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Taylor and Angelelli Take fourth Win of 2005 Taylor and Angelelli Take fourth Win of 2005Wayne Taylor and Max “The Ax” Angelelli drove the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley to their fourth victory, and second consecutive, of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series tonight at Watkins Glen International in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen in a highly competitive race.

Once again, incredible driving and excellent race strategy were key to the team’s victory. The two-hour race was the shortest sprint race of the season and the first victory for Taylor, Angelelli and team owner Bill Riley at the historic New York circuit. The victory added another 35 points to their 247 for a new total of 282, a 21-point lead over the second place No. 01 CompUSA/Ganassi team.

“I had some difficulty getting through traffic and getting passed under yellow,” said SunTrust car owner Wayne Taylor. “Our plan was obviously to be ahead of the 01 car. Max and all the guys did an outstanding job. From a points standpoint, it’s a little better for us.

“I’ve always wanted to win at The Glen,” added Taylor. “It was really great to win because of the championship. We put another two positions between us and the 01 car, so I think now I can concentrate on coming back here and trying to win some more. At least I got through that never winning part at this track.”

“What can I say? I’m very happy!” said the hotshoe Angelelli. “Honestly, I didn’t expect a win because a win is always so difficult to build.  But, I am going to take this win with great pleasure. From my perspective this win will not change anything on our strategy and attitude towards the championship. Even if it looks like a big gap between us and the second car in the championship, it is still very little. Everybody can remember last year we had an even larger margin and we almost got it. It is still a long way to go.

“There was a lot of pressure (at the restart near the end of the race) because I was building a little gap to be comfortable for the last five laps, and the last yellow came,” added Max “The Ax”. “It made me scared a little bit. So I really concentrated, and I tried to turn a good first lap. I was lucky to have it, and I was building my gap.”

Industry News
GM touts corn fuel GM touts corn fuelGeneral Motors Corp. plans to give the Ohio Corn Growers a Chevrolet Tahoe powered by a corn-based fuel.   The move is part of GM's strategy to promote its cars that operate on alternative fuels. The Ohio Corn Growers will use the vehicle in its campaign to push increased use of ethanol as a gasoline alternative, GM said Thursday in a statement.  GM's E85-capable vehicles use a fuel that's 85% ethanol, which is produced from corn, and 15% gasoline, said Christine Milligan, a spokeswoman with an outside firm. [Editor's Note: This could fit right in with the IRL's plan to move to ethanol fuel instead of methanol.]
Gentilozzi wins 30th career pole Gentilozzi wins 30th career polePaul Gentilozzi won his 30th career Trans-Am pole Friday during qualifying for Saturday’s Cytomax Sport Drink 100 at the Grand Prix of Denver. Gentilozzi (No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR) waited until the final lap of the shortened session to set his fastest lap, a one-minute, 13.934-second time at 80.683 miles per hour.

Gentilozzi’s Rocketsports Racing teammate Tomy Drissi was second fastest in the No. 5 Four Brothers – The Movie Jaguar XKR, while points leader Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette) was third quickest. John Baucom (No. 86 MAP Quality Engineering/SoftwareToolbox.com Ford Mustang) and rookie Klaus Graf (No. 6 Cytomax Jaguar XKR) completed the top five. Gentilozzi will start fifth tomorrow due to Trans-Am’s Fast Five® invert, while Graf will roll off first.

Gentilozzi, a four-time Trans-Am Drivers’ Champion, earned three bonus points for the pole, his second this season. He earned the pole on the final lap of the session, which was shortened due to a car that stalled on course on its out lap.

“I had a good first third of a lap going, then I locked up the brakes and went into the runoff,” said Gentilozzi. “My crew said I had one minute left. I had a good lap going, then I made one little mistake, but I drove it harder. It was just luck that we earned the pole.

“During a shortened session like this, you have to treat it like it’s a race,” added Gentilozzi. “You basically have one pace lap and you have to go. On the out lap you have to work the car to build the air pressure in your tires. These cars don’t like low air pressure; it softens the spring rate and the tires deform in the turns. I had two laps to do it, so I had to resign myself to the fact that I just had five minutes.”

Drissi earned one point for his outside pole. Drissi will start fourth tomorrow.

McMurray steaming mad at Chip Ganassi McMurray steaming mad at Chip GanassiChip Ganassi made one thing clear on Friday at Watkins Glen: Jamie McMurray will drive the full 2006 season for him whether he likes it or not.  And McMurray is not happy about it.

"If they chose to keep me next year, I will have to honor that original contract," McMurray said. "Of course, the question is, why would an owner want to keep a driver that has already committed to another team in 2007?"

McMurray is raring to begin his new job at Roush Racing, where he is set to replace the retiring Mark Martin in the No. 6 Ford. But Ganassi has said he will exercise a one-year option on McMurray's contract, which prevents him from joining Roush until 2007.

Such a move will likely bring Martin back for another year unless Roush Racing can find a quality driver willing to accept a one-year deal.

Ganassi announced his 2006 driver lineup on Friday. He is expanding to four teams, and McMurray was clearly hoping he would be allowed to step aside.

That didn't happen.

While his teammates were busy at the press conference discussing their 2006 plans, McMurray turned and headed to the garage without answering questions.

"Obviously I'd rather move on since I've already made my future plans known," McMurray said later Friday, "but I did sign a contract with my current team that included an option for next year."  More at NASCAR.com

Champ Car drivers go dirt tracking Champ Car drivers go dirt trackingPaul Newman arranged another dirt track test for several Champ Car drivers this past week in Denver.  Last night Tracy, Bourdais and Newman ran midgets, sprint cars, and dirt-modified cars out at the Rocky Mountain Speedway

Q. Who won at the dirt track last night?

PAUL TRACY:   We were out just screwing around.  Actually a thing Paul Newman set up, so I'll let Sebastien talk about it.  It was a lot of fun. 

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  We did that the first time in Long Beach last year -- this year, and we had a blast.  We just decided to do it again.  Oriol was there and Paul and PT.  It was just a great time. 

Q: How did Paul Newman run?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  Well, I think you have to watch it to believe it.  He's just -- I think I did succeed to pass him after 15 laps.  It's not like I drove by and said "Hi."  No, he's lost a bit of speed I think on the asphalt because obviously a bit more rush and everything.  But on the dirt, he's still feeling really good.  He likes to slide, that's for sure. 

Champ Car Lowers turbo boost Champ Car Lowers turbo boostUPDATE AutoRacing1.com posed the following question to the top-3 qualifiers in Denver Friday:

Q: You have two inches less boost in the Cosworth engines here this year but times as I think Eric Mauk said, were a new track record. Why are you faster with less power?
PAUL TRACY: Well, I think the tire is probably a little bit better. Obviously, it's cooler I think here than last year. That's six or seven tenths quicker than I qualified here last year. We've improved our car with shocks, springs, aero. Our car's a lot different than it was last year when we came here. We've improved quite a bit.

I wouldn't imagine that Sebastien would come with too much different of a setup than he had last year because he qualified on the pole by quite a lot, and drove through the field to win the race. I wouldn't imagine he would change the car that much. I think we've just improved and that's really where the change for us has been.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No. I think we tend to go a bit slower in the straight, that's for sure, I think like three miles an hour, four miles an hour. But that's only top speed; there's only one spot. At 180, doesn't really matter. Four miles an hour, yeah, you're losing a 10th of a second, a 10th and a half, so it's not that bad. You just lose it at the very end. The torque is the same, it's just the power that changes.

I think we just go slightly faster in the turns, and at least comparing to qualifying last year, I think everybody just brought their stuff together, that aided their game, and definitely they're giving us a hard time. Last year I think I did 60.5, and I think I was on pole for the first qualifying. This year I do a 60.3, but it's 59.7 in front. Just going to have to put our stuff together.

MARIO DOMINGUEZ: I think the track seems to be a bit cleaner than last year. That's probably part of the reason. And maybe my theory is because the car has less horsepower, it's just a little bit easier to drive around these tight places. You can be on the throttle sooner and earlier, where before you had to be a lot more careful because the back end could go around. That might not be true, but that's my theory.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: There wasn't any hockey season, right? So nobody really used this parking lot. When we came back, there still was some rubber from last year. That might be a reason why it's coming a bit faster.

08/12/05 Champ Car has lowered the turbo boost by two inches this weekend in Denver because the high altitude was putting too much pressure on the turbochargers.  However, Friday lap times are on par with last year's and we hear that is because some subtle changes have been made to some of the corners to increase speed.  The net result is the speeds are similar to last year despite the turbo boost drop. Mark C.
Crown Royal named sponsor of Rolex race Crown Royal named sponsor of Rolex raceWatkins Glen International announced today that Crown Royal will be the title sponsor of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series event scheduled for Saturday, September 24 during the Inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage weekend. This is a two-year agreement with an option to extend the agreement for an additional year and also names Crown Royal whisky as the official spirit of Watkins Glen International.

The Crown Royal 250 will take the green flag at 3:00 pm, marking the third appearance for the Grand American Rolex Sport Car Series at The Glen this season.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to associate our brand with this prestigious race at the Glen,” said Jerry Knight, Brand Director, Crown Royal.  “Crown Royal is committed to the growth of our racing portfolio, and being the title sponsor of this Grand American event allows us to connect directly with the passionate race fans who follow this esteemed series.”

Bobby Wilson to have a go at Toyota Atlantic Bobby Wilson to have a go at Toyota AtlanticCurrent FirstKart.com driver, Bobby Wilson (Ocala Gran Prix, BW Race Schools, Mayville Garden and Lawn Lime, Green-Keeper #5), will contend in the next round of the Toyota Atlantic Championship at the famed Road America Raceway in Elkhart Lake, WI. Wilson will team with Dan Cobb Racing in the efforts to perform well and garner a victory for one of the elite teams in the Champ Car ladder series.

Wilson, with the primary support of Ocala Gran Prix and BW Race Schools, will compete in a one-off event over the August 19-21st weekend. This will not be Wilson’s first time in a Toyota Atlantic as the talented pilot previously tested and performed very well with Team Rahal. Wilson’s Toyota Atlantic weekend will begin early as he is scheduled to participate in Thursday’s unofficial test day.

The Florida resident comes to the event with years of experience including the 2003 Stars of Karting National Championship including Super Kart Illustrated’s Driver-of-the-Year award and the Jim Trueman Scholarship as well as the ’04 United States Formula Ford Championship which he secured at Road America with a victory.

“I am thankful to Dan Cobb and all my sponsors for this terrific opportunity. I have worked very hard to get to this level and want to succeed” explained Wilson in a recent phone interview. “It is just a one-off race right now but if I can perform well there is a chance that I can be back for a few more. I am working towards a full program in ’06 and look to be behind the wheel of one of the new Atlantic packages.”

AMA Superbike
Bridgestone/Firestone pulling out Bridgestone/Firestone pulling outUPDATE We followed up on the rumor below that Bridgestone might switch to the Firestone brand in Champ Car. We received this official response from Bridgestone - "There are no plans to replace the Bridgestone brand with the Firestone brand in the Champ Car World Series." 08/11/05 Cycle News has learned that Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire is planning to pull of out of the AMA Superbike Championship series in order to re-focus its resources in other road racing series, such as WERA and Formula USA/CCS. But according to Bob Graham, Bridgestone’s motorcycle product manager for the U.S. and Canada, the move does not necessarily mean a cutback.

“What we are going to do is shift our focus from AMA National road racing to some of the other amateur-oriented series where our products work very well,” Graham said. “We’re certainly not cutting back. If anything, we’re going to be expanding.

The decision ends 14 years of Bridgestone competing at the AMA Superbike Championship level. The company first joined the series in 1991 and immediately showed positive results, as Steve Crevier finished fifth in the Daytona 200 aboard a Two Brothers Racing Honda shod with Bridgestones. The company would later ink a deal with another factory-supported team, Erion Honda, but that deal ended six years ago. Most recently, privateer Cory West used Bridgestone tires en route to earning AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year honors.

But the lack of any deal with a factory team has been a major hurdle in keeping the brand competitive at the AMA Superbike Championship level, and Graham said that landing a factory team now simply isn’t in the cards.

“We cannot win anything without factory bikes, and we are just not in the position to secure factory bikes,” Graham said. “We have great products and a great development program, but that’s all being eaten up by the MotoGP boys. Our focus right now as a corporation, globally, is MotoGP. It would be nice to have factory bikes and go racing here, because that’s what we love to do.”

Graham said that the company plans to remain in the AMA National Championship Motocross and Supercross series, where it is committed through 2006. Cycle News [Editor's Note: There are also rumors floating around the internet that Bridgestone will pull out of the Champ Car Series and provide tires under the sister Firestone brand name instead. AutoRacing1.com is in the process of trying to verify this.]

Watkins Glen a washout Watkins Glen a washoutAfter Busch Series and Nextel Cup teams got in one practice apiece, rain reigned the rest of the day Friday, wiping out both Happy Hour sessions. That means the track will be clear of any tire buildup when qualifying for the Zippo 200 commences Saturday at 9 a.m. ET.

It started raining at Watkins Glen International at the close of the first practice, which was led by Tony Stewart.  For the first time, NASCAR implemented an impound schedule for a road course race, so the Busch drivers will qualify at 9 a.m. ET Saturday followed by the Nextel Cup drivers at 11:10 a.m. ET.

Stewart, who has won four of the last six Nextel Cup races, was in another world on Friday.

"The cars are just driving better. What the reason for that is, I don't know," said Stewart. "But there's one guy (crew chief Greg Zipadelli) who does know and he's over there working in the garage right now."

Stewart's Chevrolet (122.052 mph) was nearly a full second faster than Scott Pruett's Dodge, and he was 1.27 seconds faster than Jeff Gordon, who was expected to be his main threat for the win here.  Gordon was a disappointing 21st (119.949 mph). NASCAR 

IPS Series
Gregg claims another IPS pole Gregg claims another IPS poleTravis Gregg earned his fourth pole of the season, winning the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award for the Bluegrass 100 at Kentucky Speedway for the second consecutive year.  Gregg, driving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Argosy Casino/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, posted a lap of 28.3462 seconds, 187.962 mph to edge his teammate Jaime Camara for the pole.

"It's awesome," said Gregg, who hails from Camden, Ohio, not far from the Kentucky track. "It's so close to home, and I have a lot of family coming to support me and cheer me on, so I'm really excited to be starting on the front row. We always seem to pick up a little bit when we trim the car out before qualifying, and I just try to drive the wheels off of it because these guys put so much hard work into it. I don't want to let them down."

Vision Racing teammates Jay Drake and Nick Bussell qualified third and fourth, respectively, while Marco Andretti qualified fifth for his second start on a oval.

The Bluegrass 100 is scheduled for 3 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 13 at Kentucky Speedway.

Qualifying Friday for the Bluegrass 100 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series event on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:
1. (7) Travis Gregg, Dallara-Infiniti, 187.962
2. (1) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Infiniti, 186.299
3. (20) Jay Drake, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.710
4. (9) Nick Bussell, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.561
5. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.019
6. (6) Jon Herb, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.770
7. (19) Chris Festa, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.758
8. (33) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Infiniti, 183.840
9. (24) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 183.740
10. (4) Marty Roth, Dallara-Infiniti, 183.457
11. (3) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 180.967


TRAVIS GREGG (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Argosy Casino/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award winner): "It's awesome. It's so close to home, and I have a lot of family coming to support me and cheer me on, so I'm really excited to be starting on the front row. We always seem to pick up a little bit when we trim the car out before qualifying, and I just try to drive the wheels off of it because these guys put so much hard work into it. I don't want to let them down." (About the conditions): "We weren't as fast this morning because the track was so hot and it was pretty windy out there. It was just hard to tell what conditions would be like coming into qualifying." 

JAIME CAMARA (No. 1 CELG - Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, qualified second): "We had a good run, and we did our best. We had a good car today, and overall, I'm pleased with how we did. The track is much better now. There is much more rubber on the track, and that gives us more grip compared to when we practiced earlier."
JAY DRAKE (No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, qualified third): "We ran very well. It was the best we had run all day long. As it turns out, it just wasn't quite good enough. Our car was fine, and it was the best we ran all day, so I'm looking forward to the race."

NICK BUSSELL (No. 9 Vision Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, qualified fourth): "It was a good run for us. I'm a little miffed at what kind of speed these guys are getting. We're happy with our two cars. Jay (Drake) and I basically ran identical laps. Everyone is happy with what we had, and there isn't a lot more we could have done with the gearing to get the car to carry anymore speed. Despite that, we're still a half second off, so I'm not quite sure what we could have done." (About track conditions): "Everything seems fine. I wasn't able to put in my best lap during second practice like a lot of others did.  We didn't do a simulated qualifying run because I got caught up in some traffic. My teammate ran a 28.76 earlier, and I was pretty happy with running in the low sevens, but I knew it wasn't going to hold up (for the pole)."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, qualified fifth): "I'm pretty happy with the car. We had a lot of understeer that we needed to get out of the car, so we made a few little changes after the last practice and it helped it a lot. Now, I can run it right down on the white line all the way around. If you can do that here during the race, it doesn't matter too much where you start." 

Tracy will not drive for Childress at MIS Tracy will not drive for Childress at MISUPDATE We asked Paul Tracy in Denver today how his test went at Michigan and why he wasn't going to run later this month.  "The test went really well," said Tracy.  "I turned a 39.0 sec. lap which was the same time that regular Childress driver Kevin Harvick turned.  The only person that we saw faster was Jeff Gordon at a 38.49 at 5 PM with his car all taped up and in qualifying trim, so I feel pretty good about it.

"I talked to Richard [Childress] and he told me if I can just wait a little while he could give me his best equipment.  Right now they are working hard to get Harvick into the Chase and don't have the time and resources to give me their best.  You only get one chance to make a good first impression so I only want to do it in the right circumstances, so we'll look for something later in the year."

Was it harder driving a stock car than a Champ Car?  "No," said Tracy.  "It's just different.  You can't over drive the car or you destroy the tires.  And if you take it too easy you are slow.  The really good drivers know how to find that right balance and stay right on that edge lap after lap." [Editor's Note: If Tracy was that fast his first time out, it must have tongues wagging in the NASCAR paddock.  He told us there were 20 other cars there so he had a chance to run in traffic and to do simulated qualifying runs.]

08/12/05 After two days of successful testing at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Paul Tracy have decided that not enough time remains before the Aug. 20 GFS Marketplace 400 at MIS to prepare for Tracy’s first entry in a NASCAR event.

“I’m very impressed with Paul’s ability in a race car, whether it’s a Cup car or a Champ Car, but it was just too short a time to put the right program together,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “Paul’s a champion and he had a very good test but we want to do this right and be fully prepared to give him a maximum effort.”

Childress hopes to race Tracy again later this year.

“I have the greatest respect for the guys that drive Cup cars week-in and week-out,” said Tracy. “It takes a lot of preparation to be ready for a highly competitive event like the NEXTEL Cup Series and we just didn’t have the time to do the job right. I want to thank Richard for giving me this opportunity and the crew guys at the test for all of their effort. My primary goal this year is the pursuit of the Bridgestone/Ford Champ Car World Series Championship.”

17-year old Sciuto captures provisional pole 17-year old Sciuto captures provisional poleWhile most 17-year-olds are spending their summer goofing off or toiling away at difficult manual jobs, California native Alan Sciuto (#27 Dean’s R/C Products/Sparco) is busy establishing himself as one of the fastest rising stars in North America’s top open-wheel development series. In only his second start in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, Sciuto opened more than a few eyes on Friday, leading the opening round of qualifying for this weekend’s BOSPoker.com Atlantic Grand Prix of Denver.

Racing for PR1 Motorsports, Sciuto joined the Toyota Atlantic Championship last round on the difficult San Jose street circuit. The 17-year-old former National Karting Champion who was named North America’s top shifter kart driver in 2004, qualified seventh in his Atlantic debut and finished fourth on race day, pushing series points leader Charles Zwolsman (#11 Condor Motorsports) for third place all the way to the checkered flag.

Sciuto appears to have loftier goals this weekend in just his second Atlantic race. He wound up fourth in the morning practice but he blistered a lap of 1:08.692 (86.840 mph) with just two minutes left in today’s 30-minute session to claim the provisional pole by more than a tenth-of-a-second over the next closest qualifier. Sciuto earned a championship point for his impressive performance and, perhaps most importantly on the challenging 1.657-mile street course around Denver’s Pepsi Center, he secured a front-row starting spot for Sunday’s Round 10 of 12 in the Toyota Atlantic series (tape-delayed broadcast on SPEED Channel – Saturday, August 20 at 3 p.m. ET).

If it weren’t for Sciuto’s pole-winning effort, Friday would’ve belonged to German rookie Andreas Wirth (#8 Wurges Windows and Doors). The 20-year-old Brooks Associates Racing driver led the morning practice session and led qualifying for a time before winding up with the second-fastest lap overall at 1:08.809 (86.692 mph). Wirth knows the Denver track well. He earned his first pole position and two top-four results last season in a Formula BMW USA doubleheader in the Mile High city, en route to winning the series title.  zzzz

Zwolsman said he struggled a bit with the grip levels on the popular street circuit, but the speedy Dutchman still managed to post the third-quickest lap of the day. He turned a time of 1:08.902 (86.575 mph) on his 24th and final lap of qualifying as he tries to win his fifth consecutive Atlantic pole position in his superb rookie season.

The man who’s chasing Zwolsman for the Atlantic championship lead finished right behind his rival in Friday’s qualifying rundown. Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil) entered this weekend trailing Zwolsman by 33 points in the series standings with just three races remaining. Kasemets was fourth in provisional qualifying with a top lap of 1:09.142 (86.275 mph).

The hottest driver in the Atlantic series over the past month carded the fifth-quickest time on Friday. Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing) of Great Britain has captured the last two series races to rise from fifth to third place in the season standings. Legge clocked in at 1:09.147 (86.268 mph) for Polestar Racing Group as she tries to continue her recent hot streak in her first visit to Denver.

Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design), Legge’s teammate in the Polestar stable, owned a top lap of 1:09.188 (86.217 mph) to finish sixth in provisional qualifying.

After tying his best career finish of second place in Round 9 at San Jose, David Martinez (#7 Roshfrans/US RaceTronics) took turns leading the first practice in Denver before finishing second in the morning session. The Mexican rookie wasn’t quite able to carry that same success into the afternoon as he finished seventh in qualifying at 1:09.219 (86.179 mph).

American Al Unser III (#10 BOSPoker.net/PKV Racing) finished 10th in his first Atlantic race in Denver last season and he earned an eighth-place qualifying result Friday, posting a time of 1:10.033 (85.177 mph). California rookie Kyle Kelley (#24 UP Racing.com) finished with a fast lap of 1:10.707 (84.365 mph) to rank ninth in qualifying for McAtee Motorsports, while Ryan Spencer-Smith (#2 DUC Housing Partners) posted a top-10 qualifying result in just his second Atlantic race, finishing 10th in the order at 1:11.024 (83.989 mph).
Pos Driver Car# Team   Lap Time Mph Behind Leader Behind Previous
1 Alan Sciuto 27 PR1 Motorsports   1:08.692 86.840 0.000 
2 Andreas Wirth  8 Brooks Associates Racing   1:08.809 86.692 0.117 
3 Charles Zwolsman 11 Condor Motorsports   1:08.902 86.575 0.210 0.093
4 Tonis Kasemets 6 Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis   1:09.142 86.275 0.450 0.240
5 Katherine Legge 12 Polestar Racing Group   1:09.147 86.268 0.455 0.005
6 Antoine Bessette 3 Polestar Racing Group   1:09.188 86.217 0.496 0.041
7 David Martinez 7 US RaceTronics   1:09.219 86.179 0.527 0.031
8 Al Unser 10 Brooks Associates Racing   1:10.033 85.177 1.341 0.814
9 Kyle Kelley 24 McAtee Motorsports   1:10.707 84.365 2.015 0.674
10 Ryan Spencer-Smith 2 Jensen Motorsport   1:11.024 83.989 2.332 0.317
11 Justin Sofio 15 Mathiasen Motorsports   1:11.549 83.372 2.857 0.525
12 Dan Selznick 49 The Room Store   1:11.579 83.337 2.887 0.030
13 Daryl Leiski 63 Bite Racing   1:12.578 82.190 3.886 0.999
14 Chris Souliotis 56 Bite Racing   1:12.742 82.005 4.050 0.164
15 Bob Siska 18 RJS Motorsport   1:12.766 81.978 4.074 0.024
16 Dan Cobb 9 Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis   1:13.067 81.640 4.375 0.301
17 Lee Atkins 48 Atkins Racing   1:13.537 81.118 4.845 0.470
18 Brian McAtee 19 McAtee Motorsports     0.000 

MB2 withdraws contract extension for Riggs MB2 withdraws contract extension for RiggsThe three-year contract extension MB2/MBV Motorsports has offered driver Scott Riggs to remain with what is now the No. 10 Chevrolet team has expired and the team is holding off offering another, team officials confirmed Friday.  MB2/MBV offered Riggs a three-year extension in May, but Riggs has been unwilling to sign it, waiting for the team to secure a new sponsor. Current sponsor Valvoline is leaving for Evernham Motorsports at season's end.

"We offered Scott a contract in May, and we met again in July and were still willing to execute it then," team general manager Jay Frye said. "The last time we met was (last month) at Pocono, and at that point we were not as willing to take the risk, depending on the sponsorship.

"At this point, we're not saying it's not going to happen – we would still like it to happen – but there are now other factors that will influence our decision."  More at ThatsRacin.com

Denver adds more grandstands Denver adds more grandstandsOrganizers of the 2005 Grand Prix of Denver announced today that additional grandstand reserved seating has been released. Reserved seating includes both Saturday and Sunday admission. Premier reserved seating is USD 84 for a ticket to Saturday's and Sunday's events.

"Tickets sales are tracking at three times what they were at this time last year, and we expect to see a spike in ticket sales right up until the main event on Sunday." according to Jim Freudenberg, General Manger of the Grand Prix of Denver.

Freudenberg sites improved accessibility and new amenities as the two biggest factors in the increase in sales over the 2004 event, which had more than 110,000 visitors over three days.

Fans will be able to follow the race from anywhere inside the circuit thanks to seven large screen video displays, including the largest trailer-mounted display - which is 22 feet by 30 feet - in North America. Across the top of each video display screen will be a race leader board so fans can easily follow the position of their favorite driver.

Additionally, pedestrian traffic flow at the Grand Prix of Denver will be expedited this year with the addition of two new pedestrian bridges, bringing the total to seven.

A Parade for Tony on Monday A Parade for Tony on MondayColumbus, IN will have a chance to show its support for Tony Stewart at 7:00pm Monday at a parade through downtown. Following the parade, Stewart, a Columbus native and winner of Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, will be recognized at a ceremony at City Hall. The parade will form at Washington and Eighth streets at the Moose Lodge and will travel down Washington Street where it will end at City Hall. If Sunday’s NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, NY in New York is rain-delayed until Monday, the parade would be postponed until Tuesday. Stewart is making a name for Columbus and Indiana by being the first Hoosier native to win a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1940. Stewart also leads the points standings in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series and was the series champion in 2002. The Republic
Lazzaro to run No. 37 at Watkins Glen Lazzaro to run No. 37 at Watkins GlenRoad coarse specialist Anthony Lazzaro will be filling in for NASCAR Nextel Cup regular Kevin Lepage for this weekends road coarse race at Watkins Glen. Lepage made the decision late this week to have Lazzaro fill in for him, as he thought it would be better for the team to put a more experienced road course driver in the driver's seat of the #37 Patrón Tequila Dodge Charger for Watkins Glen. "It was a tough decision to make because no driver wants to give up their seat at anytime for any race" says Lepage. "But I thought it would be better for the team to have a more experienced road course driver take the wheel for this weekend's race at the Glen. Anthony has a lot of experience on road courses and I thought he would be a good fill in for me. I know Anthony well; he drove for my Matrix Motorsports Busch Team back in 2003 at Kansas. Have no fear I will be back in the car at Michigan next week." Integrated Marketing Solutions
Ganassi announces 4-car team Ganassi announces 4-car teamChip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today its complete 2006 driver line up for its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup programs. The multi-car team will expand its Concord-based racing stable to four NEXTEL Cup Series teams in 2006 with drivers Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, Jamie McMurray and David Stremme piloting the Dodge Chargers.  "I'm extremely excited about our 2006 driver line-up," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "We began working toward this goal in 2002 when Felix and I signed David, and it continued with the addition of Reed, Jamie and Casey in 2003. This is a testament to Lorin Ranier and our driver development program as well as our unparalleled sponsor services team and the investments we've made over the past few years to achieve our goal of a four-car operation. It is my belief that these four drivers will help us accomplish our mission of winning races and adding value to our sponsor partners."
4th Team: Mears will continue his driving duties with CGRFS in 2006, but will pilot the Home123 Dodge Charger for a full season with backing from one of America's largest providers of home mortgage loans, New Century Mortgage subsidiary Home123. Mears is set to begin his fourth year with CGRFS next season after serving as driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge since 2003.
#41 Team: Having already notched victories at Nashville and Gateway, and establishing himself a championship contender in his first full season of NASCAR Busch Series racing for CGRFS in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge, Sorenson's reward will come in the form of a full-time NEXTEL Cup Series ride in 2006 behind the wheel of the #41 Target Dodge. The 19-year-old rookie will remain the driver of the Discount Tire Busch machine next season, and will benefit significantly from running a full slate of Busch and Cup Series races in 2006.
#40 Team: As previously announced, Stremme will be piloting the #40 Coors Light and #40 Lonestar Steakhouse & Saloon Dodges for 2006 in the NEXTEL Cup Series for CGRFS. Stremme, the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, will be making a run at the NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year honors alongside Sorenson. And if last weekend's Busch Series performances at Indianapolis Raceway Park were any indication of things to come, the two will have plenty for the competition as they stand third (Sorenson) and eighth (Stremme) in the championship standings.
#42 Team: As the team's leading contender for 2005's edition of "The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup," McMurray (11th) will again pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in his fourth year of tenure at CGRFS. The former NEXTEL Cup Series race winner will return to the familiar black and red Dodge Charger with the Texaco/Havoline sponsorship he's enjoyed every season at CGRFS since joining the squad in 2003. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR
It's crowded atop LMP2 point standings It's crowded atop LMP2 point standingsClint Field believes in old-time baseball pitcher Satchel Paige’s advice: “Don’t look back, something may be gaining on you.”

Field, the 22-year-old primary pilot in the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola, leads the class with 76 points. The Marion, Ohio, native has three wins in five starts, triumphing at Road Atlanta, Infineon and Portland, the latter two back-to-back.

But with four events to go on the ALMS calendar, including next week’s Generac 500 at Road America (August 19-21), Field’s advantage is far from safe.

Directly in his rear view mirror sits the duo of Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo in the No. 8 B-K Motorsports Mazda-powered Courage, tied with 65 points. Right behind them is the Miracle Motorsports twosome of Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry with 62. The standings are the same in the team championship. zzzz

Several other class titles are tight, as well. Courage leads Lola by 22 points in the chassis battle, and Goodyear is 18 points up on Kumho in the tire battle. The only race that isn’t close is the engine battle. AER leads Mazda by 57 points and could clinch next week.

Bach may have an edge going into Road America. It’s his home track, not too far down the road from his Saukville, Wis., hometown and the place where he began racing go-karts at age 8.

Whichever team grabs the upper hand at Road America will do so over the longest layout in the ALMS. Road America stretches out to just over four miles with 12 turns, one of the most demanding circuits, but one drivers enjoy.

“It’s a great place for both the drivers and the cars,” says Field, whose co-pilot Liz Halliday has been signed for the remainder of the year. “You can really let it out up there.”

Bach and Cosmo, of West Palm Beach, Fla., are both newcomers to the ALMS this year, though Cosmo ran at Sebring in 2003. They’ve made five consecutive trips to the podium, with a win at Mid-Ohio, third-place finishes at Lime Rock and Infineon, and runner-up results at Portland and Road Atlanta.

“We hope that we’re hitting our stride as the season moves into the home stretch,” said Bach. “This is the time of year where all the teams forget about what might have happened earlier on and concentrate on the points that are there for the taking these last four races.”

Bucknum and McMurry joined forces with John Macaluso for 2005 and might wonder “What if?” thus far. Fourteen points back of Field, and three behind Bach and Cosmo, the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage is still in the thick of the battle despite some surreal events that have befallen them thus far.

At Portland, Bucknum and McMurry held a sizable early-race lead only to see the car bow out with mechanical failure, knocking them down the podium into third position. At Mid-Ohio, the team was disqualified after Bucknum drove more than the allowable two hours for any one driver.

“We’ve had our share of unusual things happen to us, that’s for sure,” Bucknum said. “I just hope there’s smooth sailing for us the rest of the way. Our car’s certainly competitive enough to win the championship.”

Field, Bach and Cosmo all feel the same way. Four races in the next 60 days will tell the story.

The Generac 500 at Road America, Round 7 of the 2005 ALMS, is set for 3 p.m. EDT Aug. 21 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel. Qualifying is scheduled for 2:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 20. American Le Mans Radio, and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com. ALMS

Allstate 400 highest rated TV program Allstate 400 highest rated TV programNBC Sports' broadcast of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was the highest-rated sports show on television the weekend of Aug. 5-7, and fans will get a chance to watch even more of Tony Stewart's celebration of his coveted victory during NBC's NASCAR coverage this weekend.

The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7 earned a 6.2 national rating, up 2 percent over the 2004 race. It was the second-highest rated Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in the 12-year history of the event, and an event-record number of households tuned into this year's race.

Indiana native and resident Stewart recorded an emotional victory at the historic track, with a lengthy and memorable celebration after the checkered flag. Since the race ran longer than usual due to 10 caution periods, NBC's broadcast ended after Stewart's post-race interview with NBC pit reporter Allen Bestwick.

So NBC will show highlights of Stewart's post-race celebration with crew members, family and friends during its pre-race show before the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen at 1 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, Aug. 14.

Bourdais leads opening practice in Denver Bourdais leads opening practice in DenverSebastien Bourdais resumed his love affair with Denver by topping opening practice Friday morning for Sunday's Champ Car Denver GP in his Newman/Haas Lola/Ford.  Following Bourdais were Forsythe Racing teammates Paul Tracy and Mario Dominguez. Oriol Servia and an improving Nelson Philippe rounded out the top-5.  A lot of people threw Philippe under the bus last year but he is opening eyes this year with some solid performances and is now right there or ahead of the highly rated Andrew Ranger, his teammate.  One must remember just how young both Philippe and Ranger are.  Future superstars?  Time will tell.

Provisional qualifying is up this afternoon.  There is a chance of passing thunderstorms, but right now it looks OK.

Pos Driver # Lap Time Mph Behind Leader Behind Previous
1 S. Bourdais 1 1:00.281 98.957   
2 P. Tracy 3 1:00.576 98.475 0.295 
3 M. Dominguez 7 1:01.032 97.739 0.751 0.456
4 O. Servia 2 1:01.388 97.172 1.107 0.356
5 C. da Matta 21 1:01.415 97.129 1.134 0.027
6 N. Philippe 34 1:01.446 97.080 1.165 0.031
7 A. Allmendinger 10 1:01.649 96.761 1.368 0.203
8 J. Wilson 9 1:01.659 96.745 1.378 0.010
9 R. Hunter-Reay 31 1:01.678 96.715 1.397 0.019
10 T. Glock 8 1:01.746 96.609 1.465 0.068
11 R. Lavin 55 1:01.748 96.606 1.467 0.002
12 J. Vasser 12 1:01.872 96.412 1.591 0.124
13 A. Tagliani 15 1:01.912 96.350 1.631 0.040
14 R. Sperafico 11 1:01.984 96.238 1.703 0.072
15 R. Bremer 19 1:02.246 95.833 1.965 0.262
16 B. Wirdheim 4 1:02.426 95.556 2.145 0.180
17 A. Ranger 27 1:03.328 94.195 3.047 0.902
18 M. Marshall 5 1:03.618 93.766 3.337 0.290

Parnelli Jones lends name to race Parnelli Jones lends name to raceUSAC and The Milwaukee Mile officials announced yesterday the name of the Aug. 27 Valvoline National Sprint Car Series race as the "Parnelli Jones Classic." Jones, the 1963 Indianapolis 500 champion and USAC record-holder in terms of wins at the historic Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, won the last USAC-sanctioned Sprint car race at the track in 1960. "I always enjoyed coming to The Milwaukee Mile and I've had a lot of success there," Jones recalls.
Teammates feel burned by Danica's spotlight Teammates feel burned by Danica's spotlightThis Globe and Mail article gives a summary of the publicity Danica Patrick has been getting since Indy and the bad blood it has created. At Kentucky Speedway, which usually puts up three billboards around the area for the IRL race, this year, they've put up 15 billboards, all with Danica's image.". Hopefully, nobody will be offended. It is interesting to note that so far this year's ticket sales are below last. Wonder what it cost the race track for the 15 billboards?
AutoZone named as sponsor of NASCAR show AutoZone named as sponsor of NASCAR showAutoZone Inc. has signed on as a co-sponsor for a TV reality show about NASCAR Craftsman Truck series racing.  AutoZone will feature prominently in the Discovery Channel show "Driver X: Race for the Ride," which premiers Oct. 31. The show focuses on a racing team's search for its next driver. As a sponsor, along with Subway and Yellow Book, AutoZone (NYSE: AZO) logos will appear on trucks, drivers' uniforms and transporters, and the Memphis-based company will also receive special advertising in each episode.

"'Driver X: Race for the Ride' is a unique and exciting vehicle for us to reach our customers," said Bill Rhodes, president and CEO of AutoZone, in a statement. "As the title sponsor of the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Series and the AutoZone No. 22 car driven by Kenny Wallace in the NASCAR Busch Series, we have many loyal NASCAR fans as customers. And, we are excited at the prospect of being involved with a project that could identify the next NASCAR superstar."

Big crowd expected for Kentucky race Big crowd expected for Kentucky raceKentucky Speedway publicist Mike Schmaltz said nearly 50,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday's IRL race and that track officials expect an attendance of about 55,000. Last summer's IRL stop drew a track-record 66,089.
Turkish GP - BMW Williams - Preview Turkish GP - BMW Williams - PreviewThe silence of the summer break will be shattered next weekend when the lights go green for the 14th round of the season, the Turkish Grand Prix. For the first time in its history, the sport will visit Istanbul and the newly constructed Otodrom track. Situated on the Asian side of the historical Bosphorus region, the new circuit will be a venture into the unknown for all the teams, and will bring a host of challenges for all to overcome.

Although the BMW WilliamsF1 Team has not had the opportunity to test due to the August test ban, work has continued relentlessly on the FW27 in an effort to further its performance in preparation for a competitive final stage of the season. zzzz

Nick Heidfeld
"I’m looking forward to the first Turkish Grand Prix for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve never been to Turkey before so I’m excited about visiting a new country. That is probably one of the best things about having a career in Formula One, you get the opportunity to see places you may not have done otherwise. Secondly, I’m really looking forward to driving the circuit. There’s nothing more exciting for a driver than racing on a new track."
"From everything I’ve heard, the Otodrom sounds really interesting. It has plenty of gradient changes, which I particularly like. Obviously we’re going to have to deal with Turkey’s considerable heat, but I’ve never had a problem with that in the past. The ability to prepare for a new circuit is, of course, limited. I’ve bought the Playstation game but, before I go to Turkey, I’ll also be doing some work in our simulator at Grove."

Mark Webber
"I always look forward to new venues. Although there are a lot of races on this year’s calendar, it’s rare that we go to new circuits which challenge the drivers. I think, though, that Istanbul will do exactly that. I visited the circuit at the start of 2004 and, although they had only just started excavating the site, it looked like it was going to have some good characteristics and have the potential for a great Formula One track.”

“Looking at the data now, the circuit appears to have a lot of slow corners, interspersed with long straights. Whether this will provide overtaking opportunities, we will have to wait and see. The circuit’s organizers have put so much effort into bringing F1 to Turkey, I really hope that the locals get behind the race so we can put on a good show for them and the rest of the world."

"Both Nick and I scored points in the last race in Budapest, and I hope we can continue to make progress at Istanbul so we can challenge for podiums again before the end of the season."
Sam Michael, Williams Technical Director
"Although we have had a three week break since Budapest, everyone at Grove has been working hard to bring development parts for the FW27 to Istanbul. We made a good step in performance at the last race and we intend to continue that trend in Turkey."

"Istanbul is a completely new circuit but this doesn’t stop us from analyzing certain aspects to feed into our simulation tools. From these tools, we can predict the setup, downforce level, brake severity, cooling level and the effect on tire compounds. We are expecting high ambient temperatures, perhaps up to 40°C, which, with no cloud cover, will result in track temperatures reaching around 55° C. In terms of strategy and overtaking opportunities, Istanbul will again present a new challenge for the engineers and the drivers."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director
"We will be competing in Istanbul with the BMW P84/5 engines we used in Budapest, which means we have to cope with two hot races in a row. This places extreme demands on reliability, particularly as the circuit has a number of elevations. In all likeliness, we will be using the largest air intakes possible at the Turkish Grand Prix, as we did in Hungary."

"We are very much looking forward to Turkey’s first Formula One race, and to visiting such a great city. A new Grand Prix is more than just another race, it means new markets and new opportunities, and as such it will help safeguard the future of Formula One." Press Release BMW Williams

Of course Bernie wants to return to Indy Of course Bernie wants to return to IndyThis Indy Star article talks about Bernie Ecclestone's desire to come back to Indy for the final year of the current F1 contract and to do another 5 year deal. Meanwhile the track is remaining coy to a return, very non-committal. Why? Because Bernie is making a lot of money from the event (he always does) and the Speedway is losing their shirt. We suspect the Speedway will play hardball and want a better financial deal (i.e. lower sanction fee) given what happened last year and given they can't continue to operate in the red.
Denver media surrounding Champ Car race weekend Denver media surrounding Champ Car race weekendThe media surrounding this year's Denver GP has been largely positive, and it will get more positive as the weekend goes on.
Rocky Mountain News - The race and then some
Rocky Mountain News - At 36 Tracy still racing like a Champ ("I am totally happy being in the Champ Car World Series," Tracy said. "I get to race in Canada three times a year, which is very important to me and I just love to road race.")
Denver Post - Legge enjoying life in the fast lane
The character of Istanbul The character of IstanbulThis month, Formula 1 touches down in one of the world's most intriguing and entertaining cities, Istanbul. Although this will be Panasonic Toyota Racing's first visit, Toyota's presence in Turkey has blossomed rapidly in recent years.

From small beginnings as an importer, Toyota Turkey now has a nationwide dealer network offering full service back-up, and a production facility where it builds the Sedan, Family (saloon and estate) and Verso models of the Corolla, which are exported to over 30 nations. The factory in Adapazari has capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year and employs the renowned Toyota Production System (TPS) for quality and efficiency. It's also one of the largest manufacturing sites in Turkey and ranks as one of Toyota's 10 biggest production plants outside Japan.

Back to Istanbul, which will play host to the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix on 21 August, there can be few places in the world where you can sample the delights of two continents in one bustling city, and none as captivating as Istanbul.

This ancient metropolis straddles the busy Bosphorus Strait that serves as a natural partition between Europe and Asia, connecting the Black Sea to the Aegean and finally the Mediterranean. It is mapped out over seven rolling hills and boasts views capable of seducing the most world weary traveler with a skyline studded by the domes and minarets of mosques. zzzz
Down below the streets buzz with the sounds of street vendors, gossiping locals and itinerant tourists, deadened only by the inescapable thrum of heavy traffic. Yet the city's most resonant aural experience is the cries of the muezzins as they call the city's Islamic contingent to prayer, seemingly dueling for vocal superiority.

Despite no longer being the capital – that honor now falls to Ankara 450km to the east – Istanbul is unmistakably the cultural and historical heart of Turkey. The area was settled as early as 1500BC, but it was in the seventh century BC that the Greek King Byzas established Byzantium, laying Istanbul's foundations in the process.

The city subsequently fell under Roman control and, in 306AD, Constantine the Great proclaimed it New Rome and capital of the entire empire. The name never stuck, though, and Constantinople was born. Three hundred year later the city was destroyed by riots, but this gave rise to some of its greatest architectural triumphs.

In 1453, Sultan Mehmet II took control of the city, renamed it Istanbul and made it capital of the vast Ottoman Empire. It was only deposed when, in 1923, General Mustafa Kemal – better known as Atatürk ('Father Turk') – founded the modern Turkish Republic and decided to start afresh further inland.

Nowadays, Istanbul is a colorful, animated metropolis where ancient traditions and time-honored craftsmanship coexist with mobile phones and designer labels. At times it is evocative of Vienna or Prague, especially when one of the city's antique trams clatters past.

Sultanahmet is the foremost sightseeing destination and heart of the old city. Here, you can admire the sublime architectural legacies of the Byzantine and Ottoman eras before ambling off up one of the narrow streets where crusaders and janissaries once marched to take time out at a kahvehane for a glass of traditional apple tea.

The Hagia Sophia cathedral is one of Sultanahmet's greatest attractions. Dreamt up by the Emperor Justinian as a decisive display of Christian piety, it was later rededicated as a Mosque and then as a museum. Its elaborate interior features a magnificent 30m- wide domed ceiling, which soars heavenward lit by the reflected light of 30 million gold tessarae.

The Blue Mosque's interior is similarly impressive with 260 stained glass windows and one of the largest prayer areas and courtyards of any mosque. The exterior, meanwhile, is garnished with no fewer than six minarets and more voluptuous domes than you can readily count.

Nearby is the ultimate example of Ottoman grandeur, the Topkapi Palace, where the city's rulers resided for 400 years. Its palatial edifice conceals a myriad of chambers, four courts and the sultan's private quarters, the harem, all furnished with exquisite textiles and antiques.

More unusual is the Basilica Cistern, a vast sixth century underground reservoir which provides a cool respite from the summer sun and once held 80,000 cubic meters of water.

No trip to Istanbul would be complete without a trip to the Grand Bazaar, which houses 4000 shops selling everything from fine carpets and kilim (rugs) to ornate nargile (water pipes) and silverware. Prices are negotiable and bargaining expected, but you can always simply enjoy your purchase safe in the knowledge that prices are among the cheapest in Europe.

There are also hip bars and restaurants serving cocktails and haute cuisine. Favorite locations are the city's rooftops and in the opulent villas that once played host to the sultans and their guests in the Besiktas and Ortaköy districts. They still welcome Istanbul's social elite, but they have been joined by young fashionable types who have lira to spend and are in a mood to party.

That's not to say these exotic venues are dens of iniquity, the inspirational Istanbulus are far too cool for that. Instead, they concentrate on having fun while looking good, rarely indulging on a scale their counterparts in, say, London might be familiar with.

The local alcoholic specialty is raki, an aniseed-flavored liqueur generally served with ice and water as an accompaniment to meze, which is a banquet of delicious appetizers. Istanbul's cuisine is a fabulous fusion of Mediterranean and traditional Turkish flavors. Fresh seafood is high on the menu of every establishment and is almost always uniformly good. Sushi is growing in popularity, too.

In all, Istanbul is an exquisite synthesis of Europe and Asia, spanning the cultural divides of two continents with its own distinctive blend of first-rate hospitality, stunning scenery and local zest. It's unique and sure to find a place in the heart of any Formula 1 fan. Toyota

Tilke explains the Istanbul challenge Tilke explains the Istanbul challengeFormula One's current summer break will come to an end on 21st August, the day of the first ever Turkish Grand Prix. The track was planned and built by Hermann Tilke, a German architect. Tilke is already looking forward to the inaugural event. One of his main aims was to integrate a slight touch of Turkey.

“We used some oriental elements, which are not seen too often any more in the country, as Turkey has become fairly modern in architectural terms,” he says. (Track diagram courtesy eTracks Online)

The 5.340 kilometer circuit poses a significant driving challenge, too. “There is a 180 degree corner consisting of several straight segments, therefore not having a flowing radius,” Tilke explains. “It's not easy to meet the racing line there. If a driver manages to do so, he can stay on full throttle, but if not, he will have to make corrections and lose a lot of time.”

However, Tilke is not expecting to earn unanimous applause for his creation. “Of course there will always be drivers opposed to a new track,” he adds, “but once the drivers start to complain, one has to assume that it is a challenging and good circuit.” WilliamsF1

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Webber 'no' to Renault swap
Jordan rumors quashed
Minardi upbeat about '06
Can Artam to sign '06 F1 deal
'B' Jordan to roll at Monza
F1 to howl in Adelaide again
'I'm not quitting' - Stoddart 'I'm not quitting' - StoddartMinardi principal and owner Paul Stoddart says quitting formula one is not on his radar.

But the Australian, seemingly always on the brink of survival in the sport's paddock, admitted that he was talking to a potential team buyer.

''It's the same speculation that comes round every year,'' he said on a business visit to Melbourne for his new airline OzJet.  ''Quite often it's the prospective purchasers who leak the stories.''

Perhaps for the first time since buying the little Faenza based squad in 2001, though, Minardi is doing alright.  Stoddart confirmed that, unlike in the past, the back of the grid team - financially - is able to race on.

He would, however, sell to a manufacturer, but only for the sake of his staff.  ''One day it might happen,'' 'Stoddy' admitted, ''but not yet.''

A DVD and a PlayStation A DVD and a PlayStationA DVD and a PlayStation are helping Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella get to grips with Turkey's brand new grand prix track.

After a week with his family in Oviedo (Spain), 24-year-old title leader Alonso slumped into his lounge chair to get to work ahead of his inaugural trip to Istanbul -- by switching on his video console.

''I've been able to do several laps,'' the Renault driver - who did the same for Shanghai last year - said of the latest F1 PlayStation game.

''Of course, the problem is that you end up cutting the chicanes and overtaking in the grass!''

Roman teammate Giancarlo Fisichella, on the other hand, also turned to modern audio-visual aids to teach him about Hermann Tilke's up-and-down, 5.340 km Tuzla layout.

After a rest on his boat in the Mediterranean, he put a Renault-supplied DVD in the player.  ''It (shows) some laps in a road car,'' Fisichella explained, ''so I can start to look at the corners, the elevation.  That's a good start.''

Team Australia's Tagliani celebrates 100th Champ Car start Team Australia's Tagliani celebrates 100th Champ Car start4th fastest in his first ever event.

Now in his sixth season in the Champ Car World Series, Tagliani has amassed 12 podiums (including 2 this year for Team Australia), four pole positions and earned his first victory at Road America in 2004.

After eight races in 2005, Tagliani is eighth in the points standings but lies only 2 points behind AJ Allmendinger in 5th place zzzz.

At the last round, Tagliani and team-mate Marcus Marshall suffered a series of push rod failures over the rough track surface at the San Jose Grand Prix.

In preparation for this weekend's Denver event, the duo headed to Australia where they tested for Team Australia co-owner Craig Gore's WPS Racing V8 Supercar team. Tagliani and Marshall will compete together in the two traditional Australian endurance races at Sandown and Bathurst. Bam Media
F1 drivers propose new qualifying format F1 drivers propose new qualifying formatFormula One drivers have come up with their own proposal for qualifying next season.  The drivers would like to see a return to low-fuel runs with the added option of a second flying lap to try and improve upon their qualifying time, according to Autosport magazine.

According to a letter sent by FIA president Max Mosley to the F1 team bosses, the drivers would continue the existing single-lap session with a few modifications. The starting order would be determined by the times set in the final free practice session on Saturday, rather than the order of finish in the previous race.   Qualifying would also be run on low-fuel and each driver would have the chance at a second flying lap to try and improve upon his time. All of this would still take place within the one hour time limit on Saturday.

Mosley says if the plan gets the full support of the teams then the FIA will "prepare a detailed proposal to fit all the laps into the hour".

Marc Gene shakes down Ferrari for Turkey Marc Gene shakes down Ferrari for TurkeyToday, at the Fiorano circuit, Marc Gene carried out the shakedown of the cars that Scuderia Ferrari will use in the forthcoming Turkish Grand Prix, scheduled to take place over the weekend of 21st August.  The Spanish test driver completed a total of 26 laps, with a best time of 1'07"417.  The Scuderia's F2005 cars will be transported to Turkey by sea, on board a ship that sails from Trieste tomorrow, heading for Istanbul.
Not too worried if Tracy leaves Not too worried if Tracy leavesA reader points out, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Once again, Chicken Little is running around screaming that the sky is falling! Paul Tracy leaving CCWS would spell sure doom for the series! Sort of like Danica Patrick will single-handedly save the IRL. Sort of like Patrick Carpentier going to the IRL would spell total doom for the Canadian races. Sort of like Adrian Fernandez or Michel Jourdain leaving ruining the Mexico races and becoming big NASCAR stars overnight.  Right.

Obviously Paul is itching to try NASCAR and other racing forms - a la Mario Andretti, understandable. Why not? Also, who is to say that this is all not part and parcel of ongoing re-negotiations on Paul's part? I sure would look around and explore my value, it's the responsible thing to do. If he has that much value to Champ Car teams, they will step up and pay him. He also is realizing that the competition in CCWS is going to get tougher and tougher with each passing year, especially if they continue to attract top-notch road racing talent from around the world. Why not check out pastures where you could still be competitive and not wait to see your slide into nothingness if you stick around too long. Michael Schumacher is probably having to make the same decisions as we speak - only in his case it's just a matter of retirement - period. No other racing series to mess around with. I still believe that Michael needs that shot at 100 wins.

If Paul goes NASCAR full time it does nothing that much additional to help boost NASCAR. When Zanardi, and all the others left CCWS, sure it is a bit disappointing, but it all goes on, doesn't it? New drivers and new stars fill the gaps. Just like back when Paul first came to CART. Werner Fritz, Trevor, Wisconsin

Danica Patrick, Buddy Rice Ready to Motor Around Ghirardelli Square Danica Patrick, Buddy Rice Ready to Motor Around Ghirardelli SquareThe IRL IndyCar Series® will take over historic Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco on Wednesday, Aug. 24, with the first Chocolate Mini-Grand Prix.  Star drivers Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice will pilot their Argent Mortgage/Pioneer open-wheel cars in a low-speed grand prix, which will circle the four square blocks around Ghirardelli Square. The two drivers will be joined by Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ driver Travis Gregg (Sam Schmidt Motorsports) in the three-car caravan that will do three or four laps. The drive will take place at 11:30 a.m.

These will be the same machines you will see on the track later in the week at the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway (Aug. 26-28). Come by and check out these amazing cars up-close, and also take part in a driver autograph session that will take place in the courtyard at Ghirardelli Square later that day.

Gollin Wins the Pole at the Glen Gollin Wins the Pole at the GlenFor the third-consecutive Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race, the driver starting from the pole position will be doing so for the first time in his Rolex Series career, as Italian hotshoe Fabrizio Gollin claimed the top starting spot for Friday’s CompUSA 200 at The Glen (SPEED Channel, 10 p.m. ET).

Driving Doran Racing’s gold and purple No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve Ford Doran, Gollin logged a best lap of 1:09.409 (128.930 mph) in Thursday’s qualifying session to secure his spot on the inside of the front row. Gollin followed No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley driver Alex Gurney—who claimed his first pole two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park—and No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley car owner and driver Wayne Taylor—who took his first pole for June’s Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway—to extend the streak of first-time pole winners. Gollin will share the No. 77 machine with his countryman, Matteo Bobbi. zzzz

It will not be Gollin’s first time on the front row for a Rolex Series event, however, as he placed the No. 77 second on the grid for the Ferrari Maserati 400 at California Speedway in April. The pole position was the first for the Doran team since Bill Auberlen started the 2003 Rolex Series season finale at Daytona from the inside of the front row, and is the first pole for a Ford-powered Daytona Prototype since Scott Maxwell started the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona from the pole in a Ford Multimatic. The pole comes in just the second race for the Doran team since switching from Lexus to Ford engines.

“We understand with a new engine, we have more torque,” Gollin said. “It is easier to find a better set up, because we can use a little more downforce. Especially with the race, it is easier to overtake a GT car through acceleration rather than top speed.”

Despite the fact that he crashed to bring the Daytona Prototype qualifying session to a premature conclusion, Germany’s Jorg Bergmeister will start from the outside of the front row in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley with a best lap at 1:08.523 (128.716 mph). Bergmeister matched his best qualifying performance of the season, as he also started second for the Road & Track 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May, and will be the second-consecutive race that the No. 66 will start from the second position. Christian Fittipaldi also rolled off from the outside of the front row at Barber Motorsports Park.

“The car is damaged quite badly, but I hope that the guys can fix it for tomorrow,” Bergmeister said. “I feel bad for them. They were on the radio telling me to push harder, which I tried. Unfortunately, when I was braking into the last corner, I slipped a little on the brake. There was grip tape missing on the brake (pedal) and it just slipped off. I was a little too quick going into the turn and I lost the car. Tough luck. We had a great car all day. We were fastest in both practice sessions, and the car felt great. I think I would have had the shot at the pole.”

Michael McDowell equaled his career-best qualifying performance and will start third for the CompUSA 200 with a lap at 1:08.739 (128.311 mph) in the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley. McDowell also started third for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June, but today’s qualifying performance came on the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International “short course” as opposed to the 3.4-mile long circuit in June. McDowell and co-driver Memo Gidley head into Friday’s race on the heels of a career-best second-place result in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park.

Luis Diaz made it four different engine manufacturers in the top four starting positions as he placed his No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley on the outside of Row 2 with a lap at 1:08.901 (128.010 mph). It was the eighth top-four qualifying performance in nine races this season for Diaz and co-driver Scott Pruett.

Daytona Prototype points co-leader Wayne Taylor completed the top five on the starting grid with a best lap of 1:09.085 (127.669 mph). Taylor and co-driver Max Angelelli lead the Rolex Series with three victories through the first eight races of the 2005 campaign, but the duo has yet to win in three previous Daytona Prototype appearances at Watkins Glen International. The top eight cars qualified within one second of the pole-winning time.

SavyTel to sponsor Andrew Ranger SavyTel to sponsor Andrew RangerSavyTel Communications Inc., a growing Quebec-based multinational company specializing in IP telephones, announced today it has signed on as a sponsor of Andrew Ranger, a Canadian driver in his rookie season in the Champ Car World Series. The sponsorship deal will see Ranger bear the branding of SavyTel at the next two races in the series - the Grand Prix of Denver, August 12-14 and Molson Indy Montreal, August 26-28.

SavyTel Communications, which has its head office in Ville St-Laurent, Quebec, is a new-generation telephone company that provides innovative voice and advanced real time communication services over the Internet. By leveraging the power of the Internet, SavyTel delivers high-quality domestic and international long distance calling services to subscribers at a fraction of the cost of traditional carriers. SavyTel’s services are marked by their practicality, user-friendliness and superior technology.

 “We firmly believe the synergies between SavyTel and a young, dynamic driver such as Andrew Ranger make this a partnership vehicle that is perfectly tailored to the promoting of our products and services,” said Samir Shukr, president and founder of SavyTel Communications Inc. “Aligning ourselves with Andrew will enable us to well position our company.”

SavyTel’s sponsorship and expression of confidence arrives at an opportune time in the Champ Car season for Ranger. “It’s an honor for me to be able to team up with SavyTel for the races in Denver and Montreal,” stated Ranger. “As one of the new generation of companies, SavyTel is a fresh, vibrant force in the market. Like my race car, SavyTel is on the cutting edge of technology.”

Ranger’s debut season in the Champ Car series has been impressive. The Roxton Pond, Quebec native earned a second-place podium finish in only his second Champ Car start, a race held in Monterrey, Mexico. In doing so, he became the youngest driver in the history of the series to make it to the podium.

Ho-Pin Tung's Rotterdam run Ho-Pin Tung's Rotterdam runFormula One broke the silence of the summer break last Sunday when the BMW WilliamsF1 Team hit the streets of Rotterdam and re-awoke the Netherlands’ passion for the sport. Known as 'Monaco on the Maas,' the event boasted a host of motorsport demonstrations, including cars from Le Mans and the Historic Grand Prix series. BMW Williams had an FW26 on hand driven by Dutch born Chinese racer, Ho-Pin Tung while other F1 action included the two Minardi’s of Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos.

In his FW26, Ho-Pin Tung wowed the 500,000-strong crowd when he took to the 3.4km temporary street circuit in the heart of Rotterdam, marking the first time Formula One has visited the city.

Despite torrential rain, enthusiasm for Monaco on the Maas could not be dampened, with the Formula One pilots receiving standing ovations for their efforts in the driving rain.

Of the experience, Tung commented, “This really was one of the most amazing events I’ve had the privilege to be a part of. I tested the Williams BMW in 2003, but this is totally different. To demonstrate the magic of a Formula One car in front of your home fans is truly special and won’t be something I’ll ever forget.”

The Rotterdam event was the third time the team has taken the F1 car out of its natural environment of the race track and displayed the spirit of Formula One in front of a city audience.

Ahead of this year’s Australian season opener, Mark Webber pounded the concrete of Sydney Harbor Bridge and downtown Melbourne on behalf of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. Similar events are in the pipeline, including potential demonstrations in Edinburgh and Singapore later in the year. BMW Williams

OMV oil and gas group heading to F1 OMV oil and gas group heading to F1OMV, Central Eastern Europe’s leading oil and gas group, is to make its debut as trackside advertiser at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul on August 21st. A strong OMV trackside branding will be present during the event. The test run should bring more information and details in prior to final decisions for an enhancement in additional corporate sponsorship projects.

400 free tickets for the Grand Prix will be distributed through Turkish media outlets to contestants who will have to answer one question in a simple quiz.

Cooperation between OMV and Turkey have been long standing. “We are proud to be a part in Turkey’s first [Grand Prix]," explained OMV CEO Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer. "Turkey is a market with high potential and we are very glad that we have established first partnerships here, especially via our partner Botas by pursuing the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline. We are also happy to be able to invite 400 people to Turkey’s first Grand Prix."

A promotion for the giveaway of 400 tickets will start in the Turkish media from August 11th. Readers will be invited to answer by SMS a simple question concerning the OMV, and those who send in the first 200 correct answers will each receive a pair of tickets to the Grand Prix event on Sunday 21st of August. OMV

Toccacelo joins Minardi Toccacelo joins MinardiMinardi today announced that Enrico Toccacelo is to become the Faenza squad’s official Friday Test and Reserve Driver, commencing at next weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.

The Italian born and domiciled racer thus makes the final step to Formula One after a consistent rise through the lower motor racing formulae, his most impressive achievement to date being his second- place ranking in the final standings of the hard-fought 2004 FIA F3000 International Championship.

“This is a great opportunity for me, although it has all come together so quickly, I still can’t quite believe it,” commented Toccacelo. “This is, however, the moment that all young racing drivers are working towards, and I am determined to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can, while doing the best possible job for the team. Minardi has shown many times that it is an excellent place for a driver to start his Formula One career, and I intend to make the most of this opportunity.”

Minardi F1 Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, says, “We are very pleased to have Enrico join us as official Friday test driver. He has a strong track record in a number of formulae, and this will be an excellent way for him to begin to get to grips with Formula One. I’m equally sure he will soon be able to start providing useful data to the team’s technical staff. The Minardi Cosworth PS05 has already shown that it has considerable potential, and I’m sure the inclusion of Enrico in our driver line-up will help to accelerate the development process.” Minardi

Danica is everywhere Danica is everywhereUPDATE #2 This is how you put a drivers face out in front of the public so everyone recognizes them.  A billboard ad on the perimeter highway around Cincinnati shows the picture of three drivers. Danica in the middle and enlarged with Hornish Jr. and Wheldon in the foreground on both of her sides. Furthermore, Hornish's and Wheldon's name are written in white, while Danica's is in a larger font and yellow.  The billboard is located immediately after you cross into Indiana from Ohio on Hwy 275 (perimeter around Cincinnati), near exit #16, on the Northwest side of town heading west. It is the very first billboard you see when entering into Indiana. 08/06/05 To the right is a copy of the furniture ad featuring Danica Patrick. 08/06/05 Friday's Bend Bulletin......a local newspaper in Oregon had a full page ad for Norwalk furniture on the back of its "Our Town" magazine section in the newspaper. They have a local Norwalk furniture dealer. The full page ad is all about Danica Patrick with the major picture having her in a dress holding a dog next to a furniture piece and a smaller picture of her in a drivers suit with her car. It says "Norwalk is proud to sponsor Danica Patrick." The reason we tell you this is to sense the extent the sponsors go to to use Danica in their advertising....they must sense that she is a household name even in Bend, Oregon.
Industry News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Zippo 200
Watkins Glen, NY
9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen
Watkins Glen, NY
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Sirius Satellite Radio at  the Glen
Watkins Glen, NY
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Zippo 200
Watkins Glen, NY
2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (Live) NBC
ARCA 200
Nashville, TN
2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Toyota Tundra 200
Nashville, TN
5:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
For a complete listing of Saturday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.
Tracy impressive in NASCAR debut Tracy impressive in NASCAR debutAccording to this Detroit Free Press article, Champ Car driver Paul Tracy can successfully jump from open-wheel racing to NASCAR's premier series.  That's the opinion of Richard Childress Racing's Bobby Leslie, the crew chief who helped oversee Tracy's two-day Nextel Cup test at Michigan International Speedway this week.  "Paul was way ahead of what we expected," Leslie said during a short break Tuesday afternoon when Tracy met the news media at MIS. "And we expected a lot."

Tracy, the 2003 CART champion, is considering a move to Nextel Cup in 2006. The Canadian driver, 36, is on a race-to-race deal with Forsythe Championship Racing in the Champ Car World Series this year. Leslie thinks Tracy can confidently make the transition from the nimble Indy-style cars to the heavier, less aerodynamic Cup cars, which Leslie rates as harder to drive.

"Paul has adapted very quickly to a stock car," Leslie said. "He came into the test really open-minded and paid attention to what he was told. He's got a lot of respect for his race car, and that's the difference I see in him to other open-wheel drivers who've crossed over."

Roush Racing young gun Carl Edwards, who is 10th in Cup points, also tested at MIS Tuesday, along with Jeff Gordon, Sterling Marlin, Dale Jarrett and Jeremy Mayfield.  Edwards, 25, welcomed the chance to race against Tracy, whom he has watched on TV but never met.  "I think it would be awesome to have him here," said Edwards. "Paul Tracy seems like a pretty tough dude."

Tracy said he'd done what he started out to do in Champ Car -- win races and a championship. "I need to try something different to keep my motivation high," said Tracy, who has made 11 starts at Michigan, his best finish a second in 1992. "It's my second day in the Cup car. The next step is to see if we can come back here and have a good race. Then after that, I'll really sit down and really think about where I want to go with the rest of my career." More at Detroit Free Press [Editor's Note: Tracy's last quote is rather telling.  Sounds like his mind is made up, if he does well in NASCAR and likes it, he will make the switch....and Champ Car will have lost its biggest star....again.]

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Gene wraps up V8 debut
Jordan to run Turkish driver
'Driver swap' called off
Jordan send F1 car to India 
F1 power to the people
F1 takes boat to Turkey
Red Bull plan 24-hour testing
Rossi for Ferrari tester?
'Wine maker' Trulli
Sir Jack denies 'golden' age
Villeneuve 'not trouble'
Bridgestone to bring very soft tires to Denver Bridgestone to bring very soft tires to Denver
Race Distance: 160.729 miles/258.668 kilometers (97 laps on the 1.657-mile temporary street circuit).

Potenza Race Tires Supplied: Bridgestone delivered 668 dry-condition and 304 wet-condition Potenza race tires for use this weekend. All were produced at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. For this event, Bridgestone has brought a single dry-tire specification and a single wet-tire specification, allowing every driver equal footing on the racetrack.

* Dry-condition tires ("slicks"): Each car receives eight sets of slicks (32 tires) for the weekend, to use in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. Bridgestone Motorsport has brought a proven winning tire for the temporary circuit in Denver. It is the same specification used earlier this season on street courses in Long Beach and Toronto, and was used here at Denver a year ago. Since street-course tires demand the most grip of any type circuit on which the Champ Cars compete, this weekend's Potenza specification contains the "softest" compound formula and! sidewall construction of any standard-spec Bridgestone tires in use this season.

* Wet-condition tires ("rains"): Each car receives up to four new sets of grooved-tread Potenza rain tires per weekend on road and street courses, as needed. In addition, each car may use two sets of same-spec rain tires issued at a previous event. Bridgestone has two rain-tire specifications at its disposal, a more durable one for the faster road circuits and a softer version for the slower, tighter tracks. The softer rain tire is available this weekend.

Big Bridgestone Weekend: The Grand Prix of Denver is important to Bridgestone, as evidenced by the many activities the tire maker is participating in surrounding the event. Bridgestone has once again signed on as the Official Tire of the grand prix and has helped pique interest in the race through its "Buy 4, Take 2" promotion - where area Bridgestone retailers are giving a pair of race-day tickets to customers who purchase a set of four Bridgestone Potenza tires. For the second consecutive year, Bridgestone is also title sponsor of the Thursday's Champ Car Night Street Party at Larimer Square.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "It's great to come back to Denver, an event that showed tremendous growth last year and promises to be even more exciting in 2005. Denver is an important market for Bridgestone, and we've taken an active role in promoting the event in the area. As for the racing itself, Denver presents a unique challenge because the thinner mile-high air decreases the aerodynamic downforce generated by the cars. Bridgestone is helping compensate for that by bringing our 'grippiest' standard street-course tire. There was plenty of passing and tight racing here last year using the same spec Potenza, and we expect more of the same this year."

Industry News
Hall, Rahal, Hill, Moss and Elford return to Laguna Seca Hall, Rahal, Hill, Moss and Elford return to Laguna SecaSome of racing history’s brightest superstars will gather to race and turn exhibition laps at the 32nd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, August 19-21. Racing legends Phil Hill, Bobby Rahal, Sir Stirling Moss, Jim Hall and Vic Elford will each make appearances on-track during the event weekend. The weekend features “Great American Specials”, including Chaparral.

Jim Hall’s Chaparrals are the “stars” of the weekend as the featured marque of the 32nd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Hall is revered throughout the racing community as the innovator of the movable wing.  His ground effects and lightweight construction material transformed motorsports forever.

Vic Elford became part of the Chaparral racing legacy driving the Chaparral 2J “sucker” car during the 1970 Can-Am season, and also competing for Jim Hall during the 1970 Trans-Am season.

3-time Le Mans winner and 1961 World Champion Phil Hill will also be participating in the Chaparral parade. Hill was the first (and only) American-born driver to win a Formula One driver’s championship. zzzz

Hall, Elford and Hill will take the Chaparrals from the Chaparral display area in the paddock and run exhibition laps on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Moss will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his Mille Miglia win in 1955 with laps in the same Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR used to capture that historic race win.

Bobby Rahal will have the honor of once again racing his namesake “Rahal Straight”, competing in three classes during the 32nd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, driving a #3 1961 Ferrari 250 GT, a #3 1978 BMW 320 Turbo, and the #9 1972 Lola T-290.

In addition, Toyota will be exhibiting their race cars on the track at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday. Juan Fangio II will be driving the 1992 IMSA Championship-winning Toyota Eagle Mk III. Fangio and the Eagle Mk III won the 1992 race at Laguna Seca over teammate P.J. Jones. In addition, the 600 horsepower 1999 Toyota GT-1 Le Mans car, among others, will take to the track with Fangio.

Many of these legends will be available for autographs throughout the weekend. Jim Hall and others from Chaparral will sign autographs at the Rolex Tent, located in the paddock, from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. – noon on Sunday. Sir Stirling Moss will be signing autographs from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, also at the Rolex Tent.

Nearly every make that ever sported an entry number on its side is represented at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Famous names such as Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche, Bugatti, Shelby, Lotus, Aston Martin, Maserati and Mustang are among the many well-represented race cars.

This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the Monterey Historics at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The event pays tribute to motor racing history, historic automobiles and the people who made them. Each year, hundreds of the finest historic sports and racing cars, spanning nearly every era of motorsports history, are entered in 15 separate races over two days. More than 40,000 visitors from around the world attend the Historic Races, which support the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula's (SCRAMP) contribution to local charities.

Tickets to the 32nd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races presented by Chrysler are on sale now at www.laguna-seca.com and by calling 1-800-327-SECA.

Log onto www.montereyhistoric.com for more information, including a 2005participant list and weekend schedule.

Ferrari continue V8 testing Ferrari continue V8 testingWednesday was the second and final day of testing of the new V8 engine this week for Ferrari. The team continued working at Fiorano with test driver Marc Gené at the wheel of an F2004 from last year, which had been fitted with the first development of the team's 2006 engine.  Gené completed 58 laps (7 of them on the short version of the track,) with a best time of 59.305s.  Tomorrow, still at Fiorano, Gene will carry out the shakedown of the cars that the Scuderia will use at the forthcoming Turkish Grand Prix.
Busch statement on leaving Roush Busch statement on leaving RoushKurt Busch Statement regarding leaving Roush Racing and taking over the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2007 and his commitment to the #97 team: "I met with Jack Roush personally Tuesday morning to let him know that I am committed to Rousch Racing and the #97 team as we attempt to defend our Nextel Cup Championship this season and through the remainder of my contract, but that I have signed a multi-year agreement to drive the Penske Racing South #2 car beginning in 2007. We did briefly address, solely as a matter of timing, the possibility of a release from my 2006 contract with Roush Racing, but that is Jack's decision. There are a lot of factors involved in a release and no immediate decision was made. All of this, however, is in the future. For as long as I am in the #97 car, my total focus and commitment will be to Roush Racing, its sponsors and on our collective goal to win another Nextel Cup Championship. I look forward to success this weekend at Watkins Glen and hopefully solidifying our position in the 2005 Chase for the Cup."
Foyt confirms switch to Chevy Foyt confirms switch to ChevyFoyt Racing has officially confirmed that the team will switch from Toyota to Chevrolet engines beginning with this weekend's race at the Kentucky Speedway [Editor's Note: What a slap in the face for Toyota that the worse team on the grid would dump them].

“We're not satisfied with the performance so we're making a change to Chevrolet,” said team owner A.J. Foyt. The team will join Panther Racing as the only series regulars to use the Chevrolet engine outside of the Indianapolis 500.

While the team has improved some aspects of their performance in 2005 and signed ABC Supply Co., to sponsor the efforts of young driver AJ Foyt, IV, the team has been clearly hampered by a lack of horsepower.
IPS Series
Questions to be answered at Kentucky Speedway Questions to be answered at Kentucky SpeedwayWill it be a record-setting weekend for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series at Kentucky Speedway? Will a record sixth different driver win, or will someone become the season's first three-time winner? Will points leader Wade Cunningham post his first race victory as he extends his record number of consecutive top-five finishes to nine? Will Marco Andretti, winner of the two road/street events, win in his second-ever oval start?

Those questions and more will be answered Aug. 13 in the 67-lap, 100-mile sprint known as the Bluegrass 100 on the 1.5-mile tri-oval in Sparta, Ky.

A record-tying number of drivers - five - have won races this season. Andretti, the 18-year-old grandson of Mario Andretti and son of Michael Andretti, has won twice.

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

Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates Jaime Camara and Travis Gregg are also two-time winners in 2005. Gregg, a Camden, Ohio native, was the pole sitter at Kentucky in 2004 in his series debut.

"Kentucky is a really special track for me," said Gregg, who has recorded victories on the 1.5-mile ovals at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. "The track is a short drive from Camden. Next to Lawrenceburg (Speedway in Ind.), I'd say Kentucky is my home track. Last year, in my first Menards Infiniti Pro Series race, I won the pole, led 57 laps and finished in the top five.

"Hopefully I can use Kentucky to give me some good luck, which I've needed lately, and some really great, close racing like it was at Texas." zzzz

Single-race winners include Jon Herb and 2003 Kentucky champion Jeff Simmons. Simmons' victory came in the last series race July 25 at Milwaukee.

"It feels fantastic to get that first win for Kenn Hardley and everyone that has worked so hard at Team ISI," said Simmons, whose 2003 victory at Kentucky followed a win at Gateway International Raceway. "It was a long time coming, so long that I could hardly remember where victory circle was.

"I have won at Kentucky before, but we have struggled on all of the one-and-a-half mile and larger tracks. Hopefully we can change that this weekend. If we can find a way to be competitive on the big, flat-out tracks, we can still make a run at the championship."

But a number of drivers, including Cunningham, will be looking for their first victories of the season.

"I expect we will be in good shape at Kentucky," said Cunningham, who holds a 36-point lead in the standings on the strength of top-five finishes in all eight races. "We have tested there this season, and the team and I are always looking to improve our performances, so we would be very disappointed not to finish at the front."

Other drivers gunning for their first win include Nick Bussell, a 22-year-old from Ionia, Mich., who has six top-five finishes, including two thirds; and Jay Drake, the 2004 USAC National Sprint Car champion, who has two thirds and four top-fives.

Enge cleared to race at Kentucky Enge cleared to race at KentuckyBombardier Rookie of the Year candidate Tomas Enge will return to the No. 2 ROCKSTAR Panther Racing Chevrolet-powered Dallara after missing the last two IRL IndyCar® Series events due to injury.

Enge, who suffered fractures to his T-12 and L-1 vertebra during an accident at Nashville Superspeedway on July 16, was cleared to compete in the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 this weekend at Kentucky Speedway by the Indy Racing League medical staff on Aug. 9.

"Well, obviously this is a big relief for me," Enge said. "I have been dying to get back into my ROCKSTAR Chevy for three weeks now. My crew guys have worked so hard this year, and it's time we get them a great result. The IRL medical staff is clearly one of the best in all of motorsports, and they've taken good care of me this season. But, quite honestly, I hope I don't have to see those guys again for a long time."

Craven gets new Crew Chief Craven gets new Crew ChiefRoush Racing announced today that John Quinn has been named crew chief of the No. 99 Superchips Ford F-150 driven by Ricky Craven in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.    Quinn has been with Roush Racing since the 2003 season.  He worked as a shock specialist and spotter for the Craftsman Truck teams for the past two and a half years.  He has also worked closely with Roush’s Busch Series teams.  “Being from the northeast, I’ve known Ricky Craven for years and look forward to being his crew chief,” Quinn said.  “This is a great opportunity for me to move into this position with an organization like Roush.  The team has so much potential and with 10 races remaining there is plenty of time to win a few races yet this season.”
A1 Grand Prix
Luis Diaz confirmed for Mexico Luis Diaz confirmed for MexicoLuis Diaz has been confirmed as the lead driver of A1 Grand Prix Team Mexico. The 27-year-old is current racing for Chip Ganassi in GrandAm, although he raced in Toyota Atlantic before moving to GrandAm. There will some clashes with A1 and GrandAm and the A1 team will run British F3 regular Salvador Duran on those occasions. GrandPrix.com
Busch pokes fun at Gordon Busch pokes fun at GordonReigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch is stirring things up, looking to change teams and taking a few shots at rival Jeff Gordon while at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. Penske Racing is planning for Busch to replace the retiring Rusty Wallace next year but doesn't yet have Busch contractually until 2007. Busch sported an equally terse message to Gordon on his shirt Tuesday while at Wrigley to throw out the first pitch and sing during the seventh-inning stretch. Taking a shot at Gordon's butchering of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during his appearance May 24, Busch had a friend make a shirt that read, "REAL CUBS FAN (I know the words)." "I fell off my chair" at hearing Gordon's version, Busch told Cubs broadcasters Bob Brenly and Len Kasper. He said Gordon, who is 14th in the point standings, is still cursed but has offered to loan him a couple of goats from his farm. Chicago Tribune
Industry News
Elan Motorsport Technologies Takes Charge of Van Diemen Elan Motorsport Technologies Takes Charge of Van DiemenEffective immediately, Elan Motorsport Technologies, based in Braselton, Ga., has assumed responsibility for the importation and parts distribution for all Van Diemen race cars throughout North America.

EMT, which took over as the parent company of Van Diemen in 2000, has thereby expanded its role with the world-renowned British race car manufacturer, assuming the duties held for the past 16 years by Primus Racing.

"My partners and I are very excited about this news," said Jon Baytos, who formed Primus Racing along with his brother, Brad, in 1988. "This is a win-win situation for everyone involved, and particularly for all current and future owners of Van Diemen racing cars. We are grateful to [EMT Managing Director] David Bowes for making this possible and excited about the direction he is taking with the Van Diemen brand." zzzz

Primus Racing, based in Palmetto, Fla., will remain an authorized dealer for Van Diemen, and the Baytos brothers will continue their long-term associations with the marque on a consultancy basis. Jon will concentrate on sales and marketing, with a particular emphasis on the burgeoning Cooper Tires Championship Series for Formula Ford 2000 cars, while Brad will oversee spares and inventory.

"Van Diemen has a rich heritage in racing," said David Bowes, "and I am delighted to have reached an agreement with Jon, who is one of the best salesmen I know. We have some exciting plans for the future. EMT is putting the weight of its Indy 500-winning design team behind the Van Diemen brand, as well as all the resources of the Panoz Motorsports Group.

"Van Diemen cars always have provided great value for money and we’re committed to continuing that strength," continued Bowes. "I believe we will operate more efficiently than before and that all our customers – past, present and future – will benefit from the longevity of our plans."

Elan Motorsport Technologies Group, founded by entrepreneur and businessman Don Panoz, is a unique blend of motorsport companies brought together to achieve synergy and consolidated growth in the US market. The companies cover all areas from design to production of specialized components and complete racing cars. The group is headquartered on a seven-acre site in purpose-built, state-of-the-art premises 50 miles from Atlanta, Georgia’s international airport.

Van Diemen has been building race cars at its base adjacent to the Snetterton race track in Norfolk, England, since 1973 and is widely acknowledged within the motorsport industry as the world’s most prolific and successful manufacturer of production racing cars. Van Diemens are currently dominant in the Cooper Tires Championship Series for Formula Ford 2000 cars, which has spawned a string of top-line drivers in recent years, including the past two Indianapolis 500 champions, Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon.

Turkish demo run for Jason Tahincioglu Turkish demo run for Jason TahinciogluJordan Grand Prix announced today that Jason Tahincioglu, who currently competes in the Formula Renault British Championship with Team JLR, will become the first Turkish driver to pilot a Formula One car in front of his home crowd at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix next week.

Tahincioglu will perform a demonstration run in a Jordan-Toyota EJ15 on race day, mirroring a feat accomplished by Hungarian driver Zsolt Baumgartner at the Hungaroring in 2002 with Jordan.

Colin Kolles, Jordan Managing Director
"We are extremely happy to give this fantastic opportunity to Jason, a young, bright and quick driver who has shown his talent in the Formula Renault British Championship. Being the first Turkish driver to ever drive a Formula One car, especially in front of his home crowd on a brand new circuit, will be an experience he will never forget."

Jason Tahincioglu
"First of all, I would like to thank Jordan Grand Prix and my Turkish sponsors for helping me organize a shakedown at Silverstone in order to familiarize myself with the car and the team before the demonstration run in Istanbul on Sunday before the GP. Considering the fact that it was the first time I have driven a Formula One car and the limited amount of running I have done, it was very useful to get used to the car’s acceleration and braking. To be honest, my initial thoughts were that the car was quite impressive. I was amazed at how different it was from anything I had ever driven before."

"Obviously after a few runs, you get used to the speed and the braking. But what you have to do, as a professional, is the best job you possibly can. Perhaps I am the first Turkish driver to experience a Formula One car and all the excitement that comes with it, but I still approach this program as a professional, communicating with the engineers and mechanics. To be running in front of my home crowd will be an amazing scenario. After all, having a Turkish driver driving a Formula One car on his home track is what the Turkish people and fans dream of seeing. It will be a great buzz and I am hoping that I, along with Jordan Grand Prix, will put on a good show and that we will have a fantastic outcome." Jordan Toyota

Up and coming Renault drivers at camp Up and coming Renault drivers at campHeikki Kovalainen, Jose Maria Lopez, Loïc Duval, Lucas DiGrassi and Pastor Maldonado have begun their third RDD camp of the year. A three day excursion based in Biarritz in the South West of France, will see the Renault Driver Development (RDD) drivers taking part in a number of activities.

Three times a year, the RDD program organizes a training camp for the entire group. Away from the Human Performance Centre, the entire RDD team meets up for a week of intensive sporting activity. On the menu are cycling, running, tennis, squash, swimming, climbing and, this week in Biarritz, even surfing...

In an association with the world famous Quicksilver surf-wear brand, the RDD pilots will spend the next three days on the beach, cycling, karting, training and surfing the huge waves currently rolling in on France’s South Western coast.
Building team spirit is an important priority. The training camps bond the drivers together while sharpening their competitive instincts. A healthy rivalry reigns between them, which pushes them to excel themselves and increases their desire to win. The RDD drivers enjoy spending time together – making training fun is an important part of maintaining their motivation and desire to succeed.

“This will be my third RDD camp this year, and I’m really looking forward to it," explained Heikki Kovalainen, leader of the GP2 series championship. “The training regime we are under at the RDD is very strict on a day-to- day basis, so it’s always fun to get away from the gym and out into the open. The camps are seriously hard work, but they’re always fun, too. We all get along very well and it is great that Renault gives us the opportunity to learn new skills and enjoy new sports, whilst at the same time keeping us mentally and physically fit to be able to complete our seasons at the top of our game." Renault

Denver Champ Car tidbits Denver Champ Car tidbits
Bourdais shoots for three – After a dominant performance in San Jose and the fact that Sebastien Bourdais captured the pole and victory last year in Denver, he looks to be on point to capture his third consecutive victory. The last time Bourdais was able to pull off the ‘hat trick’ was last year when he was victorious in Portland, Cleveland, and Toronto, on route to his 2004 Championship title.

Tracy Chases 4,000 - Paul Tracy is the leading active North American open-wheel driver in terms of wins, poles, podium finishes and laps led, and the Canadian star continues to build on that legacy every time he goes on track. The very next lap that he leads in Champ Car competition will be the 4,000th of his career, making him one of just six drivers to accomplish that feat.

Denver Dazzles – Before the Champ Car World Series takes the center stage on Sunday there are plenty of events to keep thrill seekers on the streets of Denver. In front of the Pepsi Center there will be X-treme sport demonstrations all weekend such as: ski jumpers, stunt motorcycles and skateboard exhibitions. If boxing is your passion, Friday Night Fights with co-headliners Donald Camarena versus Jorge Alberto Padilla and Rogelio Castaneda Jr versus Hernan Galaviz. If you like celebrities and games take a gamble and attend the BoSPOKER.com Celebrity Bowling, Billiards & Texas Hold 'Em Charity Night. zzzz

Hometown Team – Carl Russo’s RuSPORT team will look to continue the success it has had this season as it enters its “hometown” event. Located in Loveland, Colorado, RuSPORT is the only Champ Car team headquartered west of the Mississippi. Currently, RuSPORT drivers Justin Wilson and A.J. Allmendinger are both in the top-five in the points standings. The team scored its first Champ Car victory in Toronto when Wilson crossed the finish line in the top spot. RuSPORT is also responsible for two poles this season (Wilson in Portland and Allmendinger in Edmonton) and three podium finishes.

Tagliani hits 100 - Alex Tagliani will make his 100th Champ Car start when he takes the green flag in Denver. All of those starts have come consecutively, making him just the 13th driver in series history to make 100 consecutive starts.

Servia Serves Notice – Oriol Servia has been given one of the best opportunities of his Champ Car career, and is making great use of it. Taking over the Newman/Haas seat in the #2 PacifiCare-sponsored car for the injured Bruno Junqueira, Servia has earned five podium finishes in six races and has climbed to fourth in the series standings.

Depth of Talent – The unpredictability of the Champ Car World Series has manifested itself on the podium on race weekends. The series has had five different winners in eight races, nine different drivers have scored top-three runs and 20 drivers have scored top-10 finishes.

Bridgestone Night – Leading up to the Centrix Grand Prix of Denver Presented by PacifiCare, Bridgestone will be hosting urban street party Thursday afternoon into the evening. Events include a classic car show and free concert by Donavon Frankenreiter , along with all types of family oriented activities.

Rookie Battle - Timo Glock continues to lead the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year battle by 11 points over a hard charging Ronnie Bremer. In San Jose, Glock was able to tie his best Champ Car career finish of sixth. After missing the race in Toronto, Bremer has been moving up consistently in the rookie points, taking over the number two spot after the Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose.

Bridgestone Pole Award – Bridgestone puts up $10,000 each weekend for the Bridgestone Pole Award, given to the top-qualifying driver for Sunday’s race. To this point, five drivers have captured the award, which features $5,000 of that award being earmarked for charity. In addition, Bridgestone is sponsoring a year-end award, with $30,000 going to the driver with the most pole positions. After seven races, Sebastien Bourdais lead with three poles with Paul Tracy not far behind with two poles.

F1 Migration – To further illustrate the depth of field this season, the 2005 driver roster has four drivers that have recent experience in Formula 1 including newcomers Timo Glock (Jordan, 2004), Bjorn Wirdheim (Jaguar, 2004) and Cristiano da Matta (Toyota, 2003-04). In addition, the series features four former FIA International F3000 champions (Wilson, Bourdais, Junqueira, Wirdheim), who have proven themselves in one of the top open-wheel feeder series in the world.

Bremer’s Back – Since taking over the #19 Dale Coyne ride in Edmonton rookie Ronnie Bremer has been a man on a mission. In his two rides in the Dale Coyne machine the rookie has recorded two top ten finishes, making up at least nine spots in each event. He has also climbed into second place in the Roshfrans Rookie of the year battle, just 11 points out of the lead. This weekend Bremer returns to Denver the site of his first Toyota Atlantic victory there one year ago.

Bourdais’ Defense – 2004 Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais will look to become the first driver since Gil de Ferran (2000-01) to defend his series title. The fastest driver ever to reach 12 Champ Car wins (12 wins in 39 starts), Bourdais has 21 podium finishes in his 40 series starts, a percentage that is unmatched in the annals of Champ Car racing.

Shutting the Window – In an effort to introduce more race craft and strategy into Champ Car racing, the series has eliminated the mandatory pit windows that had been in effect for the last two seasons. Teams now have the ability to employ a number of different strategies in regard to pit stops as they fight for the top step of the podium.

Safety First – Cementing its standing as one of the safest racing series in the world, the Champ Car World Series will look to continue its remarkable run of incident-free racing in 2005. The efforts of the Champ Car Safety Team and the on-site, state-of-the-art medical team led by Dr. Chris Pinderski, combined with the skill of the drivers and teams of the series have led to two years of safety that has seen just one driver miss a race due to an injury suffered in a Champ Car event, that coming in Cleveland in 2003 when Tiago Monteiro was held out of the race due to a mild concussion.

Denver by the numbers Denver by the numbers 840 – Laps completed this year (of a possible 841) by Sebastien Bourdais. 215 – Total Denver laps led by Bruno Junqueira (of a possible 296) in the last three years. 72 – The average temperature in August in Denver. 11 – The number of laps Bourdais led last year on the way to his victory in Denver. 10- The number of rounds that will take place in the WBC Super Lightweight Continental Americas Championship the night before the Grand Prix. 9 – Fewest number of cars on the lead lap at the end of a Denver race. 2.1 – The millions of people that call the Denver Metro Area Home. 4 – The number of drivers that have led laps in the three Denver events. 3 – The number of drivers in the field that have a victory in Denver. 2- Times in the last three years that the margin-of-victory in Denver has been less than a half-second. 1.65 – The length of the Denver course.
Champ Car must retain Tracy Champ Car must retain TracyUPDATE Another reader writes, I wholeheartedly agree Champ Car must do all it can to keep Tracy. I've been seeing promos on WGN/UPN Chicago of a show featuring Paul and Forsythe. Sorry, the show name escapes me at the moment. What a fantastic opportunity for the general public to be exposed to such an interesting personality as Paul and a great series like Champ Car. The last thing Champ Car needs is a show featuring the series and their most unique, most popular star to up and bolt to NASCAR. This shows importance to Champ Car and Paul's participation cannot be underestimated. This is a great opportunity Champ Car, do not let it go to waste! Let's keep our fingers crossed that Paul will realize how special and appreciated he is in the Champ Car community and will remain loyal as he has in the past. Give us one more year Paul, please! Dan Kellione Tulsa, OK Dear Dan and others, A Champ Car reality series called 'Race Car Driver' is currently being filmed around Paul Tracy. Champ Car is investing a lot in Tracy. If they lose him to NASCAR they can scrap the Reality TV show and start over. They also will have lost their biggest star. We just don't see that happening. In the end we believe Tracy will get a contract renewal with Forsythe that is what he is looking for and be allowed to still run some NASCAR races. This helps NASCAR get more interest in Canada and helps Tracy and Champ Car get exposure to the huge NASCAR fan base. Mark C.

08/10/05 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The article by Rick Benjamin on PT's NASCAR ambitions are right on the money.  Paul Tracy is THE dominant force in Champ Car and everyone knows it.  I am a Champ Car fanatic and Paul Tracy fanatic.  I tune into Race Director every race weekend to watch qualifying on Fridays and Saturdays and of course set my personal schedule around the Champ Car schedule on Sundays.

PT is at the top of his game right now.  Everyone on pit row must find a way around Paul on Sundays to have a shot at P1.  I cannot fathom watching Champ Car without Paul Tracy.  Sure, the likes of Sebastien, Bruno (when he gets back), Jimmy, A.J, and Justin keep the series competitive, but what's a Champ Car weekend without PT?

I hope everyone in the Champ Car paddock realizes the necessity to keep PT in the series.  Mr. Forsythe should open his wallet as wide as PT wants it.  The other series owners must agree.

I look at the smile on PT's face in the aforementioned article on NASCAR testing.  He looks like a kid in a candy store.  It might be too late.  But, here's one Champ Car fan hoping, as Rick Benjamin does, that PT does not depart this greatest open wheel racing series in the world! Bruce Davidson, Toronto, Canada  [Editor's Note:  Champ Car can't continue to lose what few star drivers it has and expect to prosper.  We would assume that fact is not lost on Champ Car's owners.  With that said, NASCAR has very deep pockets.]

Ford 400 Sold Out Ford 400 Sold OutThe Ford 400, the season-finale for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series to be held Sunday, November 20, has officially sold out, Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray announced today.  Great seats remain available for the remainder of Ford Championship Weekend, including the season-finales for the NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series as well as qualifying and practice sessions for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. 

Ford Championship Weekend features the championship-finales for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series to be held in prime-time, under the new lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway.   The sold-out Ford 400 on Sunday, November 20 is the season-finale for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup featuring a ten-race, ten-driver shootout for the series championship culminating at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

Saturday, November 19 features the Ford 300, the season-finale for the NASCAR Busch Series, as well as qualifying for the NEXTEL Cup Series.  Great tickets are still available for the Saturday race action including tickets for just $15 for youth 12 and under with a paying adult.

The Ford 200, the season-finale for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the inaugural race under the new lights at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the main event at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 18.  Also on Friday are practice sessions for both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series as well as NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying.  Tickets are still available for the Ford 200 race day and are a great value for the entire family with youth 12 and under admitted free with a paying adult.

Although the Ford 400 is sold out, fans are encouraged to purchase tickets to the Ford 200 and Ford 300 before it's too late.

"Ford Championship Weekend has established itself as the toughest annual sports ticket to obtain in South Florida," said Gray.  "While Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Ford 400 is sold out, fans still have the opportunity to see the stars of the NEXTEL Cup Series and witness NASCAR championship racing for the first time under the lights by purchasing race tickets to the Friday and Saturday events.  There's nothing like a NASCAR race under the lights and there's nothing like a major event at night in South Florida.  Don't miss your chance to be a part of Ford Championship Weekend and see the debut of prime-time racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway."

Tickets for the NASCAR Busch Series Ford 300 and NEXTEL Cup Series Qualifying on Saturday, November 19 range from $35 - 65 with youth 12 and under $15.  Tickets for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 and NEXTEL Cup Qualifying on Friday, November 18 are $30 (general admission) with youth 12 and under free.

Legge looking to make it 3-in-row Legge looking to make it 3-in-row
Kurt Busch leaves Roush Racing for Penske Kurt Busch leaves Roush Racing for PenskeUPDATE #3 Penske Racing South announced today that it has signed Kurt Busch, 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion, to a multi-year contract to drive for the team beginning with the 2007 season. Penske Racing PR 08/09/05 Sources said that NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kurt Busch, who currently drives for Roush Racing, has signed with Penske Racing South to replace driver Rusty Wallace in its No. 2 Dodge in a deal that could “make him one of the highest-paid drivers in the sport, if not the highest.” Roush Racing this afternoon confirmed that Busch had signed with another team for the ’07 season and released a statement that read in part, “Due to sponsor and team considerations no decision on [Busch’s request to be released from his ’06 obligations] will be made for an indefinite period” THATSRACIN.com [Editor's Note: Signed for 2007, isn’t that the year Toyota is coming in?] 08/09/05 Some are speculating that he has signed to drive for Penske.....we suspect that is probably true, but it could be Toyota. We also recall he ran some exhibition laps in a Champ Car for Rahal at Sebring two years ago.....and liked it, but we doubt he would leave the big money of NASCAR. 08/09/05 Roush Racing announced today that Kurt Busch has advised team officials that he has signed with another team commencing in 2007. The name of the team is not known. Kurt also requested a release from his contract for 2006. Due to sponsor and team considerations no decision on that request will be made for an indefinite period. Roush Racing will have no further comment at this time.
DEI's Gilmore likes Kenseth DEI's Gilmore likes KensethDale Earnhardt Inc. director of motorsports Richie Gilmore would put Matt Kenseth in one of his team's Nextel Cup cars tomorrow. That isn't going to happen, tomorrow or next year, despite recent speculation. The 2003 series champion has one year left on his contract - though Roush signed Jamie McMurray away from Chip Ganassi before his deal is done next season - and Kenseth, a good friend of DEI's Dale Earnhardt Jr. , has let it be known he has unfinished business with Roush Racing. "(Kenseth's) deal is, he looked at his teammates and saw there are teams that are running good and wants to see if he can get back and win championships," Gilmore said. "He has always been on DEI's short list. He was one of Big E's favorite drivers, and if we could ever get Matt, he would probably be our first choice for a teammate for Junior."  With Kenseth unavailable, Gilmore has trolled the garage in search of a young, marketable driver to replace Michael Waltrip in the No. 15 Chevrolet next season. Gilmore holds out hope Kenseth could drive a fourth DEI entry in 2007, but for now his choices are few. Gilmore said he hoped to have a driver secured within the next few weeks, but another option was eliminated when Casey Mears said he was "99.9 percent sure" he would return to Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates next year. St. Petersburg Times
Toyota Atlantic Denver tidbits Toyota Atlantic Denver tidbits
Rocky Mountain High: This weekend marks the fourth series visit to Denver for the Toyota Atlantic Championship. The series began competing on the street circuit around the Pepsi Center in 2002 and has raced there along with the Champ Car World Series every summer since. The three previous Atlantic races at Denver have featured three different winners including Jon Fogarty winning the series title with a victory on the street circuit in 2002 and current Champ Car rising stars AJ Allmendinger winning in ’03 and Ronnie Bremer capturing his lone Atlantic win last season. Danica Patrick owns the fastest Atlantic race lap at Denver when she posted a time of 1:07.804 (87.977 mph) on the 1.657-mile course in 2004.

Charles Still In Charge: Although he hasn’t won a race since Round 6 in Cleveland at the end of July, rookie Atlantic standout Charles Zwolsman continues to lead the Atlantic standings. Zwolsman has earned the last four consecutive pole positions in Atlantic competition but he’s had to watch the Polestar Racing Group team capture the last three victories of the season. With a third-place finish last round in San Jose, Zwolsman actually managed to extend his lead from 15 points to 33 points in the standings over second place driver Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Red Line Oil), who saw his race day end after just nine laps when his gear shifter broke while leading the race. Katherine Legge has moved up to third in the standings, now 35 points behind Zwolsman, followed by German rookie Andreas Wirth (#8 Wurges Windows and Doors) 41 points out of first and Canada’s Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design), 42 points behind.

Hot Legge: Katherine Legge of Great Britain is one of the hottest drivers in racing right now. The 25-year-old native of Northampton has won the last two races on the Atlantic calendar and she’s now tied with Zwolsman for the most wins this season (three).  After becoming the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America when she took the checkered flag in her series debut in Long Beach, Legge came from a third-place start to win in Edmonton and then converted a fourth-place starting spot into a victory last round on the tight San Jose street circuit. She’s passed series leader Charles Zwolsman for the race lead in each of her last two wins. Legge has moved into third-place in the season standings with the performance and she continues to make fans all over the world with the way she conducts herself both on and off the track. zzzz

Back in the USA: After Legge’s historic win in Long Beach, USA Today ran a feature article on her accomplishments. The nation’s leading newspaper will be running another profile of the Atlantic rookie phenom in the coming days. A television feature on Legge also aired worldwide earlier this season on the CNN International Network and several other national stories on the Polestar Racing Group driver are in the works as well.

Streaks Snapped: Rookies Andreas Wirth and Antoine Bessette each had impressive streaks halted at San Jose. Wirth had recorded six consecutive podium finishes, including four straight third-place results, before coming home fifth on the San Jose street course.  Wirth, the 2004 Formula BMW USA champion, had the most consecutive Atlantic podium results since 2001 when Hoover Orsi posted eight straight podiums to end that season on his way to the championship. Bessette saw his season-long streak of qualifying among the top five snapped when he earned a sixth-place starting spot last round. After crashing out on Lap 39 and finishing 15th, Bessette also saw his run of three straight top five finishes come to an end.

Still Streaking: Series leader Charles Zwolsman still has a couple of impressive streaks working. He has qualified among the top three in eight consecutive races and he’s also led a lap in five straight events. Also trying to keep a streak alive, Tonis Kasemets has qualified among the top five in each of the last eight races.

Generation Next: Since announcing the future Atlantic racing package and the $2 million Champ Car incentive program for next season’s series champion on July 30, interest has been overwhelming for the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship. A total of 27 cars, featuring the new Swift 016.a chassis and the 300-horsepower Cosworth engine, have already been ordered by new and current Atlantic teams with that number expected to reach 30 by then end of the week.

Takin’ It To the Street: Four of the top Atlantic drivers will appear Thursday evening at the Champ Car Street Party Presented by Bridgestone at Larimer Square in downtown Denver. Katherine Legge and Al Unser III (BOSPoker.cnet/PKV Racing) will join other drivers competing this weekend at the Grand Prix of Denver to sign autographs for fans from 5-5:30 p.m. Charles Zwolsman and David Martinez will appear between 5:30-6 p.m. at the street festival.

Sign of the Times: All Toyota Atlantic Championship drivers will be available to sign autographs for fans on Saturday afternoon, August 13. From 12:15-12:45 p.m. local time the Atlantic series will host a fan appreciation activity featuring an all-driver autograph session with drivers from the Trans-Am series inside Denver’s Pepsi Center.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
BAR's new title sponsor?
F1 bomb scare in Rotterdam
Ferrari make early V8 debut
Narain's Indian 'insult'
'Theissen for BMW top job'
Turkey's 'nervous' F1 debut
'We'll lift crown' - BAR
Hakkinen denies F1 return
Stoddart to auction F1 gear
Button rekindles love affair
Schu 'unbelievable' - rivals
Eddie is drinking the IRL Kool-Aid Eddie is drinking the IRL Kool-AidUPDATE Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The anonymous reader notes the holes in the once full grandstands, but fails to mention the holes that used to be grandstands . Notice the infield seating from the image to the right (a scan of 1992 and 2005 tickets). Tens of thousands of seats have been removed. Mike Barry, Indianapolis, IN [Editor's Note: The excellent job done by the IRL PR machine would have us believe Indy Car racing, and in particular the Indy 500, has made progress under Tony George's leadership. How's the old saying go? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. ]

08/08/05 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Sunday night on Wind Tunnel Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage once again put his foot in his mouth. He said, "Tony George had no choice but to form the IRL to save the Indianapolis 500. Eddie's been drinking the IRL Kool-Aid much too long. Save the Indy 500?

  1. Just contrast Indy 500 ticket demand from 1995 to 1996. From "double face " value to $5 on the street
  2. There has been no serious bumping for 11 years.
  3. TV ratings down significantly despite the blip up this year, which is 3.0 below 1995.(Danica Patrick cannot save this moribund series. Nor can Roger Penske).
  4. Noticeable holes in the once 100% full grandstands
  5. Fan base "irrevocably fractured.".
  6. Original IRL Intent abrogated. (Ask Billy Boat or Sarah Fisher. Don't trust me.)

Tell me again Eddie, just how did Tony save the Indy 500? The sad part is that he probably believes himself. The even sadder part is that Dave Despain sat there and listened to this nonsense without even a mild challenge to this propagandistic rubbish! Name withheld by request

Q and A with Paul Tracy after NASCAR test Q and A with Paul Tracy after NASCAR testThe following is an interview with Paul Tracy during the lunch break of his second date of testing at Michigan International Raceway in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 33 NEXTEL Cup Series Chevrolet Monte Carlo. More....
Paul Tracy completes day 2 NASCAR test at Michigan Paul Tracy completes day 2 NASCAR test at MichiganPaul Tracy acted a bit surprised at the group of media members assembled outside the Richard Childress Racing transporter Tuesday during the break in testing at Michigan International Speedway. Even though he was all business during the two-day test, he had time to joke with reporters about all the attention he was receiving for his two-day venture into testing stock cars.

“Hey guys, Jeff’s transporter is over there,” joked the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, as he was referring to the transporter of four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon who normally gets plenty of attention from the media.

Tracy, along with Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett and a slew of NASCAR Busch Series teams completed the second day of testing in preparation for the upcoming GFS Marketplace 400 and Domino’s Pizza 250 race weekend at MIS. While Tracy completed his second day of incident-free testing, Gordon joined the test session on Tuesday, where he was looking to get back on track and make the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

Tracy, who has raced in 11 career open-wheel events at MIS since 1991, still holds the open-wheel qualifying record of 234.949 mph, which he set in July of 2000. His highest finish at MIS came in 1992 when he placed second.

After completing the test, it will be up to Richard Childress and team management to see if he will return next week to attempt to qualify for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series GFS Marketplace 400.

“We’ll see if we come back,” Tracy said. “Ultimately it’s Richard’s (Childress) decision and the team’s decision whether we come back. I feel that I’ve done well so we’ll see what he says. He’s on vacation until tomorrow so I’ll probably talk to him then and they’ll make the decision.”  zzzz

Other drivers who completed laps on the MIS oval included Dale Jarrett in the #88 UPS Ford, Jeremy Mayfield in the #19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge, Sterling Marlin in the #40 Coors Light Dodge and Carl Edwards, who tested his Busch Series car, the #60 Charter Communications Ford.

Others NASCAR Busch Series drivers included Paul Menard in the #11 Menard’s Chevrolet, J.J. Yeley in the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet, Ashton Lewis Jr. in the #25 U.S. Marines Ford, Reed Sorenson in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge and Justin Labonte in the #44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet, who was also joined by #87 Joe Nemechek on Tuesday only.

Jarrett, a four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series winner at MIS, is hoping the GFS Marketplace 400 will be one of the races that get him back in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

“This has always been a very good track for us,” said Jarrett. “We didn’t run well here in June and have struggled on the 1.5 and 2-mile tracks all year. Over the years, those have been our bread and butter, so we wanted to come here today and see if we can get the magic back.”

While Jarrett was a casual observer of Paul Tracy’s first run in a stock car, he was more concerned about getting the UPS Ford back on track.

“I met him and have watched him race for a long time,” Jarrett said of Tracy. “With no disrespect, if he comes to race next weekend, that’s not one of our concerns. Our concern is making the Chase and that’s all we’re focused on.”

Another driver looking to learn more about his car on the 2-mile MIS oval on Monday and Tuesday was Carl Edwards, who tested his NASCAR Busch Series Charter Communications car.

Edwards made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut at MIS in August of last year finishing 10th, which makes the facility a special place for him.

“I love coming to Michigan,” said Edwards. “I love this track because it’s where I made my first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start and I’ve had good luck here in the Craftsman Truck Series.”

Edwards was also asked of his opinion of the Paul Tracy which has had many in the racing world talking over the past week.

“It would be cool to see him run at the NEXTEL Cup level,” Edwards said. “Paul is a fun guy to watch and I’ve always enjoyed watching him race. He seems like a pretty tough dude. I don’t know if we would give him too much of a hard time. He’ll go through the same stuff we all went through in our first few races.”

Champ Car international TV viewership up Champ Car international TV viewership upThe international flavor and diversity of the Champ Car World Series has never been as evident as it has been this season. Drivers from 13 different nations have competed in this year’s Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, attracting strong interest from around the world as demonstrated by international television ratings at the midpoint of the 2005 season.

In Canada, where Champ Car has three broadcast partners in Global, RDS and TSN, the 20th running of the Molson Indy Toronto, earned a 6.6 share on Global. In addition, the French-language broadcast on RDS attracted another 2.2 share for the Toronto event. One week later, the inaugural West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton earned a combined share of 6.3 on Global and RDS. The result was that nearly a half-million households tuned in throughout Canada for the two events.

Television audience numbers in Mexico have been encouraging as well with live broadcasts as well as one-hour highlight versions of Champ Car races also airing on TV Azteca. The Champ Car broadcasts averaged nearly 250,000 households and over 1 million viewers per event on Azteca 7 through the first half of the season with the live races drawing nearly 1.5 million viewers per event.

Ratings in Europe have been fueled in part by the recent successes of rookie Champ Car drivers such as Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year points leader Timo Glock, Ronnie Bremer and Bjorn Wirdheim, who have sparked strong ratings in their home countries. The Edmonton event drew a solid 4.4 share on Eurosport in Wirdheim’s home nation of Sweden while Danish viewers tuned in with a 2.4 share on Eurosport to celebrate Bremer’s return to the series, and were rewarded when he powered to a career-best sixth-place finish.

“The increases we have seen in both our international and domestic television ratings provide Champ Car even more reason to be excited about our future,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “This year’s television package gives us the opportunity to take Champ Car to fans around the world and the numbers are showing that the audiences are responding.”

The worldwide audience will get their next chance to see the 750hp turbocharged Champ Cars this weekend as the series heads to the streets of Denver, Colorado for the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare. The event takes place August 12-14 with qualifying sessions held on Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s race will take the green flag at 3:45 p.m. Eastern Time U.S. Champ Car

Jon Field added to Lola team Jon Field added to Lola teamJon Field has been added to the No. 37 Intersport Lola for the Aug. 21 Generac 500 at Road America. Field will join son Clint, who is leading the LMP2 points chase, and Liz Halliday. Clint Field and Halliday won in class at Infineon Raceway on July 17, Round 5 of the ALMS. Jon and Clint Field also teamed to win in P2 at the Grand Prix of Atlanta in April. They also won together twice in the ALMS during 2004: at Infineon and Portland.
Q and A with AJ Allmendinger ahead of Denver Q and A with AJ Allmendinger ahead of DenverA.J. Allmendinger, driver of the No. 10 CDW RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola, brings renewed focus to this weekend's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver Presented by PacifiCare following three DNF's. His team, RuSPORT, is headquartered in Loveland, Colo.

A.J. ALLMENDINGER - No. 10 CDW RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola - ON HIS SEASON, SO FAR. "Overall, for me, it has been a disappointing season due to mistakes I've made over the past few races. I'm quite pleased the team is coming together and pleased at the speeds we are showing each weekend. We are starting to show we are definitely one of the contending teams each weekend and we can go out there and win. Justin [Wilson, teammate] had a victory earlier this year and that was great. Most likely I should have had a victory as well, and I made mistakes. I'm happy with the team I'm just not happy with my results right now. Going into Denver I'm just trying to forget about the mistakes I've made, learn from them and move on. And if we do that, I think we'll have a good chance of being there again."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACING IN DENVER? "I've been there three years now, second time with Champ Car, first time in the Toyota Atlantic Series. I was there for the inaugural race in 2002 to just watch. I think the race has improved a lot from year to year. Denver is quickly becoming one of the best races in the Champ Car schedule. It's a home race which makes my weekend a little harder with more fans, friends and sponsor commitments, but I'll try to split that up as best I can." zzzz

WHAT ABOUT RACING CLOSE TO THE TEAM'S HEADQUARTERS? "I'm there to win a race. If it comes down to the fact I have to miss a media appearance to talk with my engineers or get some rest because we're worn down too far, then that's what I'll have to do. It is a tough weekend."

HOW HAS YOUR LEARNING CURVE BEEN? "I'm just learning with each step I take. I'm still really young both in age and just learning how to drive a race car. It's only my fifth year, so, more importantly, to learn from my mistakes and try to improve."

ON HIS COMPETITIVE NATURE. "I'm quite hard on myself. It's just the way I am. I understand that I shouldn't be as hard as I am on myself. It really doesn't matter what anybody tries to tell me to make it better. I've got to do it the way I need to do it for myself. Now, over the last three races where I've DNF'd and crashed, I've changed my outlook and am trying not to put pressure on myself to go out there and win. I'm going to try and not focus on points and just focus on learning, and hopefully I can keep that attitude throughout the course of a weekend and the balance of the season."

WHAT CAN YOU SHARE WITH FUTURE RACING STARS? "Anyone who has a question, I give them the honest answer from me. I just try to relay the message of what I had to go through and what it takes to get in my position. The one thing I can tell them is if you love it, you just never give up no matter what anyone tells you. If you give up, you never had a chance to begin with. So, no matter how much money you have, if you have a rich background or poor -- I didn't have a lot of money. My parents did all they could. They mortgaged their house three different times when I first got into car racing. No matter what, if you want it that bad you find a way to do it. I still believe whole-heartedly if you have the talent, you'll still get the chance. This day and age it may be less of a chance than it use to because sponsorship is even more important in this economy. If you have the talent and you can show that you can do it, and you have the passion you'll do whatever it takes, I still believe you'll get the shot."

WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN WHEN YOU ARE AWAY FROM THE TRACK? "I don't know my mind is ever turned off from racing because I really enjoy playing racing games on the computer. I'm actually quite boring when I'm at home. I work out because I have to for the sport. But, when I can sit back and get on my computer, get online and start playing racing games. That's it. I like other sports like bowling (average 195). My perfect day away from the race track is coming home, getting on my computer and playing video games."

ON THE SUPPORT HE RECEIVES FROM THE TEAM. "They tell me all the time they are behind me. It's great. Especially my crew guys who have to keep fixing my race car. Whether they are lying to me - I hope not, because if they are they are doing a good job of it because I believe them. They tell me they don't care if I keep crashing every race car I'm in because they say once I figure it out I'll be unstoppable. It doesn't ease the pain at the moment, but it is nice to know if I make a mistake my job isn't on the line."

ON TEAM OWNER CARL RUSSO. "He's been with me every step of the way, from Atlantics (Toyota Atlantic Series) to here. He has seen the mistakes I've made and watched me grow as a driver. This is definitely the hardest time I've ever had to go through in my career. I've never really had a downside to my career until now, but Carl's there. He tells me he'll be there until the end. He's a great owner to have."

ON TEAMMATE JUSTIN WILSON. "He's great. I truly believe he's the fastest guy in the series right now. He is my roommate, but it's really cool because if we want to talk about what happened at the track we do, and if not, we don't. It's no hidden fact that we want to beat each other on the track, because you are ultimately compared to your teammate. But off the track, we're just hanging out as roommates and good friends."

HAVE YOU LEARNED ANYTHING FROM JUSTIN? "Although we are both in our second season competing in Champ Car, it's a lot different for him. He's had F1 experience, plus he's got investors financially sponsoring him. When I have talked to him about his F1 experience he pretty much said the F1 cars are the coolest thing to drive, but other than that it's not that great being over there. It's so different from the Champ Car series. Champ Car is laid back and drivers like to go to drivers' parties together and hang out. It's just not like that in F1."

DO YOU SEE YOURSELF RACING IN A DIFFERENT SERIES DOWN THE ROAD? "I have no need or want to go to Formula One and experience that at this time. Looking forward, at this point I have no need to want to, but you never know where my career will take me. Right now I'm still learning how to finish a Champ Car race."
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION? "From the passion of hating to lose." Ford Racing

V8 Supercars
Roll baby roll Roll baby rollWe thought you might enjoy this short video (.wmv file) of an errant tire from a V8 Supercar.  We couldn't do it better if we tried.
Allstate 400 TV rating Allstate 400 TV ratingUPDATE NBC Sports' coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard earned a 6.2 rating and 15 share on Sunday, matching the second highest rating in the history of the event, with more than 19 million people tuning in to all or part of the broadcast. The 6.2/15 is a 2% increase over the rating for last year's race (6.1/15) and a three% increase over 2003 (6.0/15). NBC's coverage of the race in 2002 set the record high for the event (6.3/16); NBC's 2001 broadcast also earned a 6.2.

In the five years that NBC has broadcast the Brickyard, the rating has grown 68% (6.2/15 vs. 3.7/12 on ABC in 2000). The NBC/TNT four-race, season-to-date average national rating, excluding the Pepsi 400, which alternates yearly between NBC and FOX, stands at a 5.3, up 56% over 2000 (3.4), the last year before NBC/TNT began exclusively broadcasting the second half of the NASCAR Nextel Cup season. The 5.3 season-to-date average is up 8% over last year's 4.9 for the same four races, and up 15% over 2003 (4.6) (the comparison to 2000 excludes NBC's coverage of Nextel Cup Racing from Chicagoland Speedway, which began hosting NASCAR events in 2001).

Sunday's rating peaked at a 7.9 between 6-6:15pm/et as hometown hero Tony Stewart took the checkered flag for the first time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The top-rated markets for NBC's coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard are as follows: 1) Indianapolis, 19.4; 2) Greensboro, 14.0; 3) Knoxville, 13.6; 4) Greenville, 12.8; 5) Charlotte, 12.0; 6) Jacksonville, 11.9; 7) Nashville, 11.4; 8) Louisville, 10.9; 9) Atlanta, 10.5; 10) Dayton, 9.7 NBC 08/08/05 The overnight TV rating for the Allstate 400 Nextel Cup race on NBC was a 5.1/11 share.  That number is expected to rise when the final ratings account for the smaller markets later this week.

Formula BMW
Formula BMW heads to Denver with Champ Cars Formula BMW heads to Denver with Champ CarsThe Formula BMW USA Championship travels to the Grand Prix of Denver for Rounds 11 and 12 on August 12 - 14 with the races for the Overall and Rookie titles as close as they have ever been in the two-year history of the series.

16-year old Junior Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) has led the Overall points since Round 1, but, despite a fourth win in Round 9 and an eighth-place finish in Round 10, he leads fellow Junior driver Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica) by a scant one point.

"It is my first time on a street course," said Lacroix. "It will be a challenge. I am confident and think I have a good chance to win, but most important for me is to finish the races and score points toward the Championship."

15-year old Philippe, with a second-place finish in Round 9 and a fourth in Round 10, ended the pivotal Barber Motorsports Park weekend with two more Overall points and one more Rookie point than Lacroix, taking the Rookie lead for the first time this season.  zzzz

Both have never raced on a temporary street course making the 1.65-miles of concrete-walled asphalt the most important stretch of road they will have driven to- date. For Philippe, still too young for a driver's license, driving on the road will be something completely new, but he may have an ace up his sleeve. His older brother, Nelson Philippe pilots the Conquest Racing Champ Car and could provide his brother with some important help.

"Racing on a street course is going to be different," said Philippe.  "I don't really know what to expect. It is especially exciting for me to be racing with my brother Nelson on the same weekend. I am sure it is going to be slippery and drivers will make mistakes. Cautious driving and smart moves will be important."

22-year old Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing), one of the most experienced drivers in this season's field, has five podium finishes to-date and stands third in Overall points, only 16 points behind Lacroix. Soulet has not won yet this year and is certainly due.

Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) fell to fourth in Overall points and third in Rookie points despite two more top-10 finishes at Barber. The Round 6 winner is 21 Overall points from Lacroix and 10 Rookie points from Philippe, but is still very much in the hunt for both Championships.

A one-hour practice will be held on Friday, Aug. 12 at 9:00 a.m., followed by the Round 11 qualifying session at 4:45 p.m. in the afternoon. Round 12 qualifying will be held at 8:00 to 8:30 a.m., Saturday with the Round 11 race scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. The Round 12 race is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m. Sunday.

Championship points after 10 of 14 races: 1. Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport, 110), 2. Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica, 109), 3. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing, 94), 4. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 89), 5. James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 77), 6. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 63), 7. Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational, 46), 8. Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 35), 9. Rob Bunker (AIM Autosport, 28), 10. Justin Moon (Gelles Racing, 23), 11. John Zartarian (Jensen MotorSport, 23), 12. Tobias Hegewald (Atlantic Racing Team, 22), 13. Jonathan Summerton (Walker Racing, 22), 14. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 21), 15. Daniel Herrington (Jensen MotorSport, 18), 16. Matthew Lee (Twintooth/BRM Motorsport, 10), 17. Adrien Herberts (Atlantic Racing Team, 8), 18. Darin Marcus (Gelles Racing, 7), 19. Doug Boyer (Jensen MotorSport, 2), 20. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 1), 21. Derek Burseth (Burseth Racing, 0), 22. Ryan Campbell (Gelles Racing, 0), 23. Nathan DePagter (DRE Autosport, 0), 24. Jules Duc (Jensen MotorSport, 0), 25. Scott Harnell (SDH3 with Cinema Concepts, 0), 26. Ryan Phinny (Gelles Racing, 0), 27. Paul Rees (Walker Racing, 0), 28. Robbie Pecorari (Walker Racing, 0), 29. Dan Abbale (Atlantic Racing Team)

Rookies: 1. Richard Philippe (116), 2. Kevin Lacroix (114), 3. Robert Wickens (106), 4. James Davison (88), 5. Reed Stevens (77), 6. Edoardo Piscopo (54), 7. Rob Bunker (47), 8. Race Johnson (42), 9. Justin Moon (34), 10. John Zartarian (31), 11. Matthew Lee (23), 12. Tobias Hegewald (22), 13. Darin Marcus (20), 14. Adrien Herberts (19), 15. Doug Boyer (12), 16. Ryan Campbell (3), 17. Jules Duc (2), 18. Nathan DePagter (0), 19. Ryan Phinny (0)

Statistics:  Winners 2005: Lacriox (4), Philippe (3), Wickens (1), Davison (1), Piscopo (1) Pole Positions:  Philippe (4), Hegewald (2), Summerton (2), Lacroix (1), Piscopo (1) Podiums: Lacroix (3), Soulet (5), Philippe (3), Stevens (2), Davison (2), Piscopo (1), Moon (1), Hegewald (1), Wickens (2), Summerton (1)

Reorder tickets now for 2006 Allstate 400 Reorder tickets now for 2006 Allstate 400Fans who want to see another exciting duel to the finish of the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard - like the one winner Tony Stewart and runner-up Kasey Kahne put on for the 2005 event Aug. 7 - are encouraged to place their ticket renewal requests, upgrades and orders to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ticket office as soon as possible.

The 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 6, 2006.

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. 22.

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.

"Although many of our fans are still celebrating the fantastic race that was the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, they should keep in mind that it is very important to get their ticket requests in early," Chitwood said. "When upgrading or purchasing tickets for the first time, fans should provide the IMS Ticket Office with several seat location options so the Speedway can match them with the best seats available." Indy Motor Speedway

Kanaan to enter Triathlon Kanaan to enter TriathlonUPDATE #2 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Kanaan supposedly "won" his division at that triathlon he competed in Sunday.  If you find the race, he won the "First Timers" division, which is hilarious since he has done a number of races.  He might as well have entered the girls 12-14 class. Janet Rose, New York, NY. 08/08/05 Tony Kanaan won his classification while competing in the 14th Annual Huntington's Disease 2005 Triathlon this past weekend. The event was held Sunday, August 7 at Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, Fla.

"I have been training since the first of the year to compete in a triathlon and feel like I'm at the top of my fitness right now," Kanaan said. Physically, the training that you do for a triathlon is  very similar to that which I do for racing. Now, when I'm ready to retire, maybe I will have another career which involves swimming, running and riding a bike."

Kanaan clocked a time of 8:55 seconds in the ¼-mile swim, conducted in the Atlantic Ocean, registered 33:01 seconds in the 13-mile bicycle ride and finished the 3-mile run through Crandon Park in 22:24 seconds. He had two transition times totaling 3:57 seconds for an overall time of 1:08:17 seconds.

"I really enjoyed my time off this past weekend," Kanaan said. It was very good preparation  for this weekend's race at Kentucky."

Through 11 events in the 2005 IndyCar Series schedule, Kanaan is third in a very tight driver points race, 79 shy of leader and teammate Dan Wheldon and just one shy of second place. AGR

08/03/05 Tony Kanaan, driver of the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone car and 2004 Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series champion, will compete in the 14th Annual Huntington's Disease 2005 Triathlon on Sunday, August 7. The event will be held at Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, Fla., and will begin at 7:30 a.m. (EDT). "I have not been able to compete in a triathlon for quite a while because of my schedule with Team 7-Eleven," Kanaan said. But I am excited to have the opportunity to compete in another  sport away from the race track, and I'm looking forward to seeing how well I do against my competition."   The event will be comprised of a ¼-mile swim in the Atlantic Ocean, a 13-mile bicycle ride along the Rickenbacker Causeway and a 3-mile run through Crandon Park. Through 11 events in the 2005 IndyCar Series schedule, Kanaan is third in a very tight driver points race, 79 shy of leader and teammate Dan Wheldon and just one shy of second place. 
Ricky Rudd talks about Watkins Glen Ricky Rudd talks about Watkins GlenRicky Rudd, driver of the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus, and team co-owner Eddie Wood answer fans' questions on road-course racing, testing, green/yellow flag starts and Ford's new Fusion race car, which will be on the track starting in 2006.

Ricky, I know that you are really good on road races.  Do you like them the best too?  Ricky Rudd: "I have fun when I go road racing.  I like them.  I wouldn't want to run a road course every weekend, but I wouldn't mind seeing one or two more on the schedule.  I like them because it sort of breaks up the regular routine, and we've had good luck on them over the years."

Do you shift with the JERICO transmission?  If so, do you have to shift for the whole race? "I haven't run a JERICO.  There is a T101 that we've used over the years.  We're running a different one now, but I think it comes from the same company.  The last time we ran at Sonoma it was the first time I'd run that gear box and I really liked it."

Are taking the car you had at Sonoma to Watkins Glen?  "Yes."

What has been the most exciting race you have ever been in and why?  "Gosh, that's hard to say.  I don't think I could pick out just one."

Could you explain the rules on testing and why NASCAR only allows limited testing.  How do you choose which tracks to test at?  "I'm not sure the number of dates because this year is a little different.  It has been broken up into one-day tests and two-day tests.  As a driver, I'd like to test at every race track before we went there, but obviously that many test dates are not allowed.  The original limit that was put on testing was put in place to save the car owners money.  You use $20,000 to $30,000 worth of tires at a test, so the original concept was to save money.  But, I believe it has created a big separation between the multi-car teams and the single-car teams because the bigger teams can test at every track with one of their cars.  That is a big advantage being able to bring that test data back to the shop.  Team members that are at the test, even if it isn't their team, can be there hands-on and go back and share information with their team, so that is a huge advantage.  I'd really like to see each organization be treated as a single unit and be given seven tests or whatever we get.  That would really even things up."  zzzz

Do the Wood Brothers share data when Jon tests his Busch car?  "I don't know if that is quite the same.  Sometimes the shocks that run on the Busch cars will actually work on the Cup cars and sometimes they don't.  It's pretty good when the Busch cars run before us at a track and we can monitor the air pressures they use in the tires."   

Have you ever spotted for Jon Wood or worked with him on what to do at certain tracks?  "Not really.  Jon has never asked me for anything and if he hasn't asked me I don't want to go and stick my nose in his business.  He has done a pretty good job on his own.  The Busch cars drive a little different, and I'm sure he's got guys on the Busch side that he talks to."

Would you consider helping out children and teenagers with your vast racing experience and knowledge?  I believe some of the more experienced racers who retire are a wealth of knowledge that young racer could benefit from.  "I enjoy seeing kids at an early age.  I enjoy watching kids in the go-karts.  You can see natural talent come through as early as nine or 10 years old.  When you carry that to a higher division, it'll separate some of them out, but you can see the natural talent at a very early age.  But, that does interest me somewhat - working with young kids."

Eddie, I was at the Loudon race that started with the green/yellow flag. This has happened several times in the past and I wonder why the green has to drop if the track is not ready to race?  Can you explain NASCAR's reason for this? Eddie Wood: "Most of the time when they do it, it is a situation they know they've got a window that they can get the race in, so if they lose eight or 10 laps in the beginning, it will still start an official race so the fans will not have to come back the next day."

Are you excited about the new Ford Fusion race car? what goes into deciding what car a company wants to run in NASCAR? why not put a cool car like the Mustang in? Chevy and Dodge have sporty cool cars and Ford has just another family sedan in NASCAR again.  "Because they can is the first reason.  The Mustang is not an approved-size vehicle for NEXTEL Cup.  NASCAR has a specific size vehicle you have to have, and the Mustang doesn't fit the templates that have been developed.   The Fusion is really no different from the Taurus.  The road car is somewhat different.  We saw it at the unveiling in Charlotte, and it is a pretty cool car.   It is a fresh look, fresh design.  I think it well do well as a product car and on the track.  But, there isn't a whole lot of difference from the Taurus as far as the race car.  The nose and tail are a little different and so is the hood.  The performance of the car will probably be a little better.  The way NASCAR makes you submit the car - they have a certain number you have to hit in the wind tunnel for downforce before they will ever allow it to run, and we hit it spot on.  Then it has to go to the race track.  And, that is what we did last week.  We took the submission car to Atlanta.  It was required to make a certain speed or time, and it did that, too.  If anything, the Fusion will be a little better for us.  But, it can't be a ton better because NASCAR won't allow it to be.  You are in a box.  The look of the car is really cool.  It has the look of the Fusion with the grill and all.  I think it will be real identifiable on the race track."

Corvette team eyes GT1 championship Corvette team eyes GT1 championshipThere’s a race shaping up at Corvette Racing, one that could go down to the wire for the American Le Mans Series’ GT1 drivers championship. All four team drivers are bunched together as the ALMS enters its final stretch of four rounds.

In front are Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell, partners in the No. 3 Corvette C6-R, by 7 points. The two have won the last two GT1 titles, and Fellows is going for his record fourth straight class championship. The duo has won three rounds this season and placed second in class at Sebring.

Coming on strong, though, are Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette C6-R. In addition to winning two of the last three rounds of the ALMS, they also are two-time defending class winners at Le Mans.

Yep, this one’s gonna be close. zzzz

"It's always great to race against Ron and Johnny,” Gavin said. “The cars are built incredibly strong and are consistent and incredibly fast. The plan for the Ollies is to keep winning. We feel we're on a roll.”

By finishing 1-2 in five of the last six rounds, Corvette Racing has distanced itself from ACEMCO Motorsports in the class’ team standings. Should one of the C6-Rs win at the Generac 500 at Road America and ACEMCO’s Saleen finish sixth or worse, Corvette Racing would clinch its record fifth straight team championship.

“The important thing is that a Corvette wins,” Beretta said. “We need to win, but the important thing is that a Corvette wins. If you look back at last year, we have been leading every race. Sometimes we have bad luck under yellow. The No. 4 car has been quick since last year and has won Le Mans twice. So it has been good.”

After that is where the uncertainty lies. On one hand, O’Connell and Fellows each have an ALMS-record 24 career victories in addition to their championships.

“As close as it’s been, we’ve had some good luck,” Fellows said. “Between the brake rotor failure at Sebring that Johnny and the crew were able to recover from, and my incident at Lime Rock, it could have been devastating. Hopefully in the second half, we’ll continue to be as fortunate and even a little smarter.”

But Gavin (11 ALMS wins) and Beretta (20 wins) are no slouches themselves. Beretta won the GT1 title with Team ORECA in a Dodge Viper in 1999 and 2000. Plus, he and Gavin won last year at three of the four remaining tracks on the ALMS schedule.

“Doug (Fehan, GM racing program manager) always says to us to do the best you can. We know we are the best team and the best car. We have the best package,” Beretta said. “He knows racing very well but doesn't ask us to do anything different. Hopefully by Atlanta we will have a good fight.”

Naturally, it’s hard to consider one team the favorite over the other. Sure, it could ease Corvette Racing’s mind if all four drivers could share the drivers title. It’s likely, however, that the math will work out like that. Instead, both teams will have their chances to win the title.

“There is one championship we share, which is the team and manufacturer championship,” O’Connell said. “As a competitor, you want to compete against the other car. They motivate us and we motivate them. It’s really good. All of us are quite well thought of by GM. Championships are always nice, but you have to look at the bigger picture, which is showing the fans a good show and hope it entices other teams to come in and compete.”

The Generac 500 at Road America, Round 7 of the 2005 ALMS, is set for 3 p.m. EDT Aug. 21 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel. Qualifying is scheduled for 2:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 20. American Le Mans Radio, and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com

Teams commit to new Atlantic Series Teams commit to new Atlantic SeriesJust a little over a week after the series unveiled the details and new car design for the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship, nearly 30 cars have already been ordered by new and returning Atlantic teams for next season.

Champ Car and Atlantic officials announced on July 30 that North America’s top open-wheel development series would usher in the next generation of Atlantic car in ’06, featuring a new 016.a Swift chassis design powered by a 2.3 liter, 300-horsepower Cosworth engine capable of producing speeds up to 175 mph. With new three-year agreements in place with Swift, Cosworth and Pi Research, which will provide all of the electronics, wiring and sensors on the new car, the future is on solid ground in the Atlantic series, entering its 33rd season of competition next year.

From the outset of the announcement, prospective Atlantic teams let it be known just how excited they were to be involved in the future of the Atlantic series, with several teams immediately committing to multi-car programs for 2006. Now, just 10 days after the plans for next season were unveiled at the Grand Prix of San Jose Champ Car event, 27 Atlantic cars have been purchased for ’06 with that number expected to top 30 machines by the end of this week.

“We’re both delighted and overwhelmed by the response from teams for next season’s Champ Car Atlantic Championship,” said Vicki O’Connor, Managing Director of the Atlantic series. “We started taking orders immediately for new cars following the announcement and the calls literally have not stopped. We’re very excited about the teams that will be returning to Atlantics next season and we welcome the new teams that will be joining us in 2006. With the competitors that we’ll have in place next season, we’re going to have tremendous racing in Atlantics for 2006 and beyond.” zzzz

In addition to several teams that are currently competing in Atlantics this season, at least two current teams in the Champ Car World Series will also field Atlantic programs in 2006. Team Australia, headed by longtime Champ Car team owner Derrick Walker and Australian businessman Craig Gore, announced their intention to run a two-car Atlantic team recently. Mi-Jack Conquest Racing will also field a two-car effort in Champ Car’s top support series next season.

““We have put a deposit down on two Atlantic cars and are looking forward to the opportunity to join the Atlantic series in 2006,” said Eric Bachelart, co-owner of the Mi-Jack Conquest team. “With a spec engine and chassis rules package, the competition should be very close and competing in the series will help us create a ladder within the team for drivers, mechanics, and engineers to get experience and prove themselves before they move up, as we continue to develop and grow our Champ Car operation.”

After competing as one of the top Atlantic teams from 2002-2004, Sierra Sierra Enterprises will return to the series next season after a year away from the sport in 2005. The team that finished as series runner-up in both 2003 and 2004 with driver Ryan Dalziel, and last season helped mold one of Champ Car’s top current rookies Andrew Ranger, will be back in earnest with four cars in its 2006 Atlantic stable.

Also expected to return to Atlantics in 2006 is Rahal-Letterman Racing, owned by former Atlantic competitor and three-time Champ Car series champion Bobby Rahal and late-night talk show host David Letterman. After competing in Atlantics from 2003-04, the team has ordered one car for next season, with the intention of racing Rahal’s 16-year-old son Graham in the championship. "We have placed a deposit on a new car in anticipation of entering the series with Graham,” said Rahal. “However, that participation is dependent on raising the necessary sponsorship."

Following a strong series debut two weeks ago in San Jose with young California rookie Alan Scuito finishing fourth, PR1 Motorsports is committed to the Atlantic series with three cars for next season. Gelles Racing, currently competing in the Formula BMW USA series, is planning a multi-car Atlantic effort in 2006.

Many of the current Atlantic teams have also made commitments for next season. Veteran squads Polestar Racing Group and Brooks Associates Racing intend to field two-car teams next year along with Jensen MotorSport and Condor Motorsports, which currently leads the Atlantic series with Dutch driving sensation Charles Zwolsman.

“We’ve ordered two cars and it’s our intention to run a two-car team next season,” said Carlos Bobeda, owner of Condor Motorsports, which has three victories this season with the rookie Zwolsman behind the wheel. “We want to capitalize on the success we’ve had this season and keep it going in 2006.”

Bobeda feels that the recently-announced $2 million bonus for the ’06 Atlantic champion to use in securing a Champ Car ride for the 2007 season will be key in attracting some of the top young open-wheel talent from around the world to the Atlantic paddock next season.

“The incentive that Champ Car is offering is the best deal any young, up-and-coming driver could ask for to try and move up to the top level of motorsports,” said Bobeda. “We’ve already been talking with some interested drivers about next season.”

Bachelart agrees that the Champ Car incentive program will help serve as a motivating force for young drivers. “Conquest Racing competed for five years in the Dayton Indy Lights Series, so we have a good background of racing in the developmental categories. We are very pleased about the year-end incentive that the series is offering for the champion, and I know that it will attract a lot of drivers and teams to Atlantic competition.”

First-year Atlantic teams currently racing in the series, US RaceTronics and Dan Cobb Racing, have also made plans to run two-car teams next year. The Room Store team will compete with one car next year and more announcements on new, former and current teams entering the Atlantic series are also expected in the coming weeks. Champ Car Atlantic Series

Burton back in the No. 21 at Watkins Glen Busch race Burton back in the No. 21 at Watkins Glen Busch raceJeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy in the Cup series, will be pulling double duty this weekend, piloting the #21 Reese's Chevrolet in the Zippo 200 Busch Series race at Watkins Glen International Saturday, August 13. In his two previous starts in the #21 Chevy earlier this season Darlington and Bristol, Burton has two second-place finishes. RCR PR
Crash sends Johnson to hospital, Knaus livid Crash sends Johnson to hospital, Knaus lividUPDATE Jimmie Johnson hit the wall with 15 laps remaining and doesn't remember anything from the time he crashed until he woke up on pit road. He doesn't recall driving his car into the pits. Johnson was treated and released from a hospital, but his crew chief, Chad Knaus, was unhappy with the response to the accident. He said Johnson walked all the way to the garage before getting any medical attention. "His bell was definitely rung," Knaus said. NASCAR said Johnson initially refused medical attention from two emergency attendants. Rocky Mountain News 08/07/05 Jimmie Johnson was taken to Methodist Hospital Sunday for a precautionary examination following a hard hit in a wreck on Lap 145 in Turn 4 of Sunday's Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson was being examined for a possible concussion, team officials said.

"They are just going to take him over there and check him out," said Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus. "His bell has definitely been rung. That was a pretty hard hit he took out there. We cut a right-front tire as he was going into Turn 4. (It) knocked the wind out of him a little bit."

Johnson's 38th-place finish dropped him from first to second in the series points race. He now trails new leader Tony Stewart by 75 points. ThatsRacin.com

"Man, that was hard," Johnson said. "That's by far, I think, the hardest hit I've taken. Just blew a right-front tire and away I went, head first. So thank God for the soft walls and HANS device and everything. I'll be OK. I'll be scratching my head for the next day or two, though."

Crew chief Chad Knaus said he didn't think Johnson had suffered "any serious injuries," but that he was "definitely dizzy, he definitely blacked-out."

Johnson said he was unable to remember steering the car to the pits following the accident.

"I don't really remember coming from Turn 4 to the pits," he said. "I just remember kind of waking up on pit road the guys pulling me out of the car. So it's all good."

Knaus was incensed with the timeliness of NASCAR's response to the accident. You come to these events and make a mistake as a team and get penalized for it, and there's a driver that's sitting on pit wall out there in need of an ambulance and NASCAR doesn't even send an ambulance down there, what happens to them?" Knaus said.

"I think it's ridiculous. We walked all the way from 39th pit stall into the garage area before we had any medical attention whatsoever."

NASCAR said two emergency personnel were on site, spoke with Johnson and that he declined treatment. "Here's what we know, there were two EMT personnel on site and they spoke with Jimmie and Jimmie declined treatment, said he was fine," said NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston.

"The EMTs called up to the tower and said he was declining to be seen, so then no other further medical assistance was sent. However, after he was sitting there a while an official did walk him to the infield medical center for further treatment, once they realized he needed to be seen." NASCAR.com

Double Duty for RYR at Watkins Glen Double Duty for RYR at Watkins GlenDale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler will both compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Watkins Glen, in an effort to get more seat time in preparation for Sunday’s event. Jarrett will drive the #90 CitiFinancial Ford, while Sadler will race a specially-designed #08 Robert Yates Racing Ford. The car will be a tribute to all of the RYR sponsors, featuring a split design with UPS on the passenger side of the car and M&M’S on the driver side of the car. Elevation Group PR
Industry News
Sprint and Nextel Expect to Close Merger Sprint and Nextel Expect to Close MergerSprint today announced that they intend to close their proposed merger on Friday, Aug. 12, 2005. The companies have received all required regulatory approvals for the merger.

The proposed merger-of-equals between Sprint and Nextel was announced on Dec. 15, 2004 with a commitment to create Sprint Nextel -- a leading communications provider that will offer a comprehensive range of innovative wireless and wireline products and services to consumer, business and government customers. After the completion of the merger, Sprint Nextel common stock will begin trading on Monday, Aug. 15, 2005, on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "S." Nextel Communications Inc.

Ferrari track tests V8 Ferrari track tests V8Ferrari ran a prototype 2.4-litre V8 engine at its Fiorano test track for the first time on Tuesday.  The team confirmed to Autosport's website that the new motor fitted to a modified F2004 in the hands of Spanish test driver Marc Gene, had completed 17 laps without problem during a morning's running.  Ferrari said that the test took place earlier than planned because the engine development is a month ahead of schedule.
Industry News
Mario Andretti to visit Ontario Speedway Mario Andretti to visit Ontario SpeedwayHavoline will present racing legend Mario Andretti, who will greet fans and sign autographs Saturday, September 24th from 5:15 pm until 6:00 pm track side at Barrie Speedway, north of Toronto in Ontario. Andretti, a longtime spokesman of the Havoline brand, will be in town to not only promote Havoline products, but will be on hand at Barrie Speedway for grassroots racing at its best. Mario Andretti is one of the most celebrated drivers in racing history and his name is synonymous with winning. He took the checkered flag 111 times during his career – a career that stretched five decades. He was named Driver of the Year in three different decades (the 60s, 70s, 80s), Driver of the Quarter Century (in the 90s) and he was named Driver of the Century by the Associated Press and RACER magazine in January, 2000. A four-time Champ Car national champion, Mario Andretti is the only driver to win the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Formula One World Championship. Barrie Speedway is located north of Toronto on the 8th Line of Oro-Medonte between Barrie and Orillia just off of Highway 11. Havoline PR
Tracy, 10 others test at MIS Tracy, 10 others test at MISUPDATE Paul Tracy thanked Champ Car owner Gerald Forsythe for allowing him to test the Richard Childress Chevy. "It was gracious for him to allow me to test a Cup car [and drive a race] while under contract. That's rare for a Champ Car team owner. I think he's hoping I do this and get it out of my system," said Tracy. 08/08/05 Paul Tracy might have 15 years of open-wheel experience under his belt, including 11 starts at Michigan International Speedway, but on Monday he might as well been a rookie as he made his first appearance in a stock car in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test at MIS in a Richard Childress Racing prepared car.

Tracy, along with 10 other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch Series teams tested in preparation for the upcoming GFS Marketplace 400 and Domino's Pizza 250 race weekend at MIS. He is expected to return next weekend to attempt to qualify the #33 Chevrolet for the GFS Marketplace 400 on August 21. Tracy felt comfortable in the car despite his lack of experience in stock cars and performed well during the first day of the two-day test.

Tracy started out the day learning from Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick, who shook down the #33 before turning the wheel over to the 2003 Champ Car World Series Champion.

"It's a lot different from what I do. To go out on fresh tires and really lean on it hard, sometimes to the point where I don't know exactly how far I can push it, is still an area to learn," said Tracy. "But that last long run was good. It was consistent and I was able to play with the line and run a consistent time the whole time and everyone was happy with it so it was a good run. Tomorrow morning we'll try to run it a little harder on fresh tires. But I'm happy. I'm just trying to take it one step at a time and not force the car past its limits." zzzz

Tracy, who has raced in 11 career open-wheel events at MIS since 1991, still holds the open-wheel qualifying record of 234.949 mph, which he set in July of 2000. His highest finish at MIS came in 1992 when he placed second. He currently sits second in the latest Champ Car point standings and is the leader amongst active drivers with 30 career victories.

Other drivers who completed laps on the MIS oval included Dale Jarrett in the #88 UPS Ford, Jeremy Mayfield in the #19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge, Sterling Marlin in the #40 Coors Light Dodge and Carl Edwards, who tested his Busch Series car, the #60 Charter Communications Ford.

The list also included NASCAR Busch Series drivers, with Paul Menard in the #11 Menard's Chevrolet, J.J. Yeley in the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet, Ashton Lewis Jr. in the #25 U.S. Marines Ford, Reed Sorenson in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge and Justin Labonte in the #44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet. All 10 drivers will be competing in the August 19-21 event weekend, which includes the NASCAR Busch Series Domino's Pizza 250 racing on Saturday, August 20, and the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 21.  

No speeds were reported on Monday with most of the teams continuing to test Tuesday during the two-day MIS test session.

Fans can view testing by visiting the viewing area near the MIS administration building off the main U.S. 12 entrance to the track. The MIS viewing area will be open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and tickets for August 19-21 activities will be available for purchase in the MIS ticket office inside the administration building.

Tickets are still available for the NASCAR Busch Series Domino's Pizza 250 on Saturday, August 20, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 on Friday, August 19. Children 12 and under admitted free to both events. Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series activities include NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series qualifying, along with a concert by the country sensation Sugarland following the Domino's Pizza 250. All tickets can be purchased now by visiting www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.

Foyt stung 200 times Foyt stung 200 timesUPDATE Foyt spokeswoman Anne Fornoro told The Associated Press that the 70-year-old, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner was driving a bulldozer Saturday, clearing brush, when he apparently stirred up a nest of bees. She said Foyt jumped off the bulldozer and started to run for a nearby stream, but he tripped and the bees swarmed onto him.

He was stung dozens of times on the face and upper body before finally scrambling into the water.  Fornoro said a man working nearby called 911. Foyt was treated at the scene, but refused a trip to the hospital.

''He says he was stung in the mouth, the ears, the throat, all over his face and that his eyes are really swollen, but he's doing OK,'' Fornoro said.

08/08/05 According to ESPN's Sports Center, Sunday tonight,  IRL team owner AJ Foyt was unable to see Tony Stewart win the Brickyard 400 Sunday because he was stung by over 200 bees Saturday on his ranch. 
BAR gets Honda help BAR gets Honda helpOn Monday, members of BAR Honda visited the Honda Institute – Honda (UK)'s industry-leading training facility.  The 'Taste of Honda' day was set up by Honda to help the F1 team gain a better understanding of the history, philosophy and product range of the Japanese company. Joining the group were Young Drivers Adam Carroll and James Rossiter, as well as Chief Executive Officer Nick Fry.

“Since Honda acquired a 45% stake in the team at the beginning of this year, we have been finding ways to work even closer with our Honda colleagues," said Fry. "The Honda Institute is the perfect place for us to learn more about Honda and I’m sure that what will come out of this will be greater communication and understanding throughout the team."

Following a short talk describing company founder Soichiro Honda's initial dreams and the huge success that followed, the BAR Honda guests were shown around the state-of-the-art Honda Institute, where engineers receive the top-level hands-on training that has set a new European benchmark. The group then got the chance to try out some of Honda's numerous class-leading products, from water pumps to All Terrain Vehicles, and ride-on lawnmowers to Honda-powered inflatables. Honda

The evolution of the Toyota chassis The evolution of the Toyota chassisAt first glance, the TF105 that has been among the front-runners so regularly during the 2005 Formula 1 season looks almost identical to last year's TF104B – which never made it to the podium. How did this competitive leap come about? The answer is the embodiment of Kaizen – Toyota's philosophy of continuous improvement.

"If you look at all the F1 cars Toyota has produced," says Mike Gascoyne, technical director chassis at Panasonic Toyota Racing. "From the first TF101, through the TF104B, the TF105 'roll-out' car, to the TF105 we raced in Australia and on to the TF105 we've run most recently, you'll see that they kind of 'morph' into one another. Mechanically they're more or less the same, because the basic package was fundamentally sound. Aerodynamically, though, there have been many detail changes."
To speed up the flow of developments and ensure that what worked in Toyota's hi-tech 50 percent-scale wind tunnel also worked on the track, the aerodynamics department was restructured during the latter part of '04.

"We put a lot of resources into changing the way we work," says Gascoyne, "to improve the accuracy of what we were doing, to work in a more scientifically controlled way. We tested for more hours, learned more and more things, made better models – and it came out in the results. By 'scientific' I mean repeating the same configurations over and over again so that you know you can repeat to a certain level of accuracy."

"We can test to about 0.03 of a percent; we can take the model out of the tunnel, dismantle it, reassemble it and test it again to within that very small margin. If your level of accuracy isn't that close then you can test all those bits and you won't see the improvement. Our philosophy is that if you have a very high accuracy level you find lots of small improvements – and the sum of those parts is a major competitive step."

The trend in modern F1 car design has been towards having the rear end tightly 'packaged' to improve the volume and quality of air flow to the rear wing. In practice, this means minimizing the size of all the installations at the rear: the engine and gearbox (and their wiring and ancillary components) and the rear suspension. This is where Toyota has benefited from building the complete car 'under one roof', integrating the design of the chassis and engine.

"The computer software we use to design the car is now much more sophisticated than it was 10 or 20 years ago," says Luca Marmorini, technical director engine. "In the old days of F1, when you installed the engine in the car, many elements still had to be finessed by hand, such as the wiring. That doesn't happen now."

"Working in the same building means that we have much closer communication with the engine designers," says Gascoyne. "Luca doesn't just turn up with an engine and say 'Here it is, now fit it in your car.' And you can see the effects of that working relationship – not just in terms of points, but also the rarity of mechanical failures." Press Release Toyota

Hakkinen says Schumacher 'the greatest' Hakkinen says Schumacher 'the greatest'Former World Champion Mika Hakkinen says old rival Michael Schumacher is 'the greatest' driver in Formula One. Hakkinen and Schumacher battled over four seasons, with Hakkinen winning the World Championship in 1998 and 1999, and Schumacher winning every title since. "I don't think anyone will be able to; Michael has made his mark in F1 for so long. When I retired, he started winning non-stop.

"I doubt anyone will be able to repeat what he has done. Neither Alonso nor Raikkonen come close: Michael is the greatest," Hakkinen told Gazzetta dello Sport

"I don't think he'd enjoy the German DTM series. He shouldn't even think about joining DTM because if he was here, then we would all start fighting hard against each other. I hope it won't happen."

JGR releases Leffler JGR releases LefflerJoe Gibbs Racing has released driver Jason Leffler from his driving duties with the no. 11 car in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will compete in several of the upcoming Nextel Cup races in the no. 11, beginning this weekend at Watkins Glen.

JGR will also turn to its NASCAR Busch Series drivers - J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin - to split driving duties in the no. 11 in the remaining Nextel Cup races where Terry Labonte is not scheduled to drive.

"This was a difficult decision'" said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing had high hopes for Jason and the no. 11 team, but our performance wasn't meeting the expectations all of us set forth at the beginning of the year.

"It hasn't been for lack of effort, as Jason is a talented race car driver who worked incredibly hard and was terrific with our sponsor." Joe Gibbs Racing Press Release

Zipadelli Wins WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award Zipadelli Wins WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race AwardGreg Zipadelli made Tony Stewart’s dream come true this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – he brought the Indiana native a win at the Brickyard 400.  Stewart held the lead three times for a total of 44 laps before taking the checkered flag in one of NASCAR’s most prestigious events.  His victory marked his fourth win this season and his seventh consecutive top-10 finish.  For arranging the appointment for his driver to “kiss the bricks,” Zipadelli was voted® the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.

Stewart had the car to beat this weekend.  But unlike most winning cars that arrive to the track with hours of practice and test sessions already logged, Stewart’s car came fresh to the Brickyard.  The original car that Zipadelli planned on using for the race didn’t test well, so he had his Home Depot crew piece together a brand new # 20 machine.  “I’m just so proud of this team,” said Zipadelli.  “I’d like to thank my fab shop and motor room.  This is a brand new car.  Everybody worked night and day to get it built.  We weren’t happy with the one we tested.  We went to the wind tunnel and the car looked good. And we brought it back here even without even taking it to the race track.  So I couldn’t be prouder of everybody in our organization.” 

The panel of voters; including Steve Ballard of the Indianapolis Star, a WYPALL® Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all agreed that Zipadelli deserved WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race honors.  “Zipadelli had a ton of pressure on him this weekend,” said Reiser.  “All of Tony’s (Stewart) hometown had their eyes on the #20 team this week.  They were all expecting him to win and Greg (Zipadelli) came through.  He gave Tony an awesome car and it seemed to get better and better as the race went on.  By the end of it, no one could touch him.”

Doug Richert leads the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson, Bob Osborne, Greg Zipadelli and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins.  Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000.  For more information, log onto www.wypall.com.

Rahal to drive classic Formula One machine at Infineon Rahal to drive classic Formula One machine at InfineonBobby Rahal, winner of the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and co-owner of Rahal Letterman racing, will spearhead a strong contingent of drivers and classic Formula One race cars at the Moly Shield Oil Historic Grand Prix, which will run as a support event during the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix weekend at Infineon Raceway, Aug. 26-28.

More than 30 authentic Formula One race cars (1966-1983) are expected to compete in the Moly Shield Oil Historic Grand Prix. Qualifying will take place on Aug. 26, with the 10-lap race set to take the green flag on Aug. 27.

Included in the field will be five world championship drivers' cars: Jackie Stewart's 1971-72 Tyrrell; James Hunt's 1976 McLaren; Niki Lauda's 1977 Ferrari; Mario Andretti's 1978 Lotus; and Alan Jones' 1980 Williams.

Rahal, who fields drivers Vitor Meira, Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice in the IndyCar Series, will pilot a 1974 Brabham BT-44 during the event. The Brabham that Rahal will drive is owned by Phil Reilly, co-director of the Historic Grand Prix.

"This will be a big deal for us, because it's with a major-league event like the IRL," Reilly said. "This is our home track; probably about 60-70 percent of the cars you will see are from Northern California. It will be like a trip back in history for the fans."

This will be the first event with the IRL for the Historic Grand Prix, which is based in Corte Madera (North Bay) and has been around for five years. The Historic Grand Prix will also race with the IRL at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) in September. IRL

Title sponsor with great message Title sponsor with great messageThe AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 presented by GPS Industries might not flow off the tongue, but it nonetheless has an important message.

The IndyCar Series event Aug. 14 at Kentucky Speedway will help bring attention to and expand the state's AMBER Alert system that is used to notify the public about missing and abducted children. The AMBER Alert Portal Consortium is a public-private partnership that provides states new technology that expands the alert system to make it more effective by expanding messages from television, radio and electronic highway signs to include cell phones, e-mail, pagers, Personal Digital Assistants, computer desktops and lottery terminals.

Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher will officially activate the AMBER Alert Portal before the race. Fletcher also will serve as the race grand marshal and give drivers the command to start their engines.

"As a father and grandfather, I understand how important it is to keep our children safe," Fletcher said in a statement. "I look forward to serving as grand marshal of the AMBER Alert Portal 300 race at the Kentucky Speedway and the opportunity it gives us to raise public awareness about the new AMBER Alert Portal system."

Kentucky will be the seventh state to go live with the AMBER Alert Portal, which enables the quick communication of detailed data -- including physical descriptions, photographs and biographical information -- by law-enforcement agencies. It will be the first time a major sporting event has had a cause-related title sponsor.

At the track, parents will be able to create a free digital identification for their children. The electronic child IDs will include a digital photograph of the child and list their name, age, height, weight and other data.

"When you can take an event like this, not only regionally, but nationally, and promote the protection of children, it's really great," Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Cassis said. "The cause is right on. There is no greater cause." IRL

Driver change for Grand-Am team Driver change for Grand-Am teamThe Spirit of Daytona is pleased to announce that, French Canadian, Marc-Antoine Camirand will co-pilot the Pontiac-powered Crawford DP this weekend for the Comp USA 200 at the Glen and for the remainder of the season. He drove the Spirit of Daytona DP in May at the Six Hours of Mont-Tremblant, where they placed 8th overall. Although this will only be Marc’s second time racing with the Spirit of Daytona he has had plenty of time behind the wheel this season. Camirand has campaigned a Cadillac CTS in the GS class with co-driver, Normand Guindon. He has also turned many laps in the cockpit of F-1600 and F-2000 racecars. Last year, Camirand had three 1st place finishes between the Grand Am Cup Series and Molson Indy De Montreal Touring-Hankook Series. He was also nominated as Rookie of the Year in the Formula 2000 American Championship in 1998.

Camirand quotes, “ I am proud to be part of the Spirit of Daytona. It is definitely a career boost for me. I am also excited about racing at the Glen, it is one of my favorite tracks. I set a track record there in 2000 in the USF Series and I am looking forward to returning.”

“Having Marc-Antoine come on board with us is a great opportunity for himself as a driver and for our team. His driving experience will help out tremendously with the rest of the season especially at Watkins Glen. Marc loves racing at the Glen, he knows the track well and has had fast lap times in the past. Overall Marc is a very reliable, fast, and consistent driver,” says Troy Flis, team-owner/ manager. Camirand’s driving experience will add to the momentum as the 09 DP powers its way throughout the rest of the season.

However as Camirand joins the Spirit of Daytona, Stephan Gregoire, co-driver of the 09 DP for the past year and a half will be leaving to pursue other opportunities. “Even though Stephan will be leaving the Spirit of Daytona, we still hope to work with him again in the future. He is a great racecar driver and he will be missed throughout our whole organization,” quotes Doug Goad, co-driver/team owner.

With Camirand signing onto the Spirit of Daytona, he will be bringing his main sponsor Chemcraft International with him. Chemcraft International is a North American leader in the supply of unique, high performance and environmental friendly industrial coatings.

USGP ticket refund process USGP ticket refund processIndividual ticket holders to the United States Grand Prix (USGP) may begin filing claims for their Michelin ticket refund. Stubbed Ticket Claim Forms and detailed instructions are available now at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) Ticket Office or on request by phone at 1-877-950-USGP (1 317 492-6700 outside the U.S. and Canada). Details of the program are also posted on Michelin Web sites.

This is the second step in the Michelin F1 Ticket Refund process, which was announced July 15. Michelin is committed to reaching as many fans as possible who purchased tickets to the USGP by delivering prompt ticket refunds. The ticket refund is being administered by IMS.

Individual ticket purchases were made by fans who purchased a race day ticket but did not establish a USGP Ticket Account. Original ticket stubs are required for these refund requests, along with a completed Stubbed Ticket Claim Form. Stubbed ticket refund requests must be postmarked by Aug. 29, 2005 to be included in the ticket refund process.

All tickets purchased for race day (June 19, 2005) are eligible for the Michelin ticket refund and, for the vast majority of ticket purchasers, no action is required. IMS has sorted information on their USGP Account Holders automatically so Michelin may provide ticket refunds directly to them. USGP Account Holders were mailed a letter in July detailing the ticket refund process. Michelin refund checks for USGP Account Holders and for individual ticket claims are expected to be issued and mailed between Sept. 19 and Sept. 26. Refunds for tickets associated with suites will be sent directly to the suite licensee and not to individual ticket stub holders. USGP Indy

IPS Series
IPS Hot Topics IPS Hot Topics
Gregg at home at Kentucky Speedway: Camden, Ohio native Travis Gregg considers the Bluegrass 100 to be his "home" race. The 27-year-old made his Menards Infiniti Pro Series debut at Kentucky Speedway last season, winning the pole and leading 57 of 67 laps before finishing fifth. Since then, Gregg has qualified on the front row for eight of nine races on ovals. He won from the pole earlier this season at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. Gregg graduated from Miami (OH) University with a degree in business.

Andretti returns for second oval race: Marco Andretti, the 18-year-old grandson of Mario Andretti and son of Michael Andretti, will compete in his fourth career Menards Infiniti Pro Series event. Andretti, a past champion in Skip Barber and Formula TR 1600 championships, will be making his second career start on an oval. Earlier this year, he qualified 10th and finished 16th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Andretti has won both Menards Infiniti Pro Series street/road events this season.

Tightest points battle in series history: This is the most competitive season in Menards Infiniti Pro Series history, with five race winners in eight races. Wade Cunningham leads Jaime Camara by 36 points, with three other drivers within 70 points of the lead. Travis Gregg, a two-time winner who captured the pole at Kentucky last year, is four points behind Camara for second. After eight races in 2004, 74 points separated first and second place. In 2003, the top two drivers were separated by 91 points after eight races. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series has never had more than five drivers win in a season.

Cunningham leads points race despite lack of a win: Wade Cunningham, a former world karting champion, holds the series points lead despite being winless in his rookie season in the series. Cunningham recorded an IRL-record four consecutive second-place finishes earlier this season. He is the only driver to finish in the top five in every event this season, establishing a Menards Infiniti Pro Series record with eight consecutive top-five finishes. Cunningham also is the only driver to complete every lap so far this season.

Deuces are wild: Marco Andretti, Jaime Camara and Travis Gregg are battling to become the first three-time winner in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series this season. Andretti won on the streets of St. Petersburg and the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Camara has wins on the oval at Indianapolis and at Nashville Superspeedway. Gregg won at Homestead-Miami and Texas.

Simmons eyes back-to-back wins: Jeff Simmons, riding the wave of a victory two weeks ago at The Milwaukee Mile, returns to Kentucky Speedway after a one-year hiatus looking to return to Victory Circle. Simmons led all 67 laps at Kentucky in 2003. That win also was a back-to-back feat for Simmons. His first career victory came a race earlier at Gateway International Raceway.

Close finishes the hallmark of Kentucky competition: In three seasons of competition at Kentucky Speedway, the widest margin of victory in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series is 0.1119 of a second, when Jeff Simmons defeated Cory Witherill in 2003. Last year, P.J. Chesson claimed the victory, edging Paul Dana to the line by 0.0514 of a second. In 2002, A.J. Foyt IV beat Ed Carpenter to the finish line by 0.0652 of a second.

"Day at the Races" serves as inspiration: Menards Infiniti Pro Series team owner Sam Schmidt continues to serve as an inspiration to many people inside and outside of racing. A former IndyCar Series driver, Schmidt was paralyzed in a practice crash in 2000. He came back one year later as a team owner. Last year, his team dominated the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, winning the championship with driver Thiago Medeiros. Schmidt will host a "Day at the Races" program for recently-paralyzed individuals in the Kentucky Speedway area. The program expects more than 50 guests on Saturday. Participants will enjoy lunch at Andretti Green Racing hospitality, meet drivers, take a tour of the garage area, watch the Bluegrass 100 and watch IndyCar Series qualifying.

As expected, SJ race lost money first year As expected, SJ race lost money first year[Editor's Note: No new facility makes a profit the first year. There are always startup costs that prevent. This is particularly true of new oval track facilities where up front costs are huge, much higher than a street circuit. Oval tracks also have yearly maintenance fees that temporary circuits do not.] The inaugural Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose lost several million dollars this year, despite claims of drawing more than 150,000 people, and it may not make money next year either, organizers say.

High start-up costs made a profit almost impossible the first year, says Dale Jenzten, president of the Canary Fund, the charity organization sponsoring the annual race. Making a profit next year is also iffy, Mr. Jenzten says, because of the expense of large-scale improvements expected for the 2006 race, including more entertainment, race track adjustments, more foot bridges and maybe even a course change.

Despite the multi-million dollar loss suffered by the Grand Prix, Mr. Jenzten says the Canary Fund charity came out of the weekend with $580,000 from a charity ball, celebrity go-kart race and donations. The Canary Fund would also have received an undisclosed percentage of any profit made on the Grand Prix, if there had been any. The Grand Prix and the Canary Fund are separate entities, although Mr. Jenzten is president of both organizations.

"We are very happy about how the event played out. Everybody was patient, well-behaved, it was a real credit to the community," Mr. Jentzen says. "The best thing we did was show San Jose to the world."

Grand Prix organizers would not reveal gross receipts from the three-day event nor sponsorship dollars raised. A three-day pass cost between $60 and $150 each and one-day general admission ranged from $25 to $45. Organizers claimed 80 percent of the luxury suites above the grandstands were sold and it raised revenue from sponsorships including the title sponsor, Taylor Woodrow, a real estate concern. Taylor Woodrow spokeswoman Adrianna Barrios says Taylor Woodrow has committed to sponsoring the event in 2006 and has three one-year options after that. The Grand Prix claims 153,767 came through the gates for the July 29-31 event. Silicon Valley Business Journal

Industry News
Force 10 joins forces with Panoz and Elan Force 10 joins forces with Panoz and Elan"Elan Motorsports Technologies, based in Braselton, Georgia,  and Force 10 Technologies ltd, based in Bournemouth, England, are pleased to announce a joint working agreement which will enable the two companies to combine their strengths to pursue European business opportunities. The joint working agreement will bring the talents of John Travis and Paul Cherry alongside the considerable strength and depth of the Elan Motorsports Technologies organization. 

The two companies have already secured a multi million pound contract, the details of which cannot be disclosed at this time, which should produce work for up to an additional fifty people between the two companies over the next two years. Other European and Asian business opportunities are being rigorously pursued. 

David Bowes, CEO of Elan Motorsports Technologies said "I am delighted to have the experience and skills of John and Paul at the disposal of EMT. I believe that they will strengthen the European presence of EMT as evidenced by the significant contract that we have already won. EMT has trebled its revenue/turnover during the last three years and has plans to roll out three new products in North America next year. This new agreement will allow EMT to focus in addition on European opportunities and to build European growth into our corporate planning." 

Paul Cherry, commercial director of Force 10 said " We are pleased to be able to utilize the impressive facilities of EMT in Georgia in the manufacture and supply of quality F10/EMT products in the European marketplace. This new deal catapults Force 10 into becoming a serious contender for major race car design and construction products overnight." 

For further information please contact David Bowes on +1 770 867 0903 or Paul Cherry on +44 779 947 6664."

Elan Motorsports Technologies
1394 Broadway Avenue
GA 30517
Tel 770 867 0903
Fax 770 867 0902
e-mail dbowes@elanmotorsports.com

Champ Car soon back to glory days Champ Car soon back to glory daysA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com,  I think sponsors are starting to take notice. Champ Car is back to stay.  F1 is going to lose out if there is a split.  Look at what happened with the CART/IRL split.  Champ Car has reached the one million mark in attendance after the first eight races. The first time that’s happened since 2002. Great events at Toronto, Edmonton & San Jose all drew over 150,000 fans each for their three day events.  Kudos to Edmonton & San Jose race organizers to do it in their inaugural year. It is obvious that Champ Car is on the upswing.

I have read on your page before about Kalkhoven saying 2005 is a  foundation building year. I believe the foundation was set the day OWRS out maneuvered Tony George to get CART. To me, 2004 & 2005 have been great seasons. In 2004 and so far in 2005 Champ Car has drawn more fans than the IRL. Even with Danica Mania. Champ Car still has a lot more to gain and a long way to go, which makes you think. If Champ Car has gained this much in just two years, how big will they be in the future?

Big enough to compete with F1 like the glory days of CART in the 90's? Yes! The year will be 2007. New chassis, new car, more new events, new manufacturers, hopefully more national TV., and best of all, "Legge Mania". And with more popularity, also will come more great coverage from AutoRacing1.com. Thanks for the greatest racing coverage on the planet.  Rod, Orlando, FL.

Dear Rod, Champ Car still has a long way to go, but at least they don't have the engine issues and politics they had back in their so-called glory days.  I observe with great interest the problems the IRL is having trying to keep all the manufacturers happy.  It will be interesting to see if Roger Penske does shaft it to Toyota and break their contract early to run Chevy in 2006.  Then with Chevy badging the Ilmor Chevy, how will they keep from getting beaten soundly by Honda?  Since Ilmor and Honda created the current Honda together, would Honda agree to Chevy having the same engine as them, some badged Honda and some badged Chevy?  Robert Clarke told me at Laguna Seca their final year in CART that Honda would never agree to multiple manufacturer badging of the same engine.  I was canvassing Toyota, Honda and Ford about that concept back then as a way to lower costs and level the playing field, but was told that concept would not fly with Honda. 

I look back at how Honda has crushed Chevy and Toyota in the IRL and how unhappy the Chevy and Toyota teams are, and we look at how happy the Champ Car teams are knowing they all have an equal chance engines-wise, and know for certain now that the multiple badging of a single engine is the best way to go racing - i.e. a marketing driven endeavor instead of an engine R&D endeavor. Mark C.

Red Bull now focused on '06 car Red Bull now focused on '06 car"We employed Mark Smith (as Deputy Technical Director) who is leading the design of RB2 now," explained Technical Director Günther Steiner of the Red Bull team. "There were a few other people but lower down the ranks. The next big step is to have a second wind tunnel working from September onwards, so we will have two wind tunnels for next year’s car. That means a lot more people in our aerodynamic department. We are on schedule with RB2.

"The main testing of the engine will be done by Ferrari, and I think they will be running soon with the V8 in a car, and we will get the information," said Steiner. "We will get our own engine in October, November for our car, but our car will not be ready until the end of the year so we may run at the end of the year or the beginning of next year and that is what we’re working towards."

Kovalainen Vs Rosberg set to continue in Turkey Kovalainen Vs Rosberg set to continue in TurkeyWith just four rounds and eight races of the 2005 season left to run, the GP2 series is finely poised for an exhilarating championship battle, which could go all the way to the wire. Heikki Kovalainen still holds the championship lead which he has guarded since the very first race of the year in Imola. A mid-season revival from the ART Grand Prix team, however, has seen Nico Rosberg emerge as the driver most likely to challenge for championship glory, and at the two-thirds stage of the season, Rosberg is just seven points behind Kovalainen.

A quick look at the table sees Kovalainen atop the standings on 79, with Rosberg second on 72. Scott Speed is still in the hunt for the title in third on 50 points, as are Alex Prémat on 43, Neel Jani on 40, Adam Carroll on 34 and Gimmi Bruni on 33. Indeed, with a maximum haul of 22 points available to a driver per race (a total of 88 points for the remaining races), it is mathematically possible for any one of our 24 drivers to win the championship…zzzz

A look at recent form however suggests that the consistency of the top ranked drivers will be hard to beat. From the top five drivers, Rosberg is the one currently on a roll, having scored 51 points in the past four races. Kovalainen has scored 41, Prémat 31, Jani 27 and Speed 21. Should the next four races follow the exact same pattern as the previous four, Rosberg would win the title from Kovalainen by a margin of just three points… 123 to 120. Prémat would wind up third on 74, with Speed fourth on 71 and Jani fifth on 67 points.
But anything can happen in motorsport. Four races ago, Adam Carroll was the man thought most likely to challenge Kovalainen for the title. He scored six points in France, and since then has failed to register. Gimmi Bruni, too, scored six points in the early races after our June break, but since his two points in race one in Germany has also failed to score. That kind of turn around in fortune for either Kovalainen or Rosberg could turn the championship on its head. Similarly, should Carroll or Bruni’s luck return to provide the form they showed in the early races, they could both be back in the running.

The two drivers who have suddenly appeared on the radar, however, are Neel Jani and Giorgio Pantano. Giorgio is the only driver other than the two championship pretenders to have scored in each of the last four races, and has finished three of those races on the podium to Rosberg’s two and Kovalainen’s one. Putting Jani’s disaster German weekend to one side, he has scored in every race since the June break and his current pace, like that of Giorgio, looks set to see that trend continue.

And what about the others? Olivier Pla’s consistent and high running in Saturday’s races has seen him prove himself the master of the Sunday race, starting from pole and winning twice in the shorter race in the last four rounds. One place above the Frenchman in the standings is Nelson Piquet Jr. Undoubtedly quick and talented, Piquet has also had a bundle of misfortune on his side. After Jani scored his debut win in Hungary, it is Piquet and the aforementioned Scott Speed and Giorgio Pantano who look the most likely to become the GP2 series’ newest winners when the season gets back underway in Turkey.

After the first third of the season the championship table looked very different to that of today. With two thirds now gone, what chance another cataclysmic shift in the final four rounds of the year? Whatever happens, it promises to be a truly fascinating conclusion to the season. GP2 Series

World Series by Renault
Kubica wins both races at Oschersleben Kubica wins both races at Oschersleben
Race 2

Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi) rounded off a perfect weekend by taking both victories in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 category at Oschersleben. In front of a total of 60,000 spectators for the weekend, the Polish driver took another huge step towards the title while Will Power yet again failed to take any points. Tristan Gommendy (KTR) and Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) were once again present on the podium.

Simon Pagenaud (DHG Saulnier Racing) was unable to start after crashing out in the first race while Giovanni Tedeschi (RC Motorsport) started from the pit lane. His team had hesitated to fit rain tires until the very last moment because of the clouds looming over the circuit.

Robert Kubica got the best start from pole position and completed the first few laps ahead of Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport), Markus Winkelhock, Will Power (Carlin Motorsport) and Tristan Gommendy. Gommendy and Power then collided on lap 5: Tristan fell back to 7th, while Will ended up right back in 20th! Among those to profit from the incident were Eric Salignon (Cram Compétition), Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi) and Fernando Rees (Interwetten.com). Exclusive AutoRacing1.com photos zzzz

Just as the window allocated for the mandatory pit-stops opened, as feared, the heavens opened too and drenched the circuit. Damien Pasini (Cram Compétition) was the first to take the opportunity to pit, followed a lap later by Winkelhock, Zuber, Gommendy, Danielsson, Fukuda, Mondini, Power and a number of others. Danielsson retired after coming into the pits after losing a rear wheel. Robert Kubica kept on going for one more lap, as did Celso Miguez (Pons Racing), Felix Porteiro and Jaap Van Lagen (KTR).

With eight laps gone, it was the drivers who had stayed out who were in front: Eric Salignon (Cram Compétition), Adrian Valles (Pons Racing), Christian Montanari (Draco Multiracing USA), Milos Pavlovic (GD Racing) and Ryan Sharp (Jenzer Motorsport) led ahead of Markus Winkelhock, the first driver to stop.

Zuber and Power then lost precious time by running off onto the grass. One by one, the drivers out front then came in to make their stops, as the rain was showing no signs of relenting. Markus Winkelhock eventually inherited the lead on lap 11 ahead of Robert Kubica and Tristan Gommendy.

But the German was unable to hold onto the lead for long, as he soon span his car, falling back two places as a result! With fifteen laps gone, Kubica thus assumed control of the race ahead of Gommendy, Winkelhock, Miguez and Valles.

Gommendy then took a minor off-road excursion, but managed to hold his position. Celso Miguez was less effective at damage limitation as he ran off into the gravel while still in 4th. In the end, he finished 5th behind Jaap Van Lagen.

Robert Kubica: "It's another superb result for the Championship standings. I think I drove a good race as it was easy to make a mistake. I may have been slower than Tristan but I didn't make any errors."

Tristan Gommendy: "I started from quite far back on the grid but I like these conditions. Our strategy to make an early pit stop was a good one. I drove an attacking race but in the final stages I was looking to hold onto my second place."

Markus Winkelhock: "I'm obviously a little disappointed. I was talking to my engineer on the radio when I was in the lead and I got my braking all wrong. That mistake cost me the win. As for the car, it was more difficult to drive than it was this morning."

Race 1

Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi) took his third victory of the season on a drenched track here at Oschersleben. The Polish driver was joined on the podium by Tristan Gommendy (KTR) and Andreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport). It was also a great result for Kubica in terms of the World Series overall standings as Power abandoned the race.

Just as all the cars had lined up on the starting grid, a heavy downpour hit the circuit. The start was postponed to give all the teams the time to fit rain tires and change their setups to suit the new conditions.

The track was completely drenched and Fernando Rees (Interwetten.com) soon paid the price as he span his car on the warm-up lap. But the Brazilian was still able to line up for the start.

Robert Kubica managed to surprise Will Power (Carlin Motorsport) from the start and got the better of him. Driving through a wall of spray, Power was followed by Tristan Gommendy (KTR), Andreas Zuber (Carlin), Marcus Winkelhock and Christian Montanari (Draco Multiracing USA).

There was no shortage of spectacular incidents as Tomas Kostka (Victory Engineering) ran off into the gravel trap and Colin Fleming (Jenzer Motorsport) and Fernando Rees both span their cars. Even Tristan Gommendy took a quick diversion via the gravel trap, but the Frenchman managed to limit the damage and hold onto third!

Will Power was not so lucky: the Australian abandoned, handing second to Gommendy. From then on, all Carlin Motorsport's hopes were resting on the shoulders of Andreas Zuber, who inherited third.

Three drivers picked up drive through' penalties for not having fitted all their tires before the â?~5 minutes' sign was shown at the start: Jaap Van Lagen (KTR), Tomas Kostka and Milos Pavlovic (GD Racing).

The following laps saw Simon Pagenaud (DHG Saulnier Racing), Celso Miguez (Pons Racing), Giorgio Mondini (Eurointernational) and Giovanni Tedeschi (RC Motorsport) all abandon after crashing out. The safety car had to be called out on lap eight as Tedeschi's Formula Renault 3.5 was left standing in the middle of the track.

Racing resumed at the end of lap 12. Kubica, Gommendy, Zuber were still leading ahead of Alx Danielsson (Dams) and Adrian Valles (Pons Racing). Gommendy was not about to be dropped and managed to keep the leader under pressure. But he was unable to find a way past and Kubica managed to open up the gap again before taking the checkered flag for his third victory this season!

Eric Salignon (Cram Competition), who was in sixth, was the next driver to see his name added to the list of retirees. In all, only 14 cars managed to make it to the finish line, the smallest number to complete a race this season.

Robert Kubica: "It was our first race in the wet. I got off to a good start and I was having trouble to stay on the track on the first few laps, but then I saw Power was no longer there. Then Tristan started to go very well. This victory is very important for the Championship standings."

Tristan Gommendy: "I started with very high tire pressures and I was fastest at the start of the race. After the safety car came out, things were more difficult, but it's always good to take a second place."

Andreas Zuber: "This was the most difficult race of my career. You couldn't see a thing on the opening laps but it's good to be back on the podium!"

Taking it to the streets Taking it to the streets[Editor's Note:  Can't see how Bernie will fit this race in his already full schedule given other countries he is talking to around the world. We suspect Rotterdam will soon realize this and will be calling Champ Car before long.]   Minardi F1 Team drivers Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos received a rapturous welcome from Dutch Formula One fans who flocked to the centre of Rotterdam in their thousands on Sunday afternoon to spectate at the Monaco aan de Maas (Maas-side Monaco) event.

A crowd, estimated by event officials at over 200,000, was treated to a series of spectacular demonstration runs by a variety of competition vehicles, including Formula One, Formula 3000, Le Mans, Paris-Dakar and Historic Grand Prix cars, but the decidedly partisan audience reserved its loudest cheers of the afternoon for Minardi’s Dutch duo, both of whom received standing ovations at the conclusion of their individual runs around the 3.4-km temporary street circuit.

“Wow, what a great event and what an amazing crowd!” commented Albers after stepping from his Minardi Cosworth and throwing his helmet into the midst of a grandstand full of enthusiastic fans. “It’s terrific to be able to bring Formula One to the centre of a city like Rotterdam, so people can see and hear close up what the sport is all about. It’s also an appropriate way to thank all my Dutch sponsors for the support they have provided, because without them, I simply wouldn’t be where I am now. It has been a wonderful day.”
For teammate, Robert Doornbos, the event was particularly poignant, as he was born in Rotterdam. “I have to say, even since this morning, this had the feeling of a special event, and it was terrific to be able to demonstrate the Minardi Formula One car in front of so many fans,” he observed. “My compliments to them – they were just so enthusiastic, yelling and cheering, just like in a football stadium. I really enjoyed being able to put on a show for them. I’d also like to thank the team for a great job. I see only happy faces today, and that’s great.”

Minardi F1 Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, was similarly enthusiastic about the day’s activities. “It’s been an absolutely great program, and once again, demonstrates the value of events that bring motor racing in general, and Formula One in particular, closer to the fans,” he said. “On a personal note, I would like to extend a special word of thanks to the Minardi and Cosworth personnel, who gave up one of the two weekends of Formula One’s August break to be here today and make it possible for Christijan and Robert to carry out their demonstration runs. Their efforts are greatly appreciated by the team, the drivers and, I’m sure, by the many thousands of spectators present in Rotterdam.” Minardi

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