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09/02/04
champcar
Bourdais and da Matta have similar styles Bourdais and da Matta have similar stylesThis Champ Car article on Sebastien Bourdais says, Sebastien Bourdais’s ability to get up to speed so quickly was helped by his preference for set-ups similar to those used by da Matta. “It turned out what Cristiano liked and wanted was exactly what Sebastien liked,” Newman/Haas engineer Brian Lisles says. “We gave him Cristiano’s set-ups and they were really close to him right away. So it was very easy......Imagine what a powerful pair they will make if da Matta decides to take up the offer to return to Newman/Haas in 2005 and Bourdais stays too.  Teamed with Junqueira, the trio will be formidable. Mark C.
09/02/04
nascar
Bobby Hamilton confirmed Bobby Hamilton confirmedPPI Motorsports announced today that Bobby Hamilton, Jr. will assume driving duties for its #32 entry in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starting with this weekend's event at California Speedway. Ricky Craven will return to the #32 entry for one more race, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at New Hampshire International Speedway held on September 19, 2004. Owner Cal Wells III said, "We are very grateful Ricky Craven chose to allow us the opportunity to get a head start on the 2005 season and let us put Bobby Hamilton, Jr. behind the wheel of the #32 car. This will give Bobby Jr. and the team a chance to work together for the remaining events to build a foundation for next season. We are also very excited to be taking Ricky back to New Hampshire this fall." Mike Beam will continue to serve as crew chief for the remainder of the 2004 season. Harold Holly, who was hired to serve as crew chief for Hamilton, Jr. in 2005 for the #32 team, will also play a role in Hamilton, Jr.'s transition with PPI Motorsports this season.  "Harold has already made considerable contributions to next year's program," said Wells. "We had announced previously that Harold and Bobby Jr. would start testing under the PPI Motorsports banner, and Harold has been working on building cars for Bobby Jr. in preparation. We understand Harold has obligations to his current employer and do not want to distract him from his duties. However, Harold will be atop the pit box on race day to acclimate both himself and Bobby Jr. to the organization." Bobby Hamilton, Jr. has 20 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts to date, including six in the #09 car during the 2004 season. PPI Motorsports PR
09/02/04
champcar
Why Champ Car needs to rid itself of Indy Why Champ Car needs to rid itself of IndyWhy does Champ Car still use the word "Indy" to describe its three Canadian races and the Surfers race?  The only thing they are accomplishing is helping the IRL with name recognition ahead of their efforts to enter those markets.  Just paint a bull's-eye on Champ Car and put them out of their misery.  Don't believe us?  This article reads, The Montreal Indy Car race last weekend was an interesting car event from a two-wheeled perspective. The race was promoted by former bike racer and AMA F-1 race-winner Alan LaBrosse, and featured an invitation-only round of the Canadian Superbike championship with Miguel DuHamel doing demo laps on a Honda CBR1000RR. With a three-day crowd count of over 150,000 people, Superbikes raced past one of the largest audiences they'll see all year.  Former multi-time Daytona winner DuHamel was the recipient of some VIP treatment at the event when he was a passenger in Alex Tagliani's two-seated PR car..........Champ Car is confusing to everyone, so most avoid using the name rather than having to explain what it means.   Rename the races the Grand Prix of Montreal, the Grand Prix of Toronto, the Grand Prix of Calgary and the Grand Prix of Vancouver.  Mark C.
09/02/04
champcar
Tour de Road America raise $18K Tour de Road America raise $18KAlthough the featured event during the Grand Prix of Road America was the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, the Tour de Road America made headlines itself as race car drivers, fans, and cyclists raised $18,299 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and cancer survivors.

Approximately four hundred bicyclists, fans, and world class drivers cycled around the historic 4.048-mile road course in the rolling hills of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on the eve of the race August 7. Amongst the cyclists were Champ Car drivers Paul Tracy from Forsythe Championship Racing, Oriol Servia from Dale Coyne Racing, Walker Racing's Mario Haberfeld, Alex Tagliani of Rocketsports, RuSPORT stablemates Michel Jourdain Jr. and A.J. Allmendinger, the Newman/Haas duo of Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais, along with Herdez' Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mario Dominguez.

Team members, series sponsors, and fans alike joined in on the festivities raising money for the Peloton Project, which is the Lance Armstrong Foundation's major grassroots fundraising and outrace initiative. Contributions were also made by those members of the Champ Car World Series that did not partake in the riding festivities.

A significant part of the funds raised came from a contribution by one of the Champ Car World Series presenting sponsors, Bridgestone Motorsport. "We're honored that Bridgestone Motorsport made this donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation," said co-organizer George Siegle, "and we thank them on behalf of the LAF and cancer survivors." "It was wonderful to see how everyone came together to help raise money to fight cancer," said Dave Racine, co-organizer. Road America and the Champ Car World Series were instrumental in getting the project from and idea to a reality in a matter of a month.

"The Tour de Road America event was great. I had a blast," said Champ Car driver Mario Dominguez. "The fans were amazing and it was so much fun to get to do something like this with them. I hope this becomes a tradition." Dominguez, and has fellow drivers, just might get their wish as the Tour de Road America organizers are already looking forward to 2005.

09/02/04
f1
Shanghai return for Ralf Shanghai return for RalfBMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen is confident that Ralf Schumacher will be back behind the wheel of the FW26 for the Chinese GP. The German was ruled out next weekend's Italian Grand Prix because of insurance issues, but is likely to test two days after Monza as preparation for Shaghai.  “Unfortunately, Ralf has been told that he may contest neither the Monza tests nor the Italian Grand Prix," Theissen said. "However, we are fully confident that he will be back in the cockpit of the FW26 after the Italian Grand Prix.”  Schumacher suffered injuries to thoracic vertebrae T11 and T12 in a serious crash during the US Grand Prix, which took place on 20th June at Indianapolis. Eurosport
09/02/04
f1
Monza testing Day 2: Pizzonia fastest Monza testing Day 2: Pizzonia fastest
Name Team T Laps Time Gap
Pizzonia WilliamsF1 M 72 1:20.010 161.962 mph
Raikkonen McLaren M 88 1:20.794 0.784
Barrichello Ferrari B 57 1:20.846 0.836
Davidson BAR M 63 1:20.877 0.867
Button BAR M 84 1:20.948 0.938
Sato BAR M 86 1:20.981 0.971
M Schumacher Ferrari B 92 1:21.060 1.050
Alonso Renault M 116 1:21.083 1.073
Montoya WilliamsF1 M 63 1:21.096 1.086
Coulthard McLaren M 84 1:21.172 1.162
Fisichella Sauber B 96 1:21.179 1.169
Klien Jaguar M 60 1:21.487 1.477
Trulli Renault M 34 1:21.658 1.648
Webber Jaguar M 57 1:21.680 1.670
Panis Toyota M 58 1:22.480 2.470
Zonta Toyota M 55 1:22.865 2.855
Glock Jordan B 81 1:23.942 3.932
Baumgartner Minardi B 40 1:24.099 4.089
Bruni Minardi B 17 1:25.018 5.008
09/02/04
f1
McLaren boss guilty in sexual harassment charge McLaren boss guilty in sexual harassment chargeThe McLaren F1 team has had to pay £26,000 to a teenage girl, who worked for the McLaren fan club, after her boss, a McLaren employee, sexually harassed her.  Hayley Swanson sued her boss, Neil Riddell, for sexual harassment after he spent months threatening to spank her, trying to touch her breasts and on one occasion even waving a rubber willy in front of her face. According to The Sun tabloid, the 50-year-old's behavior left Swanson too sick to work and she pressed charges.  A Leed, England court found Riddell guilty of sexual harassment and awarded Swanson a £26,000 payout.  According to McLaren, Swanson's case was "an isolated incident." Planet-F1
09/02/04
nascar
Fontana sprays pesticide to prevent West Nile Fontana sprays pesticide to prevent West NileCrews sprayed pesticides Wednesday around the California Speedway to help prevent an outbreak of West Nile virus among the thousands of fans expected to attend a NASCAR race this weekend.  Local officials decided to spray for mosquitoes because Sunday's race will be at dusk, when the insects are active. The city of Fontana has been one of the most severely affected in California during this year's outbreak of the virus.  ``It just seemed like a wise precaution, given the large number of people that will be at the Speedway,'' said David Wert, a spokesman for San Bernardino County.  The race Sunday is expected to attract some 100,000 fans, with about twice that number attending races through the weekend at the Speedway. About 15,000 people will be staying in motor homes in the track's infield.  Speedway spokesman Dennis Bickmeier said the track will also encourage fans to wear insect repellant.  San Bernardino County has been among the counties hardest hit by the West Nile virus, which has infected at least 370 people in the state so far this year and killed 10. The county has had 134 of those infected with the virus and four of the deaths.  AP Story
09/02/04
Industry News
Atlanta Speedway to open for FL hurricane victims Atlanta Speedway to open for FL hurricane victimsAtlanta Motor Speedway will open its campgrounds this weekend to evacuees of Hurricane Frances.

The speedway, which is equipped to handle thousands of campers during its two annual NASCAR race weekends, will open its two largest gravel campgrounds to evacuees free of charge. AMS will also open its camper shower facilities, allowing evacuees free access to hot showers and restroom facilities.

"It's just the thing to do," Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark said. "These are our neighbors, and they're in need. It's just the right thing to do."

Already a million people in Florida have been ordered to leave their homes, and states of emergency have been declared in both Georgia and Florida. With Hurricane Frances' path projected to continue up the eastern seaboard, more evacuations are expected.

With Atlanta area hotels already filling up, and state officials wondering where to put all of the hurricane evacuees, opening up the AMS campgrounds just seemed a natural, Clark said.

"We had all of this space, and it was going to go unused this weekend," Clark said. "It's the least we can do to open it up for someone who really needs it."

Atlanta Motor Speedway is located approximately 25 miles south of Atlanta on Hwy 19/41 and approximately eight miles west of I-75. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway offices at (770) 707-7904 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.

Those interested in camping at Atlanta Motor Speedway should enter the speedway grounds at Entrance E off Hwy 19/41 or Entrance G off Richard Petty Boulevard and park in the large gravel lot located adjacent to these entrances. For on-site assistance or directions, visit the ticket office/gift store building.
09/02/04
nascar
Three Olympic gold medalists to attend race Three Olympic gold medalists to attend raceFresh from Athens, 2004 Olympic Gold Medallists Amanda Beard, Leah O'Brien-Amico and Kimberly Rhode will be on hand at this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Pop Secret 500 race at California Speedway. Combined, these athletes have garnered 13 Olympic medals. The Inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Pop Secret 500 joins the Target House 300 NASCAR Busch Series race Labor Day weekend at California Speedway.
09/02/04
irl
Revised 2005 IRL Schedule Revised 2005 IRL Schedule
March 6 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla., 1 1/2-mile oval
March 19 Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix, 1-mile oval
April 3      St. Pete, FL 1.806 mile Street Course
April 30 Twin Ring Motegi, Motegi, Japan, 1 1/2-mile oval
May 29 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, 2 1/2-mile oval
June 11 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas, 1 1/2-mile oval
June 25 Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, Va., 3/4-mile oval
July 3 Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan., 1 1/2-mile tri-oval
July 16 Nashville Superspeedway, Lebanon, Tenn., 1 1/3-mile oval
July 24 The Milwaukee Mile, West Allis, Wis., 1-mile oval
July 31 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich., 2-mile oval
Aug. 14 Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky., 1 1/2-mile oval
Aug. 21 Pikes Peak International Raceway, Fountain, Colo., 1-mile oval
Aug. 28 Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif., 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course
Sept. 11 Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, Ill., 1 1/2-mile D-shaped tri-oval
Sept. 25 Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y., 11-turn, 3.4-mile road course
Oct. 16 California Speedway, Fontana, Calif., 2-mile D-shaped oval
09/02/04
irl
Andretti Green Promotions to promote St. Pete race Andretti Green Promotions to promote St. Pete raceAndretti Green Promotions, which is a collaborative effort between Team Green Investments, Inc., Andretti Green Racing (AGR), Inc. and CSS-Stellar, PLC, announced today it will serve as the promoter of the 2005 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 3, 2005, in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The race, which will be the third of 17 events on the 2005 Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar® Series schedule, will be the series' first street circuit event and will mark the first-ever IRL race run on a non-oval.

Led by Barry Green, who will serve as the managing director of the event, Andretti Green Promotions is focused on continuing the steady growth and increasing popularity of the IndyCar Series as it makes its foray into racing on a temporary street circuit.

"Andretti Green Promotions is thrilled with the opportunity that lies ahead in St. Petersburg," said Green. "It's a terrific venue and has all the elements necessary to create a successful event for the city, the fans, the competitors, a national television audience and the Indy Racing League."

The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will mark Green's large-scale return to the motorsports industry since he sold the assets of Team Green to Michael Andretti, brother Kim Green and Kevin Savoree, who formed Andretti Green Racing at the end of the 2002 racing season. Since then, Green has worked as a consultant to AGR, which joined the IRL in 2003. The team currently occupies the top two positions in the IndyCar Series championship standings with drivers Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon and has won a league-record eight races in 13 starts this season.

CSS-Stellar, which is headquartered in London, England, is a full service, global marketing/communications group with a broad base of event marketing and promotion experience. The company is led by founder and CEO Julian Jakobi, who managed Formula 1 drivers Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Jacques Villeneuve and currently handles management responsibilities for Dario Franchitti, Wheldon and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Honda, which claimed its first IRL manufacturer's title on Aug. 15, will serve as title sponsor of the event. It marks Honda's second entitlement of an IndyCar Series event, joining the Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

09/02/04
Red Bull
Red Bull chooses three for Estoril Red Bull chooses three for EstorilThe Red Bull F1 Driver Search judging panel chose John Edwards, Jonathan Summerton and Wade Van Hooser from a field of 25 karting and junior formula car drivers after two days of testing and competition at Sebring International Raceway. The three winners will travel to the final Red Bull run-off in Estoril next month for three days of running in Formula 3 machinery to determine who will represent America on the Red Bull Junior Team beginning next season. Two of these three semi-finalists are Skip Barber school and Skip Barber race series alumni. Edwards, 13, is from Little Rock, Ark., and at the age of 12 won a Skip Barber Southern Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Summerton, from Kissimmee, Fla., is 16 and also won races in Skip Barber competition. Van Hooser, 15, is a 125cc karter from Tulare, Calif. The current American members of the Red Bull Junior Team racing in Europe are Scott Speed (leading both the Eurocup and German Formula Renault Championships), Colin Fleming (who's also won in Formula Renault) and Dominique Claessens. In the U.S., Matt Jaskol has twice won in Formula BMW USA. All four are also former Skip Barber Racing School and Skip Barber Race Series and/or Barber Dodge Pro Series drivers. The judging panel included Danny Sullivan, director of the Red Bull Junior Team; Dr. Helmut Marko; British Formula 3 team owner Alan Docking; and European Formula Renault team principle Roberto Cavallari of JD Motorsports.
09/02/04
nascar
NASCAR 2005 Game news NASCAR 2005 Game newsEA Sports’ “NASCAR 2005: Race for the Cup” hits retail stores today, and as previously reported P&G’s Mr. Clean brand has a presence in the game. Mr. Clean Brand Manager Bob Gilbreath: “Everyone marketing to men now is saying the same thing: they’re going away from TV. They’re into DVDs and video games. Everyone is trying to crack the code. So we’re trying to climb up the learning curve”. Other advertisers in the game include AutoZone, Dodge, Levi’s and Old Spice. MADISON + VINE, 9/1 issue
09/02/04
f1
Theissen says a broom is not enough Theissen says a broom is not enoughIn response to the Michelin tire blowouts at Spa, BMW's Mario Theissen said, "Unfortunately, Spa was also scene of a worrying phenomenon," Theissen said on the BMW WilliamsF1 Website. "The unusually high rate of punctures is of great concern, and careful analysis is an absolute must. It has to be investigated whether these punctures were caused by external impact, such as sharp-edged debris after the numerous accidents, or if Spa was just simply asking too much of the tires. If you are interested in improving the safety of Formula One, the tires and – in this context – the cleaning of the track are key factors."
 
 
"A simple broom is most definitely not enough when it comes to cleaning the scene of an accident. To ensure that all the razor- sharp carbon-fibre slivers are removed, during the course of a safety-car period, you need special equipment, such as a vacuum cleaning road sweeper. This year, Formula One has already experienced too many puncture-related incidents. Our team has been involved in two of these accidents, the first being Ralf Schumacher’s serious crash at Indianapolis, the second one Juan Pablo’s puncture at Spa. Fortunately, neither Juan Pablo nor his rivals suffered injuries."
09/02/04
nascar
Richmond dries out, Daytona could be devastated Richmond dries out, Daytona could be devastatedAs work crews deal with flooding at and around Richmond International Raceway in the wake of Tropical Storm Gaston, crews at Daytona International Speedway are "battening down the hatches" as Hurricane Frances approaches. Gaston dumped a foot of rain on Richmond, Va., on Monday, forcing local officials to condemn several blocks of the downtown area. At the speedway, there was flooding and a loss of power for about a day. "We're surviving," said Keith Green, the track's director of public relations. "We had no power and there was some flooding. Those pictures you saw of cars floating in the flooding was less than six blocks from here. We were lucky, track-wise. But it's still an absolute mess, an absolute mess." Green said many of the roadways leading into the speedway were still closed Wednesday as the raceway continued to prepare for next week's Busch and Nextel Cup series races. Also, many of the buildings in the infield of the three-quarter-mile speedway were flooded during the storm. While the speedway was without power Tuesday, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett and Terry Labonte still managed to complete a test session for the Chevy Rock N Roll 400 on Sept. 11. Daytona International Speedway was spared major damage from Hurricane Charley three weeks ago, but the racetrack wasn't dropping its guard as Frances looms. If the storm continues on its current track, it should make landfall in Florida between Vero Beach and Jacksonville on Saturday morning. That puts Daytona Beach in the middle of the projected path. Augusta Chronicle
09/02/04
ALMS
 ChampCar
Nicholas Minassian website Nicholas Minassian websiteNicholas Minassian, current ALMS and former Champ Car driver, announces a new website.
09/02/04
nascar
California Speedway tidbits California Speedway tidbitsCalifornia Speedway today announced its fan hospitality "Party Zone" is sold out for Sunday, September 5th.  Saturday's "Party Zone" is still available, as are grandstand tickets for Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pop Secret 500 and Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Target House 300.  Drivers appearing on Saturday, September 4th, include NASCAR Busch Series competitors David Green, Stacy Compton, Robert Pressley and Kenny Wallace.  The cost is $85, which includes a Saturday pit-pass.  Gates open at 7:00 a.m., driver appearances will take place between 8:00-9:30 a.m.  Part of the Sunday "Party Zone" sellout success was the impressive driver line up, including three-time California Speedway winner Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Casey Mears, Scott Wimmer, Scott Riggs, Kyle Busch and team owner Cal Wells.   Kasey Kahne and J.J. Yeley have already confirmed for an appearance during the February NASCAR weekend.  The speedway's "Party Zone" is the only place where guests are guaranteed the opportunity to mingle among NASCAR's elite.  Exclusively for NASCAR ticket holders, this hospitality option features a single-day pit pass, food and beverage service, closed-circuit television, music, GameWorks games and a special souvenir gift for those in attendance.  Guests can submit questions for the drivers to answer during this special Q & A appearance in the hospitality area.   In its second year of operation, "Party Zone" passes accompany grandstand tickets or infield RV wristbands to make a day at the races extra special.  Beginning with the Inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Pop Secret 500, the zone gets a new home within the infield, allowing close proximity to the pits, since a single-day pit pass is now included in each day purchased.   For ticket and event information, call 800-944-RACE [7223] or log onto www.californiaspeedway.com.
09/02/04
Industry News
Visteon announces China expansion Visteon announces China expansionVisteon Corp. said Tuesday it is expanding in China with two new plants that will support the explosive automotive market in Asia and position the Dearborn company as a leading supplier of climate controls in the region.  
During a conference call, Visteon announced it plans to build an $80-million plant, which will produce air-conditioning compressors and subcomponents in Dalian. That project in northeastern China will be a joint venture with Halla Climate Control Dalian Co. Ltd., and the 82,000-square-foot plant will employ about 600 workers once it is fully operational by mid-2005.

Meanwhile, construction was recently completed on a $29.8-million plant in Beijing, where about 200 workers build air-conditioning and engine cooling modules for Beijing Hyundai Motor Co. Visteon owns 80 percent of the 180,000-square-foot facility, with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. owning the remainder.  The new plants put Visteon on "a solid platform for future growth and ongoing viability," said Bob Pallash, vice president of Asia-Pacific operations for Visteon

Visteon had been suppling parts to Hyundai through a temporary plant since late 2002, and the Korean automaker is planning rapid growth at its Beijing plant, where it makes the Sonata midsize sedan.  Overall sales of passenger vehicles in China reached 2 million in 2003 and are expected to double by 2007, Automotive News said. Detroit Free Press

 

09/02/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ralf is fit to race
Schu's not stopping
All ten teams test at Monza
Schu's not crafting 'Yawn-ula One'
Jordan sale complete
F1 car is 'not too quick' - Ron Dennis
Fewer fans watch qualifying - report
Sauber drive unlikely, Villeneuve admits
Kimi tactic was not 'unfair' - Brawn
Williams 'must improve' - BMW's Theissen
'I expected a fight' - Schumacher
New tire rule to inspire passing - Michael
Keep Eau Rouge 'safe' - Mark Webber
Panis sees road back to BAR
'I'll help Rubens to second' - Schu 
09/01/04
champcar
More option tires and push-to-pass More option tires and push-to-passChamp Car will make an alternate Bridgestone tire choice available to drivers for the remaining road races on the 2004 schedule. At Montreal, the alternate tires featured much more red marking on the sidewall, making it easier for fans to recognize when a driver is running on the softer (and theoretically faster) alternate tire.  Champ Car will also allow an additional 15 seconds of push-to-pass time for the rest of the year, making 75 seconds of extra boost available to the drivers.  "I think the best decision Champ Car took this year was the push to pass," commented Patrick Carpentier. "It's unbelievable. It's like a video game. Like with Paul today. He kept using it, kept using it, until he had three seconds left. I was like, 'He's got to be out soon!' I pushed it and made the pass. Without that, I never would have passed him."  "It's the best thing they made in the series in a long, long time," noted Bruno Junqueira. "It's a great decision that makes the race more exciting for the fans and for the driver, as well." National Speed Sport News   [Editor's Note:  The push-to-pass button would have not happened if not for the endless 12-month campaign two years ago by yours truly to Champ Car and Cosworth.  It wasn't rocket science, just plain common sense.  Now, about those standing starts, screaming V10 engines, lighter, nimbler cars, name change to include Grand Prix, CBS TV, etc, etc.......] 
09/01/04
champcar
irl
Upset about St. Pete Upset about St. PeteA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com,  I can tell you that the idea of having a street race in St. Pete with the IRL is very discouraging to me.  If the IRL morphs into CART, as it seems to be doing and Champ Car goes racing all over the world, then as a race fan based here in the good old US of A I will have no choice but to go to IRL races.  I can't believe I even said that.  However, I am a race fan.  I enjoy going to the races and having a full weekend at the track.  For me it is a special time to bond with my son.  If the racing is good and the cars are cool and the track is near, I have to say I will be there.  Champ Car is losing some very good markets and even though Tony says he is not going to pick over the bones of CART, he will.  As he has proven in the past his word means nothing.  The Champ Car guys seem to be working very hard to have races all over the world, leaving the fans that have supported them at the track here to make hard decisions. My loyalty is to Champ Car but if they are not here to see, I will go see something else and NASCAR is not an option.  I will always watch Champ Car racing, but if I can go to a race that is essentially the very same thing as Champ Car, I have to tell you I probably will do that. Sam Mancuso, South Florida 

Dear Sam, Yes, the IRL continues to pick at the bones of CART, like a rat scrapping for the leftovers (rejects) of the dead carcass of the old CART.  As they continue to morph into the old CART, their popularity and TV ratings drive even faster toward zero.  Each step they have taken to morph into CART has been another step into their grave.  It's analogous to the Bronze Rat story a reader sent in recently, with all the mindless rats following the big cheese into the water and their death.  It's rather pathetic to watch them make one strategic blunder after another, St. Pete being the latest. 

Already we see some IRL teams eyeing Grand-Am.  Who owns Grand-Am?  Why the France family of course, the same ones who own NASCAR.  Over time, the Grand-Am series will erode the IRL's American base as the France family continues to monopolize American motorsports.  Soon they will control almost all of it, and the IRL will be driven out of business.  It's not a matter of if, but when. 

There are domestic racing series in most countries, but there is only one global open wheel series - F1. It is time we had two global open wheel series, true global series, one based in Europe (very expensive, the best of the best) called F1, and one newcomer based in North America (low cost, but nimble and pretty fast) called Champ Car Grand Prix.

Both race global, but have the majority of their races on their home continent. Champ Car won't be as big as F1, it will be the Grand Prix series for the masses, those that can't afford F1, be it the fans or the car manufacturers. Slowly, year by year, Champ Car will begin to erode F1's base. The high cost of F1 will slowly drive manufacturers, drivers and teams over to the lower cost version, which by the way will look like F1, sound almost like F1, and go almost as fast as F1, but with better racing because of the restricted rules.

Eventually Champ Car will secure their place in the world racing marketplace coexisting peacfully with F1, perhaps comparisons between the two will begin again. Why? Because while NASCAR is a monopoly in the USA, F1 is not a monopoly in the world. The world is too big for F1. It can't meet the world's entire demand. Champ Car will be there to satisfy that leftover demand, and, over time people love a rivalry.........  Mark C.

09/01/04
alms
British team to bring unique prototype to ALMS British team to bring unique prototype to ALMSWith a throwback "race hard, play hard" outlook, the Creation Autosportif racing team from England will come to America with a unique DBA-Zytek Prototype to compete in the final two events of the 2004 American Le Mans Series season.   And the team is making the trip with a great deal of confidence that it will not only be competitive, but also win one of the races with the car it calls the "Blue Rocket."

Creation, a team that was formed in late 2002 by American-born Michael Jankowski, a London business executive, and Ian Bickerton of England, owns the only DBA4-03S chassis ever built and has been racing the very fast car this season in the Le Mans Endurance Series in Europe. The car will be in the LMP1 class in the ALMS.

"We have this 'thing' going called MOJO," said Bickerton. "It's an 'Austin Powers' type outlook on life. We tend to have a quirky outlook on life and the whole racing business. That's not to say we are not totally serious about racing. We work hard and try to get the best results we can, but we also like to have a bit of fun."
09/01/04
NASCAR
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Points Update NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Points UpdateThe Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup is reaching a fever pitch. The points race is tightening both at the top of the standings and for the coveted spots in the top 10. Jeff Gordon still clings to his first-place standing, but only by 24 points over teammate Jimmie Johnson (who picked up 44 points on Gordon at this past weekend's Bristol race). Bristol winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also made a solid move toward Gordon, pulling to within 75 points of first place. The top three leaders after a successful weekend also secured the first spots in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. There is a virtual logjam of drivers fighting for positions in the remaining seven spots and the right to compete for the NEXTEL Cup Trophy. Following Bristol and coming into this weekend's race at California Speedway, the difference between eighth place in the standings (Kevin Harvick) and 15th (Dale Jarrett and Jamie McMurray) is only 50 points. Ryan Newman, with his second-place run at Bristol, moved back into the 10th place slot, but he is only 26 points ahead of Kasey Kahne, 35 points ahead of Mark Martin and Jeremy Mayfield, and 45 ahead of Jarrett and McMurray. With only two races left until the cutoff on September 11 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, it places a huge premium on strong runs by the contenders at California this weekend.
09/01/04
Industry News
D3 Motorsport Development Created D3 Motorsport Development CreatedOne the world's foremost designers of motorsports facilities, Ron Dickson, has established a new company - D3 Motorsport Development - to build and construct major automobile race tracks around the world. With integral support from Dickson's sons, Jeremy and Heath, D3 Motorsport Development officially begins operations September 1. A professional race driver for more than two decades before turning to track design 18 years ago, Dickson has designed and constructed three of the most competitive and most successful new race tracks in professional motorsports - the street course in Surfers Paradise, Australia (recognized as the finest street course in world today), which has annually hosted a round of the Champ Car World Series since 1991; the semi-permanent road course at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico, site of the Champ Car Tecate Grand Prix since 2001; and the complete re-design of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez permanent road course in the heart of Mexico City, a facility which had been dormant for safety reasons for nearly a decade but which hosted the Champ Car Mexico Gran Premio on October 13, 2002 and received CART's 2002 Event of the Year Award. Dickson was also a design consultant for Rockingham Speedway in Corby, England, site of the inaugural Champ Car Rockingham 500 in 2001 and the first new European oval track built since 1955. Dickson's background as a former race driver enables him to create track features that enhance competition and test driving skill while maximizing spectator viewing opportunities. He has also developed and patented various barrier and fence designs which provide greater safety for participants and spectators. These successes have enabled D3 to be named the first "preferred track developer" for the Champ Car World Series. For the last eight years, Dickson has worked for Forsythe Racing Inc., completing his assignments with the Monterrey, Mexico City and Rockingham projects on time and under budget.

"Working with Gerry Forsythe and everyone at Forsythe Racing has been a pleasure," Dickson said, "but the company is now focusing on maximizing the profitability of events at the facilities I have designed and built for them. My greatest interest lies in creating and constructing new venues, and we have formed our own company to accomplish that goal. By designing and building other world-class racing facilities around the world, I will be able to fulfill that desire while also creating possible new venues for major domestic and international racing championships including the Champ Car World Series. The projects I will be working on could very well result in a win-win situation for both D3 Motorsport Development and for Champ Car. Ron has been instrumental in creating the most successful new events in the Champ Car World Series in recent years," Forsythe said. "He has a great eye for detail and he has consistently created facilities which provide challenges for the drivers, great views for the spectators and outstanding marketing and hospitality opportunities for sponsors. I fully support his decision to form his own company and wish him the best. After he successfully builds some additional facilities, I know the Champ Car World Series will have some interesting new race tracks to consider." Dickson, a native of Australia, has built an unrivaled record of success in various motorsports positions over the last 40 years. After more than 20 years as a race driver, concluding as a factory driver for the Jaguar team in the International Touring Car series in the 1980s, Dickson turned his attention to race track design. In 1987, he provided technical engineering support to the redesign of the Mount Panorama permanent road course in Bathurst, Australia. His involvement with that project led Dickson to design, create and manage the Surfers Paradise event, which instantly became the largest annual spectator sporting event in Australia.
09/01/04
NASCAR
California Speedway Sprays to Prevent West Nile California Speedway Sprays to Prevent West NileCrews sprayed pesticides Wednesday around the California Speedway to help prevent an outbreak of West Nile virus among the thousands of fans expected to attend a NASCAR race this weekend. Local officials decided to spray for mosquitoes because Sunday's race will be at dusk, when the insects are active. The city of Fontana has been one of the most severely affected in California during this year's outbreak of the virus. "It just seemed like a wise precaution, given the large number of people that will be at the Speedway," said David Wert, a spokesman for San Bernardino County. The race Sunday is expected to attract some 100,000 fans, with about twice that number attending races through the weekend at the Speedway. About 15,000 people will be staying in motor homes in the track's infield. Speedway spokesman Dennis Bickmeier said the track will also encourage fans to wear insect repellant. San Bernardino County has been among the counties hardest hit by the West Nile virus, which has infected at least 370 people in the state so far this year and killed 10. The county has had 134 of those infected with the virus and four of the deaths. --Associated Press--
09/01/04
f1
Schumacher: I will go on until I am not competitive Schumacher: I will go on until I am not competitiveAfter having won his seventh Drivers’ title and his fifth with Ferrari on Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps, Michael Schumacher has already knuckled down to work. The world champion is today taking part in FOM testing at the Monza autodrome. In the early afternoon he met briefly with journalists, generating a rumor that he was about to announce his retirement from competition.

‘I have heard it said that I was about to announce my retirement’, began a relaxed and smiling Schumacher. ‘I am sorry to let everybody down but I have competition in my blood; I live for it. This is the reason that I will continue as long as I have this instinct and I am competitive’.

Michael then spoke about Sunday’s race. ‘I didn’t know how to take the second place. Then, when I got back to the motorhome and I saw how happy everyone was, I realised…’ Talk then returned to the tyres used at Spa – ‘Regarding the tires, the choice was clear: they were slower on the first lap and then slowly got faster. The problem was when the safety car came on and then I had to wait for the tires to get to temperature again. If the safety car hadn’t appeared I don’t think that Raikkonen would have overtaken me. Montoya did well and went past me at a point where I didn’t expect him to. When I saw him it was too late and I didn’t have time to react. I don’t think that I was excessively prudent, simply that it wasn’t worth risking anything’.

Those who have racing in the blood, in any case, cannot dwell on maybes: ‘I honestly never look back; I always concentrate on the next set of objectives. To realise those goals there are the winter months.’

To those who enquired as to whether he expected a more difficult and trying championship, the German champion responded that: ‘we thought we might have tighter races but I have to say that we did a great job. It’s true that this has been the best season of my career. From now on racing will be much more enjoyable. I will be able to focus on every single race, from Monza onwards, without thinking about the tactics’.

Can this year be compared to 2002? ‘No’, replied Michael. ‘In 2002 we knew we had the most competitive car; this year we only realised it in the middle of February when we tested at Imola’. There will be no modifications to the F2004 for the remaining races in the calendar. ‘If there are changes, they will be small’, confirmed Schumacher. He then responded to journalists who wanted to know if he would be helping out his teammate to win second place overall: ‘Rubens is more than able to do that himself, but if he needs a hand…’

09/01/04
f1
Monza testing Day 1: Schumacher fastest Monza testing Day 1: Schumacher fastestMichael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello topped today's test time at Monza. The day's program centerd on set-up work for the forthcoming Italian Grand Prix, which takes place at this track on 12th September, as well as aerodynamic work.  Michael covered a total of 80 laps, the quickest in a time of 1'20"202. Rubens did 92 laps, with a best time of 1'20"244.
Times
01 Schumacher Ferrari 1:20.194 80 laps
02 Barrichello Ferrari 1:20.236 92 laps
03 Davidson BAR 1:21.066 68 laps
04 Sato BAR 1:21.453 47 laps
05 Montoya Williams 1:21.649 56 laps
06 Alonso Renault 1:21.698 73 laps
07 Klien Jaguar 1:21.748 55 laps
08 Coulthard McLaren 1:21.809 79 laps
09 Pizzonia Williams 1:21.851 47 laps
10 Fisichella Sauber 1:22.028 53 laps
11 Panis Toyota 1:22.043 69 laps
12 Trulli Renault 1:22.295 45 laps
13 Wurz McLaren 1.22.374 59 laps
14 Webber Jaguar 1.22.376 53 laps
15 Briscoe Toyota 1.22.775 48 laps
16 Pantano Jordan 1.23.347 44 laps
17 Leinders Minardi 1:24.441 34 laps
09/01/04
f1
Renault announces sponsor Renault announces sponsorRenault announced on Wednesday that they have signed a long-term partnership deal with Tridion, who will become the French team's 'Official Internet Partner'.  Under the terms of the agreement, Tridion, who are one of Europe's leaders in the domain of Internet and intranet content management, will become the team's 'Official Internet Partner'. This is a new position created by Renault, which they hope will reflect their desire to place new media at the centre of their F1 communications activities.

"Tridion is a central pillar of our internet strategy," said Renault's Head of Communications Jean-François Caubet. "Formula One demands versatile content management solutions that allow the team to distribute news to the public and key media outlets quickly and reliably."

"Tridion has allowed the team to communicate rapidly with our audience, while also enabling the seamless integration of innovative projects such as our live telemetry broadcasts."

"The versatility of the Tridion tools at our disposal has allowed us to transform the significant potential of multimedia communications into a market-leading shop-window for the team and the Renault Group."

Christian Raza, the managing director of Tridion France, added: "We are delighted to be an integral part of the Renault's communications strategy. We both have similar objectives to achieve high performance and quality for our products."

09/01/04
champcar
Hunter-Reay off to Surfers Hunter-Reay off to SurfersChamp Car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay left LA last night for Australia to officially start the Surfers race promotions.  He will be doing a three day media tour and return Saturday to the states...Tour includes Press conference, interviews, photo shoots and opportunities etc. and he will be a VIP guest at the Brisbane Lions AFL finals game.   From what we understand Kevin Kalkhoven will also be there and involved with the promotions.  Will he also visit Adelaide per the rumor?  Hmm....
09/01/04
Industry News
Man dies at Talladega Man dies at TalladegaA man has died following an accident in a Racing Experience driving school Ford Taurus at Talladega Superspeedway, ALA. Tony Davis, 43, of Fayetteville, GA, was taking part in a corporate event put on by Bruno's Supermarkets Inc. Davis was on his way back to the pits when his car hit the outside wall along the track's backstretch. He was air-lifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham where he died from his injuries. Autosport Professional
09/01/04
f1
Ferrari investigates tub failure Ferrari investigates tub failureFerrari is investigating why one of its F399 chassis tore in half during an accident in a historic race at Laguna Seca in the United States. Technical director Ross Brawn said: “We have got the car back at the factory and we are looking at it. Although it’s the same model as the one Michael had his accident in [at Silverstone in 1999], it’s a very different sort of accident. In Michael’s he had a front impact and the wheel came back into the cockpit and that’s what broke his leg. With this one – as far as I understand – the car went backwards into a barrier and the wheel became stuck in the barrier as the car spun around it, putting a tensile load on the car.” The ’99 Ferrari was torn in half. Autosport Magazine
09/01/04
f1
Minardi Swiss demo Minardi Swiss demoMinardi is planning a major two-seater demonstration at the Lodrino di Biasca airbase in Switzerland this weekend when Gianmaria Bruni, Bas Leinders and former grand prix driver and current television commentator Christian Danner will put the F1x2 cars through their paces.  Autosport Magazine
09/01/04
Euro 3000
Euro 3000 Series drops Dubai round Euro 3000 Series drops Dubai roundThe Euro 3000 Series finale in Dubai is likely to be dropped from the calendar. The street race in the Sardinian capital of Cagliari looks set to become the final round, with an extra race added in beforehand. Series boss Martin Schneider said: “We always told our teams we would only go there if the costs are not more than for a typical European race.” Autosport Magazine  [Editor's Note: The Renault V6 series is still slated to race in Dubai on the made-for-F1 track]
09/01/04
grandam
Siebens jumps to Grand-Am Siebens jumps to Grand-AmNate Siebens has been hired as public relations manager by Grand American Road Racing, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd. Siebens previously was with the Championship Auto Racing Teams/Champ Car World Series since 2000 and with Championship Racing Magazine/Indy Car Racing Magazine before that. He interned with The Milwaukee Mile in 1996. He earned a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  Daytona Beach Journal
09/01/04
champcar
What about Seoul? What about Seoul?A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have read the rumors about the Seoul race being dead, yet I have seen no announcement from Champ Car.  What gives? Eric Sussman, New York  Dear Eric, We suspect Champ Car was hoping to lessen the embarrassment that they had to cancel the Seoul race with an announcement that Puerto Rico would be added to the schedule.  Now that Puerto Rico has fallen through as well, they have no choice but to take their lumps and announce the 2004 schedule has been reduced to just 14 races.  We see little hope for Seoul in 2005 and beyond either.  South Korea simply isn't an auto racing mecca.  Mark C.
09/01/04
champcar
Ford can take lesson from Fiat Ford can take lesson from FiatA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1,com, A while back AR1 pointed out that Ferrari do not advertise, they let the F1 team build the brand. Well, now Ferrari owner Fiat have put a full page advert in the British Financial Times (equivalent to the Wall Street Journal) yesterday (Tuesday 31st August) to commemorate Schumacher's world title and their constructors title. The ad features a sidelong shot of the car AND the badges of the Fiat family: Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Ferrari. Will Ford take a leaf out of this book and badge engines in OWRS with its stable of thoroughbreds? www.ft.comEd McFarlane, Goadby, England  Dear Ed, For the longest time many had hoped that Ford would badge the existing Cosworth engine as shown below with four of its companies.  However, to date that has not happened.  Ford appears unwilling to engage Champ Car and exploit the monopoly that they currently have there.  Ford is a good partner for Champ Car in that they supply quality engines to the series (for which Cosworth makes a tidy profit from) but as far as embracing the series in its marketing and advertising to help it grow, which would in turn get more exposure for Ford, they have chosen to remain largely invisible to date.  They were not happy when they had to compete head-to-head with Toyota and Honda and their bottomless pit of money, yet even when they are gone, they have not shown the willingness to engage the Champ Car product.  However, they are talking about 2005 so perhaps we will see Ford step it up. Mark C.

   
Click each to see different cam cover badges

09/01/04
nascar
Oregon courts NASCAR Oregon courts NASCARDon't take it for granted that NASCAR's first race in the Northwest USA will be in the Seattle area. This Portland Oregonian article says, Major League Baseball might be taking a pass on Portland when it decides where to relocate the Montreal Expos. But now that the International Speedway Corp. is looking to build its first Northwest track, Drew Mahalic and others don't want Oregon to take second place to Washington state.

At stake are events that supporters describe as the economic equivalent of playing host to a Super Bowl -- every year. NASCAR's Nextel Cup races, whose drivers are the most celebrated in U.S. racing, attract fans from around the country with cash in their pockets for hotels, meals and souvenirs.

Already, however, some say Washington has pulled ahead of Oregon.

Washington has formed a Checkered Flag Task Force, a five-county coalition of business and government leaders. Legislators have begun exploring how to finance track construction with tax-supported bonds. Three counties have sent enthusiastic proposals to the ISC.    Oregon's pace is slower.  More.....

09/01/04
champcar
Champ Car's golden future Champ Car's golden futureThis AutoWeek article says, There is no doubt CART and its reformation as the Champ Car World Series has had a tough couple of years.  Yet after its race in Montreal, where the series again drew in excess of 100,000 fans for the weekend, Champ Car shows all signs of succeeding where many thought it would fail.  The value of the new McDonald’s relationship for the series will ultimately be demonstrated next season and beyond; its real potential varies depending on whom you ask and how it gets spun. Still, the relationship is significant and the chatter in the Montreal hospitality tents indicates more is on the way. At the least, doubts about Champ Car’s buoyancy—or the commitment of its new owners—should be quelled. More......
09/01/04
irl
IRL’s disappearing act IRL’s disappearing actUPDATE Another reader writes, Like one of your other readers, I am a die hard Champ Car (flew to Road America this year)fan, but I went to Nazareth to say goodbye to a great track where I saw my first major race (Paul Tracy 1997).  A couple items:  Al Speyer of Firestone gave Tony George a trophy because of his great "vision" starting the IRL 100 races ago.  There were some boos in the crowd amid the "golf claps."   There were red hats all over.  I had a reserved ticket and one of the red hats refused to let me sit in my seat.  He told me to go sit somewhere else.  He did the same thing to others.  We actually sat two rows higher so I can't complain.  People did leave early, but I think more people showed up than expected.  There was a lot of traffic and not too many cops.  They were also sold out of programs which was strange.  Finally, I never realized how LOUD IRL cars are!  Say what you like, I will miss Nazareth.  I asked the woman at the ticket window why the track was closing.  She did not know.   Chris Silhavey, Stratford CT  08/31/04 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Did anyone else notice the incredible disappearing crowd at the Nazareth IRL race?  When the Nazareth race started it appeared to be an “acceptable” IRL crowd but as the race progressed I noticed that you were able to see more and more of the orange and yellow colors of empty seats.  It was apparent halfway through the race that there had been a major exodus by the “fans”.  By the last 30 laps it looked like only 10-20% of the original crowd remained.  That’s the danger with free ticket holders – when they get bored and as they have no money invested in the tickets, they leave! Kathy Bosco  Dear Kathy, You are correct in your observation.  The most common complaint we hear is that of the hideous sound of the low-revving dumbed down V8 engine.  It just plain hurts the ears and reverberates down one's spine.  A V10 has a much more pleasant engine note.  Faced with another follow-the-leader finish, many left early to avoid the infamous Nazareth traffic jams. Mark C.
09/01/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Minardi to run same engine as Jaguar
Schu not announcing retirement
Ralf to skip Monza test, race
Pizzonia to replace Ralf again
Sharp curb caused tire blow-ups - Michelin
Jaguar to become 'Ford F1'
Schu's 'the man' - BMW's Theissen
Klien not to blame for Spa shunt - DC
FIA to investigate Belgian police
BAR offer Button 'more money'
China say sorry to F1's press
Ferrari run FIA test at Monza
Ferrari opted for safe tire - Todt
McLaren team records a loss
F1's TV numbers are higher in '04
Track design 'controls racing' - Willis 
08/31/04
nascar
Yeley to finally make Cup debut Yeley to finally make Cup debutVigoro, a leading brand of premium lawn and garden products for over 80 years, along with The Home Depot®, will be the primary sponsors of Joe Gibbs Racing driver J.J. Yeley as he attempts to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut at California Speedway.  Yeley will enter the #11 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the Pop Secret 500 on Sunday, September 5th.  Yeley's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut was originally planned at Michigan International Speedway in August, but rain showers cancelled qualifying and the field was set by points.  Yeley was 11th fastest in practice during Friday's only NEXTEL Cup Series practice at Michigan.
08/31/04
alms
Maserati FIA GT car ready Maserati FIA GT car readyMaserati has presented to FIA (Federation Internationale Automobile) the 25 MC12 road version, ready to be delivered to customers, alongside three racing models: the one unveiled last March at the Geneva Show and the couple that will make the debut in Imola for AF Corse.

Maserati is making a very welcome return to racing and, in the process, to its very earliest roots. In fact, it was Maserati’s enormous success in races, courtesy of some legendary drivers and an insatiable thirst for innovation, that helped create the legend of the Trident marque. A F1 World title in 1957 was delivered by Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel of the magnificent 250 F. The same model that helped the Argentinian to win another title in 1954.

The last victory came long after Maserati's official retirement from racing at the end of '57, courtesy of Cooper in 1967 (F1 South African GP, driver Pedro Rodriguez, 12-cylinder Cooper-Maserati). The Trident’s most glittering triumphs in the sports prototype category, however, have to be its Targa Florio, Buenos Aires 1000 Km and Nürburgring victories. Wilbur Shaw’s two wins in the Indy 500 (1939-1940) at the wheel of the 8CTF, also have a very special place in the Trident story.

Martin Leach (Maserati C.E.O) has declared: "The history of Maserati is one of sporting success, splendid and fascinating automobiles and exclusive clients. We have completed the series of 25 MC12 roadcars and they are ready for delivery to the clients and the track cars in which we will make our racing return to an international championship are being prepared. For us then, it is an important historic moment".

The same concept has been underlined by Claudio Berro (Director Maserati Corse): "It is an exciting moment as it marks the return of a great automobile manufacturer to competition after a gap of thirty years. All the cars have been completed and selected and so all that remains is for the track to give its verdict. We believe that we have worked well over the past two years". From the technical point of view, Giorgio Ascanelli (Technical Director Maserati Corse) explains: "The race version is derived from the road version of the MC12, with a close eye kept on performance and costs. We would like our future clients to possess an easily manageable car with great performance and good reliability".

The drivers are very confident: "The road going car and the race spec car are very similar - says Andrea Bertolini - The MC12 is a very easy vehicle to drive and one in which it is easy to find the limit. We work well with Mika Salo. We completed the last three tests together and, most significantly, we give the technicians similar feedback on the car". The Finn driver agrees: "It’s quite exciting. It has been very busy testing and I think we should be ready for the race.  It’s a very comfortable car to drive, very well balanced, very comfortable, especially for the long run."

The other duo is formed by Johnny Herbert and Fabrizio De Simone. "I am more than satisfied - says Herbert - because we signed the agreement a few days ago and the first test at Mugello went extremely well. The MC12 is a pleasant car to drive. Comfort is very important in races of this type. A car has to be set up in two specific ways for two different drivers and I think that the perfect combination has been found". The same impression of Fabrizio de Simone: "The first sensation is that the MC12 is an extremely precise and reliable car to drive. What I found was that it was easy to establish the right feeling with this car. The car is an exceptional one to drive.

08/31/04
f1
Ralf poised to return at Monza test Ralf poised to return at Monza testUPDATE The BMW WilliamsF1 Team today confirmed that Ralf Schumacher will not take part in the forthcoming Monza test, and as a consequence, the Italian Grand Prix on September 12, 2004. Ralf's recuperation continues well, and the German driver is expected to test after the Italian Grand Prix.  Ralf's position in Italy will again be filled by Antonio Pizzonia, who performed strongly at the Belgian Grand Prix before being denied a podium finish by a mechanical failure. 08/26/04 Ralf Schumacher is poised to return to action in a three-day testing session at Monza next week, two months after injuring his back in a serious crash at Indy.  The Williams driver has not been behind the wheel since bruising several vertebra in his back in the high-speed crash at the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis on June 20th.   "We will see how he is after the test," said Antonio Pizzonia, who has deputised for the injured Schumacher.   "If he's ready he'll be at the Italian GP (in two weeks) as far as I know."
08/31/04
alms
Team ADT Champion enters 2nd car Team ADT Champion enters 2nd carTeam ADT Champion Racing is excited to announce the addition of a second Audi R8 LMP1 “prototype” to contest the two remaining American Le Mans Series races at Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans) and the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Johnny Herbert, former Formula 1 Driver, 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and popular American Le Mans Series driver will return to the United States along with up and coming Audi “works” driver Pierre Kaffer.   Herbert and Kaffer will join ADT Champion Racing regulars JJ Lehto and Marco Werner to pilot a second, identically prepared Audi R8. 

Veteran driver Johnny Herbert is no stranger to U.S. road courses and especially not to Team ADT Champion Racing.  Herbert joined ADT Champion Racing in their maiden year (2001) and quickly earned the team three podium finishes.  Herbert returned again with ADT Champion Racing in 2002 and 2003 and continually brought home more podium finishes for the team including the 12 Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans, and other American Le Mans Series races.  Herbert born in Brentwood, Essex, Great Britain, currently resides with his wife and two daughters in Monte Carlo, Monaco. www.johnnyherbert.com

Pierre Kaffer, a new member to the Audi “factory” squad, began his racing career in Karting in 1990.  In 1995 he won the German Formula Ford Championship and in 1996 he won the German Formula Opel Championship.  He quickly moved on to compete in the German Formula 3 Championship, Porsche Carerra Cup and Supercup races before earning a coveted spot with Audi AG in 2004.  In Kaffer’s very first year driving an Audi R8, Kaffer placed first at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Nurburgring, Silverstone, and second at Monza.  Kaffer born in Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany, currently resides in Burgbrohl, Germany. www.pierre-kaffer.de

“We are very happy to announce Johnny Herbert and Pierre Kaffer as the drivers for our 2nd ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 car,” said Team Owner Dave Maraj.  “We look forward to Johnny driving for Champion again.  He was a huge asset during the three years he drove for us.  Pierre Kaffer is definitely an up and coming driver who has already proven himself at Le Mans and in the Le Mans Endurance Series.  He’ll make a perfect addition to our team.” 

08/31/04
irl
champcar
Champ Car is not Indy Champ Car is not IndyWhile in Montreal this weekend for the race, my wife overheard a conversation between the hotel concierge and another guest. The guest was looking for something interesting to do. The concierge suggested the "Molson Indy" race. The guest asked what kind of cars they were racing. The concierge tried to describe the cars, but just explained they were like the cars raced at Indy. The guest said thanks anyway, I only watch Formula racing. We didn't find out how he spent the day. Terence Fischer, Northfield, New Jersey  Dear Terence, Absolutely, Champ Car must cease using the word “Indy” in the title of any of its races. Indy not only confuses people with the IRL, but the dumbed down IRL series has so tarnished the Indy name CART helped to build up, that it now carries a negative image and is holding Champ Car back. Henceforth, the three Canadian races should be called the Molson Grand Prix of Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, or Vancouver. There will be no confusion with the Grand Prix of Canada F1 race, since Canada is a country, not a city. Mark C.
08/31/04
nascar
Toyota pulls support of truck team Toyota pulls support of truck teamToyota officials confirmed Monday they have withdrawn factory support from Bang Racing, which fields the Toyota Tundras of drivers Mike Skinner and Travis Kvapil in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "We have exercised our right to terminate our 'Support Agreement' with Bang Racing and notified Bang after the Bristol race," said Toyota spokeswoman Diana DeJoseph. "We do not discuss the details of any of our team contracts or on-going discussions. Bang Racing's contract is no exception." This season Bang was one of four factory supported teams -- Innovative Motorsports, Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, and Bill Davis Racing are the others -- that began Toyota's first season in the Truck series. Bang also has Toyota's only series win this season, when Kvapil won the July race at Michigan in the No. 24 Tundra. Kvapil is currently fifth in points, and teammate Mike Skinner is 10th in the No. 42 Tundra. A Bang Racing spokesperson said the team was working on a press release Monday afternoon, but did say the team planned to compete at the series' next race Sept. 9 at Richmond, Va. Bang Racing was founded by owner Alex Meshkin in 2003 and competing in its first Truck series season. Meshkin, an Internet entrepreneur and marketing businessman, teamed with long-time NASCAR crew chief and Fox Sports analyst Larry McReynolds to form the two-truck organization. McReynolds, however, left the organization in July. ThatsRacin.com 

Bang Racing officials are considering litigation to resolve its dispute with Toyota, the team said Monday afternoon after the manufacturer terminated its support agreement. Diana DeJoseph, Toyota's senior motorsports public relations administrator, confirmed Monday that the manufacturer as ended its contract with Bang Racing and its two drivers, Travis Kvapil and Mike Skinner. "What we can say at this point is that we have exercised our right to terminate our support agreement with Bang Racing," DeJoseph said. "We notified Bang after the Bristol race." But Bang Racing, through a statement, disputed Toyota's position. "According to Bang Racing's sponsorship and support agreement with Toyota, Bang was and continues to be entitled to receive full factory support for our two Tundra teams," said the statement, attributed only to the team. "Bang is currently in discussions with litigation counsel regarding the legal ramifications of TRD/Toyota's position." Jennifer Jaudon, media relations manager for Bang Racing, said the team plans to race in the Kroger 200 at Richmond on Sept. 9. "We'll work through it," Jaudon said. "Our plans are still to be at Richmond. Alex is moving forward with everything." Jaudon, like DeJoseph, wouldn't comment on why Toyota took this action. And while the team plans to be in Richmond, it is unclear whether Kvapil and Skinner will be driving Toyotas. Asked if Bang Racing can continue to use Toyota products, DeJoseph said, "Well, no, we terminated our support agreement. Getting into the details of that isn't something we can do." Bang's statement, however, indicates that the team wants to continue using Toyotas. Whether Bang can could be up to the judicial system. NASCAR.com

08/31/04
f1
Minardi and Cosworth confirm for 2005 Minardi and Cosworth confirm for 2005The Minardi F1 Team is today pleased to announce that it has successfully concluded an agreement with current engine partner, Cosworth Racing, for the supply of power units in 2005. The new arrangement will result in Minardi being provided with the Cosworth TJ engine, the same powerful, 90-degree V10 used by Jaguar. It will provide the Faenza-based team with the opportunity for significantly enhanced performance from its 2005 car.

“Cosworth Racing is very happy to renew its partnership with Minardi for 2005,” comments the company’s Commercial Director, Bernard Ferguson. “We have long-standing ties with the team, and continue to feel that its fighting spirit and independent status in Formula One render it a more-than-worthy partner. As ever, the new season will bring with it fresh technical challenges for the engine manufacturers, as well as the need for near-continuous performance improvement combined with a very high level of reliability. We believe the Cosworth Racing TJ power unit will help to provide Minardi with a strong package next year.”

Announcing the agreement, Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, said, “Cosworth has been a great technical partner, providing the team with powerful, reliable, and cost-effective engines. This latest arrangement, which will see Minardi running the same top Cosworth power units as Jaguar, will undoubtedly give Minardi a considerable boost by providing the team with the opportunity to fight some of its F1 rivals on a more level ‘playing field’. On a personal note, I very much look forward to continuing with what has become a truly excellent relationship.”

The final specification and technical details of the power units to be supplied to Minardi in 2005 will be confirmed once the Formula One technical regulations for next season have been officially confirmed. Minardi  PR

08/31/04
irl
IRL doesn’t connect with fans IRL doesn’t connect with fansWe have long maintained that the IRL is a product that simply does not connect with open wheel fans.  That is clear as their TV ratings plummet annually, and are fast approaching zero.  In fact the IRL should have never been formed in the first place, it has destroyed the sport of Indy Car Racing.  This Morning Call artcle talks about the closing of Nazareth and lays blame on the IRL for failing to connect with the fans.......Big-league open-wheel racing, IRL in this case, is to blame.   Fifteen of the 22 starters Sunday were born outside the United States. All 43 starters in Saturday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Sharpie 500 could say they were born on U.S. soil.   We can't relate to guys with the first names of Dario, Helio, Tomas, Townsend and Vitor.   The Victory Lane podium was filled with a Brit, a Brazilian and a Scot, all of whom drive for an American.   Arizona's Buddy Rice (fourth) and California's Bryan Herta (eighth) were the lone Americans in the top 10.   And their appeal seems limited.  Rice, the Indianapolis 500 winner, sat on a golf cart near the speedway tunnel yesterday morning and nobody bugged him. Mark Martin, who was last in this year's Daytona 500, would have generated a mob.   The IRL is losing out. Earlier in the day, Tyler Walker, a Californian who grew up racing sprint cars, won the 100-lap USAC Silver Crown race.   He divulged that he will be driving a NASCAR Busch Series car in most, probably 27, races next year.   Another talent lost. Walker's going down the path paved by Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader, J.J. Yeley and Mike Bliss.   The IRL lost its way when it tried to morph into CART and feed at its carcass.  To succeed it needed 100% American drivers and 100% oval tracks so it could ride on NASCAR's coattails, i.e. NASCAR fans want Americans, plain and simple.  The series was so intent on destroying CART that it lost its focus and failed to understand that its customers (NASCAR fans) didn't want another CART.  As the IRL is about to add road courses and has expressed its desire to enter Mexico and Canada, it's clear the leaders of the IRL want to continue to feed at the dead CART carcass.  Plan the IRL's funeral, the outcome is inevitable. Mark C. 
08/31/04
irl
IRL Chicagoland media and fan event IRL Chicagoland media and fan eventIndy Racing League Media And Fan Event Sept. 9 in Downtown Chicago.  The Indy Racing League will celebrate its upcoming race weekend at Chicagoland Speedway with a special media and fan event on Sept. 9 at the ESPN Zone in downtown Chicago.   IRL IndyCar® Series and IRL Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesT drivers will meet fans and sign autographs followed by a free concert featuring 1999 Indianapolis 500 champion Kenny Brack and his band, Kenny Brack and the Subwoofers.  Drivers will be available for media interviews prior to the autograph appearance. Additionally, an Indy Racing Experience Two-Seater will be available for media to ride through the streets of downtown Chicago. 
WHAT: Indy Racing League Media And Fan Event
WHO: IndyCar Series drivers Alex Barron, Ed Carpenter, Adrian Fernandez, Dario Franchitti, Kosuke Matsuura, Vitor Meira and Buddy Rice. Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers Thiago Medeiros, P.J. Chesson, Phil Giebler and Al Unser.
WHERE: ESPN Zone, 43 E. Ohio Street, Chicago, IL 60611
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 9
3 p.m. IRL IndyCar Two-Seater Media Rides*
3:30 p.m. Driver Interview Session
4 p.m. Autograph Session
5 p.m. Kenny Brack & the Subwoofers Concert
08/31/04
champcar
More on Champ Car officiating More on Champ Car officiatingUPDATE Another reader writes, As for the officiating, I used to go ballistic with referees in basketball, baseball and football until I refereed soccer for a while. The difference was that I came to realize that everyone makes mistakes. If the players aren't perfect, then don't expect it of the officials.   Officials have three responsibilities, as I see it. They first need to let the players play -- they should not try to reconfigure the game to suit their interests. Second, they need to make sure that one side does not blatantly abuse the rules to their own advantage. And third, they need to be consistent.   Applying this to Sunday's race, AJ Allmendinger didn't do anything that Paul Tracy didn't do on the third corner of the race, to Allmendinger, of all people. If Tracy didn't get charged - and PT's move was much worse, because PT had an opportunity to merge with traffic a little further down the track instead of barging into traffic at the apex of a turn - then they shouldn't have charged AJ, either. First and foremost, though, let them play the game.  The worst part of the call is that the officials had time to review it before blowing it. Still, NFL officials using replays routinely call it the wrong way after looking at the play in slow motion, as well.  Ultimately, though, AJ caused his own problems by losing control under braking. He was lucky his front suspension didn't crater in the same way Sebastien Bourdais' right rear collapsed. James C. Allen, CFA 08/30/04 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.Com,  Enough is enough!  Mandatory pit stops and pit stop windows.  Mandatory use of this tire or that tire.  Mandatory do this or mandatory don’t do that.  What is Champ Car now?  Catholic school revisited?  The officiating sure reminds me of Mother Superior standing before the class, ruler in hand.  More draconian interference (is the air becoming too thin up there for Kneifel?) that spoils the racing.  I for one am tired of this NASCAResq interference.  Is this Champ Car’s version of managed competition?

How’s this for a really new and novel approach that just might help attract some new spectators, viewers and maybe even some new sponsors.  I know this will be viewed by many as much too radical, maybe even too complicated or expensive, but here goes anyway.  How ‘bout Champ Car GIVE THE BOYS ALL THE FUEL THEY COULD POSSIBLY BURN, GET THE HELL OUT OF THEIR WAY, AND LET ‘EM RACE ! !  Oh, and here’s the really interesting part of the plan.  Unless a driver, during the actual race, commits an act so egregious, so stupid, so completely AJ Foyt The Fourth, that he must be brought into the pits, Champ Car will no longer penalize one driver for racing another driver.  Champ Car officials will LEAVE ‘EM ALONE and LET ‘EM RACE ! !  How’s that for “new and improved?”

Champ Car needs to get as far away from this Managed Competition BS as fast as possible.  The product is rebounding nicely and it’s incredibly exciting to see organizations like McDonald's (I will now eat a Big Mac a day let my LDL cholesterol be dammed) taking a greater interest in Champ Car.  But for God’s sake this is MOTOR RACING we’re in love with.  Racing is NOT about arbitrary barriers to performance or subjective rules or the opinions of officials cooked up to elevate the incompetent at the expense of the talented, as is the case over in that other racing series we all love so much.  Sure, there will be minor injustices done to one driver by another from time-to-time.  But the drivers have their own ways of metering out justice when it’s called for, both on the track and off.  JUST LEAVE ‘EM ALONG ! !  LET ‘EM RACE ! !   Champ Car: Get your rule book and officials out of the way and let the boys race their cars!  Please. J.N. Anderson, Chicago, Illinois

08/31/04
champcar
McDonald’s will raise awareness of Champ Car McDonald’s will raise awareness of Champ CarA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com  I like the "Champ Car" name, but also agree that "Grand Prix" would be better because people know what it is. What about "The Champ Car Grand Prix World Series"?  They wouldn't have to get rid of the "Champ Car" name, plus people would know what kind of racing series it is faster. Also with McDonald’s coming on board as, "The Official Fast Food Of The Champ Car Grand Prix World Series", they can be a big help to the future success of Champ Cars. McDonald’s needs to put that line (McDonald’s, Proud To Be The Official Fast Food Of The Champ Car Grand Prix World Series) at the end of every TV/Radio Commercial. The average person probably sees or listens to about 15 to 20 McDonald’s commercials a week. Let's face it, McDonald’s is a household name. I don't think there is a person on the planet that doesn't know what McDonald's is. Eventually it will start ringing in, and when Champ Cars are mentioned to people who didn't know what they were they'll say, "Oh, the series with McDonald’s. Also I'm sure McDonald's has plenty of ideas about how to market Champ Cars, but I came up with a good one for them. I think they should have the stickers on the Super Size Fries with the chance of winning Champ Car prizes. They could have 18 (or however many drivers are racing next year) Grand Prize Winners who would be flown to Champ Car's final event of the season. Each Grand Prize Winner would be paired with a driver for the race and if their driver wins the race the fan would be the Grand Prize Winner. It would be kind of what MLB does at their Home Run Derby. McDonald's can come up with something good for the Winner, maybe a eat free at McDonald’s for life card or something.  Rod, Orlando, FL.  Dear Rod, Whatever name is used, McDonald's can help make it a household name.  But why cling onto a name (Champ Car) which does not immediately paint a clear picture in a persons mind?  It's analogous to a child banging their head against a wall, at some point you have to let go if it doesn't work.  The XYX Open Wheel Grand Prix Series is perfect.  XYZ could be the title sponsor, Open Wheel describes the type of race car (i.e. open wheel, no fenders) and Grand Prix says road racing.  Put it all together and it's perfect, and can be used worldwide.  Open Wheel also happens to be the first two words in OWRS  -- The XYZ Open Wheel Grand Prix Series run by the Open Wheel Racing SeriesMark C. 
08/31/04
champcar
irl
Perplexed over Carpentier Perplexed over CarpentierA reader writes, I am extremely upset about the Pat Carpentier rumors I'm hearing.  I am an ex-Team Rahal, ex-Little Al, ex- Dario, ex-Kannan, ex-Manning, ex- Helio and Gil, ex-Fernandez fan and I DO NOT want to have to be an ex-Carpentier fan too!!  I am one of those diehard CARTers who goes out of his way to avoid buying, selling, or recommending anything having do with the Indy Retirement League.  I can't believe that in the enitre Champ Car community there isn't one decent deal that Pat can find for a ride that will put him in some limelight! I'm kinda pissed at him for crying about Paul getting all the attention.  PT IS a Champion-- defending Champion no less.  C'mon Pat.  And if you are so bummed-- go out and out race him - don't go running for the IRL!   Is there anything we fans can do to let Pat know what he'll be giving up by going to the dark side?  Can somebody start one of those petitions or something?  Do you know a website upon which there is an address to send letters to Patrick? The only sites I found don't have any way to communicate with him.  I'm not from Canada, but I'm a big fan of PC!  Champ Car needs him!  It's just ridiculous to think that he'll get any support from anybody if he disses Champ Car. Timothy Howell, Perplexed in PA
08/31/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ferrari empire in decline - Ron Dennis
'I could have won at Spa' - Alonso
Schu's not quitting in '04 - Jean Todt
Jordan close to Arab sale
Ferrari to 'experiment' in final races
F1 needs 'more than a broom' - Theissen
Michelin to run '05 tire at Monza
Silverstone 'nutter' escapes jail term
Jacques' 'not on Toyota list' - Howett
F1 fans die on way to Belgium
F1 set for 19-race calendar in '05
Dallara to build F1 car
F1 hopeful is F3000 champion
Albers visited Sauber factory
Renault to give Trulli new car
Bob McKenzie 'can wear sneakers' - Dennis
'Schu's no quicker than me' - Raikkonen
Schu calls press conference
08/30/04
irl
The bronze rat The bronze ratA reader writes, A tourist walked into a Chinese curio shop in San Francisco. While looking around at the exotic merchandise, he noticed a very lifelike, life-sized, bronze statue of a rat. It had no price tag, but was so incredibly striking.  The tourist decided he must have it.

He took it to the old shop owner and asked, "How much for the bronze rat?"  "Ahhh, you have chosen wisely! It is $12 for the rat, $100 for the story,"  said the wise old Chinaman.

The tourist quickly pulled out twelve dollars. "I'll just take the rat, you can keep the story".
 
As he walked down the street carrying his bronze rat, the tourist noticed that a few real rats had crawled out of the alleys and sewers and had begun following him down the street. This was a bit disconcerting so he began walking faster. A couple blocks later he looked behind him and saw to his horror the herd of rats behind him had grown to hundreds, and they began squealing.

Sweating now, the tourist began to trot toward the Bay.  Again, after a couple blocks, he looked around only to discover that the rats now numbered in the MILLIONS, and were squealing and coming toward him faster and faster. 

Terrified, he ran to the edge of the Bay and threw the bronze rat as far as he could into the Bay. Amazingly, the millions of rats all jumped into the Bay after the bronze rat, and were all drowned.
 
The man walked back to the curio shop in Chinatown.
 
"Ahhh," said the owner, "You have come back for story?"
 
"No sir," said the man, "I came back to see if you have a bronze statue of an IRL fan. Name Withheld (a Champ Car fan)

08/30/04
irl
Nazareth attendance Nazareth attendanceAccording to the local newspaper The Morning Call, the estimated Nazareth attendance was 21,000 -- but contrary to ABC's broadcast the crowd was not ''enormous'' even with kids under 12 getting in free (and all the Marlboro free ticket giveaways.) 
08/30/04
nascar
Analysis of chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Analysis of chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL CupWhen the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads out West for the Inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Pop Secret 500, there will be only two attempts left at securing a position in the Chase, set to begin September 11. California Speedway's 250-lap, 500-mile event will be a test of endurance and stamina for those drivers reaching to be in the top-10, or within 400 points of the points leader.  Here's a look at those in the chase, and those reaching to get it and their track record at California Speedway (as of August 30th):
Driver Standings Points Behind Leader
1. Jeff Gordon N/A
2. Jimmie Johnson (3143 points) -24
3. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. -75 
4. Tony Stewart -185
5. Matt Kenseth -224
6. Kurt Busch -329
7. Elliott Sadler -361
8. Kevin Harvick -457
9. Bobby Labonte -461
10. Ryan Newman -462

Driver Points from 10th
11. Kasey  Kahne -26
12. Mark Martin -35
13. Jeremy Mayfield -35
14. Dale Jarrett -45
15. Jamie McMurray -45
08/30/04
nascar
Jeff Gordon Holds Many California Speedway Records Jeff Gordon Holds Many California Speedway RecordsFour-time NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon holds numerous California Speedway records, including the best average finishing position, 5.9 in the eight previous NEXTEL Cup Series races at California Speedway where preparations are underway for this weekend's first night race at the track.  Gordon holds the record of the most miles completed with 3,998 miles, missing the perfection mark by only two miles when he finished one lap down in 2002.  Other records for Gordon, include most laps led, 412, and most money won here, $1,177,001.  Whether in Gatorade Victory Lane, which he's seen three times (1997, 1999 and 2004), or nearly there, with no finish worse than 16th, Gordon has been part of the closest margin of victory when Rusty Wallace edged him to the Start/Finish Line in 2001 by 0.270 of-a-second or the widest margin of victory when he stretched his lead in 1999 to finish 4.492 seconds ahead of Jeff Burton.
08/30/04
irl
IRL tidbits IRL tidbitsDallara Claims Chassis Manufacturers Title  With Dan Wheldon's win in the Firestone Indy 225, Dallara Automobili clinched the 2004 chassis manufacturer's title.  Dallara leads Panoz G Force 118-103 with three races remaining.

Firestone Presents Award to George: Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing, awarded a crystal bowl emblazoned with the IRL's 100th event logo to IRL President and CEO Tony George in pre-race ceremonies for the Firestone Indy 225 on Aug. 29 at Nazareth Speedway.

The bowl rests in a wood base inscribed with the names of every IndyCar Series race winner.

"Firestone is proud of its long-standing association with the IRL," Speyer said. "We've shared a common goal to deliver safe, exciting racing to the fans, and Firestone has supplied more than 100,000 Firehawk race tires that have racked up more than a million miles on the racetracks where the series competes. We decided to honor Tony and the IRL for their vision and efforts with this very special trophy on this very special occasion."

George, who served as grand marshal for the race, accepted the trophy from Speyer and expressed the IRL's appreciation for Firestone during a live ABC Sports interview.

"If it weren't for Firestone, I don't know where we would be," George said. "It started off as a supplier relationship, and it's grown into so much more. The partnership we have and enjoy today with Firestone is second to none in the industry. They sponsor races, they provide marketing support, they just do so much and they provide us a safe race tire, which is the most important thing. We've done a lot of good things together to grow our relationship, and I couldn't ask for a better partner than Firestone."

08/30/04
irl
IRL postpones road course test IRL postpones road course testIRL Postpones Homestead-Miami Road Course Test: Due to the forecasted path of Hurricane Frances, the Indy Racing League has postponed a private test at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Five IRL IndyCar® Series teams and two Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesT teams were scheduled to test mechanical parts for use in a road-racing package at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sept. 2-4.  No date or location for the re-scheduled test has been announced.
08/30/04
champcar
 irl
A Champ Car fan’s perspective on the final Nazareth race A Champ Car fan’s perspective on the final Nazareth raceA reader writes, I live in the vicinity of Nazareth Speedway, and I have attended every CART race there starting back in 1992, up until the series stopped coming to the Pennsylvania track. When the IRL came to the Lehigh Valley, I decided that my loyalties were to CART so I would not be giving any of my hard-earned dollars to Tony George by attending the annual event.
 
This year I decided to go the IRL event, not because my view of the IRL had changed, but because this is the last event ever at Nazareth and I wanted to be a part of it.  Let me say that when I go to a race, I go for the entire weekend, getting a pit/paddock pass and I take in every last second of the racing experience that I can. That's my philosophy towards race weekends.
 
Here are some observations I have about the event this year:
 
I am always reading about the free tickets for IRL events. Where were they for the regular fan at Nazareth? There were plenty of tickets and seats for the Phillip-Morris crew, who took up the one whole grandstand section. I bought General Admission tickets and I'll tell you this, my experience was no different than when I have bought reserved seating in the past.
 
It really looks funny to me when they isolate off an entire large section of seats to make the other areas look more full.
 
My pit/paddock pass was only good for the garage area, and there was no access to the pit lane as I had in the past with the CART race. This was the most upsetting thing about my whole weekend.
 
When the IRL pulled up the mobile stage for driver introductions and special presentations, the crowd heckled Tony George. People around me were shouting "We want CART" and other things about Champ Car, and only one person had anything negative to say about CART/Champ Car when the heckling was going on.
 
When watching Indy Cars at Nazareth, I expect to see support series like Indy Lights (which is now gone), Toyota Atlantics, and even Barber Dodge cars. But USAC sprint cars? It just doesn't fit to me. They should have had the Infiniti Pro Series there.
 
Where was Mario? It's the last race in the home of the Andretti's, and Mario is not there at all. Michael even made a comment about how his famous father wants nothing to do with the Andretti-Green Team, and Michael has not been able to change his mind about it.
 
After going to this race, there are some things that Champ Car should take note of and use at all of their events. Note: Since I haven't been able to attend a Champ Car race in several years, these items may be in use, but I wanted to make my comments on them.
 
There was a stage in the souvenir/concession area and prior to the race, they had Mark Taylor, Buddy Rice and Michael Andretti field questions from fans. I really enjoyed this. Michael Andretti was very anti-ChampCar / CART in his remarks, which was funny because in the beginning of his comments he claimed that F1 and CART were too political and that he was glad to have both behind him now. Funny thing is that he is the one playing politics now as an owner, but maybe he just doesn't see it. He also mentioned that he had no idea what the OWRS group were doing and doesn't see them becoming successful ever.
 
One more item, when Buddy Rice was asked to sum up why he thought his tenure at Red Bull Team Cheever was not successful, Buddy said "I can sum it up in one word...Eddie". He went on to say that it has been that way for every driver on that team, and he felt sorry for Alex Barron.
 
There were fireworks aplenty prior to the start of the race, and quite a few afterwards. The two A-10 jets that flew low over the stadium during the National anthem really shook up the place. The two sky-divers were a different treat as well.
 
Nazareth was having their annual "Block Party" that weekend, and the drivers were there on Saturday evening signing autographs for an hour. I wasn't able to go but the idea of it impressed me.
 
While some drivers would jump on their scooters to get away from fans,  I was very impressed by Bryan Herta who always walked to and from the paddock to the pit area signing autographs as he walked. Another driver who did the same was Scott Sharp and he actually said hello to people as he walked past them. Jaques Lazier was also very impressive in this manner as well.
 
However I was not impressed at all by Tony Kanaan. Tony has definitely learned from his team owner the art of avoiding your fans as much as possible by trying to sneak in and out of the paddock areas or by driving all the way to the back of the garage area and then jumping into the Team Truck. Darren Manning was probably the second worst offender, but nowhere close to the Andretti-Kanaan level.
 
Those are my feelings and observations on the event. It's just not going to be the same driving past the track thinking that an Indy Car style race will ever be held there again.
 
What I like about Nazareth is that it's a real drivers track. It's different from any other oval in any other series, and it really divides the racers from the guys that should not be there. Watching Ed Carpenter in over his head was distressing when the leaders were trying to pass him. It's funny to me watching these IPS drivers fail in the IRL big-leagues (Foyt IV, Taylor, Carpenter).
 
All of the strong teams at Nazareth were Andretti-Green, Rahal-Letterman, Penske and Ganassi. Where were the original IRL Teams? Mid-pack and back! Kelley Racing was completely out to lunch. Panther Racing was a mid-pack team for most of the weekend. Dreyer & Rienbold, Access and the Foyt Team were pretty much also rans.
 
In conclusion, I am glad I went and had a chance to experience the final race at Nazareth, and the IRL series actually surprised me a little. Granted most of the field is made up of former CART/Champ Car teams, but my opinion is a bit better than before. I still believe that Champ Car has a better vision of the future, and I would still like to see a unified series that could rival NASCAR and/or Formula 1. Sincerely, Matthew Fetherman, Bangor, PA, USA
08/30/04
f1
Michelin investigates punctures Michelin investigates puncturesA puncture on lap 37 resulted in an early end to Juan Pablo Montoya’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Michelin is to investigate the cause. 
 
At Spa-Francorchamps, round 14 of the 2004 Formula One World Championship, Juan Pablo delivered an impressive performance and was running in third position when his right rear tyre suffered a puncture. Unlike B.A.R. Honda’s Jenson Button, who had experienced a similar incident, the Colombian succeeded in keeping his car on track, avoiding an accident. He returned to the pits at low speed, but subsequently had to retire as the tyre had damaged the WilliamsF1 BMW FW26’s rear suspension and rear wing. McLaren’s David Coulthard was hampered by a similar problem with his right rear tyre, losing several positions.

“We are obviously looking into the three incidents in which David Coulthard, Jenson Button and Juan Pablo Montoya suffered tyre damage,” said Pierre Dupasquier, Motorsport Director of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team’s tyre partner Michelin, “In each case, the right rear was affected – and that suffers the least severe loads around a lap of Spa. What’s more, the incidents all occurred at different stages in the tyres’ life cycles.”

After the many collisions and off-track moments during the course of the race, there is a probability that the tyres could have been damaged by debris, despite the marshals’ best efforts to clean the track. However, Dupasquier mentions another possible cause, “In the past, we have seen similar instances where a tyre has been damaged by passing over a kerb’s sharp inside edge,” he added, “It is too early to know for sure if that happened on this occasion, but it is bizarre to have three apparently similar problems, and our analysts are already investigating the cause.” Williams BMW

08/30/04
nascar
Dale Jarrett on Rusty Wallace Dale Jarrett on Rusty Wallace"My initial thoughts about Rusty retiring are maybe kind of selfish because I start thinking about myself.  Is it time for me to be thinking about that, which  I'm not really thinking that much about it until it's a question.  But I think to realize what Rusty has meant to this sport, he's the ultimate competitor and loves to race.  You hear the term 'born to race' probably too many times, but I think that's what he was and this sport is a lot better off because he chose this.  I hate to see him go.  I'm not sure that we'll have competitors like that.  I'm sure that was said about whenever my dad and Junior Johnson and Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip - when all of those guys retired you wondered about that, and, obviously, the sport still does well, but he's just meant so much.  He's a friend.  I wouldn't say that we started off that way.  He was doing really well and that probably came from some Busch Series races, but I learned to have a tremendous amount of respect for him because of his abilities.  When you talk about people we hear a lot about people that know their chassis well, but I don't know that anybody out here knew more about their chassis that's ever been through this than Rusty.  He really made that his focus and I think that, along with his ability, helped him win as many races and championships as he has." DO YOU HAVE A RUSTY MEMORY?  "The first one would have been 1989 at the Busch race in Daytona.  He had passed me on a restart and then we had another restart with just a couple of laps to go, and on the backstretch coming to get the checkered flag I faked to the inside and was going to the outside to pass.  That's where we both have our own story.  I say he ran me into the wall and he says he didn't, but, anyway, I ended up wrecking.  The thing about it was he didn't win the race.  Darrell Waltrip passed us both and won, but I wouldn't say we were sending each other Christmas cards at that time, but I think it was after that and talking with him after that where we gained a huge amount of respect for each other.  I think he appreciated the fact that I had worked hard to get to where I was and we eventually helped each other throughout the years with transportation and things like that.  It's been a lot of fun to know him and to race with him."
08/30/04
Nascar
Mark Martin: Rusty Wallace comment Mark Martin: Rusty Wallace comment"I started racing with Rusty in 1976 when we were both teenagers.  He and I have fought for the same piece of real estate for a lot of years and we've never had a problem.  We have enormous respect for one another and I think that's pretty unique.  To think we've raced 30 years for the same piece of real estate and been friends and been respectful makes what we have a special relationship."  IS THERE A FAVORITE RUSTY MEMORY?  "It was 1977, Fairgrounds Speedway, Springfield, Missouri.  I believe it was his first feature win at that track.  Rusty beat Larry Phillips and I, which was a tough lineup when you had Phillips to beat, too.  That was really tough.  Rusty and I were young pups trying to beat Phillips.  So he beat Phillips and I that night.  I ran second and I could see him waving to the crowd as he crossed the start-finish line.  Then he spun her out and backed it into the fence and the back end went up on the wall after the start-finish line.  He was so excited, but it was pretty funny.  I'll always remember that.  His deck lid wasn't fastened down so when he went backwards the deck lid flew open and then the back end went up on the wall because it was a short wall.  It was very funny."
08/30/04
nascar
Noting some of Wallace's accomplishments Noting some of Wallace's accomplishmentsFord Accomplishments (1994-2002)
  • Posted 23 wins, 97 top-5, 157 top-10 and 21 poles in 298 races with Ford.
  • Finished in the top-10 in points all nine seasons with Ford
  • Ranks 8th on the all-time Ford win list with 23.
  • Won the first race in a Taurus by capturing the 1998 Bud Shootout.
  • Registered the first Ford victory of his career when he won at Rockingham in the second race of 1994.
  • Clinched the manufacturer's championship for Ford with his second victory at Martinsville in 1994.
  • Led all drivers in that inaugural Ford season with 8 wins in 1994.
  • Captured the 50th win of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career when he won at Bristol in 2000.
  • Led all drivers with 9 poles in 2000.
  • Led the modern era record of 16 consecutive seasons with at least one victory when he won at California Speedway in 2001.
08/30/04
nascar
Wallace announces plans to retire Wallace announces plans to retireMiller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace announced on Monday that the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season will be his final year as an active driver. Wallace's swan song season will carry the theme of "Rusty's Last Call" and will feature a yearlong celebration of the champion driver's illustrious career.  Wallace said, "There comes a time in every driver's career when they must decide to hang up their helmet for good and I have concluded the best time for me to do that is at the conclusion of the 2005 season," offered Wallace during a special press conference held this morning in the Pepsi Theatre at DAYTONA USA. "I've done a lot of soul searching and gotten a lot of input from my closest associates and my family. With that in mind, I am prepared to end my driving career at the end of the season next November and move on to another chapter in my life."

"I have always valued my reputation as a top competitor and strived to maintain a winning image through all the years," said Wallace. "It's extremely important to me that I conclude my career as a driver while I'm still at the top of my game. We might not have all the statistics to prove it, but I feel like my team is always a top threat to win each and every race.

"I am determined to do this the right way," Wallace continued. "Through the years, I have witnessed several drivers bow out with the grace and the style that I hoped to carry when my time had come. I looked at the stock car greats like Cale Yarborough and David Pearson. I admired the timing of the decisions made by my Penske Racing teammates Rick Mears and Gil de Ferran. All of those drivers had tremendous careers and went out as winners. That's exactly what I want to do.

"While the 2005 season may be my final year as a driver, you'll still have to continue to put up with me as a team owner and hopefully as a mentor for some young drivers who are on their way up," said Wallace. "Of course, one of those promising young drivers is my son, Steve. With my brothers both still out there and Steve on his way up, I'm confident that you'll be hearing about drivers named Wallace winning races for many years to come.

"Even though our team may not make the cut for this year's Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, I'm confident we can visit Victory Lane a few more times before the season ends. Next year, me and my entire Larry Carter-led Miller Lite Dodge team are determined to make this - my final season as a driver - a most memorable one. We're prepared to win races and make another run for the championship. But, at the same time, we're also committed to give something back to all the faithful fans that have supported us through all the years.

"It's gonna be a season full of fun and success — and probably some controversy along the way," offered Wallace. "I am looking forward to next season and to everything the future has in store for me after I've taken off the driver's uniform for the final time next November."

08/30/04
NASCAR
Kyle Petty Suggests "Survivor" Format for Championship Kyle Petty Suggests "Survivor" Format for ChampionshipIf NASCAR had asked Kyle Petty to help devise its new points system, the Nextel Cup Series might have resembled a reality TV show. Kyle Petty says people watch reality shows, so they would watch his system. Petty believes a format in which one driver is eliminated from title contention each week would attract the most attention. "The whole point is to make people watch. Why do they watch 'Big Brother' or 'Survivor' or 'Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire' or Donald Trump and his show?" Petty said. "They watch to see who gets eliminated, not who survives." Under Petty's formula, only a handful of drivers would be left to race for the championship over the final four events. "The last four races of the year should be a short track, a road course, an intermediate and a superspeedway," he said. "You make sure that's the way the season ends, so whoever wins the championship in the last four races has to run Talladega, Sonoma or Watkins Glen, Bristol or Richmond and then an intermediate like Atlanta. "Its a warped mind thing I came up with." - NASCAR.com
08/30/04
NASCAR
Rusty Wallace to Retire After 2005 Season Rusty Wallace to Retire After 2005 SeasonMiller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace announced that the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season will be his final year as an active driver. Wallace's swan song season will carry the theme of "Rusty's Last Call" and will feature a yearlong celebration of the champion driver's illustrious career. "There comes a time in every driver's career when they must decide to hang up their helmet for good and I have concluded the best time for me to do that is at the conclusion of the 2005 season," offered Wallace during a special press conference held this morning at Daytona USA. I've done a lot of soul searching and gotten a lot of input from my closest associates and my family. With that in mind, I am prepared to end my driving career at the end of the season next November and move on to another chapter in my life." Wallace ran his first race on NASCAR's premier tour in 1980 at Atlanta and finished second to his late friend, seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt. He became a fulltime competitor on the circuit in 1984 and won the Rookie of the Year award that season. - NASCAR.com
08/30/04
champcar
McDonald’s to take Champ Car to new heights McDonald’s to take Champ Car to new heightsThis SPEED TV article says, Friday's press release about McDonald's becoming the official fast food restaurant of Champ Car was pooh-poohed by some people as being just another piece of paper.  But Paul Newman, the man who helped secure Mickey Ds for his team and the series he loves, begs to differ with that assessment.  "Originally I was thinking that they would probably be a silent partner but they're going to jump into this deal with both feet," said Newman, whose salad dressing is used in all McDonald's (and all the proceeds go to his Hole in the Wall Gang for terminally ill children).

"As for my own company, my food company, our connection with McDonald's has been productive beyond almost imagination. Once they get behind something, the results are stupendous.   "They will be fierce in both promotion and marketing. It's going to be a powerful influence on our team and for Champ Car and racing in general."  First and foremost, McDonald's plans to help market Champ Car with television commercials -- something title sponsor FedEx never did during its five years with CART.

"It's our desire to use the assets of Champ Car in our commercials," said John Lewicki, director of Alliances for McDonald's USA. "Our commercials will be centered around the imagery of the car, Sebastien and maybe Paul.  "And we'll also take Champ Car along with it." [Editor's Note:  In light of the McDonald's announcement and the AOL/Time Warner rumors, we hear those in the IRL paddock who have predicted Champ Car's demise for years are beginning to realize they had better remain silent in the future for risk of eating even more crow.  What they are not aware of are the yet to be rumored large sponsors coming down the pike for Champ Car, some of which will cause those in "George"town, Indiana some sleepless nights.  Stay tuned to AutoRacing1.com.  In coming weeks look for an article called "Cancel the Funeral, Part 2", which will be a followup to our original Cancel the Funeral article.]

08/30/04
champcar
Bridgestone Option tire quite visible Bridgestone Option tire quite visibleThe photo to the right (courtesy of Bridgestone) clearly shows the red sidewalls on the Herdez car of Mario Dominguez indicating that he is running the softer "option" tires.  Each driver must use the Option tires at least for one stint during the race.  They are worth a couple of tenths per lap but do wear out a bit faster than the regular tire.
08/30/04
nascar
NASCAR/Kangaroo TV deal NASCAR/Kangaroo TV dealNASCAR Digital Entertainment and Kangaroo Capital, in cooperation with SPEED Channel and seven NASCAR tracks, announce the testing of Kangaroo.TV(TM), a new and unique at-track, hand-held, multi-media experience for fans.     At seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events during the remainder of the 2004 season, the Kangaroo.TV device will carry SPEED Channel's live television coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, live in-truck video feeds, live team audio communications, an electronic version of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series media guide, and live timing and scoring data. Fans may also activate a "favorite driver" function that coordinates live timing and scoring data and in-car communication for a specific team.     The first test of Kangaroo.TV at a NASCAR event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 9 during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 200 at Richmond International Raceway, in Richmond, Va.     "We're committed to helping the tracks innovate and provide an enhanced racing experience for NASCAR fans, and this trial with Kangaroo.TV is another step in that direction," said Jeffrey Pollack, managing director of broadcasting and new media, NASCAR Digital Entertainment. "We're at a preliminary stage, but we're confident this type of device will bring fans closer to the action and increase exposure for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series."     "We are thrilled that NASCAR, a dynamic organization that is focused on improving the experience of its fan base, sees the unique potential of our product. This agreement with NASCAR Digital Entertainment fits our current rollout strategy to enlist major series-type sports events across North America in offering fans, promoters and sponsors the benefits of this powerful new media," said Marc Arseneau, CEO of Kangaroo Capital.
    The first three NASCAR scheduled trials for Kangaroo.TV will be as  follows:
       - Sept. 9 - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 200, Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, Va.
       - Sept. 18 - New Hampshire 200, New Hampshire International Speedway,  Loudon, N.H.
       - Sept. 25 - Las Vegas 350, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.
08/30/04
irl
Pit road follies anger Barnhart Pit road follies anger BarnhartThis Indy Star article says, The Indy Racing League had a near-disaster on pit road for the fourth consecutive race, something that worries chief steward Brian Barnhart.  "There's clearly a pattern developing," Barnhart said after Sam Hornish Jr. caused a fire Sunday at Nazareth Speedway by leaving his pit box before the fuel nozzle was disconnected. "I don't understand why we can't execute something as simple as a pit stop."  Hornish was trying to remain the leader of the Firestone Indy 225 when, at the end of his stop, he hit the accelerator. The car's forward movement tore the fuel hose, allowing about 15 gallons to spill over his Team Penske crew.  A spark caused a fire that spread over fueler Chris Seaman, who was not burned. Team owner Roger Penske was the first to throw a bucket of water on the clear-burning flames, and it took nearly a minute to restore order.

Hornish, who had to bring the car back to pit road to extinguish an on-board fire, accepted responsibility.  "I didn't get the sign to go; I just went," the two-time IRL champion said. "It was driver error."  Said Penske: "We were lucky."

Race winner Dan Wheldon nearly caused a similar problem last month at Kansas when he pulled his fuel tank over the pit wall. This month, crew members for Wheldon, Tomas Scheckter, Kosuke Matsuura and Dario Franchitti have been hit by cars. Scheckter also had a pit road fire at Kentucky when his connected fuel hose tore when his car lunged forward with a slipping clutch.  That's too much, Barnhart said.  "The thing that bothers me is, we've had issues on green-flag stops, on yellow-flag stops and in practice," he said. "I understand why track position is so important at this track, but at some of the others it's irrelevant because there's plenty of passing possibilities. It's frustrating.  "We were very fortunate again, and we can't keep counting on good fortune."

08/30/04
irl
Brack thinks he has 2 more years Brack thinks he has 2 more yearsInjured IRL driver Kenny Brack tells the Indy Star "I still think I have one or two more good years in me," said the 38-year-old Brack, who tested an IRL car in June at Richmond, Va. "But I can't do it if I'm 70 percent or whatever. I need to be 100 percent. I'm not there yet."  A possible comeback after the 2004 season is complete may be in the cards.
08/30/04
irl
Sharp crashes Bell out of race Sharp crashes Bell out of raceIt was a frustrating day for the Panther Chevy team at Nazareth with Townsend Bell having 3rd corner handling problems. The handling issues were fixed and Bell had a solid race car after the final pit stop and he was on a charge to get back to the front of the field. However the fickle finger took over when things started to look promising….Bell said, “ my spotter, former Indy winner Tom Sneva, said to me on the radio that it had been cleared by Scott Sharp’s spotter for me to go past in turn three. All the spotters heard the remarks about my being cleared to pass as well as IRL officials, so as we approached turn three I dove to the inside to make the pass and he cut me off causing the accident…It was especially frustrating as he was 2 laps down at that point and I was back on the lead lap.”
08/30/04
irl
Pit woes continue in IRL Pit woes continue in IRLRoger Penske’s team was the latest team to have pit stop problems when Sam Hornish’s  car caught fire in Nazareth after a too early pit departure…which ripped the fuel line spraying crew members with the virtually invisible Methanol. The Captain (Roger Penske) himself was the first person to pour water on the affected on-fire crewman. The bodywork of the Penske machine caught fire necessitating a return to the pits, where the fire was put out and the 2 time Indy Car Series Champion  rejoined the race, but out of a chance to win.
08/30/04
champcar
Air gun failure ruins possible win for Mario Air gun failure ruins possible win for MarioMario Dominguez earned the seventh podium finish of his Champ Car career today when he finished third at the Molson Indy Montreal. While it is always an achievement to finish on the podium, the #55 crew finished the day with mixed emotions, due to an airgun failure on Mario’s second stop, which cost him the race victory. Dominguez had a brilliant start and passed Sebastien Bourdais for the lead on the 36th lap. Mario accrued a three second gap over the field; it looked like he would dominate the remainder of the 69 lap race. His fortune changed during his second pit stop, when an air gun failed, resulting in a 27-second pit stop, three times what a stop should usually take. Dominguez fell to the 12th position but thanks to impressive driving and a perfect pit stop they rallied to achieve his second podium finish of the season.
08/30/04
f1
Latest F1 News in Brief Latest F1 News in Brief
Kimi will make hack run naked
Schu's calm in seventh heaven
A Trulli mysterious problem
'GP priest' ruins Olympic marathon
Michelin investigate Spa failures
Quick questions in Belgium - Sunday 1 
Button angry at blow-out
Spa's start of winning streak?
Schu title cost Ferrari $3.5m
Quick questions in Belgium - Sunday 2
Title 'not dedicated' to President - Schu
FIA favor Ferrari in '05 reform - Dennis
Quick questions in Belgium - Sunday 3 
Ralf to test on Wednesday
Montoya escapes Stewards' ire
08/29/04
f1
Button's lucky escape Button's lucky escapeThis ITV-F1 article says, Jenson Button was lucky to escape unhurt from a horrifying crash at the Belgian GP. Button was lapping the Minardi of Zsolt Baumgartner when his right rear tyre exploded while he approached Les Combes at high speed. The BAR was pitched into a spin, and smashed into Baumgartner’s car before coming to a rest by the barriers. Button said: "We were very lucky - it could have been horrific. "This sort of thing should not happen. The only warning I had was that it started to feel like there was a failure after I went over a bump."Button was running fifth at the time after recovering from a nightmare start during which he lost his front wing at the first corner. He said: "I got a bad start when I was hit by Pizzonia and went wide and into the back of Massa at turn one. I lost my front wing and had to pit at the end of the first lap. “After that, the car was running reasonably well, we had a good fuel load and I felt pretty pleased with the balance of car. “Then the tyre let go. I am very disappointed as we were confident that we would have been on the podium with our strategy.”
08/29/04
champcar
Montreal tidbits Montreal tidbitsBruno Junqueira today became the first driver since Bobby Rahal (1982-1985) to earn victories in each of his first four Champ Car seasons.  The 10 laps led today by A.J. Allmendinger were the first Champ Car laps led of his young career.
08/29/04
champcar
Over-officiating hurting the Champ Car spectacle Over-officiating hurting the Champ Car spectacleUPDATE The only thing consistent about the officiating in the supposedly "professional" Champ Car World Series is that they are inconsistent. Someone PLEASE fire these people. They are completely incompetent and are doing nothing more than discouraging passing, discouraging conflict (which sells tickets and is great exposure!!!), and disallowing the fans to get to see the real personalities of the drivers.   Consistency? AJ and Sebastien is an avoidable contact issue, despite Sebastin pulling aside to allow AJ to pass? Yet, Sebastian spinning out Dominguez for position at the end of the Denver race is not avoidable??? I'm so fed up with the officials deciding the outcome of the race.  It is obvious they don't know how to do their job. I believe Fogarty said it best after the Denver Atlantic race. "They changed the rules so you have to stay on the racing line at all times so it makes it easier for them to officiate the race, because they can't figure out how to police it the old way." Apparently they can't even do it the new way either. I'm all for penalizing someone for punting someone out of the way by making an irresponsible move. But penalizing someone for sliding slightly offline making a pass and not making contact until the OTHER guy turns into him is ludicrous. I'm sick of seeing this "we must penalize someone" officiating. It is ruining races and thwarts all attempts to make the racing better with push to pass buttons and alternate strategies. D. Hughes, Jacksonville, FL  08/29/04 AJ Allmendinger's stop-and-go penalty after his contact with Sebastien Bourdais comes across to us as yet another overreaction by Champ Car's race officials. Although the contact was indeed AJ's fault, it was clearly unintentional, caused by his right rear brakes locking up while attempting to outbrake Bourdais for position. Taking chances is part of racing's excitement, and this sort of call, like Jon Fogarty's blocking penalty two weeks ago at Denver, only subtracts from the spectacle. As team owner Carl Russo pointed out, Allmendinger was assaulted by a number of cars on the first lap cutting his tire and causing him to have to pit early, yet the other drivers were not penalized, nor should they have been because it was unintentional.  Ditto for AJ's move on Sebastien.  Where's the consistency, the most important quality of good officiating?  As with any sport, the driver/athlete will sometimes go over the edge to make the big play in his quest for victory. If Champ Car thinks its drivers are never going to commit unintentional mistakes, they had better get their head out of the sand. Cassio Cortes
08/29/04
IRL
Shameless ABC Shameless ABCA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Sadly, I actually watched 20 minutes of the crapwagons since it was before Montreal and no NASCAR today.  The first 20 minutes.    Quotes that should lead to long confessional visits by the ABC announcers: 
Arute:  The IRL cars get up to 9 mpg under yellow... better than my street car.  (God he is so bad I want to punch the TV) 
Page:  This "huge" crowd at Nazareth.   Yah, if you only look at the middle two sections and don't count all those people dressed like empty seats the last 50% of the grandstands towards turn one.  Let's review:  IRL -- $XXX,XXX,XXX courtesy Indy 500, Honda, Toyota, ABC/ESPN
 vs
 Champ Car -- Fans actually attending the races
This pathetic battle makes for a great master's thesis on what is wrong with the sports business in American society.   Arrogance of those with cash vs. the people.  Thank God for Paul Newman. John Costello
08/29/04
irl
champcar
Tony George’s maze of contradictions Tony George’s maze of contradictionsUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Regarding the rush for the IRL to race at St. Pete, might it be so that they can "show" they can successfully run a road race... the week before the last Champ Car race on the current contract at Long Beach?  Perhaps it is a requirement that Dover Downs has put down despite the likely massive pressure from multi-decade sponsor Toyota to switch.  Or maybe from Long Beach city officials who fear the likely attendance backlash.  Please dear God don't let the crap wagons come here.  Hopefully Champ Car will know the significance of this one race in the US to them and not lose to whatever low-ball effort Anton will try. John Costello, Long Beach  Dear John, Anton was just quoted in the ESPN.com article below that he wanted the IRL to do their own thing, that they do not feed at the CART carcass.  Would Anton doublespeak again?  Mark C. 08/29/04 It appears from our view, this ESPN interview with Tony George is a maze of contradition that doesn't hold up to any reasonable scrutiny:

1. Domestic vs. International
George Says:
For the most part, the partnerships that existed between teams and sponsors and manufacturers existed for a reason and had an objective. By and large, the ones that came over here had the objective to be in the American markets. Most people would enjoy running a race in Canada or Mexico, but clearly, North America is where their focus is. They (our sponsors) are not interested in globetrotting and going all around the world because of domestic budgets and domestic business they are trying to build or awareness they are trying to create. Our television partner wants many of those same things, and as a result, that coincides with our objectives too. I think we've tried to create an environment for these teams to do business.

George Says (in the same interview): "I think Formula 1 has been a challenge to develop in the United States because of the business model. Likewise, you can look at the success of NASCAR in the United States and try to formulate a model for international expansion and it becomes more challenging. I guess with IndyCars, CART always tried to do that and we want to try to find the right balance or the right mix and position our series as an eclectic international series with true international interest. It is an American product that we want to export on a limited basis by doing races outside the country, but we also want to make it something that through other forms of medium, take it to the world. Television obviously plays a big part in that, having the right partners. It helps to have international stars when you are doing that. I think we're just trying to find the right balance." [Tony, please explain this contradiction] 

2. Scavenging the CART carcass
George Says: "I don't know why not. As it was laid out to me last fall, clearly their vision and their business plan for the future is inconsistent with ours. That's why things didn't lead to a unification. If they are true to their word, they are going about doing things differently than us. So I don't know why we couldn't coexist. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Their plan or vision for a unified series was different than mine. I think you'll see us focusing more on our business and developing future opportunities that are unique to us. I have encouraged our people to stay away from anything that might look like we're sitting around trying to pick at the bones of the CART carcass. That's people's perception. We don't make phone calls to race promoters trying to steal races. On occasion we take phone calls when they call us. But one thing I am not interested in is being played off CART anymore.

George does:
George's IRL series took over CART races in New Hampshire, Phoenix, Fontana, Michigan, Nazareth, tried to steal Cleveland (until a massive fan rebellion put an end to his nonsense), tried to steal Portland, is still trying to get St. Petersburg, opened an office in Mexico City to try to steal that race and has made overtures about wanting to get some of CART's Canadian races and has made no secret he would like to leverage Long Beach from the Champ Car fold - their biggest race. And let's not forget George's failed attempt in bankruptcy court to buy CART's key assets, including the engines, without which CART would have not been able to present a 2004 season!   In addition he took CART teams like Penske, Ganassi, Nunn, Patrick, Andretti Green, Rahal and Fernandez and took back the IndyCar name that CART made so popular.  The IRL is now on ABC and ESPN, which is where CART was.  Not trying to pick the bones of the CART carcass are we Tony?  It would appear the IRL has been the scavengers of CART, sucking its blood like a vampire.

08/29/04
champcar
Montreal attendance figures Montreal attendance figures
The rain was an unfulfilled threat, and so the Canadian fans once again put on a strong Molson Indy attendance. The three-day total for this year's Montreal race reached over 133,000 people, 53,000 of them on Sunday. Friday's crowd was 32,000 strong, and more than 47,000 people showed up Saturday. The good attendance was hardly a surprise in a weekend of activities that included something for every race fan's taste, from Canadian Superbikes to Touring Cars, besides the Toyota Atlantic and Champ Car events.
08/29/04
champcar
Seen in Montreal - II Seen in Montreal - IIAlready the just announced Champ Car/McDonald's deal is being engaged.  Seen on the starting grid and waving the green flag at the start - Ronald McDonald.
08/29/04
champcar
Standard vs. Option Tires Standard vs. Option TiresA quick review as we walk up and down the grid before the start of the Montreal race is that about 80% of the cars are on the softer option tires (red sidewall). The rain may just hold off although the skies are again turning gray.
08/29/04
cartatlantic
Fogarty and Dalziel 1-2 at Montreal; championship to be decided at Monterey Fogarty and Dalziel 1-2 at Montreal; championship to be decided at MontereyRacing with their minds on the championship, Jon Fogarty and Ryan Dalziel drove cleanly from flag-to-flag to end up 1-2, separated by only 0.5 second at the finish line, in the 11th round of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic championship at Montreal. Fogarty started today's event a single point ahead of Dalziel in the standings, and both drivers are now bound for an all-or-nothing final showdown at the season finale in Laguna Seca in two weeks. Alex Figge, Danica Patrick and Andrew Ranger rounded out the top-5, with Ranger and Danica finishing side-by-side with a gap of only 0.09 seconds, after dueling throughout the race. More to follow...
08/29/04
champcar
Champ Car race won't happen Champ Car race won't happenThe rumored Champ Car race in Puerto Rico on November 21, 2004 will not happen. The reason we were told is that there was not enough time to promote it properly for this year. The race was to be run in conjunction with Trans-Am. No word on the status of that race.
08/29/04
champcar
Seen in Montreal Seen in MontrealSpotted OWRS owners meeting with Lola representatives in the Champ Car business unit on Sunday morning. Might they be talking about a 2006 car?
08/29/04
irl
Usual Saturday IRL crowd Usual Saturday IRL crowdThere was the usual IRL crowd of about 200 for qualifying Saturday at Nazareth, probably 800-1000 for the Midget race.
08/29/04
champcar
Philippe wrecks his new Lola Philippe wrecks his new LolaChamp Car rookie Nelson Philippe escaped injury when he lost control of his new Lola in the first chicane here in Montreal and hit the tire barriers. The team must now scramble to try and fix it before the start in 4.5 hours. Up until now he was having a good weekend.
08/29/04
champcar
Weather update from Montreal Weather update from MontrealAlthough rain is in the forecast, so far it is just overcast with comfortable temperatures. The morning warm-up was run in the dry. Perhaps the rain will hold off.
08/29/04
cartatlantic
No more shortcuts No more shortcutsIn order to prevent the turn 15 shortcuts that spawned controversy during Toyota Atlantic qualifying, Champ Car officials have determined that any car with four wheels to the left of turn 15's curb will be considered to be shortcutting, and subject to penalty. Fastest race laps will also be disregarded in such cases.
08/29/04
irl
Michael Andretti also laments loss of Nazareth Michael Andretti also laments loss of NazarethThis IndyStar article says, Michael Andretti will continue to drive up Nazareth Pike on his way home, much as he has his entire life. But the view of the picturesque Lehigh Valley is about to change.  Nazareth Speedway, which traces its roots to 1966, will host its final competition today with the Indy Racing League's Firestone Indy 225. In the short term, the track will be used for driving schools and testing, but Andretti understands its future.  "They'll tear it down because the land is too valuable," he said Saturday. "In a few years, most people won't remember that it was here."  Andretti is troubled by the notion of his family's home track becoming an afterthought.  "It's a bummer just to think about it," said Andretti, who won the first Indy-car race here in 1987. "It's meant so much to my family, and the people around here won't realize what they've had until it's gone." More.....
08/29/04
irl
IRL chooses drivers for road course test IRL chooses drivers for road course testIRL officials have chosen the following drivers and their teams to participate in this week's road course compatibility test at Homestead, Fla.:  Alex Barron and Ed Carpenter of Cheever Racing; Dario Franchitti of Andretti Green Racing; Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves of Team Penske; Scott Dixon of Ganassi Racing; and Buddy Rice of Rahal Letterman Racing.  The test is Friday and Saturday with the Menards Infiniti Pro Series on the track Thursday.  "They represent all possible combinations of chassis and engine manufacturers," Griffin said. IndyStar.com
08/29/04
champcar
Champ Car officials under fire again Champ Car officials under fire againUPDATE Toyota Atlantic driver Ryan Dalziel lost pole position for this same issue.  “Needless to say I’m really disappointed with the outcome of the session. We had the pole time and we’ve had the quickest car all weekend so it’s a massive disappointment for the whole team. We made changes during the session that moved us forward and it’s frustrating not to get the just reward for those efforts. I have to look at the positives though and I’m on the front row and I know we’ll be quick tomorrow. I feel somewhat vindicated now that the officials have reviewed the situation and announced changes for tomorrow.”

Officials have subsequently overturned the ruling at the chicane following protests from both the Toyota Atlantic and Champ Car paddocks. They have duly acknowledged that the timing beam wasn’t acceptable for Toyota Atlantic cars and tomorrow they will revert back to the regular ruling where a visual will be taken to determine if a driver has gained an advantage by cutting the chicane.  Unfortunately for Ryan this ruling has not been backdated by officials and he is therefore denied pole position despite setting the fastest time in Saturday’s session. 08/28/04 This is getting to be a weekly event, Champ Car drivers complaining about the Champ Car officiating. Montreal polesitter had this to say today - The chicane thing (location of timing sensor that caused drivers to have their lap times disallowed if they ran over the curb) was tough to deal with. It makes life impossible for the guy that has a good car and can go over it (the curb). Everyone has had trouble with it. It has happened 20 or 30 times. There is no line to tell you how far you can go. You don’t know where the limit is, you only know the limit of yourself.

08/29/04
champcar
 irl
Mario Andretti: Nazareth will be plowed under Mario Andretti: Nazareth will be plowed underIn this PennLive article Mario Andretti says, Real estate here is valuable. If it's not going to be an income-producing venue, it's going to be plowed up and something else is going to be there. I can't see the facility carrying itself as a test and driving school site. I think it'll be put on ice for a little bit. Then it will disappear. More.....
08/29/04
champcar
irl
Champ Car fans will protest Champ Car fans will protestA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have read about the IRL trying to steal Champ Car's  Long Beach event on Autoracing1.com and this is how I feel about that, and I'm sure I'm not alone on this.     The fans that go year in and year out to watch the Champ Cars put on a great event for them are not Long Beach fans, they are Long Beach Champ Car fans. The IRL might be able to replace the cars on the tracks, but the Long Beach Champ Car fans will not support an IRL race there. It would be like watching NASCAR race at Daytona, and then it gets replaced by the Busch Series. Who would watch the Busch Series race Daytona? That's right, Busch Series fans. Who would watch the IRL race in Long Beach? IRL fans! IRL is going to have to fill their grandstands with their families pretty soon because it's looking worse and worse each race. They can't expect to fill all those Long Beach seats with their own fans. I hope it doesn't even come to that. Maybe the Long Beach fans can take a page from the Cleveland fans who protested the change a few years back of Champ Cars to the IRL, and the IRL never ended up racing in Cleveland. You Long Beach Champ Car fans need to PROTEST.  Your can go to Mayor Beverly O'Neill's website and let her know how you feel - or email her directly at mayor@longbeach.gov.  Rod, Orlando, FL 
08/29/04
f1
Latest F1 News in Brief Latest F1 News in Brief
Quick questions in Belgium - Saturday 1
Practice cancelled in Spa
Trulli is married
Quick questions in Belgium - Saturday 2
Spa is good for overtaking - Button
Quick questions in Belgium - Saturday 3
Pizzonia to keep racing - Williams
Liuzzi had Sauber seat fitting
Quick questions in Belgium - Saturday 4
Quick questions in Belgium - Saturday 5
Pole man 'Jarno go slow'
Quick questions in Belgium - Saturday 6
08/28/04
champcar
Champ Car party photos Champ Car party photos Friday night was a big party in Montreal and it was a real who's who of Champ Car.  At least one girl was dressed in the colors.of each one of the cars.  The whole affair was very F1-like.
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08/28/04
champcar
Guy Smith shooting for race result Guy Smith shooting for race resultGuy Smith qualified 16th and posted a time of 1:22.093 (118.797 mph, 191.185 kph).in Montreal.  “The No.17 car was fast and handled well out there today,” confirmed Smith. “We're a little down in track time this weekend, since we lost the qualifying session yesterday, but we improved the brakes and balance this morning got the car set for the race. There was quite a bit of traffic and a red flag put a stop to my fastest lap this afternoon.  I'd have hoped for a better starting position, but the team has given me a strong race car and I'm confident for the race tomorrow. I plan to stay out of trouble and shoot for a good race.”
08/28/04
champcar
What you didn't know about Montreal What you didn't know about MontrealAutoRacing1 staff paid a visit to the Old Montreal section of downtown Montreal for the first time and were pleasantly surprised by the best kept secret of this exquisite city. This old historic section is THE place to be for Montreal nightlife. Great restaurants, sidewalk cafes, cobblestone streets, tens of thousands of people, nightclubs - all very European with a mix of Buenos Aires, Prague, and Dresden thrown in. The unanimous consensus of the six AutoRacing1 staff here is “this sure beats being in Nazareth, PA.”
08/28/04
nascar
Bank officer turned NASCAR owner sentenced Bank officer turned NASCAR owner sentencedIn a lengthy plea for a "fair and just punishment" for embezzling about $1 million to finance a NASCAR team he started with a former stripper, Gary D. Jones quoted the Bible, Shakespeare, Winston Churchill and other sources Friday in federal court.  "It's not where a man lands that marks his punishment," Jones, 36, told U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, quoting former U.S. House Speaker Tip O'Neill. "It's how far he falls."

Sparks wasn't impressed. He sentenced the former Wells Fargo business banker to three years and 10 months in federal prison for stealing from his employer -- the longest he could impose under the federal sentencing guidelines.  "You stole a lot of money, and you did it not like the person who went in with a gun but a person who went in with his mind," Sparks said. "If I could, I'd give you more" time.

The sentence comes as U.S. Marshals deputies in Austin are stepping up their search for Jones' co-conspirator, Angela Harkness, 28. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in January, but disappeared before her sentencing hearing in April and is thought to have fled the country.  The pair emerged on the NASCAR scene in 2002 out of nowhere with a team called Angela's Motorsports, run out of Harkness' Round Rock home.   They assembled a team that featured accomplished driver Mike McLaughlin and entered races in the Busch Series, a second tier racing circuit.

Racing veterans questioned where they got the millions of dollars necessary to start a team. Jones was a vice president at a Wells Fargo branch in North Austin. Harkness' bio, passed around to potential investors, said she was born in Iran, earned a degree in psychology and taught kindergarten.  It is unclear how much of that is true. What is known is that she lived in Round Rock and worked for about year as a dancer at the Yellow Rose, a North Austin strip club. She later quit that job for racing.  Jones was married and lived in southwest Austin. He met Harkness at the Yellow Rose, court documents show.

Starting in 2000 and continuing until March 2003, the pair conspired to embezzle more than $1 million to finance the racing team and other uses, court documents show.  Jones used his job at the bank to personally prepare about 12 loans using several people's names, including his sister's, and instead of handing the money to those people, kept it himself, court documents show. The Austin Statesman

08/28/04
champcar
Montreal to be wet race Montreal to be wet raceNot only is rain affecting the F1 weekend in Spa.  There is an 80% chance of rain all day on Sunday for the Champ Car race, meaning it is very likely we will see a wet race, which is sure to mix things up.
08/28/04
cartatlantic
Fogarty wrestles Montreal pole from Dalziel Fogarty wrestles Montreal pole from Dalziel[Editor's Note: See related AutoRacing1 article on the intense battle between Dalziel and Fogarty. These two drivers deserve a fair shot at Champ Car for 2005.  Who will step up to make it happen?]  After seeing his championship rival lead Friday qualifying for Sunday’s Molson Indy Montreal Toyota Atlantic Championship race Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, September 4 - 2 p.m. ET), Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) answered the challenge.

Fogarty won his fifth pole position of the season after recording a top time of 1:32.913 (104.963 mph) and he earned a bonus championship point for his efforts. The point enabled Fogarty to reclaim the lead in the captivating chase for the 2004 Atlantic series crown as he now holds a 262-261 advantage over Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks). Dalziel, was able to draw even in the series standings on Friday by claiming the championship point for leading the first round of qualifying.

Last season’s championship runner-up, Dalziel, actually posted a time that was quicker than Fogarty’s pole-winning mark on his final qualifying lap at the 2.709-mile Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve road course, but the time was disallowed. Dalziel’s car took a short cut on the course at Turn 14 and under the guidelines established by race officials this weekend, the penalty for shortcutting the course is the loss of that timed lap and the following lap. While Dalziel lost the quick time, he still posted the second-fastest lap in the session at 1:32.960 (104.910 mph) and will start on the front row alongside his championship adversary on Sunday.

Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) owned the third-fastest time in qualifying at 1:33.376 (104.442 mph). The performance was Patrick’s best qualifying finish since she won her first career Atlantic pole in Round 5 at Portland earlier this year.

Fogarty’s teammate, Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment), will start next to Patrick on the second row in tomorrow’s 25-lap event as he carded a top lap of 1:33.699 (104.082 mph). Figge will make his third consecutive top-five start tomorrow as he lines up fourth on the grid.

Producing his fourth top-five qualifying effort in the last five races was Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing), who had a fast lap of 1:34.015 (103.732 mph) and he’ll start fifth in Sunday’s race.

Top series rookie Ronnie Bremer (#4 Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems) finished with a quick time of 1:34.307 (103.411 mph) in sixth position while Quebec native and local racing hero Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) struggled with gearbox problems throughout qualifying but still managed a lap of 1:34.313 (103.405 mph). Ranger, who was the only driver who did not top his time from Friday’s qualifying session, will start seventh for the second consecutive race after today’s result.. 
Results:
Pos  Driver  Car#  Team  Lap Time  Mph  Kph  Leader  Previous
1  Jon Fogarty  96  Pacific Coast Motorsports  1:32.913  104.963  168.917  0.000   
2  Ryan Dalziel  28  Sierra Sierra Enterprises  1:32.960  104.910  168.832  0.047   
3  Danica Patrick  24  Rahal Letterman Racing  1:33.376  104.442  168.079  0.463  0.416
4  Alex Figge  69  Pacific Coast Motorsports  1:33.699  104.082  167.499  0.786  0.323
5  Bryan Sellers  19  Lynx Racing   1:34.015  103.732  166.936  1.102  0.316
6  Ronnie Bremer  4  Polestar Racing Group LLC  1:34.307  103.411  166.419  1.394  0.292
7  Andrew Ranger  27  Sierra Sierra Enterprises  1:34.672  103.013  165.779  1.759  0.365
8  Chris Festa  25  Rahal Letterman Racing  1:34.924  102.739  165.338  2.011  0.252
9  Josh Hunt  15  Lynx Racing   1:35.095  102.554  165.040  2.182  0.171
10  Philip Fayer  3  Polestar Racing Group LLC  1:35.659  101.950  164.068  2.746  0.564
11  Al Unser  10  Brooks Associates Racing  1:35.994  101.594  163.495  3.081  0.335
12  Adam Pecorari  2  Jensen Motorsport  1:36.894  100.650  161.976  3.981  0.900
13  Tom Nastasi  23  Jensen Motorsport  1:37.826  99.691  160.433  4.913  0.932
14  Dan Selznick  49  The Room Store  1:38.026  99.488  160.106  5.113  0.200
15  Tony Loniewski  34  Olsson Engineering  1:38.599  98.910  159.176  5.686  0.573
16  Cameron Binder  65  Binder Racing  1:39.356  98.156  157.962  6.443  0.757
17  Rich Zober  66  Comprent Motorsports  1:42.891  94.784  152.536  9.978  3.535

08/28/04
champcar
Philippe shows significant improvement Philippe shows significant improvement18-year old rookie Nelson Philippe put his new Lola to good use today in Montreal and qualified just over 3/10th of a second slower than his highly regarded Mi-Jack Conquest teammate Justin Wilson.  Philippe will start his best ever 13th on Sunday and is ironically ahead of the driver who replaced him at Rocketsports, Guy Smith.  To Smith's credit, he suffered some mechanical woes this weekend, which limited his on-track time.  At 18-years old, and stepping into Champ Car from Barber Dodge, Philippe has not had a lot of seat time in cars (raced a lot in karts).  Keep an eye on this guy, with a little more seat time he could start to turn some heads. Mark C.
08/28/04
irl
Racing royalty losing home court Racing royalty losing home courtMichael Andretti feels a sense of loss and disappointment with the closing of Nazareth Speedway.  Here's a sit-down Q& A with the man who retired early as a driver to own Andretti Green Racing in the Indy Racing League. Express Times
08/28/04
irl
Air show over Andretti's house scares neighbors Air show over Andretti's house scares neighborsTwo single-engine planes flying low and doing stunts over Bushkill and Upper Nazareth townships alarmed some residents Thursday evening.   The planes were part of festivities at Michael Andretti's house leading up to this weekend's race at Nazareth Speedway. They had Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly above Andretti's home on Rose Inn Avenue between 7:15 and 7:45 p.m., an FAA spokeswoman said.  Francine Niemira of Upper Nazareth Township said she called 911 twice after seeing the planes performing aerobatics.   "They were doing all kind of wonderful tricks that no one knew about," said Niemira of the 200 block of Newport Avenue.   She said she knew the planes were not doing standard flying.  "I thought it was just some guy screwing around illegally," she said.   Niemira said she was alarmed at how low the planes were flying. She said she was able to see the planes from her second-story window without looking up.  "They could have given an elderly person a heart attack. Did we not just have two planes go down in Russia?" she said.  The planes were cleared to fly between 500 and 1,500 feet, said FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac.  FAA inspectors observed the air show and determined the planes were within the approved altitude, Salac said.   The Northampton County 911 Center received four calls about the air show, a dispatcher said Friday.  Joe Emrick, Republican candidate for state representative for the 137th District seat, said he was in the area during the air show and saw most of it.  "I think people were completely caught off guard," said Emrick, who lives in Upper Nazareth.   He said the planes were flying too close to people's rooftops.  Express Times
08/28/04
irl
Carpenter finds Nazareth wall Carpenter finds Nazareth wallAlex Barron was the only Red Bull Cheever Racing entry to make a qualifying run after his rookie teammate Ed Carpenter encountered the wall in a practice session earlier today.       Carpenter was not injured in the incident and will start at the back of the 22-car field after switching to a spare chassis.      "The tires weren't quite up to temperature when I did a simulated qualifying run this morning," Carpenter explained. "The crew could have fixed the primary car, but it was a better plan to skip qualifying and use the time to get the backup chassis ready for the final warm-up."
08/28/04
f1
Williams team has disastrous qualifying session in wet Williams team has disastrous qualifying session in wetBad weather severely hampered today’s F1 qualifying at Spa, with both Free Practice sessions being cut down from 90minutes to only 15 and qualifying being run under intermittent rain.  Juan Montoya will start way back in 11th after saying the day before he hoped it would be wet on Saturday.  “Bad luck for me in today’s qualifying,” he said. “The track was starting to dry out and we decided to use intermediate tires, like Trulli, Alonso and Coulthard who went out just before me. However, already on my out lap it started to rain quite hard, which made it very difficult to keep the car on the track and as a result I lost a lot of time. There was no grip at all! It’s a shame because in the morning we looked quite competitive in the wet and in pre-qualifying I was the second fastest driver on Michelin tires. Still, I think we have a very good race car for tomorrow, we have found a good compromise which will hopefully pay off.”

In the morning practice session, Montoya’s teammate Antonio Pizzonia crashed and damaged his car. Thankfully the Brazilian was uninjured in the shunt and he came back to qualify in 14th position.

“My qualifying was disappointing, for sure. The lack of running this morning didn’t help, and I even crashed in the last few minutes. The team did a really good job in putting the car back together in time so that I was able to qualify in my race car,” he said. “Obviously I’m disappointed, but I’m hoping to have a good race tomorrow. It is possible to overtake here, as it’s such a long circuit, so we will see what happens.”

“We have had a busy morning after Antonio’s crash at the end of the short free practice session,” said Sam Michael. “We were ready just in time for pre-qualifying after a fantastic effort by the mechanics. In the main qualifying session Antonio made a couple of mistakes on his lap. Unfortunately for Juan it started to rain again right after he had left the pits on intermediate tires. He did a good job by achieving the time that he did under these conditions. We have had no mechanical problems and we are looking forward to the race now. “

“Qualifying was a gamble today, heavily affected by the tire choice,” added Mario Theissen. “The weather was favorable to Renault and they took the pole. Our drivers had bad luck, just like a few others, especially in final qualifying. Now it’s all about getting a good race from these two unfavorable starting positions.”

08/28/04
f1
Button: We made wrong tire choice Button: We made wrong tire choiceJenson Button believes that his BAR team made a mistake by not using intermediate tires in Belgian GP qualifying.  Button and teammate Takuma Sato will start Sunday’s race from 12th and 15th on the grid after a disastrous performance in qualifying.   "It is disappointing because I don’t know what we can do from there. Hopefully we can have a good race from there like at Hockenheim. “Our car seems to be strong in the dry and I think we have got the right set-up for the dry.  But this is the first race that we have struggled at in qualifying.”Sato was more upbeat than Button. The Japanese driver is convinced he will be able to make up ground come race day.    “It was very tricky for everyone. The wet tire didn’t have good grip because the rain stopped and the temperature came up. The tires overheated and I didn’t get good grip at all.  But we have got good straight line speed so I think we should be able to get back to the positions we should have been in.”
08/28/04
nascar
Andy Houston released Andy Houston releasedAndy Houston has been released as the driver of the Ultra Motorsports prepared No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. Houston, a 33 year-old native of Hickory, NC had three top-ten finishes in 16 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts this season.  "Andy Houston is a great guy and a really good racer but it was time to make a change," said Jim Smith, owner of Ultra Motorsports. "Andy came in last year and helped move this team in a positive direction after we had a driver change. He helped the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge keep its momentum at the end of last year and all of us had high hopes for this year. Unfortunately, for all of us, we are not where we want to be from a competition standpoint and it is time to move forward." 
08/28/04
f1
Rain hits Spa Rain hits SpaIt began raining immediately after yesterday’s afternoon practice session and it hasn’t stopped since. This morning’s practice sessions will resume once there is sufficient visibility to allow the medical helicopter to land and take off. It’s not actually Spa that is holding this up, but the conditions in nearby Liege.

Conditions here are relatively clear but saturated. ‘Real rain,’ as the locals call it, as opposed to yesterday’s light rain, will be a feature of the day, with a temperature high of 16 degrees Celsius.

Following the cancellation of the first practice session this morning, heavy rain and low cloud delayed the fourth and final practice session before of pre-qualification and final qualification later today. With just 15 minutes scheduled, all the drivers took the opportunity to go out in full wet weather trim.   However, in the horrible conditions, it was perhaps unsurprising that the session ended with the red flags flying.    Minardi driver Gianmaria Bruni suffered an off at the exit of Eau Rouge. The Minardi hit the wall on the left, before crossing back across the circuit and making contact on the right. Thankfully Bruni was able to step unaided from his damaged Minardi. Antonio Pizzonia crashed out at Rivage damaging the front left of the FW26.
Times
01.  BARRICHELLO Ferrari 1'57"085
02.  M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 1'57"906 
03.  RAIKKONEN McLaren 1'57"975
04.  FISICHELLA Sauber 1'58"138 
05.  COULTHARD McLaren 1'58"434
06.  MASSA Sauber 1'58"864
07.  BUTTON BAR 1'59"182
08.  TRULLI Renault 1'59"519 
09.  SATO BAR 2'00"088
10.  ALONSO Renault 2'01"475
11.  ZONTA Toyota 2'02"175
12.  KLIEN Jaguar 2'02"411
13.  WEBBER Jaguar 2'02"501
14.  MONTOYA Williams 2'02"559
15.  PANIS Toyota 2'02"592
16.  HEIDFELD Jordan 2'03"556
17.  PANTANO Jordan 2'04"131
18.  BRUNI Minardi 2'05"485 
19.  PIZZONIA Williams 2'07"337 
20.  BAUMGARTNER Minardi 2'09"428

08/28/04
champcar
"Champ Car": Against "Champ Car": AgainstI started a topic on the Champ Car website forum about the NON-recognition of the Champ Car name and the difficulty in explaining it  to someone who doesn't know. Well I was greeted with "not another change" and other fairly good observations of why we should keep it. They tend to say that this name is draped in history of some sort. Ah...I always remember them being called Indycars for as long as I can remember. Wasn't it the PPG Indycar Series?

I'm tired of trying to explain to some fans what a Champ Car is. I went through the whole process at Vegas during the test with NASCAR fans. They knew exactly what the IRL was. Most of them didn't like it BUT they recognized it. In the beginning I was one that didn't go for the whole Grand Prix thing. But the more I waste my breath trying to explain Champ Cars to people and then end up with a blank stare, I see the logic and the neccessity for it.
 
The moment you would say the "American Grand Prix World Series" that would be the moment the wasted times of explanations would be gone. First, they immediately put F1 and Grand Prix together so right there they know what KIND of racing you're talking about. Secondly, with American, they know exactly where you're based and what series you are!

The perfect introduction of the name would be with the new series sponsor and new car in 2006. I know the diehard Champ Car fans won't come willingly but they have to recognize that people don't know what a Champ Car is. I'm a diehard and it took me awhile but what's right for the series has to be done. I'm convinced that the re-birth of the series in 2006 needs to come with a new globally recognized name.  James M. Shaw  (Editor's note: We have to go with James over Jason on this one. The name "Champ Car" has not been able to connect with the masses, and the majority of fans don't even remember its historic roots. Plus, OWRS won't, in the near future, have the necessary NASCAR-like funds to "promote the hell" out of the "Champ Car" brand. On the other hand, "Grand Prix" gives them instant recognition among the general public, both domestically and abroad).

08/28/04
champcar
"Champ Car": For "Champ Car": ForPersonally, I am in some disagreement with those who feel the term "Champ Car" must go. Nothing's wrong with the name itself. It describes the series well, is easy to remember, sounds cool, and has a real history behind it. (Don't forget that pre-Indycar, open wheel cars in North America were known as Champ Cars). Changing the name of the series AGAIN will only confuse even more. I do agree that the series needs much more brand visibility, but just because the series gets a new big sponsor name, that does not mean that it will instantly become well known. It's what they DO with that name that counts. If the series renamed the cars from Champ Cars to say, "Gillette Grand Prix Cars", that new series name would be even LESS known than Champ Car. Changing the series name again is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, it's pointless. Look to the past to see the future... Does anyone remember the "PPG Indycar World Series"?

Does the title series really become the name that everyone is familiar with? Case in point "Nextel Cup Cars", few people (outside of the die-hard racing fans) call them that. They simply call it NASCAR. And everywhere you look, the series promotes itself with that brand frist, and Nextel Cup second. Really, the name of the series is not THAT important. What is a NASCAR anyways? Even non-race fans know what NASCAR is, and likely have no idea what "NEXTEL Cup" is. Formula One doesn't even HAVE a title sponsor, and everyone knows what F1 cars are. Why? Because THAT brand name is instantly recognizable.

Here's what the series needs to do: stick with the brand "Champ Car", find a big title sponsor, and market the HELL out of that brand name until it's on the tip of everyone's tongue. Something simple along the lines of: "The Gillette Champ Car World Series". That's what we need to see. Then tell people what it is, then tell them AGAIN, then tell them ONCE MORE, and then after that REMIND them AGAIN (and again) what the series title is until it's drilled into their heads. Educate the masses to what Champ Car is, and get it on the tips of everyone's tongues. That's how you build recognition, not by changing the name AGAIN.  Jason Hoehn

08/28/04
nascar
California boys go home California boys go homeThere's no place like home, and for seven California-born NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series drivers the familiarity of "Home Sweet Home" will ring true when they return to the Golden State for the Inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Pop Secret 500 weekend at California Speedway on Sept. 3-5.  Who are these Golden Boys you ask? They are none other than NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Robby Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Casey Mears, Jason Leffler and Ron Hornaday, Jr.  

Four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon was born in Vallejo, Calif. Arguably the most-heralded Golden Boy, who seems to grab victories everywhere he goes has three wins at California Speedway. He's the only multiple winner at the superspeedway in NASCAR's premier series, with the speedway's Inaugural race in 1997, again in 1999 and a win in the Auto Club 500 earlier this year.  Additionally, Jimmie Johnson will return home this September. Johnson, who is originally from El Cajon, Calif., has raced both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series at California Speedway and won his first race in NASCAR's top series at the 2-mile, D-shaped oval in 2002.  Another Gordon that can claim the Golden State as his home is Robby Gordon. The No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet driver hails from Bellflower, Calif. He has raced in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the Champ Car Series at the superspeedway.

Another southern California city to claim NASCAR drivers is Bakersfield, Calif., and they take great pride in their speed. The Kern County city has had several notable drivers come out of the region, including current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears. Harvick, the driver of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, has two wins at California Speedway ('98 in the Truck Series and '02 in the IROC event). Harvick has raced in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR West Series and the IROC Series here. Sophomore driver Casey Mears has competed in two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events with his best finish coming in May when he finished eighth. Mears, who comes from a family of racing legends, has competed in both open wheel and stock car races at the Fontana, Calif., oval. 

In addition to the Inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Pop Secret 500, the NASCAR Busch Series Target House 300 will take place on Saturday, September 4. Californians and NASCAR Busch Series drivers Jason Leffler and Ron Hornaday, Jr. will celebrate their homecoming at California.  Leffler, who won the pole in May in the Stater Bros. 300 presented by Gatorade, is originally from Long Beach, Calif. The No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet driver has competed in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks Series at the track.

Ron Hornaday, Jr. will compete in his eleventh race at California Speedway this September. Hornaday who is from Palmdale, Calif., has raced not only in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series here, but also in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. The No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet driver's best Busch Series showing at California Speedway came in 2003 when he finished 10th.

The Inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Pop Secret 500 joins the Target House 300 NASCAR Busch Series race Labor Day weekend. Tickets for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series race and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series practice are $40 and $50. Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pop Secret 500 tickets are $65 and $135. For ticket and event information call 800-944-RACE (7223) or visit the speedway's website at www.californiaspeedway.com.

08/28/04
f1
A detailed look at Eau Rouge A detailed look at Eau RougeRenault's chief engineer Pat Symonds takes a detailed look at exactly what makes Eau Rouge the most dramatic corner in Formula 1.  2004 will see Formula 1 make a welcome return to Spa-Francorchamps after a brief sabbatical. Spa is the  classic road circuit, and presents challenges enjoyed by drivers, engineers and spectators alike. Getting close to perfection through the difficult, high-speed corners makes significant differences to the lap time, and gives a great feeling of satisfaction when we get it right.

Of these corners, the most famous is of course Eau Rouge and over the years, this complex has perhaps created the biggest challenge in Grand Prix racing. When we consider the nature of this challenge, and how it has evolved over the years, it is interesting to see that just as it seems to be getting easier, a change to the cars can put the ball right back in the teams’ court. Indeed, this is what we expect to happen for 2005.

Speeds through the corner increased up until 1998 (peaking at 286 kph in 1997), when the introduction of grooved tyres and narrow track cars brought a significant decrease in grip, and hence cornering speeds. From 1998 onwards, we see a steady increase in speeds once more, with a significant jump in 2001 as the tyre competition begun the previous year got into full swing. An equally significant step was made in 2002, when not only did the tyres develop further, but the corners where slightly realigned and also resurfaced, in the interests of safety. This led to the corner being easily flat in qualifying that year, although in the race it still required a small lift of the throttle through the corner. Having said that, even when taken flat, the high lateral accelerations and hence tyre scrub, coupled with the steep rise in elevation, result in the car losing around 20 kph from entry to exit of the corners.

From an engineering point of view, the corner is an important one as good speed through here provides an overtaking opportunity at the end of the straight. In order to negotiate the complex quickly, it is important to have the right level of grip, and hence an aerodynamic set-up that does not compromise the high straightline speeds required (around 320 kph). In addition, the drivers need complete confidence in the car through this series of corners, and in order to achieve this it is necessary to have good high speed stability, and maybe even a touch of understeer.

Finding this handling “sweet-spot” is not just a case of achieving the correct aero balance, as the dramatic elevation changes in the corner have severe effects on the suspension. The left hand part of the corner generates a lot of suspension compression, and the car goes light in the final part. It is necessary to ensure the car does not hit the ground hard in the compression, but also that during this phase, any non-linear behaviour in the suspension, such as the bump rubbers, do not produce a sudden change in handling as the car tries to bottom out. Equally, ride heights can vary by as much as 25 mm through the sequence. When choosing set-ups, just a couple of millimetres can make a significant difference to handling, and it is therefore obvious that the car needs aerodynamic characteristics that do not cause large movements in the centre of pressure even when ride heights and pitch angles vary. If these factors are managed correctly, if the driver has the grip he expects, and if the grip and the balance of that grip remain constant through the corner, then the challenge becomes a much easier one.

This year, we expect to negotiate Eau Rouge at approximately 310 kph, compared to 286 kph in 1997. Furthermore, with the progress in both car and tyre design over the past two seasons, the corner should be taken flat out for much of, and perhaps all, the race. Next year, though, the situation will change once more, as it has done through recent F1 history. Just considering the losses from the aerodynamic changes that we will be accepting for 2005, we can expect the minimum speed through Eau Rouge to drop by over 20 kph (to 1997 levels), and indeed the top speed at the end of the straight will be 9 kph lower. The drivers will also be lifting off the throttle for around 0.4 seconds, a level similar to that which we saw in 2000. The challenge of taking Eau Rouge flat, superseded by advances in car and tyre design since 2002, will return, and Spa will be all the more a true classic circuit for it. Renault

08/28/04
champcar
McDonald's likes Champ Car's international reach McDonald's likes Champ Car's international reachExcerpts from Friday's McDonald's press conference - “You know, we got into this property last year as a three-race sponsor with Newman/Haas on the No. 2 car with Sebastien,” said Director of Alliances, McDonald’s USA, John Lewicki. “Ironically, they went out and won the first race, and we kind of got hooked. We went from a three-race sponsorship to a full-team sponsorship this year. It just makes sense for us to add on to the Champ Car series and become an official status sponsor.

“As a global brand, the importance and the interest to us with Champ Car is the fact that they do expand boundaries, not only in the US with races, but Canada, Australia, Mexico. As we look at opportunities to promote our brand and talk about our brand, it makes us very proud that we have a series that has that international reach and helps us talk about our brand in a significant way.”

“I think the biggest challenge is my own country,” Lewicki said. “I think the success and popularity of Champ Car in Mexico and Canada, it’s an easy piece. Our Canadian company is getting very behind it. We’ll look to develop some plans for 2005. Mexico is a bit of a smaller country for us from a size standpoint, but very supportive of the program. My issues in the United States are really to figure out how I can fit it in with all the other marketing plans we have. It will be just a question of how we work it in.

Lewicki indicated that McDonald’s new partnership will not be fully activated until next season. “You won’t see a whole lot for the rest of this year because of the shortened season and where we are in our planning cycle, but we’re in development now of how we’ll activate it in 2005,” he explained.

08/28/04
f1
Latest F1 News in Brief Latest F1 News in Brief
Briscoe in hospital
Quick questions in Belgium - Friday 1

Pierre's 'pick your F1 tire' proposal
Quick questions in Belgium - Friday 2  
'I hope it's damp' - Montoya
Pizzonia offered new contract 
Quick questions in Belgium - Friday 3  
Panis to stay in 'other capacity' - Howett
'Button affair' heading to court 
Quick questions in Belgium - Friday 4
Bernoldi made BAR debut
Toyota 'consider' customer engine supply
Trulli wants team 'that needs me'
Ferrari treat Rubens unfairly - Montoya
Williams run 'tobacco free'  
'Keep qualifying the same' - Sam Michael
Quick questions in Belgium - Friday 5
Pizzonia good enough to race - Montoya  
08/28/04
alms
Team Bucknum switches to Lola Team Bucknum switches to LolaTeam Bucknum Racing announced during Round Seven at Road America that it would officially retire its Pilbeam MP91 and it will run a Lola B2K40 in the final two rounds at Petit Le Mans and the Monterey Sports Car Championship.  The Sebring-winning Lola is owned by Miracle Motorsports and will be entered under Miracle Motorsports, although it will be re-skinned in the familiar checkerboard look of the Pilbeam and operated under the Team Bucknum tent.  The Pilbeam has served us well since 2001. It is a great car and I believe we showed that it could do some pretty amazing things on the track," said owner/driver Jeff Bucknum. "Earlier this year we were putting her on the class pole repeatedly and since 2003 have been turning lap times on par with the highly developed Corvettes."   "Most people probably don't realize our Pilbeam originally was built as an SRII. In the final analysis, we asked it to go above and beyond its original purpose, we made some amazing things happen in the process, but one of the unfortunate outcomes was shortening its competitive lifespan," said owner/driver Bryan Willman.
08/28/04
nascar
NASCAR sponsors like idea of Mexico race NASCAR sponsors like idea of Mexico raceLowe's Companies Inc. has no stores in Mexico and no plans to open any, but the No. 2 home improvement retailer in the United States sees dollar signs in NASCAR's plans to expand there.  That's because NASCAR's second-biggest corporate sponsor figures anything NASCAR does to grow in Mexico can only strengthen Lowe's ties with Mexican American and other Latino consumers in the United States.  The sanctioning body of stock-car racing this month disclosed plans to add a Mexico City race into the Busch Series schedule next year.

"NASCAR running a race in Mexico next year will enable us to share some of that excitement with our Spanish-speaking customers in the U.S.," said Chris Ahearn, spokeswoman at the company's Mooresville headquarters.  Lowe's enthusiasm illustrates the major force driving NASCAR south of the border _ the drive of U.S. corporations to bond with Hispanic consumers. Already at 35 million, the U.S. Hispanic population is expected to hit 47 million by 2010, or about 15 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census. More of AP Story

08/27/04
Formula BMW
Rahal prefers road racing Rahal prefers road racingGraham Rahal, 16 year old son of Bobby Rahal, told AutoWeek Magazine, "Some people have unrealistic expectations, as if you should win consistently right out of the box," he says. "I’m still adjusting to cars. A kart is so grippy you don’t have to correct much, and it’s harder to gather up a car when you do have to correct. In a kart the guy in front of you is right there. In a car you have to learn where the nose and wheels are when you’re setting up a pass."

It can also be tough when a racing dad happens to be one of the best racers of his generation.  "What he says, I try to do, to learn and to keep him happy," Rahal says. "Obviously he has my best interests at heart. But it can get hard sometimes, and frustrating."

Next up for Rahal is another season in Formula BMW. Beyond that, his racing career goes where his skill, motivation and opportunity take him.  "I prefer this style of racing," Rahal says, meaning road racing. "F1 is the pinnacle, obviously, but who knows if that will ever happen? I’d really like to try sports cars, too."

08/27/04
A1 GP
A1 GP car passes tests A1 GP car passes testsThe A1 Grand Prix car has completed the first part of an intensive test program and has now clocked up over 2,000 kilometres in varying conditions in both the UK and Spain.  At the conclusion of this week’s hot weather test at the Jerez circuit Technical Operations Advisor, John Wickham, said, “This has been a very positive test. The car has proved both quick and reliable.”  The conditions were ideal with temperatures in the low forties.

Sharing the test driving were General Manager, Stephen Watson, and new recruit and former Formula 1 driver, Ralph Firman. Stephen, who had previously driven the car at Snetterton, commented…. “We have achieved exactly what we set out to here. The entire focus of the test was to see how the whole package would perform in high ambient temperatures and dusty conditions.”  Ralph, who drove the car for the first time on Wednesday, was delighted with what he experienced from the A1 Grand Prix car.   “The car gives you great confidence. It is wonderful to be back behind the wheel of a powerful single seater again.” At Jerez, where the total distance covered was 1,298 kilometres, Stephen commented…“We have been able to lap quicker than the F3000 times (set in November and February) in significantly warmer conditions. I am very pleased with the results to date.”

08/27/04
cartatlantic
Dalziel shares lead with point Dalziel shares lead with pointRyan Dalziel made his point today at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal as the Scottish ace claimed provisional pole position ahead of Sunday’s 25-lap race – Round 11 of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship.   In topping the timesheets, with a hot lap of 1m34.187s round the 2.709-mile circuit, the 22-year-old scored a welcome championship point, the importance of which cannot be underestimated as it caps a valiant fight back in the championship battle allowing Ryan to tie the lead of the series with Jon Fogarty, both racers on 261 points heading into tomorrow’s final qualifying session.

Dalziel unwillingly surrendered the lead of the series back in June following disappointing outings in Monterrey and Milwaukee but a second-half surge, incorporating three wins in five starts, has allowed the Sierra Sierra Enterprises pilot to eradicate his American rival’s lead. The title protagonists, with four wins apiece, know that the outcome of Sunday’s race will be crucial to their respective championship challenges with Round 12 concluding the season at Laguna Seca in two weeks time.

Ryan’s provisional pole winning time, in addition to guaranteeing him a front-row start on Sunday, was a tenth of a second faster than his team-mate and home favorite Andrew Ranger and three tenths clear of Fogarty in third.

Not one to rest on his laurels Ryan’s target for tomorrow is simply to wrap up pole position in the second and final session and claim the bonus point to lead the series outright starting Sunday’s race.  Speaking following this afternoon’s qualifying session Ryan reflected:  “It’s been a great start to the weekend. The team has worked hard to claw back the ground we lost in the title battle and sharing the lead today is a just reward. I was confident we could challenge for the pole position and I was driving every lap like a championship lap. It helps keep me motivated and with Andrew starting as the local favorite I have even more incentive to keep pushing and lead from the front.”

Sunday’s race, Round 11 of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship – the Molson Indy Montreal, is scheduled to start at 11am Eastern Time. Full event details and live timings from Saturday’s final qualifying session as well as Sunday’s race will be available online at www.toyotaatlantic.com

08/27/04
irl
Castroneves leads practice at Nazareth Castroneves leads practice at NazarethHelio Castroneves topped the speed charts in both practice sessions to lead the opening day of practice for the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway.  Castroneves, the defending race champion, turned the fastest lap of the day, 20.3179 seconds, 165.667 mph, in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone during the afternoon session.   He was followed by Vitor Meira, who turned the second-fastest lap of the day, 20.3629 seconds, 165.301, in the No. 17 Rahal Letterman Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone. IndyCar Series points leader Tony Kanaan was third in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone with a lap of 20.3670 seconds, 165.267.  MBNA Pole Qualifying for the Firestone Indy 225 is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. (EDT). A live webcast by the IMS Radio Network can be heard exclusively on www.indyracing.com/indycar.
TOP COMBINED PRACTICE SPEEDS OF THE DAY
Pos.    Car Name                 C/E/T Speed
1. 3 Helio Castroneves D/T/F 165.667 mph
2. 17 Vitor Meira         G/H/F 165.301 mph
3. 11 Tony Kanaan         D/H/F 165.267 mph
4. 6 Sam Hornish Jr.         D/T/F 165.085 mph
5. 10 Darren Manning         G/T/F 164.747 mph
08/27/04
nascar
Final NASCAR Michigan TV Rating Final NASCAR Michigan TV RatingThe final NASCAR Michigan race TV rating on TNT (cable) from last Sunday was a 3.9.
08/27/04
irl
IRL TV ratings in free fall plunge IRL TV ratings in free fall plungeUPDATE The final IRL TV Rating for Pikes Peak was a 0.7/1 share on ABC, up 0.1 from the overnight, but still horrible for network TV and even with the 2003 final Pikes Peak rating. 08/23/04 The harder the IRL tries and the more money Toyota and Honda sink into it, the faster the IRL TV ratings plunge.  This week's overnight TV rating for the Pikes Peak race on ABC TV reached a new network low for the IRL, a 0.6/1 share.  The ratings are now headed toward cable TV territory and are below what an infomercial would deliver on a network TV channel.  As we have said, the free ticket giveaways are creating a false economy by putting butts in the seats at the track but not generating any real fans who will tune in to watch on TV - this despite big full page ads in the USA Today newspaper reminding fans where and when to catch the race.  The bottom line is that fans are not buying what the IRL is selling because 1) The Champ Car fans won't support the IRL because of the damage it has done to the sport, and 2) the original IRL fans won't support them now that they have morphed into the old CART, 3) Champ Car fans view everyone in the IRL as traitors and go out of their way to boycott anything and everything related to the IRL.  In other words stick a fork in the IRL, it's done, regardless of how much Honda, Toyota, and Marlboro pump in to prop it up.
08/27/04
F1
Chicanery in Formula 1? Chicanery in Formula 1?This article from The Economist says, The 2004 Formula One (F1) season has not exactly set pulses racing: with five races to go, Michael Schumacher, a driver for Ferrari, looks certain to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive championship. Behind the scenes, however, there has been a much more exciting battle over who runs and controls the sport. Barring a last-minute settlement, the dispute will become public in a British courtroom in mid-September.

Bringing the case are three large banks - Bayerische Landesbank, Lehman Brothers and J.P. Morgan Chase. Through Speed Investments, these have a 75% shareholding in SLEC Holdings, which in turn owns the cascade of companies that run F1.

Incredibly, despite this majority shareholding, the banks do not have board control in any of the companies below SLEC. These include Formula One Holdings (FOH), an important, though dormant, holding company, and two crucial operating companies, Formula One Administration (FOA) and Formula One Management (FOM), which hold the commercial rights to F1 and through which hundreds of millions of dollars flow each year.

The nub of the banks' case is that the previous owner of their shares in SLEC did have board control. Yet they do not, and this puts them in a strange position; in effect they are minority shareholders. This makes their shares unsaleable at any reasonable price. This matters to more than just the banks: control of the Formula One companies' boards is essential at a time when the future of F1 is up in the air contracts that govern it run only until the end of 2007.

So who does control the Formula One empire? Bernie Ecclestone, a British entrepreneur, the chief executive of FOA and FOM, and the dominant figure on F1's commercial side since the mid-1970s, used to own FOM. But in 1996, as the first step in a complex tax-avoidance scheme, Mr Ecclestone transferred ownership to Petara, an offshore company controlled by Slavica Ecclestone, his wife. More
08/27/04
f1
Montoya getting fat and slow Montoya getting fat and slowWord in the F1 paddock is that Juan Montoya has gained weight and is now one of the heaviest drivers on the circuit.  It's showing in his on-track performance.  Williams sub Antonio Pizzonia upstaged team leader Juan Pablo Montoya yet again in Friday practice at Spa. The Brazilian set the seventh fastest time, three places ahead of Montoya, and reckons there is more to come.Pizzonia found his first experience of the 4.3-mile track in an F1 car an eye-opener.  “It’s quite different,” he said. “In other formulae, there were several corners where I would easily go flat-out, but conditions are not the same now, since the speed is much higher! I'll get used to it, I am sure, but I need some time.“Also, going through Eau Rouge is quite exciting, as I was expecting. I am sure everyone is taking it flat-out. Anyway, there's more to come from the car and a lot more to come from me as well.”  Montoya was only 0.1s slower but was far from happy with the behaviour of his FW26.“Not a satisfying day for me because I am not still happy with the balance of my car,” said the Colombian, who qualified on pole at Spa in 2001.  “But it definitely improved a lot from this morning, as the car became much more predictable to drive and more stable at the end of the first session.“I hope to have some more dry running tomorrow which will help us to get the car right for qualifying.”  Technical director Sam Michael added: “The choice for the tyre compound is going to be difficult. That is what we will have to look at tonight.“The rain held off today but it looks like it could be wet tomorrow morning. In any case, it is challenging to find the balance between high-speed and low-speed set-up here in Spa.”
08/27/04
champcar
Montreal Champ Car race nears sellout Montreal Champ Car race nears selloutUPDATE #2 We quizzed promoter Allan Labrosse today on attendance for Sunday.  "All the seats will be full," said Labrosse, "some are already sold out and most 90% to 95% sold." 08/25/04 According to this RDS article, over 100,000 tickets have already been sold for the weekend and the promoter, Allan Labrosse expects about 150,000.  The weather forecast right now looks very promising. 08/24/04 At the end of last week the Montreal Molson Indy Champ Car race had two of their seven grandstands sold out and the other five were ranging between eighty-eight percent occupancy and up. So this final week should fill up the grandstands according to the promoter Allan Labrosse. More at Champ Car....
08/27/04
f1
Preston leaves Williams Preston leaves WilliamsThe BMW Williams team has lost one of its top engineers, Tim Preston, who has been in charge of test engineering in recent years. Preston is a longtime Williams man, having joined the company in 1989 when he became a member of Adrian Newey's drawing office. In 1995 he was appointed race engineer to Damon Hill and helped Hill to the World Championship in 1996. After Hill left Williams to join Arrows, Preston stayed began working with Heinz-Harald Frentzen but at the end of the year decided that he wanted do less travelling and moved to Sauber where he had the chance to become head of the test team. After two years he returned to Williams and has been involved in testing ever since, although he was on the race team for a period, trying to sort out problems.  It is unlikely that Preston will remain on the market for long as he is a highly-respected F1 engineer but it seems that the moved from Williams was a necessary step as the new technical management at the team prepares for the future. Grandprix.com
08/27/04
f1
Ford announces Jaguar appointments Ford announces Jaguar appointmentsFord Motor Company today announced a series of senior personnel appointments that will further strengthen the global integration of their communications team: Stuart Dyble was appointed Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs,  Premier Automotive Group and Ford of Europe Ian Slater was appointed Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, Ford of Europe Niel Golightly was appointed Director, Environmental Strategy, Ford Motor Company.
08/27/04
champcar
Push-to-pass increased to 75 seconds for Molson Indy Montreal Push-to-pass increased to 75 seconds for Molson Indy MontrealIn what seems to be turning into a trend for the second half of the season, Champ Car announced that the push-to-pass will be increased from 60 to 75 seconds for Sunday's Molson Indy Montreal. The rationale behind the decision, as it was in the case of the Road America race, was the fact that Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a long course. This marks the 3rd race in a row that Champ Car has opted to increase the P2P (RA, Denver and now), and it is fair to assume the extra 15 seconds will be a fixture until the end of the season.--Cassio Cortes--
08/27/04
f1
Ryan Briscoe crashes at Eau Rouge Ryan Briscoe crashes at Eau RougeRyan Briscoe was left nursing a bruised arm after crashing his car at the 290 kph Eau Rouge corner in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix today. The Toyota test driver flew into the tire barriers when his car suffered a tire puncture as he headed down the hill into the notorious left-right bend at full speed. The initial impact ripped two wheels off the red and white machine and Briscoe's car came to rest on the opposite side of the track after bouncing back across the circuit.  "Ryan is fine. He was taken to hospital for a precautionary scan on his arm, but everything appears okay," the team's technical director Mike Gascoyne said. "We saw from the data once we got the car back that his car had picked up a tire puncture, which caused him to spin. It was unfortunate because Ryan had been running particularly well and consistently throughout the day."
08/27/04
champcar
Newman: We are together forever Newman: We are together foreverPaul Newman put to bed once and for all the false rumor that the Newman/Haas team might spit up. When asked by AutoRacing1.com at today's press conference announcing McDonald's as a series sponsor, Newman said “No, we (Carl and I) are together forever.”
08/27/04
ChampCar
McDonald’s announces Champ Car sponsorship McDonald’s announces Champ Car sponsorshipDick Eidswick, Paul Newman, Kevin Kalkhoven, McDonald's Senior Director of Alliance Marketing John Lewicki, Carl Haas and Sebastien Bourdais were on hand today in Montreal to announce that McDonald's would be the Official Fast Food Restaurant of Champ Car through 2006.  John Lewicki said “We are very proud to be a sponsor of the Champ Car World Series and it is very important to us that Champ Car has such a worldwide reach, which fits perfectly with our company. You won't see a lot from us this year because we are planning for next year.  We chose Montreal for this announcement to show the cross border reach of Champ Car.”  Paul Newman said that McDonald's would be a powerful force for the series. Carl Haas chimed in and agreed with Paul Newman.  On a side note, McDonald's is signed with the Newman/Haas team through 2007. More to follow...
08/27/04
champcar
Dominguez tops opening practice Dominguez tops opening practiceMexican Mario Dominguez topped the timesheets in opening practice Friday morning for the Molson Indy Montreal. Canadian Alex Tagliani gave the Canadian fans something to cheer about in second. Points leader Sebastien Bourdais was third followed by Bruno Junqueira and AJ Allmendinger.
08/27/04
f1
Spa: Free Practice 2: Raikkonen sets Friday pace Spa: Free Practice 2: Raikkonen sets Friday paceKimi Raikkonen set the pace in the second and final session today at Spa Francorchamps. The McLaren Mercedes driver set a best time of 1:44.701s around the 6.973 km circuit, three tenths of a second faster than his nearest rivals Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher.
 P. No  Driver       Team - Engine   Tires    Times      Ave/Gaps  Laps
 1.  6  RAIKKONEN    McLaren Mercedes  M   1'44"701  239.757 Km/h  14 
 2.  9  BUTTON       BAR Honda         M   1'45"015    + 0'00"314  15 
 3.  1  M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari           B   1'45"137    + 0'00"436  16 
 4. 35  DAVIDSON     BAR Honda         M   1'45"437    + 0'00"736  25 
 5. 10  SATO         BAR Honda         M   1'45"451    + 0'00"750  20 
 6.  5  COULTHARD    McLaren Mercedes  M   1'45"507    + 0'00"806  13 
 7. 04  PIZZONIA     Williams BMW      M   1'45"559    + 0'00"858  14 
 8.  2  BARRICHELLO  Ferrari           B   1'45"625    + 0'00"924  20 
 9.  8  ALONSO       Renault           M   1'45"658    + 0'00"957  20 
10.  3  MONTOYA      Williams BMW      M   1'45"678    + 0'00"977  17 
11. 12  MASSA        Sauber Petronas   B   1'45"960    + 0'01"259  20 
12. 11  FISICHELLA   Sauber Petronas   B   1'45"978    + 0'01"277  19 
13. 14  WEBBER       Jaguar Cosworth   M   1'46"471    + 0'01"770  10 
14. 17  PANIS        Toyota            M   1'46"528    + 0'01"827  17 
15. 16  ZONTA        Toyota            M   1'46"902    + 0'02"201  20 
16.  7  TRULLI       Renault           M   1'46"912    + 0'02"211  21 
17. 37  WIRDHEIM     Jaguar Cosworth   M   1'47"265    + 0'02"564  23 
18. 15  KLIEN        Jaguar Cosworth   M   1'47"370    + 0'02"669   8 
19. 38  BRISCOE      Toyota            M   1'47"634    + 0'02"933   9 
20. 21  BAUMGARTNER  Minardi Cosworth  B   1'48"687    + 0'03"986  16 
21. 18  HEIDFELD     Jordan Ford       B   1'48"803    + 0'04"102  18 
22. 39  GLOCK        Jordan Ford       B   1'48"817    + 0'04"116  21 
23. 19  PANTANO      Jordan Ford       B   1'48"962    + 0'04"261  17 
24. 40  LEINDERS     Minardi Cosworth  B   1'49"480    + 0'04"779  16 
25. 20  BRUNI        Minardi Cosworth  B   1'49"742    + 0'05"041  16 
08/27/04
champcar
Champ Car must go Champ Car must goA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I agree with your assertion that the term Champ Car must be ditched in favor of XYZ Grand Prix Series. I was in a sports bar in NY City the other day and was talking sports with about 10 fellow sports nuts like me. I mentioned I was going to the Montreal Champ Car race this weekend and I got 10 dumb stares, huh, what is that? came the replies. I told them a Champ Car was America's version of Grand Prix racing. There was then an immediate connection. One jock said, “yeah, I remember the movie Grand Prix, that was neat. Michael Schumacher drives Grand Prix cars right?” I told him Schumacher drives an F1 car, but there are a lot of similarities. Immediately bells went off in my head ding, ding, ding. I remembered AutoRacing1's recommendation. Like always you guys are spot on. Champ Car is dead, long live the “Open Wheel Grand Prix Series,” or whatever they might call it. Dan Manzini, Manhattan, NY.  Dear Dan, The sooner they ditch Champ Car the better. OWRS would be wise to find a Winston or a Nextel like company who is willing to sign a 10 year or more deal for naming rights to the series, a title sponsor. For example, if NASCAR can call their cars Nextel Cup Cars then Champ Car could have, say, the “IBM Grand Prix Cars” that race in the “IBM Grand Prix Series” presented by Bridgestone. Like Nextel, it must be a long-term deal though. The term Champ Car should be wound down over the next 18 months and when the next generation Champ Cars debut in 2006 the new name should be front and center. Nextel gets huge benefits from the Cup cars being named after their company because the words Nextel Cup Cars are printed and spoken everywhere. Hopefully OWRS takes us up on this recommendation because Champ Car just doesn't connect with people. Last, Champ Car racing is primarily road racing and when you say Grand Prix everyone immediately thinks road racing. Having a name that describes who and what you are goes a long way toward building fan awareness. Mark C.
08/27/04
NASCAR
Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL CupA switch has taken place in the top spot, with Jeff Gordon passing teammate Jimmie Johnson. Johnson is now 68 points behind Gordon, a four-time champion of NASCAR's premiere series. Only the Top 10 drivers, and drivers within 400 points of the leader, will qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Following the weekend at Michigan International Speedway, all eyes are on the battle to crack the top 10, with Kasey Kahne having just moved teammate Jeremy Mayfield out of the 10th spot...barely (Mayfield is only six points back of Kahne). Meanwhile, Mark Martin continues to move closer to the coveted top 10, having moved up to 12th place in the standings, only 33 points behind Kahne. Ryan Newman is 13th, 44 points out of 10th, followed by Dale Jarrett (58 points back of Kahne) and Jamie McMurray (70 points from 10th place). On top of that, only 72 points separate seventh-place Elliott Sadler from Kahne. In short, it will be a wild three races before the top 10 is decided by the close of the September 11 race at Richmond International Raceway.
08/27/04
Industry News
GM to unify Cadillac and focus on global brand GM to unify Cadillac and focus on global brandAccording to executives and insiders, GM is focusing on two goals: continuing market share gains in China and pushing Cadillac sales and marketing in Europe and China.

Those efforts will require GM to unify global marketing, says Mark LaNeve, GM's newly appointed North American vice president of marketing and advertising.LaNeve replaces John Middlebrook, who will become GM's vice president of global sales, service and marketing, a new position Although Cadillac has enjoyed a sales revival in the United States, it continues to have minimal overseas sales.

Increasing sales in Europe and Asia is part of GM's plan to make Cadillac an equal competitor to luxury rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Last week GM announced it will start selling its first China-made Cadillac next spring. The automaker will begin selling an imported CTS in China in mid-September. In June, GM announced it would invest $3 billion in China in the next three years in facilities that will more than double its manufacturing capacity. LaNeve says GM will have 16 dealerships in China by year end.

Cadillac, in particular, will get a push overseas. "We see an increased focus with Cadillac part of our global brand, particularly in China," LaNeve says. "We have a standard way we work other operations, but we don't have that with sales and marketing. For example, a Cadillac brand should be a Cadillac brand wherever we are." AutoWeek
08/27/04
irl
champcar
Mario Andretti laments over Nazareth closing Mario Andretti laments over Nazareth closingEver since Mario Andretti immigrated to Nazareth from Italy with his family in 1955, there has been a race track in that Lehigh Valley town.  Following Sunday's Firestone Indy 225, however, racing will be over at the speedway. The 100th IRL series race will be the final race at the 1-mile oval.  The speedway, nurtured by longtime Indy-car owner Roger Penske into a first-class facility, opened in 1987. Crowds at the 38,000-seat track were in the 30,000 range from then until 1996, when open-wheel racing split into two circuits, Indy Racing League and Championship Auto Racing Teams (known now as the Champ Cars World Series).Since then, however, attendance has fallen drastically. Recent IRL races and the NASCAR Busch Grand National series have attracted only 15,000 to 20,000 fans each.It's a business decision by ISC," Penske said this week. "You can't survive with a couple of small races today with crowds of 30,000 to 50,000. Unfortunately in business today, people make a decision around a boardroom. The emotions and history are not part of it." Mario Andretti braced himself for bad news about his hometown speedway. The reality hurts.  "Of course, I'm sad," he said. "When the split [occurred], that's when it all started going away. For some reason, the support of the fans just wasn't there. Our community never really embraced it."   Mario Andretti won't be in town for the final race. He'll be in England, recording a voiceover for a Formula One DVD. As one of CART's stars, Andretti's affection is with that series.  Surely, the next time he drives by Nazareth Speedway, though, he'll feel an important part of his hometown tradition is missing. Philadelphia Daily News
08/27/04
nascar
Richard Petty to serve as Grand Marshal Richard Petty to serve as Grand MarshalCalifornia Speedway announced today that seven-time NASCAR Champion Richard Petty will serve as Honorary Grand Marshal for the Inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Pop Secret 500 on September 5.  "Richard Petty's name is synonymous with NASCAR racing. His presence as the Grand Marshal elevates the magnitude of this Inaugural event at California Speedway." The Inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Pop Secret 500 joins the Target House 300 NASCAR Busch Series race Labor Day weekend. Tickets for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series race and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series practice are $40 and $50. Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pop Secret 500 tickets are $65 and $105. For ticket and event information call 800-944-RACE (7223) or visit the speedway's website at www.californiaspeedway.com.
08/27/04
nascar
Hamilton released from Busch team Hamilton released from Busch teamUPDATE Jeff Green is not driving the car, nor will he.  Dodge will not allow it.  His name was attached to that car for only about 24 hours. "Magic Shoes" Mike McLaughlin is in the car at Bristol in a one race deal. 08/26/04 Team Rensi on Monday afternoon announced an immediate driver change for its No. 25 NASCAR Busch Series team, claiming they were releasing driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. to allow him to "devote the remainder of the 2004 season to his Nextel Cup career."  There was just one problem. Hamilton Jr. never asked for such a courtesy.  "I don't understand why. All I got was a call Monday afternoon from Ed Rensi (a co-owner) saying there would be a driver change effective immediately," Hamilton Jr. said.  "He didn't say why. He made it clear I was not going to Bristol and that was pretty much the end of the conversation."  Late Monday, Team Rensi released a statement announcing the driver change, which included team co-owner Sam Rensi's claim the move was made to allow Hamilton Jr. to focus on his Cup career.   Busch and Cup series veteran Jeff Green will drive the No. 25 for the rest of the Busch season, Rensi said.
08/27/04
f1
Belgian GP Press Conferences Belgian GP Press Conferences
First part of this Thursday's FIA press conference, with Williams driver Antonio Pizzonia.
Second and final part of this Thursday's FIA press conference, with Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) and Takuma Sato (BAR).
08/27/04
f1
Spa Free Practice 1: Davidson fastest in BAR Honda Spa Free Practice 1: Davidson fastest in BAR HondaThe first practice session for Sunday’s 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix at Spa saw Anthony Davidson top the charts for BAR Honda with a best lap of 1:45.104 around the 6.973 km circuit.  Michael  Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello were 2nd and 3rd..
 P. No  Driver       Team - Engine   Tires    Times      Ave/Gaps  Laps
 1. 35  DAVIDSON     BAR Honda         M   1'45"104  238.838 Km/h  12 
 2.  1  M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari           B   1'45"408    + 0'00"304  11 
 3.  2  BARRICHELLO  Ferrari           B   1'45"605    + 0'00"501   8 
 4. 37  WIRDHEIM     Jaguar Cosworth   M   1'46"658    + 0'01"554  20 
 5.  6  RAIKKONEN    McLaren Mercedes  M   1'46"674    + 0'01"570   6 
 6.  8  ALONSO       Renault           M   1'46"679    + 0'01"575  10 
 7. 14  WEBBER       Jaguar Cosworth   M   1'46"782    + 0'01"678  16 
 8. 15  KLIEN        Jaguar Cosworth   M   1'46"809    + 0'01"705  18 
 9. 04  PIZZONIA     Williams BMW      M   1'47"083    + 0'01"979  10 
10. 38  BRISCOE      Toyota            M   1'47"506    + 0'02"402  21 
11.  9  BUTTON       BAR Honda         M   1'47"511    + 0'02"407   6 
12.  3  MONTOYA      Williams BMW      M   1'47"560    + 0'02"456  13 
13. 10  SATO         BAR Honda         M   1'47"618    + 0'02"514   5 
14. 11  FISICHELLA   Sauber Petronas   B   1'47"648    + 0'02"544  12 
15.  5  COULTHARD    McLaren Mercedes  M   1'47"650    + 0'02"546   6 
16. 12  MASSA        Sauber Petronas   B   1'47"765    + 0'02"661  11 
17.  7  TRULLI       Renault           M   1'47"829    + 0'02"725   9 
18. 16  ZONTA        Toyota            M   1'48"642    + 0'03"538  12 
19. 17  PANIS        Toyota            M   1'48"834    + 0'03"730  10 
20. 19  PANTANO      Jordan Ford       B   1'50"165    + 0'05"061   9 
21. 40  LEINDERS     Minardi Cosworth  B   1'50"311    + 0'05"207  13 
22. 39  GLOCK        Jordan Ford       B   1'50"317    + 0'05"213  19 
23. 20  BRUNI        Minardi Cosworth  B   1'50"531    + 0'05"427  12 
24. 18  HEIDFELD     Jordan Ford       B   1'50"805    + 0'05"701  10 
25. 21  BAUMGARTNER  Minardi Cosworth  B   1'50"950    + 0'05"846  10 
08/27/04
irl
Feedback on IRL’s first 100 races Feedback on IRL’s first 100 racesA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, : Does Tony George REALLY believe all the stuff he says in this interview is true? What happened to all the teams, drivers and the great Walt Disney Speedway that were there on that first "GLORIOUS DAY" of the IRL? If the "IRL" is such a great show, where are the "FANS"? Could it be possible that most of us in the good old U.S.A. are missing the second greatest show on earth? I mean with all due respect to Mr.George, the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus is number one but then again I'm one of those that have been missing the first 99 races of the great "IRL" series.  And last, but not least, how come all the former, and now the "MAJORITY," of "CART" team owners are not hiring the future stars of open wheel racing like P.J. Chesson, etc.?  Could it be possible that Messrs. Penske, Ganassi, Nunn, Patrick, Foyt, etc. are not paying attention either, or is it that Marlboro, Target, Toyota , Honda, etc. are telling them(owners) that only foreigners have a shot of top rides in the "IRL"?  Let's see: Castroneves, Wheldon, Kanaan, Fernandez, Franchitti, Dixon, Scheckter - I must be going crazy but if I was a 15-17 year old American, will I really believe Mr.George and hope that Mr. Rahal, Mr. Andretti and the rest of the heavy hitters will give me a chance to showcase my skills in a car where you go flat out 99.9% of the time? One thing I'm certainly sure of: either the United States of America is the greatest country in the world, or where in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia or Oceania would someone have the opportunity to "THROW AWAY" a fortune like Mr.George is doing and tell the "WORLD" how great his product is when in fact it's a contrived show with as many convenient wins as NASCAR?  Don King is right : ONLY IN AMERICA.......Marta Campos, Los Angeles, CA.
08/27/04
f1
Minardi signs Russian deal Minardi signs Russian dealStruggling Formula One team Minardi has reached a commercial deal with Russian bank 'SMP Commercial.'  The deal is linked with newly-announced team tester Sergey Zlobin, 41, and his manager and compatriot Alexey Zborovskiy.  ''I hope (this) assists a Russian driver in joining the ranks of Formula One,'' said Minardi principal and owner Paul Stoddart. GMM
08/27/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
BAR not changing color
Ralf set for Monza return
'I expect to stay at BAR' - Sato
Failures 'not my fault' - Raikkonen
Rubens wants to make Schu wait
Schumacher's '7' connection
Villeneuve won't race a Sauber
New 'bus stop' is a 'joke' - F1 drivers
It's raining at Spa-Francorchamps
Coulthard is ideal BAR driver - Stewart
BAR to win 'Button affair'?
'I'd rather test than race a Jaguar' 
'Close your eyes' through Eau Rouge - Schu
F1 must remain racing's 'pinnacle'

'Button affair' has settled - BAR's Sato
Quali saga made F1 look 'silly' - DC
Williams' new nose makes difference - Pizzonia

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