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Michigan Sunday Notebook - 3  
  1. Carl Edwards’ victory at Michigan today is the 12th of his career and fifth of the season. He also won at California, Las Vegas, Texas and Pocono. Edwards’ wins at California and Las Vegas marked the second time in his career that he posted back-to-back victories.
  2. Edwards is second in the Sprint Cup series in victories with five.
  3. This is Edwards’ second career Cup win at Michigan. He also won at MIS in June 2006, and now has eight top-10 finishes in nine career starts at the track.
  4. Edwards now has 14 top-10 finishes in his last 17 starts. His 17 top-10s overall lead the series.
  5. Edwards also won Saturday’s Nationwide race at Michigan.
  6. Owner Jack Roush now has 11 all-time Cup wins at Michigan, tying him with the Wood Brothers (who won 11 races between 1969-91, including eight with David Pearson from ’72-’78). Roush has won at least one Cup race at Michigan in each of the last seven years (2002-08).
  7. Edwards’ victory at Dover last year was the 100th all-time for Roush Fenway Racing.
  8. Ford now has won 588 races all-time in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
  9. Ford now has won 31 times in 79 races at Michigan, more than nay other manufacturer.
  10. Today’s win is Fusion’s fifth of the season and 19th all-time since its debut in 2006. Fusion’s first-ever NSC victory was by Matt Kenseth in February 2006 at California Speedway.
Schumacher wins Top-Fuel again  
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher defeated Larry Dixon to score a class-record-tying fifth straight victory in Top Fuel and run his unbeaten streak at the 1,000-foot distance to 20 straight rounds with a victory at the 24th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals. The event, the 17th race of the 24-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and the next to last before the fields are set for the Countdown to 1 playoffs that start after the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in two weeks, was chock full of points drama and upset performances.

Matt Smith, who shared the winner’s circle a week ago in Brainerd with Schumacher, will do it again after scoring in Pro Stock Motorcycle with his second straight final-round victory over Angelle Sampey. Jack Beckman and Jeg Coughlin each earned their second wins of the season and their first since early spring with their respective Funny Car and Pro Stock final-round conquests of Frank Hawley and Dave Connolly.

Schumacher and Dixon began the season tied wins apiece and both were participating in their 82nd career Top Fuel final round in Reading, but that’s where the duality ends as Schumacher continued his roll by earning his fifth straight Wally and record-tying 10th of the season and Dixon suffered his fourth straight final-round loss of the season, 3.84 to 3.89.

“It’s definitely been incredible,” said Schumacher. “There really are no words. I could stand up here all day long and try to explain it, but it’s been a gift of a year. We’ve been together for five years, and this year has been the most dominant that we’ve ever been. It’s just an awesome car, and it hasn’t been one of those cars that’s run a tenth faster than everyone. That [final] there, it was a tenth of a second — good race. The driver had to do his job, and I think I’m driving good because it’s tight racing. It’s constant suck-it-up moments.” More ...

Dempsey wins Star Mazda at Trois Rivières  Irishman Peter Dempsey became the second two-time winner – and the first driver with back-to-back victories – with his victory in Round 7 of Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the 39th annual GP3R.  Finishing 2nd was the other two-race winner of the season, John Edwards in the #7 AIM Autosport Mazda.  Rounding out the top-3 was Louisiana driver Alex Ardoin in the #51 Mundill Racing / Oral & Facial Surgery Center / Twister Trailer Mazda.    Joining them on the podium was Expert Series winner Chris Cumming in the #16 World Speed Motorsports / Inviro Medical Mazda and Master Series victor Chuck Hulse in the #12 JDC Motorsports / Silicon Salvage Mazda. More ...
Nationwide teams irked by Gibbs team cheating  Reaction was predictably swift Sunday among fellow Nationwide Series team owners in the wake of NASCAR inspectors catching Joe Gibbs Racing trying to alter the result of chassis dyno tests on the cars of Tony Stewart and Joey Logano.

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said inspectors preparing to run the tests discovered spacers -- in this case one-quarter inch thick magnets -- were placed on the gas-pedal stop to keep the car from running wide open and presenting a true indication of how much horsepower was reaching the rear wheels of the team's Toyotas.

"Their [rear end] needs to be kicked out of there," Richard Childress said. "They're shiftless anyway. They [NASCAR] just need to do something."

J.D. Gibbs, the team's president and son of owner Joe Gibbs, vowed that no matter what action NASCAR takes -- and he expects it "will be a pretty big slap," -- the team will take additional action against the employees involved. He stopped short of saying whether anyone would be fired, but said action would come quickly.

"That was a really poor and foolish decision on the part of our key guys," said Gibbs, who apologized to NASCAR, Toyota and the teams sponsors. "A couple of guys chose to make a decision there that really impacts all of us. To me, the frustrating part is, why?

"I know they're probably frustrated from the standpoint of wanting to show that, hey, we have less horsepower than ever before and wanting it to look like we're handicapped even more than we actually were. I understand that, but that's not an excuse."  More at ESPN.com

Hamilton’s luggage stolen  Lewis Hamilton is reported to have had his bags stolen at a Spanish hotel. The F1 ace was checking out of the Malaga Palacio in the Costa del Sol with girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger when thieves grabbed his bags from the open trunk of his rented Mercedes.

Hamilton’s bodyguards gave chase but the thieves disappeared into the crowd and the bodyguards were unable to catch them. Witnesses to the event have said that the thieves looked like opportunists and were probably not specifically targeting the star.

Hamilton was in the city because Scherzinger was performing there with her band, the Pussycat Dolls.

Brno: Stoner chokes, Rossi wins  
Valentino Rossi speeds to an easy win
Valentino Rossi once again benefitted from Casey Stoner’s misfortune for a second consecutive MotoGP victory, crossing the finish line first at the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske republiky. The Fiat Yamaha rider’s win –coupled with an early crash from his title rival- increased his lead to 50 points in the standings and dealt a crucial strike to his World Championship chances.

Stoner was caught by surprise on the sixth lap when out at the front. He had over a second of advantage over Rossi after taking the holeshot, but slipped his front wheel out on the new Brno asphalt and was lowsided into the gravel. It was Stoner’s first DNF since his joining the Ducati Marlboro team for the 2007 season.

Ducati were, however, represented on the podium in the Czech Republic, courtesy of Alice Team rider Toni Elias. The Spaniard had experienced problems on the sighting lap –a sign that did not bode well for his race- but burst through the 800cc stars ahead of him from thirteenth on the grid. His second place marks the first podium for both he and his satellite team in 2008, and he became only the second satellite rider to step onto the rostrum this year. More ...

Coulthard spotted at MotoGP race  (GMM) David Coulthard is enjoying the last weekend of F1's so-called August break trackside at the MotoGP race.

The Brazilian publication Grande Premio reports that the Scot, who races for Red Bull Racing, has been spotted at the Brno circuit, scene of the Czech Republic grand prix.

It is not the first time Coulthard, who is set to retire at the end of the 2008 season, has attended a round of another premier motor racing category this year. At the end of May, he visited the world of NASCAR as the American stock cars raced at Delaware.
Stewart-Haas Racing looking for personnel  Now that most of the big-name drivers in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series are under contract for 2009, the silly season has turned to crew chiefs and engineers.

There were published reports Saturday that Darian Grubb, engineering manager for the Nos. 5 and 88 Chevrolets at Hendrick Motorsports, has been offered the crew chief’s job for Tony Stewart at his new Stewart-Haas Racing team that will begin Cup competition next season. It was first reported on ESPN.com.

A spokesman for Hendrick said the team does not comment on rumors, while Mike Arning, spokesman for Stewart’s new team, said, “Stewart-Haas Racing has had, and will continue to have, discussions with numerous people regarding leadership positions within the team, including crew chiefs for the Nos. 4 and 14 teams. At this point, no decisions have been made in regard to filling those positions.” Yahoo! Sports
Morgan-McClure Owners Not Happy Over Losing #4  The morning of Aug. 15 was not pleasant for the owners and fans of Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Hundreds of miles from the hills of Southwest Virginia, a persistent rumor turned into a harsh reality. In an orchestrated press conference at Michigan, it was confirmed that Ryan Newman will drive the #4 Chevy next season for the new Stewart-Haas team in the Sprint Cup Series. For 25 years, that yellow # 4 was closely intertwined with the Abingdon-based MMM Chevy. "There's some sweat and history in that number 4. We feel like it ours," MMM co-owner Tim Morgan said. According to Morgan and team general manager Larry McClure, the # 4 is still registered under the name of the MMM team. NASCAR owns all the numbers that are used in the series, however. McClure and Morgan, who assumed they had a right of refusal for any potential number switch, were clearly frustrated when contacted Friday. Despite Friday's announcement and the lackluster economic climate, the leaders of MMM are still holding out hope for a return to the track. In fact, select team members are still working at the expansive race shop in Abingdon. Bristol Herald Courier
Q and A: Sam Michael  Williams Technical Director Sam Michael looks ahead to next week’s European Grand Prix, and gives his take on the demands of the new Valencia street circuit.

Q. How do the team prepare the cars for a new circuit when it’s such an unknown quantity?
A. Car set-up is selected based on the downforce level and the average corner speed. This is arrived at through mapping the circuit and then using that data to run it through a lap simulation program.

Q. What preparations do the drivers undertake?
A. Drivers work with their engineers to understand what the circuit will require. They may then use the simulator to drive the circuit if the circuit map is available prior to the event.

Q. Are you given any technical information about the track by the circuit organizers in advance to assist with preparations? If so, what do you know already about either track?
A. We’re only given limited data, such as a plan view circuit map. Sometimes we’re given cad data so we can then create a more accurate map back at the factory. Additionally, Bridgestone are normally given access in advance in order to measure the track’s abrasiveness so they can pre-select the correct tire compound.

Q. How will the team cope with the logistics of a night race?
A. An interesting question, but one that we will only be able to answer properly after we have completed the Singapore race weekend. The most taxing aspect will be doing de-briefs at 1.30 in the morning! Perhaps staying on a European time zone will help, providing one can sleep the following morning!

Q. Will the drivers have to undergo any specific preparations for racing at night?
A. Not, not really.

Q. How hard will it be for the drivers to adapt to racing at night?
A. During the opening stages of the race weekend, they may have to drive conservatively if it is difficult to judge braking points, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Q. Have you personally, or anyone within the team, visited either Valencia or Singapore to check out the circuit?
A. Our Team Manager, Tim Newton, has been to both circuits to check everything looks ok.  Source: AT&T Williams

NASCAR hands out revised testing policy at Michigan  NASCAR handed out a proposed testing policy to Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs Saturday afternoon. The proposal was much like the one already floated last month, where each organization would get 24 test days in addition to the preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway. Organizations would be allowed to test only two cars but could have all of their drivers present. Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said that the most significant revision is that a team will be allowed to bring an additional transporter with a third car in case one gets wrecked during the test session. Darby said NASCAR will continue to get input from crew chiefs with a target date of Sept. 1 for any final revisions. SceneDaily.com
Dempsey on Star Mazda Pole at Trois Rivières  
Peter Dempsey
Having earned the nickname 'Fireball' in Thursday's final practice session when he first set the fastest lap and then had his car catch on fire, Irishman Peter Dempsey – winner of the last race, Round 5 at Road America, won the pole for the start of tomorrow's Round 6 of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.  His lap of 1:01.788 (88.619 mph) in the #21 Andersen Racing / LotusWorks/Allied Building Products Mazda was a new track record, eclipsing the previous record of 1:02.106 set by Ryan Justice in 2006. 

The time was just 0.148 seconds clear of American John Edwards, who will start next to Dempsey on the front row in the #7 AIM Autosport Mazda with a lap of 1:01.936 (88.407 mph).  Edwards is the only two-race winner so far this season, from the pole in his first-ever Star Mazda Championship race at Miller Motorsports Park and again in Race 2, Round 5 at the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland.

"I'm not too sure about the nickname 'Fireball,' but I'm happy to be turning some hot laps for Andersen Racing and my sponsors," said Dempsey.  "We had a split qualifying session, so traffic wasn't so much of a problem as were the local yellows.  The car was handling brilliantly, but every time I got a run going the flags came out.  But I finally got one in and when the team told me I was on pole, we decided to park the car with about seven minutes to go in the session and see if anyone could go faster.  No one did, so we have a car that's six or seven laps fresher for the race than anyone else.  I think it's great for the diversity of the series to have all kinds of different drivers, including me, winning poles and races.  Hopefully I can become the series' second two-race winner tomorrow." More ...

tv news
Johnny Benson will be a guest on Wind Tunnel  UPDATE A reminder that Johnny Benson will be the featured guest on Wind Tunnel tonight.  Always enlightening Robin Miller will be the guest co-host.

08/15/08 Current Craftsman Truck Series points leader, Johnny Benson, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday, August 17. In his fourth full season racing in the series for Bill Davis, Benson is on a roll winning 4 of the last 5 events.  Benson will be joined by guest co-host Robin Miller, SPEED's open wheel racing analyst.  Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs live at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET on SPEED.
tv news
Weekend USA TV Reminders  UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NASCAR in a Hurry Michigan 
10:30am-11:00am SPEED
NHRA Raceday Reading, PA 
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Raceday Michigan 
11:00am-1:00pm SPEED
NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Series Brainerd, MN 
11:30am-12:30pm (08/2008)  ESPN2
NASCAR Sprint Cup 3M Performance 400 Michigan
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) Pre-race
2:00pm-5:30pm (L) -Race ESPN
MotoGP 250 Czech Republic 
2:00pm-3:00pm (SD) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship Czech Republic
2:00pm-3:00pm (SD) CBS
Check local listings for your time zone
AMA Superbike Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals Virginia
4:00pm-5:00pm (8/16/08) -Day 1
(Day 2 shown at 6pm) SPEED
AMA Supersport Virginia 
5:00pm-6:00pm (SD) SPEED
AMA Superbike Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals Virginia
6:00pm-7:00pm (SD) -Day 2 SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Michigan 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Robin Miller (Open Wheel Analyst)
Johnny Benson (Craftsman Truck) 
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NHRA Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals Reading, PA
10:00pm-1:00am (SD) ESPN2
All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com
Michigan Saturday Notebook - 2  
-  Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards were the class of the field, but an ill-handling car after a late Stewart pit stop assured all but handed the Nationwide Series win to Edwards.  Second place went to Brian Vickers, followed by Tony Stewart.  This is the last Nationwide Series race for Stewart for Joe Gibbs racing.  Carl Edwards should remember, however, to remove the helmet and HANS device before he does his signature back flip.   

-  Yes, it's true... the ESPN announcers for the Brickyard 400 thought if was funny — in a sad sort of way — when they followed the Goodyear script that read, "Track-tested tough."  However, the script is part of the sponsorship deal, and obviously no one at Goodyear thought to have it pulled before it was read. 

-  If you saw the reclusive Dario Franchitti on TV this weekend, perhaps you noted his new hair style.  "I grew it out," he said, "Just to prove that I still could."  Okay, he flies around in a helicopter, he owns a castle, and he is married to Ashley Judd — and he's worried about male pattern baldness?  Maybe he's trying to show up former teammate Tony Kanaan? 

-  Ford is shooting straight with its future in NASCAR.  According to a local radio interview, its Craftsman Truck program is under serious re-examination, given the crash in F150 truck sales.  The F150 was once the most popular selling "car" in the American market, and now Ford is left with that image which overshadows its fuel-efficient cars.  Even more important, the manufacturers are underwriting a much higher percentage of the sponsorship bill than either the Cup or Nationwide series — perhaps as much as 75% in some cases — and no doubt this adds to the questions surrounding the future of the series. Tim Wohlford reporting from MIS
Reutimann to return to Michael Waltrip Racing  David Reutimann has had his option picked up by Michael Waltrip Racing for next season, and now he’s looking for the team to continue its progress.

“It gives you one less thing to worry about,” Reutimann said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “Now you can concentrate on finishing out the year.”

“We just need to continue to build  – this is a deal that is still a work in progress,” Reutimann said. “We’ll keep thrashing on things and doing things at the shop that we need to do.

“This is one of our newest cars here. It’s a lot lighter. That’s a step in the right direction rather than just trying to get to the race track every week just starting to build stuff and refine it and make it better. If we can continue to do that during the remainder of the year and pick back up a little bit, [and start] getting more consistent and finish out on a high note, we can roll into Daytona locked in [the top 35 in owners points] and go from there.”
Free gas for NASCAR fans  Homestead-Miami Speedway officials announced that they would award $20 Sunoco gas cards to out-of-market fans who buy tickets to the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series races at the track in November.

Fans traveling 100 miles or more to the season-ending races who buy either two grandstand tickets to the Sprint Cup race on Nov. 16 or two two-day tickets for both the Cup and Nationwide races will receive the gas cards.

Also, the track announced that fans can reserve RV parking spots, eliminating the need to arrive days in advance.

“All of us have been affected by the increased fuel costs,” Homestead Miami President Curtis Gray said in a news release. “So we went to work exploring initiatives we can offer here at the speedway to alleviate the strain of this current economic climate. And there’s no better place to start than with the loyal fans who travel extended distances to be a part of NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend.”
Bomarito Sets New Atlantic Track Record  Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda points leader Jonathan Bomarito continued his hot streak in final qualifying for the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières and extended his points lead in record fashion.

Driving the No. 26 Del Taco/Stone Brewing/Discount Tire/RLM Investments entry for Mathiasen Motorsports, Bomarito broke the Atlantic Championship track record at the historic, 1.521-mile temporary street circuit with a lap at 58.989 seconds (92.824 mph). The lap eclipsed the previous record of 59.296 seconds (92.343 mph) set by 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team member A.J. Allmendinger in his championship-winning season of 2003.

It is the third pole position of the season for Bomarito and the fourth of his Atlantic career, and his bonus point for taking the pole in final qualifying moved him six points ahead of Canadian James Hinchcliffe in the championship standings. Bomarito now leads the standings with 160 points to Hinchcliffe’s 154 markers heading into Sunday’s eighth round of the 11-race 2008 Atlantic Championship season. The American will be looking for his third victory of the season and is looking to become the 10th consecutive Atlantic driver to win at Trois-Rivières after starting from the pole position.

“What an amazing session, really,” Bomarito said. “We had it pretty much mapped out before we even went out and we stuck to the game plan. We made a good change on pit lane. It was a perfect session. I can’t thank the guys enough. The whole Mathiasen Motorsports team is amazing. We’ve got Atlantic legend Dave Empringham here working with us this weekend. It’s really good to finally work with him on a race weekend. It’s just been a lot of fun. We’re enjoying it, we’ve got great momentum and we’re looking forward to a good race tomorrow.” More ...

Staten Island nightmare won't end for ISC  Todd Polakoff, a former International Speedway Corp. employee, has became the second of two former ISC employees to plead guilty to one count of extortion conspiracy in association with the failed attempt to put a race track on Staten Island.

Polakoff will be sentenced Oct. 16 in U.S. District Court in New York, according to court records. He was scheduled to go to trial earlier this week.

Polakoff and his supervisor, WIllilam Kilgannon, were among 62 people indicted in February as part of a wide-ranging, 80-count federal indictment that targeted alleged Mafia members, including three high-ranking members of the Gambino crime family.
Atlantic Series announces All-Star team  With the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda celebrating its 35th Anniversary this season and returning to the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres for the first time since 2003, the iconic street race in Quebec served as the perfect backdrop for the series to unveil the 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team.

The 10-member team was determined in voting by a panel of esteemed auto racing journalists and photographers earlier this year and was selected from a field of 25 finalists. Plans are currently being made to honor the 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team as part of the 2008 season finale at Road Atlanta on October 3.

“We are thrilled to be back at Trois-Rivieres this weekend for the first time in five years and this was the perfect event for us to announce our 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team,” said Atlantic Championship President Vicki O’Connor. “This team represents the very best of the Atlantic Championship over the years and every member of the team truly earned the right to be a part of it. I am grateful to our friends in the media who participated in the selection of the team and I offer my sincere congratulations to every driver who was selected.” More ...
Michigan: Saturday Notebook  
- "It'll kill all the single-car teams."  That was the observation of a crew member of a Nationwide NASCAR series single-car team, when AR1 asked him about the rumored transition to new car styles for the 2010 season.  Sponsor dollars are already tight in that series, and no doubt some sponsors have out that the Nationwide money can make the sponsor for a top IRL team in the Indy 500.  One of the team owners summed it up in one of those wonderful southern similes:  "This whole deal is like a mother dog eating her pups," he drawled. 

  -  Then again, rumors abound that the Americans are seriously reconsidering their level of involvement in NASCAR.  The American pickup truck market that once caused the Craftsman Truck Series to be born is now on life support.  In addition, Toyota is now beating them both on the track, the showroom, and on the balance sheet.  Perhaps this is yet another reason why the American manufacturers want to market their new "retro" cars (Mustang, Challenger, Camaro, etc) in Nationwide — can anyone honest say they long for a retro Camry? More ...
Brno: Stoner wins pole  
Casey Stoner
Despite feeling less than 100% with a fever, there was no stopping Casey Stoner from taking a sixth successive pole position for the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske republiky, as the Australian imposed his will on his rivals in a wet qualifying session.

Stoner recorded a fastest time of 2´11.657 in the soaking session, giving him the longest pole streak since fellow countryman Mick Doohan´s twelve-in-a-row from 1997. In doing so, he relegated MotoGP’s self-styled `Doctor´ -World Championship leader Valentino Rossi- down to second on the grid.

Rossi was suffering his own ailment on Saturday, with an ear and sinus infection posing him problems. Even with their respective medical woes, both Stoner and Rossi can be expected to battle against each other once more in Brno when the red light goes out on Sunday.

The front row will be completed by last year’s runner-up at Brno, Kawasaki’s John Hopkins, as the Anglo-American lines up for his first MotoGP race since the June visit to Donington Park. A first front row for `Team Green´ marked an ideal return for Hopkins, who will be out for a maiden podium to salvage something from his 2008 campaign. More ...

Ford to sell more shares, screw shareholders  Ford Motor Co. said Friday it will sell $500 million in common stock to pay off debt at its financing arm, according to a regulatory filing.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it will sell the shares from time to time, then use the proceeds to buy Ford Motor Credit LLC outstanding debt securities in the open market or privately negotiated deals. Ford Motor Credit has struggled in recent months, taking a $2.1 billion charge during the second quarter related to the drop in used vehicle prices.

The move also further dilutes Ford stock at a time when its price is already near record lows. As of July 29, the company had roughly 2.19 billion common shares outstanding, according to a filing with the SEC. Ford shares have dropped 24 percent in the last year.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. will handle the sale, Ford said. Ford shares rose 1 cent to finish Friday at $5.11.
Automakers say they are still committed to NASCAR  Automakers fret over resale values. Chrysler sells assets to raise cash. Ford lays off 300 from Romeo Engine. Toyota profits plunge. General Motors stock prices fall 15 percent.

Headlines in the automotive industry don't paint a pretty picture these days.

Detroit's Big Three -- General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler -- have cut more than 100,000 jobs since 2006 to offset billions in losses and their steadily declining market share due to rising gas prices and an overall down economy. A Merrill Lynch analyst issued a report last month saying "bankruptcy is not impossible" for GM if the overall market continues to deteriorate.

And Toyota recently reported a 38.9 percent drop in operating profit.

But amongst the gloom and doom the manufacturers remain committed to NASCAR, which showcases the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series this weekend in the hub of the automotive world at Michigan International Speedway.

While the days of win on Sunday and sell on Monday, no longer exist, top executives at Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Dodge still believe racing is vital to its marketing.

They still believe it's as important to beat each other on the track as it is in the showroom.

"It's win on Sunday, please consider us when you're in the market for a car six months from now," said Kevin Kennedy, Ford Racing Technology's communications manager.

In many ways the manufacturers play a bigger role in the sport than ever. They no longer simply supply parts and pieces as they did 20 years ago. They are more actively involved in engineering and innovation.  ESPN.com

Big 3 to cut more suppliers  The purchasing chiefs of Detroit's reeling Big Three automakers offered a grim forecast for auto suppliers on Friday, saying more components manufacturers are likely to fail as U.S. auto sales plummet.

Speaking at the Center for Automotive Research's annual Management Briefing Seminars, the procurement executives also said their strategy was to reduce the number of suppliers they use and reward top performers.

Chrysler LLC purchasing chief John Campi is targeting a 25 percent reduction in supply chain costs within three years and plans to trim his supplier rolls. He noted that 50 percent of Chrysler's 800 suppliers together supply just 5 percent of its parts.

"We're going to get rid of those that are not core," he said, noting that the automaker could cut up to 100 of its largest 300 suppliers, while adding others. "We're going to look at every one."

A lap of Valencia with Mike Conway  
Alex Wurz, Test & Reserve Driver: "I remember the first Formula One test that I did in Valencia in 2000. Back then it was the tiniest town and it has grown like mad to become a very cool city. There are good places to go out and it's very fast moving. The city is really into sport, with football and the America's Cup, and they will put on a good show for Formula One. I think Valencia will very quickly establish itself as one of our favorite Grands Prix.

"Being a street track, it will have that extra bit of flair and it will be a real buzz for the drivers to learn a new track. It will be dusty to start with, so they will need to increase their speed steadily because the barriers will be very unforgiving. I really like street circuits and it would be cool to be racing this weekend!"

Mike Conway, Honda Racing F1 Team Young Driver: "I raced at Valencia the weekend before the Hungarian Grand Prix in a GT sportscar. It's a challenging track, although the high concrete walls give it a very different feel to somewhere like Monaco. The first corner is a curved right-hander, which will be taken flat-out in an F1 car, and then it's hard on the brakes for Turn 2, a second-gear right-hander. Turn 3 is a fourth-gear kink, as are Turns 5 and 6, and the cars will probably be in seventh gear before they brake for Turn 8, which is the start of the bridge section.

"There's a small bump as you go on and off the Astilleros Bridge, which could unsettle the cars in the wet, and then there's a 90-degree right before the track drops away and you head down a long, curved straight. Slower cars could be a problem here in qualifying, so you need to keep your eyes on the marshals as you accelerate through the gears.

"You brake really hard for Turn 12 and it is here that it feels most like a street circuit because there are traffic lights hanging across the track and you can see buildings. A double-left comes next and you're almost immediately into Turn 14, a fourth gear 90-degree right. Then you're onto another long straight, at the end of which there's a hairpin that's not dissimilar to the Adelaide Hairpin at Magny-Cours. This will be a good overtaking opportunity.

"You're now into the latter stages of the lap, which is characterized by some fast, sweeping corners. They take you all the way to the final corner, which is a fairly tight left-hander. The exit will be important because you're then heading onto the start/finish straight to start another lap." Honda PR

Valencia: the technical preparations  Round twelve of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship takes the Honda Racing F1 Team to Spain for the inaugural European Grand Prix in Valencia. The 57-lap race will be staged on a 5.440km (3.380-mile) street track, designed by Hermann Tilke, which uses roads surrounding the recently refurbished Juan Carlos I Marina, which was the base for the 32nd America’s Cup in 2007.

The European Grand Prix marks the first time since 1997 that Spain has staged two Formula One races in the same calendar year. Whilst it is Valencia’s first F1 race, the city is not a new destination for the teams. They test regularly at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, 20km from the city, but this permanent venue lacks the necessary infrastructure to stage a Grand Prix, which is why a coastal section of the city has been converted into the new street track.

The Valencia track has 25 corners and a minimum width of 14 meters all the way around the lap. Its specifications and levels of safety are a match for any venue on the F1 calendar, and importantly, it incorporates sufficient run-off for the expected top speeds of more than 300kph (186mph).

Valencia, the technical preparations

The Honda Racing F1 Team has used data from many different sources to help with its preparations for the European Grand Prix. The first ever race meeting at Valencia took place during the last weekend of July, from which the team’s engineers have obtained the telemetry from a Formula 3 car and compared it to F3 data at the Circuit de Catalunya - home of the Spanish Grand Prix - to provide a reference for the set-up of the RA108.

This data has been used in conjunction with track simulations to ascertain gear ratios and downforce levels, and early indications are that the technical demands on the cars will be similar to Hockenheim.

There will of course be some unanswered technical questions when the cars arrive in Valencia, such as the amount of grip generated by the recently laid asphalt. These will only be answered when the track action begins on Friday morning, laying great emphasis on the drivers’ feedback to fine tune the balance of the cars.

Full throttle: 68%
Brake wear: High
Downforce level: High – 7/10
Tire compounds: Soft / Super Soft
Tire usage: Medium
Average speed: 200kph (124mph)

Floundering Penske NASCAR team poised to regroup  While Newman's departure may cause The Captain's (as Penske is often referred) ship to sail through some rocky seas, smoother sailing will eventually return.

"Ryan has several dimensions that, frankly, other drivers don't have," said Walt Czarnecki, executive vice president of Penske Corp. "Clearly, his technical ability (and) we all knows he stands on the gas. He's an engaging guy. I like Ryan almost as a son, to tell you the truth, because I saw him come out of Purdue. But at the same token, when you've got the surrounding cast in place and that's not changing, it'll make the transition that much more efficient."

Newman has 13 wins and 43 poles in his Cup career, all while driving for Penske. But it's no secret he has been unhappy for much of the last three years due to a lack of performance and success.

Example: He missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup in both 2006 and '07, not to mention failing to win a race in either year.

And while he won the season-opening Daytona 500 to start off this year – the biggest triumph of both his driving and Penske's NASCAR ownership careers – Newman will once again miss the Chase in his final year under the Penske banner.

He's hoping that by leaving for Stewart-Haas Racing, the grass – and performance – will be greener on the other side of the hill.

But the Penske group will not fold upon Newman's departure.

"We've been around a long time and we're going to keep going," Czarnecki said.

Penske Racing gets the chance to bring in a new driver to try and reinvigorate what had become a stale team, while potentially also energizing teammates Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr., who, like Newman, have struggled this season. Yahoo! Sports

Cross-Country testing for Dale Coyne Racing  
Bruno Junqueira
The Dale Coyne Racing team took a close look at two upcoming stops on the IndyCar® Series schedule this week, testing at the Chicagoland Speedway oval in Joliet, IL and the Infineon Raceway road course in Sonoma, CA.  After three days of testing, which covered 2,100 miles of travel and hundreds of laps, both drivers liked what they learned.

Bruno Junqueira was happy with the results, after touring the Chicagoland Speedway oval for the very first time.  The No. 18 Z-Line Designs car reached speeds that were competitive with last year's times.

"It was my first look at Chicagoland Speedway, so I am very pleased with my speed," said Junqueira.  "We all learned a lot out there for our first private oval test, and I am really looking forward to returning here in September." 

After the test session in Joliet, Junqueira, Dale Coyne and the team of engineers jumped on a plane for California where they joined up with Mario Moraes for two days of testing on Infineon Raceway's 2.26-mile, 12-turn road course circuit. More ...

Brno: Stoner tops damp final practice  
Stoner on a clear track yesterday
An under the weather Casey Stoner was fastest again in the final free practice session for the Czech Grand Prix at Brno in wet conditions.

The world champion set a time of 2:09.609 on his Ducati early in the session and then watched as no one could top him.



Rider Bike Tire Time Gap
1. Casey Stoner Ducati (B) 2:09.609 +0.000
2. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki (B) 2:10.168 +0.559
3. Alex de Angelis Honda (B) 2:10.941 +1.332
4. Shinya Nakano Honda (B) 2:11.117 +1.508
5. Valentino Rossi Yamaha (B) 2:11.215 +1.606
6. John Hopkins Kawasaki (B) 2:11.374 +1.765
7. Loris Capirossi Suzuki (B) 2:11.389 +1.780
8. Daniel Pedrosa Honda (M) 2:11.762 +2.153
9. Marco Melandri Ducati (B) 2:11.879 +2.270
10. Anthony West Kawasaki (B) 2:11.950 +2.341
11. Andrea Dovizioso Honda (M) 2:12.069 +2.460
12. Toni Elias Ducati (B) 2:12.213 +2.604
13. Sylvain Guintoli Ducati (B) 2:12.276 +2.667
14. Randy de Puniet Honda (M) 2:13.885 +4.276
15. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha (M) 2:14.384 +4.775
16. Colin Edwards Yamaha (M) 2:14.862 +5.253
17. James Toseland Yamaha (M) 2:15.613 +6.004

CitiFinancial to sponsor #38 in four races  CitiFinancial announced that it will sponsor the Yates Racing #38 Ford Fusion and driver David Gilliland in four Sprint Cup Series races beginning at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 17. The #38 will also sport the CitiFinancial and Citi paint scheme at Fontana, Richmond and Texas. Yates Racing PR
Goodyear MIS Tire Notes  Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes this weekend at Michigan . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck teams to run at this track this past June . . . in addition to Michigan, this is the same tire set-up that major NASCAR teams have run at Dover this season . . . Nationwide teams have also run this set-up at Kentucky . . . this left-side tire code (D-4134) is also run with a different right-side code at both Texas and Chicagoland . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 40-44 laps, based on fuel mileage. Goodyear PR
Fireball to be honored  Apopka, Florida will honor hometown hero and the late NASCAR star Glenn "Fireball" Roberts on Saturday, Sept. 6. The fund-raising event, held at the suggestion of Roberts' daughter, Pam Roberts of Rockledge, will feature Roberts' famous #22 race car and Roberts memorabilia his daughter donated to the Museum of the Apopkans and other exhibits. Roberts, considered among the best drivers to ever race in NASCAR, was born in Tavares and moved to Apopka with his family before reaching school age. The family moved to Daytona Beach following his sophomore year at Apopka High. Florida Today
Ward Burton's son to race at South Boston  South Boston Speedway is steeped in history in its 51 years of racing action and the name Burton is one of the many reasons America's Hometown Track has garnered so much success over the years. Saturday night, a new generation of Burton competitors will make his debut at South Boston Speedway in the Italian Delight 150 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race program. The five-race program will get underway at 7pm/et. Ward Burton's son, Jeb, who turned 16-years-old on Aug. 6, will make his debut in racing action on the four-tenths mile when he competes in a pair of 50-lap Limited Sportsman Division events. When Jeb Burton straps into his number 27 Limited Sportsman Division ride Saturday, he will be able to look toward the grandstands and see sections named in honor of his father and also his uncle, Jeff, who is still competing on the Sprint Cup Series. And, that is something young Jeb hopes to be able to duplicate someday in the future. Before garnering success on the Sprint Cup Series, both Ward and Jeff Burton cut their racing teeth at South Boston Speedway, much the same way Jeb hopes to do. Jeff Burton won eight Late Model Stock Car events at America's Hometown Track, while Ward Burton collected four Late Model triumphs on the famed track. Jeb Burton's plans in 2008 are to finish out the remaining Limited Sportsman Division races at South Boston Speedway and then set his sites on a Limited Sportsman Division championship in 2009 before hopefully continuing his climb up the NASCAR ladder. South Boston Speedway PR
NASCAR to publish '09 schedule soon  NASCAR officials hope to announce the 2009 Cup schedule by the end of this month [August]. Don't look for any new venues, and don't expect to see any track lose one of its races. But it's possible we'll see some trades made with speedway dates, including the Labor Day weekend race going from Auto Club Speedway (ACS) in Fontana, Calif., to Atlanta. Speedway Motorsports Inc., International Speedway Corp. and NASCAR still are trying to work out all the logistics of moving fall dates among Atlanta, Talladega and ACS. SMI, which owns Atlanta Motor Speedway, would get the Labor Day weekend race, and ACS would get a race inside the Chase. Talladega would take Atlanta's late October event, and ACS would take Talladega's early October race. Both ACS and Talladega are owned by ISC. A triple-swap like this is difficult because it has a ripple effect on other events, schedules and sponsors. But most of the teams are in favor of this because it's a more reasonable travel schedule with cooler weather conditions at Fontana. ESPN.com
Newman confirmed for Tony Stewart team  UPDATE Added photo and full story below.

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 alltel Dodge, shares a laugh with fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and future boss Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, during Friday's announcement at Michigan International Speedway that Newman would be joining Stewart-Haas Racing
Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
08/15/08 Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Ryan Newman to a multi-year contract to drive the team’s No. 4  Chevrolet beginning with the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Newman, winner of 13 Sprint Cup races, including this year’s Daytona 500, will be a teammate to Tony Stewart, the two-time Sprint Cup champion who will drive the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet in 2009.

The announcement pairs two Indiana natives and two former United States Auto Club (USAC) champions under one roof. 

Newman is from South Bend, Ind., and was the 1999 USAC Silver Crown Series national champion.  Stewart is from Columbus, Ind., and a four-time USAC champion, as he won the 1994 USAC National Midget championship before securing the USAC “Triple Crown” in 1995, where he won the National Midget, Sprint Car and Silver Crown titles in a single season – the first driver to do so.

“We’re obviously very excited to have Ryan join our team,” said Stewart, who will serve as both driver and owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, with Stewart owning Newman’s No. 4 entry.  “Long before Ryan came to NASCAR, I knew he was talented.  His success in USAC has continued in stock cars, and to have someone of his caliber as my teammate makes both the driver part of me and the owner part of me very happy.” More ...

'The King' Richard Petty and Arnold Palmer  
Richard Petty and Arnold Palmer after the opening ceremony of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
Worth Canoy of VPS Motorimages
Those in attendance at the opening ceremony for the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club felt as though they were in the presence of royalty.  Two kings, to be exact.  'The King' Richard Petty and 'The King' Arnold Palmer, along with defending Wyndham Championship winner Brandt Snedeker, were the guests at the event that is celebrating its return to Sedgefield.  The Donald Ross design hosted the event until 1976. 

Petty and Palmer are both celebrating 50-year anniversaries in 2008.  Petty competed in his first NASCAR race on July 12, 1958.  Palmer won his first green jacket as the champion of the Masters tournament on April 6, 1958.  The two also exchanged gifts from their private collections.  Petty gave Palmer an authentic Charley One Horse cowboy hat.  Palmer presented Petty with one of his favorite putters. 

"Arnold and I were doing our thing around the same time, through the 60's and 70's, but our paths never crossed much," stated Petty.  "I always followed his career because he also has strong ties to North Carolina, having played college golf at Wake Forest.  I admired the way he carried himself on and off the golf course.  It's an honor to welcome the Wyndham Championship back to Sedgefield Country Club with Arnold and I'm glad he and I got to spend some time together.  He looks good in that Charley One Horse hat."

Bomarito tops Martinez for provisional pole at Trois-Rivières  In provisional qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda points leader Jonathan Bomarito managed to extend his lead in the championship and guarantee himself a front row starting spot by taking the provisional pole.

Bomarito posted a best lap at 59.875 seconds (91.451 mph) in the No. 26 Del Taco/Stone Brewing/Discount Tire/RLM Investments entry for Mathiasen Motorsports to lead the 30-minute qualifying session. He was the only driver to turn a lap quicker than one minute, and as a result, he will start from the front row for the fifth time this season. He is currently riding a streak of five straight top-six finishing positions—including victories at Edmonton and Road America—and now leads James Hinchcliffe by five points, 159-154.

“We definitely have some great momentum going right now,” Bomarito said. “We actually have quite a bit of work to do on the car overnight. I think we can go considerably quicker tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s running good. The guys are really doing a good job. It’s flawless every session. To get that extra bonus point is huge, since it’s so close at the moment, and to guarantee myself a front-row for Sunday’s race is very important for where we’re at in the championship. I’m looking forward to it.” More ...

Toyota won't resume pickup truck line in Indiana  Toyota Motor Corp. says it will not resume production of the Tundra pickup truck at its Princeton, Ind., plant in November as previously announced.

The company said last month that it would move production of the Tundra to a plant in San Antonio, Texas, in early 2009 after suspending production at Princeton through November.

Toyota spokeswoman Kelly Dillon said Wednesday that production of the pickup trucks will not resume in November and Tundra production will be moved to the Texas plant immediately.

The Princeton plant will instead switch to production of the Highlander sport utility vehicle. The plant will also resume making the Sequoia SUV in November.  Toyota has said it will avoid laying off any of the 4,500 employees at the Princeton factory.

Chrysler Tops Peers in Bankruptcy Risk, JPMorgan Says  Chrysler LLC is the most likely of the three U.S. automakers to file for bankruptcy protection in the next two years, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said, citing a panel discussion among credit-rating companies.

General Motors Corp. is the next most likely and Ford Motor Co. is the least, JPMorgan analyst Himanshu Patel wrote in a report today, quoting discussion yesterday by analysts from Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. S&P and Moody's both cut Chrysler's credit one level on Aug. 7, seven steps below investment grade.

``There seemed general agreement, too, that a filing by one of the Detroit three would be negative, on balance, for the remaining two companies,'' Patel wrote. The fallout would include a drag on new-car prices and trade-in terms, he said.

Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Robert Nardelli said in April that the closely held company wouldn't have a net profit in 2008. The Cerberus Capital Management LP unit's U.S. sales fell 23 percent this year. Bloomberg

NASCAR Watkins Glen TV Rating  NASCAR Sprint Cup Centurion Boats at the Glen race on ESPN last Sunday garnered a 3.6 final rating with 4,828,000 people tuned in.  This is down 12.2% from last year's 4.1 final rating on ESPN and down 31 from the 2006 rating on NBC.  ESPN certainly is not doing NASCAR any favors with regard to TV ratings as compared to NBC which refused to pay NASCAR's ransom prices and walked away from re-bidding on the TV deal.
track news
Road America Breaks Ground on New Administration Building  
Rendering of new Road America Administration  building
Road America has broken ground on a new 5,500 sq. ft. administration building. The building will be located on the Road America grounds, just east of the current farmhouse office on State Hwy 67, two miles south of the village of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The building's design will reflect the farming heritage of the rural Elkhart Lake area while recalling elements of existing buildings located on Road America grounds. The frame building will combine simple geometric forms, traditional gabled roofs, wood clapboard siding, and double hung windows to create a building which is unique yet compatible with the 19th century Victorian buildings found throughout rural Wisconsin.

Completion of the project is set for spring of 2009.

CDW to partner with KV Racing Technology  KV Racing Technology announced today that CDW will be the primary sponsor of the CDW/KV Racing Technology #5 Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry and driver Oriol Servia at the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300, September 7-8, at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.

“We are very pleased to announce that CDW has agreed to partner with KV Racing Technology for the Chicago event,” said KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser.  “For several years CDW has been our IT provider, and they have enjoyed success in the past with hosting customers at racing events.  We look forward to having them on board in Chicago and appreciate the opportunity to show their customers the strong IT backbone that KV Racing Technology has built with CDW’s help.”

CDW, a leading provider of technology products and services for business, government and education, is headquartered in Vernon Hills, Illinois.  They previously sponsored a team in the Champ Car World Series, however this is the first time they have partnered with an IndyCar Series team for customer hosting.

Servia, in his ninth U.S. based open-wheel season, but first in the IndyCar Series, is currently tied for eighth in the championship standings with 298 points.  The 34-year-old Spaniard has finished in the top-10 in six of the 14 races this year with four top-five showings.  In 139 career starts Servia has 76 top-10 finishes including 38 top-five showings with 16 podium performances, one victory (Montreal 2005) and one pole (Surfers Paradise 2005).

Renault delays decision over Piquet future  (GMM)  Nelson Piquet Jr must wait until the end of September to learn if he will be retained by Renault in 2009, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport claims.

According to the report published on Friday, the French team recently decided against simply taking up an option on the Brazilian rookie's current contract.

Instead, Renault and the 23-year-old driver's management have agreed to extend the option deadline date from August to the end of September.

Former double world champion Fernando Alonso, Piquet's current teammate, has said he will only decide which team to race for next year in the autumn.

Auto Motor und Sport claims that, should Alonso switch camps, Renault's French-Swiss test driver Romain Grosjean is first in line to replace him.

If the Spaniard opts to stay at Renault in 2009, however, 22-year-old Grosjean reportedly may still make his grand prix debut next season, at Piquet's expense.

Peugeot enters Petit LeMans  Peugeot has announced that it is bringing its LeMans winning 908 HDi FAP prototypes to the Petit LeMans ALMS this fall.  Drivers will be:
N°07 : Marc GENE - Christian KLIEN - Nicolas MINASSIAN
N°08 : Pedro LAMY - Stéphane SARRAZIN - Alexander WURZ
Brno: Stoner tops Rossi on opening practice day  Open practice today for the MotoGP riders at Brno in the Czech Republic.  Conditions at Brno today were warm and overcast, with heavy rain falling shortly after this afternoon’s session. Further rain is forecast for tomorrow, though race day is expected to be dry.

1 C. STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 1'57.231
2 V. ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team + 0.179
3 L. CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 0.769
4 S. NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini + 0.997
5 A. DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini + 1.033
6 C. VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 1.231
7 C. EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha + 1.441
8 J. HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team + 1.599
9 T. ELIAS SPA Alice Team + 1.650
10 S. GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team + 1.692
11 J. LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team + 1.746
12 A. DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP + 1.863
13 J. TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha + 2.097
14 R. DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP + 2.174
15 M. MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team + 2.712
16 D. PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team + 3.309
17 A. WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team + 3.390
Raikkonen says he still wants to win  (GMM)  Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen has hit back at claims he has lost the will to win.

Amid rising speculation that the Ferrari driver plans to retire soon, it is suggested a loss of motivation is at the core of his current performance slump.

Raikkonen, 28, told Germany's Bild newspaper his target is still success in formula one.

"I am still the same guy," he is quoted as saying.

"If I am in a race, then I want to win it," Raikkonen insists.  "It is never great fun to be fifth or sixth -- even third place doesn't feel so great to me any more.  I only want to win."

Despite his aloof exterior, Raikkonen says those who believe he is now happy to rest on his 2007 laurels are wrong.

"Of course I want more," he said.  "Whoever thinks I am content or tired are completely wrong.

"If we do not get both championship titles at the end of the season, then we will be disappointed," Raikkonen explained.

Raikkonen lies second in the 2008 drivers' standings; 3 points ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa, and 5 behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

track news
Valencia Street Circuit F3 lap  A few weeks ago the Spanish F3 cars were out on the new Valencia Street course, venue of the European F1 Grand Prix in 10 days time. Herewith a YouTube video lap on the new track in an F3 car. 

Also available is a lap in a - virtual - Ferrari F1 car, where the end of the lap has a surprise ...!
Hamilton and Kovalainen talk about Valencia  The Formula 1 circus re-groups after its three-week summer break to visit the first all-new venue on the 2008 calendar - the impressive street circuit in the Spanish port city of Valencia. European Grand Prix organizers have created a unique and demanding 25-corner circuit that winds around the Juan Carlos I marina, home to the 32nd America’s Cup yacht race.

However, unlike traditional Formula 1 street circuits, whose tight and twisting configurations place a premium on qualifying at the front, the Valencia track is fast, sweeping and wide, and offers several potential opportunities for passing.

Official simulations have estimated a top speed of 200mph at the end of the main straight and an estimated lap time around the 1m 37s bracket. With an estimated average speed of 125mph, Valencia should be on a par with a venue such as Bahrain (average speed of 128mph) and far higher than Monte Carlo (94mph).

The Spanish venue will mark the fifth home for the European Grand Prix, which has been held at Brands Hatch, the Nürburgring, Donington Park and Jerez since its inception in 1983. More ...

Liverpool FC signs with Superleague Formula  
Artist rendering of the Liverpool team livery
Superleague Formula has secured one of the biggest names in world sports with Liverpool Football Club – the most successful club in the history of English football – joining the football-themed motor racing championship.

The "Reds" will make their championship debut less than 100 miles away from their Anfield home at the historic Donington Park circuit on August 30/31.

Liverpool becomes the 17th club to sign up for the championship and the second Premier League outfit – joining London team Tottenham Hotspur. Local fans at Donington Park will now have three teams to follow covering the UK from top to bottom – Tottenham, Liverpool and Scottish side, Rangers.

Founded in 1892, Liverpool have won more trophies than any other English club including a record 18 League titles, seven FA Cups , a record seven League Cup trophies and 15 Charity Shield wins (5 shared) . More ...

Rahal, others, comment on new IRL TV deal  UPDATE #2 This SPEEDTV.com article analyzes the new IRL TV deal on versus.  The statement that needs to be made is simple, if just two cars/teams cannot land a primary sponsor because the TV ratings will be that much lower, that wipes out the rumored $6M per year Versus is paying the IRL. Other sponsors may want to pay 50% less per year because they are reaching, say half (if they are lucky), the number of eyeballs.  Add it all up and it's clear to see that the IRL signed a bad deal for its teams.

08/07/08 Select quotes regarding 2009 IndyCar Series media partnerships: Tony George, the founder and chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League; Marc Fein, executive vice president of programming, production and business operations for Versus; Scott Guglielmino, vice president of programming and acquisitions for ESPN; Terry Angstadt, president of the Indy Racing League’s commercial division; and Charlie Morgan, president and COO of IMS Productions, were guests on a teleconference discussing the Indy Racing League’s partnership with ABC and VERSUS for 2009 and beyond.

Select quotes from the teleconference are listed below. The full transcript is posted at indycar.com/media.

TONY GEORGE: We're very excited to be able to continue our 44-year relationship that we've had with ABC Sports. It's been one of the most enduring relationships in all of television sports. We're very proud of that.

I had as a priority to encourage our team here at Indianapolis to really focus on doing everything in our power to maximize the opportunities that we have with the new unified series, with the centennial year celebration that kicks off next year. So we went about in a very methodical way, organizing ourselves and sort of setting out our priorities.

First of all, we wanted to understand what was most important to our constituents. That was very pretty consistent with what our thoughts and feelings were. It was good to get that validation.

We also respect and honor our existing relationships with our current broadcast partners, ABC and ESPN. We wanted to do everything that we knew to make sure that we were serving the needs of everyone to the best of our abilities. More ...
Whitmarsh: Valencia will set the F1 standard  Mercedes CEO Martin Whitmarsh has predicted that the new Valencia street circuit will 'set the standard' in Formula One when it hosts the European Grand Prix for the first time next weekend.

The Spanish city will become the first new venue on the calendar this season, with a race still to come in Singapore, and is set to provide drivers with a new challenge as it winds its way around the downtown marina.

The street circuit has already played host to rounds of the Spanish F3 and GT Championships as a pre-cursor to the Grand Prix, with a few minor issues now being worked on ahead of the ‘main event' but Whitmarsh admitted that everything that he has seen so far suggests that the event will be a success.

"Clearly, Spain has become a tremendously important market for Formula 1 over the past five years - and the addition of a second Spanish race to the calendar rightly reflects the sport's success and popularity in the market," he said. "We launched the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes partnership here in 2007 and the city was a stunning backdrop to the event. More ...

Q&A with Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug  
Norbert Haug
McLaren Mercedes head to the streets of Valencia next week chasing their fourth straight Grand Prix win and aiming to close the 11 point gap to rivals Ferrari. Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice President Norbert Haug look ahead to the inaugural event.

The European Grand Prix will be held on a new street circuit; a new challenge after Silverstone, Hockenheim and Budapest. Will a fourth consecutive win be possible?
"Lewis, Heikki and the entire team performed excellently achieving three race wins in a row. Since the beginning of the previous season, we have won 13 out of 28 races and if possible, we want to improve this success rate. However, the maiden race in Valencia will be a new game for everybody."

The Grand Prix in Valencia is a new street race. What do we have to expect there?
"When you think about temporary street races in Formula One, you mainly think about Monaco. However, Valencia does not have very much in common with this classic race; just that both cities are located on the Mediterranean coast and that both circuits lead along the harbor front. While the Monte Carlo race is the slowest of the year with an average speed of about 156km/h for the fastest lap, and is also the shortest with a race distance of almost 254km, we face a race distance of 310 km in Valencia and a track on which the cars will reach 300km/h or more five times per lap."

"Three times per lap the drivers also have to brake to about 80km/h which will be as extremely demanding for the brakes as the Montreal circuit.  More ...

I deserve Vettel's F1 seat - di Resta  
Paul di Resta
(GMM)  Paul di Resta, a Scottish driver who currently races in Germany's DTM series, believes he deserves Sebastian Vettel's spot on the formula one grid.

At 22, di Resta is slightly older than Vettel, the highly-rated German driver who last year debuted for Toro Rosso and is already confirmed to move up to the senior team Red Bull in 2009.

Di Resta actually beat Vettel to the prestigious F3 Euroseries crown two years ago, but is now spending a second season in DTM, where this year he is driving for Mercedes-Benz's premier effort.

"I am not surprised Sebastian has been given an opening in F1, but he shouldn't have gotten there before me," he told the Scottish newspaper The Herald.

Di Resta bemoans F1's notorious politics, and the fact that - despite having high-profile racer Dario Franchitti as a cousin - being Scottish is less of an asset than being German like Vettel.

"You can't ignore the fact that there are a lot of politics in this business.  I am still young, but, to be honest, I can't hang around if I want to earn a place in formula one.

"If I haven't gotten there by the time I am 25, then I'm realistic enough to accept I'll be snookered," he said.

Di Resta insists, however, that he is happy to keep working hard to fulfill his F1 dream.

"There are hundreds of youngsters doing their best to scale the heights, so you can't afford to wait for anybody to gift you hand-outs," he said.

"I have to win the DTM and there is no reason not to think that I can do it."

Plans for Donington GP switch on track  (GMM)  Damon Hill has sobering news for those who doubt the British grand prix will move from Silverstone after next year's race.

When it was announced that Donington Park is taking over the contract from 2010, some believed the news was just the latest political twist in the skirmish between Bernie Ecclestone and Silverstone's circuit owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC).

Indeed, the BRDC vowed to plough ahead with its plans to redevelop the historic Northamptonshire venue, and the latest rumor is that the entire saga may be a precursor to Ecclestone simply taking over Silverstone and securing the grand prix there himself.

But the official line this week from BRDC president Hill, the 1996 world champion, is that he believes Donington's plans are indeed both real and on track.

Moreover, the British newspaper The Guardian cites sources in reporting that the Donington redevelopment's necessary planning permission, set to be lodged with the local council in the next few weeks, will almost certainly be approved.

Hill said: "As far as we are concerned the British grand prix is moving to Donington in 2010.

"What we now have to do is knuckle down and work to ensure that Silverstone remains a centre of excellence for British motor sport."

Coulthard plans F1 contract for boy racer  (GMM)  F1 veteran David Coulthard is planning a dream present for his son's twentieth birthday -- a Ferrari contract!

The 37-year-old Scot, who will hang up his grand prix racing helmet at the end of the year, revealed that his pregnant fiancée Karen is expecting a boy.

Red Bull racer Coulthard joked to The Sun: "He'll be signed up for Ferrari in 2028!"

Coulthard, however, insists that his decision to retire after nearly 250 races and 13 wins has nothing to do with his impending fatherhood.

"The baby's due after the end of the season so things have worked out perfectly," he added.

IndyCar Infineon Thursday Test Times  More than a dozen IndyCar Series drivers tested at Infineon Raceway Aug. 13-14 in preparation for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County on Aug. 24.  Below are the test times with some genuine surprises

tv news
SPEED To Provide Live Coverage of Stewart-Haas Press Conference  UPDATE A reminder that this live press conference will be broadcast this morning on SPEED at 10:30am ET.

08/14/08 SPEED will be providing live coverage of tomorrow’s Stewart-Haas Racing press conference from Michigan International Speedway (MIS) beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, new part owner of Stewart-Haas Racing; will be on hand to make a major announcement concerning the team’s second car. John Roberts will host a live special edition of NASCAR Live, while SPEED insider Wendy Venturini will be reporting from the MIS media center.

Viewer's can also watch the event via live streaming video on the web at www.SPEEDtv.com.

Tony George named motorcyclist of year  
If you pay MotoGP millions to race at your track you too can be named 'Motorcyclist Of The Year'
Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George has been named 2008 “Motorcyclist of the Year” by Motorcyclist, one of the most widely circulated motorcycle magazines in the U.S., for his efforts to bring the Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP race to the Brickyard.

The inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP will take place Sept. 12-14 on the 2.621-mile road course at the IMS. It is the first motorcycle race at the Speedway in 99 years.

IMS has worked to promote the sport this year with two special events involving American MotoGP star Nicky Hayden. In May, Hayden turned demonstration laps on his Repsol Honda MotoGP bike on race day for the 92nd Indianapolis 500.

“Demonstrating motorcycle racing in front of our other audiences builds interest for us,” George said. “We have a number of fans that are fans of the Speedway itself and anything we do here. From a stature standpoint, MotoGP belongs here.” IBJ.com

NASCAR sponsorship failing Sprint  UPDATE Details are scarce right now, but you can make of it what you will. Sprint hasn't been in the best of situations since it acquired Nextel and its big NASCAR sponsorship contract in 2005, and while this move may not be seen by everyone as definitively negative, it certainly is worth noting.

The flagging carrier sold off "nearly all" (around 3,300) of its wireless communication towers to TowerCo for some $670 million in cash. According to Sprint Nextel's Bob Azzi, the move to lease rather than own these network facilities will enable it to "better focus on its core business of providing communications services to consumers, businesses and government customers." He continued by noting that the transaction "provides Sprint Nextel with additional liquidity [for] greater flexibility in managing the company."  In other words we avoided bankruptcy by doing this because the courts would have taken over the company and we may have lost our jobs.

08/14/08 Sprint Nextel disappointed investors once again with some less-than-stellar second quarter results. In particular, the company continues to lose customers at a rapid rate--it lost 901,000 customers in second quarter, giving it a total of 51.9 million customers, compared with 54 million the end of the same quarter last year. On the revenue front, the operator had a second-quarter net loss of $344 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $19 million. Revenue fell 11 percent to $9.06 billion. Wireless revenue was $7 billion, also a decline of 11 percent year over year.

[Editor's Note:  How many more millions of customers does Sprint have to lose before it realizes its marketing strategy stinks.  NASCAR fans could give a hoot about buying Sprint's service.  They are going to buy cell phone service from whichever provider has the best coverage where they live and work, and based on how fast customers are fleeing Sprint the past 6 months, the provider of choice isn't Sprint, but AT&T, the sponsor on Jeff Burton's car.]
racing news
Amateur Driver Grabs Toyota Race of Legends pole  The odds are going to be stacked against him, but Bruce Canepa still likes his chances of beating a field consisting of former Formula One pros and Timo Glock who’s currently competing in F1. Canepa is optimistic about taking the checkered flag in the Toyota Race of Legends and says he will hold nothing back in his bid to unseat defending champion Derek Bell.

The Toyota Race of Legends is a feature of the 35th annual Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The legends will strap into their equally-prepared, race-equipped Scion tCs for practice on Friday in preparation for their 12:15 start on Saturday.

There may be reason to believe Canepa’s bravado. He is a longtime participant at the Monterey Historics and is an experienced driver, having teamed with the likes of Bobby Rahal and Rick Mears at the Daytona 24 Hours and on the Porsche AG 935 factory team. After retiring from racing, he founded Canepa Designs in nearby Scotts Valley.

The starting grid positions were determined by a random drawing at the participant welcome party this evening. More ...

Toyota to hit the streets of Rotterdam  The streets of Rotterdam in the Netherlands will ring to the sound of Formula 1 this weekend when Jarno Trulli demonstrates a TF107 for Panasonic Toyota Racing at the Bavaria City Racing event on Sunday.

Just one week before the European Grand Prix on the new street circuit in Valencia, Jarno will be back behind the wheel of a TF107 on a 2.2km track through the centre of Rotterdam.

The spectacular downtown layout gives fans a superb chance to see a Formula 1 car close up, with Jarno crossing the Willemsbrug bridge and passing some of the city's most recognizable landmarks on Coolsingel before the track loops back on itself at Hofplein.

Panasonic Toyota Racing will also be part of a Formula 1-style paddock area which will be open to VIPs on Sunday, giving a Grand Prix atmosphere and the chance to see the team working close up. More ...

racing news
Nevada motocross rider dies following crash  UPDATE Blunt force trauma to the head caused the death of a 21-year-old motocross rider who crashed at Stafford Motor Speedway, the Connecticut medical examiner's office said Wednesday.  Anthony Hart of Henderson, Nev., lost control of his motorcycle and hit an outer track barricade at Stafford Motor Speedway on Saturday. He died later that day. An autopsy was performed this week.

08/11/08 A Nevada motocross rider died following a crash Saturday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

The officials said 21-year-old Anthony Hart of Henderson, Nev., died after crashing during a practice session for the Doug Henry New England Grand Prix.

Hart was the brother of motocross star Carey Hart, Grammy-winning pop star Pink's former husband.

The event was sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association, part of the AMA XTRM Supermoto Championship series. AMA officials weren't immediately available for comment. Sportsline.com

IRS raids office of Torco Racing Fuels  Internal Revenue Service agents raided the business office of Evan Knoll, president and chief executive of Torco Racing Fuels Inc. and one of drag racing’s biggest names.

IRS spokesman Stephen Moore said the agents executed a search warrant Thursday at the office in downtown Decatur, about 150 miles west of Detroit.

Agents also had a search warrant for a residence in the southwestern Michigan village, but Moore declined to say whose home it was or what the agents were seeking.

Telephone calls seeking comment were made to Knoll’s office and to his Decatur home, but there was no answer at either location. A phone message was left at the Ada office of his lawyer, Larry Wilson.

About 20 federal agents and deputies from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office were involved in the operation, Moore told the Kalamazoo Gazette for an online story.

Undersheriff Paul Edwards said federal agents had an 8 a.m. briefing at the sheriff’s office in nearby Paw Paw before heading to Knoll’s business office.

Edwards said the IRS contacted his department Wednesday and asked the agency to provide a “uniformed presence” during the search. The federal agents did not tell local authorities what they hoped to confiscate or why, he said. Yahoo.com

IndyCar Drivers test modified course at Infineon Raceway  
Ryan Briscoe streaks by the S/F line on Thursday
More than a dozen IndyCar Series drivers tested at Infineon Raceway Aug. 13-14 in preparation for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County on Aug. 24.

Among those testing was series points leader Scott Dixon, who holds a 78-point advantage over Helio Castroneves with three races remaining.

“It’s always nice to go back to a circuit where you’ve won,” said Dixon, who won last year’s race on the 12-turn circuit. “It’s going to be a tough race, so it’s nice to get some testing in.”

While Dixon had the opportunity to turn some laps on the 2.245-mile course, Castroneves will have to rely on teammate Ryan Briscoe’s assessment.

“You can’t test during a race weekend, and you’ve got to come in with a plan and really go for it,” said Briscoe, the pole winner at the track in 2005. “Qualifying is tough, and it’s important to do consistent fast laps, and then we go racing. It’s nice to get a day of testing in.”

This marked the first large-scale test of the modified version of the road course that will be used by the IndyCar Series. Drivers now exit Turn 6 and go directly up the track’s drag strip as opposed to veering left before the right-hander at Turn 7.

“I think you will see some new passing with this change,” said Vitor Meira, who had a best finish of third at Infineon in 2006.  “It’s a tough corner because you’re going from the fastest section of the track to the slowest, but it should be good.”

Other drivers who tested included Marco Andretti, Townsend Bell, A.J. Foyt IV, Mario Moraes, Will Power, Marty Roth, Tomas Scheckter, and Oriol Servia among others.

Practice for the race begins Aug. 22 with the battle for the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award slated for Aug. 23.

A1GP Cars continue build process  
Anticipation is building ahead of the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season, with some teams now nearing completion of the construction of their A1GP Powered by Ferrari cars.

These pictures, exclusive to A1GP.com, show A1 Teams Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand among others, building and preparing their cars for the new season, which begins next month.

The original test car has clocked up nearly a season’s worth of mileage during the off-season, with the second test car due to join it in a three-day test at Silverstone next week. 

A1GP is not only preparing the cars but also the A1 Teams for the new season. Next week training seminars will be held at the series Silverstone base with mechanics and engineers from every team being given training in all aspects of the car; including the gearbox, electronics, data logging and parts maintenance, all of which have specific technical knowledge requirements.

The cars will take to the track for the first time in official testing in Donington on September 9 -11, before leaving for Mugello for two days of further official testing. This precedes the opening round of the season at the Italian circuit on September 21.

NASCAR nabs more cheaters  NASCAR announced today that Kirk Almquist, crew chief for the No. 9 Dodge driven by Patrick Carpentier and Paul Wolfe, crew chief for the No. 22 Dodge driven by Ryan Newman, have been fined due to rule violations during the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Watkins Glen International.

Almquist was fined $5,000 for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20A-5.10.1B(6) (combined thickness of the throttle shaft and throttle plate was less than the specified thickness of 0.197 inches) of the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rule Book.

Wolfe was fined $1,000 for violating Section 12-4-A, 12-4-Q and 20A-16.5.1B (fuel line, from the fuel cell to the filter, exceeded the maximum specified size).

Both infractions were discovered during opening-day inspection on Aug. 8.

iRacing Announces Launch Date of August 26  After several years of development and testing, and a period of invitation-only pre-launch activity, the rollout of the iRacing.com motorsports simulation and internet racing service will reach a critical milestone at noon EST (18:00 GMT) on August 26, when the service will open to the general public.

“This is a big moment in the history of iRacing,” said John Henry, co-founder and co-owner of the company.  “We completed our beta phase in June, but for the last couple of months membership has been ‘by invitation only’ because we wanted to be certain that we could maintain the highest level of quality and customer service as we expanded.  We’re there now, and in less than two weeks, the doors will be wide open.”

Dave Kaemmer, company co-founder and leader of the iRacing development team, noted that the ramp-up in membership since June 11, when the service went live, has gone remarkably smoothly.  “We know the simulation itself is in great shape (and we’re going to keep on adding features and content over time), but there’s so much more to the service than just the simulation.  All of the factors that are critical to our members’ overall experience – organization and scheduling of races, collection of statistics, driver licensing, processing of actual financial transactions, the list just goes on and on – needed real-world validation with several thousand members to ensure the system’s performance with the large membership rolls we eventually expect to have.”
Dan Aykroyd to serve as Grand Marshal in Mosport  
Dan Aykroyd
Canadian acting legend Dan Aykroyd has been named as grand marshal of Canada’s biggest sports car racing event, Mobil 1 presents The Grand Prix of Mosport, August 21-24.

Aykroyd, who gained fame as a writer and cast member of the late night comedy show Saturday Night Live and box office hits like The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters, will bring the 31-car American Le Mans Series field to life when he gives the command to the drivers to start their engines.

“I have a real passion for cars and motorcycles and I especially love the roar of their engines, so it’s going to be a special treat to see and hear those exotic race cars fire up their high-performance motors when I say those four famous words, ” said Aykroyd, a Harley-Davidson enthusiast.

As the Canadian rights holder of  Patron Tequila (distributed in Canada by Diamond Estates Wines and Spirits), Aykroyd will have a rooting interest in the 2 hour 45 minute race on Sunday (Aug. 24), since the US-based ultra-premium spirits company sponsors the Patron Highcroft Racing Acura team and drivers David Brabham and Scott Sharp.

Chevy gives sneak peak at plug-in Volt  
Production version of the Volt
General Motors today released photos of the production version of its electric car, the Chevrolet Volt. The vehicle was first introduced at the North American International Auto Show in 2007 and is an important element of General Motors' plan to develop a full-range of gas-friendly to gas-free vehicles.
Budapest police probe F1 tourist scams  (GMM)  Budapest police are investigating incidents involving the exploitation of tourists at the recent Hungarian grand prix.

A police spokesman confirmed the investigation to borsonline.hu, following reports that taxi drivers ferried foreign race fans to establishments where they were then ripped off.

In one case, stop.hu said, three Swedish tourists - who caught a taxi from the Hungaroring and asked to be taken to their hotel - were forced to pay an exorbitant bill at a topless nightclub.

The scam allegedly also involves the topless waitresses, who entice the tourists to order overly-expensive drinks.  If the tourists refuse to pay, physical assaults can take place.

Michael Andretti honored  (GMM)  1993 McLaren driver Michael Andretti has been inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

The 45-year-old, who had a frustrating part-season in formula one as Ayrton Senna's teammate before returning to American open-wheelers, was among 6 others honored at a ceremony in Detroit.

1991 CART champion Andretti is the son of 1978 world champion Mario Andretti, and the father of 21-year-old Marco, who has tested for the F1 team Honda.

He also owns a team in the Indy Racing League.

"You do your job, and you never really think about ever being in the Hall.  It ranks right up there with other things I achieved -- but it's a different kind of thing -- it's an honor-type thing and it's very special," said Andretti.

Mario Andretti was inducted in 1990.

Fisi happy with Force India for 2009  (GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella says he is happy to keep racing for Force India beyond 2008.

Team supremo Vijay Mallya this week said he is "happy" with both Fisichella, the Roman veteran of more than 200 grands prix, and his German teammate Adrian Sutil.

It is believed both Sutil and Fisichella, who is 35, are already under contract for the 2009 season.

"I am very happy with what Vijay said about his drivers," Fisichella, currently holidaying with his family on his yacht, told F1's official website.

"I think that Adrian and I show strength and great team spirit.  As I said before, I am very happy with Force India, I have a contract for 2009 and never saw myself out of it," he added.

IRL to meet with Versus today  Indy Racing League officials travel to Philadelphia today for their first planning meeting with Versus, the cable television partner that will begin airing races in 2009.

There are three central issues to address:

National reach

Future content


Details at Indy Star

Brabham to appear on XM’s PowerShift program  David Brabham, a three-time winner in the American Le Mans Series this season with Scott Sharp, will be Joe Castello’s guest Thursday night on XM’s PowerShift program. The Patr¢n Highcroft Racing driver will be on starting at 9:25 p.m. ET. Brabham and Sharp have won three of the last five rounds in LMP2 in Patr¢n Highcroft’s Acura ARX-01b including an overall victory at Lime Rock Park.

Their most recent victory came last weekend at Road America in the Generac 500 presented by Time Warner Cable. The duo sits second in the class championship heading into the Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport next week at Mosport International Raceway.

Brabham won there 10 years ago for Panoz with Andy Wallace in IMSA GT competition. He qualified on pole position and posted the fastest race lap.

Next week’s guest will be Corvette Racing’s Ron Fellows, who will join the show from his home track.

Bomarito Leads Tight Atlantic Championship Points Race  
Jonathan Bomarito
For the first time since 2003, the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic championship Powered by Mazda will headline the historic Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, and the supportive Canadian fans will be treated to one of the closest Atlantic points battles in years.

Just seven points separate leader Jonathan Bomarito and third-place Markus Niemela, with fifth-place Carl Skerlong still within sight of the championship lead heading into Round 8 of the 11-race championship. Bomarito, who drives the No. 26 Del Taco/Stone Brewing/Discount Tire/RLM Investments entry for Mathiasen Motorsports, has been the hottest driver on the Atlantic circuit over the past four events, with top-four results in all four races and two victories.

Bomarito claimed his first win of the season in Race #1 of a doubleheader at Edmonton last month and became the first two-time winner of the 2008 season last weekend in the first race of a doubleheader at Road America. With a second-place performance in the second race at the historic circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Bomarito moved into the points lead. Bomarito has 158 points to lead Canadian James Hinchcliffe by four points, while Niemela is third with 151 points. Rookie Jonathan Summerton is fourth with 135 points, followed by Skerlong with 128 markers.

Any of the aforementioned drivers could win both the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, as well as the 2008 Atlantic title. Prior to his Road America performance, Bomarito was at his strongest on temporary circuits, having started the Long Beach season-opener from the pole position and scoring top-five results in all three races on temporary circuits this year. More ...
Chrysler has sold $500 million in assets  To help avoid bankruptcy Chrysler LLC, as a privately held company, has sold more than $500 million in "nonearning assets" to generate cash, a top company executive indicated this morning.

Tom LaSorda, a Chrysler president and vice chairman, said the automaker had identified more than $1 billion in assets that could be sold.

“One advantage of private ownership is that we can sell nonearning assets to generate cash,” LaSorda said. “To date, we’ve identified over $1 billion in non-earning assets and we’re more than halfway to achieving that goal.”

LaSorda also officially announced the expansion of the automaker’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant this morning, adding that it will include efforts to make the Detroit factory more environmental friendly. The plant currently makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee and other SUVs.

LaSorda, speaking at the Center for Automotive Research’s annual Management Briefing Seminars, said the Michigan investment will be worth $1.8 billion for new vehicle programs and for the plant and will keep more than 400 jobs in Michigan.

“This investment enables us to produce a new generation of world-class vehicles that meet the diverse needs of our consumers around the globe,” LaSorda said, according to his prepared text. “The investment will be used for state-of-the-art manufacturing systems, including a 285,000-square-foot expansion of the plant including a new body shop that will allow increased flexibility and higher output. “

Darlington regains Southern 500 name  The Southern 500 is back at Darlington Raceway.  Track president Chris Browning said Wednesday the historic name will return to Darlington for next May’s Sprint Cup race, restoring at least part of more than a half-century of tradition to the old country track.

“The timing really is good with us celebrating our 60th year of racing next year,” Browning said. “It just seemed to make sense.”

The Southern 500 was a shaky startup venture when it was first run on Sept. 4, 1950. But over the next five-plus decades, it became a Labor Day staple for NASCAR drivers, fans and their families to spend the final summer holiday in South Carolina’s steamy Pee Dee region.

After 2003, that date was given to California Speedway with its larger layout and population center.

“Although it’s not on Labor Day, it is a 500-mile race at Darlington,” Browning said. “And that’s another way of our continuing to tie back into our history and our tradition.” Yahoo! Sports

track news
Valencia 'problems' being solved - Gracia  (GMM)  The recent F3 and GT races held on the new Valencia street circuit identified minor problems that "are now being solved" ahead of the inaugural grand prix in the Spanish port city in ten days.

That was the information of Spanish motor federation president Carlos Gracia, as he made his final inspection of the venue prior to the European grand prix between August 22-24.

He told the newspaper Diario AS that the recent trial race weekend identified "certain technical problems" with the circuit that are being addressed.

"Realistically, there are problems with such a new circuit but the same would be so even for a permanent facility," Gracia said.

"The important thing is that there was the will to address the problems and we knew how to do it," he added.

Gracia acknowledged that one of the problems was with newly-laid asphalt, but it will also be addressed prior to the first formula one action next Friday.

Another Spanish racing official said F1 teams will begin fitting out their garages in the pitlane on Sunday, before the circuit is closed to the public on Monday.

A race-day crowd of 100,000 is expected.

Berger full of praise for Vettel, Rosberg  
Berger thinks highly of Nico Rosberg (top) and Sebastian Vettel (bottom)
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger predicts a shining formula one career for Sebastian Vettel.

Toro Rosso co-owner Berger, the winner of ten grands prix in the 80s and 90s, will lose the 21-year-old to senior team Red Bull in 2009.

But even though his Faenza based outfit must plot its future without Vettel, Austrian Berger is not short on praise for the German youngster.

"Quite simply, he is far above the level that he should be at for his level of experience," the 48-year-old told Sport Bild.

"There is nothing he cannot do even now.  I am absolutely sure that Vettel will be world champion one day," Berger said.

Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso has potentially two race seats available at the end of this season, and Berger makes no secret that - given a free driver market - another German would be atop his wish list.

Referring to Williams' Nico Rosberg, Berger said: "At the moment we are not seeing his full value.

"The progress of Williams cannot keep up with the progress of Rosberg," he insisted.  "He is ready for the next step."

Speed 'satisfied' with abortive F1 career  
Scott Speed did not fare too well in F1 but he is winning regularly in stock cars
(GMM)  Scott Speed this week declared himself happy with his abortive formula one career.

The 25-year-old failed to score a point in his 28 grands prix for Toro Rosso, before he fell out spectacularly with the team's management last year and was replaced mid-season by Sebastian Vettel.

Still with Red Bull backing, Speed moved on to the lower tiers of American stock car racing, and his impressive run to date indicates he may soon graduate to the premier NASCAR ranks.

He looks back on his time on the F1 grid with fondness.

"Formula one was always my dream, always way above NASCAR," Speed is quoted as saying by USA Today.

"In my mind, I have accomplished what I'm going to in my life," he added.

Speed said he views simply reaching formula one as his real achievement, and now trying to conquer NASCAR as a bonus.

"I did absolutely nothing in F1, but I'm 1000 per cent satisfied," he explained.  "It's like going to college of the world.

"I never went to college, but I know a lot because I had the opportunity to live in Europe and travel the world."

Speed was regarded by some seasoned F1 observers as uncouth, so he smiles at his new image among the stock car community.

"Now I get to come back and I'm the cultured one.  There is a lot of money in NASCAR, but everyone is still pretty simple," he said.

Raikkonen depicted in Finnish stamps  (GMM)  World champion Kimi Raikkonen is to be immortalized with a new Finnish stamp set.

Also featured in the new series by Finland's postal service is the famous Finnish author Mika Waltari.

A sheet of the stamps will be presented to the Finnish formula one driver in person at Spa-Francorchamps, scene of the Belgian grand prix, next month, just prior to the release of the stamps.

Raikkonen, 28, won the drivers' world championship for Ferrari in 2007.

Bodine team Penalized For Infraction At Nashville  NASCAR announced today that Mike Hillman Jr., crew chief of the No. 30 Toyota, has been fined for an infraction discovered following the Aug. 9 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.

Additionally, driver Todd Bodine and owner Stephen Germain have been penalized 25 championship driver and owner points, respectively.

Hillman was fined $2,500 for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (determination that truck, truck parts, components and/or equipment used in the event do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20B-12.8.1E (after competition, the maximum right side bed panel height exceeded the specified 39½ inches) of the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rule Book. The violation was discovered during post-race inspection.

Coleman leaves Baker Curb team  Baker Curb Racing officials announced Wednesday that Brad Coleman has left the Nationwide Series team, effective immediately. A replacement has not been announced.

Coleman is leaving the team to take over Hall of Fame Racing’s No. 96 Sprint Cup Series Toyota, Baker Curb said in a news release. That announcement was made last week.

Also, Baker Curb announced that chief engineer Jeff White has replaced Shawn Parker as crew chief for the No. 27 Ford team. Parker decided to leave the team last week, as well, and Watkins Glen was his last race. Parker is still looking for a new position in the sport.

“I’m sad to see both Brad and Shawn go,” team co-owner Gary Baker said in a news release. “However, I understand they are making the right decisions for their careers. It has been great to work with them this season, and I wish them only the best.”
BMW Sauber F1 - 2008 BMW Fan Meeting in Munich  It is unquestionably one of the highlights of the calendar for the BMW Sauber F1 Team Race Club: as in the previous two years, all fans will receive an invitation to the 2008 Fan Event, which this year will take place on 25th October in Munich .

In 2007, about 1000 guests accepted the invitation and were entertained by the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Nick Heidfeld produced some exciting demonstration laps in a Formula One car in Munich's Olympic Park. Many fans took this opportunity to meet the team members in person.

The personal contact between Race Club members and the BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers and team management will once again be the main focus of this year's Fan Event. It is guaranteed to include an exciting and entertaining program for all the family. Details of the program will be announced over the coming weeks.

Entry to this unique event is reserved to Race Club members. Any fans who are not yet team members can subscribe for either a Silver (44 Euros), Gold (99 Euros) or Platinum (999 Euros) membership in the official fan club of the BMW Sauber F1 Team in the "Race Club" area of this website.

Whatever happens, fans of the BMW Sauber F1 Team should already be keeping 25th October free.

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