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Many series use HANS Sliding Tethers System
What do drivers in NASCAR's premier series and the Formula 1 World Championship have in common with the weekend warriors on short tracks and drag strips? Drivers in all of these unique forms of competition are now using the Vision Advantage PLUS0x2122 sliding tether system introduced this year by HANS Performance Products.

Rubens Barrichello, who scored a podium finish for the Honda F1 Racing Team under wet conditions at the British Grand Prix earlier this season, is among those utilizing the sliding tethers.

"The HANS Device is now considered a vital part of a driver's safety equipment and rightly so," said Barrichello. "Like all good designs, there is always room for improvement, so when given the opportunity to test an improved tether arrangement I was keen to try it out. I take driver safety very seriously and in working with the technicians from HANS Performance Products I recognized that they share this attitude."

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Grand-Am announced TABS as partner
Grand-Am Road Racing announced on August 23 that Toshiba America Business Solutions Inc. (TABS) has been named the official document and business solutions provider to Grand-Am Road Racing. This distinctive partnership allows Grand-Am and TABS to work closely together to create a cutting-edge mobile business solutions center specifically for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. The new mobile business solutions center will feature a state-of-the-art meeting area and vibrant work spaces equipped with a full complement of Toshiba laptops, displays and award-winning Toshiba e-STUDIOTM multifunction products (MFP).

"We are very excited to have Toshiba join our Grand-Am family of partners," explained Grand-Am President Roger Edmondson. "We look forward to working with TABS on enhancing the services available for our drivers, teams and partners by providing cutting-edge technology solutions and mobile business accommodations."

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Q & A with Lewis Hamilton
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team driver and Championship leader Lewis Hamilton looks back on the European Grand Prix weekend at the all-new Valencia street circuit. Although he suffered from a stiff neck and a bit of the flue, Hamilton was able to finish the race in second position.

Q: What did you think of the Valencia street circuit?
Lewis Hamilton:
“I think the organizers did a great job getting it ready and I can really see Valencia growing into a great track. It certainly wasn’t your average street circuit – it was very flat, wide and fast, so almost the complete opposite of Monaco.”

Q: What’s the key to racing successfully on a street circuit?
“You’ve got to be more committed than at a normal circuit to get the maximum from the car but, at the same time, you’ve also got to be more cautious because you know that even the slightest error can put you in the wall. So you’ve got to blend those two approaches – obviously, we’re not throwing the cars right into the corners where the apexes are marked by concrete barriers, but I try to get as close as possible as push as close to the limit as I can while remaining safe.”

Q: Was it difficult to find the limit at a brand new street course?
LH: “The most difficult thing about the track was its dustiness; it was very slippery so if you locked your brakes, you could find yourself sliding quite a bit – as I found out on a couple of occasions!

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JGR Shuffles Nationwide Crews Chiefs Once More
Joe Gibbs Racing will change its Nationwide Series crew chiefs for the third time in three weeks as it continues to adjust its personnel following the suspensions of seven team members.

Doug Hewitt, who was crew chief for the No. 18 team with driver Kyle Busch last week at Bristol, will be the crew chief of the No. 20 team with driver Joey Logano this weekend at Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway.

Michael Sibley, who was crew chief for Logano’s NASCAR East Series championship team last year, will be crew chief for the No. 18 team this weekend.

Wally Brown was the No. 20 team crew chief last week. Brown directs the JGR testing teams and will serve as crew chief for Logano in at least two Sprint Cup races later this year, including Logano's attempt to make his series debut Sept. 6 at Richmond International Raceway.

Seven JGR employees were suspended last week after NASCAR found magnetic spacers underneath the gas pedals during a horsepower test. Those indefinitely suspended were both the No. 18 and No. 20 team crew chiefs (Dave Rogers, Jason Ratcliff), car chiefs (Richard Bray, Dorian Thorsen) and engine tuners (Dan Bajek, Michael Johnson)  as well as one additional employee  (Toby Bigelow) who played a role in the rule infraction. Scenedaily.com


Tough times at Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi talked about expanding his Sprint Cup organization to four teams last season. He made a run at Kyle Busch, the hottest driver on the planet this season outside of Carl Edwards, before Busch settled on Joe Gibbs Racing.One has to wonder now whether Ganassi will have enough drivers and sponsors for two teams in 2009.

Or whether he'll be in Cup at all.

Ganassi released 71 people and folded the No. 40 team of Dario Franchitti on July 2 because of a lack of sponsorship. He lost longtime sponsor Texaco Havoline on the No. 42 car of Juan Pablo Montoya last week.

On Tuesday, Reed Sorenson of the No. 41 car announced that he will drive for Gillett Evernham Motorsports next season.

That leaves Montoya and half a season's worth of sponsorship on the No. 42 car and a driverless No. 41 car with Target as the sponsor signed for 2009.

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tv news

Bristol TV Ratings Down
ESPN's live coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway earned a 3.5 household coverage rating, down from a 4.1 for last year's telecast on ESPN. Viewers were 4,996,647, down 13% from 5,735,433 in 2007. Coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol on ESPN earned a 1.4 household coverage rating, down from a 1.5 for last year's race that aired on ESPN2. Viewers were 1,748,983, down 12% from 1,993,590 in 2007. ESPN


Zipadelli and team plan to battle through distractions
Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Greg Zipadelli will take on the challenge of mentoring rookie Joey Logano next season in the Sprint Cup Series, but for now he is  trying to focus on getting the No. 20 Toyota currently driven by Tony Stewart performing better.

Stewart has yet to win this year. While the two-time Cup champion sits sixth in points and would need a couple of disastrous races to fall out of the Chase, he hasn’t come close to teammate Kyle Busch’s eight wins.

Stewart is ending a 10-year relationship with JGR and Zipadelli, while Busch is in his first year after coming from Hendrick Motorsports.

So, what is the No. 18 team of Busch doing that the No. 20 team isn’t?

“We don’t necessarily run everything that they do and vice versa,” Zipadelli said. “But I think the biggest thing is you have a driver over there that’s going to prove to the world that he is better than who they’ve put in his car [at Hendrick].

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Duno moves past spat with Patrick
Some have called it the best catfight in motor sports history, others "Girls Gone Wild in the Indy Racing League."

Milka Duno, the personable 36-year-old Venezuelan driver, would like to forget her part in it, move on with her career and get to the checkered flag Sunday in the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix without incident.

However, when you snap a towel not once but twice in the face of Danica Patrick, you gain instant notoriety -- like it or not -- plus celebrity status on YouTube.

The Duno-Patrick spat occurred during the IndyCar Series stop at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 19, when Patrick marched over to Duno's pit box to complain to her and Dreyer & Reinbold crew members that Duno was too slow on the course and blocking faster drivers like herself during practice for the Honda Indy 200.

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Superleague Formula set to hit the tracks
The Superleague Formula Championship is set to hit the track for the first time this weekend with the global debut of the new football-themed motor racing championship at Donington Park in the UK. The new championship brings together the international passion of club football with the speed and excitement of top-level international motorsport.

Clubs from across the globe will be represented on-track with their colours adorning 750 horsepower, V12-powered single seaters – each time fighting it out for 1 million euro prize money at every round.

The Donington weekend will be the first of six championship rounds in 2008 with other races scheduled for the Nurburgring, Germany (September 20-21); Zolder, Belgium (October 4-5); Estoril, Portugal (October 18-19); Vallelunga, Italy (November 1-2); and Jerez, Spain (November 22-23).

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Budweiser Shootout features new format for 2009
The Budweiser Shootout, NASCAR's season-opening event, will undergo a major format change in 2009 with the top-six drivers in owner’s points for each car manufacturer eligible for a starting berth. NASCAR’s season-opening event is scheduled for Saturday night, Feb. 7 at Daytona International Speedway.

In addition, other format changes include:

  • Event distance increases from 70 laps to 75 laps
  • 10-minute intermission after 25 laps; teams can change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments

"We’re thrilled about the new format for the Budweiser Shootout," said Daytona International Speedway president Robin Braig. “This new look for the Budweiser Shootout will provide added excitement for the race fans, teams, drivers and manufacturers as NASCAR kicks off its new season at its most storied venue.”

“The Budweiser Shootout is one of the most anticipated events on the racing calendar for both drivers and fans, and we feel the new format will certainly retain the fast-paced excitement and competitive spirit of the race,” said Tony Ponturo, vice president of global media and sports marketing for Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “The Shootout marks the start of a new NASCAR season and provides a benchmark for teams as they gear up for the annual Daytona 500."

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Stewart says Massa's penalty too lenient
(GMM) Sir Jackie Stewart has hit out at what he perceives as the lenient penalty handed down to Valencia winner Felipe Massa after Sunday's European Grand Prix.

The Scot, a former triple World Champion and team owner, and a regular media pundit, praised the Ferrari driver's performance on the streets of the Spanish port city but also believes the Brazilian committed a basic error in the pitlane.

During the 57-lap race, FIA stewards delayed imposing a penalty on leader Massa following his controversial 'unsafe' release by his Ferrari pit crew into the path of Force India's Adrian Sutil.

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Sato to test for STR at Jerez
(GMM) Toro Rosso is to give evaluation test drives to at least two clear candidates for a 2009 seat with the Faenza-based Formula One team.

It is already known that Sebastien Buemi, a GP2 racer, Red Bull test driver and the energy drink company's preferred successor for Sebastian Vettel, is to get his chance in the coming weeks.

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport now reports that Takuma Sato, the popular and experienced Japanese driver who lost his seat with the Super Aguri collapse earlier this year, will also test for Ferrari-powered STR before the season is out.

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Valencia was a boring race
The street circuit at Valencia has everything to ensure an exciting Grand Prix, but this weekend it didn't deliver. There was hardly any overtaking and the race was one of the most boring one's of the last few years. What went wrong?
We can't point out what exactly went wrong. Everybody expected several safety car periods at the urban circuit, but Bernd Maylander didn't have to leave the pits with his Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG at all. Overtaking should be possible at this street circuit as it is quite wide and offers several passing possibilities. During the F3 and GT races in July, we witnessed several nice overtaking manoeuvres ourselves, but the only exciting overtaking action during the Grand Prix came from Williams' Kazuki Nakajima.

Not only the fans and the international media are a bit disappointed, but also the Spanish newspapers criticise the race and track.

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Reed Sorenson to join GEM in 2009
Gillett Evernham Motorsports officials announced today that Reed Sorenson has signed a multiyear contract to join the organization beginning with the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
The team did not announce sponsorship or car number, saying those details would be revealed in the near future.
“Reed is a highly talented driver with a wealth of experience and accomplishments for a 22-year-old,” said Mark McArdle, the team’s vice president and managing director of competition.  “We believe he has a great future ahead of him here at Gillett Evernham Motorsports. He will be a great fit with our drivers, sponsors and employees.”

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Andy Petree discusses Auto Club Speedway
Quotes from ESPN Analyst and Two-Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Crew Chief Andy Petree on Auto Club Speedway. Andy Petree, NASCAR analyst for ESPN, was a 25-time NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner and two-time series champion during his career as a crew chief.

Q:  Last year it was extremely hot at Auto Club Speedway- what do race teams have to do to make the drivers comfortable in the cars?

Andy Petree:  The biggest thing they have to do is get some fresh air to the driver. They have air conditioning units that go to their helmets that enable them to breathe cool air. They have to make sure they have good alternators and that they don’t fail. With a race that is as hot as it was last year in California, if you lose your helmet air conditioning unit in that race, it could actually really hurt your performance on the track.

Q:  What about the crews on pit road- how do they stand the heat for a four-hour race?

Petree: The main thing is to stay hydrated. They’re still going to be hot, there’s not much shade and there aren’t a lot of ways to get out of the sun. But they just have to stay hydrated and keep rags on them to keep cool and keep their body temperature as low as possible.

Q: What’s something unique about Auto Club Speedway that fans should watch for on the telecast?

Petree: The race starts in the late afternoon and goes into the night and it makes it very difficult for the drivers to see, especially getting into turn three. During that transition period there are times where the driver is actually driving blind into that corner. espn.com


Many reasons for Raikkonen's slump
World Champion Kimi Raikkonen is dealing with a myriad of problems this season
Formula 1 is a world which tends to make judgments based on what happened five minutes ago, rather than looking at longer-term trends or the bigger picture. Thus it is no surprise that Felipe Massa's victory in Valencia is seen as confirmation that the Brazilian is now Ferrari's challenger for the World Championship.

On paper this is certainly true. Massa has now won four of Ferrari's six victories, and he is just six points behind World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

The European GP win moves him to seven points ahead of his Ferrari team-mate, World Champion Kimi Raikkonen. The key point, however, is that while both Ferrari drivers have had their ups and downs this year, Raikkonen has now had four consecutive races in which his pace (rather than the result) has been very disappointing. He did finish on the podium in Hungary, but only after Massa and Hamilton ran into trouble. Raikkonen started the year strongly, but he has not won a race since Spain in April. Massa has won three and should really have won a fourth, but for a cruel engine failure in the closing laps in Budapest. Kimi has had one major disappointment. At Magny-Cours he was on course for victory when his exhaust failed and he dropped to second place.

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Briatore lobbying for 'entertaining' spec cars
In the Toyota motor home, formula one team bosses at Valencia staged the latest in a series of recent group meetings.

BMW's Mario Theissen was asked about the get-together on Friday and revealed only that "the future and financial issues", and the sustainability of the sport, were discussed.

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports that, following FIA president Max Mosley's request, the reduction of costs and future rules were also discussed, with Bernie Ecclestone acting as chairman, but no agreement was reached.

There was no shortage of ideas, however. Reportedly, some teams - like Flavio Briatore-led Renault - want the introduction of standardised parts, such as KERS systems.

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Not no.1, but Massa can win title
(GMM)  Felipe Massa insists he is not Ferrari's new 'number one' driver, but the Brazilian says he has the support he needs to win the 2008 world championship.

Amid reigning world champion and teammate Kimi Raikkonen's struggle for form in the sister F2008, 27-year-old Massa is on top of his game and in the eyes of many now the main challenger to Lewis Hamilton.

Massa told the German newspaper FAZ that he is not now Ferrari's number one, but he revealed that the team is "100 per cent behind me".

"I have a very good position," he explained.  "The team trusts me totally; I get everything that I want and need.  And that is the right way to make progress," Massa said.

Many seasoned F1 observers and analysts still doubt whether Massa, despite his 9 wins from 100 grands prix, is a worthy aspirant to F1's ultimate prize.

"I have been underestimated," he insists, "but that doesn't bother me.  I know what I can do and what I want to achieve."

Some of Massa's shine at present is magnified by the struggle of his highly-paid teammate, who is receiving a hard time also by the Italian press.

"Nervous and absent-minded, Raikkonen is in a deep crisis," Turin's La Stampa said.

The sports daily Tuttosport even speculates that the Finn's lucrative tenure may end sooner than the wildest of the other current rumors, with Fernando Alonso ready to step in.


Ron Dennis is ashamed to be English
McLaren boss Ron Dennis has stated he is "ashamed to be English" after witnessing Valencia successfully stage the European Grand Prix.

Spain's third largest city made its Formula One debut at the weekend, and in many respects did not let down supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

The circuit weaved through the marina and port which last year was home to yachting's America's Cup, although as with any 'street' track, overtaking areas were at a premium.

The event was not totally faultless, and it lacked the glitz and glamour of Monaco, while there were few defining landmarks other than the bridge amid the blur of concrete walls and wire fencing which lined the circuit.

It was too much to expect such a new track to be entirely faultless, but the problems were minor, doing Valencia proud 19 months after they staged a lavish £2million launch of McLaren's car for the 2007 season.

Launching an unexpected attack on England's failings in hosting major sporting events, Dennis said: "I have to say something a little controversial which I'll probably regret. When I go back into England and I go through Heathrow airport, I'm ashamed to be English.

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Multi-purpose platform approach for IndyCars being considered
An IndyCar Series engine architecture applicable to other racing series is among the ideas that has engaged multiple global manufacturers in exploring development of the next technical package.

The Indy Racing League has targeted introduction of new engine and chassis specifications for the 2011 season -- the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 - with a desire for multiple manufacturer participation in the engine program.

The multi-platform approach was conceived during dialogue between the sanctioning Indy Racing League and automotive executives and original equipment manufacturers individually following the IndyCar Automotive Manufacturers Roundtable in late June. A second roundtable has been scheduled for mid-September in Indianapolis.  More at IndyCar.com


Ferrari works to fix engine woes UPDATE #2 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro is working with no respite. By this morning, the engineers who were on track at Valencia yesterday, were already in meetings with their Maranello-based colleagues to carry out the usual post race debrief, during which the key points of the weekend were re-examined with a view to deciding on what action should be taken.

President Luca di Montezemolo also took part in the meeting, before another meeting with the Scuderia's senior management to discuss all aspects of the current situation. Montezemolo expressed his satisfaction with a great win for Felipe, on the occasion of his one hundredth Formula 1 race, all of them spent at the wheel of cars powered by a Ferrari engine, truly a driver who has grown up under the sign of Maranello. The Valencia victory also coincided with Brigestone's two hundredth race in the blue riband category of motor sport: the Japanese company supplied Ferrari for 88 of its total of 207 wins.

Initial analysis of the engine fitted to Kimi Raikkonen's car, which arrived in Maranello this morning, confirmed the breakage of a con rod. Currently underway are further checks to try and understand what provoked the failure, even if it is easy to surmise that it could be a similar problem to the one that sidelined Felipe, three laps from the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Furthermore, the engineers were aware of a potential risk in general terms with the 056 engine fitted to Kimi's car, which was on its second race, given that the con rods were part of the same batch used on Felipe's engine. Changing the engine on Kimi's car would have seen the Finn start from far down the grid at a track where it appeared that overtaking was impossible, proving it's not enough to bring Formula 1 to a street circuit in a fantastic location to produce spectacular racing.

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Kristensen and Ekström join The Race of Champions
The most successful endurance car racer of all time, Tom Kristensen, has added his name to the stellar cast being assembled for The Race of Champions 2008, which already includes the all-time best of the best from the FIA Formula 1, World Rally and World Touring Car Championships.   

The eight-times Le Mans 24-Hour winner will join the seven-times F1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher, four-times World Rally Champion, Sébastien Loeb and three-times World Touring Car Champion, Andy Priaulx at Wembley on Sunday December 14 to compete for the coveted 'Champion of Champions' title. 

Kristensen, who finished as runner-up to Sébastien Loeb in the 2005 Race of Champions, will team up with fellow Audi DTM racer Mattias Ekström – himself twice a winner of both The Race of Champions and the DTM series. “The Race of Champions is always a lot of fun,” said Kristensen, who this year won the Le Mans 24 Hours for a record eighth time, at the wheel of an Audi R10 TDI. “Racing around a stadium like Wembley in front of a packed crowd is completely different to racing in the DTM or at Le Mans - it’s a great atmosphere and a fantastic way to end the season.”

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A1GP hopes not to fail in China again
Chengdu International Circuit
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has strong ties with China, having raced there five times in the last three seasons (each time to small crowds and huge losses), but for Season Four the series will have a new venue in its most visited country and take the opportunity to help an earthquake struck region. The Chengdu International Circuit will host round two on the 7-9 November 2008 and proceeds from the event will go to the Sichuan Earthquake Relief Fund.

The date for the event means a change to the provisional calendar for Season Four, as this was the date originally set for a race in Indonesia. Now the Indonesian event, which sees A1GP head to the country for a third time, moves to a new venue on the 6-8 February 2009. “Making such changes needs a lot of co-operation, and we would especially like to thank the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sport Affairs, Dr Adhyaksa Dault and IMI the National Motorsports Federation, for consenting to this date change,” said A1GP Chairman, Tony Teixeira.

Commenting on the series visiting China Teixeira added: “Our welcome in China has always been extremely warm and it is very gratifying that we have been invited to race at our fourth different track in this amazing country by the Chinese Government. The Chinese fans are some of the most passionate, as can be seen by their support for the series and A1 Team China. Also, as we have seen with the recent Olympics, China knows how to put on great events.” 

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ALMS most popular driver voting open
Voting for the annual American Le Mans Series Most Popular Driver award is under way once again. As in years past, the Series will conduct a six-week voting campaign and let its fans determine who wins this year's award. Corvette Racing's Ron Fellows has won the contest for four years running. Who do fans want to follow in his footsteps? They can choose by picking their favorite driver today.

Voting will run through midnight on Sunday, October 5 - the same weekend as Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New Mazda6.

The Series also is accepting nominations for the From the Fans award. This honor goes to the person or group who made the biggest impact in the American Le Mans Series and sports car racing over the past year in the eyes of fans. Past winners include Series founder Dr. Don Panoz, team owners Rob Dyson, Dave Maraj and Duncan Dayton, GM's Gary Pratt and Doug Fehan, Audi's Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich and American Le Mans Radio host John Hindhaugh.

Fans may send nominations to  rsmith@americanlemans.com by September 14. The field will be narrowed down to the top-five nominees starting the next day with polling to determine this year's deserving winner.


Superleague to reach mostly European TV audience
Superleague Formula has concluded television deals with major European and Middle East networks taking the new football-themed motor racing championship to the same networks where football fans cheer on their local heroes.

The inaugural championship kicks off at Donington Park in the UK this weekend and Superleague Formula will supply live action of Saturday qualifying and Sunday's two races including the innovative reverse grid final event.

In addition, a 52-minute highlight program of the race weekend will also be produced for the networks.

Fans will be able to view the championship on:

UK: Setanta Sports
Spain & Andorra: Cuatro
Italy: Sky Italia
Portugal: TVI
Brazil: SporTV Globo
France: Direct 8
Holland: RTL
Greece: Alpha TV
Cyprus: MiVision
Turkey: Show TV
UAE & Middle East countries: Abu Dhabi Sport

For all the remaining European countries, Eurosport 2, will provide live coverage of the race weekend as well as a specific magazine in prime time on Tuesdays.

In addition to the commercial broadcasters and leading sports networks, Superleague Formula will widen its coverage thanks to the partnerships developed with the football clubs with on-track action also broadcast on many of the participating club's own networks including:

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Attendance up for Infineon IRL race UPDATE Wearing a Mount Tam Double Century bike ride T-shirt, Jaime Neilson, 29, of Fremont attended Sunday's race. He also attended this year's NASCAR race at Infineon. He enjoyed the NASCAR race more.

"NASCAR is three times better," Neilson said. "More cars. More passing. More action."

Neilson wasn't alone with his thoughts. With 20 laps left in the race, there was a steady line of cars leaving the back exit to the track.

[Editor's Note: And by the time the race was over the grandstands had lost 50% of the people, which is typically what you get when you give too many free tickets away and attract non-race fans.] 

Too bad. They missed Helio Castroneves' big finish. Once he climbed out of his car after taking the checkered flag, Castroneves looked for the nearest fence to climb but couldn't find one tall enough to do his Spider-man pose. Instead, he pulled himself into the main grandstand behind pit row and jubilantly jumped among fans as if he had just hopped on stage as a "Price Is Right" contestant.

In the winner's circle, Helio should have changed his name to Helium. He was floating around on Cloud 9 and was so amped up that, when he sipped the ceremonial glass of red wine, you half expected him to chug it. Finally, Castroneves chased teammate Ryan Briscoe around the winner's circle with a spray from a bottle of champagne.

This is the kind of personality Indy needs to promote and exhibit. Yet its two most popular drivers - Castroneves and Danica Patrick - are better known for being a dancer with a two-step and a female with an attitude. More at Marin Independent Journal (local newspaper pans IRL race - does this surprise you?  In a NASCAR market the local media almost always pans open wheel racing.  Coincidence?  We think not.)

08/25/08 How big was the big Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday at Infineon Raceway?

It depends on your point of view. Glass half full or glass half empty or, from the event's perspective, grandstands half full or grandstands half empty.

On the negative side, these are hard economic times and IndyCar racing still takes a backseat to NASCAR in terms of popularity. Though the main grandstand at Infineon Raceway was about 90 percent full near the finish line, there were rows and rows of unoccupied seats in the terraces and the fans didn't have much to root for on Sunday because it was not an extraordinary race.

"NASCAR is what it is," Infineon president and general manager Steve Page said Sunday. "This crowd here, we're delighted with. There's really only one day a year that this place is going to fill up."

Page said Sunday's Indy crowd, perhaps around 45,000 people, was actually larger than last year's. Advanced sales were up once the IndyCar Racing League unified with the Champ Car circuit earlier this year after a long and bitter split that confused, frustrated and divided racing fans. Let's put it this way: Indy car fans are trying to warm to their drivers nowadays like Giants and A's fans are trying to warm to their new players. In NASCAR, fans already easily identify their drivers by their names, car numbers, car models and car sponsors.

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Another IndyCar team done
Tyler Tadevic, Team Owner, Pacific Coast Motorsports: “I want to thank Moorefield Construction for their support this weekend.  I wish we could have had a better finish because the car was fast, the strategy was good, and Mario was quick.  Unfortunately we were not able to execute our pitstops as quickly as we usually do, we had to change our pit positions due to a couple of injuries and that hurt us today.  The guys have done an incredible job all season.  Ultimately, we proved we can put a fast car on the race track.  I have to thank my entire team for sticking it out with me. They are the ultimate example of teamwork and I am really proud of them.  Barring any unforeseen support, it looks like this will be our last event this season.  Thanks to the series for their support and we are turning our focus to come back strong in 2009.”


Ferrari defends pit mistake, Raikkonen
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali fended questions on three hot topics in his post-race press conference on the shores of the Valencia America's Cup yacht basic after Sunday European Grand Prix in Spain.

The two pit stops incidents were the burning questions, with Domenicali quick to point out that the mechanic injured when Kimi Raikkonen left the pit prematurely had only suffered a fracture of a toe.

"He's very happy that we won," said Domenicali. "As an example of the team atmosphere, he said to me 'I'm very sorry, I'm very sorry' and it was not his fault. It just shows how Ferrari people are, the passion that they have, the way they behave and the professionalism that they put in every day. We need to be very proud of the guys who work in this team."

Domenicali explained how the team no longer uses a lollypop, but a system of lights in a pod directly in front of the driver. "The system works in the following way. When the fuel nozzle is connected to the car, you see that there is a red light on. At a certain moment, you see that there is a flashing light that is close to the red light, telling the driver that he has to be ready. Then, as soon as the nozzle comes off, the light becomes green unless the guy that is controlling the pit stop position overrides it manually, because there is a car in the fast lane coming through, so he has to delay the car. That is how the system works. We've used it since last year."

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New Hire by Roush Fenway Racing
Fenway Sports Group (FSG), a premier sports marketing agency that specializes in representation, sponsorship sales, event marketing and strategic marketing consulting, announced it has appointed Brian Corcoran as Executive Vice President, Business Development & Motorsports. Corcoran will oversee day-to-day operations for FSG's NASCAR division which includes Roush Fenway Racing and Yates Racing. He is tasked with identifying and developing new sponsor and revenue opportunities for both teams. Corcoran comes to FSG after spending the last six years as Managing Director, Corporate Marketing for NASCAR. He was instrumental in securing Nextel Communications as the entitlement partner of the Nextel Cup Series and Nationwide Insurance as lead sponsor of NASCAR's secondary circuit which is often compared to Triple-A baseball. Corcoran also played key roles in securing new sponsors, including Enterprise, Office Depot, AMD, TISSOT, AutoZone and Domino's Pizza. In February 2007, FSG purchased 50 percent stake in Roush Racing, one of NASCAR's largest and most successful teams, to form Roush Fenway Racing (RFR). The team fields five cars in the Sprint Cup Series and currently has three drivers, Carl Edwards (2nd), Greg Biffle (7th) and Matt Kenseth (10th) in the Chase for the Cup and four drivers in the top 13 in Cup standings with David Ragan currently in 13th place. This merger marked the first time that owners of a professional franchise in one of the four major leagues have partnered with a NASCAR team. Through RFR, FSG also provides marketing and sponsorship services to Yates Racing. PR

tv news

SPEED HD to Launch on Comcast
Fox Cable Networks has entered into an agreement with Comcast – which has more HD television subscribers than any other distributor -- to make its general entertainment flagship FX and top motorsports network SPEED available to Comcast HD subscribers by the end of 2009.

With the launch on Comcast and other carriage agreements, FX HD will now exceed more than 10 million HD homes since its October debut; and SPEED will grow to more than 9 million HD homes since its own February premiere.

“We appreciate having as important an HD provider as Comcast endorse two of our most popular HD networks,” said Mike Hopkins, president of affiliate sales and marketing for Fox Cable Networks. “FX and SPEED are helping to lead the way in America’s transition to digital television and especially HD, and so we’re pleased so many local systems are adding them to their HD line-ups.”

With the new Comcast agreement, FX HD and SPEED HD are each carried by the nation’s largest cable television HD provider; the nation’s largest satellite television HD provider, and the national’s largest telephony HD video provider, among several others.


Wheelie-popping motorcyclist tops 150 mph
A speeding teenage motorcyclist who popped a wheelie on a North Dakota interstate and then opened up the throttle to more than 150 miles per hour took enough care to pull over before using his cell phone.

By the time authorities caught up with the suspect and his 1000cc Honda CBR, he was sitting in a ditch in Minnesota talking on his cell phone and promptly was arrested, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

The motorcyclist, from Fargo, N.D., waived extradition and was returned to North Dakota to face charges of reckless driving and fleeing police.

According to the patrol:

The wild and woolly 35-minute scene began shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday, when a state trooper spotted the motorcyclist on Interstate Hwy. 29 in Fargo "riding a wheelie past several other motorists."

The trooper, in pursuit, radioed for help. A second trooper also couldn't stop the motorcyclist, whose "speeds exceeded 150 mph as the suspect fled out of the Fargo area on I-29 southbound" and "weaved through traffic in [a] construction zone, creating a gap between himself and the trooper."

About 4:30 p.m., with the chase suspended, a Cass County deputy in Minnesota found the motorcyclist "sitting in the ditch talking on his cell phone" south of Moorhead. Star Tribune


Ferrari worried about engine failures
Ferrari bosses have warned that reliability problems are increasingly threatening to derail the team’s world title bid.

After an engine blow-up three laps from home cost Felipe Massa victory in Hungary, the Maranello squad suffered another race-ending failure on Kimi Raikkonen’s car in Sunday’s European Grand Prix at Valencia.

As a result Ferrari’s advantage over McLaren in the constructors’ championship has been shaved to just eight points, while despite Massa’s win Lewis Hamilton inched further ahead in the drivers’ standings.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali admitted that unreliability has become a serious concern needing urgent attention.

“Unfortunately, once again, we have suffered with a reliability problem, this time on Kimi’s car, which lost us precious points,” he said. Now we have to find out what happened in yet another engine failure and then decide how to react.

“Clearly what happened is serious and we will have to do all in our power to make up for the ground we have lost through reliability problems in the coming races.

“Now we must continue to push to the maximum to develop the car and improve reliability in order to be as well prepared as possible for the forthcoming races.

“We still have two test sessions, at Monza and then Jerez and a lot of hard days work in the factory.”


Schu says Ferrari mechanic not seriously hurt UPDATE Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen’s second pitstop in the European grand Prix on Sunday saw the Finn pull away from the garage a little too prematurely and the refueling rig was still attached. As a result the refueler was hit by the F2008 and run over by the right rear tire before falling to the ground in a heap.

The situation looked a little grim as Pietro Timpini continued to lay on the ground. A doctor from the Toyota Racing team rushed to his aid and he was soon being stretchered down pitlane to the circuit’s medical centre. Thankfully the outcome was not as bad as originally feared with Timpini sustaining a small fracture to the left foot and it is not particularly serious.

“I want to say a few words about Piero Timpini, our mechanic unfortunately injured in Kimi’s second pit stop: his first words were to say sorry, as though the incident was his fault: it is thanks to the passion, dedication and professionalism, that these guys show on a daily basis for Ferrari how special is our team,” said Stefano Domenicali.

While it was originally thought that the fault lay with the new computerized lollipop ‘man’, it was in fact Kimi’s fault for leaving too early….

“At the second pit stop, I made a mistake and left before I should have done. Fortunately, Pietro (Timpini) is not too badly hurt. I wish him all the best and hope he gets better soon,” Kimi said.

This was just one of several blunders by the team in general during this event.

08/24/08 (GMM) The mechanic hit by the rear wheel of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari during a pitstop at Valencia is not seriously hurt.

That was the information after the race of Michael Schumacher, the former seven time world champion who at the European grand prix sat on the Italian team's pitwall in his occasional advisory role.

It is believed reigning world champion Raikkonen, who later retired with an engine failure, simply tried to exit the pit-box before Ferrari's unique lights gantry shone to indicate refueling is finished.

Replays of the incident, after which the mechanic was hurriedly stretchered down the pitlane to the medical centre, showed him being struck by the Ferrari's wheel and then lying on the ground for some time.

Initial reports were of no serious injuries, but possibly a hurt foot and back pain. The mechanic was taken to hospital for further checks.

"In the circumstances, he is not too bad," Schumacher confirmed. "He is not heavily injured."


Castroneves bites into Dixon’s lead
The checkered flag had barely fallen on Helio Castroneves Aug. 24 at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County and rival team owner Chip Ganassi was already doing the math.

“I think if Helio wins the next two we just have to place fourth, so we should be able to do that,” said Ganassi, owner for Scott Dixon, who retains a 43-point lead in the IndyCar Series championship with two races remaining.

Ganassi was correct. If Castroneves can dominate Aug. 31 at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park and Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway like he did at Infineon Raceway, he could win a maximum of 106 points, increasing his season total to 639. With Dixon sitting on 576 points, the six-time winner would need 63 points in the final two races, an average of 31.5 points per race, which is just under the 32 points awarded for a fourth-place finish, to claim his second series championship.

Dixon’s 43-point advantage is slightly above the average margin with two races to go. From 2001-2007, the points leader averaged a 35.1-point advantage on the nearest competitor. Four times the leader with two to go went on to the title, while three times he was passed.

Scenarios for Scott Dixon to clinch the 2008 championship at Belle Isle

If Dixon wins the race, Castroneves is eliminated.
If Dixon finishes 11th or worse, Castroneves remains in contention.
If Dixon finishes second through 10th, there are numerous scenarios that could eliminate Castroneves.


Tempers flare in tight Firestone Indy Lights championship
Raphael Matos didn't come away with a race win from what he called the most important weekend of the season, but he has what he covets the most – the championship points lead.

The AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing driver outpaced his title rival Richard Antinucci in both ends of the doubleheader weekend at Infineon Raceway and leads Antinucci in the two-man race for the Firestone Firehawk Cup by three points heading into the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 7.

The weekend was not without controversy between the title protagonists. Antinucci, who entered the weekend with a four-point advantage, beat Matos into the first turn in the Aug. 23 Carneros 100, but had to give the position back to his rival as it was deemed he jumped the start of the race. The rivals ran nose to tail for the remainder of the race and rounded out the podium behind winner Franck Perera.

"It was a pretty straightforward race in the sense that this is the order that we had in qualifying, and it seems to reflect the performances in the race," said Antinucci, who finished third in the first race. "I had a great start, I just think I kept my position and followed my line, but unfortunately I was radioed immediately halfway through the first lap to relinquish that position and give it back to Matos, so I went wide in the last corner. The rest was pretty good, at the end the pace was good, I also managed to post my fastest lap with three to go."

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Impressive F2000 Championship Series debut for Daly
Conor Daly
In his debut in the F2000 Championship Series in Mosport Park, Canada, Indeck/Cytomax driver, Conor Daly provided the strongest opposition of the weekend to the series points leader (and now champion), Norwegian, Anders Krohn. From his front row starting spot on Saturday, Daly took command immediately at the green flag and a fierce battle ensued. Krohn’s first attempt to pass Daly down the inside at the 135 MPH turn eight was thwarted when Daly held the outside line forcing Krohn to back off. Krohn forced his way by on lap three and the due pulled clear of the field to finish in that order.

On Sunday, Daly turned the heat up in qualifying by putting his Brian Graham Racing prepared Van Diemen on the pole for the second race of the double header at the American Le Mans Grand Prix of Mosport weekend. In the race he struggled with the handling of the car and was not able to hold off Krohn and the finishing order matched Saturdays with Daly’s team mate, Kyle Marcelli completing the podium by finishing third.

Daly’s next race’s will be rounds 11 & 12 of the Skip Barber National Championship to be held at the new Jersey Motorsports Park on August 30 – 31st. With four rounds to go, Daly is in a four way fight for the championship.

tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series Live Under the Lights from California

The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series head west to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., for Labor Day weekend, and ESPN and ESPN HD will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Pepsi 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday, Aug. 31, beginning at 7 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live telecast of the Camping World 300 on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 9:45 p.m. Both races are simulcast on ESPN Deportes. The 2-mile oval, formerly known as California Speedway, is located just east of Los Angeles.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer for ESPN’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center.

The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

Craven, Evernham, Said in NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable Discussion

The Monday, Sept. 1, edition of NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, at 5 p.m. ET will include host Allen Bestwick leading a roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news and races. Panel members for the show will be former NASCAR driver Ricky Craven and ESPN analysts Ray Evernham and Boris Said. Half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now air Tuesday through Thursday of this week at 5 p.m., and at 12:30 a.m. Saturday (late Friday night).

The one-hour weekend edition of NASCAR Now airs Sunday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m. with a preview of that night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Fontana, Calif. The weekend wrap-up edition airs Monday, Sept. 1, at 12:30 a.m. (late Sunday night). Said will be an in-studio analyst for the programs.

NASCAR Now is hosted by Ryan Burr, Nicole Manske and Bestwick and originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include NASCAR Insiders Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis, analysts Ray Evernham, Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Boris Said and Tim Cowlishaw, ESPN.com reporters Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton and D.J. Copp, a member of the Petty Enterprises NASCAR team.

NASCAR Now viewers also benefit from frequent contributions by the NASCAR on ESPN team including Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake.

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Ganassi team confident of sponsor for Montoya
Chip Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta is confident that the team can find sponsorship to fill the 18-race void for Juan Pablo Montoya next season.

Texaco/Havoline parent company Chevron announced last week that it was leaving the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, though Wrigley’s already is signed for 18 of Montoya's races next year, Lauletta said.

The team had been talking to potential sponsors for its third Cup team and Dario Franchitti before shutting it down this season and had an idea that Texaco might either leave the sport or go to another team.

“Now that they have decided to get out of the sport, it gives us the ability to really be aggressive with the companies we’ve been talking to and with new companies that will see that Juan is available for half the season to really zero in on that,” Lauletta said. “I feel real confident we’ll have something put together pretty quick." Scenedaily.com


Toyota Confirms Joey Logano Will Replace Tony Stewart
Joey Logano
Goodbye Tony Stewart. Hello Joey Logano.

Logano will take the wheel next season of the No. 20 Toyota Camry NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car currently driven by Tony Stewart, the Bristol Herald Courier has learned.

Logano’s move – rumored and dissected for months – was confirmed Saturday evening at Bristol Motor Speedway prior to the start of the NSCS Sharpie 500 by a high-ranking official affiliated with one of NASCAR’s premier motorsports manufacturing teams.

“Joey Logano … next year is going to be the [No.] 20 car,” said the Toyota official, who did not want to be named because a Monday announcement is expected by Joe Gibbs Racing.

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Bourdais to drive streets of Paris
Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Bourdais will hit the streets of the capital city of France on Sunday 31 August. At 11:50 am, Bourdais will begin his lap at Paris along Trocadéro, the Eiffel tower, l'Hôtel des Invalides and the Place de la Concorde.  The street demo is an advertising stunt for the French Grand Prix in 2009. The ticket sale for the race starts on 1 September, the day after Bourdais hits the streets of Paris.


Liverpool team signs Valles
Liverpool Football Club has a big slice of Spanish influence from the coach to the on-pitch stars – now the Reds will be represented on track by a young Spanish star of the future in Superleague Formula.

Adrian Valles
Coach Rafael Benitez, striker Fernando Torres, goal keeper Pepe Reina, midfield Xabi Alonso, and defender Alvaro Arbeloa will now be joined by fellow Spaniard and talented racing driver Adrian Valles who will drive the 750 horsepower, V12 powered Superleague Formula car in the opening round of the championship at Donington Park on August 30/31.

After a successful karting career, Valles has risen through the ranks to major international championships including World Series by Renault and GP2 and scored a role as test diver for the Spyker Formula 1 team last year.

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Formula boredom at Valencia - press
Like most F1 races, Valencia was a processional snoozefest with drivers finishing in the order they started.  Can't blame the track for being too narrow, as the GP2 race was excellent.
(GMM)  Valencia's new formula one street circuit failed to deliver much excitement during the European grand prix on Sunday, the press declared.

"Ho-hum in Valencia", the International Herald Tribune headlined, panning the processional race on the streets of the Spanish port city.

Even the Spanish media did not disagree.

"A boring track," the sports daily Marca admitted, "with hardly any possibilities for overtaking."

"It was a procession, during which nothing happened, except for that which should not have happened: Alonso retiring," El Mundo Deportivo added.

All the expectation of several safety car periods never materialized, and podium-getters Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica finished in the positions they qualified without ever challenging one another.

"It was a grand prix with much glamour but no safety car," the newspaper lamented.  "The most exciting place was the pitlane," El Mundo said, referring to the incidents involving Ferrari.

"A boring race," Spain's Diario Sport echoed.  "At this venue, pole position is crucial."

BMW-Sauber test driver Christian Klien commented: "I was actually surprised that it was a relatively boring race in which nothing really happened.

"In the other categories racing here we saw some really good racing with spectacular overtaking," the Austrian is quoted as saying by the Credit Suisse emagazine.


Yates plans to run two teams in 2009
Team owner Doug Yates is still seeking sponsors for #28-Travis Kvapil and #38-David Gilliland for 2009. The Yates teams are 24th and 26th in the owner standings and have pieced together partial sponsorships throughout this season. “Hopefully we can nail some things down where we can make some announcements,” Yates said. “It’s come a long ways. I think it’s looking a lot better. We’re trying to selling our teams with our drivers in place. That’s our primary objective. They have done a nice job for us this year and we are working on building some quality teams here.” Yates indicated that the team has had conversations with Paul Menard, who could bring the family sponsorship from Dale Earnhardt Inc. Menard said Friday that he has not made a decision on next year. Yates said Saturday that his organization’s focus right now is on Kvapil and Gilliland. “That [Menard deal] is something that a lot of people have looked at,” Yates said. “Our primary objective is to sell what we have now and we’ll see how it unfolds.” Yates said the goal is to have two cars again next year. “We pieced it together this year and made it happen,” Yates said. “Hopefully we can solidify some stuff, and even if we don’t get two fully solid, we feel if we can get close to that, we can keep it going.” SceneDaily


IRL dominated by foreign drivers
Where are all the American drivers? On the road to NASCAR of course!  Open-wheel racing has seen a steady resurgence in the United States since the unification of IndyCar and Champ Car in February. Now the question is whether an American driver can again contend for a championship as the series seeks to return to level of popularity it enjoyed 15-20 years ago.

"I think, naturally, American fans want to see American drivers do really well," said Ohio-native Graham Rahal, one of three Americans to win on the circuit this season. "It's the old patriotism thing and a sense of pride.''

With the series back at Infineon Raceway this weekend, the four drivers still in contention for the points title posed for pictures Friday. None was American.

It didn't used to be like this. From 1980 to 1992, an American driver won the IndyCar World Series (sanctioned by CART) 12 times, as drivers such as Mario and Michael Andretti, Rick Mears, Bobby Rahal and Al Unser Jr. helped make open-wheel racing the most popular form of motor sports in America.

But international drivers made their move soon thereafter, with Englishman Nigel Mansell winning the championship in 1993 and Canadian Jacques Villeneuve winning in 1995.  From there on out foreign drivers have pretty much dominated the American open wheel scene. 

Why?  Because the feeder series overseas teach a driver how to really drive whereas here in America they design the series to put on a show with globs of downforce that stick the car to the ground.  Can't learn good car control that way.  In addition a series like Indy Lights features many 100% throttle oval races.  Again, can't see talent when a driver is easy flat the entire race.

Team owners like Tony George has tried to give American drivers a chance but they have looked like wankers.  He ran ex-Champ Car driver Paul Tracy just one race in Edmonton and he buried his two drivers so bad they looked as though they were standing still.  But putting his stepson (Ed Carpenter) and his god-child (AJ Foyt IV) stinks of nepotism and ensures his team will always be backmarkers......their one claim to fame was when team manager Larry Curry put 'cheater' cars on the track and they qualified up front, only to be caught during tech inspection and sent to the back.  Curry was soon given his walking papers by an embarrassed Tony George.

We're not saying all American drivers are inferior.  Nonsense, but some of the best American talent was never given a shot in Champ Car and IndyCar because they did not have the money to buy their ride, and that is just wrong.


GPDA worried about Singapore debut - Trulli
(GMM)  F1's driver safety union, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, is concerned about the sport's forthcoming inaugural night race.

The floodlit event, to be held on the streets of Singapore at the end of next month, will take place without any prior pre-race testing under lights.

The official timetable for the weekend's action even affords precious little evening practice for the drivers, and despite speculation and reports of amendments, this has never been officially confirmed.

"At the moment we still don't know what the schedule of the weekend will be," Toyota driver and GPDA stalwart Jarno Trulli told reporters at Valencia at the weekend.

He said a major concern is the combination of the lights, the concrete-lined street circuit, and the unknown quantity of how rain might further complicate their visibility.

"We are a little bit concerned," the Italian admitted.  "We go there, we haven't tested, we don't have any idea.  It's going to be a night race, it's going to be the rainy season, so it's not exactly what you really want from a safety point of view.

"It doesn't look comfortable so far."

Trulli said there is no point liaising with MotoGP riders about the situation, following the premier two-wheeled category's inaugural night race in Qatar earlier this year.

"Because riding a bike is different to driving a car.  And they were racing on a circuit and we are racing on a street circuit.  They had run-off and we have walls," Trulli added.


Observers laud Massa, pan Raikkonen
The fight for the world title may now be down to Massa and Hamilton as Raikkonen's mind appears to be focused on retirement
(GMM)  Ferrari at Valencia should have moved one step closer to determining a 'number one' driver to back for the 2008 title, according to observers following the European grand prix.

"La Ferrari e Felipe Massa" (Ferrari is Felipe Massa), the major Italian daily La Stampa declared, after the Brazilian driver overtook in the drivers' standings his teammate and reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen with a commanding win at Sunday's inaugural Spanish street race.

Finn Raikkonen's misery at Valencia was compounded by an engine failure, but former Ferrari champion and commentator Niki Lauda has not been impressed with the 28-year-old's driving of late.

Lauda is, however, impressed with Massa's burgeoning form.

"He seems totally focused and motivated.  And Kimi is really not with it.

"The world championship is now a duel of Hamilton against Massa," the great Austrian told German newspaper Bild.


Ferrari denies need for 'lollipop' return
(GMM)  Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali has defended claims that pitstop problems at Valencia prove the team should abandon its unique practice of no longer using a 'lollipop man' at races.

The Italian outfit has for some time relied on a novel system of lights, where key mechanics press buttons when eventually the driver is shown the 'green' and speeds off.

But on Sunday, not only was race winner Felipe Massa controversially released into the path of another car following a pitstop, teammate Kimi Raikkonen jumped his green light during the refueling process and injured a mechanic.

To tackle the Massa situation, however, Domenicali told reporters after the race that one mechanic's job is to delay the shining of the green light if it is unsafe for the driver to pull away.

And the Italian also denied claims that Raikkonen got confused due to the lack of a physical 'lollipop' in his path.

"When there is a red light, it's a red light; it's like the lollipop is down," Domenicali said.


More testing of A1GP car at Silverstone
New A1GP car at Silverstone
The new A1GP Powered by Ferrari cars were in testing action again over three days last week - on UK soil for the first time at Silverstone International Circuit in Northamptonshire. The new black A1GP liveried machine made its debut running alongside the yellow test car as the first real comparisons could be seen on a circuit where the previous A1GP cars had clocked up extensive testing miles.

On Monday and Tuesday Danny Watts was at the wheel of the car, so becoming the first driver to have tested both the old and new A1GP cars. “It has noticeably more power,” he commented. “The new aero package helps driving through the high speed sections of the track even quicker. The carbon brakes work extremely well meaning you can brake a lot later than you ever could before. It’s much more like a thoroughbred racing car. Overall the performance is a step up in every department. I thoroughly enjoyed driving the car.” FIA GT Champion, Thomas Biagi, drove all three days while Jonny Kane was also in the car on Wednesday.

New A1GP Ferrari engine features a 60bhp push-to-pass button
The program for Silverstone also included testing the new PowerBoost system. The new 8-cylinder Ferrari engine has a power output around 600bhp when drivers hit the PowerBoost button, giving approximately an extra 60 horsepower overall compared to last season. An impressed Watts said: “The extra 60bhp you get with the push-to-pass will open up more overtaking opportunities at every circuit A1GP visits this season which should make racing even more exciting.”

The test also allowed the opportunity for A1GP’s photographer to get the first shots of the new Ferrari engine out of the car.

The design team has also released the car’s dimensions as below, showing the new car to be slightly shorter in length but wider overall with a slightly higher ride height.

A1GP Powered by Ferrari Car Dimensions

Overall length  4814mm (189.5 inches)
Wheelbase  3100mm (122 inches)
Front track  2014mm (including tire) (79.3 inches)
Rear track  2028mm (including tire) (79.8 inches)
Ride height  27mm (1 inch)

A1GP General Manager, Technical and Operations, John Wickham: “The test was very encouraging and both test drivers gave very useful feedback. The brakes have much, much better performance, the engine is stronger, and it is more powerful and has more torque. We have obviously moved forward with this car. With this we have now covered 6100-kilometres testing with the first test car and 581-kilometres with the second.”

racing news

Quotes of the Week
"It's fantastic having won this race, especially after the disappointment of Budapest. The team did an amazing job in preparing for this Grand Prix and the benefits of that could be seen right from the very first day. Yesterday, I got pole and today the win, with the race fastest lap as the icing on the cake. You cannot ask for more especially at my one hundredth grand prix with every single one of them powered by a Ferrari engine. I got a good start and I pushed to the maximum right from the early laps. In the second part of the race, the car was exceptional, but also in the final stint, when I had the softer tires, I could do the lap times easily. This is an important moment in my career and I must continue to work in this way. I am sorry for what happened to Kimi: we have to look very carefully at our reliability. I am confident the team knows which countermeasures to take to react to this issue, as it has always done in the past." Felipe Massa, Formula 1 driver, Ferrari, winner of European Grand Prix at Valencia

"Not much to say after a day like this. It was definitely not the weekend I was hoping for but I do not believe that, despite this negative result, I am now out of the running for the title. There are still six races to go and sixty points up for grabs. We have seen that the situation change really quickly, even if I realize things are now more complicated. Today, I lost a place at the start and I was stuck in traffic for all of the first stint. Then, when I had a clear track ahead of me, I was able to push and was doing good lap times. At the second pit stop, I made a mistake and left before I should have done. Fortunately, Pietro (Timpini) is not too badly hurt. I wish him all the best and hope he gets better soon. In any case, it would not have changed anything as then the engine broke. Now we must concentrate on preparing for the next rounds and on improving our qualifying performance." Kimi Raikkonen, Formula 1 driver, Ferrari, DNF European Grand Prix at Valencia due to an engine failure

"It's the best way for me to prepare for a race and not be distracted.  All it takes is for one guy to give you hassle or spit in your face." Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 driver, McLaren, says he is always safely inside his hotel room at Spanish circuits by 9:30 pm because he fears Spanish racists spitting on him.

"It is absolute madness.  In the car industry, there are more and more joint ventures; only in Formula One do we all try to reinvent the wheel." Franz Tost, Team Principal, Scuderia Toro Rosso

"This is really the only way to control costs. Everybody forgets what the public wants. I don't see many people interested in our gearbox or our suspension or our brakes. The world has changed, we are in the entertainment business as well." (Briatore faces stiff reprisals from those who believe that more of these sorts of philosophies - like the current frozen engines, standard ECUs and control tires - will render F1 little more than a glorified GP2 championship) Flavio Briatore, Managing Director, Renault Formula 1 team

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Sonoma Indy Car race moved to ESPN Classic UPDATE The race is now being shown on ESPN2 as originally scheduled.

08/24/08 The PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County will start on ESPN Classic at 5:35 pm ET due to the LPGA golf tournament running late on ESPN2.


Donoso goes wire-to-wire at Infineon
Pablo Donoso earned his first career Firestone Indy Lights victory, winning the Valley of the Moon 100 by 2.0601 seconds over Logan Gomez. Raphael Matos finished sixth, extending his points lead to three over Richard Antinucci, who finished seventh. The season finale is Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway.


PABLO DONOSO (No. 22 TMR-Cristal-Xtreme Coil Drilling, first): “This is great. This is a beautiful day. I’m pretty happy, and I love this track. I won here in 2005 (in Star Mazda), so now I’ve repeated in 2008. I had an awesome car. Team Moore Racing gave me a beautiful car. I did the job. I finished first. But it’s just not me, it’s the team, my family, my manager. This is for all the people who supported me in Chile.”

LOGAN GOMEZ (No. 23 IZOD Menards Guthrie Racing, second): “We had something for (Pablo Donoso), it’s just every time you go into a braking zone, all the air is off the cars. And with it being so hot today and a bunch of different rubber on the track, we were just locking up tires. We had a few moments out there, I fell back to Pablo (Donoso), but overall it was a good race. It was a big improvement from where we started at the Open Test, when we were about 11th or 12th. So we’ll take a fifth and a second from a weekend in California.”

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, third): “It was a good race. Unfortunately, during the restart I was a little bit stuck behind (Pablo) Donoso. It was so hard to pass, but when someone made a mistake you could pass, and we got another podium. It’s fantastic. I’m really thankful for my Healthy Choice Sam Schmidt crew. They worked really hard this weekend. I don’t know what happened behind us, but I hope we can still fight for the championship.” 

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Massa can play engine 'joker' for Spa
(GMM) Ferrari should consider playing his so-called engine "joker" after quickly remedying the car's reliability problems, Valencia winner Felipe Massa said on Sunday.

After the Brazilian's V8 unit failed within three laps of the chequered flag in Budapest three weeks ago, his teammate Kimi Raikkonen had a similarly smoky exit to the European grand prix.

The rules in 2008 allow each driver to make one unscheduled engine change without incurring the ordinary penalty.

Playing his "joker" ahead of the forthcoming Belgian grand prix at Spa-Francorchamps would allow Massa, who began a new two-race schedule with a fresh 2.4 litre engine at Valencia, to benefit from any remedies to the problem put in place within the next two weeks.

"We need to work very hard and see if it is important to use or not to use the joker if we really have a problem," the 27-year-old told reporters.

Raikkonen's failure, while on course for sixth place on Sunday, drops him 7 points behind Massa in the drivers' championship. His deficit to title leader Lewis Hamilton is 13 points.

"It was definitely not the weekend I was hoping for but I do not believe that I am now out of the running for the title, even if I realise things are now more complicated," the Finn insisted.


Sore Hamilton nearly missed Valencia race
(GMM) Championship leader Lewis Hamilton almost had to sit out Sunday's European grand prix after he revealed struggling with "health problems" throughout the Valencia weekend.

The revelation came after the McLaren driver finished second to title rival Felipe Massa on the new urban city circuit.

"I've had a pretty miserable weekend, really," the 23-year-old told reporters.

Hamilton said he not only has the 'flu and fevers, he also woke early on Saturday morning with neck spasms, probably triggered simply by sleeping in an awkward position.

"It kind of nearly led to me not racing this weekend," he said, confirming that test driver Pedro de la Rosa had been put on standby to drive his number 22 car.

Hamilton said the support of his physiotherapist helped him struggle through qualifying and then Sunday's race, played out over 57 laps in hot conditions.

"It was so bad that I was struggling to basically stand up and so I had to have injections in my neck and take plenty of painkillers," he explained.

Although confirming his neck was sore as he spoke, Hamilton thinks he will be fit for the forthcoming Spa Francorchamps-Monza double header, which kicks off with the Belgian grand prix in two weeks.


Infineon Sunday Notebook - 1
Another beautiful day here in Sonoma.  The cool morning cloud cover has given way to sunshine and beautiful temperatures.  A good crowd appears to be coming through the gates........Former Penske Racing driver Andre Ribeiro is here this weekend talking to old friends.  He spent quite some time catching up with ex-Honda HPD boss Robert Clarke and he is also here keeping an eye on his Indy Lights driver Ana Beatriz............Spotted Tony George leaving a meeting at Roger Penske's hospitality unit.  Was Roger giving Tony his opinion/direction on the 2009 Surfers race quagmire?........Infineon Raceway is going to sell a signature wine to benefit the Speedway Children's charity.  They have planted 1 acre of grapes which they expect will yield 300 cases of wine a year.  Their first harvest won't be a big one, but they expect to plant more acres in the future.  This is the first year that their vines are producing grapes.  This southern part of the county, which gets cool in the morning, often with fog, is perfect for Pinot Noir wines.......Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Kalkhoven have also gotten into the wine growing business.  Vasser V12 winery has planted 8 acres so far and the first year he hopes to produce 100 cases of wine.......Kevin Kalkhoven also is growing grapes on his property that he also has his home on.  He expects to make 15,000 bottles per year but he may not sell it, instead he may just be giving a lot of wine to family and friends........The Historic Grand Prix cars, mostly from the 1970s, have been turning laps all weekend and they are serious.  They appear to be as fast as today's IndyCars, but they are running the longer course here so we cannot compare lap times..........Spotted some guests in the Dale Coyne pit that we did not recognize.  Friends, or potential sponsors? Mark C. reporting from Sonoma, CA


Infineon: Servia leads morning warm-up
Morning warm-up doesn't always mean much, but if they are any indication, the ex-Champ Car teams should fare pretty well in today's IndyCar race at Infineon Raceway.

Top-10 (separated by just 4/10ths of a second)

  1. Oriol Servia
  2. Tony Kanaan
  3. Bruno Junqueira
  4. Justin Wilson
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  6. EJ Viso
  7. Dan Wheldon
  8. Will Power
  9. Helio Castroneves
  10. Scott Dixon


Sabates OK with NASCAR's dropping of Mexico City
Felix Sabates helped bring NASCAR to Mexico City, so when NASCAR announced its 2009 Nationwide Series schedule and Mexico City wasn’t on it, Sabates could have been disappointed.  But he wasn’t.

“They accomplished what they wanted,” said Sabates, who owns a piece of Chip Ganassi Racing. “They wanted to get the NASCAR Mexico series going. They’re very successful now.  When we first put the deal together, it wasn’t going to be forever. It was going to be three or four years.”


Theissen confirms BMW to lose Credit Suisse
(GMM) BMW-Sauber will farewell long-time sponsor and partner Credit Suisse, a Swiss bank, at the end of 2008.

It was reported earlier this year that prominent backer Credit Suisse, which entered the sport with Peter Sauber's then independent squad eight years ago, does not intend to renew the alliance beyond this season.

It is now being reported by motorsport-total.com that team boss Mario Theissen confirmed the news on the verge of Sunday's European grand prix at Valencia.

The German portal also said Credit Suisse's minority shareholding in the Hinwil based squad will be taken up by Peter Sauber, whose own interest will rise to 20 per cent.

BMW owns the remaining 80 per cent.

Theissen on Sunday also responded to rumours linking former double world champion Fernando Alonso with a one-year contract with BMW-Sauber for 2009.

Would such a short-term deal be acceptable to BMW?

"It depends on the particular circumstances and the particular driver. It is possible, but in principle I prefer a long-term agreement."

Theissen also said BMW-Sauber will confirm its full 2009 driver lineup "between now and the end of the season".


No quick decision about Honda 2009 drivers - Brawn
(GMM) Honda principal Ross Brawn has warned observers not to expect a rapid decision about the team's driver lineup for 2009.

Briton Jenson Button is almost certain to be retained, but the future of F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello is very much under a cloud, amid strengthening rumours that former double world champion Fernando Alonso could replace the Brazilian.

Alonso, who Brawn admitted at Valencia is the key to the current driver market, has said he does not plan to even think about the identity of his 2009 employer until September or October.

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Mosport morning warm-up
Audi Sport North America’s Lucas Luhr was the fastest driver in Sunday’s 25-minute warmup for the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport and Round Eight of the American Le Mans Series. Luhr’s Audi R10 TDI that he will share with Marco Werner posted a lap of 1:05.429 (135.298 mph).

The speeds shown in qualifying Sunday continued in the morning session. Luhr’s time was less than Dindo Capello’s pole-winning time from last year - mark the Italian smashed Saturday.

Romain Dumas, the LMP2 pole-winner, was second overall and first in class at 1:05.896 (134.339 mph). He will drive Penske Racing’s No. 7 Porsche RS Spyder with Timo Bernhard as the pairing looks to win overall at Mosport for the second straight year.

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Risi Competizione confirms Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca Lineup
The American Le Mans Series GT2 Championship-winning Risi Competizione team will extend its racing relationship with Krohn Racing for the final two rounds of the 2008 season. 

The two teams have joined together for endurance races both in the United States and at Le Mans over the last two years with great success.  The highlights have been wins for Risi at Le Mans this year and Sebring in 2007, with the Krohn green car taking a superb second place at Le Mans 14 months ago and an equally strong podium finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring at the start of the 2008 season in March.

The #61 Risi Krohn Ferrari 430 GT will be driven by Tracy W. Krohn, Nic Jönsson and Eric van de Poele at both Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca, both races to be held in October.  It will race alongside the familiar #62 Rosso Red Ferrari of Jaime Melo and Mika Salo who will be looking to repeat their faultless drive of a few months ago at the French circuit after which the series is named.

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Massa fined but keeps Valencia win
(GMM) Stewards at Valencia said Felipe Massa can keep his European grand prix victory, despite a post-race investigation into how he rejoined the pitlane arguably unsafely following a stop.

During the race, the FIA officials delayed making a decision about the incident, which involved the Ferrari pit crew releasing the Brazilian driver into the path of Force India's Adrian Sutil.

The situation raised suggestions that Massa, 27, could lose his victory through the imposition of a time penalty, or face a ten-position drop for the forthcoming Belgian grand prix.

But the stewards have simply fined Massa 10,000 euros.

Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni said during the Valencia race that he believed Massa should not be penalized because Sutil was not disadvantaged by the incident.

Massa, meanwhile, was actually critical of the German driver.

"I think it wasn't very clever from Adrian's side. I was the leader and he was lapped," he said.

"He saw me coming, he needs to let me by; I had to back off and lost a lot of time," Massa added.


ALMS & IMSA hire two key ex-Champ Car employees
Beaux Barfield, formerly Race Director of Champ Car’s Atlantic and Trans Am sanctioned series, has been named to the same post by IMSA Chief Operating Officer Tim Mayer. 

Barfield, a native of Houston, TX, served as a Champ Car steward from 2003-2008 during which time he also worked as Race Director of the two ancillary sanctioned series. During the 2008 American Le Mans Series season, he has served as an assistant to Mayer, who had assumed responsibilities from long-time Race Director Marty Kaufman the beginning of this year. 

As Race Director, Barfield will be the chief competition official, overseeing on-track race decisions, enforcing rules and procedural issues. He also will be responsible for preparing pre-race and post-race documents for Series drivers, teams and other officials. Paul Walter, meanwhile, will continue in his role of Operating Steward and James Foyle remains in the post of Clerk of the Course.

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Dempsey 3rd straight victory at Mosport
Irishman Peter Dempsey completed a 'Canadian hat trick,' winning this afternoon's Round 8 of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.  Dempsey, driving the #21 Andersen Racing / LotusWorks/ Allied Building Products Mazda,  also won last weekend at Trois Rivières and the weekend before that at Road America, becoming the first driver this season to win three races. 

Finishing second at Mosport was Joel Miller in the #20 JDC Motorsports / Mazda / K&N Air Filters Mazda, followed by Tom Gladdis in the #5 Andersen Racing / Marrache & Co. / Allied Building Products Mazda.  The Expert Series winner was Chris Cumming, driver of the #16 World Speed Motorsports / Inviro Medical Mazda, while the Gerry Kraut, driving the #55 JDC Motorsports / Dougherty & Co. / Dougherty Funding LLC Mazda, won the Master Series class.

"I guess you could call it the 'the luck of the Irish' that kicked in at just the right time for me today," said Dempsey.  "I wasn't sure going into the race that we had the pace to win, but I was able to pass Edwards on lap 7 just a few seconds before a full-course yellow came out.  When the race went green again for a couple of laps I was able to hold him off, then we had that final incident and the race ended under yellow.  It's not really the way you like to win a race, but it's been a great three weeks and I'm really happy for the Andersen team and my sponsors." 

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JGR to announce new #20 driver Monday
Joe Gibbs Racing has called a 2pm/et Monday news conference to introduce Joey Logano as the full-time driver of the #20 next season, according to a racing source. The 18-year-old phenom will replace Tony Stewart, who will be a driver-owner at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. "We still aren't ready to come out and say here's definitely the plan,'' Gibbs said. "So Monday is our press conference.'' Gibbs also would not acknowledge that Home Depot will be on the car even though it has another year on its contract with JGR or that Greg Zipadelli would stay on as crew chief of the #20. But he did acknowledge that Home Depot has been a great partner "so we'd love to see that go on.'' Logano is expected to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond in three weeks.  ESPN.com


Di Grassi holds on for second win
Lucas di Grassi took the sprint race win this morning at Valencia to hand Campos a double victory at their home circuit, with the Brazilian staying out of trouble after avoiding an accident in front of him on the tenth lap and then storming away to win by four seconds from Luca Filippi and Jérôme D'Ambrosio, with the points from his fastest lap and the victory moving di Grassi into the title battle with just two rounds remaining in the season.

His job was made a little easier at the start of the race when Sébastien Buemi could not leave the grid for the warm up lap, clearing a slot in front of him, and when Andy Soucek and Jérôme D'Ambrosio were slow off the line on the dirty side of the track di Grassi was through and looking at the rear wing of polesitter Filippi, although Grosjean was able to just slot between the pair at the end of the first lap. With the Frenchman soon attacking the front man, di Grassi decided to bide his time and wait for an opportunity to come to him.

Behind them Bruno Senna was soon all over the rear of Soucek's car after Pastor Maldonado found the wall on the second lap, and the Brazilian was pushing hard to maximize his advantage over title rival Giorgio Pantano who was outside of the points: on lap seven it looked like the Brazilian's dreams were coming true when Soucek suddenly slowed, but an avoidance move off the track coated his tires in dirt and Senna spun a few corners later, finding the wall and ironically promoting the Italian into the points as he did so.

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track news

Bristol in #1 in ticket sales
It may be hard to tell the effects this weekend, because Bristol Motor Speedway's 160,000 seats are always filled, and the waiting list for tickets is long.  Saturday's Sharpie 500 marks the 53rd consecutive sellout here, the longest stretch of sellouts in NASCAR. And tonight's Nationwide race will be the 19th straight race in that series with a crowd of 100,000-plus at the Bristol track. That means more than 560,000 tickets have been sold for this year's four NASCAR races there. No other venue in the sport comes close.  journalnow.com


F1 news briefs: Sunday
(GMM)  Local reports on the scene of the European grand prix at Valencia suggest that up to 15,000 of the allocated 112,000 seats will be vacant alongside the inaugural formula one race on Sunday.

It also emerges that hundreds of paying spectators on Saturday complained to organizers Valmor Sports that their seats offered impeded views.


Now infamous to those within F1 circles, the British scandal newspaper News of the World is back in the headlines, quoting Lewis Hamilton as saying he fears Spanish racists spitting on him.

The McLaren driver was the subject of racist taunts by Fernando Alonso supporters at a track test in the country earlier this year.

News of the World claims Hamilton is always safely inside his hotel room at Spanish circuits by 9.30pm in the evenings.

"It's the best way for me to prepare for a race and not be distracted.  All it takes is for one guy to give you hassle or spit in your face," he said.

tv news

Brian Vickers and Danny Thompson to be guests on Wind Tunnel UPDATE A reminder that Brian Vickers and Danny Thompson will be guests on Wind Tunnel tonight.

08/18/08 Sprint Cup driver, Brian Vickers, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain in the studio this Sunday, August 24. After leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the 2006 season, Brian was named as the flagship driver for Red Bull’s entrance into Sprint Cup.

Bonneville Speed Week competitor, Danny Thompson, will also be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. He is the son of the late legendary racer, Mickey Thompson.  Among his many accomplishments, he set a number of land speed records at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 1968 with a Ford Mustang.

Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs live Sunday night at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET on SPEED.   

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
GP2 Series Valencia
6:00am-7:30am SPEED
Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe Valencia
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Series Reading, PA
10:00am-11:00am (08/2008)  ESPN2
Movie: The Racers (1955)
10:30am-12:00pm FOX Movie Channel
Check local listings for your time zone
NASCAR Sprint Cup Replay Sharpie 500 Bristol 
12:00pm-3:00pm (R) ESPN Classic
Rolex Sports Car Series Armed Forces 250 Sonoma
12:00pm-3:00pm (8/23/08) -DP only SPEED
RacerTV –Motorcycles Georgia 
2:30pm-3:00pm VERSUS
American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Mosport
3:00pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
IndyCar Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County
5:30pm-8:00pm (L) ESPN2
AMA Motocross Motocross 338 Southwick, MA
6:00pm-7:00pm (SD) SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Bristol
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Brian Vickers (NASCAR)
Danny Thompson (Bonneville Speed Week)   
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com


Rossiter to Continue on with Montagny for AGR
Andretti Green Racing (AGR) announced today that Englishman James Rossiter will make a third start in the team's XM Acura alongside Franck Montagny in next weekend's Detroit Sports Car Challenge American Le Mans Series event at Belle Isle.

Rossiter and Montagny combined for a strong effort in the Generac 500 at Road America on Aug. 9 and are teamed again this weekend in the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport, which goes green tomorrow at 3:05 p.m. (EDT).


Audi run makes Mosport faster than Road America
Audi driver Dindo Capello has turned the former Canadian Grand Prix circuit at Mosport into the fastest racetrack of the American Le Mans Series. In Saturday’s qualifying, he beat last year’s pole time with the over 650-hp Audi R10 TDI by almost two seconds. With an average speed of 138.116 mph, Capello recorded the fastest lap ever in the history of the American Le Mans Series thus beating the record which his team-mate Lucas Luhr had established just a fortnight ago at Road America.

Driving the "sister" car, Marco Werner made sure that both Audi R10 TDI prototypes will start from the front row of the grid on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. local time (9:05 p.m. in Germany). The German was a mere 94 thousands of a second slower than Dindo Capello. The Italian celebrated his tenth pole position in the American Le Mans Series having captured his last pole exactly one year ago also at Mosport.

The performance of the Le Mans-winner was very special because he did not drive at all in the last practice before qualifying as a part of the track surface had broken up and the session had to be stopped prematurely.

The two Audi R10 TDI prototypes incurred significant damage due to the tarmac already the day before giving the Team Audi Sport North America considerable overtime. The monocoque of the car of Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner even had to be changed overnight because a repair of the damaged tub at the race track was not possible. Hence the joy was even greater following the perfect qualifying result.

Thunderstorms are predicted for race day at Mosport. Audi won with the Audi R10 TDI at Mosport in 2006. Last year, Dindo Capello and Allan McNish enjoyed a commanding lead before dropping to second place just minutes from the end of the race due to a problem with the shifting system.


European GP - Past the 200 mark
Felipe Massa's name will go down in the history books as the first Formula 1 driver to secure a pole position at the brand new Valencia street circuit. The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro man was on great form, battling not only the other nineteen drivers, but also unusual weather with a few drops of rain falling, to record his fourth pole position of the season, the thirteenth of his career and to push the Scuderia past the double century mark, with this it's 201st pole in Formula 1.

Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen will start from fourth spot, blaming the fact he locked up his wheels a couple of times for not doing better. Sharing the front row with Felipe is current championship leader, Lewis Hamilton for McLaren-Mercedes, while inside Kimi on row 2, we find the BMW-Sauber of Robert Kubica. The other Finn, in the other McLaren, Heikki Kovalainen is fifth ahead of the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel, for whom this was his best ever F1 qualifying result.

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Mears to drive No. 07 RCR car in 2009
Richard Childress Racing announced Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, that Casey Mears will be the driver of the team’s No. 07 Chevrolet with sponsorship from Jack Daniel's next season as Clint Bowyer will move to the organization's No. 33 car sponsored by General Mills.

Mears, who has spent the last two years in the No. 5 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports, learned in June that he would be replaced by Mark Martin in that ride at the end of 2008.

Mears said he has agreed to a three-year contract with RCR.

“I just can’t wait to get started,” Mears said. “I’m just ready to get going.”


Infineon: Perera marches to win in 1st Indy Lights race
Frenchman Franck Perera won the first Firestone Indy Lights race at Infineon Raceway Saturday from pole.  Raphael Matos finished 2nd and took over the point lead by 1 point.

Perera became the series-record eighth driver to win in a season by taking the Carneros 100 by 3.7395 seconds over Raphael Matos on the 2.303-mile, 12-turn Infineon Raceway course.

Matos, who joined Perera on the front row for the first of two 30-lap races on the permanent road course, finished one spot ahead of Richard Antinucci in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. The order moved Matos, driver of the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car, ahead of Antinucci in the standings by one point with two races remaining.

"We're trying to maximize the points as much as we can this weekend," said Matos, who had won the first race at the previous three doubleheader weekends (St. Petersburg, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio). "It's important that we come out of this weekend with a real chance at the championship.

"We're leading the championship by one point, so it's a good thing Richard finished behind me. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough for Perera, but it was a good race and we'll make improvements for tomorrow."

Antinucci, who won at Infineon last year, hopes to do the same. He's won the back end of two of the three doubleheader race weekends.

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Infineon: Penske duo 1-2 in practice 3
Pos Driver Name Best Time Best Speed
1 Ryan Briscoe (6) 1:16.5973 108.239
2 Helio Castroneves (3) 1:16.7436 108.032
3 Scott Dixon (9) 1:16.9282 107.773
4 Tony Kanaan (11) 1:16.9451 107.750
5 Dan Wheldon (10) 1:16.9722 107.712
6 Justin Wilson (02) 1:17.1074 107.523
7 Will Power (8) 1:17.1096 107.520
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 1:17.2222 107.363
9 Oriol Servia (5) 1:17.2696 107.297
10 Hideki Mutoh (27) 1:17.2722 107.293
11 E.J. Viso (33) 1:17.2731 107.292
12 Danica Patrick (7) 1:17.2780 107.285
13 Graham Rahal (06) 1:17.5930 106.850
14 Bruno Junqueira (18) 1:17.8250 106.531
15 Vitor Meira (4) 1:17.8280 106.527
16 Marco Andretti (26) 1:17.8983 106.431
17 Tomas Scheckter (12) 1:18.0059 106.284
18 Enrique Bernoldi (36) 1:18.1224 106.126
19 Buddy Rice (15) 1:18.1539 106.083
20 Mario Moraes (19) 1:18.1834 106.043
21 A.J. Foyt IV (2) 1:18.2196 105.994
22 Townsend Bell (23) 1:18.2259 105.985
23 Mario Dominguez (96) 1:18.4632 105.665
24 Ed Carpenter (20) 1:18.4696 105.656
25 Darren Manning (14) 1:19.0742 104.848
26 Jaime Camara (34) 1:19.2907 104.562
27 Marty Roth (25) 1:20.4967 102.996


Petrov handed Valencia win by fuel dramas
The first race at Valencia's new street circuit threw up a major surprise finish when race leader Giorgio Pantano ran out of fuel almost within sight of the checkered flag, handing the win to a stunned Vitaly Petrov, who finished just ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean, with title challenger Bruno Senna failing to take advantage of his rival's misfortune as he coasted across the line in ninth with an equally empty tank.

The Italian had the race in the palm of his hand, leading every lap apart from one after his pit stop after making a storming start and setting a string of fastest laps to pull away from the Russian, who was one of the few drivers who could just about match Pantano on pace. The last lap dramas meant heartbreak for the Racing Engineering team, who had already climbed the pit wall to cheer their man home before releasing that something had gone horribly wrong.

Pantano left his fellow front row starter Maldonado standing when the lights went out, taking full advantage of starting on the clean side of the circuit, with Petrov also easily dismissing the Venezuelan before the first corner for second on track, who was ahead of Grosjean, Zuber, Jérôme D'Ambrosio and Senna, who had gained a position at the start when he outdragged Sébastien Buemi. But behind them Ho-Pin Tung was pushed into the wall before bouncing across the track in front of Kamui Kobayashi, and inevitably the safety car was deployed.

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Dumas still on top in Saturday practice
Dumas quickest in his Porsche
For the second straight session, Penske Racing’s Romain Dumas was the quickest driver at Mosport International Raceway. The French Porsche works pilot toured the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit in 1:05.547 (135.054 mph) in the Porsche RS Spyder that he will drive with Timo Bernhard. The LMP2 championship leaders are going for their second straight overall victory at Mosport in the American Le Mans Series.

Dumas, who bettered the track record set in qualifying last year by Audi’s Dindo Capello, was 0.131 seconds quicker than Andretti Green Racing’s James Rossiter in the team’s Acura-ARX 01b that he will drive with Franck Montagny. The top seven drivers were within 0.668 seconds in what was an electric practice session.

The top three cars were LMP2 entries with Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s Scott Sharp third at 1:05.969 (134.190 mph) in the Acura that he will drive with David Brabham. The duo have won three times in class this season (once overall) and were victorious in P2 at Road America two weeks ago.

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Mosport Notebook -1
It has been 21 years since Scott Sharp first raced at Mosport International Raceway. His return this week for the Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport has lived up to his expectations so far. Sharp was the fourth-fastest LMP2 driver and was turned in Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s quickest time Friday afternoon at 1:06.005 (134.117 mph) in the team’s Acura ARX-01b.

Sharp placed second in a SCCA Showroom Stock race in 1987 and won the next year. He also won Trans-Am races three years in a row from 1991-1993. He was the pole winner all three seasons and posted the fastest race lap in 1992 and 1993.

Surprisingly, Sharp said driving the circuit isn’t that much different from a certain mindset.

“The concrete patches are new, but it’s also been 15 years ago,” Sharp said. “Sure the cars are different now and these are so much fun to drive. But the flow, the approach and strategy of how to get around here hasn’t changed.”

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Paul Drayson was simply awestruck after turning his first laps earlier this week at Mosport. This week marks his first visit for Drayson-Barwell Motorsport and its Aston Martin Vantage GT2.

“It’s the most gorgeous track I’ve been to in North America so far. It’s very challenging and the car is running very well. We’ve improved our times from testing earlier this week.”

TERRY’S THOUGHTS: Bell Motorsports’ Terry Borcheller has a soft spot for Mosport. He has scored three GT1 pole positions in a Saleen S7R (2001, 2002 and 2005). He’s back for the first time in three years in Bell’s Aston Martin DBR9 with Chapman Ducote.

The independent team from Florida has taken on the immense challenge of racing Corvette Racing and its two Corvette C6.Rs. Crashes and subsequent damage have limited the team to four races so far this season. But the team finished all four hours at Road America two weeks ago and placed second in GT1.


F1 news briefs: Saturday
(GMM)  On Saturday at Valencia, local driver Fernando Alonso was seen running around the paddock handing out from an envelope stickers depicting the Spanish flag for his fellow F1 drivers to wear both in qualifying and in Sunday's European grand prix.

The stickers, already worn by some drivers in qualifying including Alonso and the McLaren pair, are to honor the 153 people killed in the Madrid air crash.


Despite the fact that the painted grid hatchings show pole on the left side of the grid, the FIA's Charlie Whiting said in a statement on Saturday that the top spot, to be occupied by Felipe Massa, will move to the right ahead of the European grand prix.

He said he deems the change necessary after observing "the line taken by cars across the grid" in the sessions so far this weekend.


Massa 'destroyed' rivals in quail - Hamilton
(GMM)  Championship leader Lewis Hamilton on Saturday admitted Felipe Massa may be set to break McLaren's winning streak on the streets of Valencia.

Massa's pole raced to pole position at the new Spanish venue, and fellow front-row sitter Hamilton conceded that the Brazilian's Ferrari "destroyed" the competition especially in the first sector of the city layout.

"He's going to be hard to beat tomorrow," the Briton, two tenths behind Massa but ahead of BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica on the grid, said.

"I think I was already down a tenth or two tenths after the first corner.  Turns four and five did not seem as strong as I'd like," Hamilton added.

Massa, whose victory in Hungary three weeks ago was robbed by an engine failure three laps from the end, confirmed that his first sector performance in Q3 was "fantastic" at Valencia.


Edwards On Star Mazda Pole at Mosport
American John Edwards completed 2/3rds of his weekend mission by setting the quickest time in both pre-race practice sessions and then putting his #7 AIM Autosport Mazda on the pole with a lap of 1:15.890 (116.648 mph) for the start of this afternoon's Round 8 of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the Mobil1 Grand Prix of Mosport.  Starting on the outside of the front row will be fellow American Joel Miller with a lap literally a hair slower – 0.081 sec. – in the #20 JDC Motorsports / Mazda / K&N Air Filters Mazda.  Starting third on the grid will be the winner of the last two races in a row, Irishman Peter Dempsey.  His lap of 1:16.077 (116.361 mph) in the #21 Andersen Racing / LotusWorks/ Allied Building Products Mazda was just 0.187 sec. off the pole time… in fact, the first nine cars in the field were separated by less than one second.

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racing news

Mario Andretti: Still A Driving Force In Motorsports
Nearly 15 years after his retirement from full-time racing, Mario Andretti, at age 68, remains a dominant force.

One of only two drivers to win races in the four major motor racing categories — Formula One, IndyCar (USAC), World Sportscar Championships and NASCAR — Andretti was the honored guest last week at the 35th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races and Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca.

Mario Andretti was reunited with his Lotus 79 at Laguna Seca last weekend
Bob Heathcote/AutoRacing1
Andretti, the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), Daytona 500 (1967) and Formula One World Championship (1978), participated in a variety of events during the three-day gathering held in conjunction with Monterey Auto Week. He drove a few demonstration laps in the Lotus 79 in which he won the Formula One Championship, he held autograph sessions and he threw the checkered flag on the Toyota Race of Legends race.

Andretti also held a press conference for about 25 writers and photographers. Relaxed and smiling often, Andretti covered a myriad of topics from family to visiting his Northern California winery, his career to long-gone friends and colleagues.

Here’s an excerpt of the interview. Questions were asked by journalists and photographers during a casual 45-minute session in an administration building near the raceway paddock.

Question: What are your observations returning to Laguna Seca?

Mario Andretti: I’ve had invitations in the past for some of these same kind of events, but my schedule now . . . I have so much on my plate. It’s difficult to make the time to do some of the things I would really like to do.

One thing I’ve always seen when I get to attend something like this is that people are having so much fun. It’s thoroughly enjoyable.  Everybody has a smile. All of my life in competition there’s been so much tension you could cut it with a knife. It’s a totally different world. I can’t believe you have the sound of racecars all around you and you can actually relax and enjoy yourself. You can have a glass of wine the night before and everything is going to be okay. This is the good life. I could definitely get used to this sort of thing. I don’t know if I’m allowed to have so much fun.

Q:  What was it like driving the Lotus 79 again?

MA: To have the opportunity, it brings back so many memories. It’s amazing how much time has gone by from when I sat in the cockpit of a real racecar. And then when you’re there, it’s almost like you’ve never left it. But so many things come back to you. I’m out there trying to be so careful. That thing is so precious. He (Steve Earle, event organizer and founder) is crazy to let me even sit in it. I know it’s a delicate piece of equipment, but I had to make some noise.

Q: Is the Lotus 79 your favorite car?

MA: It’s definitely one of the favorite cars of my career, no question about it. It’s one of the few cars I really feel I understood. I understood its pluses and minuses, if you will. I think I was really able to extract what the car could give me. And the payback was very handsome. But it wasn’t a given. If you got it wrong, you really got it wrong. You had to go for the sweet spot.

Q: What part of your career brings back the fondest memories?

MA: From as personal standpoint, I have to tell you that winning the Italian Grand Prix and clinching the World Championship had to have been the ultimate in my career. In Italy, at age 14, that’s where I saw my very first Formula One race. I was still in a refugee camp and that’s where my dreams really began of pursuing my career.


Gibbs promises stiffer in-house penalties
NASCAR’s fines to crew chiefs often are considered fines to teams with the belief that the car owners pay them. But Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said Nationwide Series crew chiefs Dave Rogers and Jason Ratcliff will be responsible for their $50,000 fines plus an in-house fine.  Gibbs also will add to the length of the indefinite suspensions issued by NASCAR.

“If NASCAR comes back and says, ‘It’s [till] the end of the year,' we’ll add to that,” Gibbs said. “If they come back and say, ‘It’s eight races,’ then we’ll go to the end of the year.  And financially, we’ll add to that, too.” Scenedaily.com

British F3

Hartley blitzes field in Bucharest
Brendon Hartley left the rest of the British F3 International Series field trailing in his wake in the first qualifying session of the weekend, posting a pole lap of 1m11.960 as the checkered flag came out, 1.6 seconds inside Marko Asmer's lap record and 0.8 seconds faster than his nearest rival, championship leader Oliver Turvey.  It was also a 1-2-3 for Carlin as Jaime Alguersuari heads up row 2 0.3 seconds ahead of British F3 returnee Esteban Guerreri.  Jay Bridger pipped Steven Guerrero to the National Class pole on his final lap of the 30-minute session.

Round 19: Qualifying Result

1 - 3 - INT - Brendon HARTLEY - NZL - 1:11.960 
2 - 17 - INT - Oliver TURVEY - GBR - +0.859s 
3 - 4 - INT - Jaime ALGUERSUARI - ESP - +0.953s 
4 - 11 - INT - Esteban GUERRIERI - ARG - +1.270s 
5 - 18 - INT - Sam ABAY - AUS - +1.582s 
6 - 1 - INT - Max CHILTON - GBR - +1.601s 
7 - 26 - INT - Atte MUSTONEN - FIN - +1.709s 
8 - 24 - INT - John MARTIN - AUS - +1.757s 
9 - 9 - INT - Sergio PEREZ - MEX - +1.948s 
10 - 2 - INT - Walter GRUBMULLER - AUT - +2.025s 
11 - 16 - INT - Michael DEVANEY - IRL - +2.506s 
12 - 85 - INV - Oliver OAKES - GBR - +2.566s 
13 - 6 - INT - Henry ARUNDEL - GBR - +2.818s 
14 - 50 - NAT - Jay BRIDGER - GBR - +3.071s 
15 - 53 - NAT - Steven GUERRERO - COL - +3.197s 
16 - 12 - INT - Ricardo TEIXEIRA - ANG - +3.309s 
17 - 52 - NAT - Hywel LLOYD - GBR - +3.316s 
18 - 57 - NAT - Salman AL KHALIFA - BHR - +3.632s 
19 - 51 - NAT - Stefan WILSON - GBR - +4.790s 
20 - 14 - INT - Philip MAJOR - CAN - +5.104s 
21 - 54 - NAT - Kristjan EINAR - ISL - +5.138s 
22 - 8 - INT - Marcus ERICSSON - SWE - No Time Set


NASCAR taking at least 10 cars to dyno after Michigan race UPDATE Last weekend's NASCAR chassis-dyno tests -- the first of the season -- and this week's NASCAR engine-dyno tests of those same motors have been somewhat inconclusive, although Roush continues to say that Toyota has a significant technical edge in engine design.

#2-Kurt Busch's Penske-Dodge showed the most horsepower at the rear wheels in Sunday's Cup testing at Michigan, by a fairly good margin, particularly against Jimmie Johnson's Hendrick-Chevy -- maybe 20 to 21 horsepower. But then Jeff Burton's Childress-Chevy apparently won the pure engine tests two days later at NASCAR's Concord shop. The Michigan engine testing was the first major chassis-dyno test of the season. #2-Kurt Busch's car weighed in with 839 horsepower at the rear wheels, best of Sunday.

Now the rule of thumb is that numbers from a chassis-dyno run are about seven percent lower than actual engine horsepower (because the chassis dyno measures output after the horsepower runs through the entire drivetrain). That would mean Busch's true engine horsepower would be nearly 900 horsepower.

Other key Sunday chassis dyno results (unofficial since NASCAR doesn't publicly release the figures, despite a push by several top crew chiefs for NASCAR to release the numbers):

#31-Jeff Burton (11th at Michigan), 830 horsepower.
#8-Mark Martin (sixth), 827 horsepower.
#18-Kyle Busch (race runner-up) 825 horsepower.
#99-Carl Edwards (race winner) 819 horsepower.
#48-Jimmie Johnson (17th), 819 horsepower.
#83-Brian Vickers (seventh), 818 horsepower.
That's a range of 21 horsepower. Winston Salem Journal

08/17/08 NASCAR planned to test horsepower on at least 10 cars after Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.  NASCAR took the Fords of Carl Edwards and Travis Kvapil, the Chevrolets of Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Jimmie Johnson, the Toyotas of Brian Vickers and David Reutimann and the Dodges of Elliott Sadler, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kurt Busch.  NASCAR planned to conduct tests on its chassis dynamometer at the track.


Valencia: Kubica tops practice 3 after night rain
Robert Kubica set the fastest time of the morning session on Saturday at Valencia, on a track that had been washed clean of all the rubber by a huge storm on Friday night. The result was a rather meaningless session with Nico Rosberg second for Williams, ahead of Sebastien Bourdais' Toro Rosso, the second Williams of Kazuki Nakajima and then Felipe Massa's Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel was sixth overall, ahead of Lewis Hamilton (who had a spin), David Coulthard, Nelson Piquet and Mark Webber.



1. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1:38.754
2. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:38.877
3. Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.009
4. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1:39.270
5. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:39.276
6. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.300
7. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:39.314
8. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1:39.335
9. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:39.421
10. Nelson Piquet Brazil Renault 1:39.452
11. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:39.597
12. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:39.628
13. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:39.652
14. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:39.802
15. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:39.810
16. Timo Glock Germany Toyota 1:39.919
17. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Ferrari 1:40.019
18. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Ferrari 1:40.059
19. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:40.512
20. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota No Time


Team bosses meet again at Valencia
(GMM)  In the Toyota motor home, formula one team bosses at Valencia staged the latest in a series of recent group meetings.

BMW's Mario Theissen was asked about the get-together on Friday and revealed only that "the future and financial issues", and the sustainability of the sport, were discussed.

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports that, following FIA president Max Mosley's request, the reduction of costs and future rules were also discussed, with Bernie Ecclestone acting as chairman, but no agreement was reached.

There was no shortage of ideas, however.  Reportedly, some teams - like Flavio Briatore-led Renault - want the introduction of standardized parts, such as KERS systems.

Some bosses would also be in favor of a three-year freeze on chassis development.  Interestingly, the most vehemently opposed to these proposals are independent purist Sir Frank Williams, and also Force India.

Toro Rosso principal Franz Tost cannot understand their arguments.

"It is absolute madness.  In the car industry, there are more and more joint ventures; only in formula one do we all try to reinvent the wheel," said the Austrian, as the Faenza team faces the looming end of its ability to source a chassis from Red Bull.

Similarly, Briatore said he would be happy if the F1 teams put their heads together and developed a standard KERS system.

"This is really the only way to control costs," said the Italian.

Briatore faces stiff reprisals from those who believe that more of these sorts of philosophies - like the current frozen engines, standard ECUs and control tires - will render F1 little more than a glorified GP2 championship.

"Everybody forgets what the public wants," he hits back.  "I don't see many people interested in our gearbox or our suspension or our brakes.

"The world has changed, we are in the entertainment business as well," Briatore said.

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