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Sony announces sponsorship agreements with NASCAR Sony announces sponsorship agreements with NASCARSony today announced that it has become the official consumer electronics partner of NASCAR to complement its previously-announced title sponsorship of the Nextel Cup Series Labor Day race at California Speedway the next two years. This year’s race will be held Sunday. Sony also extended its contract with Penske Racing South driver Ryan Newman and its sponsorship of the team’s No. 12 Alltel/Sony Dodge. Sony
Kenseth to lose spotter Kenseth to lose spotterAs Matt Kenseth's spotter for the last six years, Mike Calinoff has experienced the highs and lows of NASCAR's top series. Certainly, Saturday night was the latest of milestones since he guided Matt to rookie-of-the-year honors in 2000. He was the "eyes in the sky" for the #17 Dewalt Ford when Matt delivered Jack Roush's long-awaited first title. But he's also witnessed the frustrations of maintaining a championship caliber team over the long haul. When the cars roll out at Daytona next February, Calinoff's unmistakable bass will be booming over #40-David Stremme's radio channel. In addition to his spotting duties, Calinoff will also oversee the day-to-day business aspects for the Ganassi Racing up-and-comer. There's an opportunity for growth with Ganassi, whereas the Roush spotter's gig didn't offer for the chance for advancement. And like any new relationship, Stremme's deal will be loaded with firsts -- first pole, first win and if Calinoff is lucky, a first title. Sporting News
IRL's Golfers Take Their Best Shots For Worthy Cause IRL's Golfers Take Their Best Shots For Worthy CauseThe 15th annual Phil Casey Indy Racing Golf Tournament will be held Wednesday, Sept. 28 at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The event will be held a few days after the IRL IndyCar Series' event at Watkins Glen International.

The popular event attracts players from all aspects of the racing community, including Indy Racing League drivers, team members, corporate sponsors and fans.

"I really want to thank the racers over the years for supporting this event," Casey said. "The early years proved to be a struggle just to break even, but now with enthusiastic support from the racing community, we are starting to see great results." zzzz

Proceeds from this year's charity golf tournament will benefit the Pediatric Diabetes Center at Valley Children's Hospital (VCH) in Fresno, Calif., and Rupert's Kids.

Casey's granddaughter, Jennifer Burkhart, was treated at the Pediatric Diabetes Center at VCH, and the facility has received half of the tournament proceeds since the event's inception. A second charity, chosen annually by an IRL personality, receives the other half of the donated funds. Indy Racing League CEO Tony George and his wife Laura George selected the Rupert's Kids to receive funds from the 2005 tournament.

"I watched my granddaughter struggle with diabetes, and I wanted to help other kids with the disease," said Casey, the Indy Racing League's senior technical director. "I really have a soft spot for kids."

Rupert's Kids is a not-for-profit organization founded by former "Survivor" contestant Rupert Boneham. The organization is committed to changing the lives by empowering youth to discover their inner strengths, realizing their own self worth and their value to society through mentoring and educational programs for youth in Indianapolis.

Casey first organized a postseason golf tournament in 1990, following the CART race at Laguna Seca, Calif. Since then, the annual outing has raised more than $200,000, including a record of more than $40,000 last year.

PEAK Antifreeze, Mr. Clean to sponsor Chicagoland event PEAK Antifreeze, Mr. Clean to sponsor Chicagoland eventOld World Industries announced Aug. 31 that it will be the title sponsor of the Sept. 11 IRL IndyCar® Series event at Chicagoland Speedway.

The 200-lap race, the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean, is named after two of Old World Industries' top brands, PEAK Antifreeze and Mr. Clean Windshield Wash and Wiper Blades.

IndyCar Series drivers Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti and Danica Patrick helped unveil the name at ESPNZone in downtown Chicago.  zzzz

"I'm extremely happy that PEAK Antifreeze is sponsoring the Chicagoland race," Patrick said. "This is a great race track, and I'm really looking forward to getting out there (Thursday) for our Honda test."

Old World Industries, based in Northbrook, Ill., is a leader in the development and distribution of automotive products of the highest quality for more than 30 years. Its ties to motorsports grew even stronger in July when it announced an agreement with Patrick, an Illinois native and 2005 Indianapolis 500 JP Morgan Chase Rookie of the Year.

"As a Chicagoland company with a long history in motorsports, Old World Industries is proud to be a part of the thrills and excitement that every Chicagoland Speedway race delivers," said Jeff Stauffer, vice president of marketing for the company. "This is the perfect partnership for us because, just like today's high-tech race cars and talented race drivers, our products represent the utmost in advanced technology, peak performance and overall quality. Our 150 Chicago-based employees and our great retail partners across the world are looking forward to a great race and cheering on PEAK and Mr. Clean's newest ambassador, Danica Patrick."

Matthew Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway, was excited in welcoming the partnership.

"Old World Industries has built its reputation on servicing the specific needs of its customers with superior products," he said. "Their dedication to quality complements our efforts brilliantly, as we at Chicagoland Speedway strive to provide the utmost in entertainment and service to our fans during ARCA/IRL weekend. We know that this collaboration will help add to the excitement of the historically action-packed race with the nail-biting finishes that we've come to expect here at Chicagoland Speedway."

Chip Ganassi makes some staffing changes Chip Ganassi makes some staffing changesAutoRacing1.com has learned that Chip Ganassi has made some transitional changes to his teams this week.
  • Michael O'Gara will take the Lead Engineer spot on the 02 car in Grand Am replacing Mike Wright. 
  • Mitch Davis will shift his efforts to the GA Team for the rest of the season.
  • The team has decided to sever their relationship with Bill Pappas (was Darren Manning's Engineer)
Kudos to WGN Superstation Kudos to WGN SuperstationA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Finally! An organization is taking out ads that help promote the profile of Champ Car and up the ante on driver profiles a la NASCAR. I have been reading about the upcoming WGN Superstation series “Race Car Driver” on your website for a few weeks, but now the promotion has actually started. The current issue of the Los Angeles edition of “TV Guide” has a 1/3 page color ad for “Race Car Driver” -- “The Reality TV Series” -- featuring a large photo of Paul Tracy. Next week’s edition of “TV Guide” has a color full page ad with the same layout in the front section and a full page black and white ad positioned on September 7, the day the show premieres. Bravo to Chicago’s WGN Superstation for promoting this new series. It was great to finally see Champ Car’s star driver and personality, Paul Tracy, featured in “TV Guide’s” pages instead of the usual NASCAR faces. Jeff Broadstreet, Los Angeles, CA
Barrichello: “A team that has given me so much” Barrichello: “A team that has given me so much”“From what I have read, it will be difficult!” said Rubens Barrichello with a smile, when talking to the media this afternoon about what the next few days have in store for him. The Brazilian had not been part of the test team last week at the Monza circuit, but had obviously been kept informed of its results. “We all know we are not competitive enough, so I am not expecting to take pole and win from the start. Nevertheless, there is nothing to stop us from tackling the weekend with optimism. We are allowed to hope to do well.”

This will be a special weekend for the winner of last year’s race here. “Really, for the very last time I will race at Monza for Ferrari, I should be in a positive frame of mind and I am,” said the Brazilian. “This will be a special time for me and only in a good way, because Monza has plenty of good memories for me with Ferrari, for example last year when I won here.” But there will also be a bit of sadness naturally, as this is the last time I race here with a team that has given me so much. In many ways though this will be a race like all the others, a race I would like to win. I am not here to make a point or to prove anything. I have already made my mark here. This team has always been good for me, so I am very happy to be here and to try and deliver the sort of result we have been looking for all season.”

For F1 fans, Monza always presents the opportunity to see the cars running faster than at any other point of the season. Given that rules introduced for the start of this year were designed to slow the cars, did Barrichello not feel there was a greater than usual element of danger here? “Of course the cars are very fast, because despite the rules, the engineers have not been sitting on their hands all year,” he replied. “They are too clever not to have made improvements during the season and as this is one of the last races of the year, of course the cars have improved a lot. But just because the cars can do 370 km/h here, I don’t think that means this is a dangerous track. It is just part of the nature of this circuit.”

It seems the F1 press at least are already looking at 2006, even though we still have four rounds of this year’s championship remaining and Barrichello was asked for his views on how the Prancing Horse will do next year, in the light of his leaving the team. “I am sure Ferrari will always be competitive,” maintained Rubens. “Of that I have no doubt. As to how the Schumacher – Massa tandem will work, that is harder to predict, because it depends on so many things. But a change, in terms of me leaving and another driver coming could well bring some different motivation to the team.” Ferrari

Schumacher: A clear way how to improve Schumacher: A clear way how to improveAt this the home race for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Michael Schumacher faced the press in this afternoon’s FIA press conference. The German looked relaxed and happy, but he did not hide his true thoughts about what the tifosi could expect from their Prancing Horse team this weekend. “We were too slow here in testing last week,” stated Schumacher. “So I do not expect us to be too competitive and unless it rains I cannot really see any change in that assessment over the next few days. On the positive side, I have to say the car seems to behave better here in its low downforce set-up than in the past and give us more feedback, so it feels better but it’s slow.” Safety has always been an issue that the world champion has taken very seriously and he expressed some misgivings about one point on the Monza track. “The second chicane is still a worry for us,” he said. “Every year we have been told that something will be done, but to date nothing has been done.”

As for Ferrari’s current situation, Michael manages to remain upbeat. “Of course I was not happy about Turkey,” he admitted. “But people have short memories. I am still third in the championship and the team is third in the Constructors’. So it is not so bad, even if we are not where we want to be. But we have a clear understanding of how to improve and we will keep on fighting.”

It was pointed out to Schumacher, that after Sunday’s race it was very unlikely that he would still have a mathematical possibility of winning the Drivers’ crown. The statement was met with a laugh: “To be honest, that was clear some races ago and especially after Turkey, so it is no big surprise. Now we will work very hard to work our way back again and I think we can be at the front next year. Bridgestone is very motivated and I am sure they will find a way. It is just that it is taking longer than we would have wished for.”

Departure of Jo-Ann McArthur, President Molson Sports and Entertainment Departure of Jo-Ann McArthur, President Molson Sports and EntertainmentMolson Canada today announced that Jo-Ann McArthur, President Molson Sports & Entertainment [Promoter/Sponsor of two Champ Car races], has decided to leave Molson at the end of September 2005 to pursue other career goals.

Since joining Molson in August 2000, Jo-Ann has led a number of departments, including Marketing Assets, Media Internet/CRM, Market Research as well as Molson National Merchandising. During this period of time Jo-Ann has been a key leader renegotiating major sponsorship contracts with amongst others; NHL, NBA, and CFL. She also led the Molson Canadian Rocks Toronto 2003 concert (the largest ticketed concert in North America) and won the US broadcast contract to produce the Champ Car World Series for NBC, CBS & the Speed Channel.  

Jo-Ann McArthur will be staying in her position until the end of September to help with transitioning the business. She will also lead a steering group responsible for developing a recommendation to transition the current Molson Sports & Entertainment Organization to the creation of a Communication Services team. This newly created group will encompass various departments and improve alignment with the Commercial structure.

Italian GP: Thursday Press Conference Italian GP: Thursday Press ConferenceWhat follows is a transcript of today’s press conference at Monza with Giancarlo Fisichella, Juan Pablo Montoya, Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli. Transcript
Spirit of Daytona Team partners with Star Mazda Spirit of Daytona Team partners with Star MazdaSpirit of Daytona is partnering up with the Star Mazda Series and Hawk Performance to provide a great opportunity for the 2005 Star Mazda Championship. The Star Mazda Champion driver will get a chance to test drive the 09DP Crawford and will be given a plaque featuring the car. The award ceremony will take place on Oct. 15 at the Monterey Marriot in California after the season ending event at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Spirit of Daytona team owner/manager, Troy Flis will have the honor of presenting the award to the Star Mazda winning competitor.

Star Mazda is a professional racing series with the main objective to develop new racing and driver talent. The series competes across North America at tracks such as Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Trois-Rivières and Mosport. The series consists of 12 races a year and averages 39 entrants per race. The Star Mazda cars are all one design ensuring to highlight driver skill rather than building the best racecar. The car is a carbon fiber composite built to FIA standards and has a 240 HP Mazda “Renesis” rotary.

The partnership between Star Mazda and Spirit of Daytona is a result of the shared relationship with Hawk Performance. Hawk is one of the main sponsors for Star Mazda and Spirit of Daytona. Hawk Performance approached Flis at the beginning of the Grand Am schedule asking him if he would like an opportunity to get involved with the Star Mazda Series. “ When I found out about the opportunity with Hawk and Star Mazda, I could not pass it up. I know the series has been around for a while and it produces great driver talent. This relationship with Star Mazda will benefit the Spirit of Daytona and the Rolex Series. There is so much young talent in the driver pool with Star Mazda that this partnership will ensure that Grand Am will be able to gain new talent,” comments Troy Flis.

Many current Grand American drivers have either gained their first professional racing experience with the Star Mazda Series or have been able to use the series to propel their racing careers. Some Grand American drivers with experience in the Star Mazda Series include: Brain Frisselle who is the driver for Synergy Racing # 7 DP, Michael McDowell who is the driver for #19 Air Force Reserve DP, Mark Patterson driver for the #60 Michael Shank DP, and driver for the #38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Guy Cosmo in the Grand Am Cup Series.

It will not be a surprise if the Star Mazda Series’ winner ends up racing in the Grand American Rolex Series for the 2006 season. Keep an eye open for such up and coming young drivers: # 7 Raphael Matos who is currently in the lead for the championship, #23 Robbie Pecorari and #98 James Hinchcliffe.

Sakon Yamamoto to drive a Jordan Sakon Yamamoto to drive a JordanJordan Grand Prix is pleased to announce that current Formula Nippon and Super GT Series driver, Sakon Yamamoto, will be driving as the team’s Friday driver at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on 7 – 9 October 2005.   Yamamoto will have a seat fitting at the Jordan factory next week in preparation for a test drive, which will take place at Silverstone from 13 to 15 September.

Colin Kolles, Managing Director of Jordan Grand Prix, stated: "Sakon Yamamoto is a very talented driver in Japan at the moment and I’m delighted that we are able to offer him his first F1 test and the Friday drive at his home Grand Prix. He’s come up through the junior categories quickly and with good results so I’m optimistic that he will be very significant in the future of Japanese motorsport. I am sure he will do a great job to help the team gathering data to assist with our preparation for the Japanese Grand Prix.”

Sakon Yamamoto said: “It is with great pleasure that I have a chance to drive a Jordan Grand Prix Formula One racing car as a third driver at Suzuka. I have started my racing driver carrier aiming at Formula One and I greatly thank Jordan Grand Prix and all the people who have supported me to get this opportunity. I will work hard to achieve my goal of a regular seat in Formula One through this opportunity.” Jordan Grand Prix

Industry News
GM donates $400K to Hurricane relief GM donates $400K to Hurricane reliefGeneral Motors today announced that the GM Foundation and GMAC have made a combined immediate cash donation of $400,000 to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief Fund in support of relief work in parts of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Pacific Coast withdraws from ALMS Pacific Coast withdraws from ALMSPacific Coast Motorsports ("PCM") has announced today its withdrawal from the 2005 American Le Mans Series ("ALMS") with immediate effect.  The team contested the first seven rounds of the ALMS campaigning the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R in the GT1 class but has decided to cancel its program prior to the end of the season.

The Oxnard-based team, the reigning Toyota Atlantic Champions, will use the time gained by not concentrating their time and efforts on the three remaining ALMS events to evaluate its on-track options for 2006 and beyond.

The decision to leave the ALMS, where the team scored its first GT1 podium finish with Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel in Portland at the end of July, is based purely on the desire to channel the resources available to the independent team into a more competitive racing program.

Team Director Tyler Tadevic explains, "Put simply 'You can't fight City Hall!'  As a privateer team we just don't have the resources to continue to compete in the ALMS and hope to win races against the factory-backed entries."

"Our decision to leave is in no way a comment on the series, we've absolutely loved running in the ALMS but we're a team used to winning and as a privately funded organization we can't hope to run as competitively as the teams in the series who enjoy manufacturer backing."

He continued, "I'm delighted that we've been able to represent General Motors and the Corvette brand by extending the life of the C5-R chassis into the 2005 season.  I'm proud that as a team we were able to join Corvette Racing on the podium in July and our thanks go to Doug Fehan and Gary Claudio for their encouragement and for the support from Pratt and Miller and Katech Motors as well as from Art Michalik and Cheech Yamauchi at our tire partner Yokohama."

"There are no hidden politics behind our decision to leave the ALMS," Tadevic said.  "We just believe our resources, and those of our corporate partners, will be better served competing in a series where we can utilize our skills and experience to maximum effect!  I'm delighted that Menards and Ironclad have supported us throughout the year and we look forward to further developing our relationships with them.  The lead time we've now established to prepare for 2006 will keep the team together and hopefully increase our ability to be competitive come the start of our next campaign."

Alex Figge will continue to race with PCM while his ALMS team-mate, Scotland's Ryan Dalziel, also has an offer to continue his relationship with the squad into 2006.

Reflecting on PCM's time in the ALMS Tadevic concluded, "Don Panoz and Scott Atherton have put together a first rate organization and it goes without saying that if we had the opportunity to return to the series with manufacturer support then we'd jump at the chance.  Our decision to leave is based purely on the resources we have available to us and the responsibility we have to our corporate partners to be competitive - we race to win it's as simple as that."

PCM's Corvette C5-R chassis is for sale immediately, interested parties should contact the team for further information.

Red Bull team announces Scott Speed Red Bull team announces Scott SpeedRed Bull Racing announced today that it has extended its current contract with Scott Speed, America's most promising Formula 1 hope. Under the new agreement, the 22-year-old Californian will become a test driver for the team for the 2006 season, with performance-related options for the future.

Currently lying third in the 2005 GP2 series, Scott has shown impressive pace this year, aboard both GP2 and Formula 1 racing cars. His strong performance as Red Bull Racing's third driver in the 2005 Montreal and Indianapolis Grands Prix, has been further reinforced by the natural speed he's shown when completing various testing duties for the team.

A product of the 2003 Red Bull American Formula 1 driver search, Scott began his career like many other motorsport drivers, behind the wheel of a kart. Taking his first national championship in 1995, he quickly rose through the ranks, winning a number of national titles before Red Bull selected him to contest a handful of British Formula 3 events in 2003. The following year, Scott won the Formula Renault Championships in both Germany and Europe, before moving to the GP2 series in 2005.

Red Bull Racing Sporting Director, Christian Horner commented, "It was a natural decision to extend Scott's contract for 2006. We've been impressed with what he's achieved in GP2 this year, and the pace he has shown in tests and when driving the team's third car in Canada and Indianapolis is a strong indication of his potential.

"Scott's role will be very important as the team develops next year. He's one of the strongest drivers to come out of the USA for a long time and we're pleased to be able to give him the opportunity to demonstrate his potential within Formula 1.

"His progression from karting championships to Formula 1 demonstrates the benefit of the Red Bull American Formula 1 drivers search. Offering support and advice, the program is geared towards helping talented USA drivers like Scott, into Formula 1 and opening up opportunities that might otherwise not have been available."

Scott Speed commented, "Obviously, I'm extremely pleased that Red Bull Racing has decided to extend my contract. This season has been very good for me and to take this step forward with Red Bull Racing for next year and hopefully beyond is a great opportunity. My aim has always been to race in Formula 1, it's my dream and this makes it much more of a reality. I've still got a hell of a lot to learn, but with the team around me and with David Coulthard as one of my teammates, I'm in the best place to be able to do that." Red Bull Racing

Williams calls FIA/Team Boss meeting tranquil Williams calls FIA/Team Boss meeting tranquilWilliams boss Frank Williams revealed that Wednesday's meeting of Formula One team bosses was a "tranquil" affair.  All ten teams were represented, as well as FIA President Max Mosley, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and representatives from the seven car manufacturers involved in the sport.

The meeting, in Milan, lasted for several hours and one of the main issues discussed was how turbulence from rear wings prevents following cars from getting close enough to overtake.

Williams revealed to the Guardian: "It was a very tranquil meeting by all accounts; it all sounds to have been pretty tranquil. The issue of aerodynamics is the big subject and it has to be done right. I think you may see the FIA and the teams getting together on this."

V8 Supercar
Big Lexmark Indy 300 kickoff, Two V8 races Big Lexmark Indy 300 kickoff, Two V8 racesThe 15th Lexmark Indy 300 has been officially launched following a spectacular street demonstration in the centre of Brisbane.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie officially launched the event, while – in a first for Lexmark Indy 300 – part of Brisbane CBD was closed down to allow a Team Australia Champ Car and V8 Supercars from WPS Racing and Paul Morris Motorsports to woo the lunchtime crowd.

Queensland driver Marcus Marshall – the first full-time Australian driver in the Champ Car World Series - piloted the Team Australia Champ Car around the circuit, while fellow Queenlanders David Besnard and Paul Morris drove the WPS Racing and Sirromet Wines V8 Supercars during the demonstration.

Mr. Beattie said the launch was a magnificent prelude to one of Queensland's premier sporting events. "The countdown to the 2005 Lexmark Indy 300 has officially begun," he said. "It is a hugely popular event that delivers enormous economic benefits and showcases the Gold Coast and Queensland. zzzz

"Last year more than 309,000 people attended the four day carnival and ticket sales are strong leading up to this year's event."

Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman John Cowley used the launch to unveil both the on and off track entertainment at this year's Lexmark Indy 300.

"The Lexmark Indy 300 is certainly one of the premier motor racing events in the world," he said. "The feature program is headed by the penultimate round of the Champ Car World Series and round eleven of the V8 Supercar Championship Series. Then there is a massive support program comprising the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup, Yokohama V8 Ute Series and The CARSguide Aussie Racing Cars.

"On top of this, there will be the spectacular Sea FM Air Show, the Bartercard Miss Indy and Miss V8 Supercar girls, more than 50 off track events, first-class corporate hospitality, and so much more, all staged within meters of arguably the finest beach in the world, close to restaurants, bars and cafes, and within the spectacular surrounds of the Gold Coast high-rise skyline."

Cowley added that a number of exciting initiatives would add to the spectator experience at this year's Lexmark Indy 300. "In a coup for our Event, fans will witness the first full-time Aussie Champ Car driver Marcus Marshall in action on his hometown circuit which will undoubtedly bring unprecedented Australian parochialism to this Event," he said. "This year we have added another V8 Supercar race to the program making it a total of three, including two on the Sunday, each side of the Champ Car race.

"There will also be a massive Friday Night component which will include two races - the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup and the V8 Ute Series. Patrons will also be able to 'Ride Free to the Lexmark Indy 300' on presentation of their pre-purchased tickets on Queensland Rail's Citytrain network and Surfside Buslines."

The launch also featured a popular stage parade by the Bartercard Miss Indy girls and Bartercard Miss V8 Supercar international finalists; guest interviews with Team Australia Champ Car driver Alex Tagliani and V8 Supercar drivers Craig Baird. Mark Winterbottom, Steve Ellery and Paul Weel. There was also a motor racing display featuring the WPS Safety Car, a Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Porsche, Holden and Ford V8 Utes, and a CARSguide Aussie Racing Car.

Rudd’s father dies Rudd’s father diesRicky Rudd's father Al Rudd, Sr. died Tuesday evening following a lengthy illness. Arrangements for a private service are pending. According to the family, donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice.

Wood Brothers Racing learned that Al Rudd, Sr., father of driver Ricky Rudd, passed away late Tuesday following a lengthy illness.  The senior Rudd, a former racer himself, was instrumental in Ricky's career having fielded early entries in NASCAR competition with a family sponsored team under the Al Rudd Auto Parts banner.  He also supported Ricky's Kart and Enduro racing.  The team extends its deepest sympathy to Ricky and his entire family.  There will be a private funeral service. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or the charity of your choice. Wood Brothers Racing

Toyota Atlantic post-season awards Toyota Atlantic post-season awardsRemarkable Dutch driving sensation Charles Zwolsman (#11 Continental Cartage/Condor Motorsports) and his title-winning Condor Motorsports team had to work for everything they achieved in the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama and that hard work continues to be recognized even after the final checkered flag has flown on the ’05 season.

Zwolsman and the overachieving Condor team were honored at the Toyota Atlantic season-ending awards banquet on Sunday evening, just hours after the rookie from the Netherlands wrapped up the series championship with a sixth-place finish at the Molson Indy Montreal, the 12th and final round in the 32nd season of Atlantic competition.

The best and brightest stars of North America’s top open-wheel development series were also recognized for their achievements both on and off the track this season. But it was the rags-to-riches story of Zwolsman and the Condor team that earned the lion’s share of the kudos on a special evening of celebration at the Casino de Montreal, located next to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve road circuit. zzzz

After producing not only the team’s first title, but also the squad’s first-ever victories in its sixth season of racing in the series, Zwolsman and Condor Motorsports captured three post-season awards. The 26-year-old racer, who barely signed on a week before the season-opening race in Long Beach before going on to win three races, five poles and eight podium finishes, was named Atlantic Rookie of the Year for emerging as the class of a field that was dominated by first-year drivers.

Condor’s chief mechanic on Zwolsman’s championship car, Gustavo Gaston, also earned the Snap-On Top Wrench Award for his superb abilities this season. The top honor of the evening – the crowning of Zwolsman as the 33rd champion in the rich history of the Atlantic series – also served as a tribute to the Condor team and its well-respected owner Carlos Bobeda, the 1998 series Team Owner of the Year.

The 2005 season saw Brooks Associates Racing emerge as one of the top teams in its 11th year of racing in the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Andreas Wirth (#8 Wurges Windows and Doors) gave the team its first-ever win this season in Denver and owners John and Sue Brooks were named Team Owners of the Year for guiding the squad to front of the pack in ‘05.

Capping an impressive first year with his second win of the season and a victory in front of his hometown fans in Montreal, Canadian Antoine Bessette (#3 Unik Auto Design/Gouin Leblanc C.A./Services de Courtage Lessard) captured the prestigious Gilles Villeneuve Award. Named after the famous former Atlantic racer from Quebec, the award is given annually to the driver that distinguishes themselves through sportsmanship, dedication and perseverance in the face of disappointment. Bessette exhibited those qualities this season while finishing fourth in points for Polestar Racing Group.

Katherine Legge (#12 PKV Racing) emerged as one of racing’s top young talents this season. The 25-year-old British rookie finished third in the championship, highlighted by three victories, as she became the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America. For her accomplishments in ‘05, Legge was honored with the BBS Rising Star Award.

After producing seven C2 class wins this season in the category for competitors with pre-existing Atlantic equipment, Justin Sofio (#15 RLM Investments) of Mathiasen Motorsports was officially crowned Yokohama Tire C2 Cup Champion.

The Jovy Marcelo Sportsmanship Award was presented to rookie David Martinez (#7 Roshfrans/US RaceTronics). Marcelo, the 1991 Atlantic series champion who hailed from the Philippines, was a great racer, sportsman and friend to many drivers and an award is given in his honor each year to the driver who best embodies Marcelo’s spirit. Martinez, who earned five podiums including a third-place run from the pole on Sunday, finished fifth in the series championship.

McAtee Motorsports driver Kyle Kelley (#24 UP Racing.com) was this year’s recipient of the Michael Rosen Award. Instituted by longtime Atlantic supporter Arlene Rosen, the award is named in honor of her son, the former series racer. It’s presented to the person who demonstrates the same dedication, perseverance and the desire to succeed that was so evident to those who knew Rosen. Kelley accepted the award in memory of Scott Butcher, his longtime friend and crew chief who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident on August 8.

The top three drivers in the championship standings, Zwolsman, Legge and Tonis Kasemets (#6 Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil), who finished second in the title chase in his second series season, were also presented with cash prizes from series sponsor Ohlins USA and a set of Yokohama tires. In addition to earning a Champ Car ride in the series season finale at Mexico City November 4-6, after winning the Atlantic crown, Zwolsman was awarded the keys to a new Toyota passenger vehicle as well. Toyota also presented Zwolsman with a champion’s painting, crafted by motorsports artist and Champ Car steward Jim Swintal, commemorating his drive to the title this season.

Some of the series’ top behind-the-scenes talents were also recognized at the awards celebration. Brooks Associates Racing’s Randy Bryan was named Lincoln Electric Mechanic of the Year after skillfully preparing the chassis run by both Wirth and Al Unser III (#10 BOSPoker.net/PKV Racing). Kasemets captured the Ohlins Shock Technician of the Year award for his hands-on work on his own entry, while Alan O’Leary of Dan Cobb Racing/Team Tonis earned Engineer of the Year honors for his efforts on Kasemets’ car in 2005.

Atlantic and Champ Car officials also took time to recognize and honor longtime series title sponsor and partner Toyota Motor Sales USA and Toyota Racing Development (TRD). Toyota completed its 17th and final season as the primary Atlantic series sponsor in ‘05 and the entire Atlantic community showed its appreciation at the banquet for the car company’s unwavering support. Engine designer and manufacturer Hasselgren Engineering was also recognized for its hard work and dedication to the series over the years.

Ganassi just an also-ran in NASCAR (and IRL) Ganassi just an also-ran in NASCAR (and IRL)When Chip Ganassi made the jump from open-wheel racing to the top stock car series part way through the 2000 season, there were shudders of anticipation and concern in NASCAR garages.

Here was a high-powered team owner, winner of an unprecedented four straight championships in the CART series in the '90s and winner of the 2000 Indianapolis 500, making the move to stock cars and providing yet another major challenge to the top teams in what was then the Winston Cup series.

Sure, Ganassi, who bought out 80 per cent of the established team of Felix Sabates, was a newcomer to the ways of NASCAR, but his track record was that of an owner who knew how to meld winning drivers, top-notch personnel and big-time sponsors.

[Editor's Note: However, the article goes on to talk about Ganassi's failure to produce in NASCAR, his IRL team is coming apart at the seams, and his Grand-Am team isn't doing as well as it once was. One reason for Ganassi's failure is he has cut off more than he can chew and spread himself too thin. By doing so he has gone from a front-runner to an also-ran team.]

Amid this maelstrom of losing and change, Ganassi remains a stoic and determined figure.

"What people don't understand is there's not one thing wrong when you're doing bad," he said. "And you know what, when you're doing good, there's not one thing that's good. It's a lot of things.

"I will tell you this, I think that our biggest challenge is that Dodge had an advantage, an aerodynamic advantage, in the first couple of years they came in. The other manufacturers knew that and lobbied against that, and basically NASCAR evened all that stuff out with templates and everything. It's leveled the playing field drastically."

But Ganassi remains an optimist.

"I think we're making gains and I think we're doing better," he noted. "I also think that Roush and Hendrick and Gibbs are beating us right now, but I will tell you that it's a lot easier to be a failure in this sport than it is to be a success. It's a tough road to be a successful team here in this business.

"And that doesn't mean we're not getting better. We're a lot better of a team than we were. We have a lot better knowledge of where we're at, what our cars are doing and how they work than two or three years ago, and it's making us a better team. Having said that, we're still getting beat in certain areas and we still have more work to do, but we're a much better team than two or three years ago."

And Ganassi said he is going to do whatever it takes to turn this team into the kind of powerhouse he once had in open-wheel racing.

"The only thing we're scared to try is jumping off a bridge," he said. "Other than that, we're open to anything." More at AP Article

A1 Grand Prix
A1 GP confirms final calendar A1 GP confirms final calendarA1 Grand Prix's course around the globe has now been set with the confirmation of the first season's racing calendar.  As we predicted, Durban, South Africa probably would not happen and South Africa is now listed without a city.
Date                     Circuit
25 September 2005 Brands Hatch, Great Britain
9 October 2005 EuroSpeedway, Lausitz, Germany
23 October 2005 Circuito Estoril, Portugal
6 November 2005 Eastern Creek, Sydney, Australia
20 November 2005 Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
11 December 2005 Dubai Autodrome, UAE
15 January 2006 Sentul Circuit, Indonesia
29 January 2006 South Africa
12 February 2006 Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba, Brazil
26 February 2006 Parque Fundidora Monterrey, Mexico
19 March 2006 Laguna Seca, California, USA
2 April 2006 Shanghai International Circuit, China
Johnson to get new Lowe's paint scheme Johnson to get new Lowe's paint schemeJimmie Johnson unveiled a redesigned version of his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet today at the Lowe's store in Santee, Calif., just minutes from his hometown of El Cajon. The newly painted No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet was designed by a Lowe's employee and serves as the first major redesign of the car since Johnson assumed driving duties in 2001. The new design, one of six finalists, was the top choice of the more than 20,000 employees who voted. The scheme was submitted by Bryan Turnmire, a production artist at Lowe's corporate office in Mooresville, N.C., a fact that was unknown to the voters. Turnmire is a 14-year Lowe's employee, originally from Creston, N.C. The new paint scheme will debut at the Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct. 16, where hundreds of Lowe's employees who represent the top stores in the company will be in attendance. The #48 Chevrolet will make its full-time debut in the 2006 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Lowe's Racing
New Media Outreach NASCAR Hire New Media Outreach NASCAR HireNASCAR announced the hiring of Lazaro "Laz" Benitez Manager of East Regional Media Outreach. Benitez will be based in NASCAR's New York City office and will be responsible for communications planning and managing all media outreach efforts to raise awareness about NASCAR in the Northeast. NASCAR
Mears going surfing Mears going surfingCasey Mears will be hitting the waves of the Pacific Ocean with professional surfer Pat O'Connell while in California. O'Connell, the star of the movie "Endless Summer II," will be giving Mears surfing lessons at the Huntington Beach Pier on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. Later that afternoon, O'Connell will be switching gears by receiving a ride-a-long at California Speedway. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
Scumacher renews deal with Deutsche Vermoegensberatung Scumacher renews deal with Deutsche VermoegensberatungWorld Champion Michael Schumacher has renewed his personal sponsorship deal with German consulting firm Deutsche Vermoegensberatung until 2010.  "The contract wasn't extended in order to demonstrate that Michael will race until 2010," Weber told Gazzetta dello Sport.   "As in this case, it's a matter of having contracts that can go beyond the active period in F1."  According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Schumacher will get four million euro per year for firm's logo on his hat when at the race track or other race/event/sponsor promotion events.
Champ Car Surfers race sponsor renews Champ Car Surfers race sponsor renewsLexmark has extended its naming rights sponsorship of Australia's Lexmark Indy 300 for another three years.   The global printing solutions company has signed for 2006, 2007 and 2008. It first sponsored the event in early 2003.  Lexmark Australia and New Zealand managing director, Graham Kittle, said: “Sponsorship of the Lexmark Indy 300 is key to increasing our exposure in the local marketplace.

"Aligning with such a high profile, professionally executed sporting event such as Indy was a key strategic decision to ensure we continue to build on the already strong business growth we’ve been experiencing in recent years.  The success of the Lexmark Indy 300 is evident in the record crowd numbers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ken Freer has been appointed director of IMG Motorsport and general manager of Lexmark Indy 300. IMG is the event promoter.  Freer replaces James O’Brien in the roles after the 2005 event from October 20-23.

The big race of the season for Ferrari The big race of the season for FerrariOver the past few years, the Italian Grand Prix weekend has been a time of celebration for Ferrari and a chance to say thank you to the home fans as another season approaches its finale with both titles already in the bag. This year the landscape is different and Ferrari will be hoping that Monza might signal the start of a late flourish with five races still remaining in the championship.

However, some aspects of Monza remain the same: the support from the Tifosi and their red flags, the atmospheric venue, the high speed nature of the famous track and the need for minimum downforce and maximum power, on what is the last remaining true high-speed circuit on the calendar.

With top speed being a key, the 055 engine in the back of the two F2005 comes under a lot of strain at this circuit with its 'duty cycle' being the highest of any track, as full throttle is used for 70% of the lap. Both Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have their own group of engine specialists looking after their needs at the track and in charge of the German’s group is Luigi Fraboni.

Born in Medicina, Bologna in 1969, Fraboni first came into contact with Ferrari while studying Mechanical Engineering, as he did his thesis with the Maranello marque.

“It was a great experience, then after military service I got the chance of a job with Magneti-Marelli in Bologna,” recalls Fraboni. “After a year, I moved to Ferrari Gestione Sportiva in the calculations department before switching to the design side. After three years, I felt I wanted to do something a bit closer to the on-track action and so I was given a position working with our customer teams.”

A two year stint with the Scuderia’s test team followed and as of last year, Fraboni has filled the role of Michael Schumacher’s engine engineer at the races. His work can be split into two general areas: performance and reliability.

“On the one side I am specifically looking after the engine for one driver,” says Fraboni. “On the performance front I am looking to optimize all the engine mapping to get maximum power, to get it to suit the specific track layout and also the driver’s needs and driving style. We look at improving drivability in each corner and how to make the best use of other parameters such as torque and engine braking."

"We discuss all aspects with the driver in order to optimize the car and that is always a compromise between getting maximum power with maximum reliability. Fuel consumption is another important area, as we are always striving to consume less during the race and we have the possibility to alter various parameters to achieve this. The other side is reliability, particularly important this year with the engine having to last for two races. We follow all the telemetry data in real time, checking things such as the temperature of the exhausts, bearings and con-rods.”

By studying the data, the engineers can make changes to the engine management if it is felt necessary to ensure the engine lasts for the two races. Fraboni’s work does not end at the track, as every race weekend is effectively a further test session for the engines and all data acquired at the track is then analyzed in depth back at the factory to help with further development and design work.

This weekend’s race at Monza is very demanding on the engine, but adding to those demands is the fact that the engine that Barrichello will use in the Italian GP must then completed the following weekend’s Belgian event. It will be different for Michael: after he failed to set a qualifying time in Turkey, thus starting at the back of the grid, the team decided to change the engine in his F2005, which would normally mean that this same engine will be used in Monza.

“At both these circuits, engines spend a long time flat out at full throttle at very high revs,” confirms Fraboni. “Therefore they are the hardest tracks. However, Spa is located at relatively high altitude, so the atmospheric pressure is lower and this makes it kinder on the engines. We prepare for these races in a specific way, doing long runs on the engine test bed before going to the track. We have also done long runs at the Monza circuit itself during testing, so we have a full set of data from the track as well and from these we can plan a specific series of strategies for this type of circuit in terms of fuel carburetion and also the revs. Obviously Monza is a very important track for us and we will have a new step on the engine for Monza, which will be the last evolution for this year.”

Even with all the modern technology, driver feedback is still a vital weapon in the armory and Fraboni and his colleagues have the advantage of working with a seven times world champion.

“Michael is very precise and therefore those of us who work with him have to live up to his expectations,” says the engineer. “We must pay great attention to everything, presenting a complete rundown of all the data and obviously this makes the work very enjoyable. From a professional point of view it is very stimulating, as we look at every aspect of engine together. On the human side it is exceptional because he is very good to work with and in all situations we have a great personal relationship."

"He is never stressed which is marvelous. He is a winner on the track, but he also has a winning personality. We can tell from what he asks that his understanding of what the engine does is very good. There are many things that can be changed on an engine during a race, using three or four buttons. During the race Michael is already changing these parameters even before we have asked him to make any changes. He feels when a change might be necessary. For example, as the tires degrade the engine characteristics can be changed to improve drivability or there might be other changes that can be made that are specific to individual corners.”

Of course, Ferrari runs two cars in every grand prix and although Fraboni’s work is centered on Schumacher’s car, he also knows exactly what is happening in the Barrichello camp.

“Just as the chassis engineers swap information between the two cars, so too do the engine engineers,” he confirms. “The engine group is very united and all the information from both cars is centralized. If we find anything on one car that is good we put it immediately on the other car. The only exception to this rule concerns changes that are specifically related a driver’s own style of driving.” Ferrari

Only one new EJ15B, entrusted to Monteiro Only one new EJ15B, entrusted to MonteiroAfter three days of private testing last week where it did not encounter even the smallest problem, the Jordan Grand Prix team has headed to Italy for round fifteen on the 2005 agenda with fresh hopes as the first car to be developed at the Silverstone based factory, under the 2005 aero rules and regulations will finally make it’s race debut in this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

However, at this stage just one new EJ15B chassis is available and that has been entrusted to the rookie driver who has completed every race this season, Tiago Monteiro. The Portuguese driver is thrilled that he will have the new car for the ‘temple of speed’ as he is confident that the new version is definitely faster.

"It is always difficult to switch over from a version than you have controlled for a long time, but I think that we will be faster with the EJ15B. We will gain in the braking department - where the car has always been a little nervous – and also in the entry and exit of the corners, thanks to better stability. The laps carried out last week at Monza were held without the smallest issue and therefore our moral has been boosted!" he smiles.

At Monza, where 70% of the lap takes place with their foot to the floor, to have a reliable and powerful engine is an asset for any driver and Tiago knows he can count on Toyota in this department.

"My problems in Hungary means when I changed engines means that I can head into Monza with a fresh one, which is always a positive factor on such a fast layout," he explains. “Last week, we tested as many tires that Bridgestone could give us and I think that they will be competitive in Italy."

GP Masters
Nigel Mansell to drive in GP Masters Nigel Mansell to drive in GP MastersRace fans around the world and most notably in Britain today rejoiced at the unanticipated news that Nigel Mansell (52) is preparing for a spectacular return to Grand Prix racing. Nigel will be re-united with many of his past adversaries for the inaugural race which takes place at the legendary Kyalami circuit on November 13th - 'The Altech Grand Prix Masters of South Africa.' In a unique deal, Nigel has committed to a long term contract which will secure his services as driver and Grand Prix Masters ambassador. Nigel's first taste of the 600 brake horse power Grand Prix Masters car will come in October during testing in Jerez (Spain). In addition to November's inaugural race in South Africa, Grand Prix Masters will confirm shortly between four and five races for the 2006 championship calendar with both European and non-European venues expected.

"The idea of a Grand Prix Masters series has been muted by many for years and at last the dream becomes a reality!" said an enthused Nigel. "Since winning the FIA Formula One World Championship with Williams back in 1992 and eventually retiring from full time single seater racing in 1995, I have spent valuable time with my family while successfully transforming my beloved Woodbury Park estate into one of the best golf complexes of its kind. The hunger and desire to go racing, however, never leaves your blood, but the right opportunity has never really come along, until now that is! It's one thing to be reacquainting myself with adversaries such as Prost, Fittipaldi and Patrese but throw in the added bonus of 200mph Grand Prix cars on legendary race tracks and you have the ingredients for what will be spectacular racing and the start of a very special championship indeed. The rivalry between us all will be no different from those glory days back in the 1980s and 90s but given the challenges this time round, the demands of racing will be tougher for all concerned. While the primary objective here is fun, entertainment and unprecedented access for race fans, the preparation, commitment and desire to win will be no less to the last time I drove a Grand Prix car in anger," said Nigel. zzzz

Having had several of the Grand Prix Masters race and in Nigel's case win a world championship (1992) with his Formula One team, Sir Frank Williams said: me goose bumps because I know he will be no less committed and no less determined to win! Nothing will have changed that very essence of competition that is so deeply engrained in him. I will watch with interest!"

Racing alongside Nigel will be an international cast of champions including Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil), Alain Prost (France), Ricardo Patrese (Italy), Alan Jones (Australia), Stefan Johansson (Sweden), Andrea de Cesaris (Italy), René Arnoux (France), Jan Lammers (Netherlands) and Christian Danner (Germany), to name but a few. Between 14 and 16 cars are anticipated for the inaugural grid in South Africa with the total prize fund for the opening race being $500,000. The minimum age criterion is set at 45 years of age with more 'big name' drivers to be announced very shortly.

"It is a fascinating prospect to see some of the sport's finest pedigree, albeit a little older and hopefully wiser, back in the saddle again and I have every conviction that the racing will be no less committed or competitive despite the great vintage of its drivers!" added Sir Frank Williams. Scott Poulter, CEO Grand Prix Masters, expressed his sheer delight by adding: "We could not have asked for a better start to the Grand Prix Masters World Series than by having one of the biggest names in global motorsport commit to a long term deal of this kind! We are simply stunned, naturally delighted and extremely honored to have on-board one of the most determined and acclaimed racers ever to grace a circuit! Nigel's commitment has been nothing short of absolute right from the onset of our discussions and as is typical of the man, his bullish and gutsy attitude towards making this a long term success is what we have come to expect from the man the Ferrari 'tifosi' call 'Il Leone,' (The Lion)."

Delta Motorsports in Northampton (UK) are busy and well underway with the production of the race cars with a series of test sessions scheduled from next month. Grand Prix Masters are in the process of applying for FIA sanctioning and in the meantime, continue to work very closely with the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) who are providing invaluable counsel and support on matters pertaining to sporting code, technical regulations and race control.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Heidfeld is BMW's top choice
Schu down but determined
Power players meet in Milan
Fisi's football hat trick
Schu wins backer until 2010
No Fisi-Webber swap - manager
Davidson to wait for BAR
Focus not on Alonso crown

JV, Sauber, starting to gel
Kimi's the one to beat
Chrnelich debates Philadelphia race Chrnelich debates Philadelphia raceShould Philadelphia allow a Champ-car style race in Center City Philadelphia? Champ Car World Series organizers are proposing a 1.8 mile circuit race that would include Philadelphia's picturesque Benjamin Franklin Parkway. On Tuesday of this week JOE CHRNELICH, Champ Car Executive Vice President, and HAPPY FERNANDEZ, President of Moore College of Art and Design, which is located along the proposed racecourse, debated the issues. Listen to this show via Real Audio (52 min. in length)

Chrnelich states that Champ Car has been back to Philadelphia and have come up with a slightly modified circuit that does not require structural changes that were opposed by some constituents in Philadelphia (old layout shown right).  Happy Fernandez says that she does not view 200 MPH race cars as making the Parkway more pedestrian, which is a goal of some Philadelphians, especially during the middle of summer.

In the new scheme the ballpark would not have to be paved over, which was a concern.  Callers were divided for and against the event, but most of the opposition was voiced as to whether a car race fits in with the cultural focus of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway area.

Adrian Fernandez now a Busch Series driver Adrian Fernandez now a Busch Series driverHendrick Motorsports this week released the schedule for the Nos. 5, 48 and 57 Busch cars for the final 10 races of the 2005 season. Five drivers will fill those seats, but Blake Feese and Boston Reid are not among them. Cup regulars Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch will all get seat time. Johnson will be the exclusive driver of the No. 48, while Vickers and Busch will share the driving duties in the No. 57.

Busch will be joined by Kyle Krisiloff, who is part of the Hendrick driver development program, for the race in Memphis. Krisiloff has made 12 ARCA starts this season driving a Bobby Gerhart-prepared Chevy and recently won the pole at Michigan.

Joining the No. 5 roster is Mexican open wheel star Adrian Fernandez, who continues to pursue a career in stock cars. Fernandez will drive at this weekend's race in California, as well as races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Texas, Phoenix and the season finale at Homestead.

Fernandez has become a favorite within the Hendrick organization with his charming and professional demeanor. His strong appeal to a Latino audience has also endeared him to sponsor Lowe's.

Fernandez performed well in a stock car on the road course in Mexico City earlier this year, but his future in NASCAR may be dependent on how successful he can be on the oval tracks. Yahoo! Sports

Kovalainen Vs Rosberg in the Italian Job Kovalainen Vs Rosberg in the Italian JobThe GP2 series embarks on its tenth round this weekend at the legendary Autodromo di Monza, near Milan, Italy. The circuit has stood since 1922, and in 2005 is eagerly anticipating the arrival of Formula One’s new feeder category.

With Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg locked in a duel for championship glory, this weekend once again promises excitement and thrills aplenty, as the 24 drivers of the GP2 series do battle.

Monza’s history is filled with stories of some of the most classic races seen in motorsport. In 1971, the Italian Grand Prix held at Monza saw what was the closest ever finish in Formula One history as race-winner Peter Gethin led Ronnie Peterson over the line by 0.01 seconds… a record that would stand until the 2002 US Grand Prix.

Having witnessed some nail-biting battles already in 2005, the GP2 series arrives in Monza confident that the fast straights, tricky chicanes and challenging corners of this fabled circuit will provide yet another perfect platform for an exhilarating weekend’s racing.

Our last round in Turkey saw two great races around the Istanbul Park track, with Sunday’s race providing the first opportunity for fans of the series to see our drivers compete in the wet. Monza, however, provides a very different challenge to Istanbul.  With its long straights and notoriously demanding corners, the GP2 series will reach its highest recorded speeds of the year this weekend. And with a number of hard braking zones dotted around the legendary circuit, there is sure to be a fair share of overtaking attempts during our two races.

The championship battle remains as hotly contested as ever, with Heikki and Nico still separated by the seven point margin they carried out of the Hungarian round. Heikki leads Nico by 85 points to 78, with Scott Speed in third, 19 points behind the German. Alex Prémat is fourth on 53 points with Adam Carroll benefiting from his drive to second place from the back of the grid in Turkey to sit fifth in the standings on 41.

Didier Perrin, GP2 Series Technical Director
“Monza is a very special track with its own individual characteristics. When we first started to think about the design of the GP2 series car, we defined some aerodynamic characteristics looking specifically at Monza, especially the minimum wing configuration. We will feature a longer sixth gear for the race, so we will reach well over 300kph on the straights. That is far over what F3000 was able to achieve. Also we should confirm the level of reliability that we saw in Istanbul. I’m really looking forward to seeing the cars race on this great circuit."

“Setting up the cars will be very delicate, and there will probably be a big difference between the set-up for qualifying and the race. I really think that in Monza it’s important to be as fast as you can be in a straight line. Even if a car isn’t quick enough to overtake another, it’s important not to be overtaken yourself. And in comparison to other tracks there will be much more difference between qualifying and race set-up than we’ve seen all season. It will be very interesting to see how the teams react to this.”  GP2 Series

Carpentier clueless Carpentier cluelessIndyCar racer for Cheever Racing, Patrick Carpentier, was on hand to promote the event along with his fellow countryman Roth. The French-Canadian remarked that the event "should be fun, one thing I miss is not running in Canada -- The Glen is the closest race to here. It is a really fast track."

Carpentier is one of the drivers who tested at the road course in June. "It is a fun track -- one of the fastest tracks I have been to -- these cars (IndyCars) are fun. Like Laguna Seca, this track has fast corners/sweepers. And the cars are more agile than Champ Cars -- they are lighter and stick to the ground more."  Motorsport.com

Disappointing to see a now brainwashed Patrick Carpentier spewing lies to pump up the IRL.  IRL cars are not lighter than Champ Cars, in fact they are the same weight. They may be a bit more agile because they carry loads of downforce so as to negate the drivers talent as any factor, especially on the 100% throttle, no-talent-required high banked ovals.   The new Champ Car, to be announced next week, promises to be lighter.

NASCAR is America's fastest growing sport NASCAR is America's fastest growing sportThis Fortune Magazine must-read article tells the story of why NASCAR is the fastest growing sport in America and leaving open wheel racing far behind since the split.

This, race fans, is the new world of NASCAR, the fastest-growing, best-run sports business in America—with the emphasis on business. Once the province of moonshine runners and good ol' boys, the sport has courted corporate America for decades. But NASCAR's recent explosion in popularity—and the establishment of its racetracks as big-time commercial venues—is unprecedented. Stock-car racing is now a multibillion-dollar industry. The second-most-watched sport on television behind pro football, NASCAR has seen its ratings increase by more than 50% since it inked a six-year, $2.4 billion network deal five years ago. The sport is on pace this year for its highest TV viewership ever; the last time a major professional sport set a new high was the NFL in 1981. Licensed retail sales of NASCAR-branded products have increased 250% over the past decade, totaling $2.1 billion last year alone (up from $1.3 billion in 2000). Nascar.com is one of the most highly trafficked sports websites. The NASCAR name is so hot that market research firm PSB picked it as the country's No. 2 brand for 2005, ahead of both Google and iPod (BlackBerry was No. 1).

IPS Series
IPS champion remains rideless IPS champion remains ridelessThiago Medeiros won last year's IPS Series championship by a record margin of 134 points and all he has to show for it is a ring.

On Aug. 30, Indy Racing League and Herff Jones officials presented the 23-year-old Brazilian with a one-of-a-kind championship ring.

"It's great. It came at the right moment," Medeiros said. "It represents a lot for me, everything that I did last year and what I've done in my past to get here. It reminds me of my first win (Texas in 2003). That was probably my best one because it was my first, but it kept going. The last one was a special one, and the Indy win was the best one. I understood what it means to win at Indianapolis."

Medeiros remains upbeat, with his broad smile ever present in 2005 despite the fact he's been watching the racing from the sidelines.  "Now, I'm still around the series working with (Brazilian) TV and trying to find a ride," he said. "I'm still pushing, trying to do everything to find sponsorship, but it takes time. I'm not giving up. I'm still too young to give up."

For now, Medeiros will proudly wear his championship ring everywhere he goes. When the time comes, he'll be happy to take it off to put on his driving gloves.

Sharp looks forward to helping Team USA Sharp looks forward to helping Team USAScott Sharp's friendship with former Kelley Racing co-owner Rick Weidinger has led to him being named advisor and consultant to Team USA in the A1 Grand Prix series that is scheduled to begin competition in the fall.  Sharp, who posted a 12th-place finish in the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix on Aug. 28 at Infineon Raceway, has competed in 112 IndyCar Series events.

"I'm happy to be able to assist the team," said Sharp, the 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion. "Rick is very patriotic and wants to represent the United States in the highest manner possible. There are a number of talented teams and drivers from all over the world, and Team USA will have to work hard to fulfill expectations."

Drivers Scott Speed, Colin Fleming and Matt Jaskol tested the red, white and blue "We the People" car at the Paul Ricard test track in France last week.

"Not only is Scott a key asset to our racing team because of his record and team-building experience, he's also a personal friend I know I can rely on as we prepare A1 Team USA to compete in this unprecedented international racing series," Weidinger said in a statement.

Kenn Hardley Racing's Jeff Simmons also tested the Team USA car, while Panther Racing's Tomas Scheckter has tested for his native South Africa. According to a news release, up to 25 nations will be represented in the series proposed to compete on five continents, including two events in the United States in the spring. The cars have identical specifications and engines.

Kite to showcase IndyCar Series at NASCAR race Kite to showcase IndyCar Series at NASCAR raceEthanol Hemelgarn Racing and driver Jimmy Kite will participate in pre-race activities for the Sony HD 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at California Speedway on Sept. 4.   Kite, who will drive up to three demonstration laps in his  No. 91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Toyota-powered Dallara, will give the fans a sense of what they can expect at Fontana's 2-mile oval when the IndyCar Series makes its appearance there on Oct. 16 for the season finale, the Toyota Indy 400.
Everclear to entertain in Fontana Everclear to entertain in FontanaBillboard's 1998 "Alternative Artist of the Year," Everclear, will take hold of Southern California as the headlining act for the Miller Lite Rock 'n Racing Concert at California Speedway on Sunday, September 4, 2005, at 2:00 p.m. (PT). Louis XIV will open the musical entertainment on race day at its new location inside Gate 16, behind the main grandstands.

Everclear, a classic American band, with a bedrock sound that's both timeless and contemporary, will pump up the crowd for what will be another fantastic finish under the lights event at California Speedway. California native Art Alexakis' "us-against-them" lyrics made the band popular with Gen-X teens. Another key component to the band's success is their rigorous touring schedule and self-promotion. In 1992, Alexakis moved to his girlfriend's hometown of Portland, Oregon where he met Craig Montoya and in 1994 drummer Greg Eklund  joined the group and they signed to Capitol. Alternative radio quickly picked up on the singles "Santa Monica" and "Heroin Girl" from the band's second album Sparkle and Fade.

Catch all the sounds of Everclear and NASCAR at California Speedway during the SONY HD 500 race weekend at California Speedway. Sunday's schedule at the speedway includes the Miller Lite Rock 'n Racing Concert followed by the SONY HD 500. A grandstand ticket is needed to attend the concert.

Rising gas prices hurting teams Rising gas prices hurting teamsRising gasoline prices are having just as big an impact on NASCAR's teams as they are on everyone else in the United States.  Those prices will be felt strongly this week as NASCAR's Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams make the long trek from their home bases in North Carolina to Fontana, Calif., for this weekend's races.

"The gas hike has affected us for sure, and not in just the ways you might think," said Jerry Freeze, general manager of Petty Enterprises. "It has really been a big deal across the board. Of course, moving the race cars with our transporters has seen the most direct hit. We are spending a lot more than what we had to at the beginning of the year, or even last season.

"We also are seeing it in our aircraft. Our charter company, because we charter our team planes, has given us an extra charge directly due to the raise in fuel costs. That has been a big deal. We still need to fly our guys to the tracks. We then have to fly our over-the-wall guys on race day, too."

And that's not all.

"We are in a competitive business," Freeze said. "We go up to Michigan for wind tunnel time, and we are doing a lot of hauling going to and from test sessions. There are a lot of logistics that go into having a competitive race team, and the use of fuel becomes a big factor.  Any time the prices go up, yeah, you are going to see a difference in the bills. We really haven't discussed it, but if things stay the same or get worse we will have to take a look at it."  More at Autonet.ca

Elliott to drive McDonald's Charger in California Elliott to drive McDonald's Charger in CaliforniaBill Elliott, who is running a limited schedule in the Nextel Cup Series, will be at California Speedway this weekend, competing in the Sony HD 500.  The NASCAR legend will be in familiar colors, driving the No. 91 McDonald's Dodge Charger that is part of the Evernham Motorsports stable. 

The California event will be Elliott's eighth Nextel Cup race of the season and his second with McDonald's as the primary sponsor. McDonald's was Elliott's main sponsor for six years when the Dawsonville, Ga. native owned and drove the Golden Arches entry from 1995-2000.

"It always feels good to put on the McDonald's uniform and see that big arch on the hood of the car," said Elliott, who drove the McDonald's car in the June Michigan race. "California is the kind of track that suits us pretty well. We've had some good qualifying and race runs there in the past. I'm looking to have a solid finish on Sunday."  zzzz

Elliott is right about his past performances on the two-mile oval that hosted its first NASCAR Cup race in June of 1997.

He enjoyed consecutive fourth-place finishes at California Speedway at the 2002 and 2003 races while driving full time for Evernham Motorsports. At last year's Labor Day weekend race, Elliott qualified the McDonald's Dodge third.

Being that California is a sister track to Michigan where Elliott has enjoyed plenty of success in his career, the former NASCAR Cup champion and 44-time race winner, should feel right at home at California Speedway.

"We know what’s needed at California and just have to get it done,” said Elliott, who finished 11th at Michigan two weeks ago. “I like the two-mile tracks and am looking forward to both a strong qualifying and race effort in the McDonald’s Dodge.”

Elliott competed in the Nextel Cup race at California Speedway in February and would like to erase that event from his memory. He got tangled up early in the race and was forced to retire from the event after hitting the wall on Lap 23 of 250. He was credited with a 43rd-place finish.

“It was just one of those deals,” said Elliott. “I got in the wall early with Ricky (Rudd) over on the backside. Then we had a tire go flat getting into turn one. I hated that our day ended so early. Hopefully, we will have a major reversal this weekend.”

Servia makes headlines in Spain Servia makes headlines in SpainThere was a huge reaction in Spain to Oriol Servia's first Champ Car win Sunday in Montreal -  the win made the news on all TV stations and in all the major newspapers.  His podium finishes have kept his name in the news and thanks to Eurosport, his countrymen have now been able to watch all the Champ Car race (ditto for the rest of Europe). 

"Actually, the reaction has been huge. I mean, these last few races when I was in the podium, I had a lot of press. I was surprised how many people were following us. I think because of that, everybody knew we were getting close to that win. And the fact that we won, I don't know, made everybody follow us. Actually many, many people followed the race live through Eurosport. We made all the news on all the network TVs. It's been surprising but really good." said Servia

If Servia (right) is in position to do well in the points, "I hope Newman/Haas might run a third car for me in Mexico City when Bruno Junqueira is due to make his comeback.  I'm not sure, you have to ask the team, but if any team can do it, Newman/ Haas can.

"For sure, whatever happens, I'm going to be in a lot better position than I was nine months ago, no matter what. I'm just extremely pleased with the opportunity I had.  I believe that if things keep going well for me and I'm in a good championship position, the team may try to run three cars. If there's one team that is prepared and have the right to run three cars, that's Newman/Haas. I wouldn't be surprised that we do that. But, again, I'm just a driver, I'm not a team owner, so we should ask them. "

Servia will test his Champ Car for Newman/Haas in the middle of September in Ohio, but would not say where. AutoRacing1.com got wind of some special tests coming up, but no details yet.  We don't believe the test is at Mid-Ohio. More....

Ford's Chase chances looking good Ford's Chase chances looking goodEven though Ford may have the fewest number of cars in the field every week, there's a possibility that the manufacturer may have the most Chase for the Nextel Cup competitors. Currently there are four Fords, three Chevrolets and three Dodges that make up the top 10.

Those numbers will likely change, however, but with only two races remaining to secure a spot in the final 10-race chase, seven of the eight full-time Ford drivers have either clinched a spot or are still in contention.

Greg Biffle goes into this weekend's race at California third in the point standings and has already secured his position while Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin (fifth), Kurt Busch (seventh) and Carl Edwards (eighth) are also in the top 10.

The trio of Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett are currently on the outside looking in, but remain realistically in the hunt.

Kenseth's win last weekend at Bristol moved him to within 11 points of 10th-place Jeff Gordon while Sadler sits only 34 points out of the final transfer position. Jarrett is 44 points behind Sadler in 14th place, but is still mathematically alive. More....

Zanardi does Donuts again Zanardi does Donuts againEx-Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi started the tradition of doing donuts after winning a race.  Now all the copycats in NASCAR and the IRL do them, but no one was better than Zanardi.  After his horrific accident at the EuroSpeedway, Zanardi had not won a race until last Sunday, where he won the 2nd race of the WTCC weekend.  Even with hand controls, the Donutmeister pulled it off, and what an emotional moment it was!


Philadelphia race gets some positive press Philadelphia race gets some positive pressThis Philadelphia Inquirer article says, [Excerpts] For a few years in the early 1900s, the great names in auto racing came to Philadelphia to compete - in scenic Fairmount Park.  From 1908 to 1911, the city hosted an annual road race through West Fairmount Park that attracted pioneers such as Ralph DePalma, Ray Harroun and George Robertson. The course was challenging, but the race had a perfect safety record. Attendance peaked at 600,000 in 1910.

Opposition to the races eventually led to their demise, and now history seems to be repeating itself. A proposal for a Champ Car World Series race along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is being vigorously challenged. Critics say it would require too many permanent changes, such as reconfigured streets and construction of temporary pedestrian bridges, and spoil the Parkway's carefully cultivated cultural atmosphere.

Rather than dismissing the road race altogether, I think we should begin looking for ways to compromise. We need only to look to the city's racing history to see the competition's benefits.

If the Champ Car race is not allowed, present-day Philadelphia could be passing up much-needed monetary benefits. Cars would be circulating the track for a few hours each day of the event. During the balance of their visit, racing fans would stay in hotels and visit museums, historic sites, restaurants and stores.

In the same way that White felt a sense of ownership over Fairmount Park, the cultural institutions along the Parkway today feel a sense of ownership over the Parkway. But will a few institutions be allowed to stand in the way of this race, just as White stood in the way of the Fairmount Park race almost a century ago? Institutions along the Parkway would be among those benefiting the most from it.

John E. Reyburn was Philadelphia's mayor during the Fairmount Park Motor Races, and it is unlikely that they would have occurred without his support. Reyburn worked with the Fairmount Park Commission to obtain permission for the races, he helped choose the course, he provided police, and on the day of each race, he toured the course himself to ensure that spectators were in safe areas. Then he'd take his seat in the grandstand.

There is another project that Reyburn strongly supported during his tenure: the creation of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Without Mayor Reyburn, the Parkway as we know it might not exist. He saw both the motor races, and beautification projects such as those on the Parkway, as means to promote the city.

Philadelphia is lucky to have the opportunity to host a Champ Car race; only seven American cities did so this year. If Philadelphia passes on this, there are plenty of other cities that will jump at the chance to replace us.  It is time for Philadelphia to once again stage the most spectacular road race in the country.

SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 8-31-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 9.660
2. (2) Fernando Alonso (F1) 9.658
3. (18) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 8.224
4. (4) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 8.216
5. (10) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.636
6. (11) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 7.524
7. (5) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 7.310
8. (12) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 7.246
9. (14) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.148
10. (8) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.792
11. (7) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.755
12. (21) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.737
13. (13) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.715
14. (3) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.556
15. (NR) Ricky Rudd (NASCAR) 6.306
16. (17) Joe Nemechek (NASCAR) 6.253
17. (31) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.236
18. (16) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 6.087
19. (20) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 6.041
20. (NR) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.030
Last week’s ranking in parenthesis
Provided by STATS Inc.
Earnhardt Jr. to help train police Earnhardt Jr. to help train policeNASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will participate in pursuit training with the Ft. Worth Police Department at 2:00 pm CT at the Texas Motor Speedway infield road course.
Pantano reflects on IRL debut Pantano reflects on IRL debutGiorgio Pantano reflects on his first weekend racing in the IRL IndyCar with Target Chip Ganassi and looks towards his home GP2 series race in Monza in this Q&A session conducted by GP2 Series

So Giorgio, your first weekend racing in America in the IRL seemed to go very well. From 13th on the grid, you got as high as third. How was it for you?
"It was very good. The situation, the team, the racing. It was fabulous. I think that we did a great job. It was a new car for me, a new circuit, but we were very consistent and very fast. Qualifying was unfortunate because we had an unlucky mistake with the rear end locking up. Without that I think I would have been on pole. But the race itself was very hard work. The races are long over there – two hours and ten minutes! It's tough physically and mentally, but a lot of fun."

And how was the car to drive?
"It was very different. It's not bad on a road course, but the IRL car is totally different to a Formula One car or a GP2 series car. It was much heavier, and it wasn't easy to find the balance. I really think that the main difference over there is the driver. It's the driver that has to go quick, not the car, because there's not much you can do with it. You need to keep the feeling… it comes more from you than the car.  For me it was also important to learn very quickly. I think if a driver can get to grips with new surroundings and new cars quickly then he will be ok in that series. That's something I've always been good at, and I was on the pace from the start."

Indeed you were. Quickest in first practice weren't you?
"Yeah. You know, it was fabulous. We were at the front all weekend, and my times stayed very consistent. But in qualifying the rear just started locking and I think I lost about 1.6 seconds. Without that I think I could have been on the front row and I could have won. But when you start 13th it's not so easy."

And, as you say, the racing over there is long and hard.
"Before the race we had a briefing and we were told that this was going to be a tiring race. If we got tired, we were asked not to be silly, and to let the guys through who were still racing at 100%. But we did a great race. We were consistent and fast, but the problem was that we started far back, and in the early stages I was being held up by slower drivers. So we did a long first stint, and after we pitted I was third."

"Unfortunately I had an incident with Meira at the end of the race, but overall I was very happy with my weekend. If I had started on the front row as I should have done, I would have won."

Did you find American racing very different to European racing?
"The one thing I found different was the fans. In America they buy their tickets but they don't just sit in the stands. For the whole weekend they come to the paddock, they meet and talk to the drivers, they have a really great time. In the GP2 series we do signing sessions and we've opened the paddock for the fans and I would like to see more of that, especially in Formula One. It makes the fans so happy, and for the drivers it is really good because you get to meet your fans and to give them something back. It's one of the things that I really like about the GP2 series, and for sure we need to see more of that in F1."

And now it's back to the GP2 series, and your home race at Monza.
"Yeah, I can't wait. Monza is such a special place and I have always been quick there. It is a very challenging track, very fast, big braking points and also technical. If you don't have the perfect line through a few of the corners you can easily lose half a second. But I think we will do well. The team has been on the podium for each of the last five races so we have the speed to fight for wins. I think we can do it for sure. And in front of my home fans, it would be amazing.  GP2 Series

Sprint Brings Cup Series to Inner-City Youth Sprint Brings Cup Series to Inner-City YouthSprint has partnered with NASCAR and Magic Johnson Theaters to bring the thrill of NASCAR to inner-city youth on Wednesday, August 31st. Children from Los Angeles area youth organizations will visit the Magic Johnson Theater in Inglewood, Calif. for a private screening of Herbie: Fully Loaded. The kids will also receive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series gift bags and have the opportunity to meet professional stock car drivers. Kerry McGonigal, Director, Business Solutions at Sprint will present the Magic Johnson Foundation with a $2,000 check to benefit inner-city youth. Business Wire
NASCAR and Rolling Stones team up NASCAR and Rolling Stones team upThe Rolling Stones and NASCAR have partnered for a promotional video that rolls into cinemas nationwide September 2. At nearly 2 1/2 minutes, the NASCAR spot features "Driving Too Fast," a track from the Stones' new album, "A Bigger Bang," due out in the United States on September 6 through Virgin. Running through September 29, the ad will run on more than 5,800 movie screens, including those owned by leading theater chains, Regal and United Artists. Akin to a music video, the spot sheds light on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races on TNT. For the Stones, the exposure also coincides with their new world tour, which reaches Detroit Wednesday. Yahoo
No. 4 to sport LA Dodgers Logo for California Race No. 4 to sport LA Dodgers Logo for California RaceThe Morgan-McClure # 4 Lucas Oil Chevy will be carrying the LA Dodgers logo on the trunk lid for this weekend's Sony HD 500 at the California Speedway. "We are very proud to have the Dodgers riding along with us on our Lucas Oil Chevy this weekend in California" said Larry McClure, President and Team Manager of Morgan-McClure Motorsports. "I've always been a Dodgers fan and we look forward to having Tony Lasorda visit with us at the track on Sunday." Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR
RCR testing at Milwaukee RCR testing at MilwaukeeDave Blaney and the Jack Daniel’s Racing Team and Jeff Burton and Team Cingular are scheduled to test at The Milwaukee Mile on Wednesday, August 31 in preparation for the upcoming Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.  Kevin Harvick and the #29 team tested at The Milwaukee Mile on Monday. While missing the Chase might have been a good reason to cancel the test, GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier continues to work to improve the team’s program for the final races and get a head start on next years season.  RCR PR
Jarrett says he's out of Chase Jarrett says he's out of ChaseDale Jarrett was spun out for the second time of the night on lap 301 when Ryan Newman hit Jarrett from behind. Sixteen laps later, while racing with the lap down cars, Jarrett's car broke loose going into turn one and got into Newman. The UPS Team lost several laps during the caution period while making repairs and then Jarrett was slapped with a two-lap penalty for what NASCAR considered rough driving. "It wasn't our night," said a dejected Jarrett. "We had some handling issues early and then we kept getting hit. The handling on the car just wasn't right after Ryan got into me and I couldn't keep the car down in the corners. This pretty much seals our fate in regards to making the Chase," he added. "We went for so long this season without having issues like this. I guess we're due." UPS Racing
IRL drivers go to school to turn right IRL drivers go to school to turn rightSix drivers in Sunday's IRL race at Infineon Raceway recently participated in private instruction with Jim Russell Racing School chief instructor Mark Wolocatiuk, before Sunday's road-course race at Infineon Raceway to gain an advantage over their competition and to improve their road racing skills.  The drivers included Sam Hornish, Jr., Scott Sharp, Tomas Scheckter, Roger Yasukawa, Ed Carpenter and Bryan Herta.  There were also nine drivers in the Menard's Infiniti Pro Series race that attended the school before this weekend's race.  None of these drivers won. NSSN
NASCAR race biggest event in New England NASCAR race biggest event in New EnglandAccording to the Wall Street Journal, the upcoming Sylvania 300 Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire Int’l Raceway is the largest sporting event in New England, reporting the race attracts more than 100,000 spectators. It marks the kickoff of NASCAR’s 10-race “Chase for the Championship.”
More on China's ban on tobacco advertising More on China's ban on tobacco advertisingChina, the world's largest consumer and producer of tobacco, has ratified an international treaty aimed at curbing tobacco-related diseases and deaths. The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) was ratified on Sunday by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Chinese state media reported.

Dr Shigeru Omi, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, welcomed the announcement and congratulated China on what he called a landmark decision. ''This is perhaps the clearest indication yet that the world is increasingly committed to addressing the global tobacco epidemic,'' he said.

''Ratification of the FCTC by China could not have come at a better time,'' said Dr Henk Bekedam, the WHO Representative in China. ''This allows China to truly join global and regional efforts to curb smoking. Many lives will be saved, public health will be strengthened, and the economy will benefit as well.''

The Chinese Government estimates that there are 350 million smokers in the country. About 60% of Chinese men and 3% of women smoke. It also appears that the number of children and young female smokers may be increasing significantly. zzzz

Tobacco kills 1.2 million Chinese each year. In the mid-1990s, tobacco use cost the Government US$ 6.5 billion annually in health-care costs alone.

More than 75 countries have now ratified the Convention, including other major tobacco-manufacturing countries such as India and Japan. The Convention became international law in February 2005, after the required ratification by 40 countries.

China must now register its ratification with the United Nations in New York before ratification is officially recognized. Ninety days after the ratification is accepted by the United Nations, the Convention becomes binding international law for China.

Among its provisions, the treaty requires China to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship on radio, television, print media and the Internet within five years. It also prohibits tobacco-company sponsorship of international events and activities. Chinese state media reported that China is to ban all tobacco-vending machines, including in self- administered Hong Kong and Macao.

''We know that implementing the Convention will not be easy, as smoking is an ingrained habit in China,'' said Dr Omi. ''But the Government has made clear its commitment to take action. The positive impact of this move will be felt by generations and generations to come.''

Tobacco Fact Sheet


-- Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of death.

-- Tobacco claims 4.9 million lives a year, and if the present consumption patterns continue, the number of deaths will increase to 10 million by the year 2020, 70% of which will occur in developing countries.

-- There are an estimated 1.3 billion smokers and half of them (some 650 million people) are expected to die prematurely of a tobacco-related disease.

-- At the current rate, the number of smokers will rise from 1.3 billion today to 1.7 billion by 2025.

Western Pacific Region

-- Tobacco kills more than 3000 people each day in the Region.

-- The Western Pacific has one third of the world's smokers, the highest percentage of male smokers and the fastest increase of smoking among children and young women.

-- Smoking is the leading cause of death in Japan, and is responsible for 20% of all cancers.


-- About 60% of men and 3% of women smoke. The government has reported there are about 350 million Chinese smokers.

-- China is the world's leading consumer and producer of tobacco products.

-- The tobacco market is dominated by the China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC), which is a government monopoly.

-- CNTC's sales account for one-third of the global market, or about the same market share as the three largest multinational tobacco companies combined, but most of its sales are within China.

-- China, the United States of America and India, are the world's largest tobacco producers.

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

-- The Convention, which was negotiated under the auspices of WHO,
provides protection from tobacco for the first time by setting
international standards on tobacco price and tax increases, tobacco
advertising and sponsorship, labeling, illicit trade and second-hand

-- The treaty entered into force on 27 February 2005. For countries that ratify after 30 November 2005, the Convention becomes binding 90 days after ratification.

-- Countries that sign the treaty will be obliged to ban advertising and
sponsorship promoting tobacco products, forbid sales to minors, force companies to print larger health warnings on cigarette packs, use
taxation to reduce consumption, and clamp down on smuggling.

-- The WHO FCTC has the potential to save over 10 million lives a year.

Source: World Health Organization

ISC and SMI jointly buy Action Performance ISC and SMI jointly buy Action PerformanceUPDATE There is speculation that Motorsports Authentics will now move to buy Team Caliber, another major marketing operation which is owned by race team owner Jack Roush. If that deal goes ahead it will allow Motorsport Authentics to streamline merchandising operations around NASCAR and create the possibility of complete Nextel Cup merchandise operations being established in stores across the nation and perhaps, ultimately, its own stores in shopping malls.

The move could also spell the end of trailer operations at tracks by creating the possibility of proper shopping facilities at race tracks, which could, in turn, result in NASCAR creating its own malls. This would boost profits for everyone and make it very difficult for those not involved to compete. Grandprix.com

08/30/05 International Speedway Corporation ("ISC"), Speedway Motorsports Incorporated ("SMI") and Action Performance Companies Inc. ("Action") today announced the following:

ISC and SMI have partnered in a joint venture, which will conduct business under the name Motorsports Authentics, to create a leader in the production, marketing and sales of motorsports licensed merchandise, including apparel and souvenirs. Motorsports Authentics will operate as an independent company with ISC and SMI as equal owners.

Motorsports Authentics has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Action for $13 per common share, or approximately $245 million, in cash. The acquisition is structured as a merger of a wholly-owned subsidiary of Motorsports Authentics into Action, and the surviving entity will be operated by Motorsports Authentics. The acquisition is expected to close by calendar year-end, and is subject to several conditions including Action shareholder approval, regulatory approvals required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, consents and certificates from certain counterparties to Action's material contracts as well as the lack of any material adverse event to Action's business.

Zanardi describes how he won Zanardi describes how he wonAlex Zanardi says for a moment he thought victory at the Oschersleben's round of the World Touring Car Championship last Sunday had been taken from him. It was his first big race victory since he won the Surfers Paradise Champ Car race in 1998. (Zanardi shown right at Oschersleben observing the scoring monitors while standing on his Segway. Photo by Jutta Stoeppel/AutoRacing1.com)

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Zanardi said, "I didn't hear anything on the radio, so I thought something happened. That for some strange reason they disallowed my victory."

"Then I looked at the fans on the grandstands and they looked crazed. But it turned out that the people in my team were crying and hugging each other, they were overcome by joy.

"I told myself I couldn't afford any errors," he said. "I sprang as if a slingshot catapulted me forwards. The others attacked me and I resisted. I liked myself very much. I was perfect, like in the old times.

"As the laps went on I could see the names of the people following me changing. At one point they started signaling me that the similar BMWs behind me. That was disturbing.

"But I thought it was up to them to pass me, while I only had to avoid making mistakes. As the kilometres went on the tension, the exhaustion and the panting were about to catch me out: I just couldn't stand finishing second or third.

"I told myself: Come on Alex! Daniela is in the pits, don't disappoint her. Nicolo is watching you on TV.'

"I saw the BMWs growing bigger and bigger in the mirrors. At one point Jorg Muller got on my left side while on the right side there was Priaulx. I risked being squashed and becoming a slice of ham. But I stayed in front and won."

A1 Grand Prix
A1GP drops Beijing and San Antonio A1GP drops Beijing and San AntonioA look at the A1GP website reveals that the Beijing race at Goldenport has been replaced with a race in Shanghai for the same reason Champ Car cannot race at Goldenport - it's a Mickey Mouse track barely suited for F3 and until someone funds the reconstruction needed A1 GP nor Champ Car will be racing there. AutoRacing1.com also predicted that the San Antonio, Texas race would not happen and lo and behold, it has been dropped from the schedule and a race in Brazil added. We doubt the race in Durban, South Africa will materialize as well, but that race does have a slim hope. The race scheduled at Laguna Seca won't draw much attendance, which we suspect will be the case for most events on the calendar.
Circuit Country Date
1. Brands Hatch Great Britain September 25
2. EuroSpeedway Germany October 9
3. Estoril Portugal October 23
4. Eastern Creek Australia November 6
5. Sepang Malaysia November 20
6. Dubai Autodrome UAE December 11
7. Sentul Indonesia January 15
8. Durban Street Race South Africa January 29
9. Curitiba Brazil February 12
10.Monterrey Mexico February 26
11.Laguna Seca USA March 19
12.Shanghai China April 2
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Title 'still open' - Kimi
F1 still Friesacher 'focus'
Michelin 'better' - Massa
Jordan to 'close gap'
F1 'not for sale' - Bernie
Rossi's dad wants F1 switch
Monza in F1 ticket 'slump'
Davidson 'trusts' Jordan
Flav says Renault on F1 pole
Turkey is F1's 'best' circuit
Monteiro to debut new Jordan Monteiro to debut new JordanJordan Grand Prix goes to the Italian GP straight from a three-day test at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza with all four drivers – Narain Karthikeyan, Tiago Monteiro, Nicolas Kiesa and Nicky Pastorelli – contributing to the program. The team carried out almost 1400km of mileage with the new EJ15B on one of the oldest and fastest tracks, which they all knew from previous experience. Following the toss of a coin in Istanbul by Alex Shnaider, Co- founder and Chairman of the Midland Group Board, Tiago Monteiro won the toss and will drive the new car at Monza this weekend.

"The Monza test last week went very well, even better than we expected. We spent three days testing the new car without any problems, which shows that it was very reliable at the moment and this is a very positive improvement. I am looking forward to racing it at Monza as I was lucky to win the toss. Monza is a very tricky and high speed track. It will be very important to have a good car balance in the braking zones because of the low downforce. It will not be the easiest track to race the new car but we will deal with this and I hope we will have a good race."

NASCAR slams Ganassi team for cheating NASCAR slams Ganassi team for cheatingUPDATE #2 NASCAR announced Tuesday that Brian Pattie, crew chief of the #41 Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined $35,000, suspended from NASCAR until October 26 and for the next six NASCAR Busch Series events, and placed on probation until December 31, 2005 following rule violations at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 26. Pattie was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 9-4-A (the crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his team members) and 12-4-GG (any possession of or use of one or more tires that have been altered externally by unauthorized treatment) of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series rule book.

Additionally, Sorenson was penalized 50 NASCAR Busch Series driver championship points and team owner Chip Ganassi was penalized 50 NASCAR Busch Series owner championship points for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-GG.

The deductions reduce Sorenson’s driver point total from 3,412 to 3,362 and Ganassi’s owner point total from 3,322 to 3,272. Sorenson is third in the driver rankings while Ganassi is fifth in the owner standings.

Also, Brandon Stafford, a crew member for Sorenson, was suspended from NASCAR until October 26 and for the next six NASCAR Busch Series events, and placed on probation until December 31 after violating 12-4-A and 12-4-GG.

The suspensions for Pattie and Stafford begin this weekend when the NASCAR Busch Series competes at California Speedway and continue through the series event at Memphis Motorsports Park on Oct. 22. NASCAR

08/27/05 Nextel Cup veteran Kyle Petty, when asked about the tire controversy, said Pattie should be suspended a "long, long long time" and the penalty should be "big, big, big."   "There isn't any excuse for this – none," Petty said. 08/27/05 NASCAR on Friday ejected Brian Pattie, crew chief of Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 41 Busch Series car, and tire specialist Brandon Stafford from Bristol Motor Speedway after a NASCAR official discovered the team had used an unapproved substance on its tires during Friday morning's practice.  Busch Series director Joe Balash said driver Reed Sorenson, who was third in points entering Friday night's Food City 250, would not be allowed to qualify his car and would have to start the race from the rear of the field.

The original tires were confiscated from the team and the team was required to purchase new tires for the race weekend, Balash said.  Additional penalties for the team and the crew members involved are likely next week.

Soaking tires - used to increase grip and therefore speed - is among the most serious offenses in motorsports. More at ThatsRacin.com

Bernie says F1 Not For Sale Bernie says F1 Not For SaleAn approach has been made to buy Formula One's holding company SLEC but it's not for sale, Bernie Ecclestone said on Tuesday. "It has been reported that approaches have been made in relationship to the sale by the controlling shareholders of SLEC," he said in a signed statement issued by Formula One Management (FOM).

"Although the approach has been made, the answer has been that the company shares are not for sale.

"The shareholders are long term investors and have the interest and stability of Formula One foremost in their mind," said the statement.

SLEC, named after Bernie's wife, Slavica Ecclestone, is owned 25% by Ecclestone and 75% by the three banks, though numerous court cases certainly confirm the extend of the complexity behind the organizations behind F1. Much legal wrangling continues behind the scenes of the world's premier motorsport series with action in the High Court as recently as last Friday. It's highly likely this statement just another move in the chess game power struggle for the power control of the sport.

Porsche withdraws new LMP2 car Porsche withdraws new LMP2 carDespite Porsche's announcement today that its new LMP2 race car, the RS Spyder, will not compete at Petit Le Mans as originally planned, the race will by no means lose any of its luster, said American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. 

Atherton said the news from Porsche "is disappointing for sure, but not completely unexpected." There will be little, if any, hanging of heads as the annual event at Road Atlanta draws closer. There still is much to look forward to, including the anticipated return of Aston Martin's pair of DBR9s and a strong contingent of teams and drivers from Europe and around the world to go along with the ALMS' top-notch talent. 

The 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance race, in its eighth edition this year, is scheduled for Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Braselton road course. It is one of the ALMS' most challenging events on one of North America's most demanding circuits. 

"The development of a totally new race car is a daunting task under ideal circumstances, and revisions to test schedules are very common," Atherton said. "The level of competition in the American Le Mans Series is extremely high, and Petit Le Mans is one of the most difficult challenges on the ALMS schedule. Let's face it. It is an extremely difficult race for a fully developed car. So for anyone close to the sport, it is understandable that Porsche has revised its plans." zzzz

Geoff Lee, Road Atlanta president, echoed Atherton's statement. "This is unfortunate, but understandable. With the introduction of any new race car, there are unforeseen testing issues," Lee said. "Porsche has not made this decision lightly, and we know they want the car to be ready to race when it first appears on the track in competition. Nevertheless, we are sorry that Porsche and Penske Motorsports will miss what we expect to be a terrific race this year and one of the premier events of the 2005 season. We will look forward to a substantial effort from them next season and at the 2006 Petit Le Mans." 

Even without Porsche's new prototype, which will be fielded by Penske Motorsports, this year's Petit Le Mans is setting up to be one of the most action-packed ALMS events ever. It is highly likely that multiple drivers and team championships will be decided in three classes of the ALMS. The stakes are even higher considering that each class-winning entry receives an automatic invitation to next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, as do ALMS season champions. For this year's running of the famed French endurance classic, nine of 12 podium positions went to teams from the American Le Mans Series, including every GT1 and GT2 spot. 

To magnify Petit Le Mans' scope even further, eight teams that have won class titles in past events went on to accomplish the same feat the following year at the Circuit de la Sarthe. 

"In a relatively short period of time, Petit Le Mans has established a reputation as one of the world's great sports car endurance races," Atherton said. "It's one that everyone wants to win: drivers, teams, manufacturers and sponsors alike. A victory at Petit is a big accomplishment for anyone. And just like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the grid at Petit Le Mans will feature some of the best professional sports car teams and drivers in the world. While the debut of the new Porsche prototype will be missed, Petit Le Mans will be another world-class event by every measure."

Grand Prix Masters
Q and A with Germany's Christian Danner Q and A with Germany's Christian Danner
Q: The inaugural Grand Prix Masters race takes place in South Africa on 13th November. What is your motivation for competing in this championship?

A: Simple. I have never stopped racing. I am 47 years old now and am lucky to have raced in Formula 1, IndyCars and Touring Cars. But at my age the problem is there are no playgrounds left for us to race properly in any more.

I'd look like an idiot if I went and raced in something like GP2 and even though I do the odd race now I have not really got much to gain. I recently won a Mini Challenge race at the Spa but if I'd lost, it would have been me being beaten by 'no names'. Grand Prix Masters is very different indeed. With Grand Prix Masters I am racing against the best again, people I have raced against all my life at the highest level, and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to be back on track with them.

Q: How competitive do you think the drivers will be?

A: I recently met with Andrea de Cesaris in Monaco and he was fiercely competitive just talking about the series! I think we will have to be sensible when we race and probably pacify things a little! The trick is for us all to understand that we are not racing for our careers any more - this is with entertainment in mind and for the sheer hell of it! The racing, however, will be no less serious as will the fitness and preparation required.

Q: How do you think the atmosphere will compare to modern Formula One?

A: Oh, very differently! The problem with F1 today is the complete lack of characters. I have to cope with this every other week when I am commentating on television. Alonso is okay but Kimi Raikkonen - what a nightmare! When I was in F1 twenty years ago I don't think any guy in the championship was as dumb and boring as him!

That is why Grand Prix Masters will have such a unique selling point. We know that people will expect a good show and it is our duty to put on that show and where possible, over-deliver to expectant race fans who have probably dreamed about such a series for many years! zzzz

Q: How do you think the first race in Kyalami will turn out?

A: That first race will be very interesting. I've never raced in South Africa, so that will be something different. What will be most revealing is, I think, how well prepared the drivers are. Alan Jones and Patrick Tambay will be fat! I want to see their faces when they take their helmets off after the first race! It is going to be fantastic!

Q: Why do you think there hasn't been a series like this before?

A: I don't know but it's clearly never too late to start! It seems such a waste to have all these brilliant racers and big names vanishing from the scene. I think 50% of the fans attraction is for the drivers themselves - we all love driving single-seaters. But the other 50% is that we will be reviving some incredible race history and heritage. If you look at the careers of people like Alain Prost, Riccardo Patrese and Emerson Fittipaldi- what they have to offer is simply fantastic!

I recently spoke to Riccardo and he is very fired-up about this championship. A guy like him has done a zillion races and what he has achieved in motorsport is amazing but since he retired from F1 his value has not been fully appreciated. Grand Prix Masters will allow that value to be recognized again while at the same injecting 'personality-driven' entertainment back into single-seater racing.

Q: What do you think of the Grand Prix Masters car?

A: I have spoken at length to the designers and engineers at Delta Motorsports about what the ideal car would be like for this series. It must be fast, certainly faster than a GP2 car, which it will be. It also has to be very drivable and progressive. None of us are 25 any more and we won't be doing anywhere near as much testing as we did in our youth so we need cars that allow us to race hard but safely. I don't think anyone should underestimate the speed of the car, though. I certainly am not! I started training quite some time ago and run for at least an hour a day. I don't want to run out of puff at the third corner, unlike some!

Having identical equipment is undoubtedly one of the major attractions of this series. It will certainly be interesting for the superstar names! These guys were used to being in the right cars during their F1 careers. I'm not bemoaning that; they were clever and quick and earned the right. But in reality the only time I ever met some of these superstar names on the race track was when they were lapping me in a car with a significant performance advantage!

Now we will all have the same equipment and it is a chance for me to prove that I am on the same level as these guys. Put another way, we have everything on this occasion to play for!

Q: How do you think the so-called 'superstar' names will react if they get beaten?

A: Who knows and who cares! I think they will have to have a more relaxed attitude and realize that this is about having entertainment although that is easier said that done because we are all so committed to not getting beaten by each other! There are so many drivers like us who want to go hardcore racing. Now we have the playground in which to perform and if we generate a spectacular show, the heroes will be reincarnated for all generations of race fans to enjoy. Whoever wins will remind people that you can race without the sterile and cold atmosphere that is modern F1 and perhaps people will now realize that there is a world outside of this!

Q: What do you hope to get from competing in Grand Prix Masters?

A: I am 47 and could do this for another 10 years. I am pretty fit, so are many of the other Masters and in some cases they are as fit as ever! For some of the other drivers it is a bit of an incentive for them to lose some weight. But for all of us it is a chance to race against great drivers, in fast cars on proper race tracks and in front of crowds who want nothing more than fierce wheel banging action!

NASCAR Bristol TV rating NASCAR Bristol TV ratingFor the fourth time in as many races this season, Turner Network Television's (TNT) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series ratings rose, with the Sharpie 500 Bristol night race yielding a 15-percent increase from the previous year. The race, which delivered a 3.9 US rating (4.7 national cable rating), up from a 3.4 in '04 (4.2 cable), also set a new household delivery mark for Bristol for TNT, gaining over half a million homes over last year's 3.72 million to the new high of 4.25 million homes in '05. TNT's three previous NEXTEL Cup Series races in New Hampshire (7/17 - 4.95 million homes), Pocono (7/24 - 5.14 million homes) and Michigan (8/21 - 4.89 million homes) also saw marked increases and delivered record-setting viewership.
A lap around Monza A lap around MonzaMcLaren test driver Alex Wurz describes what it's like to put in a lap at Monza, the home of the Italian GP, in a F1 car...

"Starting a lap of Monza, you power up through the gears along the wide Rettifilio Tribune straight reaching the top speed of all the circuits on the calendar, 350km/h in seventh gear.

"The right-left Rettifilio Chicane is located at the end of the straight and sees your speed drop as you brake dramatically to 115km/h in second.

"As you exit, you immediately reach the Curva Grande. This long, bumpy right-hander is taken flat out and your speed increases to some 290km/h in sixth before arriving to the Variante dello Roggia. You brake from some 335km/h in sixth to 115km/h to negotiate the left-right chicane, which has a tricky entry as it is very bumpy and slippery.

"Another short straight follows and takes you to the double apex right hander of Curva di Lesmos. You enter the first turn at 168km/h in third. A quick burst of acceleration sees your speed increase up to 225km/h before you then brake for the second apex, which is negotiated at 150km/h also in third.

"It is important to maintain a good speed through Lesmos, as it takes you onto a long straight, which has a slight left curve. You reach 340km/h in seventh as you blast towards the Curva del Vialone.

"Another hard braking zone takes your speed down to 145km/h in third to negotiate the left hander, the entry of the famous Ascari chicane, which is immediately followed by a right-hander leading into the next left hand corner.

"This is quite an exciting section of corners, which then flicks you onto the back straight, achieving speeds of 340km/h in seventh gear as you approach the famous Parabolica. The tight entrance to this long sweeping right hander is taken at some 160km/h and as the curve opens out your speed increases and you are swung back onto the start-finish straight to begin another lap."

Condor Motorsports savors first championship Condor Motorsports savors first championshipHow sweet it is! Sunday at the Molson Indy Montreal Condor Motorsports & Charles Zwolsman wins the 2005 Toyota Atlantic Championship presented by Yokohama.

"We have worked so hard all season and it's been like a dream come true. Everyone on the team gave everything they had each and every race," as the owner of Condor Motorsports, Carlos Bobeda goes on to say, "Everything fell into place, I am so proud of Charles (Zwolsman, pictured right), he is a magnificent talent and a pleasure to work with."

While always a first class operation, this is the first championship for Condor Motorsports, "I just can't put it into words. We have worked so hard in just these last two races alone that it seemed like a whole other season. I have to thank everyone for all of their help!" - Carlos Bobeda.

Jourdain back in Busch with Centrix Jourdain back in Busch with CentrixFormer Champ Car driver Michel Jourdain Jr. will return to ppc Racing’s Ford Taurus with sponsorship from Centrix Financial after sitting out 6 races because of lack of money.  The part-time deal currently will see Jourdain in the car for the upcoming Fontana (September 3), Kansas (Oct 8), Charlotte (Oct 14) and Texas (Nov 5) Busch races.

“I’m very thankful for this new support from Centrix. I have been working to return to competition and I am ready to go back to racing with ppc,” stated Jourdain.

“We at ppc Racing are very excited to be able to put Michel back on track,” said team owner Greg Pollex. “I want to make clear that the only reason that we stopped Michel’s campaign earlier this year was due to lack of sponsorship. We hope this opportunity will convince other companies of the value in sponsoring a ppc car driven by Michel Jourdain Jr.”

Title 'still open' - Kimi Title 'still open' - KimiTitle underdog Kimi Raikkonen has vowed to keep charging towards rival Fernando Alonso's twenty four point lead.  Although Renault's Alonso points out that the real pressure is on the chasers, Raikkonen retorted that the battle is nonetheless 'still open.'

''Nobody knows what's going to happen until the last race in October,'' the 25-year-old Finn said ahead of Monza, the quickest race in F1.

While the drivers' crown looks a touch unlikely, there is some good news for the silver camp -- their MP4-20 car is undoubtedly the quickest in pitlane, and the gap in the carmakers' chase is just 9 points.  Kimi Raikkonen, nicknamed the 'iceman', insisted: ''The car has the pace to win, and I am not giving up the fight, so we shall see.''

McLaren's 'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh agrees that both championships are still open, but admitted that Renault 'need to make some errors.'  ''It's going to be an exciting seven weeks,'' he added.

The Woking based outfit also revealed that the car's distinctive 'mid roll hoop' winglets will be removed for the Italian grand prix.  Whitmarsh, though, said they'll be back for Spa and beyond.

Crocker to make start at Richmond Crocker to make start at RichmondErin Crocker will make her Busch Series debut in the FUNAI 250 on September 9 at Richmond Int'l Raceway.  Evernham Motorsports that weekend is expected to announce a full-time Busch sponsorship of Crocker in '06 RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH
A1 Grand Prix
Is the Sheik of Speed a visionary? Is the Sheik of Speed a visionary?Starting out in business can be tough, even for the children of blue-blooded Arab tycoons. Just ask His Highness Sheik Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, nephew of the Crown Prince of Dubai and son of the boss of the billion-dollar Al Fajer conglomerate. Wealth and titles counted for little when he first proposed turning his lifelong passion for motor sports into a global business. "The entire planet thought I was mad," he remembers, "even my family."

No longer. September will see the inaugural race of his World Cup of Motorsport, the product of three years' labor. Cars from at least 21 nations will be on the tarmac at Britain's Brands Hatch circuit, media razzmatazz is building and the 28-year-old sheik talks breezily of an enterprise that could be as lucrative as any gulf gusher. Deals with TV broadcasters will bring the series to 290 million homes in 50 countries. "By the end of year one, this is going to be a billion-dollar company—easily," says Maktoum. "I have gone from being called a madman to a visionary."

Behind that evolution lies one big idea and a bold business model. The sheik—"Mac" to friends in America, where he studied for an M.B.A.—has re-invented international motor sports, adding a rich dash of patriotic rivalry. His so-called A1 Grand Prix will pit nation-al teams against each other in an annual series of at least 12 races. Some of the drivers may be known to the public, but the emphasis is on citizenship—not celebrity. In one more innovation, they will all drive identical cars, highlighting their skills at the wheel rather than the expertise of the engine designers or mechanics.

That's smart thinking at a time when fans show signs of tiring of Formula One. With the Ferrari team consistently outpacing its rivals—driver Michael Schumacher has picked up five successive world titles— races had become a tad dull. Imagine instead the high-octane passion when, say, the Pakistani driver pulls out to overtake his Indian rival on the last lap. Not that Maktoum is risking direct competition with F1. His mix of circuit and street races will be staged during Formula One's off-season.

As ever in motor sports, the series will run on a rich blend of competition and cash. Formula One is thought to generate $1 billion a year in television rights and sponsorships. Maktoum himself has laid out tens of millions of dollars to establish the traveling circus. "This [venture] takes boldness and a pocketbook, and [the sheik] has both," says Rick Weidinger, the communications tycoon behind the American team.

On the other hand, Maktoum and his partners can expect a healthy return. Most of their revenues come from selling the rights to enter a national team to the highest bidder for sums said to top $162 million. In return, the teams receive two British-made cars designed and built at the sheik's expense, free logistical support—jumbo jets will carry the vehicles round the world—a slice of the broadcasting revenues and as much sponsorship money as they can collect. The simplicity of the offer is a powerful lure. "A1 provides everything," says Weidinger. "It's a commercial plug-and-play."  More of Newsweek article [Editor's Note:  Let's see if we have this right, it takes $162 million to enter a team in A1 GP yet Emerson Fittipaldi could not raise even $5 million for a Champ Car team.  Apparently A1GP has a lot of value to a lot of countries.  Maktoum says A1GP will be a $1 billion a year business....interesting as it underscores what we have said for a long time, there is plenty of room in the world for another open wheel series than just F1.] 

Renault attracts 100,000 to Moscow show Renault attracts 100,000 to Moscow showRenault F1 Team drivers Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella yesterday demonstrated the unique spectacle of Formula 1 in the heart of the Russian capital. Crowds estimated at more than 100,000 people gathered beneath the walls of the Kremlin to see the leaders of the 2005 World Championship in action.


The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Grand Prix in Moscow began on the Moskva river, with an aquabike display by the Russian champion, before attention turned to the track. The legendary rally driver Jean Ragnotti wowed the crowds with the Mégane Trophy and Clio RS, before the F1 drivers took to the track to race specially-prepared Mégane Trophy cars to entertain the spectators.

The afternoon ended with the main event: the F1 demonstration. The crowds – which had been gathering since early morning – thrilled to the noise of the V10 engine as Fernando and Giancarlo completed five laps each of the city-centre circuit in last year's race-winning R24, demonstrating the noise and spectacle of Formula 1 to amazed Muscovites.
Fernando Alonso was delighted with the spectacle. "I loved coming back to Moscow – it is a great city, and it was amazing to see so many people along the side of the circuit. The people here have an amazing passion for Formula One, and this was a mega show for them!"

Giancarlo Fisichella was equally impressed by his first visit to the city. "This was my first time in Moscow, and I was so impressed by it. We saw Red Square, and it was quite a unique way to discover the Kremlin – from a Formula 1 car! I hope we will be coming back here soon."

The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Grand Prix in Moscow was the second large Formula 1 show in Russia. The first, in October 2003, was also held by Mild Seven Renault F1 Team at Vorobjevy Gory near Moscow State University and attracted more than 50 000 people. So far, the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team has been the first and only F1 team to demonstrate a real F1 car in Russia. Renault

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Schu 'mansion' hits trouble
Kimi finds pace in cash race
Massa expects 'special' Monza
Monza podium unlikely - Schu
'I'm F1 favorite' - Alonso
Brazil F1 revamp given 'ok'
'Dad's part of the furniture'
IPS Series
Luyendyk released from ride Luyendyk released from rideArie Luyendyk Jr. was released from his IPS ride after Pikes Peak. He's been in that series for two years and hasn't done much. Will he make a comeback or find another career?
IRL exploiting Danica IRL exploiting DanicaThis San Francisco Chronicle article says that The IRL and the Rahal-Letterman racing team work little Danica (5-foot-1, 100 pounds) like a rented mule. They exploit her looks, talent, energy and plucky personality to goose the popularity of the sport.

It also goes on to say that Ryan Briscoe, 2nd to her in rookie points, bumped her out of the way twice during the Infineon weekend, once on Friday and then in the race he tried to get by her and sent her off course. In practice on Friday, Briscoe brushed Patrick coming out of turn 11.  "He kind of used me as a wall," Patrick said.  

In reality she was a moving chicane all weekend and the fast polesitter was trying to get by her before she pitted (she was out of sequence and slower than just about all the cars on the track.) Did he bump her to let her know she was too slow and to get out of the way because the men are coming through, or was it a racing accident......twice?

She admits she has to spend time in the off-season getting ready (physically) for road courses. Many doubt a woman is physically strong enough to run at the front in an Indy Car or a Champ Car on a road course, they are THAT physically demanding. "In the off-season, between all the PR work and getting married and everything, I'm going to work really hard to get ready for road courses," she said. "Maybe I'll eliminate a couple of media days to do that."

Champ Car out-does Danica Champ Car out-does DanicaJust imagine what could happen if Champ Car would put some marketing behind the momentum!  From Yahoo! Sports today:
Rank Subject 1-Day Move
1 Chicago Triathlon +134.23%
2 Champ Car +124.32%
3 Indy Racing League +112.30%
4 James Blake +106.73%
5 Maurice Clarett +105.43%
6 Jennie Finch +101.62%
7 Kevin Harvick +96.65%
8 Little League World Series +87.79%
9 Danica Patrick +85.87%
10 La Liga +85.39%
11 Brynn Cameron +79.95%
12 Little League Baseball +72.63%
13 Rachel Wacholder +66.40%
14 New Orleans Saints +63.14%
15 Hood To Coast +62.43%
Fellows gunning for another win at M-O Fellows gunning for another win at M-OHe is a three-time American Le Mans Series class champion. He has won 24 races, best in ALMS history. He drives for Corvette Racing. Is it any wonder why Ron Fellows has such a strong following?

His fans say no. Nothing Fellows does these days surprises them. Winning races? He has done it at least once every year since 2000, and he has had at least three victories each season since 2001. Qualifying on the class pole? Fellows has 15 in his career, trailing only teammate Olivier Beretta in the ALMS record book.

This weekend, Fellows brings a career full of records, statistics and wins to Mosport International Raceway, site of Sunday's Grand Prix of Mosport. It 's Round 8 of the 2005 ALMS, one that once again sees Fellows and teammate Johnny O'Connell lead the GT1 drivers championship standings. For this race, Fellows has an entire country behind him, pulling for him all the way.

"It's special for me. This is home," said Fellows, who lists seeing the 1969 Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport as a moment that changed his life. "I don't know a lot of the other drivers have this kind of luxury. It's an hour from home, and this is where I did most of my growing up. My first car racing experience was here, and I've just had a number of great memories of Mosport."  zzzz

Fellows and O'Connell won three straight years from 2001-03 at Mosport in their Corvette. The 10-turn, 2.459-mile facility should suit their No. 3 Corvette C6-R just fine, as has every other track it has competed on so far this year. And as it has been at each previous round, the toughest competition is expected to come from the No. 4 Corvette duo of Beretta and Oliver Gavin, who won last year and trail Fellows and O'Connell by just 3 points in the drivers championship standings.

Added pressure? Not really, Fellows insisted. He has been coming to Mosport for years and probably could drive it in his sleep (not that the GM brass would let him). But you get the point.

"We've got a lot of miles there," Fellows said. "It's one track that is an extremely fast track. The corners are long and fast, there is a lot of elevation change and not a lot of room for error. You have to give the place a lot of respect. The first few laps in a car can be intimidating. You have to work up to speed. They don't make tracks like this any more.

"We definitely want to win in terms of the points chase," he added. "For me, it's more a personal thing because you want to do well in front of the hometown crowd. The bottom line is that you do your best. I don't know any other way to approach it. I go to every race trying to be as fast as possible and work with the team to get the car to our liking."

The autograph line for Corvette Racing at each ALMS event usually is the longest in the paddock. It may be even longer for Saturday's session with Fellows being at home. His schedule this week includes a host of media hits, promotional outings and even a seat in this weekend's SPEED World Challenge GT race for Team Cadillac.

But it's just another busy week for Fellows at his home track.

"That is the difficult part of racing in your backyard," admits O'Connell, who already has raced near home at Road Atlanta once this season, and will do it again for Petit Le Mans. "There are more demands on your time. But that's part of the job."

Added Fellows, "Everyone wants to give you well wishes, and you do your best to accommodate everybody. I think people understand that your job is to drive a race car, and it's a little tougher doing double-duty on the weekend."

The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Grand Prix of Mosport, set for 3 p.m. EDT Sept. 4 at Mosport International Raceway, with live coverage on SPEED Channel. Qualifying is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 3. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

Bernie loses another round Bernie loses another roundIt's almost game, set and match.  Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley have lost another round against the World Health Organization (WHO) on tobacco advertising.  China has ratified an international treaty prohibiting tobacco advertising and will ban tobacco vending machines, the government said Monday.  Parliament leaders "supported the treaty by announcing that China will ban tobacco vending machines of any kind" in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, Xinhua said. The treaty requires China to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship on radio, television, print media and the Internet within five years, according to Xinhua.  It also prohibits tobacco company sponsorship of international events and activities.
Some thoughts on pressing IRL issues Some thoughts on pressing IRL issuesExcerpts from Indy Star Q and A article:
Question: Curt, is it a rumor or true? "(Chip) Ganassi thinking of returning to Champ Car". It makes you wonder; he has had a dismal year in the IRL. (Kerry from Anderson, Ind.)

Answer: Well, Chip insists it's not true, but you never know with him, especially with Toyota's IRL days numbered. They've clearly had a bad season. The cars are on edge and often in the wall. I think the number of accidents is 24 with 13 damaged tubs.

Question: Curt, I need some reassurance. Honestly, my faith in Mr. George is starting to waver a little. As I write this, all I am reading and hearing are good things about Champ Car and not so good about the IRL (i.e. no schedule, no Chevy, Toyota, no Red Bull). Help me out with some good news for the future. I'm a worried IRL fan. (Will from Danville, Ind.)

Answer: I can't give you any good news, except for maybe that Honda is committed at this point and there seems to be something brewing with some of the race engine builders (Cosworth and Ilmor). The IRL schedule is going to be radically different next year, so we'll see what effect that has. I guess a positive I can give you is that most of the strong IRL teams appear committed to the series.

Papis tests for Hendrick Papis tests for HendrickRoad-course driver Max Papis spent Aug. 23-24 testing with NASCAR's Hendrick Motorsports at Road Atlanta in an effort to evaluate the team's gearboxes used specifically in a road-racing configuration. Papis drove the demanding Georgia course in one of Hendrick's NEXTEL Cup Series Chevrolets [#48], which was used as a backup race car at Watkins Glen, N.Y., the most recent road race on the circuit. The Italian driver, who tested Road Atlanta solely in race trim, gave excellent feedback throughout the two-day session and helped garner vital information for Hendrick Motorsports. Max Papis is a works driver for General Motors Racing. He drives Corvette C6.R's in endurance races such as the 24 hours of Le Mans and Cadillac CTS' in American Le Mans Series sprint races. He also keeps a busy schedule filling his time in the Grand-Am series where he pilots the TRG Pontiac prototype in selected sports car races. Max will return to Road Atlanta in four weeks time where he will drive a works Corvette C6.R in the ALMS Petite Le Mans event. Max Papis said, "First I must thank everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for presenting me with this opportunity. Everyone was so professional and helpful. This was my first time on a road course in a Cup car. To be able to do such a test in one of the best Cup cars, with one of the best teams was a great learning experience for me. I felt at home after the first twenty laps. To drive one of these cars really fast requires such finesse and focus, and I have to tell you that the engine is incredible! The car is like a rocket down the straights! I think my experience in different types of race cars really helped me in being able to evaluate and offer useful feedback to the team. I think we made good progress in evaluating the team's road race transmissions. It was all hard work, but for me it was fun. Not only because I had the opportunity to drive such a good car, but also because the guy's at Hendrick Motorsports were so good to work with. I would love to be able to work with them again."

Ken Howes - VP Competition, Hendrick Motorsports: "The main reason we scheduled this test with Max was to evaluate the reliability of our transmissions in a road race set-up. We asked Max to drive for us because of his road racing abilities and his experience in a variety of different types of racecars. We felt he could help out. We also wanted his input on all aspects of the car. Another point of view. We now have lots of data to sift through. We learned a lot and are very pleased with Max' efforts. It was a very good test."

Industry News
Toyota getting beaten by Hyundai and GM Toyota getting beaten by Hyundai and GMToyota Motor Corp., preparing to pass General Motors as the world's largest automaker, is a juggernaut in North America and Europe.  Not so in China.  Toyota is stumbling there badly, and GM has become the market leader. Meanwhile, upstart Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea is racing ahead of the Japanese giant.

Asked about Hyundai in China, Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe replies bluntly, "We're getting beat."

Toyota's travails in China show that the Japanese automaker isn't omnipotent. Potentially bad decisions about partners, occasional cultural insensitivity in its marketing and a cautious approach have hurt the company in the world's fastest-growing market.  A look at Toyota's problems in China is a reminder that the company's march to the top of the global auto industry is not inevitable.  Hyundai on the move

In 2004, auto sales at Hyundai Motor and its Kia Motors Corp. affiliate more than doubled that of Toyota in China.  In the first half of 2005, Hyundai sold 152,363 vehicles. Toyota's sales were 48,954. Hyundai ranked third, and Toyota was fifth in China in the first half.

Market leader GM's sales, including minivehicles sold by its SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. affiliate, were 307,749.  In second place, long-time leader Volkswagen Group's sales were 179,722. Honda Motor Co. was fourth with 117,761 sales.

The difference between Hyundai and Toyota? Hyundai's speed and focus.  More at AutoWeek

Ganassi in IRL driver controversy Ganassi in IRL driver controversyChip Ganassi's decision to bring ex-F1 driver Giorgio Pantano to the IRL for the season’s two road-course races has drawn criticism from some who believe Tony George’s series needs more Americans. Pantano, who spent 14 races in one of Eddie Jordan’s cars last season, will be in Ganassi’s No. 10 car for Sunday’s race at Infineon.  For those unfamiliar, Pantano is a 26-year-old Italian who is seventh in the GP2 series. He finished second in one of the races last week in Turkey.  “You’d be hard-pressed to say he’s not the best out there that’s available,” Ganassi said. AutoWeek
Micklewright sees no place for Tony George Micklewright sees no place for Tony GeorgeNeil Micklewright, VP of Operations for Forsythe-Racing, has been working in the sport since 1972, first in Formula One and then CART and Champ Car. He has seen it all. In this interview done in Montreal this past weekend, Micklewright gives us his views on the state of open wheel racing in the USA between Champ Car and the IRL. He was rather adamant about one question in particular:

QUESTION: Is there any role for Tony George in a unified series?

NEIL MICKLEWRIGHT: Not in my opinion, no. I haven't seen anything in the last 10 years that would suggest that he individually has anything to bring to the party.

Read more on Micklewright's views about Champ Car, the IRL and the split/unification.

Champ Car statement on Montreal race Champ Car statement on Montreal raceUPDATE #2 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Just my two cents about the event of last year and this year in Montreal. In 2004, the promoter was Alan Labrosse, Ranger’s agent. He had very little to work with (people, money, experience) and the event did not draw 25,000 paying attendance. There were more stands than this year but they were all empty. The numbers that were announced were 100 K below reality. So this year is an improvement. By far. Last year, Legault was still in the process of saving his Grand Prix and the sale of the event to Labrosse ( from whom he bought the event back) was something of a poisoned gift.

This year, there were less stands ( remember the cost for erecting a stand is around 20$ US a seat), but they were full Saturday and Sunday. And Normand Legault said he would announce the real paying attendance : around 94 K should be accurate. General admission tickets were a good bargain.

Legault became the World Aquatic championship last minute promoter three months before the event because there was a sponsorship scandal and the former CEO committed suicide. He had the staff and the stands, true, but also the credibility. The event was a success.

Now look at the program : Champ Car puts on a good show but the track time they need is much too long. Parades, two-seater and VIP fast laps, the blower…

With a dozen cars, Trans-Am does not draw anymore. They used to be a big attraction in Trois-Rivières for years but with no Ron Fellows or local drivers, it doesn’t mean much anymore. Fans know their races nowadays. Atlantic’s last hurrah with 13 cars ( and 3 C2 cars) was saved because Bessette won. The next series will be exciting but the existing series has been on death row for a few years.

Drifting with 5 cars, at 5 pm, come on! We’re left with the Honda race with locals only. So, all things considered, 94 k is a fair number for the show that was offered.

What lies ahead. A Champ Car series getting better with the new Atlantic and a better under card. Sounds good. NASCAR: Legault is entitled to two events on this track. He will not bring in the stock cars unless he gets a Cup race or promise of a Cup race within a year. NASCAR has made it clear they want to move the Watkins Glen race north. Time will tell.

Then maybe the F1 race will be in jeopardy again. When you consider the pits, the paddock area and the press room to Sepang, Bahrain or Istanbul, Montreal will have to do something to meet the new standards. So, why not have three cards up your sleeve to fill the two available weekends? Name withheld by request

08/28/05 Official figures for the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal have some 93,755 spectators in attendance over the weekend, with 36,204 on hand for today's race. Last year more than 133,000 people were said to have filed through the gates on the weekend, which means this year's race was down significantly.  Meanwhile Champ Car had huge attendance in Toronto and Edmonton, Canada.  All fingers point to the promoter in Montreal who simply did a horrible job promoting the race.  While some towns are plastered with posters and the race is front page news, in Montreal we saw none of that..  So while Champ Car is telling the media this was the plan (i.e. to lower attendance 30+% -- some plan) it's clear Normand Legault and his team failed. 08/28/05 Joe Chrnelich, Executive Vice President of Development, Government Affairs and Planning said, "We are very pleased with the progress made across many areas of this year’s event in Montreal.  Our promoter partner Normand Legault and his team did an excellent job of creating new strategies and value propositions in order to reposition our series in the Montreal marketplace.  Although there is plenty of room for growth in the event, we believe things are heading in the right direction and Champ Car will work side by side with our promoter to do just that.  Ultimately, I believe the fans attending today will leave feeling that they received great value for their investment, saw a great show and had a fun experience.”
IRL struggles at Infineon, beats Champ Car? IRL struggles at Infineon, beats Champ Car?UPDATE #2 Robin Miller, who was at Infineon this weekend, said 20,000 at best were in attendance in his SPEED News Sunday report. This appears to be a closer number than the 40,000 reported by the Indy Star. 08/29/05 This Indy Star article says that the estimated attendance Sunday for the IRL race at Infineon was 40,000, which is better than the Champ Cars drew at Montreal (36,204). A further analysis of the attendance on the backside of the Infineon Raceway does show a fair amount of fans sitting on the hills.

Photos by Bob Heathcote

08/28/05 As expected, the IRL struggled to draw a crowd at Infineon Raceway this weekend. Friday and Saturday saw very few fans show up and as can be seen from the photo to the right the race day crowd left a lot to be desired. The IRL has to figure out what it wants to be. It would be better off if they left the road racing to Champ Car and stuck to ovals (and vice versa). Every time the IRL tried to morph into the old CART they failed.
Cautions ruin race for Enge Cautions ruin race for EngeTomas Enge is happy to be racing in the U.S. He just isn't fond of the officiating on its road courses.  Enge, who has spent his career competing under European rules, said he, and not Tony Kanaan, should have driven to victory lane Sunday at Infineon Raceway.

The fifth-place finisher might have a point.

In Europe, officials do not close the pits when a caution comes out; they do in the U.S., allowing the field to bunch up. With four cautions in Sunday's race, Enge's raw speed was frequently negated.

"For me, a real race is when you have to push from beginning to end, so much so that you have to be pulled out of the car because you're so exhausted," he said. "That didn't happen today. Look around."  Second-place Buddy Rice, who benefited from timely pit strategy, conceded that the race "wasn't as difficult" as expected. Indy Star

Money woes almost sidelined Ranger Money woes almost sidelined RangerLack of sponsorship continue to haunt the Champ Car paddock.  This Canadian Press article says, Rookie Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Que., will finish the Champ Car season despite being strapped for funds after a string of crashes, his team boss said yesterday.

The talented but inexperienced Ranger's contract with the modest Mi-Jack team obliges him to pay for repairs from any accidents on the track and there have been several this season.

"I can tell you we are committed to Andrew for the rest of the season and we'll run him for the rest of the season," said Mi-Jack team boss Eric Bachelart. "It's not an easy situation for sure, but we're going to run for the rest of the season and that's it."

After crashes at San Jose, Milwaukee and Edmonton, the 18-year-old shattered the left side of his car in a crash during the qualifying at the Montreal Molson Indy on Friday.

Alain Labrosse, Ranger's agent, did not comment on a report that he had to borrow $100,000 to ensure the driver could complete the race weekend.

However, Labrosse said he made "new arrangements" with Bachelart that will allow Ranger to keep his ride.

"We have enough money to finish the season," said Labrosse. "We've made arrangements. There's no longer a problem.

"We're not rich, but we signed an agreement with Mr. Bachelart and we will finish the season. Everything is settled."

Wheldon appears to have championship in bag Wheldon appears to have championship in bagTony Kanaan's victory at Infineon Raceway moved him to second place in the IRL championship chase, but he's 79 points behind Wheldon with three races to go. If Wheldon competes in all three races, Kanaan must average 38.3 points, i.e. finish second while Wheldon finishes last..
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Designer leaves Williams
Heidfeld denies '06 deal
10,000 watch Alonso in Moscow
Lining up to buy F1
No record for Albers
Alonso leaves Monza on top
Rossi says he'll test again
Zanardi returns to top step
BMW-less Williams 'can win'
Schu stories squashed
Africa GP layout revealed
Turkey's no Spa - Trulli
Button and Bruce Willis
'I haven't changed' - DC
Schu can't win 'em all
'Flav' denies team orders
Timo Glock has arrived Timo Glock has arrivedFor a rookie leading his first laps in the Champ Car World Series, German Timo Glock made two great restarts, pacing the 18-car field for 19 laps Sunday in Montreal. With nine laps to go, Glock held a 0.441 second lead over second place Oriol Servia, but Servia had 6 push-to-pass seconds left and Glock had none left. Servia tried to make an attempt to get around Glock, but Glock held his ground and maintained the lead. A second attempt was made by Servia six laps later and Glock cut the turn short trying to hold the lead and not lose his momentum. Then a penalty was assessed from Champ Car Race Control to Glock for driving through the chicane after he obtained a warning for the first incident on Lap 70. The rookie was told to let Servia by with one lap to go and he reluctantly did.

"Car No. 2 had tried passing car No. 8 six laps prior to the incident in turn 15. Car No. 8 shortcut the course to maintain the lead and his team was warned. On the second incident, car No. 2 was alongside if not in front when car No. 8 shortcut the course to maintain the lead again. As the team had been warned, positions were reversed. It was a quick judgment that was made concerning the two drivers who were looking for their first wins. It was a difficult decision, but it was the correct decision," an official statement from Tony Cotman, Champ Car Race Director on the incident and ensuing the penalty on Lap 76 to Glock.

Glock drove hard that final lap, but there was not enough time to regain the lead and he finished the day in the number two spot. Glock recorded his best Champ Car finish, and earned a point for leading laps during the race and being the most improved car. He is only the second rookie to stand on the podium this season and the only rookie to finish in the top ten here in Montreal. He now leads the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year battle by 27 points with four races left in the season before the title can be determined.

Afterward team owner Paul Gentilozzi said, "We were struggling with fuel economy and were betting on a yellow. That came out just when we needed it, putting Timo on top. It was going to be close, but we were going to be able to make it to the end. There was some great racing out there. Timo really held his own, and did a great job with restarts. Oriol was quick, and we knew he was coming, especially with push-to-pass time left and that it was going to be close. The team really deserves this; they have been working real hard all season. I knew this kid could drive, and he deserves this " he deserved the win, but Champ Car made a good call and we will take the second place finish. Today was a day that we took a gamble, and the odds were with us."

On Sunday Timo Glock made everyone stand up and take notice. He has arrived.

IPS Series
Andretti handles IPS field at Infineon Andretti handles IPS field at InfineonPolesitter Marco Andretti (with grandfather Mario and father Michael right) played with the rest of the field and led flag-to-flag to win the IPS race at Infineon Raceway today. More later.....

Pos Driver Diff L Laps C/E/T Status
1 Marco Andretti (26) ... 30 D/I/F Running
2 Wade Cunningham (33) 1.0456 30 D/I/F Running
3 Jeff Simmons (24) 1.3909 30 D/I/F Running
4 Nick Bussell (9) 7.4570 30 D/I/F Running
5 Chris Festa (19) 13.0016 30 D/I/F Running
6 Travis Gregg (7) 59.4417 30 D/I/F Running
7 Marty Roth (4) 1:28.9643 30 D/I/F Running
8 Jay Drake (20) 1 lap 29 D/I/F Running
9 Jon Herb (6) 5.4484 29 D/I/F Running
10 Scott Mansell (22) 6 laps 24 D/I/F Mechanical
11 Bobby Wilson (3) 9:19.3954 24 D/I/F Running
12 Jaime Camara (1) 26 laps 4 D/I/F Mechanical
13 Scott Mayer (11) 30 laps 0 D/I/F DNS

Winner's average speed: 88.705 mph      
Time of race: 46:40.3049      
Margin of victory: 1.0456 seconds      
Cautions: 1 caution for 3 laps      
Lead changes: 0 among 1 drivers      
Lap leaders: Andretti 1-30      
Point standings: Cunningham 411, Gregg 378, Bussell 335, Simmons 332, Camara 329, Festa 304, Drake 297, Herb 291, Roth 269, Andretti 208.

Bessette beats Kasemets in Montreal Bessette beats Kasemets in Montreal
As expected Rossi prevails again As expected Rossi prevails againValentino Rossi inched closer to another new MotoGP crown as he scored an impressive victory in this afternoon’s Gauloises Ceske Republiky Grand Prix. Having now boosted his points tally to 261 points, he can hope to clinch the title in the next round at Motegi.

The Italian had a tough race against arch-rival Sete Gibernau. The Movistar Honda rider, who started from pole position, took the lead after an intense fight against the World Champion in the opening laps of the race. Rossi regained the lead by mid-race, but the Spaniard counter-attacked with five laps to go although it always appeared that the final result would be decided in the last couple of laps. Rossi made his move on the penultimate lap and quickly escaped, while Gibernau suffered a mechanical breakdown halfway through the last lap.

As a result, Loris Capirossi inherited the second position; the Ducati rider made a strong comeback after a mediocre start from the front row. A gritty performance from Max Biaggi saw the Roman Emperor clinch third position, a result which allows him to move up to second overall, 132 points adrift of Rossi.

Brazilian veteran Alex Barros took fourth ahead of Nicky Hayden and Marco Melandri. Rossi’s Gauloises Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards took the checkered flag in seventh, followed by Carlos Checa and Troy Bayliss, while Makoto Tamada completed the top 10.

A wet morning practice in Montreal A wet morning practice in MontrealUPDATE The sun is now breaking through and the track is drying, and the fans are pouring in.  The Toyota Atlantic race is running with dry weather tires.  Unless the rain returns, we expect a dry race this afternoon for the Champ Car race. Mark C. 08/28/05 The Rooster Tails were flying this morning in Montreal as the Champ Cars took to the track for Sunday morning warm-up. Despite a wet track the drivers were running hard but there were very few incidents, attesting to the increased level of talent behind the wheel this year. For the moment the rain has stopped and the weatherman promises clearing skies.

Photos by Adriano Manocchia
Photos by AutoRacing1.com

Zanardi wins first WTCC race Zanardi wins first WTCC raceAlex Zanardi has taken his first WTCC win driving a BMW today at Oschersleben. Zanardi finished 8th in the first race, but was on pole for the 2nd race. He defended that position throughout race 2 and won by 0.2 sec. More later:

Pos Driver Car Time
 1. Alessandro Zanardi BMW 320i 21:59.901
 2. Andy Priaulx BMW 320i + 0.232
 3. Jorg Muller BMW 320i + 0.524
 4. Jordi Gene SEAT Leon + 1.527
 5. Augusto Farfus Jr. Alfa Romeo 156 + 2.290
 6. Dirk Muller BMW 320i + 8.472
 7. Rickard Rydell SEAT Toledo Cupra + 10.898
 8. Alain Menu Chevrolet Lacetti + 11.022
 9. Antonio Garcia BMW 320i + 11.397
10. Michael Funke Ford Focus + 11.788
11. Nicola Larini Chevrolet Lacetti + 12.978
12. Robert Huff Chevrolet Lacetti + 17.015
13. Tom Coronel SEAT Toledo Cupra + 18.034
14. Gabriele Tarquini Alfa Romeo 156 + 18.676
15. Stephane Ortelli SEAT Toledo Cupra + 21.590
16. Giuseppe Ciro BMW 320i + 23.322
17. Carl Rosenblad BMW 320i + 28.077
18. Adriano De Micheli Honda Accord Euro R + 52.495
19. Stefano D'aste BMW 320i + 53.681
20. Thomas Klenke Ford Focus + 1 Lap
21. Marc Hennerici BMW 320i + 1 Lap
22. Sascha Ploderl Ford Focus ST170 + 3 Laps


 Driver Car On Lap
 James Thompson Alfa Romeo 156 3
 Valle Makela SEAT Toledo Cupra 2
 Fabrizio Giovanardi Alfa Romeo 156 1
 Peter Terting SEAT Toledo Cupra 1

Danica again fails to impress Danica again fails to impressA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I fail to see what all the hype about Danica Patrick is. It is one thing to be a half or full second off of pole time and quite another to be two and three seconds away. For Giorgio Pantano to come in having never driven an IRL car and clearly out-drive her indicates to me that the IRL is basing all their media hype on another Anna Kournikova. The real heroes of the IRL are the talented drivers who take the wins. Dale McDermont, Atlanta, Georgia
Infineon fails to attract a crowd for IRL Infineon fails to attract a crowd for IRLSo far the turnout for the IRL cars at Infineon Raceway has been lackluster indicating there are no hardcore fans interested in seeing the IRL drivers run on Friday and Saturday. Sunday should be a bit better, though we don't know whether the market was flooded with free ticket giveaways or not. By comparison, at Montreal Saturday for Champ Car qualifying, every single grandstand seat (all 25,000 or so) was full, indicating at least their fans want to see them run Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Photos courtesy IRL (L) and Honda (R)

Williams changes Chief Designer Williams changes Chief DesignerUPDATE The press release from the team - Williams this week confirmed the appointment of Jörg Zander as the company's Chief Designer replacing Gavin Fisher. Zander joins Williams from BAR, where he held the post of Chief Engineer, Mechanics and Transmission and will take up his appointment in September to lead the key decisions to be taken on the FW28 development.

Zander's appointment complements the company's process of restructuring its primary technical posts which commenced with Patrick Head's change in role to Director of Engineering and Sam Michael's ensuing appointment as Technical Director; in 2004, Loic Bigois was promoted to Chief Aerodynamicist and Alex Burns's role was changed to Chief Operating Officer. Zander will work closely with all of the company's technical heads, reporting directly to Technical Director, Sam Michael.

In relation to Zander's appointment, Patrick Head said, "I am delighted that Jörg has decided to join Williams as Chief Designer, consolidating the process of restructuring WilliamsF1's key technical posts. I believe we have set the foundation for one of the strongest technical teams in Formula One, and I have every confidence that Jörg will make a considerable contribution to our ambitions for next season and beyond."

BMW Williams are a firm fifth in the constructors' championship this year 19 points shy of rivals Toyota. The squad will move from BMW to Cosworth power next year. WilliamsF1

08/26/05 Williams' chief designer, Gavin Fisher, will leave the under-performing Oxfordshire team next month. He will be replaced by Jorg Zander, BAR's current transmission chief engineer, who has also worked for Toyota, in world rallying, GT and touring cars.

''I believe we have set the foundation for one of the strongest technical teams in formula one,'' said Williams' co-owner and director of engineering, Patrick Head.

Jorg's first real work will be developing the Cosworth V8-powered FW28. The car will be Williams' first without a works BMW engine since 1999, when the Grove team ran with Supertec power.

Meanwhile, Williams said it had concluded an investigation into the five Turkish right rear tire failures, coming to the conclusion that set-up, bodywork and tire deflection was seemingly to blame.

''A number of precautionary changes have been made to the car,'' a statement read, ''(and) engineers are confident the team will not experience a repeat of the problems.''

Rossi talks about his chances in F1 Rossi talks about his chances in F1Speaking to Italian newspaper Repubblica before this weekend's MotoGP race at Brno, MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi had this to say about his possible move to F1:

"Ferrari invited me to come and test, and since I was on vacation, I went," he said. "But there is nothing to speculate about for the future.

"It wasn't me who asked to come and test, they called me, but I wouldn't let such an opportunity slip me by. It's always a great feeling. For them it was interesting to understand if indeed I can also be fast in cars.

"Did they take advantage of me for marketing reasons? Ferrari has no need for such a thing. Why have I not used my helmet? Simply because they told me that I would have to use what they gave me, which was the same type as Schumacher's. With some adjustments, it was sitting practically perfect on me.

"This time, I did many more kilometers. I wouldn't say it was like starting from zero again, but I had to work hard to get adjusted again and accordingly things improved over the two days.

"Also, the Ferrari engineers treated me like a real test driver, and they strapped small gadgets to gather data. They made different changes to the car and wanted me to tell them how the car behaved every time and what was changed. Many times I guessed it right.

"And I learned that in cars, getting the right set-up is fundamental. Also in motorcycling, if things are not completely in place, the driver can make a big difference. With cars, not so much.

"I can't reveal the lap times, because Ferrari do not want to," he said. "But if you take into account how I improved, I would say the lap times were fine. So yes, I could be fast in Formula One as well.

"In order to understand if I can indeed be competitive [in F1], I must also run on a track more challenging than Fiorano," the Italian said.

"Somewhere like Mugello or Barcelona [would be suitable], because even if I'm familiar with the track, I wouldn't have an advantage; Formula One is a completely different experience altogether."

Green and Petty to return to Petty in '06 Green and Petty to return to Petty in '06Kyle Petty and Jeff Green will both return as the drivers of the #43 and #45 cars next year, Petty confirmed Saturday. Petty, 45, said he is not sure how much longer he will keep racing, but he doesn’t see his retirement any time in the immediate future. The son of NASCAR legend, Richard Petty, still loves to drive. "No 9-year-old kid goes to bed at night dreaming about signing autographs at Target," Petty said. "You dream about driving a racecar. As long as I still love driving a racecar, I can put up with the other stuff." Bristol Herald Courier
Raining in Montreal Raining in MontrealAt almost 7 AM in Montreal a good soaking rain is falling which will likely keep the General Admission crowd away for today's Champ Car race. The strategy of not selling grandstand seats and instead going with lower cost general admission tickets on race day means that the promoter will lose any revenue he thought he was going to gain, whereas with grandstand seating he would have had that revenue locked in through advanced sales. Sometimes, when you play with fire, you get doused by the rain!
Race Car Driver show ready for debut Race Car Driver show ready for debutOn Wednesday September 7th at 8pm ET, the ultimate in fast-lane lifestyles featuring the high-speed racing and entertainment festivals of America's premier open wheel racing series will roar into living rooms across North America when Superstation WGN premieres a new turbocharged prime-time reality TV show called "Race Car Driver". An inside look at the personalities and fascinating lives of the drivers, team owners and crew members of the Champ Car World Series, the thirteen weekly half-hour episodes will chronicle the dramatic 2005 racing season from Long Beach to Mexico City.

Featuring the aggressive Paul Tracy, rising star Mario Dominguez, team owner Gerald Forsythe and the entire Forsythe Championship Racing Team, the show also spotlights their arch rivals Newman-Haas Racing led by mercurial defending champion Sebastien Bourdais with legendary team owners Paul Newman and Carl Haas, and the PKV Racing Team with Tracy's close friend and jokester Jimmy Vasser and co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. Cameras and microphones have been there every moment, both on and off the track, since the season opening event in Long Beach. From pit lane to private parties, from team meetings to autograph sessions, from weekends at home to physical confrontations on the track, Race Car Driver will provide full-access appreciation of what it takes to compete at the top of the motorsport ladder and how the heroes of open-wheel racing relax away from the spotlight.

Set in stunning North American and international urban venues, Champ Car's three day racing and entertainment "Festivals of Speed" will draw over two million fans to its exciting 2005 events on unforgiving downtown streets, winding road courses, wide-open airport circuits and high-speed oval tracks as they thrill to the sights, sounds, smells and turbocharged sensations of 800-horsepower monster machines and their amazing athlete-pilots. It's a show you won't want to miss.

Episodes are broadcast weekly across the USA and Canada on Superstation WGN on Wednesday nights at 8pm ET beginning September 7th immediately following "Will & Grace" and "Home Improvement" and repeated on Saturday evenings (check local listings).

Join the Forsythe, Newman-Haas and PKV teams as Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford - the toughest, most diverse and genuinely competitive motor racing series in the world. There are no scripts ... just real people - real racing - real drama!

For more information: www.RaceCarTV.com

Riggs signs to drive No. 10 Riggs signs to drive No. 10Valvoline Evernham Racing, a partnership between Valvoline and Evernham Motorsports, announced that Scott Riggs will be the driver of the #10 Valvoline Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2006. Evernham Motorsports and Valvoline entered into a partnership earlier this year for the team which will operate from the recently completed third facility at the Evernham Motorsports complex. Valvoline will be the primary sponsor for the #10 Valvoline Dodge Charger for at least 22 races and an associate sponsor for the #10 Dodge Charger for the remaining events on the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule. In addition to maintaining the inventory of racecars, Evernham will also provide engines and the team will have full access to Evernham R&D. Riggs is currently in his second season of competition in the Nextel Cup Series as the driver of the MBV #10 Valvoline Chevy. In 58 events, Riggs has three top-five and six top-10 finishes, including a second-place finish at Michigan. He claimed his first career pole earlier this year at Martinsville. A crew chief for the team will be announced later. Much of the team personnel will transfer to the #10 team from Evernham Motorsports' #91 team. The third full-time team allows Evernham Motorsports to continue to grow and expand its operations. An expanded stable allows Evernham Motorsports to accelerate its R&D efforts, increase its test dates [doesn't look like that in 2006], enhance its ability to collect and analyze data and make improvements more quickly and efficiently. "This is a new era in Valvoline's long racing tradition," said Valvoline Designated Team Owner Jim Rocco. "As is the case with our current team, Valvoline will leave the running of the team - the competition, personnel and equipment - to Ray and his team. Valvoline's expertise is marketing and we will continue to make our NASCAR Nextel Cup Series racing effort serve the needs of our family of brands, which include Valvoline, Eagle One and Zerex." The paint scheme for the #10 Valvoline Dodge Charger will be unveiled later this year. Clear!Blue/Evernham Motorsports PR
Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson Win at Mid-Ohio Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson Win at Mid-OhioIn a pulse-pounding finish to the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (SPEED Channel, Sunday, 12:00 Noon ET), No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford driver Butch Leitzinger held off Scott Pruett’s No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley by just 0.465 seconds and crossed the stripe just 2.126 seconds ahead of the sixth place finisher to take the victory.

Leitzinger took advantage of a full-course caution with 10 laps remaining in the 94-lap race to move into striking distance of the race-leading Pruett and charged to the inside of Turn 1 on the restart with seven laps to go to take the lead. He then withstood several late challenges from Pruett—who was also being pressured from behind—to secure the second Rolex Series victory of the season for himself and his Howard-Boss Motorsports co-driver, Elliott Forbes-Robinson.

“It was a furious race,” Leitzinger said. “Everyone was just flat out.  It was one of the most furious races I’ve ever been in.  The track didn’t have much grip after it rained (earlier in the day).  The car was just perfect on the turns that really mattered for passing, and that’s what told the story.”  zzzz

Forbes-Robinson started the race from the sixth position and remained in contention through several full-course caution periods before handing the car over to Leitzinger on Lap 38 for the run to the checkers. It was the fifth top-two finish of the season for Leitzinger and Forbes-Robinson, and was the duo’s first victory since the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in June.

“Butch did such a great job at the end of the race,” Forbes-Robinson said. “I went out first when it was all caution.  It didn’t handle quite as we liked.  Butch made me really nervous, but he made some spectacular moves to get to the front.  It was awesome.”

After taking control of the No. 01 machine from co-driver Luis Diaz on Lap 38, Pruett quickly moved into second place and pressured race-leader Terry Borcheller in the No. 54 Kodak EasyShare Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran for a number of laps before finally taking the lead in Turn 9 on Lap 76. He was challenged several times by Leitzinger prior to the full-course caution on Lap 84 before Leitzinger made his decisive pass on the restart. As a result, Pruett came home just short in his bid for a repeat victory at Mid-Ohio for the No. 01 team.

“Butch had just a little bit more than we did there at the end,” Pruett said. “It’s just the same situation we had in Laguna Seca, but the roles were reversed. On the restart I gave him enough room to challenge, but the racing was clean. It was a good door-to-door duel that I’m sure the fans appreciated. Our CompUSA pit stops were perfect all day, but we had to save a lot of fuel in the middle of the race which held us back.”

Diaz started second, but lost the position to Michael McDowell in the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley on the first lap. Nevertheless, the Mexican kept the car within sight of the leaders throughout his stint. It was the fifth podium finish of the season for Diaz and Pruett, but the first since a third-place run in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June.

One of the key storylines going into the race was how Daytona Prototype points co-leaders Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor would respond after their No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley caught fire with Taylor at the wheel during Friday’s qualifying session. The SunTrust team worked overnight to rebuild the car, which was ready in time for the morning warm-up.

However, Taylor and Angelelli still faced an uphill battle in the race. Taylor would have to start from 19th on the Daytona Prototype grid owing to an engine change, and it seemed before the race that the door might have been open for Taylor and Angelelli’s pursuers to gain significant ground in the championship chase.

The No. 10 co-drivers quickly slammed that door, as Taylor marched toward the front from the drop of the green flag before handing off to Angelelli on a Lap 17 pit stop. As he has done on more than one occasion, Angelelli sliced through the field and found his way to third place as the race reached its zenith. While Pruett desperately searched for a way past Leitzinger in the closing laps, Angelelli nearly took second place away from the defending Daytona Prototype co-champion. He settled for a well-deserved third-place result.

“Basically, I got eight hours of sleep, but the guys stayed up since yesterday and never slept,” Angelelli said. “They're incredible.  I think it took 12 hours to completely redo the car.  I think we started the engine for the first time at eight o’clock this morning and in the warm-up, everything was fantastic. I have to say that today's car was even better than yesterday's.”

While they finished third to their closest competitors in the Daytona Prototype championship standings, Taylor was quick to point out that it could have been considerably worse. He and Angelelli collected their seventh podium result of the season—and fourth-in-a-row—and lead Pruett and Diaz by 19 points, 312-293, with 10 of 14 races now in the books.

“It means a lot for the championship,” Taylor said. “We could have been out of the race. That incident with the fire could have happened this morning. If it had happened this morning in warm-up instead of yesterday we'd be done. I really believe things happen for a reason. The championship is not over, but today we didn't lose too many points, and that's thanks to Max.”

After running second to polesitter Alex Gurney in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley for the first 36 laps, McDowell took over the lead when Gurney pitted on Lap 37 and led for seven laps before making a pit stop of his own. On the pit stop, McDowell turned the car over to co-driver Memo Gidley, who brought the car home to its fifth top-four result in its past six races with a fourth-place performance.

Max Papis and Jörg Bergmeister finished fifth in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley for their third top-five result of the season together. It was Bergmeister’s sixth top five overall. Bergmeister and Papis finished just ahead of Nic Jönsson and Tracy Krohn, who co-drove the No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley to a sixth place finish. The No. 67 duo came home just 2.126 seconds behind the winners despite a persistent cloud of smoke at the rear of the car that forced Jönsson onto pit road after leading Laps 44 through 60.

Rossi stays with Yamaha Rossi stays with YamahaWorld MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will race for Yamaha in 2006 after extending his deal for a year. The Italian, 26, won the title in his first season with Yamaha last year and is now on course for a fifth in a row.

"I am so happy to be able to announce the continuation of my relationship with Yamaha," said Rossi. "Last year was magic, to win my first race with Yamaha and then to win the championship. It just made sense to stay with Yamaha for another year."

Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis said: "This year is the 50th anniversary for Yamaha and is therefore a very special year us. "We hope our MotoGP efforts will culminate in a second world title for Valentino. The partnership with Valentino is the key point that will now allow us to proceed with our total MotoGP strategy for 2006."

The London-based rider was rumored to be contemplating a move to Formula One but has ruled it out for now. "I'm quite sure I will still be racing MotoGP motorcycles when the new rule changes come in for 2007," he said last month. BBC Sport

Gibernau claims pole at Brno Gibernau claims pole at BrnoSete Gibernau claimed pole for Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno.  Spaniard Gibernau posted the fastest lap of one minute 57.504 seconds to edge Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden of America, who was 0.047 seconds behind.  Loris Capirossi of Italy guided his Ducati to third in 1:57.685 to complete the front row of the grid.  Yamaha rider and MotoGP title holder Valentino Rossi failed to qualify on the front row as his best time of 1:57.875 left him in fourth, however, never count out Rossi.
IPS Series
Marco Andretti wins pole Marco Andretti wins poleMarco Andretti claimed his third career pole position, winning the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award for the Sonoma 100.

Andretti, the son of IndyCar Series team owner Michael Andretti and grandson of racing legend Mario Andretti, has won the pole position for each of the series’ two non-oval races. He recorded a lap of 1:24.2261 (98.307 mph).

Rookie Bobby Wilson, making his series debut with Brian Stewart Racing, will start alongside Andretti after recording a lap of 1:24.2379 (98.293 mph).

Qualifying Saturday for the Sonoma 100 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series event on the 2.3-mile Infineon Raceway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:
1. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Infiniti, 98.307
2. (3) Bobby Wilson, Dallara-Infiniti, 98.293
3. (24) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 98.158
4. (33) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Infiniti, 97.626
5. (19) Chris Festa, Dallara-Infiniti, 97.592
6. (1) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Infiniti, 97.329
7. (22) Scott Mansell, Dallara-Infiniti, 96.482
8. (9) Nick Bussell, Dallara-Infiniti, 96.413
9. (7) Travis Gregg, Dallara-Infiniti, 95.088
10. (20) Jay Drake, Dallara-Infiniti, 94.968
11. (6) Jon Herb, Dallara-Infiniti, 89.176
12. (4) Marty Roth, Dallara-Infiniti, no speed
13. (11) Scott Mayer, Dallara-Infiniti, no speed
Graf wins race and title Graf wins race and titleTrans-Am series Rookie-of-the-Year, Klaus Graf was named champion after the checkered flag fell on the season ending Trans-Am event during the Molson Indy Montreal. Driving the No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR from his fifth place starting position, the German native worked his way through the field to take over the lead on lap 25 and remained there to the end. Rocketsports teammate Tomy Drissi in the No. 5 Transporter2 the Movie Jaguar XKR and four-time series champion, Paul Gentilozzi in the No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR were sidelined early with mechanical problems.

Heading into today’s event, Graf needed to finish sixth or better to clinch the 2005 Trans-Am Championship. The 34-year-old became the first German national to win the Trans-Am championship in its 40-year history. Graf also is only the second driver to win both the Rookie-of-the-Year title and the championship in the same year. Dorsey Schroeder accomplished the feat 1989. zzzz

The goal for the 2005 Trans-Am Champion today was to finish the race, circumstances allowed him to not only finish but win. “I actually wasn’t planning on winning today,” declared Graf. “Paul had some kind of problem, it was unfortunate. We had a nice lead running one and two and we wanted to keep it that way. Thanks a lot to Trans-Am, Rocketsports Racing and Jaguar, I really enjoyed this year. We had some really good racing, unbelievable, a perfect weekend. My family came from Germany especially for this weekend, we won the race and the championship, it couldn’t be better.”

With Graf championship, Rocketsports Racing owner, Gentilozzi grabs his sixth championship as an owner. “We needed to do this. It was the right thing for Jaguar and Klaus,” said Gentilozzi. “I am happy. You know it is hard to be happy for other people but now that they are part of our team and that really validates it. Klaus is a classy guy who can really drive a race car and now that he is part of the Rocketsports and Jaguar tradition, I couldn’t be happier.”

Starting from the pole after the top-five inversion, the Rockin’ Moroccan, Drissi drove hard and led the first 10 laps until clutch problems ended his day early on lap 14. “I really wanted to win this event in Montreal,” said Drissi. “We ran up front giving Transporter2 the movie some good television time and held off Paul for a while. Congratulations to Klaus, he is a great driver and an all around good guy. I look forward to racing with him in the future.”

Watch the excitement of the championship going down the last lap when SPEED channel airs the event on Sunday, September 18th at 1:00 pm Eastern Time.
Martinez wins first pole in Montreal Martinez wins first pole in Montreal
Bourdais the polemeister Bourdais the polemeisterToday's pole position for Sebastien Bourdais in Montreal was his 17th pole position in his 42nd Champ Car start as well as his 4th of the season. 17 in 42 starts is a pole percentage of 40.5 percent, which is better than Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna were able to achieve, and may be the best in CART/Champ Car history.
Soft Bridgestone rain tires for Montreal Soft Bridgestone rain tires for MontrealIf it rains in Montreal Sunday (60% chance) the Champ Cars will run their first rain event since Road America in 2003.  Bridgestone has brought their softest rain tire to the event, the one used for street circuits.
Grand-Am and IRL team up at Infineon in ’06 Grand-Am and IRL team up at Infineon in ’06Infineon Raceway and Grand American Road Racing Association officials announced today that the highly-competitive Rolex Sports Car Series will tackle the Sonoma Valley road course for the first time next summer, combining with the IRL IndyCar® Series to offer Northern California fans an unparalleled weekend of road-racing action.

Raceway and IRL officials also confirmed that the IndyCar® Series will return to the Sonoma County road course next summer, Aug. 25-27, 2006. zzzz

The Rolex Series, which includes classes for Daytona Prototypes and production-based GT sports cars, will come to Infineon Raceway for the first time since its inception in 2000 and will be the featured event on Saturday of the 2006 weekend. 

“Since renovating this facility, it has been our mission to offer fans in Northern California the widest possible variety of motor racing action,” said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway.  “The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series delivers some of the most consistently competitive racing of any series on any kind of track and the combination of Rolex Sports Cars and IndyCars® next summer is going to make for a dream weekend at this raceway.”

The Rolex Series is headlined by the Daytona Prototype category that in only its third-year of competition has led the growth in Grand American Road Racing’s popularity.

The class features exotic, thoroughbred racecars that reach top speeds in excess of 185 mph and popular drivers like Californians Scott Pruett (Loomis), Memo Gidley (Novato) and second-generation star Alex Gurney (Los Angeles), in addition to Christian Fittipaldi, Max Angelelli, Andy Wallace, Stefan Johansson, Wayne Taylor, Max Papis, Butch Leitzinger, Milka Duno, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and dozens more.  Pruett and Papis are the reigning Daytona Prototype co-champions. 

The GT class makes up the other half of the Rolex Series lineup and features race-prepared versions of today’s popular international and American-made high-performance sports cars and coupes such as the BMW M3, Porsche GT3 and the Pontiac GTO.  Several top Californians also compete in GT including Justin Marks, Joey Hand and reigning GT champion Bill Auberlen.  Rolex Series events typically feature well in excess of 40 entries — Daytona Prototype and GT combined — creating competitive on-track action and the traditional “race within a race” sports car format.

“We’re obviously thrilled to add another world-class road course in Infineon Raceway to our 2006 Rolex Series calendar,” Grand American President Roger Edmondson said. “Together with events at California Speedway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the addition of Infineon Raceway creates a California ‘Triple Crown’ of sorts and allows us to reach even more sports car fans on the West Coast. We expect that our event will provide race fans in the Sonoma Valley with the hotly-contested brand of sports car racing they so richly deserve.”

This weekend’s Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix marks the first event on a permanent road course in the 10-year history of the IRL.

“The fans and media in the Northern California region have embraced the IndyCar® Series,” said Ken Ungar, senior vice president of business affairs for the IRL. “There has been an incredible amount of interest about the IndyCar® Series event at Infineon Raceway ever since we made the schedule announcement last year. We're looking forward to a great weekend, and are very excited about returning to Sonoma next year. Moving forward, we hope this race will become a premier event on the IndyCar® Series schedule.”

The Rolex Series and IRL currently race together at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will also be part of a doubleheader weekend next month at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) where the IRL will make its debut.


SCOTT PRUETT, Driver, No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley:  “In a word– awesome. I couldn’t think of a better racetrack. It’s just an awesome venue. Infineon Raceway is my home track having grown up in California, and I’ve raced everything with four wheels on it there. It’s in a great part of the country in Napa Valley, and there are so many cool things to do around the venue. Adding Sonoma to our schedule only furthers the growth the Rolex Series is experiencing, and I can’t wait to get back there again.”

STEFAN JOHANSSON, Driver, No. 2 New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley:  “I like the fact that the series is taking on more permanent road courses. Infineon is a great circuit located in an ideal part of the country. The fact that we can combine forces once again with the IndyCar Series will make for a very entertaining weekend for West Coast racing enthusiasts. There’s just so much going on in that area with wineries and the whole Napa Valley, and I recently moved to California so it’s another race for us in my back yard.”

KEVIN BUCKLER, Owner, TRG:  “That is a huge deal. That is one of the most demanding road circuits in all of racing. It’s perfect for our series. The Northern California market is just a top-notch sports car market. The demographics of the area are second to none, especially when it comes to sports car enthusiasts. Everybody loves going to Northern California. It’s a fun time for all, great wine tasting, the coast, it’s perfect. It’s just a great venue. It’s my home course, and it’s the most physically-demanding road course, period. Having cars racing nose-to-tail there will be like nothing we’ve ever seen.”

MEMO GIDLEY, Driver, No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance Finlay Motorsports BMW Riley:  “This is great news. Infineon Raceway is my home track. I live less than 10 minutes away. It’s a great opportunity for my family and friends who don’t normally get to see me race to come to the track. I’ve raced a lot of go-karts in the area, and it’s a chance for them to see me racing in something other than that. It’s also nice to sleep in your own bed.”

Franchitti tops morning practice at Infineon Franchitti tops morning practice at InfineonDario Franchitti moved to the top of the charts in morning practice for the IndyCars at Infineon Raceway.
Pos No Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 27 Dario Franchitti 1:16.0676  108.851 9 10
2 33 Ryan Briscoe 1:16.3002  108.519 12 12
3 3 Helio Castroneves 1:16.3880  108.394 15 16
4 26 Dan Wheldon 1:16.5530  108.160 12 13
5 11 Tony Kanaan 1:16.5979  108.097 11 12
6 2 Tomas Enge 1:16.9212  107.643 12 12
7 7 Bryan Herta 1:16.9283  107.633 8 9
8 6 Sam Hornish Jr. 1:16.9642  107.582 16 16
9 15 Buddy Rice 1:17.0426  107.473 12 12
10 10 Giorgio Pantano 1:17.0433  107.472 12 12
11 9 Scott Dixon 1:17.1148  107.372 11 15
12 51 Alex Barron 1:17.1378  107.340 12 14
13 4 Tomas Scheckter 1:17.5553  106.763 15 15
14 17 Vitor Meira 1:17.5934  106.710 8 12
15 83 Patrick Carpentier 1:17.8298  106.386 12 14
16 8 Scott Sharp 1:18.4052  105.605 13 14
17 16 Danica Patrick 1:18.4949  105.485 9 12
18 55 Kosuke Matsuura 1:18.7072  105.200 9 14
19 14 Jeff Bucknum 1:18.9970  104.814 17 17
20 24 Roger Yasukawa 1:19.2792  104.441 12 12
21 20 Ed Carpenter 1:21.1721  102.005 11 11
Industry News
Champ Car well positioned to capitalize on Korea Champ Car well positioned to capitalize on KoreaUPDATE Joe Chrnelich, back from his trip to Ansan, South Korea, reports that all systems are go for the race in October and the promoter expects at least 100,000 on race day and that the entire town is plastered with race promotion posters....unlike Montreal where we see none of that. Mark C. 08/19/05 As Champ Car prepares for its inaugural race in South Korea in October, Korea brands are bursting onto the global marketplace in a big way. Champ Car is well positioned to land some of those Korean companies as sponsors once they have their first race behind them.

As high-tech Samsung phones, sleek LG flat-panel TVs and reliable Hyundai Sonatas make it onto the wish list of the modern consumer, it is clear that Korean brands have come a long way from the not-so-recent past when these very brands were associated with a low-end image and shoddy quality. Yet within less than a decade, these brands have muscled their way into the big league of global names. In the latest Top 100 Brands ranking compiled by BusinessWeek magazine and brand consultancy Interbrand, Samsung surpassed its Japanese rival Sony to take the 20th spot in the list, leaving the latter in 28th. More impressively, Samsung posted a steep 186% gain in brand value over the past five years.

The top 10 international brands are Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, GE, Intel, Nokia, Disney, McDonald's, Toyota and Marlboro, Toyota being the only Asian brand in this elite club.

Hyundai and LG have also displayed their prowess by breaking into the top-100 list for the first time, landing the 84th and 97th spots, respectively. What lies behind the phenomenal success of the reinvention of Korean brands? It's a story of big ambitions, corporate culture shake-ups, and a laser-sharp focus on design and innovation as well as aggressive marketing and expansion strategies. The rising popularity of Korean pop culture - the so-called "kim chic" - has been another helpful bonus.

Riding on such popularity, companies from Samsung to Hyundai have certainly pushed their products onto world markets aggressively, allowing them to join the family of global brands. In this regard, the rise of China and India provided opportunities to aid expansion. Hyundai, for instance, has seen surging sales in emerging markets other than the US. The car company even managed to be the top-selling foreign brand in China with a 9.8% market share, overtaking brands like Volkswagen, Ford , GM and Toyota. More at Asia Times Online [Editor's Note: Kind of ironic that we hear Honda does not want to compete against Hyundai on the race track when someday, given their rate of progress, Hyundai may surpass them in the showroom. And watch out for the Korean tires, Kumho and Hankook, both are slowly making inroads into racing.]

Bourdais again fastest in Montreal Bourdais again fastest in MontrealSebastien Bourdais was again the fastest man in Montreal, this time by a comfortable 6/10th's of a second over Mario Dominguez and 7/10th's over Paul Tracy, in morning Champ Car practice in Montreal.  AJ Allmendinger and Alex Tagliani rounded out the top-5.
Chrnelich explains Montreal strategy Chrnelich explains Montreal strategyWe caught up with Executive Vice-President, Development, Governmental Affairs & Planning of Champ Car, Joe Chrnelich, Saturday morning to find out why so few grandstands in Montreal this year.

AutoRacing1.com: Joe, we see a lot less grandstands here in Montreal than in the past. That has led to a lot of speculation about the future of this event for Champ Car. Can you explain what is going on?

Chrnelich: Clearly when everyone came the visual of less grandstands caught everyone's attention. The reality is that this has been a very deliberate and well thought-out strategy to rebuild the fan base in Montreal and develop a product differentiation from the F1 crowd all based on increased value (by lowering ticket prices - it costs $10 per seat to erect grandstands) to the customer and re-attracting families, and also attracting the youth demographic, so we can have a long-term sustainable fan base.

"We have faith in our promoters and in Normand Legault and his team. They know Montreal and when they say this is what we have to do to re-energize the product and re-grow this event, we listen. For a lot of people the optic was a little bit startling at first. But the reality is that sales are up from last year and we expect a bigger crowd than in previous years, but it's going to look different with more of a 'park' feel than a traditional grandstand look with people right up close to the fence, which is what we like for our product. We have drifting, we have tuner exhibits, and we have kids interactive exhibits.

"Normand Legault is a loyal, and I can tell you, long-term partner. Norman Legault in top-shelf and he knows what he is doing."

Industry News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Czech Grand Prix
Brno, Czech Republic
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
EMCO Gears Classic 
Mid-Ohio  (08/27/05)
12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
Molson Indy Montreal
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (Live) NBC
Road America  (08/21/05)
Elkhart Lake, WI
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
'Danica Patrick: Race to Indy'
2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix
Infineon Raceway
Sonoma, CA
3:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET (Live) ESPN      
Czech Grand Prix
Brno, Czech Republic
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane
Bristol, TN
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-host: Kenny Schrader
Featured Interview: Jimmie Johnson
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Germany  (08/26/05 - 08/28/05)
11:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, SPEED
For a complete listing of Sunday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.
Q and A with Jarno Trulli on Istanbul Q and A with Jarno Trulli on IstanbulAhead of his home race at Monza a week Sunday, Jarno Trulli talks of his weekend at Istanbul in which he finished sixth for Toyota, the ongoing debate about qualifying and the forthcoming Italian Grand Prix.

What are your impressions of Istanbul?
"First of all, I think it's good for Formula 1 to come to new countries. Grand Prix racing has grown hugely in the past 10 to 20 years and there's practically nowhere that isn't aware of F1. I think Bernie Ecclestone has done a tremendous job in that respect. Africa is the only continent that doesn't currently have a Grand Prix and, I understand, there was a delegation from South Africa in Istanbul, hoping to have a race from 2009 in Cape Town. If that happens, it will mean that we cover all five continents."

Did you get a chance to see any of Istanbul itself?
"Unfortunately not. I did not fly in very much before the race because I was taking advantage of Formula 1's summer break to spend some time with my family. But by all accounts it is a very interesting place and I hope to see a bit more of it next year."

Some said Istanbul Park is on a par with F1's best tracks. Do you agree?
"It is interesting, well laid-out and well-executed but I found it quite simple to learn and to drive. It was quite flat in terms of performance and doing a good lap time there is more down to the car than the driver. I like circuits where the driver has a bigger part to play in the performance equation."

But everyone seemed to agree that Turn 8 was very challenging?
"It's challenging but it can't be taken flat-out. There are actually three or four bumps all the way round, at every apex actually, and you have to fight the car quite a bit. We saw quite a few incidents there in practice and qualifying and you do need all your downforce to be quick through there. If anything compromises the downforce, for instance hitting a bump too hard or suffering some damage to the car, then you can be in trouble."

You scored another three points for sixth place. Was it a good weekend for you?
"I qualified fifth and I think that's the 12th time I've qualified in the top five in the 14 races we've had this season, so that was quite satisfying. The wind actually increased quite a lot between free practice on Saturday morning and qualifying in the afternoon. That made the car more difficult to drive and was one of the factors that led to my team mate losing time at Turn 9 when he looked set to qualify on the third row with me. Generally, it's always interesting coming to a new circuit because there is no previous data to work with, just computer simulations. The fact that we continued performing at a high level proved that the team did a good job."

What were your expectations ahead of the race?
"Well, I didn't think we would be able to challenge the McLarens and Renaults but I was hoping to maintain my fifth position. We had noticed in the free practice sessions that BAR seemed to have strong pace but they both had problems and qualified a bit further down. Unfortunately, Jenson Button's pit stop strategy meant that he ran four laps further than me before the second and final pit stops, and he got ahead. I had a bit of traffic at important points, which didn't help."

All the Michelin teams went for the harder tire. Was wear a concern?
"Actually, the tire degradation was low, it's just that the harder tire was more suitable."

Did you take part in the post-Hungary meeting with FIA president Max Mosley to discuss safety and other F1 issues?
"Yes. We met in Nice immediately after Budapest. It was very positive and in general Mr. Mosley was receptive to everything we brought up. I think everyone appreciates that safety in testing needs to be just as good as at races. Testing is very intensive these days, we do a lot of laps and it is what it says – testing – and so some things might fail."

What qualifying system would you prefer to see next year?
"Well, we made some comments and gave some advice and it is still under discussion. We will have to wait and see. Getting unanimous opinion on anything in F1 is pretty difficult and people have different opinions. But it's not really up to the drivers, it's up to F1 as a whole to choose the best option. The feelings of the fans and the broadcasters have currency in that debate as well."

Do you agree with the idea of having two flying laps instead of one?
"I'm pretty easy about it to be honest. I agree with everything. I'm not a difficult customer!"

Are you looking forward to the Italian Grand Prix, your home race?
"It's always nice to race in front of your own fans and I like Monza. It is a special place with a lot of history. It is very high speed of course, and we will have the opportunity to test before the race, so hopefully we will be in good shape. But everyone else will be testing as well and the competitiveness of F1 gets stronger and stronger. I'd love to score another podium at Monza." Source Toyota
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