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Keselowski Overtakes Bowyer For Bristol Win
One slip was all Brad Keselowski needed.

After a restart on Lap 226 of Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Keselowski pressured points leader Clint Bowyer. On Lap 227, Bowyer slipped off Turn 2, giving Keselowski the opening he needed.

From that point, Keselowski kept the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet out front and beat Bowyer to the finish line by 1.025 seconds.

“We were dead equal -- Clint and I,” said Keselowski, who won his second race in the series from the 37th starting position. “I knew I needed a break, and he gave it to me. All I can do is force him to run hard, and he made a mistake. I’m lucky.”

Greg Biffle finished third, followed by polesitter Cale Gale and David Stremme. Scott Wimmer was sixth, and a late pit road mistake -- with No. 18 crew chief Jason Ratcliff serving the first race of his indefinite suspension for violations found last Saturday at Michigan -- dropped Kyle Busch to seventh.

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Pantano takes Valencia GP2 pole
Giorgio Pantano has put his Hungaroring disappointments behind him by taking pole in a frenetic qualifying session in Valencia on Friday afternoon, claiming the top spot despite constant pressure from Pastor Maldonado, Vitaly Petrov and Romain Grosjean to stretch out his lead in his championship battle with rival Bruno Senna, who could not qualify higher than eighth.

The Italian's best lap of 1:45.640 was set in the last minute of an enthralling session in scorching conditions, taking pole by just 0.071 after a fierce battle with his pursuers. Kamui Kobayashi opening proceedings with the first sub 1.50 lap on his first flying lap before losing the rear of his car and spinning into the wall at turn five, losing his front and rear wings and bringing out the red flags just as Pantano piped his time to set a strong banker lap before returning to the pits with the rest of the field.

With the track soon clear it was Bruno Senna who was trying to get his weekend started by claiming second on the timesheets, but Grosjean was determined to also lay his Hungarian demons to rest and almost immediately set the fastest lap of the session, starting a back and forth fight for the top spot between himself, Pantano and Maldonado, with all three drivers swapping the position for the remainder of the session.

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Infineon: Castroneves tops practice 2
Penske Racing showed that the transporter fire this week on the way to Sonoma, CA will not stand in their way of trying to win this weekend's IndyCar race at Infineon Raceway.  Penske's Helio Castroneves turned the fastest lap in the 2nd practice session ahead of KV Racing Technology teammates Oriol Servia and Will Power.

Castroneves, who finished second at Infineon last year, lapped the 12-turn, 2.303-mile circuit in 1 minute, 17.1703 seconds, 107.435 mph in the afternoon session, bettering Tony Kanaan’s effort of 1:17.3920, 107.127 mph from the morning.

KV Racing Technology teammates Oriol Servia and Will Power were third and fourth, respectively. Scott Dixon, who leads Castroneves by 78 points in the championship, was seventh.

Castroneves’ teammate Ryan Briscoe, who also had his primary car damaged in the fire, was sixth.

One second covered the first 13 drivers so passing on Sunday will be difficult because of how equal they are.

Afternoon Results


Driver Diff to 1st Gap to Prev Best Time Best Speed Best Lap
1 Helio Castroneves (3) --.---- --.---- 1:17.1703 107.435 23
2 Oriol Servia (5) 0.3009 0.3009 1:17.4712 107.018 22
3 Will Power (8) 0.4148 0.1139 1:17.5851 106.861 5
4 Vitor Meira (4) 0.5533 0.1385 1:17.7236 106.670 20
5 Ryan Briscoe (6) 0.5630 0.0097 1:17.7333 106.657 6
6 Scott Dixon (9) 0.7124 0.1494 1:17.8827 106.452 6
7 Marco Andretti (26) 0.7314 0.0190 1:17.9017 106.426 4
8 Danica Patrick (7) 0.7642 0.0328 1:17.9345 106.382 17
9 Hideki Mutoh (27) 0.8108 0.0466 1:17.9811 106.318 6
10 Justin Wilson (02) 0.8745 0.0637 1:18.0448 106.231 6
11 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.8969 0.0224 1:18.0672 106.201 7
12 Bruno Junqueira (18) 1.0085 0.1116 1:18.1788 106.049 2
13 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 1.0089 0.0004 1:18.1792 106.049 19
14 Mario Dominguez (96) 1.1468 0.1379 1:18.3171 105.862 22
15 Enrique Bernoldi (36) 1.1937 0.0469 1:18.3640 105.799 19
16 EJ Viso (33) 1.1947 0.0010 1:18.3650 105.797 3
17 Mario Moraes (19) 1.2602 0.0655 1:18.4305 105.709 5
18 Buddy Rice (15) 1.3240 0.0638 1:18.4943 105.623 19
19 Tomas Scheckter (12) 1.5204 0.1964 1:18.6907 105.359 21
20 Graham Rahal (06) 1.5308 0.0104 1:18.7011 105.345 12
21 Ed Carpenter (20) 1.8103 0.2795 1:18.9806 104.973 20
22 Townsend Bell (23) 1.9122 0.1019 1:19.0825 104.837 11
23 AJ Foyt IV (2) 2.2574 0.3452 1:19.4277 104.382 16
24 Jaime Camara (34) 2.6656 0.4082 1:19.8359 103.848 15
25 Darren Manning (14) 2.9226 0.2570 1:20.0929 103.515 6
26 Marty Roth (25) 3.0757 0.1531 1:20.2460 103.317 21
27 Dan Wheldon (10) 0.0000 0.0000 -0.0001 0.000 0

Combined AM and PM Results

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Perera nips Matos for Indy Lights race 1 pole
Old Champ Car Atlantic nemesis’ Franck Perera and Raphael Matos continue their battle all year long in Indy Lights this year with Franck Perera getting the best of Raphael Matos by the slimmest of margins on his final lap to take pole for the first Indy Lights race this weekend.

More to follow.......



Driver Diff Gap Best Time Best Speed
1 Franck Perera (55) --.---- --.---- 1:23.2851 99.547
2 Raphael Matos (27) 0.0019 0.0019 1:23.2870 99.545
3 Richard Antinucci (7) 0.2331 0.2312 1:23.5182 99.269
4 Logan Gomez (23) 0.5096 0.2765 1:23.7947 98.942
5 Ana Beatriz (20) 0.6067 0.0971 1:23.8918 98.827
6 JR Hildebrand (25) 0.7301 0.1234 1:24.0152 98.682
7 Mitch Cunningham (33) 0.8731 0.1430 1:24.1582 98.514
8 Jonny Reid (77) 0.9364 0.0633 1:24.2215 98.440
9 Pablo Donoso (22) 0.9400 0.0036 1:24.2251 98.436
10 Daniel Herrington (5) 0.9639 0.0239 1:24.2490 98.408
11 Robbie Pecorari (44) 1.1008 0.1369 1:24.3859 98.249
12 Mike Potekhen (43) 1.1116 0.0108 1:24.3967 98.236
13 Arie Luyendyk Jr (26) 1.1932 0.0816 1:24.4783 98.141
14 Tom Dyer (6) 1.1991 0.0059 1:24.4842 98.134
15 Cyndie Allemann (18) 1.2554 0.0563 1:24.5405 98.069
16 Jonathan Klein (2) 1.3146 0.0592 1:24.5997 98.000
17 James Davison (11) 1.3191 0.0045 1:24.6042 97.995
18 Dillon Battistini (15) 1.4439 0.1248 1:24.7290 97.851
19 Sean Guthrie (4) 1.6597 0.2158 1:24.9448 97.602
20 Juan Manuel Polar (54) 2.0177 0.3580 1:25.3028 97.193
21 Brent Sherman (16) 2.6112 0.5935 1:25.8963 96.521
22 Christina Orr (24) 3.6210 1.0098 1:26.9061 95.400
23 Mark Olson (8) 8.4602 4.8392 1:31.7453 90.368


Bridgestone introduces Magic Rings in IndyCar
All season long, IndyCar Series fans have been treated to great historical racing footage through the Firestone brand's 90-second "Magic Rings" commercial, which has aired during race broadcasts and on the big screens at the track at each and every IndyCar Series race.

The 4 drivers still in championship contention will use the white sidewall Magic Ring tires this weekend.
To bring that spirit to the track, and to help spectators identify the drivers still in contention for the IndyCar Series championship as the clock winds down on the 2008 race calendar, Firestone Racing has created special "Magic Ring" Firestone Firehawk racing slicks.  These tires will be supplied to each driver still eligible to win the championship through the last three points-paying races, beginning this weekend at the Peak Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County at Infineon Raceway.

While identical in compound and construction to the Firestone Firehawk racing slicks that all other IndyCar Series competitors will use, the "Magic Rings" will feature a white sidewall with black lettering to make Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan stand out in the crowd as the cars take to the track.

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Hamilton accuses rivals of careless driving
(GMM)  Championship leader Lewis Hamilton has criticized some of his fellow F1 drivers for their behavior on the Valencia street track during Friday practice.

The McLaren racer did not name his adversaries, but the 23-year-old Briton accused them of driving carelessly at times at the new venue.

"Some drivers just lift off the throttle and end up in your way," Hamilton is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

"They are trying to create a gap ahead, for the sake of a clear, fast lap, but they don't care who might already be on a quick lap behind them.  That compromises things," he added.


Mecachrome denies F1 quit reports
(GMM)  Motor sport engineering company Mecachrome on Friday denied it is withdrawing from formula one.

Reports last week said that with Renault deciding to supply all its own engine components, Mecachrome will instead move its focus to a program for Le Mans.

But in a statement issued on Friday, Mecachrome France said being involved in F1 is to "remain one of the company's key activities".

It said the F1 partnership with Renault will continue.

"The agreement entered into by these two companies continues to run its course and Mecachrome is, at present, actively cooperating in the development of these high-performance components for Renault," the statement said.


Infineon: Kanaan tops opening IndyCar practice
Pos Driver Start Pos Diff Gap to 1st Best Time Best Speed
1 Tony Kanaan (11) 21 --.---- --.---- 1:17.3920 107.127
2 Helio Castroneves (3) 23 0.4571 0.4571 1:17.8491 106.498
3 Danica Patrick (7) 8 0.4934 0.0363 1:17.8854 106.449
4 Will Power (8) 15 0.6377 0.1443 1:18.0297 106.252
5 Ryan Briscoe (6) 25 0.6787 0.0410 1:18.0707 106.196
6 Scott Dixon (9) 22 0.8410 0.1623 1:18.2330 105.976
7 Oriol Servia (5) 14 0.9249 0.0839 1:18.3169 105.862
8 Buddy Rice (15) 3 1.0194 0.0945 1:18.4114 105.735
9 Marco Andretti (26) 24 1.2387 0.2193 1:18.6307 105.440
10 Dan Wheldon (10) 16 1.2652 0.0265 1:18.6572 105.404
11 Bruno Junqueira (18) 26 1.2661 0.0009 1:18.6581 105.403
12 EJ Viso (33) 17 1.3161 0.0500 1:18.7081 105.336
13 Ed Carpenter (20) 27 1.3206 0.0045 1:18.7126 105.330
14 Justin Wilson (02) 11 1.4241 0.1035 1:18.8161 105.192
15 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 13 1.4418 0.0177 1:18.8338 105.168
16 Mario Dominguez (96) 1 1.5880 0.1462 1:18.9800 104.973
17 Hideki Mutoh (27) 19 1.7222 0.1342 1:19.1142 104.795
18 Enrique Bernoldi (36) 18 1.7786 0.0564 1:19.1706 104.721
19 Townsend Bell (23) 10 1.7833 0.0047 1:19.1753 104.714
20 Vitor Meira (4) 7 1.9170 0.1337 1:19.3090 104.538
21 Graham Rahal (06) 4 1.9603 0.0433 1:19.3523 104.481
22 Tomas Scheckter (12) 2 1.9987 0.0384 1:19.3907 104.430
23 Mario Moraes (19) 12 2.0631 0.0644 1:19.4551 104.346
24 AJ Foyt IV (2) 5 2.1171 0.0540 1:19.5091 104.275
25 Darren Manning (14) 20 2.8084 0.6913 1:20.2004 103.376
26 Jaime Camara (34) 6 3.3926 0.5842 1:20.7846 102.628
27 Marty Roth (25) 9 3.8724 0.4798 1:21.2644 102.023


Infineon: Friday Notebook 2
Izod Models
Will Power told us that this track is very technical and it will be hard to pass on, but "we might get it done in Turn 7 now that we go straight on.  As for the hairpin, it will take a real dive-bomb move to get it done there.".........Izod, who is the official apparel supplier for the IRL, is here shooting photos and video for their spring IndyCar clothing line.  Ryan Hunter-Reay's Beccy Gordon is one of the models.........The first IndyCar practice session just ended with Tony Kanaan on top followed by Helio Castroneves, Danica Patrick, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe.......Ran into ex-American Honda boss Tom Elliott, one of the nicest men you'll ever want to meet.  He and his lovely wife are enjoying retirement.  They just came back from a 6-month camping trip across the country and into Eastern Canada.  They are taking in their first race since St. Pete.  He keeps track of what's happening in the racing world daily with AutoRacing1.com he said.


Stewards fine Alonso 10,000 euros
(GMM) Fernando Alonso on Friday was fined 10,000 euros by the stewards at Valencia.

Following the opening day of practice at the new urban circuit, the FIA representatives reprimanded the Spanish driver for cutting across the pitlane entry as he made his way back to the pits during the afternoon session.

The local EFE news agency said the Renault driver's actions was a breach of Article 4 of the FIA Sporting Code.

Stewards also fined Red Bull's David Coulthard, for exceeding the pitlane speed limit. The Scot must pay the FIA 2200 euros.


Infineon: Friday Notebook 1
The morning has dawned sunny and cool here in Sonoma, California where the Grand-Am, IndyCar, Indy Lights, and Historic Grand Prix teams have gathered for this weekend's events.  The day is expected to be sunny and warm with no rain all three days........The Historic Grand Prix cars have taken to the track first.  They certainly bring back a lot of memories with cars mostly from the late 1970s era.  Gilles Villeneuve's Ferrari just pulled in front of us.  Who can forget those 4-wheel drifts with the late great Villeneuve at the wheel?.........The Penske team has prepared their backup IndyCars in time for this morning's opening practice at 11:00 Pacific Time.......SMI continues to make improvements to this facility and it gets better each time we are here.  I look forward to next week where I will spend 3 full days in the Jim Russell Advanced Racing Driving School class testing out their new school cars, the fastest, most advanced school cars in the world.  Can I beat the NASCAR Sprint Cup lap times?  I have no idea what the lap time comparisons are but it sure will be fun trying......More later...... Mark C. reporting from Sonoma, CA


Race is on to fill final Superleague seats
Nine Superleague Formula teams yesterday shook down their machines in preparation for next week's opening round of the inaugural football-themed motor racing championship.

Premier League clubs Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur hit the track for the first time with test drivers James Walker (World Series by Renault) and Jimmy Auby (Spanish F3) behind the wheel.

Other clubs at Donington included PSV Eindhoven, Al Ain, Rangers, FC Porto, Sevilla and AS Roma. The Superleague Formula development prototype was also on hand for drivers to sample.

The Donington shakedown attracted a number of drivers looking to find a seat in the new championship including former Champ Car World Series race winner Nelson Philippe.

The Frenchman took the opportunity to drive the series prototype entry for the first time, albeit on a damp track after afternoon showers hit the circuit. Fellow ex-Champ Car racer Dan Clarke was also on-site at Donington, showing interest in participating in the series. Another Champ Car driver from last year, Tristan Gommendy, made his debut in the FC Porto car.

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2008 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Official Event Poster Unveiled
'08 Detroit GP poster
Carrying on the tradition of colorful and creative artistry that tells the story of world-class auto racing in the Motor City, the 2008 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix official event poster is now available for purchase.

The 2008 poster commemorates the competition and pageantry of the Grand Prix, to be run on The Raceway at Belle Isle Park street circuit, August 29-31. The poster reflects the racing series competing at the Labor Day weekend celebration as it features an IndyCar Series open-wheel machine, an American Le Mans Series prototype and Belle Isle’s historic and signature Scott Fountain (see attached image). The impressive design echoes the tradition of Detroit Grand Prix posters from years past that have turned into true collector’s items.

“We were looking for a unique design that illustrates the tremendous racing and excitement at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix,” said Event Chairman Bud Denker. “The 2008 Grand Prix poster represents those elements in a creative way while also paying tribute to our home on Belle Isle.”

The new Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix poster is now on sale at www.detroitgp.com and at all Meijer stores throughout Southeast Michigan.

The stylish and vibrant poster creation was designed by Maingate, Inc., the official supplier of Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix merchandise.  Maingate, Inc. is the premier event retail and online merchandising company in the United States. 


No bridge issues leaves Bridgestone pleased
(GMM)  Bridgestone on Friday said it was "pleased" to see the opening three hours of practice at Valencia conclude with no tire problems.

It is known that, before the engines started, the sport's official tire supplier expressed concern to the governing FIA about the unique swing bridge section.

Bridgestone reportedly asked Charlie Whiting, for fear of punctures, to look into possible measures to remedy the small height gap between the bridge sections.

But when Friday's action showed up no significant problems, Bridgestone's F1 boss Hiroshi Yasukawa said the concerns had simply been in the name of maximizing safety.

The Japanese said Bridgestone technicians inspected the Valencia layout on no fewer than three occasions before this weekend.

Yasukawa explained that having dialogue with the FIA is "standard procedure".

"We are pleased to see that the drivers all managed to gain a significant amount of track time without any particular problems for the tires," he added.


Berlin says no to F1 street race
(GMM)  The mayor of Berlin has ensured speculation about a possible street race in the German capital is short lived.

Klaus Wowereit on Friday told the city's Morgenpost newspaper that - despite the inaugural goings-on on the streets of Valencia this weekend and the other similar F1 urban circuits in Monaco, Montreal, Melbourne and Singapore - Berlin is not about to join the action.

"There were some thoughts, but we said no," the governing mayor is quoted as saying.

Nevertheless, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone on Friday told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo that "five" potential hosts are currently waiting in line to join the annual grand prix schedule.


Rampf: Lots of downforce for Valencia
Although the "Valencia Street Circuit" and the "Circuit de la Principauté" in Monaco are purely street circuits, there are major differences between the two tracks. Willy Rampf, Technical Director of the BMW Sauber F1 Team, compares the two circuits.

"Valencia is a new venue in the calendar and, as such, poses a particular challenge," says Rampf. "This is not least because it is a street circuit. Not that it's a slow one - the drivers will be exceeding the 300 km/h mark on the fastest section."

In comparison, the drivers reach relatively low top speeds around the narrow, winding streets of Monaco. The main focus in the Mediterranean principality is on maximum downforce. "In Valencia we will be racing with a lot of downforce," says Rampf, looking ahead to the twelfth race weekend of the year. "With the help of our simulation programs we are able to reliably calculate the required downforce levels in advance, as well as the brake wear and gear ratios."


Valencia: Pantano tops GP2 practice
Giorgio Pantano claimed the fastest lap in this morning's free practice session in Valencia on the last lap of the session at the new circuit, with Alvaro Parente and Karun Chandhok following his lead to round out the top three positions as the chequered flag dropped on the session.

Pantano's last lap stopped the clocks at 1:47.340, half a second quicker than his nearest rivals, with all three drivers pushing Andreas Zuber down to fourth after he had battled for the fastest lap for most of the session with teammate Pastor Maldonado until the Venezuelan hit the wall at turn 14 with five minutes to go, removing his rear wing and pulling up to a halt next to the bridge.

The session was briefly delayed for a moment's silence for the victims of the recent tragedy in Madrid, but the sound of 25 engines soon filled the air as Zuber led his rivals on track. Bruno Senna was the only man not to follow him after stalling at the pitlane exit, with his team having to push the Brazilian back to work on his car before finally releasing him 8 minutes into the session.

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Gommendy ready for Porto Superleague assault
Former Macau Grand Prix winner and Champ Car driver Tristan Gommendy has been selected to represent FC Porto in Superleague Formula – the new football-themed motor racing championship which is set to kick off at Donington Park (England) next week.

The Frenchman claimed the famous Formula 3 Macau victory in 2002, the same year he won the French Formula 3 Championship. Renowned as one of the toughest races in the world, Gommendy's fellow Macau Grand Prix winners include Riccardo Patrese, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Takuma Sato.

Gommendy went on to successfully compete in World Series by Renault before graduating to GP2 and the Champ Car World Series. Driving for PKV Racing, Gommendy won the pole at the championship's visit to Mount Tremblant in Canada last year.

FC Porto was one of the original clubs to sign up for Superleague Formula when the concept was announced in April, 2007.

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Interview with Mr. Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport
The 2008 European Grand Prix this Sunday will mark Bridgestone’s 200th Grand Prix since its full time entry in 1997 as a tire supplier. Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport comments on this morning’s first ever running of Formula One cars on the impressive new street circuit in Valencia, Spain, and on Bridgestone’s milestone grand prix.

Mr. Yasukawa, what your first impressions of Valencia’s street circuit?
"I think the City of Valencia should be extremely proud of this circuit. Streets circuits are particularly challenging to manage and it has no doubt taken an impressively complex amount of logistical coordination to put this race together. Every new circuit experiences a few teething problems but this track has every potential to be a highlight on the Formula One calendar. The organizers have managed to construct an excellent track and paddock in a fabulous location and we are pleased to be celebrating our 200th Grand Prix here."

How was this morning’s first session? Do you think the track will pose any particular difficulties to you as a tire supplier?
"It was very exciting to see the Formula One cars take to the track for the first time ever this morning. Of course Bridgestone and the teams have all tried to prepare in advance and have done numerous simulations but it is not until you actually run that you begin to fully understand a track. From Bridgestone’s perspective we sent a team of technical staff to Valencia on no fewer than three occasions before this weekend so we had a pretty good idea what to expect from the track in terms of its layout, the surface characteristics and how these may affect our tires. Safety is always of primary concern to Bridgestone so it is standard procedure for us to raise in advance any precautionary concerns about a track but we are pleased to see that judging from this morning’s running the drivers all managed to gain a significant amount of track time without any particular problems for the tires. It looks like we will have a thrilling race this Sunday!"

How does it feel for Bridgestone to have reached the milestone of 200 races contested since 1997?
"It is incredible to think that it has been 12 years since we first entered Formula One. The time has gone so quickly but we are very proud to be celebrating our 200th race in Valencia. It is a great tribute to everyone involved, especially our technical and tire servicing team, that we have achieved such a professional and successful record in the sport" We are also very appreciative of the support all the teams have given us over this period."

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Valencia: Valencia Kubica onboard video
Here is one of the first on-board video's from this morning's opening practice in Valencia, Spain.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Puncture fears for Valencia bridge section
  • F1 news briefs: Friday
  • F1 not immune to economy crunch - Bernie
  • F1 said no to sailing tie-in - report
  • Bourdais needs to earn 2009 seat - Berger
  • Sutil never worried about losing seat
  • Ecclestone understands McLaren-Alonso split

Puncture fears for Valencia bridge section
(GMM)  The FIA's Charlie Whiting will consider possible changes to the bridge section of the Valencia street circuit.

According to the Spanish newspaper Diario AS, tire supplier Bridgestone is concerned that a small height gap between the two sides of the swiveling swing bridge may cause punctures.

Whiting and his aides inspected the section - as well as the rest of the street layout - before lunch on Thursday, as did most of the twenty formula one racers during their on-foot sighting laps.

Honda's Rubens Barrichello, the most experienced driver in F1 history, raised another concern about the bridge section after he walked the track.

He fears that if cars stop or crash on the bridge, which is about 100 meters long, race control may need to stop the race.

"It's not even a safety car issue," the Brazilian told reporters.  "You would have to take the car away and bring trucks onto the bridge."

F1 news briefs: Friday
(GMM)  Francisco Camps, the president of the local region around Valencia, has asked F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone to adopt the status of official mourning for the inaugural grand prix on the eastern port city's streets this weekend.  The Spanish government on Thursday declared three days of nationwide mourning following the Spanair plane crash in Madrid.

It is believed that a period of silence will take place at the urban circuit at noon on Friday.


Nick Heidfeld is maintaining a code of silence regarding his future at BMW-Sauber beyond the 2008 season.  When asked at Valencia what he had to say about his contractual situation for next year, the 31-year-old German answered: "Nothing that I can tell you (reporters)."

F1 not immune to economy crunch - Bernie
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has played down fears that the struggling economy is already affecting F1.

The French engine preparing firm Mecachrome is reportedly no longer involved due to recent losses, and it now emerges that F1 supplier Pankl, an Austrian motor racing company, has posted a more than 1 million euros loss for the past trading quarter.

"It seems that everyone is affected, but we will have to wait and see," the 77-year-old F1 chief executive said in interview with Spain's El Mundo newspaper.

It emerged recently that the European Union is nearly in official recession.

"At the moment we are not noticing it, but we are not immune to anything.  We will have to be prepared," the Briton added.

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Valencia: Vettel tops opening practice
Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel on Friday played down his best time posted in the very first official session at the new Valencia street circuit.

The German headed the usual pacesetters from Ferrari, McLaren and BMW-Sauber at the end of the initial 90-minute practice, and his Toro Rosso teammate Sebastien Vettel was also high in the order.

The feat moved some cynics to note that the cars' refueler had possibly been told to take a break while a potential team buyer surveyed the practice session.

"We were the only team that used new tires again right at the end," the 21-year-old admitted afterwards.  "Naturally that counts for quite a lot."

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Team Moore Racing picks Klein for rest of season
With an eye towards 2009, Jonathan Klein has been named the driver of the No. 2 car for Team Moore Racing for the remainder of the season. Klein replaces Jeff Simmons, who agreed to stand down from the driver's seat after seeing his championship hopes dwindle following a mechanical issue that dropped him from contention at Kentucky.

"This was an extremely difficult decision for us," said team co-owner Mark Moore. "Jeff (Simmons) has done a great job for us this season. He had us in the championship hunt even though he didn't compete in the first race of the season.

"At this point in time, Tom (Wood) and I have decided to take the opportunity to have a look at Jonathan's road course ability in preparation for the 2009 driver line-up, with talks continuing with Pablo Donoso. This race will give us the chance to look at how they work as teammates.”

Simmons went into the race at Kentucky on Aug. 9 still in the points chase. While running in seventh position, a piece of debris from a crash punctured the oil cooler. Simmons was forced to come into the pits on Lap 40, ending his day in 23rd position.

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Trulli confirms 2009 Toyota drive
Panasonic Toyota Racing’s Jarno Trulli took part in Thursday afternoon’s official press conference at the new Valencia street venue and apart from the normal run of the mill questions about the track itself, Jarno confirmed that he would continue racing for the Cologne based squad in 2009…

Can you give us your impressions of the circuit and Valencia?
So far it is nice, warm and sunny. The circuit looks good but obviously we need to wait until we get into the rhythm of the weekend to understand what kind or what type of circuit it is as we don’t know much about it. But it looks pretty good, very well organized and obviously the atmosphere seems great because we are in Spain and for sure we will have a lot of Spanish supporters.

Jarno, two podiums for Toyota over the last few races. What are your feelings for the rest of the season? Are there developments still coming, what’s happening with Toyota?
I think the team is doing a very good job this year. We start pretty well and we have always improved the car. The team is keeping on pushing the development work, so I am confident that before the end of the season we can do some good results. There are some circumstances and some circuits where we are extremely competitive like it was in Hungary and Magny-Cours and some others maybe we suffer a bit more but nevertheless I think we will always fight for top 10 in qualifying and our aim is always to score points at every race obviously. Our target will be finishing fourth in the Constructors’ championship.

Are there developments still coming?
Yeah, even here. We always have some new bits. They are already concentrating on next year‘s car development but they are still pushing on this year’s car as obviously the fight for fourth in the Constructors’ championship is very tight. We would like to finish fourth.

What is your own situation with the team for next year?
We have a contract in place, so we believe we can stay together for next year.

I’ve just been with Fernando Alonso at his personal press conference. He’s just mentioned that in the light of what happened yesterday, the Spanish plane disaster, that he’s hoping to get you guys together to hopefully observe a minute’s silence as a mark of respect before practice. Presumably that is something you would be more than happy to go along with providing the FIA also agreed?
I share the same feelings. (as the other drivers)

Are you satisfied with the run-off areas of the track?
Well, I did have a look and it’s difficult to comment at the moment because we don’t know exactly the speed in certain corners but I must say it’s a safe circuit anyway, and so far I can see that they have done a pretty good job, but it’s probably still a bit too early to judge.


Goossens Leads Thursday's Grand-Am Rolex Series Practice
Marc Goossens was fastest in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype opening practice for the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 Thursday at Infineon Raceway, running a lap of 1:26.995 (102.213 mph) in the No. 91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley.

And the Belgian hopes that initial speed will translate into a strong qualifying run Friday, with the 15-minute qualifying session beginning at 4:30 p.m. Round 13 of the 250-mile (102-lap) or two-hour and 45-minute race will take the green flag at 3:21 p.m. PT Saturday. The race, showcasing the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype class, will be televised on SPEED at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Goossens and co-driver Jim Matthews won earlier in the season at Mexico City - one which was part of five consecutive top-10 finishes that boosted them to second in the team point standings - but they have only one top-10 finish in the last six races.

"Unfortunately, we don't get any points for leading practice, so we hope to be there on Saturday afternoon," said Goossens after the two-hour session. "We know we're strong, but in the last couple of races we haven't have luck on our side. We had a good session. The car wasn't that good at the beginning, but we worked on it and put ourselves on top of the time sheets." 

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Cindric discusses damage due to fire on Team Penske transporter
Tim Cindric, president of Penske Performance Inc., met with media at Infineon Raceway to discuss the fire on one of the team’s transporters en route to the track. Select quotes are below: 

On the amount of damage: “It really comes down to the amount of work that has to be done. The material things aren’t easy and everybody has to write checks, but the difficult part is the amount of time and effort that goes into the customization of the race cars and the trailer and the pit equipment and that type of thing. That’s where the biggest loss really is – it’s time. From a financial perspective it’s never easy and never fun, but you run a similar risk every weekend when you crash a race car.” 

“The transporter is about $350,000 or $400,000 along with the contents. Obviously you have two race cars. At the end of the day you can say they’re $400,000, you can say they’re $600,000, but who knows. There are certain parts of the car that are going to be salvageable and certain parts that aren’t. Total estimate is probably more than one (million dollars) and less than three (million dollars).” 

On what was salvaged: “What we brought here today are very small things, very unique tools, things you can’t buy, I’ll put it that way. Customization-type things. Things that will come tomorrow on the straight truck are basically the things that we see are somewhat unscathed and easily utilized.”

On whether the back-up cars will be as good as the primary cars: “I’m confident that with the quality of our people anytime we bring a backup car to the racetrack, that backup car should be prepared as if it’s going to become a race car, otherwise we shouldn’t really have it here at the level we participate at. The question will really be, if we need to go to a back-up car, at what state the back-up car is going to be in for the weekend.”

On whether either driver will be at a disadvantage: “It’s our goal to be sure that they’re not. But that chance is probably more so than what it would be on a different given weekend.”

On Roger Penske’s response: “Roger goes right into the technical whys and wherefores of how does that happen. What happened? What’s the extent of the damage? The first question he asked was if everybody is OK, but beyond that it becomes more of a methodical process. With Roger, there’s usually not a lot of emotions on anything. Roger’s pretty much to the point with what the process is going to be and how are we going to be sure that this doesn’t affect the outcome of Sunday’s race. That’s the game.”

On doing without: “I’ve called races before where we basically just had a computer and a radio, so the things you get used to and what’s necessary and what’s a luxury are kind of two different things. You kind of go back to your roots a little bit and say, ‘OK, it’s not all that bad.’”


Matos tops opening Indy Lights practice
Raphael Matos
With 105 points possible in the Carneros 100 and Valley of the Moon 100 Aug. 23-24 at Infineon Raceway, the drivers in contention for the Firestone Indy Lights title know anything can happen.

Raphael Matos, who trails Richard Antinucci by four points, put the other contenders on notice during an Open Test Aug. 21 on the 12-turn, 2.245-mile circuit, with a fast lap more than a second better than anybody else. 

Matos lapped the course in 1 minute, 23.4281 seconds, 99.377 mph, while J.R. Hildebrand, who is sixth in points, was second with a lap at 1:24.4535, 98.170 mph. 

“I think people will catch up to us throughout the weekend,” said Matos, who tested an IndyCar Series car at the track last week. “The car was really strong from the beginning of the test. It was really good right out of the trailer. The AFS/Andretti Green crew did a fantastic job and I just have to thank them for that. I think we'll improve a little bit more, but I think everyone else will improve as well. Hopefully we can maintain the advantage that we have so we can fight for the pole be in good shape for the race and the championship.” 

Hildebrand, a Bay Area native who won at Kansas in April, hopes to narrow his 71-point deficit. 

“I feel really good,” said Hildebrand. “We had a really productive test day last week that I almost wish we had earlier on in the season because we found a lot of stuff. And this being my home track, I have a lot of track knowledge. I think we’re looking pretty good. I think that’s a pretty competitive time. I think some of the other guys used an extra set of tires and we didn’t – we just used one (set) throughout the day. I think we’ll be looking pretty good for tomorrow.” 

Antinucci, who is aiming for Sam Schmidt Motorsports' third consecutive driver's championship, was fifth quick.

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Frankie Muniz Grand Marshal of Chicagoland Indy Lights race
Frankie Muniz, famed "Malcolm in the Middle" actor turned professional race car driver, will serve as Grand Marshal for the SunRichGourmet.com 100 Firestone Indy Lights race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, September 7.  This will be the season-finale for the Firestone Indy Lights series, and will be followed by the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 Indy Car race.


Sun-Rich International to sponsor Chicagoland Indy Lights race
Chicago-based company Sun-Rich International, a retail and web-based purveyor of gourmet foods, today announced it will partner with Chicagoland Speedway to be the title sponsor for the season-finale Firestone Indy Lights race at the 1.5-mile tri-oval on Sunday, September 7. The SunRichGourmet.com 100 is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by the PEAK(R) Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 IndyCar(R) Series season-finale race.

"We are thrilled to partner with Sun-Rich International for our championship Firestone Indy Lights race in September," said Bob Welch, senior director of marketing and sales for Chicagoland Speedway. "Having a Chicago-based company like Sun-Rich make a commitment to Chicagoland Speedway, emphasizes the strong interest our sport has built in the country's third largest market."

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GM Announces $500 Million Investment for New Small Car
Chevy Cruze
General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner today announced that the company will invest more than $500 million in the U.S. to build the Chevrolet Cruze, an all-new global compact car. The vehicle will be built at its Lordstown, Ohio plant. The Chevy Cruze will be officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in a few short weeks. In a surprise move, the investment announcement was accompanied by a glimpse of the Cruze life-size show property.

The investment in Lordstown is one of several that have been announced at U.S. plants in the past five years, adding up to over $2 billion total investment in Ohio and more than $20 billion in the United States. “One of the key reasons for the success of the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 is the Lordstown workforce and the strong partnerships with the UAW and local and state officials,” Wagoner said. “Based on the quality of work and these strong partnerships, we are pleased to announce our plans to invest another $500 million in the Chevy Cruze product program in the U.S., including more than $350 million in Lordstown.”

Ed Peper, GMNA vice president of Chevrolet, spoke to GM’s strong position in delivering fuel-efficient vehicles that consumers want to buy. “The Cruze will build on the already successful Chevrolet Cobalt, Cobalt XFE and Cobalt SS, all of which are nearly sold out in dealer showrooms,” Peper said. “Our dealers are asking for many more Cobalts than we can build.”

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Q and A with Lewis Hamilton
The Olympics has dominated the headlines over the past few weeks, and even the somewhat self-absorbed world of Formula 1 has been paying attention.

In the Valencia paddock on Thursday Lewis Hamilton spoke of his pride at what Team GB has achieved in Beijing before answering questions on the new street race.

Q: How pleased have you been with what the British boys and girls have achieved in Beijing?

Lewis Hamilton: I think they’ve all made us very proud. As you know, it’s the best performance for us in over 100 years so I think it’s fantastic what they’ve all achieved.

Q: I’m sure you’ve been watching as much of it as you can – what has impressed you and what have you found interesting?

LH: When I watch rowing I always find the stamina they have incredible. I’ve been rowing recently and I completely suck at it! The balance that you need and the core stability and everything… Also the cyclists are impressive.

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track news

New SAFER barrier installed along LVMS backstretch
Construction crews spent much of this week installing SAFER barrier along the inside wall of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway back straightaway. "Speedway Motorsports is committed to driver safety at all of its speedways," said LVMS general manager Chris Powell. "Following this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup event, we consulted with NASCAR officials and our own engineers. We all agreed that installing the barrier on the backstretch was the proper course of action." During this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup event at LVMS, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon made contact with the wall in the area that is now protected by the SAFER barrier. The final panels of the barrier were put in place Thursday morning. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Brendan Gaughan was the first NASCAR driver to see the changes first-hand. "I'm glad Las Vegas Motor Speedway has made this addition," Gaughan said. "This speedway has made tremendous improvements to enhance both the fan experience and driver safety over the past several years. This is a great example of its commitment to the competitors." The new SAFER barrier covers 1,700 feet of the inside backstretch wall. SAFER barriers now cover 7,800 feet of the retaining walls around the 1.5-mile superspeedway.


Sauter has Cup ride for next 4 races
Johnny Sauter has a full schedule in the coming weeks of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. Sauter will pilot the #08 FUBAR Dodge this week at Bristol and next week at Auto Club Speedway. Then, he will get back behind the wheel of the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy for the following two events at Richmond and New Hampshire. "I'm definitely looking forward to the next few weeks of racing," Sauter said. "As a driver, I'm just happy people think of me when they have openings to fill, whether it be for a few races or a single event. I'm still looking for a full time opportunity in 2009, but in the meantime I'm happy to be busy and just thankful for the chance to contribute to these organizations." Press Release


New sponsor for Robby Gordon at Bristol
There will be a new look under the lights at this Saturday's Sprint Cup Series race at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Robby Gordon's #7 car - his Dodge will feature the logo and shimmering brilliant look of Planet Color the custom color paint system from Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Corp. (SWAFC). Gordon has used the brand's coatings for years. Now, for this race, his car will host the gleaming Planet Color orange logo and be joined by that of Barrett-Jackson (the leading specialist in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners and automotive enthusiasts around the world), along with the team's #7. As a result, their trademark brands will all be featured against the completely flat-black Charger's color scheme

Planet Color has been a tremendous hit among custom automotive enthusiasts, painters and shop owners alike for several years now. Made from a series of optimally enhanced coatings containing special combinations of highly reflective additives, Planet Color offers stunning, radical, multi-dimensional finishes that are color shifting, iridescent, illuminated and shimmering in their texture. With Planet Color, custom painters can mix as little, or as much paint, for their exact customization project needs, and because of its refined repeatability it guarantees an exact match every time. Planet Color is available at NAPA Auto Parts and SWAFC branches throughout North America. For more information about Planet Color or other SWAFC products, visit www.sherwin-automotive.com. (RGM PR)


TV Icon Drew Carey to Serve as Grand Marshal
Drew Carey
Stand-up comic turned actor and producer Drew Carey will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 2008 Pepsi 500, Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker announced today. The host of “The Price is Right” and star of the long-running comedy “The Drew Carey Show”, Carey will give the starting command, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines”, to the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers running in the Pepsi 500 on Sunday, August 31.

“It’s only fitting that one of the biggest stars on television should be giving the most famous command in motorsports,” said Zucker.  “Drew Carey is a big NASCAR fan, and I know our fans are going to be excited to see him at the track. I hope everyone will listen to Drew and ‘come on down’ to Labor Day’s biggest party.”

One of television’s biggest stars, Carey succeeded longtime host Bob Barker on the legendary show “The Price Is Right” after having had the distinction of starring in two hit shows simultaneously: “The Drew Carey Show”, which ran from 1995-2004, and the improv/sketch show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” on which he was both host and producer.

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News briefs from Valencia
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Thursday was fined 5000 euros for arriving two minutes late for the FIA press conference at Valencia.


The inaugural European grand prix in the eastern port city could be a sombre affair, after the Spanish government on Thursday three consecutive days of nationwide mourning in the wake of the Madrid air crash.

Flags at the urban street circuit were flying at half-mast in deference to the 153 dead, including 22 children.


Heikki Kovalainen told reporters he hopes he does not have to support his McLaren teammate and championship leader Hamilton's title quest over the final seven races of 2008.

"Certainly I'm not planning to help him," the Finn, who won three weeks ago in Budapest but is 24 points behind, said at Valencia. "If I have a chance to win another race then I will go for it."


Rubens Barrichello confirmed that Honda is in talks with former double world champion Fernando Alonso about 2009. "I think the team is definitely talking to Fernando but that's the question mark," said the Brazilian, the most experienced driver in F1 history whose contract expires at the end of the season.

"The conversations are there and I am talking to the team, I am talking to all the teams. I want to be racing," he added.


Jarno Trulli, who has been with Toyota since the end of 2004, admitted that he is likely to stay at the Japanese team next year. "We have a contract in place, so we believe we can stay together," the Italian said.


A1GP Delays Start of Season Four
London, Great Britain –  A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has moved A1GP Mugello, Italy from the opening round of the 2008/09 championship following a delay in the build schedule of the new chassis. The first time all the nations will be seen in action will now be on the 4 – 5 October at A1GP Zandvoort, Netherlands.

The series set itself a tight schedule with less than 11 months to design, build and test the new car and make sure all the teams received identical machinery. Any delays in the schedule were always going to impact on the ability to deliver to all the teams. “It was always going to be an optimistic program but we were confident we could achieve it. This in no way reflects on the work undertaken by the technical team and our partners, as it was due to circumstances beyond their control. I also want to thank all our technical partners for their support during our intensive testing program, and especially Ferrari for the supply of engines,” said A1GP Chief Executive Officer, Pete da Silva.

“We now have to concentrate on what we have ahead of us rather than behind. We still have some great announcements to make. In the near future we shall be able to announce our full race calendar, as well as some deals that will enhance the overall package we are presenting to our fans for Season Four,” said da Silva.

track news

Speedway eyes Georgetown Road closure to build a park
A computerized model of traffic on Georgetown Road could show whether it's feasible to close the road next to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and turn it into a linear park.

Results of the study by the Metropolitan Planning Organization are due this week. If the study determines that closing the road is feasible, Speedway and Indianapolis officials could begin steps toward closing Georgetown Road from 16th to 25th streets by next year.

The closure is part of the town's drive to redevelop areas around the track. The $500 million redevelopment project includes overhauling the Main Street business district and adding race-related tourist areas for visitors.

Town officials also say closing Georgetown Road will help improve security at the track.

While the town awaits results from the traffic study, they have begun to circulate possible concepts for the linear park to stimulate comments from town residents and business owners.

Those renderings and a comment box will remain in the Speedway Public Library until mid-September. Indy Star

racing news

Old School Racing pulls plug
The Old School Racing Series announced earlier this season that the inaugural campaign for the series would be pushed back one year and would begin in 2009.

That announcement came after South Boston Speedway officials had already released their 2008 schedule, which included a Friday night, Oct. 17 appearance at America’s Hometown Track for the Old School Racing Series. It also came after season tickets for the 2008 season at South Boston Speedway had already been sold.

Therefore, South Boston Speedway General Manager Cathy Rice announced this week that persons who purchased 2008 season tickets would be eligible to receive a $10 discount off the cost of 2009 season tickets.

“We were all very excited about hosting the Old School Racing Series and were disappointed when the announcement came that the series would not be competing at South Boston Speedway this season,” Rice said. “Hopefully our fans will understand that this decision was not made by us.”

According to a release issued by the Old School Racing Series, the postponement of the inaugural season was done so to allow a partnership to form that will make the series bigger and better for the drivers, crews and fans.

“I regret that the 2008 season has been cancelled and apologize to the old school fans that have been dying to see their past heroes compete once again,” Old School Racing Series Managing Partner Norm Weaver said. “We had a great schedule planned for 2008, but to make this series survive the test of time, with the help of our new partners, we have designed a much better series for the ultimate fan experience. I don’t want to go too far into details because we want to do that when we announce the redesigned Old School Racing program.”

The Old School Racing Series, based in Mooresville, N.C., is expected to field cars for such drivers as David Pearson, Harry Gant, James Hylton, Geoff Bodine and others.


T-shirts and swing bridges at Valencia
(GMM)  T-shirts were required on the verge of the Valencia urban circuit on Thursday as the Spanish port city turned on a warm day.

Ambient temperatures should remain around 30C throughout the weekend, with the only (remote) possibility of a shower scheduled for Saturday.

Most drivers spent Thursday walking the new layout, which winds past the headquarters of some America's Cup teams on the city's port.

At one point, unique on the F1 calendar, the cars will cross a swing bridge, which at other times can rotate to allow boats into the harbor.

Many drivers spent time bending down to evaluate the 3cm gaps between the bridge's connecting pieces.

"It seems it has caused a few issues in F3, so we will monitor the situation very closely," Toyota chassis boss Pascal Vasselon said.


Sad Alonso declares business as usual
(GMM)  Spaniard Fernando Alonso has revealed he will wear a black armband on his overalls at Valencia this weekend in tribute to the 153 people killed in the Madrid plane crash.

The Renault driver also said he will discuss with the other 19 drivers whether a minute's silence prior to the grand prix, the second in Spain this season, is appropriate.

Although saddened by the Spainair tragedy, 27-year-old Alonso declared business as usual for the European grand prix -- including his former team McLaren's recent run of dominance.

He also said the British team would have "a further advantage" over Ferrari on the new circuit because of its superior simulation technologies, according to the sports newspaper Marca.

Between "fifth and eighth" fastest was the realistic hope for his own R28 car, however, Alonso explained.

Alonso would not be drawn on continuing speculation about the identity of his team for 2009.

"Now is the time to give our maximum, and in September or October I will think about next year and examine the best options," he said.

He said Renault is a candidate.

"Two years ago they were world champion, and it is not possible in that time to forget how to build championship winning cars," Alonso said.


Teams to share KERS experiences - Brawn
(GMM)  The challenge of F1's incoming KERS technology is requiring a new brand of thinking among teams.

Ross Brawn, Honda boss and also the technical spokesman for the new FOTA alliance of the ten F1 teams, revealed that all the teams are collaborating closely to ensure that the energy-recovery systems, set to debut in 2009, are as safe as possible.

Numerous F1 teams have encountered difficulties in the current development phase with KERS systems, the most high-profile being the Red Bull fire-alarm incident, and the BMW-Sauber electric shock at Jerez a month ago.

But while F1 teams are notoriously secretive, Brawn told Motorsport Aktuell that "all the teams are sharing their experiences" when it comes to KERS, "to ensure we have a very high safety standard".

Indeed, at the end of its long investigation into the Jerez electric shock incident, BMW on Thursday confirmed that it is to share the results both with the FIA and F1's other nine teams.

The German team also said it expecting to resume its KERS testing program in the autumn.


BMW - no serious danger in KERS shock
The BMW Sauber F1 Team have now concluded their investigations into the KERS incident at Jerez in late July. Markus Duesmann, Head of Powertrain, gives us more details. 

What exactly happened in Jerez?
Markus Duesmann, Head of Powertrain: "The mechanic suffered an electric shock after touching the sidepod and steering wheel of the car. There was a high- frequency AC voltage between these contact points, the cause of which has been traced back to the KERS control unit and a sporadic capacitive coupling from the high-voltage network to the 12-volt network. The voltage ran through the wiring of the 12-volt network to the steering wheel and through the carbon chassis back to the control unit."

Note on capacitive coupling: this refers to an inadvertent transfer of electric voltage between two transfer media by inductive or capacitive coupling. 

Was there a serious danger to the mechanic and the driver?
Duesmann: "No, as only a small amount of energy can be transferred through this capacitive coupling effect. However, the energy is sufficient to cause an extremely painful reaction. The driver was insulated against the car by his racing overalls and gloves and therefore not in any danger." 

Why did the investigation take so long?
Duesmann: "It was not possible initially to reproduce the capacitive coupling effect in the car, as the problem was caused by a sporadic error in the control unit. Due to the extremely high frequency of the voltage in the steering wheel, the safety mechanisms and data recordings did not pick up on the error. In the absence of data, all the theoretical possibilities had to be systematically investigated and analyzed in tests. Furthermore, the capacitive coupling effect only occurs under certain conditions. Without the option of driving the KERS test car used in Jerez again, we had to reconstruct these conditions. We also had to develop a model to be installed between the steering wheel and sidepod which replicated the characteristics of the human body as an electric transfer element."


HPD's Berkman building Acura's racing heritage
Erik Berkman
When you’re as dedicated to and passionate about racing as Honda Performance Development and Acura, it’s hard not to accept anything other than winning. Coincidentally enough, winning is becoming more and more common for Acura which is a relief to first-year HPD president Erik Berkman.

“I’ve been a fan of American Le Mans Series racing for some time and I’m finding out just how exciting it really can be from the inside,” Berkman conceded. “This year has been wonderful and I’m glad we were able to make a step forward to actually make it somewhat of a challenge and competition particularly with the Porsches.”

Acura’s second-year program in the American Le Mans Series has made massive gains from a year ago. Already through seven rounds, there have been three class victories - all from David Brabham and Scott Sharp at Patr¢n Highcroft Racing - and three straight P2 pole positions from three different Acura teams.

Patr¢n Acura leads the XM Radio Acura
The big carrot at the end of season is still dangling, namely the class manufacturer championship. Porsche leads Acura by 13 points with 95 possible points available over the final four races of the season.

“It sure would have been nice if at Elkhart Lake we would have finished 1-2-3 like it looked like was going to shake out! But having car out ahead and winning is what we need,” Berkman said. “If we win out to the end of the year, we may end up on top. But it would be nice to put a couple of cars between ourselves and the top Porsche.

“We’re asking all our teams to come out and win. We publicized our intention of how we would use the three teams when we launched last year,” he added. “This year at any given race we’ve had a situation where they all had the same spec of parts or we had a development part that was on one or two cars. And as a team, they are lustful for that development part but we don’t launch it for a couple of different reasons. More often than not it’s that it’s track-proven before we roll it out. With the launch of the de Ferran team, we struck an agreement with Gil to share right down to the setup sheets. That’s not something we had previously negotiated with the other teams. But In the future, that’s the level of sharing of information we want to see take place among our teams.”


GM ends plan with Navistar
General Motors Corp.'s bid to raise cash and streamline its operations took a hit Wednesday after the automaker announced an agreement had fallen through to sell its Flint-based medium-duty truck business to an Illinois truck maker.

The plan with Navistar International Corp., announced in December, was contingent on both sides reaching consensus on a definitive purchase agreement as well as regulatory and board approval. GM cited "significant marketplace and economic changes" as reasons behind the collapse of a deal that would have let the automaker focus on building and selling light-duty trucks and cars -- and match fuel-conscious consumer demand.

The fizzled deal should not harm GM's efforts to raise cash as part of a broad restructuring plan designed to help the automaker cope with plunging truck and SUV sales and focus on building light trucks and more fuel-efficient cars, he said.

"I suspect that it's not going to screw them up," Phillippi said. "They'll probably get a deal done later and probably at a lower price." detnews.com


Two great names: Senna and Hilton join forces
Bruno Senna
Bruno Senna, nephew of Formula One legend Ayrton Senna was today confirmed as Hilton Racing’s newest Brand Ambassador.

Currently occupying second place in the GP2 Championship, Bruno is widely tipped to make his Formula One debut in the 2009 season. In his new role he will write an exclusive column on the HiltonRacing.com website as well as undertaking a range of marketing engagements for Hilton Hotels.

Commenting on his new role, Bruno stated, “I am absolutely delighted to have joined the Hilton Family and feel privileged to be working with such a recognized brand. I look forward to working with them over the coming months off track whilst I continue to work hard on track.”

Bruno continues, “It is fantastic that Hilton Hotels have had such a passion for motorsport and I look forward to sharing my race experiences with HiltonRacing.com’s thousands of members”

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Penalties for Gibbs teams more like slap on wrist
"Gibbs teams hammered."

That was the headline on NASCAR.com Wednesday after the sanctioning body dished out its penalties for Joe Gibbs Racing after the stunt it pulled in Saturday's Nationwide Series post-race inspection at Michigan International Speedway.

The penalties and fines were characterized as some of harshest ever applied in the sport by many of the reports I heard and read in the hours that followed.

Personally, I call it a slap on the wrist, and maybe a kick in the butt.

If NASCAR really was serious about cracking down on cheating, officials would tell car owner Joe Gibbs that his cars aren't welcome to compete in Friday's Nationwide race at Bristol.

NASCAR would tell them to take off next weekend at California, too, and, if you give us any flack about it, we'll kick all your boys out, including your Sprint Cup teams and points leader Kyle Busch.

At MIS, inspectors discovered magnetic spacers attached under the gas pedal of Gibbs' No. 18 (Joey Logano) and No. 20 (Tony Stewart) cars, in a rather creative attempt to circumvent the chassis dynamometer test.

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Valencia expecting good weather for first GP
Although the Valencia sky was grey yesterday, the Formula One teams can expect clear weather and a lot of sun during the European Grand Prix weekend. In the mornings there may be some fog, but in the afternoon sun will break through and temperatures will rise to 28°C. Friday will be the hottest day as it will be 31°C at Valencia.


Q and A with Renault's Pat Symonds
Pat Symonds
Renault's Pat Symonds looks back on the Hungarian Grand Prix that saw Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet finish in fourth and sixth position respectively and the team move fifth in the constructors' standings.

Pat, looking back to Hungary, how do you rate the team’s performance?
"I think it was probably our strongest result of the season. While Nelson’s finishing position in Germany was a better result on paper, we were the first to acknowledge that luck played a major part in that result."

"In Hungary things were very different as we had two cars racing competitively all the way, racing against strong competitors and racing them on equal terms. From the moment we arrived there the car was competitive: we qualified well, we raced well and had to use strategy to get our result. The points were very welcome and in the last two races only McLaren have scored more points than us."

Fernando matched his best result of the year. Talk us through his weekend...
"It was another strong weekend for Fernando, although the only disappointment was that we lost out to Raikkonen towards the end. While I fully accepted that Raikkonen had a much quicker car, I really thought we had done enough to be able to stay ahead of him at the second pit-stop. In the end things didn’t work out and we missed out on a potential podium, but it was still a great result for Fernando and equaled his best finishing position from earlier in the season in Australia."

Nelson also continued his good form with another mature drive... 
"We all hoped that after Hockenheim he would have renewed confidence, which proved to be the case: he was calm, he was confident, and he went into qualifying believing that he would get through to Q3. Then he went on to drive as perfect a race as he drove in Hockenheim without making any significant mistakes. He was quick when he needed to be, preserved the tires when he needed to and drove a strong and intelligent race."

The team was able to carry its qualifying pace through to the race. Is this a trend that you expect to continue for the rest of the season?
"You have to remember that Hungary is a very particular circuit and although Fernando did a great job of keeping Raikkonen behind him until the final pit-stop, this wasn’t indicative of the pace of the two cars. Indeed, as soon as Raikkonen broke away from us, he was able to lap considerably quicker. But, having said all that, the rest of the weekend showed the improved pace of the R28 and the improvements that we have been making bit-by-bit over the last few races. So the performance in Hungary reinforces the belief that we are moving in the right direction and gives me confidence that we can finish fourth in the championship and end the season with the third fastest car."

Did we learn anything new about the pecking order in Hungary?
"We saw that BMW had a poor weekend and Toyota had a good weekend, but I don’t believe the pecking order suddenly changes. There are certainly trends, and at the moment we have a very distinct upward trend, whereas BMW have a little bit of a downward trend and Toyota seem to fluctuate. So I don’t think that the race itself shows a change to the status quo, but merely reinforces the trends which have been developing for a little while."

We head to Valencia next – a home race for Fernando. Is the team looking forward to this race?
"We look forward to every race and I think we like the challenge of a new circuit. We enjoy the ambiance of visiting new places and the race team have had a short break so they will head there raring to go. It certainly looks like a fabulous venue..."

Valencia is an unknown for everyone. Does that level the playing field?
"The teams are all well used to going to new circuits so I think the playing field is pretty level anyway. However, I would say that going to a new track is much more a test of a team’s ability to adapt to new circumstances and manage change, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy the challenge of a new circuit."


Texaco Havoline quits NASCAR UPDATE Oil company Chevron Corp. will stop sponsoring a NASCAR team through its Texaco and Havoline brands at the end of this season. San Ramon, CA-based Chevron (NYSE: CVX) didn’t say why it is ending its sponsorship. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has been sponsored by the two brands for five years. Chevron itself has been involved with NASCAR for 20 years.  Chevron will change its marketing strategy for the two brands, focusing on local and regional campaigns.

Chevron bought White Plains, N.Y.-based Texaco in 2001 for about $44 billion. The company kept Texaco as part of its name for a few years before dropping it and taking the name Chevron again in 2005.  It has been changing its Texaco business lately, selling stations with that brand. Last week the company said it would sell 2,000 Texaco gas stations in Brazil for about $730 million. SF Business Times

08/19/08 Sirius Speedway has learned that Chevron-Texaco will not return as sponsor of Juan Pablo Montoya’s #42 Dodge next season. The Texaco-Havoline brand is in the final year of its sponsorship contract with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and a media representative for Ganassi Racing confirmed the move this afternoon.

Texaco-Havoline will not move to another team in 2009, electing instead to end their longstanding involvement in NASCAR. That decision leaves Ganassi Racing in need of at least two new sponsors in 2009, and possibly three. Team owner Chip Ganassi recently parked the #40 Dodge driven by Dario Franchitti due to lack of sponsorship, and there are longstanding rumors that Target may not return to the #41 Dodge currently driven by Reed Sorenson.


Morgan-McClure Retains #4, hopes to return at Daytona
Monday night on his SIRIUS NASCAR Radio show, Tony Stewart revealed that the car of new teammate, Ryan Newman, will have the #39 next season for Stewart-Haas Racing instead of the previously announced #4. The #4 has been intertwined with the Abingdon [VA]-based Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet the past 25 years. MMM co-owners Tim Morgan and Larry McClure expressed their displeasure after a Friday morning press conference at Michigan International Speedway where it was announced that Newman would have the #4 in the Sprint Cup Series. Morgan said Wednesday afternoon that while he had never spoken to Stewart, he maintained faith that NASCAR officials would respect the tradition of the MMM team and disallow the number switch. Morgan-McClure Motorsports ceased operations last January due to a lack of funding. “I knew it was NASCAR’s prerogative, but I never actually believed the [number] change was going to happen unless I heard different from NASCAR,” Morgan said. “There was apparently just a misunderstanding here.”

“We’ve had the #4 for a long time and there is a lot of history there,” said Morgan, who talked to a NASCAR official Monday. “I think NASCAR respects the history of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, and I think they made the right decision.” Speaking with co-host Matt Yocum on the “Tony Stewart Live” show Monday night, Stewart provided insight into his reversal. “We had some hiccups in the #4 with Larry McClure,” Stewart said. “I’m not sure there was enough due diligence when it came to knowing for sure if Mr. McClure was going to have a car for next year. We spoke with NASCAR and NASCAR said that that number was available and I’m not sure that, all the way around, that enough due diligence was done.”

Stewart, a two-time NASCAR series champion, added that he respects the history of the MMM team and realizes the impact a number change would make. “We’ve been told that [McClure] is going to run some races next year and to us, especially me as a car owner, we know how much car numbers mean to teams and organizations,” Stewart said. “Even though NASCAR has given us that number for next year, if Mr. McClure is going to run a car we’re excited to have him back in the series…so we wanted him to have his number. “As a fellow car owner, I know how important that would be to me so we wanted to make sure that he’s got his number back for next year with the word that he’s going to be running some races next year.”

Despite the sluggish economy and financial woes of other NASCAR organizations, Morgan said his homegrown team is still hoping for a return to the track. “We’ve never quit working,” Morgan said. “We’re working on a different routes, including possibly taking on an investor or investors.” Morgan said the MMM group also has representatives seeking out sponsorship packages. “We’re pursuing every avenue to put something together where we could be competitive,” Morgan said. While Morgan said his team has the equipment necessary to make a return later this season, the most feasible option would be next season. “We’re hoping to get back by Daytona,” said Morgan, referring to the season-opening Daytona 500. “I don’t think Tony meant any harm or disrespect,” Morgan said. “I just think this was an honest misunderstanding. I’m sure our friends and fans are happy that we still have our number.” Bristol Herald Courier


Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1 figures farewell friend Dino Toso
  • More mistakes will cost contenders title
  • Renault finds secret to 2008 tire performance
  • McLaren's 'J-damper' secret now exposed
  • Top simulator gives Alonso edge for home GP

F1 figures farewell friend Dino Toso
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore, Eddie Jordan and former world champion Damon Hill were among the mourners paying tribute to formula one engineer Dino Toso at a private service near his Oxford (UK) home on Wednesday.

Toso, the 39-year-old former aerodynamic boss at Renault's F1 team, lost his long battle with cancer last week.

Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan, who was Toso's boss at Jordan until he moved to Benetton (Renault) in 2001, told the Oxford Mail: "He was a very fit man and it was a blow when he got cancer -- he was given no time at all, particularly for someone who was so fit.

"The only time Dino went home was when he went to the gym," he joked.

1996 title winner Hill, also present at the service, was race engineered by Toso when a Jordan driver.

The Briatore-led Renault team said: "Dino was instrumental in building one of the sport's most successful aerodynamics departments, which helped the team win double drivers' and constructors' titles in 2005 and 2006."

More mistakes will cost contenders title
(GMM)  F1's championship contenders have identified finding consistency as the key to securing the 2008 title.

At the top of the current points standings is Lewis Hamilton, who has won more races than his challengers so far this season but also emerged from a couple of troughs.

"The most important thing now is consistency," the McLaren driver admits.

"This year, everybody's results have been more varied and every driver who has won a race has also failed to score on at least two other occasions," he said.

Five points behind Hamilton is Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, but his teammate Felipe Massa would be topping the charts if not for his engine failure near the end of an inspired drive in Hungary three weeks ago.

Raikkonen admits: "We haven't lost anything, but we need to get better results consistently.

"From now on, every single race will be extremely important and every single point will have a great value," the Finn explained.

Massa agrees that mistakes - whether their origin is driver error or car unreliability - will from now on spell disaster for the contenders' chances.

Referring to his Budapest engine failure, the Brazilian said: "We can't throw away points like that.

"We have to be as competitive as at Budapest, but we need to raise our reliability.  We can't repeat certain mistakes: we don't have any more excuses." 

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Emerson Fittipaldi to pace Detroit field in Corvette
Emerson Fittipaldi, two-time Formula One champion and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, will drive the Corvette Z06 E85 Concept pace car in the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch on Saturday, August 30. Fittipaldi will lead the field to the green flag for the start of the ninth round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series during the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend.

The customized Corvette Z06 E85 Concept pace car runs on E85 ethanol, a domestically produced alternative fuel. Ethanol-powered cars will also compete in the two-hour, 45-minute ALMS race, including Corvette Racing's championship-winning Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars powered by cellulosic E85R ethanol racing fuel in the GT1 class.

"Although not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06 E85 Concept pace car is a high-performance example of Chevrolet's gas-friendly to gas-free initiative, demonstrating viable fuel solutions," said Ed Peper, GM North America Vice President, Chevrolet. "As a racing champion and an ethanol refiner in his native Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi is the perfect Chevrolet ambassador to showcase GM's efforts with E85 at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix."

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Ferrari begin 2009 production
While the Ferrari Formula One team have been busy preparing for the coming weekend at the all new Valencia street circuit as well as the remaining six races on the 2008 calendar, they have also been busy elsewhere as this particular time of year sees work intensify on next year’s car.

At this stage the Maranello squad’s 2009 project is centering on the new chassis and gearbox, Also Costa revealed that it is in no way slowing down the ongoing development of the team’s current 2008 contender….

"We are entering the production phase for the main components of our 2009 car; parts such as the chassis and gearbox," he explained. "Ferrari has the ability and resources to work on next year's car, without having to relax for one moment on continuing the development of the F2008 in a championship that is proving to be very tight between ourselves and our usual opponents.”

“However, it is a very demanding challenge. Although it is a challenge we have faced many times before, it is particularly tough this time, as there are so many new elements coming into play for next season, such as the return to slick tires and the introduction of the KERS system. This makes the puzzle more complicated than ever, which is why we have to operate as efficiently as possible in terms of time management, commitment and energy, as we are now in a delicate phase with no way to recover from any mistakes. One step in the wrong direction could prove very costly.”


A1GP  to share quickest cars data with all teams
This season, as always, the fastest A1GP laps will be watched by millions around the world. But for the first time, the technical secrets behind them will be published.  The 2008/09 sporting regulations were confirmed last week, with the main highlights being a revised points system and the news that the action in the shorter Sprint race will now include a mandatory pit stop. There will also be more pressurized qualifying sessions thanks to less time to set the all important fast times for grid positions, and more time for rookie drivers on a Friday morning.

However, hidden in the regulations, there is another intriguing new rule, which could have an extremely significant affect on the closeness and the quality of this season’s racing – because now, all teams will get some crucial information about the fastest car on the track, and why it is the fastest.

How will this be done? Measurements from sensors placed all around A1GP cars are constantly recording data such as speed, throttle angle and brake pedal pressure. From this season, those measurements taken during the fastest lap recorded in each session will be published for the rest of the pit lane to see. With such information, teams struggling for pace during practice will have a better chance of understanding why they are slower, and hopefully closing that time gap to the front-running car.

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Goodyear to Close 92 Stores, Cut Jobs
NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said Tuesday it will close 92 underperforming stores by the end of the year in a bid to boost profit in its U.S. operations.  The company said the locations are not producing "acceptable returns." (How could they when their tires blow up all the time in NASCAR?)

Goodyear said by closing those stores, it will be able to focus on locations with "the best long-terms potential." The company added it will not announce the locations set to be closed until it has been able to communicate with the 500 full-time and 100 part-time employees who will be affected.

The closures will result in after-tax charges of about $30 million. About $15 million of those charges will be recorded in the third quarter, the company said. Goodyear said shutting the stores will eliminate losses of about $9 million annually from the stores. (If they shut down the entire company it will save the shareholders far more, and the NASCAR competitors won't have to compete on Goodyear's exploding tires)


Slumping ticket sales force ISC to close grandstand
Consider it among the strongest signs yet that even the NASCAR juggernaut isn't immune from economic downturns.

Remember back to July's running of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, when the main frontstretch grandstand was unfilled and the backstretch grandstand was only dotted with spectators? DIS officials have solved that problem, though not in a manner they would've preferred, nor envisioned, until very recently.

The 57,000-seat "Superstretch" grandstand, which begins just off Turn 2 and runs about halfway down the backstraight, will be closed for next July's Coke Zero 400. The only grandstand tickets sold will be for the 110,000-seat stands that run the length of the front "dog-leg" from Turn 4 to Turn 1.

"We did the math," DIS track president Robin Braig said Wednesday.

The two large Jumbotron television monitors, which face the backstretch seats during race events, reportedly cost about $200,000 to rent. When Speedway officials included the costs of additional shuttle buses and manpower needed to manage a race-day event, closing those seats became a viable option.

"We're trying to keep the costs down on tickets," said Braig. "When we open the Superstretch, there's everything from concession stands, cleanup crews, parking lots with buses and trams, the two huge Jumbotrons . . . Add up all that for the amount of people who are sitting back there, we just said, 'Hey, let's try to get everybody in the best seats we have, and try to hold costs down, especially since the demand for that area is lower than in past years.'"  Daytona Beach News Journal


Wheldon slams Detroit track
"Personally I don't like the track [at Detroit]. I think it's a useless track. It's very hard to overtake and it's bumpy as all get out, so it's kind of processional. They (CART) had a configuration before where you could actually overtake. I think that would be much more valuable to the series. But Roger Penske promotes that race and it's a great event. Everything around the race track is fantastic. It's a place I enjoy going to, but its probably my least-favorite track on the calendar."  Dan Wheldon


Penalized crew chiefs issue apologies for actions at Michigan UPDATE “I hate it for Joe Gibbs and J.D. Gibbs that they were put in that situation by their team,” NASCAR's Robin Pemberton said prior to the Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. “We take everything pretty serious. When we’re trying to do a post race inspection and evaluate things that have implications long term, we really feel like we need to get everybody to give us a fair shot at that.”

NASCAR this year has often suspended at least two individuals per team for a major rules violations.

“Crew chiefs and car chiefs are responsible,” Pemberton said. “You’ve seen our penalties escalate through the last year or more with taking more than one person out. In this particular case, crew chiefs and car chiefs [were suspended] and we feel because of the situation relative to engines, we felt like the engine tuner probably had something to do with it.

“And also the seventh man [suspended] was a mechanic identified as someone who did it.”

Pemberton would not say if NASCAR discussed parking the team for any races and would not elaborate on the length of the suspension.

“It just gives us a flexibility on the time, how long it needs to be,” Pemberton said.

Joe Gibbs Racing won’t appeal the suspensions. The horsepower testing occurred less than a month after NASCAR implemented rules to cut down the Toyota engines by about 15 horsepower. It was the first test under the new rules.

“When we do these tests, whether it be dyno tests – there was a time when we went to the wind tunnel quite a bit – and other things that we do to evaluate the competition in the garage area, we take that very, very serious,” Pemberton said. “I can’t tell you how serious we take it. It’s serious because we’re trying to give everybody a fair chance.”

NASCAR still has the two engines involved. The fines were lower than in Sprint Cup because it was the Nationwide Series, Pemberton said.

08/20/08 Joe Gibbs Racing crew chiefs Jason Ratcliff and Dave Rogers have apologized for their Nationwide Series teams’ actions Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

Both crew chiefs were among seven JGR employees indefinitely suspended by NASCAR for their cars found to have magnetic spacers underneath the gas pedal during chassis dynamometer testing following the race Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. The intent was to keep the engines from providing maximum horsepower. NASCAR uses those horsepower numbers to help determine whether to make rule changes for competitive balance.

The team issued a statement from the crew chiefs Wednesday evening.

“I apologize with great remorse for the actions that I took after the Michigan race last Saturday afternoon,” said Rogers, whose No. 20 team still leads the owner points standings by 168 despite a 150-point penalty as part of the NASCAR sanctions. “My apology is extended to NASCAR, the NASCAR officials, Joe and J.D. Gibbs, our drivers, all of JGR’s sponsors, and especially to all of the JGR family members that I have misrepresented.

“Joe and J.D. Gibbs trust me to lead this race team with honesty and integrity. I have failed them and feel great remorse for doing so. I accept the penalties imposed by NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing and make no excuses.”

The JGR teams have combined for 14 wins this year.

“First and foremost, I would like to apologize to the employees and partners of Joe Gibbs Racing,” Ratcliff said in his statement. “Because of poor decision making, I have failed you as the leader of this team and I am solely responsible for this situation.

“Secondly, I apologize to the men and women of NASCAR for my dishonesty and interference during a testing event. Going forward, I will work hard to regain the trust and respect that I once had with the fans, NASCAR and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, including our drivers, who had no knowledge or involvement in this transgression.”


Construction underway for Nikon Indy 300
The Gold Coast is a step closer to the 2008 Nikon Indy 300 today; after the first step in construction for the street circuit was completed ahead of the October 23-26 Event with the positioning of the first pedestrian bridge near Tedder Avenue.

Nikon Indy 300 Event Director David Bennett with reigning Bartercard Miss Indy Kate Hockly
Nikon Indy 300 Event Director David Bennett was joined on the Gold Coast Highway this morning by reigning Bartercard Miss Indy Kate Hockly in celebration of this milestone.

Bennett said a focus this year had been on accommodating the changing needs of the newly merged IndyCar Series, while also providing an extra feature for the Event’s fans.

“We are continually looking for ways to improve our motorsport precinct design to keep its working as efficiently as possible, and that process has continued this year,” said Bennett.

“With 24 cars coming here from the IndyCar Series, nine more than we have had in recent years, that has required some changes such as more pit bays and team sheds for instance, so that has been a challenge for the design.

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Toyota & Kyle Busch grabs another win
Kyle Busch continued his NASCAR dominance Wednesday night, winning the O’Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his third Craftsman Truck Series win of the season and his 17th overall in 2008 in NASCAR’s top three series.

The scheduled 200-lap race was extended three laps after Erik Darnell spun off of Turn 2 on Lap 199 to bring out the last of a record 12 cautions and set up a green-white-checker finish. Busch’s No. 51 Toyota struggled with vapor locking under previous restarts, but his final and most important restart on Lap 201 was flawless and he easily beat Todd Bodine.

“The last restart, it did it coming to the white (flag). Fortunately we were able to get it there,” Busch said of the vapor locking issues. His ninth series win was the first on a short track bettering a pair of fifths.

Busch led 145 laps and now has won in all three series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and NCTS – at the .533-mile track. Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle previously captured Bristol's national series "hat trick."

Johnny Benson, who was trying to become the first driver to win four consecutive truck races, finished fourth behind polesitter Scott Speed. Rick Crawford was fifth.

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