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Toyota Statement Regarding JGR NNS Penalties
Lee White President and General Manager TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development):

“Over the past several days we have had numerous conversations with Joe and J.D. Gibbs relative to the infractions at Michigan International Speedway in the Nationwide Series post-race inspection.

“Toyota respects NASCAR’s rules and regulations and accepts the sanctions that were imposed against Joe Gibbs Racing.  It is NASCAR’s responsibility to enforce their rules and we respect their decisions.  Toyota always has, and will continue to, abide by all NASCAR-mandated policies.

“In the 17 years in which JGR has been a NASCAR competitor, this is the first time that a JGR crew chief has ever been suspended.  We are encouraged by the manner that Joe and J.D. have taken responsibility and have quickly imposed their own internal sanctions in an aggressive manner -- above and beyond the penalties that NASCAR imposed.  We applaud their response, support their decision and are completely satisfied with their actions in response to this incident. Joe and J.D., and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization, have been -- and will continue to be -- a great partner to Toyota.  Going forward this year -- and in the future -- we will continue to support JGR and work diligently together to be successful.”


Benson tops chart in final Bristol truck practice
Johnny Benson, gunning for a fourth consecutive Craftsman Truck Series victory, led final practice at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday afternoon.

Benson, who will go for his fourth win in a row in Wednesday night’s O’Reilly 200, ran a lap of 123.118 mph in Bill Davis Racing’s No. 23 Toyota.

TRG Motorsports’ T.J. Bell was second at 122.333, with Kevin Harvick Inc.’s Ron Hornaday third, Roush Fenway Racing’s Colin Braun fourth and TRG’s Donny Lia fifth.

BDR’s Scott Speed was sixth, followed by Circle Bar Racing’s Rick Crawford, Billy Ballew Motorsports’ Kyle Busch, BDR’s Mike Skinner and Timothy Peters (Premier Racing).

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Camping World to sponsor Kansas Cup race
Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger announced today the signing of Camping World to sponsor the track's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sept. 28. The race, which will be formally named the Camping World RV 400 presented by Coleman, is the third event in the Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup.


An Interview with J.R. Hildebrand, Tomas Scheckter
MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us on today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have three guests today. Joining us in a few minutes will be Steve Page, president of Infineon Raceway and IndyCar Series driver Tomas Scheckter.

To start off today, we'll have Firestone Indy Lights driver J.R. Hildebrand. J.R. is wrapping up his rookie season in the Firestone Indy Lights. He is the driver of the RLR Andersen Racing No. 25 Allied Building Products car. A native of Sausalito, California, this weekend's doubleheader at Infineon is basically a home game for him.

J.R. three races to go. Talk about the year so far and your goals for the last two race weekends.

J.R. HILDEBRAND: It's been sort of up and down for everybody. The title chase has been tough, I think probably from all aspects for a lot of different guys.

So from that perspective we've had just as much of that as anybody else. We started off this season really strong. Sort of culminating it at Indianapolis, leading the points going into that event with a win in Kansas.

We've had some great runs since then, but sort of some bad luck, some sort of bad sort of circumstantial stuff and some mistakes from me and from other people have put us a bit further back than we'd like to be right now.

But we've had really strong race cars all year long, and Chicago should be a good event for us from that perspective. We had good cars on the big tracks. And Infineon Raceway, being my home track, we'll look forward to having a really good event here.

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Frankie Muniz to be brand ambassador for Sun-Rich International
Frankie Muniz, famed actor of Malcolm in the Middle, Agent Cody Banks, Big Fat Liar and My Dog Skip, has been named a Brand Ambassador by global gourmet purveyor Sun-Rich International, to promote their premium line of gourmet products from all over the world.

Muniz began professional acting at the tender age of eight, and stepped in the Hollywood spotlight with the debut of Malcolm in the Middle.  With Muniz dazzling in the starring role, the sitcom went on to become a seven-time Emmy Award-winning, one-time Grammy-winning and seven-time Golden Globe-nominated hit.  Acting as Buddy Holly, Muniz recently made an appearance in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.  Other Hollywood credits include Punk'd, Racing Stripes, the comedy hit Stuck on You and horror flick Stay Alive.  Currently, Muniz is concluding his sophomore year in the Atlantic Champ Car Series as a full time professional race car driver.

Frankie Muniz and Sun-Rich International were a solid fit because of their mutual passion for giving back through philanthropy, a love of gourmet food and a passion for racing.  States Muniz, "Sun-Rich International not only has delicious premium products, they also have a positive mission to help the underdeveloped communities that support them.  That is something I'm proud to stand behind."

At the foundation of this relationship, Sun-Rich International President Mike Larson has worked hard to maintain the overall philanthropic mission of the company while taking their strategic promotional endeavors to the next level.  "Working with Frankie Muniz is a significant way to spotlight our premium gourmet products and align our mutual passion for racing.  We look forward to further developing these relationships, while continuing to fulfill our mission of giving back to the underserved communities that support us," he explains.

Sun-Rich International, title sponsor of the IndyCar Light Series at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL on September 7th, will be introducing Muniz as the Grand Marshal of the light series in a highly-anticipated guest appearance.

Sun-Rich currently offers a selection of eight Coffees, eight Darjeeling Teas, handmade English Toffee, Dessert Toppings, Praline Pecans, Whole Cashews, and Mixed Nuts with a complete product line from Mauritius Africa that includes eight unique and exotic jams in the Sweet Serenade line, Pates de Fruits, Fleur de Sel, and Pure Honey.


Bubba knocks out singer at MIS concert UPDATE Country music performer Pat Green was beaned by a full can of beer at Michigan International Speedway over the weekend, but he remained conscious, his publicist said Wednesday.  While a state trooper told the Citizen Patriot Green was knocked out when a fan tossed a beer on stage, Heather Bohn said her client withstood the beer bomb and walked off the stage.

"It is not fun to be hit with a full can of beer, and it is not something we want to happen again," she said in a phone conversation from Nashville.

Green performed Saturday night after the CarFax 250 race and was near the end of his set when he asked: "Anyone got a beer?"

A fan accidentally struck Green between the eyes. Bohn said Green did not require stitches, but the concert ended immediately. MLive.com

08/19/08 A performer at a free concert Saturday night at Michigan International Speedway shouted, "Anyone got a beer?"

NASCAR 'Bubbas' then pelted the stage with full beer cans, one, and then another, then another, striking country singer Pat Green between the eyes.  The impact knocked him out cold, ending the concert late in his 75-minute set, a Michigan State Police trooper said.

"As I understand it he asked for a beer, someone threw one and he caught it," track spokeswoman Sammie Lukaskiewicz said. "Someone then threw another beer, and it hit him."

Medical personnel treated Green at the track.


Penske cars destroyed in fire
The Team Penske transporter carrying the primary cars of Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe to this weekend's IndyCar race at Sonoma, Calif. caught fire and burned to the ground early Wednesday morning in Wyoming.

A wheel bearing triggered the fire, which then became an inferno on Interstate 80 about 60 miles west of Cheyenne, according to Tim Cindric, president of Penske Performance Inc.

"It melted the ceiling and we lost both primary cars, all our pit equipment, all the team uniforms, the shock dyno and a lot of gearbox stuff," said Cindric from his office in Mooresville, N.C. "There was also a fab shop and it was gutted.

"My guess is a couple million bucks. It's a disaster."  More at SPEEDTV.com


NASCAR weekly cheating report #3 - Toyota team slammed
NASCAR announced that the #18 and #20 teams in the Nationwide Series have been penalized due to rule violations discovered by NASCAR inspectors prior to post-race testing on the chassis dynamometer Aug. 16 at Michigan International Speedway.

Both the #18 and # 20 cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 8-9 (competitive analysis - from time to time, NASCAR may determine, in the interest of competition, that it is necessary or appropriate to undertake an analysis of the performance capabilities of a car, car part, component or equipment. The Competitor shall take whatever steps are requested by NASCAR Officials for this purpose. NASCAR also has the right to seal or impound cars, car parts, components and/or equipment for this purpose); 12-4-Q (1): (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules, detailed in Section 20A of the 2008 NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event, or is not required for the normal functional operation of the race car, or has been altered to detract from or compromise its integrity or effectiveness, whether operational or not); 12-4-K: (when NASCAR Officials mandate inspection during the Event, if any car, car parts, components, and/or equipment which have been used in the Event are taken from the racing premises without permission of a NASCAR Official, or are tampered with by any member of the team or anyone associated with the team: Magnetic spacer attached under the gas pedal with the intent of compromising the chassis dynamometer test). Both of the drivers - Joey Logano of the #18 and Tony Stewart of the #20 - have been penalized with the loss of 150 championship driver points and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2008. Joe Gibbs, owner of both of the cars, has likewise been penalized 150 championship owner points for each of those entries.

Both crew chiefs - Jason Ratcliff of the #18 and Dave Rogers of the #20 - have been fined $50,000 and indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.

From the No. 18 team, car chief Dorian Thorsen; engine tuner Michael Johnson; and crew member Toby Bigelow have been placed on indefinite suspension from NASCAR. From the #20 team, car chief Richard Bray and engine tuner Dan Bajek have been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.

In addition, the entire # 18 and No. 20 Nationwide Series teams have been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2008. NASCAR PR


NASCAR weekly cheating report #2
NASCAR has fined Donnie Wingo, crew chief of the #41 car in the Sprint Cup Series, for a violation committed during the Aug. 17 race at Michigan. The #41 car driven by Reed Sorenson was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-W (improperly attached weight) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. As a result, Wingo has been fined $25,000 for the rule infraction. NASCAR PR


An interview with Bruno Senna
Bruno Senna winning at Monaco this year
Senna, a very well known name in the world of Motorsport and a name set to continue after the tragic death of multiple Formula One world champion Ayrton back in 1994 with his young and very talented nephew, Bruno, bursting onto the GP2 scene and well on his way to taking his first crown in the Bridgestone shod series.

Currently sitting second in the drivers’ championship after a brilliant victory in wet conditions at the Silverstone meeting, the young native of Brazil is just seven points behind current leader, Giorgio Pantano, and determined to continue working his way into top spot before the season comes to a close.

From there, who knows, as Formula One is beckoning and for the past three seasons, the GP2 champion has moved into the pinnacle of Motorsports the following year, a move fully deserved by all those before him, such as Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Timo Glock, who finished second in the recent Hungarian Grand Prix.

Bruno, you raced in the GP2 Asia Series, mostly in high temperatures and sometimes in rain, which means extreme conditions. How does it feel with the Bridgestone tires in both conditions?
I like the Bridgestone tires in both hot and wet conditions; they always do a good job in the wet and last a long time in high temperatures, when the tires work harder and changes are more frequent.

Do you like racing on a damp track and what is the feeling?
Yes, I do – it is difficult with poor grip, but I relish the challenge. I have done well in the wet this season, especially winning the sprint race at Silverstone.

You switched to rain tires in Hockenheim, in hindsight, was this the right decision?
The rain made things very, very difficult at the end, although I did quite enjoy the challenge. The team decided to gamble on a switch to wets and I think it was the right call, but we just needed a few more laps to gain maximum advantage.

In the end, I’m pretty sure I’d have finished on the podium if conditions had remained dry. It was frustrating to be stuck behind di Grassi for so long, because I was potentially much faster and being bottled behind him caused my front tires to suffer. Consequently, the car didn’t feel quite as good once I’d worked my way past him, but I was still quicker than Buemi and fairly sure I’d be able to take third. But then it rained…

Would you say that tire grip is the main factor in order to feel comfortable inside the car?
I think it contributes a great deal to feeling comfortable in the car. It is an important part of the car set-up.

Your uncle was a rain master, did he give you any advice when you were a little boy and racing in go-karts?
When I was young we used to race karts at our farm in Brazil so he taught me the basics of racing and racing lines.

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Q&A with Roldan Rodriguez
The wait is almost over for Joey Logano. The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the streets of Spain’s third largest city for the eighth round of the 2008 GP2 Series.

The new Valencia street course, located in the port area of the city, will be a step into the unknown for most of the GP2 Series field, although some GP2 drivers had the opportunity to drive at the new track in late July in F3 and GT races.

FMS International driver Roldan Rodriguez is looking forward to his return to the Valencia circuit and answers the following questions.

How are you enjoying your second season in the GP2 Series?
I always enjoy it when I am racing but I enjoy it more when the results come. Until now we have struggled a little bit with the results, but I think that in the future we can get more points.

How are you finding this year’s GP2/08 car?
It is quite different to the old car. It is better in faster stints, better in braking and it is more balanced. It’s more like Formula One and I think they did well to make it closer to Formula One.

How will you prepare for racing in GP2 at a new street course like Valencia?
I have had to do it a lot because last year I didn’t know many tracks in GP2. So it’s not the first time I will race in GP2 at a track which I have no experience with the GP2 car. You have to see the circuit map and try to see more or less the difficult corners and easier corners, but then until you are racing there you really don’t know, for example, where the braking points are. I am lucky to have raced a GT2 Ferrari 430GT there a few weeks ago, so I now have a basic understanding of the circuit. However, for my first visit there with GP2 I think it will be very important to do the full 30 minutes of free practice, not to lose any time and to do as many laps as we can.

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Michigan TV Ratings
ESPN's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan had a 3.9 household coverage rating, with 3,743,919 households. Comparisons to the 2007 race are not direct as last year's race aired on a Tuesday morning on ESPN2 after a two-day rain delay and earned a 1.7 rating. ESPN2's coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan was up from last year, earning a 1.3 household coverage rating in 1,269,087 households. The 2007 race earned a 1.2 rating. Ten of the past 11 telecasts on ESPN2 have shown increases as compared to the same race last year that also aired on ESPN2. ESPN Communications


Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1's Ecclestone at Olympic velodrome
  • Valencia race sell-out unlikely - report
  • Safety car to influence Valencia tactics - Haug
  • F1 aces accessorize with pop stars
  • Toyota may delay KERS debut - Marmorini
  • Three teams scrap for coveted fourth place
  • Fisichella wants to prove critics wrong

F1's Ecclestone at Olympic velodrome
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has been spotted at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

But the F1 chief executive is not just there to while away the days in formula one's August break, according to the British newspaper Daily Telegraph.

Ecclestone, 77, is instead at the Olympic velodrome "to see if he might learn something" from Dave Brailsford, the performance director for the British cycling team, the newspaper said.

Bailsford has been hailed for overseeing the cycling team's notable showing in China.

Valencia race sell-out unlikely - report
(GMM)  Singapore seems headed for a sellout, but the same cannot be said of the other new venue on the 2008 formula one calendar, Valencia.

It emerged this week that about 100,000 of the 106,000 race-day tickets for the Singapore night race, to be held under lights at the end of September, have already been snapped up, almost guaranteeing a full house.

But the same cannot be said of the European grand prix, being held for the first time this weekend on the streets of the Spanish port city Valencia.

The German news agency SID claims that not all of the 112,000 tickets for Sunday have been sold.

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Q and A with Fernando Alonso
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso brought good points to the Renault team thanks to his fourth place finish following a long battle behind Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari.

This week-end brings the European Grand Prix and its unknown challenges on the new Valencia street circuit, the second race this year in Alonso's Spanish homeland.

Fernando, the Renault F1 Team finished in the points with both cars in Hungary and moved up a place in the constructors' championship. That's an encouraging result for the rest of the year...

"We're certainly continuing to improve, which is very encouraging. We were on the pace in Hungary, the car felt good and we showed we are still moving forward and that we will fight hard to finish in fourth place in the championship. It was important also to get a solid result before the summer break: it's good for the mood in the team and means we can come back motivated for the rest of the year."

After Barcelona, we now head to Valencia for the second race in Spain this year. Is that something special for you?

"Yes, of course. I'm very happy to be driving at home for a second time: it's always a special feeling to race in front of my countrymen and I'm really looking forward to it. In Barcelona we were having a strong race when I had to retire, but I hope this time I can get a good result as the circuit will be new for all the drivers."

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Toyota's racing TRD division making aftermarket street parts
Toyota Racing Development sales set a new record last month and the success came from an unlikely place: The TRD supercharger for the 5.7-liter V-8 in the Toyota Tundra pickup was one of the most popular items sold.

In the past, Toyota tried to sell parts for the discontinued Supra and an entire line of parts that weren't street legal. Not surprisingly, sales faltered. Now that the focus of TRD is on street legal parts for current vehicles that also have the California Air Resource Board approval, sales are doing much better. Now that the TRD group is integrated with the Toyota accessories department, the TRD parts are available when a vehicle is launched and the parts perform much better on all the vehicles. TRD parts do not void the Toyota warranty and can be installed at a local dealer.

TRD currently offers superchargers for its 2.4-liter I-4, 4.0-liter V-6, and 5.7-liter V-8 engines as well as springs, shocks, exhaust, wheels, and sway bars for a variety of current Toyota vehicles. Sadly, those items combined account for fewer annual sales than floor mats at Toyota dealers. Autonews.com


NASCAR weekly cheating report #1 UPDATE #2 NASCAR will wait another day before issuing penalties against Joe Gibbs Racing's Nationwide Series teams, who were caught trying to cheat during a post race test last weekend. The teams of Gibbs' No. 18 and No. 20 Toyotas deliberately attempted to mask the true horsepower in their engines after Saturday's race at Michigan International Speedway.

08/18/08 Statement released on behalf of NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs after NASCAR's discovery of infractions during post-race Nationwide Series technical inspection at Michigan:

"If this alleged incident proves true, it goes against everything we stand for as an organization.

"We will take full responsibility and accept any penalties NASCAR levies against us. We will also investigate internally how this incident took place and who was involved and make whatever decisions are necessary to ensure that this kind of situation never happens again.

"The expectations we set for everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing begins with me, and I personally apologize to NASCAR, our partners and our fans for the negative light this situation has cast upon all of us."

08/17/08 Joe Gibbs Racing’s Nationwide Series teams will be penalized for attempting to manipulate the throttle so NASCAR would not get a true horsepower reading when putting their cars on the chassis dynamometer following the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Saturday night.

Both the No. 18 and No. 20 teams face penalties for what was a blatant attempt to interfere with the inspection process, Hunter said.

“What they did was not in effect during the race,” Hunter said. “They didn’t have an illegal part or engine during the race. They tried to do something involving a magnet so that we wouldn’t get a true reading on the dyno.”

NASCAR put 10 cars on the chassis dyno to test horsepower following the race Saturday. Last month, NASCAR changed the spacer that limits air flow through the carburetor for Toyotas after it determined that the Toyotas had an advantage over the other manufacturers.

Hunter said NASCAR officials caught the JGR teams trying to interfere with the process.

“There will definitely be some penalties coming,” Hunter said. Scenedaily.com


Hornish gets Newman's crew chief
Penske Racing today announced that Travis Geisler will immediately replace Chris Carrier as the crew chief of the Mobil 1 Dodge, driven by Sam Hornish Jr.  A mechanical engineering graduate from Vanderbilt, Geisler, 27, had been the race engineer for the Alltel Dodge, and was an integral part of Penske Racing’s historic 2008 Daytona 500 victory. 

A Pittsburgh native, Geisler began racing go-karts at age 14 and moved to Dirt Late Models two years later.  He ran four years in NASCAR’s Weekly Racing Series, where in 2002, he won seven of his 17 races at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton, Pennsylvania, and finished second in the point standings.  From 2002 to 2003, Geisler also ran in ARCA, ASA and the NASCAR Touring Series.  His racing resume culminated in 2004 when he ran 12 races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for DCT Motorsports.

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NASCAR driver’s son sentenced
The son of NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd pleaded guilty Tuesday to five counts of felony indecent liberties with a minor.

A Catawba County grand jury indicted 40-year-old Clay Morgan Shepherd Jr., of Hickory, on one of the charges in 2006.

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Robert Bell sentenced Shepherd to six months in prison, to be followed by three years’ probation. Shepherd will also have to register as a sex offender and undergo a sex offender evaluation and treatment.

According to the district attorney’s office, the charges involved multiple female victims under the age of 16. The incidents happened between 2005 and 2008.  ThatsRacin


Ferrari: Valencia preview
This weekend's European Grand Prix marks the return to the race track after the short summer break and while the Formula 1 cars might not have turned a wheel since Sunday in Budapest, the Ferrari factory in Maranello has been operating normally, with Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro staff all hard at work preparing, not just for the race in Valencia, but also for the final part of the season in general. The race schedule between now and the Brazilian finale is such that there can be no let up until the final checkered flag.

As a brand new venue, preparation for this weekend is slightly different to normal, because the track itself is an unknown quantity, even if the route from Maranello to Valencia is a well trodden one, as the permanent circuit outside the city is a popular testing venue. Preparation for a new track relies heavily on the use of track simulation programs, using the Centro Ricerche Fiat simulator, to provide a solid baseline from which the team can begin work with the first free practice session on Friday morning. The simulator is an aid to the drivers, as it gives them an idea of what to expect and in its simplest form means they can learn where the corners are. It also helps the engineers produce a basic set-up for all functions and settings on the F2008 cars. Simulators are growing ever more sophisticated, however, one area where there is no real substitute for track time experience concerns the tires: the choice of Bridgestone tires is already known as drivers will run on the "soft" and "super soft" compounds which they have already used twice this year at other grands prix. However, how the tires will perform on the track surface cannot be predicted with total accuracy at this stage.

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track news

Two night races at Milwaukee Mile in 2009
The Milwaukee Mile first hosted a NASCAR-sanctioned event in 1984, and today, it was revealed the NASCAR tradition of back-to-back night races will return to America’s Legendary Oval in 2009.

The NASCAR Camping World Summer Speed Weekend at The Milwaukee Mile will feature a 250-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Saturday night, June 20.  It will be the 19th time the Nationwide Series will take to The Mile and co-headline Wisconsin’s biggest motorsports weekend.

The NASCAR Truck Series, which has competed annually at The Mile since the series inception in 1995, will run a 200-mile contest on Friday night, June 19.

Temporary MUSCO Lighting has been erected to illuminate the historic one-mile oval, much to the delight of the fans and competitors, since The Mile’s 2004 Camping World Summer Speed event weekend.

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Wilson passes away following Virginia accident
Following a tragic first lap accident in Sunday’s Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup race, at the Virginia International Raceway, 14 year-old Bermudan competitor Toriano Wilson has sadly passed away in hospital due to his injuries.

Wilson fell on the track during the first lap and was accidentally struck by another rider, Luciano Ribodino, while attempting to get out of the way. Wilson was airlifted to UNC Medical Center for treatment, but later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead early on Monday.

Ribodino was transported to Duke Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, having suffered a broken left arm and broken left femur. He is in a stable condition.


27 cars entered for Infineon IndyCar race
Car Driver Hometown Entrant Race Strategist
2 A.J. Foyt IV Hockley, Texas Vision Racing Tony George
3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Team Penske Tim Cindric
4 Vitor Meira Brasilia, Brazil Panther Racing John Barnes
5 Oriol Servia Pals, Spain KV Racing Technology Jimmy Vasser
6 Ryan Briscoe Sydney, Australia Team Penske Roger Penske
7 Danica Patrick Roscoe, Ill. Andretti Green Racing Kyle Moyer
8 Will Power (R) Toowoomba, Australia KV Racing Technology Mark Johnson
9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing Mike Hull
10 Dan Wheldon Emberton, England Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chip Ganassi
11 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Brazil Andretti Green Racing George Klotz
12 Tomas Scheckter Cape Town, South Africa Luczo Dragon Racing John Cummiskey
14 Darren Manning North Yorkshire, England A.J. Foyt Enterprises A.J. Foyt
15 Buddy Rice Phoenix Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dennis Reinbold
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay Boca Raton, Fla. Rahal Letterman Racing Scott Roembke
18 Bruno Junqueira Belo Horizonte, Brazil Dale Coyne Racing Dale Coyne
19 Mario Moraes (R) Sao Paulo, Brazil Dale Coyne Racing Adam Schaechter
20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis Vision Racing Jeff Britton
23 Townsend Bell San Luis Obispo, Calif. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Robbie Buhl
25 Marty Roth Toronto Roth Racing Duncan Charnell
26 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Andretti Green Racing Paul Harcus
27 Hideki Mutoh (R) Tokyo Andretti Green Racing Kim Green
33 E.J. Viso (R) Caracas, Venezuela HVM Racing Michael Cannon
34 Jaime Camara (R) Goiania, Brazil Conquest Racing Eric Zeto
36 Enrique Bernoldi (R) Curitiva, Brazil Conquest Racing Brandon Fry
96 Mario Dominguez (R) Mexico City Pacific Coast Motorsports Michael Harvey
02 Justin Wilson (R) Sheffield, England Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Mike Talbott
06 Graham Rahal (R) New Albany, Ohio Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Todd Malloy


2009 NASCAR Truck Series Schedule
Date - Site
Feb. 13 - Daytona International Speedway
Feb. 21 - Auto Club Speedway
March 7 - Atlanta Motor Speedway
March 28 - Martinsville Speedway
April 25 - Kansas Speedway
May 15 - Lowe’s Motor Speedway
May 23 - Mansfield Motorsports Park
May 29 - Dover International Speedway
June 5 - Texas Motor Speedway
June 13 - Michigan International Speedway
June 19 - Milwaukee Mile
June 27 - Memphis Motorsports Park
July 18 - Kentucky Speedway
July 24 - O’Reilly Raceway Park
Aug. 1 - Nashville Superspeedway
Aug. 19 - Bristol Motor Speedway
Aug. 28 - Chicagoland Speedway
Sept. 12 - Gateway International Raceway
Sept. 19 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Sept. 26 - Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Oct. 24 - Martinsville Speedway
Oct. 31 - Talladega Superspeedway
Nov. 6 - Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 13 - Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 20 - Homestead-Miami Speedway


2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Schedule
Date - Site
Feb. 14 - Daytona International Speedway
Feb. 21 - Auto Club Speedway
Feb. 28 - Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 21 - Bristol Motor Speedway
April 4 - Texas Motor Speedway
April 11 - Nashville Superspeedway
April 17 - Phoenix International Raceway
April 25 - Talladega Superspeedway
May 1 - Richmond International Raceway
May 8 - Darlington Raceway
May 23 - Lowe’s Motor Speedway
May 30 - Dover International Speedway
June 6 - Nashville Superspeedway
June 13 - Kentucky Speedway
June 20 - Milwaukee Mile
June 27 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway
July 3 - Daytona International Speedway
July 10 - Chicagoland Speedway
July 18 - Gateway International Raceway
July 25 - O’Reilly Raceway Park
Aug. 1 - Iowa Speedway
Aug. 8 - Watkins Glen International
Aug. 15 - Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 21 - Bristol Motor Speedway
Aug. 30 - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Sept. 5 - Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sept. 11 - Richmond International Raceway
Sept. 26 - Dover International Speedway
Oct. 3 - Kansas Speedway
Oct. 10 - Auto Club Speedway
Oct. 16 - Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Oct. 24 - Memphis Motorsports Park
Nov. 7 - Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 14 - Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 21 - Homestead-Miami Speedway


2009 NASCAR Cup schedule announced
2009 Cup Schedule Announced, 4 "off" weeks: NASCAR announced today its national series schedules for the 2009 season, which features realigned dates for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Truck Series. In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series there will be a three-way date swap between Atlanta Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) and Talladega Superspeedway.

• Atlanta’s second 2009 race will be held on Sunday, Sept. 6, taking the Labor Day weekend slot now held by Auto Club Speedway.
• Auto Club Speedway’s second race will be Sunday, Oct. 11 – the fourth week of the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup,” a slot formerly held by Talladega.
• Talladega’s second event will move to Sunday, Nov. 1, making it the seventh Chase event – the slot formerly held by Atlanta.

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Iowa gets NASCAR race
It’s official. NASCAR has selected Iowa Speedway as the site of a Nationwide Series race in 2009. Rusty Wallace, ABC/ESPN announcer and former NASCAR champion made the announcement at a morning news conference in Newton, Iowa.   

Wallace, flanked by Iowa Speedway and Nationwide executives, ended months of speculation by announcing August 1, 2009, as the race date for the 250 lap Nationwide Series race to be held on the 7/8 mile oval track designed by Wallace. An exact time for the race has not been set.

“NASCAR’s selection of Iowa Speedway as a site for a Nationwide race next year, in only our third full year of competitive racing, is an honor and a privilege,” Wallace said, “and it’s also the result of a lot of hard work by the staff here in Iowa – and our Nationwide partners who helped us secure a race here in Newton. It’s a great day for Iowa Speedway, for Nationwide, for NASCAR, and especially, for racing fans throughout the country”.

“Iowa Speedway is a new facility that is already very popular with fans in that part of the country and will; be a great match for the NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “The track has successfully hosted NASCAR Camping World Series events and we expect to see great racing there on August 1 for the in augural NASCAR Nationwide Series race”.

Nationwide officials also spoke favorably about Iowa Speedway as a new venue for the series they sponsor:

"As title sponsor of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and an active member of the local community, Nationwide is pleased NASCAR has chosen to place a Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway," said John Aman, Associate Vice President, Strategic Sponsorships. "Iowa Speedway is definitely a first rate facility and we are looking forward to sharing in the excitement of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with our 4,000 associates in Des Moines area, along with the entire state of Iowa."

Talks between Iowa Speedway and NASCAR have been ongoing, according to Wallace, and NASCAR teams and drivers who have already tested at the track have praised it as safe and fast.

Wallace teamed with Iowa Speedway CEO Stan Clement in securing the race date with NASCAR. “We’re elated at today’s announcement,” Clement said, “and look forward to some of the best racing in the country right here in Iowa. NASCAR and Nationwide are top-notch organizations and we’re proud to be associated with two world-class organizations”.

Iowa Speedway officials say tickets for the entire 2009 schedule, including Nationwide, are scheduled to go on sale October 1, 2008, after the 2009 schedule is completed.

racing news

Scenes from Bavaria City Racing in Rotterdam UPDATE A1 Team Netherlands fans got another chance to see the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car this weekend, at the annual Bavaria City Racing Festival around the streets of Rotterdam.  The annual festival event contains demonstrations from all forms of motorsports, and the estimated 500,000 fans went crazy when catching their first glimpses of the A1 Team Netherlands car, complete with 600bhp Ferrari V8 engine.

Twenty-two-year old Japan F3 racer Carlo van Dam was given the task of piloting the car on home soil, which was run in a bright orange livery reminiscent of the design that was used by the team in the first two seasons of A1GP. 

The orange design is not going to be the final livery however, with the 2008/09 paint-scheme expected to be revealed by the end of this month, along with details of the all-important driver line-up.

“It was great to drive in front of a Dutch audience again in the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car,” said van Dam.

“It is obvious the people from Ferrari and A1GP have done a tremendous job. When I heard the engine sound and felt the vibes of its engine it made my skin crawl. I couldn’t show the full potential of the new car around the tight streets but it is obvious it is huge.”

08/17/08 Below are photos of today's Bavaria City Racing in Rotterdam, the annual event in Europe's largest port city! An estimated 500,000 spectators watched Robert Doornbos (Renault F1), Jarno Trulli (Toyota F1), Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil (both in Force India's F1 cars) and Sakon Yamamoto (Renault F1) and many other local motorsport heroes and their race cars in the City centre of Rotterdam. They entertained the audience with spectacular donuts, drifts and raw speed.

Ferrari prototype from 70s Driver parade in open Bentley (l to r: David Hart (car owner) - Adrian Sutil - Robert Doornbos - Sakon Yamamoto - Ivo Opstelten (Mayor of Rotterdam) - Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella Robert Doornbos
Lots of spectators watched the show A1GP Team Holland (first public outing) driven by Carlo van Dam (leader in the Japanese F3 championship) Jarno Trulli at full speed
Giancarlo Fisichella Robert Doornbos doing donuts Sakon Yamamoto


Firm to build F1 simulator for Ferrari
(GMM) Ferrari has charged an American company with the task of engineering the best driver simulator in formula one.

With the Italian team's arch rivals McLaren believed to currently possess the best simulator, it emerges that the New York-based firm Moog is working on building a "next-generation" machine to be installed at Maranello.

Moog is involved in the aerospace and defense industries, making aircraft, spacecraft, military weapon and missile controls.

"The dynamic driving simulator is a new step for us in developing virtual tests that give drivers the true feel of a real environment and direct feedback on their actions," Ferrari's head of car performance Marco Fainello confirmed.

Moog also confirmed the news.

Simulators are of growing importance to F1 teams, with Ferrari revealing on Tuesday that it used carmaker partner Fiat's Centro Ricerche facility to prepare for the new layout at Valencia.

But reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen is not a fan of using simulators to prepare for unfamiliar circuits.

"To be honest, that's something I don't like," the Finn admitted. "I've always been able to get to know a new race track very fast."


NASCAR's Unbreakable Records
Michael Phelps made Olympic history in the Beijing games, taking home eight gold medals in swimming competition.  Phelps eclipsed Mark Spitz’s seemingly unbreakable record of winning seven gold medals in a single year of the Olympic Games, a record that withstood since 1972.  Although few expected Spitz’s record to ever fall, Phelps’ gold medal performance made everyone realize that even the most tenured records in sports can be broken.

In NASCAR, several records are withstanding the test of time.  Ricky Rudd and his 788 consecutive start streak, Richard Petty’s 200 wins and the seven championships won by Petty and Dale Earnhardt are all milestones with few drivers close to breaking.  NASCAR drivers Bobby Labonte and Marc Mitchell discuss which racing records are out of reach and which could be the next to fall.

Bobby Labonte, Sprint Cup Driver: 
“I know records are made to be broken, but I don’t think anyone will ever win 200 races again.  That’s one record in a league of its own.  Someone would have to win 10 races a season for 20 years straight.  I just don’t see that happening.  Richard Petty is going to have a long reign as King of that achievement.

“Still, you can chase some of these records.  It’s not impossible to think of someone breaking the “modern-era season wins” record one day (Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty both have 13 wins in a single season).  It would be tough, but someone could break it.  It’s going to take an outstanding driver and a phenomenal team, and a few lucky breaks along the way, but it’s not impossible.

“Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt are safe for now, but someone could break their record of seven championships. Racing is more competitive than ever before, but there are a few drivers coming up through the ranks that stand a real chance of winning multiple championships.  Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are part of an awesome organization and they have tons of talent.  They’ll be championship contenders for years to come.  It would take a career of near-perfect seasons to win seven championships, but a young driver who gets drafted into a top-tier team could be a threat.”

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Kvapil to race "Knight Rider" car
Yates Racing and NBC announced today that in a unique partnership between Ford Motor Company and NBC, Travis Kvapil will pilot the No. 28 “Knight Rider” Ford for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23rd.  The sponsorship by NBC of the No. 28 Ford comes in anticipation of the television series premiere of NBC’s “Knight Rider” on Wednesday, September 24th at 8:00 p.m. EST.

On the heels of NBC’s hit movie, the iconic 1980’s television classics comes roaring back to life as a reinvented, updated and super-charged action series showcasing the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand).  As absolutely the coolest car ever created, KITT is equipped with “AI” (artificial intelligence) that is capable of hacking into almost any system.  The vehicle’s weapon system matches that of a jet fighter, its body is capable of transforming into other vehicles, and the car uses sophisticated holographic imagery to elude villains.

“This is such an awesome sponsor for our team at Bristol,” commented Kvapil.  “The television series 'Knight Rider' is a show that everyone can get hooked on.  I think it’s really cool that NBC has chosen to reinvent the series for the Fall line-up.  The best part about the show was always the car, KITT, and this is amazing that I get to drive a version of KITT for the night race at Bristol.  It’s every guy’s dream to feel like they are an action hero and I get to have that chance under the lights of Bristol with our No. 28 'Knight Rider' Ford.”

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Indy 500 Winner Dixon To Join de Ferran At Petit Le Mans
2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon
Indianapolis 500 champion Scott Dixon will drive for de Ferran Motorsports in the team's No. 66 Panasonic ELS Surround Acura ARX-01b prototype sports car in the October 4 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in the 10th round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series. 

Dixon, the 27-year-old driver from New Zealand, is enjoying one of the most successful open-wheel racing seasons in the past decade with six victories, including the Indy 500, in the 2008 IndyCar Series at the controls of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Dallara Honda.  Dixon won the Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speed- way in the most recent IndyCar Series race on Aug. 9.

Dixon will team with de Ferran Motorsports team owner Gil de Ferran, the 2003 Indy 500 winner, and young star Simon Pagenaud in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans set on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road circuit north of Atlanta.  De Ferran Motorsports began its operation in 2008 and competed in its first ALMS race in May at the Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, finishing on the podium.  In addition, the team has qualified on the overall front row in three of the team's first four events.  De Ferran won the overall pole at the Mid-Ohio round in July.

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No resources dilemma for Ferrari
(GMM)  Ferrari insists it has the ability to maintain development of its 2008 car while also focusing on the significant rules changes for next year.

The Italian team's technical director Aldo Costa on Tuesday revealed that the production phase of the 2009 car - including the actual chassis and the gearbox - is now beginning.

Some of the other teams are grappling with the dilemma of continuing to bring speed to their current cars while devoting enough resources to preparing for 2009.

Ferrari is locked in a close battle for 2008 honors with McLaren, with the drivers' title separated by just five points.

"Ferrari has the ability and resources to work on next year's car without having to relax for one moment on continuing the development of the F2008," Costa said.

The Italian did concede, however, that the resources split between 2008 and 2009 is a "very demanding challenge", given the arrival next year of bodywork restrictions, KERS and the return of slick tires.

He said: "This makes the puzzle more complicated than ever, which is why we have to operate as efficiently as possible in terms of time management, commitment and energy, as we are now in a delicate phase with no way to recover from any mistakes.

"One step in the wrong direction could prove very costly," he said.


GM to trim lease deals for 3 of its brands
In another sign that the auto industry is pulling away from lease deals, General Motors Corp. is cutting back incentives on new GMC, Buick and Pontiac vehicles.

Dealers learned Monday that the only lease deal they'll have to offer for those brands through GM's partially owned financial arm GMAC will be on the Pontiac G6, said Russ Shelton, owner of Shelton Pontiac Buick GMC in Rochester Hills.

The narrowed leasing incentives start Wednesday. It is unclear what kind of leasing deals GM will support for other brands, including Chevrolet, Saturn and Hummer.

GM spokesman John McDonald said he couldn't comment on specific deals.

GM expects to announce today details of its plan to offer its employee discount to all customers.

"Leases, for a long time, have been supported at below-market rates. We're not able to financially support leases at below-market rates when the residuals have eroded as much as they have," McDonald said.


Mixed double for the Audi R10 TDI at Mosport
o Two races in America within a week
o Huge contrast between Mosport and Detroit
o Electronics help set-up work and race strategy

Ingolstadt -- In the last week in August the Audi R10 TDI competes on two race tracks which could hardly be more different: On 24 August the American Le Mans Series appears at the Canadian circuit Mosport, one of the fastest tracks on the calendar. On the agenda only six days later on the Belle Isle in Detroit (USA) is the slowest street circuit on the US sportscar series' calendar.

The two Audi Sport North America team Audi R10 TDI prototypes are not just the only diesel cars in the high-caliber starting field of the US racing series -- they are also equipped with state-of-the-art electronics which are becoming increasingly complex. At Mosport a new version of the tire-pressure monitoring system will be used, which is also found in a similar form in Audi road cars.

"This is a very important safety aspect," explains Christian Weck, Project Leader for Le Mans Prototypes (LMP) at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt. "It is a great help that we can warn a driver if the tire pressure is falling during a race. The new version runs at an even higher sample rate than before."

The tire pressures are only four of almost 100 parameters that are logged by sensors and transmitted by telemetry to the pits while the R10 TDI is running. Additional safety relevant parameters are brake wear and brake temperatures, aerodynamic data or changes in the ride-height which could point to damage on the suspension.

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39 Newman's new number
Sirius Satellite Radio announced on Monday's NASCAR show that Ryan Newman would run the No. 39 on the side of his Chevy in 2009 and NOT the No. 4 as reported elsewhere.


No Monza test for Schumacher UPDATE (GMM)  Contrary to reports earlier this month, it now appears less likely that Michael Schumacher will return to the cockpit of Ferrari's 2008 car at the forthcoming Monza test.

Press speculation in Germany said the retired seven time world champion's Monza outing was a reaction to the reliability and performance problems suffered by the Italian team in recent weeks.

But Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm subsequently would not confirm the news, and the usually reliable Swiss newspaper Blick is now reporting that the German will actually not be testing at the high-speed Italian venue next week.

08/07/08 (GMM)  Michael Schumacher's spokeswoman will not officially confirm that the occasional Ferrari test driver is scheduled to be back at the wheel of the F2008 at the forthcoming Monza test.

Reports this week suggested that, amid the Italian marque's current trough and reliability problems, retired seven time world champion Schumacher would be giving his input at the Monza group test later this month.

But his spokesman Sabine Kehm told adrivo.com: "No, I cannot confirm that."


F1 teams approve Singapore GP lights
(GMM)  Formula one teams have approved the lighting system for the first ever night race, to be staged in Singapore late next month.

Representatives of the teams inspected the circuit, located in the city-state's Marina Bay area, last month, the local Channel NewsAsia said.

Work on fully installing the system, which provides brightness suitable for F1's high-definition broadcasts, is currently taking place.

A total of 1500 projectors are to light up the 5km street layout, ensuring that the circuit is nearly four times brighter than a typical football stadium at night.

The pan-Asian news channel is also reporting that 95 per cent of the tickets for the first Singapore grand prix have already been sold, therefore almost guaranteeing a sell-out on September 28.


Raikkonen not able to defend crown - Lauda
(GMM)  Former Ferrari champion Niki Lauda has counted the Italian team's reigning title winner out of the running for the 2008 crown.

The great Austrian concedes that the 2008 championship is set to be a down-to-the-wire battle of Ferrari versus McLaren.

But even though Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, is narrowly leading the Italian team's points charge at present, Lauda thinks the Finn's teammate is a better bet against Lewis Hamilton.

"Up until now it has been (Felipe) Massa and Hamilton, because Raikkonen's performance has been going up and down all the time," the 59-year-old told the official F1 website.

Lauda points out that while all the title contenders have a tendency to make mistakes, Brazil's Massa did a "perfect job" in Hungary until his engine failed.

"For the moment Massa has the edge over Raikkonen from the driver's point of view," he insists, adding that the Finn is presently "clearly not" in the hunt to defend his crown.

Lauda won the drivers' championship for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977.

tv news

Danica Patrick on The Ellen Degeneres Show
A replay of The Ellen Degeneres Show featuring Danica Patrick as a guest recently will be aired on Wednesday, August 20.  Danica discusses her IndyCar career and also her appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.  The network and time for The Ellen Degeneres Show varies.  Please check your local listings for your time zone. 


Renault’s Valencia tech file
Valencia tech info
Situated in the marina area of Valencia, this brand new street course promises to be one of the most exciting additions to the Formula 1 calendar in recent years. Hemmed in by concrete walls, the 25-turn circuit combines a mix of high and low-speed sections and is wide enough in places to offer genuine overtaking opportunities. Good straight-line speed and stability under braking are therefore paramount, as is good mechanical grip through the mix of low and medium-speed corners.

The track layout means that the teams will run with relatively low levels of downforce, similar to those used in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. This is possible as there are no high-speed corners and good straight-line speed is important down the long back straight. However, it won't be until free practice begins on Friday that the team will be able to finalize aero levels, which can depend on the grip offered by the tarmac.

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Force India planning for Valencia Safety Car
Force India tech director Mike Gascoyne is betting that as in most street races, the safety car will be deployed at least once, if not more, during the race.

"Certainly, for a team like us, we would be looking at that," he told Autosport. "You've got the walls and the difficult of getting cars away, so there's going to be a lot of safety cars.

"We may look at strategies that will put us out of sync with the others so we can take advantage of it.

"With strategy, you've got to see what the circuit is like and how the tires perform, because that might dictate far more what we do. But it's something we will factor into our race strategy."


Motorcyclist Drives Through Wall, Dies
TAMPA, Fla. -- A Brandon man riding his motorcycle (probably drunk as a skunk) in a restaurant parking lot died after crashing through a concrete wall, authorities said.

Hillsborough County deputies said Adel M. Odeh, 20, was riding a Kawasaki Ninja through the parking lot of the Acropolis Bar & Grill in Tampa Sunday night. As he approached the end of the lot, he accelerated toward the wall for an unknown reason, deputies said. Deputies said he hit the wall so hard that he went through it.

Odeh, who was not wearing a helmet, died at the scene.


I'm well rested and motivated - Piquet Jr
Nelson Piquet Jr.
After a three-week summer break, the ING Renault F1 Team prepares for round twelve of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship: the European Grand Prix in Valencia. The race will take place on the all-new street circuit in the Spanish city.

Nelson, you had a solid race in Hungary, building on your result in Germany. Is this the breakthrough you have been waiting for?
"I don't know, but I'm certainly happy to have scored points in Hungary. It was important for the team and for me and overall it was a very positive weekend. The car worked well, I did a lot of laps during free practice on Friday and Saturday morning and I was on the pace all weekend and felt comfortable. It's always nice to have that sort of weekend and I hope to continue like this for the rest of the season."

You are preparing to contest the first European Grand Prix held in Valencia: a new circuit for all the drivers. How are you approaching this race?
"This season I have already learned several new circuits, but the difference this time is that all the drivers will be in the same position and having to learn the circuit. I think that from the point of view of the championship it's interesting to visit new tracks: it's an extra challenge for the drivers as well as the teams. I have worked hard with the team to approach this race in the best shape possible and I will try to get on the pace quickly and maximize every lap in practice."

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Matos in familiar territory
Raphael Matos has been in this position before. In three of the last four years, Matos has claimed a series championship. Now he's aiming to win the Firestone Indy Lights crown.

With three races remaining in the battle for the 2008 Firestone Firehawk Cup, Matos is one of 13 drivers mathematically eligible to win the title. He's just four points behind leader Richard Antinucci.

Matos has had the lead in his grasp in each of the last two race weekends. Following his win in the opening race of the Mid-Ohio doubleheader, Matos held the points lead. He tied Antinucci, who leads with 408 points, after scoring his series-best fourth pole at Kentucky on Aug. 8.

Antinucci has held the points lead after eight of 13 races this season, and hasn't been lower than second. The nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., has two wins and leads the series with seven podium finishes. Matos, though, has stayed in close contact with the leaders all season. Matos has three victories – all in the opening race during the road/street course doubleheaders.

Not to be discounted is Dillon Battistini, who has a series-best four wins, and Arie Luyendyk Jr., who climbed to within 57 points of Antinucci at Kentucky.

Both drivers can use past history in their quest to win the title. Jeff Simmons made up 58 points in the last three races on Travis Gregg to take second spot in 2005, while second-place Jonathan Klein made up nearly 40 points over the final three races on eventual champion Jay Howard the following season.


Four remain eligible for IndyCar Series title
With three races remaining in the battle for the 2008 IndyCar Series championship, four drivers are mathematically eligible to win. Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan remain in contention for the title as the series prepares for the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County Aug. 24 at Infineon Raceway.

Dixon, who leads all drivers with 558 points, has a 78-point lead over Castroneves. Dixon has held the points lead after 11 of 14 races this season, and has held it consecutively since winning the 92nd Indianapolis 500 in May. The 2003 IndyCar Series champion has logged a record-tying six victories, and along with Castroneves, is the only driver with 12 top-five finishes.

Castroneves has stayed a close second behind Dixon since Indianapolis. Castroneves, who led the points for three races in April, has finished second seven times this season but has yet to find victory lane.

Wheldon, 138 points back, and Kanaan, 147 points back are on the brink of elimination. Kanaan, the 2004 series champion, will see his hopes for a second series championship end once Dixon takes the green flag to start the race at Infineon. Wheldon, the 2005 series champion, must win his third race of the season and have Dixon finish 13th or worse to remain alive.

That brings the battle down to Dixon and Castroneves for the championship. Although no IndyCar Series driver has clinched the championship in the third-to-last race of the season, it is possible for Dixon to do so if he extends his lead to 106 points. Several scenarios present that opportunity.


Austin Dillon to Nationwide Series
Austin Dillon, grandson of championship-winning team owner Richard Childress, will make his Nationwide Series debut Sept. 5 at Richmond International Raceway. The 18-year-old is competing for a championship in NASCAR's Camping World Series East Series and sits third in the point standings external link. His progression and victory earlier this year, however, prompted Richard Childress Racing to give Dillon a shot at making a Nationwide Series race. In the 2009 season, he expects to run a partial Nationwide Series slate along with a partial schedule of Camping World Series events. As of right now, Dillon said he plans to run the RCR #21 or 33, but later his permanent number could be the storied #3, the number piloted by the late Dale Earnhardt and the number that has created an immortal fan following since the legendary driver's death in 2001. NASCAR.com


Ranger lands Nationwide ride with Fitz Motorsports
Reigning NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion Andrew Ranger will drive in seven of the remaining 10 Nationwide Series races for Fitz Motorsports.

Ranger, who made his series debut for the team at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal earlier this month, will return to the No. 22 Dodge for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The 21-year-old Ranger will also drive in races at Richmond, Charlotte, Memphis, Texas and Phoenix and Homestead.

“I am really happy and honored that Fitz Motorsports has chosen me as their driver for these races,” Ranger said in a news release. “To run in the Nationwide Series is a new challenge for me and also an excellent path for my career as a NASCAR driver.

“I am more than ready to take this on, and I will give it everything I’ve got to position myself as a contender in this series.”


NASCAR next for GM axe?
General Motors Corp., pushing to speed up cost cuts after a $15.5 billion second-quarter loss, said it will halt its sponsorship of the movie industry's Academy Awards and television's Emmy Awards after at least a decade.  ``With the current business challenges and the tightening of budgets, we decided to focus our promotional dollars on activities that reach the most customers and get us the most return on investment,'' Kelly Cusinato, a spokeswoman for the Detroit-based automaker, said today in an interview.

Cusinato declined to say how much GM spends on sponsorships for the two programs, which both air on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC. GM was the only automotive sponsor for ABC's broadcast of the 2008 Academy Awards in February and provided a fleet of vehicles for transport during the events.

GM, the largest U.S. automaker, is re-evaluating advertising spending under a plan announced last month to save $10 billion a year. Chief Financial Officer Ray Young said in an Aug. 13 presentation that the company may be able to realize more of those savings this year instead of in 2009.

The company's decision to end its Academy Awards sponsorship was reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal.


NASCAR To Move Bristol Sprint Cup, Nationwide Races
Bristol Motor Speedway President and General Manager Jeff Byrd got what he wished, hoped for and wanted. So did track owner Bruton Smith.  Byrd and Smith – the heart and brains of BMS – have spent months working behind the scenes with NASCAR to move the dates of spring races here farther back on the calendar.  The work has paid dividends.  The Bristol Herald Courier has learned that NASCAR will officially move the Sprint Cup and Nationwide spring races back to the weekend of March 20-22.

“It’s the first weekend of spring,” Byrd said.

The primary reason Byrd and Smith have worked to push back the dates is their inability to control one of mankind’s longtime foes – the weather.  Persistent rain and cold temperatures plagued qualifying for and the running of this year’s Food City 500 and Sharpie Mini 300, which were held March 14-16.

racing news

Deadly accident at Spa
It was a deadly weekend at the Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. During the '8 hours of Spa', a motorcycle race, a Belgian rider passed away. Several motorcycles collided and exploded, causing a huge fire on the track. Beside the man who was killed, another person badly injured and two people with minor injuries.

track news

2009 Texas Motor Speedway Schedule At A Glance
  • Thursday, April 2: The Dallas Morning News Qualifying Day – NASCAR Nationwide Series
  • Friday, April 3: The Dallas Morning News Qualifying Day – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
  • Saturday, April 4: O’Reilly 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race
  • Sunday, April 5: Samsung 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race
  • Thursday, June 4: Qualifying – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
  • Friday, June 5: Firestone Qualifying Night – IndyCar Series; WinStar World Casino 400 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race
  • Saturday, June 6: Bombardier Learjet 550k IndyCar Series race
  • Thursday, Nov. 5: 7-Eleven Qualifying Day – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
  • Friday, Nov. 6: Lone Star 350k NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race; 7-Eleven Qualifying Day – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series
  • Saturday, Nov. 7: O’Reilly Challenge NASCAR Nationwide Series race
  • Sunday, Nov. 8: Dickies 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “Chase for the Sprint Cup” race

Note: Start times, broadcast partners and full race weekend schedules to be released at a later date.


Stoner tops Rossi in Brno test Monday
Casey Stoner topped Brno MotoGP winner Valentino Rossi Monday where the MotoGP set stayed to test following Sunday's race.  In the race Stoner fell down handing the win to Rossi.

1. C. STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team  1:56.261
2. V. ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 1:57.332
3. T. ELIAS SPA Alice Team 1:57.457
4. S. NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:57.652
5. C. VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1:57.742


MotoGP Germany GP TV rating
The overnight TV rating Sunday of the MotoGP Grand Prix of Germany tape delayed on CBS was a 0.5/1 share.

racing news

Quotes of the Week UPDATE
"We wanted everyone to know that unification was not the answer," said Kalkhoven, a native Australian who makes his home in Alamo. "It's a rebuilding process. The early signs are there. ... But we still have a lot of work to do. It's a journey now, not a destination."  Former Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven shares the optimism drivers have with regard to the future. Nonetheless, as the current owner of the KV Racing Technology team, Kalkhoven invoked his venture capital background when thinking about unification and the long-term health of the series.

"It's just a shame it took 13 years and ruined a fan base." Scott Dixon commenting on unification of IRL and Champ Car and the damage done to the fan base as a result of the IRL being created to undermine a very successful CART series.

"That was a really poor and foolish decision on the part of our key guys. 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. If this alleged incident proves true, it goes against everything we stand for as an organization. We will take full responsibility and accept any penalties NASCAR levies against us. We will also investigate internally how this incident took place and who was involved and make whatever decisions are necessary to ensure that this kind of situation never happens again. The expectations we set for everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing begins with me, and I personally apologize to NASCAR, our partners and our fans for the negative light this situation has cast upon all of us." J.D. Gibbs, President, Joe Gibbs Racing, commenting on NASCAR inspectors catching Joe Gibbs Racing trying to alter the result of chassis dyno tests on the Nationwide Series cars of Tony Stewart and Joey Logano.

"We came here with a new engine package, and we're a bubble driver.  We just make stupid choices.  We can't keep our cars together.  We have dash malfunctions, motors breaking.  At this point, we don't even deserve to be in the Chase." Denny Hamlin, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, Joe Gibbs Racing, commenting after his engine blew on Lap 194 of the Michigan International Speedway race.

"From what I'm told by Scott Speed and Juan Pablo Montoya, the engineers sort of set it up and they drive it for you. They tell you where to brake, how fast to go through that corner and stuff. If they tell me to go wide open through one corner, I'd better hope it sticks because I'm going to do it." Kyle Busch, NASCAR driver, Joe Gibbs Racing, commenting on testing a Toyota Formula 1 car

"This whole deal is like a mother dog eating her pups." Unidentified team owner commenting on single-car NASCAR Nationwide teams transitioning to a new car of tomorrow style for the 2010 season.

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Roush Fenway boss Smith eyes retirement
Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith is putting plans in place to retire after the 2009 season.

"More than likely," Smith said before Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway. "That's what we're building for. We've been systematically elevating the responsibilities of several key people, training and training."

Smith runs the business and marketing side of Roush Fenway. He has been instrumental in putting together one of the top sponsorship programs in the garage.  He'll be 63 when his contract expires after next season.

"I've done this for a lot of years," Smith said. "I owe my wife time together before we're dead."

Smith jokingly said he might consider a retirement tour like former Roush Fenway driver Mark Martin and work part-time for a few years.

"And when I'm 70 I'll come back full-time," he said, taking a lighthearted dig at Martin, who will return to a full-time schedule in 2009 for Hendrick Motorsports. "Yeah, I can go to Hendrick."  ESPN.com


A1GP Powered by Ferrari car passes crash test
New A1GP car
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has always prided itself in the fact that its cars are some of the safest on the world’s race tracks. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the season four A1GP Powered by Ferrari car has undergone and passed some of the most stringent crash tests possible.

The car firstly underwent FIA chassis squeeze tests, as opposed to a sudden impact test, with pressure applied to key parts of the car to ensure the necessary strength. Following this there have been roll-hoop load tests, front and rear impact and side impact tests. 

The frontal impact test involves a head-on collision into a thick steel plate set in concrete. In such an impact, the nosecone in front of the pedals is allowed a small amount of deformation with no damage beyond the nosecone acceptable and with the deceleration of the car also measured to ensure the chassis, and therefore driver, would not be subjected to excessive g-force on impact.

Rear impact tests involve weights, the equivalent to a fully-fuelled A1GP car being hit into the back to test there would be no damage to the cockpit in a similar way to side impact tests where checks are done to ensure the cars can withstand pre-specified impacts and still leave the internal cockpit undamaged. Finally, a steering column impact test was also undertaken.

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Mecachrome's F1 activities at an end
(GMM)  Not yet a week after announcing deepening financial losses, motor sport engineering company Mecachrome's involvement in formula one is said to be at an end.

The Montreal based firm, involved in the preparation of Renault's F1 engines and also the chief supplier to GP2, last week said the engine freeze in formula one had contributed to its current struggle with losses.

The Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell now reports that, with Renault wanting to go completely alone in F1, Mecachrome is to move its main focus to an engine program for Le Mans.

Mecachrome was involved directly in F1 in the late '90s also in the Supertec and Playlife guises.


Sutil adapts helmet colors
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil is sporting a new color-scheme for his helmet.

The German driver has reportedly adapted his usual multi-colored yellow, orange and green livery to better match his current team, Force India.

25-year-old Sutil's new helmet, like his 2008 single seater, therefore now features burgundy and gold as its base colors.


Valencia looms at end of August break
(GMM)  Following the second consecutive week with no testing or grands prix on the schedule, F1 drivers will now be gearing up to return to their cockpits at the new Valencia city circuit this weekend.

The grid's twenty race drivers enjoyed the so-called August break in a range of different ways -- from lying on a luxury yacht, to simply swapping their normal single seater for a different form of motor racing.

Fresh from his debut podium in Hungary, for example, Toyota's Timo Glock travelled to the famous Laguna Seca circuit in California, where he won the 'Race of Legends' at the wheel of a Toyota Scion against famous names including Johnny Herbert, Patrick Tambay and 1980 world champion Alan Jones.

F1 veteran David Coulthard simply took in the atmosphere from the Brno paddock for the Czech round of MotoGP.

At the other end of the scale, championship leader Lewis Hamilton has been recharging his batteries by jetting around the world with his pop-star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

The paparazzi first snapped them, along with the other Pussycat Dolls, at Los Angeles airport, and subsequently out and about in London and Spain.

At the latter location, the McLaren driver's summer break ended on a low when thieves snatched one of his bags as he checked out of a five-star hotel.

Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen had an altogether quieter August off the back of his Budapest breakthrough; organizing a fun kart race but also just catching up with his family in his Finnish home town of Suomussalmi.

"It was my first time back in Finland for quite a long time," he said.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa similarly headed home, to Sao Paulo, while Force India racer Giancarlo Fisichella put his feet up on his yacht with his family.

Williams' Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, was training hard in the Swiss Alps.

On a typical day, he would spend hours ascending on a mountain bike before swimming in an alpine lake.  "I am really enjoying it," he insisted to Germany's Bild newspaper.

Thoughts have also been spared for the weekend's Valencia circuit; the first F1 race ever on the streets of the Spanish port city.

"I think the whole of formula one is very excited about going to Valencia," said Honda driver Jenson Button.

track news

Speedway delivering on traffic improvements
Michigan International Speedway’s parking lots were moving freely in less than two hours after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race — a major feat for a venue the size of MIS that hosted one of the largest sporting events in the country on Sunday, speedway President Roger Curtis.

“This is huge,” Curtis said following the race. “I ran into many people throughout the weekend who specifically said they stopped coming to Michigan International Speedway because of traffic. But they decided to give us another chance because they heard it was better, and I am proud and excited to say that it is.

“We delivered in less than two hours.”

Track officials work with MDOT and officials from the surrounding townships to implement the traffic patterns to ensure guests arrive at and leave Michigan International Speedway quickly.

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Peugeot 1-2 in Germany
Two months after the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours, Team Peugeot Total was eager to pull off a win in Germany where its two 908 HDi FAPs both qualified on the front row of the grid for today's race. The two crews produced a perfect team effort to provide the French carmaker with its first one-two finish of the season, just as they had done at the Nürburgring this time last year.

The result also hands Peugeot and its crews the provisional lead in both championships.

The start of the fourth round of the 2008 Le Mans Series, which drew a crowd of 22,000 spectators, saw the two 908 HDi FAPs pull away at a pace that enabled them to pull gradually clear of their pursuers. At the wheel of the N°7 car, Nicolas Minassian emerged as the early leader and he even succeeded in posting the fastest race lap in the opening stages, with Stéphane Sarrazin shadowing his team-mate in the N°8 car. Half an hour into the race, the latter profited from the heavy traffic to pass his team-mate and take control, but the lead switched back into the hands of the N°7 machine shortly after the first round of pit-stops.

Other than the obligation to keep their duel perfectly sportsmanlike, the Peugeot drivers were under no team orders and they proceeded to thrill the crowd with an exciting battle. Their speed even allowed them to lap their main championship rivals at around the race's halfway mark which still saw heavy traffic on the track. Indeed, it was traffic that caused Marc Gené to loose more than 20 seconds in the N°7 908 HDi FAP as he tried to find a way past the Lola Aston Martin for a full five laps. His car was also slightly delayed during a pit-stop because of a faulty starter button and Pedro Lamy, who had just taken over in the N°8 Peugeot, found himself in front.

With the gap stabilized at around the 23/30 seconds mark, Pedro Lamy and Stéphane Sarrazin – the reigning Le Mans Series champions – were able to go on to pick up their second success of the season, making it two wins apiece for each of the Peugeot Sport crews! Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gené crossed the line in second place –16.161s behind their teammates – to hand Peugeot its first one-two finish of the year and enable the French carmaker to move to the top of the provisional standings, six points clear of Audi. In the Drivers' table, Minassian/Gené (N°7 Peugeot HDi FAP) now lead, two points ahead of Prémat/Rockenfeller (N°2 Audi).

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