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Alesi to leave DTM Alesi to leave DTMUPDATE "I am absolutely certain that I am ignored by Mercedes," Alesi told Eurosport.com.  Do you know how much I have tested in five years? Three days. Three days in five years. Mercedes will test, frequently with the other drivers, but not me.  And I get stuck with an old car.  I conclude my participation in the DTM championship at the end of the year, and I will enter another championship in 2007."  Our guess is A1GP, as we suspect he is too old for Champ Car.

08/31/06 Jean Alesi is leaving the DTM Mercedes-Benz team at the end of the season. The former F1 driver has been racing in the series since 2002 but is frustrated that he cannot be more competitive. Alesi says he is not keen to make a fuss but clearly feels that he has not been given the same opportunities as other drivers.  Jean says that he will still be racing next year but has yet to say where that will be. Grandprix.com
Carpentier to make stock car debut Carpentier to make stock car debutMontréal, QC, August 31st, 2006 -Patrick Carpentier will make his stock car debut this Labour Day weekend at Cayuga International Speedway, a short oval track located near Hamilton, Ontario. Carpentier will drive David Jacombs' #88 Ford Taurus in Round 9 of the CASCAR Super Series 2006 schedule slated to start Sunday at 1:00 p.m. For the Joliette, Quebec native, this is a great opportunity to learn from seasoned pros competing in this type of series. The Canadian open-wheel star, who spent nine years in Champ Car and in the Indy Racing League (IRL), drove a couple of races this season behind the wheel of Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex Sports Car Championship, including last weekend's event in California, where he finished 7th overall. However, this will be his first tin-top start on a short track.

"I'm going to Cayuga to learn, but it could be a tough learning experience on such a short track," mentioned Carpentier after testing a NASCAR East Series Monte Carlo last Tuesday in Saint-Eustache (QC). "I had a bit of track time to learn the car, and I must admit that you don't see much of who's around you with no mirrors on the car. However, someone remarked that I would not be the only one not to see anything on the track. I will have to count on the spotter, who usually stands high in the grandstands, to guide me through traffic. I hope he is good at his job!!! In open-wheel racing, your head sticks out of the bodywork, and you can clearly see what is around you. This promises to be something else."  zzzz

Team owner and current driver, Jacombs, yielded his seat to Carpentier after Jerry Santucci, the new track owner of Cayuga International Speedway, proposed to sponsor Carpentier's inaugural stock car race. Jacombs, who knows Cayuga very well, has all the right setups for that track. Carpentier won't have to dial a new car, so all he will have to do is learn the car's reactions and adjust his driving, which will still be no small task.

"With the very short experience I have had with these types of cars, I realized that there is little downforce, but they have tremendous power coming out of the corners," continued Carpentier, who also has Mecachrome as a personal sponsor in his quest to eventually compete in NASCAR in the USA. "There are little or no electronic devices to send data to the stand. Most of the adjustments to the car during the pit stops come from radio communications between the driver and crew chief. There are a lot of things that I have to re-learn with these types of cars, but I am willing to do it. This will be my first stock car race and I'm competing against drivers who have a lot of experience. My goal is to be there at the finish and if I can, on the leader's lap."

Carpentier got his first taste of stock car driving last July under the supervision of Quebec's legendary stock car driver, Jean-Paul Cabana, who owns a stock car driving school at Sanair Speedway (QC). This weekend, Carpentier will be on track Friday for a private test session. CASCAR  Super Series practice begins Saturday at 3:00 p.m., and Twin 50 Shootout Races, to set the starting grid, will be run under the lights starting at 8:00 p.m. The green flag for the HOT HEAD HENRY 200 will be given Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

industry News
It’s Official: Ford to sell Aston Martin It’s Official: Ford to sell Aston MartinAston Martin has been put up for sale by the struggling Ford Motor Co., the company said Thursday. Ford said in a statement that it is exploring the sale of all or part of the British-based carmaker, in part to raise capital for its other brands. British-based Aston Martin makes about 5,000 cars a year. They cost upward of $100,000 each.
New look for Kanaan New look for KanaanThanks to a lucky Brazilian fan, 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan will sport a new look for the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 on Sept. 10.

Fernando Perdiz de Carvalho of Sao Paulo, Brazil, won a contest sponsored by BAND Sports, which televises IndyCar Series events in Brazil, to design the helmet scheme to be used by Kanaan in the season-ending IndyCar Series event. Hundreds of entries from around Brazil were received, according to Kanaan's official website.

Kanaan will present the helmet to Perdiz de Carvalho at the Grandja Viana 500 go-karting race later this year in Brazil.

Racing News
Andretti trophy to inaugural SPEED performer award winner Andretti trophy to inaugural SPEED performer award winnerCHARLOTTE – When brought up in conversation, the name Mario Andretti may be the only one that universally brings racing to mind.

Whether one is a fan of NASCAR, Champ Car, Formula One or any other type of racing, Andretti is one of few men ever to cross each of those borders and do it at a championship level. Now, SPEED will pass on the legacy of the Champ Car and Formula 1 champion by awarding the Mario Andretti Trophy to its Performer of the Year.

The trophy, which was created by renowned sculptor Elie Hazak and was given to the top vote-getter for the Champ Car World Series All-Star team from 1999-2001, depicts many of the highlights of Andretti’s career including his 1967 Daytona 500 win, his 1978 F1 title and his four Champ Car titles. The trophy also symbolizes Andretti’s emigration from Italy to Nazareth, Pa., with a globe and an olive tree with roots going to both locales.

“Everyone knows that racing was my work, but also the absolute joy in my life,” said Andretti.  “And it is the ultimate compliment (to me) to have my name on this trophy.  I cherish the opportunity that it is giving me to have a lasting bond with racing.  I am genuinely appreciative of everyone who continues to acknowledge my part in racing history.” zzzz

The original trophy, which stands 38 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds, will be on display at various SPEED trackside locations throughout the rest of the season leading to the inaugural award ceremony.

“When we decided to take on the task of recognizing the top performer in motor sports, we wanted to have a trophy the best drivers really wanted to win,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED EVP & General Manager. “Mario Andretti defines performance, versatility and class in motor sports and having his name attached to an award open to drivers from every discipline makes it the perfect fit for the SPEED Performer of the Year.

“Many of the meaningful awards in sports have a life and personality all their own … the Lombardi Trophy, the Stanley Cup, Wimbledon’s Rosewater Dish,” Nickell added. “We expect that the Mario Andretti Trophy, with its unique design and name recognition, has the potential to develop a similar significance in the world of sports.”

About SPEED: SPEED, celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2006, is the nation's first and foremost cable network dedicated to motor sports and the passion for everything automotive. From racing to restoration, motorcycles to movies, SPEED delivers quality programming from the track to the garage. Now available in more than 72 million homes in North America, SPEED is among the fastest growing sports cable networks in the country, the home to NASCAR TV and an industry leader in interactive TV, video on-demand, mobile initiatives and broadband services. For more information on SPEED, please visit www.SPEEDtv.com.

About Champ Car World Series: The Champ Car World Series features some of the greatest race car drivers in the world competing in the most diverse and exciting series in the world. Champions Sebastien Bourdais and Canadian Paul Tracy along with 2004 Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A. J. Allmendinger, Bruno Junqueira, Alex Tagliani and Mexican Mario Dominguez are among the drivers who battle for the Vanderbilt Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The title is contested on oval circuits, temporary street circuits and permanent road courses. Champ Car

A foamy mess A foamy messMaintenance workers at Hendrick Motorsports have a foamy mess to clean up at the company’s airline hanger after the building's fire extinguishing system activated. The foam covered Hendrick aircraft inside the hanger at Concord Regional Airport and workers used fans, shovels and cardboard boxes to push the foam out. The building holds about 1,200 gallons of the foam and firefighters estimated that 500 to 700 gallons of the foam discharged. The foam does not pose any environmental impact and can be dissipated with water, firefighters said. Firefighters have not determined how the system was tripped. The aircrafts were not damaged. WCNC.com
A1GP test Day 2 - Germany fastest A1GP test Day 2 - Germany fastestThe A1GP World Cup of Motorsport today completed another successful day of testing at the Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain. A1 Team Germany set the fastest lap time of the day with Niko Hülkenberg at the wheel, while A1 Team Great Britain took second spot on the time sheet with Darren Manning in the car. Johnny Reid for A1 Team New Zealand secured the third quickest time.

It was a day of firsts for 19-year-old Hülkenberg, one of the youngest drivers in the A1GP field, as he made his A1GP debut and his first-ever appearance at Silverstone. The 550bhp A1GP car is also the most powerful car the winner of the 2005 Formula BMW ADAC championship has driven in his short career.  “This has been a great experience for me,” Hülkenberg said. “I really enjoyed driving the car and especially using the paddle shift. I was able to get used to it quickly despite the fact the fastest car I have driven before is in F3. This is my first visit to Silverstone and I really like the track a lot. I don’t know what the future holds, but I would love to be in Zandvoort as my home is very close to the Dutch border; the track is just an hour away.”

Under grey, overcast skies A1 Team Great Britain’s Darren Manning was just 0.312 seconds slower than Hülkenberg. The Englishman, who raced for his country at the 2006 season finale in Shanghai, commented, “Obviously I enjoyed today as it brought back great memories of my races for A1 Team Great Britain in China last year. I think everyone is looking forward to the second season and it would be great for the team to score its first win as early as possible.” zzzz

Today was the last day of the official test session before the A1GP season opener kicks off in Zandvoort, Netherlands, on 1 October. 100,000 tickets have already been sold for the race weekend, which will follow the hugely popular Sprint and Feature race format developed last year.

A1 Team Fastest lap time No. laps
1 Germany 1.10.615 45
2 New Zealand 1.10.936 57
3 Netherlands 1.10.942 49
4 Great Britain 1.11.106 45
5 China 1.11.173 35
6 South Africa 1.11.183 46
7 Lebanon 1.11.237 41
8 Australia 1.11.347 50
9 Malaysia 1.11.396 52
10 Italy 1.11.507 58
11 Canada 1.11.704 47
12 Switzerland 1.11.892 48
13 Indonesia 1.11.908 63
14 Brazil 1.11.952 46
15 Ireland 1.12.140 56
16 Mexico 1.12.200 50
17 Czech Republic 1.12.321 21
18 France 1.12.383 31
19 Pakistan 1.12.642 28
20 USA 1.13.521 43

A1 Team Fastest lap time No. laps
1 Great Britain 1.10.927 45
2 Brazil 1.11.471 51
3 Germany 1.11.487 40
4 France 1.11.662 39
5 Netherlands 1.11.731 47
6 Canada 1.11.877 46
7 Ireland 1.11.877 61
8 Mexico 1.12.161 41
9 South Africa 1.12.314 52
10 Malaysia 1.12.522 21
11 Czech Republic 1.12.588 33
12 New Zealand 1.12.629 50
13 China 1.12.669 51
14 Pakistan 1.12.740 47
15 Switzerland 1.12.977 49
16 Indonesia 1.13.592 29
17 Lebanon 1.13.919 55
18 USA 1.14.655 10
19 Italy 1.15.955 15
20 Australia 

Drivers’ registered – Thursday 31 August 2006
Team Drivers
Australia Karl Reindler, Ian Dyk, Barton Mawer
Brazil Alexandre Negrao, Ruben Carrapatoso, Raphael Matos, Tuka Rocha
Canada James Hinchliffe, Sean McIntosh
China Congfu Cheng
Czech Republic Tomas Enge, Jaroslav Janis, Jan Charouz
France Alexandre Premat, Nicolas Lapierre
Great Britain Darren Manning, Robbie Kerr, Oliver Jarvis
Germany Nicolas Hülkenberg, Michael Ammermuller
Indonesia Moreno Soeprato, Ananda Mikola
Ireland Michael Devaney, Patrick Hogan
Italy Manuele Gatto, Alessandro Pier Guid, Davide Valsecchi, Michele Rugolo, Gian Maria Gabbiani, Enrico Toccacelo
Lebanon Graham Rahal, Basil Shaaban
Malaysia Nik Iruwan Nik Izani, Aaron Lim Say Joon, Alex Yoong, Fairuz Fauzy
Mexico Mario Dominguez
Netherlands Jos Verstappen
New Zealand Wade Cunningham, Jonny Reid, Chris van der Drift
Pakistan Adam Khan
South Africa Adrian Zaugg, Gavin Cronje, Stephen Simpson, Alan van der Merwe, Tomas Scheckter
Switzerland Marcel Fassler, Sebastian Buemi, Neel Jani
USA Al Unser Jr, Philip Giebler

High-speed crash for Button at Monza High-speed crash for Button at MonzaJenson Button has crashed his Honda into the fence at Parabolica, today at Monza at 250 km/h. Button was unhurt but complained of a headache.
Massa fastest on Day 3 at Monza Massa fastest on Day 3 at MonzaThird and final day of testing this week for the Scuderia, working once again today at the Monza circuit.

As they did yesterday, Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher took to the track. The two drivers, both at the wheel of a 248 F1, continued with the program initiated on Tuesday, which centered mainly on development of Bridgestone tires and preparation for the Italian Grand Prix, which will take place at this track on 10th September next.

The day in figures reads as follows: 89 laps for Michael (best time 1.22.017) 88 for Felipe, (1.21.101).

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro will be back on track next Tuesday at Fiorano, when Luca Badoer will carry out the shake down of the cars that will be used in the Italian Grand Prix.

01. Massa - Ferrari - 1:21.101
02. Alonso - Renault - 1:21.902
03. Klien - Red Bull - 1:21.990
04. M. Schumacher - Ferrari - 1:22.017
05. Rosberg - Williams - 1:22.084
06. de la Rosa - Mclaren - 1:22.169
07. Wurz - Williams - 1:22.181
08. Zonta - Toyota - 1:22.365
09. Paffett - Mclaren - 1:22.432
10. Button - Honda - 1:22.542
11. Kovalainen - Renault - 1:22.579
12. Kubica - BMW - 1:22.929
13. Coulthard - Red Bull - 1:22.942
14. Barrichello - Honda - 1:23.102
15. Vettel - BMW - 1:23.192
16. Liuzzi - Toro Rosso - 1:23.212
17. Speed - Toro Rosso - 1:23.738
18. Monteiro - Midland - 1:23.859
19. Sato - Super Aguri - 1:24.543 Ferrari

Champ Car sues Normand Legault Champ Car sues Normand LegaultChamp Car filed suit for breach of contract today in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana against former Montreal race promoter Normand Legault seeking $325,000 from Evenements Sport Auto de Montreal and GPF1, Inc. for outstanding sanctioning fee payments associated with the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal. The suit requests a trial by jury.

Legal Complaint Filed (PDF)
Exhibit (PDF)

Key Excerpt


26. The Agreement provided that if Evenements did not receive at least $325,000 (USD) in Sponsorship Funds on or before thirty (30) days prior to the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal, then Evenements was entitled to “set-off” its final $750,000 (USD) Organization and Rights Fee installment to Champ Car “by the amount of such shortfall” until Series Sponsors, including Ford, eliminated such shortfall by purchasing at least $325,000 (USD) in Sponsorship Funds for that race.

27. Upon information and belief, Ford fulfilled it contractual obligations to Evenements under the Sponsorship Agreement by making all scheduled payments specified therein such that no such shortfall exists.

28. Nevertheless, Defendants claim that they are under no obligation to pay Champ Car the remaining $325,000 (USD) of the Organization and Rights Fees they owe to Champ Car under the Agreement because they did not receive at least $325,000 (USD) in Sponsorship Funds on or before thirty (30) days prior to the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal race.

29. As early as January 2005, Defendants had an expectation that they would receive Sponsorship Funds from Ford.

30. Upon information and belief, Ford signed and delivered to Defendants the Sponsorship Agreement more than thirty (30) days prior to the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal.

31. However, Evenements failed to countersign the Sponsorship Agreement until less than thirty (30) days remained before the start of the 2005 Molson Indy Montreal.

32. The delay in executing the Sponsorship Agreement was caused exclusively by Defendants.

This is about holding back on signing a contract so that a clause negating part of the sanctioning fees would kick in.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
Boss to reveal Ferrari lineup - spokesman
'Sore' Kimi misses Monza test

Da Matta out of coma, talking
Rosberg found Schu spat 'funny'
Vettel can finish '06 for BMW, say Red Bull
Schu agrees tires to decide title
Wild 'Cyprus GP' claims dismissed
Q and A with Bill Elliott Q and A with Bill Elliott
Monza could be Klien's last GP Monza could be Klien's last GP(GMM) Departing Red Bull racer Christian Klien might not complete the 2006 formula one season, according to speculation.

Reports both in the Austrian and Dutch press claim that Klien, 23, would be out of favor with the energy drink-owned camp if he definitively snubbed Red Bull's offer for 2007 of a funded drive for the 'PKV' Champ Car team.

According to newspaper 'Salzburger Nachrichten', team 'advisor' Dr Helmut Marko said: ''If Christian does not accept our offer for a season in Champ Car, then he is a free man.''

Should Klien depart the Red Bull family immediately, it is likely that current team 'Friday' tester Robert Doornbos would replace him at the last three grands prix of 2006.

Dutchman Doornbos' manager, Marco Zecchi, told 'Formule 1 RaceReport' that the scenario is not imminent, but he added: ''Of course I hope every day that Red Bull phone me with that message, because it is possible that at Monza the situation will look very different.''

Doornbos, meanwhile, said that retaining the role as 'third driver' in 2007 appears to be his 'only chance' to stay in F1 beyond the end of the current season.

''Champ Cars and DTM are plans b and c,'' he said.

Gordon's crew wins pitstop competition Gordon's crew wins pitstop competitionJeff Gordon's #24 pit crew claimed its second win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition, helping boost the Hendrick Motorsports driver to a fifth-place finish in Saturday night's (Aug. 26) Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. "The DuPont crew did an amazing job on Saturday night," said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the DuPont Chevrolet. "They've been phenomenal all year, and I'm glad they are starting to get the recognition they deserve." Gordon's over-the-wall team edged out other participating crews by spending the least amount of time on pit road during the Sharpie 500. The #24 machine spent 313.006 seconds on pit lane. Gordon's over-the-wall crew, which will receive the weekly $10,500 reward from Checkers/Rally's, consists of: Jeff Cook (jackman), Mike "Tiny" Houston (front-tire carrier), Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear-tire changer), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Jason "Penske" Seitzinger (eighth-man). The pit crew coach is Matt Clark. With twelve races remaining in the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule, the over-the-wall crews of Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson are tied for first place in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four victories each. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com. DMF Communications PR
Parsons to miss Fontana Parsons to miss FontanaNASCAR returns to NBC this weekend in primetime at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., with Nextel Cup Racing from California on Sunday. Coverage begins at 7:00pm/et with the "Bank of America Countdown to Green" pre-race show, hosted by Bill Weber. Weber and analyst Wally Dallenbach will call the race action live at 8:00pm/et – analyst Benny Parsons, currently undergoing treatment for lung cancer, will not make the trip to California, but plans on being in the booth for TNT at Richmond International Raceway the following week.

NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show analyst Jerome "The Bus" Bettis goes around and around this week as Dallenbach takes him for a ride on "Wally's World."

COMMENTATORS: Bill Weber, pre-race host and play-by-play Wally Dallenbach, analyst Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, pit reporters. NBC PR

TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for FridayCourtesy of TVRacer.com

Who's #1 -Best Owners
Including: Bill France (NASCAR), Roger Penske (IRL)  
7:00am-8:00am (R) ESPN Classic
NASCAR Live! Fontana, CA
5:30pm-6:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying  Fontana, CA
6:30pm-8:30pm (L) SPEED
9:00pm-11:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Fontana, CA
11:00pm-12:00am (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Open Wheel has-beens legitimize NASCAR Open Wheel has-beens legitimize NASCARUPDATE The updated NASCAR stats are more grim for Michel Jourdain Jr., and prove the author's point even more.  In 2005 Jourdain had 23 starts, 1 top 10 (tenth at Atlanta), 2 laps lead in that time, and he still isn't starting in NASCAR this year.  He'll be at the races where Spanish-speaking drivers are needed, much as Paul Tracy will be at Canadian races (well, maybe not in Quebec).

08/30/06 A reader writes, Finally - an article that addresses all the B.S. about open wheel drivers storming the NASCAR gates.  Congrats to Tim Wohlford on an informed an well-written column (see our Home Page).
I think it's time that we stopped legitimizing these blatant PR and negotiation maneuvers by a bunch of disenchanted open wheel has-beens. If they had been such hot property they would never even have to resort to playing the NASCAR card. Werner Fritz, Trevor, Wisconsin
Vasser is Back Vasser is BackChamp Car champion Jimmy Vasser returns to the GAINSCO stable for this weekend’s 9-hour enduro as teammate to Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty.  Vasser drove the #99 GAINSCO machine in this season’s kick off at the 24 at Daytona, as well as at the Miami Grand Prix at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Vasser will close the season with the team at Miller, which will be his first professional stint since the Champ Car season opener at Long Beach.  Vasser is familiar with the 4.5-mile road course in Salt Lake City, having completed a successful two-day test there with the GAINSCO team last month.
Acura completes first ALMS test Acura completes first ALMS testTORRANCE, Calif. - Testing for Acura's 2007 American Le Mans Series program got off to an excellent start this week with a successful two-day test at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona.

Lowe's Fernandez Racing and driver Adrian Fernandez completed more than 250 trouble-free miles of testing Tuesday and Wednesday on the 1.25-mile Firebird East circuit, utilizing the new Acura LM V-8 engine fitted to a Lola B05/40 chassis and running on Michelin competition tires.

"This test is the next step in the fulfillment of the project that will make Honda Performance Development a full-fledged, self-sufficient Research and Development company," said Robert Clarke, president of HPD.  "The initial step was to build the infrastructure and facilities to support the Acura effort, and the second was to actually build the American Le Mans Series engine.

"We've had the engine on the dynamometer for more than three months, so we expected it to run reliably during the test," Clarke added, "although we weren't 100 percent certain what would happen when the engine and chassis were put together in a single package."  zzzz

On Tuesday, Fernandez completed a total of 102 laps with no mechanical problems despite temperatures that reached 108 degrees, recording a best lap time of 48.7 seconds.  Wednesday, Fernandez completed an additional 105 trouble-free laps, in equally hot conditions, and lowered his best lap time to 47.26 seconds.

"The two-day test at Firebird was actually the third step in the process, and was certainly a special moment in the overall development of the program," Clarke said.  "To see a car on the race track with an engine completely designed and developed by HPD was truly historic, and a proud moment for the company.  The fact that the test has gone so smoothly and successfully is a tribute to everyone involved with the program and a great source of pride as well."

Fernandez and team co-owner Tom Anderson were equally upbeat following the conclusion of the test.  "I can't remember a first test with a brand-new package ever going this well," Fernandez said.  "Everyone at Acura and Lowe's Fernandez Racing just did a tremendous job in preparing this car.  I can't say enough.  All their hard work got us off to a great start, and also allowed us to begin our testing program for next year early.

"My first laps in the car were unbelievable," Fernandez continued.  "The sound of the engine, the effortless steering, the brakes, it was a tremendous experience.  The car is fast!  It felt great from the start, and I was amazed at how quickly we were able to make strides to continually get the car better and better.  I'm thrilled that Lowe's Fernandez Racing is a partner with Acura in this project, and extremely encouraged and excited for our first season in American Le Mans next year."

"This is without a doubt the strongest opening test for any new racing program that I have ever witnessed," said Anderson, who began his career in sports car racing.  "It shows the awesome talent and dedication strengths of HPD, Lola and Michelin to the American Le Mans Series program.  It is such a pleasure to watch the car run.  We can hardly wait to see it run again as our testing program continues through the fall and winter."

The Acura Motorsports program features the first racing engine completely designed and developed in-house by HPD of Santa Clarita, California, Honda's wholly-owned racing subsidiary.  It also marks the first time HPD has taken on multiple concurrent motorsports programs in both the American Le Mans Series and Indy Racing League.

The American Le Mans Series draws on the heritage of long-distance "endurance" sports car racing in both Europe and the United States, as exemplified by the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans. The series includes the 12 Hours of Sebring - a U.S. fixture since 1952 -  plus events at the country's premier road circuits, including Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Laguna Seca, Miller Motorsports Park and Road Atlanta.

Testing of the Acura LMP2 entries will continue in October, with the American Le Mans competition debut taking place next March at the 12 Hours of Sebring.  Three teams will campaign the 2007 ALMS championship utilizing Acura LM V-8 power, with Andretti Green Racing and Highcroft Racing joining Lowe's Fernandez Racing under the Acura Motorsports banner.

2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series scheduleThe National Hot Rod Association announced Wednesday that it will use a playoff-style format to determine champions in its top divisions beginning in 2007.

In the season's first 17 races, competitors in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will score points toward qualifying for the "Countdown." Only top eight in each class will advance after those 17 races.

Those eight will have their point totals reset, with 2,070 points for first, 2,060 for second and so on. After the next four races, the number will be cut to four and those four will have points reset to 3,030 points for first, 3,020 for second and so on.

Those four will then compete over the season's final two races at Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif., for the championships.

2007 Schedule

47th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals Feb. 8-11 Pomona, Calif.
23rd annual Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals Feb. 23-25 Phoenix
38th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals March 15-18 Gainesville, Fla. (PSM)
20th annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals March 30- April 1 Houston (PSM)
8th annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals April 12-15 Las Vegas
27th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals April 26-29 Atlanta (PSM)
11th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals May 4-6 St. Louis (PSM)
7th annual O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals May 18-20 Bristol, Tenn.
19th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals June 1-3 Topeka, Kan.
10th annual NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway  June 7-10 Chicago (PSM)
38th annual NHRA SuperNationals June 21-24 Englishtown, N.J. (PSM) 
Inaugural Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals June 28-July 1 Norwalk, Ohio (PSM)
28th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals July 13-15 Denver (PSM)
20th annual Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals July 20-22 Seattle
20th annual Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals July 27-29 Sonoma, Calif. (PSM)
26th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Aug. 9-12 Brainerd, Minn. (PSM)
23rd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals Aug. 16-19 Reading, Pa. (PSM)
53rd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Aug. 29- Sept. 3 Indianapolis (PSM)
20th annual O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals Sept. 14-16 Memphis, Tenn. (PSM)
22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals Sept. 20-23 Dallas (PSM)
2nd annual Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals Oct. 5-7 Richmond, Va.
7th annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals Oct. 18-21 Las Vegas (PSM)
43rd annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Nov. 1-4 Pomona, Calif. (PSM)
(PSM) - Event will include Pro Stock Motorcycle

Fontana final Busch race for Tracy Fontana final Busch race for TracyThere is no question as to whether or not Paul Tracy has had an eventful year.  He ran the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, made his NASCAR Busch Series debut in February in the #34 Sport Clips Chevrolet, competed multiple times in the Grand Am Series, recorded multiple podiums in the Champ Car World Series, and even experienced a couple skirmishes with fellow Champ Car drivers. 

Last weekend in Montreal, Tracy quieted the roaring French-Canadian crowd when he showed up on race day with a French-Canadian flag draped across his shoulders as a cape, while donning a mask that was reminiscent of Nacho Libre.  Jeering quickly turned to laughter and it did not take long for Toronto native, Paul Tracy, to win over the largely French-Canadian crowd.  Tracy went on to finish second in the rain-delayed Montreal Champ Car Grand Prix and when he appeared on the podium the chants of “Tracy go home” had changed to cheers.

Over the past couple weeks, Tracy has been featured on SPEED’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, as well as MTV’s reality show, Diary, which followed him around during the Montreal Champ Car weekend. zzzz

Although Tracy holds Champ Car records with 30 wins and over 4000 laps led, he will switch gears this weekend when he arrives at California Speedway in Fontana, CA, where he will return to rookie status in the NASCAR Busch Series.  This will be Tracy’s final 2006 appearance in the NASCAR Busch Series and on Friday, September 1st, Tracy will be making an announcement on SPEED’s Trackside Live as to his NASCAR plans for 2007. 

“I’m looking forward to getting back in the Sport Clips/American Crew car,” Tracy said.  “Obviously I’ve been to Fontana in Champ Car, but it’s entirely different going there in a stock car.  I’m going to have a lot to learn as the race goes on, but I feel like we have a good chance of running well for Sport Clips and American Crew.”  He continued, “I thank Sport Clips and American Crew for supporting me this season and giving me the opportunity to make my NASCAR debut.  Friday on Trackside Live we will be making our announcement about our plans for 2007.”     

Sport Clips, Inc. is a Georgetown, TX-based enterprise that is approaching 400 stores nationwide.  Targeting men and boys, Sport Clips provides high-quality haircuts in a fun sports environment, complete with TVs at every Stylist’s station tuned to sports.  Every Sport Clips has “guy smart” Stylists who focus on providing the highest level of service to every client.  Sport Clips is the Official Haircutter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), whose logo will be prominently featured on Tracy’s car.  For a location near you or for franchise information, please visit: www.SportClips.com.

American Crew continues to lead the way in the men’s grooming business.  With a passionate commitment to men’s grooming, their purpose is to bring men into salons, provide them with a great new experience and show them new ways of incorporating style into their everyday lives.  American Crew recognizes the growing number of men that are concerned with their appearance and who want to look their very best.  This trend of image-conscious men spans all ages and backgrounds.  American Crew has all of their grooming interests in mind.  For more information on American Crew, please visit www.AmericanCrew.com.

Da Matta makes significant improvement Da Matta makes significant improvementThe condition of Champ Car World Series driver Cristiano da Matta (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone) continues to significantly improve. Da Matta was injured after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track near Turn Six at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. during a Champ Car Open Test on August 3, and has been recovering at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisc. since then.   

Champ Car Medical Director Dr. Chris Pinderski flew back to Theda Clark today, for an update on the condition of da Matta and to visit with the da Matta family.  

"Cristiano has made excellent progress in the past several days,” said Pinderski. “Although he is still somewhat confused, he is now conversational in both English and Portuguese. Additionally, he has started to walk on his own for short periods of time with minimal assistance. We anticipate that Cristiano will be ready to make the transition to a rehabilitation setting next week."
Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 8-30-06
POs. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (7) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.917
2. (2) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.943
3. (11) Michael Schumacher (F1) 7.650
4. (23) Fernando Alonso (F1) 7.650
5. (3) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.438
6. (21) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 7.317
7. (6) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.222
8. (4) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 7.206
9. (9) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.133
10. (30) Felipe Massa (F1) 7.098
11. (14) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.885
12. (NR) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.674
13. (20) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.487
14. (8) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 6.244
15. (16) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.244
16. (NR) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.221
17. (NR) Scott Riggs (NASCAR) 6.165
18. (NR) Marco Andretti (IRL) 6.043
19. (26) Vitor Meira (IRL) 6.034
20. (18) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 5.957
Dropped out: A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS), Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL), Mark Martin (NASCAR), Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Dan Wheldon (IRL), Justin Wilson (CCWS), Greg Biffle (NASCAR), Brian Vickers (NASCAR)

Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

Marlin to make 700th start Marlin to make 700th start49-year old Sterling Marlin will attempt to make his 700th career NASCAR Cup start in this weekend's Sony HD 500 at California Speedway.

"I didn't even realize I was approaching 700 starts," Marlin said. "That's a pretty neat thing to achieve. When I got behind the wheel for the first time 30 years ago, I would've never imagined I'd still be doing it today. I feel very fortunate to have been able to something I love for all these years."

If he makes the race, Marlin will become the 11th driver in NASCAR Cup history to reach the 700-start milestone behind Richard Petty (1,185), Dave Marcis (883), Ricky Rudd (875), Terry Labonte (844), Darrell Waltrip (809), Kyle Petty (773), Bill Elliott (751), Bobby Allison (719), Rusty Wallace (706) and Buddy Baker (701).

"I've become a member of a pretty neat group of guys," Marlin said. "There are some great names on that list and I'm proud to have joined it.

The stupidity of F1 may cost Schu title The stupidity of F1 may cost Schu titleFor all its money, and all its technology, F1 still uses one pit stall to pit both team cars and once again the inability of a team to effectively pit both team cars at the same time influenced the outcome of a race.

Michael Schumacher was forced to wait in line behind teammate Felipe Massa as both men pitted at the same time following a safety car period in Turkey last Sunday.

The move cost Schumacher second place to championship rival Fernando Alonso, who after that was able to stay in front of the Ferrari driver, despite Schumacher having the faster car.

Monza Day 2: Rosberg fastest Monza Day 2: Rosberg fastestAfter the second day of testing at Monza, Nico Rosberg was on top of the timesheets. Robert Kubica was second and Giancarlo Fisichella 3rd. Ferrari, Renault, Williams F1, BMW Sauber F1, Toro Rosso, Toyota, Midland F1 and Honda were joined by the other teams today. Testing will continue tomorrow.

1. N. Rosberg Williams 01:22.038 72
2. R. Kubica BMW 01:22.225 78
3. G. Fisichella Renault 01:22.247 108
4. F. Massa Ferrari 01:22.270 74
5. F. Alonso Renault 01:22.304 87
6. N. Heidfeld BMW 01:22.625 74
7. M. Schumacher Ferrari 01:22.666 60
8. J. Button Honda 01:22.674 103
9. R. Barrichello Honda 01:22.957 74
10. V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:23.304 51
11. J. Trulli Toyota 01:23.467 35
12. R. Zonta Toyota 01:23.539 48
13. S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:23.601 47
14. C. Klien Red Bull 01:23.795 51
15. P. de la Rosa McLaren 01:23.888 71
16. G. Paffett McLaren 01:23.921 38
17. M. Webber Williams 01:24.112 104
18. C. Albers Midland F1 01:24.878 68
19. D. Coulthard Red Bull 01:25.074 89
20. S. Yamamoto Super Aguri 01:25.623 65

Day 1: Fauzy fastest for Malaysian team Day 1: Fauzy fastest for Malaysian teamThe A1GP World Cup of Motorsport kicks off its second season today with its official team test session at the Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain. A1Team Malaysia, winners of the 2005/06 season’s last race in Shanghai set the fastest lap time of the day but this time with Fairuz Fauzy behind the wheel. Current champions A1 Team France took the second spot on the time sheet with Nicolas Lapierre in the car.

Once again, the Series will pit country against country on a level playing field with A1 Teams flying their flags in races for national pride. While teams that took part in the inaugural season return for the second Series, there will also be new names on the entry list. First to raise its flag will be A1 Team Turkey. At a time when its country is the centre of international motorsport, with the support of the national government, new seat holder Lodos Racing Inc has committed to forming a national team for the first race at Zandvoort.

With over 100,000 tickets sold to date, A1GP Zandvoort is set to be the biggest event of the Series so far when the Dutch fans will be rewarded for their enthusiastic support of their hero Jos Verstappen with a home race. To guarantee the fans maximum excitement, a new system is being used to determine the grid for the Feature race. This will no longer be solely on the results of the Sprint race, but a combination of Qualifying results, Sprint race finishes and fastest lap times.

A1GP Deputy Chairman Tony Teixeira commented on the outlook for the coming season: ‘From what has happened to date with the teams testing the various drivers in their shoot outs I can see that everyone is taking it as seriously, if not more seriously, than last year. The team owners are bringing drivers who will do the best jobs for their nations, after all it is the World Cup of Motorsport and we obviously are serious and are out to prove that. Last year we had fantastic racing, exciting racing and affordable racing.’ zzzz

The mixture of age and experience competing with up and coming names continues. At Silverstone double Indianapolis 500 winner, Al Unser Jr, is driving the A1 Team USA ‘We the People’ car while A1 Team Germany will showcase the talents of one of its country’s star youngsters, Nico Hülkenberg. The winner of the 2005 Formula BMW ADAC championship, which is recognized as the first rung on the single seater ladder for young drivers, will have his first outing in an A1GP car.

It was when driving for A1 Team USA Seat Holder, Rick Weidinger, in the 2006 Indianapolis 500 that Al Unser Jr first became interested in A1GP. Rick explained: “As we spent the time together in May I obviously talked a lot about A1GP. Finally after the 500 Al said, Rick I want to do this A1 thing and I said, Al you are in. It was as easy as that. He agrees with me, and we think this motorsport product is the best product out there. He loves the nationality of it; he is very proud about participating in it himself and is going to be very engaged with A1 Team USA this year.”

As A1GP looks forward to its second season, planning is already underway to develop the Series. For the 2008/09 season the A1GP management is investigating the possibility of increasing the engine output towards the 700bhp mark, a move that is totally supported by At Team Brazil seat holder, Emerson Fittipaldi. Discussions with engineers, suppliers and race technical staff to determine possible configurations for a new vehicle have been initiated to determine what options may be available given A1GP’s racing parameters. More news will be forthcoming in this area as they develop.

On the broadcast front, A1GP has successfully renewed the vast majority of their broadcast agreements from season one. In addition, new broadcasters in a number of major territories including the USA and Canada are in the final stages of negotiation. Fox Sports Channels has been confirmed as a new carrier for this season distributing A1GP’s races live throughout central and Latin America.

Morning Session
 A1 Team Fastest lap time No. laps
1 Malaysia 1.10.507 61
2 France 1.10.628 31
3 Netherlands 1.10.763 38
4 USA 1.11.019 52
5 Lebanon 1.11.159 43
6 New Zealand 1.11.362 42
7 Italy 1.11.379 60
8 Germany 1.11.431 46
9 China 1.11.463 45
10 South Africa 1.11.552 49
11 Indonesia 1.11.569 42
12 Australia 1.11.617 51
13 Great Britain 1.11.670 39
14 Switzerland 1.11.978 43
15 Canada 1.12.059 32
16 Ireland 1.12.085 45
17 Brazil 1.12.418 55
18 Pakistan 1.12.627 42
19 Czech Republic 1.13.324 46
20 Mexico

Afternoon Session
 A1 Team Fastest lap time No. laps
1 Canada 1.10.738 58
2 Netherlands 1.10.821 44
3 Germany 1.10.877 44
4 New Zealand 1.11.054 55
5 France 1.11.059 37
6 Great Britain 1.11.246 51
7 China 1.11.272 47
8 Indonesia 1.11.295 56
9 Switzerland 1.11.383 52
10 Lebanon 1.11.411 43
11 South Africa 1.11.533 27
12 Malaysia 1.11.571 59
13 Brazil 1.11.613 57
14 Czech Republic 1.11.689 46
15 Italy 1.11.712 64
16 Pakistan 1.11.872 38
17 Ireland 1.11.912 48
18 Australia 1.12.168 54
19 USA 1.14.177 43
20 Mexico

A1 Team Mexico suffered engine installation problems but will be running tomorrow.

Australia Karl Reindler, Ian Dyk
Brazil Alexandre Negrao, Ruben Carrapatoso, Raphael Matos, Tuka Rocha
Canada James Hinchliffe, Sean McIntosh
China Conghu Cheng
Czech Republic Tomas Enge, Jaroslav Janis, Jan Charouz
France Alexandre Premat, Nicolas Lapierre
Great Britain Darren Manning, Robbie Kerr, Oliver Jarvis
Germany Nicolas Halkenberg, Michael Ammermuller
Indonesia Moreno Soeprato, Ananda Mikola
Ireland Michael Devaney, Patrick Hogan
Italy Manuele Gatto, Alessandro Pier Guid, Davide Valsecchi, Michele Rugolo, Gian Maria Gabbiani
Lebanon Graham Rahal
Malaysia Nik Irwan Nik Izani, Aaron Lim Say Joon, Alex Yoong, Fairuz Fauzy
Mexico Mario Dominguez
Netherlands Jos Verstappen
New Zealand Wade Cunningham, Jonny Reid, Chris van der Drift
Pakistan Adam Khan
South Africa Adrian Zaugg, Gavin Cronje, Stephen Simpson, Alan van der Merwe, Tomas Scheckter
Switzerland Marcel Fassler, Sebastian Buemi, Neel Jani
USA Al Unser Jr, Philip Giebler

British team to test three at Silverstone British team to test three at SilverstoneA week today sees the start of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport pre-season testing with England’s Silverstone Circuit playing host to a two-day test where the competing nations will gather for the first time since the last round of the inaugural season in China back in April.
A1 Team Great Britain will be attending the Silverstone test with a trio of talent expected to get behind the wheel of the British A1GP entry. Robbie Kerr (26) and Darren Manning (30) both return having steered A1 Team GBR to a third place finish in last season’s Nations Standings while newcomer Oliver Jarvis (22) will get a second helping of A1GP action following his first try-out with the team last month at Pembrey.
Next week’s test days at Silverstone, in addition to allowing the drivers to reacquaint themselves with the A1GP car, will also herald the first time A1 Team GBR’s ‘in-house’ operation takes to the pit garages. The post-season has been a busy one as the team’s personnel structure has been realigned ahead of the new campaign which kicks off at Zandvoort in Holland on 1st October.
McIntosh and Hinchcliffe testing at Silverstone McIntosh and Hinchcliffe testing at SilverstoneLooking to build on its tenth place standing in last season’s inaugural A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, A1 Team Canada fires back into life next week, Wednesday 30 – Thursday 31 August, at Silverstone Circuit in the United Kingdom with two days of official pre-season testing.
Canadian stand-outs Sean McIntosh (21) and James Hinchcliffe (19) have been confirmed for the test with Vancouver’s McIntosh back in an A1GP car for the first time since he scored a thrilling last-to-first victory in Round 8’s Feature race in Indonesia in February. McIntosh’s win, A1 Team Canada’s first in the open-wheel racing series that pitches nation against nation, came in his last outing for the team before handing over to Québec’s Patrick Carpentier for the final three rounds.
Currently racing in the European-based World Series by Renault, where he sits seventh overall in the Driver Standings in a highly competitive international field, Sean’s looking forward to being reunited with the Canadian A1GP entry he steered to a total of nine top-ten finishes last season, including his Indonesian victory and a third place podium effort in just the second round in Germany last October. zzzz
“It’s hard to believe it’s been six months since I sat in the car so it’s not hard to believe I can’t wait to get back in it,” stated McIntosh. “Obviously I’ve got a lot more experience under my belt since starting last season’s A1GP Championship and I know Silverstone pretty well from my time competing in Formula Renault UK. With this being the only pre-season test scheduled we have to make sure we maximize our running time with the car and improving it ahead of the first race in October. Consistency will be key to putting together a championship bid, we know we can win races but we have to be up there at every race!”
Toronto’s James Hinchcliffe returns to the United Kingdom for his second taste of A1GP having first tested with A1 Team Canada at a private session in Wales last month. Hinchcliffe, a multiple race winner in Formula BMW USA, Star Mazda and the Champ Car Atlantic Series over the past three seasons, is suitably pleased to be asked back to represent Canada.
“It’s an honor to represent your country and for me to be able to test at Silverstone is really the icing on the cake,’ Hinchcliffe declared. “I’m looking forward to working with the guys on the team again after a pretty successful test at Pembrey a few weeks ago. It’s good to have Sean there as well as the rest of the A1GP field as a benchmark to where I’m at with developing the car. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from Sean so I’m looking forward to teaming up with him at Silverstone!”
Québec’s Kevin Lacroix was also present at last month’s Pembrey test alongside James Hinchcliffe. The 17-year-old from St.Eustache, who lies third in the 2006 Star Mazda Series, impressed A1 Team Canada management and they continue to monitor his progress in North America. Lacroix is unable to test for A1 Team Canada at Silverstone next week as he prepares to race in Round 10 of the Star Mazda Series at Mosport in Canada, 2 – 3 September.
The second season of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport kicks off on 1 October with Round one hosted at the Zandvoort Circuit in Holland – www.a1gp.com
Italians tune into Turkey GP Italians tune into Turkey GPUPDATE 8.06 million Germans watched the race last Sunday, a 44.1 share.  In Europe, F1 certainly is a very big deal.

08/28/06 9.063 million people in Italy watched the Turkey GP Sunday from Istanbul, a 62.09 share.  That's far more people than watched the NASCAR Nextel Cup race Saturday night from Bristol in the USA and Italy's population is 1/6th the size of the USA. 
The NASCARization of the IRL The NASCARization of the IRLAfter listening to the comments from Rusty Wallace and Marty Reid during the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, by calling drivers Bryan Herta and Scott Dixon "road course specialists" and using such terms as 'real hotrods' it appears the IRL wants to become the NASCAR-IRL Indy Car Series. I guess this is what King Tony wanted his series to become - a training series for drivers to move up to the NASCAR Truck, Busch and Nextel Cup. Think about it, most of these drivers from Dan Wheldon, Buddy Rice and of course Sam Hornish, all of them Indy 500 winners, could be in NASCAR in the next year or two, knowing that they'll never get the exposure from race fans around America as an IRL driver, that is unless you're Danica Patrick. The IRL can try all they want to sell their racing product to REAL OPEN WHEEL FANS, but as long as they are still racing on dangerous ISC oval tracks that are owned by the France family, I just don't see the rush for Kevin Kalkhoven to unify with them. That's if you want Open Wheel racing to become NASCARIZED! Alistair Fannell, Springfield MO.
Empringham joins Pacific Coast DP line-up Empringham joins Pacific Coast DP line-upVentura, California – Canada’s David Empringham will join series regulars Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel behind the wheel of Pacific Coast Motorsports #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype this weekend, Saturday 2nd September, as the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series concludes with the 9-hour ‘Discount Tire Sunchaser’ hosted at the stunning new Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
Empringham’s addition to the PCM driver line-up sees the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Champion return to action for the Ventura-based outfit having kicked off the season alongside Figge and Dalziel in the #89 Pontiac Riley at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  That occasion, back in January, boasted a lead lap for Empringham before the team’s debut at the famed 24-hour race was blighted with mechanical issues and ultimately retirement.
Plato will need miracle to catch Neal's Honda Plato will need miracle to catch Neal's HondaJason Plato has admitted that, with just nine rounds to go, beating Matt Neal to this year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title is going to take “a miracle”, although the SEAT driver refuses to give up while he has a mathematical chance.

Plato, the 2001 champion, is 40 points behind Neal and will seek to take another chunk out of the gap at the Knockhill circuit in Scotland this coming Sunday (3 September).

At Snetterton two weeks ago Plato won twice in his SEAT Leon to pull 14 points on Neal whose Team Halfords Honda still kept going after four collisions to earn him valuable points. Neal himself then added a victory in the day’s third race.

Plato said: “Even if we have three fab weekends in a row, at Knockhill, Brands Hatch and Silverstone, it’s still going to need Matt to have a lot of bad luck.

“His Honda is a tank – it has the ability to be T-boned and drive into the side of you at 70mph and get away with it. I don’t wish bad luck on anybody, but that’s what it’s going to be. It would need a miracle and you can’t manufacture those.

“At the moment I’m not really thinking of the Drivers’ title – winning the Manufacturers’ championship for SEAT is the number one priority.” zzzz

Plato, though, believes the tight, twisty Knockhill circuit could work to the advantage of his SEAT’s renowned handling capabilities.

He added: ”The end of the lap we can forget – a tight hairpin and then a long hill. We’ll lose out up there.

“The trick has got to be to get the car working as well as possible around the rest of the lap and if we can really maximize it then that might, over a complete lap, give us an edge.

“Unless we qualify on the front row it’s going to be very hard to get in a position to overtake. But if we really make the car perform as well as we know it can be then we might just be in with a shout…”

Admission to Knockhill's BTCC race day is FREE for children aged eight and under, while information on tickets for adults is available by calling the circuit on 01383 723337.

Michelin pulling out all the stops Michelin pulling out all the stopsMichelin has promised it will pull out all the stops to ensure that Renault retains both its world titles – starting with an “intensive” period of testing in Monza over the next three days.

“We have got a very intensive week of testing coming up with our partner teams,” said Michelin’s F1 director Nick Shorrock.

“We have been working flat-out since the start of the year, but over the last races we have looked at the whole picture again – and come up with plenty of new answers.

“We are testing compounds, lots of constructions and looking at how our partner teams exploit the tires.

“Along with Renault, we have done our maximum with Renault so far this year – and now we need to get to the finish line in first position.”

A1GP vs. Champ Car vs. Atlantic A1GP vs. Champ Car vs. AtlanticA1GP, the 'World Cup of Motorsport', as Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum calls his brainchild, had a race event at Fundidora Park, Monterey, Mexico from February 24 - 26 this year. Champ Car and Champ Car Atlantic visited the same venue from May 19 - 21, i.e. in hotter but, therefore, slower weather.
Lap Time Comparisons:
Series: Champ Car - A1GP - Champ Car Atlantic
Pole position : 1.13.253 - 1.22.078 - 1.23.217
Fastest race lap : 1.14.529 - 1.21.100 - 1.23.206
In Champ Car both pole and fastest race lap were done by Sebastian Bourdais.

In A1GP pole was taken by South Africa (Stephan Simpson) and fastest race lap by France's (Alexandre Premat)

In Atlantic both pole and fastest race lap were done by Mi-Jack Conquest Racing driver Graham Rahal.
Note: Graham Rahal made his A1GP debut in Monterey as Team Lebanon's new driver. His qualifying lap time was 1.23.678, which was 0.461 sec. slower then his Champ Car Atlantic pole position! His fastest race lap time was 1.22.493 (race 2). Graham proves with all this to be a quick learner.
It's interesting to know that the pole of Champ Car's 'feeder series', Champ Car Atlantic was only 1.139 sec slower then Sheikh Maktoum's 'World Cup of Motorsport' show, which itself was 8.875 sec slower than Champ Car!
In our comparison between F1 and Champ Car from yesterday, this makes A1GP cars look like snails! Then again, who cares! As long as the competition is there, spectators don't really care if racecars are 10 sec faster or slower! For the hardcore motorsport enthusiast though, A1GP might just be a little bit disappointing.... lots of noise, but a little too slow! Data supplied by PWS-Consultancy

From the too funny department.... From the too funny department....BRENTWOOD, N.Y. -- Brothers David and Michael Murphy ran into each other early Saturday morning. Unfortunately, police said, they were behind the wheels of separate cars and both were drunk.

The two vehicles collided at 4:10 a.m. at the intersection of Plunkett Street and Radcliff Drive, where Michael Murphy ran a stop sign in his 1998 Volkswagen and slammed into the passenger side of his brother David's car, Suffolk County police said.

Although both cars had passengers, no injuries were reported. Both Michael Murphy's car and his brothers 2006 Volkswagen were so badly damaged that tow trucks had to be called to clear them from the intersection. David Murphy, 22, and Michael Murphy, 21, were both arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated after the crash, police said. Both men live at 25 Kaymac St., Brentwood.

'07 F1 schedule: Imola and European GP axed '07 F1 schedule: Imola and European GP axedUPDATE #2 (GMM) Despite being left off the FIA's provisional calendar for 2007, organizers of the San Marino grand prix at Imola are confident that the annual race will be staged next April.

The governing body published a 17-race schedule for next season on Tuesday, but Imola mayor Massimo Marchignoli insisted that the ultimate calendar will feature 18 grands prix if the Italian circuit completes renovation works.

Indeed, hinting at Imola's return to formula one is an unusual four-week gap - between dates for Bahrain and Spain - coinciding with the event's customary April slot.

A definitive calendar will be published in October.

''Only a few days ago, Bernie Ecclestone told the president of (race organizer) Sagis that the race would be held on April 29,'' Marchignoli told 'ANSA'.

The cost of Imola's required renovations, which have not yet begun, is estimated at $12.3m.

08/29/06 Champ Car now has another option in Europe - Imola. Without an F1 race, but with the improvements planned, one would think the track owner would be looking for a replacement event. Ditto for Suzuka in Japan, which lost their F1 race to Fuji. Alternately, like Suzuka, they could plow it under, declare it farmland, and plant crops.

08/29/06 Traditional grands prix at Imola and Hockenheim appear to be the victims of the FIA's formula one calendar for 2007, distributed to the press on Tuesday.

A statement said the schedule, cut to seventeen races following 19 and 18-event calendars in 2005 and 2006, had been approved by the World Motor Sport Council by fax, but it did not confirm the full identity of the slain grands prix.

Likely to be gone, though, is Imola, host of the usually second annual race in Italy, because the calendar no longer lists a fixture early in the season for 'San Marino'.

The single event for 'Germany', meanwhile, is almost certain to be the Nurburgring, traditionally host of the now-defunct 'European' grand prix.

The victim, then, is Hockenheim, but the circuit is hoping to return to the calendar in 2008 as the two German circuits install a scheme to alternate the country's single race.

''We are assuming that a grand prix at the Nurburgring will take place in 2007,'' Nurburgring's managing director Walter Kafitz was quoted as saying by 'sid'.

Hockenheim spokesperson Hartmut Tesseraux, however, said there had been 'no decision' about the fate of its race.

A final decision is likely in September.

Australia, with its race just south of Melbourne at Albert Park, returns to the top of the calendar for 2007, as does the popular race at Spa-Francorchamps, while an unusual four-week break separates the Bahraini and Spanish races between mid April and May.

The only new race is at Fuji, as Japan's usual F1 host - Suzuka - fails to make the cut despite hoping for a date.

2007 Formula One World Championship Calendar:

18 March Australia Albert Park
08 April Malaysia Sepang
15 April Bahrain Bahrain
13 May Spain Catalunya
27 May Monaco Monte Carlo
10 June Canada Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
17 June United States Indianapolis
01 July France Magny Cours
08 July Britain Silverstone
22 July Germany Hockenheim/Nurburgring**
05 August Hungary Hungaroring
26 August Turkey Istanbul
09 September Italy Monza
16 September Belgium Spa
30 September China Shanghai
07 October Japan Fuji
21 October Brazil Interlagos

** Venue not decided yet

Turkey GP postscript Turkey GP postscriptINDIANAPOLIS - Scott Speed, America's only Formula One driver, is excited about his prospects for the 2007 season that includes the United States Grand Prix on June 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At the Turkish Grand Prix, Scuderia Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger said it is virtually certain that Speed and Tonio Liuzzi will drive for the team again next year.

"I think next year I am going to have a very good opportunity here," Speed said. "It's going to be a good opportunity for both me and Tonio, for sure. We have enough experience, and we are going to be in a good situation. Our team is going to be very good next year."

After the enthusiastic welcome the fans gave Speed at Indianapolis during this year's United States Grand Prix, Speed said he is looking forward to the 2007 USGP "the most of all" of next season's races.

Championship chase: With just four races to go in the 2006 season, Fernando Alonso leads the Drivers World Championship with 108 points while Michael Schumacher is 12 points behind at 96.

The two drivers staged a thrilling duel for second place Aug. 27 in Turkey where Alonso beat Schumacher by just a few feet. Both say that the championship is still wide open.

"Every weekend is a new challenge, a new opportunity to increase the gap or a new opportunity to close the gap," Alonso said. "You can lose everything very quickly these days in the races."

Schumacher is not giving up.

"I still believe I can win the title," he said.

In the Constructors World Championship, Renault holds a two-point lead over Ferrari. zzzz

Massa's momentum: Felipe Massa's first career Grand Prix victory came in Turkey in a season where he has steadily been gaining momentum.

He celebrated on the podium for the first time in his F1 career when he finished third May 7 in the European Grand Prix in his Ferrari. Popular Brazilian Massa followed that with a second place July 2 in the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Since then he finished third in France, second in Germany and seventh in Hungary, and he then topped it all by winning in Turkey. Massa also earned the first F1 pole position of his career in Turkey.

200 races: The Turkish Grand Prix was the 200th race for McLaren/Mercedes partnership.

Massa joins elite list: Felipe Massa became the 87th different driver to win a race since the FIA Formula One World Championship began in 1950. That list of drivers includes the winners of the Indianapolis 500 from 1950 through 1960 as the "500" then was part of the championship.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has played host to the United States Grand Prix on its 2.605-mile road circuit since 2000.

Fifteen years later: Michael Schumacher made his F1 debut Aug. 25, 1991 in the Belgian Grand Prix. On Aug. 27, 2007 in Turkey, he started his 246th Grand Prix.

During his career, Schumacher has set just about every F1 record, including winning the World Championship seven times, plus 89 Grand Prix victories (including five wins at the United States Grand Prix), 68 poles, 75 fastest race laps and 152 podium finishes.

Schumacher will announce at the Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 9-11 whether he will to retire after this season or continue racing in 2007.

Down to the wire: The winner of the GP2 championship will be decided in the final two races contested Sept. 9-10 in conjunction with the Italian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton leads Nelson Piquet Jr. by 10 points.

Introduced last year as the replacement for Formula 3000, GP2 has been the stepping-stone to F1 for drivers like Scott Speed and Nico Rosberg.

Youngest ever: Germany's Sebastian Vettel drove the third BMW Sauber in the two Friday practice sessions, setting the fastest time of the day, at the Turkish Grand Prix. At the age of 19 years and 53 days, he became the youngest person ever to drive a F1 car during a Grand Prix weekend.

New Zealander Mike Thackwell previously held the record when at age 19 years and 180 days he practiced for the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix.

2007 USGP tickets: The ticketing program for the 2007 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for June 17, will start Wednesday, Aug. 30 with the renewal period for existing USGP customers and the sale of three-day "Season Passes" for $60 to all customers. All other reserved seats will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Existing USGP customers can renew their seats from Aug. 30-Sept. 25. Ticket holders who renew by Monday, Sept. 25 will receive the official 2006 Formula One Season Review, a full-color book valued at $40, that recaps all of the exciting action of this World Championship season, including the 2006 USGP.

New customers also can place a general request for tickets during the renewal period.

Ticket information can be found any time at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-4639 or (317) 492-6700. Ticket Office hours are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday. USGP
Several teams to test at Kentucky Several teams to test at KentuckyKentucky Speedway's post Labor Day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test slate is scheduled to feature Hendrick Motorsports Sept. 6-7, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin Sept. 11 and the new Toyota Team Red Bull Sept. 14-15. Kentucky Speedway PR
F1 vs. Champ Car F1 vs. Champ CarThe 2006 pole position time difference between F1 and Champ Car at Montreal was exactly 5.047 sec.
Some details:
- 1.14.942 min. versus 1.20.005 min
- Fernando Alonso versus Sebastien Bourdais
- Renault F1 Team versus Newman/Haas Racing
- US$ 400 million budget versus max. US$ 10 million budget
- 400 employees versus 40 employees
- Michelin qualifying gumball tire-war tires versus Bridgestone regular 'reds'
- 19,000 RPM versus 12,000 RPM
- 2006 car versus 5-year old car
- 1320 Lb (with driver) vs. 1700 Lb (with driver)
The slowest qualifying F1 car - Frank Montagny in his Super Aguri - was only 0.853 sec. faster then Sebastien Bourdais!
Fastest lap times: 1.15.841 min (Kimi Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes) versus 1.22.325 min (Sebastien Bourdais), a difference of 6.516 sec.

Given the cost, and only a 5 second gain in performance over a 400 pound heavier 'spec' Champ Car with a 'spec' engine on 'spec' tires it's easy to conclude that F1 is a complete and utter waste of money. Data provided by PWS-Consultancy.

Lepage Fined, Place on Probation for Violation Lepage Fined, Place on Probation for ViolationNASCAR announced today that Kevin Lepage, driver of the No. 56 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined and placed on probation due to a rule violation at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 25.

Lepage was fined $10,000 for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing: hitting another competitor’s car during a caution period) of the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book.

He was also placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006.

Honda to use 2007 engine at Monza Honda to use 2007 engine at MonzaHonda are set to race their 2007 engine at next weekend's Italian GP in order to best prepare for next season, which will be the first of a three-season long engine development freeze.

"We have decided we are going to bring in the 2007-spec engine at Monza," Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Racing F1's Senior Technical Director told Autosport.

"The reason is that we have finished the two-race cycle here and we will start the new one in Italy, culminating in China where we have to submit the engine for homologation.

"There have been lots of discussions and plan changing since Hungary, and this is one of the results."

Massa fastest on Day 1 at Monza Massa fastest on Day 1 at Monza
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:22.376 73
 2. Badoer Ferrari (B) 1:22.535 81
 3. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:22.743 90
 4. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:22.904 88
 5. Davidson Honda (M) 1:23.187 97
 6. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:23.232 98
 7. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:23.426 73
 8. Vettel BMW-Sauber (M) 1:23.770 92
 9. Rossiter Honda (M) 1:23.909 110
10. Panis Toyota (B) 1:24.038 68
11. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:24.057 87
12. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:24.087 73
13. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:24.322 92
14. Mondini MF1-Toyota (B) 1:25.525 70

*The above times are courtesy the Williams team

Rusty Wallace in major auto accident Rusty Wallace in major auto accidentLate Monday evening, former NASCAR champion and ESPN/ABC Sports lead auto racing analyst, Rusty Wallace and his wife, Patti, were involved in a major auto accident while returning from the weekend’s IndyCar Series event and a taping of the “NASCAR Angels” television show in California.  The 2006 Dodge Durango Wallace was driving was hit directly in the driver’s door by another motorist who ran a stop sign.  Miraculously, all parties involved survived unscathed and did not require medical treatment.

Noted Wallace, “I’ve been in a lot of crashes in my time, but that was one of the craziest things I think I’ve ever experienced.  Patti and I were driving home from the airport, driving the speed limit, somewhere around 45 miles per hour I believe, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I got hit directly in my door.  We really got knocked around in there and we’re both really sore.”

Despite the Wallace’s involvement in the accident, their immediate concern afterwards was the well-being of the other party involved.  “As soon as we came to a stop and realized what happened, our thoughts turned directly to the other driver, who miraculously, was uninjured as well.”  Wallace continued, “She was really shaken up and very apologetic.  She claimed that somehow, she just didn’t see the stop sign.  Luckily for both of us, there was a police officer directly following me and another coming in the opposite direction, both of whom witnessed the entire thing,” Wallace continued.

When all was said and done, Wallace credited one thing with the ability of himself and his wife to survive: the safety of the 2006 Dodge Durango.  Said Wallace, “You hear car companies talk about safety a lot, but I can tell you that Patti and I are both really thankful for the research and development that Dodge puts into the safety of their vehicles.”  Wallace joked, “That felt like a crash at Talladega, but thankfully, everyone was able to walk away.”

Rahal's 5th win a close one Rahal's 5th win a close oneHe might have missed the first day of high school after rain postponed the Champ Car Grand Prix de Montreal Atlantic Race to today, but Mi-Jack Conquest Racing’s Graham Rahal gave a lesson of his own on the wet Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve as he fought off his closest Championship rival, Simon Pagenaud, in the closing laps of an  exciting race to capture his Series leading fifth victory this season by only 0.073 of-a-second, the closest finish in years in the Series.  zzzz

A lot was at stake for the 17-year-old Rahal from New Albany, Ohio as he came into the race 17 points behind Series’ leader Simon Pagenaud with only two races left. Rahal who was starting third behind James Hinchcliffe and Pagenaud took advantage of a lap 6 battle between the two front-runners to take the lead. He first passed Hinchcliffe, who had just lost the lead, coming out of the hairpin and went head to head with Pagenaud down the stretch and entered the last chicane ahead of the Team Australia driver. Rahal stretched his lead up to nearly a second and a half but with the track drying, Frenchman Pagenaud cut the American’s lead to less than a tenth of second with one lap to go. Pagenaud dove beside the #18 Mi-Jack Conquest Gehl Company car as they were heading toward the finish line but it was Rahal that came out on top in the heart-stopping finish. Rahal remains in second place in the Championship standings only 12 points behind heading to the season finale in Elkhart Lake September 22-24.

“I knew today that the fastest driver was not going to win the race.  Whoever is pushing the hardest usually encounters some problems.  I knew that we had to keep the car on the track until the end.  When I was following Simon (Pagenaud) and James (Hinchcliffe), we all allowed equal distances for those first few laps.  James (Hinchcliffe) went off and opened the door for Simon (Pagenaud).  Once I came out of the hairpin, I saw my opportunity.  I knew I was good out of there and could really power down.  On the straightaway, I was much quicker than anybody else.  I drove around Simon (Pagenaud) because he was on the outside and I just took advantage of it,” said Rahal. “It was a good race.  We knew that we would come here and give it our all.  We all kind of wanted it to rain, to see what would happen, if it would make interesting.  I'm amazed it was a clean race with no yellows, but I was happy that I could maintain the lead.

Sarah Fisher to test Sarah Fisher to testSarah Fisher returns to the cockpit this Thursday at Chicagoland Speedway for a test in preparation for the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 on September 10th. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will re-partner with the three-time Most Popular Driver, who of course competed in the car at Kentucky Speedway two weeks ago (started and finished 12th).

The 25-year-old Fisher has the two best finishes of any female ever in Indy-style racing of second and third. Danica Patrick of course has the next best finish of fourth.

“I’m really looking forward to the test Thursday and getting a baseline and going form there, said Fisher, who has a best starting position of 12th and a best finish of 18th at Chicagoland Speedway and came in 2002 and 2003 respectively. “I think there are some things we can do with the down force levels and take some drag out of the car and get it to turn a bit better. We have a good game plan going into it and we will just continue to fine tune it and hopefully we can come away with another flawless execution. Chicago seems to be bit easier as a track compared to Kentucky. But each track has it’s tendencies that you have to apply. It’s been a while since I’ve been there. I’m a life-long learner so I’m sure there are things I’ll pick up again."

TV News
SPEED tops 68 million HHs SPEED tops 68 million HHsAccording to Nielsen Media Research, SPEED topped 68 million U.S. households (68,160,000) for the first time in network history with the addition of 860,000 households in August.

“With SPEED securing major NASCAR events like the Nextel All-Star Challenge and the Gatorade Duels for the next eight years, we expect to continue the network’s strong growth pattern,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED EVP & General Manager. “In addition to our comprehensive motor sports coverage, SPEED also is enjoying a strong and growing presence in the automotive lifestyle arena, with our hit show PINKS being called ‘the hottest car show on television’ by Hot Rod Magazine.”

SPEED has added more than four million households in the last year and more than 40 million homes since first measured by Nielsen in July 2000, with 87 percent of all SPEED subscribers getting the network on their basic or expanded package of service from their cable or satellite provider.

Waltrip to open Garage/Theme Park Waltrip to open Garage/Theme ParkMichael Waltrip is planning an extreme makeover of what constitutes a NASCAR race shop.  The NASCAR star's Waltrip Racing World, under construction in Cornelius, will combine a traditional NASCAR garage with an interactive theme park when it opens next spring.

Waltrip said, “People drive thousands of miles to come see these race shops and when they get there all they have access to is a finished car and a gift shop. What we wanted to do was give the fans something special and really let them see and feel the sport while learning how it works.”

Nielsen research reveals affluent fan base Nielsen research reveals affluent fan baseBraselton, Ga. - The American Le Mans Series has long proclaimed a demographic hierarchy in the sports world similar to professional golf, tennis and other upscale endeavors of affluence and influence. A recently completed Nielsen Media Research strategic analysis has reconfirmed and further detailed the Series' position among the elite of the sports brands.

The conclusion: The American Le Mans Series attracts one of the most desirable and growing fan bases in sports.

"It was important for the American Le Mans Series to confirm data that it felt distinguished itself within the marketplace," said Barbara Zidovsky, Senior Vice President of Nielsen Sports. "Our consistent and uniform methodology allows the Series to provide legitimate, factual and unbiased data to its constituents." zzzz

One of the primary conclusions of the Nielsen Research study was that the American Le Mans Series' fan is a highly desirable market influencer who is traditionally hard to reach. This latest Nielsen Media Research data is an independent verification for the Series and its partners who use the racing platform to interact with its attractive fan base.

Nielsen Media Research studied American Le Mans Series race fans who attended races last year. That study revealed that nearly half (48.3 percent) of American Le Mans Series fans earned more than $90,000 annually compared to only 20.4 percent nationally. In separate studies from national US phone surveys, Nielsen Media Research concluded that fans of the major sports leagues and other motorsports series who earned more than $90,000 ranged from 23.7 percent to 34 percent.

In addition, 20 percent of American Le Mans Series fans earned more than $150,000 and 10 percent earned more than $200,000. Furthering the affluence of the American Le Mans Series fans, the Nielsen Media Research study results documented that 13 percent had a net worth greater than $1 million and nearly a quarter (22.3 percent) had a net worth greater than $500,000.

American Le Mans Series fans love their cars and do not hesitate to purchase them or pay a higher tab for them, either. More than 40 percent of Series fans purchased new vehicles in the past year, and 39 percent own three cars or more while 27 percent spend more than $30,000 on a new car purchase.

In the important area of age-based demographics, Nielsen Media Research data reflects that 51 percent of American Le Mans Series fans fall within the highly desirable and influential 25-49 year age bracket; however, the Series also fared very favorably with younger fans, garnering 30 percent of its fans from the highly sought after 18-34 age group. In separate studies from US national phone surveys, Nielsen Media Research indicated that the major sports leagues and other motorsports series reaching this 18-34 year age bracket ranged from 9.1 percent to 34.2 percent.

"If a company is looking for a sports marketing platform that reaches influential buyers and decision-makers, this data confirms the American Le Mans Series is a very effective and efficient way to reach an exceptional audience," said Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. "In addition, while the Series continues to deliver a target audience of 40-year-old affluent adult males, we are very encouraged that so many young fans have emerged, providing credence to the American Le Mans Series as one of the fastest growing race series in the world. With our mix of top-level independent teams and a dozen manufacturers competing head-to-head in our Series - unlike any other form of motorsports on the worldwide stage - this validation of our demographic information is very important to all our stakeholders."

This desirable fan base gets much credit for the Series' increases in TV viewership and attendance over the last year. As a result of the Series' enhanced network TV package, viewership was up 81 percent over the same six-race period a year ago, while attendance has increased 3 percent.

"With our measurements skewing upward in virtually every category, there is little wonder why more and more corporations are looking to the American Le Mans Series as a valuable investment and method to reach the much coveted audiences reflected by our demographics, both those attending our events and on TV," said Atherton.

Since its inception in 1999, the American Le Mans Series has delivered a balanced package featuring both network and major cable broadcasters including CBS Sports, NBC Sports, ESPN and SPEED with every event enjoying domestic as well as international television exposure.

The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the Mobil 1 presents Labor Day Grand Prix of Mosport, set for 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 3. ALMS

Q and A with widow of McLaren founder Bruce Q and A with widow of McLaren founder BrucePatty McLaren-Brickett, the widow of McLaren founder Bruce, has retained her links with the team since his tragic death in 1970. She talks about the founding of McLaren 40 years ago, the early days of the team and her continued interest in Formula 1.

It’s quite some time since Bruce founded his team. Does it seem like that long ago to you?
“No, it doesn’t. It seems like yesterday, but things have changed so much, and it’s not the motor racing that I knew! It was a very interesting time, really. The Cooper team, with whom Bruce was still racing at the time, couldn’t really afford to race in the Tasman series in Australasia and Bruce decided to do his own thing. He had the approval of the Cooper team initially, and he took the little Cooper car and modified it. The Tasman series was wonderful. All the top drivers of the time, such as Jim Clark and Graham Hill, were competing in it. For them it was just a relaxing period at the end of the year, I guess. They all enjoyed it so much, and we always looked after them.”

How did things develop in the early years for the McLaren team?
“It didn’t happen overnight, and it was hard going initially. We were successful in CanAm, of course, but we weren’t as successful in Formula 1 to start with, because it was very difficult back then. In the early days of the team the cars were red for some reason. The Italians are quite passionate about their racing, and I think they thought it was a Ferrari. They were cheering like mad until they realized it wasn’t!”

Bruce won the first grand prix for the team at Spa-Francorchamps in 1968. That must have been special.
”Yes, it was absolutely wonderful. By then the cars were McLaren orange, of course!”

How keen were you for the team to carry on after Bruce died in 1970?
“Very keen. I wanted to carry on for the lads, or ‘my boys’ as I always called them.”

How different is the Formula 1 scene today?
“I knew that question was coming! It’s so vastly different. In the 1960s we were all great friends. The drivers and the wives were great chums, and we all used to travel together. We’d drive from race to race, sometimes in convoy, and have wonderful times en route. It’s inevitable that things have changed, though, as the sport is very commercial now, and there’s so much money involved.”  zzzz

Do you still feel like you are part of the McLaren team?
“Oh yes I do, very much so. I’m always watching the races on the television, and I love to see the McLaren name still there in the results. I like to think that I’m involved, and I still know lots of the people. I always go to Silverstone – I am a member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club – and I go to the odd European grand prix if I can.”

Who do you keep in touch with from the old days?
“I try to keep in touch with all the drivers from the 1960s who are still around, such as Sir Jack Brabham, Tony Brooks and Sir Stirling Moss. [Team boss] Ken Tyrrell is no longer with us, sadly. I enjoy going to events at Goodwood, because I always see old friends there. Both of the meetings [the Festival of Speed and the Revival] are wonderful, and I’m very fortunate because event organizer Lord March invites me to both and I always get the full VIP treatment.

Have you got to know the McLaren drivers over the years?
”Oh yes. I enjoyed meeting all of them, although I knew them better a few years ago than today. I haven’t met Kimi yet, but I’ve known all the others.”

What are the aims of the Bruce McLaren Trust?
”At the moment it’s really a tribute to Bruce. The office is at the former McLaren family garage, and that’s where the memorabilia is too. I donated most of Bruce’s trophies, and Denny Hulme’s widow [Greeta] will do so too if we can find somewhere larger which can serve as a proper museum and tribute to New Zealand’s great motor racing heroes. New Zealanders are probably as passionate about motor racing as they are about rugby, so we’re trying to find a permanent place for the museum to be established. It’s already open to the public, but it’s quite confined. So they’re raising funds for that purpose.” Source McLaren

F1 podium sparks political storm (UPDATE) F1 podium sparks political storm (UPDATE)(GMM)  The FIA says it has launched a 'full investigation' after Sunday's formula one podium ceremony at Istanbul sparked a political storm.

Debutant race winner for Ferrari, Felipe Massa, received his trophy from Mehmet Ali Talat, who was introduced by the regular F1 announcer and the official television caption as the 'President of the Northern Turkish Republic of Cyprus'.

In fact, Turkish troops invaded Cyprus in 1974, and still occupy the north-eastern area, which was subsequently declared by both the United Nations and the European Union as an illegal state.

Cyprus spokesman Christodoulos Pasharis denounced the F1 podium as an 'unacceptable and provocative piece of theatre', and said the government intends to lodge an official complaint with the FIA.

He said Turkey had exploited a sports event and 'tricked' formula one's governing body.

An FIA statement on Tuesday read: ''Political neutrality is fundamental to the FIA's role as the governing body of international motor sport.  No compromise or violation of this neutrality is acceptable.

''The results of the investigation will be presented to the FIA World Motor Sport Council.''

Dennis plans to step down by 2012 Dennis plans to step down by 2012Ron Dennis says he will eventually step down as the Chairman of the McLaren F1 team.

"I may still be chairman of the group but it's highly unlikely that I'll be the team principal, because it's just not the way to behave," I just want to be a successful chapter in the book. Not the book. You have to practice what you preach and inevitably as you move up, there has to be space for them.

"In five years' time I will not be the team principal, that is for sure."

"There isn't a plan. There is no pressure. There is just a strong desire to grow and move forward," he explained.

"McLaren has lots of ambitions in many areas, and that is easier to fulfill if there is a stronger line with Mercedes-Benz."

Wallace new spokesman for Earth Biofuels Wallace new spokesman for Earth BiofuelsEarth Biofuels announced that Rusty Wallace has joined the company's Advisory Board and will also act as a spokesperson for the company. Wallace joins fellow advisory board member Julia Roberts and Board of Directors members country music legend Willie Nelson and actor Morgan Freeman in promoting the use of renewable fuels such as Earth Biofuels’ biodiesel and ethanol. RWI PR
The ’Coma in Sonoma’ - Staged win The ’Coma in Sonoma’ - Staged winUPDATE #3 "There's no doubt he (Herta) spun on purpose," Dan Wheldon told SPEEDTV.com, who was directly behind Herta when he looped his car on Lap 73 in Turn 7 to bring out a full-course yellow with seven laps left, which made it possible for Andretti to win instead of making a late pit stop for fuel.

"Bryan definitely took one for the team today and I understand teamwork but that's not how any race should be decided."

Chip Ganassi, whose other driver Scott Dixon led 40 laps and looked like a sure winner before a jack failed on his last pit stop, agreed with Wheldon.

"It looked very suspicious to me and everyone else," he said. "And the fans aren't that stupid," Ganassi told SPEEDTV.com.

08/29/06 A reader writes, I was at Infineon this weekend and in deference to your reader Mr. Murphy, my impression of the crowd and the event was very different. There were a fair number of spectators at least on race day. The paddock was quite crowded, the grandstands in turn 7 were a quarter to a third full as were the main grandstands and the hillside above turn 2. Also, there was very visible Marlboro and Target sponsor hospitality, among others.

In terms of the race, yeah, it was a bit of a parade but who really thought Indy Cars would have a lot of overtaking at Infineon? The thought that Herta would spin deliberately so Marco could win is just plain stupid. Herta was trying VERY hard at that point in the race (went off through the dirt in the chicane just prior trying to lap Sharp in an overly optimistic attempt and was trying hard to catch up) . Marco simply lucked out that the IRL obviously does not understand the concept of local yellows. All weekend long, if anyone went off they would give a full course yellow. In the race, by the time they rolled the pace car, then bunched up the field, cleaned up the incident and got the pace car off took a bunch of laps. Marco just got lucky in that he could avoid a stop and stay up front. He was fast, but if he had to stop like everyone else he would not have won.

The ensuing shootout at the last restart made it exciting as it was foreseeable that everyone would wad it up in the only real overtaking spot at the end of the straight. Everyone was trying very hard at the end. Name Withheld

08/28/06 "It's a shame we weren't on the best fuel strategy,"  said Danica Patrick after Sunday's race. "Had we known that Herta was going to spin out there, mysteriously, maybe we would have had a different one."

08/27/06 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, The race today at Infineon Raceway should be termed the 'Coma in Sonoma.' There were very few fans there and no sponsors. The hills looked barren. I fell asleep as if in a deep coma I was so bored. Afterwards I heard Robin Miller say it looked like Fuel Gate as if it was fixed for Marco to win as he would not have made it if not for that mysterious yellow at the end. It further turns me off to a sport I thought was once beyond reproach. Brad Murphy
Andretti youngest ever Andretti youngest everAt 19 years, five months and 14 days, Andretti became the youngest driver to win a major open-wheel race, and he accomplished the feat at a pace far quicker than his father or grandfather - Michael Andretti was 23 years, 6 months and 7 days old when won at Long Beach in 1986, while Mario Andretti was 25 years old when he won the Hoosier Grand Prix in 1965.

Marco Andretti became the first teenager to win a major open-wheel event on Aug. 27th when he won the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. Here's how the milestone compares to other young athlete accomplishment:

  1. Tiger Woods was two months shy of his 21st birthday when he won his first PGA tournament, the Las Vegas Open in 1996.
  2. Pele was 17 when he made his World Cup debut for Brazil in 1958, he scored three goals in a semifinal win over France and two more in Brazil's championship win over Sweden. 
  3. Competing in only his third decathlon, Bob Mathias, 17, won the 1948 Olympic gold medal.
  4. Wayne Gretzky was 17 when he turned pro with the Indianapolis Racers of the WHA. In 1980, now with the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL, Gretzky won the Hart Trophy as MVP as a 19-year-old.
  5. Bob Feller was a 17-year-old high school student when he debuted for the Cleveland Indians in 1936. He struck out 15 in his first major-league start and later tied the record of 17 strikeouts in one game. He went 5-3 that summer before returning to Iowa for his senior year of high school.
  6. Tracy Austin, only 16, became the youngest champion in U.S. Open history in 1979, and Austin would become, in 1980, the youngest sports millionaire ever, and would win another U.S. Open title in 1981. But accumulated injuries forced her to retire in 1983, and nothing much came of an attempted comeback a decade later.
  7. Boris Becker became the youngest player ever to win the men's Wimbledon singles title, achieving the feat at age 17 in 1985. Then he repeated in 1986. He also competed on Germany's Davis Cup team as a teenager.
  8. In 1977, 17-year-old Steve Cauthen won $6.1 million in purses, more than any other jockey in history, and was named the Associated Press male athlete of the year and SI's Sportsman of the Year. He rode Affirmed to a Triple Crown in 1978, becoming, at 18, the youngest jockey in history to accomplish that feat.
  9. Dwight Gooden was just 19 and straight out of Class A ball when he stormed through the National League with the New York Mets in 1984. Gooden went 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA and led the NL with a rookie-record 260 strikeouts (in 218 innings). Gooden finished second in the NL Cy Young voting to Rick Sutcliffe.
Points race tightens after Infineon Points race tightens after InfineonFor the fourth-consecutive week, Marlboro Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. exchanged the IndyCar Series point lead.

A single-point separates the pair, who have an identical number of wins (four), second-place finishes (one) and third-place finishes (one) through the 13 IndyCar Series events.

"Let me tell you, it's no question it's a situation that it's really close," said Castroneves, who leads Hornish following a fifth-place finish in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. "We came here to take as much points as we could. This is part of the game, which is fun. Now let's go to Chicago. It's kind of every man for himself."

Castroneves, however, doesn't have his eye on just his teammate. Trailing behind the Penske duo are Target Chip Ganassi drivers Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon, who are 19 and 21 points back, respectively. Castroneves knows a mistake could open the door for a title rival other than Hornish. zzzz

"We don't want to give the championship to Target (Chip) Ganassi," Castroneves said. "We're going to try everything we can to win this championship, whether it's going to be me or Sam. My opinion, obviously it should be me (laughter), but I don't think Sam would agree with that."

The Target duo recorded a fourth (Dixon) and sixth (Wheldon) at Infineon, and though title hopes are dwindling, neither Dixon nor Wheldon is ready to concede the title.

"As fast as we've been all year, and as aggressive as everyone knows I can be, no one is going to want to mess with me in Chicago," Wheldon said. "I have nothing to lose now, and I'm not ready to give up and neither is the Target team. We're still in this. We just have to win at Chicago and the rest will be in the "Racing Gods"' hands. We've worked very hard all year to make a championship possible, and it's not over yet." IRL

Mixed emotions for Jean Todt Mixed emotions for Jean TodtJean Todt expressed the mixed emotions of the Scuderia Ferrari after Sunday's first and third places in the Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park where Brazil's Felipe Massa claimed not only his first pole position but also his first win. "We were obviously very pleased about the first pole position for Felipe, the first win for Felipe with Scuderia Ferrari and he drove a great race.

"But we are obviously a bit disappointed because we had the potential that could have allowed us to be first and second," continued Todt, "but due to the safety car it probably made our race more difficult. It did not help Michael. So we had the potential to be first and second, and we finished first and third."

The Ferraris were running first and second when the safety car was deployed 14 laps into the 58 lap race. All the front runners headed for the pits for fuel and tires, including both Ferraris, but as Felipe Massa was leading teammate Michael Schumacher, the World Championship contender had to wait in the pit lane while his teammate's car was worked on. Schumacher lost 11 seconds which allowed championship leader Fernando Alonso to overtake him while he was stationary in his pit. zzzz

But the team had little option in this matter, explained Todt. They couldn't have swapped the order in favor of Schumacher.
"When the safety car is on the track you cannot overtake. You just cannot do it. Overtaking with the safety car is forbidden. That doesn't mean we would have done it, but we couldn't. I think there would be five times more people at this press conference if I had asked Felipe Massa to let Michael through. That would have been the event of the race weekend. So I am sorry for you that we did not change the order in the pits!" he joked.

With four races to go, however, there was good news and bad news from Turkey, explained Todt. "In the Constructors' championship, today's race allowed us to get closer because we are now minus two points, and we were minus seven. In the Drivers' championship we are two points further back; we were minus 10 and now we are minus 12.

"Saying that, we had a demonstration that our car was very quick during the weekend - first row, first and second quickest time during the race and we had very strong Bridgestone tires. So I am convinced that we still have a chance to fight for both championships.

It will depend what the others (principal rivals Renault and Fernando Alonso) will do as development," continued Todt, "what the tire situation will be. We know we have a good development program but we don't know the development program for the others. We know we have new tires to test, new compound and new construction. I don't know what the others will have to test, so time will tell."

Todt again paid tribute to race winner Massa. "After 14 races he is third in the championship, and he did not score 62 points by winning the race. He had 52 before the race, he now has 62 after he won. He was already third in the championship, so for those with open eyes he is a good driver. It was a very good weekend for him because he had his first pole and his first win, so he will probably be even more dedicated to help the team to fight for both championships - even if he was already well dedicated. He is a very good team player.

"Tonight I have a feeling he is a new champion. For me it is good to judge a driver when they are not winning. To judge somebody when you have some problems is probably more demanding, but more rewarding as well. I confirm that I always had the feeling that Felipe was a very talented driver. That is why we contracted him a few years ago and we are very happy to have him with us."

Ferrari now go to Monza to test, followed by the Italian Grand Prix, where they will also announce their 2007 line-up. As ever, Todt wasn't saying anything about the future line-up, but he was asked whether the constant speculation all season about drivers has been unsettling for the team. "No, it is like step by step. Before it was another thing and after it will be something else. I know that to do the job you need to create interest. So once one interest is over then you have to find another one, and it is fair. It is fairer if it does correspond to reality, sometimes." Source Ferrari

Bourdais wrong Bourdais wrongDear AutoRacing1.com, Bourdais didn’t like the way it went in Denver with AJ and that is why it was important for him to win fair and square.  Is he insinuating that something was unfair about AJ winning in Denver?   What I saw, up close, was he had a problem with Tracy and that was after AJ crossed the finish line.  He was never close enough to challenge AJ.  Tracy had nothing to do with the win.

I also wonder why Tracy was fined and Sebastian was not?  Sebastian challenged and shoved Tracy.  I gave Tracy a lot of credit for not flattening Bourdais.  I know Tracy is the Bad Boy of Champ Car but fair is fair.  John Schieving, Englewood, CO.

Dear John, You are correct and Allmendinger was quick to point that error out to Bourdais in the same press conference by reminding him that he was so far ahead of Bourdais' incident with Tracy in the final corner he never saw what happened.  As for Bourdais not being fined for shoving Tracy, most sanctioning bodies do not give out fines for shoving. Mark C.

Servia admits mistake on in-lap Servia admits mistake on in-lapOriol Servia qualified fifth and was running in sixth Sunday when the red flag was dropped after six laps of the Montreal GP.  The native of Catalunya moved back into fifth place on lap 14 when race leader A. J. Allmendinger fell by the wayside.  Three laps later he passed Bruno Junqueira, who Sunday made a highly suspect move prior to the green flag to get ahead of Servia.  Running in fourth, Servia was getting great fuel mileage, which allowed him to stay out a lap longer than race leader, and eventual winner, Sebastien Bourdais as well as runner up Paul Tracy.  However, while completing his in-lap (where drivers who pit later than others usually make up a lot of their time) Servia pressed too hard in an effort to even further improve his track position and ended up in the wall while negotiating the turn before pit lane. 

“I was saving fuel and the last two laps I just wanted to improve my track position,” Servia said.  “I just braked too late going into the last chicane.  I went in a little too hard, got sideways and went over the curb.  The curb was still wet and it sent me straight to the wall,” he explained.  “It is really a shame because the Gulfstream – PKV Racing car was very good today.  We were running up front and in a good position for a top finish, so I lost an opportunity to get a lot of points,” Servia noted.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 podium sparks political storm
Now Massa must help Schu - Todt
All teams prepare for Monza test
Schu's manager hits out at Ferrari
McLaren deny $700m debt rumor
Albers to reveal 2007 contract at Suzuka
Allmendinger would have beaten Bourdais again Allmendinger would have beaten Bourdais againAfter winning 4 of the last 6 races and becoming the new hot shoe in the Champ Car series, A.J. Allmendinger says he would have beaten Sebastien Bourdais again in Montreal Monday.

“Well it’s obviously a really disappointing result, I mean I was just cruising out there, I was only pushing 80% the whole time. I knew Sebastien was right in my gearbox but there was no way he was going to be able to even try to pass because there was only one dry line. So I was just controlling the pace of the race and taking it easy. When I came out of the hairpin I started shifting and something suddenly just broke in the rear, I knew right away that our day was done. It’s a shame because the Forsythe Team gave me a great car and I was on my way to another win. I just have to say thanks to the fans that came out on a Monday morning to watch the race, I wish I could’ve given them a win but it just wasn’t our day today.”

Audi duo eye title Audi duo eye titleBraselton, Ga. - It has been awhile for Allan McNish. It has been a dream for Dindo Capello. Both are on the verge of becoming American Le Mans Series champions - McNish for the second time while Capello can claim his first. That puts a little more importance on this weekend's Mobil 1 presents Labor Day Weekend Grand Prix of Mosport.

Heading into the eighth round of the 2006 schedule, McNish and Capello lead the LMP1 championship by 42 points over Dyson Racing's Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver. Should they win for the sixth time this season, the Audi Sport North America duo could slam the door on the championship chase. As has been the case the last three rounds of the Series, the two will pilot a diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI, which is unbeaten since debuting at Sebring.

"It was difficult to say how things would be as it was such a big project with an all new concept," said McNish, the 2000 prototype champion. "So from that point of view, the general reliability and performance has lived up to the usual Audi standard." zzzz

With a victory and a third-place finish by Weaver and Leitzinger in the No. 16 Dyson Lola, McNish and Capello would lead the standings by 49 points, the amount available for winning both Petit Le Mans and the season-ending Monterey Sports Car Championships. According to IMSA rules, the number of wins by drivers with the same amount of points decides the championship.

Additionally, the McNish/Capello R10 TDI can finish second and clinch if Leitzinger/Weaver finish fifth. And if they aren't classified, all the No. 2 Audi has to do is complete 70 percent of the total number of race laps. The same goes for the chassis and engine manufacturers crown.

"This year with the R10 TDI, we have a great chance at a good result," said Capello, championship runner-up in 2000 and 2002. "We all feel we are part of a great and new project. If it is successful, we can write many history pages in motorsport. We really are making a difference."

The team title picture looks even better for Audi. Dyson Racing must have one of its cars finish ahead of one of the R10s to keep the Audi factory squad from clinching the team title. It would mark a tremendous accomplishment for both TDI Power and Audi, which has seen its teams take the last six P1 championships.

"From an Audi point of view, the USA is an important market," McNish said. "I think (Audi) liked the idea of taking the diesel to the States, a country not used to high performance diesels - never mind one that can beat gasoline power."

The next round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the Mobil 1 presents Labor Day Grand Prix of Mosport, set for 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 3. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel. ALMS

skip barber
Skip Barber National to Miller instead of Mid-Ohio Skip Barber National to Miller instead of Mid-OhioLAKEVILLE, Conn.  – The two rounds of the 14-race Skip Barber National Presented by RACER that were scheduled for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sept. 2-3 have been moved to Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park Oct. 28-29 and will become the season finale. The two races at the Champ Car event at Road America Sept. 23-24 thus become rounds 11 and 12.

Race Series Director Todd Snyder said, ‘‘The reason for the schedule change is that the Mid-Ohio track had concerns about drivers under 15 participating. The National’s entry list routinely includes top karting drivers who are under the age of 15. Meanwhile, Skip Barber was provided an opportunity to bring another spectacular Western U.S. track [Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca being the other] to the Skip Barber National schedule. So it made sense to move the event to Miller.”

Skip Barber COO George Ayres adds, ‘‘Skip Barber Racing prides itself on its ability to reach out to young people within motorsports and encourage them to develop their talent, regardless of age and income. As more and more aspiring racers emerge from the ranks of karting, at ever younger ages, Skip Barber is seeing more very talented drivers under the age of street-driving license standards.’’ zzzz

Snyder added, ‘‘We pride ourselves on having young pro drivers compete on the nation’s best professional circuits. It’s one of the reasons drivers such as Marco Andretti and A.J. Allmendinger chose the National. Most will be back at these tracks in Formula Atlantic, Star Mazda or Grand-Am in a year or two, and driving those circuits now will give them a leg up on the rest of the field. ‘‘We think Miller Motorsports Park is emerging as one of the top tracks in the country, so we’re really looking forward to running our top racers there in October.’’

Earlier this month, the Skip Barber National came off rounds nine and 10 at the Grand Prix de Trois- Rivières, both won by Jonathan Goring. Goring took over the points lead from Marco Di Leo, who is now second, just 20 points behind. In third is Alexander Rossi, only 19 points behind Di Leo.

Evernham refutes Mayfield's claims Evernham refutes Mayfield's claimsEvernham Motorsports team owner Ray Evernham, who owns the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Dodge entries driven by Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Scott Riggs, joined the NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED crew and responded to recent criticism about his team and the dismissal of former driver Jeremy Mayfield.

Here is what he had to say to host John Roberts, along with drivers and co-hosts Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace during this past weekend’s race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Roberts: Elliott Sadler recently finished in the top 10 (at Michigan International Raceway) behind the wheel of the No. 19 Dodge, which is something, no one else, or the team, has been able to do in this car so far this year.

Evernham: Yes, thanks John. That’s right. We feel like we’re a three-car team again. Elliott brought communication right away, and the car was fast and it was good to get a top-10 finish finally for that car.

Wallace: One thing that is always a mystery about NASCAR racing is how a team loses chemistry. In the race for the Chase, and with Jeremy Mayfield in it’s two years in a row, it’s what everyone expects – and that’s what we expect here at NASCAR RaceDay. How do you think chemistry was lost between Jeremy Mayfield and yourself?

Evernham: I don’t know, Kenny – I really don’t know a lot of it. I don’t understand a lot of it. If you could understand why you lose it, you could understand why you get it. As car owners and teams – and not just in racing, but football and baseball – everybody is searching for that chemistry. I really don’t know and I can’t explain it. I don’t know why it goes away and performance drops. zzzz

Wallace: I feel you have a great race team, but because you are the leading Dodge team, do you ever feel any pressure that your Dodges should run better than the other Dodges, since you are sponsored by Dodge?

Evernham: Well, I don’t. But I do want to address some of the things that were said last weekend and put out some facts about it. I guess Jimmy said, ‘you got to be there.’ Hey, I am there. I’m there Monday through Thursday, 45 to 55 hours a week and holding 10 to 12 meetings. I’ve got five different companies. I run those companies. As far as the No. 9 (Kasey Kahne) car, going from third or fourth to 11th in points - we can’t control sometimes having some engine failure or crashes and things like that. The loss of those points just the last three or four weeks has hurt that car. We provide a top-10 car just about every week, and at the races, if you look, that we’ve finished without problems, our car has been in the top 10. And to go on and say that the No. 10 (Scott Riggs) car hasn’t met expectations – I totally disagree with that. The 10 car is a new car, and has performed right up to our expectations. The Valvoline and Stanley people are super happy with it. We’ve been making top-15 runs, and we’re right where we wanted to be with this car. It did miss the Daytona 500, but if you look, it’s a lot further ahead in points than a lot of the other cars. I’d compare that to any new team that’s out there right now.

Spencer: Alright Ray. Thanks for coming on man, appreciate it. What’s the future hold, for the rest of this year, in building the organization to having more than one car, or one shot at the top 10?

Evernham: Well, that’s what we’re trying to do. As I said, communication is a key. I feel like we’re back on with three teams. We’re working hard and we’ve got a lot of exciting things happening for next year. Again, our company has grown 35 percent for two years in a row in size, and in revenue. We’re really close to being able to talk about what we’re going to be doing with a fourth team here shortly. We’ve got to go to four teams if we want to compete with Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush and people like that. Evernham Motorsports is continuing to grow, and we’re doing everything we can do to put multiple cars in The Chase. It’s not just about getting into The Chase; you have to remember it’s about winning The Chase. It’s about us being a champion. Getting in The Chase isn’t good enough anymore.

More trouble for Tracy More trouble for TracyA large color picture of Paul Tracy in his "Captain Quebec" costume is on the front page today's Toronto Star newspaper. The headline reads "More Trouble for Tracy". At least Champ Car makes headlines in Canada!

The article says, West Hill’s Paul Tracy dons a wrestler’s mask and a cape with fleur-de-lis at the Montreal Grand Prix to make fun of his comments about French drivers not taking their helmets off to fight him. They were not amused.

Montreal attendance up Montreal attendance upThe three-day attendance total for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal was 110,030, an increase of more than 16,000 fans from 2005. That figure does not include an estimated 20,000 fans that returned for today’s conclusion to the race.

That is up from the 93,755 last year but well below the 172,000 for the first Champ Car weekend in 2002 and not close to the more than 300,000 that attend the annual F1 race in June.

Montreal race to be shown on SPEED Montreal race to be shown on SPEEDToday's rain delayed Montreal Champ Car race can be seen on SPEED Channel on September 6th at 12 noon.
Rahal holds off Pagenaud in Montreal Rahal holds off Pagenaud in Montreal
Tracy confident Champ Car will be back Tracy confident Champ Car will be backAfter today's final Champ Car race at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve Paul Tracy expressed confidence that Champ Car will find a way back into Quebec after being pushed out by Normand Legault and NASCAR.

"I think I'm pretty sure we'll be back somewhere in Québec. Alan Labrosse, who is the promoter here for the last two years, I've known Alan since I started racing cars in 1985. Him and I used to race against each other. He's a stand-up, straight-up guy. He's very honest. I think he has good connections with the city and good connections with the people here. He's been able to generate sponsorship for some of the drivers in the series in Québec. I have a lot of faith in him that he'll find us another place to race in Québec.

"This is a beautiful track. This is a fantastic track. When I first started racing cars in 1985, like I said, one of the first races I came to was here to watch a Grand Prix. It's a beautiful, beautiful circuit."

Race winner Sebastien Bourdais agreed.

"Yeah, well, as we said coming off the podium, I just hope that the people from Montréal are going to speak up and try and cheer for a third event on the island. If we can have that, then we'll be back for sure.

"Champ Car wants to be back here. Apparently the fans want us to be back here. So there's only one man standing in the middle of it, and I guess an exception would make it a lot easier. I hope it happens. "

Cyprus slams Turkish F1 'trick' Cyprus slams Turkish F1 'trick'Cyprus is making an official complaint to motor sport's world governing body over what it calls a political "trick" at the Turkish Grand Prix. The Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, presented the Formula One trophy at the televised event in Istanbul.

However, he was introduced as president of the Turkish Cypriot "state" - which is only recognised by Turkey.

Cyprus has been split since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the north of the island after a Greek-inspired coup.

"The Cypriot government will denounce this unacceptable and provocative piece of theatre," Cyprus government spokesman Christodoulos Pashardis told reporters after the Grand Prix award ceremony.

He accused Turkish officials of exploiting a sporting event and "tricking" the organising body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA).

"Mr. Talat is neither a citizen nor an official of Turkey, the organising country, to be invited to present the Formula One winner's trophy," he stated.

He also said the Cypriot Automobile Association would lodge a follow-up complaint.

The event was watched by Greek Cypriots live on state television and by an estimated 2.5 billion people around the world. BBC

Allmendinger to skip Grand-Am race Allmendinger to skip Grand-Am racePacific Coast Motorsports today announced that due to unforeseen commitments in his schedule A.J. Allmendinger will no longer be able to co-drive the team’s #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season-ending ‘Discount Tire Sunchaser’ event on Saturday 2nd September.
Allmendinger’s deal to contest the final round of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series with Pacific Coast Motorsports had been signed prior to his switch to Forsythe Racing in the Champ Car World Series where he has subsequently scored four wins to move into title contention, his recent successes creating a more demanding schedule for the 24-year-old Californian.
As a result of this Pacific Coast Motorsports and Allmendinger have mutually agreed to terminate their deal in order to allow him to fulfill those commitments while giving the team an opportunity to evaluate other drivers to fill the third seat alongside PCM regular drivers Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel for the nine-hour race at Miller Motorsports Park.
An announcement is expected to be made shortly regarding the line-up for the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype for this event.
Rahal beats Pagenaud in Montreal Rahal beats Pagenaud in MontrealGraham Rahal has won the rained out Champ Car Atlantic race in Montreal Monday morning over points leader Simon Pagenaud.  Rahal closed the point gap with just one race remaining in Road America.  More later.....

FP Car# Driver Laps Status
1 18 Graham Rahal 26 Running
2 15 Simon Pagenaud 26 Running
3 3 James Hinchcliffe 26 Running
4 4 David Martinez 26 Running
5 7 Leonardo Maia 26 Running
6 12 Alan Sciuto 26 Running
7 6 Raphael Matos 26 Running
8 5 Michael Patrizi 26 Running
9 33 Richard Philippe 26 Running
10 14 Colin Fleming 26 Running
11 28 Robbie Pecorari 26 Running
12 37 Andreas Wirth  26 Running
13 1 Danilo Dirani 26 Running
14 21 Ronnie Bremer 26 Running
15 23 Jonathan Bomarito 26 Running
16 34 Joe D'Agostino 26 Running
17 2 Tim Bridgman 26 Running
18 35 Steve Ott 26 Running
19 10 Alex Sperafico 26 Running
20 19 Brian Thienes 26 Running
21 8 Antoine Bessette 26 Running
22 26 Justin Sofio 26 Running
23 31 Casey Neal 25 Running
24 30 Ryan Lewis 20 Contact

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
Schu career nearing end - press
Terror in Turkey
Red Bull to honor Ferrari engine contract

Bernie surprised by 'mass damper' banning
Errors to cost Schu title - Lauda
Alonso admits 'lucky' Turkish escape
Bernie denies Flavio will succeed him
Renault applauds Fisichella
Tracy banters with the Montreal crowd Tracy banters with the Montreal crowdChamp Car driver Paul Tracy makes no bones about loving to play the villain.  And, after irking Quebec racing fans with some disparaging remarks about French drivers earlier this month, Tracy decided the best thing to do was to give the people what they wanted at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal.

So, the 37-year-old Toronto native donned a blue wrestling mask with a silver face design and wore a Quebec flag as a cape during the driver parade, as he was ferried around the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in the back of a pick-up truck.

When the boos erupted as Captain Quebec passed by the grandstands, Tracy began imitating wrestling moves, such as punches and forearm smashes, and pretending to be holding someone in a headlock.

"Some fans gave me the outfit and I played along just to have some fun with the crowd, the interaction was good," he said. "The bantering back and forth was fun."

Tracy got into dust-ups with a pair of French-speaking drivers in the past two races -- Team Australia driver Alex Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., in San Jose, Calif., and Newman Haas racer Sébastien Bourdais of France in Denver. He then told reporters in Denver that "French guys never take their helmets off" in altercations.

Tracy's antics were about the only excitement for the few brave fans that showed up on the wet, cold, and windy day at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

In the end, the fifth Grand Prix of Montreal went only six laps before Champ Car officials threw the red flag. A decision to postpone the race came at about 5 p.m. (all times EDT). Globe and Mail

Dodge nose approved Dodge nose approvedDodge teams will get the new nose they wanted in 2007. They'll only be able to use the new nose in the 20 races that don't incorporate the "car of tomorrow." but it will be a welcome change to the struggles with the Dodge Charger. No Dodge team is in the top 10 in points. SceneDaily.com
Racing News
Quotes of the week Quotes of the week
Ferrari reject team error claims Ferrari reject team error claims(GMM) Jean Todt has played down suggestions that Ferrari put a dampener on Michael Schumacher's hopes of further cutting into the championship lead in Turkey.

The German driver in Istanbul made key driving errors both in qualifying and the race, but it was an apparent wrong call from the pit wall that saw him lose position to Renault's Alonso by having to queue in pit lane during the safety car.

But team boss Todt hinted that Ferrari learned its lesson about unpopular team orders after the furor in Austria a few years ago.

''I think there would be five times more people at this press conference if I had asked Felipe Massa to let Michael through,'' the Frenchman told reporters in the paddock.

There is also the fact that overtaking is not allowed during safety car periods, meaning that the only option for Ferrari would have been to totally ruin Massa's race by keeping him out for an extra lap.

It is almost undoubted, however, that had Massa and Schumacher been running consecutively at a later point, the young Brazilian would have been asked to move over.

But Todt insisted: ''You will never know. I have given my answer.''

Watch rained out Champ Car races live Monday Watch rained out Champ Car races live MondayChamp Car's official website will show both the rained out Champ Car Atlantic race and the Champ Car World Series Grand Prix of Montreal Live Monday. The Champ Car World Series event will start at 10:00 a.m. ET and will be preceded by the Atlantic race at 8:00 a.m.
Hamilton urges Dennis to put him in F1 now Hamilton urges Dennis to put him in F1 nowLewis Hamilton last night urged McLaren team chief Ron Dennis to give him a drive next year, insisting: “I’m ready for Formula 1.”

The flying Brit moved closer to clinching the GP2 titles with another awesome display in the GP2 race in Istanbul.

Hamilton extended his lead to 10 points with only the Italian round to come.

“If you look at the youngsters coming into F1 today they are able to go quick straight away.

“I’ve got good tactics and speed on the track and that’s what counts.

“If I can get enough testing over the winter then I will be ready for the start of the season.”

Andretti wins rookie of year title Andretti wins rookie of year titleMarco Andretti, driver of the #26 NYSE Dallara/Honda/Firestone, not only captured his first career victory today at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway, but he also earned the 2006 IndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year title.  Andretti clinched the top-rookie honor by posting one victory, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes through the 13 events contested thus far on the 14-race 2006 schedule. The 19-year-old native of Nazareth, Pa., has recorded 313 points to runner-up Jeff Simmons' 193 points.

This also represents the fourth consecutive season in which Andretti Green Racing has garnered post-season honors, and is the second rookie of the year title for the team. The team captured the IndyCar Series driver's championship in 2004 (Tony Kanaan) and 2005 (Dan Wheldon), as well as fielding the 2003 rookie of the year (Wheldon).

Marco Andretti, #26 NYSE Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It's an honor to be the top rookie in the IndyCar Series. My goals going into the season were to win
a race, finish high in the point standings and be the top rookie. So far, the NYSE team has done a great job helping me achieve those goals."

CASCAR race was a NASCAR preview CASCAR race was a NASCAR previewThis Montreal Gazette article talks about the CASCAR race this weekend in Montreal and why the NASCAR Busch race in July 2007 should prove to be very popular.
Montreal race to run Monday Montreal race to run MondayDue to the day-long rains that plagued the Montreal area on Sunday, today’s Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal, Round 11 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, was postponed until Monday.

The rains caused the 72-lap Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal to be red-flagged after just six laps, while the Yokohama Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda race was halted by a downpour after just one lap. The weather prevented either race from restarting and the Champ Car World Series, along with management from the Grand Prix of Montreal, announced that it would postpone the event and pick up the race again on Monday.

“The safety of our competitors and our fans was the major concern today,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “There was a lot of water on the track and it would not have been safe to put our cars on track during the weather problems. We have two very tight championships on the line and we want to make sure they can be contested in a manner befitting a world-class racing series. We are looking forward to tomorrow.”

Both races will resume at the point where they were halted on Sunday, with A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) leading ahead of polesitter Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) after six laps. Polesitter James Hinchcliffe (#3 Emexis/INDECK Forsythe Championship Racing) will lead the Atlantic championship event when it resumes on Lap 3.

The Atlantic event will resume at 8:20 a.m. with the Champ Car race resuming at 10 a.m. Fans that held tickets to today’s race at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve will be admitted to the grounds while ticket offices will also be open in the morning.

“We are pleased that we are able to resume the races Monday and are grateful that we are able to put together a great event for our fans,” said President of the Grand Prix of Montreal Alan Labrosse. “We hope that the fans that had to work Sunday will be able to come out Monday because they will see a great show.”

This is the first time that a Champ Car race has been postponed by rain since the 2000 season, when the event at California Speedway was rained out on Sunday and resumed on Monday.

The continuation of both races will be available with timing and scoring and a limited video feed via the Race Director feature on www.champcar.ws . The service for both races will be free to all fans.

Lloyd wins Indy Pro race Lloyd wins Indy Pro raceAlex Lloyd passed Bobby Wilson early and then went on to an easy win in the second of two Indy Pro Series races at Infineon Raceway Sunday. Bobby Wilson was 2nd followed by Wade Cunningham, Jonathan Klein and Jay Howard. Howard's point lead is now down to just 9 markers.

FP Car Driver Car Name Laps Comp. Running/Reason Out
1 26 Alex Lloyd Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. 30 Running
2 24 Bobby Wilson Kenn Hardley Racing 30 Running
3 27 Jonathan Klein Klein Tools/ Turn-Key Forging 30 Running
4 1 Wade Cunningham Cunningham-Stewart Racing 30 Running
5 7 Jay Howard Lucas Oil/ Isilon/ Sam Schmidt Mtrspt 30 Running
6 76 Mike Potekhen Part Sourcing International 30 Running
7 41 Scott Mansell Chicago Climate Exchange 30 Running
8 38 Ryan Justice Northwest Autosport Sam Schmidt Msp 30 Running
9 3 Daniel Gaunt Inner City Demolition 30 Running
10 4 Micky Gilbert Guthrie Racing Gilbert Engineering 30 Running
11 9 Racer Kashima Michael Crawford Motorsports 28 Running
12 8 P.J. Abbott Surtec System/Michael Crawford Mtrsprts 27 Running
13 52 Nick Bussell Cheever Racing 15 Mechanical
14 11 Jaime Camara Neo Quimica 5 Accident

Tracy describes conditions in Montreal Tracy describes conditions in MontrealDeplorable weather has brought a temporary halt to the Champ Car race in Montreal. Paul Tracy said, "You really cannot see a thing out there. The cars are throwing up so much water into the air and the straights are so long you cannot tell where you are at and must look for any reference points you can so you can tell when to brake."

Justin Wilson said it was so bad "you cannot see the car in front of you when following the pace car let alone at speed."
Rain halts Champ Car race Rain halts Champ Car raceHeavy rain and poor visibility has brought a halt to the Montreal Champ Car race after 6 of 72 laps run with AJ Allmendinger leading (he passed Bourdais on the first lap in a daring pass as both cars struggled fro grip) Sebastien Bourdais and Paul Tracy.  Justin Wilson is 4th.  Given the conditions, the drivers were putting on quite a show and only Katherine Legge has gone off.
Wal-Mart and Tide to continue Ranger support Wal-Mart and Tide to continue Ranger supportFollowing the resounding success of the 5th edition of the Champ Car de Montreal, Wal-Mart and Tide have announced their commitment to support Andrew Ranger for the remainder of the Champ Car season with Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team.

"Wal-Mart is proud to support this up-and-coming Quebec talent," said Chantal Glenisson, VP of Operations for Wal-Mart Quebec.

The ticket sales at Wal-Mart generated over $200K for the Operation Enfant Soleil in Quebec. 

The car will remain in the Wal-Mart colors the remainder of the season. Photos courtesy of Champ Car/LAT

Update from Montreal Update from Montreal1:10 PM: It's cold and windy, but the rain has slowed to a mist and the plan is for the Champ Car race to start at 1:30 PM Eastern Time as planned unless the weather turned worse again......Paul Tracy just went down pitlane with a mask and cape like a wrestler in WWF.  The cape and mask were the Quebec flag and colors and the fans went crazy.  Like we said, when it comes to marketing, Tracy gets it (Photo courtesy of Champ Car/LAT).......The Atlantic race was delayed until after the Champ Car race due to the horrible conditions early today.......The cloud cover is so bad that NBC is having a hard time getting a solid signal for the race up to the satellite.
Champ Car blacked out in Cleveland - NO! Champ Car blacked out in Cleveland - NO!UPDATE Dear AutoRacing1.com, Regarding your hot news that the race is being "blacked out" in Cleveland, that's not entirely true.  I just saw on KYC that the race will be broadcast on Sports Time Ohio (STO), the normal home of the Indians.  The two channels are simply swapping their usual programming. Jim Ziogas

08/26/06 Well not exactly.  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, WKYC in Cleveland is airing Indians baseball instead of the Champ Car race Sunday.  They did the same thing for the NASCAR Watkins-Glen race and I heard they got beat up pretty bad by NASCAR fans for that, so it would be nice if the Champ Car fans would also give them the beating they deserve. programming@wkyc.com Wendy Harty
Paddock news from Istanbul: 4 Paddock news from Istanbul: 4(GMM) Renault's Pat Symonds reckons the pressure might be getting to Michael Schumacher as his championship tussle against Fernando Alonso enters its final phase.

The technical guru had been asked by 'Premiere' if he linked Schumacher's rare driving errors, both in qualifying and the race on Sunday, with his twelve-point deficit to Renault's Alonso.

''But I don't have sympathy,'' he commented, ''because the situation is no different for us.

''It's the way racing should be.''

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen is apparently suffering from a slight back twinge after spearing into the barriers at Istanbul on Sunday. The injury, however, is understood to not be a threat to his participation in the Monza race in two weeks.

''Once I went back out there I had no rear grip and I went off,'' the Finn, who earlier returned to the pits to replace a shredded rear tire, explained.

Dutchman Christijan Albers, meanwhile, is nursing a sore shoulder after a driving error caused him to slam his MF1 into the guard rail.

Giancarlo Fisichella pointed the finger at Michael Schumacher after spinning his Renault at the first corner in Turkey.

''Michael was weaving quite a lot on the track,'' said the Roman, ''and the other drivers were having to avoid him.''

Schu insists title fight still on Schu insists title fight still on(GMM)  Despite falling further behind Fernando Alonso in Turkey, Michael Schumacher insists that he can still win the title.

Renault driver Alonso's championship lead stretched out to 12 points on Sunday after Schumacher - at the wheel of a superior Ferrari - had to queue behind teammate Felipe Massa in pit lane.  The German also committed key driving errors both in qualifying and the race.

''(Massa and I) can both still be in front of Fernando,'' Schumacher told reporters at Istanbul Park, referring to the remaining four races of 2006.

''You can calculate what it means.''

Ironically, with Massa on the winner's rostrum, the red camp were left wondering what might have been for Schumacher this weekend, while second placed Alonso's Renault camp celebrated as if they had taken the victory.

''It is like winning,'' team boss Flavio Briatore agreed, after earlier insisting that the Turkish grand prix would be 'damage limitation' in the face of Ferrari dominance.

''We have taken two points from Michael,'' the Italian continued, ''and at Monza our car should be better again.''

Alonso, however, insisted that the upcoming Italian GP might be the 'hardest one to win', given Ferrari's prodigious straight line speeds.

McLaren look for Christmas lineup McLaren look for Christmas lineup(GMM) McLaren will announce its 2007 driver line-up probably in December but before Christmas, team boss Ron Dennis revealed in Turkey.

''It is not appropriate to take that decision over Christmas,'' he insisted at the Istanbul Park 'Otodrom'.

Fernando Alonso is certainly switching from Renault to silver overalls at the end of the year, but his teammate is far from decided.

McLaren - as well as Mercedes' bigwig Dieter Zetsche - clearly favor retaining Kimi Raikkonen, but it is now believed that the Finn has signed to switch to Ferrari for 2007.

Incumbent Pedro de la Rosa is a candidate, as are Gary Paffett and GP2 sensation Lewis Hamilton, while another name can now be added to the Woking-based hat.

Dutch 21-year-old F3 driver, Guido van der Garde, is rumored to be in the running for a test seat as the current generation eye their next step.

Dennis, meanwhile - who is now 59 - scotched speculation that he might soon hang up his headset.

''By many people's standards I've got a few years left in me to push hard,'' the Briton said.

Bell replaces Scheckter Bell replaces ScheckterTownsend Bell replaced Tomas Scheckter in the No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara-Honda for the practice session Saturday after Scheckter complained of soreness in his left shoulder. Vision officials said Sunday they will re-evaluate Scheckter’s condition Sunday morning and determine whether he or Bell will drive the car. Bell was the slowest of 18 cars on the track.
No ’Reds’ today No ’Reds’ todayChamp Car issued a competition bulletin in Montreal today that said if a driver uses rain tires for at least one lap today they will not be required to run one stint with the softer red tires. However, if they run slicks the entire race, they must run one stint on the Reds.

Steady rain is falling so it most likely we will have a wet race.

Also, teams are allowed to place spare cars in the garage area for easier access to spares today.

PIR study ignites Phoenix controversy PIR study ignites Phoenix controversyThis Arizona Republic article talks about a new study released by Phoenix International Raceway that shows the NASCAR races generate over $400 million for the Phoenix economy. The Phoenix Champ Car street race promoter Dale Jensen refutes those numbers.

The two races are a week apart in November next year. This is downright idiotic and Bryan Sperber, the PIR President is asking for at least one month between events and he has a good point. The fact remains that the Phoenix race should have been held in Mid-March as Champ Car's season opener (1st NASCAR race is not until April 28th) and Las Vegas should have been the season finale for Champ Car. Open wheel cars racing in Phoenix in mid-March is tradition and had been going on since the 50's until the IRL stopped racing at PIR recently. Switching the two dates (Phoenix and Las Vegas) by Champ Car would be better for Champ Car and would get PIR off their back. This of course makes too much sense and Champ Car should make every effort to make this happen. Of course it is too late for 2007 as the race could not be ready in time.

AJ joins the Bourdais/Tracy banter AJ joins the Bourdais/Tracy banter"The last time we sat (together) after qualifying, I won," said AJ Allmendinger at yesterday's post-qualifying press conference, a California native who lists Toronto as his home. "I won the race in Denver."

"Are you still counting on your teammate to take me out?" asked Bourdais.

"Was there are incident between you two?" answered Allmendinger, feigning innocence. "I was so far ahead, I couldn't see it."

McLaren bullish about future McLaren bullish about future(GMM)  To tie-in with Fernando Alonso's arrival, McLaren is nearing a sponsorship deal for 2007 with Spanish bank 'Banesto', according to reports from Istanbul on Sunday.

The possibly $10m per-year deal will also coincide with the beginning of Vodafone's lucrative title sponsorship of the team, leaving Ron Dennis bullish about the economic health of his Woking-based outfit despite speculation of a mountain of team debt.

''We have the biggest portfolio of sponsorship in the history of the company, and I believe in the history of any grand prix team,'' he said in Turkey.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug, meanwhile, was asked about speculation linking the German carmaker with a full buyout of McLaren.  He admitted to 'sid' agency that it was an 'option'.

''But there is no deadline for a decision,'' the marque's competition chief said.

It is raining in Montreal It is raining in MontrealEnvironment Canada is calling for rain for today's Champ Car race (It has already started), at times heavy this morning, with as much as 20 millimeters throughout the day, and a high of 20 Celsius. If it does rain for the 72-lap race (1:30 p.m., NBC, RDS), it would be a first for Champ Car on race day this season.

Series points leader Sebastien Bourdais has the pole position, but probably will have to prove how good he is in the rain to rack up his sixth victory of the season in the fifth edition of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve today.

"I really hope things are going to be bright and sunny, but it really doesn't matter (if it rains)," Bourdais said. "I'm pretty confident in both conditions. I just hope we have an incident-free race and we have a fair shot at trying to win this thing."

With rain very likely, all the set-up work teams have done for the past two days preparing cars for dry conditions could get tossed out the window and the race might become a crapshoot.

"It throws the set-up," said Bourdais, who is looking to win here for the first time in four tries. "But, you know, you keep your starting position, which is obviously quite important in the rainy conditions. When you're starting from the pole, you feel pretty good about it because you can see."

Allmendinger, with four wins this season and starting from the front row for the fifth time, has never raced in the rain, not even when he was in karts.

"I enjoy the rain, although I've never raced in it," he said. "I've heard good things about it, though. I'm ready for it."

Champ Car top-3 drivers on loss of Montreal Champ Car top-3 drivers on loss of Montreal
Q.  Sebastien, maybe Justin, the president of the series has told reporters yesterday that basically there won't be Champ Car here on this track next year.  I just wonder what your feeling is about that.  A big deal was made when Champ Car came here five years ago.  It's been five races. 

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  Well, I think it's really a shame, especially if it comes down to one guy.  You know, what can we do about it?  I think people like it.  I think I can talk for the drivers, we like to come here.  It's really a shame if we don't come back here.  But it doesn't seem to be on our end.  We'll have to do what makes sense, I guess. 

JUSTIN WILSON:  Sebastien said it all.  It's the drivers are disappointed.  It's a good driver's track.  You know, we're not the ones making the calls or doing the negotiations.  I think all the drivers believe in what the management and the owners of Champ Car are doing.  We rely on them to do what's right. 

Q.  This being said, Mr. Johnson said there is a good possibility that the series comes back to Québec at another venue.  What would be on your wish list as a track?  Another street race, road course like Mont Tremblant, an airport or oval?  What would you like to see more on the calendar? 

JUSTIN WILSON:  I prefer the road courses. 

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  Yeah, I think I agree. 

JUSTIN WILSON:  I think most drivers prefer that because it's what we grew up racing, especially myself, Sebastien.  But, you know, we pretty much race whatever we're given when we come back here because, you know, it's a great place to come and race.  The fans really seem to enjoy the show we put on.  Hopefully we can continue to do that for many years. 

A.J. ALLMENDINGER:  I just want to go where the fans are.  That's really the most important thing, is that anywhere we can go that gets a huge crowd.  I mean, I think you've seen a race like Edmonton that was brand-new, San Jose, that got a huge crowd.  I think I speak for all the drivers, it's exciting to be able to go out in front of 150,000, 200,000 people and show what Champ Car's all about. 

As Justin said, wherever they put us, as long as there's a lot of fans there, I'll be excited to race.

IRL reverts back to old engine IRL reverts back to old engineUPDATE With a lowered rev-limiter and the increased displacement, the engines should be able to make the same power as the 2006 specification, while running as much as 300 more miles between rebuilds.

This will allow Honda to shave as much as $400,000 of this year's engine lease cost, even with the prospect of two to three additional events in 2007.

Another reason for the increase in displacement is a slight loss in horsepower from the IRL's 100% ethanol fuel mandated to begin in 2007. The upside of the loss in power is increased fuel economy for ethanol versus methanol.

This in turn will be offset by a reduction in fuel tank capacity as the IRL wants to maintain similar pit stop windows for tire durability and competition reasons.

08/23/06 Indy-car drivers will be starting reconfigured engines in 2007. The Indy Racing League, through its association with Honda, will revert back to the 3.5-liter configuration last used in 2004. The league has used 3.0s the past two years.

IRL spokesman John Griffin said the modification will help increase the life of the engines by up to 300 miles, provide more torque for drivers on road and street circuits and accommodate the switch to ethanol fuel next year.

The first test of the engine figures to be late next month, Griffin said, perhaps at Daytona International Speedway if the series lands a testing agreement with the Florida track.

The engines will remain normally aspirated, different from the turbocharged engines used by the Champ Car World Series. Indy Star

[Editor's Note: Recall we predicted this would be necessary in order for Honda to get the sort of longevity from their normally aspirated engine that Cosworth can get from Champ Car's turbo engine.  The increase to 3.5 L will allow Honda to turn down the RPM (hopefully this improves the horrible sound of the IRL engine) and thereby increase engine longevity.]

Zuber holds on for GP2 win Zuber holds on for GP2 winAndreas Zuber claimed his first win in the GP2 series in race two at Istanbul, controlling the pace all the way to the finish line despite race long pressure from Adam Carroll, but all eyes were on Lewis Hamilton, who scalped the Ulsterman in the final complex on the last lap to take second after fighting back from sixteenth position. 

Zuber belied his relative lack of experience with a mature drive to the finish, but it was Hamilton who provided the fireworks throughout the race in his fight back from a spin on the second lap that looked to have been a knockout blow to the Briton's championship aspirations. 

Zuber was the first man into the first corner after the lights went out, storming past a slow starting Xandi Negrao from pole, who bumped his way back up to second despite Carroll having the best line through the corner. 

Timo Glock, Lucas di Grassi and Nelson Piquet were the next men through, followed closely by Hamilton, but the Briton mugged himself one lap later when he lost the rear of his car and spun in the middle of the track, allowing most of the field by as went around. zzzz 

It was a body blow for Hamilton, made worse as title rival Piquet muscled his way past di Grassi and set about chasing down Glock for fourth place. The Briton dropped to sixteenth, and his race appeared to be over. 

One lap later and it was a podium position the pair were fighting for when Negrao, already under fierce pressure from Carroll, ran off the track and into retirement with a broken steering wheel. 

Carroll was soon on the rear wing of Zuber, and the pair commenced a race long battle for the win, the reverse of yesterday's fight where Zuber, with a quicker car, was unable to find a way past Carroll despite his best efforts. 

But further back things were stirring: Hamilton was on a charge, and he was up from sixteenth to fourteenth, then twelfth, then eleventh, then tenth in successive laps before setting a string of fastest laps in an attempt to force his way back into contention. 

Piquet wasn't hanging around either: he was all over Glock, and clearly faster, but the German was implacable in defense. For lap after lap the pair ran side by side, and for lap after lap Glock was able, just, to keep his nose in front. 

It was all playing into Hamilton's hands: as the pair held each other up, the Briton was able to dispatch the competition with ease, powering past Jose Maria Lopez, being waved through by teammate Alex Premat and then brushing by Sergio Hernandez to put himself in seventh by lap eleven, one position out of the points. 

Piquet was desperate to get by Glock, locking his tires badly at the end of the straight in desperation to move up, but to no avail. Hamilton easily dispatched Nicolas Lapierre and di Grassi at the end of the back straight over the next two laps, and then there was nothing but air between the two championship contenders. 

By lap fifteen they were together, and the main event had arrived at last. In yesterday's press conference Hamilton bemoaned the fact that the pair had not had the opportunity to fight wheel to wheel, and the chance had come at last. What came next was some of the most remarkable racing seen so far in a series noted for exhilaration. 

Hamilton's happy hunting ground at the end of the back straight served up his rival on a plate, and the Briton was looking ravenous. He was easily through and onto the tail of Glock, but the German was in imperious form and would not be denied without a fight. 

Hamilton tried to go around the outside at the end of the straight but Glock was unimpressed, and the pair ran side by side through the tricky, twisty complex. The Briton had the inside line along the front straight, but Glock held firm and Hamilton narrowly avoided a forced introduction to the wall immediately to his left. 

Despite this the pair continued on, down into turn one and then up the hill, side by side once more; the ART was the faster car but the iSport model seemed wider than possible. Piquet saw his chance and took it, squeezing by Hamilton around the long, fast turn eight, and the battle turned into open warfare. 

Hamilton tried a very wide line at the end of the back straight, Piquet looked to nip past a distracted Glock, and it was, impossibly, three abreast into the final sequence of turns. As the paddock held its collective breath Hamilton held the outside line, somehow found a line by Piquet, and was able to make it stick despite a spirited fight back attempt into turn one. 

But he wasn't done yet. One lap later he threw himself at Glock once again, and the pair were wheel to wheel through the final complex. Hamilton almost lost the rear of his car again, but somehow held on to claim the inside line for the front straight: he could finally push Glock slightly wide, and third place was his. 

Up at the front Zuber had, finally, been able to get a little breathing space over Carroll, whose tires looked well past their prime. But behind the pair Hamilton was putting in a couple more fastest laps and feeling untouchable after his race so far. 

On the final lap Zuber was gone, but Carroll had nothing left to give: Hamilton blew past him at the end of the back straight as though he wasn't there, and the race was run. 

Zuber crossed the line less than three seconds ahead of Hamilton, and was clearly delighted to see the checkered flag at last. Carroll held on for third, with Glock and Piquet nose to tail behind him, while Lapierre claimed sixth, his team's first point since Monaco. 

The Austrian born driver jumped for joy on his first appearance on the podium this year, but it was Hamilton who was the happiest man on the rostrum: with his championship lead evaporating over the last few rounds he had somehow contrived to bring it back up to ten points, with just two races remaining in the season.

Pos Driver Team Time
 1. Zuber Trident Racing 37:54.990
 2. Hamilton ART Grand Prix + 2.938
 3. Carroll Racing Engineering + 3.826
 4. Glock iSport International + 5.807
 5. Piquet Jr. Piquet Sports + 6.749
 6. Lapierre Arden International Ltd + 10.347
 7. Premat ART Grand Prix + 16.693
 8. Perera DAMS + 17.382
 9. Di Grassi Durango + 18.000
10. Hernandez Durango + 20.358
11. Lopez Super Nova International + 20.610
12. Monfardini DAMS + 20.977
13. Viso iSport International + 23.010
14. Valles Campos Racing + 23.585
15. Bruni Trident Racing + 26.360
16. Villa Racing Engineering + 38.058
17. Tahinci FMS International + 44.899
18. Petrov DPR + 45.888
19. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion + 60.623


 Driver Team Laps
 Porteiro Campos Racing 4
 Negrao Piquet Sports 2
 Fauzy Super Nova International 2
 Filippi BCN Competicion 1
 Piccione DPR 1
 Pantano FMS International 1
 Ammermueller Arden International Ltd 0

Paddock news from Istanbul: 3 Paddock news from Istanbul: 3(GMM)  BMW's impressive 'Friday' driver in Turkey, Sebastian Vettel, will be given two more chances to prove his worth to the team in the coming days.

The word from Istanbul is that the 19-year-old is scheduled not only to contest the upcoming Monza test, but he will retain the drive for free practice at the same circuit for the Italian grand prix next month.

His participation in the Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian grands prix, however, is less certain.  ''We will decide from race to race,'' team boss Mario Theissen is quoted as saying by 'RTL'.

Germany's Vettel will return to the wheel of his F3 car for the Zandvoort race next weekend.

French newspaper 'Le Figaro' has conducted a survey in which fifteen rivals gave their verdict as to whether Michael Schumacher or Fernando Alonso is more likely to win the 2006 world championship.

Voting for Renault's Alonso retaining his lead were Rubens Barrichello, Robert Kubica, Mark Webber, Tiago Monteiro, Christian Klien and Pedro de la Rosa.

Brother Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, along with Nick Heidfeld, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Sakon Yamamoto, plumped for Ferrari's seven time champion.  Nico Rosberg, David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Christijan Albers and Scott Speed said it could go either way, while Jarno Trulli, Takuma Sato and Kimi Raikkonen abstained from answering.  Alonso and Schumacher's respective teammates were not surveyed.

Sir Frank Williams has admitted frustration with the tortuous traffic-jams encountered daily on the commute across the Bosphorus waterway to Istanbul's formula one circuit.

''Crossing that bridge  the eight times you've got to do it over the weekend, I'm thinking 'Oh, God, not again','' he told the New York Times.

Ferrari's Ross Brawn has refused to comment on paddock speculation that Felipe Massa achieved pole position by sacrificing fuel for the first race stint on Sunday.

''Let's see what happens in the race,'' the technical director grinned.  ''I'm not going to tell you what I know.''

Briatore fuming Briatore fuming(GMM)  Flavio Briatore has been trying to keep his rage in check after Renault's 'mass dampers' were outlawed by the FIA, but the Italian boss refused to leave Istanbul Park on Saturday evening without commenting on the dubious legality of Ferrari's carbon wheel covers.

''The rules do not in fact exist,'' he was quoted as saying by 'AS' newspaper, ''it is just somebody's opinion.''

McLaren's Ron Dennis also questioned the legality of the innovation, but neither team said they would protest the results of the Turkish GP at 3pm local.

Pruett and Diaz Score Record-Tying Fifth Race Win Pruett and Diaz Score Record-Tying Fifth Race WinSONOMA, Calif. – No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz scored their Daytona Prototype record-tying fifth victory of the season Saturday afternoon in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Sonoma 250 at Infineon Raceway (SPEED, August 27 at 3 p.m. ET), keeping their 2006 championship hopes alive with only one race remaining on the season schedule.

Pruett, a resident of nearby Auburn, Calif., took control of the No. 01 machine during a Lap 22 caution in 15th place and charged to the front, eventually inheriting the lead on Lap 74 during a stretch of green flag pit stops. The No. 01 car was forced down pit road on late in the race for a splash of fuel, but the Ganassi crew made quick work of the stop, sending Pruett out just ahead of Andy Wallace in the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford. Pruett held off the Englishman after a late-race caution to score a wildly popular victory in front of his hometown crowd.

The victory at Infineon Raceway is the fifth victory of the season for the No. 01 machine, tying the record set in 2005 by defending Daytona Prototype champions Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. The win also marks the 12th overall victory in Pruett’s Rolex Series career, tying him with Wallace’s co-driver, Butch Leitzinger, for second-most all-time with 12. zzzz

“We got put behind a little bit early on in the race,” said Pruett. “The guys did a great job on the pit stop, sending me out there in front. It feels great to get this win in front of the home crowd. There’s nothing like winning on your home court. All these things together make this sweet. We dug deep to pull a strategy that would give us the best chance to win.”

Diaz qualified fourth, but started third when the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley of Daytona Prototype points leader Jorg Bergmeister was forced to start from pit road due to an engine change after the morning warm-up session. Diaz survived an early race incident when Tracy Krohn in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Riley dove to the inside of the No. 01 machine in Turn 7, sending both machines spinning. Diaz recovered and turned the car to Pruett on the subsequent full-course caution.

“It was a very hard stint for me,” said Diaz. “We got hit from behind in Turn 7 and had to come back from that. This team is the best in the world and Scott is the best teammate I could ask for. Everyone on this CompUSA Chip Ganassi team did a great job the whole day and this is a great win.”

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