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DATE News (chronologically)
09/02/08
gp2

Richmond officials keep cautious eye on Hanna
Richmond International Raceway officials say they are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Hanna, but that this weekend's NASCAR activities are currently remaining unchanged.  The storm is on a projected path that would cause its remnants to cross over the Richmond area Saturday, the scheduled date for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
 
"Given the projected path of Tropical Storm Hanna, we are working closely with NASCAR, as well as state and local government officials to monitor the path and potential impact of the storm," Richmond President Doug Fritz said in a statement. "As always, the safety of our fans, competitors and the local community is of the utmost importance to Richmond International Raceway. This weekend's events are currently scheduled to run as planned but we will provide updates at www.rir.com and 877-251-7223 as to their status at least twice daily, or as needed."

Comment
09/02/08
gp2

Q and A with Karun Chandhok
Karun Chandhok
The Bridgestone-supported GP2 Series heads to the hills of Belgium’s superb Spa Francorchamps race circuit, located in the Ardennes forests for the ninth round of the GP2 Series. iSport International driver Karun Chandhok scored his first-ever GP2 Series race win there last season when driving for Durango, and this season he’s hoping to be back on the podium.

Here Karun gives his thoughts on his season and what it takes for success at Spa.

How are you finding driving for iSport International, reigning GP2 Series champions?

At the end of last season I targeted a few teams but iSport is the one I really wanted. We worked really hard over the winter and we managed to get a deal together. It’s been a fantastic year in terms of working relationships with the team and I have had a great time, they are such a great team of people – engineers, mechanics, everybody. Also, as a working relationship between two teammates I don’t think there is a better combination in the pit lane than myself and Bruno.

Read more & Comment...
09/02/08
irl

Wheldon to drive No. 4 car in Australia
With today's announcement that Panther Racing has signed Dan Wheldon comes word that he will drive for them starting later this year.  Wheldon will be aboard the No. 4 Panther Racing car when the series visits Surfers Paradise, Australia in late October.

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09/02/08
irl

Panther Racing Signs Dan Wheldon
Dan Wheldon and his refurbished 'pearly whites' signs on with Panther Racing
Six years after Dan Wheldon made his IndyCar Series debut at Chicagoland Speedway for Panther Racing, the team announced today it has reached a multi-year agreement to bring the former Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion back home to the two-time league champions.

“It’s hard to describe the level of excitement and emotions all of us at Panther have knowing that Dan has come back to drive for us,” team Managing Partner and CEO John Barnes said. “I remember watching him drive for the first time in the Indy Lights series years ago, and I knew he was going to be a special talent. Since then he’s become one of the best open-wheel drivers in the world, and for him to make his return to our team at the height of his racing career is a tremendous compliment to our team. I know he’s excited about getting into the No. 4 car for the first time and we’ve got a tremendous future ahead of us.”

Wheldon signed with the team originally in June of 2002 under a testing agreement. It was later the same year, at Chicagoland, that Wheldon made his debut for Panther driving the No. 15 Pennzoil sponsored entry and finished 10th. He also started at Texas Motor Speedway for the team and finished 15th despite not even making a qualification attempt.

“I’m very excited to be joining the entire Panther Racing crew,” Wheldon said. “This is the place where I started my career in 2002 and with the personnel and leadership that John Barnes has put together, I know that we’ll be fighting for outright victories, the Indianapolis 500 title and the league championship. I’m looking forward to when my obligations with my current team have been honored, so I can get with the entire Panther family and start moving towards all of our goals of winning races and championships together. It’s great to be back.”

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09/02/08
irl

Wheldon Moves On; Franchitti Moves In At Ganassi
Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced they will be adding former IndyCar Series and Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti as a teammate of the 2008 Indy 500 winner and current points leader Scott Dixon, as the driver of the No. 10 Target Honda.  In addition, Chip Ganassi Racing and Target announced the details of their joint plans to take their partnership into its 20th season and beyond. 

NOTES OF INTEREST

Franchitti Returns to the IndyCar Series:  The former Indy 500 and IndyCar Series champion will return to open-wheel racing but this time behind the wheel of the No. 10 Target Dallara Honda.  The native of Scotland has over 180 starts under his belt between the CART and IndyCar Series resulting in 18 wins, 17 poles, 63 top-five and 95 top-10 finishes (1997-2007).  Franchitti is the winningest driver in U.S. open-wheel history from Great Britain. He was part of the winning Rolex 24 At Daytona team this year for Ganassi and also captured the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring in the LMP2 Class in his first ever American Le Mans Series start in 2007.  This creates a team that will have the last two Indy 500 winners as they take the green flag next year in St. Petersburg.

Right On Target:  The team’s partnership with Target continues to rank as one of the longest relationships in motorsports.  Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990 and established a partnership with Target. Today, their Target properties include two IRL IndyCars and along with Felix Sabates one car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS).  TCGR’s IndyCar program captured its second Indianapolis 500 earlier this season with current IRL points leader Scott Dixon.  Along with teammate Dan Wheldon, the Target duo has combined to win eight of 16 races this season – second only to the Target team’s CART championship run in 1998 that tallied 10 wins at the hands of former Target champions Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser.

Read more & Comment...

09/02/08
f1

A lap of Francorchamps with Alex Wurz
Round thirteen of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship takes the Honda Racing F1 Team to Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix. The 44-lap race is one of the oldest on the calendar, having been staged for the first time in the World Championship’s inaugural season in 1950, and the track remains one of the fastest and most challenging in the world. Test driver Alex Wurz takes us along for a lap around the circuit.

Alex Wurz: “Spa-Francorchamps is an old fashioned racetrack which makes it pretty cool. It has everything you want: hills, fast corners and long straights. It is always nice to go there, although the weather can be really unpredictable. In the space of 10 minutes bright sunshine can turn into heavy rain, which makes racing at Spa a little bit more nerve-racking and difficult.

“The lap is incredibly long and on the whole very fast. There is only a short run down to the first corner, La Source, and the exit is the only thing that matters here because you carry your speed all the way up the hill to Les Combes. Eau Rouge is flat-out in the V8-engined cars, but you have to be intelligent in the way you do this. If you steer too much, you’ll kill your speed through too much friction on the tires.

Read more & Comment...
09/02/08
f1

Private teams the 'heart' of F1 - Haug
(GMM)  Independent teams are the "heart" of formula one, Mercedes-Benz's F1 chief Norbert Haug said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport magazine about the recently-formed alliance of F1's ten teams, FOTA, the German insisted that the survival of private teams like Williams and Force India is important for the whole sport.

After Max Mosley's recent request for proposals about the future, the F1 teams have been asked to present their findings to the World Motor Sport Council in October.

To this end, FOTA is scheduled to meet at Monza next week.

"We have all recognized that solutions lie in togetherness," said Haug, echoing recent paddock sentiment that even the McLaren-Mercedes collaboration's notorious hostilities of the past with Ferrari are at a low ebb.

He admits that, with Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo at the forefront of the alliance, McLaren is not the driving force of FOTA.

"But we support it and stand fully behind it," Haug insisted.

"There is a high degree of common ground among the teams which should be capitalized upon," the German added.

Despite the fact that Mercedes and BMW are the only carmakers currently involved in F1 never to have sold engines to customer teams, Haug insists that he has "always been a supporter" of the privateers.

"They are the heart of formula one, not just cannon fodder," he said.

Comment
09/02/08
nastruck

Brian Scott Joins Bill Davis Racing
Brian Scott
Bill Davis Racing announced today rookie sensation Brian Scott has signed on to drive a Bill Davis Racing NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota Tundra for the entire 2009 season.  The 20-year-old Boise, Idaho native has competed in 23 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in the last two seasons. 
 
Bill Davis Racing’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program has been the most successful organization in the garage since joining the series in 2004.  Since winning its first race in 2005, the organization has accumulated 22 victories. In the 61 starts since its first win, the team has a winning percentage of 36%.  The High Point, North Carolina based operation has accumulated 91 top-five and 144 top-10 finishes along with 39 pole positions. 
 
“We are excited about the addition of Brian Scott to our program,” commented team owner Bill Davis.  “Brian has done a great job this season learning what it takes to win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and we are looking forward to having him in one of our Toyota Tundra entries in 2009.  Our two veteran drivers, Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson, have done a great job mentoring both Scott Speed and Michael Annett, and I think they will both take Brian [Scott] under their wing.”
 
“I am very excited to join Bill Davis Racing for the 2009 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season,” Scott said. “When you look at the success that Bill Davis Racing has had with both veteran and young drivers alike it makes you feel honored to be chosen to be part of such a successful organization. I look forward to working with both Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson and learning as much as I can from two very talented and accomplished drivers.”

Comment
09/02/08
fil

Three points separate Firestone Indy Lights contenders
Raphael Matos
Richard Antinucci
After 15 races on a diverse combination of ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits, the race for the Firestone Firehawk Cup and the Firestone Indy Lights title has come down to a winner-take-all race on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway.

The combatants have never been closer.

Brazilian rookie Raphael Matos leads Richard Antinucci by three points – the closest race in Firestone Indy Lights history.

Matos, who has won titles in nearly every series he has raced in since moving to the U.S. in 2002, hopes to give AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing its first series title. He claimed wins on the street course at St. Petersburg 1 and the permanent circuits at Watkins Glen International 1 and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 1. He's also shown speed on the ovals, earning pole positions at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.

The title would be the highlight to his first season with one of open-wheel racing's best teams.

"The championship has been my goal all year," Matos said.

Antinucci, the nephew of Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., is trying to deliver the third straight drivers championship to Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Antinucci claimed wins at St. Petersburg 2 and Watkins Glen 2 and is seeking his first series championship.

"The points have been tight all year," Antinucci said. "I have a lot of respect for Matos. Matos is considered one of the best up-and-coming open-wheel racers in the whole continent. He's also one of the best I've ever raced against. I'm not surprised that we have to fight tooth and nail to keep the title at Sam's shop because the level this season is quite high."

And both are trying to bring the first Firestone Indy Lights championship back to their country. Thiago Medeiros (2004) is the only Brazilian to win the series title, while Antinucci is quick to point out that A.J. Foyt IV was the last American who was able to pull off a championship run.

"It’s time for a driver who has an American flag on the cockpit to win this thing, right?" Antinucci said.

Remaining Race Chicagoland: Antinucci and Matos have never raced at Chicagoland.

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09/02/08
f1

Williams gives best sponsor value - report
(GMM)  Ferrari is the most lucratively sponsored formula one team, but its backers do not get the best value for money.

The new 2008-2009 edition of Formula Money, the business-focused publication, reveals that at $200m per year, world champions Ferrari receive more private sponsorship than any other team.

But Allianz, a Williams sponsor, reportedly receives more mentions in the print media per million dollars spent.

Dutch bank ING, however, paying about $65m for its title sponsorship of the Renault team, got the most press mentions regarding F1 - in 883 separate articles - overall in 2007.

The next most-mentioned F1 sponsors were Vodafone, Fiat, Shell and Williams' title backer AT&T, Formula Money said.

Comment
09/02/08
superleague

Successful debut for Superleague
After five years in development, Superleague Formula has scored its first major goal last weekend – kicking off the championship with its first race at Donington Park in the UK.

The unique football-themed motor racing championship featured the colors of 17 major clubs from across the world. The championship enables many of the key international brands to compete against the big European football names for the first time in a brand new competition.

Beijing Guoan soared to the top of the Superleague Formula “premiership” with a stunning debut victory and solid 6th place finish in the unique reverse grid race. UK rivals Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur jointly hold second place in the championship after the first round while Sevilla FC also hit the headlines with a victory in the reverse grid event.

While football fans took the opportunity to cheer on their colors in an entirely new sport, motor racing fans were also delighted with the unique race format including a qualifying shoot-out and inverting the entire field for the second race, based on the results of the first event.

Read more & Comment...
09/02/08
irl

Castroneves furious over penalty
Castroneves (Top) thinks it was OK to block his way to the win even though Wilson (Below) was noticeably faster.  Bravo to Barnhart for doing what was right.
Mark Scheuern/AR1.com
One of the biggest complaints about Brian Barnhart is that the IndyCar President, Competition Division, is usually "all bark and no bite" when it comes to enforcing penalties, that he often warns drivers against the sins of blocking but rarely penalizes offending drivers.  That changed in Sunday's Detroit Indy Grand Prix as Barnhart took a big bite out of Helio Castroneves' bid for a second straight victory.

Castroneves and Justin Wilson were engaged in quite a battle when the green flag waved on Lap 69, but when it became obvious that Castroneves was blocking, Barnhart ordered Castroneves behind Wilson on the 72nd lap.

What some found curious was that Barnhart made the call with Castroneves in a battle with Scott Dixon for the season title. There is a term in basketball when late in the game the officials let the outcome be "determined on the court" and often "swallow the whistle," overlooking some physical contact rather than calling a foul. But Barnhart had no choice.

"You can't officiate based on points or who's involved or what position they hold," Barnhart said. "You have to do it out of fairness and competition."

Tim Cindric is president of Team Penske and calls the shots for Castroneves, while team owner Roger Penske calls the pit strategy for Ryan Briscoe. Cindric is a master at understanding the rule book and objecting when he feels his team is right, and he was dumbfounded by the decision that helped Wilson win the race while Castroneves finished second.

"Hey, I just want to know what the situation is before we start," Cindric said. "We haven't seen that before. ... We're disappointed with second place when you are running for a championship."

Cindric said there is no reason to appeal the call -- they just have to accept it and move on to the final race of the season at Chicagoland, trailing Dixon by 30 points.

"Consistency is the only thing I ask for," Castroneves said. "I've been in this series since 2002 and we never had a situation like this. We always have a warning and then if you do it again, then you are going to be penalized.

"All of a sudden, I didn't get any warning. It was, 'Move over. You're going to get black-flagged.' It was uncalled for. I know that Brian Barnhart is trying to put pressure on and make everyone disciplined, but two races to go for the championship, I don't think it's the right thing to do." SI.com

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09/02/08
f1

Spa-Francorchamps tech file
Spa-Francorchamps is the most complete test of a Formula 1 car on the current calendar with every aspect of the vehicle's handling tested to the limit. It combines 320 kph straights with 70 kph hairpins, with several sixth-gear sweepers thrown in for good measure – and, of course, the unique challenge of Eau Rouge.

While this section of the circuit and the fast left-hander at Blanchimont may no longer be as testing as they once were, corners such as Pouhon, taken blind in sixth gear, still allow the drivers to make the difference. And all of that is before you factor in the notoriously unpredictable weather in the Ardennes, which can see the circuit soaked at one end and bone dry at the other.

Chassis
The circuit features a high number of "aero corners" (only 6 of the 19 turns are taken at less than 150 kph), and this would normally push the teams towards relatively high levels of downforce in order to maximize grip in the corners, as is the case at a circuit like Silverstone for example. However, Spa imposes a very different trade-off, because the two long flat-out "straights" on the circuit both provide genuine overtaking opportunities. This means that top-speed is a critical factor in order to protect position, and downforce levels must be determined accordingly. As a result, the teams run with a medium downforce set-up, aiming to achieve end of straight speeds of around 320 kph. Aerodynamic efficiency (generating maximum downforce for minimum drag) is the key to success at this circuit.

Suspension
In terms of suspension settings, the overall compromise is relatively stiff in order to ensure good aerodynamic performance in the quicker corners, and a good change of direction in the quick chicanes. However, good traction is also critical on the exit of the final chicane and La Source hairpin, as poor performance in either part of the circuit can leave a driver vulnerable to overtaking under braking for the next corner.

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09/02/08
nascar

Announcement of new drug policy imminent
NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Sunday that the sanctioning body would announce an expansion to its drug-testing policy "shortly -- in a couple weeks." NASCAR currently tests drivers for "reasonable suspicion" and imposes some of the harshest penalties for failed drug tests in professional sports. France said the expansion of the policy will deal with the testing end of the equation but stopped short of saying NASCAR would incorporate random testing. NASCAR.com

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09/02/08
f1

Buemi and Sato to test for STR
As the 2008 season moves into its final stages, Scuderia Toro Rosso is turning its thoughts to its 2009 driver line-up. As part of that process, the team will be putting Sebastien Buemi and Takuma Sato behind the wheel of an STR3, for a day each at the Jerez test following the Italian Grand Prix. Nineteen year old Buemi is well known to the team, as the Swiss driver has come through the Red Bull Junior Driver Program and is test and reserve driver for Red Bull Racing. His is currently lying fifth in the GP2 championship and has four GP2 victories to his name.

Takuma Sato is Japan's most successful racing driver. The 31 year old has competed in 91 Grands Prix, his best result being a third place finish in the 2004 USA Grand Prix. Taku made the switch from two wheels to four, having been a successful cycle racer in his native Japan. He first made the headlines when he won the hotly contested British Formula 3 championship in 2001, before joining the Jordan F1 team the following year. Three years with BAR Honda followed that, before he joined Super Aguri in 2006. He stayed with the team until it pulled out of the sport after this year's Spanish GP.

"The time has come to try and find a suitable replacement for Vettel, who is joining Red Bull Racing next year," explained Team Principal Franz Tost. "The Jerez test, the last one of the season, will give us an opportunity to evaluate Buemi and Sato at the same time, as they are both possible candidates for a 2009 seat. Buemi is an obvious candidate, because not only is he already part of the Red Bull family, he is currently performing well in the GP2 series. As for Sato, he has proved worthy of a place in Formula 1 and would be a good fit with the Red Bull spirit, while his recent F1 experience would be undoubtedly valuable to our team."

"I am delighted to be given this opportunity to get back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, after my season was cut short following the Spanish GP," commented Sato. "It will be especially interesting working with a team that has made so much progress over the course of the year."

Buemi will test on 17th September and Sato on 18th.  Toro Rosso PR

Comment
09/02/08
f1

F1 news briefs: Tuesday
(GMM)  French formula one driver Sebastien Bourdais has demonstrated his Toro Rosso single seater on the streets of the capital city Paris.  The 29-year-old, guided by police, took in sights including the famous Place de la Concorde and may even have triggered a few speed cameras, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports.

-

With motorcycle racing veteran Randy Mamola at the front, Force India driver Adrian Sutil got to be a passenger on the two-seater MotoGP Ducati at the San Marino round last weekend, according to motorsport-magazin.com.  Mark Webber, who just days earlier showed Australian countryman Casey Stoner his Red Bull machine at the Monza test, also attended the event at the Misano track.

-

Toyota's F1 team manager Richard Cregan is leaving the outfit to "take an exciting new role elsewhere within motor sport," a statement released on Monday announced.  The 48-year-old, who came into the sport with Toyota in 2002, will be replaced by current customer engine program manager Jens Marquardt.  "We are very sad to be losing a team member of Richard's qualities but we understand his reasons and we wish him the very best of luck in his new challenge," said team boss Tadashi Yamashina.

Comment
09/02/08
tv news
NASSprint
NNW

Joey Logano featured on ESPN's E:60 show UPDATE A reminder that this program will be shown tonight.

08/29/08 The next edition of ESPN’s primetime newsmagazine E:60 on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. ET, will feature a round-the-clock look at 18-year-old NASCAR prodigy Joey Logano – at the track, in the pits, on his boat, at home and at play. Starting in quarter-midget cars at age 6, Logano has been ahead of the competition for 12 years. Logano drives in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, where earlier this year he became the youngest winner ever in the series, taking a checkered flag just three weeks after his 18th birthday. Next year holds a bigger challenge for Logano as he will replace Tony Stewart in the Joe Gibb Racing #20 Home Depot Toyota on the Sprint Cup level. Still, Logano is a kid at heart. E:60 correspondent Tom Farrey spent time recently with Logano for an up-close profile of the young driver many in NASCAR call “Sliced Bread.”

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09/01/08
irl

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing re-sign sponsor
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has announced today that current team sponsor, Dad's Root Beer, has signed on to be a sponsorship partner of the race team through the 2009 season, and as part of the agreement, will debut a Dad's Root Beer livery at the Chicagoland Speedway for this year's season finale.

The livery will be on the #15 Dad's Root Beer/Dreyer & Reinbold Honda of Buddy Rice.

"Dad's Root Beer joined us right before the season began this year, and we've enjoyed the relationship we've built with the company," team co-owner, Robbie Buhl, said. "We're excited to see that the folks at Dad's have seen value in their association with us, and we couldn't be happier to welcome them back for the 2009 season."

As a part of the announcement, Dad's Root Beer will launch an activation program leading up to the race at the Chicagoland Speedway. Programs include performance-based incentives for distributers, a presence at Jewel stores in the Chicago area, and a show car that will be making the rounds in the local markets.

"Obviously, Chicago is a great market for us," Keith Hedinger, President & CEO of The Dad's Root Beer Company, said. "It's where Dad's all started and remains one of our biggest markets. We're really excited to be on Buddy's car and have the opportunity to bring the car to Chicago and showcase the brand, Buddy, and the IRL.

"It will be a great fit and a really exciting weekend for everybody involved and we're just really looking forward to it."

Comment
09/01/08
nhra

Schumacher claims seventh Indy win
With his seventh Top Fuel victory at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Tony Schumacher also broke two of his own class records – most consecutive victories and most wins in a season – with a sixth straight and 11th overall and tied legendary Top Fuel racer Joe Amato as the class' most prolific winner with 52 career titles. Schumacher defeated Doug Kalitta to bring a dramatic end to the 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Robert Hight in Funny Car, Dave Connolly in Pro Stock, and Steve Johnson in Pro Stock Motorcycle each won drag racing's most prestigious event for the second time in their respective careers. Hight defeated Jack Beckman, Connolly took out Larry Morgan, and Johnson aced Andrew Hines.

The results of the event also set the final points standings for the Countdown to 1 playoffs, which will begin in two weeks in Charlotte and comprise the final six events of the season. Schumacher, Tim Wilkerson, Greg Anderson, and Matt Smith have the top seeds for the playoffs.

Read more & Comment...
09/01/08
irl

IndyCar Contenders frustrated at Detroit
Neither Scott Dixon nor Helio Castroneves left Detroit happy. The two championship contenders both felt they could have fared better in the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park on Aug. 31.  

Dixon, who maintains a 30-point lead in the championship, led the first 18 laps from the pole but shuffled back to 18th after his first pit stop. He never got higher than fifth after that.  

“The car was clearly quicker than anybody's,” said Dixon, who a has record-tying six victories this season. “We were saving a ton of fuel up front and sort of having a merry old day, and that changed pretty quickly. We left with a half tank after that caution. I think I was probably the only person or maybe a couple of others. It's just a hard situation when you're in that point when nobody else pits and you have a lot of slower guys that pitted early on and have a lot of fuel and you have to try to pass them. That was pretty much the race. Then from that point on, we were just trying to pull up there.”  

Castroneves led a race-high 53 laps but was forced to give away the top position on Lap 73 when race officials penalized him for blocking eventual race winner Justin Wilson.  

“Since I've been here since 2002, I always did that, and you got a warning,” Castroneves said. “If you do it again, now you're penalized. But it was all of a sudden. Now I've got to give the position to (Justin Wilson). I'm like, “Wait a minute.” You could see the next lap I was already three cars away from him. So it's not something that we see many, many times. It was just an unusual call. And I really don't know why they did that. I'm very surprised.”  

The two will have to forget about Detroit and focus on preparing for the 1.5-mile oval at Chicagoland Speedway, where the final race in the 2008 championship will take place Sept. 7.  

“I can't let this bother me for the next race, because we have to race next weekend,” Castroneves said. “So what are we going to do? Definitely tomorrow we'll turn the page and work as hard as we can. Because the good news, we're still battling for the championship. We're going to have a lot of work again. We know what we need to do. We know we're going after a good team. But I trust my guys, I trust my team, and I know we can do it.”  

One of them will leave Chicagoland Speedway very happy.

Comment
09/01/08
track news

Wall to Reopen for Turkey Derby XXXV
There will be a Turkey Derby XXXV at Wall Township Speedway Nov. 28-29. WTS's General Partners have made a agreement with its Operations Manager, Jim Morton, to reopen the 57-year-old banked paved one-third-mile oval for as many as six dates in November. The first three dates are for practice sessions leading up to the post-Thanksgiving Day classic with Nov. 30 set aside as a rain date.

'I got the agreement call from General Partner Timm Shinn 7:30 p.m. Saturday,' said Morton Aug. 31. 'The practice dates are set for Saturdays Nov. 15, Nov. 22 and also the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Nov. 24.' Morton said that Turkey Derby XXXV format, racing divisions and other details are to be posted on www.wallspeedway.com Sept. 7. The agreement allows a modified stock car racing tradition that Thomas and Jeannie Nicol started in 1974. Some of the best modified stock car drivers in the country have since competed against the local NASCAR Whelen All-American Series stars on the banked paved one-third mile oval. 

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09/01/08
skip barber

Daly wins in New Jersey amid controversy
Conor Daly (C) wins again
Indeck/Cytomax driver, Conor Daly’s winning ways continued yesterday at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, where he won round twelve of the Skip Barber National Championship. It was Daly’s fourth Barber National win of the year and his 7th win in his last ten races (having won the last three Ontario FF1600 races). Having qualified on the pole for both races at the Grand Am Supercar Life 250 double header weekend, Daly dominated Sunday's race driving away from the pack to win by over eleven seconds.

Saturday's round eleven race was marred by controversy when Daly and Brazilian championship contenders, Fabio Orsolon and Felipe Polehtto, were all penalized for overly aggressive driving. The penalty cost Daly eight championship points (from his fourth place finish) and the championship lead. Sunday’s win put Daly back on top of the championship table with two rounds to go at Virginia International Raceway, October 2nd – 3rd.

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09/01/08
f1

Ecclestone threatens to scrap British GP
Bernie Ecclestone has again threatened the future of the British GP, stating that if Donington isn't ready in time there will be no Brit GP.

An amount of £100million has been promised by the circuit's owners over the next four years in order to bring the venue up to scratch.

But should they fail to come through on their promise, Ecclestone has made it clear that the Brit GP won't revert to Silverstone. Instead it will just be scrapped.

"We've been playing around for six or seven years," he said. "If Silverstone couldn't do it before then why could they do it now?

"We scaled back so much for them and agreed things we shouldn't have, to keep things at Silverstone. If there is no Donington there is no British GP."

Comment
09/01/08
automotive

Volkswagen Overtakes Ford as No. 3 Automaker Worldwide UPDATE Ford Motor Co. lost its third-place spot in the global sales rankings for the first half of the year. So says the Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen delivered 3.31 million vehicles during the first half of 2008, up 7.2%. Ford delivered 3.22 million cars and trucks through June, down from 3.42 million vehicles during the same period a year ago. Ford’s numbers do not include Mazda vehicles, with the exception of the Mazda 6, which is built in Flat Rock. Ford, which has lost $8.6 billion in the first half of the year, said in a statement it remains focused on returning to profitability.

08/02/08 Ford Motor Co. started taking large steps away from gas guzzlers and toward a fuel-efficient lineup earlier this month, but the efforts came too late to prevent Volkswagen from overtaking it for the No. 3 spot among automakers by global sales volume.  The change reflects sales figures the two automakers recently provided for the first half of this year. If sales trends hold true through the remainder of this year, the new world order among automotive giants will be Toyota in the No. 1 position, followed by General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford, respectively.  Toyota led GM at the half by about 278,000 vehicles, while VW saw a global sales increase of 7.2 percent to 3.31 million vehicles and Ford watched its sales fall 11 percent to 3.09 million vehicles. Ford, which has been exceedingly slow to respond to the growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, ceded the No. 2 spot to Toyota in 2003. Edmunds.com

Comment
09/01/08
f1

Schumacher caught speeding in Germany
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has been caught speeding on a highway near his German hometown of Kerpen, according to reports in Italy and Germany.

The retired seven time world champion was fined 75 euros and docked 3 points on his driving license, the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport said.

Schumacher, 39 and still a Ferrari advisor and occasional test driver, was at the wheel of an Audi Cabriolet, but the precise speed of his infraction is not known.

Police, however, confirmed that he was stopped for speeding in a 100kmh zone.  German media reports suggest he was caught at 140kmh.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Schumacher would automatically have lost his license if his offence was in excess of 146kmh.

"I'm really sorry, it is out of character for me.  Speeding is for the race tracks only," he is quoted as saying by the German newspaper Bild.

Comment
09/01/08
f1

Ecclestone rules out London Olympics role
Bernie Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone was a high profile spectator at the recent Olympic Games in Beijing, but the Briton has ruled out getting involved with London's hosting of the event in 2012.

"I can't see how London, or anyone, will follow that.  We have to do something completely different or we are going to look idiots," the F1 chief executive told BBC radio's Sportsweek programme.

The 77-year-old gave a categorical "no" when asked if his experience in hosting successful international events, namely grand prix, could encourage him to help London plan for the next summer games.

"I wouldn't want to be involved.  There is only one way down for anyone who is involved.  If it goes well you're not given the credit and if it goes badly you're going to get the blame," Ecclestone said.

Asked how he thinks London will cope with the challenge, he answered: "With great difficulty."

Does he have any free advice for the Olympics planners?  "I suppose pray there's an earthquake or something," Ecclestone quipped.

Comment
09/01/08
f1
motogp

Stoner tries Webber's Red Bull for size
Casey Stoner (L) and Red Bull driver Mark Webber
(GMM)  Reigning MotoGP champion Casey Stoner visited the garages of the formula one test at Monza late last week, according to Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell.

The 22-year-old toured the paddock at the high speed Italian circuit and even slipped behind the controls of his Australian countryman Mark Webber's Red Bull racer.

The pre-weekend encounter gave Stoner no luck when he moved on to the Misano circuit for Sunday's San Marino grand prix, however, as he built an early lead from pole position and then crashed his Ducati on lap 7.

Elsewhere at the weekend, F1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton did demonstration laps with his McLaren at the Brands-Hatch (UK) round of Germany's DTM series.

Comment
09/01/08
f1

Klien predicts Massa to win first world title
Will Felipe Massa get the better of Lewis Hamilton?
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber test driver Christian Klien has backed Ferrari's Felipe Massa to win his first world championship in 2008.

The Austrian, who raced for Jaguar and Red Bull and has also been a Honda test driver, told the Credit Suisse emagazine that he thinks the current title battle has become a two-horse battle between Massa and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

"I think Massa will get better in the second half of the season and be very strong," said Klien, who is 25.

"There are some circuits on which the Ferrari is stronger than the McLaren.  And Massa has also shown that he can perform at a consistent level this year."

Klien points out that, had Brazil's Massa not broken down within sight of the win in Hungary three weeks before his Valencia triumph, he already would possess the lead of the drivers' table.

"He is certainly a very hot candidate, and at this point I would actually tip him to win it," he said.

Comment
09/01/08
f1

Alonso doesn't deserve bad image - father
Fernando Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso's father says his famous son does not deserve the reputation as an arrogant champion whose formula one successes went to his head.

As reigning double world champion at the end of 2006, the 27-year-old Spanish driver moved from Renault to McLaren and last year raced one of the most controversial tenures in the history of the sport.

Alonso his since returned to Renault and failed to secure even a podium in 2008, moving some observers to surmise that his ego was too big even for the grandeur and wealth of F1.

But Alonso's father, Jose Luis Alonso, tells the Spanish newspaper El Pais that his son, who shies away from the spotlight, has not changed at all since he conquered F1.

"He is just the same as always," Alonso said of his famous son.

"It is not so obvious in his attitude with me as how he behaves when he is with the whole family; he has everything but he is still the same.

"He is a happy and affectionate person."

Jose Luis, who said he is still involved in his son's career, admits that it is impossible for the whole world to have the same image of Fernando Alonso.

"You can't have a beer with the 120,000 people that go to a race," he joked.  "And it is those who do not have access to him that criticize him the most."

Comment
09/01/08
f1

Richard Cregan to leave Toyota Motorsport GmbH
Toyota Motorsport GmbH confirms that Team Manager Richard Cregan will leave his position at the end of November.

Richard, 48, has decided to move on and take an exciting new role elsewhere within motorsport, ending his stay at Toyota Motorsport GmbH 24 years after joining as a rally mechanic. More details of Richard's new position will be confirmed in due course.

He became operations manager for Toyota's programs in the World Rally Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours. When the Formula 1 project was announced he assisted Ove Andersson in making the plan a reality and became General Manager F1 Operation in 2002 before stepping up to Team Manager in 2004.

Richard will be replaced as Team Manager by Jens Marquardt, who has been at Toyota Motorsport GmbH since 2000, working in the engine engineering department.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/08
irl

Detroit Sunday Notebook
-  Thumb, my a**?  Rumor in the garage area has it that Alex Tagliani replaced Enrique Bernoldi for reasons other than a "sore thumb."  Bernoldi has no splint on the thumb, and sources indicate that this switch has been in the works for a while.  Bernoldi is currently 20th in points.  Tagliani finished 22nd when he retired on lap 54 with mechanical woes, but not before posting the sixth-fastest lap of the race.  "After evaluating the whole thing, Conquest Racing deserves to be in the top five in the IndyCar Series right now." 
-  The ALMS series is to be commended.  Not only did they have a great race yesterday, but the fan-friendly teams left their cars out for the fans to look at / drool on / fondle.  In some cases, the fans were even able to crawl into the cars. 
- The "whispered" attendance figure for today's race is 40,000, perhaps lower than last year.  No one would go on record with a more definite figure. 
-  ESPN finally got the memo that the current IRL is a merged series, and the old CART/CCWS records are now part of the IRL.  Its graphics noted that this was Wilson's fifth win, which includes four previous wins in CART. 

-  "It's a driver problem."  That was the terse comment when Tomas Scheckter dropped out after snapping both halfshafts early in the race.  Belle Isle's road course transitions between cement and asphalt, and throttle control over those transitions is very important.  Scheckter also snapped his halfshafts at Indy, too. 
-  According to reports, Al Unser Jr. is doing well.  He's been sober for over a year and a half, and his life is going well.  He was at Belle Isle this weekend, working as a track consultant.

- Office pool results:  Milka dropped out of the race on lap 46 with "handling" issues (uh, yeah).  Marco didn't crash, but dropped out on lap 81 with mechanical difficulties, and was never a factor all day.  Tim Wohlford reporting from Detroit


Comment
08/31/08
superleague

Sevilla stars in the wet in Donington
Sevilla FC driver Borja Garcia pulled out a stunning performance to claim victory in the pouring rain in Superleague Formula's first reverse grid race today at Donington Park.

Starting from position seven, Sevilla had moved up to fifth when the race was disrupted by a safety car period on the opening lap when FC Porto (Tristan Gommendy) and Al Ain (Andreas Zuber) made contact. Zuber spun off the circuit and was unable to continue while Gommendy was forced to pit lane to replace a flat tire.

PSV Eindhoven driver Yelmer Buurman was also forced to visit the pit lane to remove a piece of advertising signage which Zuber had previously crashed through and deposited on the track.

On the restart, Garcia proved to be the rain master while other teams suffered spins in the treacherous conditions. Galatasaray, Borussia Dortmund and Basel all suffered spins allowing Sevilla to move forward.

All were able to continue except for Galatasaray driver Alessandro Pier Guidi who spun off the circuit in the Craner Curves and struck the car of Rangers' driver Ryan Dalziel. The Scot had gone off on the previous lap in the same location.

A second safety car period allowed Garcia and Sevilla to close on their Brazilian rival and the Spaniard grabbed the lead with 14 minutes remaining at Goddards.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/08
dtm

Audi wins at Brands Hatch and extends DTM lead
At the eighth DTM round at Brands Hatch, Audi celebrated their fourth win of the 2008 season. In unstable weather conditions Timo Scheider defended an extremely narrow lead against Mercedes driver Paul di Resta on the British circuit. In front of 26,800 spectators (throughout the weekend) Timo Scheider thus extended his leadership of the standings to nine points. Mattias Ekström shone with a brilliant recovery from seventh to third place.

Thanks to a strong performance by the whole team Audi claimed victory at Brands Hatch and, after a fierce fight, clinched another podium position that was not necessarily to be expected. Thanks to an excellent job done by his Audi Team Abt Sportsline pit crew Timo Scheider converted his fourth pole position of the year into a flawless start-finish victory. Even when drizzling rain set in the German at the wheel of his Audi A4 DTM demonstrated his driving skills on slicks and remained in front after both pit stops.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/08
ga

Cristiano da Matta to drive final Grand-Am race
AIM Autosport today announced their driver lineup for the SunRichGourmet.com 1000 presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels at Miller Motorsport Park in Tooele, Utah. Joining Brian Frisselle and Mark Wilkins in the Exchange Traded Gold No. 61 Ford Riley will be 2002 CART champion Cristiano da Matta. Making his return to racing in May 2008, da Matta drove a Riley Daytona Prototype at Laguna Seca Raceway.  

The Brazilian began his career in the Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) series in 1999. Over seven seasons he compiled 101 starts recording twelve wins, seven poles and twenty podium results. In 2003, da Matta joined Toyota Formula One and scored ten championship points. He would leave the Formula One circuit in 2004 after twenty-eight career races and return to the Champ Car World Series in 2005.  

“I am very happy to be with AIM Autosport for the final race,” said da Matta from his home in Brazil. “The team has been very strong all season and I am looking forward to driving with Mark and Brian. I think it will be a lot of fun to run with drivers who have such focus.”

The entire team is excited about having da Matta in the paddock at Miller bringing a wealth of technical expertise about setup and race craft.

Brian Frisselle commented, “It is quite amazing to have Cristiano in the car. Growing up, I always admired Formula One and had that as a goal. To be driving alongside a former F1 driver is really very exciting. This is a real step forward for the team.”

Mark said, “Excitement aside, I expect we can learn a lot from having someone with Cristiano’s vast experience in the car and in the pit. I have to say though, it is a thrill to be teamed with a champion driver in what is an important race for us.”

Comment
08/31/08
f1

Mosley welcome back in F1 paddock - Ecclestone
(GMM) Despite recently calling for the embattled FIA president to resign, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone now believes everyone should forget about the Max Mosley sex scandal.

"People have come to the conclusion that whatever happened was just Max and nothing to do with anything else," he told BBC radio's Sportsweek.

"For a short period I said he should resign but now I don't see why he should. All these people saying 'I don't want to meet Max' is all going to disappear."

Mosley is scheduled to appear at the Italian grand prix next month.

"I'll welcome him back," Ecclestone said. "Good -- he should come back and carry on like normal."

He said he hopes Mosley, the son of the 1930s British fascists leader Sir Oswald Mosley, is remembered for more than a prison-themed orgy with prostitutes.

"Sometimes I think he interferes in F1 a little bit more than he should, but he's done an awful lot for road safety and things like that, which people don't hear about.

"I think people will forget a lot of this nonsense. I really don't think people give a damn," Ecclestone said.

Comment
08/31/08
f1

Kimi 'not in love' with F1 - Ecclestone
(GMM) F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone would not be surprised if Kimi Raikkonen resumed his post at the top of the formula one time sheets before too long.

Albeit criticising the Finn, and his title winning predecessor Fernando Alonso, for "not doing enough" to represent the sport as world champions, the 77-year-old Briton said Raikkonen's current struggle at the wheel of the Ferrari is out of character.

"I mean, he is a super-talented driver, and I just can't believe that the way he's driving at the moment is Kimi," Ecclestone told BBC radio's Sportsweek programme.

"He's always been quicker than Massa. Massa's quick, but (Kimi) shouldn't be that far behind."

Ecclestone disagrees with reports that Raikkonen has fallen out of love with the sport. "I don't know if he's ever been in love with it," he said.

Comment
08/31/08
motogp

Stoner chokes again, Rossi wins again
Stoner leads with Rossi in chase.  Stoner later choked and fell again and Rossi won again
A home victory and the retirement of rival Casey Stoner at Misano left Valentino Rossi one step closer to a sixth MotoGP World Championship, and his fans in celebratory mood amidst the yellow grandstands. The Fiat Yamaha rider was able to avenge his 2007 Misano disappointment and add the circuit to his list of successful tracks, with only the next circuit on the calendar –Indianapolis- missing from his impressive resume.

Rossi was, for the third race in succession, starting from second on the grid for the Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. He could do nothing to stop title rival Stoner from taking the holeshot early, however, as the reigning World Champion established a large gap even before the first time that the riders crossed the start/finish line. Rossi was making up ground by the seventh lap, but the fans were denied a fascinating direct battle between the two when Stoner lost control of his Ducati Desmosedici GP8 and –as he did at Brno two weeks ago- saw his race come to an early conclusion.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/08
superleague

Beijing takes first ever Superleague race
The start - The Beijing team grabs first
Beijing Guoan has stormed to victory in the first ever Superleague Formula event – turning pole position into a stunning victory over AS Roma and Tottenham Hotspur.

Beijing's Davide Rigon beat fellow front-row starter Borja Garcia (Sevilla FC) to turn one off the rolling start and edged out a gap over his Spanish rival. Back in the pack, Borussia Dortmund's Nelson Philippe and Corinthians's Andy Soucek were involved in a traffic jam with Philippe hitting the rear of Soucek. The Corinthians driver was spun around while Philippe lost his front wing.

AC Milan fans also faced disappointment when Robert Doornbos fell out of the race on the opening lap, brining out the safety car.

Davide Rigon, Beijing Guoan Superleague Formula, winner of race 1 Donington Park
Rigon led from the ensuing restart and AS Roma's Enrico Toccacelo quickly moved into second place.

Tottenham Hotspur's Duncan Tappy faced initial pressure from Olympiacos driver Kasper Andersen and later faced another red car in his mirrors, this time, PSV Eindhoven's Yelmer Buurman.

At the front of the pack, Rigon and Beijing continued to lead with Toccacelo and Roma trying to bridge the gap. The battle for fifth place was also hotting up with Liverpool's Adrian Valles challenging the Al-Ain car of Andreas Zuber.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/08
alms

Remembering Phil Hill
Phil Hill (L)
The passing of American racing icon Phil Hill touched the entire American Le Mans Series paddock. Hill, America’s only F1 World Champion died Thursday. Hill, a three-time Le Mans 24 Hour winner, three-time winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring, and a winner in numerous other endurance races prior to his retirement, leaves a void in the world of sports car racing that will be impossible to fill. Personalities in the American Le Mans Series offered their thoughts on the passing of this racing icon.

Johnny O’Connell, Driver, Corvette Racing:
“I’ve always had Phil Hill as one of my heroes. About 10 years ago I had the chance to meet him at Sebring. Then Phil became my only hero. The key to that is that Phil wasn’t a ‘lovefest’. His racing wasn’t all about him. It was about the cars and the era. He was a quiet, humble man. Phil did not race for the fame, money or glory. He enjoyed taking the car to the limits.”

Roger Penske, Owner, Penske Racing:
“I knew Phil Hill for more than 40 years, and always respected not only his driving ability, but his personal character. He was an icon and a great friend, and he will be missed by racers around the world.”

Duncan Dayton, Owner, Patr¢n Highcroft Racing:
“It’s just a very sad day. He was America's first world champion but more than that, more than his driving abilities and his accomplishments on the track, he was a true gentleman and epitomized everything that I could ever aspire to be as a man. (Phil was) thoughtful, generous, kind, always had time for anybody that wanted to talk to him; a true sportsman on the track. He was somebody who always was looking out for the little guy. You’d never hear him swear, you'd never hear him say anything bad about his fellow competitors or anybody else.

“As a gentleman would never have done anything dirty or underhanded and wouldn’t have wanted to win in any other way than was fair and honest. It's a great loss for the motorsports community and for America as a whole. He was a shining example of a man from a generation that really set the bar as to what it means to be a true sportsman. Phil was just a marvelous individual.”

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08/31/08
nhra

Qatar-based Al-Anabi Racing to enter 2 car team in NHRA
The most decorated Top Fuel crew chief in NHRA history, Alan Johnson, will field a two-car team in 2009 through a partnership with Qatar-based Al-Anabi Racing. A seven-time NHRA Top Fuel champion with 75 professional-level national event victories to his credit, Johnson has tuned Tony Schumacher to the last four Top Fuel titles and the current points lead.

This new alliance will field a Top Fuel dragster and a Funny Car. They will start the 2009 season on Feb. 5-8 with the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. Johnson has not selected drivers for the new cars.

At the forefront of this partnership is His Highness Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Thani, who has set a goal of promoting the domestic and international awareness of motorsports in the nation of Qatar. As a result of his efforts, Al-Anabi Racing has emerged as one of the leading drag racing teams in the region.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/08
nnw

Q&A with Kyle Busch after his Toyota annihilates NASCAR field
What was it like to be behind the wheel of this thing tonight?
“This thing was flawless, it was just amazing.  I really have to thank all the guys back at the shop.  I have to dedicate this win to Jason Ratcliff.  The way these guys prepared the cars coming to the race track is just phenomenal.  All the Z-Line Toyota guys on this thing.  This is Toyota’s home track and these guys were awesome today, this weekend.  I want to thank the fans for coming out to California Speedway and supporting these guys.  It’s just fun – that was pretty cool.  I’m glad to have Z-Line in victory lane with us.”

How has your team been able to overcome the adversity of the past few weeks?
“These guys are pumped up, their excited.  It doesn’t matter if you win a late model race, a Nationwide race, truck race or Cup race – you never know when your last one is going to be so this one means a lot.  These crew guys have had a lot of adversity on them in the past few weeks and they don’t deserve the bad rap they’ve got.  I don’t care about my bad rap but these guys here are the ones that work hard at the shop and do all the hard work so I really have to thank these guys.”

How good was your race car tonight?
“It was a great race car tonight.  It was just a phenomenal job by all of the guys at the shop.  I’ve really got to thank Jason Ratcliff, Dave Rogers and all the boys that have been on this team that deserve to be on this team here at the race track that weren’t.  They just did such a great job in paying attention to detail and being able to put this car together and making it a phenomenal car to drive.  I’m just honored to be a part of this team and to drive the Z-Line Toyota here tonight to victory lane was pretty awesome.  These guys all deserve the credit and I was just the one out there being able to wheel the thing.  Really a fast race car.”

Read more & Comment...
08/31/08
nassprint
irl

Ex-Open Wheel drivers ruin their careers in NASCAR
The great IndyCar exodus has reached a dead end in the Sprint Cup Series.  With Jacques Villeneuve getting fired after one race and Dario Franchitti's team getting shut down two months ago, the problems for open-wheeled regulars continued this week with Patrick Carpentier apparently getting forced out at Gillett Evernham Motorsports and A.J. Allmendinger not knowing what his future holds at Red Bull Racing.

Reed Sorenson announced this week he's leaving Chip Ganassi Racing - the same team that closed the doors on Franchitti's Sprint Cup ride - to replace Carpentier.

"I knew that was a possibility," Carpentier said. "For sure, it's a shock to learn someone else is taking your spot. I'm not mad. I kind of expected it. I still hope they find sponsorship. They really want to find it. With the economy and the way things are, Reed just fits the bill better. That's fine, too."

Carpentier will start tonight's Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway from the fifth spot. Allmendinger is second.

Red Bull is still working on its future plans. Right now, the team isn't sure whether Allmendinger, who left CART at year ago to race stock cars, fits in those plans.

He's been on hold for a couple months. And like Carpentier, he knows the last 12 races could be an audition for future work. SavannahNow.com

And as for the talented Juan Montoya, except for a couple of road course wins, one in Cup and one in Busch, it must hurt to have to run as a backmarker week in and week out.

Mission not accomplished - careers destroyed.

Comment
08/31/08
nnw

Fontana: Busch, Toyota spank NASCAR field
Give Kyle Busch credit for being a quick study.

Nudged out of the way and deprived of a win by Carl Edwards in last Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Bristol, Busch didn't let Edwards anywhere near his rear bumper in the closing laps of Saturday night's Camping World RV Service 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway.

Kyle Busch (No. 18) and Carl Edwards (No. 60) cross the finish line under caution as their rivalry continued in the Camping World RV Service 300
Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR
After a restart with eight laps remaining, Busch pulled away, as he had done consistently all night long, to hold off his nemesis and win the race under caution when Josh Wise wrecked on the white-flag lap.

The victory was Busch's seventh of the season in the series and the 18th of his career. Busch now has 18 victories in NASCAR's top three series this season -- eight in Cup, seven in Nationwide and three in the Craftsman Truck Series. He now has won in all three series at Auto Club Speedway along with Mark Martin. Those seven Nationwide wins combined with eight NASCAR Sprint Cup victories and three wins in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series gives Busch a total of 18 wins this season which is now an official all time NASCAR record.

Busch led 144 of the 150 laps and became the first driver to win from the pole in 17 Nationwide events at the two-mile track.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/08
tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders - Sunday
The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Sunday
NASCAR Now
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NASCAR Performance Fontana
10:30am-11:00am SPEED
NHRA Raceday Indianapolis
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
AMA Superbike Suzuki Superbike Showdown Road Atlanta
11:00am-12:00pm (8/30/08) -Day 1
Day 2 Race on tonight: 7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Indianapolis
11:30am-2:00pm ESPN2
Rolex Sports Car Series Supercar Life 250 Millville, NJ
1:00pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
IndyCar Detroit Indy Grand Prix Detroit
3:30pm-6:00pm (L) ABC
NASCAR Performance Fontana
4:00pm-4:30pm (R) SPEED
NASCAR in a Hurry Fontana
4:30pm-5:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Raceday Fontana
5:00pm-7:00pm SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Indianapolis
5:00pm-7:00pm ESPN2
AMA Superbike Suzuki Superbike Showdown Road Atlanta
7:00pm-8:00pm (SD) -Day 2 SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Pepsi 500 Fontana
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) Pre-race
8:00pm-12:00am (L) -Race ESPN
SPEED Report
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Ashley Force (NHRA Funny Car)
Harvey Siegel (New Jersey Motorsports Park & Virginia International Raceway)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
MotoGP 250 San Marino
10:00pm-11:00pm (SD) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship San Marino
11:00pm-12:00am (SD) SPEED
All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com

Comment
08/30/08
cc

Champ Car DP01 and NASA
Photo by David Wood
While wandering through the displays at the NASCAR race in Fontana on Thursday we made an incredible find......a NASA flyer with the Champ Car DP01! (See Photo). We asked the NASA officials how the picture came about...they didn't know. They said the Johnson Space Center set it up. They also had no knowledge about the car itself (if we'd pressed further, they most likely would have thought it was a NASCAR car!  Dave Wood reporting for AR1.com from Fontana

Comment
08/30/08
alms

Luhr/Werner win ALMS Championship title
Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner
Despite not finishing the city street race in Detroit, the two German Audi "factory" drivers Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner have already clinched the Drivers’ title in the LM P1 class of the American Le Mans Series.

The title chase was decided as their teammates Marcel Fässler and Emanuele Pirro, who had originally won the LM P1 class on the "Belle Isle Street Circuit", were excluded after the race. At Technical Scrutineering, the #1 Audi R10 TDI was found to be 2.5 kilograms under the requested 925-kilogram weight limit. Following contact with another car during the morning warm-up session, a spare nose had been fitted which was prepared for both cars, not specifically set-up for the #1 car.

This is the third LM P1 title in the American Le Mans Series for Marco Werner (42) following his Championship wins in 2003 and 2004. It is the fourth win for Lucas Luhr (29) following his successes in 2002, 2003 and 2006 – however it is his first in the LM P1 category. Luhr has also become the first driver ever in the history of the U.S. sportscar series to clinch the title in three different categories: GT2, LM P2 and now LM P1.

"Of course we would have preferred to have won the title under different circumstances," said Luhr and Werner. "But with seven consecutive victories already this season we certainly feel we have earned the title."

Before the last two races at Road Atlanta (4 October) and Laguna Seca (18 October) the two Germans hold a 66-point lead over Emanuele Pirro and are 68 points clear of Clint and Jon Field who were awarded the LM P1 class victory in Detroit. Only 55 points remain available in the final two races.

Comment
08/30/08
alms

Audi fails post-race tech inspection
The winning Audi was excluded by the ALMS after it failed to meet the required minimum weight in post-race technical inspections in Detroit.

Comment
08/30/08
irl

Marty Roth withdraws from Detroit race
Roth Racing has withdrawn the #25 entry driven by Marty Roth for the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone. Roth made contact with the wall in the straightaway entering Turn 7 during morning practice session. Damage to the car is more than the team initially thought, and with the limited amount of track time for Roth this weekend, they have decided to focus on the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway.

Comment
08/30/08
ga

New Jersey Saturday Notebook - 1
Extended guardrail at the beginning of the pit lane wall
Mark Cipolloni/AR1.com
After morning clouds the sun is now peeking through and the humidity level is up as the Grand-Am Daytona Prototypes get ready to qualify at the new New Jersey Motorsports Park circuit......The guardrail has been extended at the end of the pit lane wall where Scott Pruett had his big accident on Thursday.........The facility is still under construction with a 3/4-mile oval slated for the next phase.  The main complaint by the drivers we spoke to was not the end of the pit lane wall, but the huge clouds of dust that get kicked up every time a driver in front puts a wheel off because it is just dirt off the edge of the pavement.  Track Spokesperson Shane Mahoney told AutoRacing1.com that "we planted grass seed twice but the summer has been so dry it never took."  One driver told us it's like "Desert Storm" out there.  Other than the dust issue, which will be resolved once the New Jersey rains return in the autumn, the drivers we talked to all like the track layout.  Mark Cipolloni reporting from NJMP

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08/30/08
superleague

Donington: Beijing team wins pole position
Beijing Guoan driver Davide Rigon will start from pole position in tomorrow's first ever Superleague Formula event – the Italian pulling out a stunning performance in today's qualifying shoot-out.

Rigon not only topped the timesheet in the Group B qualifying session, he set the fastest overall qualifying time, stopping the clocks at 1 minute, 18.746 seconds.

The top four drivers from each of the two groups did battle in the qualifying shootout. Rigon was joined from Group B by Robert Doornbos (AC Milan), Enrico Toccacelo (AS Roma) and Duncan Tappy (Tottenham Hotspur).

Group A shoot-out qualifiers were Borja Garcia (Sevilla), Yelmer Buurman (PSV Eindhoven), Kasper Andersen (Olympiacos) and Alesandro Pier Guidi (Galatasaray SK).

Rigon defeated Pier Guidi (Galatasaray) in his quarter final, Buurman (PSV Eindhoven) in the semi-final and then took the pole position battle against Garcia – going even faster in the pole shootout, recording a 1 minute, 18.529 second lap to lead home the Spaniard by 0.822 of a second.

Read more & Comment...
08/30/08
irl

Detroit: Dixon tops final practice before quals
Pos Driver Name Best Time Best Speed
1 Scott Dixon (9) 1:12.5015 102.784
2 Helio Castroneves (3) 1:12.6237 102.611
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 1:13.2561 101.725
4 Will Power (8) 1:13.3127 101.647
5 E.J. Viso (33) 1:13.5223 101.357
6 Dan Wheldon (10) 1:13.5671 101.295
7 Oriol Servia (5) 1:13.6896 101.127
8 Bruno Junqueira (18) 1:13.7408 101.057
9 Justin Wilson (02) 1:13.7484 101.046
10 Tony Kanaan (11) 1:13.8790 100.868
11 Danica Patrick (7) 1:13.9315 100.796
12 Vitor Meira (4) 1:13.9654 100.750
13 Ryan Briscoe (6) 1:14.0342 100.656
14 Graham Rahal (06) 1:14.2029 100.427
15 Hideki Mutoh (27) 1:14.3779 100.191
16 Marco Andretti (26) 1:14.5639 99.941
17 Tomas Scheckter (12) 1:14.6665 99.804
18 Darren Manning (14) 1:14.6864 99.777
19 A.J. Foyt IV (2) 1:14.9097 99.480
20 Ed Carpenter (20) 1:15.5961 98.577
21 Buddy Rice (15) 1:15.6014 98.570
22 Alex Tagliani (36) 1:16.4424 97.485
23 Jaime Camara (34) 1:17.0898 96.666
24 Milka Duno (23) 1:19.0112 94.316
25 Mario Moraes (19) 1:23.6836 89.050
26 Marty Roth (25) 4:02.7345 30.700


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08/30/08
motogp

Misano: Stoner dominates qualifying
Stoner storms to 7th straight pole
The top spot on the MotoGP grid will, for the seventh consecutive race, be occupied by reigning World Champion Casey Stoner tomorrow, with the Ducati Marlboro rider completing his clean sweep of practice session outings at Misano.

Stoner had to dig deep for the honor of leading off the Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, fighting back against some tough rivals on his final lap of the Saturday afternoon qualifying session. The Australian got back into his stride in the final two splits of the Misano circuit, with his 1´33.378 too much for even his most persistent challengers to match.

Half a second separated Stoner and World Championship leader Valentino Rossi’s fastest times on qualifying rubber, although the latter had been poised for a popular home pole until the last minute of the run. Rossi will start from second on the grid for the third race in a row, an important placing if he is to catch his hitherto uncatchable rival. 

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08/30/08
alms

Briscoe, Dumas go 1-2 in Detroit warm-up
Ryan Briscoe led a Penske Racing 1-2 finish in a 25-minute warm-up session for this afternoon’s Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch. Briscoe, who posted the fastest lap of the race and was the overall pole-sitter, turned a lap of 1:14.621 (99.865 mph) at the 14-turn, 2.07-mile circuit in the Porsche RS Spyder that he will drive with Patrick Long. The Australian was 0.082 seconds better than Romain Dumas in the other Penske Porsche.

Today will be a busy one for Briscoe, who also will drive for Penske in the IndyCar race. The two RS Spyders will start sixth and seventh on the grid today.

Marcel Fässler went quickest in LMP1 for Audi Sport North America. His time of 1:16.213 (97.779 mph) gave Audi hope after qualifying eighth and ninth Friday. Fässler, who will drive with Emanuele Pirro, got his first significant dry time on the circuit. Class pole-winner Lucas Luhr crashed his Audi R10 TDI on his first lap early in the session after making hard contact with the barrier at Turn 8. The rear bodywork was damaged, the wheel rim was damaged as well.

Johnny O’Connell went quickest in GT1 for Corvette Racing with a lap of 1:24.745 (87.934 mph) in the pole-winning No. 3 Corvette C6.R. O’Connell, who will partner with polesitter Jan Magnussen, was 0.716 seconds ahead of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the sister Corvette.

Bell Motorsports’ Aston Martin DBR9 of Terry Borcheller and Chapman Ducote sat third in class at 1:31.178 (81.730 mph).

Dominik Farnbacher set the pace in GT2 for Tafel Racing in its Ferrari F430 GT. The German, driving with Dirk Mueller, turned a lap of 1:16.679 (85.972 mph). Risi Competizione’s Ferrari of Mika Salo and Jaime Melo was 0.014 seconds behind the Tafel entry. Flying Lizard Motorsports was the best of the Porsche teams with a 1:26.817 (85.836 mph) for the 911 GT3 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Johannes van Overbeek.

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08/30/08
Industry News

Kilpatrick loses Penske's support
Add Roger Penske to the list of prominent people who want Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to quit.

Penske, a Detroit-area businessman, is on Belle Isle this weekend for Grand Prix races. He tells radio station WWJ that it's time Kilpatrick "moves on and takes another role in his life."

Penske has worked closely with Kilpatrick on many projects, especially the 2006 Super Bowl.

Kilpatrick faces 10 criminal charges in two cases. The Detroit City Council also wants Gov. Jennifer Granholm to remove him from office.

In an interview Friday, Penske told WWJ that Kilpatrick at times has done an outstanding job as mayor. But he says, "It's unfortunate that the personal things have gotten in his way."

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08/30/08
nassprint

Mixed Reactions to Bud Shootout Changes
How do drivers feel about the decision to change the rules governing next year's season-opening Budweiser Shootout exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway? Well, it depends whether you're in or out. Michael Waltrip, who finished 11th in the 2008 Shootout, would have needed to win a pole in the last 12 races to make the field in 2009 under the current rules. Instead, with the decision to include six teams from each of the four manufacturers, there's an excellent chance for two of Waltrip's team cars to make the field next February. Carl Edwards, who missed the 2007 edition because he failed to win a pole the previous year, thought he secured a spot with his run last week at Bristol. It turns out that he's one of five Roush Fenway Racing drivers who will represent Ford in the 2009 Shootout. Edwards is in favor of the new rule. On the other hand, 2008 pole-winners Paul Menard and Joe Nemechek find themselves on the outside looking in. For Nemechek's Furniture Row Racing team, the change was a huge blow. Nemechek said someone like Boris Said, who only runs a limited schedule, no longer gets additional benefit from winning a pole. NASCAR.com

Ryan Newman says it does seem odd that Daytona International Speedway executives don't want the defending Daytona 500 winner in their season-opening Bud Shootout next spring. Since Newman and new teammate Tony Stewart will be leaving their current teams at the end of this year and driving next year for a new team, they both will be ineligible for the Shootout. Ironic, since the Daytona 500 this year was Stewart-versus-Newman. Adding more irony: Joey Logano, who has yet even to run a Cup race, will be in the Shootout, in Stewart's Toyota. And even more irony: David Stremme, who will likely be taking Newman's ride with Roger Penske, would be in the Shootout instead of Newman. Stremme, whose only Cup run this year was at Talladega in April, where he finished 28th, has never won a Cup event. Newman has 13 career wins. "The new Shootout doesn't seem to be about drivers, but about manufacturers," Newman says. "It's a changed race all the way around.  Winston Salem Journal

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he has no problem with the changes in the qualifying rules, but he has a big problem with a long final segment. "Fifty laps is forever on that track," Earnhardt said. "It would be a lot more exciting for the fans and a lot more fun for us if we only did 10 laps at the end." #11-Denny Hamlin, who won the race as a rookie in 2006, said he agrees with Earnhardt. "Only racing 10 laps at the end would be way better," Hamlin said. "The tires go away pretty fast at Daytona, but they still would have a lot of grip for just 10 or 15 laps. We could really go all out and the racing would be a lot closer." ESPN.com

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08/30/08
f1

Berger: Vettel will be missed
Sebastian Vettel has lifted the Toro Rosso team up the grid this year and at the same time buried his teammate Bourdais
Gerhard Berger concedes that losing Sebastian Vettel will be a blow to Toro Rosso as the German's performances have gone a long way towards lifting the team's flagging spirits.

While in the past others have failed to score points for the backmarker outfit, lagging at the back of the pack, Vettel has so far bagged nine points this season in results far outweighing the expected performance of the car.

Next season, though, he's off to Red Bull having already been confirmed as David Coulthard's replacement. It's a much-deserved step up the grid for the 21-year-old who has proven himself as a star of F1 during his short stay at Toro Rosso.

"Well, of course the media interest is important, but what is more important is the performance of the team - Sebastian has helped us a lot to get the right atmosphere back," Berger told the official F1 website.

"We had been really struggling with Scott Speed and Tonio Liuzzi last year, but he has proved what the team is able to do and has done it in a very nice way, with us, with the engineers, with everybody.

"That has pushed us such an immense step forward - it is really a pity to lose him. There is not a single soul in the team that is not sad to see him go at the end of the season.

"On the other hand we get so much from Red Bull. Without Red Bull, Toro Rosso would be nowhere, so it feels good that we can give something back, even if I would like to have him stay with the team." Sporting Life

Comment
08/30/08
f1

Q&A with Whitmarsh & Haug
McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh and Merc's Vice President Norbert Haug look ahead to next weekend's Belgian GP.

Martin Whitmarsh
Q: Spa and Monza are Formula 1's most severe 'power circuits' - does that change the way you approach these back-to-back races?

MW: The reality is that we have tremendous faith in our colleagues at Mercedes-Benz and feel comfortable with both our engine's performance and reliability. The recent engine failures suffered by Ferrari in Hungary and Valencia clearly demonstrate that even a homologated engine can break, so we take nothing for granted. There's always an element of risk whenever you come to two fast and demanding circuits but we have the additional security of knowing both our drivers can each still suffer an engine failure without receiving a 10-place grid penalty."

Q: What developments are on the car for Belgium?
MW: We've got a number of smaller aero developments in the pipeline - there's nothing on the car that will be visually very startling, but there's plenty of detail-work. We're also focusing on further mistake-proofing our systems: the championship is going to be a hard-fought slog until the end of the year and we need to leave no stone unturned in our quest for additional performance and improved reliability. From a human and physical perspective, these two races are also pivotal to our title challenge - it's vital that every member of the team pulls together to make sure these races pass without undue incident and set us up nicely for the final flyaway races."

Norbert Haug
Q: After three wins in a row for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, the team took positions two and four in Valencia. Did you expect more?

NH: Yes indeed, we wanted to win. Nevertheless, our result in Valencia is no reason for us to feel disappointed. We scored 13 points which continues the trend of the previous three races. Since Silverstone, we have scored 55 out of 72 possible points in those four races and reduced the gap to the top of the constructors' ranking from 33 to eight points."

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08/30/08
automotive

GM sues to recoup misused worker discounts
Turns out General Motors Corp.'s employee discount isn't for everyone.  The automaker, which last week temporarily extended the perk nationally to anyone in a bid to boost sales and clear out inventory, simultaneously filed three lawsuits alleging fraud as the company cracks down on employees, retirees and widows giving discounts to nonrelatives, according to court documents. Along with other recent lawsuits, the automaker is suing for more than $450,000 plus costs and attorney fees.

"What an irony, huh?" lawyer John Pieri said. He represents a retired autoworker in Buffalo, N.Y., who is being sued for $45,501 and accused of giving discounts to 13 people from 2004 until April 2007.

Several retirees and lawyers said the lawsuits are an attempt to raise cash by a financially troubled company that lost $15.5 billion during the second quarter and provide insight into an unconventional way GM is trying to recoup revenue amid the slowest sales climate in more than a decade.

It was unclear Friday how many cases have been filed nationwide and a GM spokesman did not know how often the automaker files such cases. GM's lawyer, Michael Clawson, could not be reached. There have been at least nine cases filed in circuit courts across Metro Detroit in recent months.

The timing of the lawsuits, three of which were filed on or after Aug. 20, the day GM extended the employee discount to everyone, is coincidental, company spokesman Tom Wilkinson said.

"In decades past, GM was so wealthy, I think probably a lot of these types of abuses might have been tolerated," he said. "We're obviously in a competitive situation and you get more focused on watching your costs."

The employee-pricing program, which ends Tuesday, is a perk offered to employees as part of their benefits package. Any eligible employee, retiree or surviving spouse can use the discount to buy or lease six new or used vehicles each year, or extend the discount to relatives. Almost anyone on the family tree is eligible, from children to same-sex partners, in some cases, but GM is accusing the employees of profiting by giving the discount to people who they knew weren't qualified and for their own "financial gain."  Detroit News

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08/30/08
automotive

Chrysler to deep-six the Viper
Two former Chrysler veterans disagree sharply over the Auburn Hills automaker's decision to put its Dodge Viper brand up for sale -- the latest move by Chrysler's owners to raise cash and concentrate on its core products.

Former Chrysler Corp. President Tom Stallkamp said the decision was "a sad day for Chrysler."

"If you are going to be a car company, you need a vehicle with some pizzazz," Stallkamp told The Detroit News this week.

But Bob Lutz, a former president and chief operating officer at Chrysler and now General Motors Corp. vice chairman, disagreed.

He championed the Viper when it was introduced in 1992, and called the possible sale "a good thing. It's a luxury Chrysler can no longer afford. Better to sell it than watch it die," Lutz told The Detroit News.

On Wednesday, Chrysler LLC announced it hired financial consultant Lazard Ltd. to advise the company in a possible sale of the Viper brand.

Chrysler spokeswoman Lori McTavish declined to directly address Stallkamp's comments, but said no decisions have been made about Viper's future. "The move is about focusing on our core businesses really nothing more than that," she said, adding that it's "prudent" to consider offers. Detroit News

[Editor's Note: Who will buy this expensive gas guzzler in today's day and age when for the money a Corvette will run circles around it and can be used as an everyday car?]

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08/30/08
superleague

Donington: Practice 2 Final Results
POS NO TEAM DRIVER / RACE TEAM TIME
1 12 Beijing Guoan D.Rigon / Zakspeed 1:18.999
2 3 AC Milan R.Doornbos / Scuderia Playteam Sara Free 1:19.709
3 11 Borussia Dortmund N.Philippe / Zakspeed 1:19.735
4 22 AS Roma E.Toccacelo / FMS 1:19.741
5 1 Sevilla FC B.Garcia / GTA Motor Competicion 1:19.848
6 9 Olympiacos K.Andersen / GU Racing International 1:20.254
7 19 Tottenham Hotspur D.Tappy / GTA Motor Competicion 1:20.555
8 5 PSV Einhoven Y.Buurman / Team Azerti 1:20.567
9 17 Rangers R.Dalziel / ADR 1:20.696
10 6 Al-Ain A.Zuber / Team Azeri 1:20.963
11 8 RSC Anderlecht Craig Dolby / Team Astromega 1:21.445
12 4 Galatasaray A.Pier Guidi / Scuderia Playteam Sara Free 1:21.579
13 14 Corinthians A.Soucek / Eurointernational 1:22.976
14 7 Flamengo T.Rocha / Team Astromega 1:25.006
15 21 Liverpool A.Valles / Hitech no time


Comment
08/30/08
lmes

Tata may race Jaguar back to Le Mans
More than a decade after the iconic race car brand Jaguar was forced to pull out from the grueling 24-hour Le Mans race, the new owner, the Rs 16,400-crore Tata Motors, is considering a plan to put the brand back on the racing track. Tata Motors, India's largest automobile company, bought the cult British brand together with Land Rover from Ford earlier this year in a combined $2.3 billion deal. Ford had pulled Jaguar out of this annual race in Le Mans, France, for lack of funds.

"We want to hit the Le Mans race, for which we are already re-examining whether we can bring back the Jaguar brand to its earlier state," Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Motors, said at the company's annual general meeting earlier this week.

Experts said the strategy of putting Jaguar back on the race track makes sense because the brand itself was built on its rich racing history.

Jaguar won its last Le Mans race, which started in 1923, in 1990, with the Jaguar XJR 12. The brand hit its peak in the 1950s, when it won five out of seven races held between 1951 and 1957 and seven races overall. The most successful marque in the history of the race has been German brand Porsche with 16 victories. Other participants included Audi, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Peugeot, BMW, Bentley, Renault and Alfa Romeo.

"Jaguar had lost its sheen over the years and the brand had suffered. Despite this, it has a very loyal customer and dealer base spread across various countries. Both Jaguar and Land Rover have tremendous engineering capabilities and now it is upon us to keep it together," Tata added.

The acquisition of the two brands has made Tata Motors the world's 17th largest automobile maker, up from the 30th place earlier. Jaguar is currently evaluating maiden launches in some of the world's rapidly-developing automobile markets like Russia and China. Business-Standard.com

Comment
08/30/08
F1

Ferrari to keep same drivers - president
(GMM)  Ferrari will field the same driver lineup in 2009, the Italian marque's president Luca di Montezemolo said on Friday while visiting the final day of the Monza test.

He was responding to the latest rumors that Spaniard Fernando Alonso could be drafted in to replace the struggling Kimi Raikkonen.

When asked if Raikkonen will still be Felipe Massa's teammate next year, Montezemolo is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Assolutamente si (absolutely yes)."

"I have heard the criticisms of Kimi but a few bad races does not mean you are in crisis," he insisted.

Raikkonen, 28, testing at Monza on Friday, appeared unsurprised by Montezemolo's vote of confidence.

"For me, nothing has changed.  I have always had a contract (for 2009)," the Finn said, adding that "nothing in particular" was discussed in his meeting with the Ferrari president.

Montezemolo met not only with Raikkonen at the Italian circuit, he also stopped in the paddock to warmly greet Alonso, and even said hello to Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren area.

But the Italian was keen to dispel the latest theories that Alonso is honing in on a Ferrari contract.

"I feel bad to see a great champion like him not among the top ten at Valencia.  But as for Ferrari, he can relax."

Montezemolo agreed that Massa's form indicates he is "ripe for the title", but refuses to write of the most highly paid Ferrari driver.

"No-one should forget who is the world champion, after he (Raikkonen) did what not many predicted, triumph in his first year (2007) with Ferrari.

"Kimi is motivated and we must work hard to help him qualify higher, especially on all these new circuits that I do not like, and that are bad for F1: you cannot overtake, and nine times out of ten the winner is he who gets pole."

He also played down talk that Massa can rely on 'number one' treatment at least for the balance of his 2008 assault.

"This is a theme from the old days of Lauda and Regazzoni," Montezemolo said.  "The lap times determine the hierarchy, not the president.  Schumacher, Barrichello, Raikkonen or Massa: they were all racing for Ferrari."

Comment
08/30/08
tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Saturday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Saturday
NASCAR Live Fontana 
12:00am-12:30am SPEED
NASCAR Now 
12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
Nationwide Practice Fontana 
12:30am-2:00am (R) SPEED
NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying Fontana 
2:00am-4:00am (R) SPEED
Nationwide Final Practice Fontana 
4:00am-5:00am (R) SPEED
NASCAR Trackside Fontana 
11:00am-12:00pm (R) SPEED
IndyCar Qualifying Detroit 
11:30am (L) ESPN360.com
Note: Was scheduled, but not currently listed on ESPN360.com
Star Mazda   
12:00pm-1:00pm SPEED
American Le Mans Series Detroit Sports Car Challenge
2:30pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
Nationwide Qualifying Fontana 
5:30pm-7:00pm (SD) SPEED
Sprint Cup Practice Fontana 
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
Sprint Cup Final Practice Fontana 
8:00pm-9:30pm (L) SPEED
Tradin' Paint Fontana 
9:30pm-10:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World RV Service 300 Fontana
9:45pm-10:00pm (L) -Pre-race
10:00pm-12:30am (L) -Pre-race ESPN2

Read more & Comment...
08/30/08
irl

Tagliani to Replace Enrique Bernoldi in Detroit
Alex Tagliani
Conquest Racing announced today that it has replaced Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi, who is out with an injury, with veteran Canadian race car driver Alex Tagliani for the Detroit Indy Grand Prix Presented by Firestone this weekend.

Bernoldi initially injured his left hand thumb during a spin caused by a suspension failure in Sonoma last week. He was able to fight through the pain last weekend, but after two practice sessions today, the bumpy street course in Detroit was causing too much strain on his left hand.

“I couldn't give my all today because of my left hand. I was turning into the pits with just one hand on the steering wheel and was unable to do my best,” explained Bernoldi. “The track is bumpy and it was really hard on my hand. I hate having to miss a race, but I prefer leaving the car to Alex Tagliani this weekend while I rest up my hand in order for it to get better.”

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