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NASCAR wins in battle to kick ATT out
NASCAR won a major court decision Monday as the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a temporary injunction issued by a district court judge that had allowed AT&T logos to be placed on the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car under NASCAR's grandfather clause for telecommunication sponsors.

"Because Cingular [now AT&T Mobility] was neither a party to nor an intended beneficiary of the [grandfather clause], it has not itself suffered a legally cognizable injury as a result of NASCAR's interpretation," the three-judge panel wrote in its unanimous decision to overturn the May 18 decision of U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob.

The decision by the Atlanta-based court could result in removal of the AT&T logos from the No. 31 Chevrolet driven by Jeff Burton as soon as the Aug. 17-19 race weekend at Michigan International Speedway. AT&T still has the option of asking the court to reconsider.

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SPEED to broadcast Gibbs announcement
SPEED will be covering tomorrow morning’s LIVE press conference from Joe Gibbs Racing at 11 a.m., ET. At that time, JGR is expected to make an announcement on the No. 18 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series entry - expected to be Kyle Busch. Will Toyota also be announced?


Chip Ganassi Racing team mourns loss of crew member UPDATE In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation can be made in Travis Bickel's name to the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization (IOPO), 429 N. Pennsylvania Street, Suite 201, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

08/13/07 It is with profound sadness that Chip Ganassi Racing announces the passing of team member Travis Bickel. An Oklahoma native, Travis has been a valuable part and dedicated member of the Grand Am team since 2005. Travis is survived by his wife Lisa and his parents Betty and Mike Bickel.

Throughout the years, his love of motorsports had him taking on a vast variety of duties as engineer, mechanic, crew chief, car chief, designer, programmer, sponsor recruiter, dirt tire sales, and even directing team logistics, public relations and maintaining a website.

Travis worked in everything from Grand Am Sports Cars, Infiniti Pro, World of Outlaws, NHRA, SCCA, World Sports Car, NASCAR Truck Series, NMMA Class ‘A’ Midgets, and All-Pro late models.

Back home in Oklahoma he was chief mechanic and jack-of-all-trades with Turner Motorsports and Neighbors Racing. Travis was particularly proud of 27 USAC Sprint Cars wins. He also worked with Mo Nunn Racing and Panther Racing in recent years.

A memorial service will be held at Chip Ganassi Racing’s Indianapolis facility at 7777 Woodland Drive from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 16th

There will be a private family ceremony held in Oklahoma at a later date.


Fan arrested after going on the track UPDATE Statement from track president Craig Rust:

"During the Centurion Boats at The Glen we apprehended a fan after he climbed a fence in attempt to get an autograph from a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver while the race was under a red flag caution for clean up after an incident in Turn 1. The person was immediately apprehended by WGI Security and Schuyler Co Sheriff's Deputies and charged with reckless endangerment in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor and criminal trespass in the third degree, a Class B misdemeanor.  He was arraigned before the Town of Dix Justice where he was committed to the Schuyler County Jail in lieu of $3000 cash bail or $5000 bond. He was later released Sunday night after posting bail. He faces one year in jail if convicted of the endangerment charge. The Schuyler Co. District Attorney's office is now involved in the on going investigation into the incident.”

“Watkins Glen International is committed to providing a fun and safe environment for fans and competitors therefore we will not tolerate this type of behavior. We feel that it is in the best interest of the track and NASCAR to ban this fan from all future events held here. We are also asking all other NASCAR facilities, including our sister ISC facilities, to also honor this ban at any of their future events.”

08/13/07 The sports marketing folks will tell you NASCAR has become a Big Four sport in the country because easy access to drivers makes them seem like ordinary people. Very easy access, one fan proved on Sunday afternoon when he simply walked onto the track for an autograph. During a late-race, red-flag period, a man ran up to Matt Kenseth's #17 Ford, reached through the passenger window and asked the driver to sign his hat. "He just said, 'Will you sign this?'" Kenseth was heard saying to his crew over the driver radio. "I'm like, 'I'm a little busy right now.'" The man, half inside the car window, asked again but Kenseth refused. The man finally gave up and ran — in a far from straight line — back toward the fans' area. He was soon arrested. The man apparently gained access to the track by climbing over the large wire fence, ran across the grass, then stepped over the blue barrier at trackside. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Rusty turns down offer to un-retire
Rusty Wallace told ESPN on Monday that he turned down an offer to drive for Richard Childress Racing next year. "I'm retired and am a broadcaster now," the ESPN motorsports analyst said. Foxsports.com reported Monday that Wallace "still has the bug" and that Richard Childress Racing was interested in hiring him to drive for the team in 2008. Wallace, who retired from racing in 2005, joined ESPN as a racing analyst in 2006. He won 55 Cup races in his 22-year career and was the Cup series champion in 1989. ESPN.com


BAM Racing announces driver change
In an ongoing effort to increase the competitive level of the No. 49 team, BAM Racing announced today that John Andretti will drive the Paralyzed Veterans Dodge for the remainder of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season beginning at Michigan International Speedway.

Andretti has two wins, 13 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes along with four pole positions in series competition. Throughout his career, he has an average starting position of 22.3 and an average finish of 24.3. Previously this year, Andretti raced for Petty Enterprises in several events.

“We have made significant changes across the board in the past weeks to improve our overall program,” said team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. “With the pressures of qualifying on time, and our commitment to our sponsors, we felt that an immediate change was necessary. We have every confidence in the team we have assembled and are committed to racing each and every week.”


Andreas Wirth back on track and breaking records
Assen, Netherlands - As a prelude to the upcoming Champ Car World Series (CCWS) events in Europe, Andreas Wirth was honored to accept the invitation and challenge that the Champ Car World Series lay before him – break the current lap record at TT Circuit Assen.

Despite the fact that Wirth hasn't raced with the series this year, nor has he ever set wheels on the Assen Road Course, Champ Car were confident that he was the man to get the job done – break the lap record and promote the upcoming European CCWS events with charisma and style.

With the standing lap record of 1:32.824 set by Holland native Jos Verstappen in 2006 in the smaller, lighter, A1GP Team Netherlands’ car, it almost seemed like the odds were stacked against Wirth.

The pressure was definitely on today as Andreas strapped into the 2006 PKV Racing Lola – a car he hadn't driven since late last season when he enjoyed his Champ Car World Series debut with Dale Coyne Racing at Surfers Paradise Australia and Mexico City. Not only was he feeling a little out of practice, he also knew that Champ Cars had never run at Assen – except through racing simulation programs. Add to this the fact that Wirth had but five laps to get the job done.

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Video: Franchitti defies death again at Kentucky
For the 2nd week in a row Indy Car driver Dario Franchitti defied death in this horrific accident just moments after the checkered flag fell.


Observations from Road America - Saturday UPDATE #4 A combination weekend with the American Le Mans Series resulted in a weekend ticket distribution approaching 100,000, at least 35,000 more than the 2006 Champ Car event total. Attendance Sunday was about 33,000. "Today was a good day, a little lighter than I thought, but I'm happy with it," said George Bruggenthies, who hasn't seen a more successful weekend in his 10 years as track president. "This is tentatively going to happen the same way next year." JSOnline.com

It looks like Road America's gamble paid off.  The decision to pair two of the track's weekends, the American Le Mans Series and Champ Car World Series, into one enjoyed a rousing response.  "In my 10 years here it was the biggest I've ever seen," said Road America president and general manager George Bruggenthies Sunday.  Attendance figures for the Generac Power Weekend, featuring the ALMS series race Saturday and the Champ Car Grand Prix on Sunday weren't available at the end of the race weekend.

But when the numbers are added up, Bruggenthies hopes attendance figures surpass 100,000 for the four days, a figure the track routinely used to pass in the early 1990s for CART (Champ Car's former name) weekends.  Bruggenthies said this past weekend drew more spectators to the track than the two series did combined when they've previously been held separate weekends.  "It's scary, because if you have bad weather, you lose," he said. Sheboygan Press

In reality, it probably never went anywhere. It's always been a world-renowned racetrack that drips with history.  But since the emergence of championship golf in Sheboygan County as a major tourism draw, and open-wheel racing's woes hurt the track's main event, Road America slipped into the background a bit in terms of attention. This past weekend showed RA is alive and well.

Big crowds passed through the gates, with Saturday's American Le Mans Series race and Sunday's Champ Car World Series event. The mood was festive, with hundreds of campers all over the grounds. There was paddock traffic not seen since the Indy-car heydays of the mid-1990s. When the weather's warm, there are few better places to spend an afternoon in Sheboygan County than Road America. You don't have to be a race fan to appreciate the diverse crowds from all walks of life, from all over the world.

And you don't need to know what a gearbox is to enjoy the great food and scenery at this wonderful site. Track officials were giddy about the scene. The buzz is back. Hopefully it sticks around a long time. Sheboygan Press

08/11/07 We finally had a chance to speak to track president George Bruggenthies and he told AutoRacing1.com, "This is certainly the biggest crowd we have had here in my ten year tenure. I am very happy with the turnout and our plan is to try and do the doubleheader again next year. We are close to getting it done."

08/11/07 A broken transmission was the reason Sebastien Bourdais broke down this morning in practice. They are putting the transmission from his backup car into his primary car.

08/11/07 Saturday is again warm here at Road America but that has not stopped the biggest crowd in over 10 years showing up here for the doubleheader weekend. Track president George Bruggenthies is smiling from ear-to-ear if that tells you anything. One fan said, "It feels like the early 1990's again."

08/11/07 One can't help but notice all the big manufacturer and sponsor money in the ALMS paddock. Even their pit boxes are impressive - composed of two-story high portable structures with huge video monitor displays. And of course the hospitality units for these teams and manufacturers are first class.......Sebastien Bourdais' crew worked until late last night on his car and again very early this morning. To no avail, however, as Bourdais' car just shut down early in Saturday morning's practice session and has been pushed back behind the wall. He caused a red flag and hence received an 8 second penalty. Paul Tracy also caused a red flag when he spun at Turn 5, and Ryan Dalziel when he spun in Turn 14......Speaking of Bourdais and his NHLR teammate Graham Rahal, it is quite evident that both are running a lower gear than the others as you can hear them on the rev limiter for quite some distance as they approach Turn 5. Their strategy appears to be getting off the corners quicker and perhaps also running a bit more downforce. We hear the team is notorious for running a lower gear than others.


Solid debut for Carpentier
Patrick Carpentier was supposed to be moving to Las Vegas on Sunday. Instead, he moved up on the Nextel Cup radar.  The former [washed up] Champ Car driver, who made a sensational NASCAR debut in his native Montreal two weeks ago, finishing second to Kevin Harvick in a Busch Series race, was a respectable 22nd in his first Cup race and led seven laps early in the Centurion Boats at The Glen.  Photo courtesy CIA Stock Photo

"I loved it," said Carpentier, who started 40th in the 43-car field in the No. 10 Dodge in place of Scott Riggs. "I finished the race. That's what I wanted. I got off the track a few times and got punted off by a couple of guys, then punted them back when we came back."

Carpentier was third when the leaders pitted under caution on lap 24 and took the lead when Jaime McMurray relinquished the top spot to pit. Carpentier stayed there until he had to make a stop.

"I thought he adapted pretty quick," winner Tony Stewart said. "He was putting down some good laps. I was pretty impressed. I think pit strategy ruined his chances of a top 10. The laps he led, if it didn't impress people, it should." Indy Star


NASCAR TV Rating’s down 2 years running
So far this season, NASCAR Nextel Cup Sunday races are averaging 4.6% of U.S. TV households, down 9% from last year — and down 20% from 2005 for the same 22 races. Over the past years, each network carrying Cup races has seen ratings declines. NASCAR's second-tier Busch Series Saturday races, which ESPN2 this season inherited from TNT and FX, are off 11% from last year. NASCAR's national ratings are far more telling than those for other sports. While NASCAR's Cup races are the only option for every NASCAR-seeking eyeballs, fans of Major League Baseball and the NBA can find TV games virtually every day of the week on local, regional and national channels — meaning those sports' national ratings represent just a slice of TV viewing, not the whole pie. USA Today

British F3

Mansell Jr. takes second British F3 podium
Former Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell enjoyed his sons second podium position at Silverstone this weekend. His 19-year-old son Greg Mansell finished the second race at the Silverstone in third position.

Mansell jr. was the biggest mover at the start, jumping Gonzalez and Devaney for third. He manage to steady his position easily and finished behind British championship leader Marko Asmer and Maro Engel.

Greg's older brother Leo Mansell (22) finished in fifteenth position.  See our exclusive photos on our Home Page.


Wirth breaks Assen track record in Champ Car UPDATE Let's go back to 2005 in Monterrey, Mexico where both the Champ Car and A1GP series raced that year at this circuit. The fastest lap time during the race for Champ Car was a 1:14.529 and for A1GP it was a 1:21.100, a difference of 6.571 sec. Pole position times for both series were 1:13.253 for Champ Car and 1:22.078 for A1GP (difference 8.825 sec). Note: The A1GP cars were quicker during the race at Monterrey then in qualifying!

Yesterday at Assen, Andreas Wirth recorded a 1:28.276 lap in the Lola Champ Car and Jeroen Bleekemolen did a 1:30.486, a difference of 2.210 sec. Now we have to take in mind this circuit is more or less Bleekemolen’s 'home' circuit (he was even racing in the BRL V6 series there last weekend). Needless to say the guy knows the circuit inside out. Andreas Wirth on the other hand had never seen the circuit before and apart from 2 laps, as passenger in the safety car, didn't know the circuit. He therefore, had to learn the circuit and try to break the lap record at the same time in a car not setup for Assen ... which he, astoundingly, managed. Bearing in mind Andreas hadn't been in a racing car for 9 months gives his performance extra significance.

We can reasonably assume Bleekemolen's A1GP lap time yesterday was an absolute cracker, which will be - very - difficult to break. Comparing the 2005 lap times at Monterrey again, we can expect Champ Car to get down to a qualifying lap time of around 1:21.000 (on the reds) and a fastest lap time of around the 1:22.000 mark at Assen. Let's wait and see ... it can't rain though!

Looking at Zolder (Belgium), scene of the next Champ Car race, and comparing Formula 3 times on both Assen and Zolder, Champ Car should be able to get down to a qualifying time of around 1:12.500 (again on the reds) and a fastest race lap time of 1:13.500, maybe even quicker!

08/12/07 Andreas Wirth did the Champ Car demonstration today at Assen, beating Jos Verstappen’s A1GP lap record from last year (1:32.184) by almost 4 secs. and bringing it down to 1:28.276 in front of 45,000 fans.

These were Wirth's first 5 laps ever on the Assen TT circuit and after the Champ Car demonstration Jeroen Bleekemolen, with all his circuit knowledge, tried to break Wirth's just driven lap record, but didn't manage to crack it, managing only a 1:30.486. Look for the new Champ Car to lower that mark even further when they show up to race in three weeks.

Also present were both Suzuki MotoGP riders to promote the events sponsor Rizla involvement.

Almost everybody was pleasantly surprised by the noise level of the Champ Car as it was by far the quietest of the three demonstration runs! The Suzuki GSV-R 800 MotoGP bikes of Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins produced by far most of the noise, followed by the A1GP car of Team Netherlands.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Honeymoon over for Hamilton in Britain
  • Spyker says 'B' car may still qualify last
  • Singapore GP work to begin next month
  • Briatore to marry model next year
  • Karthikeyan hopes for better Williams role

Honeymoon over for Hamilton in Britain
(GMM) Not yet five full months into Lewis Hamilton's formula one career, his so-called 'honeymoon period' with the British media appears over.

Fleet Street newspapers and paparazzi photographers have so far spent F1's summer break tracking the 22-year-old McLaren driver on a vacation in St Tropez, where he has been spending time with an unidentified 'brunette' beauty.

And after publishing photos of the championship leader riding a wave on a jet-ski, the Sunday Mirror wondered in a headline, "Er, Lewis.. should you REALLY be doing that?"

The reporter observed that Hamilton "had no safety features, crash helmet or medical teams on standby in case he crashed", and that his long-term girlfriend Jodia will also be "worried" by his jaunts.

The Daily Mail published long-lens photos of the Briton kissing and frolicking with the bikini-clad 'mystery brunette' on McLaren shareholder Mansour Ojjeh's 72-metre luxury yacht, speculating that Hamilton had "traded in" Jodia for a model more in line with his newfound fame and fortune.

The newspaper said Hong Kong-based Jodia "stood by him" when he was a "penniless go-kart racer", while Hamilton "has done little to spare her feelings".

It is also claimed that a team of property specialists are now scouring Monaco for a luxury apartment for their client, and that "only the finest hotel suites will do" now for Hamilton.

He does not "seem remotely fazed by the moneyed circles into which he has suddenly been catapulted. In fact, those on the inside of the sport say he has come to expect and demand nothing but the best," the Mail wrote.

Spyker says 'B' car may still qualify last
(GMM) Mike Gascoyne has moved to downplay expectations for Spyker's much-anticipated 'B' car.

The heavily updated single seater will appear for the first time in Turkey later this month, amid reports that it could be up to a second per lap quicker than the uncompetitive F8-VII model that regularly languishes at the rear of the formula one field.

But veteran Gascoyne, who is the Dutch team Spyker's chief technical officer, cautioned that he thinks the 'B' car has been built up too much in the press.

"Exactly," the Briton agreed. "If you could just suddenly chuck a car into the midfield, then everybody would be doing it. It's not that easy."

Despite trying to downplay expectations, however, Gascoyne admitted that the new car is a "reasonable step forward".

"It's a step forward, but only a small one, and we may well still qualify on the back row. But this time next year judge us by where we are," he added.

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TV News

ESPN overdosing on NASCAR
A reader writes, ESPN is what I will call overdoing it on their NASCAR coverage. Watching Sports Center half of the program was all about Watkins Glen. They ramble on and on about it. Then they break away from it for a while and then it's back to Watkins Glen for more updates. Then they show a 10 minute segment on Bobby Allison and his accident at Pocono 20 years ago that they already showed this morning.

There are too many other good races this weekend to blab about the taxicabs looking like tanks on a storied race course that used to have good racing. Didn’t see a thing about Champ Car or ALMS or even IRL. Why am I not surprised? When it comes to motorsports ESPN is crap. Doug Ferguson

Dear Doug, You must understand that NASCAR controls large blocks of sponsor advertising dollars. When NASCAR sends their sponsors to ESPN to run ads on their various media outlets, ESPN is obliged to return the favor in the way of news coverage. In addition, ESPN has a very large bill to pay to NASCAR for the TV rights to broadcast their races. Therefore, they will do whatever they possibly can to play up NASCAR in an attempt to raise their TV ratings, which in turn generates more revenue for ESPN to pay off their large NASCAR nut. It must be frustrating to all the networks that broadcast NASCAR these past two years to see ratings down 20% since 2005 despite all their efforts. It's called over saturation and the customers have had enough. No matter where they turn it's NASCAR, NASCAR, NASCAR 24 hours per day 365 days a year. Most sports have a defined season. NASCAR's is pretty much January through December with a two week break from the news bombardment during the Christmas season. Mark C.


Said gets Wood Brothers in top 35
Boris Said’s last-minute addition to Sunday’s field proved a big plus for the Wood Brothers.  When qualifying was canceled by rain and Said did not make the race, but the Wood Brothers' scheduled driver for the weekend, Bill Elliott, elected to give up his seat in the No. 21 Ford to Said, believing Said had a better chance for a good finish.

Said had to start the race from the rear of the field because of the driver change, but he finished a respectable 14th – good enough to lock the No. 21 into the top 35 in car owner points and guarantee it a spot in next weekend’s race at Michigan.

The No. 21 is now 37 points ahead of Bill Davis Racing’s No. 22 Toyota, which fell to 36th.

“Mission accomplished. At the end, I think we could’ve gotten a top-10 but where the No. 22 was, I had to really think about it,” Said said. “I kind of gave up and let (Kurt Busch) by and then made a little mistake and (Ryan Newman) got by.” ThatsRacin.com

Racing News

Quotes of the week
KEVIN HARVICK,  NASCAR driver, Richard Childress Racing
"My interpretation is you just got run over. I guess the No. 1 [Truex] ran over the No. 42 ... it just all goes up in smoke because some people get impatient. It just seems like [Montoya] runs over someone every week," Harvick said.  When asked by television broadcasters what Harvick and Montoya were talking about during the incident, where both drivers were grabbing one another's helmets, Harvick said, "I was talking about kicking his ass, because that's how I felt about him."  (Montoya and Harvick got together with less than 20 laps remaining in Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International while both were running in the top 10, and ended up in a shoving match after their cars got banged up.)

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NASCAR driver, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
"On the last restart, I went to the inside to defend the #1 car.  I guess he didn't like it that I defended him, and he just punted me and he spun me.  When he spun me, I went backwards into the #29, and he got out of the car.  I came out and said that he hit me from behind.  He came over and was disrespectful and said all kinds of things and grabbed me.  I don't appreciate that.  I race very clean.  I give people space.  If he's not going to respect me, I'm not going to respect him either.  It's pretty disappointing to see a guy like that do such a thing."  Montoya said if the incident was his fault, he would take responsibility and apologize.

KATHERINE LEGGE, Champ Car driver, Dale Coyne Racing
"I'm not really looking forward to going to Europe unless we fix it because at the moment, it's just so dire.  It's like we're all desperate.  We're all scratching our heads.  It's really important that we get it sorted before we go over there.  I don't want to wreck my reputation over there as well, you know."

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Formula BMW

Gutierrez leads start to finish at Road America
Elkhart Lake, Wis. - 16 year-old Esteban Gutierrez (Autotecnica), of Monterrey, Mexico, took the Round 12 Formula BMW USA victory from his record eighth pole of the season today at Road America. He led from standing start to checkered flag, finishing 0.402 seconds ahead of Adrien Tambay (Eurointernational) in the 10-lap race. The win was his fourth of the year and extends his lead in the Rookie point standings and consolidates his second place in the Overall point standings.

Tambay, a Formula BMW Germany Junior and Rookie, finished third in yesterday's Round 11 race, both weekend podium finishes coming from the outside front row starting spot. Tambay was also credited with the fastest lap of the race, 2:18.321 minutes on the final lap.

Eurointernational teammate and Overall point standings leader Daniel Morad (Eurointernational) finished third. This is the 17-year old Canadian's ninth podium of the year that includes five wins, three seconds and one third.

Philip Major (Autotecnica) and Robert Thorne (Team Apex Racing USA) finished fourth and fifth respectively.

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Perera all the way at Road America UPDATE Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport/Everflux/Perfect Nutrition) closed out his Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda rookie season in fine fashion by taking his third victory of the season in the 2007 season-ending Generac Grand Prix at Road America (ESPN2, August 22, 5:00 p.m. ET).

Perera started from the pole position and got away cleanly when the lights went out to move into the lead. The Condor Motorsports driver was in control of the race throughout, but Brazilian Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) managed to close the gap to less than one second in the final laps of the race. However, Perera?s lead was never seriously challenged and he went on to win by 0.676 seconds over Matos. Perera?s previous two victories came at Mont-Tremblant and Toronto.

It was Perera?s eighth consecutive podium result. He closed out the year as the only driver in the series to finish every race inside the top-five positions, becoming the first driver since Patrick Carpentier in his championship-winning season of 1996 to accomplish that feat. Perera is the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Rookie of the Year and finished second overall in the final championship standings.

After starting a season-worst ninth, Matos got a great start and immediately began his charge toward the front of the field. Matos spent the early stages of the race battling Carl Skerlong (#24 King Taco/USRT) and Alan Sciuto (#20 WS Deans/The Room Store) for second place, but eventually settled into the position and went on to pick up his ninth podium result of the season to cap his championship-winning campaign. Matos will be honored as the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic champion, and pick up his $2 million prize toward a ride in the 2008 Champ Car World Series, during the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Awards Banquet at The American Club in Kohler, Wis. on Sunday night. Matos beat Perera to the championship by 31 points, 341-310.

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British F3

Perfect Weekend for Asmer
Marko Asmer took his second race win and fastest lap of the race to score maximum points at Silverstone to go with the two pole positions he secured yesterday. Maro Engel finished second for the second time today, while Greg Mansell went one better than this morning to secure his second podium finish in British F3 with a demon start from 5th on the grid.

1 7 C Marko ASMER EST Hitech Racing 30:13.633 – 22laps  98.21mph 01:15.943
2 23 C Maro ENGEL GER Carlin Motorsport 30:15.289 22 +1.656s
3 26 C Atte MUSTONEN FIN Raikkonen Robertson Racing 30:18.333 22 4.700
4 50 C Greg MANSELL GBR Fortec Motorsport 30:20.897 22 7.264
5 1 C Stephen JELLEY GBR Raikkonen Robertson Racing 30:27.532 22 13.899
6 3 C Sam BIRD GBR Carlin Motorsport 30:29.015 22 15.382
7 21 C Niall BREEN IRL Carlin Motorsport 30:38.980 22 25.347
8 15 C Michael DEVANEY IRL Ultimate Motorsport 30:39.941 22 26.308
9 5 C Sebastian HOHENTHAL SWE Fortec Motorsport 30:40.347 22 26.714
10 2 C Jonathan KENNARD GBR Raikkonen Robertson Racing 30:44.670 22 31.037
11 31 N Sergio PEREZ MEX T-Sport 30:53.228 22 39.595

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Formula BMW

Young Mexican making his mark early UPDATE #2 True to form, Esteban Gutierrez led flag-to-flag to win today's round 12 of the Formula BMW USA championship.

08/11/07 As we told you, keep your eye on this Mexican youngster.  He started dead last in today's race (round 11) and came all the way up through the field to finish 2nd by inches (0.004 sec.).  An amazing drive.  He is the real deal.  He starts from pole for Sunday's Round 12.

08/11/07 Keep your eye on Esteban Gutierrez (pictured right), a 16-year old driver from Monterrey, Mexico.  He has a good chance of winning this year's Formula BMW USA championship and we had a chance to speak to him Friday in Road America after he won the pole position for Round 12.

"Thursday was a tough day.  After winning the pole for Round 11 we were disqualified for a minor infraction and will start from the back.  Today I was happy to win the pole for Round 12, his 8th pole in 12 races - which is quite amazing in a spec car.

"It will be hard to win Round 11 from the back but I will try."

He hasn't been racing very long but already he has shown how talented he is.

"Two years ago I never dreamed I would be a race car driver.  Then I started racing go-karts after convincing my parents to buy me a go-kart.  I did well and here I am.  It's my first year driving a car but I am doing better than I expected."

His ultimate goal is F1.  He hopes to get into the Formula BMW World Final in Valencia.  The winner there gets a BMW F1 test.

"If I win the title this year I may go to Europe next year to race.  That is probably the best route to take to make it in F1."

We talked about Formula 3 in Europe being the best next step for the Mexican youngster.


Newman Wachs Racing announces 2008 sponsorship campaign
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship comes to a close this weekend as the Grand Prix at Road America concludes this year for the Atlantic division, at picturesque Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Not so for Newman Wachs Racing Team - - -

The NWR is happy to launch their 2008 Season Program aptly titled "NUCLEAR CLEAN AIR ENERGY" based on NEI's current campaign statement.

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI)'s objective is to ensure formation of public policy to promote the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and technologies, NEI will encourage a collection of public and private organizations united under the promotion of the technological advancement of nuclear power to aid in additional support.

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ALMS and Champ Car to go head-to-head
ALMS and Champ Car will go head-to-head on network TV today in the same time slot (dumb, dumb and dumber).  The ALMS race from Road America last evening will be tape delayed and broadcast at 2:30 EDT on NBC-TV, with Bill Weber and Wally Dallenbach, Jr. handling the commentary.  The Champ Car race will air starting at 3:00 PM EDT live on ABC.  With both in the same time slot drawing from the same fan base, both should be assured of a low TV rating.


Andretti to drive for BAM at Michigan
John Andretti will get the chance to see if he can help turn the BAM Racing program around as he takes over as driver of the No. 49 Nextel Cup car next weekend at Michigan.  Andretti is replacing Mike Bliss, a team spokesman confirmed Saturday.  Bliss started the season with the team, missed the first three races, made the next four and then missed eight consecutive events before leaving the team. He returned for Pocono last week but did not qualify. Ken Schrader made the race at Indianapolis for BAM. Scenedaily.com


Hamilton and Alonso to meet
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will meet next week somewhere in Europe to clear the air after last week's controversial events in Budapest saw their intense rivalry explode.

The McLaren teammates are keen to settle their differences before they next race against each other at the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul in a fortnight and they have been on the phone to each other virtually every day during the last week, according to a source close to the Hamilton camp.

Hamilton, who was concerned that he could also give Kimi Raikkonen an advantage by letting Alonso past, went on to lead qualifying until Alonso took over.

According to a source, Hamilton is so concerned about these events and the fact that he and Alonso did not talk in Budapest that he telephoned his teammate last Monday morning.

This was the first of a series of conversations held between the two drivers who now appear keen to get their relationship back on a sensible footing.

"Both agreed that what happened last week in Budapest was an extreme manifestation of the competition between them," explained the source.

"Neither of them want any repeat of this. They realized it looked bad for their team and for themselves because both broke team orders in Budapest. They have agreed that they want a good, clean fight for the title and want to repair the damage."

Their plan is to seal their new-found relationship next week, with Geneva mentioned as a possible meeting place, before going head to head in Turkey on August 26.

Hamilton is also keen to reiterate that he did not use the 'f' word when discussing Alonso's blocking tactics with team boss Dennis last Saturday afternoon during qualifying, a story that spread through the pit lane and was then leaked by a rival team. More at Daily Mail


Ferrari's flexible floor secret revealed
The News of the World can today reveal the secret device that has sparked the biggest row in the sport's 60-year history — and threatens to blight British sensation Lewis Hamilton in his amazing bid to win the world title.

Ferrari had been using the carbon fiber spring on the floor of their Grand Prix cars for the past FOUR years — until the FIA ruled it illegal after a complaint from McLaren in March.

The system automatically raises the car's floor during races to improve the aerodynamic performance and increase straight-line speed.

It helped Michael Schumacher to TWO of his world titles in 2003 and 2004 and TWENTY SEVEN Grand Prix victories over four years.

The device was only exposed when Ferrari technical manager Nigel Stepney allegedly leaked confidential team details to McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan.

A Ferrari spokesman told the News of the World: "The system has been on our cars for a few years. But it has also been on other teams' cars.

"And contrary to the McLaren statement, Ferrari never illegally gained any advantage." More at News of the World


Doran team deems Maserati debut a success
The debut of the Doran Racing Maserati MC 12 was a big success, as Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard finished right behind the two factory Corvettes in the Generac 500 American Le Mans Series race Saturday at Road America.

Their efforts were rewarded with a GT1 podium finish in their first race with the marque and this particular car’s first race ever, as well as a trophy given to the top privateers. The Corvettes were 12th and 13th overall but the new blue Maserati sponsored by Lista, Making Workspace Work and Lista Office was right behind them in 14th position at the checkered. One lap separated the two Corvettes and the Maserati completed two less laps than the second-place finisher in GT1, but it more than held its own.

Indeed, the car’s best lap was Theys’ 2:02.908 to the Corvette’s 2:02.031 and 2:02.197. The team ran between 14th and 19th overall the whole time.


Mutoh dominates Indy Pro race
Rookie Hideki Mutoh earned his second Indy Pro Series victory, holding off Alex Lloyd and Wade Cunningham to win the Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway.

Mutoh, who will make his IndyCar Series debut with Panther Racing at Chicagoland Speedway, ran three-wide with Lloyd and Cunningham for the lead on the backstretch of the final lap and won by .1023 of a second - the 14th-closest finish in Indy Pro Series history.

Chris Festa finished fourth followed by Jaime Camara in the first night race in series history.
Lloyd closed in on clinching his first title with his 11th top-five finish of the season. He leads Mutoh by 98 points with three races remaining.

Results Saturday of the Kentucky 100 Indy Pro Series event Aug. 11 at the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money earned:

1. (1) Hideki Mutoh, 67, Running $33,500
2. (2) Alex Lloyd, 67, Running $25,000
3. (3) Wade Cunningham, 67, Running $20,000
4. (6) Chris Festa, 67, Running $16,400
5. (20) Jaime Camara, 67, Running $15,900
6. (8) Sean Guthrie, 67, Running $15,400
7. (14) Mike Potekhen, 67, Running $14,900
8. (15) Robbie Pecorari, 67, Running $14,400
9. (17) Brad Jaeger, 67, Running $13,900
10. (13) Travis Gregg, 67, Running $13,400
11. (12) Stephen Simpson, 67, Running $12,400
12. (16) Ken Losch, 67, Running $11,400
13. (4) Logan Gomez, 64, Running $10,400
14. (18) Tom Wieringa, 55, Contact $10,000
15. (10) Ryan Justice, 39, Contact $9,500
16. (5) Leilani Münter, 39, Contact $9,000
17. (7) Andrew Prendeville, 39, Contact $8,500
18. (9) Bobby Wilson, 39, Contact $8,000
19. (19) Jon Brownson, 38, Contact $5,000
20. (11) Joey Scarallo, 7, Contact $4,000

Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 110.123 mph
Time of race: 54:01.6259
Margin of victory: 0.1023 of a second
Cautions: 2 caution flags for 32 laps
Lead changes: 2 among 2 drivers
Lap leaders: Mutoh 1, Cunningham 2, Mutoh 3-67.
Point standings: Lloyd 548, Mutoh 450, Cunningham 377, Wilson 332, Camara 320, Potekhen 290, Pecorari 289, Festa 274, Simpson 260, Gomez 258.


HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 55 Panther Racing, winner Kentucky 100): "I'm really excited. I have been looking forward to winning an oval race. I'm really happy. I have to thank the team. They gave me a great race car."

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc., finished second): "It was exciting. It was a lot of fun. I know a lot of people dislike the mile-and-a-halves, but I love them to bits. It was a really hard, fast race. It was a shame we had those yellows and lost 25 laps of running because Hideki and I, and then in those last five laps, Alex -- it could have been anyone. Hideki was fast today and he held the bottom well. It was just a real battle to try to make a pass around the outside him in Turns 1 and 2. Unfortunately I didn't have a draft to help me by on the exit. The speed we were running, there was just a slight compromise between fifth and sixth gear. Neither was perfect, so I just couldn't get it quite done."
ALEX LLOYD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): "It was a crazy race. Early on, the three of us just pulled away. I knew we didn't quite have the car we needed in traffic. I thought we could be good in the lead but in traffic I was struggling to keep close behind. I just stayed patient and few yellows came out. I was concerned that I wasn't going to get the last few laps to make a run for it. We had a great restart and got to second. It was just a great finish and a great race.
JAIME CAMARA (No. 11 Osofresh, finished fifth): "It was a fun race to drive, starting from the back and coming all the way to fifth. The car was good. I was pretty happy with Andretti Green and AFS Racing. They gave me a great car to race. The yellows were too long. I just didn't have enough time to work my way to the front. With six laps to go, all of the cars in the front pack were pretty quick. It was definitely hard but we had a good race. I'm happy with fifth."

CHRIS FESTA (No. 9 CGR Indy Pro Series, finished fourth): "There were more yellows that we would have liked to have but that's the way it goes sometimes. The car was pretty good. We were just struggling to find a straight line speed this weekend. We'll go back and work on it before Chicago. The team did a really good job and we gained some momentum. I just look forward to keeping it going the next few races.


2007 IndyCar Series worldwide TV listings
1 Afghanistan American Forces Network (AFN)
2 Albania AFN
3 Algeria Orbit/ESPN, AFN
4 American Samoa ESPN, ESPN2, AFN
5 Andorra AB Motuer (French)
6 Angola ESPN Atlantic (DSTV); AFN
7 Anguilla ESPN Latin America, ESPN2
8 Antarctica AFN
9 Antigua ESPN2 (Latin); AFN
10 Argentina ESPN Latin America, ESPN+; AFN
11 Armenia AFN
12 Aruba ESPN Latin America, ESPN2
13 Australia ESPN Australia; AFN
14 Austria AFN, Premiere (German)
15 Azerbaijan AFN
16 Bahamas ESPN Latin America, ESPN2 (Latin); AFN
17 Bahrain Orbit/ESPN; AFN
18 Bangladesh ESPN India; AFN
19 Barbados ESPN Latin America, ESPN2 (Latin); AFN
20 Belarus AFN

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Harvick wins second straight Road Course race
This week Kevin Harvick got to do his burnout without unexpected company.

Driving a car he described as “just flat-out awesome,” Harvick beat Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton to the finish line by a comfortable 3.529 seconds to win Saturday’s Zippo 200 at The Glen. The victory was Harvick’s second straight, his 31st in the Busch Series--tied with Jack Ingram for second all-time--and the fifth this season in 17 starts.

The 2006 series champion ran away from the rest of the field at Watkins Glen International after a restart on Lap 73. Polesitter Kurt Busch tried to rally over the closing laps, but by the end of the race, Busch had worn out his brakes in attempt to make up for an early four-tire pit top that had cost him valuable track position.

Busch faded to third by the finish, a few car lengths ahead of Paul Menard in fourth. Rookie Brad Coleman ran fifth, followed by Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Casey Mears, Ryan Newman and Andy Lally.

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IRL puts all its drivers on probation
Indy Racing League chief steward Brian Barnhart put all of the drivers on probation for the final four races of the season, beginning with Saturday night's Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway after the aggressive driving at Michigan last weekend. Of course the IRL's 100% throttle equal horsepower makes it almost impossible to pass so drivers must take unnecessary risks.

"I disagree with the notion that any PR is good PR," Barnhart said after the spirited pre-race meeting. "Yes, Dario (Franchitti's) flip showed up on Larry King and all sorts of national shows, but that type of accident does more to set us back than anything we can do.

"The drivers don't seem to understand that those things do us absolutely no benefit. We can't have that."

"All of that happened on straightaways," Barnhart said. "That means (the moves) were people's choices, people's decisions."

The drivers said Barnhart was as mad as they've seen him this season, and he had a right to be, they said.

"We play with risks so much that sometimes we take it for granted," Michigan winner Tony Kanaan said. "We're all very good, very capable and we drive fast cars. And sometimes it takes ugly accidents to get your attention, kind of like when you're driving down the highway and see a bad wreck. It slows you down a bit."

Formula BMW

Rossi holds off Gutierrez in photo finish
The first race of the weekend for Road America set the stage for an exciting weekend of racing.  American Alexander Rossi (Team Apex Racing USA) won Round 11 of the 2007 Formula BMW USA Championship today at Road America secured the win in the same manner as he earned a spot on the podium in Round 8 by a photo finish. The 15 year-old Californian led the final two laps of the 10-lap contest, winning by a scant .004 seconds over charging Rookie points leader Esteban Gutierrez (Autotecnica), who had started from the rear of the 16-car field. Formula BMW Germany Junior and Rookie Adrien Tambay (Eurointernational) finished third after leading the first half of the race.

HBR Motorsport Team USA teammates Ricardo Favoretto and Steven Guerrero rounded out the top-five.

Polesitter Philip Major (Autotecnica) got a good start, but Tambay, from the second starting spot, was past him in Turn 7 and would lead the next eight laps. With Morad, Rossi and Pelletier in pursuit, Gutierreiz began his charge forward from the rear of the grid.

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White last to first at Road America
In a wild race that saw the first car to cross the finish line penalized and moved back to fourth, it was Ron White, who started last in his #69 Maxwell Racing / Maxwell Paper Products Mazda taking his first win of the year in Round Eight of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.  Finishing 2nd and extending his points lead was Dane Cameron in his #19 JDC Motorsports/Finlay Motorsports Mazda, followed – after a bit of controversy – by teammate Nick Haye making a great showing for his new sponsor with his first podium of the year in the #37 Quantum Sphere/JCD Motorsports Mazda
The race began with pole sitter Marco Di Leo, suffering from fuel pressure woes in his # 21 Maxwell Paper/Nugget Mazda, losing the lead to 2nd-place qualifier Australian James Davison in his #7 Easternats / Velocity Motorsports Mazda.  Davison led most of the race but several overt blocking moves in the closing stages provoked series officials to penalize him three places, dropping him back to 4th.  This handed the victory to White, who overcame a horrible start to the weekend in stellar fashion to score his first win of the season.  White has scored two podiums and two top-5 finishes so far this season.

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Said in the #21 at Watkins Glen
Boris Said, whose opportunity to race his #60 No Fear Energy Ford Fusion this weekend was lost when Friday's qualifying session was rained out, will drive the #21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion instead, replacing Bill Elliott. It was Elliott's idea to put Said, a noted road racer, in the car this weekend. Len Wood - co-owner, No. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion - "Bill Elliott came up a little while ago, and I guess he had run into Boris across the garage, and he asked him what he was doing, and Boris said, 'Nothing,' you know, he had missed the race. I don't know from where it started, if Bill asked him to drive our car or what. I think that's the way it went because Bill came to me and said that in the best interests of the team, let's put Boris in. He said I'll give it my best effort, and Bill's an excellent road racer, the first place he ever won was at Riverside, but he suggested putting Boris in. We first cleared it with sponsors and then went to NASCAR and cleared it with them."

Said, whose opportunity to race his No. 60 No Fear Energy Ford Fusion this weekend was lost when Friday’s qualifying session was rained out, will drive the No. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion instead, replacing Bill Elliott. It was Elliott’s idea to put Said, a noted road racer, in the car this weekend.

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British F3

Asmer wins both poles at Silverstone
Marko Asmer (#7 Hitech Racing) took a double pole at Silverstone in qualifying for Round 16 of the 2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series ahead of Maro Engel (#23 Carlin) and Michael Devaney (#15 Ultimate), who scored the Ultimate Motorsport teams best ever qualifying position.

Round 15 Qualifying
1 7 C Marko ASMER EST 1m15.312
2 26 C Atte MUSTONEN FIN +0.166s
3 9 C Rodolfo GONZALEZ VEN +0.212s
4 50 C Greg MANSELL GBR +0.245s
5 23 C Maro ENGEL GER +0.250s
6 1 C Stephen JELLEY GBR +0.285s
7 3 C Sam BIRD GBR +0.405s
8 5 C Sebastian HOHENTHAL SWE +0.444s
9 15 C Michael DEVANEY IRL +0.514s
10 22 C Alberto VALERIO BRA +0.516s
11 21 C Niall BREEN IRL +0.605s
12 4 C Mario MORAES BRA +0.755s
13 2 C Jonathan KENNARD GBR +0.793s
14 14 C Esteban GUERRIERI ARG +0.849s
15 16 C Max CHILTON GBR +0.864s
16 31 N Sergio PEREZ MEX +0.992s
17 6 C Walter GRUBMULLER AUT +1.179s
18 24 C John MARTIN AUS +1.278s
19 27 C Alistair JACKSON GBR +1.325s
20 39 N CHENG Cong Fu CHN +1.396s
21 44 C Leo MANSELL GBR +1.560s
22 77 N Salman AL KHALIFA BHR +1.677s
23 10 C Ricardo TEIXEIRA ANG +1.809s
24 55 N Michael MEADOWS GBR +1.895s
25 8 C Francesco CASTELLACCI ITA +2.037s
26 38 N Hamad AL FARDAN BHR +2.081s
27 37 N Viktor JENSEN ISL 2.305s
28 59 N Ernesto OTERO BRA 2.342s
29 33 N Juan Pablo GARCIA SAMANO MEX 2.829s

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Perera wins Atlantic pole

French rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport/Everflux/Perfect Nutrition), who has led three of the four on-track sessions for the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda at Road America, left little doubt who had the quickest car in final qualifying for Sunday’s season-ending Generac Grand Prix (ESPN360.com, Live, 12:45 p.m. ET).   (Pictured L to R Jonathan Bomarito, Franck Perera and Jon Edwards)

Perera threw down a blistering lap at 1:58.883 (122.581 mph) to shatter the day-old track record and claim his second pole position of his rookie season of Atlantic competition. It is the third consecutive and front-row starting spot for the Condor Motorsports driver and his sixth front-row start of the season. Perera is looking to extend his streak of podium results to eight in the Generac Grand Prix and would love to do it by taking his third victory of the season.

Perera’s first victory came after starting from the pole position at Mont-Tremblant in July, and went on to win the following week’s race at Toronto as well. He is also the only driver in the series to have finished inside the top five in every race this season.

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Rain washes out NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying UPDATE A reader points out, Dear AutoRacing1, NASCAR drivers are the greatest in the world! What, they can't go out in the rain, on a road course, with wet weather tires? Are they worried that these "world class" drivers will be outshone by PJ Jones, Ron Fellows and Boris Said? Or are they worried about damaging their precious car of yester-tomorrow? David Koeberlein

08/10/07 Friday afternoon's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series qualifying session at Watkins Glen International was cancelled due to inclement weather. As a result of leading the point standings, Jeff Gordon will start from the pole Sunday in the Centurion Boats at The Glen.

1 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet
2 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet
3 17 Matt Kenseth Ford
4 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet
5 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet
6 99 Carl Edwards Ford
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet
8 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet
9 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet
10 01 Regan Smith Chevrolet
11 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet
12 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet
13 2 Kurt Busch Dodge
14 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet
15 12 Ryan Newman Dodge

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Rahal tops Saturday morning practice
Road America may hold some bittersweet memories for Champ Car rookie Graham Rahal, since it was the place where he lost the Champ Car Atlantic title last year. This morning he took a step towards improving his memories of the picturesque Wisconsin course by leading the Saturday morning practice session in his Medi|Zone racing machine recording a top time of 1:43.099 (141.348 mph).

Showing his skill on the Elkhart Lake track Alex Tagliani posted the second best time of the session with a lap of 1:43.783 (140.416 mph). The RSPORTS driver is one of the pilots to watch this weekend since reuniting with the crew that helped him earn his first Champ Car World Series win at Road America in 2004. Will Power who qualified second yesterday was third in the session in his Aussie Vineyards racing machine, while Tristan Gommendy and Justin Wilson rounded out the top five in the session.

This morning’s session was disappointing for provisional polesitter Sebastien Bourdais in his McDonald’s car as he brought out one of three red flags that flew during the session. The first was caused by Paul Tracy who spun in Turn 5 and got two wheels into the gravel trap requiring the aide of the Holmatro Safety Team to pull him out. The second was brought out by Bourdais who came to a stop at the entry to pit road after having some mechanical issues with the car. The Frenchman did not return to the track after the incident logging only six laps during the session.

The final red flag period was caused by rookie Ryan Dalziel who lost control in the last turn, sliding into the gravel trap. The final round of qualifying for the Champ Car Generac Grand Prix at Road America will take the green flag at 2:10 pm central time.

Pos Driver Lap Time Gap
1 S. Bourdais 1:43.027 
2 G. Rahal 1:43.099 0.072
3 A. Tagliani 1:43.783 0.756
4 W. Power 1:43.798 0.771
5 T. Gommendy 1:43.851 0.824
6 J. Wilson 1:43.882 0.855
7 S. Pagenaud 1:43.917 0.890
8 D. Clarke 1:44.259 1.232
9 R. Doornbos 1:44.338 1.311
10 N. Jani 1:44.637 1.610
11 J. Heylen 1:44.783 1.756
12 R. Dalziel 1:44.852 1.825
13 B. Junqueira 1:44.888 1.861
14 O. Servia 1:45.146 2.119
15 A. Figge 1:45.587 2.560
16 P. Tracy 1:46.222 3.195
17 K. Legge 1:46.697 3.670

track news

Zippo renews Watkins Glen contract
Watkins Glen International and Zippo Manufacturing Company announced today that Zippo has renewed the title sponsorship of the NASCAR Busch Series race until 2010.  The race will remain as the Zippo 200.

“We have been involved with Watkins Glen for over a decade and are extremely excited to continue our partnership during their annual NASCAR event weekend and the Busch Series race,” said Greg Booth, President and CEO of Zippo Manufacturing Co.  “Not only does this partnership make sense for us and Watkins Glen, but it supports our Zippo Motorsports marketing initiative.”

Zippo Motorsports launched a “HOT” new collectable line of over 45 lighters in 2005 featuring the NASCAR license and drivers Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Michael Waltrip. Zippo’s involvement with Watkins Glen began in 1993 with the sponsorship of the annual fall vintage event, known as the Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix. The Zippo 200 will be held this Saturday, August 11, at approximately 3:30 PM and will air live on ESPN2.

“We are fortunate to have developed such a strong partnership with Zippo and are very proud to have them with us for the next three years,” said Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust.  “Having the involvement of such a powerful brand like Zippo, joining our NEXTEL Cup Series sponsor Centurion Boats, continues to speak to the value of NASCAR at Watkins Glen International."


Barnhart miffed at NASCAR-ESPN
IRL president Brian Barnhart said his series was put in a scheduling quandary by broadcast partner ESPN and powerful NASCAR for next season, the end result being the loss of Michigan International Speedway as a venue. Barnhart said the move of the Brickyard 400 from its normal slot - what would have been this past weekend - to July 29 started a series of events that negatively impacted the less-popular IRL.

"I guess they tried to make a big deal – to what success I don’t know, it’s not my position, I guess, to say – I think they were looking for, because ESPN is now starting their segment of broadcasting NASCAR races, they were looking for the Brickyard to be the first event during that stint,'' he said. "So it necessitated a week and created a situation for us that led to an impasse at Michigan. It was actually a Brickyard-NASCAR move that created the impasse that we’re at with the IndyCars at Michigan.''

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Heidfeld open to having Alonso as BMW teammate
(GMM)  The prospect of Fernando Alonso moving to BMW-Sauber at the end of 2007 has stepped up a notch.

Both the Hinwil based team's boss, and current BMW racer Nick Heidfeld's manager, have refused to rule out the scenario when speaking to the Cologne newspaper Express.

With Alonso's relationship with McLaren seemingly at a new low after the Hungarian grand prix, speculation has named both Renault and rising grand prix power BMW as possible destinations for the disaffected Spaniard.

"Since our fusion with Sauber, we have increasingly become a more interesting place for other top drivers," BMW-Sauber principal Theissen acknowledged.

He added: "For me, the question is not whether we can offer the world champion enough, but in which configuration we can best make the next step ahead."

It has been widely reported that, presently without a valid contract for 2008, Germany's Nick Heidfeld was the endangered current driver for BMW-Sauber.

'Express', however, suggests that the 30-year-old has now inked a lucrative deal for next year, leaving the Pole Robert Kubica more likely to exit if Alonso does join the team.

Heidfeld's manager Werner Heinz seems open to the idea of pairing his charge alongside twice drivers' title winner Alonso in 2008 and beyond.

"Why shouldn't a Heidfeld drive with an Alonso?" he wondered.

"With the performances Nick delivers at the moment, I would have no worries about that."


Idiotic NASCAR rules screw drivers and teams
Boris Said doesn’t understand it, and honestly, neither do I.

Friday Nextel Cup Series qualifying at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International for Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series Centurion Boats at the Glen was cancelled because of rain.

Not postponed. Cancelled.

Yes it’s become standard operating procedure for NASCAR to scrap qualifying when weather gets in the way. It's one more way NASCAR proves that today’s Nextel Cup world is more about the stage show and less about the competition.

The field for Sunday’s event was set by owner points, meaning 6 teams that showed up at Watkins Glen to make an effort to get in the show went home without even getting a try at making the field.

And by the way, two Nextel Cup Series practice sessions scheduled for today at Watkins Glen will go on in their entirety.

I’ve never understood just how NASCAR can so easily scrap what is supposed to be part of its competition, but yet practice, which has no bearing on the actual competition, is the sacred cow that can’t be sacrificed.

It’s as if these teams now in the show would be rudderless and lost on Sunday if a portion of their time on the track on Saturday was taken away. Are they really that bad that they couldn’t hack it on Sunday without all of Saturday’s practice?

Understandably, maybe NASCAR doesn’t want to take the time on Saturday to send 49 cars out to make qualifying efforts. Fine then, don’t do it. The top-35 in owner points are locked in the field already, don’t send them out.

Why not let the 14 cars not locked into the field, teams that invested time and money to prepare for and get to Watkins Glen, go out and battle for the spots remaining in the field?

Is there anything unfair about that? And realistically, how much would the Saturday schedule need to be altered to let 14 cars go out on the track and take time? It seems like the least NASCAR could do for the teams that showed up for their show.

It’s hard not to have sympathy for a driver like Boris Said, a guy who desperately wants to make it in NASCAR who has seemingly put on a focus on competing in events where his team can run at a somewhat even plane with the big boys. More at Courant.com


Bourdais says that time was right to move to F1
After winning the provisional pole on Friday Sebastien Bourdais took the time to talk with some of us media at Road America.  Is Bourdais concerned that he is moving from the top team in Champ Car to one of the backmarkers in F1?

"I wasn't going to make it with Ferrari or McLaren or any of the top teams, so I was getting close to the end of my window when Toro Rosso called," said Bourdais, who was released from the final year of his contract.

"For sure it's always tough to give up these kind of situations, but we made our point here. It's great to be satisfied with winning, but for me it felt like it was the right time to move onto another challenge.

"You can't be sure if it's the right thing to do until you do it, but at least I will have done it. I won't look back 10 years from now and say, 'Why did I not do it?' "

Bourdais has for years questioned the future and direction of American open-wheel racing, saying its best hope for prosperity stood with a single, unified series.

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Video: Bourdais talks about going to F1

After winning the provisional pole for Sunday's Champ Car race at Road America Sebastien Bourdais talks about  winning the pole as well as his move to F1.  At the end he also does the interview in French for our French listeners.  On a related note we hear Sebastien and his wife Claire are eyeing a move to Switzerland, which is where they will probably be based while Sebastien is in F1.  Switzerland has very favorable income tax laws.  Monaco is out we hear because they are French and get taxed there the same there as they would as if they lived in France - i.e. over 50% of their income would go to the government.

industry news

Video: GM begins to test the new Volt
General Motors (GM) is scheduled to begin testing its electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, in the spring of 2008, prior to it being available to consumers. The Volt can run up to 40 miles on its initial charge, and re-charges itself when in motion. The vehicle, initially introduced at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, uses GM’s “E-Flex” architecture, running on electricity and an alternative power source – a small internal ethanol powered engine that regenerates enough power to restore the battery. GM has partnered with A123Systems, Inc. to develop the lithium-ion battery to be used in the vehicle. GM CEO Rick Wagoner says the Volt differs from hybrid vehicles in that it is always driven by electricity rather than switching between alternative and regular fuel sources. See our Home Page for the video.


Gurney, Fogarty get second victory at The Glen
Tonight, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty had one goal in mind: winning the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season’s final three races, which would secure for them the team and driver championships. They’re now one step closer, as the duo piloted their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley to victory in the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen. The win, which was the team’s second of the year at Watkins Glen International and a series-record-tying sixth of the season, came in dominating fashion, as Fogarty led the race’s first 33 laps from the pole before pitting to hand the car over to Gurney, who left the pits on Lap 34 with the lead and would hold it all the way until the checkered flag fell at Lap 82. Combined, they led all but one lap of the 2.45-mile circuit. With two rounds remaining, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing now trails championship co-leaders Wayne Taylor Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing by just four points.
“The GAINSCO team had a perfect day – it was a great team effort from everyone,” Gurney said. “We needed to get this win for the championship, and to get it we had to be flawless on the track and in the pits. That’s exactly what we got today – I don’t have a single complaint other than a couple lapper cars giving me a bit of grief. We’re right in the championship hunt now with two races to go, and we’re going to keep giving it all we’ve got.”

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Trial of Swede who totaled Ferrari begins UPDATE #3 Police arrested a second person they say was traveling in a rare, $1.5 million Ferrari when it was torn to shreds in a high-speed wreck in Malibu last year.

Trevor Michael Karney, 26, was arrested Wednesday after eluding police for more than a year. He was slapped with misdemeanor charges of drunken driving, resisting arrest and giving false information to a police officer, sheriff's officials said.

He is being held in lieu of $60,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's Web site.

Investigators said Karney fled to Ireland after the crash, then sneaked back into the U.S. through Mexico.

The other person police said was in the Ferrari Enzo, Bo Stefan Eriksson, pleaded no contest to a drunken driving charge in connection with the Feb. 21, 2006, crash. Eriksson, who also pleaded no contest to embezzling two other fancy cars and illegally possessing a gun, is serving a three-year prison sentence.

Authorities said the Ferrari was traveling at about 162 mph when it hit a pole.

11/08/06 The Swedish video game entrepreneur who wrecked a rare Ferrari by smashing it into a Malibu power pole at 260km/h has been sentenced to three years in state prison after he pleaded "no contest" to embezzling two other fancy cars and illegal possession of a firearm.

Bo Stefan Eriksson, 44, entered the pleas only four days after a Superior Court jury deadlocked in the case, bringing to an end a case that gained international notoriety after the spectacular crash on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Eriksson entered the pleas to two felony charges of embezzlement with the special allegation that the fraud exceeded $500 000 (about R3.7-million). He also pleaded no contest to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm - a 357 Magnum handgun that authorities said they found when they searched his Bel-Air, California, home in March 2006.

Two other counts of grand theft auto were dismissed.

Prosecutor Tamara Hall said after the hearing "It was a fair resolution."

Alec Rose, one of Eriksson's attorneys, said: "There was a meeting of the minds; that's why there's a settlement."

11/03/06 A judge declared a mistrial Friday in the fraud and grand theft trial of a Swedish businessman whose 162-mph wreck in a classic Ferrari led to the charges alleging he stole two luxury sports cars.  Jurors told Judge Patricia Schnegg they were deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting Bo Stefan Eriksson.

Eriksson, 44, was charged with two counts each of grand theft and fraudulent concealment with intent to defraud. Prosecutors said he stopped making payments on two luxury sports cars he had borrowed millions of dollars to lease and then tried to hide them.

Eriksson had previously pleaded no contest to a drunk driving charge in connection with the Feb. 21 crash that destroyed a rare Ferrari Enzo valued at $1.5 million.

He still faces trial on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm _ a .357-Magnum handgun that authorities said they found when they searched his $6 million Bel-Air home in March.

Eriksson was not charged with stealing the red Enzo he smashed up on the Pacific Coast Highway but of taking a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and a black Ferrari Enzo that prosecutors said he acquired in England through a series of sham transactions.

The defense acknowledged during the trial that Eriksson quit making payments on the cars late last year. But defense attorney Jim Parkman said he did so only after his company went broke, not because he intended to steal the cars.  He had been an executive with now-defunct Gizmondo, a European videogame company.

10/23/06 A Swedish former videogame executive who set off an international investigation by destroying a rare Ferrari in Malibu was "living it up" with $4 million in stolen sports cars, a Los Angeles prosecutor said as his trial for car theft and embezzlement opened on Monday.

But lawyers for Bo Stefan Eriksson, a 44-year-old former executive with the now-bankrupt videogame company Gizmondo Europe, said during opening statements that while Eriksson was late on his payments on the three cars, he did not steal them.

Eriksson was speeding along the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu in February at 160 mph (257 kph) when he smashed a $1 million Enzo Ferrari into a power pole, slicing the car in half. The crash exposed a high flying life of big spending, million-dollar homes, fast cars and burnt out businesses.

The Swedish national, who declared bankruptcy with more than $200 million in debt a month before the crash, pleaded no contest last week to driving under the influence of alcohol. He faces a separate trial on gun charges.  More at Reuters


Di Leo on Pole at Road America
Capping off a stunning comeback from his troubles at Toronto that saw him excluded from the results and then re-instated, Canadian racer Marco Di Leo put his #21 Maxwell Paper Racing/Nugget Mazda on the pole for Saturday’s Round Eight of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship with a lap of 2:06.670.  DiLeo, who won the season-opener at Sebring, is now – with his one point for winning the pole -- tied with Jonathan Goring for 3rd in the championship with 214 points.
“The track was a bit slippery with all the different types of rubber from all the series running this weekend on the track, but the Maxwell Paper team gave me a great car and I feel confident about our chances tomorrow,” says the Toronto native.  “We have a new sponsor on board this weekend and for the rest of the season, Nugget, and I’m very pleased to have their very distinctive race car on the pole for this event.”

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How Lewis Hamilton went from naught to sexy
There has, in recent weeks, been much fevered activity on the elegant boulevards of Monaco as a small army of elegantly dressed, clipboard-toting 'property finders' scour the principality on behalf of a mysterious and demanding client.

He is said to be in the market for a luxury apartment with uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean.

The des res, they have been informed, must have its own gym, plus at least two car parking spaces and should come in at around the £5 million mark.

Already one gracious residence in the upmarket Fontvieille district has been earmarked and the agents are keeping tight-lipped as to who their client is.

But in this haven of gossip and rumor, the word is already out that the shadowy buyer and would-be resident is none other than Formula One golden boy Lewis Hamilton. More at Daily Mail

Team USA

Miller and Barrett win Team USA scholarships
Patrick Barrett, 17, from Los Osos, Calif., and Joel Miller, 19, from Hesperia, Calif., today were named as the latest winners of prestigious Team USA Scholarships.

The pair were chosen from a short-list of seven talented young American race car drivers who were interviewed by an illustrious panel of judges during the recent Champ Car Grand Prix of San José.

The Team USA Scholarship program has provided opportunities for deserving young Americans since Jimmy Vasser received the inaugural award in 1990. Vasser went on to win the 1996 Champ Car crown and today is co-owner of the PKV Racing Champ Car team. Subsequent recipients include two contenders in this weekend’s Generac 500 American Le Mans Series event: Bryan Herta (1991), who will drive the #26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a, and Joey Hand (2000), who campaigns the #22 Team PTG Panoz Esperante GTLM. Also among the alumni are 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice (1997); this year’s Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Phil Giebler (2000); current Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda contender J.R. Hildebrand (2005); and 2006 winner Dane Cameron, who this weekend is looking to extend his lead in the Star Mazda Championship at Road America.

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Mutoh wins Indy Pro pole
Qualifying Friday for the Kentucky 100 Indy Pro Series event on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and speed:

1. (55) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara, 191.276
2. (7) Alex Lloyd, Dallara, 190.759
3. (27) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 189.586
4. (23) Logan Gomez, Dallara, 189.166
5. (57) Leilani Münter, Dallara, 188.950
6. (9) Chris Festa, Dallara, 187.923
7. (5) Andrew Prendeville, Dallara, 187.547
8. (12) Sean Guthrie, Dallara, 187.527
9. (1) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 187.469
10. (38) Ryan Justice, Dallara, 187.441
11. (15) Joey Scarallo, Dallara, 187.283
12. (24) Stephen Simpson, Dallara, 187.159
13. (2) Travis Gregg, Dallara, 186.572
14. (53) Mike Potekhen, Dallara, 186.205
15. (13) Robbie Pecorari, Dallara, 185.980
16. (52) Ken Losch, Dallara, 185.019
17. (3) Brad Jaeger, Dallara, 184.545
18. (4) Tom Wieringa, Dallara, 184.176
19. (34) Jon Brownson, Dallara, 182.443
20. (11) Jaime Camara, Dallara, no speed


Edwards beats Perera for provisional pole
On his final lap of provisional qualifying on Friday, 16-year-old American rookie John Edwards (#7 Red Bull/INDECK) broke the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda qualifying record at Road America and took the provisional pole for Sunday’s season finale, the Generac Grand Prix (ESPN360.com, Live, 12:45 p.m. ET).

Edwards posted a best qualifying lap at 1:59.247 (122.207 mph) to earn himself a championship point and a guaranteed position on the front row for Sunday’s race. The lap eclipsed the previous Atlantic qualifying record of 1:59.504 (121.944 mph) established by Ryan Dalziel in 2004. The front-row spot will be the best of Edwards’ Atlantic career, topping a previous best qualifying performance of fifth in Round 2 at Long Beach.

The last-lap flyer by the American teenager dropped French rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport/Everflux/Perfect Nutrition) to second on the provisional grid. Perera’s best lap was 1:59.547 (121.900 mph). The Condor Motorsports driver has started each of the last three Atlantic races from the front row and will enter Sunday’s race riding a streak of seven consecutive podium results. He is also the only driver in the series to have finished every race inside the top-five positions.

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Bourdais leads opening Champ Car practice
Three-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais has been on a hot streak since joining the series in 2003. Notching wins at almost every track Champ Car has run on, but Road America has been elusive for the Frenchman. It is only track he has more than one start on, during the current Champ Car schedule that he not been able to win on. The Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver took the first step towards establishing that goal by leading the first practice session for the Champ Car Generac Grand Prix at Road America with a top lap time of 1:43.444 (140.876 mph).

Will Power was second in the session with a lap of 1:44.101 (139.987 mph). At a track Alex Tagliani favors, since he scored his first and only Champ Car World Series win at Road America, the Canadian was third on the timesheet in his RSPORTS car. Justin Wilson and Robert Doornbos in his Team Minardi Team USA colors rounded out the top five.

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Kanaan tops practice at Kentucky Speedway

Pos Driver               Time    Diff  Speed

1 Tony Kanaan (11) 24.4014 ... 218.348

2 Dario Franchitti (27) 24.4185 0.0171 218.195

3 Scott Dixon (9) 24.5072 0.1058 217.405

4 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 24.5087 0.1073 217.392

5 Dan Wheldon (10) 24.5105 0.1091 217.376

6 AJ Foyt IV (22) 24.5768 0.1754 216.790

7 Helio Castroneves (3) 24.5800 0.1786 216.762

8 Danica Patrick (7) 24.6056 0.2042 216.536

9 Marco Andretti (26) 24.6269 0.2255 216.349

10 Tomas Scheckter (2) 24.6355 0.2341 216.273

11 Vitor Meira (4) 24.6686 0.2672 215.983

12 Scott Sharp (8) 24.6755 0.2741 215.923

13 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 24.6962 0.2948 215.742

14 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 24.7047 0.3033 215.667

15 Ed Carpenter (20) 24.7069 0.3055 215.648

16 Buddy Rice (15) 24.8215 0.4201 214.653

17 Sarah Fisher (5) 24.8570 0.4556 214.346

18 Darren Manning (14) 24.9021 0.5007 213.958


McNish wins ALMS pole
Allan McNish put his Audi TDI diesel car on pole for Saturday's Generac GP ALMS race qualifying over 2 seconds per lap faster than his pole last year. Audi teammate Marco Werner will start 2nd ahead of the LMP2 Penske Porsche duo of Dumas and Briscoe. Jan Magnussen won the GT1 pole for Corvette and Jaime Melo the GT2 pole for Ferrari.  Three of the four classes set new lap records in winning the pole.


Last Busch race for Montoya
Watkins Glen will mark the last series appearance for Montoya in the Busch series this season. He will devote the remainder of the season to the Nextel Cup Series. He said the decision to concentrate on the Cup season was made by Ganassi.

"He thought it maybe was better to take part of that program and invest more into the car of tomorrow to make ourselves more competitive," Montoya said.

"I think the move that people have made to the car of tomorrow, there was a lot that went into it. (Ganassi) made the decision and I said, `It's your team, I'll drive whatever you tell me to drive.' "

In 20 Busch races, Montoya has one win, one top-five and three top-10 finishes.

We can also predict that with all the mergers going on in Cup we doubt whether independent teams like Penske and Ganassi will be able to keep pace.


NASCAR TV ratings continue to plummet
Last weekend's Nextel Cup race at Pocono, broadcast on ESPN, received a 4.5 national rating, down 12 percent from last season's event, according to Nielsen Media Research. Last year's race received a 5.1 on TNT.  The Pocono race was the most watched sporting event of the weekend, edging out coverage on CBS of the PGA Bridgestone Invitational (3.3 rating).   The inaugural Busch Series event at Montreal, broadcast on ESPN2, received a 1.4 national rating, the same as the Busch at Indianapolis the week before.

Racing News

Monster Truck Accident Injures 9 UPDATE Here is a video of the Monster truck as it crashed.

08/10/07 A monster truck performing stunts in front of an auto parts store plowed into a crowd of spectators Thursday, injuring at least nine people, officials said.  Two people, including a mother and one child, were in serious condition at Rockford hospitals, authorities said. The seven others were treated and released by Thursday night.

The demonstration, part of a monster truck tour sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts, featured the truck driving over and crushing four cars.

"After its third or fourth attempt of rolling over the cars, and getting back down to the street, it appeared to have lost control and at that point careened off to the left into part of the crowd that was watching the event," said City Manager Mark Biernacki.

After plowing through the crowd about 2 p.m., the truck went through a fence and stopped on railroad tracks, Biernacki said.

Witness Patrick Sheridan, 16, said NAPA staff members had asked observers to stand back from the road after the truck's first few passes.

"I watched the guy go over two or three times getting some air and one time he went up and he came really close to hitting people," Sheridan said, adding that the truck appeared to come within just three feet of bystanders.

The final pass "was like a full-out jump because he, like, floored it and it just went up and landed on the back tires and kept going," Sheridan said.

"It sounded like he couldn't get the gas off and like it kept going and going and going," he said.

The 44-year-old truck driver did not appear to be injured, Biernacki said.   More at AP article


Hamlin leads rain delayed practice
Denny Hamlin led a rain-delayed Nextel Cup practice session Friday at Watkins Glen International, turning a lap of 121.528 mph in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 11 Chevrolet.  The session was delayed about 30 minutes because of rain, and NASCAR extended the practice to 1:30 p.m. EDT. Busch Series practice was pushed back five minutes to 1:35 p.m. EDT and will end as scheduled at 3.
Jimmie Johnson was second at 121.484 in Hendrick Motorsports' No. 48 Chevrolet, with Ron Fellows (Hall of Fame Racing) third at 121.346. Jamie McMurray (Roush Fenway Racing) was fourth, with Jeff Gordon (Hendrick) fifth.

Sixth through 10th were Jeremy Mayfield (Bill Davis Racing), Juan Pablo Montoya (Chip Ganassi Racing), P.J. Jones (Michael Waltrip Racing), Patrick Carpentier (Valvoline Evernham Racing) and Tony Stewart (JGR). Mayfield, Jones and Carpentier all have to make the race via qualifying. Scenedaily.com


Werner puts Audi on top again
Just as it did during Thursday’s test session, Audi held the top two spots in Friday’s first official practice session for the Generac 500 at Road America. This time it was Marco Werner who set the fastest time with a 1:49.011 in the diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI he will share with two-time defending race winner Emanuele Pirro.

Werner, who won at Road America in 2004 and captured pole position in 2003, sat 0.29 seconds ahead of Allan McNish in the sister Audi he will share with Dindo Capello. The Audis are trying to capture their first overall race win in the Series since St. Petersburg in late March.

Porsches held the third through sixth positions overall and the first four positions in P2. Romain Dumas led the way for Penske Motorsports with a 1:50.350 in the No. 7 Porsche RS Spyder. The sister car of Ryan Briscoe and Sascha Maassen were another three-tenths behind. Dyson Racing’s two Porsches were third and fourth, followed by the three Acura-powered entries.

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Team USA

Young drivers get key tests
Today at Road America Joel Miller and Patrick Barrett (pictured right in white shirts)  were announced as recipients of this year's Team USA Scholarship, which will see them doing six races each in the 300 HP Palmer Audi Autumn Series representing the USA as well as a test for the Pacific Coast Motorsports Junior Atlantic team (US Racetronics).

In related news the Pacific Coast Motorsports team announced they will test both of their current Atlantic drivers, David Garza and Carl Skerlong (pictured left), in their Champ Car cars after the season is over in December. More to follow....


Dalziel cleared to compete
Ryan Dalziel completed nine laps at Road America late Thursday afternoon to determine whether his broken collarbone had healed enough to compete at this weekend’s Generac Grand Prix at Road America.  Dalziel had surgery to repair the collarbone just 14 days ago but he was cleared by his surgeon on Wednesday. The team added extra padding and special belts for comfort and Dalziel was comfortable in the car yesterday.  He intends to race this weekend.  Mario Dominguez is standing by just in case Ryan cannot continue.


Mo Nunn is back in the game
We spoke to Mo Nunn who is working with the struggling Forsythe team this weekend to see if he can help them out. No commitments have been made beyond this weekend. We guess you can characterize this event as their first "date." In March Mo and his lovely with Kathryn have moved from Florida to Rancho Santa Fe, a beautiful town north of San Diego, California. He said they love it there.


Perera tops opening Atlantic practice
Frenchman Franck Perera topped opening Champ Car Atlantic practice at Road America Friday morning. Tonis Kasemets, driving for Newman Wachs this weekend, was second ahead of Edwards. More to follow.....


NHLR statement on Bourdais
It was announced today that Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) driver Sebastien Bourdais will join the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One team in 2008.  Bourdais was contracted to NHLR through 2008 but the team has released him from his contract so that he can pursue his dream of racing in F1.

  Bourdais joined Newman/Haas Racing in 2003 as the reigning F3000 champion and went on to become the Champ Car World Series Rookie of the Year after earning three wins, five poles and seven top-three podium finishes.  He followed that up with three consecutive championships for the McDonald’s team in 2004, 2005 and 2006.   So far in 2007, he has brought Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing four wins, including their 100th and 101st , three poles, set the fastest race lap in six out of nine events and is currently leading the series point standings.  He has earned 27 wins, 28 poles and 40 podium finishes in his 68 Champ Car starts to da Following are quotes from Bourdais and NHLR team owners:

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Road America weekend benefits from ad blitz
Weather, maybe. Indifference, perhaps.

But if the Champ Car-American Le Mans doubleheader weekend at Road America falls short of expectations, it won't be because of a lack of promotion on the track's behalf.

"It's a spectacular event, so we wanted to make sure everybody knew about it," said George Bruggenthies, president of the Elkhart Lake facility.

"We're seeing new names and comments from people calling on the phone, 'Hey, I saw the ad, I heard the ad on the radio, and it sounds exciting.' Maybe because it is a doubleheader and it is an exciting event, we're getting more people to it. Rather than just one race, it's a whole weekend of entertainment."

Champ Car's decade-long struggle for attention in the United States has been well-documented, and the American Le Mans Series - road-racing in general - remains a niche in this NASCAR-nuts nation. Both stage viable economic events but neither leaves a racetrack like the scenic and sprawling Road America busting at the fences.

ALMS will stage three events apiece in companion with Champ Car and the Indy Racing League. From a promoter's standpoint, the weekend costs considerably more than to bring in just one of the series but less than it would to do each separately.

Road America's decision to try was based less on economics of two featured races vs. one and more on rebuilding what Bruggenthies describes as "a monster event." In the early 1990s, Champ Car's predecessor CART attracted 70,000-plus spectators on Sunday, but crowds have dwindled to less than half that size in recent years.

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Briatore throws Bruce Willis out of his restaurant
Bruce Willis and mega-producer Jerry Weintraub usually receive VIP treatment wherever they go, but “Extra” has learned exclusively they were told to leave a restaurant on the swanky island of Sardinia!

Now they are issuing a harsh warning to celebrities around the globe, saying, “Stay away from the restaurant Cipriani and the Billionaire Club in Sardinia if you don’t want to be humiliated!”

The movie star and the movie mogul were reportedly thrown out of the exclusive restaurant after Flavio Briatore’s 26-year-old fiancée couldn’t get a photo taken with Bruce.

Briatore, the Formula One international playboy who fathered Heidi Klum’s first child and once romanced Naomi Campbell, is a partner in the restaurant.

Sources tell “Extra” that when Briatore’s fiancée complained, he sent his bouncers over to Bruce and Jerry.

The two Hollywood heavyweights were sitting with boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko and tried to talk things out, but the bouncers ordered them out without an explanation.

"Extra" tried to contact Briatore for his side of the story but did not get a response.

Today Bruce and Jerry tell “Extra” that despite the terrible treatment, they still love Sardinia – but may have to form their own Billionaire Club. Warner Brothers


NASCAR’s front-runners feel an urge to merge
NASCAR teams are racing each other to combine assets and take on savvy investors in an effort to remain competitive.
Teams fielding or building toward four-car powerhouses that cost less per car to operate and generate high levels of technical information are becoming the standard. That's fine for those with money to compete, but jeopardizes the little guy who historically has depended on a passion for racing as much as cash.

Jack Roush, winner of two Nextel Cup titles, set the bar in February when he sold half of his racing empire, which includes five Cup entries, to John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group, whose holdings include the Boston Red Sox.

Since then, operations bearing many of the sport's biggest names — Dale Earnhardt Inc., Robert Yates Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing — have taken on partners at the Cup or Busch series levels.

Monday, another of NASCAR's top owners, Ray Evernham, announced he'd sold majority ownership in his racing operation, which includes three Cup teams, to George Gillett Jr., owner of hockey's Montreal Canadiens and Liverpool of the English Premier soccer league.

It's a sign of the times that few men can do it all.

"It's a sign of the expense of Cup Racing as well as the degree of difficulty in being competitive," says Max Muhleman, president of Charlotte-based Muhleman Marketing Inc., a pioneer in corporate sports marketing with a history of motorsports involvement. "The expense and the degree of difficulty have never been higher."   More at USA Today

[Editor's Note: How much are these mergers driven by the fear of Toyota coming into Nextel Cup?  Toyota are now dominating the truck series after laying low for a year and taking their lumps.  Are the traditional NASCAR teams afraid of the Japanese powerhouse and feel the need to merge and strengthen before Toyota destroys them?]


Toro Rosso confirms Bourdais
Scuderia Toro Rosso announces that Sebastien Bourdais will drive for the team in the 2008 Formula 1 season. The 28 year old Frenchman will be free to join the team after the final round of this year's Champ Car Series on 2 December. Currently leading the series with the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team, Bourdais has been champion for the past three years. Prior to building his career in the United States, he was crowned Formula 3000 Champion in 2002. "It has been a long time coming, but here we are!" said Bourdais. "I would like to thank everyone at Red Bull for believing in me and giving me this long-awaited opportunity to race in Formula 1. I must also thank Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing for letting me pursue my dream and allowing me to test for Scuderia Toro Rosso a few times this year." Toro Rosso PR


STR must make midfield jump - Berger
(GMM)  Team co-owner Gerhard Berger says Toro Rosso must make the jump into formula one's midfield before too long.

The Austrian veteran said: "If for whatever reason this is not possible, then there is no incentive for me."

He acknowledges that "if points positions are what you aim for, formula one is too expensive."

But Berger, who with team principal Franz Tost currently runs the former Minardi squad, insisted that his longer term goal is to step back from the front line anyway.

The ten time grand prix winner, who took a break in recent years after being BMW's joint motor sport director alongside Mario Theissen, told the newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung: "Actually that is my goal -- that Franz, who already does a great job, runs it alone."

Berger admits that the STR2 single seater has not been up to scratch in 2007, but insists that the team also had a "driver problem".

Scott Speed has already been replaced by Sebastian Vettel, and other 2007 regular Vitantonio Liuzzi is on the cusp of losing his place to multiple Champ Car title winner Sebastien Bourdais for 2008.

Berger said Super Aguri has this year been doing the sort of job that he hoped Toro Rosso would be able to achieve.

"They brought in the points when it was possible, and I had hoped that we could also slip into this role."

But he admitted that, compared with F1's grandee teams, STR cannot expect to regularly score points or finish on the podium -- let along plan for wins.

"With Toro Rosso we are talking about 150 workers, compared to 600 to 1000 with the big teams.

"Honda though has about 800 people and nevertheless we are on their level," Berger said.


Massa invites Alonso to charity kart race
(GMM)  In an apparent peace-offering, Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has invited Fernando Alonso to his annual end-of-season charity go-kart race in Brazil.

A report by the news agency Associated Press on Friday claims that, despite their post-race shouting match at the Nurburgring last month following an on-track clash, Massa in Sao Paulo "said he will also invite Alonso for the race in the southern city of Florianopolis."

The news was not repeated on the 26-year-old's personal website, but it did state that many drivers - including Rubens Barrichello, Luca Badoer, Nelson Piquet Jr and Vitantonio Liuzzi - were already confirmed for the event in the Brazilian city in late November.

Massa's 2006 teammate Michael Schumacher will also race.

"In fact, Michael should have come for last year's race but he was already committed with his children's vacation," Massa explained in Sao Paulo.

"In the beginning of this season, he asked me when it would happen this year.

"We like each other, and his presence represents the importance, seriousness and professionalism of the event."

tv news

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

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Nextel Cup Replay -High Definition Pocono Pennsylvania 500
12:00am-2:30am (R) HDNet
NASCAR Live! Watkins Glen
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
Go or Go Home Watkins Glen
2:30pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Watkins Glen
3:00pm-5:30pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Series Final Practice Watkins Glen
5:30pm-6:30pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Watkins Glen
6:30pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
6:30pm-7:00pm ESPN2
Generac Champ Car Grand Prix at Road America - Practice 2
6:30pm (L) WEBCAST - Race Director
Trackside Watkins Glen
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal 200 at the Glen Watkins Glen
8:00pm-10:00pm (SDD) -DP SPEED

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Last USA race for Champ Car for 3.5 months
Race fans, pay close attention to this weekend's Generac Grand Prix of Road America (ABC, Sunday, 3 p.m. ET). It's the Champ Car World Series' last appearance in the United States for nearly four months -- until the Dec. 2 season finale in Phoenix. After the Champ Car teams roll out of Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Sunday night, they'll head back to base to prepare for a two-week trip to Europe for races at Zolder, Belgium (Aug. 26) and Assen, Netherlands (Sept. 2).

Then the series looks set to totally drop out of the public consciousness, thanks to a seven-week gap in the schedule prior to an Oct. 21 event that's literally on the other side of the world in Surfers Paradise, Australia.

Three weeks after that, Champ Car races in Mexico City, and another three weeks will pass before the drawn-out championship draws to a close in Phoenix.

On top of all that, Champ Car continues to perpetrate the myth that the series will actually race in China -- maybe even this year. Officials say the oft-postponed Chinese round could happen Thanksgiving weekend, which doesn't sound realistic with Phoenix theoretically on the card a week later. And that's assuming that the trivial matter of the FIA refusing to grant Champ Car an approved date for the Chinese race can be overcome.   More at ESPN.com


A history lesson
Ok, this isn't about motosports, and maybe we'll getting too old to admit we lived through much of this history, but a student at Cal Tech put together a series of photos that play to Billy Joel's hit song "We didn't start the fire."   We think you'll enjoy it.....and then you can get back to the racing news.....


Foul-mouthed Hamilton tells his boss to ’F’-himself UPDATE McLaren said on Thursday that the stories that Hamilton had used the "F word" when talking to Dennis were not true.

"Over the last few days there has been some inaccurate and misleading reporting of certain events which transpired during the qualification for the Hungarian Grand Prix," the team said in a statement.

"Whilst the team would normally not comment on such speculation, Lewis has asked us to correct one important matter of untrue critical commentary. It has been reported that Lewis used the "F word" to Ron Dennis over the team radio immediately after the qualification session had been completed.

"The team have investigated this claim and reviewed the radio transmissions and we can categorically confirm that Lewis did not use the "F word" at any time during any conversation with the team.

"The team and Lewis are extremely disappointed that the use of the "F word" appears to have been invented and repeated to the media."

08/05/07  According to the British Tabloid media, the 10 seconds Lewis Hamilton lost waiting for teammate Alonso to leave the pits during qualifying infuriated the young British driver, who stormed on the radio and said to team boss Ron Dennis:

"Don't ever f***ing do that to me again."

Dennis replied: "Don't f***ing talk to me like that." Hamilton stormed back: "You can go and f***ing swivel."

Looks like Hamilton isn't the class act the British media has made him out to be.


Dumbreck to drive for Petersen Motorsports
Invariably, the subject around Peter Dumbreck always turns to Mercedes and Le Mans. Dumbreck was a young Mercedes works pilot in 1999 and was running third overall in a Mercedes CLR and about to move past a Toyota GT1 into second place.

Sure enough, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing’s newest driver talked about it again Thursday afternoon at Road America, where he will make his debut with the team, in the Ferrari F430 GT and the American Le Mans Series.

So often does it come up?

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Bobby Gerhart released from hospitalized UPDATE Bobby Gerhart, injured during last Saturday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series Pennsylvania 200 at Pocono Raceway, was released Wednesday afternoon from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Gerhart, diagnosed with a left brachial plexus injury and a T6 compression fracture, has been fitted in a neck brace for comfort. The veteran driver has also been fitted with a back brace to be worn at all times in the upright position, and will undergo physical therapy under a physician’s care in his hometown of Lebanon, PA.

“Overall, I’m just so disappointed,” said Gerhart Wednesday. “As a team, we think it’s plain to see that we’ve got this program completely turned around. We’ve been competitive everywhere. But our championship hopes are gone for 2007, and that’s just disappointing; I don’t know how else to say it.

“I just want to thank Lucas Oil, Eagle Warranty and all our sponsors for being so supportive through all of this.”

08/07/07 ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Bobby Gerhart has been diagnosed with a left brachial plexus injury by physicians at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA.

“Mr. Gerhart has a left brachial plexus injury, and a possible fracture of his T-6 vertebrae,” commented Dr. Mark Cipolle of Lehigh Valley Hospital. “He will be in a neck brace for comfort, but there are no fractures of the neck.” The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that control the muscles of the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers. Brachial plexus injuries are nerve injuries in which the nerves and/or the nerve roots of the brachial plexus are damaged.

Gerhart, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was involved in a lap 56 incident during the 80 lap Pennsylvania 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Pocono Raceway. Gerhart was able to exit his No. 5 Chevrolet under his own power following the multi car incident, but was ted to Lehigh Valley Hospital for further evaluation. The veteran ARCA RE/MAX Series driver was kept overnight after being transported, alert and conscious. Hospital personnel continued to evaluate Gerhart on Monday, and he remains under physicians’ care for further evaluation by members of the spinal team at the Lehigh Valley Hospital. “If we decide that Mr. Gerhart does not need a back brace for the vertebrae injury, he could be released this evening,” Dr. Cipolle continued. “Should we decide he needs the brace, we could have to wait until tomorrow for his release.”

Further updates will be provided as they become available.


Fogarty wins 8th straight Grand-Am pole
With blistering pace and a smooth hand at the wheel, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing driver Jon Fogarty seized the pole for tomorrow’s Crown Royal 200 at The Glen, and in the process wrote his team into the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series record books. The No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley that Fogarty shares with Alex Gurney has now started on point for a record eight straight Rolex Series races, and nine for the season. The pole also moved Fogarty into a three-way tie for the most poles by a driver in a single season, with seven.
Fogarty’s very first lap of the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International circuit was good enough for the pole, but his second was even better, – a time of 1:07.020 at an average speed of 131.603 mph, more than four-tenths of a second quicker than the previous track record, set by Gurney last year. In order to conserve tires for the race, he then brought the No. 99 machine into the pits to wait and see if any of his 20 competitors could best his time. None could – putting the red No. 99 on point for the third straight Rolex Series race at Watkins Glen International, dating to Gurney’s pole in this event in 2006.

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McNish, Audi top Thursday test at Road America
All week, the Audi Sport North America camp has been relishing the American Le Mans Series’ return to Road America. The two diesel-powered prototypes didn’t disappoint by posting the two fastest times in Thursday’s practice session for Saturday’s Generac 500 at Road America.

Allan McNish was quickest in the No. 1 Audi R10 TDI with a lap of 1:49.172 over the 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit through the hills of Wisconsin. The Scot already is under his track qualifying record from last year by 0.009 seconds and sat 0.407 seconds ahead of the sister car of Marco Werner and Emanuele Pirro, the latter having won last year with Frank Biela in the R10’s Road America debut.

“Road America is a fantastic track that has some very fast sections,” McNish said. “It is demanding and you need to be quite courageous. In view of the way the season’s been running up until now, we are very hungry for success.”

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New race car dynamic testing system
Concord, North Carolina - Accelerating Developments International announced today that construction build of the DVRS/DVTS test system has begun. After four years in design development, the DVRS/DVTS technology has all of the innovative features in place and will be the only automotive test system of its kind globally.

About DVRS/DVTS Technology

The DVRS/DVTS technology offers extensive testing innovations including;

·          Fully dynamic road and track motion and forces.
·          0-250 MPH driveline running conditions.
·          Programmable accelerating, decelerating, braking, steering, and shifting.
·          Up to 1300 at wheel HP standard capability.
·          Down force/aerodynamic effect simulation.
·          Lateral and longitudinal force loading.
·          40 degree banking and attitude simulation.
·          Intelligent, expandable, and flexible system controls. 
·          300 channel ultra high-speed data acquisition.
·          Road load data and track data drive file interfacing.
·          Climate condition control.

DVRS/DVTS is the “only” dynamic vehicle test system that incorporates “complete” real-time testing under power, suspension motions, banking angles, and simulated down force scenarios. Accelerating Developments International has also incorporated a proprietary variable influence table that allows the user flexibility to add additional testing condition influences.

Engineering Director for Accelerating Developments International Jay Drake also announced today that Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. will be a primary development partner in the DVRS/DVTS technology and will be working side by side with Accelerating Developments International to bring this innovation to the North American automotive industry as well as to global customers. Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. is a world leader in innovative motion control products and will be working on additional test system development with Accelerating Development International. 

The first DVRS/DVTS is planned for completion in early 2008. Accelerating Developments International will be offering the DVRS/DVTS systems to the automotive Motorsports and OEM industries. There are also plans to have a DVRS/DVTS system available for time-based leasing at the Accelerating Developments International test facility in Concord, North Carolina. The industry significance of the DVRS/DVTS is that testing with 7-Poster Shakers, Rolling Road Wind Tunnels, and on a Road/Track will be of little value. For racing and OEM entities the advantages are many in time and expense reduction, as well as having a single source solution for all vehicle diagnostic needs.


Fauzy back in Spyker cockpit
Spyker's Malaysian test driver Fairuz Fauzy returned to the Formula 1 cockpit today in Santa Pod, UK, to put in a further day's testing for the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team. In warm, sunny conditions, the Malaysian assisted the team with its aero development program, the first time Fairuz had been in the F8-VII since the team's four-day test in Paul Ricard back in May.

"It was great to be back in the F1 car," commented Fairuz. "We concentrated on aero development and control systems and had a very productive day. Santa Pod is not really a complete track, but it's quite bumpy, fun and challenging to drive. We didn't have any problems and it was nice to be able to get some more mileage in a Formula One car. I'm looking forward to getting some more time later in the season."

This season, the 24-year-old has also been competing in the Formula World Series by Renault 3.5 series. So far Fairuz has enjoyed some promising results and in the last round of the series at the Hungaroring, secured his best result of the season so far; second place, just half a second behind the winner. Credit: Spyker


GM and A123Systems to Co-Develop Li-on Battery for Volt
General Motors Corp. and A123Systems, Inc. will co-develop cells with A123System's nanophosphate battery chemistry for a long-lasting, safe and powerful battery for use in GM’s electric drive E-Flex system. The agreement is expected to expedite the development of the batteries for both electric plug-in vehicles and fuel cell variants of the E-Flex architecture.

"Breakthrough battery technology will drive future automotive propulsion, and the company that aligns with the best strategic partners will win. That’s what is so important about this deal,” said Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman of Global Product Development. “Whether you’re talking about the Chevy Volt, a fuel cell or even a plug-in hybrid such as our planned Saturn Vue, we need to understand the fundamental battery cell performance.”

The contract calls for A123Systems, of Watertown, Mass., to develop battery cells to meet the specific requirements of GM’s E-Flex system. A123Systems is considered a forerunner in the development of nanophosphate-based cell technology, which, compared to other lithium-ion battery chemistries, provides higher power output, longer life and safer operations over the life of the battery.

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Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Haug defends Hungary points appeal
  • Fry hits back at Button bashing
  • 'Arrogant' Lewis buying own hype - Irvine
  • Ferrari vows to fight on with spy case
  • Hakkinen rules out McLaren return rumors New
  • Spyker names defaulting Albers sponsor New
  • Albers nears deal for new manager New

Haug defends Hungary points appeal
(GMM) Norbert Haug has justified McLaren-Mercedes' decision to proceed with its appeal against its confiscated constructors' points for the Hungarian grand prix.

The competition director for the Woking based team's carmaker partner, Mercedes-Benz, stated last Sunday that his personal position was "quite clear that we should drop it".

McLaren is going through a tumultuous period; engulfed in the espionage scandal, trying to handle spiraling ill relations between its drivers, and locked in the battle with Ferrari for the world titles.

But it emerged on Wednesday that McLaren had decided to press on with the appeal against the Hungarian stewards' verdict, after they ruled that the team should not score any points in Budapest for its involvement in Fernando Alonso's controversial qualifying pit stop.

If successful with the appeal, the Ron Dennis-led outfit stands to gain a further 15 points to its lead over Ferrari in the teams' chase. Conversely, the International Court of Appeal could also increase McLaren's penalty.

Haug said in an interview with the Cologne newspaper Express: "Should those 15 points in the end make the difference between places one and two in the constructors' world championship, this would mean the loss of many millions of dollars, in addition to the title itself."

Fry hits back at Button bashing
(GMM) Honda team boss Nick Fry has hit back at criticism of the Japanese squad's British driver Jenson Button.

Countryman and 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell was this week quoted by the BBC as saying 27-year-old Button had wasted his opportunities to win races by under-performing and indulging in a too-glamorous lifestyle.

"He had the opportunity and didn't take it," Mansell said. "There won't be any more."

Britain's 1996 title winner Damon Hill, meanwhile, attacked under-performing Honda for "totally wasting" Button's talent.

"He's wilting away there," Eurosport quoted Hill as saying. "Honda just aren't a front-running team."

The Brackley based outfit's principal Nick Fry reacted by admitting that the current Honda car is "not particularly good" but said Button is still a future world champion.

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Former IRL sponsor Pep Boys to sponsor NASCAR race
Officials from Pep Boys announced Tuesday the national auto parts and service chain would sponsor the fall Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  The Pep Boys Auto 500 is scheduled for Oct. 28 at the 1.54-mile track. Financial terms were not disclosed.  Another open wheel sponsor gone to NASCAR because of the open wheel spilt, which has decimated the sport.  Did you catch the crowd last Sunday at MIS for the IRL race where there was not a massive free ticket giveaway?  You could shoot a cannon into those grandstands and there's a good chance you would hit no one.


Almirola to run four Cup races in 01 car
Aric Almirola will run Saturday's Craftsman Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway and make his debut in Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #01 Nextel Cup car Aug. 25 at Bristol. Almirola signed with Ginn Racing last month to share the #01 Chevy with Mark Martin starting with this weekend's event at Watkins Glen. But after Ginn merged with DEI, team management decided Regan Smith would drive the #01 car at Watkins Glen because he has more road racing experience. Smith also will drive the #01 car Sept. 16 at New Hampshire, a track Almirola was going to run. Almirola will get the Nextel Cup races at California, Martinsville and Phoenix. He is also scheduled to run three more Busch races for Joe Gibbs Racing - at Bristol, Charlotte and Homestead - and he'll qualify a Gibbs car for Denny Hamlin at Memphis. The Hillsborough High graduate said nothing has changed concerning his plans for 2008. He'll share the #01 Chevy with Martin, and the schedule will be determined after this season ends. Tampa Tribune


Gordon to give Ambrose Cup debut UPDATE Here is a transcript of the Ambrose/Gordon announcement. 

08/07/07 Robby Gordon Motorsports will field Australian Marcos Ambrose in the Busch Series rookie’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series debut in the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen this weekend.

After one of the most controversial incidents in NASCAR’s recent history last weekend, Ambrose has accepted a ‘peace offering’ from Gordon to drive the #77 Camping World Ford Fusion, which will also carry some signage from Ambrose’s regular sponsor Kingsford Charcoal.

Ambrose led 37 laps, more than any other driver, in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Montreal last weekend and was on course to record his first NASCAR Busch Series win when he was turned around by Gordon while leading at the second corner at a restart with two laps remaining.

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Katayama joins Speedcar revolution
Ukyo Katayama has confirmed he will take the Speedcar Series challenge later this year when he enters in the inaugural Grand Racing event. The Japanese star is the latest ex-Formula One driver to announce he will battle for the championship's 600,000 US dollars first prize.

Katayama said: "I am delighted to be confirmed as the first driver from the Far East to be taking part in the Speedcar Series. It is especially nice for me, as I am confident the series will visit Japan at some stage during the championship! This will be another great challenge for me, after taking part in Formula One, the Le Mans 24 Hours, and by climbing some of the world's toughest mountains."

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