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DATE News (chronologically)
09/18/05
nascar
Jim Hunter addresses NH infractions Jim Hunter addresses NH infractionsNASCAR vice president for corporate communications, Jim Hunter, held an impromptu news conference following Sunday's race, addressing several on-track incidents. Here is a transcript of some of his remarks.

Q: Will on-track retaliation be addressed?

Hunter: There were several issues today and one of them was obviously on-track retaliation. Having listened to our President Mike Helton and some of the discussions that took place in there. We imposed a two-lap penalty several weeks and a five-lap penalty last week, you are going to see some pretty stiff penalties come out of this. Whether it's park a guy for a week, or park a guy for nine weeks, we are going to do whatever we need to do to prevent retaliation on the race track, particularly under the caution. Under the caution they are endangering other people. There are safety vehicles out there riding around and they don't have roll cages and all these things drivers have around them. So, we'll do whatever we need to do.

Q: Will Gordon's cursing on national TV be addressed?

Hunter: I think that is pretty much a given. There will be a fine and maybe additional penalties for that.

Q: Is it possible the two-lap penalty for Dale Jarrett at Bristol could have led to some of this?

Hunter: One of the things we've always done is get the drivers and the teams to work things out, understanding this is a high emotion sport. As I said before, we did two laps, we did five laps. I think it's pretty clear what Mike Helton said today in these meetings, that we are going to take this into our hands now and take it out of the drivers' hands. If you recall we used to race back to the caution and there was a gentlemen's agreement. We did that until we felt it didn't work any more. I think it was right here that it was Dale Jarrett sitting like a sitting duck and here comes the whole crowd and none of them backed off and they were all racing to the line for position and none of them backed off. We stopped that. I think going forward we are going to take this into our hands and do whatever we can do stop it. Whether it's money, fines, or parking them -- not just for the rest of the race, but for a week or more -- we're going to stop it.

Q: Were the 9, 7 and 15 called to the hauler. Was the 9 parked? Could a driver be suspended for Dover?

Hunter: I don't want to speculate on whether a driver will be suspended or not because there will be several discussions between now and the time the penalties are announced. The other part of your question regarding the 9 (Kahne), the 9 was parked for the rest of the day from the tower. And under the situation I don't think the 9 could have continued anyway.

But he was parked. He was done for the day. 9, 7 (Robby Gordon) and 15 (Michael Waltrip) came to the hauler. The 97 (Kurt Busch) did not. He told our officials what he wanted to do when he walked down pit road. We knew he was going down to have a decent conversation with the crew chief of the other car and he did. And he conducted himself in a professional fashion.

Q: By letting him walk down pit road, aren't you allowing him to go into a situation that could have escalated no matter his intent?

Hunter: I think that's a very valid point and we've already talked to him about it and we'll have some more conversations with him about that. ... You don't want to provide the spark to make a situation worse and we'll address that.

Q: Is there a rule about going into another competitor's area? Where do you draw the line?

Hunter: I think going forward we'll probably draw the line. There is a rule that you're not to go into another competitor's pit area, but he came down to our officials and said he wanted to go have a conversation with the crew chief and he was reasonably in control of himself.

Q: A long list for Robby. How serious was all of Robby's stuff?

Hunter: By no means do I want to make light of somebody using bad language on television or someone throwing a helmet. And there will be penalties for those, obviously .The thing we're most concerned with in addition to those two is the fact that he went out on the race track and we've still got cars rolling under caution; we've got safety vehicles (out there). The race track wound up being virtually blocked with the exception of a couple of cars getting through and we can't have that. Also, in defense of Robby Gordon, he's a single-team owner, he's had more than his share of bad luck this year and I think he fully understands whatever penalties come out, he fully understands and has no argument with the penalties whatsoever. What went on between he and Michael Waltrip, we're going to look into that more and we'll probably have more to say about that later on.

09/18/05
nascar
Overheard in New Hampshire Overheard in New HampshireNASCAR president Mike Helton on Roush Racing owner Jack Roush who owns 5 out of the 10 cars competing for the NEXTEL Cup: "He's played by the rules. He's created Roush Racing based on the current programs that NASCAR has in place and the free enterprise system that car owners live with in the NASCAR community...I don't think today that Jack's five cars have disrupted the competition inside the garage area. Whether or not it will have an impact on it next year or the year after, that's NASCAR's responsibility to look at."
 
Announcer Marty Snider on NEXTEL Cup chaser Jeremy Mayfield: "Jeremy Mayfield may just be the Rodney Dangerfield of the chase. Nobody's giving (him) any respect, in fact, nobody is picking the #19 to even win this thing."
 
Announcer Bill Weber on Kurt Busch meeting with former U.S. presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator John Kerry prior to the race: "You never know who you're going to meet at the track. How about a Busch-Kerry summit meeting - in New England. Now there's a guy who knows how disappointing it is to finish second."
 
Jamie Rose when asked during the ride along by Dallenbach who his favorite NASCAR driver is: "I guess until this car stops and I get out of this racecar safely, you're my favorite driver."
 
Rose later in the ride along and a little more comfortable with Dallenbach's driving: "Is this all you've got? My wife drives the kids to school in the Excursion faster than this!"
 
Kurt Busch to Matt Yocum as he hurried up pit road to have a face-to-face talk with Riggs crew chief: "I don't know who the crew chief for the #10 is but I just want to talk to him for a little bit. The #10 car - we've had issues in the past and this isn't the place to repay somebody."
 
Kurt Busch when asked by Yocum how he will adjust his strategy for the remainder of 'the chase' races: "You just have to come from behind. We have to come from behind every race now."
 
Michael Waltrip to TNT's Benny Parsons after a late race crash with Robby Gordon: "Robby [Gordon] just drove down in the corner like I wasn't even there. He drives like he's in the desert or something...It was my fault - for getting on the track the same time as him."
 
Waltrip, who ducked inside the car when Robby Gordon threw his helmet at him after the altercation: "I ain't no fool."
09/18/05
MotoGP
Capirossi wins MotoGP race, Rossi crashes Capirossi wins MotoGP race, Rossi crashesLoris Capirossi took his first victory of the season in a dramatic Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi this afternoon as Valentino Rossi crashed out and missed his first opportunity to clinch the 2005 MotoGP World Championship. Capirossi made a cautious start from pole position, chasing early leader Marco Melandri over the opening laps before being joined by Max Biaggi. Rossi, meanwhile, made excellent progress from eleventh on the grid and by the time he caught the leading trio on the fourth lap, Melandri had been relegated to third place.

With Biaggi now leading from Capirossi the pair were left alone at the front on lap thirteen, Rossi colliding with Melandri into turn ten and sending both riders tumbling into the gravel. Capirossi then stalked his compatriot for the next six laps before making his move and opening up an advantage of 1.4 seconds to take a clear victory, Ducati’s first of the season and the first for tire manufacturers Bridgestone since winning at the same circuit last year with Makoto Tamada. The Japanese rider crossed the line in a distant third place to complete the podium today. zzzz

“It is good to have taken the win today but the team have done a great job all weekend,” said Capirossi, who recently signed a new one-year contract with the Italian factory. “Bridgestone have given us some brilliant tires here and my consistency was good over a lot of laps in practice. I had a good rhythm in the race but sometimes when I tried to pass I was over the limit. When I took the lead I knew I was faster than Max and I knew it would be my race.”

Carlos Checa took the checkered flag in fourth place although he was 22 seconds down on his victorious team-mate as only eleven riders finished a crash-strewn race. John Hopkins, who started from the front row of the grid but gradually lost positions as the race wore on, picked up his best ever Grand Prix finish in fifth ahead of Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden, Kenny Roberts, Toni Elías, Ruben Xaus and Franco Battaini. Alex Hofmann crashed and broke his ankle, almost certainly ruling him out for the rest of the season.

With Alex Barros and Sete Gibernau also crashing out, the only rider with a mathematical chance of halting Rossi’s championship charge over the next five races is Biaggi, who must score 14 points more than his compatriot to prevent him winning the title in the next race at Sepang in seven days’ time. There was a complaint against Rossi regarding the incident with Melandri, which was rejected by Race Direction, meaning a top four finish will be sufficient for the Italian in Malaysia.

09/18/05
German DTM
Ekström wins DTM thriller at the EuroSpeedway Ekström wins DTM thriller at the EuroSpeedwayThe EuroSpeedway Lausitz round of the close battle for the 2005 DTM Drivers’ Championship turned out to be extremely thrilling. At the end of the absorbing race, Audi’s reigning champion, Mattias Ekström, defeated his closest opponent, Gary Paffett (AMG-Mercedes C-Class). Thanks to today’s win, and with two more rounds to go, the Swede regained the lead, one point ahead of Paffett. Behind the two title contenders, Ekström’s team-mate Tom Kristensen finished third in the 48-lap (165.216 kilometres) race. While pole-sitter Jamie Green had to retire on lap 29 from 12th position, due to brake problems.

The 67,000 enthusiasts that traveled to the EuroSpeedway for the ninth DTM round witnessed motor racing at its best, with the championship leaders, Gary Paffett and Mattias Ekström, once again outclassing the rest of the field. From his fifth position on the grid, Ekström made a great start and in turn one, he moved up to third place, behind Opel drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Manuel Reuter. Paffett, who had been seventh on the grid, needed four laps to move up to fourth position behind Ekström. From this point in time, the title contenders were involved in a thrilling and very fair battle that ended only at the finish line. Paffett followed Ekström like a shadow and pressurized the Swede again and again, but at the end of the day, Ekström defended his lead to secure his eighth DTM win and regain the championship lead. Prior to the race in Turkey, that will be held in a fortnight, the 27-year old (69 points) holds a one-point lead over Paffett (68 points). Since the third round of the season, held at Spa-Francorchamps, the championship lead was swapped from Paffett to Ekström and vice versa following every single race.

Behind third placed Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt), Frenchman Laurent Aiello and his team-mate, Manuel Reuter, finished fourth and fifth, in their Opel Vectra GTS V8. In the antepenultimate race of his career, Laurent Aiello secured his first top-five result in the 2005 season. During the course of the EuroSpeedway Lausitz DTM weekend, the Frenchman had announced to retire from motor racing, at the end of the 2005 season.

Opel’s Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who had impressed by qualifying second, held sixth position when he was involved in a collision with AMG-Mercedes C-Class driver Jean Alesi, on lap 44. The Frenchman was penalized with a drive-thru penalty, while Frentzen lost a position and finished seventh, behind Alesi’s team-mate Bruno Spengler. Alesi came eighth.

Mika Häkkinen, the idol of the public, was involved in a battle with Christian Abt (Audi A4 DTM) for eighth place. In lap 14, the opponents collided and at the end of the day, the two-time Formula One World Champion had to settle for 12th place.

The tenth and penultimate DTM round of the 2005 season will be held on 2nd October at the Istanbul Speedpark, in Turkey, while the Hockenheimring, located in Baden Württemberg, Germany, will be the venue of the season finale, taking place on 23rd October.

09/18/05
cc
Highlights of new Champ Car President interview Highlights of new Champ Car President interviewAutoRacing1.com recently interviewed Champ Car's new incoming President, Steve Johnson, who takes the reins from Dick Eidswick on Monday. The full interview (2 parts) can be found on our Audio Page. Here are a few things Johnson had to say:

How did you get the job? I was approached in Cleveland by Kevin Kalkhoven and Paul Gentilozzi. I would have to be a moron to say no to the opportunity. The series is headed in the right direction and the momentum of Champ Car is all very positive......I am convinced Champ Car is doing the right thing to put open wheel racing back where it should be.

What do you bring to Champ Car that you might bring over from the SCCA, where you are stepping down as President? For one I wrote and implemented their first ever strategic plan and made sure we stuck to it. One goal is to stick to Champ Car's 5-year strategic plan. Because of Champ Car's relationship with the SCCA, I'm generally familiar with their issues and how they operate. Champ Car is a race series, but it's also an entertainment company. The Denver race was a good example - motorcycle stuntmen, concerts, there was just so much going on.

How did you get started in racing? I was a fan from when I was a kid. Every Friday night you would find me at the local track. I eventually went to work for Honeywell and I had the opportunity to be Grand Marshal at an NHRA race. I was so blown away by the experience of being out there so close to the nitro burning cars, I could not even breathe. I said to Wally Parks, the NHRA President at the time, you have the best product nobody knows about. I then went to work for the NHRA.

09/18/05
World Rally
Co-driver Park dies in accident Co-driver Park dies in accidentMichael Park (right), co-driver for Markko Martin, has died after an accident on stage 15 of Wales Rally GB. Martin's Peugeot 307 crashed heavily into a tree on Park's side during the 17-mile Margam stage. It was confirmed at 1045 BST that Park, 39, from Newent in Gloucestershire, suffered fatal injuries. Estonian Martin escaped unhurt.

The stage was immediately halted and organizers decided shortly afterwards to cancel the remaining two stages. Police sealed off the stage, as is normal practice in such a situation, and began investigations.

A statement from the organizers said: "It is with deep regret that we confirm that Michael Park was fatally injured following an accident on special stage 15.

"The next of kin has been informed. The driver of car number eight, Markko Martin, is uninjured." No spectators were involved in the accident.

The cancellation of the remaining stages means Citroen's world champion, Sebastien Loeb, wins the rally. More at BBC Sport

09/18/05
nascar
Did team friction hurt Penske South? Did team friction hurt Penske South?Asked if there was anything that Penske Racing teammates Rusty Wallace (No. 2) and Ryan Newman (No. 12) could share in the Chase, Wallace crew chief Larry Carter said, “Nothing that comes to mind.” Wallace and Newman have gotten almost as much publicity for their inability to get along as the five Roush Racing drivers that made the Chase have for getting along. But Carter said sharing information goes beyond getting along. “Rusty and Ryan have different driving styles,” he said. “I’m not sure if we knew what the 12 car was doing would benefit us. It might, but we don’t know. We just don’t know.” The State
09/18/05
f1
Brawn blames aerodynamics Brawn blames aerodynamicsRoss Brawn has stated that the F2005's aerodynamics are the cause of Ferrari's lack of performance. This year's car was designed by Aldo Costa and Brawn blames Costa for a poorly designed car that can not compete.

"The aerodynamic performance is not what we expected," said Brawn. The Ferrari F1 cars used to be designed mainly by the legendary Rory Byrne but the South African has stepped down in favor of Aldo Costa.

Jean Todt however earlier said Byrne is still as much in the factory as he was last year. The two main aerodynamicists work together as a team now. Todt also believes Byrne wouldn't have built a car different from the F2005.

Other factors may also not be underestimated. It is a general belief that Bridgestone has interpreted the new regulations not as well as Michelin did while also the new gearbox resulted in much gremlins in the beginning of the season.

09/18/05
f1
Ralf Schumacher looks back at Spa Ralf Schumacher looks back at SpaA week ago Ralf Schumacher had a very real chance to secure Toyota's maiden Formula One victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. With conditions changing by the lap, Toyota called Schumacher in for slicks, a decision that would cost him the chance of victory. Schumacher talks of his weekend at Spa Francorchamps and his hopes for the remaining three races of the season.

You ran second, you set fastest lap, could you even have won at Spa?
"If things had gone our way, it was possible. We were very competitive in the race and we went for dry tires early, at my second pit stop. These things are very close calls and if the tactic had worked we could even have had a decisive advantage over the McLarens. But as things turned out I had to change back to intermediate tires. I stopped again for dry tires with four laps to go so, altogether, I had four pit stops. To finish 7th and still score points just goes to show how strong we were."

Spa can dry very quickly, but it didn't seem to this time?
"No. Just my luck! We have had races at Spa where a dry line has emerged just two or three laps after the surface was very wet. Basically, I think that's the case if there is some sun or a bit of heat in the air, but this time there was only moisture. It is always a bit of a gamble going onto dry tires early, but we went for the aggressive strategy because we were in such a strong position."

Was it a tough weekend after you lost most of Friday practice to rain?
"It always makes it more difficult. We were allowed to postpone our tire choice until Saturday lunch time but it was difficult and all morning we weren't sure which tire to go for. Just before qualifying I switched onto a compound for the first time and didn't feel too confident on it but it worked out quite okay." zzzz

Your first and third lap sectors were very competitive in qualifying. Did you have a problem in sector 2?
"I lost the rear end a bit in Turn 8 and then had massive understeer elsewhere in sector 2, so I just couldn't do anything."

When you have dry qualifying but expect a wet race and can only make limited changes to the car, do you adopt a compromise set-up?
"We do take into consideration what we think is going to happen in the race, but having said that, there's still a bit of estimation involved. So, yes, we didn't race with a 100% dry set-up."

If you are expecting rain, do you run a bit more wing?
"It depends on the aero figures that the team sees. We did use a bit more wing, yes."

Is there anywhere at Spa you have to take particular care in the wet?
"On all the high-speed parts like Eau Rouge and Blanchimont you have to be careful not to lose it, but the main problem is standing water. That can cause aquaplaning and be very dangerous."

Is visibility a big concern for you at Spa?
"It can be, especially on the long straight after Eau Rouge, going up to the chicane. It can be a bit like the forest sections at the old Hockenheim where mist can hang in the air between the trees and make visibility very bad. Sometimes you can barely see your own hands and that is not a good situation to be in. It's not nice when luck is more important than judgment..."

Is it just a case of keeping your right foot flat and having blind faith?
"It can be if you are confronted with conditions like we had for second practice, where Antonio Liuzzi aquaplaned off and Alonso did a slow installation lap but nobody else went out at all. We all spoke to Charlie Whiting (the FIA Safety Delegate) and he agreed to be very careful about getting the Safety Car out sooner rather than later if conditions were really bad. As it turned out, although the track was wet almost right through to the end, it did not rain heavily and conditions were no problem."

Had you had a chance to evaluate the latest Michelin wets in testing before Spa?
"Not really, actually. For most of us it was the first time in the rain this year, apart from qualifying in Melbourne. Thankfully it was not wet enough to need the heavy wets but the Michelin intermediates seemed to perform well and I think they were very happy."

Do you personally like Spa?
"I think it's a good track for everybody. It's a nice high-speed circuit. Everyone has his own preference and while you could say that my favorite is Suzuka, Spa is certainly right up there. Having said that, I don't have a problem with any tracks."

Are you looking forward to driving for Toyota in Japan?
"Yes, because it looks as if we go pretty well on high-speed tracks and it would be great to have a strong performance and hopefully even a podium for Toyota at Suzuka in a month's time."

How do you assess this year?
"It has been very good so far and a lot better than we all expected. The car performed well again at Spa and we were very competitive."

How are you finding working with the Toyota team?
"Really good. It's a very enjoyable team to work in, with better feelings than I have ever had in the past. Toyota has a different way of working with drivers than Williams had. Both teams work well in their own way, but I personally prefer it at Toyota." Source Toyota

09/18/05
f1
Ayrton Senna Institute launches campaign Ayrton Senna Institute launches campaignOn Wednesday, the Ayrton Senna Institute along with advertising agency Giovanni is set to launch a new campaign entitled 'Everybody has the potential to be a winner' in Sao Paulo, Brazil.   The campaign is aimed at creating greater opportunities for development of children and youngsters through education.

There will be an exhibition that will present helmets from Ayrton Senna and photographic panels with the images from the campaign.

In addition national and international celebrities as Pelé, Hebe, Ronaldo, Alain Prost, Daniela Mercury and Rodrigo Pessoa, all embracing the pilot’s helmet.  The exhibition will also have a multimedia station where the visitor will be able to watch the TV commercial from the campaign and find information regarding the institute. Ayrton Senna Institute

09/17/05
nascar
McMurray and Wallace to drive for Wallace McMurray and Wallace to drive for WallaceRusty Wallace said plans for his Busch Series team have pretty much been solidified for next season.  Nextel Cup driver Jamie McMurray will return to run a majority of the races in the No. 64 Dodge, and joining him will be Rusty's son, Stephen, who has run in the Hooters Pro Cup and Automobile Racing Club of America series this season.

"We're trying to get him up to speed and next year we'll run him in a least 12 Busch races in the No. 64 car," Rusty said of his son. "I'm excited about that.  Obviously, a lot of my effort is going into Stephen. I'm putting a lot of effort into him right now. He's been on this Midwest tour right now running around doing a lot of testing and stuff."

Rusty Wallace used McMurray and Jeremy Mayfield for the majority of the races this season in the car. ThatsRacin.com 

09/17/05
TV News
Elliott Forbes-Robinson to Appear on Wind Tunnel Elliott Forbes-Robinson to Appear on Wind TunnelGrand American Rolex Sports Car Series driver Elliott Forbes-Robinson will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel this Sunday, September 18.

Forbes-Robinson, who co-drives the No. 4 BOSS Snowplow Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford with Butch Leitzinger, has enjoyed a long and storied career in motorsports.  From sports car racing to NASCAR, off-road circuits to superspeedways, the 62-year-old Forbes-Robinson has driven them all. His victory with Leitzinger at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2004, gave EFR the distinction of winning a major road racing event in five consecutive decades.  zzzz

Forbes-Robinson and Leitzinger have two wins in Rolex Series competition this season – at Daytona International Speedway in June’s Brumos Porsche 250 and the EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Road Racing Course last month. The duo has six podium finishes in 2005, and is currently tied for fifth place in the 2005 Daytona Prototype driver standings after 11 of 14 races.

Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 18th on SPEED Channel. 

Forbes-Robinson, Leitzinger and the No. 4 Pontiac Crawford return to action next weekend at Watkins Glen International for the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen on Saturday, September 24. SPEED Channel will televise the race live beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Tickets for the Crown Royal 250 are available by visiting www.racetickets.com or by calling (866) 461-RACE.

09/17/05
German DTM
Laurent Aiello announces his retirement Laurent Aiello announces his retirementLaurent Aiello, the 2002 DTM Champion, made for very emotional moments, during the EuroSpeedway Lausitz DTM weekend. At his own press conference, the Frenchman announced - with tears in his eyes - to definitely retire from motor racing, at the end of the 2005 season. The journalists and team members of Opel, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, who attended the press conference, saw the likeable Frenchman off with applause and standing ovations.

“I have decided to end my career. I have received so much reward in motor racing, but now I’m tired of competition”, the Frenchman explained after qualifying on Saturday. “Thanks to my sponsors, the fans, my mechanics and engineers, my teammates, the manufacturers, my parents, my wife and my children.” zzzz

“In his 25-year career ranging from karting to sports cars, Laurent Aiello has established a track record that would be every racing driver’s dream”, Opel’s motor sport director Volker Strycek underlined. “We cordially thank him for his commitment and his good teamwork for Opel in the past two years. Especially in Germany, where Laurent has been competing for the major part of his professional career, he will be reminded by all motor sport fans as a fair sportsman, a real fighter and a characteristic personality.”

Aiello, who has raced a Vectra GTS V8 in the DTM for the past two seasons, won his first motor racing title in karting in his home country France in 1983, aged 14. In 1988, he competed in the karting world championship and then stepped up to race in French Formula 3. “My maiden Formula 3 victory in Monaco is my most beautiful race win to date”, Aiello confesses. From 1992 onwards, his career has been marked by a unique spell of successes: in every championship in which he competed, he did not only win races, but also championship titles.

 In 1992, he won his national Formula 3000 championship. In 1994, he became French Super Touring champion. In 1996, he started racing in Germany and won the German Super Touring Car Cup with Peugeot one year later. After that, he was respectfully called the “Michael Schumacher of front-wheel drive racing” by his teammates and rivals, but in the years to follow, he proved that he could master rear-wheel driven machinery at least just as well. In 1998, he won the Le Mans 24 Hours with Stéphane Ortelli and Allan McNish in a Porsche, followed by the title in the 1999 British Touring Car Championship with Nissan, again in a front-wheel driven car. “That was my most difficult title, as I only had one year to get to know the team, the series, the car and the tracks”, says Aiello.

Since the revival of the DTM in 2000, he has competed in this championship. Two wins in the 2001 DTM season and the sports car victory with Audi in the Sebring 12 Hours, four DTM race victories and the title with the Abt-Audi in 2002 and another victory for his championship-winning team in 2003 clearly testify to his excellent performance of the past years. “The DTM is the most prestigious of all touring car series. Bernd Schneider gave me the most beautiful compliment anyone ever gave me”, Aiello says. “He once said that I am the most versatile touring car driver, having won titles in all these different series.”

Off the race track, the 36-year old father of a daughter and a son is a passionate jet-ski and music fan. Even in the DTM, Aiello frequently featured as a DJ at parties. At the Nürburgring, Aiello had music played into his helmet for the first time in qualifying. “Fifth place on the grid was a nice reward for the team that made this possible”, Aiello says.

09/17/05
German DTM
Green takes pole position at EuroSpeedway Green takes pole position at EuroSpeedwayDue to the changeable conditions, the qualifying session and the Super Pole at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz turned out to be a true gamble. At the end of the day, British Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green won the battle for the top position on the grid for tomorrow’s race. “I’m very proud of having secured my maiden DTM pole,” beamed last year’s Formula 3 Euro Series Champion.

On the way to his pole, the 23-year old lapped the drying circuit in 1:17.489 minutes. Just as it was the case in the previous DTM round, at Zandvoort, the top three on the grid were once again completed by two Opel drivers. In his Opel Vectra GTS V8, former Formula One ace Heinz-Harald Frentzen qualified second by setting a Super Pole lap time that was just 19 hundredth of a second slower than the one of the pole-sitter, while his team-mate, Manuel Reuter, will be third on the grid for tomorrow’s 48-lap race, the ninth round of the DTM season that will start at 14:00hrs CET. zzzz

In his Opel Vectra GTS V8, former Formula One ace Heinz-Harald Frentzen qualified second Two-time Formula One World Champion Mika Häkkinen qualified fourth, on the 3.442-kilometre track, while the third and fourth row grid positions will make for a particularly thrilling situation, with the two title-favorites, Audi’s Mattias Ekström and Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) being fifth and seventh on the grid. Ekström qualified fifth and will share the third row with his team-mate Tom Kristensen while seventh placed Gary Paffett will start the race next to Martin Tomczyk (Audi A4 DTM). Prior to tomorrow’s race, AMG-Mercedes C-Class driver Paffett holds a one-point lead over Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline). Paffett won this year’s first DTM race at the EuroSpeedway, yet, in 2004, Ekström was the winner at the Lausitz.

Jamie Green (Pole position, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes): “I’m very proud of having secured my maiden DTM pole. The track conditions were anything but easy. You had to opt for a very controlled style of driving to not lose time on the wet spots. To secure pole following eighth place in the qualifying session represents a major surprise.”

Heinz-Harald Frentzen: (2nd grid position, Stern Team OPC): “Second position on the grid is a surprise. My lap wasn’t perfect, hence, I wasn’t sure if it would be good enough for a top-five position. Yet, other than expected, the drying track didn’t allow for clearly faster lap times. We’ve got a promising initial position for tomorrow’s race and a podium finish seems possible.”

Manuel Reuter (3rd grid position, Team OPC): “To improve from tenth to third position is a nice result. Everybody expected the grip level to improve but it didn’t happen. Second and third grid positions represent a promising initial position for us. Today, Opel proved that the recent weeks’ upward trend continues.” .

09/17/05
f1
Shanghai gets passionate about F1 Shanghai gets passionate about F1Who says the Chinese don’t show emotion? Not Shanghai International Circuit (SIC) who dispelled the myth with the announcement of F1 Passion, a carnival-style party to bring the FIA Formula One World Championship 2005 to a close after the second Chinese Grand Prix on October 16.

Yesterday (Thursday 14th) more than a hundred national and international journalists and broadcasters gathered at the Peace Hotel, downtown Shanghai to hear Yu Zhifei, General Manager of SIC’s Management and Development company redefine sporting passion.

Speaking at the press conference he said: "In the past year, sports fans in China have really got behind motorsport and Formula One has a rapidly growing fan base here, I thought it would be good to give our supporters something in return."

This party represents the very essence of the sport, passion.

Alongside the Olympics and the World Cup, Formula One is one of very few truly global sports. We believe this year’s race will be even more entertaining than last year with lots of action both on and off the track to keep Chinese motorsport fans coming back for more. What better way to end a great weekend’s racing than with a proper F1 party capturing the spirit of both the sport and Chinese culture..

The event will take place in the Shanghai stadium and will feature a wide variety of entertainment with Danish rock band, Michael Learns To Rock (MLTR) headlining. The act enjoy a huge following in China and their set will mark their second performance of the day following a brief appearance at SIC prior to the race.

Naturally drivers, teams and key personnel from Formula One will be invited to the carnival alongside prominent personalities from across China. The event will bring the 2005 season to a close in a fusion of true Chinese and Formula One style.

The announcement of the F1 Passion party has added to the increasing media hype surrounding this year’s closing race. National media have been playing Chinese Whispers with widespread rumors in the city amongst media and fans alike that Schumacher Senior will announce the end of his driving career.

With grandstand tickets nearing sell-out and more prestigious hospitality reaching maximum capacity there is concern amongst some motorsport fans that they might not witness what could be Schumacher’s final race. SIC is keen to emphasize that there are a limited number of tickets still available, for further information contact the ticket hotline - +86 21 9682 6999. SIC

09/17/05
f1
Brits shine in Spain Brits shine in SpainThis Sporting Life article says, British young guns Adam Carroll and James Rossiter took another step on the road towards Formula One with tests for BAR-Honda this week, and both declared themselves pleased with the results.

GP2 race winner Carroll and European Formula Three front-runner Carroll are part of BAR's young driver programme and were recently named as official test drivers. They got their first serious taste of life in a Formula One team at Barcelona this week and, even if the experience showed how much they still need to learn, the pair were pleased with their performances. Northern Irishman Carroll completed 132 laps and ended his first day a second down on regular tester Enrique Bernoldi. He said: "It has been a good week for me and this is the first time I've driven a Formula One car at Barcelona, which is one of the toughest tracks. "I've had the chance to drive one of the test cars and also the development car for next year.

"On Friday afternoon I've been in the development car and completed a 15-lap timed run, which is really tough, particularly on the neck, and more physically demanding than the whole GP2 race we had here." Oxford-based Rossiter lapped the Spanish circuit 85 times and improved steadily, ending his first stint two seconds off Bernoldi's time before lapping just over one second slower than race drivers Takuma Sato and Jenson Button on Thursday.

He said: "I drove the 2006 development car this week which has been a good opportunity to acclimatise myself to Formula One and also to improve myself as a driver.

"I've learnt a lot over the last two days and improved my lap times considerably. It's the first time that I've driven at the Circuit de Catalunya and I enjoyed the track, which is good fun to drive."
09/17/05
nascar
Don't blame Loomis Don't blame LoomisJeff Gordon said Friday that former crew chief Robbie Loomis is not the reason the No. 24 Chevrolet did not make this year's Chase for the Nextel Cup.   "There is no blame here being put on Robbie Loomis," said Gordon, the series' four-time champion, on his former crew chief who left that post this week.

"I have so much respect for Robbie. ... I recognize what kind of person he is – committed, loyal and someone who makes decisions with his heart – and I knew how he felt about Petty Enterprises and that one day that calling might take him back over there."

Loomis announced Wednesday he will leave Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season to become executive vice president of race operations for the Petty team. He also left as Gordon's crew chief immediately, going to a consultant's position with Jimmie Johnson's team for the rest of this year.

Steve Letarte, a 26-year-old who Gordon said was being groomed to replace Loomis after this year anyway, took over as Gordon's crew chief beginning with Friday's practice at New Hampshire International Speedway.

The remainder of this year isn't, Gordon insisted, a "tryout" for Letarte.  "He's our man," Gordon said. "I think he's one of the smartest guys we've got. He's going to really grow fast into this position and do a great job. I've believed in him for a long time. …But it's not that now this guy is going to 'fix' all of it. We recognize there are a lot of things we've got to do different. ... We've got a good organization and a lot of depth. We're not trying to go and reinvent the wheel."  More at ThatsRacin.com

09/17/05
Industry News
China's carmakers get up to speed China's carmakers get up to speedChina's auto industry is beginning to take on the sophisticated consumer markets of Western Europe, and the United States is next.  Chinese automakers have succeeded in selling low-cost vehicles to developing nations, but models from three companies competed for attention with globally known European makes.

"The European and U.S. markets are two of our dream markets, so we will strive to reach them," said Li Shu Fu, chairman of the Geely Group, one of the manufacturers exhibiting at this week's Frankfort Auto Show, one of the top events in the auto industry. "We are certainly planning."

Models on display included a sports car called the CD, or China Dragon. Brilliance Auto, a Hong Kong company that has a joint venture with BMW AG, showed off its Zhonghua sedan, slated to go on sale in Germany this year at a price of about $22,000.

Drawing particular attention was the Landwind, a four-wheel drive sport-utility vehicle that retails at about $18,750, an attractive price in Europe.

"The biggest selling point of this car is that you get a lot of car for a little bit of money," said Peter Bijvelds, president of Landwind Motors Corp., the European distributor of the car exported by Jiangling Motors Co. of Nanchang, China. 

While Western companies such as General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and BMW have rushed to build production facilities in China for the domestic market, exports by Chinese companies have mushroomed in recent years, another facet of the nation's expanding global reach.

China exported 378,000 autos in the first half of this year, up nearly 143 percent from the same period in 2004, the Xinhua news service reported last month. The great majority of those were low-cost models intended for sale in the Middle East, North Africa and Central America.

But the cars in Frankfurt are testing their appeal to consumers in Europe and eventually in the United States.

Many industry watchers said they think the Chinese cars will pass that test.

"The world's most populous nation will drive the globalization of the industry into the next stage, vastly transforming today's automotive landscape," Richard Spitzer, an auto industry analyst with the Accenture consulting firm, said in a recent report.  More at the Statesman

09/17/05
nascar
Said to race a Sled Said to race a SledIt's official. The number 36 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which chased the leaders last month at the NASCAR race in Watkins Glen, will have a presence in Lake Placid January 5-9, 2006. Except it will be a bobsled, not a race car. The NASCAR bobsled drivers race, coming to Lake Placid right after New Year's, received its first official entry Friday when Boris Said, a talented road racer who is the son of 1968 and 1972 Olympic bobsled driver Bob Said, committed to participating in the fundraiser being organized by Geoffrey Bodine's Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. His sponsor, Whelen Engineering, mirrored that by announcing their participation in January. The event will be held at the Verizon Sports Complex in Lake Placid. It is hoped that other NASCAR drivers will join Said shortly for this friendly competition that will generate funds to support continuing research and development of equipment for the United States Bobsled Team. These race car drivers will use modified sleds in their team colors on the mile-long track that currently hosts annual World Cup and World Championship events in bobsled, luge and skeleton racing. Bodine, a NASCAR veteran, created the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project in 1992 after watching the Albertville Winter Olympic Games on television and noticing that USA Bobsled athletes competed with European-made sleds. At that time, the team had not won a medal since the 1956 Winter Games in Cortina, Italy. "Whelen Engineering is proud to announce our sponsorship of the first Bo-Dyn bobsled to compete in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge at Lake Placid in January," stated Phil Kurze, Whelen Motorsports Director. "Whelen has supported the efforts of Geoffrey Bodine and Bob Cuneo for the past five years to provide our athletes with equipment that is "Made in America" and I take personal pride in the fact that, also as President of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., I have the support of my company in this worthwhile fund raising endeavor. I issue a challenge to all other companies presently involved with racing or contemplating involvement with racing to come on-board and join us in our support of the United States Bobsled Team." For more information on this event, please log on to www.bodynbobsledproject.com. Tickets for the event go on sale October 1 at the Olympic Center Box Office in Lake Placid.
09/17/05
nascar
Dale Jr. leads most popular driver award Dale Jr. leads most popular driver awardWith voting now well past 3 million for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award, smashing the record for total votes in a season appears to be a foregone conclusion. A total of 3,119,000 votes have been cast, and the record of 3.8 million votes set last year should fall before fan voting ends in 10 weeks. Race fans have been voting at www.mostpopulardriver.com, the official voting site, since February 1. Since General Mills began sponsoring the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award at the beginning of the 2002 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season, well over 13 million votes have been cast by fans throughout the world. Fans vote at www.mostpopulardriver.com for the only fan-based official award in motorsports. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continues to lead in the voting. Behind him in the current balloting are second-place Jeff Gordon, followed by Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Rusty Wallace, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, and Jimmie Johnson. Voting for the more than 40 drivers eligible for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award, the only fan-based award in motorsports, began Tuesday, Feb. 1, at www.mostpopulardriver.com and continues through 11:59 a.m. CST, Monday, Nov. 21. Fans may vote once each day at the site. Williams Co., Of America, Inc
09/17/05
nascar
Hmiel to work on car of tomorrow Hmiel to work on car of tomorrowWith Tony Eury Jr. moving back to the No. 8 team, Steve Hmiel will return to his previous post as head of DEI's research-and-development operation and concentrate on building the intermediate-track version of "the car of tomorrow (COT)" for 2007. Hmiel says that several organizations are participating in the process, but it was important for DEI to get a head start, "since this will be the biggest change to come along in Cup since NASCAR moved to smaller cars in '81." Sporting News/Lee Spencer
09/17/05
nascar
New Sunoco commercials New Sunoco commercialsSunoco, which has a 10-year, $8 million a year sponsorship as the official fuel of NASCAR, will launch two national TV spots this month, using Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick in humorous spots. Winston Salem-Journal
09/17/05
nascar
Texas Motor Speedway names bridge after Stewart Texas Motor Speedway names bridge after StewartA pedestrian bridge built to relieve traffic jams at Texas Motor Speedway will be named in honor of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, who friends say has a reputation for being crabby about congestion. "Tony for years complained about gridlock at the south tunnel," speedway General Manager Eddie Gossage joked Thursday during a media preview of the Nov. 6 NASCAR Nextel Cup race, the Dickies 500. The walkway, paid for by the speedway, opened this year. "We spent $1.7 million to shut him up," Gossage quipped, "and now he keeps demanding a plaque." During an interview by satellite link from New York, Stewart playfully returned fire: "It's still going to take a lot more than that to keep me quiet." Star-Telegram
09/17/05
irl
Briscoe: "I'm thankful to be alive" Briscoe: "I'm thankful to be alive""I was real happy to still be alive," Ryan Briscoe told SPEEDTV.com on Friday from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.  A sentiment shared by everyone who witnessed Briscoe's mean-looking crash last Sunday in the Indy Racing League's show at Chicagoland Speedway.

"I remember the whole thing and I know I was real lucky because it was pretty violent," said Briscoe, who suffered two broken collar bones, a concussion, a bruised lung, a cracked bone in his foot and numerous bruises and contusions on his back. He also inhaled some vapors and fumes.

"The (IRL) safety guys put me on a stretcher and told me to wave at the fans and I remember thinking, I'm not sure I can do that, but I guess I did.  My back is pretty sore so that makes sleeping kind of difficult but I was able to sleep last night with no oxygen mask and I feel better every day," he said. "(Darren) Manning came up the other day and made my side hurt because I was laughing for 30 minutes.  But I know I could be in a lot worse shape and I'm very thankful."

09/17/05
f1
Second wind tunnel for Toyota Second wind tunnel for ToyotaToyota Motorsport announced Friday that it will build a second 50 percent-scale wind tunnel at its Cologne-based factory. The new tunnel will further bolster the team's aerodynamics department whilst additionally acting as a complementary resource for Toyota's global motorsport activities.

"The decision to build a second wind tunnel stems from our desire to become a world championship-winning Formula 1 team, but we will not be the only beneficiaries of this new facility," stated Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Executive VP of Toyota Motorsport.

"Toyota has three motorsport poles around the world with Higashifuji in Japan, Toyota Racing Development in the US and Toyota Motorsport in Germany. These three poles actively co-operate and share know-how, technology and expertise. Accordingly, the new wind tunnel in Cologne will also double-up as an aerodynamic research centre for other Toyota motorsport activities around the world, highlighting Toyota's "One Team, One Aim" approach to global motor racing."

Construction of the new wind tunnel will begin in October with an estimated completion date of August 2006. Toyota expects the new tunnel to be up-and-running by the start of 2007 after the necessary calibration period.
 
The new tunnel will be a similar construction to the existing 50%-scale facility that has been fully operational since 2001. It will be built adjacent to the existing facility and will be interlinked to the factory through connecting corridors, further enhancing Toyota's philosophy of building its entire Formula 1 car under one roof.

"Although on-track performance and success in Formula 1 is the result of the complete package - chassis, engine, team, drivers – the major performance gains on a race-by-race basis come from aerodynamics," explained President of Toyota Motorsport John Howett. "Most top teams already own two wind tunnels and by having joint access to a second 50 percent-scale wind tunnel with our motorsport colleagues in the US and Japan, we will enable us to efficiently increase our aero output as we look to fight for the F1 championship in the long-term. It is a big endeavor to have the new tunnel running by the end of 2006 but ambition and challenge is what Toyota is about." Toyota

09/17/05
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'NASCAR This Morning'
Loudon, New Hampshire
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
Sylvania 300
New Hampshire International Speedway
12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
TRANS-AM SERIES
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
2005 Season Finale  (8/27/05)
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
STAR MAZDA SERIES
Portland International Raceway
Round 8   (7/30/05)
2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
MOTO GP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Grand Prix of Japan
Motegi, Japan
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'Victory Lane'
Loudon, New Hampshire
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-Host: Ed Hinton
Featured Interview: Elliott Forbes-Robinson
Featured Interview: Brian Barnhart
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
FIA WORLD RALLY
Wales Rally 
Great Britain  (9/15/05 - 9/18/05)
11:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET, SPEED

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

09/16/05
irl
cc
Tracy says Indy 500 not worth the risk Tracy says Indy 500 not worth the riskAccording to this Las Vegas Sun article, Paul Tracy  believes open-wheel cars, which don't have fenders, were not meant to race wheel-to-wheel at literal breakneck speed.  He said he really doesn't have any desire to return to the Indy 500, either, not after what happened to Bruno Junqueira, one of his chief Champ Car rivals, in this year's race.  Junqueira suffered a broken back and other serious injuries when a slower car touched wheels with his, sending it hurtling into the concrete wall.  "It seems like they have two or three of them a year where guys get hurt in huge (expletive) crashes," said the outspoken Tracy. "Look at Bruno. He's got a broken back and 14-inch rods in his spine that are going to stay there forever."
09/16/05
irl
Ganassi scales back to 2 cars Ganassi scales back to 2 carsTarget Chip Ganassi Racing will campaign just two IndyCars in the final two races of the season.  New Zealand's Scott Dixon will drive alongside Italian road racer Giorgio Pantano at the road course event in Watkins Glen, New York, on September 25 and US veteran Jaques Lazier at next month's season-ending oval event in Fontana, California.
09/16/05
nascar
Vickers car impounded Vickers car impoundedThe No. 25 Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports car of Brian Vickers was in NASCAR's possession Friday after it failed inspection five times at New Hampshire International Speedway.  "This was a brand new body that had never been raced," said Doug Duchardt, vice president of development for the Hendrick team. "We learned of a measurement issue during the inspection process and made attempts to correct it. But, after several tries, we decided to forfeit the car [to NASCAR] and go with our backup.  We made the decision to forfeit the car because we didn't feel it could be repaired in a reasonable amount of time," Duchardt said. "It was important to get out on the racetrack in the backup and prepare for Sunday.  We have a very thorough system that should prevent these things, but something obviously fell through the cracks."
09/16/05
irl
Toyota teams test at The Glen Toyota teams test at The GlenA test session exclusively for Toyota powered IndyCar Series teams was held at Watkins Glen International on Friday in preparation for the Inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage, September 23-25. The teams included Marlboro Team Penske with Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr., Target Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon and Giorgio Pantano, Red Bull Cheever Racing’s Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier and Vision Racing’s Ed Carpenter.

Most of the drivers agreed that their lap times are faster than their June test session due to cooler track conditions. The drivers shared their thoughts about their day at The Glen:

Helio Castroneves, #3 Marlboro Team Penske:
“Watkins Glen is very technical and unique. Hopefully, towards the end of the day, we will accomplish all of our changes and can have the best setup for next week. This is a different track with the elevation changes. Two corners here are 2nd gear while the rest are in 3rd and 4th gear. Timing here is tough. The distance you have to correct is smaller. We’re faster by about .5 seconds (when compared to the June test session) because of the good conditions. The cool air helps. I hope we have a lot of advantages over Honda. When we come back, they’ll have to catch up. Hopefully I’ll be climbing the fence here. Once you climb the fence, you have to keep going. I have fun with it. It would be a thrill to climb it here and celebrate with the fans.”

Scott Dixon, #9 Chip Ganassi Racing:
“The track is pretty quick today and I think we’re over a second quicker than when we were here last time and I think we learned something’s from our cars before. We’re relying on this race to be our chance of getting a victory. Straight out speed wise I think we’re gaining. I think that with the amount of testing that we’ve done here it will allow us to keep getting stronger.” zzzz

Giorgio Pantano, #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing:
“This is a very nice track. It doesn’t look as fast as it is at first. It has very nice corners and goes up and down all throughout, so I really like it.”

Patrick Carpentier, #83 Red Bull Cheever Racing:
 “We’re a second faster than last time. We think we can still gain a second this afternoon. We want to be run about 91.1 or 91.4, so about a second faster than before. I think people from Quebec will come down. I’m learning the track. The chicane and carousel turns are tricky. It’s one of the nicest tracks I’ve been on.  It’s a high-speed track with banking that helps sustain momentum. The race should be a fun one, with passing on the uphill backstretch. It’s long and with drafting it’ll lead to some passing or a chance to take advantage of those making mistakes. Turn One should also be good for passing.” 

Alex Barron, #52 Red Bull Cheever Racing:
“We’ve picked up quite a bit of speed. We didn’t have much track time before and now we’re playing catch up for track time. This morning went well. The longer we ran, the quicker we got. A lot of places on this track need to be learned over time. I’m a little behind but I was pretty surprised with the lap times today. It’s a great track. It’s clean but complex. It should be exciting for the fans to watch.”

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

09/16/05
cc
CARA Charities Participates In Champ Car Auction CARA Charities Participates In Champ Car AuctionChamp Car racing fans will have a unique opportunity to grab their own piece of Champ Car history this week and also benefit the victims of the Hurricane Katrina.  As part of the Champ Car World Series Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, CARA Charities will participate in assisting the Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford in an online charity auction from Sept. 16 to Sept. 22.

Online bidders will have the chance to purchase many Champ Car experiences from presenting a trophy in the winner's circle at the September 24 Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400 in Las Vegas to a once-in-a-lifetime ride in a Champ Car 2-Seater at a 2006 event. Champ Car with the help of CARA Charities has been receiving auction items from the series teams and sponsors.  Driver racing suits, autographed die-cast cars, posters and photos also are part of the auction.

The series is running online auctions of one-of-a-kind items on its official website, www.champcar.ws, with proceeds going to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund.  In addition, the auction is available on the CARA Charities website, www.caracharities.org.  zzzz

Donations for the auction have come from Champ Car along with its teams and drivers, as well as from its sponsors and corporate partners. In addition, CARA Charities donated a large parcel of racing-related items for the auction.

The Las Vegas specific items to be redeemed at the Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400 in Las Vegas on September 24 will have an end date of Thursday, Sept. 22, at 1 p.m. (EDT).  The remaining items will continue to be available for bidding until Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. (EDT). 

CARA Charities, one of motorsports’ leading charitable organizations, also is working to provide more than financial relief to those affected through its long-time Bridgestone/Firestone Buckle Up Baby Program. A quarter of all proceeds earned through the Champ Car auction will go to the Buckle Up Baby Program, which will in turn use all of those funds to purchase car seats for infants and children of needy families. The seats will be distributed by the all-volunteer Samaritan Center based in Louisiana.

All payments for the Champ Car items won should be paid by money order or cashiers check made payable to Champ Car Hurricane Relief Auction.  For items redeemed for Las Vegas, please bring a money order or cashier check to the event.  For all other items, winners must send payment, postmarked with seven days of the conclusion of the auction:  Champ Car Hurricane Relief Auction, 5350 Lakeview Parkway South Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46238.

09/16/05
alms
Zytek confirms Petit LeMans entry Zytek confirms Petit LeMans entryThe grid for the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans has grown again with the confirmed entry of the No. 15 factory Zytek 04S, which wowed American Le Mans Series fans at Mid-Ohio in May. 

As was the case there, Hayanari Shimoda and Tom Chilton will pilot the Zytek in Round 9 of the ALMS. The two also will race in the season-ending Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Oct. 15. 

Europe is well represented on the Petit grid, highlighted by the Zytek and a pair of Aston Martin DBR9s. Other European entries of note include the No. 27 Horag-Lista Lola, the No. 30 Barzai Kruse Motorsport Courage and the No. 41 Binnie Motorsports Lola. All entries in the Petit Le Mans field will be racing for automatic invitations to next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, with class winners awarded the bids. 

Shimoda, 21 years old, blistered the Mid-Ohio circuit, breaking the qualifying record by nearly a second and setting a new mark for fastest race lap by more than two seconds. He and the 20-year-old Chilton recently teamed to win the Nurburgring round of the LMES (from the rear of the grid), and Shimoda leads the series' championship standings. 

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

09/16/05
ta
Trans-Am finale to air Trans-Am finale to airAfter an exciting qualifying round at Montreal had Randy Ruhlman and Klaus Graf going back and forth for the pole, the battle for the points lead heats up in the SPEED TV coverage of this final race for the Driver¹s Championship.  Ruhlman in the #49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette held the Driver¹s Championship points lead throughout the year, capturing wins at Long Beach and Cleveland along the way.  Ruhlman comes into Montreal with a slight points disadvantage to the factory Jaguar and Porsche SuperCup driver Klaus Graf, who needed to win the last two races to take over the points lead.  The final race from Montreal will determine the 2005 Trans-Am Driver¹s Champion.  The 2005 Trans-Am season finale from the Molson Indy Montreal at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve will be a one hour, taped broadcast on SPEED TV this Sunday, September 18th  at 1PM EDT (check local listing).
09/16/05
alms
Corvettes and Aston Martins to renew battle Corvettes and Aston Martins to renew battleTheir first meeting at Sebring was a classic, and their second at Le Mans was just as memorable. As the days tick down toward Petit Le Mans and the third battle between Corvette Racing and Aston Martin Racing, the sports car world once again will have an eye on one of the most intriguing GT1 clashes in the American Le Mans Series.

The hype surrounding Round III of the Aston Martin-Corvette battle might be comparable to the Super Bowl, such is the amount of talk and attention coming from series fans. The Aston Martin gang, however, is keeping its attention on the race track.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said Darren Turner, who will partner with David Brabham and Jonny Kane in the No. 57 DBR9. "Obviously at Sebring, we were off the pace a little bit but still snatched the win away. At Le Mans, we had the speed but didn't get to the end. I don't really know what to expect at Atlanta."

The other DBR9, the No. 58 entry, will find Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Pedro Lamy behind the wheel. The same threesome drove at Le Mans together, and Petit Le Mans will mark their first reunion since the famed French endurance classic, which saw Corvette Racing sweep the top two spots in GT1.  zzzz

"Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the home ground for the Corvettes. They were in Le Mans on our home ground and have done a really good job," Enge said. "We know we've been a little bit faster but we haven't done a perfect job to beat them. It's a long race. It's not about speed but also about consistency and reliability. Obviously we'll try to go flat out but will try to take care of the car. I still think we have a little bit faster car and we can challenge them more than the Saleen or Maserati."

Ah yes. Both Enge and Turner are quick to point out the two cars that have come closest to challenging the Corvettes in the ALMS rounds since Sebring. Both cars will have smaller air restrictors for the final two ALMS rounds. But with both races being more endurance than sprint, reliability factors more and more into the equation.

"You have to keep an eye on the other competition. If we go there thinking that's the only battle we have, that's wrong. We have to make sure we go there with the best possible package we have," Turner said. "We've had races, like in Silverstone, where we definitely didn't have a speed advantage, but what played to our favor was the teamwork. We were spot-on in the pits."

The car's debut at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring couldn't have gone much better. The Aston Martin actually stole a page out of Corvette Racing's book by running a clean, mostly trouble-free race. Then the two-car team went on to finish 1-2 at Silverstone nearly two months later.

Talk about your hot starts.

"It has been more than I'd expected," Turner admitted. "It was all very low-key when the development started last October. The build-up was nice and steady, making sure everything was right. Certainly, to have a win this season would have been more than anyone expected, so the Sebring result was incredible.

"Having Aston Martin back is what a lot of the British fans have wanted," he added. "The support that the team has received has been fantastic. Everyone likes how it looks, how it sounds and how quick it is. It's capable of winning any place it goes."

The DBR9s picked up a great deal of speed heading into Le Mans, but the Corvettes ultimately came out on top by running a nearly faultless race, being more concerned with strategy than straight speed. Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen finished first for the second year in a row.

"Aston Martin and Prodrive is a phenomenal team, but it doesn't look like they're as good as Corvette Racing," Gavin said. "We maximized every single bit of our setup and what we had available to us. At times, it was looking like they were going to be 2-3 seconds faster a lap than us. But we looked at our strategy. Olivier and Jan drove extremely fast during their stints. We pushed them so hard that we pushed them into a number of errors."

So here we go, into Round III. Normally, third-generation sequels lose a lot of luster (Jaws 3 comes to mind). It's safe to say that Petit Le Mans won't be a box-office bust.

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

09/16/05
cc
Ansan, South Korea update Ansan, South Korea updateUPDATE More photos from this week's Ansan visit by Ryan Hunter-Reay and Joe Chrnelich.

  

09/15/05 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joe Chrnelich and Randy Biggs made a trip to South Korea this week to help promote the upcoming race in Ansan. They were a huge success as the local media are really into the event now and predict it will be a success. Hunter-Reay said, "Joe Chrnelich was really prepared for this trip. Everything was so well orchestrated even I was impressed. The press conference had a big turnout. My track visit was rained out. The track is about an hour drive from Seoul and we were unable to make it due to flooded streets."

There is still some education process that must be done with the locals as to the difference between Champ Car and F1, but they now have a few websites up that tell the locals everything they want to know about Champ Car.

This latest 15-turn track map shows better detail than before, and if it is accurate, some of the corners have been opened up to improve the original Mickey Mouse layout. If you look closely you will see a good number of grandstands, plus there are a lot of mounds for spectators to view from.

The best news of all, however, might be the fact that there is a bit of one-upmanship going on between the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese, so despite being behind schedule this year, look for this race to become bigger and better in the coming years.  Make no mistake, there is still work to be done; the garages, support towers (media center, race control and such) are under construction.

09/16/05
nascar
Gordon leads opening practice in NH Gordon leads opening practice in NH
Rank Car Driver Speed Time
1 #24 Jeff Gordon 128.411 29.661
2 #20 Tony Stewart 127.671 29.833
3 #7 Robby Gordon 127.478 29.878
4 #12 Ryan Newman 127.440 29.887
5 #18 Bobby Labonte 127.227 29.937
6 #42 Jamie McMurray 127.146 29.956
7 #17 Matt Kenseth 127.070 29.974
8 #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 127.049 29.979
9 #43 Jeff Green 127.049 29.979
10 #41 Casey Mears 126.842 30.028 zzzz
11 #01 Joe Nemechek 126.833 30.030
12 #34 Ted Christopher 126.820 30.033
13 #5 Kyle Busch* 126.795 30.039
14 #31 Jeff Burton 126.778 30.043
15 #6 Mark Martin 126.698 30.062
16 #2 Rusty Wallace 126.639 30.076
17 #21 Ricky Rudd 126.563 30.094
18 #48 Jimmie Johnson 126.559 30.095
19 #99 Carl Edwards 126.547 30.098
20 #16 Greg Biffle 126.266 30.165
21 #97 Kurt Busch 126.098 30.205
22 #29 Kevin Harvick 126.094 30.206
23 #38 Elliott Sadler 126.032 30.221
24 #11 J.J. Yeley 125.744 30.290
25 #4 Mike Wallace 125.732 30.293
26 #15 Michael Waltrip 125.657 30.311
27 #32 Bobby Hamilton Jr. 125.657 30.311
28 #77 Travis Kvapil* 125.624 30.319
29 #50 Jimmy Spencer 125.562 30.334
30 #19 Jeremy Mayfield 125.475 30.355
31 #88 Dale Jarrett 125.388 30.376
32 #10 Scott Riggs 125.364 30.382
33 #66 Mike Garvey* 125.310 30.395
34 #175 Wayne Anderson 125.298 30.398
35 #45 Kyle Petty 125.187 30.425
36 #195 Stanton Barrett* 125.150 30.434
37 #9 Kasey Kahne 124.879 30.500
38 #40 Sterling Marlin 124.760 30.529
39 #22 Scott Wimmer 124.353 30.629
40 #49 Ken Schrader 124.195 30.668
41 #07 Dave Blaney 124.085 30.695
42 #151 Stuart Kirby 123.811 30.763
43 #0 Mike Bliss 123.250 30.903
44 #37 Tony Raines 120.704 31.555
45 #192 Joey McCarthy 118.884 32.038
46 #200 Carl Long 117.093 32.528
47 #89 Morgan Shepherd 97.337 39.130
09/16/05
nascar
Petty won't arrive until Sunday Petty won't arrive until SundayNextel Cup veteran Kyle Petty does not plan to arrive at New Hampshire International Speedway until Sunday, in time to run in the Sylvania 300.  Petty has not been feeling well this week and still has mixed feelings coming to the track, where his son, Adam, died in a Busch Series practice session crash in 2000, team official said. ThatsRacin.com
09/16/05
irl
More broken bones for IRL drivers More broken bones for IRL driversUPDATE #6 Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s 23-year-old Australian IndyCar rookie driver Ryan Briscoe (no.33 Target Toyota) continues to progress in his road to recovery after a spectacular incident last Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.

Since arriving at Indianapolis’ Methodist Hospital Monday afternoon, Briscoe underwent further evaluation and treatment by Dr. Scott Bjerke, Dr. Terry Trammell and Dr. Kevin Sheid, with the assistance of Indy Racing League medical personnel.

Briscoe sustained a concussion, two broken collarbones, a bruised lung and contusions to his legs and arms. He also has a tiny fracture to a small bone in his right foot and several contusions on his back. All injuries are expected to heal without requiring further treatment or surgery. Briscoe is expected to be transferred out of the critical care unit this weekend where he was being treated for breathing difficulties stemming from the inhalation of heat and vapors during the incident. He is expected to make a full recovery and should be released from hospital early next week.

Based on Briscoe’s current condition, the team plans to campaign a two-car effort for each of the final two races of the 2005 IndyCar season at Watkins Glen and California Speedway. Target Chip Ganassi Racing

09/16/05 As we predicted, Ryan Briscoe also hurt his back, but the IRL is keeping that quiet after proclaiming he was just fine.  He damaged his "T1 and T2 discs" in the lower back according to a report on Motorsport.com.  The report wasn't more specific as to whether he broke the discs or perhaps they slipped, either way it's not a good thing.  We have added these injuries (plus his fractures to both clavicles, bad concussion, bruised lung, broken foot, trouble breathing) to the IRL vs. Champ Car injury history list. The IRL TV announcers proclaimed he was just fine and nothing was broken.  We guess in the IRL you are "just fine" if you're still alive.

09/15/05 Anyone interested in sending get-well cards to Ryan Briscoe can mail them to:
Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Attn: Ryan Briscoe
7777 Woodland Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46278

09/14/05 Additional exams show Ryan Briscoe, 23, the Indy-car driver injured in Sunday's fiery crash in a race at Chicagoland Speedway, also has a fractured bone in his foot and spinal bruises.  He suffered a concussion, two broken collarbones and a lung contusion from the car-splitting wreck with Alex Barron in the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300. Briscoe is at Methodist Hospital.  Briscoe is having breathing issues, but that is "probably more from the fire and the smoke than the lung contusion," said Dr. Kevin Scheid, a member of the IRL's medical team.  The Australian's spinal bruises are not expected to require treatment, Scheid said. Indy Star [Editor's Note:  We heard Briscoe might still be in critical care, so apparently he is not doing so well.  Breathing problems could be caused by severe concussion too, depending on what part of his brain got whacked.  We doubt he breathed much flame during the spit second he was engulfed, plus he had a Balaclava on.  We have updated our IRL vs. Champ Car injury list to include these additional injuries.] 09/13/05 Briscoe is expected to remain hospitalized for the next few days as the IRL's medical staff does more extensive examinations, specifically on his back.....which we suspect could be broken given he was complaining of back pains. 09/11/05 We are hearing Briscoe's concussion is not a minor one.  Apparently his bell really got rung.  We have updated our IRL vs. Champ Car injury List. 09/11/05 Ryan Briscoe, who was airlifted to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., was listed in good condition with a concussion, a bruised lung and two fractured clavicles. He will be kept overnight for further observation.  It's not yet clear whether he has any vertebrae fractures as they sometimes mask themselves for a day or two.  The fractured clavicles will probably keep him out the rest of the year.

09/16/05
f1
Renault presses on under pressure Renault presses on under pressureEnstone is a hive of activity at the moment, as the Renault F1 Team prepares for the final 3 races. To all intents and purposes, the build-up proper began this morning as the three R25 chassis destined to defend the team's fortunes in the final races of the season, left the factory bound for Brazil, then Japan and China. They were driven to Stansted airport, north-east of London, from where they will head to Sao Paulo.

Steve Nielsen, Sporting Manager -  “On Wednesday and Thursday, the mechanics completed assembly of the cars, and they reached the airport at 06:20 this morning. They were accompanied by 25,000 kg of air freight.”

On top of this load, the team must also add the engines and support material from Viry-Châtillon.  More then 50 personnel from Enstone will be flying to Brazil. They will then return to Europe before departing for the final two races of the season. As for the equipment, it won't be back until late October.  “The cars hadn’t been back to the factory since Istanbul. We had run the races in Turkey, Italy and Belgium without once coming back to base. The R25s were back here for barely 5 days after Spa, and now they are off again for another month!”

So, is tiredness beginning to set in at the end of a long season?  "A little. We have 19 races this season, whereas two years ago the championship had already finished! The number of races isn’t the problem, but you have to cram them into the same length of time. The break in August was very useful…! But we are still fighting for both championships, and that incentive means you can cope with the all-nighters. We are ready for the final challenge.” Renault F1 

09/16/05
CART
Aat Groenevelt dies Aat Groenevelt diesWritten by: Business Wire Indianapolis, Ind. – 9/16/2005 Aat Groenevelt, owner of Provimi Veal, Inc. and longtime sponsor of Arie Luyendyk and also of Arie Luyendyk Jr. passed away earlier this week. Aat was instrumental in Luyendyk’s career in the United States.

“I have lost not only my mentor and longtime sponsor during my career but also a great friend,” said the Indy 500 winner. “Without the generous support from Aat dating back to 1983, I would not have had a career in Indy Cars, I will miss him very much.

“Aat was such a caring and generous person from whom I learned so much in my early years here in the States. When I won my first Indy 500 in 1990 I was as much thrilled for Aat as for myself and in 1997 Aat said, "Let's put Provimi on your car in the same spot we had in 1990 because I have this feeling you'll win again" He had the right feeling and again we celebrated a win together, it was very special, just like Aat.

Aat's company Provimi Veal also sponsored Arie Luyendyk Luyendyk Jr. for several years in Formula Ford and in the IRL Infiniti Pro Series. Aat saw the younger Luyendyk grow up from when he was two years old during Arie Sr's career and enjoyed supporting him as well. "I'm very sad about Aat's passing, he was like a grandfather to me in the States, he was like family to us" said Arie Jr.

In 1981 Provimi Veal sponsored Tony Bettenhausen for the 1981 Indy 500 and soon Provimi became synonymous with Indy Car racing fielding it's own team from 1982 through 1986 with drivers such as Tony and Gary Bettenhausen, Derek Daly, John Paul Jr. and Arie Luyendyk.

After 1986 Provimi became the title sponsor on Arie Luyendyk's Indy Car from 1987 through 1990 with such teams as Hemelgarn, Dick Simon Racing and Shierson Racing. From 1997 through 2003 Provimi was an associate sponsor on Arie Luyendyk's car for the Indy 500.

In 1984 and 1985 Provimi also sponsored in the Super Vee series and in both years the team won the championship, first with Arie Luyendyk and then with Ken Johnson.  Provimi was also a title sponsor for the Elkhart Lake Indy Car race for many years.

09/16/05
f1
Toyota pushing hard to catch Ferrari Toyota pushing hard to catch FerrariAfter a season of races that has taken in Australia, Asia, North America and Europe, the Formula One circus will next weekend head for the last continent on the calendar: South America, courtesy of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Brazil has produced so many motor racing legends that it will have a place in the heart of any F1 fan. Interlagos, the current base for the country's Grand Prix in the giant, sprawling city of Sao Paulo, has also played host to some classic battles down the years. Toyota heads to Brazil in fourth place in the constructors' championship on 80 points, just ten points behind Ferrari and pushing hard to make the top three.

Toyota has three races left to fulfill its ambition of making it into the top three of the constructors' championship, and Jarno Trulli will be pushing as hard as ever to make it happen. Ralf Schumacher is looking forward to his Sao Paulo trip for many reasons, not least the quality of the steaks in the downtown restaurants. zzzz

Jarno Trulli - "Our pace has looked good recently so our target for the last three flyaway races is to challenge Ferrari for third place in the constructors' championship. We are only ten points behind and we can definitely manage it if we continue to push hard. To come from near the back of the grid last year to the position we are in now is an amazing achievement and it's down to a fantastic performance by the whole team."

"The Brazilian Grand Prix is a race that I have always enjoyed. I always enjoy racing at technically demanding tracks, and Interlagos is certainly a challenge with a mix of low and high speed sections and some other things that make it quite complicated. I like the first corner a lot, and it is one of only three anti-clockwise circuits on the calendar, which can make the race tiring on the neck. Most of all, I remember the torrential rain from the 2003 race. That made life really tricky..."

Ralf Schumacher - "Interlagos is a challenging circuit for both drivers and the technical team – one of the most demanding on the calendar. It's less bumpy than it used to be, which is lucky seeing as I've had such a pounding in past races that it's only taken a few laps to give me a headache! But even since they changed the track surface there are still bumps so you have to find a good damper and spring set-up. Apart from that you have to find a good compromise between aerodynamical downforce, mechanical grip and top speed. When you come to the tight corners on the infield like Pinheirinho and Bico de Pato it's important to have as much mechanical grip as possible, and as much downforce as you can find. But you have to balance that out with the two long straights, where the cars need to have as little wing as possible to go quickly."

"Away from the circuit I'm a big fan of meat so I'm looking forward to trying out some more great Brazilian steaks."

Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer - "Interlagos is a circuit with a medium downforce configuration, with some quick corners, but also some very low speed, tight corners where traction is very important. It's quite easy on brakes but usually you have quite a lot of tire wear, which will be an influencing factor for the tire choice. The fact that it is anti-clockwise doesn't make much difference from an engineering point of view, but some of the drivers put some padding on the head rest to support the helmet because of the different stresses it places on the neck."

"The track surface is not as bumpy as it used to be but what bumps there are can cause problems. If they are on the straight it's not so critical. But if you have them on the corners then you can really upset the car's balance. So you need to set up the car in a way that it does not have any sudden balance changes when it goes over a bump. If you don't, the driver can lose control – and you especially want to avoid snap oversteer over the bumps. The circuit is at high altitude so you can miss out on engine power. But that's the same for everyone." Toyota

09/16/05
Industry News
Analyst suggests that Ford go private Analyst suggests that Ford go privateShould Ford Motor Co. go back to its private roots? Brian Johnson, an auto analyst with Sanford Bernstein & Co. in New York, thinks so. In a note to investors Wednesday, he suggested the troubled automaker, which lost $907 million in North America during the second quarter, return to private ownership as part of its restructuring. In a detailed analysis of the option, he wrote, "We think Ford should distribute Ford Credit to shareholders, buy out Class A shares (with Hertz, real estate and PAG sale proceeds) and retire Ford unsecured bonds -- leaving Ford as a private company owned by the Ford family." Ford Motor spokesman Oscar Suris said the automaker had no response to the report. Detroit Free Press
09/16/05
irl
IRL follows Indy advice for 2006 IRL follows Indy advice for 2006Indy Racing League participants don't know what to make of the reduced 14-race schedule announced this week for 2006. But this much is clear: The onus is on the television partner (ABC/ESPN) to make the compact format successful.

"I've been sitting in (meetings) for years and without fail every TV and marketing person has said that you can't go against the NFL on TV in the fall," said Scott Roembke, general manager and chief operation officer of Rahal Letterman Racing. "Everyone wants higher ratings, so we've got to see how this works out. I give the IRL credit for trying."

Theoretically, the IRL will benefit from being on the track 16 times -- 14 races plus two qualifying weekends at Indianapolis -- in a 25-week stretch. Before ESPN programming chief Mark Shapiro left the cable network last month, he said TV executives need consistency to promote effectively.

"You can't take stretches of weeks off, especially coming out of the Indy 500, or you lose your momentum," said Shapiro, who convinced IRL officials to condense their season. "TV promotes a week out. The IRL will be there when its season starts in April and ends at Labor Day."

League officials essentially hit Shapiro's target, starting March 26 and ending Sept. 10.

ABC and ESPN, which are contractually tied to the IRL through 2009, improved promotion of the league this year. News updates more frequently appear at the bottom of the screen during non-IRL events. Races are also being discussed regularly during the networks' telecasts of other sporting events.

Shapiro also encouraged the IRL to hold a race on the weekend following the Indianapolis 500. Next year, the league will race at Watkins Glen International, a road course in upstate New York.

Roembke said that is a marketing advantage.  "The Indy winner is going to be spending his week in New York (City), right?" he said. "Then it can't be a bad thing to have the IRL in the state of the country's biggest market for a week after the 500."  [Psst, someone tell Scott The Glen is 5 hours from the city.  NY city urbanites will not drive 5 hours for a car race.] More at Indy Star

[Editor's Note: The only reason the IRL is getting a bit better TV ratings than last year is because of Danica Patrick. If not for her the downward spiral would have continued. And even with Danica, the IRL's network TV ratings are the same as Champ Car, i.e. around a 1.0. What the IRL does not seem to comprehend is the fact that because Tony George split the sport of Indy Car Racing he made it irrelevant (As in Irrelevant Indy Racing League). NASCAR is king in the USA, and they can try all the scheduling tricks in the book, it will remain irrelevant as long as the split continues.]

09/16/05
Track News
Daytona announces 2006 schedule Daytona announces 2006 scheduleFor the 48th straight year, Daytona International Speedway will host the Daytona 500, NASCAR's biggest, richest and most prestigious event, highlight a busy 2006 motorsports calendar for the storied racing facility.  "The World Center of Racing" will showcase "The Great American Race" on Sunday, Feb. 19 as well as NASCAR's most exciting nighttime race - the Pepsi 400 - on Saturday, July 1.  Tickets for NASCAR's signature event, which has been a sellout since the inaugural event in 1959, start at $95. Tickets for the Pepsi 400 begin at $50.

Other events on tap during Speedweeks 2006 include:

  • The Rolex 24 At Daytona, the kick-off event to the international motorsports calendar and is the season-opening event to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. The prestigious sports car race, which is traditionally held in the first week of February, will now be held on Jan. 26-29, 2006 - the weekend between the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl.
  • Budweiser Shootout, an All-Star race featuring the previous year's Bud Pole winners as well as past Budweiser Shootout champions (Feb. 11).
  • ARCA 200, the ARCA RE/MAX Series' kick-off event that features many of the rising stars of stock car racing. (Feb. 11).
  • Bud Pole Qualifying for the Daytona 500, the front row of the Daytona 500 will be at stake with two high-speed qualifying laps (Feb. 12).
  • Gatorade Duel At Daytona, a pair of 150-mile qualifying races that finalize the field for the Daytona 500 (Feb. 16).
  • Daytona 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, a popular 100-lap race under the lights (Feb. 17).
  • Crown Royal IROC Series, the 40-lap invitation-only All-Star race (Feb. 17).
  • Hershey's Kissables 300, the crown jewel event in the NASCAR Busch Series (Feb. 18) and circuit's richest event of the year. zzzz

Other historical events on tap at Daytona International Speedway in 2006 include:

Daytona 200 Week: On March 2-11, the two-wheel thunder of motorcycles will roar into Daytona International Speedway with competitive racing from the Championship Cup Series, Formula USA, American Historic Motorcycle Racing Association and the American Motorcyclist Association.

Highlighting the schedule will be Dirt Track racing at Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium on March 8-9, the Daytona Supercross By Honda under the lights on March 10 and the 65th Daytona 200 By Honda on March 11.

The Speedway will also be hosting free demo rides and displays as well as Kickstand City, which will have overnight parking and top-notch entertainment.

Pepsi 400 Weekend: Preceding the Pepsi 400 on the Independence Day holiday racing weekend will be the NASCAR Busch Series 250 race on June 30 and the Rolex Sports Car Series 250 race on June 29.

Fall Cycle Scene: The Championship Cup Series and Formula USA will return to DIS on Oct. 19-22. The CCS Race of Champions brings together hundreds of amateur and semi-pro riders from across the country. The top racers from each region compete all year in their home region to earn the right to race on DIS' road course. The Formula USA National Road Race Series, which kicked off their season in Daytona in March, will return to DIS to crown their season champions.

Daytona Kartweek By Cometic Gasket: On Dec. 26-30, DIS will host the largest go-karting event in the world - Daytona Kartweek by Cometic Gasket. For five days at both the Speedway and nearby Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium, go-karts will compete in a plethora of World Karting Association events.

Many of today's racing stars competed in karting events at Daytona, including former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champions Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, 2003 NEXTEL Cup Series Rookie of the Year Jamie McMurray and 2003 Busch Series champion Brian Vickers.

09/16/05
irl
Irrelevant Racing League Irrelevant Racing LeagueOn Tuesday, while Aging Cynic listened as Indy Racing League officials unveiled the 2006 schedule, he kept waiting for them to announce a name change.

It didn't happen, but it really didn't matter. It's clear now that IRL stands for Irrelevant Racing League, and no longer should be regarded as a major racing series, even if it does include the Indianapolis 500. That became obvious as IRL president Brian Barnhart and vice-president of business affairs Ken Ungar tried to spin straw into gold and convince those on the conference call that what they were hearing in the background wasn't a funeral dirge.

In announcing the new 14-race, 25-week schedule and the cancellation of events at California Speedway, Phoenix and Fountain, Colo., Barnhart said the series needs to "make sure we're racing in places that make good business sense," and that sometimes it's necessary to take a step back to go forward.

Aging Cynic thinks it's more a case of cutting off one's proboscis to spite his kisser, then bleeding to death while trying to figure how you could have done something so dumb.  More at Press-Enterprise

09/16/05
gp2
Bruni abruptly quits Coloni GP2 team Bruni abruptly quits Coloni GP2 teamUPDATE AutoRacing1.com has learned that Ferdinando Monfardini (ex Durango) will replace Bruni at Coloni Motorsport in the last event in Barhain.  We expect announcement soon. 09/01/05 Gianmaria Bruni has quit his GP2 drive with Coloni Motorsport, just a day before the start of the race program for the Italian Grand Prix. His seat is to be filled by Italian Formula 3000 driver Toni Vilander. Bruni arrived at the circuit early today with his manager to inform team principal Paolo Coloni of his decision before leaving, and was unavailable for comment on the situation. When asked about Bruni's resignation, Coloni stated: "Of course it was a big surprise, especially when you receive a letter to say that the driver does not wish to take part in his home race." Autosport-Atlas
09/16/05
f1
The stats and facts of Renault The stats and facts of RenaultAs the Renault F1 Team is working flat out to prepare for the final three races of the season, the stats they have clocked up since Melbourne look pretty flattering.

Since the opening race of the season, the Renault F1 Team has put in its strongest performance since returning to Formula 1 in 2002.

After 16 rounds of the championship, the Renault R25 has taken seven victories (six for Fernando Alonso and one for Giancarlo Fisichella), five pole positions and three fastest laps. The Renault F1 Team drivers have scored 14 podiums, including two double podiums in Melbourne and Monza. They have also started from the front row nine times. The Renaults have covered nearly 7900 km in the races this year, including approximately 2000 km leading a Grand Prix.

For Renault, the 2005 season has allowed the team to extend a winning heritage that stretches back to Jean-Pierre Jabouille’s victory in the 1979 French Grand Prix. Since them, a 100 percent Renault car has won 24 world championship Grands Prix.  zzzz 

The team has moved ahead of Tyrrell in the standings (23 wins) and is now aiming for Benetton’s tally of 27. The Renault diamond has sat on pole 41 times, set 22 fastest laps and taken 66 podium finishes. Renault cars have scored 680 World Championship points since 1977.

After his dramatic start to the season, Alonso has now led a Grand Prix 22 times in his career. He is 27th in the overall standings, between Mario Andretti and Alberto Ascari.

The Spaniard has already moved ahead of Jacques Villeneuve, Jacky Ickx and Carlos Reutemann, some legendary names in F1. Giancarlo Fisichella has also made progress in the standings: the Italian has led eight Grands Prix since the start of his career, which puts him between Jean-Pierre Jabouille (7) and Patrick Tambay (9), both of whom were stalwart Renault drivers.

Since last November, the Renault F1 Team has tested for 60 days, which puts the team in sixth position behind Ferrari, Toyota, McLaren, BAR and Williams. In terms of the mileage covered during this testing, Renault climbs to fourth position with nearly 44,000 km – which encapsulates perfectly the team’s philosophy of economic efficiency, and mechanical reliability. Source Renault

09/16/05
a1gp
Australian GP trying to stop A1 ‘Grand Prix’ Australian GP trying to stop A1 ‘Grand Prix’The Australian Grand Prix Corporation said Friday it would launch legal action against the A1 GP championship, just days ahead of the breakaway competition's first race. Corporation chairman Ron Walker said he had authorized legal proceedings following a breakdown in talks in London with A1 GP's lawyers over the use of the term 'grand prix.' The Australian Grand Prix Corporation believes that the use of the phrase "A1 Grand Prix" infringes on its intellectual property rights.

"It is unfortunate that the matter has come to this, however, the corporation must protect its valuable intellectual property in relation to the Grand Prix," Walker said in a statement.

The term ‘Grand Prix’ it must be noted is used in athletics, snooker, ballet, chess, tennis, dressage, volleyball, motorcycling, Champ Car and a whole host of other sports and disciplines and is not just a Formula One motor racing term. In fact the term was first used for the Grand Prix de Paris horse race dating back to 1863 [Hence Ron Walker will probably lose his battle in court.]. Source AFP

09/16/05
f1
Williams confirms Pizzonia for Brazil Williams confirms Pizzonia for BrazilThe Williams team have confirmed that Antonio Pizzonia will race for them at the Brazilian Grand Prix next week. "Obviously I am very happy I've been given the opportunity to race again, particularly as Brazil is my home race," said Pizzonia. "It will be very special for me to race in front of a home crowd so I can't wait. Interlagos is a great track, one which I really enjoy driving so I'm hoping to have a good weekend."

Mark Webber will again be partnered by Antonio Pizzonia for his home Grand Prix at Interlagos in Brazil next weekend. Pizzonia replaces the injured Nick Heidfeld, who has suffered a succession of incidents while testing and, more latterly, sustaining a cracked shoulder blade following a cycling accident.

The team is approaching the final three races of a difficult season with renewed confidence based on increasing competitiveness over the past four races.

Mark Webber
"I always enjoy the Brazilian Grand Prix, the fans are very passionate and knowledgeable. It was also a formative part of growing up, watching great racing there on television, particularly in the Senna/McLaren era. As with the last race at Spa, Interlagos can throw up a real mixture of weather, particularly heavy rain showers in the late afternoon, which can make the weekend very interesting. The track is, of course, famous for its anti-clockwise direction and also has many undulations and bumps, but I don't mind this as it provides a good challenge for the driver. After our fourth place in Spa, I'm hoping we can continue to push for more points at Interlagos."
 
Antonio Pizzonia
"Obviously I am very happy I’ve been given the opportunity to race again, particularly as Brazil is my home race. It will be very special for me to race in front of a home crowd so I can’t wait. Interlagos is a great track, one which I really enjoy driving so I’m hoping to have a good weekend."

"The bumps make it quite a tricky circuit and a unique one when it comes to set-up of the car. The weather can be unpredictable in Sao Paulo and I wouldn’t be surprised if we had some rain this year. It was good for me to be in the car this week at Silverstone, where we tested for two days, so I now feel better prepared for the race."

Sam Michael, Williams Technical Director
"Interlagos is a great track with many overtaking opportunities, mainly created due to the two straights and the undulating terrain. Dominated by slow to medium corners and straight lines, it is important to have a good car balance in the corners that precede the straights. The long pitlane and low fuel penalty both have a first order affect on strategy decision and indeed what tire compound level we will use. We have worked with Michelin to choose two tires that should cover the different track temperatures that are inherent to this circuit."

It’s great that Antonio has another opportunity to race, especially in Brazil where he will be in front of his home crowd. This, coupled with Mark’s solid qualifying position, should enable us maximize the results in Brazil, a track that we won on last year."
 
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director
"The three flyaway races at the end of the season present a real challenge to the team and our logistics. Winning last year’s race in São Paulo was the highlight of our season. This year we have had a difficult season so we would like to score good points in the remaining Grands Prix."

"In Interlagos the main challenge for the BMW P84/5 engine is the start-finish straight. It leads uphill and the cars are flat out for 1,203 meters. Also, the 60 percent full-throttle ratio per lap is more than average. One can not really expect heat in São Paulo at this time of the year, changeable weather conditions are more likely."

"After the latest and final engine specification proved its strength in Monza and Spa, we are well prepared for Interlagos. According to plan, both drivers will get fresh V10 engines for almost the last time this year." BMW Williams

09/16/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Rossi slams Ross Brawn
Teams end testing week
Minardi sale to close avenue
Ferrari take some blame
Frank fried by former rival
Yamamoto drive in doubt
Rosberg on Williams' 'list'
Minardi to stick with Cosworth
EJ's Schu plea
09/16/05
f1
BMW signs Heidfeld to 3-year deal BMW signs Heidfeld to 3-year dealBMW and Nick Heidfeld will embark on a joint future in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2006. The Munich automobile manufacturer has concluded a three-year contract with the racing driver from Mönchengladbach (28). This fills the first cockpit in the new team run by BMW.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen comments: "For us, a new era in Formula 1 will begin on 1 January 2006 when BMW takes over the team operated by Peter Sauber. We are very pleased that Nick will be with us in what will undoubtedly be a difficult initial phase. He is not simply a fast and courageous driver, he is also an analytical and meticulous worker. Nick already knows the two sites in Munich and Hinwil, and is familiar with everybody involved."

Heidfeld, who is currently recovering from a cycling accident in his adopted home of Switzerland, said: "I'm really looking forward to the future. As far as I'm concerned, this represents the fulfillment of a big dream. I have a great deal of respect for the work carried out in Hinwil from 2001 to 2003. And for nearly a year now, I've experienced at first hand the commitment and resources BMW puts into its Formula 1 project. Naturally, I'm not expecting a miracle during the first season after a new start in 2006. But I'm confident that the new team will be successful over the long term." Heidfeld has been lining up on the grid for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team since 2005. He achieved his first F1 pole position in May at the Nürburgring and took second place in two races (Monaco and Nürburgring). zzzz

On 22 June 2005, BMW announced it would be running its own Formula 1 team from 2006 after acquiring a majority holding in the Swiss team Sauber. BMW has been racing in Formula 1 as partner of WilliamsF1 since the 2000 season. The team has now competed in 101 grands prix, achieved 10 victories and 17 pole positions. Second place in the Constructors' Championship for 2002 and 2003 provided the best season's result.

The Sauber Team has been operating in Formula 1 since 1993. The team became established as the most successful private team when it took fourth place in the Constructors' Championship in 2001.

BMW will not only retain the Hinwil site, it will expand the workforce from a current headcount of nearly 300 to some 400 employees. Around 300 people are working on the Formula 1 project at BMW Motorsport in Munich. Theissen explains: "Overall, we will have a team numbering around 700. Expansion of the aerodynamic department in Hinwil has top priority. At present, it isn't possible to fully exploit the opportunities offered by the first-class wind tunnel, because there are not the personnel to operate several shifts. We are gradually working towards using the facility round the clock."

09/16/05
irl
The masses are livid at IRL leadership The masses are livid at IRL leadershipUPDATE A reader responds, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I highly object to your repeated statements that Tony George has set U.S. open wheel racing back ten years.  We won't know how far he's set it back until it recovers to pre-split numbers.  Ten years is a gross understatement in my opinion! Wes Barton  09/15/05 This SPEEDTV article talks about the new smaller 14-race IRL schedule - key excerpt - Reducing your product by 18 percent isn't a sign of progress. Dropping all but one race from the Mountain and Pacific time zones doesn't do much to attract business. Letting markets as large as Los Angeles and Phoenix slip away (and then surreptitiously placing the blame on the tracks) doesn't do much for sponsors or future relations with promoters.

All of which led to the primary theme of the behind-the-scenes reaction to the announcement: For the first time, the diehard IRL backers are beginning to doubt the direction, the leadership and the future of the IRL. Yep, the hardcores are grumbling. Like finding a dead canary in the mine, it's not a good sign.

They're wondering out loud. In some cases, they're fuming. In other cases, they're openly questioning the people in places of authority in the organization. There is dissent among the masses. It was not an announcement that made the peasants want to place their coats in the mud to keep the king's shoes clean.

[Editor's Note: We said long ago that if Tony George was the President of any other corporation in the world he would have been fired by the Board of Directors long ago. He has no business running a racing series and would have been far better off focusing on the Indy 500 and running some race teams. The Kool-Aid drinkers of the IRL, and those feeding at the money trough of the Hulman-George family, didn't like that we said that, but the fact of the matter Mr. George made many strategic mistakes, the biggest one of course creating the IRL in the first place. He has set the sport back 10 years, for which it may never recover. It's time for the failed experiment called the IRL to end, and we get back to rebuilding open wheel racing in the USA.  How many more crashes do we have to see like the one to the right before everyone realizes this is, as the IRL TV announcer put it, "certifiably insane."]

09/16/05
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP - Qualifying
Sylvania 300
New Hampshire International Speedway
12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
GRAND-AM ROLEX SERIES
EMCO Gears Classic
Mid-Ohio   (8/26/05 - 8/27/05)
12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET (Replay) SPEED
PORSCHE SUPER CUP
Rounds 7 and 8
France and England
2:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'NASCAR Live!'
Loudon, New Hampshire
2:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK
Sylvania 200 Presented by Lowe's
New Hampshire International Speedway
3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES
 'Race Car Driver'
Episode 3, Milwaukee
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (Replay) WGN
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'NASCAR Live!'
Loudon, New Hampshire
7:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED

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

09/15/05
f1
Pizzonia tops final testing at Silverstone Pizzonia tops final testing at Silverstone
1) Pizzonia, Williams-BMW (M), 1:20.720, 64 laps
2) Liuzzi, Red Bull-Cosworth (M), 1:20.922, 39
3) Rosberg, Williams-BMW (M), 1:21.152, 63
4) Klien, Red Bull-Cosworth (M), 1:21.687, 50
5) R.Schumacher, Toyota (M), 1:22.098, 33
6) Yamamoto, Jordan-Toyota (B), 1:25.933, 68
7) Panis, Toyota (M), 1:40.684, 10
09/15/05
A1 Grand Prix
Ireland team announces its driver Ireland team announces its driverA1 Team Ireland's entry to the first-ever World Cup of Motorsport was revealed today amid a spectacular smoke and light display at the Royal Dublin Society's Concert Hall. In a high-profile ceremony, the Irish green car was unveiled to the country's top dignitaries including the Irish government's Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Department of An Taoiseach, Tom Kitt before it makes its public debut at the Irish Motor Show tomorrow.

A1 Team Ireland's Team Principal, Mark Gallagher spoke of the significance of including Ireland in the global A1 Grand Prix series. "Although we face stiff opposition from some of the world's largest nations as well as countries with highly developed motorsport industries, the fact that A1GP provides teams with a level playing field in terms of the car and technology means that the difference between winning and losing will be decided by driver ability, quality of engineering, team-work and race strategy. In each of these areas we are strong and to emerge fastest on the final day of the major pre-season test in Paul Ricard, France, demonstrated our potential. I am confident we have built a team capable of challenging for victories in the inaugural A1 Grand Prix series"  zzzz

Announcing that 20 year-old Michael Devaney will make his race debut in the opening round of the A1 Grand Prix series at Brands Hatch on 25 September, Chief Executive of A1 Team Ireland Mark Kershaw explained the Team's philosophy on driver choice. "We are fortunate in Ireland to possess a small but highly talented group of drivers on which to draw for A1 Team Ireland. In Ralph Firman - A1 Team Ireland's main driver - we have someone who has not only won at every level of the sport but also raced in Formula One and is currently one of Team Honda Racing's leading drivers in the Japanese SuperGT series. When we signed him we knew he had conflicting commitments in the first and fourth rounds of the A1 Grand Prix series, so we are fortunate to have a rising star such as Michael Devaney to drive for the team in Brands Hatch. The World Cup of Motorsport is an innovative and exciting concept and in A1 Team Ireland we have the talent to compete for success."

Devaney, who currently lies second in the German Formula 3 Championship said: "Naturally I am delighted to drive for the Team at Brands Hatch and I'd like to thank A1 Team Ireland for giving me the opportunity to demonstrate my ability against top international competitors. Every driver wants to be given a break like this and A1 Grand Prix enables countries such as Ireland to develop their drivers at international level. I am really looking forward to racing in A1GP."

Speaking at the launch of A1 Team Ireland, A1 Grand Prix Founder, President and Chairman, Sheikh Maktoum said: 'Ireland has a strong tradition of competition in high-level international motorsport that will continue with A1 Team Ireland's entry to the World Cup of Motorsport. With the backing of Mark Kershaw, PJ Fallon and Mark Gallagher - all renowned for their motorsport expertise, and a bit of the traditional Irish luck, I am sure that A1 Team Ireland will do their country proud when the inaugural A1 Grand Prix of Nations takes to the grid at Brands Hatch next week.'

09/15/05
irl
IRL TV Rating from Chicagoland IRL TV Rating from ChicagolandUPDATE The final Chicagoland TV rating for the IRL was a 1.0/2 share, exactly the same as Champ Car's recent 'network' TV ratings, so both series are about equal in that department. 09/12/05 The overnight TV rating for the IRL race from Chicagoland on ABC Sunday garnered a 1.1/2 share overnight rating.  Considering football season has started, that's not too bad a number.  We'll see if the final holds up, however.
09/15/05
nascar
NASCAR Richmond TV Rating NASCAR Richmond TV RatingUPDATE The Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway gathered a final 3.3 Rating on TNT with 3,676,000 households viewing and with 5,673,000 viewers.  That number is down from the 2004 race on TNT that had a rating of 3.5 and total households watching of 3,829,000.  09/14/05 The overnight rating for Saturday night's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Richmond was a 3.3 on TNT, up 14% over last year.
09/15/05
a1gp
Scott Speed selected for USA team Scott Speed selected for USA teamA1 Team USA owner and CEO, Rick Weidinger announced today A1 Team USA's driver will be Scott Speed for the inaugural season which kicks off at Brands Hatch a week Sunday. 

"Scott Speed represents the best for the United States and I think that he clearly meets our obligation to utilize the very best talent that America can offer in order to win the World Cup of Motorsport," said Weidinger. "I believe that A1 Team USA has the best chance for success in A1 Grand Prix because of Scott Speed and our race team."

Speed recently led a successful test run with A1 Team USA at Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France with the fastest lap time at the test.

"It is a tremendous honor to be called onboard by Rick to lead A1 Team USA into Brands Hatch," said Speed. "I am very excited to carry the American flag into competition and will do my best to represent the U.S."

The second point of difference in A1 racing will be evident in its race team. With the involvement of David Price, A1 Team USA's race team will be supported and directed by one of the best in motorsports.

"A1 Team USA is focused so much on the driver and its race team, that it is an honor to be chosen to serve as part of this team for USA," said Price. "I certainly will use my experience in the last 25 plus years to give Team USA the edge." A1 USA

09/15/05
nascar
From the too funny department From the too funny departmentIf you missed the NASCAR Nation show last night, they asked the drivers on the show what NASCAR stood for and only Jeff Gordon and a couple others could answer.  This may lead to yet another NASCAR TV show (like we don't have enough already) called NASCAR 101.
09/15/05
ga
Valiante to drive for Finlay at Watkins Glen Valiante to drive for Finlay at Watkins GlenFinlay Motorsports today announced that rising Canadian racing star Michael Valiante will co-drive the team’s #19 Air Force Reserve/Make-A-Wish Foundation Daytona Prototype with regular driver Memo Gidley at the upcoming Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen, September 22 – 24.

Valiante will be filling in for regular driver Michael McDowell who is serving a one-race suspension.  This is Valiante’s third race with the Finlay Motorsports team; he co-drove with McDowell, Gidley and Jonathan Bomarito in the series-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, and when Gidley had a schedule conflict earlier this season, Valiante stepped in to co-drive with McDowell.  He qualified the car 7th on the grid and led 22 of the race’s 84 laps on the way to a 7th place finish at the Ferrari/Maserati 400 at California Speedway on April 3.  zzzz

“I’m very happy to be driving for the Finlay team again, although I’m sorry for the way it came about,” said Valiante, 25, of Vancouver, B.C.  “Finlay Motorsports is a top team that fields a very classy, professional effort, and it’s a pleasure to drive their car.  I know Steve and Rick Cameron, the team manager and engineer, very well from my two-and-a-half years with them at Lynx Racing in the Atlantic series, so I should be able to get up to speed very quickly.  I also have tremendous respect for Memo Gidley’s abilities and am confident that he and I will be able to maintain Finlay Motorsports’ front-running record in the Rolex Series.”

Valiante, best-known as an extremely-talented open-wheel racer, has two Champ Car starts to his credit.  He was a standout in the intensely competitive Toyota Atlantic series, finishing on the podium in only his second race.  Over the course of two-and-a-half seasons, he won six times and finished 2nd in the 2002 championship and 3rd in 2003.  He last drove the Watkins Glen circuit in a Barber Dodge open wheel car in 1999, finishing 5th.

“Michael Valiante is an extremely talented driver who has been a tremendous, if intermittent, asset to our team during the 2005 season,” said Finlay Motorsports team owner Rob Finlay.  “Our top priority for this weekend at the Glen was to bring in a driver who would fit smoothly into the team and be able to run the kind of pace needed to compete for the win.  Valiante was our first choice, and we’re working to be able to make him a permanent part of the team in 2006.”

Though a first-year team, Finlay Motorsports has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the well-ordered world of Grand American Rolex Series racing.  The team’s 2005 record includes four 4th-place finishes and leading six of the last eight races.  Gidley and McDowell scored the team’s first podium with a 2nd-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park on July 31.  Finlay Motorsports is currently tied for 5th in the 2005 Rolex Series championship battle.

“Michael McDowell and I have an excellent relationship both in and out of the car, and if somebody has to replace him for this race I’m happy to share the seat with Michael Valiante,” says Gidley.  “Chemistry between the drivers, between the drivers and the engineers and between the drivers and the team members is critical in a front-running effort like ours.  Valiante already has those relationships, and that should make for a very smooth transition.  He’s fast, and even though it’s been a few years since he’s raced here, and a while since he’s raced the prototype, I think we’ll be able to run at the front.”

On-track action for the Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen begins at 3:30 pm Thursday, September 22 with a combined one-hour Daytona Prototype / GT practice session, followed by half an hour in which the DP cars are on track alone.  Prototype qualifying will take place from 4:40 pm to 4:55 pm on Friday, September 23, and the 250-mile/74-lap/2 ¾-hour race is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:00 pm, Saturday, September 24.

09/15/05
IPS Series
DeSimone to debut at Watkins Glen DeSimone to debut at Watkins GlenRocco DeSimone will become the third young, American driver to debut in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series in as many races Sept. 25 when he competes in the Corning 100 at Watkins Glen International.

DeSimone, a 22-year-old Rhode Island native, will drive the No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry around the 11-turn, 3.37-mile natural terrain road course.

"I looked at the Menards Infiniti Pro Series when it first got started, but it didn't offer any road courses at the time," DeSimone said. "When I heard about the opportunity to race at Watkins Glen this year, I jumped on it. I really made a big effort to get into it. This is my closest race to home. I should have a lot of friends and family there. If all goes well, hopefully it will lead to a ride for next year." zzzz

DeSimone began racing go-karts competitively at age 13 and transitioned into formula cars at age 16. In 2003, he finished third in SCCA National Formula Continental competition with two victories, three seconds and three pole positions. He finished second at Watkins Glen.

He recently completed two tests in the 420-horsepower Menards Infiniti Pro Series car.

"Rocco made it abundantly clear that he is ready to compete at this level," said Michael Crawford, team manager for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. "He was quick, professional, and gave great feedback in the time we spent together. We think he has a great future in the series and look forward to showcasing his talents at Watkins Glen."

DeSimone joins Sarah McCune and Bobby Wilson as drivers who have debuted in the last three races. Wilson, a 23-year-old from Oconomowoc, Wis., started second in his debut at Infineon Raceway. McCune, a 26-year-old Ohio native, won the pole position in her debut at Chicagoland Speedway.

09/15/05
irl
Briscoe's car responded as expected Briscoe's car responded as expectedShards of carbon fiber fell on the Chicagoland Speedway racing surface like confetti after the No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by Ryan Briscoe disintegrated upon impact with the SAFER Barrier and retaining fence between Turns 3 and 4 early in the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300.

Contact between the IndyCar Series rookie's right-front tire and the left-rear of the No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing car driven by Alex Barron triggered the fierce and fiery crash that left the car in pieces and Briscoe with two broken clavicles, a fractured bone in his foot, concussion and a bruised lung. He is recovering at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

But the integrity of the cockpit - an aluminum honeycomb reinforced on both sides by carbon fiber - remained intact, which essentially protected Briscoe like a cocoon. His broken clavicles, according to Indy Racing League track safety coordinator Dave Brown were the result of the high G forces working against the HANS (Head And Neck Safety) device. Untethered feet led to the foot fracture.

"Judging by the ferocity of the accident, everything that we had anticipated the car to do did exactly as we expected," said Les Mactaggert, IRL senior technical director. "The chassis stood up well to the impact. There was some minor damage to the lower left-hand corner, which I think was caused by the top edge of the SAFER Barrier as the chassis came down, and some damage to the rear when it hit the track. But the inside of the chassis was completely intact, and from our perspective that's the important aspect because it's where the driver is sitting."

Brown, responding to the scene in Command 1, said the Delphi IRL Safety Team simultaneously attended to the driver and remains of the fire. zzzz

"Everything stayed intact, and he rode it out," Brown said. "All the energy-absorbing materials took most of the energy away, and did what it was supposed to. It was a pretty good methanol fire, which we don't normally have. The fuel pump, which is mounted inside the bladder (a flexible Kevlar bag that can hold up to 30 gallons of methanol) was pulled clear out and created a rather large hole in the bladder. The oil fire was fed by the methanol."

Briscoe was alert as the safety team extracted him from the tub and placed him on a stretcher to be evaluated at the infield care center. He was later airlifted to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., and was transferred to Methodist Hospital to be evaluated and treated by IRL medical personnel.

Mactaggert said reviews of the incident already have begun. "As a general course, we take all the data from every accident, physically examine the cars, overlay the data of the damage the car sustained to see if we can understand how the structures reacted in specific circumstances," he said. "We'll improve the car (design) some more because it's an ongoing process. We'll spend as much time and effort as we possibly can to make sure that we move forward in making the safety of the cars one of our major priorities."

09/15/05
ca
New Atlantic Series shaping up to be best ever New Atlantic Series shaping up to be best everThe new Champ Car Atlantic Series is shaping up to become the best ever open wheel support series in the history of the sport, perhaps worldwide.  The series is attracting interest from not only existing teams, but teams that left and are now clamoring to get back in, as well as new teams.  The same thing is happening on the driver front.  We predict that the Champ Car Atlantic Series will soon become the premier open wheel development series in the world.  If you think the series produced some great drivers in the past, just wait.  The level of competition both from the team and driver standpoint will be the highest it has ever been in the history of the series.  And we expect large fields based on the number of orders that have been placed for new cars.

With new cars and new engines for 2006, everyone is starting on a level playing field so many teams are scrambling to get in next year before anyone gains a chassis setup advantage with the cars.  Of course the $2 million to the winner pot at the end of the year is an attractive draw to many.

09/15/05
ca
Champ Car Atlantic announces 2006 schedule Champ Car Atlantic announces 2006 scheduleThe 2006 season represents the beginning of a new era of Atlantic racing and series officials today proudly unveiled the schedule of events for next year’s Champ Car Atlantic Championship.

Date Venue
April 9 Long Beach, California
May 13 Houston, Texas
May 21 Monterrey, Mexico
June 18 Portland, Oregon
June 24 Cleveland, Ohio
June 25 Cleveland, Ohio
July 9 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
July 23 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
July 30 San Jose, California
Aug. 13 Denver, Colorado
Aug. 27 Montreal, Quebec, Canada
12th Race Date TBA 

Entering its 33rd season as North America’s premier open-wheel racing development series in 2006, the Atlantic championship will feature a new name and a newly-designed racing formula next season. Now fully under the banner of the Champ Car World Series, the Champ Car Atlantic Championship will maintain its rich history of competitive racing with the future stars of motorsports driving a new Swift 016.a chassis design with a 2.3 liter Cosworth engine capable of producing 300 horsepower. zzzz

Atlantic officials today released the details of next season’s 12-race schedule that will include events in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The ’06 Atlantic calendar, in its current format, will offer up races on five road courses and five temporary street circuits and it will feature at least one doubleheader race weekend for the third consecutive season. A 12th event, to be held within the United States or Canada, will be added to the series schedule and announced in the coming weeks.

Continuing to serve as the training ground for the next generation of Champ Car racers, the Atlantic series will run all of its 2006 events in conjunction with the 750-horsepower machines of the Champ Car World Series. A full television broadcast schedule of all ’06 Atlantic races will be announced at a later date.

“Even though we just completed another exciting season of Atlantic racing, we’re already looking forward to 2006,” said Vicki O’Connor, Managing Director of the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. “We’re proud to begin a new era of Atlantic competition next season and we’re happy to announce a very challenging and exciting schedule that features some of the best venues that racing has to offer. I want to thank all of the event promoters and everyone at Champ Car for working so hard to put together our race lineup for 2006. We’ve received so much interest in the series since we unveiled the new racing package in late July and we’re happy to be able to announce the schedule for next season so that the series competitors and fans can begin making their plans for next year.”

For the third consecutive season, the Atlantic series will open the year at the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. When the green flag drops on the next generation of Atlantics on April 9 it will count the 23rd time that the series will compete at the premier street race in the United States and one of California’s most popular sporting events.

From 1998-2001, the Atlantic Championship raced on the street circuit in downtown Houston, Texas. The series will return to Houston next spring, running on a newly-designed street course on Saturday, May 13. The Houston race represents the only new venue for the series in 2006.

For the fifth consecutive season, the Atlantic cars will race south of the border as they visit the Fundidora Park road course in Monterrey, Mexico for Round 3 on May 24.

After a short break, the series will kick into high gear in June, featuring three races to kick off the summer. The Atlantics will attack the Portland International Raceway road course in Oregon on June 18, before traveling to Ohio for a doubleheader race weekend. Celebrating its 25th anniversary next year, the Grand Prix of Cleveland will include a pair of Atlantic races for the second consecutive year as the series promises another weekend full of exciting racing on the wide-open Burke Lakefront Airport course, June 24-25.

The series will visit two popular Canadian venues in July as the Atlantics will compete for the 16th time on the downtown streets of Toronto around Exhibition Place on July 9. Two weeks later, the Atlantic Championship will return to Edmonton to race in front of an expected capacity crowd at the Finning International Speedway airport course. After a very successful series debut in San Jose in 2005, the new-breed Atlantic beasts will test the Silicon Valley street circuit again next season, with a race on July 30.

The street fight will continue in August when the series makes its fifth consecutive visit to Denver, battling wheel-to-wheel around the downtown Pepsi Center street circuit on August 13. Following a week off, the 2006 Atlantic calendar, in its current form, will conclude at the site of this season’s grand finale – Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Next season will mark the 26th Atlantic race run in Montreal, making it the longest-running venue on the series schedule.

Series officials expect larger fields and a very high level of competition on track in 2006 as an influx of new and returning teams and drivers enter the Atlantic Championship. Competitors will pursue the series title and the $2 million incentive bonus for the champion to use in helping to secure a full-time ride in the 2007 Champ Car World Series.

09/15/05
cc
Feedback on Adam Friedman interview Feedback on Adam Friedman interviewA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Regarding the interview with Adam Friedman, I think it’s great to see someone taking the initiative to expose more of Champ Car.  These are the types of shows that will create more in-depth interest.  However, these shows won’t mean anything if no one is watching.  Adam makes a point to say that he’s got a great prime time slot on Speed for Monday night.  Apparently, he’s not a football fan.  I believe that a vast majority of the Champ Car demographic will be watching the Monday Night Football games.  Not to mention that the pilot also happens to be on the one Monday that has a doubleheader game!!  Even a Sunday slot around 6 or 7 would be better.  The concept is great and I hope to see more of it.  But until they stop competing with the other majors out there, thank God for Tivo....Dustin McClure
09/15/05
f1
Ferrari and Gene conclude Jerez tests Ferrari and Gene conclude Jerez testsFerrari concluded its test program for the week today at Jerez. Marc Gene again carried out the day’s program centered on Bridgestone tire development for the final three events of the season at Interlagos, Suzuka and Shanghai. At the wheel of an F2005, the Spanish driver completed a total of 88 laps, the quickest in a time of 1:19.555, a little slower than his 1:18.861 set on Wednesday. Meanwhile at Fiorano, Luca Badoer carried out the shakedown for the forthcoming Brazilian Grand Prix, which takes place a week Sunday. The Italian driver completed eight laps of the Ferrari test facility, four of those on the shorter 1.413km circuit with a best time of 1.00.487. Ferrari
09/15/05
f1
Eddie Jordan does not understand Williams move Eddie Jordan does not understand Williams moveSpeaking in the October edition of F1 Racing magazine, Eddie Jordan said: “I don’t understand BMW and I certainly don’t understand Frank. 

“Cosworth’s last race win in about ten years must have been with Jordan in Brazil with [Giancarlo] Fisi[chella] in 2003.  Bear in mind that the new Cosworth people, good as they are, can only build an engine with the cash that Williams pays them, which won’t match a manufacturer’s financial muscle.  No doubt Cosworth will build a brilliant V8 as it’s their forte but, sadly, bigger budgets will dominate.  The rule is: the more you spend, the quicker you go. Cash is king and engine costs are huge, which restricts the quality of the drivers, staff – virtually everything.

“The logical move would have been for Frank and [co-owner] Patrick [Head] to sell part of their equity and embrace BMW as a shareholder and sporting partner, instead of allowing Sauber to sneak in and steal BMW from under their noses.  In the current climate, I’d rather be a 50 percent part of something that’s winning than 100 percent of something that cannot win.”

09/15/05
f1
Klien fastest at wet Silverstone Klien fastest at wet SilverstoneOn a track wet most of the day Christian Klien made best of the track conditions to set the pace for Red Bull Cosworth with a best lap of 1:20.272s, half a second up on the BMW Williams of Antonio Pizzonia.

1 . C. Klien - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:20.272 (+ 0.000 ) - 52 laps
2 . A. Pizzonia - BMW Williams FW27 - 1:20.750 (+ 0.478 ) - 66 laps
3 . V. Liuzzi - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:20.922 (+ 0.650 ) - 39 laps
4 . N. Rosberg - BMW Williams FW27 - 1:21.152 (+ 0.880 ) - 66 laps
5 . R. Schumacher - Toyota TF105 - 1:22.098 (+ 1.826 ) - 33 laps
6 . S. Yamamoto - Jordan Toyota - 1:25.933 (+ 5.661 ) - 69 laps
7 . O. Panis - Toyota TF105 - 1:40.684 (+ 20.412 ) - 10 laps

09/15/05
nascar
Fisher Tests RCR Busch Car at Caraway Fisher Tests RCR Busch Car at CarawayRichard Childress Racing (RCR) development driver and Drive for Diversity participant Sarah Fisher completed her second test of a NASCAR Busch Series car yesterday at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro.

The Indiana native drives the No. 20 NASCAR Select by NAPA Filters/Domino’s/Office Depot Chevrolet in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series for Bill McAnnally Racing (BMR)/Richard Childress Racing (RCR). She is currently 12th in the season’s point standings, third in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings and is qualified for the Toyota All Star Showdown, Nov. 10-12 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway.

“I think if you compare this test to the one in St. Louis in July, I think I’ve come a long way,” said Fisher. “We were real good with consistency and for a while were running consistently in the 17.5-second range. I definitely took in everyone’s input and felt that I was very responsive to everything. So, I think I’ve come a long way from the last time we tested together.

“The biggest difference between driving the Busch car and the West Series car is the tires, radials to bias-ply tires. The radials are a lot stiffer and are not as forgiving. They don’t give a nice cushy feel like the bias-ply tires so I haven’t found my limit yet on these.”

Fisher previously tested a Busch Series car for RCR in July at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis.

“We ran 242 laps, which is a lot for a one-day test at a track like Caraway,” said crew chief Bobby Leslie. “We ran a lot of 25-lap runs and she was really smooth and consistent in her times. This is the second time we’ve tested with Sarah and you can see that she’s getting a better knowledge of the race car, what it needs and how it’s supposed to act. She did fine today. As always, you wish you had a second day to test but we didn’t so we tried to cram as much as we could into one day. I think she did a great job.”

Fisher is scheduled to make her next NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series start this Saturday, Sept. 17, at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Ore.

09/15/05
Track News
Miller Motorsports Park announces 2006 schedule Miller Motorsports Park announces 2006 scheduleWith a spectacular launch show held on September 7 in the Delta Center, representatives of five of North America’s leading sanctioning bodies jointly announced a full slate of major national championship racing events scheduled to take place on the new Miller Motorsports Park road race facility in 2006.

“This is probably the first time in recent history that a new race track has been privileged to open their inaugural season of racing with this number of top level race events,” said track owner Larry H. Miller as he welcomed a crowd of more than 3,000 people to the launch festivities.

The sparkling show introduced senior officials from IMSA (International Motorsports Association), the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America), Grand-Am, Historic Sportscar Racing and the American Motorcyclists Association as each announced that their major race series would visit the 511-acre complex during the 2006 race season.

The new Utah track will open its major event season on June 16-18 with the “Thunder Run”, a double header round of the AMA Superbike series, followed a month later (July 14-15) by the “Grand Prix of Utah”, a doubleheader with the American LeMans Series and SCCA World Challenge.

On August 4-5, MMP hosts a novel twin event. The first, “Utah Fast Pass,” is a three-day tour through scenic Utah for modern and historic supercars, such as Ford GT, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche Carrera and GT. On closed courses, participants will receive speeding tickets from the Utah State Highway Patrol, with the resulting fines going to charity. The event ends at the track with a day of open track time on the full, high-speed course. The event is part of the Miller Motorsports Park/HSR “Heroes of Speed” three-day historic race weekend featuring the greatest periods of long distance sports car racing, particularly highlighting the fabulous era of the 1980s IMSA GTP class. zzzz

The final event will be the Grand Am “SunChaser 9-Hour,” a race into the night for Daytona Prototypes and Grand-Am GT cars, which will end in a blaze of fireworks after the sun has set over the Great Salt Lake to the north of the track.

Miller Motorsports Park is the most modern race complex in North America. Situated just 25 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport in Tooele County, the track is within 35 minutes of downtown Salt Lake City. The 4.5 mile full circuit features a 3,500 foot long straight on which speeds of 200-plus mph can be expected.

The track consists of two independent sub-courses of 2.2 and 2.24 miles length; a 0.9 Mile kart track; 24 acres of paved paddock; a full Grand Prix garage complex which incorporates a three-story media, race control and hospitality tower and roof top hospitality above the garages; two twenty-bay day garages; six 22-unit rental garage complexes; a Welcome Center/Retail Center/ Museum complex; a medical facility/paddock toilet/paddock cafeteria building; a kart retail and service center; a secondary race control tower on the West Course and a $5,000,000 three-level clubhouse/corporate center.

Larry Miller, developer of the Miller Motorsports Park is a well-known collector of Cobra and Ford GT40s. He is the owner of the Utah Jazz, the Delta Center, Salt Lake City Stingers baseball franchise, more than 40 car dealerships, a number of high end multiplex cinema complexes, the KJZZ television and Fanzz retail stores.

The facility was designed by Alan Wilson, a world-renowned track designer. Described as “the world’s most prolific race track designer,” Wilson has built such well-known tracks as GingerMan, BeaveRun, and the infield for the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wilson is the full-time CEO and General Manager of Miller Motorsports Park. 

Construction began in May 2005, and the Park is due for full completion in April 2006.

09/15/05
IPS Series
Giebler to drive for Vision Racing at The Glen Giebler to drive for Vision Racing at The GlenPhil Giebler will join 2003 Snap-on Stars of Karting National Champion Bobby Wilson on the grid at the upcoming Watkins Glen round of the Infiniti Pro Series.  Giebler will race for Vision Racing as a stand-in for series regular Jay Drake.  “It came about over the Sonoma (Snap-on SoK pres. by IRL) weekend, I got a phone call from Larry Curry (team manager of Vision) who told me they were looking for someone to fill in for Jay Drake who had other commitments.  Of course I was excited and accepted the offer right away,” said Giebler who drives an Intrepid for Champion Racing in the Snap-on Stars of Karting series.  Giebler doesn’t see the transition from a kart back to a car being too much of a problem with his experience level.  “With the amount of experience I’ve had in a car I don’t think it will be too difficult.  As always when you go back into a car I’ll just have to take things a little slower, you can’t expect things to react as quickly as they do in a kart.”
09/15/05
Industry News
Chrysler to license production of its minivans in China Chrysler to license production of its minivans in ChinaThe Chrysler Group said Thursday it plans to license production of its minivans in China, with output to begin by the end of 2006.  The Chrysler minivans will be built by the China-Taiwan joint venture South East Motors Inc. in the southeastern Chinese city of Fuzhou, the company said in a statement.

"It's appropriate that we localize the world's most popular minivan in the world's most populated country, and we believe there is tremendous potential to continue to grow the Chrysler brands here," Chrysler Group's chief executive officer, Tom LaSorda, said in the statement. It was issued during a visit by LaSorda to Fuzhou.

South East Motors Inc. is joint venture between two firms -- the local Fujian Motor Industry Group and China Motor Corp. of Taiwan.  Chrysler's parent company, DaimlerChrysler AG, has its own joint venture with the two firms to manufacture Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Viano Multi-Purpose vehicles at a new facility in Fuzhou, the statement said. Car ownership is surging in China as the economy booms. Detroit Free Press

09/15/05
cc
Champ Car Launches Hurricane Relief Initiative Champ Car Launches Hurricane Relief InitiativeAs the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continues to affect lives throughout the Gulf Coast region of the United States, the Champ Car World Series is initiating a number of different programs to aid victims of one of the nation’s worst natural disasters.

The September 23-24 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event at the 1.5-mile LVMS superspeedway will be known as the Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400, with Champ Car proceeds from the race going to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund. Champ Car presenting sponsors Bridgestone and Ford are contributing to the relief effort in a number of ways over the race weekend, with Bridgestone also donating monies that include a portion of the event’s Bridgestone Pole Award to the fund.

Additionally, the series will be running online auctions of one-of-a-kind items on its official website, www.champcar.ws, with proceeds from the sale going to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund. Auction items range from driver-autographed memorabilia and race tickets to the opportunity to ride in a pace car or the Champ Car Two Seater with one of the series drivers. Teams are offering hospitality packages and other memorabilia as part of the auction, while items from throughout the racing community have been donated as well. Haymarket Publishing has offered subscriptions to RACER and Autosport magazines as well as autographed copies of Alex Zanardi’s recent book, donated by the two-time Champ Car champion himself.

“We feel a sense of duty to contribute as much as we can to help the many victims of this devastating event and we believe that these initiatives will allow us to do that,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “We considered a number of ways to give aid to those affected and we wanted to make sure that we came up with a plan that would have the most impact.”

Donations for the auction have come from Champ Car along with its teams and drivers, as well as from its sponsors and corporate partners. In addition, Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary (CARA) Charities donated a large parcel of racing-related items for the auction.

CARA Charities is also working to provide more than financial relief to those affected through its long-time Buckle Up Baby Program. A quarter of all proceeds earned through the Champ Car auction will go to the Buckle Up Baby Program, which will in turn use all of those funds to purchase car seats for infants and children of needy families. The seats will be distributed by the all-volunteer Samaritan Center based in Louisiana.

Champ Car has also been collecting donations of clothing, non-perishable food items and cash as well as items for children at its Indianapolis headquarters, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross.

“The devastation along the Gulf Coast has been incredible,” said Chris Powell, LVMS general manager. “Las Vegas Motor Speedway continues to collect money during events throughout September for Red Cross aid, and we'll continue that collection with the Las Vegas Double Down in the Desert. We're proud to join with our friends at Champ Car in organizing a measure of relief to the people in the affected region.”

The Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400 is part of the September 23-24 Double Down in the Desert at LVMS in a unique doubleheader format where the Champ Cars and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will each run Saturday night events under the lights at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. The Champ Car event can be seen Sunday, September 25 beginning at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on SPEED Channel. Champ Car

09/15/05
SCCA
SCCA starts search for new President SCCA starts search for new PresidentSports Car Club of America, Inc.'s Board of Directors revealed its plan for the succession of SCCA President and CEO Steve Johnson, who will vacate his post Sept. 15 and move to Champ Car. The Board released the following statement:

"The Board of Directors has appointed an internal Search Committee, which is in the process of reviewing resumes already received and those to be received in the near future. If a suitable candidate is not identified within a reasonable time, SCCA will retain an executive search firm to continue the search.

The Board intends to be thorough and deliberate in its search for a new President of SCCA, Inc. We intend to take as much time as may be needed to find the right person. In the meantime, in accordance with the Bylaws, the Board has directed the Chairman to assure that the Club continues to be well managed, and to spend as much time at headquarters as may be necessary to assure the continued smooth running of the organization."

Current SCCA Chairman of the Board Gary Pitts will oversee SCCA's management team in the interim. A member of the San Francisco Region, Pitts has served as the Chairman for the last two years and has served on the BoD for nearly six years. In private life, Pitts is a biochemist (Ph.D.) and an attorney and provides technology development services under contract to the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices industry. He is a former Vice President of Johnson & Johnson and other large, multinational drugmakers.

09/15/05
f1
Michelin man tries to justify tire war Michelin man tries to justify tire war
09/15/05
cc
Ansan Speedway ready for world racers Ansan Speedway ready for world racersUPDATE It is interesting to note that this article corrects the capacity of the Ansan, South Korea track from 20,000 to 100,000, as we noted that it should be below.   And we hear they expect to fill up the place. 09/13/05 For the first time, Korea will host a world car racing championship, during a three-day race featuring some of the greatest drivers in the world.

The Champ Car World Series, a second-tier motor festival (the first tier is Formula One), will begin on Oct. 16 in Ansan, Gyeonggi province, the event's co-organizers Ansan city government and Racing Korea announced yesterday.

The Korean event will be the 12th of 14 races that make up the championship this year. Some 20 million people on average around the globe are known to watch the live broadcast of Champ Car, which started in 1979 and is one of the most diverse car-racing series in the world.

The 750-horsepower, turbo-charged race engines designated for use in the championship can propel a car up to 400 kilometers per hour (248 miles per hour). Sebastien Bourdais, from France, is the current points leader after 10 events.

According to the host organizations, the Ansan event will bring together 1,000 participants from 18 nations. Korea has become the sixth nation to host the event, following the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Japan. Champ Car World Grand Prix will be held once every five years in Ansan in the future. zzzz

Ansan Speedway, which was built for the race on a total budget of 12 billion won ($11.7 million), covers 357,070 square kilometers with a length of 2.9 kilometers and width of 13 to 18 meters. The installation can accommodate up to 20,000 spectators. [Editor's Note: This number is incorrect - Fact 100,000] 

Car racing championships, popular in the United States, Europe and Japan, can attract an audience equal to that of the Olympics or the World Cup, and each event generates economic ripples worth 4 million to 5 million dollars. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, a professional Formula One racer, earned more than 100 billion won last year.

According to an expert, developed nations are competing to host car racing events because the industry is closely connected to not only the development of motor parts assembly technology, but also to cutting-edge industries such as the aviation and space industry, and can spur overall industrial development in a host country. JoongAng Daily

09/15/05
f1
Successful V8 test debut for McLaren Mercedes Successful V8 test debut for McLaren MercedesOn Tuesday and Wednesday at Silverstone, the 2006 season Mercedes-Benz Formula One engine was tested on the race track for the first time. According to the rules, it is a V8 engine with a capacity of 2.4 liters. Until the end of the 2005 season teams are using three-liter V10 engines. The current rules have been in force since the beginning of 1995.

Pedro de la Rosa was at the wheel of the interim Team McLaren Mercedes MP4-20B, a modified version of the 2005 race car, which has been adjusted to fit the new engine. Pedro completed 38 laps on Tuesday and 40 laps on Wednesday and achieved a best time of 1:22.974. Fernando Alonso in a Renault with V10 engine posted the fastest lap of the test with a 1:17.018.

The Mercedes-Benz V8 engine's debut came almost exactly three months after the first dyno run. Since that day the engine has completed a couple of thousand test kilometers on the dyno. The new V8 engine generation will have about 200 BHP less than the current V10 engines.

The new V8 Formula One engine FO 108S has been designed and built from scratch. The new engine rules place tighter restrictions on the manufacturers than before. Mandatory are: the V-angle of the cylinders (90 degrees) and the use of a maximum of two inlet and exhaust valves each (until now the rules have stated only the number of cylinders and a limit of five valves); an engine minimum weight of 95 kilograms; a maximum cylinder bore of 98 millimeters; the position of the engine's centre of gravity. Alloys for the manufacturing of engine components are also defined exactly. The biggest challenge for the engineers was and still is the vibrations which are completely different from the V10. zzzz
 
Work on the new engine began in the autumn of 2004 when a team of engineers drew up the first concepts. The design process lasted from Christmas to spring, a period during which the engineers also built one-cylinder models to test pistons, connecting rods and valve drives.

The V8 engine will also significantly influence the design of the Team McLaren Mercedes MP4-21 for the 2006 season. The V8 is smaller than the V10 and the new engine also needs less air than before. Therefore there will accordingly be significant modifications to the aerodynamics for next year's car. In addition ExxonMobil has developed a new fuel and lubricant.

Pedro de la Rosa - "The last two days of testing have gone well and we are on schedule with the development program. There is obviously a big difference in power between the Mercedes-Benz V10 and the V8, and therefore I had to adjust my driving style. In between runs over the last couple of days, the engineers have been analyzing the data and making changes to the car. It is positive that we were testing with the new engine without problems and long delays. During this test we have also been looking at the difference in vibration between the Mercedes-Benz V10 and V8 engines; however we didn't find anything we had not expected."

Norbert Haug, VP Mercedes-Benz Motorsport - "We had an uneventful track debut with our new V8 engine. With Pedro de la Rosa at the wheel we gained first basic experiences with the new engine on a race circuit and we completed our program as planned. The data we collected during over 400 test kilometers will be analyzed at Mercedes-Benz in Brixworth and will help us to develop the engine further as planned. The première was OK and everything goes exactly according to the plan we have set for ourselves." McLaren Mercedes

09/15/05
nascar
Testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway next week Testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway next weekNASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Testing is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 20, and Wednesday, Sept. 21 in preparation for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 15. Teams fielding cars for the following drivers have indicated their intention to participate with more expected: Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Scott Wimmer, Jeff Burton and Kurt Busch. Fans can attend both of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing sessions free of charge. Lowe's Motor Speedway's frontstretch grandstand will be open both days and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office. LMS PR
09/15/05
nascar
NASCAR Engineers Help Design New Combat Vehicle NASCAR Engineers Help Design New Combat VehicleThe U.S. military unveiled this week a concept combat vehicle that combines new blast-deflection technology with the safety features of a commercially available truck and NASCAR engineering. Everything from the materials to seating configuration has been rethought. Built on the skeleton of a Ford F-350 truck, the vehicle is called the ULTRA AP (Armored Patrol). Its builders melded some of the latest advancements in vehicle defense with the maneuverability and safety features of an "off-the-shelf" truck to develop a concept vehicle that may one day replace the familiar Humvee in the battlefield. The ULTRA AP was developed at the GTRI, which brought together engineers from the commercial automotive and military worlds. The idea was to save money by marrying advanced armor materials and designs with proven safety designs from the automotive industry. "By bringing together experienced commercial vehicle designers with experts in advanced materials and cutting-edge engineering, we are providing a test bed for evaluating technologies that can help the military develop true 'leap-ahead' concepts," said David Parekh, GTRI's deputy director. "By including persons with high-performance automotive engineering and NASCAR expertise as part of our team, we were able to root this advanced concepts project in real-world vehicle design." LiveScience
09/15/05
ca
Hearn announces 2-car Atlantic team Hearn announces 2-car Atlantic team[Editor's Note: Hearn drove an IRL car not too long ago. We think it is significant that he chose to go the Atlantics route rather that the IRL's IPS Series route. Atlantics is the best development series in North America and for the life of us we can't understand why Michael Andretti would waste the talent of his son Marco in IPS when the kid could learn so much more in Atlantics. Too bad for Marco, because it appears Michael has burned his bridges in the Champ Car paddock and his son is paying for it. For his son's sake it would be best for Michael to rebuild those bridges ASAP. Does he really want his son risking this happening - photo to right, which occurs way to often in the IRL?]

Richie Hearn (Henderson, Nev.) formed Hearn Motorsports in 2004 to create a training ground for aspiring Champ Car and IndyCar Series drivers. A very successful open wheel racer with victories and pole positions at the pinnacle of the sport, Hearn knows the challenges being faced as drivers progress from go-karting to 220 mph machines. In 2006, Hearn will make the next step in his long-term strategy for his program. The Las Vegas-based operation will expand into two additional series for the new season; the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and the Formula BMW USA Series. Hearn will also maintain his two year-old effort in the Star Mazda Series North American Championship which earned its first Series victory at Mosport International Raceway on September 3rd. The move calls for a substantial expansion of his team and the biggest capital investment made thus far by the organization. Hearn anticipates entering as many as three cars in the Formula BMW USA series, two cars in the Atlantics program and running a minimum two car effort in Star Mazda.

The move will make Hearn's team one of the largest, most comprehensive motorsports support series operations in the country today. With the addition of these series, Hearn could now bring a young driver from a Hearn kart to the top levels of racing. Most of his current staff will roll-over into the new program. Drivers and final crew selections, as well as marketing partners, are currently open.

"From the outside, it might look like we are expanding all at once," said Hearn. "But the truth is, we've been putting this together for quite awhile. The BMW Series is a step below Star Mazda and the Atlantics Series is a step above. By having a presence in Formula BMW USA and the Atlantics, a driver could go from karts, step-by-step, all the way through our program. That completes my training ground with the whole series. I don't think there is anyone else out there that will be able to offer a driver a complete career from starting at age five or whatever, all the way to retirement." zzzz

The move to the Champ Car Atlantic Championship is a homecoming for Hearn who dominated the series as a driver in the mid-'90s. As the '95 Atlantic Champion, Hearn progressed up the ladder finishing third in his first Indianapolis 500 and then moving over to the Champ Car Series where he competed until 1999 earning 16 top-ten finishes.

Hearn enthusiastically anticipates the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic season. "I consider the years when I was in Atlantics one of the best times I've had in racing. The cars were fun and the drivers there were great to race with. It is natural to go back and be a part of that in a different capacity. It would be awesome to try and win a championship as an owner having won one as a driver. That would be very satisfying. With the new car and the $2 million worth of sponsorship for the Atlantics' championship, I want to be a part of it."

Running the Atlantic Series, the team will compete principally in support of the Champ Car Series in venues including the most famous street race in the United States, the Grand Prix of Long Beach and at traditional road courses such as Portland International Raceway and Monterey, Mexico to go along with dynamic markets such as Denver, San Jose, Calif. and Montreal, Canada.

The Formula BMW USA Series is one of the fastest growing support series in the world today. With BMW-powered formula cars making-up huge grids in support of Champ Car and American Le Mans Series events, the factory-backed, spec-car series is drawing entries and attention from around North America and Europe. Adding to the allure of the series for Hearn is the management and even playing field in the series. Due to the spec cars, the greatest advantage a team can get is through its preparation and driver performance.

"We want to go into the BMW Series to tap into guys coming out of karts," commented Hearn about the addition of the Formula BMW USA program. "I think that Series is the perfect step from karts to cars. It is very professional. I like the cars and think it is a nice package."

Initially debuting Hearn Motorsports in the Star Mazda as a one car team, the six-time Indianapolis 500 starter quickly grew it to a two and then three-car operation. Beyond their Mosport victory this year, Hearn-prepared entries took three of the top-15 spots at this year's season-opening round at Sebring and have earned five career podiums and one pole position to-date in the series. The move into the Champ Car Series ladder system with the Atlantic Championship and the Formula BMW Series is a perfect fit into the long-term business and competition objectives for the team.

"Originally, when I first started the team, I said I'd never want to own an IndyCar or a Champ Car program," commented Hearn on his long-term plans. "But now, doing the Atlantics program, it would be the next natural step. If the right pieces came together I can see me jumping into a higher level after a few years of learning this in the junior levels. With the right package, the right driver and the right funding, I'd like to progress into the higher programs. The ultimate goal would then be to have someone go from the beginning, from our karting program, through to the highest ranks, and do it all the way through our program. It would be challenging to set something like that up but it would definitely be a possibility. Within the last few months, that hasn't become an objective really, but definitely a possibility somewhere down the road." Toyota Atlantic

09/15/05
f1
Just how fast can a Formula One car go? Just how fast can a Formula One car go?UPDATE The 10 mile Bonneville Salt Flat course is 4,216 feet above sea level, which means the air is less dense, which will rob the normally-aspirated Honda engine of a fair bit of power.  To reduce drag the BAR Honda team are running small wings to overcome the loss in HP.  However, because of the thin air and small wings the car isn't generating enough downforce to get enough grip out through the rear wheels on the slippery salt and are experiencing wheel-spin at 200mph! 

09/07/05 Designed to go as quick as possible on everything from hairpin bends to long straights to sweeping turns, an F1 car must be set up as a compromise to cope with a range of different challenges.

But if an F1 car was set up for straight-line speed only, how fast would it go?

The Lucky Strike BAR-Honda team will attempt to find out when it tries to set an official Formula One land speed record in October on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The car, which will be a completely legal F1 car capable of passing technical inspection and entered in a Grand Prix, will be driven by BAR-Honda test driver Alan van der Merwe.

BAR's sporting director, 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, is no stranger to speed, having regularly raced at speeds faster than 220 mph in North America.

"To imagine a F1 car running there is bizarre and totally offbeat," de Ferran said of the Salt Flats, "but this is what it is all about. It's a challenge for us all, but the spirit of the land speed record and the people we have met since we started this project are also a reminder to us of the pioneering spirit that symbolizes our own sport."  zzzz

In order to set an official record, the car must maintain an average speed over a measured mile and then within one hour average that same speed again in the opposite direction over the same mile length.

BAR-Honda's goal is to achieve at least a 400 kph (249 mph) average speed to set the record. While F1 cars have briefly reached speeds of 370 kph (230 mph) at the fastest point on high-speed tracks such as Monza in Italy, maintaining a higher speed for a full mile in the demanding conditions of the Bonneville Salt Flats presents a host of challenges.

While flat, the surface is bumpy. Because it is so light, the F1 car suffers from a lot of wheel spin. The salt is caustic and corrosive to the F1 car's metal parts. The car wanders from side to side down the 30-yard-wide seven-mile-long track. In an initial test on the Salt Flats, van der Merwe said it was the most difficult thing he had ever done in a racing car.

"If a F1 track was this bumpy we'd pack up and go home," he said. "It is not the usual sensation of speed that you get on a racing track because there are no reference points."

Guy Savage, BAR-Honda's deputy technical director, is overseeing the project.

"We are constantly asked how fast a F1 car can go," he said, "and the truth of the matter is that we don't know because they are not built to go fast. They are built to accelerate, corner, and brake.

"It is a very difficult job because the harder we push that car forward, the more the forces of drag pull us back. So we have to strip the car down completely while still keeping it legal. The tires and wheels account for 75 percent of the total drag of the car, and this will be the main hindrance to the car's top speed."

The car will run with the bare minimum of aerodynamic downforce aids such as wings and flaps. Extra ballast will be added to stabilize the car at speed. Related Website

09/15/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Flav - F1 boss or party-goer?
F1 tests continue apace
China predict F1 sell-out
Sign to keep 'Minardi' alive

FIA writing new rules
Klien - 'I'm no rookie'
09/15/05
irl
Overheard on the radio Overheard on the radioToyota is advertising on the radio in Los Angeles that if you spend $69.95 or more at one of their dealerships for service you get four (4) free tickets to the upcoming IRL race at California Speedway.
09/15/05
A1 Grand Prix
The sheikh who prefers horsepower to horses..... The sheikh who prefers horsepower to horses.....His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum never had to make a name for himself. But the sheikh, the nephew of Dubai's crown prince, will soon be famous outside the United Arab Emirates. He is sport's newest and most interesting entrepreneur - and he might just go down as the man who makes motor racing interesting.

He has turned his back on oil wells and the horse racing that interests many members of his family to found A1 Grand Prix, an FIA-approved world championship spread over five continents and involving 25 countries; the first of the 12 races will be held at Brands Hatch on Sunday week. Like most billionaires he is coy about disclosing his personal involvement in the venture. "I'm a creator, an inventor, not a numbers man," he protests. But when the sum of £100m is arrived at he shrugs and nods with grudging agreement.  More at The Guardian

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