6. (8) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 7.338
7. (11) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 7.104
8. (6) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.020
9. (2) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 6.983
10. (1) Michael Schumacher (F1) 6.893
11. (14) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 6.797
12. (20) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.702
13. (15) Vitor Meira (IRL) 6.602
14. (9) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.446
15. (17) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.371
16. (7) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.311
17. (19) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 6.250
18. (NR) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.244
19. (NR) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR) 6.102
20. (NR) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.048
Dropped out: Fernando Alonso (F1), Brian Vickers (NASCAR), Greg Biffle (NASCAR)
Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

A new safety system for F1 A new safety system for F1(GMM) A new safety system in formula one could be made mandatory for 2007, according to reports.

It is reported by 'Motorsport Aktuell' that the system, which illuminates safety lights in the cockpit of grand prix cars in various situations, was trialed at the recent Hockenheim race by both Scuderia Toro Rosso runners.

In a yellow or red flag situation, for example, respectively yellow and red-colored lights would be illuminated for the F1 drivers to see.

Interestingly, the widespread use of the system might have prevented the situation at the Hungarian grand prix last weekend, where championship contenders Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso were penalized for ignoring marshal flags.

Track News
Richmond will add almost 5,000 seats Richmond will add almost 5,000 seatsRichmond International Raceway will make a formal announcement Wednesday, August 9 that the track will expand its seating capacity for the 2007 season, adding nearly 5,000 seats. The Commonwealth Tower will feature three new levels—the Lower Mezzanine, a Club Level and an Upper Mezzanine.

The capital improvement project, which is already underway, will mark the first seating expansion the track has undergone since 2004, when 1,400 seats were added. The expanded Commonwealth Tower will rise 180 feet, which is twice as high as the current highest seat at Richmond International Raceway. With the new configuration, America's Premier Short Track will increase from 107,097 seats to more than 112,000.

Current season ticket holders will receive information in the mail on how to upgrade to the new Commonwealth Tower. Fans on the waiting list will receive information in the coming weeks. RIR

Should Champ Car align with the Premier Racing Assoc? Should Champ Car align with the Premier Racing Assoc?A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Every time I see yet more evidence that American Open Wheel (AOW) is eroding quickly as a result of USAC changing their Silver Crown cars to make them ISC friendly, I cannot help but think back to Kevin Kalkhoven's support of I believe it was a World of Outlaw car a year or two ago. How ironic would it be for OWRS to align itself with the Premier Racing Association as part of a publicized effort to rescue AOW from the forces that have weakened it so much, especially given that is exactly what Tony George used to justify splitting the sport?

Yes, because of purely financial reasons, there will be no ovals on Champ Car's schedule next year. But Champ Cars lacks any avenue to the grassroots of AOW, and while shifter karts kind of provides a small base for their series in America, it isn’t much. I see far more potential in first and foremost, getting the name of Champ Cars more imbedded with grassroots bases like the short track OW fans by having Champ Cars help booster support for the sport, be it by helping better organize races (many short tracks throughout the country are very close to the urban centers OWRS view as the future), by sponsoring either events or teams, to having some of the series owners like KK invest in some of the tracks in clearly identifiable strong markets, but are barely making it. First of all it would help counter some of the moves NASCAR drivers like Tony Stewart have made as part of what I am sure is a far reaching plan of ISC/NASCAR to gain more control of AOW in order to eventually eliminate it.

Now one half of AOW's base has long recognized that ISC/NASCAR is out to conquer this sport, and dividing it was the first step. The other half, well there is still plenty of Kool-aid to be drunk I guess, and just can't accept that IMS, Tony George, the IRL, have all been ultimately played by NASCAR. But I believe that all can change because recently a group outside of NASCAR's interests is finally willing to stand up to NASCAR's bullying tactics, Champ Car. Not only do I see a need to rally the ranks by creating an alliance such as OWRS and PRA, I also see a grand opportunity for Champ Cars to find a way to reach the very heart of grassroots AOW racing, and perhaps finally get the IRL fans to stop drinking the Kool-aid, take off those damn rose colored glasses, and see what Tony George has done to the sport by allowing himself and IMS to be so used as a pawn of NASCAR. Andy Fogiel Lansing, MI

Dear Andy, You make some good points but history has shown that front-engine open wheel dirt car drivers adapt to front-engine stock cars quite well. With Champ Car and Indy Car being rear-engine cars, history has shown that the best training ground is F3, Star Mazda, Atlantics, Formula Renault, F3000, etc. - all rear engine cars.

The IRL tried to embrace the dirt track crowd and in its early days (Remember those road to Indy hats?) and gave rides to the biggest names in the open wheel grassroots sport, but they all failed miserably in Indy Cars. Driving a front-engine race car fast takes a different technique and "feel" than a rear-engine car and only the best drivers can do both well.

It is for this reason that Champ Car has not made an effort to embrace the front-engine open wheel "dirt track" drivers. There are a few, guys like Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, who could probably drive a Champ Car well, but clearly the best rear-engine open wheel talent in the world is not going to be found on the dirt tracks of America, but on the road courses around the world.

I think NASCAR also recognizes that the front-engine oval dirt track guys make the best front-engine oval NASCAR drivers, and hence are trying to bring them into the fold by getting involved with USAC's Silver Crown division. These guys do not tend to be good road course drivers and Champ Car is all about road course racing.

Back in the USAC days when the Champ Car races were 95% run on ovals and dirt track races were included in the championship, it made perfect sense that the dirt track guys would migrate up to the big cars. But when the sport switched to more road racing and less ovals back in the 70's, USAC's lower divisions were no longer the best training ground because it's a different skill set.

In closing, it is for these reasons that I feel Champ Car would be better served aligning with Formula BMW, Star Mazda, Cooper Tire Formula Ford, and of course Atlantics. The problem with this, however, is that fans pay to watch the grassroots dirt track guys every Friday and Saturday night, but the grassroots road racing series listed above are not able to do that because there is not enough media support to build them up in stature to the point people are willing to pay to watch them. Mark C.

Busch to be first to test new high-banks Busch to be first to test new high-banksKurt Busch on Tuesday became the first driver to turn laps on Las Vegas Motor Speedway's new pavement and high-banked turns. The Las Vegas native drove a car from the Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE) which was painted to resemble his #2 Miller Lite Dodge. Busch had nothing but praise for the new asphalt surface and 20-degree banked turns as he exited the car. "First, I am honored to be here to take the first laps on the new track," Busch said. "I just can't wait for the completed product, because what's available right now is so much speed. Everything about it is right -- the transitions into the corners, the new banking, the speed that it's going to (generate). When we qualify here, it'll be beyond the track record. It's hard to tell right now exactly how fast it will be, but I think it will be five-to-10 miles per hour quicker. And what that means for a lap time is probably two or three seconds. It's that much quicker. And what teams are going to have to do to adjust to all this newness is going to be incredible. I can't wait for the test session we have here in January." Busch wasn't the only NASCAR driver to tour the track today. Fellow Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan, who competes in the Truck Series, also turned laps in an RPDE car. "I liked the old track, so I'm not one of those guys that didn't like the old LVMS configuration," said Gaughan, who drives the Orleans Racing Dodge. "I got to talk to the guys who constructed it and they're really proud of it. There are no seams where the banking rises. Las Vegas Motor Speedway's front straight lends itself to a much more friendly and racy straightaway. At Charlotte, Atlanta and Texas, with their flat double-dogleg, it can get dicey where you get a little nervous getting through there. This place seems like you're going to be able to go two or three-wide at the start-finish line much easier than those other tracks. You'll definitely be able to run more grooves. Like Homestead, where they went to multiple banking, the top groove could be pretty quick. I can't wait for the Goodyear tire test here next week. Then the Smith's Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is the first event on the new surface." Tickets for the Sept. 23 Smith's Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on LVMS' repaved, high-banked 1.5-mile superspeedway are now on sale and may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.LVMS.com. LVMS PR
Elliott to replace Mayfield Elliott to replace MayfieldEvernham Motorsports announced Tuesday it will bring back past NASCAR champion and Evernham driver Bill Elliott to pilot the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger at Watkins Glen. Elliott drove for Evernham Motorsports full-time from 2001 to 2004, then part time in 2005. Elliott went to victory lane for Evernham Motorsports four times, including winning the prestigious Brickyard 400 in 2002. Jeremy Mayfield, who has been driving the #19 Dodge this season, will not participate in the Watkins Glen event. No decisions have been made regarding his long-term future with the team. The decision was made after efforts to get the struggling #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger back on the right track have not progressed as quickly as needed. The team is currently 36th in the NASCAR Nextel Cup owners’ points standings, which means it does not have a guaranteed spot in Sunday’s event. Elliott brings a champion’s provisional, which means the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger is confirmed in the starting lineup and does not need to qualify solely on speed. “This team has a great deal of potential and we just haven’t met the expectations this year,” said Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. “We will do whatever we need to get this car in the show for Watkins Glen. It’s important to our sponsors and it’s important to this team. Having Bill in the driver’s seat gives us this guarantee. I believe in our system, our process and our people, and am committed to getting this program where it needs to be.” Evernham noted that the team has finalized its long term plans for 2007 and expects to announce those plans in the coming weeks. Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR
Atlantics: Things to watch for in Denver Atlantics: Things to watch for in Denver
· Mile-High Memories: This weekend’s event marks the fifth Atlantic race in the city of Denver. The series first competed at the Pepsi Center street circuit in 2002 and it’s raced there every summer since. In both 2002 and ’03 the Atlantic title was clinched on the streets of the Mile-High city. Jon Fogarty won the season finale and wrapped up his first of two Atlantic crowns in ’02. Current Champ Car star AJ Allmendinger won the ’03 Denver race to clinch the Atlantic title in the second-to-last race of the season. This venue has never featured a repeat Atlantic race winner. Andreas Wirth, the 2005 Denver champion, will be looking to change that trend this weekend.

· Denver Discipline: Despite an expected 18 rookies in this weekend’s Atlantic field, nearly half of the series drivers have experience competing on the 1.657-mile Denver street course. A total of 10 drivers have raced in Denver, including Andreas Wirth, David Martinez, Alan Sciuto, Justin Sofio, Dan Selznick and Brian McAtee, who all ran at the venue in last season’s Atlantic race. Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe competed at Denver in the 2004 Formula BMW USA doubleheader weekend, along with Wirth. Current Atlantic rising stars Richard Philippe and James Davison raced last season in the Formula BMW USA twin bill at Denver.

· Rocky Mountain Men: A couple of key Atlantic personnel will be returning home this weekend. Newman Wachs Racing rookie Steve Ott was born and raised in nearby Thornton, Colorado and he won several SCCA Rocky Mountain regional titles on his way to the Atlantic series. Ott is anxious to make his first start on his home course this weekend. Also, Ryan Negron, chief mechanic on the car driven by current series championship leader Simon Pagenaud, was born in Denver.

· Down The Stretch They Come: The Atlantic Championship enters the fourth quarter of its 12-race season with this weekend’s racing. With only three rounds remaining and a very tight championship battle that features just 69 points covering the top seven title contenders, expect an exciting run to the wire in North America’s premier open-wheel development series. Following Denver, the Atlantics focus on classic road courses over the last two races, visiting Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on August 27 before wrapping up the season at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on September 24.

· Atlantic Milestones: A pair of drivers who were very successful last season at Denver will reach career milestones this weekend. Both Andreas Wirth and Justin Sofio will be making their 20th series starts when they take the green flag on Sunday. Wirth scored his first Atlantic win last season at Denver, while Sofio won the C2 category on the Pepsi Center course on his way to claiming the category title last season. Forsythe Championship Racing, which made its return to Atlantic competition this season after a successful series run in the mid-to-late 90s, will make its 150th Atlantic starts on Sunday when its four current series racers launch from a standing start at Denver.

· Who’s Next?: The competition in the Atlantic Championship has been fierce this season and the deep talent pool continues to be showcased as the season winds down. The series has featured 11 podium finishers over the first nine rounds of racing and six different drivers have claimed race wins, the most since the 2002 season, with three races remaining. The series last featured seven race winners in the 1999 season. Three separate drivers have earned their first Atlantic series victories over the last three consecutive races.

· French Connection: Remarkable French rookie Simon Pagenaud of Team Australia continues to lead the Atlantic championship and Rookie of the Year standings entering the final three races of the season. Pagenaud, who took command of the series after Round 7 in Toronto, has one win this season but leads the series in top-five finishes with seven in nine races. The native of Montmorillon, France continues to share a distinction with his friend and countryman, Champ Car two-time defending champion Sebastien Bourdais – both drivers are leading their respective series heading into Denver. Pagenaud holds a 26-point advantage (200-174) over Graham Rahal in the series standings entering this weekend, with Andreas Wirth in third, just 28 points behind.

· Red-Hot Matos: Sierra Sierra Enterprises’ Raphael Matos enters this weekend as the hottest driver in Atlantics. The Brazilian rookie has won the last two poles and is coming off his first Atlantic win last round in San Jose. Despite leading a series high 100 laps this season, Matos is ranked just seventh in the series standings, 69 points behind Pagenaud.

· International Appeal: The worldwide appeal of competing in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship has been clearly on display this season. A total of 12 different countries have been represented in series competition this year and drivers from nine different countries will be featured in action this weekend. Competitors from countries including: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, England, Australia, Brazil, France and Germany will all be racing in Denver. The USA carries the largest contingent of drivers with 12 racers prepared to compete this weekend. At three separate races this season – in both Rounds 1 and 2 at Long Beach and Houston and again at Round 4 in Portland – the top five finishers in each race represented five different countries.

· Remarkable Rookie Rundown: The 2006 Atlantic rookie crop could be one of the top collections of first-year racers in series history. A total of 27 talented rookies have competed in the series over the first nine rounds of competition. In what’s sure to be a hotly-contested battle for the remainder of the season, Simon Pagenaud leads the Atlantic rookie standings after Round 9 with 200 points. Rookies currently occupy 10 of the top 13 positions in the overall series season standings. A total of 18 rookies are expected to compete in the Atlantic field this weekend in Denver.

· Please Sign Here: The 2006 crop of Atlantic drivers will meet and greet the fans in attendance at the Grand Prix of Denver with an all-driver autograph session. The racers will sign for fans on Saturday in the Atlantic paddock from 3:45-4:15 p.m. local time.

Things to watch out for at The Glen Things to watch out for at The Glen
Biffle and Fernandez on F1 drivers in NASCAR Biffle and Fernandez on F1 drivers in NASCAR
Q. There was a story yesterday saying Jacques Villeneuve is considering coming to NASCAR. We've seen Juan Pablo Montoya who is making that jump. What is your idea about these Formula One guys coming to NASCAR? How do you think they'll do in a much different series?

GREG BIFFLE: Well, I mean, certainly those guys -- I mean, any race car drivers that's successful in the series he's in doesn't obviously mean automatic success in the series they move to. But drivers have a certain amount of ability, car control, feel for the race car, knowledge of what's going on around them, awareness inside the car, kind of expertise on gas, brake, shift, those kind of things.

I can't say they'd be successful in any series they went to, but typically if you take the top tier drivers in any series, they should be able to, with reasonable equipment, be able to make a transition to another series and be moderately successful.

I mean, some drivers may want to come over and drive our cars. They're completely different. Our racing is completely different. It will take some time for them, not a long time, but it will take a few races or tests for them to get the feel for our heavier cars. I'd kind of phrase it as how unresponsive they'd be compared to a Formula One car. They do things a lot slower, whatnot. zzzz

But, I mean, I think you can take any competitive driver and put him in that series, like Jeff Gordon went over and did some Race of Champions out of the country. Robby Gordon and Jimmie Johnson both came from off-road racing, have won the Baja 1000, Baja 500, I know Robby has. I mean, there's a lot of people that have tried for years and years to win the Baja 500 or 1000. So he's won in that series and has been able to be moderately competitive in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series.

I don't think those drivers will have a big problem transitioning. It will take them a while.

Q. Juan Pablo Montoya has already made the jump to NASCAR. Now there's talk of Jacques Villeneuve. What do you think that would be for stock car racing, NASCAR in general? How well do you think those guys would do?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: I think firstly the appearance for open-wheel drivers outside of how competitive is deceiving. I think Juan Pablo will be surprised how competitive and how hard it is to get used to these cars. The same with Villeneuve, if he gets in. It's not a coincidence it has been a problem in the past for open-wheel drivers to get used to it quicker than you think.

The first race I competed in an oval, they told me if I was going to finish in the top 20 the first race, that was going to be an excellent result. I thought these guys were out of their minds what they told me that.

I practiced really well. I practiced in Fontana. I was really quick. I was actually one second quicker than I actually practiced that weekend. There is a lot of things that changes. We are not used to these cars in terms of setups and things like that. It doesn't matter how many laps you do at the beginning. There is nothing like keep racing and racing and racing and getting the experience of these cars. It just takes time.

I think the smartest thing that Juan Pablo has done is to sign a long-term deal. I know it's going to be tough for him at the beginning. He knows that. I'm a good friend of Juan Pablo. I have always been a big fan of him as a driver. I met my wife through him in Colombia. My wife is Colombian. I have a lot of ties to Colombia now. We're good friends. My wife is friends with Connie, his wife. I think he's doing the right thing. He's jumping with the right team.

Obviously, he's very inexperienced. Doesn't matter how much experience he has in the other thing, the only thing that will help him is he's a very talented individual. I think that should short him the distance of learning period. But there is no question it is going to be tough. But I see guys like Dan Wheldon, everybody jump, they just want to try. It's good to try, but they'll be surprised how tough it is. Look at Paul Tracy when he tried it, Scott Pruett, Michel Jourdain, myself. It's just not easy. We can be competitive straightaway on a road course, but on an oval it just takes time. It's just because the cars are totally different. They're very heavy. They have very little grip. We're used to light cars, cars that really stick to the ground. Reaction is a lot faster in these things. These things, you cannot push them like we push ours cars, especially in an oval.

I tell you what. It gave me a lot of appreciation doing these six oval races last year and realize that this sport is not easy and it's extremely competitive.

NASCAR sued for racial discrimination NASCAR sued for racial discriminationA former African-American crewman who once worked on NASCAR's Winston Cup circuit sued the governing body of the U.S. stock car series on Tuesday for race discrimination and breach of contract.

David Scott, who worked as a motorcoach driver to one of the racing teams, claimed NASCAR executives deceived him and did not fulfill promises of a job following a well-publicized 1999 racial incident involving white motorcoach drivers, according to the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court that seeks unspecified damages.

Scott was harassed by at least two white motorcoach drivers from different racing teams, including being called "nigger" and an incident where he was confronted by the pair with one wearing a white pillow case over his head imitating a Ku Klux Klansman, according to the complaint.  More at Reuters

Wilson to sport new helmet design Wilson to sport new helmet designJustin Wilson will be sporting a different helmet design in Denver, as he participates in a competition organized by the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver and the Grand Prix promoters. 15-year-old Yamir Velazquez designed the winning entry and in addition to seeing Justin wear his design, he and his family will receive VIP treatment during the weekend. After the event the helmet will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Club. "Yamir did a great job on his design and I'm looking forward to everyone seeing it this weekend," said Justin. "Hopefully, we can turn in a good result for Yamir and everyone at the Boys & Girls Club".
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Renault was lone tobacco team in Hungary
F1 can survive without Schu, says Bernie
Webber 'relieved' to leave Williams
The world turns on 'brainless' Schu
Turkey GP to be 'sellout' - report
TV News
Earnhardt to star in SPEED special Earnhardt to star in SPEED specialUPDATE Reminder. This episode of Payback starring Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will be shown Wednesday night, August 9 at 10:00 pm-10:30 pm ET on SPEED.

08/02/06 NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will surprise sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge with a new custom Chevrolet Tahoe SS in the SPEED reality series, Payback on Aug. 9 at 10 p.m. ET.

Kelley, who handles much of Earnhardt, Jr.’s personal business dealings, is the oft overlooked hero behind the driver’s successful marketing, licensing and promotional machine. Bud Brutsman, producer of Payback, talked about this episode:

“As a NASCAR fan, it was great to see Junior outside his element. I think he had a lot of fun putting this together with us. You can tell how much Kelley means to him and it’s really cool to see a brother and sister that close together.”

Earnhardt, Jr. drives the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and is firmly planted in the middle of this year’s Chase for the Nextel Cup. Despite his busy schedule, the opportunity to give back to his sister was something he truly wanted to do.

“Payback is a way to give back to someone who cuts you a break,” said Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

Racing News
Who is better? Who is better?A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I am having a debate and I need your expert advice.  NASCAR drivers claim they are the best.  Who is better, a stock car driver (NASCAR) or an open wheel driver (F1, Champ Car). Diane Moore

Dear Diane, While many can make claims that one is better than the other, the facts speak for themselves.  Yes, the NASCAR TV announcers claim that NASCAR drivers are the best in the world.  It's nice for them to say that, but they have no facts to back it up.

Here are the facts, and it's quite simple:

1.  A stock car driver has never, and we repeat never, been able to win in a top level open wheel car, not a single race.

2.  Open wheel drivers have come into NASCAR and beaten the stock car drivers time and time again.  Mario Andretti started it in 1967 when the little Italian American went to Daytona and smoked the best NASCAR had to offer.  Next it was AJ Foyt that won many a NASCAR race, including the Daytona 500.  How about Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart?  All open wheel drivers who have come in and dominated in NASCAR at one time or another. 

So, until we see at least one NASCAR driver win a top level open wheel race, we'll simply let the facts speak for themselves - open wheel drivers are superior to stock car drivers.  When IROC is run in equally prepared open wheel cars, let me know as it will be interesting to see how far behind the NASCAR drivers finish. 

We will say this, all the open wheel drivers who have done well in NASCAR had experience with front engine open wheel cars on dirt (Andretti, Foyt, Gordon, Stewart, Newman).  Stock cars are also front engine cars.  Guys like Juan Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve have had all their experience in rear-engine cars, so it remains to be seen how well they do in NASCAR.  They will have a learning curve, that's for sure. Mark C.

IMSA changes ALMS GT1 rules again IMSA changes ALMS GT1 rules againIn an effort to equalize the GT1 class competition in ALMS, IMSA has issued the following rules changes.

Effective: September 1, 2006:
a) Aston Martin Racing DBR-9:
• Maximum on-board fuel capacity: 100 liters.
• Minimum Weight: 1100 kg.
• Maximum air restrictor I.D.: 31.2 mm (two restrictors) or
43.6 mm (single restrictor).

b) Corvette C6.R:
• Maximum on-board fuel capacity: 100 liters.
• Minimum weight: 1190 kg.
• Maximum air restrictor I.D.: 30.7 mm (two restrictors) or
43.0 mm (single restrictor).

c) Gasoline powered P1 cars conforming to 2006 ACO “LM”P1 Technical Regulations:
• Maximum on-board fuel capacity: 95 liters.

Atlanta Motor Speedway test day one Atlanta Motor Speedway test day oneHAMPTON, Ga. -- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers Jamie McMurray and Robby Gordon tested tires today at Atlanta Motor Speedway as part of a two-day tire test for Goodyear at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The track is wrapping up a major reconstruction effort.

Gordon (pictured right) laid down the fastest lap with a circuit of 182.009 mph (30.46 seconds) in his No. 7 Chevrolet. McMurray drove an unnumbered primer colored car to a fast lap of 178.149 mph (31.12 seconds).

With the new testing rules NASCAR has imposed this year, drivers covet the opportunity to gain extra time on the track.

"It was nice coming out here to Atlanta to do a tire test today," McMurray said. "We brought a brand-new car out here so we were able use this first part of this as a shake-down run. We used the first couple hours to get the car balanced, so it is very beneficial to have this opportunity."

To see McMurray, Gordon and the stars of the NEXTEL Cup series battle for 500 miles in the Bass Pro Shops 500, call (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com for ticket information. Atlanta Motor Speedway

Pruett to replace Stremme Pruett to replace StremmeChip Ganassi once again is calling upon his road racing specialist Scott Pruett.  Pruett will replace David Stremme in the No. 40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge this weekend at Watkins Glen.

"The goal for the 40 car is just to keep our nose clean, qualify well, and get the team the points it needs to keep their momentum going," Pruett said in a team news release ahead of the Watkins Glen weekend.

IRL Championship up for grabs IRL Championship up for grabsHelio Castroneves' move to the top of the IndyCar Series championship race underscores season-long consistency.

Castroneves trailed Marlboro Team Penske teammate Sam Hornish Jr. by 30 points heading into the Firestone Indy 400. A victory at Michigan International Speedway on July 30, coupled with Hornish's mechanically-forced exit, vaulted Castroneves past Scott Dixon and Hornish to first.
"The way things are going, the consistent guy from now on is going to be very important," he said after edging Vitor Meira by 1.6229 seconds at the 2-mile oval on July 30. "I guess whatever team is going to work together, drivers be patient, be in the right spot at the right time, (is) probably going to win. That's it."

Kentucky Speedway (Aug. 13) and Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 10) -- 1.5-mile ovals - book end the road-course race at Infineon Raceway in California (Aug. 30) to end the season. zzzz

The championship battle - much like all IndyCar Series races - will go down to the wire. Only 56 points separate first place through fifth, and there is an eight-point difference between Castroneves (376) and three-time race winner and two-time series champion Hornish (368).

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon has 359 points, while Dixon, his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, is fourth with 345. Meira is fifth with 320. Actually, the top 13 in the standings are mathematically eligible for the title.

It's the tightest championship race since point calculations were adjusted for the 2001 season. In 2003, Castroneves also led with three events remaining. Hornish, in fifth place, was 61 points back. Dixon was fourth, but claimed the championship with three consecutive runner-up finishes at Chicagoland, California Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

Two years ago, Wheldon was 72 points behind then-Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan with three races remaining. He remained second in the final tally. Last year, the St. Petersburg, Fla., resident had a comfortable 79-point lead over Kanaan with three left.

As demonstrated for most of the season, any of the top five could be atop the standings coming out of the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Secret on Aug. 13.

"With three races to go in 2003, I was in fourth place in the driver standings with a 42-point deficit behind Castroneves," Dixon said. "There were five of us in the hunt, and it was consistency, the Target team's "never give up" attitude and teamwork that won us the championship that year. We are nowhere near ready to give up on that now. The last two races were very frustrating for us but with three races left, we still can do this. We have all the elements to be successful.

Standings since 2001 with three races remaining

2006 After 11 of 14 races
Driver Points Behind Final Pos.
Castroneves 376 Leader -
Hornish 368 -8 -
Wheldon 359 -17 -
Dixon 345 -31 -
Meira 320 -56 -

2005 After 14 of 17 races
Driver Points Behind Final Pos.
Wheldon 570 Leader 1
Kanaan 438 -79 2
Hornish 456 -96 3
Franchitti 413 -157 4
Castroneves 400 -170 6

2004 After 13 of 16 races
Driver Points Behind Final Pos.
Kanaan 503 Leader 1
Wheldon 431 -72 2
Rice 427 -76 3
Castroneves 379 -159 4
Franchitti 366 -172 6

2003 After 13 of 16 races
Driver Points Behind Final Pos.
Castroneves 429 Leader 3
de Ferran 404 -25 2
Kanaan 397 -32 4
Dixon 387 -42 1
Brack 348 -61 5
2002 After 12 of 15 races
Driver Points Behind Final Pos.
Hornish 399 Leader 1
Castroneves 395 -4 2
de Ferran 386 -13 3
Giaffone 382 -17 4
Barron 283 -116 5

2001 After 10 of 13 races
Driver Points Behind Final Pos.
Hornish 374 Leader 1
B. Lazier 349 -25 2
Sharp 244 -95 3
Giaffone 265 -109 6
Salazar 241 -133 5 IRL

TV News
Dempsey to be Featured on Entertainment Tonight Dempsey to be Featured on Entertainment TonightDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Grand-Am Cup Series No. 54 New York & Company Ford Mustang GT co-driver Patrick Dempsey—also the star of the critically acclaimed TV show Grey’s Anatomy—will be featured Tuesday evening on the popular entertainment newsmagazine, Entertainment Tonight, regarding his Grand-Am Cup racing career. Check local television listings for the show’s airtime in your area.

Dempsey has competed in two rounds of the 2006 Grand-Am Cup Series schedule, including two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park. Before the race, Dempsey and the Hyper Sport team for which he drives announced a sponsorship with women’s clothing retailer New York & Company.

On the company’s official website, www.nyandcompany.com, fans can register to win an all-expense paid trip to the Grand-Am Cup finale at Virginia International Raceway, October 6-8, including: round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, transportation to and from the track, paddock tour from Dempsey, pace car ride and $500 New York & Company shopping spree. Registration closes September 2.

Driver wanted for Denver race Driver wanted for Denver raceGreat opportunity for a driver looking at the ChampCar Atlantic series for 2007 – run the final two races of the 2006 season – Montreal and Road America – in car #8 for Brooks Associates Racing.

“We were really hoping Carlos Mastretta, our driver from Mexico, could secure the funding to continue beyond San Jose, but unfortunately for us both, that didn’t work out.   He had a good run for his six races, with two top ten finishes.  He really didn’t get to show off his talent, due to a couple on-track misfortunes, but we hope to see him back next year.  In the meantime, this opens up a chance for a driver to run two races, not jeopardize his rookie status for 2007 and rather than just test, jump into a competitive situation and test their abilities.”  Said John Brooks, team owner.

Interested drivers can email John at jbrooksbar@cox.net.

The team is traveling to Denver today to set up for a strong run for Alex Sperafico, Car #10.  “Alex continues to do well each weekend and San Jose was looking easily like a top ten finish for him before being put into the wall.” Said John.

The team thanks Adam’s Mark Hotel in Denver for their hospitality this weekend.

Ruhlman and Dallenbach to drive Daytona Prototype Ruhlman and Dallenbach to drive Daytona PrototypeShakopee, MN – Derhaag Motorsports announced the driver line-up of the #40 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype for this weekend's Grand American Rolex Cup race, The Royal Crown 200 At The Glen.  Long-time team driver Randy Ruhlman will be joined by veteran Paul Dallenbach for the 200-mile, two hour race on the 2.45-mile short course track at Watkins Glen, part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend at Watkins Glen, New York.

"We are pleased to have such a great driver line-up for Watkins Glen with Randy and Paul at the wheel of the #40 Daytona Prototype," says team owner Jim Derhaag.  "Paul will be a good addition to the team.  He has excellent driving skills and car control, as well as a reputation for keeping the car in one piece.  We've always had that kind of speed and heads-up driving with Randy at the helm, and we're lucky to be able to have Paul come in and complement that.  We had a good setup last time we were at Watkins, so we're really looking forward to getting the car out on the track in the dry and seeing what it can do.  It will be nice to work together with these two experienced drivers to help get the #40 car back up into the top ten where it should be."

The Grand American Daytona Prototypes race this Friday evening, August 11th, at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend at Watkins Glen for the Royal Crown 200 At The Glen.  The Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special race starts at 6:30 p.m. ET and will air same day, tape delayed at 9 p.m. ET on SPEED Channel.

3 week break, what break? 3 week break, what break?The next three weeks offer welcome respite for the drivers, race teams and test teams alike (plus occupants of the media centre!), but don't think that because some of us are on holiday that the work is stopping back at the factories. After all, there's a championship to be won!

The dynos are still running flat out preparing developments for the RS26 engine, while at Enstone, the wind tunnel is running 24 hours a day churning out new developments. And as with many aero parts, they don't need the approval stamp of track testing before going on the car – which means the R26 will benefit from a further package in Turkey.

"We have got another strong package of aero updates coming for Turkey," said Pat Symonds. "There was a big update in Hockenheim, which started to show its worth this weekend, and much more is coming. It's a real tribute to the people back at Enstone and Viry, that the rate of development has been so competitive this year."

"We said before Germany that the balance of power often swings back and forth in August, and we saw a perfect example of it last weekend in Hungary. We want to make sure we keep the advantage in Istanbul, and every member of the Renault team is pushing very hard to make it happen." Renault

German F3
Foster injured in Eurospeedway crash Foster injured in Eurospeedway crashUPDATE Joey Foster, the latest open wheel oval track victim (yes, it was an F3 race on an oval track), is continuing to make significant progress from serious back and neck injuries sustained during the Lausitzring meeting for the German F3 Recaro Cup last month.

The Briton has undergone a series of operations and is expected to remain in hospital until the end of the month. Over the last few days he has taken his first steps.

At the moment Foster's lower spine is encased in a metal frame. He will undergo another operation to insert more 'holding plates and screws' into his spine on August 22.

The encouraging news from the Carl Thiem hospital in Germany is that Foster is expected to make a full recovery and be fit to race in F3 for the 2007 season.

[Editor's Note:  Racing on ovals in open wheel cars and sustaining such severe injuries is usually left to American stupidity, but even when foreigners try it they can suffer the same outcome.  This is why Europeans abandoned oval track racing years ago.  Poor Joey Foster was just the latest sacrificial lamb, racing his F3 car on an oval track because the sanctioning body decided to try an oval.  Who will be the next sacrificial lamb?]

07/29/06 British driver Joey Foster, who was 2nd in the German F3 point standings behind Chinese-Dutch driver Ho-Pin Tung, was injured in a first turn accident on the oval at Eurospeedway today. Foster lost control of the car in the first time and went rear-end first into the outside wall. His knees broke the steering wheel off and he suffered two broken vertebra. He is also is complaining of numbness in a couple of fingers.
No slicks for F1 in 2007 - Bridgestone No slicks for F1 in 2007 - Bridgestone(GMM) F1 cars will use usual grooved tires in 2007, despite reports on Tuesday that Ferrari recently trialed GP2-spec slicks at a test session.

Slicks are set to return in 2008, but Bridgestone's technical chief Hisao Suganuma is quoted as saying by 'Motorsport Aktuell': ''I assume that we will drive for another year (in 2007) with the grooves.

''I have not heard anything else from the FIA,'' said the Japanese.

With the voluntary departure of Michelin at the end of the year, Japan's Bridgestone is to be the only tire company in F1 next season before it becomes F1's official supplier in 2008 and beyond.

Bridgestone is likely to test its first 2007-spec tires in November.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Schu 'wasted' Hungarian chance
Ex-F1 racer da Matta still in coma
GPMA slam brakes on FIA 'peace'
BMW 'talked' to Schumacher - Theissen
Red Bull's 'hard' stance against Klien
Newey plays down Red Bull engine delay
McLaren disappointed by Montoya affair
BMW accept Kubica exclusion
Two more for de la Rosa, says McLaren
Bernie won't stub-out Hungarian GP
San Jose replay San Jose replayReminder: The Grand Prix of San Jose Champ Car race will be replayed on Wednesday, August 9, 12:00 pm-2:00 pm ET on SPEED.  It was originally broadcast live on NBC. 
Scott Speed’s spirits dampened Scott Speed’s spirits dampenedThe gray, dark clouds that hovered over the Hungaroring on the day of the Hungarian Grand Prix matched Scott Speed's mood after the race.

A wrong strategic call probably cost American F1 rookie Speed a point. But he brought his Toro Rosso home in 11th place in a race many drivers failed to finish.

Races on two consecutive weekends means extra work for the F1 crews and hospitality people who have to disassemble everything at one track, truck it to the next race, and set up everything again to be ready to go in just a few days.

This was the case with the races in Germany and Hungary. But for the drivers, there is no real extra strain.

"It is easy," Speed said. "Both races were within a very short flight away."

Monaco without the houses. That's how the tight, twisting 14-turn track in Hungary has been described.

It's not Speed's favorite track on the F1 tour.  zzzz

"I don't like this track all that much," he said. "It is cool because all the corners are close together and you don't have to wait for them. But there are no real cool corners except for one at the top of the hill that is blind and fast.

"It is a difficult track to pass on. Hockenheim (in Germany), I really liked because you can overtake there."

Heading into the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, round 13 of 18, Speed wasn't sure how his Scuderia Toro Rosso would perform.

"At this point I have a completely different view than I did at the beginning of the season," he said. "I actually think that we are going quick in Monza and struggling here."

Originally, Speed thought the STR-Cosworth would be quick on tight tracks like Monaco and struggle on high-speed tracks like Monza that demand a lot of horsepower.

Speed ran a total of 23 laps in the two practice sessions Friday, Aug. 4, and posted the 21st fastest time. He still wasn't sure how his car would work in race conditions.

"I was unhappy with today's work," he said. "The conditions did not suit our car. Tire choice is very straightforward, but I had some oversteer and understeer. The track is very dirty."

In qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 5, Speed set the 19th fastest time. He started 20th after officials deleted his three fastest laps for impeding another driver during his qualifying run.

"We knew that we were going to struggle in qualifying," he said, "so we concentrated on getting as well prepared as possible for the race. Given our tire choice, I think we are looking quite good, especially as I think we will have excellent race pace. Overtaking is hard here, but you never know how things can turn out. We've been slow all weekend, but we are looking in reasonable shape for the race."

It rained on race day, making this the first time Speed raced a F1 car in the wet. Track conditions were incredibly slippery and challenging, and by starting so deep in the field, Speed could barely see through the maelstrom of spray.

Speed drove fast but carefully, avoiding trouble as others spun off or crashed on the tricky, slick track. By Lap 19, the Californian was up to 10th place. By now the rain had stopped and the racing line around the track was starting to dry, but it was still incredibly treacherous off that line.

Pit stop strategy is difficult in these conditions because it's hard to judge the best time to switch from extreme rain tires to intermediate rain tires and then to dry-weather tires. Speed's Toro Rosso crew got it wrong.

"At the first pit stop, they decided that we were going to fill the tank to the end of the race," Speed said. "The idea was that I would not pit again. It was crazy. The race was over."

In retrospect, the crew should have put in less fuel because the track was drying, and Speed would have needed to come in and change to dry-weather tires anyway. As it was, with a full tank and a heavy car, Speed collided with Rubens Barrichello and then spun.

Speed then pitted for dry-weather tires, but the track was still too slick, and he had to pit again for intermediate tires and once more for dry weather tires. All this dropped him to 12th place, although that eventually became 11th when Robert Kubica's BMW Sauber was disqualified for being underweight.

Had things gone differently, Speed probably would have scored a point. But then again, every driver had a tale to tell after the wet and wild Hungarian Grand Prix. USGP PR (Photos courtesy of Red Bull)

IRL losing momentum again IRL losing momentum againUPDATE A reader adds, I read this article with interest as I too have been ‘counting the cars’ recently.  Just taking the “status quo” and incrementally adding / subtracting what we already know, it looks like this …

IRL: Status quo is 18-cars assuming the recent teams folding remains permanent.  Assuming everyone will be back next year (the status quo) and simply subtracting the known fact that Rahal will field only one car, a net reduction of 2; that is a field of only 16-cars.  If you subtract from that any of the weaker teams losing one or two cars, it will be a disastrous field of 14… How the heck will Indy get to 33? They pulled everyone in and got exactly 33 this year -  but without Rahal, the best I see is 31, or less.

Champ Car:  The status quo is 18-cars.  Assuming everyone will be back next year (the status quo) and add the known fact of Gelles Racing is adding two cars; that is a field of 20-cars. If you dare to hope that additional new teams materialize such as Polestar, Paul Stoddart (both reasonable chances) plus long shots such as Eurosports,  that would be a field in excess of 24 cars.

The bottom line is that Champ Car should stay the course and after one Indy with fewer than 33 cars and/or one season of 16-cars or less at other races, TG and the IRL will have to come to Champ Car for a merger from a point of weakness.  Couple this with the fact that Honda could bail after 2007, and if any one team in addition to Rahal folds or switches to Champ Car, the IRL will not have enough cars to field any race. Glenn Tanner, Palos Verdes Estates  CA

08/07/06 With the wheels falling off its most recent merger effort with rival Champ Car, industry observers are wondering if the Indy Racing League has blown its engine this time around. Smoke coming from the series' business model indicates it's leaking oil. Two IRL teams recently folded and at least two more are in serious financial distress. Television ratings and race attendance is either flat or trailing last season, and even staunch series supporters-from team owners to officials at engine manufacturer Honda Motor Corp.-are grumbling about stymied fan interest and the lack of progress in merger talks.

"Teams are struggling, and if this business model isn't changed, I see it even becoming a harsher environment in 2007, especially for the lower-tier teams," said Eric De Bord, president and CEO of PROtential, a Woodridge, Ill.-based firm that pairs sponsors with motorsports properties. "The IRL has a serious challenge in front of it."

But IRL officials said all is far from lost.

"We see some good signs this year, and going forward into 2007," said John Griffin, the league's vice president of public relations.

Among the favorable indicators is the "I am Indy," marketing campaign fashioned by former Kiss front man Gene Simmons and a related merchandise line that is gaining traction; a cadre of young, popular drivers headlined by Marco Andretti, Sam Hornish Jr., Danica Patrick and Dan Wheldon; and the series' Downforce Fan Club, which has picked up more than 20,000 members in its first year.

And while attendance and television ratings aren't going up this year, they are holding steady, Griffin said. IRL officials also plan to expand their schedule next year from 14 to 16 or 18 races next year. zzzz

IRL executives say a merger with Champ Car for 2007 is still possible, and are continuing talks with Champ Car honchos. Ownership and control of the merged series, though, continues to be a major sticking point.

Critical car count

In spite of the optimism coming from IRL headquarters, sponsors, suppliers and team members are becoming uneasy over the prospect of not merging with Champ Car-and worse, potentially trailing the rival series' car count next year.

Champ Car will have a new, cheaper chassis formula next season, down more than $100,000 to about $300,000 per car, and series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven is promising 20 to 24 cars.

Meanwhile, IRL's Cheever Racing and Hemelgarn Racing-which was co-owned by NBA star Carmelo Anthony-folded recently. Several other teams have no primary sponsor and could shutter at season's end Sept. 10.

A.J. Foyt's diminished role as team owner throws that team's future into question. Foyt's son, Larry, is set to step in, but some observers think A.J.'s absence could kill the team's profile and sponsorship sales efforts. All told, IRL's car count could fall to 16 or less in 2007. The series started with 20 cars this year.

"The top teams are very stable," said Fred Nation, IRL spokesman and one of series President Tony George's top lieutenants. "A lot of the other teams are in the market for sponsors. That's really no different from any other series."

But recent comments by Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal indicated frustration and discord among the IRL's top-tier teams. Rahal later recanted statements made last month to reporters about departing the series. But he continues to indicate he could downsize his operation by two cars, to a single car. Rahal recently lost star driver Danica Patrick to Andretti Green Racing, which is one of the series' few prosperous teams.

In the wake of Rahal's comments, officials for Ganassi Racing, Team Penske and Andretti Green came out in strong support of the IRL.

Nation said the IRL likely would have as many cars competing next year as Formula One, which is viewed as the pinnacle of open-wheel racing globally. F1 usually has between 18 and 22 cars, but Dennis McAlpine, New York-based financial analyst covering motorsports and entertainment, said that's hardly a fair comparison.

"F1 has heavily sponsored, well-financed teams," McAlpine said. "The Indy Racing League has a number of teams running on a shoestring, and I don't see that changing any time soon."

And Champ Car is in no better shape, he said, with several teams surviving on subsidies from Kalkhoven. Champ Car officials were not available for comment.

"If Champ Car and Indy Racing League merged, I think they'd draw fan interest and sponsor support to have enough strong teams to field a good 20 cars," McAlpine said. "Instead, you have two North American-based open-wheel series on the edge of financial ruin."  More at Indianapolis Business Journal

Honda commissions Wirth Honda commissions WirthFormer Simtek Formula One team owner and Benetton chief designer Nick Wirth is set to play a central role in Honda’s bid for an overall win at Le Mans in the future.

British-based Wirth Research is already reworking one of the French Courage marque’s LC75s, one of two chassis that Honda’s Acura-branded teams will use when they enter the American Le Mans Series LMP2 class next year. Wirth, who has also had involvement in Honda’s IRL program, appears certain to play a key part in the development of the Acura chassis when the marque moves up to the LMP1 class, most likely for the 2009 season.

Honda Performance Development boss Robert Clarke admitted that his company will rely on Wirth’s expertise when it graduates to LMP1.  More at AutoWeek

Barbosa to Partner Duno at The Glen Barbosa to Partner Duno at The GlenMilka Duno will be partnered by another new co-driver in this weekend’s Crown Royal 200 at the Glen.  Portuguese star Joao Barbosa will be sharing the driving duties of the #11 CITGO by SAMAX Pontiac Riley with the three time Rolex Sports Car Series winner.  Barbosa will substitute for Olivier Beretta, who has been called away on Michelin F1 tire testing duties.  Joao raced in the Daytona Prototype class in this year’s Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona for Brumos Racing.  

"While I'm sad that Olivier can't be with us at this race, I know he will be back with us very soon and wish him great luck with the tire testing,” Milka Duno said. “At the same time - it will be great to race with Joao. We've worked together in the past in Europe and it was great fun and a valuable experience. I very much welcome his participation and I'm sure he will fit in great with the CITGO Racing team!"

Racing News
Quotes of the week Quotes of the weekUPDATE
Jeff Majeske, Post-Tribune sports editor

Can Sam Hornish Jr, Dan Wheldon and Buddy Rice — the last three winners of the Indy 500 — become household names?


If they become NASCAR drivers........And win the Brickyard 400.

Meanwhile, the powers that be in open-wheel racing concern themselves with how to run (or is that ruin?) the sport rather than who was driving the cars.

Of all the things NASCAR figured out on its way to the top, it best understood that fans follow and care about the drivers — not the technology of the cars or who is running the show. Add to that NASCAR’s ability to seamlessly replace one star with another — Gordon’s first start came in Richard Petty’s last race, another one of those happy coincidences that seem to go NASCAR’s way — and open-wheel racing faces a mighty steep climb indeed to reclaim any place in America’s sporting landscape.

PAUL TRACY, Forsythe Championship Racing, Champ Car driver
"Ultimately it was the right decision to end the test early; it’s a decision made out of respect for Cristiano.  It was obviously a freak accident but there are definitely some safety issues that should be addressed and we thought it would be in the best interest of the team not to run on the second day.  It’s going to be a tough recovery for Cristiano, nobody knows the exact nature of his injuries yet, but what we do know is that we want to see him back in the series as soon as possible.  But for now the most important thing is that he gets better and that he has a full recovery.” (Referring to Cristiano da Matta's serious accident when he collided with a deer during testing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin)

JENSON BUTTON, Honda Racing F1 Team, driver
"Wow! What a day! This is such an amazing moment for me and one that I have worked my whole motor racing career for. I always had faith that we would achieve our objective together and this victory is testimony to that belief. There are so many people to thank right now - everybody in the team, Honda Motor Company, our partners and, of course, all the fans. I would also like to pay a very special tribute to my family who helped me start out on the path to victory. To win such a tough and challenging race from 14th place on the grid is incredible for me and all the more important because I know I won on merit today. No one can dispute that today the Honda Racing F1 Team got everything right."  (Referring to Jenson Button's first F1 win at the Hungarian Grand Prix)

GIL DE FERRAN, Honda Racing F1 Team, Sporting Director
"This will always be an unforgettable day for the whole Honda team! This fantastic result is the culmination of several years of hard work, dedication and relentless pursuit of perfection by the many members of our team, and on this day everything came right. For Jenson, winning a race was just a matter of time and on a day like today where conditions were incredibly difficult gave him the perfect setting to show the world a talent and class that all of us in the team knew he had all along. Jenson drove the perfect race from start to finish; he was fast and flawless throughout. Turkey can't come soon enough!"  (Referring to Jenson Button's first F1 win at the Hungarian Grand Prix)

WILLI WEBER, manager for Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F1 driver
''An experienced driver like Michael does not overtake in a red flag.  Alonso saw him and intentionally braked.''  (Michael Schumacher's manager has accused Fernando Alonso of deliberately tempting the Ferrari driver to overtake under red flags during Saturday practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.  Video evidence released on Sunday showed Alonso's Renault, already penalized by stewards after an incident on Friday, slowing to a crawl in front of Robert Kubica, before Schumacher zoomed past the pair of them.)

FERNANDO ALONSO, Renault F1 driver
''To overtake two cars under a red flag is unthinkable. I've never seen anything like that.  Everyone says that I slowed down but if you pass two cars on the outside of a corner, you have to decide to do it yourself.''  (Responding to accusations by Michael Schumacher's manager that Alonso deliberately tempted Schumacher to overtake under red flags during Saturday practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.)

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NASCAR bound McLaren-Mercedes F1 driver
''It was tough but I knew what I was doing.  Realistically, I only had three or four years left in Formula One, so when I saw the opportunity to extend my career by ten or fifteen years with a new challenge, it was difficult to turn down.  Yes, I like being in the States, which is also close to Colombia.  But if I had wanted to continue in F1 I could have, without problems."

Montoya also denies that he was 'fired' by McLaren because his NASCAR announcement amounted to breach of contract. "No, that is totally false,'' he insisted. ''I could make the announcement whenever I wanted and I did not have to consult the team.  If someone had put a Ferrari or Renault contract on the table then it would have been very difficult to say 'no'.  But none of the options that I had were convincing me to stay.  I am Colombian, I made it to Formula One and I won races.  I fought for the championship in 2003.  I don't think you can say that is a failure.''

FLAVIO BRIATORE, Renault F1 team, managing director
''The FIA is playing against us.  It is absurd that the rules are changed like this halfway through the season.  The FIA should only be an arbitrator, instead they try to distort the world championship."  (As the 'damper saga' grinds on in Hungary, Briatore pointed an angry finger at the FIA and questioned the federation's motives for deeming the technology illegal nearly a full year after it first debuted in F1.   He also adds more fuel to the conspiracy theorists' fire by reminding the world of 'pressure' that could have been placed on the FIA by a certain rival team.)
MARCO ANDRETTI, Andretti Green Racing, IRL driver
"I'm definitely a Danica fan; I'm glad she's my teammate.  She will bring a lot to the team and she's a good driver.  Bring it on -- it's only good for attention.  It's going to be a fun year."  (Referring to Danica Patrick being named Marco's teammate in 2007)

Goossens to make Nextel Cup debut Goossens to make Nextel Cup debutCitiFinancial Racing announced that they will sponsor Marc Goossens in his Nextel Cup Series debut this weekend at Watkins Glen International. Goossens will attempt to qualify the Robert Yates Racing’s #90 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion for Sunday’s AMD at the Glen. Goossens, the road course ace from Belgium, made his Busch Series debut at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez where he started sixth and finished ninth for CitiFinancial Racing. “Marc did a great job for us in Mexico,” said Doug Yates. “We feel like he adds a lot of depth to our road course program. He tested for us at VIR last week to prepare for this weekends race and did very well. We have high expectations for all of our teams this weekend.” Goossens, who has been road course racing for more than 10 years, has competed in the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona and the 12 hours of Sebring. “I’ve been to Watkins Glen in the Grand Am Series and I'm looking forward to returning to a track that I have some experience on,” said Goossens. “Hopefully my experience will help us get CitiFinancial a great finish.” CitiFinancial PR
Cristiano da Matta’s Condition Continues to Improve Cristiano da Matta’s Condition Continues to ImproveLOVELAND, Colo.– The condition of Champ Car World Series driver Cristiano da Matta (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone) continues to improve as he recovers from a serious head injury at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisc.  Da Matta was injured after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track near Turn Six at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., on Thursday afternoon.

Earlier today, Champ Car Medical Director Dr. Chris Pinderski, who has been very involved in da Matta’s care and recovery process, flew to Wisconsin to monitor the condition of da Matta.  He visited da Matta and spoke with da Matta's family and attending physician, Dr. Randall R. Johnson. The following statement is an update on da Matta’s medical status.

"Cristiano continues to make slow but steady progress while in the Intensive Care Unit at Theda Clark Medical Center.  At this point in his recovery, Dr. Johnson has begun to decrease Cristiano's sedation. The care Cristiano has been receiving has been excellent and he'll remain in the Intensive Care Unit while his condition and progress are being monitored.”

Further updates on da Matta’s condition will be issued by RuSPORT as they become available.

Since da Matta’s accident on Thursday, RuSPORT and Champ Car have received many messages of support for da Matta.  In response, RuSPORT also announced on Friday that, in lieu of sending flowers and gifts, anyone wishing to express their support for da Matta during his recovery is asked to please make a donation in his name to Hole in the Wall Camps, an official charity of the Champ Car World Series.  Donation information can be found by visiting http://www.holeinthewallcamps.org, or by calling 203-562-1203.

Gregg returns at Kentucky Gregg returns at KentuckyTravis Gregg, who won the Kentucky 100 for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2005, will return to the team for this weekend's Indy Pro Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
Gregg, who started from the pole at Kentucky in 2004 and 2005, will drive the No. 77 entry with sponsorship from Lucas Oil and Argosy Casino as a teammate to current series point leader Jay Howard.
Potekhen to return to Indy Pro Series Potekhen to return to Indy Pro SeriesMike Potekhen, who made his Indy Pro Series debut in the Liberty Challenge on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, will return for the final four races of the season, beginning with the Kentucky 100 on Aug. 13.

Potekhen will drive the No. 76 Part Sourcing International car sponsored by 360brake.com.

"I'm very impressed with Mike," team owner Steve Eppard said. "He did a great job in the Liberty Challenge, and we're happy to have him on board for the final one-third of the season. I expect him to do well in those four races and finish close to the top 10 in points."
Potekhen, a 26-year-old Colorado native, also competes in the Star Mazda Series, where he is second in the point standings, 13 points out of first, with four races to go. He's captured race wins at Milwaukee and Portland this year.

"I'm excited about running the Indy Pro Series car the rest of the season," said Potekhen, who finished 11th in the Liberty Challenge. "We've been running real well in the Pro Mazda championship, and hopefully we can carry that momentum over.

"The Indy Pro Series cars are so much fun to drive. I can't wait to get back in them and have some races on ovals."

Rocketsports puts Kasemets in DP car Rocketsports puts Kasemets in DP carTonis Kasemets may have only signed a six-race Champ Car deal with the Rocketsports Racing team, but his talent has taken him to another level with the team as he will join Tomy Drissi behind the wheel of the #50 Rocketsports Ford-Crawford Daytona Prototype to race in the upcoming Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series event at Watkins Glen, August 10-11.

Team Owner Paul Gentilozzi, who usually pairs up with Drissi, is unable to participate in this weekend's Grand Am event due to obligations that require him to be in Denver, where his Champ Car team will be racing on the same weekend.   It seemed to be a perfect fit to put Kasemets' behind the wheel of the #50 Rocketsports Grand Am car in his absence because of his previous racing experience in Sports Car Club Racing and current driver status with the team.

"I think that Tonis is going to do well for the team this weekend as a substitute," said Gentilozzi.  "I know that Tonis will be a great pairing with Tomy Drissi, and have the confidence in this duo to continue to bring the car up to speed and be competitive.  I received a positive reaction from the team after the recent Grand Am test at GingerMan Raceway concerning Tonis' ability to give helpful feedback, so I know this is a good choice and an excellent opportunity for Tonis to get 'track time' when he is not racing a Champ Car." zzzz

The Rocketsports Grand Am entry is a new addition to the team this year as they are only competing in a handful of races this season.  This weekend's entry marks the sixth event the team will be making an appearance at in the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.  After a two-day test last week, the team is ready to go racing again as they continue to familiarize themselves with the series and the car.

"It was nice to have time to test the Daytona Prototype car with the schedule that we have this year," said Rocketsports co-driver Drissi.  "We ran two days without any problems, so it was a successful trip.  We made changes with the car setup to adapt to my driving style, so I feel more comfortable and confident behind the wheel heading into this event.  Tonis did a good job; he offered a lot of good feedback and helped us out a lot in terms of continuing to learn this new racecar that we are running.  It is always fun to work with new talent, so I look forward to this weekend pairing up with Tonis and hope we both can finish with a good result for the Rocketsports team."

During 1998-2000, Kasemets competed in SCCA Club Racing events, winning 14 times and finishing on the podium a total of 21 times in 24 races.   Despite his Sport Car racing experience, this weekend will mark the first time that the 32-year-old driver will participate in an endurance race.  The most challenging thing for Kasemets this weekend will be pit stops, which include driver changes and that is something that he is not familiar with from his past and present racing experiences.

"The Daytona Prototype Rocketsports car was fun to test," said Kasemets.  "I look forward to the race and working with Tomy Drissi this weekend.  He is a very nice guy, and he likes the car a lot, so I think we have a lot in common which will definitely benefit us in working together this weekend.  This is something completely new to me; I have never competed in any type of an endurance race, so it will be a challenge, but that is what I am looking forward to most.  I am thankful for this opportunity that Paul Gentilozzi and the Rocketsports team has given me, I will do my best behind the wheel and be a good teammate to Tomy."

As a reward to the backing of Kasemets' racing career and their current strong support to the team, Rocketsports will be displaying the Flexovit Abrasives logo on the #50 Ford-Crawford this weekend.  Flexovit has proudly supported the career of Kasemets' since 1998, and their involvement with him and the team in the Champ Car World Series has been a perfect fit.  With their main corporate offices and manufacturing facility based in Angola, New York, this weekend's event at The Glen is right in Flexovit's backyard and is a great opportunity to increase the company's exposure at a hometown track.

Rocketsports will take to the 2.45-mile road course at The Glen on Thursday morning to kick off practice and qualifying for the Friday night race.  The start of the Crown Royal 200 at the Glen for the Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes will take the green flag at 6:30 p.m. EST.  The race can be seen via tape delay Friday night with coverage beginning at 9:00 p.m. EST on SPEED Channel. Press Release

NASCAR movie/commercial paying off NASCAR movie/commercial paying offWill Farrell’s NASCAR-themed comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby opened number one at the box office, allowing the fictitious hero’s corporate sponsor, Wonder Bread, to earn nearly $4.3 million of exposure value during the film’s opening weekend.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates, which specializes in measuring the impact of sponsorships and promotions across all forms of media, the Wonder Bread logo appeared clear and in-focus for 11 minutes, 32 seconds (11:32), while the brand was also mentioned on two occasions by the actors. The opening-weekend exposure value for Wonder Bread is calculated by comparing the estimated number of people who saw the film, along with the on-screen time and mentions to the cost of reaching the same size audience through traditional advertising.

Other brands enjoying significant product placements during the racing spoof included Perrier (2:29/$894,000)--the sponsor of Bobby’s racing nemesis Jean Girard--as well as Old Spice, POWERade and Applebee’s.

The following table provides a breakdown of the various locations Wonder Bread was monitored during Talladega Nights and the corresponding exposure value accrued during the opening weekend.

Opening Weekend

Source On-Screen Time Exposure Value
Bobby's Uniform 3:00 $1,080,000
Crew Member Uniforms 1:47 642,000
Bobby's Helmet 1:29 534,000
Hood Identity 1:05 390,000
Bobby's Hat 1:05 390,000
Bread Loaf 0:36 216,000
Shirts 0:36 216,000
Rear Quarter Panel Identity 0:24 144,000
Sign in a Bar 0:22 132,000
Bobby's Jacket 0:21 126,000
Mentions (2) N/A 120,000
TV Panel Identity 0:17 102,000
Cast on Bobby’s Arm 0:15 90,000
Transporter 0:15 90,000 
Wonder Bread Total: (2 Mentions) 11:32 $4,272,000

FIA approves freeze and "green" F1 engines FIA approves freeze and "green" F1 engines(GMM)  The quarrel between the FIA and major car manufacturers over F1's engine 'freeze' is now over.

Max Mosley and 'GPMA' boss Burkhard Goeschel reached an agreement at a meeting in France on Monday, a statement released by the sport's governing body announced.

Despite earlier baulking at the freezing of engine development for a multi-year period, the manufacturers are now 'in full agreement' that engines raced in the Chinese grand prix this year will not change until the start of the 2009 season, the FIA's statement outlined.

Shanghai '06-spec engines 'will be the only engines used from and including the 2007 season', the statement continued.

It added that some re-tuning for a 19,000rpm limit in 2008 will be allowed, before new regulations 'to promote fuel efficiency' are introduced for 2009 and beyond.

It is understood that the deadlock with the FIA was broken after the GPMA set up a 'working group' that could lead to rule changes on the basis of better energy efficiency.

''These future regulations may include changes to current power units,'' said the FIA.

Blaney back with BDR Blaney back with BDRDave Blaney will be back in the Caterpillar Inc. car for the 2007, team owner Bill Davis said Sunday morning. "(Caterpillar director of racing operations) Greg Towles has indicated to us all along that Dave Blaney has done a good job in the car and done a good job with the sponsors and he'd be perfectly happy to have him back (in the car) and so would we," Davis said as preparations for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard were under way.

"I guess it's as close to (being) official as you can say." Davis was a little more guarded about recent rumors that Jeremy Mayfield will join his operation in a second Toyota Camry for 2007. "We're not in a position to announce anything, but certainly we've talked to Jeremy a lot and we have an understanding," Davis said of the current Evernham Motorsports driver. "Nothing's ever official until it's official so we don't talk about it, but certainly, like a lot of people in this garage, we'd like to see him come to our team." Davis said he has a letter of intent for a sponsor for the second team. Better things, finally, are happening with Blaney's car. Starting with the race at Chicagoland Speedway last month, Blaney finished 17th, 13th and 16th before faltering a little in Sunday's race with a 29th-place finish. "It's been a lot of little things, no one big blaring obvious deal," Davis said of the upturn. "Certainly the Michael (Waltrip) deal was an enormous distraction at the first of the year. He came in and struggled and really disrupted the shop and had us changing our cars and doing crazy stuff. Five or six weeks ago, I took the stance that I didn't know what else we could do to help him - he'd had several different combinations of cars and bodies and chassis and crew chiefs - and we needed to get back to basics and do the things we'd always done and do what works (for Blaney's car). And that's what we've done." Davis also is looking forward to putting the team's Dodge days in the past. BDR has been without factory support from Dodge for three years and has been involved in continued legal battles with the company. "It has been a struggle and a distraction and a financial burden, which has been huge, and now to have all that basically behind us and have Toyota poised and ready to come in here, it's a huge relief for us," Davis said.

"For everybody that has stuck with us and been loyal to us, from employees to associates to sponsors, we certainly appreciate those people and look forward to getting back on track and back to where we were." Peoria Journal Star
Red Bull confirm Webber, Coulthard Red Bull confirm Webber, Coulthard(GMM)  Mark Webber and David Coulthard will race for Red Bull in 2007, the energy drink-owned team announced in a statement on Monday.

''We believe that (they) will form a very solid partnership,'' said boss Christian Horner, ''which will give us one of the strongest driver line-ups in the field.''

The confirmation seals the departure of Coulthard's current teammate, Christian Klien, who raced for Red Bull in 2005 and 2006 and in 2004 was Webber's teammate at the team's former Ford-owned guise, Jaguar Racing.

Horner explained: ''He will remain a Red Bull Racing driver until the end of the 2006 season, and we will continue to give him all the support that we can during that time.''  zzzz

Full Press Release From Team

Red Bull Racing has confirmed today that David Coulthard will continue to drive for the team in 2007 and that his team-mate will be Mark Webber.

Christian Horner: "I'm very pleased to be able to confirm our driver line up for next year. David has continued to lead the team well and demonstrate the form he showed during 2005. This season he achieved the team's first podium in Monaco and has shown commitment, determination and motivation to deliver at the highest level in Formula One. It was therefore an easy decision from both sides to extend the relationship for 2007. He's still one of the best drivers on the grid and we're delighted to have him in the team.

"Looking to Mark, we chose him for a number of straightforward reasons. One, he obviously has undoubted speed and ability, and two, he appears to have the determination and motivation needed to succeed. We're entering an exciting new phase in the short history of Red Bull Racing and Mark was an obvious candidate for us. He's got a good track record in F1 and we're delighted to have secured his services for next year. We believe that together he and David will form a very solid partnership, which will give us one of the strongest driver line-ups in the field.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Christian Klien for all his hard efforts for the team over the last two seasons. He will remain a Red Bull Racing driver until the end of the 2006 season, and we will continue to give him all the support that we can during that time."

David Coulthard: "I'm delighted to continue with Red Bull Racing for a third season. I can feel that the team is really beginning to gel as a group. I'm looking forward to raising the performance of the team and the car and to see Red Bull Racing become a regular points scorer, in with a good shout for achieving podiums and wins."

Mark Webber: "It's fantastic to be joining Red Bull Racing. It's clear that the team is very hungry for long- term success, it has a very talented group of personnel and there seems to be a real sense of team spirit and unity. I believe I'm joining the team at exactly the right time for success in the future.

"After I left Jaguar Racing at the end of the 2004 season and discovered that Mr. Mateschitz was taking over the team, I said that I felt the team had been placed in very good hands and had an assured future. As a team, it seems to be very realistic and knows the challenge that lies ahead. I hope to bring good experience to the team and to assist it by being a fast and consistent driver and scoring as many points as possible.

"I hope that with Red Bull Racing I can have my best F1 season to date and believe that we can be very, very strong together. I'm looking forward to some great times with David and the rest of the Red Bull Racing team."

Hungary TV Ratings in Italy Hungary TV Ratings in ItalyThe TV ratings in the small country of Italy for Sunday's Hungarian GP were:
Qualifying: 4.34 million viewers, 40.84 share
Race: 8.5 million viewers, 63.65 share
NASCAR movie grosses $47M on 1st weekend NASCAR movie grosses $47M on 1st weekendSony Pictures’ “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” earned an estimated $47M at the box office over the weekend, a 53% increase over Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the No. 1 opener during the comparable weekend last year. Hollywood Reporter

This movie makes a complete mockery of everything NASCAR is about.  Truly silly, funny and stereotypically spot-on.
British team set to thrill on streets of Manchester British team set to thrill on streets of ManchesterLondon, England - With the start of the new A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season in Holland just a handful of weeks away, motorsport fans in the UK have an early opportunity to see A1 Team GBR's A1GP car in action as the team gets set to participate in Sky Festival hosted this weekend in Manchester, Friday 11th - Sunday 13th August. The free to attend attraction, showcasing 31 Sky TV channels, has as one of its highlights a six-car A1GP 'sprint' through the streets of Manchester's city centre on Sunday afternoon, 2- 3pm, on a specially designed 1.5km track.

A1 Team GBR will have Robbie Kerr back behind the wheel for Sunday's street demonstration, the former British F3 Champion reunited with the car he steered to seven podium finishes in the inaugural season of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, helping to place A1 Team GBR third overall in the Nations Standings following a thrilling first season of global competition.

"I can't wait to get back into the car on Sunday," commented Kerr. "Sky Festival offers a great platform to showcase the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport and nothing comes close to the thrill of seeing and hearing these cars in action at such close quarters. As a 'home' event it'll be great to meet A1 Team GBR's fans and to take the opportunity to introduce the A1GP concept to a wide range of festival goers!"

In addition to A1 Team GBR, A1 Teams Australia, China, Ireland, Lebanon and Malaysia will all run the Manchester street course on Sunday afternoon with special viewing areas set up through the city streets allowing the public their first taste of A1GP action since last September's spectacular series debut at Brands Hatch, the famous Kent venue hosting the 2006-07 A1GP season finale next April.

Members of the public will be able to get up close and personal with A1GP throughout the three day festival as a dedicated interactive A1GP paddock, located in Exchange Square, will be open allowing everyone a taste of a typical race weekend including the opportunity to get interactive with the likes of the tire change challenge!

'Each point counts' - Schu 'Each point counts' - Schu(GMM) Renault on Monday contradicted Fernando Alonso's explanation for his retirement from the Hungarian grand prix in Budapest.

TV footage showed a wheel nut departing his 'R26' before it speared into the tire barrier, and Pat Symonds confirmed that this - and not a broken driveshaft - put the Spaniard out of the race.

''The reassuring fact is that this is a simple problem to fix, and doesn't put the exceptional reliability of the R26 in any doubt,'' the engineering director said.

Renault also reacted with nonchalance to Michael Schumacher's belated point due to the disqualification of Robert Kubica, and the governing body also rejected conspiracy theories that the events in Budapest showed bias towards Ferrari.

''The stewards have repeatedly demonstrated their independence throughout the season,'' said an FIA spokesman.

Schumacher, though, expressed positive surprise with the late point, which further closed the gap to Alonso.

''Each point counts,'' the German told his website, ''so naturally it was nice to find out.

''I will say it only once -- the championship is still open.''

NASCAR’s popularity continues to soften NASCAR’s popularity continues to softenUPDATE Attendance at the Allstate 400 was down from previous years. The estimated crowd was around 240,000. Speedway officials attributed the decline to trying to sell more than 700,000 tickets for three major races – the Indy 500, the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race and the Allstate 400 – over an 11-week span. The F1 race moved from September to July this year. Dallas Morning News [Editor's Note: And the track is looking to add a 4th race, MotoGP, which if you believe this excuse, will hurt attendance even more.]

08/06/06 In addition to TV ratings that have been lower in most races this year compared to 2005, many open seats were clearly visible at the Brickyard for today's Allstate 400. It was easily the lowest attended NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the Brickyard to date. NASCAR has reached a saturation point and the more they attempt to inundate the population with massive media coverage the further they appear to drop.
track news
Lexmark 300 expands promotion further north Lexmark 300 expands promotion further northFor the first time in its 16-year history, Queensland's Lexmark Indy 300 has been officially launched by a rousing display of motorsport demonstrations and entertainment at the northern end of the State.

On Saturday July 15, Townsville hosted the official launch for the 2006 Lexmark Indy 300 which will be staged on the streets of the Gold Coast from October 19 to 22.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and Minister for Sport Tom Barton launched the event held with tremendous fanfare attended by an estimated 10,000 people throughout the afternoon.

Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman Terry Mackenroth said this year's launch provided a taste of the color, excitement and atmosphere of the Lexmark Indy 300 to North Queensland.

"Today's Roadshow in Townsville has given North Queensland a taste of what the Lexmark Indy 300 is all about," said Mackenroth.

"We are delighted with the turn-out which Queensland Police has estimated at more than 10,000 and now hope that these enthusiastic fans make the trek south for the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 19 to 22."

Team Australia Champ Car drivers Will Power and Alex Tagliani performed live demonstrations in one of their team's 750-horsepower Champ Cars, while WPS Racing's Max Wilson and Team Sirromet's Alan Gurr provided a great spectacle in their V8 Supercars.

The entertainment also featured demonstrations by the Lexmark Indy 300 support categories – the all-Porsche Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup, Haymans Electrical V8 Utes and CARSguide Aussie Racing Cars.

There were driver autograph sessions, an impressive array of B-Double transporters and merchandise trucks on display, stage parades by Bartercard Miss Indy contestants and a motor bike stunt show, amongst five hours of free family entertainment.

track news
Support races for Lexmark 300 Support races for Lexmark 300While the Champ Car and V8 Supercar teams are fine tuning their vehicles in Duracell Pit Lane, the huge Lexmark Indy 300 crowd will be entertained by a diverse range of motorsport categories and on-track entertainment.

The support categories will see some vastly different vehicles carve up the Indy street circuit. From the precision German engineering of the all-Porsche Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup, to the Aussie grunt of the Haymans Electrical V8 Utes, to the increasingly popular manic midget racing of the CARSguide Aussie Racing Cars.

Entering its fourth season in Australia, the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup presents 22 all-new 997-based Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars meticulously developed by Porsche's racing arm in Germany. With a top speed in excess of 300kph, the lightweight, high performance vehicles have a 400 horsepower, 3.6-litre six cylinder Boxer engine which revs to 8200 RPM, producing a sound that is distinctly Porsche. zzzz

The parity of the vehicles brings driver skill to the forefront and ensures close competition. Former V8 Supercar driver Craig Baird currently leads the championship, ahead of Carrera Cup stalwart Jim Richards and 2004 series champion Alex Davison.

The Aussie Racing Cars are mini replicas of V8 Supercars, built in four different body styles - the 1940 Ford Coupe and FJ Holden as well as the AU Falcon and VY Commodore. All cars are approximately half the size of a V8 Supercar and are powered by a 1.2 liter 125 horsepower twin cam 16-valve engine. The 450kg weight provides an incredible power-to-weight ratio that allows the car to reach speeds in excess of 200kph on the Gold Coast.

After three rounds of the seven-round championship (Lexmark Indy 300 is round six), Nick Simmons leads from Nick Percat with James Ward and Bred Ward tied in third place.

The V8 Utes feature Aussie muscle power with Ford and Holden V8 production based utes driven by a stellar cast of familiar names from legendary motorsport families, music and football. The series provides close and exciting races from its 32 entrants. Names such as Brock (James), Moffatt (James) and Grice (Allan) take to the track in V8 Utes, bringing back memories of many famous moments in Australian motorsport history.

Marcus Zukanovic leads Jack Elesegood and Grant Johnson after four of eight rounds with the Lexmark Indy 300 set as round seven.

Dodge says it is committed to NASCAR Dodge says it is committed to NASCARDodge Motorsports has lost two of its top executives in the past month, but the automobile manufacturer still intends to be a big player in NASCAR. "Our commitment to NASCAR remains very strong," Dodge official Mike Accavitti said before Sunday's race. "The only thing that's changed is some people have retired, but that happens when you've been with a company for a while." Speculation about Dodge's future in the stock car series increased when Dodge Motorsports chief John Fernandez announced Friday he was leaving DaimlerChrysler to take over as managing director of Chip Ganassi's team based in Concord, N.C. Accavitti said Dodge has picked a replacement and hopes to make that announcement soon. "We've identified a candidate for John's job and that's going through the internal approval process now," he said. Bob Wildberger, another top executive, also is retiring, and Accavitti said a search for his replacement has begun. USA Today
250 treated for heat at Indy 250 treated for heat at IndyAbout 250 people were treated for heat-related illnesses during Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, said Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman Ron Green. That compares with 225 people who were treated in May during the Indy 500 when temperatures were unseasonably hot. The National Weather Service said Sunday's high was the same as it was that day -- 89 degrees. Green said track officials were prepared for the August heat and had cooling-off tents set up around the track. Sunday's heat at the Brickyard wasn't as bad as in 2002, when the high on race day was 96 degrees -- three degrees short of the record for the date. CNNSI/Associated Press
Wheel Nut, not Drive Shaft put Alonso out Wheel Nut, not Drive Shaft put Alonso outRenault F1 driver Fernando Alonso retired from the Hungarian Grand Prix on lap 52, immediately following his second and final pit-stop of the race where dry tires were fitted to his car. As he left the pit-lane, it was evident there was a problem at the right rear as the car almost spun in turn 1.

TV footage showed Alonso's wheel nut part company with the axle before Fernando spun. Initial investigations suggested an axle problem had been at fault, but detailed inspection of the damaged parts showed the cause lay elsewhere. "There is a safety mechanism holding the wheel-nut on, and it did not disengage at the second pit-stop," explained Pat Symonds. "That meant the wheel nut was damaged as it was removed, and did not re-attach correctly as the new wheel went on."

"The reassuring fact is that this is a simple problem to fix, and doesn't put the exceptional reliability of the R26 in any doubt. We will have a modified solution in place for Turkey."

BMW cuts Villeneuve loose BMW cuts Villeneuve loose
Press Release

Jacques Villeneuve will not be racing with the BMW Sauber F1 Team for the remainder of the 2006 F1 season. Following discussions last week, Jacques Villeneuve and the BMW Sauber F1 Team agreed to terminate their current contract with immediate effect five races ahead of schedule.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "Jacques has performed well for us this year, scoring the Team's first grand prix points in Malaysia, He has made a significant contribution to developing the newly formed BMW Sauber F1 Team and the performance of the car. However, after Jacques' accident in the Hockenheim race the team decided to review its options for next year, including assessing Robert Kubica in a race environment. Our decision to look towards evaluating our driver line up has naturally impacted Jacques' position for the remainder of this season. We fully understand that it is difficult for Jacques to maintain his natural level of commitment in circumstances of uncertainty. We respect his position and wish him well for the future."

CTE Racing HVM Duo fast at Road America CTE Racing HVM Duo fast at Road AmericaCTE Racing HVM wrapped up a two-day test at Road America Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on Friday.  It was the first time Nelson Philippe and Dan Clarke drove on the high speed road course.

“Our priority at Road America this week was to  get our drivers  familiar and comfortable with the track,” said team manager, Vince Kremer.  “Both Nelson and Dan adapted quickly and we’re encouraged by the speed we showed while learning the track.  We completed 687 miles between the two cars and we had a few small hiccups but that is what testing is for.  We checked different aero packages and at the end of the test, I think we’re all optimistic that we should have a successful weekend when we return in September.” zzzz

Nelson Philippe has been a front runner all season and clocked the third fastest time of the test when he ran a 1:43.273-minute lap on the second of the two day outing.  While Philippe is currently in his third season of Champ Car competition, he had never turned a lap on the historic circuit. “Overall I am satisfied because I had never run at Road America and it was my goal to learn the track quickly and make consistent progress.  It took a couple of laps to feel at ease, but my first impression of the track is incredible; it is probably the best track I have ever been on.  Our running was limited due to a few technical issues, so unfortunately we were not able to test everything we planned.  However I think we found a good baseline to start with when we return in September.”

Rookie Dan Clarke was particularly excited to make his debut on the 4.048—mile road course as it features a similar style to the European tracks Clarke is used to.  In fact, Clarke had only competed on one street circuit prior to his Champ Car debut at Long Beach and had never run on an oval. Despite his inexperience, he has run strong on the variety of disciplines Champ Car features. The Englishman was up to speed quickly, he set the fifth fastest time of the test (1:43.784) and was the fastest rookie over the two days. Clarke commented,  “we had a productive test at Road America.

"First I had to learn the circuit: unlike the street circuits that I’ve been running recently this was a lot longer, with a lot more turns, not many trackside markers and some fast corners where you need to be brave and have commitment. We worked through a fairly intensive test program, trying lots of different set up changes which gave me the chance to evaluate the car on this track. Fifth fastest at the end of testing wasn’t bad, although I think there was more left in us than we showed on track.  I think we made headway and really used the time well, not just for the race at the track, but with some developments that we can put to use in the upcoming races.”

Clarke and Philippe returned to the team’s headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, where they are preparing for next week’s Grad Prix of Denver, Round 10 of the 2006 Champ Car World Series.  Catch the action Sunday, August 13th  at 1:45 pm live on SPEED.  The team will return to Road America for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America, September 22-24, 2006.  

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