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Adjusting to NASCAR's new car proving to be Jeff Gordon's greatest challenge
Could the COT be Jeff Gordon's kryptonite?  It's been a long time since Gordon was dubbed the boy wonder, but it's also been a while since the four-time series champion has dominated, truly dominated, the field the way some of his competitors have.

Part of that is the car, he said, and getting used to the wheels under him after more than a decade of driving a different kind of vehicle. 

Old habits are hard to break.

Gordon is the first to admit that at this point in his career, it's tough to change.

"I can't learn how to do new things," Gordon said last week. "The one frustration for us, and for (crew chief) Steve (Letarte), is that we've got to figure out how to make this car work for my driving style."

Gordon's driving style not so long ago was the talk of the town. He drove up and around competitors, drove some of the greats crazy, and, of course, became one of the most loved - and hated - drivers in the sport.

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Police blame mechanical failure in Kalitta's crash
The New Jersey State Police says massive engine failure at slightly more than 300 mph triggered a crash that killed top Funny Car racer Scott Kalitta in June.

Investigators say a "catastrophic mechanical failure" caused a fuel-fired explosion in Kalitta's Toyota Solaria before the quarter-mile finish line during a qualifying race at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

The state police says the rear portion of the vehicle's fiberglass body separated, deploying the damaged parachute system. The car then crashed into a pole and a boom truck that held a TV camera.

The report says the 46-year-old died from multiple blunt trauma injuries.

The crash happened during the final round of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals.


NASCAR suspends three truck series crew members
NASCAR has suspended three crew members from Germain Racing and Red Horse Racing and fined Red Horse Racing driver David Starr $10,000 for the exchange of punches following the Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The fight erupted between Starr and his team against the Germain Racing crews following the race in which Starr had contact with Germain’s Todd Bodine and David Reutimann late in the event.

The sanctioning body suspended Bodine crew chief Mike Hillman Jr., Germain Racing crew member Mark Hillman and Red Horse Racing crew member William Divel for this weekend’s event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Germain Racing general manager Mike Hillman Sr. will serve as crew chief in Hillman Jr.'s absence.

“We understand the penalties NASCAR has assigned," Hillman Sr. said in a statement. "After losing two race trucks to the same competitor in a span of just over 10 laps, we let our tempers get the best of us.

"You can’t be a competitive race team without being passionate about your race trucks, your crew members, your drivers. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is home to excellent racing and we appreciate NASCAR’s commitment to safety on pit road and for the crew members, officials and race fans."

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Karthikeyan returns for India
A1 Team India has confirmed that Narain Karthikeyan will return to be its lead driver this season, boosting hopes of a championship challenge.

Ex-F1 driver Karthikeyan broke the team’s duck last season, scoring its first two wins after taking the checkered flags in both the Feature races in Zhuhai and Brands Hatch.

The announcement, made at a special pre-season launch in New Delhi, is a boost for fans of India, who hope that it could become the first non-European nation to lift the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this season.

"This year holds a lot of expectations from India and I am looking forward for a consistent performance for A1 Team India,” said Karthikeyan. “Hopefully, the new season brings more interesting and challenging paradigms for us to prove our capability to the motor racing world.”

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Ferrari begins private test at Mugello
This morning, at Mugello, the final test session prior to the end of the 2008 season, for Ferrari got underway. It fell to Luca Badoer to give the F2008 its debut at the Tuscan circuit.

The day's program included the development of some aerodynamic solutions aimed at the final four races of the season and some work on car set-up. Badoer covered a total of 66 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.21.010.

Testing at this circuit continues tomorrow: Kimi Raikkonen will be on track. At the same time, at Fiorano, Felipe Massa will carry out the shake down of the cars that will be used in the Singapore Grand Prix, scheduled for 28th September.


Mallya: 'There's No Way We Can Develop KERS
Force India supremo Vijay Mallya has left the door open to possibly switching engine partners for the 2009 season.

We reported earlier this year that the Silverstone based team, currently powered by customer Ferrari engines, was considering perhaps moving to Honda, because the Japanese marque is willing to bundle a KERS system.

Mallya confirmed to reporters at Spa-Francorchamps that he is searching for a bundled drivetrain and KERS package for 2009.

"There's no way we can develop KERS. It would be stupid even to attempt it," the Indian billionaire said.

"I have asked Ferrari because they are my partner. Hopefully they will give it to me at a sensible price. If they don't, then I have a problem and may have to look elsewhere.

"But there's no dearth of potential suppliers."


Buemi gets his Toro Rosso audition
Sebastien Buemi, test and reserve driver for Toro Rosso's sister team Red Bull Racing, was behind the wheel of the STR3 today as part of an audition for a race seat with the team in 2009.

After a delayed start because of a mechanical problem on the car, this final test of the season saw Buemi carry out some aero configuration work and general set-up duties, completing one long run at the end of the day.

The Swiss driver made no mistakes and provided good feedback throughout the day, even establishing the third-fastest time right behind the team's maiden Grand Prix winner, Sebastian Vettel, who was getting to know the people at the Red Bull team ahead of his move there next year. 

"I'm quite happy, it was a very good first day and I really want to thank Red Bull for the opportunity to test the car," commented Sebastien Buemi after the test.

Tomorrow, driving duties will be carried out by another Toro Rosso race seat contender, experienced Japanese driver Takuma Sato


Jerez: Klien tops Wednesday test times
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Christian Klien BMW Sauber 1:19.537 84
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:19.878 60
3. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:20.209 88
4. Gary Paffett McLaren 1:20.602 52
5. Kamui Kobayashi Toyota 1:20.759 94
6. Lucas Di Grassi Renault 1:20.853 90
7. Alex Wurz Honda 1:21.123 71
8. Kazuki Nakajima Williams 1:23.171 61


Monza trophies broke FIA rules
Vettel holds up one of the trophies in question
(GMM)  The trophies presented to Monza winner Sebastian Vettel and his podium cohorts seem to have contravened the 2008 formula one sporting regulations.

Many pundits were surprised after the Italian grand prix, when instead of being handed traditional trophies, Vettel and his peers held aloft silvered prizes in the shape of the logo of the race's title sponsor Banco Santander.

While acknowledging the importance of sponsors, a blogger at the popular sports site Bleacher Report wrote: "Come on, shaping your trophies to that company's logo?  I think that's pushing into the sacred."

Indeed, upon inspection of the 2008 sporting regulations, the FIA requires grand prix promoters to present trophies "in the form of traditional cups".

The blogger said he believes sports sponsorships and some of F1's older traditions can live together.

"I still know of this bank's existence, I still know of the services they offer, and I still know what the logo looks like because it's pasted everywhere during the race broadcasts.

"Logos are fine, but please let the trophies be trophies."

formula bmw

Mexico City to host 2008 Formula BMW World Final
This year will see the Formula BMW season end in the Americas, with the "Aut¢dromo Hermanos Rodríguez", situated in the heart of Mexico City (MX), hosting the 2008 Formula BMW World Final from 5th to 7th December. A unique prize awaits the winner of this prestigious event: the opportunity of a test drive in a BMW Sauber F1 Team Formula One racing car.

"We are looking forward to the opportunity of taking the Formula BMW World Final to the Americas," says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "After previous World Finals in Bahrain and Valencia, the young drivers will be able to prove their skills on this classic circuit located in the center of Mexico's capital city. I am convinced that this populous metropolis will provide the perfect setting for the highlight of our Formula BMW season. After events in Asia and Europe, the time has come to stage the World Final in the Americas. This year numerous noteworthy talents representing many regions of the Americas are contesting the Formula BMW Americas series - which is one of three successful championships in the Formula BMW program - and therefore it is totally fitting that we meet, literally, in the center. Once again we are offering the winner of the World Final the opportunity of driving our Formula One car. Consequently the contestants have every motivation to perform right through to the very end of their season."

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Bourdais found it hard to celebrate Vettel's win
Sebastien Bourdais has admitted that he found it hard to enjoy Toro Rosso's Monza victory given that he had endured the 'most dispiriting' race of his career.

While his teammate Sebastian Vettel dominated the race from pole, Bourdais' career-best fourth place on the grid went to waste when he stalled before the start.

The Frenchman could only finish 18th, having already been lapped by the time his car was restarted.

"When I realized that (I was lapped) it felt terrible - I knew that I had nothing to hope for, and I would've been targeting third place, we could have been first and third," Bourdais wrote in his column for French newspaper L'Equipe.

"This Italian Grand Prix wasn't the longest race of my life - because in sportscars I've done longer races - but it was the most dispiriting after what had happened.  At the finish the team was nice to me.  They understood my disappointment.  They all had a comforting word for me, but at the time it was really difficult.  I was happy for them and at the same time I had trouble being able to share the moment."

Despite his disappointment, Bourdais paid generous tribute to his victorious team-mate Vettel.

"He really has a huge natural talent," said the former Champ Car star.  He's capable of adapting to very different cars."

"As for the future, with or without Toro Rosso, I'm not thinking about this every time I get in the car," he wrote.  "I'm trying above all just to give my maximum, and what happens in the future... we will see."


Superleague uses Push-To-Pass with V12 engine
With dry weather forecast for the Nurburgring for this weekend’s second round of the Superleague Formula championship, drivers are eagerly awaiting the chance to exploit the “push to pass” (PTP) option that is enabled on the Menard-powered Panoz chassis.

The 750 horsepower, V12 engine is normally limited to 11,000rpm, however by pushing a button on the steering wheel, drivers can raise that limit to 12,000rpm for a minimum duration of 15 seconds.

Drivers can use the extra horsepower advantage to attempt to make a pass. After the 15 second period has elapsed, the PTP phase will end once engine speed drops below 9,000 rpm.

During both races, drivers can use the PTP button a maximum of eight times. After each usage, the extra power option is unavailable for 120 seconds.

The extra revs are not available during practice or qualifying.

“The push to pass option is a great idea. You can really feel the revs pick up – the engine is really screaming,” Tottenham Hotspur driver, Duncan Tappy said.

“I used it twice in the first race and tried to keep a few button “presses” up my sleeve in case I needed them towards the end of the race.

“It is great in creating passing opportunities. That extra 1000 revs makes a big difference, because you are changing gear a little bit further down the road than the guy your chasing – it provides you with a big advantage.”


Franchitti to Join Patr¢n Highcroft Racing
Dario Franchitti, the 2007 Indy 500 and IndyCar Series champion, will join the multi race-winning Patr¢n Highcroft Racing duo of Scott Sharp and David Brabham for the next round of the American Le Mans Series, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, on Saturday, October 4.  The Scotland native will drive the No. 9 Patr¢n Highcroft Acura ARX-01b prototype sports car for the first time in the prestigious 1,000-mile event and penultimate 2008 ALMS round. 

Heading into the final chapter of the 2008 season, Sharp and Brabham lie second in the LMP2 title fight, just four points adrift of the leaders, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, and Patr¢n Highcroft sits second in the Team championship to Penske Racing.

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Mosley wants 'spec' engine for F1
(GMM)  Max Mosley said he would like to see each formula one team use the same engine.

The FIA president told the French sports daily L'Equipe that the move to a common engine would put a lid on costs and also make F1 teams' research more road-relevant.

Mosley, calling teams' current spending on technology "irrational", also said Wednesday he is in favor of the introduction of standard suspensions and gearboxes.

F1 teams are currently in the midst of a mandatory 'freeze' on engine development, with some like Renault complaining that they have fallen behind as their rivals sidestep the spirit of the rules.

"It is not conceivable that we are penalized for another three years," said team boss Flavio Briatore, who is campaigning for a remedy to the situation.

"We will discuss it in FOTA and look for a solution," he confirmed to the Spanish sports daily Marca.


More to come from Heikki - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  There is more to come from Lewis Hamilton's McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen, team chief executive Martin Whitmarsh thinks.

"Heikki is fearsomely quick but is still very much developing his approach," he said after last weekend's Italian grand prix.

"We have a clearly defined program for him in the weeks and months ahead and feel certain that he will only grow stronger."

The Finn was visibly dejected on the Monza podium last Sunday.  "I should have won," he said after finishing second to Sebastian Vettel.

After qualifying second behind the Toro Rosso, many expected the 26-year-old to take victory.

But Whitmarsh insists: "Heikki has no reason to feel disappointed.  He didn't put a foot wrong all weekend and looked blindingly fast in dry, damp and full-wet conditions."


Young drivers test at Jerez on Tuesday
(GMM)  Three test rookies took part in the special "Young Driver Day" at the Jerez circuit on Tuesday.

One day before the main test action kicked off on Wednesday, BMW-Sauber, Williams and Honda took advantage of a clause in the 2008 test agreement allowing 350 kilometers of 'free' mileage for drivers with limited F1 experience.

BMW's Marko Asmer was fastest, ahead of Spanish teenager Dani Clos.  Mike Conway could only do 20 laps in the Honda before the car's development KERS system ran into trouble.

Clos' Williams was also fitted with the team's unique flywheel KERS solution.

On Wednesday, all other F1 teams except Ferrari and Force India joined the test.



Driver Team Time Laps
1. Asmer BMW-Sauber 1:20.189 79
2. Clos Williams-Toyota 1:23.224 75
3. Conway Honda 1:24.123 20


Kubica would welcome Alonso
BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Robert Kubica has said that he would have no problems teaming up with his good friend and double World Champion Fernando Alonso. Fernando Alonso has always declared that his first option for next season is Renault, but the Spaniard has been courted by both Honda and BMW Sauber.

Robert Kubica said: "I think I will not have any problems. Especially because we know each other quite well. Fernando and me have the same view on racing, and quite similar driving styles. I think there are no real downsides to have him, but as I said I never have a problem with my teammate. Whether it is him or Nick, my approach is always the same."


Brooks will join Johnson/Al-Anabi team
Another piece of the Alan Johnson/Al-Anabi Racing puzzle has fallen into place as Aaron Brooks, crew chief of Roger Burgess' R2B2 Racing Funny Car, has announced that he will leave that team at the end of September to join the renowned Top Fuel tuner's new two-car team, which will debut in 2009. Additionally, Rob Centorbi, Brooks' assistant, will join him on Johnson's team.

Brooks and R2B2 driver Frank Hawley have competed in just six of the first 19 races but earned a No. 1 qualifying position at last weekend's NHRA Carolinas Nationals in Charlotte and were runner-up in Reading last month.

Brooks is acknowledged as one of the sport's most prominent young tuners of nitromethane-fuel Funny Cars.

"While this is a fantastic opportunity for Aaron and Rob to learn under a legend, we are saddened to see them leave," said Burgess. "I wish them both the best of luck."

Drivers for the team's Top Fuel and Funny Car rides have not been announced, but candidates are being interviewed, according to sources.


Craig Gore hit by brazen burglars
Brazen thieves scored between $350,000 and $500,000 worth of cash and other items after the Ephraim Island home of Craig Gore was broken into earlier this morning.

Mr. Gore, his family and a business colleague were all asleep in the house at the time of the robbery, which happened about 4am.

Mr. Gore said his business colleague woke to find the man in his room.

"I had a business colleague up from Sydney and after they got into my room and cleaned that out they obviously saw him there and were going in to take his watch and wallet,'' said Mr. Gore.

"I was fast asleep and had a guest from Sydney staying in one of the spare rooms and I heard him yelling and people making a lot of noise running down the stairs and I got up and he was chasing the assailants out of the house.

"I was a bit shocked and then went downstairs and that's when we noticed that things had been taken.''

Mr. Gore said the thieves got away with a watch collection, cash, jeweler, a laptop computer, mobile phones and a Blackberry.

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Q and A with Jarno Trulli
Jarno Trulli
Panasonic Toyota racing’s Jarno Trulli didn’t have a satisfactory home race at the Monza circuit last weekend when after putting in a strong qualifying performance, the wet conditions on Sunday afternoon saw him languishing down the field in thirteenth place.

Here he reviews the European finale and explains why he was not as competitive in race trim as he would have liked to have been….

After qualifying seventh and running sixth what is your reaction to finishing 13th?
It was disappointing but I think it was down to bad luck. We were unfortunate that the strategy didn't work out in those conditions - you cannot control the way the track or the weather develop throughout the race. We felt we had a strong strategy because we were on a one stop but unfortunately the switchover point from extreme wets to standard wets came a few laps after my only pit stop. It was not possible to put the standard wets on at my planned stop given the track conditions so we had to make an extra pit stop later in the race. If it had rained more heavily again in the middle of the race, as the forecasts were predicting, we would have been looking very good.

Did you have problems after the change to standard wets?
I was not as competitive because the car was sliding around a lot. It just didn't work out for us. We thought Monza might be a difficult race before the weekend as we were using the harder compound tires but after qualifying we were more positive. We lost out by needing an extra stop and that was simply bad luck.

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Renault budget to increase says Briatore
(GMM)  Renault's F1 budget will not be affected detrimentally by the current global financial crisis, team boss Flavio Briatore insists.

It is impossible to escape mainstream media reports about the struggling economy, and Renault's chief executive Carlos Ghosn is a renowned cost-cutter.

So with the French carmaker already operating with a F1 budget reportedly smaller than that of its manufacturer rivals, fears have been raised that the current situation could spell trouble for the Enstone-based outfit.

But Briatore is quoted as saying by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca: "Our president has given his full support for the team.

"It is a very difficult moment for all companies, but he did not hesitate for one minute in increasing our budget by 30 or 40 per cent," the Italian added.


Vettel not ready for top F1 drive - Surer
(GMM)  After becoming a record-breaking young formula one winner at Monza, Sebastian Vettel tasted life on the front page of most of Germany's daily mainstream newspapers.

But Marc Surer, a Swiss former grand prix driver and now respected commentator, has urged the world to temper its plaudits for the promising rookie Toro Rosso racer.

"You have to say that, as well, he also had some good luck," the former Arrows and Brabham driver, 56, is quoted as saying by sport1.de.

"He sat at the right time in the right car that is perfectly adapted to the weather conditions," Surer added.

Surer also believes a switch in the near future to a top team like McLaren or Ferrari would be too soon for 21-year-old Vettel.

"He still has a lot to learn, and with Toro Rosso and Red Bull he is able to do that.

"At the top teams, he would be immediately and permanently under pressure," Surer said.


McLaren will do KERS work at Jerez
Lewis described his result in the Santander Italian Grand Prix as ‘damage limitation’ - would you agree?
McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh:
"Very much so. In conditions such as we saw at Monza last weekend, it can be very difficult to tick every single box and have a trouble-free weekend. Our difficulties started on Saturday afternoon when our weather forecasting predicted the rains were easing, which led us to fit standard wets to Lewis’s car for Q2. Unfortunately, when we quickly aborted this run as the rain intensified, valuable time was lost when Lewis was called into the weigh bridge and we could, thereafter, not generate the necessary tire temperatures to be completed in that session. Having said that, I think we recovered very well from Saturday, very consciously played the numbers correctly on Sunday, and secured a sizeable haul of constructors’ points."

Heikki looked disappointed not to finish higher than second - was there a reason for that?
"Heikki has no reason to feel disappointed - the reality is that he didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend and looked blindingly fast in dry, damp and full-wet conditions; fuel-corrected, he would have been on pole position comfortably. He struggled a little with visibility in the early stages of the race and had a few difficulties with his tires and brake temperatures, but we are not disappointed with his result. Let’s not forget that Heikki is fearsomely quick but is still very much developing his approach. We have a clearly defined program for him in the weeks and months ahead and feel certain that he will only grow stronger."

Given the often-variable weather we can encounter in both Asia and South America, are you encouraged by the wet-weather performance of the MP4-23?
"Very much so. Last year, we felt the performance differential to our chief rivals was decidedly more marked - there were some circuits where we were clearly ahead, and others where we lacked race-winning pace. Given that this year has shown both Ferrari and ourselves to be remarkably evenly-matched, the performance of MP4-23 in unusual weather conditions could prove decisive. Looking ahead, while Singapore is something of an unknown quantity, I think we’ve all experienced wet races in Japan, China and Brazil so we feel well prepared. And allied to Lewis’s fearsome abilities in the rain, we have every reason to feel confident that we’ll be ready to capitalize on any untoward conditions."

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Earnhardt Jr. can't win if he can't control his temper
Earnhardt Jr. lets his emotions get the best of him
The message from car owner Rick Hendrick is clear, but will Dale Earnhardt Jr. listen?

Hendrick said Earnhardt must be more focused during races - a problem that has dogged Earnhardt throughout his career - to win the Sprint Cup crown. Hendrick's assessment came Sunday after he had to calm his driver on the radio for the second consecutive week.

That Hendrick's declaration came just one race into the title Chase is telling. The whining must stop now, Hendrick seems to be telling his driver.

Volcanic eruptions by Earnhardt are common on his radio. Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. often takes the brunt of the abuse, but there's a deeper problem than how Earnhardt talks to his cousin.

"If you let things get to you, you will not win the Chase," Hendrick said after Earnhardt finished fifth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to move into a tie for fourth in points.

"You can't choke - and that is what I am trying to get them not to do," Hendrick said. "I think they can be better. I know Tony will be better and can help (Earnhardt) more if he's calmer when he's giving him information. To my knowledge, I have never had (a driver) that gave us good information when he was on the chip."

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New CARA Charities Executive Director announced
Cathie Lyon
The board of directors of CARA Charities today announced the appointment of Cathie Lyon as the new Executive Director effective October 1, 2008. Lyon will replace Mary Lou Bogner, who is retiring after serving in the position since 1993.

Cathie Lyon brings to the organization some 20 years of motorsports experience, working in various roles throughout her career at Champ Car including Public Relations, Director of Accreditation, and the Director of the Pace Car and two-seater programs. She has worked with numerous organizations in her role in the open wheel racing industry and plans to employ her positive, energetic and hard-working approach in her new position with CARA.

Lyon stated, "It is an honor to be part of CARA and to carry on the tradition of dedication to the safety of children that was so capably developed during Mary Lou's tenure. CARA has always been an organization known for its hard work, its volunteers and its contributions to important causes. I look forward to working with everyone in the racing community - sponsors, tracks, teams, sanctioning bodies and drivers. I feel with my motorsports background and work with other charitable organizations such as the Association of Hole in the Wall Gang Camps and the Canary Fund, I can build on past efforts and work toward strengthening the future." 

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tv news

NASCAR drivers will appear on Live with Regis and Kelly UPDATE A reminder that these six NASCAR drivers in the Chase for the Cup will appear on the Live with Regis and Kelly show on Wednesday, September 17.

09/14/08 Six of the NASCAR drivers competing in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will appear on Live with Regis and Kelly on Wednesday, September 17.  Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson will try to break an ice cream tossing world record during the show's Guinness World Record Breaker week.  The network for the Live with Regis and Kelly show varies. Please check your local listings for your time zone.


Carpentier joins unemployment line
Patrick Carpentier is officially a free agent as the driver says that Gillett Evernham Motorsports has told him it does not have a sponsor for him for next season.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie had been free to talk to other teams, but GEM had first right of refusal until Tuesday. GEM could still find a sponsor for Carpentier, but the former open-wheel driver believes that likely will not happen.

GEM already has three drivers under contract for next year – current drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler as well as Chip Ganassi Racing’s Reed Sorenson.

“It sure is sad that we don’t keep going,” Carpentier said in a phone interview with NASCAR Scene from his home in Las Vegas Tuesday. “I think we did pretty good with the No. 10. …  I’m disappointed, but it’s OK. I’m going to enjoy the rest of the year and just have fun with it and see if we can find anything else.”

Carpentier is 36th in points and has competed in 22 of the 27 Cup events. He has failed to qualify for two events, missed two others when qualifying was rained out and skipped one event to concentrate on the Nationwide Series race in his native Montreal.

“We’re talking to a couple of teams, and some of them seem to have a good interest,” Carpentier said. “Hopefully we do [find something], but you never know in racing.” Scenedaily.com


Academy of Motorsports Announces Curriculum
The Academy of Motorsports (Academy) is pleased to announce its curriculum for 2009. The Academy will implement the curriculum through a rich combination of classroom instruction, hands-on lab and field experience, field trips, and guest speakers and lecturers. Students who enroll in The Academy will spend mornings in academic lessons at Carlisle School, an IB World School, and four afternoons weekly in motorsports training.

"The Academy of Motorsports promises to prepare students through Classroom education, Motorsports education and Racing activities and not just for time behind the wheel. The Academy seeks to promote their knowledge of all aspects of the industry," remarks Simon-Owen Williams, Carlisle School Headmaster. "The program offers a comprehensive array of specialty training in engineering, the pure sciences, leadership, health and wellness, dealing with the media and understanding the motorsports industry and how it operates. In short, it aims to cover everything that you will need to have to be ahead of the competition by the time you have graduated high school."

Driving training will be customized based on individual students' ability level and desires. The vehicles available include, but are not limited to, asphalt & dirt karts, Legends oval & road course cars, sports car & open wheel road course cars, NASCAR Late Model Stock cars, Rolex GT cars, and NASCAR Camping World cars. These cars can be tested at a variety of tracks within the area including Virginia International Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, South Boston Speedway, Motor Mile Speedway, and Ace Speedway. Driving simulators are a focus of the hands-on training.

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track news

Nigel Mansell: “This is one of the best new circuits I've been to."
New Jersey Motorsports Park hosted another diverse racing event this past weekend, as the Mazda Formula X tour.  Race events included the storied Atlantic Championship, Formula Mazda and Redline Time Attack attracting hundreds of participants, ranging from teenage racing sensations, urban racing and tuning enthusiasts, not to mention the sons of one of the world’s most famous racing drivers.

Providing perhaps the most memorable quote about NJMP since Chris Economaki remarked “Now I can die a happy man” when referring to NJMP’s opening, former Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell said, “This is one of the best new circuits I've been to, and I've been all over the world." The former Williams and Ferrari driver won the F1 World Championship in 1992 and has been nurturing the racing careers of his sons Leo and Greg, both of whom raced in the Atlantic Championship race. Greg Mansell finished 7th, capturing his best result of the season, while Leo finished 12th.  "This is the first track I've visited in a long time with zero Mickey Mouse corners," Mansell continued, referring to gimmicky, tight, low-speed turns many tracks feature as a means to slow cars down. "To have a circuit like this from the get-go that has what I call 'quality corners' is a great achievement."

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track news

Miller Motorsports Park Going All-Out
The 2008 racing season at Miller Motorsports Park is rapidly nearing an end, and for the last major event of the year, this weekend’s SunRichGourmet.com 1000 presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels, the track staff is pulling out all the stops.

Five different racing series will be competing on the 4.5-mile Full Course at MMP, two of which will be making their first appearance on America’s longest track. The headline attraction is the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal, featuring the 200-mph Daytona Prototypes and the production-based GT classes racing together for 1000 kilometers. The season-ending race, which will take nearly seven hours and is the series’ second-longest race of the year after the Rolex 24 at Daytona, will get underway at 11:00 am on Saturday.

Unlike last year, when there was a four-way championship battle for the Daytona Prototypes coming into the season finale, this year the DP title has already been mathematically clinched by the Chip Ganassi Racing duo of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. For Pruett, it will be his eighth major road-racing championship; Rojas is poised to be the first Mexican driver to win a major international road racing crown. However, in the GT class, there is a three-way battle for the championship. Only six points (338-332) separate point leaders Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards (No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R) from Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis (No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R), with Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay (No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8) only seven points further back. The three teams each have three wins this season, and we could wind up with a six-way driver tie for the GT title. Look for well-known TV and movie actor Patrick Dempsey in the GT class, making his second MMP appearance in the No. 40 HyperSport Mazda RX-8.

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Carpentier pulling double duty this weekend
Gillett Evernham Motorsports' Patrick Carpentier is up for a busy weekend at Dover International Speedway. The driver will compete in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series races at the track this weekend.
Carpentier has seven Nationwide Series starts this season, earning four top-10s, including two top-fives, with an average finish of 13.7. His Sprint Cup crew chief, Mike Shiplett, will be the crew chief for the Nationwide effort as well. Wally Rogers joins the team as car chief, beginning this weekend.
“The more seat time I’m able to get, the more I’m able to learn, and that really goes a long way in our team’s performance," said Carpentier, who is outside the top 35 in Cup owners points and must make the field for Sunday's Camping World RV 400 based on speed.
"I only have a couple races left this year in the Nationwide Series, so we want to take full advantage of these opportunities," he said. "The guys back at the shop and here at the track put in a lot of hard work making our Dodges competitive. They’ve had some bad luck the past few races, so we’re hoping to get a solid a run at Dover.” Scenedaily.com


NCTS Ratings Up 29 Percent at New Hampshire
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series scored a Nielsen Household Rating of 0.53 (387,000 households) at New Hampshire, up 29 percent from last year’s 0.41 (302,000 HH). It marks the 13th time in the last 14 races, Nielsen ratings for the series have increased. This year’s race peaked at a 0.71 (518,000 HH), up 36 percent from last year’s peak of 0.52 (379,000 HH).


Bourdais a 'good' STR driver too - Tost
Bourdais and Vettel are both excellent drivers.  Bourdais is a rookie in F1 this year.  Just wait for next year when he no longer has to learn the tracks.
(GMM)  Sebastien Bourdais seems to have done his chances of keeping his Toro Rosso race seat no harm with two consecutive good weekends.

His young teammate Sebastian Vettel, who will switch to Red Bull in 2009, is the toast of the F1 paddock following his astonishing Monza win.

But it was Frenchman Bourdais, 29, whooping into the in-car radio a week earlier, when he outqualified Vettel on the ultimate drivers' circuit, Spa-Francorchamps.

The F1 rookie and multiple Champ Car champion then qualified fourth at Monza, before he stalled on the grid.

"We have two good drivers," Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost is quoted as saying by the German newspaper FAZ.


Win changes nothing for STR - Mateschitz
A happy Dietrich Mateschitz after the win on Sunday
(GMM)  Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz has played down suggestions that Sebastian Vettel's Monza win might have driven up the sale price of his 50 per cent Toro Rosso stake.

With the Faenza based team unable to keep sharing a car with Red Bull Racing beyond 2009, billionaire Mateschitz earlier this year declared that his half of the outfit is for sale.

"Toro Rosso did not have a price before Monza and it does not now," the Austrian said in interview with Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

"The victory on Sunday changes nothing," Mateschitz added.

The 64-year-old expressed disappointment with the form of his senior team Red Bull Racing this year, but can also see the bright side of 2008: "We have one of the fastest chassis in formula one".

Mateschitz is fully aware that the main differentiator between Red Bull's RB4 and Toro Rosso's STR3 - their respective customer engines - is key to the performance difference currently seen on track.

The future of Toro Rosso, however, is very much up for grabs.

"We are waiting for an accurate definition of the new regulations," he said, referring to the final configuration of the customer car rules for 2010 and beyond.

"It is not that we want to concentrate on one team, but a matter of necessity.  It would be irresponsible to have two self-sufficient teams," Mateschitz explained.

track news

Jerez gets FIA all-clear for test
(GMM)  FIA official Charlie Whiting has inspected the Jerez circuit's latest modifications, giving the Spanish venue the go-ahead to host a major formula one test this week.

We reported last week that the test was in doubt, with Mugello lined up as an alternative venue, because resurfacing and other works at Jerez had not been inspected by the governing body.

Every team except Ferrari and Force India are due to test at Jerez beginning on Tuesday.  Ferrari will be in action alone at Mugello, while it is understood Force India does not plan to test this week.

It is believed that Williams, BMW-Sauber and Honda will begin a four-day test on Tuesday, to be joined by McLaren, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Renault and Toyota on Wednesday.

It is the last in-season test of the 2008 championship.


Spyker officially reveals Le Mans-inspired C8 Laviolette LM85
It's been a winning formula for Ferrari: build a road car, then build a race version of that road car, and finally build a road version of the race car. Spyker has decided to try out the formula for itself and officially announced it will be building a road car inspired by its GT2R race car that is in turn based off the C8 Laviolette production car. Named the C8 Laviolette LM85, the Le Mans-inspired Dutch supercar features Audi's 4.2-liter V8 producing 400 horsepower, a 6-speed manual transmission, paint scheme from the GT2R race car, and an interior covered in black leather and alcantara. Other features include a carbon fiber rear spoiler, black powder coated alloy wheels and 6-piston brakes from AP Racing. The car will be on display at the LA Auto Show in November, so we will be sure to bring you additional photos. For now, check out the small gallery below, as well as a gallery of the GT2R race car. More information on the C8 Laviolette LM85 can be found in the press release after the jump.


VIDEO: Corvette ZR1 doing 195 mph on the Autobahn


Bernie Ecclestone tips Lewis Hamilton for F1 title
Bernie Ecclestone has ditched Felipe Massa and tipped Lewis Hamilton to win this year's title race.

"I think the odds slightly favor Hamilton now," said the most powerful man in world motorsport. "I've said since the start of the season Massa would do it for Ferrari.

"But looking at what Hamilton is doing in all areas generally, he's the one who is more likely to win it now."

Hamilton's next test comes in six days' time, before an FIA Court of Appeal in Paris, over the Belgian GP overtaking controversy.

"I'll move on whatever the result and then focus on getting more points in the next races," said Hamilton.


F1 shareholder goes broke UPDATE Lehman Brothers, the fourth biggest financial institution in the United States, has applied for bankruptcy protection with debts of around $750bn and assets worth only $639bn. The company was a victim of the US mortgage crisis which resulted in it losing 73% of its value in the first half of 2008. The slide continued in the summer and there was talk of Lehman being sold, but when talks with Barclays failed the bank was left with no choice but to seek protection from its creditors. This means that the company's 16.8% shareholding in Delta Topco, the ultimate holding company of the Formula One group, will probably be up for sale.

Lehman Brothers first became involved in F1 because of the bankruptcy of Kirch Media in 2002, when it acquired shares instead of waiting for debts to be repaid. Lehman continued to hold shares in the business until March 2006 when CVC Capital Partners bought them out, but as part of that deal Lehman had an option to buy a stake in Delta Topco, the new ownership vehicle of the Formula One business. CVC has the first option to buy the Lehman shares.

Lehman Brothers later decided to become involved as a lender to the Formula One group as well, buying some of the debts that the company had with the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Formula One group's debt to Lehman is believed to be in the region of $1.2bn. The bankruptcy may create an opportunity for the Formula One group to negotiate a discount with the Lehman administrators in exchange for a rapid payment, although that would involve borrowing more money from another lender. Grandprix.com

09/15/08 (GMM)  Formula one shareholder Lehman Brothers has filed for bankruptcy, proving that the sport is not immune to the current global financial crisis.

With 16.8 per cent, the New York-based investment bank is F1's second largest shareholder, behind CVC.


GM to unwrap Volt at celebration today
When the Volt is unveiled today it will have a new look (above) from the prototype previously seen
General Motors Corp. will officially unveil a near-production version of Chevrolet Volt today during its 100th birthday celebration -- a milestone after more than 18 months of developing a vehicle faster than any other vehicle in recent memory.

The long-awaited reveal gives people a look at GM's most important future product and one that analysts and auto executives alike agree can be a "game changer." The Detroit automaker has created four largely foam models of the Volt that will be displayed in key global markets, and another version of the Volt that's "fully-representative" -- both inside and outside -- that runs on electricity.

What viewers of today's worldwide Web cast won't see, however, are the complex systems designed for the extended range electric vehicle created by more than 500 engineers, designers and other employees racing to have the vehicle ready to begin production by November 2010.

Its radiator is slightly thicker than normal because of the cooling needs of the 400-pound, 5-foot long lithium-ion battery pack. The Volt won't have a traditional grill, a move designed to reduce drag and make it more aerodynamic; and the electrical system has been completely redesigned as have many of the systems, such as the radio and wipers, that draw power from the battery.

GM insists it will begin assembling the Volt in Hamtramck in late 2010 and has been pushing hard to make it happen, according to four key Volt executives who sat down with The News recently.

"You cannot stop this train," says Frank Weber, GM's vehicle line executive for the Volt.

tv news

Jimmie Johnson to be guest on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel UPDATE A reminder that this program will be shown tonight on HBO.

09/13/08 Jimmie Johnson will be a guest on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday, September 16. As NASCAR prepares for the upcoming Chase for the Cup, Jimmie Johnson has put himself in position to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship three consecutive years, a feat accomplished only once before in the sport’s history. Johnson is currently sitting in third place in the Chase standings coming off a dominating victory at the Chevy Rock and Roll 400.  Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel airs on September 16, 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm ET on HBO.


Rojas To Answer Fan Questions
Lexus driver Memo Rojas is in position to become the first Mexican driver ever to win a major U.S. racing championship in this weekend’s Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season finale at the Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.  Rojas can clinch simply by running the series minimum 30-minute stint on Saturday to secure the title along with teammate Scott Pruett, but before Rojas gets behind the wheel he’ll take time to answer questions on his championship run, his career and the Rolex Series directly from fans on the Toyota Motorsports website.

To submit a question to the driver of the Chip Ganassi Racing #01 Telmex Lexus, fans can simply go to http://www.toyota.com/motorsports/rolex/news/2008/09-12-08-01.html .  Fans can submit questions throughout Friday at noon and Rojas will answer selected questions on Friday.

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Penske to enter 3rd Porsche for Petit LeMans
Two Penske Porsches at Long Beach this year
The mantle piece of the American Le Mans Series – starting with the very first Don Panoz race in 1998 – has always been Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, and the 11th running of this race on Saturday, October 4 will bring together five of Porsche’s most successful race cars to help battle for the LMP2 class drivers and manufacturers title.

With the 503 hp Penske Porsche RS Spyder, defending Petit Le Mans and 2007 year-end LMP2 title-holders Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) will tackle the 1,000 mile/10 hour Petit Le Mans classic holding a slim four-point lead over the David Brabham/Scott Sharp Acura rivals. On the traditional Road Atlanta circuit, their aim is to keep their pursuers at a distance and take another step towards defending their title at the penultimate race of the season.

”This race is one of the greatest challenges of the year,“ says Timo Bernhard, who has already celebrated three class wins with Porsche on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn roller coaster circuit northeast of Atlanta. Bernhard/Dumas pairing won Petit in 2007 with the RS Spyder, and in 2004 piloting the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Bernhard also won with Joerg Bergmeister in 2003 driving the Alex Job Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Besides the Sebring 12 Hours, the Petit Le Mans event is the race where the most points can be earned. And this is exactly what the reigning champions hope to achieve. 

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Tost hopes win is Toro Rosso boost
Franz Tost
(GMM)  Team boss Franz Tost hopes Toro Rosso can benefit financially from Sebastian Vettel's Monza win, but he is not sure it will convince co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz to pull his share off the market.

Red Bull's Mateschitz announced earlier this year that he is trying to sell his 50 per cent stake, as formula one moves away from customer cars in the near future.

After the billionaire tasted the spoils of victory on the verge of the Italian grand prix, it is suggested Austrian Mateschitz may change his mind.

"I don't know," team principal Tost is quoted as saying in an interview with motorline.cc.

"Only Mr. Mateschitz can answer that.  I assume that the price of the team has increased!  For the team itself, it doesn't change much.  Hopefully we can get some new sponsors -- the team obviously looks better as a winner than as a loser."

There are rumors in the paddock at present that formula one, having decided against allowing customer cars in the long term, may soon revisit that topic.

Tost said Toro Rosso is moving ahead with becoming a full constructor, and the expansion of the workforce from 175 to 255 is the next step.

"We are also negotiating with various wind tunnels," Tost explained.  "It is an enormous task.

"I am not sure it is the right way for formula one.  We have six constructors, and I think we should have six private teams, all working together."


F1 giants cast eyes over Vettel
Vettel will soon become a very rich and famous young man
(GMM)  A few dozen hours after Sebastian Vettel became F1's youngest ever winner, both of the German manufacturers involved in the sport have expressed interest in the 21-year-old.

BMW's interest is well known, after the carmaker supported Vettel through the ranks and gave him his F1 debut as a test driver.

"A year ago it wasn't possible to put him in our car, he was very inexperienced and you cannot gamble," said BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen, who released Vettel to debut with Toro Rosso last year.

"It was much more important to give him the chance to develop in a team like this and he will do that for a few years and then we will see," Theissen added.

Also with a close eye on Germany's new F1 star is Norbert Haug, the boss of Mercedes-Benz's collaboration with McLaren, who reportedly made enquiries about Vettel's status last year when they were on the market to replace Fernando Alonso.

"Red Bull invested in Sebastian and now they are reaping the benefit," the German is quoted as saying by RTL.

"What happens eventually, you cannot tell now," Haug continued.  "Anyway, we would never have talks like that through the media.  But it is the case that the best drivers always end up with the best teams."

There is no doubt that 2008 in general, and Monza specifically, have marked the beginning of a lucrative era for Vettel.  Willi Weber, who brought the Schumacher brothers into F1, told Bild newspaper the 21-year-old youngster could be set to make 100 million euros in the next decade.

The Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell reports that, of the 20 race drivers, Vettel is currently the third-lowest earner, with a retainer of 600,000 euros -- behind Kazuki Nakajima (650,000).


ALMS names top-5 finalists
The top five nominees for this year’s American Le Mans Series “From the Fans” award are in. From now until Sunday, October 5 - the end of Petit Le Mans weekend – voting will determine this year’s winner. The award will be presented at the season-ending banquet in Monterey, Calif., the day after the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

This year’s finalists are:

Acura: The second-year manufacturer has won five times in LMP2 this season with three overall victories. It currently leads the P2 manufacturer's championship and also announced an LMP1 program for 2009.
Duncan Dayton: The owner of Patr¢n Highcroft Racing, a four-time winner this year in LMP2 for Acura. Drivers David Brabham and Scott Sharp sit second in the class drivers championship with Patr¢n Highcroft also second in the team standings.
Paul Drayson: The former British Government Minister and member of the House of Lords who has taken a leave of absence from his post to fulfill his dream of competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He is co-principal of Drayson-Barwell, which is campaigning a cellulosic E85-powered Aston Martin Vantage V8 in GT2 with Jonny Cocker.
Doug Fehan: Corvette Racing’s program manager who has been with the team since its inception in 1999. He has helped lead Corvette Racing to eight consecutive GT1 championships in the American Le Mans Series and five class wins at Le Mans.
Robertson Racing: Husband-wife team of David and Andrea Robertson entered their first full season in GT2 with a Doran-Ford GT-R. Michigan duo is joined by David Murry.

Voting also remains open for the Series’ Most Popular Driver award.


Ferrari praise for STR and Vettel
It may not have been one of the two Prancing Horse drivers on the top step of the Monza podium on Sunday afternoon, a pride of place for the Maranello based squad and a position they strive to achieve every year, however, if it wasn’t them, then it was the next best thing and the win couldn’t have been any closer to them unless it was Massa or Raikkonen whooping for joy and spraying champagne all over the crowd.

By becoming the first Italian Formula One team that was not Ferrari in over fifty years, Scuderia Toro Rosso made history in more ways than one and while disappointed that their guys weren’t up there, Ferrari team Principal, Stefano Domenicali offered his congratulations to Scuderia Toro Rosso, knowing how much they deserved it…

"They did an extremely fantastic job. They deserve it, they are close to us, we are happy to work with them because we are giving them our engine,” he said. “And we offer our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel because he drove perfectly and he was able to do a fantastic qualifying and he was able to do a good race without taking any risks, above all at the beginning in the difficult conditions, so a really great job."


Q&A with Lewis Hamilton
McLaren rainmaster on driving in the wet-stuff

The last two Grands Prix have had mixed weather conditions, what’s the secret behind wet-weather driving in a Formula 1 car?
“The key to racing in the wet is to get the tires up to their optimal operating temperature where they can perform at their best, it is also important to find the grip levels. Driving styles also change depending on the weather conditions and you need to occasionally drive different lines to find where the grip is on the track. You need to have lightning reactions for driving in the wet as you never know what to expect, but I feel that my reactions have been good - I can be on the limit and be comfortable in changing conditions. The race at Monza was a typical example, I found the grip levels of my tires very quickly and then tried to manage them during the race to maximize the life of the tires while still gaining performance.”

Can you pick a particular favorite wet weather drive?
“Silverstone and Monaco both stand out - they’re very close but Silverstone stands out for sure. I was under an extreme amount of pressure to produce a good result for the team and myself and it all went perfect - well, nearly almost perfect. I had an aquaplaning moment across the grass but otherwise I was really happy with my performance given the incredibly tricky conditions.”

Is it harder this year without traction control?
“No, not really. For me, it is back to the basics of driving and controlling the race car with feeling the grip levels and controlling conditions like wheelspin, oversteer and understeer. I’m really surprised that we’re not sliding or aquaplaning so much, but don’t forget, that’s how racing used to be in the past and also with the GP2 cars. Traction control was great, but I’m really enjoying having the feeling of control back in my hands, or in my feet should I say.”

Is it easier to overtake in the wet?
“In the wet, it’s easier to overtake because there are multiple lines you can take to get past. You don’t have to be on the optimal line like in the dry. Also people go slower through the corners so you have the opportunity to get closer to them. Wet weather creates more opportunities for overtaking and slipstreaming.”

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Pro Mod racer Steve Engel dies in Indianapolis hospital
After showing significant signs of improvement in the past week, Pro Modified racer Steve Engel died suddenly at 5 p.m. Sunday in Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Engel was involved is a serious one-car racing accident during the recent 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.

Engel's Diamond Heavy Haul Corvette went out of control near the top end of the track and he impacted the retaining wall head-on. He was airlifted to Methodist Hospital where doctors discovered six broken vertebrae in his back. Two were fixed immediately, but then excess fluid developed in his lung doctors had to wait to fix the other four. That procedure was done Friday and physicians were diagnosing a long but full recovery.

The 49-year-old Engel is survived by his wife Tonya and his sons Stevie and Michael.

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Q&A with A1GPs Pete da Silva
Pete da Silva
The fourth season of A1GP, which starts at Zandvoort on the weekend of October 4-5, is also a first for the 'World Cup of Motorsport' as competing nations take to the track in the series' new 'Powered by Ferrari' cars.

Although the move is part of a concerted attempt by organizers to expand the reach of A1GP, they clearly believe this can be achieved without diluting the core concepts - close, exciting racing between nations - upon which the series was established.

Here, A1GP's Chief Executive Officer Pete da Silva outlines his plans for the series, both this season and in the longer term with Sky Sports...

Why Ferrari? Or is that a stupid question?

"I was going to answer that: 'Why not?' If I go back, our strategy after three years was to commercialize A1GP. By that I mean taking A1GP to the market. Lola and Zytek (chassis and engine suppliers for the first three seasons) have been excellent partners - I'll not take anything away from them. But if you're not a petrolhead you will not recognize either or at least one of them. I didn't want to go to the boardroom and they say 'Zytek who?' - I don't want to explain that. I wanted instant recognition in terms of brand and even though A1GP is three years old, we still need to gain that traction. I wanted a partner that would give that. And Ferrari was the clear leader in terms of brand, so it was one of our choices and we were stoked in terms of closing that deal."

Did they take much persuading? I believe they've never done this kind of thing before...

"No. You know, people say 'Wow, that's a big win for A1'; I think it's a big win for Ferrari as well. I think they've seen what we're doing in emerging markets. Formula One has seen that with GP2 Asia, which they've started in the off-season when we race. I think Ferrari and others have been watching the growth of A1GP, especially in markets where they want to be. Where's the big money? It's in Asia now, and this is where their next sales are going to come from. Ferrari are not in the business to do favors; they saw the win-win."

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tv news

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
The Chase is On: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from Dover on ABC

NASCAR’s version of the playoffs continues this week with the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as the series visits Dover (Del.) International Speedway. ESPN on ABC’s high-definition telecast of Sunday’s 400-mile race begins at 1 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown and is presented by Principal Financial Group. ABC will have live coverage of all 10 races that make up the Chase.

ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will have live coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Dover on Friday, Sept. 19, at 3 p.m., and same-day coverage of final practice airs Saturday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center.

The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Hits the Monster Mile Live on ESPN2

ESPN2’s season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series continues with a live telecast of the event at Dover (Del.) International Speedway Saturday, Sept. 20, beginning at 3 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The race also airs in high definition on ESPN2 HD and will be simulcast on ESPN Deportes.

Analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will call the race with lead announcer Dr. Jerry Punch. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will report from the pits, while Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN Tech Center. Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. 

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Williams F1 to design cars for Formula Two series
Williams will design cars for the low-cost Formula Two championship due to replace GP2 as Formula One's feeder series next season, motor racing's governing body said on Monday.  The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that Motor Sport Vision (MSV), run by British former grand prix driver Jonathan Palmer, had won the tender to supply chassis and engines as well as promote the new series.

MSV had in turn commissioned Williams to design the car, with 1.8 liter Audi engines and to be built to Formula One safety standards.

The first prototype will be tested in November before the 16-race championship starts in May next year.

The FIA said performance levels would be between Formula Three and Formula One with the cost per competing driver put at less than 250,000 euros (198,400 pounds).

"The objective is to make top-level international single-seater racing available to drivers who at present have difficulty in raising enough money to demonstrate their talent," said FIA president Max Mosley.

"Formula One and other major championships will benefit by being able to draw on a far larger pool of drivers, while competitors from countries which do not yet have an established motor racing structure will find it easier to make progress.

"We hope to reveal talent that might otherwise never have emerged and we look forward to seeing drivers coming into Formula One with Super Licenses gained in Formula Two."

Palmer was Formula Two champion in 1983 while MSV owns five circuits in Britain, including Brands Hatch, while also running the Formula Palmer Audi series.


V8 boss calls for DTM race to replace IRL in Surfers
With the future of the Gold Coast Indy yet to be resolved, the Deutsche Touring Car Masters German championship has emerged as a dark horse that could replace the racing event.

The DTM has the backing of V8 Supercars Australia chairman Tony Cochrane as a potential replacement for Indy.

Mr. Cochrane told the Bigpond Sport website that DTM, which runs V8-powered Mercedes-Benz and Audis, would be his pick of international categories to replace the Indy grand prix on the Coast.

"I would personally see something like the DTM out here and make it the world's greatest weekend of touring cars," he said. "We are the best two touring car championships in the world.

"How that would sit with their calendar, I don't know, but it is certainly worth asking the question."

Mr. Cochrane told Bigpond Sport he remained optimistic about the future of the Gold Coast Indy and said as unlikely as it seemed, the Indy Racing League might change tack and continue its Surfers Paradise association.

"Maybe the IRL will wake up to themselves," he said.

Next year's race has been earmarked for the weekend of October 22-25, 2009.  Goldcoast.com


Vettel does not expect anymore wins this year
21-year-old Italian GP winner Sebastian Vettel has all but ruled out bagging another victory this season, conceding that they are still largely out of Toro Rosso's reach.

"We have underlined in the last couple of races that we have a strong package, going towards the end of the season, so I hope that we can score some more points," he said.

"Going into the top ten, last qualifying, I think is still a big success for us as well as scoring some points.

"I won't go to Singapore and feel like a hero and the superstar and expect another race win just like that. It's not going to be like that.

"Where I come from and how I grew up, I am down-to-earth enough to realize what happened and to understand the approach for the next races."


Nicolet Launches the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing "SpeedFreak"
Nicolet Swiss Timepieces and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) of Champ and IndyCar Series fame, have teamed up, bringing together their respective expertise, to produce one of the most exhilarating watches ever seen on or off the track, appropriately named the “SpeedFreak.”

Paul Newman, Carl Haas and Michael Lanigan are co-owners of NHLR a team that since its debut in 1983 with the legendary Mario Andretti as driver, has won 107 pole positions, 106 races and eight championships. The team fields two entries in the IndyCar Series with driver seats currently occupied by Graham Rahal, son of Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal and two-time Champ Car runner up to the champion Justin Wilson.  Nicolet selected NHLR as partner for the “SpeedFreak” because of their longstanding commitment to racing excellence.

Nicolet’s vice president Steven Jay explains, “there is an inextricable link between race cars and timepieces, both creations must be ever so precise and exacting in order to adequately fulfill the need for which they are intended. Whether it’s the rate at which spark plugs fire and pistons pump, the accuracy of a drivers mind, hands and feet coordinating to navigate his vehicle, or the efficiency with which the pit crew readies and replenishes the race car, as with watches, in automobile racing- timing is everything.  It is with this unification of shared artistic synchronicity of time that we have created the “SpeedFreak.”

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Foyt team survives Ike
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, we are relieved to report that A.J. Foyt and his entire family, were able to get through the storm relatively unscathed.

“You can’t believe how bad this area is,” said Foyt, speaking on telephone from his River Oaks home. “This is absolutely the worst storm I’ve seen in my lifetime. We were very, very lucky and are really thankful to have gotten away with so little damage. Some of our neighbors have trees that went through their homes. The whole neighborhood looks like a war zone. It’s unbelievable.”

Tall pine and live oak trees that toppled over on the ranch in Hockley and at his River Oaks home in downtown Houston fell on the driveways, missing the homes and garages. While there are widespread power outages, Foyt is using generators at both homes to keep essentials running.

Due to the power outages, the city of Houston is under a nightly curfew from 9 pm to 6 am until Saturday morning.

Overall, Texas officials have been applauded for the way that they prepared for and handled the disastrous hurricane.


Why Indy threw F1 out
MotoGP’s open approach to disclosing attendance figures finally gives us a clear view on the revenue generation of an Indianapolis Motor Speedway event. IMS President Tony George and his legion of lieutenants is among the most secretive when it comes to attendance figures. They won’t even disclose the capacity’s venue.

MotoGP officials on the other hand were only happy to tell media members that the IMS’ first MotoGP race at Indianapolis drew 91,064. Conservatively, that means the race brought in $6 million in ticket revenue alone. Friday’s practice drew 30,978 and Saturday’s qualifications attracted 52,010. Add in revenue from those two days, parking, concessions and other ancillary sales, and the first Red Bull Indianapolis GP brought in an easy $9 million. Subtract the $1 million to $2 million sanctioning fee and operating expenses for the track, and George likely came out at least  $6 million ahead. Again, this is a conservative estimate. And only four arrests over the long weekend means the event wasn’t nearly as taxing on area law enforcement agencies as the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400.  IBJ.com

[Editor's Note: Compare and contrast this to the F1 race where the Speedway took a financial bloodbath and you understand why F1 will never be back and MotoGP can only make even more money for the Speedway in the future.]

racing news

Palmer wins F2 series tender
(GMM)  The company controlled by former F1 driver and commentator Jonathan Palmer has won the tender to supply and promote the FIA's proposed new formula two category.

MotorSport Vision has enlisted the stalwart F1 team Williams to assist with chassis design, while Audi will provide a 1.8 liter turbo engine, the FIA said in a statement on Monday.

FIA president Max Mosley said in June he envisaged a typical F2 budget at about 200,000 euros per season.

The 2009 season, to be run over 8 rounds, is set to debut next May.

"We hope to reveal talent that might otherwise never have emerged and we look forward to seeing drivers coming into formula one with super licenses gained in formula two," Mosley said.

Having operated the Formula Palmer Audi series for the past 11 years, MSV also runs five UK motor sport venues, including Brands Hatch.


Pantano waiting for F1 team interest
Giorgio Pantano
(GMM)  Newly crowned GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano has admitted the next step in his career might be in the form of a flight across the Atlantic.

It is looking likely that the 29-year-old Italian, who had an unsuccessful part-season in F1 with Jordan four years ago, is set to become the only winner of the support series who does not move on to the premier category.

"We have to wait and see if there is any contact, see if anyone calls," GP2 veteran Pantano admitted to GP Week.

He said he would consider accepting an offer of a formula one test seat.

"If there is a good offer ... I need to focus on my future.  I do not want to take an opportunity just for one year.  I have to focus on my future," Pantano said.

Pantano flirted with the American open-wheeler scene a couple of years ago, racing a couple of times in the IRL and testing for the now defunct Champ Car series.

He admitted heading Stateside again is an option.

"I'm sure there I can find a good seat to secure my future.  If there is nothing good in formula one ... I don't want just formula one.  I know I have a future, so I want a good offer," Pantano said.


Massa does not expect Raikkonen help
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has said he does not expect his Ferrari teammate and reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen to help him win the 2008 title.

"Whether I do it or not is completely separate to what Kimi or anyone else does," the Brazilian told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

"I am sitting in the car, I am the one who wins races or makes mistakes.  It is my game," the 27-year-old added.

Massa said his relationship with Raikkonen, nicknamed 'the iceman', is strictly professional.

"We work with each other and want Ferrari to be world champion.  But we are not friends; we have no private relationship.

"If we are together in a meeting, when it is finished he opens the door and is gone," he said.

He is much closer to Michael Schumacher, who Massa describes not as a former teammate or team advisor, but "like an older brother".

Massa said he believes he can beat Lewis Hamilton, the high profile championship leader who drives for McLaren, to the crown.

"Otherwise I should not even be sitting in a Ferrari," he insisted.


Schu manager offers to handle Vettel
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's manager has offered to handle the career of the sport's newest and youngest ever grand prix winner.

The best driver in F1 today, Vettel has become a hot property this year
21-year-old Sebastian Vettel, who stunned the F1 world with his dominance of the wet Italian grand prix weekend, is a rare breed on the grid -- he has always taken care of his own affairs.

When asked by the news agency SID if he can imagine teaming up with the young German, Willi Weber - who guided Schumacher's record breaking career and also brought the German's younger brother Ralf into F1 - said: "Absolutely.

"Sebastian is a very pleasant boy, which would make a cooperation with him a lot of fun," Weber added.

The 66-year-old will be in Koblenz court on September 29 accused of embezzling more than 1m euros in company funds.


Domenicali: "...our main interest is the team"
Stefano Domenicali
"The main problem for us Sunday was that our tires were really not working," explained Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's team principal Stefano Domenicali after Sunday's 53-lap Italian Grand Prix. Held in mainly wet conditions, after a wet qualifying which saw drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen qualify sixth and 14th respectively, the pair went on to finish sixth and ninth in the race.

"We were not able to get them up to the right temperature to generate the grip and to be fast," continued Domenicali. "We saw that, for example, at the end when the conditions were different, Kimi was able to go quicker and quicker and quicker. He said it was as though he had another car.

"With regard to Felipe," said Domenicali, "he did a great race. If you think he theoretically lost a position - the ones that were on a one stop strategy came in and changed to the right tires straightaway, because they were in the right window. But he was behind them and was not able to attack."

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Quotes of the week UPDATE Quotes have been added from Formula 1 phenom, Sebastian Vettel, and Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal, Ferrari.

"Before the race all the guys were saying, 'OK, go out and destroy them!' You can say we had the balls today to go and do just that. It's difficult to take it all in. I had a good lead and controlled it over the last laps, but I forgot all about that the moment I crossed the finish line. To see the shape of the podium and the people down below you: I will never forget this picture all my life. And to listen to the German national anthem was fantastic and I nearly started to cry. We can all sleep tonight with the feeling that we are winners." Sebastian Vettel, Formula 1 driver, Toro Rosso, winner of the Italian Grand Prix

"They [Toro Rosso] did an extremely fantastic job. They deserve it, they are close to us, we are happy to work with them because we are giving them our engine. And we offer our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel because he drove perfectly and he was able to do a fantastic qualifying yesterday and he was able to do a good race today without taking any risks, above all at the beginning in the difficult conditions, so a really great job." Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari

"A fantastic race, a fantastic weekend with pole as well and a fantastic strategy this afternoon. As for the podium ceremony it was unbelievable and this is the best day of my life. I will never forget these feelings. It is so unbelievable. It is better than I had ever expected. A big thank you to everyone in the team for their great work. After a poor start to the season, we got better and better. Maybe in today's conditions, we could close the gap with a bit more effort or by staying on the throttle a bit longer. I'm speechless. As for the race, we were very fast in a straight line because we didn't go for high downforce as we thought it might be dry, so we stayed on the dry level. Being out in front with no visibility problems was the key and I could build up a solid gap to Heikki straightaway. Then I was pushing very hard, maybe going over the limit sometimes and I nearly lost the car. In the last stint I was in a very good position on the intermediate tire. I couldn't believe it when it kept saying "P1" on my board. But I kept my focus and kept pushing so as not to lose concentration. A perfect weekend." Sebastian Vettel, Formula 1 driver, Toro Rosso, winner of the Italian Grand Prix (youngest winner and polesitter in Formula 1 history)

"For me he [Sebastian Vettel] was already the surprise of the season. But what he demonstrated today, in these weather conditions, making no mistakes and dominating from the beginning, was completely clearly top-class. And the people at Monza are also happy because a half-Ferrari still won." Michael Schumacher, 7 times World Driving Champion

"Since then [after releasing Sebastian Vettel from his contract as test driver], his development has been fantastic. But he is only 21; perhaps when he is 31 he will be back with us."  Theissen also said, "As expected, it was an action-packed race, but not for the man in front. Under these difficult circumstances Toro Rosso had the best car, and Sebastian Vettel managed to score his and the team's maiden victory with this excellent performance. Hats off to them! "  Dr. Mario Theissen, Motorsport Director, BMW Sauber

"This was Vettel's race weekend. From Friday onwards, he controlled the pace and the situation and today, from start to finish, he drove a fantastic race without any mistakes under very difficult circumstances. I think today he showed that he will become a very successful Formula 1 driver. It was unfortunate for Bourdais that he had a problem on the grid, as he too had a good weekend up until today. The team, under the direction of Giorgio Ascanell also did a fantastically good job in terms of being prepared for the race and in how it executed the strategy and pit stops and we can all be proud of what we have achieved. It was great to get this result here in Monza in our home Grand Prix and I am particularly happy for Gerhard who has waited twenty years to get back on the Monza podium as a winner." Franz Tost, Team Principal, Toro Rosso

"That's the way he [Raikkonen] drives. If you don't have the balls to brake late, that's your problem. At the end of the day, in those situations, it's the driver who can feel the grip more - and put the car more on the edge - that gets past.  I'm great in those conditions." Lewis Hamilton, conceited Formula 1 driver, McLaren

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Rivals unhappy with Hamilton's driving
(GMM)  A week after the Spa-Francorchamps penalty controversy, championship leader Lewis Hamilton's on-track antics are back in the spotlight.

The McLaren driver got involved in some close encounters during Sunday's Italian grand prix, including with his old foe and former teammate, Fernando Alonso.

"There was some unnecessary movements he made," the Spaniard told reporters in his native tongue at Monza, "and he repeated them with Glock and Webber.  It is his way of racing."

Toyota's Timo Glock was also not pleased when asked about Hamilton's driving.

"I do not know what he was thinking.  I was right next to him but he left me no room.  Sometimes he drives as though he is completely alone on the track," the German is quoted as saying by RTL.

"The next time I am with him (on track), I will behave with him in exactly the same way," Glock promised.

23-year-old Hamilton also made contact with Red Bull's Mark Webber during a wheel to wheel battle with the Australian at the first chicane.

"I made sure I covered my inside spot, but I didn't want to stay there on the wet patch or I wouldn't have made the corner," the Briton explained afterwards.

"He just clipped my front wheel and went on."


Martin back for Team Australia
John Martin is to race for A1 Team Australia this season, the team has announced.  The 24-year-old will be the team’s main driver in 2008/09 after impressing the squad in his 12 caps last year, which resulted in a popular fifth place on home soil at Eastern Creek.

"We have a lot of faith in John's skills and we think the new car will suit his style,” said A1 Team Australia’s seat holder, Alan Jones. “He has a good mental approach to the scope of this A1GP Powered by Ferrari car and the project overall.

“The team has worked very hard together to build our new racecar. The season should deliver very good racing for the fans.”

Martin has been testing the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car at Donington Park this week, and believes the team has just as good a chance as anyone of taking championship glory.

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Kalitta presents $50,000 BRAKES donation
Before Saturday's third round of qualifying at the NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., Connie Kalitta, Kalitta Motorsports team owner, presented Doug Herbert a $50,000 check for his charity organization BRAKES.

"For Connie to do this to help BRAKES is really awesome," said Herbert.  "Scott and I were friends and he was good friends with Jon and James from the time they were little.  Scott would have wanted to do something to help people so it's really neat that he did that.  The money they donated will help us save some kids lives." 

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Vettel's triumph of youth sets new Formula 1 standards
After he had taken a surprise pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel said there had been no secret about Toro Rosso's performance.

They had just stayed out on a wet track and focused on setting fast lap times. Yesterday, after he replaced Fernando Alonso as the youngest man ever to win a grand prix, similar observations applied.

The team opted for minimal downforce to maximize speed down Monza's long straights, ran a perfect strategic plan around two pit stops, and executed them cleanly. And the way Vettel drove made you forget that he was only 21 years and 73 days old. You could have been watching a young Michael Schumacher.

It was ironic for team co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz that his first grand prix triumph should come courtesy of his junior team which he put up for sale earlier this season, rather than his main Red Bull outfit. But his success was a deserved payback for the significant investment he has made in the sport. 

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A1GP Car – The Simulation
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is making sure all its Season Four drivers and engineers have the chance to get to grips with the new Powered by Ferrari car thanks to a simulation program created specifically for the series by All In Sports.

Based in Modena, Italy, the simulator has been designed to educate both drivers and engineers in the specific operating and electronic systems of the new A1GP car, and will be invaluable for driver training. Under the management of Anton Stipinovich, Lead Consultant on Electronic Development, a key member of the test team in charge of the development program of the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car, the system is overseen and operated by an expert engineering team with contemporary Formula 1 experience.

The state-of-the-art system has been exclusively designed and tuned to the unique characteristics of the new A1GP car. It covers the key aspects needed to train drivers and engineers, while the drivers gain experience with the electronics that control areas such as the engine, gearbox and steering wheel. Engineers and drivers can work through the telemetry and analyze software, resulting in faster vehicle performance development once on the track. Other key factors mean the drivers can improve their reaction times, learn new circuits and the characteristics of the Michelin tires. The engineers can watch the progress of their drivers in real time. 

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Honda confirms Hayden's departure
Nicky Hayden on his Honda in 2008 as he speeds to victory in the USGP at Laguna Seca
Nicky Hayden will ride his final race for the Repsol Honda Team at Valencia, Spain, on October 26. The American star and Honda have enjoyed a decade of racing action together, climbing motorcycling’s highest peak when they conquered the MotoGP World Championship in 2006.

Hayden has ridden Hondas since he was a teenager, first as a privateer, when at the age of 18 he won the 1999 US Supersport title aboard a CBR600. The following year he joined forces with American Honda and in 2002 won the US Superbike crown on an RC51. That success propelled The Kentucky Kid onto the world scene with the Repsol Honda Team in 2003.

In his first year with the marque’s factory MotoGP squad Hayden won the MotoGP Rookie of the Year award, then built towards that 2006 title triumph, when he snatched motorcycling’s most prestigious title aboard his RC211V during an epic season finale at Valencia.

Hayden has won three MotoGP races for Honda, his all-action style a perfect match for the factory’s super-powerful 990cc RCV. Of course, Hayden, like so many of the USA’s greatest road race stars, grew up racing dirt track, and he has also scored success for Honda on the dirt oval, winning four Grand Nationals on a CRF450 flat tracker.

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Track News

Lights planned for NHMS
Speedway Motorsports Inc. plans to add lights at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as soon as possible, which would reduce the number of Chase tracks without them to three. SMI chairman Bruton Smith said before Sunday's Chase opener that the only obstacle is getting out of an agreement former owner Bob Bahre made with a group of neighbors that there never would be night racing at the 1.058-mile track. "We will overcome that,'' Smith said. "I feel confident about that. As soon as we do that we will erect lights here.'' Smith believes it should be mandatory for all Chase tracks to have lights to give the best opportunity to get races in on the scheduled date. Had there been lights at New Hampshire on Sunday, officials wouldn't have been under such a tight deadline to get the race started before mid-afternoon. New Hampshire, Dover, Talladega and Martinsville are the only Chase tracks without lights. "I want to make sure we never lose a race,'' Smith said. "Like today, if we had to start at 6 o'clock or 7 or 8 o'clock we could do so. That's the whole thing in a nutshell. And it's good for the fans. We've got to be constantly better for these fans.'' Smith said plans to shorten New Hampshire from just over a mile to a ¾-mile track have been scrapped. "The track is very raceable,'' he said. "A couple of engineers looked [into it]. We look at a lot of things. I don't see that happening.'' ESPN


Fight erupts after NASCAR Truck race UPDATE #2 This is an even better video of the fight.

09/14/08 Here is a video of the fight.

09/13/08 A postrace fight involving NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver David Starr and crew members from Germain Racing marred the ending of the Camping World RV Rental 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Starr was involved in on-track incidents Saturday with Germain’s Todd Bodine and David Reutimann, and Germain crew members were waiting for the Red Horse Racing driver when he arrived on pit road.

One of Bodine’s crew members unhooked Starr’s window net and leaned into his truck, pointing his finger. Starr became incensed and felt he was forced to defend himself.

“I think somebody spit on me, and when I saw somebody spit on me, I was just protecting myself,” he said. “I don’t mind it if a driver wants to come over and talk to me, but when somebody else comes and puts my window net down and puts their finger in my face and is cussing me and spit on me, well then we’ve got a problem.”

Starr climbed from his truck as more crew members arrived on the scene, and video replays appeared to show him connecting on at least two punches to the face of the crew member who took down the window net.

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Despite DNQ, Force not ready to throw in the towel
Understandably upset after missing his second straight Funny Car field at the inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals, John Force insists that he's not about to abandon his quest for the 15th NHRA POWERade Funny Car title. As expected, Force has been a huge hit with the fans at NHRA's newest event, and following Saturday's qualifying, he took the opportunity to give the members of the Charlotte media a 200-proof distillation of the humorous but sincere wit that has helped to make him drag racing's biggest star.

"I don't know why in the hell you want to listen to me," Force told the assembled media corps in Concord. "First, I'd like to apologize to [track owner and builder] Bruton Smith and the NHRA fans because when they give you an arena like this, the greatest facility in the history of our sport, I want to be a part of it. This [DNQ] don't help at all because Countdown starts here. I had the same opportunity as everyone else but just didn't get it done. Now, I've got to count on my team to do some real damage this weekend."

Force was not one of the quickest 12 qualifiers on Friday night, meaning that he had to put his Castrol Ford into the show on Saturday. He had a shot to make the show late Saturday afternoon, but his 4.15 came up short of the tough 4.13 bump spot.

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Dempsey wins Star Mazda race 2 at NJMP
Peter Dempsey, quickly earning the nickname 'the Irish Steamroller,' rolled to his fourth victory in the last five races with a lucky but dominant win in Race 2 / Round 10 of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at New Jersey Motorsports Park.  The driver of the #21 Andersen Racing / LotusWorks /Quayside.ie / Allied Building Products Mazda previously won three races back-to-back at Road America, Trois Rivieres and Mosport.

Finishing second after battling through a weekend informed almost exclusively by bad luck was Lafayette, Louisiana racer Alex Ardoin, driving the #51 Mundill Racing / Oral & Facial Surgery Center / Twister Trailer Mazda.  Coming home third, despite fighting a bad cold that saw him collapse on the podium, was the winner of Saturday's Round 1 / Race 9, American John Edwards in the #7 AIM Autosport / Mobil1 Mazda.

Another driver overcoming adversity to win this weekend was Expert Series (driver 30 to 44) victor Chris Cumming, who retired the #16 World Speed Motorsports / Inviro Medical Mazda just four laps into Saturday's race, but brought it home first in class today.  The winner in the Master Series (drivers 45 and older) was Chuck Hulse, who repeated his victory of yesterday in the #12 JDC Motorsports / Silicon Salvage Mazda.

"I didn't have quite the pace to win the race, but I could run with the leaders," said Dempsey, who started from third on the grid and cruised to 14.659-secon margin of victory.  "I had a bit of luck when Joel Miller spun and dropped back a couple of places, and another bit when a car spun in front of Edwards and he had to swerve off track to avoid contact.  That put me through into first and from there on it was just taking care of the tires and not making any mistakes.  The Andersen team gave me a great car, and I'd like to thank my sponsors, including LotusWorks and Allied Building Supplies for helping me continue in the series."

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Toro Rosso now F1's third force - rivals
(GMM)  Two top formula one drivers believe Toro Rosso can now be referred to as the sport's third force.

Fernando Alonso, who was quick to congratulate Sebastian Vettel in parc ferme on Sunday after the German stole his records for youngest pole sitter and winner at Monza, thinks the Faenza based squad is now hot on the heels of F1's 'big two' teams.

"You could tell that sooner or later they were going to be on the pole and on the podium," the Spaniard is quoted as saying by Diario AS newspaper.

"Right now I see them right behind Ferrari and McLaren," Alonso added.

Robert Kubica, meanwhile, drives for BMW-Sauber, the German team that is a comfortable third in the 2008 constructors' championship behind the top two teams.

"In the last few races Toro Rosso have even become the third team in dry conditions, or fourth, whatever, but very close, even in front of us sometimes," the Pole said after finishing third in Italy.

Much of the credit for STR's current performance has gone to engine supplier Ferrari, so Monza winner Vettel might feel uncomfortable about moving to Red Bull's Renault-powered senior team in 2009.

"First of all, no matter what happens, next year I am going to race for Red Bull Racing.  I don't see it's a step backwards," the 21-year-old said on Sunday in the wake of rumors he might ask to have the move delayed.


MotoGP fan drinks himself to death
Speedway police say a MotoGP fan died from apparent alcohol overdose.  William Cully Thomas, 47, Mitchell, Ind., died in a lawn chair in a Indianapolis Motor Speedway parking lot No. 2, 1900 block of Georgetown Road. Friends found Thomas in the chair when they returned from the MotoGP events at the Speedway Saturday night.

Speedway Police Chief Jeffrey L. Dine said the cause of death is believed to related to alcohol intoxication. The cause of death is pending toxicology tests. There was no evidence of foul play.  Indy Star


Skerlong wins Atlantic race in NJ
Carl Skerlong wins in NJ
In a dominating performance at New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt Raceway, Carl Skerlong claimed his first career Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda victory in the inaugural Mazda Formula X. He was the sixth different winner in nine Atlantic races this season.

Driving the No. 14 King Taco machine for Pacific Coast Motorsports, Skerlong led every session in which he participated throughout the weekend. He earned the maximum number of championship points (34) from the weekend, taking bonus points for being the fastest qualifier in both qualifying sessions and also earning a bonus point for turning the race’s fastest lap in addition to his 31 points for the victory under hot and humid conditions. He led every lap to win by 2.464 seconds ahead of rookie Markus Niemela.

“It was long, but I could have kept going for hours at that pace,” Skerlong said. We had an awesome car all weekend. Lapped traffic started to play into it, but in the end, we came out on top. They weren’t throwing blue flags like they normally do. It’s a new track and new corner workers, so it’s somewhat to be expected. Going green to checkered, it was kind of surprising to me considering how practice and qualifying went. It made for a long race. It is a very physical track, but in the first time here, to take the first victory I really couldn’t ask for much more. It’s hot, I’m sweaty, but all in all, it was great.”

Niemela started the race from second on the grid in the No. 8 Mr. Jones Bar & Kitchen/Rauma Town/Turku Karting entry from Brooks Associates Racing, slotted in behind Skerlong on the race’s standing start and never seriously challenged. It was the Finnish driver’s third second-place result of the season and he has finished seventh or better in eight of his nine starts. He moved into sole possession of third place in the overall championship standings, and slightly closed the gap in the Rookie of the Year standings with the performance. He now trails Rookie of the Year leader Jonathan Summerton by six points, 188-182, and is 22 points behind leader Jonathan Bomarito.

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Rossi wins rain shortened MotoGP at Indy
Valentino Rossi speed to victory
Valentino Rossi extended his lead in the MotoGP World Championship with victory at the first ever Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, cut short with just seven laps remaining owing to safety concerns caused by high winds and a wet track.

Run at 3pm local time, the race got underway on soaking asphalt, the 125cc race having already been amended by the meteorological conditions.

Rossi was targeting 69 in two different forms in the early stages of the race, looking to claim the new record for premier class wins by chasing down the rider assigned to that same number. Local hero Nicky Hayden, the man who had inaugurated the Indianapolis circuit back in April and who debuted the other American track on the calendar –Laguna Seca- with a victory back in 2005, was giving no quarter as he set a fearsome pace at the front. The Repsol Honda rider took the lead on the second lap, and set the fastest laps of the race in a continuous attempt at breaking free from Rossi.

The MotoGP series leader was, however, able to follow the 2006 World Champion all the way, and made the almost inevitable overtaking maneuver on lap 14. From then on it was a case of holding his nerve to take his fourth consecutive victory, the premier class milestone, the first Indianapolis MotoGP win and, most importantly, an almost insurmountable 87 point lead at the head of the standings.

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tv news

Franchitti, Schrader & Varsha to be guests on Wind Tunnel UPDATE A reminder that Dario Franchitti will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel tonight. Ken Schrader, veteran Sprint Cup driver, has also been added as a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this evening.  Schrader is not racing in Loudon, New Hampshire today, so he will be a guest in the Wind Tunnel studio after watching the race today to talk about this year’s Chase for the Sprint CUP.

Bob Varsha, expert Formula 1 analyst, will also join Dave Despain tonight to talk about today’s historic race in Monza, Italy where Scuderia Toro Rosso driver, Sebastian Vettel, became the youngest winner in Formula 1 history.

09/13/08 Dario Franchitti will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday, September 14.  Last week, Dario announced that he would be putting his NASCAR career on hold to move back into the IndyCar Series for the 2009 season.  He was offered a great opportunity to return to IndyCar partnering with the 2008 champion, Scott Dixon at Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Franchitti’s last year in the series was 2007 when he won the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series Championship narrowly beating Dixon. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs live on Sunday night, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET on SPEED.


John McCain addresses prerace drivers meeting
Republican presidential candidate John McCain addresses the crowd as wife Cindy looks on
Elsa/Getty Images
Republican Presidential candidate John McCain thanked NASCAR for its support of the military as he spoke during the prerace drivers meeting Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

McCain was a couple of minutes late, and the drivers and crew chiefs remained in their seats waiting for him after their prerace instructions had ended. When he arrived with NASCAR President Mike Helton, the drivers and crew chiefs gave him a standing ovation.

McCain was joined by Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, a major supporter of the candidate.

“I just want to say thank you [for the ovation], but most of all I want to thank you for your support for the men and women in the military,” McCain said. “It’s remarkable. It’s uplifting to these young people. When I am in Iraq and Afghanistan, they’re watching you. You are their role models. You are their heroes. And they are ours.

“So I just want to say that NASCAR and the heroes and the competitors and the teams are supporting the men and women who are serving in the most exemplary fashion – I thank you, God bless you and God bless America.”


Hamilton to attend Paris appeal - Dennis
(GMM)  Despite affecting his preparation for the next race, championship leader Lewis Hamilton will attend the appeal against his Belgian GP penalty later this month.

McLaren boss delivered the news at Monza, where the British driver's title lead to Felipe Massa on Sunday was cut to just a single point with four races to run.

The appeal, to be held at the FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris on September 22, is a battle over 6 points, after Spa-Francorchamps stewards stripped Hamilton of his victory for cutting a chicane and passing Kimi Raikkonen shortly afterwards.

The 23-year-old will appear as a primary witness, Dennis is quoted as confirming to the German news agency SID.

The hearing is scheduled for the Monday before the Singapore grand prix, meaning that Hamilton's attendance could interfere with his preparation for the race in a different time-zone.

"Of course it is not ideal so soon before a race, but we think it is important," said Dennis, when asked why Hamilton has been asked by the team to attend.


Vettel begins F1 race to greatness
(GMM)  If he was the toast of the paddock after securing pole, youngster Sebastian Vettel was crowned a superstar of the future as he continued his run of Monza dominance with victory in a Toro Rosso.

Now in the record books as the sport's youngest ever pacesetter, the 21-year-old's paddock celebrations were a roll-call of F1 celebrities, headlined by perhaps his greatest supporter -- seven time world champion Michael Schumacher.

In Italy as an ongoing Ferrari advisor, Schumacher still plays on the F1 drivers' football team with his fresh-faced countryman, and a few days before Monza, Vettel was honing his wet-weather skills with a slick-shod go-kart on the winner of 91 grand prix's own Kerpen circuit.

"For me he was already the surprise of the season," Schumacher, 39, enthused at the damp Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

"But what he demonstrated today, in these weather conditions, making no mistakes and dominating from the beginning, was completely clearly top-class," he added.

"And the people at Monza are also happy because a half-Ferrari still won," Schumacher joked.

Also embracing Vettel was BMW's Mario Theissen, who last year agreed to release the German from his contract as test driver.

"Since then his development has been fantastic," Theissen is quoted as saying by SID.  "But he is only 21; perhaps when he is 31 he will be back with us."

Also amid the Toro Rosso celebrations were Vettel's father Norbert, and billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, who on Sunday sampled the feeling as a winning team owner for the first time.

Referring to Vettel, triple world champion Niki Lauda told the German broadcaster RTL: "The combination of his intelligence and his talent is just the right mix for him to become a really great driver."


No top talent in GP2 field - Ron Dennis
(GMM)  McLaren boss Ron Dennis has delivered bad news to this season's pretenders in the F1 feeder series GP2.

The Briton told reporters at Monza, where Giorgio Pantano was crowned Timo Glock's title winning successor ahead of Bruno Senna, that he has not been overly impressed by anyone in the GP2 field in 2008.

"Exceptional talent in GP2 jumps out at you," Dennis, who gave Lewis Hamilton his grand prix debut as reigning GP2 champion last year, said.

"I don't think there's anyone in GP2 that jumps at you as being a phenomenal talent at the moment," he added.

Dennis however said he will keep a close eye on the category next year to see if "some young ones" make a step forwards.

Among the F1 field at Monza on Sunday, the likes of Heikki Kovalainen, Nelson Piquet, Kazuki Nakajima and Nico Rosberg also graduated from GP2.


NASCAR scraps NYC 'victory lap' during banquet week
For the last four years, NASCAR has staged a “victory lap” in the middle of Manhattan a couple of days prior to its Cup awards banquet. It was an incredible sight for some – fans lined the sidewalks to see the top 10 Cup drivers wheel their cars on the streets around and about the Times Square area.

“After several years, it’s a wrap,” NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said Friday. “I think we needed something new. We’re doing some things, some additional promotions that we partnered up with Sprint.

“There’s going to be billboards, additional signage, fan participation and those kind of things. It’s going to be good.”

The parade of stock cars took an incredible amount of planning and cost, and NASCAR and Sprint are looking at other ways to engage fans during its championship week. Plans are still being finalized.

“There’s no way you could realize the work that our people put in to doing a parade in New York,” Hunter said. “When you think of normal traffic in New York, there’s nothing normal about it. We’ll do some other things.”

The Sprint Cup banquet this year is scheduled for Dec. 5th.


Peugeot unveil 908 HDi FAP Hybrid
Peugeot Sport waited for the final round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Silverstone to unveil a car equipped with a hybrid power plant, featuring a kinetic energy recovery system. The Peugeot 908HY was presented in a new, specific silver-grey livery and will provide a foretaste of what Peugeot's next endurance racing challenger could resemble, although its use will depend on the regulations that will govern LMP 1 cars from 2009.

The Peugeot 908HY's technology enables a proportion of the kinetic energy produced under braking to be either recovered or stored. In the case of a non-hybrid car, this energy is lost and simply dissipated in the form of heat via the brakes. However, when harnessed, it enables the vehicle's efficiency to be improved in one of two ways:

  • Enhanced performance with no increase in the amount of energy consumed, thanks to the combination of the stored mechanical energy and the energy produced by the internal combustion engine
  • Reduced fuel consumption for the same level of performance, thanks to the availability of stored mechanical energy

The system featured on this demonstrator comprises three key elements:

  • A 60 kW gear-driven electric motor-generator which takes the place of the conventional starter motor
  • Batteries which permit recovered energy to be stored in 600 lithium-ion cells divided into 10 battery packs (six in the cockpit instead of the conventional battery and four on the left-hand side of the floor pan)
  • An electronic power converter (located in the rear part of the front left wing) which controls the flow of energy between the batteries and the motor-generator

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BMW's Theissen plays down Kubica rift
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber boss Mario Theissen has played down suggestions of a team rift with Polish race driver Robert Kubica.

Kubica, 23, has on a few occasions recently mused negatively about the Hinwil based squad, but it seems the factions have now sat down for clear-the-air talks.

"It was a storm in a teacup," Theissen told the German news agency SID.  "We have discussed things with Robert in detail.

"There is no doubt we are all pulling in the same direction," the German added.

Despite rumors that Kubica has re-signed for 2009, there is still a lot of uncertainty about BMW's driver plans, with Nick Heidfeld's future not clear, and strong speculation linking Fernando Alonso with the team.

"We are the strongest team that still has a seat open for 2009," Theissen acknowledges.  "But we have not made any decisions yet."

When asked if BMW is interested in Alonso, he answered: "We are always interested in fast drivers."


Q&A with GP2 champion Pantano
Giorgio Pantano
GP2 Series: Giorgio Pantano, 2008 GP2 champion: how does that sound?

Giorgio Pantano: It sounds great! It sounds very good, and the name, Giorgio Pantano, and the 2008 championship works together very well! I am so happy: I'm a little bit worried about the race today but anyway taking the championship was what we wanted to do, and it is what we have done, and there is another race tomorrow where I am P10, and I remember another race in 2006 I was P8 and I won the race, so I can have a good chance to make the podium tomorrow, and then probably start to convince myself that I won the championship because at the moment I am a little bit angry about what I did at the exit of the pitlane and because it was not possible to win the race, and also because it was still a little bit slippery so I was being very conservative. But apart from that I have to say thanks to all my team, especially to my mechanics because this year they just make a great job: this year we didn't have any mechanical problems which means they were very serious working on my car and the other car, and this is wonderful. This is my first year where I have something like that and don't have any mechanical problem, and I really have to say thanks to them.

GP2 Series: For the whole history of GP2 you've been the benchmark for the series: you're the guy everyone gets judged against because we all know how good you are, so if someone is quicker than you then that means something, and if they are not then it means that they have to try harder. What has the difference been for you this year from the other years in the championship?

Giorgio: I think the difference this year was the way we are working: the team just did a great job, the mechanics did a great job and we never had any mechanical problems like what we had in the past where we had many problems, but this year everything was just perfect. We have to say thanks to Racing Engineering for that, and for the people who are working for them: it's the only difference.

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Monza: Valsecchi takes first GP2 victory
Davide Valsecchi
Durango's Davide Valsecchi scored an emotional maiden GP2 victory on home soil for Durango at Monza in Sunday's sprint race.  Not only did he win in front of his Italian fans, but after a year that has included two big accidents that put him in the hospital, this win was sweet.

Full report to follow......



Driver Team Time/Behind
1. Davide Valsecchi Durango 38:09.871
2. Roldan Rodriguez FMS + 9.004
3. Romain Grosjean ART + 9.537
4. Pastor Maldonado Piquet Sports + 10.190
5. Giorgio Pantano Racing Engineering + 11.428
6. Jerome D'Ambrosio DAMS + 16.731
7. Sebastien Buemi Arden + 17.675
8. Bruno Senna iSport + 18.540
9. Ho-Pin Tung Trident + 32.030
10. Andreas Zuber Piquet Sports + 33.641
11. Lucas Di Grassi Campos + 42.236
12. Alvaro Parente Super Nova + 46.434
13. Kamui Kobayashi DAMS + 46.836
14. Carlos Iaconelli BCN Competicion + 51.080
15. Alberto Valerio Durango + 51.743
16. Diego Nunes DPR + 52.565
17. Michael Herck DPR + 55.792
18. Andy Soucek Super Nova + 56.456
Driver Team Laps
Sakon Yamamoto ART 14
Luca Filippi Arden 12
Marko Asmer FMS 8
Vitali Petrov Campos 6
Mike Conway Trident 3
Karun Chandhok iSport 0


Engine change for Massa
Ferrari has changed the engine on Felipe Massa's car ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, a team spokesman reported on Sunday morning.  Although changes made to cars after qualifying normally result in the driver starting from the pitlane, drivers are allowed to make one 'joker' engine change per season without any penalty.

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The final TV reminders for Sunday are shown below.
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
GP2 Series Monza 
6:00am-7:30am SPEED
Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix Monza
7:30am-10:00am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Performance Loudon, NH 
10:00am-10:30am (R) SPEED
10:00am-11:00am ESPN2
NASCAR in a Hurry Loudon, NH 
10:30am-11:00am SPEED
NHRA Raceday Concord, NC 
11:00am-11:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Raceday Loudon, NH 
11:00am-1:00pm SPEED
NHRA Race Concord, NC
11:30am (L) ESPN360.com
NASCAR Sprint Cup Sylvania 300 Loudon, NH
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) -Pre-race
2:00pm-6:00pm (L) -Race ABC
My Classic Car -Vintage Grand Prix Watkins Glen
Part of Show 
1:30pm-2:00pm SPEED
Championship Off Road Racing Pomona 
1:30pm-3:00pm (8/16, 8/17/08) NBC
Inside Grand Prix Monza 
3:00pm-3:30pm (R) SPEED
MotoGP World Championship Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix
3:00pm-4:00pm (L) NBC
Formula 1 Replay Monza 
3:30pm-6:00pm (R) SPEED
MotoGP 250 Indianapolis 
6:00pm-7:00pm (SD) SPEED
SPEED Report 
7:00pm-8:00pm SPEED
NHRA Carolinas Nationals Concord, NC
7:00pm-10:00pm (SD) ESPN2
NASCAR Victory Lane Loudon, NH 
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Dario Franchitti (IndyCar) 
Ken Schrader (NASCAR Sprint Cup)
Bob Varsha (Formula 1 Analyst)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
10:00pm-11:00pm ESPN2
All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV programs, see TVRacer.com

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