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DATE News (chronologically)
09/03/07
cc

Seen at Assen - Saturday UPDATE #2 Added a photo of Helmut Flegl and Derrick Walker below.

09/02/07 Also seen Saturday at Assen were former Champ Car driver Charles Zwolsman Jr. and in this photo L-R: Son of Gary Molinari, Jaap Meijer, CEO of N.V. Holmatro, Gary Molinari, managing director of FedEx Charters and William "Giff" Swayne, President, Holmatro USA, Photo Courtesy of Holmatro.

09/01/07 Former Champ Car drivers Antonio Pizzonia and Timo Glock were spotted in the Assen paddock Saturday morning. Glock is rumored to be close to signing for a full-time F1 ride next year and currently leads the GP2 championship, albeit by the slimmest of margins over Di Grassi. Glock is here to see his friends at Rocketsports Racing. Pizzonia would love to land a Champ Car ride but has no money........Former Porsche Motorsports top engineer, Helmut Flegl (pictured right), is in the paddock talking to Derrick Walker. Recall that Walker used to run Porsches.........Alex Figge will lose 5 of his 15 qualifying laps this afternoon for missing last evening's mandatory Champ Car autograph session......It started to rain right after morning practice ended for Champ Car, but so far it's a very light rain........Champ Car put out a new bulletin that will force teams to have at least one car in each of three segments of each practice session. This is to ensure that fans have cars to watch throughout the session, whereas previously most of the teams would do an installation lap and then sit out much of the session until the last half. Mark C. reporting from Assen

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09/03/07
motogp

Stoner on top at Misano MotoGP test
 Rider               Team                            Time
1 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 34.10s
2 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 34.26s
3 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 34.36s
4 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 1m 34.37s
5 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 34.37s
6 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 34.40s
7 Randy de Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 34.54s
8  John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 34.58s
9 Carlos Checa LCR Honda 1m 34.66s
10 Sylvain Guintoli Tech 3 Yamaha 1m 35.31s
11 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 35.37s
12 Toni Elias Honda Gresini 1m 35.44s
13 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 35.61s
14 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 35.80s
15 Makoto Tamada Dunlop Tech3 Yamaha 1m 47.07s

Comment
09/03/07
irl

Castroneves, Scheckter blame each other
Helio Castroneves' disappointing season was capsulated by Sunday's Detroit Indy Grand Prix at Belle Isle.

He started first, for an IndyCar Series-record seventh time, and finished in a heap, for the fifth time in 16 races.  The contact came with Tomas Scheckter in a battle for fourth place on lap 68. Each blamed the other, exchanging words at the medical center.

Castroneves said he expected Scheckter to let him pass, the same way he let Tony Kanaan go by a few laps earlier.  "It's disappointing because obviously my car was faster than his," Castroneves said. Scheckter saw it differently.

"He hit me from behind; it's clear," he said. "That was a stupid move."

Castroneves also crashed in the races at Milwaukee, Texas, Watkins Glen and Michigan. He aggravated the knee bruise he suffered at Michigan.

Castroneves' race was essentially lost when his crew failed to communicate the need to pit on the first stop, on the 21st lap. Dario Franchitti, Kanaan and Scott Dixon peeled off the track as Castroneves stayed out.

The problem was, Castroneves got caught driving behind three back-of-the-pack drivers -- Dan Wheldon, Buddy Rice and Scott Sharp -- and lost three seconds per lap for five laps to the other race contenders. Indy Star

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09/03/07
nascar

Busch driver airlifted to hospital UPDATE Brad Keselowski, who drives the No. 88 Chevrolet for Junior Motorsports in the Busch Series, was examined and released from Loma Linda University Medical Center, where CT scans and X-rays on his left ankle and chest Saturday night were negative.

Keselowski was airlifted to the hospital after a scary four-car crash in the Camping World 300 at California Speedway. Keselowski's car spun backward and made violent impact with the SAFER barrier.

As a standard procedure, Keselowski will have further evaluation by Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon, this week in North Carolina.

Team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked Friday about Keselowski, saying he wants to hire him full time for 2008.

"I think Brad is really talented, and I think he's great for a team like ours," Earnhardt said. "We're going to sit down with his lawyer next week, but I also have to make sure the Navy folks are OK with it." ESPN.com

09/02/07 Brad Keselowski was transported to a local hospital after a vicious wreck during Saturday night's Camping World 300 Busch Series race at California Speedway. Keselowski was awake and alert when he was taken by helicopter to a medical center, complaining of foot pain. Keselowski was on the bottom of a four-wide situation and was the third car hit in a chain reaction, which sent him into the wall at 140 mph on impact, according to television telemetry. The violent collision resulted in Keselowski's #88 JR Motorsports Chevy spinning around and landing on AJ Allmendinger's hood before skating along the top of the wall with a trail of fire behind it. He was removed from the car but appeared to be in pain, and he was placed into an ambulance on a backboard. After evaluation at the infield medical center, he was airlifted to a local hospital. SceneDaily.com

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09/03/07
irl

IRL No. 2 female screws up
Sam Hornish Jr. had his chance for a top-five finish in the Detroit Grand Prix come to an end before the race was one-third completed.
 
Hornish Jr., who won the Indianapolis 500 and series points championship last year, made contact with Sarah Fisher on the restart on lap 31. Vitor Meira, Darren Manning and Danica Patrick were also involved in the five-car pileup. Meira and Fisher didn't return.

Hornish was running as high as seventh before the accident. Fisher (the IRL's former poster girl) was nearly two laps down.

"It's not fun being taken out by a car eight miles per hour slower," Hornish Jr. said. "Everybody needs experience and that's what she's lacking. She's obviously doing everything she can do, but she has to let us go by instead of taking a chance on taking someone out who's running up front.

"She let the 2 (Tomas Scheckter) car by. Then, when I went underneath she went down. I know it's nothing intentional, but " Hornish's crew fixed his No. 6 car and he returned to the track to finish 12th. Fisher completed just 29 laps and finished 16th.

"I just didn't see Sam," Fisher said. "I've given these guys as much respect as I possibly can. I'm just trying to learn here. I just didn't see Sam."  Detroit News

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09/03/07
irl

IRL No. 1 female screws up
Rahal-Letterman teammates Scott Sharp and Hunter-Reay experienced tough days.

Hunter-Reay entered the pits on lap 24. He returned, but experienced clutch problems and finished 18th.

"It's really odd because we don't use the clutch other than when they say, 'Gentleman, start your engines,' " Hunter-Reay said. "We just can't seem to catch a break."

Sharp's strategy paid off early, gaining track position after taking advantage of other drivers' mistakes.

Sharp, who started 17th, moved up to eighth at the race's halfway mark, but was involved in a collision with Danica Patrick (the IRL's current No. 1 poster girl who needs power assist steering to have any chance of winning) on lap 48 when Patrick hit Sharp's car from behind. He suffered damage to the right-rear suspension. Sharp returned to the track seven laps later and finished 11th, seven laps off the pace. Patrick stayed on the course and finished second.

"The guys really had us on a great strategy and we were in position to come out of here in great shape," Sharp said. "Unfortunately, Danica took us out and ruined what could have been a big day. They warned us about rough tactics in this morning's driver meeting, but things happen on the track, I guess. All you can do is suck it up and move on to next week." Detroit News

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09/03/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Ferrari set to struggle at Monza
  • Renault CEO plays down need for Alonso return
  • India GP plans still on track - Ecclestone
  • Vettel to be given time to develop - Tost
  • No reserve driver for BMW in Japan

Ferrari set to struggle at Monza
(GMM) Based on the outcome of the four-day test at Monza last week, McLaren look set to dominate the Italian grand prix this week on Ferrari's home soil.

The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reports that the Maranello based team was surprised that McLaren fielded clearly the quickest car on the high speed layout.

Ferrari reportedly rolled out a new aerodynamic package and a special new Shell oil at the circuit designed to boost horsepower, but on all four days the revised F2007 failed to match the superior pace of its silver-colored rival.

"Ron Dennis mentioned in passing in Istanbul that he was really looking forward to Monza. Now it is clear why!" observed former F1 driver Christian Danner.

At some points between Tuesday and Friday last week, even F1's third force BMW-Sauber seemed to be matching or beating Ferrari for pace.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda, meanwhile, reckons there is no possibility that Ferrari was sandbagging during the Monza test.

"No, I think everything can be taken as read," said the Austrian legend. "Ferrari were not playing around on full fuel tanks or anything."

Renault CEO plays down need for Alonso return
(GMM) The CEO of French carmaker Renault has played down expectations that Fernando Alonso could return to the marque's formula one team in 2008.

Team boss Flavio Briatore admitted last week that, after achieving back to back titles together in 2005 and 2006, Renault would "love" to have the Spaniard back in 2008 following a single season with arch rivals McLaren.

Renault CEO and president Carlos Ghosn insists, however, that success in grand prix racing can never depend on a single team member.

"Success in formula one is always the work of a team," he told reporters in Austria during the launch of a new Renault road car, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca.

"You need a perfect package; chassis, engine, tires, team, and obviously the driver as well.

"But even the best driver cannot be successful without a perfect team, and vice versa," Ghosn, who is Brazilian, said.

With Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen at the wheel of the R27, Enstone based Renault this year lies just fourth in the constructors' championship standings.

Ghosn said he is confident that the team will return to the top in 2008.

"But it does not depend on a single person," he continued. "My only demand is that we can compete at the highest level."

Read more & Comment...
09/03/07
f1

Sutil manager says 2008 contract still valid
(GMM) The sale of the Spyker team to a Dutch-Indian consortium will not affect Adrian Sutil's contract to race for the Silverstone based outfit in 2008, according to his manager.

The 24-year-old German has been a standout of this season, but the team's new fifty per cent co-owner Vijay Mallya has been declaring his interest this week in premier Indian drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.

Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann told the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst: "We have a valid contract also for 2008."

Sutil's current Spyker teammate is the Japanese Sakon Yamamoto, who was drafted in recently after a sponsor for predecessor Christijan Albers did not pay up.

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09/02/07
alms

It’s all about the drivers
A reader writes, I thought the ALMS race was very good and had a very thrilling finish along with perfect weather. I noticed a lot of empty seats that would have been filled if the taxicabs had been there instead and for the life of me can't figure out why they would rather see a big bulky slower than heck tank out there than a purpose built sleek racing machine. It's got to be the name of Stewart, Gordon, and Earnhardt over names like Bernhard, Werner, and Salo with foreign accents. It's certainly not better cars or better racing. Doug Ferguson

Dear Doug, We have said for years, as in every sport, ultimately it's about the athletes, not the equipment. Mark C.

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09/02/07
nascar

Unbearable heat at Fontana
It's 124 degrees outside at 12:30 pm.  We were only outside for about an hour and feel terrible.

Drawing a crowd to California Speedway for the Labor Day weekend race hasn’t been easy, and the 100-plus degree heat this weekend probably won't make it any more enticing for fans.

And there continue to be major questions about why this track has a Labor Day weekend NASCAR race, when the Los Angeles crowd has so many other end-of-summer options, particularly the beaches and the mountains.

It was stunning here Friday night, driving along just behind the frontstretch grandstands, along the mammoth souvenir row, with its bandstands, TV stages and various simulators — because it was a ghost town. Completely empty.  NASCAR just does not get it.  Sophisticated Californians have no interest in NASCAR's product.  Nor do New Yorkers, Denverites, Seattleites, Bostonians, etc.

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09/02/07
cc

Newman/Haas/Lanigan’s Bourdais and Rahal Claim Phanos prize
Assen, The Netherlands – They may have lost the Canadian Triple Crown by only .3 points to Team Australia, but Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing took their revenge today by claiming the Phanos Champ Car European Team Cup Competition with a 16.5 point lead over Will Power and Simon Pagenaud of Team Australia. Pictured right (L to R) Graham Rahal, team owner Mike Lanigan and Sebastien Bourdais

Despite Bourdais and Rahal running as low as 16th and 10th respectively at one point, the pair never let go of the grasp they had on the European Cup. Pagenaud and Power did all they could to make their way to the top, but at the end of the day, the sixth and 14th place finishes of the Team Australia were not enough to steal the title – the squad finishing in second place with 114 points.

Finishing third was the pair of Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson with 106.5 points who edged out PKV Racing drivers Tristan Gommendy and Neel Jani by .5 points. With a second podium finish in a row Dale Coyne Racing’s Bruno Junqueira and Katherine Legge finished in fifth while the single car team of Conquest Racing with driver Jan Heylen moved up to sixth thanks to Heylen’s first career Champ Car podium.

Read more & Comment...
09/02/07
cc

Champ Car drivers loved two European races
After two highly successful back-to-back events on European soil, drivers from the Champ Car World Series are enthusiastically looking forward to returning in 2008.

"It has been fantastic to come here and race at two great events," Wilson said.

"Champ Car has been to Europe before and had reasonable success but not enough to keep it coming back year after year.

"Today was fantastic, last week was great and I was saying to my guys on the grid, I think this track is 2.8 miles and there is 2.8 miles of banking and grandstands all the way around and it was full. It was incredible to see."

While Jan Heylen was disappointed in his home race result after suffering gearbox problems, the Belgian made up for it in neighboring Holland.

Read more & Comment...
09/02/07
irl

Only 25K seats at Belle Isle
Question: How does Eddie Gossage make the IRL work at Texas Motor Speedway? And does it seem like Roger Penske is really making it happen in Detroit? (Jeff, Albuquerque, N.M.)

Curt Cavin, Indy Star: Well, first of all, Penske only has 25,000 grandstand seats to sell to the Detroit Grand Prix, and I know that because one of my spies counted all of the seats on Friday. But that's not to discount what the Captain has done in the community and with partners. He's raised awareness for Indy-car racing and brought in what I'm told is $7 million in corporate sponsorship. Remember, he's done that without the benefit of 43 Cup cars rolling around his facility. He seems to know everyone's name and adds all the personal touches that you'd want in a leader. As for Texas, well, Eddie Gossage does a similar job, although not clearly to Penske's level. Gossage is often full of himself, but he'll try anything to sell a ticket and improve the fan experience, and his effort is worthy of praise.

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09/02/07
cc

Clarke redeems himself
Dan Clarke is on his way to redeeming himself after his disastrous weekend in Zolder by having a clean weekend and setting fast race lap in the process. He wore a flat-black helmet this weekend in Assen, admitting he was a bit the 'black-sheep' of the paddock right now.

“For me, the most positive thing to come out of this race is that I succeeded in getting the monkey of the last race off my back. I would like to thank Tony (Cotman) for giving me the chance to race here in Assen and prove to those people who had quite a bit to say after Zolder that, strategy permitting, we can be right there in terms of pace. We may not have achieved the result we would have liked today, but I take great pleasure from our performance, and from the fact we set the fastest lap of the race. The No 4 crew has done a wonderful job over the two weeks of this Champ Car European Tour, and even pulled an all-nighter to ensure our car was in the best possible shape for today’s race, so I would like to say a really special thank you to them for all their efforts. I’m definitely coming away from these two races a wiser and stronger person.”

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09/02/07
motogp

Stoner takes 8th win of 2007
The Misano MotoGP visit ended with Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner extending his World Championship advantage to 85 points with a plus four second victory at the Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.

The return of racing to Italy’s Adriatic coast saw the unstoppable Aussie secure maximum points for the eighth time this year, controlling the race from pole, while his closest title rival Valentino Rossi disappointingly retired early on with engine problems after starting second on the grid.

It was also another fantastic day for the ever improving Rizla Suzuki team as they filled the other two podium spots – Chris Vermeulen in second place after starting on the third row, finishing 4.851s behind compatriot Stoner and 11 seconds ahead of team-mate John Hopkins.

Read more & Comment...
09/02/07
cc

Seen at Assen - Sunday 3
Below is the Bridgestone Tire Selection chart for the Bavaria Champ Car GP of Assen. You can see what strategy each team used for red vs. black tires and the green dot indicates when the driver set their fastest lap.


Click chart to enlarge

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09/02/07
cc

Seen at Assen - Sunday 2 UPDATE Pictured right talking about the success of Sunday's Assen Champ Car race, (L to R) Champ Car Europe race owner Bart Rietbergen, Circuit President Jos Vaessen, and Assen race promoter Lee van Dam. The three-day race attendance was announced as follow:
Fri: 6,500
Sat: 7,200
Sun: 61,200
Tot: 74,900

Another note: It's now 1.5 hours after the race and most of the fans are still here at the circuit celebrating.

09/02/07 We spotted Trust boss Michel Perridon with businessman Harry Muermans on the grid at Assen.  Muermans currently backs Doornbos and Perridon is rumored to be buying into the Conquest team. (Left Muermans with Perridon, Right Perridon)


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09/02/07
Formula 3

Maiden victory for Latvian Harald Schlegelmilch
Harald Schlegelmilch (HS Technik) is the winner of the 14th season round of the Formula 3 Euro Series at the 3.629 kilometers long Nürburgring. Romain Grosjean (ASM Formule 3) and Sébastien Buemi (Mücke Motorsport) occupied second and third place respectively. This allowed Grosjean to extend his lead in the championship standings to six points. Swiss driver Buemi remains runner-up in the battle for the title. Maximilian Götz (R.C. Motorsport) was the best-placed driver with a Volkswagen-engine at the Nürburgring in ninth place.

For 19-year old Latvian Harald Schlegelmilch and his Austrian team HS Technik, it was the maiden victory in the Formula 3 Euro Series. Driver and team only joined the world’s toughest junior racing series this year. Throughout the race, the Latvian had to hold off fierce attacks by Grosjean. Schlegelmilch defended his line and thus, the points’ leader failed to find a way past.

American Jonathan Summerton finished today's race in a lonely 15th position. The only highlight of today's race was his lap time, just 0.32 sec off the fastest race lap! As this was only the first race for Volkswagen Motorsport since their return to the F3 scene, which has been completely dominated by Mercedes-Benz for the last couple of years, Jonathan's race pace is certainly a very good sign in the right direction. The next two rounds of the F3 Euroseries are at the Circuito de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain on September 22 & 23.

Read more & Comment...
09/02/07
cc

61,200 Dutchmen can’t be wrong
Though the threat of rain hovered over Assen for most of the weekend, today broke with sunny skies and traffic snarls on the way into the circuit.  After warm-up, Paul Tracy stopped by the media center and remarked, “There must be 120,000 fans out there and they’re still coming in… look at the grandstands!”  Though there are many fans still pouring into the circuit (we hear the actual attendance is in the 65,000 range, and 80,000 for the weekend), security and crowd control have done a great job getting everyone into the track with no delay. While Doornbos is the obvious favorite here in the Netherlands, Sebastien Bourdais is hoping to ruin the party by winning his fourth straight championship. 

We are told they did not print enough General Admission tickets and ran out.  The promoter told AutoRacing1.com that there is a waiting list for the suites (Pictured right).

Comment
09/02/07
irl
alms

Belle Isle crowd has been light
All right, the track is slippery as a noodle, and it may still be a tight squeeze in sections, but, boy, the view of downtown from the Belle Isle race track is flat-out spectacular.

The crowds have been light to moderate but those who've come have enjoyed the smell of rubber and racing fuels.

Before you call me a homer, remember, I was born Down Under, so I've seen lots of breathtaking vistas, including mile upon mile on white sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. But I can't think of too many better than early Friday morning, walking the Belle Isle circuit, close to the river, a light mist rising above the chop, Windsor to my left, the Renaissance Center, rising skyward, ahead.

Take a bow, Motor City, you've nailed the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, and we still have a race left to run today. Detroit Free Press

Comment
09/02/07
cc

Assen: Heylen tops morning warm-up UPDATE Justin Wilson's engine was and is fine here in Assen, it was a ruptured transmission cooling line that caused him to miss the AM session.  Am told it had something to do with the shunt last week at Zolder.

09/02/07 Belgian driver Jan Heylen turned the fastest lap in Sunday morning Champ Car warm-up at Assen. Polesitter Sebastien Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud followed. Tristan Gommendy brought out the red with a harmless spin and Justin Wilson turned no laps after his 800-HP Cosworth powerplant would not fire.

Pos Driver Lap Time Behind
1 J. Heylen 1:20.609
2 S. Bourdais 1:20.688 0.079
3 S. Pagenaud 1:20.908 0.299
4 G. Rahal 1:21.044 0.435
5 N. Jani 1:21.365 0.756
6 R. Dalziel 1:21.449 0.840
7 B. Junqueira 1:21.484 0.875
8 T. Gommendy 1:21.570 0.961
9 W. Power 1:21.574 0.965
10 A. Tagliani 1:21.710 1.101
11 O. Servia 1:21.753 1.144
12 R. Doornbos 1:21.795 1.186
13 D. Clarke 1:21.802 1.193
14 K. Legge 1:21.877 1.268
15 A. Figge 1:22.022 1.413
16 P. Tracy 1:22.286 1.677
17 J. Wilson 0.00 0.00

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09/02/07
f1

Football club confirms F1 bosses' takeover
(GMM) Queens Park Rangers has finally confirmed that formula one bosses Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone have "made a recommended offer" for the London football club.

The duo, famous for their leading roles in the world's grand prix paddocks, are believed to have paid about (US) $60m and will leave current chairman Gianni Paladini at the helm.

"Bernie and I were delighted to receive a recommendation from the board of QPR for our bid for the club and we look forward to working alongside (Paladini) and his team," Italian Briatore, team boss of F1's French team Renault, said in a statement issued by QPR.

Following the announcement on Saturday, and in the presence of Briatore, the west London club lost 3-0 at home to Southampton.

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09/02/07
f1

Mallya admits 'Team India' desired name
(GMM) F1's newest team owner has refused to reveal the new name for his team.

But Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, to be the 50 per cent owner of formula one's Silverstone based team that is currently called Spyker, admitted that he would like the word 'India' to feature in the new identity for 2008.

"I'll try my best," he told Indian reporters in a news conference.

'Team India' and 'Orange India', in deference to the team's other half-owner, Dutch businessmen Jan and Michiel Mol, are front runners.

Mallya also could not confirm speculation that Indian countryman Narain Karthikeyan, currently Williams' occasional test driver, would occupy a race seat.

"We would love to have an Indian driver," he said, "but (the team owners) would have to arrive at a consensus."

Comment
09/02/07
cc

Seen at Assen - Sunday
It's Sunday morning in Assen, Holland and it looks like a NASCAR race back in the USA.  Fans are pouring into the circuit by the thousands - by car, by bus and by foot, despite the overcast skies.  The forecast is for only a slight chance of rain.  The top of all the fan viewing berms were lined with people by 7:30 AM and thousands of fans have already taken their place in their grandstand seats.  At 10:00 AM the line to purchase general admission tickets stretches 1/2-mile long.  More later.......



9:00 AM and already some of the grandstands were full.

Comment
09/02/07
nascar

Burton surges to NASCAR Busch Series win
It was just a matter of time.

With fresher tires, on a 10-lap dash to the finish Saturday night, Jeff Burton retook the lead from Kyle Busch in a side-by-side duel on Lap 143 and spent the final seven laps of the Camping World 300 NASCAR Busch Series race expanding his advantage.

Burton crossed the finish line 2.859 seconds ahead of Busch to win the 150-lap event at the 2.0-mile California Speedway. The victory was Burton's third in 15 NASCAR Busch Series starts this season and the 25th of his career, pushing him past one of his idols, Tommy Houston, to fourth on the all-time series win list.

Busch Pole winner Denny Hamlin ran third restored the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the lead in the series owner points standings by 68 points.

"Kyle Busch is hard to get around," Burton said. "I knew we had a lot better tires, followed by Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer. Kasey Kahne, reigning series champion Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon and top-finishing rookie David Ragan completed the top 10.

Read more & Comment...
09/02/07
f1

Toro Rosso happy with new wings
After a wet week in Monza, Scuderia Toro Rosso wrapped up its test session feeling positive about its new front and rear wings and engine cover. Liuzzi and Vettel shared the driving as the team tried to overcome the reliability problems it has suffered from recently.

"Like all the teams, we have been working on a special Monza aero package," said Chief Engineer, Laurent Mekies. "In our case this consisted of new front and rear wings as well as a new engine cover. So we spent time doing back-to-back tests to evaluate these elements. In addition, we worked on fine tuning car set-up for the Italian Grand Prix while also working on car systems and gearbox strategy, as well as the standard tire comparison work."

Comment
09/01/07
eurof3

Nico Hülkenberg triumphs in the Eifel
At the Nürburgring, Nico Hülkenberg (ASM Formule 3) scored his third victory in the Formula 3 Euro Series. After 29 laps at the 3.629 kilometers long sprint track of the Eifel circuit, he was 9.248 seconds faster than Sébastien Buemi (Mücke Motorsport). Edoardo Piscopo (Mücke Motorsport) stepped onto the podium of the Formula 3 Euro Series for the first time after finishing third. Maximilian Götz (R.C. Motorsport) made for a great debut of the new Volkswagen engine. The German finished sixth behind Romain Grosjean (ASM Formule 3), who is still leading in the points’ standings.

Four weeks after his success in the “Masters of Formula 3”, Hülkenberg led from lights to flag and scored a dominant win. In the points’ standings, he stepped up one place and is now fourth, only one point behind Kamui Kobayashi (ASM Formule 3). The Japanese finished eleventh after spinning.

Nico Hülkenberg (ASM Formule 3): “A good car, a good driver - so far, the weekend has been perfect. My feeling with the car and the team is getting better and better. Tomorrow, it will be more difficult as I am only starting from eighth place. I will try to get up to the front as much as I can.”

Sébastien Buemi (Mücke Motorsport): “I am very happy with second place. Nico Hülkenberg was too fast for me. With second place, I made up four places on Romain Grosjean in the points’ standings. All in all, I had a good race.”

Edoardo Piscopo (Mücke Motorsport): Being on the podium for the first time is just fantastic! For me, this is a great day. Thanks to my team Mücke Motorsport and to everybody who has supported me and has put trust in me.”

American Jonathan Summerton (pictured right), who started the race from 13th on the grid, was hit from behind by Czech driver Filip Salaquarda at the first corner after the start. Summerton made a steady recovery and finished 18th. This will be his starting position in Sunday's race, which will start at 11:30 AM local time.

Comment
09/01/07
irl

Hunter-Reay gives Rahal team best start ever
After a close call in Sonoma where Rahal Letterman Racing and Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) narrowly missed a shot at the Firestone Fast Six IndyCar qualifying procedure, the team rebounded in a major way on a sunny Saturday at Detroit’s Belle Isle.
 
Hunter-Reay earned a spot in the Firestone Fast Six on his single qualifying lap around the 2.125-mile road circuit, then ripped a spot away from Marco Andretti to earn the fifth position on the grid for tomorrow’s Detroit Belle Isle. Hunter-Reay’s best time of 1:13.3434 (101.604 mph) gave him not only his best-ever IndyCar Series starting position, but also earned Rahal Letterman Racing its best-ever Indy Car road-course qualifying result.
 
“It was another good day for the Ethanol team. I've been saying this every day but we keep getting faster every session and we did it again today when it counted,” Hunter-Reay said. “We got in the Firestone Fast Six and gained a spot so we are very happy. We still have work to do to get into the front row, but we can race from fifth. The Ethanol guys deserve to be running up front like this and hopefully we do even better tomorrow." 
 
The Firestone Fast Six is a shootout between the top-six cars after single-car qualifying, where each of the fastest six drivers get a new set of Firestone Firehawks and 10 minutes to turn their best time. Sixth on the grid after the single-car runs, Hunter-Reay turned two laps that were good enough to move him up to fifth on the grid.
 
"The Firestone tires have been very compliant with the bumps and I didn’t have any worries - matter of fact it was exactly the opposite,” he said. “I’ve been surprised at how good the grip has been on such a bumpy track like this with so much concrete. They’ve helped to give me a lot of confidence in the Ethanol car.”
 
Things didn’t go as well for veteran Scott Sharp (#8 Patrón Dallara/Honda/Firestone), who lost some laps in the morning practice session due to a brake problem. His single qualifying lap of 1:16.2611 (97.717 mph) planted him in the 17th position on the grid for Sunday’s penultimate event of the IndyCar Series season.
 
“We lost some track time this morning with a problem and that set us back a little bit but I really thought that we had run a better lap than that,” Sharp said. “It felt pretty good and I was surprised when the data came up on the screen with the time. We'll just try to keep out of trouble tomorrow and work our way to a good finish.”
 
 The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will take place tomorrow afternoon with the 90-lap event slated to begin at 3:45 Eastern Time. Fans can see all the action live on ABC.
 

Comment
09/01/07
cc

Walker Racing forms new partnership
For over five decades, open wheel racing has had a rich tradition in America.  Hundreds of aspiring drivers have tried to work their way up the infamous ladder to pave their way into Champ Car, but many haven’t had the opportunity to make it that far, until now.  Walker Racing and Performance Friction Brakes are proud to announce that they have formed a relationship to help talented youth reach the pinnacle of the sport.

The two parties are joining forces in an attempt to give back to the open wheel community, by becoming strategic partners.  Performance Friction Brakes and Walker Racing will work together in finding talent by focusing on drivers in the Star Mazda series. 

“We are happy to be entering into a relationship with Walker Racing to help find promising and talented drivers in the open wheel categories.  As part of our commitment to open wheel racing we want to help with developing the Mazda family in the Star Mazda, Atlantic and Champ Car series.  Derrick Walker and his group have been the stalwarts of the community and have shown through the development series you can reach the pinnacle of racing as they did with Simon Pagenaud.  Effectively we believe in the benefits of this program and that is why we have picked a strategic partner with the same common goals,” commented Darrick Dong, Director of Motorsports, Performance Friction Brakes.

Read more & Comment...
09/01/07
irl

IRL to further copy Champ Car
The IRL's Brian Barnhart, Terry Angstadt, and Bud Denker (Detroit Grand Prix) met with the media today at Belle Isle and we present to you below the highlights

1. Bud Denker: Aug 29-31 for the Detroit race next year, with ALMS once again.

The event has gone well this year despite limited time for preparation. IRL has 5 year contract, 4 year option. Tremendous turnout of fans exceeded expectations.

2. Brian Barnhart: "Tremendous improvement over previous events here." Looking forward to long relationship with Detroit and Belle Isle.

3. Bud Denker: The IRL and ALMS "will be in Detroit for years to come!" Had to educate fans about ALMS, initial sales were heavily toward IndyCar. Fewer than 500 tickets left for IRL race. Had some big corporations buy blocks (in other words he meant to say the big corporations bought all the tickets up and gave them away for free because there were few fans that would actually buy them - attendance was alarmingly light both Friday and Saturday)

4. Brian Barnhart: Thanks to mayor and city council, Belle Isle GP Association. Thanks to drivers and teams for the product.

Close side-by-side racing a hallmark of the series. Championship down to the wire this year.

IndyCar has most diverse schedule in motorsports.

Read more & Comment...
09/01/07
irl

Hard Rock Hotel to sponsor Rice
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will sponsor Buddy Rice’s No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda-powered Dallara for the final two races of the 2007 IndyCar Series season.

DENNIS REINBOLD (Co-owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): “We’re excited to have Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas join our team for the rest of the 2007 IndyCar Series season. They are a great organization and we look forward to growing our relationship with them in the future. I hope that we can give them some good results over the course of the next few weeks.”

Read more & Comment...
09/01/07
irl

IRL to return to Detroit
At a press conference earlier today, officials with the IndyCar Series and Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix announced that the Detroit Indy Grand Prix will return to the Raceway at Belle Isle in 2008. The event is scheduled for Aug. 29-31, 2008.

Comment
09/01/07
nascar

Hall of Fame Racing undecided on manufacturer
Hall of Fame Racing general manager Philippe Lopez said the team hasn't decided which manufacturer it will partner with next season. If Hall of Fame Racing doesn't go to Toyota, it would look at other Chevy teams like Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports. Lopez said his team has talked to both owners about that possibility. Lopez said Hall of Fame Racing is in the second year of a three-year deal with Gibbs, but that they can opt out of the contract if Gibbs switches manufacturers. Dallas Morning News

Comment
09/01/07
motogp

Stoner beats Rossi for pole
As he has done on so many occasions this season, Casey Stoner played the spoiler in today’s qualifying session for the Cinzano GP San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, snatching what seemed to be surefire pole for local favorite Valentino Rossi.

With Rossi having left it late to clock his fastest lap of the Misano circuit, something special was required of the 21 year old Australian if he was to start his fourth consecutive race from pole. The Ducati rider duly obliged by putting down his 1’33.918 lap to become the only man to go round the new track in under 1’34.

Few would have believed that even Stoner could knock Rossi off the top of the tree, and the Italian seemed to be one of the most convinced that he would be starting tomorrow’s race from the head of the grid. The Yamaha factory rider pumped his fist in elation as he completed his hot lap, saluting the thousands of supporters to his cause in attendance today, Rossi then completed his in lap at a leisurely pace, watching his rival on the circuit’s big screen in disbelief as Stoner subsequently answered his challenge.

Read more & Comment...
09/01/07
alms

Maassen leads ALMS warm-up
Penske Motorsports continued its strong showing at Belle Isle with Sascha Maassen posting the fastest time in Saturday’s warm-up for the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch. Penske cars have held strong to the top spot on the timing sheets all weekend at a venue and event spearheaded by team owner Roger Penske.

Maassen’s time of 1:16.270 was 0.08 seconds ahead of the lead diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI of Emanuele Pirro. Sunday’s warm-up is the closest the Audi LMP1 has been to the less powerful but more nimble P2 cars. Penske’s other Porsche of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas was third overall and second in class at 1:16.454.

The leading Acura of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz was fourth overall, third in P2, at 1:16.646. It was just ahead of the other Audi of Allan McNish and Dindo Capello.

Olivier Beretta went quickest in GT1 in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R. His time of 1:22.208 in the car he will share with Oliver Gavin was 0.566 seconds ahead of the pole-sitting sister Corvette of Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen.

In GT2, Risi Competizione was fastest again with the No. 62 Ferrari F430 GT of Mika Salo turning a lap of 1:25.730. He was 0.436 seconds ahead of the rebuilt Tafel Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Robin Liddell and Wolf Henzler, which had been damaged in Friday morning’s practice. Third was the No. 44 Flying Lizard Porsche Patrick Long and Darren Law.

Comment
09/01/07
f1

Joint consortium buys Spyker team for $110m
(GMM) The sale of the Dutch formula one team Spyker has been agreed and will be officially confirmed shortly.

The buyer is Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, who in recent days joined with the Michiel and Jan Mol consortium in a jointly (US) $110m bid, the local CNBC-TV18 reported on Saturday.

Mallya's involvement is reportedly in his "personal capacity", meaning that his airline Kingfisher will continue to sponsor Toyota.

It is not known what the new name for the Silverstone based team, also called Jordan and Midland in recent years, will be, but the joint consortium is called 'Orange India'.

Read more & Comment...
09/01/07
irl

Andretti, Franchitti continue to disagree
Dario Franchitti and Marco Andretti have agreed to disagree regarding their championship-turning accident late in last weekend's IndyCar Series race at Sonoma, Calif.

But Franchitti said Friday, in his first public comments since the incident at Infineon Raceway, that he will never agree with Andretti Green Racing co-owner Michael Andretti's assessment he drove impatiently.

Franchitti struck Marco Andretti's right rear tire, spinning his teammate off the track. Franchitti, who lost the lead of the race with a damaged car, expected the second-year driver to give him more room in that corner of the track.

Both were pursuing victory in the Motorola Indy 300. Andretti's race was over, but Franchitti paid a heftier price -- losing valuable ground toward his first season title. Instead of leading Scott Dixon by as many as 21 points heading to the final two races, including Sunday's Detroit Grand Prix, he trails by four.

Michael Andretti called Franchitti "impatient" on national television, a word that still stings the Indianapolis 500 winner.

"I didn't agree with his assessment at all, but it's not the first time we've been upset with each other nor will it be the last time," Franchitti said at the Belle Isle circuit. "We'll work it out."

Franchitti said he and Michael Andretti haven't spoken about the incident since leaving Sonoma, and Friday the team co-owner said "everything's fine."  More at Indy Star

Comment
09/01/07
nascar

Weekly NASCAR cheating report UPDATE Joe Lax, crew chief for Jeremy Mayfield's No. 36 Toyota, is expecting a significant penalty after his team got caught putting illegal weight in the car.

In pre-qualifying inspection Friday at California Speedway, Mayfield's Bill Davis Racing car was found to have too much camber in the rear end. The team fixed the problem, which requires taking a blowtorch to the rear of the car, and went back through the inspection line, but the car was found to be too light on the right side.

Then, in a moment of desperation, a team member stuck a piece of lead inside the water bottle to add the extra weight. But NASCAR discovered the illegal trick, which is considered tampering with the car.

"Let's say this, it's well outside the rule book," NASCAR Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said, adding that any penalties would be announced on Tuesday.

"We did something stupid, you know?" Lax said. "I've got some young guys that need a little more experience and that was just a deal where we did something that was a bit immature. We got our hand slapped for that deal, and I went and had a little talk with Darby, and he said he'll call me Tuesday and let me know how much it's going to cost."

Mayfield said he expected "big penalties" for the infraction. Scenedaily.com

08/31/07 NASCAR announced today that Greg Tester, crew chief of the No. 71 Chevrolet driven by Ron Young in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined and penalized due to rule violations at Michigan International Speedway.

Tester was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until December 31, 2007, for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20A - 5.9D (4) (unapproved intake manifold modifications to the plenum area) of the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book.

The infraction was discovered during opening day inspection on August 17.

Comment
09/01/07
nascar

Penske confirms Hornish to run NASCAR Cup
Penske Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr., a three-time IRL champion and Indy 500 winner will enter some Cup events later this year team owner Roger Penske confirmed Friday.

Reports circulated earlier this year that Hornish would leave the IRL for a full time NASCAR ride in 2008 with Mobile 1 as a sponsor. Hornish would become teammate to current Cup drivers Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.

As the Indy Racing League prepares for this weekend’s event at Belle Isle near Detroit team owner Roger Penske confirmed that after the IRL season ends September 9th, Hornish would be entered in up to five of the remaining Nextel Cup events in 2007.

"Of course, first he has to qualify," Penske told reporters. CupScene.com

Three-time IndyCar series champion Sam Hornish Jr. tested a Car of Tomorrow car twice this week as he prepares to compete in five COT races later this season.

Hornish, who is considering a move to Nextel Cup next year driving a third car for team owner Roger Penske, tested Monday and Tuesday at Memphis and Nashville. Kurt Busch, who drives for Penske in the Cup series, attended the Memphis test to help Hornish.

"We knew at the beginning of the year, part of the plan was to get seat time in a Cup car and see what I like about that and what I didn't like about it," Hornish said Thursday in Detroit where he'll compete in Sunday's Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. "I really just got my first two days in the car and it's a lot different than a Busch car. It was something to go from the Indy car to the Busch car to see how much less downforce it had and now to go to that [COT] car, it's still another version of that, another big step."

Comment
09/01/07
cc

Assen: Jani tops morning warm-up
Swiss Neel Jani turned a fast lap at the very end of practice to pip Graham Rahal off the top of the morning Champ Car warm-up. His lap of 1m19.797s beat Rahal's 1m19.816s lap by the slimmest of margins. Veteran Paul Tracy was third 1m20.058 ahead of Tristan Gommendy's 1m20.197s.

The track was wet from early morning rains but dried out about half way through as the times came tumbling down. Katherine Legge went off and lost the nose and slightly damaged the front suspension. Graham Rahal also spun off but came back to lead much of the session before Jani beat him at the end.

Jan Heylen still holds the fastest lap for the weekend, a few hundreds up on Neel Jani's time today.

Pos Driver Lap Time Leader
1 N. Jani 1:19.797
2 G. Rahal 1:19.816 0.019
3 P. Tracy 1:20.058 0.261
4 T. Gommendy 1:20.197 0.400
5 W. Power 1:20.282 0.485
6 S. Bourdais 1:20.315 0.518
7 J. Wilson 1:20.398 0.601
8 S. Pagenaud 1:20.406 0.609
9 R. Doornbos 1:20.481 0.684
10 B. Junqueira 1:20.511 0.714
11 D. Clarke 1:20.557 0.760
12 O. Servia 1:20.694 0.897
13 J. Heylen 1:20.775 0.978
14 A. Tagliani 1:21.243 1.446
15 R. Dalziel 1:21.347 1.550
16 A. Figge 1:21.780 1.983
17 K. Legge 1:23.595 3.798

Comment
09/01/07
f1

EU asks Ferrari to get rid of Marlboro
The European Union's Health Commissioner has asked Ferrari to end tobacco sponsorship of their Formula One team, saying it undermined the goal to end cigarette advertising at sporting events.

Most countries that host races have a ban on tobacco sponsorship and most cigarette companies also appear to have withdrawn from Formula One advertising, EU health chief Markos Kyprianou said in a letter to Ferrari.

Ferrari's deal with tobacco giant Philip Morris until 2011 is the only visible exception to that, meaning cigarette advertising could still be seen in races outside the EU that are beamed back to Europe, he wrote.

"The resulting situation is not satisfactory as it undermines the objectives of the EU legislation," wrote Kyprianou.

Read more & Comment...
09/01/07
arca

Q and A with new ARCA driver Colin Braun
Colin Braun, driver of the No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford Fusion, made his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut on Friday night at Gateway International Raceway.  Braun finished ninth after qualifying in the 13th position.  He is scheduled to run two more ARCA races this season then assuming full-time driving duties in 2008.

HOW DID YOU LOSE THIRD GEAR? “I think it was probably my fault.  I’m not used to shifting with these types of cars.  I’ve been working on that all day. With about 15 laps to go, we lost third gear.  Luckily we tested here and we never shifted, so I was used to using one gear.  It seemed to work out okay at the end.  We were just using fourth gear, the top gear, where before we were going down to third gear in turns one and two.  We just started using fourth gear in turns one and two and it seemed to work okay.”

IN YOUR FIRST ARCA RACE YOU FINISHED IN NINTH PLACE.  WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE RACE?  “I had a blast, obviously.  It’s a fun series to race in. Driving with guys at Roush Fenway and having the support of a manufacturer like Ford is great because it gives me a chance for me to get out there and make lots of laps and learn and gain a lot of experience.  Our goal tonight was to finish the race and we did that, so I’m happy about that.  I’m just thankful for everybody here in giving me an opportunity to and run.”

MANY DRIVERS SAY THIS IS A DIFFICULT TRACK BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE SHAPE.  WHAT DID YOU THINK? “For me, I’m used to having a lot of different corners on one race track.  So it might have been a little easier than what I’m used to then some of these guys.  But I definitely think this is a tough race track. It’s just difficult for me running for the first time in traffic and figuring out how the restarts work and the how the whole pit lane deal works.  I’ve never done an oval race at night.  There are a lot of difficult things and it’s just great to have the crew and the organization with me the whole time.”

Read more & Comment...
09/01/07
cc

Saturday morning at Assen UPDATE Champ Car practice has begun at Assen and the sun is out. The track is still wet but it is drying.

09/01/07 Heavy rains were falling as we drove into the TT Circuit in Assen, Holland this morning, but better weather is forecast this afternoon, with a 30% chance of rain. From two days of rain the green grass fields are rather soggy around the Assen circuit so parking cars today will be a challenge. It's 8:30 AM now and practice will begin at 10:15 AM local time. Qualifying is slated for 2:00 PM local time (8:00 AM ET). The wet weather has definitely put a damper on attendance thus far. We estimated Friday attendance at only 10,000 but if it clears this afternoon that number is expected to go way up..

Comment
09/01/07
Miscellaneous

States with worst speeding fines
Depending on where you live, speeding fines can range from the puny to the punitive.

In July, Virginia began charging most speeders an additional $1,050 fine on top of its usual $300, with drunken drivers there now facing an additional fine of up to $2,250. Other heavy hitting states include Georgia, Illinois and North Carolina, where maximum fines can hit $1,000, as well as New York, Texas and New Jersey.

Obviously, drivers and driver groups are upset at having to pay out more than their share to fund infrastructure improvements -- the root of the Virginia fine increases -- while some groups believe the fine increase acts as a deterrent against speeding or reckless drivers.

Top 10 States with Maximum Fines for Speeding

States Fines
Virginia $1311
Nevada $1000
Georgia $1000
North Carolina $1000
Illinois $1000
New Hampshire $1000
Utah $750
Oregon $600
Kansas $500
Maryland $500 

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Virginia's new law imposes a mandatory $1,050 fee on anyone convicted of speeding at more than 20 mph over the limit, or anyone traveling 15 mph over the limit in a 65 mph zone. When added to a drunken driving offense, a ticket's total can reach $3,550. Fees are added to almost all traffic offenses, felony and misdemeanor, including reckless driving or even driving with faulty brakes. You can also incur the inflated fine for using the wrong turn signal or driving too fast for conditions. Simple traffic infractions like rolling through a stop sign will not result in an increased fine. Some solace is offered in that only Virginia residents will be targeted – out-of-state drivers won't have to pay the add-on fees, but will still be fined for the original offense, or usually about $300.

Comment
09/01/07
alms

Win travel To LeMans, Petit LeMans and Sebring
Winners Will Travel To LeMans, Petit LeMans and Sebring

The American LeMans Series has joined with partners AutoWeek, Michelin, Audi and Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores to launch the 2008 “American LeMans / AutoWeek Insiders Dream Giveaway.” Officials of the Series and AutoWeek announced the sweepstakes event Friday at Belle Isle in Detroit, the home of AutoWeek and site of this weekend’s Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch for the American LeMans Series.

Series fans, AutoWeek readers and automotive enthusiasts have the opportunity to win trips to three of the world’s most prestigious races – the 24 Hours of LeMans, Petit Le Mans, and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as well as valuable prizes from Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers and Michelin.

The entry period will begin Monday, September 3 and end at midnight on Sunday, March 16.

Read more & Comment...
09/01/07
alms
irl

IRL cars as slow as ALMS cars at Belle Isle
The pole time by Ryan Briscoe at Belle Isle was a 1m13.3s lap on Friday in his ALMS LMP2 Porsche.  Helio Castroneves turned a fast lap of 1m13.3s in his Penske Honda Indy Car.  By comparison when the Champ Cars were sharing the weekend with the ALMS cars the lap times were not even close, the Champ Car being much faster.

2007 Pole Time Comparisons 

2007 LBGP: Champ Car 1:07:546 ALMS 1:11:838
2007 Road America: Champ Car 1:41.535 ALMS  1:47.665
2007 Houston Champ Car 57.405s ALMS  61.824s
2007 St. Pete Indy Car 1:01.596 ALMS 1:03.309
2007 Mid-Ohio IndyCar 1:06.838 ALMS  1:08.510
2007 Detroit GP: IndyCar: 1:13.313 (Practice) ALMS (Qualifying) 1:13.357

Comment
09/01/07
irl

Belle Isle feedback
A reader writes, I was at the Detroit Belle Isle track on Friday. Roger Penske has done a fine job sprucing the place up. I didn't recognize the place. It was a beautiful day on Friday, bright sunshine and blue skies, but the fan turnout was very sparse. Not a good sign. Greg Gomez

Dear Greg, Friday was just the hardcore fans. On Sunday the attendance will be large. That is when all the free Marlboro, Firestone and Honda ticket holders will show up. Besides, there are not many grandstand seats erected, so they should be full. Mark C.

Comment
08/31/07
alms

Briscoe gives Penske team ALMS pole
If Ryan Briscoe felt any pressure Friday under the watchful eye of Roger Penske, he didn’t show it. The young Aussie captured his first pole in the American Le Mans Series as Penske Motorsports swept the front row in qualifying for the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch. Briscoe turned in a stellar time of 1:13.357 in the Porsche RS Spyder he will share with Sascha Maassen.

The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend is the creation of Penske, who has brought auto racing back to Detroit and revitalized Belle Isle. Briscoe showed his appreciation with a lap time that was 0.246 seconds ahead of Timo Bernhard in the other Penske Porsche. The factory entries are on a seven-race overall winning streak in the American Le Mans Series.

“It’s great racing for Roger every race whether it’s his own track or anywhere else, especially when he is on the pit stand watching every move,” said Briscoe, who has three LMP2 victories this year - two of which have been overall wins. “We have to go out there and do what we have been doing at the other races this year: make no mistakes and stay out of trouble.”

Read more & Comment...
08/31/07
cc

Video: Phoenix race promoter talks about cancellation

After two years of planning and failure to receive enough corporate support, Phoenix has canceled its upcoming Champ Car race scheduled for Dec. 2, 2007. Event organizer Dale Jensen says that although many partnerships were established, there were not enough to economically sustain the Grand Prix of Arizona. However, Jensen says this decision will not affect the Vegas Grand Prix, the first race in the 2008 Champ Car World Series. The next race in the 2007 Series, the Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix, will be held in The Netherlands beginning Aug. 31 through Sept. 2.

Comment
08/31/07
nascar

Kyle Busch confirms Gibbs’ move to Toyota
Kyle Busch confirmed that he has been told that Joe Gibbs Racing will race Toyotas next season. Busch, who will leave Hendrick Motorsports after this season to join JGR, said he is comfortable with the switch, which is expected to be announced next week by the team.

"I feel fine with it," Busch said when asked what he thought of the team's move to Toyota from Chevrolet. "I think it's something that's going to take Joe Gibbs Racing hopefully a step forward and in the right direction. They've got a great repertoire for being able to produce winning race cars year in and year out and championship-contending teams, so I think that they're going to be just fine and this is a business decision that they've done right."

Mark Cronquist, the team's head engine builder, is expected to spearhead the work on the engine.

"I've met with him a few times in our meetings and our discussions," Busch said. "He's a really cool guy. Actually, when we were talking about Toyota, they brought him in because I had a bunch of questions about the motor.

"They've got a lot of questions in that area. ... They've got the ... top-end power but don't have bottom-end. They've had not too many reliability issues, but a couple still. ... Mark [said] to me they feel like their package that they've had in the Chevrolets, especially with the new R07, that they can translate that into the Toyota and hopefully have a pretty good piece come January."  Scene Daily

[Editor's Note: More hypocrisy. NASCAR is essentially a spec series now with the Car of Yesterday (Yes, yesterday since it still uses 1950's technology) so Joe Gibbs Racing will just take the headlight and front grille decals off their Chevy Cars of Yesterday, slap on some Toyota decals and the Toyota engine so regulated it makes the same HP as everyone else, and Joe Gibbs Racing will have their Toyotas and be back in the winners circle in no time flat].

Comment
08/31/07
irl

Castroneves tops Franchitti on Day 1 at Belle Isle
Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves paced the opening day of preparations for the Detroit Indy Grand Prix Presented by Firestone at the Raceway at Belle Isle.

Castroneves, who has won the pole for three of the four previous road/street course events this season, turned a lap of 1 minute, 13.3130 seconds, 101.646 mph, in the Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone. 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti was second fastest with a lap of 1:13.3447, 101.602 mph in the No. 27 Canadian Club car.

IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon overcame a mechanical failure in the opening practice session to post the third-fastest lap (101.073) followed by Franchitti's Andretti Green Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti, who were fourth and fifth, respectively.

The real surprise has been the strength of ex-Champ Car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay who continues to demoralize his more experienced IRL star Scott Sharp by over a second a lap for the Rahal Letterman team. In fact ex-Champ Car drivers dominate the top of the grid.
 
Single-lap qualifying followed by the Firestone Fast Six session are scheduled for Saturday.

Pos Driver Lap Time Behind
1 Helio Castroneves (3) 1:13.3130 ...
2 Dario Franchitti (27) 1:13.4702 0.1572
3 Scott Dixon (9) 1:13.7286 0.4156
4 Tony Kanaan (11) 1:13.7434 0.4304
5 Marco Andretti (26) 1:14.5218 1.2088
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 1:14.6862 1.3732
7 Vitor Meira (4) 1:14.6865 1.3735
8 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 1:14.8298 1.5168
9 Tomas Scheckter (2) 1:15.0778 1.7648
10 Darren Manning (14) 1:15.3621 2.0491
11 Danica Patrick (7) 1:15.7939 2.4809
12 Scott Sharp (8) 1:15.8556 2.5426
13 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 1:16.5951 3.2821
14 Dan Wheldon (10) 1:16.7193 3.4063
15 Ed Carpenter (20) 1:16.8512 3.5382
16 Buddy Rice (15) 1:17.2411 3.9281
17 Sarah Fisher (5) 1:17.8633 4.5503

Read more & Comment...
08/31/07
eurof3

Hulkenberg takes pole, Summerton 12th
Nico Hulkenberg will start round 13 of the F3 Euro Series from pole position after dominating qualifying at the Nurburgring. American Jonathan Summerton (pictured right), in his first Euro F3 go will start 12th despite not having the Mercedes engine that all the top runners are using. Summerton is one of three drivers running a VW engine as that manufacturer makes a return to the series with a brand new engine.

Pos  Driver               Make                             Time        Gap.
1  Nico Hülkenberg  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:22.911 
2  Sebastien Buemi  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:23.308  00.397
3  Edoardo Piscopo  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:23.317  00.009
4  James Jakes  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:23.326  00.009
5  Romain Grosjean  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:23.362  00.036
6  Sergey Afanasiev  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:23.551  00.189
7  Yelmer Buurman  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:23.698  00.147
8  Maximilian Götz  Dallara F306 Volkswagen  1:23.885  00.187
9  Harald Schlegelmilch  Dallara F306 Mercedes  1:23.902  00.017
10  Tim Sandtler  Dallara F306 Mercedes  1:23.941  00.039
11  Dani Clos  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:23.953  00.012
12  Franck Mailleux  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:23.980  00.027
13  Jonathan Summerton  Dallara F306 Volkswagen  1:24.020  00.040
14  Renger van der Zande  Dallara F306 Mercedes  1:24.022  00.002
15  Yann Clairay  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:24.125  00.103
16  Jean Karl Vernay  Dallara F306 Mercedes  1:24.127  00.002
17  Filip Salaquarda  Dallara F306 Mercedes  1:24.292  00.165
18  Edoardo Mortara  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:24.392  00.100
19  Kamui Kobayashi  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:24.438  00.046
20  Tom Dillmann  Dallara F307 Mercedes  1:24.451  00.013
21  Michael Patrizi  Dallara F306 Mercedes  1:24.467  00.016
22  Euan Hankey  Dallara F305 Mercedes  1:24.772  00.305
23  Cyndie Allemann  Dallara F306 Mercedes  1:24.777  00.005
24  Basil Shaaban  Dallara F306 Mercedes  1:24.932  00.155
25  Marco Holzer  Dallara F305 Volkswagen  1:25.032  00.100

Comment
08/31/07
f1

De la Rosa keeps McLaren on top at Monza
McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa topped the times on the final day of F1 testing at Monza on Friday.  His best lap of one minute 23.285 seconds was just four thousandths of a second faster than Felipe Massa's Ferrari.

Pos   Driver        Team                Time      Laps
 1.   de la Rosa    McLaren-Mercedes    1:23.285   55
 2.   Massa         Ferrari             1:23.289   67
 3.   Kubica        BMW-Sauber          1:23.575   68
 4.   Rosberg       Williams-Toyota     1:23.962   94
 5.   Button        Honda               1:24.537   61
 6.   Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:24.760   79
 7.   R.Schumacher  Toyota              1:24.837   39
 8.   Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    1:25.185   69
 9.   Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda   1:25.416  104

Comment
08/31/07
nascar

Morris Metcalfe passes away
Morris Metcalfe, one of NASCAR’s longest serving officials and a member of the organization’s timing and scoring department in five decades, died Thursday in Winston-Salem, N.C. Metcalfe, who retired as Chief of Timing and Scoring following the 2002 Daytona 500, was 81.

Metcalfe, holder of a Master’s Degree in biomedical engineering from Texas Tech University following higher education at the Tennessee Military Institute and University of Miami, began scoring NASCAR races in the 1950s. He became an assistant to then NASCAR scoring chief Joe Epton a few years later after service at tracks from Daytona Beach to the Carolinas and Virginia.

A World War II veteran who served as a signalman on the USS Randolph and later a colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve, Metcalfe joined NASCAR on a fulltime basis after his retirement with 30 years of service with Western Electric now Lucent Technology.

Metcalfe, born in Morristown, Tenn., is credited for founding NASCAR’s first fan club, in 1955 for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Lee Petty.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/07
irl

Franchitti tops opening practice at Belle Isle
Pos Driver Best Time Diff
1 Dario Franchitti (27) 1:13.3447 ...
2 Helio Castroneves (3) 1:13.8656 0.5209
3 Tony Kanaan (11) 1:13.8676 0.5229
4 Scott Dixon (9) 1:14.1384 0.7937
5 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 1:14.5228 1.1781
6 Marco Andretti (26) 1:14.8814 1.5367
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 1:15.0943 1.7496
8 Tomas Scheckter (2) 1:15.2026 1.8579
9 Vitor Meira (4) 1:15.2523 1.9076
10 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 1:15.3675 2.0228
11 Darren Manning (14) 1:15.4120 2.0673
12 Danica Patrick (7) 1:16.0065 2.6618
13 Scott Sharp (8) 1:16.0652 2.7205
14 Buddy Rice (15) 1:16.6024 3.2577
15 Dan Wheldon (10) 1:16.7346 3.3899
16 AJ Foyt IV (22) 1:16.9731 3.6284
17 Ed Carpenter (20) 1:17.2229 3.8782
18 Sarah Fisher (5) 1:19.3457 6.0010

Comment
08/31/07
f1

Brundle explains the effects of G-Force on Formula 1 drivers
After 25 years as a racing driver, ITV-F1 pundit Martin Brundle investigates the physical effects of driving a Formula 1 car. In this feature, he performs a series of laps in a Williams Toyota FW29 race car, demonstrating the mental and physical challenges, including the G-force effects a Formula 1 driver faces during a Grand Prix.  See our Home Page to watch the video.

Comment
08/31/07
NASCAR

Fight breaks out between NASCAR drivers UPDATE #2 A Forsyth Superior Court jury found James “Rupert” Sink, 39, guilty of assault inflicting serious injury in the beating of Maynard Peters. The incident happened Aug. 13, 2005, after a NASCAR-sanctioned event.

Sink was also found guilty of simple assault against another man who came to Peters’ aid.

Sink, of Winston-Salem, was sentenced to 29 days in jail and three years probation. Judge Henry E. Frye Jr. also ordered Sink to pay $20,146 to cover the men’s medical bills. Peters’ injuries required surgery to repair fractures in bones around his eyes and a broken nose.

Sink had faced three felony charges linked to the incident. Frye dismissed two of them and told the jury not to consider the third for lack of evidence.

“We obviously weren’t happy to get convicted of anything, but I was happy that the court threw out the felonies,” said Sink attorney Don Tisdale, adding that his client will appeal.

08/20/05 Three men — a car owner, a driver and the driver's brother — are charged with assault in connection with a bloody fight after a NASCAR-sanctioned race at Bowman Gray Stadium. NASCAR has already indefinitely suspended driver Kris Bradley and car owner James Rupert Sink, saying they were being punished for actions detrimental to stock-car racing, failure to follow directives from NASCAR officials and fighting.

The victim in the melee one week ago was another driver, Maynard Peters, 47, who required surgery to repair fractures in bones around his eyes and a broken nose. 

Sink, Bradley, and Bradley's brother, Robert D. Bradley, were charged Friday.  Sink, 37, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault inflicting serious injury and two felony counts of habitual assault. He was convicted of assault last year in Forsyth County after a fight with another stock-car driver.   The Bradley brothers, both 19, each were charged with one felony count of assault inflicting serious injury.  AP Story

08/17/05 A bloody fight after a NASCAR-sanctioned race at Bowman Gray Stadium has resulted in the indefinite suspensions of a driver and a car owner, NASCAR officials said.  The victim, Maynard Peters, 47, was released Tuesday from Forsyth Medical Center after surgeries on his face and nose. He said he had 15 fractures in bones around his eyes and a broken nose, and that he can't work or eat solid food for at least six weeks.

In notices issued to driver Kris Bradley and car owner James Rupert Sink, NASCAR officials said that they were suspended for actions detrimental to stock-car racing, failure to follow directives from NASCAR officials and fighting. Jerry Cook, NASCAR's competition administrator, said he was still gathering information from police and stadium officials. He said it was too early to say how long the suspensions will last.

Peters said their cars made contact during the first stadium-stock race of the night, causing Bradley to spin out. The fight started because they disagreed on who was at fault.

Peters said he remembered about four men kicking and stomping on his head outside the Bowman Gray field house, where drivers collect their money when the races are finished.  "They were kicking me in the face," he said. "I was hit so many times that I just kind of rolled up in the corner beside the field house." 

Sink has been involved in a racetrack fight before. He was convicted in Forsyth District Court last year of misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury after he and other drivers were involved in a fight with driver Gary Brewer on Aug. 21, 2004. More at  Yahoo! Sports

Comment
08/31/07
motogp

Heavy rain forces cancellation of MotoGP practice
The Misano circuit made a dramatic return to Grand Prix racing on Friday as the afternoon practice sessions for the San Marino Grand Prix were cancelled with parts of the track submerged to shoulder height by flood water. The morning’s MotoGP practice session went ahead in wet conditions, but a torrential downpour at lunchtime saw a river of water running down pit lane and flooding many garages, including the Repsol Honda pit. There was no significant damage to equipment, but at 2pm the organizers were forced to cancel the day’s remaining practice sessions and begin the process of draining the track.

AM Times

 Rider Team Time
1 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 1m 46.948s
2 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 48.632s
3 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 48.852s
4 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 49.167s
5 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 49.219s
6 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 49.591s
7 Randy Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 49.724s
8 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 49.957s
9 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 50.389s
10 Alex Barros Pramac d'Antin 1m 51.072s
11 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 51.164s
12 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 51.177s
13 Carlos Checa Honda LCR 1m 51.312s
14 Alex Hofmann Pramac d'Antin 1m 53.171s
15 Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda 1m 53.297s
16 Kurtis Roberts Team Roberts 1m 53.428s
17 Sylvain Guintoli Dunlop Yamaha Tech 1m 56.352s
18 Makoto Tamada Dunlop Yamaha Tech 1m 59.146s

Comment
08/31/07
ips

Adam Andretti passes IPS Rookie Test
By lap 50 of the 106 lap Indy Pro Series rookie test session, Adam Andretti had dialed in the No. 44 SpeedWorks car, and was up to speed and flying on the 1.52 mile Chicagoland Speedway track, easily earning his rookie license in the morning session.
 
“With cool air and good air density, the car was very stable from the start,” said Andretti who is returning to racing after a three year hiatus. “The SpeedWorks crew did a great job and I was very comfortable from the start. After the morning session, we spent the rest of the day making setup adjustments to find more speed so we can come back on September 9 and show what SpeedWorks and I can do as a team.”
 
Andretti has spent the past three years working with manufacturers around the world testing new technologies like electronics stability programs, emergency braking assistance and all-speed traction control. This type of testing and training experience translates into knowledge of engineering and the ability to provide input to an engineer that is above the standard for most drivers.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/07
motogp

MotoGP to hold first night race
In a press conference held today at the Misano circuit, it was announced that the forthcoming 2008 Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar will be held at night in an unprecedented addition to the MotoGP World Championship. A lighting system incorporating over 3700 separate bulbs in every section of the track will be installed to guarantee complete visibility in the Sunday evening race.

Hence MotoGP will beat F1 to the night-race punch.  Champ Car has already run two night races, one on the airport at Cleveland and one on the Milwaukee Mile.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, Musco President Joe Crookham and Vice President Jeff Rogers were joined by Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah from the QMMF (Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation) to make the news official in a short press conference, during which the reasons for the move were explained.

Mr. Ezpeleta noted that a change to a night time race would allow for a better synchronization with European television schedules, ensuring higher viewing figures from one of MotoGP’s largest fanbases.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/07
cc

Champ Cars shatter Assen track record UPDATE In pre-qualifying warm-up, Jan Heylen lowered the track record to 1m19.759s, a full 13 seconds per lap faster that the old record set by Jos Verstappen in an A1GP car in 2006.  This led one regular at Assen to comment, "these cars are bloody fast man."

08/31/07 With the top 11 cars within one second of each other, Sebastien Bourdais turned the fastest lap in opening practice at Assen Friday morning. Bourdais' time of 1m20.234s was a full 12 seconds under the A1GP lap time and over 26 seconds faster than the MotoGP bikes get around Assen. Graham Rahal, Bourdais' NHLR teammate, was 2nd, marginally faster than Simon Pagenaud in third. The top three were separated by just 0.06 seconds. On a 2.83-mile long road course that is incredibly close.
 
Pos Driver # Team Lap Time Behind Leader
1 S. Bourdais 1 Newman/ Haas/ Lanigan Racing 1:20.234
2 G. Rahal 2 Newman/ Haas/ Lanigan Racing 1:20.268 0.034
3 S. Pagenaud 15 Team Australia 1:20.294 0.060
4 O. Servia 7 Forsythe Championship Racing 1:20.399 0.165
5 J. Wilson 9 RSPORTS 1:20.550 0.316
6 T. Gommendy 22 PKV Racing 1:20.566 0.332
7 W. Power 5 Team Australia 1:20.634 0.400
8 D. Clarke 4 Minardi Team USA 1:20.733 0.499
9 N. Jani 21 PKV Racing 1:20.813 0.579
10 J. Heylen 34 Conquest Racing 1:21.179 0.945
11 R. Doornbos 14 Minardi Team USA 1:21.309 1.075
12 B. Junqueira 19 Dale Coyne Racing 1:21.355 1.121
13 A. Tagliani 8 RSPORTS 1:21.403 1.169
14 P. Tracy 3 Forsythe Championship Racing 1:21.671 1.437
15 R. Dalziel 28 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:21.889 1.655
16 K. Legge 11 Dale Coyne Racing 1:22.302 2.068
17 A. Figge 29 Pacific Coast Motorsports 1:22.760 2.526

Comment
08/31/07
alms

Briscoe Porsche fastest in opening ALMS practice
The American Le Mans Series’ first on-track session at Belle Isle Park and the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch is in the books. Penske Motorsports’ Ryan Briscoe set the fastest time of the 90-minute practice in the No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder of Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix organizer Roger Penske and Penske Motorsports.

Briscoe’s time of 1:15.166 put him 0.44 seconds ahead of Dyson Racing’s first Porsche prototype of Guy Smith and Chris Dyson. The best Acura-powered entry was third with the Highcroft Racing Acura ARX of David Brabham and Stefan Johansson at 1:16.076.

LMP2 entries held the top seven spots before the first diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI. Allan McNish, championship co-leader with Dindo Capello, went quickest in P1 at 1:17.318. The sister Audi of Marco Werner and Emanuele Pirro were 0.284 seconds in arrears. Team Cytosport’s AER-powered Lola was third at 1:18.418.

Comment
08/31/07
irl

IRL won't be back at Daytona
The Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series will not be back at Daytona International Speedway for a road course test session this winter.

The Speedway made the announcement Thursday after the IRL decided to concentrate its '08 winter testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a sister track to Daytona.

"They decided instead of testing here a couple of days, then packing up and going to Homestead, they could get all the data they needed at Homestead -- one day on the oval, one day on the road course down there," Daytona spokesman David Talley said. "It looks like a cost saving measure."

The IRL staged a compatibility test at DIS in the fall of 2006 then all the IndyCar Series teams returned in the days following the 2007 Rolex 24 for a two-day test session.

"I think the word 'disappointment' is too strong of a word," Speedway president Robin Braig said. "We knew going into it last year they were trying to find a location to do some winter road-course testing."  CupScene.com

Comment
08/31/07
cc

Drivers love Assen track
The Champ Car drivers are all gushing over the Assen track.

"I love this place," said Oriol Servia. "It's a drivers dream. I especially love the 150 mph to 170 mph flat out fast corners.  I think this the most fun I’ve had driving one of these race cars, its just so fast and so challenging. These cars handle so well, it’s just a lot of fun.  For the race its going to be very challenging to overtake just because of the nature of the track, there’s no hard braking zones so definitely qualifying and pit stops are going to be the key."

"This is the best track on the Champ Car circuit," said Alex Tagliani. "The flow, the way they did the curbing, the Astro turf on the inside of the curbing and the runoff areas are all excellent."

"The track is a ton of fun; it’s probably the best track we’ve been to but it’s going to be difficult if not impossible to pass so it’s critical to qualify well. It was tough for me to come to grips with the car on the circuit in the rain," said Graham Rahal. 

Speaking of runoff areas, Tagliani tested them early and often. He spun twice in the morning practice.

"We had the wrong front wing on the car," said Tagliani. The front of the car had too much downforce. Therefore, the front was pinned and the rear-end was coming around on me. We realized the mistake too late in the session so basically the morning practice was a waste."

Comment
08/31/07
cc

Rain hits Assen at start of qualifying
After a dry morning practice and pre-qualifying practice (where Jan Heylen was fastest at 1m19.759s) a light rain has begin to fall on the Assen track, which means all the setup work the teams did this morning are out the window and qualifying should be a real free-for-all.

Comment
08/31/07
tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The full Saturday and Sunday TV listings are now shown below.  Please note that those of you who do not have ESPN Classic to see the Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix live can watch the replay of Sunday's race in Assen on Friday, September 7, 1:30am-3:30am ET on ESPN2.

08/30/07
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Friday
NASCAR Now
5:00am-5:30am ESPN2
ESPN First Take
Danica Patrick (IRL)
10:00am-12:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Fontana
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Practice Fontana
1:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Fontana
2:30pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Fontana
4:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
SpeedFreaks
4:00pm-4:30pm ESPN2
Survival of the Fastest Bristol
4:30pm-5:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Live! Fontana
5:00pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Now
5:00pm-5:30pm ESPN2
Go or Go Home Fontana
5:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
IRL Indy Pro Series Sonoma, CA
5:30pm-6:00pm (8/25/07)
6:00pm-6:30pm (8/26/07) ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Fontana
6:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Fontana
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
ARCA RE/MAX Madison, IL
9:00pm-11:00pm (L) SPEED
FIM Motocross - World Championships
10:00pm-11:00pm The Outdoor Channel
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Fontana
11:00pm-1:00am (SDD) SPEED

Read more & Comment...
08/31/07
f1

An Interview with Graham Taylor, Super Aguri Sporting Director
Qu: Graham, heading into the last set of European races for the 2007 season, what is the atmosphere like at the team?

GT: As is well known the atmosphere within our team is fantastic. We are enjoying our successes this year, but we are still learning all the time. SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM approaches each event with total concentration and commitment, certainly we are less gun-ho than last year, but we still carry that element of fun. Anthony is showing more performance during the race weekends now and his pairing with Taku is excellent in cementing the team and forging its natural development.

Qu: Do you think that you will be able to maintain your current eighth position Constructors’ Championship standing until the end of the season?

GT: Statistically we should be able to and we all hope so. The current formula necessitates total reliability and, as the number of cars finishing in Turkey showed, all the teams are committed to this. Therefore without extra-ordinary influences points for the teams at our performance level are a rare commodity. However, as a young team we are developing all the time and finding speed along the way.

Qu: Now that we have completed 12 races, have your views changed on the use of a single tire supplier in Formula One?

GT: I believe that the single tire supplier has drawn the front of the gird closer to the rear. We often witness twelve to fourteen cars covered by just one second and although this makes it incredibly tough, it does give occasion for the smaller teams to compete properly. What we would all like to see is a great difference between the two compounds supplied at the race weekend. Presently, at some tracks, it is difficult to differentiate between the tires apart from the white stripe. The information and support currently procured by Bridgestone Potenza has been excellent and SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM enjoys a full and honest relationship with their Japanese supplier.

Qu: We have not seen any new developments on the SA07 for a while, can we expect any in Monza?

GT: The nature of the Monza circuit now sits alone within the Championship. With its long straights the focus for the teams is low drag and automatically the Aerodynamic package is developed for Monza singularly. This means we will see new parts on the car at this race. Unfortunately the weather at the pre-race test was not conducive to allow a huge amount of data gathering, but we will Endeavour to maximize our abilities.

Qu: In your opinion, what makes the race at the Autodromo Nationale di Monza so special?

GT: The atmosphere within the circuit is just fantastic. Whenever you enter the Park you instinctively know that you are at a historic and important racing place. The noise of the cars at high revs passing the pits is simply glorious. The annoying part of the Grand Prix is the traffic into and out of the circuit, but it is only right and proper that F1 cars still race at the classic circuits.

Comment
08/31/07
irl

IRL turns deaf ear to blocking charges
For a few minutes at Belle Isle Thursday, Scott Dixon took in the tranquility of the Detroit Yacht Club, making some private phone calls from the balcony overlooking the boats.

Dixon, the well-mannered IndyCar Series driver from New Zealand, knows the peace and quiet won't last long today, as practice gets underway for Sunday's Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, which returns to the city after a six-year absence. He also knows it's only a matter of time before he and the Andretti Green Racing quartet go wheel-to-wheel in what could end up being the Battle of Motor City, with no prisoners taken.

Dixon, who drives for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, is the Indy Racing League series points leader. He's four points clear of AGR's Dario Franchitti and 62 in front of Franchitti teammate Tony Kanaan, who may play the villain again this weekend on Belle Isle.

Sunday at Sonoma, Kanaan appeared to relish the role of bodyguard for Franchitti, making his car very wide and hard to pass. At the post-race conference, Dixon, who wound up winning the race, thought Kanaan was riding shotgun for Franchitti.

"Today was very frustrating having to deal with T.K. (Tony Kanaan) a lot," said Dixon, the 2003 IRL champion. "He was not playing fair at all. We were all warned in the drivers meetings about team tactics. I think the IRL maybe was watching another race because it was definitely going on."

Toward the end of the race, AGR teammates Marco Andretti and Franchitti made contact, Franchitti suffering damage to his left-front wing. Franchitti, the 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner, still managed third place but gave up the series' lead to Dixon.

"It was kind of ironic when, you know, Marco and Dario hit each other," Dixon said later.

Dixon said Thursday he expected much of the same team tactics from AGR at Belle Isle.

"Absolutely," said Dixon after the GP's official kickoff press conference and luncheon at the DYC. "I know it's going to happen. No one ever gets penalized for it, the blocking tactics." More at Detroit Free Press

Comment
08/31/07
f1

Ground broken for Singapore track
Singapore formally began construction of its Formula One Grand Prix facilities Friday with a groundbreaking ceremony for the new pit building.  The facility along Singapore's waterfront will hold 36 garages for 12 racing teams on the ground floor.

"Today's groundbreaking event marks an important milestone in our preparations to host the F1 race in September next year," Lim Neo Chian, chief executive of Singapore's tourism board, said at the site -- which is now a verdant but muddy field beneath an expressway off-ramp.

Singapore is to host its first Grand Prix street circuit race on September 28 next year.

"The pit building that will rise from this piece of land that we now stand on will be one significant milestone that all will watch closely," said Lim Hng Kiang, minister for trade and industry.

"In terms of physical work, this is the first step," Nick Syn, technical manager for the race promoter, Singapore GP Pte Ltd, told reporters.

Comment
08/31/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Night race plan still on track - Singapore
  • Ten teams extend Monza test on Friday
  • Ferrari 'friendlier' than McLaren - expert
  • Group proposes changes for more F1 passing
  • Europe wants F1 to kick tobacco habit

Night race plan still on track - Singapore
(GMM) Singapore officials are still confident that the city-state's inaugural grand prix next year will be the first in the history of formula one to be held at night.

Minister of trade and industry Lim Hng Kiang said on Friday that Singapore is working with the FIA to ensure the safety of a floodlit street race.

"We're committed to doing whatever is necessary - the lighting levels, the road conditions - to make sure it is safe," he said, as construction on the pit buildings began formally on Friday with a groundbreaking ceremony.

Lim added: "The various tests and the various assessments have been going on track, so we're fairly confident."

Singapore's initial F1 contract is for five years.

Ten teams extend Monza test on Friday
(GMM) Nine of F1's eleven teams have elected to stay at Monza on Friday for an extra day of testing.

Every current formula one outfit ran at the high speed circuit on Thursday, which was scheduled to be the last of a three day test preceding next weekend's Italian grand prix.

Torrential rain, however, washed out the entire morning's running, and much of the afternoon was disrupted by the resultant drying surface and 'green' track.

Only Renault and Spyker chose to return to their bases on Thursday night, with the current testing agreement allowing an extended day in the event of bad weather earlier in the test.

"Having completed its major test items, and in order to save mileage for testing later in the year, the team opted not to prolong the test by an extra day," Renault explained in a statement on Thursday.

Read more & Comment...
08/31/07
cc

Observations from Assen Friday - 1
After some rain overnight, the day has dawned partly cloudy and cool with a 30% chance of rain the next three days. The locals say that means a short period of rain can be expected anytime. That will make the guesswork for the teams and drivers that much more challenging this weekend........As we arrived around 7:15 AM the track marshals and security personnel were just finishing their pre-race meeting. A large tent of some 400 personnel dispersed around the circuit.......We walked the track yesterday and took these photos on a very cloudy dark Thursday afternoon...........The smell of methanol is in the air as the Champ Car teams begin to warm up their 800 HP Cosworth engines..............The support series running here this weekend include ATS Formula 3 Cup, BRL-V6 and the Dutch Super Car Challenge........The white two story suite building seen in one of our photos is the largest temporary suite structure we have ever seen erected for an event.........Kevin Kalkhoven is flying into Assen from St. Petersburg, Russia this morning on his borrowed Gulfstream IV, having spent the last 5 days vacationing with the large entourage he brought along.......Champ Cars are already down to the low 1m20s range, a full 8 seconds faster than what Andreas Wirth turned here in a demo two weeks ago using a Lola and over 12 seconds per lap faster than an A1GP car ever turned at Assen. By the time the weekend is over the Champ Cars should be down to the 1m18s range.....The owner of the two Europe Champ Car races, Bart Rietbergen, confirmed that all suites are completely sold out and ticket sales are huge. He is very happy. He also told us that next year Zolder will attract a lot more fans as they learned a lot this year about what mistakes were made. We are told by our German colleagues that very little advertising for the event was done in Germany. If true that is a real oversight with the large number of race fans in that country. Mark C. reporting from Assen

Comment
08/31/07
nascar

Q and A with new NASCAR driver Jacques Villeneuve
We're joined by Quebec native Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula 1 World Champion, the 1995 Cart Series Champion, and the 1995 Champion of the Indianapolis 500.

Jacques will be running the final seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races of this season for Bill Davis Racing. That is in preparation for running in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2008.

He's going to participate in all of the remaining Car of Tomorrow tests this year. And in addition, he plans to enter the ARCA Series race in October at Talladega Super Speedway.

Want to start off by just asking you what an exciting time, how exciting a time is this for you? The opportunity to follow up on all your open-wheel success and getting a chance to drive stock cars in NASCAR.

JACQUES VILLENUEVE: Well, it's very exciting because it's very different than anything I've done before. The speeds are high, and I was missing driving on ovals in Europe, so it's nice to get back into ovals.

THE MODERATOR: Absolutely. Thanks for that opener. We're ready to go to questions now from the media.

Q. Listen, to some people this is a surprise that you are coming to NASCAR. But I would suggest that you have been thinking about this for several years. When was the first time that you actually looked across the ocean, saw NASCAR and said, you know, that's something that I want to do?

Read more & Comment...
08/31/07
f1

Villeneuve has hard core NASCAR fans worried
The news earlier this week that 1997 Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve was joining Bill Davis Racing in anticipation of running a full-time Cup schedule next year has left some NASCAR fans feeling a bit conflicted about where their sport is heading. Take a look at a few excerpts from this article by Michael Daly that ran yesterday on the Web site catchfence.com, titled "A Coming De-Americanization of NASCAR?"

It would seem that going to F1 and open wheel championship-style race drivers is a by-product of NASCAR's recent technology revolution. One need only look at this year's rookie battle - Juan Montoya has not consistently grasped racing a stock car, but he remains miles ahead of David Ragan, who looks completely and utterly clueless.

Which begs the question -- is NASCAR going to become de-Americanized? We saw it with the technology revolution of open wheel championship racing in the 1980s and then there is the proverbial dog that didn't bark -- what we AREN'T seeing is as telling as what we are seeing; in this case what we aren't seeing is any particular lobby for seat-of-the-pants short trackers to race Winston Cup cars.

Now this may be just a comparative fad; right now I don't particularly see Winston Cup becoming F1 lite as far as most of its drivers go. But I also don't see it getting back to the kind of seat-of-the-pants racers that are more worth embracing than the engineering conduits that F1-style drivers too often come out as. And given what the sport has already lost in terms of soul and competitive fire, losing that kind of racer will hurt it even more.

The F1 phenomenon presents a clear conflict for NASCAR fans. On one hand, the migration of the circuit's drivers to Nextel-Cup is a clear sign that stock-car racing, because of its competitiveness, has the sort of status it once lacked in comparison to other series. A few weeks ago at Watkins Glen, Juan Pablo Montoya said as much when he told me why he made the move to NASCAR, "There's nothing more exciting than driving a car in Formula One. But the racing in the Formula-One car is not that exciting."

[Editor's Note: What a load of BS that NASCAR teams might be hiring F1 drivers because of their technical prowess. There is little technology in NASCAR. Is it just a coincidence that NASCAR is luring some of the best internationally known open wheel drivers (mostly washed up drivers who could no longer win in open wheel) as a way of increasing their popularity abroad through the fans of those drivers?]

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