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09/22/05
Track News
Appeals court upholds Bridge collapse ruling Appeals court upholds Bridge collapse rulingThe state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld legal sanctions imposed by a judge on two plaintiffs who filed lawsuits following the 2000 collapse of a pedestrian walkway at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In one case, the appeals court ruled Superior Court Judge Erwin Spainhour correctly barred plaintiff Tammy Hepler and her lawyers from introducing certain evidence and contesting other evidence after they failed to meet deadlines for providing information and identifying expert witnesses. In another, the court affirmed Spainhour's dismissal of Robert Christopher Melton's lawsuit against the company that built the walkway after he lied about his tax returns. More than 100 people were injured, none fatally, when a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 29 in Concord collapsed as fans were leaving the track after a NASCAR all-star race on May 20, 2000. Investigators have said Tindall Corp., which built the bridge, used an improper additive to make the concrete filler at the bridge's center dry faster. The additive contained calcium chloride, which corroded the steel cables that held the structure together, leading to the collapse. NBC 17
09/22/05
cc
Champ Car stars ready for Vegas oval Champ Car stars ready for Vegas ovalChamp Car World Series drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Jimmy Vasser participated in a press conference this afternoon at the ESPN Zone in Las Vegas to kick off this weekend’s second annual Double Down In The Desert for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Champ Car World Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Bourdais and Vasser will be joined by 16 other drivers in the Hurricane Relief 400, scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, following the Las Vegas 350 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Bourdais, whose Newman/Haas McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth won last year’s Champ Car event at LVMS, also is the series’ points leader and is favored by Station Casinos oddsmaker Micah Roberts to win Saturday night.

“Last year’s race was definitely a big souvenir and a big race for Newman/Haas Racing,” said Bourdais. “There was a lot of tension and it was pretty exhausting.  But it was pretty fantastic.  We know that the other competitors and the other teams have been working really (hard) to elevate their games and I am sure they did.  Everyone is trying to get the quickest car because that is really what it is (all about) here. A lot of it is in the hands of the engineers. We will work together to bring this Newman/Hass car to the front.  That is really all I can ask for.”

Jimmy Vasser is one of three Champ Car drivers now residing in Las Vegas.
“I love Vegas,” Vasser said. “I’ve been here for nine years. This is our second race here and it would certainly be nice to win and show some of my friends that never make it out to the races what we do -- and get a trophy for the trophy case.  I think the fans are in for a good side-by-side race.  Champ Car racing is very good and the fans should stick around because we are going to put on a good show.”

As an added incentive to “stick around,” fans will be treated to a post-race fireworks show immediately following the Hurricane Relief 400.

Tickets for the NASCAR/Champ Car Double Down In The Desert may be purchased at the LVMS ticket office, by calling (702) 644-4444 or online at www.lvms.com. LVMS PR

09/22/05
nascar
Stewart supporting Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge Stewart supporting Geoff Bodine Bobsled ChallengeIf the names on the driver’s agreement are any indication, the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, slated for Lake Placid, N.Y. Jan. 5-9, may draw some of NASCAR’s biggest names, including Nextel Cup leader, Tony Stewart.

The event will be held at the Verizon Sports Complex, five miles from Lake Placid, and is a fundraiser to benefit ongoing efforts to improve sled technology currently being used by the United States Bobsled Teams.

The one-mile long, 20-curve Lake Placid course is recognized as one of the most demanding on the World Cup circuit. zzzz

After the recent commitment from NASCAR driver Boris Said, another six, including Stewart, have signed an agreement supporting the Lake Placid event.

Stewart, with 24 career wins including a streak of five victories in seven Cup races this summer, was second last week in Loudon, N.H. and is the current tour leader.

“This group has signed the agreement endorsing the event,” said Challenge founder and NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine. “We expect these drivers to participate if their schedules allow.”

Others supporting the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge by signing the agreement are Kyle Petty, who has eight career wins and more than 700 Cup starts; Ken Schrader, a four-time winner who has also sat on the pole at Daytona three times; Todd Bodine, Geoff’s brother, who has amassed 21 top 10 finishes; Steve Park, the 1997 Busch Series Rookie of the Year who has two career victories and Deborah Renshaw, a driver in the Craftsman Truck Series.

“It’s very important that the racing community join me in funding this on-going research and development program,” continued Geoff Bodine, who created the Bo-Dyn sled in 1992 in collaboration with Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics in Connecticut. Bodine has single-handedly funded the project in that time.

All tickets for the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge are general admission and go on sale October 1 at the Olympic Center Box Office in Lake Placid. Call 518-523-3330 between 8:30 am and 5 pm. You may also purchase tickets on-line at www.bodynbobsled.com.

Adult prices on Thursday and Friday, Jan 5-6, are $15 daily, $10 if purchased in advance. Juniors and seniors are $10 and $7, respectively. The adult price on Saturday, Jan. 7, is $25 ($20 in advance), while juniors and seniors are $15 ($10 in advance). Other ticket packages will be announced shortly.

The Verizon Sports Complex will host national team training in bobsled, luge and skeleton in October, World Cup bobsled and skeleton Nov. 17-20 and World Cup luge Dec. 16-17. The site also conducted the 2003 World Bobsled Championships and has been awarded the 2009 World Bobsled and Skeleton Championships, the final major event prior to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.

For more information on the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, please log on to www.bodynbobsled.com.

09/22/05
irl
Wheldon to be crowned champion Friday Wheldon to be crowned champion FridayBy a quirk in IRL rules, when Wheldon and his AGR Jim Beam Honda present themselves for the first Indy car practice Friday morning at Watkins Glen, the team will be awarded 12 points.  That will put Wheldon over the top and earn him the crown. That will give former CART Indy car champion driver Michael Andretti his second straight title as an IRL car owner.

"We had hoped to have it wrapped up before this, but it's great that we get the honor at a place with such a history as Watkins Glen," Andretti said.

09/22/05
ga
Grand-Am announces return to Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca Grand-Am announces return to Mid-Ohio and Laguna SecaTwo significant pieces of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand-Am Cup Series schedules were put in place today as Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson joined Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca CEO Gill Campbell and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course President Michelle Trueman-Gajoch to confirm race dates at both historic North American circuits for next season.

“Any time you have a schedule announcement that includes two of the premier road courses in America, as this one does, it's a win-win proposition for all involved,” Edmondson said.  “We were particularly gratified to be able to come to an agreement with Michelle Trueman-Gajoch on a new date at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a track where we have a fairly lengthy history. Likewise, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has been a mainstay of North American road racing for many, many years and host to high-level motorsports events.  It's well-known and is one of those tracks that you have to have on the schedule along with Mid-Ohio if you want to be a first-class road racing organization.” 

Following a successful first-time event in 2005, the Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup will return to the Monterey Peninsula and the picturesque Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the weekend of May 5-7, 2006. In addition to confirming the 2006 date, Edmondson and Campbell also announced a new, three-year agreement that will see Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup machines negotiating the Andretti hairpin, Wayne Rainey Curve and the famed “Corkscrew” turn through at least 2008.

“Moving forward over the next three years gives us an opportunity to build our event,” Campbell said. “We believe that 2005 created an excellent foundation.  More than 50 cars, more Prototypes than we've ever seen on this racetrack.  It was a phenomenal event. The next three years gives us a chance to enhance everything that we were able to do in 2005. Certainly as a promoter, it gives us opportunities to be able to secure long-term sponsorships and also to let our fans know that they can count on this date now for years to come.”

On the heels of its most successful Grand American weekend ever, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will see the Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup return to an earlier summer date next year after August dates in 2004 and 2005. The Grand American weekend at Mid-Ohio will be June 23-25 next year, with the Rolex Series event slated for Saturday, June 24 and the Grand-Am Cup race on Sunday, June 25. Mid-Ohio previously hosted June Rolex Series races in 2000, 2001 and 2003, as well as June Grand-Am Cup dates in 2001 and 2003.

09/22/05
ga
Pruett leads opening practice at The Glen Pruett leads opening practice at The GlenNo. 01 CompUSA/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-driver Scott Pruett has driven many miles at historic Watkins Glen International in his career.  One of his latest treks around the 3.4-mile course gave him the fastest lap of the first practice session for Saturday afternoon’s Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal 250 at The Glen, Round 12 of the 14-race 2005 schedule (SPEED Channel, live, Saturday, 3:00 p.m.).

After a late-session caution, Pruett conquered the upstate New York circuit in 1:46.100 (115.363 mph), edging Daytona Prototype points co-leader Max Angelelli’s 1:46.189 (115.266 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. Pruett’s familiarity with the Watkins Glen long course undoubtedly played a part in today’s results.  

The defending Daytona Prototype co-champion finished third overall with co-driver Luis Diaz in Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June and fourth in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen in August.  That same August weekend, Pruett placed fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen, a race where he started from the back of the pack.  In four career Rolex Series starts at The Glen, Pruett has never finished lower than fifth, claiming a victory in last year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

"It's a solid start to the weekend for us,” said Pruett. “The car unloaded fast, and we'll have the opportunity to change the car up a little bit more before qualifying. We're making adjustments to tone down the push we're experiencing, so we should be ready to go tomorrow morning. I'm pretty happy right now, we just have to keep it up and sustain this pace."

Angelelli’s success this season has been well-documented, and with the 36-point lead he shares with co-driver Wayne Taylor over Pruett and Diaz heading into this weekend, the No. 10 machine is looking for a Glen repeat.  The duo claimed victory in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen three races ago.

“I’m very happy with the car,” said Angelelli.  “We know we have a good car here at Watkins Glen, so we will just try to improve it. It’s actually very hard to improve it because the baseline is very good. As usual, the No. 01 is the car that looks like will challenge our speed more than the other. Our goal is still the same, to always be in front of the No. 01 and finish the race ahead of them.”

The No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley, which was virtually rebuilt after catching fire at Phoenix International Raceway last time out, took the third spot in the session with a 1:46.206 (115.248 mph) with Alex Gurney behind the wheel. Gurney and team owner and co-driver Bob Stallings recorded their career-best Rolex Series performances in August’s CompUSA 200 at The Glen with a second-place run.

The No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley recorded the fourth-quickest lap with a 1:46.477 (114.954 mph) by Nic Jonsson.  Jonsson and team co-owner and co-driver Tracy Krohn were victorious in Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June.  Butch Leitzinger recorded the fourth-fastest lap in the No. 66 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford he co-drives with Elliott Forbes-Robinson.  The duo has claimed two victories this season, first in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in July and again in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course two races ago.

TRG’S EDWARDS AND LALLY RUN AT THE GT CLASS FRONT

In the GT class, the No. 64 and No. 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.Rs completed a sweep, with Paul Edwards in the No. 64 machine first at 1:57.498 (104.172 mph) and Andy Lally second in the No. 65 at 1:57.651 (104.037 mph).  Bill Auberlen was third with a 1:57.652 (104.036 mph) in the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3.

Edwards and co-driver Jan Magnussen come into this weekend as the defending winners on two fronts.  The duo has claimed two class victories this season in just three starts together. Their first victory came in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen in August and the No. 64 teammates also triumphed in the Phoenix GT 250 at PIR one race ago.

“We had the opportunity to do some testing last week at VIR,” Edwards said.  “We really worked on getting the car handling through the fast sweepers and it seems to be paying off here at Watkins Glen.  The last time we were here we ran the short course, which is the only time that the GTO.R has run here.  Jan and I will be looking to repeat our win here last month.”

Rounding out the top five were Ian James in the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 with a 1:57.894 (103.822 mph) and Joey Hand in the No. 16 BMW Team PTG M3 at 1:58.284 (103.480 mph).  James is sharing the No. 22 machine with Chris Gleason this weekend while Hand and regular teammate Justin Marks pilot the No. 16 car.

The No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup, co-driven by class points leader Craig Stanton and David Murry, were eighth-fastest in the session with a 1:58.636 (103.173 mph).  Stanton’s lead over Hand is just 17 points with three races remaining on the schedule.

NOTE:  Milka Duno, driving the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford, made contact with the No. 05 Sigalsport Porsche GT3 Cup, which had spun and stopped in Turn 5 moments before.  The No. 2 machine experienced heavy damage to its front-left and the No. 05 car had substantial left-rear damage. While the status of the No. 2 machine is still uncertain, the Sigalsport team has withdrawn the No. 05 Porsche from the Crown Royal 250 and will field its No. 04 Porsche GT3 Cup for co-drivers Gene Sigal and Matthew Alhadeff.

09/22/05
SCCA
Rahal decimates SCCA field Rahal decimates SCCA fieldThursday Graham Rahal decimated the SCCA Formula Atlantic nationals track record at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when he won the pole for Friday's Formula Atlantic race at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Kohler.

The 16-year-old driver from New Albany, Ohio ran a sizzling lap of 1:16.600 (106.120 mph) around the 2.4-mile, 15-turn road course in his Rahal Letterman Racing Swift 014 No. 3 sponsored by The Bobby Rahal Automotive Group, Bosch, Renier Construction and Norwalk Furniture.

His closest rival, Dan Selznick, was almost a second and a half slower with a 1:18.098 that he ran on Tuesday.

Rahal's fastest lap was also more than two seconds faster than the previous fastest lap for the class here, which was a 1:18.772 set by Dan Cobb last year in another Swift.

"The car handled really well," Rahal said after Thursday's qualifying session.

"We came here with a good baseline set-up, and we haven't changed a single thing all week," he noted.  "We'll make some little changes before tomorrow's race, but they definitely won't be major things.

"Tomorrow we have to get a good start, maintain our speed, hopefully have a good margin over second place, and hope for no issues."

Tomorrow's winner-take-all 20-lap/40-minute Formula Atlantic championship race will be the finale for the day, getting the green flag at approximately 5:10 p.m.  It is scheduled to be broadcast on SPEED on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

09/22/05
nascar
DEI to appeal Waltrip penalty DEI to appeal Waltrip penaltyDale Earnhardt, Inc. is going to appeal the points and monetary fine placed against the No. 15 NAPA Parts Chevrolet from last week’s race at New Hampshire International Speedway.  Waltrip, driver of the No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet, was fined 25 driver points and $10,000 for allegedly using an “inappropriate gesture during a televised broadcast.”  Teresa Earnhardt, CEO and President of Dale Earnhardt, Inc, was also fined 25 owner points.  “In looking at the tape, we don’t see anywhere during the entire incident where Michael did what he is accused of doing,” said Richie Gilmore, Vice President of Motorsports for DEI.
09/22/05
f1
Brazil GP: Thursday Press Conference Brazil GP: Thursday Press ConferenceParticipating: Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari), Felipe Massa (Sauber), Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren), Antonio Pizzonia (Williams-BMW), Tiago Monteiro (Jordan). Transcript
09/22/05
Track News
2006 Laguna Seca schedule 2006 Laguna Seca scheduleThe 50th season of motorsports at the world-renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will include two World Championship events, North America’s two premier professional sports car series, and the 33rd running of North America’s most prestigious historic automobile race in a schedule announced today by Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The historic season will begin March 17-19 with the debut of a brand new open-wheel series, the A1 Grand Prix. Pitting driver against driver and country against country for the first time in motorsports history, this “winter” series will bring together 25 national teams representing 80 percent of the world's population to actively compete on a level playing field. The stop at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is round 11 of 12 on the inaugural A1GP schedule and the only such event held in the United States. This event is pending a completion of an agreement between the two parties.

The U.S. Sports Car Invitational May 5-7 is headlined by the Daytona Prototypes and GT cars of the rapidly-growing Grand American Road Racing Association's Rolex Sports Car Series. The Daytona Prototypes and GT cars will do battle in a 250-mile race (with a two-hour, 30-minute time limit) on Sunday, May 7.  The Rolex Sports Car Series will be joined by the Grand-Am Cup for high-performance sports cars along with additional support races to be announced soon.

The 2006 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix July 21-23 is one of the most anticipated events in motorsports after the 2005 event drew a record weekend attendance of 153,653. American Nicky Hayden will defend his 2005 win against Valentino Rossi, Colin Edwards and the rest of the MotoGP World Championship field, who will no longer be strangers to the challenging 11-turn, 2.238-mile racetrack. The MotoGP World Championship will be joined by the most competitive national Superbike series in the world, the American Motorcyclist Association's (AMA) Superbike Championship.

On August 18-20, the Monterey Peninsula takes a step back in time with the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Next year’s event celebrates the storied history of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with historic IMSA, Can-Am and Trans-Am race groups, along with a featured marque of Cooper.

The 50th season of racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca concludes with the world’s most exotic racing sports cars. The Monterey Sports Car Championships October 20-22 provides a dramatic conclusion to the 2006 season with a Saturday afternoon-into-evening four-hour race featuring the season finale for the prestigious American Le Mans Series.  The series features Le Mans prototypes and GT cars, many of which compete and win in the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.  The weekend schedule will include IMSA’s Porsche GT3 series and the Star Mazda series.

"This is one of the most complete schedules of events ever held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and a wonderful schedule to celebrate our 50th season of racing," said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  "With new events like the A1GP race, plus two prestigious sports car races, the Rolex Monterey Historic weekend and the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, our schedule captures the traditions of this race track and the future of motorsports all at once.”

Tickets for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix are available now. Tickets for the remaining events will go on sale January 9 by calling (800) 327-SECA during normal business hours or logging onto www.laguna-seca.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

2006 Schedule of Events
March 17-19
A1Grand Prix of Nations – TO BE CONFIRMED
(www.a1gp.com)

May 5-7
U.S. Sports Car Invitational
Featuring the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series
(www.grandamerican.com)

July 21-23 
Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix
Featuring the MotoGP World Championship and AMA Superbike Championship
(www.motogp.com, www.amasuperbike.com)

August 18-20
Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races
Featured Marque:  Cooper
(www.montereyhistoric.com)

October 20-22
Monterey Sports Car Championships
Featuring the American Le Mans Series
(www.americanlemans.com)

09/22/05
irl
7-11 Japan wants 100% ownership 7-11 Japan wants 100% ownershipUPDATE A special committee of the board of convenience store operator 7-Eleven Inc. on Thursday recommended that shareholders reject a $1 billion buyout offer from Japan's Seven & I Holdings Co. Ltd.  7-Eleven said in a statement the committee had determined that the $32.50 a share offer was "not in the best interests of the shareholders of 7-Eleven."

The special committee has now instructed its financial and legal advisers to contact Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd., a unit of Seven & I, to start talks about increasing the offer price, 7-Eleven Inc. said.  "These discussions have commenced; however, there can be no assurance as to when or if such discussions will result in an increase in the tender offer price by Seven-Eleven Japan," 7-Eleven Inc said. CNN

09/02/05 Seven-Eleven Japan (SVELY) said Thursday that it will launch a $1.2 billion cash tender offer for the 27.3% stake it doesn't already own in its U.S. affiliate 7-Eleven (SE), in a move that would take the world's largest convenience store chain private.  Seven-Eleven Japan — Japan's largest convenience store operator with more than 10,000 locations — is 51% owned by Japanese retailer and Denny's franchisee Ito-Yokado.  Makes you wonder if Honda had any influence in Tony Kanaan's sponsorship now that we see that the Japanese control 7-11. 
09/22/05
alms
Panoz hopes to recapture glory in Petit LeMans Panoz hopes to recapture glory in Petit LeMansRobin Liddell has tasted his share of victories in the American Le Mans Series. But his most recent at April’s Grand Prix of Atlanta holds the most significance. For that’s the day the Scot and Bill Auberlen teamed to give Panoz Motor Sports a GT2 victory in the No. 50 Panoz Esperante GTLM.

It was an historic occasion on several fronts. One, it was the first GT2 win for the Esperante and Panoz, which had posted previous victories in LMP1. Second, it was only the Panoz team’s second ALMS victory at Road Atlanta, the squad’s home track. Third, it marked only the 11th time in 58 ALMS events that a car other than a Porsche took top class honors.

“In terms of the way we won the race, it was a real fight for much of the race and I had to take a lot of pressure from Timo in the Alex Job car, although people forget that I had in fact passed Timo to get in the lead earlier on after the first pit stop. I was determined to win the race, and although he had stopped and taken on fresh tires we had opted to stay on my old Pirellis and the tires held out to the end giving me the grip and consistency I needed to win the race.”

Since then, Porsche has returned to its ways, sweeping each podium heading into Petit Le Mans, Round 9 of the ALMS. The annual 1,000-mile/10-hour race marks the return of the series to Road Atlanta with Panoz hoping to right its ship in one of the biggest races in the world of sports car racing. zzzz

Since that fateful day in April, Panoz has struggled, posting two fourth-place class finishes, the most recent at Portland at the end of July. The other Esperante, the No. 51 of Bryan Sellers and Marino Franchitti, looked as if it had hit on something in Mosport testing. Once raceday came, though, the car fell back and battled a lot of the same gremlins that have plagued it so far this year.

“A lot of what we had was a security level. We had the ability to spend a test day tuning the car and getting used to the track rather than three hours on a race weekend,” Sellers said. “Test times are invaluable. You can never do enough. We’re going against some guys who have been to these tracks every year, but it’s a new experience for us.”

The Panoz team will test at Road Atlanta on Friday, as number of other ALMS teams will do in pre-event testing, to see how the cars react to new motor and suspension packages. The two Esperantes took a good number of laps at Road Atlanta during the offseason, but this session likely will be a bit different, given the car has some miles on it and this is a 10-hour enduro.

“The car is fundamentally unchanged since the beginning of the season. We have been able to nibble away at some aero bits and pieces but we have not really seen any big gains since the win in Atlanta,” Liddell said. “The team has done a fantastic job in terms of preparing the car to a high standard and it has not been easy for them, especially with the grueling schedule of the ALMS and Le Mans.”

Auberlen said the approach is much different than for a regular 2:45 race in the ALMS. The team likely will tear the cars down completely and replace any part that they feel might even slightly hamper reliability. That’s all in an effort to give the drivers a car they can push moderately hard, yet keep things together for 10 hours or 1,000 miles.

“In a long race, you have to keep it in one perfect piece,” Auberlen said. “It’s relentless what the team goes through to keep the car competitive, and that’s what it takes. They really are doing a great job, and we appreciate it.”

The spring race, especially the last 30 minutes, was a thing of beauty to behold. There was Panoz, going for its maiden GT2 win at its home track with Liddell at the wheel. Hot on his heels was defending class champion Timo Bernhard in the Alex Job Racing Porsche, one of the most successful combinations in ALMS history.

In the waning minutes, after several laps of bumper-to-bumper racing, Bernhard bumped Liddell from behind in Turn 7, sending the Scot into a spin and off-track. A subsequent stop-and-go penalty gave the lead back to Liddell, who enjoyed a comfortable margin of victory.

“To be such a small company like Panoz and beat such a big competitor like Porsche, it’s something all those guys can smile about,” Auberlen said. “What Porsche did is come at us right away, and it has taken time for us to catch up. But if I didn't think this team had a chance, I wouldn't be here. I know all the guys on the team are great. Once it gels, it's going to come together and be tough to deal with.”

The ninth round of the American Le Mans Series is the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans, scheduled for 11:20 a.m. EDT Oct. 1 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. SPEED Channel will provide live television coverage. Qualifying is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 30. American Le Mans Series Radio, and IMSA Living and Timing Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.
09/22/05
Track News
New Milwaukee promoter approved New Milwaukee promoter approvedThe State Building Commission gave final approval Wednesday to an investor group that will manage the Milwaukee Mile racetrack in West Allis.

The commission, meeting in Madison, also approved the group's acquisition of 9.3 acres of state-owned land along W. Greenfield Ave. The group, Milwaukee Mile Marketing LLC, plans to develop a hotel and retail entertainment complex adjacent to the track.

In a statement, Craig Stoehr, chairman and CEO of the group, said he was honored that the commission endorsed the plan. "This is great news for racing fans, for the State Fair Park, and for everyone who cares about positive economic development in West Allis and the metro Milwaukee area," Stoehr said.

He said his group hoped to assume management of the track by no later than the end of the year.

Stoehr said he hoped to announce the name of a co-developer of the hotel site next week. And in the weeks ahead, he hopes to announce new investors in Milwaukee Mile Marketing LLC.

Since 1999, State Fair Park has lost $7.3 million, largely because of financial problems at the racetrack. Milwaukee Mile Marketing plans to lease the track for at least 18 years.

Stoehr is a founder and managing partner of Badger Pacific Equity Partners, a real-estate investment company based in northern California. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

09/22/05
nascar
Waltrip extends Olive branch Waltrip extends Olive branchRobby Gordon said Michael Waltrip called him on Tuesday and apologized and even offered up a car from Michael Waltrip Motorsports if Gordon needs it, as Gordon said he is down on Intermediate Track cars, but Gordon expects his team to have one ready for Kansas in a few weeks. Speed Channel's new show, Back Seat Drivers
09/22/05
nascar
Lepage to drive the No. 66 at Dover Lepage to drive the No. 66 at DoverPeak Performance Motorsports owner Jeff Stec announced today that NASCAR veteran Kevin Lepage will take over the driving duties for the #66 EAS Ford at Dover this weekend. Lepage opened the season with a stellar run in the Daytona 500.  After qualifying ninth, Lepage battled all day and picked up an impressive eight-place finish. He has made 14 starts in the Nextel Cup Series this season. "This is a great opportunity for me, and as a racer, it's my goal to be on the track racing every opportunity I get," said Lepage. "I want to thank Jeff and his crew for working with me. I'm hopeful we can put together a solid race this weekend. I've had some success at Dover and I believe my experiences in the past will be helpful to the team." PSE-3 / Peak Performance Motorsports
09/22/05
nascar
Race No. 100 for Mears Race No. 100 for MearsCasey Mears will be making his 100th start in the NEXTEL Cup Series this weekend at Dover International Speedway in the #41 Target Dodge. "I can't believe I'm making my 100th start in the Cup Series," said Mears. "When I had the opportunity to run in the Busch Series four years ago, I thought it might be temporary. I really believed I would be back in an open wheel series. Today, I can't imagine racing in any other series but NASCAR. In 99 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts, Mears has accumulated two poles, two top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. The highlight of his stock car career came at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he captured the pole at a record-setting speed last season. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
09/22/05
nascar
Biffle crashes again at Lowe’s Biffle crashes again at Lowe’sUPDATE Greg Biffle’s championship chances may have taken a severe blow after crashing in successive days during testing at Lowes Motor Speedway. Tuesday night a right front tire cut down on his National Guard Ford sending him crashing into the wall between turns one and two. The tire had run 35 laps. Wednesday afternoon Biffle got loose going in the same turn and backed into the wall. As for the first crash Biffle said “It’s unfortunate…it was my best racecar I had in the fleet…the fastest racecar I’ve had ever. Data showed a 170 mile per hour impact. It was a pretty tough hit…hardest hit I’ve had in a long time.” As for crash number two…”It was a brand new car but it’s not something we were depending on. It’s tough to come here and lose two cars because someone is not using their brain. They made changes to the race track and who knows what determination was made…was it suppose to be the same grinding as it was before? If that was what they were told then there’s no reason for alarm, but that’s obviously not what happened. Maybe it’ll be okay whenever all the cars are here running we’ll have to wait and see.” Biffle’s shoulders, left arm, and neck are all sore. The car that wrecked Tuesday was virtually destroyed and was slated for Charlotte, Kansas, Texas and Homestead. Biffle said it will take a lot of work however it does look fixable in time for Kansas. PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show 09/21/05 In testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Humpy Wheeler's new improved surface led to Greg Biffle crashing for a 2nd time in two days. Biffle also crashed Tuesday, wrecking his best car.
09/22/05
nascar
Biffle and Stewart wreck again Biffle and Stewart wreck againNEXTEL Cup Series point leader Tony Stewart and championship contender Greg Biffle each crashed for the second time in less than 30 hours Wednesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway as five teams made final preparations for the Oct. 15 UAW-GM Quality 500. Neither Stewart nor Biffle were injured and both were able to drive their heavily damaged cars back to the garage area. Bouncing back from his hard crash Tuesday afternoon, Stewart was consistently quick throughout the testing session and recorded the fastest lap of the evening just moments before a cut right-front tire sent the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet into the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier. "I had just run a 28.88," Stewart said. "I'm thinking 'this is pretty good,' and then I get to Turn 3 and I'm thinking 'this isn't good.'" Stewart's lap of 28.887 seconds, 186.935 mph, was the fastest of the two-day session but Stewart was still befuddled by the track's levigated surface.

"It's better, but I only ran three laps yesterday so I'm not really able to make a comparison," he said. "All the rubber that's being put down is helping. But what scares me is that all the rubber is being put down in one groove, and I'm not sure we are going to be able to pass."

Biffle's day ended extremely early as he crashed hard in Turn 2 less than an hour after the green flag was unfurled. Out of race cars, the #16 Roush Racing team loaded up and headed home [10 minutes from the track]. Opting to only test on Wednesday, Kyle Busch said track conditions were improving as the session progressed. "It's getting better the more people run on it. I started off today really, really tight which is probably a good thing," Busch said about his #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. "The set-up we have for this place is dynamite. I'd like to be a little bit better but everybody always says that. I would like to be beating everybody by about two-tenths and that's what we're working toward." Busch was second fastest on the unofficial stopwatches at 185.452 mph while older brother Kurt was next at 184.237 mph in the #97 Roush Racing Ford. Scott Wimmer was clocked at 183.511 mph in the #22 Bill Davis Racing Dodge and Biffle posted a lap at 182.414 before his accident.

Tickets for all events during UAW-GM Quality 500 weekend, including round five of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
The unofficial speeds:
1. #20-Tony Stewart, 186.935;
2. #5-Kyle Busch, 185.452;
3. #97-Kurt Busch, 184.237;
4. #22-Scott Wimmer, 183.511
5. #16-Greg Biffle, 182.414. LMS PR

09/22/05
f1
A lap around Interlagos with Juan Pablo Montoya A lap around Interlagos with Juan Pablo MontoyaJuan Pablo Montoya’s late race exit in Belgium will not help his chances this weekend at Interlagos, home of the Brazilian Grand Prix. The incident with Pizzonia will mean that the Colombian racer will be amongst the early runners for the all-important qualifying session. But the 2004 winner will still be pushing hard for McLaren Mercedes as they chase down Renault in the constructors' championship. What follows in Montoya's lap of the 4.309km circuit.

"Powering along the uphill start-finish straight at Interlagos, you reach some 296km/h in seventh gear, before braking hard as the track gradient drops sharply on the entrance to the Descida do Sol.

Your speed drops to 88km/h in second gear as you negotiate the tight left, which provides the best opportunity for overtaking. A flowing right-left sequence follows immediately, you push slightly on the throttle to increase your speed slightly through the right of the Senna 'S', which is taken at 148km/h in third gear, as is where the pit exit feeds back onto the track.

The left of Curva do Sol that follows, is a long bend, which is usually quite bumpy, but is taken flat out, at 201km/h. It is important to increase your speed and take a good line through the corner as it swings you onto the long Reta Oposta straight.
 
Pushing hard on the throttle, you reach 290km/h in seventh gear, braking hard for the double apex of Descida do Lago, which is negotiated at 143km/h in third gear. The entrance to the first tight left provides another good overtaking opportunity.

Exiting the second apex, which is very bumpy and should again be taken flat out to ensure you have speed on the exit, you blast along the short straight that leads to Ferra dura. You brake from 275km/h in fifth gear to 185km/h in fourth to negotiate the difficult and slippery right hander which is off camber in the exit.

Another short burst of power leads to a slow, tight right hander, which is taken in first gear, and is immediately followed by the second gear 88km/h left hand of Pinheirinho. Exiting in third gear, your speed builds up to about 160km/h before braking hard for the Bico de Pato hairpin, the slowest point on the track, which is taken in first gear at 74km/h.

The bumpy left hander of Mergulho follows, which can be taken flat out in qualifying at 201km/h in fourth, before braking hard for the important left hander of Juncão, which is taken in second gear at 80km/h.

This leads you uphill through the long left hander of Subida do Boxes, which takes you back onto the long start-finish straight." McLaren Mercedes

09/22/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Lauda praise for '05 champ
Bernie hits out at A1
Indy confirms 2006 F1 race
Sato 'not surprised'
China to host F1 conference
Montoya's no 'killer'
Symonds covets teams' trophy
Late Renault V8 is 'shrewd'
Ralf reckons on rainy race
Flavio's 'no party' policy
Briscoe vows to race again
Lauda queries Red Bull move
09/22/05
Track News
Las Vegas looking to buy land Las Vegas looking to buy landManagement of the 1,200-acre Las Vegas Motor Speedway is attempting to buy an adjacent 115-acre sand and gravel pit from the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Land Management for use as parking.  The track only has parking for 25,000 cars yet draws over 150,000 people for its Nextel Cup race.
09/22/05
cc
Newman/Haas 2 for 3 in Vegas Newman/Haas 2 for 3 in VegasIn three open-wheel races held in Las Vegas, Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) has won two with their hardest fight taking place last season on the 1.5 superspeedway at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  The team’s toughest competition came from within as McDonald’s® driver Sebastien Bourdais and PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira ran wheel to wheel for the final 20 laps at speeds of 200 mph with a margin no larger than 0.1-seconds between them.  Bourdais took the checkered flag a mere .066-seconds ahead of Junqueira in what was one of the fiercest battles in recent Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford history. 

Prior to their long awaited return to Las Vegas in 2004, the series raced on a temporary track around Caesar’s Palace in 1983 and 1984 and NHR driver Mario Andretti finished first and second respectively in those events.  Champ Car’s most recent winner, Oriol Servia, is looking forward to the 166-lap Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400 for many reasons.

09/22/05
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for Friday
FORMULA ONE - Practice
Grand Prix of Brazil
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES - Qualifying
Dover 200
2:00 p.m.-3:30p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP - Qualifying
MBNA RacePoints 400
Dover, DE
3:30p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION
Busch North Series
Dover, DE
4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET (Live) HDNet
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'NASCAR Live!'
Dover, DE
5:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (Live) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'Trackside'
Dover, DE
7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. (Live) SPEED

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

09/21/05
f1
Berger calls Montoya just a No. 2 Berger calls Montoya just a No. 2UPDATE A reader writes, Having followed F-1 fairly closely for about 30 years now, it is always good to see some things do remain constant. In this case, it is Gerhard Berger once again spouting off without thinking, or perhaps he is using his mind to its full capacity and this is the best he can manage. Either way, his idiotic statements have always been good for a bit of entertainment, though I'm not sure why anyone bothers to report them at this point in time. But since you did, Berger calling Montoya an "eternal number two" driver is most certainly a case of "It takes one to know one". Berger career stats: 210 starts, 10 wins; he won 4.7% of his starts. Montoya stats thus far in his career: 82 starts, 6 wins, which is 7.3% of his starts. So if Montoya is a "number two", Berger can only be considered something less than that. The numbers don't lie Gerhard. It's sad to hear retired drivers who seem to remember themselves as being better than they really were. Robert Kachel, Ceres, CA

09/21/05 Former grand prix star Gerhard Berger reckons Juan Pablo Montoya lacks the killer instinct that makes his McLaren team-mate Kimi Raikkonen stand out from the crowd. “Raikkonen is really good; he’s a killer,” Berger told Italian magazine Autosprint.

“That’s what he’s like. Montoya, in my opinion, isn’t. I don’t mean to say he isn’t fast – on the contrary,” said Berger. But he makes mistakes, he doesn’t make the most of his chances. He will never be a number one, he will be an eternal number two. He is not a killer.”

The eagerly anticipated rivalry between Raikkonen and Montoya at McLaren hasn’t really materialized this year as the Finn has had the upper hand on most occasions.

09/21/05
USAC
USAC tests new Speedway car in Kansas USAC tests new Speedway car in KansasUSAC and Riley Technologies utilized two new generation Silver Crown cars and three drivers in a Hoosier Tire test Tuesday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., further finding success with the machines in addition to closing in on a final compound for the 2006 season.

Primary test drivers Jason McCord of Anderson, Ind. and Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif. logged more than 150 laps on the Silver Crown car’s first unofficial visit to the 1.5-mile superspeedway.

Drake, who has tested Riley’s prototype earlier this year at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, circled the most laps (120) of the three drivers. The defending USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series champion was assigned again to the prototype, which was brought specifically for tire testing.

Facing track temperatures in excess of 125 degrees, USAC and Hoosier Tire officials used several separate and distinctive compounds, and are expected soon to announce their choice of tire for next season.

Drake and other officials also used the test to hone in on setups, making chassis and other component changes throughout the day. With those opportunities, Drake was content with the experience, and remained positive with the car’s direction.

“I think we made big gains certainly from the last time we tested, as well as from the beginning of the day until the end of the day,” Drake said. “I feel the car is getting closer to being a good racecar for that package.

“I’d certainly like to test this car again, and I’m really looking forward to the day when I can race it, especially at Kansas.”  zzzz

McCord, whose testing duties have extended to last fall’s initial tests at Kentucky Speedway, made appearances Tuesday in both the prototype and Riley’s second machine, released last month at Indianapolis Raceway Park. He piloted 39 total laps (29 in the second car), specifically for additional input and a shakedown of the newer car, which made its first on-track laps.

The test, more than anything, McCord said, gave him the ability to register laps at Kansas, a track at which he had never recorded laps. He looks forward to running there again soon.

“This place is awesome,” McCord said. “It’s going to be fun and exciting in these new cars. It’s fast, but the cars are very stable. Each lap we’re getting better and better.”

McCord and Drake were joined by Chilean Pablo Donoso, who was on hand to witness the tests and garner laps. In his first season with Star Mazda, Donoso is sixth in points with three podium finishes – including a victory at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. – and three poles. He earlier this season made his first oval start at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. Tuesday’s test was only Donoso’s second time on an oval.

The 20-year-old hailing from Santiago, Chile is exploring options for his career, and could go Silver Crown pavement racing as early as 2006. While there are no confirmed deals, Donoso was happy simply with track time. He logged 19 laps in Riley’s second car, the first open-wheel, front engine car he’s driven.

“These cars are very different to what I am used to, but I enjoyed my time on the track today and can’t wait to get back in one,” Donoso said. “The formula cars I am used to have a lot of downforce, but these don’t. But I’m willing to learn and look forward to driving these cars.”

The test for the Silver Crown cars was the first since March at Homestead, when McCord and Drake shared track time in the prototype. Lap times were comparable, as drivers topped the charts Tuesday in the low 33-second range. Lap speeds reached as high as 163 mph.

USAC Associate Director of Competition Owen Snyder III said Tuesday’s test was one of the most productive of the car’s testing opportunities.

“It was a good test because it took place in adverse conditions with high track temperatures, and the tires held up well,” Snyder said. “We learned a lot about what it’ll take to run at Kansas. Hoosier Tire gave us several options, each with different handling characteristics. We’re starting to hone in on consistent race tires.”

Additional news about USAC’s future at Kansas Speedway, as well as the decision on tire compounds, are expected to be released soon. USAC

09/21/05
cc
Track News
Forsythe, others exploring options in Qatar Forsythe, others exploring options in QatarFinding huge potential for Qatar to be a hub for motorsport tourism, the UK-based Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) will seek to create partnerships with the local engineering companies to make Motor-GP, karting and Drag Racing a big success in this region.

The MIA has brought with it a trade mission comprising 16 UK and US companies hoping to establish partnerships with the local companies, some of which have already shown keen interest. The mission will be here till September 22.

The companies in the mission include Fairport Construction Equipment, Forsythe Racing, Human Science and Engineering, Trakbak Racing, MAHLE Powertrain, KHP Consulting, Thompson Heath and Bond, Power Racing Promotions, SPA Design, Stuart Banks Engineering and TD Travel Group.

“The purpose of our visit is to help the (UK and US) companies meet local business to create partnerships in motorsports industry,” MIA chief executive officer and mission leader Chris Aylett told Gulf Times in an interview.

“We want partnerships with Qatari companies to make motorsporting a success here and technology transfer offers huge business,” he said.

The UK motorsport firms are based in ‘Motorsport Valley’, having specialist research, design, engineering and production facilities. About 3,000 companies are involved in the UK motorsport manufacturing and wide-ranging support activities.

The total value of the UK motorsport sector is valued at $10bn, of which nearly 60% is from exports.

Aylett said Qatar, which has a nascent market, offers huge opportunities for motorsporting since the country was abundant on natural gas, offering environmentally clean racing.  When asked would MIA be showcasing the 3.3-mile Losail International Circuit close to Doha, built at a cost of $75mn, in other parts of world, he said it has already been there in their agenda. [Track diagram by eTracksOnline.co.uk]

The mission will partly focus on commercial exploitation of the motorsport venue in the future, offering these businesses an opportunity to meet and network with key motorsports players. More at Gulf Times

09/21/05
Grand Prix Masters
Q and A with Rene Arnoux Q and A with Rene ArnouxAfter a long and successful career in Formula One during the 70s and 80s (149 GP starts, 7 wins and 18 pole positions), Rene Arnoux is preparing for a new challenge: the Grand Prix Masters World Series.

Now 58 years old, Arnoux will compete against some of the greatest names that have made Formula One history: Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi and many others. [Pictured at right in his Ferrari in 1983 at Monaco.  Photo Rainer W. Schlegelmilch]

Driven by a desire to reignite the best of high performance racing, the Grand Prix Masters World Series will recapture the passion and spectacle, the thrill and excitement that ‘pure speed’ has always given millions of fans. Set in some of the most exotic locations around the world this is one series that is going to get serious!

What attracted you to the Grand Prix Masters series?
“Racing drivers are a strange breed – we are born with the desire to drive quickly and just need an opportunity to get in a car and go. I had 11 great years driving the quickest cars in the world when I was in F1, but now I’m in my 50s and my F1 days are well and truly over! Grand Prix Masters, however, is the perfect opportunity for me to drive very fast cars and have a lot of fun. For Rene Arnoux it is definitely comeback time!”  zzzz

Your first F1 race in 1978 was at Kyalami – the same venue for the inaugural Altech Grand Prix Masters South Africa event on 10th November. Are you looking forward to going back there again?
“I cannot wait actually. As long as my first Grand Prix Masters race turns out better than my first F1 race at Kyalami! I was driving for the Martini team in 1978 and we had so many problems in practice that I didn’t even make it to the start of the Grand Prix. It wasn’t all bad news in South Africa, though, because one of my first F1 victories also took place there when I moved to Renault, so it would be good to have some of that good fortune this next time around.”

The Grand Prix Masters driver line-up is nothing short of legendary. How do you think it will be racing against your former rivals again?
“First and foremost it will be fun. Just seeing names like Alan Jones, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Nigel Mansell on the grid gets me excited, so to be racing against them again will be like nothing else in motorsport! There will be so many different styles and attitudes going into that first race but I will just try and soak up the atmosphere and enjoy it. I know already that a Grand Prix Masters race weekend will be nothing like the pressurized world of F1. Sure come the green light we will all be in it to win but there is no real pressure on any of us, so hopefully we can entertain and enjoy it at the same time.”

How important do you think it is too provide entertainment to race fans?
“I think that is where Grand Prix Masters will be very different to other forms of motorsport. When I was racing a F1 car in the ’70s and ’80s, for example, it was already very professional but it was completely different to F1 now. Today it is totally dominated by major car manufacturers and without the support of one of them you don’t stand a chance. They are in it for commercial reasons and that puts huge pressure on the drivers and teams. In my mind a modern F1 driver’s role is not as much a pleasure as an occupation. Just listen to a drivers’ press conference where all they do is thank their suppliers, sponsors and so on. It is really boring for the fans and I think we’ll be will be able to offer people more entertainment in the way the drivers act, talk and get on. Or don’t get on as the case might be with some! I was at the Goodwood Revival race meeting recently and so many people were coming up to me and talking about Grand Prix Masters and telling me how they had such good memories of my era in F1. If we can get some of that back then we will succeed.”

The Grand Prix Masters cars are all equal and engineered to be very quick. What are your expectations of them as race cars?
“I’ve been to the factory for a seat-fitting already and the car looks really good. It will be very strong and I expect them to be built very well. I think they might even have too much power considering the age of the drivers! But overall they have got the concept just right. The performance will be the same for every car and taking into account the driver’s weight before the race starts means we will all have the same equipment, the same performance. At the end of the day it will be down to driving talent and fitness, which is how it should be.

“Compared to a modern F1 car they obviously won’t be as quick but then they don’t have all the technology of a modern F1 car either. I was lucky to drive Michael Schumacher’s championship-winning Ferrari on a couple of occasions and the way F1 cars have evolved is just incredible. The only thing you have to do is steer, accelerate and brake, the rest is down to the computers. The performance is unbelievable but in a Grand Prix Masters car there will be margin for error and the potential for costly mistakes is considerable!”

How do you think that first race in Kyalami will go?
“The track has changed a lot since I last raced there, I believe, so it is hard to know what to expect in terms of the race itself. What I do remember though about the race in South Africa were the incredible crowds. They were absolutely massive when F1 came to town and there was always a great colorful atmosphere. I gather they have already sold a lot of tickets for the inaugural race on 10th November and so I’m looking forward to putting on an excellent show alongside the greatest names in Grand Prix racing.” Source Grand Prix Masters

09/21/05
Track News
SCCA
Mid-Ohio ready for SCCA Run-Offs Mid-Ohio ready for SCCA Run-OffsReturning to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, this week for the 12th straight year is the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® presented by Kohler, September 19-25. Nearly 750 of America's best amateur racers will converge on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn course for what Car and Driver magazine called one of the "Top 10 events in motorsports".

Widely known as the Olympics of motorsports, the Runoffs® is the biggest amateur racing event in North America. The weeklong event features competition in 23 classes, with one driver in each class earning the title national champion.

While racing for a national championship is a one-shot deal, gaining an invitation to this prestigious event is not. Each of the eight Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Divisions hosts a minimum of six National events in which drivers compete for points to gain an invitation to the Runoffs®. While each contender is able to compete in as many national events as possible, only the points from each competitor's top six finishes count.

"Everybody understands that winning the Runoffs® is a huge deal, so that's what I'm trying to do," said first-time competitor Graham Rahal, son of Motorsports Hall of Famer Bobby Rahal. "Dad won it and there is a long line of history there."

Rahal is projected to win the Formula Atlantic class title. He understands that with the level of competition at the Runoffs®, no victory is guaranteed.

"It's nice to be picked to win, but it's one of those things where you have to go in hoping to win but not thinking you're going to, because then something will happen and you won't," he said. "That's just the way it works."

The importance of the event is not lost on 12-time national champion Duane Davis, from Camas, WA.

"My focus all year is on the Runoffs®," said Davis. "This is what racing is all about. It's the best of the best competing for a national championship."

Davis looks forward to racing at Mid-Ohio again and extending his win total at one of his favorite tracks.

"I love this track," said Davis. "It's a very technical track that favors the good drivers, and a championship should be about the good drivers."

While the talents of amateur road racing's greatest drivers are enough to make the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® presented by Kohler an unprecedented display of motorsports, the wide variety of automobiles present during the weeklong event sets the event apart from any other race weekend. The 23 different classes that will be racing range from single-seat, open-wheel race cars to showroom stock Hondas nearly straight off of the dealership floor.

Though the Runoffs® is technically an amateur event, it has proved to be a breeding ground for future road racing superstars. Past winners include Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Scott Sharp and Elliot Forbes-Robinson, who went on to stellar professional driving careers. Others, like Paul Newman, Skip Barber and Roger Penske, have gone on to demonstrate greatness both on and off the track.

The SCCA National Championship Runoffs® presented by Kohler kicks off with practice sessions for each of the 23 classes on Monday, September 19th. Tuesday through Thursday will consist of qualifying for the weekend's main events. The first of 23 National Champions will be crowned Friday morning, when Tom Feller of Clarkston, Mich., attempts to defend his H Production title. From that point through Sunday afternoon, the facilities at Mid-Ohio will be bustling with eight championship races on Friday and Saturday, and seven on Sunday.

For tickets or more information on the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® presented by Kohler, contact Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at 1-800-MID-OHIO or www.midohio.com.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a 2.258-mile, 13-turn permanent road racing circuit in Lexington, Ohio. Located 60 miles north of Columbus and 75 miles south of Cleveland near Mansfield, the track has been called the most competitive in the U.S. and annually hosts a diversity of locally, regionally and nationally sanctioned racing events for amateur, club and professional riders and drivers.

Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, TrueSports, Inc., is a privately held motorsports entertainment enterprise. The company owns and operates Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School, and promotes a wide variety of motor racing, driver instruction, corporate, and family entertainment events throughout the year. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

09/21/05
NHRA
Hurricane forces NHRA to postpone Hurricane forces NHRA to postponeThe NHRA announced, today, that it has postponed the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals, presented by Castrol Syntec due to the projected path of Hurricane Rita as issued by the National Weather Service. The race has been rescheduled for Oct. 6-9, the weekend following the NHRA POWERade Series visit to Chicago for the Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

"On the heels of Hurricane Katrina, and the devastation caused by that system, NHRA feels it necessary to be extra cautious given the forecasted path for Hurricane Rita," said Tom Compton, president, NHRA.

"We feel it is best to reschedule the event for our fans, the racing community and our sponsors. At this time, it is important we stay out of harm's way and allow those that might be affected by Hurricane Rita to take care of more important issues at hand."

Although the path of a hurricane is unpredictable, NHRA and Texas Motorplex officials have been in contact with local emergency representatives regarding the likelihood of Hurricane Rita's path moving through the Ennis, Texas area and the possible components associated with a system of this magnitude, including heavy rain and high wind.

With this weekend's postponement, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will take place, in its entirety, the weekend of Oct. 6-9, and the schedule of events will remain the same.

All tickets purchased for this weekend will be honored for the rescheduled event October 6-9.

09/21/05
NASCAR
ChampCar
IRL
f1
SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver RankingUpdated 9-21-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 10.290
2. (2) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 10.241
3. (3) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 8.586
4. (4) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 8.317
5. (7) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.824
6. (5) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.783
7. (9) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 7.300
8. (10) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 7.246
9. (8) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 7.244
10. (13) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.976
11. (22) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.864
12. (12) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 6.648
13. (14) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 6.593
14. (11) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.492
15. (21) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 6.397
16. (24) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.380
17. (15) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 6.279
18. (17) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.236
19. (19) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.130
20. (20) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.080
Dropped out: Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Kyle Busch (NASCAR), Kurt Busch (NASACR)
Last week’s ranking in parenthesis
Provided by STATS Inc.
09/21/05
f1
Q and A with Joie Chitwood on USGP Q and A with Joie Chitwood on USGPAn interview with Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer, about the 2006 United States Grand Prix. IMS officials announced Sept. 21 that the 2006 USGP will take place Sunday, July 2 on the 2.605-mile road circuit at IMS.

Q: The date is announced for 2006. What is the future of the event past that?
JOIE CHITWOOD: Right now, the focus is on presenting the best event possible in 2006 for the fans of Formula One racing. They deserve it. There will be time in the future to address the future of Formula One racing at Indianapolis, but now is not the time.

Q: How long does the current contract last between IMS and Formula One?
JC: The current agreement expires after the 2006 USGP.

Q: Have negotiations started for a contract renewal? If so, how long of a deal?
JC: We're here today to talk about the 2006 USGP. We have had preliminary discussions about the future with Formula One, and we hope to address that in the future. zzzz

Q: Has Formula One made any accommodations to IMS for the 2006 USGP?
JC: As I said, our contract runs through the 2006 USGP, and we are moving forward on that basis.  We do not discuss detail of our agreements with sanctioning bodies.

Q: What are your attendance expectations for 2006?
JC: The response from fans wanting the event to continue has been strong. Their message has been, "If there is going to be a USGP, it needs to be at Indianapolis." So, we are expecting a successful 2006 USGP.

Q: How does IMS intend to promote the 2006 event after the events surrounding the 2005 race?
JC: Shortly after the 2005 race was underway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff begun focusing its efforts on making sure the fans were being considered in the aftermath of that race. Hopefully, the fans have noticed our efforts. By all indications they have. Regarding the promotion of the 2006 race, IMS has always been creative in its marketing of the event. Our Pit Walkabout is now being modeled by other F1 tracks. We will continue raising the awareness of the sport in the U.S. media. Our ticket prices remain the cheapest on the entire F1 calendar, so we do many things right. It is a challenge, though. We need the cooperation of the entire Formula One community. Drivers need to do more. A top Formula One driver has had an open invitation to be on "The Late Show with David Letterman" show for the past three years. That driver will not do the interview. The parameters in which we must work regarding the U.S. media are also a challenge. So, we will do the best we can working within the constraints placed on us by the FIA and FOM. Also, with the cooperation of Michelin, account holders who renew their 2005 ticket order will receive two free tickets to next year's race. Michelin is funding 20,000 free tickets.

Q: How important is it to IMS to have American Scott Speed in the new Red Bull Junior team, putting an American on the F1 grid for the first time since 1993 at a time that it appears IMS needs an American to draw fans back to the USGP?
JC: Having Scott Speed or any American in the USGP field would help raise the interest level of the event. Having an American in the series consistently is more important for the long run. We hope Scott is just the beginning of that much-needed trend.

Q: July 4th weekend traditionally is big for family travel, family cookouts at the lake, etc. Why is this a better date for IMS than the late June date?
JC: July 4th is also a traditional big racing weekend. The IRL IndyCar Series has had a very successful event at Kansas Speedway the past several years, and the Daytona race is also a big, traditional event. So, the USGP fits nicely into the Fourth of July weekend. On a side note, the July 2 date allows the IMS staff a few more weeks to transition from the Indianapolis 500 to the United States Grand Prix.

Q: There are rumors of a motorcycle road race at some point at IMS. Is it being lined up as a potential replacement for the USGP F1 race, as a one-off event or as a fourth annual event on the schedule?
JC: No, any effort being put into bringing a motorcycle event to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not being done with intentions of replacing Formula One.

Q: Did IMS have any rival bidders for the 2006 USGP? Were there any other suitors swirling around, looking for a chance to swoop in if Indy either showed limited interest in continuing or dropping the race altogether?
JC: As I said, we have a contract for the 2006 USGP. Anything else is speculation.

Q: Was there ever a point where the Speedway wasn't going to bring back the race? If so, what was the turning point?
JC: There was no turning point. First, we focused our energy on bringing some resolution to the 2005 race for the fans. The next step was looking at 2006, and here we are today.

09/21/05
f1
USGP gets 2006 date USGP gets 2006 dateThe United States Grand Prix will take place Sunday, July 2, 2006 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the seventh consecutive year that the only round of the FIA Formula One World Championship in America will be run at the historic facility.

With the USGP moving two weeks later from its 2005 date on the calendar, the Fourth of July weekend will see the three premier forms of worldwide auto racing competing in the United States on the same weekend. The IRL IndyCar® Series will race at Kansas Speedway the same day as the USGP, while the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competes Saturday night, July 1, at Daytona International Speedway.

"We're proud to announce that the United States Grand Prix will help create a great weekend of motorsports on American soil," said Joie Chitwood, president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "To have the three major forms of motorsport racing in the U.S. on the same weekend is special."

Formula One, the world's most exotic, technically advanced racing series, returned to the United States in 2000 for the first time since 1991. The race has taken place every year since on a 13-turn, 2.605-mile circuit that includes part of the fabled 2.5-mile oval at IMS.

"Preparations for all three of our events begin more than a year in advance," Chitwood said. "Despite the events that took place during this year's USGP and the cloud that lingered over the race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff never stopped working on 2006 and promoting Formula One racing in the U.S. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be prepared and is looking forward to the 2006 United States Grand Prix."

The 2006 race date is subject to final approval by the FIA, which is the sanctioning body for Formula One. Further details about the event schedule will be provided later.

Ticket information is available online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

09/21/05
Radio News
Today’s Autosport Radio show Today’s Autosport Radio showToday's Autosport Radio show available via the internet at 3 PM ET will feature the following: 
  • The weekly round up with John McIlroy, the Editor of Autosport, I'm sure there will be lively discussion about the hot topics of the day including the latest on the Jenson Button saga.
  • The main part of the show will be given over to an A1GP preview. Presenter Tim Gray has spent the afternoon with the teams and drivers on the A1GP double decker bus as it drives around London to promote Sunday's event at Brands Hatch.
  • An exclusive chat with IRL Champion elect, Dan Wheldon (subject to confirmation).
  • Declan Brennan will round up the latest news from the USA and give us his take on the latest goings on in the Nextel Cup.
  • There will also be a tribute to the late Michael Park who was tragically killed on last weekend's Wales rally GB.

The Autosport Radio Show on Globecast 907 is available at Channel 907 on the Sky Satellite platform across the UK and Europe and for their international listeners it can be heard at www.yoursportradio.com or www.radiolemans.com. If you want to contact the studio you can email them at studio@yoursportradio.com or studio@radiolemans.com.

09/21/05
nascar
Yet another NASCAR reality show Yet another NASCAR reality showFor the First Time Ever, Viewers Will Have an All-Access Pass to the Competition - from the Garage to the Evaluation Room - when ROUSH RACING: DRIVER X Debuts October 24 On Discovery Channel.

Twenty-three tenacious young men. Two determined young women. Two 3,400 pound race trucks with 750 horsepower. Two of the toughest racetracks on the NASCAR circuit. Seventeen judges, including legendary NASCAR team owner Jack Roush, scrutinizing their every move. The prize? One of the most sought-after jobs in racing - a fully-sponsored ride on the Roush Racing team in the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Discovery Channel was granted unprecedented access to this closely guarded competition to show viewers, for the first time ever, what happens on the track - and off - in Jack Roush's "Gong Show." Discovery Channel's weekly series, ROUSH RACING: DRIVER X, premieres October 24 at 8 PM (ET/PT).
09/21/05
f1
Williams F1 statement on Button Williams F1 statement on ButtonWilliamsF1 today confirmed that it had reached an agreement with Jenson Button to release him from his contractual commitment to the team for 2006 and beyond. As consideration for the release from the terms of his contract, Button has agreed a financial settlement with WilliamsF1.

Button acknowledged the binding terms of his contract with WilliamsF1 and appreciated the efforts that had been made to find a resolution. “I would like to thank Frank for accommodating a compromise to what was a binding contract and I regret the difficulties my decision has caused everyone involved," said Button. Frank Williams wished Jenson well in the future and said, “I am glad that we have brought this matter to a conclusion and we can return to what we do best – racing.”

The team has not yet announced who will drive for the team alongside Mark Webber next year. WilliamsF1 

09/21/05
irl
IRL race will run, rain or shine IRL race will run, rain or shineThis Sunday’s IRL race on the F-1 long course at Watkins Glen Int’l will run, rain or shine!  Never has an IRL race been run in the rain.  For some of the drivers it should be a sight to see.  The forecast is only for a slight chance of rain, but that can change quickly in the Finger Lakes region of NY State.
09/21/05
a1gp
f1
Toccacelo to drive in A1 Grand Prix Toccacelo to drive in A1 Grand PrixEnrico Toccacelo will drive for Team Italia in the maiden A1 Grand Prix this weekend instead of being Minardi's third driver at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Toccacelo told Autosport-Atlas: "I'm going to Brands today for a seat fitting and I will race the car this weekend.

"We had some problems with Minardi for Brazil and I was given the opportunity to race so I took it. It has all come together at the last minute. I know I'll be behind in track time for the car, but I think it will be similar to F3000.

"I have never driven Brands Hatch but I went to the Champ Car race there in 2003. Paddock Hill Bend will be quite a corner."

Toccacelo's A1 GP deal is just for this weekend, and he is hopeful that he will resume third driver duties with Minardi for the Far-East double header in Japan and China.

He added: "I will see how this weekend goes before I decided whether I will do more A1 Grand Prix races. I hope to go to Japan and China with Minardi. We still have to work things out."

09/21/05
f1
Shanghai to host F1 Global Business Conference Shanghai to host F1 Global Business ConferenceJust 48 hours before the Formula One World Championship 2005 comes to a close at the Shanghai International Circuit on October 16th, Formula One Management, F1 Chinese GP Organizing Committee and CCTV will join forces to host the first ever F1 Global Business Conference in China.

October 14th 2005 will see the Oriental Riverside Hotel, Shanghai play host to the inaugural event aided by both the Shanghai Municipal Government and Formula One Management.

Amongst the 14 high-profile speakers at the conference will be Bernie Ecclestone, President of FOM, Yang Xiaodu, Vice Mayor of Shanghai and Yu Zhifei, General Manager of SIC Management and Development Company. Other industry major players such as Renault F1 Team Principle Flavio Briatore, CEO of Accenture, Bill Green, Vodafone Marketing guru, Peter Harris and Shell's VP Marketing, Juan Carlos Perez will be giving the 300 specially invited delegates the benefit of their experience.

Formula One Supremo Bernie Ecclestone has given his full support to the event recognizing China's economic and sporting potential commenting: "China and Asia represent the future of Formula One."

The purpose of the global business conference is to communicate to the Chinese business community the power of Formula One and the benefits one can receive by association. The conference is also set to demonstrate the potential of the Chinese market to the rest of the world, highlighting the important role China is playing in the international sports community and the capability to organize and deliver a world class event.

There will also be discussions on how best to exploit the commercial value of Formula One in China using the Chinese Grand Prix as a platform to attract investment. The knock-on effects of Formula One’s arrival in China and what it means to the local economy and society for the future will also be a point of conversation.

The conference will be made up of CEO's from leading International and Chinese companies alongside top performing young companies and senior executives from major advertising agencies. The initiative once again marks how committed the Chinese are to making a success out of their relationship with Formula One and the growing motorsport industry.

Yu Zhifei, General Manager of SIC Management and Development Company added: "Formula One in China offers so many opportunities commercially, I feel it is of the up most importance to the success of the sport here that we take advantage of these opportunities and educate how to best exploit relationships within the industry. We are looking for win-win situations where both sides reap the benefits." Shanghai International Circuit

09/21/05
f1
First taste of F1 for Sebastian Vettel First taste of F1 for Sebastian VettelOn 27th September, 18-year-old Sebastian Vettel will make his Formula One debut. The young driver from Heppenheim, Germany, will pilot the Williams BMW FW27 during the team's test next week at the Jerez circuit, in Spain.

The talented junior driver was awarded a BMW contract in December 2004 after securing 18 out of 20 wins to take commanding victory in the Formula BMW ADAC Championship. Vettel has since been jointly sponsored by BMW and Red Bull. BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen, commented: "Sebastian Vettel proved his outstanding talent in last year’s Formula BMW ADAC Championship. This year he is contesting the Formula 3 Euro Series, in which he has further proved his potential. As a result, we are now giving him the opportunity of a Formula One test in Jerez."

Of the test, Vettel says: "When I found out I was going to have a Formula One test, I was absolutely delighted. Since then, I've been steadily building up my neck muscles to be able to withstand the enormous g- forces I'll face. Above all, I'm really looking forward to experiencing the performance of the BMW V10 engine. At the moment, I find it hard to imagine that kind of power. I get goose bumps just thinking about driving the FW27 next week! "

387, out of a possible 400, championship points plus 14 pole positions ? never before had the Formula BMW ADAC Championship been dominated by a driver the way Vettel dominated in 2004. The 2005 season saw Vettel move up into the Formula 3 Euro Series, where he leads the Rookie Cup rankings as the best newcomer, and is fifth in the overall championship standings after 18 out of 20 races. Sebastian Vettel hasn't yet managed to clinch his first Formula 3 victory but, with three second places and a third-placed finish under his belt, he has been on the podium several times. Giving successful BMW drivers the opportunity to test a Formula One car has become an attractive tradition at BMW. In December 2002, Nico Rosberg climbed into an F1 cockpit at the age of 17 while, a year later, Ho-Pin Tung was the first Chinese driver to clock up some Formula One laps.

December 2005 will see the first Formula BMW World Final take place in Bahrain. The event will be a trial of strength between international junior talents from the four Formula BMW series in Asia, Germany, the UK and the USA. The winner of the contest will also be awarded a Formula One test by BMW. Williams F1

09/21/05
irl
Briscoe headed to Formula Medicine Briscoe headed to Formula MedicineBriscoe knows he probably won't be in a race car for at least two months, and perhaps longer, but he refuses to wait for his body to heal. He plans to leave next week for Viareggio, Italy, where Toyota has a training center known as Formula Medicine.  Before coming to the U.S. to race this year, Briscoe lived near Formula Medicine for four years while racing in Europe.  The center's founder, Dr. Ricardo Ceccarelli, flew to Indianapolis following Briscoe's accident.  "I want to get the quickest recovery possible," Briscoe said. Indy Star
09/21/05
f1
BAR Honda confirms 2006 lineup BAR Honda confirms 2006 lineupB*A*R Honda is delighted to confirm that Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will be racing together for the team in 2006. After three successful years with B*A*R Honda, Jenson and the team have concluded a multi-year extension to his current contract. From 2006 he will partner Rubens, who will join B*A*R Honda on 1 January and whose place within the team was confirmed last month.

Nick Fry, B*A*R Honda Chief Executive Officer, said:
"We are delighted to be able to confirm our 2006 race driver line-up. We can now put the uncertainty of the past few months behind us and focus on the future, which looks very exciting indeed. We have made no secret of the fact that we wanted Jenson Button to remain with B*A*R Honda for the next few years and that we considered Jenson and Rubens to be our dream line-up for 2006 and beyond.

"Takuma Sato has been an extremely valuable and much-liked member of our team for four years in the roles of test driver, third driver and, latterly, race driver. He has made an enormous contribution to B*A*R Honda's development. Takuma's current contract reaches its conclusion at the end of 2005 but B*A*R Honda is in discussions with Takuma and his management regarding possibilities for the future."

Sporting Director Gil de Ferran said: "I am very pleased that our team will feature one of the strongest driver line-ups in Formula One for 2006 and beyond. I know both Rubens and Jenson well and I have every confidence that they will work well together to develop our car and team whilst competing strongly at the race track. I have enjoyed working with Taku over the past year and I wish him well for the future."

Jenson Button commented: "I'm obviously delighted to confirm that I will be staying with B*A*R Honda for the next few years. Since I joined the team in 2003 we've shared some important moments in my career and the team's history. There are many more goals for us to achieve together - not least of all winning the World Championship. I want to be at B*A*R Honda to see that happen - and I believe that it will happen. 2005 has been a challenging year but we've bounced back from our problems and the team is much stronger as a result. I also have a new team-mate in Rubens Barrichello and I look forward to the two of us pushing each other, and working together to keep driving the team forward.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the Team, at Honda and our tire partner Michelin for their support over the past three years. The effort that has gone into building this team into what it is today has been relentless. It's been a privilege to be a part of B*A*R Honda and I am delighted that I will be part of its future. I look forward to achieving our next goal - our first win together - in the very near future."

09/21/05
nascar
Q and A with Ricky Rudd Q and A with Ricky RuddRicky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus, has quietly bounced back from a disappointing start to the season to be one of the top points producers since the middle of the summer. Only eight drivers have scored more points than Rudd since the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Sonoma in June. Rudd, who finished second in that race, has since improved 10 positions in the standings to 23rd. NASCAR's Iron Man, who will be making his 780th consecutive start this weekend at Dover, talks about his team's recent success.

WHAT DOES BEING THE NINTH-BEST POINTS PRODUCER SINCE SONOMA MEAN TO YOU AND WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT THIS TEAM? "I think it shows that the team has been consistent. It was a period of time where we stayed out of wrecks. That's really the biggest thing that's gotten us, is wrecks this year. I think there have been eight times we've been wrecked out and finished 33rd or worse, and that's just killed us. But, we went through a spell where we didn't wreck. Even in this streak, we got wrecked at Indy, somebody hit us in the back, and we got wrecked at Richmond. But, anyway, the team's been solid. It's been a consistent, really, anywhere from fifth- to 12th-place runs at each race track, and we've got a second and a fourth, but the team's been solid. It's been solid all year. It just hasn't had the results."

SO, TAKING THE EARLY SEASON WRECKS INTO ACCOUNT, IS THIS TEAM RUNNING BETTER NOW, OR HAS IT BEEN CONSISTENT AND IT'S JUST GETTING THE FINISHES? "I think it's very similar to the way it's been all year. The performance has probably gotten a little bit better, but ninth place in that point arrangement is not because all of a sudden we just took off and started running better, it's just that we've run some races without having any bad luck."

STILL, IN SPORTS, END RESULTS ARE EVERYTHING... "I think the biggest thing is the consistency has been there. The consistency on the track, consistency of the guys working on the car and the performance has been good enough to be in the top-10 cut. We didn't get there because of wrecks, the bottom line, and these guys probably don't get the attention they deserve because of that."

WHAT'S THE FOCUS NOW FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON? IS IT WEEK TO WEEK? "I think, like you do every week, just come into each week, each and every one of them, with the mindset that you're going to try to win the race, and you'll settle for what you can get. But that really hasn't changed any, other than the fact it's a little encouraging coming to the track, knowing if nothing breaks or you stay out of wrecks that you're going to be probably somewhere in the top 10. I think the team has more top-10s than they did the first two years I was here. Even with those nine wrecks, we figured that five or six or seven of them would've been top-10s, top-fives. So, we're doing everything we're supposed to do. There's not a whole lot you can do. The qualifying performance had suffered earlier in the year but our qualifying performance has been much better. I'm thinking we're averaging somewhere in the 15th range or something week-in and week-out over the last couple of months. And that's probably has a little bit to do with why there's a stretch we didn't get into any wrecks, I think it has something to do with that, how we're starting closer to the front of the field."

DOVER AND GOOD LUCK WOULD HAVE TO BE A GOOD THING... "We got wrecked out of there in the first race- we missed the original wreck and somebody hit me in the back and shoved me into it. But, we had a good car there at Dover and that's been a good track for us over the years. To me, it was never a wreck-fest track, but it seems like it's become that recently. But, we've always run pretty solid there, won three or four races in the past and it's a track that I look forward to going to."

09/21/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'Button not worth $50m'
Kimi - 'I must win'
Dubai royal's F1 rival
Rubens won't win at home
Rosberg silent on F1 link
F1 guys 'envious' - Rossi
'Ant' will be on the grid
'Muggings, murder, mayhem'
09/21/05
irl
CART
USAC
AAA
Wheldon set to join elite company Wheldon set to join elite companyDan Wheldon will join elite company by securing his first IndyCar Series championship when he starts the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage on Sept. 25.

The 27-year-old Englishman will become the 25th driver to win both the Indianapolis 500 and a series championship in the same year - a feat accomplished only four times since 1980.

"To have won the Indy 500 and the championship is very special," said Wheldon, the first IndyCar Series driver to accomplish the feat. "The IndyCar Series is a tough series, and I think there's a ton of talented drivers here. To achieve that is a good team effort. Obviously I've had very good cars this year and very fast cars. We've been able to win a lot of races, which is rare in the IndyCar Series nowadays.

"My goal coming into this season was to win the Indy 500. When I achieved that, I had to adjust my mindset, and the goals I had for myself. Obviously, winning the championship was the next goal."

Wheldon is the first Englishman to accomplish the feat, though the late Jim Clark won the Indianapolis 500 and Formula One championship in 1965. Clark, though, did not score any Formula One points by winning at Indianapolis.

Among the drivers who have accomplished the feat are four-time Indianapolis 500 winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears and three-time Indianapolis 500 winners Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Unser, Louis Meyer and Wilbur Shaw. The last driver to accomplish the feat was Jacques Villeneuve in 1995.

"To join the list of names that have won championships and the Indy 500 in the same season is pretty special," Wheldon said. "Those are all people I respect immensely. To be listed in the same category as them is a nice feeling."

CLEAN SWEEP
Here is a list of drivers who have won both the Indianapolis 500 and series championship in the same season. Only champions of the series that sanctioned the event are recognized.

Year Driver Series
1916 Dario Resta AAA
1919 Howdy Wilcox AAA
1921 Tommy Milton AAA
1922 Jimmy Murphy AAA
1925 Peter DePaolo AAA
1928 Louis Meyer AAA
1930 Billy Arnold AAA
1933 Louis Meyer AAA
1934 Bill Cummings AAA
1935 Kelly Petillo AAA
1937 Wilbur Shaw AAA
1938 Floyd Roberts AAA
1939 Wilbur Shaw AAA
1955 Bob Sweikert AAA
1959 Rodger Ward USAC
1961 A.J. Foyt Jr. USAC
1962 Rodger Ward USAC
1964 A.J. Foyt Jr. USAC
1967 A.J. Foyt Jr. USAC
1968 Bobby Unser USAC
1969 Mario Andretti USAC
1970 Al Unser USAC
1979 Rick Mears CART
1980 Johnny Rutherford CART
1986 Bobby Rahal CART
1989 Emerson Fittipaldi CART
1994 Al Unser Jr. CART
1995 Jacques Villeneuve CART
2005 Dan Wheldon IRL IndyCar Series

09/21/05
cc
nascar
Odds to win Vegas NASCAR and Champ Car races Odds to win Vegas NASCAR and Champ Car racesMicah Roberts, oddsmaker for Station Casinos in Las Vegas, has set the odds for Saturday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Champ Car World Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In a rare twist, Roberts has chosen co-favorites for the Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Both Dennis Setzer and Mike Skinner are co-favorites at 5/1. Roberts’ choice for the Champ Car World Series Hurricane Relief 400 is no surprise: he selected current points leader and 2004 race winner Sebastien Bourdais to revisit LVMS’ victory lane (at 7/5).

Tickets for this weekend’s Double Down In The Desert NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Champ Car World Series doubleheader may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.lvms.com.

ODDS TO WIN NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES LAS VEGAS 350
Mike Skinner – 5/1
David Setzer – 5/1
Ted Musgrave – 7/1
Bobby Hamilton Sr. – 8/1
Jack Sprague – 10/1
Brendan Gaughan – 12/1
Todd Bodine – 12/1
Jimmy Spencer – 12/1
David Starr – 12/1
Rick Crawford – 15/1
Ron Hornaday – 15/1
Chad Chaffin – 15/1
Steve Park – 15/1
Ricky Craven – 15/1
David Gilliland – 16/1
David Reutimann – 20/1
Johnny Benson – 20/1
Terry Cook – 20/1
Tim Fedewa – 25/1
Field (all others) – 18/1

ODDS TO WIN CHAMPCAR WORLD SERIES HURRICANE RELIEF 400
Sebastien Bourdais – 7/5
Paul Tracy – 3/1
Oriol Servia – 5/1
Jimmy Vasser – 7/1
Mario Dominguez – 12/1
Alex Tagliani – 12/1
Justin Wilson – 12/1
A.J. Allmendinger – 15/1
Cristiano da Matta – 18/1
Ryan Hunter-Reay – 18/1
Timo Glock – 18/1
Field (all others) – 18/1

09/20/05
nascar
RYR announces changes RYR announces changesRobert Yates Racing announced personnel changes for both NEXTEL Cup Series teams, as well as their Busch Series program. Effective immediately, veteran crew chief Todd Parrott will assume the role of crew chief for Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team, while Kevin Buskirk, engineer for the #38 M&M’S® Racing Team, will assume the role of interim crew chief for Elliott Sadler. Additionally, Raymond Fox, III, will serve as crew chief for the #90 CitiFinancial Team.

With both teams sitting outside the top 10 and having just missed the Chase for the Championship, RYR management decided to make immediate personnel changes for the remainder of this season in preparation for the 2006 NASCAR season. “In the business of NASCAR racing the responsibility to perform both to ourselves and our sponsors is and has, become increasingly more important,” said Eddie D’Hondt, general manager of RYR. “We are making this change in an effort to spark both of our teams to the performance level expected of us.” For more than two years, Parrott has served as crew chief with Jarrett teammate Elliott Sadler and the #38 M&M’S Racing Team. During that period, Parrott led Sadler to two wins (Texas in 2004 and the fall race at California in 2004), as well as a non-points victory with their win in one of the Daytona 500 qualifying races in 2004. Additionally, Parrott guided Sadler to the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship last season with Sadler finishing the year in ninth place. It marked Sadler’s first time finishing in the top 10 in the point standings.

“We felt to improve the performance of the 88 team it was important to establish a leadership that has been lacking for the last few months,” said car owner Robert Yates. “Billy (Wilburn) did a great job of coming in here and working with the 88 and 38 teams to get them on the same page. Todd (Parrott) has a record that speaks for itself both with preparing race cars and making decisions in the pits. Todd has the skills, ability and talent to lead a race team, and he is committed to winning races.” Buskirk has served as the engineer for the #38 M&M’S Team since November 2003 and has been instrumental in preparing the cars Sadler has raced during the last two seasons. Buskirk will work in the interim crew chief capacity while the team actively searches for a permanent replacement for that position. “Kevin is an important part of not only the M&M’S Team but for all of RYR,” Yates said. “He has a lot of knowledge about race cars and what needs to happen to make them perform. He’s been on top of the pit box for the last two years helping call adjustments so he is the ideal person to fill this interim role for us.”

Fox, who has been with RYR since the organization opened for business in 1987, will take over the race day crew chief duties for the #90 CitiFinancial car throughout the remainder of the season. Fox will also continue in his current position with the #38 M&M’S Team.

All of the principal players involved in this announcement will be available for questions from the media at 9:00am/et this Friday in the infield media center at Dover International Speedway. This is the only time that members of Robert Yates Racing will be made available to discuss this subject. RYR/Elevation Group PR

09/20/05
nascar
Stewart crashes, Humpy lays another egg Stewart crashes, Humpy lays another eggHumpy Wheeler is known for doing and saying the most absurd things and it looks like the surface treatment he gave his Lowe's Motor Speedway is a lemon.  Nextel Cup Series points leader Tony Stewart wrecked his No. 20 Chevrolet just a handful of laps into his test session Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.  Stewart was seen and released from the track's infield care center, complaining of a headache, track spokesman Jerry Gappens said.

Gappens said speedway president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler spoke with Stewart before he left the track. Gappens said Stewart was "upset" and complained about the lack of grip entering Turns 1 and 2. "He told Humpy he liked the track better the way it was two years ago," Gappens said.

Earlier this year, the track used a process called "levigation" to smooth parts of the track, particularly in the turns. However, the May Cup race was marred by a NASCAR-record 22 cautions, with several drivers complaining of the track surface. In part from ThatsRacin.com

09/20/05
nascar
Stewart Wins 3rd Quarter Driver of the Year Vote Stewart Wins 3rd Quarter Driver of the Year VoteTony Stewart, who smoked the race tracks in NASCAR Nextel Cup series, fired up the voting among the media and the fans, easily winning the Speed Channel DRIVER OF THE YEAR third quarter, 2005. "It's an honor to be named the third quarter Driver of The Year,' said Stewart, the 2002 Nextel Cup Champion. 'I didn't do it alone, though, as I had a great race team in Joe Gibbs Racing providing me with great race cars". Stewart drove the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet, into victory lane at the quarter's opening race, the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway and hasn't slowed to looking his rear-view mirrors.

Following an emotional win at the Allstate 400, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Stewart - known as 'Smoke' - took over the points lead and held it as the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup started this Sunday. During the 12 weeks of the third quarter Stewart amassed an unmatched record of five wins and no finish worse than eighth. In the fan voting Stewart garnered all the first-place ballots, except for one (where he was voted in second place). As a result he scored 150 points, or, more than double the 69 points tallied by Dan Wheldon, of the Indy Racing League, the second quarter winner. Britain's Wheldon won two races, in the quarter, has all but wrapped up the Indy Car Series title.

France's Sebastien Bourdais, the reigning Champ Car World Series Champion and current series leader had one first-place vote and counted a total of 58 points. Bourdais, who drives for Newman/Haas Racing had a string of three consecutive wins. Fourth place went to King of the Outlaws Steve Kinser. Noteworthy, Stewart was first, Martin Truex Jr., of the NASCAR Busch Series, finished second and the IRL's, Tony Kanaan, finished third as fans clicked their votes on the SpeedTV website. In its' 39th year, the DRIVER OF THE YEAR title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Stewart received a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch which was presented on Speed TV. Speed Channel

09/20/05
nascar
Edwards to sport new paint scheme Edwards to sport new paint schemeRoush Racing driver Carl Edwards will sport a CNN TV paint scheme at Dover this weekend. You've made it when CNN is paying attention to you.
09/20/05
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irl
New Champ Car President slams door on unification New Champ Car President slams door on unificationChamp Car’s new President, Steve Johnson, made it quite clear today - the window of opportunity for a Champ Car/IRL unification is shut.

“What Champ Car is focused on is our business and our business model and we're not focused on what IRL is doing; we're not focused on what NASCAR is doing. I was asked about reunification. The only unification that I'm focused on right now is making sure that everybody that's involved with Champ Car is on the same page, moving the same direction with the same goals in mind. It's not a priority of mine to reunify or to focus on the IRL,” said Johnson.

09/20/05
nascar
NASCAR New Hampshire TV Rating NASCAR New Hampshire TV RatingUPDATE #2 Ironically, the post-race show on Sunday had a higher TV rating (3.7/4.0 million HHs) than the race itself (3.4/3.78 million HHs), which makes you wonder about the validity of some of these ratings. 09/20/05 As TNT heads down the stretch of its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule with its final race in the Chase this Sunday, Sept. 25 in Dover, DE (1:00 pm ET), it does so on the heels of a 21-percent ratings increase from this past Sunday's Sylvania 300 from New Hampshire The race, the first of 10 to determine the 2005 NEXTEL Cup Champion, delivered a 'final' 3.4 U.S Rating (4.2 cable rating) versus a 2.8 U.S. rating (3.4 cable) for last year's race on TNT. The network's coverage of Ryan Newman's victory in New Hampshire also showed tremendous growth in households, gaining 24-percent and nearly three-quarters of a million viewers (3.786K in '05 to 3.054 in '04). 09/20/05 The overnight TV rating on TNT for Sunday's Nextel Cup Sylvania 300 from New Hampshire International Speedway was a 3.0, up 15% over last year, but dwarfed by NFL's 13.2 and 10.0, both on CBS. NASCAR is making ground, but it isn't NFL territory yet.
09/20/05
alms
ALMS loses Sales and Marketing executive ALMS loses Sales and Marketing executiveThe Sports Business Journal reports that American Le Mans Series (ALMS) VP/Sales & Marketing Scott Duncan left the organization last week to pursue other interests, an ALMS spokesperson said. Duncan, who joined ALMS in May ‘04, left the series on September 16. ALMS VP/Media & Communications Bob Dickinson said the professional sports car racing series has begun searching for a replacement. Duncan previously was a sales exec for Bell Racing Co., marketing & operations director at Talladega Superspeedway and an account supervisor for McCann-Erickson in Atlanta.
09/20/05
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New Champ Car President's top-3 priorities New Champ Car President's top-3 priorities"I'd have to say our No. 1 priorities is working with our race teams, putting healthy race teams out on the track for our fans and for our sponsors.  That's the first area.  Obviously marketing is a major area that we're working on, and television.  Those are three high priorities as we move forward." Steve Johnson during Tuesday's Champ Car media conference
09/20/05
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Kodak EasyShare Team to Miss the Glen Kodak EasyShare Team to Miss the GlenFeeds the Need Racing's Forest Barber and Bell Motorsports' Jim Bell jointly said today that they have withdrawn the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 54 from this weekend's Crown Royal 250 Rolex series race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. due to budget constraints.

Barber said the team's participation in the last two Rolex series races this year (Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. on Oct. 7-9 and Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico on Nov. 5) has not been determined yet.

"As one of the original Daytona Prototype teams that has contested every race since the class's inception, it is very disappointing for the Feeds the Need Racing/Bell Motorsports team to have to miss our first race," Barber said. "Despite the hard-working Bell Motorsports team's capacity to bounce back from just about any obstacle, and the significant and loyal support of Kodak and other sponsors, we have exhausted our sponsorship funds for this year. We race within a budget, and crash damage in particular has exceeded our budget estimates/limits for the year. We need to regroup, reflect on the best approach to being competitive in this growing series, and work hard on finding adequate sponsorship for the 2006 season. "

Barber went on to say, "We are working with potential additional sponsors on a program that would result in our competing in the last two events, but as yet have nothing to announce."

[Editor's Note: This isn't rocket science.  With NASCAR being so strong, a divided series like Grand-Am and ALMS, teams simply don't stand a chance when it comes to battling for sponsor dollars.]

09/20/05
nascar
Heated feedback on Robby Gordon article Heated feedback on Robby Gordon article
09/20/05
nascar
Q and A with Biffle and Martin Q and A with Biffle and MartinTuesday's "Ford Five" teleconference featured drivers Greg Biffle and Mark Martin. Biffle is coming off a fourth-place finish in Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway while Martin posted a seventh-place effort. Both drivers spoke about the Chase for the Nextel Cup and a number of other issues. Transcript
09/20/05
nascar
Rudd and McSwain talk about Dover Rudd and McSwain talk about DoverMotorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus driver Ricky Rudd and crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain respond to fans' questions regarding Dover, teammates, job duties and car adjustability this week.

RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus

Is Bristol similar to Dover since they are both built with concrete?  "They actually are, even though one is a half mile and one is a mile.  A lot of times the setup that works well at Bristol will work at Dover.  You hear people talk about a 'concrete car,' so whatever runs good at Bristol will run good at Dover.  To me, there are some similarities and some differences, too.  There are setups and shock packages that seem to be unique to concrete."  So the test information learned at Bristol will carry over to Dover?  "I would think so.  A lot of it will carry over.  We're thinking that it will.  We learned some things at Bristol at the test that I think will help at Dover.  At least that is what we are counting on."  

Will you use the same car for Dover that you had at Bristol?  "Yes, we are."  zzzz

Is it hard not having a teammate?   If so, why?  "I can't really answer that because the teammates I've had in the past worked so independently of each other.  The things that I miss are, like, during the race if your teammate tried a different air pressure than you did and it worked, it could save you from some of the trial-and-error stuff that you have to go through.  In the right environment, it might be a big asset, but I never felt I was in that type of an environment.  So I don't know what I'm missing if I've never had it, I guess."

How do you see your chances to break into the teens in the points?  "I think it's a realistic goal.  We had that deal at Richmond right toward the end of the race.  I don't know that we would have been there, but we would have been close if we hadn't wrecked out.  I believe that would have been a top-10 finish instead of 38th.  To be honest, I'm not as concerned about that as I am about focusing on a win.  I want to win a race before the year is out.  I don't think we can go to every race and be a car that is going to win, but in 10 races there are a couple of good legitimate shots of winning in that time.  To me that is more important.  Not that points aren't an issue, but, really, when you look at it, what's the difference in a teen rather than the low 20s?  But, a win would carry a whole lot more than that.  My first goal would be to try to win us a race.  The second goal in my mind is to get the best point finish that we can."

When you do decide to retire, are you going to miss the fans as bad as we are going to miss you?  "Well, yeah.  We've got a really unique fan base.  We've got people who have been with us since we started 30 years ago.  We've got people who have followed us and now their kids and grandkids have followed us.  I think we've got a real unique core of fans who have stuck with us through thick and thin.  They've been real loyal so to answer that question, yeah, I'm going to miss them."

MICHAEL "FATBACK" McSWAIN, crew chief - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus

As the crew chief, what responsibilities fall on you and what is delegated to the other team members in preparing for a race weekend?  "All responsibilities are mine, but I do delegate those responsibilities to others.  In other words, I go to the engineer and I tell him what I want him to work on.   I go to Rich Hubbs, the car chief, and I tell him how to set the car up, and so on.   I am an administrator or leader more than anything else.  Then at the race track I make the decisions on what is done with the car, tire pressures, adjustments.  It is almost like being a football coach.  You watch the race unfold and make your adjustments from what you see."    

What role do Ricky and the Wood family have in race prep, and in building the cars?  "Len takes care of the motors and the motor department; he makes sure all the cars get on the chassis dyno.  He takes care of all of that.  My support group and I pretty much make all of the other decisions and carry them out.  Eddie works more on the business side now and the sponsor side.  He has been working on that side of it for so long now that he isn't really as involved with what we do as he once was.  It's a really, really important role, but his responsibilities have changed.  Ricky isn't in the shop much, but we have had enough experience with each other that I pretty much know what he expects out of a car so he doesn't have to be there much.  So it makes it easier for me to know what to do with the cars based on my past history with him."

I've heard the term "building adjustability" into a car.  How is that done?  "Building adjustability into the car is done with shocks, and we might set the wedge a certain way. Knowing that some tracks might get tighter than others, we might set the wedge a little tighter so we can free it up later on in the day during the race.  So, we might set the wedge a little tighter knowing that we are going to have to undo it.  We might set the track bar a certain way to adjust it easier.  Only one side of the track bar is adjustable, so we might set the left side a certain way to allow us to do different things with the track bar during the race.  It's just all settings and spring rubbers, and even shock adjustments.  We build some quick, automatic shock adjustments in to where it's quick and easy for the tire changer to make a change.  Those adjustments are built in once you know what your final setup is."  Ford Racing

09/20/05
alms
ALMS TV news ALMS TV newsThe world's most viewed and listened-to motorsports coverage is quite likely that of the American Le Mans Series. Each time the ALMS runs, in either the United States or Canada, race coverage is available to more than 500 million homes via a highly distributed international TV package and, of course, online at americanlemans.com or radiolemans.com.

The ALMS also enjoys a worldwide television presence through its affiliation with Greenlight Television. After each ALMS round, Greenlight produces a 52-minute highlight program of the race.

To obtain each week's footage, Greenlight producers David Beynon or Chris Shaw make the long trek from the Isle of Man, where Greenlight is located, to the U.S., a journey of normally 10-12 hours. "The Isle is a one-hour flight from London," Shaw notes, "and then we fly to the race, shoot practice, qualifying and race footage, then get back to the Isle as quickly as possible to edit material for that week's show."

In addition to the ALMS-specific highlights package, ALMS interviews and race footage are included in virtually all of Greenlight's racing shows. "Our intention is to keep the ball rolling and have constant promotion of the series," Shaw added. zzzz

Greenlight's programming is available worldwide to 510 million households. ALMS events are also televised live and on tape in Europe via MotorsTV. Motors is available in 36 million households in 21 different nations.

In addition, ALMS races are distributed to the Armed Forces Network. For the third year in a row, the Armed Forces Network is distributing broadcasts of ALMS events. More than 850,000 Department of Defense military and civilian employees and their families stationed in 176 countries and on 180 U.S. Navy ships at sea can watch and listen to ALMS races.

In agreements with the American Le Mans Series, CBS, SPEED Channel and Greenlight Television, the AFN Broadcast Center is providing a combination of live and tape delayed distribution of 2005 ALMS events via its AFN/sports and AFN/prime channels, along with the U.S. Navy's DTS television service.

"The popularity of the American Le Mans Series and view interest around the world is continually growing," says John Evenson, the ALMS' vice president of communications and broadcasting.

Affable Great Britain native John Hindhaugh calls the race from a vantage point not far from the course, his voice projecting the passion and excitement he feels for the series and sports car racing.

"From the very start of the ALMS at Petit Le Mans in 1998, the radio network has been a cornerstone of the 'For the Fans' ideology of the series," Hindhaugh says. "It has been the only way most ALMS fans worldwide have of keeping up with what is happening week-to-week. Live timing and scoring with the live stream means that the armchair enthusiasts have exactly the same service as the fans trackside."

Hindhaugh was introduced to sports car racing in the 1970s shortly after "my school movie club played a film called 'Le Mans.' It was then that I followed the sport from a distance."

"It is absolutely essential that the American Le Mans Series be available on TV as well as over the Internet via our ALMS Radio efforts around the world because the series literally has manufacturers, fans involved or potential sponsors around the world," Evenson added. "The relationships we've built with Greenlight Television, MotorsTV and ALMS Radio have more than helped us begin to achieve our objectives, but there is much more to do.

"Just last August, we secured an arrangement with Globecast in England and one element of their service is a digital radio platform that reaches more than 10 million homes in Great Britain," he continued. "And, in recent years, MotorsTV has expanded its pan-European distribution to three languages (English, French and German) in addition to serious audience growth to the 40-million home range in 21 European countries. Meanwhile, Greenlight Television has found new programming outlets for our shows in Asia and the Far East, the Middle East and Canada in addition to its established distribution base that is substantial. Every week, Greenlight Television distributes three programs to a worldwide audience of more than 500 million television households. Each program contains a dedicated American Le Mans Series element."

ALMS drivers hail from points all over the world, so race coverage in their homeland is another plus.

"Having the races on at home is huge," says Great Britain native Oliver Gavin, who's currently in the lead (with teammate Olivier Beretta) in the GT1 standings for Corvette Racing. "All of us international guys have any number of friends who will stay up until all hours to see us compete."

Hindhaugh's e-mail correspondence indicates the Radio Web has listeners worldwide. "The feedback we receive is remarkably positive," he says. "ALMS fans are the most knowledgeable, intelligent and passionate in all of motorsport."

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

John Hindhaugh and ALMS Radio have been staples of the series since the first Petit Le Mans in 1998.

International viewers can see the action of the ALMS thanks to MotorsTV and Greenlight Television, among other outlets.

The ALMS' international broadcast package means fans of drivers like Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta can watch them compete in ALMS events.

09/20/05
alms
Jonny Kane joins Aston Martin Racing for Petit Jonny Kane joins Aston Martin Racing for PetitAston Martin Racing has confirmed that Jonny Kane will link up with the team for the penultimate round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA.

Kane will join David Brabham (Australia) and Darren Turner (UK) in DBR9 No. 57 in the Petit Le Mans race, with Car No. 58 piloted by Tomas Enge (Czech Republic), Peter Kox (Netherlands) and Pedro Lamy (Portugal).

Born in Comber, Northern Ireland, Kane started kart racing in Ireland in 1988, posting 12 wins in the National Karting Championship before moving to the Irish Junior Formula Ford Championship and the British Formula Vauxhall Junior Championship. After winning the Irish Senior Formula Ford Championship in 1992 and joining the British Formula Ford Championship, Kane took the British Formula Ford title in 1994 with a record 13 wins, 11 poles and 12 fastest laps. He won the European Formula Ford Championship and the Formula Vauxhall Winter Series in the same year. zzzz

Kane made his Indy Lights debut in 1999 and was named 'Rookie of the Year'. More recently Kane has driven for the MG factory team, Audi UK and Team Bentley in a variety of sports car programs. In 2005 Kane has been driving a TVR for Team LMT, winning the GT2 class at the LMES Spa 1000km race and coming 3rd in class at the Silverstone round of the FIA GT Championship. Kane has also been in the studio over the past few years working on the IRL series for Sky Television.

Kane said "I was really envious of the other Aston Martin drivers at the start of the season because the car looks so good. It's great to be getting a chance to drive it myself and to be a part of the Aston Martin Racing team.

"Although I have visited the track at Atlanta, I've never driven there so I am really looking forward to it, the track looks very exciting. It will be my first time in the car as well as my first time at the track so the test days prior to the race are going to come in very useful!

"I am also looking forward to driving with David (Brabham) again as we previously worked together on the Bentley program".

David Braham commented: "I worked with Jonny (Kane) at Bentley and he is a real talent. Great team player and will be a great benefit to the team."

Team mate Darren Turner said: "I raced against Jonny in F3 back in 1997 where he went on and won the championship so I know he is very quick and able to race well. Both of us have won the B.R.D.C McLaren Autosport Young Driver Award and also we shared our debut Formula One test on the same day. I'm looking forward to working with Jonny and hopefully he can bring us some good Irish luck!"

Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell said: "It's great to get a driver of Jonny's pedigree on the team. We have been talking to Jonny for some time now so it is nice to be able to pull something together to get him in the car. He is more than capable of doing a great job for us and we are looking forward to getting him familiarized with the car in Atlanta".

The ninth round of the American Le Mans Series, the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans is scheduled to start at 11:20 a.m. EDT Oct. 1 at Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA. AMR

09/20/05
a1gp
f1
A1 GP does not see itself as competition to F1 A1 GP does not see itself as competition to F1The new A1 series is unlikely to replace Formula One as motorsport's top competition, according to the series' founder Sheik Maktoum Hasher Maktoum. Asked if it could take over from F1, Maktoum said: "I don't think so. They are two completely different concepts.

"F1's driven by technology, innovation, manufacturers. A1 is effectively the World Cup of motorsport."

A1 is intended to pit driver against driver on a more level playing field than now exists in Formula One.

"In a World Cup or for example the Olympics, you can't have one javelin heavier than the other," Maktoum told BBC Radio Four. To find out which driver and which country are the best drivers on the planet you have to have the same platform, and that's what we have provided. We have ordered 50 A1 racing cars. They are very, very powerful and they don't have sophisticated electronics, but they're all equal."

When asked if Formula One had become a boring sport Maktoum said: "Not necessarily.

"It is a high-speed sport but in A1 we don't have traction control, we don't have ABS braking. We're ability driven to showcase the ability of the drivers and the nation. Imagine at Brands Hatch this Sunday, you'll have Germany, France, Holland, England, Ireland. An entire grandstand has been sold to Irish fans, and it's great seeing national colors supporting their own nation there. The sport has never had a World Cup before this."

And Maktoum said that he thinks F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone approves of the new arrival on the scene.

"If you look at it, Formula One starts in March and ends around September," said Maktoum. We start in September and we finish in March/April, so effectively motorsport was a cyclical industry before A1 came along, and after we have come along it is going to be an annual industry." BBC Sport

09/20/05
irl
Scheckter looks to add to family legacy at The Glen Scheckter looks to add to family legacy at The GlenTomas Scheckter's eyes widen at the mention of "The Boot," "The Loop" and "The Chute" at Watkins Glen International, where the IndyCar Series driver will compete this weekend in the inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage.

To the South African whose father, Jody, made his Formula One debut at The Glen in 1972 with McLaren (ninth place after spinning out), the sections of the historic natural terrain road course are to be revered.

Eleven turns with a variety of banking (6 to 10 degrees) and width (36 to 48 feet) comprise the 3.37-mile long course to challenge both driver and race engineer. IndyCar Series cars will run clockwise on the undulating track.

"It's demanding on the driver, but again there are straightaways that give the driver a little bit of a break," said Scheckter, driver of the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. "It's super-flowing, up and down and a good driver's track." zzzz

TOMAS SCHECKTER'S VIRTUAL LAP:
"Going into Turn One ("The Ninety"), it's a second and third gear corner. It has some concrete on the inside, so you want to use that. You can use a little bit of the exit curb for grip. It's then flat out through Turns 2 and 3 and 4 ("The Esses"). The car will bottom a little; it's a great feeling. It's a little like a rollercoaster going all the way up that hill (an 80-foot climb into Turn 4).

"It's flat out all the way down turning into the chicane. It's a great corner where you can use some of the curb through there and carry a lot more speed than you think you can.

"You want to make sure your car is in good position getting out of the chicane and going into Turn 5 (sweeping right-hander called the "Outer Loop). You want to be hitting inside a little on the concrete because there's the most grip and you can let the car run out. Coming out of 5 and going into 6 is great again because you're braking downhill (a 30-foot descent that begins The Boot). You have to watch for the inside left locking up because you can end up straight in the wall there, but you can also carry a lot of speed into there and get on the throttle pretty early into Turn 7.

"Seven (100-foot drop from exit of Turn 5) you can brake very late and carry a lot of speed in; just wait for the front end to come back because then it's uphill and you have to be on the throttle very hard.

"Coming up into 8 there's not much grip but it's a standard corner; two downshifts. Nine is a late apex corner (a 50-foot climb into a 90-degree left-hander). You're away from the curb and you just wait, wait, wait and you turn the car in right at the end. There's some concrete there where you can get some grip. Ten is very quick, a lot quicker than you mentally think. Again, there is concrete for grip.

"Eleven there is a lot of speed. It's a very important corner because you carry all the speed going into 1 again.

"This is a really great track. Lots of turns, up and down, and I like the fast chicane that goes into the flat-out right hander. There are still some straights where the drivers can relax a bit. My dad, uncle and cousin have all raced here, so there's a little bit of tradition here for me."

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD:
Firestone's race tire development team considers the configuration of each track as it chooses the tire compound to be used at each track.

According to Firestone engineers, the permanent road course at Watkins Glen International requires the hardest road course tire to meet the high-speed demands expected at this track.

RACE FACTS:

WHAT:
Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage, 16th race in 17-race 2005 season

WHERE:
Watkins Glen International, 3.37-mile road course (11 turns)

WHEN:
3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Sept. 25

DISTANCE:
60 laps/204 miles

PAST RACE WINNERS:
Inaugural event

TV:
ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 25
Talent: Todd Harris (play-by-play), Scott Goodyear (analyst), Jack Arute, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch (pit reporters).

RADIO:
Qualifying webcast: 12:45 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 24, www.indycar.com. Wrap-up show: 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 24, IMS Radio Network.
Race: IMS Radio Network, 3 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 25.
Talent: Mike King (host), Pancho Carter (driver analyst), Dave Wilson (color commentary), Mark Jaynes (backstraight play-by-play), Kevin Lee and Nicole Manske (pit reporters).
Area Affiliate: WTXY-AM 1490, Watkins Glen, WPGI-FM 100.9, Horseheads or XM Satellite Radio Channel 152 (XM Extreme).

09/20/05
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Hot Topics for Hurricane Relief 400 Hot Topics for Hurricane Relief 400
Up for bid – Champ Car will be conducting online auctions of one-of-a-kind items on its official website, www.champcar.ws, with proceeds from the sale going to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund. Auction items range from driver-autographed memorabilia and race tickets to the opportunity to ride in a pace car or the Champ Car Two Seater with one of the series drivers. For the Las Vegas event there are several items being auctioned off including an opportunity to present a trophy to one of the podium finishers in victory lane and a suite/hospitality packages.

Finishing What He Starts – Sebastien Bourdais has been running at the finish of each of the 10 events this season and is the only driver to do so this year. Remarkably, since 1956, only four drivers have started and been running at the finish of every race on the schedule. Jimmy Vasser is most recent driver to accomplish the feat in his 1996 championship season. The others are Al Unser Jr. (1992), A.J. Foyt (1963) and Jim McElreath (1963).

Circling Push-to-Pass – At this weekend’s race it will mark the first time that Champ Car’s Power-to-Pass will be used on the oval at Las Vegas. The mechanics of the Power-to-Pass will be slightly different this weekend with drivers getting their standard 60 seconds of additional horsepower, but that power will come in 10-second bursts. Therefore, in essence each driver will have six 10-second ‘shots’ of extra power to use during the event.

Servia Breaks Through – On his 95th career start Oriol Servia broke though and recorded his first career win in Montreal. The Spaniard has had a career building season in 2005 recording six podium finishes in eight races and has vaulted himself into second in the series standings, since taking over the Newman/Haas seat in the #2 PacifiCare-sponsored car for the injured Bruno Junqueira. This weekend Servia will be driving the mount that raced side-by-side for the win in Vegas last year.

Bourdais Battles On – Series points leader Sebastien Bourdais passed the 1,000 laps led mark three weeks ago in Montreal, becoming the 22nd driver in series history to lead as many as 1,000 laps of Champ Car competition. With 14 laps led in Las Vegas he will pass Danny Ongais and Kenny Brack to move into the top 20 on the all-time list.

At Home in Vegas - There may not be any Champ Car World Series drivers that can call Las Vegas their hometown, but there are a few drivers that do call Vegas their home when they are not traveling. Those who reside in the Las Vegas are some of Champ Car’s biggest stars including Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, and Alex Tagliani.

Newman-Haas Reigns in Sin City – Newman/Haas Racing has an amazing record in Las Vegas whether on the Caesar’s Palace course or on the oval. In its first year of existence in 1983 Newman/Haas racing won its second race with driver Mario Andretti in Las Vegas. Then in 1984, the squad finished second to Tom Sneva. When Champ Car returned to Las Vegas last year, this time on the oval, NHR cars finished first (Bourdais) and second (Junqueira).  Going into Vegas this weekend the Newman/Haas team has never finished lower than second in a Las Vegas event. 

Tight for Two – While Bourdais is busy leading the points standings the battle for the number two spot has heated up. Last weekend, Oriol Servia’s win launched him into second place in the point standings, but he has two other drivers nipping at his heels. 2003 Champ Car Champion Paul Tracy is just three points behind Servia with RuSPORT's Justin Wilson sitting seven points behind.

Against the Glock– With four events remaining in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year battle, Timo Glock leads the way after scoring the first podium finish of his Champ Car career three weeks ago in Montreal. 27 points behind is Ronnie Bremer with Andrew Ranger slowly closing in on Bremer needing only 12 points to take over the second spot. 

France First – The 10th annual Nation’s Cup standings are warming up with only four more races on the calendar. Currently France leads the standings in the chase for its first-ever Nation’s Cup, with Canada only 11 points behind. Third is Spain who is 45 markers behind the Great White North. The closest battle is for the fourth spot with England holding it and the United States two points back.

All for safety – The Champ Car Safety Team and the on-site, state-of-the-art medical team led by Dr. Chris Pinderski, combined with the skill of the drivers and teams of the series have put Champ Car at the top of the list as one of the safest racing series in the world. The 2005 season has been incident-free 10 races into the season; in fact the last driver to miss a race due to an injury sustained in a Champ Car event was in Cleveland in 2003 when Tiago Monteiro was sidelined for one race by a mild concussion.

09/20/05
A1 Grand Prix
McIntosh selected for Team Canada A1 GP debut McIntosh selected for Team Canada A1 GP debutVancouver’s Sean McIntosh has been selected to spearhead Team Canada’s entry into the inaugural A1 Grand Prix Series, starting with this weekend’s season-opener at Brands Hatch, England, 23rd-25th September.

The A1 Grand Prix Series, billed as the ‘World Cup of Motorsport’, will see 25 nations and their respective drivers compete on a level playing field with each team fighting for national pride, racing across twelve countries and five continents in a twelve-round calendar starting with this weekend’s double-header in Great Britain and running through to the season finale in China in April 2006.

Canada’s official entry to the series was unveiled yesterday, 19th September, as Formula Renault UK Championship title-contender and five-time 2005 race winner Sean McIntosh put the Team Canada entry through its paces on Silverstone’s National Circuit. Unleashing the 3.4-litre 520bhp V8 engine for the first time, the 20-year-old was quickly up to speed behind the wheel of the brand new Lola A1GP challenger. At day’s end the Canadian had posted the fastest time in the afternoon session and second fastest of the day overall.

Commenting on his first run for Team Canada and his selection ahead of this weekend’s maiden A1 Grand Prix Series event, McIntosh enthused:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to represent my country in what can only be described as a thrilling new international racing series. The notion of countries competing against each other on-track has really captured people’s imaginations and I’m incredibly honored to be racing for Team Canada at Brands Hatch this weekend.

“My first runs at Silverstone yesterday were very positive and I loved the step-up in power from my Formula Renault car, which puts out around 200bhp, to the V8 engine in the back of the A1 Grand Prix car! For a young emerging driver like myself, the series is especially important as it will be a real driver’s championship with everyone competing with the same chassis, tires and engine.”

Canadian businessman, Wade Cherwayko, is behind Team Canada’s entry into the inaugural A1 Grand Prix Series with British-based John Village Automotive Limited (Team JVA) charged with running all team operations. Team JVA boasts a successful open-wheel record with victories and titles in Formula 3000.

09/20/05
f1
A must-win scenario for Raikkonen A must-win scenario for RaikkonenThe Interlagos circuit, near Sao Paulo, hosts round 17 of the 2005 Formula One World Championship. With only three races remaining this season, including Brazil, Team McLaren Mercedes arrives in South America still challenging for both Championships.

Kimi Raikkonen lies second in the Drivers’ World Championship with 86 points, 25 points behind Fernando Alonso with 30 points available to win, and team mate Juan Pablo is fourth with 50 points. Team McLaren Mercedes remains second in the Constructors’ Championship with 146 points, six points behind Renault. With a maximum of 54 points to be scored by a team, Team McLaren Mercedes and Renault are the only remaining title contenders, as defending champion Ferrari is third with 56 points behind McLaren-Mercedes.

The first Brazilian Grand Prix in 1973 was held at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, which was built in 1940. Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, won the inaugural race in 1973 in a Lotus. He then went on to win the following year’s Grand Prix for McLaren in an M23. In 1978, the race was moved from Interlagos to the Jacarepaguá circuit near Rio de Janeiro. Twelve years later, the race came back to Sao Paulo.
The last time a Brazilian won on home soil was in 1993 when Ayrton Senna won with McLaren in his MP4/8, having completed the last third of the race in sixth gear.

On March 26 1995, the partnership between McLaren and Mercedes-Benz made its Formula One debut in Brazil. Mika Hakkinen finished the race in fourth place and Mark Blundell in sixth. In 2004, today’s Team McLaren Mercedes team mates Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya were the men of the race. Juan Pablo, then in a BMW-Williams, crossed the line in first place only a second ahead of Kimi, whilst the rest of the field was almost half a minute behind.

Including Kimi's victory at Spa eight days ago, McLaren-Mercedes have won eight out of the last 11 races and 50 per cent of all races this year so far, more than any other team. The team led 517 of the season's 1,000 laps in the first 16 races and led from start to finish in the last three Grand Prix. Kimi achieved six race wins, six pole positions and seven fastest laps so far.

Kimi Raikkonen - “With only three races remaining nothing but another win will do for me in Brazil this weekend. I will be pushing hard to get maximum points for both the Drivers’ and Constructors' Championships. Qualifying at the front will be important, as there is a slope that gets steeper the further down the grid you are, which can make your start slower. There are chances to overtake at Interlagos so we often see exciting racing here, the main one is under braking into the first corner."

"The track surface is very bumpy, which can cause major vibrations, so you need to be 100% focused at all times as they can jar the car, and you mustn’t be caught out by it. Braking stability is key, as you have to brake at the same time as turning in going into most of the corners, and this is one of the many things MP4-20 handles well.”

Juan Pablo Montoya - “Interlagos is a challenging track, that demands high grip, with lots of different features, including the long, fast straights and the twisty infield. The atmosphere is always amazing, the passion of the Paulistas is what motor sport is about, and the queues to get into the track every morning are just crazy."

"Also, the race is close to home so family and friends tend to come and watch and I hope we can put on an entertaining race for them. Interlagos is the third anti-clockwise circuit we race on, in addition to Imola and Turkey, and this does put different pressures on our bodies, specifically the neck area. However we prepare for this with our trainers so it is not a big deal. Myself and Kimi had a great battle here last year and hopefully we can dominate again this weekend by taking 18 points away from Brazil, which is what we need for the Championship battle.”

Alex Wurz - “We had a positive test in Silverstone last week, where I was joined by Pedro. Work was focused on tire selection for the Japanese Grand Prix, as we had already completed our pre-race program with Michelin for Brazil. We will focus on completing the set-up and Michelin selection program during Friday’s sessions. The set-up will of course need to allow for the bumpy surface, although the ride heights will be raised slightly, we still need to keep them low to ensure we have the speed and handling required for the Interlagos track.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren CEO - “Our main aim at Team McLaren Mercedes is to leave the Brazilian Grand Prix having secured a one-two podium finish, and we know we have the performance to achieve this. The current strength of the Team McLaren Mercedes package is a testament to the work that has been taking place all year in Woking, Brixworth, Stuttgart and on the test track, and we need to take this and optimize our position in the fight for both Championships."

"We came so close to taking the lead in the Constructors’ at Spa, however were hampered by matters out of our control, however we are looking to make amends in Brazil. 2005 is the first time the race has been held in September. As a result, the weather we can expect this year is typically cool (18 – 23 deg C) and potentially wet. With the expected weather, we have been studying tires with Michelin that will give good performance in the expected cooler conditions."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes VP - “The Interlagos circuit saw the track debut of the McLaren-Mercedes partnership 10 years ago. Since then we have won three times and everybody in the team has worked hard in order to obtain another victory on this demanding circuit. The track is a physical challenge for the drivers, as it is one out of only three anticlockwise circuits after Imola and Istanbul."

"This places different physical pressures on the drivers, as the forces in the corners are on the opposite muscles. As for the racetrack, the bumpy surface causes major vibrations in the car and also influences the set-up, as the team needs to ensure it rides well over the bumps and it has high levels of grip. Our aim is to maintain the momentum from the last four races which we have won, in order to finish the season with the maximum possible points in both Championships. We will see whether we can score enough to be at the top of the rankings at the season's end." McLaren Mercedes

09/20/05
f1
Schumacher believes team can turn it around Schumacher believes team can turn it aroundMichael Schumacher has had a couple of days to relax with his family after a frantic past couple of weeks.  It was a short break before setting off for the distant races in Brazil, Japan and China. Schumacher will leave for Brazil early on Wednesday morning with precise objectives in mind: "I can think of no reason why our situation cannot drastically turn around," declared the seven time world champion.

Schumacher is certainly not the type to believe in false hope. "I am a realist, plain and simple. I also think that our strength comes from our being calm. There is no need to try to change things in a short space of time. We should not let outside factors affect negatively how we act. We will see on the track on Friday how things go in Brazil."

This means that the reigning world champion will be his usual self in Brazil - he will do his best in the current situation.

Before heading to the circuit, on Wednesday Schumacher will visit the Fiat plant in Belo Horizonte. Then, in the evening, he will play in a charity football match in the city. The proceeds from the game will all be donated to UNICEF.

Schumacher will then take part in a Shell press conference before leaving for Interlagos. Ferrari

09/20/05
f1
Brazil circuit a tough nut to crack Brazil circuit a tough nut to crackThe end of the season is fast approaching with round seventeen of the FIA Formula One World Championship taking place this weekend at the Brazilian Interlagos track in Sao Paulo. One of only three anticlockwise circuits on the calendar, the 4.309km circuit is not an easy one to master. Its bumpy, undulating track is a challenge for tire manufacturers and teams alike and the weather can be unpredictable.

In preparation for the only South American F1 round, Ferrari and Jordan have both been testing, in Spain and the UK respectively.

With just three races left this season, every point counts. The Ferrari team currently lies third in the Constructors’ Championship, just ten ahead of their nearest challenger, while Michael Schumacher has Juan Pablo Montoya hot on his heels for third place in the Drivers’ rankings.

Bridgestone Motorsport’s Formula One Potenza tires arrive in Sao Paulo this week direct from Bridgestone’s F1 production facility in Tokyo, Japan. The specifications for Interlagos will consist of two dry, grooved specifications for each team and the same wet weather and extreme wet weather specification for all Bridgestone teams.
 
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport
“Brazil marks the start of the final push to the end of the season. It is also another favorite round for the F1 community. Facilities may not be up to the standards of other circuits in this current era of building brand new tracks, but the people of Brazil and Sao Paulo always give us a warm welcome."

"For Bridgestone, the Brazilian Grand Prix is an important event as we have a road tire factory and substantial business in the country. It would be great to give all the Bridgestone employees something to cheer about. Furthermore, while we wish all the Bridgestone runners the best of luck this weekend, we would particularly like to see Rubens Barrichello have a competitive run in his final home race with the Ferrari team.”

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager
“The anticlockwise nature of the Brazilian track means that from a tire point of view, Interlagos can be tough on the right front and right rear tires. The other issue we have to take into account is the track surface. Although bumpy, the tarmac itself is relatively smooth which would normally require as soft a compound as possible. However, there are several long corners which can be hard on the rear tires so we have needed to keep rear degradation rates in mind when choosing the compounds for this race."

"The undulating rises and dips of the circuit are also factors, having an affect on both the choice of tire and fuel usage. I would expect teams to be running mainly two-stop strategies, although three is possible. Weather wise, the Brazilian race is always unpredictable with the potential for either hot track temperatures or torrential rain. Taking these variables into account, we have been busy testing with Ferrari and Jordan in the last week at Jerez and Silverstone respectively with a view to getting the right tires for a competitive weekend.” Bridgestone

09/20/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Alonso vows to attack
BAR sign young drivers
Massa vows to tackle Schu
Indy fans get check in mail
BMW and Villeneuve
'Breakaway' to fall short
Schu predicts more misery
F1 needs 'charisma' - Watson
Happy Birthday to Juan
Ferrari win '05 test race
'Fast but fragile'
Fisi 'fine' after Spa shunt
09/20/05
irl
f1
Kanaan gets his F1 joyride next week Kanaan gets his F1 joyride next weekReigning Indy Racing League champion, Tony Kanaan, will join the B*A*R Honda team at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain next week for the opportunity to drive this year's B*A*R Honda 007 car.

B*A*R Honda invited Tony to gain his first experience of a Formula One car in recognition of his IRL Indy Car achievements in 2004. He will join the team in Jerez on Thursday 29 September. Tony has a long-standing association with Honda, having driven for Honda-powered teams in the North American CART series and the IRL series since 1998.

Tony will join the B*A*R Honda team at the final test of the 2005 F1 season where the team will be concentrating on preparations for their second home race of the year at Suzuka in Japan and the final race of the season in Shanghai, China.

30 year old Kanaan, who drives for the Honda-powered Andretti Green Racing team, was the winner of the 2004 IRL championship. Kanaan drove his #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara / Honda / Firestone car to the championship in superb style with three race wins. He also set a number of Indy Car series records along the way, including the most points in a single season (618), highest number of top five finishes (15) and number of laps led (889).

Tony is making a flying visit to Europe to drive the B*A*R Honda 007 car before heading back to North America for the final round of this year's IRL series in which he is currently lying in 2nd position with two race wins.

Commenting on this exciting opportunity, Tony Kanaan said, "I feel honored to have this opportunity. My relationship with Honda is quite long-standing and having this chance means a lot to me. Honda is and will always be part of my life. We did a great job together last year and this is recognition of the really hard work that went into that."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director at B*A*R Honda comments, "I was aware of Tony's close relationship with Honda whilst we were competing against each other in the United States and using the same Honda engines. I am very pleased that we are able to give Tony his first taste of an F1 car and it will certainly be an honor for us to run a reigning champion from the extended Honda Racing family."

Yasuhiro Wada, President, Honda Racing Development said, "Tony has done a great job over the years winning so many races in both the CART and IRL series with Honda-powered cars. We are very pleased to give him this chance to sample our F1 machinery."

09/19/05
f1
Q and A with Renault's Pat Symonds Q and A with Renault's Pat SymondsRenault may well wrap up the 2005 drivers’ title this weekend, but for the team’s designers, technicians and mechanics the constructors’ championship is just as important. Winning that one presents something more a challenge, as their Executive Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds, explains:

Q: The team is fighting for both championships as we begin the last three races of the season. Which one would it give you most pleasure to win?
Pat Symonds: From a personal point of view, I am always very proud to win the constructors’ championship, as it is a symbol of what everybody in the team has contributed to the season. In terms of image and the importance to the company, there is no doubt that the drivers’ title is the one to win: everybody remembers the world champion driver, not the world champion team. But within the team, there is a very strong drive to claim the constructors’ title as well.

Q: The McLaren is currently the class of the field. How will Renault be responding?
PS: We are not arrogant here in the team, and we do fully appreciate that the McLaren is now a quicker car than the Renault. We have a good step on the aerodynamics for Brazil, that will help us claw back some of the deficit. But it is also partly to do with some of the strategic engineering decisions that have been made in the team. We do not want a car that is fast and fragile, we want a car that will finish every Sunday because that is how championships are won.

Q: What do you think will be the deciding factor in these final races?
PS: I still think it will come down to reliability, even at this late stage. With three races left, ourselves and McLaren have six race starts each until the end of the season. If both teams get six finishes between now and China, it is likely that McLaren will beat us. But if they fail to finish, then we can beat them. So firstly, we have to make sure we finish the races with both cars. Then after that, we need to put pressure on them.

Q: Is it not tough fighting a team that is quicker than you?
PS: Of course, but that’s what sport is all about! With a racing driver, I believe what marks out good drivers from champions, is the champion’s ability to set a personal best every time he goes out in the car - they can always push back their limits. And it is no different for the whole team: we are looking to set our “personal best” at each race until the end of the year. In Monza, we didn’t win but I came away very satisfied because I felt we had put in a personal best performance as a team. Equally, after problems in the pit-stops this year, we had two of the quickest stops in Spa. It is an enormous challenge to get a team working at the top of its game, but when it does, it is extremely satisfying.

Q: Finally, tell us a little about Brazil…
PS: Brazil - like Indianapolis - is a circuit with two very distinct halves: a very high speed section past the pits and along the back straight where top speed and low drag are at a premium, combined with the twisting infield which demands downforce and mechanical grip. So we work hard to find the right compromise on wing levels. You need good mechanical grip for the slow corners, and also good ride: the circuit can be bumpy and if the car is hopping from one bump to another, you lose grip and therefore lap-time. Traditionally, the team has performed very strongly at this circuit, and we are certainly optimistic that this will be the case again this year.

09/19/05
nascar
NASCAR levies fines for NH altercations NASCAR levies fines for NH altercationsNASCAR issued fines and penalties Monday to four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, resulting from rule violations this past weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway.
  • Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Dodge, was fined $25,000 because of an on-track altercation with another competitor during a caution period and placed on probation for the remainder of the year. Kahne violated Section 12-4-A of the series rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing). Kahne was also penalized 25 driver championship points and car owner Ray Evernham losing 25 owner championship points. “There have been a growing number of incidents lately where drivers have taken matters into their own hands. Such unsafe and inappropriate behavior has to stop,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. NASCAR will use whatever means necessary to stop it.”

Other fines and penalties issued Monday:

  • Lance McGrew, crew chief for the #25 Chevrolet driven by Brian Vickers, was fined $10,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the year. The #25 team had its primary car confiscated after the weekend’s initial inspection process, due to an unapproved car body. Vickers was penalized 25 driver points and car owner Mary Hendrick was penalized 25 owner points. The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A and Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules).
  • Robby Gordon, driver of the #7 Chevrolet, was fined $25,000 for attempting to hit another competitor’s car during a caution period, and then throwing his helmet at another competitor’s car. Gordon also was fined $10,000 for use of improper language during a television interview during the race. Each fine was accompanied by penalties against Gordon of 25 driver points and 25 owner points against James Smith. In addition, Gordon has been placed on probation for the remainder of the year. In each instance, Gordon was in violation of Section 12-4-A. So Gordon loses 50 drivers points and 50 owners points.

#15 Chevrolet driver Michael Waltrip, involved in the on-track altercations with Gordon, was fined $10,000 and penalized 25 driver points because of an inappropriate gesture during a televised broadcast, while car owner Teresa Earnhardt was penalized 25 owner points. Waltrip was also in violation of Section 12-4-A. NASCAR PR

09/19/05
irl
Patrick on Letterman Patrick on LettermanReminder - Danica Patrick will be a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday night, September 20. The show airs at 11:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
09/19/05
irl
AJ Foyt IV to skip another road race AJ Foyt IV to skip another road raceJeff Bucknum will replace A.J. Foyt IV for the second time: Bucknum, who finished 10th driving the No. 14 in the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway last month, will again drive A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Dallara/Chevrolet. “I thought Jeff did a good job for us last month so when it came time to replace A.J. IV for this road course event, I didn’t have to look too far,” said Foyt. “We’ll be in the same position as we were at Infineon because we haven’t been to the Glen testing with the Indy cars, but at the same time, we do know each other a little bit better which will help us find a comfortable and competitive set-up.”

Jeff Bucknum on what he learned driving the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet: “I was surprised at how quickly I fit in with the Foyt team. I think we had good communication right off the bat; I felt like we had been working together for a while. The other surprise for me was the pace of the race. In sports car racing, the cars and drivers are not that closely matched so that gaps and rhythms develop as the race progresses. In the IRL, the intensity of the race is there from start to finish—nobody eases up or takes a breather the whole race. The good part about that is that I can gauge myself against the best, the bad part is that I can’t afford to make even a little mistake. As a team, we have to stay focused and not give up anything. It’s a challenge that I’m looking forward to.”

Bucknum’s experience at Watkins Glen is limited to two races in the Barber Dodge Pro Series nearly ten years ago. Team owner A.J. Foyt’s driving experience at the Glen dates back even further. He drove a stock car there in the NASCAR race in August, 1989 when he qualified 35
th. He dropped out after 7 laps with overheating problems in the engine, placing 37th. Foyt didn’t compete in the 1981 Indy car race at the Glen. He was still recovering from his Indy car accident at Michigan two months earlier when he nearly lost his right arm.

A.J. Foyt IV, who will not be at the Glen this weekend, will return to drive the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Chevrolet in the IRL IndyCar Series final race of the season at California Speedway October 16. AJ Foyt Racing

09/19/05
A1 Grand Prix
Austria, Italy and Japan join A1 GP Austria, Italy and Japan join A1 GPThree more teams, all representing countries with a proud heritage in motorsport, have joined A1 Grand Prix completing the grid for the first A1 Grand Prix of Nations to be held at Brands Hatch, Great Britain this weekend.

Testing today at Silverstone, the three teams have been busy setting up their cars and preparing drivers for the World Cup of Motorsport's inaugural race weekend beginning with the Series' first official practice session on Friday afternoon.

The Austrian car will be run by two legendary Formula One World Champions - Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg. Arch rivals on track in the 1980s, the two men are now working together leading A1 Team Austria's A1 car to be driven by Mathias Lauda - son of triple world champion Niki.

Leading the Italian team is Piercarlo Ghinzani who, after a successful career as a professional driver from 1970-1990, founded his own race team in 1992. Matteo Bobbi, Gianmaria Bruni, Daniel La Rosa and Enrico Toccacelo are all in the running for the prestigious driver's seat but the entry for the Brands Hatch race will not be announced until the official driver sign-on this Thursday.

A business conglomeration will run A1 Team Japan's car which today was shaken down by ex-F1 star Hideki Noda but will be driven by Ryo Fukuda at Brands Hatch. The team will be run by Carlin Motorsport, a team with a string of racing titles to their name, most recently the British Formula 3 championship title.

These three teams complete the A1GP grid meaning that 25 cars, all representing a different country, will take to the Brands Hatch track on Sunday. Like all other teams, the deals run for the first three seasons - guaranteeing years of thrilling on-track action for fans all over the world. More...

09/19/05
irl
IRL community raises funds for charity IRL community raises funds for charityIndy Racing League founder Tony George, IRL President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Barnhart, two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. and IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter were joined by 50 other motorcyclists on the first Indy Racing Ride on Sept. 17.

Nearly 80 members of the IRL community, representing several IndyCar Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series teams and officials from the league and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, participated in the charity ride from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Nashville, Ind. The ride concluded with a lap around the 2.5-mile oval at the Speedway. Nearly $700 was raised for "The Posse," a not-for-profit group which designs programs to protect children from abuse.

09/19/05
IPS
Giebler to fill Drake's seat at Watkins Glen Giebler to fill Drake's seat at Watkins GlenPhil Giebler, a veteran road racer and former winner in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, will drive the No. 20 Vision Racing entry in the Corning 100 at Watkins Glen International on Sept. 25.

Giebler will fill in for Jay Drake, who is tied for sixth in points with Chris Festa and Jon Herb. Drake, the reigning USAC National Sprint Car champion, is only 26 points out of first on the sprint car circuit.

"It was difficult to make the decision to turn the reins of the No. 20 Vision Racing entry over to another driver for this weekend's events at Watkins Glen," said Drake, who has five top-five finishes in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series this season. "We've been in a situation where there have been conflicting events a couple of times this year. At this point in the season, we needed to make a decision that would be beneficial for both teams.

"While both series are extremely important to my racing career, I am in contention to win a second USAC National Sprint Car Series title and feel that I should focus on my commitment to the Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises team. I'm looking forward to returning to the No. 20 team at California Speedway in October."

Giebler brings both a strong history of road-course racing and a familiarity with the Menards Infiniti Pro Series cars to the Vision Racing team.

The 25-year-old Oxnard, Calif., native competed for five seasons in formula cars in Europe before racing in seven Menards Infiniti Pro Series events last season. Giebler won the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway and recorded three additional top-five finishes.

"I'm really looking forward to the race," said Giebler, a three-time national karting champion. "I wanted to drive on the road courses in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series car. I'm happy for the opportunity and hope I can turn this one opportunity into a bigger opportunity for next year. I've never raced at Watkins Glen, but I'm going to ask a few of my friends who have driven there about the track, see what they know and try to get a head start on it."

Giebler also has his sights set on another national karting title. Giebler is the Eastern Division champion in the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League and will contend for the national title in October in Austin, Texas.

Practice for the Corning 100 on the 11-turn, 3.37-mile circuit at Watkins Glen begins on Sept. 23. Qualifying is Sept. 24 and the 20-lap, 67.4-mile race is Sept. 25.

09/19/05
A1 Grand Prix
First-ever Arab team First-ever Arab teamThe Arab region’s first national motor racing team, A1 Team Lebanon, will be making its race debut this week at the Brands Hatch race circuit in England. The team’s two Lebanese racing drivers, Basil Shaaban and Khalil Beschir, are eager to represent their country in the new A1 Grand Prix series, as this new concept in motorsport starts its inaugural season of 12 races taking place around the world including Australasia, South Africa, Europe, Asia Pacific, USA, South America and the Middle East.

A1 Team Lebanon will be flying the flag for the Arab region, with the A1 racing car liveried in the colors of the national flag and the Cedar tree enveloping the engine cover. Team founder, Tameem Auchi, says of the team’s upcoming debut, “Brands Hatch will see the culmination of months of hard work preparing this new team to compete on an international stage. Lebanon does not have a heritage of single-seater motor racing, so we’ll be making history next weekend when we line up on the grid for the first race alongside many other great nations.

A1 Grand Prix, through its worldwide broadcast coverage, will put the spotlight on our region and I hope we will be an inspiration to Middle Eastern people throughout the world.” Beschir and Shaaban are counting down the days to the first race. Beschir says, “We’ve been working towards this first race weekend for some months now, so the excitement has been building as it draws closer; we can’t wait to be out on track representing Lebanon. We hope that we will be sporting ambassadors for our country throughout the year and that we’ll build plenty of support for A1 Team Lebanon around the world.” Shaaban adds, “Khalil and I have been focused on an intensive driving development and fitness training program in preparation for the A1 Grand Prix series and now we take a step further with the start of the season at Brands Hatch. It is a unique opportunity for us to be racing at a high international level, flying the flag for Lebanon and we’re very proud to have been selected for A1 Team Lebanon.”

The A1 Grand Prix series will bring together 25 nations to compete in this new motorsport series which will showcase these countries to a global audience. Each national team will have cars, technology and innovation deliberately equalized so that performance is determined by driver skill and team excellence. Each race weekend comprises practice and qualifying sessions, a sprint race of 20 – 30 minutes duration and a feature race of 45 – 60 minutes in length. Points are scored for the top ten finishers in each race, with points counting towards the overall World Cup of Motorsport. The first race weekend takes place at Brands Hatch race circuit in Kent, England from 23 – 25 September 2005.

09/19/05
ga
Bas Leinders to Make Rolex Series Debut Bas Leinders to Make Rolex Series DebutBelgian racer Bas Leinders will make his Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series debut this weekend co-driving the No. 7 Tuttle Team Racing/SAMAX Pontiac Riley with car owner Brian Tuttle in Saturday’s Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen International (SPEED Channel, Live, 3 p.m. ET).

Leinders brings considerable experience from some of the most competitive series in Europe to the Rolex Series. The Belgian—who won championships in German Formula 3 (1998), European Formula Opel (1996), British Formula Ford (1995) and European Formula Ford (1995)—served as the official test and reserve driver for the Minardi Cosworth team in the 2004 Formula One World Championship.

He finished third in the 2002 and 2003 Telefonica World Series by Nissan, taking two victories in each season, and competed in the FIA Formula 3000 championship from 1999 through 2001. Leinders has also been successful in various sports car series in Europe, taking victories in the 2003 24 Hours of Zolder and a fourth-place finish in the 2002 24 Hours of Spa among many other achievements.

“I am very happy that, thanks to SAMAX Motorsport, I can get my first taste of racing a Daytona Prototype in the Rolex Sports Car Series,” Leinders said. “After being the Minardi Formula One test driver in 2004, I concentrated on finding a drive in an American series, and I hope this participation will help me for the future. Watkins Glen seems to be an awesome circuit and I look forward to the challenge.”

09/19/05
Formula Ford
An American Abroad—UK Formula Ford star Joe D'Agostino a busy man An American Abroad—UK Formula Ford star Joe D'Agostino a busy manAmerican Joe D'Agostino has been busy of late, driving anything he can get his hands on nearly every day of the week as he continues to work toward his dream.

D'Agostino has a keen eye toward the future, and is hoping a strong performance in a recent test with Formula 3 front-runners Räikkönen Robertson Racing helps to bolster his chances in the category next season. The test at Pembrey Circuit in Wales left the American youngster impressed, and he feels as though he made an impression as well.
 
"I felt really fortunate and honored to get the initial test," said D'Agostino. "I really enjoyed working with the team and the car was just fantastic."
 
D'Agostino also made a one-off appearance in the competitive Formula Renault UK championship, adding Donington Park GP to the list of tracks that he has set track records on since moving to race in Europe this season.
 
With six wins and twelve podiums to his credit this season, D'Agostino intends to move up in the UK Formula Ford Championship in rounds seventeen and eighteen this weekend at Snetterton. A recent wet test in his Formula Ford at the track has him feeling ready to go this weekend, no matter what the weather.
 
With no race car driving on his schedule this past weekend, DAgostino instead went to watch some in action, as well as check out some of the best vintage race machinery and personalities at the Goodwood Revival.
 
"It has been a fantastic week for me and a great time in my life, to have spent almost every single day doing what I love most is a dream come true... I am truly blessed," said D'Agostino.

09/19/05
SCCA
September 2005 Formula Russell Championship September 2005 Formula Russell ChampionshipRookie Dane Cameron rode a simply dominating performance over the weekend at Infineon Raceway to clinch the 2005 SCCA Formula Russell Championship, presented by Yokohama Tires.

Cameron, a 16-year-old student at nearby Sonoma Valley High School, won each of the Group A races Saturday and Sunday to settle in at 179 points on the year. With just one more race and 20 points on the table in October’s season finale, Cameron sits ahead of Stephen Hill (133 points) and fellow rookies Eddie Caballero (132), Jesus Vasquez (130) and Jess Peterson (120).

"It’s fantastic. It’s really great. That was my goal coming into this weekend, to wrap it up," said Cameron. That he did, taking the pole and leading wire-to-wire both days.

The feat continued an impressive run for Cameron, who posted a pair of second places and a couple of thirds in a winless three-month stretch to start the season. He then won at least one race in each of the next four race weekends, and his latest double-victory effort matched his outing in June when he also won both races.

Cameron, who was third at the Jim Russell Road Racing Scholarships last December, knew that a championship was a possibility this season.

"It was a pretty realistic goal. I wanted to learn and get better as the season went along, and I think I did that," said Cameron, who posted a fastest-lap time of 1:45.607 on Sunday.

Cameron finished ahead of Jeremy Spiering and Caballero on Saturday, and shared the winner’s podium with Spiering and Vasquez on Sunday.

[Editor's Note: You may not be aware that Dane is the son of Finlay Motorsports engineer Rick Cameron and nephew of team manager Steve Cameron... both late of Lynx Racing fame... his plans for 2006 include a mixed schedule of Formula Ford 2000 and Ford Focus midget racing so he will have both road racing and oval experience to be ready for whatever opportunities the future holds.]

09/19/05
f1
Dennis says Juan was not to blame Dennis says Juan was not to blameMcLaren team boss Ron Dennis cleared Juan Pablo Montoya of blame after his crash with Antonio Pizzonia near the end of the Belgian Grand Prix. Pizzonia was fined £4,500 for the crash, which happened when Montoya lay second and let Fernando Alonso take second and move closer to the title.

"Pizzonia waved Juan Pablo past and at the next corner Pizzonia came straight into the back of him," said Dennis. "Juan Pablo was the blameless victim of other people's mistakes."

"We had a comfortable, well-judged, disciplined team-oriented race which should have been a comfortable one-two," said Dennis. "It is bitterly disappointing when you do things well and something out of your control happens."

Pizzonia apologized, and insisted it was all down to a misunderstanding. "I was on dry tires and lapping quicker than him. He was quite slow maybe because his tires were not good anymore or maybe he was just cruising to the end of the race," he said. "I thought he saw me and when he braked really early I thought he was trying to let me by. I am sorry for him because I am not here to destroy anyone's race. I destroyed my race too."

09/19/05
irl
Danica Patrick diecast available Danica Patrick diecast availableA die-cast replica of the IndyCar® Series car that Danica Patrick drove into the history books in May at the 89th Indianapolis 500 is available now at the Brickyard Authentics Online Store.

Fans can visit the Online Store at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.
Patrick finished fourth in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" after a thrilling late-race duel with eventual winner Dan Wheldon, the best result ever by a woman at Indy. She also led three times for 19 laps, becoming the first woman to lead an Indianapolis 500 lap, and was named JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year.

The 1/18-scale die-cast metal car, produced by Greenlight, features all of the details and sponsor decals seen on the No. 16 Rahal Letterman Argent Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone that Patrick drove at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  A Patrick T-shirt and cap also are available at the Brickyard Authentics Online Store.  [Editor's Note:  We wonder if it has a missing front wing that she lost when she wiped out the entire John Barnes Panther Racing team in one fell swoop at Indy, and only by the grace of God didn't take herself out at the same time.  If she had, there would be no Danicamania.]

09/19/05
cc
Champ Car Auction already attracting over $13,000 for Hurricane Relief Champ Car Auction already attracting over $13,000 for Hurricane ReliefChamp Car fans from around the world are responding in large numbers, bidding on a vast array of racing items in an auction that benefits the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

On Friday, the Champ Car World Series, with assistance from CARA Charities, kicked off its auction to benefit those people affected by one of the most devastating storms in U.S. history. With donations flowing in from across the Champ Car community, 91 items are currently up for auction – with more to be added - attracting more than 1,000 bids. The total amount pledged on the items as of Monday morning is $13,255, with three full days remaining before the close of bidding on the first item.

“We could not be more proud of the effort that everyone in the Champ Car community has shown in raising money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “Teams, sponsors and drivers have all taken action to further the cause and our fans have responded with equal enthusiasm. We also owe a good deal of thanks to CARA for their valuable assistance in this effort to bring aid to those affected by this tragedy.”

The auction has attracted donations from throughout the racing community including; a pair of autographed copies of former series champion Alex Zanardi’s book – donated by Bentley Publishing, items signed by Champ Car legend Bobby Unser including a pair of die-cast cars, subscriptions to RACER and Autosport magazines and autographed pictures donated by Champ Car series photographers.

The two-tiered auction will see the majority of the items, including driver firesuits, race tickets and suite passes to races on the 2006 Champ Car schedule, available for bid until 8 p.m. Eastern Time on September 27. However, there are a number of items that are specific to this weekend’s Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that will close to bidders at 1 p.m., Thursday September 22. Those items include pace-car rides along with the opportunity to present one of the trophies to the drivers at the conclusion of the race.

All of the proceeds will go to victims of Hurricane Katrina, with 25 percent of the money raised going to CARA Charities. CARA will use those funds to purchase child car seats through its Buckle Up Baby Program, providing them to families throughout the affected areas at no charge. Fans can access the auction items by visiting the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws, and following the links to the auction site.

09/19/05
cc
Hunter-Reay’s Korean Experience Hunter-Reay’s Korean ExperienceWhen most people were relaxing and preparing for another work week last Sunday, Rocketsports Racing driver Ryan Hunter-Reay’s weekend was cut short as he boarded a plane to Korea to fulfill his duties as a Champ Car driver.

The Champ Car World Grand Prix of Ansan is Round 12 on the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford and will run October 14-16.  Hunter-Reay joined Champ Car’s Joseph Chrnelich, Executive Vice President, Development, Governmental Affairs & Planning, and Randy Biggs, Manager of Race Promotions, to help promote the upcoming inaugural race. 

“The pre-event promotion and activities in Seoul for our Ansan, Korea race went extremely well,” said the three-year veteran Champ Car driver.  “What a country, I was very surprised by how modern and clean the city and the surrounding areas are.  From the moment I arrived until my return to the United States I was treated to an amazing first time experience.

The American arrived on Monday morning in Korea and spent two full days in the new Champ Car race market.  Participating in a press conference and several interview sessions, Hunter-Reay was impressed by the overall interest that the Koreans articulated. 

“The press conference and media activities were very well received showing that the Koreans are very much looking forward to their first ever world class motor sports event,” said Hunter-Reay.  "The building of the track and the event as a whole has been a major undertaking however Champ Car has worked very hard with their Korean counterparts to make this a reality.”

Hunter-Reay was scheduled to be the first Champ Car driver to see the new 1.9-mile temporary street course in Ansan during his short visit, but the hour and a half drive from Seoul trip was rained out due to monsoon weather.

“If the race weekend comes together anywhere near as well as the kickoff activities, this could be one of our marquee events for the future as Champ Car looks to establish itself within the Pacific Rim.  I can’t wait to go back.” Champ Car

09/19/05
f1
BAR Honda increases commitment to young drivers BAR Honda increases commitment to young driversBAR Honda announced today that it has signed long-term agreements with two further members of the team's Young Driver Program (YDP).

South African Alan van der Merwe and Brazilian Danilo Dirani now join fellow YDP members Adam Carroll and James Rossiter in formalizing their relationship with the team.

All four drivers have been part of the Young Driver Program since it was established in the autumn of 2004. The initiative, led by Sporting Director Gil de Ferran and Senior Race Engineer Jock Clear, is designed to help develop emerging motorsport talent from which the team could potentially benefit in the longer-term.

25 year old Alan van der Merwe is a former British F3 Champion, voted Rookie of the Year in 2002 before winning the title in 2003. Prior to that, in 2001, he won the Formula Ford Festival. He is currently supporting BAR Honda's 'Bonneville 400' record attempt, which takes place at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States on 5th October and is currently finalizing his plans for a race seat in one of the feeder formulae for next season.

22 year old Danilo Dirani won the South American F3 Championship in 2003 before coming to England at the start of 2004 to compete in the British Formula 3 Championship. He is now in his second season, having won two races this year, and is currently sixth in the Drivers' Championship with two races remaining. BAR Honda

09/19/05
irl
Briscoe released Briscoe releasedTarget Chip Ganassi Racing’s 23-year-old Australian IndyCar rookie driver Ryan Briscoe (no.33 Target Pioneer /Toyota /Panoz /Firestone) continues to progress on his road to recovery after a spectacular incident on Sunday, September 11, at Chicagoland Speedway. He was released from Indianapolis’ Methodist Hospital on Monday, September 19.

After being transferred from Chicago’s Advocate Christ Hospital 24 hours after the incident, Briscoe underwent further evaluation and treatment at Indianapolis’ Methodist Hospital under the care of Dr. Scott Bjerke, Dr. Terry Trammell and Dr. Kevin Sheid, with the assistance of Indy Racing League medical personnel.

09/19/05
cc
Paul Newman wins an Emmy Paul Newman wins an EmmyChamp Car team co-owner (Newman/Haas Racing) Paul Newman was selected as the winner of the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor for his role in HBO's film Empire Falls.
09/19/05
f1
Jordan retains Kiesa for Brazil Jordan retains Kiesa for BrazilNicolas Kiesa will remain in Jordan's 'Friday' seat at the Brazilian and Chinese grands prix after signing an extended contract.  The Dane was originally scheduled to run merely the last four European races of 2005, finishing with the recent Spa-Francorchamps event.

''I am very happy that I have been able to extend my existing contract,'' he said. In between Brazil and the Chinese finale, Sakon Yamamoto will climb into the spare car at Suzuka.

For the first time, Kiesa will have a 'b' spec Jordan at his disposal, as will Yamamoto at the Japanese event.

Press Release: With three races remaining this season, the 'F1 circus' is moving to Brazil. Jordan Grand Prix is bringing three EJ15Bs to the challenging track of Interlagos, one of the three circuits that runs in an anti-clockwise direction.

The Indian driver of Jordan Grand Prix, Narain Karthikeyan, feels ready for the weekend in a circuit who brings back to him good memories : "I like Brazil and particularly the circuit at Interlagos, even if it is bumpy and hot there. It is a very undulating circuit and, as it is anticlockwise, like Imola and Turkey, it consists of mainly left-hand corners, apart from one of the hairpins. I drove there in 2002 when I was racing in the Formula Nissan World Series. We did very well and I hold the fastest lap record for the Nissan cars."

Tiago Monteiro is looking to continue the good performances of this year : "After such a great race at Spa and only three races left, everybody is very motivated to go to Brazil. The extra point could not have come at a better time. Brazil will be a very difficult track physically because of its anticlockwise configuration and also because it is quite technical to find a good set-up. We will have to be ready for the challenge. Of course, I am as motivated as ever - even more than ever - and I am looking forward to being there."

The 'Friday Driver', Italian Nicolas Kiesa, has also experience at Interlagos and following his contract extension he's ready to provide the team with valuable feedback on the setup and tire choice: "I am very happy that I have been able to extend my existing contract for the last four European races to include the Brazilian and Chinese Grands Prix. I have raced at Interlagos in Formula 3000 in 2002 and, therefore, know the circuit pretty well. It is a very tough circuit as the track surface is uneven and it turns anticlockwise as in Turkey and Imola. This circuit has also more high downforce and quick corners. This will be very tough, but I feel quite confident that I am in good physical condition and also that our new car will perform well there as the more downforce we have, the better the car goes."

Interlagos is a special place, very bumpy and quite narrow. Dominic Harlow, Jordan Chief Race & Test Engineer, commented ahead of the weekend : "We completed a three day test at Silverstone covering over 1000Km. Anthony Davidson drove on the first day and we were very happy with the work we were able to cover. The following two days saw Sakon Yamamoto in his first F1 test preparing for his Friday duties in Suzuka and familiarizing himself with the car and team. He adapted very well to the new surroundings learning the car in both dry and wet conditions and we look forward to his contribution in Japan. In addition we worked as normal on tires and development components for the car and engine with both drivers. Interlagos is something of a contrast to some of the circuits we visit, it is some 800m above sea level, quite narrow undulating and bumpy. The weather can be unpredictable as well and the last two races here, at opposite ends of the season have both been wet; there are always some surprises in Brazil, last year practice was delayed by a runaway dog. As well as the bumps the circuit offers the drivers some challenging corners, the Senna S that seems to have inspired the first two turns in Turkey, and the Ferrardura, it is also one of the three anti-clockwise circuits that we visit. At this circuit the cars tend to suffer from understeer and we try to improve this whilst maintaining good stability for braking and entry and strong traction all of course important for lap time. Under the current regulations Brazil is likely to be a two stop race. We have three EJ15B cars at this event for the first time." Jordan Grand Prix

09/19/05
f1
Villeneuve thinks he still has a ride for 2006 Villeneuve thinks he still has a ride for 2006On Friday, the new BMW team confirmed Nick Heidfeld as their official driver starting in the 2006 championship season and continuing until the end of 2008, and current Sauber driver, Jacques Villeneuve is convinced that he will be lining up alongside the German for the teams first season in the sport as a team in their own right, despite Villeneuve's contract being signed by Sauber, not BMW. 

"Of course it's certain," he told F1 Racing magazine. "Why is it not certain? Look at Jenson – he didn't want to stay at BAR last year, but his contract forced him to stay there. Contracts are quite powerful things. Besides, there is no indication that BMW are unhappy with the fact of my contract. So there's no reason to be worried. "And I'm already building good relationships with Mario Theissen and the other BMW guys. It's going to be fantastic. All I know is that there will be a bigger budget under BMW than there is under Sauber – which is important. The beginning of next season will be tricky – but, after that, things will get better very fast.”

However, it remains to be seen if BMW simply pays Villeneuve to sit home and puts a younger and faster driver in the seat.

09/19/05
f1
Despite Michelin protest, Mosley pushing ahead on tires Despite Michelin protest, Mosley pushing ahead on tiresFIA president Max Mosley is intent on seeing Formula One move to control tires, despite recent press releases criticizing it by Michelin and saying they will quit the sport if it happens.

Speaking at a press conference in Shanghai on Monday, AFP reported that Mosley said, "Firstly, it's safer because we can keep speeds under control with one tire maker. Secondly it's cheaper for the competitors as they don't have to buy a lot of tires and they don't have to do a lot of tire testing. Thirdly, it's fairer.

"The problem is he did not find out what the procedure was before they criticized it," added Mosley. "His criticism was therefore misconceived."

09/19/05
f1
Mosley dismisses breakaway threat Mosley dismisses breakaway threatMax Mosley has today dismissed the threat of a breakaway series to rival F1 in 2007, saying financing problems made it highly unlikely the circuit would get off the ground.

"It is becoming in my view increasingly unlikely that will happen," he said at a press briefing in Shanghai today. "It would involve a very significant investment and it is difficult to see where the money would come from," said the FIA President.

So far, only the Ferrari, Red Bull and Jordan have signed up beyond the 2007 season, with the others refusing to commit and threatening a breakaway series.

They complain that Formula One's commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone is not giving them a big enough share of the millions of dollars made from the marketing and TV rights of the sport.

However, Mosley suggested that was set to change with most teams on the verge of inking agreement to race on. He added that the panache of F1 was hard to beat. "In the end, Formula One is a brand or a concept rather like the Olympic Games and all the drivers want to win the Formula One championship." Source AFP

09/19/05
nascar
Robby Gordon on NH issues Robby Gordon on NH issuesRobby Gordon finished the Sylvania 300 in 37th position Sunday, a result of a lap 190 spin courtesy of Michael Waltrip. The incident came following Gordon's pass of Waltrip for the fourth position. For a reason unknown to Gordon, Waltrip moved down the track and spun the #7 Jim Beam Chevrolet after it had made a clean pass of Waltrip's Chevrolet. "First and foremost, I want to apologize for the words I chose immediately after our race had ended," Gordon said. "We had a decent car and we were obviously hoping to give our sponsors Jim Beam, Harrah's and Menards a top-10 finish. For some reason Michael obviously wanted that spot a lot more than I did because he flat took me out as I was cleared in front of him. I let my emotions get the better of me and I apologize. We bumped door to door when I went around him, and I don't know if that made him mad or what. I don't know what it is, but he puts the bumper to me a lot, and this time he did what he set out to do. We basically destroyed a great race car, and unfortunately it's the people that work in the shop that really suffer. We didn't deserve that at all."  For his part, Waltrip said Gordon passed him "like he was in the desert or something." Gordon's reply: "We were clearly a better car at that point than Michael, and he was going backward. I wasn't the only guy to pass him, just the one he decided to wreck. He's right about the desert comment -- I pass guys clean all the time in the desert, just like I did in this case. I'm just sorry we didn't bring home a better result for Jim Beam." Robbygordon.com
09/19/05
f1
Renault Brazil preview Renault Brazil previewIt is crunch time for Renault as they head to Interlagos for the 17th round of the championship. Fernando Alonso needs just six more points - a third position - to become Formula One World Champion while the team itself remain locked in a battle with McLaren Mercedes for the Constructors' Championship with just six points separating the two teams.

Fernando Alonso and teammate Giancarlo Fisichella talk of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.

Fernando, you need just six points to win the world championship. Are you nervous, so close to achieving your dream?
"No, I’m not. For sure, I am quite close now to the championship, but I approach this race like any other. We have been quick in Brazil in recent years, and now our car is even stronger in every area. So I am looking forward to the race."

Is it important to you that you could become the youngest driver to win the championship?
"To become world champion is the maximum for a driver, so I am happy and proud to have the possibility while I am so young. But being the youngest is not what motivates me. The maximum for a sportsman is to be the best in his championship, and to be the best in Formula 1 is the ultimate for any racing driver."

Finally, what is your feeling ahead of the race in Brazil?
"As always, I go there trying to do the maximum. What’s the point of going to a race and only aiming for a podium? You can’t do that, you have to want to be the best, to attack. So that’s what I am going to Brazil to do. We need to have a smooth weekend, no problems, and hopefully we will get the result we want."

Giancarlo, how are you feeling after what was a big accident in Spa?
"I am fine. I was a bit sore the next day, but I tested last week in Silverstone and felt really good. It was disappointing to retire in Spa, because my car was competitive and with Montoya retiring, it could have been a good opportunity for us to score some points. But the car did a great job protecting me, and now I can’t wait to get to Sao Paulo."

The team is still fighting for both championships – what is your role in that?
"I think for Fernando, it should be quite easy now to win the drivers’ championship, but we are still in a big battle with McLaren for the constructors and it is very close. I think they have a stronger car, but the reliability is not so good. So I am really optimistic for the end of the season. I want to win another race, and maybe Brazil will be a good opportunity. We have a new aero package, and a new engine spec as well, so I think we can be a bit more aggressive over there."

What about the circuit in Brazil – is it challenging?
"For sure. I really enjoy racing there actually. Physically, it has always been quite a difficult circuit because it is anti-clockwise, but I think that after racing in Turkey recently, which is another anti-clockwise circuit, it won’t be so bad for us. Even so, it will be tough because it is a short circuit and there are over seventy laps in the race. In terms of driving the track, it used to be quite bumpy but that has been improved a bit now, and there are some really nice corners, like turn 11 which is downhill, accelerating and you need to attack without running wide. It’s a good challenge."

It has also been a successful circuit for you…
"Yes, I have always liked it. Of course, I got my first win there in 2003 with the Jordan, and I finished second with Benetton in 2000. Even in 2001 when we were down on power, I scored a point, so it has always been a nice track for me. And Benetton and Renault were always quick there. So I think we can go to Brazil feeling very optimistic. Maybe we are not as quick as McLaren still, but I definitely think we can be closer than in recent races." Source Renault
09/19/05
nascar
Ryan Newman post-race NH interview Ryan Newman post-race NH interview
09/19/05
nascar
Tony Stewart NH postscript Tony Stewart NH postscript
ON MAINTAINING THE POINT LEAD AND CLOSE FINISH AT THE END:

"It's awesome. That's the way a race at Loudon should finish, with three guys in the Chase running hard at the end like that. We had some damage on the left front and that cost us at the end. It was just tight racing there at the end. We did everything we could do today. I think we ran about as good a race as we could run here. We just came up a little short today."

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF POINTS AS THE SERIES MOVES TO DOVER NEXT WEEKEND:

"It means we're leader this week. You go next week. It's all in the mouth right now. This week is over and we did everything we could here and we'll go next week and try to do it again."

DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A CHANCE TO PASS RYAN NEWMAN OR WAS HE JUST TOO STRONG?

"I thought I did pass him toward the end there. You mean the last two laps? Obviously, there was a reason he passed me. He was faster there. If the guy is faster, it's pretty hard to believe you're going to have a chance to get back by him. We tried. There wasn't a lack of effort there. Obviously when a guy goes by you and takes the white flag, it's pretty hard to believe you're going to catch him."  zzzz

WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE HELMET TOSS BY ROBBY GORDON?

"I'm not commenting on that stupid stuff that happened today. Ask me about my race. If you want to ask me about racing, talk to me about that. If not, don't waste my time today."

WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE HELMET HITTING YOUR CAR BECAUSE IT HAPPENED RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU?

"No, I wasn't concerned about the helmet hitting my car. Thanks anyway."

YOU'VE HAD SUCH AN AMAZING YEAR. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT BEING HERE AT LOUDON AND WHAT YOU'VE DONE?

"Well, it's two of our 36 races on the schedule. Luckily, we're going really good here this year and so it makes it fun when you come here, obviously. But it's just week one of a 10-week stretch here right now."

WITH YOUR RECENT SUCCESS AND COLORFUL QUOTES, DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AS AN AMBASSADOR TO THE SPORT?

"Does it pay extra? It really doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is getting in the race car on Sunday and doing the best I can. I still think Jeff Gordon is the best ambassador for our sport that we've got. I don't think anybody is going to dispute that. He does everything the right way when it comes to dealing with the fans and the sponsors and the sanctioning body. I think that's a great role for him. I've got enough trouble trying to figure out how to win races."

WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE CONTACT WITH DALE EARNHARDT JR.?

"I was pretty concerned, obviously. When you go in the corner and you can smell the smoke and see the smoke inside the car you know you've got a fender rub. You just don't know how severe it was. The bad part about it was there was nothing we could do about it at that point. So, we were just kind of stuck with what we had."

DID YOU MAKE YOUR MOVE TOO SOON THERE AT THE END?

"I think you had to make the move whenever you could. I don't think it was about being selective. It was hard enough to get by when I got by. It wasn't like a Daytona or Talladega situation in the old days where the slingshot was in effect and you may have gone too soon. When I got the right opportunity, I went. From there on out, I just was running the car as hard as I could to try to hold him off. It just didn't pay off."  GM Racing

09/19/05
f1
Theissen against V10 running in 2006 Theissen against V10 running in 2006For 2006 and beyond, the FIA has introduced a 2.4 liter V8 engine format. The new powerplants will replace the current 3.0 liter V10 engines as from next season, in order to bring down power by around 200 bhp.

However, smaller teams have the option to run current V10s but with certain restriction, which have yet to be defined by the FIA in detail. BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen is against this loophole.

“The V10 option was originally planned as an emergency solution for small teams with no access to competitive V8 engines,” he said. “So I think that if you want to win races, you need to run a V8. For teams and manufacturers alike, it is therefore essential that the V10 restrictions will be defined appropriately.”

Furthermore, Theissen warns that V10s, even with a rev limiter, may have a slight performance advantage in slower corners.

The FIA are expected to confirm a rev limit in the region of 16,000 to 17,000 rpm with an air restrictor in place as well to further reduce its performance. Minardi currently have a deal in place to run the Cosworth V10 powerplant next year, even with Red Bull taking over the team. Source BMW Williams

09/19/05
A1 Grand Prix
gp2
Coloni nixes A1 GP deal Coloni nixes A1 GP dealColoni Motorsport will concentrate on their GP2 team and homegrown series, Italian Formula 3000, only in 2006 after deciding against joining the nascent A1 GP series.

Team principal Paolo Coloni has pulled out of negotiations with A1 GP organizers over the weekend after realizing that running in three different series would stretch his team too far, particularly with so little time before the start of the season.

"Really it was too much," Coloni exclusively revealed to Autosport-Atlas. "We have a huge program next year, with GP2 and the Italian Formula 3000 series, and I think we must concentrate on them."

09/19/05
cc
Champ Car Garage tonight Champ Car Garage tonightA reminder that the new Champ Car Garage show will debut tonight at 9 PM ET on SPEED Channel.
09/19/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ron's letter to Kimi
Toyota to build second tunnel
Rain for Brazil
Sir Sid
Schu sister strife
BMW wanted Schumacher
16-race grumble
Schu doubts Rossi switch
Red Bull target title
Alonso to get 'stronger'
Ferrari 'too conservative'
The V8-V10 question
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