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White tops Cameron in Star Mazda  The back-to-back Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear races at Road America and Trois Rivières took place in different countries and on completely different kinds of tracks - a natural terrain road course vs. an urban street circuit - and while the details of the two races were different, the results were exactly the same. 

Ron White (right), who started 6th, won his second in a row; points leader Dane Cameron, starting 4th, kept his championship hopes healthy with a 2nd-place finish; and newly-emerging talent Nick Haye scored his second-straight podium finish after starting 7th. 

Russell Walker, driver of the #29 Pavecon/John Walko Racing Mazda, turned only one lap in qualifying, started last and moved up through the field to finish 4th.  Quebec newcomer Yannick Hofman, driving his first-ever Star Mazda race after two seasons in Formula BMW, showed he will be a force to be reckoned with when he joins the series full-time next season after moving up from 8th on the starting grid to finish 5th in his #00 Jig-A-Loo/Andersen Racing Mazda. More ...

Rain halts NHRA eliminations  The 23rd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in PA. have been postponed until Monday after a light but steady rain halted the action midway through the first round of Funny Car eliminations and continued to fall for many hours thereafter. Race organizers and NHRA officials finally pulled the plug at 4:30 p.m. EDT. Action will resume at the exact same spot in the proceedings Monday morning at 10 a.m.

A few things were decided in the first round of Top Fuel. The pool of drivers fighting for the final spot in the Countdown to the Championship was pared from six racers to three, with Dave Grubnic, Doug Herbert, and Cory McClenathan still alive. All three of those men advanced to Round 2, along with points leader "Hot Rod" Fuller, J.R. Todd, Morgan Lucas, Doug Foley, and Clay Millican. In Funny Car, Ron Capps edged Kenny Bernstein, with John Force and Tim Wilkerson also advancing to the quarterfinals.

Istanbul Park in a nutshell  The three week F1 hiatus is about over.  Next weekend the circus will be in Istanbul.  The Turkish Grand Prix made its Formula One debut in 2005 at an all-new purpose built circuit just outside Istanbul. The 5.338km track was designed by Herman Tilke, the man behind the new circuits in Malaysia, Bahrain and China.

The circuit features fourteen turns - eight lefts and six rights - with plenty of gradient change as the track is built on four different ground levels. An unusual feature is that the lap runs anti-clockwise, joining Interlagos in Brazil as the only circuits currently on the calendar to do so. The circuit provides the drivers with a real challenge, with the cars reaching speeds of up to 330kph along the two main straights.

The facilities at the circuit are as impressive as the race track. Seating capacity at Istanbul Park is 130,000 with 25,000 of those in the main grandstand, and parking is available for 12,000 cars. Dominating the circuit’s skyline are two seven-floor towers built at either end of the paddock for VIPs and the media.

Doornbos, others delight 500K in Rotterdam  UPDATE As promised, photos of the Renault F1 cars:

08/19/07 Here are some photo's of today's Bavaria City Racing in the Rotterdam City Centre. An estimated 500,000 spectators witnessed the 3rd episode of this yearly event in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Robert Doornbos in his Champ Car Lola, Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jr. in their Renault F1 cars, Adrian Sutil and Christijan Albers in their Spyker F1 cars, Team Netherlands and Team Ireland in their A1GP cars, the RTH (Racing for Holland) Dome LMES car driven by David Hart and many other drivers, teams and cars overwhelmed the spectators with sheer speed in combination with a show of doughnuts, burnouts and some spectacular drifting in the heart of the city. Robert Doornbos almost managed to wreck his car by going off the street onto the grass just avoiding a lamp-post (See photos below. Renault F1 photo's to follow later.). Pieter Slinger reporting from Rotterdam

Robert Doornbos introduced his Dutch fans to the Champ Car World Series today with a spectacular live demonstration on the streets of Rotterdam.

Doornbos climbed behind the wheel of a previous-generation Lola Champ Car for the Bavaria City Racing demonstration at the Dutch port city.

The Champ Car World Series will return to Europe this week for its first ever event in Belgium, staged at the former home of the Belgian Grand Prix - Zolder - on August 26.

One week later, it will be time for the Dutch fans to cheer on their local star when Doornbos competes in the Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix at the famous Assen circuit in northern Holland on September 2.

"There was an unbelievable reaction from the fans today. I think there were nearly 1/2 a million people lining the course - It was fully packed," Doornbos said.

"Initially I went round the course waving to the fans but when I got in the Champ Car, I really smoked it up right the way to the end.

"They gave me brand new tires, but you could see the wire poking through the rubber by the time I got to the finish. After I jumped out I had the chance to meet a lot of the fans - it really was incredible.

"The whole day was fantastic for Champ Car. It is a really popular series on television and the fans are looking forward to seeing the series live in Europe.

"The Dutch fans have been very excited about my results this year and I am sure there are going to be thousands of them coming to Zolder and Assen.

"It is great to be able to give something back to the fans who have supported me all year."

The Champ Car World Series was joined at today's street event by cars from the Formula 1 World Championship, World Touring Car Championship and A1 Grand Prix.

Doornbos believes the European fans will be pleasantly surprised by Champ Car when they arrive at the circuit.

"A lot of fans from this part of the world have been to Formula 1 races before, but they have no idea that they are going to be able to get so close to the drivers, the teams and the cars," he said.

"I think everyone is going to be very excited about the fan friendly nature of the race weekends. I'm not sure how many French fans are going to come over so I think Sebastien may have a tough time."

With two race victories under his belt for Minardi Team USA, Doornbos is keen to add to that tally on European soil over the next two weeks.

"As a team we are pushing very hard. We were really the underdogs at the start of the season, but the guys have seen what we are capable of," Doornbos said.

"We still make some small mistakes but at the end of the day I can deliver. I think we can be very competitive at both tracks and I am really looking forward to it."

Nextel Cup race rained out  The 3M Nextel Cup race at MIS is rescheduled for Monday (tomorrow) at Noon.  The weather forecast for MIS calls for a 50% chance of rain tomorrow.

Schedule of Events – Monday, August 20  

  9:00 A.M.       NNCS Garage & Registration Opens 
10:30 A.M.       Track Services Meeting 
11:30 A.M.       NNCS **Hot Pass in Effect** Until 1 Hour after Race 
12:00 P.M.       Start of NEXTEL Cup Series 3M Performance 400 (200 laps) 
  1:00 P.M.       NNCS Registration Closes
It’s raining at MIS  UPDATE #3 2:10 pm — The heavens have opened.  Animals are walking by in pairs.  And the photographers are going to their cars.  NASCAR has yet to throw in the towel, but if they wait any longer there won't be a dry towel to throw.  It will take at least 2-3 hours to dry the track, and the storm band is rebuilding as it heads this way.

08/19/07 A slight break in the weather around 1:00 PM encouraged NASCAR to fire up the jet dryer.  However, the rain pattern is closing in again, and a light rain has resumed.  Since it talks at least 2 hours to dry MIS on a good day, expect the race to start no earlier than 3:00 PM. 

"Our window of opportunity has become a port hole."  — NASCAR official

08/19/07 After a full night of rain, the scuttlebutt at Michigan is that the race will be postponed at the driver's meeting. An update regarding the race will be made between NASCAR and speedway officials shortly after 12 p.m.  The rain is scheduled to continue well into Monday, raising the possibility of a Tuesday race.  However, the crews need to leave Michigan by 4:00 PM on Tuesday in order to get to Bristol for the start of action on Wednesday.
Should the race not happen today, the unofficial backup plans are:
Plan A-- Monday morning, August 20
Plan B-- Tuesday morning, August 21
Plan C-- Monday morning, August 27  Tim Wohlford reporting

08/18/07 Another race, another day of rain.  If you have a drought, schedule a major motor sports event!  Just when Michigan racing fans had their shoes dried out from the IRL race two weeks ago, we see a large mass of rain move through for this weekend. 
Currently (9:20 pm EDT Saturday night), it is raining at Michigan International Speedway.  Looking at the radar, the rain stretches all the way back over lake Michigan, over Wisconsin and Minnesota, into South Dakota.
The weather calls for "Definite Rain Showers" until after the scheduled start time.  After that time, there is a "chance," of showers until a return to "definite" around dark. 

There is a 60% chance of rain on Monday.
AutoRacing1.com will break in with Hot News reports should animals start showing up two-by-two. Tim Wohlford

Schu becomes kart team owner  (GMM) Retired seven time world champion Michael Schumacher is now a team owner -- of a go-kart outfit.

The 38-year-old German, who in 2007 has attended several grands prix as a Ferrari 'advisor', has now returned to his roots to bring on the next generation of driving talent.

Schumacher has bought a share in long-time friend Peter Kaiser's kart team, which is based near his and younger brother Ralf's birthplace, Kerpen.

'KSM Official Racing Team' takes its name from the initials of the owners; together with Kaiser and Schumacher, whose equal shareholding takes effect on 1 January next year, is Thomas Muchow.

"I have never lost my love for kart racing," said Schumacher, whose main role will be the development of young talent.
Casey Stoner all the way in Brno  Australian polesitter Casey Stoner extended his lead in the MotoGP championship standings with a dominant victory at Brno on Sunday aboard his Italian Ducati bike, finishing 7.903 seconds ahead of Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins. He extended his points lead over seventh place finisher Valentino Rossi in the title chase to 60 points with six races remaining. Defending World Champion Nicky Hayden, having finally come to terms with the new 800cc formula,  took his third podium finish in four races with third place, ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa.


Pos  Rider             Make           Time
 1.  Casey Stoner      Ducati    (B)  43:45.810
 2.  John Hopkins      Suzuki    (B)  +   7.903
 3.  Nicky Hayden      Honda     (M)  +  13.100
 4.  Daniel Pedrosa    Honda     (M)  +  15.800
 5.  Chris Vermeulen   Suzuki    (B)  +  17.303
 6.  Loris Capirossi   Ducati    (B)  +  19.363
 7.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha    (M)  +  22.485
 8.  Randy de Puniet   Kawasaki  (B)  +  23.073
 9.  Alex Barros       Ducati    (B)  +  32.292
10.  Carlos Checa      Honda     (M)  +  35.153
11.  Toni Elias        Honda     (B)  +  37.748
12.  Anthony West      Kawasaki  (B)  +  38.250
13.  Sylvain Guintoli  Yamaha    (D)  +  43.694
14.  Shinya Nakano     Honda     (M)  +  57.069
15.  Kurtis Roberts    KR        (M)  +1:09.603
16.  Ivan Silva        Ducati    (B)  +1:21.410
17.  Makoto Tamada     Yamaha    (D)  +1:25.804


     Rider             Make           Laps
     Colin Edwards     Yamaha    (M)   2
Fastest lap: Stoner, 1:58.301 on lap 3

Elliott to stay in No. 21  Wood Brothers Racing team co-owner Eddie Wood said Saturday that for the near future, Bill Elliott will remain behind the wheel of the team’s #21 Ford Nextel Cup car and that his son, Jon Wood (right), will finish out the season in its Craftsman Truck Series entry. Elliott has driven for the team since it fell out of the top 35 in Nextel Cup owner points because his past champion’s provisional starting position have meant the team was assured of making races. He has gotten the team back to 35th in owner points, the final guaranteed spot in the field, but Eddie Wood said until the team his higher up in points, Elliott will be behind the wheel. “Right now, we’re just barely 35th,” Wood said. “The way this thing works – and I’m sure not a lot of people understand it – your entry blank has to be in long before the event. And the driver has to be on it. In our situation, with Bill having the past champion’s provisionals, that has to be in on time, before the deadline, or it’s not active.” In other words, Elliott’s name must be on the entry blank, which NASCAR has to receive two weeks prior to the event, to be eligible for the past champion’s provisional. “The main focus is, now that we’re in the top 35, is trying to stay there,” Wood said, “because you could have one bad week and you’re back out. It’s just a wait-and-see deal.” As far as Jon Wood goes, he’s set. “Jon’s going to finish out the trucks,” said Eddie. Ford Racing
Star Mazda Trois Rivières Qualifying  The front of Sunday’s Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear race at the GP3R will be a virtual United Nations of racing; on the pole, a newly-emerging talent from Lafayette, Louisiana in the U.S. Next to him, a Toronto native who has started on the front row of all but one race in the 2007 season. In third, a fast and furious Australian racer who led the field across the finish line in the previous race at Road America, only to be moved back to 4th by an official penalty.

So, there will be drama aplenty as Alex Ardoin, who just turned 18, lines up his #51 Oral & Facial Surgery Center / Mundill Mazda on the pole position with a lap of 1L02.306. His season was nothing to brag about with finishes hovering around the top-10 until Round Seven in Toronto when he found something in his driving that unlocked the promise of a brighter second half of the season. He is currently 8th in the championship with 215 points, plus one point for his pole here today.

Asked what made the difference in his driving, he replied, “I looked over the tapes of the races early in the season and saw that my problem was I was being too nice a guy, letting everybody go by. At Toronto I decided that I would give them racing room, but not one inch more, and that decision transformed how I race. As for qualifying here at Trois Rivières, the track was a lot looser than we thought going into the session, but that proved to be faster for us. I expected some red flags in the session, and there were two, so I put in a couple of fast laps early and that got us the pole. My car and tires are still in good shape, so I’m optimistic for the race tomorrow.” More ...

NASCAR sponsor fined $9.9 million  Home Depot agreed Friday to pay nearly $10 million to settle a civil case filed by state and Los Angeles County prosecutors over the retailer's failure to properly store and transport hazardous sludge.

The case stems from the explosion of a 55-gallon drum at Home Depot's Marina del Rey store in 2004 that caused a fire and forced the evacuation of customers and employees. Investigators discovered that chemicals were mixed together into an explosive brew.

State Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown said that his office was looking at other companies, including "some big, large names," and that he expected the settlement to act as a deterrent.

"Home Depot is not the only company that has problems," he said.

"Because of a cost-cutting campaign under the last CEO, safety measures definitely declined," Brown said of Home Depot.

"So now, under pressure of my office and that of a number of county district attorneys," he said, "they've totally revamped their procedures and put themselves in a position to deal with hazardous materials in a sound way."  More at LA Times.com

Hamlin streaks to NASCAR Busch Series win  After a cycle of green-flag pit stops 15 laps beyond the halfway point in Saturday's CARFAX 250 at Michigan International Speedway, Denny Hamlin broke open a two-car duel with Matt Kenseth to win his second Busch Series race of the year and the fourth of his career.

Hamlin crossed the finish line 6.998 seconds ahead of Kenseth, who lost ground steadily over the final 50 laps of the 125-lap event at the 2.0-mile "D"-shaped oval. Kevin Harvick was third, followed by Jeff Burton and polesitter Greg Biffle.

Brian Vickers, Paul Menard, Todd Bodine, Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer completed the top 10.

Hamlin's crew worked overtime to repair his car after the driver scraped the wall during practice on Friday. The No. 20 Chevy showed no ill effects from the accident, and with the temperature down about 12 degrees from Friday, the car responded favorably to the cooler weather. More ...

Intersport and Kumho suspend LMP1 tire development  Intersport Racing and Kumho Tires have decided to suspend their LMP1 tire development program in the American Le Mans Series. Intersport will use another tire brand for the rest of the season.

After using Kumho's LMP2 tire at the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring, Intersport has been running Kumho's new LMP1 tire for the past seven races on the team's Judd-powered Creation CA06-H. The team achieved five consecutive LMP1 podium finishes with the tires until mechanical failures knocked the car out of the last two races.

"We've made good progress with our LMP2 tire program because we've got four teams (two in the ALMS and two in the European Le Mans Series) running our tires," said Rudy Consolacion, motorsports manager for Kumho Tire U.S.A. "With just one team running our P1 tire, our development program hasn't progressed as quickly as we or Intersport would like. We'll focus on developing our LMP2 tires for the rest of this year and then re-evaluate our LMP1 program at the end of the season."

"Rudy and the rest of the Kumho guys have been great to work with and have provided excellent service for our team," said Intersport Racing driver Jon Field. "Kumho is making progress with its LMP1 tire, but we want to try another tire for the rest of the season and see if it helps us pick up a little more speed."

Biffle wins Busch pole  Qualification runs for the NASCAR Busch Series CARFAX 250 are complete.  The pole was won by Greg Biffle, whose sponsor 3M is also the sponsor of tomorrow's Cup race.  Marcus Ambrose was the highest-qualifying Busch regular, in 6th place.  IRL driver Sam Hornish, Jr. qualified mid-pack and will start in the 21st position.  Continuing with a consistent theme, that everything happens in NASCAR qualifying for a reason. It is not at all surprising that the 3M car is on pole today and a 3M car is on front row tomorrow with 3M being the race sponsor. The notion of keeping sponsors happy isn't lost on NASCAR. They are the lifeblood of the series.
RCR renews with Chevy  Richard Childress Racing and Chevrolet announced an extension to their current relationship Saturday, and Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Inc. are soon to follow suit.  What about Joe Gibbs Racing? Well that's doubtful. JGR, widely expected to join Toyota next season, is the only existing elite Chevrolet team that hasn't indicated that it is committed to Chevy for next year.  Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager, said Chevrolet is still negotiating with all of its existing teams, including JGR.  "We're still in negotiations with them," Peper said about JGR. "They have been an absolutely wonderful partner for us for many, many years. We just have the greatest of respect for them."

"We certainly have been able to support the teams that we have supported and it's our goal to support that number of teams," Peper said. "We are a big company, one of the biggest in the world. We have the winningest name in racing, and we intend to keep doing what we do, which is to win on the track.

"We are in racing because it is a great investment for us. So many people who attend NASCAR races and are passionate fans are passionate Chevy people. And so we need to be here."

Stoner takes MotoGP pole  Championship leader Casey Stoner is back on top in the Czech Grand Prix, taking pole position ahead of the two Repsol Hondas. The Ducati rider ended the session 0.280 seconds ahead of reigning champion Nicky Hayden. Hayden's teammate Dani Pedrosa took third.

Nicky Hayden: “This weekend, even though we haven’t put in the one quick lap in every session, we’ve quietly been reasonably close to the pace and perhaps a bit better than it looked on paper. This afternoon the warmer temperature helped us, the tires worked better and straight away we were able to get down into those 1m 58s laps where we need to be. I quite enjoyed my qualifying laps. My first run went pretty well and on my second one I hung it out a little bit further and was able to go a couple of tenths faster – it was fun. For the afternoon session we changed the bike geometry around which seemed to help us. We’ll see what happens in the race tomorrow, but nonetheless that’s my first front row of the season so I’ll try to get a good start and turn it into a good result.”

Pos Rider Make Time
 1. Casey Stoner Ducati (B) 1:56.884
 2. Nicky Hayden Honda (M) 1:57.164 + 0.280
 3. Daniel Pedrosa Honda (M) 1:57.179 + 0.295
 4. John Hopkins Suzuki (B) 1:57.567 + 0.683
 5. Randy de Puniet Kawasaki (B) 1:57.599 + 0.715
 6. Valentino Rossi Yamaha (M) 1:57.640 + 0.756
 7. Loris Capirossi Ducati (B) 1:57.665 + 0.781
 8. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki (B) 1:57.699 + 0.815
 9. Colin Edwards Yamaha (M) 1:57.702 + 0.818
10. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha (D) 1:57.732 + 0.848
11. Shinya Nakano Honda (M) 1:57.969 + 1.085
12. Carlos Checa Honda (M) 1:58.143 + 1.259
13. Alex Barros Ducati (B) 1:58.204 + 1.320
14. Toni Elias Honda (B) 1:58.264 + 1.380
15. Makoto Tamada Yamaha (D) 1:58.399 + 1.515
16. Anthony West Kawasaki (B) 1:59.386 + 2.502
17. Kurtis Roberts KR (M) 1:59.446 + 2.562
18. Ivan Silva Ducati (B) 1:59.721 + 2.837

First Photos: Doornbos with Trust livery  Here are photos of the Robert Doornbos Trust race car livery for the next two Champ Car races in Zolder and Assen. Today he demonstrated his car at the AHOY exhibition complex in Rotterdam in front of thousands of enthusiastic spectators.

Tomorrow the third running of the Bavaria City Racing event (http://www.bavariacityracing.nl) will be held through the streets of Rotterdam. Along with Doornbos in his Trust Champ Car, there will be demonstrations of the ING Renault F1 team with Nelsinho Piquet behind the wheel, as well as a one-off come back for Christijan Albers in the Spyker F1 car. Many other racing cars, ranging from LMES to F3 and from DTM to WTCC cars will also race around the Rotterdam City Centre. Pieter Slinger reporting for AutoRacing1.com

Video: Champ Car revs up for European races  After completing the majority of its North American circuit, the Champ Car World Series is headed overseas with its first stop in Europe. This part of the series consists of two races – the Belgian Champ Car Grand Prix, Aug. 25 – 26, and the Dutch Champ Car Grand Prix, Aug. 31 – Sept. 2. Defending Champ Car World Series victor and current leader Sebastien Bourdais says while his team does not know exactly what they will face, he is confident that their overall efforts will pay off. Currently ranked eighth in the series, Justin Wilson says researching the Dutch track in Assen may be difficult because it has mostly been used for motorcycle races, but he is looking forward to the challenge. After Europe, the series will head to Australia and Mexico City before the final race in Phoenix on Dec. 2.  See our Home Page for the video.
Roush to sell off one team  In 2010, Roush Fenway Racing will have to shrink from five cars to four, but Jack Roush already has a plan in mind: Sell the fifth car to a group of investors as what he called "seed corn" for an investor-controlled four-car team owned and funded by a group outside of Roush but fueled with Roush crews and technology. "It shouldn't go without notice that we are unabated in our effort to find and identify new drivers and to build our crews and teams with outsiders to the extent that we can and advance them through the programs as they get experience," Roush said. "We're on a track to be able to help somebody come in and provide the technology and the manpower to get them started." Ford Racing
Roush: COT not a money-saver  Jack Roush said that teams won't be seeing the savings the Car of Tomorrow was supposed to generate in terms of production so long as NASCAR adheres to its stringent levels of tolerance. He says that's because slightly damaged bodies can't be repaired without massive repairs.

The Roush Fenway owner's explanation: "I absolutely feel that there will not be a net save to the teams based on the amount of money that goes into the cars to get the chassis the way that NASCAR wants it for it's inspection; then past the initial inspection, the amount of sheet metal that has to be replaced to fix a relatively small problem," Roush said.

"(Previously) we could have replaced the front snout and a front end of a car or a rear snout and a quarter panel, depending on the lick. Most of the relatively minor damage that the (Cars of Tomorrow) have had is going to retire a complete body because when you get the kind of shot into the body that causes a snout to bend, you almost always have some amount of distress that is put into the rest of the car. When we had reasonably wide-open, or relatively wide-open tolerances, you were able to let that tolerance be taken out by the effects of the crash. You can't do that now.

"The amount of precision that's required to get the sheet metal in order to pass the tech line is unprecedented. For the time being, we anticipate at least a 70 to 80-percent increase in labor that's required to keep these cars ready to go from one race to the next. I see a 20-percent reduction in the number of cars that's likely to be used and 80 to 100-percent more labor required, first of all to build the car and then get it through inspection in the first place, and then to repair it after it has the inevitable problem on the race track." USA Today

Champ Car gets hammered  UPDATE #3 Dear AutoRacing1.com, In addition to my write-up you already posted (below), I have some responses to several common themes emerging in the articles and reader responses on (or linked by) AutoRacing1:
1) Pulling Robin Miller's hard card was a major error, and Champ Car management needs to make peace with Robin Miller because they need every ally they can get.
This makes several assumptions which I believe may be erroneous:
(a) Robin Miller is an ally/friend/supporter of Champ Car.
I think that Robin Miller is a supporter of a merger to the point of obsession; he also has several other pet issues (American drivers, ovals, dislike of street courses, dislike of Champ Car's international focus) on which he seems so blinded by the certainty of his own righteousness that he is unable to accept the validity of other analyses, even when made by those (Kevin Kalkhoven, etc.) with arguably far more experience and qualifications. A single series is where his loyalties lie, not with Champ Car - witness his urging that the bankruptcy court turn CART's assets over to Tony George; and his recent comment that the best possible outcome would be for Kevin Kalkhoven to sell Champ Car's assets to the IRL. Never forget this - Robin Miller has publicly revealed, on more than one occasion, that he would quite happily see Champ Car go under if that meant only one US Open Wheel series. He is NOT an ally or a friend!
(b) Pulling the hard card was unjustified, and counterproductive
Miller supported Champ Car for a while; when they failed to follow his all-knowing prescriptions for success (American drivers, American races, etc.) and when they ended merger talks with Tony George (having been fooled by Tony George's apparent sincerity, like all Champ Car managements before them, into damaging Champ Car's interests in pursuit of the mirage of a fair merger agreement, something which George has never had any intention of permitting), things began to go downhill. According to the stories I have heard, Miller refused to accept any excuse for abandoning merger talks (Tony George's long history of untrustworthiness and insincerity, the destruction of Champ Car's pre-merger-story PR advantage, and the damage the merger uncertainty did to Champ Car's and the teams' sponsorship hunt, he apparently considered entirely irrelevant) and became increasingly hostile to Kevin Kalkhoven and other Champ Car management. His sudden Champ Car-bashing article and subsequent dismissal are a matter of public record, as is the vendetta he has pursued against Steve Johnson and Paul Gentilozzi ever since. The extent to which his obvious personal animosity towards these two men has colored his reporting is thoroughly unprofessional, involving repeated unsubstantiated smears of their integrity, ethics, diligence, work habits and even their likeability. More ...
Petty breaks hand  UPDATE As it turns out Petty broke his hand last weekend when he punched the wall of his hauler.  His hand is in a large cast, and the betting in the press room here at MIS is that he's out of his car for a lot longer than just this weekend.

08/13/07 Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/Tire Kingdom Dodge suffered a broken hand as a result of hitting the butt of his hand on a door inside the hauler after a lap 69 incident in Sunday’s Centurion Boats at The Glen at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International road course.  Petty was treated and released in the infield care center during Sunday’s event.  Petty flew back to his home in North Carolina where he was treated by a doctor who determined that the hand was broken.
NASCAR lays it on line with Montoya, Harvick  Juan Pablo Montoya made a trip to the NASCAR hauler today at Michigan International Speedway. The other guy in attendance there?
Kevin Harvick.

"Yeah, we went, both of us. And they said you know, you gotta be careful guys, because that's the limit of things you can do," Montoya said.

NASCAR did not penalize either driver for their on-track tiff at Watkins Glen, an incident that continues to simmer between Harvick and Montoya.

Montoya said he did not attempt to call Harvick and mend fences.

"No, if I would have done something wrong, I would," he said.

Earlier in the day, Harvick reiterated his critical comments about the Nextel Cup rookie, saying, "He drives like he doesn't know what he's doing, to be honest with you."

Montoya's response?

"If I didn't know what I was doing I wouldn't have won Indy 500, CART championship, Formula One races. So, I'm pretty comfortable with what I've done. When it's been my fault before ... we got together at Daytona and it was my fault, I even called him and said, 'Hey, I'm sorry.'" Scenedaily.com

BDR extends Caterpillar contract  Bill Davis Racing has signed a contract extension with sponsor Caterpillar and expects to re-sign Dave Blaney to continue driving the team's No. 22 Toyota. Mike Brown, the two-car team's general manager, said that the company was in the final year of a five-year contract with the company. It has now signed a multiyear contract extension with the team. "We've had a long partnership with them, and our latest five-year deal was up in 2007, and we all went through the proper channels of sitting down and talking about everything, where we were going with Toyota and what all we had going on and how we thought we could continue our partnership, and everybody agreed it was the right thing to do," Brown said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. "It was a weight off everybody's shoulders, but at the same time, we were thrilled to put it behind us."  Scenedaily.com
More on NASCAR plane crash  A pilot of a NASCAR plane was planning an emergency landing due to smoke in the cockpit seconds before communications cut off and the aircraft crashed, killing five people, a newspaper reported Friday.

``Zero One November declaring an emergency. We need ... smoke in the cockpit ... we need to land at Sanford,'' said one of two men aboard the Cessna 310, according to a recording obtained by The Daytona Beach News-Journal. ``Zero One November'' refers to the plane's tail number.

The man then said, ``Zero One November, we're going to shut off all radios and elec...'' before communications cut out, according to the recording obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Air traffic controllers in Orlando responded with ``Roger, you can land any runway at Sanford. They know you're coming.'' It's not clear if the men, Michael Klemm and Dr. Bruce Kennedy, heard the response.

About three minutes elapsed between the plane's last radio communication and the first 911 calls reporting the crash, the newspaper reported.

The recording confirmed witness accounts that the plane was smoking as it plunged to the ground, which were detailed in a preliminary report by federal investigators.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet determined which man was piloting when the plane crashed July 10. A final ruling on what caused the crash is not expected until next year.

NTSB investigators have sent electrical components from the cockpit to the agency's Washington lab for more examination.  More at AP article

Hornish does the Milka at MIS  IRL star Sam Hornish, who we don't really rate, and who has looked bad in all his NASCAR races to-date, spun his Penske Racing NASCAR Busch car at MIS today.  He kept it off of the walls.
Elkhart Lake Star Mazda Championship race to be shown on SPEED  The Star Mazda Championship race run at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on August 11, 2007 will be aired on Saturday, August 18 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm ET on SPEED.
Driver kills own brother in race car wreck  A 33-year-old race car driver died in a crash involving his brother and several cars at the Thompson Motor Speedway.

John Blewett III of Howell, N.J., died Thursday night after he and Jimmy Blewett hit a wall in the 107th lap of the 150-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event in Thompson.

John Blewett's car ended up on top of his brother's car, said Woody Pitkat, who was behind the crash.

"Jimmy got out of his car. He was yelling and screaming. He was just a wreck," Pitkat said in a telephone interview Friday. "He was yelling at people to get [John] out of the car."

John Blewett, who suffered head and neck injuries, was extricated from the car and taken to Hubbard Regional Hospital in Webster, Mass., where he was pronounced dead, state police said.

It's being investigated as an untimely death, a state police spokesman said.

A NASCAR spokesman said the Blewett brothers were veteran drivers. Pitkat estimated the speed of the cars at more than 100 mph at the time of the crash.

"I was laying back because they were racing pretty hard," said Pitkat, whose car was hit from the rear. ESPN.com

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

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Live! Michigan
11:00am-11:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Michigan
11:30am-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Practice Michigan
1:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
Go or Go Home Michigan
2:30pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Michigan
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Final Practice Michigan
4:30pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Michigan
5:30pm-6:30pm (L) SPEED
Survival of the Fastest Watkins Glen
6:30pm-7:00pm SPEED
Trackside Michigan
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED More ...
Chevy teams concerned Gibbs will give secrets to Toyota  UPDATE A meeting between GM and its four NASCAR teams -- Dale Earnhardt Inc., Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports -- has been canceled because Richard Childress said that if JGR “is going to Toyota as it appears to be, ‘we do not want them in these meetings,’" according to ESPN’s Angelique Chengelis. Chengelis noted in these types of meetings "there is a lot of sensitive issues covered … that they don’t want (JGR) taking to Toyota." Chengelis: “GM felt a lot of pressure to not hold this meeting”

08/13/07 Two of the top three owners in Chevrolet expect Joe Gibbs Racing to move to Toyota in 2008.

"I'd say they're gone," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, who has agreed to a five-year deal with General Motors.

Richard Childress Racing owner Richard Childress said there are enough signs to believe that JGR will make the jump, which he says will take Toyota to another level.

"It's pretty well written in stone," he said on Sunday at Watkins Glen International.

Childress is so convinced JGR will bolt that he questions whether the organization should be included in Thursday's key partners' meeting at GM's headquarters in Detroit.

"No, I wouldn't feel comfortable with them there," he said. "If the [other Chevrolet] teams have a feeling they're going to be there, we're not going to discuss openly with them in a room things we normally would discuss openly. More ...

tv news
Weekend USA TV Ratings  UPDATE #2 Final USA TV ratings from this weekend's races. While the preliminary overnight ratings showed ALMS trouncing Champ Car, the final numbers show them tied. Since they share much the same fan base, had they not been in the same time slot perhaps each would have had a 0.8.

Champ Car: Generac Grand Prix 8/12 ABC 1:00-3:00pm 0.4/1 Share
ALMS: Generac 500 at Road America (taped) 8/12 NBC 2:30-4:30pm 0.4/1 Share

08/15/07 The final NASCAR Nextel Cup Watkins Glen TV rating from last Sunday was a 3.5 on ESPN, down a massive 33% from last year's 5.2 on NBC. NASCAR's TV ratings continue to plummet unabated and this news must be a major blow to ESPN who paid hundreds of millions of dollars to NASCAR for the privilege of losing their shirt. NBC learned their lesson and hence refused to submit a re-bid for the contract. Meanwhile ESPN continues to largely ignore the IRL and Champ Car as they put all their eggs in the NASCAR basket. When it's all said and done those eggs are likely to be poached - i.e. NASCAR has stolen ESPN's money and is laughing all the way to the bank.

08/13/07 Overnight USA TV ratings from this weekend's races (Cable TV ratings are not out yet):

Champ Car: Generac Grand Prix 8/12 ABC 1:00-3:00pm 0.4/1 Share 
ALMS: Generac 500 at Road America (taped) 8/12 NBC 2:30-4:30pm 0.7/2 Share

Raced-on Cooper Atlantic tires raise money  INDIANAPOLIS – Since the beginning of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season, Cooper Tire’s first season as exclusive tire supplier to Champ Car Atlantic, the Ohio-based tire manufacturer has raised money for the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, created by Atlantic and Champ Car World Series team owner Paul Newman, through the sale of raced-on Cooper Atlantic Racing Slicks. Hole In The Wall Camps is the official charity of Champ Car.

At every 2007 Champ Car Atlantic U.S. event, race fans had the opportunity to purchase race-used Cooper Atlantic tires autographed by stars of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship for $10 per tire. Fans could also purchase unsigned tires for $5. All told, the program raised more than $8,000 during the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic season, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Hole In The Wall Camps for children with serious illnesses.

“This is an example of how a used tire can bring a lot of comfort for sick children,” said Newman, “I take my hat off to Mr. (Chris) Pantani (of Cooper Tire) for that.”

Following each race in the U.S., two Champ Car Atlantic Championship drivers spent 30 minutes signing race-used tires at the traveling Cooper Tire display. Among the drivers who participated in the program are 2007 Champ Car Atlantic champion Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks), three-time 2007 race-winner and Rookie of the Year Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport), and popular Atlantic racers James Hinchcliffe (#9 NOCO/ProWorks) and J.R. Hildebrand (#36 Newman Wachs Racing) among many others. More ...

Guintoli surprise fastest in Friday practice at Brno  After a 26-day summer break from MotoGP action the first two one-hour sessions of free practice for the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic took place on Friday at the formidable Brno circuit. The fastest time today was set by Sylvain Guintoli using a qualifying tire, followed by Casey Stoner in second place and John Hopkins in third. Tomorrow morning sees a further hour of free practice ahead of qualifying in the afternoon. Round 12 of the 18-race 2007 MotoGP season begins at 14.00hrs local time on Sunday following a 25-minute warm-up in the morning.

 Rider Team Time
1 Sylvain Guintoli Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha 1m 58.362s
2 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 58.568
3 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 58.868
4 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 58.969
5 Randy de Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 59.064
6 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 59.176
7 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 59.266
8 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 59.466
9 Makoto Tamada Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha 1m 59.494
10 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 59.508
11 Alex Barros Pramac d'Antin 1m 59.738
12 Carlos Checa Honda LCR 1m 59.857
13 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 2m 00.001
14 Toni Elias Honda Gresini 2m 00.271
15 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team 2m 00.398
16 Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda 2m 00.793
17 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 2m 01.318
18 Kurtis Roberts Team Roberts 2m 01.725
Walker back to Zolder after 30 years  For Derrick Walker, the upcoming Champ Car debut at Zolder will provide major flashbacks for the Team Australia owner.

Walker was chief mechanic at the Brabham Formula 1 team in the early 1970s when the World Championship visited Zolder in 1973 and 1975.

In 1973 there were three Brabham chassis on the grid with Andrea de Adamich finishing 4th in only his second start for the team. Wilson Fittipaldi and Carlos Reutemann retired.

On Walker's return in 1975, Reutemann actually finished on the podium in 3rd for Brabham while his teammate Carlos Pace finished 8th.

The Brabham team was in its initial years with a new team owner after founders Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac sold the team in the early '70s. The new owner – a young Englishman called Bernie Ecclestone.

“Bernie wasn’t the F1 promoter yet, but he helped the tracks in promoting the races and he worked on getting us hotel accommodations." Walker said.

"Because the accommodations were sparse in that area, the only thing that he managed to work out was for us and a couple of the other teams to stay in an empty girls dormitory.

"I don’t know how he ended up with those arrangements. It had hard wood floors, iron bunk beds - it was a lot like a prison. The highlight that got us through the weekend was the beer, the frites and the fact that we came in third place with Carlos Reutemann. Oh and it was a wet race as well.”

Walker's two drivers, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud are also very familiar with Zolder. The duo previously raced against each other at the Belgian circuit in the World Series by Renault Championship – Power actually starting from pole position in 2005.

Heylen looking forward to ’home’ race  While Dutch supporters have had a race winner to follow in Robert Doornbos in 2007, Belgian fans could soon enjoy similar success after Jan Heylen recorded a strong result in the latest round of the Champ Car World Series at Road America.

Heylen finished 6th at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin circuit – the longest and most "European" style track in the US.

“The sixth place finish better reflects our abilities as a team and where we deserved to be this weekend,” said Heylen.

“The entire team seemed to work well and we have a good, cohesive team that is going to Zolder. This is a great result to have right before the Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium race; the team will be busy this week preparing for the European swing so it helps to have high spirits prior to our departure. We will be looking to continue our top-six pace for the rest of the season.”

The Road America event was won by Sebastien Bourdais ahead of a career-best finish by Britain's Dan Clarke. Bourdais' team-mate Graham Rahal grabbed another podium in third.

Rotterdam ready for Doornbos Sunday  Dutch Champ Car star Robert Doornbos is set to entertain his local fans when he hits the streets of Rotterdam aboard a 2006 Champ Car at the Bavaria City Racing event this Sunday.

With his dramatic debut in the Champ Car World Series, Doornbos' popularity in his native country is at an all time high with two victories to his name with Minardi Team USA.

The Dutchman's outstanding performances have resulted in soaring ticket sales for the Assen weekend – the second leg of the Champ Car World Series European tour.

The Rotterdam street event is sponsored by Dutch brewer, Bavaria – the same sponsor who is backing Champ Car's debut in the Netherlands.

The Champ Car World Series will race for the first time at Zolder in Belgium next week on August 26 followed by the Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix Powered by Audi, Gant & Hertz at Assen on September 2. More ...

More talk on Miller/Gordon/Champ Car  UPDATE We have had even more feedback emails on this article - you can read them here.

08/16/07 We have had many reader comments on our latest feature article. This reader took the time to respond with this detailed letter:

Dear AutoRacing1.com, First of all, a little mea culpa. I have never been a reporter and my writing has been pretty much limited to journals and letters such as this. I also am a very strong opponent of the IRL and Tony George in particular. So for better or worse, this is a letter of opinion.
Excellent article. I have always enjoyed, and still do, Robin Miller and Gordon Kirby's writings and their motorsports experiences and knowledge are impressive. Having said that, I have always wondered how a writer or reporter can maintain complete objectivity when he is being paid by the entity that he is reporting on. I think these cases are classic arguments that you can't. I think people on both sides of this situation chose to blur the line between writing and reporting.
How is that determined? I think each person has to make that call for themselves. In politics for example, my way of determining writing verses reporting is simple. If an article leaves me both in agreement and disagreement, then it is reporting. If I agree with it entirely, then it is writing. If I disagree with it, then it is obviously propaganda of the worse sort :)
As a writer paid by an organization you are either an employee or contract labor for hire. If you except any sort on remuneration from the subject of your articles, I think you cease being a side and owe your support to the person/entity that is paying you. On the other hand, if you hire a reporter to write for your cause, don't be surprised if that situation turns around and bites the hand that feeds it. More ...

Champ Car drivers have done well in F1  It's a myth perpetuated by the biased F1 media that Champ Car Champions have not done well in F1. In fact they have done reasonably well as this SPEEDTV.com article points out. The article fails to have a section on Mario Andretti, a Champ Car champion who won the pole in his very first F1 race and went on to become 1978 World Champion. As Sebastien Bourdais prepares to move from Champ Car to F1 next year, albeit with one of the worst teams, let's remember that you won't see is F1 taking a driver from any other American series, especially an oval-centric one like the IRL. It's clear that Champ Car has the best drivers in America by a wide margin and if American drivers like Marco Andretti ever want to make it in F1 they are going to have to hone their road racing skills and prove their worth in the talent-laden Champ Car series or face certain failure abroad.
McQueen's Ferrari Lusso sold for US$2.31M  A classic Ferrari once owned by actor Steve McQueen sold for US$2.31 million at auction. An anonymous car collector who placed a bid by phone bought the 1963 Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso during an auction Thursday that drew 800 people to the Monterey Jet Center and attracted spirited bidding, said Christie's spokesman Rik Pike.  The sale price was greater than the estimated pre-sale price of $800,000 to $1.2 million, Pike said.  couldn't be happier for the car and the legacy of Steve McQueen," seller Mike Regalia, who restores cars, said in a telephone interview.   "Without his ownership, it never would have received this value." 
Q and A with Gary Paffett  During the summer five week testing break Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver Gary Paffett spent some time at the McLaren Technology Centre. Taking a break from his simulation work Gary took time for this interview.

Gary, it has been an exciting season for the team. The on-track performance of the MP4-22 has been very strong, and importantly, reliable, can you tell us how you have been involved with the development of the car so far?
"The development of this year’s car, the MP4-22, started in the middle of last year. It was a hard winter - getting the package together, but we turned up at the start of this season looking strong. We have done a lot of work since then - mainly in the simulator, that is the main focus of my work."

Testing has changed this year; we have seen you doing a lot more straight line testing. Can you tell us specifically how this has helped with the on-track performance of the MP4-22?
"As you say testing is restricted a lot more, whereas last year we had two cars per day now we only have one, so we rely a lot more on straight line testing and simulator work. The straight line testing is mainly for evaluating aerodynamics, to make sure the results we get in the wind tunnel are the same as on the circuit." More ...

industry news
Automakers cut yearly sales forecasts  Even before Wall Street's latest stomach-churning ride, automakers in Detroit were bracing for a tough year.

By June, vehicle sales were on track to end the year at a nine-year low as high gas prices, dropping home values and economic uncertainty dampened demand.

Now, with panic spreading in the financial markets and Wall Street's Dow index giving back most of its gains for the year, auto executives worry that investors' losses and rising interest rates might seriously spook consumers.

"We're in some very choppy water right now," Ford Motor Co. market analyst George Pipas said Thursday.

"It would be wrong to characterize our view as panicky, but we are very watchful, and monitoring the developments in the credit markets, particularly as they relate to consumers," he said.

Chrysler LLC Chief Executive Robert Nardelli told reporters Thursday that the U.S. Federal Reserve should cut interest rates to prevent a spending slowdown.

"Sooner would be better than later," Nardelli said at an event marking the 10th anniversary of Chrysler's Prowler roadster.

On Thursday, Deutsche Bank auto analyst Rod Lache cut his forecast for U.S. auto sales to 16 million, from 16.2 million units, citing weak housing and high borrowing costs.

And he does not expect demand to recover quickly. "While we may be close to the trough levels in U.S. auto demand, we do not believe the U.S. industry will rebound to trend-level demand over the short term," Lache wrote in a research note. More at Detroit News

track news
Construction begins on Surfers track  Spectator comfort and accessibility has guided the hand of Lexmark Indy 300 organizers towards a slight revamp of the racing precinct, towards this year’s event on October 18-21.

A relocation of services on Macintosh Island will allow greater pedestrian flow, providing much easier access around the entire precinct.

Today marked the official start of construction of the Gold Coast street circuit, with the traditional positioning of the maiden pedestrian bridge (PB8) at the northern end of the racing precinct, near Tedder Avenue.

“It’s been a continual process to ensure fans of the Lexmark Indy 300 come away from the event boasting positive experiences during their visit to the Gold Coast,” said Lexmark Indy 300 Operations Manager David Bennett. Right Lexmark Indy 300 Operations Manager David Bennett with Bartercard Miss Indy Sarah Buller.

“The changes implemented this time around are bound to be well received by patrons.

“The general idea has been to open up the rear pathway which winds its way north-south along the precinct behind the Champ Car pit area. More ...

FIA books date for second McLaren appeal  (GMM) The International Court of Appeal will hear McLaren's appeal against docked championship points on September 19, governing body the FIA announced on Friday.

The Paris hearing is set to take place just six days after the espionage saga appeal, which also involves Ron Dennis' Woking based team.

The September 19 hearing was requested by McLaren licensee the British 'Motor Sports Association', concerning stewards' decision to deprive the team of constructors' points at the recent Hungarian grand prix.

In addition to moving Fernando Alonso five places back for a qualifying pit stop incident at the Hungaroring, stewards did not accept McLaren's explanation and also penalized the team.

"In the interests of transparency the hearing will be open to members of the press and details of the accreditation procedure will be published closer to the time," an FIA statement on Friday read.

racing news
Sanctioning bodies band together against Kentucky lawsuit  An association of U.S.-based racing sanctioning bodies is asking to get involved in the Kentucky Speedway antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp.

The Automobile Competition Committee for the United States has asked to file a legal brief in support of NASCAR and ISC because the case involves how sanctioning bodies determine the tracks that get races.
The association is made up of NASCAR, the Indy Racing League, the International Motor Sports Association, the National Hot Rod Association, Champ Car, the United States Auto Club, the Sports Car Club of America and the France-family controlled Grand American Road Racing Association. More ...

Commission denies Fitz Motorsports' appeal  The National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Fitz Motorsports.  The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following post-race inspection on August 4, 2007 for the NASCAR Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules” and Section 20A-12.1A(2) “Front spring inside and outside coil diameter exceeded the 1/8 inch limit.”

The penalties assessed were:

• Loss of 25 NASCAR Busch Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Armando Fitz.

• Loss of 25 NASCAR Busch Series Championship Driver Points for driver Patrick Carpentier.

• $5,000.00 fine for crew chief Paul Wolfe. More ...

Capirossi announces he's leaving Ducati  MotoGP rider Loris Capirossi announced Thursday that he will leave Ducati at the end of this season and join Suzuki.  The Italian driver signed a one-year contract with Suzuki, with an option for 2009.

"I'm pleased with these five years at Ducati because they were exciting seasons and we won some great races together," Capirossi was quoted as saying by Italian media. "But the time has come to change and try something new.

"I have to thank Suzuki, which has welcomed me with a lot of enthusiasm and promised me full support. For now, though, the important thing is to finish this season well because until December I'm still a Ducati driver."

industry news
Video: Chevy unveils the HHR SS  

Chevrolet has unveiled the latest member of its SS family: the 2008 HHR SS. The four-door vehicle was specifically developed by the GM Performance Division, a team of engineers and designers who work solely on high-performance vehicles. The HHR SS features a turbocharged and intercooled engine that can produce 260 horsepower, and a Nürburgring-tuned FE5 sport suspension that delivers 0.86 g grip. The vehicle also includes various safety features including a StabiliTrak electronic stability control system and four-wheel disk brakes with ABS. The 2008 HHR SS will be officially launched at The Woodward Dream Cruise auto event, held in Detroit on Aug. 18, and is scheduled to go on sale during the fourth quarter of 2007.

IRL announces two-year extension at Iowa Speedway  Rusty Wallace said as he watched the overflow crowd stand and cheer as Dario Franchitti edged teammate Marco Andretti by 0.0681 of a second to win the inaugural IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway he "knew we had a real winner on our hands."

Iowa Speedway and Iowa Corn Growers Association officials announced a two-year extension of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 with the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series. The extension includes 100-mile Indy Pro Series races in conjunction with the June 2008 and June 2009 IndyCar Series event weekends.

"It's an honor for us at Iowa Speedway to continue our relationship with a primary sponsor like Iowa Corn and, of course, the Indy Racing League, each with a special interest in ethanol fuel," said Wallace, designer of the 0.86-mile track in Newton and a minority owner. "It's a win-win-win."

Wallace was joined at the Iowa State Fair announcement by Craig Floss, chief executive officer of the Iowa Corn Growers Association; Stan Clement, president of Iowa Speedway; and Terry Angstadt, president of the Indy Racing League's commercial division. More ...

Mutoh successfully passes IndyCar Series rookie test  A few days after his first oval win in the Indy Pro Series at Kentucky Speedway, Super Aguri Panther driver Hideki Mutoh passed his IndyCar Series rookie test at Chicagoland Speedway, clearing the way for his IndyCar Series debut on Sept. 9 at Chicagoland.

Mutoh joined Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira at the 1.5-mile oval near Joliet, Ill., during a two-day test Aug. 14-15, and impressed series and team officials with his consistency and ability to grasp the changes of an IndyCar Series machine. Mutoh will join current Panther drivers Meira and Kosuke Matsuura to form a three-car effort for the 2007 season finale.

"It was a very productive two days and I was able to pass the rookie test," said Mutoh, who will drive the No. 60 Formula Dream Panther Dallara Honda. "I was able to learn how the changes affect the car and tried different car balances too. I am very happy that we were able to practice pit stops, and I now know what it's like. I enjoyed the test and I cannot wait for the Chicagoland race." More ...

Video: ING Race Index for Turkey GP  

Ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul on August 26, ING issues its Race Index, which assesses race features including the circuit itself, level of driver difficulty, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, the Turkish Grand Prix obtains 62 points, occupying the 6th position among the 17 circuits.

Liuzzi talks about STR axe and his future  Vitantonio Liuzzi is not giving up. The driver from Pescara, in an exclusive interview released to Italiaracing.net talked about his feelings for the 2008 season, and the changes happened at Toro Rosso. Vitantonio decided to leave the team based in Faenza two months ago, right before the official announcements concerning next season's drivers:


Did you sense a possible separation from Toro Rosso, or it was a surprise?

”I started to look around 2 months ago, since I decided not to return to Toro Rosso. Many contradictory episodes happened in 2007, so I wanted to move on. I'm talking with a couple of high-level teams, but I'm not mentioning their name. I'm also looking to the USA, more at ChampCar than IndyCar, but my main goal is to stay in Formula 1; I feel like I've a lot yet to prove.”

Would you accept to become a test driver, like your former team-mate Christian Klien did, or you're going to move overseas if no rides will be available?

”I'm working to be back racing in 2008, but a chance as a test driver won't be ruled out. It depends from the team; I'm talking with several major squads, in which a test role could be very pleasant. We'll see...

Did you imagine such a tough year after the positive 2006 season? You did extremely well in qualifying, but the results didn't come.

”Unfortunately, the car isn't reliable, and I had to retire due to mechanical problems 8 times in 11 races. There were great results in qualifying, especially at Monte Carlo and Montreal. In Canada we were on-course for an exceptional result, but the right front gave up for a previous contact. Basically I was waiting to fight for points in all races. Toro Rosso made large investments, but other teams did that too. This year we're back with a 1.2 second gap, compared to last year's 2 seconds, but we're no longer alone...”

Why Gerhard Berger and the other Toro Rosso managers didn't trust you and Scott since the first day? What's happened?

“I think they already knew their own mind last winter, when Bourdais was called for a first test. Then there was Vettel, who has always been part of the Red Bull program, and that was predestined to a F1 ride. When I heard of the extensions signed at Red Bull by Webber and Coulthard, I was aware that Vettel would have been coming at Toro Rosso; that happened before schedule, and Speed paid the consequences. Bourdais is with no doubt a very strong driver, he won 3 Champ Car titles, but in the tests he made with Toro Rosso he didn't turn impressive lap times. He performed fairly well, but nothing special”

What is your current situation in the Red Bull program?

“I'd like to continue with Red Bull, that supported my career since 2001, and I owe a lot to Dieter Mateschitz for what he did for me. On the other hand, I've never been part of Red Bull's drivers development program, as mine was an hybrid situation. Peter Collins, my manager since my racing debut, found in Red Bull a financial support, but we are independent in making choices”. ItaliaRacing.net

Already 50.000 tickets sold for Belgian Grand Prix  One month before the Belgian Grand Prix at the renewed circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, there are already 50.000 tickets sold. "We received orders from 45 countries, even Namibia," declared organizer André Maes.

In the Belgian newspaper 'Gazet van Antwerpen', Bernie Ecclestone said: "Why would we say goodbye to Spa? Now there has been invested so much money, there is a super circuit. We are going to a lot of new places, but beside that we want to maintain the traditional circuits. Francorchamps remains a spectacular track, totally different than the modern circuits. Thanks to the conducted works, Spa has been lifted to a higher level."

Sierra Sierra reaps Champ Car Atlantic rewards  The 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda drew to a close on Sunday afternoon with the Generac Grand Prix at Road America (ESPN 2, August 22, 5:00 p.m. ET). A few hours later, the series gathered at the posh American Club in Kohler, Wis. to pay tribute to the recently-concluded season at the Champ Car Atlantic Awards Banquet.

While he wrapped up the title in the penultimate round of the 2007 championship at San Jose, it wasn’t until Sunday night that Brazilian racer Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) officially received his $2 million prize toward a 2008 ride in the Champ Car World Series and several other prizes. Champ Car President Steve Johnson and 2006 Atlantic champion Simon Pagenaud—who parlayed his $2 million bonus into a 2007 Champ Car ride with Team Australia—presented Matos with his $2 million bonus, as well as the Champion’s Trophy.

On behalf of Mazda North America, Johnson and Pagenaud also presented Matos with an original painting by Champ Car Clerk of the Course and motorsports artist Jim Swintal depicting Matos’ sweep of the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton doubleheader, which served as redemption for Matos, who lost an opportunity at his first career Atlantic victory one year earlier with a crash while leading within eight laps of the checkered flag. Pagenaud and Johnson also presented a Rolex watch to Matos from the Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, a checkered flag signed by all of the series officials and a $2,500 prize from Coast Fabrication. In addition to the $2 million bonus, Matos earned a total of $234,560 in prize money during the 2007 season.

Cooper Tires and Mazda also unveiled a new program for 2007 in which every driver in the series will receive a specially-designed “class ring.” Matos will receive a special champion’s ring in honor of his accomplishments. More ...

Hendrick trying to buy No. 8 from DEI  UPDATE #3 Due to too high an asking price by DEI, Hendrick Motorsports will not be able to use the No. 8 for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car when the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver moves from DEI to Hendrick in ‘08. GM Marshall Carlson said of negotiations with DEI, “We couldn’t reach a point where the terms made sense, and now we have to move forward with other options."

07/02/07 There is nothing keeping Hendrick Motorsports from buying the #8 from Dale Earnhardt Inc. as long as NASCAR approves the transfer of the number. While NASCAR owns all numbers and issues them to organizations on an annual basis, teams sell numbers all the time. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said it is unlikely the governing body would prevent such a transfer, adding the financial terms are not a concern. ESPN.com

06/26/07 Hendrick Motorsports will not be able to purchase the No. 8 from Dale Earnhardt Inc., nor is DEI allowed to sell it to Hendrick or any other team.  NASCAR on Monday reiterated its long-standing policy that the sanctioning body owns and assigns all car numbers, and spokesman Ramsey Poston said a team cannot sell its car number to another team on its own accord.

"NASCAR owns the numbers and licenses them to teams on an annual basis," Poston said. "A team may allow another team to use the number for that year pending NASCAR's approval."

The numbers, however, are not for sale, Poston said.

06/23/07 Car owner Rick Hendrick has let it be known to officials at Dale Earnhardt Inc. that he’d like to purchase the No. 8 for Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he begins driving for his organization in 2008.

“I’m not sure what their position is or what they want for it,” Hendrick said Saturday between practices at Infineon Raceway. Earnhardt said last week he would like to stay in the No. 8 if a deal can be reached with DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt, who has the rights to the number and his long-time sponsor, Budweiser. Max Siegel, the president of global operations at DEI, said he will not act until there is a formal proposal. Hendrick doesn’t expect any sort of announcement for at least a few weeks.

“Honestly, we’re leaving everything open,” he said. “It’s just so early. If you say you’re going to do something and you really think you are, six weeks from now we might change our mind again. “We’re working through our sponsors and everything.” 

Narain Karthikeyan tests Speedcars  Narain Karthikeyan, AT&T BMW Williams F1 Test Driver, along with Indonesian saloon car racer Moreno Soeprapto and his brother Ananda Mikola were joined by Swiss regional stock car racer Alexandre Maus and Italian rally driver Nico Caldarola, to test two of the championship's 650bhp cars at the Dubai Autodrome, completing over 60 laps in total.

Commenting after their runs the drivers agreed that the Speedcars offer race drivers an exceptionally fun racing experience which will create tight competition and good entertainment for the crowds.

"I had a good feel for the car, expecting some sliding from such a heavy car I had no surprises.
But I have to say the car is a good car, despite its weight it is very balanced and pretty forgiving, it has a strong engine and is quick on the straight. The breaking distances are very long compared to those of single-seater cars of course and that took some getting used to.

The Speedcar will create a close grid which will promote good racing and overtaking. The end of each of the Speedcar races should be very interesting as the tires will be run down and physical exhaustion will overcome most drivers, it will be interesting to see the battle between the younger and former F1 star drivers. It was really a fun car to drive, the weather was a challenge though with over 40 degrees Centigrade it gets very hot in the car.
I look forward to coming back and seeing some more of the Speedcars." More ...

Bernie sued - No!  UPDATE (GMM)  A spokesman for Turkey's formula one circuit has blankly denied reports that its chairman, Bernie Ecclestone, is being sued by the country's motorcycling body.

It was reported on Wednesday that Ecclestone, who bought the Istanbul venue earlier this year for up to $190m, 'closed' the circuit to motorcyclists after the deal for a MotoGP race was recently not renewed.

But Istanbul Park Organizasyon (IPO), which runs the circuit for Ecclestone and Formula One Administration, said it has "no knowledge" of any legal action and dismissed the media reports as "nonsense".

"It is complete nonsense," said the IPO spokesman, although he did not deny that there are no upcoming motorcycling events scheduled at the Istanbul track.

But he told F1's official website: "It's just a case of finding the right opportunity.  If it works for everybody involved, it will happen."

08/14/07 Bernie Ecclestone, owner of the Istanbul Park Course where the Formula One races are held, is being sued by the Turkish Motorcycling Federation.
In a written statement the vice chairman of the Turkish Motorcycling Federation, Süleyman Memnun, said the course will be closed to motorcyclists until 2021 following the handover of the circuit's management to president and CEO of Formula One Management Ecclestone. "For this reason our association is taking legal action on the handover of the facilities -- in order to prevent a public facility being closed to Turkish athletes." A new company headed by Ecclestone took over the running of the Istanbul Park circuit, a venue for the Turkish round of the FIA Formula One World Championship in April. The newly formed Istanbul Park Organization (IPO), a subsidiary of Formula One Administration Ltd., has taken a 15-year lease on the circuit and agreed to promote the Turkish Grand Prix, thereby securing the event for the foreseeable future.
Canada's future stars get shot at big time  The rising Canadian stars of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will be battling for their shot at the big time at Quebec’s fourth big auto race in 2007, the GP3R at Trois Rivières, August 17 - 19.

The Star Mazda Championship is the Junior A hockey of open-wheel racing, an exciting, competitive and well-established training ground for future stars of the sport. The cream of the crop will graduate to the Champ Car Atlantic series (racing’s equivalent of the American Hockey League), and from there to racing’s NHL, the Champ Car World Series.

Graduates of the Star Mazda Championship include such top open-wheel racers as Champ Car star Graham Rahal and IRL standout Marco Andretti, as well as Canadian Atlantic series racers James Hinchcliffe and Kevin Lacroix. Proving its versatility as a training ground, other Star Mazda standouts have also gone on to high profile careers in various areas of racing; 2002 Mosport winner Guy Cosmo is now a top sports car racer while 2004 Mosport winner and series champion Michael McDowell has raced both prototypes and Champ Cars and is now making a name for himself as a front-runner in the ARCA stock car series with recent back-to-back victories. More ...

Cheater crew chiefs return  
Letarte returns as #24 crew chief after 6 week suspension: This week's 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway marks the return of crew chief Steve Letarte for Jeff Gordon, but the #24 team has not missed a beat in his six-race absence. In those six races, Gordon posted top-10 finishes in each of them - including four top-fives - and accumulated more points than any other driver, increasing his lead in the point standings by 173. "Jeff Meendering did a tremendous job filling in for Steve, but it'll be great to have Steve back," Gordon said. "I've been impressed with Steve's ability to call a race, and he has given me great cars this year." Performance PR Plus

Knaus returns to #48 team after 6 week suspension: #48 Lowe's Chevy driver Jimmie Johnson and the Nextel Cup Series travel to Michigan International Speedway this weekend for Sunday's 400-mile race. Johnson finished fifth and second in the last two races at Pocono and Watkins Glen. This weekend, Crew Chief Chad Knaus rejoins the team after a six-race absence. Johnson said, ""I have been proud of the team and what we have done without Chad. I think we have kept our pace up. But, we really look forward to having him back this week getting everything in line and getting ready for the Chase. I have to give our guys a lot of credit by staying focused throughout these six races." GMR Marketing PR

industry news
Mahindra plans to enter U.S. in 2009  Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra plans to launch a range of compact pickups and SUVs in the United States in early 2009.

The vehicles are built in India, although Mahindra executives have said the pickups may be assembled elsewhere - possibly even in the United States - to get around the 25 percent U.S. tariff on imported pickups.

Mahindra plans to offer five models, all derived from its Scorpio SUV. They are a two-door pickup, two four-door pickups and two five-door SUVs. All five offerings will be powered by four-cylinder diesel engines mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. Gasoline versions may be added. AutoWeek

Alonso rejects McLaren peace-talks vacation  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso has reportedly turned down an invitation to join his teammate and bosses for a vacation to calm the worsening tension that exists within McLaren.

The reigning world champion's relationships with Britons Lewis Hamilton and Ron Dennis descended to new lows at the recent Hungarian grand prix, sparking speculation that the only solution might be for him to leave the team.

But coinciding with the calendar's current August break, team shareholder and co-founder Mansour Ojjeh invited all of McLaren's major players to the deck of Kogo -- his incredible 72-metre super-yacht.

Championship leader Hamilton is already on board, giving British paparazzi the opportunity last week to photograph him frolicking with Ojjeh's 18-year-old daughter Sara in St. Tropez.

The multi-million dollar yacht, apparently also now occupied by team principal Dennis, was to make its way to the Spanish waters of Menorca this week, where Alonso was touted to join the vacation.

The Spanish newspaper Marca, however, claims that the 26-year-old turned down Ojjeh's invitation -- possibly a sign that his association with his Woking based employer is indeed untenable and irreconcilable.

Rahal meets Federer, other tennis stars  Fresh off a podium finish (3rd) in this past Sunday's Champ Car World Series event at Road America, Graham Rahal took a break from the twists and turns of his sport on Tuesday to enjoy pro tennis in his home state of Ohio at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.

Following a 27-mile morning bike workout, Rahal, who drives the No. 2 Medi | Zone car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, drove from his hometown of New Albany, Ohio to the Cincinnati event. He watched a number of matches and met several top ATP players including Roger Federer, James Blake and Novak Djokovic, who is fresh off a victory at the most recent Masters event in Montreal where he beat Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal and Federer. More ...

Rahal and Champ Car announce program  UPDATE See a video of Rahal talking about this program on our Home Page.

08/15/07 Graham Rahal, speaking on behalf of the Champ Car World Series and his fellow drivers, announced today the launch of a global cause campaign called “Hands on the Wheel.” The new umbrella program will utilize Champ Car’s professional race car drivers, teams, events, partners and sponsors to encourage safe driving, with particular focus on the growing threat caused by people texting while driving.

The official announcement was made in Detroit by 18-year-old Graham Rahal, who drives the No. 2 Medi | Zone race car for the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team. Rahal pledged his support to the program and appeared in a Public Service Announcement unveiled at the announcement. 

Rahal was joined by former Champ Car driver Lyn St. James as well Michigan State Police F/Lt. Monica Yesh and other officers of the Michigan State Police at their Metro South Post headquarters in Taylor, Mich.  Rahal also was in the Detroit area to attend the International Motorsports Hall of Fame banquet later that evening. More ...

industry news
Ford to sell parts business  Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it has reached an agreement to sell a parts business and a plant in Mexico to Linamar Corp.  The power transfer unit business and the plant are part of Automotive Components Holdings, a Ford-managed entity that contains parts divisions taken over by Ford in 2005 as part of a bailout of auto supplier Visteon Corp. Ford plans to sell or close all the facilities by the end of 2008.

Linamar, an auto supplier based in Guelph, Ontario, had sales of $2.3 billion in 2006. Linamar Chief Executive Linda Hasenfratz said the purchase adds leading power transfer technology to Linamar's product line.

Financial terms weren't disclosed. The sale is expected to be completed Sept. 1st. More at  Detroit News

No fines planned for Harvick-Montoya  UPDATE #2

NASCAR Vice President Corporate Communications Jim Hunter talks about Kevin Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya's incident at Watkins Glen and how it was good for the fans and the fact that neither driver will be fined.  He also discusses the role Martin Truex Jr. played in the accident.


08/13/07 This website has a full video of the Montoya/Harvick shoving match.

08/13/07 On the first turn after a restart [lap 18 at Watkins Glen on Sunday], #1-Martin Truex Jr. got into the back of #42-Juan Montoya, who climbed the track and got into the side of #29-Kevin Harvick to send both into a spin. As Montoya's car came to a rest, Harvick drove the front of his car to block him from continuing to the garage. Harvick, unaware that Truex instigated the incident, then gave Montoya an inappropriate gesture that Montoya obviously didn't appreciate. The two climbed out of their cars and met on the track, with Montoya grabbing the bottom of Harvick's helmet like a football player would an opponent's face mask. The two then had an in-your-face verbal exchange that continued until Montoya shoved Harvick in the chest. NASCAR officials and Harvick's teammate, #31-Jeff Burton, eventually separated the two. "I went to Kevin and said, 'It wasn't my fault. I got hit from behind,'" Montoya said. "He started shouting and grabbing me and I don't appreciate that. I have a little respect for the guy. Well, I used to have a little respect for the guy like that, because he helped me out a lot to start with." For the record, neither is expected to be fined. "I don't think they were fighting," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition. "They were discussing things." Said series director John Darby, "I thought it was cool as hell." More at ESPN.com (See related fight photo)
Spectacular PSV unveiling for Superleague  Dutch football fans have been treated to a spectacular launch by Superleague Formula entrant PSV Eindhoven at the club's open day at Philips Stadium today.

With more than 20,000 spectators on site, the club's livery was revealed outside the stadium when Superleague Formula President and CEO, Alex Andreu; and PSV General Manager, Jan Reker hit a button on stage which swung a giant crane into action – lifting the car high above the cheering crowd who were then showered in confetti and streamers.

The red and white colors were later presented on the pitch with the entire 2007/08 playing squad in attendance.

Reker also presented Andreu with a club shirt bearing the name "Superleague Formula" and the number "08" – designating the start of the championship which will kick off in August next year.

PSV forward and Australian World Cup representative Jason Culina today welcomed his club's introduction into motorsport. More ...

industry news
Canada introduces $10,000 speeding ticket  Ontario, Canada Premier Dalton McGuinty today announced that being caught driving 50km/h (31 MPH) over the speed limit will automatically trigger "street racing" penalties -- even if the accused motorist is driving alone on an otherwise empty road. The change in definition will, in effect, turn ordinary speeding into an offense that can carry a $10,000 (US $9305) fine and up to six months in jail, making it one of the most expensive traffic tickets in North America.

"If you choose to break the law, we consider you a threat to our public safety and you're going to face stiff penalties," McGuinty said in a statement.

In June, McGuinty cited the importance of combating the "organized crime" of street racing as he urged passage of the Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act which created the $10,000 penalty. The change in definition also means that the word of a police officer is all that it takes to confiscate a car and driver's license for at least seven days.

"There is no appeal from, or right to be heard before, a vehicle detention, driver's license suspension or vehicle impoundment under [the street racing] subsection," the Safer Roads Act states.

McGuinty also announced a proposal to hire 55 new traffic police officers and purchase a high-tech surveillance airplane in an attempt to rack up several of the expensive new fines. Thenewspaper.com

[Editor's Note: This lunacy does nothing to dispel the notion that most police departments are nothing more than revenue generators to help pay for their existence and the police officers can be coined "revenuers."]

Jarrett to Run Busch Race at Bristol  UPS announced plans to sponsor Dale Jarrett in the Food City 250 Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 24, as part of the UPS Centennial Celebration. Randy Goss will serve as crew chief for Jarrett and the #44 UPS Centennial Toyota Busch team. Elevation Group/UPS PR
Salt Walther in trouble with the law...again  UPDATE #2 Former Indianapolis 500 driver David "Salt" Walther was sentenced Tuesday in the Warren County Common Pleas Court on one count of nonsupport of dependents, a fourth-degree felony, and on one count of violating the terms of his community control imposed in a 2005 case involving nonsupport.

The court sentenced Walther, 59, of Dayton to serve 16 months in prison on the new case and 10 months in prison on the 2005 case, with 240 days of credit for time already served in jail, according to Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel. The prison terms are to run consecutively.

In 2005, Walther was sentenced to five years of community control for nonsupport of dependents, a fifth-degree felony. In April, Walther plead guilty to the new charge and admitted to violating his community control. Walther owes more than $21,000 in child support arrearages.

07/11/07 A reader writes, Look at the Salt Walther Photo.  It appears this is a qualifying day and look how packed the stands are!  I sure miss those days. David Koeberlein

Dear David, We all do, but Tony George had a "vision" as to what Indy Car racing should be and now it is what it is.....a mere shadow of its former self.  Mark C. 

07/11/07 LEBANON - A Warren County judge on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for former Indianapolis 500 driver David "Salt" Walther.

Walther, who pleaded guilty in April to nonsupport charges in two separate cases, failed to appear in court Tuesday for sentencing.

In court April 10, Walther promised to come up with more than $20,000 in back support in the next 90 days. If he didn't, Judge James Flannery said the 59-year-old Centerville resident would spend 16 months in jail.

Walther was sentenced in 2000 in Warren County Common Pleas Court to 180 days in jail for child endangering and 10 months in prison for violating terms of his probation in a 1998 drug case.

In 1998, Walther was convicted of illegal conveyance of painkillers into the jail and served six months in a minimum security jail outside Lebanon. He was placed on three years probation and completed a drug-treatment program.

Walther, son of late Dayton industrialist George N. Walther, has said his troubles are due to a drug addiction that began after he was treated for severe burns from a fiery, nine-car pile-up in a race in 1973.  Dayton Daily News

McCumbee to fill in for Petty  Petty Enterprises announces development driver Chad McCumbee will substitute for Kyle Petty in the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge for Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 at the Michigan International Speedway.  Petty is recovering from a broken right hand after last weeks race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. 

McCumbee, 23, made his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series debut at the Pocono (Penn.) Raceway earlier this year in the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge.  He finished 25th.  He has also competed and won in ARCA Series competition and has tested extensively for Petty Enterprises this season.  The organization is planning to run McCumbee in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2008.

“I am here to help in any way that I can,” said McCumbee.  “The priority is getting Kyle back in the car as soon as possible.  The goal this weekend is to get a solid finish for this team.  I have experience in the Craftsman Truck Series at the track. Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) and I have had great communication too.  Hopefully we can have a good run on Sunday.” More ...

Vickers to replace Blaney  Brian Vickers will replace Dave Blaney in Braun Racing's No. 10 Busch Series Toyota for the next four races, a team spokesperson confirmed Tuesday. Blaney's status with Braun Racing is unknown.
ALMS sees increased attendance  The trend of increased attendance continued this past weekend at Road America where promoter George Bruggenthies estimated the weekend attendance at more than 100,000 for the four-day doubleheader event featuring the American Le Mans Series and Champ Car. In addition, the Series had its strongest television performance of the year with a 0.7 rating on NBC. Champ Car’s live ABC telecast drew a 0.4.

It was the fifth doubleheader weekend of the year for the Series – St. Petersburg (IRL), Long Beach (Champ Car), Houston (Champ Car), Mid-Ohio (IRL), and by all indications the formula is working. 

“If the measure of success is fan response, I think the crowds speak for themselves,” says American Le Mans Series President/CEO Scott Atherton. “Any time you put together two major racing series with their unique and shared sets of fans, both series benefit.

“These doubleheaders have enabled us to showcase our world-class cars, teams and drivers with events that are unparalleled on the motorsports calendar. People and companies that have not been exposed to the American Le Mans Series come away not only with a better understanding of what our series is about but with a real appreciation for our exciting style of racing. The last several years have seen increases in all our major benchmarks, and the doubleheader concept is further accelerating that growth even more. It’s the classic case of one plus one equaling three.”

Following next week’s Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport, the American Le Mans Series has its final doubleheader Labor Day weekend in Detroit with the IndyCar Series. The Series’ sports car feature – the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch – is Saturday, Sept. 1 while the IRL open wheel classic is Sunday, Sept. 2.

RLR to give GT3 customers a sneak peek  Having announced its intentions to field customer cars for the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge in 2008, Rahal Letterman Racing will give potential clients a behind-the-scenes look at the team’s Porsche program in an open house at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois.

RLR will host potential GT3 Cup drivers on September 7 to the Chicago-area road course for a morning presentation beginning at 10:30 a.m . Interested drivers will join three-time IndyCar/CART champion Bobby Rahal and driver coach Mike Zimicki for an overview of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge as well as for a look at the Porsche currently campaigned in the American Le Mans Series GT2 class.

“The Porsche GT3 Cup program is another exciting venture for Rahal Letterman Racing and we look forward to giving prospective drivers a chance to come out to the track and see what the program is about,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “We expect that this will be a very beneficial program for everyone involved and we are committed to giving our clients a world-class racing experience.”

For location details and more information leading up to the event contact Rahal Letterman Racing Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Brian Roemer at 614-529-7000. RLR

Lacroix to drive for Walker Racing in 2008  UPDATE You should know that Steve Caudwell was an early supporter of Scott Goodyear and continued to support him throughout his career as well - and now it looks like he is setting off to do it again with this Canadian - Lacroix. It would be nice to see more of this kind of support by those who have the financial means.

Steve Caudwell and Wayne Deans, both of which are Canadian businessmen, have been connected with Derrick since 1992, when Scott Goodyear ran for the team.  Steve, Wayne and Derrick, all ventured together last year in developing the Atlantic program.  Steve has some assets in the Atlantic team.

08/14/07 As the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic season came to a close last weekend in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Walker Racing is already making preparations to formulate their driver lineup for 2008. The team is pleased to announce that they will be adding another car to the stable as Canadian Kevin Lacroix and Uni-Select will join Walker Racing for the full season in the Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda in 2008.

After much communication, a successful testing session last October and a long, continued relationship between Walker Racing and Lacroix, the two parties are finally ready to go racing. "It's taken longer than it should have, but it finally came together. I'm glad that we finally signed Kevin (Lacroix) to our Atlantic program for 2008. My partners Steve Caudwell and Wayne Deans have followed Kevin's career for several years now and I speak for all of us when I say we are delighted that we finally have the chance to race together," stated Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker. More ...

tv news
Kentucky IPS race to be shown on ESPN2  The Indy Pro Series race run at the Kentucky Speedway on August 11 will be shown on Thursday, August 16, 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm ET on ESPN2.
ATT weighs options for MIS race  AT&T officials are investigating their options and are unsure what the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet for Jeff Burton will look like this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.  NASCAR won a ruling Monday in the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturning an injunction that had allowed the AT&T logos to replace the Cingular logos on the car.

AT&T logos have been on the car since May 19, but whether they will be on this weekend is still to be determined.

"We're looking at a variety of options - we haven't really settled on which ones we'll pursue at this point, both on a legal front and a non-legal front," AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said Tuesday morning. "One of the things we're looking at is exactly what the car will look like this weekend. We're considering our options, and we haven't reached a decision yet."

"We continue to feel strongly that we have the right to use our AT&T logo on the No. 31 car driven by Jeff Burton, and we're going to continue to explore and use all of the options available to us to do so," Siegel said.

"We're still looking at what the best options for us are at this point, legal and otherwise."

Journalist not banned by Champ Car  UPDATE Robin Miller will co-host Wind Tunnel this Sunday night with Dave Despain.  It will be interesting to see how he handles losing his Champ Car hard card.  In reality Miller is in the driver's seat.  Without saying anything slanderous or illegal, he has the opportunity to hammer another nail (maybe 3 or 4) in Champ Car's coffin just by the simple remarks he chooses to make.  It will be interesting to see how much revenge he chooses to sow.

08/13/07 We have had a lot of questions as to whether Robin Miller's Hard Card media credential was revoked.  Yes, it was, but he is still allowed to get a media credential for all Champ Car races on an individual basis.  He just lost the convenience of the Hard Card.  As to why, those questions should be directed to Robin or Champ Car.
China's ex-F1 track chief to stand trial  China's former deputy general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit (SIC) is to be on trial Thursday, being charged with the embezzlement of 1.05 million yuan (around 138,700 U.S. dollars), court sources said on Wednesday.  Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager of SIC which hosts the Chinese Grand Prix and Shanghai Shenhua Football Club, has been under investigation since last October with an charge of using company money to pay for a house for personal use.   Yu was detained in January and his arrest was approved by court in February.   The key promoter and organizer of the Shanghai Grand Prix, along with other three government officials, was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) in May. Yu is well-known for bringing Manchester United to Shanghai in 1999.
ATT weighs options for MIS race  AT&T officials are investigating their options and are unsure what the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet for Jeff Burton will look like this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.  NASCAR won a ruling Monday in the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturning an injunction that had allowed the AT&T logos to replace the Cingular logos on the car.

AT&T logos have been on the car since May 19, but whether they will be on this weekend is still to be determined.

"We're looking at a variety of options - we haven't really settled on which ones we'll pursue at this point, both on a legal front and a non-legal front," AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said Tuesday morning. "One of the things we're looking at is exactly what the car will look like this weekend. We're considering our options, and we haven't reached a decision yet."

"We continue to feel strongly that we have the right to use our AT&T logo on the No. 31 car driven by Jeff Burton, and we're going to continue to explore and use all of the options available to us to do so," Siegel said.

"We're still looking at what the best options for us are at this point, legal and otherwise."

industry news
Lexus safety probe widens  Federal regulators have stepped up an investigation into 98,454 Lexus ES 350 sedans after amassing 40 reports of unintended acceleration, including eight crashes and 12 injuries, along with cases in which drivers said their cars stopped only after an accident.

Toyota Motor Co. told safety officials that the problem appeared to be caused by loose floor mats and contends that it dealt with the flaw through a mailing to customers earlier this year. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided to continue its investigation last week to verify whether Toyota's efforts were sufficient. Sudden acceleration problems carry a unique stigma in the U.S. auto industry, due to the collapse of the Audi brand in the late 1980s following a "60 Minutes" report alleging runaway vehicles. Federal safety officials later cleared Audi, but it took years for the company to clear its name with customers. More ...

Stewart adds Schatz to WoO team for '08  Two-time Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart announced that World of Outlaws Sprint Series star and defending champion Donny Schatz will join Tony Stewart Racing beginning with the 2008 season. Schatz will drive a second WoO Sprint Series car that will compete alongside the No. 20 Bass Pro Shops/Chevrolet machine currently driven by Paul McMahan.

“I’m excited about joining forces with a proven winner,” said Schatz, a proven winner himself having won over 80 WoO races, including 13 this year. “Tony Stewart has been a winner in everything he does, and his race team is no different. His organization has always been, and will continue to be, top-notch.”

Upon the conclusion of the 2007 racing season, Donny Schatz Motorsports will merge with TSR.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Donny Schatz into our organization,” said Stewart. “To have the opportunity to work with a driver of his caliber is a great opportunity for all of us. His skill behind the wheel will continue to help TSR grow into a stronger race team.

“Just as Levi Jones, Tracy Hines and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., have made our USAC program better, and just as Paul McMahan has provided stability to our World of Outlaws team, Donny will only add to our open-wheel presence.”

Domino's Pizza back on the #00  Domino's Pizza returns to the hood of David Reutimann's #00 Toyota for a homecoming this weekend, as Domino's headquarters is based out of nearby Ann Arbor, Mich. In addition to gracing the hood of the #00 Dominos.com Camry, Domino's will also carry a special paint scheme on Reutimann’s #99 Busch Series entry. Both Reutimann and team owner Waltrip will visit Domino's World Resource Center (corporate headquarters) on Thursday to speak with employees. Toyota PR
Authorities nail Rossi for tax evasion  When The Doctor paid a hundred euros in amnesty to cure his tax troubles in 2002, he thought that was an end to the matter. Little did he know that his letter to Telecom, one of his sponsors, would turn out to be the taxman’s trump card. It was the request for broadband coverage for Tavullia that, according to the tax authorities, puts Valentino Rossi squarely in the frame because Tavullia is the town in the Marche region where the Rossi family lives.

Tax inspectors began investigating, their suspicions aroused by the curious desire of the champion motorcyclist. They found out that Rossi’s yacht Tatilla is berthed at Vallugola marina, only ten kilometres from the house, and that insurance was taken out at Pesaro for eight motor vehicles owned by, or registered to, Rossi’s relatives or companies linked to him. The vehicles involved are a BMW M5, a BMW M3, two Porsches, Mini Cooper, a Mitsubishi, a Mercedes Sprinter and a Fiat Magnum. Together, it all adds up to proof that Rossi has maintained his tax domicile in Italy, despite being resident in London’s exclusive St James’s Square, because investigators have shown the existence of the connections with Italy that are required by law before the authorities can assert tax liability.

The figures in the inspectors’ reconstruction give an idea of the scale of Rossi’s tax evasion. From 2000 to 2004, the world champion declared only “trivial amounts of income from property” and lied about everything else. The report says “in 2000, he submitted a fraudulent return for all taxes. From 2001 to 2004, he submitted a fraudulent return for IRPEF [income tax – Trans.] and failed to submit returns for VAT or IRAP [regional tax on business activities - Trans.]”. According to documents received from the UK authorities, Rossi paid only nominal amounts of tax in Britain: just 629 pounds (a little over 1,000 euros) in 2001 on a declared income of 825 pounds; 1,361 pounds in 2002 on earnings of 1,022 pounds and a meager 650 pounds in 2003, despite revenue of astronomical proportions. More at Corriere

British F3
Ammermueller replaces Vettel at Spa  Michael Ammermueller will replace Sebastian Vettel at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend as race driver for the Carlin World Series team, following Vettel’s recent call up to the position of full time race driver with the Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 team. Ammermueller, also a Red Bull driver, comes to Carlin having recovered from a broken wrist acquired at the first GP2 round in Bahrain in April.

Vettel leaves the World Series championship with a 27 point lead in the drivers’ standings. Sebastian Vettel’s move to a permanent F1 race seat continues Carlin’s history of breeding F1 stars. The 20 year-old German joins previous Carlin drivers Takuma Sato, Anthony Davidson, Robert Kubica and Nico Rosberg in the 2007 Formula One World Championship. More ...

Hornish enters Busch race  Three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. will make his Michigan International Speedway NASCAR Busch Series debut Saturday, Aug. 18 in the CARFAX 250.

Hornish is currently fifth in IndyCar Series driver point standings and will return to the Irish Hills of Michigan for the fourth time this summer, his second visit in less than two weeks. He first visited MIS at the end of May during an ARCA RE/MAX Series test in preparation for his stock-car debut on the two-mile oval in the June 15 ARCA RE/MAX Series event.

The laps Hornish took in preparation proved to be worth his time. The Defiance, Ohio, native took the AAA Pole Award and led 29 of 100 laps before Roush Fenway Racing’s Erik Darnell took the lead and eventually the checkered flag with Hornish close behind in second place.

Labonte excited about new crew chief  This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the two-mile Michigan International Speedway for Sunday’s 3M Performance 400. Located in Brooklyn, Michigan, the speedway features a D-shaped oval.

Labonte remains in the 20th position in NASCAR Nextel Cup championship points heading into this weekend.  The team will be led by new crew chief Doug Randolph this weekend.  Randolph joined Petty Enterprises on Tuesday of this week.

Labonte will be making his 31st start at Michigan this weekend. He has visited victory lane three times at Michigan, the last of which was in 1999. Labonte has four poles at the track and has been very successful there in the past including 15 top 10’s and nine top five’s in his 30 previous starts. His average start at Michigan is 12.6 and average finish is 13.7. More ...

McLaren quarrel to 'help' Ferrari - Kimi  (GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has backed his Ferrari teammate by encouraging their championship rivals at McLaren to keep quarrelling in the fight for the 2007 title.

Brazilian Felipe Massa said this week that, with both he and team colleague Raikkonen trailing their Mercedes-powered opponents in the drivers' classification, he is relieved that he enjoys amiable relationships at his own team.

26-year-old Raikkonen, who is 20 points behind McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton, agreed: "It can be good for us if the others do not get along so well at the moment.

"An atmosphere like that for sure does not help for the championship fight," the Finn told Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell.

Raikkonen added that the internal working environment is one of the "fundamental differences" between Ferrari and Ron Dennis' team, for whom he drove between 2002 and last year.

But he also urged Maranello based Ferrari to improve the reliability of the 2007 car if it wants to overhaul McLaren for the crowns.

"The car is fast, no question," Kimi said.  "We must only reach the finish line more often."

Renault CEO writes off 2007  (GMM)  The president of the French car maker Renault says he has now written off the prospect of a third consecutive formula one title in 2007.

Led by Flavio Briatore, the Enstone based outfit lifted the crowns in both 2005 and last year following battles with, respectively, McLaren and Ferrari.

But this year, Renault lies a distant fourth in the constructors' chase, having also fallen significantly off the pace of BMW-Sauber.

Highest placed Renault racer Giancarlo Fisichella, meanwhile, is a vast 63 points behind for the drivers' crown.

"For this season I have given up the title fight," Renault president and CEO Carlos Ghosn told the business magazine Capital.

He added: "We compete only against BMW for the third place."

Ghosn insisted, however, that F1's ultimate prize will be back on the team's radar for 2008.

"I have told them that next year we must be right back at the top."

Rosberg admits frustration at Williams  (GMM) Nico Rosberg has admitted to frustration with his situation this year at the Williams team.

The impressive German youngster is regularly the quickest competitor outside of the top three teams in 2007, and is increasingly linked with upcoming moves to further his career.

In the German magazine Sport Bild, it is suggested that 22-year-old Rosberg, who debuted for Grove based Williams last year, is frustrated with reliability, a weak Toyota engine, and the fact that any public criticism earns him a rebuke from his team bosses.

Asked about his current situation, he admitted: "Lately, things do not go so well.

"It is more and more difficult to score any points. The top three teams normally reserve the first six positions, and the world champion Renault becomes ever stronger."

Rosberg would not comment upon whether he thought the team had, at the expense of reliability, risked too much to move closer to the top teams.

"Officially, I can only say no," he said.

"I cannot say too much, except that reliability is a problem. It doesn't help anyone to criticize in the public."

He admitted, however, that his team bosses Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head do respect his on-track achievements so far this year, including regularly outpacing experienced teammate Alex Wurz.

"Frank and Patrick are not the kind of people who praise you deeply when you take the car to the maximum. But I do feel that the respect of the team for me continues to rise," said Rosberg.

track news
Construction begins for Surfers race  Friday marks the first day of construction of the Lexmark Indy 300 circuit  on October 18-21, 2007.  Over the coming two months leading into the Lexmark Indy 300, 8 bridges will be erected, 2,515 concrete barriers installed, 25 grandstands built to provide seating for more than 12 000 people, 160 corporate suites furnished, 10km of debris fencing and 16km of security fencing placed, many more temporary structures fitted, and large-scale power and telecommunications systems activated.
Jack Roush discusses Michigan race  Jack Roush, co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing, discusses (mp3 file) the upcoming race weekend at Michigan International Speedway and more.
racing news
Vaughn turns 65  Former Union 76 and Miss Hurst Golden Shifter, Linda Vaughn, a fantasy for many male race fans for so many years, turned 65 today. She still looks good for 65.  Happy Birthday Linda!
Wallace Steps Down  Furniture Row Racing announced today that Kenny Wallace is stepping down as the driver of car No. 78.

"Kenny has been the perfect driver for us as we have looked to his veteran experience during our first year-and-half in the Cup Series," said Joe Garone, Team Manager for Furniture Row Racing. "His personality has brought much positive exposure to the team and to Furniture Row Companies, the team's owner and sponsor. This has included winning the fan vote to participate in this year's All-Star Challenge events."

Karthikeyan predicts Indian driver boom  India's first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan has predicted a race driver boom from the subcontinent in the near future. "In the next five years you will get some of the best drivers in the world from India.  There is so much talent in India and it is only a matter of time that they will start emerging on the international scene," Karthikeyan said.

The ace Indian driver was in Dubai yesterday to test and promote the brand-new Speedcar Series that is to be run alongside the GP2 Asia Series from November this year.

"Not only will you see a lot of Indian drivers, but all these guys will be doing really well for themselves," he predicted.

Windsor offers Detroit GP ticket  The City of Windsor has expanded its already significant partnership with the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix to include a special ticket offer for Canadian race fans.  

Fans interested in celebrating the return of world-class racing to the Detroit/Windsor area August 31-September 2, 2007 can purchase a lower reserved grandstand ticket and parking/transportation package for either Saturday, September 1 action or Sunday, September 2 activities at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix for the discounted rate of $40 Canadian. The price of the package includes a single-day lower reserved grandstand ticket for the Grand Prix, free parking and round-trip Transit Windsor shuttle service to and from Belle Isle. For more information and to order one of the special Windsor ticket/transportation packages for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix please contact the City of Windsor's 311 Call Center at 1-877-746-4311.  

This ticket offer is an addition to the City of Windsor’s already prominent role in the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.  This partnership includes sponsorship of the event’s official media center, to be housed in the historic Belle Isle Casino building, which celebrates its 100th birthday in 2007. The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix International Media Center presented by the City of Windsor will feature representatives from Windsor working hand-in-hand with City of Detroit ambassadors. The two city contingents will welcome both the international and domestic media corps to the Grand Prix throughout the weekend while promoting the Detroit/Windsor area as a premier two-nation destination.   

“Creating this special ticket offer gives Canadian fans a great opportunity to be a part of a world-class sporting event as we welcome the Grand Prix back to our region,” said Eddie Francis, Mayor of the City of Windsor. “This offer takes care of everything for the Grand Prix fan – from a premium ticket, to easy, convenient parking to a smooth trip across the international border. This a great way to enjoy the total experience at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.” More ...
Racing News
Monterey Car Show To Feature Indy 500 Roadsters  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum will have eight vintage race cars, including five Indianapolis 500 winners, on display at the 34th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races Presented by Toyota on Aug. 17-19 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

The cars are part of the extensive collection of motorized vehicles at the Museum, one of the most highly visible museums in the world devoted to automobiles and motor racing.

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum is proud to bring these pieces of history to Monterey," said Joie Chitwood, IMS president and chief operating officer. "These cars showcase a fascinating portion of Indy 500 history, and we are excited to share these cars with our fans and enthusiasts at such a prestigious event."

Making the trip from Indianapolis to Monterey is an impressive array of Indy 500-winning roadsters:

.The Belond Salih/Offy driven to victory in 1957 by Sam Hanks and in 1958 by Jimmy Bryan. More ...

Singapore night race decision due in 2007  (GMM) Whether or not the inaugural Singapore grand prix next September will be the first formula one race to ever be staged under lights will be decided before the year is out.

That was the information on Tuesday of the island city-state's minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran, according to Channel NewsAsia.

He said safety tests were currently underway but explained that a decision must be made sooner or later so that the event can be properly marketed.
Gibbs team signs Busch  Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), winners of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championships and over 70 NASCAR races, has signed 22-year-old Kyle Busch to drive for the No. 18 team in Nextel Cup beginning in 2008.

“We’re extremely pleased to have Kyle Busch as a part of the family here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “Kyle is extremely talented, as his track record has proven, and he had a lot of teams to choose from in determining who would give him the best chance to win. Obviously, we’re glad he chose JGR, and he’ll have all the tools and resources he needs to win races and contend for championships.” More ...
Randolph named Crew Chief of #43  Petty Enterprises announces veteran Doug Randolph as crew chief for the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driven by 2000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Bobby Labonte.

Randolph, who takes over the crew chief duties from Paul Andrews, will be on top of the pit box for this weekend’s 3M Performance 400 at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway.

“Doug Randolph brings an outstanding resume to Petty Enterprises,” said Vice President of Race Operations Robbie Loomis.  “He was a winner in the Busch Series and he brings a wealth of knowledge to this team.  Bobby (Labonte) and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team need to take the next step.  Doug is the leader that we feel can do that for us.”

“Paul Andrews is a championship crew chief that did some great things during his time at Petty Enterprises,” continued Loomis.  “He is a man of high character that built a solid team around Bobby Labonte. We wish Paul all the best.  We’re still very involved with Tim Andrews as a development driver for Petty Enterprises and will continue that relationship."

Petty Enterprises has plans of entering Tim Andrews in the ARCA Series event at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this October.

Randolph, 41, brings over 20 years of NASCAR experience to Petty Enterprises.  He most recently directed the NASCAR Busch Series efforts of Reagan Smith.

“Looking at other options I felt working with everyone at Petty Enterprises was right for me,” said Randolph.  “Bobby is a championship driver and the organization is very determined to get back to victory lane.”

Teams unhappy with McLaren supplying ECUs  (GMM)  More than a year after the granting of the FIA tender, serious opposition within the formula one pitlane has emerged to McLaren supplying standard ECUs to all teams from 2008.

It is reported in the specialist technical publication Auto Motor und Sport that at least Renault, Ferrari, Honda and BMW - after trying the jointly Microsoft-McLaren electronics system recently in testing - are not happy with the idea of using the unit for the next three years.

McLaren Electronic Systems, although separate to Ron Dennis' F1 team, is based at the Woking factory and part of the McLaren Group.

The German magazine said that the aforementioned teams experienced problems with engine and throttle control when they fitted the McLaren ECU at a recent test session.

It is suggested that some teams may also now be uncomfortable with the idea of forcibly working closely - including exchanging data - with a team that is accused of industrial espionage.

Renault boss Flavio Briatore is openly unhappy about working with McLaren in 2008-2010 and is believed to be exploring legal options.

"How am I to trust a company that is at the centre of a spying scandal?" he is quoted as saying.

BMW's Mario Theissen added: "I have to say that (when we tested the ECU) some serious situations arose."

McLaren and the FIA, however, dismiss the concerns.  A spokesman for McLaren said: "MES acts independently of the (F1) team", while the FIA source insisted that the awarding of the tender will be followed through with.

"The teams always oppose anything that is new," he added.

PSV fans to see unveiling tomorrow  PSV Einhoven football fans will get the chance to see their entry into the Superleague Formula championship for the first time when the club’s livery is officially revealed at Philips Stadium tomorrow. Superleague Formula President and CEO Alex Andreu puts the finishing touches on PSV Einhoven's Superleague Formula car.

The red and white car will be unveiled in spectacular fashion outside of the club’s home ground – descending from high above the stadium to be presented to the devoted Dutch fans.

The car will later be pushed onto the centre of the pitch where the entire PSV 2007/08 playing squad will get to see their club’s colors adorning the 750 horsepower, V-12 powered single seater.

The PSV event is the second major public event for Superleague Formula. Last month, German fans of Borussia Dortmund got to see their club’s car at Signal Iduna Park – Germany’s largest football stadium. More ...

Industry News
Buyers rate GM, Ford high  Detroit automakers gained ground in a University of Michigan customer satisfaction survey set to be released today, marking the second report in a week that shows positive signs for the quality of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. brands.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand ranked first in the study, which asks car owners to rate their satisfaction with the vehicles they own. Lexus scored 87 on a 100-point scale. Ford’s Lincoln and Mercury brands, GM's Buick and Cadillac brands and BMW all tied for second at 86. The scores are part of the American Customer Satisfaction Index produced by the University of Michigan's National Quality Research Center.

The scores are encouraging for Detroit because they come in a year when the domestic nameplates -- led by GM -- are trying to offer less in incentives, said Claes Fornell, director of the U-M center.

In previous years, owners may have felt some satisfaction because they thought they had gotten a good deal on a domestic brand, Fornell said. Quality likely is driving the scores up this year, he said.

"I think that's much more sustainable than playing the pricing game," Fornell said. "Everything seems to be moving in the right direction."

The U-M study follows a report issued last week by J.D. Power and Associates that showed Buick tied with Lexus in quality for vehicles 3 years old. Cadillac and Mercury ranked in the top four, as well. More at Detroit Free Press

Industry News
Ford China sales up  Ford Motor Co.'s retail sales in China of its wholly owned brands rose 29 percent in the first seven months of the year, the company said on Tuesday, beating 23.73 percent growth in the overall market.  Sales of Ford, Lincoln, Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover brand vehicles came to 94,064 units in the first seven months, Ford said in a statement.  To help drive vehicle sales in the world's second-largest auto market, global giants such as Volkswagen, General Motors  and Ford have been offering loans to lure buyers. From January to July, Ford's auto financing unit in the country offered 5,200 car loans and the number could top 10,000 for the full year, the company said.
Singapore hotels to be charged with 'F1-tax'  The government of Singapore announced that plans are being finalized to charge hotels located at the street circuit an extra 20% tax. At least 11 hotels are located around the proposed street track and they will be charged for that lucrative privilege by their own government.

The government expects many hotels to benefit from the expensive Formula 1 event that will be held in September 2008 and thus they expect the hotels to contribute to the expensive license of hosting a Formula One race.

The Ministry of Trade said in a statement: "Some hotels are likely to benefit more from the event than others due to their proximity to the circuit or because their rooms have a good view of the track. The hotels are expected to be fully booked."

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Massa predicts 'war' at conflict-ridden McLaren
  • Jones 'loves' McLaren teammate squabble
  • Ramirez advises Alonso to stay at McLaren
  • Spy scandal is good news for F1 - Surer
  • Honda wind tunnel 'wrong' - Barrichello

Massa predicts 'war' at conflict-ridden McLaren
(GMM) Felipe Massa says he is relieved that Ferrari is not grappling with the kind of internal conflict that is currently polluting his championship rivals at McLaren.

The Brazilian driver, who is more than 20 points behind in the battle for the drivers' crown, rubs salt into McLaren's wounds by insisting that all is comparably well with his own teammate, Kimi Raikkonen.

Tension between McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton hit an all time high in Hungary recently, when their mutual mistrust and fierce competitive rivalry spilled into a sequence of on and off-track incidents.

"Seeing what is happening within McLaren makes me really value the relationship I have with Kimi," Massa told the Spanish newspaper Marca.

The 26-year-old said it is possible to be professional even when formula one teammates do not particularly like one another.

Referring again to the aloof Finn Raikkonen, Massa said: "We are not friends but we behave like two professional drivers who try to do the best thing for our team.

"Honestly I feel very lucky to be able to work at Ferrari where I have no problem at all with my teammate.

"We have a great atmosphere for working well together."

Massa also said he expected the situation between Spaniard Alonso and British rookie Hamilton to worsen even more over the next few races.

"War starts when harmony ends," he said.

Jones 'loves' McLaren teammate squabble
(GMM) 1980 world champion Alan Jones has refused to condemn McLaren's driver lineup for becoming embroiled in a bitter spat as they battle for the 2007 title.

The 60-year-old Australian, who similarly clashed with his Williams teammate Carlos Reutemann nearly three decades ago, said he enjoyed the on-track incidents and verbal battles waged between the pair at the recent Hungarian grand prix.

"I loved it," Jones told the Observer newspaper, albeit advising team boss Ron Dennis to get his drivers back under control.

Jones did not even criticize Alonso for deliberately holding up his teammate and championship leader Hamilton in the now infamous qualifying pitstop in Budapest. More ...

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