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DATE News (chronologically)
08/30/07
nascar
Government asks judge to rule on Hendrick case  The U.S. government has asked a judge to rule in its favor over the actions of air-traffic controllers in connection with lawsuits from three widows of the 2004 Hendrick Motorsports plane crash in Martinsville, Va. The government blames the Hendrick pilots, Richard Tracy and Elizabeth Morrison, for the accident, and asks that the judge rule before the case goes to trial. In its motion, the government alleges the pilots, when realizing they missed the airport, began to climb to find the airport instead of making a climbing right turn to avoid Bull Mountain, where the plane crashed, killing 10 people.

"In the final two minutes before the crash, after the aircraft was no longer in radio or radar contact with air traffic control, and after all alleged government negligence had occurred, the Hendrick pilots carelessly and recklessly violated applicably, mandatory Federal Aviation Regulations," the government motion states, "by doggedly persisting in flying toward rising terrain at low altitude, below a solid cloud deck, well after passing the point where the Federal Aviation Regulations mandate that a pilot terminate the approach and begin a climbing turn to avoid the rising terrain."

According to the government motion, the air-traffic controllers had no contact with the pilots for six minutes prior to the crash.

"It was entirely unforeseeable that the Hendrick pilots would have overflown the airport, would have continued flying at low altitude below clouds trying to find an airport that should have been in sight at the missed approach point but was not, and finally would have disregarded the prescribed missed approach procedure when they abandoned the approach," the government motion states.

"All these actions were in violation of federal regulations, safe piloting procedures and good sense. ... The fact that two professional pilots employed by Hendrick Motorsports overshot the airport by more than nine miles, meanwhile failing to execute the proper missed approach procedure was not only unforeseeable, but extraordinary."

08/30/07
f1
cc
Why Toro Rosso chose Champ Car driver Bourdais  As Red Bull’s ‘junior’ team, Toro Rosso set out to give up and coming young talent a foothold in Formula One racing. The Italian squad’s decision to sign 20-year-old Sebastian Vettel as a race driver in July exemplified this ethos.

It came as something of a surprise then when it was announced a month later that 28-year-old Sebastien Bourdais would partner Vettel for 2008. Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger explains why Bourdais, a three-time Champ Car champion, is the perfect choice.  See Formula1 Official Site for interview

08/30/07
Track News
Running Wide Open in Hollywood hosted by Hot Wheels  Born in the spirit of California’s custom car culture, Hot Wheels cars and track sets have ignited the imaginations of millions of kids and adults around the world.  For nearly four decades, the fantasy-inspired designs of Hot Wheels cars have brought to life the speed, power, performance and edgy attitude for which the brand is known. 

On Aug. 29, Hot Wheels teamed up with NASCAR to sponsor the California Speedway’s Running Wide Open event in Hollywood.  The event featured a special performance by artist Rihanna. Photo by Alex Berliner©Berliner Studio/BEImages

08/30/07
f1
Honda plan car update at Japanese Grand Prix  The Honda Formula 1 team is suffering from a difficult season at the moment. Their RA107 is unable to score points on a regular basis unlike last season when Jenson Button even scored his first win in Formula One. The team now revealed they will have a major upgrade planned at Honda's home Grand Prix in Japan.

Speaking with Autosport Honda's engineer director Jacky Eeckelaert explained: "The Fuji upgrade was always planned for the last three races. But now with the arrival of the new guys in the aero department it will be different from what we originally planned, because we have new philosophies and different concepts from their previous teams.

"And they want to try those out on this year's car - even though this year's car has been designed around another concept. Nevertheless, they want to give it another try. And why not? Where we are in the championship, it doesn't make any difference."

08/30/07
track news
Tickets available for Coca-Cola 600  With renewals completed, all remaining tickets for the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 and May 17 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 9 a.m.

Priced from $39 to $135, a wide selection of grandstand seating options are available for the 49th running of the Coca-Cola 600, including a number of premium frontstretch seats. Tickets for the 2008 edition of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge, NASCAR's annual all-star race, range in price from $30 to $85.

The Lowe's Motor Speedway ticket office will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS. They can also be purchased by visiting the Lowe's Motor Speedway ticket office on the second floor of Smith Tower.

In addition to the Coca-Cola 600 and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge, tickets will also be available for the May 16 Charlotte Tailgate 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race; CTC Pole Night Qualifying on Thursday, May 22; and the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday night, May 24.

Additional information about tickets for all Lowe's Motor Speedway events can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or visiting www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.

08/30/07
Formula Nippon
Swift Engineering, Inc. Selected as Formula Nippon Chassis Supplier  San Clemente, California – USA August 2007 -- Swift Engineering, Inc. is pleased to announce the next generation race car for the Formula Nippon Racing Series.  The new racing chassis dubbed 017.n is a clean sheet design with futuristic styling and performance improvements to supply the Japanese based racing series for competition 2009-2011.

“It is a tremendous honor to have been selected as the chassis provider for this prestigious race series” says Hiro Matsushita, chairman and CEO of Swift Engineering and former race car driver.  Working together with the engine manufacturers and other technical partners, the team at Swift Engineering shall endeavor to produce an exceptional race car for this international series.

The new race car will be larger and more powerful than the car currently supplied, with an emphasis on producing a car that will provide exceptional performance and exciting racing.

The cars will be powered by a new generation of 3.4 liter normally aspirated V-8 engines producing 600 BHP. Initial testing will begin in early summer of 2008.

Swift Engineering, Inc. has designed and manufactured over 500 successful race cars for many levels of racing.  For more information, visit our website at:  www.swiftengineering.com

08/30/07
track news
AMA
Corona announced as Title Sponsor  Corona has signed on as the title sponsor of the Corona AMA Superbike Championships on Sept 15-16 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 

The weekend promises big-time action both on and off the track, as all four classes of the American Motorcyclist Association’s (AMA) Superbike Championship put the wraps on the 2007 season.

Fan activities will be highlighted by the weekend-long party at the new Corona Beach featuring live music and beach volleyball, as well as a fan parade lap and rider autograph session on Sunday.  The Rocket Nation stunt team will be performing on track both Saturday and Sunday.

“With their tremendous promotional abilities and enthusiasm for the sport, Corona is a perfect partner as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca re-launches the stand alone AMA Superbike race as the Corona AMA Superbike Championships,” said Gill Campbell, the track’s CEO and general manager.

08/30/07
f1
Our wind tunnel is one of the best in F1 - Rampf  The wind tunnel in Hinwil, Switzerland, is a crucial factor in the ongoing enhancement of the BMW Sauber F1.07. Willy Rampf states: "I believe it to be one of the best in Formula One." There are numerous reasons for the BMW Sauber F1 Team's progress to third position in the Drivers' Championship, with the ongoing enhancement of the F1.07 being one of them.

In this area, the team's wind tunnel, located in Hinwil, Switzerland, represents a crucial factor. "Over the past two years we have been able to increase our wind tunnel hours by more than 100 percent," says Rampf, the team's Technical Director. "This has meant that the turnover of ideas and concepts - and therefore the number of development parts - has also doubled, meaning more output. That results in increased performance."  More ...

08/30/07
ga
GAINSCO Drivers Receive International Recognition  It’s been a sensational season for the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Team and the International press is taking notice. With seven victories and 11 pole positions, American duo Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty are currently rated the best sports car drivers in the world. For the fifth time this season Gurney and Fogarty were ranked on the National Speed Sport News’ power ranking, listing the world’s top-ten drivers in motorsports. Previously, Gurney and Fogarty debuted on the list as the seventh best drivers. This week, they were ranked fifth, just behind Formula One’s sensational new-comer and FIA championship leader, McLaren driver, Lewis Hamilton.

Gurney and Fogarty have taken the sports car scene by storm this year, setting records for the most poles as well as the most victories in a single season. They lead the Rolex Grand American Championship, with just one round to go. The final round of the 2007 season is the 1000k Sunchaser Challenge at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 15th. Catch the action live on SPEED beginning at 1:00 pm et.

Power Rankings: August 29, 2007
NSSN ranks the top 10 drivers from all forms of motorsports.

1. Scott Dixon
No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, IndyCar Series
With his series-leading fourth triumph of the season Sunday at Infineon Raceway, Dixon moved into the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series point lead. He takes a four-point lead into this Sunday’s race on the street course at Detroit’s Belle Isle.

Rest of the Best
2. Tony Stewart
No. 20, Home Depot Chevrolet, Nextel Cup
Stewart continued his strong second half of the season with a fourth-place finish at Bristol, Tenn., moving to second in the standings. More ...

08/30/07
nascar
Another NASCAR sponsor gone  Team owner Bill Davis said last week that he doesn't expect 360 OTC pain relief products to return as a sponsor of his No. 36 Nextel Cup entry next year.

There could be a possible reason: The company that distributes 360 OTC, Rockford-Montgomery Labs, is involved in its third lawsuit concerning motorsports sponsorships.

Dirt Motor Sports, which operates the World of Outlaws, is suing Rockford-Montgomery Labs for non-payment of its title sponsorship of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. The deal was worth $1.5 million in 2007, $1.6 million in 2008 and $1.7 million in 2009.

According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Georgia, Rockford-Montgomery Labs never paid the bill. A check for $150,000 bounced in February, according to the court record. Scenedaily.com

08/30/07
nascar
ATT continues to waste their money in NASCAR  AT&T just does not get it.  They are not wanted in NASCAR, but rather then leave they continue to fight to stay in.  AT&T will again field an unbranded car this weekend at California Speedway.  The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car driven by Jeff Burton will carry a plain paint scheme of orange and black, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel confirmed Thursday.

It will be the second week that the car has run without logos from its primary sponsor. AT&T, NASCAR and Sprint are in a contentious legal battle over the paint scheme of the car.

In addition to not having the AT&T logos on the car, the AT&T logo also cannot be worn by team members nor be used on any items - haulers, pit boxes, etc. - inside the NASCAR garage.

Prediction: if AT&T does somehow beat NASCAR in court (which we doubt), that car will never get close to smelling Victory Lane again.  There is no way that NASCAR will allow an AT&T branded car in the Winner's Circle under the nose of series sponsor Sprint Nextel.  Tech inspection will become a very difficult place for the No.31 we suspect.

08/30/07
f1
Monza Testing: Alonso again fastest on Day3  Heavy rain prevented the teams from testing this morning at Monza. It took quite a long time for the track to dry out because of water running onto the surface in various places. The fastest was again Fernando Alonso in his McLaren-Mercedes at 1:23.490 min.

Pos  Driver      Car                 Time      Laps
 1.  Alonso      McLaren-Mercedes    1:23.490  51
 2.  Kubica      BMW-Sauber          1:24.413  48
 3.  Coulthard   Red Bull-Renault    1:24.453  52
 4.  Massa       Ferrari             1:24.525  49
 5.  Liuzzi      Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:24.768  40
 6.  Button      Honda               1:24.918  61
 7.  Rosberg     Williams-Toyota     1:24.983  45
 8.  Fisichella  Renault             1:25.069  71
 9.  Schumacher  Toyota              1:26.175  72
10.  Yamamoto    Spyker-Ferrari      1:26.384  72
11.  Davidson    Super Aguri-Honda   1:35.106  47
08/30/07
a1gp
A1GP unveils new Sporting Regulations  As A1GP prepares to enter its third season, exciting new changes have been put into place affecting qualifying, pit stops and the points allocation. The modifications to the Sporting Regulations mark an inevitable increase in action, drama and competition to the series that has become firmly fixed in hearts of motorsport fans worldwide. 

Qualifying is revamped: In a complete shake-up, qualifying has been adapted to ensure every A1GP nation has a fair attempt at securing a solid grid position for both the Sprint and Feature race. 

As in previous years Qualifying consists of four 15-minute segments in which every team has a single flying lap to show the world what they are made of. However, A1GP has moved away from taking the aggregate of each team’s two fastest times and opted for a simpler method whereby each team’s fastest lap is used to form the grids. 

The first two Qualifying segments will take place to determine the classification of the Sprint race line-up while the final two Qualifying segments will be fought for the Feature race grid. More ...

08/30/07
irl
Hunter-Reay aiming for top-6  “Heading back to Belle Isle is something I have been looking forward to since the day I signed with Rahal Letterman Racing,” Ryan Hunter-Reay said. “I had the chance to compete there in 2000 in the Barber Dodge Pro Series and really enjoyed the track, it was one of my favorite street circuits. We are hoping to continue where we left off last weekend in Sonoma where the Ethanol team showed impressive pace all weekend. Last week we barely missed the fast six qualifying session, this weekend we need to be in that group. So long as we develop the setup as we have been there's no reason we shouldn't start in the top five. One thing for sure, I'll be pushing hard all weekend.”
08/30/07
f1
Watson: Alonso should use exit strategy  Former grand prix driver John Watson believes Fernando Alonso would be wise to leave McLaren after just one season.

Relations between Alonso and teammate Lewis Hamilton reached their lowest ebb at the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this month when Hamilton ignored a team instruction to allow Alonso past in third qualifying.

Alonso responded by holding up the Briton in the pits, thereby denying championship leader Hamilton a final shot at pole position.

So bad has the situation become that speculation has been rife in the F1 paddock that Alonso may choose to duck out of his three-year deal with McLaren at the end of just one season, and Watson believes that might be the best solution for all concerned. More ...

08/30/07
Team USA
Andersen Racing Awards Tests to Team USA Scholarship Winners  In keeping with his long history of training rising open-wheel stars, Dan Andersen of Andersen Racing announced today that he has awarded tests in an Andersen Racing Star Mazda car to Patrick Barrett and Joel Miller, the 2007 winners of the prestigious Team USA Scholarship.

The tests will occur in October at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. It is hoped that the tests will give both young drivers experience in a car that is similar to the Formula Palmer Audis they’ll drive at Brands Hatch and Snetterton, England this fall in the six-race Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy competition. The dates for the races at Brands Hatch are Oct. 27-28. The action moves to Snetterton Nov. 3-4.

Los Osos, Calif.-based Barrett, who turns 18 today, is currently leading the Pacific F2000 Championship. Miller, 19, of Hesperia, Calif., is currently leading the Skip Barber National series. 

"I’ve watched the Team USA Scholarship program over the years, and I’ve very impressed with how it has helped young American drivers’ careers,” Andersen said. “We’re delighted to be able to offer the Star Mazda tests, hope they’re helpful to the boys as preparation for their races in Europe.” “It's a fabulous opportunity, and I join the boys in expressing gratitude,” auto racing writer/broadcaster Jeremy Shaw, the scholarship’s founder president.

Andersen Racing offers a comprehensive, three-tiered ladder system rising stars from racing schools, karting and club racing one cohesive home the proper training they need to reach open-wheel racing’s major leagues. Fairfield, N.J.-based team fields multiple entries in the Hankook Tires Championship, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Indy Pro Series in order to achieve these goals. It is the official Indy Pro development team for top IndyCar team Rahal Letterman Racing.

08/30/07
cc
Bourdais could clinch in Holland  UPDATE Three-time Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais has his sights set on claiming a fourth crown - a feat he could achieve at this weekend's Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland presented by Audi, Gant, Hertz, Jumbo and Pioneer.

Bourdais was joined in Assen today by fellow championship contenders Robert Doornbos and Justin Wilson, plus Paul Tracy, Katherine Legge and Jan Heylen at a pre-event press conference.

With three races remaining in the championship, Bourdais has to leave Holland with a 68 point lead to claim the title this weekend. He currently leads Doornbos by 53 points.

"Obviously it would be awesome to capture the championship this weekend – the sooner the better," Bourdais said.

"The most important thing is to stay focused, enjoy the weekend and keep approaching races one by one – that's the way we have done it since I joined the Champ Car World Series.

"The McDonald's team has done really well this year again and hopefully the hard work is going to pay off.

"I think we are going to have a great race here. It is a fantastic race track at Assen with a lot of excitement about the event."

His Dutch rival however will be keen to perform well on home soil and stop Bourdais from taking a clean sweep of the two European events. Champ Car PR



08/29/07 Sebastien Bourdais takes a commanding 53-point lead in the Champ Car World Series championship going into this weekend's race in Assen, Holland. With Champ Car having to drop China and Phoenix from the 2007 schedule, only two races remain after Sunday and a maximum of 68 possible points remain to be won [2 races x (31 for win +1 for fast lap + 1 for fast time on Friday + 1 for fast time on Saturday)]. Since only 17 cars are starting and points are awarded down to 20th place, 17th place in the race gets 4 points, but you also cannot assume that Bourdais will earn any points in the last two races, should he get hurt for example.
So, to summarize:

Only the top three drivers in points now have a mathematical shot at the title. To keep the championship race alive past this weekend:
* Doornbos has to finish less than 68 points behind Bourdais. He currently is 53 points back, so he has to finish within 14 points of Bourdais at Assen;
* Power is 62 points back and needs to finish within 5 points of Bourdais;
* Justin Wilson has been eliminated;
* Graham Rahal has been eliminated

Keep in mind the following possibility: Bourdais wins the race, he and Graham Rahal win the European Cup, and he clinches the championship. So it could be a triple-header win for Bourdais!

08/30/07
nascar
NASCAR Michigan TV rating  The twice rain delayed Nextel Cup race from Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday August 21st earned a 1.66 rating on ESPN2.
08/30/07
f1
Teams add fourth day to Monza test  (GMM)  Many formula one teams have already committed to returning to the Monza circuit for a fourth unscheduled test day on Friday.

Some visitors to the Italian region for the pre-Italian grand prix test early on Thursday morning were awoken by a heavy downpour of rain, and conditions did not improve by the time the pitlane opened for what was supposed to be the last of a three day test.

It was earlier reported that Ferrari, Honda and McLaren had already decided to extend the test for a fourth day no matter whether conditions improved on Thursday.

It is now understood that BMW-Sauber will definitely also join the aforementioned three on Friday, and possibly also Toyota and others.

08/30/07
cc
Team Australia featured in TV series  Team Australia will feature on the TLC series ‘Hard Shine’ this Thursday 30 August 2007 at 10:00pm ET and again on Friday 31 August 2007 at 12:00am during the Turbo Charge programming block.

Jimmy Shine is a famous hot-rod builder out of the SO-CAL Speed Shop in Pomona, California. He’s been around the block, taken the wrong road, but got back on track when SO-CAL Speed Shop’s president, Pete Chapouris took him in.

Now it’s Jimmy’s turn to give back as he hired five trainees, who themselves have had obstacles to overcome and desire a new road. One lucky member of the show will be chosen to stay and work full-time at the SO-CAL Speed Shop with Jimmy.

The rookies and Jimmy make the trip to Indianapolis, Indiana and Portland, Oregon to work in the Team Australia’s Indianapolis workshop and at the Portland Grand Prix to work with the crew from Team Australia and get a taste of what it’s really like to be a part of professional racing team, away from what they are used to, building hot-rods.

The trio became members of the team for a day, getting to practice pit stops and help the Aussie Vineyards team out with various jobs, all making for some interesting television.

To confirm local listings, please visit
http://turbo.discovery.com/hard-shine/hard-shine.html

08/30/07
cc
Observations from Assen - Thursday  It's an overcast day here in Assen, with an intermittent light drizzle falling. The forecast is much the same through the weekend.......We now hear that over 50,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday and the suites are all sold and this race has many more suites (we are told three times as many) as any other venue Champ Car races at. A large walk-up crowd is expected as well, assuming we don't get heavy rains.......We counted 50,000 seats on our track walk this morning......Word is that the Zolder promoter is satisfied with the Sunday 25,000 attendance given it was a first year event.........There is a lot of Bavaria Beer (Title sponsor) and Trust sponsor signage around the track.......Many in the Champ Car paddock are taking the news of the Phoenix race being cancelled rather hard......What was surprising was that a businessman like Dale Jensen gave the reason that he couldn't get sponsors for cancelling the race. Worse yet, we're more surprised that he threw Champ Car under the bus like that.....instead of saying logistics, timing, etc. Instead he just came out and said the race couldn't get any corporate support and only sold 1,000 grandstand tickets so far......This has caused much damage to Champ Car - can a lawsuit by Champ Car be far behind? In normal circumstances that would be the case, but Champ Car still has to deal with Jensen in Las Vegas (assuming that race isn't dead as well - see rumor page)........The track itself is long, a bit narrow in places, but no more so than any street circuit. The main straight and pit lane are plenty wide. Mark C.
08/30/07
cc
Champ Car in Europe - Day 11  As dawn broke in Holland, six drivers from the Series went from handling 750 horsepower to trying to reign in 400 woolpower as the group visited a sheep farm just outside of Assen.  It seems being herded from one media event to another has paid off for them, as they did a spectacular job, aided by a well trained sheep dog, in getting the entire flock out into the field.  Once the early morning work was done, they went to Assen’s City Centre for the Mini Champ Car Grand Prix.  Local children raced against each other, with one lucky little guy not only racing Jan Heylen in a go-kart, but beating him.  On the podium, after the go-karting event, local hero Robert Doornbos presented the top-three children with special awards.  The race was followed by a press conference held in the beautiful Drents Museum where local media heard from all of the drivers.  In a few hours the drivers will get their first look at the TT Assen Circuit during the track walk, but early word is the track is going to lead to an exciting race.
08/30/07
f1
Lewis in new row  McLaren last night slammed claims that Lewis Hamilton's tire blew in Turkey because crucial data on his car was kept from him.

Paddock sources alleged teammate Fernando Alonso had privately arranged a new deal to keep his car information to himself.

It is claimed that if Hamilton's side of the McLaren garage had been able to emulate his teammate's settings in Istanbul, the blow would never have occurred.

But team spokesman Ellen Kolby said: "It's totally untrue. We continue to have total transparency in the team."

World champion Alonso has admitted the sharing of car data at McLaren this year made him "uncomfortable".

08/30/07
nascar
Goodyear to test tires for COT at Daytona next month  Goodyear will conduct a car of tomorrow tire test Sept. 18-19 at Daytona International Speedway, a Goodyear spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

The restrictor-plate test, which will be a week after NASCAR's open Nextel Cup test at Talladega Superspeedway will consist of five drivers: Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin, Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer, Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's David Gilliland, Chip Ganassi Racing's David Stremme and Michael Waltrip Racing's Michael Waltrip.

It will be the second time this year that a COT has hit the surface at DIS. Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch practiced in a COT during January testing. The first COT race at Daytona will be the 2008 Daytona 500.

08/30/07
f1
Williams to step up in ’09  Former champions Williams could be back among the top three Formula One teams next year, according to their German driver Nico Rosberg.

The Toyota-powered team are currently fifth, after sinking to eighth last year, but Rosberg told Britain's Autosport magazine on Thursday that conceptual plans for next year's car looked very promising.

"It looks as if we would make a substantial step forward in 2008," said the German, who has scored nine of Williams 22 points in his second season in Formula One.


"I reckon that we might be able to make up one or two places in the constructors' championship.

"We could leave Renault behind us and I expect we can reach BMW Sauber and should be able to become the third force in F1," he added. "Next year's step will be at least as big as it was from last year to this one, and that was a big step."

Rosberg, son of Finland's 1982 world champion Keke, has a contract with the British-based team for next year.

He said he intended to stay despite paddock speculation linking him to Toyota, as a replacement for Ralf Schumacher, and McLaren should Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso leave the leaders.

"I am happy at Williams and a switch to Toyota is out of the question since I have a solid contract here for next year," Rosberg said. More at Reuters

08/30/07
irl
Castroneves gives Belle Isle high marks  Helio Castroneves surveyed the frontstretch of the Belle Isle race course, ostensibly to provide input on its revitalization for the inaugural Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone. A few moments surely were spent in wistful visions of his first open-wheel racing victory, and selecting a spot to climb the fence again.

After winning his first race for Team Penske in June 2000, Castroneves was so overcome with emotion that he sprung from the cockpit and climbed the catch fence so he could celebrate with spectators. He also won in 2001 – the last time an auto racing (not counting public drag races) event was held on the island near downtown. The tradition – through 12 IndyCar Series victories that include two in the Indianapolis 500 – continues.

"I'm impressed," said Castroneves, whose No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone will join other cars for the first practice session at 10:30 a.m. (ET) Aug. 31. "I'm extremely excited to be here again. I'm having flashbacks, special memories." More ...

08/30/07
nascar
Jarrett and Bradshaw involved in new Fantasy Game  CHSG Partners, the North Carolina based limited liability corporation, in partnership with racing star Dale Jarrett and football icon Terry Bradshaw announce a revolution in fantasy sports gaming for the 2007 season. The new website, “Pay the Fan,” officially launches August 30, 2007, and its total prize purse for the professional football season game and ten race racing game is more than one million dollars. Prizes will be awarded weekly for the football game, as well as at the end of the 2007 football and racing seasons.

“Our site is designed for and dedicated to the ’sports fan’,” said John Hartman, president, CHSG Partners. “For years the sports fan has devoted endless time, energy and dollars into supporting their favorite leagues, teams and players. For the 2007 season, it’s time to give back – time to “Pay the Fan.”

Pay the Fan promises a higher quality overall fantasy sports experience for the sports fan, including first-rate customer service, real-time stats, user-friendly site navigation, and of course, a higher prize purse. In addition to co-owners Jarrett and Bradshaw, CHSG has also signed race car driver, Elliott Sadler, as a Pay the Fan spokesperson. Jarrett, Bradshaw and Sadler will offer insider tips and fantasy sports advice throughout the football and racing seasons.

STATS LLC, the world’s leading sports information, content and statistical analysis company, is building the website’s backend, providing customer service and fueling it with the company’s industry leading sports data. The site’s front-end and user interface were designed by Web consulting firm Viget Labs. CHSG has retained rEvolution, the Chicago-based integrated sports marketing and media services agency, to provide marketing and consulting services for the launch of the groundbreaking fantasy sports website.

Visit www.PAYTHEFAN.com to register and for the latest fantasy sports news, gossip, tips and more.

08/30/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Spaniard removed from FIA appeal panel
  • Suzuki confirms team sale talks with Agag
  • Toyota admits interest in Alonso
  • Bridgestone apologize for Hamilton failure
  • Spyker 'B' car cleared for Monza debut
  • Ralf future to remain unclear for 'weeks' - manager

Spaniard removed from FIA appeal panel
(GMM) A Spanish lawyer has been pulled from the panel of the FIA's International Court of Appeal ahead of the upcoming espionage hearing.

The panel was to feature Xavier Conesa, but due to his Spanish nationality - the same as reigning world champion and McLaren driver Fernando Alonso - he has been stepped down to minimize suggestions of favoritism, according to the newspaper Diario As.

To further scrutinize McLaren's involvement in the so-called 'Stepney-gate' spy saga, and requested by Italy's motor sport authority, the Paris appeal is scheduled for September 13 -- the Thursday after Monza.

A five-man panel will be made up of lawyers from Belgium, the US, Portugal and Monaco. The fifth member, replacing Spain's Conesa, will be known soon.

'As' also claims that lawyers for Renault have been working alongside Ferrari in the case against McLaren; their common paddock enemy.

It is believed that Ferrari-Renault's argument will be the peculiarity of the World Motor Sport Council finding McLaren in breach of the International Sporting Code, but applying no sanction.

In its ruling last month, the FIA said McLaren faced exclusion from the 2007 and 2008 championships if it is "found in the future that the Ferrari information has been used".

Suzuki confirms team sale talks with Agag
(GMM) Aguri Suzuki has confirmed talks with a Spanish businessman about selling a stake in his struggling Super Aguri team.

It was reported earlier this month that millionaire Alejandro Agag, who with Adrian Campos already co-owns a GP2 team, began discussions with Suzuki when the Japanese's Honda-powered outfit ran into money trouble due to defaulting main sponsor SS United.

Team boss and owner Aguri Suzuki said: "That is correct.

"Agag is one of the prospective buyers. But I do not want to sell the team; on the contrary, I am looking for strong partners that can help us to move further forwards," he told Sport Bild.

The German weekly also reveals that 37-year-old Agag, who like Campos is a close personal friend of Fernando Alonso's, is also a European Union parliamentarian and shareholder of Spanish F1 broadcaster Tele 5.

Suzuki is thought desperate to sell a share of the team not only to secure its survival but to convince Honda to remain a strong supporter of his small outfit. More ...

08/30/07
Industry News
Video: Driver Fatigue, Rear-End Collisions may come to a halt  In the U.S. alone, the American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) estimates more than 100,000 accidents annually are caused by driver fatigue, resulting in 1,500 deaths. The NHSTA also indicates rear-end collisions are the most common of all accident types, totaling 29 percent of all incidents reported by the police. To help curb these statistics and end driver distractions, auto manufacturer Volvo is installing new technologies in specified models: Collision Warning with Auto Brake, Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert, Driver Alert Control and Lane Departure Warning.

Using both radar and a camera to detect vehicles in front of the vehicle, the Collision Warning with Auto Brake system automatically forces the vehicle to come to a halt when a collision is imminent. In conjunction with this, the Adaptive Cruise Control system works to maintain the distance to the car in front by using a radar sensor to monitor speed. For drivers suffering from fatigue or are distracted, the Driver Alert Control monitors the car's movements to alert the person behind the wheel via audio signals and text messaging. The Lane Departure Warning also uses an audible signal to alert drivers if the car crosses one of the road marking without an obvious reason. All four systems are expected to be installed in the Volvo S80, V70 and XC70 by the end of 2007.  (Video on our Home Page - Some portions have low volume)

08/30/07
cc
Doornbos hoping for better luck on land!  Robert Doornbos is hoping he has better luck on land than on sea after being beaten yesterday by a pair of future stars from the Champ Car Atlantic series. Doornbos, Katherine Legge, Tristan Gommendy and Dan Clarke were soundly defeated on the water by Road America Atlantic winner Franck Perera and Dutch ace Junior Strous.

The drivers were "captaining" Dutch botters – 19th century sailing boats used for fishing in the traditional Netherlands village of Spakenburg. The drivers were joined on water by local media and corporate sponsors of this week's Assen event – the Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland presented by Audi, Gant, Hertz, Jumbo and Pioneer.

With Perera and Strous teamed up on the newest boat – the youngsters raced away from the start. While their boat may have been new, even their racer is more than 100 years old. Holding between 12-14 people, the "botters" were first used in the 1800s in Spakenburg – located about 50km from Amsterdam.

"I have actually never been to this part of Holland before - It was really fun out there. Our boat set the pace early, feeling comfortable, we had a good setup, especially when we stole the wind away from everyone's sails at one stage," Doornbos said. "I tried everything I could to try and cheat, even throwing a rope out at a container ship to tow us along. I'm really looking forward to the weekend in Assen. I have a couple more days of PR activities – Bart Rietbergen and everyone has done an amazing job in promoting the race. It is going to be really special."

08/30/07
cc
DaimlerChrysler's 2Q profit falls  DaimlerChrysler AG said Wednesday that its second-quarter profit fell 14 percent and disclosed plans to spend about $10.2 billion buying back nearly 10 percent of its shares as it moves forward without its Chrysler division.   DaimlerChrysler's profit decline excluding results from Chrysler and its finance arm — which did better in the latest quarter than a year ago — was a steeper 20 percent.

The automaker said it earned 1.44 billion euros ($1.91 billion) excluding the operations it sold, compared to 1.8 billion euros a year earlier.

It now expects a charge of 2.5 billion euros for the year from the sale of Chrysler group and its financing arm, less than it had previously thought.

DaimlerChrysler also said it expects vehicle sales to be in line with the 2.1 million it sold in 2006, with revenue on par with the 99 billion euros it reported last year.

The company sold the Chrysler group and North American financial services units to Cerberus Capital Management LLC earlier this month in a $7.4 billion deal that saw the private equity group take an 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler.

Including those operations, DaimlerChrysler posted an overall profit of 1.85 billion euros ($2.52 billion) for the April-June period, down 14 percent from 2.15 billion euros a year earlier. Sales fell to 23.84 billion euros ($32.52 billion) from 24.6 billion euros last year. Yahoo.com

08/29/07
irl
Unknowns of Belle Isle circuit challenges drivers  New venues can be challenge for any team competing in the IndyCar Series, but the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone could provide even more of a challenge to those still eligible for the 2007 IndyCar Series championship.

Unlike Iowa Speedway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the other new venues the IndyCar Series visited this season, there was no testing allowed prior to the event. In fact, the Raceway at Belle Isle event will be the first time the IndyCar Series has raced its penultimate event without a previous race or test prior to race weekend.

"Detroit's going to be a bit of an unknown," said IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon, who carries a four-point lead over Dario Franchitti into the Sept. 2 event. "You have to go into it with an open mind and race it as if it was any other event."

With no prior testing at the Raceway at Belle Isle, some teams come into the race with several years of experience in Indy car racing to build upon. For some drivers, there are only good memories of Belle Isle. More ...

08/29/07
a1gp
German team sets pace at Silverstone  A1 Team Germany has started the run up to the new A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season where it left off in the old one, on top of the time sheets. This time the driver for the reigning champions was Christian Vietoris and on the second, and final, day of the official pre-season test at Silverstone he set a time nearly half a second faster than that put in on day one by A1 Team South Africa.

The main rival to Germany was A1 Team Great Britain, with Robbie Kerr's best time a quarter of a second slower, while third was A1 Team Switzerland with Sebastian Buemi at the wheel. All three set their times in the morning session, with the fastest of the afternoon being set by Great Britain, but this time with Oliver Jarvis at the wheel.

While the teams were all concentrating on getting their cars race prepared for the start of the season in the Netherlands in four weeks time, they also took the opportunity in front of a large international press contingent to make various driver announcements. On the rookie front Nicolas Prost, son of four times Formula One World Champion, Alain Prost, will be representing A1 Team France, and 2006 McLaren/Autosport Award winner, Oliver Turvey, will be doing some races for Great Britain. This was not the only news from GBR as Jarvis will be the main driver for the team at the opening race in Zandvoort and Kerr will then take over in race two in Brno. More ...

08/29/07
f1
Spyker delays launch of B-spec car  UPDATE Spyker gave its much-vaunted B-spec chassis its first proper test at Monza on today [Wednesday], after the car finally passing its FIA rear-impact tests on Tuesday.

The F8-VII/B had been scheduled to make its debut in Turkey, but initially fell short of the stringent safety levels set out the sport's governing body.

Adrian Sutil completed 76 laps, more than 400km, with the car, which Spyker has confirmed will now make its race debut at the Italian Grand Prix, despite the team encountering a gearbox glitch in the afternoon.

"We worked on finding a good set-up for the race and understanding how the car behaves in low downforce configuration and also tried out the soft and harder tires, which seemed to work well for us," said Sutil.

"It is difficult to say where we are with the new car; Monza is a very special track unlike anywhere else with less grip, but I think it was a good start."

Sutil was slowest of the 12 runners present, but was only 0.3s slower than Takuma Sato's Super Aguri by the end of the day.

"Spyker joined the Monza test a day late with Adrian Sutil driving the 'B' spec chassis for its first full circuit test. Monza requires a specific aero package of which the validation process was started today," said the team's chief engineer Dominic Harlow.

"Monza makes high demands on the brakes, suspension over the curbs in the chicanes, and on the engine with long periods of hard acceleration.

"During the day the team gathered data on all these areas and worked on particular developments for each of the systems. ITV.com/f1

"In terms of our preparation for the race here in ten days time our progress looks promising and we know that there is plenty of potential in the new car."

08/23/07 The Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team has been forced to postpone the launch of its new B spec car until the Italian Grand Prix due to unexpectedly failing the rear impact test. The team will now contest this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix with two A spec cars.

Chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne, commented:
'It's obviously very disappointing to delay the launch, especially considering the hard work that everyone at the factory and track has put in. Unfortunately last week we had an unexpected failure of the rear crash test, possibly due to problems with a batch of material used. Unfortunately all the other structures available we had to test were from this batch and the modifications we tried to make were not sufficient. These tests are quite rightly very stringent and difficult to pass, but we did not expect to have a problem as the structure is very similar to the A spec one. We are confident that we understand the problem however and should be able to pass with no problems next week. Gascoyne added, 'We will now concentrate on doing the best we can this weekend. As we were aware we had a problem we brought two A spec cars as well as two B spec cars, so we will not have any problems switching back, but it's just disappointing not to have the performance increase as planned. On a more positive note, we will now be able to test the car at the pre-Italian Grand Prix test next week at Monza, which should allow us to be in better shape.'
08/29/07
nascar
ATT and NASCAR to return to court  The AT&T-NASCAR-Sprint legal saga is scheduled to continue Sept. 18 in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

Judge Marvin Shoob, who awarded AT&T an injunction May 18 to allow AT&T's logos on the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car driven by Jeff Burton, is scheduled to preside over another injunction hearing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals overturned his original injunction Aug. 13, and now AT&T is returning to the district court level in hopes of obtaining another injunction.  More at Scenedaily.com

08/29/07
nascar
Allmendinger to drive for Ganassi Racing  Chip Ganassi Racing officials announced Wednesday that AJ Allmendinger would drive the team's No. 42 Dodge in the next five Busch Series races.

Allmendinger's first race in the car will be this weekend's Camping World 300 at California Speedway.

Allmendinger drives Team Red Bull's No. 84 Toyota in the Nextel Cup Series, and the agreement with Ganassi allows Allmendinger, a rookie in Cup, more seat time in a NASCAR stock car.

Ganassi officials were going to stop running the No. 42, which was primarily driven by Ganassi Cup rookie Juan Pablo Montoya this year, after the Watkins Glen race but decided to keep it going. Brian Pattie is the crew chief.

08/29/07
cc
irl
f1
nascar
Market niches  Dear AutoRacing1: I am writing in response to the general discussion surrounding the fact that there are major changes going on in NASCAR that involves the re-invention of what had been a very traditionally American sport.
 
As we have seen with every major motorsport form in the world, the market is not static. Markets and demographics change as every major sport jockeys for position and funds from the fans, sponsors, manufacturers and media.
 
In Formula One, the clear message sent by Bernie Ecclestone is that he is chasing the Fortune and Fame to be gained from following the Old Silk and Spice Roads to the "Vast Riches" of the Middle and Far East. In that respect, their strategy is clear. As in any marketing effort you look at what works - or could work - and how it can make your product better. You seek niches wherever they may open. To replace the enormous losses of vast tobacco sponsorships that have sustained F1 for decades, they have been forced to look elsewhere - to other markets and other venues. More ...
08/29/07
cc
Champ Car Belgian GP tickets priced too high  [Editor's Note: This AP article touches on some key points and lessons learned from Champ Car's first foray into Belgium - i.e. how important local "heroes" are to the success of the event, Champ Car needs more European races, etc.]

The drivers liked the track, the fans loved being able to get close to the teams and cars, and the promoter said the race will be back next year.

But what about all those empty seats at the inaugural Champ Car Belgian Grand Prix, which was won from the pole by series leader Sebastien Bourdais?

Organizers sold about 40,000 tickets for the race meet - 15,000 for the first two days and 25,000 on race day, said Vincent Franssen, a spokesman for the promoter. The 2.5-mile circuit at Zolder has a capacity of about 50,000, he said.

"It was mainly the grandstands that were not full because the prices of the tickets were quite high,'' Franssen said. "For next year, maybe it would be better to price a bit cheaper to have more tickets sold.''

Fan Peter Georgiades thought the ticket prices were a bit steep - he paid nearly $205 for a weekend grandstand ticket and access to the paddock - but said the access to drivers and their cars gave Champ Car an edge over Formula One, which has a larger following in Europe.

"I don't go to Formula One, because they treat you as if you are going to the cinema,'' said Georgiades, a 58-year-old civil servant from Brussels. "You are supposed to sit in one place all day and then go home. What I like is to walk around the paddock.'' More ...

08/29/07
cc
Rahal ready to kick Ass-en, Holland  Graham Rahal's European Champ Car trip started well last weekend with a fourth podium finish in the Belgian round. Moving on to the Netherlands for the second event in the double-header, the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racer is looking for further success on his first visit to the Assen track.

In his first season of Champ Car competition Rahal has shown impressive form, notching up a second place podium finish in only his third race, and following this with three third places. Lying second in the Rookie of the Year standings, only former Formula One driver, Robert Doornbos has earned more points. With 34 points between the two and three events to go, Rahal still has a chance to overtake the Dutchman in this race.

Commenting ahead of the Assen race, Rahal said; "We're hoping for another top three result, Assen is supposed to be a fast track, which is more my type of circuit and will suit my style more. So, the faster, the better! More ...

08/29/07
f1
Monza testing: Alonso tops Hamilton on Day 2  Two-time F1 World champion Fernando Alonso topped the times on the second day of testing at Monza despite only running in the afternoon. The McLaren driver took over from teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was at the wheel of the MP4/22 all yesterday and this morning.

Testing continues at Monza Thursday.

Wednesday's times:

Pos  Driver      Team                Time      Laps
 1.  Alonso      McLaren-Mercedes    1:23.155   49
 2.  Hamilton    McLaren-Mercedes    1:23.454   49
 3.  Heidfeld    BMW-Sauber          1:23.725   84
 4.  Trulli      Toyota              1:23.759   61
 5.  Raikkonen   Ferrari             1:23.773   59
 6.  Kovalainen  Renault             1:24.093   51
 7.  Vettel      Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:24.266  101
 8.  Wurz        Williams-Toyota     1:24.356   70
 9.  Klien       Honda               1:24.595   92
10.  Webber      Red Bull-Renault    1:24.701   83
11.  Sato        Super Aguri-Honda   1:24.976   80
12.  Sutil       Spyker-Ferrari      1:25.278   76

08/29/07
Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking  
Updated 8-29-07  

Pos. (LW) Driver (Series)                    Pts
1. (4) Scott Dixon (IRL)                     8.019
2. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)             7.922
3. (6) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                 7.839
4. (9) Carl Edwards  (NASCAR)                7.769
5. (3) Kurt Busch (NASCAR)                   7.478
6. (11) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)                  7.155
7. (37) Felipe Massa (F1)                    7.147
8. (18) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)                7.071
9. (16) Dario Franchitti (IRL)               6.957
10. (12) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                6.901
11. (14) Kimi Raikkonen (F1)                 6.705
12. (10) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR)           6.682
13. (5) Tony Kanaan (IRL)                    6.522
14. (21) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)         6.513
15. (13) Fernando Alonso (F1)                6.465
16. (22) Ryan Newman (NASCAR)                6.366
17. (17) Jeff Burton (NASCAR)                6.354
18. (NR) Greg Biffle (NASCAR)                6.135
19. (19) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)              6.107
20. (1) Lewis Hamilton (F1)                  6.091

Dropped out: Matt Kenseth (NASCAR), Denny Hamlin (NASCAR), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Casey Mears (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.
08/29/07
nascar
Hollywood 'racetrack' plan gets red-lighted  Their plan was to set up a temporary stock-car racing oval in Hollywood.

But it was NASCAR racers and San Bernardino County officials who got the runaround when they sought permission to close streets tonight around the Avalon nightclub and music hall on Vine Street.

The operators of the California Speedway had hoped to have famed race-car driver Jeff Gordon and others take spins around a miniature speedway in the vicinity of Hollywood and Vine as part of a NASCAR Foundation fundraiser at the landmark music venue.

The event -- with tickets priced at $2,500 each -- will benefit charities supported by the foundation. It's being sponsored by the speedway and the San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency.

The agency is using the show to launch a campaign to lure Hollywood studios and production companies to the 20,160-square-mile county for film production.

San Bernardino officials have labeled their county "Hollywood's No. 1 back lot" and say their campaign is aimed at stemming the tide of runaway productions to places such as Louisiana, New Mexico and British Columbia.

Event organizers wanted to block Hollywood streets to create a scaled-down racetrack and offer rides to partygoers willing to pay extra for a lap around the mock circuit in stock cars driven by Gordon and other top-level NASCAR stars.

But Los Angeles transportation authorities require those applying to temporarily shut down a public street to obtain written permission from all commercial property owners or managers in the proposed closure area. And users of one Hollywood site refused to sign off on the plan.

"We originally envisioned turning part of Hollywood into a miniature California Speedway," said Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the real two-mile track in Fontana. The course will be the site of Labor Day weekend racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"But there was an issue with a parking lot that was needed for another event happening Wednesday night. So the racing element has been taken out. Fifteen or 20 drivers will be making an appearance, but there will be no rides." More at LA Times

08/29/07
nascar
Foreign Legion - Invades NASCAR  [Editor's Note:  CART was hammered for having foreign drivers, but for NASCAR it is a good thing.  Remember we predicted years ago that open wheel racing had better be on the alert because NASCAR has plans to expand its product outside the borders of the USA.  Bringing in big-name foreign drivers, foreign manufacturers, and starting to race in Canada and Mexico is just the first step in a 2-decade long plan to rule the roost globally.]

There was a time not long ago when a person talked about NASCAR drivers being from the south.
 
It’s a testament to NASCAR’s growth that the southern driver talked being about these days is from way down south, as in South America.

Colombian native Juan Pablo Montoya is making his presence known in the sport once reserved for men from the southern United States. Montoya is making inroads in NASCAR and blazing a trail for others to follow.

When Jeff Gordon burst on the NASCAR scene in the Busch Series in 1990, he wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms. Here was a young upstart who called California home trying to compete in an auto racing series whose drivers were almost all from the South. Gordon didn’t win his first NASCAR event until he had been in the sport for two years (his first Busch win came in 1992, the same year he debuted in the Cup Series).

From that first win in 1992, Gordon went on to amass a total of five Busch series wins and currently stands at 79 Cup series wins. Add to that four series championships and you can say that he’s enjoyed a successful career in NASCAR. And earned the respect of his fellow competitors.

Gordon’s success showed that you didn’t necessarily have to hail from North Carolina to race in NASCAR. He led the way for others to follow. As the series heads to California this weekend, a total of seven drivers call Golden State home; that ‘s more than any other state. Virginia and North Carolina are tied for second with five drivers each.

Fast forward to 2006 and along comes Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya, a former Formula 1 star and Indianapolis 500 winner who scored his first NASCAR wins before the yellow paint on his rookie stripes was even dry; in just his seventh Busch Series start. His first Nextel Cup series win came in just his 17th start.

It’s that kind of success that has drivers who hail from outside the borders of the United States taking notice.

"I think I opened the door for a lot more people,” Montoya said. “I think people are saying 'Man, this is the sport to be in' and I think in a way it's good for NASCAR because it's going to become the sport to be in and I think it is. I think I was smart enough to come here early enough."

Marcos Ambrose, a native of Tasmania in Australia is a two time V8 Supercar champion in his native land. He made his debut in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2006. He’s currently competing full time in the Busch series (where he’s currently 9th in points) and has his sights set on moving up to the Cup series in 2008.

Canadian born Patrick Carpentier surprised many with his Busch series debut at Montreal where he came home second. He followed that up with a respectable top 25 finish at Watkins Glen.

And now this week another Canadian, Jacques Villeneuve is testing a Craftsman Series truck for Bill Davis Racing as he prepares to make his NASCAR debut next month in Las Vegas. The Formula 1 champion and Indy 500 winner will run a total of seven Truck series events this year along with an ARCA race at Talladega as he readies for his Cup debut in 2008.

As Villeneuve readies for his NASCAR debut, the influx of drivers born outside the US shows just how far NASCAR has come, and how far it could still go.

"When you want to carry on racing, you want it to be at a top level. And in North America, the top level is NASCAR," Villeneuve said. "NASCAR is becoming stronger and stronger every year. It's getting everybody's attention even internationally.” CupScene.com

08/29/07
alms
ALMS returning to XM airways  The Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch, the 10th round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series, marks the return of the American Le Mans Series to XM Satellite Radio. The two-hour, 45-minute event will be aired on two XM channels.

The American Le Mans Radio broadcast can be heard from noon to 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 2 on XM’s Sports Nation Channel 144 and also on XM Channel 145. Live American Le Mans Radio coverage will be available from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 1 at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing and Scoring.

The race will be aired from 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 to 12:30 a.m. Sunday, September 2 on SPEED. Replays will be shown at 1 a.m. on Friday, September 7 and noon on Monday, September 10. All times are Eastern.

08/29/07
f1
Dernie joins Panasonic Toyota Racing  Panasonic Toyota Racing is pleased to announce the appointment of Frank Dernie as a senior advisor with immediate effect.

The experienced Englishman, who has been involved in Formula 1 for over 30 years, will advise the team on aerodynamic and chassis-related matters, although he will not have a factory-based role and is not expected to attend races frequently.

Dernie will add his considerable expertise to the continuous improvement of this year's TF107 car, as well as the development of the TF108, under the leadership of Senior General Manager Chassis Pascal Vasselon.

Frank's appointment at Panasonic Toyota Racing will enable him to continue with other commitments he has away from Formula 1 design.

08/29/07
cc
Clarke reinstated for Champ Car event in Assen  Champ Car Race Director Tony Cotman has reinstated Dan Clarke for this weekend’s Bavaria Beer Grand Prix of Holland Presented by Audi, Gant, Hertz, Pioneer and Jumbo following his exclusion from the Champ Car event in Zolder, Belgium.

“I think Dan has learned a lot in the past week and he is ready to compete again.” said Cotman.  “During Dan’s suspension, he showed us what he’s all about.  He participated in fan and media activities, helped his team and also came to race control to see how we come to our decisions.  I hope he is more aware now, that in racing small mistakes can lead to big consequences.”

Clarke will remain on probation through the rest of the 2007 season.  Champ Car suspended Clarke after he caused a four-car incident on the first lap of Friday morning’s practice session in Zolder.  The last driver to be suspended from a Champ Car event was Paul Tracy, who was excluded from the 1999 season opener in Homestead.

The second-year driver has scored one podium this season, finishing second at Road America in early August.  Clarke participated in a media event in Holland on Tuesday, racing “botters,” 19th-Century traditional Dutch sailboats with some of his fellow drivers and the local media.

08/29/07
cc
Champ Car European Adventure Day 10  As everyone is getting settled into the beautiful TT Assen Circuit (and our amazing perch above pit lane and next door to the podium stand), Champ Car is continuing to make news.  Robert Doornbos took some of his fellow drivers on a sailing adventure yesterday, but in the land of windmills, unusually calm conditions kept speeds down (which he claims in his blog protects his sponsorship clauses… hmmmm, maybe he just doesn’t want to admit that he got his butt kicked by teammate Dan Clarke and a couple of Atlantics drivers!).  While Doornbos was sailing away, Sebastien Bourdais was getting his family settled back into Europe, including his two cats. Tomorrow will include more adventures with animals as some of the drivers will take part in a photo op to include herding sheep before heading to Assen’s City Centre for a press conference.

-Robert Doornbos European Diary <Orange County Register>

-Sebastien Bourdais Diary <Long Beach Press Telegram>

-Promoters call off Grand Prix Arizona <Arizona Republic>
 

***Robert Doornbos European Diary

After a busy week and a tough race at Zolder, it was a pleasure to switch off the cell phone and rest for 24 hours. The hardest thing was staying away from the BlackBerry – that thing is addictive!

I’m back home in Holland as part of the Champ Car World Series 2007 European Tour and it feels great to be here. Actually, I’ve never been where we are today – Eemmeer Nijkerkernauw, a lake near the villages of Bucherhof and Spakenburg. We did some PR and media by staging a race between 100-year old sailboats.

There are fewer than fifty of these vintage wooden fishing vessels left, most of them having been destroyed in the 1930s and ‘40s. I’m “racing” three other Champ Car drivers and a couple of Atlantic Championship competitors as well, but I think the field is level - for all of us, it’s the first time to be in this part of Holland. Unfortunately, it is an unusually calm day and we didn’t get going too fast. But that’s a good thing, because my contract with Red Bull prohibits me from doing extreme sports! More ...

08/29/07
irl
With Penske driving, Grand Prix will be a win  It's only a few days before the revival of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, and Roger Penske is doing two things he does best -- attending to details and exhorting the folks doing the work. 

He does it on foot, helping a new recruit find his boss. He does it over his BlackBerry, usually with the preface that he's seen something he doesn't like. He does it from behind the wheel of a bright red Hummer H3 because racing is returning to Detroit and Penske, quick to credit others, is driving its revival.

The race is "a byproduct of the Super Bowl and all the things we had done," he tells me of his push to bring open-wheel IndyCar racing back to the Motor City after a six-year hiatus. "It's a place people can come. They can support their city. And it's good for racing. Where else do you get three hours of national TV Saturday and Sunday showcasing the city?"

Fair point, however fleeting the benefits of that Labor Day exposure may be considering the deepening economic struggles of Detroit, of Michigan and of the automakers who make Detroit the Motor City. If I had to bet, it'd be on the fact that this Grand Prix, weather permitting, will be as much a success as Super Bowl XL in '06 or Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in '05 or golf's Ryder Cup in '04. More at Detroit News

08/29/07
industry news
Detroit Auto Show adds 5 Chinese manufacturers  In a bold display of intent to become major players on the global automotive scene, five Chinese vehicle manufacturers will bring cars and trucks to Detroit for display at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in January.

Only two Chinese automakers have previously exhibited at the Detroit show -- Geely Automobile Co. in 2006 and Changfeng Group this year. Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which stages the annual show, said Tuesday that the five Chinese exhibitors will be located in Michigan Hall, a level below the show's main floor in Detroit's Cobo Center. Two European ultra-luxury carmakers will also be first-time exhibitors, Alberts said.

He would not reveal names of the new exhibitors, but said all are contractually committed.

Despite the major Chinese presence at Cobo, don't look for Chinese-made cars to be sold in the United States until at least late 2008, with 2009 or 2010 more likely.

Paul Lienert, president of Global Auto Systems in Dexter, said the first vehicle from China could be a midsize sedan from Jinbei Brilliance, likely called BS6, that's already on limited sale in Europe.

"I don't think we'll see the Chery/Dodge car here before '09. Nothing from Geely before then either. Possibly we may see an MG from the new Nanjing-SAIC marriage in '08 or '09," Lienert said. More ...

08/29/07
a1gp
Nicolas Prost joins A1 Team France  Nicolas Prost had his first test session in an A1GP car on the Silverstone circuit (Great Britain) yesterday. Thanks to his performance the young French driver was announced as the rookie in the team for the 2007-2008 A1GP Championship. He will take part in free practice on Friday in all the rounds, and will probably find himself competing in some races during the season.

“The A1GP car is the most powerful single-seater I’ve driven so far, and I immediately felt at home behind the wheel,” Nicolas said. “The whole team and Nicolas Lapierre did their best to help me and I’d like to thank them all. My aim for today is to improve my knowledge of the car and to progress. I’m proud of having obtained the role of rookie in A1 Team France, and I can’t wait to make my contribution to bringing the cup back to France.” More ...

08/29/07
f1
Piquet tests Renault's 2008 configuration  The Renault team kicked off its test session on the Monza circuit in Italy on Tuesday where after the summer break they restarted their development program. It is an important test session as it comes just one week before the Italian Grand Prix, so its aim is abundantly clear!

While the priority was obviously to prepare for the next two races on European soil, in particular the Italian GP, the ING Renault F1 Team decided to concentrate on the 2008 electronic set-up on its first day of testing. So Nelson Piquet at the wheel of the R27 went out without any driver aids to provide the team with his initial impressions.

He did several runs - generally long ones - and concentrated on setting up the car in this configuration. The data recorded will be analyzed by the team this evening, and again when it gets back to the factory in the framework of its 2008 project development program.

"The car was not really different; it was just a bit less predictable and slightly trickier to drive as it is less forgiving! It's difficult to be consistent as the laps unfold but I think I got to grips with it fairly quickly,” the young test driver said. “We've revised the braking load to adapt the car to 2008, and we concentrated on setting it up in this configuration. I think we've done a good day's work today with a lot of laps covered." More ...

08/29/07
Industry News
GM offers dealers incentives  General Motors Corp. is giving dealers cash awards in a bid to halt a 9.4 percent drop in U.S. sales this year, a program outlined in an internal GM memo.

Retailers will get $250 for each sale made from Aug. 23 through the end of the month, the memo from Jim Bunnell, general manager of GM's Buick, Pontiac and GMC divisions, said. Dealers can use the money to boost discounts offered directly to consumers through most of September, GM sales and marketing chief Mark LaNeve confirmed Tuesday.

GM raised incentives on large trucks this month after sales dropped 22 percent in July. The Detroit-based automaker said last week it slowed production at six North American truck plants because of the slump.

"This seems to say the sales are shaping up worse than they thought they were going to be at this point in the month," said George Magliano, research director for Global Insight Inc. in New York. More at Detroit News

08/29/07
cc
Phoenix Champ Car race cancelled  UPDATE #2 The Grand Prix Arizona maneuvered past many political obstacles, but financial pressures ultimately blocked the race, organizers and observers say.

On Tuesday, organizers announced that they would cancel the three-day Champ Car race event set for downtown Phoenix this fall. An estimated 1,000 ticket holders would get full refunds, they said. The race could be staged next year, they said.

Grand Prix Arizona was billed as a mega-event that would bring high-adrenaline car racing downtown for the next five years with a projected $65 million in annual economic impact. The two-mile track would have snaked around Chase Field, US Airways Center, Phoenix Convention Center and other landmarks. 

"The sponsorship levels didn't even come close to what we needed to be able to pull this off the way that we wanted to," said Phoenix businessman Dale Jensen. Jensen, part owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns, teamed up with business partner Brad Yonover to orchestrate the event. More ...

08/29/07
nascar
Bristol TV ratings down  The ESPN TV Rating for the Sharpie 500 Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night, August 25th was a 3.5 rating with 5,735,000 viewers, down 3% from 2006 when it was aired on TNT and drew a cable rating of 3.6. Given how much more ESPN bid for the TV contract over TNT, and given they are putting all their eggs in the NASCAR basket and largely ignoring Champ Car and the IRL, it must be disheartening to upper management to know their best efforts are failing (ESPN ratings have been consistently down from previous years) and they are likely to take a financial bloodbath on the deal.
08/29/07
Industry News
GM forms Malaysian alliance  General Motors Corp has teamed with DRB-HICOM, Malaysia's largest car distributor and importer, to form a new company to distribute their new Chevrolet, the firms announced Tuesday. The world's largest carmaker will hold a 51 percent stake in the new company, HICOM-Chevrolet Sdn Bhd, while DRB-HICOM will hold 49 percent.  Initial outlay will be 50 million ringgit, they said.

Mohamad Khamil Jamil, DRB-HICOM managing director, said they hope to sell 4,000 Chevrolet Aveo notchback vehicles this year, with other GM models entering the local market in phases.

Steve Carlisle, president of GM's Southeast Asia operations, said they have long-term plans to build an assembly plant in Malaysia for the local market.

08/29/07
f1
Bernie to join Briatore in football foray  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone could join in on formula one colleague Flavio Briatore's new foray into the world of English football.

The British newspaper Daily Mail on Wednesday quotes the 76-year-old F1 chief executive as saying he "might get involved" in Briatore's soon to be confirmed acquisition of the London club Queens Park Rangers.

Briatore, boss of the Renault team, hinted at the weekend that a "group of friends" would be joining him if, as expected, his bid to buy QPR gets the green light.

Ecclestone said: "Flavio has asked me about it and I'm giving it some thought.  I'm just doing my day job at the moment but I might get involved."

08/29/07
cc
Champ Car business model called into question  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, So much for Champ Car's Festivals of Speed business model. Cancelled races in Ansan, South Korea, Zhuhai, China, Denver, Phoenix, plus soft attendance at a few others will make other potential race promoters and sponsors run for the hills. I don't see NASCAR or F1 cancelling races. Do you think Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe will pull the plug after this year, because surely their 5-year business plan isn't working? Kevin Kohn

Dear Kevin, Indeed these cancelled races coupled with a lack of a series title sponsorship, manufacturer support, soft team sponsorship, low TV ratings, and major holes in its race schedule, need to be addressed, and addressed soon. Perhaps it's time they pull together some of the best minds in the business for a weeklong think tank meeting and at this time lay out a proper 5-year strategic plan, one that has the buy-in of all its major constituents.  And Champ Car is not the only series dropping races - both the IRL and F1 have had to drop races that do not make economic sense. Mark C.

08/29/07
f1
Trulli welcomes safer run-off at Monza  (GMM)  Jarno Trulli on Tuesday welcomed the safety modification to Monza's troublesome second chicane as the pre-Italian grand prix test kicked off.

The gravel trap at arguably the most dangerous section on the entire formula one calendar has now been asphalted at the Grand Prix Drivers' Association's (GPDA) request.

Toyota's Trulli, among ten runners at hot and humid Monza on the opening day of the test, said of the improved run-off: "It is good to see that -- a definite step forward."

Forecast rain, meanwhile, arrived at Monza late on Tuesday, with more expected later this week, raising the likelihood that the test will now be extended to include a fourth day on Friday.

08/29/07
nascar
f1
NASCAR to 'mellow' old F1 foes  (GMM)  They nearly came to blows when their careers crossed paths in formula one, but Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve could soon be friends.

In the drivers' briefing before the Canadian grand prix in 2001, the pair had to be physically separated after arguing about one another's driving style.

But now, with 1997 world champion Villeneuve starting a new career in NASCAR, Colombian Montoya - who switched to the popular American brand of racing last year - said he looks forward to catching up with his old foe in a new setting.

"I think it's nice to see Jacques, and hopefully he does well," Montoya said when he was asked about Villeneuve's Craftsman Truck Series test this week and likely Nextel Cup foray in 2008.

"If I can help in any way I will.  He's a nice guy."

Villeneuve agrees that both he and Montoya have "mellowed down" since 2001, when the French-Canadian is thought to have grabbed Montoya by the neck following a comment about a crash earlier that season in which a marshal was killed.

"We had a hard time, I would say early in our careers," he said.

"There were just a few high-spirited moments in car on the track."

Montoya added that he thinks there might be a bond between the pair when they meet in the NASCAR paddocks.

"There will be something there," he said.  "I don't know how big or how small, but we have a lot of things in common.

"Jacques is very cool, he's changed a lot since I first knew him.  He's like a kid.  He's always buying music.  I look forward to him getting here."

08/28/07
nascar
4 Cup teams test tires as AMS  Nextel Cup Series drivers Kevin Harvick, Casey Mears, Scott Riggs and Jeremy Mayfield participated in the first of a two-day tire test at Atlanta Motor Speedway Monday. Goodyear tested tires on both the car of tomorrow and the current car during the eight-hour session.

"It is good to get out here on the track," Valvoline Evernham Racing's Riggs said, according to a track release. "It's nice to see how the current car and the car of tomorrow will handle at AMS, and it will let us know what we can expect this October and next March."

Goodyear tested tires for wear, heat, grip level and load. Hendrick Motorsports' Mears topped the unofficial speed charts with a lap of 183.576 mph (30.20 seconds) in his No. 25 Chevrolet and a lap of 181.770 mph (30.50 seconds) in the No. 25 COT. Mears was followed by Riggs, Richard Childress Racing's Harvick and Bill Davis Racing's Mayfield.

The car of tomorrow is a half-second slower than the other cars, but that should make more exciting racing here," Harvick said. "The COT didn't drive bad at all."  Scenedaly.com

08/28/07
nascar
McSwain to step down as crew chief  It's a decision that Michael "Fatback" McSwain has been working toward for quite some time. At the end of the season, McSwain will step down as crew chief for #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing and current driver Bill Elliott. He doesn't yet know where he'll land or what he'll be doing, but in McSwain's very countenance, there is nevertheless a most definite sense of relief. No longer will McSwain dread leaving his home in Dallas, N.C., where he lives with wife Deanna, 2-year old daughter Makayla and son Wyatt, who's just three months old. No longer will Makayla wonder when her daddy's going to be home. No longer will McSwain be just an infrequent visitor at his church. Team owners Len and Eddie Wood, as well as Tad Geschickter, have been informed of McSwain's intentions. There is a possibility that McSwain could move over to one of the organization's Craftsman Truck Series teams, or maybe into some sort of research and development role. Whatever the case, McSwain stressed that his decision is in no part due to any kind of dissatisfaction with the Wood Brothers/JTG operation in and of itself. Instead, he simply wants to concentrate on his family, friends and faith. NASCAR.com
08/28/07
cc
Champ Car forced to cancel two races  Champ Car World Series Statement from Steve Johnson, President & CEO

"We obviously are disappointed that the organizers of Grand Prix Arizona cancelled their event. While we were looking forward to closing our season with a new Champ Car race in Arizona, we're prepared to now finish instead in Mexico City (Nov. 9-11) as we have done the past three years. We look forward to a great event this weekend in Assen, Holland, the second of two new Champ Car events in Europe, then concluding our 2007 season with our traditionally strong events in Surfer's Paradise, Australia in October and Mexico in November. 

"The 2007 Champ Car World Series season will encompass 14 total events, including four new events in Las Vegas, Nevada; Mont-Tremblant, Canada; Zolder, Belgium; and Assen, Holland. This is two less than originally planned due not only to Phoenix's decision to cancel but also with the inability to conduct an event in China this year. The failure of our previous China promoter-since replaced-to materially comply with our agreement forced us to miss our May date, and we have been unable to secure an appropriate 2007 replacement date with our new promoter. While it's unfortunate that these situations have occurred, we're now on the eve of what we expect to be one of our most successful events of the year, and anticipate an exciting week ahead in Holland."

08/28/07
a1gp
Rice solid in 1st run for A1 Team USA  Buddy Rice completed an error-free 98 laps and was 10th fastest in the afternoon session in a solid debut performance for A1 TEAM USA in the A1GP open test Tuesday at Silverstone’s International Circuit.

“It wasn’t too bad for driving a car I don’t know,” Rice said. “It’s totally different and the way you drive it is a little different. It likes to be thrown around and there’s a fine line between being sideways and still going fast.”

Rice had a best lap of 1:11.445, an average speed of 114 mph, in the afternoon on the 2.249-mile, 10-turn course. It was less than one second behind the top lap of the session and the day of A1GP veteran Adrian Zaugg, who had a 1:10.484 for South Africa.

“I was pleased,” A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger said. “He did pretty well for his first time in the car. He was competitive and didn’t make any major mistakes. We got a lot of work done with the car.” More ...

08/28/07
irl
Meijer Family Fun Zone at Detroit GP  Meijer is ensuring that the return of world-class auto racing to the Motor City is exciting for fans of all ages by sponsoring the Meijer Family Fun Zone during the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, August 31-September 2, 2007. The Meijer Family Fun Zone will be located in the general admission area within the race circuit, featuring a wide variety of interactive displays and activities for all ages, great views of the track and a dedicated general admission grandstand along with a Jumbo Video Screen for viewing the racing action. Activities in the Meijer Family Fun Zone will be free for all Grand Prix attendees. .

Open all three days of the Grand Prix between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, The Meijer Family Fun Zone will feature a carousel and an air-conditioned tent serving as a movie theater with the Disney movie Cars playing each day at 1:30 p.m. A Cars photo area for kids will also be operating throughout the weekend, along with the Disney D-Tour – an interactive entertainment experience produced by Disney Radio. Interactive displays from local sports teams, including the Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Tigers will be featured as well. The Detroit Science Center, Detroit Zoo and Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge Plant will also bring exhibits and interactive displays to the Fun Zone. Arts and crafts areas with face painting, balloon artists and caricaturists will also be included in the area, along with the Indy Fan Zone display with IndyCar driving simulators, and the Sony PlayStation interactive zone. More ...

08/28/07
nascar
Villeneuve completes first NASCAR test  Former Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve made his debut behind the wheel of a Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra machine Monday and Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway. 

Villeneuve, who has not raced on an oval track since 1995, when he won both the Indianapolis 500 and the CART Indy Car Championship, spent Monday acclimating himself to the No. 27 truck. After watching teammate Mike Skinner run a few laps, Villeneuve hit the track in his Tundra.  By his 12th lap, Villeneuve’s lap time was 31.67 seconds around the 1.5-mile tri-oval and within six tenths of a second of Skinner’s times.  Villeneuve finished the day only two tenths of a second slower than the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship leader.

The team made a number of changes to the truck throughout the two-day test session, but Villeneuve never slowed.  His lap of 31.00 seconds Tuesday proved to the other Craftsman Truck Series teams attending the test just how talented he really is. More ...

08/28/07
nascar
Roush's mother dies  Georgetta Roush, mother of Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush, passed away today at the age of 92. Georgetta Roush was a great fan of racing and was the designated owner for the No. 97 Nextel Cup entry from 1998 through 2005, including 2004 when the team won their first Nextel Cup championship.  She was also the designated owner of the No. 26 Cup entry in 2006 and the No. 99 Cup entry in 2007.  Roush is survived by her two sons, Jack and Frank, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Georgetta Roush's name to:

Speedway Children's Charities
5555 Concord Park South, Suite 336
Concord, N.C.  28027
Attn: Roberta Rotondo

08/28/07
nascar
New surface increased passes  NASCAR’s Loop Data shows green flag passing during Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway more than doubled that of the spring race at Bristol – from 991 passes in the spring to 2,147 passes Saturday night. The consensus opinion held by the drivers at the conclusion of the race rang loud and clear: the new surface at Bristol Motor Speedway met – and exceeded – expectations, as the addition of a second and third racing groove greatly increased the number of passes – and thus, the competition. Take a look at the total passing numbers from the spring and this past weekend:

2007 Green Flag Passes at Bristol:

   Spring              Location             Summer
      184              Frontstretch           529
      128              Backstretch            487
      313              Turns 1 and 2          571
      366              Turns 3 and 4          560
      991              Total                 2,147

Insider Racing News

08/28/07
nascar
Tim Brewer on racing at California Speedway  ESPN Analyst and Two-time NASCAR Champion Crew Chief Tim Brewer on Racing at California Speedway.  Brewer Reports Live During NASCAR on ESPN Events from the ESPN DISH Tech Center
 
Q - The Cup and Busch teams were just at Michigan International Speedway, the sister track of California Speedway. Are there many differences in the setups between the two tracks?
“There are some similarities, but teams will most likely use the same car they used at Michigan, especially Kurt Busch. If I were that dominant in a race, I would put the car right on the truck and take it straight to California. There are a lot of good feelings when you come off a win with a car.
 
“California is a horsepower track as well as a good-handling track. The major transition that teams are watching for is starting late in the evening and being able to carry the momentum into the night. The surface has cooled drastically and you have to build a lot of adjustability into your car.”
 
Q - Does racing at night on a high-speed track like California Speedway present any special challenges to drivers and teams?
“You’ve got to be able to adjust the car when the track transitions and cools off. When that happens it gets tighter. It may be harder on the drivers, but the crews welcome it because when the sun is up it will be 100 degrees or better outside. The crews are waiting for the sun to go down because it’s hot on those guys down there. It’s very physically demanding on the pit crews.”
 
Q - How tough is a 500-mile race at California Speedway on engines and cars?
“It is very tough on the valve train and engines because they’re held at a constant RPM instead of accelerating and pulling up. You’re turning a lot of RPMs for a long time continuously. When the valve train intake – including springs and push rods – go through harmonics like that, it’s like taking a hammer and beating on those components. RPMs are always a challenge to an engine builder.”
08/28/07
a1gp
South Africa tops opening practice  A1 Team South Africa laid down its marker at Silverstone today by setting the quickest lap round the British track on the first day of official testing before the start of the new A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season. Not only was Adrian Zaugg quickest, but he beat the record for an A1GP car round this track by two thousandths of a second.

Nicolas Lapierre, who won a total of six races in the series opening season that was won by A1 Team France was second quickest. However, in this team it was a story of the old and the new. The new came in the form of Nicolas Prost, son of four times Formula One World Champion, Alain Prost, who spent the afternoon getting used to the power of the V8-engined A1GP car for the first time. He was watched by his father, who was also paying special interest to the A1GP ‘THINK Greener Racing’ launch as he heads a French Government commission to analyze the benefits of bio fuels.

At the end of day one of a two day test, which saw all 22 A1GP teams starting their preparations for the 2007/08 season, the other teams at the top of the time sheets were ‘locals‘ A1 Team Great Britain and A1 Team Ireland. For Great Britain it was Oliver Jarvis at the wheel, having the distinction of giving the team its maiden victory in Mexico last year, while it was a newcomer to the series, Adam Carroll, who set the time for Ireland. More ...

08/28/07
f1
Monza Testing Day 1: Hamilton fastest  Lewis Hamilton turned the fastest time in testing at Monza Tuesday ahead of local favorite Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari.  Weather: air temperature 25/36°C, track temperature 27/38 °C. Clear skies, then overcast and finally rain.  Testing continues through Thursday and possibly into Friday if bad weather continues.

Pos  Driver       Car                 Time      Laps
 1.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes    1:24.112  53
 2.  Raikkonen    Ferrari             1:24.258  60
 3.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber          1:24.277  76
 4.  Trulli       Toyota              1:24.523  61
 5.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota     1:24.653  98
 6.  Vettel       Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:25.106  63
 7.  Piquet       Renault             1:25.366  94
 8.  Barrichello  Honda               1:25.377  83
 9.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault    1:25.427  61
10.  Rossiter     Super Aguri-Honda   1:25.548  64
08/28/07
nascar
Petty back behind the wheel  This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge team will travel west to the two-mile California Speedway for Sunday’s California 500.  The annual fall race at California has become the new Labor Day tradition for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.  

Petty will be making his return to the #45 Dodge after missing the past two weeks with a broken hand suffered at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.  Petty regrets the episode, but it showed the racing community that he still has that competitive fire burning.  Petty remains determined to keep the team inside the top-35 in owner points.  

In 14 starts at California, Petty has notched two top-20 finishes.  On a historical note, Petty is the only driver entered this weekend that competed in the final race at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway in 1980.  Ontario was the first oval track foray by NASCAR into southern California. More ...

08/28/07
cc
San Jose attendance off slightly  Last month's San Jose Grand Prix drew about the same overall number of people as last year - but paid attendance was slightly less, according to final figures released Friday by race organizers.

Organizers said 81,538 paid to see the Grand Prix this year, compared with the 83,248 announced last year for the race that cuts a swath through downtown San Jose.

In a news release Friday, organizers touted the total figure of 120,000 attendees, which included fans who got in free the first day with advertised vouchers, workers, volunteers, sponsors and race teams. That number mirrored last year's attendance.

The Grand Prix also donated tickets to more than 50 local organizations, including Teen Challenge, Boy's and Girl's Clubs, Conservation Corps, Police Activities League and many schools, churches and service organizations. More ...

08/28/07
a1gp
A1GP first to switch to bio-ethanol  Leading global motorsport body in race to tackle climate change

A1GP World Cup of Motorsport today unveils an ambitious series of initiatives to help reduce its environmental footprint. Measures include switching to biofuel (30% ethanol mix), waste reduction measures, carbon-offsetting unavoidable emissions and promoting environmental awareness to a global audience spanning 150 countries.

These initiatives were announced today at A1GP's Official 2007/08 Test Session at Silverstone International Circuit by Pete da Silva, CEO, A1GP, in front of a global audience which included the UK Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment Peter Ainsworth MP.

‘In addition to offering a great global sporting event we have a responsibility to conduct our business in a manner which minimizes the impact of our operations on the environment. We take this responsibility seriously and aim to develop and promote environmental technology, differentiating A1GP from other global series. At the same time, our initiatives will educate our staff, partners, fans and the community at large about the ongoing fight against climate change’ said Mr. da Silva. More ...

08/28/07
a1gp
GBR team names Turvey  A1 Team Great Britain is pleased to confirm that Oliver Turvey will be the team's new rookie driver for the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season.  Turvey has a reputation as being one of the finest emerging talents in British motor sport having won the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award in 2006. The A1 Team GBR deal will give the 20 year old the opportunity to develop his skills at a host of the international race circuits which host the A1GP series, culminating in the A1GP of Great Britain at Brands Hatch next May.

Turvey's motorsport career began in 1996 when he started karting, championships in Junior Yamaha and Junior Rotax followed before he graduated to single seaters in the Formula Renault Winter Series in 2003. In 2004 Oliver moved up to Formula BMW where he proved to be a frontrunner throughout the season. His first victory in the series came at Rockingham and he was invited to contest the final round of the Asian Formula 3 Championship where a stunning drive saw him take victory in his class and fourth overall. More ...

08/28/07
nascar
ESPN NASCAR coverage most technologically advanced  ESPN presents NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch Series races with the most advanced technology in motorsports coverage. ESPN, which has televised more NASCAR Cup races than any other network, introduced High Definition in-car cameras in February at Daytona, becoming the first to use HD in-car cameras and produce race telecasts that are 100 percent HD. ESPN’s NASCAR coverage also includes HD cameras that provide distinctively different views, including the grass cam, wall cam, crew cams, pit overhead cams, blimps and multiple robotic cameras around the track.

Created exclusively for NASCAR on ESPN, the ESPN DISH Tech Center and the ESPN Pit Studio are the most technologically advanced mobile studio used in sports TV. In the DISH Tech Center, two-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Tim Brewer shows fans the intricacies and technologies of racing with the Chevy Cutaway Car and state-of-the-art touch-screen technology during live race telecasts. The ESPN Pit Studio is the home of the pre-race show NASCAR Countdown.

ESPN’S NASCAR FAST FACTS:
10 – Number of months ESPN’s NASCAR fleet will be on the road (February-November)
13 – Mobile units at each race (including pit studio, mobile office, in-car camera trailer, uplink trucks, ESPN Deportes)
19 – EVS servers for race and studio production (high-speed digital recording)
20 – Maximum miles of video, audio and power cable needed on site at racetracks
26 – Tracks ESPN’s mobile fleet will visit in 2007
38 – NASCAR events ESPN’s mobile fleet will attend in 2007
52 – NASCAR races to be televised live by ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC in 2007 (full 35-race NASCAR Busch Series season, final 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events)
60-75 – HD Cameras used by ESPN to televise a NASCAR race (including in-car cameras)
80 – microphones both wired and wireless used at each race
150 – Hotel rooms needed each event for ESPN personnel
200 – Credentialed ESPN personnel working on NASCAR each week
78,000 – Weight in pounds of ESPN traveling studio for NASCAR Countdown shows
167,340 – Projected combined miles ESPN’s core of five mobile units will log in 2007

[Editor's Note: Given all the expense above, plus what NASCAR rapes them for, it's clear that ABC/ESPN will take a financial bloodbath with this NASCAR deal......just as NBC learned, hence they refused to re-bid the contract.]

08/28/07
f1
Briatore - I want Alonso back at Renault  (GMM) Flavio Briatore openly admitted on Tuesday that he would be delighted to woo Fernando Alonso back to Renault in 2008.

The French team's boss, who brought the Spaniard into formula one in 2001 and still maintains a financial interest in his career, told the Spanish sports newspaper Marca that reigning world champion Alonso was a "far better" driver at Renault. More ...
08/28/07
nascar
Short field for Gateway  A total of 34 teams are on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at Gateway International Raceway. That's two short of a full field of 36.
08/28/07
f1
Unpaid creditors sue Spyker  (GMM) Financially-embattled Spyker is now being chased in the courts by two disgruntled creditors.

The unpaid creditors want Spyker Cars, the Dutch formula one team's road car-making parent, to be declared bankrupt, the newspaper AD reports on Tuesday.

Insurance company Zurich and a private individual claim they are owed a combined (US) $472,000.

Spyker founder and joint director Victor Muller seemed unfazed by the reports.

"Hundreds of requests for bankruptcy are made every day," he said.

Since the beginning of 2007, Spyker shares have fallen from over 21 euros to just 4.30 euros.
08/28/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Spyker step down chief designer
  •  F1 drivers win fight over Monza run-off
  •  Burst tire was 'justice' - newspaper
  •  Kovalainen to run New York marathon
  •  Villeneuve, Speed, eye NASCAR futures
  •  Dennis fears 'tainted' '07 title
  •  Alonso urges McLaren to improve starts

Spyker step down chief designer
(GMM) Spyker has stepped down its chief designer John McQuilliam, according to reports.

While it is not known if the news is related to the 'B' car's failure last week to pass a FIA crash test, the Dutch team's boss Colin Kolles confirmed McQuilliam's suspension to the magazine Formule 1 Race Report.

Spyker's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said in Istanbul on Sunday that, while the 'B' car will be tested at Monza this week, whether or not it will be subsequently be cleared to race in the Italian grand prix is another matter.

He said: "We should be using the new car in Monza."

McQuilliam joined Jordan - Spyker and Midland's Silverstone-based predecessor - in 1991.

Formule 1 Race Report also confirmed rumors in Turkey that, given the arrival at Honda of Loic Bigois and John Owen, Honda aerodynamic specialist Mariano Alperin-Bruvera is moving to BMW-Sauber. More ...

08/28/07
f1
Spyker ’B’ car photos  Last week, the Spyker Formula One Team announced that they weren't going to race the B-spec car in Turkey due to the car failing the rear impact crash test. The team hopes to pass the test easily this week and published 4 pictures. Spyker will participate in the three-day Monza test session this week and hopes to race the B-spec car during the Italian GP.

Although the car couldn't race in Turkey, the team decided to make and release pictures of the car in Istanbul. The new F8-VII B-spec that will race, probably for the first time at Monza, will be even slimmer than the car on the pictures. Remarkable on the new B-spec is that the team especially worked on new wings.


08/28/07
nascar
Ford plans to move Ambrose up  Ford Racing officials expect to have Australian driver Marcos Ambrose competing in the Nextel Cup Series in at least on a part-time basis next season.

John Sazymanski, director of sponsor development for Ford Racing Technology, said on Friday the manufacturer is extremely pleased with Ambrose’s development in Craftsman Truck and Busch Series races and believes he’s progressed enough to move into the Cup series.

“There is no question he was going to graduate to the Busch Series this season. But he earned it. He earned it on track with everything he did behind the wheel,” Sazymanski said. “For us that was critical.

“His work this year has been exceptional. He’s progressed, stayed within himself, stayed in the top 10 in points. He’s good with sponsors, good with teams, good on the corporate side and good with the media.”  ThatsRacin.com

08/28/07
nascar
Haas CNC to move Bjorkland along  Haas CNC Racing is accelerating the schedule of its development driver, Blake Bjorkland, and will field him in several NASCAR Busch Series races the remainder of this season.  Through an existing partnership with Jay Robinson Racing, Bjorkland will Robinson’s No. 28 Chevrolet in races at California, Charlotte, Homestead and could add more.

Bjorklund, who had been driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for MRD Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series, will now focus solely on his Busch schedule.  “I enjoyed the chance to drive in the Truck series and I learned a lot but I am excited to get back in a car and tackle this new challenge,” Bjorkland said.  ThatsRacin

08/28/07
irl
ips
Alex Lloyd tells Roth no thanks  P.J. Chesson will join Marty Roth in Roth Racing's two-car effort in the IndyCar Series' season-finale at Chicagoland on Sept. 9. Alex Lloyd, who already clinched the Indy Pro Series title, turned down the chance to drive Roth's second car in the hope that a better offer will materialize. Lloyd tested recently with Ganassi Racing, then drove the team's Grand-Am Daytona Prototype at Sonoma, qualifying fifth. AutoWeek
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