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Conway again fastest at Infineon UPDATE #2 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing rookie Mike Conway paced the 13 drivers testing on the 2.303-mile circuit Aug. 13 with a quick lap of 1 minute, 17.48 seconds. He was followed by Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, the pole sitter for the race last year, at 1:17.76 and HVM Racing's E.J. Viso at 1:17.94.

"(Aug. 12) was more of a shakedown for us to make sure we don't have any problems," Conway said. "On these test days it's really crucial that you can really back-to-back things because on a race weekend you don't get enough time. I think we should be looking OK for next weekend, and I'm looking forward to coming back."

Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon (1:17.98) and IndyCar Series championship points leader Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing (1:18.09) rounded out the top five. Defending race champion Castroneves clocked in at 1:18.25 for Team Penske.

"It's a special track and the car needs a lot of fine-tuning for it," said Robert Doornbos, who was driving on the course for the first time. "It was nice to work in the peace and quiet with my new team and try some different things.  I'm fairly pleased with what we did.

"My engineer, Neil (Fife), and I are both very competitive, so we're never going to be completely happy.  We're always going to keep pushing.  But we're fairly happy with how the day went and we're looking forward to the race."

Doornbos, who competed in the No. 33 HVM Racing entry for the first time at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 9, had a best lap of 1:18.26.

Afternoon Times
1. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 1:17.48
2. Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 1:17.76
3. E.J. Viso HVM 1:17.94
4. Dan Wheldon Panther Racing 1:17.98
5. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing, 1:18.25
6. Helio Castroneves Team Penske 1:18.25
7. Robert Doornbos HVM 1:18.26
8. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon Racing, 1:18.34
9. Ryan Hunter-Reay A.J. Foyt Racing, 1:18.37
10. Franck Montagny Andretti Green Racing, 1:18.91
11. Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:18.09
12. Nelson Philippe Conquest Racing, 1:19.13
13. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, 1:23.3.

08/13/09 We added the remaining times from today's morning test session.

08/13/09 Mike Conway was again the fastest in 2nd day testing for the IndyCars at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. His time of 77.72sec topped Penske's Ryan Briscoe in the morning. More to follow from this afternoon....

Thursday AM Times
1. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 77.72s
2. Ryan Briscoe Penske Racing 77.76s
3. Dan Wheldon PAN 77.98s
4. Scott Dixon Ganassi Racing 78.09s
5. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing 78.25s
6. Ernesto Viso HVM 78.26s
7. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 78.34s
8. Franck Montagny AGR 79.00s
9. Helio Castroneves Penske Racing 79.66s
10. Nelson Philippe Conquest 79.68s
11. Ryan Hunter-Reay Foyt Racing 79.91s
12. Robert Doornbos HVM 80.46s
13. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 83.30s

racing news

Beatrice Rossini 1991 – 2009
Motor sport is going through an unbelievable somber streak of serious accidents. After the passing of Flavio Guglielmini in rallying, Henry Surtees in Formula 2 and – last Sunday – Thomas Knopper in karting, we now mourn over young motorbike racer Beatrice Bossini from Montevarchi in Italy, who suffered a fatal accident while testing her Kawasaki Ninja 600 Supersports bike.

The accident happened while Beatrice was exiting the final corner onto the main straight at the Rijeka track in Croatia, where 18-year-old Beatrice had arrived for a private test session and thereafter had planned to spend the holidays with her parents. Apparently she suffered a highsider and, according to reports, was ejected from the bike, hitting the asphalt hard. Beatrice was declared dead at the scene.

karting news

Thomas Knopper 1990 – 2009
The motor sport scene is in shock yet again as young Dutchman Thomas Knopper was declared dead at the scene after an accident right after the start of a KZ2 race for the German Karting Championship DKM at Liedolsheim in the Southwest of Germany earlier today. The German police has not released full details of the incident that left other drivers involved with injuries.

Thomas Knopper won the European KZ2 Championship in 2007. He had his debut in car racing in 2008 competing in the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup. His best finish was a 6th place finish at Hockenheim from a 13th position on the grid. This season he made the move to KZ1 for the European Championship, where he finished an impressive 6th.


VW and Porsche to merge
German automakers Volkswagen and Porsche have reached an agreement to merge operations -- the latest move in an industry that has seen whiplash changes in recent weeks.  The two companies have been in talks in recent weeks about merging manufacturing operations. A statement released on the Porsche Web site said the management boards of Porsche and Volkswagen have agreed in principle for the creation of an integrated car manufacturing group.

"In the final structure ten brands shall stand below an integrative leading company alongside each other, whereby the independence of all brands and explicitly also of Porsche shall be ensured," the statement said.

Porsche had been aggressively trying to take over Volkswagen, building a 51 percent stake in the company with ambitions to raise the stake to 75 percent. But Porsche also built a debt of nearly $12 billion as the world automotive market began to shrink during the financial crisis.


Conquest signs another sponsor
Conquest Racing and I Drive Green announced partnerships with Ronn Motor Company and eBay Motors for the upcoming Infineon Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway IndyCar Series races.

Nelson Philippe will drive the No. 34 I Drive Green/Conquest Racing car at both events. The sponsors share Philippe and I Drive Green co-founder Jean Paul Libert's vision of a more environmentally responsible general public.

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RCR announces Fan Day
Richard Childress Racing will celebrate its 40th anniversary October 22 with RCR Fan Day at its headquarters in Welcome, N.C.

Proceeds from RCR Fan Day will benefit the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. The Childress Institute was organized in July 2008 by Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR, and his family with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Its mission is to prevent and treat life-threatening injuries to children and to help kids affected by life-threatening injuries recover and lead normal lives. Approximately 12,000 children under the age of 18 die each year from traumatic injury, making it the No. 1 killer of children in the United States.

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Another miniscule IRL TV rating on Versus
The national TV ratings for the Indy Racing League’s Mid-Ohio race, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research, was 0.2, meaning 233,00 TV households nationwide watched the road race which aired on Versus cable channel starting at 1 p.m. Aug. 9.

The Nielsen rating for the central Indiana market for the Mid-Ohio race was 2.2, which equates to 25,000 TV households.

The Mid-Ohio national ratings were higher than the previous race, a 0.14 at Kentucky. But were lower than the 0.24 rating of the Edmonton road race July 26.

The rating in the Indianapolis market for the Mid-Ohio race was higher than Kentucky’s 1.14 and Edmonton’s 0.73 rating.

The Kentucky race, an oval, was a Saturday night race, with the green flag dropping at 8 p.m. The Edmonton race aired on a Sunday starting at 5 p.m.

The IRL has four races left and all are broadcast on Versus. The schedule consists of a late Friday night airing, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night airings, and a late Sunday afternoon airing. The next event is at Infineon Raceway Aug. 23.  IBJ.com


Highcroft stays committed to ALMS
American Le Mans Series team Highcroft Racing has confirmed it will continue in the category in 2010, regardless of whether Acura continues with its U.S.-based LMP1 program. Team boss Duncan Dayton told AUTOSPORT magazine this week that the squad remains committed to sports car racing and its goal of ultimately winning the Le Mans 24 Hours.

"We are working on racing with Acura next year until someone tells us otherwise," said Dayton. "If Acura does not come back there are a couple of other options we can pursue. We will still be racing in the ALMS next year."


Casey Stoner to miss 3 races or more
Casey Stoner, the 2007 MotoGP champion, has been fighting off what he thought was a minor illness that left him tired since the Catalunyan Grand Prix held in mid-June. The Australian is a fighter though and kept up the pace as best he could for what was a three-way tie in the championship when the series departed Spain.

Stoner has been diagnosed with a form of anemia that causes severe fatigue and he needs to sit out the next three events, effectively removing the Aussie out of the title fight this season. There is still the possibility that he may not be ready to return by the time the MotoGP series arrives in Hungary.

"After five extremely difficult races due to my health, I returned to Australia to visit the sports doctors who have looked after me for many years," said Stoner. "We have taken the difficult decision not to contest the next three rounds of the championship, to allow my body time to recover from the recent stress."

"The doctors believe that during the Barcelona race I was suffering from a virus, and, that I subsequently pushed my body too hard, leading to problems that have caused my fatigue since then," explained the Aussie. "The doctors are continuing with many tests to try to understand these problems and make sure it does not happen again.

"I have spoken with Ducati and thank them for their understanding at this time. I feel very sorry for the factory, my team, my sponsors and the fans and I am also disappointed because the bike in the last races has been very competitive. I will be doing everything possible to come back at full strength for Portugal."

track news

IMS turned 100 Wednesday UPDATE Friday, Aug. 14 marks the 100th anniversary of the first day of motorized racing competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway The track actually opened Aug. 12th, but the 14th was the first day the track saw action). On that date in 1909, a series of motorcycle races took place on the newly-completed 2.5-mile IMS oval.

To celebrate this special milestone in sporting history, fans who purchase tickets Friday, Aug. 14 for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at the IMS ticket office will receive a piece of 100th Anniversary cake and have their photo taken with a 1909 Indian motorcycle. Fans who have previously purchased 2009 MotoGP race tickets also are invited with proof of their purchase.

The second running of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 30.

IMS 100th Anniversary of Racing
Fans who buy MotoGP ticket(s) get 100th Anniversary cake, photo with 1909 Indian motorcycle

8 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 14

Lobby of IMS Administration Building, 4790 W. 16th St.

08/13/09 The Indy Motor Speedway opened August 12, 1909, so on Wednesday it turned exactly 100 years old.


Ford raises production
Ford Motor Co. announced Thursday that it is boosting third-quarter production in North America by another 10,000 units to meet increased demand for its vehicles.  Ford's third-quarter production goal is now 495,000 units -- 18 percent higher than a year ago.

Ford also increased its production targets for the fourth quarter to 570,000 vehicles -- a 33 percent increase over the same period last year and 15 percent higher than planned third-quarter levels.

The company has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the federal government's "cash for clunkers" program. Its Ford Focus compact has been one of the most popular choices for customers taking advantage of the program, which provides up to $4,500 to motorists trading in gas-guzzlers for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

"Under the cash for clunkers program, the Ford Escape and Focus are flying off dealer lots," said Ford Americas President Mark Fields. "We're doing all we can to ensure our dealers are well stocked with the fuel-efficient vehicles that customers really want."


Singapore safe on F1 calendar - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Singapore is contracted to host formula one until 2012, and according to Bernie Ecclestone the city-state should not be worried about losing the event beyond that.

"It will stay," F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, the authority on the content of the sport's annual calendar, said in an interview with the Singapore newspaper Today.

It is believed the initial contract with Singapore, having last year hosted F1's first ever night race, contains an option for an additional two years beyond 2012.

"We are not going to lose Singapore, that's for sure," the 78-year-old added.  "As long as Singapore is there, we will be there."

The event is known for being one of the highest-paying on the calendar, but Briton Ecclestone believes F1 is value for money for Singapore.

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NASCAR Foundation announces NASCAR Day in Canada
The NASCAR Foundation has announced that through a partnership with Canadian Tire, NASCAR Day in Canada will be celebrated on Sept 12, 2009. NASCAR Day is an opportunity for fans, corporations, schools and organizations across the country to donate to The NASCAR Foundation to raise funds to help thousands of children live better lives.

Starting July 11 and running until Sept. 13, fans will be able to stop by participating Canadian Tire stores across Canada to make a $5 donation in return for their 2009 NASCAR Day collectable lapel pin. This marks the first time a Canadian company has made the charitable pins available in-store to fans.

‘As the lead partner of NASCAR in Canada and through our  ongoing commitment to helping kids get involved with organized sport, we are excited to take part in this initiative, says Dan Thompson, president, Canadian Tire Jumpstart. ‘With over 375 Canadian Tire stores across the country, we are pleased to be able to offer our customers and racing fans the opportunity to join us in this important cause.'

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track news

Earnhardt removes name from track project
Earnhardt Jr. has removed his name from the Alabama Motorsports Park project, according to the Mobile (Ala.) Press Register.

The project, which includes an oval track and road course, is scheduled to open in 2012 – more than two years later than the original plan  – according to the track’s website.

Alabama Motorsports Park is owned by Gulf Coast Entertainment, and Earnhardt Jr., his sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge and brother Kerry Earnhardt were part of the project.

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Conway fastest, Duno again 8 sec. off pace
Three IndyCar Series drivers completed the first day of a two-day test session Aug. 12 at Infineon Raceway in advance of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 22-23.

Mike Conway (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) posted the fastest time of the day at 1 minute, 19.25 seconds on the 2.303-mile circuit. He was followed closely by fellow rookie Raphael Matos (Luczo Drag Racing) at 1:19.516 and teammate Milka Duno (1:27.07).

"We're looking forward to next week," Conway said. "Today and tomorrow are crucial for us to get the car quick so we don't have to change too much next weekend. Being fast tomorrow is the most important, when there are other drivers on the track."

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Malaysia to get earlier race time in 2010
  • Massa return not on the cards yet
  • Briatore 'not trying' to revive career - Piquet
  • GP2 as test-run for new Abu Dhabi track
  • Button selling Bugatti Veyron for $1.5m
  • Cut-price deal for rescued Canada GP - report
  • Schu's doctor says future comeback possible
  • Senna a target for 2010 seat - Campos

Malaysia to get earlier race time in 2010
(GMM)  Organizers of the Malaysian grand prix have succeeded in scrapping the 'twilight' concept for its formula one race in future.

In April of this year, the Sepang event had to be curtailed shortly after half-distance with only half-points awarded, with torrential rain and fading light blighting the race that began at 5pm to better suit the European TV audience.

It has now been confirmed that in 2010, the Malaysian GP will instead begin at 4pm, even if Sepang track boss Razlan Razali said organizers would have preferred an even earlier new start-time.

"Of course, it would have been even better if we stuck to the time we've always had," he told Singapore's Today newspaper.

"We are not keen on a night race but we now have a good compromise and are happy it won't start later," he added.

Massa return not on the cards yet
(GMM)  Felipe Massa is recovering well from his formula one accident but it is too early to be talking about his return, two of the men closest to the Ferrari race driver insist.

As Michael Schumacher gave his press conference in Geneva on Wednesday, he revealed that he has been in regular contact with his 2006 teammate since he began convalescing in Brazil.

"I'm glad that he is recovering so well.

"He's extremely motivated, although he can't prepare in such an intense way as he wants, because the doctors still don't allow it," Schumacher said, after explaining to international press his reasons for no longer replacing Massa, 28, at forthcoming races.

Rubens Barrichello, meanwhile, wrote on his Twitter page on Wednesday that he had spent the afternoon at his countryman's Sao Paulo home.

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Volt, 230 MPG City, 100+ MPG HWY UPDATE A reader responds, Following your article on "Volt, 230 mpg City, 100+ MPG HWY" published today August 12, I would like to add some precisions regarding the Volt MPG rating, which does not seem to be realistic. 

I understand that electric power is not seen as polluting because it is not directly connected to an exhaust pipe or a chimney dispersing C02 in the air. Nevertheless, electric power is mainly made of fossil fuel such as coal, natural gas and uranium. 46.1% of our electricity is produced by burning coal, Natural gas (by the way, produced in the USA) constitute 20.5% of our electricity and 21% of electricity is made by converting nuclear power. Hydroelectric power produce 1.7% of the US electricity and “other” energy (biomass, geothermal, solar and wind) create 4.1% of our electricity. Finally, 1.2% of electric energy is from burning oil, which could very well be extracted here. (A sideline to say that electricity is mainly produced from fossil products extracted in the USA, except for uranium, which the USA has only 6% of the world market of recoverable mineral). 

If we want to evaluate the C02 foot print of 1 KW/H of electricity, we will have to make some estimation but as coal represent the biggest percentage, we can get close enough to have some sense of C02 quantity generated. 

Coal produce in average 950 grams of C02 per KW/H and natural gas about 600 grams of C02 per KW/H. Nuclear power require all kind of heavy duty manipulations from extraction of ore to extraction of uranium, which goes through a long list of processes, safety and other products needed, from extracting about 6000 tons of rock to finally have 1 kg of enriched uranium, transported and ready to be used in a nuclear power plant in the US. All the pre and post processes involved in creating and using uranium could be in average 115 grams of C02 per KW/H. 

Let’s consider that the “other” methods of creating electricity (4.1%) would represent about 25 grams of C02 per KW/H and the gas power plants would make 340 grams per KW/H, we can evaluate how much 1 KW/H of electricity produced in the USA would create of C02 in average, which would be 590 grams of C02 per KW/H. 

In the case of the Volt, assuming the figure published of 25 KW/H per 100 miles, this car would induce the generation of 14.750 kg of C02 per 100 miles or 147.5 grams per mile, which represent about 59.55 MPG based on gas production of 8.788 grams of C02 per gallon. 

When the Volt is using gas to produce electricity, the mileage is going to be a little less advantageous when the generator kicks in for 260+ miles to keep the batteries charged for more than 300 miles, according to the published data. 

The question remain that, if one is going on a trip, how long it would take to go on a 600 or 900 mile trip a day with 1 or 2 recharges. I also suspect that the 300+ miles are based on ideal conditions not representing what a common commuter or travelling family would encounter. If one is driving in Colorado on Interstate 70, going to his preferred ski station, cruising at 75 miles per hour (which would be about the speed on the right lane), going from an altitude of 5,800 feet high at the airport to 10,000 feet in the mountain, how many miles the car would run before making a recharge stop?  For how long? And at which station?

The cost per mile to own a Volt from purchase to sale plus the loss on unused capital invested in a more expensive car will define better the real cost of owning such vehicle. A car burning 27 MPH in average will cost in gas on 36,000 miles (3 years average) a sum of $4,000 based on $3 per gallon. A Volt will cost for the same mileage $990 or $3010 less considering electricity at only 0.03 cents per KW/H. Hopefully the Volt will not cost more than that in 3 years usage and capital loss.  We certainly all are interested to have true and honest figures to compare apples to apples, not the overdriven marketing ploys used to catch customer unaware of the real facts. 

It seems that the EPA is attempting to redefine MPG as one understand today. If GM insists to have another way to calculate MPG in order to favor their future new electric products marketing figures, it should be called otherwise, or simply and more honestly use the carbon oxide generation per source of energy as approached here above.

By the way, nothing wrong with almost 60 MPG. Alain Clarinval

Dear Alain, Thanks for the figures, but let's not forget that electric car technology is in its very early days.  As battery life improves through the years, especially if there is a major breakthrough in battery technology at some point in time, and as we convert to more and more nuclear power plants, use solar panels on our roofs to charge our electric cars, etc, the amount of CO2 used per mile driven in an electric car will decrease significantly.

Coal-fired power plants release 520 times more atmospheric carbon per megawatt-hour than Nuclear plants. That's right: 520 times.

There's no question that nuclear power is the most climate-friendly industrial-scale energy source. You can worry about radioactive waste or proliferating weapons. You can complain about the high cost of construction and decommissioning. But the reality is that every serious effort at carbon accounting reaches the same conclusion: Nukes win. Only wind comes close — and that's when it's blowing. A UK government white paper last year factored in everything from uranium mining to plant decommissioning and determined that nuclear power emits 2 to 6 percent of the carbon per kilowatt-hour as natural gas, the cleanest of the fossil fuels.

Embracing the atom is a key to winning the war on global warming: Electric power from fossil fuel plants generates 26 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and 9 percent of the United States' — it's the biggest contributor to global warming. And that doesn't count the emissions from our fossil fuel burning cars.  Mark C.

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Will Power hoping for fulltime IndyCar ride
Will Power
Will Power grew up in Australia having older brother Nick push him around in a small plastic race car trying to emulate the moves of their father, a Formula 2 racer on the weekends.

Sometimes little Will would win. Sometimes he'd lose.

"I had more than one mechanical failure," he deadpanned.

Even as a kid Power knew there wasn't always a fairy tale ending waiting at the checkered flag. It's a lesson he's kept with him during his successful - if increasingly nomadic - career.

Power spent two-plus seasons in the Champ Car World Series before the merger with IndyCar last year. He struggled to find any consistency while driving for KV Racing Technology, finishing 12th in the points despite struggling at times on the ovals.

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Q&A with Luca di Montezemolo
Luca di Montezemolo
Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo discusses Michael Schumacher's failed comeback and the way forward.

Q. Chairman Montezemolo, when did you get the news?

Luca di Montezemolo: Monday evening. Over the last days Michael had anticipated that he was about to go back to Germany for another scan of his neck. It seemed to be a formality.

Q: But instead...

LdM: They found something that still didn't work. So it's better not to insist. We wouldn't do that at all. He had the small motorcycle accident in February and on the first laps at Mugello he felt that something was wrong. You shouldn't joke with your health.

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Watkins Glen NASCAR TV Ratings
ESPN's live coverage of the rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from Watkins Glen International earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.7, averaging 1,994,457 viewers. The telecast aired on Monday, Aug. 10, starting at 12:00pm/et after the race was rained out the previous day. ESPN earned a 2.0 rating for coverage on Sunday from 2:15 pm  4:30 pm when the race was postponed. Two of ESPN's three NASCAR Sprint Cup races so far this season have been run on Mondays after having been rained out on the originally-scheduled day. The NASCAR Nationwide Series race run at Watkins Glen on Saturday earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.5 on ESPN2, higher than the 1.4 earned for the race when it aired on ESPN2 in 2007. The race aired on ABC last year and had a 1.5 rating. The Nationwide Series telecast averaged 1,755,640 viewers.  ESPN PR


Johnson's Team Captures Tissot Pit Road Award at Watkins Glen
Jimmie Johnson's pit crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Monday's rain-delayed Sprint Cup road race at Watkins Glen. It was the third Tissot win of the season for the #48 Hendrick Motorsports pit crew, which moved into a tie for second place with Jeff Gordon's #24 crew, also from the Hendrick Motorsports stable. Greg Biffle's #16 crew leads the Tissot standings with four victories. Johnson's Lowe's Impala SS spent the least amount of time on pit road  86.746 seconds -- during the 90-lap race at the 2.45-mile road circuit. Johnson's over-the-wall crew consists of: Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Jeremy West (rear-tire changer), Andy Brown (rear-tire carrier), Kenneth Purcell (jackman), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Ron Malec (eighth man). The team's crew chief is Chad Knaus and the pit crew coach is Greg Morin. Johnson's crew will collect $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver.  Tissot


Q+A with Michael Schumacher
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher was present along with manager Willi Weber and personal doctor Johannes Peil at a press conference held at the Hotel Intercontinental in Geneva, Switzerland today. The topic at hand was none other than Schumachers comeback, along with his health and fellow Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Luca Badoer, the latter taking his place at the European GP.

How are you feeling?
Obviously I’m very frustrated and disappointed about what has happened. We were preparing in a very tough way and we’ve done everything possible, but from the start Ferrari and I have always said that I would have raced for Felipe if I had been ready. It’s a pity that we didn’t reach this goal. I’m not interested in getting back in Formula 1 as a full-time job, but I wanted to help Ferrari and my friends under these special circumstances. When I went to Maranello Wednesday after Felipe’s accident I knew what were going to talk about with Stefano and Chairman Montezemolo. In the beginning I was more tending towards a ‘no’, but you all know Montezemolo and how good he is in convincing people. He’s a great friend of mine and we really agree on most things: so he managed to convince me. Furthermore my wife Corinna said that I should do what I think is the right thing to do.

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Man linked to alleged $53M fraud wants Ferrari
A Michigan man accused of running a $53 million Ponzi scheme says he needs his Ferrari to help defend himself against fraud allegations.
John Bravata is asking a federal judge in Detroit to release the 1995 car from a freeze on assets. In a court filing this week, he says the $90,000 Ferrari could be used as collateral for loans to help him pay legal bills and other expenses.

Bravata's assets have been tied up since July 27, a day after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit accusing him and a partner of a fraudulent investment scheme through their two Southfield-based firms.

Bravata, of Brighton, denies the allegations. He says the Ferrari should be excluded from the asset freeze because it was purchased before he started BBC Equities.

tv news

SPEED Live from Knoxville Nationals
Ralph Sheheen and Brad Doty will make the calls from the booth and Dave Argabright and Rob Klepper will be working the pits as SPEED delivers live coverage from the 49th Knoxville Nationals on Saturday beginning at 10 p.m. ET.

Competition on the famed Knoxville Raceway attracts some of the best racers in the world, as the four-day event brings in approximately 100,000 visitors to the small Iowa town with a population of 8,500 people.

“It's the biggest sprint car race of the year,” said current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Tony Stewart, the USAC Triple Crown winner in 1995. “The best of the best come from all over the country. When you win the Knoxville Nationals, you've beaten the very best there is in winged sprint car racing."

In addition to race coverage, as three-time defending champ Donny Schatz, who races for Stewart, goes for four in a row in a Mario Andretti tribute car, SPEED also will capture happenings throughout the week leading up to Saturday’s racing.

SPEED on-air personality Erin Crocker climbs back into a sprint car at Knoxville as the 2003 410 Rookie of the Year and the first woman ever to race in a Knoxville A-feature.


Hornish Jr. OK after nasty wreck at Watkins Glen
Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript with Travis Geisler, Crew-Chief for Sam Hornish Jr. and the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge:


A: He's doing really well. I actually had a chance to talk to him this morning. He gave me a call pretty early to make sure that I went around thanking all the guys that work on the interiors (of the car) and all the welding on the chassis. He's in good shape. He was going to take it easy today and get a little rest. It's something that we're real proud of here at Penske Racing as far as the safety of our cars. Certainly with the carbon fiber seats and everything that we've done over the last couple of years, it's pretty obvious that we have a really safe car. This COT has done a really good job protecting the drivers. Sitting there watching a friend and co-worker take a hit like that isn't the most comforting thing. Knowing that you've done everything that you can do and when you see him sitting there playing with his baby girl, it makes you feel like you're doing a pretty good job."

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IRL continues to degrade IndyCar
You don't pitch for the NY Yankees if you are a wanker do you? 

You don't play football for the Indianapolis Colts if you are a wanker do you?

You don't play basketball for the Indiana Pacers if you are a wanker do you?

You don't last long in F1 if you are a wanker do you?

However, if you are 8-seconds per lap off the pace in IndyCar, yes, you read that right 8-seconds per lap, but you are the 2nd most popular driver in the series because you are sexy, not because you can drive a hoot, IndyCar Series officials treat you with kid gloves.

Is it a sport or a 3-ring circus......you know.....a show?

Does the IRL want to grow and it's series and drivers be put on a pedestal as they once were when drivers like IndyCar Andretti, Foyt, Unser, Gurney , etc would go to NASCAR, F1 and sports cars and win the big races or even the F1 world title, or does it want to continue down the road to 0.14 TV ratings (i.e. lower than infomercials) and become the laughing stock of motorsports?

The IRL has no plans to revoke Milka Duno's driving license despite a plea from veteran driver Paul Tracy.  Series chief steward Brian Barnhart said Tuesday that one bad race is not enough to merit a conversation.  One bad race?  Brian, are you serious?  She has been a moving road block from day 1.  Get real.

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Ecclestone says Singapore here to stay
The inaugural Singapore Grand Prix was deemed a success by most last year as Formula One ran under artificial lighting for the first time. The Marina Bay area hosts its second race this summer in what is a five year deal with Formula One Management and Bernie Ecclestone.

“We are not going to lose Singapore, that's for sure,” Ecclestone told Today Online. “As long as Singapore is there, we will be there. The feeling among the teams is good, everybody is happy with Singapore.

“As I always said it used to be for me a stopover on the way somewhere,” he continued. “It never seemed like a destination. And when you go to Singapore and have a good look, you realize it is a destination, that it is a nice place with nice people.”

Read more & Comment...

Tracy: P2P needs more oomph
"Going back to the subject of push to pass: it’s okay, but it’s nothing that would get an ex-Champ Car driver excited. It’s worth 1mph, maybe 2, down the straightaway. The problem is, it gives you an extra 200 revs at the top but by then the motor has gone past its power band anyhow. So at 9800rpm, this boost is worth 10hp, but at 10,500, it feels like around 3hp. It can help you get a little run on a guy, but it’s not like you’re going to do 6mph faster like in Champ Car.

.........."But at least I didn’t make mistakes; some of the big-money players like Helio drove through the gravel traps, so they ended up getting beaten by the 40-year-old driving for hamburgers. I hear they didn’t show me passing Viso, but it was quite a good maneuver – I drafted him, hit the push to pass (which feels like…well, nothing to be honest) and then outbraked him. What was more important, I gapped him on the next lap, so when we came in together for our first pitstop, it didn’t matter so much that ours was a bit slow. I came out right in front of him, and then although Matos beat us, I was able to get past him on cold tires and then kept him at bay for the whole race. Don’t know what happened to Viso after that."  PaulTracy.com

Racing News

Video: British Supersport rider Chris Martin at Brands Hatch


Schu to explain cancelled comeback on Wednesday
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has called a press conference to explain further his decision to call off his formula one comeback.

The seven time world champion posted a statement on his website on Tuesday explaining that a lingering head and neck injury has put paid to his plans to replace the injured Felipe Massa.

On Wednesday afternoon, he will explain the decision in more detail, according to a news item in the German newspaper Rhein Zeitung.

Also present at the press conference in Geneva will be 40-year-old Schumacher's doctor Johannes Peil, of the Bad-Neuheim Sportklinic.


Ferrari should replace Massa with youngster - Zanardi
(GMM)  Ferrari should have taken a punt on promoting a young driver to replace the injured Felipe Massa.

That is the belief of Alex Zanardi, a former Italian formula one driver who was most successful in the American CART series in the late 90s.

42-year-old Zanardi, who lost his legs in a 2001 Champ Car crash and now competes in the World Touring Car Series, told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he thinks Michael Schumacher's abortive decision to replace Massa was "made more with the heart than with the head".

"He is a guy with great talent but his racing sunset happened a few years ago," Zanardi, who last raced in F1 with Williams in 1999, said.

"On the other hand taking a young guy from GP2 would have been the most logical choice," he added.

Read more & Comment...

AGR to run 5th car for Montagny
Andretti Green Racing announced today it will team with Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. (AFS), to run Franck Montagny in a fifth IndyCar Series entry later this month in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.

Montagny, who made seven starts for Andretti Green's American Le Mans Series program in 2008, will pilot the #25 AFS Dallara/Honda/Firestone alongside Andretti Green's existing four-driver lineup that includes Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Hideki Mutoh and Danica Patrick.

AFS is one of the nation's largest multi-family automatic fire sprinkler contractors and is familiar to Firestone Indy Lights fans through AFS Racing, which teamed with Andretti Green Racing to win the 2008 series title. AFS/Andretti Green currently holds down the top two spots in the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights championship standings with drivers J.R. Hildebrand and Sebastian Saavedra.

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Montagny testing for AGR
Fans have the opportunity to catch the winners of the past two IndyCar Series races at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 13 when Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon will be among the drivers participating in a testing day on the 2.303-mile circuit.

The 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (local time) session, in advance of the Aug. 22-23 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, is free to the public. On the track will be:

• A.J. Foyt Racing (Ryan Hunter-Reay)
• Conquest Racing (Nelson Philippe)
• Dale Coyne Racing (Justin Wilson)
• Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Mike Conway, Milka Duno)
• HVM Racing (E.J. Viso, Robert Doornbos)
• KV Racing Technology (Mario Moraes)
• Luczo Dragon Racing (Raphael Matos)
• Panther Racing (Dan Wheldon)
• Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Dixon)
• Team Penske (Ryan Briscoe, Castroneves)

Also, Franck Montagny will get back up to speed on a road course in and Andretti Green Racing car. The Frenchman, who in the recent past has competed in Formula One with Super Aguri, A1GP, the American LeMans Series and the Champ Car World Series, passed his Indy Racing League road course licensing test at Sebring in 2008. Sebastian Saavedra, who's second in the Firestone Indy Lights standings, also will test in an AGR car through the Firestone Indy Lights/IndyCar Series bonus program. IndyCar.com


'Made in Germany' Formula 1 Helmet best in sport
Helmet manufacturer Schuberth, based in Magdeburg, proved once again the importance of using sophisticated, high-tech materials and fabrics: The T 1000 carbon fiber protected Brazilian Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa from serious injury during his accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Schuberth specialists spend about 3,000 hours working on the development of a Formula 1 helmet. Special attention is paid to the development of carbon fiber, a material which today can be used in the production of Formula 1 helmets only thanks to the skilful application of Schuberth specialists. Today, the T 1000 represents the current state of development; presently, it is the world's most impact-resistant carbon fiber. Millions of tiny fibers, woven into between 80 and 120 layers, form a layer that serves as the basic structure of the helmet shell. Massa's helmet featured 18 of these carbon fiber layers, whereas a normal motorcycle helmet has only three. In terms of impact protection, the performance of these carbon fibers remains unsurpassed. Additionally, a special coating ensures that a Formula 1 helmet can withstand the heat of a welding flame (approx. 900degrees C) positioned 5 centimeters away for 45 seconds.

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Schumacher news leaves F1 in shock again
(GMM) Less than two weeks after shocking the F1 world with his comeback plan, Michael Schumacher shocked the sport's inhabitants again on Tuesday by calling it off.

The 40-year-old German crashed a German Superbike during testing in February, but until now the details of his injury were not known.

"It was the most serious accident in Michael's motor sport career," his manager Willi Weber told the German news agency DPA on Tuesday.

Schumacher revealed on his website that the crash had caused fractures in the area of his head and neck.

But the skeptics also had a voice on Tuesday, one writing in Britain's Guardian newspaper that "only Michael Schumacher knows if the biggest hurt during a comeback would have been to his neck or his pride".

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Loyal NASCAR fans stuck around for Monday race
An estimated crowd of 85,000 attended Monday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Heluva Good Sour Cream Dips at The Glen in New York, "only 5,000 fans fewer" than the estimated turnout on Sunday, when the race was originally scheduled to run. Team co-Owner/driver Tony Stewart, who won the race for his fifth victory at the track, said of the fans in attendance, “We know it cost them a lot of money to stay that extra day today, but we appreciate them doing that” Elmira Star- Gazette


Force India thinks August closures to increase costs
(GMM)  F1's other non-FOTA team has backed Williams in claiming the current two-week factory closures will not reduce costs.

Williams' chief executive Adam Parr said recently the Grove based team will never again support initiatives to close factories because it will only lead to the need for a more intensive period at some other point.

Force India's team manager Andy Stevenson said an initial proposal was for a four-week factory shutdown.

"When it was four weeks you could possibly see that there were some cost savings to be made, because you're shutting down big factories," he said.

"I personally feel that the savings now will be pretty minimal, and possibly it will increase the costs because you have to step up production before and after the shutdown," he added.

Stevenson said one additional cost of the shutdown is the need to pay overtime on either side of the break, which for Force India is currently in effect.

"We'll save a bit of money because the factory is closed, but we'll have to spend a bit of money, so I think it will balance out," he added.


Gordon's back sore after wreck
Jeff Gordon quotes following multi-car accident on lap 61 with Hornish Jr. and Burton:

MAN THAT LOOKED PAINFUL. "It was. It wasn't that hard of a hit its just my back can't stand too many hits. I really was concerned for Sam (Hornish). He took a heavy hit into the wall, a heavy hit by me and Jeff Burton. I saw him go off into the grass and I knew he was going to come out in front of me and I was just hoping to squeeze by and didn't make it. It just made a rough weekend for the DuPont Chevrolet even worse. Now we just leave here and focus on Michigan."

HOW DO YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW? "I'm hurting. Everything feels good except my lower back where I've already had issues. It will just take a couple of weeks for it to heal. By then we'll go to Bristol and get through that then we'll be alright."

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NASCAR Newscast: Watkins Glen Recap


Hand likes BMW's chances at Road America
Joey Hand’s last American Le Mans Series race at Road America behind the wheel of a BMW nearly resulted in one of the biggest victories of his career. The young Californian finished second with Bill Auberlen in a BMW M3 that gave mighty Porsche all it could handle at one of America’s best road courses.

Hand's Rahal prepared BMW GT2 car
The pairing, together again for 2009, is returning to Road America in one of BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team’s next-generation BMW M3s. They hope to keep the team’s podium streak going in what should be another fantastic fight in GT2 at the Time Warner Road Race Showcase on Sunday.

“We weren’t quite quick enough,” said Hand, who almost outdueled Porsche works driver and four-time Road America class winner Jörg Bergmeister in the 2006 race. “I was able to pressure him and he went off. I got by him but he caught me again on one of the long straights.

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Honda enter grassroots racing to make money
As told to Gordon Kirby in last week's The Way It Is column:

"In my time in R&D and in the factory before that there were always racing clubs," HPD boss Erik Berkman. "Racing clubs became very popular, just like they are in Japan. Before I left Ohio, over many years there was a belief in supporting racers and growing Honda's brand and to ultimately maybe someday go toward a performance division, like AMG or M-Power, that would affect the road cars.

"We've put into business plans ideas which began before my time under Robert (Clarke) which was a need to go towards supporting grassroots motorsports. Last year, in my first year at HPD, we studied and prepared to roll out the next business plan for the next fiscal year. In January and then March and May we went to the very top of American Honda's management.

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F2 prepares for final UK round of the season
Alex Blundell
After a four week mid-season break, the final UK round of 2009 takes place at Donington Park this weekend (15/16 August) and it marks the beginning of the second half of the FIA Formula Two Championship season.

The action gets underway today (Tuesday) as all 24 drivers take part in an official test day at the Derbyshire venue – with nearly four hours of testing running scheduled, today will provide some valuable track time to many drivers who are making their first visit to the future home of the British Grand Prix.

The race for the championship is already proving to be an intense battle as drivers fight for the prize of a full test with the AT&T Williams F1 Team. Andy Soucek currently holds the advantage, but there are a host of talented rivals snapping at his wheels. The Spaniard’s win last time out at Brands Hatch consolidated his place at the top of the standings, but he is closely followed by the Red Bull-backed Canadian driver Robert Wickens and also Austrian Philipp Eng. Wickens has seen an upturn in fortunes in the two most recent F2 events but he has not stood on the top step of the podium since the inaugural round in Valencia, whilst Eng took his maiden victory at Brands Hatch.

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Jason Myers talks about his battle with depression UPDATE The lawsuit reveals just how much a NASCAR crew chief in the Nationwide series earns:

# Myers had a two-year contract with Roush. The contract went from Jan. 2, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2010.

# Myers earned a base salary of $110,472.96 as car chief for the 99 car of Carl Edwards. Myers was due to receive an annual salary increase of a minimum 4 percent (just over $4,400).  He also, at the time of signing the contract, was a rear tire changer on the 99 team (a position he stepped out of early in the 2008 season because of an injury). He was to be paid $625 a week as long as he was a rear tire changer. Multiply that by 38 total races and that's more than $23,000 to change tires. Carry that out to a 52-week pay period and that would be $32,500.

# He also was eligible  to receive money from Roush's "prize money'' bonus pool, the aggregate amount of which comes from prize money earnings received from NASCAR based upon on-track performance. The contract states that the team determines how much goes into that bonus pool and how it is to be divided. Also, when Myers was on the pit crew, he was eligible for bonuses for that group also. Again, the team determined how much went into the pool and how it was to be paid.

# Myers also was to receive a company car, according to the contract, along with insurance coverage and payment for gasoline usage or he could receive an allowance of $725 a month to cover any and all costs of obtaining and operating a car.

# There's a clause that should Myers leave the team during the term of his employment and through the end of the first full fiscal year of Roush following termination that he cannot attempt to induce any employee of Roush to quit or alter employment with Roush; cannot interfere with or disrupt Roush's relationship with any of its employees; cannot solicit, entice, take away or employ any person employed by Roush; or cannot attempt to induce any employee of Roush to disclose confidential information.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Schu to pick up bill for Ferrari test
  • Schu 'among favorites' for win - Alesi (Written before announcement)
  • Kart driver killed in German race
  • Kubica, Alguersuari, to race karts next month
  • Spanish officials to attend Renault ban appeal

Schu to pick up bill for Ferrari test
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher is picking up the bill for his test in Ferrari's 2007 car this week, his spokeswoman has admitted.

"He can use the 2007 car again on his own initiative and cost.  This won't be a public test," Sabine Kehm told the German news agency DPA.

Schumacher, 40, tested the F2007 on the last day of July, and on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week he will again be in action at Ferrari's Mugello circuit.

However, the restrictions of the in-season testing ban means that the car is privately owned and not in an up-to-date specification.

Italy's La Stampa newspaper, meanwhile, said Schumacher is having to fork out "tens of thousands of euros" for this week's test, because the Ferrari factory is in its period of total summer shut-down.

The newspaper said the two-day test in Italy will include a race simulation of 300kms, in order to evaluate the German's fitness and health of his neck.

Germany's Bild newspaper said a decision about whether Schumacher's comeback is given the green light will be made on Friday, following medical checks (see rumor page for announcement).

The seven time world champion has already been in attendance at the Bad-Nauheim Sportklinic this week.

Schu 'among favorites' for win - Alesi (Written be Schu's announcement)
(GMM)  Jean Alesi does not subscribe to the theory that Michael Schumacher's three-years off the grid, and a slight neck injury, will necessarily prevent a winning return for the seven time world champion.

Frenchman Alesi, who was the German's predecessor at Ferrari, said the "few people" who are publicly doubting Schumacher, 40, are underestimating the skill of the winner of 91 grands prix.

Some betting agencies are posting odds of up to 16-1 for a comeback win for Schumacher.

"Michael is the champion of champions," Alesi told French radio RMC.  "In my opinion he is among the favorites for the next grand prix," 45-year-old Alesi added.

Another former French F1 driver, Olivier Panis, added: "I am not surprised by his return.  It is perhaps a bit risky but also courageous.

"I can understand how he is doing it for the challenge.  Michael is a great champion and I am sure that he will be competitive.

"Anyway, he doesn't have anything to lose," Panis, who contested 158 grands prix until 2004, continued.  "Nobody can take his titles away from him."

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Mario Andretti and Donny Schatz to unveil No. 15 Car
Andretti's No. 2 1969 Indy 500 winning Brawner Hawk
On the dirt tracks that year he also drove the No. 2 STP car winning 100-mile races at Nazareth, Springfield and Kent.
Racing icon, Mario Andretti, and three-time World of Outlaws Sprint Series and Knoxville Nationals champion, Donny Schatz, will unveil the No. 15 STP/ParkerStore/Chevy J&J entry that Schatz will drive in the 49th Annual Knoxville Nationals on Tuesday, August 11th, at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Museum.

The car pays tribute to Andretti's 1969 victory in the Indianapolis 500, which he won in an STP-sponsored entry. The No. 15 entry will resemble the No. 2 STP/Brawner-Hawk machine that Andretti drove in the 1969 Indianapolis 500. It will carry the distinctive 'hunting red' scheme and gold wheels that are symbolic of Andretti's car.

Schatz will look to give the STP brand its first Knoxville Nationals modern-day victory and honor Andretti's Indianapolis 500 triumph in the 2009 Knoxville Nationals. If Schatz were to win the event, it would be his fourth career and consecutive Knoxville Nationals title and make him the second driver in the event's history to win four consecutive titles.


ALMS Mid-Ohio TV rating
The American Le Mans Series Acura Sports Car Challenge on NBC that aired tape delayed Sunday in the same time slot as the live IndyCar race garnered an overnight TV rating of 0.4/1 share


F1 sponsorship opportunity
Inside Grand Prix is a globally distributed 30-minute TV show that airs prior to each live Formula One Grand Prix telecast. The distribution of the show mirrors that of each Grand Prix telecast, serving as a pre-show for the live coverage. Each episode of Inside Grand Prix is aired twice and collectively reaches more than 44 million per show. The show is aired in Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. Each episode features a description of the up-coming circuit and drivers’ reaction to it as well as general information on Grand Prix racing and its participants. Each program is presented in English, German or Mandarin.

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De Ferran, Pagenaud Go For 5th Straight
Veteran driver Gil de Ferran comes to Road America this weekend for the Time Warner Road Race Showcase with plenty on his mind.

The 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time CART champion is at the top of his racing game after four consecutive American Le Mans Series overall victories in the No. 66 XM Radio de Ferran Acura ARX-02a prototype sports car.  He and young French star Simon Pagenaud go for five in a row this Sunday, August 16.

But, after winning the pole last weekend at Mid-Ohio, de Ferran announced he will step away from the cockpit at the end of the 2009 racing season.  The 41-year-old racer will concentrate on the management of his de Ferran Motorsports team and possible expansion of his organization.

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Q and A with Vijay Mallya
After the encouraging weekend in Germany the Hungarian GP was a frustrating race for Force India after Adrian Sutil retired early and Giancarlo Fisichella finished in 14th. On the positive side the Italian set the 10th fastest lap of the race, lapping quicker than eighth-placed Jarno Trulli and both cars from BMW and Renault.

With an update package coming for the next race in Valencia the team remains optimistic about an improvement in form and they spoke with Dr Vijay Mallya about his thoughts on Hungary and the races to come.

What's your verdict on Hungary?
It was unfortunate with Adrian, because we have achieved fantastic reliability this season. The water temperature started to go up on his warm-up lap, and we needed to avoid further damage to the engine, so we brought him in. That ended his race. Giancarlo had a pretty good race and I was very impressed by his pace in the middle of the race, particularly with his lap times. They were really good and comparable to those running in the top 10.

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Same number of races for NASCAR in 2010
NASCAR’s top three series will “maintain the same number of races in their respective 2010 schedules,” according to the Charlotte Observer. Sources said that the Sprint Cup Series will have 36 races, while the Nationwide Series will have 35 and the Camping World Truck Series will have 25. One of the “likely changes in the 2010 Cup schedule is a move of the first Dover race from the week after the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to the week prior" to the All-Star Race. Sources said that the move “isn’t expected to be permanent, but was made because next May has five weekends”

tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN
ESPN’s Champions Take Over Booth at Michigan Nationwide Series Race

ESPN2’s live coverage of the Aug. 15 Carfax 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway will have a new and different approach as the telecast will prominently feature five former NASCAR champions and will be done without a traditional “play by play” announcer.

ESPN’s “Backseat Drivers” telecast will engage NASCAR fans with the authenticity and experience of analysts Tim Brewer, Ray Evernham, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Rusty Wallace. With Brewer contributing reports and analysis from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage, Evernham, Jarrett, Petree and Wallace will call the race from the booth.

“Our goal is to give viewers a different presentation, one filled with discussion, observations, and stories from some of the most respected champions NASCAR has crowned, and their unique unfiltered perspective on an event,” said Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports.

“This is an opportunity for our viewers to have the experience of sitting around watching a race with these champions from their couch at home, and without the traditional approach to sportscasting.“

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A1 Team Netherlands Thrill the Crowds in Assen
The Dutch fans had their first glimpse of the A1GP Powered by Ferrari car at the Rizla Racing Day in Assen this weekend (Sunday 9 August) ahead of Season Five.

The series will head to the TT Circuit Assen to race for the first time on 14-16 May 2010, but last Sunday the Dutch, who have proved one of the most enthusiastic and loyal set of fans, had their first taste of A1GP around the world famous circuit.

At the annual Rizla Racing Day, A1 Team Netherlands star Jeroen Bleekemolen put the car through its paces for some demonstration laps and donuts, much to the delight of the cheering crowds.

A1 Team Netherlands seat holder Jan Lammers was on hand to see all the action:

"What a delight to hear the sound of our Powered by Ferrari engine start up. After the summer break we couldn't wait to get started again. The Rizla Racing Day was another great display of the never fading enthusiasm of our Dutch fans. Jeroen Bleekemolen got them to put their hands together again as they applauded the spectacular demonstration that he did for them.

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Superfund not eyeing vacant 2010 team spot
(GMM)  Alex Wurz has revealed that Team Superfund is not bidding to take over the vacant thirteenth slot on the 2010 grid.

The FIA has re-opened the application process for new teams, following the announcement that BMW intends to pull out of formula one at the end of the season.

It was believed that Superfund, originally fronted by Austrians Wurz and Christian Baha, was on the FIA's reserve list of seven teams that were invited in writing by Max Mosley to re-submit their interest in debuting in 2010.

But Wurz, 35, who has been linked with a race cockpit at the new team US F1, says Superfund is no longer interested.

"On the one hand it is too late, and on the other hand there is no longer the budget limit of 45 million euros," he told the Austrian national broadcaster ORF.


Schumacher continues Ferrari testing
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher is to return to the wheel of a two-year-old Ferrari this week as he continues preparations for his F1 return.

Ahead of his scheduled comeback at Valencia later this month, the 40-year-old German will test the F2007 at Ferrari's own Mugello circuit in Italy on Tuesday and Wednesday, his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm told the Associated Press.

A little over a week ago, Schumacher lapped the circuit near Florence nearly 70 times in the same car.  Sidestepping the total in-season testing ban, the car is privately owned and run by Ferrari's separate F1 Clienti department.

Ferrari's efforts to gain an exemption from the ban, so that Schumacher may test injured Felipe Massa's 2009 car, were thwarted by the vetoes of the Williams and Red Bull teams.


Maria de Villota signs for Atletico Madrid
Maria de Villota
As Atletico Madrid prepare for the start of the new La Liga season, the Spanish club has made a significant signing off the pitch by snapping up Maria de Villota to race for the team in Superleague Formula by Sonangol.

Spaniard de Villota will become the first female driver ever to compete in the championship when she makes her series debut in the next round at Estoril on 5-6 September. She will also contest the final two races of the season at Monza on 3-4 October and her home track Jarama on 7-8 November.

“This is the biggest opportunity of my career so far,” said Maria, whose father Emilio raced in F1 in the late seventies and early eighties. “I am from Madrid so it is a huge honor for me to be able to represent Atletico in Superleague Formula.”

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Rain postpones NASCAR race at The Glen UPDATE A reader adds, If NASCAR has the greatest drivers in the world...so great in fact that open wheel drivers that come to NASCAR can't keep up...then why can’t they run in the rain?

Do NASCAR drivers have restrictions on their state issued driver's license that prohibits them from operating a vehicle in adverse weather conditions? Maybe they should.

Put the frikkin rain tires on the cars and run.  It's an enclosed car for Pete sake.

What they are afraid of is that Boris Said will dominate the race, followed by Montoya, Allmendinger, Ambrose, Papis, Carpentier, Robby Gordon, Scott Speed, Tony Ave, Ron Fellows and Brian Simo will comprise the entire top 11 and their precious NASCAR stars will be exposed for the hacks they are.

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tv news

Wind Tunnel guests next Sunday
Featured Interview Mark Martin (Sprint CUP Title Contender, Hendrick Motorsports)
Sprint CUP veteran, Mark Martin, will drop by the Wind Tunnel studio this Sunday August 16th to chat about his quest for CUP title # 1. In his first season driving full-time for Rick Hendrick, Mark has a series high 4 wins, has earned 4 poles, and is currently 10th in the standings.

Expert Analyst Ray Dunlap (SPEED Camping World Truck Series Pit Reporter)
SPEED Camping World Truck Series Pit Reporter, Ray Dunlap, will join Dave Despain in the studio this Sunday to prepare for the big Bristol night race on Wednesday August 19th where series points leader, Ron Hornaday, will be going for a record 6th win in a row.

This Week’s Races:
Sprint CUP and Nationwide in Michigan
ALMS at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI
NHRA in Brainerd, MN
MotoGP in Czech Republic
AMA Superbike at VIR in Alton, VA
AMA Motocross in New Berlin, NY


Montoya doubts Schu to shine in F1 comeback
(GMM)  Juan Pablo Montoya is doubtful whether the hype of his former rival Michael Schumacher's return to formula one will be justified.

"Will he be faster than the (regular) Ferrari drivers?  That would surprise me, but you never know," the Colombian, who in his grand prix career 2001-2006 was often wheel-to-wheel with the German, is quoted as saying by the Bild newspaper.

33-year-old Montoya, who now races in NASCAR, believes the Maranello based team will be busy making Schumacher's F60 as quick as possible.

"I am sure they will be developing some new parts for his comeback in order to guarantee that he looks good," Montoya said.

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Renault trucks arrive in Valencia
(GMM)  Among the first transporters to arrive in Valencia ahead of the European grand prix are the ones belonging to Renault.

The Spanish newspaper AS is carrying photos of the white and yellow trucks being parked behind the pits of the nearby Ricardo Tormo permanent circuit, while the urban layout about a half-hour's drive away is completed.

Renault's appeal against its suspension from the European grand prix will be heard in Paris next Monday, with the decision to be announced the following afternoon.

The UK-based team must therefore prepare as per usual for Valencia, because if the ban is overturned on August 18, there would not then be time to dispatch the trucks and cars to Spain.

F1's newest rookie, the 19-year-old Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari, believes Renault's ban is unfair.

"It is not the first or the last time that somebody's wheel falls off," the Toro Rosso driver, referring to the incident involving Fernando Alonso at the Hungaroring two weeks ago, is quoted as saying by the Spanish newspaper Sport. [Editor's Note: Of course it is not fair, it was done/fabricated to give F1 more free press.]


Alguersuari a DJ, Schu to fly into space
(GMM)  F1's youngest ever driver Jaime Alguersuari has shown he is a also a deft hand at the wheel of a disc-jockey's turntable.

While formula one is in its August recess, Toro Rosso's 19-year-old newcomer was invited to stir some tunes at the 'Barcelona Summer Week' techno music festival.


Michael Schumacher is the latest to have reserved a $200,000 ticket for a seat aboard Richard Branson's forthcoming commercial space-airline Virgin Galactic, set to blast off in 2011.  Niki Lauda and Rubens Barrichello have also bought tickets.


No rain tires for Sprint Cup UPDATE Well before the first raindrops fell at Watkins Glen International this weekend, NASCAR president Mike Helton publicly stated there were no plans in place to run a Sprint Cup road race on a wet track in the near future. But if there was ever a change of heart from the sanctioning body, Goodyear officials said Sunday the Akron-based tire company would be equal to the task. "We certainly think so," Goodyear spokesman Greg Stucker said. "There's not that big a difference between the two cars and if you go back years ago, we did run them in Japan on the Cup cars. We're confident we could have a package that would be suitable, if that's what they chose to do." In fact, Goodyear's newest stock-car racing rain tire, closely related to the Eagle One passenger tire, underwent extensive testing this past November at Goodyear's facility in Texas. They used one of Chip Ganassi's Nationwide cars with Juan Montoya behind the wheel, and from all indications, the improvements made to the tire proved successful. NASCAR.com

08/09/09 NASCAR president Mike Helton said more research will have to be done before fans see Sprint Cup Series cars racing in wet conditions. #24-Jeff Gordon said he isn't thrilled about the idea but enjoyed watching the 2008 Nationwide race in Montreal run in wet conditions. #39-Ryan Newman was more open to the idea but pointed out that Sprint Cup cars are heavier than Nationwide vehicles. "I think that in bad weather, NASA sends up smaller space craft instead of the big space craft and it is pretty similar," Newman said. "You don't want to risk a lot. I don't think it would be an ideal situation for all of the fans. It hasn't, per se, been done yet. It has been tested and practiced a little bit. I am all for it. I have never raced in the rain. It would be a disadvantage to me. I think it is still racing." Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

tv news

Wind Tunnel guests tonight
Featured Interview:
Johnny O'Connell (ALMS Driver, Corvette Racing)

Featured Interview:
Terry McCarl (6-time Knoxville Raceway Track Champion)

Expert Analyst:
Ralph Sheheen (SPEED Commentator)

This Week’s Races:
*Sprint CUP and Nationwide on road course at Watkins Glen
*Rolex Series at Watkins Glen
*IndyCar and ALMS at Mid-Ohio


IRL snubs Foyt and all past IndyCar greats
IndyCar announcers said on today's IndyCar broadcast from Mid-Ohio that Scott Dixon is now the winningest driver in IndyCar history.  Does that mean that Helio Castroneves is the winningest driver at Indy? So, do Al Unser, AJ Foyt and Rick Mears all lose their place in the record books?  If the series really wants a unification, all of the records of all the "IndyCar" series through the years should be merged, like they said was going to happen when the two series were merged. Otherwise...where is the credibility?

For the record, AJ Foyt is the winningest driver in IndyCar history with 67 wins, followed by Mario Andretti with 52 and Michael Andretti with 42.  A shocked Mark C. who learned that if you are the IRL even history can be rewritten


Davison goes wire-to-wire in Indy Lights
This year, there wasn't any confusion … or doubt. James Davison made sure of it.

Davison, starting from the pole in the No. 21 People*s Liberation car, led all 40 laps and won the Mid-Ohio 100 for the second consecutive year. It was the first victory for Vision Racing five weeks after Davison gave the team its first pole at Watkins Glen.

James Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 7 Hinchtown/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, finished 4.0420 seconds back and Firestone Indy Lights points leader J.R. Hildebrand finished where he started (third) in the Nol 26 ARPRO car for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing.

In July 2008, a rainstorm muddled not only the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the race but the vision of pole sitter Jonny Reid, who followed the safety car onto pit lane believing he had won the race. Unfortunately, there was still one lap remaining. Davison, driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, was the beneficiary.

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South Africa decides against new F1 bid
(GMM) The South African province Gauteng has decided against bidding to host a formula one race.

Earlier this year it was reported that the Gauteng Motor Sport Company, set up by the provincial government, had enlisted the services of an independent analyst to perform an economic-impact study on what the sport could bring to the region.

But according to the state-owned broadcaster SABC, Gauteng Economic Development minister Firoz Cachalia said the money will instead be used for job creation.

The last South African GP was held at Kyalami in 1993.


Mid-Ohio Saturday Notebook - 2 UPDATE "She’s a disaster out there and it’s beyond even funny. Why do they give her a license? She’s what…seven seconds off me, so eight seconds off of Briscoe. That means Ryan’s gonna be lapping her every nine or ten laps if we’re green all the way! Why do they let her drive? Why does she want to embarrass herself so bad?"  Paul Tracy

Also added a photo of the new paint scheme on Dale Coyne's truck below.

08/08/09 After the rain this morning we heard lot of complaints about how bad the current IndyCar is in the wet.  Apparently the car likes to run close to the track with a stiff suspension setup (the car handles OK when it is riding low and close to the track to generate maximum downforce.  But in the wet you want a softer suspension setup and that means a higher ride height or the car will bottom out.  Up high the car doesn't handle at all we are told and ditto with a soft suspension setup.  The car also has a lot of weight up high that affects the handling.........We ran into Derrick Walker who, as you know is running Justin Wilson's brother, Stefan Wilson, in the Indy Lights series.  He hopes to get back into IndyCar next year.........Nelson Philippe's father tells us that Nelson wants to be in IndyCar full time in 2010.  Philippe recently signed to run a few races for Conquest Racing.......All the IndyCar drivers we talked to want more HP with the Push-to-Pass button.  They say the 5 or 10 HP they get now does almost nothing and they would like to see around 75 HP like Champ Car had........Rumors still persist that Danica Patrick will move to Ganassi Racing which in turn will enable Scott Dixon to move to De Ferran motorsports as that new teams needs at least one driver that has experience with the current car since Takuma Sato has none, and speculation is that Sebastien Bourdais will move back to the USA and race again for Newman/Haas/Lanigan - he was good on the ovals in CART and we know how good he is on the road courses.  Many think running sports cars for Peugeot just won't cut the mustard for this long time open wheel driver........Milka Duno being 8 seconds off the pace had people in the paddock shaking their heads - is this a sport or a
Dale Coyne Racing's new truck paint scheme
show?................Dale Coyne Racing's transporter showed up to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a new look. In honor of the team's first win at Watkins Glen in July, Coyne had the transporter outfitted with a new vinyl wrap design that includes a large photo of the entire team, including Justin Wilson's daughter Jane, celebrating in Victory Lane.  "The trailer was looking old and tattered and we knew a wrap would freshen it up," team owner Dale Coyne said. "We've been meaning to wrap it but it's been a busy schedule and we haven't been in the shop long enough to do it. After Watkins Glen, we thought it would be a good tribute to the team and everybody that's been with us to do one like this. I've never seen one like this and I don't think anyone has. So, we came up with this idea and put the design together and got it done."  According to Coyne, the photo honors not just the current team members, but every person that has worked for Coyne over the years. The transporter will keep its current look for the remainder of the season.  Mark C.


Rahal tops IndyCar Sunday warm-up
Pos Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Total Laps
1 Graham Rahal (02) 1:08.5350 118.608 18
2 Dario Franchitti (10) 1:08.6562 118.399 15
3 Justin Wilson (18) 1:08.6708 118.373 18
4 Oriol Servia (06) 1:08.6986 118.326 16
5 Scott Dixon (9) 1:08.8476 118.069 17
6 Helio Castroneves (3) 1:08.9036 117.974 18
7 Ryan Briscoe (6) 1:09.0961 117.645 18
8 Marco Andretti (26) 1:09.0979 117.642 15
9 Raphael Matos (2) 1:09.1601 117.536 16
10 E.J. Viso (13) 1:09.3458 117.221 16
11 Richard Antinucci (98) 1:09.3951 117.138 20
12 Tony Kanaan (11) 1:09.4102 117.112 13
13 Robert Doornbos (33) 1:09.8581 116.362 17
14 Hideki Mutoh (27) 1:09.9079 116.279 15
15 Ryan Hunter-Reay (14) 1:09.9320 116.239 15
16 Paul Tracy (5) 1:09.9605 116.191 19
17 Danica Patrick (7) 1:09.9632 116.187 18
18 Dan Wheldon (4) 1:10.0229 116.088 18
19 Ed Carpenter (20) 1:10.6067 115.128 16
20 Mike Conway (24) 1:11.4913 113.703 10
21 Milka Duno (23) 1:14.5986 108.967 18

track news

Speedway strands disabled race fans
Altoona retiree Tom Abbott had a great time seated among the 56,000 people who watched the big NASCAR race Saturday at the Iowa Speedway at Newton.

But he describes what happened afterward as a nightmare for 40 to 50 disabled spectators. They were stranded for about two hours without rides to satellite parking areas after the inaugural U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Abbott, 71, who has serious difficulty walking because of degenerative problems with his hips, said he plans to file a complaint against the Iowa Speedway alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Randy Kunert on Tuesday confirmed Abbott's account that disabled patrons had difficulty getting shuttle rides after the race.

Mike Beecher, the Iowa Speedway's director of media relations, issued a statement Tuesday acknowledging an "unfortunate incident" following the race and pledging a review.

"We pride ourselves in the fact that many men and women with disabilities enjoy the atmosphere we provide at Iowa Speedway, and persons with disabilities are most welcome at our track - where our brief record reflects an overall sense of Iowa hospitality," the statement said.

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Atlantics on par with IndyCars UPDATE The spreadsheet below shows the qualifying lap times for IndyCars, Indy Lights and Atlantic cars ranked by speed at Mid-Ohio. It is pretty sad to see that 10 out of the 13 Atlantics are faster than Milka Duno and she barely squeezes ahead of the Indy Lights polesitter. Jeff Biggs [Editor's Note: Recall in testing the 2007 Panoz Champ Car was in the low 1 minute range at Mid-Ohio and typically the Panoz Champ Car was 10 seconds per lap faster than an Atlantic Car.]

Series Car # Driver Lap Time Lap Speed
IndyCar 6 Ryan Briscoe 1:06.6814 121.905
IndyCar 18 Justin Wilson 1:06.7007 121.87
IndyCar 9 Scott Dixon 1:07.0238 121.282
IndyCar 02 Graham Rahal 1:07.0640 121.21
IndyCar 3 Helio Castroneves 1:07.1809 120.999
IndyCar 14 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:07.2364 120.899
IndyCar 10 Dario Franchitti 1:07.3791 120.643
IndyCar 11 Tony Kanaan 1:07.5083 120.412
IndyCar 13 EJ Viso 1:07.5712 120.3
IndyCar 5 Paul Tracy 1:07.6129 120.226
IndyCar 27 Hideki Mutoh 1:07.6699 120.124
IndyCar 7 Danica Patrick 1:07.7440 119.993
IndyCar 26 Marco Andretti 1:08.1779 119.229
IndyCar 2 Raphael Matos 1:08.2311 119.136
IndyCar 06 Oriol Servia 1:08.4314 118.788
IndyCar 24 Mike Conway 1:08.5495 118.583
IndyCar 33 Robert Doornbos 1:08.5734 118.542
IndyCar 4 Dan Wheldon 1:08.8176 118.121
IndyCar 98 Richard Antinucci 1:08.8516 118.063
IndyCar 20 Ed Carpenter 1:09.7141 116.602
Atlantics 34 Jonathan Summerton 1:12.970 111.399
Atlantics 36 John Edwards 1:13.150 111.125
Atlantics 78 Simona De Silvestro 1:13.243 110.984
Atlantics 6 Borja Garcia 1:13.384 110.771
Atlantics 1 Markus Niemela 1:13.849 110.073
Atlantics 17 Frederic Vervisch 1:13.857 110.061
Atlantics 77 Frankie Muniz 1:14.040 109.789
Atlantics 35 Tonis Kasemets 1:14.102 109.697
Atlantics 18 James Winslow 1:14.187 109.572
IndyCar 23 Milka Duno 1:14.5371 109.057
Indy Lights 21 James Davison 1:14.8673 108.576
Indy Lights 7 James Hinchcliffe 1:15.1451 108.175
Indy Lights 26 J.R. Hildebrand 1:15.1490 108.169
Indy Lights 5 Mario Romancini 1:15.1639 108.148
Atlantics 7 Max Lefevre 1:15.243 108.034
Indy Lights 37 Richard Philippe 1:15.5229 107.634
Indy Lights 28 Daniel Herrington 1:15.6569 107.443
Indy Lights 11 Wade Cunningham 1:15.8078 107.229
Indy Lights 15 Martin Plowman 1:16.0135 106.939
Indy Lights 29 Felipe Guimaraes 1:16.1953 106.684
Indy Lights 27 Sebastian Saavedra 1:16.4250 106.363
Indy Lights 2 Andrew Prendeville 1:16.4424 106.339
Indy Lights 35 Charlie Kimball 1:16.5875 106.137
Indy Lights 44 Gustavo Yacaman 1:16.8226 105.813
Indy Lights 20 Ana Beatriz 1:16.9416 105.649
Indy Lights 9 Ali Jackson 1:16.9498 105.638
Indy Lights 24 Mike Potekhen 1:17.3678 105.067
Indy Lights 19 Stefan Wilson 1:17.5609 104.805
Indy Lights 16 Pippa Mann 1:17.9514 104.28
Atlantics 80 Hans Peter 1:17.997 104.219
Atlantics 71 Michael Mallinen 1:20.611 100.84
Indy Lights 55 Rodrigo Barbosa 1:23.0153 97.919
Atlantics 88 Mirl Swan No Time No Speed

08/07/09 In Atlantic Series qualifying today Jonathan Summerton clocked the fastest lap at 1m12.970s.  John Edwards was 2nd at 1m13.150s.  The IndyCars were generally faster, 1m08.2s for Scott Dixon being the fastest, but Summerton and Edwards were both faster than Milka Duno’s IndyCar time of 1m15.8764s, and nearly as fast as Richard Antinucci's 1m12.5210s.

And you wonder why Tony George didn't want to pick up the Atlantic Series when he bought Champ Car?  They would have embarrassed the Indy Lights cars and on occasion embarrassed some IndyCar drivers.

The next generation IndyCar is going to have to be faster on the road courses.


Summerton Picks Up Second Atlantic Win of 2009
Jonathan Summerton won the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda battle at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday night, while points leader Simona De Silvestro took a significant step towards winning the season-long war with a second-place run.

One day after blistering the previous Atlantic track record in the No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy/NEI machine for Newman Wachs Racing, Summerton moved out into the lead from the race’s standing start and held off a charging De Silvestro to earn his second victory of the season by two seconds. Summerton’s first 2009 win came in the first race of the June doubleheader at New Jersey Motorsports Park while he was driving for Genoa Racing. The 21-year-old from Kissimmee, Fla. won twice in his rookie Atlantic season last year with Newman Wachs. He remained third in the championship standings behind De Silvestro and his NWR teammate John Edwards.

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