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Kovalainen tops Wednesday times at Jerez Kovalainen tops Wednesday times at JerezRenault third driver, Heikki Kovalainen topped the times at Jerez on Wednesday, ahead of the final three races of the season.

The Finn, who will take over the race-seat vacated by his McLaren-Mercedes bound team-mate, Fernando Alonso in 2007, competed over 100 laps in the R26, his best a 1 minute 17.236 seconds, around three tenths up on Anthony Davidson, who was 'best of the rest' for Honda.

Testing now continues on Thursday.

1. Heikki Kovalainen Renault-Renault 1min 17.236secs 102 laps
2. Anthony Davidson Honda-Honda 1min 17.500secs 125 laps
3. Jose Maria Lopez Renault-Renault 1min 17.617secs 94 laps
4. Rubens Barrichello Honda-Honda 1min 18.425secs 89 laps
5. Robert Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari 1min 19.527secs 111 laps
6. Michael Ammermuller Red Bull-Ferrari 1min 19.614secs 102 laps

Rahal completes first day in Champ Car Rahal completes first day in Champ CarUPDATE Added photos below, by Greg Aleck/Fastlines/LAT Photo, of Graham Rahal's first Champ Car test today at Sebring.

09/13/06 Champ Car Atlantic driver Graham Rahal, 17, completed the first of a two-day test in a Newman/Haas Racing (NHR)-prepared Champ Car at Sebring International Raceway today.  Rahal got behind the wheel of a Champ Car for the first time and ran approx. 195 miles during the day while piloting three-time championship runner up Bruno Junqueira’s No. 2 Hole in the Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone race car around the 1.65-mile course with a best lap time of 52.4 seconds.   "It’s an honor to drive this car," said Rahal who resides in New Albany, Ohio.  "My dad always told me it was his dream to drive a car for Mr. Newman and Mr. Haas and now I’ve got a leg up on him.  It’s a family environment at Newman/Haas Racing; everyone made me feel at home.  If I can do the job I hope to drive for the team next year."  

Rahal currently drives the #18 Gehl Company entry for Mi-Jack Conquest Racing in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. With one race to go in the championship he has already locked up at least a second-place finish in the season standings after having won a series-high five of 11 races and he is only 12 points behind series leader Simon Pagenaud (253-241) with the season finale set to take place in Elkhart Lake, Wis. on September 24.  

"The biggest difference is the power and straightaway speed," said Rahal of the difference between an Atlantic car and a Champ Car.  "It was pretty interesting coming out of the pits with this power.  The car is 30 mph faster down the back straight but other than that it’s fairly similar.  I have two days to go out there and see what I can do.  You can’t put too much pressure on yourself or you break.  Especially with a team like this which is the best.  I’m pretty satisfied with my lap times today but I need to pick up speed tomorrow.  I want to do well but at the same time I can’t expect to be as quick as Sebastien and Bruno, I have to build up to it.  They have a lot of experience and a lot of miles in these cars.  I’m going to just keep my head down and stay focused."  zzzz

Rahal quickly reacquainted himself with the race course today after having competed on the long course in the Star Mazda series in 2005 where he finished third and in the 2006 12 Hours of Sebring where he finished sixth in the GT2 class.  During the day Rahal and NHR shared track time with the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car driven by Roberto Moreno and were able to accomplish their goals for the day.  

"It was a nice, straightforward test today," said Brian Lisles, general manager of Newman/Haas Racing.  "Graham didn’t make any mistakes and did everything we could have hoped for.  Now we understand what he needs from the car and we can work on improving tomorrow."  

McDonald’s® driver and two-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais was on hand during the afternoon to observe the test which will continue tomorrow morning.  The Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season resumes on September 24 with the Grand Prix of Road America which will be televised live on SPEED TV at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Mexico to get live TV Mexico to get live TVTV Azteca has announced that they will broadcast the Champ Car race at Road America live on national TV. Jose Arrambide reporting
New Champ Car being pushed to limit New Champ Car being pushed to limitAs any race car driver worth their Nomex will tell you, the only sure way to find one’s limits, is to occasionally overstep them. 

As the final phase of on-track testing nears completion for the 2007 DP01 Champ Car, the testing crew spent the day doing just that, pushing the limits of the Panoz Motorsports-built machine on another warm Wednesday at Sebring International Raceway. 

The car surpassed the 2,000 mile mark of testing after logging 327 miles today, rebounding after a slow Tuesday that was spent replacing a component that finally relented under the pressure of the test team’s interminable schedule. 

"We had a problem with a component in the gearbox yesterday but it was a part that we pushed to four times its normal useful life," said Champ Car Technical Director Scot Elkins. "That’s the whole idea of these tests. We want to guarantee a reliable product for our teams. In essence, we’re breaking the car so that they don’t have to." 

Today was also the first time that Champ Car teams were allowed to visit a DP01 test and representatives from CTE Racing – HVM, Forsythe, Newman/Haas, Dale Coyne and new entrant Pacific Coast Motorsports (pictured left) were on hand to see first-hand what the new car could do. 

What they saw was two-time Champ Car race winner Roberto Moreno putting the car through its paces again, 35 miles per stint, as he has done for each and every one of the 2,023 Sebring miles. 

"The car feels very similar to when I started," Moreno said. "But we have been concentrating more on logging miles than we have with making changes. But we have gotten great mileage from our brakes and all the systems are operating wonderfully. I really think the drivers are going to enjoy this car when they get it." 

The DP01 will be on track again tomorrow, with the final phase of the testing set to end on Friday. The test team will then pack up and head North as the DP01 prepares to make its public on-track debut with some demonstration laps, Friday September 22 at Road America. Champ Car
New survey shows mixed results for NASCAR track New survey shows mixed results for NASCAR trackA survey of Kitsap County residents has found about half would like to see a NASCAR racetrack in the area and about half think it would be a bad idea. Elway Research Inc.'s survey of 600 county residents, released Monday, showed 46 percent were either strongly in favor or inclined to favor the speedway. The same number were either strongly against or inclined to oppose it. Nine percent had no opinion. The survey, commissioned by the county, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Florida-based International Speedway Corp. wants to build a track for NASCAR races and other events on 950 acres near Bremerton National Airport and the Mason County line. The organization has said it would spend $166 million on the track, and another $166 million would be paid by sales taxes and $13 million would come from taxes on ticket sales. Elway Research said those surveyed indicated the biggest benefit of the proposed track would be its impact on the economy. They said the impact on roads and other public works would be its biggest potential detriment. Many of the county residents surveyed said they expected their taxes to go up because of the track. ThatsRacin.com
RuSPORT to enter one car at Road America RuSPORT to enter one car at Road AmericaRuSPORT has announced that it will not enter a replacement driver for the injured Cristiano da Matta in the Grand Prix of Road America on Sept. 24.  Justin Wilson (#9 CDW / RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone) will be the lone RuSPORT driver in the upcoming Champ Car World Series event in Elkhart Lake, Wisc.

Da Matta continues to recover from a severe head injury he sustained during a Champ Car Open Test at Road America on Aug. 3.

“After investigating all of our viable options, we have concluded that it is in the best interest of RuSPORT to only compete with one car at Road America,” said Jeremy Dale, president of RuSPORT.  “This was a very difficult decision, but we believe it was the correct one.  We will continue to focus on Cristiano da Matta’s recovery, the da Matta family, and on our efforts to help Justin Wilson win as many races as possible for the remainder of the 2006 season.”

The 2006 Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America will take place Sept. 22-24.  The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel on Sunday, Sept. 24, beginning at 2:00 pm EDT.

tv news
Earnhardt to be Regis and Kelly guest Earnhardt to be Regis and Kelly guestDale Earnhardt, Jr. will be a guest on Live with Regis and Kelly on Thursday morning, September 14 to discuss the Chase for the Nextel Cup.  The show airs at 9:00 am-10:00 am ET.  Check your local listings for your time zone and channel.
Racing News
Another sprint car driver injured Another sprint car driver injuredVeteran sprint-car driver Tom Winegardner sustained three fractures of his spine in a crash Saturday at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga. While two of the fractures are in his neck area and one in his lower back, doctors at Atlanta Medical Center believe he will make a full recovery within a three- to four-month period.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
FIA, Bernie, criticize drivers over Monza safety
Bernie calls Alonso penalty a 'farce'

Alonso should apologize - Schu's manager
Back to work for retiring Schu
$50m Kimi 'sad' to leave McLaren
FIA to see teams' idea for new rear wing
Schu the best sportsman - Tiger Woods
track news
Homestead adds temporary seats for NASCAR finale Homestead adds temporary seats for NASCAR finaleDue to overwhelming demand for additional tickets to the season-ending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Ford 400, Homestead-Miami Speedway today announced its plans to strategically construct temporary grandstand seating near the action-packed Turn Four of the speedway allowing more fans to attend South Florida’s ‘must-see’ annual event. The temporary, end-of-the-season seating addition will be for this year only.

Beginning Saturday, September 16 at 9:00 a.m., sports fans can secure their tickets by calling toll-free at 1-866-409-RACE, or online at homesteadmiamispeedway.com or racetickets.com.

Catapulted by the success of the ‘Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup’ and its position as a series championship event, this year’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway experienced [its] earliest race sell-out ever, nearly five months prior to the waving of the green flag in November. zzzz

“The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Ford 400 continues to be the toughest annual sports ticket in South Florida,” said track president Curtis Gray. “Since we announced a sell-out in June, there have been non-stop ticket requests from passionate sports fans in South Florida and across the country flooding our ticket office for this ‘must-see’ national championship event. We’re excited that we can help meet such a strong demand.”

Great seats are still available for the remainder of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway including the season-finales for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Busch Series. 

The Chase for The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway November 17-19 as the world's best drivers take their shot at becoming the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion. All three NASCAR Series, the Craftsman Truck, Busch, and NEXTEL Cup will crown champions under the lights during Ford Championship Weekend. To purchase tickets to events at HMS, or for more information, log onto www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com or call the HMS ticket hotline at 1-866-409-RACE.

Racing News
FIA high-speed crash barrier FIA high-speed crash barrierLast weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza was the first Formula One race to see the introduction of a new High Speed Barrier developed by the FIA Institute and the FIA. The system, which was installed at the end of the run-off areas at the circuit’s second chicane and Parabolica corners, was designed for particular use at corners with high speed approaches and limited run-off areas.

Over six years in research and development, this special barrier is capable of absorbing the energy of a 200 kph impact whilst keeping the g-forces experienced by the driver to tolerable levels.

The FIA Institute developed the unique system, following a program of testing in collaboration with German automotive safety group DEKRA.

The new barrier involves three separate layers, the first of which is made up of plastic blocks filled with polyethylene foam, a material which is known for its high energy absorption properties and vertical steel plates to resist penetration. The blocks were created by French company TecPro International. The TecPro blocks are plastic containers measuring 1.5m long, 1m high and 0.6m deep. Each end is formed into a half circle, enabling them to connect with each other like a giant puzzle. zzzz

A 1.2m gap then separates the TecPro elements from the second part of the barrier system, a four or six row tire barrier where each stack of tires is fitted with a 30cm diameter tube made from high density polyethylene. The final part of the barrier system consists of a guardrail or specially designed concrete wall. The whole barrier system is just four meters deep.

The FIA were delighted with the installations at Monza and will be discussing the feasibility of similar installations at other tracks with the relevant circuit authorities.

The owners of circuits licensed for Formula One are required not to discuss safety measures with third parties (including drivers). This is to prevent self-appointed experts, with little or no understanding of the latest developments in circuit safety, causing confusion and undermining the significant safety benefits which are now being achieved.

formula bmw
Walker Racing Team Australia to offer test to Kart champ Walker Racing Team Australia to offer test to Kart champINDIANAPOLIS – Having seen more than his share of drivers in his many years as a Champ Car team owner, Derrick Walker knows the value of a karting career to those that aspire to the top levels of open-wheel racing.

This season, Walker Racing and Team Australia will help a deserving driver take one more step toward the dream of racing in the Champ Car World Series, as the team will award one deserving Champ Car ROTAX Kart Challenge driver with a test in the team’s Formula BMW car. The award winner will be determined by a panel of judges following the U.S Grand Nationals and will come from the 16-18 age bracket.

As the Official Karting Series of Champ Car, the Champ Car ROTAX Kart Challenge serves as the first step for young drivers to begin their climb toward an open-wheel racing career, with thousands of youngsters battling each race in hopes of becoming the next Paul Tracy or Sebastien Bourdais. The series will conduct its national championships in conjunction with the Champ Car event at Road America September 22-24, crowning its 2006 champions on that same weekend. zzzz

“Given our involvement in all three efforts, Champ Car, Atlantic, and Formula BMW USA, I think it’s fantastic to see that Champ Car is making an effort to connect with the karting fraternity in a really positive way,” Walker said. “These young kids are our stars of the future and all too often the road to the top of open wheel is a complicated and difficult one.  I compliment Joe Ramos Jr. and the ROTAX Max Challenge program along with Champ Car for bridging the gap in making the connection and secondly for providing an opportunity for these deserving drivers.”

The Champ Car ROTAX Kart Challenge program consists of more than 200 events held through approximately 30 regional challenge series in the United States. Those regional series culminated in regional finals earlier this summer, leading to the September 22-23 U.S. Grand Nationals.

“We owe a lot to Derrick Walker and Champ Car for making this possible,” stated Joe Ramos Jr, Program Director for the Champ Car ROTAX Kart Challenge. “The opportunity Walker Racing and Team Australia have created through this test session embodies the true intentions behind the partnership between Champ Car and the ROTAX Kart Challenge.  The chance to step out of a ROTAX kart and into an open-wheel car solidifies the ROTAX series as a true step in Champ Car’s developmental ladder.  I hope this is just the beginning of what our series can do for aspiring drivers looking for a Champ Car career.”

Details regarding the date and location of the test will be released in the coming weeks.

2007 Grand-Am Hoosier PaceSetter Program 2007 Grand-Am Hoosier PaceSetter ProgramDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Officials from the Grand American Road Racing Association and Hoosier Racing Tire announced earlier this week the expansion of the Hoosier PaceSetter program for the 2007 season of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, now including the top 15 teams in the Daytona Prototype class and top 10 teams in the GT class that competed in each round of the 2006 season. The record bonus pool will offer $810,000 in available prize money next season.

Introduced in 2004, the Hoosier PaceSetter Program is designed to reward teams for their professionalism and commitment to the Rolex Series. This past season, a total of 19 Rolex Series teams enjoyed Hoosier PaceSetter status, which included designated parking in the paddock, early technical inspection and a prize money bonus pool worth more than $500,000. The expansion of the program in 2007 will offer the same benefits in addition to over $300,000 more in purse money to a maximum of 25 teams. zzzz

"The Hoosier PaceSetter program was designed to recognize and reward the top teams in the Rolex Series with a perfect participation record," said Grand American Road Racing President Roger Edmondson. "From its inception, the program has maximized the relationship our organization has with our great partner, Hoosier Racing Tire. Additionally, the perks of the PaceSetter program have provided teams with extra incentive to compete in every round of the Rolex Series season."
Edmondson announced the expansion of the Hoosier PaceSetter program Monday evening at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas during the 2006 Rolex Series Champions Banquet. The 2006 Daytona Prototype team champion No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley was also recognized at the ceremony as the top Hoosier PaceSetter team, and will have the opportunity to earn $100,000 in bonus money next season.

"The recently completed season was one that included many memorable moments," said Edmondson. "And the fact that so many teams were entered for every race is a true testament to the commitment of the owners, drivers and crew members. As the series continues to grow, it becomes more and more important to acknowledge the competitors not only for their loyalty to participate, but also for their success on the track."

A series of official test sessions will see the Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes and GT cars take to the track in preparation of the 2007 season, including November 6-7 at Daytona International Speedway and December 5-6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in addition to the traditional Daytona Test Days, January 4-6, 2007. The 2007 race season will kick-off with the 45th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the weekend of January 27-28.

Ferrari testing at Fiorano and Paul Ricard Ferrari testing at Fiorano and Paul RicardFirst day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working today at Fiorano.

Today, Luca Badoer took to the track, to tackle a program of Bridgestone tire development and testing of new components aimed at the final part of the season. The Scuderia's official test driver completed a total of 86 laps (9 on the short version of the track,) the quickest in a time of 57.579.

The Scuderia continues testing tomorrow, when Michael Schumacher will be on track at Le Castellet.

Hornish tops $13 million in earnings Hornish tops $13 million in earningsSam Hornish's 2006 season paid off in a big way. In addition to becoming the second IndyCar Series driver to win the season championship and Indianapolis 500 in the same season, Hornish earned more than $3.7 million in race winnings and bonus money, becoming the first IndyCar Series driver to earn more than $13 million over his career.
Motorola to back Patrick in 2007 Motorola to back Patrick in 2007Two days after completing her five-year association with Rahal Letterman Racing, IndyCar Series star Danica Patrick opened a new chapter with Andretti Green Racing.

With the announcement of her team's Motorola title sponsorship package and the unveiling of her 2007 black and blue Honda-powered Dallara, the 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year said she's looking forward to the next step in her IndyCar Series career. Argent Mortgage, XM Satellite Radio, GoDaddy.com and AirTran Airways are associate sponsors.

"Someone referred to (the car's colors) as the Batmobile, which was fast," said Patrick, who drove a street-legal replica of the car on Chicago's Michigan Avenue before the announcement in an art gallery. "It's black with that little bit of blue. It's a hot car and will pop on the track like no other. It will look good in first place."

Patrick completed her second IndyCar Series season with a 12th place in the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean on Sept. 10 at Chicagoland Speedway. While she said the day was bittersweet, she's looking forward to new challenges.

"It's something new, and change is good," she said. "But I'm going to miss not being able to see some of the guys as much as I do driving for (Rahal Letterman Racing). I'll always be grateful for the things Bobby and everybody at the team has done to help me and my career, and give me the best car possible.  zzzz

She will join a team that produced two of the past three series champions (Dan Wheldon in 2005 and Tony Kanaan in 2004). Wheldon left last November to join Target Chip Ganassi Racing for this season, and Patrick will join Kanaan and Marco Andretti, this season's Bombardier Rookie of the Year, as drivers confirmed for '07.

"It's a huge step for me to be joining such a successful team whose only goal is to win races," Patrick said. "I'm greatly honored."

Patrick caught the attention of veteran open-wheel driver and team co-owner Michael Andretti with her four-lap qualifying run that resulted in a second-row starting position in her inaugural '500.' She backed up the effort with a scintillating run, becoming the first female to lead a lap in "the Greatest Spectacle in Racing," and finished fourth.

"I really like her attitude," said Andretti, who finished third in the 90th 500-Mile Race in May. "I thought, 'Man, I'd like to have her on my team one day.' I really didn't believe that it would happen. I was really surprised Bobby didn't sign her after the Indy 500 that year."

When the opportunity arose, AGR principals sprung into action.

"When she came to us and said she was available, we said, 'Well, we'd love to have you drive with us. Really, we got the deal done pretty quickly because both sides really wanted it to happen."

Andretti said the combination of experience and communication will go a long way in returning the team to prominence. Kanaan (Milwaukee) and Marco Andretti (Infineon) recorded the only victories for AGR.

"What's going to put all of them in Victory Lane next year is working together," Andretti said. "I stressed that to Danica, and I think she realizes it. With them and the fourth guy we're going to have in a car, it's going to be a really good, tight team.

"But we have a lot of work to do over the winter. We're going to maximize our time to try to catch up to the (Marlboro Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing) red cars. We have a lot of ideas on how to do it; we just needed time. To do it in the middle of the season you can't. But now that we have time when we're putting a lot of programs together, hopefully we'll have it figured out by the time we get to Homestead next year."

Nashville Superspeedway Returns To 2007 IndyCar Series Schedule Nashville Superspeedway Returns To 2007 IndyCar Series ScheduleThe IndyCar® Series will return to Nashville Superspeedway in 2007, bringing the confirmed number of races to seven. The IndyCar Series’ annual stop at Nashville will be held on Saturday, July 14. A 100-mile Indy Pro Series™ race at the track will be held in conjunction with the IndyCar Series event.

The IndyCar Series has previously announced six events for 2007:
. April 1 - Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
. May 27 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway
. June 3 - The Milwaukee Mile
. June 9 - Texas Motor Speedway
. June 24 - Iowa Speedway
. Aug. 12 - Kentucky Speedway
The remainder of the 2007 IndyCar Series schedule will be announced at a later date.

Red Bull to run three at Jerez Red Bull to run three at JerezFollowing the departure of Christian Klien, Red Bull Racing is going to be running his replacement Robert Doornbos, the likely third driver Michael Ammermueller and,  Tonio Liuzzi of Scuderia Toro Rosso. Liuzzi is not there to learn about the car but rather is probably doing set-up work for the team for the races ahead as neither Doornbos nor Ammermueller have enough experience to do that work.
Hamilton meeting with McLaren officials today Hamilton meeting with McLaren officials todayFormula One's first black driver, Lewis Hamilton, 21, will meet senior officials at McLaren-Mercedes today to discuss his introduction to grand prix racing.

Formula One bosses will privately be hoping that Hamilton will help to expand the appeal of a sport which has often been branded elitist.

Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's commercial rights holder, has made no secret of his desire to see Hamilton on the grid next season.

Hamilton is expected to make his debut as a McLaren-Mercedes test driver at Silverstone next week. He will then return for more intensive assimilation in November when Formula One prepares for next season.  More at The Telegraph

Neel Jani Champ Car bound Neel Jani Champ Car boundChristian Klien's decision not to accept the offer of a Red Bull-sponsored Champ Car drive in 2007 with Kevin Kalkhoven’s PKV Racing has opened the way for Scuderia Toro Rosso test driver Neel Jani to head off to America, where he hopes he will finally get his name in lights and use success in America to return one day to F1. Jani is 22 years of age and has been racing since 1998 when he began kart racing in Switzerland. He switched to cars in 2001, driving in Formula Renault for the 2001 and 2002 seasons before moving up to the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup with Jenzer Motorsport in 2003. He switched to DAMS in 2004 and then moved on up to GP2, joining the Red Bull-sponsored Racing Engineering. For a period he was a Sauber test driver - the team keen to have its links with a rising Swiss star - but when Sauber was sold, he moved on to become test driver with Scuderia Toro Rosso. During the winter months he raced for Team Switzerland in the A1GP Series and won in Dubai, his consistent scoring also helping Switzerland to second place in the series.

The switch to PKV is yet to be confirmed but the team has had a poor year with Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge. Plans to run a third car for team partner Jimmy Vasser never took off.

The decision to go to the US is an interesting one for Jani but as Red Bull has a glut of drivers in F1 at the moment with David Coulthard, Mark Webber, Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed all expected to race next year. Robert Doornbos being given a try-out now that Klien has departed, a situation where testing may be reduced considerably in the future and on the horizon the specter of Sebastian Vettel coming under Red Bull control in 2009. Jani may have concluded that racing in America is his best hope for longterm success. Grandprix.com

NASCAR acquires CASCAR NASCAR acquires CASCARToronto - In support of its initiatives across Canada, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) today announced the creation of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.  Scheduled to launch in May 2007, the series includes a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Canadian Tire - an iconic Canadian brand with strong national presence.

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will operate nationally in Canada with a schedule of 10-12 races (May-October).  The series will provide new racing opportunities for teams and drivers from the former CASCAR series.  The official NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule, point fund and tracks will be announced at a later date. 

The series will receive support from NASCAR's extensive resources, including competition, research and development, marketing, licensing and communications.  A dedicated staff will operate the series, with NASCAR Canada providing additional support in sponsorship, licensing, marketing and media initiatives.  zzzz

''NASCAR racing is a popular, growing sport in Canada, enjoyed by millions of passionate fans,'' said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Vice-President of Racing Operations.  ''The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will help attract new Canadian fans and competitors and bring the excitement of NASCAR racing to new fans in Canada.  We also recognize the tremendous history and heritage of CASCAR and welcome its fans and competitors into this exciting new series.''

NASCAR has a strong fan base in Canada with 5.8 million fans, representing one out of four Canadian adults.  The average Canadian NASCAR fan has been following the sport for approximately 10 years.  The Canadian NASCAR fan base is truly national with fans from all across the country:  British Columbia - 12%, Alberta - 11%, Manitoba/Saskatchewan - 6%, Ontario - 39%, Quebec - 24%, Atlantic Canada (made up of all Atlantic provinces) - 8%.
In addition to becoming title sponsor of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Canadian Tire, the most-shopped general merchandiser in the country, will become the official automotive retailer of NASCAR in Canada.  Canadian Tire will offer exclusive customer promotions, seasonal marketing programs and national advertising and in-store programs in partnership with NASCAR Canada.  As part of the partnership agreement and its continued focus on being first-to-market with new and exciting products, Canadian Tire will explore licensing opportunities, including developing a new line of NASCAR products for the automotive aftermarket.

''NASCAR and Canadian Tire share a passion for motorsports and automotive products,'' said Todd Sharman, Vice-President, Automotive, Canadian Tire Retail.  ''We are excited that through this partnership we are able to bring the NASCAR racing experience to Canadian fans and look forward to creating an exciting, new lineup of NASCAR branded products.''

''NASCAR Canada is pleased to welcome Canadian Tire to NASCAR as its officially designated automotive retailer in Canada.  It's a natural fit, as our fan base is Canadian Tire's customer,'' said Randy Paul, Managing Director of NASCAR Canada.  ''NASCAR fans will benefit from this association with Canadian Tire, whether it's watching NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races on TSN, attending the new racing series, purchasing licensed products in-store, or participating in NASCAR-themed events at dealers across Canada.''    

TSN, a NASCAR broadcast partner for more than 20 years, will help market the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and draw new fans to NASCAR and stock car racing in Canada.  Among these efforts, TSN is developing a monthly magazine-style show that will showcase the many aspects of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.  The program will spotlight the stars of the series, race news, updates and highlights.

NASCAR is the No. 1 televised motorsport in Canada.  The 2006 Daytona 500 was the most-watched motorsport race in TSN history with a national average audience of 568,000 viewers.

Albers says old men keep young guys out Albers says old men keep young guys outChristijan Albers believes it is time for a number of older Formula One drivers to leave the sport and make place for young talents. The Dutch Spyker MF1 Racing driver said young talents are not given enough chances to prove themselves in Formula One.

The main reason why there are not that many young talents entering F1 is clear to Albers. He told Dutch newspaper Telegraaf: "The older drivers stick around too long. But the teams are also to blame. They look at the familiar names too much I think. There are so many young drivers out there who are at least as quick but they don't get the chance."

Woods reckons Schumacher is King Woods reckons Schumacher is KingTiger Woods has entered the debate over who is the world's current leading sportsman by nominating Michael Schumacher.

Golf’s world number one, looking to make this week’s HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth his sixth straight tournament victory before he turning his attention to the Ryder Cup, was at courtside in New York on Sunday to witness Roger Federer win his ninth tennis grand slam at the age of just 25.

But it is the long-term success of 37-year-old Schumacher, winner of a record seven Formula One world championships, that Woods believes puts the German ahead of both himself and the Swiss tennis star.

"I have to say Michael for his consistency over the years," said the 30-year-old American on arriving in England.

"He’s performed year-in, year-out in a globally-watched sport under immense pressure.

"It’s hard to separate yourself in any sport, but it’s so much easier to do in an individual sport. There’s nobody to rely on - you play well as a individual you are going to win.

"What you are seeing with Roger, myself and Michael is that we have been consistent over the years. You have to bring it each and every time you compete."

With 12 majors already in his career, Woods is second in the all-time list behind Jack Nicklaus` 18, while Federer is sixth in the tennis standings, needing five more slams to catch Pete Sampras.

The two spoke before and after Federer's four-set win at the US Open over Andy Roddick and Woods commented: "It’s neat to have a person you can talk to. The things he is dealing with and I am going through are comparable.

"We are a lot of things in common and I think we are going to be friends for a long time." U.TV

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
Injured, angry Alonso skips Jerez test
Williams to debut Toyota power
Ferrari not planning to rush 2007 engine

F1's GPDA back away from Monza boycott
Red Bull deny Schu comeback talks
Poland say Kubica is F1's 'new King'
Hamilton shaping up for McLaren debut
No brotherly love - Ralf
Ferrari worried about Schu loss
Dick Eidswick’s wife Patti dies Dick Eidswick’s wife Patti diesPatti Eidswick (wife of former Champ Car President Dick Eidswick) died in her Ann Arbor home on Sunday, September 10, 2006 at age 62 after a long battle with cancer.  She was born Patricia Lynne Hasell in Kearny, New Jersey September 4, 1944 the daughter of Alfred and Patricia (Jaremback) Hasell.  She was valedictorian of her class when she graduated from Morris Hills High School in Denville, New Jersey.  She had lived in Ann Arbor since 1969 where she worked for Comshare, a computer service company where she met her husband Dick.  She attended the University of Michigan and studied in the Intensive Japanese Language program, learning to speak, read and write Japanese. 

Patti traveled the world and never tired of seeing new places and meeting new people.  In the last 10 years, her interest in Greek History took her to many of the Mediterranean sites of the ancient Greek world including Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Crete, Italy, Sicily, Tunis and other interesting places. 

She devoted her life to making other people happy through thoughts of kindness and gifts of friendship.  A gourmet cook, Patti created delightful dinners and parties for friends from around the world. 

She married Dick on November 22, 1972 in Ann Arbor.  They are long time members of Barton Hills Country Club where they have wonderful friends who helped Patti through her difficult time with love, dignity, thoughtfulness and an eternal sense of humor.  As the “cheerleader” of the Comshare alumni  family of friends, Patti’s spirit and positive attitude will be missed.  She is survived by her husband, Dick; her brother Robert W. Hasell, his wife Barbara and their two children Jackie and Bill.

A memorial service will take place at Muehlig’s Funeral Chapel between 3pm and 8pm on Wednesday, September 13, 2006.  A private burial service will take place at Washtenog Memorial Park on Thursday, September 14, 2006.  The family would like to thank St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, the Oncology Center, Michigan Heart and Arbor Hospice for their love and care of Patti.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make donations to these organizations.

Industry News
BMW introduces hydrogen car BMW introduces hydrogen carMunich/Los Angeles, CA - BMW today announced the introduction of the new BMW Hydrogen 7, the world's first hydrogen-drive luxury performance automobile for everyday use. The car - a vehicle that has undergone the regular Product Development Process - will be built in a limited series and deployed to selected users in the U.S. and other countries in 2007. It is equipped with an internal combustion engine capable of running either on hydrogen or on gasoline and based on the BMW 7 Series.

BMW is the world’s first car maker to present a hydrogen-drive car which has successfully completed the process of series development in Europe: Featuring a hydrogen combustion engine, the BMW Hydrogen 7 is the result of a consistent development strategy now rendering this trendsetting concept of sustained mobility fully suitable in today’s world.

The BMW 7 Series Hydrogen 7 is powered by a 191 kW/260 hp twelve-cylinder and accelerates from 0–100 km/h in 9.5 seconds. Top speed is limited electronically to 230 km/h or 143 mph. Should the hydrogen supply dwindle, the dual-mode power unit featured in the BMW Hydrogen 7 switches over quickly and conveniently to conventional premium gasoline.

By offering the world this highly practical solution, BMW is demonstrating its technological leadership in the area of future-oriented drive systems. Furthermore, the integration of hydrogen drive into an existing vehicle concept, already proven with merit in the vehicle market, paves the way for an alternative to conventional drive concepts fully accepted in the market with all the assets the customer is looking for in practice. zzzz

The launch of the BMW Hydrogen 7 is a milestone en route to an era of mobility independent of fossil fuels not only for the BMW Group, but for the entire automotive industry and the energy industries.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 clearly proves that liquid hydrogen can be used as a source of energy for a production car. By the introduction of the BMW Hydrogen 7, the BMW Group establishes powerful momentum to the ongoing development of a supply infrastructure serving above all to set up additional hydrogen filling stations and providing sustained mobility on a broad basis in the future.

BMW CleanEnergy – the BMW Group’s energy strategy.

The promotion and ongoing development of hydrogen technology as the appropriate type of energy for the future is an essential part of the BMW Group’s CleanEnergy strategy. In this context, the BMW Hydrogen 7 serves as a pacemaker. It enables all development partners participating in the concept to demonstrate the practical qualities and everyday benefits of this jointly developed technology.

The BMW CleanEnergy concept seeks to provide a drive technology serving to fulfill current and future demand for individual mobility free from fossil fuels. Hydrogen technology offers the opportunity to dramatically reduce emissions generated by personal transport; particularly to minimize the emission of CO2. Running in the hydrogen mode, the BMW Hydrogen 7 basically emits nothing but vapor.

The vision of sustained mobility free of harmful emissions applies not only to the actual operation and use of the car, but also to the generation of drive energy. The BMW Group recognizes that finding alternatives to the consumption of fossil fuels limited in their availability is critical. Contrary to such conventional fuels, hydrogen meets the requirements of the future both in its generation and in its sustainability, being embedded in the regenerating cycle of nature. Recovered from biomass or with the help of energy from the sun, from wind and hydro-power, hydrogen is available in virtually an infinite supply. And if necessary it can also be generated with the help of natural gas, biogas, or other sources of primary energy.

As a result, the type of hydrogen recovery and production can be flexibly adjusted to current conditions and requirements, ensuring maximum diversification and facilitating a gradual substitution of fossil fuels in the course of time.

Testing at Kentucky Today Testing at Kentucky TodayKentucky Speedway is scheduled to play host to test sessions for Evernham Motorsports drivers #9-Kasey Kahne and #10-Scott Riggs along with Hall of Fame Racing driver #96-Tony Raines Sept. 12, and the new Nextel Cup Series Toyota Team Red Bull Thursday and Friday, Sept. 14-15. Fans are able to view testing for free from the designated area outside the speedway Fan Center off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Rte. 35. Kentucky Speedway PR
Brian France a father Brian France a fatherNASCAR chairman Brian France became a father this week. His wife, Meghan, gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, on Tuesday in California.
All-American Girl Racing Wins SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300 All-American Girl Racing Wins SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300
(Amanda Drenning, Heather Bonanni, Beccy Gordon, Robyn Gordon)

ORANGE, Calif. --  All-American Girl Racing captured a second consecutive win in Primm Valley Saturday during the SCORE Las Vegas Primm 300.  Despite two flat tires and a driver change, the girls were first to the finish line and captured class victory.     

"Today was awesome," said driver Robyn Gordon.  "We are proud to bring home another win for All-American Girl Racing and SoBe Life Water.  The course was extremely rough; however the car was absolutely flawless thanks to the hard work of Travis Fletcher and our entire team.  Starting dead last stuck us behind several slower cars and it was tough to manipulate through their dust.  I was worried it would slow us down too much, but our lap times were very impressive.  The only thing that slowed us down was changing the flat tires in the pit.  Honestly, I didn't even know they were flat while I was out there.  My co-driver, Amanda, did an amazing job navigating for the first time."    

The SoBe Life Water 2-seater buggy finished its 2 laps (148 miles) in 3 hours, 39 minutes, 46 seconds with an average speed of 40.406 mph and a top speed of 91 mph.  Sisters Robyn and Beccy Gordon shared driving duties while co-drivers (passengers) Amanda Drenning and Heather Bonanni navigated the rough terrain.  Driver Kate Sutton was scheduled to participate, but a last minute illness kept her on the sidelines for this event. zzzz   

"Navigating for Beccy was an amazing experience," said Heather Bonanni. "Being a navigator for the first time was nerve-wracking at first, but the minute Beccy took off after the driver change, I immediately felt confident in her driving abilities and comfortable sitting next to her. She is a great driver and really impressed me on how she handled such a rough course.  I'll sit next to her any day!"    

This year's SCORE Primm 300 was slated as one of the toughest courses in series history marking the girls' victory an impressive run.  Of 168 official starters, there were only 86 finishers.      

"This race is dedicated to Lou at SoBe," said Beccy Gordon.  "Without his belief in our team and our abilities, we would not be here.  We also need to thank everyone that has stood behind us, our sponsors, family and friends. This win solidifies our place in this sport.  We are out here to have fun, compete and most importantly win.  I'm so proud to finally receive a BFGoodrich Winner's hat! Off to the 1000 we go..."    

Next up: MORE Powder Puff Race For The Cure, Oct. 14, 2006, SCORE Baja 1000, November 15-18, 2006

Michael Schumacher: "From now on only the title matters" Michael Schumacher: "From now on only the title matters"The day after the Monza win, recalling the crowd under the podium and announcement that he was retiring, the emotion is as high as ever. Thinking it over, Michael can only smile.

"It was an indescribable day. I think I did the right think saying that I would retire having won. I know that many people were surprised by my decision but, for me, it was the perfect moment. I think that Ferrari behaved admirably and left the decision entirely up to me. After selecting the Monza weekend for the announcement, at Istanbul I felt I had to take more time to think and I asked myself if the end of the year would have been the best time. However, during the tests at Monza when Jean asked me when I would have preferred to make the decision, I decided once again for post-race at Monza. I wanted to focus totally on the race to come. Today, I feel good about it".

The choice to retire is in line with Michael's style. He has an unusual competitiveness as the defining trait in his life and in his sporting quests. "I am not getting any younger and it is only natural that I ask myself whether I have the strength, energy and motivation to drive for another year and stay at the top", he explained. "Obviously, I am still fit and competitive but would I have still been in the future? Simply 'driving' is not enough for me. It is not my style. I am pleased to have taken this decision alone and calmly. For this I have to thank Ferrari, Willi, my manager over the years. He has often provided me with support during the time we have worked together, almost twenty years. I think that is all. We have complemented each other perfectly. He was the first to point me in the direction of F1 but he also gave me the freedom to retire.

My Formula 1 goodbye, as announced, will not be a goodbye to Ferrari or Willi. We will work together again in the future and I am happy about this". The future doesn't interest the seven time champion just yet as the current aim is the world title. "We still have three races left and we have to take our chance. We have almost made up the gap in the Drivers' championship and already overtaken Renault in the Constructors' standings. Both titles are within reach. From now on, all that counts for us is the title. Everything else can wait". Ferrari

Jean Todt: "They are simply stupid" Jean Todt: "They are simply stupid"Three hours after an emotional Michael Schumacher had stood on the top step of the Monza rostrum, and had then explained to the World that he was going to quit as a Formula One driver at the end of the current season, it was the turn of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team principal Jean Todt to explain his feelings regarding the future loss of his World Champion, and the 2007 team line-up.

"It's a mixed feeling," said Todt. "First of all, I will describe my ultimate feelings after Brazil, because at the moment, Michael is very strong, among the strongest drivers in the history of motor racing, of Formula One. There are still three races to go, so that's what I have in my mind. When the last race has happened, I will comment on that.

"Michael and I are very close, we have a common friendship, affection, respect, we see a lot of things in a common way and we are professional as well. Definitely, with Michael, we will spend a lot of time together in the future as we have been doing for the last eleven years, but it doesn't mean that we need to work together."

Kimi Raikkonen has been signed to replace Michael Schumacher, and Todt was asked if he thought it was possible to have the same kind of relationship with another driver as he's enjoyed with Michael. "The answer is no, it's always different. With Michael, we have some special relationship and I also have a very strong relationship with Felipe which is different and I'm sure we will have a very strong relationship with Kimi which will be different again. You know the good thing with human beings it's not like a car, where you have the same specifications, each human being has individual specifications which is probably something I enjoy a lot."

Todt was then asked about the signing of Raikkonen, which some saw as an open secret. "What is important is that we never had any kind of pre-contract, we had a signed contract, that's all, so sometimes I was smiling a bit when I saw those speculations or private meetings to try to get Kimi, but the important thing is that we feel Kimi is a very strong driver, very talented driver. I like him as a person and he's committed for the few next years to Ferrari." zzzz

What qualities had Todt identified in Kimi that had attracted him? "First, you must look at the market to see who is available and who you would like among the available people. Maybe it's a bit unfair because we have new young drivers arriving who are doing very well: Felipe, Kubica today did a very strong race. You have some drivers coming from GP2 who are maybe very talented but let's say when we were in a position to make a choice, we looked at the three quickest drivers available. One was already driving for us, one was our favorite and we have him, so honestly, it was an easy choice, and fortunately it was an easy discussion because he wanted to join Ferrari and we wanted him to join Ferrari so it was easy."

Did Todt think Raikkonen could attain the same level of success as Michael? "The same level would be difficult, I would say, depending on the time etc. Kimi has been very competitive and it's up to us to try to deliver him the best support, the best car. Michael last year accepted a race, a gift. He did not win one single race so we need to deliver a good car, reliable, and I'm sure that Kimi will be able to use it well."

Inevitably, Todt was asked whether driving alongside Raikkonen had influenced Michael's decision. "Some people have speculated that Michael made his decision because he did not want to compete with Kimi. They are simply stupid," said Todt.

"Now," continued Todt, "knowing Michael's decision, having made that official, there will be further motivation to allow him to leave with another Drivers' title but we know it won't be easy. With three races to go, we are three points ahead in the Manufacturers' championship, two points behind in the Drivers' and five points ahead for Felipe for third position.

"We have a good car, Bridgestone has done outstanding work by producing and supplying us with very good tires, so the team is very motivated, very motivated to do the best possible, to achieve what we want for the championship." Ferrari

Where is Champ Car’s diversity? Where is Champ Car’s diversity?A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, After winning the GP2 Series Championship Lewis Hamilton was walking in the pits side-by-side with Bernie Ecclestone. As Michael Schumacher starts to close his racing career, it appears that Formula One has not only a future World Champion but they may have the next Tiger Woods in F1. But F1 is not the only series that seeks to increase their diversity, NASCAR through its Drive for Diversity program has a slew of talented Black drivers such as Chase Austin, Marc Davis and Chris Bristol that will possibly race in either the Truck Series or Busch Series next year and in a couple of years will be racing in the Nextel Cup Series. And in A1 Grand Prix Team South Africa recently signed Adrian Zaugg to race in the first round of the series at Zandvoort.

As an African-American and a fan of Champ Car racing for over 20 years the series has only had Willy T. Ribbs. While things are looking up thus far, in 2007 I would like to see Kevin Kalkhoven go after driver Adrian Zaugg (right) through Red Bull and hopefully see him in the Atlantic Series before moving up to Champ Car in 2008. It's time that the series start to look at Black drivers. They excel in many sports and can excel in racing given the chance. Sincerely, Alistair Fennell
Alonso to skip Jerez test Alonso to skip Jerez testWorld champion Fernando Alonso will skip this week's test at the Jerez circuit after the Renault driver bruised his knee during practice for the Italian Grand Prix. He will rest this week in order to be fully fit for the Chinese Grand Prix.

"I banged my knee on the side of the chassis during practice in Monza, and there is some bruising," said Alonso. "Of course, I raced with the problem at the weekend, but we took the decision not to test this week to let it recover in the best way possible.

"To be honest, I am really frustrated with the situation because I wanted to be out there testing. We have new tires, new developments on the car and engine parts to test as well.

"It will be a very busy and important week in Jerez."

V8 SuperCars
Tentative '07 V8 SuperCar schedule Tentative '07 V8 SuperCar schedule
Date Venue
March 1-4 Adelaide Parklands
March 23-25 Barbagallo
April 20-22 New Zealand
May 18-20 Winton
June 9-11 Eastern Creek
June 22-24 Hidden Valley
July 19-22 Queensland Raceway
August 16-19 Oran Park
September 14-16 Sandown
October 3-7 Bathurst
October 18-21 Surfers Paradise
November 1-3 Bahrain
November 16-18 Symmons Plains
November 29-December 2 Phillip Island
Industry News
Bosch to expand in USA Bosch to expand in USAAt a time when most U.S. auto suppliers struggle to cut costs and retain market share, executives for Germany's Robert Bosch GmbH say their company is thriving and continues to expand in North America.

"We are a company that has always targeted products which are technology-oriented and we can really invest into for long-term growth, which we are keen to do so," Peter J. Marks, chairman, president and chief executive of Bosch USA, said in a recent interview. "We really haven't changed our growth strategy over the last 100 years in this market."

Marks and Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of Robert Bosch's board, were recently in New York as part of events surrounding a celebration of Bosch's 100th anniversary of operations in the United States. A gala event also took place in Detroit.

Despite the heavy competition in the North American market, Fehrenbach said Bosch wants to expand its sales in North and South America to 25% of its total sales, up from its current 19%, by 2015.

Marks said that, while the volume of automotive sales might not be growing in the United States, the country still represents one of the world's biggest automotive markets.

The company recently expanded its North American presence when it, along with partner Mann & Hummel Group, acquired Troy-based ArvinMeritor Inc.'s Purolator replacement filter business.  More at Detroit Free Press

Industry News
DCX cuts Hemi production DCX cuts Hemi productionDaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group has cut production of its legendary Hemi V-8 by nearly 20 percent as more consumers decide to trade power for fuel efficiency and the company prepares for lower light-truck sales through the year.

Chrysler recently lowered Hemi production to 1,300 a day from 1,600 at its Saltillo factory in Mexico, company officials said.  The reduction indicates the automaker has been forced to pull back production on its profitable Hemi -- along with its standard 4.7-liter V-8 engine -- as it whittles SUV and truck output in the third and fourth quarters due to sluggish sales.

New Champ Car in action at Road America New Champ Car in action at Road AmericaAccording to this ad on ChampCar.ws, the new Panoz DP01 Champ Car will be on display and in action during the Road America weekend in less than two weeks. As we understand it, there is a plan to run some demonstration laps in the new car at Road America.

It's not expected that Champ Car will use this demonstration to turn laps faster than the current Lola, though ultimately the car will be faster, the goal now is to test reliability and in this case, to turn some demonstration laps for the fans. We do expect to see some fairly competitive times, and one will assume the driver will be Roberto Moreno, who has done all the testing to date.
Racing News
Paul Castoro dies Paul Castoro diesUPDATE “God Speed Speedbump” decals will be on the Panoz DP01 at Road America, Kevin Kalkhoven tells AutoRacing1.com. "We read the forums and care for our fans!"

09/07/06 Our Condolences To The Castoro Family
It’s with deepest sorrow that we share the passing of a part-time AutoRacing1.com contributor and special forum member Paul Castoro known more commonly by his handle Speedbump.
For those of us that have shared his passion for open wheel racing, and especially a successful Champ Car event in his hometown of San Jose, it is sad news indeed. He will be missed.

He worked for Della Penna Motorsports for quite some time.  He started off doing errands for them when Jacques Villeneuve ran the Atlantic series. We think that was '93 or '94. He continued helping them out until he was hired fulltime towards the end of 1995 season when Richie Hearn won the series championship! All in all, he was involved in the Atlantic series for about 4 years and he really enjoyed it, but it was nothing compared to what he learned while being involved in the CART series....it just blew me away he was quoted as saying!

The following year with help from Ralphs and Food4Less they raced the entire IRL season and 3 CART races, then in '97 they went CART full time......Paul stayed with DPM until health issues forced him to resign sometime during the 2000 season.

Labonte and Petty get new Crew Chiefs Labonte and Petty get new Crew ChiefsIn an effort to prepare for the 2007 season, Petty Enterprises announces crew chief changes on both the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge. Veteran Bill Wilburn has been hired to crew chief Kyle Petty and the #45 Dodge team. In addition, championship crew chief Paul Andrews will now handle the same duties for 2000 Nextel Cup champion Bobby Labonte. Greg Steadman returns to his position as Director of Competition. The changes are effective immediately. Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR
Hornish collects cool $1M Hornish collects cool $1MReid, who served as play-by-play announcer for the IndyCar Series, hosted the awards show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The program will be broadcast at 3 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 14 on ESPN2.

Indy Racing League founder and CEO Tony George presented Hornish with a $1 million championship bonus check and a mini IndyCar Series championship trophy. A mini IndyCar Series championship trophy also was awarded to Marlboro Team Penske owner Roger Penske.

"The first two championships were pretty special, but to give Roger Penske his first championship in the IndyCar Series is a very special thing for me," Hornish said. "It's been three years since I've won a championship and I know how hard I worked to put myself in position to do this again. I'm just really excited to have won. Now I can't wait for next season to arrive, so we can try to do it again."

In addition to the title, Hornish accepted the $10,000 Bosch Platinum Award and the $20,000 Marlboro Pole Award. Matt Jonsson, chief mechanic for Hornish's No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Honda-powered Dallara, accepted the Chief Mechanic of the Year Award and its $25,000 prize. zzzz

Marco Andretti of Andretti Green Racing accepted the $50,000 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award and the Rising Star Award. Andretti received his award, which honors the late Tony Renna.

Howard accepted the Firestone Firehawk Cup along with a $5,000 award from Lincoln Electric. Howard also won $5,000 as Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year, while Chris Griffis, chief mechanic for Howard's No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry, accepted $5,000 as Mo's Gold Chief Mechanic of the Year.

"There are not many words that can describe how big and how excited I am about winning the championship," Howard said. "It has opened up some doors already, and hopefully those doors can turn into a full-time ride at the next step up. It's definitely better than finishing second."

Wade Cunningham collected $5,000 as the Oxley Financial Advisory Group of Raymond James and Associates Lap Leader Award and a $2,500 award from Gregory & Appel for winning the "Top Driver Award."

IndyCar Series award winners
Championship driver: Sam Hornish Jr.
Herff Jones Championship Driver Award (ring): Sam Hornish Jr.
TAG Heuer Championship Driver Award (watch): Sam Hornish Jr.
Championship team: Marlboro Team Penske
Championship team sponsor: Philip Morris/Marlboro
Championship team manager: Tom Wurtz
Chief Mechanic of the Year Award ($25,000): Matt Jonsson, Marlboro Team Penske
Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award ($50,000): Marco Andretti
The Rising Star Award: Marco Andretti
Second place championship driver: Dan Wheldon
Second place championship team: Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Third place championship driver:  Helio Castroneves
Third place championship team: Marlboro Team Penske
BOSCH Platinum Award ($10,000): Sam Hornish Jr.
Marlboro Pole Award ($20,000): Sam Hornish Jr.
Manufacturer Recognition Awards: Honda, Firestone, Delphi, Dallara, Panoz, Xtrac, K&N Filters.
Delphi Safety Award: Holmatro Tools

Indy Pro Series award winners
Championship driver (mini Firehawk Cup): Jay Howard
Herff Jones Championship Driver Award (ring): Jay Howard
Lincoln Electric Company Championship Driver Award ($5,000): Jay Howard
Championship team (mini Firehawk Cup): Brian Stewart Racing
Lincoln Electric Company Championship Team Award (welding product): Brian Stewart Racing
Second place championship driver: Jonathan Klein
Second place championship team: Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Lincoln Electric Company Second Place Championship Team Award (welding product):
Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Third place championship driver: Wade Cunningham
Third place championship team: Kenn Hardley Racing
Lincoln Electric Company Third Place Championship Team Award (welding product):
Kenn Hardley Racing
The Oxley Financial Advisory Group of Raymond James and Associates Lap Leader Award ($5,000):
Wade Cunningham
Gregory & Appel "Top Driver" Award: Wade Cunningham

Racing News
Montoyas have 2nd child Montoyas have 2nd childJuan Pablo Montoya and his wife Connie now have a new addition to the family.  Paulina was born in Miami at 9:00am, and both mother and daughter are reported to be doing fine.  They also have a son Sebastian.
USAC driver injured USAC driver injuredBryan Clauson has emerged from a six-hour surgery for neck injuries suffered in a USAC National Sprint Car Series accident Friday at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo.   Clauson is resting comfortably in St. John’s Hospital in Springfield following Sunday’s procedure and doctors are optimistic regarding a complete recovery. USAC
tv news
Germans tune in to see Schumacher win Germans tune in to see Schumacher win7.71 million households tuned on RTL in Germany in to watch Michael Schumacher win Sunday's Italian GP and then to announce his retirement.  That equates to a 50.1 share.
Berrier Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award Berrier Wins Crew Chief of the Race AwardKevin Harvick and Todd Berrier returned to Richmond International Raceway with a vengeance.  The duo made all the right calls in Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400, redeeming their near-win in last May’s Crown Royal 400 with a victory.  Harvick held the lead six times for a total of 54 laps before he took the checkered flag to claim his third win of the season.  Berrier’s race-winning performance earned him the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.

At the track’s previous Nextel Cup event, Harvick dominated the race, only to have an off-sequence pit strategy take him out of contention.  Berrier wasn’t about to let that happen twice.  “I never thought about taking two tires or pitting out of sequence tonight,” explained Berrier.  “That cost us here back in May and I wasn’t going to let it happen again.” zzzz

The No. 29 Goodwrench Chevrolet was strong throughout the night.  While many competitors fought tight handling race cars, Harvick was near-perfect all race long.  “The only adjustments we made were to free it up,” said Berrier.  “We made small adjustments as the track tightened up, but overcompensated and got it a little too free towards the end. We got it worked out, though.”  With the car dialed in, Harvick mounted a late-race surge that culminated with him passing Kyle Busch on lap 399.  

A panel of voters, including Tony Eury Sr., a member of the local media and a WYPALL® Wipers representative, all cast their vote for Berrier as the Crew Chief of the Race.  “Harvick’s car was good all night long, but it was Todd’s decisions that made it a winner,” said Eury Sr.  “It was definitely a top-three car, but all of Todd’s adjustments allowed it to fight for a win.  The track conditions changed a lot throughout the race and Todd did a good job keeping up with it and preparing the car for it.”

For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, WYPALL® Wipers presented Berrier $1,000.  At the end of the season, the Nextel Cup crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.  This was Berrier’s third Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him for second-place with Tony Eury Jr.  Doug Richert, Philippe Lopez, Frankie Stoddard, Scott Miller, Alan Gustafson and Roy McCauley are tied for fourth-place, all with one win.  Mike Ford and Chad Knaus are tied for third-place, all with two wins.  Robbie Reiser and Kenny Francis are tied for first-place, both with four wins.

Manager rules out team boss role for Schu Manager rules out team boss role for Schu(GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager has ruled out speculation that the retiring German racer could be groomed as a replacement team principal for Ferrari boss Jean Todt next year.

The Italian team announced that Schumacher, the 37-year-old seven time champion, would maintain an unspecified Ferrari role beyond the end of 2006.

But manager Willi Weber is quoted by Sport-Informations-Dienst as describing team management as an 'impossible' probability for his charge.

The German did not, however, completely rule out a future driving return for Schumacher, by vowing to 'answer the telephone' if a team principal or two called.

''You never say never,'' Weber said, ''but first I organize a big party for (2006 season finale) Brazil!

''Perhaps I will also bring along a new Schumacher cap, with eight stars. If he wins this title, he will cease to be a king and instead be an emperor.''

Ferrari dawn 'new era' in F1 Ferrari dawn 'new era' in F1(GMM)  Ferrari commenced a 'new era' at Monza on Sunday, the Italian press proclaimed on Monday morning.

''Michael (Schumacher) would gladly have continued,'' national sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote, ''but not alongside (Kimi) Raikkonen.''

Tuttosport added: ''For ten years formula one identified itself with Schumi and Ferrari.  Nothing will be the same again.''

'La Stampa' said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has 'closed one door and opened another'.

''A new era begins, but what the future holds is still uncertain.''

Alonso - F1 no longer a sport Alonso - F1 no longer a sportUPDATE "What happened on Sunday isn't the problem," Briatore had told RAI television. "It is what happened before the race which is strange. This is a world championship which has already been decided at the table.

"We have understood how things go -- it has all been decided...they have decided to give the world championship to Schumacher and that is what will be," he said.

"Compared to what is happening in Formula One, 'calciopoli' just makes me smile," added Briatore, referring to the football scandal which resulted in leading club Juventus, owned like Ferrari by the FIAT group, being demoted to the second division as punishment.

Alonso also hit out at the race stewards and said that he was ashamed to be part of the sport.

"And not only me," said Alonso when he was asked by Spanish television if he felt the FIA was helping Schumacher.

"Everybody here thinks the same, and the only thing that encourages me is the support I'm getting from everybody. Seeing the track marshals cheering and applauding me, telling me to beat the Ferraris, the Italian press saying it's a robbery, that motivates me, but it's no consolation.

"I feel shame. I'm embarrassed by this sport. This is probably the most embarrassing moment in modern sporting history, what's happening this year."

09/10/06 World champion Fernando Alonso declared Formula One no longer a sport after Italian Grand Prix stewards demoted him five places on the starting grid in a major blow to his title hopes on Sunday.

Renault invited reporters to their motorhome on Sunday to see the video evidence for themselves and hear from a very mad Alonso.

The film showed that Massa was never closer than 100 meters to the blue Renault ahead of him.

"If this is blocking anyone intentionally, we will have a lot of problems from now on in qualifying," said the 25-year-old Alonso.

"If this is blocking also I don't understand how we will race today if this is the minimum distance between cars.

"I am a sportsman, I love the sport...I love the fans coming here, a lot of them from Spain. And I don't consider any more Formula One like a sport," alluding to the fact race officials are trying to influence the results to help Schumacher win his 8th title before retiring.  zzzz

Meanwhile, the media in Spain has come to Alonso's defense.

"Dirty war to stop Alonso from winning the title," was the headline on Spain's top newspaper Marca.

"The FIA leaves Alonso without options," reported AS.

"The decision to relegate Fernando Alonso to tenth place on the grid for 'blocking' Felipe Massa is a real scandal," wrote Barcelona's Sport newspaper, with the headline "The FIA fixes the championship with another penalty to Alonso."

"Low blow to Alonso," was the feature story on La Nueva Espana.

Briatore backtracks, but Alonso not sorry Briatore backtracks, but Alonso not sorry(GMM)  Renault's Flavio Briatore has back-paddled on suggestions at Monza that the governing body and Ferrari are attempting to fix the outcome of the 2006 title.

In the context of Fernando Alonso's controversial qualifying penalty, the team principal said the saga is worse than the Italian football scandal.

Briatore, whose comments are reportedly under investigation by the FIA for a possible disrepute charge, told Radiotelevisione Italiana: ''(They) have decided to give the world championship to Schumacher and that is what will be.''

But in a statement provided by the Renault press office, the team intimated that the media's 'reporting' of the comments was at fault.

Briatore is quoted as saying: ''These comments ... have been completely taken out of context.

''A jokey remark has been turned into something it was not intended to be.''

Alonso, however, did not retract his similarly critical comments.  He said at Monza on Sunday evening: ''Now that Michael has announced his retirement, it is clear what they are trying to make happen.''

Ferrari's Jean Todt tried to steer clear of the brawl, but appeared to offer some advice for the disgruntled pair.

''You don't have to be in the business if you aren't happy to do it,'' he said.

Doornbos replaces Klien Doornbos replaces KlienRed Bull Racing has announced that the team's third/test driver, Robert Doornbos will replace Christian Klien for the final three races of the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Klien lost his seat alongside David Coulthard, when it was announced last month that Mark Webber would partner the Scot at the Milton-Keynes based outfit in 2007. Although attempts were made to keep Klien in the Red Bull 'family', providing he moved to the DTM or Champ Cars, the Austrian wants to remain in F1, and this has resulted in him cutting his ties with Dietrich Mateschitz.

"Following Christian Klien's decision to pursue other options within Formula One, Red Bull Racing has agreed to release him from his contract with immediate effect," confirmed a statement from RBR. "The team's test and reserve driver Robert Doornbos will contest the last three races of the season for the team, alongside David Coulthard."

Doornbos meanwhile, who made his debut in F1 at the end of last year, when he was drafted in by Minardi for the final eight races of the season replacing Patrick Friesacher, is delighted to get the chance to race again at the pinnacle of the sport in China, Japan and Brazil.

It's fantastic to know that I'm going to be racing again, I'm really looking forward to it," said the Dutchman. "Friday testing and helping the team this year has been great experience, but to get back out on to the race track on Sunday is what it's all about. I've got to know the guys at Red Bull Racing really well this season, so I'll be working with them all closely to do the best job I can for the team and myself."

RBR team boss, Christian Horner believes that Doornbos is the logical replacement: "Further to Christian's recent decision, we have released him to focus on the next stage of his career. Having done a solid job for us in the third car this season and having previously competed in eight grand's prix, Robert is the logical replacement. He will start preparing for his Red Bull Racing debut at the team's test in Jerez this week," concluded Horner.

Racing News
Quotes of the past week Quotes of the past week
5-Time Indy winner to retire 5-Time Indy winner to retireFive-time United States Grand Prix winner and seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher will retire at the end of the 2006 season, bring an end to his record-setting Formula One career.

Schumacher made his announcement to millions of TV viewers around the world shortly after driving his Ferrari to an emotional victory Sept. 10 in the Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

"There's been a lot of discussion for a long time concerning my future," he said, "and I think all the fans, all the people interested in motorsport, they have a right to have explained to them what's going to happen.

"I'm sorry it may have taken longer than some of you wanted, but you have to savor a moment, and you have to find the right moment, and we feel this is the right moment.

"At the end of this year, I've decided, together with the team, that I'm going to retire from racing."

Schumacher's F1 career began 15 years ago in the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. This year's Italian Grand Prix was his 247th F1 race. Only Riccardo Patrese, with 256 starts, has participated in more races.

Schumacher holds virtually every F1 record including: victories: 90; poles: 68; podiums: 153; fastest race laps: 75; and career points: 1,354. He has won seven Drivers World Championships and helped his teams win seven Constructors Championships. zzzz

"I should thank my family, starting, obviously, with my Dad, my passed-away Mum and obviously my wife (Corinna) and my kids (Gina and Mick) who, at all times, supported what I was doing," Schumacher said. "Without their support, without their strengths, to survive in this business and this sport, and to perform, I think would have been impossible."

Schumacher thanked his many friends in the Benetton (now Renault) and Ferrari teams. With the exception of his debut Grand Prix with Jordan, he spent his entire career driving for just these two teams.

As Schumacher has shown with four victories in the last six races, including the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he has lost none of his motivation or competitiveness.

But it was just after this year's United States Grand Prix that he decided this would be his final season in F1. With that victory, he became the first driver to win five major races at IMS in the 97-year history of the fabled facility.

"It has obviously, naturally, been difficult in a way," he said of the decision to retire, "but at one moment I simply knew that all the effort, all the energy, all the motivation you need in order to be competitive - and that's the only reason I want to be here - I can't see I'm going to have that for further years."

Ferrari already had Kimi Raikkonen basically signed up for the 2007 season, and the team told Schumacher he could remain in the other seat. But if Schumacher decided to retire, his seat would be offered to his current teammate, Felipe Massa. Schumacher decided to give Massa the chance to continue with Ferrari.

"It has been such a good time for all this time," Schumacher said of his F1 career, "and there's no point just to hang in there and maybe take away the future of a very young talented driver like Felipe . obviously my replacement . I was aware of this for quite a long time.

"But with Felipe it was obviously around Indianapolis that his future had to be decided, and I didn't see a reason to just hang in there and maybe take away his opportunity. I believe he's a very talented and great person."

Ferrari has officially announced the Massa will drive for the team through 2008, and Raikkonen has a contract for 2007 through 2009.

"Ferrari existed before, and Ferrari will exist after (me)," Schumacher said, "and I think Ferrari has taken a very good decision with their driver lineup to make sure that the success can continue."

As for his immediate future, Schumacher wants to concentrate on the last three races. He trails Fernando Alonso by just two points in the Drivers Championship and wants to close his career with a record eighth title.

Schumacher has created an unforgettable era in the history of Grand Prix racing, Ferrari Managing Director Jean Todt said.

"Michael has been the author of a unique chapter in this history of F1," Todt said, "and of Ferrari, in particular. It has yet to reach its conclusion, and what he has achieved extends over and above the results obtained. He is an exceptional man and will become a legend as a driver."

Of all his rivals over the years, Schumacher most enjoyed his battles with two-time World Champion and 2001 United States Grand Prix winner Mika Hakkinen.

"I think the nicest battles I had were with Mika," he said, "always at a very high level without any animosities, pure racing."
As for life after F1, Schumacher plans to take it easy for a while.

"I always said that the day I will retire," he said, "I will just do nothing for a while, and then I will see what I'm doing, what is my mood and what's going to happen. But I will always be part of that Ferrari family. I will have to find out how, but I will always stick with my friends there."

Can Schumacher imagine his life without F1?

"I don't need to do that right now," he said. "We shall see afterward. It is difficult to answer that now."

Scott Speed, the only American race driver in F1, expressed his admiration for the glittering career of Schumacher.

"What Michael Schumacher has accomplished is amazing, but as a driver I don't look so much at the overall picture because a lot of these are circumstances you can't control," Speed said. "Look at the last two years: He has struggled a lot more because the whole package was not right. But there is no question that of every driver whom I have met, he is the one that pushes the most. He is the one that tries the hardest that I have seen. That is amazing, and I have a lot of respect for him because of this."

"I really wish he would stay because it is good for the sport that he is here. Every sport needs to have a hero in it. He is that in F1." USGP

FIA 'note' Briatore outburst FIA 'note' Briatore outburst(GMM) An FIA spokesman on Sunday admitted that the governing body was considering comments made by Renault principal Flavio Briatore in the wake of the controversy at Monza.

After Fernando Alonso was penalized by stewards for a qualifying indiscretion, Briatore accused the FIA and Ferrari of race-fixing that exceeds the recent Italian football scandal.

Renault was one of seven teams charged with bringing the sport into disrepute following the Indianapolis affair of last year, although the spokesman did not comment on whether Briatore's comments at Monza might attract similar attention.

He said: ''The comments attributed to the Renault team principal have been noted by the FIA and are under consideration.''

Alonso, meanwhile, was still visibly angry about his pre-race penalty and subsequent failure to finish the race as evening fell over Monza, whilst trying to pay tribute to the retiring Michael Schumacher.

Reflecting on the multiple world champion's forthcoming absence, the Spaniard said: ''I think maybe formula one will focus more on sport after that.''

Paddock news from Monza: 3 Paddock news from Monza: 3(GMM)  Newly sold and renamed team Spyker MF1 Racing's first press announcement was an upcoming test for GP2 driver Adrian Valles.  The 19-year-old will make his F1 debut later this month at Silverstone.


After the Ferrari announcement on Sunday, McLaren thanked Maranello bound Kimi Raikkonen for his five years at the silver squad.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug said: ''During that time he has become a great racing driver.  I am sure we will continue to have great respect for each other and will remain friends.''


Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz at Monza confirmed speculation that the energy drink would link up with Renault for engine supply in 2007.  It is still unclear, however, whether the French power plant will be fitted to Red Bull Racing or Toro Rosso cars.

Briatore slammed for race-fix allegation Briatore slammed for race-fix allegation(GMM) Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has accused countryman Flavio Briatore of lacking 'class'.

Briatore, the Renault principal at Monza, insinuated on Italian television that Fernando Alonso's qualifying penalty involving Felipe Massa on Saturday hinted at an FIA-Ferrari conspiracy to fix the title.

''People around a table have already assigned this championship,'' he said. ''There won't be a fight to the finish any more.''

Even in the PR-softened official team press release, French squad Renault blamed the stewards' controversial decision for Alonso's engine failure, with the Spanish driver quoted as saying the race 'was decided off the track'.

Montezemolo, clearly resenting the intimation of race-fixing in Ferrari's favor, on a day in which Michael Schumacher announced his retirement, boomed: ''In life you need to have a little bit of class and so I prefer not to respond.''

He said Briatore had 'missed a good opportunity to stay quiet'.

Schu scoffs at F1 comeback rumors Schu scoffs at F1 comeback rumors(GMM) The ink on Ferrari's press statement is not yet dry, but already it is rumored that Michael Schumacher could be planning a return to formula one in the future.

Stories are doing the rounds that the great German could one day return for McLaren, Red Bull or BMW. Mercedes' Norbert Haug didn't exactly deny the speculation in a conversation with 'RTL' on Sunday.

''He has my telephone number,'' the German grinned, although countryman Mario Theissen ruled out BMW as Schumacher's next destination by estimating the 37-year-old's decision as 'final'.

Schumacher himself also tried to give the rumors a short life.

''I would not make a decision to retire today if I knew that I am coming back tomorrow,'' the Ferrari driver told reporters in the Monza paddock, whilst admitting that he made up his mind to quit at Indy for the US GP.

Retiring Schu to retain Ferrari role Retiring Schu to retain Ferrari role(GMM)  Michael Schumacher will retain a role at Ferrari beyond his retirement as a race driver at the end of the year, the Italian team said at Monza.

''I am happy to be still part of Ferrari,'' the German veteran confirmed on Sunday.

A Ferrari statement explained that a 'definition' of the 37-year-old's role will not be outlined until the end of the year.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said: ''His relationship with Maranello will continue, albeit in a different form and I am very happy about that.''

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn, meanwhile - who may also retire at the end of the season - fought back tears as he grappled with Schumacher's decision to quit racing at the end of 2006.

''It's hard to digest,'' the Briton told German television 'RTL', ''but I am pleased that he is going to stop in such fantastic form.

''You have to applaud him for that.''

Ferrari statement on Schumacher retirement Ferrari statement on Schumacher retirementFull statement from Ferrari announcing Michael Schumacher's retirement:

Michael Schumacher will retire from race driving at the end of the 2006 World Championship.

Whatever the final result of this year's championship, Michael leaves Formula One holding almost all the records. To date, he has taken seven drivers' world titles and has contributed to the same number of team wins in the constructors' championship.

He has taken part in 247 Formula One Grands Prix (178 of them at the wheel of a Ferrari,) won 90 (71,) been on pole 68 (58) times, setting 75 (52) fastest race laps. He has amassed a total of 1354 points, 1051 of them in a Maranello car. No one in the world of motor racing has done better. zzzz

Following his decision, the only record that will elude him is the one for the number of race starts. He will be able to reach the 250 mark, just six short of the record held by Riccardo Patrese.

Schumacher has been with Scuderia Ferrari for eleven seasons, a demonstration of loyalty without equal in Formula One, to date securing five of his Drivers' titles here and contributing to six of the team's Constructors' titles. No other driver has ever won as much with the Scuderia.

"I had always said that the decision to retire would be his alone, but now that decision has been taken, I feel a sense of sadness," commented Ferrari President and CEO, Luca di Montezemolo. "We have lived through some unforgettable times together, some good some bad, achieving results that will be hard to equal.

"To Michael goes the thanks of everyone in the company and supporters of Ferrari for all the dedication he has shown to our colors, for the determination and courage with which he has worked, which has provided immense satisfaction. He is both sincere and passionate and has earned the affection of all of us and of our fans.

"His relationship with Maranello will continue, albeit in a different form and I am very happy about that."

"Michael has been the author of a unique chapter in the history of Formula One and of Ferrari in particular. It has yet to reach its conclusion and what he has achieved extends over and above the results obtained," added Managing Director, Jean Todt.

"He is an exceptional man and will become a legend as a driver. For me personally, he is a great friend and together we have lived through unrepeatable experiences. Having had the opportunity to work alongside him has been and will continue to be a privilege."

"Words are not enough and whatever I could say now will never fully express how much I love this fascinating world of motor sport and all it has given me," said Michael Schumacher. "From go-karting to Formula One, I have lived through moments that I will never forget. I am profoundly grateful for everything I have had.

"I want to thank everyone who has accompanied me, supported and inspired me, right back to the days of my childhood. Above all, a special thanks goes to Corinna and our two children, who have given me the strength to do what I have done. All these years in Formula One have been amazing, especially those spent alongside my friends in the Scuderia.

"Soon my future will belong to my family, while I am happy to be still part of Ferrari. But for now, what matters is this world championship."

At the end of the year, as is traditional, we will announce the new team organization, which will also include a definition of Michael's new role. Ferrari

Ferrari confirm Raikkonen, Massa Ferrari confirm Raikkonen, Massa(GMM)  Ferrari handed out a press release at Monza after the race confirming Italian grand prix winner Michael Schumacher's retirement after fifteen years in F1.

The Italian marque also unveiled Kimi Raikkonen, with a three year contract, as his replacement, while Felipe Massa has renewed his deal until the end of the 2008 season.

''I've loved every single moment,'' Schumacher, 37, told reporters, ''the good and the bad.''

Michael Schumacher announces his retirement at Monza Michael Schumacher announces his retirement at MonzaIn a very emotional and eloquent speech after winning the Italian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher announced his retirement from racing at the end of this season. He apologized for the delay in announcing his future plans to the media and his fans, but felt that today was a very special day to make the announcement.

Michael said he loved every single moment, the good ones as well as the bad ones, in his more than thirty years in racing that made this exceptional time of his life so special. He first thanked his family starting with his dad and his late mother. He thanked his wife, Corinna, and their children for all their support. He said without his family's support and strength, it would not have been possible to survive and perform in this sport.

He thanked all of his friends from his time at Benetton, and especially all the special friends he has made at Ferrari. He said it was a very tough decision to stop working together with everyone at this level.

Michael felt in terms of the timing of his decision, it was fair to find the moment that his teammate, Felipe Massa, had a chance to decide his future. He said Felipe is a very great guy and has been doing a very good job for the team. He's been very supportive and has been a really great teammate. There was a moment for Massa to decide his future and there was no point in taking Michael's decision any later so Massa could make his decision. As Michael's replacement, he said he was very pleased when he learned a long time ago that Massa would be his future replacement.

Michael said he would now like to concentrate on the next three wins and finish the season in style and hopefully win the championship. He said today's win is a very big step for the championship. He thanked everyone who has supported him at all the stages of his career.
Wallace wins ARCA race n Chicago Wallace wins ARCA race n ChicagoNASCAR Busch Series driver Steve Wallace won the ARCA race at Chicagoland Speedway Saturday afternoon.

Wallace, who shares the Rusty Wallace Inc. No. 64 Dodge with Jamie McMurray in the Busch Series, won the SK Hand Tool 200 by a margin of 5.936 seconds.

"Our mile-and-a-half cars just really fly," Wallace said. "Of course we've got some Penske horsepower under the hood, too, so that really helps. I think at one point we had a 15- or 20-second lead so that was really fun. I've got two more ARCA races on the schedule, including Talladega and Iowa in addition to some Busch races so were going to be really busy for sure."

Pantano makes it 2 for 2 at Monza Pantano makes it 2 for 2 at MonzaGiorgio Pantano has added his name to the short list of dual race winners over a race weekend by holding on in the closing stages of race two to cross the line just 0.4 seconds ahead of series champion Lewis Hamilton in Monza.

The Italian drove a superb race under unrelenting pressure from Hamilton, running an inch perfect racing line for 21 laps to claim his third win of the season for FMS International.

The win was set up at the start when he blew past the seven drivers in front of him on the grid to lead the field into the first chicane, with Hamilton right on his rear wing. He was assisted by polesitter Hiroki Yoshimoto's slow getaway bunching the field up behind him, which allowed the pair to blast past.

Clivio Piccione was the next man through from second on the grid, followed by Nicolas Lapierre, Alex Premat and Nelson Piquet Jr. Behind them was chaos as stalled cars delayed most of the drivers at the back of the grid, while in front of them Jose Maria Lopez failed to stop in time for the chicane and landed on Javier Villa's rear wing. The pair limped back to the pits and retirement.

Yesterday's fastest three drivers were showing that the had lost none of their speed overnight, with Pantano and Hamilton swapping fastest laps at the front while Piquet made short work of getting by the French drivers in front of him and put himself on the back of Piccione by the end of lap two.

With the front pair tearing off into the distance Piquet was desperate to find a way by Piccione and put himself in the hunt, but the Monegasque driver was resolute in defense: for lap after lap the Brazilian tried to find a way by, but Piccione somehow just hung on in front of him.

Piquet's job became more urgent when Hamilton ran well wide at Lesmo, coating his tires in gravel and sliding back to within touching distance of Piccione. Piquet redoubled his efforts with his title rival within sight, but coming into the first chicane he just lost downforce on the front of his car and gently spun through the corner.

Hamilton was now six seconds behind Pantano and drove like a man possessed, reeling in fastest lap after fastest lap in pursuit of one final win for the year while Piquet, now down in eighth position, drove equally fiercely as he attempted to undo the mistake he had made. zzzz

Meanwhile Premat had found a way to get past countryman Lapierre for fourth position, but his hard work was undone when he spun at the Lesmo corner and ran through the gravel trap: he lost five positions and was into the pits and retirement one lap later.

Piquet blew past Luca Filippi at the chicane next time by to put himself back into the points, right on the tail of Yoshimoto, but the Japanese was furious at himself for his poor start and was not in the mood to hand out charity.

But at the front all eyes were on the shrinking gap between Pantano and Hamilton. The Briton inevitably caught up to the Italian and was looking for a way past everywhere: he eventually got past at the Ascari complex, but as he had cut the corner Hamilton had no option but to hand the lead back and try again.

As his team boss Paolo Coloni sat nervously on the pitwall Pantano drive an inch perfect race in the closing laps, and when the checkered flag came out he had done enough: Pantano just held Hamilton off as the pair cross the line nose to tail.

Piccione was the next man to cross the line to bring home some silverware to his DPR team, while Lapierre was at the front of a train consisting of Yoshimoto, Piquet and Filippi. Hamilton got the extra point for fastest lap, the icing on the cake of his championship winning weekend.

Results Race 2

1. Giorgio Pantano FMS 21 laps 32m 08.597s
2. Lewis Hamilton ART +00.411s
3. Clivio Piccione DPR +14.075s
4. Nicolas Lapierre Arden +21.206s
5. Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN +21.680s
6. Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet +22.029s
7. Luca Filippi BCN +22.548s
8. Ernesto Viso iSport +28.507s
9. Gianmaria Bruni Trident +43.967s
10. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova +44.845s
11. Adrian Valles Campos +45.523s
12. Vitaly Petrov DPR +45.781s
13. Jason Tahinci FMS +61.274s
14. Lucas di Grassi Durango +68.214s
15. Franck Perera DAMS +2 laps [DNF]
Rtd Jose Maria Lopez Super Nova 17 laps completed
Rtd Andreas Zuber Trident 17 laps completed
Rtd Felix Porteiro Campos 16 laps completed
Rtd Alexandre Premat ART 15 laps completed
Rtd Sergio Hernandez Durango 12 laps completed
Rtd Adam Carroll Racing Engineering 5 laps completed
Rtd Alexandre Negrao Piquet 4 laps completed
Rtd Ferdinando Monfardini DAMS 4 laps completed
Rtd. Michael Ammermuller Arden 2 laps completed
Rtd Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1 laps completed

Injured Glock forced to miss final race Injured Glock forced to miss final raceTimo Glock has been forced to sit out the final race of the GP2 Series campaign, bringing an early end to his sensational second half of the season.

The German was injured in his lap 18 crash with Adrian Valles during the feature race, returning to the iSport trailer complaining of pain in both hand and wrist after contact with the barriers at the Parabolica. The incident could be traced back to an attempted pass on third-place championship rival Alex Premat earlier in the lap, as the Frenchman's robust defensive tactics allowed chasing cars to get a run on Glock. Luca Filippi made it safely through at the Ascari chicane, but Valles' move at the final corner was more optimistic and resulted in both cars going off.

Spyker MF1 Racing to test Valles Spyker MF1 Racing to test VallesGP2 driver Adrian Valles will receive his maiden test in a Formula 1 car later this month.

The 19-year-old Spanish driver will climb behind the wheel of the Spyker MF1 Racing M16 when the team tests at Silverstone Circuit on September 19th and 20th. The exact date of the test is still to be confirmed.

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Adrian has impressed the team with his performances in both Renault World Series and GP2. We understand the importance of being the first to test young talents like Adrian in order to assess their potential for Formula 1, and we are looking forward to a good performance from him."

Adrian Valles: "I am very pleased to have my first F1 drive with Spyker MF1 Racing. It is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate my capabilities, and I know that I will to reward them for the confidence they are showing in me."

Alonso, Renault rage at stewards' slap Alonso, Renault rage at stewards' slap(GMM) Fernando Alonso and his Renault team have reacted with fury to stewards' decision to penalize the Spanish driver for blocking.

Alonso, 25, must start Sunday's Italian grand prix from just tenth on the grid after it was ruled that, on an out lap late in the qualifying session, he 'impeded' Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.

''This decision is surprising and wrong,'' Renault's Pat Symonds fumed.

Indeed, after reviewing the on-board footage from Massa's car, some observers in the media centre were left wondering if they had been shown the right lap.

The only notable incident during the lap was a 'lift' or 'wobble' on the throttle in Parabolica, as Alonso's Renault loomed about 100 meters ahead.

Symonds told La Gazzetta dello Sport: ''To say it is a strange decision is to say very little.''

When asked if he thought stewards at Monza had sided with Ferrari, as the championship entered its final phase, the Briton said: ''That is up to you -- you are the journalists. You judge. I'm only an engineer.''

Alonso pedaled a similar line, commenting only that 'when Ferrari protests, you can never be calm'.

He told the Spanish press: ''What happened yesterday happened a hundred times already this year, also in the races.

''It is typical Ferrari. They try to take advantage of the smallest opportunities to try to get us.''

Renault's engine chief Denis Chevrier also marveled at the stewards' 'incredible' call.

''It seems they are trying to help Ferrari,'' he told 'AS' newspaper.

Paddock news from Monza: 1 Paddock news from Monza: 1(GMM)  McLaren protégé Lewis Hamilton moved one step closer to graduating to formula one at Monza by clinching the GP2 title.  Giorgio Pantano won the race, but Hamilton ensured that Nelson Piquet Jr can no longer grab the championship by setting fastest lap.

Unfortunately, the title was only made official after a stewards' enquiry, in which Pantano's fastest lap was declared illegal because he ignored yellow flags.

Former F1 driver, commentating pundit Martin Brundle, has warned the racing world to expect a surprise when Michael Schumacher is due to announce his future on Sunday evening.

The Briton told his column for The Times: ''My gut feeling is that he will somehow buy himself some more thinking time.''

Rossi outduels Capirossi in Sepang Rossi outduels Capirossi in SepangValentino Rossi took victory in the Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix after a heart-stopping final few laps at the Sepang circuit saw him and compatriot Loris Capirossi switch positions numerous times before the reigning World Champion eventually ran out the winner.

The race began with a surprise in the form of Dani Pedrosa, who had been rumored to be a possible non-starter for the event. However the Spaniard gritted his teeth to take up his fifth place on the grid, and got straight into the race as he blasted into the first corner in first position.

Pedrosa was closely followed by Capirossi and Rossi however, and soon the Italian duo had made their way past the rookie. As Pedrosa braved the pain from the stitched wound on his right knee to hang on behind the leaders, behind him his team-mate and championship leader Nicky Hayden struggled to stick with the front three. zzzz

At the front Rossi and Capirossi both made attempts to escape, but the pace of the pair was almost identical and there was nothing to choose as the race came down to its denouement. The Ducati led the Yamaha as the dogfight entered the final lap, and a six-tenths cushion as he crossed the line bode well for Capirossi.

Rossi had other ideas meanwhile, and put in a storming last lap to pass Capirossi in the tight uphill left-hander before pulling out another eight tenths to take the win. Capirossi brought his Ducati home in second, with Pedrosa just a further three seconds behind in third.

Nicky Hayden held off mid-race challenges from Sete Gibernau and Casey Stoner to take 13 points in fourth, whilst Gibernau himself was fifth on his return from injury. In the final laps Stoner was overtaken by both John Hopkins and Kenny Roberts Jr. to finish eighth, whilst Marco Melandri and Colin Edwards rounded out the top ten.

1. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 43min 7.829 secs
2. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 43min 8.678 secs
3. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 43min 11.692 secs
4. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 43min 13.609 secs
5. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 43min 17.130 secs
6. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 43min 18.910 secs
7. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 43min 19.667 secs
8. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 43min 20.096 secs
9. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 43min 22.848 secs
10. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 43min 27.738 secs
11. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 43min 32.200 secs
12. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 43min 38.713 secs
13. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 43min 44.164 secs
14. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 43min 56.606 secs
15. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 44min 6.910 secs
16. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 44min 13.616 secs
17. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 44min 45.691 secs

Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 20min 39.952 secs
Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team lap 1

Ferrari fighting to save Imola Ferrari fighting to save ImolaFerrari are pushing hard to have Imola reinstated on the Formula One calendar next year, team president Luca di Montezemolo said on Saturday. "I spoke this morning with (Formula One supremo Bernie) Ecclestone, I spoke yesterday at length with the Prime Minister," he told reporters at the Italian Grand Prix. "I told Ecclestone that for us it is very important that Imola remains. "Ecclestone gave me plenty of understanding and I want to talk to Prime Minister (Romano) Prodi again tonight to see what can be done because as you know there is a problem of economic investment and the modernization of the track. "I am still confident...for Italian motor racing, for Ferrari, for Italy and for (the region of) Emilia-Romagna, Imola is important," added Montezemolo.
Spyker cars acquires Midland MF1 Racing Spyker cars acquires Midland MF1 RacingSpyker Cars N.V. ("Spyker") manufacturer of high-end sport cars today announced that it has acquired Midland F1 Racing Limited ("MF1 Racing") of Silverstone, United Kingdom from Midland Resources Holding Ltd.


Team to be called Spyker MF1 Racing and will be a 100% subsidiary of Spyker.

Michiel Mol to join the Management Board of both Spyker and Spyker MF1 Racing as Director of Formula One Racing.
Mike Gascoyne becomes Spyker MF1 Racing's Chief Technology Officer effective November 1, 2006. Colin Kolles remains Team Principal of Spyker MF1 Racing.

Fred Mulder to join the Supervisory Board of Spyker.
Acquisition to be finalized by September 30, 2006.
Transaction to be financed by means of a fully underwritten share issue of 2,650,000 shares at $20 per share (totaling $53 million, the majority of which will be taken up by Michiel Mol), in addition to an interest free vendor loan for the remainder. The new shares represent 40% of all outstanding shares after the share issue.
All new issued shares shall have a 180 days lock-up

The enterprise value for MF1 Racing amounts to US$ 106.6 million payable as follows:
- Initial payment upon closing per September 30, 2006 of US$ 68.6 million.

- First deferred payment of US$ 15 million payable on the first anniversary of closing.

- Second deferred payment of US$ 23 million payable on the second anniversary of closing.

Earnings per share in the book year 2006 will increase as a consequence of the MF1 Racing acquisition and Spyker Cars expects to be profitable this year.

Transaction subject to approval by the Extraordinary Shareholders Meeting of Spyker Cars N.V. to be held in Zeewolde on Wednesday September 27, 2006 at 14:00 hours.

Announcement on 2007 engine supply agreement to follow shortly. zzzz

Victor R. Muller, Chief Executive Officer of Spyker Cars N.V. and Spyker MF1 Racing stated:
"Since we started the company in 2000 we have seen tremendous growth consistently year on year, basically doubling production every year. In order to maintain a strong growth path for a company with relatively limited means for marketing, the entry into the Formula One arena is an unparalleled way to both underline Spyker's commitment to racing and to benefit from a massive increase in brand awareness around the globe. It is my strong conviction that Formula One racing transmits values which are entirely in line with our brand values: heritage (as early as 1903 Spyker built the famous six cylinder four wheel drive 60HP Grand Prix racer), design, craftsmanship, performance and exclusivity. Moreover we expect that the Spyker road cars will seriously benefit from the F1 technology that we now have in-house. I am so proud of our team that worked around the clock to make this deal happen. It proves that the logo introduced in 1914 'nulla tenaci invia est via' still holds true today: for the tenacious no road is impassible. We welcome with open arms our new partner Michiel Mol who will join me on the Management Board of Spyker and Spyker MF1. His passion and business sense have paved the way for this transaction. He will make a major contribution to the overall success of both Spyker and Spyker MF1."

Michiel Mol, future Director of Formula One Racing of Spyker and Spyker MF1 Racing stated:

"Today my lifelong ambition became reality. After being involved with Formula One as a sponsor of teams and drivers for almost 10 years I will now participate as a shareholder in a very ambitious manufacturer owned Formula One Team. Formula One has developed as a challenging platform for building global brands. The new regulations will make this high-profile sport even more attractive. I will definitely use all my skills and experience in digital media to make the team one of the most dynamic and appealing for fans and sponsors. The Spyker brand values fit perfectly with F1 and my vision. I look forward to working together with Victor Muller. What he achieved by reintroducing the most famous Dutch car manufacturer brand is impressive. F1 will help to make Spyker even more credible and successful. However, we are not in F1 to be in F1. We are in F1 to win. I would like to thank Alex Shnaider and Midland Group for doing such a good job to improve the team and giving us a solid platform from which to launch our program. Without their efforts, none of this would be possible. Mike Gascoyne joining us is a milestone and the ultimate proof of our ambitions. Together with Colin Kolles he will be able to build a winning team. Hopefully it will not take too long before we hear the Dutch anthem in Formula One for the first time ever. I have a new challenge and nothing is impossible."

Colin Kolles, Team Principal of Spyker MF1 Racing stated:

"I am happy that the deal has gone through. The acquisition by Spyker as a sportscar manufacturer is the next step toward helping the team improve its results. The fact that we have also been able to secure the services of Mike Gascoyne, who will work in collaboration with James Key, clearly demonstrates the team’s ongoing commitment to the strongest possible technical direction.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alex Shnaider for his continuing support. Had Midland not stepped in and rescued the Jordan team in February 2005, we would not be in a position to announce this deal today. His investments and commitment to improving the team’s performance have enabled us to push forward, and for that, we are all extremely grateful."

Mike Gascoyne, Spyker MF1 Racing future Chief Technology Officer stated:
"I have only recently met Victor Muller and Michiel Mol and they impressed me enormously with their commitment to Formula One and performance program.

Naturally I am delighted to come back to Formula One to a wonderfully challenging opportunity. I know and respect many of the people at Silverstone from my time there previously and I am confident that we will be able to deliver results."

Bernie Ecclestone, President FOM


"This is great news for Formula One. The entry of another car manufacturer is a further endorsement of the global appeal of the sport."

Jay Howard wins Indy Pro title Jay Howard wins Indy Pro titleThe driver who we predicted would win the tile before the season started, and a driver we told you had immense talent, Jay Howard, has won the 2007 Indy Pro Series title today in Chicagoland by finishing a conservative 3rd behind Wade Cunningham and Jonathan Klein, who was his nearest rival. Although polesitter Howard had the car to win the race, he brought him home in one piece to ensure the title was his in his rookie year.

Ladies IndyCar Series Visor, With Velcro Strap. Howard (pictured right with Sam Schmidt), a first-year driver in the Indy Pro Series in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, hung on for third place to secure the title by four points over Jonathan Klein (390-386). It is the closest points margin in series history.

Cunningham, the 2005 series champion, beat Klein to the checkers by 0.6097 of a second for his third victory of the season. He finished third in the standings with 379 points despite missing two races on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., because of an emergency appendectomy in the No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing car. zzzz

Brian Stewart Racing won the entrant title for the second year in a row.

Alex Lloyd in the No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. car finished fourth and Chris Festa in the No. 51 Cheever Racing /Formtek car was fifth after starting 14th. Arie Luyendyk Jr. finished sixth, Mike Potekhen seventh and Nick Bussell eighth.  More to follow....

Results Saturday of the Chicagoland 100 IRL Indy Pro Series event at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money earned: 
1. (6) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 67, Running $32,500
2. (2) Jonathan Klein, Dallara, 67, Running $25,000
3. (1) Jay Howard, Dallara, 67, Running $20,000
4. (4) Alex Lloyd, Dallara, 67, Running $17,000
5. (13) Chris Festa, Dallara, 67, Running $16,500
6. (18) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara, 67, Running $16,000
7. (9) Mike Potekhen, Dallara, 67, Running $15,500
8. (12) Nick Bussell, Dallara, 67, Running $15,000
9. (8) Tom Wood, Dallara, 67, Running $14,500
10. (7) Ben Petter, Dallara, 67, Running $14,000
11. (14) Veronica McCann, Dallara, 67, Running $13,000
12. (10) Racer Kashima, Dallara, 67, Running $12,000
13. (16) CR Crews, Dallara, 67, Running $11,500
14. (3) Akihira Okamoto, Dallara, 66, Running $11,000
15. (18) Tom Wieringa, Dallara, 61, Accident $10,750
16. (17) Jaime Camara, Dallara, 28, Accident $10,500
17. (5) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 28, Accident $10,250
18. (11) Sean Guthrie, Dallara, 3, Accident $10,000

Race Statistics      
Winner's average speed: 124.305 mph      
Time of race: 49:09.3796      
Margin of victory: 0.6097 of a second      
Cautions: 3 caution flags for 22 laps      
Lead changes: 10 lead changes among 3 drivers      
Lap leaders: Klein 1-2, Howard 3-11, Klein 12-14, Cunningham 15,
Klein 16-20, Howard 21-23, Cunningham 24-45, Klein 46-53, Cunningham 54-57, Klein 58-59, Cunningham 60-67.      
Final point standings: Howard 390, Klein 386, Cunningham 379, Wilson 343, Bussell 319, Camara 298, Lloyd 294, Festa 205, Van Blankers 179, Matos 154.

Hamilton wins GP2 title at Monza Hamilton wins GP2 title at MonzaLewis Hamilton has won the GP2 title after he was awarded the point given to the driver of the fastest lap at Saturday's race in Monza, Italy.  The point was initially awarded to race winner Giorgio Pantano before it was discovered he had overtaken another driver under a yellow flag.  Hamilton, who finished third, now has a lock on the title.
Sadler Fan Club Party Raises $30,000 Sadler Fan Club Party Raises $30,000Elliott, Hermie and the Sadler family hosted 1,000 Sadler fans at the Sadler Barn on Thursday evening prior to the race at Richmond International Raceway. Elliott and Hermie were joined by special guests Blake Shelton and Dale Jarrett.

The agenda for the evening included bologna burgers, autographs, photo opportunities, viewing of Elliott's famous hunting dogs and a concert by country music artist Blake Shelton. The Sadler Fan Club Barn Party raised over $30,000 for the Elliott and Hermie Sadler Foundation. Sadler PR
Pantano storms to hometown win Pantano storms to hometown winGiorgio Pantano did just what he said he would do yesterday by powering to victory in race one at Monza ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr and Lewis Hamilton, and a fastest lap on the final circuit by the Italian has kept the title challenge open until the last race of the season.

Hamilton had the fastest lap for much of the closing section of the race, which would have given him a seven point cushion over Piquet and handed the title to the Briton, who will have to suffer through one more nervous night before he knows if the championship is his.

When the lights went out at the start of the race polesitter Piquet was slow off the line, but a flat line through the first chicane handed the lead back when he slid by Pantano, with Hamilton sitting behind the pair, waiting and watching. But the local man would not be denied, and just a few corners later he muscled his way past Piquet to claim the lead in the race. zzzz

As the field came around to complete their first lap Ernesto Viso took Xandi Negrao with him into retirement at the Parabolica, and Andreas Zuber slid off with them, but at the front Adam Carroll, who had sat on Hamilton's rear wing for most of the lap, slipped past along the long front straight.

Hamilton, however, was in no mood to consider anyone other than Piquet, and repaid his countryman in kind the next time past the pits to get third place back under control. The time behind Carroll did him no favors though, as Pantano and Piquet were together well ahead of the Briton as he crossed the line.

Piquet and Pantano were locked in a fierce battle at the front of the field, the pair swapping fastest laps and pulling away from Hamilton, who was the only man even close to their pace. It looked as though the pair had the race sorted between them, and only something out of the ordinary was going to slow the pair down.

On lap nine Carroll came in for his stop, along with Alex Premat and Jose Maria Lopez, the start of what looked to be the usual pitstops throughout the field. The Ulsterman came out tenth, but his right rear tire came loose halfway around the track, pitching him into retirement but looking to continue the race without the rest of the car, bouncing alarmingly in front of the oncoming traffic.

There was no option but to bring out the safety car, and most of the field dived in to make a stop, including the first three men. Pantano, Piquet, Hamilton was the order into the pitlane, and the order out too, albeit with Fairuz Fauzy and Jason Tahinci (who had yet to pit) on track between the title contenders.

The race went green again on lap fourteen and Piquet made a huge dive up the inside at the first chicane, locking his tires spectacularly but cutting the corner as he went through. He had to let Pantano back through to avoid a penalty, and the chase was on once again.

Further back Timo Glock was desperate to make up some positions to try and capture third in the championship from Alex Premat, he tapped the rear of Franck Perera as they came into the corner, but both men were able to slide past Lopez on the exit to the chicane.

At the front Pantano and Piquet were pulling away from Hamilton once again, but the action was heating up further back: Glock took one lap to get onto the rear of Premat, who weaved in front of him on the way to Ascari in a desperate attempt to stay ahead of the German.

The move meant Luca Filippi, having the best race of his year, slid past Glock out of the corner. But there was worse to come when Adrian Valles tried and failed to go inside the German at the Parabolica after Fauzy held him up, taking both cars off into the gravel and killing off Glock's chances of capturing third in the championship.

The race finally settled down into some semblance of order, and in the title chase it looked like Piquet had done enough to keep the battle going until tomorrow. Until lap 23, that is, when Hamilton put the cat among the pigeons by claiming the fastest lap: with a potential points difference of seven he would have captured the title at last.

Piquet's tires were shot from the restart, but nonetheless he pushed for all he was worth to get the all-important point for fastest lap: he set fastest first sectors, he set fastest third sectors, but he couldn't quite stick them all together to capture the fastest lap.

Until Pantano claimed fastest lap on his final tour around the circuit, saving Piquet's bacon and keeping the fight going down to the wire.

Pantano, Piquet and Hamilton were the men on the podium, with an ecstatic Filippi in fourth, ahead of Premat, Nicolas Lapierre and Clivio Piccione. Hiroki Yoshimoto claimed the final points paying position and tomorrow's pole, just ahead of Javier Villa, after Perera heartbreakingly stopped with just one lap to go.

The points difference between Hamilton and Piquet is now down to just six points: for Piquet to win the title he needs to win race two, claim the fastest lap, and have Hamilton finish out of the points. It's just that easy.

Pos Driver Team Time
 1. Pantano FMS International 51:31.171
 2. Piquet Jr. Piquet Sports + 5.054
 3. Hamilton ART Grand Prix + 6.887
 4. Filippi BCN Competicion + 28.630
 5. Premat ART Grand Prix + 32.882
 6. Lapierre Arden International Ltd + 39.285
 7. Piccione DPR + 40.656
 8. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion + 43.361
 9. Villa Racing Engineering + 57.004
10. Di Grassi Durango + 87.040
11. Tahinci FMS International + 1 Lap
12. Ammermueller Arden International Ltd + 1 Lap
13. Hernandez Durango + 1 Lap
14. Fauzy Super Nova International + 1 Lap
15. Perera DAMS + 2 Laps

Did Not Finish:

 Driver Team Laps
 Lopez Super Nova International 19
 Petrov DPR 18
 Glock iSport International 17
 Valles Campos Racing 17
 Bruni Trident Racing 15
 Monfardini DAMS 15
 Carroll Racing Engineering 10
 Porteiro Campos Racing 8
 Viso iSport International 0
 Negrao Piquet Sports 0
 Zuber Trident Racing 0

Monza stewards penalize Alonso Monza stewards penalize Alonso(GMM) Monza stewards penalized Fernando Alonso after the Spaniard purportedly held up Ferrari's Felipe Massa during qualifying on Saturday.

The Renault driver, who went fifth quickest in the qualifying session, was docked his three best times and dumped back to tenth on the grid for Sunday's race, although in a statement stewards conceded that Alonso's actions 'may not have been deliberate'.

Alonso is twelve points ahead of Massa's teammate, Michael Schumacher, in the world championship. Schumacher qualified second.

''It's a strange complaint,'' Alonso, 25, said after the session. ''I didn't block anyone -- I did my best times on the out lap.''

Press fail, again, to prize Schu hint Press fail, again, to prize Schu hint(GMM) Once again at Monza the press corps on Saturday tried to prize a little hint out of Michael Schumacher, and once again they collectively failed.

With speculation about the German veteran's scheduled announcement for Sunday about his future still at fever pitch, some quarters of the media - following the lead of Sir Jackie Stewart's earlier criticism - are beginning to question Ferrari's handling of the situation.

Some reports highlight a lack of respect towards the 'Tifosi' at Monza, who may witness Schumacher race in Italy for the last time on Sunday but not find out until after the checker.

Moved to try a different angle following qualifying, then, one reporter asked the 37-year-old if he would have trouble sleeping tonight.

''No, not really,'' Schumacher answered.

''I hope you understand that at the moment we are not talking about those things -- we should concentrate on (the race) tomorrow.

''Everything else is unimportant.''

Far from unimportant, however, is the possible curtain coming down on the most successful formula one career of all time.

Journalists in Italy, then, continue their pursuit for truth beneath the hints; such as the arrival on Saturday morning at Monza of Schumacher's wife, Corinna.
Paddock news from Monza: 4 Paddock news from Monza: 4(GMM) A Renault spokesman at Monza explained Giancarlo Fisichella's revised helmet colours on Friday and Saturday here.

On Friday, the Roman driver demonstrated his affection for football team AS Roma, while on Saturday Fisichella wore an Italian tricolour, Bradley Lord said.

To the Austrian broadcaster Osterreichischer Rundfunk, departing team racer Christian Klien defended his decision at Monza to turn down Red Bull's offer of a Champ Car seat.

''My priority is still formula one,'' said the 23-year-old, who is likely now to lose the popular energy drink company's support altogether as he courts MF1, Super Aguri, and a test driver job at Toyota.

Klien added: ''Once you're in America, you're in America. Sebastien Bourdais has won that championship three times, but nobody (in F1) talks about him.''

Bridgestone confirmed that Super Aguri driver Sakon Yamamoto's tyre failure in qualifying was almost certainly caused by debris. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, told reporters at Monza that his Michelin tyre probably delaminated after running over debris from the Porsche race.
Ferrari protest Alonso for blocking Ferrari protest Alonso for blocking(GMM) Championship leader Fernando Alonso was on Saturday afternoon summoned to the stewards for allegedly blocking Ferrari's Felipe Massa in qualifying.

Massa, teammate to Alonso's title rival Michael Schumacher, complained that his flying lap was baulked because Alonso refused to yield after leaving the pits.

Renault sources explained that Alonso had to rush his out lap due to his unscheduled visit to the pits to replace a damaged rear tyre.

Ferrari's Ross Brawn bemoaned: ''Felipe got blocked on his run, which was a great shame as he could certainly have improved on where he is.''

The stewards' meeting, to also be attended by Brazilian Massa, will take place after the GP2 race.
Wallace Captures Pork Pole Wallace Captures Pork PoleARCA RE/MAX rookie driver Steve Wallace captured the Pork Pole Award Friday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway for Saturday's SK Hand Tool 200 with a qualifying speed of 177.113 mph. This was Wallace's third career Pork Pole Award this year, tying him with rookie Brad Coleman with the most in 2006.

Earlier in the afternoon, Wallace (the 19-year-old son of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series veteran Rusty Wallace) posted the quickest time during a practice session at the 1.5-mile oval in preparation for the SK Hand Tool 200. His 30.919-second lap (174.650 mph) was good enough for first on the speed charts.

"I've learned in the past that being the fastest in practice and qualifying does not mean anything at all," said Wallace. "I hope the Hantz Group-Nu South Lemonade Dodge will be good tomorrow...it was handling fairly decent in practice today. Actually, I thought Scott Lagasse was really good here, he was really good at Kansas too. Hopefully we will be number one when the day is over tomorrow."

Sadler making transition to TV booth Sadler making transition to TV boothHermie [Sadler] is slowly making the transition from driver to broadcaster. He's done a handful of Busch and Truck series races this season on FX and the Speed Channel. Next year, he'll be full-time with the Speed Channel. He won't drive any more Busch races this season and plans to try to qualify for four more Nextel Cup races. Sadler doesn't want to rule out driving beyond this year. He's also realistic. Since winning the Busch rookie award, his driving career hasn't panned out. "My heart and my love is in driving and racing," Sadler said. "I've done it for a long time, trying to stay involved and keep my name out there and make something good happen. We've had our moments. I haven't decided if I'm going to do a limited Cup schedule next year. I have to think long and hard about how feasible it is going to be to do it as an independent. I've had a good time, we've had a good run . . . I just don't have the patience and the drive to keep doing it under these conditions. I love to race, but I don't love riding around finishing 35th each week," Sadler said. "I have enough going on to keep me busy". Richmond Times-Dispatch
Harvick dominates Richmond Busch go Harvick dominates Richmond Busch goNASCAR Busch Series points pace-setter Kevin Harvick came from behind to score his sixth win of his million-dollar season in the series Friday night at Richmond International Raceway. The U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet driver led the Emerson Radio 250 early and often – more than 150 laps in all.
Harvick restarted 11th on lap 180 after caution flag pit stops, then marched back to the front for a trip to victory lane. The win brought Harvick’s season race winnings to more than a million dollars. (Photo courtesy of CIA Stock Photo
After the race’s record tying 14th caution flag and final restart with 20 laps remaining, Harvick cruised to his sixth NASCAR Busch Series win of the season, and widened his points lead to 619 over Carl Edwards who finished ninth.
Greg Biffle finished second in the Weyerhaeuser iLevel Ford, followed by Matt Kenseth in the Ameriquest Ford, Paul Menard in the Menard’s/Sylvania Chevrolet, and Reed Sorenson in the Discount Tire Dodge.  zzzz
Completing the top-10 were Denny Hamlin, Dave Blaney, Scott Wimmer, Edwards and Scott Riggs.
Harvick became only the second driver in history to score three consecutive Richmond wins matching Harry Gant’s performance in 1991-92. He also became the fourth NASCAR Busch Series driver to sweep both Richmond events in a single season. The occasion marked Harvick’s 23rd career NASCAR Busch Series win.
The pieces of Harvick’s “big picture” for 2006 continue to come into focus. He has a substantial lead in NASCAR Busch Series points, and Saturday, he’s poised to claim a place in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. He’s third in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points and starts fifth in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400. No driver has ever accomplished winning the dual series titles in the same season. Harvick himself came closest when he won the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series championship and finished ninth in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points.
Rain washes out MotoGP qualifying, Rossi on pole Rain washes out MotoGP qualifying, Rossi on poleValentino Rossi will line up for tomorrow’s Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle on pole position, achieved by virtue of his combined free practice times.

The torrential rain experienced at the Sepang Circuit in the middle of the 250cc practice session led to the delay and eventual cancellation of the planned session to decide tomorrow’s grid.

Race Direction made the decision based on safety, and then took the unprecedented step of agreeing on the starting positions using yesterday and today’s free practice times. This leaves Nicky Hayden and Loris Capirossi alongside Rossi on the front row, whilst walking wounded Dani Pedrosa, Sete Gibernau and Randy de Puniet will occupy row 2. The top ten will be rounded off by John Hopkins, Marco Melandri and Casey Stoner.

The official statement from Race Direction was released at 4.30pm local time, and reads as follows:

“After inspections at various locations around the circuit, Race Direction have decided to cancel both the MotoGP Qualifying Practice and the 250cc second Qualifying Practice due to safety reasons created by the earlier rainstorms.

"The grid for MotoGP will be formed by the riders’ fastest lap times from the three Free Practice sessions.

"The grid for 250cc will be formed according to the first Qualifying Practice, and all those riders who did not provisionally qualify for the race will be allowed to start.”

1. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 2min 0.605 secs
2. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 2min 1.043 secs
3. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 2min 1.167 secs
4. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 2min 1.898 secs
5. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 2min 2.021 secs (FP2)
6. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 2min 2.181 secs
7. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 2min 2.313 secs
8. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2min 2.453 secs
9. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 2min 2.560 secs
10. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 2min 2.790 secs
11. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 2min 2.800 secs
12. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 2min 2.832 secs
13. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 2min 2.918 secs (FP2)
14. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 2min 3.102 secs
15. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 2min 3.123 secs
16. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2min 3.285 secs
17. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 2min 4.706 secs (FP2)
18. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 2min 5.023 secs
19. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 2min 5.958 secs (FP2)

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Victory Lane Richmond
12:00am-1:00am (L) SPEED
GP2 Championship Series Italy

6:00am-7:30am (SDD) SPEED
Formula 1 Monza, Italy
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
Inside Drag Racing
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
Superbike World Championship Germany
11:00am-12:00pm (SDD) -Race 1
Tuesday, Sept. 12, 3:00pm-4:00pm - Race 2 SPEED
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
Inside Grand Prix Italy
12:00pm-12:30pm (R) SPEED
Formula 1 Monza, Italy
12:30pm-3:00pm (R) SPEED
IRL Chicagoland
1:30pm-4:00pm (L) ABC
3:00pm-4:00pm ESPN2
Speed World Challenge Mosport
3:00pm-4:00pm (9/3/06) -Touring Car
4:00pm-5:00pm (9/2/06) -GT SPEED
MotoGP World Championship Malaysia
5:00pm-6:00pm (SDD) SPEED
MotoGP 250 Malaysia
6:00pm-7:00pm (SDD) SPEED
The SPEED Report
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Jack Roush (Roush Racing)
2006 IndyCar Series Champion 9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Schu not ’great star’ - Briatore Schu not ’great star’ - Briatore(GMM)  Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso will not be missed in the same way that Ayrton Senna is, Renault boss Flavio Briatore insisted at Monza.

The Italian is quoted by 'AS' newspaper as saying: ''Neither of them are great sports stars.

''They are excellent professionals, but they do not have that something special to distinguish them from others.''

Briatore added that 'Villeneuve and Montoya' did possess star quality, but neglected to rate his 2007 driver lineup of Heikki Kovalainen alongside Giancarlo Fisichella.

Stewart slams Ferrari over Schu Stewart slams Ferrari over Schu(GMM) Jackie Stewart has slammed Ferrari for organizing for Sunday an 'amateur' and 'unprofessional' retirement announcement for F1's most successful driver in history, Michael Schumacher.

The veteran Scot insisted that while it is the biggest story at Monza this weekend, the Italian team is also ignoring the rest of the world by arranging a mere press release and talks with F1 reporters.

''It's being crassly and flippantly handled,'' Stewart said.

67-year-old Stewart, however, is ignoring strengthening speculation that Schumacher's announcement could be either a sabbatical, a switch to a rival team, or both.

The possibility that the German might renew his Ferrari contract is now ruled out unanimously by all sources.

But German TV broadcaster 'Premiere' ran a survey on Friday, with 58 per cent predicting that Schumacher will stick around in racing's top class.

And former GP driver Marc Surer observed to Swiss newspaper Blick: ''Never has Ferrari guarded a secret so well.

''Ok, everyone is speculating, but who knows?''

Drivers threaten Monza boycott Drivers threaten Monza boycott(GMM) Leading formula one drivers have threatened to boycott the Monza circuit because their pleas for improved safety are being ignored, according to reports.

As a meeting of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) broke on Friday at the high speed Italian venue, members revealed that a public condemnation of Monza will be made next week unless their demands are met.

''We are not kidding,'' Williams' Mark Webber was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

''This could be the end unless (circuit organizers) get on with it.''

Drivers' patience finally ran out when a Monza official, scheduled to attend their meeting, failed to show up to face the GPDA.

Their concerns centre on the close proximity of barriers, notably at the second chicane, and the use of gravel traps rather than the safer alternative of asphalt areas.

''The drivers are unanimous,'' David Coulthard said, before Webber continued: ''We love Monza, but there must be changes.''

Fry not being replaced Fry not being replacedHonda's Otmar Szafnauer has played down rumors that he is being lined up to replace team principal Nick Fry for 2007.

''It's flattering,'' the Romanian told pay-TV broadcaster Premiere, ''but our team principal is not being replaced.''

Monza: Massa tops Saturday morning practice Monza: Massa tops Saturday morning practiceRain should no longer disturb proceedings during qualifying and Sunday's grand prix at Monza, which baked in 27C mid-morning on Saturday.

Despite earlier forecasts for showers and storms, the latest news on Saturday morning is that mostly clear and sunny weather is expected on both remaining days, although a slight chance of rain persists.

Turkey winner Felipe Massa (right) continued to lead his teammate Michael Schumacher at Monza in the final practice session prior to qualifying, as Ferrari maintained its advantage over championship rivals Renault.

Schumacher made a couple of notable mistakes; a lockup at the Roggia, and another similar faux-pas under braking for turn-one, whose chicane is called 'Rettifilio'.

Ahead of Schumacher's highly-anticipated announcement on Sunday, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo watched from the pitwall, as Honda driver Rubens Barrichello finally made an appearance in his Honda and ran into the gravel in the Lesmos.

P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 6 MASSA Ferrari B 1'21"665 255.370 Km/h
 2. 16 HEIDFELD BMW Sauber M 1'22"052 + 0'00"387
 3. 5 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'22"277 + 0'00"612
 4. 17 KUBICA BMW Sauber M 1'22"280 + 0'00"615
 5. 1 ALONSO Renault M 1'22"371 + 0'00"706
 6. 2 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'22"412 + 0'00"747
 7. 3 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'22"682 + 0'01"017
 8. 11 BARRICHELLO Honda M 1'22"835 + 0'01"170
 9. 4 DE LA ROSA McLaren Mercedes M 1'22"915 + 0'01"250
10. 15 KLIEN RedBull Ferrari M 1'23"081 + 0'01"416
11. 7 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota B 1'23"244 + 0'01"579
12. 12 BUTTON Honda M 1'23"295 + 0'01"630
13. 10 ROSBERG Williams Cosworth B 1'23"334 + 0'01"669
14. 8 TRULLI Toyota B 1'23"467 + 0'01"802
15. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Ferrari M 1'23"536 + 0'01"871
16. 9 WEBBER Williams Cosworth B 1'23"599 + 0'01"934
17. 21 SPEED Toro Rosso Cosw. M 1'23"659 + 0'01"994
18. 20 LIUZZI Toro Rosso Cosw. M 1'23"777 + 0'02"112
19. 19 ALBERS Midland Toyota B 1'24"186 + 0'02"521
20. 18 MONTEIRO Midland Toyota B 1'24"541 + 0'02"876
21. 22 SATO S. Aguri F1 Honda B 1'24"549 + 0'02"884
22. 23 YAMAMOTO S. Aguri F1 Honda B 1'24"717 + 0'03"052

6 die on typical NASCAR weekend 6 die on typical NASCAR weekendSix people on average die while attending a NASCAR race weekend, the FDNY said at a hearing with Staten Island community boards yesterday.

The deaths are put down to such causes as heart attacks, fires, injuries and auto accidents in and around the tracks [brought on by the drunken stupor many NASCAR fans find themselves in].

Fire brass came up with the sobering statistic after an FDNY committee interviewed fire departments in the places where NASCAR developer International Speedway Corp. owns tracks.

"That was a statistic that we found just astonishing," Island Fire Chief Thomas Haring said during the meeting yesterday, at which the three community boards got progress reports from several city agencies. Haring was responding to questions from community board officials about NASCAR and other fire issues during the hearing in Willowbrook.

At his behest, the fire committee began in October to research the safety implications of ISC's plan to build an 80,000-seat racetrack which, all told, would accommodate more than 90,000 people during its three race weekends each year. The members studied staffing levels, necessary equipment, traffic, response routes and patterns, and hazardous material and terrorism concerns during races, an FDNY source said. zzzz

The stadium would be built alongside a proposed 620,000-square foot retail complex in Bloomfield. The mall would be open year-round.

"How is [the track] going to affect South Beach, New Dorp, Grant City, Tottenville?" asked one borough fire official, speaking anonymously because of department neutrality. "If we have a fire in Tottenville, how are we going to get our people down there?"

He compared the proposed raceway to ISC's other tracks, which were built in sparsely populated areas where traffic is not a daily problem. Besides Daytona, ISC has raceways in the following sites: Fontana, Calif.; Joliet, Ill.; Darlington, S.C.; Homestead, Fla.; Kansas City, Kan.; Martinsville, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Talladega, Ala.; Watkins Glen, N.Y.; Brooklyn, Mich.; Avondale, Ariz. The FDNY committee surveyed fire chiefs from the majority of these towns and cities.

The official also expressed concern about the ISC plan to get tens of thousands of people to the track via a fleet of 83 ferries. "No place else is going to put 80 ferries. Eighty ferries is an issue for us," he said.

The City Council ultimately will decide on the speedway, though that vote will not be cast until the latter half of 2007, at the earliest.

"It's an aspect of this track that hasn't been discussed, and that is: The demand on essential services," said City Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island/Brooklyn), whose district would house the track. He staunchly opposes the raceway plan.

"We already know that we need additional services. When you inject 95,000 more people on Staten Island, there's a drain on those already insufficient police and fire services," he said. More at Staten Island Advance

Q and A with newest Champ Car team Q and A with newest Champ Car team
Hamilton loses two fastest laps Hamilton loses two fastest lapsLewis Hamilton and four other drivers have lost their two fastest lap times from today’s qualifying session for not heeding yellow flag warnings at the end of the session.

Lewis’ laps were consistent enough, however, that he will not lose a grid position and remains third. Franck Perera drops from 5th to 9th, Andreas Zuber 14th to 19th, Ferdinando Monfardini 20th to 24th, and Nicolas Lapierre actually gains a position and moves to P18.

Piquet closes gap with pole Piquet closes gap with poleNelson Piquet Jr has cut Lewis Hamilton's lead in the championship down to just eight points by claiming pole position for tomorrow's race one in Monza.

The Brazilian will be joined on the front row by Giorgio Pantano, who just pipped Hamilton for second in the closing minutes of qualifying, but was unable to match Piquet's best time of 1: 30.161.

With temperatures soaring after this morning's cloud cover evaporated, all of the drivers were out on track as soon as the session opened. Hamilton attempted to build a gap in the traffic for his first flying lap, but Piquet nipped past and the battle was on.

Both drivers seemed unhappy with their set ups after their first lap and came into the pits for a tweak, leaving Franck Perera to set the early fastest laps, with Luca Filippi just squeezing past him at the ten minute mark. zzzz

But the championship rivals were soon back on track to reclaim their positions: Hamilton drew first blood, with Piquet behind him on the track taking the spot 20 seconds later. Hamilton went even faster the next time by, but Piquet crossed the line seven tenths faster and the matter looked to be settled.

And so it proved. Both men came back into the pits for fresh tires, and the pressure was on the series leader to pick up his pace. He did, eating into Piquet's lead by one tenth on his first lap and another two next time around, but it wasn't enough and Piquet had yet another pole for his collection.

Pantano tipped Hamilton's day from bad to worse by muscling onto the front row with a controlled but rapid lap with just two minutes remaining: the Briton will now line up immediately behind his rival, and next to his countryman Adam Carroll, in what promises to be a scintillating start to tomorrow's race.

Pos Driver Team Time
 1. N. Piquet Jr. Piquet Sports 1:30.161
 2. G. Pantano FMS International 1:30.390 + 0.229
 3. L. Hamilton ART Grand Prix 1:30.488 + 0.327
 4. A. Carroll Racing Engineering 1:30.789 + 0.628
 5. F. Perera DAMS 1:30.951 + 0.790
 6. A. Premat ART Grand Prix 1:31.031 + 0.870
 7. L. Filippi BCN Competicion 1:31.071 + 0.910
 8. E. Viso iSport International 1:31.162 + 1.001
 9. M. Ammermueller Arden International 1:31.212 + 1.051
10. A. Valles Campos Racing 1:31.288 + 1.127
11. T. Glock iSport International 1:31.302 + 1.141
12. G. Bruni Trident Racing 1:31.357 + 1.196
13. F. Porteiro Campos Racing 1:31.358 + 1.197
14. A. Zuber Trident Racing 1:31.453 + 1.292
15. J. Lopez Super Nova 1:31.479 + 1.318
16. C. Piccione DPR 1:31.510 + 1.349
17. A. Negrao Piquet Sports 1:31.664 + 1.503
18. S. Hernandez Durango 1:31.685 + 1.524
19. N. Lapierre Arden International 1:31.821 + 1.660
20. F. Monfardini DAMS 1:31.882 + 1.721
21. H. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:31.888 + 1.727
22. L. Di Grassi Durango 1:31.934 + 1.773
23. J. Villa Racing Engineering 1:32.195 + 2.034
24. V. Petrov DPR 1:32.351 + 2.190
25. F. Fauzy Super Nova 1:32.584 + 2.423
26. J. Tahinci FMS International 1:33.337 + 3.176

Stewart forced to backup car after crash Stewart forced to backup car after crashNASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Tony Stewart crashed his primary No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet in the opening laps of this morning's practice session at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.  He spun in turn two, impacting the SAFER barrier on the outside retaining wall with the left side of the car.  Stewart was unhurt in the incident.  The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team will now race Chassis No. 103 in Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400. 

This is just the third time in its seven-and-three-quarter-year existence the No. 20 team has had to use its backup race car following a crash in practice.  The only other times where its backup race car was used due to a crash in practice was at Chicagoland in 2004 and 2005. 

During the morning practice session at Chicagoland in 2004, Stewart hit oil in turn three, spun, and impacted the SAFER barrier with the left side of the race car.  Stewart went on to win the race in his backup.

In 2005, again during the morning practice, Stewart cut a right front tire upon entering turn four of the 1.5-mile oval, making a right side impact with the SAFER barrier along the turn four retaining wall.  Stewart went on to finish fifth.

Points leader Howard wins Indy Pro pole Points leader Howard wins Indy Pro poleJay Howard fired the first shot in the final battle for the Indy Pro Series championship.  The Englishman claimed the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award for the season-ending Chicagoland 100 at Chicagoland Speedway. It was the second pole of the season for the driver of the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry.

More importantly, Howard, who turned a lap of 28.9780 seconds, 188.774 mph, earned one point for his first pole position since the season-opening race in March, and now leads Jonathan Klein by nine points in the point standings. Klein, a native of nearby Long Grove, Ill., qualified second in the No. 27 Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging entry with a lap of 188.285.

Rookies Akihira Okamoto and Alex Lloyd qualified third and fourth, while championship contenders Bobby Wilson and Wade Cunningham make up the third row.

The Chicagoland 100 is scheduled for 4:55 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 9.

Qualifying Friday for the Chicagoland 100 IRL Indy Pro Series event on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis and speed: 
1. (7) Jay Howard, Dallara, 188.774
2. (27) Jonathan Klein, Dallara, 188.285
3. (77) Akihira Okamoto, Dallara, 187.663
4. (26) Alex Lloyd, Dallara, 186.927
5. (24) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 186.909
6. (1) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 186.749
7. (8) Ben Petter, Dallara, 186.205
8. (11) Jaime Camara, Dallara, 185.625
9. (42) Tom Wood, Dallara, 185.440
10. (76) Mike Potekhen, Dallara, 185.294
11. (9) Racer Kashima, Dallara, 185.178
12. (41) Sean Guthrie, Dallara, 185.089
13. (52) Nick Bussell, Dallara, 184.982
14. (51) Chris Festa, Dallara, 184.492
15. (25) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara, 184.143
16. (3) Veronica McCann, Dallara, 182.279
17. (4) Tom Wieringa, Dallara, 182.063
18. (2) CR Crews, Dallara, 179.202  zzzz

JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award winner): "It's a good start to the weekend. We get one point for pole and two for most laps led, so the plan is to lead as many laps as possible and once I get to the point where no one else can lead more laps, then I'm sure the plans will change. I'm almost prepared to sacrifice the win once I know that the championship is in the bag. Obviously, I want to win. It's painful to even think about letting someone else win to win the championship. I've got to keep my eyes on the big picture, and the big picture is the championship. We've started the weekend off great, and I'm planning to stay up front, dominate and win the race." (About starting next to his closest competitor in the points) "I'd prefer him to be a couple of rows back. It'll be a good race. I know it'll be nice and clean. He's one person I'd like to race against and have along side me. I have 110 percent trust in him, and I'm sure the trust is returned to me. We'll race hard for sure, and it'll be close, but I'm planning on winning." (About going out first to qualify) "That was pretty painful. When we got the draw that we were going out first, I did think to myself, 'This ain't good.' The track was different, different rubber down. That did upset the car a little bit in the middle of the corners, but you have to deal with it and go out there and we did. We got the pole, which is kind of surprising. When I was looking at the times of everyone else going around, I was quite surprised at how slow they were. That was by far the worst feeling, standing there. The anxiety was unreal, standing there waiting to see if you get notched down. It was a pretty good feeling when I saw Tim (Neff), my engineer, smile and go, 'No, we got it.' I'd much rather go out last and upset everyone, but it's a good feeling to set the time and have no one beat it."

JONATHAN KLEIN (No. 27 Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging, qualified second): "He (Jay Howard) and I are still best friends. We're going to make sure that we play nice, but I am going to tell him, 'Look Jay, I'm going to race you hard.' It's down to the wire, but I'm not going to put ourselves in a position where we can get into trouble at the same time. I'm going to race him hard and race him tough, but we're still going to be safe and respectful. (About losing another point to Howard): "I really needed that point."

AKIHIRA OKAMOTO (No. 77 OAM/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified third): "It's a big step up from Formula Dream up to this. My team gave me a very good setup that carried over from practice. The car was very comfortable to drive, and I got good advice from the team and from Roger Yasukawa. I'm very happy to be starting on the second row in my first Indy Pro Series race."

ALEX LLOYD (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, qualified fourth): "Fourth is pretty good. We were just hoping to get into the top ten with this car. We weren't sure how it would be for qualifying. The car was really good for the run. It's a really good race car, and obviously, it was very good in qualifying. We're very happy. We'll have to see how tomorrow goes. I think it will be pretty good."

BOBBY WILSON (No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing, qualified fifth: "I feel pretty confident.  The car has been great all day.  We have a new engine in the car; we have a different chassis. I think things are really coming together.  I really excited for the race, so we will see how things go."

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, qualified sixth): "Obviously in qualifying, we didn't do a good job. We are quite a bit away from the pole time. We are not going to be anywhere near the front row. I think we proved in the second session that we can get to the front and race hard. We have been doing that all year. I don't think there is a question that we won't be in the front tomorrow."

VERONICA McCANN (No. 3 United & Classic Trailers, qualified 16th): "I had a little bit of trouble with the gears in the car. I've never really had to change gears while I was racing before. Qualifying is critical because you've only got two laps to get it done. It was my fault. There's nothing wrong with the car. We were third-fastest in the first session, but then we put it in the wall. The guys got the car out for the second session, and the car felt good. I'm just getting used to traffic."

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