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Champ Car series comes to Korea Champ Car series comes to KoreaThe Champ Car World Series, one of the most prestigious car races in the world, will hold its first-ever race in South Korea on October 14-16 for the inaugural Champ Car World Grand Prix of Ansan, organizers said Tuesday.

The 750-horsepower, turbocharged racing machines will visit Asia for the first time since the early 1970s when the series conducted exhibition events in Japan.

The event in Ansan, Kyonggi Province, will be the 12th of 14 races that make up the 2005 championship. Sebastien Bourdais is the current points leader after 10 events as he attempts to become the first driver to repeat as the Champ Car World Series title winner.

“This is truly an historic time for us at Champ Car and we are honored to be involved in such an exciting event,” Joe Chrnelich, Champ Car Executive Vice-President of Planning, Development and Governmental Affairs, said at a media conference in Seoul.

“None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support we have received from city and national government officials, and we intend to put on a world-class event to reward them for their confidence in our series.”

The Champ Car World Series features some of the greatest race car drivers in the world competing in the most diverse and exciting series in the world.  More at Korea Times

Argetsinger Named Grand Marshal Argetsinger Named Grand MarshalCameron R. Argetsinger, the founder of the first ever road-race in Watkins Glen, NY, has been named the Grand Marshal for the Inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage. Argetsinger will be responsible for issuing the command to the IndyCar Series drivers to fire their engines and prepare for the 60-lap race on the historic long-course at Watkins Glen International on September 25 for the first time in history.

Argetsinger, the current President of the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, shared his thoughts about the return of open wheel racing to The Glen, "I am gratified personally, and I know that fans of The Glen feel the same, to see open wheel, single‑seater racing return after 24 years.”

Speaking from experience, Argetsinger expects the IndyCar Series to have a thrilling race, “The first lap of the first Watkins Glen race in 1948 was led by George Weaver in his Grand Prix, single‑seater, open‑wheeled Maserati. That opening lap spectacle gave The Glen fans a taste of what was to follow with the United States Grand Prix, run here from 1961 to 1980. And here it is again."

In 1981 CART raced at Watkins Glen and Mario Andretti, fresh out of F1, gave the CART regulars a driving lesson.  In the rain he ran away from the field in his STP Pat Patrick Champ Car.  Until his car broke he was lapping 2 to 3 seconds a lap faster than anyone else. Photo right by Mark Cipolloni/AutoRacing1.com.

Watkins Glen International is also honoring Argetsinger’s legacy in Watkins Glen by titling the winner’s trophy the “Cameron R. Argetsinger Trophy,” a prestigious sterling-silver cup, named after the American road-racing enthusiast who brought the sport to Watkins Glen in 1948. Each year the race champion at The Glen will be added to the nameplate at the base of the trophy.  A sterling-silver replica will be awarded to each race winner.

The Inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage, September 23-25, will also feature the Menards Infinity Pro Series Corning 100, and the Grand American Rolex Series Crown Royal 250. For tickets, please contact the Watkins Glen ticket office at 866-461-RACE, log on to the official Watkins Glen website at www.TheGlen.com, or stop by The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen.

Red Bull
Red Bull Driver Search Finalists Selected Red Bull Driver Search Finalists SelectedThe 2005 Red Bull Driver finalists were chosen today at Sebring International Raceway. Casey Neal (17) of Middletown, OH and Ryan Phinny (15) of Carmel Valley, CA will move forward to the Final test at the Autodromo Fernanda Pires Da Silva circuit in Estoril, Portugal next month.
Eleven drivers traveled from across the US to participate in this two-day event. On the first day the drivers were given a thorough introduction to the Skip Barber Formula Dodge racecars in which they would compete. On the second day, they were put through a series of practice laps, qualifying sessions and heat races.  The judges carefully reviewed and evaluated the drivers, and Neal and Phinny were selected to move forward.
The two winners will travel to Portugal at the end of the month where they will be tested and evaluated in Formula Renault 2000 cars. If successful at the Final, Neal or Phinny could earn a seat supported by Red Bull in a junior European racing series in 2006.
These two young drivers can draw inspiration from fellow American Scott Speed, the 2002 Red Bull Driver Search winner, who is on the cusp of achieving his dream thanks to the Driver Search program. Earlier this month, it was announced that Speed will be the test driver for Red Bull Racing for the 2006 F1 racing season.
Marlboro Team Penske contributes to Hurricane Katrina relief effort Marlboro Team Penske contributes to Hurricane Katrina relief effortIn order to assist with the relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Marlboro Team Penske has pledged to contribute $50 for each lap drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves complete during the remainder of the 2005 season.

The program began with the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean on Sept. 11 and will continue through the races at Watkins Glen International and California Speedway.

There are a total of 920 laps to be completed during the three races which would equal a possible $46,000. Both drivers completed all of the laps at the Chicagoland Speedway race, guaranteeing a donation of $20,000.

"We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to race for a living," said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing, Inc. "Although we approach every race with the goal of completing every lap, these final events are even more important to us knowing that each lap will help demonstrate our support for those affected by Hurricane Katrina."

Unser Racing Museum opens this weekend Unser Racing Museum opens this weekendAl Unser enthusiastically describes the various rooms that contain some of the most precious artifacts of his family's racing career. His vision is about to become reality.

Thirty-five years after the first of his four Indianapolis 500 victories, he'll proudly help cut the ribbon to open the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque, N.M. The grand opening of the 13,000-square-foot facility at 1776 Montano NW that will showcase the family's contributions to racing is Sept. 17.

"We wanted to honor the Unser family for what we have done, honor the racing fraternity and to try to show the public what racing is about," Al Sr. said. "Things like that really make it great. Everybody who comes through I think will be impressed."  zzzz

Al Unser, his brother, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser, and his son, Al Unser Jr., have been the catalysts in collecting items from cars to helmets to trophies for rotating displays. All nine of the family's Indianapolis 500 championships will be represented.

"Over the years, you never end up with everything that you should of because the Unsers had one thing in mind, and that was racing and to win," Al Sr. said. "It surely wasn't to build a museum. Now we are building the museum so we still search for items that are different.

"Between the three of us - Bobby, Al (Jr.) and I and (nephew) Johnny Unser, we could probably fill three museums. We'll pick certain items that will showcase racing - like the Indy room and Pikes Peak - and then two other rooms that will be made up of different cars like hot rods and street rods. Then there's a place called Jerry's Garage, which will honor my father because he's the one who got us going in this."

Jerry Unser was the second son born to Louis and Marie Unser, who emigrated from Switzerland in the late 1800s. The family eventually settled in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Jerry and his brothers were the first to ascend Pikes Peak on a motorcycle and sidecar in September 1915 - the year before a road was built to the summit.

After he married Mary Craven in 1931, Jerry opened a filling station and garage on Central Avenue in Albuquerque, N.M. - hence the room that also will host receptions and public events.

The location for the museum wasn't the family's first choice, but after scouting existing buildings Al Sr. found a diamond in the rough.

"I thought the layout would be a perfect museum," said Al Sr., driver coach and consultant to the Indy Racing League. "We tried to put it on the corner of Unser and Central. I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible, but we've rebuilt the whole building.

"I've said many times that I needed to go see a head doctor to figure out why I did this project. It's been difficult. But I think it will be worth it. You take three years ago I couldn't see the end of the tunnel, and now it's becoming reality and it makes us very happy. Everybody said we couldn't get it done in that length of time. Well, it's going to give us a lot of satisfaction when we do it."  For more information, visit www.unserracingmuseum.com.

Finlay response to McDowell suspension Finlay response to McDowell suspension“Michael McDowell is one of the top young drivers in North America and this one-race suspension is a tough pill to swallow, but we support the actions of the Grand American Series,” says Finlay Motorsports owner Rob Finlay. “Finlay Motorsports has become a top Grand American team in its first season of competition and we plan to be here a long time, so we need to be responsible members of the community and make sure that our drivers race smart as well as hard. 

That said, the Finlay team stands behind Michael one hundred percent.  We’ll work through this together and are completely confident that he will come back strong and go on to become the champion that we all know he can be.  He will be back driving in the final two events of the year, and will be teamed with Memo Gidley again next year as we go for the 2006 Rolex Series championship.”

McDowell and Gidley co-drive the Finlay Motorsports #19 Air Force Reserve/Make-A-Wish Foundation Dinan-powered Riley Daytona Prototype, and the team is currently tied for 5th in the 2005 championship battle.  McDowell is also tied for 5th in the driver points battle.

The Finlay Motorsports team will announce McDowell’s replacement for the Watkins Glen race within the next few days. zzzz

“This is a real eye-opener for me, and it’s a lesson I’m taking to heart,” says McDowell.  “I need to learn a little patience so I don’t put myself and the team in a position where something like this can happen.  I’ve always raced clean and hard, but obviously I’ve gone over the line and I want to apologize to Scott Pruett and the CompUSA team, to the Grand American series and to my teammates at Finlay Motorsports.  I’ve learned my lesson, and I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel at VIR and helping the team finish out the season with a victory.”

McDowell, just 20 years old, became the youngest driver in Daytona Prototype history to finish second overall in a Rolex Series event with a runner-up performance in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park in late July.  The McDowell/Gidley driving duo has finished inside the top-four positions in five races this season and has finished inside the top 10 in nine of 11 starts.

McDowell is a national karting champion with 84 main event victories, 13 championships and two undefeated seasons.  Moving up to open-wheel cars, he sat on the pole and won his first-ever formula car race in the Russell Racing School series.  He was the 2003 Rookie of the Year in the Star Mazda series, and won the championship in 2004 with a record eight victories in ten races.

Loomis back to Petty, Letarte for Jeff Gordon Loomis back to Petty, Letarte for Jeff GordonKyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises, today announced the organization’s addition of championship-winning crew chief Robbie Loomis as executive vice president of race operations.

In his new role, Loomis will head the day-to-day operations of Level Cross-based Petty Enterprises and its two full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams -- the No. 43 Dodges driven by Jeff Green and the No. 45 Dodges piloted by Petty.

“We are excited that Robbie will be rejoining Petty Enterprises,” Petty said.  “Robbie won races as a crew chief here, and then won a lot of races and a championship with Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports.  We have great respect for the entire Hendrick organization, and know that Robbie’s experience with the Hendrick team has prepared him well for the role he will take on at Petty Enterprises.

“Robbie Loomis will direct our entire race operation, and we expect his experience and his ability to mold a team to help us get to the next level.  Robbie has been a part of our family for a long time, and we’re happy to have him come home.”

Loomis, 41, will leave his position as crew chief of Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 24 Chevrolets.  Before rejoining Petty, the Forest City, Fla., native will work as a consultant to Concord-based Hendrick Motorsports as the operation pursues the 2005 NEXTEL Cup championship with the No. 48 Chevrolets.

“We still have a job to do,” said Loomis, who won a Cup title with driver Jeff Gordon in 2001 after coming to Hendrick from Petty Enterprises in 2000.  “Our goal is winning that championship with Jimmie (Johnson), Chad (Knaus) and the No. 48 team.  I’m here to support them in any way I possibly can.

“Hendrick Motorsports opened my eyes to a whole different level of this industry.  The experience has allowed me to see things from a new perspective and learn important lessons about business and life.  I’m truly grateful to Rick, Jeff and the 500 people who make Hendrick Motorsports so special.

“I was with the Petty family for 11 years before being blessed to work with Jeff and the No. 24 team.  Kyle and Richard (Petty) are giving me an incredible opportunity to come home, back where I started my career, and I’m honored and excited to do that.”

With Loomis’ move, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick today introduced Steve Letarte as crew chief of the No. 24 entries driven by Gordon, a four-time Cup Series champion.  Letarte will call his first race Sunday at Loudon, N.H., less than 70 miles from his hometown of Cornish, Maine. zzzz

“Robbie and I share a great respect for the Petty family and organization,” Hendrick said.  “We talked about a lot of options, including management opportunities that would’ve kept him here.  But when it came down to making a decision, he followed his heart and I’m happy for him.  He’s a class act and will always have a place with us.

“When we first talked about this possibility before the season started, Steve’s name was the first and only one discussed.  He’s a talented young man and we’re looking forward to a bright future with him as crew chief.”

Letarte, 26, has been with the No. 24 team full-time since 1996, winning three Cup titles under the tutelage of crew chiefs Ray Evernham, Brian Whitesell and Loomis.  He has worked as a tire specialist, mechanic and car chief.

“To have a chance like this with Hendrick Motorsports is incredible,” Letarte said.  “I couldn’t ask to work with a better driver or a more talented group of people.  I’m committed to continuing the winning tradition of this team, closing 2005 on a positive note and pushing toward Jeff’s fifth championship next year.”

Letarte takes over a crew with a pair of pole positions and three victories this season.  Only two NEXTEL Cup teams have more wins in 2005.

“I’m sad to see Robbie leave,” Gordon said.  “We made a great team and had more wins ahead of us, but the Pettys presented him with a fantastic opportunity.  For him, it was time for a change and I’m happy he’s found the right fit.

“I’ve worked with Steve for more than 10 years and we already communicate extremely well, both on and off the track.  The team has a ton of confidence in his abilities, so we’re looking forward to the last 10 races of 2005 and getting an early jump on next year.” Hendrick Motorsports

Grand-Am suspends McDowell Grand-Am suspends McDowellWorking in concert with Finlay Motorsports team officials, Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Director of Competition Mark Raffauf has suspended driver Michael McDowell from the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen on September 24 following the latest in a series of on-track incidents.

McDowell, driver of the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley for the Finlay team was placed on probation by Raffauf following several incidents earlier this summer. The first-year Rolex Series driver drew the one-race penalty following avoidable contact with defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Scott Pruett in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley on a Lap 79 restart in Saturday’s Racetickets.com 250 at Phoenix International Raceway.

The incident removed Pruett and co-driver Luis Diaz from the race and relegated the No. 01 team to a 16th-place result. McDowell—who received a one-minute penalty following the incident—and co-driver Memo Gidley finished sixth in the Racetickets.com 250.

“I have no doubts that Michael McDowell is an extremely talented young driver,” Raffauf said. “However, his involvement in numerous incidents this season has left me with no choice but to sit him down for a race. We are hopeful that Michael will return to competition at Virginia International Raceway and drive at the level he is capable of achieving.”  zzzz

The 20-year-old McDowell became the youngest driver in Daytona Prototype history to finish second overall in a Rolex Series event with a runner-up performance in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park in late July. McDowell has finished inside the top-four positions in five races this season and has finished inside the top 10 in nine of 11 starts. He is currently tied for eighth in the Daytona Prototype championship standings.

The Daytona Prototype rookie debuted in the Grand-Am Cup Series in 2004, earning best results of eight at Mont-Tremblant and Watkins Glen in the Grand Sport (GS) class. McDowell also claimed the 2004 Star Mazda North American championship with seven victories and six pole positions in the 10-race series, and was the 2003 Star Mazda Rookie of the Year with two wins and three poles.

Next up for the Rolex Series is the third and final 2005 visit to Watkins Glen International for the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen on Saturday, September 24. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Alonso fastest in testing once again Alonso fastest in testing once againOnce again, Fernando Alonso was the fastest driver in the second day of testing this week at Silverstone.  Alex Wurz (McLaren) was the second quickest driver behind Alonso, followed by Red Bull driver Vitantonio Liuzzi in third place and Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) in fourth position.
1. F. Alonso - Renault - 1'17"018 (+0"000) - 111 laps
2. A. Wurz - McLaren Mercedes - 1'17"673 (+0"655) - 114 laps
3. V. Liuzzi - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'17"678 (+0"660) - 83 laps
4. G. Fisichella - Renault - 1'18"024 (+1"006) - 78 laps
5. R. Schumacher - Toyota - 1'18"523 (+1"505) - 72 laps
6. A. Pizzonia - BMW Williams - 1'18"695 (+1"677) - 34 laps
7. C. Klien - Red Bull Cosworth - 1'18"721 (+1"703) - 96 laps
8. N. Rosberg - BMW Williams - 1'19"028 (+2"010) - 61 laps
9. O. Panis - Toyota - 1'19"051 (+2"033) - 62 laps
10. P. de la Rosa - McLaren Mercedes V8 - 1'22"974 (+5"956) - 40 laps
11. S. Yamamoto - Jordan Toyota - 1'23"514 (+6"496) - 73 laps
ISC upset with IRL ISC upset with IRLThis is a quote from Gillian Zucker, Cal Speedway Track President - Zucker balked at the other date the IRL offered -- April 9 -- due to the Champ Car World Series' traditional street course race at nearby Long Beach, Calif., that weekend. It was "out of respect to our neighbors," she said.  That's track owner speak for "Are you crazy? We don't get enough patrons as it is."

"Open-wheel crowds don't compare to Nextel Cup crowds but we're still talking about a large number of people, crowds that any other sport would be happy to have," Zucker said.  "This is a disappointment. We have this incredible facility and we want to use it for world-class events.

"I just threw my hands up," Zucker said. "I just didn't understand. I mean, we asked a lot of questions. I don't see how losing the country's second-biggest market helps their TV partners."

Next season will be California Speedway's first without open-wheel racing of any kind. Champ Car, then known as CART, raced there from the track's opening in 1997 through 2002 and, for a time, drew crowds of 80,000 or more.

Sounds to us like ISC might not be too happy with the IRL right now.  Hmm......

Woman tests RCR Busch Car Woman tests RCR Busch CarAllison Duncan, part of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) driver development program and the first Drive for Diversity participant to win a race, looked toward the future when she tested a NASCAR Busch Series car for the first time yesterday at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro.

The Northern California native has two victories this season in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Western Late Model Division at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway driving for the Bill McAnally Racing (BMR)/RCR team. She became the first Drive for Diversity participant to win a race when she took the No. 20 Miller Lite Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the winner’s circle June 11. She earned her second win July 9 and is second in the point standings with one race remaining (a double-points race Sept. 17).

“I tested at Caraway maybe four or five years ago but this was the first time I’ve driven a Busch car,” said Duncan. “I feel like I did the best I could so I’m really happy with the way things went. To work with someone like Bobby Leslie, with all his experience and the success he’s had, and to work with a top-notch team with top-notch equipment is just an incredible experience. He took the time to teach me what different chassis setup changes feel like.

“My Late Model car is going to feel like it’s about half the weight it really is now that I’ve driven a Busch car. Even though I know it’s only about a 500 pound difference. I’m used to having half as much horsepower and running on eight-inch tires instead of 11-inch tires. One of my biggest concerns coming in was that there were so many unknowns, so many things I’m not used to.

“Whatever this test leads to is still unknown right now but I will always be able to say that I got to drive an RCR Busch car, which very few people can say.”

“I think she was really smooth,” said Bobby Leslie, who won numerous Busch races as a crew chief for Mark Martin and who oversaw Duncan’s test. “The telemetry showed she was very consistent on the 40-lap run we made at the end of the day, getting on and off the gas about the same every lap. She has a better knowledge of these cars now. Just like everybody, she spent the first half of the day learning about the race car and then the second half of the day doing something with it.”

Leslie is conducting a similar test today at Caraway Speedway with Sarah Fisher, another RCR developmental driver who races fulltime in the NASCAR West Series for BMR/RCR.

Tom Knox named to RCR post Tom Knox named to RCR postRichard Childress Racing (RCR) has hired Tom Knox as its managing director of business development and promoted Jason Garrow to the director of sponsor services.

Knox will be responsible for evaluating and pursuing new business opportunities, leading the efforts to add to RCR’s family of sponsors and technical partners and working with RCR’s sponsor services group to bring additional opportunities to its partners.

The Wayne, N.J., native comes to RCR from Rusty Wallace, Inc., where he had been since 1999 and last held the position of vice president of business development. From 1997-99, he was a sales account manager with NASCAR’s New York office. Knox earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Fairfield University in 1994 and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Seton Hall University in 1997.

“We are excited to have someone of Tom’s caliber join our team,” said Ben Schlosser, RCR’s vice president of marketing. “His experience and proven ability to forge new partnerships will be an asset to Richard Childress Racing. Tom has developed a first-class reputation within the NASCAR industry and it is well-deserved.”

Garrow will oversee day-to-day business activities and client activation with current sponsors, manage sponsors’ event and at-track activities, work with RCR partners to leverage their sponsorship assets and help develop new marketing activities and services for RCR.

The Marshall, Minn., native had been RCR’s senior sponsorship manager since February 2003. A 1992 graduate of Augustana College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration/Economics, he earned a Master of Science degree in Sports Management in 1996 from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

“Jason’s ongoing commitment to helping our partners maximize their investment in RCR is what our sponsor services group is all about,” said Schlosser. “He will continue to work with our partners to add value and find new avenues to activate their programs.”

Bourdais wraps up 2005 testing for Newman/Haas Bourdais wraps up 2005 testing for Newman/HaasMcDonald’s® Champ Car driver Sebastien Bourdais completed the final test of the 2005 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season for Newman/Haas Racing yesterday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.  During the two-day test on the 4.048-mile road course that began on Monday, September 12, Bourdais completed over 500 trouble-free miles.

“We learned a few things at the test which is always the goal,” said Bourdais who currently lead the Champ Car point standings with a 61-point advantage over his teammate PacifiCare driver Oriol Servia who resides in second place after 10 of 14 races. “Now we are completely focused on getting the best results for the McDonald’s and PacifiCare teams at the last four races.  The challenges are diverse since the last four races will be a combination of one Superspeedway, one road course and two street races, one of which we have never competed on.  We are going to take each challenge one at a time and try to bring the team their second one-two finish in the championship.”

Since the most recent Champ Car race – the Molson Indy Montreal on August 28 – where Servia earned his first series victory, Newman/Haas Racing has used the downtime to test in South Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.  They are currently preparing to defend their 2004 one-two finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the series will compete next before the final three races of the season in Ansan, South Korea, Surfer’s Paradise, Australia and Mexico City.

DEI to reunite Tony Eury Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. DEI to reunite Tony Eury Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr.Dale Earnhardt Incorporated announced today that, starting this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway, Tony Eury Jr., will take over as crew chief for the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet. Eury Jr., who has been crew chief for DEI’s No. 15 Chevrolet this season, will be reunited with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who Eury Jr. worked with for eight seasons prior.  The two will be paired for the remaining races of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season in preparation for 2006 where they will compete together for the NASCAR championship.

“This is the best plan for us as a company,” Eury Jr. said.  “We haven’t been in the same pit box this year, but we’ve been working closely as a team. Looking at where we want to be for 2006, it made sense to switch now and get that much further ahead.” 

With the 2005 chase contenders decided, Richie Gilmore, DEI’s Vice-President of Motorsports, knew now was the best time for the restructuring.

“After evaluating our programs for next season, we went back and looked at all the resources at our disposal,” Gilmore said. “By putting Tony Jr. back with Dale Jr. now, it enables us to start working towards our goals for next season. Those two can start finding their rhythm for next year, while Steve Hmiel can return his full focus on the technical aspect of our programs.”

Hmiel, who has been the interim crew chief for the No. 8 team since May, will return to his position as Technical Director for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Tony Gibson, car chief for the No. 15 team, will serve as the No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet crew chief for the remainder of this season.   

DEI’s line-up of teams will be stronger than ever for 2006 with three Nextel Cup teams and two Busch Series teams. Chance 2, which is co-owned by Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr., is the defending Busch Series champions and currently leads in the series point standings. DEI

SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 9-14-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 10.290
2. (5) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 10.241
3. (14) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 8.586
4. (2) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 8.071
5. (6) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.838
6. (15) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 7.572
7. (8) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.553
8. (12) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 7.435
9. (7) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 7.300
10. (9) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 7.246
11. (17) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 7.152
12. (25) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 6.648
13. (13) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.602
14. (3) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 6.593
15. (NR) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 6.279
16. (20) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 6.248
17. (19) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.236
18. (24) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.101
19. (NR) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.100
20. (11) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.067
Dropped out: Juan Pablo Montoya (F1), Jamie McMurrary (NASCAR), Ricky Rudd (NASCAR), Joe Nemechek (NASCAR)
Last week’s ranking in parenthesis
Provided by STATS Inc
McLaren duo busy with TAG Heuer McLaren duo busy with TAG HeuerTeam McLaren Mercedes’ Partners always come up with exciting and dynamic promotional events involving the drivers, but TAG Heuer pushed the boundaries recently when the Swiss timepiece company took Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya to two different countries to take part in two separate events on the same day.

Montoya was at the Sunningdale golf club in the UK, taking part in the TAG Heuer Link Challenge 2005. Montoya took part in a putting competition, while model Jodie Kidd, England cricket captain Michael Vaughan and Ryder Cup winner Ian Poulter were among the guests at the high profile event.

Meanwhile out in Zurich Raikkonen was taking part in an event at a local karting centre. After taking part in a Q&A session with ex-Formula One driver Marc Surer.

He was then given a special TAG Heuer branded go-kart and completed ten laps around the indoor track setting a new lap record for others to try and shoot at.

The attendees, who consisted of media and TAG Heuer’s leading customers and retailers, then took part in an elimination competition on the circuit, with Raikkonen waving the flag to start the race. Eventually the guests were whittled down to the final few who then battled against each other until the overall winner was crowned.

Raikkonen then presented the winners with their prizes – which included a TAG Heuer jacket, sunglasses and watch and had their photographs taken with them.  McLaren Mercedes

Looking forward to the overseas races Looking forward to the overseas racesAfter solid performances at the Italian and Belgian Grand Prix, including a strong fourth-place finish by Mark Webber at Spa Francorchamps last weekend, BMW Williams is tackling the final three races of the 2005 season with optimism. The Anglo-German partnership wants to finish on a high and get some more good results in Brazil, Japan and China.

However, it will be difficult for all teams to further develop their cars, as BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen explains. “Traditionally there won't be huge upgrades during the final three overseas races,” he said. “Most teams are already preparing for the new season regarding car development.”

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team will have fresh engines for the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix at Sao Paulo, which should suit the FW27 package well. Back in 2004, Juan Pablo Montoya scored the team's last victory to date at the bumpy Interlagos circuit. BMW Williams

Shanghai hoping to end the season on a high Shanghai hoping to end the season on a highJust three races remain in a Formula One season and by the time the F1 circus reaches Shanghai's uniquely constructed circuit the drivers' championship may have been decided, but the constructors’ championship is almost certainly going to be determined by the race outcome.

All efforts are being stepped up to ensure that the final round of the 2005 Formula One Championship is better than ever. Indications so far predict that the multi-million dollar circuit, which was completed in record time, will host another 190,000 sell-out event.

"I hope this year is an even bigger success than last - we have plenty planned for the spectators and they will not leave disappointed," stated Mr. Yu, General Manager of the SIC Management and Development Company. "The new Shanghai development contributed greatly to the local economy last year and this year will see a significant boost to this contribution due to an increased awareness of motorsports in China."

Covering an area of 5.3 square km and featuring 14 intricate turns, the Shanghai Circuit promises to provide non-stop racing entertainment to the spectators. Shanghai International Circuit

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Klien to keep Red Bull ride
Why would Toyota switch?
Schu calms mood at party
F1 tests at three tracks

Davidson's troubled run
'Team Briatore' ruled out
F1 bench 'not nice' - Liuzzi
Red Bull deny political ploy
'Don't blame Bridgestone'
Fiat won't sell Ferrari
V8 leaves Pedro 'shocked'
Williams lose title sponsor
Briscoe crash photos Briscoe crash photosWe direct your attention to our Home Page and the new Photos of the Week showing a sequence of images from last Sunday's Ryan Briscoe crash at Chicagoland. As the IRL TV announcer proclaimed, "certifiably insane".......especially this one by Phil Rider, which shows just how crazy it all is.
Tony Stewart on Letterman Tony Stewart on LettermanTony Stewart will be on the CBS David Letterman Late Show Wednesday night.  Here is the lineup:

Wednesday, September 14 at 11;30 PM ET
Reese Witherspoon (Just Like Heaven)
Tony Stewart
Arcade Fire (CD, "Funeral")

Chase contenders to appear at ESPN Zone Chase contenders to appear at ESPN ZoneAs NASCAR heads toward Loudon, New Hampshire for the Sylvania 300, the ten drivers eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup will appear at ESPN Zone in Times Square on Thursday, September 15th from Noon to 3:00 PM ET for interactive question and answers sessions.

Drivers scheduled to appear are Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield, Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman.

Fans have the opportunity to ask about the upcoming ten-race Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and other questions in ESPN Zone's Screening Room. Doors open at 11:30 AM ET.

Fans are asked to note that seating is reserved for dining guests only, and standing room is limited. All space is available on a first come, first served basis. All dates, times and appearances are subject to change.

Quote of the week Quote of the weekThe official announcement of the 2006 Indy Racing League schedule is one of the smallest and lamest in the IRL's 11-year history.  No Los Angeles. No Phoenix. No Denver. No Canada. No Long Beach.  And no getting around the fact the IRL's 2006 schedule doesn't look nearly as inviting as people thought it would six months ago.  It's shorter but not necessarily sweeter as only 14 races will be contested from late March to early September -- down from 17 this year.  Not even the Svengali of Spin, Fred "Baghdad Bob" Nation, can make going from 17 to 14 sound like growth or anything resembling good news. Robin Miller, SPEEDTV.com
Industry News
Delphi eyes bankruptcy Delphi eyes bankruptcyIf Delphi Corp. files for bankruptcy, only its U.S. operations will be affected, the auto parts supplier‘s chairman and CEO Robert S. Miller said Tuesday.  Miller said Delphi‘s European operations are competitive and brought in record revenues of $7.5 billion last year, a 50 percent increase since 1999.

He said the company is considering filing for bankruptcy within the next month if it can‘t reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers union and General Motors Corp. to lower its labor costs. Delphi is a former division of GM and remains a major supplier for the company.  GM could be liable for as much as $10 billion under its agreement with the UAW, Miller said.

Liuzzi wants seat in Brazil Liuzzi wants seat in BrazilVitantonio Liuzzi is hopeful of returning to the grand prix grid at the Brazilian GP.  The Italian, who has spent the majority of the season in Red Bull's 'Friday' car, is tipped to finally swap roles with Christian Klien following the Austrian's 12-GP tenure.  ''I think the decision will be made next week,'' Liuzzi revealed in Belgium last weekend.

'Tonio', though, is likely to have heaved a sigh of relief given the energy drink company's purchase of Minardi. He is, at least, all but guaranteed some sort of berth in grands prix next year.  As far as I know, I have a chance (to race in Brazil),'' Liuzzi added.

BAR tests at Barcelona BAR tests at BarcelonaThe first day of B.A.R Honda’s three-day test in Barcelona began on Tuesday morning with test driver Enrique Bernoldi and Young Drivers Adam Carroll and James Rossiter in attendance. The weather conditions for the morning session were hot and sunny, however rain disrupted play in the early afternoon.

Enrique spent his early runs finding a good balance in chassis 007-06 before running through an aero evaluation and suspension set-up work. He completed 80 laps in the morning session before a downpour hit the Spanish track. After the rain had come to a stop, the Brazilian completed two runs on the drying circuit, bringing his total to 86 laps for the day

Meanwhile, in chassis 007-03, Adam completed 56 laps in the morning session running through general set-up work and a rear suspension evaluation. Following the rain he completed a run on intermediate tires before moving to dry tires for a further two runs, bringing his final lap tally for the day to 70 laps.

James ran in chassis 007-01, a 2006 development car, sharing track time alternately with the other two cars. He completed 26 laps and set some encouraging lap times for his first outing at the Barcelona circuit.

Times from day one:
1. E. Bernoldi - 01:16.78
2. A. Carroll - 01:17.72
3. J. Rossiter - 01:18.74

Industry News
Fiat to keep Ferrari Fiat to keep FerrariStruggling Italian automaker Fiat SpA has no plans to unload its stake in Ferrari SpA, its chairman said Tuesday.   "Absolutely no," he said, adding that any plans to list the famed luxury sports car maker on the stock market would only be decided after talks with Mediobanca, the Italian investment bank that acquired a 34 percent stake in Ferrari from Fiat in 2003.  Mediobanca said in July that it was selling 5 percent of Ferrari to Abu Dhabi‘s Mubadala Development Co.
Danica effect on IRL Danica effect on IRLIRL President & CEO Brian Barnhart said of Danica Patrick’s effect on the league during her rookie season, “Attendance is up at all events and our television ratings are up 25[%] for the season. Obviously, she’s had a lot to do with that.  She’s been the focus of a lot of attention and a lot of pressure’s been put on her.  I think she’s handled it very well.” “Cold Pizza,” ESPN2
McLaren tops test at Silverstone McLaren tops test at SilverstoneThe Team McLaren Mercedes team began a two day test at Silverstone today, with Alex Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa both present at the Northamptonshire circuit.

Alex was behind the wheel of an MP4-20. This morning he was working on suspension development and set-up work, and this afternoon focused his program on testing the prime and option Michelin tires for the forthcoming Japanese Grand Prix.

Alex completed his program with no problems and was second fastest man on the circuit with a time of 1m17.109s. He completed 68 laps.

Pedro was also behind the wheel of an MP4-20 which was running for the first time with a Mercedes-Benz V8 engine.

Pedro and the test team made steady progress throughout the day, with long breaks in between running as the engineers analyzed the data and made software changes. He completed 38 laps of the circuit with a best time of 1m24.477s. The Spaniard will continue the program tomorrow.

Testing times from Silverstone on Tuesday
1. WURZ McLaren 1m17.101s
2. ALONSO Renault 1m17.112s
3. ZONTA Toyota 1m18.140s
4. KOVALAINEN Renault 1m18.701s
5. LIUZZI Red Bull 1m18.871s
6. KLIEN Red Bull 1m19.911s
7. DAVIDSON Jordan 1m21.011s
8. PANIS Toyota 1m21.600s
9. DE LA ROSA McLaren 1m24.481s

McLaren tests at Silverstone McLaren tests at SilverstoneThe Team McLaren Mercedes team began a two day test at Silverstone today, with Alex Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa both present at the Northamptonshire circuit.

Alex was behind the wheel of an MP4-20. This morning he was working on suspension development and set-up work, and this afternoon focused his program on testing the prime and option Michelin tires for the forthcoming Japanese Grand Prix.

Alex completed his program with no problems and was second fastest man on the circuit with a time of 1m17.109s. He completed 68 laps.

Pedro was also behind the wheel of an MP4-20 which was running for the first time with a Mercedes-Benz V8 engine.

Pedro and the test team made steady progress throughout the day, with long breaks in between running as the engineers analyzed the data and made software changes. He completed 38 laps of the circuit with a best time of 1m24.477s. The Spaniard will continue the program tomorrow.

Homestead to be IRL opener again Homestead to be IRL opener againThe Toyota Indy 300 will kick off the 2006 IRL IndyCar Series season on Sunday, March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It will mark the fifth consecutive year that Homestead-Miami Speedway has hosted the IndyCar Series season-opener. The Toyota Indy 300 will be nationally televised live on ABC Sports.

The 2006 event will again feature some of open-wheel racing's biggest stars as they race side-by-side at speeds over 200 miles-per-hour on the state-of-the-art, 20-degree variable banking at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Female racing sensation Danica Patrick, two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves (residence: Miami, FL), 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan (residence: Key Biscayne, FL) and defending Toyota Indy 300 and Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon highlight the IndyCar Series drivers expected to compete in the 2006 Toyota Indy 300. zzzz

"Fans have a special opportunity to witness stars such as Danica, Helio, Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon as they open up the 2006 IndyCar Series season at next year's Toyota Indy 300," said Curtis Gray, President Homestead-Miami Speedway. "With the incredible popularity of Danica, we expect the 2006 Toyota Indy 300 to be one of the most anticipated events in the Speedway's history. We encourage fans to order their tickets early to ensure that they are part of the excitement of the 2006 Toyota Indy 300."

Patrick made IndyCar Series history in 2005 by becoming the first female driver to ever lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500 and to qualify on the pole position in an IRL IndyCar Series event. Castroneves, winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 2001 and 2002, wants nothing more than to win the Toyota Indy 300 at his home track. Kanaan, who currently ranks second in the 2005 IndyCar Series standings, is also seeking his first win in front of his hometown crowd. Wheldon, on his way to his first IndyCar Series championship this season, will be looking to defend both his Toyota Indy 300 and Indianapolis 500 championships in 2006.

To purchase tickets to the Toyota Indy 300 or for more information, call the Homestead-Miami Speedway ticket office at 305-230-RACE or 866-409-RACE or visit the Speedway's official website at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com

NASCAR hands down fines NASCAR hands down finesReigning NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. was fined, placed on probation and stripped of 25 driver points for using an obscene gesture during the live TV broadcast of last weekend's Emerson Radio 250 at Richmond, Va.  Truex, who also leads this season's points standings, was fined $10,000 and also placed on probation through the end of the season.  In addition, Teresa Earnhardt, owner of Truex's No. 8 Chevrolet, was penalized 25 car owner points for the infraction.

Additionally, three Busch Series crew chiefs were penalized following rule infractions at Richmond.

Eddie Buffington, crew chief for the No. 12 Dodge driven by Paul Wolfe and Chad Beahr, crew chief for the No. 94 Ford driven by Eddie Beahr, were each fined $500 for steering idler arms that were not solid.

Ricky Viers, crew chief for the No. 21 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, was fined $500 for lug nuts that were too thin. All of these infractions were discovered during qualifying on Sept. 9.

Shorter 2006 IRL schedule released Shorter 2006 IRL schedule releasedIndy Racing League officials announced a 14-race schedule for the 2006 IRL IndyCar® Series season, featuring a more compact and consistent lineup of races.

The compacted schedule allows the series to run 14 events in a period of 25 weeks, eight weeks fewer than the early March to mid-October schedule that has used in recent seasons.

"The primary reasons for the compacted schedule are momentum and consistency," said Brian Barnhart, the IRL's president and chief operating officer. "Scheduling our races on a consistent basis in a compacted time frame will give us momentum from the drop of the green flag in Miami into the month of May, right through the heart of our season and into the championship point battle.

"We worked closely with the IndyCar Series teams to evaluate the impact of this type of schedule on the drivers, crews and sponsors and received a great deal of enthusiasm."

For the fifth consecutive season, Homestead-Miami Speedway will serve as host for the season opener, scheduled for Sunday, March 26. Chicagoland Speedway will host the season finale, the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean, on Sunday, Sept. 10. It will mark the first time the 1.5-mile oval will host the season finale. All events will be televised by ABC Sports, ESPN or ESPN2.

Chicagoland Speedway, which has hosted an IndyCar Series event since 2001, will be the fourth different venue to host the season's final race.

"We're really excited about hosting the last race of the season for the IndyCar Series in 2006," said Matthew Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway. "Each year, our IndyCar Series races have been really close, including in 2002 when we witnessed the closest finish in IndyCar Series history. And now, with the excitement of the final race of the season - culminating in the crowning of the 2006 champion - our IRL weekend will be an unforgettable, unparalleled experience for our fans."

The only other significant change to the schedule is shifting of the Watkins Glen International date from September to June, marking the first time since the  league's inception that the series will race on the weekend immediately following the Indianapolis 500.

"Having the Indianapolis 500 and the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix run on consecutive weekends will make for an amazing two weeks of racing," said Craig Rust, president of Watkins Glen International. "The history and heritage of open-wheel racing at both facilities is well known, and these events running back to back should really help create momentum for the rest of the season."

Overall, the series schedule will include 11 oval events, two permanent road courses and one street-course event.

"Scheduled races on a consistent basis in a compacted time frame will lead to consistent media coverage, easier promotion for all the tracks on our schedule, consistent television promotion and will keep fans and potential fans in-tune with the league and its drivers," said Ken Ungar, senior vice president of business affairs, IRL. "We look forward to ending our season at Chicagoland Speedway where we have witnessed the high-speed and wheel-to-wheel excitement of the IndyCar Series first hand the past few years."

The 2006 television schedule will include seven events on ABC Sports, six on ESPN and one on ESPN2. The schedule calls for three prime-time events at Texas, Richmond and Nashville.

The league is open is to a possible future return to the three venues  - California Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Pikes Peak International Raceway - that are not returning to the 2006 schedule.
Day Track Name TV Information (See also Detailed Schedule)
Sun, Mar 26 Homestead-Miami Speedway, 1.5-mile oval ABC
Sun, Apr 02 Streets of St. Petersburg, 1.8-mile street course ESPN
Sat, Apr 22 Twin Ring Motegi, 1.5-mile oval ESPN
Sun, May 28 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2.5-mile oval ABC
Sun, Jun 04 Watkins Glen International, 3.37-mile road course ABC
Sat, Jun 10 Texas Motor Speedway, 1.5-mile oval* ESPN
Sat, Jun 24 Richmond International Raceway, .75-mile oval* ESPN2
Sun, Jul 02 Kansas Speedway, 1.5-mile oval ABC
Sat, Jul 15 Nashville Superspeedway, 1.33-mile oval* ESPN
Sun, Jul 23 The Milwaukee Mile, 1-mile oval ESPN
Sun, Jul 30 Michigan International Speedway, 2-mile oval ABC
Sun, Aug 13 Kentucky Speedway, 1.5-mile oval ABC
Sun, Aug 27 Infineon Raceway, 2.4-mile road course ESPN
Sun, Sep 10 Chicagoland Speedway, 1.5-mile oval ABC
* - night race

NASCAR article in Playboy NASCAR article in PlayboyAs the NASCAR nation gets ready for their version of the playoffs, Playboy recaps the tale of five car dummies who explored Talladega in hopes of realizing the true NASCAR experience. In "NASCAR Crash Course," in the October issue of Playboy magazine (on newsstands now), Playboy contributor and author of The Godfather Returns Mark Winegardner gathers a group of literary friends to investigate all the NASCAR hype. Winegardner and crew rent an RV, tour the NASCAR pits and gawk enviously at all the tricked out trailers. The feature discounts the theory that NASCAR is a sport for rednecks and draws attention to several little known facts. For example, many will be surprised to find out that New York City is NASCAR's second-largest TV market and that NASCAR's per-event TV ratings are second only to the NFL.
Transnet Racing returns to Atlantic Championship in '06 Transnet Racing returns to Atlantic Championship in '06Transnet Racing, the Atlanta based auto racing team that participated in Atlantic competition in 2002, 2003 and 2004, announced today that team owner Alex García will bring his race team back to the Atlantic Championship in 2006. Transnet Racing last raced in the Atlantic Championship in 2004 with García and Jonathan Bomarito driving the team’s Atlantic machines.

"Returning to the Atlantic Championship after the substantial improvements to the Series announced by Champ Car a few weeks ago is a good step for Transnet”, said García. "We have already ordered two new cars for next season, and in the next couple of months will be announcing the names of our two drivers.”

García also mentioned that, “Transnet recently moved into its new race shop, in a brand new purpose built facility located in Morrow, Georgia, just south of the Atlanta Airport”, and indicated that “in looking forward to the start of the new season, we recently hired Allen Berg as Team Manager”.

According to Atlantic officials, North America's top open-wheel development series will feature a new 016.a Swift chassis powered by a 2.3 liter, 300-horsepower Cosworth engine capable of producing speeds up to 175 mph. Pi Research will provide all of the electronics, wiring and sensors on the new car.

Recently, the Atlantic officials also announced that starting with the 2006 season, the Atlantic Champion will earn a $2 million bonus under the Atlantic Incentive Program to be used by the Champion in assisting to secure a Champ Car World Series ride.

“We think this is an extraordinary announcement, because it will allow drivers to take the next step in their careers,” added Garcia. “We are already in talks with drivers interested in driving for Transnet in 2006. The Series’ package is very attractive and Transnet will provide the support that drivers need to succeed at this level while preparing to make the transition to the Champ Car World Series. We pride ourselves in the development of our drivers beyond the cockpit, including all aspects of being a professional racecar driver”.

Transnet Racing was founded by Venezuelan driver Alex Garcia in 2002 with the goal of participating at the top of U.S open wheel racing and provide a platform for young and skilled drivers looking to compete on an international stage.

For more information about Transnet Racing, please visit www.transnetracing.com. For information about available opportunities, please contact Allen Berg at: aberg@transnetracing.com, or call 770.968.5520.

Interview with Champ Car's new President Steve Johnson Interview with Champ Car's new President Steve JohnsonAutoRacing1.com did an exclusive interview with Champ Car's soon to be new President, Steve Johnson.  You can find the interview on our Audio Page in MP3 format (Windows media player will play MP3 format files).  We will have a streaming Real Media version later today.
Legault denies IRL deal in Montreal Legault denies IRL deal in MontrealIn response to rumors emanating from the specialized motorsport press, here and elsewhere in North America, Mr. Normand Legault, president and chief executive officer of GPF1 Inc., has issued the following clarifications today, concerning the presentation by his group of motorsport events in 2006 on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve:

No contractual agreement exists between any enterprises in the GPF1 Inc. group and promoters of the Indy Racing League, Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series championships for the presentation of an event in Montreal in 2006, nor even, at this date, for subsequent years;

The contract binding our group to Champ Car World Series foresees the presentation of a round of that championship in Montreal in 2006, a round already included in the calendar recently made public by the organizers of the championship;

We want to take this occasion to state that, contrary to what has been reported by certain media, during and since the recent Molson Indy Montreal, the organization - with the cooperation of its sponsor - devoted a significantly higher budget to the promotion of the event, as well as increased advertising and publicity efforts, than for any of the three previous editions. These investments were supported by the cooperation and availability of drivers Alexandre Tagliani and Andrew Ranger and their sponsors, both with the media and with the hundreds of fans they met during summer tours of several Quebec towns.

While awaiting publication by the FIA of the definitive calendar for the 2006 Formula 1 world championship, our group is busy preparing for the 2006 Grand Prix of Canada, which it again expects to be a success. GPF1

Red Bull to move Minardi team to England Red Bull to move Minardi team to EnglandRed Bull's Helmut Marko has confirmed that plans are in place to shut down the Minardi Faenza factory and bring the company's two teams together in England by 2008.

"We will stay for at least another two years, I would say, in Faenza," Marko told Autosport-Atlas. "After that it's open. But in 2008 you have the regulations where you can supply various teams. I think the real cost effect will come in 2008.

"We won't have in 2008 one team in Italy, one team in England. I would say it's sure they will be at one location, and the most logical one. We can't move our wind tunnel. Have you ever seen it? You should see it at Bedford, it's unbelievable. It's one of our main assets. So England is the obvious choice."

FIA says team cost cuts not enough FIA says team cost cuts not enoughUPDATE The announcement means that it is now likely that the manufacturers involved in F1 will have to decide whether they are serious about starting their own series as it is clear that the FIA is just going ahead with its own ideas.

The FIA statement talks about the duty of the FIA being to ensure that the Formula 1 World Championship continues with a mixture of independent teams and manufacturers, all competing on an equal footing in the traditional way. This is all well and good but the new Concorde Agreement is anything but that, with a special financial arrangement for Ferrari which gives the team a massive financial advantage. The FIA is also tasked to look after global motor racing but does not seem to think it is wrong for all the money raised by F1 to go out of the sport to banks and the offshore family trusts of the Ecclestone Family.

It seems that the war will go on and F1 will continue down the path of stupidity while the rival NASCAR series continues to grow. Grandprix.com

09/13/05 On Monday, the FIA received a response from a number of teams present at the meeting in Milan on August 31.  Although constructive in tone, it contains nothing new.  In particular it makes no proposal for reducing costs.

New teams intending to apply to enter the Championship in 2008 have all made it clear that they can do so only if costs are greatly reduced.  Current teams which are already committed for 2008 fully agree.  Accordingly the FIA is now reviewing the draft 2008 regulations with a view to eliminating unnecessary and excessive expenditure while continuing to allow technology which is road-relevant and interesting to the public.

The target is to reduce the budget of a top team from the current €300m+ ($360m+) to around €100m ($120m).  A budget of €100m ($120m) for two cars for one season is still a vast amount of money when compared to any other form of motor racing.

The FIA Formula One World Championship has always relied on independent teams.  Its rules must allow them to survive and prosper.  If major manufacturers wish to participate (and at least three are expected in 2008), so much the better.  However the duty of the FIA is clear: it must ensure that the Formula One World Championship continues with a mixture of independent teams and manufacturers, all competing on an equal footing in the traditional way.

If some of the manufacturers wish to run a private series with unlimited expenditure, the FIA will give them every assistance.  It would be an interesting experiment, but too risky for the Formula One World Championship.  Costs would almost certainly rise above even current Formula One levels and all teams would require full manufacturer support.  Such support is unlikely to continue indefinitely.

The FIA is now confident that it will shortly be able to publish rules for the 2008 Formula One World Championship which give realistic (but still high) budgets, close racing (including much easier overtaking) and interesting but relevant technology.  The result will be a 2008 Formula One World Championship with 12 teams, 24 cars and greater public interest than ever. FIA

Klien to drive last three races Klien to drive last three racesRed Bull Racing has confirmed today that Christian Klien will race for the team as second driver (car no.  15) at the three remaining races of the 2005 F1 season. David Coulthard will drive car no. 14, while Tonio  Liuzzi will continue as the team's third driver.    Sporting  Director  Christian  Horner  commented:  "Following  Red  Bull  GmbH's  acquisition  of  Minardi  last  weekend, Christian and Tonio have assured futures in F1. As a result, Red Bull Racing has decided to  continue with Christian as race driver for the final three races of the year. Having contested the races  previously,  Christian  will  be  looking  to  secure  Championship  points  for  the  team,  while  Tonio's  role  as  third driver will allow him to familiarize himself with the circuits in Brazil, Japan and China ahead of 2006.  No decision as to which driver will compete for the team alongside David Coulthard next year has yet  been made; Red Bull Racing will announce its 2006 driver line-up after the end of the season."
Industry News
Ferrari at Frankfurt Auto Show Ferrari at Frankfurt Auto ShowThe highlights at the Ferrari stand at the 61st Frankfurt Motor Show will be the presentation of the 612 Scaglietti Model Year 2006 and the world preview of the F430 Challenge, the 8-cylinder berlinetta-derived competition car that will be taking part in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli from the 2006 season.

The German Show comes at an important moment for the Prancing Horse. 2005 has been a year of both change and affirmation for the company. A year that has seen it separate from Maserati and consolidate its strong sales figures (the number of cars sold by 31st December will exceed 5,000 compared to the 4,975 delivered to new owners in 2004). zzzz

Ferrari has also reaffirmed the strong link between its GT and sporting divisions with the new F430 Challenge which is specifically designed to meet the expectations of its sportier clients. The F430 Challenge retains the same general look and 490 hp engine as the road-going version. However, it also incorporates a large number of significant track-oriented modifications and a host of new features not seen in the car currently used in the series, the 360 Challenge, which it joins on the track next season and completely replaces in 2007.

An intensive series of development tests held at Fiorano and other prestigious circuits have honed the F430 Challenge’s talents too. In fact, it offers a stunning series of features sure to meet with the approval of its drivers. As ever, the transfer from Formula 1 is significant, particularly with regard to the braking system which uses carbon-ceramic material (CCM) – a first for a Ferrari sports competition car.

The electronic gearbox is also F1-derived and works in exactly the same way as the one used aboard the Grand Prix car.
Thanks to a sinterised two-plate clutch and specific software, it also offers the same gear-changing times as the road-going F430 (150 ms) in the much more extreme track conditions. Fifth and sixth gear ratios have also been modified with respect to the road-going version as has the final drive ration order to make the very most of the engine on all the circuits where the F430 Challenge will race.
New 19’’ slick tires were also developed specifically by Pirelli and are designed to comply with the very strict racing regulations that demand endurance whilst still delivering blistering performance.

The F430 Challenge boasts a curb weight of just 1,225 kg (excluding petrol). Weight has been reduced in every area of the car, from the engineering to the bodywork. Of particular note are the Lexan® windscreen, the all-carbon fiber intake plenum cover, and the specific exhaust system. To ensure that drivers get the full benefit of the car’s sporty prowess on the track, the E-Diff has been replaced by a mechanical differential and the EBD has been replaced with a mechanical system.
Similarly, the stability and traction control is permanently disengaged and “race” settings have been maintained on the gearbox and engine management system, along with the ABS and ASR, thus doing away with the manettino switch. The ASR can be deactivated by the driver at will.

The most notable of the other solutions introduced in the new F430 Challenge is the new steering wheel with a quick release mechanism to make it easier to get into and out of the car. The wheel is also equipped with buttons for radio contact with the pits, to set the pit lane speed and interface with the new color digital instrument panel. The rear of the car is characterized by a new exhaust system which has high central tail pipes, and by the modified grille which increases the extraction of hot air from the rear of the engine bay. The anti-roll bars, springs and single-rate shocks have all been modified for racing use too. The centre locking wheels make wheel changes faster too as does the fact that the car incorporates pneumatic jacks.

Although Ferrari has worked hard this year to meet the demands of its sportier clients, that has not stopped it from producing the Model Year 2006 version of the 612 Scaglietti for owners who like ultra-refined elegance as well as performance.
Unveiled at Detroit in 2004, the flagship of the Ferrari range now has an even more impressive standard spec than ever with leather trim in the same color as the seats now extending to the headlining and the side panels running lengthways between the A- and the C-post. The result is a brighter and even more elegant cockpit finish that can be personalized still further courtesy of the Carrozzeria Scaglietti program.

The sumptuous MY06 also boasts a new radio-CD system with satellite navigation system, voice recognition system, MP3 player, Bluetooth and a Compact Flash memory card reader that will allow the owner to store and play 4 GB of music. The system is integrated with a newly refined display on the instrument panel too.
To improve handling in tight spaces, rear parking sensors are also now offered as standard.

Also on display at the Ferrari stand is the GTC Handling package for the 612 Scaglietti which offers a more sporty set-up with carbon-ceramic brakes, a specific gear change software upgrade and 19” split rims.

In addition to the two versions of the Scaglietti and the new F430 Challenge, the Ferrari stand will also feature the Superamerica, the F430 berlinetta and Spider and the 2004 F1 World Championship winning F2004. All of the road cars displayed are equipped with the F1-style gearbox which now ordered by the vast majority of clients.

Ferrari in Germany

Germany is important for Ferrari as it is the Prancing Horse’s second largest market after the United States in terms of cars sold. In 2004, Ferrari Deutschland improved its position on one of the most competitive car markets in the world, with a total of 671 cars delivered to owners in Germany. The cover provided by the national sales network has followed the same positive trend, expanding to 22 dealerships (four of which specialize in aluminum bodies) and four assistance centers.

The Wiesbaden-based Ferrari Deutschland has grown steadily over the years, turning Ferrari’s top European market into a reference point in terms of efficiency and client satisfaction. Apart from its commercial successes, the German regional headquarters has also scored a host of significant marketing coups. For instance, it has been organizing the ‘Ferrari Racing Days’ since 1996. This event has not only proved enormously popular with the public but also acted as a backdrop for the German unveilings of the 550 Maranello in 1996, the 360 Modena in 1999, the Enzo Ferrari in 2002 and the F430 in 2004.

In addition to this, Ferrari Deutschland has always been a staunch supporter of its clients’ racing activities in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, involving over 90 drivers since the series was launched in 1993.
In the first eight months of 2005, the Ferrari sales network in Germany delivered a record 464 cars to their new owners (75% 8-cylinders, 25% 12-cylinders), an increase of 8% over the same period in 2004 when 427 were sold. Ferrari

Track News
LVMS ticket office in high gear during first day LVMS ticket office in high gear during first dayA high volume of telephone ticket orders and an equally heavy dosage of Internet orders kept Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s ticket office working at maximum capacity Monday as tickets went on sale for the 2006 NASCAR Weekend.

“This was one of the busiest and most successful first days of ticket sales since the inaugural event,” said Chris Powell, LVMS general manager. “We are very pleased with our first-day results. This also is our first year using Ticketmaster, and we believe that has helped us fill orders more efficiently.”

LVMS also has processed a record number of renewals from last year’s event.   “Today’s tremendous number of ticket sales is a direct result of the appeal of our facility and our great city,” Powell said. “Combine that with the momentum NASCAR is carrying nationwide and it should come as no surprise that ticket sales are way ahead of any previous pace. We also have seen an increased amount of interest in the now-under-construction Richard Petty Terrace. Those seats, as well as the seats in the Dale Earnhardt Terrace, have proven to be the most popular seats in the facility.”

First-day sales of weekend pit passes and pre-race activities passes also saw increases over last year.
Race fans can purchase tickets to the March 12 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and March 11 Sam’s Town 300 by calling 1-800-644-4444 or by logging on to www.lvms.com.

Schumacher trying to forget about Spa Schumacher trying to forget about SpaIt is only very rarely that Michael Schumacher leaves the circuit before the end of the race but it happened yesterday (Sunday).

Having to retire from the Belgian Grand Prix was such a bitter blow for the German, particularly as he was set for a good finishing spot, that he did not hang around too long.

"This is certainly one of the moments during the season that I will try to forget as soon as possible," declared Michael after the race. "I am sure we will come out of it soon, despite yesterday's initial anger. I think that being forced to pull out of a race after a completely senseless accident really is stupid."

Michael quickly put the episode behind him and enjoyed a few pleasant hours in the evening with Corinna and some friends.

"I can say that the race didn't go as I hoped it would, that is that it would have rained immediately after the start and that we would have been able to climb the field. Unfortunately it didn't rain and the race went in an unexpected way. I believe I would have scored some points and, taking into account Montoya's incident, I could have done even better. Anyway, the ifs, buts and maybes do not form part of my vocabulary.

“Our main aim was to be more competitive but, once again, we were not. We did well but not well enough. In normal weather conditions we would not have had a chance but we didn't even do that well in the wet. Now we really have to do our best to improve our performance for the last three races of the season. We will only be focusing and concentrating on that."

Michael has a few free days ahead of him, though he will attend a sponsor event on Wednesday. Formula 1 now leaves Europe for Brazil, Japan and China where the last race of the 2005 season will be held. Ferrari Press

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Liuzzi wants Brazil ride
Sato's slip supported

Ex F1 tester in hospital
Albers set for Midland job
Trulli thumps Toyota
Montoya 'not ready for title'
'Cruise and collect' Fernando
Mosport by the numbers Mosport by the numbersIn the seventh year of the American Le Mans Series, one would be hard-pressed to find back-to-back races with a combined margin of victory less than the last two rounds.

James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, in the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola, won the Grand Prix of Mosport by 3.625 seconds, their second victory of the season. That came on the heels of a 3.239-second victory by the No. 2 Champion Racing Audi of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in the Generac 500 at Road America just two weeks earlier.

That's a combined 6.864 seconds. The only pair of ALMS races to offer such close finishes came in 2002 at Infineon Raceway (0.482 seconds) and Mid-Ohio (6.248) for a total combined margin of 6.730.

"When you have every single class on the race track, with no separation, it's absolutely remarkable," said Rob Dyson, owner of Dyson Racing. "Petit is going to be the (best race) of the year." zzzz

So far this season, close finishes have been the order in ALMS. Through eight rounds, the largest winning gap is 1:24.572, which came at Infineon. Interesting of note is that the winning margin at the New England Grand Prix was 1.719 seconds, and the combined margin of victory between Portland and Road America was 9.299 seconds.

TO THE POINT: With three class championships still up in the air for ALMS drivers, let's look at some of the closest drivers championship finishes in ALMS history.

Keep in mind that the P2 difference is 2 points between Jeff Bucknum/Chris McMurry and Clint Field, and 1 point in GT1 between Oliver Gavin/Olivier Beretta and Ron Fellows/Johnny O'Connell. The gap in GT2 between Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long and Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas is 12 points. Even the LMP1 battle isn't over, with Pirro and Biela leading Andy Wallace by 18 points.

There are 49 possible points remaining over the next two rounds: Petit Le Mans and the Monterrey Sports Car Championships.

"Both the final races produce extra points," Long said. "So it is far from over. We know how strong the No. 23 car has been over the years. We can't settle down and become content."

There have been six championship ties in ALMS history, including two last season: JJ Lehto and Marco Werner in LMP1, and Fellows and O'Connell in GT1. The closest finish (aside from a tie) came in 2002 when Tom Kristensen beat Rinaldo Capello by 2 points in LMP1 during the 2002 season. The previous year, Terry Borcheller topped Franz Konrad by 3 points for the GT1 championship.

Last season produced the closest LMP2 finish for points, as Ian James topped James Gue by 4 points. And in 2001, Jorg Muller squeaked by Lehto for a 5-point margin in GT2.

AROUND THE PADDOCK: Borcheller's fast GT1 lap in qualifying made ACEMCO Motorsports the 26th different team to win a class pole in ALMS history. Corvette Racing's 1-2 finish at Mosport was its seventh straight, setting a new ALMS mark. It also marked the seventh straight win for the new Corvette C6-R, eight including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team set the old record (six) in 2002. . Andrea Bertolini scored a first for the No. 35 Maserati MC12, the fastest GT1 lap of the race at Mosport. Bertolini toured the 2.459-mile circuit in 1:13.988. . Chris Dyson became the 51st ALMS driver to score a pole position with his fast qualifying lap Saturday. . Five different drivers have won class poles in both P1 and GT1 this season, tying the all-time mark set last in P1. Biela and Pirro have completed an astonishing 99.75 percent of all class laps this season, followed closely by Fellows and O'Connell (99.74 percent) in GT1.

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

Ryan Briscoe Medical Update Ryan Briscoe Medical UpdateUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Two things struck me as rather funny in the Ryan Briscoe quote below, which just goes to show you how the IRL has got everyone covering up how dangerous their form of racing is.  First he said the safety crew had to remind him to wave to the crowd to let them know he was ok.  If he was not in the state of mind to wave himself then he wasn't OK.  What do they define as OK?  He had a bruised lung, two broken clavicles, a bad concussion and other lacerations.  Is not OK if you are dead or near death in the IRL?  Second, he thanked the safety of the cars for allowing him to walk away.  Last time I checked he did not walk away, but went out on a stretcher and back board.  Safety of the cars?  How many times do we have to see the IRL cars fly like planes before we realize they were not meant to do that?  What a farce! Mordichai Rosen, LA, Calif. 09/12/05 Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ryan Briscoe, driver of the no.33 Toyota Panoz, was involved in a spectacular accident at Chicagoland Speedway during Sunday’s IndyCar Series race. The incident occurred in Turn 3 as contact with Alex Barron sent Briscoe’s car airborne and against the retaining fence above the SAFER barrier.

Briscoe was airlifted to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. under the supervision of Senior Medical Representative Dr. Jason Linder, and was listed in good condition, but remained overnight for observation and in-depth examinations. Initial medical assessments indicate that Briscoe sustained a concussion, two broken collarbones, a bruised lung and contusions to his legs and arms.

Briscoe will be transported to Indianapolis’ Methodist Hospital Monday afternoon under the care of Indy Racing League medical staff, and will have further evaluation and treatment supervised by Dr. Terry Trammell and Dr. Kevin Sheid. Briscoe will undergo more extensive examinations and may remain in hospital under observation for the next few days as a precaution.

Ryan Briscoe Quote:  “I remember the initial contact with Alex (Barron) and thought that we might just get away with not hitting the wall, but suddenly I was airborne and the rest is a little fuzzy. I was really happy to see the Delphi Safety crew guys so quickly and they took great care of me, even reminding me to give the crowd a quick wave to let them know I was okay. The HANS (head and neck support) device and the safety features on the car did what they were designed to do and I credit them for helping me walk away from the accident relatively unscathed. I was happy to hear that Alex and Kosuke (Matsuura) were okay as well. I haven’t seen a replay of the accident yet but I hear it was pretty spectacular. It’s been a difficult and disappointing weekend for the Target team but I’m doing just fine.” Target Chip Ganassi Racing

Track News
IMS to be featured on National Geographic IMS to be featured on National GeographicUPDATE Reminder that this show will air Tuesday night. 09/09/05 The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be featured on National Geographic Channel’s new show “MegaStructures” premiering at 8 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday, Sept. 13. The show, which features the “greatest buildings and machines ever created,” according to the National Geographic Channel Web site, will be rebroadcast at 11 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 13 and at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14.

“MegaStructures” will offer a profile of the Speedway from its founding in 1909, the establishment of its famous nickname, “the Brickyard,” its decay during World War II followed by revival at the hands of the Hulman-George Family, and its present-day operations and development.

With more than 250,000 permanent grandstand seats, a 2.5-mile oval and 2.605-mile road course in its infield, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – host to the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, United States Grand Prix and Allstate 400 at the Brickyard – is the world’s largest sports seating facility and the world’s premier racing venue.

IRL TV announcer calls races insane IRL TV announcer calls races insaneIRL announcer Scott Goodyear, talking about the Ryan Briscoe accident, said during the Red Flag to repair the fence he tore a gaping hole in Sunday, that racing wheel to wheel on ovals like this all the time is insane and that this is 'certifiably insane’ referring to the insanity of going right back to 215 MPH after a big wreck like that and having some cars receive flat tires in the interim. He did say insane and then added a caveat, certifiably insane. He started with the thought that while he was a driver it didn't look so insane but watching it made him conclude it is certifiably insane.
IRL embarrassed by turnout IRL embarrassed by turnoutThe IRL said it was a sellout, the IRL TV announcers said more than once that it was a sellout, and the TV cameras made it look like a sellout. But the fact of the matter is that although Chicagoland was a sellout because the IRL tickets were all part of a Nextel Cup package, many fans decided to throw the ticket in the trash and not bother to show up for Sunday's IndyCar race. The IRL would have been better off remaining silent than to embarrass themselves and then have about 35% to 40% of the people throw perfectly good tickets in the trash, even if Danica was racing.

Photos by Honda and Toyota

Trulli blames Toyota Trulli blames ToyotaAt Spa Sunday Toyota and a few other teams judged that the weather conditions had improved enough to warrant a switch to ‘slick’ tires – but soon had to revert to intermediates after drivers complained their cars were impossible to handle on the still-damp surface.

Jarno Trulli on slicks spun within a few corners of leaving the pits. Trulli subsequently vented his anger at the pit tactics in the Italian press, claiming they cost him a podium finish.

“The team’s decision to put on slicks at the first stop was a colossal absurdity,” he was quoted as saying in Monday’s Gazzetta dello Sport.

“With them, I could not even keep behind the safety car.

“I was fourth, in [Fernando] Alonso’s slipstream, and I lost a load of time and after that it was impossible to recover. The team robbed me of a podium because the car was going really well on this track. I would have been on the podium, taking into account [Juan Pablo] Montoya’s retirement.”

Elf to supply Methanol for Surfers race Elf to supply Methanol for Surfers raceWhen the Champ Car World Series heads down under for the Lexmark Indy 300 on October 20-23, Elf Race Fuels Australia will play a pivotal part.

Elf Race Fuels Australia and Elf Motorsport Fuel & Lubricants Queensland are pleased to announce they will be combining to serve as the official supplier of methanol race fuel to the 2005 Lexmark Indy 300.

“We are delighted to confirm our involvement in the 2005 Lexmark Indy 300 and excited by the prospect of supplying methanol to be used by Champ Cars at the event,” said Phil Mutton, Director, Elf Race Fuels Queensland. zzzz

With Elf Race Fuels Australia emerging successful from the tender process to supply methanol to the event, Elf premium racing methanol will power the 750hp Champ Cars when they take to the streets of Surfers Paradise.

“Throughout the tender process, we have demonstrated that Elf’s latest premium quality methanol will be more than up to the task. Our on-track records and independent testing shows that Elf build a high quality, premium racing methanol which has impressed Champ Car in the testing they have conducted.”

It is a role Elf Race Fuels Australia has previously successfully filled, and one which Mutton hopes see to continue well into the future.

“To the event organizers, Elf Race Fuels Australia is a known quantity. We have experience in supplying methanol to the event and others like it in the past and we hope to build a mutually beneficial long term relationship,” he said.

In Australia, Elf’s range of race fuels are relied upon throughout all levels of motorsport, on two and four wheels, ranging from serving as control fuel suppliers in championships such as the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship and the Kumho Tires Australian Formula 3 Championship to distributing fuel to individual competitors at club level events.

Internationally, Elf is active in top-level motorsport through its wide ranging group of successful relationships, including with the Renault Formula 1 team, with Citroen and Peugeot in the World Rally Championship through Total branding and on two wheels supplying fuel to teams such as Honda NRC and Yamaha in MotoGP.

It is this type of track record, coupled nearly forty years of experience and knowledge gained from all manner of motorsport disciplines that has positioned Elf as a market leader in motoring fuels, lubricants and oils.

“Elf is well known around the world as being a quality race fuel supplier,” says Mutton. “On the track, Elf’s impressive pedigree and success across all forms of motorsport shows that we have an excellent product.

“An event such as this is a great platform to showcase how good Elf’s product is, and that Elf isn’t just involved with Formula 1, bikes and Rallying, but all sorts of motorsport around the world.”

Elf Racing Methanol spec:
- 99.8% pure premium grade racing methanol
- Specially developed for methanol powered racing, such as Champ Car

Champ Car spec:
- 2.65ltr, turbo V8 engine
- 41.5inches of boost (44inches when ‘Push to Pass’ is engaged)
- Approx 750HP (800HP when ‘Push to Pass’ is engaged)
- Minimum weight of 710kg
- Average lap speed around 170km/hr on Surfers Paradise layout

Wheldon achieves another goal Wheldon achieves another goalCheck another goal off the list in the record-setting season of Dan Wheldon.  The 27-year-old Englishman entered the 2005 season with the single goal of winning the Indianapolis 500.

After winning the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in May, his fourth win in five IRL IndyCar® Series starts, Wheldon set out after Sam Hornish Jr.'s single-season record for wins in a season.

He tied the mark with his fifth victory at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Aug. 21, then claimed the record by winning the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 three weeks later at Chicagoland Speedway.

"I must say my primary goal coming into the season was to win the Indianapolis 500," Wheldon said. "When you achieve that, you then have to set yourself another goal. My goal after that was obviously to win the championship.

"Then we continued to win races. That record that Sam Hornish has gotten, obviously he's a very, very talented driver, has been around a long time, so I wanted to try to beat that. There's a lot of people that are capable of the same thing. But to me that means a lot. To win a championship and win a lot of races in the season is pretty special.

"If it came down to it and I was told that I could win the championship with no victories or come second in the championship with 10, that's the kind of guy I am. I much prefer to win a lot."

In addition to the record, Wheldon's victory all but clinched the IndyCar Series title for him. Wheldon essentially has to start the inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix on Sept. 25 to clinch his first season championship.  Still he stopped short of claiming the crown, saying he'd wait until he had officially clinched the title to celebrate.

"Until it's done, then I'm not champion," he said. "You know, certainly if that is the case, I'm not sure exactly what is the case in terms of what I have to do at Watkins Glen. If it's just a practice lap, that practice lap is going to be the slowest lap I've ever taken in history. Don't expect me to set a flyer on the first one."

Priggee remains in Joliet, Ill., hospital Priggee remains in Joliet, Ill., hospitalCarl Priggee, a member of the Mark Schlatter Skydiving Team, remains in Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet, Ill., for further tests following a hard landing Sept. 11 prior to the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Priggee, a veteran of more than 3,300 jumps in 26 years, sustained a sprained left ankle and is suffering from back pain. Priggee has undergone a series of X-rays and CAT scans and will undergo an MRI to further evaluate his neck and back.

The Indy Racing League utilizes two skydivers in the pre-race ceremonies at each event. On Sept. 11, both skydivers said the winds inside Chicagoland Speedway were "swirling" with a lot of force, which caused both jumpers to have hard landings.

Belgian GP postscript Belgian GP postscriptRed Bull's purchase of the Minardi Formula One team will increase the likelihood that up-and-coming drivers in the Red Bull Driver Search program, such as California's Scott Speed, will compete in Grand Prix races in the near future. Red Bull will acquire 100 percent of Minardi from owner Paul Stoddart no later than Nov. 1. In 2006, Red Bull will run Minardi as a "rookie team" that will be completely independent of the Red Bull Racing F1 team.

Because of the number of talented drivers in its various programs, Red Bull bought Minardi in order to have more F1 seats available for them. Red Bull said in a statement that it also believes "that the second team will be able to maintain its current assets while also being able to generate its own income in the future, in order to become almost self-financing."

Speed already signed as Red Bull Racing's reserve driver for 2006 and is designated to be the team's third driver in the official Friday practice sessions of each Grand Prix weekend. No announcement has been made on who the Red Bull Minardi drivers will be next year.

Australian businessman and avid F1 fan Stoddart saved the Minardi team from closing down when he bought it five years ago.

"From a purely personal standpoint, I am going to be very sad to leave this paddock and the sport I love," Stoddart said. "I have always said, however, that I would consider selling the team if a serious potential buyer could meet certain key conditions.

"Specifically, I wanted to be convinced that one, there was sufficient personal commitment and commercial backing in place to move the team to a level of competitiveness that I could not; two, the team would continue to be based in Italy; and three, the majority of team personnel would have a stable future. After detailed discussions with (Red Bull owner) Dr. (Dietrich) Mateschitz's representatives, I am satisfied that Red Bull meets all of these criteria, and on that basis, I have agreed to sell the team."

Minardi will continue to operate in its present setup until the end of the season. zzzz

Speed's fourth-place double: Nelson Piquet Jr., son of three-time World Champion Nelson Piquet, won the incident-filled GP2 race Sept. 10 at Spa ahead of Ernesto Viso and Nico Rosberg, son of World Champion Keke Rosberg. American Scott Speed was fourth.

Speed again finished fourth in the Sept. 11 race. Adam Carroll won, Borja Garcia was second, and Viso third. Because the wet race was stopped early due to several accidents, only half-points were awarded.

With one round remaining the GP2 championship, Rosberg leads the standings with 102 points while Heikki Kovalainen is second with 99 and Speed third with 65.5 points.

The championship will be settled in the next event in Bahrain, which plays host to the final two races of the inaugural GP2 season, Sept. 29 and 30.

Alonso honored: The King of Spain will present Fernando Alonso with the "Prince of Asturias" award Oct. 21. It's the most prestigious award of its kind in Spain, and it is given annually to the sports person who achieved the most during the year.

"It's the biggest we have in Spain," Alonso said, "and the name is of my city, my region. I won this award for the sport in 2005, representing and doing a good example for young people around the world. I am very surprised about this and very proud."

Michelin to supply five teams in 2006: Michelin plans to supply five teams in 2006 compared to the seven teams it has contracts with in 2005. Company Chairman and CEO Edouard Michelin stated that Michelin's teams next year will be: Renault, McLaren-Mercedes, BAR-Honda, BMW-Sauber and Red Bull Ferrari.

Team Williams has confirmed it will switch to Bridgestone tires in 2006. Panasonic Toyota, now a Michelin team, said it is in "advanced negotiations with Bridgestone, but no agreement has been signed."

Indy veteran Zampedri wins Porsche title: Dirk Werner won the season finale Porsche Michelin Supercup on Sept. 11 at Spa.

Indianapolis 500 veteran Alessandro Zampedri is this year's champion, while Patrick Huisman is runner-up. David Saelens, who won both Porsche Michelin Supercup races held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in conjunction with the United States Grand Prix, ended up third in the final point standings.

Next event: The Belgian Grand Prix was the last F1 race in Europe this season. The next race on the 19-race schedule is the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sept. 25.

TV News
Even more NASCAR on SPEED Even more NASCAR on SPEEDBeginning Sept. 19, SPEED Channel will air NASCAR Nation on Mondays only, making room for a pair of new shows focused on the NASCAR Chase for the NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR’s annual “Silly Season.”

“With 10 races to go in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, fans want to know about two things – the championship and what’s going on with their favorite driver,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED Channel Executive VP & General Manager. “With adjustments to already existing SPEED programming and the addition of new shows like One-Track Mind, Back-Seat Drivers and The Chase is On, the network is uniquely positioned to deliver coverage that matches the viewers’ interests in both areas.”

One-Track Mind will be a weekly, long-form interview with each of the driver-crew chief combinations in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. zzzz

Back-Seat Drivers, hosted by NASCAR.com’s Marty Smith and Shannon Spake, will be a weekly look at the hot topics in the NASCAR garage. If NASCAR fans are talking about it, Back-Seat Drivers will be talking about it.

“Even if your favorite driver is Jeff Gordon, you still want to know what’s going on at DEI or Roush Racing during Silly Season,” Nickell added. “Back-Seat Drivers will talk about driver changes, crew changes, sponsors coming and going – everything is fair game.”

In addition to the new shows, SPEED Channel also is expanding the popular Thursday night program Beyond the Wheel to a one-hour Beyond the Wheel – Chase Edition.

SPEED Channel’s new weekday 7 p.m. programming wheel (7 p.m., 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET & PT):

  • Monday – NASCAR NATION (30 minutes)
  • Tuesday – One-Track Mind (30 minutes)
  • Wednesday – Back-Seat Drivers (30 minutes)
  • Thursday – Beyond the Wheel (Expanded to one hour)  

SPEED Channel also recently announced The Chase is On, a weekly preview of each of the 10 races making up NASCAR’s Chase for the NEXTEL Cup with Ralph Sheheen and 1999 Cup champion Dale Jarrett. The show debuts Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and PT.

Renault’s Belgian GP debrief Renault’s Belgian GP debriefThe Renault F1 Team talks about Fernando Alonso's 'cruise' to second, reliability issues and an update on this week's Silverstone test.

Taking it easy…?
There have been suggestions that Fernando has gone into cruise and collect mode at the end of the season, scoring points without making much effort in terms of chasing race wins. Yesterday, he seemed to confirm this when he said that he had backed off for much of the race. But as ever in Formula 1, the gap between truth and appearances was wide…

“The car was very difficult in the high speed corners,” explained Fernando. “You could feel the rear end moving around a lot, and that's not what you need at this kind of circuit! It's strange, because the feeling wasn't there in the dry, but I had a couple of really big slides in Eau Rouge during the race… The back end stepped out, but luckily I managed to correct the car and get off the throttle. Blanchimont was difficult as well with this feeling in the car so after that I was careful in the high speed sections and a little bit conservative.” Conservative, perhaps… but cruising? That's just not Fernando's style.
Chasing perfection
The Renault F1 Team changed Giancarlo Fisichella's V10 after fourth practice on Saturday, following the detection of a valve problem from Monza. For Denis Chevrier, this was once more proof that reliability is a moving target for any engineer…

“You can never take reliability for granted,” explains the team's Head of Engine Operations. “This is a demanding arena, and we are constantly trying to push back performance boundaries while maintaining an acceptable level of risk. The major regret from the weekend in Spa was that we failed to meet the standards we have set ourselves since the start of the year. Modern F1 demands constant excellence, and Giancarlo's non-finish is one more proof of how the smallest of mistakes can compromise a race weekend. In the end, his penalty made life more difficult than it should have been, and he had to go on the attack from the outset to try and make up ground.” zzzz

Weather worries
Not only that, but a gamble with race set-up failed to pay off for the team. “The wet conditions really deprived us of a number of potential advantages in yesterday's race,” explained Denis Chevrier. “Wet conditions make life much easier than usual for the engines, because Eau Rouge is no longer taken flat – and that means the longest continuous period of full throttle is cut from 20 seconds, one of the longest of the year, to half that. Given that prolonged periods at full throttle are particularly demanding for an engine, this undoubtedly meant we were unable to press home any reliability advantage we might have had over Raikkonen's engine.

“Secondly, we had opted for a very raceable set-up for dry conditions: we took a strategic decision to ensure the car was quick in the first sector, where it is possible to overtake at this circuit. Other people clearly ran a different compromise in terms of their downforce level, which could be seen from the straight-line speeds in qualifying, and had the circuit dried fifteen or twenty minutes sooner, it would have been very interesting to see how things turned out. As it was, we never got the chance.”

Silverstone testing
The team will test this week with Fernando, Giancarlo and Heikki at Silverstone ahead of the final series of three flyaway races. The team has four testing days left in its 30 day allocation, and these will be put to good use preparing for the bumps of Brazil, as well as the challenging sweepers of Suzuka and Shanghai. A new aero package will be tested, as well as engine developments destined for Sao Paulo. The team hopes to introduce its fourth major engine specification upgrade of the year, the RS25D, at this race, a decision which will be taken according to the results of track and dyno testing this week. Both drivers will be using new engines in Sao Paulo. Renault F1 Team

Zanardi wins Italian Touring Car crown Zanardi wins Italian Touring Car crownTwo weeks after obtaining his first international WTCC victory since his CART/Champ Car days, when he won a World Touring Car Championship race at Oschersleben in Germany, Alex Zanardi swept this weekend’s Varano doubleheader to clinch the 2005 Italian Touring Car Championship.  "I'm happy, even though this series is simpler compared to the World Championship,” the 38-year-old told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. Zanardi also confirmed he will be back at the Italian series to defend his title next year. I don't mean to abuse of a common phrase, but I must say that the best victory is the next one,” he added. “The success at Varano gave me a special energy for the next WTCC race at Istanbul.”
Industry News
Michelin ranks best with consumers Michelin ranks best with consumersMichelin ranks highest in original equipment (OE) tire satisfaction in four segments, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study(SM) released today. The study is based on responses from more than 32,000 new-vehicle owners who purchased a vehicle between 2003 and 2004. Overall satisfaction of OE tires is based on performance in five factors: wearability, appearance, traction, ride and handling. Rankings are based on owners' experiences with their tires during the first year of ownership. Michelin achieves the highest OE tire satisfaction index score in each of the four segments included in the study: luxury/sport; mass-market/non-luxury; pickup/full-size van; and SUV. Michelin leads all four segments in the five factors contributing to customer satisfaction. "Michelin has continually received high ratings from customers in our study," said Carolyn McBeth, director of automotive component research for J.D. Power and Associates.
First engine failure of the year for Cosworth First engine failure of the year for CosworthAs expected, the unpredictable weather made conditions difficult for the drivers in the 2005 Belgian Grand Prix. Following intermittent rain in the morning, Red Bull Racing duo David Coulthard and Christian Klien started the race on intermediate tires. As the track began to dry, many drivers, including David and Christian, took the opportunity to change to slicks when the safety car came out on lap 11. But, struggling for grip, they were forced to re-pit and return to the intermediates. Including high-speed corners and sudden elevation changes, the Circuit of Spa Francorchamps is one of the most technically demanding tracks of the year and, on lap 18, David Coulthard's engine showed the strain. Unable to continue, the Scot was forced to retire, while his team-mate Christian returned to slick tires and finished the race in ninth position, narrowly missing out on points.

David Coulthard - "That's the first engine failure we've had since December. We have to accept that these engines are stressed and occasionally one will have a fault; but obviously it's too early to know what exactly caused it. We took a punt on the dry tires as we thought the safety car would be out for a long time, which would give the slicks a chance to get up to temperature. As we must now use one slick tire for the race, it has to be a hard compound to last the distance. That makes it more difficult to get it into its operating window in terms of temperature; so putting a slick tire on a damp track doesn't work. On the other hand, intermediate tires on a dry track will overheat so you end up with this no-man's-land area where no tires fit. It's very entertaining for the crowds, but it's dangerous for us because while the wet tires are burning up, the slick tires, as we saw, don't work in these conditions."

Chris Jilbert, Cosworth F1 Race Engineering - "Cosworth suffered it's first race engine failure of the 2005 season in David's car during today's Belgium GP. There was no significant warning on the telemetry prior to failure. The engine was on it's second event of the demanding Monza/Spa combination, but the duty cycle was actually not as severe as predicted given the weather conditions this weekend. We will now check the logged data & inspect the engine to determine the cause of failure. This is a disappointing result given Cosworth's excellent reliability record this season, plus the fact that David would potentially have been able to add to his points tally today." Red Bull Cosworth

Industry News
Team Caliber sale to SMI/ISC final Team Caliber sale to SMI/ISC finalTeam Caliber today announced it has closed on the sale of certain of its net assets to Motorsports Authentics, LLC, ("Motorsports Authentics"), a 50/50 joint venture between International Speedway Corporation ("ISC") and Speedway Motorsports Inc. ("SMI"). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In addition, Motorsports Authentics was granted a long-term license by Roush Racing for exclusive and non-exclusive motorsports merchandise distribution. Included are licenses for five teams currently in the top ten NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship points standings.
Team Caliber markets and distributes licensed motorsports merchandise, including die-cast replicas of motorsports vehicles, apparel, gifts and memorabilia. Its merchandise is marketed through collectible, mass retail and trackside distribution channels. zzzz
"This transaction represents a great opportunity for Roush Racing's drivers and sponsors.  As well as for motorsports as a whole," commented Geoff Smith, President of Roush Racing. "We view Motorsports Authentics' strategy of improving the overall licensing of NASCAR industry properties as in the best long-term interest of the sport's constituents. Further, ISC and SMI's extensive relationships and marketing expertise as seasoned track operators will allow Team Caliber to more quickly capitalize on incremental growth opportunities."

"This purchase is another step forward in Motorsports Authentics' cohesive strategy for the design, marketing and distribution of licensed motorsports merchandise," commented Marcus Smith, Executive Vice President of National Sales and Marketing of SMI. "As part of Motorsports Authentics, we plan to build upon the continued success of Team Caliber and its outstanding staff. We believe these assets will further allow Motorsports Authentics to execute its long-term strategy of closely managing relationships with teams and drivers, developing and selling highly-desired products, and strengthening relationships with retailers through proper channel management and on-time deliveries supported by integrated marketing plans."

A team of top ISC, SMI and Team Caliber management will begin to immediately oversee the integration of Team Caliber's operations into Motorsports Authentics. The business will operate from its current location in the Charlotte, N.C. area.

"We continue to believe in the strategic importance of having strong, well-run companies designing, marketing and distributing licensed merchandise for NASCAR and other motorsports," said Lesa France Kennedy, President of ISC. "Team Caliber is a successful business that will significantly contribute to the future success of Motorsports Authentics. With the combined expertise of ISC, SMI and Team Caliber, we believe Motorsports Authentics will emerge as the preeminent source for NASCAR and other motorsports-related licensed merchandise."

IPS Series
Cunningham: "Travis Gregg was driving like an idiot" Cunningham: "Travis Gregg was driving like an idiot"UPDATE We hear Wade Cunningham's car is totaled and the others incurred significant damage, so the high cost of IRL racing is not just limited to the IndyCar series. 09/11/05 Wade Cunningham, who was taken out on lap 6 in today's IPS race at Chicagoland said, "Travis Gregg was driving like an idiot. He kept moving up on me all race. I stayed on the high side, because the car was working really well. The two people in the front were just battling, and it looked like somebody pushed the red car down on the apron, and (Sarah McCune) slid back up the track. I went high with a conscience decision. She hit me and I hit the wall."

Cunningham has a big bruise where the car came through his tub and could have been much more serious.

After the race Gregg said, "The car was good today. I think I had a lot more car than I was able to show in the later stages of the race.  After watching the wreckage of the big crash slide across the track in front of me and slam into the outside retaining wall, I was trying to make sure I'd be there for the checkered flag. I know we picked up some points today, but I'd rather get them racing, not with the points leader getting caught up in a crash."

Busch release cutoff is mid-October Busch release cutoff is mid-OctoberRoush Racing president Geoff Smith said the cutoff date for releasing Kurt Busch to leave for Penske Racing South is mid-October. He added that Roush Racing and Busch’s sponsors are comfortable with leaving Busch in the #97 car next season. “At the same time, we’re trying to keep our eyes open for whether or not there is a substitution deal that is palatable for the sponsors, either short term or long term,” he said. Busch said the matter is in the hands of lawyers. Smith, who is a lawyer, said there are no apparent loopholes that would allow Busch to leave without a severe penalty. “In this environment that we’re in, where there are tens of millions of dollars at play, the penalty is almost beyond calculation when it comes to the cost of running a race team and having to rebuild it from scratch,” Smith said. “I couldn’t even total that. The only clean way to do it is just to release him from the contract.” Smith said the situation is the same for Chip Ganassi driver Jamie McMurray, who was signed by Roush Racing to replace Mark Martin in 2007. Martin is prepared to stay in the #6 car next season. “It’s done between us and Mark that he is going to come back if the window doesn’t open,” Smith said. “There’s a chance, but it’s only going to be open if Chip on his own and Jamie on his own separates.” The State
Belgian GP post-race press conference Belgian GP post-race press conferenceWhat follows is a transcript of today's press conference from Spa Francorchamps which saw Kimi Raikkonen win his sixth race of the season while Championship rivals Fernando Alonso finished in second position ahead of Jenson Button. Transcript
Schumacher turned fastest lap at Spa Sunday Schumacher turned fastest lap at Spa Sunday
Spa Francorchamps Fastest Race Laps
1 . R. Schumacher - Toyota TF105 - 1:51.453 (+ 0.000 ) - 43 laps
2 . M. Webber - BMW Williams FW27 - 1:52.287 (+ 0.834 ) - 44 laps
3 . C. Klien - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:52.582 (+ 1.129 ) - 43 laps
4 . R. Barrichello - Ferrari F2005 - 1:52.590 (+ 1.137 ) - 44 laps
5 . J. Button - BAR Honda 007 - 1:53.323 (+ 1.870 ) - 44 laps
6 . K. Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:53.810 (+ 2.357 ) - 34 laps
7 . J. Villeneuve - Sauber Petronas C24 - 1:54.251 (+ 2.798 ) - 44 laps
8 . N. Karthikeyan - Jordan Toyota EJ15B - 1:55.885 (+ 4.432 ) - 43 laps
9 . J. P. Montoya - McLaren Mercedes MP4- 20 - 1:55.988 (+ 4.535 ) - 14 laps
10 . F. Alonso - Renault R25 - 1:56.131 (+ 4.678 ) - 31 laps
11 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF105 - 1:56.953 (+ 5.500 ) - 3 laps
12 . G. Fisichella - Renault R25 - 1:57.117 (+ 5.664 ) - 9 laps
13 . M. Schumacher - Ferrari F2005 - 1:57.444 (+ 5.991 ) - 10 laps
14 . T. Sato - BAR Honda 007 - 1:57.534 (+ 6.081 ) - 10 laps
15 . A. Pizzonia - BMW Williams FW27 - 1:57.541 (+ 6.088 ) - 32 laps
16 . F. Massa - Sauber Petronas C24 - 1:57.748 (+ 6.295 ) - 28 laps
17 . T. Monteiro - Jordan Toyota EJ15B - 1:57.886 (+ 6.433 ) - 41 laps
18 . D. Coulthard - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:58.451 (+ 6.998 ) - 8 laps
19 . R. Doornbos - Minardi Cosworth PS05 - 2:01.148 (+ 9.695 ) - 38 laps
20 . C. Albers - Minardi Cosworth PS05 - 2:01.627 (+ 10.174 ) - 6 laps.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Forget Button, says Bernie
Todt won't miss Stoddart
Ferrari or Bridgestone slump?
Lucky Alonso's bathtub
Todt defends Schu's Sato slam
McLaren question rival tactic
Kimi needs a spoiler
Ganassi team slammed for cheating....again Ganassi team slammed for cheating....againUPDATE The IRL's issue with Ganassi Racing's rear wings that were disallowed Saturday in qualifying was that the posts were designed to drop at speed, thereby reducing aerodynamic drag.

Members of other teams saw the illegal setup in the inspection line prior to qualifying, but Chip Ganassi defended his team Sunday.  "Everything we had passes (inspection), so I don't get it," he said. "I stand by my team and exactly what they were doing."

It is the second time in a month that one of Ganassi's race teams has been caught violating the rules. Two crew members of the NASCAR Busch Series car driven by Reed Sorenson were ejected from a race at Bristol, Tenn., for illegally preparing tires.  "Way separate situations," Ganassi said. "I stand by all my guys." Indy Star

09/11/05 After getting slammed by NASCAR for cheating recently, Chip Ganassi's teams were at it again this weekend as all three of his IRL cars had their qualifying times disallowed because of cheating. With all of his teams in disarray and running horribly, they have had to resort to cheating to try and win.  Reports from the garage area in Chicago indicate the rear wing mountings were able to flex slightly, resulting in decreased drag and more speed.

In an effort to help his spread-too-thin teams from total embarrassment, Chip has also been making wholesale personnel changes recently as well. The latest - Veteran Indy-car engineer Bill Pappas has been pulled from duty by Ganassi Racing, a decision made by team owner Chip Ganassi. Pappas, who oversaw the No. 10 car is under contract through the end of the season. Former IRL team owner Morris Nunn, a former Ganassi engineer, is filling in for Pappas this weekend.

FIA penalizes Sato and Pizzonia FIA penalizes Sato and PizzoniaBritish American Racing driver Takuma Sato has been handed a ten spot grid demotion for the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix after his part in the accident that saw his 007 and the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher forced out of contention after just fourteen laps at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on Sunday afternoon.

Just after the safety car came in and the race was back off after Giancarlo Fisichella’s accident, the Japanese driver hit the rear of Schumacher’s F2005 sending them both into a spin and into retirement. Schumacher was furious, especially as he was running in a strong points scoring position. After the incident Michael had a few choice words to say to his colleague before storming off to see the stewards.

"We've often experienced Hara-Kari reactions from him in the past and that was another one today," Michael said before leaving the circuit. "We've talked to him about it in the past. I don't know what sort of therapy might help him."

Meanwhile, Williams stand in Antonio Pizzonia was also found guilty for his part in taking out the second placed McLaren of Juan Pablo Montoya just four laps from the end of the race, the Brazilian fined $8,000 instead of being demoted, just in case he doesn’t take part in the next round of the championship.

"It's always tough to retire from a race but when it's caused by matters out of your or the team's control it's even harder," said Montoya. "My disappointment is even greater because as a team we were doing a great job. I now know that Pizzonia was trying to un-lap himself on dry tires and then hit me from behind whilst trying to do so. This was a disappointing end to what could have been the perfect weekend."

"I was on dry tires and lapping quicker than him," explained Pizzonia. "He was quite slow maybe because his tires were not good anymore or maybe he was just cruising to the end of the race. I thought he saw me and when he braked really early I thought he was trying to let me by. I put my car next to him but obviously he hadn't seen me because he turned into his normal line and I couldn't avoid the crash. I am sorry for him because I am not here to destroy anyone's race."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said: "Both drivers put in a faultless performance today which should have given the team maximum points. Juan Pablo was the innocent victim of other people's mistakes. But this shouldn't distract from his race which was executed with true team spirit. Of course we take some satisfaction from winning eight of the last 11 Grand Prix and we're looking forward to Brazil in a positive frame of mind."

Danica disappoints again Danica disappoints againA near capacity crowd turned out today to see Danica Patrick and/or Sarah McCune win their first IRL/IPS race in Chicagoland. However, once again Danica Patrick failed to produce after winning the pole, largely due to her weight advantage and the loophole in the IRL rules. She mixed it up with the "men" but when push came to shove she didn't have what it takes to win. IPS rookie Sarah McCune also failed to produce from her pole position, though unlike Patrick, at least she led until being involved in a nasty 3-car crash on lap 6 while trying to hold off the "men."

We don't see the IRL plugging the loophole in their rulebook anytime soon because having the "women" on the pole makes headlines and brings out the fans, and in a 100% throttle series, where the pole is won by a tiny fraction of a second, the 50 pound weight advantage is all the women need to win pole time and time again.

Major crash interrupts IRL race Major crash interrupts IRL raceA Kenny Brack-like accident has hit the IRL again as rookie Ryan Briscoe made wheel-to-wheel contact with Alex Barron and that launched the Target Chip Ganassi car up into the air and into the safety fencing in Turn 3 at Chicagoland. The car erupted into a huge ball of flame as it flew through the air. The car was disintegrated into pieces with parts of the car everywhere. The differential and transmission with wing was in one place, the Toyota engine was torn in half and sitting by itself on the track and Briscoe was sitting by himself in the survival cell of the tub, but he was moving his arms.

Chip Ganassi has lost yet another car. This one is totally destroyed and we doubt even one part is reusable. The cost for his team (or Toyota if they are paying the bills) must be astronomical, but he knew what he was getting into when he bought into the IRL's "vision" of what open wheel racing should be.

Briscoe is awake and alert but groggy and is being transported to the hospital. He is reported to have no broken bones, just a possible concussion.  The race is red flagged as they repair the hole in the fence.

IPS Series
Simmons wins in Chicagoland Simmons wins in ChicagolandJeff Simmons won today’s IPS race at Chicagoland after a 4-car crash took out some of the front-runners, including pole sitter Sarah McCune.
Pos Driver Diff L Lap C/E/T Status
1 Jeff Simmons (24) ... 67 D/I/F Running
2 Marty Roth (4) 0.2306 67 D/I/F Running
3 Nick Bussell (9) 0.2884 67 D/I/F Running
4 Jon Herb (6) 0.3485 67 D/I/F Running
5 Travis Gregg (7) 0.5125 67 D/I/F Running
6 Jaime Camara (1) 0.5727 67 D/I/F Running
7 Jay Drake (20) 12 laps 55 D/I/F Handling
8 Bobby Wilson (3) 61 laps 6 D/I/F Accident
9 Sarah McCune (8) 62 laps 5 D/I/F Accident
10 Wade Cunningham (33) 1.0400 5 D/I/F Accident
11 Chris Festa (19) 1.1826 5 D/I/F Accident
12 Scott Mayer (11) 67 laps 0 D/I/F DNS

Race Statistics      
Winner's average speed: 151.129 mph      
Time of race: 00:40:25.8974      
Margin of victory: 0.2306 of a second      
Cautions: 1 caution for 9 laps      
Lead changes: 15 changes among 6 drivers      
Lap leaders: McCune 1-5, Simmons 6-14, Camara 15, Herb 16-23, Simmons 24-25, Herb 26, Simmons 27, Herb 28-29, Simmons 30-31, Bussell 32-32, Simmons 33, Bussell 34-38, Simmons 39-47, Bussell 48-61, Roth 62-66, Simmons 67.      

Point standings: Cunningham 431, Gregg 408, Simmons 384, Bussell 370, Camara 357, Drake 323, Festa 323, Herb 323, Roth 309, Andretti 208.

Sunday notes - Spa Sunday notes - SpaA slick track, but no actual rain during the 44-lap race, greeted runners for Sunday's exciting Belgian grand prix.

Michael Schumacher leaves the Ardennes angrier than most, after his Ferrari package didn't really look up to it even with Bridgestone's famous wet tire. Takuma Sato, though, really incurred the world champion's wrath when the Japanese smacked him out of the race at La Source. The BAR driver has been docked ten grid places at Brazil after a stewards' enquiry. ''It was stupid,'' Michael fumed.

How on earth could so many intelligent F1 strategists get the switch from wet to normal grooved rubber so wrong? ''These 'one-race' tires are harder than in the past,'' David Coulthard explained, ''so putting a slick tire on a damp track doesn't work. It's entertaining for the crowd, but it's dangerous for us.''

Cameras didn't spot Jarno Trulli's race-ending shunt, but his Toyota apparently struck the Jordan of Tiago Monteiro after the Portuguese accidentally pressed the pit limiter button.

Williams' 'sub' Antonio Pizzonia ended the race in the wall, but he'll probably stay in the car for Brazil, and maybe even beyond. It is suggested that Nick Heidfeld, who missed Monza and Spa with headaches and neck problems, has been hit by a motorcycle whilst training on a bicycle in Switzerland and could miss the rest of the season. Of course, the conspiracy theorists - connecting the Williams and BMW dots - will concoct their own theories. ''I'm sorry for Juan Pablo (Montoya),'' Pizzonia - who was much quicker on dry tires - said after punting the McLaren into the wall. ''I'm not here to destroy anyone's race.'' Stewards investigated the race incident.

Also in pain after Montoya's shunt was Kimi Raikkonen, who - like in Turkey - would have closed the gap even further to Fernando Alonso had the Spaniard not finished second. ''I feel sorry for (Montoya) and the team,'' Finland's Raikkonen croaked, ''as we could have left Spa with so much more. If (Alonso) keeps finishing behind me, it is not possible to catch him anymore.''

Renault's Alonso, 24, smirked: ''It's nice to have some more help from McLaren.''

South Korea Champ Car track first-rate South Korea Champ Car track first-rateUPDATE If this Ansan Champ Car website can be believed, the track has been improved by removing some of the Mickey Mouse chicanes and widening some of the Mickey Mouse slow turns in the back section that ruined an otherwise good track.  Note the difference in the two diagrams.  The track now measures 1.8-miles long and is 40 to 60 feet wide. 07/29/05 The new Champ Car circuit in Ansan, South Korea, southwest of Seoul, is taking shape and as can be seen from the artist rendering to the right, it will be a real first-rate facility.  Some of the Mickey Mouse turns in the back section could be improved, but other than that, it appears to have a real Long Beach feel.
IRL superstars pose for photo op IRL superstars pose for photo opIRL superstars Sarah McCune and Danica Patrick pose for a special photo opportunity at Chicagoland Speedway as it is the first time in history two woman have won the pole position for the IPS race (McCune) and IndyCar race (Patrick) on the same weekend.  It's quite transparent. Photo by Rick Schenk/AutoRacing1.com.
Ganassi team taken out in Grand-Am crash fest Ganassi team taken out in Grand-Am crash festJust when things were starting to come together for the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley in the Phoenix 250 at PIR, Scott Pruett was tapped from behind in Turn 1 and given an unceremonious exit while contending for the team’s third win of the Rolex Sports Car Series season at Phoenix International Raceway. The CompUSA team assessed the heavy rear-end damage that followed the incident, and concluded that the car was beyond repair on Lap 79 of the incident-filled 146-lap duel in the desert.

CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates co-driver Luis Diaz started third on the grid and immediately found himself in second place when a two-car incident resulted in the pole winning #54 Daytona Prototype spinning off the Turn 1 line in a tornado of debris. Another break came Diaz’ way on Lap 15 when the race leader (#6 Michael Shank Racing) was the victim of a one-minute penalty for avoidable contact. Diaz took the lead and had the field a whopping 16 seconds in arrears of his CGR-prepared machine when a full course yellow on Lap 60 nullified the advantage after Grand American spied debris on the racing surface.

The CompUSA crew made its first pit stop on Lap 61, and Diaz turned the helm over to Pruett with the car running strong. With the lead firmly in hand on Lap 68, Pruett and company were poised to put the no.01 machine back on the map as he hit every apex in anticipation of the team’s third win of the season. But on a Lap 78 restart with Michael McDowell’s no.19 machine breathing down his neck, the defending Rolex Series champ was turned around in Turn 1– and retired shortly thereafter with significant rear-end damage.

The no.19 machine would go on to finish sixth after the incident, but not after serving a one-minute penalty on pit lane for avoidable contact.

“That guy is getting into an awful lot of cars out there,” said a justifiably upset Pruett. “He’s in over his head. I just don’t know what to say. If he wants to come out here and run with the big boys, he’s got a lot to learn. We came into the pits after we were taken out and the studs to the rear valance were just totally gone. We had no chance to go back out.”

Diaz was equally upset after the incident, as the Mexican native began to acknowledge the fact that the team took a major blow in the championship title bout.

“This is just so costly for us,” said Diaz. “I can’t believe it. This was a real crucial race for us in the championship and we had no control over what happened to us tonight.” CGR

GP Masters
GP Masters Releases Specs and Drawings of Cars GP Masters Releases Specs and Drawings of CarsThe 20 Formula One legends who will be on the grid for the inaugural Altech SA Grand Prix Masters event at Kyalami on 13 November will be sitting in front of 600 brake horse power machines, capable of speeds of more than 320kph.

F1 greats including Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Emerson Fittipaldi and Ricardo Patrese will be competing against each other in the all-new single seater race car that has been designed and built by Delta Motorsport (Northamptonshire, UK).

Images courtesy of GP Masters

The Grand Prix Masters cars are to be powered by an 80-degree 3.5-litre V8 Nicholson McLaren Cosworth engine, which will produce in excess of 600bhp.

According to event director Duncan Heafield, the car is based on the highly successful Cosworth XB Indycar engine. Nicholson McLaren has developed this normally-aspirated version offering more than 600bhp at 10,400rpm while maximum torque is achieved at over 320 lb ft at 7,800rpm. zzzz

The engine combines compact dimensions, minimum weight, maximum strength and awesome power output.

The 650kg cars (excluding driver) will be equipped with a six-speed paddle shift gearbox and at the opening race in Kyalami, drivers are expected to be exposed to cornering g-loads of around 2.5g.

Heafield confirms that electronic driver aids have been kept to a minimum and a stable aerodynamic platform has been defined in an effort to maximize driver input, involvement and overtaking.

Delta Motorsports in Northampton (UK) are busy and well underway with the production of the race cars with a series of test sessions scheduled from next month. Grand Prix Masters are in the process of applying for FIA sanctioning and in the meantime, continue to work very closely with the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) who are providing invaluable counsel and support on matters pertaining to sporting code, technical regulations and race control.

The Altech South African Grand Prix Masters supports Unite Against Hunger and The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund in the fight against Aids and all proceeds will go towards alleviating the Aids pandemic in our country. Two other charities supported by the Altech Grand Prix Masters are St Mary's Hospital and the Topsy Foundation. St Mary's Hospital supports 750 000 people in it's area, many of which are the poorest of the poor and either have HIV or full blown AIDS and the Topsy Foundation supports a multifaceted approach to fight of HIV and AIDS.

With limited tickets on sale this year, it is strongly suggested that fans purchase tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment. Tickets for the Altech South African Grand Prix are available at all Shoprite Checkers, Checkers-Hyper Money Market Counters and through Computicket.

Schu urges Tifosi rain dance Schu urges Tifosi rain danceMichael Schumacher is once again urging Ferrari's supportive Tifosi to do a little rain dance ahead of the Belgian GP. The wet-word was on the German's lips after qualifying a pretty meager seventh (but sixth with Giancarlo Fisichella's penalty) on a dry Spa circuit.

''Seventh probably would have been better, because now I am on the slippery side,'' he told reporters on Saturday afternoon. 'Now we just have to hope that the weather men are right and it does rain, and then maybe we can see about doing something (in the race).''

Schumacher, 36, confirmed that the F2005-Bridgestone package feels no better at Spa Francorchamps - his favorite circuit - than it did a week ago at Monza. ''We did not expect anything otherwise,'' he continued to explain.

''We are running more wing than the Renaults, for sure, because we very much hope for the rain. What we can achieve in the race depends very much on the weather condition.''

Asked if a win might be totally ruled out, Schumacher replied: ''If it rains, who knows? ''So that is what we hope for. I don't think we can hope for anything else at the moment.''

Boss 'sad' at Minardi sale Boss 'sad' at Minardi salePaul Stoddart said he is going to be 'very sad' as the checker falls at the Chinese GP next month.

It will mark the Australian's final race as a formula one team owner and principal after Red Bull bought the smallest outfit on the current grid.

''From a purely personal standpoint,'' Stoddart admitted in Belgium, ''I am going to be very sad to leave this Paddock and the sport I love.''

After 41 approaches from what Paul calls 'timewasters', Dietrich Mateschitz put together a buyout deal that impressed. Stoddart says the energy drink magnate has the 'personal commitment' and 'commercial backing' that others did not.

Minardi, almost certainly to be renamed for 2006, will remain based at Faenza and with most of the staff intact.

It is true, though, that F1's Concorde Agreement deters multiple-team ownership. One such deterrent, according to sources, is that - contrary to reports - Red Bull will not win a second vote on F1 matters.

But Stoddart, often called an 'anorak' rather than a real 'racer', doubted that Mateschitz was interested in that.

''I think (he) is much more sensible ... than that,'' he told Reuters. Undoubtedly, the 'junior' or 'rookie' Red Bull team will - like Red Bull Racing and unlike Minardi - sign Bernie Ecclestone's new 2008 Concorde.

''This is very likely,'' Mateschitz - who sent Vitantonio Liuzzi skydiving over Spa on Friday afternoon - admitted.

Adam Carroll scores win in shortened GP2 race Adam Carroll scores win in shortened GP2 raceIrishman Adam Carroll scored his first GP2 win since May in a rain-shortened sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.

The Super Nova driver started on pole position courtesy of his eighth place in yesterday's first race and held on during a handful of racing laps before several accidents triggered an early end.

A chaotic 11th lap saw Ernesto Viso spin out at high speed at Eau Rouge before Neel Jani and Hiroshi Yoshimoto tangled soon after, resulting in a huge accident and bringing out the safety car.

But with visibility virtually nil, drivers struggled to see the rescue vehicles even at reduced speed behind the safety car and the red flags were swiftly brought out.

Borja Garcia finished second with Scott Speed third. Nico Rosberg's fourth place extended his championship lead, with closest challenger Heikki Kovalainen scoring no points for eighth.

FIA slams Michelin back FIA slams Michelin backThe FIA launched a scathing attack on tire company boss Edouard Michelin today in Belgium following recent criticism of proposed new regulations.

Michelin, whose company joined Formula One in 2001, threatened to pull them out of the sport as soon as the start of 2007 after being upset by plans to introduce a single tire supplier from the 2008 season onwards. The French company's relationship with the FIA deteriorated this year when they were blamed for the chaotic demise of the United States Grand Prix, where seven teams failed to race because Michelin could not provide a safe tire.

The spat has strengthened since the single tire plans were mooted and Michelin told a packed press conference here Saturday that the FIA were "not transparent" in their proposals, suggesting they were not playing fair. The FIA claimed this was a response to their criticism and said in a statement: "He (Michelin) is clearly irritated that the FIA condemned the company's failure to provide suitable tires in the United States."

"He should try to understand that no governing body, competitor or member of the paying public could be happy with a supplier which turned up with the wrong equipment and wrecked a major world championship event. Regarding the move for a single tire supplier, Mr. Michelin should be aware that the proposal did not come from the FIA but from all the competing teams, including all of Mr. Michelin's teams."

"There are powerful arguments for a single tire in Formula One. If Mr. Michelin is not aware of these simple facts he shows an almost comical lack of knowledge of modern Formula One."

The attack followed suggestions from Michelin of unfair play in the bidding to supply tires for the FIA's World Touring Car Championship, a contract that went to rivals Yokohama. Michelin said he was baffled why his company had failed in their bid but the FIA said: "This was quite simply because theirs was the best bid and had nothing whatever to do with Michelin's debacle in Indianapolis. Indeed the final tendering decision was made before the 2005 United States Grand Prix."

Michelin decided to pay to refund spectators for the United States event and will give out free tickets for next year's Grand Prix at Indianapolis as an apology to the fans for their problems last June.

But the cost of that embarrassing incident could be much higher if the spat with the FIA continues and the future of Michelin in the sport will continue to remain uncertain. Source AFP

Michelin threatens FIA with withdrawal Michelin threatens FIA with withdrawalEdouard Michelin slammed F1's governing body as he threatened to pull the tire company out of the sport as soon as 2007.

In a bespoke news conference at Spa Francorchamps, the French marque's chairman rapped the Max Mosley-led FIA and said he had 'limited trust' in the body's 'transparency' in plans to rid formula one of the tire war.

''Maybe there are other reasons behind the FIA proposals for a monopoly tire,'' Michelin charged. ''We would like (the FIA) to be transparent about their intentions, and this is not the case.''

It is no secret that Clermont-Ferrand based Michelin is vehemently opposed to the FIA's plans, and would likely not stick around to tender for the role.

Edouard continued: ''What about (pulling out) before 2008, I mean in 2007? We will consider it very carefully and ... discuss ... with our partner teams.''

Michelin also seemed to accuse the FIA of unfairly handing a tender to supply the world touring car championship to Yokohama. ''This was done a few days after ... Indianapolis,'' he explained, clearly referring to the 14-car Michelin debacle of June.

He wondered: ''What was the criteria that brought about the FIA's final decision? Were the technical features of the tires taken into account?''

Press Release As they stand, the proposed Formula 1 regulations which have been submitted by the FIA at the FIA's World Council deny teams any kind of choice of tire supplier from 2008. From our point of view, this proposal from the FIA:

  • Is in contradiction with the spirit of racing and the very essence of the values of competition
  • Is contrary to the spectators' and TV audiences' interests 
  • Is not the only way of reducing costs
  • Does not guarantee fair treatment of all teams

We have proposed cost-reducing solutions and are open to any and all related discussions. Accordingly, if the FIA policy is not changed within the next few weeks and should the control tire principle be passed by the FIA World Council, Michelin would be forced to question its involvement in Formula 1 in 2008. Michelin could even reconsider its participation in 2007 given that, out of respect for its partners and under current F1 rules, Michelin will continue to supply tires to its partner teams in 2006. 2007 would, therefore, quickly illustrate the consequences of the FIA's policies.

Rain falling in Spa Rain falling in SpaWith just a few hours until the Belgian grand prix, weather forecasters and Michael Schumacher are perhaps feeling most smug -- it's raining!

The day at Spa Francorchamps started out very foggily, and the second GP2 race was delayed after a guest driver - F1 journalist Peter Windsor - shunted his Mini Challenge car and bent a barrier out of shape.

Heavy rain is expected throughout the day in east Belgium.

In qualifying yesterday, most teams will have run a dry setup meaning they head into the 44-lap race this afternoon, assuming the rain continues, with dry settings and a wet circuit. The teams can make minor adjustments in Parc Ferme to aspects such as brake cooling, but cannot change the chassis to a full wet setup.

Michael Schumacher, starting from sixth position, will be looking forward to the race in the wet as his Bridgestone-shod Ferrari normally excels in such conditions.

'Drivers' prize most coveted' 'Drivers' prize most coveted'Flavio Briatore says the drivers' championship is the only formula one prize worth winning.

Although some team heads, like Ron Dennis or Frank Williams, covet the constructors' world championship with more passion, Briatore - their counterpart at Renault - reckons the drivers' crown is best because people remember it.

''You remember Schumi winning, you never remember someone else winning the constructors' championship,'' 'Flav' said.  ''The drivers' championship is the only one.''

At any rate, Briatore knows what winning feels like.  If his protégé Fernando Alonso wraps up the '05 title, it will be the second team - the first being Benetton and Michael Schumacher - Flavio has taken to the throne.  ''I haven't won a second anything yet,'' the Italian clarified at Spa.

''With Benetton it was unique.  The budget we had, beating Ferrari and Williams at the time, was really magic.''  To this day, Briatore insists that similarly Enstone based Renault's budget is perhaps only the fourth or fifth biggest in the grand prix pitlane.

At 24, Spain's Alonso would become the youngest ever champion.  ''Fernando is cool,'' Briatore went on to say.  ''We know that at the moment McLaren is the quickest, so our job is to finish.  But I am not complaining about that.''

Phoenix postscript Phoenix postscriptSeveral drivers were assessed penalties for avoidable contact in the Racetickets.com 250. In addition to the fifth-place finishing Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mike Borkowski, who were each given one-minute penalties for their roles in two different incidents, Michael McDowell also received a one-minute penalty for his contact with the car of Scott Pruett. No. 3 PAP-Parts/OZEXE BMW Riley driver Shane Lewis also served a one-minute penalty for contact with the No. 54 car of Ralf Kelleners between Turns 10 and 11 on Lap 88… Although attendance figures were not released, Phoenix International Raceway officials confirmed that the Racetickets.com 250 was the track’s best-attended Rolex Series race ever. The Rolex Series has been racing at PIR annually since the series’ inception in 2000.  However, the attendance was still pathetic as can be seen in the photo.
Fittipaldi and Bergmeister Tie Rolex Series Record Fittipaldi and Bergmeister Tie Rolex Series RecordIn a Saturday night fight under the lights at Phoenix International Raceway, No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley driver Christian Fittipaldi struck the knockout blow when he charged past the No. 6 Mears Motor Coach Pontiac Riley of Oswaldo Negri Jr. in Turn 1 with 23 laps remaining to score a victory for himself and co-driver Jörg Bergmeister in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Racetickets.com 250 (SPEED Channel—Sunday, 4 p.m. ET).

Fittipaldi and Bergmeister became the sixth different set of co-drivers to claim an overall win, tying the Rolex Series record for most different winners in a single season established last year. The duo also capped a successful weekend at Phoenix for the TRG team, which won Friday’s Phoenix GT 250 with No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Paul Edwards, making TRG the first team to sweep all classes in a Rolex Series weekend.

“I have to admit everyone was pretty aggressive on the restarts,” Fittipaldi said. “I had to be a bit more cautious, and I gave up a couple positions because of it. There were a bunch of people who thought they were going to win the race on the first lap. A bunch of them spun and lost their noses. After a couple laps, the car came together. Everyone was having a hard time out there, but at least our car was quick. With about 10 laps to go, we had a big lead, so I backed off completely. The team did a great job, and I’m really happy.”  zzzz

On a night where almost every car had at least some scrapes, Bergmeister slipped into an early hole when the car lost its nose following contact with Wayne Taylor’s No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley on the opening lap. The ensuing pit stop dropped Bergmeister to 17th in the running order, and he spent the rest of his stint making up lost ground.

“In the first corner, I thought the race was over when I lost the nose of the car,” Bergmeister said. “I had a little contact with Wayne (Taylor), I tried to go around him on the outside and he closed the door. I had to brake, and he turned in and ripped off my nose. We dropped down in the field, and we put the nose back on under caution. The guys did an awesome job putting it back on the car, and we didn’t lose a lap. From that point on, I just tried to work my way back up to the front, and give it to Christian.”

Bergmeister turned the car over to Fittipaldi on Lap 61, and Fittipaldi found his way to the front for the first time on Laps 75 and 76 prior to his decisive pass on Lap 124. It was the second overall Rolex Series victory for both Bergmeister and Fittipaldi, as Bergmeister previously claimed an overall triumph in the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona and Fittipaldi did the same in the twice-around-the-clock classic one year later.

While Bergmeister and Fittipaldi won the race, Daytona Prototype points co-leaders Taylor and Max Angelelli may have taken a significant step towards winning their first Rolex Series championship with a second-place performance. Aside from Taylor’s opening lap dustup with Bergmeister, he and Angelelli managed to stay out of trouble throughout the Racetickets.com 250 en route to a second-place finish.

The same could not be said for their closest competitors in the title chase, as the night came to a premature end for No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett. Diaz led a race-high 48 laps before giving way to Pruett on a Lap 62 pit stop.

Pruett also led for 10 laps, but disaster struck the team in Turn 1 on a Lap 79 restart, when the defending Daytona Prototype co-champion was hit from behind by Michael McDowell’s No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley. The contact damaged the No. 01 car beyond repair, relegating Diaz and Pruett to a 16th-place result.

The No. 01 team’s misfortune, coupled with Angelelli and Taylor’s second-place result, gives the No. 10 duo a healthy, 36-point advantage in the Daytona Prototype championship standings with just three races remaining. It was the fifth consecutive podium result for Angelelli and Taylor and their eighth in 11 season starts.

“I think the plan was to come away from the race with maximum points against the No. 01 car,” Taylor said. “The championship at this stage is down to us and that car. It is really disappointing that they had to go out of the championship the way they did. I’m not crying about it, but it’s a tough break for them when these things happen.  We kept our nose clean and got second-place points.”

“Because we are getting closer to the end of the season, it didn’t make sense to take any risks, especially when I had cars around me,” Angelelli added. “We had to think about the championship. When I saw the No. 01 crash in the wall, it made no sense for me to fight with anyone.”

No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford co-drivers Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger finished third in an eventful race for the Howard-Boss Motorsports teammates. Forbes-Robinson had to take evasive action in Turn 1 on the opening lap when polesitter Terry Borcheller spun his No. 54 Kodak EasyShare Pontiac Doran following contact with Mike Borkowski in the No. 6 Pontiac Riley, dropping him well down the order.

Forbes-Robinson gave way to Leitzinger on Lap 20, who battled his way back to the front and took the lead on Lap 77. However, Leitzinger’s hopes of winning were dashed when Negri made contact with the left rear corner of the No. 4 machine in Turn 9 on Lap 107. The contact forced Leitzinger to spin and lose the lead, but Leitzinger persevered for the sixth podium result of the season for himself and Forbes-Robinson.

Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson overcame plenty of obstacles of their own to record their fourth top-five result of the season with a fourth place showing in their No. 02 New Century Mortgage Lexus Riley for Chip Ganassi Racing. Borkowski and Negri, who combined to lead 29 laps, finished fifth despite each driver being penalized one minute during their stints for avoidable contact.

Roush has 5 of 10 cars in Chase Roush has 5 of 10 cars in ChaseRoush Racing left Richmond on a high with five of ten cars out of their shop in the NASCAR playoff Nextel Cup Chase. 

Rank Driver Points
1 Tony Stewart 5050
2 Greg Biffle 5045
3 Rusty Wallace 5040
4 Jimmie Johnson 5035
5 Kurt Busch 5030
6 Mark Martin 5025
7 Jeremy Mayfield 5020
8 Carl Edwards 5015
9 Matt Kenseth 5010

10 Ryan Newman 5005

IPS Series
McCune wins IPS pole first time out McCune wins IPS pole first time outSarah McCune became the first woman to win a pole position in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series and she did it for her first race.  Making her series debut, McCune lapped the field in 29.1382 seconds, 187.795 mph.

McCune joins Marco Andretti, A.J. Foyt IV, Travis Gregg and Thiago Medeiros as drivers to win the pole position in their first Menards Infiniti Pro Series start.

Travis Gregg, a Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate of McCune, will start second. Vision Racing teammates Jay Drake and Nick Bussell will start third and fourth, respectively. Series point leader Wade Cunningham will start fifth.

SARAH McCUNE "(About the race): "I'll just be concentrating on my own line and running my own race. I won't be thinking about anybody else, I'll just be doing my job. I always have really high goals for myself, so it's kind of what I expected, but I'm still really happy. I was nervous a little bit about the track, the different type of rubber on the track. The car was sliding a little bit. I had a little bit of an understeer, so I didn't know how good my time was going to be, but I'm excited that it held." (About hitting a bird): "I wasn't thinking about the bird at all. I was just focusing on my qualifying run and getting the best time I could." (About having previous tests that didn't produce a ride) : "I think every racecar driver gets to the point that they're not going to be excited about an opportunity until it actually happens, so I just kept trying to pace myself. Until I was actually out on the racetrack, I wasn't going to get my hopes up. (What helped you go fast?): "I'm new. Sometimes looking at a track from a different perspective helps. Maybe that's all it was, just me being fresh." (About what she learned from her short track background) "Short track drivers are not very easily intimidated. When you can go running one weekend Eldora, the next weekend Winchester, the next weekend Salem and IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park), going to a racetrack that you've never seen before isn't nearly as intimidating as it is to other people who have grown up racing at one or two tracks their whole career. I think that definitely helps. I think driving on dirt definitely helped me in qualifying today. The track was really slick, and my car was sliding, but I was able to control that because of having driven on dirt."

Qualifying Saturday for the 100% throttle Chicagoland 100 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series event on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed: 
1. (8) Sarah McCune, Dallara-Infiniti, 187.795
2. (7) Travis Gregg, Dallara-Infiniti, 186.770
3. (20) Jay Drake, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.913
4. (9) Nick Bussell, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.321
5. (33) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.187
6. (1) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Infiniti, 185.081
7. (24) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.969
8. (19) Chris Festa, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.603
9. (6) Jon Herb, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.296
10. (4) Marty Roth, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.216
11. (3) Bobby Wilson, Dallara-Infiniti, 184.152
12. (11) Scott Mayer, Dallara-Infiniti, no speed

Czech Republic joins A1 Grand Prix Czech Republic joins A1 Grand PrixWith the inaugural race of the World Cup of Motorsport approaching fast, the Czech Republic has signed up to join the A1 Grand Prix series confirming their national drivers at the same time.

The Seat Holder for A1 Team Czech Republic, motorsport driver and manager, Antonin Charouz, confirmed Tomas Enge, Jarek Janis and Jan Charouz as the three names that will represent their country in the first World Cup of Motorsport.

Antonín Charouz said: "It is fantastic for Czech motorsport that we have been able to get into this Series. It was not easy to get into this elite company and our good reputation built in various motorsport series including Formula One helped immensely. We are now negotiating with Czech TV stations to arrange live television coverage of the race and it is obviously a great opportunity for Czech companies to advertise around the world."

Main driver for A1 Team Czech Republic, Tomas Enge commented: "I think that the timing of the World Cup of Motorsport is excellent. Many drivers can take part thanks to the timing and the competition will be very strong. It will be interesting to see the fight between hungry youngsters and experienced drivers. New tracks represent a new challenge I always like to compete in an unknown territory. I believe that my experience will help me in the fight at the front."

Jarek Janis said: "It is definitely good for drivers that they will be racing for the whole winter and they will be able to keep rhythm. It should be a very close Series and the program of the races weekends will be very attractive for the fans."

Jan Charouz said: "I am really looking forward to A1 Grand Prix because there will be good drivers and the Series will have very colorful grid and schedule. I have heard from other drivers who have tested the car that the behavior is similar to F3000 but the car is more powerful and I am really curious to learn how the PowerBoost will work."

Commenting on A1 Team Czech Republic's involvement in the World Cup of Motorsport, A1 Grand Prix Founder, President and Chairman, Sheikh Maktoum said: 'The Czech Republic is home to one of motorsport's classic tracks, the Brno circuit which has given the country a rich motorsport heritage. With A1 Grand Prix, I am sure that the Czech Republic will have a sound future in developing new national drivers to compete in the World Cup of Motorsport."

Wheldon leads 2nd practice at Chicagoland Wheldon leads 2nd practice at Chicagoland
1.  26  Dan Wheldon  Dallara-Honda  25.087      218.120 
2.  8  Scott Sharp  Panoz-Honda  25.152  0.065  0.065  217.556 
3.  11  Tony Kanaan  Dallara-Honda  25.154  0.002  0.067  217.544 
4.  27  Dario Franchitti  Dallara-Honda  25.225  0.071  0.138  216.930 
5.  4  Tomas Scheckter  Dallara-Chevrolet  25.255  0.030  0.168  216.669 
6.  7  Bryan Herta  Dallara-Honda  25.273  0.018  0.186  216.517 
7.  33  Ryan Briscoe  Panoz-Toyota  25.302  0.029  0.215  216.268 
8.  2  Tomas Enge  Dallara-Chevrolet  25.328  0.026  0.241  216.049 
9.  9  Scott Dixon  Panoz-Toyota  25.334  0.006  0.247  215.993 
10.  17  Vitor Meira  Panoz-Honda  25.338  0.004  0.251  215.958 
11.  95  Buddy Lazier  Dallara-Chevrolet  25.393  0.055  0.306  215.495 
12.  3  Helio Castroneves  Dallara-Toyota  25.404  0.011  0.317  215.400 
13.  10  Jaques Lazier  Panoz-Toyota  25.414  0.010  0.327  215.314 
14.  6  Sam Hornish Jr.  Dallara-Toyota  25.421  0.007  0.334  215.252 
15.  15  Buddy Rice  Panoz-Honda  25.445  0.024  0.358  215.049 
16.  24  Roger Yasukawa  Dallara-Honda  25.494  0.049  0.407  214.638 
17.  83  Patrick Carpentier  Dallara-Toyota  25.498  0.004  0.411  214.606 
18.  14  A.J. Foyt IV  Dallara-Chevrolet  25.502  0.004  0.415  214.568 
19.  16  Danica Patrick  Panoz-Honda  25.511  0.009  0.424  214.493 
20.  91  Jimmy Kite  Dallara-Toyota  25.604  0.093  0.517  213.718 
21.  51  Alex Barron  Dallara-Toyota  25.629  0.025  0.542  213.507 
22.  20  Ed Carpenter  Dallara-Toyota  25.899  0.270  0.812  211.284 
23.  55  Kosuke Matsuura  Panoz-Honda  41.576  15.677  16.489  131.614
Michelin again threatens pullout Michelin again threatens pulloutMichelin said this evening at Spa Francorchamps that they will pull out of Formula One if plans for a single tire manufacturer are forced through by the FIA for the 2008 season.

Michelin currently supplies seven of the ten teams on the Grand Prix grid while rival brand Bridgestone supplies Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi. In a day of announcements, Red Bull has confirmed they will stay with Michelin in 2006, while Williams are to move over to Bridgestone and will be followed by Toyota.

In a press conference this evening Michelin chief Edouard Michelin warned: "We will withdraw from 2008 if there is a single tire and before that, before 2007 maybe. We will consider the situation."

The teams, manufacturers and the governing body, the FIA, are currently in discussions over plans for a new set of regulations to commence when the current Concorde Agreement comes to an end in 2007.
FIA President Max Mosley has been pushing for the introduction of a single tire supplier, the contract for which would be put out to tender for both manufactures as well as any outside companies. But with an agreement expected on the new rules by the end of the year, Michelin's comments suggested the company could end their involvement in the sport as soon as the end of 2006 if the single supplier proposals are voted in.

"We have stated repeatedly that we are opposed to this proposal made by the FIA of controlled monopoly tires with a specific tire supplier for 2008," Michelin said. "The main argument which is presented in favor of control tires is that competing tire manufacturers increase the number of tests and therefore Formula One costs. But we have solutions to reduce costs without limiting competition."

Michelin argued that his company's work with rivals Pirelli in the World Rally Championship has proven that tire manufacturers can compete openly while maintaining a controlled budget. He appealed to the Michelin teams to consult with their Bridgestone rivals to discuss proposals to achieve cost savings, among which are possible measures concerning the number of tires per race as well as limiting testing distance.

"There is probably more than 100 million (Dollars) to save by controlling the testing so the economic argument to eliminate competition and choice between and for tire manufacturers simply does not make sense," he continued. "This is our analysis. So maybe there are other reasons behind the FIA proposals for monopoly tire and we would like those behind the ideas within the FIA to be transparent about their intentions and this is not the case today."
In the event that control tire was adopted, we assume this would involve tenders. What are the selection criteria and will the FIA disclose that? We are seeking more transparency on this." Source AFP

Stoddart sad to go, Mosley rejoicing Stoddart sad to go, Mosley rejoicingIt is today announced that an agreement has been reached whereby Red Bull GmbH will acquire 100 per cent of the shares in the Minardi Team by no later than November 1, 2005.

The Minardi F1 Team will continue to operate in its existing guise, with the same driver, sponsor and personnel arrangements, for the remaining rounds of the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship.

“From a purely personal standpoint, I am going to be very sad to leave this Paddock and the sport I love,” Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, commented today at the Spa- Francorchamps circuit, where the Faenza squad is preparing for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix. “I have always said, however, that I would consider selling the team if a serious potential buyer could meet certain key conditions."
“Specifically, I wanted to be convinced of the following: (1) there was sufficient personal commitment and commercial backing in place to move the team to a level of competitiveness that I could not; (2) the team would continue to be based in Italy; and (3) the majority of team personnel would have a stable future. After detailed discussions with Dr Mateschitz’s representatives, I am satisfied that Red Bull meets all of these criteria, and on that basis, I have agreed to sell the team."

“Finally, I want to thank everyone at Minardi for their unflagging support over the five years of my ownership," Stoddart continued. "It may be the smallest team currently on the Formula One grid, but it definitely possesses the largest heart. It would be entirely fitting, and not beyond the realms of possibility, to see Fernando Alonso, who started his career with Minardi in 2001, crowned as the youngest-ever Formula One World Drivers’ Champion here tomorrow.” Minardi Cosworth

Meanwhile, Max Mosley is probably tonight celebrating Stoddart's departure from the F1 grid and probably saying 'don't let the door hit you in the behind when leaving.'  Stoddart was most vocal in calling for Mosley's resignation this year and we assumed it was only a matter of time before Ecclestone and Mosley had the loudmouth troublemaker removed from the paddock.  Finding someone to buy him out was the easiest way to accomplish that.

Bridgestone confirm Williams deal Bridgestone confirm Williams dealBridgestone has confirmed that it has signed a multi-year agreement with the Williams F1 team for the supply of tires from 2006. Williams have used Michelin tires since the 2001 season.

"It is with great pleasure that I can now confirm that Bridgestone Motorsport and the Williams team have entered into a tire supply partnership, to commence after the end of the current season," said Hiroshi Yasukawa, director of Bridgestone Motorsport.

"WilliamsF1 is one of the most experienced and respected teams competing in Formula One and I would like to thank Sir Frank Williams for his faith in our technological capabilities.

"Since entering Formula One in 1997, Bridgestone Motorsport has supplied the winning Constructors' and Drivers' Champions no fewer than seven times and we now look forward to working closely with Williams to help them achieve their goals in the future."

Nelson Piquet: "It just worked out perfectly" Nelson Piquet: "It just worked out perfectly"
GP2 Series: Nelson Piquet, GP2 series race winner. How does it feel?
Nelson Piquet Jr: It feels great, a big relief to finally do what we've waited a long, long time to do. It's really what we've all dreamed about – to get a win this season. To tell the truth I didn't think we were going to get a win this year, because we were a step or two behind already, but it just worked out brilliantly and the team did a great job. We did what the leaders did early in the race, and then we pitted early, and it just worked.

GP2 Series: What do you put the win down to – your speed, the strategy, or something else?
Nelson: I think, first of all, I did a really good race – I made very few mistakes, and I had a good car. I don't know why we were so much faster than everyone on the circuit, but the car was a bit better than the others. Even in Eau Rouge – I don't know if I had a better car, but I could follow guys, get a tow and overtake them. It just worked out perfectly.

GP2 Series: The conditions looked very tricky today – how was it inside the car?
Nelson: I was quite nervous because all the time we had a pace car, and I didn't know if I had to come in, stay out, what was the best decision. So I just decided to follow the leader and see what he does, and there were so many cars in front us, and I was scared that the rain would come and we'd have to come in again and we would lose the race, but everything worked out. I pushed very hard, managed to overtake a lot of cars, and did it.

GP2 Series: You came out on dry tires, Viso came out on wets – which was the better call?
Nelson: I think both were quite similar – the wets were right on the edge to continue racing the way it was, and maybe the rain was right on the edge of not destroying the tires – it was fifty-fifty. I just wasn't quicker because I was in traffic, but once I got some space in front of me I was driving clearly and good.

GP2 Series: How important is this first win for the team?
Nelson: It's very important – I think the whole team was waiting for it. It's like every driver and every team wants to get that first win, because it's more clear for you and you think you can do it again.

GP2 Series: The incident with Premat – what happened from your point of view?
Nelson: I braked a bit hard – everyone was braking, and we were coming from sixth gear to first gear – I locked up a little and unfortunately I touched him, and these things happen sometimes. It was wet, and I was on slicks.

GP2 Series: You start in eighteenth tomorrow as a result – can you do anything from there?
Nelson: If it's raining, and there's a lot of mess on the first lap, then my goal is to score points – we'll see.

Piquet comes through to win at Spa Piquet comes through to win at SpaNelson Piquet Jr drove a sensational race to take his first victory in the GP2 series at a rain affected Spa-Francorchamps. The Brazilian used the most of four safety car periods in the differing conditions, opting to stay on dry tires throughout, to beat Ernesto Viso by three seconds. Nico Rosberg picked up the final podium position in third and takes the lead in the championship standings for the first time this season. Heikki Kovalainen, meanwhile, finished down in 15th position after spinning to a halt on the final lap whilst attempting to take eighth position.

The race started under ominous looking clouds but on a dry track, with front row starter Alex Premat beating polesitter Gianmaria Bruni in the straight drag to the La Source hairpin.

Behind them Nicolas Lapierre and Neel Jani stalled as everyone else powered past them, allowing Kovalainen, Piquet and Scott Speed to fall in behind the lead pair. The stalled cars brought out the safety car, and the field lined up behind Premat awaiting their release. One lap later they were away, with Adam Carroll and Speed running side by side down the hill to Eau Rouge. Bruni was slightly slow away, and Kovalainen had nowhere to go and tapped the Italian from behind, with the pair holding station. zzzz

Piquet, however, was on a charge – he was all over the rear of Kovalainen and looking for a way past, and the Finn was giving everything he had just to hold the Brazilian behind him. Premat was pulling away from Bruni at the front, and the Italian was pushing hard just to hold on. Behind them Hiroki Yoshimoto slid off track and into the wall, prompting the second track visit by the safety car.

Premat, Piquet, Speed, Rosberg, Viso and Xandi Negrao took the opportunity to make their pitstops, while Bruni, Kovalainen, Carroll and Jose Maria Lopez stayed out at the head of the field, waiting for rain before making their stops.

Bruni pushed hard at the restart to build a gap over Kovalainen, and the effort was too much – the Italian had a big spin, tearing both ends off his car when he found the wall and bringing the safety car back onto the track once more.

Carroll had muscled his way past Kovalainen up the hill, and led the field for the first time in the race, with Premat leading the pitted drivers in eighth position, ahead of Piquet. The rain started to fall at the back of the track, prompting Speed to pit for wets, but the front runners decided to stay out yet again.

The race was restarted on lap twelve, with Carroll leading Kovalainen and Lopez cleanly through La Source, while behind them Premat and Piquet ran like a train through Olivier Pla at the top of the hill. Pla's teammate Giorgio Mondini didn't manage to find his way through the corner behind them, however – he had a big spin and also tore both ends off his car at the top of Eau Rouge, and with debris across the track there was no option but for another safety car visit.

This was the front runners' big chance to make their stops, but with the rain stopping and starting no one was prepared to gamble.

The race restarted yet again on lap 16, and it was clear to see how wet the conditions now were – Carroll ran very wide at La Source and lost the lead to Kovalainen, while Piquet and Premat touched under braking. Premat went wide and Piquet was through and into fourth position, with the Frenchman stopping at the bottom of the hill and throwing his wheel away in disgust. Having set the fastest lap, his retirement meant he finished out of the classification and lost the two points.

The front three were now Kovalainen, Lopez and Carroll, and they were the only three drivers not to pit. With just six laps to go it was clear that an error in judgment had been made at the front – the three were yet to make their stops, and Piquet was reeling them in lap by lap. Behind Piquet, Rosberg and Viso were having a strong battle after storming drives through the field. Both men started on the sixth row, and with podium positions beckoning they were fighting each other as though for a win.

Piquet had the option to sit and wait for the leading three drivers to pit, but he chose to push through the spray and was through Carroll and onto the podium at Les Combes. On lap 22 the inevitable happened: Kovalainen, Lopez and Carroll were into the pits, and Piquet was the new leader. Behind him Viso had finally found a way past Rosberg and was chasing the Brazilian, with the German clearly thinking of the championship and sitting back to preserve his car.

But Piquet was untouchable in the changing conditions – he crossed the line to win race one by three seconds from Viso, with Rosberg leading Juan Cruz Alvarez and Borja Garcia across the line. Negrao was in seventh position and leading a queue of drivers – Lauda looked set for tomorrow's pole position but Kovalainen had other ideas, trying and failing to get by the Austrian and being rewarded with a spin for his efforts.

Carroll, however, was able to pick up the scraps, powering past Lauda to take the final point of the race and putting himself at the front of the grid for tomorrow.

Red Bull stays with Michelin Red Bull stays with MichelinRed Bull Racing has confirmed today that it has extended its contract with Michelin for the 2006 season. Red Bull Racing has enjoyed significant success in its maiden Formula 1 year with its Michelin- shod cars. Scoring 27 points in the 15 races contested so far, the Red Bull Racing - Michelin partnership currently lies sixth in the Constructors' Championship, two points ahead of BAR. Sporting Director, Christian Horner commented: "We are delighted to have extended our agreement with Michelin for the 2006 season, which forms another significant part of our overall package for next year. Michelin's continuing development has been very impressive and its professionalism in dealing with the new single tire regulations was a key factor in our decision."  Michelin Motorsport Director, Pierre Dupasquier added, "We are extremely pleased to be able to continue to count Red Bull Racing as a partner. They have proved very competitive this year and will no doubt be even more so in 2006."
IPS Series
‘This weekend is about turning heads and getting noticed’ ‘This weekend is about turning heads and getting noticed’The Menards Infiniti Pro Series will host another bright, capable and promising race car driver this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.  Sarah McCune, a native of Perrysburg, Ohio, is the second woman to join the MIPS ranks this season.  She will wheel the #8 Trick My Truck entry prepared by Sam Schmidt Motorsports tomorrow, Sunday, September 11, 2005, in the Chicagoland 100.

McCune, who moved to Los Angeles, Calif., after being a cast member on the 2004 CMT “The Drive” TV series, is a 26 year-old Indiana University honors graduate with two Bachelor of Science degrees in Marketing and Public Affairs.  Her racing accomplishments are as strong as her academic resume – McCune has titles, wins and numerous top-five and top-10 finishes in USAC, ARCA, and NAMARS competition driving quarter midgets, midgets, and sprint cars.

In her racing career that began with quarter midgets when she was just 11 years old, McCune has earned a lot of respect.  Racing around the Midwest, she broke USAC track records formerly held by NASCAR greats such as Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.  She is the only woman to set qualifying records on dirt and pavement in USAC National midget events and, in 1991, won a National Champion title.  In 1997, she was the series runner-up in the NAMARS Championship.  These are just a few of the titles she’s earned along with her more than 50 race wins on dirt and paved tracks.

McCune’s open-wheel credentials are very strong and she’ll be looking for big results in Sunday’s race at Chicagoland.

Saturday Notes - Spa Saturday Notes - SpaAlthough the winding Spa layout resembled a river on Friday, the sun - although a few spots of rain sent pulses racing in the last few minutes - made an appearance ahead of Saturday's qualifying session.

However, bring your umbrella and jacket to the circuit in the notoriously fickle Belgian Ardennes on Sunday -- forecasters, although they incorrectly forecast qualifying rain, are almost adamant that more rain will affect the grand prix.

Poor Giancarlo Fisichella. Near the end of his luckless 2005 season, the Roman pounded in a stunningly quick qualifying lap to be third - a few tenths quicker than Renault cohort Fernando Alonso - at Spa. His pre-qualifying engine change, though, after engineers suspected a valve problem as long ago as Monza, puts him back to 13th.

Juan Pablo Montoya's pole, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen by a whisper, fronted the first McLaren one-two since Imola 2001. In those days, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard did all the steering. Another Saturday performance of note, as ever, belonged to Toyota's Jarno Trulli, third after the Fisichella demotion. ''I honestly think that was a great lap,'' the Italian said.

Toyota used the Spa paddock to refute press speculation that a deal to switch from Michelin to Bridgestone next year has already been signed. But a statement conceded: ''(The team) is in advanced negotiations with Bridgestone over tire supply for ... 2006 but no agreement has been signed.''

Some Michelin teams might be nervous about the weather forecast, but the attitude in the beleaguered Ferrari-Bridgestone camp is bring-it-on. ''Obviously I would prefer it if it rained,'' said Michael Schumacher, a second off pole but sacrificing a bit of top end speed with his wet setup.

At the wrong end of the grid, Minardi saw off wooden-spooners Jordan to win the mini-battle of avoiding the very last row of the grid. ''It's good to be the fastest of the four,'' Robert Doornbos grinned.

Wheldon leads opening practice Wheldon leads opening practiceThe first Saturday morning IndyCar Series practice at Chicagoland Speedway for the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 presented by Mr. Clean saw series points leader Dan Wheldon top the speed chart with a quick lap of 216.868 mph (25.2319 seconds) on the 1.5-mile high-banked oval in the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Hornish, who has won twice in four events at Chicagoland Speedway, was second at 215.537 mph in the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone.
1 26 Wheldon, Dan D/H/F 25.2319 216.868 18 38
2 6 Hornish Jr, Sam D/T/F 25.3878 215.537 23 24
3 17 Meira, Vitor P/H/F 25.3990 215.442 34 38
4 24 Yasukawa, Roger D/H/F 25.4103 215.346 28 37
5 55 Matsuura, Kosuke P/H/F 25.4198 215.265 31 32
6 11 Kanaan, Tony D/H/F 25.4219 215.247 21 41
7 9 Dixon, Scott P/T/F 25.4292 215.186 28 29
8 27 Franchitti, Dario D/H/F 25.4346 215.140 23 36
9 95 Lazier, Buddy D/C/F 25.4711 214.832 25 33
10 4 Scheckter, Tomas D/C/F 25.4810 214.748 13 22
11 33 Briscoe, Ryan P/T/F 25.4819 214.741 26 33
12 8 Sharp, Scott P/H/F 25.5647 214.045 4 29
13 15 Rice, Buddy P/H/F 25.5722 213.982 26 27
14 83 Carpentier, Patrick D/T/F 25.5851 213.874 31 34
15 16 Patrick, Danica P/H/F 25.6013 213.739 8 27
16 14 Foyt IV, AJ D/C/F 25.6048 213.710 19 28
17 7 Herta, Bryan D/H/F 25.6053 213.706 43 45
18 10 Lazier, Jaques P/T/F 25.6152 213.623 26 35
19 91 Kite, Jimmy D/T/F 25.6333 213.472 34 39
20 3 Castroneves, Helio D/T/F 25.6419 213.401 18 34
21 2 Enge, Tomas D/C/F 25.7000 212.918 9 29
22 51 Barron, Alex D/T/F 25.7279 212.687 38 39
23 20 Carpenter, Ed D/T/F 26.0299 210.220 16 20
Minardi sold to Red Bull - official Minardi sold to Red Bull - officialPaul Stoddart's F1 back-marker Minardi has been sold to Red Bull, the energy drink confirmed at Spa Francorchamps.

The anticipated news means that Red Bull now owns two formula one teams, after it bought Jaguar from Ford ahead of the 2005 race season.

A statement said that the Austrian company would take over 100 per cent of the Faenza based squad on 1 November.

The cockpits will go to rookie drivers like Vitantonio Liuzzi and America's Scott Speed, after Red Bull - to certainly rename the little team - found itself with more drivers on the books than it knew what to do with.

''This acquisition also means that Red Bull now has a second vote in any matters raised regarding the future of formula one,'' the statement boasted. 

The main reasons for Red Bull deciding to enter a second team starting in the 2006 Formula 1 World Championship are:

  1. Red Bull has more talented drivers than it has available cockpits. This meant there were only two ways of helping up-coming drivers: either  place them in other teams or to increase the number of cockpit available to us. After much careful thought, Red Bull decided to go with the second of these options.
  2. Looking at the current state of Formula 1 we feel that the second team will be able to maintain its current assets while also being able to generate its own income in the future, in order to become almost self-financing.
  3. This acquisition also means that Red Bull now has a second vote in    any matters raised regarding the future of Formula 1.

At the moment, no decisions have been taken as regards the name of the team, its management nor its drivers. 

[Editor's Note: We'll be surprised if Red Bull still does a deal now with Champ Car and we suspect Eddie Cheever's IRL team backing by Red Bull is now in serious jeopardy as it takes huge sums of money to run a F1 team, let alone two.]

IPS Series
Atlantics better than IPS Series Atlantics better than IPS SeriesQ and A with Curt Cavin
Question: Why did Al Unser Jr. go to the Atlantics series rather than stay in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series? Is there a falling out between Little Al and the IRL? (John from Rochester Hills, Mich.)

Answer: No, just a better opportunity in Atlantics. No matter what your standard is, Atlantics is a better feeder system than the IRL's Menards Infiniti Pro Series. Indy Star  [Editor's Note: The Atlantics Series has produced many great drivers over the years.  The 100% throttle IPS Series is very weak and many of its past champions have turned out to be wankers in the big cars.] 

IPS Series
Medeiros to get Indy Car chance Medeiros to get Indy Car chance2004 IPS champion Thiago Medeiros will drive a second Indy car of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing at the season-ending race Oct. 16 at California Speedway. The team's primary driver is Roger Yasukawa. Indy Star
Engine change for Fisichella Engine change for FisichellaThe Renault F1 Team has confirmed that Giancarlo Fisichella will change his RS25 engine before this afternoon’s qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps.

“Our running this morning confirmed we need to change Fisico’s engine,” explained Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations. “We know that Monza and Spa are the most demanding pairing of the season for the engines, and after the race in Monza we suspected that there was a problem with the engine."

"We ran yesterday and today to assess its full extent, and we have found a valve problem that means we cannot be confident the unit will last the full race distance," Chevrier continued. "The only sensible precaution to take is therefore to change the engine.”

The Italian will start third from last in this afternoon’s qualifying session, after his podium finish in Monza and he was fifth fastest in practice this morning. Renault

Mercedes oppose selling cars Mercedes oppose selling carsMercedes oppose proposals for Formula One teams to be allowed to buy and race cars from other teams or manufacturers in the future, according to motorsport head Norbert Haug.  "I think everyone should know that we are very much against used Formula One cars," he said at the Belgian Grand Prix.  "We don't think that is the key to the future. We think it is against the independent teams if you sell used McLarens, Renaults, Ferraris and so on.  We don't want to have that and this needs to be properly discussed," said Haug.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
JV's manager slams BMW
Rain could drown Belgian GP
The making of 'lucky' Alonso
Webber could've raced Renault
Schu to race in 2006
'No decision' on B-team
Summary of Paul Newman’s appearance on Costas Now Summary of Paul Newman’s appearance on Costas Now
Bob Costas spent the day with Paul Newman at the Molson Indy Montreal race, and they talked about Paul's passion for racing, his movie career, family, and his Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for children with life-threatening illnesses. 
Bob Costas was in the pits during the race and saw Paul's range of emotions when Sebastien Bourdais was dominating the race, but ended his chance for victory with a botched pit stop.  Then Newman/Haas's other driver, Oriol Servia, came from behind for his first win.  
They discussed Paul's movie career and how Paul didn't know anything about racing before he played a race car driver in the 1969 movie, Winning.  It was during that time he met Mario Andretti at a race in New York.  Mario took Paul for a spin around the track and thought he scared Paul a little bit.  Three years after making the film Winning, Paul started racing competitively and won his first race in 1972.  They talked about Paul's victory at age 70 in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 1995, and how racing is like no other excitement he's ever had.  Paul said he keeps racing at age 80 because he's very competitive and it's a "kick in the rear and it clears his head out."  He said he'll keep racing until he embarrasses himself. Recently, Paul asked Mario if he'd like to team up with him for the Petit Le Mans race in October.  Mario chuckled and said that's a ten hours race, and thought he (Mario) was too old for that!     
Paul has been nominated for nine Oscars, and they discussed his many movie roles of playing athletes.  Paul doesn't consider himself to be a good athlete.  The only time he feels physical grace is in a race car.  He said he's a mess when he tries to ski, and that Joanne has wretched feet from being stomped on so many times when he's tried to dance.  Paul is so immersed in racing that he skipped the Academy Awards in 2003 when he was nominated for the role he played in the movie, Road to Perdition, to attend his team's race.  He said his first film, The Silver Chalice, was the worst film made in the 1950s, especially with his legs in a short, Greek cocktail skirt!  Years later when that movie was shown on TV, Paul put an ad in the LA Times apologizing for the movie and discouraged people from watching it.  It didn't work, and they watched it anyway.
Paul told Bob Costas that he's had a full life and he feels very fortunate to have experienced the excitement of Broadway, to be involved in racing, have grandchildren and a loving wife of nearly 50 years, and watch sick kids bring back part of their childhood.  He said, "What could be better?"
Practice 4: Alonso goes fastest Practice 4: Alonso goes fastestWith the sun still shining in Spa, points leader Fernando Alonso, looking to clinch the world title this weekend, moves to the top of the speed charts in the final practice before qualifying at Spa.  Alonso, who leads closest rival Kimi Raikkonen, of McLaren, by 27 points with four races to go, finished with a time of 1:46.207, 0.334 seconds ahead of the Finn.

1. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M 1:46.307
2. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M 1:46.641
3. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M 1:46.681
4. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:46.858
5. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:47.049
6. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1:47.054
7. JENSON BUTTON BAR-Honda M 1:47.419
8. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M 1:47.507
9. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:47.773
10. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1:47.991
11. ANTONIO PIZZONIA Williams-BMW M 1:48.092
12. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M 1:48.204
13. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M 1:48.213
14. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M 1:48.551
15. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:48.866
16. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:48.877
17. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:49.166
18. ROBERT DOORNBOS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:49.208
19. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:50.740
20. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:51.594

Kimi and Juan 1-2 in wet practice 3 at Spa Kimi and Juan 1-2 in wet practice 3 at SpaWorld Championship challenger Kimi Raikkonen turned the fastest lap of the opening Saturday practice session for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, as clear blue skies returned to the Ardennes forests at Spa-Francorchamps. So much for the accuracy of the Belgian weatherman.

1. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M 1:48.125
2. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:48.516
3. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:48.883
4. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M 1:49.286
5. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:49.520
6. JENSON BUTTON BAR-Honda M 1:49.780
7. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M 1:50.066
8. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:50.139
9. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1:50.403
10. ANTONIO PIZZONIA Williams-BMW M 1:50.449
11. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M 1:50.451
12. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M 1:50.750
13. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M 1:50.877
14. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:50.907
15. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M 1:51.655
16. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:51.953
17. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:53.250
18. ROBERT DOORNBOS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:53.278
19. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:53.480

Borcheller Takes First Rolex Series Pole Since 2003 Borcheller Takes First Rolex Series Pole Since 2003The Phoenix area used to be home for Terry Borcheller, and after his performance in qualifying for Saturday’s Racetickets.com 250 at Phoenix International Raceway (SPEED Channel – Sunday, September 11, 4:00 p.m. ET), he may consider returning.

Borcheller—the 2003 Daytona Prototype champion—clocked a best lap at 57.540 seconds (94.473 mph) in the No. 54 Kodak EasyShare Pontiac Doran to earn his first Rolex Series pole position since a race at Mid-Ohio on June 27, 2003. Borcheller will share No. 54 Bell Motorsports machine in Saturday’s race with Germany’s Ralf Kelleners in the Racetickets.com 250.

"We got caught out at Mid-Ohio, so the boys put the car out first in line because we wanted to get a fast lap in right away,” Borcheller said.  “The Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need team have been working night and day for months to get the Kodak EasyShare car to this point. With all my experience doing lapping days here with the Bondurant School, I know how this track can change.  In two or three minutes it can change dramatically.  I think knowing how to read the track helped. I lived in north Phoenix for 13 years.  I met my wife here and we had our kids here.  I think we'll move back here eventually. We just love this area.” zzzz 

Borcheller is joined on the front row by another former resident of the Phoenix area, as Mike Borkowski placed Michael Shank Racing’s No. 6 Mears Motor Coach Pontiac Riley second on the grid with a lap at 57.640 (94.310 mph). Borkowski—who lived in nearby Scottsdale until recently moving to Miami Beach, Fla.—is sharing the No. 6 with Oswaldo Negri Jr. this weekend instead of regular co-driver Paul Mears Jr.

“Mike Shank’s guys are amazing,” said Borkowski. “This car was basically totaled after Mid-Ohio, but they were at the shop at six in the morning the very next day to fix it, and now its even better than it was before. I really wanted to give them a pole to show how much I appreciated their work, but we came up just a little bit short tonight. I have been fast here all weekend and Oswaldo (Negri) has been super-quick in the car, so hopefully we can keep out of trouble in the race and get this car back on the podium tomorrow.”

Luis Diaz will start third in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, as he and co-driver Scott Pruett look to gain ground in the Daytona Prototype championship chase. Diaz ran a best qualifying lap at 57.941 seconds (93.820 mph).

Max Papis—who shared the 2004 Daytona Prototype championship with Pruett—placed the No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley fourth on the grid with a lap at 58.029 seconds (93.820 mph). Papis is standing in for regular No. 67 driver and team co-owner Tracy Krohn, who is unable to attend the Racetickets.com 250 due to damage sustained by his company and employees in Hurricane Katrina. Papis will team with Nic Jönsson.

Daytona Prototype points co-leader Wayne Taylor rounded out the top five on the starting grid in the No. 10 Sun Trust Pontiac Riley. Taylor posted a best qualifying lap at 58.118 seconds, and he and co-driver Max Angelelli will be looking for their second consecutive victory at Phoenix International Raceway as well as their fifth Rolex Series win this season.

Jörg Bergmeister starts sixth in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley with a lap at 58.168 seconds (93.453 mph). Bergmeister will co-drive with Christian Fittipaldi in the Racetickets.com 250. Memo Gidley placed the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley seventh on the grid at 58.221 seconds (93.368 mph) and will co-drive with Phoenix native Michael McDowell for Finlay Motorsports.

Cort Wagner will start eighth in the No. 02 New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley with a lap at 58.243 seconds (93.333 mph) and will partner with Stefan Johansson. Fabrizio Gollin starts ninth in the No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve Ford Doran with a best lap of 58.443 seconds (93.014 mph). Gollin is paired with fellow Italian Matteo Bobbi with Doran Racing, and was the last driver to qualify within one second of Borcheller’s time. Marc-Antoine Camirand completed the top 10 with a lap at 58.742 seconds (92.540 mph) in the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing/Spiralz Custom Jewelry/Chemcraft Pontiac Crawford he shares with Doug Goad.

SPEED Channel will televise the Racetickets.com 250 at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 11.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Featured Guest:  Danny Sullivan
Topic: 'Based on IRL Darren Manning's early release,
    does performance matter in keeping your job?'
12:00 a.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, SPEED
'Inside Grand Prix'
Belgian Grand Prix
2:30 a.m.-3:00 a.m. ET, SPEED
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Belgian Grand Prix
7:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean
Chicagoland Speedway
1:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (Live) ABC
Phoenix 250
Daytona Prototype (9/10/05)
4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-Host:  Ray Evernham
Featured Guest:  Chris Carr
Expert Analyst:  Bob Varsha
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED

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

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