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DATE News (chronologically)
09/06/07
irl

IndyCar Series reaches thrilling conclusion
A pressure-packed IndyCar Series championship race that reaches its crescendo this weekend is an extension of a compelling season in which the past 11 events have been conducted over 13 weeks (seven ovals and four road/street courses).

Predictions that the 17-race schedule would test teams’ resolve, drivers’ skills and product reliability have come to fruition.

Whether on ovals or road/street courses, the racing has been tight and competitive. In a series that has zero room for error, most of the racing outcomes left both owners and drivers either upset, frustrated or bickering with someone.

Certainly, the summer schedule hasn’t lacked drama and color.

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09/06/07
ga

Mario Andretti to give command
Racing legend Mario Andretti will give the starting command for the Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday morning, September 15.  

As motorsports icons go, few measure up to Mario Andretti. He is the only man ever to win the Formula One World Championship, the Champ Car National Championship (four times), the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring (three times) and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Mario took the checkered flag 111 times during his career – a career that stretched five decades.  

Although he hasn’t driven competitively for several years, Mario never entirely retired and maintains constant contact with the sport, not only through the careers of his son (Michael) and his grandson (Marco), but also in his role as corporate spokesman for a number of companies, including Bridgestone Firestone, Magnaflow Exhaust and Chevron Corporation (including Texaco and Havoline). It is Texaco who will sponsor Mario’s visit to Utah; Texaco is an associate sponsor of the Sunchaser 1000. Mario has been with that company since 1989 when Texaco assumed a sponsorship position with the Newman/Haas Racing Team and Mario was piloting one of that team’s cars. The partnership has continued 18 years.  

The Sunchaser 1000 will be the season finale for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, featuring the exotic Daytona Prototypes and GT classes in a 7.5-hour race on the 4.5-mile Miller Motorsports Park full course. It is the second-longest race of the year for the Rolex Series; only the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona is longer. Driver, team and manufacturer championships will be on the line, and the action is guaranteed to be frantic.  

Prior to giving the starting command at 11:00 am Saturday, September 15, Mario will be signing autographs at the Texaco booth in the Midway at Miller Motorsports Park at 9:30 am. Anyone with an admission ticket will have access.

Read more & Comment...
09/06/07
industry news

Chrysler grabs top Toyota executive
Newly private Chrysler LLC scored a coup Thursday when it hired Jim Press, Toyota Motor Corp.'s highest-ranking U.S. executive and one of the most talented sales managers in the industry. Chrysler announced Thursday that Press would join the Auburn Hills automaker on Sept. 17, the latest in a series of appointments aimed at strengthening its top management team. Press will be vice chairman and co-president alongside Tom LaSorda, who also will hold the titles of vice chairman and president under CEO Bob Nardelli.

Comment
09/06/07
irl

Seen in Chicago
Marco Andretti's car is in the Citibank building in downtown Chicago today, apparently for the upcoming IRL race at Chicagoland Speedway. However, we're not sure what the point is because there wasn't one person from the team, sponsors, or track there. The car is just sitting on the floor behind a rope with a sign describing the car's features on one side and Marco on the other.

Comment
09/06/07
nascar

NASCAR Teleconference - John Darby and Robin Pemberton
An interview with:

JOHN DARBY and ROBIN PEMBERTON

HERB BRANHAM: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. This week's NASCAR teleconference is in advance of Saturday night's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond International Speedway. The Chevy Rock & Roll 400.

That's the tenth and final event in the Race to the Chase. Top 12 drivers in the standings, after Saturday night, qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. The Chase consists of the final ten races of the year, and determines the series champion.

We have two very, very special guests with us today to give us what amounts to a competition update leading into Richmond and the Chase. We're joined by Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition, and John Darby, the Director of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

Guys, thanks for joining us on the call today. Maybe we can start off with a brief opener from each of you on just what kind of competition we expect to see this weekend and throughout the Chase, especially with the involvement of the Car of Tomorrow.

Robin, why don't you step to the plate first, then we'll hear from John, and we'll go to the media questions.

ROBIN PEMBERTON: Well, I think the competition's going to be great. Going into Richmond, now that we're on the second go around with the Car of Tomorrow, we've seen a different – we've seen a broader group of teams that have picked up the pace with the car.

I think going into Richmond, as durable as the car has been and as aggressive as the drivers can get with it, I think you're going to see one of the better races of the year.

So we've had great races all year long, but there's a lot of pressure on a lot of guys to perform. I think the bonuses that are awarded for the winner of the event is going to put extra pressure on everybody. So it's going to be a good race.

HERB BRANHAM: John? 

Read more & Comment...
09/06/07
nascar

Richmond sells out grandstand seating
Richmond International Raceway officials say all grandstand seats for Saturday's Rock and Roll 400 are sold out, marking the track's 32nd consecutive sold-out NASCAR Cup race.   "We're happy to announce that the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 is a sellout for the 16th straight year," RIR President Doug Fritz said. "Fans continue to show year in and year out that the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race is one of the most prestigious races on the NASCAR circuit."

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09/06/07
nascar

Weekly NASCAR cheating report
NASCAR has suspended Joe Lax, crew chief for Nextel Cup Series driver Jeremy Mayfield and the No. 36 Bill Davis Racing Toyota, until Sept. 19, fined him $25,000 and placed him on probation until Dec. 31.

Lax was penalized after the crew added extra weight to the car by placing a piece of lead in the water bottle before qualifying for last week's Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway.

Mayfield was also penalized 25 driver points, and car owner Gail Davis lost 25 owner points.

NASCAR has fined Steve Lane, crew chief of Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 40 Dodge and driver David Stremme, $2,500 because the team's scorer, Joel Carpentier, left the scoring area before the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway ended.

Lane was fined because the crew chief is responsible for the actions of team members.

NASCAR officials have fined crew chiefs Scott Zipadelli and Stewart Cooper after rule violations in the Busch Series event at California Speedway.

Zipadelli, crew chief for driver Kelly Bires and the No. 47 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford, was fined $2,500 for unapproved fuel cell installation.
 
Cooper, crew chief for driver Bobby East and the No. 37 Brewco Motorsports Ford, was fined $1,000 for unapproved slots in the lower A-frame spring bucket.

Comment
09/06/07
f1

Italian GP: Thursday Press Conference
Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Toro Rosso), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Jarno Trulli (Toyota), Mark Webber (Red Bull).

Q. Tonio, you have a new teammate; have things changed much within the team?

Vitantonio Liuzzi: For sure, the atmosphere is a bit different in the team. Before, it was quite heavy, now it's changed a bit, it is a bit of a fresh air. Unfortunately for Scott, but Sebastian, the last two races, he was really welcomed by the team and there was a different air inside. He is young, he has to gain experience, he has to learn with the team and I think there was a bit of a difference inside and I think everybody saw this from the outside.

Q. And in comparison, from a competition point of view?

VL: I don't think I have to say that everybody knows that obviously Scott had two years' experience. He was often giving me a hard and time, and Sebastian has to do kilometers for sure. He's really young and it was a bit easier to score points with the BMW and he's realized that. For sure, yes, he has a lot to do for next year.

Q. What about yourself for next year, what are you hoping for?

VL: I'm working on next year, for sure. My aim is to stay in F1 because that's my target since I started racing and I want to show what I can do when I am in a competitive team, because unfortunately this year we had a lot of problems. But nothing is fixed.

I think at the moment we are a bit on stand-by for the driver market and we still have to wait two or three weeks to know what's going on, but I'm working hard on it and I hope I get a chance.

Q. And would you be happy to be a test driver?

VL: No, at the moment I'm focused just on (race) driving, because I think in the last two years we didn't have many chances to show what we can do because we were always in difficult conditions so I hope that for next year, if it happens, that I can stay in Formula One, if possible in a stronger situation, so I'm pushing hard to be a driver, one of the 22.

Read more & Comment...
09/06/07
cc

Champ cars out, Champ boats in
The much ballyhooed Champ Car race in downtown Phoenix was cancelled last month, but now the F1-ChampBoat Grand Prix Series is set for a race at Firebird Lake in Chandler.
 
The weekend event will take place Sept. 29-30, for the sixth round of the series' 2007 championship competition. It will be the first appearance for the F1-ChampBoat Series in Arizona.

The races will feature F1 boats that reach speeds of 135 miles an hour.

They are said to be the fastest-turning vehicles in the world. "We are delighted to be making our initial appearance on Firebird Lake," said F1-ChampBoat President Mike Schriefer. "I've been to this facility many times in the past for automotive events and know this multi-purpose complex is just perfect for our race weekend."

More than 35 race drivers will come from all over North America, and four international drivers will race at Firebird Lake for the inaugural F1-ChampBoat Grand Prix of Phoenix title.

Tickets to the two-day race event are available through Firebird Lake and will cost $15 per day at the gate or $25 for the weekend. Student ticket rates and VIP tickets also are available.

Comment
09/06/07
f1

McLaren escape gearbox probe with fine
(GMM) McLaren has escaped with a fine at Monza after FIA stewards on Thursday investigated the team for a rules breach.

It emerged at the scene of the Italian grand prix that the Mercedes-powered team used a new lightweight gearbox in Budapest last month without first having it crash-tested.

McLaren denied any wrongdoing in a statement, but the stewards found the Woking based team in breach of article 16.1.2 of the technical regulations and imposed a fine of (US) $50,000.

Read more & Comment...
09/06/07
f1

Fisichella states case to stay at Renault (UPDATE)
(GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella has denied that his 2007 points tally alone means that he is in danger of losing his Renault seat for next season.

The Roman veteran's rookie teammate Heikki Kovalainen moved ahead of Fisichella at the recent Turkish grand prix to take seventh spot in the drivers' standings.

It is now believed that Kovalainen, a 25-year-old Finn, is almost certainly guaranteed a spot in the 2008 lineup, with names such as Nelson Piquet Jr and even Fernando Alonso probably more likely than Fisichella to secure the second seat.

Read more & Comment...
09/06/07
nascar

Villeneuve tests COT at Kentucky
Former Formula One and Indianapolis 500 champion Jacques Villeneuve continued his preparation for his NASCAR debut by testing today at Kentucky Speedway. He turned laps for Bill Davis Racing in the new Car of Tomorrow.

“Feels great, I’m just getting up to speed and getting used to driving the car,” Villeneuve said. “It is very different than anything I have driven before so I just want it to become natural and its fun.”

BDR announced two weeks ago that the 36-year old Canadian will use the final seven races of the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season to prep for NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series competition in 2008.

Even though the race trucks and the COT have similar aerodynamics, Villeneuve said the machines behave quite differently on the track. “The Car of Tomorrow is not as responsive. But, the tracks are very different as well. The driving style is different. If it was on a similar type than there would be a huge difference.”

Villeneuve is an international champion and has driven all over the world. Alongside Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi, Villeneuve is notable for winning the 1995 CART Championship, the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and the 1997 Formula One Championship. He is one of the rare drivers to achieve all three. Now, he is ready to apply his skills to NASCAR.

“When I was racing in the states, CART at the time, it was fun racing on the ovals and I was missing that a bit in Europe,” Villeneuve said. “I did what I had to do in F-1 and I was ready to move onto something else and there is only one other series in the world that is big as F-1 and its NASCAR. “

Testing continues through-out the fall at the 1.5 mile tri-oval. For the weekly schedule, check www.kentuckyspeedway.com. The testing schedule appears on the home page.

Comment
09/06/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

09/06/07
  • Ferrari no comment on spy row development
  • Ferrari 'stronger than it looks' - Massa
  • Toyota not rushing to complete 2008 lineup
  • Schu 'deserves' Spanish sports honor - Alonso
  • Schu admits Alonso factor in decision to retire
  • Fisichella states case to stay at Renault
  • Ferrari to attend spy hearing next week New
  • Gearbox saga casts new shadow over McLaren New
  • Rosberg unfazed by mounting speculation New

Ferrari no comment on spy row development
(GMM) A Ferrari boss has refused to comment on the latest development in the ongoing espionage saga, involving the Maranello based team and its 2007 championship rival McLaren.

The FIA on Wednesday called off an upcoming appeal of its July verdict regarding the case, and instead scheduled another hearing of the World Motor Sport Council, after receiving "new evidence" concerning the alleged use of secret Ferrari information by the Italian outfit's Woking based competitor.

The news has reignited speculation that Ron Dennis' team might be heavily penalized by the sport's governing body, with Ferrari fuming after the July verdict that it is "incomprehensible" that a team is not sanctioned despite being found guilty of breaching the International Sporting Code.

Ferrari sporting director Stefano Domenicali told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday: "It is the FIA that has given this new decision. I cannot say anything about it.

"We will see," the Italian added. "Our president (Luca di Montezemolo) after the race in Budapest requested us to secure six consecutive one-two successes, and we are fully concentrated on our goal."

Team driver Felipe Massa on Wednesday also declined to comment on the spying row, saying in an AP report: "Winning on the track and finishing in front of McLaren is my main concern.

"What happens off the circuit isn't my problem."

Ferrari 'stronger than it looks' - Massa
(GMM) Felipe Massa has rejected speculation that Ferrari, on home turf at Monza, looks set for a heavy defeat at the hands of its championship rival McLaren this weekend.

The Brazilian and his Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen respectively forged a dominant one-two in Turkey two weeks ago, as the Italian team works to close the drivers' and constructors' championship deficits to its silver-colored competitor.

But at the pre-Italian grand prix test at the high speed Monza circuit last week, McLaren turned in a dominant display to head the timesheets on all four days.

In a report on Wednesday of the news agency AP, however, 26-year-old Massa insisted: "We are a lot stronger than it looks, that's for sure.

"In testing, I've often lacked the conditions to run at my best."

He was also quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport as saying: "The possibility to win both titles still exists, but it will not be easy. We will try to succeed at Monza.

"The possibility of another one-two, like in Turkey, is also there, but it is never easy. McLaren is very strong but we are working hard and we hope to beat them.

"The tests at Monza went well enough; we will be competitive, how much so we will only know on Saturday and Sunday."

Raikkonen also declined to predict the outcome of Ferrari's home race, but he similarly did not write off the Maranello based team's chances.

"I think you can say that we have a fierce fight ahead of us," the 27-year-old said.

"Traditionally Ferrari has been very competitive here, but also McLaren has been very strong."

Read more & Comment...
09/06/07
f1

McLaren denies wrongdoing over gearbox
McLaren has issued a statement denying breaking any regulations after Italian Grand Prix stewards launched an investigation into the team's racing of a new lightweight gearbox without a prior crash test in Hungary last month.

The under-fire championship leading team has been put under investigation to see if it is in breach of Formula 1 regulations in not having the updated gearbox subjected to a new crash test prior to the event.

The Woking squad insists it has acted inside the rules and says is expects the stewards to come to the same conclusion.

"McLaren would like to emphasize that we have acted in entirely openly, in good faith and in complete compliance with the FIA rules and we are confident that the stewards will come to the same finding,” a team statement read.

"On Thursday of the Hungarian Grand Prix, McLaren voluntarily made the FIA aware that the team would be using a new reduced weight gearbox casing.

"Before qualifying the FIA asked McLaren to supply after the race weekend some documentation concerning the precise changes that had been made.

"This was supplied before the Turkish Grand Prix, but subsequently McLaren was advised by the FIA that in their opinion the revised gearbox needed to undergo a repeat crash test."

The team says it subsequently decided not to run the new gearbox at the last race in Turkey and that after passing the crash test last Thursday, will be back on the car at Monza this weekend.

“As a result the team chose not to use the lightweight gearbox at the Turkish Grand Prix," the statement read.

"On 30th August the McLaren lightweight gearbox passed both a push off test and an impact crash test without any problem under the supervision of the FIA.

“Consequently the team will use the lightweight gearbox at the Italian Grand Prix."

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09/06/07
nascar

Mayfield's father dies
Terry Mayfield, father of Bill Davis Racing driver Jeremy Mayfield, passed away last night at the age of 56. A native of Owensboro, Ky., Mayfield made his home in Mooresville, North Carolina. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

“Gail and I, as well as everyone at Bill Davis Racing, offer our condolences to Jeremy on the passing of his father. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, Shana, Terry’s wife Lisa and his family at this difficult time.”

Mayfield will compete in this weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway.

Comment
09/06/07
f1

No rain expected at sunny Monza
(GMM)  Rain was a persistent irritant at the Monza test last week, but the skies at the Autodromo Nazionale near Milan are expected to be clear at the circuit throughout the Italian grand prix this weekend.

Teams had to invoke the 'Rain Day' clause in the testing agreement to add a fourth day to the disrupted session last week, but Italy on Thursday turned on perfect, warm weather with only a flicker of cloud and a wisp of wind.

More sunny conditions are forecast for Friday through to the race on Sunday, with local meteorologists saying the chance of any rain whatsoever is very remote.

Comment
09/06/07
f1

Williams to use 'bridge' wing in Italy
(GMM)  Williams will debut a McLaren-like 'bridge' element above the nose of its Toyota-powered single seater at Monza this weekend.

At the Spanish grand prix in May, McLaren's silver cars ran for the first time with an innovative upper flap, connected to the front wing endplates, that looped all the way over the tip of the nose.

Interestingly, although McLaren's 'bridge' wing was in use in Turkey two weeks ago, the team's MP4-22 features a more conventional wing for the Italian GP.

Williams, however, has taken the concept a further step forward, with the element appearing thicker and more curved than McLaren's upon inspection in the pitlane at the Autodromo Nazionale on Thursday.

Moreover, it is understood that the design is not merely a part of the FW29's bespoke low-downforce Monza package, but is to remain on the car for the remainder of 2007.

Comment
09/06/07
f1

Monza braking data
Here is the  Brembo ID Card of the Monza circuit, offered by Brembo, which contains some very interesting information and data about the circuit and the technical features of the braking systems (e.g. braking distances, braking times, initial and final speeds, maximum deceleration and discs temperatures).

Comment
09/06/07
irl

7-Eleven renews with Kanaan and AGR
DALLAS - 7-Eleven, Inc. announced today an extension of its successful sponsorship with Andretti Green Racing (AGR) that will keep IndyCar Series racer Tony Kanaan in the Team 7-Eleven driver’s seat. The 7-Eleven/Andretti Green sponsorship, regarded as a model motorsports marketing relationship, enters its sixth year in 2008. Kanaan took first place Sunday in the Detroit Indy Grand Prix with Andretti Green teammate Danica Patrick placing second. 

Kevin Elliott, 7-Eleven senior vice president of merchandising 
"Tony has been a winner for 7-Eleven, both on and off the track.  Our employees and franchisees can be proud of 7-Eleven's association with Tony and the AGR team.  He is a competitive, aggressive and principled driver as well as an enthusiastic supporter and customer of 7-Eleven.  We look forward to our sponsorship of Tony and to AGR's Racing Team 7-Eleven in its drive to a championship in 2008."
 
Tony Kanaan, #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"One of the most important components in racing is consistency, and having 7-Eleven continue as the primary sponsor of the #11 car is a key to us winning another championship in 2008.  I've really enjoyed being a part of the 7-Eleven family since 2003.  I believe in their philosophy of customer service and appreciate all the support I receive around the world from management, franchisees, customers and vendors.  Our goal each season is to win the championship and the Indy 500, and I look forward to giving 7-Eleven a shot at both in 2008."

Comment
09/06/07
nascar

Fine-tuning possible for Talladega plate
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said Tuesday that it's possible a car of tomorrow test next week at Talladega Superspeedway could result in allowing Nextel Cup teams restrictor plates with larger openings for October’s race at the 2.66-mile track.

The Oct. 7 race at Talladega will be the first using the COT for a restrictor-place race.

“We’ll be there next week for a two-day test, fine-tuning the plate size and things of that nature,” Pemberton said.

“This car will allow us to open up the restriction a little bit on the engine. They'll make a considerable amount of horsepower more than what they have raced at Talladega and Daytona in the past.”

The openings in the plates allow air into the carburetor, so bigger openings would mean more power. With the current openings, drivers keep their accelerators planted all the way down. The hope is that bigger plates would give them some throttle response and with it the ability to get more power when it’s needed to complete a pass. ThatsRacin

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09/06/07
nascar

Ganassi extends sponsorship with Energizer
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. (CGR), and Energizer Holdings, Inc. announced a multi-year extension to their long-lasting relationship that dates back over a decade. Energizer will continue to showcase its brand as a major associate sponsor on the #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson in the Nextel Cup Series and both Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) entries in the IndyCar Series driven by current championship contender (second place) and past champion Scott Dixon and 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner and series champion Dan Wheldon beginning with the start of the 2008 racing season.

“We’re thrilled to continue our long-lasting partnership with Target Chip Ganassi Racing.” said Jeff Ziminski, Chief Marketing Officer, Energizer Battery. “Both Energizer and TCGR share an ongoing commitment to quality and innovation. It’s an honor to extend our pursuit of excellence with an outstanding organization like TCGR.”

In addition to the sponsorship extension, the #40 Dodge driven by David Stremme in the Nextel Cup Series will feature a special Energizer paint scheme in the upcoming events at Richmond International, New Hampshire and Kansas. The paint scheme, dynamic silver and blue, will highlight not only the Energizer e2 Lithium brand, the World’s Longest Lasting Battery in High Tech Devices, but a successful, 12-year partnership between CGR and Energizer that keeps going and going, the famous Energizer Bunny.

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09/06/07
nascar

Ford family connects with NASCAR family
Edsel Ford II, great-grandson of pioneer automaker Henry Ford, is becoming a director of International Speedway Corp., owner of Daytona International Speedway.

Ford, 58, due to be formally elected in November, will take over the board seat of Chairman William C. France, who died in June. Ford has been a vice president of Ford Motor Co. since 1993.

James C. France, William C. France's brother, officially took over as ISC chairman. Lesa France Kennedy, ISC president and William's daughter, became vice chairman.

Comment
09/06/07
cc

WPS/WOW members quick to stop fire
Members of Australian V8 Supercar team, WPS/WOW Racing have been praised for their immediate actions which helped avoid serious injury to one of their crew at Queensland Raceway today.

A clear-burning methanol fire ignited shortly after the team had topped-up an open-wheel Champ Car with fuel which was to be used in a demonstration run at the Ipswich circuit by Team Australia star Will Power.

The demonstration was to be a part of a week-long promotion of this year’s Lexmark Indy 300 to be held on the Gold Coast from October 18-21, involving Power and English driver Justin Wilson.

WPS/WOW Racing is owned by Queensland businessman Craig Gore and is the “sister” team to the US-based Team Australia Champ Car outfit, which is co-owned by Gore and Derrick Walker.

The actual car is a 10 year-old Reynard which is personally owned by Gore and presented in Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards colors for promotional purposes in Australia.

Read more & Comment...
09/06/07
industry news

Video: Improving towing safety
The way a trailer is loaded can have a big impact on trailer stability and driver safety. Now General Motors has introduced Electronic Trailer Sway Control technology to keep a trailer from swaying and affecting control of the lead vehicle.

According to GM, loading too heavily in the rear of the trailer can cause it to sway, an effect called “the tail wagging the dog.” This motion can cause drivers to lose control and endangering themselves and others on the road. The new technology senses that a trailer is starting to sway and prompts an electronic stability control, which utilizes the brake system to help the driver maintain control. Trailer Towing Technology

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09/06/07
industry news

Video: Volvo’s ReCharge Car
Volvo’s ReCharge Concept, a plug-in hybrid with individual electric wheel motors, can drive an estimated 100 kilometers before the vehicle's four-cylinder Flexifuel engine is needed to power the car and recharge the battery. When driving beyond the car’s battery life, fuel consumption may vary from 0 to 5.5 liters per 100 km depending on the distance driven.

Volvo researchers say the ReCharge Concept can lower carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 66 percent compared to other hybrids. In addition to operating on battery energy, the ReCharge Concept can also accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 9 seconds and reach top speeds of 160 km/h. The vehicle, which will debut in a specially-designed Volvo C30 at the IAA motor show in Frankfurt, was developed at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Camarillo, CA. Volvo ReCharge Car (Also available on our home page)

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09/06/07
industry news

Video: GM to use New Engines that Reduce Emissions
General Motors (GM) reports it is working to install a type of engine that will improve fuel efficiency by more than 15 percent and contribute to reducing U.S. foreign oil dependency. The homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine also creates less toxic emissions by burning fuel with a flameless combustion rather than using a spark plug. Today’s vehicles currently use an internal combustion engine, a model that many engineers have been trying to improve for decades without significantly increasing costs. GM officials report they are working on a production model that uses an HCCI engine, however, an exact date of availability has not been specified. Watch Video

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09/06/07
f1

Video: ING Race Index for the Italian Grand Prix
Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on September 9, ING issues its Race Index, which assesses race features including the circuit itself, level of driver difficulty, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, the Italian Grand Prix obtains 76 points, occupying the 2nd position among the 17 circuits.  ING Race Index - Monza

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09/06/07
industry news

Video: Combating Alcohol-Related road accidents
According to Volvo safety officials, one in every three traffic fatalities in Europe is alcohol-related. To help reduce this number, Volvo has developed 'Alcoguard', which uses fuel-cell technology to accurately read a person's blood alcohol level. In order to start a vehicle, the driver must blow into a wireless hand-held unit. If his/her blood alcohol level is higher than 0.2 g/l, the car will not start. Volvo hopes this technology will help lead to a change in the general attitude towards drinking and driving, resulting in the elimination of alcohol-related road accidents and deaths.  Watch Video

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09/06/07
nascar

SPEED Quotes on JGR Move to Toyota
Following are quotes from SPEED on-air talent regarding yesterday's announcement by Joe Gibbs Racing that the organization will switch manufacturers in the 2008 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season from Chevrolet to Toyota.

Wendy Venturini, reporter for NASCAR RaceDay:
“I don’t think this move will hurt Joe Gibbs Racing at all.  Gibbs is pretty strong in every department.  Going into it, Mark Cronquist, the head engine builder at Gibbs, wanted to make sure the team would be just as strong under the hood with Toyota, and he and everyone at Gibbs is confident with the motor package with Toyota.  I certainly don’t think Joe Gibbs Racing is going to show up at Daytona next year and fall on its face.  I still expect all three drivers to be in The Chase next year.

“Joe Gibbs Racing has definitely positioned themselves as the top team for Toyota, whereas they weren’t necessarily the premier organization with Chevrolet.  I talked with JD Gibbs and Jimmy Makar at Joe Gibbs Racing and Lee White of Toyota for more than an hour today for Saturday’s NASCAR RaceDay segment.   Everyone at Gibbs said that everything was going to change over anyway with the new Car of Tomorrow, as they were going to have to rebuild all the car bodies for next year, so it isn’t that big of a deal to switch manufacturers.  Toyota is looking at their acquisition of Joe Gibbs Racing as a huge jump for them, a jump that is changing their expectations of themselves, which I thought was pretty cool.  In the long run, both Gibbs and Toyota are looking at this switch as beneficial for both companies as a whole.  

“Chevrolet will definitely keep on going without Gibbs and be just as successful.  With Hendrick, RCR and DEI, I don’t think we’ll see a falloff in performance from Chevy.  The chassis and bodies aren’t going to be much different from manufacturer to manufacturer.  The key lies in what’s under the hood – the horsepower will really make the difference.”

Dave Despain, host of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED:
“This is the logical and inevitable next step for Toyota in the evolution of its NASCAR program.  There was never any question whether Toyota would sign a big team -- the only questions was when and which one.  We now know the answer to that.

“With Joe Gibbs Racing switching to Toyota, the manufacturer will do a lot better next year than it did this year but for Gibbs, that remains to be seen.  Logic will tell you that in the short term, it’s probably a step back for Gibbs but apparently the team believes that in the long-term, this switch is going to be beneficial for them.  Joe Gibbs Racing believes Toyota will be a very powerful presence in NASCAR in the long haul and by being the first big team to sign with Toyota, Gibbs will have the opportunity to lead that charge.”

Read more & Comment...
09/06/07
cc

Swintal puts the lights out
Motorsports artist and Champ Car Clerk of the Course Jim Swintal has released his latest print, “Lights Out” featuring the first standing start in series history at Portland International Raceway.  With a title inspired by the extinguishing of the four red lights that now begin the race, the print captures the first historic few seconds of a new era in Champ Car racing, as front row starters Justin Wilson and Robert Doornbos lead the field off toward Portland’s infamous festival curves.

The 18 x 24 print is available at www.jimswintal.com and Speedgear via our Racing Store page.

Comment
09/05/07
alms

Intersport Racing Switches to Lola B06/10 AER
Starting at the 10th anniversary Petit Le Mans, Intersport Racing will be campaign a new car in the LMP1 class of the American Le Mans Series. After struggling all season long with the Creation CA06 H, the Dublin, Ohio-based team has taken delivery of an ex-Dyson Lola B06/10 AER. 

Originally slated to be run in the hands of Velocity Motorsports, Jon and Clint Field and Richard Berry will pilot the AER-powered car in the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans event on October 4-6. Intersport plans to shakedown the car in a test at Road Atlanta one week prior to the race.

The team is no strangers to Lola machinery, having campaigned a B05/40 in the LMP2 class in 2005 and 2006 and a B2K/40 before then.

A possible switch to Judd power is an option for the future.  However, it will stay AER powered for at least the first race.

Comment
09/05/07
nascar

NASCAR Testing at Milwaukee
Nextel Cup teams are testing COT cars at The Milwaukee Mile Wednesday, Sept 5 including: Red Bull with #83 Brian Vickers & #84 AJ Allmendinger
Evernham Motorsports with #19 Boris Said (2 cars)
Hendrick Motorsports with #5 Kyle Busch
Team Penske with #12 with Sam Hornish
Teams indicated they will be testing today only, and no speeds will be recorded. Milwaukee Mile PR

Comment
09/05/07
f1

F1 heads for serious trouble
Formula 1 folk would be forgiven for having a sense of foreboding about an announcement this afternoon from the FIA, cancelling the upcoming International Court of Appeal and instead recalling the FIA World Council to re-examine the question of whether McLaren breached Article 151c of the International Sporting Code which states that those involved in the sport should avoid "any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport" between March and July by having unauthorized possession of documents and confidential information belonging to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.

The Council concluded at the end of July that there was "insufficient evidence that this information was used in such a way as to interfere improperly with the FIA Formula 1 World Championship." The FIA did, however, add that if further evidence emerged the decision might be reconsidered.

Until the end of last week there was no sign of any new evidence, but it seems that the FIA may have received a tip-off from somewhere alleging that other evidence existed and where it could be found. We hear that the F1 teams have all received a fax in recent days from the FIA pointing out that it is their duty to report any information they may have with regard to information relating to the case, told to them by any of the drivers. This seems oddly specific and suggests that drivers are now involved in this affair. Whatever it was that emerged from the FIA questions was obviously sufficiently convincing for the federation to cancel its own appeal and bring the matter back before the WMSC.

The question that no-one will answer is who is involved and what they know. One can speculate that there are teams out there who might have information which came from McLaren drivers and that they are entirely capable of using such information if it serves their purpose. It is no secret, for example, that at least one team would like to have Fernando Alonso in 2008 but he is under contract to McLaren. If McLaren is punished it is almost inevitable that there is a clause in his contract which would free him next year. The hows and the whys are not, however, the problem. They are merely tawdry details in an utterly unsavory affair.

The question that the World Council must answer is what to do about whatever it is that has come to light and what punishment would be used if there was evidence to justify penalizing McLaren. The punishment for such an offence is not cast in stone. The organizers of the Turkish GP were charged with a breach of the same article and received a $5m fine and were reckoned to have got off lightly but that is not a case with any direct relevance. There was a similar espionage case a few years ago two former Ferrari employees were found guilty of industrial espionage in an Italian court and were given suspended jail sentences. The FIA says it is not involved because no-one made a complaint in that case and that the McLaren case is different because there was a very specific and formal complaint from Ferrari. More at Grandprix.com

Comment
09/05/07
cc

PCM Hires Motorsports Executive Clayton Triggs
Pacific Coast Motorsports, a two-car team in the Champ Car World Series, has secured  motorsports executive, Clayton Triggs to lead the team’s business development and expansion programs.

“Clayton has a proven record of success and we are thrilled to welcome him to Pacific Coast Motorsports,” said Team Director, Tyler Tadevic. “As a new organization in Champ Car this is the next logical step for PCM.  In this industry having a strong commercial portfolio is as important as having fast race cars; Clayton has created and managed many diverse and innovative corporate marketing programs and we’re excited about his contribution to the continued evolution of Pacific Coast Motorsports.”

Read more & Comment...
09/05/07
nascar

Toyota announces deal with Joe Gibbs team
TORRANCE, Calif. -- Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that the three-time championship-winning race team will campaign Toyota Camrys for drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR Grand National Series program will also utilize Toyota Camrys next season. Joe Gibbs Racing will be joining Bill Davis Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Team Red Bull as the teams that will be racing the ‘Most Popular Car in America’ when the 2008 season kicks- off next February at Daytona International Speedway. “Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the most respected teams in NASCAR, a championship-caliber race team and a first-class organization,” said Jim Aust, vice president of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and president and CEO of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development).

“We are confident that partnering with the Gibbs team will raise the level of our entire Toyota NASCAR program, and will be beneficial to all of the current teams racing the Toyota Camry.” “Our motorsports heritage has taught us the value of working with experienced teams and partners,” Aust said.

Read more & Comment...
09/05/07
nascar

GM statement of JGR moving to Toyota
Statement from Brent Dewar; General Motors North America Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Parts Regarding Joe Gibbs Racing’s decision to sign with another manufacturer:

“General Motors has been associated with Joe Gibbs Racing for 16 years working together winning races and championships. While we understand the business nature of racing, we are disappointed in J.D.’s decision and announcement today. With our long-standing relationship and record of winning with them, we hoped they would remain with Chevrolet. We will continue to support our JGR drivers in this year’s Chase for the Championship. We wish JGR well as they go forward, and Chevrolet will compete against them on the track next year to defend its title as the winningest name in racing.”

Comment
09/05/07
f1

FIA says ’new evidence’ in spy saga
(GMM) The espionage saga involving McLaren and Ferrari took a fresh turn on Wednesday.

F1's governing body revealed in a statement that it has received "new evidence" and had therefore decided to convene another hearing of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

The meeting will happen on September 13, in the place of an appeal of the original July 26 decision to not penalize Ron Dennis' Woking based team for spying on its Italian rivals.

"The FIA President's referral of the matter to the International Court of Appeal has been withdrawn," the FIA said in a statement on Wednesday.

The governing body also said McLaren representatives had been invited to attend the new meeting, but made no mention of Ferrari.

Due to "insufficient evidence" in July, the World Motor Sport Council found McLaren guilty of breaching the International Sporting Code but could not prove that the confidential Ferrari data had been improperly used.

The FIA also said in July that the team faced exclusion from the 2007 and 2008 championships if it is "found in the future that the Ferrari information has been used".

An FIA spokesman had no comment on the development, while McLaren said in a statement that the team "will continue to co-operate fully with the FIA".

Comment
09/05/07
nascar

Coors won't return to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2008
Chip Ganassi Racing officials announced Wednesday that Coors Brewing Co. will not return as primary sponsor of the team's No. 40 Dodge next season.

The decision will end a seven-year relationship between Coors and Ganassi. The brewery was sponsor of the No. 40 when Ganassi took over the team in 2001 and has been on the car since.

 "After much evaluation on both of our parts, we agreed that having Coors Light back as a sponsor on the No. 40 Dodge was not going to meet the marketing objectives of either organization," Chip Ganassi Racing Teams' President Steve Lauletta said in a news release. "Coors has been a tremendous partner over the last 14 years, and we wish them nothing but the best."

The brewery, whose association with NASCAR dates to 1984, when it backed Bill Elliott's No. 9 Ford, said it is looking into other ways to remain in the sport.

Read more & Comment...
09/05/07
nascar

It's official: Gibbs moving from GM to Toyota
Every car that has come out of the Joe Gibbs Racing shop has been a General Motors vehicle since the team's first race in 1992. Starting in 2008, however, JGR will no longer be a GM team, as the team announced Wednesday at a special press conference that it will switch manufacturers to Toyota.
 
The move is a huge boost for Toyota, which currently has no team in the top 35 in owner points. It will guarantee the manufacturer three spots in the 2008 Daytona 500 and also gives it three drivers - Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and JGR newcomer Kyle Busch - who will have made the Chase For The Nextel Cup in 2007.

Toyota has struggled in its first year of Cup competition with Bill Davis Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Team Red Bull.

Comment
09/05/07
industry news

GM, BMW sales strong in August UPDATE The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reports strong August sales of 30,639 vehicles, an increase of 19.3 percent over the 25,673 vehicles sold in August 2006. The BMW Group also increased its year-to-date sales volume to 223,341 vehicles, up 8.1 percent, compared to 206,530 vehicles in the same period of 2006.

09/04/07 GM dealers in the United States delivered 388,168 vehicles in August, up more than 5 percent compared with year-ago monthly sales, a strong performance that resulted in an anticipated highest-of-the-year market share of nearly 26 percent. Brisk sales of full-size pickups and crossover SUVs led the increase.

Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, said its U.S. sales of cars and trucks fell 14 percent in August.   Sales totaled 218,332 vehicles, declining from 255,112 a year earlier, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company said in a statement today on PR Newswire. The figures include heavy-duty trucks.

Comment
09/05/07
f1

Teams to discuss 'fuel burn' axe at Monza
(GMM)  Key formula one figures are scheduled to meet ahead of the Italian grand prix at Monza this week with the aim of tweaking the qualifying format for 2008.

The current so-called 'knockout' system has been generally embraced since it debuted last season.

But, in conjunction with the parallel parc ferme regulations which require cars to qualify with initial race-levels of fuel in the final Q3 session, it sparked an unwelcome phenomenon known as the 'fuel burn'.

These opening laps of the top-ten runout are not only tedious, but - given their objective for the drivers of simply burning fuel and earning 'credits' to add more fuel before the race - also controversial in a political sense.

"I think we've got to find a way of getting rid of the fuel burning laps, which is just a completely strange thing to do given we're all becoming eco-friendly," Renault technical director Bob Bell, who otherwise praised the knockout format, said in the team's pre-Monza official podcast this week.

Engineering director Pat Symonds is a wholehearted supporter of the current qualifying format, but he admitted that the fuel burning "is not good".

He added: "Interestingly we're talking about that tomorrow with a view to getting rid of it for 2008."

Comment
09/05/07
f1

STR 'transformed' since Vettel arrival - Berger
(GMM)  The arrival at Toro Rosso of rookie racer Sebastian Vettel has already improved the atmosphere within the Faenza based team.

That is the assertion of team co-owner and boss Gerhard Berger, who shortly after giving Scott Speed his marching orders recently declared that the atmosphere at the Ferrari-powered team this year had not been good.

"With one blow the feeling in the team improved as soon as Sebastien replaced Scott Speed," Berger admitted to Sport Bild on Wednesday.

The former McLaren and Ferrari race winner added: "Suddenly everyone says 'good morning' to each other -- the spirits in the team have been completely transformed."

Vettel, to complete this season for the team after commencing 2007 as BMW's primary test driver, has been signed by STR also for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

His teammate next year will be multiple Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais.

Comment
09/05/07
cckarting

Michael Self awarded Champ Car ROTAX Career Enhancement Scholarship
Every racing dream starts with a Go-Kart and builds from that first step. It doesn’t matter if you are Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais or Graham Rahal, virtually every driver hones their skills at a young age by competing in go-karting. The same is true for up and coming driver Michael Self of Park City, Utah who will have a chance to step out of his race kart and up to the next level, as he was awarded the 2007 Champ Car ROTAX Career Enhancement Scholarship which will provide him with a complete season of racing in one of the Skip Barber Regional Racing Series.

“I would like to thank Champ Car, Skip Barber and ROTAX for giving me this opportunity,” Self stated as he accepted the scholarship. “It’s an honor and a great privilege to have received this award and I look forward to competing in the Skip Barber series and performing at my best.” 

Michael Self, a sixteen year old racing prodigy, is a junior at Park City High School. He started racing at age eleven in cadet karts at a local level and was successful from the start, finishing 3rd overall in a local track championship and taking home their Rookie-of-the-Year award. By age 12, he started racing in the Junior ROTAX class, showing his talent by finishing second in the championship while competing against kids who had over 5 years of experience. The following year, Self won the 2004 Utah State Championship in the Junior ROTAX class and started adding to his trophy case as he continued to excel in the series. In 2006, he finished 3rd at the ROTAX Champ Car Grand Nationals at Road America, which allowed him to compete in the 2006 ROTAX World Finals in Portugal.  Most recently, Self turned heads at the 2007 Champ Car ROTAX Grand Nationals in Centennial, Colorado, where he overcame a 31st qualifying spot to finish in 6th position.

Read more & Comment...
09/05/07
racing news

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 9-5-07
Pos.  (LW) Driver (Series)                     Pts  
1. (13) Tony Kanaan (IRL)                      7.839
2. (4) Carl Edwards (NASCAR)                   7.520
3. (21) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)                7.494
4. (6) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)                     7.453
5. (5) Kurt Busch (NASCAR)                     7.276
6. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)               7.162
7. (7) Felipe Massa (F1)                       7.147
8. (3) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                   7.132
9. (12) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR)              6.884
10. (27) Justin Wilson (CCWS)                  6.837
11. (17) Jeff Burton (NASCAR)                  6.833
12. (11) Kimi Raikkonen (F1)                   6.705
13. (NR) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR)                 6.670
14. (14) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)           6.646
15. (9) Dario Franchitti (IRL)                 6.577
16. (1) Scott Dixon (IRL)                      6.566
17. (15) Fernando Alonso (F1)                  6.465
18. (10) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                  6.297
19. (NR) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)                 6.184
20. (8) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)                  6.111

Dropped out: Ryan Newman (NASCAR), Greg Biffle (NASCAR), Kevin Harvick (NASCAR), Lewis Hamilton (F1)

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

Comment
09/05/07
f1

Schu wins Spanish sports award
(GMM)  Retired seven time world champion Michael Schumacher has collected the prestigious Prince of Asturias sports award.

With the most successful formula one career of all time now behind him, the 38-year-old German fended off 17 other nominees to receive the Spanish plaudit, which was won by local hero and reigning world champion Fernando Alonso two years ago.

Among the nominates this time were Russian pole vault world champion Yelena Isinbayeva and tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

"His career reflects the biggest successes in all categories," the prize committee, also noting Schumacher's humanitarian work and donations, said in a statement.

Dating back to 1981, the Prince of Asturias sports award has also been won by Carl Lewis (1996), Steffi Graf (1999), Lance Armstrong (2000), and the Spanish Basketball Team (2006).

Schumacher will receive 50,000 euros and a trophy in a ceremony in late October in Oviedo, the capital of Asturias and Alonso's home city.

Comment
09/05/07
irl

Another close race for IndyCar Series crown
For the second-straight season, the battle for the IndyCar Series title is one of the closest in series history. With one race to go, Dario Franchitti leads Scott Dixon by three points, with Tony Kanaan 39 points back. It's the third-closest 1-2 spread with one race to go in series history and has seen the point lead swap twice in as many weeks. Here's how it compares to other series' points battles heading into final race:

IndyCar Series
2003 - Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon were tied for the series point lead heading into the final event at Texas Motor Speedway with Gil de Ferran, Tony Kanaan and Sam Hornish Jr. within 30 points of the lead. De Ferran won the race, but Dixon's second-place gave him the title by 18 points.

2006 - Helio Castroneves lead Sam Hornish Jr. by one point heading into the final event at Chicagoland Speedway with Dan Wheldon 19 points behind and Scott Dixon 21 points back. Wheldon led the most laps and won the race, to tie Hornish, who finished third. (Hornish was awarded the IndyCar Series title via the first tiebreaker, four wins to two wins)

NASCAR Nextel Cup
1992 - Six drivers entered the final race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in contention for the title. Alan Kulwicki won the title over race winner Bill Elliott by 10 points, with Kulwicki earning the title by staying out an extra lap to earn the bonus for most laps led.

Formula One
1994 - Michael Schumacher led Damon Hill by one point going into the final race in Australia. Hill and Schumacher crashed into each other during the race giving the title to Schumacher.

Champ Car (CART)
2000 - Gil de Ferran had a five-point lead over Adrian Fernandez heading into the final race at California Speedway. De Ferran won the title by finishing third in the final race with Fernandez finishing fifth.

Comment
09/05/07
nascar

Rudd Injured, out UPDATE #2  For the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Ricky Rudd will miss a race because of injury.  The left shoulder separation Rudd suffered last Sunday at California Speedway will prevent him from competing in this weekend's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, the veteran driver told ESPN.com on Tuesday.  The wreck "tore a bunch of ligaments and tendons," Rudd said. "I'm out at Richmond."  Rudd believes his shoulder was caught up in the headrest that prevents side-to-side movement of the driver’s head during an accident and that may lead to a redesign of the seat.  His status for this Saturday night’s race at Richmond is questionable. If Rudd is unable to race, look for veteran driver Kenny Wallace to sub in the No. 88.

09/03/07 Ricky Rudd, who made his 900th career Cup Series start Sunday at California Speedway, separated his left shoulder and was briefly knocked unconscious in a wicked wreck during the Sharp Aquos 500, the veteran driver told ESPN.com. The shoulder is the major concern, and leaves Rudd concerned about his status for next weekend's Chevy Rock 'n Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. He said he wouldn't grade his chances of competing as very high. ESPN.com

09/03/07 Ricky Rudd injured his shoulder in a crash during Sunday night's Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway.  After being caught up in a six-car pileup on lap 181 of the 500, Rudd was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. NASCAR officials confirmed he was treated and released.  Rudd, driver of the No. 88 Robert Yates Racing Ford, separated his left shoulder according to FoxSports.com. NASCAR officials would only confirm that Rudd injured that shoulder.

Comment
09/05/07
f1

Clark leaves McLaren for Honda
Steve Clark, an engineer who has been working in Formula 1 since the late 1980s, is to join Honda Racing F1. He will be the head of race and test engineering. Since 2002 Clark has been at McLaren, running testing, but he has now decided to move on and is expected to join Honda in November. He will take the role currently held by Jacky Eeckelaert, the Belgian being moved back to his original position as the technical liaison engineer with Honda in Japan.

Clark was originally hired by Team Lotus in the late 1980s and worked with Frank Dernie. He then followed Dernie to Ligier in 1991 and became race engineer for Erik Comas and later Olivier Panis. In 1996 he moved to Arrows where he was involved in both research and development and race engineering before deciding to take a break from Formula 1 in 1998, going to the United States to engineer Alex Zanardi at Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The result was a dominant CART title. Grandprix.com

Comment
09/05/07
nascar

BDR hires race engineer for Villeneuve
Ryan Coniam has been hired as race engineer for Jacques Villeneuve in the 2008 Nextel Cup Series. Villeneuve, who was world driving champion in 1997, will start his NASCAR career at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 22 when he will partner Bill Davis Racing teammate Mike Skinner in a Craftsman Truck Series race. Villeneuve is expected to drive as many as seven truck races and possibly one Nextel Cup race in ’07 before going into the Cup series full-time in 2008. The 27-year-old Coniam, former World of Outlaws sprint car star and son of Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame inductee Warren Coniam, has been living in Mooresville, N.C., where he was employed in research and development for Dale Earnhardt Inc. He was head-hunted by BDR and traveled to Bristol, Tenn., for an interview the weekend of Aug. 25. He was notified last Friday that he has the job. Villeneuve will drive truck #27, renumbered in recent days by BDR to honor Villeneuve’s late father, Gilles Villeneuve, who drove Ferrari #27. Jacques Villeneuve also drove with that number on his car when he raced in the CART series in the mid-1990s, winning both the Indianapolis 500 and the CART championship in 1995. Toronto Star

Comment
09/05/07
cc

Champ Car stars arrive in Australia
Australia competes in numerous high profile, International sporting contests but none are steeped in quite as much history as the cricketing Ashes series played regularly against England.

For Australian Champ Car World Series driver Will Power and his English adversary Justin Wilson, today was a chance to settle some scores prior to the big battle looming at this year’s Lexmark Indy 300, to be held on the Gold Coast October 18-21.

The preliminary bout called for the more traditional contest of bat and ball, with assistance from students of the Surfers Paradise State School.

Both drivers agree the adrenaline charged format of the Lexmark Indy 300 has already been providing its own tradition of sporting excellence and with 12 countries again vying for overall honors there’s great anticipation.

“The Lexmark Indy 300 is a fantastic event and a great race. It is very demanding for the drivers, but all the same very rewarding,” said Wilson, who only last weekend captured his maiden victory of the year in Holland.

“Coming off such a great result in Holland you couldn’t ask for a better venue for post race celebrations than here in Queensland, Australia.

Read more & Comment...
09/05/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Spyker deal not done yet - Mol
  • India ready to pay $30m grand prix deposit
  • Publisher pays $2m for Hamilton story
  • Magistrate prolongs Stepney sabotage case
  • Countrymen back Ralf to exit F1

Spyker deal not done yet - Mol
(GMM) A spokesman for Michiel Mol has denied reports that a consortium also involving Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya has definitely bought the Dutch formula one team Spyker.

"Contrary to what has been written by numerous media outlets, a definite agreement still has not been reached concerning the acquisition of Spyker," spokesman Dick Haijma, representing Dutchman Mol and his wealthy father Jan, is quoted as saying by Sportweek.

He explained: "Since last Friday, the situation has not changed much. The negotiation period of 30 days is still effective.

"Until there are signatures on the papers, there is no deal."

It is understood, however, that the 'Orange India' consortium has been given 30 days to exclusively conduct due diligence and then decide to finalize the purchase of the F1 outfit.

Winnie Koole, parent company Spyker Cars' public relations manager, added: "It is correct that (the consortium) has laid down an offer of 80 million (euros)."

India ready to pay $30m grand prix deposit
(GMM) The prospective promoter for a grand prix in India is expected to shortly lay down a deposit to reserve a place on the formula one calendar of the near future.

Indian Olympic Association chairman Suresh Kalmadi reportedly told The Economic Times that, following the visit to Delhi this week of F1 circuit architect Hermann Tilke, his organization will have "no hassles" paying the necessary $30m deposit to Bernie Ecclestone.

"If we do something there, it would be for a minimum of seven years," F1's chief executive this week told the Indian television network CNBC-TV18.

76-year-old Ecclestone recently issued the race's potential promoter with a September 30 deadline, which presumably includes the payment of the $30m deposit.

An inaugural event is anticipated for 2009-2010.

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
f1

No changes at Super Aguri
Super Aguri intend to retain their driver line-up of Japan's Takuma Sato and Briton Anthony Davidson in 2008, the Formula One team's managing director said on Monday.   “We want to keep the same drivers. That is our aim,” Daniele Audetto told the Autosport website (www.autosport.com).  “We are very happy with the job they are doing. Anthony made a big improvement with his race craft. In qualifying he has always been fast and in the races he is now better.” 

Comment
09/04/07
gp2

Q and A with Giorgio Pantano
As the GP2 Series gears up for round nine in Monza this weekend, Italian driver Giorgio Pantano (Campos Grand Prix) provides Bridgestone with an insight into his home circuit.

Pantano won both races at Monza in 2006 when the venue played host to a closely-fought GP2 end of season finale. As they head to Monza, Pantano is currently fourth in the Drivers’ Championship standings, just one point behind Luca Filippi (Super Nova), with six races remaining this season.

This is your third year in GP2, what do you enjoy most about the Series?
GP2 is like one big family and in this sense the paddock is very different to Formula One. The GP2 car is very impressive especially compared to Formula 3000 and the driving style in GP2 is the closest you will get to that of an F1 car. GP2 is great in preparing drivers for Formula One.

Monza is your home circuit, and you were very successful there last year, are you looking forward to returning to the track with GP2 this season?
Yes, of course. It is wonderful because I am in my home town, and it is amazing because normally it is full of people with the red flags of Ferrari and they are supporting Italian drivers. I won both GP2 races at Monza in 2006 [with FMS International] and I am hoping to achieve the same result this coming weekend! I would say that although this is my seventh year driving at Monza, last year in GP2 has to be the most memorable race weekend for me at my home circuit.

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
f1

HarperCollins million-pound gamble on Hamilton
HarperCollins are making a million-pound gamble that Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton will succeed where football icon Wayne Rooney failed in giving them a sports bestseller. The publishers have paid a seven-figure advance for the life story so far of the World Championship leader. Lewis Hamilton: My Story will be rushed out on November 5 — just nine weeks after the deal was agreed — to ensure HC maximize sales from the McLaren driver's bid to win the title in his rookie season.

Comment
09/04/07
ga

Vasser to drive again
Bringing his veteran perspective back to a young team on the rise, 1996 Champ Car champion Jimmy Vasser will return to the cockpit of GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing's championship-leading No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley Daytona Prototype next week in the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season finale, the Sunchaser 1000k at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Sept. 15.

Vasser rejoins the driving team of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, who have torched the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype field in the second half of the season, rebounding from a disappointing DNF in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona to capture seven wins, including six in the last eight races. Gurney and Fogarty now hold a slim one-point lead heading into the 14th and final round, and Vasser will play a vital role in the team's quest for driver and team championships. He's relishing the opportunity to fight for a points crown.

"I'm very excited to be back in the GAINSCO 99 with Alex and Jon, and I'm extremely proud of what they've done this season," Vasser said. "I'm thrilled to be part of a championship run and I'm just looking forward to getting back in the car next week."

The road-racing veteran, who racked up 10 wins, nine poles and 33 podiums during an illustrious 15-year Champ Car career and scored an IMSA GTP Lights victory in the 1993 24 Hours of Daytona, has been a part of the GAINSCO team since last year's Rolex 24 At Daytona, and is team owner Bob Stallings' hand-picked "go-to guy" for the series' endurance events.

Comment
09/04/07
nascar

Raines out, Yeley in at HOF
Hall of Fame Racing has signed J.J. Yeley to drive for the No. 96 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2008. Yeley’s debut in the No. 96 DLP HDTV car will come in February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. His entry into the prestigious event came via his first career pole at Michigan International Speedway this past June.
 
“In 23 years of being involved in professional sports, I have worked with many great athletes,” said Jeff Moorad, owner of Hall of Fame Racing. “J.J Yeley’s determination to succeed reminds me of many of the championship athletes that I have been around in my career. He is hungry and determined to win races and championships and to do it with class. We look forward to J.J. being an integral part of Hall of Fame Racing and to winning with him going forward.”

Yeley comes to Hall of Fame Racing from Joe Gibbs Racing, the team for which he drove full-time in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series beginning in 2006. Yeley will take over for Tony Raines, current driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet, following the conclusion of the 2007 season.

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
alms

Rave reviews for Belle Isle
The American Le Mans Series’ first visit to Detroit and Belle Isle Park was without a doubt a success. All weekend long, Series drivers, officials, teams and manufacturers heaped praise on the venue and Roger Penske’s effort to bring major auto racing back to Detroit. The Series made such an impact that event organizers announced its return in 2008 as part of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend. Here is just a small sampling of the reaction to racing in Detroit:

Scott Atherton, American Le Mans Series President and CEO
“The entire Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is an event that meets the profile ‘World Class.’ I was here in January and had been able to see the venue two or three times in the meantime. The progress and transformation of the area was remarkable. All credit goes to Roger, Bud Denker and their team. The real winner during the weekend was the city of Detroit.”

Roger Penske, event founder and Penske Motorsports owner
“Having the Series here in Detroit is so important to me and the city of Detroit. We can't thank them enough for putting this on their schedule.”

Romain Dumas, Penske Motorsports
“We would like to thank him (Penske). Seeing the park and big screen for the spectators, it was fantastic and Penske-made. It’s a very nice event and everyone is really happy. We won so for sure Roger is very happy.”

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
nascar

Hendrick Motorsports Announces 2008 Personnel Moves
CONCORD, N.C. - Casey Mears will drive the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolets for Hendrick Motorsports in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, joining a team that secured its second consecutive Chase for the Championship berth Sunday at California Speedway.

In his first season with Hendrick Motorsports, Mears has notched one victory, a pole position, four top-five finishes and six top-10s through 25 races. The Bakersfield, Calif., native will complete the current schedule in the organization's No. 25 Chevrolets before transitioning to the Kellogg's/CARQUEST team.

The effort will be led by Alan Gustafson, 32, who has earned four wins, two poles, 25 top-five finishes and 45 top-10s since his first season as crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolets in 2005. Only five Cup Series teams have posted more top-10 finishes during that span.

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09/04/07
nascar

SPEED to air JGR press conference
SPEED will interrupt regular programming tomorrow, Sept. 5 at 11a.m. ET to present a live NASCAR press conference. It is expected to be an announcement from Joe Gibbs Racing regarding the 2008 season and their move to Toyota.

Comment
09/04/07
cc

Champ Car European Adventure Epilogue
It’s official, Champ Car’s European Adventure came to a close on Monday morning as all of the Champ Car branded mini-vans began pouring into the Hertz location at the “Schiphol” in Amsterdam.  This year’s trip to Europe can only be classified as a success, evidenced by the large smile on promoter Bart Reitbergen’s face as he sat in the media center following Sunday’s race.  The trip to Europe was more than just putting on events at two great race tracks; it was about showcasing Champ Car in new markets, and highlighting the great racing and accessibility of Champ Car and its drivers to fans and media. Over the two weeks, drivers sailed the high seas, herded sheep, and visited historic race tracks, but more importantly, they extended Champ Car’s reach into an important part of our “World Series.” I’m sure most of the paddock is feeling just like I am now, happy to be home but already wishing I could go back and have another Belgian waffle for dessert.

As this is my final post, I want to thank many of you for the kind words and suggestions. The feedback has been positive, and we plan to do it again Down Under in Oz!

-Ready to Move On by Robert Doornbos <Orange County Register>
-Weather bogs down Team Bourdais by Sebastien Bourdais <Long Beach Press Telegram>
-Champ Car Holland: Justin Wilson Scores First Win of the Year <AutoWeek>
-Wilson takes advantage of Bourdais' bad day to stay in title hunt <ESPN>
-Justin Wilson wins Champ Car's Dutch Grand Prix for 1st victory of season <Associated Press>
-CHAMP CAR: Sunday Assen Notebook <SPEED>

<Orange County Register>

***Ready to Move On by Robert Doornbos

ROBERT DOORNBOS

September 2, 2007

We’re told in media training to avoid using words like “disappointing,” but that’s the best way to describe my home race at the TT Circuit Assen in Holland.

Throughout the weekend, my engineer Michael Cannon and I had a hard time getting our Minardi Team USA car balanced. We’ve had a problem on some of the faster road courses this year and obviously I wasn’t too happy to qualify ninth in front of the Dutch fans.

Before the start of the race it was obviously very special to drive around in the car and see all the people lining the circuit that came out to see me and the Champ Car World Series in action. Having more than 60,000 people cheering for me gave me a massive boost.

We had a decent start and a decent first lap and then we started the strategy game. If you follow all the sheep in front you never gain positions because it’s very difficult to overtake. So you try to deflect from their strategy and pit a bit early. That can be a good strategy, but you also have to stay out on the track when they pit again to gain positions. Somehow we misjudged that. Normally it goes in your favor, but today, nothing went in our favor.

I guess we didn’t get the strategy right, because we made four pit stops, and that was definitely too many to finish near the top. It was very disappointing.

For some reason the car wasn’t working very well on the red Bridgestone alternate tires in the first stint, so my engineer said to save as much fuel as I could. When the second round of pit stops came, I thought we would stay out like Bruno Junqueira and run in front. But that wasn't the plan.

Then I felt lost.

At one stage, I asked, “Am I going to make the finish?” Well, I tried to save as much fuel as I could and we thought we could make it, but then they called back and said you’re not going to make the finish unless you come back into the pits. That’s typical of how everything went so bad this weekend.
I could see all the fans as I was driving around, and all you feel is big disappointment. Not only for myself, but for the whole team. We’ve lost so many positions and so many championship points the last few races.

It’s been a great couple of weeks in Europe and a great championship for us up until now. We’ve been competitive from the beginning of the season and showed we were capable of fighting for the title. I got my first victories and my first podiums, but that was all so far from home. Now at home we couldn’t do it. Obviously that’s….disappointing.

But the Champ Car European Tour was very positive. I targeted the last couple of weeks – especially the Assen race – since the start of the season. Then suddenly halfway through the season we were first in the championship and that made Bart Rietbergen, the promoter of the European races, very happy and he got more and more excited as they got closer. We dropped back to second, but we were still fighting into July and August. We won a couple of races this year and got six podiums, and that was enough to bring the fans out here. So it has been a very positive couple of weeks.

The Dutch support has been incredible for the last few years and to give something back to the fans like that is great. They stay awake until the middle of the night to watch the races on television and they are probably as jet lagged as I was from flying back and forth to the States.

To see so many people coming out here was great. I think they saw what Champ Car is all about. It’s an exciting series with fast cars, and it’s just too bad there wasn’t a Dutch guy out front. But I think I’ll get a lot of support for the last two races. I definitely think this venue should stay on the Champ Car schedule, and maybe I’ll be back as well.

The next race is seven weeks away, but I’m quite busy actually. I have some Red Bull events to attend and we have some tests planned at Sebring International Raceway. Plus I’ll be flying out a week early to Australia to adjust to the time difference and hang out as a tourist.

We’ve got two races to go, at Australia and Mexico, and obviously it’s going to be a great fight for second in the championship. But we’re not in the position we should be in. The championship is getting intense and we have dropped to third, a couple of points behind Justin. But he hasn’t been very consistent this year so I’m not too worried. We’ll fight back strongly at Surfers Paradise and hopefully by the time we get to Mexico, we will have improved the car for high-speed circuits and we can try for another victory.

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
cc

Dutch Fans Treat Champ Car with Passionate Interest
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, U.S.A. — If the packed grandstands on Sunday in Assen weren’t enough evidence, recent traffic figures from the Champ Car World Series official website attest to the popularity of Champ Car in Holland.

The Netherlands snagged the No. 2 spot in the country listings of web traffic going to Champ Car’s site, www.champcarworldseries.com, during July and August. The surge can be credited to the growing popularity of Dutch driver Robert Doornbos along with anticipation for the Sept. 2 Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix Powered By Audi, Gant and Hertz, which was won by Justin Wilson.

For the months of July and August, Holland ranked second only to the United States in visits to the Champ Car site. More than 43 percent of the visitors to the site during those two months were from the U.S. while 13.32 percent hail from Holland. Canada, which hosts three Champ Car World Series events, normally holds down the No. 2 spot, but during the months leading up to Holland’s first ever Champ Car event, they slipped to third with 11.48 percent.

In terms of web visits among cities, Dutch cities also ranked high. Amsterdam was the leading city for July and August, while The Hague was third in August and fifth in July. Rotterdam, which hosted a demonstration by Doornbos earlier in the month, ranked 11th in July and 15th in August.

“We’re extremely gratified to bring our Series to a new country for the first time and to have their fans embrace us as they have,” said Champ Car President and CEO Steve Johnson. “There is no doubt now after the weekend in Assen and reviewing these figures that the Dutch are very passionate about Champ Car. We see this as a good beginning to what we hope will be a long relationship between Champ Car, Holland and all of Europe..”

Doornbos, who currently leads the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year standings, is not surprised by the numbers.

"As we saw in Europe these last two weeks, I have a lot of fans following my Champ Car career,” Doornbos said. “While there is great coverage of the series in Holland on television, my fans are always looking for every bit of information.  It is no surprise to me the Dutch audience is growing on Champ Car’s website, because we are very passionate about our motorsports." Champ Car PR

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09/04/07
cc

Photographer dies on way to Assen
In some rather sad news, motorsports photographer Erik Roelands (pictured right shaking Justin Wilson's hand in Brussels) from Belgium died of a heart attack on the way to the Assen Champ Car race.

He used to be Justin Wilson's photographer when he was racing in the Nissan/Renault World Series a number of years back.

 He was just 47 years old and a very nice guy.

Comment
09/04/07
nascar

The disaster that was the Cup race at Fontana
Not even Paris Hilton could help this time.

On the Wednesday prior to last Sunday’s race at California Speedway, the track held a glitzy only in Hollywood style party. Jeff Gordon, sporting a three-day growth of beard that’s considered chic among Hollywood’s elite, was doing doughnuts in the parking lot in a Corvette with singer Rihanna in the passenger seat.

Track president Gillian Zucker hired a company that normally stages events such as movie premieres and the Emmy’s to stage the affair, complete with an honest to goodness red carpet. Zucker was hoping to raise awareness among the locals; create a ‘buzz’ as marketers are so fond of saying. ‘Hundreds’ of Hollywood ‘A’ list celebs rubbed elbows with NASCAR’s elite. Juan Pablo Montoya, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin joined Gordon.

Even the ‘A’ list celebrity queen Paris Hilton showed up. Never one to allow the spotlight to shine anywhere else, Hilton made a grand entrance flirted with Hamlin and got her picture taken every time she moved. One memorable photo shows Hilton and a visibly uncomfortable NASCAR president Mike Helton.

Despite the ‘buzz’ however California Speedway had more empty seats this year than last. By some counts, unofficial of course, 40,000 of the 92,000 seats were empty Sunday night. Of course a lot of that had to do with the fact that those empty seats that were hot enough to fry an egg on.  More at Cup Scene

Comment
09/04/07
Racing News

Billy Kimmel killed
A sprint car driver died after crashing toward the end of a race Sunday night, track and hospital officials said.  Billy Kimmel, 27, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania died after a three-car wreck near the end of the 25-lap race, the Williams Grove Speedway said on its website. The crash happened on the third turn of the half-mile dirt track, on the penultimate lap of the race.

Kimmel was flown to Harrisburg Hospital, where he died around midnight ET, according to Christine Blain, a nursing supervisor at the hospital. Paramedics were performing CPR on Kimmel when he arrived in a helicopter, but they could not revive him, Blain said.

Comment
09/04/07
nascar

Labonte to make 500th start
This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Avenger team head to the .075-mile Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for Saturday night’s Richmond 400. Saturday’s race will be Labonte’s 500th career start.

Labonte joins active drivers Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty, Ricky Rudd and Michael Waltrip to have eclipsed 500 career starts (not counting Sterling Marlin or Ken Schrader).  Labonte and Rudd are the only two drivers to have over 500 starts and have started every race this season.  Labonte, 43, is also the youngest active driver to have 500 starts.  This weekend’s start will be Labonte’s 498th consecutive Nextel Cup start. He is second on that list, only behind Jeff Gordon by one start.

Comment
09/04/07
tv news
nascar

Jimmie Johnson on Live with Regis and Kelly show
Jimmie Johnson will be a guest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show on Wednesday, September 5.  The show airs at 9:00 am - 10:00 am in most time zones.  Please check local listings for your location and time zone.  The network varies.

Comment
09/04/07
f1

Heidfeld wields secret weapon for Monza
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld has confirmed pre-race sentiments that BMW-Sauber is a dark horse for victory in the Italian grand prix.

The 30-year-old and his young teammate Robert Kubica have never climbed to the top step of the podium, and neither has their Hinwil based team chiefs.

But with Monza renowned as a specialist circuit for BMW, and off the back of the team's reinforcement of their position this year as the third force in F1, Heidfeld confirmed that the outfit is particularly looking forward to the high-speed curves and long straights of the Autodromo Nazionale.

He told Sport Bild that the four-day Monza test for the team "went very well" last week, "although I have to admit that I thought we might have looked even better."

Heidfeld said: "We don't know how much fuel Ferrari and McLaren were using, and my feeling is that McLaren are still a bit in front of us.

"But with Ferrari, I think we are on their level.  Whatever the case, we are not far away -- and with a bit of luck, anything can happen," he added.

The German said it is not a surprise that BMW enters the race as a dark horse.

"For me it was clear that we would be looking good for Monza.  The circuit is similar to Canada, where I was second," Heidfeld commented.

He also has a secret weapon for his potential battles with McLaren and Ferrari drivers this weekend -- the fact that he has nothing to lose.

"In a tight spot, those who fight for the titles will be backing off," Heidfeld agreed.

Comment
09/04/07
nascar

Osborne wins Crew Chief award
After the Sharp AQUOS 500 at California Speedway, the No. 99 Office Depot team really does have something to flip about.  After another top five finish, their crew chief, Bob Osborne, was awarded the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for the second week in a row.  After winning last week on the half-mile track at Bristol, Osborne changed focus for the three-wide racing at California Speedway where numerous wrecks, lead changes, and cautions dominated the race.  Carl Edwards brought the No. 99 Ford to the front, finishing second to Jimmie Johnson, clinching the honors for Osborne.
 
“Had the race gone another 10 laps or so, Carl would have caught Johnson,” stated Osborne.  “I am sure of it. I had a clock on both cars and we were catching the No. 48.  I could get very use to these checks each week from the WYPALL* Wipers people.  I’m honored to be chosen again this week but I have to share the award with my crew. They never gave up all night and our pit stops were real fast.”  Edwards got out of the car after the race ended and thanked Osborne and crew for the great effort.
 
“I thought we were out of contention when the No. 42 car clipped me in my right front in the pits,” said Edwards. “But Bob and the crew kept working on the car to fix the damage and kept me from going down a lap. I worried that the car wouldn’t handle well or that we would have problems cutting a tire, but we had the car to beat.”

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
racing news

Quotes of the Week UPDATE
JUSTIN WILSON, Champ Car and former F1 driver
"It's been fantastic to come back to Europe.  The promoters for these two events (Zolder and Assen) have done a great job.  I was saying to my crew before the race that the circuit here is 2.8 miles long and the earth berms (and most of the 50,000 grandstand seats) all around the track were full of fans. The crowd seemed to me as good, if not better, than any Formula 1 race I've been to."

09/02/07
CAMERON EARNSHAW, a race fan
One of the most interesting moments I'd ever witnessed in motor racing occurred today when the crowd at the Detroit Grand Prix booed the start engine command.  The unfortunate utterance that caused the commotion?  "Ladies and Gentlemen, start your Honda engines."  (Many would-be Detroit race fans lost their GM, Ford or Chrysler jobs because of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, etc. so they hate the Japanese manufacturers)

TERRY BLOUNT, Motorsports writer, ESPN.com
“I asked him (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) that question directly on Friday, I said, ‘Do you have a number?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I think I do.’ I said, ‘Would you like to tell us that?’ and he said, ‘Dude, I’m not going to tell you that on pit road after a qualifying lap.’ So, he’s going to make us wait probably a couple of weeks, and it’s probably going to be No. 81. Now, they wanted No. 38, that belongs to Robert Yates. He doesn’t appear inclined to want to give that up. So it’s probably 81.

“When he announces the number, he’s also going to announce his new sponsor. I’ve learned today that announcement’s probably going to be PepsiCo Inc. products, Mountain Dew and the Amp energy drink. That announcement could come in Dallas, Texas, in the middle of this month because PepsiCo has an executive conference there in a couple of weeks.”

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

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
f1

A lap around Monza with Lewis Hamilton
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to his maiden Formula One race here at the Monza circuit in Italy this coming weekend, the British rookie given an extra boost of confidence after last week’s testing session. Heading into round thirteen five points ahead in the drivers’ standings, Lewis is hoping to secure his fourth win of the season and here he describes just how he plans to do so…

"Monza is a great circuit. It is very hard to overtake here as, when following another car, you just lose a lot of downforce going into most of the corners. Despite having long straights you are just keeping up because you lose so much downforce. It’s a nice event, I had a fantastic race in GP2 last year and although it looks fairly straightforward because there are only a few corners it is, however, very complex.”

“Getting the right set up here is key. The car needs to be as low as possible to be able to maximize the speed on the straights without losing through the corners. Having a stable car under braking is crucial. It is very important to brake as late as possible into all the corners, but also to come off the brakes and run across all the curbs, like Turns One and Two. The two right-handers of the Lesmos are pretty famous and they are very quick”

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09/04/07
nascar

Red Bull staying with Toyota
Elton Sawyer, Team Red Bull’s competition director, responded to questions about a possible switch from Toyotas to Chevrolets next season by saying his operation “is very content with our current manufacturer. We have no plans to make any changes. It’s been a good partnership.” There has been intense speculation that the first-year team has been trying to make the change. The other question facing the new NASCAR operation is Scott Speed, the Red Bull-backed racer who just lost his Formula One ride and who has been at the company’s Charlotte-area shops the past few days looking for something to do next. “Scott is a Red Bull athlete, and anything we can to do to help him get introduced to NASCAR racing, whether it be Busch, Truck or ARCA, we’ll do,” Sawyer said. But he said that there were no specific plans currently for Speed. Winston Salem Journal

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09/04/07
f1

BMW Sauber interview with Rampf
The Italian Grand Prix in Monza represents a unique challenge for drivers and engineers alike. Willy Rampf, Technical Director of the BMW Sauber F1 Team, explains how he and his colleagues go about preparing for this race.

Q: What makes Monza such a special track?

Willy Rampf: Monza is a classic high-speed circuit with extremely long straights, comparable only really with the old GP track at Hockenheim. At four points during a lap, the drivers hit speeds well in excess of 300 km/h and 76 percent of the lap is spent at full throttle. This is significantly more than at any other Formula One track, and that is why we run lower downforce at Monza than anywhere else over the course of the season.

Q: What does that mean for the car's aerodynamics?

WR: We have developed a 'low-downforce package' of special aerodynamic parts for this race. At Monza we run less rear wing than at any other circuit. And in order to achieve the right aero balance we have also redeveloped and adapted the front wing.

In addition, we examine the aerodynamic efficiency of all the car's detachable parts for Monza. Only the most efficient of these are left on the car. Indeed, we remove several elements, as doing so enhances performance. We are taking the opposite approach to the way we prepare for Monaco, for example, where we generally add every part to the car that will generate extra downforce.

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
gp2

Olivier Pla tests new GP2 car
Former GP2 Series race winner Olivier Pla has completed a two day development test of the new GP2 / 08 at Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT at Le Castellet, France. The test, which took place on August 29-30 2007, was an important opportunity for the GP2 Series to put the all-new car through further development programs, trying out new electronic and aerodynamic devices whilst perfecting the base set-up.

The car ran without major issue for the duration of the two-day test, and GP2 Series Technical Director Didier Perrin was happy with the work carried out, and with the feedback the development team had gathered from Olivier. The next test will take place back at Circuit Paul Ricard after the conclusion of the 2007 season, at which initial race simulations will be run, in line with the fitting and testing of the new on-board marshalling system and the 2008-spec steering wheel.

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
track news

Assen then and now
This web page shows the comparison of the new and recently modified Assen TT circuit.  The links at the bottom also show the pre-1954 circuits.

Comment
09/04/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Super Aguri keen to keep Davidson for 2008
  • India promoter confirms F1 architect in Delhi
  • Coulthard says media key to F1 snobbery
  • F1 president Dassas to leave Renault

Super Aguri keen to keep Davidson for 2008
(GMM) F1 team Super Aguri says it would like to field an unchanged race driver lineup in 2008.

Takuma Sato, a strong performer this year and central to the Japanese Honda-powered team's establishment two years ago, was always a near certainty to retain his cockpit.

But the fate of Sato's former works Honda colleague and current teammate Anthony Davidson was less well known, with it believed that - unlike some of the British rookie's rivals near the back of the F1 grid - he does not provide any significant sponsorship to the team run by former driver Aguri Suzuki.

"We want to keep the same drivers," managing director Daniele Audetto told the website of British magazine Autosport (www.autosport.com).

"That is our aim. We are very happy with the job they are doing."

Even though 28-year-old Davidson has not scored any points so far this year compared with Sato's four, Audetto explained that Davidson is now "better in the races" than he was at the beginning of the season.

Davidson said: "It is nice to know the team are happy with you. I am happy with what they are doing and if I am happy then everyone else should be as well."

With Super Aguri linked with a partial sale to Alejandro Agag, meanwhile, Audetto suggested that any speculation of Davidson being replaced by a Spaniard for 2008 is premature.

While admitting that Spanish investors might want a countryman at the wheel of the car, Audetto said: "Honestly I don't see today a Spanish driver ready for F1 next year.

"Maybe with a good F1 testing he could be there for 2009, but not yet."

Read more & Comment...
09/04/07
tv news
nascar

"Dale" to make its TV debut UPDATE #2 There will be a one hour pre-show just prior to the DALE documentary on CMT.  Please check local listings for your time zone.

09/03/07 This two-hour feature on the life of Dale Earnhardt will premiere on Tuesday, September 4.

08/14/07 Dale Earnhardt is known as one of the most legendary drivers in the history of NASCAR, and his life both on and off the track is featured in the two-hour CMT feature, DALE, premiering Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 8:00pm/ET/PT on CMT. DALE will encore at 8:00pm on Wednesday, Sept. 5 and Thursday, Sept. 6, with those being the only additional scheduled airings of DALE on CMT prior to the film’s release on DVD next year. Produced by NASCAR Images and CMT Films, DALE is the only authorized film on Dale Earnhardt. Narrated by Paul Newman, this portrait of Dale Earnhardt includes archival race footage, rare outtakes, never-before-seen family home videos and interviews with his closest friends and family, toughest competitors and most avid fans, illustrating the depth of Earnhardt's influence in the racing world and beyond. DALE was produced with the support and endorsement of Richard Childress Racing, plus the Earnhardt family, corporation, and team. Prior to airing on CMT, DALE was launched theatrically in February 2007 and premiered in select cities on the Nextel Cup Series circuit. DALE will be available on DVD first quarter 2008. See more info on the movie at http://dale.cmt.com

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