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08/26/04
nascar
Earnhardt Jr. to be on 60 Minutes Earnhardt Jr. to be on 60 MinutesDale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, will be featured in the season premiere of the weeknight edition of 60 Minutes. Dale Jr. is the first NASCAR driver to be profiled on the legendary news magazine show in 16 years. (Seven-time NASCAR champ Richard Petty was featured in 1988.) The show will air on CBS-TV, September 29 at 8:00pm/et. Mike Wallace, the legendary 86-year-old correspondent and co-editor of 60 Minutes since its debut in 1968, conducted a series of in-depth interviews with Dale Jr., beginning at the Daytona International Speedway in July. The 60 Minutes video crews also followed NASCAR's most popular driver through a tour of the No. 8 Budweiser shop at Dale Earnhardt Inc., his new home and office, and Budweiser public appearances. Fingerprint inc. PR
08/26/04
f1
Shootout for Sauber seat Shootout for Sauber seatAnthony Davidson and Gary Paffett are set to stage a shootout to determine who gets the second seat at Sauber next year.  According to the British Sun newspaper, the BAR-Honda test driver and DTM touring car ace are both on Peter Sauber's shortlist of candidates to replace the outgoing Giancarlo Fisichella.  "Anthony has shown he is very quick and Gary is doing a good job in DTM," Sauber is quoted as saying.
08/26/04
nascar
Earnhardt takes Bristol Busch pole Earnhardt takes Bristol Busch poleDale Earnhardt Jr beat Tony Raines' time by only .004 sec. to win the pole for Friday's Busch Series at Bristol.  Kenny Wallace and Kevin Harvick share the second row. David Green and Kasey Kahne occupy the third row with Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Mike McLaughlin filling the top ten.
08/26/04
f1
Coulthard disses F1 team bosses Coulthard disses F1 team bosses"If I just put my fan's cap on, too many of the key people speak about the importance of improving the show for the spectators and then don't follow up and give them something," Coulthard told Autosport magazine.  "As an outsider it was disappointing that it appeared the teams were making changes and then they weren't.  In my opinion they made themselves look a little bit silly."

As for changes he would like to see F1 implement, Coulthard's in favor of a ban on refuelling.  "In the days before refuelling, there was more chance of a change in the race (order) as people were kinder to their tyres, or not, depending on how they drove," the McLaren driver said.  "Get rid of refuelling and then the driver has the choice to do a tyre stop or go all the way through. Looking at history it's fair to say that to rely on a pit stop as being the pivotal excitement of the race is soon going to be forgotten by the public."

08/26/04
Industry News
Indy Speedway tours popular Indy Speedway tours popularThe Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum's Grounds Tour program was well received in the summer of 2004 as guests from 48 states (all but Alaska and Hawaii), 19 countries and the seven continents visited IMS to get a behind-the-scenes view of the world-famous racetrack.  The opportunity still exists to participate in a 2004 Grounds Tour. Final tours are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27, over the Thanksgiving holiday.  The 90-minute Grounds Tour offers an in-depth view of the Speedway's evolution over the past 95 years and provides the public with an up-close view of key Speedway landmarks that are not accessible at any other time. Guests will visit the Gasoline Alley Suites, the four-story Media Center, the Bombardier Pagoda's timing and scoring suite, victory platform, Gasoline Alley garage area, and the start/finish line where guests are welcome to stand on the famous "Yard of Bricks" and pose for pictures.  Tours Nov. 26-27 are scheduled to depart the Speedway's Hall of Fame Museum at 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. (EST, local time).  Each group tour is limited in size to just 30 people in order to provide guests with a more intimate, personalized tour. Questions are not only welcomed but encouraged by the tour hosts.  Tickets for the tour also include admission to the Hall of Fame Museum and are $25 for adults, $10 for youth age 6-15 and free for children age 5 and younger. Tour tickets are available at the Hall of Fame Museum or can be ordered by mail. Send a check or money order payable to IMSF to: Hall of Fame Museum/Grounds Tour  4790 W. 16th St. Indianapolis, IN 46222.  The 2005 Grounds Tour schedule will be posted on www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com this fall.
08/26/04
champcar
Kangaroo TV to do mini 'reality show' on Tag Kangaroo TV to do mini 'reality show' on TagThe Kangaroo TV handheld device, which provides live video feeds along with timing and scoring, will broadcast a Tagliani "reality show" throughout the weekend. A three-day rental costs about $45.  "It's never been done before and it will be great for people in the stands to see what goes on behind the scenes," he said. "The time we spend on track is just one small part of the work we do during the weekend.  You can't put thousands of people in a race trailer and give them a tour, but with this device they can see everything that's going on."
08/26/04
nascar
Biffle to scale back Busch races Biffle to scale back Busch racesGreg Biffle told www.teamfordracing.com at MIS that he’s not going to be quite so gung-ho in 2005 with his Busch Series endeavors. Biffle says that a 15-race program would better fit his plans than trying to keep two full-time rides going. Biffle’s travels this year have been very impressive, and if not for a slew of mechanical issues earlier this year would likely be the Busch Series points leader, rather than holding down fourth spot, as he does now.
08/26/04
irl
champcar
Foyt: I won’t miss Nazareth Foyt: I won’t miss NazarethThis PennLive article says, When the results came in on the greatest American race car driver of the 20th century it was nearly a tossup.  Some polls had Mario Andretti, the longtime Nazareth resident, winning the honor. Others had Texan A.J. Foyt at the top of the list.      
Whichever outcome auto racing followers interpreted as gospel, the two drivers were neck-and-neck. And as we hear so often about polls these days, there is always that statistical margin of error.  Andretti and Foyt, the most recognized names in the sport, put indelible scenes on the American motorsports mosaic that will never be duplicated.

They won Indy 500s, Daytona 500s, Indy car championships, dirt track sprint and midget titles and even made marks on the world scene.   Andretti, who now lives in Bushkill Township, will not be at Nazareth Speedway this weekend for the Indy Racing League's 100th race, the Firestone Indy 225.   Andretti will miss the very last race scheduled at the 15-year-old track, founded by Roger Penske.  Ever the gentleman, Andretti said he was invited by speedway officials to attend and even be a part of the race in which his son Michael has four cars entered.   "Do not read any meaning into that I will not be there," Mario said. "I wish my son Michael all the luck in the world to do well there and win the championship. I have great respect for (speedway president) Craig Rust. It's a damned shame it didn't work out for him and we're losing the track."   Andretti said he wants to move on from the rancor that's existed in open wheel racing since the CART-IRL wars of the 1990s.

A.J. Foyt, 69 and five years Andretti's senior, won on Nazareth's original dirt oval and competed in four CART races and the 1989 IROC race on the present paved oval.   Nazareth Speedway, Foyt said, was never his favorite track.   "Since I'm not racin' no more, as an owner I won't miss it," he said. "I know it was always a tricky race track, even when it was dirt."   Foyt's biggest complaint is the track's blind corner.  "As fast as you're runnin' there and with that blind spot, there ain't no escape route," he said. "You don't want to hit anybody. A lot of people not sitting in the race car may see you hit somebody and think the guy meant to run right into him. That ain't so."   Always outspoken, Foyt said the speedway is lucky that no one ever was seriously injured.   "It's been a very dangerous race track, even though I don't think a lot of people have been hurt serious there. I know (Jaques) Lazier got his back broke in a wreck there and some guys have gone to the hospital. But I'm talking about visiting the mortuary."

08/26/04
nascar
Rusty Wallace’s son hospitalized Rusty Wallace’s son hospitalizedStephen Wallace, the 17-year-old son of NASCAR star Rusty Wallace, was taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center after his Ford slammed head-on into the Turn 3 wall in a Hooters Pro Cup race. Wallace was able to walk away from the wreck with the help of safety workers. Richmond Times Dispatch   Following his vicious turn three accident in Wednesday night's Food City 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Stephen Wallace, 17 year-old son of NASCAR Champion, Rusty Wallace, was airlifted from the speedway to Bristol Regional Medical Center. Currently, Wallace is in stable condition and is awake and alert. He will be held overnight for observation and further evaluation of possible injuries. Wallace started an impressive 10th in what was his Hooters ProCup Series debut and ran solidly in the top-five and top-ten, on the lead lap, until his accident with less than ten laps remaining in the race. The Wallace family greatly appreciates the outpouring of support they have received. An updated statement on Stephen's condition will be released Thursday afternoon. RWI PR
08/26/04
champcar
Can Tagliani repeat for Montreal pole? Can Tagliani repeat for Montreal pole?“Montreal welcomed the Rocketsports/Johnson Controls team last year in our first season, when we came to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and took the Pole. I’m hoping for great results again this year, but don’t want to be too confident,” warned Tagliani. “We’ll be adapting to a different tire composition on this track, which presents a challenge for us, but we’re aiming for more consistency with the car and will shoot for another podium finish. The win at Road America is a monkey off my back and a great reward for years of work. The first win for Rocketsports was reward for the original crew that helped build the Rocketsports Champ Car team and for the new crew, which has made us stronger this year. I’m happy for the Rocketsports team and our accomplishments so far. To sit fourth in the Champ Car points standings makes us very proud of our hard work,” said Tagliani, commending the sophomore team.
08/26/04
champcar
Haberfeld stuck with lone Reynard Haberfeld stuck with lone ReynardWith the Mi-Jack Conquest team switching to a Lola for rookie Nelson Philippe, Brazilian Mario Haberfld is the last car on the grid to still use a Reynard chassis.  Walker Racing plans to switch to a Lola for 2005, which means the entire grid will be a single chassis brand.  Having just one chassis brand will save the teams a lot of money if the series bosses go with one brand for the entire grid in 2006 and beyond with the next-gen Champ Car.   Since consumers do not buy Lolas, Reynards, Dallaras, etc. to drive on the streets, there is no connection between the chassis and the fan in the grandstand.  The same cannot be said for the engine, however.  OWRS would be wise to put out a request for proposal to 4 or 5 companies to supply the entire Champ Car grid with the new next-gen car.  This will enable the bidders to give the lowest price possible because what margin they lose on each individual car or replacement part, they can make up in volume.

We do not recommend just a single engine or tire manufacturer, however.  This is where there is a direct connection to the consumer and although it would lower cost to make the series 100% 'spec,' we do not believe that is the image OWRS wants to paint for Champ Car.  Multiple tire companies will definitely mix up the grid and the races, but with it would come increased speeds because tires is the one area we see the most performance gain each year in F1 where a tire war has been raged for years.  As for the engines, if they stay with the existing 2.65 liter turbo V8 from Cosworth, Ford must be lobbied heavily to badge the engines Ford, Mazda and Jaguar, with each getting 8 cars on a 24 car grid.  That is the perfect scenario - all will have equal engines, costs will be kept to a minimum and Champ Car will again have multiple car manufacturers involved in the series.  Yes, they will all be Ford owned, but each has their own marketing budgets and can create the consumer interest necessary.

If however, Champ Car switches to a new 3.5 liter V10 (preferred) Champ Car should write a tight set of rules and open the series up to direct head-to-head competition for the engines, but even here, one manufacturer with multiple badges could still work.  Champ Car just needs the right people who can sell the idea to at least two manufacturers, be it one company/multiple brands (Ford: Ford, Mazda, Jaguar), or multiple companies (Ford, Chevy, Dodge, BMW).  Engine badging is the cheapest way to go racing without losing the consumer/fan connection.  Once one series does it, it will set the tone for all others to follow - for economic and equal competition reasons.

08/26/04
nascar
Two crew chiefs fined Two crew chiefs finedTwo Nextel Cup crew chiefs were fined a total of $10,000 Wednesday for violations discovered by NASCAR inspectors on Friday during the first inspection for Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway.  Pat Tryson, crew chief for Mark Martin, and Marc Reno, who works with Bobby Hamilton Jr., were fined $5,000 apiece for using unapproved fuel system modifications.  NASCAR also fined Todd Berrier, crew chief for Kevin Harvick, $500 for a lesser fuel cell violation and Lee McCall, crew chief for Sterling Marlin, $500 for using shoulder harness belts with an expired manufacturer's date the previous week at Watkins Glen.
08/26/04
cartatlantic
Danica: I have done it all except win Danica: I have done it all except winUPDATE A reader responds, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Everything but  "WIN"?  She never knew Vince Lombardi. "Winning is the ONLY THING"!!  Poor thing.  If she isn't good enough to win in Toyota Atlantic she isn't Champ Car material.  Send her packing to the IRL where the less talented go to race. Mordichai Rosen  Dear Mordichai, Danica is the most talented woman driver that has come onto the scene to date.  Whether she is Champ Car material is hard to say.  It's a big step up.  We suspect we will never find out because it appears Rahal Letterman will take her to the IRL to replace Sarah Fisher as the IRL's Poster Girl (no disrespect intended).....and that's too bad because we think she could have proven you wrong.   Mark C. 08/25/04 With just two races left in the Toyota Atlantic career of Danica Patrick, the 22-year-old sensation of Rahal Letterman Racing, is looking to close out her time in the Atlantic series with a victory.  "We have done it all over the last two years, except win," said Patrick after her fifth place finish at Denver which featured the fastest lap of the race.  "We have been close, but something has always stood between us and victory.  We have finished on the podium, we have finished second, we have had the fastest race lap and we have won the pole.  Now I really want to close out the season with a victory."  With her time in the premier open-wheel developmental series about to end and opportunity lying ahead for her at the next level, it would be easy for Patrick to be distracted, but she maintains her intense focus on the Toyota Atlantic Championship.  Patrick enters this weekend's race at Montreal third in the Atlantic Championship, 30 points behind leader Jon Fogarty and 29 points behind second place Ryan Dalziel.
 
"It is a great honor (to drive in Toyota Atlantic) and something that I will probably appreciate more later in life," said Patrick.  "Right now I am just trying to figure out a way to get the Argent car back on top of the points and to do that I have to win a race or two and get a little lucky.  I know there are plans being made for next year, but I can't worry about that right now.  All I can focus on is finishing the season strong for Argent and Rahal Letterman Racing."
08/26/04
champcar
f1
Wilson wants to compare F1 vs. Champ Car Wilson wants to compare F1 vs. Champ CarJustin Wilson knows the team and himself have the potential to run among the leaders, as they have before, and looks forward to doing so this weekend. “I am really looking forward to racing in Montreal. It is the only track in the series I know from previous experience, as I raced there while I was with Formula 1”, said Wilson, who is ready to shatter the lap times he had while driving for Minardi in last year’s Formula 1 Grand Prix of Montreal. “I am anxious to go out on the track and show the world how fast Champ Car is when compared to Formula 1. I am often asked about the main differences between F1 and Champ Car, and to me, the main difference between my stint with Minardi and my current season with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing, is the fact that I have a much better chance of finishing towards the front this time around,”  joked the affable Briton.  [Editor's Note:  Unfortunately the overweight Champ Car has been neutered from its glory days of 950HP to about 200 less HP, so any chance a Champ Car could even come close to a F1 car's performance is gone.  And, while Champ Cars have had no real refinements to speak of over the last 4 years, the F1 cars, bolstered by $400 million annual team budgets, continue to evolve dramatically.]
08/26/04
champcar
Mi-Jack Conquest team to run two Lolas Mi-Jack Conquest team to run two LolasHelped by the money brought to the team by Nelson Philippe, the acquisition of a second Lola chassis is part of Mi-Jack Conquest Racing’s commitment to becoming one of the top team’s in the series, and to compete for championships in the near future. Team manager Chris Mower and his crew have been working diligently to have Nelson Philippe’s car ready for the Canadian race. “We raced a Reynard in Denver, tested it in Las Vegas immediately thereafter, returned to Indianapolis, then had five days to build the new Lola. Our schedule has been insane! We don’t expect the Montreal race to be easy for us, but then again, nothing has come easy for this team so far. Fortunately, we are a solid operation with one goal in mind: winning. We do whatever it takes to achieve that.”
08/26/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Bernoldi signs as BAR tester
'Hats off' to Minardi chief - Will Power
Heidfeld to stay at Jordan
Spa is 'magic' track - Schumacher
Spa's new surface poses 'question'
'You can't look back' - McLaren's Finn
Ex-Jordan man slams McLaren 'structure'
Engineers face tough Spa task - Dyer
Ban F1 fuel stops, says Coulthard 
Rain - Ferrari's final challenge
Big teams will claw back 'slow down' reform
Zsolt's Minardi 'code'
Briscoe 'better prepared' for Spa
Glock on pole for Jordan drive
'Everyone missed Spa'  
08/25/04
champcar
irl
The last race for Nazareth The last race for NazarethOn a sticky Saturday night in July 1969, much of the Lehigh Valley turned out at Nazareth National Speedway to honor Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and watch him compete in a U.S. Auto Club championship dirt car.  Andretti won the main event. Later that night, his wife, Dee Ann, gave birth to a daughter, Barbie. It was quite a year for Andretti, a Nazareth, Pa., resident who has seen numerous incarnations of the facility over the years.  Two years after Andretti won that race, the roar of engines on the 1-1/8-mile D-shaped dirt track fell silent for 10 years. Lindy Vicari opened it for Saturday night racing in 1981, but the facility became dormant again in 1985.  In 1986, Roger Penske walked through the weeds that had overtaken the facility and put in motion a plan to purchase it from bankruptcy court. With 41,000 tons of gravel and 22,000 tons of asphalt, Penske Motorsports Inc. turned the dirt track into a 1-mile paved oval and renovated the 90-acre facility. The inaugural race at the Pennsylvania International Raceway was on Sept. 20, 1987, and won by Michael Andretti in a Champ Car.  The name was changed to Nazareth Speedway in 1993. In 1999, Nazareth Speedway merged with International Speedway Corporation, which this spring announced plans to shutter the facility at the end of this racing season.  The IRL will race there the last time this weekend.
08/25/04
champcar
Justin Wilson on Wind Tunnel Justin Wilson on Wind TunnelUPDATE Wilson suffered airport delays and was unable to be on Wind Tunnel Wednesday night.  He will be rescheduled. 08/25/04 Former Formula One pilot, Justin Wilson is having a breakthrough season in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford as a rookie without making much fuss.  The quiet, but very talented, Brit will be making a guest appearance tonight on SPEED Channel's popular "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain".

Wilson started racing in 1987, winning his first-ever race in Formula Vauxhall Junior Winter Series in 1994.  He became the first 16-year-old to win a British Motor Race.  In 2001, he was the first British driver to win the FIA Formula 3000 Championship and moved up to Formula One, driving for Minardi and Jaguar in 2003.  With 16 Formula starts under his belt, he ventured to the Champ Car World Series where he currently pilots the #34 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing machine and sits 11th in the Championship points standings.

The 26-year-old made an impressive start in the battle for Rookie-of-the-Year.  Making the best rookie debut in Long Beach, finishing a strong sixth after starting 11th, he continued to prove his talent as he reserved the third spot on the grid in Monterrey, Mexico.  He recorded his best Champ Car career finish in Portland when he crossed the line in fifth.  Coming off two consecutive seventh place finishes, he heads to familiar territory this weekend at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for Round 10 of The Champ Car World Series.  With five top-ten finishes in nine races, Wilson trails Rookie-of-the-Year points leader A.J. Allmendinger by only 13 points.

"Wind Tunnel" will be on at a special time tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on SPEED Channel. Viewer participation is encouraged, and questions for Wilson may be e-mailed in advance to windtunnel@speedtv.com.  During the broadcast, viewers may also call 1-866-W-TUNNEL to ask a question.

08/25/04
f1
Coulthard calls for end of refueling Coulthard calls for end of refuelingMcLaren-Mercedes driver David Coulthard agrees with the majority of respondents to a recent poll of the readers of Autosport magazine that refueling during Formula 1 races adds nothing to the F1 spectacle.   “That [poll] result does surprise me, but I agree,” he said. “In the days before refueling there was more chance of a change to the race, as people were kinder to the tires or not depending on how they drove.   Looking at history, it’s fair to say to rely on a pit stop as being the pivotal excitement of the race is soon going to be forgotten by the public if they see a move on the track because someone’s burned their tires out or been too hard on the brakes.   Get rid of refueling and then the driver has the choice to do a tire stop or go all the way through. Stops break up the flow of the whole thing.”
08/25/04
nascar
Boris Said could run 10-15 races in 2005 Boris Said could run 10-15 races in 2005Centrix Financial, the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR, announced it will be making its second appearance in this year's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule when it sponsors Boris Said and the #36 Chevrolet of MB2 Motorsports in the Sept. 5 Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway. Centrix, Said and MB2 first came together at Infineon Raceway in June and produced a strong sixth-place result at the Sonoma, Calif. road course. Centrix and MB2 began their relationship in April, shortly after the financial services company announced its position as the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR. In addition to the sponsorship of Said's car at Sonoma and Fontana, Centrix serves as an associate sponsor on the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet of Joe Nemechek and the #10 Valvoline Chevrolet of Scott Riggs. MB2 Motorsports PR.  Team general manager Jay Frye said Saturday his team was diligently seeking sponsorship to run Said in a "10-15 race program" in Nextel Cup in 2005; and that the prospective deal could also include some races as sponsor of the team's #10 Valvoline Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs and the #01 U.S. Army Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek.
08/25/04
irl
Foyt IV drives Supermodified Foyt IV drives SupermodifiedFoyt Takes Spin In Supermodified: A.J. Foyt IV took a break from preparations for the Firestone Indy 225 on Aug. 23 to test the Davey Hamilton-owned No. 1 Wirtgen/Weld Racing supermodified.  "It was a lot of fun," said Foyt IV, who is planning to compete in the 33rd Annual Harvest Classic on Sept. 18.  "Those cars have a lot of horsepower, especially for such a small track. Everything happened real fast at first, but then as I became used to the car and the track, things slowed down for me even as I went faster. I'm looking forward to racing there."  Hamilton warmed up the car before Foyt IV took his first laps ever in that type of open wheel car around Madera (Calif.) Speedway, a one-third mile paved oval. He got to within 0.15 of a second of the quickest time within 50 laps, reaching a top speed of 110 mph.
08/25/04
Industry News
SAFER construction completed for Kansas SAFER construction completed for Kansas'Soft-wall’ barriers are in place for NASCAR weekend, Oct. 8-10.  Construction has been completed on Kansas Speedway’s SAFER barrier, track officials announced today.  Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers have been installed around the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway® in time for the track’s Banquet 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race Oct. 10.  Scientists at the University of Nebraska’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility developed the SAFER barrier, also known as “soft walls,” to absorb some of the energy in a crash and lessen the impact on a driver.  The SAFER barrier at Kansas Speedway is made of steel tubes and pads of energy-absorbing foam affixed to the track’s retainer wall between Turns 1 and 2, between Turns 3 and 4 and along most of the frontstretch.  The SAFER wall at Kansas Speedway is about 40 inches high, and extends about 30 inches from the wall. Each SAFER wall section consists of five steel tubes stacked vertically. Closed cell foam is stacked between the steel tubes and the old retaining wall to create energy-absorbing pylons.
08/25/04
nascar
Shop Rat to sponsor Carl Edwards Shop Rat to sponsor Carl EdwardsRoush Racing announced today that Shop Rat Associates will sponsor the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford and rookie Carl Edwards Labor Day Weekend at California Speedway for the Pop Secret 500. The sponsorship is a one race deal that will be used to promote the new Shop Rat Foundation, a non-profit organization established this year. "I'm excited to have Shop Rats on the No. 99 Ford for California," said Edwards. "The concept behind Shop Rats is good and I'm glad we are able to team with them to help get their message out to the NASCAR audience." The primary goal of Shop Rat Associates is to focus attention on the past and future generations of skilled professionals. Chris Salow, CEO of Shop Rat Associates, has created a company that will recognize and encourage creative and innovative thinking among current and future "shop rats." "It's time to give 'shop rats' the honor and respect they deserve by recognizing the contributions they have made to our country." Salow continued, "The Pop Secret 500 is the first of many races and opportunities Shop Rat Associates will provide its members. Together Shop Rats can join together and create a unified voice to promote American workers and support a foundation that promotes 'shop rats' of all ages." California will mark Edwards third start in the NEXTEL Cup Series in 2004. To date, Edwards has raced the No. 99 Superchips F-150 at the Speedway one time in 2003, qualifying third and finishing seventh. In addition to his Cup duties, Edwards continues his quest for a Truck Series Championship tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway. For more information on Shop Rat Associates or how to become a Shop Rat, log onto Shop Rat.
08/25/04
f1
Minardi budget just $32 million Minardi budget just $32 millionIn this AP article, Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart reveals that his annual F1 budget is $32 to $35 million per year, a far cry from the $400 million some of the big teams are reported to spend each year.  Stoddart, 49, says he bought his team for less than $50 million. Some may see that as a high price for an also-ran, but he figures he bought into the sport cheaply. There are only 10 teams on the grid, and he has one of the franchises.
08/25/04
champcar
The end of CART nears The end of CART nearsUPDATE Here are the recent documents CART filed with the SEC.  Key statement - We currently intend to liquidate our remaining assets, pay off our remaining liabilities, and complete the process of liquidation and winding up the Company's affairs as soon as practicable. Our Board of Directors has not adopted a plan of liquidation and dissolution at this time, but will consider this option when the liquidation and bankruptcy of our subsidiary CART, Inc. is complete and after approval by our shareholders. In the event that our Board of Directors adopts a plan of liquidation and dissolution, we would expect to incur liquidation expenses, in addition to payments of ongoing operating expenses and settlement of existing or potential obligations. Liquidation expenses may include, among others, employee salaries, severance and related costs, legal and accounting fees, as well as payments to a liquidation trustee. While we cannot currently make a precise estimate of the expenses, we believe that a significant portion of our current cash may be required to pay the above expenditures.        Our 10-K is being filed late because of our inability to complete the audit of our year end financial statements. Because of the complications resulting from the bankruptcy of CART, Inc. we were unable to file timely the 10-K. In addition, we failed to file the Forms 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2004 and June 30,2004. We anticipate that the Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2004 will be filed coincident with this filing. The information being provided herein should be viewed primarily as historical information since we are no longer actively engaged in any business. Our plan is to complete the bankruptcy of CART, Inc. and thereafter to propose to our shareholders a plan of liquidation and dissolution of the Company. This process involves numerous risks and uncertainties. You should review "Factors That May Affect Future Results" herein. 08/18/04 [Editor's Note, CART is not to be confused with OWRS or Champ Car.]  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. ("Championship" or "Company")  announced Tuesday that it will be unable to file its quarterly report for the three-month period ending June 30, 2004 by August 16, 2004. On March 30, 2004, the Company filed a Form 12b-25 with the SEC, which grants an automatic fifteen-day extension to the Form 10-K filing deadline in order to complete the audit of its financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2003. On April 14, 2004, the Company issued a press release which stated that it was unable to complete its financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2003 by March 30, 2004 due primarily to the fact that its operating subsidiary CART, Inc. filed for bankruptcy under the U. S. Bankruptcy Code in December 2003. The sale of substantially all the assets of CART, Inc., and certain other assets, was completed on February 13, 2004. The Company and its accountants have been working diligently to finalize the financial statements and the Form 10-K as quickly as possible. Until the Form 10-K is filed, the Form 10-Qs for the first and second quarters of 2004 cannot be completed. At this time, the Company is unable to predict when it will be in a position to file its Form 10-K and therefore the Form 10-Qs. It is anticipated that the Form 10-Qs will be filed along with or shortly after the Form 10-K.  ABOUT CHAMPIONSHIP AUTO RACING TEAMS, INC.  Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc. previously owned and operated the Champ Car World Series. The Company has sold all of its operating assets and is in the process of winding up its affairs.
08/25/04
nascar
Darlington lights up Darlington lights upDarlington Raceway's half-century of tradition changed in a flash Tuesday night with the debut of its multimillion dollar lighting system.  Just before twilight, officials threw the seven switches that lit up exterior lights at "The Lady in Black," NASCAR's oldest superspeedway that debuted in 1950.  "I'd never thought we'd race here under the lights," Gordon said. "I think we're going to love it."  And the additions just may save Darlington's spot on the Nextel Cup schedule.  The track, cut out of some Pee Dee farmland in 1949, has hosted two races a year since 1960 and held the prestigious Southern 500 each Labor Day weekend. But traditions began to change a year ago when NASCAR officials moved the Labor Day event to California Speedway and shuffled Darlington's second race to this November.  Then in May came another body blow -- Darlington was sliced to one race for 2005 and that would come on Mother's Day weekend, a traditional off week for the series. The saving grace was that race would take place at night. More of AP story
08/25/04
Industry News
Management change at Rockingham Management change at RockinghamRockingham Motor Speedway (in England) is to undergo a senior management reshuffle. Ashley Pover is stepping down as CEO and will be replaced by the company's chairman Joe Dickinson. Gerry DeNotto, the representative for Rockingham's majority shareholder Indeck Energy, has taken the role of chairman. Pover, who is to continue developing his own motorsport consultancy business, will remain a major shareholder.  Rockingham has also appointed two new directors. David Ross will become operations director, while the new finance director is Nooren Hirjani, who joins Rockingham from Alton Towers. Autosport
08/25/04
nascar
SPEED Channel to add NASCAR ’Chase’ coverage SPEED Channel to add NASCAR ’Chase’ coverage[Editor's Note:  USA TV is already monopolized by NASCAR coverage (it's everywhere you turn), now two extra hours per day.  No other racing series in the USA has a chance of thriving as long as NASCAR monopolizes everything.  All the more reason why the IRL will eventually die and why Champ Car must focus on the global market.]  Beginning Labor Day weekend in Fontana, Calif., site of the Pop Secret 500, SPEED Channel will expand its LIVE coverage from the site of every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event by as much as two hours a day, bringing viewers regular updates and features surrounding the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

"This is a major initiative," said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel's senior vice president of programming/production and executive producer. "We intend to have a live satellite signal being sent to master control in Los Angeles for a minimum of 10 hours a day, giving us the ability to go to the track at any moment.

"This means more behind-the-scenes access for our fans and more exposure for every driver and team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series," said Jeffrey Pollack, managing director of broadcasting and new media, NASCAR Digital Entertainment. "As news breaks from the track, as stories unfold, NASCAR TV will be there with real-time access.  This initiative is the latest example of SPEED Channel's total commitment to bring NASCAR fans inside the sport with creative, quality programming."

The expanded coverage will begin Fridays at noon from the SPEED Channel traveling stage truck, with Steve Byrnes hosting all additional programming. Bob Dillner will lead a group of rotating SPEED Channel reporters, bringing viewers live updates and features from around the weekend's venue.

SPEED Channel will expand its at-track production group and technical staff, adding two roaming radio frequency cameras.

The additional coverage will supplement SPEED Channel's regular weekend schedule of NASCAR programming that includes NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Qualifying and Happy Hour, Trackside, Pit Bull, NASCAR Live, SPEEDNews - NASCAR Edition, NASCAR Victory Lane and exclusive, live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

08/25/04
champcar
Formula 3
Is motorsports dead in Korea? Is motorsports dead in Korea?First the Seoul, South Korea Champ Car race didn't happen this year and now comes word that the Formula 3 Korean Super Prix, scheduled for November 18/19, has been cancelled. Instead the Bahrain Grand Prix circuit will host a brand new event in the second weekend of December.  It is reported in Autosport magazine this week that the South Korean event, first run in 1999, was cancelled after a change of government in the country. The new rulers have apparently been successfully lobbied by a group objecting to the noise and disruption the event caused in the city of Changwon, where the track was situated.  Perhaps motorsports just isn't that important in South Korea.....to which we say.....next.
08/25/04
champcar
Montreal Hot Topics Montreal Hot TopicsThe Molson Indy Montreal (HDNet, 2 p.m. Eastern Time, August 29; Spike TV, 4 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, August 29), is Round 10 of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Following is a current round-up of the latest Champ Car news, trends to follow, names to watch and a few statistics to track as Champ Car racing heads to the 2.709-mile permanent road course at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. More.....
08/25/04
nascar
Martin to run 4 more Busch races Martin to run 4 more Busch racesRoush Racing has announced that Mark Martin will run four more Busch races in 2004. Martin, who made his return to the series last week at Michigan, will run a scheduled Richmond Busch race on Sept. 10 in the Pennzoil No. 9 Ford. In addition, he will now pick up races at Dover and Atlanta in the No. 9 Cottman Transmission Ford and at Phoenix in the Pennzoil car. Jeff Burton was originally slated to run those three races.  “I’m really looking forward to running some more races in the Busch series,” said Martin. “We had a great run last week in Michigan and it really felt good to get back out there in the Busch series and compete. I worried that we wouldn’t be able to hold up the strong legacy that we set several years ago, but I think were able to maintain that. Hopefully we’ll be able to rack up a couple of more wins down the stretch.”
08/25/04
f1
Bernoldi to test for BAR Bernoldi to test for BAREnrique Bernoldi will be back at the wheel of a Formula One car next month when he takes part in the first of two tests for the Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team.  The long-haul locations of the last three races in China, Japan and Brazil make it very difficult for B*A*R race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato to test in Europe, but the two tests which fall in between these races will be crucial in helping B*A*R to maintain its current competitiveness and championship position.   The team is now clear third in the Constructors' Championship, just eight points behind second-placed Renault.  With five races remaining there is still everything to play for.  The requirement for this testing role was therefore solid F1 experience and B*A*R feel that the 25-year-old Brazilian has all the right credentials.  Enrique will test alongside Anthony Davidson in Jerez in September and October, and the team has also agreed an option on Bernoldi's services as a test driver going forward.  Enrique joined the OrangeArrows F1 team in 2001 and went on to out-qualify his considerably more experienced team mate in 10 of the 17 races that season.  He was retained in 2002 but his F1 career was cut short when the team went into receivership at the end of that season.  Since that time Enrique has remained at the sharp end of the competition in the Superfund World Series by Nissan Championship, in which he currently lies second in the drivers' standings.  Enrique visited B*A*R's Operations Centre in Brackley, UK, last week for a seat fitting and to meet the team's senior technical personnel and race engineers.

Enrique is thrilled at the opportunity to join B*A*R's test programme.  He commented: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I cannot wait to drive the car.  When I had to leave F1 two years ago because of the Arrows situation, I was only 23 years old and still had a lot to prove.  My future looked very difficult but we decided that the best thing to do was to stay in single seaters in order to maintain the racing acuity, which is why I am competing in the very competitive World Series.  I had a difficult first year as the team was new but I was pleased to achieve some poles and podiums. The team is now efficient and as a result, I am standing second in the Championship, with first place in my sights.  "Hearing the news about the opportunity to help B*A*R with their development programme was something else!  I visited B*A*R factory a few days ago for a seat fitting and to meet the engineers.  Sitting in the car was a very special moment.  The facilities at Brackley are very impressive and the people very welcoming.  After a day there, I understood why B*A*R have become one of the top teams this season.  I understand I have a very important job to do to help the team for the rest of the season and I would like to thank B*A*R, Lucky Strike and Honda for the opportunity and trust they have placed in me." BAR Honda

08/25/04
nascar
McDonald’s to sponsor Bill Elliott McDonald’s to sponsor Bill ElliottThis spring, for the first time in the speedway’s 44-year history, there was not a Georgia driver competing in the NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  With this week’s announcement that McDonald’s will sponsor Bill Elliott for two upcoming NASCAR Nextel Cup races – Sept. 5 at California Speedway and Oct. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway – AMS will once again have a local driver represented when the series returns for the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend.  Elliott, 49, has competed in 28 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway during a career that spans three decades. In his last race at AMS, last fall’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, Elliott finished fourth. He has six wins (including the non-points Winston Invitational held at Atlanta in 1986) and five poles at his home track.  “It’s always special to be back at my home track in Atlanta,” Elliott said. “I have a lot of fun competing here and many great memories. I look forward to being back there and competing for a win this fall.”   Elliott will drive the No. 98 McDonald's Dodge Intrepid, operated by Bill Elliott Racing. The sponsorship is a reunion of sorts for driver and sponsor, who partnered together from 1995-2000.
08/25/04
champcar
Paul Gentilozzi on Alex Tagliani Paul Gentilozzi on Alex Tagliani“I had watched Alex in Toyota Atlantics when Trans-Am was on the same bill at Trois-Rivieres, and I clocked his aggression and speed. I’ve always believed that you can take a fast driver with a lot of emotion and harness him without slowing him.   When you look at Alex’s past record, he wasn’t irresponsible. Wanting to be one position up and willing to take risks isn’t a bad thing. If you don’t start on pole but want to win, you have to pass, you have to take risks. “Within the team, Alex has played an integral role too. We run Rocketsports like a family and the emotional closeness is strong. Alex works well within that: the chemistry is right. “Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy are currently dominating Champ Cars, and then there are maybe four guys – Alex included – who we know can beat them if the circumstances are right. Those right circumstances are getting him in the top four in qualifying for every race. That’s what we need to do now.”
08/25/04
f1
Toyota lights up the town Toyota lights up the townToyota attracted more than 40,000 spectators to its ‘City Grand Prix’ event in Cologne last weekend, when they were treated to a display of the Japanese car manufacturer’s racing and rallying machinery. As well as F1 demos from Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta, Allan McNish showed off one of Toyota’s former Le Mans racers. Zonta said: “It’s a shame we couldn’t show the full potential of the cars.” More....
08/25/04
f1
Kevlar coating in the cards Kevlar coating in the cardsThe chances of on-track debris causing the kind of accident that injured Ralf Schumacher in the United States Grand Prix could be dramatically reduced if plans by the FIA come to fruition.   Autosport Magazine reports that motor racing’s governing body is considering a rule whereby teams would have to coat carbon fibre pieces of exterior body work in Kevlar. This would help ensure that, if the bodywork breaks in an accident, the carbon fibre will not shatter into tiny shards as easily as it does now.   It is widely accepted that carbon fibre shards contributed to the punctures that caused Fernando Alonso and Schumacher to crash heavily at Indianapolis in June.   Consideration is also being given to banning carbon fibre suspension next year in the wake of Jarno Trulli’s accident at Silverstone. It is feared that despite the suspension’s strength, it can be weakened more readily than similar-strength metal suspensions if it suffers a stress impact in the wrong area or direction.
08/25/04
champcar
32 pages of coverage for Montreal race 32 pages of coverage for Montreal raceToday's Journal de Montreal contains 32 full pages of coverage for this weekend's Molson Indy Montreal Champ Car race.   One advantage the urban street races have over remote venues is the amount of local newspaper attention they get.
08/25/04
champcar
200,000 Plus Expected for Champ Car Weekend 200,000 Plus Expected for Champ Car WeekendFollowing the record-breaking attendance during the Grand Prix, Crescent Street will, for the third consecutive year, host one of the most exciting, and anticipated events of the summer, The Crescent Street Dodge Racing Festival. This year's event is being regarded as the most prolific weekend to date, with more live performances, more special guests, and even greater fan participation. All of the excitement will take place on August 26, 27, 28 2004.     This year, the Festival, which is presented by Molson Dry and sponsored by Western Union, will feature live onsite broadcast by Mix 96 and CKOI FM. The event will also include a Canon photo booth, the Western Union racecar, Speed Vision broadcast on the video wall, and live performances every night on the Molson Dry Stage.     Every day there will be a unique display of cars in the Dodge Zone: including the Sony X-Plod car, the Dodge CASCAR, collector's cars, sports compacts and many others. As well, the general public is always welcome, and encouraged to step into the Dodge Zone and participate in their simulators. On Friday, August 27, The Boogie Wonder Band will be giving a must see special performance.     The Crescent Street Merchants are looking forward to welcoming both local enthusiasts and out of town race fans to what promises to be another exciting weekend. The tradition continues with an impressive weekend line up.     The Crescent Street Dodge Racing Festival will kick off on Thursday August 26, 2004 at 12:30 with an opening ceremony hosted by Didier Schraenen, invited guest speakers, and a special appearance by Champ car drivers, and an additional appearance at 5:30pm by Formula Atlantic Drivers.      The event on Crescent Street is organized by BBF Racing & Promotions Inc. in association with the Crescent Street Merchants Association.
08/25/04
nascar
Fontana gears up for NASCAR Fontana gears up for NASCARAs Fonatna gets ready for its 2nd big NASCAR race of the year, here are some planned activities.

Golf Tournament: The Fontana Chamber of Commerce at Sierra Lakes Golf Club will host the "Legends of NASCAR" golf tournament on Wednesday, September 1.  The tournament will commence at 8:00 a.m. with a shotgun start.  The event will conclude at 1:00 p.m. with a luncheon, prizes, drawings and a celebrity speaker.  All proceeds will benefit "Best Bet" - a fund that helps Fontana Unified School District teachers buy classroom supplies, since many purchase supplies with money out of their own pocket.  The cost is $175 per person ($650 per foursome).  To sign up, call the Fontana Area Chamber of Commerce at 909-822-4433.

Rally:  NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series transporters, including the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet hauler, will make a pitstop at City Hall on Thursday, September 2 at noon to be part of a rally.  These haulers are 18-wheel tractor-trailer rigs that NASCAR teams use to transport two racecars, engines, tools and support equipment to the racetracks.  Cars are towed in the top section, while the bottom floor is used for workspace.  Join the Rally and watch these NASCAR transporters travel the final four miles of their 2,400-mile trip across country for the weekend's racing.  City Council will present the "Keys to the City" honoring California Speedway and NASCAR.

Block Party:  NASCAR driver appearances will highlight an evening packed with excitement to get the party started on Thursday, September 2 from 4:00 - 9:00 p.m.  The Block Party will take place in the area of the Civic Center Campus, Community Church Hall, Fontana Women's Club and will block off Sierra Avenue near City Hall.  SPEED Channel's Summer Blast Tour, which features a 50 ft. x 20 ft. display, will be on-site with tons of giveaways.  Get your NASCAR and California Speedway apparel at the Americrown display and fill your goodie bags with tons of other great items from a host of other vendors.  NASCAR show cars, including the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford, will be on display.  NASCAR drivers will be signing autographs between 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. for a short period of time at the California Speedway display.  Drivers who are scheduled to appear include Scott Riggs and Martin Truex Jr.

NASCAR Cruise Night:  Fontana's monthly "Cruise Night" will get a visit from NASCAR on Friday, September 3 from 6:00-9:00 p.m.  Everyone will get a chance to check out some of the most spectacular classic cars and cruisers at the intersection of Arrow Blvd. and Nuevo Rd. NASCAR drivers will make special stop by appearances that evening.  As an added bonus, "Cruise Night" participants will have the opportunity to bring their cars to California Speedway on Saturday where they can take in all the NASCAR action, the Miller Lite Rock 'n Racing Concert sounds and take their cars out on the track for a cruise.

For additional information about "Fontana Race Week" call 909-350-7620.  California Speedway guests who are camping in the infield for the weekend can take advantage of a shuttle service to and from the activities on Thursday (4:00 - 9:30 p.m.) and Friday (6:30 - 9:00 p.m.

08/25/04
irl
Jack Arute and Eddie Cheever Jr. interview Jack Arute and Eddie Cheever Jr. interviewThis week's IRL media teleconference: Joining us today are two gentlemen who have been around the league for all 100 of those events. Eddie Cheever, now owner of Red Bull Cheever Racing, finished 10th in the first race at Orlando and has driven in 70 of the league's first 100 races.   Jack Arute, a broadcaster on ABC and ESPN for all IndyCar Series races, hasn't missed a call for any of the previous 99 events, and interviewed inaugural race winner Buzz Calkins in Victory Lane in Orlando. More....
08/25/04
alms
Fans get to vote Fans get to voteNominations are now being accepted from fans of the American Le Mans Series for the professional sports car racing series' prestigious "From the Fans" award for 2004.  The "From the Fans" award is presented each year to the person or group who is felt by fans of the series to have made the greatest contribution to sports car racing over the past year. Among former recipients are team owner Rob Dyson, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich of Audi Sport; Gary Claudio of General Motors and Dr. Don Panoz, Founder of the American Le Mans Series. Drivers are not eligible to receive the "From the Fans" award.  Voting for the "From the Fans" award will be in two segments. The first round will run until September 27 and will be for nominations, with the top five nominees then listed on a ballot for a second round of voting. The second round of voting will be done through www.americanlemans.com, the official website of the ALMS, and will continue through the conclusion of the season-ending event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on Oct. 16.  The name of the award recipient will be announced at the ALMS awards banquet in Monterey, Calif., on Oct. 17.   Fans wishing to nominate a person or group for the "From the Fans" award can send an email with the name of the person, along with a brief explanation of why they are nominating the person, to fromthefans@americanlemans.com.  The next race for the American Le Mans Series will be Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., Sep. 22-25.
08/25/04
f1
Could Villeneuve really go back to BAR? Could Villeneuve really go back to BAR?If Jenson Button's departure from BAR is confirmed, Jacques Villeneuve might return to the team he helped create. Such a prospect seemed impossible just 10 months ago, but behind the scenes interested parties are working to make it happen. Adam Cooper spoke exclusively to the Canadian about the prospect of a sensational comeback.  While Villeneuve's appeal on the marketing front is undeniable, all agree that the team needs someone who can get the job done in the car. Jacques says he is the guy. So let's hear what the man himself thinks… More, plus an interview at Autosport
08/25/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Villeneuve turns to NASCAR?
'I tried to call da Matta' - Zonta
Mosley supports Purnell's qualifying
'Certain rain' for Spa weekend
Spa to 'assess new package' - Tomita
Renault work on Trulli's engine glitch
Jaguar works on tire wear issue
Mika's move was 'impressive' - Zonta
Spa's back and 'so much fun'
Zonta to remain Toyota's tester
F1 cars are 'not too quick' - Howett
Rivals want to 'destabilise' Jaguar 
08/24/04
grandam
Hoosier Tire passes first test at The Glen Hoosier Tire passes first test at The GlenWasting no time since last Friday's announcement that Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. will be the exclusive tire supplier to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series beginning next year, three Daytona Prototypes and four Daytona Prototype drivers participated in early testing of the new rubber on Wednesday and Thursday at Watkins Glen International. Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Burt Frisselle--who earned their Rolex Series career-best result last Friday with a second-place run in the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen--drove the Hoosier-shod No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Doran, Kelly Collins tested the new tires on the No. 81 Rx.com/G&W Motorsports BMW Doran, and Scott Maxwell tried out the Hoosiers on a Ford-powered Multimatic chassis.

Over two days, the cars logged upwards of 1,100 miles, using both the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen short course and the 3.4-mile long circuit. Although Hoosier had done single-car, private Daytona Prototype testing previously, this week's runs was the first public outing for the tires.

"We're probably ahead of where we thought we were with the tire," said Hoosier Tire Product Manager Mike Kraemer. "Basically, we cut one whole step out of the process, and we can do some small production runs before our next test. We have a solid direction and the drivers gave us good feedback. We have something suitable for the series right now, and we have enough time to make it even better."

Frisselle was equally pleased with the initial performance of the Hoosiers and was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the test.

"I feel that the test went excellent," Frisselle said. "I'm really excited to be driving on Hoosier tires next year. They're very easy to drive and provide very good grip. More than anything, it was great for me to develop a relationship with Hoosier Tire. I was really impressed from my first lap out."

08/24/04
champcar
Smith: Champ Cars like to be driven sideways Smith: Champ Cars like to be driven sidewaysIn this SPEED TV article, Champ Car newcomer Guy Smith makes some interesting analogies (excerpts) - “I must say, learning Road America and Denver was quite tricky,” says the 28-year-old Englishman. “At Road America I was taking it nice and easy, but at Denver you kind of have to throw the car around. During the course of the weekend, I started to do that and became more confident in my ability to do that.”  A few days after the Denver race, Smith showed evidence he is coming to grips with the Ford-Lola, recording the sixth-fastest speed (202.058mph) during the Champ Car test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in preparation for the Sept. 25 race there.

“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, it’s been three or four years since I’ve been on an oval,” says Smith. “But the car was very good and obviously the car’s got plenty of downforce, so it wasn’t too hairy. So it was good fun, I really enjoyed it . . . of course, it helps when you only have two major corners (to learn).

“At Vegas, I started to feel pretty comfortable. For the first time, I sat in the car and felt ‘at one’ with the car. That’s really important, and I’m starting to feel like that now. I’m starting to feel like a Champ Car driver, not a sports car driver."...........“A sports car is a big, heavy car,” observes Smith. “It’s pretty quick, it’s got 600 horsepower but of course, it weighs 900 kilos (2000lbs), so it takes a while to get up to speed. And the sensation of speed isn’t as great as a Champ Car because it’s a bigger car and you’ve got more around you. And it’s more refined than a Champ Car in the sense that it’s got power steering, paddle shifts – all the niceties that go with it.  But, driving that car, it’s a lot more dependent on aerodynamics. It’s all about keeping momentum and not braking it too hard in the corner, braking it gently and keeping momentum through the corner to keep the aerodynamics working. If you get a sports car sideways you’re in trouble, because you lose the downforce and the car has a big, big spin.  With the Champ Car, you spend a lot of time sideways. I’ve spent the last four years keeping the car in a straight line, so I’ve been driving a Champ Car in a straight line and a Champ Car doesn’t want to be driven like that. When I come to a corner, I’m trying to feed the brakes gently and try not to upset the car too much, where with a Champ Car you need to stand on the brakes.”

“Compared to Tag, pretty much I was quicker everywhere apart from in the braking zones,” says Smith. “It looks like I need to use a much smaller master cylinder, because I’m a right-foot braker, so the amount of pressure I put on  the (brake) pedal – it’s way too much for me to do with my right foot and to be able to blip the throttle. Where Tag just stands on it with his left foot.   I can’t do that because a) I lose feel (for the brake) and b) I can’t make the proper throttle blip. So when I blip the throttle with my right foot I actually come off the brakes, and I’m losing about two tenths of a second in every braking zone.”

“It’s a tough, tough series,” says Smith, “and even the ‘bad’ guys are pretty good, if you know what I mean. OK, (Gaston) Mazzacane, (Roberto) Gonzales and people like that . . . they haven’t done much (in their careers) but they’ve done a lot of testing, they’ve done some races and (now) Gonzalez is usually only a couple of tenths off of (Jimmy) Vasser. Early on in the season there was a bigger gap, but at this stage of the season he’s come on. For a guy with little experience he’s able to be pretty much on the pace.

“Rodolfo Lavin…the guy has stepped up. Yeah, people thought he was a tosser; he’d done nothing in Lights and Atlantics, and when I raced with him in Lights he was nowhere. Well, now he’s got his head together, he’s got focus, he’s with a really good team and he’s doing well.

“Dale Coyne? He’s really focused on Oriol (Servia), not just running around at the back. (It seems) he’s thought, ‘Here’s my chance to really show what we can do as a team.’ And there’s not one team out there doing a bad job. And that makes it tough. You can’t just come in and dominate the series.”

“I think Rocketsports are a great team, I’m really enjoying working with them,” he says. “But you’ve got Newman/Haas, you’ve got Forsythe and probably Herdez, and we’re the next level from there. We realize we’ve got some work to do, but it’s a tough series. But I’d expect that. It’s still one of the best series in the world."

08/24/04
SCCA
SCCA Runoffs looking for record field SCCA Runoffs looking for record fieldWith the early entry deadline past, the 2004 edition of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by Kohler looks to be the biggest collection of top Club Racing drivers ever, with nearly 800 drivers pre-registered for the Sept. 20-26 event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.  Online entries closed Aug. 20, and 795 entries were already received for the 41st running of the SCCA Runoffs. With two weekends of SCCA Club Racing National events remaining, the number of drivers eligible for the event will not be known until just after Labor Day Weekend, but the current number eclipses previous marks at this time.  Last year, a record 696 drivers took to the track during the week-long National Championship event, eclipsing the 1995 event by one. The total number of entries at this point last year, was a then-record 770, of which approximately 50 did not meet the final requirements to make the event.  "We are tracking toward a record-breaking 700 competitors for the Runoffs, which means that our Club Racing program participation is as healthy as ever," SCCA President and CEO Steve Johnson said. "Despite concerns of a negative impact to the event due to economic issues, the high numbers demonstrate that our racers continue to place a high value on their SCCA Club Racing competition."  As is traditionally the case, Formula Vee has the largest field, with 53 entries, followed by E Production (48), Showroom Stock C (45), American Sedan and F Production (43).  For more information, including a full entry list, visit the SCCA Runoffs homepage at http://www.scca.com/Event/Event.asp?Ref=04Runoffs.
08/24/04
champcar
irl
Melvin "Luke" Lucas dies Melvin "Luke" Lucas diesMelvin R. Lucas, better known as 'Luke' to most, has died.  Luke was a mechanic for the Bettenhausens back in the Merle and Tony Bettenhausen days and worked with famed car builder AJ Watson.  When the Bettenhausen team was bought out and became the Herdez Champ Car Team, Luke was still there.  He was known as one of ther best mechanics in the business.  Viewing hours will be Wednesday night (tomorrow) 4PM to 8PM at the Miller Funeral Home 1702 East National Ave. in Brazil, Indiana 47834 (812-446-2591).  The funeral is 11:00 AM Thursday.  Burial will follow at Center Ridge Cemetary in Sullivan, Indiana. Our deepest condolences to the family.
08/24/04
transam
Jacobsen to sponsor Trans-Am Jacobsen to sponsor Trans-Am Jacobsen, a Textron Company, has agreed to become the “Official Utility Vehicle Supplier” to the Motorock Trans-Am Series. The company will supply utility vehicles to the Trans-Am Series for the balance of the 2004 season.

“We are pleased to welcome Jacobsen to the Trans-Am family and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership,” said Motorock Trans-Am Series Executive Director John Clagett. “Jacobsen is a well-known company with a rich heritage and we’re certain this partnership will net positive benefits for both the Trans-Am Series and Jacobsen.”

“We are very proud that the Jacobsen Hauler has been chosen as the ‘Official Utility Vehicle’ of Trans-Am Racing,” said Jon Carlson, President of Jacobsen, A Textron Company. "Jacobsen turf-care products can be found maintaining some of the most beautiful and prestigious turf on earth, from golf courses to super speedways, and our new relationship with Trans-Am Racing dramatically demonstrates that at Jacobsen, we do more than mow."

Jacobsen® manufactures a full range of vehicles and turf maintenance equipment for golf, turf, professional lawn care, sports field, municipal and industrial applications. The company markets Bob-Cat®, Brouwer™, Bunton®, Cushman®, Jacobsen®, Ryan® and Steiner™ brand products internationally through an extensive distribution network. Jacobsen® is a Textron company. Additional information is available at www.jacobsen.com.

08/24/04
cartatlantic
Montreal Toyota Atlantic tidbits Montreal Toyota Atlantic tidbits
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: A total of 10 Toyota Atlantic Championship drivers will participate in an autograph session for fans on Thursday evening on Crescent Street in downtown Montreal. The session will be held from 5:30-6:15 p.m. ET and will feature Atlantic drivers Jon Fogarty, Ryan Dalziel, Danica Patrick, Ronnie Bremer, Alex Figge, Andrew Ranger, Bryan Sellers, Chris Festa, Josh Hunt and Al Unser. 
Montreal Memories: This marks the 24th year that the Toyota Atlantic Championship has raced is Montreal, beginning with the first event staged in the Canadian city in 1978. The series has raced in Montreal every summer since 1988, making it the venue with the longest consecutive race streak currently run on the Atlantic schedule.
Canadian Pride: In the 23-year history of the Toyota Atlantic cars racing in Montreal, a Canadian driver has won the event nine times, including seven consecutive wins by a native son from 1995-2001. Canada has not boasted a winner of the Atlantic Montreal event since 2001, however, when David Rutledge took the checkered flag. With three Canucks on the starting grid for Sunday’s race (Ranger, Philip Fayer of Montreal and Calgary’s Cam Binder) Canadian fans have a fighting chance of seeing one of their own in Victory Lane.
Pole Prominence: In 12 of the 23 Atlantic races run in Montreal, the winner has started from the pole position. Winning from the point has been particularly significant recently as seven of the last eight winners took the green flag from the pole. The only exception over that period was in 2002 when current Atlantic series leader Jon Fogarty started from the pole but finished second when he was passed by Rocky Moran Jr. late in the race.
North of the Border: This weekend marks the last of three Canadian events of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic schedule. Jon Fogarty won on the streets of Toronto in mid July while Ryan Dalziel was victorious on the Vancouver street circuit later that month. Fogarty and rookie Ronnie Bremer both finished on the podium in Toronto and Vancouver so each driver will be looking for a Canadian podium triple play this weekend.
Tight at the Top: The top of the Toyota Atlantic Championship point standings is getting to be a very select neighborhood. Through 10 of 12 complete rounds of competition in 2004, Jon Fogarty remains the series leader, however, Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks) has closed the gap on Fogarty to just one point (261-260) after he finished second in Denver two weeks ago. Fogarty was flagged for a block late while leading the race and wound up finishing sixth. Danica Patrick is also still very much in the hunt, just 29 points behind Dalziel and 30 away from Fogarty. With up to 35 points available to a driver on a given race weekend under the new series scoring system and two races remaining, including this weekend, there can certainly still be a significant amount of movement in the series’ final finishing order.
Looking at the Numbers: Through Round 10, it’s clear that the season-long battle between Jon Fogarty and Ryan Dalziel has been a tight one every step of the way. Both Fogarty and Dalziel each have four wins this season and Dalziel has actually topped Fogarty’s output in pole positions, leading the 2002 series champion with five $1,000 Toyota poles in ’04 to Fogarty’s four.  Danica Patrick leads the series in top-five finishes (nine) and most laps completed for the season (362). Fogarty also paces the series in laps led (209) for the year.
Fantastic Freshmen:  The chase for the $10,000 BG Products Rookie of the Year award has been close throughout the season and figures to go down to the wire. Ronnie Bremer (#4 Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems) took the lead in the freshman race at Denver when he became the first rookie to win an event this season. Bremer’s 1.283-second win over Ryan Dalziel on the Mile-High street circuit enabled him to move up to fourth in the overall season standings with 213 points. Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye), who has battled Bremer for the top series rookie honor all season, ranks fifth in the championship and is just two points behind Bremer with 211 points. Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) of Rahal-Letterman Racing has moved into third place in the rookie standings with 138 points on the year while Jonathan Bomarito sits fourth in the freshman ranks with 134 points. Aussie Josh Hunt (#15 Wright Patton Shakesepeare/Atkinson Gore Group) is fifth followed by Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil) of Brooks Associates Racing in sixth place while Al Unser (#10 200 + Marketing and Management/Masterplan Group International) is seventh among first-year drivers.
08/24/04
nascar
Roundup to sponsor Edwards at Bristol Roundup to sponsor Edwards at BristolRoush Racing announced today that Roundup FastAct* weed and grass control, will team up once again with Roush Racing when they sponsor rookie Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford.  Roundup will appear as the primary sponsor on the car this weekend under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway marking the sixth race in 2004 that Roundup has sponsored the team.  "I'm looking forward to having Roundup and Scotts on the No. 99 Ford for this Saturday's race," said Edwards.  "Roundup has teamed with Roush Racing in the past and we are all excited to have them back on the car under the lights at Bristol.  We had a great run last weekend and we want to continue that momentum with Roundup on the car this Saturday."  Both Roundup and Scotts appeared on the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford earlier this year at Talladega, California, Richmond and Lowe's Motor Speedway.  It was a successful test run for the brands that ultimately led them to sponsor the No. 99 Ford once again at Bristol.
08/24/04
nascar
Newman: Bristol can be evil Newman: Bristol can be evil"Bristol can be such an evil track. A team can put its best race car out on the track, be dominating the field and suddenly get caught up in someone else's wreck. It seems unfair, but that's Bristol. That being said, survival becomes the key to a good finish at Bristol. As a driver, you must have a perfect balance of aggressiveness and patience. If you are on the lead lap at the finish, you're in a pretty good position.  "The ALLTEL team's goal this weekend starts with a great qualifying run on Friday. A pole would be perfect. With that, you start up front and fight to stay there in hopes of avoiding the mess that's going on behind you. We need a good run this weekend to get back into the top-10 in standings. Bristol could shake a lot of things up. It's so unpredictable."
08/24/04
Industry News
2005 Road America season tickets 2005 Road America season ticketsRoad America is selling its 2005 Season Ticket for $200 until Oct. 15, 2004, according to George Bruggenthies, president and general manager.  The Season Ticket will cover a minimum of five three or four-day race weekends, and includes paddock access, where the teams set up, and parking.   Children 12 and under are free for all events with a ticketed adult.  In 2004 Road America hosted top motorcycle, club and professional racing series in five major spectator events, three of which included national and international television coverage.  Tickets are available by ordering on the track website, www.roadamerica.com; by phone, 1.800.365.7223, and at the track office in Elkhart Lake during regular business hours.  Road America initiated Season Tickets in 2000 to reward loyal customers and to reduce race fan expenses.    Road America's next spectator event is the Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival, Sept. 16-19, and will feature Morgan cars along with nine classes of vintage racing cars.  The Morgans will have a special race in honor of the late Peter Morgan, a reception, a Morgan concours d'elegance (car show) and reserved space for Morgan race and club cars.  Organizers anticipate 50 of the rare sports cars, including European entrants.  Because the Morgan is custom made, the company only produces about 700 cars a year.  In addition to track activities, race fans can drive one of the 1950s street courses in a guided tour on Saturday.  Tickets are $10 for Friday and $15 for Saturday and $15 for Sunday.  Golf cars are $225 for the weekend.
08/24/04
Industry News
British Government Motorsport prospectus British Government Motorsport prospectusThe British government's motorsport unit has revealed its plans to support UK motorsport business development by publishing a prospectus detailing how organisations can apply for a share of the £2million earmarked for the priority areas identified by the Motorsport Development Board.

Based on the recommendations of the DTI's Competitiveness Panel for promoting technology and innovation, increasing international trade, obtaining business finance and encouraging greater collaboration, the prospectus outlines what the GMU considers to be the priority sectors for defending what has always been one of the UK's growth industries in an increasingly-competitive market.

"The prospectus identifies the key areas in which we wish to invest over the next five years to raise the economic performance of UK motorsport businesses in the face of growing global competition," board member Chris Aylett confirmed.

The GMU has said that it would like the prospectus to act as a first step in producing an over-all planning and co-ordination resource for the four themes mentioned. It is hoping that the document will invite interest from parties seeking to provide strategic investments, and inform policy makers and providers of other business support programmes of the key areas in the development strategy set out for the motorsport industry.

Organisations interested in befitting from the £2million fund set aside by the GMU have until 17 September to submit expressions of interest, and details of the short-listed projects will be announced on 8 October. All short-listed proposals will then need to be further developed into full project applications that meet Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) appraisal criteria.

Copies of the GMU prospectus can be obtained from the organisation's website at www.gmuweb.com/document_js.cfm or by telephoning the GMU on 01604 490407.

08/24/04
nascar
Chase promotion rejected Chase promotion rejectedNASCAR has rejected a marketing proposal that would have promoted the contenders in this year’s Chase For The Nextel Cup, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Reporter Scott Warfield says Action Performance Cos. had proposed special paint schemes for drivers in the Chase and says NASCAR's rejection of the plan will cost the company $10 million in die-cast car sales. Company Chairman Fred Wagenhals said the idea was rejected for fear of alienating sponsors and teams that didn't make the Chase field, which will determine the 2004 Nextel Cup champion. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
08/24/04
Industry News
Formula One Engineer Perry Cohn Sets Up New Company Formula One Engineer Perry Cohn Sets Up New CompanyAfter more than ten years working in Formula One with McLaren, Jaguar, Jordan and BAR British engineer Perry Cohn has set up Angle Consulting Ltd. This new company has been established to provide design and engineering consultancy services to motor racing, powerboat racing, motorcycle racing and yacht racing teams and companies involved in environmentally efficient transport.

A graduate of the University of Western Australia and Imperial College, London Perry Cohn first worked in motorsport in 1990 as a race mechanic whilst continuing his studies. In 1994 he joined McLaren International as a design engineer where he worked in the engine installation and chassis departments. From 1996-2000 Cohn was with the Stewart Grand Prix/Jaguar Racing organisation where he was responsible for engine installation systems and was the team's liaison engineer with engine supplier Cosworth Racing. In 2001 Cohn was a senior design engineer at Jordan Grand Prix again specialising in engine installation systems working closely with Honda. This relationship continued when he joined British American Racing in 2002 where Cohn was the liaison engineer with Honda and was also responsible for the exploration and investigation of new technologies relating to the engine installation.

Contact Angle Consulting Ltd at 40 Wayside Avenue, Bushey, Hertfordshire, UK. Telephone: +44 (0)845 430 3213 Mobile/Cell: +44 (0)7973 289 819  e-mail perry@angleconsulting.com

08/24/04
f1
Villeneuve ready for BAR return Villeneuve ready for BAR returnJacques Villeneuve says he has buried the hatchet with David Richards and is ready to return to BAR. The 1997 world champion left the team in acrimonious circumstances at the end of last year – but he said that is now all in the past.   Villeneuve told this week’s Autosport magazine: “We’ve cleared that. I’ve led my life always shutting the book on the past and going forward. So there’s no reason to do it differently now.”  Asked what how he reacted to news that Jenson Button was leaving the team, Villeneuve said: “The first thing I did was rebuild all the bridges that had been there in the past.   “I called David Richards, Geoff Willis, Honda, BAT everybody. I’ve been in contact with Jock Clear since I left the team.   I just got in touch to say ‘I’m ready’.“The reaction from Honda was extremely positive, even from David actually.   We can put the past behind us, and I’m sure we can work something out.”Villeneuve is convinced that he is the man to replace Jenson Button, who looks set for a move to Williams.

He said: “Why am I the guy for BAR? Because they need someone that can adapt to the team very quickly.“I’m experienced, I know what it takes to win and I’ve won before. I would be quite happy to work for bonuses. I haven't even thought about the money. It's not the important thing right now.  I’ve been with the team through the hardest time and we all survived it together until this year, until everything changed. So it’s unfinished business, and that means I’m very hungry.   There’s a trust and respect within the team, with the mechanics, the engineers. It’s the same with Honda -  the way they responded shows that it’s still present.” ITV-F1

08/24/04
f1
Schumacher can clinch 7th title this weekend Schumacher can clinch 7th title this weekendAfter a year’s absence from the Formula 1 calendar, the Belgian Grand Prix returns as the fourteenth race, much to the delight of Michael Schumacher.

"Spa has always been special for me," explained the six-time world champion. "I am very happy to see the Belgian Grand Prix back on the calendar. This race seems to be linked to my career in some way. I have enjoyed some fantastic moments here and so I can only express my delight that I can race on the track again. Spa preserves the features of the old style circuits, ones that are very different from modern tracks. Even if today’s single-seaters have made the circuit a little easier, it is still a challenge. Driving the perfect line here, especially in some stretches, is just thrilling. It is not coincidental that generations of drivers have raved about Eau Rouge."

And if, for an unlikely series of coincidences, the Ardennes circuit seems linked to Schumacher’s career, this year’s race could continue the trend. By winning his thirteenth race of the season or earning two more points than his only challenger in the Drivers’ championship, teammate Rubens Barrichello, Michael could notch his seventh world title.

"I know that this will be one of the topics of conversation this weekend," said Schumacher. "However, I won’t be approaching this race any differently than the others. The important thing is to race well and whatever happens, happens. It is great being in a position to win the title at this stage, but this is the fruit of an unexpected and superb season."

The world champion would not be drawn on where he thought the title would be won, whether it be Spa or Monza. "Both have their attractions but the most important thing for me is to win the title; where I do it is secondary. Rubens still has a mathematical chance of winning and I take his challenge seriously: until victory is secure, all the other factors are meaningless and so I don’t even take them into consideration."

Schumacher made his debut at Spa Francorchamps in 1991, qualifying the Jordan Ford in seventh place. One year later he recorded his first Grand Prix victory with the Benetton Ford team. Ferrari

08/24/04
f1
Willy Rampf: Spa is a compromise Willy Rampf: Spa is a compromise“Spa-Francorchamps has a large variety of corners and is such a high- speed circuit; that is what makes it great and why it poses a big challenge not only to the drivers but also to the engineers. On the one hand you have the La Source hairpin, at the start of the lap. This is taken at only 60 kph. But then you have corners such as Blanchimont, on the final leg, which is taken at more than 300 kph. Between these two, complicating this compromise further, there is Eau Rouge at the bottom of the fast downhill plunge from La Source. It is a very demanding corner and requires complete commitment from the driver. But the car must also have excellent handling balance. The problem of Eau Rouge is not just that it is taken flat-out by some drivers, but also that the car bottoms out as it reaches the lowest part of the corner just prior to the dramatic uphill sweep at Raidillion.

“Despite this remarkable difference in maximum and minimum speeds the overall lap speed average is around 230 kph in qualifying, and cars may see as much as 350 kph in places. This is why the mechanical and aerodynamic set-up must take into account the absolute need for stability in the very fast and medium-speed corners, and also the need for mechanical traction to deal with the slower parts of the course such as the Bus Stop Chicane, which has been slightly relocated this year, and La Source.

“We will run a bespoke, medium-downforce aerodynamic package for Spa, developed from the set-up we used in Montreal but incorporating all of the important steps we have taken since then. Finally, you also have to take into account the notoriously fickle weather conditions in the Hautes Fagnes region, which can completely upset all of your careful calculations.”

08/24/04
f1
Sauber drivers like Spa Sauber drivers like SpaAlmost without exception, every driver and team is looking forward to racing at Spa Francorchamps once again this weekend. After being left off the calendar for political reasons in 2003, Sauber drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa look forward to racing at the 6.973km circuit on Sunday.
Giancarlo Fisichella  “Spa is, of course, one of my favourite circuits, and I think my style suits it very well. I love the variety; it has lots of different kinds of corners, and the best is Eau Rouge. That is very difficult to take flat. In qualifying it usually is, though not always, and this year that will depend on the weight of fuel you decide to carry. I was second there on my debut in 1997, to Michael, and third with the Renault in 2001, and I believe that there is a chance on this circuit for the driver’s talent to make a difference. That makes it a very satisfying track on which to drive. I’m really happy that it is back on the calendar, because it is a more complete circuit than any other.”
 
Felipe Massa  “I raced at Spa in 2002, which was the first time I ever went there. It’s a fabulous circuit! I’m so happy that it’s back. For sure it’s been changed just a little since I was last there, but the very quick corners remain the same. You don’t run too much downforce so the car feels like it is dancing. You really know you are a racing driver when you are there. I have never raced anywhere that is better. In 2002 here I was running seventh and then had an engine problem, but it was one of my best races. I think we can be strong. The C23 has very good speed and there are characteristics that Spa shares with Silverstone. If you look at our performance at Silverstone this should work in our favour. Eau Rouge is of course the best corner for me anywhere in the world, and it should be flat... although it wasn’t for us in 2002.”
08/24/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'I haven't met with Montagny' - Stoddart
'I won't lose motivation' - Mark Webber
Trulli to shake bad form at Spa
Toyota talking to 'three drivers' - Howett
Honda 'in talks' about BAR buyout
Jordan sale to Arabs has 'failed' 
Aussies to test Minardi in November
Klien to lose Red Bull backing
Panis eyes BAR return
Zonta vows to get up to speed
'Flat' Eau Rouge is still special - Alonso
Button lost '04 championship
Praise for 'emotional' BAR team - Richards
'Nothing wrong' with B car - Gascoyne
'We need Ralf' - Williams' Michael
Schu waits for seventh heaven 
08/23/04
Reader Comment
The Olympics and racing The Olympics and racingA reader writes, Dear Autoracing1,  These last two weekends I've been flipping between the Olympics and racing on TV.  It occurred to me - why isn't auto racing in the Olympics?  Can you imagine what that would be like?  I would guess that it would be road course racing, since ovals are mostly American.  Chris Silhavey, Stratford, CT  Dear Chris, Only Americans are silly enough to race on ovals.  The rest of the world recognizes that it does not take much talent to drive on ovals.  The car is 99.9% of the equation on ovals - proof: Sam Hornish went from hero to chump in one year.  Now that his car isn't fast enough anymore he's a nobody.  Did he forget how to drive overnight?  No, it's the car dummy.  The Olympics is all about the skill of the athlete, hence why if the Olympics ever does include racing, it will be road racing.....where the driver does count. Mark C.
08/23/04
MotoGP
Date set for 2005 US MotoGP Date set for 2005 US MotoGPThe Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has released the pre-calendar for the 2005 MotoGP World Championship with July 8-10 as the date for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Tickets for the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix are on sale now.  General admission tickets and a limited number of paddock passes are on sale now via the track's ticket office - 1-800-327-SECA (7322) - during normal business hours or online at www.laguna-seca.com/Tickets. Renewals will be sent to those who purchased tickets for the 2004 Honda Superbike Classic by the end of August.  Non-renewed tickets/camping will be released to sell beginning Monday, October 25, 2004 at 8 a.m. via telephone at 800-327-SECA.  More information on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is available online at www.laguna-seca.com
08/23/04
irl
Kanaan eclipsing American records Kanaan eclipsing American recordsBrazilian Tony Kanaan led 30 laps at Pikes Peak to give him 813 laps led this season, breaking the record of 812 set by American Tony Stewart in the 1996-1997 season. Kanaan also finished fifth, his 11th consecutive top-five finish, extending his own record for consecutive top-five finishes. It was also his 12th consecutive top-10 finish, tying American Sam Hornish Jr.'s record for consecutive top-10 finishes.
08/23/04
irl
Dallara clinches share of Manufacturer’s Title Dallara clinches share of Manufacturer’s TitleWith Dario Franchitti's win in the Honda Indy 225, Dallara Automobili has clinched a share of the 2004 chassis manufacturer's title. Dallara leads Panoz G Force 108-96, and can win its seventh outright chassis manufacturers crown with a win at the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway.
08/23/04
champcar
Vasser to break Unser's record Vasser to break Unser's recordWhen the green flag flies over this weekend's Molson Indy Montreal on the magnificent 2.709-mile Isle de Notre Dame circuit in Quebec, Canada, it will mark 1996 Champ Car titlewinner Jimmy Vasser's (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) 193rd consecutive start in the top open wheel series in North America, moving him past Al Unser Jr. (192) for the all-time record [Modern Era, 1979 - Present].

Vasser's streak of consecutive races began when he took his 22nd career start in the 1993 season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and coincidentally, he will break the record north of the border at the same track that honored him a year ago when the durable pilot made his 200th career Champ Car start.

"I guess Montreal is becoming a very special place to me," said Vasser, who finished fifth in Champ Car's first foray to Montreal in 2002. "I made start number 200 here last year, and here we are again this year. We had a tough weekend in Denver when I tied the record, so hopefully we can give the fans something to cheer about in Montreal. I've run well here before, and the permanent road courses seem to suit our cars better than the street courses."

The Canoga Park, Calif. native will also be making his 214th career start behind the wheel of a 750hp thoroughbred Champ Car- which stacks up fifth overall in series' history [Modern Era, 1979 - Present], second only to fellow champion Paul Tracy (219) among active drivers.
08/23/04
irl
Pikes Peak attendance Pikes Peak attendanceAccording to this Denver Post article, over 30,000 people attended Sunday's IRL race at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  The $64 question is how many of them actually bought a ticket vs. were given one for free.  All the AutoRacing1.com readers who wrote us said they got in for free.
08/23/04
Industry News
SPEED Channel adds PR person SPEED Channel adds PR personBecky Severs joins SPEED Channel as public relations manager for the network's motor sports programming.  Severs has served as an independent contractor for SPEED for nearly two years, working primarily on the network's live and exclusive coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.  In addition to her continued work publicizing NASCAR TV programming on SPEED Channel, Severs also will be the public relations liaison to more than two dozen motor sports organizations, as well as being the on-site SPEED PR contact at select motor sports events.  Severs will report to Erik Arneson, SPEED Channel Director of Public Relations.
08/23/04
champcar
Bridgestone brings back option tire for three races Bridgestone brings back option tire for three racesBridgestone Motorsport and Champ Car World Series officials agreed to return the popular alternate tire selection for the last three permanent road course events on this year's Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule.

The alternate tire, which allows each entered car sets of a higher-grip and theoretically faster Bridgestone Potenza race tire than the standard tire, will be available at the Molson Indy Montreal on Aug. 27-29, the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey Sept. 10-12 and the Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante Presented by Banamex/Visa at Mexico City Nov. 5-7. Teams will have at their disposal three alternate tire sets at Montreal and two sets each at Monterey and Mexico City. Each car must use at least one alternate set during a race and its crew is free to use the other sets at any time during the weekend.

"The alternate tire has benefited competition in its uses earlier this season at Long Beach and Portland, we expect it to do so at these three road-course events coming up," said Al Speyer, executive director for Bridgestone Motorsport. "The ability of teams to vary when they use the alternate set in the race makes for a wide range of race strategies. It means some cars may be on the quicker alternate Potenzas while others are on the standard Bridgestone tire, which should increase passing opportunities at different junctures of the races for different teams. Bridgestone has also developed an improved tire sidewall identification system that should make it much easier for fans in the stands and those watching on television to know when a car is using the alternate tires."

Bridgestone is the Official Tire of Champ Car, supplying every series entry with Potenza racing radials since 2002. At the upcoming events where the alternate tire is in use, each car will receive six sets of the standard Potenza tire and two sets of the alternate for the weekend. The only stipulation is that at least one of the alternate sets be used at some point in the race.

"The alternate tire has been a great addition to the Champ Car scene this season and we expect its use at these three events to increase the excitement level and uncertainty for the race outcome once again," said John Lopes, Champ Car Vice President of Operations. "Champ Car appreciates Bridgestone's effort to infuse new energy into the competition of our events."

08/23/04
nascar
Evernham forms Busch team Evernham forms Busch teamNASCAR team owner Ray Evernham has revealed the formation of the first NASCAR Busch Series team for Evernham Motorsports.   The partnership with five Unilever Foods Division brands - Ragu pasta sauce, Shedd's Spread Country Crock spread, Lipton tea, Hellman's mayonnaise and Lawry's spice blends and marinades - will feature a driver development scheme under the banner Hungry Drivers program.  The team will field the No. 6 Hungry Drivers Dodge in a 34-race schedule for the 2005 Busch series. The selection of the drivers for the car will be made at a later date.  "It's critical that our first entry in the Busch series be both timely and impactful," Evernham said. "The important part of this programme is that it will develop drivers for our NASCAR Nextel Cup programme. Every succesful sports franchise has a farm team network to develop and evaluate talent and we plan on using the Hungry Drivers team in just that manner."
08/23/04
nascar
Johnson loses points lead to Gordon Johnson loses points lead to GordonAfter Jimmie Johnson won at Pocono on Aug. 1, he led the Cup standings by 232 points and people were talking about how unfair it was going to be for him to have such a margin taken away from him after 26 races by the Chase for the Nextel Cup format. Three weeks later, a shocking run of trouble has rendered that discussion moot.  Johnson and his team limped out of Michigan International Speedway Sunday afternoon after an engine problem doomed the No. 48 Chevrolet to a 40th-place finish.  After a 36th at Indianapolis and a 40th at Watkins Glen, Sunday's outcome dropped Johnson to second in the standings. He now trails Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon by 68 points.  "I was going down the straightaway on the backstretch and it acted like it was running out of fuel," Johnson said. "Then right away I could smell some oil and I knew we had dropped a cylinder. It's a shame.  "The system works in our favor right now, but we just can't have any more of this. We have to finish races."  Gordon finished seventh Sunday and was not exactly jumping for joy to be the new leader.  "We've got to figure out what's going on with the engines," said Gordon, who last led the standings at the end of the 2001 season when he won his fourth championship. "Mine didn't feel great there the last 60 or 70 laps. ThatsRacin.com
08/23/04
MotoGP
Sete Gibernau wins in Czech Republic for Honda Sete Gibernau wins in Czech Republic for HondaThis was the race Sete Gibernau and Honda had to win.   Returning from the mid-season break the Spaniard trailed his Italian rival by 22 points as Rossi’s first year on the Yamaha failed to break the World Champion’s momentum.  Comes the hour, comes the man − and Gibernau came to Brno, saw what he had to do and conquered in a 22-lap race that only briefly threatened to get away from him.  He did it on an ‘old’ bike, revealing afterward that Honda had brought a new engine and other parts he opted not to use.


“We didn’t have a good opportunity to set things up because of the weather,” said Gibernau, “so we decided to stick with what we had, which we knew was a motorcycle capable of winning this race.”

Starting the 22-lap race from his fourth pole position of the year, Gibernau streaked away from a chasing pack that soon included Rossi and a Honda trio of Max Biaggi, Alex Barros and Nicky Hayden.

As Gibernau controlled proceedings from the front, the pursuing quartet swapped places regularly, with Barros threatening to be his main rival until lap 15 when he dropped the Honda.

Rossi took the lead on lap 17 − not once but three times, but each time Gibernau steeled himself to attack again and from that point on the Spaniard opened up a gap that was 3.514 seconds by the end of the race.

Rossi repulsed Biaggi’s late attack to claim second, the 96th podium of his career taking him past Australia’s Mick Doohan on the all-time list.

With Biaggi third and Nicky Hayden losing his Honda just three laps from the end, Makoto Tamada produced another top-quality result in fourth ahead of Loris Capirossi’s Ducati and Carlos Checa on another Yamaha.

Troy Bayliss raised Aussie hopes at the place where he scored his best MotoGP podium last year by matching his season’s best qualifying in fourth spot but struggled with a recalcitrant Ducati all race long and retired two laps from the end.

While Rossi still leads the title race on 184 points, Gibernau’s third win of the season has cut the margin to 17 points at 167 with Biaggi still third on 158.

08/23/04
irl
Franchitti booed Franchitti booedAfter winning the Pikes Peak race Sunday, Dario Franchitti stopped his car at the start/finish line but was booed by the crowd for not lighting up his tires and doing a few doughnuts.  After his win in Milwaukee, Franchitti feebly attempted some doughnuts and he didn't want to make a fool out of himself at Pikes Peak.  "I would have been booed more if I tried to do a doughnut and it came off like it did at Milwaukee," Franchitti said.
08/23/04
champcar
Champ Car drivers nominated Champ Car drivers nominatedAccording to this Champ Car article, When the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford heads south of the border, the Mexican-born drivers naturally get all the hype during the race weekend. In December, two Champ Car pilots have the opportunity to stand out amongst all Latin American Motor Sport Drivers in the world.

The Second Annual Premios Fox Sports will be celebrated in Miami Beach, Florida on December 15, 2004. There are twelve categories in which Latin American athletes and personalities will be honored for their achievements in their respective sports as well as their contributions to the community.

In the midst of five Latin Americans that were nominated for the category of "Outstanding Latin American Motor Sport Driver", two of them currently drive for the Champ Car World Series.

Michel Jourdain Jr., who has competed in the Champ Car World Series for eight years after debuting at the fond age of 19, was the first Mexican in the series to earn a podium finish on home soil. He scored the first two wins of his Champ Car career during the 2003 season finishing a career-best third in the series. He joined rookie team RuSPORT for the 2004 campaign handing them their first podium in only their third race competing in Champ Car by finishing third in Milwaukee.  Please visit http://premiosFOXsports.yahoo.com for more information and to vote for Michel and Mario.

08/23/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Pizzonia to race Williams again
Coulthard slams 'bus stop' changes
F1 cars are safe enough - Montoya
Schu won't lose another - Montoya
Ditching blue flag is 'crazy' - Webber
New rules risk 'crisis' - McLaren's Whitmarsh
Schu's not boring - Ecclestone 
Friesacher to test Minardi car
Bridgestone to win the rest - Suganuma
Collusion charge 'ridiculous' - FIA 
BMW will 'bin' 2005 engine - Theissen
F1 should stage 'no points' race - Brawn  
08/22/04
Formula BMW
Disappointing start for Senna Disappointing start for Senna20 year old Bruno Senna, nephew of the legendary Ayrton Senna, ran his first Formula BMW UK  race this weekend, but unfortunately for the young Brazilian, it only lasted three corners.

Making his debut at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit today, he qualified in tenth place for the second event, (11th in the first).  “It wasn't bad,” he said after qualifying. “I think I got the first corner better [where he had an off in the morning]. I lost a few very good laps, but it was a good effort. I think now I have the speed, for the races it's going to be different.”

In the race however, the Brazilian made contact with Team SWR’s Matt Howson as they raced through Graham Hill Bend and his day was done.  “I didn't have a good start, but I didn't lose any positions because I defended the position there,”said Senna. “[At the third corner] I went wide, the guy put the car inside and I didn't see him. I just turned in to the normal line and we crashed. I think it was [my mistake] but I'm not sure. I have to learn to defend myself, and to get better places. That's why I'm here, to get experience."

08/22/04
irl
How much longer can IRL survive? How much longer can IRL survive?A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Seeing as massive ticket giveaways continue (on the cameras close-ups today from Pikes Peak many people had red Marlboro hats on)  to be the only way in which the Invisible Racing League can put spectators (the IRL has no fans) in the grandstands on Sunday, the tracks being virtual ghost towns on Friday and Saturday, it would seem there is no hope the IRL can ever expect to again sell tickets to its events.  When the IRL circus hits your town and you're a NASCAR fan with nothin' to do it's a piece of cake to snag a fistful of freebies.  Does anyone know what financial commitments the IRL must make to the track owners in order to do an event?  I can't imagine track owners/promoters are falling all over themselves to book a one day race event?  Are the tickets being given away bought at face value from the track/promoter or are they heavily discounted?  Is the IRL leasing the tracks for a flat fee paid to the owner then self-promoting all their races (similar to doing a time buy with a network)?  If this is the case then IRL doesn't care how many tickets they must give away to create the illusion of fan support.  If this is not the case, as a promoter, why in the world would you EVER book a one-day money losing IRL event (they sure aren't races)?

While we tend to focus on the deficiencies of the IRL relative to predicting their eventual demise in terms of competition, nonexistent TV ratings and a significant lack of true fan support, I believe the end of the IRL must soon be dictated by a simple truism: all businesses must generate positive cash flow in order to stay in business.  Despite the millions of yen spent by the Bushido Mafia (to be an investment there must be a return) and the millions of dollars wasted by Tony George and his corporate cronies, the IRL STILL can't sell a ticket or draw a TV viewer.  Adding a couple of road races at tracks deemed too dangerous to race on by Champ Car won’t change that.  It takes positive cash flow to run a business, or charity.  How much longer can the IRL function on the charity of Honda, Toyota, Philip Morris and the Hulman-George Trust? J.N. Anderson Chicago, Illinois

08/22/04
irl
Chesson wins 3rd straight IPS race Chesson wins 3rd straight IPS raceResults Sunday of the Pikes Peak 100 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series event Aug. 22 at the 1-mile Pikes Peak International Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed, reason out (if any):
1. (5) P.J. Chesson, Dallara-Infiniti, 100
2. (3) Paul Dana, Dallara-Infiniti, 100
3. (2) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara-Infiniti, 100
4. (4) Jesse Mason, Dallara-Infiniti, 100
5. (9) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 100
6. (6) Al Unser, Dallara-Infiniti, 100
7. (10) Leonardo Maia, Dallara-Infiniti, 100
8. (8) Phil Giebler, Dallara-Infiniti,  99
9. (1) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 99
10. (7) Matt Beardsley, Dallara-Infiniti, 75, Handling
11. (11) Rolando Quintanilla, Dallara-Infiniti, 28, Suspension
     Race Statistics
      Winner's average speed: 139.573 mph
      Time of race: 42:59.2878
      Margin of victory: 1.2093 sec.
      Cautions: 1 for 5 laps.
      Lead changes: 2 among 3 drivers.
Lap leaders: Simmons 1-16, Dana 17-93, Chesson 94-100.
Point standings: Medeiros 385, Dana 318, Mason 261, Luyendyk Jr. 250, Chesson 242, Maia 216, Quintanilla 190, Unser 182, Giebler 180, Roe 164.
08/22/04
champcar
Guy Smith fast in Vegas test Guy Smith fast in Vegas testWith his Champ Car debut less than two weeks behind him, Rocketsports driver, Guy Smith faced the daunting superspeedway oval at Las Vegas Motorspeedway and posted the most impressive results among the rookie drivers, who ventured out for the Champ Car test. The test was conducted from approximately 2:00 to 10:00 PM to better simulate the temperature and conditions of the night race, set for September 25th.Ahead of many veterans in the 15 car field, Smith was sixth quickest and clocked a lap time of 26.725 (202.058 mph) on the 1.5 mile oval.

“This was my first time back on an oval since 2000, with Indy Lights at Michigan and Fontana, and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I felt comfortable and competitive. Within ten laps I was flat out and on pace with the field. I was fast all the way and had complete confidence in the car, which was strong and aggressive,” said Smith.

“I had a nice run at Vegas, completing about 70 laps. I’m quite confident. I ran with the Newman-Haas cars, tucked in behind and passed. We’ll further develop our suspension geometries for the race, so there’s even greater potential to go significantly faster. But my car was quick in the test, and great running in traffic, which is good for my confidence.  

“The Vegas night race will be entertaining,” promised Smith. “The Champ Cars will be very close to each other, two and sometimes three wide, which creates a real challenge in the engineering. We had a good formula for the set up of the No.17 Rocketsports car, and expect to be strong for the race. The open-wheel race may be similar to stock car racing, hopefully with the exception of the physical contact, and with added speed and excitement. Whatever happens, it’ll be a close and thrilling race.”

08/22/04
nascar
Gordon to drive Bristol truck race Gordon to drive Bristol truck raceRobby Gordon will return to NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) competition on August 25, 2004 at Bristol Motor Speedway in the No. 47 Acxiom Morgan Dollar Motorsports Silverado with a special paint scheme showcasing George Thorogood and the 30-year anniversary of his Bad to the Bone tour. Gordon’s three previous NCTS starts were North Wilkesboro and Las Vegas in 1996 and October 1997 at California Speedway.

The O’Reilly 200 is the second of seven appearances by the Chevrolet Silverado Celebrity All Stars Team (All Stars).  The All Stars debuted at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 21 with Michael Waltrip in the driver’s seat of the No. 47 with Sheryl Crow on the hood.

In addition to competing in the All Stars Silverado at Bristol, Gordon will drive his own No. 55 Fruit of the Loom Monte Carlo in Friday night’s NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) race.  He will again take to the high banks of Bristol on Saturday night in the cockpit of the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo fielded by Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

“I’ve never raced a truck at Bristol” said Gordon. “So that will be something a little new for me.  The #47 All Stars Silverado they have that all of us will drive seems to run really good and I look forward to doing it. Morgan Dollar is an established truck team that is competitive and wins races. It’s going to be fun.

“There is not a huge difference between the truck and the Cup car. The suspension is still the same, but the body is different. The truck body is longer and creates more down force and more grip, so that is going to be interesting to see how it different the handling is between the two.”

08/22/04
f1
Rules crisis in F1 Rules crisis in F1The changes planned for Formula One for next season and beyond to reduce costs and speeds could push the sport into "crisis", according to McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh.  Max Mosley, president of world governing body the FIA, plans to make radical changes to F1 in terms of engines, aerodynamics and tires.  He has given team bosses a deadline to come up with changes or face new rules being imposed by the FIA as he looks to cut costs and reduce speeds.

Whitmarsh, McLaren's managing director, is unhappy with the number of changes proposed at a time when team bosses are unable to find common ground on how to alter the rules, pushing Formula One nearer to Mosley's own vision of the future.

He said: "If you want to control cost in Formula One you have to have new rules in good time otherwise you have to respond and it costs more money.  We certainly don't support the process and the timescale of the change but we understand why people want to make changes.  We don't agree with the changes that are being proposed. We think there are too many changes being proposed. In the past that has not been good for Formula One. I think it's bad for Formula One.  We can't allow ourselves to create crisis by implementing change too quickly."

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart is angry at the length of time being taken to implement change and accused his rival team chiefs of putting the sport's future at risk.  "We are not preparing and getting ready to build a new car and there is a simple fact for that, we cannot afford to make a wrong choice," he said.  "We haven't got a clue what the regulations are.  I think it's devastating for the small teams. I would like to think that if we are going to be so late coming up with agreement on what it is we are building cars to next year, that some consideration is given to small teams to give us a fighting chance.  If we don't decide something we won't have a championship next year. We'll still be making this decision in January."

Rival team chief Eddie Jordan added: "It is just preposterous to think that a set of rules and regulations for next year's championship are not clear and defined at this moment in time."

08/22/04
f1
Coulthard: Consult us Coulthard: Consult usDavid Coulthard has called for drivers to be consulted about future alterations to circuits, as he prepares for the Belgian Grand Prix next weekend.  The McLaren Mercedes driver made his comments ahead of the visit to Spa-Francorchamps, which has itself seen the famous Bus Stop chicane changed.  The Scotsman has called for the Grand Prix Drivers' Assocation to be consulted over future amendments following concerns over the Spa amendment.  Drivers in a recent race at the venue complained that overtaking had been made even harder by the change.  "The comments of other drivers that have been there are that it is not favourable," said Coulthard.  "It is a little disappointing, because we weren't as a group informed of those changes.  Quite how we find ourselves in a situation where a track is changed without input from a current driver is very strange.  We will have to be more proactive in asking the tracks rather than sitting back and waiting for them to talk to us." Sky Sports
08/22/04
champcar
When will the predictions stop? When will the predictions stop?UPDATE A reader responds, When Champ Car is positioned strongly for 2005 and beyond, I think we will see a slow swing by the media to the truth.  Lee Harvey Oswald, Oops I meant to say, Tony George will be the patsy, losing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the conspiracy as he is escorted into the parking garage. Pulling the trigger will be Jack Ruby, Oops I mean Honda and Toyota as they exit the EARL. The difference in this story is that NASCAR/ISC's shot from the grassy knoll missed its target and The President, Oops I mean, Champ Car is still alive and running strong in the polls for re-election.  It will be interesting to see what the Warren Report, Oops I mean the media reports in a couple of years. Tim Hubbel, Turlock, California 08/21/04 A reader writes, Dear Autoracing1, With regard to Sam Posey's predictions of Champ Car's demise, will they ever get tired of predicting (or hoping for) Champ Car’s demise? I mean, we’re almost halfway through this decade and the Champ Car World Series is not only alive but gaining momentum. The series will be around at least during the term of OWRS business plan. Roberto Reyes, Mexico City  Dear Roberto, We suspect the naysayers will begin to choke on their words when soon-to-be news starts coming out in a succession of announcements.  They will soon realize how foolish they sound.  We are not sure who is going to take it hardest, Tony George who has spent a large portion of his family fortune on the IRL only to see it floundering and Champ Car still alive and making a comeback, Honda and Toyota who have wasted millions only to see the IRL series plummet the more they pump in, or the teams and drivers who sold their soul to the devil (money) and continue to predict Champ Car's demise to this day.  Clearly Mr. Posey is out of touch with what is happening behind the scenes.  OWRS would not have spurned Roger Penske's unification attempts unless they were certain of what they were doing. Mark C. 
08/22/04
f1
Testing ban hurting Williams Testing ban hurting WilliamsBMW motorsport director Mario Theissen says that the current August testing ban in Formula One is hurting the Williams team right now . In Hungary the team introduced a new nose and many other aerodynamic changes to its car, and if the Williams team had any sense, they would not have done that just before the test ban.  Poor planning on their part.. 

"In Belgium, we are aiming to further increase our competitiveness," said Theissen. "Although the on-going testing ban is not exactly helping us with the continued development of the car, the race in Hungary demonstrated that the new nose and improved start performance have met our expectations. Both are foundations upon which we can build."

"The forthcoming Grands Prix in Belgium and Italy pose particular challenges for the BMW P84 engine," he added. "At Spa, this is primarily due to the gradients, while in Monza it will be the long straight, which invokes the highest, full-throttle percentage on the Grand Prix calendar."

08/22/04
f1
More aero changes for Williams More aero changes for WilliamsAfter abandoning its Walrus nose before the Hungary race, Williams is set to implement some aero tweaks before the next race at Spa.  "We will have some more aerodynamic developments on the FW26's bodywork, particularly around the winglet and cooling chimney area, a result of the on-going wind tunnel programme," revealed the team's Technical Director, Sam Michael. "We have also been working hard to improve our starts for the Belgium Grand Prix, Antonio Pizzonia recently completed another shakedown at Silverstone to this end. Ralf has not been cleared to drive yet, so Antonio will once again be driving for us at Spa. Our strong partnership with Michelin has enabled us to precisely calculate the tyre compound and casing requirements for Spa. This is particularly impressive given the changes to the surface, and indeed to the car, since we were last at the track."
08/22/04
Industry News
Danny Sullivan retires for good Danny Sullivan retires for goodDanny Sullivan, who came out of retirement this year to race a Ferrari 575GTC in the Le Mans Endurance Series for Barron-Connor Racing, says he will hang up his helmet for good at the end of the season.

“The chance to drive a Ferrari at some great tracks this year has been a lot of fun,” he said, “but, really, this is a young guy's game.”

The 53-year-old Sullivan started racing in 1972 and built up his career in Europe, including a stint in Formula 1 with Tyrrell, before returning to the U.S. to race Champ Cars. He won the Indy 500 with Penske Racing in 1985, which featured his legendary “spin and win" duel with Mario Andretti.

Sullivan, who continues to serve as the director of the Red Bull Driver Search program aimed at shepherding young American racing talent toward F1, says he definitely won't race modern machinery after this year. However, he likely will continue to make appearances in historic racing events. SPEED TV

08/22/04
irl
Should IRL reduce events to one day? Should IRL reduce events to one day?The IRL has been plagued with almost zero fan interest for their Friday practice sessions.  We have suggested they reduce all of their events to 2-day weekends and save the teams a lot of money and the series a lot of embarrassment.  This weekend's race at Pikes Peak is a 2-day event, but based on Saturday's attandance, it looks like the IRL might be better off reducing their weekends further to 1-day events because hardly anyone showed up for Saturday either.  A true race fan shows up to watch practice, qualifying, and the race.   Those who get free race tickets only show up on race day.  Hence we expect a reasonable crowd for Sunday's race. (Photo courtesy of Honda)
08/22/04
f1
Tire war in F1 out of control Tire war in F1 out of controlAccording to Sauber boss Peter Sauber, the tire war in F1 is out of control.  "Last weekend we were able to use a new tire specification for the first time, which represents a clear step forward with regard to first lap performance. That’s why Giancarlo’s eighth place in qualifying was the best he’s achieved in the season so far. I’d like to pay a big compliment to Bridgestone in this regard. However, because we had not tested these tires before, we encountered some difficulties with the set-up on Friday, but then our engineers drew the right conclusions from the data analysis and improved the car’s balance. 

"For us, this fight between two manufacturers continues to present a problem. The top teams are using roughly two thirds of their testing for tire development, and our resources simply do not allow us to keep up with that. Because the developments have reached such extreme levels, it has become incredibly difficult to select the right tires and to make optimum use of them during a race weekend. Track temperatures rising or falling by just a few degrees can make all your plans go awry. Last weekend, McLaren-Mercedes became a victim of this. So this can even happen to the big teams. The influence of tires on the results has simply become too strong nowadays."

08/22/04
f1
A lap around Spa with Fisichella A lap around Spa with FisichellaSauber Petronas driver, Giancarlo Fisichella, will head to Belgium this weekend in an attempt to earn some vital championship points for both himself and the team as they continue their battle for sixth place in the constructors championship. Here the Italian talks us through a lap of the famous circuit that is one of his personal favorites.

"Spa is one of the longest circuits in the grand prix calendar at nearly 7 km and is also one of my favorites. The lap starts as you cross the start/finish line at over 260 k/h reaching a peak speed of about 285 k/h before braking for La Source hairpin, which is taken in 1st gear at around 60 k/h. I then accelerate down the hill passed the old pits reaching 310 k/h before entering what is probably the most challenging corner of any grand prix circuit, Eau Rouge."

"All drivers attempt to take this flat in qualifying but its very tricky. You need to lift on the throttle to take this complex of corners at a minimum speed of 280 k/h. It is important to maintain speed through this corner due to the long uphill drag towards Les Combes, I reach around 325 k/h before braking for the top chicane which is taken in 3rd gear at between 125-135 k/h. A short straight where I reach 260 k/h then leads to Rivage which is a long right-hand corner taken in 2nd gear at around 100 k/h. At this corner the circuit drops away and the cars always tend to understeer."

"A 3rd gear left-hand corner taken at 150 k/h then leads to another short straight where I reach just under 300 k/h in 5th gear before entering the very challenging fast double left-hand Pouhon corner which I enter at 215 k/h, and accelerate up to 270 k/h by the end of the second part. A 300 k/h straight then leads into the Fagnes chicane, the first part of which is taken in 3rd gear at 135 k/h and the second part in 4th gear at 160 k/h. The next corner is a 3rd gear right-hand corner taken at 130 k/h followed almost immediately by a 4th gear right-hand corner taken at 225 k/h where the circuit rejoins the public road. From here I accelerate hard heading back towards the pits and going through the super fast left-hand Blanchimont corner at over 300 k/h."

"While this corner is flat in qualifying it can be quite tricky if the circuit is damp or the fuel load is high. Very hard braking is needed into the small chicane known as the Bus Stop, which is taken in 2nd gear at around 90 k/h.  I have to use the curbs here in order to attain a good lap time. A final left-hand corner is taken flat at around 190 k/h as I accelerate out of the Bus Stop towards the start/finish line."

08/22/04
alms
grandam
ALMS feeling effects of Grand-Am ALMS feeling effects of Grand-AmOnly 21 cars qualified for today's ALMS race at Road America.  That's 21 cars combined for all the categories.  This is a far cry from just a few years ago and it's apparent that the Grand-Am Series, created and run by the powerful France family, is having a severe impact on ALMS.  The Grand-Am's version of sports car racing uses dumbed down NASCAR like cars that cost less than ALMS cars.  The France's have made a major effort this year to bolster the series.  Not only have they pumped money into it, they have gotten the support of companies like Toyota (Lexus), Pontiac, etc.  to supply engines. 

Hardly anyone is attending Grand-Am races because road racing fans have no interest in dumbed down road racing cars,  However, the series is there, it has money behind it, and ocassionally they bring in some NASCAR stars to drive and bring attention to the series.  Grand-Am is not going away anytime soon.  The question is whether the ALMS Series can survive long-term when, as we saw with Indy Cars, a 2nd dumbed down series is created to divide and conquer the sport. 

08/22/04
V8 Supercers
champcar
Sabotage rocks Australia’s top series Sabotage rocks Australia’s top series[Editor's Note: Jason Bright used to race in CART's Indy Lights series and Champ Car shares the headlines with the V8 Supercars in Surfers.]  Australia's elite motor racing category has been rocked by allegations that series leader Jason Bright's car was sabotaged and that the Holden driver could have been killed as a result of the tampering.   After Ford's Marcos Ambrose won the weekend's round at Oran Park in western Sydney, attention quickly turned to the garage of Bright's PWR team when it was revealed that the reason he missed Friday's practice session was because his car appeared to have been tampered with and its throttle deliberately jammed with a plastic bag.

A further investigation of the engine revealed that 2.5cm-long bolts and washers, which have no use in the engine bay, had found their way into a cylinder, causing his $120,000 engine to seize.

Bright was sidelined from Friday's practice when part-way through his out lap, his throttle stuck open, forcing him to stall the engine quickly before he crashed.   The team replaced the engine and Bright recovered to finish third to retain his lead in the championship from Ambrose.

Holden Racing Team owner-driver Mark Skaife turned in his best performance in almost a year to finish second.   Bright's race day performance did little to cool irate PWR owner Kees Weel, who also revealed his son Paul Weel - Bright's teammate - had his steering tampered with on Thursday night when the cars were left in the team's garage, without being locked down like they usually were over a race weekend.

"Whoever did it knew what they were doing - and it makes you sick," Weel said.   "It absolutely makes you sick. Who would do something as stupid and dangerous? If it (throttle got stuck) had have happened two seconds before it did, Brighty could have been slammed into the bridge or off the side.  We're pissed off that this sort of thing could happen in a category that is going so strong. There's obviously someone out there who's deranged. We hoped we were among honest people in pit lane, but we were caught out." More at Fox Sports

08/21/04
nascar
NASCAR a circus, not a sport NASCAR a circus, not a sportThis Ledger article says, A rule will be implemented next year for three NASCAR series -Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck -- that will restrict teams to pre-determined gear ratios at each event.  NASCAR wants to limit the maximum revolutions per minute (RPMs) and cited a reduction of team costs with engine research and competitive balance as reasons for the change. NASCAR teams will still place restrictor plates on cars for races at Talladega and Daytona. NASCAR will also require spoilers in 2005 to be 41/2 inches in height, from 51/2 this year. Several crew chiefs said they opposed the rule change.  "I'm not in favor of it whatsoever," said Haslett native Matt Borland, the crew chief for Ryan Newman's No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge. "It's just another way to limit teams from advancing further. There's no need for it. There's no advantage to it. It's not going to make the racing any better. It's just going to make every place like Talladega and Daytona and make it a better show for everyone to watch like the circus. But it's not racing."   Borland said it wouldn't reduce the budgets of race teams that have put a lot of money into research and development in the past.  "We'll just spend money on horsepower instead of RPMs," Borland said. "You're going to spend whatever money you've got to make your car a successful.  "All this does is now throw away everyone's work done the past two years. And now we're going to spend all our money going a different direction than what we've gone the past couple years.  "We're just going in a big circle."
08/21/04
f1
Eau Rouge has lost its magic Eau Rouge has lost its magicAntonio Pizzonia" “I have good memories of Spa, where I’ve raced four times in different formulae, including Formula Renault, F3 and F3000. The best was definitely in 2000, when I became British F3 Champion, having finished the race in second place,” he said. “I spent the week after the Hungarian Grand Prix at home in Monaco, training hard in preparation for this race. Spa is a very special place, so I can't wait to drive a Formula One car around it. I don’t think Eau Rouge is as challenging as it used to be, though, because Formula One cars have so changed much. We have such a huge amount of downforce now, and the tyres have improved so much, I think everyone pretty much goes flat out around it.”
08/21/04
starmazda
McDowell wins Star Mazda race McDowell wins Star Mazda raceMichael McDowell, of Phoenix, Arizona, has continued his summer hot streak, capturing his fifth victory in the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear this afternoon in Round Seven at Road America. McDowell, the defending race champion, brought his Drive4USA/Sparco/Star Race Cars Mazda home ahead of Raphael Matos and championship points leader Dan DiLeo to score a string of back-to-back victories for the second time this season.  “My car was excellent all weekend and I have to give credit to the crew at Star Race Cars for all the time they put into the car to keep it at the front of the field,” McDowell said afterwards. “We were at the top of the charts for most of the weekend, started third after a blip in qualifying, but I knew the car would be right there in the race.”
08/21/04
Speed World Challenge
Audi 1-2 in Speed World Audi 1-2 in Speed WorldThe Audi Certified Champion RS 6 team demonstrated classic "textbook" racing today with their 1-2 podium finish on the 4.048-mile road course of Road America.  Randy Pobst and Michael Galati were 1-2 on the grid and with only a slight switch of position at the start of the race (Galati passed Pobst) the duo was able to keep their leading positions from flag to flag. 

Driving the No. 2 Certified pre-owned Audi RS 6, Galati passed Pobst going into Turn 1.  Pobst ducked in behind Galati and together they cruised the famous hills and curves that wind through the Kettle Moraine Forest.

Pobst started to close the gap towards the end but it just wasn't enough to overtake his teammate while also fending off Phil McClure in his Corvette Z06.  

There are a several weeks until the SPEED World Challenge GT series competes at Road Atlanta as part of the Petit Le Mans Weekend.  Petit Le Mans is scheduled for September 23-25 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. 

Michael Galati (Olmstead, OH).  "I want to thank my teammate for giving me room going into Turn 1.  After that I just put my head down and drove the wheels off.  I tried to open a gap early because I was worried about the tires.  I particularly want to thank Alcon and Ohlins for fantastic brakes and shock absorbers.  They did a great job after Mosport.  The Champion Racing guys, they just never die.  They just never give up.  They are the best!" 

Randy Pobst (Gainesville, GA).  "Champion Racing pulled a rabbit out of a hat today.  They worked some magic on my RS 6 this weekend.  It was just ultra competitive today.  As Audi says, 'Never Follow'.  That is unless you are following another Audi."

Louis Milone (Team Leader).  "This 1-2 victory comes down to the team's performance as well as the driver's performance.  The Champion guys worked tirelessly around the clock since Mosport, to continually develop these cars.  As a team we are committed to winning the Manufacturer's Championship.  Once again our hard work, team effort and commitment paid off."

       DRIVER/HOMETOWN/STATE               CAR                     LAPS      DIFFERENCE
1)  Michael Galati/Olmsted/OH Audi RS 6       18
2)  Randy Pobst/Gainesville/GA Audi RS 6       18 +1.324
3)  Phil McClure/Floris/IA Corvette Z06       18 +1.831
4)  Michael Culver/Westport/CT Porsche 911 Cup       18 +3.589
5)  Max Angelelli/Monte Carlo/MC Cadillac CTS-V                 18 +6.515

Margin of Victory:  01.324 Seconds
Fastest Race Lap:  Car #2  Michael Galati  02:18.116 MPH
Overall Race:  41:46.864  72.864 Miles  104.656 MPH

SPEED GT Point Standings
1)  Michael Galati Audi RS 6 205
2) Tommy Archer Viper CompCoupe 193
3)  Andy Pilgrim Cadillac CTS-V 173
4)  Randy Pobst Audi RS 6 167
5)  Max Angelelli Cadillac CTS-V 153

SPEED GT Manufacturer's Championship
1)  Audi 48
2)  Cadillac 39
3)  Chevrolet 30
4)  Dodge   29

08/21/04
irl
Rain washes out IRL qualifying Rain washes out IRL qualifyingUPDATE Today's IRL Qualifying session at Pikes Peak Speedway was cancelled due to rain so the starting grid for Sunday's 225-lap event has been set based practice times from today's session. Tony Kanaan will be starting from the pole for tomorrow's race after posting a quick speed 174.311 mph. Dan Wheldon will start second and Vitor Meira will start third. The Honda Indy 225 is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. EST green flag and will be televised live on ABC. 08/21/04 Rain moving through the Colorado Springs, Colorado area has delayed the start of qualifying for the IRL Indy Cars.  If they can't get qualifying in and they line them up based on practice speeds, Andretti Green teammates Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon will start 1-2.
08/21/04
alms
Leitzinger wins ALMS pole at Road America Leitzinger wins ALMS pole at Road AmericaButch Leitzinger set a new Road America track record in winning the overall pole for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Road America 500.

Leitzinger drove the Dyson Racing Lola 01/60-AER to a lap of 1:51.893, breaking the previous record of 1:52.166 that was set in 2002 by Tom Kristensen. Leitzinger will co-drive with James Weaver.

The Dyson team swept the front row in qualifying, with Andy Wallace turning a time of 1:52.524 in the car he will share with Chris Dyson. The ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner will start third after a qualifying time of 1:53.251.

LMP2 class points leader Ian James pulled off a flying lap in the closing seconds of Prototype qualifying to win the LMP2 class pole in Miracle Motorsports' new Courage C65-AER. James ran a lap of 1:58.847 in the car he will share with James Gue.

Clint Field and Robin Liddell will start second in the Intersport Racing Lola B2K/40-Judd, which Field qualified in a time of 1:59.174. Third in class was the Lola-Nissan of the Miracle team, driven by Mike Borkowski and John Macaluso.  More to follow.....

08/21/04
irl
Simmons wins IPS pole Simmons wins IPS poleQualifying Saturday for the Pikes Peak 100 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series event on the 1-mile Pikes Peak International Raceway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:
1. (24) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 154.574 mph
2. (11) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara-Infiniti, 154.377 mph
3. (91) Paul Dana, Dallara-Infiniti, 153.833 mph
4. (3) Jesse Mason, Dallara-Infiniti, 153.711 mph
5. (76) P.J. Chesson, Dallara-Infiniti, 153.474 mph
5. (2) Al Unser, Dallara-Infiniti, 152.297 mph
7. (9) Matt Beardsley, Dallara-Infiniti, 151.903 mph
8. (22) Phil Giebler, Dallara-Infiniti, 151.088 mph
9. (27) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 150.592 mph
10. (33) Leonardo Maia, Dallara-Infiniti, 148.087 mph
11. (10) Rolando Quintanilla, Dallara-Infiniti, no speed
08/21/04
nascar
Notes from Michigan - 2 Notes from Michigan - 2Qualifying was rained out for Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400, so by definition all of the title contenders are starting together.  Jimmie Johnson will start on pole, next to teammate Jeff Gordon. 
 
Practice was cancelled on Friday, and this morning's track today will show little resemblance to race conditions since the Busch cars have laid down their rubber, and the air temp will be about 10 degrees warmer on Sunday.  Happy hour saw 38 cars within a second of the fastest time set by Elliott Sadler, who is starting his 200th Nextel Cup race. 

Field fillers, aka, "Pick 'em":  Hermie Sadler, Carl Long, Morgan Shepherd, Derrike Cope, and Kirk Shelmerdine.  Sherlmerdine was a full 2.6 seconds behind the fastest cars in the first practice, and a no-show in Happy Hour (the cover was on the car). 
 
Horsepower and motors are always the story at Michigan, with rumors of 10,000+ RPM race setups abounding.  In an effort to reduce the cost of race motors NASCAR announced this week that they will mandate rear gear ratios for races in 2005.  Of course, any shade tree mechanic will tell you that it's a simple matter to change gearing in the transmission (okay, not simple, but it can be done easily by teams).  A NASCAR official, who wishes to remain nameless, admits that NASCAR will have to inspect transmissions.  "It might look like we're just standing here soaking in the sunlight" said the official, "But the truth is that we're watching the teams.  Next year, if we see a transmission being wheeled from a transporter we'll have to send an official over to check it out."  Even though current rumor places plainclothes NASCAR officials in the garage areas (posing as photographers?) it will certainly be a challenge for NASCAR to police this rule.  A press release on Friday mentioned the installation of data loggers in each car, but no word on any penalties based on readings by this device.  "NASCAR is still working out a few rough edges on the rule" said the official.  Yeah, I bet they are.
 
Kyle Busch's first trip to Michigan International Speedway was productive, as he stunk up the Cabela's 250 Busch (no relation) race in a dominating win.  Twenty-two of tomorrow's 'Cup drivers competed in the Busch race, making the performance even more impressive.  Mark Martin was second, followed by Martin Truex, Casey Mears, and Kasey Kahne.  Busch was scheduled to start Sunday's race, but wasn't able to qualify due to the rain, and missed the race due to lack of owner points for the car.  Kyle ties a Busch rookie record with five wins.
 
Tommy Baldwin Jr. is at Michigan Speedway, but his heart is heavy with the death of his father, Tommy Baldwin Sr., in a NASCAR Featherlite Tour crash on Thursday night.  Baldwin, Sr. was well-known by competitors in the Busch and Nextel series, with some 30-35 people currently employed those tours having once worked for Baldwin.  Donations in lieu of flowers are to be made to Victory Junction Gang. Tim Wohlford reporting

08/21/04
irl
Kosuke Matsuura crashes Kosuke Matsuura crashesDuring practice today at Pikes Peak, Japanese driver Kosuke Matsuura made heavy left-side contact in Turn 4. He appeared to be OK as he walked to the waiting ambulance. However, the car sustained heavy damage and won't be racing anytime soon.
08/21/04
irl
Wheldon tops practice charts Wheldon tops practice chartsAndretti Green Racing's Dan Wheldon topped the speed chart after the first round of pre-qualifying practice Aug. 21 for the Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Wheldon, driving the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, had a fast lap of 172.501 mph (20.8695 mph) on the one-mile oval. Reigning IRL IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was second at 171.445 mph in the No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. His teammate, Darren Manning, was third at 171.391. IndyCar Series points leader Tony Kanaan was fourth on the chart at 171.315 mph, while Buddy Rice round out the top five (171.094). A second session is scheduled before MBNA Pole qualifying.
08/21/04
irl
Firestone to sponsor CARA event Firestone to sponsor CARA eventDick Clark’s California version of American Bandstand, “Where The Action Is,” showed the United States how the 1960s beach scene had captured everyone’s fancy. Dancing, surfing, singing California songs on TV made the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and the Ventures household words. Those songs will be recreated on Oct. 1 at California Speedway in the second annual CARA Charities’ Raceway Rendezvous spectacular known this year as the “Beach Blanket Bash.” CARA Charities announced today that Firestone has been named as the Presenting Sponsor for this year’s “Beach Blanket Bash” which is part of the Toyota Indy 400 weekend.

“We believe in the outstanding contributions of CARA Charities and all of the great causes the organization has helped over the years,” said Al Speyer, executive director of motorsports for Bridgestone/Firestone. “Each year CARA Charities puts on a fantastic party to raise funds for needy families and charities and we are pleased to be a part of this year’s Beach Blanket Bash at California Speedway. Last year, we had a great time and we want to help make this year’s bash even bigger and better.” A large hospitality tent, donated by Toyota Motor Sports, will be erected outside of the front straightaway at California Speedway and will be transformed into an old fashioned beach party complete with seashells, sand and surfboards as well as beach and surf music, a grand food spread, a silent motorsports auction and a variety of beach activities including contests and games.  “We are very happy to have Firestone as our presenting sponsor for this year’s Raceway Rendezvous event,” said Mary Lou Bogner, executive director of CARA Charities. “Al Speyer and his great staff have been tremendous supporters of CARA Charities for years and their efforts have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to very needed causes. We want to thank them again for their continued support of CARA and this popular California Speedway affair. We believe everyone will have a great time on October 1 beginning at 6 p.m.”

The Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund has been the primary sponsor for CARA Charities “Buckle Up Baby” project. Established in 1993, “Buckle Up Baby” has donated over $565,000 to children’s hospitals and clinics throughout North America to promote child safety. Tickets for this year’s Raceway Rendezvous – “Beach Blanket Bash” – can be purchased by calling the CARA Charities office at 317-299-2277 or on-line the CARA website at www.caracharities.org. Individual tickets are $100 and special sponsors and corporate tables are also available.
08/21/04
irl
Kentucky Giveaways Kentucky GiveawaysA reader writes, I got my 2 free Kentucky IRL tickets from a radio show (Robin Miller's weekly show).  I answered a trivia question.  My friend Chris got his through Marlboro. He signed up somewhere last year and got a letter in the mail.   I signed up at Michigan and I bet I will get a letter soon saying FREEBIES.  Marlboro scans your drivers license and you get a free hat. Then you are on their mailing list.  At Kentucky there were a ton of folks with Marlboro hats in turn one alone.   I estimate 7,000 to 10,000 in turn 1 alone.  I have a lot of racing friends and we don't buy IRL tickets anymore.  It's so easy to get free ones, why buy? Salt Scott, Indianapolis
08/21/04
irl
Fernandez win makes headlines in Mexico Fernandez win makes headlines in MexicoThe wave of congratulatory calls filled Adrian Fernandez’s mobile phone before he left Victory Lane on Aug. 15 at Kentucky Speedway. Another round consumed the answering machine at his Paradise Valley, Ariz., home, while his e-mail was likewise flooded.

News of Fernandez’s victory in the Belterra Casino Indy 300 – his first in the IRL IndyCar® Series – spread quickly among the legion of longtime friends and supporters who did not attend the race or watch it live on TV. The news was especially big – more so than the Olympics -- in his native Mexico. The longtime sports star is the first Mexican driver to win in the nine-year history of the IndyCar Series.

“Primera Victoria” screamed the headline in the Record on Aug. 16.

“Ya ganó” declared the Economista.

“He’s like ‘Rocky,’ " one Mexico City TV sports anchor exhorted (English translation).

Within minutes of conducting his final interview at Kentucky Speedway, Fernandez was inundated with requests to appear on TV and radio shows throughout North America. Included on his mini-Victory Tour was a stop in Miami on Aug. 18 to be a guest on ESPN International’s RPM Semanel. This week, he has been the subject of more than 75 articles in Mexican publications.  More at IndyRacing.com

08/21/04
starmazda
DiLeo earns Star Mazda pole DiLeo earns Star Mazda poleDaniel DiLeo padded his championship points lead with an additional point after capturing the pole position this morning in qualifying for Round Seven of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship at Road America. With his second pole position of the season, after a record setting lap of 2:04.621, DiLeo now leads Michael McDowell by 31 points heading into this afternoon's 19-lap race. Lining up second on the grid will be Scott Jenkins, of Portland, Oregon, who brought his Environmental Fibers International/Team Bucknum Mazda car around the 4.048-mile circuit in 2:04.934, edging out McDowell and his Drive4USA/Sparco/Star Race Cars Mazda by 0.072 seconds.
08/21/04
alms
Dyson leads morning practice Dyson leads morning practiceThe Dyson Racing Lola of James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger jumped to the top of the speed charts Saturday morning at Road America as official practice began for Sunday’s American Le Mans Series Road America 500. The car ran only a handful of laps in Friday’s testing session due to an engine installation problem, but a newly-installed engine helped propel the Lola B01/60-AER to a lap of 1:52.346 on the 4.048-mile Road America circuit. Second-fastest in the morning session was the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto and Marco Werner at 1:53.852, followed by the other Dyson entry of Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace at 1:54.061.
08/21/04
nascar
irl
Notes from Michigan - 1 Notes from Michigan - 1ARCA will run support races for both the June and August 2005 NASCAR races here at Michigan International Speedway.  The only races for the IRL weekend in 2005 are the IPS and IRL races.   We can't get anyone to confirm/deny the "rumor" that next year's IRL race will be in two, 100-lap segments.  Tim Wohlford
08/21/04
F1
Speeding towards Formula One Speeding towards Formula OneWhere Formula One hopeful Scott Speed resides now, many Americans want to go. The Californian, chosen as one of the four winners in the first Red Bull Driver Search program in 2002, is based in Fuschl near Salzburg – the Lake area east of the festival city that became world famous by the “Sound of Music” movie. “I have heard about the Trapp family story and the movie made about it, and I know most of my family have seen it, but I cannot care about it. I am focused on my racing career”, Speed admits, pointing out at his goal which is also the prime target in the Red Bull Driver Search: To bring a young American driver into Formula One.
 
In the Driver Search, Speed’s name correctly showed his talents. But after being chosen by the panel led by former F1 star and Indycar hero Danny Sullivan, Speed had to face tough times in his first year in Europe in 2003. He missed part of the season due to severe health problems. It became worse and worse, “until I finally only weighed at 58 kilograms instead of the 67 I used to”. But Speed, who was born in San Jose and lived in the San Joaquin Valley near Sacramento, finally found a specialist for his health problems with the help of the Red Bull doctors and management in Austria. Since being treated by Dr. Christoph Gasche in Vienna with a different medication, he reacts positively and is on his way up again.
 
On the way up not only in his physical condition but also his racing career. Scott Speed is the man to beat in Formula Renault, a single seater series run all over Europe in cars with approximately 200 horsepower. The Californian contests the German and the European series races and leads both interim point standings. In the European Cup last weekend, Speed showed his skills when visiting the world famous, demanding  Spa-Francorchamps track in the Belgian Ardennes, secured pole position and scored another impressive win by leading the whole race. All in all, the 20-year-old has eight victories and seven pole positions so far this season.
 
“His talent is enormous. Only if you have exceptional qualities you can go out there and beat guys who know all the circuits and the car better. Speed dominates the experience of his competitors by his talent and fast learning. And one must not forget the support he and the other Red Bull Juniors get from the training and medical program the company has set up for the guys”, says Timo Rumpfkeil, team manager for Speed’s German Motopark Oschersleben squad.
 
The most important and also critical person Speed has to convince is Dr. Helmut Marko, former Grand Prix driver, Le Mans winner and now the head of the Red Bull motorsports program worldwide. It seldom occurs Marko is satisfied, but he clearly is at the moment with Speed and his compatriot Colin Fleming, a winner of the second RBDS in 2003, who emerged recently as Speed’s top competitor in Formula Renault. “It is encouraging to see how the two make progress in every way”, Marko confirms, “and I see reason to be optimistic that both of them could step up into F1 by 2006, provided they will make constant progress further on.”
 
These words are good news for Speed who does not really lack self-confidence. “Last year I had my health problems, but I also struggled with my team in British Formula 3. This year, everything fits together perfectly, I can run a well-prepared car in a decent team and my personal shape is fine, too. Of course, as a racing driver you never can be perfect and have to learn all the time, but I realize it’s going on well.” F1 in 2006? “Why not? That’s why I came here, and that’s why Red Bull have chosen me.”
 
Contrary to most of the racing youngsters in the US, Speed never had tried to make it to one of the leading American series. “NASCAR is more a TV show than racing”, he explains, “Champ Cars are in a very difficult situation with many problems, and IRL is much too dangerous. I know there are very good drivers out there, but my goal has always been F1.”
 
And Speed really concentrates on his career. When he is not testing or racing, he is using the Red Bull “Factory” (which is in fact the training facility for all Red Bull supported sports people) just a few kilometers away from his new home outside Salzburg. “We have perfect conditions there for physical training, medical checks, mental support. We can be happy about this opportunity.” And if he is not spending time there, Speed is doing his own “theory lessons”: “I love to race all the tracks on my Play Station. And I watch racing videos, mainly from F1 of course!”   No doubt, Speed wants to speed into Formula One.
08/21/04
nascar
New Dodge Charger ugly New Dodge Charger uglyThe new 2005 Dodge was shown to teams this week, and the reaction was, well, a shock. It apparently is not a pretty car. One man described it like the ungainly station wagon that Chevy Chase drove cross-country in the movie National Lampoon's Vacation. Dodge men certainly won't be complaining about NASCAR's common templates. One reason for Chevrolet's domination of the Nextel Cup tour is the Monte Carlo nose, which actually gains downforce as the car goes through the corner, giving it a decided edge against Ford and Dodge. Winston Salem Journal
08/21/04
champcar
Neutered Champ Cars will make better racing Neutered Champ Cars will make better racingThis Las Vegas Sun article says, Even with an estimated pole speed of 205 mph for the 166-lap race, the 750-horsepower open-wheel cars will be running about 40 mph faster than the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks that will race prior to the Champ Car event. And they likely will be running three-wide around the 1.5-mile oval.

"It's a bit slower than what we were expecting," series points leader Sebastien Bourdais said of his fastest testing lap of 203.114 mph, which was second only to Newman/Haas Racing teammate Bruno Junqueira's 203.482, "but it's not a matter of how fast you go during qualifying, it's a matter of how good your car is in traffic."

Bourdais, who has won five of the nine races this season and owns one career superspeedway victory, said he was looking forward to the series' inaugural race at LVMS.

"The banking (12 degrees in the corners) has a pretty dramatic effect on how things are going," Bourdais said. "It's definitely the biggest banking we've been racing on -- at least for me -- and it's very different. It's pretty neat; it gives you quite an amount of grip and that's going to put on a great show for the race, that's for sure, because you're going to see like three guys wide and it's going to be exciting, for sure."

Patrick Carpentier, a five-year Las Vegas resident, agreed with Bourdais. Like Bourdais, Carpentier turned his first laps around Las Vegas Motor Speedway during Wednesday's test.

"This was my first time ever on the track -- and I've been here since '99," Carpentier said. "I like it a lot -- it's a really nice track. It's really smooth and it's actually well designed and there are three (racing) lines. We'll be able to race three-wide here."

08/21/04
alms
Scenes from Road America - Friday Scenes from Road America - Friday
82020042217296_Image1.jpg 66roam01.jpg 24roam01.jpg 10roam01.jpg Dumas.jpg
Miracle Pits.jpg PanozCourage.jpg Vette4.jpg 30 leads 11.jpg 38Audi.jpg
45 Porsche01.jpg Dayton01.jpg


Photos by Dan Davis/ALMS

08/20/04
starmazda
Matos fastest on Friday Matos fastest on FridayHot off his first pole position and podium finish of the season two weeks ago at Mosport International Raceway, Raphael Matos, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, set the fastest time of the day at Road America ahead of Round Eight of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear.  Matos, driving the Showtime/Samsung/Skip Barber Mazda prepared by IndyCar driver Richie Hearn's new team, lapped the 4.048-mile circuit in 2:05.050, edging out Michael McDowell in the Drive4USA/Sparco/Star Race Cars Mazda by twenty-nine hundredths of a second.  Setting the third fastest time of the day, before the single qualifying session on Saturday morning, was series points leader Daniel DiLeo, of Toronto, Canada, who posted a time of 2:05.535, edging out defending series champion Luis Schiavo, from Caracas, Venezuela, who set a time of 2:05.601.
08/20/04
champcar
Hunter-Reay confident for Vegas Hunter-Reay confident for VegasHerdez Competition’s Ryan Hunter-Reay broke the Champ Car records with his win on the series only other oval race earlier this season at the Milwaukee Mile. The Las Vegas 350 will be his second super speedway event; he finished ninth at the Euro Speedway in Germany during his rookie campaign in 2003. “It was fun to be back on a super speedway and I am looking forward to the event, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a fantastic facility and the city is a perfect fit for Champ Car. We had a successful test and found a good starting point for our return for the race. We were the quickest car without a draft most of the day and were turning times that were quicker than others were turning in the draft.” Hunter-Reay continued, “We worked on the handling of the car in traffic and I left feeling confident for the race.”
08/20/04
f1
Lap times to tumble at Spa Lap times to tumble at SpaThe Belgian Grand Prix was missing from the 2003 Formula 1 calendar after restrictive tobacco legislation ensured the annual event did not happen. This year, Spa Francorchamps makes a welcome return to the calendar.

In 2002, Michael Schumacher claimed Pole Position with a time of 1:43.726s. This compares to Nigel Mansell's Pole Position time of 1:50.545s a decade before. Heading to Belgium next weekend, many predict that the fastest laps will be below the psychological 100-second barrier for the first time.

"Spa is going to be very, very quick," Mark Webber said. "We haven’t been there for a while so I think we’re going to be six or seven seconds a lap faster than we were last time."

"It’s a sensational place to drive a Formula One car,” Webber continued. “There are many important sections to Spa. Obviously Eau Rouge is very important as you have a long run up the hill to Les Combes, but every single corner is important."

Michael Schumacher can clinch the Drivers' championship at the Belgian Grand Prix.  Jaguar

08/20/04
alms
Road America 500 weekend news Road America 500 weekend newsThe Road America 500 weekend continues Saturday with track action beginning at 8:00 a.m. with the STAR Mazda series qualifying session, followed by the American Le Mans Series practice session.  Also qualifying on Saturday will be the SPEED World Challenge GT and Touring classes.  The Tonka Super Truck Racing Series for Class 8, or semi-trailer cabs, will hold a demo session.  A special autograph session for ALMS drivers will run from 11:15 a.m. to 12:00 noon and SPEED World Challenge Touring and GT drivers runs from noon to 12:30 p.m.  Afternoon action includes practice and ALMS qualifying sessions, a STAR Mazda Series race, the SPEED World Challenge GT race and the regional Mid-American Stock Cars and Super Trucks practice session.  Tickets are available online, www.roadamerica.com, by phone, 1.800.365.7223 or at the gates.  Saturday tickets are $40 and Sunday tickets are $45, children 12 and under and parking are free.
08/20/04
champcar
Likes Portland track, but.... Likes Portland track, but....A read writes, I like the Portland track. It provides lots of close racing, some of the closest in Champ Car history and always provides lots of on track action.  I think that Champ Car needs to reevaluate the Portland race. It needs something to spice it up a little. Something to differentiate itself from other stops on the Champ Car calendar. Something that would be unique to this track and attract more fans.   I agree with Autoracing1.com  that Champ Cars must do standing starts at Portland in 2005!!!  It will make the event that much more significant from a fans point of view. I still think something else is needed, but standing starts will at least be a turning point for Champ Cars Future Success in Portland.  Rod, Orlando, FL.  Dear Rod,  Well before Push-To-Pass our campaign (see related article 1 and article 2) was for Champ Car to do standing starts at select venues to further differentiate itself drom the IRL.  It has been discussed many times within the walls of CART and now Champ Car.  The issue, or excuse as it may be, is that 1) there is a concern of delay of the race (2 hour time limit window) if a car stalls on the grid and there has to be a restart procedure, 2)a rear-end collision, and 3) Cosworth had a glitch in their standing start button that would see the turbo engine sometimes die if the driver got the revs wrong.  When we say standing start button we mean the button on the wheel that the driver uses to leave the pits each time.  You see, the driver does about 20 standing starts every 3-day weekend when leaving the pits throughout practice and the race, but to do one more for the start of the race is deemed undoable.  The procedure is this - the driver pushes a pre-programmed button on the steering wheel, gives the car full throttle (but the button keeps the revs at the proper elevated RPM well below redline, engages the clutch, the wheels spin (but not too much) and off they go.  A perfect standing start 20 times per weekend.  Unfortunately it is that 21st time for the fan enjoyment they can't find a way to make happen.  Perhaps when they switch to a normally aspirated V10 they won't have the engine stalling excuse anymore.  Notice the kids driving Formula BMW can do standing starts.  Perhaps they can give lessons to the Champ Car drivers. Mark C.
08/20/04
F1
Mobil1 confirms Alex Yoong for China F1 support race Mobil1 confirms Alex Yoong for China F1 support raceThis GP2004.com article says that series partner Mobil1 has confirmed former Formula 1 and current WPS V8 pilot Alex Yoong as its VIP driver in the Shanghai round of the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia supporting China's first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix on September 26.

The Malaysian driver took a convincing victory in the final round of last year's series at the Macau Grand Prix for Mobil1 as a guest driver, and will be a hot favourite to take the honours in Shanghai.

Said Geoffrey Hanley-Steemers, Advertising & Motorsport Advisor - Asia Pacific for ExxonMobil Asia Pacific: "Alex did a great job for us in winning Macau in 2003, and with this being an inaugural race in Shanghai, we were happy to have Mobil1 represented by Alex again. It's a great way for us to demonstrate our product and no better place than in a Porsche."

Yoong is also looking forward to racing in Shanghai and getting behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car again..

I enjoyed my first outing in the series last year, and it was great to race in Macau. I hope I can notch up another victory for Mobil1, especially as it will be the first Grand Prix in Shanghai. More . . .

08/20/04
champcar
Portland and Champ Car reach an agreement Portland and Champ Car reach an agreementUPDATE This AP article says, "It's not only a great event for the race fans and me, but it's great for the economic health of Portland," Francesconi said of the agreement, which is expected to be signed in two to three weeks. The deal includes some safety improvements to Portland International Raceway [Editor's Note: That's all the improvements they are making?] and eventual profit sharing if the Champ Car events prove successful..

"You don't let those emotions get in the way of a business," the racing head said. "In the rebuilding of Champ Car this year, Portland is a very important race for us."  Champ Car spent an estimated $3 million to stage the Portland Grand Prix this past June. The race's fate had been in jeopardy after CART declared bankruptcy and no title sponsor stepped forward.  Next year, Eidswick said that G.I. Joe's, the Wilsonville-based sporting goods chain, will be among the sponsors, though not the title sponsor. Champ Car plans to promote the June 19, 2005, race itself.

08/20/04 Today, officials from the Champ Car World Series and the City of Portland, along with community business leaders, announced a memorandum of understanding that will keep the Champ Cars at the Portland International Raceway road course for the next three seasons.  The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford has brought the premier open-wheel racing series in North America to the Pacific Northwest for the past 21 years, running every year since 1984 at PIR.

Champ Car President Dick Eidswick and Portland Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Jim Francesconi along with community business leaders held a meeting in Portland today, where they reached an agreement that would keep the Champ Car tradition alive at the 1.969-mile permanent road course. They then announced that agreement in a press conference held on the steps of Portland City Hall.

“It has always been our position that we wanted to continue racing in Portland,” said Eidswick. “The Portland market is very important to the series, our drivers enjoy the track and this past year’s race showed the potential that this event has. We believe that a strong partnership between Champ Car, city officials and community business leaders will help us build strong events in Portland for years to come.”

Many of the principals involved in the Portland event spoke at today’s conference, including Executive Director of the Oregon Sports Authority Drew Mahalik, President of the Portland, Oregon Visitors Association Joseph D’ Alessandro and Norm Daniels from longtime race sponsor G.I. Joe’s.

One of the longest-running events on the Champ Car calendar, Portland has long been a major draw for Champ Car, attracting over 125,000 fans for 10 consecutive years through the 2002 season. This year’s event provided fans with an exciting weekend of racing, topped by a victory for series points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).

08/20/04
irl
IRL TV Ratings continue to tank IRL TV Ratings continue to tankUPDATE The IRL got some welcome news today when their final TV Rating came out for the Kentucky race and it was a 0.8/2 share, up from the overnight of 0.7 and even with last year's 0.8/2 share final rating.   0.8 is still horrible for network TV, but it could have been worse.  In other IRL TV rating news, through three IRL races this year, ESPN is averaging a 0.6/ (519,083 HHs), up 20% from a 0.5/ (394,803 HHs) for two races in '03. IRL telecasts on ESPN2 are averaging a 0.2/ (157,538 HHs), a 33% decline from a 0.3/ (268,351) for one race last year through the same date. ESPN [Editor's Note: The IRL's TV ratings are horrible all around.  Interestingly their ESPN2 numbers are the same as Champ Car's on Spike TV] 08/17/04 The overnight TV rating on ABC for the IRL race in Kentucky this past weekend garnered a 0.7/2 share and the final rating is expected to drop from there. Last year's final was a 0.8.  For network TV these ratings are dismal and must have IRL officials, and team owners worried about future sponsorship.  We continue to feel sorry for Toyota and Honda who continue to pump tens of millions of dollars into the IRL only to see ratings continue to plummet, an indication the free ticket giveaways to fill grandstands are not translating into more TV viewers.....in fact less.
08/20/04
nascar
Rain washes out NASCAR quals at Michigan Rain washes out NASCAR quals at MichiganRain has canceled Bud Pole Qualifying for Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson will start on the pole as a result of being in first place in points. Lineup
08/20/04
NASCAR
Tom Baldwin Sr. killed at Thompson Speedway Tom Baldwin Sr. killed at Thompson SpeedwayTom Baldwin, Sr., father of NASCAR Nextel Cup crew chief Tommy Baldwin, passed away Thursday night shortly after a racing accident at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. The modified race that Baldwin was running in was red flagged only ten laps after the start. Witnesses say he hit viciously in turn three of the racetrack, and had to be cut from his car. His passing was announced at UMass Hospital in Worchester a short time after the accident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Baldwin family.
08/20/04
irl
IRL engines lose power at high altitude IRL engines lose power at high altitudeThe naturally aspirated engines used in the IRL IndyCar Series depend on atmospheric pressure - the force produced by the weight of the Earth's atmosphere - to fill their cylinders with fuel and air. Standard atmospheric pressure is 14.7 pounds per square inch (psi) at sea level, but at PPIR the pressure is typically around 12.2 psi. This "rare air" reduces engine output significantly.      "This weekend's race is the first time that we will run the 3.0-liter version of the Chevy Indy V-8 at a high-altitude track," said Joe Negri, GM Racing IRL program manager. "Pikes Peak International Raceway is a unique facility, and we'll go there with an engine combination that we use only once a year.      "Any naturally aspirated engine loses power in proportion to the reduction in atmospheric pressure," Negri explained. "The lower air density at high altitude reduces the oxygen that is available for combustion and therefore decreases horsepower. Reliability is typically very good at PPIR because the engines are operating well below their maximum output.      "Even though we will experience a significant reduction in power at altitude, the cars still run exceptionally fast at PPIR because there is less aerodynamic drag. And since the engines don't make as much power, we expect fuel economy to be higher than at equivalent 1-mile tracks. That could have an impact on the teams' race strategies." 

"The air density at Pikes Peak International Raceway is about 80 percent of normal, so the IRL race cars lose about 20 percent of their downforce compared to sea-level conditions," said Kevin Bayless, GM Racing's aerodynamics and chassis specialist. "Although the IndyCar Series introduced a new aero package, the setups won't be radically different from previous years. The 10-degree banking at Pikes Peak helps to counteract the loss of aerodynamic downforce, and the fast drivers will probably be able to run flat out in qualifying. For the race, however, the teams would normally add a couple hundred pounds of downforce. That becomes difficult at PPIR because the changes you would make at a sea-level track aren't as effective because of the thinner air.      "Along with less horsepower and less downforce, there is also less cooling efficiency," Bayless noted. "That's because there is approximately 20 percent less air flowing through the coolers to dissipate heat. The openings in the sidepods that supply air to the radiator must be opened up in order to achieve adequate cooling capacity." Chevy PR

08/20/04
champcar
Hunter-Reay looking to rebound in Montreal Hunter-Reay looking to rebound in MontrealRyan Hunter-Reay will be looking to rebound in Montreal when the Champ Car World Series heads back to Canada next weekend   Hunter-Reay will be looking to collect his first podium finish since winning in Milwaukee back in June.   "Montreal is a fantastic track with a great combination of fast straights and tight chicanes.,” he said. “I have watched the Formula One cars there and my ambition is to race there in a Grand Prix. The fans are always enthusiastic and it is great hearing them cheer you on.   It is a good track for overtaking and I have every confidence that we will have a good race there. We have gained some valuable information from our testing during the season, which should help us at this type of track. I am certainly looking forward to the weekend.”
08/20/04
f1
Pizzonia confirmed for Spa Pizzonia confirmed for SpaWilliams-BMW substitute driver Antonio Pizzonia has been officially confirmed as stand-in for the injured Ralf Schumacher at next weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.  Pizzonia was only officially listed as the driver of the #4 car today.   "I have raced [there] four times in different formulae, including Formula Renault, F3 and F3000," he said, "and the best was definitely in 2000, when I became British F3 champion, having finished the race in second place. Spa is a very special place, so I can't wait to drive a Formula One car around it."  "I don't think Eau Rouge is as challenging as it used to be, because Formula One cars have so changed much," he explained, "We have such a huge amount of downforce now, and the tyres have improved so much, that I think everyone pretty much goes flat out around it."
08/20/04
A1 Grand Prix
Sky Sports to telecast A1 Grand Prix Sky Sports to telecast A1 Grand PrixSky Sports will become the UK’s first broadcaster to screen live coverage of the brand new A1 Grand Prix motor racing series, starting in autumn 2005.    Full coverage from each round of the international FIA sanctioned series, which pits identical single-seater cars against each other, will be broadcast exclusively live, with practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself.  Announcing the deal, Sky Sports managing director Vic Wakeling said: “We have been sold on the concept of a genuine test of driving skills which, of course, A1 Grand Prix is designed to provide - and we are delighted to be involved from the beginning.”   “It has the added attraction of providing us with more international sport - all live - throughout the winter months. With five dedicated sports channels on our unique digital service, we are in the business of supporting new ventures of this type.”
08/20/04
champcar
Vegas test observation Vegas test observationA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com,  It was awesome!!  I was there for the Vegas test.   It was something else! The heat and the smell from the methanol when they flew by in a pack of 6 cars was spectacular. The ground shook, your hair stood up on the back of your neck and you didn't know if you should get up and run or sit back and take it in and let it run over you like a hot Vegas summer breeze. And the SOUND...Man the SOUND!!! We had some jets tak'in off from Nellis Air Force Base and the Champ Cars made it seem like they were runn'in right down the front stretch! It was absolutely fantabulous!!   

Bruno was running a weird line the whole night. The only one huggi'n the inside and not letting the car glide up coming out of four. Sebastian tried his line a few times but went back to the usual line after awhile. Paul was the biggest dissapointment. Didn't do many laps and he was gone. Michel was very cool. Took the time out to wave to the fans before he got into his car. 


Nelson is going to be a big problem. The flagman was having a field day with the blue flag with him. I don't know if he ever got it out of fifth gear. He's going to be very dangerous out there if he can't pick up at least a second, preferably more. The thrill of the night was watching Seabass and Bruno going lap after lap side by side then nose to tail, literally inches apart. Then passing each other coming off of two and going into three. They did this for countless numbers of laps. It was great to watch.

The Herdez duo got out there and did the same but not nearly to the extent that the N/H boys did. I don't care what you say...this is going to be the place to BE come September 25th. There is nothing in the world that can compare to a turbocharged Champ Car screaming by you over 200mph for over 160 laps. Well maybe...18 Champ Cars screaming by you. Vegas will be rumbl'in that night my friend. I'll bet you every NASCAR Truck driver will be there to watch this awesome display of power. And don't forget the SOUND!!!!  Sincerely, James M. Shaw

08/20/04
champcar
irl
Posey predicts Champ Car’s demise Posey predicts Champ Car’s demiseA reader writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, On Wind Tunnel Thursday night, Sam Posey was asked about the status of Open Wheel racing in America. He said that he hopes he is wrong, but when Tony George got Penske and Andretti over to his side he won the war.   Now that Tony is going road racing, the IRL is now going to take over that territory too. He doesn't think Champ Car will survive in any form, US or international.  Is he right? Harvey Moskowitz, Queens, NY  Dear Harvey, If Champ Car doesn't redefine itself as a superior road and street product he could be right.  Currently both the Champ Car and Indy Car are the same dimensions and weigh the same.  As the IRL improves the performance of their car for those types of circuits over the years their performance will be on par with a Champ Car.  As we have said, if Champ Car retains the existing heavy car and goes to a normally aspirated V8 engine they may as well paint a target on their back with the letters "Shoot me I'm stupid, I want to die."   Their car will forever be the same as an Indy Car, mistaken as an Indy Car, and play right into Tony George's hands who can then go to any promoter and offer his version of an Indy Car race at a better price.  Champ Car almost adopted the IRL engine a few years ago, which Roger Penske suggested they do.  That would have played right into Tony George's hands at the time, i.e. same engine, essentially the same product, therefore redundant and not needed.   Champ Car would be dead by now.  This subject is at the core of Champ Car's survival.  If they get it wrong, it's lights out.  Remember, you read it here first.  Mark C.
08/20/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Villeneuve visits Sauber factory
'Williams is behind Terzi' - Sam Michael
Renault's making me go slow - Trulli
Renault's Smith to Jordan, Toyota
Red Bull will not buy Jaguar - report

BAR unhappy with Sato treatment
New rules may help Ferrari - Brawn
Dutchman cancels Jordan test
Hungary wins grand prix to 2011
'B spec' Toyota is 'pretty good' - Panis

F1 carmakers 'seek legal advice' - report
Let us run '04 car next year - Minardi's Stoddart
CRB will settle Button saga - bosses  
08/20/04
F1
Jordan happy with Chinese - but who cares? Jordan happy with Chinese - but who cares?The Jordan team yesterday announced a small sponsorship deal with the Shoulu-Huayuan Company, China's biggest property development company, which is promoting its latest upscale project, Beijing Chateau.

"Jordan appeals to Chinese business and fans, in part because the colour yellow symbolises prestigious values in Chinese culture," said Eddie Jordan, "but also because we are an open, friendly team that is accessible to everyday people."

The Chinese are keen to use the forthcoming Grand Prix to show the world a new open and friendly face but unfortunately some of the bureaucracy in Beijing is having trouble understanding this concept because attempts by international journalists, photographers and TV crews to get the necessary media visas are being blocked, despite the fact that the race organizers have arranged a special deal with the Shanghai Foreign Office.

The authorities in Beijing are currently saying that media visas cannot be granted until a week before the event. The F1 media, worried that they will not be granted visas, are wary of confirming travel arrangements to report the event and unless action is taken quickly they will run out of time because of the pressure that exists for flights and hotel rooms.

The Chinese are running the risk that their new showcase event may not get much international coverage, particularly now that Michael Schumacher is close to securing the World Championship. Once that has been settled the interest in F1 drops off each year and with additional barriers in the way of journalists it will be hard to create much enthusiasm to struggle through what is not a very friendly nor open process. In the press room in Hungary there was much talk about people not bothering to go to China. GrandPrix.com
08/19/04
champcar
The fast-rising star of Champ Car racing is a son of Le Mans The fast-rising star of Champ Car racing is a son of Le MansA year ago, he became the first rookie since Nigel Mansell to capture pole position in his first two starts in the Champ Car World Series before going on to claim three more poles, win three races and finish fourth in final points.

This year, he has won five of the nine races so far, and is coming off a Sunday drive through the streets of downtown Denver during which he passed everything that moved, with the possible exception of John Elway and Pete Coors.

So you didn't have to be Dr. Carl Sagan to discover that of the 15 drivers who were on hand for Wednesday's Champ Car open test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the brightest star belongs to 25-year-old Sebastien Bourdais of Le Mans, France, the world's most famous 24-hour city next to ours.

Given his birthplace, it was probably preordained that Bourdais was going to grow up fast. But that he has done it so quickly has impressed almost everybody that hangs out in the fast lane, even those alongside him on the starting grid.

Until Wednesday, the last time a race car driver complimented a rival might have been when Stirling Moss thanked Juan Manuel Fangio for a lift back to his hotel in 1956. But you can add Las Vegan Patrick Carpentier to Bourdais' growing list of fans, and it's not just because they both parlez vous Francais. More...
08/19/04
skipbarber
NHRA
Funny Car driver to run Skip Barber race Funny Car driver to run Skip Barber raceUPDATE Ron Capps, Gary Scelzi, and Tommy Johnson Jr. all did some lapping at the Derek Daly Academy in Las Vegas last year before the  spring NHRA race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Rumor has it that Gary never fails to spin at least once.  08/19/04 NHRA POWERade Funny Car driver Ron Capps has entered the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Race Series event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, set for August 27-29. Other than making steering corrections to keep his green Skoal Racing Monte Carlo straight at 300 mph down the quarter-mile, Capps has never deliberately turned left and right in a race car. Okay, that's not totally true; Capps actually has a few days of seat time in open-wheel road racing machines with Bob Bondurant and Jim Russell, but this will be his first ever race. Capps has had the seat in Don The Snake Prudhomme's U.S. Tobacco Co. Skoal Racing Chevy Monte Carlo since 1997. He has 14 career victories, 15 runner-up finishes, and three victories in the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout at Indianapolis. Capps, 38, a software engineering graduate from Santa Clara University, had worked his way into crew chief positions on several Top Alcohol dragster teams before getting his first driving opportunity in 1994. His performance caught the eye of Top Fuel owner Roger Primm, who hired Capps to drive part-time during the 1995 and ’96 NHRA seasons. Capps, who won his first NHRA title in Top Fuel in 1995 at Seattle, is one of 14 NHRA drivers to have earned victories in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, NHRA drag racing’s two premier classes. Prudhomme and Capps’ teammate Tommy Johnson, Jr., also are members of the prestigious club.
08/19/04
MotoGP
MotoGP renews with Mazda Raceway MotoGP renews with Mazda RacewayThe Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) and Dorna Sports, the Spanish-based company that holds the commercial and TV rights to the FIM MotoGP World Championships, have reached an agreement in principle to bring MotoGP, the pinnacle of international motorcycle racing, to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca beginning in 2005 for a five-year run.  Following the initial agreement, Dorna will include the U.S. Grand Prix in the 2005 MotoGP pre-calendar to be presented to the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) for its approval.  "The support from fans and sponsors has been of great encouragement in this decision," said Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca General Manager Gill Campbell. "Corporate sponsorships are vital for the track improvements that will need to be made to satisfy FIM regulations.  "We feel that we have a great product with a tremendous amount of potential. We continue to produce world class events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and that's what we're all about."  "Dorna has always been looking into the possibility of coming back with MotoGP to the USA," added Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO Managing Director, Dorna Sports. "Now, thanks to the great cooperation among all the parties concerned and to the modifications being made at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, we are very happy that we have found the ideal opportunity to do so. The United States is an interesting market for MotoGP and certainly all the partners, manufacturers and sponsors involved will be very positive about returning there."
08/19/04
champcar
Champ Cars have been neutered Champ Cars have been neuteredUPDATE The latest Las Vegas Sun article agrees with our assessment, the aero package went too far.   "It's far too easy the way it is," Tracy said of the aero package he and 14 other drivers tested Wednesday at LVMS. "You could take, really, anybody out there and go flat out. Hopefully, they'll come up with some type of a compromise.  "I would like to see us run in the 215 to 220 range."  Bruno Junqueira posted the fastest lap of the seven-hour test session at 203.482 mph.  Tracy, a 14-year veteran of the open-wheel series, said he believes that Champ Car officials are too concerned with trying to match the rival Indy Racing League's close, side-by-side racing.  "If they wanted to achieve having an IRL race, then why not just join up with them?" Tracy said after running a top speed of 202.073 mph during Wednesday's test. "We have the package that we have and we should show what our package can do ... show what they're capable of -- not dumb them down and be like the IRL.  "I don't understand that mentality; if you're trying to separate yourself from the IRL and be something different, then why try to copy it?"  Tracy said he would liked to have seen series officials come out with an aero package for Las Vegas that was similar to what was used in 2002 -- when the series was known as CART -- at the 1.5-mile Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, England. Kenny Brack won the pole for that race with a qualifying speed of 213.763 mph.  "We ran a package in England the year before last ... and it was a mile-and-a-half track and we were averaging like 217 -- that's what I feel the right package is," he said. "We've got the (rear) wing stood up right now like you'd run on a road course.  "'I've been driving these cars a long time and I want to feel the car on the edge and I want to have to get the car to work. You don't want to feel like a robot in a car; I want to be able to feel things, feel what it's supposed to do and we're pretty much a long ways off that."  08/19/04 The record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is 226.491 MPH set by Arie Luyendyk in 1996 when the IRL was using year old Champ Cars with Cosworth Turbos.  Now some 8 years later, Champ Cars have been neutered.  Last night's top speed in testing for the upcoming Champ Car race in Vegas was an unexciting 203.482 MPH, a whopping 23 MPH slower than what they were in 1996, and probably 35 MPH slower than what a 2001 generation Champ Car could muster. 

Prior to the test, Champ Car's technical direcotor Lee Dykstra told the Las Vegas Sun, "We could make it so the cars would be (full throttle) all the way around the track,  but that is not a situation we want our guys to be in; we want to set it up so they have to drive the car and use their skills.  "By taking out some of the downforce, we will give them cars that are challenging to drive while still being very competitive." 

With the drivers saying they were 100% throttle last night, it looks like it's back to the drawing boards for Dykstra and company because he said he didn't want the cars full throttle and they were.   “I ran flat out all the way around all night, and the car felt really good.” Junqueira said. “This is going to be an incredible race. There is no way that anyone is going to break away. It’s going to be like Daytona or Talladega, except there won’t be 40 cars and we can’t bump.”   “There are probably three lines around this track but the bottom is definitely the fast way around,” said series points leader Bourdais, who was second-quickest on the day. “You can come up on other guys and the car pretty much reacts the same way in traffic as it does on its own. It should make for an exciting race.”

It remains to be seen if Champ Car will go back and take a bit of the drag and downforce out of the wings as it appears they may have gone a bit too far based on their original statement, but that was what the test was supposed to determine, whether the wing as designed was the right one  We would have expected lap speeds to be more in the 210-215 MPH range.  For sure the driver's are comfortable having their cars glued to the track IRL-style, but as Dykstra stated, "we want our guys to set it up so they have to drive the car and use their skills." Mark C.

08/19/04
grandam
renault2000
Grand-Am expresses support for Formula Renault series Grand-Am expresses support for Formula Renault seriesGrand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson took time during the EMCO Gears Road Racing Classic at Mid-Ohio recently to meet with the drivers and teams in the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship to express his support for the young series and to discuss Grand American’s interest in working with the series in the future.
 
Edmondson formed the Championship Cup Series in 1984, which has grown today into the largest motorcycle road racing organization in the United States. From 1986 to 1994, he also operated the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) professional road-racing program and served as a member of the FIM Road Racing Commission, which governed the World Championship SuperBike and Grand Prix Series.
 
Edmondson made the move from motorcycles to race cars when he was selected to lead the Grand American organization at its inception in 1999 and has seen the series enjoy explosive growth in all of its classes, so he knows what it takes to create a successful series.
 
“We believe there is a place for a program like this in the Grand-Am family,” Edmondson said. “When we first began talking with John (Kolody-President of RaceTeam Promotions), it was clear that he had the right business instincts, and that he was totally committed to the success of the series.”
 
Both parties have benefited from the partnership, as the Formula Renault drivers have had the opportunity to race at the Grand-Am events, while the inclusion of the Formula Renault series brings an open-wheel program to the race weekends for Grand-Am fans. There has also been some opportunity for drivers to participate in both, as Mt. Tremblant Formula Renault race winner Mark Wilkins showed when he scored a podium finish in his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut in February.
 
“I believe that there is a bright future here with Formula Renault, and Grand American is excited to be involved,” said Edmondson.

The Formula Renault V6 Championship is the top rung on the North American Formula Renault Championship ladder, which also includes the North American Formula Renault 1600 Championship and the North American Formula Renault 2000 Championship. The Formula Renault V6 is expected to make its North American competition debut in the latter stages of the 2004 North American Formula Renault 2000 season.

08/19/04
champcar
Charities turn in strong showing in Denver Charities turn in strong showing in DenverChamp Car driver Sebastien Bourdais won the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver, but when it comes down to it, the big winners Sunday were a handful of local charities and a few out-of-town nonprofits. Although the total isn't available, the Grand Prix of Denver Foundation surely exceeded its fund-raising expectations this year through its annual Celebrity Mini Grand Prix of Denver and a new moneymaker: admission fees paid by daring drivers who took 10 laps around the mini track during the week leading up to the 2004 Grand Prix. Beneficiaries include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Denver, the Auraria Foundation Scholarship Fund, the Alvin Caldwell Youth Essay Contest, the M.L. "Sam" Sandos Christmas Basket Program, the Cross Community Coalition of Swansea, the Larimer Arts Association, the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure, and the Hole in the Wall Gang camps for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, founded by legendary actor Paul Newman. More at Rocky Mountain News
08/19/04
nascar
Atlanta gets SAFER Barrier Atlanta gets SAFER BarrierThe installation of the new Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier walls at Atlanta Motor Speedway is expected to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 7, in time for testing for the speedway’s fall race weekend, the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.  The project, which is being headed by SMI’s contruction manager, Randy Wray, will be completed at night to accommodate the daytime track activities already scheduled. Working with the same crew that has already installed the SAFER walls at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Wray estimated that the project would take 2½ to 3 weeks to complete.  “Atlanta’s going to be largest project we’ve done, as far as linear footage goes – it’s about 1000 feet more than any other track,” said Wray. “That’s based on the radius of the turns, which is a little bigger at Atlanta and requires a little more wall.”  Atlanta Motor Speedway will install approximately 7,450 linear feet of the SAFER barrier, which will cover approximately 75 percent of the speedway’s outer walls. The SAFER barrier system will be placed outside of all four turns, as well as inside turn 2.  The SAFER barrier system is made up of steel tubes and pads of hard foam, which are affixed to a speedway’s concrete walls to absorb some of the energy that is transferred during a crash. Wray said the wall has already been completely fabricated, and it is being galvanized. It will start arriving at the track either later this week or early next week in about 25 truckloads.
08/19/04
f1
Hungarian GP renews until 2011 Hungarian GP renews until 2011Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy announced yesterday that the Hungarian Grand Prix will stay on the Formula One World Championship calendar until 2011.  Bernie Ecclestone and Peter Medgyessy agreed to renew their existing contract through 2011.
08/19/04
nascar
Yelm up in arms over NASCAR track Yelm up in arms over NASCAR trackThis Olympian.com article says, Yelm continues to be roiled by a private proposal to build a 75,000-seat stock car racetrack within city limits.  Two separate groups canvass neighborhoods each weekend to gather signatures and survey results to derail the project.
Some residents have discussed recalling Mayor Adam Rivas, who denies accusations he's using the power of his office to help the proposal along. And the City Council, which has received a deluge of letters and e-mails both reasoned and nasty, attempted last week to set the record straight on why it's remaining silent on the issue.   "I think it will take care of itself," Councilman Joe Baker said of the proposal. "I don't think it's changed anything on the City Council in how we handle things."

International Speedway Corp., the nation's largest speedway operator, is seeking a location in the Northwest for a track, which would host National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing events. Supporters formally have submitted proposals to lure the track to Yelm and to Kitsap and Snohomish counties. A track could channel up to $121 million into the Puget Sound region annually.

Many residents have been vocal in their opposition to the proposal, saying it will clog streets and disrupt their way of life with increased noise and development.   About 1,000 residents turned out for a presentation organized by critics earlier this month to learn more about the potential effects of a track.   Now, the two opposition groups are canvassing to show supporters and ISC that the community doesn't want a track.   "ISC has said they wouldn't go where they're not wanted," said Bill Nicholls, who's assisting the survey collection. "We're going to take them at their word."  More....

08/19/04
nascar
Dale Jr. goes Busch racing at Bristol Dale Jr. goes Busch racing at BristolDale Earnhardt, Jr. will compete in the NASCAR Busch Series Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night, August 27. The two-time NASCAR Busch Series Champion will be driving the Dale Earnhardt Incorporated No. 81 Menards/Save Big Money Chevrolet.

This will be the two-time Busch Series Champions (1998, ‘99) fourth event in 2004, after winning the season opener in Daytona Beach and finishing second to the team he co-owns at Talladega Superspeedway. Earnhardt Jr. has kept his Busch Series experience to superspeedways over the past four years, but wanted to mix it up a bit.

“I’ve been competing in a few races every year primarily on the superspeedways, but thought Bristol would be a good track to race with my teammates,” Dale Jr. said. “I enjoy racing in the Busch Series and haven’t won at Bristol, so this should be a fun weekend.”  

In five career Busch starts at Bristol, Earnhardt drove to runner-up finishes in the 1998 and 1999 spring events, and was third in the 1999 summer night race. He has one pole and an average finish of 8.8 at the .533 mile, high banked oval.

08/19/04
Industry News
Broadband users now outnumber dialup Broadband users now outnumber dialup[Editor's Note:  For all our readers who still use dialup modems - get with the program - broadband is the way.] Nielsen//NetRatings reported yesterday that 51% of the U.S. population using the Internet, 63 million, used high-speed DSL, cable or ISDN connection last month, while 61.3 million, or 49%, used modems no faster than a 56K dial-up system. The figures represent the first time broadband users outnumber their narrowband counterparts HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
08/19/04
f1
Trulli accuses Renault Trulli accuses RenaultJarno Trulli believes Renault is giving preferential treatment to Fernando Alonso.  The Italian had the measure of teammate Alonso at the beginning of the season – but the Spaniard has held the upper hand ever since it became clear Trulli would be leaving at the end of the year.  Trulli told this week’s Autosport magazine: “Everybody was looking and waiting for Fernando to catch up until the time I started discussing my contract. And then the performance of the car began to drop off.  “It was very strange. The performance was not coming, despite maximum effort from me.”  Trulli believes has suggested that Renault are trying to justify they were right to let him go.  He said: “It will be difficult from now until the end of the season.   When you are not staying to drive for a team then they probably want to prove that their choice was well made – and so probably they can do anything.   This is a feeling I have. The facts will never come out.”  But Renault engineering boss Pat Symonds angrily refuted Trulli’s claims.  He said: “I categorically deny that. My interest is in finishing second in the constructors’ series.”
08/19/04
nascar
NASCAR announces new appointments NASCAR announces new appointmentsLongtime series crew chief Robin Pemberton has been made a Vice President for NASCAR.  Gary Nelson has been named  Vice President of Research and Development while Steve O'Donnell will be Managing Director of Events and Operations.
08/19/04
champcar
Servia likes direction of Champ Car and Coyne Servia likes direction of Champ Car and CoyneIn this Champ Car article, Oriol Servia believes Coyne’s team has been inspired by his recent competitive form and results. “There are a lot of things to improve and the good thing is I think the whole team sees the possibility of doing better. After all these years of being at the back of the grid they all want to put the extra ten percent of their time and effort into it, and that makes a difference.

“In other teams with bigger budgets they may have very good people, but most of the time they just do their job. On our team I think we have a little extra motivation now that they see the chance to be up there. In racing, chemistry is everything, and we have that on our side right now. It’s definitely a strong point for us.”

He was reluctant to take a seat with Coyne’s small team. “For many reasons, I didn’t really want to consider this option, but it’s turned out to be quite decent. We’re proving some people wrong about myself and the team.” Servia was worried about getting a bad rap against him like happened to Gualter Salles who drove for Coyne on three different occasions. “Gualter is a good driver and look what happened to him,” Oriol remarks. “But it’s been better this year. Dale’s been putting the parts on the car he needs. My engineer Dave Watson and I are constantly pushing Dale to spend more money to increase the performance of the car and he’s listening to us more and more.”

Servia knows there’s a huge gap in the resources of Coyne’s team versus Newman/Haas, but that doesn’t deter him from trying to race with Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira.

“I look at Newman/Haas and the millions they spend on their cars. They are lightweight and have all their weight low in the car, and they have a shock program and a wind tunnel program. I know all that, but when I’m there on the weekend chasing them, I think, why can’t I go as fast? When I see them starting to pull away in the races I want to know why. I understand the money they spend and the engineering they have, but when I’m on the racetrack I want to follow them, or pass them.”

Servia was among the many drivers who were pleased to see the new pit rules adopted last weekend. “It is a lot more fair, especially after Elkhart Lake. It’s more fair and it makes the spectators and the people watching on TV know who is leading and what’s going on in the race.”

He was also impressed by the big crowd and vigorous promotion he saw in Denver. “We have some very good races this year with very good crowds at Long Beach, in Mexico and the Canadian races, and Denver was great. It was a much bigger event than in years past. When we arrived in town there was already a lot of things going on and you could feel in the air that there was a big event going on in Denver.

“And that’s the magic of our series. The people are definitely behind us. We have a lot of fans and I think the whole series is going in the right direction. I definitely feel that they cannot go wrong. It’s just a feeling inside that it’s the right thing and you can feel it inside the paddock. The people who are here are here for the right reasons.”

08/19/04
nascar
NASCAR mandates gear ratios NASCAR mandates gear ratios[Editor's Note:  With common body templates, mandated gear ratios and an otherwise very restrictive set of rules, NASCAR is nothing more than an IROC series now, but who can argue with their success.  This goes to prove that the fans don't seem to care if the cars are "spec" because it's the drivers, their heroes, that matter most.]  In an effort to contain team costs and further enhance competition, NASCAR will implement a gear rule for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series beginning with the 2005 season, NASCAR officials announced today.  "We conferred with our team owners at length on this issue and the decision was brought about by a combination of our initial ideas and their input. In the end, we had to put individual agendas aside and formulate a rule that was in the best interest of the industry," NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France said. "RPMs have been on a continual rise since the 1970s and the associated costs to gain an edge in that area have escalated substantially during that time as well. We have also noticed a substantial decrease in the number of engine builders over the past several seasons and this new rule should help reverse that trend."  The new rule for NASCAR's three national series will restrict teams to NASCAR-determined gear ratios at each event that will limit the maximum RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) that all engines will be able to produce in competition. The move is expected to reduce team costs associated with engine research and development to gain additional RPM. It also is expected to enhance the competitive balance with all makes in each series. The rule will be in effect at every track in all three national series with the exception of the two restrictor-plate tracks, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, where limits already exist due to the carburetor plates.  NASCAR will regulate the new rule by inspecting the number of teeth on the pinion and number of teeth on the ring gear during its race weekend inspection process. NASCAR also will equip each vehicle with a data logger, which measures the RPMs during all on-track activity, which will be located near the ignition system. NASCAR PR
08/19/04
nascar
NASCAR reduces rear spoilers NASCAR reduces rear spoilersNASCAR announced that it will reduce the rear spoilers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series by an inch at all non-restrictor plate tracks beginning with the 2005 season. NASCAR, which decreased the spoilers by three-quarters of an inch entering this season, will require spoilers in 2005 to be 4½ inches in height. The reduction in the spoiler height is expected to further reduce aero-push while enhancing the competitive aspect in terms of racing and passing ability. It is a continuation of a multi-year plan that began in 2002 to return more driveability to the cars through their aerodynamics, engines and tires. NASCAR PR
08/19/04
f1
Albers postpones F1 test Albers postpones F1 testDTM driver Christijan Albers has decided he will not take part in the test session with the Jordan F1 team on September 15th to focus completely on the DTM-Championship where he is currently second. The test has been postponed until December and will now take place at Jerez.   "I talked it over with Michel Perridon (CEO of his sponsor Trust) and the Jordan team and we decided to postpone the test," Albers said. "I am really happy with my test session at Jordan and appreciate it that they are willing to be so flexible. After the DTM-Championship I will prepare myself well for this test and I want to show the team I belong in Formula One. Formula One is my ultimate goal in my race career and I hope to become a Formula One driver one day at a strong team. I would like to thank Trust for their support and Jordan for the chance they are offering me."
08/19/04
champcar
’Champ Car’ doesn’t connect with humans ’Champ Car’ doesn’t connect with humansA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, In support of your call to rename Champ Car to XYZ Grand Prix Series, when I was in Denver in May, I asked the taxi driver - or maybe the concierge at the hotel - where they held the Champ Car race. They gave me a bit of an odd look. I explained a little more, and then instantly caught on. "Oh," they said. "The Grand Prix." And proceeded to tell me where it was. The name works. It is different from Indy Cars. Perhaps the only problem is I doubt if it is possible to trademark the term Grand Prix at this late stage, given its ubiquitous usage for nearly every type of racing sans NASCAR. Still, OWRS could return the "Indy" name from its Canadian and Australian events in exchange for them not using the term Grand Prix anywhere. James Allen  Dear James, We said long ago that the term Champ Car is a non-starter in our book. The series needs to be renamed XYZ Grand Prix Series where XYZ could be a sponsor's name (if they agree to a 10 year minimum deal). If not a sponsor's name, we have some excellent names in mind. Champ Car is not a name that connects with 99.999999% of the world's population. Never has, never will.  Mark C.
08/19/04
champcar
Allmendinger finds move to Champ Car difficult Allmendinger finds move to Champ Car difficultThis Slam Sports article says that from BMX bikes to karts to the Toyota Atlantic series, racing has always been easy for A.J. Allmendinger. Not this year. With faster cars, stiffer competition and a seemingless endless learning curve, Allmendinger has found the move to Champ Cars far more difficult than he imagined. "It's been very difficult. Very rewarding at times, other times very stressful, very painful," Allmendinger said. "But I'm having a great time and each weekend we seem to get a little bit closer to the top.  "It's been exciting for me and it's like a dream come true. There's no place I'd rather be."  But if this is struggling, imagine what Allmendinger will do when he feels comfortable.  After winning the Toyota Atlantic series title last year, Allmendinger has five top 10 finishes in nine Champ races, including a fifth at last weekend's Grand Prix of Denver. He's first in rookie points, 13 ahead of former Formula One driver Justin Wilson, and eighth overall.  And Allmendinger is doing it with a rookie team, putting him in line to become the first Champ Car driver in the modern era (since 1979) to win the rookie points title with a first-year team.  "He has an enormous amount of natural ability," RuSPORT owner Carl Russo said. "And the last piece, which is what differentiates the good ones from the great ones, is he's got a great talent but he doesn't take it for granted."  It's that kind of work ethic that helped Allmendinger reach the Champ Car series ahead of schedule. More...
08/19/04
f1
champcar
Pay drivers make F1 'ridiculous' - Webber Pay drivers make F1 'ridiculous' - WebberIt's 'absolutely ridiculous' that pay drivers with less than world-class credentials dominate the second half of the F1 grid, Mark Webber said Thursday.    The Australian, snapped-up by Williams for season '05, reckons many talented drivers are not getting the opportunity to climb the ranks to grands prix.   ''Of course, it's been like this for ever,'' said the Jaguar driver, ''but it's worse now than ever. There are more politics now because of the situation.''   Asked what the 'situation' is, Mark said F1 teams - in particular stragglers like Minardi and Jordan - are desperate for cash and drivers are a source of it.   Even Webber's Jaguar teammate Christian Klien brings a few million.   ''As F1,'' Mark continued, ''we should still be showcasing the very best drivers in the world. In some cases there are guys who might not justify that.''  [Editor's Note: Ironically we crticized Champ Car on this very topic in this recent article - The 'Major Leagues' of racing are no place for ride-buyers.]
08/19/04
champcar
Construction begins on Surfers circuit Construction begins on Surfers circuitThe construction of one of the finest motor racing street circuits in the world takes only 96 days, and it happens right here on the bustling Gold Coast.  Today marks the start of construction of the Lexmark Indy 300 circuit, as the countdown continues towards the October 21 to 24 Event.  Over the next 66 days, bridges will be erected, concrete barriers installed, grandstands built, corporate suites furnished, fencing secured, many more temporary structures fitted, and large-scale power and telecommunications systems activated.  All pieces of the puzzle will be complete by October 21 for the four days of the Lexmark Indy 300, and then dismantled over 26 days in one of the largest human resource undertakings in Australia each year.  The construction of the Lexmark Indy 300 circuit has been streamlined to 96 days, a massive reduction from the 199 days it took in 1996 – a remarkable achievement considering the inventory infrastructure is three times more than 1991 and construction work is restricted to certain hours of the day by local authorities. More......
08/19/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Minardi seats 'up for grabs'
Bridgestone can improve 'one lap' pace
Switch won't slow Fisi down - Sauber
Sato detained at Sao Paulo airport
Honda 'did everything' to secure Button
Jordan to get Chinese cash boost
Only 'pride' thwarts BAR return - Villeneuve
Minardi are 'lovable losers' - Stoddart
Spa is 'best track' in Formula One 
Pay drivers make F1 'ridiculous' - Webber
Tire war 'a problem' for small teams - Sauber
Lyons in with F1 shout - source
F1 in '06?  'Why not?' - Scott Speed
Spa will be 'very, very quick' - Webber
Ferrari should have signed Webber
08/19/04
irl
Sharp Helps Boys "Race Into Scouting" Sharp Helps Boys "Race Into Scouting"As a father, Scott Sharp recognizes the importance of positive environments for his children. As a former Cub Scout, the veteran IRL IndyCar® Series driver knows that scouting meets those criteria.   Sharp quickly accepted the invitation of Delphi CEO and President J.T. Battenberg III, an Eagle Scout, to be the spokesman for the Crossroads of America Council of Boys Scouts of America "Race into Scouting" campaign.  The 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion subscribes to the Cub Scout motto of "Do Your Best" every time he takes the No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone onto a track. This weekend, the IndyCar Series drivers will compete in the Honda Indy 225 at the one-mile Pikes Peak International Raceway.

"I think these days competition with the pressure and the distractions for young kids it's great to see what Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can do," Sharp said. "It's a great environment to meet friends, do different activities and learn a lot.  "I really enjoyed my time in scouting and anything I could do to help would be great, too."

Sharp has made commercials and done voice-overs for the campaign that began with the start of school. Posters and flyers feature Sharp with Cubs Scouts and Boy Scouts. The Crossroads of America Council also has a Web site (www.raceintoscouting.org) that contains race car games and additional information about scouting.

"I think all parents are concerned about the bad influences that are unfortunately prevalent in society today, and anything you can do that puts your children in a good environment is important," said Sharp, whose son Jackson will celebrate his sixth birthday on Aug. 21.   "Certainly, scouting is at the top of the list. Any way we can create more enthusiasm and excitement for scouting I think is great."

08/19/04
irl
Scheckter To Train With Lance Armstrong's Coach Scheckter To Train With Lance Armstrong's CoachTomas Scheckter may have one of the most rigorous training programs in the IRL IndyCar® Series.   The 23-year-old's regular regimen of training includes running, cycling, swimming and weight lifting. But on Aug. 19, Scheckter's fitness will get the ultimate test.  Scheckter, driver of the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, will spend the day at Carmichael Traning Systems in Colorado Springs, Colo., prior to racing in the Honda Indy 225 on Aug. 22 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in nearby Fountain, Colo.  Scheckter, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, will meet with Chris Carmichael, the personal coach of six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, for a day of fitness evaluation and cycling training.  "I'm very excited to be able to spend a day at Carmichael Training Systems working with Chris Carmichael and his staff in Colorado Springs," Scheckter said. "Getting the opportunity to work with a world-class Olympic cyclist and Lance Armstrong's coach is a dream come true. We'll be looking at my training routine, and they'll be doing an evaluation of my cycling style, diet, and mental approach to competition."  Carmichael will visit Scheckter at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Aug. 20 and ride with Scheckter in an Indy Racing Experience two-seater around the 1-mile oval.  "I hope I can give them a ride in the IRL's two-seater at Pikes Peak International Raceway so they have an understanding of the physical and mental demands involved in racing," Scheckter said.
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