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DATE News (chronologically)
09/09/04
irl
Andretti divorcing 2nd wife Andretti divorcing 2nd wifeThis Pennlive article says, Race-car driving legend Michael Andretti filed for divorce Tuesday in Northampton County Court. The Bushkill Township man accuses his wife, Leslie Andretti, of causing their marriage to become "irretrievably broken," according to the filing. The document says Michael Andretti could ask a judge to require his wife to enter marriage counseling with him. The document says the Andrettis were married Dec. 24, 1997, in Upper Saucon Township. It says Michael Andretti lives in Bushkill Township and his wife lives in Williams Township. Michael Andretti's attorney, Philip Hof, had no comment, other than to say, "Mr. Andretti appreciates the community's respect for his privacy." Andretti, 41, has the third-most victories in Indy car-racing history. He is retired from racing but is owner of Andretti Green Racing, which fields a team in the Indy Racing League series. His drivers took first, second and third last week at the IRL Firestone Indy 225, the final event run at Nazareth Speedway. Andretti has two children from his first marriage and a third child with Leslie Andretti.
09/09/04
irl
Jim Beam re-ups with Andretti Green Racing Jim Beam re-ups with Andretti Green RacingJim Beam, the first distilled spirits company to venture into motor sports, announced today it has extended its sponsorship of Andretti Green Racing and the No. 26 car driven by Dan Wheldon for the next two years in the Indy Racing League IndyCar® Series. The world's leading bourbon producer will also serve as an associate sponsor on the race cars of Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta.  "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Andretti Green Racing through the 2006 season," said Keith Neumann, marketing director, Jim Beam U.S.  "Racing resonates well with our core consumer and provides a platform to discuss the importance of responsible drinking among legal purchase age consumers who choose to drink.  Michael Andretti and Dan Wheldon are not only amazing athletes, they're terrific brand spokespersons.  We look forward to a future filled with success."  Since being named the 2003 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year, Wheldon has enjoyed a stellar sophomore season with nine top-five finishes, including his first career IndyCar Series win at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.  The 26-year-old native of Emberton England, who now resides in Indianapolis, also claimed victories in Richmond, Va., and Nazareth, Pa.  Wheldon is currently second in the championship standings with three races to go.  "I'm very pleased with Jim Beam's decision to continue its support of Andretti Green Racing," Wheldon said.  "We have accomplished a lot together and Jim Beam has led the way for distilled spirits in motor sports.  I look forward to many more wins with them next year."
09/09/04
nascar
Atlanta Speedway thanks community Atlanta Speedway thanks communityAtlanta Motor Speedway and its employees would like to express heartfelt thanks to all of the generous local businesses and residents who donated goods, services – and even pop-up campers – for the evacuees of Hurricane Frances waiting out the storm at the speedway.  Approximately 30 families took advantage of Atlanta Motor Speedway opening its gates for evacuees of Hurricane Frances. But many of them, having to leave their homes so quickly, realized upon their arrival in Hampton that they were without many essential items.  Thanks to the generous nature of our local businesses and residents, they didn’t go without for long.   Two families who arrived in their vehicles planning to sleep in small tents were given the use of pop-up campers belonging to nearby residents for the weekend. Everyone benefited from numerous food and drink donations, as well as a puppet show by a local ministry.  "It just goes to show you that people really are inherently good,” said Atlanta Motor Speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark. “This was a time of crisis for the folks who evacuated up here, but our local community really helped them through the tough time. It’s amazing what people can do when they pull together.”
09/09/04
nascar
Lacey out of running for NASCAR track Lacey out of running for NASCAR trackLacey might have fallen off the list of possible South Sound sites for a stock car racetrack.   An unidentified California company has obtained an option to buy the 377 acres that a Seattle real estate company had been investigating for a 75,000-seat racetrack.  The potential new owner isn't interested in developing a racetrack for NASCAR, City Manager Greg Cuoio said.   "They have other plans."   The Lacey development is shrouded in secrecy because options to purchase land are not matters of public record. Cuoio said he has communicated with the prospective owner of the property at Interstate 5 and Marvin Road, but he declined to identify the bidder.   Options allow developers time to decide whether it's worth buying a specific property, said Shelley Foltz, an associate broker for the Rants Group in Olympia. Typically, such developers go public only after they decide to purchase property, she said.  Word that NASCAR probably is out of the picture in Lacey came as a relief to Hawks Prairie resident Carolyn Pendle. She has organized a group of residents known as United Against a Hawks Prairie NASCAR Track. Pendle said she lives about two miles from the site once envisioned for a racetrack.   Lacey Mayor Virgil Clarkson has said a racetrack would conflict with the city's hopes to develop Hawks Prairie for industry, homes and stores.  "Locating a track nestled in the middle of the business park and residential areas is not the right place for it," Pendle said.   Residents favor recruiting companies that will offer jobs year round, she said, rather than seeing the economic impact from only a few stock car races each year.  "Businesses will provide real jobs and constant revenue for the city," Pendle said. "The (financial) impact of a track is more episodic." The Olympian
09/09/04
nascar
Brian France on Wind Tunnel Brian France on Wind TunnelNASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France will be Dave Despain's guest on SPEED Channel's Wind Tunnel on Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. ET.  Viewers can send e-mail questions to windtunnel@speedtv.com or call 1-866-W-TUNNEL to be a part of the LIVE call-in portions of the show.  NASCAR legend Harry Gant will join Despain on Sept. 20.
09/09/04
champcar
Bridgestone Option tire to be used again Bridgestone Option tire to be used again“Bridgestone has stepped up again as title sponsor for the Grand Prix of Monterey because we enjoy everything about this event and locale. The Laguna Seca track and Monterey Peninsula area provide some of the most beautiful surroundings anywhere we travel. We’ve tried to spur interest in the race weekend by offering the Grand Prix coupon book at area Bridgestone retailers that includes vouchers for free and discounted track admissions. Bridgestone is also sponsoring the Champ Car Night street festival, set for Friday evening on Alvarado Street in Monterey. On the track, we decided to bring the popular alternate tire for use this weekend to enhance the competition and add variable race strategies into the mix. We hope our efforts make it a truly complete racing weekend for the fans.” Al Speyer, Bridgestone
09/09/04
champcar
Champ Car’s Mexico race to exceed 400,000 again Champ Car’s Mexico race to exceed 400,000 againToday at 11 am the grandstand ticket presale for the 2004 season finale of the Champ Car Series at the "Hermanos Rodriguez" track will begin.  Federico Alaman, director of sport events at OCESA,  stated that the tickets will be sold for the 3 days of the event, Friday November 5th practices and first qualifying of the Champ Cars and preliminary series activities, Saturday November 6th - final qualifying of the Champ Car series and races of the preliminary series,  and Sunday November 7th the main event - the Champ Car race.  As in past years, the presale will be only for Banamex (a Mexican bank) card holders, and will include a 30% discount.  The presale will only last 2 weeks.  The race will have 4 Mexican drivers, Michel Jourdain, Mario Domínguez, Rodolfo Lavin and Roberto Gonzalez. Roberto is still fighting for Rookie of the Year, and the other 3 have made the podiums in 2004, which increases the possibility of a Mexican winning the race, which hasn´t happened at any of the Mexican races to date.   Alaman also anticipated that they are expecting to break last year's attendance record, and hopes to sell out a few of the grandstands in a short time.   The 2003 Mexico City Grand Prix set a three-day Champ Car attendance record of 402,413, breaking the previous mark of 351,970 set in 2002.  221,011 people attended the race Sunday, 113,081 during Saturday's qualifying and 68,321 on Friday in 2003.
09/09/04
V8 Supercar
Now that's a serious fine Now that's a serious fineWhile NASCAR encourages cheating by imposing miniscule fines that are meaningless, at least one sanctioning body knows how to lay down the law.   A record $250,000 fine, or worse, could be slapped on a V8 Supercar team in Melbourne today.  Adelaide-based Team Dynamik is charged with cheating and the governing bodies of touring car racing want no leniency during the stewards' inquiry at Sandown.   Dynamik is charged over allegations that it mounted a secret and illegal test at the remote Woomera rocket range in the lead-up to Sunday's Sandown 500 and the Bathurst 1000 in October.   Both the Touring Car Entrants Group and the Australian V8 Supercar Company, which are responsible for V8 Supercar racing, are keen for a heavy penalty.   Team Dynamik is accused of 10 individual breaches from the illegal test with a Holden Commodore at Woomera, north of Adelaide, which was observed by a TEGA official.  The Australian
09/09/04
cartatlantic
champcar
Allmendinger and Fogarty on radio Allmendinger and Fogarty on radioTonight, Hollister Champ Car rookie A.J. Allmendinger will be in studio for Tony Karis' radio show "As the Wheels Turn" on KNRY (1240) from 7-8 p.m. In addition, Northern California native Jon Fogarty, the 2002 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama champion, will be calling in to the show to discuss his title showdown with Ryan Dalziel. The show will be co-hosted by Herald Correspondent David Coffin.
09/09/04
champcar
It’s not do-or-die for Laguna Seca It’s not do-or-die for Laguna SecaThis Monterey Herald article says, I have been asked if this is a make-or-break year for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca... and for the Champ Car World Series.  In a word -- NO.  Each entity is in a state of transition and I think you are going to find both Laguna Seca and Champ Car powering up in 2005.

For the past couple of seasons, Laguna Seca has struggled. Factors have included a dive in the economy and resultant drop in tourism, a Champ Car product that was less than stellar and a June date that was a bust -- the event had been held in the fall for 19 years.  The world-renowned track also suffered under a lousy agreement with World Superbike that left Dan Murphy and Co. promoting the event and Laguna Seca with getting just a pittance from a very successful race.  MotoGP, the Formula One of motorcycle racing, will replace World Superbike and the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) will be the promoter. All positives.  Champ Car's product is on the rise and the race at Laguna is back in the fall. Both are needed for the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey to again be successful and bring the Champ Car race back to its status as one of the cornerstone events at Laguna Seca.

"Obviously, our product isn't what it was in 2001," said Eric Mauk, news manager for the Champ Car World Series.  Mauk went on to say, "This isn't a make-or-break weekend (for the race at Laguna Seca), but it is important. If we get 42,000 again (last year's attendance), the time of year diminishes as a factor."

That's where we don't necessarily agree. With this being a transition year -- in my opinion, by definition it's a turning point. That means, I wouldn't be surprised if attendance at this year's event was the same as last year. It sometimes takes people a year to adjust to change. I believe the race in 2005 would be the proper measuring stick.

"We anticipate having a good crowd here this weekend," said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca when asked about ticket sales. "There are very loyal Champ Car fans out there. We're trying to reach the casual fan.   What we need is a strong event and we believe Champ Car is building that base. We stepped out on a limb three years ago (when they moved the date of the race) and strongly supported Champ Car and we're continuing to do so."

One thing that could actually be a boon to the Laguna Seca event is the potential street race in San Jose. Although an article written by the San Jose Mercury News suggested that a road race in San Jose could replace Laguna Seca on the Champ Car calendar, Mauk said that wasn't necessarily the case. When asked if both races could survive, he said "Absolutely! We did it at Fontana and Long Beach for a number of years and both were successful. I don't think they are any farther apart than San Jose and Laguna Seca. All I said was we don't do it a lot. (San Jose) is an attractive market. We think we could make it work."

Bruce Canepa, who owns Canepa Designs in Santa Cruz, is a frequent competitor in vintage events at Laguna and is on the track Improvement Project committee, has had several meetings with Gentilozzi over the past several months. He said those conversations with Gentilozzi have been nothing but positive about holding events in both places.  "Our first concern (his and Gentilozzi's) was how Laguna Seca would feel if there was a San Jose race," Canepa said. "Paul and I both agreed a street race is very different from a road race (event). We agreed that if we could put on both, each will build on the other.

"NASCAR is the only series with a fan base everywhere -- it doesn't matter whether it's the Monterey/Salinas area, Sacramento, the Bay Area, Fresno, or wherever, they have a fan base. They've done the best job creating it. Champ Car needs to do the same thing.  "NASCAR has no challenger. Champ Car is going head-to-head with the IRL. Paul and I agree that Champ Car has the best road (and street) racing car in the world, outside of Formula One."

Canepa went on to point out that Champ Car is in a rebuilding process (again, a transition year). They are going to create legends in terms of drivers and create a fan base.  "What better way than to have the two types of races (street and road in the area)," Canepa said. "This is the first year of a brand new era for Champ Car."

The street race in San Jose in the spring would bring in a whole new group of fans that would, undoubtedly, enjoy the experience. That experience would translate into a vast increase in the Champ Car fan base in the area and I believe (as does Canepa) those new fans would flock to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for a fall event.  It's a win-win for everybody.

09/09/04
f1
Wurth signs on with Williams Wurth signs on with WilliamsAssembly professional Wurth is the latest official supplier to join the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. "Formula One is a leading international sport using leading-edge technology, and that makes it an ideal communications platform for our globally operating group," explains Dieter Münch, Head of Marketing and Advertising of Adolf Wurth GmbH & Co. KG. "We look forward to working together with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team as an innovative partner."  BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen commented, "Ideally, sport sponsorships provide added potential for synergies in areas beyond marketing.   As an assembly enterprise with a global reputation, the Wurth Group is an excellent match."
09/09/04
champcar
Must Mexicans show Champ Car the way? Must Mexicans show Champ Car the way?A Mexican magazine called "Automovil Panamericano" recently had some advertising of Champ Car that Corona and Nextel are doing in Mexico. Below are some examples of the Mexican ads.  Champ Car gets very little advertising in magazines from its sponsors, at least lately and for this moment.  These are good examples of how US sponsors might handle their Champ Car ads if Champ Car had more consumer-focussed sponsors.

   

09/09/04
champcar
Besnard Impresses in Arizona Besnard Impresses in ArizonaAustralian V8 Supercar driver David Besnard's quest to compete in a Champ Car in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast next month firmed dramatically today after a highly impressive test session in Arizona.   Besnard completed a full day of testing in one of Champ Car veteran Jimmy Vasser's cars and earned applause from the US team for his speed and capacity to immediately adapt to the open wheelers.

Besnard, who drives for Australian businessman Craig Gore's WPS Racing in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series, completed about 70 laps in stifling conditions at the Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona.   His fastest lap times were very competitive with recent times posted at the circuit.   "It was an awesome experience to finally get into a Champ Car," said Besnard.   "I was excited but a little nervous about the unknown. But after two laps I realised it was just another race car, albeit different to what I normally drive.   I did some good times and was very happy at the end of the day. The team also gave me some excellent feedback and there were high fives and handshakes all round at the end."

Besnard said Jimmy Vasser, who drives for series owner Kevin Kalkhoven's PKV Racing, congratulated him on completion of the session.   "He told me that it appeared I picked it up really quickly," said Besnard.   "Before today I wasn't too sure how I would go if I made the field at the Lexmark Indy 300.   Now that I've got this first session under my belt I believe that I could be competitive and I would hope to do Queensland proud."

Craig Gore, who with Champ Car series owner Kevin Kalkhoven is seeking to get an Aussie into this year's Gold Coast race, said Besnard's performance today has heightened his confidence that a local driver will compete in the Lexmark Indy 300 from October 21 to 24.   "Obviously today was a great result and I am very proud to say we are moving closer to getting an Australian and, more importantly, a Queenslander into Indy," said Gore.   "There is still a bit of work to do but it was a great effort by PKV Racing to give him the chance to test and, as a result, one would now have to say that Bezzy is a very high chance of being in the field.  On today's performance I just hope they don't try to steal him from the V8s in the future."

Gore said engineering data from today's test would be analysed by PKV Racing in coming days before a decision on the next move was finalised.

It is anticipated that Besnard will return to the US in October for a second test session to ensure he is adequately prepared for the Lexmark Indy 300.  Besnard was this afternoon resting up after the session and preparing for a long flight back to Australia.  He is due to arrive in Melbourne at 7.30 am on Friday, just three hours before he is due out on track for the first practice session as part of this weekend's Betta Electrical Sandown 500, the ninth round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.  If all goes according to plan Besnard will next fly out to the US immediately after the following V8 Supercar round -- the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst from October 7-10.   "It is extremely difficult to coordinate these test sessions between the V8 Supercar races but we have the first one completed and everything is looking good," said Gore.  "Bezzy has shown in this test session that it is possible to go from the V8s into the Champ Cars and be competitive, so that gives us greater confidence we can do it again next month."

Josh Hunt, who this year has competed in the Toyota Atlantics Championships in the US with the support of Gore's Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group and Kalkhoven, was at the Firebird circuit today to cheer on his 'teammate'.   Hunt, who drives his final race of the 2004 Toyota Atlantics series this weekend, will back up for another season in 2005, again with the support of Gore and Kalkhoven with a view to graduating into Champ Cars in 2006.

Assuming Besnard makes it to the start line at the Lexmark Indy 300, his car will carry the livery of the Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group.   Wright Patton Shakespeare has two Ford Falcons in the V8 Supercar series, with Besnard piloting Car 23 and ex-Formula One driver Alex Yoong piloting Car 48.  Besnard will compete in this weekend's Sandown event with co-driver Neil McFadyen from Sydney, while Yoong's partner will be Kiwi ace John McIntyre. WPS

09/09/04
champcar
Vasser considers Laguna Seca home too Vasser considers Laguna Seca home tooThis weekend, the Champ Car World Series is in Northern California for the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In two weeks, the series heads to Las Vegas for its inaugural race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Vasser, 38, is a former Northern California resident and still operates an automobile dealership that bears his name in Napa, Calif.  "Returning to my home track is always the highlight of the season for me," Vasser said about Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "My memories of Laguna Seca extend all the way back to my childhood. I used to go there with my dad, and that track is really what sparked my interest in road racing."  Vasser, the 1996 series champion, said he experienced some of the most memorable moments of his racing career at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile permanent road course near Monterey.  "I won my first big Formula Ford race there in the 80s, in addition to winning an Atlantic race there in 1987," Vasser said. "In 1996, I clinched the (CART) title there and my good friend and teammate Alex (Zanardi) made "The Pass" on (Bryan) Herta. The next year, I won the race and Alex won the championship there, which was pretty cool.  "It's a special place with a lot of meaning for me." Las Vegas Sun
09/09/04
f1
Panis retires from competition Panis retires from competitionAfter a long career stretching back to his Formula One debut with Ligier in 1994, Olivier Panis today announced that he is to retire as a Formula One race driver after the 2004 season finale in Brazil. Panis has however signed a new two-year deal with Toyota, which will see the 38-year-old Frenchman become the team's third driver next season.

In his role as third driver, Panis will substitute if either Toyota race driver is unable to take part in the Grand Prix weekend. However, the 11-year veteran of 155 F1 races is not eligible to run the third car during Friday practice sessions, according to current FIA regulations, which stipulate that the driver of the third car must not have participated in more than six Grand Prix in the last two years.

Panis' decision to retire from racing was made over the summer period the team state. However, Panis, a renowned test driver and Toyota have come to a mutual agreement, whereby Panis will conduct valuable testing duties in 2005 and 2006, as well as corporate promotional activities for the team. Additionally, Panis will adopt an advisory role for Toyota's young drivers programme, the Toyota Drivers' Academy.
 
"We are very pleased that Olivier has accepted our offer to stay with Panasonic Toyota Racing for an additional two years," stated Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal of Panasonic Toyota Racing. "His input to our team has been invaluable and we see Olivier's future role with the team as crucial to our further development. His excellent technical feedback will be highly beneficial in a testing role. He will also take part in PR and marketing activities for the team. With over 150 GPs of experience as a race driver, he will also act as our reserve driver in case either of our race drivers cannot participate in a GP weekend. Together, I am sure that we can celebrate success in the coming years."

Olivier Panis, who scored his sole Grand Prix triumph in Monaco with Ligier in 1996 admits that his decision has taken a great deal of thought, but is delighted to continue with the team that he joined in 2003.

"My decision to retire as an F1 race driver has come after some months of deep thought, but I am proud that Panasonic Toyota Racing has decided to retain my services," Panis said. "I have a strong relationship with everyone at Toyota and I am pleased to be able to continue my work as a representative of the team both on and off the track. I am looking forward to helping the team move further up the grid and I am confident that together we will reap the rewards of our combined efforts over the last two years."

Jarno Trulli is expected to join the squad alongside Ralf Schumacher in 2005, but the team were keen to point out that the final decision has yet to be taken. "Contrary to reports, Panasonic Toyota Racing has not yet finalised its complete driver line-up for 2005, but the team will make an announcement once all details are concluded," a statement read.

Olivier Panis has notched up six points this year with the German- based team and heading to Monza as Formula One racer for the final time this weekend, will be keen to help Toyota move up in the Championship standings. Toyota

09/09/04
f1
Statement from BAR Statement from BAR"B·A·R understands that WilliamsF1 has lodged a contract between itself and Jenson Button for 2005 with the Contract Recognition Board (CRB), and this now sets in motion the correct procedure for arbitration.   B·A·R is pleased that, after weeks of speculation, the legitimate process of arbitration is being followed.  The team places its faith in the CRB's judgment over the matter and will abide by the outcome.   In the event that the CRB upholds B·A·R's contract with Jenson Button for the 2005 season, the team very much looks forward to working with him, and taking another step forward in its ambitious plans to win the World Championship."
09/09/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ford to abandon 'Jaguar' project
Villeneuve to sign two-year Sauber deal
F1 rules are 'stupid,' says former champ
Briatore dating Nicole Kidman
Ferrari confirm Puma deal
McLaren has 'long way to go' - Raikkonen
F1 to get third tyre supplier
Sato wins Schu's old prize
BMW repeat threat to quit F1
'Nothing signed yet' - Eddie Jordan
Kimi is journalists' dream - manager
Traction control should stay - Ross Brawn
09/08/04
f1
Jordan's message from Bahrain Jordan's message from BahrainAt the Italian Grand Prix, the latest in Bahrain's campaign of messages is "Drugs Don't Win". San Patrignano (based near Rimini, Italy) is a therapeutic community for drug addicts and is Europe's largest drug rehabilitation facility.

Since its founding in 1978 by the late Vincenzo Muccioli, it has opened its doors to over 18,000 young men and women. In the twenty six years since its inception, the community's mission has been to welcome drug addicts in need of a recovery program regardless of social standing, and political or religious orientation.

The community offers its services completely free of charge to its guests, and does not accept donations from guests' families. It receives no public funds.

Andrea Muccioli, chairman of the community, said, "Formula 1 racing is a sport with many young people among its millions of fans. The decision made by Jordan and Prince Salman of Bahrain will help us further spread a strong message against drug abuse throughout the world. We wish to thank them with all our hearts." Jordan F1

09/08/04
nascar
Island Pacific signs deal with ISC Island Pacific signs deal with ISCIsland Pacific (AMEX:IPI) announced today that the company has signed an agreement with racing promoter, International Speedway Corporation (ISC), to provide its Retail Pro(R) software and professional services.

"We evaluated all of the major retail system providers," said Craig Neeb, Chief Information Officer of ISC. "Selecting Retail Pro was our choice because of its completeness, but a contributing factor was the quality of Island Pacific's implementation and support team. We took our time and were very careful in the selection process because we really want a long-term partnership. We believe that as we expand the scope and complexity of ISC's retail business that Island Pacific will have the expertise and products to support us."

Mr. Neeb added, "ISC's needs are very demanding and unique. In addition to our permanent locations, we have a large number of mobile stores that travel from event to event. That creates a set of uncommon retail system challenges that require we have a close partnership with the developer. For example, at our flagship event, the Daytona 500, we have over 250 distinct retail locations, some of which will be separated by nearly two miles. It is not only critical we have the right application and technology, but also that we have a true partner to support us. We were impressed by the recent merger of Island Pacific and Retail Technologies International (RTI) due to the breadth of complementary retail applications now available from one vendor. We are confident we have found a long-term partner in Retail Pro and Island Pacific."

Mike Tomczak, President and Chief Operating Officer of Island Pacific said, "We are very proud to have been selected by such a professional and progressive business as ISC. Island Pacific looks forward to being a partner to ISC and supporting its business as it expands and its merchandising needs become more complex. We feel very fortunate to have been selected by ISC from among such an impressive list of retail applications."

Florida-based Island Pacific reseller POSabilities played a key role in demonstrating the viability of the Retail Pro offering and is heavily involved in the implementation. According to POSabilities CEO Bill Grant, "This project is a significant step in the evolution of our business. We are the local presence for Island Pacific and are working closely with them to make sure this project is a success. Ed Turner, Vice President Customer Service, and the entire team at POSabilities are determined to make sure ISC has a successful roll-out of Retail Pro."

09/08/04
champcar
 irl
An Open Letter to Michael Andretti An Open Letter to Michael AndrettiUPDATE Another reader writes,  As an employee of a team currently participating in the IRL I would like to nominate Michael Andretti for the most prestigious of awards, the "Mike & Mike in the Morning 'Just Shut-Up' " award.  Your incessant degradation of Champ Car (yes Michael, it's CHAMP CAR, not CART) is an embarrassment not only to yourself and to the rest of us involved with the league that you are supposed to represent, but most of all to your family and to the Andretti name which gained prominence through its successful involvement with the former CART series. 

To specifically address a couple of Mr. Andretti's points from his most recent diatribe featured in Sept. 7th's St. Petersburg Times: 

1)  "We don't understand what they're doing..........." frankly Michael, Champ Car's business plan is reserved for those who are directly involved with it and as such, is none of your business.  The remainder of your childish statement doesn't bear repeating.

2)  "So it's time", he said, "for the IRL to chop into Champ Car's base of street/road racing in Canada and Mexico".  Why is this necessary?  If, as you insinuate, the IRL is "winning" the open wheel war, why is it necessary to steal the races of the competitor?  Is the IRL incapable of entering new venues and creating its own, successful events?

3)  (regarding the merger) "CART didn't want it to happen," he said, "We had meetings and CART just doesn't want to get together."  I believe everyone who follows the open wheel saga would agree that the facts that have been leaked about  the meeting did not indicate a merger but rather a hostile takeover (by the IRL) in every sense of the word. A hostile takeover that was unsuccessful in 2003, again in January of 2004 and still continues to this day.  (If you need a refresher as to the details of that "merger" meeting Michael, please refer to Autoweek 9/7/04.) 

Bottom line: you made your choice Michael, now live with it.  Every time you open your mouth these days you sound more and more like a man trying to convince himself that the decisions you made were for the good of his career and his family, rather than merely for greed.  I guess in time, we will all know the answer to this question now won't we? Name withheld upon request

09/07/04 A reader writes, Dear Michael Andretti:  I am a lifelong Mario Andretti fan, and it naturally follows that I also have always been a big fan of yours.  I am a CART fan, and always followed your races and pulled for you. When you moved into ownership and switched to the IRL I held no grudge towards you for making a business deal that obviously made sense to you.  Unfortunately, I am now more than tired of hearing your vitriolic and annoying anti-Champ Car comments.  Please remember that most Michael Andretti fans are Champ Car fans.   We HATE Tony George for his splitting the sport we love (yes, Michael, it was not broke and did not need Tony's "fixing" it) and we further HATE him for trying to impose his lame managed brand of racing with ridiculous cars on the real racing fans.  We particularly HATE him for his attempts to bury Champ Car first in bankruptcy court and second by having the manufacturers bribe the Champ Car teams to the IRL.  If you haven't noticed, the IRL television ratings are pathetic as are the paid crowds.  The reason is that most of us HATE Tony George and, therefore, his series.  If you notice, the other IRL owners are either smart enough or gracious enough to not trash talk Champ Car (and necessarily, its large fan base).  So, please--for all the support we have given you, which made you a star,--PLEASE--Stop running your big mouth before you become as hated as Tony George.  Signed:  A former fan
09/08/04
champcar
Answers to some burning questions Answers to some burning questionsA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Why doesn't Champ Car work harder to get the Indy name out of their races?  Why is Michael Andretti so mad at Champ Car? You see other owners go over and conduct their business and you never hear a word.  Michael doesn't have a good thing to say about the series or the fans that supported him for so many years.  And what about Barry Green at St. Pete., did he already forget about the Indy 500 Tony took from him?   I have lost a lot of respect for a lot of people who I thought were good racers and good business people.  I can say the new owners of Champ Car have never lost sight of the direction of Champ Car and for that I thank them.   Have they made some mistakes so far?  We on the outside don't know.  I know I was at the Denver race and if my ticket renewal came in the mail today I would renew for next year now.   I do know that whatever the IRL does, they have ruined the greatest race in the world to accomplish their mission. Jerry Marney, Topeka ,Ks.  Dear Jerry, We have already addressed the Indy name in some of their race titles, it must go.  As for why is Michael Andretti being so mad at Champ Car?  We never asked him, but we recall he resented the fact that the drivers never got any stock when CART went public because he felt the drivers were a key component of the company's future success.  Other than that, we don't know why he is so bitter.  Perhaps he is not bitter, but just doing his job because he knows which side of his bread is buttered, i.e. who is paying him a hefty check. Mark C.
09/08/04
champcar
Are old Champ Cars dangerous? Are old Champ Cars dangerous?UPDATE  Paul Tracy writes in this Toronto Star article, Although my fourth-place finish at Montreal last weekend was respectable enough, it seemed everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  The first-lap accident during the race that bent my front suspension was only part of the story.  Three laps into the first practice session on Friday, the monocoque tub that houses my seat split apart — simply from running over curbs during a normal lap around the track.  Then in the first qualifying session, my gearbox split open — also from just running over the curbs.   Though I managed to turn some laps in Saturday's qualifying session, the car started to handle funny.  When I pulled in, the team found my engine block was cracked.  And after the race, not only was my front end cooked, we also discovered that the replacement monocoque had split apart on the car.  That amount of hardware damaged on one weekend is quite a stroke of misfortune, especially when most of it happened without even hitting anything.  It's quite a change from last year, when everything from qualifying to the races themselves seemed to go my way.  Burning through those monocoques means I'll be racing at Laguna Seca without a spare car.  If there's a crash or something does go wrong, then we may have to borrow a spare car from Patrick Carpentier or Rudolfo Lavin, leaving them without their own backup cars. [Editor's Note: The damage is where the skid plate pushes in the bottom of the tub due to the curbing.  It is due to the curb design in Montreal (Monterrey had the same problem in the first couple, although there were only a couple damaged due to the track design).  The problem is the width of the curbing.  Drivers hammer the curbing hard in Montreal.  So, what happens is sometimes the 2nd wheel goes completely over the curbing causing the bottom of the tub to slap on the curbing and give in.  It may take many occurrences to cause a failure.  This happens on new and old tubs so it isn't fatigue related, at least not at Montreal.]  09/07/04 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I read somewhere that Paul Tracy recently broke his Champ Car tub.  The existing Champ Cars have been around for many years now.  Have they reached an unsafe condition? Charlie White, San Diego, CA  Dear Charlie, Carbon Fiber (material used to make the tubs) is subject to the same fatigue failures (fatigue failures occur even if material is never overstressed due to repeated stress cycles - in layman's terms they just wear out) that most materials are subject to.  We have heard of tubs cracking before.  While some of the Lolas on the grid are new (old design, recently manufacturered) many of them have quite a lot of miles on them.  The existing car is close to reaching the end of its useful life.  While some people have suggested the next generation Champ Car be the existing Lola car with some new band-aid pieces bolted on, what is really needed is a whole new car from Lola or some other manufacturer for 2006 made with the latest manufacturing processes and meeting the latest safety standards.  Given that all new cars can be purchased for a lot less money than what the existing Lola costs, it's time to put the old lady out to pasture, she served the series well. Mark C.
09/08/04
nascar
LVMS NASCAR tickets on sale Monday LVMS NASCAR tickets on sale MondayTickets for the 2005 NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will go on public sale Monday at 8 a.m.   The eighth annual UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup event is set for March 13, 2005.  Also that weekend are the Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series event (March 12) and Pole Day (March 11).   Race fans can call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to www.lvms.com to purchase tickets.   “Our NASCAR Weekend has grown each year,” said Chris Powell, LVMS general manager.  “On Monday, fans will have opportunities to acquire tickets for  some of the best seats at the speedway.  That includes the popular Dale Earnhardt Terrace, which opened to rave reviews earlier this year with its fantastic views of the entire speedway and pit road, not to mention Nellis Air Force Base and the panoramic Las Vegas Strip.”  Race fans purchasing weekend packages receive seating priority from year to year. Weekend packages include front-stretch seats for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and Sam’s Town 300 as well as a free ticket to Pole Day.  Las Vegas Motor Speedway also is offering weekend pit passes. These passes, which must be accompanied by a ticket and are not to be confused with garage passes, allow fans access to the infield and pit-road areas during practice, qualifying and pre-race.
09/08/04
irl
Andretti Green Racing signs multi-year deal with Klein Tools Andretti Green Racing signs multi-year deal with Klein ToolsAndretti Green Racing (AGR) announced today it has signed a multi-year contract agreement with Klein Tools, Inc. to continue in its role as a co-major sponsor of the #26 Honda-powered Dallara driven by Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series driver Dan Wheldon.   The agreement calls for Klein Tools to retain its prominent position on the #26 entry as a co-major sponsor. Klein Tools became a co-major sponsor at the start of the 2003 IndyCar Series season, which coincided with Andretti Green's formation and entry into the Indy Racing League.   "Klein Tools has been an important piece of the foundation of Andretti Green Racing and is sure to be a big part of our success for a long time," said Michael Andretti, who owns Andretti Green Racing along with Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. "As an industry leader, Klein Tools stays focused on producing world-class products and refuses to settle for anything but being the best. We share those same ideals at Andretti Green Racing, and that makes Klein Tools a great partner for us. Its relationship with the nucleus of our team goes back more than a decade and those types of relationships are invaluable."
09/08/04
irl
IndyCar Series Drivers Head To IROC Event IndyCar Series Drivers Head To IROC EventIRL IndyCar® Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Scott Sharp will hit the track a day before cars are scheduled for on-track activity at Chicagoland Speedway.  Castroneves, Dixon and Sharp will represent the Indy Racing League in the third round of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions on Sept. 9 at Richmond International Raceway. The race, the series' first on a short track, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (EDT) and will be broadcast by Speed Channel.  "At the beginning it was like wow, very different from what I'm used to," said Castroneves, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner who is fourth in IndyCar Series points. "I am just starting to get comfortable, but these cars don't have the wings like the Indy cars for downforce. So you have to slow down, otherwise you're going to spin, and I almost spun like three, four, five times. After a while, I realized I have to take it a little easier."
09/08/04
irl
Manning To Return To Ganassi in 2005 Manning To Return To Ganassi in 2005Target Chip Ganassi Racing announced Sept. 8 that it will retain driver Darren Manning for the 2005 IndyCar Series season.  "We are very excited to continue our relationship with Darren, who has shown this season what a talented driver he is and how eager he is to learn and grow with our team," team owner Chip Ganassi said. "He has adapted quickly to every challenge and will certainly be an asset to the Target team as the IRL prepares to go road racing next season. We wanted to continue to build our relationship with Darren and look forward to a successful season with what we feel is a strong formula for success in the coming year with both he and Scott Dixon, as well as our partners, Target, Toyota and Panoz G Force."

Manning joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing in November 2003 as driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. He has finished in the top-five on four occasions including an IndyCar Series career-best fourth place in Japan, Nashville and Pikes Peak.  "I'm thrilled to be returning with the Target team for the 2005 season," Manning said. "Coming to a championship team and a class organization with a legacy for winning was an opportunity not many drivers get to have, but Chip Ganassi and the Target team gave me that chance to prove myself.

"It's given me a level of confidence and stability that I've never known and that I can truly appreciate. The team shared their vast and invaluable experience with me, provided a competitive car every race weekend, and together we have had some measure of success. This past season was an incredible learning experience, and I'm excited to be given the chance to continue to build on the relationships I have forged here, because I truly believe that is a very important ingredient in the recipe for future success."

09/08/04
grandam
New schedule for Rolex 250 New schedule for Rolex 250A new live telecast on SPEED Channel for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series and same-day coverage for the Grand-Am Cup Series on the leading motor racing network are among the positive developments to come out of the one-week postponement of the Miami 250 weekend, which is now scheduled for September 17-19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

On the heels of Monday’s announcement that the Miami 250 weekend was postponed due to the state of emergency in Florida, Grand American Road Racing Association officials today announced that the Rolex Series Miami 250 will now start at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, September 19 and will air live on SPEED. The Grand-Am Cup Series ¡El Combate de Velocidad! will begin at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, September 18 and will receive same-day coverage on SPEED beginning at 10 p.m. ET

Weekend activities at Homestead-Miami Speedway get underway on Friday, September 17, with Rolex Series GT and Super Grand Sport (SGS) classes practicing from 9:20 to 9:50 a.m. ET. The Daytona Prototypes will join the GT and SGS machines on track beginning at 9:50 a.m. and will have the track to themselves from 10:50 to 11:20 a.m.

At 1:00 p.m., the Grand-Am Cup Series sees its first activity on the 2.3-mile speedway road course with an hour-long practice session, followed by another Rolex Series all-skate from 2:10 to 2:55 p.m. A 55-minute practice session for the Grand-Am Cup Series from 3:40 to 4:35 p.m. wraps up Friday activities.

Saturday’s schedule begins with Grand-Am Cup practice from 9:00-9:50 a.m., followed by Rolex Series practice from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. At 11:10 a.m., the Grand-Am Cup ST class begins its 15-minute qualifying session, with the GS class slated to qualify from 11:35 to 11:50 a.m. At 12:50 p.m. a 15-minute Rolex Series GT and SGS qualifying session gets underway, with the Daytona Prototypes on course for qualifying from 1:15 to 1:30 p.m. The day concludes with Round 7 of the 10-race 2004 Grand-Am Cup Series, ¡El Combate de Velocidad! at 2:45 p.m. The race is scheduled for 250 miles (109 laps), but is subject to a three-hour time limit.

Following a 30-minute final practice session for the Rolex Sports Car Series from 8:40 to 9:10 a.m. on Sunday, September 19 will be Round 9 of the 12-race 2004 schedule, the Miami 250. The race will take the green flag at 11:00 a.m. and is scheduled for 250 miles (109 laps) or two hours and 45 minutes. Live Timing & Scoring data for all sessions is available via Zippo Live Timing on www.grandamerican.com.

09/08/04
nascar
NASCAR Fontana overnight ratings NASCAR Fontana overnight ratingsThe overnight TV rating on NBC for the Nextel Cup race Sunday night from the California Speedway was a 4.5/8 share - shown in prime time on the east coast.  The Busch series race, also on NBC, on Saturday afternoon garnered a 1.7/4 share.  This is the first year for this event so there are no comparisons to last year.
09/08/04
NASCAR
USAC's Reid to Start First Race for Hendrick USAC's Reid to Start First Race for HendrickDriving the No. 87 ditech.com Chevrolet, Boston Reid will enter his first career NASCAR Busch Series event on Friday at Richmond. The Logansport, Ind., native joined the Hendrick Motorsports driver development program in April, earning three top-10 finishes in as many ARCA Series races this season. While Reid will be making his Busch Series debut at Richmond, Friday's 250-lapper will not be the first action he's seen on the .75-mile oval. Driving in USAC's Silver Crown division at RIR on June 26, the 21-year-old was running in the fifth position before being sidelined by an accident with four laps remaining, finishing a disappointing 21st. This will be Reid's fourth-ever start in a stock car race. The No. 87 ditech.com team visited Richmond Aug. 24-25 in preparation for this week's event. "We had a good test. The first day was just getting me used to the cars and adapted to the race track in a different type of car. I ran Silver Crown at Richmond in the spring, so we concentrated on getting me used to the different line, the car turning quicker and being heavier. We were able to do that, then come back the second day and get in a good rhythm. The Silver Crown has much wider right-side tires, so you can really lean on them and abuse them. If you mess up -- overdrive the corner or something like that -- you can make that up pretty easily. With the stock cars, you're limited to such a small right-side tire that the room for error is much less, plus you've got a lot more weight on those tires. But the transition is pretty easy. Silver Crown is usually a little bit quicker around Richmond than the Busch cars, so I'm used to the speed. It's more about getting accustomed to the bigger car."Hendrick Motorsports
09/08/04
champcar
Exclusive: We reveal new San Jose Champ Car circuit Exclusive: We reveal new San Jose Champ Car circuitUPDATE #2 [Editor's Note:  As you know, AutoRacing1 broke the original story about San Jose months ago.  As stated previosly, we have the circuit layout but are still holding off publishing it until given the OK.] Today's San Jose Mercury newspaper sported a large article on the Sport section's front page titled: CHAMP CAR COMING TO A STREET NEAR YOU?  The newspaper print version also contained two lists not seen on the web version, one on the front page that listed the 3-day attendance of Long Beach, Toronto,Vancouver and Denver(it included weekend total & race day totals) and they also had a Laguna Seca crowd count with figures from 1995...121,900 down to 2003.....42,000 (Ouch).  The Monterey Herald article says, The high-pitched whine of open-wheel race cars will echo on the Monterey Peninsula this weekend as the Champ Car series makes its annual pilgrimage to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

But the next time the high-tech cars are in this region, they may be tearing through the streets of San Jose.  The city and the Champ Car World Series are negotiating to bring the race cars, which can reach speeds of 230 mph, to downtown for a street-course event in 2005.

''There's interest by both parties, but nothing has been signed,'' said Eric Mauk, news manager for Champ Car.  Dean Munro, the San Jose Sports Authority executive director, said it was premature to discuss details about a possible downtown race. He declined to identify a race date or course -- although it's believed the route would be anchored by HP Pavilion.

But if the event were to happen, Munro envisions 100,000-plus spectators over a three-day weekend, bringing with them a minimum economic impact of $20 million.  ''I think it would be a great match for the city,'' Munro said. ''Hotels would be packed, restaurants and shops downtown would be mobbed. It's extraordinary publicity. And we bring an event to downtown that's a lot of fun and the public enjoys. Now we're at the next step of seeing if we really can do this.''

A decision likely will come soon because Champ Car is expected to announce its 2005 schedule by the end of this month. Any agreement would have to be approved by the San Jose City Council.  Former Silicon Valley CEO Kevin Kalkhoven, one of the new owners of the Champ Car company, Open Wheel Racing Series, declined comment through a spokesman.

08/26/04 AutoRacing1.com was asked to remove the detailed track layout that we published (yes it was the correct layout) earlier today until such time as the principals are prepared to announce the event.  We have honored their wishes.  We already broke this story, we'll publish the track layout for you when we can. Mark C. 08/26/04 In an AutoRacing1.com exclusive, we have uncovered the soon to be announced San Jose, California Champ Car street circuit.  The track measures just under 2.0 miles in length and is laid out around the San Jose Pavillion in downtown San Jose, as originally rumored first on these pages.  Click image to right to view enlargement.
More to follow....
09/08/04
irl
IRL to switch to single point refueling IRL to switch to single point refuelingOnce again the IRL has had to copy the Champ Car series to improve itself.   For next season the IRL has approved a single-point refueling device that will streamline the duties of the vent and air jack operator.  "From what we've seen, that's a dramatic improvement in safety," team owner Tom Anderson said.  See this Indy Star article for more on the rash of injuries in the IRL pits.
09/08/04
NASCAR
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Points Update NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Points UpdateThe race to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup is rounding the turn and heading for home at Richmond International Raceway this weekend! Jimmie Johnson took over the points lead from teammate Jeff Gordon and Elliott Sadler solidified his place in the top 10 following his win in the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway. But the big news remained the changes at or near the all-important 10th spot in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. A second-place finish by Kasey Kahne and third-place run by Mark Martin propelled the drivers into the ninth and 10th-place spots, respectively. Meanwhile, Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick tumbled out of the top 10, all of which sets up the Richmond race as the final chance to crack the top 10. Lurking in the 11th position and hoping to make a bold move at Richmond is Jamie McMurray, only 25 points back of Martin. Labonte is 12th (36 points back of Martin), followed by Dale Jarrett (43 points out of 10th) and Jeremy Mayfield (55 points behind Martin). So this is it...following the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 the 10 drivers will be in place for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and it should make for a wild and exciting weekend. [Editor's Note: Don't be surprised if both Johnson and Gordon drop out early. This would open up the door for those teams just outside of 10th place to make up some ground and be within 400 points of the leader, earning them a spot in the hunt for the Championship.]
09/08/04
DTM
Alesi backs French street race Alesi backs French street raceThis week's Autosport Magazine reports that Jean Alesi hopes to bring the DTM to the historic city of Avignon in the south of France.  Alesi will meet with city officials this week to discuss his  proposal for the series to race on a street circuit. The backdrop would be the famous St Benezet bridge, which spans the River Rhone.   “I will meet the Mayor ofAvignon and will show him the route of the circuit and the costings,” said Alesi.   “The track would be like Norisring, with two hairpins and two chicanes, and we want to create a real festival atmosphere. I think it would be a fantastic event and the French public would be very receptive to it. I have received a good response from [series organiser] Hans Werner Aufrecht, so I’m hopeful.”   Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug acknowledged that spectator attendance is crucial to the selection of venues for the DTM, and that poorly-attended rounds such as Adria and Estoril may face the boot. “The races outside Germany are working well but we need to go where the spectators are,” he said.
09/08/04
f1
McLaren set to run wider nose McLaren set to run wider noseMcLaren is set to run with a wider nose on its race-winning MP4-19B at this weekend’s Italian GP following successful runs in last week’s major test at Monza.  Autosport Magazine
09/08/04
champcar
Forsythe Racing looking to add staff Forsythe Racing looking to add staffForsythe Racing is advertising for a Data Acquisition Engineer and/or an Assistant Engineer for its three-car Champ Car team.  Candidate must be be familiar with Pi Research Workshop, Toolbox and Race Strategy modules. 
09/08/04
f1
Ferrari helps out FIA Ferrari helps out FIAFerrari helped conduct some aerodynamic testing on behalf of the FIA at Monza last week. Test drivers Luca Badoer and Andrea Bertolini ran very closely together on the Italian track to provide data on how turbulence from other cars affects performance. Autosport Magazine
09/08/04
irl
Brack to return to seat in Porsche Brack to return to seat in PorscheInjured Indy Racing League star Kenny Brack is set to return to competition for the first time since his horrendous accident at last year's IRL finale in Texas, having been invited to contest a round of the Scandinavian Porsche Carrera Cup series.  The Swede was able to accept the invitation to race Porsche's guest car in the national Carrera Cup round at Mantorp Park on 19 September.  "I'm looking forward to racing again - especially as it is in Sweden," Brack admitted, "This will be my first race since the crash and it will be in a different kind of car to what I am used to, but I was happy to accept once my team gave me permission to take part."
09/08/04
alms
Minassian in final ALMS rounds Minassian in final ALMS roundsThis week Creation Autosportif announced that the team would contest the final two rounds of the American Le Mans Series following the season finale of the Le Mans Endurance Series next weekend at Spa Francorchamps. The team will race at both Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca and Nicolas Minassian is looking forward to his first taste of ALMS competition.

"I am thrilled that Creation decided to race in the last two races of the ALMS, and even more delighted they chose to put me in the car," Minassian said. "We are having a great debut year together in Europe and running strong, but it is great to go back to the U.S. especially as the championship is so competitive."

The first of the two ALMS races will be at the majestic Road Atlanta circuit. The race, 1000-miles or ten hours known as Petit Le Mans, is a real test of machine and driver.

"I have never raced at Road Atlanta, but I don't think this will hinder the team, at the end of the day it's a racetrack, some corners are flat, some I'll have to lift... just like any other," smiled Minassian. "Seriously though the 1000-mile race will be a long and tough event, but the Creation team has worked its socks off all year to make the car as bullet-proof as possible, so I think we can be optimistic," Minassian added.

The Frenchman and his Creation team are especially upbeat regarding their first ALMS outing at Laguna Seca, the sweeping 2.238-mile Californian circuit. Minassian tested here when he drove for Chip Ganassi Racing in Champ Cars back in 2001 and is looking forward to his return with brimming confidence.

"Laguna Seca will be another story," Minassian continued. "The Creation car will be quick there as there are not many fast straights but lots of fast corners which is very good for our car. Our aim is to win the race...so let's go do it!" Jarlmotorsport

09/08/04
nascar
Petty helps ESPN celebrate Petty helps ESPN celebrateRichard Petty was invited to help celebrate ESPN'S Silver Anniversary on Tuesday night Sept. 7, and attended the "ESPN 25 Party" at the ESPN Zone in New York City. To commemorate each year ESPN has been on the air, the cable sports network profiled a nationally-prominent athlete by a significant year in his career. Petty represented the year 1984, the year he captured his record 200th NASCAR Nextel Cup victory at the Daytona International Speedway. Petty was to be joined by other athletes as well as ESPN's top on-air talent from the past 25 years. Williams Company PR
09/08/04
nascar
Jeff Gordon on a lottery ticket Jeff Gordon on a lottery ticketMichigan State officials will call on two unlikely sources to help bail out next year's cash-starved budget: Jeff Gordon and Coca-Cola. The budget deal forged last week projects $11 million for increased lottery receipts from a new series of instant tickets featuring the images of popular NASCAR drivers, such as Gordon ($3 million), and using game tickets and Keno monitors for advertising space ($8 million). "An instant scratch-off featuring NASCAR drivers can be very successful," said Michigan Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters. "There are 13 other states that offer those kinds of tickets, and they're the most popular instant tickets they have." Lansing State Journal
09/08/04
nascar
NASCAR sponsors keen on Mexico NASCAR sponsors keen on MexicoLowe's Companies Inc. has no home improvement stores in Mexico and no plans to open stores in Mexico, but it sure is excited about NASCAR's plans to expand there.  That's because NASCAR's second-biggest corporate sponsor figures anything NASCAR does to grow in Mexico can only strengthen Lowe's ties with Mexican American and other Latino consumers in the United States.
Last month, the sanctioning body of stock-car racing disclosed plans to shoehorn a Mexico City race into the Busch Series busy 2005 schedule.

"NASCAR running a race in Mexico next year will enable us to share some of that excitement with our Spanish-speaking customers in the U.S.," said Chris Ahearn, spokeswoman at the company's Mooresville headquarters.  Lowe's enthusiasm illustrates the major force driving NASCAR south of the border - the hunger of U.S. corporations to bond with Hispanic consumers. Already at 35 million, the U.S. Hispanic population is expected to hit 47 million by 2010, or about 15 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census.

NASCAR, most of whose top teams are clustered around Charlotte, has been pushing into big cities with large Latino populations such as Los Angeles and Fort Worth, Texas. Now it has partnered with Ocesa, Mexico's dominant promoter of live events, to build up a fledgling series of stock-car races in Mexico. The venture, NASCAR Mexico, will also try to boost Mexican television viewership of NASCAR's U.S. events.  The announcement was immediately praised by NASCAR's biggest sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch, Domino's Pizza, Home Depot and Nextel. Anheuser-Busch, the St. Louis brewer that is NASCAR's largest sponsor, owns half of Grupo Modelo, the Mexican brewer that makes Corona beer. Atlanta-based Home Depot is the largest home improvement retailer in Mexico, and Domino's of Ann Arbor, Mich., operates 500 stores there. Reston, Va.-based Nextel, which agreed to pay $750 million to sponsor NASCAR's premier championship from 2004 to 2013, this spring launched a digital walkie-talkie service in Mexico. More at Charlotte Observer

09/08/04
f1
McLaren run Chinese driver McLaren run Chinese driverThe West McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team gave 20-year-old Chinese driver Cheng Congfu has first chance to try Formula 1 power in a demonstration run at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Cheng was at the wheel of a McLaren MP4-17D. In doing so he became the first Chinese-born driver to drive an F1 car. Ho-Ping Tung tested a Williams last year but, despite having Chinese nationality, he was born in Holland. Cheng started karting in 1996 and switched to cars in 2001, taking part in the British Formula Ford Winter Series. In 2002 he won the Chinese Formula Renault title and in 2003 switched to British Formula Renault with Manor Motorsport. In June last year he was announced as a member of the Team McLaren Mercedes driver development programme. "Frankie" is still racing in Formula Renault. Grandprix.com
09/08/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
BRDC make Bernie an offer for Brit GP
Button accepts Webber challenge
'Don't blame us' for blow-outs - Michelin
Schu urges Bridgestone tyre analysis
Rain on the way to Monza
Chinese driver tests McLaren car
'I like Kimi' - Ferrari's Todt
Monza preview - F1's top three
Monza preview - F1's next three

BAR expect tough 2005
Monteiro aims for Minardi seat
Michelin not to blame - McLaren
Monza preview - the rest
Schu wary of McLaren, Renault
Hill supports 'mini race' qualifying
09/07/04
irl
Interview with James Chesson and Dan Wheldon Interview with James Chesson and Dan WheldonThe guest drivers on this week's IRL media teleconference were James Chesson, brother of Infiniti Pro driver PJ Chesson, and Dan Wheldon, Indy Car driver for Andretti Green Racing. Transcript
09/07/04
champcar
Monterey Grand Prix preview Monterey Grand Prix previewSebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) knew his stirring drive from deep in the field at Denver would get him no special consideration in Montreal and he was right on the money as he saw his Champ Car World Series points lead nearly halved two weeks ago at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.  Bourdais saw his advantage in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford standings lopped from 58 to 34 points after mid-race contact left him 15th in the final results. His Newman/Haas Racing stable mate Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) took full advantage of Bourdais’ misfortune to get back in the title hunt, closing the gap by 24 markers as the series heads to picturesque Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for this weekend’s Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey. More....
09/07/04
f1
100,000 show up for Renault demo in Lyon 100,000 show up for Renault demo in LyonRenault put on a huge display of machinery around the streets of Lyon at the weekend. More than 100,000 people came to see the Renault F1 Team demonstrate its R24 around a 1.4km street circuit constructed in the streets of France’s second city.

"An hour before we drove the car, we went out in a Mégane to greet the crowds," Montagny explained. "The welcome was amazing! I spent the day among the fans, taking photos and signing autographs. One of our aims was to give these real passionate fans something to remember, and I kept that in mind when I got in the car. I was doing spin turns, changing gear at full revs… I tried to put on a good show! I think it went down well – as the third driver, you are sometimes a little bit in the background at the race weekends. But this weekend showed that people in France know who I am – that was a great feeling."

"At the tracks, we have to concentrate on the race, on practice or technical briefings: we are cut off from our fans most of the time," he explained. "Yesterday, we could just enjoy ourselves. When I got in the car, I just wanted to have some fun and impress the spectators. I waved to the crowd and did some burnouts."
 
"The supports in Lyon were incredible. Throughout the day, from the press conference to the football match which pitched us against the Olympique Lyonnais football team, from the promotional activities to the runs on the track, we had a really warm welcome and support from everybody. Thanks to the City of Lyon for this great day. I can’t wait for the next one!"

The team also had a display of F1 machinery on show, pit stop demonstrations and a parade of '105 Years of History', showcasing the marque's vehicles over the past century. Renault

09/07/04
f1
Puma to replace Fila at Ferrari Puma to replace Fila at FerrariFerrari, Formula One's oldest and most successful team, will present a sponsorship accord tomorrow with Puma AG, the German sporting-goods maker known for its leaping cat logo, said Valeria Saino, a spokeswoman for Puma in Italy.   Puma will replace Italian sporting-goods maker Fila Sport SpA as a sponsor of Ferrari's Formula One racing team and will equip drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello with apparel. Puma Chairman Jochen Zeitz and Ferrari Manager Jean Todt will give further details of the accord at the Italian team's headquarters in Maranello, Saino said.  Fila's agreement with Ferrari is worth $1 million for 2004, according to BusinessF1 magazine. The accord was worth $500,000 in 2003. Bloomberg
09/07/04
grandam
Miami Rolex 250 postponed one week Miami Rolex 250 postponed one weekUPDATE A reader writes, The one-week delay will allow spectators and competitors to travel to the race in a more secure and safer environment Does this mean they actually think they will have a spectator for the event?  Will anyone know how to sell the hoped for spectator a ticket?  At the earlier race this year the event pictures showed two people in the stands, and they appeared to be crew from a GA cup team.  This series is supported completely from the France family coffers as a way to minimize the ALMS.  It's all about control of USA motorsports by the oval track cartel. Bob Laubach, St. Petersburg, FL  09/06/04 Officials from the Grand American Road Racing Association and Homestead-Miami Speedway jointly announced today a one-week postponement of the Rolex Sports Car Series Miami 250 – originally scheduled to be run this weekend, Sept. 10 – 12 – in light of the recent and pending hurricane activity that has impacted and further threatens Florida and other regions of the Southeast.

Round 9 of the 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series championship, the Miami 250 is now scheduled to take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway on the weekend of Sept. 17 – 19.  The event weekend also includes Round 7 of the Grand-Am Cup Series that will be conducted on Saturday.  Competitor move in will be on Thursday, Sept. 16.

Although Homestead-Miami Speedway sustained no major damage and remains safe and operational following this past weekend’s onslaught of Hurricane Frances, the one-week delay will allow spectators and competitors to travel to the race in a more secure and safer environment.  At the moment, damage to Florida’s roads and interstates and related infrastructure is being assessed and available fuel for passenger cars and trucks is at a minimum. 

The postponement decision was equally based on the current formation of Hurricane Ivan in the South Atlantic Ocean, another major storm that could make U.S. landfall as early as this weekend.  Although the exact route of Hurricane Ivan cannot be determined at this time, all regions of Florida could be in the potential path of the storm.

“The postponement was the best decision to make at this time and we are grateful to Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray and his staff for quickly working with us in taking this sensible course of action,” said Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson.  “The safety of our fans and competitors alike is always our major concern and this brief delay will allow us to ensure a safe and successful event for all.”

09/07/04
champcar
 irl
The confusing face of open wheel racing The confusing face of open wheel racingThis AutoWeek article is a good read on the sad state of affairs of open wheel racing in the USA.  It's a good read, but what the author fails to grasp is the fact that OWRS has changed the game.  The game isn't the USA anymore.  NASCAR already won that game. As they say, it's the global economy and market, stupid.
09/07/04
V8 Supercar
Yoong to debut in V8 Supercar Yoong to debut in V8 SupercarEx-Formula One driver Alex Yoong gets to realise another major milestone in his international motorsport career when he suits up for his debut drive in Australia's V8 Supercar Championship Series.   Yoong, who two weeks ago relocated to Queensland's Gold Coast after securing a drive with businessman Craig Gore's WPS Racing Ford team, will have his first drive in the category in this weekend's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 in Victoria.   Yoong will take the lead seat in WPS Racing's Car 48 and will be joined in the endurance event by co-driver John McIntyre, from New Zealand.   The other WPS Racing Ford Falcon, Car 23, is being driven by lead driver David Besnard and co-driver Neil McFadyen.   Yoong said that his first drive in V8 Supercars has been a long time coming after he first started exploring his options in the category last year.   "It was frustrating sitting on the sidelines trying to get a drive but that shows how competitive it is in the V8 Supercar category," said Yoong.   "But now I've secured a seat and I'm determined to make the most of it."
09/07/04
f1
Drivers' Club makes offer to promote GP Drivers' Club makes offer to promote GPThe British Racing Drivers' Club have offered to promote the British Grand Prix itself in a bid to secure the Silverstone race until 2007.  The BRDC, who own Silverstone, have spent recent months looking for a promoter for the event but, with losses totalling around £10million this year, few were forthcoming.  They have now taken an "inherent commercial risk" by submitting an offer to Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone to promote the race until 2007.  Ecclestone has previously said the race has a future for the next three years providing a promoter can be found, and today's news would seem to fulfil his requirements.

A BRDC statement read: "The BRDC has today submitted an offer to Formula One Management to act as the promoter for the British Grand Prix through 2005, 2006 and 2007.  This offer has been made on terms that do not create a profit, and carry inherent commercial risk, for the BRDC.  However, in the interests of maintaining the British Grand Prix in the United Kingdom we are prepared as a club to make our contribution.   It is the club's hope for the sake of the sport and the industry in the United Kingdom that agreement can be reached." Sporting Life

09/07/04
nascar
NASCAR to reset points NASCAR to reset pointsAfter this week's race at Richmond, those eligible for the championship chase will have their points reset. The points leader after Richmond will have a point total of 5,050 with each position after dropping by five points so that 10th place has 5,005 points. If there are more than 10 drivers, the 11th-place driver will have his total reset to 5000. If there are any other drivers who qualify, they also will be at 5,000 points. News and Record
09/07/04
irl
The real numbers behind the IRL’s first 100 races The real numbers behind the IRL’s first 100 racesIn this SPEED TV article Robin Miller cuts up on the recent press release put out by the IRL hyping up its first 100 races.  While the uneducated media swallowed the fluff piece hook, line and sinker, Miller uses numbers to tear into the real facts about those first 100 races.  He refers to a Baghdad Bob in the article, meaning the IRL PR boss Fred Nation.   In all fairness to Fred, he is just doing the job he's paid to do, to spin the IRL in the best possible light.
09/07/04
NASCAR
Daytona Renovation Survives Hurricanes Daytona Renovation Survives HurricanesDaytona International Speedway held its ground against a major hurricane emerging with no substantial damage to the historic facility. Hurricane Frances meandered through Florida over the Labor Day Weekend, pelting the state with several inches of rain and strong gusts of wind but only a few fallen trees and blown away banners resulted. The Speedway also held its own against Hurricane Charley three weeks ago with no significant damage. The track's multimillion dollar renovation project also went unscathed, with no concerns of delay. The completion date for the project is scheduled for December. "Once again the World Center of Racing stood up to Mother Nature's best," said DIS Track President Robin Braig. "Standing up to two major storms within a few weeks of one another is a testament to those who built this track almost 50 years ago." Daytona International Speedway PR
09/07/04
NASCAR
Junior’s Car to Promote Boxing Match Junior’s Car to Promote Boxing MatchBudweiser, sponsor of the No. 8 NEXTEL Cup car with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., will promote the boxing battle royale for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world between Oscar de la Hoya and Bernard Hopkins with a decal on the Bud Chevrolet this weekend. The decal will ride on the decklid of the Bud car for Saturday night's Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va. Budweiser is presenting the fight, which can be seen on Pay-Per-View Saturday night, September 18. Dale Earnhardt Jr Publicity
09/07/04
champcar
GP of Monterey Hot Topics GP of Monterey Hot TopicsThe Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey (HDNet, 4 p.m. Eastern Time, September 12; Spike TV, 4 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, September 12), is Round 11 of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Following is a current round-up of the latest Champ Car news, trends to follow, names to watch and a few statistics to track as Champ Car racing heads to the 2.238-mile permanent road course at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. More.....
09/07/04
f1
Japanese fans to get pit walk-through Japanese fans to get pit walk-throughSuzuka officials have revealed that a limited number of tickets will be sold to fans for a "special pit walk" session, which will take place between 9:00 AM and 12:00 noon Thursday October 7th.  Several other tracks have instituted a pit walk-through this year to increase fan access.
09/07/04
f1
Theissen emphasises the need for continuity in F1 Theissen emphasises the need for continuity in F1To underline the importance of continuity in a Formula One team, BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen emphasises the parallels with an orchestra.   In former times, it was quite common for Formula One team personnel to move from team to team, often staying for only one season. In recent years however, things have changed and the teams appear to have realised that continuity and stability is a must if you want to be successful at the pinnacle of motor racing.  Mario Theissen is convinced that this approach is crucial: "This is an extremely important factor," he explains. "It’s similar to an orchestra. For a perfect result, it is vital that all members of a team combine their forces. And if I exchange a member of the orchestra every third week, I’ll never get a perfect result."  At the same time however, Theissen explains that it is also important to sign fresh blood for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team when the time is right. Something the team has already done by signing Mark Webber and Jenson Button as Grand Prix drivers for the 2005 season.  Williams BMW
09/07/04
f1
Michael: Webber and Button a great pair Michael: Webber and Button a great pairAccording to Sam Michael, WilliamsF1’s Technical Director, Mark Webber and Jenson Button will be one of the best driver pairings on the 2005 Formula One grid. 
 
Neither 29-year old Webber nor 24-year old Button have won a Grand Prix thus far, but they have gained wide and invaluable experience in Formula One and are regarded as the biggest talents to emerge in recent years.

Consequently, Sam Michael is confident that the Australian-British pairing will fulfil the team’s expectations next year.

"I think Mark and Jenson will be a fantastic combination, and that's why we're excited about having them next year - they're both big motivators," Michael told 'AtlasF1'.

Furthermore, the Australian underlines that both Jenson and Mark are far from being rookies, in spite of their youth, and both know how to solve various problems. The 2005 season will be Mark’s fourth year of Formula One racing while Jenson will be contesting his sixth season.

"They know how Formula One works and what they have to do to push and win," Michael explained, "And it's something that we're looking forward to starting as soon as possible - they're very much WilliamsF1 type drivers."

Michael is also convinced that the BMW WilliamsF1 Team’s new signings will get on well with each other.

"Jenson and Mark have both already supported each other and said 'this guy is the best team-mate I could have'," added Michael. "I don't expect them to be mates and go to the cinema together or anything like that, but I'm sure they will be fiercely competitive."  Williams BMW

09/07/04
Formula BMW
Lee clinches 2004 Formula BMW Asia drivers' title Lee clinches 2004 Formula BMW Asia drivers' titleBy winning the second race at Autopolis, Japan, Hong Kong driver Marchy Lee has won the prestigious 2004 Formula BMW Asia Championship.    Hong Kong hero Marchy Lee (Team Meritus) clinched the 2004 Formula BMW Asia drivers’ title today by winning Round 10 of the series at the Autopolis Circuit in Japan. Second was Filipino youngster Tyson Sy (Minardi Team Asia), followed by Mehdi Bennani (Team Meritus), who clinched the Rookie Cup title in the process.  Lee’s nine victories from ten races give him an unassailable lead of 190 points. You Kyong Ouk (BMW Korea E-Rain) retains his second place on the leaderboard, but Bennani moves up a place into third, just three points adrift of You.  Said the newly-crowned champion: “I wanted to win the title as quickly as I could, so this is great.  I’ve improved at each round, so I hope I’ve impressed some people with what I can do.”
09/07/04
f1
Schumacher thrills Nurburgring crowd Schumacher thrills Nurburgring crowdMichael has been involved in Formula 1 for years now but yesterday he did something rather unusual in the sport: during the Ferrari Racing Days event at Nurburgring, the seven time world champion drove round the circuit the opposite way. ‘I really had fun’, revealed a smiling Schumacher. The German champ spent a quarter of an hour having at the wheel of his single-seater going to and from from the start to the finish line straight. He was roared on by 50,000 fans throughout. Schumacher had earlier driven the Ferrari 575 GTC and the Maserati MC12, letting everybody see that last week’s crash at Monza was forgotten about.

'I feel fit and am in one piece', declared Michael, though he admitted that 'it was fortunate that the accident ended up as it did and that there were no unfortunate consequences. Considering how bad it was, I came out of it well and without hurting myself'. His desire to drive and his motivation were not wholly unaffected by the incident. 'It is important that the cause of the blowout is analysed. However, I am not at all hurt and so I am not going to worry about it too much'. So, Michael is focused on the weekend's race.

After winning both titles, the Monza Grand Prix should be an enjoyable affair for Ferrari. 'The fans are always behind us and their support is important; this is the reason that we can celebrate and so this weekend too we can give the fans a reason to party. Naturally, we hope to continue this marvellous season with a win at Monza. It will not be a walk in the park, as was proved at testing. The other teams are improving and will make it tough for us but it is our home race and this is an extra motivation. There should be huge crowds yet again. I cannot promise that this will be enough to win – this is sport, after all – but I can say that each of us will give our all, as always, hoping for a great celebration in the afternoon.' Ferrari

09/07/04
f1
Button breaks silence Button breaks silenceIn his first press conference on the subject since news of his Williams move broke, Button revealed all was not well between him and BAR boss Dave Richards well before his surprise summer switch.  "There are many issues, that [bonuses] is one of them, I'm not going to say exactly what it is," Button said. "Contractually we had some differences, we had some issues. That was at the end of 2003. It hasn't been resolved. One of the reasons why I want to move on is because I am not 100 percent happy at the team, and one of the reasons I've not been happy is that there are issues with the contract. We've tried to resolve them but to no avail.  I don't understand why he is saying that (his contract with Williams is not valid) because we are pretty sure I am going to be racing for BMW Williams next year," Button continued. "I think the CRB will understand our position and we will be there (Williams) next year.  I wouldn't be going through all of this if I didn't think it was possible.  It's never 100 percent certain but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be with BMW Williams next year.

"I would rather it had been a lot easier, I don't really like the way it has been handled at all. It's not a nice position to be in. We had an agreement to be with BAR for two years, I honored that agreement and I think I did a good job. I think I have been a big bonus for the team. I'm sure they'll have a good year next year but for me I need to move on and be with a team that can challenge for the championship over the next two years. I'd rather it was a much more simple move and we hadn't got into such a big argument about it."

09/07/04
f1
Jean Todt pans McLaren and Dennis Jean Todt pans McLaren and DennisSpeaking in the October edition of F1 Racing magazine, Ferrari's Jean Todt said, “I respect [McLaren] greatly, because I admire what they've achieved. As for Ron, he's a real racer. Having said that, I think he's too arrogant, and very often isn't fair in his judgement. He should respect Ferrari for what Ferrari are and what Ferrari do. Why criticise proficient people who are simply doing a good job? In the past I remember Ferrari being accused [by Dennis] of using illegal traction control. Ridiculous.”
09/07/04
champcar
 irl
Andretti doesn’t see Champ Car/IRL unification Andretti doesn’t see Champ Car/IRL unificationThis St. Petersburg Times article says, Michael Andretti said he doubts North American open-wheel racing will ever be reunited, with the IRL and Champ Car merging. So it's time, he said, for the IRL to chop into Champ Car's base of street/road racing in Canada and Mexico. "(Champ Car) didn't want it to happen," he said. "We had meetings and CART just doesn't want to get together. So, they have their own agenda and they're going off and doing their thing. We don't understand what they're doing, and I don't think they do either. So it's time for the IRL to go off and do its own thing. I think doing this race will help the IRL even extend its lead over Champ Car in open-wheel racing."
09/07/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Williams lodge Button contract
FIA to accept '05 rule compromise
Liuzzi has Sauber seat fitting
'F1 bosses are too selfish' - Ecclestone
FIA to eliminate debris 'shards'
Confidence is 'coming back' - Zonta 
'I'm unhappy at BAR' - Jenson Button
Monza won't be 'walk in park' - Schu
Renault fix engine glitch (again)
Williams to abandon 'twin keel' car
09/06/04
transam
Kendall nominated Kendall nominatedFour-time Motorock Trans-Am Series Drivers’ Champion Tommy Kendall has been nominated for the Third Quarter 2004 Driver of the Year Award. Kendall, currently second in points just 11 markers behind leader Paul Gentilozzi, returned to the Trans-Am Series this year after a six-year hiatus. Piloting the No. 11 Jaguar R Performance XKR powered by Jaguar’s new production-based, overhead-cam, fuel-injected AJ-V8 engine, Kendall has one win, four podium finishes and five poles in nine starts this season.  “To be honored as part of this group is always a surprise, but it is truly special after not having raced for the last six years,” said Kendall, who won the overall Driver of the Year award after his dominant 1997 championship season. “This is part of why you do it. It’s very rare for a road racer to be nominated.   “We have fought back from some difficulties earlier this season,” added Kendall, referring to the development of the new Jaguar engine. “That’s why this award will definitely be shared by my Rocketsports Racing team this year.”   Kendall is part of an elite group of drivers up for the third quarter nod, including Champ Car World Series standout Sebastien Bourdais, NHRA drag racer Greg Anderson, NASCAR drivers Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, World of Outlaws hotshoe Steve Kinser, and the IRL’s Dan Wheldon.
09/06/04
transam
champcar
Puerto Rican GP Cancelled Puerto Rican GP CancelledUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, We heard the rumors about the Puerto Rico race being cancelled and this announcement confirms it.  However, what about the Champ Car Seoul race being cancelled?  I read your rumors saying it was, but I have $12,000 invested in airline tickets for me and my family to get to Seoul and I have not seen an official cancellation from Champ Car.  If I lose my $12,000 I am not going to be happy. David Bines, Baltimore, MD  Dear David, We suggest you contact the Champ Car office for official word because for some unexplained reason they have not put out an announcement saying the Seoul race, which was officially on the 2004 schedule, has been cancelled.  Sorry to hear you might lose $12,000.  Hopefully Champ Car doesn't lose you as a fan. Mark C. 09/06/04 The Puerto Rico Grand Prix has been canceled. The event, which was to be the 2004 season finale of the Motorock Trans-Am Series, was scheduled for Oct. 10 at the Isla Grande Airport in San Juan. The Series will end its 2004 season Sept. 10-11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.  The final race for the 2004 championship at Laguna Seca places Paul Gentilozzi with a slim 11-point lead in the championship ahead of closest rival Tommy Kendall. Randy Ruhlman is also still in the running for the title, just 20 points behind, coming into Laguna Seca in the closest points race in recent Trans-Am history.
09/06/04
alms
BAM! hit by Hurricane Frances BAM! hit by Hurricane FrancesBAM! (British American Motorsport) took a major hit from Hurricane Frances, which slammed ashore just a few miles from the team's race shop in Stuart, Fla. The roof was torn off the building and team offices were destroyed. The workshop area was flooded, but the No. 43 YES Network Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, transporter and race equipment are intact.

"BAM! got wham-bammed by the hurricane," team owner Tim Munday reported. "It's pretty ugly. The offices are trashed, but everywhere else is okay. The front third of the building, which is the offices, took the full force of it. The back third is where the car is. Everything else is wet, but the front is destroyed."  The team will set up temporary offices in the BAM! transporter, which houses team operations on race weekends. They will be ready for the next American Le Mans Series race, the Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta, on Sept. 25.  "We'll still make Atlanta," Munday said. "We'll just have to function out of the truck, which now becomes the office. But we're used to living out of the truck. We'll be okay."

09/06/04
f1
How technology drives Ferrari's success How technology drives Ferrari's successThis article from a PC Magazine says, Dieter Gundel, head of racetrack electronics at Ferrari, explains the vital role that IT systems play in car development, preparation and race-day action.  The article is two pages long so don't miss the link to read the 2nd page, which has some interesting information.
09/06/04
f1
FIA releases rules bombshell FIA releases rules bombshellThe FIA published this technical bulletin (PDF) which outlined a number of significant changes to the F1 regulations to the F1 Techncal Working group following the failure of the teams to come up with their own set of rules changes to cut speeds, not the least of which puts severe restictions on the engines very much like the IRL does.  We know this isn't going to fly because several of the engine companies have already said they do not want to switch to 2.4L V-8's with the sort of restructions listed below until after the current Concorde Agreement expires after 2007. 
  • The cylinder bore will be fixed
  • The cylinder spacing and engine length will be fixed
  • The crankshaft center line height will be fixed
  • The engine mounting points front and rear will be fixed
  • Only 4-stroke engines with reciprocating pistons are permitted.
  • Engine capacity must not exceed 2400 cc.
  • Supercharging is forbidden.
  • All engines must have 8 cylinders and the normal section of each cylinder must be circular.
  • Engines may have no more than 5 valves per cylinder.
  • The use of any device, other than the 2.4 litre, four stroke engine described  above, to power the car, is not permitted.
  • More non-engine changes......

The working group will now have to choose between the three proposals presented and the FIA has created an escape route by saying that it will accept a combination of elements from the different proposals. In effect this means that the FIA is abandoning any real hope of a change in the engine formula and will have to make do with aerodynamic changes.

Package 1: Aerodynamic reductions of the front wings and engines which would have fixed bore, cylinder spacing, engine length, crankshaft center line height and engine mounting points.

Package 2:  Radical rear wing changes but no mention of engines.

Package 3: The banning of all turning vanes and barge boards and engine rules which will make 2.4-liter V8 engines the only possible engines. The key part of this package is that there will be sporting regulations which force engine manufacturers to provide engines free of charge to smaller teams, which the small teams will like, but the big ones won't.

Other Changes:  In addition to the above the bulletin also proposed 1) the elimination of materials likely to leave sharp shards on the circuit in the event of an accident (i.e the end to carbon fiber wings, body work, etc. which we doubt will fly), and 2) a reduction in the weight limit sufficient to eliminate ballast (at least on most of the cars) in order to reduce the energy to be dissipated if control of a car is lost. This would be combined, if necessary, with a change in relative wheel widths front to rear.

09/06/04
ETCC
Zanardi in another big accident Zanardi in another big accidentEx-F1 and Champ Car driver Alessandro Zanardi had another big accident today, this time at Imola in an ETCC race.   Due to a brake defect he lost control of his #37 BMW 320i and spun backward over the chicane and into the guiderail.  Other cars were involved.  One of the other cars spun back on the track and was t-boned.  Fortunately Zanardi emerged from the spectacular accident  without injuries, but the accident was reminiscent of his EuroSpeedway crash that cost him both legs.  In that accident his car spun onto the track in front of Alex Tagliani whose 200 MPH car ripped Zanardi's in two, severing both legs.  The biggest thing about the accident was that Alex got out of the car almost like a normal person and received a huge cheer from the crowd!
09/06/04
nascar
NASCAR was right to move race NASCAR was right to move raceThis AP article says, With a sellout, estimated at 120,000, at last April's Auto Club 500 and a strong advance sale for the first 2005 race on the 2-mile oval, moved up to February 27, speedway president Bill Miller said the California Speedway track has sold more than 270,000 tickets this year.   "We're this close to selling all the seats today," Miller said, holding his thumb and forefinger about a half-inch apart. "It would be nice to put the standing room sign out, but we feel pretty good about it."

The ticket sales offer pretty strong evidence that NASCAR made the right call when it added the second California race in 2004, hitting tradition squarely in the face by moving the Labor Day weekend event out of Darlington, S.C., for the first time in 54 years.  Darlington, which will hold the Southern 500 in November this year, has a seating capacity barely above 60,000 and hasn't had a sellout in years.

09/06/04
AMA Superbike
Mladin sweeps at Road Atlanta Mladin sweeps at Road AtlantaMat Mladin swept the Suzuki Superbike Showdown presented by Makita doubleheader with a dominating victory Sunday over Honda rival Miguel Duhamel that moved him a giant step closer to the AMA Chevrolet Superbike series championship.  Mladin, riding a factory Yoshimira Suzuki, won by 3.9 seconds in a 25-lap race that was never close after Mladin took the lead on lap 6 and then began pulling away with an assist from lapped traffic midway though the race   It was Mladin's third straight win at Road Atlanta.  Of his 32 career AMA Superbike victories, eight have come at Road Atlanta.  With only a doubleheader weekend at Virginia International Raceway Sept. 18-19, Mladin now leads Jake Zemke by 42 points in his quest for a fifth championship.  He doubled his lead at Road Atlanta as he only led by 21 points before his double victories, and the Australian native who now lives in Henderson, NV, can clinch in the first race at Virginia.  Ben Bostrom finished third and Zemke fourth, both on Hondas. Josh Hayes, who crashed out in Saturday's race, was fifth Sunday.
09/06/04
f1
Bernie is F1 Bernie is F1A reader writes, DearAutoRacing1.com, Thanks for the interview with Bernie Ecclestone.  I always find the guy insightful and very forthcoming.  I got a big laugh when he said he was a pushover, a "pussycat."  This guy isn't afraid to go head-to-head with government leaders worldwide to strike the best deal.  And who can question his success.  He is F1. Steven Smith-Jones, Philadelphia, PA
09/06/04
champcar
Kalkhoven: "We have more developments up our sleeve" Kalkhoven: "We have more developments up our sleeve"This V8X article says (excerpts), The 14th Lexmark Indy 300 was officially launched Thursday by Premier Peter Beattie and Deputy Premier Terry Mackenroth in a colourful showcase of the Event’s many vital elements at Dreamworld.

Reigning Lexmark Indy 300 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven made a fly-in visit, V8 Supercar stars Marcos Ambrose and Mark Skaife displayed their talents in a VB Challenge V8 time trial, and Premier Beattie announced to an audience of more than 150 sponsors, media, and international and national motor racing officials that another record crowd in excess of 300,000 was within reach for the October 21 to 24 Event.

Mr Beattie said the 14th year of the Lexmark Indy 300 would be headlined by the resurging Champ Car World Series along with the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge.  “The Champ Cars and V8 Supercars are the foundation of the Lexmark Indy 300, and combine to produce an Event that is acclaimed internationally as one of the best street events in the world,” said Mr Beattie.   “Last year the four day attendance broke the 300,000 people mark, and we are currently on track to reach the 300,000 mark once again.  “The Lexmark Indy 300 generates a total economic and tourism value of $50.43 million for Queensland. It brings people to Queensland, it creates jobs, it exposes the Gold Coast to a massive international television audience, and it opens up many business and commercial doors.”

Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman John Cowley said the Event continues to develop each year as a carnival of entertainment for the whole family.  "There is so much color and entertainment both on and off the track to satisfy anyone, and we continue to add more colour and entertainment each year,” said Mr Cowley.

“This year we have introduced Friday Night Racing featuring the Porsche Carrera Cup and a new dry Family Area at Intel Turn at the southern end of the circuit. There will be many new Off Track Events including a Sea FM Family Day here at Dreamworld to accompany many of the annual favourites such as the Bartercard Miss Indy competition and the Gala Ball at Conrad Jupiters.

“Another popular component will once again be the Sea FM Air Show with a tremendous contribution provided by the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force over the four days, including an F1-11 dump and burn on the Saturday and Sunday.”

Lexmark Managing Director Henrik Stensfeldt said the Lexmark Indy 300 has already created new business opportunities and higher brand awareness for Lexmark in Queensland and across the country.

After traveling thousands of kilometers to make it for the launch, Aussie-born Kevin Kalkhoven displayed great enthusiasm and commitment for the Event he regards as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Champ Car World Series.

“You only have to look at the crowd figures, the television audience, the great support categories, the off track entertainment, the media coverage and the professionalism of the organisers – the Lexmark Indy 300 is Champs Car’s ‘crown jewel’ and one of the finest motorsport events in the world.  The Champ Cars have been coming here for 14 years and will do so for many years to come.  The Champ Car World Series is in a period of growth and has enjoyed a very successful 2004 season, capitalising on the many changes undergone since the beginning of the year. And you can rest assured that we have a few more developments up our sleeve which will see the series grow much further.”

09/06/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Max's rules to hurt small teams - Dupasquier
Ralf's a 'strange' choice - Mika Salo
Jaguar 'stronger' than Toyota - Klien
Michelin build 'stronger' rear tire
Monteiro 'prepared' for F1 debut - Minardi
Panis shunts Toyota at Monza
Button is 'Williams-type' driver - Michael
Montoya's wife is pregnant
Piquet Jnr drove 'Lotus 24'
Bernie - It's the F1 press' fault
Schu - Monza shunt was 'a shock'
Schu and Gordon go 'head to head'
Carmakers' 'counter proposal' rejected
New rules to 'disadvantage' Ferrari - Mosley
Briscoe back at '100 percent'
Stability is 'crucial' - BMW's Theissen
Jacques, Hakk, would be 'good for F1' - Bernie
Schu's team to take-on Italy
Trulli gets brand new Renault
09/05/04
champcar
Monterey schedule of events Monterey schedule of events
Friday

8-8:30 a.m.: Practice: Motorock Trans-Am Tour
8:45-9:45 a.m.: Practice: Formula BMW USA Championship
10-11:30 a.m.: Practice: Champ Car
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Practice: Toyota Atlantic Series
12:30-1 p.m.: Practice: Motorock Trans-Am Tour
2-3 p.m.: Qualifying: CHAMP CAR
3:20-3:45 p.m.: Qualifying # 1: Formula BMW USA Championship
4-4:30 p.m.: Qualifying: Toyota Atlantic Series
4-5 p.m.: Champ Car Autograph Session
4:45-5:15 p.m.: Qualifying: Motorock Trans-Am Tour

Saturday
8:30-9 a.m.: Practice: Toyota Atlantic Series
9:15-9:40 a.m.: Qualifying # 2: Formula BMW USA Championship
10-11:15 a.m.: Practice: Champ CAR
11:30 a.m.-noon: Pace Car on Track Activities
12:15-12:45 p.m.: Qualifying: Toyota Atlantic Series
1-1:30 p.m.: Pace Car on Track Activities
1:45-2:45 p.m.: Qualifying: Champ Car
3-3:45 p.m.: Formula BMW USA Championship Race # 1
4-5:15 p.m.: Motorock Trans-AM Tour Race (45 laps or 75 minutes)
5:30-6 p.m.: Practice: Drifting

Sunday
8-8:15 a.m.: Warm-up: Toyota Atlantic Series
8:30-8:45 a.m.: Warm-up: Formula BMW USA Championship
9-9:30 a.m.: Warm-up: Champ Car
9:45-10:15 a.m.: Pace Car On Track Activities
10:30-11:30 a.m.: Toyota Atlantic Championship Race
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Pace Car On Track Activities
12:15 p.m.:Grid Champ Cars
1 p.m.: Grand Prix of Monterey race (80 laps)
3:15-4 p.m.: Formula BMW USA Championship Race # 2
4:15-4:45 p.m.: Drifting Exhibition

Off-Track Activities
this week include the Chevy's Amigos party featuring the quartet of Mexican Champ Car drivers, Jourdain, Mario Dominguez, Roberto Gonzalez and Rodolfo Lavin, at Chevy's Restaurant in Salinas Thursday from 6-8 p.m.  Friday night will be the Bridgestone Presents Champ Car Night on Alvarado St. in Monterey from 5-9 p.m. Activities will include an opportunity for fans to do tire changes on a Herdez Competition Champ Car, driver autograph sessions featuring Champ Car (including Vasser and Allmendinger), Toyota Atlantic (including Fogarty, Dalziel and Danica Patrick) and Trans-Am (including Kendall, Gentilozzi and Boris Said) drivers, a Champ Car pit stop demo by the Herdez team, race and pace car displays, live music and more.

09/05/04
champcar
 irl
St. Pete was a gut shot to Champ Car St. Pete was a gut shot to Champ CarUPDATE #2 Another reader writes, Dear Autoracing1, I have to admit that ChampCar did really drop the ball on St. Pete. However, history has proven time and again that more often than not, whenever the IRL has followed CART into a market, it's an absolute failure. Plus, when you consider how succesful the IRL's promotional exercises have been at their other races......It makes me wonder though if Gerry Forsythe has a grasp of the big picture overall though.  First, letting NASCAR get a foothold into the Mexican market at Champ Car's biggest race, and then letting St. Pete fall into the IRL's hands. Let's hope that the other two Amigos have enough foresight to see that Champ Car needs to think of itself first and foremost.  Joe Angers, Boston, MA 09/05/04 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I can't believe how stupid Champ Car was to let St. Petersburg get away.  It allows their chief competitor to get their foot in the door to the urban street race market.  First St. Petersburg, then Long Beach and I would not be surprised to see them take Philadelphia too and get their NE event back after losing Nazareth.  You are right, Champ Car wears a bull's-eye on their back but it should be captioned "Shoot me, I'm stupid and deserve to die." Payne Jackson, Houston TX 09/05/04 Tony George stood atop the steps of the Bayfront Center, grinning as he thumbed through a message on his BlackBerry.  A wireless self-congratulation from the future? "Tony: U were right. St. Pete Grand Prix huge success. Mission accomplished. :) Tony/04/03/2005." Though the president of the Indy Racing League is not capable of such precognitive vision (his wireless plan doesn't cover that anyway), he seemed supremely confident on Thursday that the IRL's decision to race in St. Petersburg for the next three years would increase its position in North American open-wheel racing.

In St. Petersburg, the IRL has its first nonoval and street course event. Road races at Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen, N.Y., also have been added to its 2005 schedule.

For a series built on the reputation of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and oval racing, it was a leap. But it was all part of the master plan, George said.

"We contemplated running street and oval courses on the schedule from the beginning," said George, who split from the then dominant CART series to form the IRL in 1996. "We just never had the opportunity. We had a few false starts, (but) I think we built support and it has continued over the last five years."

The IRL landing St. Petersburg was a gut shot to Champ Car, the series that emerged from CART's ashes through bankruptcy court under private ownership. CART staged the last Grand Prix here in February 2003. Co-owners Paul Gentilozzi and Kevin Kalkhoven had expressed great interest in returning in 2005. Co-owner Gerald Forsythe never publicly supported the idea, however, and contract talks with the city began to sour in July.

Gentilozzi had long asserted that the IRL would not commit to St. Petersburg. But now that is has, it not only takes away an early season, warm-weather venue, it can work out the logistics of street racing before making a bid to land the plum of all street races, the Grand Prix of Long Beach. More at St. Pete Times

09/05/04
DTM
Audi clinch double victory at Zandvoort Audi clinch double victory at ZandvoortIn front of a record turnout of 73,000 spectators Mattias Ekström (Audi) triumphed in the thrilling eighth race of the DTM season in Zandvoort and extended his lead in the overall standings even further. Teammate Martin Tomczyk came second in the duel of the dunes, ahead of local hero Christijan Albers in an AMG-Mercedes C-class. Gary Paffett, like Albers Ekström’s fiercest rival in the battle for the championship title, came fourth on the 4.307-kilometre-long course. Manuel Reuter was the best Opel driver, crossing the finish line in his Vectra GTS V8 in eighth.

Peter Dumbreck’s horrific accident triggered some tense moments. The Scot rammed his Vectra GTS V8 hard into the crash barrier in the corner before the finish in the 24th lap and flipped over several times, causing the race to be halted. Dumbreck, who was shortly afterwards standing next to his car, was as a precaution taken to the medical centre for a check up. Following a lengthy break and the restart, the remaining 10 laps were completed as a sprint.

09/05/04
MotoGP
Valentino Rossi does it again Valentino Rossi does it againValentino Rossi has extended his world championship lead to 29-points after delivering a driving lesson to his rivals in today's Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril. Makoto Tamada, rather than title contenders Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi, finished second.
09/05/04
nascar
Ganassi/Sabates signs Lagasse Jr. to development program Ganassi/Sabates signs Lagasse Jr. to development programChip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today the signing of 22-year-old Scott Lagasse Jr. to its Talent Development Program. The St. Augustine, Fla. native joins the program with impressive credentials as a driver and a person. Lagasse Jr. becomes the fourth driver on the Talent Development roster at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, which includes David Stremme, Reed Sorenson and Ryan Hemphill. Lagasse Jr. began running in the ASA series in 2003 where he earned an impressive four top-10 finishes in just six starts. This year, Lagasse Jr. captured his first win in the series at Kentucky Speedway and his first pole at Indianapolis Raceway Park. As impressive as his on-track performance is, Lagasse Jr. is also committed to his education. He attends Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. on a full academic scholarship where he is on track to earn a Business/Marketing degree.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
09/05/04
Industry News
DaimlerChrysler to build vans in China DaimlerChrysler to build vans in ChinaDaimlerChrysler AG plans to spend up to $195 million with two partners to build Mercedes-Benz vans in China, expanding in Asia's second-largest economy.  DaimlerChrysler, the world's fifth-largest carmaker, plans to build Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Viano vans in southeastern China's Fuzhou city with Fujian Motor Industry Group and Taiwan's China Motor Corp., the Taiwanese automaker's spokesman, Hsu Li- min, said. China is the mainstay of DaimlerChrysler's strategy in the region after its decision this year to reduce investments in South Korea and Japan.  "Increasing our manufacturing presence in China is a key part of our Asia strategy and further complements our passenger car and commercial vehicle activities in the Chinese market," said DaimlerChrysler's Beijing-based spokesman Trevor Hale. Bloomberg
09/05/04
irl
More bad TV ratings for the IRL More bad TV ratings for the IRLUPDATE For the 2nd race in a row, the IRL's final TV rating took a jump up from its overnight.  The final rating on ABC for the Nazareth race was a 0.9/2share.  Is 0.9 good?  For network TV absolutely not, especially when ALMS can pull a higher number on CBS. Anything below 2.0 networks don't even bother to look at anymore. 08/30/04 Another week on network TV (ABC) and yet another horrible TV rating for the IRL.  The overnight report we have so far of the top rated networks sporting event broadcasts from this past weekend lists the lowest rating as a 0.7/2 share for the US Open "preview" show (not to be confused with the actual US Open itself).  We will try to get the actual overnight number for the IRL race at Nazareth but so far it's so low (below 0.7) it's off our chart.   To make matters worse, there was no NASCAR race to go head-to-head with, but there was a Champ Car race running.  The ticket giveaways to all the previous races are not turning into real fans who will watch on TV.  Wait until football season starts in September and the ratings take their annual dive.  We wonder what high TV rating Tony George will promise the City of Long Beach when he tries to wrestle the Long Beach race away from Champ Car after the 2005 race?
09/05/04
f1
Williams will use stronger rear tire Williams will use stronger rear tire
"Monza is now a unique circuit on the Formula One calendar, one dominated by long straights, a couple of chicanes and only four important corners," said Williams engineer Sam Michael. "With top speeds exceeding 370kph during the race, Monza is also the fastest circuit of the season. Set-up demands the lowest amount of downforce possible, and therefore requires special, one-off front and rear wings that only work on the Monza track. Good curb riding ability is important, as is the medium speed balance for the corners around the lap. We will have some mechanical and engine improvements on the cars for this race. In addition, the team has focused on brake work at the Monza test this week in preparation for the hard braking the cars will experience during the race. Even though our starts were good at Spa, we have been working hard to make further advances." "Michelin have also been hard at work since the tire failure we had on Juan’s car in Belgium, and have devised a new, higher strength rear tire. Their work for Spa showed that they were in the correct compound region for the race."
09/05/04
nascar
Martin to test 2005 tires Martin to test 2005 tiresMark Martin has the early part of his week scoped out doing work for the industry. That work will come in the form of a Goodyear tire test on Tuesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The test won’t do Martin or the rest of the Ford teams a lot of good for this year’s car configuration as the tires that Martin will test are for the 2005 season, done in a car built to 2005 specification—the test Taurus will have a spoiler that’s an inch shorter than what he’ll be running at Fontana this evening. There was no word on who besides Martin will be at the test, but given his ability to dial in a car and maximize tire use it’d be difficult to think of a better candidate for the mission. Team Ford Racing
09/05/04
Industry News
nascar
Victory Junction Gang kicks off fall programs Victory Junction Gang kicks off fall programsVictory Junction is kicking-off the fall family weekend programs on Friday, September 17th with a special weekend geared toward foster families. Campers and their families will enjoy the camp experience free of charge and participate in activities such as boating and fishing, horseback riding, and arts and crafts. The Victory Junction Foster Families weekend will allow these special children and families to share a weekend of relaxation and fun, a time to be normal kids, and time to bond as a family. Any family with foster children can apply, including foster children with medical needs and foster children who are healthy. Interested families should call the camp at 336-495-2017 for an application or to request more information. There are plenty of spaces available. Campers and their families would arrive September 17, and depart on September 19. Parents interested in learning more about the camp or how to apply can visit www.victoryjunction.org. Victory Junction Gang Camp PR
09/05/04
irl
Goodbye Marlboro Team Penske Goodbye Marlboro Team PenskeThis Times-Dispatch article says, U.S. smokers could face health warnings on cigarette packs featuring color images of cancerous lungs, diseased gums or a stroke-damaged brain if Congress follows the Senate's recent lead.  In Canada, where such graphic images were introduced on cigarette packs in 2000, an academic study found them an effective way to get smokers to quit or cut back. Some U.S. lawmakers are keenly interested.

"Cross the border into Canada and look at a package of cigarettes," Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., urged colleagues July 15. The Senate was debating an amendment for broad Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco manufacturing and sales.  Instead of old and "worthless" warnings on U.S. packs, Canada has "clear warnings that might give somebody some pause. . . . Our FDA ought to have that same authority," Durbin said in advocating a vote for the measure.

The Senate went on to endorse sweeping new federal regulations to combat youth smoking, plus a $12 billion buyout for tobacco farmers, as part of a corporate-tax rewrite.  The bill would open the door to graphic images on health warnings in the future. For now, it would require more explicit black-and-white written warnings. It would move them from the side of the pack and require that they take up 30 percent of the front and rear package panels.

Here are some other changes the bill proposes:

  • Goodbye, Marlboro Team Penske in the Indy Racing League. Clinton-era FDA rules adopted in the bill include a ban on such brand-name sponsorships.
  • Farewell, slick and colorful cigarette ads in magazines oriented to youth readers. Such ads would be restricted to black-and-white text messages. The Marlboro Man could live for another day, but not in these ads.
  • Goodbye to cigarette vending machines or self-service cigarette displays except in adult places such as bars.
  • Welcome to required checks of government-issued photo ID for cigarette buyers appearing to be under 27.
  • The FDA would be empowered to order reduction of tar, nicotine and other components and could bar use of such terms as "low-tar" and "light" without its approval.
09/05/04
f1
Panis looks back at Spa Panis looks back at SpaOlivier Panis started the Belgian Grand Prix from ninth position with team-mate Ricardo Zonta back in 20th spot. With just a handful of laps remaining, Zonta ran fourth with Panis eighth. While Panis would finish the race in that position, Zonta was out of luck as a rare engine failure took him out of the race with three laps to go.

"I was back up into the points with three laps to go and Ricardo had gone from last on the grid up to fourth," Panis explained. "After the third safety car period, I just thought that Toyota was going to score a well deserved double points finish, so I couldn't believe it when I saw Ricardo retire. The engine has been a tremendously strong part of our package all year, so the fact that we lost fourth place due to an engine failure was just typical of some of the luck we have had this year."

With Zonta out of the race, Panis picked up the final point, but while points are always welcome, Panis and the team left Spa a little disappointed.

"We should always be pleased when we score points, but I think, as a team, we deserved more than one point from the Belgian Grand Prix," said Panis. "We made all the right decisions throughout the weekend and the entire team worked very professionally, so to come away with one point is not much consolation, to be honest." Toyota

09/05/04
champcar
 irl
Champ Car hands enemy St. Pete on golden platter Champ Car hands enemy St. Pete on golden platterDid you know that because of its ineptitude, Champ Car left behind all the safety barrier, safety fencing and just about everything else it paid for to erect the inaugural GP of St. Petersburg, Florida street race circuit in 2003?  Yes, it had the chance to move it off of city property, but because of its procrastination ended up turning it all over to the City rather than pay for shipping costs to another site.  The end result is that not only did the IRL get their foot in the door on Champ Car's coveted urban street race market, they did so without having to spend millions of dollars to buy much of what is required to erect the circuit.
09/05/04
champcar
Improvements planned for Portland Improvements planned for PortlandThis Portland Oregonian article says, Chris Kneifel, Champ Car's competition director, is expected in Portland this month to work with PIR manager Mark Wigginton on track improvements for 2005 -- including smoothing out the Festival Curves, reconfiguring Turn 2 and making safety improvements on the pit-in and pit-out areas.  [Editor's Note:  If these are the only planned track improvements for 2005, we don't see much hope for this race.  When is the city going to implement some of the more meaningful upgrades that were laid out in its long range plan for this track instead of simply giving this event lip service?  Successful businesses require initial up-front investment to turn its past failures around.  Fans today are much more accustomed to the creature comforts afforded by today's sports arenas and stadiums.   To expect the customer to sit on rickety old grandstands that are laid flat and offer a poor view of the track is a crime.  The paddock area is void of any modern day amenities for the teams and there isn't even a bridge or tunnel into the facility while cars are on the track.  We would be surprised if this event meets its 2005 revenue goals as long as the city doesn't step up to bat.]
09/05/04
champcar
Details of Champ Car's deal with Portland Details of Champ Car's deal with PortlandThis Portland Oregonian article says, City Commissioner Jim Francesconi and Champ Car have released the signed memorandum of understanding that calls for open-wheel races at Portland International Raceway in the next three years and includes an opt-out clause if the race doesn't reach a prescribed base revenue.

The agreement includes a non-compete window 60 days before and 100 days after Champ Car races each June - -- a stipulation aimed directly at the rival Indy Racing League.   "Champ Car wanted that," Francesconi said Friday. "The reason is, Champ Car's our partner and I don't believe (Portland) can support two races."

The base revenue amounts are projected at $1.5 million for 2005, $1.8 million for 2006 and $2.0 million for 2007.  Francesconi acknowledged the numbers might sound optimistic, considering the event has lost money the past three years.   "I would call (the projections) hopeful," he said. "The reason I'm feeling better about it is because the business community has said they're going to come up with a minimum of $500,000 worth of sponsorship.   I'm hopeful we can get there," Francesconi said of the revenue projections. "It will require all of us, working very hard, to do it."

Champ Car and the city are partners in a revenue-sharing deal that would call for the city to get 20 percent of revenue over the base amounts.   For instance, for every $100,000 over $1.5 million in 2005 the city would get $20,000.

If the actual amounts are less than the projected totals -- if the 2005 event falls short of $1.5 million in revenue, for example -- then the agreement stipulates that "Champ Car or the city will have the option to cancel the remaining races during the 90-day period following the race associated with the shortfall."

Champ Car spokesman Eric Mauk said Friday such language is "fairly standard" in a race contract.   Francesconi also downplayed the opt-out provision.   "It doesn't say that if (the race) doesn't generate enough revenue, people will opt out," he said. "That is not our intent. This is something, in fact, that Champ Car suggested. And frankly, if everything goes bad, the city isn't bound to (the contract). It's a safeguard to have in place.

As for the revenue-sharing arrangement, Francesconi said, "I realize there's a chance the city won't get any revenue in the first year. But we haven't been getting much revenue anyway for the last few years. The idea is, the economic impact is worth it, worth the city not getting revenue (in year one). But now we have the opportunity to share in the upside if we all get together and make this thing work."   Champ Car plans to self-promote the 2005 race, which is scheduled for June 19, just as it did for 2004. The 2004 race did not have a title sponsor, but one is expected for 2005.   Champ Car also has agreed to pay fees to PIR totaling $30,000 in 2005, $110,000 in 2006 and $140,000 in 2007.

09/05/04
Industry News
CENTRIX sponsors Race of Champions CENTRIX sponsors Race of ChampionsThe 2004 Race of Champions -- the motorsports equivalent of soccer's World Cup -- adds another sponsor to its growing list: Colorado-based financial services firm CENTRIX Financial. CENTRIX served as the team sponsor for the United States national team in the 2003 ROC Nations Cup, fielding Team USA Powered by CENTRIX Financial. This year CENTRIX has increased its commitment and will serve as associate sponsor of the event. In the ten months since the 2003 event, CENTRIX's motorsports portfolio has expanded to include programs in NASCAR, the IRL, the Baja 1000 and Champ Car.

"Potential -- that's why we pursued every relationship we have -- the possibility of growth and future achievement. This event has the opportunity to become a point of international focus without parallel in motorsports, and its potential for growth in the U.S. is remarkable," said Robert Sutton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CENTRIX Financial. "We are proud to be supporting this outstanding event, and we look forward to growing with it for many years to come."

The 17th Race of Champions will be held on December 4th at the 70,000 seat Stade de France in Paris. The setting for this thrilling clash of champions couldn't be more fitting: France's premier sports stadium, known worldwide as the home of the 1998 soccer World Cup. During the first weekend of December, however, the sacred French turf will make way for a challenging one kilometer, figure-of-eight parallel course designed and built especially for the occasion.

The ROC has quickly established itself as a not-to-miss fixture, bringing together stars not only from rallying, but also from the worlds of international car and bike racing, in two unique head-to-head knockout competitions in identical cars.

One special feature of the Race of Champions is the ROC Nations Cup which pits teams from nations across the world against each other for the right to claim the title of the "World's Fastest Nation." This year, for the first time, the leading drivers from NASCAR, Formula One and the World Rally Championship will lead their nations' charge for glory.

Seven-time F1 Champion Michael Schumacher will lead the German team as they seek their first Cup, while WRC points leader Sebastien Loeb will take the lead for the French National team. Looking to reclaim the Cup for the United States will be 2002 Nations Cup winners and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leaders Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

"With Gordon and Johnson leading the U.S. effort to reclaim the Nations Cup, I have no doubt that the recognition of this event in the States will grow exponentially," said Sutton. "Now NASCAR's 75 million fans will have the chance to watch their best take on the world's best."

09/04/04
nascar
Biffle beats Mears in Busch race Biffle beats Mears in Busch raceGreg Biffle got the better of fellow Nextel Cup regular Casey Mears in a thrilling late-race duel to win Saturday's Target House 300. With the win, Biffle completed a season sweep at Fontana and tied Kyle Busch for the series lead in wins with five. Kevin Harvick was third.  Biffle averaged 147.844 mph for the 2 hour, 1 minute, 45 second race. The margin of victory was 0.356 seconds. There were 18 lead changes among seven drivers.  It was Biffle's fifth win of the year and the 16th of his career. He led 72 of the 150 laps, the most of any driver.
09/04/04
f1
Montoya to be a father Montoya to be a fatherColombian Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya and his wife Connie Freydell are expecting their first child. Freydell has been pregnant for two months, according to radio Caracol.
09/04/04
Renault Eurocup
American Scott Speed wins championship American Scott Speed wins championshipScott Speed has been crowned the Formula Renault Eurocup Champion after once again leading a Red Bull Junior Team 1-2 finish ahead of countryman Colin Fleming at the legendary Imola Autodromo. The kicker is that the championship is the first ever for an American driver in a European junior formula. Both Speed and Fleming have shown the pace, commitment, and perseverance to turn the European paddock from skeptics into believers.

“I’m thrilled to be representing my country here in Europe,” said an ecstatic Speed. “Colin and I have shown that we can win, and that we are a force to be reckoned with. This feels great, and we couldn’t have done it a better way than with the 1-2 and the Championship.”

Speed knows that wins and championships are vital to move up in the cut-throat environment of European formula car racing, but respect is also important.

“The trophy is wonderful, but I think the best was the sincere congratulations I received from my competitors after winning the championship - that’s something I’ll never forget, and it gives me tremendous confidence about the future.”

Speed’s compatriot Fleming thought he could take it to Speed early in the race, but had to settle for the second place step on the podium as he works to improve his Eurocup championship standing with only two races left.

“This is great for the U.S., for Red Bull, and for Scott,” said Fleming. “I was able to pressure him early, but my brake fluid began to cook, so I followed him home for a another 1-2 for Red Bull, and he takes the championship - absolutely a dream result! Now I am concentrating on moving up in the standings, and I plan on taking the fight to Scott in the German Championship.”

The Red Bull Junior Teammates, who are also roommates and good friends, are still fierce competitors. The two lead the German Formula Renault Championship standings, with Speed just ten points ahead of Fleming. When asked if he might give Colin a little breathing room in the championship, having secured the Eurocup title, Speed was clear about his intentions.

“I’ve left him enough room all season! If he wants it, he’s going to have to beat me for it for sure!”

Both drivers have progressed through the Red Bull Driver Search; a program that aims to discover and support the "diamond in the rough," lacking the knowledge and contacts needed to embark on a career in racing, as well as talented young drivers already in racing. The long-term goal is to have a steady group of three to six American drivers racing in Europe, on the Red Bull Junior Team, groomed to break into Formula 1 and compete for the World Championship.

09/04/04
nascar
Fontana Happy Hour speeds Fontana Happy Hour speedsTop 10 in Happy Hour today:
  1. Brian Vickers – 182.607 / 39.429
  2. Jeff Burton – 182.607 / 39.429
  3. Mark Martin – 182.172 / 39.523
  4. Kasey Kahne – 181.699 / 39.626
  5. Dale Jarrett – 181.319 / 39.709
  6. Bobby Hamilton Jr. – 181.251 / 39.724
  7. Jeremy Mayfield – 181.200 / 39.735
  8. Ricky Rudd – 181.041 / 39.770
  9. Ryan Newman – 180.991 / 39.781
  10. Jamie McMurray – 180.805 / 39.822
09/04/04
f1
Mosley claims new rules won't favor Ferrari Mosley claims new rules won't favor FerrariMax Mosley maintains that the new rules the FIA intend imposing next year to reduce cost, reduce speeds and increase safety, won't favor Ferrari as some teams have said.  Instead he believes they will "disadvantage the team that is doing best."  The FIA has already released its proposed new regulations for 2005, which look set to be introduced, as with less than 48 hours to go before the deadline Mosley set the team bosses, there is little sign of them having reached any agreement amongst themselves.  Mosley has given the bosses a September 6, 2004, deadline to present the FIA with "satisfactory proposals" that have been agreed to "by at least eight teams" or risk having a new set of rules imposed upon them.  "Everybody recognises that Michael Schumacher and Ferrari are a sporting phenomenon," Mosley told The Times. "There has been no drop-off in television viewing figures and we have had record attendances at three races. But there are long-term objectives.  If you make major changes to the rules, you usually disadvantage the team that is doing best. We changed the rules slightly in 2003 and Ferrari struggled to get on top of the changes for quite a while and we had an exciting season."
09/04/04
nascar
Bill Elliott wants to run more races Bill Elliott wants to run more racesKnowing what he now knows about being "partially retired," Bill Elliott [#98 Dodge this week] said he'd like to increase the number of races on his 2005 calendar. "Ten to 12 races is still what my goal is," he said. "I don't know that I want to do any more than that. For this year, I've not really done enough. We've tested a good bit the last few weeks and I've got comfortable with the car." NASCAR.com
09/04/04
nascar
Robby Gordon options for 2005 Robby Gordon options for 2005Robby Gordon is a free agent. His contract with Childress expires at the end of the season, and he doesn't know who he will be working for when the 2005 season opens at Daytona in February. He might end up being his own boss again. He would like to continue working for Childress; however, he said he has been talking to three other "well-established, elite teams" in the series. "My time with Richard has been great. I think we have had some good success together," said Gordon. Since he began driving for Richard Childress Racing in September 2001, Gordon has won three races and finished in the top five eight times. "I have had a great relationship with him. Don't get me wrong," Gordon said. "We have been talking. But my contract is up, and it is what it is." On Wednesday, Gordon spent most of the day hanging out at Harrah's in Las Vegas. The hotel and casino used to sponsor A.J. Foyt's Cup team, but now Gordon does endorsements for Harrah's. Gordon even had a stock car painted in Harrah's colors that is used for promotional purposes. Harrah's isn't on the side of his Childress-owned Chevy Monte Carlo in the Cup series, but Gordon said if you look hard enough at the side of his Busch Series car, which he owns, you will see a Harrah's logo. He said his "deal" with Harrah's could "very easily be taken to the Cup level." For the past couple of days, Gordon has been talking with a few potential sponsors, and he said he is close to some sort of a deal for next season. "The next few days could get pretty interesting," Gordon said. "I have learned so much from Richard when it comes to owning your own team, like where to spend the money. If I do end up owning my own team in Cup, I will be so much smarter than when I did this the last time."  "Don't forget I own my own Busch car this year, and I have had some pretty good results," said Gordon, who opened the season with five top-10 finishes in the first eight Busch Series races. If he does end up driving for someone else next year, which he said still is a "very real possibility," Gordon said he might add another car to his Busch team. One of the cars would be for him, and he would drive it on a part-time basis. The other he would like to give to a young driver, possibly Brandon Miller, 23, from Bakersfield, CA. But if he can land the right kind of sponsorship deals, he said he might be able to fund two Cup cars and one Busch car. The Busch car would be driven off-and-on by Gordon. Childress said he wants to announce his lineup of drivers in October. Orange County Register
09/04/04
f1
Bernie's qualifying scheme Bernie's qualifying schemeBernie Ecclestone has come up with a new scheme to liven up F1 races, but no one appears to agree with him.  "What I'm trying to do is have points for qualifying. If you are quick, you get rewarded for that and then start the race on a ballot (pull from a hat)," he told The Sun.  "Maybe the guy that's been quickest might find himself at the back of the grid, that would liven things up for sure. But then you get the drivers saying it's not fair."  As for the ability to pass, "We are going to try and get harder tires and make it easier for people to overtake. We know what's wrong but not what's right," he said.
09/04/04
f1
Bernie always wheeling and dealing Bernie always wheeling and dealingRecently Bernie Ecclestone tried to buy the 75 percent, which three banks hold in the Formula One holding SLEC. Word has it that Bernie offered 33 percent of what he sold it for several years ago. Not a bad deal for Bernie but the banks were not impressed and essentially told him to go pound sand. So unhappy, the banks filed a lawsuit against Bernie accusing him of putting two additional directors on board which resulted in a situation where the banks have no say, although they own the majority of the shares. Now that certainly sounds like a Bernie move doesn't it? He may be getting old but he certainly has not lost his ability to outsmart everyone.
09/04/04
irl
Andretti Foundation raises $6,000 Andretti Foundation raises $6,000The Michael Andretti Foundation donated $6,000 to The Fund to Benefit Children and Youth, Inc. as part of the "Breakfast with Michael Andretti" program that was held at Nazareth Speedway on Aug. 27.

The sold-out event offered fans the opportunity to be a VIP for the morning and get an inside look at the activities that take place at IRL events with Andretti Green Racing. The program is currently in its second year and takes place at various tracks each season. The funds raised from these events go to charities that are involved with the Michael Andretti Foundation.

"It's nice to be able to use and expose our racing program to raise money for a great charity like the Fund to Benefit Children and Youth," Andretti said. "I'm especially grateful that we were able to sell out our breakfast and raise $6,000 which will help many children and families here in my hometown area."

Guests were treated to a full-service breakfast at the AGR hospitality unit, which was followed by a meet and greet with Andretti and the four Andretti Green Racing IndyCar Series drivers: Dario Franchitti, Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon. The day also included speakers from Honda Performance Development and Firestone Racing.

The Fund to Benefit Children and Youth, Inc., is a Lehigh Valley non-profit organization that promotes the welfare of children and youth subject to or at risk of abuse or neglect, as well as the families of such children and youth. The funds donated by the Michael Andretti Foundation will go toward the following items for local children: clothing for school, school supplies, single beds and mattresses, educational day camps and other health and family needs.
09/04/04
irl
Fernandez Crew Members Work U.S. Nationals Fernandez Crew Members Work U.S. NationalsMick Austin and Mike Guger, members of the Fernandez Racing IndyCar Series team, will work as nitro interns on Bob Gilbertson's Trick Tank Funny Car team at the 50th Anniversary Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park Sept. 3-6.

Austin, a native of Bathgate, Scotland, has worked on World Rally cars for the McLaren Formula 1 team and on Dick Simon's CART team. He currently is the gearbox mechanic for both Adrian Fernandez and rookie Kosuke Matsuura.

"I've never been to a drag race in my life, and it will be a hoot to be able to help these blokes out," Austin told nhra.com. "From what I understand, this will be a special race, being the 50th anniversary of their premier event. When I was selected I told my mates about it, and they're all envious. Little did I know that our front-end mechanic, Mike Guger, had such a history in the sport. When I recommended they pick Michael as the second intern, they jumped at the chance."

Guger, who serves as fueler on Fernandez's car, worked with some of the top names in drag racing from 1973 until 1998, including Dale Armstrong, Kenny Bernstein, Billy Meyer, Joe Gibbs, and Alan Johnson. He said he is looking forward to returning to his roots.

"I've been involved with the open-wheel series since I left drag racing six years ago," he said. "I'm looking forward to having a good time, learning what has changed since I was last at Indy, and seeing a lot of old friends."
09/04/04
nascar
NASCAR backs off tire plan NASCAR backs off tire planNASCAR officials have apparently backed off from plans to monitor tire air pressure on pit road. NASCAR's Bill France Jr. and Goodyear executives talked about just such a move, according to NASCAR sources, following major left-side tire problems at Indianapolis that marred the Brickyard 400. Winston Salem Journal
09/04/04
nascar
Wallace downplays Earnhardt influence Wallace downplays Earnhardt influenceRusty Wallace sought to downplay remarks he made during his retirement announcement this week at Daytona Beach, Fla., in which he claimed he "didn't want to get hurt" and that the death of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt in 2001 "kind of got to me."  "It got misconstrued a little bit," Wallace said Friday at California Speedway. "That didn't cause my decision to retire. It influenced it a little bit. His death hasn't caused me to retire. His death hasn't caused me to get scared. His death hasn't caused me to do anything different. I just thought it was an unbelievable shame that the guy did that much in his life and – boom – he couldn't enjoy any of it." Wallace said his decision to retire at the end of the 2005 season has been a slow coming one. "I started thinking about it about two years ago. Then I kind of made the decision about eight months ago," he said. "I wanted to retire at the top of my game. I think I've still got enough in me that I can go out there and still kick all these guys' butts if I can." ThatsRacin.com
09/04/04
nascar
Ganassi re-signs Mears Ganassi re-signs MearsChip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that they have exercised their option to extend Casey Mears' driver agreement into the future. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed per company policy. "We are excited about having Casey (Mears) as part of the team into the future," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "Casey's been a team player and has worked hard. The #41 Target team has become a contender this year and we're looking forward to Casey and the team winning races soon." Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
09/04/04
nascar
2005 Dodge approved 2005 Dodge approvedNASCAR and Dodge officials confirmed Friday the new 2005 model Dodge car submitted this season has been approved for competition. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said the body of the 2005 version Dodge had been approved, but there remained a few “minor issues” to be completed. Dodge had made all of NASCAR’s deadlines, Zizzo said. John Fernandez, senior manager for Dodge Motorsports Operations released a brief statement Friday: “Dodge has received approval from NASCAR for the 2005 Dodge race car body. We’re pleased with NASCAR’s decision, and look forward to racing in 2005.” Dodge has so far declined to name the model name the car will carry. It will have an official unveiling of the new model in the coming weeks. The Nextel Cup Series rulebook provides for a Sept. 1 deadline for new final approval of new manufacturer submissions for the next season. Dodge has used the Intrepid model since its return to Cup racing in 2001. ThatsRacn.com
09/04/04
champcar
Tracy wants more speed at Vegas Tracy wants more speed at VegasThis Las Vegas Sun article says, Despite the protest of at least one of the series' drivers, the Champ Car World Series has decided not to alter the aerodynamic package the team tested at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month in preparation for the inaugural Champ Car race at the 1.5-mile oval.

John Lopes, the series' executive vice president of operations, said Champ Car officials looked at alternative aero packages but ultimately decided against speeding up the cars for the Sept. 25 race here.  "We met with some of the team engineers and many of the drivers," Lopes said. "We specifically had a meeting about it last week and the teams were unanimous that we would run the package that we tested (at LVMS)."

Bruno Junqueira posted the fastest lap of the Aug. 18 test session at 203.482 mph.  Defending series champion Paul Tracy, a Las Vegas resident, complained that series officials were "dumbing down" the 750-horsepower Champ Cars by using the aero package as tested. Under optimum conditions, the Champ Cars could turns laps at close to 230 mph on the LVMS oval.

"Paul Tracy really made a strong argument -- and I spent a lot of time on the phone with Paul over this issue," Lopes said. "A couple of days after the test, we had a talk and he made a very well thought through, articulate argument on his position.  Perhaps next year, we might try something different. But for this year, in order to get prepared in a short amount of time for an event of this magnitude ... we decided we're going to go with the package as published."

Series points leader Sebastien Bourdais, who set the second-fastest speed (203.114 mph) during the seven-hour test at LVMS, said the teams would work with the aero package in the month before the race and speeds would be slightly faster when the cars qualify on Friday, Sept. 24.

Lopes agreed.  "From what we've seen, the teams with the ability to figure out the academic challenge presented to them have already gone out and figured out, A, how to go faster and, B, how to free up the car a little bit to create passing," Lopes said.  "Really, it's something that had to be learned after the test. It's a little bit of a different and unique challenge and it's going to be a different kind of oval race than we've had before -- but probably will look much like the EuroSpeedway event that we had last season, which was our best race of the year."

In that race, held on the oddly shaped 2.023-mile, three-turn oval in Lausitz, Germany, Bourdais waged a spirited, last-lap battle with Mario Dominguez before emerging with his second of three victories last season. The race produced 13 official lead changes among five drivers and Bourdais and Dominguez swapped the lead twice on the closing lap.

Lopes predicted a similar type of race the 166-lap event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  "After taking a look at the test and seeing the development the teams have done since the test, we think it's going to be a great race and we do believe there's going to be passing and we think the fans are going to be on their feet for 400 kilometers," Lopes said.  "It's not like you're going to see a pack of 18 cars going around together, although I think you are going to see cars racing together and I think you're going to see some three-wide (racing). And I would submit to you if the fans took a vote, that's what they'd tell you they'd like to see."

09/04/04
nascar
Daytona 'battening down the hatches' for Frances Daytona 'battening down the hatches' for FrancesThis Newton Kansan article says, As work crews deal with flooding at and around the Richmond International Raceway in the wake of Tropical Storm Gaston, crews at the Daytona International Speedway are "battening down the hatches" as Hurricane Frances approaches.

Gaston dumped a foot of rain on Richmond Monday, forcing local officials to condemn several blocks of the downtown area. At the speedway, there was flooding and a loss of power for about a day.

"We're surviving," said Keith Green, the track's director of public relations. "We had no power and there was some flooding. Those pictures you saw of cars floating in the flooding was less than six blocks from here. We were lucky, track-wise. But it's still an absolute mess, an absolute mess."

Green said many of the roadways leading into the speedway were still closed Wednesday as the raceway continued to prepare for next week's Busch and Nextel Cup series races. Also many of the buildings in the infield of the three-quarter-mile speedway were flooded during the storm.

The Daytona International Speedway was spared major damage from Hurricane Charley three weeks ago, but the racetrack wasn't dropping its guard as Frances looms. If the storm continues on its current track, it should make landfall in Florida between Vero Beach and Jacksonville Saturday morning. That puts Daytona Beach in the middle of the projected path.

"As a company, we have a disaster recovery plan that will go in affect," said speedway spokesman David Talley. "For Charley, we didn't have much damage. Since there's nothing in the infield, that was nice.  Right now, we're battening down the hatches."

The speedway has started a massive remodeling program in the infield, and the project right now is little more than piles of dirt.  "We're still making preparations," Talley said. "We've made backup files for our computers. We'll take things home if we're ordered to evacuate. If we had things like garbage cans on the property, Charley took care of them."  Talley said the interest in Hurricane Frances was so strong at the speedway and its parent company, International Speedway Corporation, on Tuesday, it created a logjam on the company's Internet system.

09/04/04
f1
How fast are today's F1 cars? How fast are today's F1 cars?How much faster are today's F1 cars from just one decade ago?  Michael Schumacher's time last weekend of 1:53.755 in his first qualifying run in the wet would have been on pole in 1992, where they qualified in the dry. In 1997 Eau Rouge was taken at 175 mph in the dry. This year David Coulthard did 178 mph there in the wet. In the race the fastest drivers blew over the Eau Rouge crest at 195 mph.
09/04/04
f1
F1 returns to Regent Street F1 returns to Regent StreetThe Ford powered Jordan Grand Prix team will return to Regent Street in London this weekend along with Renault, British American Racing, Williams and Jaguar for an international festival that will also include appearances from Duel, Peter Andre and Punjabi Hit Squad, just to name a few.  Once again the street will be closed to regular traffic to allow fans to get a good up close and personal view of the thundering machines. It will also be an opportunity to buy some great merchandise as teams peddle their wares to the public.  The event takes place on Sunday the fifth of September.
09/04/04
f1
Williams BMW talk Monza issues Williams BMW talk Monza issues
Sam Michael, Technical Director
"Monza is now a unique circuit on the Formula One calendar, one dominated by long straights, a couple of chicanes and only four important corners. With top speeds exceeding 370kph during the race, Monza is also the fastest circuit of the season. Set-up demands the lowest amount of downforce possible, and therefore requires special, one-off front and rear wings that only work on the Monza track. Good curb riding ability is important, as is the medium speed balance for the corners around the lap. We will have some mechanical and engine improvements on the cars for this race. In addition, the team has focused on brake work at the Monza test this week in preparation for the hard braking the cars will experience during the race. Even though our starts were good at Spa, we have been working hard to make further advances."  "Michelin have also been hard at work since the tire failure we had on Juan’s car in Belgium, and have devised a new, higher strength rear tyre. Their work for Spa showed that they were in the correct compound region for the race. Antonio will once again drive alongside Juan and, after his excellent drive in Spa, he is looking for a strong result with his team mate."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director
"From BMW’s point of view, Monza is a particularly satisfying circuit. The straight measures 1,236 metres, making it the second longest on the Formula One calendar after Indianapolis. The straight provides 14 full seconds of flat-out racing, with half that time driven in seventh gear. Overall, Monza has the highest full throttle ratio of all Grand Prix circuits at 68 percent. With these challenges in mind, in recent years we have always brought the current engine to this Grand Prix in its latest development stage. In 2004, we will be doing just that with the BMW P84. Last week’s Monza test produced positive results in that respect as well. Together with the on-going development of the chassis, we should be in a good position for the race at Monza."

09/04/04
nascar
Race of Champions
Who chose Gordon and Johnson? Who chose Gordon and Johnson?Dear AutoRacing1.Com, Regarding the Race of Champions event - Am I to understand that two “left turn only” Good Ol’ Boys who race in the WWF of motorsport (cue: banjo theme from “Deliverance”) will represent the United States of America (cue: the Star Spangled Banner) in the 2004 Race of Champions Nation’s Cup (cue: French National Anthem or the theme to “Monte Python’s Flying Circus,” depending on where your head is at on Jerry Lewis being a film God) in Paris, France?  Does this strike anyone else as being absolutely and completely beyond absurdity and an absolute insult to ALL North American motorsports fans?  Or is the 2004 ROCNC just some cock & bull WRC public relation stunt?

If this is some kind of real race, one we should actually be paying attention to, then I’d like to know who it was that decided these two NASCAR knuckleheads have the “qualifications” to go up against arguably the best driving talent the Continent has to offer, in the name of MY country?  I didn’t get a vote in this, did you?  Did anyone you know?  Did the motorsports media (not that they know anything) get to weigh in on who should represent our country?  Did team owners or sanctioning groups OTHER than NASCAR get their two cents in on this?

Until such time as answers are forthcoming relative to how this PR stunt is structured I think Mr. Gordon and Mr. Johnson should only represent themselves, the France Family or NASCAR in this “event.”  NASCAR doesn’t represent me or the millions of road racing fans of North America and if time permitted, I’d like to see a second team, a team recruited from the ROAD RACING ranks, entered into this alleged competition to just kick NASCAR’s ass! J.N. Anderson, Chicago, Illinois

09/03/04
champcar
nascar
LVMS Champ Car/NASCAR promotion LVMS Champ Car/NASCAR promotionLeave it to Bruton Smith's people to show Champ Car the light.  In the latest mailing put out by Las Vegas Motor Speedway to promote the Champ Car/NASCAR Truck doubleheader, they are calling the event "Double Down in the Desert."  More importantly they are using the Renault F1 car to promote the Champ Car event.  It seems the folks at LVMS understand exactly what AutoRacing1 has been saying for quite some time - Champ Car has to morph into something very close to F1 and avoid any association with dumbed down Indy Cars, which, based on TV ratings, have fallen out of favor with the American public.
09/03/04
Industry News
Zakspeed opens first oval school in Europe Zakspeed opens first oval school in EuropeZakspeed has opened a school for oval racing at EuroSpeedway Lausitz. The "Zakspeed V8 Racing School" is the first European provider of racing training courses and company events on an oval race track, the unique 2 mile super speedway at Lausitz. The company Zakspeed is located at Niederzissen (Rheinland-Pfalz). Since 1991 one of its subsidiaries has been successfully running the Zakspeed race drivers school for classical round course races with formula and touring cars at Nürburgring. The company has started its new activity by a company event on 31 August 2004 with several V8 touring cars with about 500 HP engines. More.....
09/03/04
nascar
Mears wins Busch pole at Fontana Mears wins Busch pole at FontanaCasey Mears claimed his second career Busch pole when he toured California Speedway at 182.890 mph (39.368 sec.) to claim the top starting spot for the Target House 300 at California Speedway on Friday, Sept. 3.   "We've always ran pretty decent at two-mile tracks," Mears said. "Right out of the gate the car was fast."   Lined up next to Mears in Saturday's race is point's leader Martin Truex, Jr., who ran the 2-mile, D-shaped oval in 39.511 seconds. Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Joe Nemechek round out the top-five. Kenny Wallace, Mike Bliss, David Green, Matt Kenseth and Michael Waltrip sit sixth through 10th, respectively.
09/03/04
Industry News
Burdette Martin to retire as ACCUS President Burdette Martin to retire as ACCUS PresidentBurdette H. Martin Jr., president of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS) which governs U.S. racing as part of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), will be retiring from his position at the end of 2004.

Martin made the announcement today.  "My position at the ACCUS has afforded me the opportunity to have intimate involvement with each of the major motor racing organizations and disciplines while working with the pioneers, leaders and stars of American and international motor sports, as well as most of the people who are so sincerely devoted to making the automotive sport work," Martin said. 

Dan Cotter, ACCUS board chairman, expressed the appreciation of all racers to Martin who has served ACCUS since 1971, first as a board member and since 1983 as president.

"When we think of ACCUS we think of Anne and Berdie Martin, their expertise, dedication and service to the racing community, "Cotter said. "They are a team and they will be difficult to replace."

Cotter noted that Martin's ACCUS career has corresponded with the phenomenal growth of motor sports in the United States.  "He is a racer at heart and has been a participant in all types of motor sports during his long career.  Anne has worked at his side since 1983, and their work deserves the gratitude of everyone in the motor sports industry."

Martin will continue to work through most of 2005, completing his term as FIA vice president and U.S. delegate as well as assisting his successor in the transition.  A successor is expected to be in place January 1, 2005.

Martin's first motor sports memory was visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Indy 500 practice with his father in 1938.  Over the years he raced in SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) events, finishing third in the first race at Road America and driving in the preliminary event at the first Formula One Grand Prix at Sebring in 1959.

"Anne and I will miss ACCUS and all of the friends we have made, but we expect to go out and continue to create new motor racing memories," Martin said.   ACCUS is the FIA's national sporting representative in the U.S., responsible for licensing and listing series and racing events on the FIA international calendar.

09/03/04
Industry News
ACCUS seeks applications for President ACCUS seeks applications for PresidentApplications are being accepted for the position of president of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS) which governs U.S. racing as part of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), according to Dan Cotter, ACCUS chairman.  Burdette H. Martin Jr., president since 1983, is retiring at the end of 2004, but will remain to help in transition during most of 2005, Cotter said.  ACCUS is the FIA's national sporting representative in the U.S., responsible for licensing and listing series and racing events on the FIA international calendar.  Cotter said the job requires a motivated cost-conscious person with a motor sports background.  Computer literacy, comfort running a small office and able to travel internationally are also requirements.  Persons interested should send resumes to:
ACCUS Search
Post Office Box 2
Hopkinsville, Kentucky 42241.
09/03/04
f1
Panis survives crash at Monza Panis survives crash at MonzaOlivier Panis escaped injury from a high-speed accident at Monza on Friday.  The Toyota driver crashed out in the final minutes of the day's program when he lost control just before the second chicane.  "I was approaching the second chicane when I went off after suffering a depressurization of my left rear tire, probably caused by a problem with the valve. It was an abrupt end to the test but thankfully I am completely okay," Panis explained.
09/03/04
f1
Monza testing Day 3: Alonso fastest Monza testing Day 3: Alonso fastest
Pos  Driver  Nat  Team  Laps  Time  Behind 1st
1.  Fernando Alonso  E  Renault  105  1:20.611    
2.  Jenson Button  GB  BAR-Honda  93  1:20.690  0.079  0.079
3.  Antonio Pizzonia  BR  Williams-BMW  92  1:20.770  0.080  0.159
4.  Juan Pablo Montoya  COL  Williams-BMW  24  1:20.814  0.044  0.203
5.  Jarno Trulli  I  Renault  57  1:21.035  0.221  0.424
6.  Anthony Davidson  GB  BAR-Honda  63  1:21.127  0.092  0.516
7.  Kimi Raikkonen  FIN  McLaren-Mercedes  97  1:21.142  0.015  0.531
8.  Alex Wurz  A  McLaren-Mercedes  83  1:21.228  0.086  0.617
9.  Luca Badoer  I  Ferrari  98  1:21.243  0.015  0.632
10.  Christian Klien  A  Jaguar  122  1:21.569  0.326  0.958
11.  Felipe Massa  BR  Sauber-Petronas  95  1:21.630  0.061  1.019
12.  Olivier Panis  F  Toyota  73  1:21.996  0.366  1.385
13.  Mark Webber  AUS  Jaguar  94  1:22.113  0.117  1.502
14.  Ricardo Zonta  BR  Toyota  87  1:22.271  0.158  1.660
15.  Nick Heidfeld  D  Jordan-Ford  76  1:23.503  1.232  2.892
09/03/04
irl
Wheldon nominated Wheldon nominatedIRL IndyCar® Series driver Dan Wheldon is one of eight drivers nominated for the Speed Channel Driver of the Year for the third quarter of 2004.  Wheldon, who is second in IndyCar Series points, recorded four consecutive top-three finishes in the month of August capped by his win in the Firestone Indy 225 on Aug. 29.  Wheldon is nominated on the fan's online ballot with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leader Jeff Gordon, NHRA drag-racer Greg Anderson, Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Tommy Kendall (Trans-Am) and Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws). The ballot, however, is not limited to the drivers nominated for the fan's ballot.  "It's an incredible honor to be nominated alongside such an experienced group of drivers; a group that I respect a great deal," Wheldon said. "It really validates what the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew has been doing all season. An IndyCar Series driver has never won the award, so for me to be included among the third quarter nominations really means a lot to me."  An 18-member panel will select the winner of the award. Fans can participate in voting via an online ballot, located at Speed Channel's web site, www.speedtv.com, through Sept. 15.  At the end of the year, a special separate vote will be held for the Speed Channel 2004 Driver Of The Year.
09/03/04
irl
IRL road racing test re-scheduled IRL road racing test re-scheduledIndy Racing League teams will get their first chance to test mechanical parts for use with a road-course package on Sept. 21-23 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Two Menards Infiniti Pro Series teams and five IndyCar Series teams will participate in the three-day private test. The test is closed to the media and the public (to avoid any embarrassment?).  A session scheduled for this weekend was postponed because of Hurricane Frances. IRL
09/03/04
champcar
’Valiante is the best we have ever seen’ ’Valiante is the best we have ever seen’A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Nice story that you published on Michael Valiante.  However, he won six Toyota Atlantic races, not five... three in each of his two seasons.  He's the best driver we've ever had at Lynx Racing (and we have had a lot of top drivers over the years), and the one we hold out F1 hopes for if he ever gets a couple of competitive Champ Car seasons under his belt... he has the talent to go all the way. Peter Frey, Lynx Racing  Dear Peter, A number of other people have told us the same thing about Michael Valiante, including Walker Racing who tested him in their Champ Car.  Hopefully a team owner that wants to win races instead of running as a backmarker will give him a serious look one day.  The teams that win have the best talent, which in turn attracts the best sponsors.  As another story goes, The 'Major Leagues' of racing are no place for 'ride-buyers', unfortunately some team owners still can't figure out which comes first, the chicken or the egg.  Mark C.
09/03/04
champcar
V8 Supercar star to race Champ Car V8 Supercar star to race Champ CarUPDATE We have added a photo of David Besnard (Click to enlarge). He happens to drive a Ford in the V8 Supercar series, and since Ford is a sponsor of Champ Car, the choice was easy.  09/03/04 [Editor's Note:  Having a V8 Supercar star in the Champ Car race is going to bring a lot of added attention to this year's Surfers race, already a proven huge success.  OWRS continues to hit home run after home run.]  Australian V8 Supercar driver David Besnard has been given the opportunity to chase a life-long dream and line up in a Champ Car at this year’s Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast.   The announcement follows a decision by emerging teenage talent Josh Hunt to surrender his drive in this year’s Gold Coast race in favour of a second year in the US Toyota Atlantic Championship series in 2005.

Earlier this year it was announced that Queensland businessman Craig Gore’s WPS Financial Group, in partnership with US Champ Car Series owner Kevin Kalkhoven, would fund Hunt into a drive in the 12-round Toyota Atlantic series and a one-off ride in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast from October 21-24.

With Hunt showing great promise after 11 rounds of the Toyota Atlantics he was offered a difficult choice between extending his US career for another year or taking a one-off shot at driving in a Champ Car.  The 19 year-old, who is rated as a future star by many critics, made the mature decision of backing his long-term goal of a full-time Champ Car ride.

As a result, Besnard, who drives for Gore’s WPS V8 Supercar team, will head to the US this weekend to test a Champ Car with the end goal of being given the “OK” to be included in the Gold Coast field.  “I was presented with two incredible options – gaining another year of experience in the US under the tutorage of Champ Car series owner Mr Kalkhoven or having a one-off drive at Indy,” said Hunt.  “I’m just 19 so really the only decision I could make was in the interests of furthering my career with the continued support of Mr Kalkhoven and Mr Gore.  I know how difficult it is to break into the US and to be given the option of a second year over there was more sensible than putting everything on the line and hoping that a good one-off drive at Indy this year would open up future options.”

Queenslander Gore and US-based expatriate Kalkhoven have given Besnard his shot and the V8 star will head to the US tomorrow for an extensive test in Arizona.  “(Craig Gore) Gory is a bit of a stirrer and I didn’t believe him when he first talked to me about it,” said Besnard, who is a former ambassador for the Gold Coast Event.  “He said he wanted to talk about Indy and I thought he was getting ahead of himself as it was still three races away in the V8 Supercar Championship Series.

“Then the penny dropped that he was talking about a Champ Car drive I was gob smacked. I’ve spent a long time in the US and have won eight races over there and I always dreamed of coming home to Australia and driving a Champ Car at Indy.  It must have been a tough choice for Josh but I know how difficult it is to get a start over in the US. I had to come home from over there in 1999 after my funding ran out so I think Josh has made the right call.  I am looking forward to whole experience of the test and doing enough to make sure I am in the car on the Gold Coast.”

Besnard is regarded as one of the best young open-wheel talents to be produced in Australia, but had his international career cut short because of a lack of funding.  He raced karts successfully in Europe before returning back to Australia to win the Australian Formula Ford Championship. He then won the US Formula Ford 2000 Championship in record-breaking style.  Besnard, impressed in a short Toyota Atlantics stint, before funding ran dry and he returned to Australia to join Stone Brothers Racing in the V8 Supercar Championship Series, where he almost won Bathurst at his first attempt.

Kalkhoven says today’s announcement is a great one for everyone involved and points towards another tremendously successful Champ Car event on the Gold Coast.  “Josh has done a terrific job over here in sometimes difficult circumstances this season and we believe he has what it takes to be a star of the future,” said Kalkhoven.  “I think Josh’s decision is a mature one and testimony to his end goal.  David Besnard has a strong open-wheel pedigree and we look forward to him learning a lot in next week’s test and hopefully seeing him in front of a home crowd on the Gold Coast.  The idea of this whole exercise was to see an Australian driver competing in a Champ Car on the streets of Surfers Paradise in an event which really is the crown jewel of our series.  This way we hopefully get David in a car this year and also the chance to develop Josh’s career to a point where he could be a full-time Champ Car driver in the future.”

Gore said he was extremely confident that Besnard would impress in his test and the Gold Coaster would be racing in a Champ Car in front of a home crowd at the end of October.  “The Queensland government was keen to get a local driver into the Lexmark Indy 300,” said Gore.  “We all believed that driver would be Josh and we put up the cash and have been working hard all year to get him to Indy. But as the year progressed we started asking where Josh was going to be next year and in the course of those discussions we came up with two options.  Both Kevin and I spoke about the prospect of giving Josh another year in the US and it came down to choosing between that or a one-off Champ Car drive this year.  It is extremely expensive to run cars at this level and it was simple economics at the end of the day. We couldn’t do both and I think Josh made the right move in deciding to spend another year in the US.

“Josh wins as he gets to further his career; the Government wins in that they have a local driver competing at Indy; Champ Car wins because of increased profile for the Gold Coast event and the category, and WPS Racing wins as we have Josh in the US and Bezzy (Besnard) in the Champ Car at Indy.”  More.....

09/03/04
champcar
Sebastien Bourdais Nominated For SPEED Channel Driver of the Quarter Sebastien Bourdais Nominated For SPEED Channel Driver of the QuarterBridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has shown himself to be one of the best young drivers not only in Champ Car, but in all forms of racing through the first half of the season, and has been recognized for his efforts by being  nominated for the SPEED Channel Driver of the Quarter Award.

The series points leader is one of eight drivers nominated for the award, which can be voted on by fans by visiting www.speedtv.com and following the Driver of the Quarter links. Bourdais’ nomination is for the third quarter of the year and comes after the Frenchman has used five wins and six poles to build a 34-point lead in the Champ Car World Series standings after 10 races.

Bourdais has qualified his Newman/Haas Racing machine third or better in each of the year’s 10 Champ Car races, paces the series in laps led with 342 as well as in poles, wins and earnings. He has led laps in each of the last seven races, a feat not accomplished since Cristiano da Matta led nine consecutive races in his titlewinning season of 2002. That season also saw Da Matta win the prestigious Driver of the Year Award, given by SPEED Channel and the Legends Marketing Group.

The Driver of the Quarter winners will be entered into another round of voting at the end of the year where 18 esteemed motorsports journalists decide on the 2004 honoree. Fans will also have the opportunity to vote on the year-end winner, with their tally being added as a 19th vote in the process.

Bourdais is joined as a third-quarter nominee by Trans-Am ace and Champ Car color commentator Tommy Kendall, NHRA Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson, NASCAR Nextel Cup leaders Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver Carl Edwards, World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser and Dan Wheldon from the Indy Racing League.

09/03/04
nascar
NASCAR gear rule creates uncertainty NASCAR gear rule creates uncertaintyThis USA Today article is a good read regarding the uncertainty surrounding NASCAR's new gear rule.  Ray Evernham says the research effort and expensive lightweight engine parts required to make NASCAR's antiquated V-8s achieve, or possibly surpass, 10,000 rpm are costing teams dearly. And if one team spends the money to do it, every other team must also do so to keep up.
09/03/04
snaponstars
Walt Disney World to host karting finals Walt Disney World to host karting finalsThe “magic” of winning a Snap-On Tools Stars of Karting National title will be even greater this year as the series proudly announced today a partnership with Walt Disney World® Resort and its property, Disney’s Wide World Of Sports® Complex, to host the 2004 Stars National Finals at the Lake Buena Vista, FL facility from September 23rd-26th. National Championships in each of six Stars classes - ICC, ICA, 80cc Junior, JICA, EasyKart and Cadet - will be up for contention, as top karters from the Eastern and Western Divisions come together and vie for the recognition as the best in North America within the gates of the world-famous Magic Kingdom®.

The weekend format will see karters and their teams move in to the temporary track facility on Thursday, September 23rd. That evening, the season champions and other top competitors in the Eastern and Western Stars’ Divisions will be honored at the season banquet. On Friday, competitors will practice all day in preparation for Saturday morning qualifying, to be followed in the afternoon by Pre-Final heat races. The finals in all six classes will be held on Sunday.

In addition to posted awards, multiple driver development awards will be contended for, including seats in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Championship Scholarship Run-off at Sebring, Florida, the Formula BMWUSA Scholarship Run-off in Valencia, Spain and a test in the Team Rahal Toyota Atlantic racecar. One skilled karter will bypass the scholarship process and earn a guaranteed ride in the 2005 Skip Barber National Championship. In total, Stars’ competitors have the opportunity to compete for over $500,000 in awards and prizes this season.

Anytime you can bring the best in the sport together under one event, it promises to big,” said Stars’ principal Bryan Herta, a longtime karter himself and current Indy Racing League driver with Andretti-Green Racing. “Combine that with racing in the shadow of the renowned Walt Disney World Resort complex and it doesn’t get any better than this. It is going to be fun. Those fans interested in seeing some of the best racing anywhere in world should plan on being in Orlando during that last weekend in September.”

09/03/04
irl
New IRL commercial New IRL commercialWhat some fans won't think of next.  All we can say is, only on the internet.  Honest, we have nothing to do with this, but some will find it entertaining.  Click and wait for video to load.
09/03/04
nascar
NASCAR eyeing three cities for Hall of Fame NASCAR eyeing three cities for Hall of FameNASCAR has solicited bids from Atlanta, Charlotte and Daytona Beach to build a NASCAR hall of fame and museum, according to Walter Woods of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Atlanta city officials “pitched the idea earlier this year” to NASCAR, and discussed the complex with NASCAR COO George Pyne and “other NASCAR decision-makers this spring.” NASCAR is “still working on the details of the attraction, but it may be comparable in size and scale to the new 85,000-square-foot World of Coca-Cola.” But NASCAR Communications Manager Herb Branham said it is “way too premature to speculate on any sort of project like that right now.” Woods noted while several racetracks, such as Daytona and Talladega, “have museums nearby, NASCAR has no official attraction besides its cafes in cities including Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach.” Georgia has a state racing hall of fame named Thunder Road USA ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Charlotte Center City Partners President Tim Newman: “We have had communication with NASCAR about Charlotte’s interest in a hall of fame project, and when NASCAR determines the timetable and process that it wants to go through, we will certainly make that a high priority” CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/3.
09/03/04
f1
Monteiro impresses in Minardi debut Monteiro impresses in Minardi debutThe impression Tiago Monteiro caused today at the F1 Minardi test at Vallelunga could not have been a better one. The Portuguese driver lapped the reserve car and the test engine 47 times around the Italian track, completing the whole test program scheduled out by the team.

During Monteiro's test, which consisted of trying out a variety of set-ups during track outings every 6 laps, Gian Carlo Minardi observed attentively the drivers performance. Tiago's best lap was 1.03.810, standing just 0.270 from the fastest lap run by Gianmaria Bruni done after two intense days of practice. This shows the level of Monteiro's performance and quick adaptation at the wheel of a Formula One car.

Tiago Monteiro obviously satisfied with the test and said:  “I feel I've done a good job. I concluded the program that was planned for me faster than expected, got used to the car pretty quickly and without mistakes.” remarked the driver, who managed to improve his marks every outing on the track:  “At the beginning it took some time to adjust to the speed and the vision, but then, everything just fell into place. I ran sequences of six laps, trying out new solutions that Minardi wanted to test. Every time I went on track I improved my lap time and my fastest lap was very near the fastest lap set by Minardi with Bruni. All this leaves me quite happy, especially since I can't discard the fact that I was driving a reserve car, with a test engine on a track that I never ran before. ” explained Monteiro.

Gian Carlo Minardi was keen on flattering Tiago Monteiro's performance, highlighting the fact that the Portuguese is ready for the Formula One world: “He performed beyond our expectations and with the quality he added to this workout, I have no doubts he is perfectly prepared to enter the F1 Circus. He's a driver who makes no mistakes and has an amazing evolution capacity. Tiago improved systematically throughout the whole morning, giving good feedback to the engineers. We are all very proud of having Tiago on our Team” said the man responsible for the Minardi test. The team scheduled a second test for November requiring the services of Tiago Monteiro again.

09/03/04
nascar
Square D to leave NASCAR Square D to leave NASCARAfter almost nine years of NASCAR Sponsorship, Schneider Electric, sponsor of the No. 4 Square D Dodge driven by current points leader Bobby Hamilton in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has elected to end its sponsorship of the BHR entry at the end of 2004. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Square D for the past four years and hate to see them leave the sport,” Hamilton said.  “They have been a tremendous company to work with and several key people have really made their racing program one of the best out there right now.  The employees really followed the Craftsman Truck Series and kept up with our races each week.  I hope they continue to do that in the future.  We wish them the best.”

According to Dave Petratis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Schneider Electric North American Operating Division, “Our sponsorship of Bobby Hamilton the last few years has brought us to a higher level of visibility than we’ve had throughout our almost nine year NASCAR run.  Since our entry into the Busch Series in 1995, moving up to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1996 and then switching with Bobby to the Craftsman Series in 2002, we’ve had the pleasure of participating in all aspects of NASCAR racing.   As a business-to-business manufacturer, we successfully leveraged our NASCAR sponsorship in a variety of ways to grow our customer relationships.   Our distributors have had the pleasure of working the NASCAR opportunity with us while finding creative ways of exciting and entertaining our customers through the many promotional avenues available.

09/03/04
f1
Williams signs beanbag deal Williams signs beanbag dealWilliamsF1 today announced a new and novel licence agreement with Omega I.D., one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of beanbags.  Under the license agreement the premium WilliamsF1 beanbags will be launched at September’s 2004 Winning Attitude Awards charity event at the Sporting Club in Monza, Italy.

The WilliamsF1 beanbag is the latest licensed product forming part of WilliamsF1’s extensive and growing portfolio of officially licensed products. From their Head Office in Antwerp, Belgium, Omega I.D. plan to supplement their annual production of over 25,000 beanbags with two versions of a WilliamsF1 liveried beanbag based on their currently successful 2004 model.

The beanbag is also versatile, allowing you to sit, lie, play or even sleep on it. Available in the WilliamsF1 dark blue with two large white and gold logos or in white with blue and gold logos, the Omega I.D. WilliamsF1 Team beanbag recommended retail price is €199 excluding local taxes. Please visit www.omega-f1.com to locate your nearest retailer.

09/03/04
champcar
Champ Car to turn profit in 2005 Champ Car to turn profit in 2005Champ Car boss Kevin Kalkhoven is fairly confident the series will turn a profit as soon as 2005.  In speaking to AutoRacing1.com in Montreal Kalkhoven revealed, "Things are looking unbelievably positive already.  Our five-year plan didn't show us turning a profit for Champ Car until the third year but the way things are going I believe we will turn a profit in 2005, a full year ahead of plan."  It's clear that Champ Car is now being managed by people who know how to run a business.  2005 will be the year Champ Car begins to solidify their schedule with profitable events, makes a return to network TV, brings on some major new sponsors, and begins to gain respectability worldwide.   In 2006, when the next-generation Champ Car is slated to debut (hopefully very F1-like), Champ Car will be well on its way to filling the worldwide void for top-level open wheel racing that F1 can't satisfy.  The confidence being displayed by Messrs. Kalkhoven, Gentilozzi and Forsythe might best be described as "quietly giddy" though its clear they are still working hard to succeed where those before them have failed. Mark C.
09/03/04
champcar
Savannah, Georgia for Champ Car Savannah, Georgia for Champ CarUPDATE Another reader writes, Let's hope the 3 Amigos jump on this one in a hurry! We would all forget about losing St. Pete in a hurry. Jim Corley, Champaign, IL.  Dear Jim, Being a downtown urban race certainly fits the bill for OWRS, and CART/Champ Car always wanted to have a successful race in the southeast.  Ditto for the northeast.  The hurdles are 1) Is there a sponsor(s) to help pay for the event because OWRS refuses to take on any money losers?  2) Is there room on the 16-race Champ Car schedule?  We are of the opinion the schedule will eventually go to 18 races (max.) due to worldwide demand.   With all the international travel planned, any more than that is impossible. Mark C. 09/03/04 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Regarding your new article titled Why Champ Car needs to look at Savannah, I had completely forgotten about that track. What an awesome idea to return there, and it's obviously a very important market where Champ Car has absolutely no presence. Just be sure to race in the early spring,  give it some good promotion (work with the city to have it as the big tourist kick-off festival), and I'm sure it will be a hit if only to break the monotony of all that boring oval racing. Where can I buy my tickets? Shaun M., Montréal, Québec  Another writes, I went to Savannah twice in the last two years and I will say that you hit the nail on the head.  I live in West Palm Beach and now that I know I won't be going to St. Pete or Miami to see races anymore, and not having Champ Car in Florida for the time being, Savannah would be well worth the drive.  When I was there I saw the posters for the races that were held there and wondered what happened.  I hope the right people read this article and bring Champ Car to Savannah.  I would be first in line.  Doug Ferguson, West Palm Beach. FL
09/03/04
f1
Schumacher OK after high-speed crash Schumacher OK after high-speed crashUPDATE Michael Schumacher's crash in Monza was most likely been caused by a tyre puncture Bridgestone confirmed on Friday at Monza. "The tyre puncture was just bad luck. Though to be 100% sure we will be investigating it a some more," Bridgestone's technical director Hisao Suganuma confirmed to F1Racing.net.   "We haven't had any problems with that compound before," Suganuma revealed. "We have been testing with this compound but we haven't done any races with it yet. We might be using it in Monza next weekend for the Italian Grand Prix but we haven't made a final decision about that yet. At the moment we think a puncture caused Schumacher's accident on Thursday. It was probably caused by a sharp object that was on the track. But just to be 100% sure we are going to investigate it more and check all our data."  Schumacher's crash won't influence Bridgestone's testing program. "It could have happened to anyone. We planned to use the tyre in Monza next week and that's why we were testing it here. We haven't decided yet if we will be using it in Monza after the incident." 09/02/04 Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher escaped injury Thursday after a high-speed crash during testing at Monza, Italy.  Medics tended to the German after he climbed from the car, but he did not go to the track hospital for a precautionary checkup, Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni said.  "He's fine,'' Colajanni said. "He's leaving the track now like normal because the session is finished.''  Schumacher's Ferrari was seriously damaged in the accident, which was attributed to a problem with the back left tire. The crash occurred at the end of the main straightaway, just before the curving part of the Monza circuit in which cars reach their highest speeds.  Numerous tire blowouts at Spa for Michelin and now this Bridgestone.  While we don't know the exact reason for the blowout, is the tire war, and the quest for softer and faster tires, now catching up to F1?  This story has a photo of Schumacher getting out of his damaged car.
09/03/04
irl
Sam Hornish Jr. signs fitness agreement Sam Hornish Jr. signs fitness agreementTwo-time Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion and Marlboro Team Penske driver Sam Hornish, Jr. has entered into a personal services agreement with Hansen Fitness, Hornish’s management firm Sports Management Network, Inc. (“SMN”) announced today.  SMN structured and negotiated the terms of the agreement on behalf of Hornish.

Hansen Fitness, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, offers commercial and home fitness equipment from some of the leading manufacturers in the industry.  In addition, Hansen Fitness services major commercial accounts such as fitness clubs and schools through the company’s well-respected service department as well as sells reconditioned fitness equipment.

“Physical fitness for racing drivers has really come into focus over the past few years and is paramount for success, especially in a series as competitive as the IRL IndyCar Series,” said Dale Hansen, President of Hansen Fitness.  “When races are won and lost not by seconds, but by hundredths of a second, a driver needs to be in top physical and mental condition throughout the duration of the event – especially to finish strong.  In our view, no one finishes stronger than Sam.  The guy is a champion, he finds a way to win the close ones and is clearly a crowd favorite.  With the use of the first-rate fitness equipment we provide Sam, hopefully he’ll capture more championships and race wins and continue to thrill IndyCar fans with his driving.”

“Physical fitness training is a critical part of achieving success on the race track,” said Hornish.  “Without question, the drivers I compete against in the IndyCar Series are world-class athletes.  Through this new association with Hansen Fitness, I am now able to raise my training to a whole new level.  This not just due to the convenience of training at home – though that it is really nice – but also because of the type and quality of equipment that Hansen has provided me.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Hansen Fitness, along with equipment manufacturers Matrix Fitness Systems, Quantum Fitness, Troy Barbell and WaterRower, will develop and outfit a fitness studio with state-of-the-art equipment in Hornish’s home.  Hornish’s fitness studio will feature cardiovascular and weight training pieces as well as other miscellaneous training equipment.  The specific fitness pieces have been selected in conjunction with Sam’s personal trainer Jim Leo, President of Indianapolis-based PitFit Training.

“This is a great program that SMN has put together for Sam with Hansen Fitness,” said Leo.  “We had the ability to spend a lot of time with Dale and his team at Hansen Fitness to select the fitness equipment that best and most effectively trains the muscles we focus on for Sam.  Additionally, we’re now able to conduct very specific cardiovascular training programs all at Sam’s house.  Hansen Fitness and their manufacturer partners like Matrix and Quantum have supplied Sam with great equipment.  Sam now has a world-class training studio in his home.”

09/03/04
champcar
14th Lexmark 300 kicks off 14th Lexmark 300 kicks offThe 14th Lexmark Indy 300 was officially launched today by Premier Peter Beattie and Deputy Premier Terry Mackenroth in a colourful showcase of the Event’s many vital elements at Dreamworld.
 
 Reigning Lexmark Indy 300 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven made a fly-in visit, V8 Supercar stars Marcos Ambrose and Mark Skaife displayed their talents in a VB Challenge V8 time trial, and Premier Beattie announced to an audience of more than 150 sponsors, media, and international and national motor racing officials that another record crowd in excess of 300,000 was within reach for the October 21 to 24 Event. More......
09/03/04
NASCAR
Race of Champions Announces 2004 Team USA Race of Champions Announces 2004 Team USAThe 2004 Race of Champions (ROC) Nations Cup – the motorsports equivalent of soccer’s World Cup – will announce its two Team USA drivers for the Dec. 4, 2004 race in Paris, France. Team USA drivers will include Jeff Gordon, 4-time NASCAR Champion, and Jimmie Johnson, 10-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner. This year’s competitors include seven-time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher and current World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb. Countries are represented by two-driver teams. At the ROC Nations Cup race, teams compete based on the number of heat wins and combined times (in the event of a draw). In every match, racers go head-to-head against their counterparts, resulting in extremely close action and finishes often separated by only fractions of a second. The team emerging from Saturday's final earns "the World's Fastest Nation" title.
09/03/04
nascar
Final Bristol TV rating down 21% Final Bristol TV rating down 21%The Sharpie 500, televised this past Saturday night from Bristol by TNT, was the 2nd most watched cable program, behind the 2004 Video Music Awards on MTV. The ratings was 3.4 with 5,743,000 viewers, down from 2003 which had a 4.3 Nielsen Media Research rating and 5,958,000 viewers. Nielsen Media Research Site
09/03/04
nascar
NASCAR impact disputed NASCAR impact disputedThis SBN article talks about the true economic impact of a NASCAR race for a city such as Portland, Oregon.  Some argue what the real value is, but the article concludes it is significant.
09/03/04
Industry News
Indy may get SAFER upgrade Indy may get SAFER upgradeThe Indy Star newspaper reports that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will get the latest version of the SAFER barrier before next season if the budget request of track president Tony George is approved.  Top Speedway officials approve budget items in the fall.  "What we have is fine, but I'd like to have the newest thing," George said this week.

Since Indy got theirs, 19 tracks have purchased the SAFER system, which combines steel tubes and foam pads to cushion the impact of race cars. The new design, in place at most tracks, has a single tapered foam piece, five steel tubes instead of four and connecting straps rather than cables.  "It's just an evolution of the system based on the things we've learned since that first barrier went up at Indy," said Ron Faller of Nebraska's facility.  The opportunity to change systems is available to the Speedway now because the track is being repaved for the first time since 1995. The SAFER barrier has been removed and won't be reinstalled until next spring.

09/03/04
nascar
Opening day 2005 for NASCAR Opening day 2005 for NASCARNASCAR has set its 2005 opening day testing for Jan. 11th at Daytona.
09/03/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Schu 'fine' after Monza shunt
Italian to test Sauber
'Draco' linked to Dallara's F1 project
'Insurance fouled comeback' - Ralf S.
McLaren should have won 'three more' - Dennis
Jordan win battle for Smith
Panis to sign 'third' driver role
Russian tests Minardi car
F1 'needs Schumacher' - BAR's Richards
'Renault wanted me' - Mark Webber
Ex-F1 men to race in China
Ralf 'will race' in China - Theissen   More to follow....
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