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DATE News (chronologically)
09/12/07
tv news
nhra

Ashley Force shines on The Tonight Show
Late-night TV met NHRA Drag Racing Monday when Funny Car driver Ashley Force made a guest appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the rookie driver shined brightly in front of the NBC television cameras. Force, whose father, John, appeared on The Tonight Show 11 years ago, was witty and charming while serving as a great ambassador for the sport. From her opening, “It's nice to be a girl for once,” when Leno complimented her attire to her “You know those days when you go to work and you just have a bad day? That was mine,” line when discussing her crash earlier in the season in Seattle, Force got her fair share of laughs and several hearty cheers from the crowd.

“The whole experience was really great,” said Force, who was featured in a five-minute segment on the program following actor Brad Garrett and in advance of a performance by Cirque du Soleil. “This is definitely one of the funnest interviews I have ever done.” More, including photos at NHRA.com

Comment
09/12/07
tv news
nascar

NASCAR drivers to be on David Letterman show UPDATE The listing has been removed from the Late Show's website for the ten NASCAR drivers to present the Top Ten list on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight.  We have not been able to verify if the NASCAR drivers will still be guests on the Late Show tonight.  

09/11/07 The Top Ten list on the Late Show with David Letterman will be presented by ten NASCAR drivers on Wednesday night, September 12.  The Late Show airs on CBS at 11:35 pm - 12:35 am in most time zones.  Please check local listings for your location and time zone. 

Comment
09/12/07
f1

Roldan Rodriguez tests for Spyker
Upcoming Spanish GP2 driver Roldan Rodriguez tested today for the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team at Silverstone Circuit, UK. The 22-year-old from Valladolid completed a 50km shakedown with the new B-spec F8-VII on the National circuit configuration in advance of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix. The Spaniard completed 18 laps of the 2.6km track, his first test in a 2007 Formula 1 car.

Roldan commented, 'Thank you to the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team for letting me test today. We have been talking about driving the car at some point this season, but to have the chance to test the new B-spec car was a great opportunity. I was really blown away by the power of the car, and the braking - it's so much more powerful than anything else I've driven.'

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09/12/07
ga

Hunter-Reay to drive in Grand-Am finale
Ryan Hunter-Reay rejoins Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens in the No. 91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley for this weekend’s event. The No. 91 has finished second, fourth, and sixth, respectively, in the past three races and hopes the longer format of the Sunchaser 1000k might provide an opportunity to drive to victory lane.

Comment
09/12/07
racing news

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 9-12-07
Pos.(LW) Driver(Series)                         Pts
1. (17) Fernando Alonso (F1)                   8.051
2. (3) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)                 7.961
3. (8) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                   7.913
4. (15) Dario Franchitti (IRL)                 7.532
5. (18) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                   7.475
6. (16) Scott Dixon (IRL)                      7.272
7. (5) Kurt Busch (NASCAR)                     7.255
8. (6) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)               7.162
9. (21) Lewis Hamilton (F1)                    7.143
10. (19) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)                 6.880
11. (10) Justin Wilson (CCWS)                  6.837
12. (1) Tony Kanaan (IRL)                      6.693
13. (9) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR)              6.633
14. (4) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)                    6.579
15. (13) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR)                 6.542
16. (20) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)                 6.492
17. (22) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)                6.387
18. (NR) Ryan Newman (NASCAR)                  6.159
19. (11) Jeff Burton (NASCAR)                  6.137
20. (12) Kimi Raikkonen (F1)                   6.018

Dropped out: Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Felipe Massa (F1), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)

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

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09/12/07
cc

Martinez replaces Servia for final two races
Forsythe Championship Racing has named Mexican driver David Martinez to drive the #7 INDECK Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone for the final two Champ Car World Series races this season.

The rookie driver has one previous start in the Champ Car World Series, running for Forsythe Championship Racing at Mexico City last year starting and finishing ninth.  Martinez brings a wealth of experience from the Champ Car Atlantic Series, finishing fifth in the series standings in both 2005 and 2006.  In all, the young Mexican scored five podiums and one pole position in the development series competing against a quality field that included current Champ Car drivers Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud.  Martinez will make his second Champ Car start at the Lexmark Indy 300 on October 21.  He will then drive in front of his countrymen in Mexico City on November 11.

Martinez will replace veteran driver Oriol Servia for the final two events.  Servia joined Forsythe Racing at Long Beach, and scored two podiums and four top-five finishes in 11 starts with the team.  Despite little time in the new DP01, Servia earned a runner-up finish in his debut with the team in Long Beach.  The Spaniard also earned a third place finish at San Jose, after leading a race high 42 laps.  The veteran driver finished in the top-ten in all but one start this season, and despite missing the season opener, sits sixth in the Series standings.

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09/12/07
f1

$13m Imola upgrade now complete
(GMM)  Upgrade works at the former grand prix venue Imola are reportedly now complete.

Work on the renovation at the ageing 'Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari', which last hosted the San Marino grand prix early in the 2006 season, began last November.

"(Bernie) Ecclestone has guaranteed to me that once the works are finished, F1 will return in 2008," the north-central Italian town's mayor, Massimo Marchignoli, said at the time.

The media box and paddock buildings were completely destroyed with explosives, and replaced with new ones, while the 'Variante Bassa' chicane was eliminated.  The cost of the overhaul was estimated at (US) $13m and overseen by regular F1 architect Hermann Tilke.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Wednesday that the renovated circuit will be opened to the public this weekend.

Comment
09/12/07
f1

Spy verdict to be known on Thursday - WMSC member
(GMM)  As the espionage affair approaches its crescendo, the formula one world should be able to exhale its bated breath late on Thursday, according to a well-placed insider.

Hermann Tomczyk, Germany's motor sport chief and an FIA vice-president, revealed on Wednesday that the World Motor Sport Council will probably publish its decision about the saga - and a possible sanction for McLaren - within hours of the hearing in Paris.

He said the meeting would begin at 9.30am local time at Paris' Place de la Concorde; the headquarters of motor sport's governing body.

"I am counting on a verdict during the course of the afternoon," he told the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst.

And Tomczyk, a member of the 26-man FIA body, promised: "The World Motor Sport Council will contemplate its decision very thoroughly."

With the protracted affair now occupying regular space in the sports pages of the world, BMW motor sport director Mario Theissen called for a swift conclusion.

"This is not something with which you can use for your advertising campaigns," the German humorously remarked.

More seriously, he added: "Not only the teams involved are affected, but also formula one as a whole.

"So on Thursday I hope that everything is completely, swiftly and clearly clarified."

From a drivers' perspective, however, Australia's Mark Webber predicted that the scandal will soon be forgotten.

"We've had ugly scenarios in the sport in the past," the Red Bull driver told International Herald Tribune.  "People forget it.  A week of testing (and) it's gone."

Comment
09/12/07
tv news
ips

Chicagoland IPS race to be televised
The season finale Indy Pro Series race run at Chicagoland Speedway on September 9 will be aired on Thursday, September 13 at 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm ET on ESPN2.  The Chicagoland 100 was the closest race in history.

Comment
09/12/07
track news

Watkins Glen to build new media center
Watkins Glen International announced today that funds for a new media center have been approved by the International Speedway Corporation Board of Directors (BOD). Construction of a new building is expected to begin very soon by Welliver McGuire Inc., a Schuyler County based commercial construction services company, with the design provided by Hunt Engineers headquartered in nearby Horseheads, NY. 

“We have been working on this for a long time, and I am thrilled that we are finally moving forward on this project,” stated Craig Rust, President of Watkins Glen International.  “The Glen is committed to continuing the upgrades that are necessary to compete in today’s motorsports environment and the construction of a new media center clearly demonstrates this on-going effort.”

The track has been undergoing a series of major capital improvements over the past four years including track repaving in 2006, a new grandstand along the front stretch in 2005, an upgrade to the garage and an improved water and sewer system that included the additions of showers in the campground from 2003 to 2004.

“We credential several hundred working media during our NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and IndyCar Series weekends that all have basic requirements that we have been unable to meet in the current facility,” stated Eiron Smith, Director of Communications at WGI. “Having a new media center with state-of-the-art technology and proper space for working media, press conferences, the sanctioning bodies, and track staff will help us meet those needs and build positive press coverage during our race weekends.”

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09/12/07
industry news

GM execs talk of expansion
Buoyed by the success of the Buick Enclave and hopeful about the prospects for the important Chevrolet Malibu, General Motors' top executives spoke optimistically Tuesday of the corporation's plans for expansion at home in North America and around the world.

GM Chairman Rick Wagoner and Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said they expect the 2008 Malibu, expected to go on sale in November, to far exceed the current model's sales and win customers from other brands in the huge and fiercely competitive midsize sedan market. Wagoner said that GM is looking at several options to boost its sales in southeast Asia, including a possible deal with Malaysian automaker Proton, and that the company may expand in the fast-growing Russian market.

Meanwhile, GM has decided to add models to its Buick brand, Lutz said. Fueled by the success of Buick's new Enclave SUV and strong showings in customer satisfaction and quality surveys, "there's now a consensus within GM that Buick is alive and well and can appeal to young people," Lutz said. Buick was thought to be a candidate for elimination just a couple of years ago. Lutz did not give details of the plans for Buick.

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09/12/07
industry news

Michelin warns consumers about fraudulent checks
Michelin North America Inc. says fraudulent Michelin checks, along with letters claiming to be "consumer prize award notifications," have been mailed to consumers in at least nine U.S. states. "The letters instruct consumers to deposit the enclosed Michelin check and then issue a new check in the same amount from the consumer’s bank account to cover the supposed taxes and administrative fees associated with their prize," say Michelin officials.

"Consumers are told they will then receive another check and details on their prize winnings. Contact information on the letters lists a Canadian address.

"These Michelin checks are completely fraudulent. Michelin has absolutely no involvement in any program or sweepstakes of this nature."

Since yesterday, Michelin has received more than a dozen calls about the scam. The company has alerted the appropriate law enforcement officials in the United States and Canada and is working with authorities to find those responsible and hold them accountable.

"Any consumer receiving a letter or other communication of this type should contact their local law enforcement authorities immediately. The checks involved in this scam are counterfeit and not issued by Michelin. Consumers receiving suspicious Michelin checks are asked to contact the company toll free at 1-800-MICHELIN."

Comment
09/12/07
f1

Q and A with Nico Rosberg
AT&T Williams F1 driver Nico Rosberg, who graduated from the Bridgestone-backed GP2 championship to Formula One in 2006, talks Bridgestone through the Belgian circuit, Spa-Francorchamps as the last time the GP2 series visited Spa was in Rosberg’s championship winning year in 2005, when the German driver (with ART Grand Prix) took a podium position.

How good a training ground was the GP2 Series for you coming to F1?
The GP2 Series was great for me. You learn as much as you can in preparation for Formula One and there was a lot of passing in the races, which was great fun too. It’s still quite some way away from F1, but great nevertheless.

Are you enjoying racing and testing in F1 alongside other former GP2 drivers?
Definitely, it’s always nice. I’m especially enjoying racing against Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton, who I’ve been racing with since I was twelve years old. I raced them in karts, and all the way through the years we’ve more or less gone the same way. It’s nice to be battling them again at the front of the F1 field, and now I understand why it was pretty difficult to win in karts!

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09/12/07
f1

Spa-Francorchamps tech file
Spa-Francorchamps is the most complete test of a Formula 1 car on the current calendar. It combines 320 kph straights with 70 kph hairpins, with several sixth-gear sweepers thrown in for good measure – and, of course, the unique challenge of Eau Rouge.

While this section of the circuit and the fast left-hander at Blanchimont may no longer be as testing as they once were, corners such as Pouhon, taken blind in sixth gear, still allow the drivers to make the difference. And all of that is before you factor in the notoriously unpredictable weather in the Ardennes, which can see the circuit soaked at one end – and bone dry at the other.

Chassis
Spa is a severe test for a modern F1 car. The average lap speed is high, aerodynamic loadings are both elevated and prolonged, and every aspect of the vehicle’s handling is tested to the limit.

The circuit features a high number of “aero corners” (only 6 of the 19 turns are taken at less than 150 kph), and this would normally push the teams towards relative high levels of downforce in order to maximize grip in the corners, as is the case at a circuit like Silverstone for example. However, Spa imposes a very different trade-off, because the two long flat-out “straights” on the circuit both provide genuine overtaking opportunities. This means that top-speed is a critical factor in order to protect position, and downforce levels must be determined accordingly. As a result, the teams run a similar aerodynamic configuration to that used in the North American races, achieving end of straight speeds of around 320 kph with the V8 engines (compared to 340 kph when we last raced at this circuit in 2005 with the V10). Aerodynamic efficiency (generating maximum downforce for minimum drag) is the key to success at this circuit.

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09/12/07
f1
cc

F1 to trump Champ Car in Mexico City
The next installment of the ING Renault F1 Team Roadshow will see the team hit the streets of Mexico City for a spectacular F1 demonstration, and the team’s first in Latin America just weeks before Champ Car's season finale.

Following on from events in Warsaw, Johannesburg and Rotterdam earlier in 2007, the ING Renault F1 Team will let its cars loose in the streets of one of the biggest cities on the planet next month! The bustle of Mexico City will be brought to a halt as the city reverberates to the sounds of Formula 1 on 13 and 14 October, resplendent in the colors of the ING Renault F1 Team. Will Champ Car join the show like they did in Rotterdam, or does Champ Car not have enough pull in Mexico City to get streets closed?

Renault Mexico, ING Mexico and the Federal District Government hope to create a truly open and approachable motorsports festival… a vision that chimes perfectly with that of the ING Renault F1 Team.

A 1.4km stretch of the Paso de la Reforma will be closed for the event, giving a total lap length of 2.8 km. The event will give the passionate Mexican public the opportunity to celebrate their passion for Formula 1, which has not visited the country since the 15th and final Mexican Grand Prix was held in 1992. Indeed, who better than Renault to bring the sport back to the country, given that the final race was won from pole by Nigel Mansell in his Williams-Renault, on his way to the French company’s first ever world title.

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09/12/07
nascar

Chase Drivers to appear in New York
NASCAR's twelve Chase drivers in 2007 will appear at the ESPN Zone in Times Square, 1472 Broadway, Corner of 42nd and Broadway in Times Square, NYC, NY on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2007 from 12:00 - 2:30pm/et to take part in an interactive Q&A with fans and kick off the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup. The Chase, with the first race on September 16 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, is NASCAR's post-season playoff where the top-twelve drivers in the points standings after the first 26 races shoot it out over the last ten races for the honor of being the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Champion. $10 per person per hour in food and beverage to sit in the Screening Room for the event. Any one can stand at the bar in that same room. Seating and standing room are available on a first come first serve basis. NASCAR PR

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09/12/07
irl

Prank backfires on Kanaan
At a very dress-down IRL series awards banquet Tuesday night Dario Franchitti was toasted in more ways than one. In addition to receiving a host of awards for his title, his fellow AGR drivers doused him with four bottles of champagne at the podium - imagine if he was wearing a tuxedo instead of blue jeans like other professional race series. Tony Kanaan paid a price, however, slipping on fluids at the bottom of the stage and falling hard to the floor. He did not appear to be injured.

Comment
09/12/07
nascar

Penske to receive Smokey Yunick award
Roger Penske, whose race teams have captured 20 national championships while setting the industry standard for professionalism, will receive the Smokey Yunick Award Saturday night, Oct. 13, during pre-race ceremonies for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Instituted in 1997 by legendary car owner and mechanic Smokey Yunick who passed away May 11, 2001, the award annually recognizes an individual whose lifelong efforts have had a major impact on the motorsports industry.

"Roger Penske has been racing since 1958 and his business-like approach to the sport established the template from which today's race teams operate," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway. "Roger's leadership has had a far reaching impact on the industry, and he's played a major role in elevating motorsports to the status it enjoys today.

"Smokey wanted this award to honor those who rose from humble beginnings and through hard work and dedication made a major impact on auto racing," continued Wheeler, who will present the award. "Because his teams are still winning races and contending for championships, we often overlook Roger's long list of accomplishments and the blue-ribbon panel that selects the Smokey Yunick Award recipient made an outstanding choice."

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09/12/07
irl

Hornish to be father
Sam Hornish's wife Crystal is expecting their first child in February.

Comment
09/12/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Spyker won't buy customer car - Mallya
  • 'Error or damage' didn't make me crash - Raikkonen
  • Ferrari expect stronger showing at Spa
  • Magistrate denies Ferrari spy collusion
  • Champions play down McLaren axe rumors

Spyker won't buy customer car - Mallya
(GMM) Spyker will remain a constructor in the future rather than buy cars from bigger teams, according to one of the team's new owners.

The sale of the Dutch outfit to the Mol family and Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya will almost certainly be rubber-stamped at the end of the month.

But Mallya, to own half of the team that in the future will include the word 'India' in its name, told f1.com that the cars will continue to be built in the factory at Silverstone.

"Spyker is a constructor team and all new teams that possibly will come into existence in '08 are not constructors," he observed.

New rules next year are expected to allow entrants like Prodrive to buy a complete chassis from other teams.

And even though Spyker is at present the slowest competitor on the grid, Mallya said: "I clearly wanted to be a constructor."

He also revealed that the "Indian flag would be part of the team colors and logo" in 2008.

'Error or damage' didn't make me crash - Raikkonen
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has continued to insist that a technical failure did not contribute to his high speed crash at Monza on Saturday.

The Finn's Ferrari speared sharply to the right under braking for the Ascari chicane at some 300kmh in the final practice session, leaving most commentators unanimous a mechanical problem was the only logical cause.

Maranello based engineers insisted, however, that Raikkonen's rear brakes had simply locked on a bump, and blamed neither a car fault or a driving error.

"The telemetry didn't give any hint of an error or damage, just like the analysis of the car in Maranello, as the technicians told me," Raikkonen, 28, said on Tuesday.

Kimi subsequently raced with a sore neck, and replays of Lewis Hamilton's overtaking maneuver late in the Italian grand prix show Raikkonen barely able to keep his head upright under braking.

With mere days until he will need to drive again at Spa-Francorchamps, he insisted: "I'm 100 percent fit in terms of physical fitness. After the race I took some painkillers and I relaxed a bit."

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09/12/07
f1

Inside a Formula 1 Car – Engine, Gearbox, Exhaust, Radiator
The roar of an engine has become a trademark of Formula 1 throughout the years. Panasonic Toyota Racing team gives an account of what lies under the hood of its TF107 racecar. Unlike in years past, for this 2007 season, all F1 engines were required to have the same design and a 2.4litre V8 engine. An F1 engine produces around 700 horsepower for speeds a top speed of around 360km/h. See video on our Home Page.

Comment
09/11/07
industry news

Chinese copy German cars UPDATE Chinese automaker Shuanghuan displayed its four-wheel-drive car, the CEO, at the Frankfurt Motor Show yesterday despite a complaint by BMW that the vehicle is a copy of one of its cars. "I am absolutely not worried" about the cars being seized by officials, said Karl Schloessl, the head of the company that imports the cars, China Automobile Deutschland.

If the vehicles were seized, "that would be the best publicity for us because it would show the quality" of the vehicles, he told reporters at the show.

Two versions of the Shuanghuan car were on display.

BMW said on Friday it had launched legal proceedings against the importer, with the German automaker claiming the CEO is a copy of the BMW X5 model that it stopped building last year.

Another disputed Shuanghuan model, the Noble, which DaimlerChrysler has said is a copy of its Smart city car, was not on show in Frankfurt. Daimler says it reserves the right to pursue the matter before German courts.

Albert Abchee, who plans to import the Chinese cars to France, Belgium and Holland, said: "All cars look like each other these days. We cannot incriminate Shuanghuan for allegedly plagiarizing" another brand.

"At that point, you have to go after everyone." TheStandard.com

08/29/07 DaimlerChrysler and BMW are threatening legal action over Chinese made vehicles that they claim are copies of their own models.

German chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in on the issue yesterday, describing plagiarism and copyright infringement in China as a "big problem" in a speech in Beijing.

DaimlerChrysler says it will take legal action against Chinese carmaker Shuanghuan Automotive if they show their Noble (above right) at the Frankfurt motor show. It is an almost carbon copy of their new Smart Fortwo minicar (pictures right). The Chinese have been stealing western ideas and designs for years and then use their cheap labor to undercut then price-wise in the market.

Comment
09/11/07
cc

San Jose GP ceases operations
After three years as one of Bay Area's largest sporting events, organizers of the San Jose Grand Prix announced today they are ceasing operations, citing the ongoing development taking place in the downtown area.

Commercial and residential developments in and around the 1.5 mile downtown track continue to limit the options available to the Grand Prix for revenue growth and expansion. In addition to new housing developments on Balbach Street (which served as the back straightaway) and the impact to its residents, race organizers were faced with the loss of its main grandstands on Almaden Boulevard due to upcoming construction in the Boston Properties lot.

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09/11/07
irl

Franchitti collects $1M
A few days after winning the 2007 IndyCar® Series championship, Dario Franchitti was honored for his first open-wheel title in the United States.

Franchitti and Indy Pro Series™ champion Alex Lloyd – along with other drivers, teams and manufacturers – were recognized during the Indy Racing League Championship Celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series, presented Franchitti with a $1 million championship bonus check and a mini IndyCar Series championship trophy. A mini IndyCar Series championship trophy also was awarded to Andretti Green Racing owners Michael Andretti, Kim Green and Kevin Savoree.

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09/11/07
cc
nascar

Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing statement
Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, LLC was excited about its future plans with Robert Yates Racing and were quite surprised by the announcement of Robert Yates’ retirement from racing and handing the team over to his son Doug.  We wish Robert the very best in his retirement.  At this time we are continuing to explore several exciting opportunities for the 2008 NASCAR season.

Comment
09/11/07
cc

Champ Car moves San Jose race to Laguna Seca
The Champ Car World Series announced today that its 2008 race in northern California will move from the streets of San Jose to the road course at historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey.

“We’re pleased that Champ Car will be able to maintain a strong event in northern California,” said Steve Johnson, Champ Car President & CEO. “While it’s always tough to leave one city for another, in this case, it makes sense strategically for us and works for San Jose given the on-going developments of their downtown. We enjoyed three great years in San Jose, and certainly anticipate that the fans there will head south to enjoy Champ Car racing at the beautiful Monterey Peninsula’s Mazda Raceway circuit.”

Considered one of the finest permanent road courses in North America, the 2.238-mile Monterey Peninsula’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will host its 23rd Champ Car World Series event next year at a date to be announced later. The first Champ Car event was held at Laguna in 1983, and though its long run of races ended the past three years, Champ Car returned there this year to conduct its pre-season testing. The testing also served as the official kick-off for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s 50th Golden Anniversary season this year.

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09/11/07
ga
starmazda

Cameron to race Rolex Prototype
Rising open-wheel star Dane Cameron will take a big step up the Motorsports ladder this weekend as co-driver of the Chip Ganassi w/Felix Sabates #19 Z-Line Designs/Mission Residential Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototype in the Grand-Am Rolex Series season finale Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park.

Cameron, currently leading the points battle in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, will be sitting in for regular driver Rob Finlay, who continues to recover from a shoulder injury, and will share the driving chores with one of his racing mentors, Michael Valiante.

“I’m sorry for Rob, who I know really wanted to drive in this event, but I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a top team like Ganassi and to share the seat with a great driver like Michael,” says Cameron, 18, of Sonoma, California.  “I was supposed to run a prototype in this event last year and although the car broke early in the race before I got in, I did get some practice laps as well as some work on pit stops and driver changes.  I’ve also tested and raced at this track in my Star Mazda car earlier this season, so I’ve got a foundation of experience to build on.  My goal for this weekend is to be professional, contribute to a good a finish for the team and hopefully open the door to work with Ganassi again in the future.”

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09/11/07
Industry News

Ford dealership closings to hit 300 this year
Ford Motor Co . said it expects to reduce U.S. dealerships by about 300 this year, 50 percent more than initially intended, under a plan to eliminate excess outlets. The company originally had expected the number to decrease by about 200 this year, spokesman Jim Cain said Monday. Ford had about 4,300 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealerships in the United States. in January. The reductions are occurring through closings, mergers and so-called dualing, where it combines Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealerships in a single site, Cain said.

Comment
09/11/07
nascar

Day 2 of COT testing for Villeneuve
JACQUES VILLENUEVE, Bill Davis Racing: How has the test been going?
“The test has been going great and it has been a lot of fun to get out there with so many talented drivers. To be running in the middle of the pack with them is great and the fact that they trust me enough to stay behind me is good. The first day we were in the pack with several other cars and someone started to slow down up front, it got a little messy there for a moment, but nothing bad happened. I have just been trying to learn the draft and learn what the other cars are doing -- overall it has been a lot of fun.”

How do the speeds compare to other cars you’ve driven?
“This is very different than anything I’ve done before, but thankfully I’ve driven on ovals when I was running in Champ Cars about twelve years ago -- so there are a few memories there. Also in Formula 1, we have a few high speed tracks so that aspect is not too bad. But driving in these cars is pretty different because they are heavy and move around a lot. You can’t drive in too aggressively, you have to set the car up and know what you want it to do. That makes it fun because you have to have some patience.”

What has it been like to work with a veteran crew chief in Richard ‘Slugger’ Labbe and the Bill Davis Racing team?
“One rookie in the car is enough. It’s great to have the experience of ‘Slugger’ on the radio because he has seen all of this many times before. But the whole team has been great and they are very open-minded. They just want to make sure that I learn everything. Sometimes we’ll make a bunch of changes to the car just to see what it will do and not all of them will be good changes -- it is to help me learn about what the car will do and how it will react.”

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09/11/07
ga

Interview with Grand-Am title contenders
An interview with Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Daytona Prototype contenders Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Scott Pruett and team owner Wayne Taylor, substituting for contending driver Max Angelelli.

MODERATOR: We would like to welcome everyone to today's teleconference for the Grand Am Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. The Daytona Prototype Championship battle is the closest in the world and we're joined today by Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty of GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, as well as Scott Pruett of TELMEX/Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing and Max Angelelli of SunTrust Racing, who are 1,2, and 3 respectively in the championship.

Each of the team drivers are with us, including SunTrust Racing team owner Wayne Taylor who is substituting today for Max Angelelli, who has been delayed in his flight plans. They're joining us today to talk about the battle that's coming up. We know all about it, it's going to be a tight race.

Gentlemen, welcome, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to be with us today.

Alex, let's get started with you. Wayne and Scott have done this before, but you and Jon are in the championship mix for the first time. You've been a team to beat for the majority of the season, talk about your game plan heading into the finale this weekend. Will you do anything different at all in this race?

ALEX GURNEY: First of all, thanks for the question. We are all very excited to be leading the championship for the first time all season. This race is a little bit different. It's a longer race, running somewhere around seven hours. So it does require a little bit of a different approach. It's almost been sprint racing up to this point for a while now, and that has kind of allowed our team and Jon and I to just go as hard as we can. So it will be a different approach with the GT cars and the way the strategy will work out as far as fuel mileage and the way we approach the race as far as where we are in the championship.

There's a lot more things to consider and reliability is a big issue also. So just a lot of things and it will be a little bit different in the way we approach this race compared to some of the others.

MODERATOR: This is the final of the 14 races in the Grand Am Sports Car Series season, both the Daytona Prototype Championships are on the line along with the GT championships, but the championship making the headline has been the driver battle here. Jon Fogarty, you've won championships before in Atlantic competition, and here you are looking for your first championship with Alex. Talk about what is the secret, if you're even going to let that out of the bag, for what has been so right with you guys this year. You've won a record seven races, it seems like your car has just been perfect. What has put it together? Has it been more of the equipment, more of the personnel or just a good combination of both?

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09/11/07
tv news
NASCAR
karting

NASCAR in Primetime to air on ABC UPDATE #4 The fifth episode of NASCAR in Primetime will be shown on Wednesday, September 12.  The show will air at 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm ET on ABC.  Please check local listings for your location and time zone.  This episode, Living the Dream, will examine drivers at all levels of racing, from 12-year-old karting star Sage Karam to NASCAR stars Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Stewart and journeyman Stanton Barrett.

09/04/07 The fourth episode of NASCAR in Primetime will be shown on Wednesday, September 5.  The show will air at 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm on ABC in most time zones.  Please check local listings for your location and time zone.  This episode will have an all-access look at drivers Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart and Johnny Sauter at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte.

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09/11/07
f1

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

09/11/07
  • India signs F1 track deal in London
  • Focus on racing, not money, Coulthard tells Hamilton
  • Stewart slams witch hunt
  • Schu - 'no regrets' a year after quit call New
  • Rosberg silent on Wurz prospects for 2008 New
  • Ferrari would accept inherited title New

India signs F1 track deal in London
(GMM) India has now signed a commitment to build a grand prix circuit in Delhi.

Reports in the country said the deal was signed by promoter Suresh Kalmadi, of the Indian Olympic Association, and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, in London on Monday.

The agreement is conditional only on the payment of a rights fee - thought to be $30 million - by the end of September.

Indian motor sport figure Vicky Chandhok, also in London, confirmed: "Kalmadi is meeting Bernie to sign a time-bound deal to construct an F1 track."

The deal does not guarantee a race, but it is the next step in bringing formula one to India in 2009 or 2010.

Focus on racing, not money, Coulthard tells Hamilton
(GMM) David Coulthard has fired a salvo in the direction of formula one countryman Lewis Hamilton, as they prepare to also do battle in the book shops of the world.

After fourteen seasons on the grand prix grid, F1's oldest driver recently launched his biography, entitled 'It is what it is'.

Rookie championship leader Hamilton, meanwhile, last week reportedly penned a seven-figure publishing deal for his own book -- after not even twelve career races.

"I told him I was quite surprised Ron Dennis was letting him do it because he never liked drivers doing books when I was there," 36-year-old Coulthard said in an interview on Monday with The Guardian.

"Lewis said: 'Yeah, but he's not paying me enough. I've got to earn my money somewhere else.'"

In the interview, Coulthard questions Hamilton's priorities as the 2007 title battle whittles down to a contest of just four final grands prix.

The Red Bull driver said: "When I started in formula one I was just happy to be racing. Money never came into the equation."

Scotland's Coulthard also revealed that he sympathizes with Fernando Alonso this season, after the Spaniard walked into McLaren some nine years into Hamilton's long association with the team.

"When I was at McLaren they blatantly favored (Mika) Hakkinen," Coulthard revealed.

"When they cheered my teammate for beating me it tore me up. Ron's mantra is 'We exist to win' but it's not the way I do business," he added.

Stewart slams witch hunt
Sir Jackie Stewart has accused motor sport's world governing body, the FIA, of conducting a witch-hunt against McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

The former three-times world champion does not think the way the FIA and Ferrari have pursued the "spy scandal" is good for the sport, with another hearing due in Paris on Thursday.

Stewart said: "Trying to implicate a team like this is negative for F1."

Schu - 'no regrets' a year after quit call
(GMM) Michael Schumacher says he does not regret his decision of a year ago to retire as a grand prix driver.

The 38-year-old German attended a string of races as a Ferrari 'advisor' in the first half of this season, and at Monza on Saturday - nearly a year to the day after announcing his decision to retire at the same Italian circuit - he again turned up trackside.

The seven time world champion did not reappear for Sunday's race, however, and denied that he is missing his sixteen year racing career, which netted 91 wins.

Schumacher told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that he is enjoying his spare time and regrets "absolutely nothing".

"I am totally happy to be with my family, and with me and my life now," he added.

Schumacher said he appreciated having more spare time. "Spending as much time as I like with my family and friends is something I could not do for a period of many years," he explained.

"I also have the freedom to indulge in some of my biggest hobbies; like football and motorcycle riding, and swimming with whales was just incredible."

Asked if he had considered making a professional return to motor sport, Schumacher said resolutely: "No."

Rosberg silent on Wurz prospects for 2008
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has refused to comment on whether he would like a new teammate at Williams in 2008.

The young German has been so impressive at the wheel of his Toyota-powered car this year that a dark cloud has descended over the prospects for 2008 of the current occupant of the other FW29; Alex Wurz.

Sir Frank Williams insisted at Monza that Rosberg is firmly under contract for next year, but refused to be moved on whether he intends to renew veteran Wurz's deal, after he has struggled this season compared with Rosberg, particularly in qualifying.

Wurz, 33, was then quoted as saying that he had agreed with Williams not to reveal anything about his chances for next year.

Rosberg toed a similar line, telling reporters that he did not "want to comment".

"All I can say," he added, "is that my cooperation with Alex has been really very good."

Ferrari would accept inherited title
(GMM) Luca di Montezemolo on Tuesday said Ferrari would accept the world championship this year even if was won in the courts.

In Frankfurt for the famous auto show, the Maranello based marque's president said if championship leader McLaren is disqualified on Thursday by the World Motor Sport Council, "it would be a deserved victory" for the Prancing Horse.

"To win the world title at the table (rather than on the track) would in any case be a deserved victory," Montezemolo is quoted as saying in Germany by Gazzetta dello Sport, where Michael Schumacher helped him launch the new 430 model.

He added: "We would deserve it because it would have been won in the other case in a way that was not correct, not legal and not sporting."

Montezemolo, meanwhile, echoed other F1 voices that say the entire espionage saga is not good for the sport.

"The less spoken about it the better," he agreed. "It interests us that this ugly chronicle is closed in a hurry but above all with the truth exposed."

DaimlerChrysler president Dieter Zetsche, linked with McLaren through its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz, was also at the Frankfurt auto show, where he was similarly asked about Thursday's Paris hearing.

"We wait for Thursday with tranquility; we will see what happens," he told the news agency dpa.

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09/11/07
f1

Haug expects World Council exoneration
(GMM) Norbert Haug says he is confident that McLaren-Mercedes will escape significant sanction at this week's 'spy saga' hearing of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

The paddock consensus at Monza was that, while speculation of championship exclusion was perhaps unlikely for the Woking based team, the FIA members may penalize Ron Dennis' outfit by for example stripping it of all its constructors' points.

But Haug, Mercedes' competition director, told Premiere: "I do not expect anything at all.

"I expect that we will have our own viewpoint confirmed, because we have not done anything that is against any rules."

McLaren was in July found guilty of breaching the International Sporting Code because its suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan admittedly possessed 780-pages of sensitive Ferrari data.

The World Council is reconvening this week due to 'new evidence' coming to light. The FIA said in July that if it was proved that McLaren used Coughlan's dossier, the team could be excluded from the 2007 and 2008 championships.

After the team secured a dominant one-two over Ferrari on Sunday, Haug insisted: "We did not copy anything, but rather built a car with our own ideas. And I think we proved this (at Monza)."

Asked if he had considered that McLaren may be kicked out of formula one, he answered: "Not for a second -- not even for a millisecond."

The German also backed the team's chairman and principal Ron Dennis, who after the Italian grand prix broke down in the arms of his wife Lisa.

"Generally I would say he is not an emotional person," Haug explained, "but for weeks now he has heard constant accusations with which he cannot at all identify."

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09/11/07
tv news
IRL

Dario Franchitti to be on Craig Ferguson show
Dario Franchitti, 2007 IndyCar Series Champion, will be a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson early Thursday morning, September 13.  The show airs on CBS at 12:35 am - 1:35 am in most time zones.  Please check local listings for your location and time zone.

Comment
09/11/07
Industry News

GM- Volt to be tested in '08
General Motors will begin testing the revolutionary electric drive system in the Chevrolet Volt concept car on the road in vehicles next spring, company Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said at a dinner Monday night. By this time next year, GM may allow selected people outside the company to test the system.

"You personally will be able to experience the joy of gliding down I-94 at 70 miles an hour" solely on electric power, Lutz said at a preview dinner for the Frankfurt Auto Show. GM is committed to putting the system in the Chevrolet Volt for sale by 2010, Lutz said.

He convinced two leading auto analysts who attended the event.

"I think they're going to build it," said Rebecca Lindland of Lexington, Mass.-based Global Insight. "Consumers like the idea of getting to and from work purely on electricity. It would be a tremendous win for GM, and an opportunity to get Generation Y on board with the company."

Lutz deserves credit for convincing GM's conservative culture to roll the dice on a public high-profile attempt to make a technological breakthrough, said Joe Phillippi, principal of Short Hills, N.J.-based AutoTrends Consulting.

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09/11/07
f1

Inside an F1 car
For all the advanced aerodynamics and driving skill, a Formula 1 car would go nowhere without an engine, so in the third part of Panasonic Toyota Racing’s Inside a Formula 1 Car feature, Senior General Manager Engine Luca Marmorini explains what lies under the skin of the TF107.

Think of Grand Prix racing and you think of passion, excitement, glamour – and noise. The roar of an engine has become a trademark of Formula 1 throughout the years, an unmistakable sign that the best in the business are in town. To the expert ear, of course, that roar has changed several times over the decades, incorporating turbo engines and now the normally-aspirated (non-turbo), 2.4litre V8 engines in accordance with the latest regulations.

Unlike previous years, engine development is now restricted. Teams had to submit an engine at the end of the 2006 season to world governing body the FIA. For this season, engines must be of the same design as given to the FIA, with a limited number of changes allowed only to improve reliability – not performance.

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09/11/07
racing news

Quotes of the Week UPDATE
The late BILL FRANCE JR.
Ten years ago, during an Autosport Awards dinner in London, I (Gordon Kirby) discussed the CART/IRL split, among many other things, with Bill France Jr. France asked me to keep the specifics of our CART/IRL conversation off the record and I honored that agreement during his lifetime.  "You're really worried about Tony pulling the trigger on his new formula, aren't you?" France asked rhetorically. "You think it's going to end up destroying Indy car racing, don't you?" He paused for a second, glanced down, then looked me straight in the eye. "Well, I agree with you," France declared. "I think it will. You know my father and I always believed there's got to be one man in control and you can't have any competitors. You've got to have one series with a solid name and brand. Those guys are putting themselves in danger of losing all that." (Gordon Kirby in his latest column describing how Tony George's creation of the IRL would destroy open wheel racing....and it pretty much has.) 

09/10/07
FERNANDO ALONSO, Reigning 2-times F1 World Drivers' Champion, McLaren Mercedes
"To win at Monza for the first time is very special. Sometimes everything goes in the right direction; this weekend was one of those times and we were able to keep up the momentum. My start wasn't perfect, and I had to defend my lead coming in to the first corner. In the second corner I was a bit worried as I thought Lewis and I would touch but fortunately this did not happen. The safety car could have caused us a few problems as it was important for our strategy to open up a gap as soon as possible. However it was a perfect afternoon today with the car and the team working really well, and to win in front of the enthusiastic Italian Formula 1 fans is very emotional."

RON DENNIS, Team Principal,  McLaren Mercedes Formula One team
"If it happens, it happens, but nothing's happened yet.  My job isn't as I would like it to be at the moment," he acknowledged, "and there are a few people around who would like me to (retire).  If it's something I thought would further the company and was the right thing to do, then I wouldn't hesitate to do it.  But I don't think it's the right thing to do."  Dennis has described 2007 as "the most extreme" challenge he has ever faced in motor sport.  (Shortly before qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix, police served Ron Dennis and some of his deputies with avviso di garanzias - or formal notices of pending prosecutions - for alleged crimes including sporting fraud, espionage and embezzlement.) 

LEWIS HAMILTON, Formula One driver, McLaren Mercedes
"When you really think about that, you think 'wow, I could be out of a job next weekend and then what happens?' " he said in an interview prior to the Italian Grand Prix.  Hamilton enjoyed a dream start to his formula one career this year, but said recent off-track developments have been like a "big knife" to him and his team, including his childhood mentor Ron Dennis.  "I never actually thought I'd be sitting here saying I hate something about Formula One, but the politics and people wanting to be bigger than others is just incredible," he continued.  "F1 would not be the same without McLaren, so let's just keep our fingers crossed that nothing else is going to happen." (With McLaren Mercedes now heading to the World Motor Sport Council ahead of next weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton expressed concern at the possible sanctions that could result.  While most in the paddock agree that McLaren will minimally be docked of championship points for its involving in the espionage scandal, Hamilton also acknowledged the FIA's ultimate power.)

BERNIE ECCLESTONE, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association
"If you let someone get away with that, what's next? Then after that you let them get away because you've let that get away, what comes after that?  Then there are no rules and regulations," said Bernie Ecclestone.  (Ecclestone insists that if McLaren is found guilty of espionage, the team must be punished -- irrespective of the possible ramifications for the title battle and also things like disaffected sponsors.)

MARTIN BRUNDLE, ITV F1 Commentator, former Formula One driver
"Inside the paddock we can't fathom how, previously, two Toyota F1 employees can be handed prison sentences for industrial espionage using Ferrari software, yet the FIA was not interested in getting involved, and how Colin Kolles from Spyker could walk down the pit lane with a drawing from rival Toro Rosso presented as evidence of cloned cars, yet the FIA took no action," Brundle said.  "Is the FIA looking for McLaren heads to roll?" he wondered.  (Martin Brundle wrote in his column for The Times that the saga seems to have turned into a "witch-hunt", and pointed a critical finger at F1's governing body.  He said his sense is of a wider struggle, possibly relating back to Dennis' stance against the FIA in past years, including the touted 'breakaway' world championship.)

SIR FRANK WILLIAMS, Team Principal, Williams Formula One team
"If Nico [Rosberg] sat in Hamilton's McLaren instead of in my car, it would be he who is fighting for the championship title.  The two of them are absolutely on the same level, and in the future will surely deliver some legendary duels."

CARLOS GHOSN, Renault CEO and President
"Success in Formula One is always the work of a team.  You need a perfect package; chassis, engine, tires, team, and obviously the driver as well.  But even the best driver cannot be successful without a perfect team, and vice versa," Ghosn said.  "But it does not depend on a single person," he continued. "My only demand is that we can compete at the highest level."  (Renault F1 team Managing Director, Flavio Briatore, admitted last week that, after achieving back to back titles together in 2005 and 2006, Renault would "love" to have Fernando Alonso back in 2008 following a single season with arch rivals McLaren.)

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09/11/07
f1

Technical preview of Spa
After a disappointing Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Panasonic Toyota Racing heads to another historic venue for the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend. Spa-Francorchamps is back on the Formula 1 calendar after a one-year absence while improvements were carried out to the track and the infrastructure. Pascal Vasselon gives us a technical preview of the Belgian circuit.

Spa is much loved but what are the major considerations heading there?
"In terms of race preparation, before going to Spa you always spend time on wet race strategies and the transition between wet and dry or dry and wet. Statistics tell us that the likelihood of rain is quite high, especially at this time of the season and notably considering the weather we have seen in the last months in North Europe. That’s not only special to Spa, if we were going to Nürburgring or Silverstone we would handle the race preparation in the same way."

What makes the track itself so special?
"Spa is, at the same time, a track with high average speed but also a lot of corners, fast corners. That’s what makes it special. Every year we hear from the drivers that Spa is one of the best circuits in the world. We should look at the objective criteria behind why circuits are popular with the drivers. What they like about Spa are probably the changes of elevation and the combination of high-speed corners, which is very challenging. The track lay out is natural, guided by the topology of the place, and not artificially created."

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09/11/07
nascar

Ford wins Crew Chief of the Race award
The No. 11 FedEx Express Chevrolet team had a lot to celebrate at Richmond International Raceway. They finished 6th in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, locked in third place for the Nextel Cup Chase and crew chief Mike Ford won the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.  Ford once again displayed his calmness under pressure, after a pit road incident jolted the team’s run to a high placed finished.

With 170 laps remaining, all was smooth sailing for the Joe Gibbs Racing crew.  Driver Denny Hamlin had led 17 laps and was sitting comfortably in second when the seventh caution flag waved for the evening.  The four tire and fuel pit stop turned into anything but routine when Hamlin threw his water bottle out the window, hitting the Chevrolet’s kill switch.  "I couldn't believe the situation we found ourselves in during that stop,” said Hamlin.  “We went from 2nd to 21st in about three seconds.  What are the chances of that happening?  Mike came on the radio and calmed me down telling me that the race had 170 plus laps and to take my time picking through race traffic."

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09/11/07
nascar

Boris Said to run 4th Cup car
Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced today that Boris Said will drive a fourth Nextel Cup entry for the team this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway.  Said will be running the No. 98 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Avenger in what will be his first Nextel Cup start on an intermediate track since 2005.

“Fielding the No. 98 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger at New Hampshire this weekend is the start of some additional research and development Gillett Evernham Motorsports will be doing with the [car of tomorrow] heading into the 2008 season,” said the team’s Ray Evernham. “This is also an excellent opportunity to get Boris some seat time at a Nextel Cup race considering all he has done for our Busch and road-course programs over the last two seasons.”

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09/11/07
ga

Spirit of Daytona Launches new Grand-Am Rolex entry
The 2007 season of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve may be coming to an end, but this weekend’s SunChaser 1000k finale will mark the beginning of the newest entry and era in Daytona Prototype competition.
 
Spirit of Daytona officials announced today that the Florida-based team will contest the September 15th endurance race at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City with a Fabcar chassis fitted with a new Lozano Brothers-prepared, Porsche-based 5.0-liter V-8 engine.
 
Guy Cosmo, Marc-Antoine Camirand and Doug Goad will share the driving duties in the 1000k event in which the team is looking to learn as much as possible in preparation for a full season effort in 2008.  Next year’s calendar will commence with the 46th annual running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona in late January.
 
“We are very excited to bring the Fabcar chassis together with the Porsche-based V-8 engine,” said Spirit of Daytona co-owner Troy Flis.  “After three successful tests, we are confident that as we continue our development this new package will show well against the tough competition in the Rolex Series.”

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