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Carlin Motorsport join forces with A1 Team Korea
British race team Carlin Motorsport have entered into a partnership with A1 Team Korea to provide technical support to the team through its first season in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.  Carlin, who have previous experience in the A1GP series, will also provide a wider motorsport program to help develop young drivers in Korea.

The A1GP series, which enters its fourth season this year, is a unique concept providing a level playing field on which drivers compete for the pride of their nation.  Racing in the winter months, the series will visit 11 exciting venues, across five continents.   

A1 Team Korea will join teams from around the world when the season kicks off at the A1GP Mugello, Italy, from the 20-21 September.  The 2008/09 season sees an exciting new era in A1GP, as each team will race with the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car. 

With widespread experience across single-seater motorsport, Carlin is one of the most successful teams outside F1.  Since the team’s first full season of racing in 1999, Carlin have won over 140 races across all categories, and run many drivers on their way to F1, including Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica.  A1GP will be the fourth category in which the team competes in 2008, adding to Carlin’s current program of British F3, F3 Euro Series and World Series by Renault 3.5. 

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De Ferran crewman Keith Jones Released From Hospital
Injured de Ferran Motorsports crew member Keith Jones has been released from the Richard Fairbanks Burn Center, as his condition was downgraded to good Wednesday at Wishard Health Services, according the Fairbanks Burn Center doctors.

Jones, who spent three weeks at the Fairbanks Burn Center, will continue his recovery at his Greenwood, Ind., home with outpatient rehabilitation at Wishard on a regular basis.

Jones was injured in a pit incident in the American Le Mans Series race on July 19 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  Jones has been a veteran crew member of the ALMS and IndyCar Series for over ten years including stints at Panther Racing, Andretti Green Racing and de Ferran Motorsports.

Many American Le Mans Series and IndyCar Series teams supported Jones' recovery effort last weekend by donning "Get Well Jonesie" stickers during the American Le Mans Series race at Road America and IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

A special fund has been established to assist Jones in his recovery process.

The Keith E. Jones Fund was established last week at National City Bank. Contributions to the fund can be made at any National City Bank.  Best wishes can be sent to the de Ferran Motorsports headquarters.  The address is listed below.

Keith E. Jones Fund
c/o De Ferran Motorsports
485  Southpoint Circle, Suite 900
Brownsburg, IN 46112

tv news

Kentucky Indy Lights race to be televised
The Firestone Indy Lights race run at Kentucky Speedway on August 9 will be shown on Thursday, August 14 at 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm ET on ESPN2.  Tune in to watch all the exciting action.


Indy Lights schedule expands to 15 races in '09
The Firestone Indy Lights will again offer one of the most diverse schedules in motorsports in 2009, with 15 races divided among seven ovals, four temporary street circuits, and three permanent road courses.

The 2009 schedule includes three new venues and the series' first two races outside of the United States. All races will be held in conjunction with the IndyCar Series.

Just like the IndyCar Series champion, the Firestone Indy Lights champion has to succeed on all types of racing circuits," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Firestone Indy Lights. "This schedule demands the ability of both drivers and teams to master a variety of venues and the challenges each one brings with the end result being a true champion and a driver that is fully prepared to be an IndyCar Series driver.”

For the seventh consecutive year, the Firestone Indy Lights season will begin competition in the state of Florida, but for the first time a doubleheader weekend on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., will open the campaign on April 4-5.

The series will then make its debut on the Streets of Long Beach, Calif., on April 18-19 before beginning a string of four consecutive ovals which includes the series' premier event – the Firestone Freedom 100 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 22, two days before the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500.

The summer stretch also features a Canadian swing with debut races on the Streets of Toronto on July 11-12 and at Edmonton's City Centre Airport on July 25-26.

"The opportunity to compete on Carb Day at Indianapolis in front of more than 100,000 fans is an experience that is second to none for our drivers, teams and sponsors," Bailey said. "Adding two events in Canada will also allow us to showcase the future stars of IndyCar Series racing to a new audience."

For the first time, the season will conclude at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which will host the Firestone Indy Lights for the seventh-consecutive season.

“Firestone Racing is quite pleased with the 2009 schedule," said Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing. "It will be absolutely fantastic to see the Firestone Indy Lights name back on the streets of Long Beach, where we held our very first Firestone Indy Lights race back in 1991, and in Toronto – another great venue at which we have a lot of history. And as the sole tire supplier to Firestone Indy Lights, the diverse schedule presents our engineers the opportunity to provide different tires and technology that are suited to the both the ovals and road/street courses. We are quite eager to see the 2009 challengers in action in St. Pete.”

The Firestone Indy Lights is the premier ladder series for drivers and teams striving to compete in the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. Teams compete for nearly $4 million in prize money in cars that are second in speed only to the IndyCar Series at most tracks they visit. The complete Firestone Indy Lights schedule will be telecast in high-definition on Versus and available through live webcasts on www.indycar.com. Graduates of this fast and cost-effective series include Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, A.J. Foyt IV and Hideki Mutoh.

The complete 2009 Firestone Indy Lights schedule:


April 4
Streets of St. Petersburg

April 5
Streets of St. Petersburg

April 18 or 19
Streets of Long Beach

April 25 or 26
Kansas Speedway

May 22
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

May 30 or 31
Milwaukee Mile

June 20 or 21
Iowa Speedway

July 4 or 5
Watkins Glen International

July 11 or 12
Streets of Toronto

July 25 or 26
Edmonton City Centre Airport

Aug. 1
Kentucky Speedway

Aug. 8 or 9
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Aug. 22 or 23
Infineon Raceway

Aug. 29
Chicagoland Speedway

Oct. 10 or 11
Homestead-Miami Speedway

* Subject to change


BMW needs Alonso to replace Heidfeld - Stuck
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber should step up its efforts to replace Nick Heidfeld with former double world champion Fernando Alonso in 2009.

That is the opinion of Hans-Joachim Stuck, a famous German driver who contested grands prix in the 70s and now heads up Volkswagen's racing division.

Stuck, who prior to his VW appointment was long associated with BMW, believes the German marque should strive for a long-term contract with Alonso to partner Robert Kubica.

"It's nothing against Nick, but unlike Kubica he is not a driver who can win a world championship," Stuck plainly told Sport Bild.

Heidfeld, the 31-year-old veteran with nearly 150 grands prix to his name, has struggled alongside Kubica with the F1.08 car this year.

Stuck said Alonso is the ideal alternative.

"If you can secure an Alonso for the long term, then you must," he insisted.


Renault's Dino Toso passes away
(GMM) Dino Toso, the former aerodynamics boss at Renault's formula one team, passed away at home on Wednesday morning.

Team chief Flavio Briatore revealed in 2006 that Italian countryman Toso, reported to have first fallen ill two years earlier, was battling with cancer.

Earlier this year, Toso - who joined from Jordan in 2001 - stepped down as Renault's director of aerodynamic technology.


Too late to appoint Ferrari no.1 - Berger
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger, who at the beginning of the season tipped reigning champion Kimi Raikkonen to defend his title, has now changed his mind.

"Now I would put my bets on Lewis Hamilton," the Austrian former grand prix winner, who co-owns the Toro Rosso team, told Germany's Sport Bild magazine.

Berger points not only to Raikkonen's recent struggle with his Ferrari over a qualifying lap, but also rumors that the Finn is battling with waning motivation.

"I must admit, he has disappointed me," Berger explained.  "I don't think he has enough now to beat Hamilton."

Berger, a Ferrari driver over two tenures in the 80s and again in the 90s, does not even think Raikkonen would benefit from the advice of former team boss Cesare Fiorio, who believes Maranello's current chiefs should appoint a number one driver for the remaining races of the season.

"You have to specify the hierarchy from the beginning of the season, not in the middle," he said.

Berger believes Hamilton, clearly the prominent driver at McLaren at the moment, has an advantage also for this reason.


Firm blames F1 'freeze' for losses
(GMM)  Engineering company Mecachrome has pointed to the so-called engine 'freeze' in formula one as having contributed to its current financial struggle.

The firm, involved in F1 and GP2 and also the aviation industry, this week announced that its losses for the recent quarter deepened to $17.5m.

Montreal-based Mecachrome blamed delays in some aerospace programs "as well as the F1 freeze in engine development and its technical regulatory changes".

The company said boss Gerard Casella is to begin work on a "restructuring plan".

Mecachrome, involved directly in F1 in the late 90s also in the Supertec and Playlife guises, is still involved in the engine assembly process for Renault's works team.

The company also produces engines and gearboxes for the GP2 feeder series.


Ferrari critical of Bridgestone tire selections
(GMM)  Ferrari has offered mild criticism about sole tire supplier Bridgestone's selection of compounds for races.

According to the Italian team's technical boss Aldo Costa in interview with Auto Motor und Sport, the selection of two tire compounds "to us seems too hard for some circuits".

Bridgestone, the Japanese tire manufacturer, announced recently its selection of tire compounds for the remaining grands prix in 2008.

The softest tires available will be on offer in Singapore, while at Fuji the compounds will be one step harder.

Hard and medium tires will be used in China, and for the season-ending Brazilian grand prix, Bridgestone has elected to go one step harder for 2008 compared with last year.

Bridgestone chief Hirohide Hamashima defends the change.

"This race can be very hot, as we saw last year, and our data from the thrilling final race of last season showed us that this change would be beneficial for the teams," he said.

Renault's engineering boss Pat Symonds is backing Ferrari's stance.

"The selection for Hockenheim was definitely too hard," he said.  "Also for Spa and Monza a step further on the soft side would be sufficient."


Pininfarina - New boss named for Italian car design company
Paolo Pininfarina has been named CEO of the Italian company that designs Ferrari and Maserati cars to succeed his brother Andrea who was killed recently in a road accident.

Paolo Pininfarina, 49, has served as deputy CEO since 1987.

The Pininfarina Group has yet to name a new board chairman, a position held by Andrea Pininfarina who collided with a car while riding a motor scooter outside the northern city of Turin last Thursday. He was 51.

Current general manager Silvio Angori will oversee operations and implement a restructuring plan for the financially strapped company, the group said in a statement. Responsibility for finances and administration has been assigned to Gianfranco Albertini, the current financial manager and the company's new leadership will have the delicate task of reaching accord with creditor banks.

The group, which has a turnover of about a billion dollars a year, recently ran into financial difficulties with a net loss in 2007 of €114.9-million. In April 2008 three Italian industry leaders and French tycoon Vincent Bollore came to the rescue with a capital infusion of €100-million.

The family business has also designed MG, Lancia and Fiat products.


Scott Speed has his toenails painted
Class clown Scott Speed paints his toenail nips dark blue.  We can hear the NASCAR bubbas howling now
Are you ready for some speed? Sure, but are you ready for Scott Speed? Painted toenails, flashy clothes, loose talk and plenty else that doesn't fit NASCAR, he's coming to a track near you.

And he just might be the next Sprint Cup star.

No doubt you've also heard that Joey Logano, the 18-year-old who won in his third Nationwide Series start, might be the next Cup star. Well, Speed, 25, is the anti-Logano. Logano is destined to be a polished NASCAR talent in the conservative mold of Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson, but he has barely raced in any big-time events. Speed, more likely to dress in and say whatever he feels like on any particular day, already has reached what he considers the pinnacle of racing: Formula One.

Granted, the whole F1 thing didn't work out so well -- he was replaced in 2006 after less than two years and finished no higher than ninth in 28 starts -- but Speed has competed in some of the world's biggest races and was the first American to drive in F1 since Michael Andretti in 1993. Hey, it looks good on the resume.

Looks aside, he knows how to race. With four ARCA wins (Kansas, Kentucky, Berlin and Nashville) and a truck win at Dover so far in 2008, it's obvious he can do well in good equipment. His biggest challenge in the future will be giving feedback to his team in the longer Nationwide Series and Cup events.

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tv news

NASCAR Now Visits JGR today
NASCAR Now, ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information show, will visit the headquarters of one of the top teams in NASCAR, Joe Gibbs Racing, for a special hour-long program on Wednesday, August 13, at 5pm/et. NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith will be on-site in Huntersville, N.C., with Nicole Manske hosting the program from ESPN's high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. In addition to a look back at the history of JGR since its inception in 1991, NASCAR Now will have live interviews with the man who started it all, Joe Gibbs, along with his son, J.D. Gibbs, who now runs the entire operation. NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Kyle Busch and his crew chief Steve Addington also will be live guests, along with Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin, 18-year-old NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Joey Logano and Camping World East driver Marc Davis. Smith also takes a tour of the shop with Tony Stewart's crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, as tour guide to give viewers an inside look at the inner workings of JGR. Smith talks with Zipadelli about his experience at JGR and his relationship with Stewart, who is leaving JGR at the end of the season. Smith also sits down with Stewart to discuss his years at JGR, this season and his future. ESPN PR


IndyCar teams and drivers testing at Infineon Thursday
Marco Andretti (Andretti Green Racing)
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
E.J. Viso (HVM Racing)
Oriol Servia (KV Racing Technology)
Tomas Scheckter (Luczo Dragon Racing)
Vitor Meira (Panther Racing)
Marty Roth (Roth Racing)
AJ Foyt IV (Vision Racing)


Busch just needs 10th or better to lock in top seeding
Kyle Busch’s eight victories have clinched the Chase’s “top seeding” because of the 80 bonus points those wins provide. Of course, to be top seed, he must first make the Chase – a virtual certainty if there ever was one. This weekend, Busch can become the first driver to clinch a Chase berth, by finishing 10th or better on Sunday at Michigan.


Speedcar series chief wants Schumacher
Michael Schumacher
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has been targeted as the dream addition to the novel stock car racing series Speedcar.

Benoit Lamonerie, the general manager of the new series that in its debut season featured former F1 racers including Jean Alesi, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jacques Villeneuve, told Motorsport Aktuell: "I would love simply to have Schumacher in one of our cars."

Also contesting the inaugural season of the mainly Middle Eastern and Asian-based category this year were former F1 personalities Narain Karthikeyan, Ukyo Katayama, JJ Lehto and the first Speedcar champion, Johnny Herbert.

The 2009 season is slated to begin in January and run through to April.

Whether seven time F1 world champion Schumacher, 39, would be interested, however, is questionable.

It is suggested the former Ferrari driver wants to contest the full championship of the German Superbike (IDM) series next year.

The German denies the rumor.

"I read somewhere I now want to fight for the title.  As much as I enjoy it, motorcycle racing is only a hobby for me," Schumacher said.

track news

Safety works at F1 test track Jerez
(GMM)  Safety improvements to the formula one test circuit at Jerez are currently taking place.

The changes to gravel traps and barriers are occurring ahead of an inspection by the world motorcycle sanctioning body, in the Spanish venue's bid to retain its MotoGP race.

A spokesman told visordown.com: "The work we are carrying on the circuit is to ensure that we can count on a new license of homologation from the FIM for 2009."


Bosses, drivers, marring Ferrari charge
(GMM)  The root of Ferrari's problems at present are perched on the pitwall and sitting in the cockpit of the F2008, according to the Italian team's former boss.

Cesare Fiorio, who preceded Jean Todt's ultra-successful reign at the Maranello team, said that even though the car failed within sight of victory for Felipe Massa in Hungary, the technical department is not Ferrari's main issue.

"I suspect the Ferrari is still the best car but it is being spoiled by errors from the command post and by the drivers," he told Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell.

69-year-old Fiorio, most recently involved with Minardi in 2000, also has another piece of advice for the team he led at the end of the 80s and early 90s.

"Ferrari need to decide on who to put the money on -- Massa or Raikkonen," he said.

Appointing a number one driver for the remaining seven races of 2008 would be a difficult decision, however, given that Kimi Raikkonen leads his teammate Felipe Massa by just 3 points.

In a survey conducted by the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, 56 per cent of the readers believe Ferrari should back the Finn.

However, the reigning world champion, Raikkonen, is currently struggling with his F2008, particularly in qualifying.

"Kimi seems to have the same trouble as Heidfeld in getting the car going for a fast lap," said Marc Surer, a grand prix driver of the 80s and now a Swiss commentator.

Surer wonders if motivation is also a problem for Raikkonen, 28.

"He has been champion already.  Sometimes it appears he wants to watch rather than race," the Swiss said.

Brazil's Massa, meanwhile, observes that Raikkonen occasionally gets his 2008 car working well for a single lap.

"Four times out of five I can get the tires into the correct temperature window," he explains to Auto Motor und Sport.

"With Kimi it is more like one in five.  But when he does it, he is really quick," Massa said.


Dalziel Confirmed as Rangers Superleague Formula Driver
Ryan Dalziel will drive the Rangers Superleague Formula car
Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel will spearhead Rangers attack on the inaugural Superleague Formula championship having been confirmed as the club’s official race driver today.  The 26-year-old Lanarkshire ace will debut the Rangers-liveried Superleague Formula car at the opening round of the season at England’s Donington Park Circuit, Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st August.

Rangers were the first British-based football club to commit to the new series which aims to fuse the passion of football with the thrill and excitement of top-flight motor racing utilizing V12-powered, 750bhp single-seater race cars in each clubs colors.  20 clubs are lining up for the 6-round inaugural season, set to run from August to November 2008, with Rangers joined on the grid by the likes of AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto, Olympiacos and Tottenham Hotspur.

The Rangers-liveried Superleague Formula car
Dalziel’s confirmation marks the first time the Scotsman will contest a full European-based season since he competed in the 2001 British Formula Three Championship.  Since then, Ryan’s talents have been showcased predominantly in North America, notably in the Champ Car World Series and the likes of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.

Excited by both a return to European-based competition and high-performance single-seater racing Dalziel commented; “I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected to represent Rangers in the Superleague Formula.  I’m excited to be returning to Donington Park for the inaugural race even though it’s been seven years since I last raced there which seems hard to believe!”

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BMW team has lost its way UPDATE The recent Hungarian Grand Prix didn't turn out the way the BMW Sauber team had anticipated but Mario Theissen has confirmed that it won't affect the F1.08's development program for the rest of the 08 season.

Here he reflects on the disappointing weekend in Hungary.

“The Hungarian GP turned out to be a race we virtually weren't involved in. At no point in time were our drivers able to clock the lap times we had expected following our performance on Friday and Saturday. And this applied to both tire compounds.”

“We have not yet detected the reasons but we will analyze what happened. To do so, we will take a close look at the interplay of car, tires, track conditions and temperatures. This analysis will be carried out at home in Munich and Hinwil, as we aren't allowed to go testing due to the testing ban prior to the next race. The truth is, the result at Budapest represented a real disappointment.”

“We were not just slow, we were also inconsistent. Like Ferrari, we also witnessed that one car was doing much better than the other. There was something out there that we did not understand. Obviously we aren't going to sit down and twiddle our thumbs as we still have developments in the pipeline - aerodynamic as well as mechanical. And we definitely won't stop the development of the F1.08 because of one unsatisfying result.”

08/04/08 In growing signs that BMW Sauber are starting to fall out of touch in this year’s title race – perhaps as a result of focusing on next year’s car – both drivers suffered from a distinct lack of pace in recent weeks.

Kubica, who only a few races ago was leading the world championship after a string of podiums and a victory in Canada, managed to qualify in fourth place - but come the race, he, like teammate Heidfeld, were simply backmarkers.

“This was a difficult race,” said the Pole after finishing eighth. “We were very slow and I was struggling with the overall grip of the car. I had massive oversteer and could not really push. I was trying hard to keep the car on the track. Anyway, one point is better than nothing.”

Nick Heidfeld’s race wasn’t much better,  the German finishing 10th after starting 15th.

“My start wasn’t perfect but okay,” commented the 31-year-old. “As I had hoped, I was able to overtake three cars on the first lap. But later it became more difficult than expected to race with the heavy car.”

“We went for a one stop strategy, so my car was almost full of fuel at the start and I also had to take care of the tires. I couldn’t match the pace of the cars in front of me. Now we have to analyze today’s lack of race pace. Normally this is one of our strengths!”

“We were completely off the pace during the race,” bemoaned team boss Mario Theissen. “Neither driver was able to do the lap times we expected after the sessions on Friday and Saturday. It was the same on both tire compounds.”

“The reason for that is currently not clear, but we shall analyze everything. Congratulations to Heikki Kovalainen for his maiden win in F1 and, of course, Timo Glock for his strong weekend, crowned by finishing second.”

Willy Rampf BMW Sauber’s Technical Director added: “Of course we are very disappointed with today’s performance. Now we need to analyze why we were not able to match our qualifying performance during the race.”

“We shall do this in the factories in Hinwil and Munich because, due to the testing break, we are not able to test before the next race in Valencia in three weeks.”


Watkins Glen Cup TV rating drops
ESPN says its coverage of Sunday’s Centurion Boats at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 3.6.  The figure is 12.2 percent lower than the 4.1 the race earned in 2007.


Dale Earnhardt Inc. Names Hutchens VP of Competition
Dale Earnhardt Inc. has named NASCAR veteran Bobby Hutchens vice president of competition. Hutchens, who previously served as general manager of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines after a long tenure with Richard Childress Racing, will oversee all competition efforts at Dale Earnhardt Inc., including its four Sprint Cup teams.

Hutchens’ new position came as the result of a joint decision between DEI and RCR. The championship-winning NASCAR racing organizations have a long history of successful collaboration including, among others, ECR Engines and the RAD aerodynamics program that also included Andy Petree Racing.

“We are very pleased to have Bobby Hutchens join our team at Dale Earnhardt Inc.,” said DEI Vice President of Motorsports Operations John Story. “Bobby will make a strong addition to Dale Earnhardt Inc. He brings two decades worth of experience and a tremendous amount of knowledge to our race teams. This is another piece of the puzzle that we feel will definitely further strengthen our organization.”

Hutchens, who graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1982, is highly regarded in Sprint Cup racing for his research, development and computer testing accomplishments. Hutchens has managed and developed all facets of RCR’s R&D program, while overseeing RCR’s engineering, engines, engine R&D, manufacturing, chassis R&D and aerodynamics programs. He was named general manager of ECR Engines when the program was put together in May 2007.

He started at RCR in 1989 as a member of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench team with driver Dale Earnhardt. During his 20-year career at RCR, Hutchens worked his way from team engineer to shop foreman to crew chief and, eventually to vice president of competition.

“I’m very excited about becoming a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc.,” said Hutchens. “Hopefully in the next few weeks and months we can begin to chart a path that will see Dale Earnhardt Inc. win a lot of races and compete for championships.

“I feel that my experience at RCR will be a great benefit and pay big dividends in both the areas of car and engine development,” added Hutchens. “Hopefully at the end of the day we’ll all be very happy with what we are able to accomplish.”

Hutchens is also an accomplished third generation Modified racer. In addition, he helped co-develop the Hutchens Device, a driver head-and-neck safety restraint system utilized in motorsports.


Cochrane: The IRL cannot hold Surfers race hostage
V8 Supercars Australia chairman Tony Cochrane has said that, while he still hopes that the IndyCar Series can join the national tin-top series on the bill at Surfers Paradise, the Americans must not be allowed to hold the event to ransom over dates.

The 2008 Gold Coast event, branded the Nikon Indy 300 after an injection of sponsorship, will see the IRL replace the now defunct Champ Car World Series as co-headliner alongside the V8s for the first time, but the event will likely be a non-championship affair - and there is currently no place on the 2009 schedule for the Australian round.

The main sticking point is the Gold Coast event's traditional October date, which falls outside of the planned IndyCar calendar but suits the locals just fine. Although the event was awarded a long contract to stage a round of the amalgamated IndyCar Series as one of just three events to initially be accepted from the ruins of Champ Car, it was missing from the 2009 schedule issued last month and may not be included unless the impasse can be overcome.

Current speculation sees the Indy 300 slotting in alongside the rescheduled Motegi event to form a 'flyaway' double-header but, according to Cochrane, the two alternative dates offered by the IRL are far from suitable, and he insists that the long-standing carnival should not be dictated to when it came to finding a compromise.

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V8 Boss Cochrane lambasts proposed IRL dates for Surfers
I have read with interest the many comments - and considerable garbage - written concerning the proposed date problem associated with the Gold Coast Indy event for 2009 and beyond. Much of this angst is aimed at the Queensland government and the GCMEC board. In my opinion, unfairly.

Both the government and the GCMEC have bent over backwards in trying to accommodate the new IRL's interests in working out a suitable date for 2008-2009. Following are some facts regarding the matter which may help correct the record:

* The government and the GCMEC have supported Indy/Champ Cars now for many years, including some very ordinary periods in their somewhat checkered history. In any business relationship you would hope that this counts for something?

* Despite the event being held in late October for nearly ten years, suddenly the IRL, incredulously, offer two dates well outside this traditional period?

* The event gets its TV production and telecast partner (the 7 Network) from V8 Supercars Australia (our championship goes to 110 countries, many of them
live). Like all sporting events, the telecast partner is paramount to the financial success of the event, so their scheduling is critical.

* The IRL offer two dates - one in March which clashes with a major Australian motorsport event which involves both V8 Supercars and the 7 Network, and another which not only clashes with the AFL and NRL final series, but would be in the middle of the September school holidays!

* Are Gold Coast tourism operators suggesting that moving Indy to a time when they are already fully booked due to the school holidays is a smart move to preserve the IRL? Additionally, we would have no telecast partner for the event.

* Late October was originally picked because it coincides with a natural downturn and quiet period for Gold Coast tourism. (i.e. the $60m injection comes in handy).

* V8 Supercars recognizes the event requires both V8s and an international series to make this unique event work. If the IRL cannot see fit to honor a long-standing agreement on the date, then there are many other world class international series of motorsports that would readily fit the bill.

Our championship employs nearly 800 people in SE Queensland so this 'home event' for us is an important part of our landscape and, for our part, we will work with the government and GCMEC in any reasonable way. At the end of the day, I hope common sense prevails and the event continues as a joint round of V8 Supercars and the IRL. However, I don't subscribe to the event being held ransom to a date that will bankrupt GCMEC, and neither should the Gold Coast community, especially when we have viable alternatives! Our American friends owe both the community and the event more than that, given the support the event has given them.

Yours sincerely,
Tony Cochrane
V8 Supercars Australia


Driver plans for the #21 thru Richmond
Marcos Ambrose will be in the Wood Brothers’ #21 Fusion at Michigan International Speedway and again at California Speedway on Aug. 31. Bill Elliott will drive the car on Aug. 23 at Bristol Motor Speedway and Jon Wood, son of team co-owner Eddie Wood, will drive it at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 6. Ford Racing


NASCAR Nationwide Watkins Glen TV rating
The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 race shown on ABC was a 1.3.  Still no word on the Cup race rating.


Hayden injured, to miss Czech GP
Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden will miss this weekend’s Czech Grand Prix due to a foot injury sustained during a Supermoto event at the X Games in Los Angeles on August 1. The 2006 MotoGP World Champion injured his right foot when he landed heavily from a jump.

Following the incident Hayden visited eminent orthopedic surgeon Dr Arthur Ting and sought the opinion of other specialists who finally advised (yesterday afternoon, US time) that he should rest the injury to avoid further complications and return at the San Marino GP at the end of the month. The damage is to the calcaneus, or heel area, of the foot.

“The injury is to a weight-bearing part of the foot and the doctors say that using too much pressure on the ‘pegs could very easily give me some big problems,” says Hayden who was riding a Honda CRF450 Supermoto bike and didn’t crash in the incident.

“I went to Dr Ting and got the opinion of other specialists. I’ve done a lot with Ting, he knows the sport very well and he feels it would be quite risky to ride. He and the other specialists say that if I rode this week I might have to fight the injury for the rest of the year.

“As hard a decision as it is and as bad as I feel about it, I think I’m better off staying home doing rehab and physio, then come back fit at Misano and try to finish the season strong. There’s been a lot of guys this year trying to ride less than a hundred per cent and actually making their problems worse.

“I certainly feel bad about it for my team and I apologize. I had the permission of HRC to do the Supermoto thing. I just wanted to do some riding during the break, have some fun and I thought that maybe it’d give me a little spark for the rest of the season, but it backfired on me.”


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Brundle escapes penalty for live F1 gaffe
  • Fisi working hard to trigger $1.5m contract
  • McLaren to 'rotate' F1 staff next year
  • 2008 was best attended Hungarian GP
  • French teen starts on road to F1
  • F1 teams in action during August break

Brundle escapes penalty for live F1 gaffe
(GMM)  Former grand prix driver Martin Brundle has escaped penalty for using an off-beat remark on live British national television on the grid of the Canadian grand prix in June.

While interviewing Bernie Ecclestone prior to the Montreal race, the 49-year-old ITV commentator asked the F1 chief executive what he thought about the "pikeys putting tarmac down at turn 10".

Used mainly in the UK, pikey is a slang term referring to gypsies, and Brundle's comment is thought to have been a humorous reference to door-to-door vagrants who ask householders to do odd jobs.

The watchdog Equality and Human Rights Commission condemned Brundle's use of the word, and a spokesman for the British formula one broadcaster apologized for the gaffe.

It now emerges that, despite the 36 complaints to ITV and Ofcom, the TV watchdog accepted the explanation that Brundle did not intend the use of the word to cause offence.

After missing the recent Hungarian grand prix while on his usual mid-year holiday, Brundle will be back in the F1 paddock at Valencia later this month.

Fisi working hard to trigger $1.5m contract
(GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella is on the cusp of a significant pay increase if he is retained by Force India for a second season in 2009.

According to the German trade magazine Auto Motor und Sport, the Roman veteran - following the loss of his works Renault seat last year - agreed to rescue his formula one career with the backmarker team by racing practically for free in 2008.

Only in 2009, the specialist publication claims, will 35-year-old Fisichella trigger a $1.5 million pay-packet.

The looming deadline of Force India's contract option on Fisichella - reportedly August 31 - coincided with a strong performance for the Italian, following a notable lean patch in comparison with his young teammate Adrian Sutil.

In Hungary, Fisichella brought their qualifying duel back to 6:5 in his favor, before he finished a strong fifteenth, also recording the 15th fastest lap of the race.

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tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from Michigan on ESPN

The 2-mile Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., has long carried a reputation as one of NASCAR’s most competitive racetracks, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its second and final appearance of the season at the track this weekend. ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 400-mile race on Sunday, August 17, at 1 p.m. ET. The race also airs in high definition on ESPN HD and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes. The race replays on Monday, Aug. 18, at 1 p.m. on ESPN Classic.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer for ESPN’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center.

The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

As part of the week’s buildup to the event, ESPN Classic airs the 1990 Champion Spark Plug 400 race at Michigan on Thursday, Aug. 14, at 2 p.m. The race originally aired on ESPN and was won by Mark Martin.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Live from Michigan on ESPN2

ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live telecast of the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., on Saturday, Aug. 16, beginning at 3 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast also airs in high definition on ESPN2 HD and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes.

Denny Hamlin won last year’s 250-mile event at MIS for the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Sixteen different drivers have won since the series began racing at MIS in 1992.

Lead announcer for ESPN2 will be Dr. Jerry Punch, with analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will report from the pits with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center. Allen Bestwick hosts NASCAR Countdown with analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. 

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track news

Dover signs sponsor for fall Cup race
The world’s largest retailer of recreational vehicles and the world’s fastest one-mile oval have entered into a multi-year agreement that includes entitlement for the upcoming Sept. 21, 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, now known as the "Camping World 400." The new partnership expands Camping World’s increased involvement in NASCAR to include one of the toughest and most unpredictable races in the 10-race championship playoffs.

"Sponsorship of the Camping World 400 Sprint Cup race and the year-round partnership with Dover International Speedway compliments our growing NASCAR program," said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World. "The Dover fan base includes one of the largest weekend RV communities on the circuit and we are looking forward to helping enhance their weekend camping and racing experience."

"This sponsorship program will assist us in introducing our brand to the outdoor enthusiasts in the area which is important to us as our future plans include opening a permanent Camping World store in close proximity to the Speedway," added Lemonis.


IRL confirms 24 cars for Surfers race
The Indy Racing League has today confirmed 24 IndyCar Series drivers - including Australia’s home-grown heroes - will hit the streets of Surfers Paradise in search of a major prize pool when the Nikon Indy 300 descends on the Gold Coast this October.

Indy Racing League Commercial President Terry Angstadt said the series and its stars are looking forward to heading to the Gold Coast in just over two months time.

"We are looking forward to delivering an exciting race in October for the great fans of the Gold Coast and we will be bringing 24 high speed, high tech Indy Cars to race through the streets,” said Angstadt.

Amongst those drivers fans can expect to see the likes of current championship leader and Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon along with his fellow championship front-runners Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan; as well as other famous names such as fast femme Danica Patrick and the historic racing families of Rahal and Andretti returning to dart through the concrete barriers and high-speed turns.

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Bourdais: It's difficult getting used to the car
Sebastien Bourdais
Sebastien Bourdais is having difficulties adapting to the Scuderia Toro Rosso car. His team mate Sebastian Vettel has been doing a better job this season so far but according to Bourdais he is finally getting used to the difficult handling of the team's car.

"Every driver has his own style of racing and mine just doesn't fit with the handling of our car very well," Bourdais told French sports newspaper L’Equipe. "It is very difficult to get used to this car. It has oversteer in fast corners and understeer in the slower corners. Sometimes I am not going fast enough while an other time I try too hard. Sebastian (Vettel) is simply adjusting better to the car than I do.

"I have found small things in the car for me to understand the handling of the car better but I'm still not completely comfortable with the car. Things are getting better though fortunately."


Gearbox change last update for Force India
Force India F1 co-owner Vijay Mallya has revealed the team's new seamless shirt gearbox, which will be introduced later this month at the Grand Prix in Valencia, is the team's final major change to the VJM01 this season

"We are very happy with the results," team owner Vijay Mallya told Formula1.com. "We did not use it in Budapest, but we will introduce it at the European GP in Valencia - and as far as I am concerned that's it for the development for 2008 and all the focus from now on will be to develop a really competitive car for 2009.

"What I have realized is that I am not only catching up from last season, but catching up from the last three seasons - so three years, not one. And we have caught up, even though Formula One has become so competitive, which is good," Mallya said.


IndyCar Kentucky TV Rating drops
The television ratings for the Indy Racing League race at Kentucky Speedway continue downward. The have been cut in half since 2006.

This year, the Nielsen overnight rating for Saturday’s race was 0.43, meaning about 480,000 U.S. households watched the race won by Scott Dixon. The race aired at the same time and on the same channel—ESPN2—as the 2007 Kentucky race, which earned a 0.6 rating. The 2006 Kentucky race earned a 0.8 rating. Going up against the Olympics this year, likely contributed to the lower rating.

Kentucky Speedway officials scurried around Saturday morning putting up 2,000 extra seats in anticipation of a sellout. But when the green flag dropped on the main event that evening, it looked like the permanent stands—which seat 66,000—were only about 75 percent full. The camping area, however, was filled with recreational vehicles, and there were quite a few people standing out of their seats along the top of the stands. Security personnel at the race, though, said the race was short of a sellout. IBJ.com

[Editor's note: This just underscores how low the TV ratings are going to be on Versus.  ESPN2 is a bit like Versus in that it is not a go-to channel for most sports fans.  However, ESPN2 enjoys a relatively low number in most channel lineups, adjacent to or near its big sister ESPN.  Versus on the other hand is usually a very high number in the channel lineup and not a place people will channel surf to.  Therefore, expect TV ratings to drop significantly after this year.  The IRL may have gained $6 million per year in revenue from the Versus deal over what ESPN was offering, but their teams and the league itself is sure to lose more than that amount annually in sponsorship revenue due to the lower TV ratings.]


Donington test next for Superleague teams
The Superleague Formula teams will head to Donington Park for the first of two pre-season "friendlies" starting next week - the final two test sessions before the opening round of the championship.

Teams will be able to hit the track at Donington on the next two Thursdays - August 21 and 28 - the second test date is just two days prior to the start of the opening round of the championship.

Superleague Formula teams tested at Vallelunga near Rome last week with a three day test. Turkish club Galatasaray grabbed the opening bragging rights after topping the times with Alesandro Pier Guidi behind the wheel.

The upcoming Donington test will also feature a number of clubs on track for the first time including Premier League squad Tottenham Hotspur which was announced last week as the latest Superleague Formula entry.

The opening round of the Superleague Formula championship will be held at Donington Park on August 30/31 followed by the Nurburgring (September 20-21), Zolder (October 4-5), Estoril (October 18-19), Vallelunga (November 1-2) and Jerez (November 22-23).


AutoRacing1.com announcement
To make it even easier for our readers to get to AutoRacing1.com we have purchased the AR1.com domain so if your prefer, you can just enter AR1.com in your browser address window and press enter and it will automatically take you to www.AutoRacing1.com

skip barber

Daly wins again at Road America...by inches
After one of the most fiercely contested road racing contests ever at Road America, Indeck/Cytomax driver, Conor Daly won round ten of the Skip Barber National Championship at the American Le Mans Generac 500 weekend, Sunday August 10th 2008 - the margin of victory being a scant twenty one thousandths of a second.  It was Daly’s third Barber National win and his last five starts and his sixth win of his last eight starts (having won the last three rounds of the Ontario FF1600 championship). Daly, who led across the line on three different occasions, pulled off a superb final drafting move on the run to the checkered flag giving him the win by inches over championship leader Josef Newgarden. Daly’s recent run of success has pulled him to within one point of the championship lead with four rounds to go. 


Rosberg unsure Williams can be title challenger
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg is staying at Williams in 2009 but the German is unsure the team has the goods to be a championship challenger.

The 23-year-old is among the most highly rated of F1's younger generation, but despite speculation of moves to teams including McLaren and BMW-Sauber he remains committed to the Grove-based squad for a fourth consecutive season next year.

But when asked by GPWeek if he can realistically charge for the title as a Williams racer, Rosberg answered: "I don't really want to answer that at the moment.

"We have other things to worry about and we need to get back in the right direction."

Despite a promising start with a podium in Melbourne, Williams' 2008 campaign seems to have stalled of late, raising suggestions the team is now looking expectantly to next year, when sweeping rules changes are an opportunity for struggling teams.

Rosberg agrees: "We can definitely do better than where we are now, particularly with the rule changes.  It's a big opportunity to put a good car out there."

He confirmed he will still be a Williams driver in 2009.

"The future is here ... well, next year.  Then we'll see."


Loeb to join Schumacher at The Race of Champions
- Four-times World Rally Champion and “Greatest Ever Rally Driver” confirmed for Wembley
- Most successful drivers in both Formula 1 and World Rally history to battle at The Race of Champions
- Two-times Race of Champions winner returns to reclaim “Champion of Champions” title 

Sébastien Loeb, the most successful driver in World Rallying history, will take on Michael Schumacher and a host of top racers at Wembley Stadium this year, after the Frenchman confirmed that he will compete in The Race of Champions 2008, which takes place on Sunday he 14th of December.

Having claimed his 42nd World Rally Championship victory in Rally Finland and four World Championships titles with Citroën, Loeb has won more times than any other rally driver and was recently voted the WRC’s greatest ever in a poll of almost 95,000 people on the championship’s official website.

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Jani believes A1GP title wide open
A1 Team Switzerland’s Neel Jani believes last season’s A1GP championship victory will count for nothing when it comes to its pursuit of the 2008/09 crown. Jani and the Swiss eventually emerged victorious following a year-long title scrap, receiving plaudits worldwide for their speed and determination. However, with everyone switching to the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car this season, Jani believes that any advantage gained last season is effectively neutralised. The 24-year-old has yet to be officially confirmed to return, but he has publicly said that he wants to help Switzerland defend its title.

“The new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car looks great, and it will be quick with the extra downforce it should have,” Jani told A1GP.com from a fitness training camp in Switzerland.

“The car is new, the tyres are new - everything is new. So all the teams are at zero and everyone starts again.”

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Labonte sent to hospital following crash, released UPDATE Labonte climbed from his wrecked car under his own power at Watkins Glen Sunday, but was taken to the infield care center and, subsequently, taken to a local hospital where he was evaluated and released. 

“It was really hard to pass out there today,” said Labonte.  “Jeff came over the radio on several occasions to tell me that we had one of the fastest cars on the track, but I couldn’t go anywhere.  So we came up with some fuel strategy that would have put us in position for a good finish.  It was going to be close, but I think we would have made it.  Then we got caught up in that big wreck.  That was a superspeedway-type wreck.  I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow.”

08/10/08 Petty Enterprises' Bobby Labonte has been transported to a local hospital for further evaluation following a hard crash in Sunday's Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
Labonte was one of nine drivers caught up in a late-race crash ignited by contact between Michael Waltrip Racing's Michael McDowell and Yates Racing's David Gilliland. Labonte had nowhere to go and was slowing when he was hit from behind and sent careening into the retaining wall in a hard hit. He climbed from his car in obvious pain.
Bill Davis Racing's Dave Blaney, Chip Ganassi Racing's Reed Sorenson, MWR's Michael Waltrip, Haas CNC Racing's Max Papis, Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. and Furniture Row Racing's Joe Nemechek were also collected in the crash, which created a red-flag period beginning on lap 82. Gilliland and McDowell were instructed to meet with NASCAR officials following the race. Scenedaily.com


MotoGP riders roar back into action
MotoGP riders roar back into action at Brno following MotoGP’s traditional three-weekend summer break. The Czech Grand Prix commences the crucial second part of the MotoGP season, with just seven of 18 races remaining, three in Europe and four outside Europe.

The sport’s 25 day recess between the US and Czech GPs is a much needed holiday for the riders many of whom are nursing broken bones.

“The holiday period gave me a good chance to relax and recover, so I hope I will be fine for Brno," said Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.

"When I returned from Laguna Seca my doctor told me I needed a week and a half of complete rest. I couldn't train so I spent an enjoyable few days in Mallorca, disconnecting from everything and resting both my hand and foot. I had the stitches removed from my hand in Barcelona and then I started rehabilitation. The hand still hurts but the wrist has good mobility and the fingers are no longer swollen.  The foot is still taped, just to avoid rough movements.  I started training last week, mostly on my bicycle. I hope I can have a good race at Brno to start the second part of the championship in the best possible way."

Brno has been part of the World Championship calendar since the mid 1960s, when the nation’s grand prix was staged around a 10.92km/6.785 mile street circuit on the outskirts of the city. Mike Hailwood won the 1966 and 1967 500 GPs there on his Honda RC181 four, but eventually the circuit was deemed too dangerous and hosted its last premier-class GP in 1977. It took a decade before the current Brno circuit was completed. Honda has enjoyed great success at this fast, undulating circuit which features many tricky downhill corners that require a perfect chassis set-up. Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Tadayuki Okada, Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau are some of the big names that have won at the modern Brno venue.

"Brno is a good circuit, with some interesting uphill and downhill sections, very much in the style of the classic circuits," said Pedrosa.  "The track is medium speed to very high speed with some good corners and fast straights. It’s the kind of circuit that demands a gentle, fine riding style, you don’t need to be aggressive when taking the corners. It has just been resurfaced, so we will have to wait and see what the grip is like. The atmosphere is always great, with a big and enthusiastic crowd on race day. Getting the set-up right for this track is always a delicate operation, aiming to get the best compromise between cornering ability and braking stability.”


Drivers meets with NASCAR officials
This Hot News item made reference to the fact that both McDowell and Gilliland were called to the NASCAR infraction trailer after the Watkins Glen race.  The two made contact with eight laps to go in the Sprint Cup race, sparking a vicious nine-car crash.

NASCAR officials did meet with Michael McDowell and David Gilliland to make sure there was no ill intent in the incident. NASCAR officials say the drivers will not be penalized for the accident, which started when McDowell hit Gilliland in Turn 11.
"They just kind of got into each other and neither one of them said it was anything more than just hard racing, both guys," NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said following the meeting. "It was a shame that it had the outcome for so many cars that were right there behind them at the time. That's all we were checking, making sure it was hard racing. That we don't mind, but we don't like it when it takes out a lot of cars the way it did."
McDowell, a rookie with Michael Waltrip Racing, didn't accept blame for the crash but he did apologize for the impact it had. The incident sparked a 43-minute, 5-second red-flag period on lap 84 of the 90.
"I had a run and I went underneath him and he just didn't give me a whole lot of room," McDowell said. "Maybe I shouldn't have been in there, but we're racing hard to stay in the top 35 in owner points and try to get back into the top 35. ... It's unfortunate and I'm sorry for the fans and all the cars that got wrecked there and then they had to wait through that red flag."
He said that he watched the video with Gilliland.
"Him and I were racing hard and I got underneath him going in there and he pretty much came down like I wasn't there," said McDowell, who remained outside of the top 35 following the race. "I tried to back out of it not to get into him. He went wide so I checked the momentum up and it almost seemed like he was trying to get back at me. After watching it, it looked like it was racing deal and it wasn't anything blatant. It just turned into a big mess with all the other cars that got into it. David's all right and everybody can walk away and I'm sorry to all the teams that have tore-up race cars. I was just racing hard and trying to get the car back in the top 35 and you're racing for your job every weekend."
Gilliland also deemed the incident "hard racing." He was unable to continue and finished 40th while McDowell was able to continue and finished 25th.
"[I] just hated that it ruined our day and a bunch of other innocent people's days," the Yates Racing driver said. "Our Ford was running pretty good, we had a good, solid, consistent day going and got into it there a little with the 00 car [of McDowell]. Too bad it ended our day early, but we'll come back and get them next week."
Gilliland said that in the meeting with NASCAR, McDowell said that he didn't know Gilliland's position on the track.
"He said he didn't really realize I was there on the outside of him and just kind of came up and kind of put us in the wall," Gilliland said. "So it's a disappointing ending to a decent day we had going, but we'll get them next week."


Schumacher claims 50th win
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher long ago locked up the top spot in the Countdown to the Championship, but the five-time NHRA POWERade champion isn’t about to cut his opponents any slack. Schumacher won his milestone 50th career Top Fuel title, and his ninth of the season when he defeated teammate Cory McClenathan in the final round of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Schumacher, who hasn’t lost a race since the second round in Norwalk, was joined in the Brainerd winner’s circle by Tony Pedregon, Kurt Johnson and Matt Smith.

Schumacher, is in the midst of one of the most dominant seasons in NHRA history, got progressively quicker in the late rounds before finishing the job with a 3.865 over McClenathan, who was close behind with a 3.900 in the Fram dragster. Pedregon, the reigning NHRA Funny Car champ, claimed his fourth win of the year after Beckman red-lighted in the final while Johnson, a Minnesota native who has long been a favorite of the enthusiastic Brainerd fans, won his third race of the season to pass Jason Line for the No. 2 spot in the Pro Stock standings. Another three-time winner in 2008 is Smith, who bravely fought through the pain of a kidney stone to win the Pro Stock Motorcycle title of the year on a single run when Angelle Sampey’s Rush Racing Buell could not fire in the final round.

After claiming his 50th win, Schumacher is just two wins away from tying Joe Amato’s record for career Top Fuel victories and the way his U.S. Army car is running, he’s likely to get there this season. The reigning POWERade champ has now reached the final round in nine of the last 11 races, winning seven times. After receiving a single run in the final, Schumacher once again took car of his arch rival, Rod Fuller, 3.92 to 3.98, and then earned a spot in the final with a 3.88 win over Doug Kalitta’s Mac Tools dragster.

“I’m quite aware of how good this team is; It’s the best team I’ve ever seen,” said Schumacher. “We’re racing against great teams. It’s a lot of pressure but I love those situations. It’s amazing to be a part of these moments. I feel like I’m driving my best. I feel like I’m doing a good job keeping the car in the center [of the lane] I feel like I’m part of the team right now.”

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Changes to A1GP Sporting Regulations
The pressure will be even greater for the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport national teams when they go to Mugello, Italy for the start of season four in September. An extra mandatory pit stop is among the changes to the series’ Sporting Regulations planned to make the racing even more exciting with the extra stop having to be taken in the A1GP Sprint Race between laps four and eight.

“We never stop looking for ways of improving the action on the track. The two pit stops in the Feature Race have proved to be the really high pressure points of the events. We felt an additional one would not only add another variable into the Sprint Race mix, but also give the crews another opportunity to display their team work. When we sat down to discuss ways of improving the series from every viewpoint this was a popular addition. However, we have also made other changes that will give the teams greater flexibility in certain areas,” said Tony Teixeira, A1GP Chairman.

The unique qualifying format has also proved very popular with the spectators and to increase the drama and tension each of the four sessions have now been reduced from 15 to ten minutes with the same five minute break between each. Here the added pressure is on the drivers, as the Sprint Race grid is determined from each driver’s best time taken from sessions one and two and the Feature Race grid from sessions three and four.

Nations can and do use the Friday to try out young or less experienced drivers in the two Rookie and Developing Nation Sessions. This popular addition will continue, but now there will be no age limit and the gap between the two 30 minute sessions has increased from five to 20 minutes.

The duration of the Sprint Race, with its rolling start, has also been increased from 19 to 24 minutes plus one lap, while the Feature Race, from a standing start, remains at 69 minutes plus one lap. However, now the points’ allocation for the shorter race has also been reduced with them only going to the top eight on the scale of 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The Feature Race remains the same with the top ten receiving points on the scale of 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.


F1 rivals to contest Massa kart race
(GMM)  As many as five of Felipe Massa's formula one race rivals could join the Ferrari star at his annual kart race in Brazil at the end of the 2008 season.

The 27-year-old championship contender's former teammate Michael Schumacher, who won the event in the southern city of Florianopolis last November, has already confirmed he will defend the title.

"To be honest, I didn't even have to invite him back.  He told me at Hockenheim that he wished to race again," Massa said at a press conference in Brazil last week for the forthcoming 'International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs'.

2008 Toro Rosso racers Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais are also likely to race, Massa revealed, as are Rubens Barrichello and Nelson Piquet Jr.

Robert Kubica, meanwhile, wants to attend on November 30 to make up for his absence last year.

"Almost everything was set for Kubica to race in 2007 but a last minute commitment prevented it," Massa explained.

NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon has also been invited, and Renault test driver Lucas di Grassi is also likely to race, the Ferrari driver said.


Briatore break hits sandy snag in Sardinia
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore's August break hit a snag when the Renault formula one boss tried to power ashore from his luxury yacht.

The Italian newspaper La Stampa reports that the 58-year-old, his new wife and a celebrity entourage were pelted with water and sand by unhappy bathers when they tried to land on the crowded Capriccioli beach in Sardinia.

"The rebellion against those who show off their money and power is growing," the publication said.

Briatore was in town not only to enjoy the current three-week break between grands prix and testing, but to inaugurate a new restaurant and check on his 'Billionaire' nightclub.

But the manner in which they sped ashore enraged beachgoers and parents, while "terrorized children wailed between the waves", La Stampa claimed.

The irate swimmers yelled "Shame!", "Louts!" and "Go home!", and a mob even tried to push one of the Briatore dinghies back out to sea.

Mothers, meanwhile, hurled seawater from their children's buckets, and piles of wet sand were thrown, the newspaper also said.

Briatore reacted in Corriere della Sera: "We are nice people and we get rewarded like this.

"I will close down everything," he threatened.  "I pay taxes, this is my right."

racing news

Quotes of the Week
"The way the IRL and Versus spin it, their deal for the next 10 years is the classic win-win, but cynics might look at it another way. Races will move from the undisputed go-to source for all things sport to the television home for the World Extreme Cagefighting and the [PBR] tour." Kallmann also said, [It is] "hard to see how a post-unification series with potential to grow can benefit from moving from the go-to source for most sports fans (ESPN/ESPN2) to the smaller, younger home of bull riding, cycling, cage-fighting and (gasp) the [NHL] that's further down the dial." Dave Kallmann, Motorsports Journalist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“He [Tony Stewart] had me beat getting into the inner loop and to the middle of the inner loop.  From there on out I think we pretty much had him covered everywhere else.  We were able to get off the corners real well and we were able to get the car wooed up really good with some brakes.  That’s what it takes here -- you have to be able to stop and you have to be able to go.” Kyle Busch, NASCAR Toyota Sprint Cup driver, Joe Gibbs Racing, winner of the race at Watkins Glen

“I’m sorry, what slump?” Busch said on his radio after crossing the finish line at Watkins Glen. "They can keep trying to play these mind games. We’ll just keep winning.” Kyle Busch, NASCAR driver, Joe Gibbs Racing, winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen, in reference to statements from his former Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, who said they had seen weakness in the No. 18 team based on lackluster performances in the past two races at Indianapolis and Pocono.

"I'll tell you this. Tony George said that they weren't changing the track and I don't blame them. It's expensive to pave the track. But diamond-grinding the race track with the grooves does directly have an effect on tire wear. Directly. And anyone who wants to say otherwise is just in denial. All right? So, with that said, obviously I wouldn't expect [Tony] to repave the race track, even though they did diamond-grind it for no good reason." Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR driver, Hendrick Motorsports, commenting in the wake of the Allstate 400 at Indy, where Goodyear's tires were so bad that the longest green-flag run was 12 laps

"Formula One does need to control costs, but how you actually achieve that I don't know. We have two-race engines and we should possibly expand that - everyone has been able to cope with it. Obviously Formula One needs the smaller teams in it. At the moment it is incredibly competitive, and we're regularly qualifying well under two seconds off the quickest lap time - and we do that off $120 million. So why are teams spending $500 million? You can blatantly have a competitive series with cars that we produce which, let's face it, three or four years ago would have been middle to top ranked cars." Michael Gascoyne, Technical Director, Force India Formula 1 team

"BMW should be warned after having that accident [with their mechanic in testing], and Frank [Williams] I do not understand. We have calculated that developing and running the [KERS] system will cost 700,000 euros per race. If Frank tells me that his development costs only 2 million, than I can only laugh. Does he really think he can do the job with two million against manufacturers, who spend ten times as much?" Flavio Briatore, Managing Director, Renault Formula 1 team

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Summerton Scores in Second Half of Road America Doubleheader
The race winners of the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda doubleheader at Road America were a carbon copy of the Rexall Edmonton Indy doubleheader two weeks ago, as American rookie Jonathan Summerton won the second race of the doubleheader one day after Jonathan Bomarito won the first race of the weekend.

Summerton charged from ninth on the starting grid to take the lead from Bomarito in Turn 1 with two laps remaining and held off his countryman by 1.084 seconds to get the victory in the No. 36 Newman Wachs Racing machine. It was the deepest in the field an Atlantic race winner had started since Andrew Bordin also started ninth and won at Vancouver in 1998, and the run earned Summerton a bonus point for most positions improved from start to finish. It was Summerton’s second career Atlantic victory and his fifth top-six performance in seven races.

“We came from the back, coming from ninth spot,” Summerton said. “We had a great start, but we were hit after the first corner, which dropped us down a few places. Then, of course, the yellows came out and I think that helped us a bit for the restarts. We gained a couple positions on each restart. Of course, at the end there, it was a very hard battle with Jonathan. We were only closing very slightly and when I got very close, I’d lose all my downforce. It was a very hard run there at the end. I made a little mistake, and I think Jonathan made a little mistake at the very end, and I think both of us did a very good job. We were pulling away from the rest of the field. I was quite happy to finish up there on the top spot.”

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Masters of F3

Bianchi beats Hulkenberg in Masters of F3 race
Jules Bianchi drove an outstanding race in the wet to claim his maiden Formula 3 victory in the Masters of F3 at Zolder today.

The French rookie started alongside his ART Grand Prix teammate Nico Hulkenberg on the front row and took the lead at the start when Hulkenberg choked and was slow off the line despite having the pole position.

He was able to maintain a gap over the race favorite for the first half of the race and then pull clear to take a 4.4 second victory in tricky drying conditions.

Amazingly, Bianchi has been driving race cars for less than two year, yet traded fastest laps with Hulkenberg throughout the race run in very tricky conditions.  His more experienced teammate had no answer for him and had to settle for second.

"I'm really happy to get my first win in the Masters," said Bianchi.  "I tried to make a gap in the first laps but Nico was quick. After it dried a bit it was easier for me, although it was very difficult at the end because the front tires were finished.

"My grandfather and uncle were Belgian racing drivers (Turn Four is named after his uncle) so it's very special for me to win here."


Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1. Jules Bianchi ART D/M 45:19.275
2. Nico Hulkenberg ART D/M +4.495
3. Jon Lancaster ART D/M +20.539
4. Mika Maki Mucke D/M +27.030
5. Brendon Hartley Carlin D/M +34.170
6. Atte Mustonen Double R D/M +40.536
7. Sam Bird Manor D/M +53.861
8. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin D/M +57.479
9. Rodolfo Gonzalez Carlin D/M +1:03.294
10. Jean-Karl Vernay Signature D/V +1:10.049
11. Erik Janis Mucke D/M +1:14.649
12. Michael Devaney Ultimate M/M +1:14.810
13. Henry Arundel Double R D/M +1:18.153
14. Martin Plowman Signature D/V +1:20.051
15. Edoardo Mortara Signature D/V +1:27.377
16. Tom Dillman Jo Zeller D/M +1 lap
17. James Jakes ART D/M +1 lap
18. Christian Vietoris Mucke D/M +1 lap
19. Esteban Guerrieri Ultimate M/M +1 lap
20. Kazuya Oshima Manor D/M +1 lap
21. Max Chilton Hitech D/M +2 laps
22. Niall Breen Manor D/M +2 laps
23. John Martin Double R D/M +2 laps
Yann Clairay SG D/M 25 laps
Stefano Coletti Prema D/M 24 laps
Nick Tandy JTR M/M 23 laps
Roberto Merhi Hitech D/M 21 laps
Daniel Campos-Hull HBR D/M 19 laps
Richard Philippe Carlin D/M 16 laps
Henkie Waldschmidt SG D/M 15 laps
Dani Clos Prema D/M 6 laps
Koudai Tsukakoshi Manor D/M 1 lap
Renger van der Zande Prema D/M 0 laps
Daniel Ricciardo SG D/M 0 laps
Basil Shaaban HBR D/M 0 laps
Franck Mailleux Signature D/V 0 laps
Ricardo Teixeira Ultimate M/M 0 laps

Fastest lap, Chilton 1:31.197 on lap 24

tv news

Tony Kanaan and Kevin Schwantz will be guests on Wind Tunnel
Tony Kanaan will be a guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain tonight live via satellite.  Tony signed a five year extension with Andretti Green Racing this week. At the last minute it was rumored that Kanaan was headed to Ganassi Racing but signed with AGR instead.  Also joining Dave Despain tonight live via satellite will be Kevin Schwantz. Kevin is an American driver and MotoGP champion when it was called the 500cc Championship. He is also the coach of the Red Bull Rookies program and a coach to AMA superstar Ben Spies. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET live on SPEED.

racing news

Rider dies in Brands Hatch crash
A motorbike racer has died in hospital following a crash in the British leg of the World Supersport Championship at Brands Hatch.

Honda rider Craig Jones, 23, of Peterborough, suffered serious head injuries in the ninth round last Sunday.

He was transferred to the Royal London Hospital by Kent Air Ambulance but died in the early hours of Monday.

His team manager paid tribute to him as one of Britain's "brightest hopes" in world championship motorcycle racing.

Parkalgar Honda team manager Simon Buckmaster said: "The team's thoughts are with Craig's family and friends at this very difficult time. More at  BBC


Scott Speed & Toyota win again in ARCA
Scott Speed, in Eddie Sharp's Red Bull Toyota, capitalized on an on-track argument between Sean Caisse and Justin Allgaier, and then drove away from Jeremy Clements during a last-lap shoot-out to win the action-packed Toyota 150 Saturday afternoon at Nashville Superspeedway.

"Honestly, the 01 (Caisse) and the 16 (Allgaier) were battling so hard that I was willing to settle for third," said Speed. "But when the opportunity presented itself I took it-just played out the race and waited to lead until the end. Those are the only laps you need to lead anyways."

Caisse and Allgaier battled back and forth much of the way bumping and grinding on one another, under green and caution periods, while Speed watched and waited in third. Inside of 10 laps to go, Allgaier finally raced underneath Caisse to lead the 97th lap of the scheduled 113-lap race, and began pulling away from everyone.

Then the caution came out when Bryan Silas made contact with the wall setting up the restart during which Caisse made contact with Allgaier coming to the green. Allgaier spun as a result while Caisse continued on with Speed and Clements in tow. Allgaier lost several positions in the exchange but was able to continue on while Speed put immediate pressure on Caisse. Caisse managed to hold off Speed for two laps before the eventual winner raced underneath Caisse three laps from the finish. Caisse continued to fall back while Speed continued to pull away. Then the final caution came out just after Speed took the white flag, which lengthened the race four additional laps to accommodate the ARCA-mandated green flag finish. It also set up a one-lap dash to the checkers during which Speed pulled away by five lengths at the final stripe.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Briatore pockets $11m for F1 TV rights
  • McLaren still in front - Heidfeld
  • F1 can solve KERS safety fears
  • Sutil - I don't want a girlfriend
  • BMW progress has slowed - Sauber

Briatore pockets $11m for F1 TV rights
(GMM)  His custody of the formula one team Renault is not Flavio Briatore's only formula one income.

The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports that the Italian tycoon has also pocketed more than $11m recently due to his control of the sport's broadcast rights in Spain.

His take of his UK-based company Stacourt's returns is nearly $2m higher than one year ago, the newspaper said.

The majority of Stacourt's $23m turnover in 2007 came from the Spanish broadcaster Telecinco, which pays for the F1 rights.

Briatore obtained the Spanish rights from his friend, business partner and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone in 2002.

Since then, his protégé Fernando Alonso's success at Renault led to a boom in the popularity of formula one in Spain.

In a deal estimated at almost $1.5bn by Spanish media last year, the F1 broadcast rights will transfer from Telecinco to La Sexta in 2009.

McLaren still in front - Heidfeld
(GMM)  McLaren is still the favorite to win the 2008 world championship, BMW-Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld thinks.

The 31-year-old German, whose Swiss based employer had a notably bad outing in Hungary recently, is unconvinced Ferrari really closed the gap on Mercedes-powered rivals McLaren at the circuit near Budapest.

After Lewis Hamilton dominated the pre-race proceedings at the Hungaroring, Ferrari's Felipe Massa leapt into the lead on Sunday and would have recorded an inspired win if not for a late engine failure.

"But in my opinion McLaren is clearly the strongest team," Heidfeld, a veteran of approaching 150 grands prix, told the Credit Suisse emagazine.

"Lewis also had a bit of bad luck (in Hungary).  McLaren is the favorite," the German added.

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racing news

Schu contesting 8-hour motorbike race UPDATE Michael Schumacher saw his first attempt at two-wheeled endurance racing end after just over six hours of racing, having completed 145 laps, when the seven-time Formula One title winner was forced to retire from the Oschersleben Eight Hours.

Schumacher was seventh quickest during his qualifying session of the 46 riders to head out onto the track and the #77 machine eventually lined up ninth on the grid for the race itself, and first in the Open Class.  Despite a promising start to the race, the team soon ran into problems and after the opening four hours of the race, the trio were down in 50th place of the 54 starters with Martin Bauer having spent more time in the pits than on the track after a series of problems with the front end of the bike.

Schumacher tests for this weekend's race.  He will race this new bike, as yet unpainted
08/08/08 (GMM)  Michael Schumacher is this weekend stepping up his motorcycle racing hobby to world championship level.

The retired seven time world champion, who still occasionally tests for his former formula one team Ferrari, has travelled to the Oschersleben circuit in Germany for the 8-hour race of the FIM-sanctioned World Endurance Series.

Schumacher, 39, has already suffered a harmless fall whilst practicing for Saturday's race, for which he will compete on a Honda for the Holzhauer Racing Promotion team, reports in Germany said.


Mazda renews with Star Mazda Series
The Star Mazda Championship and Mazda North American Operations today jointly announced a 5-year extension of the automaker’s title sponsorship of one of North America’s premier open-wheel driver development series.  The agreement runs through the 2013 season and formalizes 23 years of continuous cooperation between Mazda and the Star Mazda Championship -- one of the longest-running and most successful motorsports partnerships in the history of the sport.

“Our relationship with Mazda is one of the principal strengths of our series,” says Star Mazda Championship founder and President, Gary Rodrigues.  “And the length of that relationship, which has existed since the debut of the original Formula Mazda series in 1991, produces both credibility and stability in an otherwise confusing open-wheel environment.  With this new long-term contract in place, the Star Mazda Championship can get on with its mission of advancing the careers of each new generation of drivers while having the resources to grow and develop to keep pace with the evolving structure of the racing industry in North America."

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Something old is new again -- and greener - Turbos
Carmakers are turning to turbocharging, long viewed skeptically by Americans, as a relatively cheap, easy way to boost mileage.

The next thing in greener cars doesn't need hydrogen, lithium-ion batteries or even a power cord. In fact, it's based on century-old technology that's been used on trucks since before World War II: the turbo.

Under pressure to reduce emissions and increase fuel-efficiency, automakers are quietly turning to turbocharging as a relatively cheap, easy-to-implement technology that could soon be a permanent staple on internal combustion engines.

That's because turbos, high-velocity fans that recirculate and compress exhaust gases back into the motor's cylinders, can increase fuel-efficiency by as much as 30% while increasing power output. Thanks to that increased power, smaller engines can be used, reducing weight and further increasing efficiency. And because it's a proven technology, the research and development costs are enticingly low.  "There isn't a dynamometer in Detroit that doesn't have a turbocharged engine being tested on it right now," says Eric Noble, president of Carlab, an automotive consultant in Orange. "There's still a lot of fuel savings that can be gotten out of a traditional engine."

Automakers are cagey about announcing how many cars will get the turbo boost, but General Motors executives say they are considering putting turbos on even their largest passenger vehicles. Hyundai just announced its first turbocharged car -- the Genesis coupe -- for the U.S. market in a dozen years. 

"This is not something on the drawing board. Turbos are here," said Adriane Brown, president and chief executive of Honeywell Transportation Systems, the leading turbo manufacturer, with $2.5 billion in turbo sales last year. As turbos gain more acceptance, she expects sales to grow three times faster than the automotive segment in the next few years, or about 8%.  More at LA Times


Mercedes-Benz to introduce fully turbocharged lineup by 2010
When it comes to increasing fuel economy, turbochargers are the replacement for displacement. The combination of highly efficient snails and smaller engines provides the power people expect, while reducing the overall weight of the vehicle. Like other automakers that have realized that forced induction is a suitable stop-gap for improving fuel economy, Mercedes-Benz is in the process of developing turbo'd engines that will proliferate throughout its lineup in the next two and a half years.

Thomas Weber, a Daimler board member in charge of research and development told Automotive News, "All our vehicles will have turbocharged engines in series production by the end of 2010 at the latest."


Earnhardt Jr. is top dog in NASCAR
At NASCAR races seven, count them, seven souvenir trailers feature Earnhardt Jr. merchandise due to his immense popularity. One of those sells primarily National Guard items, another features Amp, one focuses on his Nationwide Series sponsors, and four concentrate on both Amp and National Guard.  No other driver comes close to that kind of representation. Jeff Gordon has four trailers, and Tony Stewart has three.


Ford to turbocharge 90% of its engine
Ford Motor Co. has picked Honeywell International Inc. to develop turbochargers for a V-6 engine in the automaker's line of EcoBoost engines.  Honeywell said it will make twin turbos for the 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine that will go into the 2010 Lincoln MKS luxury sedan.

Lincoln spokesman Mark Schirmer said he did not know how many turbochargers Honeywell will make for Ford or how much the company would be paid.

Ford has said its EcoBoost line of four- and six-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged engines will be able to deliver performance of larger engines with a 20 percent improvement in gas mileage.

The automaker hopes to put EcoBoost engines in 90 percent of its vehicles annually by 2013.

[Editor's Note:  Champ Car had it right when it came to turbo engines.  The IRL got it wrong with its non-turbo horrible sounding engine that needs a muffler designed by Honda to make it tolerable to listen to.  Will they get it right with their new car?]


Coulthard wants to ban refueling
Retiring Red Bull Racing driver David Coulthard has called for refueling to be banned from races in a bid to spice up the action. The veteran driver took a shot at refueling which was reintroduced to the sport in 1994.

"In the days when you carried your entire race fuel load on board the car, there was a much bigger role for the driver in managing the tires and brakes," Coulthard wrote in his column for ITV.

"You could decide to run non-stop if you could make the tires go the distance, while someone else might pit twice," he added. "And because the car's weight changed so much more in the course of the race, there were more fluctuations in performance and handling characteristics, which in turn created more overtaking opportunities."

"These days, in dry conditions, you very rarely see anyone win from further back than the second row of the grid, because race pace largely mirrors qualifying pace - which is not surprising when the conditions are so similar," Coulthard went on. “So if we need to spice up the racing, in my view one of the best ways of doing that would be to ban refueling."


Heidfeld, Gascoyne calls for less testing and more races
BMW Sauber F1 driver Nick Heidfeld says he would prefer to reduce the amount of track testing teams do further, in favor of adding more races to the season.

"I'm looking forward to having more races as is planned for the future," said Heidfeld. "Though I wouldn't mind missing one or two tests. Actually the tests have been reduced quite a lot over the last two or three years, but I hope we have more races because there is not one that I don't like."

"I'm looking forward to going to India and the other interesting new places currently being discussed," he added, who welcomes the intended extension of the 2009 calendar to 19 rounds.

No testing during the in season and longer-life engines are the way forward for Formula One, according to Force India technical director Mike Gascoyne.

F1 team principals recently gathered at Ferrari's headquarters in Maranello to discuss FIA President Max Mosley's calls to reduce costs and improve racing.

Gascoyne believes no testing during the season is the way to go, and also insists that F1 needs smaller teams.

"I think we need regulations like reducing testing, we shouldn't be testing during the season, plus longer-life engines," he is quoted by Autosport.

"That will reduce costs, and I don't think anyone can argue that shouldn't be the way we go.

"Formula One does need to control costs, but how you actually achieve that I don't know.

"We have two-race engines and we should possibly expand that - everyone has been able to cope with it.

"Obviously Formula One needs the smaller teams in it. At the moment it is incredibly competitive, and we're regularly qualifying well under two seconds off the quickest lap time - and we do that off $120 million.

"So why are teams spending $500 million? You can blatantly have a competitive series with cars that we produce which, let's face it, three or four years ago would have been middle to top ranked cars."


All downhill for Rahal
Since winning in his first IndyCar start April 6 in St. Petersburg, things have gone downhill for Graham Rahal. He started 20th Saturday and moved up to 12th, but problems started on Lap 11, when he said the car "had no drive at all."

He came to the pits on Lap 17 and the Newman/Haas/Lanigan crew took the car into the garage to work on a possible engine problem. He returned to the track on Lap 63, but the car was retired for good 14 laps later when it kept popping out of fifth gear.

"We keep shearing the teeth off fifth gear for some reason and can't figure out why," said Rahal, who finished 25th.  [Editor's Note:  His teammate Justin Wilson, and other drivers fell out with transmission woes too.  When is the IRL going to ditch the current junk car which costs the teams millions more per year than is necessary?  Why wait until 2011 when 2010 was quite doable?] Since finishing eighth at Watkins Glen July 6, Rahal has had an average finish of 19.8.


Bridgestone makes Goodyear look like a joke
Firestone debuted a new tread compound for oval races, and it drew praise for its grip and durability Saturday at Kentucky. After the first set of pit stops, engineers noted there was only a 50 percent tread wear after 53 laps. A set lasted the last 65 laps for the top 10 finishers.  In fact we never hear of many problems with Bridgestone racing tires.  Contrast that with Goodyear tires in NASCAR where tires explode at will and as we saw at Indy, last as little as three laps before the cords are showing.  We were astonished two years ago when NASCAR renewed with Goodyear.  NASCAR can't seem to do anything right these days.


Roush accused of defrauding buyers
Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, was accused in a lawsuit of misleading buyers of the Roush Stage 3 BlackJack, a high-performance car, by claiming it would make only 100 of them.

Ford and privately held Roush Performance Products collaborate on the Stage 3 BlackJack, a modified version of the Ford Mustang. In a complaint filed today in federal court in Manhattan, a New York man who paid $58,000 for the car last year claims the companies defrauded buyers when they said they'd make only 100 vehicles.

``The defendants knew that they would be manufacturing more than 100,'' the plaintiff, Drew Connor, said in his complaint. ``The defendants produced another 100 which would then be sold in 2008.''

Connor said his car's value fell with the production of more vehicles. His suit, which seeks class-action, or group, status, asks for damages of at least $11.8 million.

Ford spokesman Mark Truby declined to comment. A message left with Roush Performance Products, of Livonia, Michigan, wasn't immediately returned.  Bloomberg


CitiFinancial to sponsor #38 in four races
CitiFinancial announced that it will sponsor the Yates Racing #38 Ford Fusion and driver David Gilliland in four Sprint Cup Series races beginning at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 17. The #38 will also sport the CitiFinancial and Citi paint scheme at Fontana, Richmond and Texas. Yates Racing PR


Benson's Toyota Gets It Done Again In Nashville
Johnny Benson won his third straight NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday, passing Erik Darnell for the lead with less than three laps remaining in the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.

Benson's victory also was his fourth in the past five races and 13th of his career. He has a 45-point lead over Ron Hornaday Jr., who finished fifth. He became Nashville Superspeedway's first double winner matching his 2006 victory. Benson is only the first driver to claim three consecutive victories joining Mike Hornaday, Skinner, Greg Biffle and Todd Bodine.

The Bill Davis Racing Toyota driver spent most of the 150-lap race driving up through traffic. He started 16th, drove up to fourth and fell back to 12th following his first pit stop. Benson was 13th prior to his second stop on Lap 65. The team took time to make adjustments, and he restarted 25th.

Ten laps later, Benson gained valuable track position by taking fuel only when pitting with most of the field, jumping from 15th to seventh.

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tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NASCAR in a Hurry Watkins Glen 
10:30am-11:00am SPEED
NHRA Raceday Brainerd, MN 
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Raceday Watkins Glen 
11:00am-1:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Centurion Boats at The Glen Watkins Glen
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) Pre-race
2:00pm-5:30pm (L) -Race ESPN
American Le Mans Series Generac 500 Elkhart Lake
2:00pm-6:00pm (8/9/08) SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Brainerd, MN
7:00pm-10:00pm (SD) ESPN2
NASCAR Victory Lane Watkins Glen 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Kevin Schwantz (Motorcycle Racing) 
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
Monday (Partial)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Replay Centurion Boats at The Glen Watkins Glen 
2:00am-5:00am (R) ESPN2
IndyCar Replay Meijer Indy 300 Kentucky 
9:00am-11:00am (R) ESPN Classic
NHRA Replay Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Brainerd, MN 
11:00am-1:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
Craftsman Truck Replay Toyota Tundra 200 Nashville 
12:00pm-12:30pm (R) -Pre-race
12:30pm-3:00pm (R) -Race SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Replay Centurion Boats at The Glen Watkins Glen 
1:00pm-4:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com


Battistini runs 100% throttle to take flag to flag win
Road course backmarker Dillon Battistini ran the entire race at 100% throttle to win the Kentucky 100 Firestone Indy Lights  race Saturday night.  James Davison was 2nd and Arie Luyendyk Jr. 3rd.

This is Dillon Battistini's fourth victory of the season, most of any Firestone Indy Lights driver. His last victory came at Iowa Speedway in June.  Battistini, who had fallen from first to sixth in points, moves back into third.
Points leader Richard Antinucci finished fourth.  Raphael Matos, who is second in points, finished sixth after starting on the pole.

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Sneak peek at Aston Martin's One-77 supercar
Behold the mysterious Aston Martin One-77
Aston Martin
Aston Martin has begun teasing its upcoming ultra-exclusive supercar, the One-77. Production is rumored to be limited to 77 units. From what we can see in the intentionally shadowy rendering, the One-77 looks like the offspring of the Aston Martin DBS and the Corvette ZR-1, both classic in proportion and purposefully muscular. Then again, all Astons look great, so that's to be expected.

Aston has been equally stingy with the drivetrain specs, but this early in development that too is to be expected. What Aston has told us is that the One-77 will start with a sophisticated carbon fiber chassis with a handcrafted aluminum body and add a 7.0 liter V12 powerplant. The Aston Martin DBS's 6.0 liter V12 engine makes 510 horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque, so we can safely assume that the One-77's 7.0 liter engine will be more powerful and a lot more torquey


Ambrose wins first NASCAR race
Marcos Ambrose celebrates his first win
Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
Marcos Ambrose has scored his first NASCAR win with victory in the Zippo 200 at the Watkins Glen International road course in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in New York state today.

Ambrose is the first Australian to earn a NASCAR victory and his historic feat on the 2.45-mile road course lifts him into the top 10 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings.

Tomorrow, Ambrose will look to repeat today’s effort when he races in the top-tier NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen in the #21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion of Wood Brothers Racing.

Since leaving Australia to pursue a career in NASCAR, Ambrose has made 83 NASCAR starts – 22 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, 59 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and two in the top-flight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Next year Ambrose will race full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with JTG Daugherty Racing. Today’s win is the first for this team since former NBA star Brad Daugherty bought into the team and the first victory for the operation since 23 August 1996 when Jeff Fuller won the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway, also in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

The Australian qualified in 12th position in the #59 STP Ford Fusion, and steadily made his way through the pack. He eventually got to the lead on lap 48 but immediately gave the lead up to pit.

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Dempsey Wins Star Mazda Road America
Irishman Peter Dempsey scored a long-overdue first win in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship in an intense see-saw battle in round 6 at Road America.  Driving the #21 Andersen Racing / LotusWorks/ Center Jewellers.ie/Quayside.ie/ Allied Building Products Mazda, Dempsey qualified on the front row fought a race-long battle with pole-sitter John Edwards and made the pass for the lead on the next-to-last lap.  Edwards, with victories at Miller Motorsports Park and Race 2 at Portland, started from the pole and finished second in the #7 AIM Autosport Mazda.  Rounding out the top-3 was Watkins Glen winner Charles Hall, who started from 5th in the #77 Andersen Racing / Blimpie / AccentBanking.com/Pardoes Solicitors / Allied Building Products Mazda. 

The top-finishing Master Series driver (45 and older) was the current points leader in the category, Californian Chuck Hulse.  Driving the #12 JDC Motorsports / Silicon Salvage Mazda, he has now scored three class wins and finished 11th overall at Road America.  Making his first visit to the podium as winner of the Expert Series (drivers 30 to 44) was J.W. Roberts.  Racing the #65 Team GDT / GDT Mazda, he has finished top-3 in class at every race this season and was 16th overall in today's race.

"After how things went for us in Portland, and earlier this weekend, I'm just over the moon about finally winning my first race," said Dempsey, who suffered assorted mechanical problems in Portland and finished 18th in Race 1 and 19th in Race 2.  "There I was with almost a two-second lead in the closing laps and another full-course yellow comes out… they didn't make it easy for me.  But I got a good re-start and almost threw it away going too wide in turn 8 on the last lap, but the Andersen team gave me a great car for the race and I was able to hold on to it.  It worked out good for the points championship and if we can have another good result next weekend at Trois Rivières, we'll be right back in it."

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F3 Masters

Defending titlist Hülkenberg on pole
At the 4.011 kilometers long circuit of Zolder in Belgium, Nico Hülkenberg (ART Grand Prix, 1:24.280 min) claimed pole position for the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3. The German already succeeded in winning Europe’s most important Formula 3 race last year and his goal is now to defend his title.

Second place on the grid went to Frenchman Jules Bianchi (ART Grand Prix, 1:24.550 min) from Dutchman Renger van der Zande (Prema Powerteam, 1:24.640 min), Koudai Tsukakoshi (Manor Motorsport, 1:24.813 min) from Japan and Stefano Coletti (Prema Powerteam, 1:24.869 min). Thus, the top five places were all locked out by drivers from the Formula 3 Euro Series. In the top twelve, there are even ten drivers from the Formula 3 Euro Series.

With a few minutes remaining, qualifying was briefly interrupted after Spaniard Dani Clos (Prema Powerteam, 1:26.157 min) had come off the track. After the re-start, the drivers only had two laps left to improve their lap times. Nico Hülkenberg, the test driver of the Williams Formula 1 team, only did so as the checkered flag was being waved.

For Nico Hülkenberg’s team ART Grand Prix, it is already the fifth fastest qualifying time in a row at the Masters of Formula 3. Before the German, Romain Grosjean (2007), Giedo van der Garde (2006), Lewis Hamilton (2005) and Alexandre Prémat (2004) started from the best possible grid position.

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Bomarito Becomes First Two-Time Atlantic Winner in '08
In the first race of a Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda doubleheader at the Road Race Showcase, American racer Jonathan Bomarito became the first two-time winner of the season at Road America.

Driving the No. 26 Del Taco/Stone Brewing/Discount Tire/RLM Investments machine for Mathiasen Motorsports, Bomarito took the lead in the race’s standing start and led all but one lap en route to a 0.411-second victory over polesitter Dane Cameron. It was Bomarito’s fourth career Atlantic victory and was also his second win at Road America, where he claimed his first victory in the series in 2006. The result allowed Bomarito to move into third place in the championship standings and with 130 points, he now trails second place Markus Niemela by two points and he is just nine points in arrears of leader James Hinchcliffe.

“It feels amazing,” Bomarito said. “I love this track. There’s so much history and the racing always is amazing here. It feels great to be back up here. To be the first guy to win two races this year feels amazing. Hopefully, it’s not my last. Hopefully, we’ll keep this momentum going. I’m on the pole for tomorrow and Tonis (Kasemets) is right next to me. It should be an exciting one, for sure. We’re looking forward to it. We have a little bit of work tonight to do on the car and get a couple of little things a little better, and we’ll be strong tomorrow. My hat’s off to the whole Mathiasen Motorsports team. Every single session this whole weekend, starting on Wednesday when we had our three practice sessions, nobody’s made one single mistake. The car ran flawlessly and we’ve just been making small changes and making the car better and better every session. Big thanks to them. They’re making my job not easy, but easier.”

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IRL and Kentucky Speedway get black eye
The IRL got a black eye Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway when they announced a sellout race, yet an estimated 20,000 seats were empty meaning that 20,000 people bought a ticket but didn't think it worth their while to attend the race.  Because so many of those seats were free giveaways, they better think twice next time about announcing a sellout.  Better to keep quiet and let the attendance be what it will, rather than brag about a sellout only to get egg on your face.


Vallelunga: Superleague testing Day 3
Alessandro Pier Guidi
Pim Stelling/AutoRacing1
Galatasaray driver Alessandro Pier Guidi topped the times on the final day of Superleague Formula testing at Vallelunga today – setting the fastest time of the week for the football-themed motor racing championship.

The third and final day of testing for the Superleague Formula teams at Vallelunga brought slightly cooler weather in the early morning and a chance to take another step forward.  With all eyes on the first race of this nascent championship at Donington Park in just 23 days, the pressure is on for the teams and drivers to understand how to wring the most out of these identical 750hp, V-12 powered machines.

Pier Guidi headed off the pack closely followed by Davide Rigon on board Borussia Dortmund, Enrico Toccacelo in the AS Roma car and day one and two pacesetter, Robert Doornbos in the AC Milan car.

With a total of nine cars starting the three day test, only eight remained on the final day with the Anderlecht car retiring from the test following a fire on Thursday morning.  The cause was a disconnected fuel line on the Astromega–run car.

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Montagny sets record, takes LMP2 pole
Franck Montagny is showing America that he is the real deal and should really have a top open wheel racing ride in IndyCar
Franck Montagny, a French driver with experience in both Formula One and 24 Hours of Le Mans, broke the LMP2 track record at Road America Saturday by more than one and a half seconds with a clocking of one minute, 47.345 seconds and a speed of 135.757 miles per hour, easily bettering the previous mark of 1:48.833 [133.901 m.p.h.], set last year by Romain Dumas.

Montagny, who'll team with young British driver James Rossiter in Saturday’s American Le Mans Series feature, recorded Andretti Green Racing's second American Le Mans Series pole with a solid performance Friday.  Montagny quickly jumped to the top of the timing charts in the 20-minute session with a track-record at 1:48.028, followed by a 1:47.491 and then a 1:47.345.

Montagny said afterwards, "This track is very good.  It's a proper road-racing track for America.  It is closer to what we race in Europe.  I didn't like the Lime Rock track and I thought Mid-Ohio was better.  This circuit is even better than Mid-Ohio.  Our XM Acura has been improving with each race for me, and I am getting used to the car and the team.  I am really enjoying racing in the American Le Mans Series.  This is the most fun I have had in racing.  The atmosphere is so much different than in Europe.  It is a friendly place to race.  The XM team has been making very good changes with the car.  James [Rossiter] is given us good feedback.  I think he is a good driver and will help the team.  I like our position on the front row and we'll have a good chance to win on Saturday."


BAM Racing loans out crew people
While BAM Racing undergoes a complete restructuring of its race team and conducts an ongoing sponsor search, it has taken a unique stance regarding a select few employees. Crew chief David Hyder, shock specialist Dean Johnson and along with others are still under contract to BAM Racing, but team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau decided to "loan them out" to the Wood Brothers race team until the BAM Racing #49 returns to the track sometime later this year. According to Mrs. Morgenthau, "We have a number of cars prepared at the shop and our guys were just itching to get back to the race track - as we all are. I made the decision to help out the Wood Brothers by making several of our key personnel available, included David and Dean. The benefit to BAM is that they will continue to learn these new cars and be in a better position to make the BAM Racing Toyota competitive when we return. Right now we are in continuing negotiations with more than one potential sponsor and we are planning to continue racing in the Sprint Cup Series in the near future." BAM Racing PR


Bridgestone announces tire specifications
Bridgestone, the Official Tire Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship, is pleased to announce the compound allocations of Potenza tires for the final four rounds of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.

For Formula One’s first visit to the new street circuit in Singapore the soft and super soft compounds will be brought. The Japanese Grand Prix will have the medium and soft compounds, the same as used last season, whilst the Chinese Grand Prix will use the hard and medium compounds, just as in 2007. For the season finale at the Brazilian Grand Prix there is a change from the compounds used last season, and the medium and soft compounds will be provided this year, as opposed to the soft and super soft used in 2007.

Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development, says: “After eleven races this season we can now confirm our tire allocations for the final four races of the year. This will be the first time for Formula One in Singapore and we will bring the soft and super soft compounds for this interesting new street course. High grip will be required at this track which is the primary reason for our choice. In Japan and China we will use the same compounds as we used in 2007. For Brazil we have moved a step harder in our allocation range. This race can be very hot, as we saw last year, and our data from the thrilling final race of last season showed us that this change would be beneficial for the teams.”


Star Mazda Qualifying Road America
American racer John Edwards, the only repeat winner so far in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, won the pole this afternoon for the start of tomorrow's Round 6 at Road America.  His lap of 2:05.313 (116.291) #7 AIM Autosport Mazda was just 0.227 faster than the man who will start on the outside of the front row, Irishman Peter Dempsey. 

Dempsey, who did not run in this morning's practice session, led the early stages of qualifying and ultimately posted a 2nd-fast lap of 2:05.540 (116.081 mph) in the #21 Andersen Racing / LotusWorks/ Allied Building Products Mazda, his best qualifying effort so far this season. 

Rounding out the top-3 was the winner of Race 1/Round 4 at the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland, Tom Gladdis, the 17 year-old driver from the British territory of Gibraltar.  He turned a lap of 2:05.540 (115.815 mph) in the #5 Andersen Racing / Law firm of Marrache & Co. / Allied Building Products Mazda.

"We knew the car was good on old tires so we went out in the first part of the session on tires that had eighty or a hundred miles on them and were within half a second of the front-runners," said Edwards, whose two victories have come at his debut Star Mazda race at Miller Motorsports Park (where he won from the pole) and Race2/Round 5 at Portland. 

"I radioed the guys in the pits and said 'If we put on some stickers, we'll be P1 for sure.'  But the new set had a huge vibration that turned out to just be a balance problem, so I went back out and put the hammer down and went fast enough for the pole.  I expect this will be a really close, competitive race with lots of passing at the front of the field, and I can't wait for the start."

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