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Harvick ends big day with Busch victory Harvick ends big day with Busch victoryOn a night that was much anticipated for the debut of rookie Erin Crocker, it was a former NASCAR Busch Series champion that stole the spotlight.

Dominant most of the night, Kevin Harvick held off a hard-charging Paul Menard and fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth for his third win of the season in his 10th start. Menard, who battled with Harvick for the lead late in the race, kept Kenseth at bay to record a second-place finish, his best finish of the season. It also continued his impressive run of 11 top-10 finishes in his last 13 races and continues to solidify his position in the top 10.

Mark Martin finished fourth after starting on the pole for the 28th time in his career, which ties him for the record of most career poles in the series. Rounding out the top five was Jason Leffler, who improved on his season best finish of seventh last week at California.

Crocker’s first NASCAR Busch Series competition got off to a rocky start with a spin during qualifying which relegated her to a 42nd-place starting position and the day didn’t improve after that. At the midway point of the race, she was caught in traffic and was involved in an incident that collected Jason Keller and Kenny Wallace when neither driver was able to avoid the spinning Crocker, who finished 39th.

The night wasn’t positive for Martin Truex either. Truex, who was involved in an incident late in the race, finished 27th on the night and saw his championship lead dwindle to just 94 points over second-place Clint Bowyer, who finished 11th. With a top-10 finish, Reed Sorenson regained third place in the standings, 311 points behind Truex.  Carl Edwards and Wallace round out the top five in championship standings.

Champ Car revises Philadelphia proposal Champ Car revises Philadelphia proposalActor Paul Newman and his Champ Car World Series colleagues still want to hold a high-speed auto race on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, but they've downshifted their plans a bit.

In their August visit to the city, the Champ Car representatives ran into resistance from the Parkway's cultural and educational institutions after they pitched their car-race idea.

Now, Champ Car has modified its proposal and hired the heavyweight, Philly-based law firm of Pepper Hamilton L.L.P. to make inroads with community leaders and the city's major players.

Champ Car also is no longer asking the city to widen Race Street between 19th and 20th Streets in front of Moore College of Art and Design to accommodate the racecourse. Other changes are in the works, as well, according to Champ Car officials.

"The perception of what we're trying to accomplish has been... blown out of proportion," Joe Chrnelich, a Champ Car executive vice president, said yesterday. "I think we can accomplish the circuit with a minimum of improvements."- Philadelphia Inquirer

IRL/Champ Car/NASCAR TV contract value IRL/Champ Car/NASCAR TV contract valueAccording to Sports Business Journal research, the IRL TV contract sees the league receive $60M-$65M total for five years from ABC.  The current contract expires in 2009.

By comparison NASCAR receives approximately $2.4 billion over six years from NBC with two additional years from FOX. The current contract ends in 2008. 

Meanwhile Champ Car pays to have its races aired instead of receiving money like the IRL and NASCAR do.  No data was available for the current Champ Car TV contract, but they did have precious CART TV data,

1994-2001 ESPN and CART had a revenue sharing agreement: 
According to a CART 10K, the agreement called for at least 50% of the CART Championship to be shown on a major broadcasting network in the U.S. From '98-01, all CART events were on either ABC or ESPN, and then re-aired on ESPN or ESPN2. Qualifying sessions and pre-race shows are on ESPN2. CART's contract also contains an escalating guarantee minimum revenue provision.   In 2000, CART generated $5.5M in television revenue. That figure also includes non-material revenue from the selling of broadcast rights in Brazil, Australia, and Canada.

2002-2003 CBS and CART had a time-buy arrangement:
7 races per year $235,000-$550,000 per race for a total cost of $1,645,000 - $3,850,000

2002-2003 Speedvision deal saw CART receive 70% of Fox' net income related to all broadcasts.
Fox produced the CBS races, and sold the advertising for CBS and Fox/Speedvision.    Speedvision aired live practice coverage on the first day of a race weekend, and provided two hours of live coverage of qualifying on Saturday. Additionally, Fox Cable and Speedvision produced 24 30-minute shows, "This Week in CART."

Q and A with Carl Edwards Q and A with Carl EdwardsCarl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts Taurus, comes into tomorrow night's race in eighth place in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings.  He's 85 points ahead of 10th-place Ryan Newman and needs to finish 19th or better to clinch a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup.  He spoke about the race shortly after practice Friday afternoon.

"To make the chase our first year would be awesome, and I think this is a place where we can definitely do it, but, at the same time, it's getting there you know?  We had a really great practice in our Winterizer Ford.  Winterizer made the Win part real big, so Scotts is hoping we have a really good night here tomorrow night.  I hope we do, too.  Everything is just kind of amped up.  It's like the car was pushing a little bit, but it feels like it's pushing a ton.  We've got a little vibration right now and that's really worrying me, but I guess we'll just do whatever we can." 

HOW MUCH WILL YOU WATCH THE GUYS BEHIND YOU IN POINTS DURING THE RACE?  "We're in a position where, I feel like if we're leading, we're gonna obviously be just fine.  This track is one that's really tough.  I've been here twice in a Cup car and the first time we were awesome.  The car was great, but the last time it was a struggle to finish in the top 20.  I'm hoping it cycles around and we have a good enough car, but if we're 20th or 25th, it could be really tough." 

HOW HARD IS IT NOT TO PUT PRESSURE ON YOURSELF?  "Not really.  The pressure really isn't tough for me.  I really feel like this whole season has just been a bonus in itself and we've had great success.  I love the way things have happened.  If we don't make the chase, we've still had a great season.  What I'm trying to ignore is the fact that if we make the chase, it's just gonna be the coolest thing in the world, so I'm trying not to let myself think too much about it.  If we don't make it, fine.  But if we do make it, it will feel great." 

IS THERE ANYTHING LIKE THIS THAT YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH BEFORE?  "No, this is definitely the most intense points battle I've been in.  My first points championship was a lot like this at the local dirt track back in Missouri and it was pretty rough on me.  It's hard to race for points.  It's really tough to not second-guess yourself and think back to all of those races you gave up easy points in." 

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE GIVE-AND-TAKE WILL BE LIKE TOMORROW NIGHT?  "I don't know.  We'll just have to see.  I know that everyone is gonna be doing their very best.  I think if it really comes down to a 10-lap sprint or something and it's real close, and everybody knows where they stand, it's gonna get pretty cut-throat because it means so much to make it in.  On the other side of the coin, these guys are such professionals.  I wouldn't want to get in the chase by knocking somebody out of the chase.  I don't think you'll see too much of that.  I think all of these guys have enough respect for one another." 

WAS IT REALISTIC TO THINK YOU COULD GET ALL FIVE ROUSH CARS IN THE CHASE AT THE START OF THE YEAR?  "Of course it was a goal and right now there are three pretty much locked in.  It could be five, but probably four.  So even on the low end of the scale, three is still a ton and five would just be spectacular.  That's pretty awesome.  I'd have to say that says a lot about Jack's organization." 

IF ALL FIVE MAKE THE CHASE WILL THERE STILL BE A LOT OF COMMUNICATION OR WILL IT BE EVERY TEAM FOR ITSELF?  "No, we're going to have a meeting right now to try and help one another.  I think that what's gonna happen, I know for me personally, if I make it into the chase I'm gonna do my best to race for as many points as I can.  If I don't make it in, we're gonna go all-out to win as many races as we can.  It's a little bit different strategy, but I think as a team we'll probably work together the same no matter what."

Another blown Goodyear sends Newman into wall Another blown Goodyear sends Newman into wallRyan Newman was a tenth-of-a-second quicker than any other driver Friday during Nextel Cup Series practice at Richmond International Raceway, albeit in a car he'll neither qualify nor race after an accident forced him into a backup.

According to his team, Newman blew a right front tire and slammed the Turn 1 wall midway through the two-hour session. The backup car was his primary car here in the spring, which was also crashed, and the team chose to install a backup engine, as well.
Greg Biffle was second on the speed chart, followed by teammate Kurt Busch, Rusty Wallace and Johnny Sauter in the top five.

Matt Kenseth, Tony Raines, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Mayfield and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top 10. Gordon, 12th overall in the point standings entering Saturday's final qualification event, must race his way into the 10-race playoff.

Patrick among top endorsement prospects Patrick among top endorsement prospectsRahal Letterman Racing driver Danica Patrick is one of the top prospects to become the next big superstar sports endorser, Advertising Age reported in its Sept. 5 issue. The 23-year-old from Roscoe, Ill. is said to be the biggest potential earner among the 10 athletes that could become the next big sports endorser, like Michael Jordan or Joe Montana, Ad Age said. Others on the list of prospects for eight-figure endorsement deals include LPGA golfer Michelle Wie, 15; NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, 34; LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis, 22; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, 18; D.C. United's Freddy Adu, 16; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, 23; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, 24; skateboarder Shaun White, 18; and poker player Chris Moneymaker, 28.
Belgian GP: Friday press conference Belgian GP: Friday press conferenceThe Friday press conference with John Howett (Toyota), Flavio Briatore (Renault), Norbert Haug (Mercedes) was held today in wet Spa. Transcript
Bruni takes pole in the rain Bruni takes pole in the rainGianmaria Bruni has taken pole position for race one at Spa-Francorchamps, timing his run to perfection and setting the fastest time just prior to an increase in the rain and a series of red flag stoppages in today's qualifying session.

With heavy rain from the beginning of the session, qualifying was always likely to be a lottery. And so it proved – six drivers held the top spot at various times, but Bruni set his fastest lap at the right time and reaped the rewards of his good timing.

Bruni's lap time of 2:14.273 was four tenths faster than Alex Premat and Nicolas Lapierre, with the top eleven drivers separated by just one second.

Lapierre set the third fastest lap with ten minutes to go and then spun at the exit of Eau Rouge as the volume of rain increased, stopping on track and bringing out the red flags for the session.

When the Frenchman's car was removed from the circuit the remaining drivers rushed out to attempt to improve their times, but just minutes later the session was red flagged once more for a heavy impact into the barriers by Nico Rosberg, once again at the top of the hill after Eau Rouge.

The session restarted a few minutes later, with time remaining for just one flying lap. Nelson Piquet Jr looked set to claim the top spot with a storming run to the flag, but Giorgio Pantano spun, bringing out the red flags once more as the session finished, and Piquet's lap was destroyed. Yoshimoto had popped up to seventh just moments before the flags, and Jose Maria Lopez nabbed tenth away from Rosberg. zzzz

In the battle for the championship, Heikki Kovalainen slots into fourth on the grid, six tenths off pole, while fellow championship contender Nico Rosberg will be disappointed with himself after setting only the eleventh fastest lap.

position driver team gap laps best time
1 G. Bruni Durango - 11 02'14"273
2 A. Premat ART 00'00"388 12 02'14"661
3 N. Lapierre Arden 00'00"435 6 02'14"708
4 H. Kovalainen Arden 00'00"599 10 02'14"872
5 N. Piquet Hitech Piquet 00'00"612 10 02'14"885
6 S. Speed iSport 00'00"624 12 02'14"897
7 H. Yoshimoto BCN Comp. 00'00"890 12 02'15"163
8 A. Carroll Super Nova 00'00"901 10 02'15"174
9 G. Pantano Super Nova 00'00"956 8 02'15"229
10 J. Lopez DAMS 00'00"965 11 02'15"238
11 N. Rosberg ART 00'00"967 8 02'15"240
12 E. Viso BCN Comp. 00'01"017 11 02'15"290
13 O. Pla DPR 00'01"452 9 02'15"725
14 C. Piccione Durango 00'01"572 11 02'15"845
15 N. Jani Racing Eng. 00'01"596 9 02'15"869
16 F. Fauzy DAMS 00'02"161 12 02'16"434
17 G. Mondini - 00'02"224 12 02'16"497
18 T. Vilander Coloni 00'02"496 10 02'16"769
19 A. Negrão Hitech Piquet 00'02"651 8 02'16"924
20 B. Garcia Racing Eng. 00'02"893 10 02'17"166
21 J. Alvarez Campos Racing 00'02"935 10 02'17"208
22 S. Hernandez Campos Racing 00'03"306 10 02'17"579
23 M. Lauda Coloni 00'04"225 10 02'18"498
24 C. Artam iSport 00'04"528 10 02'18"801

Industry News
Ford close to sale of Hertz Ford close to sale of HertzFord Motor Co. appears close to a sale of Hertz Corp. to a group of buyout firms for more than $15 billion, according to a source familiar with the situation. Such a move would generate significant cash for the struggling automaker. The firms -- Carlyle Group, Clayton Dubilier & Rice and Merrill Lynch & Co.'s Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity -- bid to acquire Hertz for about $5.5 billion to $6 billion in cash plus the assumption of more than $10 billion in debt, the source said.

If Ford's board approves the bid, the deal could be announced as early as today. The potential deal was reported Thursday by at least four major news outlets, all citing unnamed sources.

According to the sources, the Carlyle-led group has been in a bidding war with another group of private-equity firms that include Bain Capital LLC, Blackstone Group LP, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.

The deal could collapse or another group of bidders with a higher offer could emerge. It's also possible for Ford to continue with its plans announced earlier this year to take Hertz public. Becky Sanch, a Ford spokeswoman, and Rich Broome, a Hertz spokesman, declined to comment on the potential sale. Detroit Free Press

Raikkonen leads first wet day in Spa Raikkonen leads first wet day in SpaKimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) was fastest on the opening day of the Belgian Grand Prix meeting at Spa, but a series of heavy showers - some of them prolonged - restricted drivers to precious few laps. Conditions were so wet in the second of the day's two sessions that only three drivers bothered to venture out of the pits.

Räikkönen lapped in 1m48.206s during the closing moments of the opening session, when the track was dry enough to permit use of standard grooved tires. The Finn was 0.010s quicker than McLaren test driver Alexander Wurz. Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), Ricardo Zonta (Toyota), Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) and Jenson Button (B•A•R -Honda) completed an all-Michelin top six. 

Antonio Pizzonia (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) is deputizing for Nick Heidfeld once again this weekend, to give the German more time to recuperate from a recent testing accident at Monza. Pizzonia's day got off to a troubled start - he crashed at the high-speed Blanchimont corner during the closing moments of the opening free practice session. 

Today's second session was red-flagged almost immediately after Red Bull test driver Vitantonio Liuzzi slid off the track in treacherous conditions. The Italian struck the barriers with considerable force at Les Combes. The track re-opened nine minutes later - to an accompaniment of thunder and lightning. 

Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) could make history on Sunday by becoming the youngest driver ever to clinch the F1 world championship. The Spaniard did not complete a timed lap today. Michelin 

V8 Supercars
Tagliani fastest in V8 Supercars Tagliani fastest in V8 SupercarsCanadian Champ Car driver Tagliani surprised many at Sandown Raceway today during his opening stint of the first two hour practice session before he then went on to record the quickest time for the day in the #8 Falcon on his final lap of the closing 30 minute afternoon session.

"I'm feeling very pleased after today's sessions," he said. "It's been a long week leading up to this and I was really amazed by how comfortable I felt in the car. I got my first look at the track yesterday and after today I think I've got a good measure of everything.

"I'm sure with a few more laps I can improve and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

The #48 Wright Patton Shakespeare supported entry also finished strongly as David Besnard piloted the car into a respectable top 20 position on his 41st and final lap of the initial two hour session.

Besnard and regular WPS Racing team-mate Craig Baird will share the car for the endurance events and both are quietly confident of delivering the desired results.

"There's still a lot of racing this weekend and it's been quite a good lead up to this particular race for both of us," Besnard said. "As a driver there's always a lot more intensity surrounding these endurance events and both Bairdo and I realize we'll need to be on our game come race day.

"We're easing into this and will give it a good shot during qualifying tomorrow and then aim up to do well for each other on Sunday."

Friday notes - Spa Friday notes - Spa"We needed boats today, not cars,'' Narain Karthikeyan shrugged. It was umbrellas and thumb-twiddling at Spa on Friday as the Ardennes' notoriously fickle climate refused to play ball with formula one. If it's still pouring come Sunday afternoon, there is a serious possibility that the Belgian grand prix may be called off. ''It would be too dangerous, definitely,'' BAR's Jenson Button agreed.

For the record, Kimi Raikkonen - whose McLaren carried new Hilton hotel branding on the rear wing endplate - was quickest in the damp morning, before absolutely torrential rain washed out S2. With the therefore criticized two-race engine rule, there was little point clocking up miles - and risking a shunt - in Belgian puddles, but also little point risking life and limb, even for the poor (drenched) spectators. Title leader Fernando Alonso, delayed by an oil problem in the morning, only saw Eau Rouge once on Friday, with an installation lap in the downpour. ''I couldn't do more than 150kmh,'' he marveled.

Those wanting sunshine this weekend should probably drive away from the mountainous micro-climate -- forecasts suggest that more water will pour from the skies around Spa Francorchamps for the rest of the F1 meeting, and certainly on Saturday morning. Teams' individual weather forecasters will earn their money at the 2005 Belgian GP. ''I expect a foggy and misty start to (Saturday),'' Renault's engineering boss Pat Symonds predicted, ''which could see morning practice delayed because the medical helicopter can't fly.''

Not a lot happened on track, but still Giancarlo Fisichella has reason to be grumpy. The Roman will reportedly have to fit a new Renault V10 for Saturday, thus demoting him ten places on the grid. McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya will also have a brand new (Mercedes) engine, but his change won't be penalized because he had not done any running beforehand, and - with the two-race powerplant rule - was due for a new one anyway.

With the rain, the FIA has delayed the decision deadline for dry tire specifications until 12pm Saturday. Renault's Denis Chevrier says he'd never seen rain like it -- even at Spa, ''and I've been coming here for twenty years,'' the engine man grinned.

At least senses of humor were not drowned in the sodden Spa paddock. Adrian Burgess joked that Jordan carried out 'tire blanket comparisons' and that 'all the tire blankets worked well.' Even world champion Michael Schumacher, aware that only rain - and Bridgestone's famously effective wet tires - will put Ferrari back near the front, couldn't believe the ferociousness of the weather. ''Maybe the Tifosi have done too good a job,'' the German grinned, ''with their rain dancing!''

Williams' 'supersub' Antonio Pizzonia didn't have much to laugh about, though -- on his fourth morning lap, he tasted a barrier. So, too, did Minardi's 'Friday' man Enrico Toccacelo, while Vitantonio Liuzzi - with the same role at Red Bull - shunted within the first five minutes of the drenched S2 after slip-sliding on a sizeable puddle.

Track News
Drive your car around MIS for hurricane victims Drive your car around MIS for hurricane victimsThe general public will get the rare opportunity to drive on the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway oval, and raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims in the process, during the week-long “Drive for Relief” at MIS, track officials announced today.

For a donation to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Disaster effort, the public will be encouraged to visit MIS and take a lap at a controlled speed around the 2-mile oval in their personal vehicles or motorcycles during posted times starting on Monday, September 12 and ending on Friday, September 16.

“With MIS already hosting the Spirit of America 500 blood drive this Sunday, it seemed like a natural time to kick off a week of support for the American Red Cross since they are such a great partner and in need of additional help right now,” said MIS President Brett Shelton. “We get a countless number of requests from the general public to drive on the race track. While we don’t normally allow this, this is a perfect opportunity to both drive on the race track and donate to a very worthy cause.”  zzzz

All vehicles must utilize the U.S. 12 entrance to the facility. They will be directed to enter the track outside of Turn 2. Vehicles will then stop at the start/finish line at MIS to give their donation and exit the track again outside of Turn 2.

Days and times for the “Drive for Relief” at MIS are as follows:
Monday, September 12, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 13, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 14, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 15, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Friday, September 16, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

For those who can’t make it to MIS, donations to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts can be made by visiting www.racefans.com, a website launched last week by Talladega Superspeedway, a sister track to MIS that is spearheading the ISC efforts to raise money for Hurricane victims because of their close proximity to the affected areas.

Last week, ISC’s corporate office located in Daytona Beach, Fla., committed $1 million in funding and services to jump start the initiative and support the call to action by Talladega Superspeedway.  Funding and services include monetary donations and clothing from ISC’s merchandising subsidiary Americrown.

Q and A with Matt Kenseth Q and A with Matt KensethMatt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Taurus, was 17th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings six weeks ago after a 36-place finish at Pocono.  Since then he has moved up eight spots as one victory, three top-fives, and four top-10s has vaulted him into ninth place.  Kenseth has a 10-point lead over 10th-place Jamie McMurray and an 11-point advantage over 11th-place Ryan Newman.  He spoke about tomorrow night's race prior to Busch Series practice Friday morning.

EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE IN THE TOP 10 YOUR SITUATION HASN'T REALLY CHANGED FROM THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS.  "No, it's so tight right there that I think you've just got to go through things that you know how to do.  If we're in it at the end of the day, great, we've made a great comeback.  If we're not in it at the end of the day, we still made a great comeback and gave it our best.  So as long as we walk away Saturday night knowing we did our best, that's all you can ask for." 

HAVE YOU NOTICED A LITTLE EXTRA JUMP IN YOUR TEAM THE LAST FEW WEEKS?  "Yeah, I think probably the last couple of months there has been, especially since we've been running a fair amount better.  Our performance has been up and our finishes have been a little bit better, so I think everybody has been a little bit more excited the last couple of months." zzzz

WITH THE SEASON BEING SO LONG DOES IT HELP TO HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THIS CHASE BATTLE TO STAY FOCUSED ON AS OPPOSED TO HAVE ALREADY CLINCHED A SPOT OR BEING OUT OF IT?  "I don't know.  I think when you're running better in general, not necessarily where you are in points or what your goals are.  I think your goals are to try and win every week, and I think when you're running better in general it's probably a little bit less of a grind and everybody is more excited to get to the track when you're running good." 

WHEN YOU WON THE TITLE YOU BASICALLY LED THE LAST TWO-THIRDS OF THE SEASON.  THIS IS SHAPING UP TO BE MUCH DIFFERENT IF YOU MAKE THE CHASE.  "It's cool to come from behind and be where we're at right now, but we're not in yet so I guess that's a question I can answer if we make it in and get a little later in the year and we're a threat.  Just to get in doesn't mean you're gonna run for a championship.  It means your eligible, but it doesn't mean you're necessarily going to.  That's a hard question.  First, we've got to get in this week.  If we get in and we get a good start and are running good six weeks from now and we're in the thick of things, that would be pretty neat to be able to come from that far behind and have a shot at it, but we're not in yet.  We have made up a lot of points, but we still have to get in tomorrow." 
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST FEARS YOU HAVE TOMORROW ABOUT THIS TRACK?  "I really don't have any more than normal.  We just need to run good.  That's probably my biggest concern is to make sure our performance is good.  We tested the other day and just kind of tested OK.  I didn't think it was spectacular, so I guess that's my biggest concern is just to get running good.  I think if we run good, everything else will take care of itself.  You've still got to do everything right, but I think my biggest concern is the same as every week and that's getting the car to run good." 

SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE WHEN SOMEONE HAS TROUBLE, BUT WILL YOU WANT TO KNOW WHERE THE GUYS AROUND YOU IN THE POINTS ARE DURING THE RACE?  "Sometime you can't help but notice once in a while, but I think if I'm running seventh at the end of the race and the car I need to beat is running second and that means we're not in, if I could be running second I would be.  You're gonna run as hard as you can all the time anyway.  I guess when it gets to the end you'll kind of want to know where people are - if they're really close to you or something like that - to try to maintain your position or to try to pass that guy - but you're always trying to run up front as hard as you can anyway.  Basically, I think there are three or four cars we need to finish in front of and if we can finish in front of them we're good.  If we don't, then we have a chance of not being in.  You obviously kind of know who those are in your head and when you're racing you somewhat know where you are, unless you're in the back and have problems, so I probably won't really pay a lot of attention or be asking about where people are until right at the end."

Rain washes out 2nd practice at Spa Rain washes out 2nd practice at SpaBelgium's Ardennes region can usually be relied upon to provide interesting weather for the country's grand prix and this weekend is no exception. There was a burst of rain shortly before Friday's first practice session which took place on a drying line, while the afternoon's session was all but wiped out by a torrential downpour. With more rain expected for the weekend, it is sure to be another intriguing Belgian Grand Prix.

An accident caused by heavy rain sent Vitantonio Liuzzi hard into the barriers and resulted in a red-flag for the 2nd practice session today at Spa while the barriers were fixed (he was unhurt).  Afterward the heavy rains kept everyone in the garage, except for one slow lap by points leader Fernando Alonso, for the remainder of the session.  As a result Juan Montoya ran zero laps on Friday and will now be behind the eight-ball on Saturday.

Kalkhoven again scotches reunification rumors Kalkhoven again scotches reunification rumorsKevin Kalkhoven has again scotched talk of reunification between the Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing League. Kalkhoven told the Autosport Radio Show: "Mr. George has his own particular view of the world, and he shares to some extent our viewpoint because he copies what we do on a fairly regular basis.

"We have a business plan and it never included any form of reunification. The model is working and we are committed to what we are doing. We are committed to a ladder series with a Champ Car Atlantic series. As those Atlantic drivers come up the growth of Champ Car will continue. We welcome Europeans and other nationalities. We're not biased towards America but we are biased towards the best drivers. We were pretty confident we would turn Champ Car around. But the speed we've been turning it around has delighted all of us. If you have got a good product make more of it. We've already achieved the big things but the thing that we've got to do better is the television. Both nationally and internationally we've got to work on it. We've got a new car in 2007 that will be even better for the racing that we do." [Editor's Note: Info on Autosport Radio show can be found here. It is broadcast live every Wednesday evening from the UK.]

Edwards Scores First-Ever Pole for Pontiac GTO.R Edwards Scores First-Ever Pole for Pontiac GTO.ROn a night where the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT class took a turn in the spotlight, Paul Edwards put the new Pontiac GTO.R on the pole position for the first time and will roll off the grid from the inside of the front row in Friday’s Phoenix GT 250 at Phoenix International Raceway (SPEED Channel, Friday, September 9, 12:00 midnight ET ).

Edwards turned in a best qualifying lap at 1:02.506 (86.968 mph) in the No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R to score his first career Rolex Series class pole position. Edwards and co-driver Jan Magnussen will be looking to take their second GT victory of the season under the lights at PIR.

“This is awesome,” Edwards said. “It’s been a long road for the GTO to get up on the pole position. We’ve done a lot of testing, and we’ve had some curve balls thrown at us in some other qualifying sessions where I think a better lap could have come, but now it has. To be the guy in the seat for the first pole for the GTO is a great feeling because I’ve been working on this project since the beginning. Pontiac has put up a huge effort. Jan got the first win and I got the first pole. I think the car will be good tomorrow.”

Starting alongside Edwards on the front row will be Joey Hand in the No. 16 F1 Air BMW M3. Hand clocked a best lap at 1:02.642 (86.779 mph) and will be shooting for his fifth GT-class victory of the season. After co-driving with Justin Marks for the past several races, Hand will be paired with Ian James in Friday’s Phoenix GT 250.

“This is the first time I’ve qualified a car in a long time,” Hand said. “It was a little tricky with my buddy Justin (Marks) in a different car. He’s good at qualifying, so I was looking to up him. If I upped him, I thought we’d be one-two, but the No. 64 Pontiac is quick. BMWs are good on low, tight tracks like this. We have a good race setup on them. It’s all about longevity. It’s only a two and three-quarter hour race, but these cars are getting hot and the drivers are getting hot. We’ll see what happens. PTG put together a good team.”

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
GT Class
Phoenix 250  (9/9/05)
12:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
FORMULA ONE - Qualifying
Belgian Grand Prix
7:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Mosport, Ontario
Touring Championship (9/4/05)
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET, SPEED  
GT Championship (9/3/05)
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
SK Hand Tool 200
Chicagoland Speedway
2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'NASCAR This Morning'
Richmond International Raceway
5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'Race Car Driver'
Replay: Episodes 1 & 2
Long Beach and Monterrey
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET, WGN
Chevy Rock & Roll 400
Richmond International Raceway
7:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Rounds 5 & 6  (6/17/05)
7:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
Laguna Seca  (8/19/05 - 8/21/05)
8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
'Chase for the NASCAR Cup Championship Special'
11:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET, TNT

For a complete listing of Saturday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.

Loophole in rules allows Montoya engine change Loophole in rules allows Montoya engine changeMcLaren changed the engine in Juan Pablo Montoya's car on Friday but the Colombian escaped a 10-place penalty on the Belgian Grand Prix starting grid by using a loophole in the rules.  Montoya, winner of the previous race in Italy last weekend, had been due to start with a new engine in Spa but did not run in Friday's first practice session.

The Mercedes-powered team said they had changed the new engine initially installed in the car with another as a precaution.

Under Formula One rules, engines must last for two races and any unscheduled changes incur a 10-place penalty for the driver concerned on the grid.  That sanction did not apply to Montoya because the problem was detected before he had gone out on to the track.

Wilson to stay in Champ Car Wilson to stay in Champ CarAs rumored by AutoRacing1.com months ago (that Wilson had a multi-year contract with RuSPORT) Justin Wilson has confirmed that he will remain in Champ Car next season with RuSPORT.  Wilson confirmed his intentions on this week's Autosport Radio Show: "I will be doing the same again and driving with RuSPORT in Champ Car. It's all signed, set, and I'm ready to go.

"It is a nice position to be in at this time of the year. It is nice to have that behind me and just concentrate on the job in hand and try and win races this year."

Industry News
Management Shuffle at Ford Management Shuffle at FordFord Motor Co. has shaken and stirred its brass, and given 44-year-old star Mark Fields a promotion in the process.

Fields, evp of Ford Europe and the Premier Automotive Group, replaces Greg Smith as executive vp, Ford Motor and president of the Americas. He reports to Jim Padilla, chief operating officer.

Smith, 54, was named vice chairman of Ford Motor. Smith will have corporate responsibilities such as strategy, information technology and Ford's Dealer Policy Board.

Hans-Olov Olsson, 63, who was president of Volvo Cars, is now the chief marketing officer of Ford Motor Co. and becomes the non-executive chairman of Volvo Cars. Mark Schultz, who formerly oversaw Asia and African markets, will be president of International Operations.

Taking Fields' place is Lewis Booth, 56, chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe who will keep that title while overseeing Premier Automotive Group.

The appointments are effective Oct. 1. Said Chairman Bill Ford in a statement: "[Mark Fields] is known for his marketing expertise and his skills as a motivator, as he proved in leading the recovery of Mazda and as seen in the continuing progress in our Premier Automotive Group and Ford of Europe." Ford

GP Masters
Ricardo Patrese gets seat fitting Ricardo Patrese gets seat fittingWith maximum grip and minimum driver aids, the Grand Prix Masters will compete in modern high performance, single seater cars designed with only one goal in mind... to give a total racing experience for drivers and spectators.

Ricardo Patrese will be one of the former F1 drivers to join the Grand Prix Masters. The Italian talks about the challenge of competing against his ‘old peers’ in this new series.

The inaugural Altech Grand Prix Masters South Africa race takes place in Kyalami on 13th November. What is your motivation for competing in this championship?
“Well although I haven’t raced for more than a decade I was invited to drive at the Goodwood Festival of Speed recently and really enjoyed having a steering wheel in my hands again. That got me thinking about how good it would be to drive a competitive race car in a competitive series again. And then Grand Prix Masters came along! The series will give racers like myself exactly what we want – competitive motorsport in powerful cars on legendary circuits. Very simple!”

You hold the record for driving in more Grand Prix than any other driver [Patrese competed in 256 F1 races], which means you will have raced against all the other Masters at some point. Who are you particularly looking forward to racing against?
“It’s true that I raced against people like Emerson Fittipaldi at the start of my F1 career and obviously was still racing the likes of Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost towards the end. It’s just so exciting for me to be racing alongside these true champions. They are all old friends and I am really looking forward to racing every one of them.” zzzz

How competitive do you think the drivers will be?
“The idea is that we should aim for close, exciting racing but in an atmosphere that is fun and relaxed – something the drivers and spectators can both enjoy and interact with. But you are right. We are all competitive people in our own right so it will be interesting to see how different drivers approach the challenge. It’s been a good 10 years since I last raced a single-seater, so I think I will have to take my time, get back into the rhythm of driving and then see how we fare. Making predications in this instance is far from easy!”

These powerful cars will require the drivers to be extremely fit. How have you approached the physical fitness side?
“That’s easy for me because I have never stopped being actively involved in sports. I am involved in competition show jumping and ride horses at least three or four times a week, which keeps me pretty fit, so from that point of view I am not anticipating any problems. I also have a go-kart which is actually a pretty good ‘gym’ for drivers because it helps you build up the muscles that really get worked when you are cornering quickly.”

What do you think of the Grand Prix Masters car?
“The thing that most appeals to me is the fact that we will all have identical equipment. I’ve visited the Delta Motorsport factory (Northampton, UK) yesterday for a seat-fitting and HANS device installation and saw for the first time the Masters car. It looks very impressive! Everything seems to be on schedule and in very good order. I expect it to be strong, safe, comfortable and very fast. I’ve driven all sorts of F1 cars over 256 races so it will be hard to compare this Masters car to anything from my past. But I expect it will be a little bit more predictable in terms of its handling than an F1 car but also more rewarding to drive given much lower downforce and no electronic driver aids. All the emphasis here is on the man behind the wheel. A car that is predictable is fun to drive. With more steering feel you can make it slide more and that means a better and more entertaining show. Having no hidden electronics means that we might still make mistakes, which promotes more action and more overtaking. Our whole philosophy is about entertainment. That is what the fans want and that is our mission with the Masters series."

How do you think Grand Prix Masters will compare with the racing you retired from in 1993?
“Well Formula One itself has changed massively over the 17 seasons I competed in it, so a comparison is pretty tricky! If I’m honest I prefer F1 from my day to the sport it is now. It’s still good but it is a different kind of racing. In every sport things change, though, so you can’t say F1 is not good now. It is just different. But I do think the success of Grand Prix Masters will be down to the fact that many of the drivers who I raced against were truly charismatic. That will differentiate our series from other forms of motorsport. In their heyday drivers like Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost said what they thought and that was normally something that people wanted to hear! People listened to them because they had important things to say. Today drivers are less likely to speak out.”

How do you think the first race in Kyalami on 13th November will turn out?
“Kyalami will be a challenging place for us to start the series. I raced there on many occasions in Formula One and it is really demanding as a race track. The high altitude means we will be working hard in the car and the layout of the circuit means that you get no chance to relax in the car – it will be tiring. It is also quite an undulating circuit with some noticeable swoops and rises. From memory the first corner after the start line is a challenging turn so let’s hope we all get through it on the first lap!”
Raikkonen leads McLaren 1-2 in opening practice Raikkonen leads McLaren 1-2 in opening practiceKimi Raikkonen led Alex Wurz in opening practice for Sunday's Belgian GP at Spa. Juan Montoya and Fernando Alonso stayed in the garage, saving their engines. The session was marked by two incidents with Minardi test driver Enrico Tocacello crashing and Antonio Pizzonia having an off at the very end of the session.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'48"244 232.009 Km/h
 2. 35 WURZ McLaren Mercedes M 1'48"255 + 0'00"011
 3. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'48"709 + 0'00"465
 4. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'49"454 + 0'01"210
 5. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'49"719 + 0'01"475
 6. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'50"610 + 0'02"366
 7. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'50"891 + 0'02"647
 8. 37 LIUZZI Red Bull Cosworth M 1'50"935 + 0'02"691
 9. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'51"000 + 0'02"756
10. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'51"110 + 0'02"866
11. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'51"735 + 0'03"491
12. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'52"188 + 0'03"944
13. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'52"938 + 0'04"694
14. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'53"750 + 0'05"506
15. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'54"484 + 0'06"240
16. 20 DOORNBOS Minardi Cosworth B 1'55"037 + 0'06"793
17. 39 KIESA Jordan Toyota B 1'55"709 + 0'07"465
18. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'55"912 + 0'07"668
19. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'57"518 + 0'09"274
20. 40 TOCCACELO Minardi Cosworth B 2'00"450 + 0'12"206
Paul Newman on ’Costas Now’ Paul Newman on ’Costas Now’UPDATE A reminder that this show will be aired Friday night. 09/06/05 Newman/Haas Racing co-owner Paul Newman will be featured on HBO's "COSTAS NOW" on Friday, September 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.    One of television's most accomplished broadcasters, Bob Costas, who joined HBO Sports in February 2001, is the host of "COSTAS NOW," a new monthly sports series which launched its premiere edition on Friday, May 13 in a prime-time timeslot.  Costas attend the Molson Indy Montreal to discuss the award-winning actor's love affair with motorsports in general and Champ Car racing specifically.  Legendary driver Mario Andretti and current Newman/Haas Racing driver and 2004 Champ Car Champion Sebastien Bourdais were also interviewed.

For the past four years, Costas hosted "On The Record With Bob Costas," which established itself as one of network television's most respected programs for its compelling mix of interviews, commentary and opinion.

In May of 2005, Costas was presented with the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Studio Host, marking the fourth straight year that he has received that honor from the National Academy of Arts & Sciences. The award recognized his work on both HBO and NBC Sports.  For re-air dates, log onto: http://www.hbo.com/costasnow/episode/episode.05.html

Martin wins IROC race at Richmond Martin wins IROC race at Richmond
Toni stays with Coloni as Gimmi joins Durango Toni stays with Coloni as Gimmi joins DurangoFollowing an impressive debut at last weekend's GP2 series event at Monza, Coloni Motorsport have decided to give Toni Vilander a second race weekend with the team. Toni will again drive the number 17 car, alongside team-mate Mathias Lauda in the number 16 car.

Meanwhile over at Durango, Gimmi Bruni replaces Ferdinando Monfardini. Gimmi will race in Spa-Francorchamps for the Italian squad in the number 25 car, alongside his new team-mate Clivio Piccione in the number 24 entry.

Rosberg leads wet opening practice Rosberg leads wet opening practiceNico Rosberg easily claimed the fastest lap in a very wet free practice session at the Spa Francorchamps circuit, circulating a second faster than Heikki Kovalainen and Scott Speed.

Constant rain preceded the session after beginning overnight, and stopped just prior to the start. The track was very wet as a result, with a number of drivers sliding all over the circuit during the session.

Nelson Piquet Jr was the first man on track, and also set the early fastest times before Rosberg found his groove, running faster each time around to finish with a time of 2:15.436 just as the session finished.

Kovalainen, who has never raced at the circuit previously, took a slow and steady approach to the session, and also claimed his fastest lap as the session drew to a close.

At the mid point of the session Jose Maria Lopez ran into the gravel at Pouhon, while Clivio Piccione spun across the track and ran sideways into the wall and Alex Premat also had an accident – as a result the session was red flagged to allow marshals to remove the stricken vehicles.

Piquet looked to be on for a good time late in the session after it restarted, but slowed to a crawl into the Bus Stop, perhaps looking to keep an advantage under the radar of his competitors as they searched for a drier line and more speed.

Gimmi Bruni ran his first session for the Durango team, but his gamble to switch teams didn't bear fruit in free practice – he was 21st of 24 runners, immediately behind Coloni drivers Toni Vilander and Mathias Lauda.

With the top five drivers in the session – Rosberg, Kovalainen, Speed, Premat and Adam Carroll – also being the top five men in the championship, qualifying promises to be a very intriguing spectacle this afternoon.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Button vows to keep fighting
Alonso must wait for title
Alonso pay rise ruled out
Schu rules out Spa win
Trulli balks at Ralf wage
Fisichella frustrated
'Max can stay' - Stoddart
A1 Grand Prix
Jones and Power for Australia's A1 GP team Jones and Power for Australia's A1 GP teamToday it was announced that Christian Jones and Will Power will represent Australia in the first ever A1 Grand Prix of Nations event at Brands Hatch in England, September 23-25.

In making the announcement, team principal - Alan Jones - praised both for their efforts in recent A1 Grand Prix testing, which led to them receiving the call up to wear the green and gold for the first time in world motorsport.

"Will and Christian's results from testing and the feedback from our engineers has led us to choosing them to represent Australia at Brands Hatch," the 1980 World Formula One Champion said.

"After testing, I'm very confident of our chances of recording a solid result in the first round. I think we can find a bit in the car, our drivers will be much more comfortable behind the wheel, so it all bodes very well."  zzzz

A decision has not been made as to who will drive in the twin A1 Grand Prix races, Jones says this will come once A1 Team Australia's qualifying position has been established. Under A1 Grand Prix rules, a team can switch drivers between the morning's sprint race and the afternoon's longer race.

Jones went on to say that excitement for the first round of The World Cup of Motorsport is building right around the world. 

"The excitement and camaraderie among the nations that will be represented at Brands Hatch is fantastic, the traditional rivalries are beginning to show already - which should make for an interesting first corner - and I've got to say, this is the most excited I've been about an international motorsport event for a long time," Jones enthused.

The third driver in A1 Team Australia's core driving line-up, Will Davison, will not be appearing at either of the first two rounds, as A1 team management did not wish to interrupt his preparations for the V8 Supercar endurance events with Dick Johnson Racing, therefore he will join the team in Portugal.

"We didn't think it was fair to interrupt Will or DJR in their preparations for Sandown and Bathurst and we wish both Will and the team the best of luck in those events," Jones said. "We look forward to Will joining A1 Team Australia in Portugal."

Jones concluded by calling on all Australians to get behind the green and gold team as the build up continues towards the A1 Grand Prix of Nations in Australia at Eastern Creek over November 4-6, the fourth round of 12 in the inaugural series.

"This is the first chance ever that Australians have had the opportunity to support their own country in a global motorsport event. Australians are great sports lovers and love to support our nation - I don't believe A1 Grand Prix will be any different to any other sport where Australia is represented as a team. I urge all Aussies to get behind A1 Team Australia at Brands Hatch and cheer our boys home."

The first round of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations from Brands Hatch will be shown live throughout Australia on Fox Sports 2 from 10pm, Sunday September 25.

Hilton International joins McLaren Mercedes Hilton International joins McLaren MercedesTeam McLaren Mercedes is pleased to announce a long-term corporate partnership with Hilton International, the world's best known hotel brand, to commence at the 2005 Belgian Grand Prix, round 15 of the 2005 Formula One World Championship.

Today, at the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit Team McLaren Mercedes will display the Hilton International hotel logo for the first time. The logo will appear on the lower rear wing end plate of the MP4-20 driven by Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya.

The Partnership supports Hilton International's international growth strategy to increase the number of hotels in new and existing markets and to position the company firmly among the new generation of young and affluent international travelers.

Ian Carter, Chief Executive of Hilton International said; "Formula One offers a global stage of unrivalled prominence with live broadcasts to hundreds of millions fans worldwide in 200 countries. We believe that Team McLaren Mercedes, an acknowledged world leader in its field, is the ideal partner to support our growth strategy and keep our brand image fresh and appealing. The corporate partnership is also an opportunity for us to build commercial alliances and to offer our customers new products and packages."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal of Team McLaren Mercedes and CEO and Chairman of the McLaren Group comments; "We are delighted to welcome Hilton International to our team of longstanding valued corporate partners and we look forward to driving both business success and Team McLaren Mercedes success in the Formula One World Championships together."

As part of this partnership, Hilton International has launched 'Hilton Racing', a complimentary membership club providing customers with a range of benefits. These include a Hilton Racing membership card; exclusive discounts off select resort holidays and short breaks; ability to purchase limited edition merchandise; access to select 'Hilton Racing Breaks' and access to select 'Hilton Racing Events'. Customers can become a Hilton Racing Member now by visiting www.hilton.com/racing and completing the registration form. McLaren Mercedes

IRL Edition Cobra Scooter To Be Auctioned By CARA IRL Edition Cobra Scooter To Be Auctioned By CARACARA Charities has joined with Cobra Scooters to produce one of the most sensational “at-the-track” transportation vehicle ever seen on the IRL IndyCar® Series. CARA Charities, one of motorsport’s leading charitable organizations, and Cobra Scooters, LLC, importers of the Cobra line of motor scooters including Vento scooters, Longchang ATVs, Classic Retro scooters, Euro scooters, Cobra Motorcycles, and many more powersports products, are auctioning this unique vehicle at the CARA “Raceway Rendezvous, Guns & Garters” charity event set for Friday, Oct. 14, at California Speedway.

Early auction bids on the Cobra scooter can be made by contacting the CARA Charities office at 317-299-2277 or carachar@aol.com This “one of a kind” Cobra Motors scooter is making each of the 17 races of the 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series and displays a special “IndyCar” paint scheme with one sensational twist. The entire field of IndyCar Series drivers, including past series champions Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Sam Hornish Jr. and Buddy Lazier and Indy 500 winners Helio Castroneves, Kenny Brack, Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon, has put their autograph on this Cobra Motors scooter! And, yes, Danica has signed it too!!

“We can’t begin to thank the people at Cobra Scooters for their incredible donation,” said Mary Lou Bogner, executive director of CARA Charities. “It will make the most unique pit vehicle on the IndyCar Series. It has to be the ultimate transportation for an IRL fan. We appreciate Cobra’s donation in helping CARA Charities raise money for needy and charitable causes.”

“We have worked with the great people at CARA Charities before and we believe this unique Cobra Scooter is a tremendous way to find the ultimate racing fans as well as assisting several causes,” said Cobra Motors president Bill Pierce. “We know that IRL fans will be excited at the chance to own this one-of-a-kind scooter.” For information on Cobra, please visit their website at www.cobramotors.com. Mackey Marketing Group, Inc., a veteran motorsport marketing and promotion agency, is the firm that developed the giveaway campaign.

Montreal F1 vs. Champ Car promotion Montreal F1 vs. Champ Car promotionHere is an example of the type of advertising that is already being done by Normand Legault for next year's Canadian GP. They are emailing this sort of newsletter weekly to a large database of people. Meanwhile the Montreal Champ Car race received none of this sort of promotion by Legault and his people. How hard would it be for them to produce a similar newsletter weekly for next year's Champ Car race? Not hard, but first you have to want to and it's clear Legault doesn't want to....or he would.
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for Friday
FORMULA ONE - Practice
Belgian Grand Prix
8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Richmond International Raceway
2:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP - Final Practice
Chevy Rock & Roll 400
Richmond International Raceway
2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Emerson Radio 250
Richmond International Raceway
4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Chevy Rock & Roll 400
Bud Pole Qualifying
6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
Emerson Radio 250
Richmond International Speedway
7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
Interviews by Bob Costas: Paul Newman,  Mario Andretti
   and Sebastien Bourdais
Molson Indy Montreal  (8/28/05)
9:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. ET, HBO 'Costas Now'
'Inside Grand Prix'
Belgian Grand Prix
10:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
Richmond International Raceway
Guest: Ray Evernham
11:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED

For a complete listing of Friday's TV Programs, see TVRacer.com and Race Fan TV.

Schumacher praying for rain at Spa Schumacher praying for rain at SpaAsked if rain would help his cause this weekend, Michael Schumacher said, “I am praying for it!" Apart from the weather, driver ability is also supposed to be able to make more of a difference here in Spa, but Michael was not sure this was the really the case anymore. “It used to be the case because of the large number of high speed corners. Ten to fifteen years ago, this is where you could make the difference, but now with different technology, it is actually in the slow corners that you make up the most time, which means the driver is less important here than before.”

So who does Schumacher think is favorite for this race? “I expect McLaren to be very strong here,” he concluded. “This track will suit them very well and allow them to show their real potential.”

TV News
Ray Evernham to co-host Wind Tunnel Ray Evernham to co-host Wind TunnelEvernham Motorsports Nextel Cup team owner, Ray Evernham, will be Wind Tunnel’s guest Co-Host this Sunday September 11. If all goes well in Richmond this weekend, Evernham will lock one car into the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second straight season. His drivers, Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne, have both won races this year, but only Mayfield has a shot a being in this season’s Chase. All he has to do Saturday night is to finish 39th or better and he’s in.

But that’s not the only news Evernham Motorsports is making. The team recently announced a third Cup team for 2006, naming Scott Riggs as the driver. In addition, its development driver, Erin Crocker, will make her Busch Series debut Friday in Richmond with General Mills as the primary sponsor. That sponsorship will continue on a full-time basis in the Busch Series next year as well.

Featured Interview: Chris Carr (7-Time AMA Flat Track Champion)

7-time AMA Flat Track champion, Chris Carr, will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. Just last week, Carr clinched his 7th title at the famed Springfield Mile in Illinois by taking the lead on the final lap en route to his 3rd win of the season. This was his 5th consecutive championship…tying him with the great Scott Parker as the only two riders in AMA history to accomplish that feat.

Featured Interview 2: TBA

Expert Analyst Bob Varsha, in-studio analysis of the Grand Prix of Belgium

Topics of Discussion
NASCAR’s ‘Chase’ field set at Richmond
F1 in Belgium
IMCA Super Nationals
World 100 at Eldora
IRL and ARCA in Chicago
Rolex Series in Phoenix
NHRA wraps up US Nationals
…and much more!

IRL community supports Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort IRL community supports Hurricane Katrina Relief EffortMembers of the Indy Racing League community are lending support to various Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as the series heads into the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend.

The efforts are being led by the Hulman-George Family and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, which has committed $100,000 to an employee matching fund program. Any donation made to the American Red Cross by an employee of the Indy Racing League, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or Clabber Girl Baking Powder will be matched two-for-one. So, a $25 employee contribution will generate a $50 IMSC contribution for a total of $75 going to the Red Cross.  zzzz

"All of us are aware of the tremendous suffering of the hundreds of thousands of people as a result of Hurricane Katrina," said Tony George, Founder and CEO of the Indy Racing League. "The racing community always responds generously to people in need, and we are happy to be part of that response."

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League also have partnered with Rahal Letterman Racing and Sinden Racing Services to auction off an Indy Racing Experience two-seater ride around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with 2005 Indianapolis 500 JP Morgan Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick during next May's 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500 activities.

The auction, which will be posted on Internet auction site EBay, will benefit the American Red Cross. More details of the Danica Patrick auction will be announced at a later date.

"It has been difficult to grasp the magnitude of what happened to the Gulf Coast last week with Hurricane Katrina," Patrick said. "It has been an opportunity for Americans to help Americans. I am glad that in this small way we can reach out to help the thousands of people who have had their lives turned upside down."

The IRL's DownForce Fan Club will be collecting donations for Lafayette Parish Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund during its Chicago pre-race party this weekend.

The fund will pay for the needs of the more than 1,300 school children who have enrolled in schools in the parish since Hurricane Katrina. The league also will donate funds generated at its annual Chili Cookoff slated for Sept. 25 at Watkins Glen. This money will go to displaced families currently staying in Indianapolis.

Among the IRL IndyCar® Series drivers and teams helping out are two-time series champion Sam Hornish Jr., his wife Crystal and his parents Sam and JoEllen, who have donated $50,000 to The Church of the Brethren Disaster Fund in order to offer their assistance with the relief efforts.

"There are so many things that can happen in life that are completely out of your control," Hornish said. "A lot of people in the New Orleans area are without homes and they've experienced a tremendously traumatic event. My family and I wanted to help provide relief so that those affected can begin to put their lives back together. I'm happy that we can help with a cause as important as this one as I know that if we were in the same position, people would come to our aid as well."

The Penske Companies created the Penske Corporation Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. The Fund is a matching gift program to help provide financial relief to the areas affected by the recent Hurricane. The Penske Companies will match employee contributions to the American Red Cross, up to the first $50,000 collected.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing held a donation drive among its Indianapolis-based employees for items to be given to displaced hurricane victims while two other teams are organizing fundraising efforts for this weekend.

Panther Racing will feature the American Red Cross and the 1-800-HELP-NOW number on the No. 95 Chevrolet-powered Dallara driven by Buddy Lazier. The cars of Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge also will feature decals supporting the relief effort.

The team also will donate 100 percent of this weekend's merchandise sales or $10,000, whichever is greater, to the American Red Cross. Panther also will give $1 to the Red Cross for each fan who signs up for the Panther Racing Fan Tour.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will support Ochsner Clinic and Foundation in New Orleans through its relationship with Racing for Kids and its founder, Dr. William Pinsky.

Dr. Pinsky is executive vice president and chief academic officer at Ochsner Clinic and Foundation. The hospital was the only hospital in New Orleans to stay open through Katrina, and remains the only hospital open in New Orleans.

The No. 24 Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Honda-powered Dallara will carry a decal with a toll-free number for donations that will be sent to the Ochsner Pediatric Clinic to underwrite costs associated with caring for the child victims of Katrina. These costs include funding for treatments and therapies as well for drugs and immunizations to protect against hepatitis, influenza, meningitis and other serious childhood diseases.

Chicagoland Speedway will have The United Way and Red Cross on site to take donations.

Six remain alive in IndyCar Series title chase Six remain alive in IndyCar Series title chaseWith three races remaining in the 10th IRL IndyCar Series season, six drivers remain in the hunt for the championship. Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon leads the pack with a 79-point advantage over Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan. Others in the hunt are: Sam Hornish Jr.  (-96), Dario Franchitti (-122), Scott Sharp (-151) and Helio Castroneves (-157).

With only 159 points available in the final three events, Sharp and Castroneves will be eliminated from title contention when Wheldon takes the track at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend for the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean.

Following are some additional scenarios for this weekend:

  • If Wheldon wins the race...Hornish and Franchitti also are eliminated. Kanaan remains alive if he finishes eighth or better (or sixth or better if Wheldon leads the most laps).
  • If Wheldon finishes second, Franchitti is eliminated. Hornish remains alive if he finishes fourth or better (third or better if Wheldon leads the most laps). Kanaan remains alive if he finishes 16th or better (13th or better if Wheldon leads the most laps).
  • Kanaan and Hornish both remain in title contention if Wheldon finishes third or worse.
  • The battle is a bit more difficult for Franchitti.
  • If Wheldon finishes fourth through eighth, Franchitti must win the race to remain in contention for the title. If Wheldon is ninth, 10th or 11th, Franchitti must finish at least second. Franchitti must finish third or better if Wheldon is 12th, 13th or 14th, fourth or better if Wheldon is 15th or 16th and fifth or better if Wheldon is 17th-23rd.
Vision Racing lands sponsorship for Chicagoland Vision Racing lands sponsorship for ChicagolandVision Racing announced Sept. 7 that it has secured primary sponsorship from United Auto Insurance for the Sept. 11 PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean at Chicagoland Speedway.

The Vision Racing No. 20 Dallara/Toyota/Firestone will feature the United Auto Insurance logo, and driver Ed Carpenter will be showcase the company's logo on his firesuit.

"I am very excited to finally have a sponsor on the car," Carpenter said. "Even though it is only a one-race deal at this point, it is a good feeling. We are looking forward to doing a great job for United Auto Insurance. We have been working very hard on sponsorship programs, and it feels good to finally get something. It's a good reward for our hard work, and we will reward UAI for their support by giving them a strong finish."

Rahal Letterman Racing, Procter and Gamble announce partnership Rahal Letterman Racing, Procter and Gamble announce partnershipRahal Letterman Racing and Procter & Gamble announced a partnership, which will promote Procter & Gamble's Secret® Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant and Body Spray Collection by utilizing 2005 Indianapolis 500 JP Morgan Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick. 

The cornerstone of the partnership will place the logo of Secret® Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant and Body Spray Collection on Rahal Letterman Racing's No. 16 Argent Mortgage Pioneer Honda-powered Panoz driven by Patrick and on her race uniform. In addition, Patrick will appear in Secret's marketing campaign.

"We are pleased to join in this marketing partnership with Procter & Gamble to promote its Secret® Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant and Body Spray Collection," said Bobby Rahal, who co-owns Rahal Letterman Racing. "We pride ourselves at Rahal Letterman Racing on partnering with like-minded companies that are leaders in their respective fields. To partner Danica, who has become a household name, with an established brand like Secret is an example of the non-traditional marketing opportunities that exist not only with Rahal Letterman, but throughout the entire IRL IndyCar Series."

Patrick, 23, captured worldwide attention at this year's Indianapolis 500 by leading 19 laps and becoming the highest finishing female (fourth) in the race's history.   

"I have been fortunate throughout my career to be associated with some outstanding companies as sponsors," said Danica Patrick. "For an established brand like Secret to expand their marketing efforts into the IndyCar Series, because of what I represent as an athlete, is extremely flattering."

Belgian GP: Thursday Press Conference Belgian GP: Thursday Press Conference
GPALB signs food service deal GPALB signs food service dealThe Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, LLC today announced that it has signed a new five-year agreement with SMG to use the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, as well as provide food and beverage to racegoers and catering services to Grand Prix hospitality clients.

SMG has managed, operated and maintained the convention center on behalf of the City of Long Beach since 1991.  The company has been innovative in its approach to providing Grand Prix patrons food and beverages, creating the now-famous yellow "Pit Stops" around the 1.97-mile race circuit. In addition, SMG has catered hospitality areas for clients on the Promenade and the Ocean Club.

Beginning in 2006, SMG will have the exclusive right to provide food and beverage concessions and manage the private food and beverage vendors on the Promenade and other spectator areas.

"SMG has always highly valued its relationship with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach," said Wes Westley, President and CEO of SMG. "We believe the Grand Prix is one of the premier outdoor events in the country and we look forward to another great five years."

"We are delighted to continue our relationship with SMG," said Jim Michaelian, CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "We are both committed to continue exploring new and innovative ways of providing food and beverage services to all of our guests."

Reminder: IROC live tonight Reminder: IROC live tonightRound 3 of 4 in the Crown Royal International Race of Champions at Richmond International Raceway will be televised LIVE on Speed TV tonight at 7 p.m. ET.

The starting grid will be inverted based on the point standings therefore McDonald's Champ Car driver Sebastien Bourdais will start second from last and Mark Martin last in the 12-car field as they are currently second and first in the point standings. The top-five in the point standings are as follows:
1) Mark Martin 42
2) Sebastien Bourdais 32
3) Martin Truex Jr. 29
4) Matt Kenseth 26
5) Buddy Rice 26
Aston Martin confirms 2-car effort Aston Martin confirms 2-car effortAston Martin Racing made official Wednesday what American Le Mans Series fans were hoping: the two-car team is returning to the ALMS for the final two rounds at Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Aston Martin Racing DBR9 made its debut in the first ALMS race of the 2005 season at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, taking a hard-fought GT1 class victory and fourth place overall.

Since the Sebring triumph, the two-car team has competed at Silverstone, Le Mans and Spa, achieving three more podium finishes, including an outright win at Silverstone. The team looks to continue its success on Oct. 1 at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and on Oct. 15 in the Monterey Sports Car Championships.

Dr. Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Having started our program at Sebring in March this year, it is fitting that we return to the U.S. to complete the season, and I think we have a good chance for success at these two race tracks.  "We've learned many lessons and have accomplished a great deal in our first year back in racing."

Speaking on behalf of Aston Martin Racing, David Richards added: "It's a pleasure to be returning to the highly competitive ALMS series in the U.S., where Aston Martin has many fans and customers, and we look forward to renewing the rivalries we have enjoyed all year."

Driving DBR9 No. 57 at Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta will be David Brabham (Australia), Darren Turner (UK) and another driver yet to be confirmed. Car No. 58 will be driven by Peter Kox (Netherlands), Pedro Lamy (Portugal) and Tomas Enge (Czech Republic).

The line-up for the four-hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will see Brabham and Turner piloting car No. 57, and Kox and Lamy in car No. 58.

The ninth round of the American Le Mans Series is the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans, scheduled for 11:20 a.m. EDT Oct. 1 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. SPEED Channel will provide live television coverage. Qualifying is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 30. American Le Mans Series Radio, and IMSA Living and Timing Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

Special tires for Spa Special tires for SpaThe demands of Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit are so unique that both Bridgestone and Michelin will be bringing along specially-created tires for this weekend’s Grand Prix." The Spa circuit is a case apart,” confirms Michelin’s motorsport director, Pierre Dupasquier. “Two particular corners demand well-defined chassis set-ups and perfect judgment - not to mention undiluted commitment - on the drivers' part: the Raidillon ascent and Blanchimont.

“They put significant loads through the left- and right-side tires respectively - and both are taken at about 320 km/h (almost 200mph). These unusual loads oblige us to prepare tires specifically for the task.”

But it is not just the corners that are unusual at Spa - it is also the weather, which can be notoriously changeable and it is not uncommon for some parts of the lap to be wet, while other parts of the circuit remain dry.

“The circuit seems to have its own micro-climate so while we have selected tires from the medium to hard range because of the relatively rough track surface and high speed corners, the tires have a wide working temperature range to cope with the possible weather fluctuations,” explains Bridgestone’s technical manager, Hisao Suganuma.

“We shall also of course be ready with our wet and extreme weather specifications. One thing we shall be looking out for in Spa, however, is tire wear because of the rough track surface. We will have a new, previously un-raced specification of tire in Spa which we anticipate will cope well with the conditions and give a competitive performance."

If the heavens do open during Sunday’s Grand Prix it will be the first wet race of 2005. "There's always the possibility of rain, which might throw up a few surprises, but we are ready to try out our latest-specification wet-weather tires in racing conditions,” says Dupasquier.

Of course, it is not just the race that can be affected by the weather. Last year, a mix of wet and dry conditions turned qualifying into something of a lottery, with Jarno Trulli timing it to perfection to grab his second pole position of the season. Formula1.com

Drivers To Race Segways Drivers To Race SegwaysThe rubber hits pit road before Friday's Emerson Radio 250 when Turner Network Television (TNT) and Chevrolet will partner for the inaugural "TNT Chevy Make Way for My Segway Challenge" prior to the start of the Emerson Radio 250. The first of its kind, the challenge will partner TNT NASCAR announcers and Chevy NASCAR drivers with select local-market radio DJs to race Segways (motorized human transporters) down the track's pit road. Emceed by TNT announcer Benny Parsons, the challenge will include the following seven teams: TNT announcer Wally Dallenbach and a DJ representing WKHK-FM (Richmond, VA) Chevy NASCAR driver Brian Vickers and a DJ representing WKLS-FM (Atlanta, GA) Chevy NASCAR driver Scott Riggs and a DJ representing WUBE-FM (Cincinnati, OH) Chevy NASCAR driver Jeff Burton and a DJ representing WFMS-FM (Indianapolis, IN) Chevy NASCAR driver Dave Blaney and a DJ representing WSIX-FM (Nashville, TN) Chevy NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer and a DJ representing WDSY-FM (Pittsburgh, PA) Chevy NASCAR driver Ron Hornaday and a DJ representing WQDR-FM (Raleigh, NC) Each race participant will individually race on a "NASCAR on TNT" branded Segway around an obstacle course of Chevy cars and tires, vying for the fastest time in their heat. Team member scores will be combined to determine the race winners, who will stake claim to year-long bragging rights. Following the race, each participant will autograph a Segway that will be donated to the Victory Junction Gang charity, an official NASCAR charity. Richmond International Raceway
Riggs tests at Dover Riggs tests at DoverScott Riggs tested the Valvoline Chevy and #67-Bryan Reffner tested the Smith Brothers Motorsports Busch Series car at Dover International Speedway on Tuesday, Sept 6th. Dover Speedway PR
Labonte back in the No. 11 at Richmond Labonte back in the No. 11 at RichmondTwo-time Cup Series Terry Labonte will take the wheel of the #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet at Richmond International Raceway this weekend. He has previously run the JGR/FedEx entry at Sonoma, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol. JGR will turn to Busch Series driver J.J. Yeley for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday, September 18. The #11 FedEx Chevy Monte Carlo will sport the FedEx Kinko’s paint scheme at Richmond. Following J.J. Yeley’s 39th place finish at California Speedway last weekend, the FedEx team remained in 35th place in owners points and currently sit 67 points out of 34th place. Joe Gibbs Racing
Car of Tomorrow to be tested Car of Tomorrow to be testedNASCAR’s car of tomorrow [COT], tentatively set to debut in 2007, is scheduled to have an on-track test at Talladega Superspeedway, the day after the Oct. 2 Cup race, and at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the day after the Oct. 30 Cup race. Previous versions have been tested at other tracks. The future car will be larger and have more room for the driver, providing additional safety. The higher-standing car also will alter aerodynamics and series officials hope lessens the dependency on aerodynamics and improves racing. Greensboro News and Record
NASCAR Fontana TV Rating NASCAR Fontana TV RatingUPDATE NBC says its broadcast of Sunday's Sony HD 500 Nextel Cup race at California earned a 'final' 5.2 rating and a 10 share from Nielsen Media Research, a 2% increase over the 5.1/10 in 2004. NBC also says the eight races carried by NBC and TNT so far this season have averaged a 5.0/11, up 11% over last year's 4.5/10 average. 09/07/05 The overnight NBC TV rating for Sunday night's NASCAR Nextel Cup Sony HD 500 race in Fontana was a 4.4/8 share. The 75-minute pre-race show garnered a 2.7/6 share.

The NASCAR Busch Series Ameriquest 300 from Fontana was a 2.0/4 share up 17.6% from a 1.7/4 in ’04

Industry News
BWM Group makes pledge to hurricane relief effort BWM Group makes pledge to hurricane relief effortThe BMW Group has pledged a donation of $1 million to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  In addition to that contribution, each of the BMW companies based in the U.S. will match employee contributions.  There are more than 7,000 employees based in BMW companies in the U.S.
Grand Prix Masters
Bernie attacks Masters series Bernie attacks Masters seriesUPDATE The organizers of the new Grand Prix Masters series are confident that their series will be able to keep its title, despite an objection from Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone has lodged a complaint against the Masters series over the use of the term 'Grand Prix', which his companies have been trying to trademark themselves.

But despite the opposition, organizers of the racing series for Formula One veterans believe there is no need for concern in view the formalities required by the European Commission in such instances.

Nav Sidhu, spokesman for Grand Prix Masters, told Autosport-Atlas: "We have made a number of trade mark applications, one of which has been objected to. "This is perfectly normal and forms part of an administrative filing process in which interested third parties are invited to lodge objections to any new applications.

"We are pursuing all of our trade mark applications and remain confident they will be registered once the filing process has run its course. In the meantime, preparations remain well underway for the first race in South Africa on November 13th."

[Editor's Note:  Bernie recently lost his bid in court in the EU to get a trademark on the term "Grand Prix" and he is going to lose this battle as well.  The words Grand Prix have a long history of use even outside of auto racing, such as in tennis and horse racing, so for Bernie to think he all of a sudden owns the rights to Grand Prix is simply laughable.  A1 Grand Prix and now Grand Prix Masters are smart enough to know this and are smart enough to know that 99% of the world's population understand what you mean when you say Grand Prix.  It's a good name/terminology to use as part of a race series name.] 

09/04/05 Bernie Ecclestone has put a spanner in the works of the new 'Grand Prix Masters' category, which will boast names like Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost.

The F1 supremo's Formula One Licensing company has lodged opposition to the series' trademark application for the name, according to The Independent.

'FOL' claims that it owns the 'Grand Prix' moniker after the European Commission granted a pan-European trademark last November. The new 'A1 Grand Prix' series, though, has received no opposition. 74-year-old Ecclestone, it seems, is keen on his own 'seniors' tour for former grand prix pilots, with sporty Porsche Boxster cars tipped.

Kerr to race first rounds for British team Kerr to race first rounds for British teamUPDATE The British team were at Brands Hatch yesterday for promotional activities in the build up to the first round of the A1 Grand Prix series in two weeks. Alex Lloyd, Robbie Kerr and John Surtees took film crews and journalists around the track in traditional black London Cabs to give a true British feel in the race build-up. John used the opportunity to outline his strategy for driver choice for the race and beyond for the first time:

"Our driver policy was partly dictated by who was available because of other contracts, and who we believed could do a good job for the team particularly based on the previous promise they had showed and most importantly the test that was held at Brands Hatch.  A1 Great Britain has to look at the longer term.

"Robbie is slightly more experienced and older and this showed up in testing so we will give him the first opportunity.  If the second car had been ready this would have given Alex more time in the seat but it isn't and as we have only one car we have to allocate it to Robbie.  I am hoping that Alex in the meantime will manage to get himself some drives so that he can get himself up to speed.  How we use him in the future will depend purely on what is best for the team and the situations we find ourselves in.  It is not beyond possibility that the team will also have occasional guest drivers.  Therefore at the present time Robbie is taking responsibility for the first 2 drives at least and we will review the situation after Germany."

 The first round of the A1 Grand Prix series takes place at Brands Hatch, Great Britain on 25th September. If you would like to attend as media to follow the A1Team.GBR progress, please apply for accreditation by following the procedures set out by A1 Grand Prix below. Press Release GBR

09/07/05 Robbie Kerr has been chosen to start the first four A1 Grand Prix races for Team Great Britain, Autosport-Atlas exclusively reveals.  Kerr has been selected over teammate Alex Lloyd to pilot the British entry for the sprint and feature races at the opening rounds at Brands Hatch and the EuroSpeedway, Lausitz. The sporting regulations for the new World Cup of Motorsport allows the teams to swap drivers between races and qualifying sessions, however John Surtees' team have chosen to use the same driver for the first four races.  Kerr, the 2002 British Formula Three champion, has been given the nod over Lloyd because of his experience he got with the 550bhp A1 GP car when it was in its development stages.
SPEED Channel’s latest driver rankings SPEED Channel’s latest driver rankingsUpdated 9-7-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (2) Fernando Alonso (F1) 9.438
2. (4) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 8.338
3. (3) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 8.224
4. (25) Juan Pablo Montoya (F1) 7.937
5. (1) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 7.648
6. (5) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.341
7. (7) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 7.310
8. (9) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.267
9. (8) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 7.246
10. (18) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 7.041
11. (22) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.787
12. (6) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 6.757
13. (13) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.723
14. (14) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.556
15. (10) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.529
16. (16) Joe Nemechek (NASCAR) 6.318
17. (11) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.309
18. (NR) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR) 6.282
19. (17) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.236
20. (NR) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 6.180

Dropped out: Jeff Gordon (NASCAR), Ricky Rudd (NASCAR), Dario Franchitti (IRL), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR), Jeff Burton (NASCAR)

Last week’s ranking in parenthesis
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.

Industry News
Miller Motorsports Park tidbits Miller Motorsports Park tidbits
Kimi Raikkonen's lap of Spa Francorchamps Kimi Raikkonen's lap of Spa Francorchamps17 points behind Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen has it all to do this weekend at Spa Francorchamps, the 16th round of this year's championship. The 2004 race winner describes a lap of the stunning 6.976km circuit.

'On the power along the short start-finish straight at Spa Francorchamps, you reach 280km/h in sixth gear as you approach the La Source Hairpin. The tight right-hander is taken at 56km/h.

You accelerate downhill out of La Source, reaching some 290km/h in seventh gear before arriving at the renowned Eau Rouge. Taken flat out, the track drops before climbing steeply left, right then left again at speeds of up to 290km/h still in seventh gear.

It is vital to maintain your speed through Eau Rouge as it leads onto the fastest section of the track, the Kemmell straight, which sees you reach 330km/h. You then brake hard for the right-hander of Les Combes, which is taken at 140km/h in third. The left-right flick of the third gear Malmedy chicane follows immediately and sees your speed increase slightly to some 177km/h through the corner.

A quick burst of acceleration, reaching 265km/h, takes you to the Rivage hairpin. Braking hard you negotiate Rivage at 112km/h in second gear. The downhill right-hander is off-camber and you can experience understeer.
Accelerating out of Rivage, you then dab the brakes for a 160km/h left hander, before once again getting on the power along the short straight that takes you to Pouhon. Entering the fast double apex left-hander at 215km/h in fourth, your speed increases to 272km/h through the corner.

A short burst on the throttle takes you to the right-left chicane of Fagnes, entered at 140km/h in third gear, your speed increases slightly for the second section to 170km/h.

Along another short straight, you reach 250km/h before braking slightly for the double apex right-hander of Stavelot. You enter the bumpy downhill bend at 152km/h in third before accelerating to 240km/h in fourth on the exit.

This takes you onto the long sweeping left-hander of Blanchimont. Flicking up through the gears you reach 305km/h in seventh gear before braking hard for the bus stop chicane, which has again been modified prior to the Grand Prix, it flicks you right then left before taking you back onto the pit straight to start another lap.' McLaren Mercedes

Kovalainen and Rosberg set to battle in Belgium Kovalainen and Rosberg set to battle in BelgiumThe GP2 series enters its final phase this weekend with its 11th of 12 rounds. Our 12 teams and 24 drivers will be tackling one of the greatest circuits in Europe over the three-day event, Spa- Francorchamps in Belgium.

This track is notorious for separating the men from the boys, and with the drivers’ championship balanced on a knife-edge, there is perhaps no finer stage for this penultimate round to be played upon.

Spa-Francorchamps is one of the only 'natural' circuits on the calendar, and has evolved over time into the venue we know today. Originally the track consisted of a 14km triangle of public roads linking the three Belgian towns of Malmédy, Francorchamps and Stavelot, and it was on these roads that the track’s legend was born.
The original layout was used for the last time in 1970, as the speed of the modern breed of F1 car finally became too much, and safety standards could not be ensured. The new 7km circuit layout was first used in 1979, and it is that track, but for a few alterations, which exists today and that we call Spa-Francorchamps. zzzz

Last weekend in Monza the GP2 series again saw two great races. With pole position and victory in Race 1, Heikki Kovalainen briefly extended his championship lead over Nico Rosberg. However, two second place finishes and two fastest laps saw Nico draw things back. The pair left Italy just four points apart… the closest they have been all season.

Heikki now leads the championship on 99 points, with Nico on 95. Scott Speed sits in third place on 59 points.

Heikki Kovalainen, Arden International - “Spa-Francorchamps is a great track, and I think we should have a good chance there. We are quite competitive with the low downforce settings. Certainly last weekend in Monza we were competitive, with pole position, Race 1 win and points in Race 2. We should be competitive in Spa too, and we'll just try to win another race. I'm quite confident. I'm more confident going there than to some other places. I think we've improved the package overall, and we'll be fine.”

Nico Rosberg, ART Grand Prix - “Heikki had a good car last weekend, but I think things are going to change going to Spa and Bahrain. They are normal tracks, and Monza was a special track where you run a completely different set up from scratch. He managed to get a good car, and he drove very well too, but I think things are going to get back to normal, like in Istanbul where he was 1.5 seconds a lap off. We will definitely have an edge on him at least – that's what I expect, because I don't see them all of a sudden getting 1.5 seconds after a weekend. Maybe they have? Who knows, but I think we're going to have a bit of an edge, and we're going to go out and enjoy it.” GP2

Schumacher downbeat over Spa chances Schumacher downbeat over Spa chancesThe 2005 Formula 1 World Championship bids farewell to Europe this weekend, before tackling the final three rounds overseas. And what better venue than Spa-Francorchamps, the last remaining true road course on the calendar.

Located in the Hautes-Fagnes region of southern Belgium, the circuit first hosted a motorcycle grand prix in 1921, with an inaugural car grand prix following four years later. Back then, the track measured 14.5 kilometres and although it is now reduced in length to 6.976 km, it is still the longest of the championship. In recent times, Spa has carved an obvious niche for itself in the hearts of Ferrari fans as the circuit has special significance for the Scuderia’s most successful driver ever, Michael Schumacher.

Although it is located in Belgium, it is the nearest GP track to the world champion’s hometown of Kerpen. It was the scene of his Formula 1 debut in 1991, his maiden win twelve months later and a further five victories since then. Ferrari has won here a total of 13 times, starting with back-to-back wins in 1952 and ’53 for Alberto Ascari. zzzz

The 1961 Belgian Grand Prix produced a fantastic result for the Scuderia and contributing to it was Belgian driver, Olivier Gendebien. In those days, the grid formation was 3-2-3 and Gendebien made it an all Ferrari front row, qualifying third behind Phil Hill, who went on to become the first ever American F1 world champion that year and Wolfgang Von Trips. The following day’s race produced a result that would be impossible today with two car teams, as Ferrari took an incredible 1-2-3-4, courtesy of Hill, Von Trips, Ritchie Ginther and local man Gendebien.
But the most successful Belgian to fly the Prancing Horse colors was Jacky Ickx, who delivered Ferrari five wins out of a career total of eight (but never at his home track,) driving for Maranello in F1 from 1970 to ’73. Ickx is undoubtedly one of that select band of drivers who seemed destined to win the world title, but somehow missed out: he came second in 1969 (to Jackie Stewart) and in 1970 (to Jochen Rindt.) But it was in sports car racing that his skills, particularly in the wet, really shone through and in the days when drivers had a more eclectic approach to life, he drove in both disciplines for Ferrari.

Although Michael Schumacher’s record at Spa-Francorchamps is second to none, the Ferrari man has also had his fair share of disappointment here. In the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix, in atrociously wet conditions, he ran into the back of David Coulthard’s McLaren- Mercedes, while leading, eliminating both men from the race.

In 2000, track conditions were so bad that the race began with a rolling start behind the Safety Car. Schumacher had started from the second row and then inherited the lead when Mika Hakkinen spun but continued. On lap 40, the Finn was catching the Ferrari which, on the day, was a slower car than the McLaren. As both men headed up the hill to Les Combes, Schumacher legitimately moved across to the right to protect his line and at over 300 km/h both cars nearly touched. Next time round, on the same piece of track, the situation looked about to repeat itself, but there was a complication in the form of Ricardo Zonta’s BAR in the middle of the track. Schumacher made a split second decision to go to the left of the Brazilian, but then, in what is still one of the most talked about overtaking moves in recent years, Hakkinen somehow found room to dive down the other side of Zonta and into the lead, going on to win.

Twelve months later and Schumacher was back to his winning ways and the 2001 Spa victory was another landmark, as it took his total of Grand Prix wins to 52, thus making him the most successful driver of all time, overhauling Alain Prost’s previous record of 51.

Last year, Schumacher was beaten fair and square by Kimi Raikkonen, but this was also a significant Belgian Grand Prix for the German as it was here, at his favorite circuit, that his second place finish was good enough to ensure he took an amazing seventh Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship title.

This year, Schumacher predicts another tough race for himself and the team following the disappointing showing in last time out at Monza and before that, in Turkey.

Michael Schumacher
"I always have special feelings when Spa comes around, and I'd also like to look forward that much to the race this time. But I have to admit that our performance at this time is slightly diminishing my pleasant anticipation - it's quite clear that you want to push your limits at this track and don't want to have to compromise. But after our recent disappointing performances - in Turkey, and unfortunately also last weekend at Monza - I do not have the impression that we will do all that well there, even though we will of course try our best."

"But nevertheless Spa is always special for me, there's no denying it and I don't want to deny it. I love this circuit, it's exactly what I like, technically challenging, a real task, and also the landscape is beautiful. And also it's not far from my home-town of Kerpen, so we have always had many fans come out and support us. That's what we're hoping for this time as well, and we're looking forward to a hopefully nice weekend. We will fight, our fans and opponents can count on that." Ferrari

Irvine: F1 has turned into a tire championship Irvine: F1 has turned into a tire championshipFormer grand prix winner for Ferrari, Eddie Irvine, says the famous Italian marque's fall from grace in 2005 has been 'difficult to comprehend.' The 39-year-old, who raced in scarlet for four years until 1999, recoiled in disbelief as - at Monza - he witnessed ex-teammate Michael Schumacher nearly lapped by McLaren winner Juan Pablo Montoya.

''It's not looking good for Spa,'' he told the German 'Die Welt' newspaper in reference to Schumacher's 96-second defeat, ''but also (it's not good) for next year.''

Irvine, who was born in northern Ireland, pointed the finger at tire supplier Bridgestone, but admitted that the Prancing Horse should also admit to mistakes. He noted that Ferrari actively embraced the opportunity to effectively monopolize its own tire development. ''Now Ferrari's rivals have made Michelin the better tire,'' Irvine said, ''but it's a shame that F1 has turned into a tire championship.''

But there's even more to it than that, the always outspoken Irvine insists. He said that when he switched from Jordan to Ferrari in 1996, he was surprised to find the Italian based team operating a three-shift (24 hour a day) policy at Maranello HQ. ''These days everyone adopts the Ferrari standard,'' he noted.

Irvine also cast a quizzical gaze at McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, who he says has endured a suspiciously unreliable year with the MP4-20. ''They have a reliability problem,'' Eddie agreed, ''but an aggressive style of driving can also lead to faults.''

Frank firm on 'Buttongate' Frank firm on 'Buttongate'Sir Frank Williams is showing little sign of buckling under the pressure of Jenson Button's fierce campaign to wiggle out of his 2006 contract.

Even as $90 million deals float around in the rumor mill, the knighted team principal said he still 'expects' the 25-year-old Briton to honor the contract he signed in September last year. ''But the less I comment about this, particularly in the press, the better,'' Williams told the Telegraph newspaper.

In the interview, Sir Frank - who gave Button his debut as little more than a teenager in 2000 - laughs at the suggestion that his stance is showing him up as the 'hard man' of the grand prix Paddock.

Williams' team co-owner and director of engineering, Patrick Head, agrees that Ron Dennis or Flavio Briatore are ''just as tough -- maybe more so.'' It's definitely going to be a tough 2006 for the Oxfordshire based outfit, which has lost BMW's works engine support. An annual budget of about $150 million is likely to shrink next year.

''Maybe even £85m ($156m),'' Williams hinted to the newspaper of the current budget. Of one thing, though, there is little doubt. Sir Frank and Patrick have not put a 'for sale' sign above the door. Williams said: ''I love it just as much as ever.''

Schu threatens Patrese record Schu threatens Patrese record17-year F1 veteran Riccardo Patrese thinks Michael Schumacher should scoop the 2006 championship and then call it a day.  The Italian, who won six grands prix for teams including Brabham and Williams until he retired in 1993, raced a record 256 times after he debuted in 1977.

Patrese, 51, fears that seven time world champion Schumacher is heading for his long standing grands prix record.  Schumacher, the Ferrari driver, will have contested 232 races at the end of 2006, meaning that the 36-year-old will crack the Patrese-barrier shortly into season '07.

''I think he still has a lot of motivation,'' Riccardo, at Silverstone for a Grand Prix Masters seat fitting, told Reuters. ''It would be good (for him) to have the last season winning the championship, because if he doesn't, maybe he wants to go on to beat my record.''

Patrese thinks beleaguered Ferrari 'will come back' next year.

Wurz instead of de la Rosa at Spa Wurz instead of de la Rosa at SpaMcLaren confirmed that Alex Wurz would take over test colleague Pedro de la Rosa's 'Friday' seat at Spa.
Kimi down, but not yet out Kimi down, but not yet outKimi Raikkonen has refused to give up the 2005 championship fight, even though Fernando Alonso's lead moved even further from his grasp at Monza.

Ahead of Spa Francorchamps, the last European leg of the calendar, McLaren's Finn is still mathematically - if not realistically - able to triumph in the drivers' chase.

One thing, at least, is good news for the 25-year-old, even if the points tally and McLaren's reliability are not. His MP4-20 is clearly the fastest car in formula one.

''The championship is still a real challenge for me,'' he said in a statement on Wednesday. As the season has already shown, there is no guessing what will happen and nothing is over yet. There are still four races to be won this season and 40 points up for grabs.''

Even 'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh, though, admits that Raikkonen's engine and tire dramas in Italy last Sunday made the already difficult task even more trying. But he insisted: ''The opportunity for both (championships) is very much still there.''

Grand-Am, like ALMS, to race in Utah Grand-Am, like ALMS, to race in UtahIn the second major race announcement for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series within the past two weeks, officials from Miller Motorsports Park and the Grand American Road Racing Association unveiled plans this evening that will see the Rolex Series headline the first season of racing at the brand-new facility near Salt Lake City, Utah.

The SunChaser 9-Hour at Miller Motorsports Park weekend is scheduled for September 1-2, 2006, and will close out the inaugural season of racing at Miller Motorsports Park. The SunChaser 9-Hour will be the first-ever nine-hour endurance race for the Rolex Series.

The series has previously contested several six-hour endurance races in addition to the twice-around-the-clock Rolex 24 At Daytona which annually kicks off the Rolex Series season. A Grand-Am Cup Series race is also expected during the SunChaser 9-Hour weekend. zzzz

“Miller Motorsports Park is shaping up to be another world class road racing facility and we are delighted to bring the Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup to Salt Lake City next season,” said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. “This is a market that has been virtually untapped by major league auto racing to this point, and we are looking forward to providing Salt Lake City race fans with our brand of unparalleled sports car racing. We believe that our Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup events will be the perfect way to wrap up the 2006 season for Miller Motorsports Park.”

The addition of Miller Motorsports Park to the 2006 schedule comes on the heels of the announcement 11 days ago that the Rolex Series will visit Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. for the first time next season on the same late- August weekend as the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series.

The Rolex Series plans to utilize the 4.5-mile, 24-turn layout at Miller Motorsports Park, which will be the longest permanent road course in the United States. The facility is located on a 511-acre site in Tooele County’s Desert Peak Complex, which is 25 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport.

Miller Motorsports Park is being built by Larry H. Miller, who also owns the National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz in addition to the Delta Center arena in downtown Salt Lake City, the KJZZ television station in Salt Lake City, movie theaters, a theme restaurant, the Salt Lake Stingers minor league baseball team and more than 38 auto dealerships.

The circuit has been designed by Alan Wilson, who also serves as the CEO/General Manager of Miller Motorsports Park. Wilson also designed Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala.—which hosts a round of the Rolex Series annually—as well as Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina and BeaveRun Motorsports Park in Pennsylvania. [Editor's Note: Hot on the heels of the ALMS announcing a race at the new Miller Motorsports Park comes word that the Grand-Am has done likewise. Nothing like dividing and confusing the small sports car fan base by running two opposing sports car series at the same track.]

Bonilla wins 2005 title Bonilla wins 2005 title In 2004, Gerardo Bonilla won four races in the Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER, but finished second to champion Marco Andretti, who won once. This year, Bonilla again won four times -- but this time he's the champion. And a $100,000 richer. In the Skip Barber National's two season-ending races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, points leader Bonilla's victory on Tuesday, combined with a fifth-place result for second in points Jordy Vorrath, clinched the 2005 SBNC title. Vorrath consoled himself with a brilliant victory on Wednesday; Bonilla finished fourth after starting on pole.
IRL drivers prepare for Chicagoland IRL drivers prepare for ChicagolandThe IRL IndyCar® Series continues its 10th season of competition with the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on September 11.

The 1.5-mile oval is ideally suited for IndyCar Series machines and often produces the close, wheel-to-wheel racing that has become a signature of the series. It's that close racing will challenge IndyCar Series drivers and their cars. In the following first-person narratives, A.J. Foyt Racing driver A.J. Foyt and Rahal Letterman Racing race engineer Jeff Britton discuss what's needed for a successful race at the facility.

The driver
A.J. Foyt IV, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, will be making his third appearance at Chicagoland Speedway. Last year, Foyt, the grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, qualified a career-best sixth and ran among the leaders until he was eliminated in an accident late in the event. Foyt also won the pole for the inaugural Menards Infiniti Pro Series event at Chicagoland Speedway in 2002.

"Chicagoland Speedway is a really fun track, and I like going to the facility. Joliet, Ill., is a cool place. We usually stay in and around the casinos, so it's fun weekend on and off the track. The track is one of those places that you are always in a big pack. I think it's one of those tracks where you find the draft and hang in there. Last year, our car was working really good. I could go anywhere I wanted to. Hopefully, we can go back there this year with the same game plan.

 "To be able to win there, you have to be patient and not drive too hard, so that you are there in the last 30 laps. It's really easy to go from the front of the pack to the rear if you push too hard, but you can get back to the front from the rear just as easy.

"Still, you want to be near the front of the pack because late in the race, it's hard to pass. You really have to position yourself in front because it's just really hard to pass guys when they are running two-by-two.

"This weekend, I'd like to qualify good at Chicago, but because of the big pack and the drafting, it's not too important. For the race, you have to get your car working good in the draft then you'll have a good fun day. If it's not handling right, it can be a miserable day."

The engineer
Jeff Britton is in his first season at Rahal Letterman Racing as race engineer for Vitor Meira after spending the last nine seasons as an engineer with several IndyCar Series teams.

Britton, who began his career as a data acquisition engineer with Team Menard, has worked with Treadway Racing, Kelley Racing, Access Morosports and Mo Nunn Racing as a race engineer.

"Even though we tested at Chicago last week, setting the car up for this weekend's race is a bigger challenge than in the past. That is because of the change in the aero package rules for this season. Last year, Chicagoland was run with the same aero package as Kansas and Kentucky. This year the Michigan and Fontana package is being used.

”Thankfully, we had the Honda test last week, which certainly helped us work through some of the big picture items, but we just don't have the same grasp for the setup going into the race this year as what we did in 2004. The biggest challenge for any team heading into Chicago is to stabilize the car in traffic. It has been no secret that the Panoz chassis has had its issues when running in traffic, so it is a major concern for us in setting the car up for Vitor, especially with this particular aero package.

“You have to have a car that is stable with three- or four-wide racing and in a large group to be successful at Chicagoland. Everyone always talks about the pack racing at Texas, but this track is actually one of the raciest tracks in the series."

Where the rubber meets the road
Firestone's race tire development team considers the configuration of each track as it chooses the tire compound to be used at each track.

According to Firestone engineers, Chicagoland Speedway's high-banks requires the highest heat-resistant compounds and most durable construction. The tires used this weekend are similar in characteristics to the tires used at the other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule.

Race facts

  • 15th race in 17-race 2005 season
  • Chicagoland Speedway, 1.5-mile D-shaped tri-oval
  • 1:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, September 11
  • 200 laps/300 miles

Past race winners
2004 - Adrian Fernandez
2003 - Sam Hornish Jr.
2002 - Sam Hornish Jr.
2001 - Jaques Lazier IRL

Formula 3
Lewis Hamilton wins F3 crown Lewis Hamilton wins F3 crownUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Lewis Hamilton won the 2005 Euro Formula 3 Series in just 16 of 20 rounds. To this date he's the first black driver to win an open wheel series. There's much talk about what he'll do for next season and there's no doubt that anybody can't base his performance because of his skin color but for the driving skills that he's displayed ever since his days as a go- kart racer. There's been talk that he'll race next year in GP2 series for a couple of years before getting a competitive ride in F1. However even though he's under contract with McLaren, as a test driver they're no guarantee that he'll be in F1 anytime soon. And there is a case in the recent history of test drivers in F1 that don't end up in F1 from Sebastien Bourdais, Bruno Junqueira, Bjorn Wirdheim, Ryan Briscoe, Tomas Scheckter and Juan Montoya and drivers who were not as successful in F1 like Cristiano da Matta, Timo Glock, Justin Wilson and Tomas Enge.

Recently HVM Racing gave female driver Milka Duno a test drive at Sebring,. It's interesting because there is talk that Cedric the Entertainer is interested in becoming a part-time owner of the team. The IRL has been riding the Danicamania express throughout the entire season. Can you imaging having Lewis Hamilton, Kathy Legge and Milka Duno in 2007 or maybe in 2006? Right now somewhere in central Indiana Tony G is likely trying his best to get Lewis Hamilton and, like Danicamania, will push to gain interest for people to watch the IRL; TRUST ME. Personally I hope he ends up in Champ Car but whether it's the IRL or Champ Car Lewis Hamilton is a driver that any series should consider along with Katherine Legge and Milka Duno. LET THE LEWIS HAMILTON SWEEPSTAKES BEGIN Alistair Fannell, Springfield MO.

09/06/05 Lewis Hamilton needed just 16 of the 20 rounds of the season to secure the 2005 Formula 3 Euro Series Drivers’ Championship. At Zandvoort, the 20-year old Briton celebrated his eleventh win in the season so far, while his only rival to still have a chance of preventing Hamilton from winning the championship, his teammate Adrian Sutil, didn’t score, in this race. This was enough for Hamilton to early secure the title. An interview with the champion: [Editor's Note: As we stated previously, This talented young road racing driver has nowhere to go as a development driver in the 'over-full' McLaren organization and Champ Car would be wise to take a look at him.  Like NASCAR, the all-white Champ Car league is in need of a diversity program and with Cedric the Entertainer supposedly coming aboard as a co-team owner, this could be a match made in heaven.] 

Congratulations to having secured the Formula 3 Euro Series Championship early. Would you call your season perfect?
Not quite. In a perfect season, you would win all the races. But this year comes rather close to being a perfect one, that’s true. By any means, it is a fantastic year.”

The best season in your career so far?
Yes. The Formula 3 Euro Series title is the highest I have won, so far. Back in 2000 I won all the kart races I contested in apart from the ones I had to retire in without being responsible for the retirement, yet, I’d say that 2005 is clearly more significant.

For many years, already, you have been supported by McLaren-Mercedes Team Principal Ron Dennis. The dream of any young racing driver, isn’t it?
Yes it is. But may people think that this means I haven’t to deliver, any more. Yet, that’s absolutely wrong. I have to deliver great results all the time to prove that I deserve to be supported. Furthermore, I do believe that anybody holds his fate in his own hands - partially, at least. Remember, I attracted attention by securing good karting results.

Will you get the chance of testing a McLaren-Mercedes, as reward for your title?
I don’t know but I hope so. As the Formula 3 Champion, I’ve got a good argument when talking to Ron Dennis. I have to talk to him, but I wanted to be the champion before asking him this question.

What does your future look like?
A decision has not yet been made. I’d love to contest the GP2 series and to continue with my team, ASM, that is also successfully competing in GP2 - as ART.

What is the difference between your current team, ASM, and the other teams you have raced for, in the past?
Following every event, we meet in France, at the team’s headquarters, to explicitly discuss the previous race weekend. That’s something I have experienced never before. At Manor Motorsport, the team I raced for in 2004, meetings at the headquarters were usually initiated by me.

Your family always accompanies you to the races. Do you need this kind of family support?
I enjoy it. I was just happy to have the chance of celebrating my title together with my family, at Zandvoort. Without them, it hadn’t been that nice. My father is also busy as my manager, and my little brother is my best friend. He is only 13 years old, but brain-wise he’s already much older.
A Formula 1 Sponsorship Forum A Formula 1 Sponsorship ForumThe Formula One group is backing a Formula 1 sponsorship forum which will be held in Monaco on November 16-17. The plan is for the event to enable all of sport's stakeholders to network, debate and close deals. The conference is to be chaired by Julian Jakobi, the deputy-chairman of CSS Stellar PLC and a man who has spent over 20 years at the forefront of F1, as a driver manager and as a marketeer.

"We are clearly at a crossroads for the future which will have a big impact on the lives and business of everyone involved with Formula 1," Jakobi says. "This conference is a perfect opportunity to discuss many of these issues".

The conference has also recently gained the support of Bernie Ecclestone, who says that the event will be "an exciting addition to the commercial value of Formula 1".

The Formula 1 Sponsorship Forum is designed to be a place where sponsors, potential sponsors, teams, suppliers, manufacturers, hospitality, media research, driver managers, finance houses, agents, broadcasters, media, circuits, travel agents and others gather.

"We have received positive encouragement from literally hundreds of business people involved in F1 and motor sport, many of whom have already committed to the Forum," says forum director Simon Berger. "There is so much to talk about the business of the sport, so much change taking place, that the timing of the Formula 1 Sponsorship Forum could not be more opportune. This is an exciting opportunity for key industry personnel to get together and interact in a very unique environment." Grandprix.com
Race Car Driver gives series much needed exposure Race Car Driver gives series much needed exposurePaul Tracy and Forsythe Championship Racing teammate Mario Dominguez will be the featured drivers in a 13-episode reality-based television series that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Champ Car World Series.

Although the series "Race Car Driver" focuses on Tracy and Dominguez, fellow Champ Car drivers Sebastien Bourdais, Oriol Servia, Jimmy Vasser and Cristiano da Matta, and team owners Gerald Forsythe, Carl Haas and Kevin Kalkhoven also will be highlighted throughout the series' run.

"Race Car Driver" debuts at 5 p.m. (PDT) today on Superstation WGN (Cox cable channel 16) with a 1-hour episode and will be replayed Saturday afternoon.

Filming began in April during the Long Beach Grand Prix and is scheduled to continue through the season finale in November in Mexico City. Material from the Sept. 24 Champ Car race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be included in the episode that airs in early November.

Champ Car officials, naturally, are pleased with the exposure their series will receive from the series.

"We couldn't be happier with 'Race Car Driver' and we expect that the viewers will come away with a new appreciation for our drivers, our teams and our sport," Champ Car president Dick Eidswick said in a prepared statement.

"We are sure that once viewers get a look at the show, they will want to keep watching not only 'Race Car Driver' but Champ Car racing as well." Las Vegas Sun

Fisichella calls Rossi to F1 talk all BS Fisichella calls Rossi to F1 talk all BSItalian Formula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella said on Wednesday there was little chance that fellow Italian and motorcycling star Valentino Rossi could ever make it as a Formula 1 driver.   Fisichella, who started his career racing go-karts as a boy, said the 27-year-old Rossi lacked the experience to perform well in Formula 1, even if he was taken on and coached by a top team like Ferrari.  "No, he's a great champion on a motorbike but he's too old for Formula 1 now. He just hasn't got the experience of someone who started when he was eight," he said, apparently referring to himself.  The 32-year-old Renault driver, who has won two grand prix races in his career, added that persistent talk of a future for Rossi in Ferrari's Formula 1 team was mostly hype.  "Something that isn't really likely to happen is being blown up out of proportion."
NASCAR catches more cheaters NASCAR catches more cheatersUPDATE NASCAR announced Wednesday that Glenn Darrow, crew chief for the No. 37 Dodge driven by Tony Raines in the Nextel Cup Series, has been fined $2,500 for an infraction during last weekend’s event at California Speedway. Darrow was fined for an unapproved rear end gear ratio, a violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-CC (Unapproved rear end gear ratio) of the Nextel Cup rulebook. 09/04/05 NASCAR inspectors caught more cheaters so far this weekend in Fontana - an unapproved rear gear ratio and side window from the No. 37 Dodge driven by Tony Raines; and unapproved side windows from the No. 22 Dodge of Scott Wimmer and No. 32 Chevrolet of Hamilton Jr.  Expect fines to be announced later this week.
Industry News
Ford and Toyota recall 5 million trucks Ford and Toyota recall 5 million trucksFord and Toyota, two of the world's largest automakers, on Wednesday recalled nearly 5 million pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in separate moves to respond to concerns of engine fires and problems with the power-steering system.

The recall by Ford Motor Co., the fifth-largest auto industry recall in U.S. history, involved 3.8 million pickups and SUVs from the 1994-2002 model years, including the top-selling F-150 pickup.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Ford have been investigating complaints of engine fires linked to the cruise control switch system.

Toyota Motor Corp., meanwhile, recalled 978,000 sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks over complaints that a rod linking the steering wheel and the wheels could fracture when the steering wheel is turned while the vehicle is stopped. The affected vehicles include the 1990-1995 4Runner SUV, 1989-1995 truck 4WD and 1993-1998 T-100 pickup. ABC News

USAC standout to make stock car debut in Chicago USAC standout to make stock car debut in ChicagoUSAC National Midget standout Billy Wease will make his stock car racing debut in a Dodge fielded by Penske Racing South in the Sept. 10 SK Hand Tool ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

In the first day of a two-day test late last month at the 1.5-mile speedway, Wease posted the quickest time in his No. 27 Kodak Dodge. Wease, who began racing Quarter Midgets at age 5, recorded a lap of 173.244 mph, 31.170 seconds. The second day of the test also went well when the team concentrated on qualifying setup.

"I feel pretty good about the [ARCA] race," Wease said. "If I don't make any mistakes, I think we'll be pretty good. They have a good car for me."

Wease will drive the Dodge that Penske Racing South NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regular Travis Kvapil drove to victory in an ARCA RE/MAX event at Pocono [Pa.] Raceway in June.

Champ Car test times from Sebring Champ Car test times from SebringUPDATE HVM and Dale Coyne Racing were again pounding the pavement around Sebring's short course Wednesday. Bjorn Wirdheim and Milka Duno were testing for HVM and Luis Schiavo for Dale Coyne.

Wednesday Test Times
1. Bjorn Wirdheim 52.4 sec.
2. Luis Schiavo 52.8 sec.
3. Milka Duno 55.6 sec.

Dale Coyne Racing will take Thursday off and then be back in action Friday with Schiavo running a race distance simulation. We expect to see Mexican Homero Richards back on track Thursday for HVM, his car repaired from Tuesday's crash by then. Mark C.

09/06/05 Test times from Sebring Tuesday, September 6, 2005. Weather was hot & humid with scattered showers.
1. Jimmy Vasser 52.87
2. Luis Schiavo 53.58
3. Milka Duno 55.75
4. Homero Richards No Time (Heavy crash on his out lap)

Richards is a Mexican Formula Renault driver who tested fairly well for PKV last September at Firebird and who we believe wants to run in Mexico City this year in a third HVM car. Not so sure it will happen now.

Luis Schiavo is the Venezuelan driver we rumored the past couple of months who we hear has funding for a full-time Champ Car ride in 2006 and hopes to make his debut in Mexico City later this year.

“We’re getting closer to fulfilling the dream of racing in Champ Car,” Schiavo was previously quoted. “Our deal with Dale Coyne Racing will allow us to test at several venues, and if all goes according to plan we’ll race at Mexico City on a third entry by the team.  I’d say we currently have a 70-percent chance of racing [in Mexico], and our goal is to campaign full-time next year.”

See this Hot News item on sports car regular Milka Duno, a native of Caracas, Venezuela and a resident of Miami.

Tomorrow, we expect to see Luis Schiavo, Milka Duno & Bjorn Wirdheim on track.

New look for Wheldon at Chicagoland New look for Wheldon at ChicagolandDan Wheldon's No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Honda-powered Dallara will look slightly different this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.  Wheldon's car will sport a paint-scheme showcasing Jim Beam Black, another award-winning bourbon produced by Jim Beam Brands. Several portions of Wheldon's familiar Klein Tools/Jim Beam scheme will be black this weekend to reflect the promotion.  Jim Beam Black is aged eight years and bottled at 86-proof, whereas Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon is aged 4 years and bottled at 80 proof.
General Mills to title sponsor Truck race General Mills to title sponsor Truck raceGeneral Mills announced today that it will title sponsor tomorrow night’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Richmond Int’l Raceway. The race will be called the Cheerios Betty Crocker 200. General Mills.
NASCAR, Enterprise ink multi-year deal NASCAR, Enterprise ink multi-year dealEnterprise Rent-A-Car has signed a multi-year agreement with NASCAR to become the organization’s official rental car company. Terms of the deal were not released, but industry insiders peg the official sponsorship in the low to mid-seven figures per year. As part of the deal, Enterprise becomes a charter and exclusive rental car sponsor of NASCAR’s RacePoints program, a consumer loyalty program that will reward fans every time they rent an Enterprise vehicle. SportsBusiness Journal
ALMS to race in Utah in 2006 ALMS to race in Utah in 2006In another landmark development for 2006, the American Le Mans Series announced Wednesday night its association with the new Miller Motorsports Park, which will play host to an ALMS event next summer.

The Grand Prix of Utah, the new track’s marquee event of 2006, is scheduled for July 13-15 and will be televised on CBS Sports. Wednesday’s announcement came at Salt Lake City’s Delta Center, where series drivers Emanuele Pirro of Champion Racing and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing’s Patrick Long were present, along with ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton.

Salt Lake City is a top-40 television market, according to Nielsen Media Research, and the area provides a regional link for the ALMS that bridges the Road America market in Wisconsin to the West Coast.

“Anytime the American Le Mans Series adds a new venue to the schedule, it’s big news,” Atherton said. “However, when the addition involves an important business market and features a brand new world-class, purpose-built road-racing facility, it becomes much more.”

At 4.5 miles, Miller Motorsports Park, located in Tooele, Utah, will be the longest track in the ALMS, as well as the longest in the United States, featuring a 3,500-foot main straight. The configuration also will feature 24 turns, again an ALMS record. zzzz 

The track is located on a 511-acre site in Tooele County’s Deseret Peak Complex, which is 25 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport. The facility is being built by Larry H. Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz NBA franchise, the Delta Center arena in downtown Salt Lake City, KJZZ-TV station, movie theatres, a theme restaurant, the Salt Lake Stingers minor league baseball team and more than 38 auto dealerships.

Renowned track designer Alan Wilson, who is also the CEO/General Manager of Miller Motorsports Park, designed the layout. Among his other works are more than 20 other well-known courses including Barber Motorsports Park, Carolina Motorsports Park and BeaveRun Motorsports Park, as well as many prestigious kart track facilities.

Along with the main configuration, the road course is designed with three sub-tracks; a 2.24 mile East Track, a 2.2 mile West Track, and a 3.06 mile Outer Track.

“It sounds exciting,” said Long, the United States’ only factory driver for Porsche. “If the length is similar to Road America, it’s going to be impressive. The demographic is great. Hopefully that will help bridge the gap from the Midwest to the West Coast.”

Long (GT2) and Pirro (LMP1), both championship leaders in their respective classes, were thrilled to be part of the announcement. Neither one said they have seen the 4.5-mile, 25-turn road course, but expressed a tremendous amount of optimism about the venue and the success it will see with the ALMS.

“For our team and our sponsors, it’s a strategic area,” said Pirro, who drives an Audi R8 for Champion. “It’s always good to be in a new part of the country to present our show and give the TV fans an opportunity to watch us for real. From a driver’s point of view, I’m interested and can’t wait to see the racetrack.”

With four classes of sports cars, Miller Motorsports Park seems to be a perfect fit for the American Le Mans Series. From the ultra-exotic prototypes to familiar production-based GT cars, there will no shortage of excitement at any spot on the track.

“The new Miller Motorsports Park is the most impressive new road-racing venue in America,” said IMSA COO Tim Mayer. “The facilities will be spectacular, and the course certainly will provide a stern test for the teams and drivers of the American Le Mans Series. There is a rich history of motorsports in the western United States, and we are proud to be continuing that tradition when the ALMS visits Miller Motorsports Park for the first time.”

Max Papis will join the No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG at Phoenix Max Papis will join the No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG at PhoenixTracy Krohn, co-owner of Krohn Racing/TRG, will not be behind the wheel of his Daytona Prototype for the Phoenix round of the Grand American Rolex Series due to the damage that Hurricane Katrina has caused in New Orleans.

Krohn’s business W&T Offshore (NYSE-WTI) maintained offices in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans.  In addition to the office, the company also operated production oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico and had employees affected by the damage.

Krohn explains what his company has been through this last week.  “I have relocated all of our associates from our Metairie office to our headquarters office in Houston.  We have arranged for additional office space and have secured temporary housing as well.  I am very happy to report that we have no fatalities within our company and all families are accounted for.  This is not our first time to the dance and we have always had a backup plan for this eventuality, although admittedly, we never anticipated a total relocation with such short notice.  I am very proud of our staff and have always known they were “all stars”.  The real difficulty from this point forward is the mental shift that needs to be made for our employees.  They have been traumatically uprooted from their homes and many have lost everything.  Production from our wells in the Gulf of Mexico is continuing to increase and we have no well damage, but some minor damage to infrastructure on our operated fields.  Non operated fields have sustained some damage as well, but most of the damage overall is to the downstream infrastructure such as pipelines, processing plants and refineries, that we do not control.  All in all we have fared quite well and have all of our personnel either working or ready to work.” zzzz

“Unfortunately my racing activities will have to take a back seat for the foreseeable future. I wish my teammates and crew the best of the luck.”

Max Papis will join Nic Jönsson behind the wheel of the number 67/Krohn Racing/TRG/

Pontiac Riley.  The two will be looking to give the number 67 car another victory to go with one from Watkins Glen in June.

“We are going to miss Tracy, but I respect his decision and my heart goes out to all of those affected by the disaster,” said Papis.  “I will be in Richmond for the IROC race Thursday night and will head to Phoenix for the race on Friday.  I have every faith in Nic to set-up the car for the race and I am looking forward to a successful weekend with the number 67 car. Phoenix is a fast track, things happen there very quickly.  We will be doing about 55-second lap times, so you have to be ready for anything.”

Pruett gets IROC pole with inverted start Pruett gets IROC pole with inverted startThe Crown Royal IROC Series heads to Richmond International Raceway’s daunting 0.75-mile oval for Round 3 Thursday night under the lights with CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ driver Scott Pruett once again representing the team in his familiar no.01 Gold IROC machine. The likeable IROC expert will make his 31st series start from pole position for 90 tours (67.5 miles) of the Virginia short track against 11 others representing the top dogs from the sports car, open wheel, stock car and sprint car ranks.

After being taken out of Rounds 1 and 2 at Daytona and Texas while running in the lead group, Pruett hopes to rebound and get back up to speed after spending the past few months in the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley defending his 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series title with Ganassi co-driver Luis Diaz.

“We’ve been out doing the sports car thing, so it’s just a matter of getting used to the (IROC) cars again,” said Pruett, who received an eighth IROC nod in 2005 after last year’s Rolex Series title run which included 11 team poles and four wins. “The cars feel good, but the driver needs a little more time.”

Pruett will be starting from the pole for the second time in his IROC career (Talladega, 1992 with CART), but experience tells the California native that it really doesn’t make a difference once the green flag drops on the 115th event in series history.

“That’s not going to help much because that’s what IROC is all about– they make the cars as equal as they can, so you’ve got to contend with the other guys having the same deal,” said Pruett. “It’s been a pretty rough season for me in IROC– I wound up in a crash at Daytona and got taken out in Texas, so I’m just hoping with only two more to go I can make up a little ground.”

Tune in Thursday night, September 8th at 7:00 pm ET on SPEED Channel to watch CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Pruett vie for a third career IROC win in Round 3 of the Crown Royal IROC Series at Richmond International Raceway.

Honda to bring new engine to Spa Honda to bring new engine to SpaHonda will unveil a new engine specification for the Belgian GP. The BAR package looked good in qualifying at Monza, but - at all other times - Jenson Button and Takuma Sato ran worryingly off the Italian pace. We have some engine and aerodynamic upgrades for this race," said sporting director Gil de Ferran, "so hopefully we can look forward to a more competitive weekend."
Kevin Kalkhoven interview Kevin Kalkhoven interviewJohn Hindhaugh and Declan Brennan have a weekly radio show sponsored by Autosport Magazine called the 'Autosport Radio Show'.  It is broadcast via satellite TV across the UK and Europe but it is also available online at www.yoursportradio.com and www.radiolemans.com at 3 PM to 5 PM ET. (-0 GMT).  UK and European listeners can listen on Globecast,  Channel 907 on the Sky platform.

Today's guests in the studio are Kevin Kalkhoven, Justin Wilson and Katherine Legge and they have other guests on the phone including Martin Donnelly. The Champ Car trio have some rather interesting things to say on a number of subjects.

Today's show will include the following:

  • Chat with John McIlroy, the editor of Autosport
  • 14 minute interview with Kevin Kalkhoven where he talks about 'the split', engine supply and many other things.
  • Interview with Katherine Legge talking about her plans for next year
  • Interview with Justin Wilson talking about the series and how he is enjoying it
  • Interview with Martin Donnelly about GP Masters and A1 GP amongst other things.
NASCAR making big grassroots push NASCAR making big grassroots pushNASCAR and its official members club (ONMC) is undertaking what it describes as an "aggressive grassroots program" to bring the spirit of NASCAR to communities across America.

NASCAR says the ONMC is establishing thousands of local chapters in 50 states across the US. It has begun appointing presidents of the local chapters and more than 600 candidates are said to have applied.

Local chapters will be sanctioned by the ONMC national office, but will be largely developed and managed by official members of the local organization. Chapter members can enjoy VIP status within the ONMC, organize local NASCAR race viewing parties and participate in NASCAR initiatives in their local communities.

The Official NASCAR Members Club was launched earlier this year to allow race fans to become more involved with NASCAR and enjoy various benefits, including access and inside information.

Among the more popular benefits include behind-the-scenes access to race week events at the track, weekend travel packages to races and discounts on merchandise. Said Mark Dyer, NASCAR vice president for licensing: “Bringing NASCAR to a fan’s hometown is one of the great benefits that the ONMC offers. "Through the unfolding of this grassroots process, fans from all corners of America will now have a better opportunity to follow the sport in a more meaningful way.” Sportsbusiness.com

Industry News
BMW, GM and DaimlerChrysler team up BMW, GM and DaimlerChrysler team upThe BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler AG and General Motors Corporation today signed a "memorandum of understanding" governing the formation of an alliance of equals for the joint development of hybrid drive systems. The three global automakers are cooperating in order to pool their expertise for the accelerated and efficient development of hybrid drive systems.

Objective: Development of a two-mode hybrid drive system

The objective is to jointly develop a two-mode hybrid drive system that reduces fuel consumption while not compromising vehicle capability. While the base two-mode hybrid design will be common, each company will individually integrate the hybrid system into the design and manufacturing of vehicles in accordance with their brand specific requirements.

"The participation of the BMW Group has allowed us to gain another expert partner for the development of this advanced two-mode hybrid system," says Tom Stephens, Group Vice President at GM Powertrain. "This cooperation paves the way for extensive hybrid collaboration among the three companies. We also continue to discuss additional partners for this alliance."

"By pooling the development expertise of the three automakers -- BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors -- we are making it possible for all companies to bring to market appealing vehicles with convincing performance, comfort and environmental features for the benefit of our customers," says Dr. Thomas Weber, DaimlerChrysler Board of Management member responsible for Research and Technology as well as for Development at the Mercedes Car Group.

"The creation of a shared technology platform for hybrid drives will allow us to more quickly integrate the best technologies on the market and will therefore exploit and strengthen the innovative potential of all participating companies," explains Prof. Burkhard Göschel, Board of Management member for Development and Procurement at BMW AG. "Because the technologies will be adapted to the individual vehicle models, the participating brands will retain their distinctive characters."  zzzz

Joint development center

In Troy, Michigan, the new "GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center" will develop the overall modular system and the individual components: electric motors, high-performance electronics, wiring, safety systems, energy management, and hybrid system control units. In addition, the Hybrid Development Center will be responsible for system integration and project management.

A key factor in ensuring optimum development is the focus on a high bandwidth architecture system that can be adapted to the needs of the various vehicle concepts and brands. The extensive sharing of components and production facilities, and the collaborative relationship with suppliers, will enable the alliance partners to achieve significant economies of scale and associated cost advantages, which will also benefit customers, thanks to an outstanding cost-to-performance ratio.

The two-mode concept

Two-mode hybrid technology further enhances the performance, fuel efficiency and range of conventional hybrid drive vehicles. In city driving and in stop-and-go traffic, the vehicles can be powered either by two electric motors or by the combustion engine, or the two drive systems can be used simultaneously. Regardless of which type of operation is chosen, the drive system's fuel saving potential is exploited to maximum effect.

When traveling at high speeds, for example on rural roads and highways, the two-mode system switches to a different driving mode. The two-mode system provides a number of benefits even when driving at such constant speeds. Because the hybrid drive's full power is available when climbing steep inclines, passing other cars or hauling a trailer, fuel consumption can be reduced and performance increased even when operating in the second driving mode.

GM and DaimlerChrysler signed binding, definitive agreements on August 22, 2005. BMW Group today signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the intent to enter into a definitive agreement with GM and DaimlerChrysler later this year.

Chicagoland natives find home in the IRL Chicagoland natives find home in the IRLTeams in the IRL IndyCar Series are comprised of individuals from all across the United States.  These men and women are a large part of what makes the Series possible, and are often times the unsung heroes on race day. 

As the IndyCar Series visits Chicagoland Speedway for this weekend's PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean, many team members will be making a homecoming. A total of 10 IndyCar Series team members, representing seven teams are from locations around Chicagoland. 

Highlighting the list of IndyCar Series ties are two drivers who will compete at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. Rahal Letterman Racing driver Danica Patrick, hails from Roscoe, while Jimmy Kite was born in Effingham.

Marlboro Team Penske team manager Tom Wurtz, Team Penske gearbox mechanic Gerald Gouschard; chief mechanic for Vision Racing's No. 20 car Kevin Kukulewicz; and Dreyer and Reinbold Racing engineer Len Paskus are each from Chicago.

Dan Brown, outside rear tire changer for A.J. Foyt IV, is from Tinley Park. Donnie Stewart, inside rear tire changer on the No.16 Rahal Letterman Racing machine, hails from Carol Stream.  Nick Cooper, also of the Rahal Letterman Racing team, serves as the inside front tire changer on the No. 17 car, and is from Beecher.  Delphi Fernandez Racing's Chris Finch of Hoffman Estates is the engineer on the No. 8 car.

Below is a list of all IndyCar Series/ Chicagoland Speedway ties:

Dan Brown, outside rear tire changer (14) at A.J. Foyt Racing-Tinley Park
Nick Cooper, inside front tire changer (17) at Rahal Letterman Racing - Beecher
Chris Finch, engineer (8) at Delphi Fernandez Racing - Hoffman Estates
Gerald Gouschard, gearbox mechanic at Marlboro Team Penske - Chicago
Jimmy Kite, driver, (91) at Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing - Effingham.
Kevin Kukulewicz, chief mechanic, (20) Vision Racing
Len Paskus, engineer (24) at Dreyer and Reinbold Racing - Chicago
Danica Patrick, driver (No.16 car) at Rahal Letterman Racing - Roscoe
Donnie Stewart, inside rear tire changer (16) at Rahal Letterman Racing - Carol Stream
Tom Wurtz, team manager and spotter (6) at Marlboro Penske Racing - Chicago

Industry News
Chicagoland hurricane victim outreach Chicagoland hurricane victim outreachUnited Way of Will County and the American Red Cross will be at Chicagoland Speedway this Saturday and Sunday during the ARCA/IRL race weekend to take monetary and blood donations for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  The United Way booth, which will be located in the Midway, will be accepting monetary donations from 8 a.m. until one hour after the start of the race both days.  They will accept cash, checks or credit card pledges.  The American Red Cross will station their bloodmobile in the Midway, and will also be taking blood donations throughout the day.

The money donated will go to the United Way Hurricane Katrina Response Fund, which has been activated to help affected communities begin rebuilding their lives.  All funds will be allocated for both front-line disaster relief and long-term recovery needs as determined by local United Ways in affected areas in coordination with a vast network of human services agencies and volunteer centers.

"Thousands of people have been left homeless and penniless in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and it's been heartbreaking to watch," said Matthew Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway.  "We want to do whatever we can to help these people get on the road to recovery and to rebuild what's been destroyed.  The United Way of Will County has a long history of helping people, and we are proud to have them on site this weekend, taking donations for those affected in the Gulf Coast.  With our terrific and generous fans, we're confident that we can really make a difference."

Anyone unable to attend the races this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway can make an online gift to the United Way Hurricane Katrina Response Fund at http://national.unitedway.org or access the site from a link at www.chicagolandspeedway.com. Donation via check is also being accepted at the following address (please make all checks payable to UWA and reference Hurricane Katrina Fund in the memo):

United Way of America
P.O. Box 630568
Baltimore, MD 21263-0568

Link to United Way Hurricane Katrina Response Fund:

Stremme to run at Richmond Stremme to run at RichmondDavid Stremme will attempt to make his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start this weekend in the #39 Navy "Accelerate Your Life" Dodge out of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates stable. Stremme currently pilots the #14 Navy Dodge in the NASCAR Busch Series, and sits seventh in the championship points standings. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
Lysol on the No. 41 Lysol on the No. 41The rear quarter panels of the #41 Target Dodge of Casey Mears will not be sporting the familiar bulls eye logos this weekend in Richmond, but instead will carry the Lysol logo. Lysol is an associate sponsor on the #41 Dodge and has been part of the Target Racing NASCAR and IndyCar programs for the past four years. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
The Chase....where they stand The Chase....where they standFour positions in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup are up for grabs in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. This number does not include Kurt Busch, who only needs to start the race to clinch a berth. Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin have clinched spots in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Stewart has clinched the top spot in the 10-race "Chase," no matter what happens in Richmond.

Jeremy Mayfield will clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with a finish of 39th place or better in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, no matter where any other competitor finishes.

Carl Edwards will clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with a finish of 19th place or better in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, no matter where any other competitor finishes.

Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray are 9th and 10th respectfully with Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Elliott Sadler, Dale Jarrett, Kevin Harvick and Joe Nemechek still mathematically eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

The maximum point gain that a driver can have in a race over a fellow competitor who also starts that race is 156. Therefore, it is mathematically possible for drivers who are currently in positions 11 through 16 to race their way into the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. NASCAR

Montoya again vows to help Kimi Montoya again vows to help KimiJuan Pablo Montoya (right) again says he will help his teammate Kimi Raikkonen win the 2005 Drivers' title despite being stacked against the Finn.  Raikkonen currently trails Championship leader Fernando Alonso by 27 points with just four races remaining.  However, Montoya, who won last weekend's Italian Grand Prix, has promised to help his teammate as long as Raikkonen still stands a chance.  "Until Raikkonen’s chances are over I'll only do what's in the interests of the team by helping Kimi as much as possible, although even before Monza I was convinced that our more realistic target was the Constructors’ Championship," Montoya told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.  "Thanks to my victory and Kimi's finishing position (at Monza) we've made up another point (over Renault). I know it's not much, but it is still better than nothing."
2 new EJ15B's for the Jordan drivers 2 new EJ15B's for the Jordan driversJordan Grand Prix is heading to a challenging race at the circuit of Spa Francorchamps after another positive two-car finish in Monza last weekend. Jordan Grand Prix will come to Spa with two EJ15B for Karthikeyan and Monteiro.
Narain Karthikeyan "I will be driving the new car in Spa so I am very excited about this prospect. I won at Spa in F3 and I enjoy the circuit a lot. Therefore, I am eagerly looking forward to having the opportunity to drive the EJ15B. There is more downforce in Spa than at Monza, so our car should be more competitive there and hopefully we will be able to close the gap with the teams in front."
Tiago Monteiro "Spa is probably one of my top three favorite tracks. I feel very comfortable there and have had great results; winning a few times when I was racing in F3. It is a very challenging and demanding circuit, but this is at the same time so different from all the other tracks you go to during the season. It is a great pleasure for a driver to be at Spa. We think our new car will be better in Belgium than in Italy. It is a very long track as well and we expect the Bridgestone tires to be competitive. Therefore I am looking forward very much to racing at Spa."
Nicolas Kiesa "I drove in Spa in 2001 and 2002 in F3 and F3000. I know the circuit quite well. It is one of my favorite circuits along with Suzuka. To be honest, our new car, the B-specification, should run much better at Spa than at Monza because of the more medium downforce configuration of the track. Therefore the situation for the race drivers seems much better. I will not be driving the new car on the Friday, but this does not matter for the tire choice. My job will be the same as usual and I will do my best to provide useful information to the team."
Sporting Director, Adrian Burgess
"Spa-Francorchamps is a real "drivers" circuit, which requires total commitment and confidence and one of only a few remaining high speed, high "g" tracks on the calendar. Our three drivers know the circuit from previous experience and were very competitive there in the past, so we hope this will help us. We return to a medium downforce set-up, which should suit the two new EJ15Bs better. Besides, rain can be a frequent occurrence in the region, making the racing generally quite exciting and hopefully bring some luck to the team."
Atlanta Speedway announces improvements Atlanta Speedway announces improvementsAlthough a tornado caused upwards of $40 million in damage to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in early July, there is a silver race-striped lining.  Speedway officials announced on Tuesday that they have taken the opportunity in repairing the damage to make improvements to the Hampton attraction, which will make it more fan-friendly. 
"We're absolutely going to have a better facility," said Ed Clark, president and general manager of the speedway.  Clark said considerable progress has been made during the rebuilding process and construction should be completed before the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 race scheduled for Oct. 28-30. 

To ease traffic flow around the facility, sidewalks have been installed around the speedway's perimeter, along with shuttle stops. Visitors will also have access to trams and buses from the camping and parking areas.  A new Gate One ticket booth is under construction, and several other gates have been widened for greater accessibility, speedway officials said.
Another improvement is the addition of approximately 50 acres of unreserved camping for the October race weekend.  Wes Harris, executive vice president of development for Speedway Motorsports Inc., said the remodeling will especially help those visitors who don't regularly attend races.  "Everything is a lot more clear to the unfamiliar eye," Harris said.

Officials said one of the major changes is the addition of the Ga. Highway 20 extension, which boasts a four-lane divided highway running from the speedway to Interstate 75. This addition is scheduled to open in early October. Regarding the extension, parking areas have been improved for "better access, drainage and spectator and vehicular flow."  According to speedway representatives, construction crews have been working up to 18 hours a day to complete the projects. Hennyherald.com

An interview with Travis Gregg, Bryan Herta and Danica Patrick An interview with Travis Gregg, Bryan Herta and Danica PatrickThis week's IRL media conference featured an interview with Travis Gregg, Bryan Herta and Danica Patrick. Transcript
Kahne honored in hometown Kahne honored in hometownAn estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people swarmed downtown Enumclaw [WA] for “Kasey Kahne Day,” an all-day festival sponsored by Allstate, the City of Enumclaw and the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce. On Labor Day, Kahne, who lives in Huntersville, N.C., came home to what began as a familiar celebration. Food and vendor booths invited passers-by. The smell of corn dogs and mochas filled the air. Kids chomped on snow cones. As afternoon approached, people left the food and vendor booths and filled a vast parking lot where Kahne was scheduled to take the stage under a large tent. When he did, people in red jerseys, T-shirts and jackets that paid homage to their hero, erupted with cheers and applause. “This is actually the first time I’ve seen this much red, and it’s not Dale Earnhardt Jr.,” Kahne said. On stage, Enumclaw Mayor John Wise dedicated “Kasey Kahne Drive” as the new name of a street in town. “There’s no speedin’ on that street,” Kahne said. Laughter rippled through the crowd. Kahne presented a $1,000 scholarship to a recent graduate of Enumclaw High School and answered questions people had written on scraps of paper. Tacoma News
Trucks Get Sponsor At Richmond Trucks Get Sponsor At RichmondGeneral Mills officials have announced that the company has signed on to be the title sponsor for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Richmond Int'l Raceway Sept. 8. The race will be known as the Cheerios/Betty Crocker 200.
Q and A with Adrian Fernandez Q and A with Adrian FernandezUPDATE "I'm doing it to see if I'm really going to enjoy driving a stock car," Fernandez said. "I have to enjoy it. I'm not doing it for the money. I'm doing it for the challenge. If I like it, if I enjoy it and I think I could be competitive, I could be here a while." Adrian Fernandez 09/01/05 Adrian Fernandez will drive the No. 5 Lowe's / Hitachi Power Tools Chevrolet Saturday in the NASCAR Busch Series race at California Speedway. The race marks Fernandez's first oval race in NASCAR. He is the winner of the 2004 Indy Racing League race at the Fontana track and the winner of the 1999 CART race on the two-mile oval. Fernandez tested with the Hendrick Motorsports team at the track on Aug. 15 and 16. He was the only driver on the track.


HOW BIG IS THE TASK YOU'VE TAKEN ON? "I'm so excited for this opportunity. I have not been driving a lot this year. I have just done two races: the Mexican race with Hendrick in the Busch car on a road course and I did the Indianapolis 500. Aside from that, I have not been doing much in the driving seat. I have been looking after Fernandez Racing, but that's it really. I'm excited for this opportunity. I felt great in the car during the two-day test we had at Fontana. It's going to be quite a challenge for me since a lot of things are going to be new. But also I feel I have the best team behind me. There are great people leading the team like Jim Long and older mechanics that I have known over the years going to different races and I feel very good chemistry there. I've always felt that to be successful you have to have good chemistry and I think we have that. We have great sponsors -- especially Lowe's. I feel really welcome and that gives me a huge boost to do well this weekend."

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS WEEKEND, DO YOU LOOK AT IT WITH NERVOUS EAGERNESS OR A BIT OF ANTICIPATION OR SOME OF BOTH? "To be honest, I'm not nervous. It sounds silly (but) this is totally different to me in some respect, but in others I have been racing for too many years and Fontana is a track that I know. There are a lot of things that I don't know here, but I have really prepared myself in all aspects with the team and testing and I've been asking a lot of questions. If you hear me talking to Jim Long I sound just like a kid. I ask all types of questions. That's the way I always approach things. I want to make sure I confirm things even though I think I know them. The procedures of restarts and things like that. I even watched the Bristol race where Kyle Busch came into the pits and they had a red flag and the pits were not open yet. Things like that -- little things that can put you out of contention for the race. Sometimes those little things are really the things that matter at the end of the day to get a good result. Those are things I have been trying to pay attention to. I've been talking to Jim Long a lot of that. Any question, any doubt, I have been asking. But the car felt good. Obviously I haven't felt the car in traffic. I expect the car to be moving more as all the race cars I have driven in ovals. But at the end of the day, my main goal is to finish the race. I feel if we finish the race, we'll be fine."

ON THE DIFFERENCE IN SPEEDS BETWEEN THE INDY  CARS AND THE NASCAR STOCK CARS ON THE OVALS "It did feel very slow -- especially on the corners. It doesn't feel slow on the straight, but it does feel slow on the corners, especially after a few laps when the main grip of the tire has gone. But also the car moves a lot more so it's all relative. The car is a lot heavier and has a lot smaller tire. The way it moves is different than the way our cars move. The first few laps, I was saying to myself, 'What am I doing here?' It just doesn't feel right. But I had a few problems I needed to fix on the car. I was lifting. I felt I was lifting all the way to zero and I was not doing that, I was lifting 50 percent. The throttle was too long. The position of the pedal was not right for me. All of that was not letting me feel the car. These races are so long that the pedals are very soft -- especially the throttle. When you push the throttle, you don't really feel much of the acceleration on the spring load. So we fixed all that and after I came back the next day I felt really good. Then I could feel I was really learning a lot of things and that I could give some good input to the team about what the car was doing. The first few laps don't feel very good, but that's the same when we jump into the IRL car. At Phoenix the first time, I had not tested. I just went straight into the car. And I just did not feel comfortable at all. The more laps I did -- close to 300 -- was really good. At the end of the day, I really felt good."

Grand Prix Masters
New racing series to debut New racing series to debutUPDATE The newly formed Grand Prix Masters circuit — for retired F-1 drivers age 45 and older in identical 600-HP cars — have said Riccardo Patrese, Rene Arnoux, Andrea deCesaris and former world champions Alan Jones, Alain Prost, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell have agreed to be in the 16-car field. Four events are planned. 08/04/05 Some of the greatest and most legendary names in world motorsport are preparing to be reunited in a 'world-first' Grand Prix Masters Series. The Altech Grand Prix Masters of South Africa will be the inaugural event for the 2006 series and takes place in Kyalami on 11th - 13th November - a circuit Grand Prix racing last visited back in 1993.

The international cast of champions and characters boast a treasure trove of history between them and include Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil), Alain Prost (France), Ricardo Patrese (Italy), Alan Jones (Australia), Stefan Johansson (Sweden), Andrea de Cesaris (Italy), René Arnoux (France), Jan Lammers (Netherlands) and Christian Danner (Germany) to name but a few with other names due to be announced shortly. Between 14 and 16 cars are anticipated for the inaugural grid in Kyalami with the total prize fund for the opening race being $500,000. The minimum age criteria is set at 45 years of age.

Brazilian racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi (twice F1 World Champion, Indy 500 winner, and CART Champion) expressed his anticipation at the prospect of being reacquainted with his former adversaries: "I'm very excited about the Grand Prix Masters World Series. Reuniting champions and great drivers from the past in a racing environment where we'll have very powerful cars with minimal technological driver-aids will make for great entertainment and fun for both the drivers and spectators alike. The ingredients for an extremely compelling series are all here." zzzz

Awaiting the arrival of the protagonists will be 600 brake horse power machines capable of exceeding over 200mph! The all-new single seater race car has been designed and built by Delta Motorsport (Northamptonshire, UK). Powered by an 80-degree 3.5-litre V8 Nicholson McLaren Cosworth engine, the Grand Prix Masters cars will produce in excess of 600bhp. Based on the highly successful Cosworth XB IndyCar engine, Nicholson McLaren have developed this normally-aspirated version offering more than 600bhp at 10,400rpm while maximum torque is achieved at over 320 lb ft at 7,800rpm. The engine combines compact dimensions, minimum weight, maximum strength and awesome power output. The 650kg cars (excluding driver) will be equipped with a six-speed paddle shift gearbox and at the opening race in Kyalami, drivers are expected to be exposed to corning g-loads of around 2.5g! Electronic driver aids have been kept to a minimum and a stable aerodynamic platform has been defined in an effort to maximize driver input, involvement and overtaking.

Scott Poulter, CEO Grand Prix Masters said: "The Grand Prix Masters World Series will feature the gladiators from a romantic era where daredevil drivers wrestled unforgiving machines to high duel on the open race track. The pioneers and champions from that era will be reunited on 13th November in what promises to be a spectacular curtain raiser to our 2006 World Series. While many are finalized, there are still negotiations taking place with several circuits and promoters about next year and at this stage, we haven't ruled anything out - including the possibility of a street race in North America!"

A maximum if 16 cars will form the inaugural grid with a total of 20 being considered for the 2006 championship. The technical and safety compliance application for both cars and circuits is currently in process with the FIA (governing body of motor sport worldwide).

Alan Jones (Australia) gave the WilliamsF1 team its first Constructor's World Championship back in 1980 and has lost little of his racing instinct: "Some of us haven't raced for nearly 25 years but rest assured we will be ready and hungry on 13th November. Once you get behind the wheel of a racing car you want nothing but victory. We all have egos and we all think we are better than each other and when those red lights go out in Kyalami in around ten weeks from now, the desire and commitment will be nothing short of absolute." The protagonists who for many years generated the high drama and greatest sporting spectacles of all time are aiming to treat fans with not only an epic show but also open accessibility to those attending race events. Various concepts and promotions are being discussed and finalized with the aim being to bring the fans closer than ever to their heroes, the machinery and ultimately, the spectacle.

"The fans are by far our priority audience with Grand Prix Masters," continued Scott. "Put another way, our aim is to deliver NASCAR-style entertainment values whereby fans, spectators and enthusiasts alike can all identify with the excitement and personalities involved. Comprehensive worldwide broadcast syndication rights with live transmissions will help boost significantly the reach and appeal of former world champions brought to life in a modern and contemporary environment," said Scott. "Speed, excitement, dramatic confrontation and gladiatorial combat amongst some of the greatest and fearless names in motor racing is what fans want. Combined with extremely powerful machines with minimal technological driver-aids and what you have is a purist's dream and one which we are all very excited about."

On the medical side, The Grand Masters World Series is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Stephen Olvey M.D. as Chief Medical Officer. Dr Olvey is best known in motor sport as leading the development of safety in Champ Car where he held the position of Chief Medical Officer for over 20 years and is widely credited as leading the team that saved the life of Alex Zanardi after his horrific accident during a Champ Car race in Germany in 2001. Steve has worked with most of the drivers on the current roster for Grand Prix Masters. Speaking from his faculty office in Miami Steve said: "I am very proud to be an integral part of the Grand Prix Masters team and to renew my working relationship with these guys who I have seen develop from young drivers into World Champions."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Rossi 'too old' for F1
'Rubens' better than Webber'
BMW to run 'Friday' car
Nick to skip Spa - official
Rain in the Spa forest
More Honda horses
Alonso wins Spanish award
BMW must honor JV's contract
Trulli not a dud racer
Juan: 'Kimi's no better than me'
Notes from NASCAR on TNT conference call Notes from NASCAR on TNT conference callHeld Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2005
Conference call participants: TNT/NBC NASCAR play-by-play announcer Bill Weber, TNT/NBC NASCAR Analyst Benny Parsons, TNT/NBC NASCAR analyst Wally Dallenbach and TNT/NBC producer Sam Flood

Flood on the new ‘bubble cam’ being introduced at the Richmond race: “The ‘bubble cam’ is an extra camera on the roof that will be focused on whatever car is in 10th place at the time. Throughout the night we’ll have the bubble cam focused on the bubble driver (the 10th place driver) because that’s the guy that (other drivers) have to get ahead of to increase (their) point total.”

Dallenbach on his pick for the 2005 NEXTEL Cup winner: “I like the defending champion (Kurt Busch). I just think those guys were so strong last year for the last ten races and they are still a strong race team. It’s hard to call Kurt Busch a sleeper. I think those guys are going to be very tough the last ten races.”

Weber: “I think it’s going to be hard to beat Tony (Stewart), just because they’ve been there and they’ve done it before. I think they are very strong – maybe even stronger than they are showing…they’ve been there before and that’s a huge advantage. I think right now if you want to win it you have to pass the (number) 20 car.”

Parsons: “If Matt Kenseth makes it in, and currently he is, but if he’s in the top ten, I think he’s going to be hard to beat. If he gets in, there will be five Roush cars in the top ten. (Greg) Biffle has had a tremendous year…I think he will come back strong. It will be Kenseth or Biffle (and) I do think that it will be a Roush car.” zzzz

Parsons on his pick for the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup contenders: “The only difference from the current top ten that I have is that I have Ryan Newman in tenth place instead of Jamie McMurray…I think Newman will make up that one point and be in the top10.”

Dallenbach: “I thought (Ryan) Newman would be out and Jeff Gordon would be in…but the way this thing works, it takes one of these guys (on the bubble) to have a really good race and they are in. They are all good enough race teams to get in….McMurray kind of surprised me. They are a good race team and he is a good driver, and they can make it, but I just didn’t think they would have a good weekend because of all of the distractions from contracts and things like that…this thing is wide open for anyone of these guys.”

Weber: “I put (Jeff) Gordon in it when we went to Daytona in July and I’m going to stick with that. Newman now is the big question mark – Newman and McMurray. It’s about who can deliver under the circumstances when we get up (to Richmond). I would pick Gordon and the Newman, and McMurray thing is too close to call…it’s almost impossible to pick.”

Weber on Jeff Gordon: “You can compare the 2005 Jeff Gordon to 2005 (New York) Yankees or the 2004 (Boston) Red Sox because right now we have one game left before the playoffs and he’s got to win it to get in. He’s played mediocre ball at best all season, but he’s still got a chance to make the playoffs. And if he gets in the question is ‘do you want to have to race Jeff Gordon?’ Most teams will say, ‘No, I do not.’”

Dallenbach: “The story is really that (Gordon’s) two younger teammates are pretty much kicking his butt this year…He’s sitting there looking around himself and seeing the #5 (Kyle Busch) car running good and the #25 (Brian Vickers) car running good and (his team) can’t do anything right. (But) they’re not going to just lie down. They’re going to pull in every resource possible, and probably have a big meeting of the minds, to make sure they get Jeff everything he needs to get the job done. I feel very confident that Jeff will run great this weekend and get in.”

Parsons: “I think Jeff Gordon will run great this weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won the race.”

Flood on the affects of Jeff Gordon and/or Dale Earnhardt Jr. not making the cut for the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup: “I don’t think it will have the same affect as, for instance, the NBA has when they don’t have the Lakers. In NASCAR, (the favorite driver) is still racing, he’s not clearly out of it. He can go to Phoenix or Talladega and still win the race. So if you’re a (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) fan you’ve still got plenty to root for. There are two stories going on every week – the Chase (for the NEXTEL Cup) and the race winner. That’s the beauty of the NASCAR system.”

Parsons on the influx of drivers under age 30 capturing race wins: “Everything about racing today totally shocks me. When you look at the race cars and hear what these teams are using to get these cars around the tracks – the springs, the shocks, everything – they are very, very (highly) engineered racecars. They are not the old ‘seat of the pants’ racecars. All of this stuff comes out of a computer. It’s the young guys whose minds are not set on something that seem to be having the most success.”

Dallenbach: “You also have to take into account that these younger drivers are getting ‘A’ rides. It used to be that a young driver would come into the sport and they would be ‘B’ team or ‘C’ team. They would not get equipment that their veteran teammates would have. I think that’s changed in the last four or five years. These guys are getting the same equipment that their veteran teammates are…Because the cars are changing, you have to adapt. These young guys don’t have anything to look back on. They just get in the car and they drive it.”

Parsons on Jamie McMurray’s 10th place points standing, despite leading only one lap all season: “NASCAR races reward consistency.”

Weber: “The easy way to describe it is that (Jamie McMurray) has outraced and outscored the other guys. He’s outraced and outscored Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and now he’s trying to protect or improve his position this week. If he gets in we have no idea what could happen or how far he could go.”

Parsons on his selection for the location of the NASCAR Hall of Fame: “Ninety percent of the racing scene is located in Charlotte, North Carolina and I think it’s wrong for the (NASCAR) Hall of Fame to be anywhere else other than Charlotte. When fans come to (Charlotte) they can come see the past at a museum and the present if they go to shop or a restaurant they may see a personality that they see on TV. It’s the only place that makes any sense.”

Dallenbach: “For where the fans and where the teams are, it makes more sense to be in Charlotte. Charlotte is at the top of the list…it’s the heart of what racing is.”

Weber: “I don’t have a personal opinion, but (from a business standpoint) I believe it won’t be in Charlotte. It will be in a place that competes for the dollar and stands on its own. I believe it will be in an environment that’s not saturated with a racing environment.”

Flood on NASCAR racing in High Definition (HD): “The (NASCAR) sport is made for (High Definition). HD takes it to a level unimagined before, it’s a total experience.”

Formula BMW
Gelles Racing announces 2006 program Gelles Racing announces 2006 programGelles Racing announces today its supersize program will be effective again for rookie drivers that will be awarded special scholarship funding from the Formula BMW USA series for the 2006 season. This program will see eligible drivers get extra funding from Gelles Racing in order to facilitate their first year transition in this premiere entry-level open wheel racing series. Gelles Racing is a market leader in its innovative technological approaches to accelerate a drivers racing career.

“We know from past experience how difficult it can be for some drivers to find sufficient funding, admits team owner Bob Gelles. We have helped drivers in the past but with the corporate partners we retain again in 2006, Gelles Racing will be committed to give substantial additional funding to a rookie driver engaging the highly competitive Formula BMW program.”

BMW USA scholarship

Following the most recent shootout in Spain, Formula BMW USA will award five $40,000 scholarships for 2006. Anyone of those young drivers committing to race with Gelles Racing will be awarded an equal amount, effectively doubling their prize to $80,000. This supersize funding program is put together with the cooperation of our corporate sponsors.

These corporations have joined Gelles Racing in the last years and are impressed with the professionalism of the team and the visibility given to the drivers. Formula BMW USA schedule stages rounds at major events like two Formula One Grand Prix's (United States and Canada), Champ Car, Grand-Am Rolex and ALMS events. The 2006 Formula BMW USA final schedule will be announced shortly.

Champ Car Atlantic in 2006

With Gelles Racing stepping up to the new 2006 Champ Car Atlantic series, drivers will be able to work their way up the ladder series by staying within the same team for many years. Gelles Racing will announce its own testing schedule in the coming weeks but private testing is available all year-round.

For more information, you may contact Bob Gelles at (703) 926-2474 bob@gellesracing.com  or visit the Gelles web site at: www.gellesracing.com

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