>


Advertisement
Hot News
for your iPhone
for your iPad
Go to our forums to discuss this news
DATE News (chronologically)
09/22/04
nascar
Team puts Robby Gordon on probation Team puts Robby Gordon on probationRobby Gordon has been placed on probation by Richard Childress Racing (RCR) for the remainder of the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series season. "Many athletes have made mistakes in their careers and would take back the negative things they've said or done if they could," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "As a result of his actions last weekend in New Hampshire, I have placed Robby on probation for the rest of the season. I would like to apologize to all of the fans, the media, and the teams. I also would like to publicly apologize to Cingular Wireless for being placed in this situation. If there is one positive, I think this can make Robby understand that there is more to racing than just being aggressive. In this sport today, one action can affect many people's lives on the track and beyond it, as well." Gordon will conduct a press conference at 8:30am/et on Friday, Sept. 24, in the infield media center at Dover International Speedway. RCR PR
09/22/04
nascar
Hornaday and Childress to split at year's end Hornaday and Childress to split at year's endRon Hornaday will complete the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series season behind the wheel of the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet but will not be re-signed by Richard Childress Racing (RCR) for the 2005 season.  “We had two great years with Ron and I wish him the best in the future,” said team owner Richard Childress. “We talked about next season and beyond and felt it was in our best interests to make this announcement now to give him the best chance possible to catch on with another team.”  Hornaday, two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion (1996, '98), has earned two victories (Nazareth last year and Milwaukee Mile this season) in 60 Busch starts for RCR. He finished third in points in 2003 and is currently sixth in the standings.  “Racing at this level is a big business,” said Hornaday. “I understand what RCR has to do to enhance its NASCAR Nextel Cup Series efforts. We’ve had a pretty good run together and the friendships will still go on but business is business.” SPEED TV
09/22/04
irl
More on IRL road course upgrades More on IRL road course upgradesThis ESPN.com article says (excerpts) - Don't expect to hear anything but positive emanations coming out of Homestead. But the truth is that the IndyCars will require a considerable amount of work to be road course ready.   "We're not going down there to set any track records," said Phil Casey, IRL's senior technical director. "We're just going down there to make sure everything works properly on a road course. All the parts are built. We want to have good transmissions and brakes and don't want to have any unforeseen problems come up. We just have to see it work on the track like we think it will."

Some insiders believe it will cost upwards of $150,000 per car to make the necessary changes for road and street course racing. The IRL has raced exclusively on ovals since the series inception in 1996, though basic provisions for road racing were engineered into the current generation of cars that debuted in 2003.  "We did about two-thirds to three-quarters of the changes during our update kit from the end of the 2003 season into 2004 by changing the radiators and the sidepods to enable for better cooling to go road racing," said Brian Barnhart, the league's senior vice president of racing operations.  

The bulbous sidepods introduced in 2004 were also intended to keep cars from interlocking wheels. But they may need modification for road racing, along with the snug-fitting energy absorbing collar that surrounds the cockpit opening, in an effort to increase driver visibility.   While changes to the tub itself are minimal, chassis manufacturers Dallara and Panoz G-Force didn't get away scot-free. Their update kits include all parts needed to modify everything on the car except the gearbox and engine for road racing. The Panoz G-Force kit contains 335 individual pieces, right down to the nuts and bolts necessary to put it all together.   "I'm sure after the Homestead test we'll have a job list as long as my arm," laughs Simon Marshall, Panoz G-Force chief designer. "We're probably underestimating the amount of time and work it's going to take once they have run."

"The brakes will be a hell of a lot better and therefore we need to cool them," he said. "But we'll use standard hubs -- I think high-speed ovals have shown the bearings are fairly bulletproof."

The drivetrain will also require changes and many of the drivers have questioned whether the spec X-Trac gearbox can withstand the forces of road racing. A gearbox problem knocked Dario Franchitti out of the IRL's most recent event at Chicagoland Speedway, and the Scotsman must have lost his speaking points when he addressed the issue afterwards.   "We lost a gearbox under the yellow, if you can believe that," Franchitti said. "I don't know how this gearbox is going to survive a road course. It's not the strongest part of the car, put it that way."

Engine manufacturers Honda, Toyota and Chevrolet have also been working hard on a road racing version of their 3.0-liter engines. Until now, the motors have been tuned for peak power, but the manufacturers have switched their quest to find more torque.

"Because of the IRL rules, there is not a lot we can do because the engine fundamentals are fixed," remarked Robert Clarke, general manager of Honda Performance Development. "We'll be focusing on driveability, which is where we excelled with our CART program. We lost a lot of torque in changing from the 3.5-liter to the 3-liter program. It's not a very responsive engine to begin with and it's a very heavy car, so I'm sure that's a concern of the IRL."   Clarke said that raising the rev limit sounds like a simple solution to the problem, but it isn't.   "It sounds easy but there is a knock-off effect on all the moving engine components," he said. "When everything is re-designed for 2007, the engine needs to be properly sized because it's way too large for what it is. We designed the parts heavy just to make the minimum weight."   The IndyCars are likely to be seven to 10 seconds a lap slower than Champ Cars, a disparity that fans of the latter series are likely to highlight.   "The only concern is when you start comparing them to some other series," Clarke said. "But I think the cars will be fine and they'll put on a good show. That's what counts."

09/22/04
irl
First IRL road course test First IRL road course testIndianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice recorded the first official road-course lap in an IRL IndyCar® Series car during a private test Sept. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Rice took to the track at 9:22 a.m. (EDT) in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone. The start of the day was delayed 22 minutes following morning rains at the 2.21-mile circuit. In all, drivers turned 165 laps before steady rain brought the session to an early end.   See Home Page for full story and photographs.
09/22/04
renault2000
Castroneves and de Ferran visit Michael Shank Racing Castroneves and de Ferran visit Michael Shank RacingIndyCar stars Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran visited the Rolex Sports Car race at Homestead Miami Speedway this weekend as guests of Michael Shank Racing’s Oswaldo Negri. Negri has competed against, and been friends with, the two for several years. The two Indianapolis 500 Champions spent some time with Michael Shank Racing team members before the race talking shop and getting an up-close look at the number 6 Lexus-powered Doran.
 
Negri, who has made the most of the opportunity he has had this season with Michael Shank Racing, first met de Ferran in their native Brazil when they both competed in Formula Ford. The two were then neighbors in England when they were trying to make names for themselves in British Formula 3, where they battled each other for the championship.
 
“There was a lot of competition between us, but also too a good friendship, and we have always kept in touch,” said Negri. “It was great that they were both able to come out and watch the race.”  Negri became friends with Castroneves when they raced each other in the Indy Lights ranks, and the fellow Miami residents still find themselves racing each other from time to time, although its just for fun in Kart Mini’s, a karting chassis which Negri imports to the States.   Negri’s teammate Burt Frisselle also spent some time with Castroneves and de Ferran before the start of the Miami 250, and the talk naturally drifted to racing, as Frisselle talked about the challenges of racing with three different classes on the track at the same time, as is the nature of Rolex Sports Car racing.
 
“It's basically as if you guys ran an IRL race at the same time as they had the Infiniti Pro Series racing—it keeps you busy!” said Frisselle.
 
Castroneves and de Ferran, two of the friendliest guys in any paddock, enjoyed watching Negri race, and learning more about the Rolex Series firsthand. Castroneves teased de Ferran, who retired at the end of 2003, about getting back into racing in the Rolex ranks.  “Maybe he is getting a little tired of being retired and wants to try one of these!” joked Castroneves.
09/22/04
alms
Lehto leads opening test for Petit LeMans Lehto leads opening test for Petit LeMansNew American Le Mans Series champion JJ Lehto set the fastest time of the day Wednesday as testing got underway for Saturday's Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Lehto, driving the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8, turned a lap of 1:12.919, averaging 125.399 mph around the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit to lead the field overall as well as the LMP1 class. Lehto and co-driver Marco Werner have scored overall wins in five of the seven ALMS races held this season and clinched the LMP1 driving championship with their win in the most recent race at Road America. Official practice starts Thursday, with qualifying to be held on Friday. Saturday's race, which starts at 12 noon (Eastern), will be for 1,000 miles or 10 hours, whichever comes first. The Dyson Racing Lola B01/60-AER of James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace was second-fastest Wednesday at 1:13.185, followed by the other Dyson team entry of Chris Dyson and Jan Lammers at 1:13.733. Leading the GTS class in Wednesday's test was the Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen at 1:19.100, ahead of the 1:19.707 turned by the other factory Corvette of Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis. The ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R of Terry Borcheller, Johnny Mowlem and Joao Barbosa was third in the GTS class at 1:19.910. Leading the LMP2 class was the Miracle Motorsports Courage C65-AER of Ian James, James Gue and John Macaluso at 1:19.784, followed by the Miracle/Team Bucknum Racing Lola B2K/40-AER of Chris McMurry, Bryan Willman and Jeff Bucknum at 1:23.680. Third in class was the Intersport Racing Lola B2K/40-Judd of Clint Field, Robin Liddell and Milka Duno at 1:24.552. Fastest in the GT class in the two-hour session was the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Wolf Henzler at 1:23.500. The Job team repaired the car after it was damaged in a crash during private testing at the track on Sunday. The BAM! Porsche of Lucas Luhr, Leo Hindery and Adam Jones was second at 1:23.893, followed by the other Job Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Jorg Bergmeister and Sascha Maassen at 1:24.119.
09/22/04
SCCA
ESPN Russell Racing points battle tightens ESPN Russell Racing points battle tightensTurn 9A is perhaps the most notorious twist on Infineon Raceway’s entertaining and challenging 12-turn road course, and it was a major factor in a couple of races Sunday during the 2004 SCCA Formula Russell Championship Series, presented by Yokohama. For those unfamiliar with the combo turn, it was created for AMA motorcycle racing and it requires a quick right and then an immediate recovery on an even quicker left coming out of a long, fast downhill from the Esses. It claims many a driver via the spinout, but it can also be a catalyst to the podium for a driver that navigates it in crafty fashion.

"It made my race," said driver Bruce Chapman of Pasadena, who snuck by leader Ken Snyder on the eighth lap in Turn 9A. Chapman then fended off Snyder over the last six laps to win Sunday’s C Group race, while Grand Master competitor Rick Eberhardt rallied from the 13th spot at the start to take third place and a trophy for his mantle. "There’s a lot of braking there, and I just got a good run coming out of 8 and 8A," said Chapman. Andy Brown, competing in the B Group prior to Chapman’s race, was not as fortunate. Though he crossed the finish line first, he was docked 60 seconds by race officials afterward because he failed to pit after his tires left the racing surface as he recovered out of Turn 9 and headed into Turn 10 on one of the laps. Brown was awarded an honorable mention at the podium for having the fastest lap time (1:59.621), and graciously congratulated winner Claudio Cornali on his victory. Zeke Dehnert (second place) and Joe Zammuto (third) joined Cornali on the podium. The big winner on the weekend was Masters racer Will Hill, a veteran of the Star Mazda Series with prior experience in the Russell series at Laguna Seca. He competed in the D Group both Saturday and Sunday, and pulled off a rare "double-double" by not only taking the pole for both of his races, but winning each of them in "wire to wire" fashion.

Hill was joined on the podium Saturday by Cameron Evans (second place) and the Mechanics Training Program’s Charles Marshall in third. Sunday, Hill’s runners up were fellow Masters driver Peter Rocca and the Mechanics Training Program’s Dan Moore. Sunday’s weekend capper was the A Group race, and young star J.R. Hildebrand padded his overall points lead with a victory over fellow podium drivers Pieter Rossi and Wes Boswell. Hildebrand also took second place in Saturday’s race to pick up 35 points over the weekend and slip ahead of Masters driver Fernando Dias Ribeiro for the top spot in the overall standings. Dias Ribeiro still maintains a solid lead in the Masters standings. With two more weekends left in October and November, the overall title is still up for grabs. Hildebrand (187) is followed in the Top 5 by Dias Ribeiro (169), Jeremy Spiering (155), Bruce Feldman (151) and Chuck Hulse (143).
09/22/04
nascar
 champcar
NASCAR tests mall kart track in Canada NASCAR tests mall kart track in Canada[Editor's Note: It is things like this that help NASCAR saturate a market with their branding and merchandise and eventually push open wheel racing right out of the market. History has shown this to be the case at every venue that was once open wheel Indy/Champ Car domain and is now NASCAR.   The irony of it all is that go-karts are traditionally open-wheel vehicles.  NASCAR has offices in Canada and Mexico doing this sort of business development.  Champ Car had better respond in-kind or one day they will wake to find they have lost two key markets - Canada and Mexico, to the NASCAR monopoly juggernaut.] 

This Toronto Star article says, If you thought driving around the mall parking lot could be hairy, just wait until you see what's inside.  NASCAR, the American stock car racing circuit, will be trying out a new concept in Vaughan this November — indoor go-kart racing at a mall.  Vaughan Mills shopping centre, nearing completion near the intersections of Highways 400 and 7, will be home to the first NASCAR go-kart track outside of the United States, and the smallest ever as the company behind the concept sees just how small it can go to get its tracks into malls.  "Some companies just get bigger and bigger. We get smaller," Warren Maurer, director of leasing at Burroughs & Chapin Co., said in an interview yesterday at the annual Canadian conference of the International Council of Shopping Centres.

Tracks will be geared to all ages — from simple tracks with slower vehicles suitable for children as young as 3 years old, to tougher tracks with faster cars geared to teenagers and adults. The figure-eight track, for instance, will be two storeys high, with the track passing under itself just like a home race car set.  "It will be dual level, which is very cool," Maurer said.

But being an anchor to a mall wasn't always part of the company's plan. When it opened the first NASCAR SpeedPark in Myrtle Beach in 1998, it hoped only to have a successful theme park in the heartland of stock car racing — the American south.  "It started out as a one-off, quite honestly," Maurer said.  Now the company is scouting locations across North America, including about half a dozen major Canadian cities.  Burroughs expects about 500,000 people to rent NASCAR go-karts in Vaughan during the first year, including families, teenagers on dates and groups of friends racing each other. And, as at other tracks, he expects real NASCAR drivers to come by, get in a go-kart and race the customers.

"You're never going to beat them," he said, adding it's a thrill for fans just to be on the same track as their heroes.  There will also be a store selling NASCAR race souvenirs, a restaurant and birthday party rooms.  Tracks in the U.S. charge $15 (U.S.) for children and $25 for adults for a day of racing.

09/22/04
nascar
Larry Phillips dies Larry Phillips diesLarry Phillips, 62, a NASCAR regional stock car driver died after a 4 year bout with lung cancer in Springfield, MO at St. John's Regional Health Center.  Phillips had over 2,500 career victories which included 5 Winston Racing Series championships.  He was a grassroots racer that worked on his equipment and could drive the wheels off a racecar.
09/22/04
champcar
Las Vegas fans to be entertained by 'Flying Elvi' Las Vegas fans to be entertained by 'Flying Elvi'As the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series gears up for the second oval race of the season, ten flying Elvis’ will also be gearing up to make their jump in front of the race day crowd just before the green flag waves on Saturday night for the Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona, the first ever Champ Car event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  The “Flying ELVI” is a ten-member skydiving team that combines a spine-tingling aerial skydiving performance of smoke trails, pyrotechnic fireworks, and precision maneuvers with an over-the-top entertaining stage show.  A skydiving team that was first featured in the hit movie “Honeymoon in Vegas” will be jumping from altitudes of 5,000 to 12,500 feet above ground level as they will free-fall for up to 9,500 feet. All ten “Flying ELVI” are United States Parachute Association Pro rated skydivers with an average of over 2,000 jumps each.  The Champ Cars won’t be the only things producing high speeds that night, as the “Flying ELVI” will drop at a velocity ranging from 120 to 160 miles per hour.   As Elvis, times ten, proves he really “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with racing by dropping in for the start of the race, The Champ Car World Series will  kick of its inaugural race.  Round 12 of the Champ Car World Series will take place in the City of Lights, under the lights for the Double Down in the Desert, on Saturday night immediately following the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.
09/22/04
irl
Adrian Fernandez to Meet Fans in Los Angeles Adrian Fernandez to Meet Fans in Los AngelesIRL IndyCar® Series team owner/driver Adrian Fernandez will meet race fans and sign autographs during a special event in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Sept. 29. Fernandez will be available for interviews prior to the autograph appearance.   During the event, fans can test their racing skills on two IndyCar Challenge Simulators which will be on display during the event. The simulators are full-bodied race cars, which are powered by the Codemasters video game IndyCar Series 2005.  Fernandez is the only Mexican race car driver to compete on a full-time basis in the IndyCar Series. He has won twice this season, scoring victories at Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway. Fernandez is one of 22 IndyCar Series drivers scheduled to compete at California Speedway during the Toyota Indy 400 race weekend Oct. 2-3.
WHAT:  Interview Opportunity with Adrian Fernandez, IndyCar Series team owner/driver.
WHERE: King Taco
4504 E. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2004
5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.      Media Availability*
6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.      Autograph Appearance
09/22/04
NASCAR
Wells Fargo Renews Petty Sponsorship Wells Fargo Renews Petty SponsorshipWells Fargo Financial announced today it has renewed and expanded its sponsorship of Petty Enterprises in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series. For 2005, the sponsorship will increase to include driver Kyle Petty and his #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge and driver Jeff Green and his #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge. Wells Fargo Financial, the North American consumer finance subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company, is continuing and growing the sponsorship as a result of its highly successful three-year partnership with Petty Enterprises. Petty Enterprises is unique in its ability to bring added value to a Nextel Cup sponsorship. “We are very happy with our relationship with Kyle and the entire Petty Enterprises team and excited to now be affiliated with Jeff Green and the celebrated #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge. Wells Fargo Financial is proud to be involved with one of the most celebrated names in all of NASCAR and in the fastest growing spectator sport in America,” said Tom Gibbons, Director of Corporate Sponsorships. “We’re very pleased to have Wells Fargo Financial continue its sponsorship of Petty Enterprises,” said Kyle Petty. “We believe they are the premier financial services company in the U.S. and an excellent partner with our other top-quality sponsors, like General Mills, Georgia-Pacific and Coca-Cola.” The sponsorship has provided significant benefit and impact to Wells Fargo Financial’s business lines through client/dealer incentives and entertainment, customer promotions, driver appearances, show car appearances and employee incentives. NASCAR’s popularity exceeds the NBA, NHL and MLB combined and averages more than 190,000 fans attending each event and more than 7 million viewers per race. Over 80 million Americans call themselves fans of the sport. Richard Williams PR Somehow, Petty Enterprises continues to pull in sponsorship money despite lackluster performances over the past few years. Then again, look what some guy named Donald has done with the name Trump. Doug B.
09/22/04
NASCAR
Jeff Gordon to Host Go-Kart Challenge Jeff Gordon to Host Go-Kart ChallengeJeff Gordon and The Jeff Gordon Foundation will host the 4th annual Jeff Gordon Go-Kart Challenge and "An Evening with Jeff Gordon" dinner on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 in Charlotte, NC. The go-kart challenge will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at NASCAR SpeedPark, followed by the dinner event at 7 p.m. at The Westin Hotel in Uptown Charlotte. Both events benefit The Jeff Gordon Foundation and its designated charity, the Hendrick Marrow Program of The Marrow Foundation. Jeff Gordon Foundation
09/22/04
NASCAR
Miss America to Sing National Anthem at Dover Speedway Miss America to Sing National Anthem at Dover SpeedwayLess than a week after winning the Miss America 2005 crown, Deidre Downs from Alabama will visit Dover International Speedway for the Sept. 24 - 26 race weekend. Downs will serve as the Grand Marshal, and also sing the National Anthem, at the MBNA America 400 on Sunday, Sept. 26. Downs, 24, an aspiring doctor who put off medical school to compete for the crown, bested Miss Louisiana Jennifer Dupont to become Miss America 2005. Downs won a $50,000 scholarship to continue her education. A whirlwind publicity tour began on Monday morning, with appearances on NBC's Today with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer and ABC's LIVE with Regis & Kelly. After appearances on the CBS Early Show and The Late Show with David Letterman, along with corporate meetings, Downs will head to Dover for race weekend. She will make various hospitality appearances, participate in driver introductions on stage, and serve as Grand Marshal for Sunday's MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway. She is very capable of singing the National Anthem for the thousands of race fans at the Monster Mile - her performance of the ballad "I'm Afraid This Must Be Love," sealed the Miss America victory after a week-long preliminary competition in Atlantic City. Dover Speedway Wouldn't it have been ironic if runner-up Jennifer Dupont had won the Miss America pageant and got to sing the National Anthem at Dupont's home track? Doug B.
09/22/04
World Rally
ETCC
Ford eyes Tin-Tops to replace Rally effort Ford eyes Tin-Tops to replace Rally effortThis week's Autosport Magazine reports that Ford is lining up a World Touring Car Championship program as an alternative global motorsport activity if frantic efforts to save its world rally effort fail.  Senior figures in Ford of Europe remain optimistic that some form of Focus WRC program can be secured for 2005 and beyond, and sources suggest M-Sport, which runs and develops the rally machinery, has made gains in finding sponsorship that could ensure a full 16-round campaign.

But, speaking exclusively to Autosport, Ford Team RS Director  Jost Capito admitted that a touring car project is an alternative for the firm if it decides the WRC program is beyond its budget.   “Ford wants to stay in rallying but in the end it is a business decision,” he said. “On the touring car side, Ford is already there – in Germany we’ve been in touring cars for many years. We have teams with the Focus who are fighting with BMW head-to-head and they are interested in continuing. I think that will happen anyway.

“The European Touring Car Championship is growing and as a manufacturer you can’t ignore that. There’s a good opportunity for customer motorsport there. It would have to be factory-supported but it’s an obvious alternative [to WRC]. If we can’t do WRC then we say, ‘Okay, what are the alternatives?’. This would be one of them because we have the racing car anyhow.”   One attraction of the touring car project is that it could be based on the new Focus model in 2005, whereas any rally programme would have to incorporate a stop-gap year with the current car before the latest edition could be used in ’06. However, at present ETCC television coverage lacks the global terrestrial reach enjoyed by the WRC.

09/22/04
alms
Krohn-Barbour return to ALMS action Krohn-Barbour return to ALMS actionThe spectacular Lamborghinis of the Krohn-Barbour Racing team will make their return to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) this weekend in one of the season's biggest events, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, Braselton, Georgia. Returning to action after missing the last two rounds, the Road Atlanta-based team has recruited two additional drivers for this long-distance race: the regular driver pairing of David Brabham and Peter Kox will be supported in the number 5 Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT by Nic Jonsson, while the number 6 car of Tracy Krohn and Scott Maxwell will also be driven by Joe Fox.

Jonsson, 37, a resident of Buford, Georgia, is a frontrunner in this year's SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series. Jonsson also drove the Krohn-Barbour Racing Lamborghini in round five of the ALMS at Portland, Oregon, in July, standing-in for regular driver Scott Maxwell. Fox, 32, a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, is an instructor at Road Atlanta and is racing a Porsche this year in the Grand-Am Cup as team-mate to Tracy Krohn.

Track duties at Petit Le Mans are shared between three drivers rather than two because the race runs for 1,000 miles or ten hours (whichever is reached sooner), compared to the two-hours 45-minutes duration of most ALMS sprint races. Petit Le Mans was introduced in 1998 as a smaller or 'petit' version of France's famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race, starting in daylight and ending well after darkness has fallen. That first one-off event was so successful that it led to the introduction of the American Le Mans Series in 1999, a championship which boasts 'European style, American attitude' and attracts the world's best sports car manufacturers and drivers.

In preparation for Petit Le Mans, all six Krohn-Barbour Racing drivers had runs in the Lamborghinis at Road Atlanta last weekend (September 17-19). Both cars ran for more than 300 miles on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course, trying-out technical developments to improve durability and different chassis and suspension settings to optimize speed.

09/22/04
f1
CRB to decide on Button contract in China CRB to decide on Button contract in ChinaUPDATE #2 Jenson Button must now wait until October 16 for his future to be decided after the Contracts Recognition Board adjourned its hearing until next month. Both Williams and BAR claim to have lodged contracts with the CRB for the Englishman's services in 2005.  The CRB met in Paris this morning to adjudicate over Williams and BAR's claims for Button, but it has now delayed the hearing. The new meeting will be held in Milan next month and is anticipated to deliver a final decision on the matter. Autosport 09/15/04 The Contract Recognition Board which is due to meet to decide whether Jenson Button should drive for Williams or for BAR in 2005 will not be meeting until the end of October, unless the teams involved can get the legal people in Switzerland to hurry things along. The three-man arbitration committee is scheduled to meet on the weekend of the Brazilian Grand Prix, a month later than had been hoped. The decision will decide what happens next in the F1 driver market as there are a number of drivers waiting to see what happens with Button.  One man at the centre of the story appears to be former World Champion Mika Hakkinen, who is still holding out hopes of getting a drive with Williams while of the modern generation Anthony Davidson, Nick Heidfeld, Antonio Pizzonia and Vitantonio Liuzzi are all waiting to hear what happens. One must also include David Coulthard in the calculations as the Scotsman says he wants to continue racing in F1 next year. Grandprix.com 09/12/04 The Contract Recognition Board (CRB) is likely to meet to discuss Jenson Button’s future on the Sunday of the Chinese Grand Prix, Frank Williams has told reporters in Monza.  His team and BAR both claim to have valid contracts with Button for the 2005 season, and a hearing over the matter will take place on Sunday September 26, according to Williams. Both teams have said they will not contest any CRB judgement.  However, an immediate decision is not expected from the CRB following the hearing. “Last time I was up before the board it was about three weeks, maybe longer,” said Williams.
09/22/04
nascar
Kenseth and Rudd interviews Kenseth and Rudd interviewsMatt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DEWALT Tools Taurus, is coming off a second-place finish in Sunday's Sylvania 300 and is currently in fourth place in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Kenseth, who is 10 points behind leaders Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kurt Busch, answered questions during the weekly NNC teleconference.  Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus, has four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victories at Dover International Speedway, site of this weekend's MBNA America 400. Rudd was also one of this week's guests on the NNC teleconference.  Transcript
09/22/04
Industry News
Tobacco under attack again in the USA Tobacco under attack again in the USAThe US Justice Department has launched a massive lawsuit against the major tobacco companies, arguing that the industry deliberately misled the US public about the harmful effects of smoking, starting in the 1950s. The government is claiming $280bn in past profits from Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, Lorillard, Liggett and British American Tobacco.  The lawsuit is being brought under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), legislation which was originally introduced to combat organized crime. The tobacco companies are already paying out huge amounts of money as part of a 1998 settlement with the state governments, which will cost them a total of $264bn. Grandprix.com
09/22/04
f1
Pantano out, Doornbos lands Jordan test role Pantano out, Doornbos lands Jordan test roleGiorgio Pantano has been dropped from the Jordan Ford team the Silverstone-based outfit announced this morning. Pantano, who competed in 14 events this year, failed to score any championship points, despite some strong drives. Heading to the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, Timo Glock has been promoted from the role of third driver to race driver, while the team has signed Robert Doornbos as the team’s third driver for the remaining races.

“It has been a pleasure working with Giorgio this year however contractual issues have made this unavoidable and we wish him every success in the future," Jordan said in a statement. "Timo’s performance throughout the season as our third driver in testing and free practice has been first-class particularly when he stood in and raced in Canada. I am confident that in this unexpected call-up he will do a good job for Jordan again. In Shanghai he will be in the same boat as everyone else as the circuit is new for all the drivers.”

Glock has participated in team test sessions and Friday free practice at every Grand Prix so far this season. He raced in the Canadian Grand Prix and scored two points in his F1 race debut.

Doornbos, team-mate to Tonio Liuzzi this year in F3000 with Arden International with three podium positions and a victory at Spa Francorchamps to his credit, described his chance with Jordan as 'Fantastic'.

“The F3000 season only just ended in Monza and it’s been an amazing season for me – in my first year in F3000 I won a race and got on the podium a few times," Doornbos said. "To get this chance with Jordan is fantastic and although it’s late in the day and at circuits I have never visited, I’m grabbing the opportunity with both hands and looking forward to my first F1 drive. I would like to thank my sponsors Muermans Group and Burgfonds for helping me to make this possible.”

Describing the Friday position as an unexpected opportunity, Jordan welcomed Doornbos to the team.

“I’m very pleased that we have been able to offer this unexpected opportunity to Robert Doornbos," said Jordan. "He has shown very impressive form this season with Arden International, holding his own against a dominant team-mate. Winning at Spa is a great achievement because it is a true ‘drivers’ track and we are looking forward to having Doornbos on board with Jordan for his F1 debut.” Source Jordan Ford

09/22/04
champcar
Las Vegas Bridgestone 400 Preview Las Vegas Bridgestone 400 PreviewThe teams and drivers of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford devote much of their lives to the pursuit of speed and the hunt for the Vanderbilt Cup, but despite all their preparations Lady Luck still plays a major role in determining the outcome of a season.  Take the case of Sebastien Bourdais of Newman/Haas Racing. The Flying Frenchman seemingly had the title locked up a scant three weeks ago, having built a 58-point cushion over his closest rival. More.....
09/22/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
McNish to test 'GP2' car
F1's 'right' to be in China - Schu
'I didn't change my style' - Sato
Jaguar to build 2005 car - Pitchforth
'Don't blame Ferrari' - Raikkonen
Filipino lands Minardi test
Glock to replace Jordan's Pantano
Local fans can't afford F1 ticket
'I can win title for BAR' - Coulthard
Horner to make Jaguar bid
'I never considered quitting' - Ralf
Indy race wants later F1 date
'We won't clash' - Villeneuve
'F1 in Schools' unaffected - Jaguar
Bernie won't save struggling teams
Sauber scuppers driver 'swap'
'Big thanks' to exiting Jaguar - Webber
Off track, no tobacco branding allowed
09/22/04
Industry News
ROC Website ROC WebsiteHere's the link for the Race of Champions to be held in Paris on December 4.  The race will feature Michael Schumacher, Jeff Gordon, and other drivers.  Click here for tickets (in French).
09/21/04
alms
Milka Duno to drive in Petit LeMans Milka Duno to drive in Petit LeMansCITGO Racing's Milka Duno, fresh off her second win of the season with Andy Wallace last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will compete in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance race on Saturday, September 25 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.  She is slated to drive the #30 Lola B2K/40 P2 Le Mans Prototype (LMP) for Intersport Racing with co-drivers Clint Field of Dublin, Ohio and Robin Liddell of Edinburgh, Scotland.  "It will be great to race again at the Petit Le Mans and with a championship team like Intersport Racing," said Duno.  "I raced with Intersport at the Grand Prix of Washington, DC in 2002, and it was a great experience.  They have a very dedicated and hard-working squad with an amazing record so far this year.  I'm really looking forward to driving with Clint and Robin and I hope that together we can help deliver another win for CITGO and Intersport.  "The Petit Le Mans is one of the biggest races on the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) calendar and will provide a different challenge for Duno, as she steps from a closed cockpit Daytona Prototype in the Rolex Sports Car Series, to a LMP open cockpit machine for the weekend.  Petit Le Mans is a ten-hour endurance event that begins at 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, September 25, and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  The format of the race consists of 1,000 miles (394 laps) or a ten-hour limit - whichever comes first.  Duno's last race in a LMP car came earlier this year at the 12 Hours of Sebring, where a gearbox failure ended her run two hours from the checkered flag, denying her and CITGO Racing a possible fifth place finish.  Before her move to the Rolex Sports Car Series this season, Duno was a series regular in the ALMS from 2000-2002, capturing victory in the LMP 675 class at the Petit Le Mans in 2001. In that same year Milka finished 2nd in the ALMS Driver Point standings in the LMP 675 class.
09/21/04
irl
F1
When does tobacco sponsorship stop? When does tobacco sponsorship stop?For most of 2004 there have been attempts going on behind the scenes to get the British government to do something about its Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act of 2002 which makes any person who is party to a sponsorship agreement guilty of an offence if the purpose is to promote tobacco products in the UK.

This means that any tobacco sponsorship involving a British-based company is illegal even if there is no race in Britain because TV pictures of the cars will be broadcast from aboard into the UK. There are five teams in F1 that rely on tobacco funding: Ferrari (Marlboro), BAR (Lucky Strike), Renault (Mild Seven), McLaren (West) and Jordan (Benson & Hedges). All would run into trouble with this law as all involve companies which are based in Britain.

But at the moment the lobbying does not seem to have been successful although teams say that things will be sorted. However, it is hard to see how this will happen as tobacco sponsorship is still a political hot potato because of the 1997 scandal over donations made by Bernie Ecclestone to the Labour Party. An election is due in Britain at some point within the next few months, with the latest possible date being June next year. Obviously the government is keen to avoid any move that would lead to bad publicity. The new law comes into effect on June 30, 2005 and will be enforced because if it is not the very active anti-smoking lobby in Britain will take legal action. At the moment, therefore, none of the F1 teams can plan on having tobacco sponsorship beyond June 30 next year.

International tobacco advertising is due to end on December 1, 2006 thanks to a voluntary deal known as the International Tobacco Products Marketing Standards Agreement which was agreed by the biggest tobacco companies in 2001. This undertakes to remove sponsorship from any event unless there is no less than 75% adult attendance, unless there is a reasonable basis upon which to believe that the event will not appeal to youth, and unless success does not require above-average physical fitness for someone of the age group of those taking part. It is very clear that Formula 1 does requires above-average physical fitness.  This deal was signed by representatives of Philip Morris (Marlboro), British American Tobacco (Lucky Strike) and Japan Tobacco (Mild Seven).

In America there is no doubt that motor racing sponsorship will stop on December 1, 2006, Philip Morris USA being quite open with the information that the sponsorship of Team Penske in the Indy Racing League will end.   "We will voluntarily discontinue our brand sponsorship of auto racing by December 1, 2006," the company says on its website. Grandprix.com
09/21/04
f1
Honda launches Chinese version of their website Honda launches Chinese version of their websiteA Chinese version of Honda’s Formula One website, www.hondaf1.com, was launched today (Tuesday), increasing the number of languages offered on HondaF1.com to eight.

HondaF1.com is one of the first F1 websites to offer news updates in Chinese every day of a race weekend, and gives Chinese-speaking fans the chance to keep up to date with all the action during this weekend's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai and for the remainder of the 2004 season and beyond.

At HondaF1.com you will find all the latest news about Honda's F1 programme, including Grand Prix results, testing reports and times, photos, statistics and team information, plus Honda F1 engine and B.A.R Honda F1 car technical specifications. You can also download screensavers and wallpaper, send postcards, and enter fantastic competitions to win exclusive driver-signed Honda F1 goodies.

In addition, you can read up on Honda's F1 history, keep up-to-date with championship points, and check out the interactive F1 circuit section, which includes diagrams and key information.

HondaF1.com is the only eight language Formula One website, keeping fans informed with the latest news from Honda’s F1 activities in English, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic and, from today, Chinese.  Go to www.hondaf1.com and click on the Chinese flag.

09/21/04
f1
Chinese GP Stats and Facts Chinese GP Stats and FactsThe Shanghai International Circuit is built on 5.3 square kilometres of marshland, approximately one hour’s drive from the city centre.

Hermann Tilke, the renowned architect of tracks such as Malaysia and Bahrain, designed the circuit.

- The Shanghai circuit was built within 18 months, but the constructors faced some extreme conditions. To make the swampy terrain suitable for development, concrete piles, 40 to 80 metres deep, were driven into the ground before a metre thick layer of polystyrene was placed on top. A two metre layer of soil then completed the foundation for the asphalt.

- The track comprises seven right and seven left hand corners. (The radiuses of the individual turns vary, which is why other figures are also quoted.) The layout is based on the Chinese character “Shang”, which translates as “high” or “above” and gives Shanghai its name.

- The circuit measures 5.451 kilometres making it the fifth longest circuit on the Formula One calendar. Race distance will be 305.256 kilometres (56 laps).

- Unusually, the longest straight is not the start/finish straight but one which lies between turns 13 and 14. This full throttle section extends to almost 1.2 kilometres.

- The futuristic pits and grandstands emulate traditional Chinese design features. The circuit seats up to 200,000 spectators.

- China has lobbied for many years to stage a Grand Prix. The first circuit built for Grand Prix racing was in Zhuhai in the south of China, but it never became a Formula One venue.

- Shanghai, a port city and free trade zone on the east coast of the country and near the Yangtze Delta, is China’s boom town with a population of 14.6 million.

- BMW’s sales in the Chinese markets (mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) have grown to 16,620 cars in the first eight months of 2004, an increase of 23.9% compared to the same period last year. Almost half the cars sold (7,440) are manufactured in China. They stem from the local BMW production joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd, which has for the last year been turning out 3 and 5 Series models.

- Over the Grand Prix weekend, rounds 11 and 12 (out of 14) of Formula BMW Asia will be held on Saturday and Sunday respectively. BMW’s international series is a proving ground for young talent where drivers compete at speeds of up to 230 km/h in single seater cars with 140 bhp engines. The best known driver in the field is Han Han (22, Shanghai). Marchy Lee (Hong Kong, Team Meritus) has already claimed the Championship for the 2004 season.

- The first Chinese Grand Prix, round 16 of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship, will take place on Sunday 26th September at 14:00 hrs local time (06:00 hrs UK time, GMT + 8 hrs).

09/21/04
alms
Petit LeMans TV schedule Petit LeMans TV scheduleThe SPEED Channel will feature round eight of the American Le Mans Series with eight hours of live coverage of Chevy presents Petit Le Mans, live from Road Atlanta, Saturday, September 25, beginning at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern).

David Lee will be the Coordinating Producer of the telecast of one of the world's most prestigious sports car races, and one of two long-distance events on the ALMS schedule for SPEED Channel. This will be the fifth consecutive year that SPEED has aired the Petit Le Mans. Lee is no stranger to this grueling endurance race and appreciates all of the great action that Road Atlanta provides.  "While the 12 hours of Sebring opened up our 2004 ALMS season, we go to Road Atlanta to close it," Lee said. "It's been a busy summer swing but all those reps really give our announcers and crew a chance to get into a great flow. Everyone is in sync and I'm sure our partners at Wheeler TV will deliver for our viewers.  "Fortunately over the last couple years our crews have gotten somewhat used to the challenge of covering endurance racing," Lee said. "The ones that really deserve the credit are those in the trenches that deal with the elements. Whether it's pouring rain or 100 degrees outside, our camera ops, utilities, and pit reporters really bear the brunt of it. If you go around and talk to the crew, however, most of them look forward to the big races. When you're doing what you love, it doesn't seem like work, does it?

"There have been so many great moments at this event," commented Lee. "We're encouraged by some of the additions to the entry list and look forward to following those stories, as well as documenting the championship battles still to be decided. We've been fortunate with a lot of great action on the SPEED Channel events this year and hope that continues at Road Atlanta."

Leigh Diffey will anchor the SPEED Channel team for Chevy presents Petit Le Mans, joined in the booth for expert race analysis by Dorsey Schroeder and Derek Daly. Calvin Fish and Brian Till will cover the action in the pits and will be joined by Andrew Marriott due to the shear length of the race. Wheeler Television of Charlotte, N.C., will produce the telecast with Executive Producer Patti Wheeler, while the show producer will be Jim Roller. Billy McCoy will direct the telecast.
Television: SPEED Channel Coverage:
11:30 a.m.- 12 noon (ET) Pre-Race Show
12:00 noon - 3:30 p.m. (ET)
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (ET)
7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. (ET)
Track Length: 2.54 mile, 12 turn road course
Race Length: 1000 miles or 10 hours

09/21/04
champcar
Mexico tickets on sale to general public Friday Mexico tickets on sale to general public FridayThe website for this year's Telmex Tecate Grand Prix of Mexico City Champ Car  race will soon be live www.gptelmextecate.com.   Tickets for the general public for the 2004 season ending race for the Champ Car World Series will go on sale this Friday September 24th.   Federico Alaman, Director of Sports of OCESA, commented.  "We will put on another spectaular display November 5-7, 2004.   This year's race will offer something for everyone including extreme sports, 15 artists in concert, a celebrity race and of course the Miss Grand Prix contest." Support series races will include the Pick Up trucks, the T4 cars,  the Renault Formula 2000,  and the Clio Cup.

The four Mexican drivers shown to the right will be on the Champ Car grid - (L to R) Mario Dominguez, Roberto Gonzalez, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Rodolfo Lavin.  Like other years all the information of the Mexican circuit will be in the Internet page www.gptelmextecate.com, where you will be able to find all the information online about tickets, sale of suites, location of the track, promotions, photographs in hi-res, the news, the race program and more. The tickets for the general sale will be available as of this Friday 24 of September in the ticket offices of the Palace of Deportes, Mix Up, Discolandia, Liverpool, or the Web at www.ticketmaster.com.mx

09/21/04
champcar
Vasser ready to bring home bragging rights Vasser ready to bring home bragging rightsHe may think he’s two years shy of being considered a Las Vegas local, but that doesn’t mean Champ Car World Series driver Jimmy Vasser isn’t looking forward to some hometown bragging rights if he wins the Bridgestone 400 presented by Corona on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  “My friends have told me you have to live here 10 years to be considered a local,” Vasser said, “but I think eight years is a long time.  There are hometown bragging rights on the line coming into the race.”

Vasser, along with fellow Las Vegans Paul Tracy, Alex Tagliani and Patrick Carpentier, are hoping to bring home the first Champ Car trophy presented at LVMS during the Double Down in the Desert.  The Champ Cars will run following the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Las Vegas 350.    “I was a little skeptical at first but I am really surprised at the number of people who want to come to this race,” Vasser said.  “The Craftsman Truck Series is some of the best racing going on and to have two races in one night is a fantastic ticket for the fans.  It will be an eclectic group of people in the stands.  I’m looking forward to it.”

The Champ Car race will be a change of pace for NASCAR fans who have never seen open-wheel racing before.  The cars are expected to race at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour and likely will be packed close together.  “The aerodynamic package Champ Car has chosen has a lot of downforce,” Vasser said.  “It will keep the cars close together and show the fans some real close racing.  Ultimate speed is not the only thing.”

Las Vegas will be the only superspeedway the Champ Cars will race during the 2004 season. The last Champ Car race on a superspeedway was in 2003 at Lausitz, Germany.  Most Champ Car events are held on permanent road courses and temporary street courses.  The superspeedway will allow the cars to try all available racing lines on the track and possibly race three wide in the straightaways.    “What I’ve liked most about Champ Cars in the past is the diversity of racing,” Vasser said.  “Adding superspeedways completes the four disciplines of racing.”

Vasser has spent 13 seasons in the Champ Cars World Series and its predecessor CART. He won the CART championship in 1996 and is one of only six drivers to have made over 200 Champ Car starts. LVMS

09/21/04
grandam
Rolex title chase tightens Rolex title chase tightensOne Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series title has already been clinched and the Daytona Prototype drivers championship and other series battles are as close as they have been all season following this past weekend's Miami 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  The Miami 250 was Round 9 of the 12-race 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series but that was enough for Porsche to clinch the Super Grand Sports (SGS) class manufacturers with a perfect race win record to date.  After nine-consecutive victories, Porsche has built an insurmountable 130-point lead over Chevrolet (312-182) with only 105 points available in the year's final trio of races.  The legendary German marque will also go in the history books as the only Rolex Series SGS manufacturer champions as the division will be merged with the GT category next season.

All class front-runners experienced trouble during the Miami 250 in the other Rolex Series championship battles, allowing the drivers, teams and manufacturers lurking in second place to gain ground heading into the final three races of the season. In the premier Daytona Prototype category, a scant 11 points now separates the top four drivers in the championship, the closest the points race has been all season.  Daytona Prototype co-points leaders Max Papis and Scott Pruett, who share the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, finished a season-low 10th in the Miami 250, and as a result, their points lead has been cut to just eight points over Wayne Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley (265-257). Taylor and teammate Max Angelelli finished second in Miami.   On the strength of his second win of the year, No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford driver Andy Wallace, maintained his fourth place-position but closed to within three points of Taylor. His co-driver, Milka Duno, is fifth with 237 points, while Angelelli is sixth, three points behind Duno.

09/21/04
irl
Foyt Runs Well In Supermodified Event Foyt Runs Well In Supermodified EventA.J. Foyt IV finished fourth in the Supermodified Racing League's Harvest Classic at Madera Speedway in Madera, Calif., on Sept. 18.

Foyt, the grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt and driver of the No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, made his series debut in a car normally driven by Ken Hamilton, the father of IndyCar Series veteran Davey Hamilton. It was the first time Foyt drove a car fielded by someone other than his grandfather.

"I had a lot of fun, everyone treated me really good and I'd like to do it again," said Foyt IV.

Foyt tied SRL points leader Troy Regier for fastest qualifier honors with a lap of 12.49 seconds on the .33-mile oval and finished fourth in his eight-lap heat race despite spinning early.

In the 40-lap feature, Foyt started eighth and despite spinning on the way to the green, steadily worked his way into the top five. He took over fourth, five laps from the finish, finishing behind series regulars Jim Birges, Regier and Bobby Dalton.

"The car was pretty loose," said Foyt IV. "It was the first time the team had raced at the track all year, so we had some challenges with it being my first race. It was hot during the day when we practiced, but it cooled down pretty good at night and that changed the track a lot. We tried to compensate in our setup, but the car was still loose in the feature. I couldn't drive up off the corner, so it was pretty hard to pass," said Foyt IV. "But I had a lot of fun. It was over pretty quick. I wish the race was longer."

Foyt IV's grandfather was not present, but he received reports on how his grandson fared.

"I heard that he ran a really good race," Foyt said. "I think it was good for him to run a different type of race car on a different type of track because he can learn from that experience which I'm sure he did. It's hard to go into someone else's backyard and run against them. He did a good job and I'm proud of him."

09/21/04
irl
Maia Conducts First Road-Course Test For IPS Maia Conducts First Road-Course Test For IPSLeonardo Maia turned the first laps on a road course in Indy Racing League history on Sept. 21 when he lapped the 2.21-mile course at Homestead-Miami Speedway in a Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesT car.

The private test at Homestead-Miami was the first opportunity for Menards Infiniti Pro Series officials to evaluate the components needed for the cars to race on road courses in 2005.

Maia, the only driver to participate in the test, drove 106 laps in the No. 33 Brian Stewart Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Maia had more than 230 miles of testing on the 13-turn course, including a 30-lap run at end of the day.

"It's incredible. I couldn't be happier," Maia said. "The car is working really good. I think the transition from oval to road racing will be a lot easier for (the Menards Infiniti Pro Series). To be honest, there's nothing we really need to change on the car. It's working really well.

"The big issue I was concerned with was the brakes and the ducting for the brakes, but that seems to be working a little too well. It takes quite a bit for the brakes to start working really good. We're trying some different brake ducts. The second set that we put in was really good. It bites really good at the initial braking.

"Firestone did a really good job with the tires they brought. I didn't think that we'd be able to see that much of a difference in the tires. They all worked really good. The lap times didn't show the difference quite as much as I would expect, but inside the car it was a noticeable change."

Roger Bailey, executive director of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, was pleased with the way the series' spec-Dallara chassis adapted to changes in the suspension, powertrain and tires. Changes to the suspension include modified wishbones on the front of the car and a change of uprights on the left side of the car. The powertrain changes from a spool differential to a limited-slip differential.

"I'm very excited about what's happened today," Bailey said. "The car has proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that it's suitable for what we want to do. It's been very reliable. At lunch time, we stripped down the gearbox, had a look in there. Everything seemed to be fine and dandy in there. The car is responding in a manner that we want it to respond. Every time we change the tires, the construction of the compound, he can tell there is a difference. It's a sensitive car, and I think eventually it's going to be a very, very good road-race car." IRL

09/21/04
f1
2005 USGP tickets go on sale 2005 USGP tickets go on saleTickets are on sale to the general public for the 2005 United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the renewal period for 2004 ticket holders is complete.  All fans - newcomers to the event and previous attendees - can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.  The 2005 United States Grand Prix is scheduled for June 17-19, subject to FIA approval of the date. It is the only Formula One World Championship race in the United States.

Among the tickets on sale are those for reserved Terrace seating, which was popular with fans during its debut at the 2004 United States Grand Prix in June. The Terrace seats, outside Turn 6 and between Turns 10 and 11 of the 2.605-mile road course, provide one of the closest views of Formula One's high-performance cars and skilled drivers in the world.  To enhance the viewing experience of the fans sitting in infield Terrace seats, a large video screen will be placed across from each Terrace grandstand location. Those two temporary video screens will compliment the 18 permanent video boards used during the USGP weekend.

As an added incentive for ticket buyers, the popular pit walkabout is scheduled to return to the 2005 race. Race Day ticket holders for the 2005 United States Grand Prix can get an up-close, free look at the Formula One pits during the walkabout, which has been an overwhelming success the last two years.  The date and time of the walkabout will be announced in the future.  Another attraction for ticket buyers is the return of 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1997 Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. He recently signed to drive for Sauber Petronas in 2005 and will race in the USGP for the first time since 2003.

09/21/04
Formula GP2
Allan McNish back in a single seater Allan McNish back in a single seaterFormer Formula One driver and winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Allan McNish, will take over development duties of the new GP2 car for the next three scheduled test sessions at circuit Paul Ricard (France). Allan joins the GP2 family with the mandate of helping to improve the car’s overall performance and reliability, whilst also helping Bridgestone with tyre compound selections. Allan will conduct his first GP2 test at Circuit Paul Ricard on September 23rd and 24th.

Regular GP2 development driver Franck Montagny will be attending the final three fly-away F1 Grands Prix in the Far East and Brazil during this time. He will also be conducting crucial test sessions for the Renault F1 Team in between, but will return to his position with GP2 at the end of the F1 season.

Allan McNish: ‘I’m really excited about joining forces with GP2 and I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of a single seater again. The car looks fantastic and from what I hear, it’s going to be great fun to drive. Such a powerful car with no traction control or power steering should be sensational to handle. I also can’t wait to experience the ground effect. I hope that my experience and genuine belief in this series will help to develop this machine into something that will form the basis of what I think will be an incredible motorsport formula.’

Bruno Michel, GP2 series organiser: ‘Allan’s experience and class are undeniable. To have a driver of his pedigree involved with our series at such a crucial point in the development process is very good news. All the engineers he worked with previously said how impressed they had been with his technical knowledge, feedback and appreciation for car control and set-up. Moreover, he has always been fast and consistent. I am confident he will prove to be a huge asset to the GP2 series.’

Allan McNish’s career speaks for itself. With a decade and a half of Formula One experience for no fewer than four F1 teams, the Scot is widely regarded as one of the best test and development drivers of his generation. His sportscar career, too, has been highly successful with Allan taking the spoils as overall winner of the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours. He also won the American Le Mans Series in 2000. This season, he notched up wins at the challenging Nurburgring 1000km, Silverstone 1000km races, and the 12 hours of Sebring. His experience as a Toyota F1 driver in 2002, and as a Friday test driver for the Renault F1 team during the 2003 season, also marked him out as the man to join GP2 in Franck’s temporary absence.  Press release  GP2 Series

09/21/04
Industry News
Dover walls to get SAFER Barrier Dover walls to get SAFER BarrierThis Delaware online article says, The walls at Dover International Speedway have left many NASCAR drivers with pounding headaches following hard impacts over the years.  Legendary driver David Pearson once said Dover had "the hardest [darned] walls I've ever hit."   This summer, those same walls left the engineers at the Midwest Roadside Safety facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln scratching their heads, as they worked to develop SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers for the high-banked, one-mile oval.   SAFER barriers are designed to absorb much of the energy from a crash, significantly lessening the chance of a severe injury to a driver.

While the barriers will be in place along the inside of the 1,076-foot backstretch this week, they will not cover the outside walls of the speedway until NASCAR drivers return next June due to engineering delays.  Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover International Speedway, said the additional engineering means the project will cost nearly $2 million by the time it is completed this winter. The initial estimate was $1 million. Dover Motorsports Inc. will pay for the project, which NASCAR recommended be completed this year for all Nextel Cup tracks except the half-mile oval at Bristol, Tenn., and road courses at Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Sonoma, Calif.

Driver Jeff Gordon, who slammed into the outside wall at Dover in June, said the inside barriers are an improvement.   "It's a step in the right direction because you see a lot of cars hit the inside wall, but we want to see them on the outside of every track that we go to," Gordon said.

09/21/04
champcar
nascar
Champ Car/NASCAR Vegas schedule Champ Car/NASCAR Vegas scheduleSchedule for this weekend's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Champ Car World Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
FRIDAY
11 a.m. -- Spectator gates open
12:15-2 p.m. -- Champ Car practice
4:30-6 p.m. -- Champ Car qualifying
8-9:30 p.m. -- Champ Car practice
SATURDAY
10:30 a.m. -- Spectator gates open
10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. -- NCTS practice
3:30 p.m. -- NCTS qualifying
5:15-5:45 p.m. -- Champ Car warmup
6:30 p.m. -- NCTS driver introductions
7:29 p.m. -- NCTS Las Vegas 350 (146 laps, 219 miles)
8:45 p.m. -- Grid Champ Cars
10 p.m. -- CCWS Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona (166 laps, 249 miles)
09/21/04
Euro 3000
2005 Euro 3000 schedule 2005 Euro 3000 scheduleThe 'Euro 3000' series has released its provisional race calendar for 2005.  The ten-race schedule takes in many of the venues visited by the Euro 3000 series in 2004, but adds Dutch circuit Zandvoort.  In a change to the current weekend schedule, there will be a new format for qualifying, with the top seven drivers from Saturday's fifty-minute session running in reverse order over one lap during the Sunday morning warm-up to determine pole position. Each race will now start at 1530hrs on Sunday afternoon, and run over a distance of 200km, or 150km for street races.
May 1 Brno Czech Republic
May 15 TBA France
June 12 Estoril Portugal
June 26 Monza Italy
July 10 Nürburgring Germany
July 24 Zandvoort Netherlands
August 28 Donington Park Great Britain
September 18 Zolder Belgium
October 2 Lausitzring Germany
October 16 Vallelunga Italy
November 6 Cagliari Italy
09/21/04
nascar
Burton says Dover is all about handling Burton says Dover is all about handlingWard Burton, driver of the NetZero car, says handling is the key to winning at Dover. ”We had a pretty good run when we came to Dover in the spring, so we’re looking forward to getting back there. We qualified in the Top-25 and finished 19th, and with what we learned while we were there, I think this could be a good weekend for the NetZero Racing team. Dover is a fast track. It’s high-banked and concrete and it’s unforgiving. If you miss the setup at Dover, you’re in for a really long day. On the other hand, when you’ve got the car working right and you can race where you want to race and pass where you want to pass, it can be a really great place to race. You can pat yourselves on the back if you can come away from a race at Dover with a car that’s still in one piece and a finish you are happy with. Even the best of the best struggle on this track. It’s a great place for the fans to watch a race and they usually get to see a pretty good show. Hopefully this week we can be a part of putting on that good show and we’ll be able to improve upon the finish we had here in the spring. It would be great to walk away from this weekend with a sold qualifying effort and a good Top-15 finish.”
09/21/04
f1
DC: I'd have won in a BAR Honda DC: I'd have won in a BAR HondaDavid Coulthard believes he would have won races this year if he had been in a BAR.  He told The Mail on Sunday: “I have the highest respect for Jenson Button, whom I regard as a friend, but I believe if I’d been driving his car this season I would have won a grand prix or two.   It’s just down to experience. Jenson will win many races in due course, but right now I know how to win and hope I’ll get the chance to prove it with BAR next season.   If I do, there’s no reason why I can’t challenge for the title.”

“I’ve been there before, don’t forget, so there’s no way they won’t have a competitive car next time.”   He said: “I don’t want it [my career]  to be over. It’s not that I don’t want to let it go. It’s that I still enjoy it very much. I’m good at it. Why stop now?  It’s all about the racing. All about the winning. It’s the most important thing in my life.   If it were to end I’d be very, very disappointed. I guess I’ll just have to handle it and move on.”

09/21/04
f1
Ecclestone: It's not my job Ecclestone: It's not my jobBernie Ecclestone believes that the prospect of the top teams fielding a third car is the best option. “At least if the other teams provide an extra car each, we will have 20 competitive cars on the grid, unlike now,” the Times report Ecclestone as saying. “We have to be prepared for the fact that two more teams might not be around next year and that is what I am doing now. I do not see why I should have to pay for two small teams to go racing. That is not my job.”
09/21/04
f1
China is the 'Klondike' China is the 'Klondike'Next weekend's inaugural Chinese GP could be the most significant race in the history of Formula 1. That may sound over the top, particularly with both constructors' and drivers' titles won already by Ferrari and Michael Schumacher, but it is what Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug believes. "In my view this is a very important race, probably the most important race in the history of motorsport," declared the German.  Shanghai, with a breathtaking circuit and a sellout crowd of at least 150,000, is one of two debut grands prix this year -- the other was Bahrain's first race in the Middle East -- that allow Formula One to boast of being a truly global championship.  "It is a new era and I think we will have more spectators worldwide for television than for any race before...especially in America I think there will be a lot mentioned about the race," said Haug.  'Follow the money' has long been a mantra for the costly glamour sport and comparisons have even been made between Formula One's efforts to win over China and the 19th century Canadian gold rush.  "China is the Klondike, it's the new frontier," BAR boss David Richards, whose team are partnered by Japanese auto giant Honda, told Reuters. More of Reuters article
09/21/04
Trans-Am
Tommy Kendall’s stepbrother dies Tommy Kendall’s stepbrother diesLynn Gordon Bailey Jr. called his mother only hours before his death and said he was having the best day of his life, pastor Tim Milner said at a candlelight vigil Sunday night.  More than 200 people - mostly members of the University of Colorado's Greek system - filled the front lawn of the now-suspended Chi Psi fraternity house adjacent to campus to remember the 18-year- old freshman business major from Dallas who was found dead Friday morning in a common room. The Boulder County coroner's office has not yet released a cause of death, but concerns continue to mount that he may have died of alcohol poisoning.  Bailey's stepbrother, record- setting race car driver Tom Kendall, said the fraternity brothers should not feel guilty.  "Guilt is a useless emotion," Kendall said. "Everyone has learned from this. He would want you to leave here with a smile, maybe a heavy heart, but a smile."

Kendall, the only four-time titleholder in the Trans-Am Road Racing Series, said he has always looked up to his younger stepsibling.  "It took me 37 years to figure out things that were wired in him," Kendall said as he stood beside a portrait of a grinning "Gordie." "He wasn't searching. He knew himself, and he loved life. I never got to tell him I looked up to him." . 

The family will hold a memorial service at St. Mark's School of Texas in Dallas at 6 p.m. Tuesday. A candlelight vigil is planned for 9 p.m. tonight near the Dalton Trumbo fountain on the CU campus.  A similar memorial is planned for a later date at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Mass., where Bailey had graduated this year.

Boulder police are continuing to investigate the death. Both the police department and the Boulder County coroner's office said they had nothing further to report Sunday.  Bailey was the second Colorado student found dead in a fraternity house within two weeks. On Sept. 5, a fraternity member found Colorado State University sophomore Samantha Spady dead in the Sigma Pi house.  Fort Collins authorities said they believe Spady consumed 30 to 40 drinks in a 12-hour drinking binge that left her with a lethal blood-alcohol content of 0.436 percent, more than five times the legal limit for a Colorado driver.  Authorities have not declared the cause of Bailey's death. There were no obvious signs of trauma to his body, although there were smudged ink marks on his face. We're pretty sure it wasn't a heart attack," Feldman said, adding that Bailey seemed to be in good physical shape. "He wasn't somebody who was a habitual drinker," she said.  A member of the Chi Psi fraternity found Bailey's body in a common room of the house Friday morning. Rocky Mountain News

09/21/04
irl
Penske Team Profile: Crew Chiefs Penske Team Profile: Crew ChiefsThroughout the 2004 Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar® Series season, Marlboro Team Penske’s Pit Notes have featured in-depth looks at some of the key positions involved with the on-track performance of the #3 and #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyotas.  For the third installment of this Series, this week’s edition features Rick Rinaman and Matt Jonsson - the crew chiefs for Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. respectively. Story
09/21/04
f1
Michelin hope for a strong showing in China Michelin hope for a strong showing in ChinaFormula One breaks fresh ground this weekend as China prepares to stage its first world championship Grand Prix. The state-of-the-art, 5.451-kilometre (3.387-mile) Shanghai International Circuit is the second new venue to appear on the 2004 calendar, after Bahrain. The corners present a range of low, medium and high-speed challenges and the longest straight - which is more than a kilometre in length - runs between Turns 13 and 14.    The race is scheduled to last 56 laps - a total distance of 305.256 kilometers.

Pierre Dupasquier, Motorsport Director
“It is always challenging to travel to a race with a very limited databank. Like Bahrain earlier this season, Shanghai will highlight the ability of Formula One teams and their suppliers to stage accurate simulation tests and react to them appropriately. The circuit layout looks interesting – and some of the slower sections appear very technical. I am confident that we are as well prepared as it is possible to be and look forward to sampling what promises to be an impressive new facility.”

Pascal Vasselon, F1 Program Manager
"Given our experience in Bahrain earlier this year, choosing tyres for a previously unknown circuit such as Shanghai might appear quite routine - but that's not the case at all. Certain corners at Shanghai have a uniquie configuration and two of them - which have an almost snail-like profile when viewed from above - are likely to put a greater load on tyres than anywhere else on the calendar. Generally, we expect the rate of wear to be fairly even left to right and front to rear, which makes things a little bit easier. From what we can see, the track surface looks fairly smooth and non- abrasive - another little difficulty we had to factor in when finalising the best tyre compromise. When you encounter a new circuit like this, with lots of directional changes, it is best to select compounds that have a slightly broader operational spectrum than usual. And to further minimise any risk of error, we will be taking tyres that have previously been used in racing conditions."
 
Mike Gascoyne, Toyota Technical Director
“Going to a new circuit is obviously difficult, because we have no previous data to call on, but at the same time it is enjoyable because it presents us with a fresh challenge. We have cutting-edge predictive tools that enable us to do detailed simulation work, although it is impossible to gauge things with absolute accuracy. We can use computers to work out an ideal line, for instance, but in reality that might change because drivers are able to use a little more kerb than we anticipated. That’s the kind of thing we won’t know until we get to Shanghai."

“As with all Michelin’s partner teams, we exchange simulation data with Clermont-Ferrand and there is a constant two-way information flow as we try to work towards the best solution in terms of tyre choice. It’s a fascinating, rewarding process and the team is approaching the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix with confidence.” Michelin

09/21/04
f1
Schumacher looks forward to the Chinese GP Schumacher looks forward to the Chinese GPAfter two days of testing last week and a weekend spent in the company of his family, Michael Schumacher left for Shanghai Monday afternoon. The Wednesday timetable means that the departure has to be earlier than normal and the German driver cannot arrive at the last minute, as he needs to get over the jetlag.

After the successful Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza, the morale of the whole Ferrari team is sky high.

"Races like that and the feeling you get on the podium from the fans are things that, inevitably, give you a lot of support," said Schumacher. "Also, in the last three races we can drive without pressure - freely - and this is ideal. I am very happy going into the last part of the season."

The final leg begins in Shanghai. "I am very excited at racing on the track and seeing it with my own eyes," Schumacher continued. "I am also looking forward to this new experience. I have never been to China but I am sure it will be very interesting. I think that it is right for Formula 1 to be there as it is a ‘world’ championship. It will be great getting to know the country and its people, apart from racing."

Could it perhaps be a disadvantage that, unlike other F1 drivers, he has never raced on the circuit? "No. For the others there have only been exhibition laps," explained Schumacher. "It will only really be able to evaluate the track this weekend so for everybody it will be the first time. Only after having run the first few laps on Friday will we discover what it is really like. I am convinced that we will have a good time in Shanghai."  Ferrari

09/21/04
Industry News
Michelin stays #1 for 3rd straight year Michelin stays #1 for 3rd straight yearAccording to the Global Tire Report published each year by the US trade magazine Tire Business, Michelin remains number one in the world for the third year running, with 20.1% of the global tire market in 2003.
09/21/04
f1
Da Matta: "F1 never again" Da Matta: "F1 never again"Cristiano da Matta broke his silence and spoke to the Brazilian press for the first time since his release from Toyota F1 three races ago. From his hometown of Belo Horizonte, "Kiki" slammed his former team, stating that "their results have been just as bad" ever since his departure, and criticized the F1 world as a whole, claiming he wouldn't stay at the pinnacle of motorsport "even to race in Michael Schumacher's seat."  "There's just no competition in F1," he added, referring to Ferrari's complete domination of the past seasons. Clearly disgusted with the sport's politics, CDM hinted a return to the US is in the cards, but didn't clarify whether his sights are set on Champ Car or the IRL. "Being competitive is all that counts. I'll head to a team I know I can win races for." Da Matta's criticism of Toyota's poor performance led to a degrading relationship with team director Mike Gascoyne, the man insiders credit with the Brazilian's demise.  'I have no interest whatsoever in racing in Formula One anymore,'' said Cristiano, ''even if it was in Michael Schumacher's place.''  Asked why, da Matta said there is 'no competition at all' in grands prix.  ''Actually, I knew it before I left America,'' said Cristiano, ''but I had to see it for myself.''  He said he did not feel bitter at the Toyota bosses who dumped him, but reckons Zonta's results since Hungary showed that the driver was not to blame.  ''(The TF104B) car,'' Cristiano added, ''is actually worse than last year's.'' Cassio Cortes
09/21/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Fisi to sample China on a bike
Zonta to race Toyota in China - team
F1 cars arrive in China - spokesman
Michelin tread carefully to China
Alonso psyched for BAR battle
Schu - 'I'm not disadvantaged'
Williams designer 'seriously injured'
China crucial for Mercedes - Haug
Webber tells Williams to resolve dispute
F1 must cut costs, says BMW's Theissen
Jaguar snubbed buy-out offers
Ferrari with plenty in the tank - report
Poor pace was Trulli's problem - Symonds
It's raining in Shanghai!
Stoddart calls 'urgent' F1 meeting
FOM snatch Chinese TV rights
Da Matta's done with F1
F1 stars relish Shanghai challenge
09/21/04
champcar
Reader feedback on Race Control article Reader feedback on Race Control articleA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I just read your absolutely great article on Champ Car's Race Control.  I am an Information Technology guy myself, having worked in the industry for thirty five years and am fascinated and a bit envious of all the toys these folks have at their disposal.  But I have to tell you after reading the article I think I understand why most of us feel that race control is micro managing the race.  It's because they are.  Your article is living proof of that.  These folks have WAY too much data available to them and armed with it truly believe they can make a decision about someone's intentions.  Fourteen views and three screens full of numbers will never tell you what someone did or didn't INTEND to do. 
 
We see this every day in industry, executives swamped with "facts and figures" literally tons of data, and a mere modicum of real INFORMATION.  (Look 'em up in your Funk & Wagnall's the two are NOT synonymous!)  They are making decisions based on all this data, and making obviously wrong decisions.
 
I may sound like a luddite, but let's go back to the days of these folks looking out the damn window at the race in front of them.  Rely on your best eyes and ears around the track, the corner workers.  (They are the ones who will KNOW if Tracy took a strange line just to lay the chrome horn on someone's ass.  And furthermore tell you if it was justified or not.)  This is a HUMAN sport.  It's not about the numbers, it's not about the instant replay.  It's racing.  Let 'em race.    Gary Shell, Cincinnati, OH  Dear Gary, A lot of data is not a bad thing, it's how you interpret the data in the heat of the action while understanding the 'big' picture when calling for a penalty is what counts. Mark C.
09/20/04
alms
Kaffer: Road Atlanta a bit like Nurburgring Kaffer: Road Atlanta a bit like NurburgringGerman Audi driver Pierre Kaffer had this to say about the Road Atlanta track, "I am really looking forward to Atlanta.  I tested there prior to Sebring and it's one of the best race tracks, a bit like the Nurburgring."
09/20/04
f1
Jacques Villeneuve: “The team and I share a common goal” Jacques Villeneuve: “The team and I share a common goal”As his position with Renault for the final three races of 2004 was announced today, Jacques Villeneuve spoke positively about the future.

Jacques, you spent two days testing the Renault this week. How did it go?
It went extremely well and we had a very positive test. For the first day and a half, we worked on getting me comfortable in the car, altering the seat, the driving position, all the details you need to get perfect before you can start to be quick. Everything has happened very quickly – the seat was only made on Tuesday evening – so it was important to concentrate on that first of all. I also needed some time to play myself back in and get used to driving again, as well as adjusting my style to using a semi-automatic gearchange again. By lunchtime on Thursday, we started working on the set-up a little bit to adapt the car to my style, and it responded very well.

What was the welcome like in the team?
The welcome has been fantastic – everybody has been very positive in their approach. Over the years that we worked together I built up a genuine respect for Renault, and I am very grateful to the team that they have recruited me at this time. I have good memories from working with Renault and there were some familiar faces in the garage when I arrived on Wednesday. The team has worked hard to adapt the steering wheel and other small details to my habits, because that is the easiest way for these three races, and they had even used my old throttle traces to adjust the engine mapping for my first runs. Little details like that make a difference. Obviously, we are still getting to know each other, but the approach has been very open and constructive.

How did you find the R24 to drive?
Well, I used Fernando’s set-up for much of the test but when we made some changes, I could already tell it was a very good car. It is not an easy car to drive but it is definitely quick. Once you have understood its characteristics then you can begin to really push and find the limit, which we started to on Thursday afternoon. The engine is very good and very smooth in its power delivery. We still have work to do, but my first impressions are positive.

China will be a new race for everybody: do you think that will play to your advantage?
I am not sure whether it will be an advantage or not. There are two ways of looking at it: firstly, you can say that nobody else has been there before either so I won’t be at a disadvantage, but on the other hand, in that situation, you could say that you need as much experience as possible the car and the tires in order to concentrate on learning the track. You can choose to be optimistic or negative. I’m looking at it in a positive frame of mind.

Finally, what are your objectives for these three races?
The team and I share a common goal: to beat BAR to second place in the championship. I am here to enjoy myself as well, but the priority is to contribute to Renault’s fight in the championship. It will be tough, but sometimes you have to take the plunge. Once you have done so, there is no other option but to make it work. Renault

09/20/04
f1
Fernando plans attacking approach to Shanghai Fernando plans attacking approach to Shanghai
Fernando, how much preparation can you do before visiting a new circuit?
FA: To be honest, there is not so much you can learn from maps of the circuit – the real time when we learn about the track, in its real finished form, is when we walk the circuit with our engineers in the week before the race. But I think the driver’s role is even more important at a new circuit than elsewhere. Not only do we have to learn the track, but there is more work to do with the engineers, explaining how the circuit is, what the secrets of the track are and how the car is behaving, because none of us have any experience or reference points. A driver has to be very adaptable at a new circuit, and I believe that is one of my strengths.

What do you enjoy about visiting a new circuit for the first time?
FA: First of all, it is a brand new experience: I have never been to China before, so it will be fascinating to see the country for the first time, and the reports of the circuit say it is incredible so I am looking forward to seeing what it is like in reality. The layout looks exciting, and I am sure it will have been designed to encourage good racing. I expect the crowd to be very supportive of everybody, and I think the R24 will suit the circuit well. We are hoping for a competitive showing.

Finally, are you confident that the team can regain its championship position?
FA: I think we can do it, certainly. This a strong team, with a strong spirit, and we love to be aggressive when we go racing. That is my style, and that is the team’s attitude as well. We need to be aggressive between now and the end of the year to overtake BAR again, because it will be a big fight. We have a very good car, that we expect to be competitive at the next three circuits, and although I haven’t finished in the last two races, we were very quick. We will all be intent on bouncing back from the Monza result in style, and taking the fight to BAR in China. Renault

09/20/04
nascar
What NASCAR learned from ’stick-and-ball’ sports What NASCAR learned from ’stick-and-ball’ sportsThis Valvoline article was authored by someone after our own heart(s).   I encourage everyone to read it, because it's exactly what we have been telling our readers for years - it's the "heroes," i.e. the star athletes that matter most.   Some key excerpts - For decades I listened to racers criticize what they always derisively called “stick-and-ball sports.” The word “boring” was prominently featured in these discussions, but the real rub was the 72-point headlines baseball, football, basketball and (in some cities) hockey got in the mainstream media, while motorsports was lucky to make it onto the agate page.

I was asked, on several occasions, to speak at sponsor or fan club gatherings where this complaint was second only to the traffic quagmire at Atlanta Motor Speedway (except when Indy Cars ran there, of course). My approach was simple and guaranteed to get the audience’s attention: I’d pull out my Baseball Writers Association of America and Professional Hockey Writers Association membership cards and show how they were able to co-exist right alongside the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association ID in my wallet.

Well, here we are, a quarter-century after “Auto Racing: The Sport of the Seventies” bumper stickers were the most popular accessory on hot rods and jalopies — and I’m feeling vindicated. Fasten your seat belts, ye oil-in-the-veins purists, because it says here NASCAR has gained traction in this country by becoming MORE like the stick-and-ball crowd, not the other way around.

The only problem I have with that is all the other sanctioning organizations didn’t catch on and recognize this was the road to acceptance by the media and success in the marketplace.

Here’s what NASCAR figured out long ago: Baseball fans develop an emotional attachment to Willie Mays and Mark McGuire and Derek Jeter due to their epic athletic abilities, personalities, and because they play for the home (or favorite) team. That’s what generates ticket and souvenir sales and powers TV ratings. It’s NOT because of some technical detail, like one player using a bat two ounces heavier than another.

That’s how NASCAR promoted Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon, emphasizing their personal stories and skills, and by appealing to fans’ brand-loyalty to their favorites’ sponsors. I’m not picking on anybody, but truthfully, how much do you know or care about Scott Dixon or Sebastien Bourdais?

Another lesson learned was the way the actual sporting competition is managed, to keep it exciting and entertaining. The late NFL commissioner, Pete Rozelle, brought the word “parity” into our national vocabulary. Baseball boss Bud Selig likes to talk about “competitive balance.” The Frances of Florida have settled on “keeping the playing field level.” Whatever you call it, the idea is the same, so changing the rules to keep any single team from ruining-the-show(biz) is considered a smart and necessary decision.

And while Daytona Beach does indeed have designs on the new revenue available in Mexico and Canada, the bedrock foundation of a U.S. series for U.S. drivers will never crack. This recent USA Today article probably is posted on bulletin boards in every NASCAR office, just as a reminder: “The absence of Americans (players) on the final weekend of the U.S. Open tennis tournament resulted in an expected 23 percent ratings decline for CBS . . .” (Please take note, Indy Racing League.)

That’s the way I look at the “Chase”: If Gordon or Jimmie Johnson or Earnhardt Jr. ultimately grab the NEXTEL Cup, that’s on-par with a baseball division winner taking the title. If Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield or Ryan Newman get hot late and capture the Cup, they deserve to be treated with the same respect as recent wild-card World Series champions, the Florida Marlins and Anaheim Angels. Considering how much NASCAR has learned from the stick-and-ball sports, I suggest greeting the start of the “Chase” by yelling, “Play ball!”

09/20/04
champcar
Bourdais looks to increase points lead in Las Vegas Bourdais looks to increase points lead in Las VegasSebastien Bourdais is not a stranger to pressure.  The 2003 Champ Car World Series Rookie-of-the-Year, comes to Las Vegas with the championship title in his sights, but not by much.  Only 24 points separates him from second place Bruno Junqueira, and a win at the Bridgestone 400 presented by Corona would be a boost to his hopes of winning his first Vanderbilt Cup.  Bourdais entered his second year in the Champ Car World Series with high expectations.  Coming off a rookie season in which he picked up three wins and five poles for Newman/Haas Racing and a fourth place finish in the championship standing, Bourdais’ second season has not produced a sophomore slump.  “This year we had a pretty good start in Long Beach after a rookie season that was definitely very good,” Bourdais said.  “We knew we had a team this year that could be a strong contender for the championship.”

Posting back-to-back-to-back wins at Portland, Cleveland and Toronto have helped the McDonald’s Newman/Haas team become a contender.  Add to that victories at Monterrey and Denver, and Bourdais comes to Las Vegas with a points lead he hopes to increase.  “He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing,” Pedro Campuzano, Bourdais’ chief mechanic said.  “He’s done a fabulous job so far.  If he keeps doing his job we’ll be alright.”

Consistency is the key, according to Bourdais, to winning the points race.  And it’s that consistency that has helped the Le Mans, France, native be successful in racing.  He began his racing career in karting, before moving on to the French Formula Renault Series.  In 1999 he won the French Formula 3 Championship after winning eight races and competed in his first 24 Hours of Le Mans event. He has competed in a total of three Le Mans events including his highest finish of fourth in 2000.  Bourdais came to Champ Car racing after winning the 2002 FIA International F3000 Championship with three wins and seven poles.

The 25-year-old claimed the pole in his first ever Champ Car race at St. Petersburg, Fla., and followed that up by taking the pole in his second race.  The first win of his career came at Lausitz, Germany, a track that by many standards is considered a superspeedway. Many Champ Car drivers compare the German track to Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  “The Vegas facilities are pretty neat,” Bourdais said.  “The lights are great and the set up of the oval is great.  I think it’s going to allow for us to race three lines. I won my first race on a superspeedway, but every track is different.  I’m looking forward to racing here.” LVMS

09/20/04
champcar
nascar
Fans choose Champ Car driver over NASCAR driver Fans choose Champ Car driver over NASCAR driver[Editor's Note: The fact that the fans would vote a Champ Car driver over a NASCAR driver even though the media inundates them with everything NASCAR underscores the fact that the fans are smarter than the media who write all the NASCAR propaganda.  The fans can see through all that and think for themselves. Champ Car does not get much press in the USA these days, so to have the fans recognize Bourdais' talent speaks volumes of the man.] Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has been the man to beat through the first 11 races of the Champ Car season, putting together an especially strong third-quarter run to take over the top spot in the chase for the Vanderbilt Cup.

Racing fans of all disciplines recognized Bourdais for his furious climb to the top last week when they voted him as the Driver of the Quarter for the third quarter of the 2004 season, selecting the Champ Car points leader ahead of seven other nominees for the honor - which is sponsored by SPEED Channel.

Bourdais edged NASCAR Nextel Cup points Jeff Gordon in the fan voting after collecting three wins and five poles during the third quarter of the 2004 campaign, en route to building a 24-point lead over Newman/Haas Racing teammate Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). It was the first time that this season that a Champ Car driver has won the fan voting for the honor.

"I'm proud to have won the fan vote, especially against other drivers who are so recognized in the U.S. and have been racing here so many years," Bourdais said. "Everyone on the McDonald's team has been working hard all season and will continue to do so. We work hard because we love racing but at the end of the day the fans are one of the most important elements of any sport, and that makes winning the fan vote even more special."

Bourdais has been one of the dominant forces in all of racing through the last three months, winning five poles in the seven races held during that span, leading laps in each of the seven events, and scoring five top-five finishes. His finest effort came on the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver street course when he fought back to win the race after early contact dropped him to 13th.

In the end, the fan vote counted for just one of the 19 available votes for the Driver of the Quarter award, and the panel of motorsports journalists selected Gordon for the honor, making it a clean sweep for NASCAR drivers through the first three quarters of the year.
09/20/04
nascar
 champcar
Gordon nips Bourdais in 3rd Qtr. DOY voting Gordon nips Bourdais in 3rd Qtr. DOY votingWhile Jeff Gordon is vying for his fifth Nextel Cup NASCAR championship he's also eyeing an unprecedented SPEED Channel DRIVER OF THE YEAR honor.  Gordon was nearly the unanimous winner in the third quarter voting for SPEED Channel's DRIVER OF THE YEAR 2004 third quarter.  He started the quarter with a bang, winning the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Speedway from the pole.  He went on to take a total of four poles, three wins (including the Brickyard 400), and ended on the top of the series points standings.

"It's an honor," Gordon said.  "This DuPont team had a great run during the quarter, and I'm glad it was recognized."   The 33-year old is the only four-time winner of the unique award as well as a four-time NASCAR champion.  No doubt while he's thinking in terms of the number five.  The driver of the #24 Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet took 15 out of the 17 first-place votes cast in the media ballot.  He was picked by all voting professionals and scored no lower than third on any ballot as a result he totaled 151 points.

Second place went to France's Sebastien Bourdais, who drives the McDonald's Lola/Ford.  In the quarter he racked up three wins and six poles while starting no lower than third.  He had five top-five finishes to lead the Bridgestone presents Champ Car World Series powered by Ford standings.  Driving for the venerable Newman/Haas team, which has produced four DRIVERS OF THE YEAR, he tallied 71 points including two first-place votes.

Noteworthy; Bourdais won the fan vote by a narrow margin over Gordon, Carl Edwards, who is now dividing his time between Cup cars and Trucks in NASCAR, was third with the fans and seventh overall. Speed TV.

09/20/04
nascar
Gordon offers apology for New Hampshire Gordon offers apology for New HampshireThe following is a statement by Robby Gordon, driver of the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet, regarding yesterday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway:

"First and foremost, I feel terrible for Jeremy Mayfield, Tony Stewart, their teams, sponsors and car owners Joe Gibbs and Ray Evernham. I allowed my frustration with the 16 car to affect two other teams, both of which have great shots to win a championship, and for that I am sorry. I also want to apologize to Cingular Wireless and everyone at Richard Childress Racing. We had a car capable of winning Sunday, and from my standpoint I was spun intentionally after I made a clean aggressive pass on the 16, and I showed poor judgment in trying to even the score.

“As for the post-race events, I chose not to speak with the media given the fact that I had nothing to say other than I'm sorry. One media member made what I felt was a very inappropriate comment to me because I would not answer his question, and he was the target of my gesture, not the media contingent as a whole. That, too, was poor judgment and, in hindsight, I should have just walked away, so I also apologize to any media members and bystanders I offended. It was a bad day that just seemed to get worse and worse."

09/20/04
Industry News
nascar
Brian France to launch publishing company Brian France to launch publishing companyNASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France within the next month will officially launch NJ-based Game Change Marketing (GCM), a “separate marketing agency to sell and service custom publishing for [NASCAR] and other sports and entertainment properties,” according to sources of Terry Lefton in this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. GCM will initially focus on “custom publishing,” and a prototype of the playbill-style “Racewatch” giveaway program has “been circulating among potential advertisers since May.” A full-year title sponsorship for the Nextel Cup Series book will run in the $2-2.5M range. Similar custom publishing deals are planned for the Professional Bull Riders Association, NHRA and AVP. France said there is also a “huge opportunity outside of sports. This will work wherever there’s high traffic, including movie theaters and malls. If we can’t get into that market, this won’t be a successful company.” Meanwhile, France said that GCM is “a personal investment that is a ‘completely separate’ company” from NASCAR. France: “This has nothing to do with NASCAR. It is not associated with NASCAR in any way.” But Lefton reports that an early sponsorship proposal said “all of the information presented here is proprietary of [NASCAR].” Also, NASCAR Dir of Multimedia Marketing Josh Cohen is moving into a “top position” at GCM, and NASCAR COO George Pyne and VP/Corporate Marketing Brett Yormark may also have roles in the new venture  SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL
09/20/04
Formula BMW
Vettel crushes foes to win German BMW title Vettel crushes foes to win German BMW titleSebastian Vettel (ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg) has won the 2004 Formula BMW ADAC Championship with 16 wins in 18 races. After Saturday's victory at Brno (Czech Republic) the youngster repeated the feat on Sunday. In the 17th round of the season the 17-year-old crossed the line in front of Atila Abreu (ADAC Mittlerhein) and Sebastien Buemi (Lars Kaufmann Racing), in the 18th round he finished in front of Chris Van der Drift (Team Rosberg) and Buemi. “Being champion is just cool“, said Vettel.   With the two top positions in the championship already being decided, with Vettel on 347 points and Abreu on 243, the fight among the Rookies remains open. Van der Drift was only two points ahead of his closest rival Buemi prior to the 18th round. The 18-year-old from New Zealand started from second position on the grid for Sunday's race and stayed there until the chequered flag. Buemi was able to work his way through the field from 6th to 3rd position. “I saw Sebastien in my mirrors getting closer and closer, but I was able to stay ahead,“ commented Van der Drift. “One more lap and I would have been on to him,“ said Buemi.
09/20/04
f1
Stoddart: Big teams must now listen to us Stoddart: Big teams must now listen to usMinardi boss Paul Stoddart believes the demise of Jaguar means it is now time that F1’s big teams started listening to the sport’s small teams. He told the News of the World: “Ford’s withdrawal is a bad day for them and a bad day for Formula 1. It is pretty serious if the world’s second biggest car manufacturer has to quit.  But I am not surprised. I have seen it coming for a while.   We have to have an urgent meeting of team principals in China. But this time the big teams have got to listen to the smaller ones to find a solution.  It is impossible to participate if you don’t know what engines you might get. The manufacturers have created a situation where the private teams are becoming much less competitive.  These people come and go and it is up to the private teams to fly the flag – but they are killing us. It’s too expensive.  How can you sell the sponsor the dream of winning a race when you know you’re lying?”
09/20/04
irl
Tony George deserves an award Tony George deserves an awardA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, If the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association were really interested in the biggest “Newsmaker of the Half-Century,” they should hand the award to Tony George.  Nothing in the world of motorsports has garnered so much copy nor had such a profound effect on the motorsports scene then his decision to create the IRL.  That decision and related actions helped first to decimate open-wheel racing in the United States and, by default, give a boost to the ascent of NASCAR during the same period.  It would be an ignominious award for the League Mastermind – sort of like former Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire’s “Golden Fleece Award” – but one truly deserved. Jim Allen, Virginia
09/20/04
Industry News
SPEED locks in Despain for 3 more years SPEED locks in Despain for 3 more yearsSPEED Channel locked up one of the premier motor sports television journalist in the country, signing popular Wind Tunnel host Dave Despain to a three-year contract this week. Wind Tunnel, a viewer participation program with guests from all over the world of racing, airs Monday through Thursday evenings at 10 p.m. ET on SPEED.

"As a network that works very hard to be viewed as a leader in the field of motor sports television, it is critically important that we have experts like Dave Despain positioned as the face of SPEED," said SPEED Channel President Jim Liberatore. "I am not sure how he knows all that he knows, and sometimes his expertise -- ranging from NASCAR to the numerous dirt tracks across this country -- is a bit scary. I simply accept his savant-like knowledge as a gift resulting from the combination of divine intervention and hard work."

Said Despain: "I think Wind Tunnel serves a very important purpose, providing fans with the opportunity to voice their opinions on national TV, no matter what form of motor sport they love. It's a privilege to host the show and I look forward to doing that for years to come."

09/20/04
f1
Williams designer injured in accident Williams designer injured in accidentThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team confirmed today that their chief designer, Gavin Fisher, has sustained serious injuries as a result of an off-road motorcycle accident in southern California.   Fisher, 40, is in a stable condition in a hospital south of Los Angeles following surgery (He suffered a broken pelvis and head injuries and for a period was listed in serious condition). His initial convalescence prior to returning to the UK is expected to take approximately three weeks.   Mark Loasby, a senior design engineer employed at Williams for over fourteen years, will provide cover for Fisher's role until his return to work.   Technical Director Sam Michael said, "I spoke to Gavin over the weekend, and thankfully the surgery he underwent immediately after his accident appears to have been successful, but he will be unable to fly back to the UK for some weeks."   Michael continued, "It is fortunate that we have strength in depth in the design office, and Mark Loasby will cover Gavin's post during his recuperation. Much of the fundamental layout work for the FW27 is underway. We wish Gavin all the best for a speedy recovery."  Williams
09/20/04
f1
Shanghai provides a new challenge for everyone Shanghai provides a new challenge for everyonePat Symonds and Denis Chevrier talk of the challenge that a new circuit such as Shanghai provides. Renault, third in the constructors’ championship, are desperate to beat rivals BAR and regain the runner-up position in the standings. More....
09/20/04
f1
Lightweight Renault chassis for China Lightweight Renault chassis for ChinaFernando Alonso heads to China keen to put the Italian Grand Prix firmly from his mind and together with new teammate Jacques Villeneuve, use the new lighter Renault chassis to good effect and score championship points. More....
09/20/04
f1
Theissen reiterates V10 preference Theissen reiterates V10 preferenceThe ongoing battle over the future engine format that the Formula One World Championship will use shows no sign of consensus. BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen still believes that the 3.0 liter V10 formula is the most cost effective, not the proposed 2.4 liter V8 formula.

At the Italian Grand Prix, FIA president Max Mosley presented three packages, each outlining changes in relation to aerodynamics, tyres and engines, in an attempt to reduce speeds and costs in Formula One. All three packages include the introduction of 2.4 liter engines.

“Regarding the proposed engine regulations there are still different ideas,” Theissen told the WilliamsF1 website. "We prefer to keep the 3.0 liter V10 format in connection with an increased engine mileage and restrictions in materials and design that have already been agreed upon by all manufacturers.”

Theissen believes the 3.0 liter format to be more effective, compared to designing a new engine. “This package would lead to a clear reduction in costs, and the engine and chassis manufacturers would not be forced to design all-new concepts. The engine performance would also be reduced,” explained the German. BMW Williams

09/20/04
f1
Shanghai ready for F1 debut Shanghai ready for F1 debutPreparations for the first Chinese Grand Prix are now gathering pace as Shanghai gears up for the arrival of the first Formula One race to be held in China. Ticket sales are approaching capacity, with over 90% of all tickets already sold. The race has attracted worldwide interest - according to current figures, 30% of spectators for the GP will come from Shanghai, 55% from other parts of the China and the remaining 15% from the rest of the world.

The Grand Prix is creating a real buzz in and around Shanghai and as the date draws near, several events have been taking place in the race build-up. On 4 September, CCTV broadcast a live concert from the Circuit, with a host of VIP guests and media in attendance, together with 20,000 spectators. This was followed on 7 September by a visit by members of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), including Vice-Chairman Cheng Siwei, who wished the Circuit every success with the Grand Prix. On 8 September, Circuit General Manager Wang Ying witnessed the unveiling of an impressive mural, a 15-metre long artwork depicting racing cars in action, by the Japanese artist Ted Tanabe.

The support race programme for the Grand Prix has now been finalised, with the line-up featuring rounds of the Asian Formula Renault Challenge, the Formula BMW Asia Series and the Porsche Infineon Carrera Cup Asia, together with a one-off Volkswagen Polo Celebrity Race, featuring an impressive entry of ex-Formula 1 drivers who today work as commentators including Christian Danner (Germany), Marc Surer (Switzerland) Jacques Laffite (France) and Martin Brundle (Great Britain). Shanghai International

09/20/04
f1
Haug: Chinese GP will be most important race in history Haug: Chinese GP will be most important race in historyMercedes Benz motorsports boss Norbert Haug said to SPEED TV that this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai will be "the most important race in the history of motorsports."  He went on to say that it will also be the most attended race in history (weekend attendance).  To date, we believe the most attended race in history was Champ Car's Mexico City Grand Prix, which drew 411,000+ in 2003.  Everyone thought the most attended was the Indy 500 until it was revealed that the track only seats well under 300,000 people and the infield crowd is miniscule these days. Mark C.
09/20/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ford demise swipes at F1 minnows
'Ralf will race' - Williams' Michael
Renault sign Villeneuve for final races
China race is 'sold out'
Trulli might race in Japan
Stewart, Purnell, say 'no' to Jag buy-out
Three car teams will be good for F1 - Bernie
Button saga settled this week
Battle heats-up for F1 runner-up
No engine for Minardi, Jordan - Ford
F1 is too expensive - Ecclestone
F1 is boring, says Jacques Villeneuve
Jordan's not going broke - EJ
Ford pull-out is F1 'wake up call'
Shanghai was a 'swamp' - track designer
09/19/04
Sports Cars
Brack finishes 5th in comeback race Brack finishes 5th in comeback raceKenny Brack made his long-awaited comeback Saturday, finishing fifth in a sports car race in his home country 11 months after he nearly died in a crash on a Texas track.   Brack, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1999, drove a guest car in the season finale at the Porsche Carrera Cup, a Scandinavian racing class. It was his first race in Sweden since 1992.   "It was no easy decision to make since I still don't feel fully recovered from the accident yet," Brack said.   Brack was left with a broken back and multiple fractures in the crash at Texas Speedway in Fort Worth last Oct. 12. The 38-year-old Swede still hopes to make it back to IndyCar racing.  "I wish the recovery would go even faster so I could take a decision about my IndyCar future, but considering the injuries I sustained I'm very pleased to have gotten this far at this point of time," he said.   Brack will race again Sunday on the same track before returning to the United States next week. CBS Sportline
09/19/04
grandam
What if they raced but nobody came? What if they raced but nobody came?The France family has tried to NASCARize sports car racing with its dumbed-down vision of what they think road racing fans want.  As we have said on numerous occasions, road racing fans have near zero interest in NASCARized sports car racing and although the France family is pumping millions of dollars into the Grand-Am series, which has resulted in a healthy field of cars, the grandstands remain near-empty at most races.  The photo to the right (Top Photo courtesy of Grand-Am) was taken during today's Rolex 250 at Homestead.  We can't see anyone in the grandstands, can you?  The Grand-Am series didn't like when we said their entire concept was flawed because it was not what road racing fans care about. We know what road racing fans want and it is not dumbed down race cars (Photo to left shows the empty grandstands at the S/F line of the Grand-Am Cup race.  Notice the one lone soul.).  The only thing the Grand-Am series is accomplishing is hurting ALMS's chances of being successful.  It's the divide and conquer theory much like we have seen in Indy Cars where the France family is an ally to Tony George and his IRL series.  One thing we do know, except for NASCAR, all other forms of racing are suffering in the USA.  Maybe that's the goal, to have nothing else left standing in the USA but NASCAR when it plays itself out, we don't know.  One thing we do know, NASCAR has become the Microsoft of American motorsports. 
09/19/04
nascar
Teams and drivers not happy with '05 aero rules Teams and drivers not happy with '05 aero rulesTeams/Drivers not happy with 2005 aero rules: The hottest topic in the garage [at NHIS] isn't the championship race but Goodyear's Las Vegas tire test four days ago. Stock-car crews studying test results from Las Vegas are ticked off more than ever about NASCAR's new aerodynamic rules. "They're just going to make the racing worse, just like those rules did back in 1998," one crew man said, after asking not to be named. "When Greg Biffle and Casey Mears are yelling 'loose!' what do you think the rest of these cats in here are going to say, because Greg and Casey can drive a loose race car better than just about anybody." The new rules cut an inch off the rear spoiler. In turn, Goodyear is to come up with a slightly softer tire. "The shorter spoiler is only going to make the cars faster and harder to drive," one crew chief said. "And you can't fix lack of downforce just by adding tire grip." Winston Salem Journal
09/19/04
German DTM
Mattias Ekström wins race and title Mattias Ekström wins race and titleAudi works driver Mattias Ekström achieved a dominant victory in the penultimate race of the DTM season at Brno, locking in his title even before Europe’s most popular touring car series will draw to a close this year. 35,000 spectators had turned out at the demanding circuit in the Czech Republic throughout the weekend to witness another impressive performance of the Audi A4 DTM and Audi’s third consecutive 1-2 victory, completed by Tom Kristensen’s second-place finish. Emanuele Pirro – who came in fifth – claimed the best result of the season so far for Audi Sport Infineon Team Joest. Audi Sport Team Abt secured an early first place in the DTM teams’ standings as well, despite the fact that Martin Tomczyk’s chances for a second-place finish were destroyed when he was forced to retire after being touched by a rival. In addition, Audi have assumed the lead in the manufacturers’ standings prior to the finale at Hockenheim on 3 October.
 
With their early title win in the DTM, AUDI AG are continuing their impressive series of superior exploits in motorsport. Last weekend, the Audi R8 celebrated its 50th victory in its 60th sportscar race. Now, the brand’s return to the DTM at factory level has resulted in Audi immediately claiming the title with the A4 DTM car.

"When the young guns appear on the scene, the old foxes will have to watch out." For this announcement during the official DTM presentation in Hamburg last spring Mattias Ekström received both applause and lots of smiling faces. Meanwhile the smiles have disappeared – at least from the faces of his competitors: By winning the race at Brno in the Czech Republic, the Audi works driver clinched the title in Europe’s most popular touring car series as early as one round before the season’s finale. The 26-year old Swede succeeds record champion Bernd Schneider (Mercedes-Benz), while claiming the title for Audi right in the first year of the brand’s DTM comeback as a manufacturer.

09/19/04
grandam
Wallace and Duno win Rolex 250 Wallace and Duno win Rolex 250In another thriller at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Andy Wallace motored his No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford past Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley as the pair crossed the start/finish line with five laps to go to take his and co-driver Milka Duno’s second straight Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series win at the track in the Miami 250.

After taking over for his No. 2 co-driver Milka Duno, who was running well inside the top-10 during her stint, Wallace withstood air temperatures in the mid-90s and track temperatures nearing 110 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours of the two-hour-and-45 minute distance. He led twice for a total of 31 laps, but the last five laps he led were the ones that counted. He crossed the stripe 2.731 seconds ahead of Angelelli.

“I know that this is something that’s said all the time, but it’s really thanks to everyone’s hard work that we can even be in a position to win a race,” Wallace said. “The car was fast all weekend. Milka did a great job by staying out of trouble and not letting the car be damaged by others in any way. There were a lot of cars out there today with pieces missing. Every time today that I looked at one of the crew guys they were absolutely dripping with sweat. This win is for them.”

In February’s Grand Prix of Miami, Duno became the first woman to win a major North American sports car race. In the process, the Venezuelan developed a strong following among South Florida race fans and media, which was further bolstered by another victory today.

"I am very happy, it is so difficult to win a race especially in the Rolex Series, but to win both races this year in Homestead is incredible,” Duno said. “I was holding my breath when Andy passed Max Angelelli. I cannot believe our second win at Homestead. This is the track that brings us the best luck.” Grand-Am

09/19/04
superfund
Tiago Monteiro delights Portugal crowd Tiago Monteiro delights Portugal crowdTiago Monteiro has pulled out a superb day for Portugal and Carlin Motorsport at Estoril today. The home driver was clear winner of the second World Series by Nissan race, and that was after he finished second to Carlin team-mate Olivier Pla in the morning event.  Monteiro led from start to finish, getting through his pitstop with no problems. Although he was kept honest by Espsilon Euskadi man Jean-Cristophe Ravier, who was never further behind than two seconds, a mistake-free run saw him welcomed home by a sizeable and joyous Portuguese crowd.

Ravier has few worries behind him, as championship leader Heikki Kovalainen (Pons Racing) was unable to match the Frenchman’s pace and was a fairly distant third. Narain Karthikeyan (RC Motorsport) had been running fourth before a puncture put him out of contention, which left Juan Cruz Alvarez to take the postion, though the Argentine driver was over twenty seconds behind.

Carlin were already smiling after Pla had led home a one-two result in the first race. The Frenchman led home Monteiro for his first series victory, while his team-mate had to make do with a very close second after losing his pole position advantage at the start.

After Pla led into the first turn, the race was settled. Although Monteiro was quicker, he was sensible about trying to overtake. Carlin operates a policy of no team orders, and Monteiro could come away satisfied with a good points score, especially after Kovalainen ruined his morning with a stall on the formation lap grid.

Today’s results mean that Monteiro is now clear of Bernoldi (who was simply off the pace all weekend) in second place in the championship. Kovalainen’s lead is now under threat. It is down to 35 points as the championship moves on to Barcelona in two weeks. 
World Series by Nissan Race 1
1 Olivier Pla (Carlin Motorsport ) 25.38.913
2 Tiago Monteiro (Carlin Motorsport) +0.537
3 Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) +24.730
4 Tristan Gommendy (Saulnier Racing) +25.015
5 Sergio Hernandez (Saulnier Racing) +25.649
6 Julien Vidot (Epsilon Euskadi) +26.816
7 Giacomo Ricci (Vergani Formula) +28.227
8 Juan Cruz Alvarez (Gabord Reyco) +35.627
9 Didier Andre (KTR) +36.151
10 Felix Porteiro (Porfesa Competicion) 40.790
World Series by Nissan Race 2
1 Tiago Monteiro (Carlin Motorsport) 38.26.176
2 Jean Christophe Ravier (Epsilon Euskadi) +2.959
3 Heikki Kovalainen (Pons Racing) +7.381
4 Juan Cruz Alvarez (Gabord Reyco) +23.300
5 Tristan Gommendy (Saulnier Racing) +26.083
6 Sergio Hernandez (Saulnier Racing) +26.563
7 Enrique Bernoldi (GD Racing) +29.976
8 Didier Andre (KTR) +32.770
9 Olivier Pla (Carlin Motorsport ) +34.932
10 Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) +36.327
Provisional Standings Drivers
1. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN)     140
2. Tiago Monteiro (POR)        105
3. Enrique Bernoldi (BRA)       94
4. JC Ravier (FRA)                  81
5. Tristán Gommendy   (FRA)  75
6. Narain Kartikheyan (IND)   53
7. Juan Cruz Alvarez (ARG)    51
8. Olivier Pla (FRA)                46
9. Felix Porteiro (ESP)            36
10. Adrian Vallés (ESP)          25

09/19/04
f1
Bernie’s three-car trick Bernie’s three-car trickThis ITV-F1 article says the same as the other articles - Bernie Ecclestone has refused to rule out making the leading teams run three cars next season. Ecclestone is determined to ensure Ford’s decision to sell off Jaguar and Cosworth will not affect the size of the F1 field. He said: "I'm sorry that it's happened because we don't need to lose the Ford Motor Company, but there could be an upside. "There are provisions for the teams to run three cars and that would perhaps give us 20 competitive cars on the grid next season." Ecclestone added: “I would rather see three Ferraris, McLarens or Williams running at the front than a Jaguar fighting it out with Jordan and Minardi." The F1 supremo said he was not surprised by Ford’s decision to pull the plug. He said: "It was inevitable and it wasn't really a shock to me. "They couldn't afford to run around at the back of the grid and in my opinion shouldn't have run this year at all."
09/19/04
MotoGP
Hopkins and Roberts injured Hopkins and Roberts injuredJohn Hopkins and Kenny Roberts picked up the worst injuries of the first corner pile-up at Motegi on Sunday, although incredibly nobody was seriously hurt. Hopkins was the first rider to be hit by Loris Capirossi’s wild charge to the front of the pack, the American rider losing second place and suffering two broken ribs and a deep gash to his buttock.

However, his teammate Roberts came off even worse, suffering a dislocated left elbow and burns to his right side which will definitely rule him out of the next round at Qatar in two weeks’ time. Hopkins, meanwhile, should be fit for MotoGP’s first trip to the Middle East.

Capirossi was also injured, suffering slight concussion and two bone fractures to his right foot. Max Biaggi, Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden, the three other riders involved in the incident, escaped unhurt. MotoGP

09/19/04
MotoGP
Tamada wins again, Rossi headed to title Tamada wins again, Rossi headed to titleMakoto Tamada took a clear victory in his home Grand Prix today after a dramatic race which saw six riders crash in the first corner. Pole sitter Tamada got a poor start but stayed clear of the melee as John Hopkins, who followed Valentino Rossi into the first corner in second place, was wiped out by Loris Capirossi and the two were sent sprawling across the track. Colin Edwards and Max Biaggi could do nothing to avoid the stricken bikes and were also sent tumbling into the gravel, followed by Kenny Roberts and Nicky Hayden.

The slight gap which formed behind Rossi was quickly made up by Tamada, who chased the Italian over the opening stages of the race and made his attack on the sixth lap, taking the lead to the delight of 67,158 record home crowd. The pair went head to head for the remainder of the race, but Rossi was unable to match Tamada’s electric pace in the closing laps and was forced to settle for second place.

The early gap which formed at the front of the pack saw Marco Melandri hang on to third place for eighteen laps, when Shinya Nakano completed an incredible home race for Kawasaki by overtaking the Italian and hanging on for their first MotoGP podium. Melandri, making his 100th Grand Prix appearance, suffered in the closing stages of a hot and humid race and was also overtaken by Alex Barros, who snatched fourth spot with four laps remaining after Troy Bayliss crashed out.

Whilst Melandri equalled his fifth place finish from last season, Sete Gibernau will be bitterly disappointed with sixth, a result which leaves him 39 points adrift of Rossi at the top of the standings. Carlos Checa recovered seventh place after running off track whilst Neil Hodgson came home in eighth to secure his best finish of the season.

Hodgson was followed across the line by his Ducati team-mate Ruben Xaus whilst Alex Hofmann completed a perfect day for Kawasaki with the final top ten slot. Olivier Jacque picked up five points for Moriwaki on his return to MotoGP whilst Shane Byrne fought through the pain barrier to finish one place behind team-mate Jeremy McWilliams in fourteenth place despite dislocating his wrist three weeks ago. Youichi Ui completed the points on his MotoGP debut riding the WCM.  MotoGP

09/19/04
irl
Cosworth sale will not affect Chevy IRL program Cosworth sale will not affect Chevy IRL programThis SPEED TV article says, GM Racing officials say they do not expect the impending sale of Cosworth to affect their IRL IndyCar Series engine program.  Ford on Friday disclosed plans to sell the Jaguar Formula 1 team and Cosworth, which supplies Chevrolet-badged engines to four teams in the Indy Racing League.  “We fully expect this relationship to continue unaffected throughout the duration of our agreement,” read a statement released by GM Racing spokesman Rick Vogelin.

A Ford official said during the announcement that he intends for Cosworth to continue to function as it currently is after the sale, including its relationships with North American open-wheel racing.  “We intend that Cosworth is kept as a going concern,” said Richard Parry-Jones, Ford’s chief technical officer. “Since we intend for it to be profitable, it must have contracts and sources of revenue. The American racing series are important sources of revenue, so we will continue to negotiate with the North American entities to find a mutually acceptable solution that fits the model for Cosworth Racing going forward.”  Likewise, GM Racing officials indicated in their statement that they don’t expect anything to change with the IRL program.  “General Motors has had a business relationship with Cosworth for more than 30 years, and during this period Cosworth has been owned by a number of entities,” the statement read. “GM Racing currently has a technology partnership with Cosworth Racing focused on the continuous development of the Chevy Indy V8 racing engine.”  Vogelin also said GM is not considering a purchase of Cosworth at this time.

09/19/04
champcar
Champ Car to run both races Champ Car to run both racesThis Monterey Herald article says, Despite some reports to the contrary, even if Champ Car is successful at landing a street race in San Jose for 2005, the series will return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for a 23rd consecutive season. The date being discussed is September 11 [Editor's Note:  According to our sources, the date will be September 18th, not September 11, 2005].  I spoke with Paul Gentilozzi, one of the three principals in Open Wheel Racing Series LLC which owns the Champ Car World Series, last Sunday and he said it was never their intention to replace Laguna Seca with a San Jose race.

Gentilozzi confirmed that the series wants to race both on the streets of San Jose and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca's road course. He feels the two will feed off one another and help generate more interest from the San Jose area in the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey.  "We feel they need to be a minimum of 60 days apart and both races can be successful," said Gentilozzi following the Motorock Trans-Am Series press conference, at which he celebrated his fourth series championship, tying him for the most Trans-Am titles with Tommy Kendall.

Last week, I wrote about this being a transitional year for the Champ Car World Series and no less than Academy Award-winning actor and long-time series team owner Paul Newman is excited about what he sees happening in the series.  "Everything I see out there right now is positive," Newman said last weekend. In the past, Newman has kept a low profile but he has recently thrown his considerable influence and energy behind the series, facilitating the deal with McDonald's as a series sponsor.  I didn't have to be involved before," Newman said. "I could simply be kind of an absentee landlord, but I have a vested interest in this series and its future. And I wouldn't be here if I didn't think this offered great promise."

09/19/04
champcar
Vegas Fan Forum and Autograph Session Vegas Fan Forum and Autograph Session
THURSDAY Sept 23 - 7:00 PM-8:00 PM
CHAMP CAR Driver Autograph Session (ESPN ZONE at the
New York New York Hotel, 3790 Las Vegas Blvd South)

SATURDAY Sept 25 - 2:00 PM-3:00 PM
Fan Forum (Vegas Club House # 4)

09/19/04
Formula Nippon
Lotterer takes surprise win Lotterer takes surprise winAndre Lotterer has taken a surprise win in the first of today's two Formula Nippon races at Sepang in Malaysia.  The German had only qualified fifth on the grid, but took advantage of the early retirement of Richard Lyons on lap 3, and a car which has improved in every session over the weekend to beat polesitter Naoki Hattori across the line by less than a second after 20 laps.   That means Lotterer will start on pole for this afternoon's second, points-scoring, race, while champion Richard Lyons will have all the work to do starting last on the grid. Formula-3000.net
09/19/04
f1
Bridgestone eager to win in China Bridgestone eager to win in ChinaBridgestone Motorsport is raring to get to Shanghai next week for the inaugural China Grand Prix, round sixteen of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Bridgestone’s engineers have spent the last week testing with three of its teams - Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro in Jerez and Mugello, Sauber Petronas also in Jerez and Jordan Ford at Silverstone – in preparation for the forthcoming event. A brand new track, the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit is a fascinating combination of long, fast straights and challenging corners, all designed to test the drivers, cars and tires alike.

1,400 Bridgestone Potenza Formula One tires will be sent directly from Bridgestone’s F1 production facility in Tokyo, Japan by air freight to the Shanghai International Circuit. Comprising of five different specifications of dry weather tires, one wet weather and one extreme weather tire, Bridgestone has chosen its tires very carefully for the Shanghai circuit.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport “Last weekend’s race at Monza, in front of Ferrari’s home crowd was one of the best races we have seen this year and I was delighted to see Rubens Barrichello on the top step of the podium. Bridgestone and Ferrari have been extremely dominant this year and we are now very much looking forward to visiting Shanghai for the inaugural China Grand Prix next week, where we hope our hosts will be rewarded with another thrilling race. This is an extremely exciting opportunity for the F1 community and for the Bridgestone Corporation too, it represents a wonderful opportunity to display our technical expertise in such an important market. And finally, I would like to wish the Shanghai Circuit, the race organisers and all the authorities involved in this latest addition to the F1 calendar, the very best of luck for next week.”

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager  “Shanghai is the second of two new circuits on the calendar this year, and like Bahrain, it will present us with another unique challenge. We have been busy studying the track layout, which seems to be similar in style to aspects of the Indianapolis and Sepang circuits. Turn 13, for example, of the Shanghai circuit is a long sweeping corner followed by a long fast straight. This is similar in style to Indianapolis, albeit without the banking. Turns 7 and 8, the S bend section, is similar to the Sepang circuit layout."

"All in all, the Shanghai circuit is an exciting looking track which will require a high level of mechanical grip from the tires. Due to the long straights and fast corners, the generation of heat in the tires will also be an issue. Furthermore, we expect temperatures to be relatively warm and if the sun is out we could experience ambient temperatures of approximately 30 degrees Celsius and track temperatures of approximately 50 degrees Celsius. Taking these factors into account and the expected smooth track surface, we have chosen five dry weather specifications with compounds from our medium to soft range. After our success in the Middle East earlier this year, where our pre race preparation and simulation work with our teams paid dividends on a brand new track, we have strong hopes for this race too.” Bridgestone

09/19/04
f1
Ecclestone not surprised by Ford/Jaguar departure Ecclestone not surprised by Ford/Jaguar departureBernie Ecclestone says he is not surprised that Ford has decided to pull out of Formula One at the end of the current season. "It was inevitable and it wasn't really a shock to me,” Ecclestone told the BBC. "They couldn't afford to run around at the back of the grid and in my opinion shouldn't have run this year at all. They obviously have problems and they're closing a factory so it would have been a bit cheeky to keep the F1 factory going in those circumstances."
09/18/04
irl
Jonathan Byrd very ill Jonathan Byrd very illFormer team owner Jonathan Byrd is in the hospital and very ill.  He is not doing well at all.  Perhaps those of you who know him can drop him a few words of encouragement at: 
Jonathan Byrd
PO Box 413
Greenwood, IN 46142
09/18/04
f1
Ford departure fuels F1 fears Ford departure fuels F1 fearsThis Guardian article says (excerpts) As Formula One enters a new era by racing for the first time in China next weekend, fundamental questions about the sport's immediate future have been triggered by Ford's decision to withdraw Jaguar and Cosworth at the end of the season.  The loss of Jaguar Racing and 300 jobs - assuming a buyer is not found within the next three months - is serious enough. More far-reaching is the possible closure of Cosworth Racing, the Northampton-based company that supplies engines to not only Jaguar but also Minardi and Jordan. If all three teams disappear, the entry in 2005 will consist of just 14 cars.

In the light of criticism that he is losing his touch, this crisis will provide an opportunity for Bernie Ecclestone to exercise his deft political and organisational skills in order to keep his F1 family together. Ecclestone is required to provide a minimum of 16 cars on the grid in return for a fee in excess of $12 million from each race track.

He has two choices: find engines for Jordan and Minardi or force, as covered by the rules, the likes of Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes and Williams-BMW to each enter a third car in order to maintain the necessary standard. Sixteen may be the required minimum but the grid will become noticeably thin if it drops below the 20-car field that has been running for the past two years.

Entering a third car is not a simple matter of a team increasing parts production and bringing more mechanics to each grand prix. Aside from the logistics involved with 18 races across the globe, it is estimated that building and running an extra car will cost at least $15m. It would be cheaper and easier for the teams to provide engines at a reasonable price to Jordan and Minardi and maintain the entry level that way. Ecclestone could argue that this predicament is the fault of the big teams since they have failed to cut costs in order to assist the smaller outfits. The major players will follow Ford's assertion that it is actually Ecclestone's responsibility because he has refused to increase their share of the millions earned through television rights and advertising.

Apart from mishandling a racing heritage lasting 40 years, Ford has also dealt a body blow to manufacturers such as Ferrari (Fiat), Mercedes and BMW hoping to establish their own championship (GPWC) in the light of Ecclestone's intransigence over money. Ecclestone has always argued that manufacturers do not have the staying power necessary for F1's long-term future and Parry-Jones, a spokesman for GPWC, has just proved it by leaving the business in the lurch.

09/18/04
grandam
Fittipaldi glad to be back in the saddle Fittipaldi glad to be back in the saddleThis Miami Herald article says, Christian Fittipaldi, unable to secure sponsorship earlier this season, makes his return Sunday at Homestead.
Key Biscayne resident Christian Fittipaldi has spent a lot of time this year sailing on his 50-foot catamaran. He has also gone to Europe for a festival and to South Africa to drive a Formula 1 two-seater.  But the nephew of racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi would rather have spent that time racing his own car.

He had the unwanted idle time when his NASCAR team, Petty Enterprises, was unable to secure sponsorship for his Nextel Cup ride this season.  ''I've been racing for 22 or 23 years, and I have never had a situation where I wasn't driving for such a long period,'' Fittipaldi said, before reverting to the third person. ``Christian has been a little bored sitting at home. I need to get back in the car.''

His racing drought will end this weekend when the 33-year-old Brazilian steps into the cockpit of the No. 54 Pontiac Doran for Sunday's Miami 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

09/18/04
Industry News
Ford raises earning expectations Ford raises earning expectationsThe Ford Motor Company raised its third-quarter earnings forecast on Friday and announced the beginning of a restructuring plan for its struggling Jaguar division.  As part of the plan, Ford will cut 1,150 jobs in England, in large part by closing its 53-year-old Browns Lane assembly plant in Coventry. The company also said that Jaguar would sell its Formula One Racing business and refocus on its core business.   "The actions we are taking today, while difficult, are absolutely necessary to set Jaguar back on the right path,'' said Jim Padilla, Ford's chief operating officer.   For the company over all, Ford said that cost cuts and strength in its lending division would continue to bolster results even as its market share has been plummeting in its home market. Ford now expects operating earnings of 10 to 15 cents a share in the third quarter, up from a previous estimate of break-even to 5 cents.
09/18/04
grandam
Max Angelelli sets fastest practice time Max Angelelli sets fastest practice timeThe SunTrust Racing team will start from the front row for Sunday's Miami 250 race at Homestead/Miami Speedway. The grid was set by the team point standings in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series championship, with the #01 CompUSA car starting from the first position and the SunTrust Racing pair of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli beginning from position two.  Max Angelelli set the fastest time of both practice sessions Saturday with a 1:15.535 laptime at an average of 109.618 mph. A surface track temperature of 140 degrees and cockpit temperatures of 118 degrees had its effect on today's times.

Driver Quotes: Max Angelelli (pictured right) - "The car is pretty good. I'm pretty confident for the race. It's quite balanced. Looking at the #01 and 02 (cars), we should be pretty happy how we ended up. We are confident for the race."

Wayne Taylor (starting driver) - (regarding the heat) - "It's really bloody hot! The only thing I can say is that everybody's in the same boat. We really have to hydrate a lot. Even the mechanics and the crew are going to have to hydrate a lot because it could be dangerous with this kind of temperature. In the car while you're driving, it's really hot, but you're running off adrenaline and stuff. When you come in is when you really know you're in trouble. We'll have to be careful."

Practice Session #1: The SunTrust Racing team ran at the top the entire morning session while they worked on set-up for the race. Fastest time for the first session was 1:15.535, an average speed of 109.618 mph, set by Max Angelelli.  Practice Session #2: The SunTrust Racing team continued at the top of the leader board for the session. Again, they set the fastest time with a 1:15.573 at 109.563 mph average.  The Miami 250 race will be televised live at 11:00 a.m. ET on Speed Channel Sunday morning.

09/18/04
cartatlantic
Fogarty and Pacific Coast Highlight Awards Banquet Fogarty and Pacific Coast Highlight Awards BanquetSatisfaction and the feeling of a job well done weren't the only things that 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama champion Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) and his Pacific Coast Motorsports team were able to bring home from the season finale in Monterey, California last weekend. More....
09/18/04
German DTM
Third consecutive pole for Audi Third consecutive pole for AudiFor the third time in a row and for as much as the fifth in the total 2004 DTM season so far, an Audi A4 DTM car will be starting the race from the top position on the grid. For the third time in a row and for as much as the fifth in the total 2004 DTM season so far, an Audi A4 DTM car will be starting to the race from the top position on the grid. In the qualifying session at Brno (Czech Republic), Audi works driver Mattias Ekström clinched his fourth pole position of the year, thus giving him optimum prerequisites for the race in which the Swede could be claiming the DTM title even before the season has ended. The qualifying session on the 5.403-kilometre circuit saw the Audi teams rendering a strong performance of the Audi brand as a whole: for the first time, five Audi drivers managed to get into the top ten, with the first two rows on the grid filled by three Audi A4 DTM cars. Audi
09/18/04
Industry News
Johnson Controls layoffs loom Johnson Controls layoffs loomThis AP article says, Auto supplier Johnson Controls Inc. is seeking new business to prevent layoffs and avert a possible plant closure.  Unless the situation changes soon, 81 people would be laid off Nov. 15, when the Battle Creek plant goes from two shifts to one. The remaining 100 employees could lose their jobs by the end of the year if no new business is found.  Johnson Controls is moving its production of Mercedes-Benz molded door trim panels from Battle Creek to a plant in Alabama that has the right technology for the new panels.  "The plant today is producing basically one product," said company spokesman Bill Dawson. "As the product phases out, employees are phased out as well."  The company is looking for a new reason to keep the Battle Creek plant open, he said.


"We met with our employees, and we're going to keep them informed. We're looking very aggressively at new business opportunities at the plant," Dawson told the Battle Creek Enquirer for a report Friday. "We hope to make some progress there."  If new business is found, the November layoffs could be temporary, he said.  In March, Johnson Controls announced it was cutting nearly 900 jobs in Holland in connection to the transfer of sun visor production to Mexico.

09/18/04
f1
Stoddart desperate, to auction off F1 collection Stoddart desperate, to auction off F1 collectionThis Grandprix.com article says, Paul Stoddart is preparing for a $5m sell-off of some of his Formula 1 assets at his English factory in Ledbury. The Australian aviation magnate has been an avid collector of Formula 1 cars and equipment for the last 10 years but has now become fed up with "falling over all the cars that are lying around" and has decided to sell half his collection and is planning to offload 40 Formula 1 cars at auction on November 18-19-20 in Ledbury. The cars will include around 20 Tyrrell chassis plus Brabhams, Benettons, Jordans, Arrows, Minardis and, the star of the auction, the first BAR chassis. There will be around 3000 lots of engines, parts, memorabilia, clothing, overalls and other equipment.  Stoddart reckons the sale will net him $5m which will go towards the Minardi's team F1 budget.  Stoddart says he is not hugely worried about the demise of Cosworth as an engine supplier as he is in a position to run his own engine programme as he did a few years ago, using old Cosworth engines. He has his own dynos and engine development staff on his books already [Editor's Note: Yeah right Paul, Cosworth could not keep up with the big 4 and your cars were horribly slow.   We can only imagine what a debacle your engine program will be.]
09/18/04
f1
Ecclestone slams Jaguar corpse Ecclestone slams Jaguar corpseBernie Ecclestone did not waste any time slamming the dead corpse of the soon to be sold Jaguar F1 team.  Ecclestone blames bad management and accuses the Ford-owned Jaguar outfit of never taking the sport of F1 seriously.  "It's down to bad management," he said, "and shows that manufacturers just use the sport if and when they want to. It appears they wanted to run a team and get all the publicity but not pay any money for it. I'd like to see them try to do a deal where they get all their global advertising for free.  They have ripped off Jordan and Minardi with the price of their engines," he continued. "They cost more than those Ferrari sell to Sauber but are not capable of running at the front. I'm not sorry to see them go," he revealed. "They made their name in SportsCar racing and that doesn't interest me. Jaguar came into F1 to suit themselves and have left to suit themselves.  I would rather see three Ferraris, McLarens or Williams running at the front than a Jaguar fighting it out with Jordan and Minardi."
09/18/04
alms
Panoz Motor Sports adds driver Panoz Motor Sports adds driverPanoz Motor Sports has added veteran road racing driver Christophe Tinseau of France to its driving team for the Sept. 25 running of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Tinseau, 34, will join Gunnar Jeannette of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Marino Franchitti of Bathgate, Scotland, as drivers for the team’s Panoz Esperante GT-LM in the 1,000-mile American Le Mans Series sports car endurance race.

Tinseau is no stranger to the Panoz marque, having driven a Panoz Prototype race car for the French DAMS team in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998, his first season in sports car racing. Tinseau also drove the unique electrically hybrid-powered Panoz in the inaugural Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta later that season.

Tinseau has 12 career starts in the American Le Mans Series, many of them coming with the former factory Cadillac team. He helped Cadillac earn its first podium finish in the ALMS in 2001 at Canada’s Mosport International Raceway.

Tinseau’s racing career includes a season in the former Indy Lights Series in America in 1997. Earlier, he was the runner-up for the 1991 French Formula Renault championship. He scored five French Formula 3 race wins in 1993 and 1994, and then made 18 Formula 3000 starts between 1995 and 1996, winning one points race.

“We’re really pleased to complete our driver team for Petit with Christophe,” said team General Manager, Ed Triolo. “He’s quick, experienced and knows Road Atlanta well. That’s just the combination we need for Petit Le Mans. Both Gunnar (Jeannette) and Marino (Franchitti) are excited to have him join them and we all are looking forward to working together.”

09/18/04
alms
ALMS sponsor increases involvement ALMS sponsor increases involvementJeanRichard watches, a collection of fine SWISS timepieces intended for a clientele seeking original and exclusive products, has increased involvement in the American Le Mans Series for the remainder of the 2004 season and the 2005 season with sponsorship of television broadcasts of the professional sports car racing series.

JeanRichard joined the series this season with a new sponsorship and awards program, presenting specially-designed and engraved watches to the winning drivers in all four classes of the American Le Mans Series in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring event, America's oldest and most prestigious professional sports car race. In addition, watches will be presented to the winning drivers in Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, a 1,000-mile endurance event that will be held Sept. 25.

JeanRichard will also present watches to the championship drivers and team owners for the 2004 American Le Mans Series season, with the presentations to be made at the series awards banquet in Monterey, Calif., Oct. 17. The total value of the watches to be presented in 2004 is in excess of $144,000.

09/18/04
nascar
Team Petty fading away Team Petty fading awayThis WoonsocketCall article says, From the days of 200 wins, a NASCAR record that will likely never be broken, and seven championships, including five in the 1970s, Petty Enterprises has fallen on hard times. With son Kyle driving one car and Jeff Green driving the legendary No. 43, Petty Enterprises hasn't won a race since 1995.  That's only the start.

A Petty Enterprises team hasn't finished higher than 15th in the points since 1998 and has only finished better than 30th twice in the last six years. To top it off, of the more than 30 full-time Nextel Cup teams this season, the Petty stable is the only one not to have recorded at least one top-10 finish through the season's first 26 races.

Such a finish is not in sight, either.  "It didn't fall overnight. It was a slow process," said Petty, who retired from active driving at the end of the 1992 season and takes an active role in running Petty Enterprises now. "It started going downhill when I was still (racing). The deal was that a lot of times we didn't have the money to go to the new technology stuff." More.....

09/18/04
irl
Watkins Glen Safety Watkins Glen SafetyIn the past we have questioned the safety of the Watkins Glen course for Indy Cars, yet the IRL is still intent on racing there.  This SPEEDTV article has a recent photo of the dangerous guide rail that lines the entire circuit.  Making the track safer will mean putting in concrete walls and safety fencing, and increasing runoff area, certain to change the nature of the track.

The recent image to the right, taken by Adriano Mannochia, shows the guide rail and tires that protect the downhill left hand turn that is the 'ankle' of the 'boot' section.  What it doesn't show is the deep ravine just to the left of this fast downhill left-hander.  They are going to have to bring in a lot of soil to fill in that ravine or leave the corner the way it is, but replace the guide rail with concrete wall and a SAFER barrier.  Then the wall will be head-on to any driver that crashes there and just 20 feet from the racing line. 

Well, that's a start, but it's hardly the only dangerous location for open-wheel cars on that track. If they want to really be safe, all that track-side guide rail is going to have to come down in lieu of gravel traps and concrete. Is the IRL going to pay for that? We don't think the track is in any position to. If they do, they'll kill the track from a spectator standpoint. If they don't, they end up killing something else.

09/18/04
f1
Inaugural Chinese GP Sold Out Inaugural Chinese GP Sold OutUPDATE The race has attracted worldwide interest - according to current figures, 30% of spectators for the GP will come from Shanghai, 55% from other parts of the China and the remaining 15% from the rest of the world. 09/17/04 Revenues from tickets of China's first-ever Formula One event, to be held in Shanghai on September 24-26, exceeds 36 million US dollars.   Organizers told a Chinese F1 development forum here on Friday that more than 300 million yuan (36 million US dollars) has been gained with all the 150,000 tickets sold out.     "It's a decent sum, which shows our work has begun to get paid," said Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager of the Shanghai circuit.  Yu, however, evaded questions on the total cost and the anticipated income from this year's Chinese Grand Prix.   "It's really hard to give a figure. All I can say is that Shanghai will make great achievement through the event," he said.    The tickets, in nine categories, went on sale in the middle of March. Prices ranged from 370 yuan (45 US dollars) to 3,700 yuan (450 US dollars).   The Chinese economic hub has built a 5.45-kilometer race circuit at a cost of 240 million dollars, with capacity for up to 200,000 spectators.
09/17/04
f1
Ford pullout a blow to Jordan and Minardi Ford pullout a blow to Jordan and MinardiThe Jordan and Minardi F1 teams relied on inexpensive (that's relative) engines that were subsidized by Ford.  No more and that is sure to jeopardize their programs.    "If Cosworth is to be sold, then it has to be as a profitable company, it has to have profitable contracts," said Ford vice-president Richard Parry-Jones. "Therefore we cannot subsidize engine prices for other F1 teams in the future (read that Jordan and Minardi)." The cost of engines is a major issue in Formula One, with FIA president Max Mosley saying in Italy last weekend that it was the major sticking point preventing new teams from entering the sport.   A year's supply, with the cheapest costing in the region of $20 million, comprises a big part of a small team's budget. "The multi-race engine does make it possible to supply a second, third and maybe a fourth team," said Mosley.   "We have to prepare the ground for the day when we don't have seven manufacturers. We might easily get back to the days of three, four, maybe even two manufacturers, at which point where are the engines going to come from?   The answer is whoever supplies them, they have got to be inexpensive because people are going to have to buy them."
09/17/04
f1
Ferrari testing roundup Ferrari testing roundupSeven-time world champion Michael Schumacher was busy tire testing today at Jerez. Completing 75 laps, the German's best lap was a 1:18.708s, some way off the circuit record of 1:16.106.   Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello had set the record on Wednesday. On his fourth and final day of testing at Jerez, Schumacher spun off the track but without drama.   Ferrari were the only Formula One team to test at Jerez this week but McLaren, Toyota, Williams, BAR and Renault, as well as Ferrari, will be testing at Jerez at the end of the month.  Over at Mugello, Luca Badoer finished his planned programme which centred mainly on tires. The Scuderia’s official test driver completed a total of 91-laps, the best time being a 1:20.123s.
09/17/04
champcar
Odds to win Vegas Champ Car race Odds to win Vegas Champ Car racePosted odds to win the Champ Car World Series Bridgestone 400 Presented By Corona at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Saturday, September 25.  Odds courtesy Micah Roberts, Station Casinos, Las Vegas.
Sebastien Bourdais – 9-5
Bruno Junqueira – 5-2
Paul Tracy – 7-2
Patrick Carpentier – 9-2
Ryan Hunter-Reay – 8-1
Alex Tagliani – 8-1
Michel Jourdain Jr. – 10-1
Mario Dominguez – 11-1
Jimmy Vasser – 12-1
Oriol Servia – 15-1
AJ Allmendinger – 15-1
Guy Smith – 30-1
Rodolfo Lavin – 30-1
Mario Haberfield – 30-1
Justin Wilson – 45-1
Field (all others) – 20-1
09/17/04
snaponstars
Karting
Severe weather postpones karting event Severe weather postpones karting eventIn response to recent and pending hurricane activity in Florida and the Gulf Coast region of the United States, Snap-on Stars of Karting officials announced today the postponement of their National Championship finale weekend, originally scheduled for September 24th-26th at Walt Disney World® Resort and Disney’s Wide World of Sports® Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Nationals will now be held November 12th - 14th and will utilize the same temporary track layout and weekend schedule as originally planned. The season-ending awards banquet honoring top karters in the Eastern and Western Divisions, which had been scheduled for the evening of September 23rd, will now be held November 11th at 6:30PM.
09/17/04
champcar
Tagliani wants bragging rights at his “other” hometown track Tagliani wants bragging rights at his “other” hometown trackWhen the Champ Car World Series debuts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 25, Alex Tagliani will be looking for bragging rights. Tagliani, along with fellow Champ Car drivers Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser and Patrick Carpentier call Las Vegas home.

Tagliani moved to Las Vegas from his hometown in Montreal to take advantage of the tax breaks and real estate investment opportunities, but found that the move was beneficial for him physically as well. "We were testing in Phoenix and down in Florida and living in Montreal," Tagliani said. "We were going back and forth from Montreal to the testing sites and it was difficult. There's about a 60-degree difference in temperature between those places. It was hard on my body.

Las Vegas is a nice place for training and the temperature is about the same as the places we test." When not training or testing on the tracks, Tagliani can be found doing some personal training in Red Rock Canyon on his bicycle. A popular exercise destination for all four drivers, Tagliani will usually make 30-mile journies in the canyon. He recently purchased a new house in Las Vegas and says a lot of his free time at home is spent working on it. "When I have the time at home, I just like to chill," he said.

His team, Rocketsports Inc., is only in its second year of existence and entrusted its rookie season to Tagliani. He didn't disappoint taking two pole positions, three podiums and led the team to a top-10 finish. The only thing that still eluded him in his five-year Champ Car career was a trip to victory lane. That changed on August 8, at Elkart Lake, Wisc. Tagliani recorded his first career win in the Grand Prix of Road America and currently sits fourth in the championship standings. "Our season has gone good so far," he said. "We have our ups and downs just like everyone. We are trying be to more consistent in our races. We're still building our team. The team is only a year and a half old and we are fourth in the points.

There are still a lot more things to learn and a lot more to do. The goal now is to try to score as many points as we can in the races we are quick in, and try to save the day in the races where we may struggle." Racing at home will have its perks for all four drivers. Family and friends will be in the stands cheering them on and they will be able to wake up in their own bed on race day. Tagliani thinks the Champ Car race at LVMS has been well developed and has great intensity behind it. "I think Champ Cars is just another way to be entertained in Vegas. It's a good city and a great race to add to our schedule. I'm excited to be racing here."
09/17/04
champcar
Carl Haas nominated Carl Haas nominatedThe winningest active car owner in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford and one of the most successful owners in all of auto racing, Newman/Haas Racing co-owner Carl Haas long ago made his lasting impression on the world of motorsports.

The American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA), many of whose members have extensively covered Haas’ exploits, has recognized the contributions of the venerable team owner by naming him as one of 50 nominees for the organization’s ‘Newsmaker of the Half-Century’ award.

“I am honored to be included in this distinguished group of individuals and I am proud that my love of motorsports is being recognized in this fashion.” Haas said.

Haas, who started in the sport as a driver back in the mid-1950s, has 79 Champ Car wins, 85 poles and four series championships as an owner and currently campaigns cars for the top two drivers in the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). Along with his many years in Champ Car, Haas has also fielded teams in NASCAR Winston Cup and Can-Am, and was the lone American entrant in the Formula 1 World Championship in 1985-86.

Nineteen of the 50 nominees for the award made their marks in Champ Car racing, including all-time Champ Car pole position leader Mario Andretti, all-time victory leader A.J. Foyt, and former series champions Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Jr., Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser Sr., Bobby Unser, Michael Andretti and Rodger Ward. In addition, Champ Car luminaries such as Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Mark Donohue, Andy Granatelli, Jim Hurtubise, Roger Penske George Bignotti and Jim Hall are also nominated for their many contributions to the sport.

AARWBA, which is well-known in auto-racing circles for its All-America team that honors top drivers from all disciplines of the sport, plans to honor the Newsmaker of the Half-Century as part of its 50th anniversary celebration in 2005. The Champ Car World Series today announced that it would be a corporate sponsor of the AARWBA 50th anniversary celebration, which will be celebrated at a number of events throughout the 2005 racing season.

The 50 nominees will be pared down to 12, with those 12 being announced at the AARWBA All-American team banquet January 15 in Pomona, California. The 12 finalists will then go before another vote of AARWBA members with the winner to be announced later in the 2005 season. Champ Car

09/17/04
nascar
NASCAR qualifying rain delay NASCAR qualifying rain delayNASCAR Bud Pole Qualifying from New Hampshire for the Nextel Cup cars is currently under a rain delay. Drying efforts are under way.
09/17/04
Industry News
2005 Infineon Raceway schedule 2005 Infineon Raceway schedule
2005 INFINEON RACEWAY SCHEDULE:
  • Goodguys Nostalgia Drag Races: April 23-24.
  • AMA Kawasaki Showdown, featuring the Supercuts Superbike Challenge.
  • The weekend is presented by Cycle Gear: May 13-15.
  • Jaguar Wine Country Classic Vintage Car Races: June 4-5.
  • Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup: June 24-26.
  • Team Superstores NHRA Summernationals Division 7 Drag Races: July 2-3.
  • Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma American Le Mans Series: July 15-17.
  • NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals: July 29-31.
  • IRL IndyCar® Series: Aug. 26-28.
  • The Cougar Mountain Classic: Sept. 3-4.
09/17/04
nascar
BAM Racing to expand to two cars BAM Racing to expand to two carsBAM Racing is planning to run a two-car Nextel Cup operation next season, but the schedule for the second team has yet to be determined, said team manager, Eddie Jones. "At this point, we plan to run a second car in some form or another. It could be 12 races, it could be all 36, we have laid the groundwork for that and have the people to make it a reality," Jones said. Veteran Ken Schrader will again drive BAM's #49 Schwan's Food Service Dodges next season, while Klaus Graf [#59?] is the likely candidate for the second team. Graf, 32, a sports car driver from Germany, has driven a limited schedule in Cup and the Automobile Racing Club of America series for BAM this season. Graf is going to run the ARCA race at Talladega this season as well as Cup races at Martinsville, Va., Homestead, Fla. Charlotte is also a possibility. "He is very adaptable," Jones said. "I think that's one of his strongest points is his adaptability." Jones, who named Donnie Richeson as interim crew chief for Schrader's team this week, hopes to have a permanent replacement in place by the end of the season. "We have conducted several interviews and the names will not be unrecognizable by anybody," Jones said. "They're very highly regarded and it will be the next step in the evolution of BAM Racing." ThatsRacin.com
09/17/04
irl
Rice slams IRL drivers Rice slams IRL driversUPDATE A reader writes, Buddy Rice's driving style at the Chicagoland IRL race was an accident waiting to happen, which it did, and to think he is the driver pointing a finger at other drivers is laughable. Kathy Bosco 09/16/04 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice has slammed driving standards in the IRL IndyCar Series after his amazing 200mph flip in Sunday’s race at Chicagoland.   Just a few seconds before his midair flight after a clash of wheels with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Darren Manning, the Rahal Letterman driver and series leader Tony Kanaan had rubbed wheels on the front straight. Both blamed the other for the contact.   Rice said: “Dan [Wheldon] and I ran side-by-side for a ton of laps with no problems but other people want to drive into the side of you and they do it all the time. I’m upset that you are racing with title contenders and you can race hard and clean with one guy but not the other. It’s gotten worse in the last couple of rounds.   “It would be great to give everyone a fair shake instead of people running into you.”   Kanaan retorted: “He took himself out of the championship. It’s between Dan and I now. He [Rice] should be mad at himself. That’s not the way he should be driving.” Autosport Magazine
09/17/04
f1
Minardi statement of Cosworth sale Minardi statement of Cosworth saleFollowing the news that Ford are to end all Formula One activities and to try and sell both Jaguar Racing and Cosworth, Minardi are confident that an arrangement can be made to ensure that they run Cosworth engines as planned in 2005. This afternoon the team put out a statement in which they reiterate that they have a contract for use of Cosworth engines next season.

The Minardi F1 Team wishes to confirm that there is a contract in place with Ford-owned Cosworth Racing for the supply of engines to the team in 2005.

“Minardi has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Cosworth Racing over the years, and in light of today’s announcement, we will be working closely with Cosworth representatives to find a workable solution regarding engine supply arrangements for next season,” stated Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. “We are confident of being able to arrive at a suitable arrangement.”

“On a personal note, all of us at Minardi have been saddened by today’s news, but fully understand the economic realities involved in competing in this sport as it is currently structured. Our best wishes go out to all the staff involved, many of whom are personal friends as well as work colleagues.” Minardi

09/17/04
irl
IRL Chicagoland TV rating IRL Chicagoland TV ratingUPDATE The final network Nielsen TV rating on ABC for the IRL Chicagoland race came in at a horrible 0.8/2 share, down from the 0.9 overnight.  All those free ticket giveaways simply are not helping the TV ratings whatsoever, but the grandstands at least look good.  The only good news is that the rating was the same as last year's dismal final, and not worse. 09/13/04 The overnight TV rating on ABC for Sunday's Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway was another disappointing 0.9/2 share.  The final 2002 rating for this race was a 1.1 and the final for the 2003 race was a 0.8.  It will be interesting to see if this year's final beats last year's.  The Richmond NASCAR race was on cable TV, so we won't have those numbers until Thursday or Friday.
09/17/04
champcar
Champ Car comments on Cosworth sale Champ Car comments on Cosworth saleUPDATE We spoke to Champ Car owner Kevin Kalkhoven who reiterated to AutoRacing1.com that this sale comes as no surprise to them as Ford, who has a business relationship with Champ Car, let them know weeks ago what was happening.  While Kalkhoven could not tell us everything he knows, he did say things would become clearer in the next few weeks and it would be good.  Mark C. 09/17/04 What follows is a statement released by the Champ Car World Series concerning today’s announcement by series sponsor Ford Motor Company that it was putting the assets of Cosworth Racing Inc. up for sale. Cosworth Racing Inc. is the exclusive engine supplier to the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The statement should be attributed to Champ Car President and CEO Dick Eidswick.
“It comes as no surprise that Ford has decided to take these actions.  It is important to note the Champ Car World Series owns the Cosworth XFE engines our teams currently use and that this decision will not impact Champ Car’s ability to compete now or in the future.  We’ve been very pleased with our partners at Cosworth and anticipate the continuation of our relationship as both companies move forward with plans for the 2005 season.   [Editor's Note:  Champ Car may own the engines, but Cosworth has to rebuild them.  We assume whoever buys Cosworth will do the rebuilds, but it's possible that a Tony George could buy Cosworth and refuse to do the rebuilds, leaving Champ Car in a lurch.  Again, we don't expect that to happen, however.  Cosworth has been sold many times in the last 25 years and it always survives.  Recall Audi once owned it too.]
09/17/04
f1
F1 may fail in China? F1 may fail in China?UPDATE So much for this guy's prediction that F1 will fail in China - see other Hot News item.  F1 race is sold out. 09/16/04 Formula One may not succeed in China.  That's the warning of independent auto analyst Z.S. Jones, of Shanghai Automotive Consultancy, ahead of next Sunday's GP.  He told 'China Business Weekly' mag that, despite a massive national population, there's only a small fan base in China.  ''(The race) will get low (TV) ratings,'' Jones predicted.  ''Advertisers and sponsors will not get involved.''  Indeed, the Chinese TV broadcaster (CCTV) has landed the television rights to the grand prix, but have not paid anyone.  An official said the advertising return would not be 'satisfactory' enough to justify the 'astronomical' F1 fee.  But another expert said CCTV and Jones are missing the point.  Sun Gaoling, the director of a Research Centre in Beijing, said the 'key' to F1 in China is that it will cement Shanghai's image.  But some insist that motor racing will never turn-on the average Chinese citizen because he can not even afford to buy a car.  The impressive Shanghai track cost $317m to build.  This article sheds more light.  [Editor's Note:  We agree with this analysis, that the Chinese can't afford F1 or the cars the F1 manufacturers are selling right now and it will take a number of years for that race to become financially viable given F1's high cost and all the money invested in a track a full one hour outside of Shanghai.  Ridiculous, but let's hope we are proven wrong.  Champ Car is wise to be eyeing the Chinese resort of Sanya.  Putting on a race in an urban beachfront location akin to Surfers Paradise, Australia is probably a wise move and has a much better chance for early success given the proper promotion.]
09/17/04
champcar
 f1
Details of Ford’s announcement Details of Ford’s announcementRichard Parry-Jones today announced officially that Ford and its marque Jaguar will not continue in Formula One after the 2004 season.   Jaguar Cars today announced details of a comprehensive business plan that will reshape the company and focus on the factors that have had a negative impact on the bottom line of the company.   The plan includes: More.....
09/17/04
grandam
Revised schedule for Rolex 250 Revised schedule for Rolex 250Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Miami 250 Revised Weekend Schedule
Saturday, Sept. 18:
8:30 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.  Practice Grand-Am Cup Series
9:25 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.  Practice Rolex Sports Car Series - GT/SGS only
9:50 a.m. - 10:35 a.m.  Practice Rolex Sports Car Series - All Classes
10:35 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.  Practice Rolex Series - Daytona Prototypes only
11:15 a.m. - 12 p.m. (noon) Practice Grand-Am Cup Series
11:35 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.  Driver Autograph Session
1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.  Practice Rolex Sports Car Series
2:45 p.m.    RACE ¡El Combate de Velocidad!
(250-miles/109 laps/3-hour time limit)
Grand Am Cup Series Race
Sunday, Sept. 19:
9:00 a.m. - 9:20 a.m.  Final Practice Rolex Sport Car Series
11:00 a.m.   RACE  Miami 250
(250-miles/109 laps/2 ¾-hour time limit)
Rolex Sports Car Series Race
Note: There will be no qualifying for the Rolex Sports Car Series or the Grand-Am Cup. Starting Grid will be set by points.
09/17/04
champcar
f1
Ford fan worried Ford fan worriedA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, As a die-hard Ford fanatic, this is just incredibly upsetting for me. The fact that Ford is selling not only the Jag F-1 team, but also Cosworth and PI? Think about it, Ford has been a part of Formula 1 since 1967, only Ferrari has been in it longer.  What does it say about Ford too....a company that prided itself on its being a motorsports powerhouse all over the world. I'm just stunned. I was hoping they would at least keep Cosworth and return to focus on what they do best, building engines. And what about Champ Car....what's gonna happen to them?  I'm just stunned. Why do I foresee a return to the dark ages of the 70s..... Joe Angers, Boston, MA  Dear Joe, Let's not jump to conclusions until we see who, if anyone, buys Cosworth. Selling does not mean discontinuing operations.  Hopefully for F1's and Champ Car's sake it is a car company that likes their form of racing.  We think they will find a suitable buyer, but for example, if the new buyer decided not to supply engines to Champ Car any longer, or if they priced them too high, Champ Car would have to find another engine supplier.  Mark C.
09/17/04
transam
Rocketsports wins 2nd straight Team Owners championship Rocketsports wins 2nd straight Team Owners championshipThe No. 11 Rocketsports Racing team, which fields the Jaguar R Performance XKR for 2004 Motorock Trans-Am Series Drivers’ Championship runner-up Tommy Kendall, won the 2004 Team Owners’ Championship. The team championship is part of a trio of titles earned by the team, based in East Lansing, Mich. The team also won Drivers’ Championship with Paul Gentilozzi, and it played a major role in Jaguar winning its fourth Manufacturers’ Championship. It’s also the team’s second consecutive team owners’ award.

The championship is awarded by car number and points are based on starting and finishing positions, and bonus points are awarded for gaining five or more positions, finishing a race, completing at least one lap, finishing on the lead lap, and setting the fastest race lap. The No. 11 team finished with 159 points, 11 markers ahead of the No. 3 Rocketsports team (Gentilozzi). The No. 49 Derhaag Motorsports team (Randy Ruhlman) was third, followed by the No. 5 Rocketsports (Tomy Drissi) team, and the No. 8 JD Racing Promotions squad (Jorge Diaz, Jr.).

“Winning the Team Owners’ Championship is a true honor,” said Harry “Butch” Warren, operations manager for Rocketsports Racing. “This championship came right down to the wire, showing just how hard all of the teams worked this year. My hat’s off to all of them.

“The award shows dedication and determination paid off for our Rocketsports Racing team,” added Warren. “(Crew Chief) Troy Cowgill and the rest of our Trans-Am team overcame four DNFs early in the season to tie the drivers’ points. This team showed its true character. They met each challenge with a positive attitude and a productive solution.

“The new Jaguar AJ-V8 engine overcame many hurdles this season,” concluded Warren. “It had little track time, but had performed well on the dyno. As the season progressed, each race highlighted new challenges, which were addressed by our engine department, led by Tony Gentilozzi. The engine showed its true potential by year’s end and this award is testament to that.”

Kendall was quick to credit his team for his success this season.

“With everything the team went through this year, to come back and tie in drivers’ points, it’s fitting they get the proper recognition for their all-around performance,” said the four-time Trans-Am titleholder. “The team’s performance this year was nothing short of spectacular.”

09/17/04
Industry News
Weak dollar send Jaguar into tailspin Weak dollar send Jaguar into tailspinThe weak dollar has hit Jaguar's US Sales and they are axing lots of jobs in the UK. More woes for the Leaping Cat and Ford.  Ford Motor Co's luxury brand Jaguar will eliminate around 1,150 jobs at its main plant in Coventry under a reorganisation at the loss-making division, an industry source has told Reuters. it will keep 310 jobs to make wood finishings at the Brown's Lane plant, move 425 staff from Brown's Lane to the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich, and add 300 new manufacturing jobs at the Ford group's Aston Martin plant in Gaydon, the source added.  Jaguar will also announce it is developing three new products: a new all-aluminium sports car, a premium diesel version of the XJ sedan, and a high-performance X-type diesel, the source said.
09/17/04
f1
Trulli will not race in China Trulli will not race in ChinaItalian Jarno Trulli has ruled out racing in China next week despite already having tested for his new Toyota Formula One team.   Trulli, who parted from Renault this week, told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper on Friday that the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai would be too soon.  "I prefer to wait until 2005 to return to grands prix," he said after his first test with the team at Silverstone on Thursday.  "But I have started early my preparations for next season, I have gained time," he added.
09/17/04
f1
champcar
Jaguar pulls out of F1 Jaguar pulls out of F1UPDATE #2 Recall our rumor several months ago that the Ford board had approved the sale of the Jaguar F1 team to Red Bull.  That rumor later fell silent, but it will be interesting to see whether ultimately that comes to fruition.  With no guarantee that Ford will find a buyer for Cosworth (see other news item), the Minardi and Jordan teams must now line up alternate deals just in case.  Meanwhile they are working to complete the design of their 2005 cars and at this point they have no idea what engine will be mounted in the back. In addition, it could put the entire Champ Car program, which has an exclusive deal with Ford/Cosworth, in jeopardy. Mark C. 09/17/04 After a thorough review over many months, Ford Motor Company has decided it can no longer make a compelling business case for any of its brands to compete in Formula One," Jaguar chairman Joe Greenwell said in a statement, " As a result, we are putting our Formula One businesses up for sale."  "Jaguar's presence in Formula One has been a valuable marketing and brand awareness platform particularly outside our main markets of the US and the UK. However, it was our collective view that it is time for Jaguar Cars to focus 100 per cent on our core business. Having reached this decision, our focus has turned to securing the best future for our Formula One businesses and our employees in these businesses going forward."  "I think there are lots of buyers out there," Parry-Jones said, but he refused to give any details saying that all negotiations were done under confidentiality agreements. The HSBC is handling the sale for the two companies for Ford while Ford makes up its mind whether or not to sell Pi Research, the third company in the Premier Performance Division of the company.  If Jaguar Racing and Cosworth are closed down it will mean the loss of around 500 jobs at the team, at Cosworth and at Pi Research.  "We had anticipated that the sport would undergo reform but it has not," he said. "There are various companies which derive income from the sport. We have discussed with the current incumbent several alternative schemes but nothing has happened. We want to win in F1 and not just be there taking part. To win we need to escalate our investment in F1 and Jaguar Cars cannot afford to do that."  09/17/04 Ford said on Friday its Jaguar Formula One team would pull out of the sport at the end of the 2004 season.   "After a thorough review over many months, Ford Motor Company has decided it can no longer make a compelling business case for any of its brands to compete in Formula One," Joe Greenwell, chairman of Jaguar and Land Rover, said in a statement.  "We are putting our Formula One businesses up for sale," he said. Reuters
09/17/04
f1
champcar
Ford to sell Cosworth, Champ Car and F1 in jeopardy? Ford to sell Cosworth, Champ Car and F1 in jeopardy?Richard Parry-Jones, who oversees the Ford Premier Performance Division, announced today that Cosworth Racing, the company's competition engine subsidiary, would be put up for sale, potentially ending any Ford involvement in racing, Champ Car and F1 included. Cosworth currently supplies both Jaguar and Minardi with powerplants - and only last week confirmed that it would supply the Italian team in 2005. Ford has provided Jordan with engines this season, but the Silverstone team - itself seeking a buyer - is thought to be talking to Toyota for next year.  It will be interesting to see who buys Cosworth.  If that company doesn't see value in their Champ Car program, perhaps that might be shuttered.  Now you understand why we said it is risky for Champ Car to put all their eggs in one basket. If all three F1 teams (Jaguar, Minardi and Jordan) can't answer the bell for 2005, the entire F1 series could be in jeopardy as well, all depending on who, if anyone, buys Cosworth.
09/17/04
f1
Renault confirms Villeneuve for final 3 races Renault confirms Villeneuve for final 3 racesRenault today confirmed that Jacques Villeneuve will partner Fernando Alonso for the final three races of the 2004 Formula 1 season, beginning with next week’s Chinese Grand Prix, following a successful two-day test this week at Silverstone.  The French-Canadian completed 700km during his two days of running at Silverstone, acclimatising himself to the Renault R24 after an absence of nearly twelve months from a Formula 1 car.   “We are very excited to welcome Jacques Villeneuve to Renault for the final three Grand Prix of the 2004 season," stated Managing Director Flavio Briatore.  "He is highly motivated and has impressed us with his performance this week. I would also like to thank Peter Sauber for his collaboration in this matter. The Renault F1 Team’s objective is now to claim second place in the Constructors’ Championship and we are focused intently on doing so.”  Renault dropped behind rivals BAR at the Italian Grand Prix and are now three-points adrift of the runner-up spot heading to China. Renault
09/17/04
grandam
Di Leo teams with McDowell Di Leo teams with McDowellMarkham, Ontario resident Daniel Di Leo and teammate Michael McDowell of Charlotte, NC will compete in the Miami 250 Grand-Am Cup event this weekend at Miami Homestead Speedway in Southern Florida. The duo will co-pilot the #83 Porsche 996, Commercial Defeasance, BGB Motorsports entry around the Homestead circuit with the hopes to challenge for the victory.  Di Leo and McDowell currently sit 1-2 respectively in the Star Mazda Series presented by Goodyear as they provide Rob Finlay’s Finlay Motorsports team with a potent combination. Di Leo, who was planning on being in the Sunshine State as a spectator, was asked to get behind the wheel of the #83 Porsche as team owner Rob Finlay was forced to the sidelines to fulfill prior commitments.   “This is going to be a very challenging weekend for me” explained Di Leo in a recent phone interview. “It will be my first time in a sports car and with the shortened weekend due to the current weather situation I will only have two sessions to get used to the closed wheel cars. I am quite certain that I will do well and am very confident that the team will give both McDowell and I a great car.”
09/17/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Liuzzi drove a Sauber
Jacques finds pace in Renault
Bernoldi made BAR debut
China back down on tobacco demand
'I'm looking forward to China' - Ralf
Jacques to get the nod on Friday
Fisi, Jacques, to swap seats after China
Timely Trulli tests Toyota
BAR's Button may skip 2005 season
Zanardi launches book at Berlin clinic
Engine marques' 'radical' plan - report
Zonta to stay in Toyota 
Sauber won't test Paffett, Albers
Trulli - 'OK, sign Villeneuve'
China is F1's 'most important' flirt
Jaguar talks 'promising' - Davidson
Sauber and Villeneuve to 'clash'?
Button's done a 'fantastic job' - Villeneuve
09/16/04
alms
Two prototypes added to Petit LeMans field Two prototypes added to Petit LeMans fieldA driver lineup heavy with Georgia residents will steer a pair of Prototypes that have been entered in next week's Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta by Marshall Cooke Racing.  Marshall Cooke Racing, owned by Dennis Marshall and James Cooke, will field the two cars in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class in the 1,000-mile or 10-hour American Le Mans Series sports car endurance race that will get the green flag at noon on Saturday, Sept. 25. The cars will be Lola B2K/40 chassis with two-liter Millington engines and each will have three drivers.  Jason Workman of Flowery Branch, Ga., and Rich Grupp of Decatur, Ga., will team with English driver Ben Devlin in the #7 Marshall-Cooke entry, while Ryan Eversley of Winder, Ga., will team with Dacula, Ga., resident Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly of Mason Neck, Va., in the team's #13 car.
09/16/04
Formula BMW
Hinchcliffe wins BMW rookie crown Hinchcliffe wins BMW rookie crown[Editor's Note:  Having had the opportunity to speak to James Hinchcliffe we can tell you he is mature beyond his years.  Part of that is his upbringing, but certainly part of it is BMW's attention to detail including teaching the youngsters how to deal with the media, fitness programs and how to find sponsorship.]  17-year-old James Hinchcliffe (Franczak Enterprises / AIM Autosport / #56) scored a third place result in Saturday’s Formula BMW event to claim the BMW Rookie Cup and the honor of ‘Rookie of the Year’ in Formula BMW USA competition. With the final round being held at the 11 corner 2.238 mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA, Hinchcliffe had a slim opportunity take both the Rookie Cup award and the overall series championship.  Hinchcliffe proved to be very fast in Friday’s test sessions ending the morning in the top five in times. With qualifying for Saturday’s event on Friday afternoon, it was down to business early. Hinchcliffe was looking to put his AIM Autosport BMW on the pole as he held the point for most of the session. Many drivers took a shot at the talented Canadian but were unable to match his speed until the final circuit when two of his closest rivals slipped by and relegated James to P3.  Looking to improve his starting position for Sunday’s event, Hinchcliffe and the rest of the BMW competitors hit the track early Saturday morning. Taking information learned from Friday’s sessions, Hinchcliffe improved his time and would start the final event from the outside of the front row.  “I would have liked to been on the front row for both events” explained the Oakville, ON resident. “We had a great car and I was held up on my final lap of the first qualifying session. I think we could have gone faster. My main goal is the Rookie Cup and then the championship so I will have to be cautiously aggressive in the race.”
09/16/04
Industry News
An better alternate to SAFER Barrier? An better alternate to SAFER Barrier?Safety Innovation Technology Company, Safety Systems, Inc., (SSI) released test results that demonstrate the company's RACE WALL impact barrier offers significantly more impact protection than current products installed on most NASCAR racetracks. The R.A.C.E. Wall ™ (Restricted Air Controls Energy) was conceived out of the need to save lives and subsequently lessen vehicle damage at the same time, "in following with NASCAR'S efforts to control the costs for teams competing in this ultimate sport". The RACE Wall uses proprietary technology in conjunction with specific materials, construction methods and "outside the box" thinking to produce the second-generation softwall.  SSI developed the patented technology, and used the expert skills of Dr. Ajit Kelkar to evaluate the technology through FEA testing and computer-simulation. Dr. Kelkar, a professor at North Carolina A&T University's Mechanical Engineering Dept., stated that the initial crash results far exceeded our expectations.  The physical crash tests were performed at MGA Research Corporation in Burlington, Wisconsin and revealed at 90 mph, using NASCAR vehicles, the RACE Wall produced 40% less G forces than current technology used at most NASCAR tracks, in side-by-side comparison tests.  Tests at speeds over 140 mph are scheduled as the last testing phase and SSI researchers expect the benefits to increase with the added speed. "Our RACE Wall technology lets track owners install a more practical mechanism to primarily protect drivers, who are so important to NASCAR and their fans, "said Tim Smith, Chairman of SSI. "I can't imagine any track owner not wanting the safest track available". Video of the crash test is available for media outlets only. SSI PR
09/16/04
f1
F1 Engine Builders Pose Rules Alternative F1 Engine Builders Pose Rules AlternativeAccording to this SPEED TV article, Formula 1 engine manufacturers BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Honda have put forward radical plans to overhaul the sport’s engine regulations next year in their bid to head off the threat of two-race engines being imposed by the FIA.  FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting called F1’s seven manufacturers together at the governing body’s headquarters in Paris on Wednesday to try and generate unanimous support for new engine regulations designed to slow the cars down in 2005. In a bid to convince the governing body that it would be more beneficial to stick with one engine per weekend, the three manufacturers proposed two radical rule changes that they claim will benefit the sport.

The manufacturers suggest that teams to be allowed to fit new engines from Saturday morning which must then be run for free practice, qualifying, the race, testing and the Friday of the following grand prix weekend. This would nearly double engine mileage and lead to an automatic reduction in testing.

In addition, those engine manufacturers not supplying customer teams would contribute up to $3.5m towards an engine pool, with extra finance coming from F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone, to help fund independent teams.  The FIA agreed to consider these proposals, although it seems unlikely that the governing body will back down from its previous insistence on a two-race rule. A source close to an engine manufacturer told Autosport: “It was good to have the meeting and I think we have made some progress. The FIA is considering the position of all the manufacturers and looking at what the next step will be.  “Our fear is that if the engine rules go through next year, then it will not be a workable solution because some teams will not run on the Friday of the second grand prix – and that will not be good for the fans. We all realize that a two-race engine is not the best solution, but it will be difficult to go back on the rules once they are set, because engines take a long time to design and develop.”

09/16/04
nascar
NASCAR and Nextel unveil Chase Trophy NASCAR and Nextel unveil Chase TrophyNASCAR and Nextel today unveiled the NASCAR Nextel Cup trophy, a 27-pound piece designed by Bruce Newman and crafted in sterling silver by Tiffany & Co. The trophy will be on display at each of the Chase for the Nextel Cup races (Nextel).

The ten drivers competing in the inaugural Chase appeared on NBC’s “Today” this morning with the trophy.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. said of the reasons for the burgeoning popularity of NASCAR: “I think it’s because of the personalities like you have up here. Everybody comes from a different part of the country.  The new network deals have taken us to a much different, larger audience.”

NBC’s Matt Lauer, who was once driven around Indianapolis Motor Speedway by a laughing Tony Stewart at speeds in excess of 150mph, said jokingly, “Stay away from Stewart over here, Katie.  I just want to warn you, seriously” (“Today,” NBC, 9/16).

Also as part of NASCAR's media blitz in N.Y. today, NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France appeared on CNBC's "Power Lunch" today, and will appear with Stewart on CNBC's "Capital Report" tonight. Also, drivers Mark Martin and Jeremy Mayfield will appear on CNBC's "McEnroe" (THE DAILY).

France: "We've got the best array of Fortune 500 companies who are investing with us, helping us to reach a new audience." France, on NASCAR drivers, "They have their own licensing rights, so their T-shirts and all their souvenirs and all their merchandise sales depend on a connection with the fans, so they're more apt to sign autographs, to be part of things. And the same goes with their endorsements. That's an important distinguishing difference" ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 9/16).

Meanwhile, the Executive Council of New York will hold a panel discussion tonight on the business of racing at the Yacht Club of N.Y. from 6:00-8:00pm ET. The Sports Business Daily/SportsBusiness Journal Editor-at-Large Terry Lefton will moderate a panel including France, Nextel Senior VP/Marketing Mark Schweitzer, NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham. NASCAR 

09/16/04
f1
Trulli gets first taste of Toyota Trulli gets first taste of ToyotaPanasonic Toyota Racing spent three days at Silverstone to improve the TF104B package for the last three races of the 2004 Formula One season.  Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta were there on the first two days of the test and Ryan Briscoe and Jarno Trulli completed the programme on Thursday. It was the Italian's first experience in the TF104B since leaving Renault earlier this week.
Jarno Trulli  "I've arrived at Panasonic Toyota Racing a bit earlier than I expected, but in Formula One you have to be ready for anything, and this is what sometimes happens. The Toyota team has given me a splendid welcome and we've already started to work well together in our first day of testing. It's also nice to be working again with Mike Gascoyne, who is an excellent engineer. It's still too early to judge the car. I've found some very good, positive aspects to the package, while there are parts which can still be improved. But I think everyone in the team knows the problems which require work. All the team's drivers will work well together with the rest of the team to work on improving the car's speed for the future. There's a good atmosphere and a nice bunch of people and it's good to get started early in preparation for 2005."
Olivier Panis  "The main aim of this week's Silverstone test was to test tyres for the next races and we have prepared quite well. The weather has been very changeable, though, so that always makes it difficult to compare parts. The strong winds on Tuesday disturbed the car a lot - and when the track goes from damp to wet to dry it becomes difficult to learn anything. But we had a very positive day on Wednesday, putting in lots of laps and finding some good tyres for Suzuka. Our tyre choice for next week's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix has already been made in conjunction with our suppliers, Michelin. The track itself looks like a mix of some of the other new circuits - the set-up should be similar to what we use in Malaysia but there are also some long straights like Bahrain. It looks like a good circuit and I'm looking forward to racing there."
09/16/04
f1
Williams team completes 3-day test session Williams team completes 3-day test sessionThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team completed a three day test session at Silverstone, Williams F1's home circuit, today. Ralf Schumacher made a welcome return to the cockpit following his twelve week absence recovering from injuries sustained in the  US Grand Prix. Proving he hasn't lost any of his fighting spirit, the German set the quickest time of the session on his first day back behind the wheel. Ralf was joined by the team's regular test driver, Marc Gené, for the duration of the test.    Over the three days, the pair completed 323 laps of the Northamptonshire circuit, a total of 1,660 kilometers, collating valuable data in preparation for next weekend’s inaugural Chinese Grand Prix.   Ralf Schumacher said,  "I'm very happy with the progress we made over the past three days. The only hindrance was losing some time yesterday due to a small technical problem, but the team quickly remedied it. I must say the car is much better now than when I last drove it, it is much easier to drive, especially with regards to downforce. I'm now really looking forward to the next three races and giving the team my very best."
09/16/04
f1
Liuzzi debuts in Sauber Liuzzi debuts in SauberThe Sauber team completed its three-day test at the Jerez circuit today. Vitantonio Liuzzi covered 60 laps in chassis C23-05 to set a best time of 1:18.931s. The team will be testing again from 24 to 26 of November in Barcelona. Willy Rampf, Sauber's Technical Director said: "Vitantonio used the morning to familiarise himself with the car. He coped with the driving and the different set-up possibilities astonishingly soon.   His work and feedback concerning the car handling were pretty good and useful for the engineers.  "Furthermore, his lap times were quite constant and improved steadily.  In the afternoon he was able to participate in the Bridgestone tyre programme in preparation to the Chinese Grand Prix. "Overall I have to say that considering that it was just a one-day test he managed this work really well."  Vitantonio Liuzzi commented on his Formula One debut: "It was a great day for me and I feel very happy. Driving a Formula One car doesn't happen every day.  "In the morning the track conditions were not the best otherwise I'm sure I could have been quicker, but in the afternoon it improved and we were able to complete our program.  I felt really good in the team. It was important for me to do this test, to understand how this team works and to run as many kilometers in a Formula One car as possible."
09/16/04
f1
Sato fastest, Villeneuve 3rd at Silverstone Sato fastest, Villeneuve 3rd at SilverstoneTakuma Sato turned the fastest lap of the day today at Silverstone, followed by Kimi Raikkonen and Jacques Villeneuve! As expected, the Canadian stepped up the pace after using yesterday to become familiar with the car.  Jarno Trulli drove for the Toyota team for the first time.

1. T. Sato BAR-Honda - 1'17"397 - 82 laps
2. K. Raikkonen - McLaren-Mercedes - 1'17"400 - 94 laps
3. J. Villeneuve - Renault - 1'17"433 - 66 laps
4. R. Schumacher - Williams-BMW - 1'17"718 - 55 laps
5. M. Gene - Williams-BMW - 1'17"813 - 88 laps
6. J. Trulli - Toyota - 1'17"911 - 83 laps
7. A. Davidson - BAR-Honda - 1'17"960 - 71 laps
8. P. de la Rosa - McLaren-Mercedes - 1'18"401 - 93 laps
9. F. Montagny - Renault - 1'19"140 - 88 laps
10. R. Briscoe - Toyota - 1'19"147 - 84 laps
11. E. Bernoldi - BAR-Honda - 1'21"351 - 11 laps

09/16/04
NASCAR
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Points Update - New Hampshire NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Points Update - New HampshireThe 10 drivers have clinched their positions for the prestigious Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. A rough-and-tumble weekend at Richmond will now be followed by even more excitement as the attention of the race world turns to Loudon, New Hampshire and the Sylvania 300 this Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway. The 10 drivers who emerged from Saturday's thriller at Richmond International Raceway as members of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup now turn their attention to even bigger business - getting a quick jump on building championship points for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Trophy. Jeff Gordon has the inside track at the No.1 position, and will begin with 5050 points, to be followed by Jimmie Johnson (5045 points), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (5040), Tony Stewart (5035), Matt Kenseth (5030), Elliott Sadler (5025), Kurt Busch (5020), Mark Martin (5015), Jeremy Mayfield (5010) and Ryan Newman (5005). Busch will be especially glad to return to New Hampshire International Speedway, as he won there in July.
09/16/04
f1
Toyota confirms Trulli Toyota confirms TrulliThe Panasonic Toyota Racing team has today confirmed that Jarno Trulli will join the team as a race driver from 2005. The Italian driver signed a two-year contract on Tuesday 14 September at Toyota Motorsport's headquarters in Cologne, which will see him partner German driver Ralf Schumacher from next season.

Trulli will drive a Toyota F1 car for the first time at the Silverstone Circuit in Britain today.  Jarno Trulli is one of only four drivers to have won a Grand Prix in 2004, having dominated the Monaco GP to take his debut race victory. In his eight seasons in Formula 1, Jarno has made four trips to the podium and scored two pole positions.

Toyota currently plans for Ricardo Zonta to drive the third car in Friday free practice sessions, as well as undertaking extensive test duties alongside Olivier Panis in 2005.

Ryan Briscoe will still be contracted to Toyota in 2005, but will not be a regular Panasonic Toyota Racing race or test driver. He will, however, continue to receive support from the team as he looks to find a race seat for next year.

"It is no secret that we have been speaking with Jarno Trulli for some time about the possibility for him to join Panasonic Toyota Racing, but contrary to recent reports, we have only finalised contractual details this week." explained Team Principal, Tsutomu Tomita.  "Jarno has really shown his maturity and all-round talent this season, both in qualifying and in races, and we believe that he will be the perfect team-mate to Ralf at Toyota from next season."

"On that note, I would like to set the record straight early and stress that there are no driver orders at Toyota; Ralf and Jarno will have equal number one status with us. We are also looking forward to Ricardo staying with the team in 2005 as our Friday driver at races. Along with Olivier, Ricardo has demonstrated a strong commitment and motivation to the team over the last two years. I firmly believe that both Olivier and Ricardo will excel in test and development roles with Toyota."

"With Ralf, Jarno, Olivier and Ricardo, I think that Panasonic Toyota Racing will have one of the strongest driver line-ups in Formula 1 for next season." Toyota

09/16/04
f1
Chinese GP expected to boost Ferrari sales Chinese GP expected to boost Ferrari salesWith the Chinese GP starting next weekend, the sales of Ferraris are expected to increase.  Jean Todt recently visited Shanghai as Ferrari will soon be opening a new showroom in the rapidly expanding China. The Ferrari Managing Director revealed that he was amazed by the country's evolution as the last time he was in China was over 15 years ago.  "I've been to Shanghai for the opening of the circuit and it's unbelievable, just unique what they have done. What they have been building and the time in which they have built it, is unbelievable," said Todt.  Ferrari are looking to sell about 50 cars this year and double the amount in 2005.  "Countries like China, Russia, India definitely have a huge potential, and they could be the countries for the future," Todt concluded. PlanetF1
09/16/04
f1
Tobacco advertising allowed at Chinese GP Tobacco advertising allowed at Chinese GPContrary to local Chinese laws, cigarette brands will appear on the F1 cars and uniforms at the inaugural Chinese GP.  Shanghai announced in May that tobacco advertising had been banned from the new Shanghai International Circuit.  However, Burke Fishburn, Regional Coordinator for the World Health Organisation's Tobacco Free Initiative, told AFP that: "Because of the Formula One policy of allowing tobacco sponsorship to 2006 you're still going to see it on cars and uniforms, unfortunately."  Fishburn believes that Shanghai "probably could have pushed it, but I think they were a bit concerned because they were a new Formula One venue they could not push too hard."  "It becomes a problem with Formula One because the ban on tobacco companies sponsorship does not take effect until 2006. So I think you've got the crashing of two policies." PlanetF1
09/16/04
nascar
champcar
Two autograph sessions planned for Vegas fans Two autograph sessions planned for Vegas fansRace fans will get an opportunity to meet their favorite NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Champ Car World Series drivers during separate autograph sessions leading up to the Sept. 25 Double Down in the Desert at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

All 18 drivers entered in the Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona Champ Car World Series event will be signing autographs at the ESPN Zone at the New York New York Hotel and Casino from 7-8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23.

Many of the top NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers, who will compete in the Las Vegas 350, will sign autographs at the NASCAR Street Party on the Third Street Promenade in downtown Las Vegas on Friday, Sept. 24 from 7-8 p.m. The street party, which is being produced in conjunction with the Lady Luck, will have live bands, show cars, interactive games, contests and food and souvenir vendors.

“One of the unique qualities that motorsports possesses over many other sports is the drivers’ willingness to make themselves available to the fans,” said LVMS general manager Chris Powell. “These events really enhance the festive atmosphere surrounding this doubleheader and help build even more excitement for both races. We appreciate the cooperation from the Lady Luck Casino and the ESPN Zone for helping create an even bigger buzz for this incredible event.”

The Double Down in the Desert will be a first-of-its-kind event featuring a nighttime doubleheader involving the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Champ Car World Series. The Las Vegas 350 Truck race is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. The Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona Champ Car race will follow the Truck race.

Qualifying for the Trucks will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Champ Car qualifying is slated for 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24.

09/16/04
f1
BMW and Honda threaten to quit F1 over engines BMW and Honda threaten to quit F1 over enginesAccording to this week's Autosport Magazine, and reported here previously (though we believe it is just posturing by the manufacturers), proposed changes to the regulations in Formula 1 may force two engine manufacturers to quit.  The FIA’s intention to impose a 2.4-liter V8 format after 2005 faces strong opposition from BMW and Honda, who believe the existing 3.0-litre V10 format represents the best package of cost, technical challenge and marketing appeal.   BMW motorsport boss Mario Theissen refused to deny a move to 2.4-litre V8s would lead to BMW’s withdrawal from F1.  Questioned as to BMW’s F1 future, he said:  “F1’s main appeal for a manufacturer like BMW is that it combines sport and high technology and we would like very much for that to be maintained. As long as it remains sport and high technology, then we would stay.”

BMW believes a 2.4-liter V8 format would lead to a ‘dumbing down’of F1 within an artificially restrictive technical framework, and it is not alone in holding this view.  FIA president Max Mosley nevertheless remains determined to force through the 2.4-liter V8 proposal because he believes it will make F1engines more affordable for private teams at the same time as reducing speeds.   “It would be a serious concern if manufacturers left because they did not like the regulations,”said Mosley, “but if we go for a restrictive engine there are two manufacturers who might leave.  If we allow the current levels of freedom to continue, there are two (others) who almost certainly will leave.  Manufacturers come and go for all sorts of reasons, but there will always be enough technical freedom to justify their presence.”  

09/16/04
f1
Sauber and Villeneuve optimistic Sauber and Villeneuve optimisticExpressing his enthusiasm about signing a 2-year deal with Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber Team Principal Peter Sauber said: "I have to admit that signing a former World Champion is something truly special for me. However, I want to make it clear that this was not the decisive factor."

"When I was talking to Jacques, I could feel that he is absolutely keen and committed to return to Formula One," Sauber added. "He was always a great fighter and I am convinced that together we can achieve a lot. I fully realise that signing a former World Champion is also an obligation for the team to provide him with a car that meets his expectations. The Sauber team has made considerable progress this year, and I am confident that we are ready to tackle this challenge."
 
Jacques Villeneuve is also optimistic: "I am extremely excited to be back in Formula One with the Sauber team, and I appreciate the confidence everybody is showing in me," he said. "It is my goal to work with Peter and his team to bring them forward in the championship during the next two seasons. In my recent visit to Sauber I have been extremely impressed by the professionalism which is apparent throughout the factory. I am looking forward to seeing the results that will be developed by the state-of-the-art wind tunnel."

09/16/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Trulli to join Toyota on Thursday
Jacques will race in China
Button's CRB hearing delayed a month
Trulli set to replace Zonta - source
'Only Sauber respect me' - Villeneuve
Records tumble in UK, Spain
Zanardi reveals discrimination
Sponsor 'annoyed' at JV signing
Villeneuve to find $5m in sponsorship
Irony not lost on Jacques
Canadian promoter welcomes Jacques' return
France must find new F1 hero
Ralf - 'I'm fit and off to China'
Trulli signs Toyota contract - official
Williams to race new livery in China
Jag still set for 'Ford' shake-up
Briatore to leave Renault
F1 may not succeed in China - analyst
Massa to be Villeneuve's teammate
Jacques will race Renault - Briatore
09/16/04
champcar
Third place best for Coyne since 1996 Third place best for Coyne since 1996Oriol Servia's third-place finish in the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey matched the best-ever result for Dale Coyne Racing. Roberto Moreno finished third in the attrition-filled 1996 U.S. 500 at Michigan Int'l Speedway.  Servia has injected life into Coyne's operation, and Sunday's podium finish came after several other strong races that could have resulted in a top-three finish.  "It feels great!," Servia exclaimed. "Many times this year we have been close. But the basic thing is that we have been working hard. It's proving that the team is capable of running stronger than they did and that I can do a good job for them. We still need a little more speed, but you need some extra 'zeroes' in the budget to find those tenths we don't have." National Speed Sport News (9/15/04)
Hot News Archives
2000 2001 2002 2003
2004200520062007
2008200920102011
2012201320142015

Search Hot News
Search Help