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Road America postscript Road America postscript
A.J. Allmendinger became the first U.S.-born driver to win at Road America since Michael Andretti took victory here in 1996.
Bonus points not withstanding, today’s result means that Sebastien Bourdais officially clinches the 2006 Champ Car title with a ninth-place finish in Surfers Paradise.
Bourdais led 28 laps on the day, raising his career total of laps led to 1,616. the total moves him ahead of Parnelli Jones for 17th on the all-time series list. ChampCar.ws
Hildebrand and Rookie Cameron Share the Spoils Hildebrand and Rookie Cameron Share the SpoilsElkhart Lake, Wis. – The Florida-based Cape Motorsports team completed a clean sweep of this year’s Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship this weekend at Road America. Dane Cameron clinched the Greg Moore Rookie of Year honors by virtue of a finely judged victory – his second of the year – in appallingly wet conditions on Saturday, while already-crowned champion J.R. Hildebrand bounced back from a rare error in the opening race to claim another convincing victory – his 12th in just 14 races – on Sunday afternoon.

“I can’t say enough about this team,” said Hildebrand, 18, from Sausalito, Calif. “They’ve just done an awesome job all year long and I can’t thank them enough for all the hard work they’ve put in.”

Hildebrand took the pole on Friday, his 10th of the season aboard the #2 Formotion/Spy Optics/Mockett.com Van Diemen, and set off confidently into the lead on Saturday afternoon in the pouring rain. The gifted youngster led by almost 10 full seconds at the end of the first four-mile lap, but soon afterward made a mistake at the treacherous Turn Five and fell almost to the back of the pack.

Cameron took up the running in his #19 Finlay Motorsports/Jim Russell Racing School/Red Line Oil Van Diemen and pulled out a handy advantage before the race finished under a full-course caution.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Cameron, 17, from Sonoma, Calif. “After J.R. spun out, I tried to play it a little conservative but still run a good pace. I just didn’t want to make any mistakes.”

Franchitti back in Risi Ferrari Franchitti back in Risi FerrariBraselton, Ga. Marino Franchitti was at Road Atlanta on Saturday, getting his first laps in the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430GT. The likable Scot, who campaigned last year for Panoz Motor Sports, will make his first American Le Mans Series start of the year in the No. 62 entry at Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7.

"I really have missed racing here," Franchitti said. "I've driven the Ferrari twice this year in FIA GT, so I'm familiar with it. It's quite an evolution from the 360, which I drove for Risi in 2001." He also drove the Ferrari 360 in 2003 at Sebring and made his Series debut with Risi at the 2001 Petit Le Mans.

With the season nearing an end, Franchitti already is looking toward 2007. He said he has some conversations with officials from Acura, which will run three LMP2s in next year's American Le Mans Series. One of the confirmed teams is Andretti Green Racing, which employs older brother Dario.

"I hope he does stay with them (Andretti Green)," Marino said. "It would be his 10th year with them. If he does, I think he'll be in one of the Acuras."
NASCAR ratings down for all but 2 races NASCAR ratings down for all but 2 racesTV ratings from NASCAR's first championship chase race weren't impressive - the Loudon race pulled a 3.1 rating on TNT (which Nielsen said translates to 4.792 million viewers), down 12% from the 2005 race. In comparison, NBC's Labor Day Sunday prime-time coverage of the California 500 pulled a 5.1 (8.4 million viewers); and NBC's NFL Sunday prime-time game Sept. 17 pulled an 11.9 rating (18.4 million viewers). ESPN, which will return to major coverage of NASCAR next summer, also scored big with the NFL, an 8.2 rating (12.570 million viewers) and 7.1 (10.495 million viewers) for its two Monday-night games on Sept. 11. Only two of the year's 27 races have had gains, the Daytona 500 and Martinsville. Winston Salem Journal
Indy and Iowa tire tests planned Indy and Iowa tire tests plannedFirestone Racing will continue preparations for 2007 with private tire tests at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Iowa Speedway.

Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske, Dan Wheldon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing and Jeff Simmons of Rahal Letterman Racing will test on the famed 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis on Oct. 2-3. The 91st Indianapolis 500 is May 27.

Vitor Meira and Panther Racing will get their first look at Iowa Speedway’s 0.88-mile layout on Oct. 9-10. The IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series will compete at the new Iowa facility in Newton in June. Indycar.com
Legge uninjured in 180mph accident Legge uninjured in 180mph accidentUPDATE #4 Jon Beekhuis interviewed her briefly. She said that she was a "bit shaken", but that "all of her bits are intact." One of her first reactions was that the engine might catch fire, but then she saw it break away. When asked why she was limping, she said that she banged her knee.

09/24/06 The race will re-start at approximately 3:45 PM local time on lap 48 with 3 laps to go, after a delay of about an hour. Dan Clarke was interviewed during the red flag. He said he was right behind Katherine when he noticed her rear wing go off. Katherine "was going up the fence like a wall" and was in the air as he was going by. Dan will re-start the race in 6th.

09/24/06 Katherine Legge appears to be fine as she was smiling and walked into the medical center.

09/24/06 Champ Car President Steve Johnson said that Katherine Legge gave him a thumbs up and a smile on her way to the infield medical center, so initial reports are that her life is not in danger.

09/24/06 Katherine Legge was involved in a major Champ Car accident with 5-laps to go in the ultra-fast kink at Road America when her rear-wing broke off, her car tumbling over and over after a heavy impact with the concrete barrier.  Everything was ripped off the car and the tub, with her inside it, came to rest upside down as medics rushed to her aide.  The race was red-flagged with three laps to go, but a restart is expected.  No report on her condition at this time. Mark C.
Zanardi wins in Istanbul Zanardi wins in IstanbulAlex Zanardi claimed his first win in over a year in round 15 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at Istanbul in Turkey.

The Italian made a brilliant start to beat pole-sitter Rickard Rydell into the first corner and win by 1.088 seconds in his Team Italy-Spain BMW.

It was the second WTCC win for 39-year-old Zanardi since he lost both of his legs in a Champ Car crash in Germany in 2001, and using a car specially-adapted to work using hand controls, he led from start to finish to move up to become the 10th different winner in 15 races.

BTCC wins for Plato and Giovanardi BTCC wins for Plato and GiovanardiThe battle to become 2006 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion will come down to a three-way showdown between Matt Neal, Jason Plato and Colin Turkington on BTCC Finals Day at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire on 15 October following today’s three rounds at Brands Hatch in Kent.

Plato won today’s first two races for SEAT, while Fabrizio Giovanardi stood on the top step later in the day after giving Vauxhall its 101st win in the BTCC. The third race saw championship leader Neal crash out in his Team Halfords Honda, allowing Plato and Team RAC MG driver Turkington to finish third and fourth and score the points they needed to take the title fight to the wire.

First DTM win for Tomczyk First DTM win for Tomczyk42,000 spectators witnessed in the first ever Spanish DTM race at Barcelona a spectacular battle between Audi and Mercedes-Benz, from which the Audi A4 DTM once again emerged as winner. Martin Tomczyk, who started from pole position, celebrated his first DTM victory ever at the wheel of the Red Bull A4 DTM from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. Heinz-Harald Frentzen took third place and in doing so claimed his second podium finish since joining Audi. Mattias Ekström rounded out the Audi triumph with his fourth position, which he claimed despite being given a controversial ‘drive-through’ penalty after having touched the rear of the Mercedes when Schneider suddenly hit the brakes in the hairpin. Tom Kristensen, currently second in the championship, finished ninth without scoring points. The Dane held third place after the start but dropped back owing to a damaged front end after he had been attacked harshly by title rival Bernd Schneider in his Mercedes.
2007 Champ Car schedule to be announced 2007 Champ Car schedule to be announcedUPDATE AutoRacing1.com has learned that at a Champ Car series owners meeting Sunday morning the decision was made to go with 17 races when the schedule is announced on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.  However, because all the contracts are not finalized with the two European races, they will be shown as TBD in September for now.

Here is the 2007 schedule based on what we know/heard:

April 8 Las Vegas (Street)
April 15 Long Beach (Street with ALMS)
April 22 Houston (Street)
May 20 Zhuhai, China (RC)
June 10 (or 17th) Portland (RC)
Jun 24 Cleveland (Airport)
July 1 Mont-Tremblant, St. Jovite, Canada (RC)
July 8 Toronto (Street)
July 22 Edmonton (Airport)
July 29 San Jose (Street)
Aug. 12 Road America (RC with ALMS) 
Aug. 26 Denver (Street)
Sep. 23 TBA assumed to be Assen, Holland (RC)
Sep. 30 TBA assumed be Oschersleben, Germany (RC)
Oct. 21 Australia (Street)
Nov. 11 Mexico City (RC)
Dec. 2 Phoenix (Street)

09/22/06 AutoRacing1.com has learned that the 2007 Champ Car schedule will be announced Wednesday night at a gala in Las Vegas which will kick off the 2007 Las Vegas GP promotion.  We have also learned that the schedule will be announced as either 15 races or 17.  17 if the two European races get done in time.  Of the core 15 races, AutoRacing1.com has learned that one is a North American venue that no one has even talked about publicly, but it will happen and should be well received.  It will be a new venue for Champ Car.  One rumor going around the paddock Friday was that the two European races were definitely not going to happen, but we confirmed that no decision has been made and work continues to try and make those two races a reality for 2007. Mark C.
Bomarito wins Champ Car Atlantic finale Bomarito wins Champ Car Atlantic finaleDriving perhaps the race of his life, American Jonathan Bomarito (pictured right) won his first Champ Car Atlantic race at Road America Sunday beating polesitter Raphael Matos by 0.706 seconds and Andreas Wirth who finished third.

Coming into the day’s event, all eyes were riveted on the championship battle between Simon Pagenaud (#15 Team Australia/Location U./Gen. Vienne) and Graham Rahal (#18 Gehl Company), with Rahal needing to make up 13 points on Pagenaud to take the crown and the $2 million prize that went with it.

But by the end of the Gehl Championship Finale at Road America, both title combatants had retired to the safety of their pit stalls while Jonathan Bomarito (#23 Miracle Sealants/Dynacor) outraced polesitter Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) to score the first win of his Champ Car Atlantic career.

Pagenaud and Rahal battled nose-to-tail through the first four laps, but the war ended before the cars could make a fifth trip around the 4.048-mile Road America layout. Pagenaud had passed Rahal for third – retaking the spot that Rahal had wrested from Pagenaud at the start – and was running third under the caution flag brought out on Lap 5 by Antoine Bessette (#21 The RoomStore) when Rahal’s car pulled off course. Stricken down by a faulty wiring harness, Rahal would take the long walk back through the woods of Elkhart Lake after being credited with a 20th-place finish. zzzz

The electrical failure handed the season championship to Pagenaud, but the Frenchman would not be around to enjoy it very long. With the title fight over, the Team Australia driver set his sights on the front of the grid, moving around James Hinchcliffe (#3 Emexis/INDECK) for second place heading into Turn Five. Hinchcliffe fought right back however, and ended up initiating contact with Pagenaud’s car, puncturing and eventually shredding the Frenchman’s left rear tire. The contact left him in 17th place and allowed him to start his championship celebration a bit ahead of time.

Meanwhile, the maelstrom at the front of the field continued to swirl. Matos, having taken the lead from Hinchcliffe with a strong move on the Lap Seven restart, ran ahead of Andreas Wirth (#37 INDECK/Layer 7/Wirth Solar) and Bomarito, with Ryan Lewis (#30 Insport Sports Management) following in fourth.

The order would stay the same for the next two laps as the third caution of the day flew after contact between Tim Bridgman (#2 EPSON Team Jensen) and J.R. Hildebrand (#36 Newman Wachs Racing, but Wirth made his bid for the lead directly after the Lap Nine restart. Wirth came up behind Matos heading into Turn Five but could not make the pass, dropping off track briefly before making the save.

The slip gave Bomarito the chance to move into second, where he would spend the next three laps chasing down Matos. He made it count on Lap 12 when he was able to draft Matos and make the pass for the lead in Turn Four. He got a free pass to stay there less than a minute later as the canary banner flew for contact between Justin Sofio (#26 Mathiasen Motorsports) and Mike Forest (#32 Miracle Sealants/Dynacor). Sofio would end up stranded with a broken suspension, setting the stage for a late-race restart.

Matos again got the strong restart when the green flag waved on Lap 15, moving to the right and around Bomarito heading into Turn One. But Bomarito fought right back, drafting the leader and moving around him in Turn Four again, taking a lead he would not relinquish.

The Californian made the most of his opportunity, stretching his lead ahead of Matos while Wirth held onto the third spot. Bomarito’s gap was enough to keep Matos from getting close, despite the fact that the Brazilian ran the fastest lap of the race on the final lap of the race, crossing the line with a 0.706-second margin of victory.

Matos earned his fourth podium of the season by finishing second while Wirth bagged his sixth podium of the year with a third-place run. Robbie Pecorari (#Western Union/USA Today) scored his best finish since his Toronto win, moving up to fourth with a pass of Lewis on the 17th of the day’s 18 laps. Lewis came home in fifth, claiming his fourth top-five finish of the season.

Danilo Dirani (#1 Canary Fund), Joe D’Agostino (#34 Newman Wachs Racing), Alan Sciuto (#12 Sealy/PKV Racing), David Martinez (#4 Sub-Hub) and Forest rounded out the top 10, with Forest not only earning the first top-10 result of his young career, but also taking the extra championship point for gaining the most positions in the race.


Jonathan Bomarito (#23 Miracle Sealants/Dynacor) of PR1 Motorsports:  “I had goosebumps for the whole last lap, just trying to keep my head down and not make any mistakes.  We've been working so hard this year.  I'm so happy to be here and for the team. It's great to be leading the last lap, but did it have to be a four mile track? Every corner, I was checking my mirrors and just trying to breathe.  What a feeling!  I can't even describe it.”

Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) of Sierra Sierra Enterprises:   “It was a very competitive race.  In the beginning, I was able to keep the lead, even after the first restart.  It's hard track to keep the lead for a long time because of the long straightaways.  Jonathan was a little bit better coming out of the Carousel and the last corner and I was unable to draft him and make a pass. (On signing with Sierra Sierra Enterprises for next year)  We signed yesterday and finalized everything.  It's a great feeling, racing knowing that you will be with the same team next year.

Andreas Wirth (#37 INDECK/Layer 7/Wirth Solar) of Forsythe Championship Racing:  “The beginning of the race was great, but towards the middle the car began to understeer a lot and I couldn't get a shot out of the corners towards the straights.  It killed me at the end because we were hoping to get a good run out of the corners and pull alongside the guys and get past them.  When I was behind the other guys, I ran out of gear.  I was on the limit and couldn't pull out. But, I finished on the podium for the last race.”


Simon Pagenaud won the Champ Car Atlantic Championship despite only winning one race this season. The last time an Atlantic champion was crowned after winning one race in a season was 1993 when David Empringham beat Claude Bourbonnais by four points.

Jonathan Bomarito became the seventh different driver to win an Atlantic race this season, marking the first time since 1999 that the a season has seen seven different race winners.

David Martinez was the only driver to complete each of the 402 laps run in competition this season. He is the last driver to complete every lap of an Atlantic season since Danica Patrick in 2004.

Walker Racing orders three new Champ Cars Walker Racing orders three new Champ CarsThe 2007 season has already gotten off to an early start for Walker Racing/Team Australia.  Champ Car has introduced its new car, the Panoz DP01, which is not only bringing new life into the series but into the team as well, who already have three DP01’s ordered.

The new car brings a number of cutting edge technologies and new features with it from safety innovations which include a collapsible fuel cell, to the distribution of the aerodynamics of the DP01, designed to provide more passing opportunities. Other changes include a higher nose with a two-stage impact system, an onboard starter, and paddle shifts just to name a few.

“Champ Car has made a bold move by introducing a new design for 2007 and we have made a commitment to the series by ordering three new cars for 2007,” stated Team Australia/Walker Racing co owner Derrick Walker. zzzz

Not only is the new car exciting for the whole series but for the engineers as well who get to switch gears and learn a whole new car.  “From the engineering stand point there are many things that are great about the new car. First of all, getting the opportunity to learn a new car, and the fact that everyone will also have the same opportunity to learn the characteristics at the same time, the aerodynamic package will allow for better racing and more passing, and finally the input from the other teams during the design of the car allows for a quicker introduction and less new car teething problems.  Basically, the new car provides a level playing field for all the teams,” stated Team Australia engineer Mike Pawlowski. 

All of these new features provide great racing for the fans, as well as affordability for teams. With the excitement of the new car and a revitalized schedule, Walker Racing/Team Australia plans to move forward with their multiple operations.  Currently the team competes in the developmental ladder series with programs in Atlantic and Formula BMW USA.

Three new Panoz DP01’s were ordered and the team expects the delivery of the first set of the 2007 cars in November. For more updates on the team check back to www.walkerracing.com for more information. Team Australia

Pagenaud wins $2M for Atlantic title Pagenaud wins $2M for Atlantic titleFrenchman Simon Pagenaud has won the Champ Car Atlantic title today at Road America despite being rear-ended and taken out of the race by James Hinchcliffe. His nearest competitor, Graham Rahal had already fallen out of the race with mechanical problems so points leader Pagenaud was assured of the title before being taken out while challenging polesitter Raphael Matos for the lead braking for turn 5 on the daunting 4-mile Elkhart Lake circuit. The race is still in progress with Matos leading and Andreas Wirth 2nd.

With the Championship won, Pagenaud will collect the $2 million check to be used for his Champ Car ride in 2007, team yet to be determined.

Briatore attacks Dennis, Toyota Briatore attacks Dennis, Toyota(GMM) Renault boss Flavio Briatore has launched an attack on McLaren and other formula one rivals by accusing them of not focusing on winning races or improving the sport.

While urging his colleagues to think about spicing up the spectacle and obsessing less about hidden technology, the Italian singled out fellow team principal Ron Dennis, and Japanese giant Toyota, as money wasters.

''Why do these teams build such enormous and expensive motor homes?'' Briatore, 56, told British magazine F1 Racing.

''We don't and Ferrari don't (because) TV viewers never see them.

''I also don't understand Ron's new (McLaren) factory. What good did it do his team? The bigger the factory, the less efficient it is.''

He then revealed that, despite recently dumping the British engineer, Toyota multiplied Mike Gascoyne's $760,000 Renault salary by a factor of ten when the giant carmaker poached him.

Briatore, however, did offer a solution or two to what he sees as F1's problems, as he proposed reverse grids and grands prix held at night.

He asked: ''Why always (start the race at) 2pm? It's a stupid time -- to watch a grand prix you have to f*** up your whole Sunday.''
Dominguez clears upCoyne statements Dominguez clears upCoyne statementsStatement from Mario Dominguez concerning departure from Dale Coyne Racing.   

Mario Dominguez was offered an opportunity to run with Dale Coyne Racing after departing from Forsythe Championship Racing this season.  He ran four races with Forsythe, but then he was let go, leaving the Mexican with no where to go.  Dale Coyne felt that Mario was deserving of a Champ Car ride, and put forth a strong effort to run him in seven races this season.  Dominguez is making his debut with the Rocketsports Racing team this weekend at Road America, but wanted to reiterate his appreciation to Dale Coyne and the team for running him when no one else was willing to give him the chance.   

He feels terrible about the remarks that have surfaced in the U.S. concerning his comments in the Mexican Publications about driving a Dale Coyne Champ Car, as they were translated incorrectly.       

"I was not going off to the press in Mexico saying bad things about the Dale Coyne team," said Dominguez.  "I was asked questions by the press that were misinterpreted and not fully translated correctly when news got to the U.S., which made me look bad.  I did not just start saying to the media that I did not want to drive in an uncompetitive car in Mexico – I was asked by the media if I would rather drive in a winning team.  So naturally my answer was yes, but they also never published that I said that the whole Dale Coyne operation was trying to do their best to make a more competitive car.  

  "I can not express enough my appreciation to Dale Coyne, his wife, and the entire team.  We had some good times and good results together.  It is hard to really achieve the results that we wanted because the team lacked funding, but they do their best and put forth a great effort in every race.  The guys that make up the team are extraordinary and every one of them put their full heart into their work.  They are very hard workers and it was my pleasure to have them as my crew.  I particularly enjoyed a good time with Dave Watson, who I rate is one of the best engineers in the business.  Dale was so good to me, and I will never forget what he did for me.  He made an investment in me, and I think that we were able to work together as a team and do a good job.  It was never my intention to put down the team, I am hurtful that the translation of my answers turned into such a negative remarks regarding the team’s operation.  I just hope that they understand that I was not trying to put them down, that I enjoyed my time with them, and I wish them continued luck for the remainder of the season and beyond.  

"CIE, the Mexico City promoters, put together a group of sponsors and they wanted me to run at Rocketsports.  So I did what they asked me for the sake of the Mexican race and the Mexican fans.  I feel sad and happy, because I had to leave everyone at Dale Coyne Racing, but I am also happy to join Rocketsports.  In this business, no one touches their heart as everyone was able to see when I unjustifyingly got fired at Forsythe - but I do - and I am not afraid to show my feelings and concern for the whole Dale Coyne team for what was misinterpreted  in the press."
Gordon says Vickers not a teammate Gordon says Vickers not a teammateTechnically, Brian Vickers is Jeff Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Well, for nine more races at least. Certainly, Gordon doesn't seem to mind that Vickers is leaving after this season, especially not after some hard driving led to some harsh words on Friday. "He's my teammate, but he's not my teammate because he's moving on next year," Gordon said. "I raced him harder than he wanted me to race him earlier in the race. I could give all the reasons and excuses, but it doesn't do any good." The two raced each other hard at New Hampshire, and Vickers rankled Gordon when he wouldn't let the former champ pass. Gordon, fourth in the points standings, even complained on the radio to his team that he hoped Vickers knew that he was racing for a championship. "It did cost us time, Gordon said. "Right now he's in a tough position. He's moving on to a new team. He hasn't been able to win races like other guys at Hendrick Motorsports. He wants it bad and he's driving hard and I think it was just a little lapse in judgment." Vickers finished fifth; Gordon third. Vickers will drive for Team Red Bull in 2007. "It's not a guy that's out there trying to help you win a championship," Gordon said. FoxSports/AP
NASCAR team loses Tide sponsorship NASCAR team loses Tide sponsorshipAfter struggling for several seasons against the three- and four-car teams that have become the norm in Nextel Cup, single-car team owner Cal Wells still is in search of an alliance with another team that would help take his program to the next level. However, Wells is losing primary sponsor Tide at the conclusion of the 2006 season, and driver Travis Kvapil has also been courted by other teams. Sources within the garage indicate that Wells has been talking to several teams – including Yates – about a possible alliance for next year, which also makes Wells a potential Ford team next year should a deal with Yates be made. Wells currently campaigns Chevrolets. As of now, Wells also has no manufacturer commitment for 2007. Yahoo Sports
Montoya to test at Talladega Montoya to test at TalladegaJuan Montoya will get his first taste of stock car racing Monday at Talladega, Ala. and Chip Ganassi plans to run his open-wheel star in a few races before the 2006 season is over. “Yes, Juan has been set free,” said Ganassi on Saturday night when asked if the 1999 CART champion had worked out his contract issues with Team McLaren. “And we’re going to get with a pretty heavy testing schedule real quick starting with an ARCA car on Monday at Talladega.” Asked if the 30-year-old Colombian would do any racing, Ganassi replied, “Absolutely, A-B-C.” That reference was to ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup – Ganassi fields teams in all three series. Montoya, who shocked the racing world in July by announcing he was leaving Formula 1 for NASCAR, was being blocked from changing careers until he settled his contract with McLaren, which was paying him through December. Speed Channel
Strong driver lineup for Petit LeMans Strong driver lineup for Petit LeMansBraselton, Ga. - The cars are the stars in the American Le Mans Series, but the driver lineup for the ninth annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7 also is ripe with the best from various forms of motorsport.

The entry list is full of competitors who have tasted success in nearly every major form of racing, although that is nothing new. Throughout its eight-year history, the American Le Mans Series has seen a countless collection of the world's most elite drivers grace its grids. The names of those currently on the Series' roster, and those from the past, prove that the American Le Mans Series is the ultimate test of road racing in North America and the world. Of the 108 drivers who have won at least one Series race, 14 have raced in F1. Eleven drivers with Formula One experience are entered at Road Atlanta.

Stefan Johansson, driving the factory Zytek LMP1, is a veteran of 79 Formula One starts dating back to 1983. The Swedish native scored a fifth-place finish in the World Championship in 1986 for Ferrari, sandwiched by sixth- and seventh-place showings in 1985 and '87, respectively. In addition, now two-time Series champion Allan McNish competed for Toyota after winning the 2000 prototype title, and Corvette Racing's Olivier Beretta frequently conducts tests for tire manufacturer Michelin. zzzz

Other Petit entries who have F1 experience include Audi's Emanuele Pirro, Aston Martin Racing's Stephane Sarrazin, Pedro Lamy and Darren Turner, Risi Competizione's Stephane Ortelli, Corvette Racing's Jan Magnussen, David Brabham of Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz and Horag Racing's Eric van de Poele.

The Petit Le Mans roster also features some of the top open-wheel talent from North America. Reigning Champ Car titleholder Sebastien Bourdais will reprise his role with Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz regulars Brabham and Scott Maxwell, the same trio that won in GT2 at Sebring. IRL regular Vitor Meira and Memo Gidley, who has raced in both Champ Car and IRL, will drive with Duncan Dayton for Highcroft Racing in LMP1.

Then there is the stable of world-class competitors that make up the regular American Le Mans Series lineup. Fifteen of the 16 winningest drivers in Series history are entered for the 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic. All totaled, the competitors on the entry list as of Saturday have combined for 62 Series victories at Road Atlanta - 48 in Petit Le Mans.

Vettel to finish season with BMW team Vettel to finish season with BMW teamBMW Sauber have confirmed that Sebastian Vettel will continue as the team’s third driver for the last three races of the season. After successful Friday outings at the Turkish and Italian Grands Prix, Vettel will now also drive in China, Japan and Brazil.

The 19-year-old German was drafted in last month as a temporary replacement for Robert Kubica, who had been promoted into Jacques Villeneuve’s race seat. After an impressive debut in Istanbul (where he topped the times), Vettel was retained for Monza (where he was also quickest) and now he is looking forward to the challenge of Shanghai.

“The circuit is a new one and looks quite tricky,” commented Vettel. “I have seen a lot of drivers on television making a lot of mistakes. There's a high-speed straight, another straight and a hairpin corner. It will be difficult to find the right braking point. I'm looking forward to gaining a lot of new experiences in China."

Ambrose gets 7th place in Vegas Ambrose gets 7th place in VegasMarcos Ambrose has earned the third top 10 finish of his rookie NASCAR season by finishing seventh in the Smith’s Las Vegas 350 in Nevada today.

The result made the Australian the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate in today's race, the second highest lap leader with 12 laps led and one of only six drivers to lead a lap.

The Australian was in form all weekend in the #20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Ford F-150 at the revamped Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ambrose qualified sixth on the 1.5-mile speedway and ran in the top 10 in the opening stages of the race.

At the first round of pit stops on lap 26 Ambrose and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series leader Todd Bodine dragged for position out of the pit lane, only for both to be sent to the back of the pack for speeding in pit lane. zzzz

Coming through the pack Ambrose clearly had fantastic speed on board the Aussie Vineyards F-150, back into the top 20 by lap 53. On lap 74 when Michel Jourdain Jr spun to bring out the fourth caution of the day, Ambrose stayed out on-track and elected not to pit.

The move brought Ambrose back to the front and led to the #20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Ford F-150 leading 12 laps and gaining five bonus points for leading a lap.

The former two-time Australian V8 Supercar champion lost the lead when he eventually did pit. Ambrose sat in 10th after his stop and worked his way forward to be eighth at the final restart of the day on lap 129 of the 146-lap race.

In the closing stages Ambrose continued to ascend the order, but was unable to move any higher when he caught David Reutimann and the Australian settled for a seventh, his third top 10 finish of the season and another Raybestos Rookie of the Race Award. Ambrose's fellow pit lane speeder Bodine climbed to 12th position by the end of the race.

John Watson to drive again John Watson to drive againNorthern Ireland’s John Watson is set to get behind the wheel of A1 Team Ireland’s 550bhp A1GP car for a 30 minute run on Friday 29 September at Zandvoort in the Netherlands on the opening day of the new A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season. The former Grand Prix driver and current A1GP commentator reported on the inaugural A1GP series but now has his chance to actually put one of the cars through its paces. The last time Watson drove at Zandvoort was in 1983 when he partnered team-mate, Niki Lauda at McLaren.
Runner up in the 1982 Formula One World Championship, John Watson is well known to A1 Team Ireland’s Managing Director, Mark Gallagher as the two worked together during Gallagher’s time at Jordan Grand Prix. Watson was the first to test the Jordan 191 in the autumn of 1990, the car going on to be the first Formula One car driven by seven times F1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher.
“To see John driving the A1 Team Ireland car is going to be a great moment for all the team and for those of us who followed his highly successful F1 career,” said Gallagher. “But most of all, it is going to give A1GP fans a fascinating insight. zzzz
“I vividly remember watching John win the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1981, which was the first Grand Prix I attended. It’s great news that he has agreed to have this short run in our car, particularly at Zandvoort – a track where he raced in Formula One and which has a famous history.”
“It’s one thing being a commentator and entirely another to drive one of these cars and therefore give the fans a totally different perspective,” said Watson. “It is a unique opportunity for me as a broadcaster to talk the fans through a lap while actually driving a car and I am sure it will make for compelling viewing. I am certainly looking forward to it.”
The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport commences with the A1GP Zandvoort, Netherlands, on 1 October 2006.
Americans 1-2 in Barcelona Americans 1-2 in BarcelonaAmericans Richard Antinucci (right) and Charlie Kimball scored a one-two finish in Sunday's Formula 3 Euroseries race at Barcelona in Spain. Antinucci led from start to finish from pole position to win by four seconds.

Pos. No. Driver Lap Time Gap
1. 11 Antinucci/USA 26 30:01.471 30:01.471
2. 20 Kimball/USA 26 30:05.442 03.971
3. 18 Nakajima/JPN 26 30:06.382 04.911
4. 3 Hirate/JPN 26 30:07.227 05.756
5. 7 Buemi/SUI 26 30:12.614 11.143
6. 2 di Resta/GBR 26 30:13.209 11.738
7. 4 Guerrieri/ARG 26 30:13.872 12.401
8. 16 van der Garde/NED 26 30:21.389 19.918
9. 10 Grosjean/FRA 26 30:22.106 20.635
10. 9 Moreau/FRA 26 30:23.816 22.345
11. 21 Sandtler/GER 26 30:26.019 24.548
12. 5 Nunez/ESP 25 29:27.686 1 lap
13. 1 Vettel/GER 11 15:52.335 15 laps
14. 19 Nocera/ITA 9 13:47.525 17 laps
15. 14 Salaquarda/CEZ 1 1:11.390 25 laps
16. 22 Herck/MCO 1 1:55.875 25 laps
17. 17 Kobayashi/JPN 1 5:19.417 25 laps
0. 8 Summerton/USA  00.000 26 laps
0. 6 O´Mahony/IRL  00.000 26 laps

Creation’s driver lineup for Petit Le Mans Creation’s driver lineup for Petit Le MansBicester, England. The entry list is out and the British Creation team’s driver lineup of Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB), Nicolas Minassian (F) and Harold Primat (CH) can be fully publicized.

Team Principal, Ian Bickerton, is very much looking forward to returning to race in North America, and is very happy with the outcome of his driver selection process. “Nic was always going to head up our driver lineup, of course, but there were a number of options open to us for the other places. Harold tested for us in Istanbul at the end of last November and did really well, and we’ve been trying to find a way to work together since, so the final two races of the ALMS are perfectly timed from our point of view. Jamie did a solid job for us at Le Mans this year, and drove superbly at Donington a month ago when we fielded our new, second car so he’s earned his place on merit.

“It’s a great advantage to have all three drivers who know the US tracks and who are experienced in racing an LMP car, and I am confident that Harold will fit in very well and help us to finish these races at the front of the field.” zzzz

The Minassian/Campbell-Walter partnership is, of course, not new to the American Le Mans Series. The duo took part in the final two races of the 2004 season, claiming a front row start for Petit Le Mans and a sensational pole position at Laguna Seca – success they will be aiming to replicate in 2006. Unfortunately, engine/water pump problems prevented Creation’s “Blue Rocket” from finishing both races.

For Swiss driver, Harold Primat, the opportunity to drive with one of his motorsport heroes, Minassian, is a dream come true. “I’m very much looking forward to going to the States with Creation for a number of different reasons. One is that I started my racing career there in 1999 [in the US F2000 Series] so I know a lot of people in America and they have known me from the very beginning of my racing. Also, from my early days in racing, Nicolas was one of the people I looked up to as an example of how to be a professional racing driver. He was the top guy in British F3 and in F3000 and I have followed whatever he has done in his career. So, now, to do these races with him and Creation is a great, great opportunity for me.”

Primat will remain with Creation for both the Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca races.

The British team is heading to North America directly from the final round of the Le Mans Series in Jarama, Spain. The 1,000kms of Jarama is taking place today and Creation is on an all-out charge for maximum points and second place in the Teams’ and Drivers’ Championships.

Capirossi beats Rossi in Japan Capirossi beats Rossi in JapanLoris Capirossi repeated his 2005 victory at Twin Ring Motegi in the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan, doing so in a similar fashion to his runaway win at Sepang two weeks ago. The Ducati rider, starting from pole, was only troubled in the early stages by Marco Melandri, but broke free and never looked back en route to a third win of 2006.

Although hardly a masterclass in overtaking skill, the Japanese race added further excitement to the battle for the World Title, as Valentino Rossi took second place and cut the gap between himself and Nicky Hayden to 12 points as the American finished off the podium once more. An all-Italian podium was completed by Marco Melandri, who gave Honda the constructor’s title at their home circuit and moved up to a definitive third position in the classification (he started the race level on points with Dani Pedrosa).

Sete Gibernau took another fourth spot, holding off a last lap challenge from Shinya Nakano that saw the local hero crash out of the race and allow Hayden to move up a place to fifth, preventing his lead in the standings being cut to 11.

Toni Elias rounded off the top six with one of his finest rides of the season, and Hayden had struggled to pass the Spaniard early on. Dani Pedrosa, who never really took to the circuit, came in seventh ahead of Colin Edwards. Kenny Roberts and Makoto Tamada, the highest placing home rider, rounded off the first ten past the line.

Aside from Nakano’s late crash, there were also incidents for Jose Luis Cardoso, Casey Stoner and Randy de Puniet, without serious consequences for either rider Despite early predictions of a typhoon approaching the isolated Japanese track, the crowd were treated to glorious sunshine.

And Rossi was delighted to close the gap on his rival.

"The points I picked up today are very important for the championship," said the 27-year-old, who is chasing his sixth straight premier-class title.

"This isn't my favorite track but everyone did a good job of getting the bike ready and I'm pleased with the result."

Japanese MotoGP results:
1. Loris Capirossi (Ita) Ducati 43:13.585
2. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 43:18.673
3. Marco Melandri (Ita) Honda 43:21.963
4. Sete Gibernau (Spa) Ducati 43:23.297
5. Nicky Hayden (US) Honda 43:25.529
6. Toni Elias (Spa) Honda 43:31.693
7. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 43:33.522
8. Colin Edwards (US) Yamaha 43:36.077
9. Kenny Roberts Jr. (US) KR211V 43:40.409
10. Makoto Tamada (Jap) Honda 43:44.555
11. Chris Vermeulen (Aus) Suzuki 43:52.848
12. John Hopkins (US) Suzuki 43:53.025
13. Kousuke Akiyoshi (Jap) Suzuki 44:59.180
14. Carlos Checa (Spa) Yamaha 44:03.156
15. James Ellison (GB) Yamaha 44:22.670

MotoGP Standings:
1. Nicky Hayden (US) Honda 236
2. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Yamaha 224
3. Marco Melandri (Ita) Honda 209
4. Loris Capirossi (Ita) Ducati 205
5. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 202
6. Casey Stoner (Aus) Honda 119
7. Kenny Roberts Jr. (US) KR211V 110
8. Colin Edwards (US) Yamaha 104
9. John Hopkins (US) Suzuki 101
10. Sete Gibernau (Spa) Ducati 95

Clint Bowyer wins the Dover 200 Clint Bowyer wins the Dover 200Clint Bowyer won the Dover 200 to pick up his first NASCAR Busch Series victory of 2006 and the ninth win of the season for his car owner Richard Childress. Bowyer became the sixteenth different winner in the series this year. Scott Riggs drove his Evernham Motorsports Dodge to the pole and led for the first 41 laps until Martin Truex Jr. took the front spot. Series point leader Kevin Harvick started deep in the field but worked his way up through the pack to finish third after a late race duel with runner-up Matt Kenseth.

A record-setting 13 cautions slowed the field with the usual spins and a few wall bumping incidents. Reed Sorenson finished sixth after spinning off the fourth turn into the inside wall on the frontstretch at the checkered flag. The several spins were due in part to what the drivers termed a lack of grip in the track surface. No injuries were reported..

The top six drivers put on a terrific show for the crowd around the lap 170 mark with Kenseth, Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray., Bowyer and Harvick running under close quarters for the lead. Bowyer surged to the front of the field on Lap 182. Bowyer and Kenseth worked their way through lapped traffic with Kenseth gathering ground on race-leader Bowyer as he cut a path through the back markers. zzzz

Truex Jr. brought out the thirteenth and final caution with two laps to go when he spun off turn four after getting high in the turn and connecting with the “marbles”. This set up the ninth green-white-checker finish for the NASCAR Busch Series in 2006. Bowyer got a good jump at the green on lap 200 and held it to the finish for the win.

Rounding out the top ten finishers were Bowyer, Kenseth, Harvick, McMurray, Jason Leffler, Sorenson, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, J.J. Yeley and Michael Waltrip. Kevin Harvick extends his point lead by a margin of 699 markers over Carl Edwards. Denny Hamlin, Bowyer and Yeley make up the top five with series regular Paul Menard in sixth. The NASCAR Busch Series heads west to Kansas Speedway for next week’s Yellow Transportation 300. TNT will broadcast the event beginning at 3 pm eastern.

Skinner Wins Smith’s Las Vegas 350 Skinner Wins Smith’s Las Vegas 350The sixth time was the charm for Mike Skinner who became the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ 10th winner of the 2006 season Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Skinner, the 1995 series champion, put his Bill Davis Racing-owned Toyota Tundra Toyota on the Budweiser Pole for the sixth time this season and finally closed the deal with a late pass of fellow Toyota driver Ted Musgrave. Mike Skinner, winner of the Smith's Las Vegas 350, climbs out in Victory Lane following the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (David Allio)

Skinner, who hadn’t won in more than a year and 26 races, led four times for 114 of the race’s 146 laps but had to come from behind following the race’s seventh caution.

The winner, Musgrave and Ron Hornaday Jr. exchanged the lead three times over an 11 lap stretch between laps 116 and 126 before Skinner pulled away to win the .309 seconds – about two truck lengths. zzzz

Skinner’s 19th career victory was worth $54,675. Despite racing on a higher-banked, reconfigured track on which he set a one-lap qualifying record of 178.065 mph, Skinner turned in the slowest average speed in the 10-year history of the Smith’s Las Vegas 350. Seven cautions consuming 31 laps – the majority for fluid on the 1.5-mile speedway – held the race average to 117.812.

Musgrave, driving the Team ASE Tundra, took second ahead of Mike Bliss’ Xpress Motorsports Chevrolet. Johnny Benson, at the wheel of the Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota, came from 15th to claim fourth despite losing all but third and fourth gears in his truck’s transmission. Hornaday was fifth in the AES HR Solutions Chevrolet.

David Reutimann, top-finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Marcos Ambrose, Dennis Setzer and freshmen Kraig Kinser and Aric Almirola filled out the top 10 with 25 of the 36 starters completing all 146 laps.

There were nine lead changes among six drivers: Skinner, Bliss, Ambrose, Hornaday, Musgrave and Travis Kittleson.

Benson’s finish cut further into Todd Bodine’s seemingly solid championship lead that stood at 154 points just two races ago. With Bodine finishing 12th – recovering with a late charge from out of the top 20 – the margin is 91 points with six races remaining on the 2006 schedule.

New Champ Car wows crowd at Road America New Champ Car wows crowd at Road AmericaFans and competitors alike clamored to the fences Saturday at Road America as Roberto Moreno wheeled the new Panoz Champ Car onto the track and ran two laps at speed.  It was the first public outing for the new car after a month of private testing at Sebring. Mark C.


Da Matta ready to leave hospital - brother Da Matta ready to leave hospital - brotherUPDATE #2 Champ Car World Series driver Cristiano da Matta (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone) has left Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisc., yesterday, and was flown to his home in Miami to continue his rehabilitation process. Da Matta was injured after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track near Turn Six at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. during a Champ Car Open Test on August 3.   

Champ Car Medical Director Dr. Chris Pinderski traveled with da Matta and his family from Neenah to Miami, and was able to observe da Matta’s condition throughout the trip.

“We are pleased to announce that Cristiano da Matta went back to his home in Miami yesterday,” said Pinderski.  “His recovery so far has been nothing short of excellent and he's done so well that the remainder of his rehabilitation will take place on an outpatient basis. We are fortunate to have had excellent care provided at all levels for Cristiano including the Champ Car Safety Team, Theda Star Helicopter Service, Dr. Randall Johnson and all those involved with his care at Theda Clark Medical Center.”

Further updates on da Matta’s condition will be issued by RuSPORT as they become available.

09/22/06 Below are photos, courtesy of Champ Car, of Cristiano da Matta on board Dan Pettit's Gulfstream V as he prepares to fly home to Miami to complete his rehabilitation from the injury suffered when he hit a deer at Road America during a test. He's 15 pounds lighter and has lost his short-term memory, but is doing much better.


09/22/06 (GMM)  Former Toyota F1 racer and current RuSPORT Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta, who sustained a serious head injury in a recent Champ Car collision with a deer, is about to leave hospital.

The Brazilian's brother, Gustavo, explained that the diminutive 33-year-old is 'ready' to return home.

Gustavo da Matta added: ''Yesterday we went out for lunch and dinner; he ate a lot.''

It also emerged that da Matta, who struck a deer at the Elkhart Lake circuit at the beginning of August and was put into a medical coma after emergency brain surgery.

NASCAR heading north to Montreal NASCAR heading north to MontrealNASCAR will expand its North American presence next season, heading north to Canada for a Busch series race in August in Montreal.

The race will be held Saturday, Aug. 4, on the road course in Montreal and replace the race on the schedule that was held this season in Martinsville, Va., NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Saturday.

The official schedule will be released Tuesday with a news conference in Montreal.

"It's the next step in realignment," Poston said. "We've been interested in the Canadian market for a long time. We really wanted to have the sport throughout North America."

The 2007 Busch season will visit Mexico City for the third straight year.
"It's been a priority for us to try and get our fans from across North America the opportunity to see a race near their home," Poston said before the Busch race at Dover International Speedway. More at AP Story

Matos wins Road America pole Matos wins Road America pole
Atlantic champion to appear on Wind Tunnel Atlantic champion to appear on Wind TunnelThe name has yet to be engraved on the trophy and the ink isn't dry on the title-winner's $2 million check, but whoever wins the 2006 Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda championship this weekend, the new champ will make his first national television appearance Sunday night on SPEED's Wind Tunnel program with host Dave Despain.

The Atlantic title battle is being played out this weekend at the Gehl Champ Car Atlantic Championship at Road America as series leader Simon Pagenaud (#15 Team Australia/Location U/Cons. Gen. Vienne) of Team Australia and Graham Rahal (#18 Gehl Company) of Mi-Jack Conquest will tangle on the classic 4.048-mile road circuit. Pagenaud enjoys a 13-point lead over Rahal in the title chase entering Saturday's final round of qualifying from Road America.

Whichever driver emerges from Round 12 of the Atlantic Championship on Sunday with the series title, the newly-crowned champ will join Despain on the popular Wind Tunnel airwaves via satellite from Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Wind Tunnel will air Sunday night on SPEED from 9-10 p.m. ET. Longtime motorsports medical consultant Dr. Steve Olvey will also be a featured guest on Sunday night's show.

The series champion, who will also earn $2 million to graduate to the Champ Car World Series in 2007, will appear on Wind Tunnel before arriving as the guest of honor at the Atlantic season-ending awards celebration. All 2006 Atlantic competitors will be honored at the celebration Sunday evening at The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Audi dominates qualifying at Barcelona Audi dominates qualifying at BarcelonaWith a commanding qualifying performance in the rain Audi secured the top three positions on the grid for the first DTM race in Spain at Barcelona. In difficult conditions Martin Tomczyk (24) in the Red Bull Audi A4 DTM took the fourth pole position in his DTM career – the first since Hockenheim in October 2004. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, for the first time since joining Audi, will start from the front row of the grid. Tom Kristensen, coming third, was quicker, as well, than Bernd Schneider in the best Mercedes. Mattias Ekström will start the race immediately behind the leader of the standings from the third row.
Following heavy rainfall the three-part "shoot out” for the pole position took place on a wet and slippery track where the right use of rain tires was crucial. This was best managed by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline which made it into the last section of the top eight with all four Audi A4 DTM cars. zzzz
Another strong performance was shown by Frank Stippler from Audi Sport Team Rosberg. After setting the best time in the 2005-spec A4 in the morning’s free practice session he finished seventh to achieve his best qualifying result so far this season. Team-mate Timo Scheider – coming ninth – missed the top eight by merely 39 thousandths of a second.
A surprise was managed by Vanina Ickx in the 2004-spec Audi A4 DTM of customer team Futurecom TME, who claimed the 14th grid position on the slippery tarmac, leaving behind – among others – the double winner in this season, Bruno Spengler in a Mercedes.
Six Audi A4 DTM cars on the first four rows of the grid give Audi an optimum starting base for achieving their fourth victory this season in the prestigious duel against Mercedes and further reducing the gap to current DTM leader Bernd Schneider. The race is scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. local time, ARD will start to broadcast live from Barcelona on "Das Erste” starting at 1:45 p.m.
Road America: Bourdais tops morning practice Road America: Bourdais tops morning practice
Pos Driver # Lap Time Mph Behind Leader
1 S. Bourdais 1 1:42.913 141.603 
2 B. Junqueira 2 1:43.546 140.737 0.633
3 A. Allmendinger 7 1:44.075 140.022 1.162
4 O. Servia 6 1:44.554 139.381 1.641
5 J. Wilson 9 1:44.759 139.108 1.846
6 P. Tracy 3 1:44.841 138.999 1.928
7 W. Power 5 1:44.958 138.844 2.045
8 N. Philippe 4 1:45.460 138.183 2.547
9 C. Zwolsman 34 1:45.542 138.076 2.629
10 M. Dominguez 8 1:45.785 137.759 2.872
11 J. Heylen 11 1:46.069 137.390 3.156
12 K. Legge 20 1:46.165 137.266 3.252
13 A. Tagliani 15 1:46.280 137.117 3.367
14 D. Clarke 14 1:46.648 136.644 3.735
15 A. Ranger 27 1:46.794 136.457 3.881
16 J. Caceres 19 1:47.547 135.502 4.634
17 T. Kasemets 18 1:48.168 134.724 5.255
CARA Champ Car event a huge success CARA Champ Car event a huge successThe CARA Charity "Taste of Champ Car" tailgate party Friday night at Road America was a huge success.  The event was a sellout that featured good food, wine, music and a silent auction of Champ Car memorabilia to raise money for Cristiano da Matta and his family as he recovers from his head injury.
Vettel wins in Barcelona Vettel wins in Barcelona
Pos Driver Team Time
 1. Sebastian Vettel ASM Formule 3 33:28.008
 2. Kohei Hirate Manor Motorsport + 13.857
 3. Esteban Guerrieri Manor Motorsport + 22.233
 4. Kazuki Nakajima Manor Motorsport + 24.038
 5. Kamui Kobayashi ASM Formule 3 + 24.955
 6. Charlie Kimball Signature-Plus + 26.552
 7. Sebastien Buemi ASL Mucke Motorsport + 31.854
 8. Richard Antinucci HBR Motorsport + 36.486
 9. Guillaume Moreau Signature-Plus + 39.933
10. Paul di Resta ASM Formule 3 + 44.335
11. Tim Sandtler Signature-Plus + 50.291
12. Michael Herck Bas Leinders JRT + 59.050
13. Alejandro Nunez Prema Powerteam +1:05.156
14. Ronayne O'Mahony Prema Powerteam +1:15.469
15. Filip Salaquarda Team ISR +1:22.024
16. Giedo van der Garde ASM Formule 3 + 7 laps
 Driver Team On Lap
 Romain Grosjean Signature-Plus 11
 Paolo Nocera Prema Powerteam 19
 Jonathan Summerton ASL Mucke Motorsport 25|
Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel, 1:13.683 on lap 15
Alonso denies Renault test ban Alonso denies Renault test ban(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has followed Renault's lead in playing down reports that the Spaniard was 'banned' from participating in the final tests of the 2006 season.

Denying that his absence from Jerez last week, and Silverstone this week, was linked with his impending switch to McLaren, the 25-year-old said on Friday prior to leaving for a PR event in Japan: ''After Monza I had a problem with my knee and wanted to ensure my fitness for China.

''Regarding Silverstone, this particular test would have been so boring for me and for (teammate Giancarlo) Fisichella, so neither of us were asked to come.''

Champ Car to get new Marketing/Sales Exec Champ Car to get new Marketing/Sales ExecChamp Car is looking for a new Sales and Marketing VP to replace Will Wilson who has filled that role since April '05.  The AFL has hired Wilson as Exec VP/Sales and he starts that new role on October 1st.
Capirossi wins pole at Motegi Capirossi wins pole at MotegiLoris Capirossi took pole this afternoon for the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan with a storming lap of 1’45.724, as he looks to repeat his 2005 win at Twin Ring Motegi tomorrow. The Italian followed on from his timesheet-topping performance in the morning free practice session to become one of only two riders to break the 1’46 barrier, with championship contender Valentino Rossi putting on a late charge to take the second spot on the grid. Rossi had previously emphasized that a good qualifying position in the remaining races would be essential for his title chances, and with series leader Nicky Hayden only able to put himself at the head of row three the charismatic Italian is in the driving seat at Motegi.

Marco Melandri, victorious in Australia a week ago and still including himself in the list of title hopefuls, completes an all- Italian affair on row one, followed by home rider Shinya Nakano and the Spanish duo of Sete Gibernau and Toni Elias. Hayden’s fastest lap was just over half a second slower than Capirossi’s, leaving him ahead of Kawasaki’s Randy de Puniet, team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Camel Yamaha’s Colin Edwards.

1. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 45.724 secs
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 45.991 secs
3. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 46.250 secs
4. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 46.291 secs
5. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 46.316 secs
6. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 46.326 secs
7. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 46.489 secs
8. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 46.512 secs
9. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 46.576 secs
10. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 46.726 secs
11. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 46.847 secs
12. Kousuke Akiyoshi JPN Team Suzuki MotoGP 1min 46.958 secs
13. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 47.071 secs
14. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 1min 47.310 secs
15. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 47.451 secs
16. Naoki Matsudo JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 47.826 secs
17. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 47.905 secs
18. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 48.426 secs
19. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 48.716 secs
20. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 48.748 secs

Capirossi tops practice 3 at Motegi Capirossi tops practice 3 at MotegiLast year's Japanese GP polesitter, Loris Capirossi, turned the fastest practice lap at Motegi Saturday morning, very close to his pole speed from last year.

1. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 46.329 secs
2. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 46.658 secs
3. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 47.171 secs
4. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 47.225 secs
5. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 47.292 secs
6. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 1min 47.460 secs
7. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 47.632 secs
8. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 47.640 secs
9. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 47.826 secs
10. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 48.125 secs
11. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 48.298 secs
12. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 48.374 secs
13. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 48.472 secs
14. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 48.534 secs
15. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 48.602 secs
16. Kousuke Akiyoshi JPN Team Suzuki MotoGP 1min 48.897 secs
17. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 49.446 secs
18. Naoki Matsudo JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 49.474 secs
19. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 49.735 secs
20. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 50.134 secs
21. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 50.573 secs

NASCAR New Hampshire TV rating NASCAR New Hampshire TV ratingUPDATE NASCAR TV ratings continue to drop.  The final TV rating for last Sunday's Nextel Cup race on TNT was a 3.1 (3,446,000 households), down 9% from a 3.4 (3,786,000 households) in 2005.

09/19/06 The overnight domestic TV rating for last Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Sylvania 300 in New Hampshire on TNT was a 2.9, the same as 2005. Popularity isn't everything. But the next time you hear that NASCAR is such a dominant TV draw, remember that adding up total weekend football viewership, would swamp TNT's race rating. In fact a single football game would do that, let alone all the professional and college games combined.

In essence NASCAR, which has had falling TV ratings throughout the year, keeps boasting about how big it is with outlandish lies, much like the lie we hear every week on almost every NASCAR TV show that they have the greatest drivers in the world. The fact of the matter is that NASCAR drivers would fail miserably in any other form of motorsport, and in fact open wheel drivers like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, and others have come into NASCAR and dominated. You will never see a NASCAR driver go to say, F1, or Champ Car and dominate. In fact history has shown every time they tried they were complete and utter backmarkers. So we suggest NASCAR stop the lies, stop the fabrications, button your lip and just go race and put on the best show possible. The lies are only driving TV ratings lower. The fans are not stupid.
Champ Car qualifying reminder Champ Car qualifying reminderQualifying for the Grand Prix of Road America Champ Car race at Elkhart Lake will be shown same day delayed Saturday night at 11:30 pm-12:00 am ET on SPEED
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR RaceDay Dover
11:00am-12:30pm (L) SPEED
11:30am-12:00pm  ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup  Dover 400
12:30pm-5:00pm (L) TNT
MotoGP World Championship  Japan
1:00pm-2:00pm (SDD) SPEED
Champ Car Elkhart Lake, WI Road America
2:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Dover
7:00pm-8:00pm (SDD) SPEED
NHRA Ennis, TX O’Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals
7:00pm-10:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
The SPEED Report  
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Dr. Steve Olvey (CART Medical Team)
2006 Atlantic Champion (Rahal or Pagenaud)

9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Racing News
Forbes 400 Richest USA "Billionaires" (racing) Forbes 400 Richest USA "Billionaires" (racing)UPDATE Added Grand-Am team owner Tracy Krohn who also is estimated to be worth $1.4 billion from his W&T offshore business.

Rank Name Worth (Billions)
 45. John Menard 5.2B
140. Roger Penske 2.2B
242. James France 1.5B
242. William France, Jr. 1.5B
278. Bruton Smith 1.4B
278  Tracy W. Krohn 1.4B 
Legge finally gets better of teammate Servia Legge finally gets better of teammate ServiaAll season long Katherine Legge has struggled to keep pace with her more experienced PKV teammate Oriol Servia, but in the wet at Road America, Legge, who runs fairly well in the rain, out qualified Servia.

Legge provisionally qualified eighth while teammate Oriol Servia was 13th on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Legge, who was sporting a new pink paint scheme on the #20 Bell Micro – PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry to support Ford Motor Company’s Warriors in Pink program, which is dedicated to eradicating breast cancer through Ford’s commitment to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Series, clocked in with a time of 119.388 seconds (1:59.388) for a speed of 122.063 mph on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America permanent road circuit. While only a provisional qualifying spot today’s effort ties Legge’s highest final qualifying position achieved earlier this year in Milwaukee. Servia, in the #6 Gulfstream – PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine, provisionally qualified with a quick lap of 121.082 seconds (2:01.082) good for 120.355 mph. zzzz

“This was a good qualifying session for the Bell Micro – PKV Racing team, but not as good as it could have been,” commented Legge. “The team did a fantastic job,” she noted. “We struggled in practice this morning, but we were able to sort out our issues and the car was great in qualifying this afternoon. We had a great strategy, staying out the whole time and I only began to struggle the last three or four laps. That was my fault. I leaned on the front tires too much. I should have been more patient and cooled the tires down by driving through the puddles instead of going for it the whole time. Had I done that I really think we would have been in the top-five,” Legge explained. “It is also nice to be on a track that is similar to what I grew up with,” she concluded.

Tidbits from Road America Tidbits from Road America 
  • Dan Clarke is the first rookie to lead a Champ Car qualifying session this season, and is the first rookie to lead a qualifying session since Sebastien Bourdais headed qualifying in Surfers Paradise in 2003.
  • Dan Clarke earned a front-row starting spot for Sunday’s race by leading today’s qualifying, marking the first time that a CTE Racing – HVM machine will start on the front row since Ryan Hunter-Reay started second at Road America in 2004.
  • Former European F3000 driver Juan Caceres (#19 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) made his debut with Dale Coyne Racing today, taking over for Mario Dominguez (#8 Pemex/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who moved to Rocketsports for the remainder of the season. The Uruguayan driver turned a best lap of 2:03.690 (117.817 mph) and was 17th in the field.
  • Clarke’s result earned him a championship point, giving him 148 on the year and moving him into a three-way tie for 10th in the championship standings. He moves to within 19 points of Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year points leader Will Power with today’s performance.
RuSPORT signs major sponsor RuSPORT signs major sponsorRuSPORT has signed a major associate sponsor for the CDW car of Justin Wilson. Oracle, one of the top three computer software companies in the world, has come on board for the remainder of this year and all of next year. An announcement will be made in the off-season. We were also told that they are close to a major deal for the 2nd car as well, again to be announced in the off-season. Mark C.
Pagenaud nips Rahal for provisional pole Pagenaud nips Rahal for provisional pole
2006 IRL TV Rating Summary 2006 IRL TV Rating Summary
3/26 Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway ABC 0.8 0.6 (ESPN) NA
4/2 Streets of St. Petersburg, FL ESPN 0.3 0.4 -25.0%
4/22 Twin Ring Motegi ESPN 0.6 0.5 20.0%
5/28 Indianapolis Motor Speedway ABC 5.0 6.8 -26.5%
6/4 Watkins Glen International ABC 0.8 0.7 14.3%
6/10 Texas Motor Speedway ESPN 0.6 1.0 -40.0%
6/24 Richmond International Raceway ESPN2 0.4 0.4 0.0%
7/2 Kansas Speedway ABC 1.2 1.1 (ESPN) NA
7/15 Nashville Superspeedway ESPN 0.4 0.3 33.3%
7/23 The Milwaukee Mile ESPN 0.4 0.5 -20.0%
7/30 Michigan International Speedway ABC 1.0 1.3 -30.0%
8/13 Kentucky Speedway ABC 0.8 0.9 -11.1%
8/27 Infineon Raceway ESPN 0.6 0.6 0.0%
9/10 Chicagoland Speedway ABC 0.7 1.0 -30.0%

Data courtesy of Nielsen

From a wet Road America From a wet Road AmericaThe weather forecast was for cool and wet conditions in Wisconsin today and that was certainly the case as the Champ Cars took to the track Friday morning for their first practice session at Road America. This track is sometimes referred to as America's Spa Francorchamps with it rural settings with tall trees, a fast track that follows the lay of the hilly land, and like Spa, which is almost always wet, Road America very much has that feel this weekend.

Saving his best for his last lap, Paul Tracy turned the fastest lap in morning practice. With huge rooster tails flying off the back of his car, Tracy turned a 2m10.215s lap to nip Sebastien Bourdais (2m10.401s) and Justin Wilson (2m10.903s). Rookies Will Power and Dan Clarke rounded out the top-5 .

Pos Driver # Team Lap Time
1 P. Tracy 3 Forsythe Championship Racing 2:10.215
2 S. Bourdais 1 Newman/Haas Racing 2:10.401
3 J. Wilson 9 RuSPORT 2:10.903
4 W. Power 5 Team Australia 2:11.306
5 D. Clarke 14 CTE Racing - HVM 2:13.910
6 A. Tagliani 15 Team Australia 2:14.115
7 A. Allmendinger 7 Forsythe Championship Racing 2:14.202
8 O. Servia 6 PKV Racing 2:16.790
9 B. Junqueira 2 Newman/Haas Racing 2:17.307
10 N. Philippe 4 CTE Racing - HVM 2:18.480
11 J. Heylen 11 Dale Coyne Racing 2:19.401
12 A. Ranger 27 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing 2:19.718
13 J. Careres 19 Dale Coyne Racing 2:19.886
14 K. Legge 20 PKV Racing 2:26.065
15 M. Dominguez 8 Rocketsports Racing 2:28.571
16 T. Kasemets 18 Rocketsports Racing 6:20.341
17 C. Zwolsman 34 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing 0.00
A different role for Haselgrove A different role for HaselgroveMarcus Haselgrove, team manager for B-K Motorsports, enters this year's Petit Le Mans in a different role in years past as an engineer for Champion Racing and its Audi R8. The now-retired German prototype never lost a race at Road Atlanta, including Petit Le Mans wins from 2000-05.
Aguri team announces promotions Aguri team announces promotionsSUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce the following internal promotions.

Mark Preston has accepted the position of Technical Director of the SAF1 TEAM. Mark takes up his new position with immediate effect and will continue to attend all race and test events whilst managing the Design and Research and Development departments based at the SAF1 Team factory in Leafield, UK.

Graham Taylor has been promoted from his current role of Chief Race Engineer to the newly created position of Sporting Director. In his new role Graham will be responsible for the Race and Test Team performance and all related activities. An integral part of Graham’s new position will be to ensure that the image, professionalism and development of the SAF1 TEAM is administered with an understanding of the future path and development of ‘The Race Team’. For the remainder of the 2006 season Graham will continue to oversee the Engineering department with no further personnel changes.

Further promotions within SAF1 Team include Ben Wood to the role of Head of Aerodynamics, Stephen Watt becomes Head of Electronics and Gérry Hughes commences his new role of Head of Research and Development whilst continuing his position as Race Engineer for Car Number 22 (Takuma Sato).

Mark Preston, Technical Director
''I am glad that Aguri has been able to bring stability to the team and cement our future direction. It is a credit to all who have worked so hard at SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM and delivered so much over this first year of racing. Through our constant improvement we have come from approximately 7% off the pace at our first Grand Prix in Bahrain and are now within 3% of the front runners at recent races, a huge effort in anyone’s books! These internal promotions reflect the commitment to further strengthening the team’s future.”

Clarke hooks up with Imagine Appeal Clarke hooks up with Imagine AppealThe Imagine Appeal, a children’s health charity backed by Yoko Ono, will be a new partnership for Dan Clarke as his chosen charity for 2007. Speedy Dan is promoting his tie-up with the charity at Road America, with his #14 CTE HVM Racing Champ Car bearing the charity logo throughout the race weekend.

Clarke’s link with the ‘Imagine’ appeal initiative is the first of a number of announcements and partnerships from the young British driver as he heads into his second year of Champ Car competition. Next season Clarke will spearhead a number of new and exciting initiatives which link the Champ Car World Series with this visionary charity and alongside Cedric The Entertainer, there’s expected to be more celebrity support in the paddock through the Imagine appeal. In addition, Clarke’s new rebranded website to be launched this winter will include 'giving links' for the charity.

‘Imagine’, the not-for-profit arm of a world renowned children’s hospital in Liverpool, England, is based in the home town of John Lennon, iconic musician and founding member of The Beatles, one of the most famous bands in pop history. The appeal is a fundraising initiative that supports pioneering work in child health, from researching medical conditions, to buying vital equipment. Its primary aim is to improve the quality of life for children worldwide. zzzz

Clarke was introduced to the charity by a trustee of the Appeal, Chas Cole, who is also the driver’s manager and is an avid supporter of ‘Imagine’. Clarke says, “We have all been children, so we can imagine how a child might feel when having to have medical treatment. Imagine is helping, through its support and research programs, to make these experiences less stressful and more comfortable, and its work really does make a difference to the lives of children in hospital.”

He adds, “From its British origins Imagine is now hoping to expand to become a global foundation, so it is fitting that I can support the appeal as I carve out my international motor racing career. You’ll probably see me around the paddock wearing the ‘Imagine’ T-shirt which is a John Lennon sketch which he drew for his son, Sean, when he was a child. You’ll also spot this on my visor strip this weekend. I’ll be inviting Yoko Ono and a few more musical celebrities to join me trackside in 2007, so it really will be Viva Las Vegas!”.

Yoko Ono is a keen ambassador of the charity, and welcomes celebrity and sportspeople’s endorsement of the campaign. International footballer, Wayne Rooney, Hollywood actor David Morrissey and England cricket captain, Andrew Flintoff are among the supporters of ‘Imagine’. In addition, Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has made significant donations to the hospital.

Yoko Ono says, “It’s great to see Speedy Dan getting behind the Imagine Appeal and helping to support the pioneering work for children that they carry out each year at Europe’s largest children’s hospital. It’s a fitting tribute to John that this life-affirming image of love that he created for our son Sean, should be used as a unifying symbol of the Imagine Appeal.”

Clarke, 22 year old British driver for CTE HVM Racing competes in the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America this weekend at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. In his rookie season of competition he has scored six top ten finishes and is the only rookie to have posted a podium finish.

Mosley confirms no penalty for Briatore Mosley confirms no penalty for Briatore(GMM)  Max Mosley has confirmed reports that no action would be taken over Renault boss Flavio Briatore's outburst at Monza.

An FIA spokesman last week explained that a disrepute charge was 'not probable', despite Briatore's vitriolic attack about the questionable impartiality of stewards.

Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper claimed that a penalty could have topped (US) $2.8 million.

But the FIA president, also referring to Fernando Alonso's similarly critical comments, was quoted as saying by the tabloid: ''Both let their emotions get to them.''

China race date change China race date changeThe A1GP Race on the Beijing Street Circuit has been postponed to November 10-12 instead of the original November 3-5 date. The reason for this change is because there will be a conference in Beijing with 40 Presidents/Leaders from different countries during the first week of November.
Hayden re-signs with Honda Hayden re-signs with HondaAmerican Nicky Hayden fifth on his Repsol Honda in Friday practice for the Japanese GP at Motegi, and the MotoGP points leader, has re-signed with Honda for the 2007 season. Honda chose to make the announcement at Motegi, a track they own.
Rossi fastest in Japan Rossi fastest in JapanValentino Rossi sent out a warning to championship leader Nicky Hayden as he blitzed his rivals on the opening day of practice for the Japanese GP with a lap 0.4 seconds faster than anyone else.

The 27-year-old Italian, who was second in morning practice, blasted a stunning lap of 1:46.981 around Motegi two minutes from the end of the afternoon session to show that he and Yamaha will be serious victory contenders in Sunday’s race.

Behind the five-time world champion, and continuing the form Kawasaki showed in Australia, was Shinya Nakano ahead of his home Grand Prix, with Phillip Island winner Marco Melandri third on his Fortuna Honda.

Fourth was Rossi's American teammate Colin Edwards, who briefly held the top spot near the end of the second hour, with his countryman Hayden fifth on his Repsol Honda.

1. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 46.981 secs
2. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 47.315 secs
3. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 47.449 secs
4. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 47.581 secs
5. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 47.610 secs
6. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 47.646 secs
7. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 47.731 secs
8. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 47.915 secs
9. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 47.982 secs
10. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 1min 48.002 secs
11. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 48.059 secs
12. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 48.160 secs
13. Sete Gibernau SPA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 48.313 secs
14. Kousuke Akiyoshi JPN Team Suzuki MotoGP 1min 48.317 secs
15. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 48.389 secs
16. Naoki Matsudo JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 48.722 secs
17. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 49.488 secs
18. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 49.683 secs
19. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 49.761 secs
20. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 49.899 secs
21. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 51.138 secs
Audi Le Mans winning team reunited Audi Le Mans winning team reunitedSebring, Le Mans, Salt Lake City, Portland, Road America, Mosport – the Audi R10 TDI remains unbeaten after six races and its exploits have already gone down in the history books. The revolutionary Audi diesel-powered sportscar faces yet another tough test: "Petit Le Mans” at Road Atlanta (US state of Georgia) is, with a distance of 1000 miles or a maximum duration of 10 hours, the second longest race in the American Le Mans Series and one of the year’s most important sportscar races.
Audi has reunited this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race winning trio for the endurance classic: Taking turns at the wheel of the Audi R10 TDI, with start number 1, will be Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany), who will race together again for the first time since their historic Le Mans victory in June. Marco Werner won the American Le Mans Series in 2003 and 2004 and has been heavily involved in the development of the Audi R10 TDI.
Audi scored six straight "Petit Le Mans” victories with the R10 TDI predecessor, the R8, between 2000 and 2005. The team, under Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, plans to extend this success series around one of North America’s most demanding circuits on 30 September. The 4.088 kilometer circuit located approximately 50 miles northeast of Atlanta features fast corners and elevation changes, is loved just as much by the fans as it is by the drivers and should suit the world’s most modern and fastest sports-prototype. zzzz
After winning the Teams’ and Drivers’ Championships with two races to spare with Dindo Capello (Italy) and Allan McNish (Scotland), it is now up to Audi Sport North America to win the Manufacturers’ Championship in the "Champions League” LM P1 class for Audi over the course of the two remaining races, and to continue the impressive victory sequence of the Audi R10 TDI.
Audi has already achieved more than many experts thought possible in the first year with TDI technology. Winning the Manufacturers’ Title in the American Le Mans Series and victory in the three most important long-distance races (Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans) would round off the successful début season of the R10 TDI perfectly.
Prior to the "Petit Le Mans” event, the two Audi R10 TDI sportscars have been stripped and inspected at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt by Team Audi Sport North America mechanics. Following a roll-out last Tuesday, the two revolutionary diesel sportscars have been flown back to the USA.
Testing begins at Road Atlanta on Wednesday (27 September). The race starts on Saturday (30 September) at 11:45 a.m. local time (5:45 p.m. in Germany) and finishes after a maximum duration of ten hours. SPEED Channel broadcasts the entire race in the USA "live” as does Motors TV in Europe.
The fans can get a taste before the highlight of the season as early as Monday in downtown Atlanta: In front of the Lenox Square Mall, the Audi "factory” team will demonstrate pit stops from 1200 to 1245 with the number 1 Audi R10 TDI. The fans will also be able to see Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in action during driver changes.
Patrick makes Newsweek list Patrick makes Newsweek listDanica Patrick is featured in this week's issue of Newsweek as one of 20 women poised to become leaders in their field.
Six teams test new Talladega surface Six teams test new Talladega surfaceSix NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams participated in a Goodyear tire test on the new racing surface at Talladega Superspeedway Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 19-20, 2006. The drivers and teams participating in the test were No. 1 Martin Truex, Jr., No. 25 Brian Vickers, No. 38 David Gilliland, No. 40 David Stremme, No. 32 Travis Kvapil and No. 12 Ryan Newman. The drivers took a break during testing on Tuesday to address questions from the media. The first group of interviews included Truex, Jr., Vickers and Gilliland. The second group included Stremme, Kvapil and Newman. More....
Ferrari wraps up testing Ferrari wraps up testingThursday was the second and final day of testing this week for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team who were working once again at the Mugello circuit where official test driver Luca Badoer joined seven time world champion Michael Schumacher in order to work on development of new mechanical components and Bridgestone tires, for the three final races of the 2006 season.

Michael completed a total of 98 laps, fourteen of which were on the short version of the track to set a best time of 1’20”366 while Luca covered 148 laps, 4 on the short version, his quickest being in 1’22”355.

Meanwhile, over at Fiorano, Felipe Massa carried out the shakedown of the 248 F1 cars that will be used in the back-to-back races in the Far East. Felipe did a total of 20 laps, half on the short version of the track, with the quickest in a time of 59”240.

Giancarlo Fisichella – the man inside the helmet Giancarlo Fisichella – the man inside the helmetWhile the media coverage focuses on Fernando’s championship battle, it’s easy to overlook the fact that his teammate Giancarlo Fisichella is locked in a major battle of his own. Not only is he looking to seize back third place in the championship from Felipe Massa, but he will also be driving hard to support Fernando and help Renault win the constructors’ championship.

But who is the man inside the helmet? The Italian driver spoke to the team’s official website about his personality and his home city, in his own words…

Home town boy
Rome is great city. I was born there, so I’m bound to say that and I’ve lived there all my life apart from a few years in Monte Carlo. When I’m away for a few weeks I really miss it. I miss the special atmosphere of Rome and the way it feels. I miss my house and family and the feeling I get from being there, even if there is way too much traffic sometimes.

If you’re from Rome you have to love football. It’s part of the life of the city. We have Lazio and AS Roma and I have always been a Roma fan. I love the club and I have been training with them a few times. Not heavy stuff, but a good kick-around. Quite a few of the guys are big F1 fans, too, so they come to Monza. Francesco Totti loves Formula 1 and he likes to ask me what’s really going on. I ask him the same about Roma. The funny thing is I live in the north of the city close to Lazio, when really I should live further south nearer to Roma, but I like my home too much to move!

Ah the food is great in Roma, of course. The pasta is fabulous and there are two or three restaurants I love to go to when I’m at home. The pasta carbonara is a really classic Roman dish and I think everyone knows that. There’s also Agnello allo scottadito, which is kind of flash-fried lamb. That’s a beautiful dish. But really there is so much good food in Rome, it’s not a problem finding somewhere good to eat. zzzz

Ha! Some people have joked that I must have learned to drive fast because I’m from Rome. These days I try to drive because the traffic can be so bad it can take you an hour to do a mile and that’s pretty crazy. I prefer to use my Harley to get in and out. It’s a V-Road, with a 1.2-litre engine and it’s cool. Not too noisy.

Romans are very friendly. We are used to having people coming to visit our city, so I think that makes us used to being open and approachable, sometimes maybe it’s a bit too friendly and you could do with a little more space, but it’s better that way than being unapproachable. Friendship is a very important part of being Roman.

We have our own special slang in Rome, which marks you out straight away from any other Italian. We think it’s quite funny and it’s still pretty easy to understand. It works by cutting a couple of letters off the end of words and it makes it sound quite funny. It’s still Italian, but uniquely Roman, too.

If you’re Roman you have to love the sunshine. The climate in Rome is beautiful. Really warm in summer with lots of sunshine and even though it’s much cooler in winter it’s never really, you know, bitter. It snows occasionally but only a few times in the past few years. We never get covered.

Fashion is a big thing in Rome – it is anywhere in Italy, but especially in Rome as the capital city. There’s a bit of competition with Milan, which is Italy’s fashion capital, but we Romans still reckon we get the new designs as fast as they do in Milan. The Via del Corso is where you really have to go for all the big names: D&G, Prada, Gucci – it’s all there. As much fashion as you could want.

One of the treats of being Roman is being surrounded by so many beautiful buildings. And they’re not just beautiful, so many of them are historic – like the Colosseum or the Piazza Venezia and the Vatican of course. I feel quite proud when I walk around town and I’m always happy to see so many tourists having a good time and smiling and enjoying Rome’s many delightful surprises.
We love music and the arts in Rome and it’s a great place for getting world-class events. Madonna played the Olympic Stadium a couple of weeks ago and my friends told me she was fantastic. I was really sad to have missed her.

Rome is full of many very beautiful women – and I have my own beautiful girlfriend, Luna, too, of course.


TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice  Dover
10:30am-11:30am (L)  SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Dover
11:30am-1:00pm (L)  SPEED
NASCAR Angels -Premiere  
1:30pm-2:00pm * Check local listings for your time zone ABC
NASCAR Busch Series  Dover
3:00pm-5:00pm (L) TNT
USAC Thunder  
5:00pm-6:00pm The Outdoor Channel
NASCAR Performance  
8:00pm-8:30pm SPEED
Tradin' Paint Dover
8:30pm-9:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Las Vegas
9:00pm-11:30pm (L) SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Ennis, TX
11:00pm-1:00am ESPN2
Champ Car Qualifying Elkhart Lake, WI
11:30pm-12:00am (SDD) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.

O’Connell has near-perfect record O’Connell has near-perfect record"You win a few, lose a few, some get rained out, but ya gotta suit up for all of them." The oldest of baseball adages applies quite nicely to Corvette Racing's Johnny O'Connell. Unlike other endeavors, sports car racing competes in the rain, and O'Connell can attest to the validity of the other three truisms.

He has won races, and he has lost races. He also is the only American Le Mans Series driver to be in uniform for its 75 events. At Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7, O'Connell will aim to start his 72nd Series race. The Flowery Branch, Ga. resident has not missed a start since the 2001 season.

In fact, O'Connell would have driven in every Series event ever run except for some early-on bad racing luck. In 1999 O'Connell, then driving for Panoz with partner Jan Magnussen, watched helplessly as a broken drive shaft at Road Atlanta eliminated the car before it was O'Connell's turn to drive.

The next year, 2000, at Adelaide, O'Connell and two other drivers completed the race, but all three were expunged from the official race result because one of the pilots had not been nominated for the car per ACO regulations. Finally, at the 2001 Petit Le Mans, O'Connell - by now with Corvette Racing - saw then-and-now teammate Ron Fellows bow out of competition after just two laps with Fellows in the car. zzzz

O'Connell and Fellows, in fact, own more wins than anyone in Series history. Their victory at Road America last month gave each of them 25, second only to Olivier Beretta.

O'Connell's career took an upswing when he joined Corvette five years ago. "I owe a lot to everyone at Corvette Racing," the 44-year-old says. "The opportunity was there to drive a great car for great people, and I will never forget how fortunate I've been.

"We've won a lot of races, and Corvette expects us to win races," he added. "There is pressure, sure, but it's a good kind of pressure to have. You see other drivers, and no matter how good they are or how well they drive, they can't win because they don't have the right equipment (to win). Corvette's given all of us - Ron, Olivier (Beretta), Oliver (Gavin), anyone who ever sits in that seat - the very best car that it's possible to have."

O'Connell's now in his 20th professional racing season, and there isn't a paddock anywhere in which he's not popular. "Johnny brings so much to our team aside from his driving," said Gavin, who often competes door-to-door with him. "You remember the good people in this business, and he's one of them."

O'Connell's raced sports cars and open-wheel during his career, competing in the Indianapolis 500 in both 1996-97. A 1997 crash that caused extensive foot injuries helped steer the native New Yorker back to sports car cockpits, a decision he has never regretted. Doug Fehan, racing manager for Corvette Racing, recalls seeing O'Connell when he raced for other teams in the early part of this decade.

"I'd watched Johnny for a number of years," Fehan says. "A bit in Indy Cars and then he raced for Nissan in World Sports Car against our Aurora program. Some of those battles were rather interesting, and I made a mental note."

Chris Kneifel's decision to climb out of the car and work for another series led to O'Connell's biggest career opportunity, which came via a phone call out of the blue. "Johnny told me, 'I just want to put my name in the hat if anything is going to come up,' Fehan said. "I told him, 'We haven't announced this yet, but Chris is leaving.' Shortly afterward, we hired Johnny."

A Fehan strength is his ability to determine which drivers will mesh seamlessly into the Corvette philosophy. "Any personal agendas you have are last on our list," he said. "It's a team program. It's important that a Corvette wins the race, not necessarily your Corvette, and not necessarily you. To us, the manufacturer's championship is the most important."

O'Connell knows the value of demonstrating the Corvette brand. "Johnny's a very competitive personality," Fehan said. "He has a great sense of humor and the unique ability to work the entire system. For instance, he has untold value in our engineering group."

But it's O'Connell's ability to register with Corvette owners that furthers his popularity away from the track.

"Every race we have, the Corvette Corrals have anywhere from 100-400 Corvettes on site," Fehan said. "The owners of these cars, these are the people we race for, and they just love this guy. Johnny is blue collar, bread and butter, meat and potatoes, and that's very identifiable. Our customers find him very engaging. Johnny knows that learning to be a racecar driver isn't just about driving the car. He's learned the importance of knowing what goes on off the racetrack is as important as what happens on the track."

Castroneves stays in fast lane Castroneves stays in fast laneHelio Castroneves, a four-time race winner who finished third in the IndyCar Series championship, hasn't slowed much since completing the season in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

After helping kick off the Miami FC United Soccer League playoff game against the Vancouver Whitecaps in Miami on Sept. 17 (he received a personalized No. 3 Miami FC jersey), Castroneves will be a guest analyst on the O Globo TV broadcast of the Brazilian Stock Car V8 Championship race this weekend in Brasilia, Brazil. 

Castroneves is co-owner of the NasrCastroneves Racing team competing at Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet with drivers Hoover Orsi and David Muffato. They are second and 14th, respectively, in the standings of the series that feature modified Chevrolet Astras. zzzz

"I'm definitely looking forward to trying my hand at broadcasting in Brazil," said Castroneves. "Hopefully, I'll be able to do a good job, but at least I'll be able to speak my first language. It's going to be a lot of fun to broadcast a race where my team is competing, but I'll have to try hard to keep my comments balanced and get to know some of the other drivers a little better. This is a really big race for our team since it will decide which drivers are eligible for the championship. Also, our team shop is located inside the circuit, so it will be exciting for our guys to race at their home track."

In 2003 and 2004, Castroneves provided commentary on the ESPN2 broadcast of the Indy Pro Series' Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The two-time Indianapolis 500 champion also is featured in the September issue of Ocean Drive Magazine. The Coral Gables, Fla., discusses his 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo as well as some of the cars and stories that stand out throughout his life. IRL

Carpentier settles for being a Grand-Am driver Carpentier settles for being a Grand-Am driver[Editor's Note: Looks like Patrick Carpentier was led to believe he might get a NASCAR ride, and maybe he will run a token Busch race or two, but for now it appears he'll race in the France family's D-league, the Grand-Am in front of near-zero fans.  And he's teamed with perhaps the slowest driver in racing. They do pay well though.]

Canadian racer Patrick Carpentier was at Daytona International Speedway this week, participating in a two-day test in the No. 11 CITGO Racing by SAMAX Pontiac Riley, with the hopes that the team asks him to be a full-time driver in the machine alongside Milka Duno in the 2007 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.

Carpentier, a former open-wheel competitor in a variety of series and a five-time race winner in Champ Car, competed twice in the Rolex Series this past season. His most impressive run came in the penultimate round at Infineon Raceway, where he combined with Duno to earn a seventh-place result. He opened the year with an 11th-place run in the Rolex 24 At Daytona alongside Eddie Cheever and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve Lexus Crawford.

"This is where I want to be next year," said Carpentier. "Milka and I had a great race together in Sonoma and we each like similar setups in the car. I really love to drive these Daytona Prototypes. It's the first time I've driven in a car where if two cars touch, they won't end up in the fence." zzzz

The No. 11 machine competed in each round of the 2006 Rolex Series campaign and will enjoy Hoosier PaceSetter status in 2007 after a strong finish in this year's team point standings. The seventh-place run at Sonoma by Carpentier and Duno matched the car's best finish of 2006, when Marc Goossens shared the car with the Venezuelan Duno at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

"This is just a great series," said Carpentier. "I've raced with a bunch of these guys for years. Me and (SAMAX team owner) Peter Baron competed against each other in Formula Atlantics. Grand-Am has some of the fastest guys out there and the competition is unbelievable. I think it's a great place for me."

New Talladega surface gets thumbs up New Talladega surface gets thumbs upTALLADEGA -- Nextel Cup driver Ryan Newman said he drove around Talladega Superspeedway with just one hand on the steering wheel Wednesday morning, as if he were out for a Sunday drive.

Newman was one of six Cup drivers who got the first shot at the newly repaved speedway during Goodyear tire tests, and all gave the new surface an overwhelming thumbs up.

All agreed the rough and bumpy surface that rattled the teeth and stressed suspension parts to the limit is now history.

"They did a great job of repaving this race track," Newman said. "It is super smooth. It is definitely a big improvement as far as smoothness goes."

Newman, Martin Truex Jr., David Stremme, Travis Kvapil, Dave Gilliland and Brian Vickers participated in the tire tests. NASCAR did not allow any drivers in its Chase for the championship top 10 to participate in the tire tests for fear it might give them an unfair advantage when the third Chase race is held Oct. 8 at Talladega.

During testing, drivers are allowed to attach computer sensors to the cars that measure several factors, including suspension travel. Track General Manager Rick Humphrey said one team gave the new track surface a rousing stamp of approval.

"They said when they got here they thought their equipment might not be working because it wasn't recording any suspension travel," he said. "They finally realized it was just because the track is so smooth. The bumps are gone." AL.com

Chicagoland announces IRL and NASCAR dates Chicagoland announces IRL and NASCAR datesChicagoland Speedway's 2007 racing schedule again features five races spanning two event weekends, culminating in the season-ending IndyCar Series race for the second consecutive year on Sun., Sept. 9, 2007. NASCAR's Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup Series will be moved back one weekend, visiting Chicagoland Speedway in mid-July. 

Chicagoland Speedway's racing season opens with the 300-mile USG DUROCK 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Sat., July 14, and the 400-mile USG SHEETROCK 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Sun., July 15. The ARCA/IndyCar Series weekend consists of the 200-mile ARCA RE/MAX Series race and the 100-mile Indy Pro Series race on Sat., Sept. 8, followed by the IndyCar Series season finale race on Sun., Sept. 9. 

"We are coming off one of the best racing seasons in our six-year history, and we're already looking forward to topping it in 2007," said Matthew Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway. "Each year, we try to improve our state-of-the-art facility so that we can continue to exceed our fans' expectations, offering them the opportunity to have one of the most enjoyable weekend experiences in all of motorsports. Our 2007 schedule will once again provide fans the opportunity to witness the IndyCar Series crown its champion at our track, while drivers like three of our past champions, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, competing for the checkered flag ensures another exciting NASCAR event in July."  zzzz

"We look forward to Chicagoland Speedway closing out the IndyCar Series schedule once again in 2007," said Brian Barnhart, president and COO of the Indy Racing League. "You couldn't ask for anything more than the race we had earlier this month at Chicagoland with the high-speed and close racing culminating in a championship points battle tie, two points separating first from third place and one of the fastest races in IndyCar Series history." 

After recording six consecutive sold out seasons at Chicagoland Speedway, Alexander urges race fans to act now so they don't miss the 2007 racing action. "Each year, we're seeing the popularity of motorsports grow at a tremendous rate, specifically right here in the Midwest. We have successfully sold out our season tickets each year since we opened in 2001 and we're looking forward to another sold out racing season in 2007. To avoid looking for seats that are not available next summer, we encourage all of our 2006 Track Pack fans to purchase quickly to ensure that they receive the best seats available. If you did not have Track Packs in 2006, you can still beat the general public on-sale date by calling us today and placing your name on the 2007 Track Pack waiting list." 

2006 Track Pack holders will have the first option to purchase 2007 Track Packs, as well as add seats during the renewal period this fall. Once 2006 Track Pack holders have been accommodated, those on the 2007 wait list will be given the opportunity to purchase a 2007 Track Pack. For a $25 deposit, which will be used towards the purchase of 2007 Track Pack, race fans can be placed on the current wait list. Wait list fans will be accommodated before Track Packs go on sale to the general public on Monday, Feb. 19, 2007. 


JULY 14-15 USG NASCAR WEEKEND: July 14, 2007: USG DUROCK 300 NASCAR Busch Series (300 Miles) July 15, 2007: USG SHEETROCK 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (400 Miles) 

SEPTEMBER 8-9 ARCA/INDYCAR SERIES WEEKEND: Sept. 8, 2007: ARCA RE/MAX Series (200 Miles) Sept. 8, 2007: Indy Pro Series (100 Miles) Sept. 9, 2007: IndyCar Series (300 Miles)

Piquet again fastest at Silverstone Piquet again fastest at Silverstone
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Piquet Renault (M) 1:19.510 84
 2. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:19.585 102
 3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:20.153 50
 4. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:20.277 111
 5. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:21.390 54
 6. Panis Toyota (B) 1:22.214 83
 7. Wurz Williams-Toyota (B) 1:22.958 97
 8. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:23.186 85
Button tops Thursday testing at Jerez Button tops Thursday testing at JerezJenson Button finished top of the time sheets in testing at Jerez on Thursday. His fastest lap was 1m16.971s, just 0.018s quicker than BMW's Robert Kubica. Nick Heidfeld was third fastest in the sister BMW, 0.6s down on his teammate. Heidfeld was the only one to cause the session to be red flagged when his car ground to a halt on two occasions today.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Button Honda (M) 1:16.971 122
 2. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:16.989 118
 3. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:17.571 102
 4. Rossiter Honda (M) 1:17.822 111

Adrian Valles: "GP2 is harder than F1!" Adrian Valles: "GP2 is harder than F1!"
GP2 Series: Adrian, your first experience of a Formula One car… how was it?
Adrian Valles: Yeah, it was really exciting. I only had a few laps but the speed was not bad in relation to GP2. I think even the GP2 is quicker in the straight but the downforce is incredible. The first corner here is almost flat out so it’s really, really difficult to do it at the beginning, but after a few laps you get used to it. The braking is much better, but as I said, with the power there is not much difference. Also with the traction control it’s much easier to drive and with the power steering it’s much lighter – it’s just the G-force on your neck that is hard. You have to be well prepared to do a full grand prix.

GP2 Series: And how did you find the switch to grooved tires?
Adrian: Not much difference to be honest. When I tried the GP2 on grooved tires the car was… well, I didn’t like it. When I tried with the slicks it was a very good change. But there is so much downforce on these cars that the grooves don’t make a lot of difference. I enjoyed these laps a lot and I hope that I can drive again. zzzz

GP2 Series: How good a preparation for this test was your year in GP2?
Adrian: I think this is the best challenge after GP2, to come to Formula One. But, the speed, as I said, is similar – it’s just the downforce which is different. But it was good that I did the season in GP2 so I can get the experience with a more powerful car, and the change now to Formula One is not very much.

GP2 Series: How much of a difference does the traction control and power steering make to you as a driver?
Adrian: Well in GP2 you have to control the car with the pedal and the power, but with the traction control you can just go full throttle and the car does everything for you.

GP2 Series: So you think GP2 is a bit harder?
Adrian: Yeah, I think so. To drive fast GP2 is harder. But here I need more laps, because for sure the first time you go in GP2 for maybe 20 laps you’re not going to be competitive. I think Spyker MF1 were quite happy with me today.

GP2 Series: And what comes next?
Adrian: Well I hope the team want me to come back to test some more. I hope to test GP2 this winter too, and we will see what happens.

Hamilton reflects on first F1 test Hamilton reflects on first F1 testLewis Hamilton made his return to action Tuesday, the GP2 series 2006 champion joining the McLaren team for the first day of testing at Silverstone. The Briton ran just exploratory laps in the car, running systems checks and acclimatizing himself with his new ride, before the hard work of testing got underway for Wednesday. This interview was done after his first day on Tuesday.

“It has been… not such a bad day,” Lewis smiled. “Obviously we were expecting to do a bit of testing today, but plans have changed and so we’ll be testing tomorrow. Still, it was a great feeling getting in the car.

“To be honest I was pretty relaxed coming in here this morning, but when you get out on track you just realize what’s going on and where you are. Obviously I’d driven the car before, but I’d done it in someone else’s suit and now I’m in my own suit, in my own gear, and it’s just a phenomenal feeling.”

It’s been a hectic few weeks for Lewis, and after wrapping up the 2006 GP2 series title in Monza at the start of the month, he only found out about his test shot with McLaren a few days ago.

“It was earlier this week,” he confessed. “I was doing some work down at McLaren and they said they were going to let me test this week, and I was extremely happy with that.”

Today might not have seen Lewis rack up as many laps as his GP2 championship rival Nelson Piquet Jr managed from the next door garage at the Renault F1 Team, but the champion was delighted nonetheless. zzzz

“Even though it was only a shakedown, again being in my own kit, knowing that my season is out of the way so I can focus on this and really just enjoy it… every time they start up the car I can’t help but smile. I try and stay serious but I just get this big grin on my face and then, you know, you pull out of the garage, go down the pitlane and it’s just… you just try to absorb it, take that moment because it’s a feeling that just keeps coming back. I’m sure it will slowly fade, but right now I’m living my dream.”

Despite only running limited laps in the car, Lewis was already aware of just how good a preparation for Formula One his season in GP2 had been.

“I haven’t really done many laps, just out and in laps, but it feels quite similar if I’m honest,” he continued. “The car to weight ratio, the power, there’s not a huge difference. GP2 and Formula One both have the V8, but it’s quite surprising how different the two V8s are. With the GP2 car you have lower revs and shift a lot earlier than you do in an F1 car, but as you pull away it feels a lot louder, a lot lower. In Formula One it’s a much higher pitch, much cleaner and the shift is just so quick. But in terms of driving style I think it’s quite similar. You’ve just got better brakes, and I’ll find out tomorrow how fast you can take it through the corners. The car is just a lot more stable and a lot better – more refined.

“I think I would have been fine coming in and doing the first test [without using today for familiarization.] I would have just taken my time, building myself up, but today was just getting back into the swing of driving the car for one, and just getting comfortable with the controls and the way the team work, because it’s different to what I’ve experienced in the past.

“I only really did out and in laps, but the tires feel stiffer. It’s a harder compound it feels than they have in GP2, and at the moment I’ve not put it to the limit so I’m not sure how much grip there is, but the car just feels that much lighter so it’s difficult to know how much more grip you get from the steering.”

As for whether or not this test would have an immediate bearing on his future, Lewis maintained that it is his impressive CV which would still hold the largest sway.

“I think I’ve proved my point over the years, especially this year in GP2. I think that, given time, I will be up to speed. I’m not putting myself under any pressure to go out and be quicker than Pedro [de la Rosa]. I’m just going to take my time and slowly build up my speed. It would be nice to be up to speed by the end of my second day, but I want to learn as much as I can from him.”

While today had been a momentous one for Lewis, it comes at the end of an incredible couple of weeks and the Briton was happy to reflect on just what he had achieved so far in 2006.

“After the championship I made sure I celebrated in style, and then it was just nice to come home. It doesn’t really sink in for another couple of days, and it was into the first week that I started to realize just what I’ve achieved this year, watching some of the races. My family are extremely proud which makes me happy, and the fact I’ve achieved another championship is a great feeling. And then I didn’t expect to have a test so early on after I’d won the championship but already I’m in the car. The year seems to be getting better and better.” GP2

Klien visits Spyker Klien visits SpykerChristian Klien earlier this week visited the Spyker team's factory to talk about a possible ride for next season. In a press release Klien said: "Colin Kolles showed me the development of the 2007 Spyker car in the factory so I could already take a look at the team's progress. The car looks very promising."
Legge looks forward to wet Road America weekend Legge looks forward to wet Road America weekendKatherine Legge, driver of the No. 20 Bell Micro Champ Car talks about her rookie season, the lessons she learned and how she can apply her talents to 2007.  At Road America, Legge will be driving a specially painted Warriors In Pink race car, in support of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUR ROOKIE SEASON? “It’s not been as good as I would have expected. It has been very up and down and lately; we’ve had some bad luck and some issues. I guess it’s all part of being a rookie and learning. As long as I learn from it, that’s going to be the important thing. It’s been tough and it’s been a struggle. And I have learned much; I’m very fortunate to have the people behind me that I do that are supporting me and I just hope that I continue to keep improving.”

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT YOU LEARNED THIS YEAR? “Anything can happen in Champ Car, it’s just a completely different level of racing compared to anything else that I’ve ever done. It’s so very different that you have to just keep an open mind with everything and keep learning. I think the most important thing for me is the set-up of the car and working with my engineers and how a big deal that really is.” zzzz
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST HURDLES FOR YOU? “I think, my lack of experience, for sure. It has hurt me in every aspect of it. This is my second full season in anything, so it’s a big deal. I really can’t say how, but it’s affected me in every way. It’s just seemingly every weekend it’s affecting me in lots of ways.”

FOR EXAMPLE? “With some of the mistakes I make on track, like the snap judgment calls that you make, you don’t have the wealth of experience to pull from, the way the car is set-up, with talking with people, with the confidence, with everything, I think.”

SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON, YOU’VE STRESSED THAT YOU WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS A RACE CAR DRIVER. HAS THE “WOMEN IN RACING” PUBLICITY FADED? “I think I’ve accepted that this is what it is like. Has it faded? I don’t think or worry about that aspect anymore. I think everybody has seen that I want to be taken seriously as a race car driver and that I’m not playing on it at all. I think it is important to me that I’m treated like one of them [the other drivers] and I honestly feel like I have been. I don’t feel like I’ve been treated any different in the majority of ways. I’m very happy about that.”

THIS WEEKEND IS ROAD AMERICA. YOU PREFER PERMANENT ROAD COURSES. ARE YOU EXCITED OR MORE COMFORTABLE? “Yes, I really am. I love the track, it’s very European like, it is like an American Spa [Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps]. We had a really, really positive test there, both myself and Oriol [Servia], so I’m looking forward to going back. It should be a good weekend all around, from the atmosphere where it’s at - it’s one I’m looking forward to for sure.
HAVE YOU SEEN THE WEATHER REPORT? “So the weather is going to be European as well? That’s good; I like the rain. It was unfortunate what happened in Montreal, but normally we’re pretty fast in the rain since that’s where all my experience has been in the past.”  

YOUR RACE CAR IS PINK AS PART OF FORD’S WARRIORS IN PINK INITIATIVE… “I have seen car, but haven’t seen my fire suit yet. I’m looking forward to seeing it. The car looks awesome and the team did a fantastic job putting it together and I really like the design. It’s really going to stand out and I think it's great to support such a fantastic cause. I’m glad to be involved, it about supporting the cause, anything I can do to help, is a good thing. And it’s not just me it’s the whole team that’s behind it. This is a case where I may be the figurehead, but it’s really them [the team] driving it forward. We have to thank them as much as we do anyone else. To be in a position to do something like that, I feel very fortunate.”

“I’ve heard lots of very positive stories on it. It looks great in the pictures and I’m very excited can’t wait to get my hands on it. I didn’t have an opportunity to go to the test in Sebring, but the team did. If I went, I probably would have gotten in the way. I can’t wait to drive it.”

IT’S BEEN A MONTH SINCE MONTREAL AND YOU’LL HAVE THREE WEEKS BEFORE AUSTRALIA, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS DURING THE DOWNTIME?  “Well, I’m back in Indy and training, I’ve been able to get a lot of little jobs done, and managed to get a haircut for the first time in who knows how many weeks. It’s nice to have some downtime just to regroup. It makes you hungrier to go again. I’m looking forward to this race as well as Mexico City. I’ve been to Australia for some promotional activities and the place and everything is all abuzz, which is really cool. I can’t wait to experience that for myself.” Ford

Q and A with Jamie McMurray Q and A with Jamie McMurrayJamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, was four laps away from victory the last time the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series visited Dover International Speedway in June, but Roush Racing teammate Matt Kenseth passed him and went on to win. The second-place effort marks the best finish of the season for McMurray, who spoke about returning to the Monster Mile for Sunday’s 400-mile event.

JAMIE MCMURRAY – No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion -- HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING BACK TO DOVER AFTER FINISHING SECOND IN THE FIRST RACE? “I’m very optimistic. It’s been a very tough season, so I guess Dover would be the highlight of our year so far. We’re actually taking a different car back. The car that we ran at Dover, we actually think we’ve got something better, so we’re gonna take a newer car back with a little bit better body. We’re gonna start with a similar setup and see what we have.”

DO YOU LIKE TRACKS LIKE DOVER WITH SUCH HIGH BANKING? “Dover has always been a place for me that I either ran really well at or I struggled at. I’ve never had an in-between or average day there, so, hopefully, we can go back and have another great day. Our car was really pretty good from the time we unloaded it at Dover the first time, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

YOU’RE 117 POINTS OUT OF 15TH PLACE. DOES THAT BECOME THE GOAL NOW – TO TRY AND FINISH AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE? “I don’t even really care about any of that because what I’m concentrating on is getting our race team ready to go next year. That’s the biggest goal for us. The points deal isn’t something I’m really concerned about right now.”

A LOT OF GUYS HAVE SAID THAT THEY’LL USE THESE LAST 10 RACES AS A TEST TO TRY THINGS IN PREPARATION FOR NEXT YEAR, BUT YOU’VE BEEN DOING A LOT OF EXPERIMENTING THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. DO YOU CONTINUE THAT? “When things aren’t going well you fight every week just to see what you can learn. I know a lot of people like to talk about what they’re doing or what they’re going to do, but the bottom line is that everyone goes out there every week and tries to win and just make their race team better.”

DO YOU SEE SOME LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL? “Sometimes and sometimes not.  We still have a lot of work to do.” Ford

Papis to test Papis to testBefore heading to Dover, the #78 Furniture Row team will test this week in Kentucky, with driver Max Papis filling in for regular driver Kenny Wallace. Rocky Mountain News
Industry News
GM resisting Renault-Nissan alliance GM resisting Renault-Nissan allianceThe teams from Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. arrived in Detroit on Aug. 28, ready for the first face-to-face alliance talks with their counterparts from General Motors Corp.

But instead of generating momentum, the meeting demonstrated just how far apart GM and the Renault-Nissan partnership are from forming the world's largest auto alliance.

The Renault-Nissan group hoped to begin a full-scale analysis of purchasing costs across all three companies. The GM side, however, wanted to limit the study to a handful of vehicles and a few dozen parts.

And with a mid-October deadline looming, the talks are still bogged down in the crucial area of parts purchasing -- exactly where Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Renault and Nissan, believes an alliance with GM would have its biggest impact.

Ghosn has said the combined purchasing power of GM, Renault and Nissan could save the three companies up to $5 billion a year, a considerable sum in the hyper-competitive auto industry.

"In the area of purchasing, no one can argue that there wouldn't be synergies," said Erkut Uludag of the auto consulting firm Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.  However, savings of that magnitude would require the three automakers to share some common vehicle platforms and integrate much of their product development process. People close to the talks say that GM has yet to endorse that level of cooperation.

But based on interviews with people close to GM and Renault-Nissan, The Detroit News has learned that the two sides have yet to agree on major synergies in purchasing, platform-sharing and manufacturing capacity.

While the study teams are characterized as working diligently, progress has been slow and painstaking. Insiders at Renault-Nissan have privately expressed frustration at the pace and scope of the talks.

"If that's a big number and of interest to each of the three of us, then we would consider the next step to how we're going to undertake those projects," Wagoner said last month.

But sources at Renault-Nissan question the commitment of GM's senior management to the study because of the pressure Kerkorian applied to get the process rolling.

"We see some resistance" there, said a source close to Renault-Nissan.  More at Detroit News

Suzuka still hopes for F1 return Suzuka still hopes for F1 returnAfter Toyota's Fuji circuit was awarded the Japanese GP from F1 starting in 2007, Suzuka, owned by rival Honda, was left trying to figure out what to do with their track. One option was to plow it under and plant crops. Another was to try and land a 2nd F1 race in Japan, something that was done back in 1994 and 1995 when Aida had the Pacific GP.

Suzuka applied to host the Pacific GP for 2007 but was rejected when it was decided that Imola would get next year's 18th race.

"We were informed by the Formula One authorities yesterday. Obviously we feel it is a great pity," Suzuka's public relations chief Yasuo Sugaya told Reuters.

"But we are continuing negotiations in order to be included from the 2008 season.

"We had been hopeful we could come to an arrangement to have two races but unfortunately it was not to be," said Sugaya. "It's still possible we can come back next year (2008) so we'll keep trying."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Sauber denies Fontana confession
Montagny wants contract before next Toyota test
DC sides with Alonso over 'unsporting' Schu
Bridgestone want Champ Car rule for F1
Turkey may appeal $5m GP fine
Renault deny Alonso test 'ban'
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for FridayCourtesy of TVRacer.com

NASCAR Live! Dover
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Dover
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Dover
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Football star gives up on NASCAR Football star gives up on NASCARMooresville, NC -  After a five-year joint-venture, NASCAR Busch Series team owner Armando Fitz and Pro-Football Hall of Fame Quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, have agreed to end their business relationship at the end of the 2006 season.
“It’s been a really great experience working with Terry, said Fitz, “but with his increasing obligations in broadcasting and film, he would be unable to fulfill his role in promoting our sponsors. We will continue our friendship and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors”.

Fitz, gearing up for the 2007 race season, has some new affiliations and plans in the works that will soon be announced.

Bradshaw, while having an affinity for NASCAR, regrets having to end his involvement. zzzz 

A four-time Superbowl quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bradshaw also ventured into movies, commercials, and most recently, television sitcoms. He’s also a popular public speaker, and famed Fox pre-game NFL host. Bradshaw’s most recent screen endeavors have been the 2006 movie “Failure to Launch” and newly produced television sitcom “Relative Chaos”.

Ophtonix Partners with Liz Halliday Ophtonix Partners with Liz HallidayOphthonix announced at VisionExpo West in Las Vegas, the largest optical professional meeting held annually, it will partner with Liz Halliday, famed female driver in the American Le Mans Series to represent the iZon brand.

“The Le Mans series is an ideal platform to highlight the driving vision benefits provided by iZon,” said Andreas Dreher, PhD, president and CEO of Ophthonix. “The ALMS includes endurance races with night and day driving and races on difficult road courses with challenging corners. This is an example of when optimal vision and performance are key.” zzzz

One important benefit of the iZon High Resolution Lens is the significantly improved performance it provides for driving – especially a clinically demonstrated improvement in reaction time when driving at night.

“Partnering with Liz will help us to spread the word about vision and driving and how our lenses help driving performance and safety,” said Dreher. “There is a large and loyal fan base for the American Le Mans Series and we are excited to join those fans.” Dreher added that Liz will drive her races wearing the iZon High Resolution glasses. “She was a good candidate for the lenses and we think she’ll see a difference out on the track in clarity and response time. Seeing clearly with high definition is a competitive advantage when you have to make split second decisions on the race track or on the road.”

Mazda team banking on reliability at Petit LeMans Mazda team banking on reliability at Petit LeMansUPDATE Look for Elliott Forbes-Robinson to be named as the 3rd driver for B-K Motorsports Courage Mazda LMP2 for Petit LeMans.

09/20/06 Braselton, Ga. - The high-pitched wail that personifies rotary power is set to return to the 2006 American Le Mans Series . and beyond. B-K Motorsports is preparing for its first Series race - Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7 - since a heavy crash at Lime Rock Park in July sidelined the team for the past four rounds.

The Mazda-powered Courage C65 is ready to go for one of the most difficult challenges in the American Le Mans Series: 1,000 miles at Road Atlanta. But armed with a freshly rebuilt car, a redesigned cooling system, engines supplied by SpeedSource Engineering and a recent shakedown, drivers and team members are optimistic for an excellent showing in LMP2 at the Series' cornerstone event.

"We don't have the speed of the Penske Porsches and Intersport," said team manager Marcus Haselgrove. "What we do have is the strength, reliability and talent within the team to keep the car running in the longer races. We have a better chance here than at the sprint events." zzzz

It helps that the team has plenty of data to go on from Road Atlanta for its re-entry into Series competition. Last year the team and car made their debuts at the Grand Prix of Atlanta, finishing second in class. The result was the same at Petit Le Mans, where the characteristic reliability of the rotary engine lived up to its billing.

"Being able to go back to a track where we have a lot history is a big deal," said Guy Cosmo, who will team with Jamie Bach. "We have an established baseline there. Plus it's one of the best road-racing tracks in the world. We love driving around the place. It makes it great to show back up and have it at a place where we had our first introduction."

Both Cosmo and Bach spent considerable time in the car during Thursday's shakedown at Road America. Getting drivers back behind the wheel was one of the goals, as were validating all components and making sure the new cooling system functioned correctly, Haselgrove said. "We also practiced driver changes and general pit stops with the crew," he added.

One of the issues in the early part of the season dealt with engine overheating. But that was remedied thanks to crew chief Andrew Armistead and Van Dyne Engineering, a specialist water pump manufacturer that designs a variety of open-wheel systems.

"It's a little relief knowing we have that reliability as long as we run consistently and run trouble-free," Cosmo said. "We don't have any concern that we'll have any engine or cooling issues. It's one less thing to worry about."

The 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7, Round 9 of the American Le Mans Series, is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. EDT on Saturday, September 30. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT and 3 to 10 p.m. EDT with MotorsTV providing live coverage in Europe. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at http://www.americanlemans.com which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

Intersport hoping for Petit repeat Intersport hoping for Petit repeatBraselton, Ga. - With two races left in the season and trailing one of the most storied names in motorsports, this usually would be a time to panic. Not so for Intersport Racing. The independent team from Ohio is relishing the chance to go head-to-head against Porsche and Penske Racing at Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7.

The AER-powered Lola B05/40 has been remarkable in recent endurance races in the American Le Mans Series. Not only are Jon Field, Clint Field and Liz Halliday defending LMP2 race winners at Road Atlanta, but they also won in class at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Among the entries they beat in the season-opener were the factory Porsche RS Spyders from Penske.

"We have very good people building our cars," said Clint Field, last year's P2 class champion. "Brian (Alder) heads up that pack and he's very good at what he does. We look forward to longer races because we have done well. We certainly don't want to jinx ourselves." zzzz

Intersport enters the ninth round of the American Le Mans Series trailing the two-car Penske squad by 17 points in the class team standings with Field and Halliday trailing Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr by 5. Reliability and consistency have been the hallmark of the Intersport team through the first eight rounds. In addition to Sebring, other class wins came at Houston and Portland as the Lola outlasted the RS Spyders.

As the season has progressed, Intersport has gained speed but the Porsches have improved on reliability. That puts a premium on performance for both teams in the 1,000-mile/10-hour classic, especially considering the other competition at Petit: a new Radical SR9-AER for van der Steur Racing, the return of B-K Motorsports' Mazda-powered Courage and the Horag Racing Lola B05/40-Judd.

"Whenever we get into the car, we're pushing as hard as we can to keep up with the Porsches," said Halliday, the winningest female driver in Series history with six victories. "Last year at Petit, we ran a really good race and our strategy has been our strong point.

"For me, there's more pressure," she added. "We have to get some real results or we're going to finish third, and that's not where we want to be. Petit is a huge factor with extra points. We want to be very fast but we don't want to do anything stupid. Reliability could play a big factor like it was at Sebring."

Vegas Grand Prix Opens Office, Unveils Web Site Vegas Grand Prix Opens Office, Unveils Web SiteThe Vegas Grand Prix has a new home in downtown Las Vegas.

Located at 201 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Suite 150, the office will serve as headquarters for the first Vegas Grand Prix, scheduled for April 6 through April 8, 2007 on the streets of downtown Las Vegas.

The race has its own Web site now - www.vegasgrandprix.com - with details about the festival. Racing fans can watch the Grand Prix for free.

It's been nearly two decades since a road race zipped through the streets of downtown Las Vegas.

The Vegas Grand Prix will cost close to $2 million with $1.3 million of that cost paid for by the promoters who feel it'll be a world class event and certainly more than just racing. zzzz

The racing will be a no-charge event and organizers say there will be no interference with development during the festival, which will be held on April 6 through April 8, 2007.

Jobs, worldwide publicity, and helping spur downtown vitality were very important issues to the city council's decision to unanimously approve "Vegas Grand Prix."

Officials say the race will draw the sports' top drivers.

The start and finish line will be on Grand Central Parkway and the 2.4-mile, 14-turn street course will zig and zag through the downtown streets of Las Vegas. KLAS-TV.com

Vegas City Council approves Grand Prix Festival Vegas City Council approves Grand Prix FestivalThe Las Vegas City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to proceed with a three-day festival that will literally take over downtown Las Vegas in April.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix race will be run over a constructed 2.4 mile course throughout the area. The race means closures and safety measures, but it will also pump thousands of tourists into downtown.

Neighbors in the area met with Grand Prix officials Tuesday where people had some concerns.

With the cars racing, there's going to be a lot of noise, or, as race officials call it "sound".

The streets are going to be shut down and barricades put up. But many are still excited.

The mayor's not worried about the noise.

"Only a sourpuss would get mad if they heard a bit of noise," Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas' mayor, says.

The race is expected to bring in more than $75 million to the area. The city officials are really excited about the exposure downtown will get because the race will be on network TV. KLAS-TV.com

Road America hot topics Road America hot topics
DP01 Goes Public – This weekend race fans will get a sneak preview of what the 2007 Champ Car World season will look like as the new Panoz DP01will make its public debut. The DP01 will run demonstration laps on Friday and Saturday, and will also serve as part of the pace-car team leading the pre-race parade laps prior to Sunday's Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America.

Bourdais, the Conqueror? – After recording his first career win on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Sebastien Bourdais, sets his sights to Road America, the final course on the Champ Car schedule that the Frenchman has yet to record a victory on.  In two starts on the course Bourdais has won a pole position, led 13 laps, and has yet to finish off of the podium, yet has not been able to score a victory in Elkhart Lake.

Power in Pink - In support of the Ford Motor Company’s Warriors in Pink program Katherine Legge will be piloting a specially designed pink PKV Racing machine this weekend. The Warriors in Pink program is a part of Ford’s effort to eradicate breast cancer through its commitment to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. At the end of the weekend, Legge will donate her uniform, including her shoes, gloves and her specially-designed Troy Lee-painted helmet, to a charity auction with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

CTE the Contender - CTE Racing HVM continued to run strong in Montreal as the squad saw both their drivers finish in the top five for the second race in a row, for the first time in team history. Nelson Philippe scored a third-place finish in Montreal, marking the first time in his Champ Car career that he has scored three consecutive top-five results. While his teammate Rookie Dan Clarke turned in his sixth top-ten run this season. The last time the CTE Racing HVM team competed at Road America the team cars finished in the fourth and fifth positions.  zzzz 

Biking and Tailgating? – This weekend CARA Charities will be holding two events dedicated to raising funds to support Cristiano da Matta’s recovery from head injuries suffered when his car struck a deer during testing at Elkhart Lake in early August.  The first will be a Tailgate Party along with a silent auction of Champ Car memorabilia on Friday evening September 22. The next evening will be the CARA Cruise for Cristiano, where the public can ride their bicycles alongside the stars of Champ Car, touring the 4.048-mile Road America layout.

Winning Formula - The last time Alex Tagliani competed at Road America, it became a victorious combination as the Canadian recorded his first career win. In his last three trips to Elkhart Lake Tagliani, has earned podium finishes making it the only track where Tagliani has earned three straight podium finishes.

Testing Wraps up for the DP01 – Last Friday, Champ Car veteran Roberto ended three long weeks of testing that saw the new Panoz DP01 turn more than 2,500 miles on the Sebring International Raceway short course. Moreno piloted the new car for each and every one of those miles, testing every component of the new car through a rigorous schedule designed to ensure the reliability of the machine before the DP01 is delivered to the teams.

Zooming in on Zwolsman - In Montreal, Charles Zwolsman brought home his best career finish when he finished in the eighth position. Going into Road America the rookie looks to continue a string of five consecutive top-ten runs, second-longest of the season by a rookie. Last year in Atlantic competition in Elkhart Lake, Zwolsman had a strong top-five run and clinched the Atlantic Championship. 

Triple Threat? –Sebastien Bourdais is chasing history to join Ted Horn as the only driver to win three consecutive Champ Car titles and holds a 62-point lead over A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson who are tied for second. In Houston Sebastien Bourdais became the first driver since Rick Mears (1982) to defend his title by winning the first two races of the following season. Then in Monterrey, he joined Al Unser Sr. (1971) as the last driver to win the first three races of a season after winning the title the year before.

Da Matta’s Progress - Cristiano da Matta is continuing his rehabilitation process as he continues to recover from a severe head injury, which happened after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track near Turn Six at Road America during a Champ Car Open Test on August 3. A few weeks ago he was transferred to the rehab unit at Theda Clark Medical Center where he is participating in a very intensive rehabilitation regimen designed specifically for patients with significant head injuries.

Out of Elbow Room –Sebastien Bourdais may be the clear leader in the standings by 62 points, but throughout the point queue there is a number of close battles going on. Currently A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson are locked in a tie for the second position. With three events remaining fourth and fifth are separated by 2 points, and seven points separate sixth and seventh. The real battle is to stay in the top ten as eighth through twelfth is separated by a scant four points. 

The Victorious Trio - Sebastien Bourdais, A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson are the only drivers to win Champ Car races this year through 11 events. The record for fewest winners in a season is three, that coming in 1964 when A.J. Foyt won 10 of 13 races while Parnelli Jones (two) and Lloyd Ruby (one) shared the other three.

Powering to the Top– Will Power continued his consistent run for Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year when he turned in his sixth consecutive top-ten run this season in Montreal. With a fifth place finish on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve Power moved into sixth place in the point standings, just six points from breaking into the top-five. Currently the Australian holds the lead in the Rookie of the year battle by 20 points over Dan Clarke.

National Pride –As the grid is set for the Grand Prix of Road America each driver will have the colors of their homeland displayed proudly as they try to win the Nation’s Cup for their country. Currently, France has run out to a 34-point lead over England after 11 events. Dan Clarke’s third-place finish in Montreal kept England close, while A.J. Allmendinger’s mechanical trouble dropped the U.S. a distant 63 points behind France.

Andretti to visit Phillies Andretti to visit PhilliesIndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year Marco Andretti will throw the first pitch before the Philadelphia Phillies-Florida Marlins game on Sept. 22 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Hornish Wins Third-Quarter Driver's Award Hornish Wins Third-Quarter Driver's AwardIndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. topped third-quarter voting for the Driver of the Year Award.

A previous quarterly winner in voting by a nationwide panel of print and broadcast journalists, he is a front-runner for the year-end award selected in a separate vote.

"That's some exciting news," said Hornish, who secured his third series title in a tiebreaker over 2005 champion Dan Wheldon.

Hornish, the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion, won three of the eight races in the quarter. He also had second- and third-place finishes. Hornish received nine first-place votes and totaled 115 points. NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kevin Harvick was second in the balloting with 81 points.

"Obviously, it's been a great year with a few exceptions," said Hornish, who will receive a trophy and Maurice Lacroix wrist watch. "It shows the great teamwork at Marlboro Team Penske."

Industry News
California sues automakers California sues automakersSAN FRANCISCO - California filed suit against Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Chrysler Motors Corp., the U.S. arm of Germany's DaimlerChrysler, and the North American units of Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. on Wednesday, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have cost the state millions of dollars. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer said the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California was the first of its kind to seek to hold manufacturers liable for the damages caused by their vehicles' emissions.
Piquet surprises at Silverstone Piquet surprises at SilverstoneF1 newcomer Nelson Piquet surprised the F1 establishment by topping test times at Silverstone Wednesday. 

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Piquet Renault (M) 1:19.565 72
 2. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:19.690 118
 3. De la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:19.920 114
 4. Montagny Toyota (B) 1:20.631 89
 5. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:20.818 68
 6. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:20.852 62
 7. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:21.130 54
 8. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:21.982 32
 9. Premat MF1-Toyota (B) 1:23.212 40
10. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:23.708 33
11. Karthikeyan Williams-Toyota (B) 1:24.032 40
12. Quintarelli MF1-Toyota (B) 1:36.638 7
track news
Long Beach GP, City win award Long Beach GP, City win awardLONG BEACH, Calif. -- The Toyota Grand Prix  - and the role it has played in revitalizing downtown Long Beach - has earned the city the prestigious Crystal Eagle Award from the California Downtown Association (CDA), which each year honors outstanding achievements in a number of categories.

Long Beach will receive the award in the Special Events and Promotions category.

"This is a distinct honor that the City of Long Beach is proud to share with the Grand Prix Association and the Downtown Long Beach Association," said Gerald R. Miller, Long Beach City Manager. "Since 1975, the Grand Prix has been a point of pride for every person who works and lives in the city. And as the California Downtown Association has recognized, it has been a vital component in the rebirth and revitalization of our downtown."

"We are extremely pleased to receive this honor from the California Downtown Association and to be recognized as a driving force in making Long Beach the dynamic city it is today," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "As this award recognizes, the City of Long Beach and the Downtown Long Beach Association have been extraordinary partners in the continuing success of the Grand Prix." zzzz

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is considered the premier street course race venue in the nation.  With its ocean backdrop and dynamic urban setting, the Toyota Grand Prix has become an international draw for race fans from around the world, attracting more than 175,000 people in 2006 and an estimated $35 million of income.

"The Toyota Grand Prix has been a principal catalyst for the estimated $2 billion in new commercial and residential investment in downtown Long Beach," said Kraig Kojian, Downtown Long Beach Associates President and CEO. "The Grand Prix is certainly one of the most successful partnerships in the history of the City of Long Beach and one that has made a dramatic impact on our downtown."

Established in 1971, the California Downtown Association is a nonprofit corporation considered one of the strongest downtown organizations in the country. Long Beach will accept the Crystal Eagle award at the California Downtown Association conference in Monterey on September 27-29, 2006.

Petty team testing at Nashville Petty team testing at NashvilleThe #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge rolled off the truck this morning at the Nashville Superspeedway to begin testing with driver Bobby Labonte behind the wheel. Kyle Petty is also in town observing as the crew and crew chief, Paul Andrews, tackle the right set-up on the 1.33-mile concrete D-shaped oval. "We decided to come to Nashville to work on some general set-ups for the car to use in the near future. I guess you could say we're doing some R & D, but it mainly consists of finding new ways to set the car up. I believe this is Bobby's first test run on this particular track in a Petty car so we should have some interesting results by this afternoon," said Andrews. When asked about his thoughts on the "Car of Tomorrow" Andrews said, "It's definitely going to take some time to adjust for all of us. The main reason for the COT is driver safety, but also to make the competition closer and more even across the board. The wing on the back end of the car is supposed to help the driver, especially in traffic where the air can get taken off the back, to have more control and not have to deal with the issue of being loose. I guess the jury is still out on the whole deal and will be for awhile, but we do what NASCAR tells us to do. The primary reason for the COT is to make our drivers safer, so that's always a positive thing and we'll all have to adapt." Nashville Superspeedway PR
A1GP rookies get early start A1GP rookies get early startA1GP Rookie drivers will be the first to be seen in action when the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport take to the race tracks for each weekend of its 2006/2007 season. There will be two 25 minute sessions early on Friday afternoon for the series least experienced drivers.

For season two the organizers of the series have been looking at ways not only to improve the already popular weekend package, but also to give young up and coming drivers the chance to compete against older, more established names. Commenting on the new initiative A1GP Deputy Chairman, Tony Teixeira, said: “The idea of the level playing field is something we want to expand on. We appreciate most of the young drivers have never driven anything as powerful as the A1GP car before, so some extra time to get used to the car and the track can be invaluable. I have seen these youngsters are quick learners, so expect this extra track time will help them make a mark very quickly when they are joined by the other drivers for the final Friday session.” zzzz

The definition of a Rookie is a driver who is under 25-years-old and is a newcomer to the series or has competed in no more than three races in total. A driver who certainly qualifies for this is James Hinchcliffe who, at 19-years-old, will be driving for A1 Team Canada.

Hinchcliffe commented: “I know I’m going to be one of the younger guys debuting at Zandvoort but I’m viewing this as a phenomenal benchmark to test my abilities due to the sheer quality in A1GP’s driver line-up, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to measure myself against some of the older guys and their depth of experience. For me, being a rookie in A1GP isn’t so bad as it’s only the second season of competition that’s about to start, it’s not like I’ll be up against guys with years of experience in these cars”.

A1 Team New Zealand Seat Holder, Colin Giltrap, has been a supporter of young racing talent from his country and he was delighted with this initiative by A1GP. ‘New Zealand has produced some world-class drivers over the years and the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is a hugely competitive environment to challenge, and further hone, the skills of the next generation of stars. The development of talent helps increase our driver depth and also helps boost the experience, skills and profiles of young drivers on a global stage.’

The race weekend on track program will now start on the Friday with a Rookie Session from 13.00 to 13.25. There will then be a ten minute gap before the final Rookie Session from 13.35 to 14.00. The final session of the day with all the drivers will be from 16.00 to 17.00. On Saturday all the drivers will then take part in the third free practice from 11.00 to 12.00 and the four qualifying sessions which will be from 14.15 to 14.30, 14.35 to 14.50, 14.55 to 15.10 and 15.15 to 15.30. On Sunday the Sprint race, which will have a rolling start, will start at 11.00 and the standing start Feature Race, with a mandatory pit stop, will start at 15.00.

Coast Guard drops RCR sponsorship Coast Guard drops RCR sponsorshipThe United States Coast Guard will not return in 2007 as the primary sponsor of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #21 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series. Budget restructuring allocated the proposed funding for the team sponsorship to other areas of the Coast Guard. “It’s been an honor for RCR to have the Coast Guard sponsor the #21 team Busch team this season,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO. “We have been fortunate to spend some time with the brave men and women of the Coast Guard who are serving their country by keeping its maritime borders safe. While we hoped they would return in 2007, we understand the Coast Guard’s decision and will do all we can to win them the NASCAR Busch Series championship.” Team Coast Guard, with drivers Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton, currently leads the Busch Series point standings with seven wins (six with Harvick; one with Burton), and 19 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes in 28 races. Harvick has a 619-point lead in the driver standings with seven races remaining and is on track to have the largest season-ending point margin in series history. “Richard Childress Racing has been a terrific partner. They have represented the Coast Guard extremely well both on and off the track, with numerous promotional events and an unprecedented level of success in the Busch Series this year,” said Adm. Thad W. Allen, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, “We thank Richard, Kevin and Jeff for all they’ve done to raise the awareness of the Coast Guard with the legions of NASCAR fans everywhere. I congratulate the entire organization for what has truly been an unforgettable year.” RCR PR
Jerez test Day 2: Kubica fastest Jerez test Day 2: Kubica fastestThe BMW Sauber team was fastest in testing today at Jerez against the Honda team. Nick Heidfeld spent the first part of the day doing installation work, while some technical problems meant he was not able to start the major part of his work until early afternoon. He then worked on tire compounds for Brazil, brakes and set-up. He continued with the work started yesterday by Sebastian Vettel on electronics for next year. Robert Kubica had a busy morning so did not stop for his lunch break until 14.00. He worked on tire compounds for Brazil, concentrating on different compounds to the ones Nick was working on. He also did some aero work for the last three races.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:16.497 71
 2. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:17.591 55
 3. Davidson Honda (M) 1:17.618 117
 4. Rossiter Honda (M) 1:17.765 118

Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Rankings SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Rankings
Updated 9-20-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Michael Schumacher (F1) 8.992
2. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.917
3. (3) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 8.088
4. (5) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.563
5. (19) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.552
6. (8) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.506
7. (6) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 7.438*
8. (13) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.153
9. (10) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.785
10. (9) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.719
11. (12) Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (NASCAR) 6.704
12. (7) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.648
13. (11) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.553*
14. (14) Sam Hornish, Jr. (IRL) 6.426*
15. (16) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 6.250*
16. (17) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.058
17. (NR) Elliott Sadler (NASCAR) 5.939
18. (NR) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 5.930
19. (NR) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 5.891
20. (NR) Dave Blaney (NASCAR) 5.828
Dropped out: Paul Tracy (CCWS), Kyle Busch, (NASCAR), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Scott Riggs (NASCAR)
*Denotes Complete Season
Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.
Another boost for Imola's 2007 hopes Another boost for Imola's 2007 hopes(GMM)  Following the FIA's confirmation of an unspecified eighteenth race for the 2007 F1 calendar, the Italian government has given a further boost to beleaguered venue Imola.

A statement on Wednesday confirmed that construction work at the circuit in the country's central north, demanded by formula one authorities, will begin on October 4.

''All participants repeated their willingness to work together so that the grand prix can be held on April 29, 2007 and in following years,'' the statement, issued after a meeting in Rome, read.

The Agenzia Giornalistica Italia reported earlier this month that the meeting would be attended by government representatives, regional chiefs and Imola mayor Massimo Marchignola.

Bessette rejoins Polestar Bessette rejoins PolestarChardon, Ohio - Former Polestar Racing Group Atlantic race winner Antoine Bessette rejoins the team for this weekend's Gehl Champ Car Atlantic Championship Finale at Road America.  Bessette, of St. Bruno, Quebec, will pilot the #21 The RoomStore of Phoenix Polestar entry previously driven by Alex Barron and Ronnie Bremer earlier this season.  Polestar regular Alan Sciuto (#12 Sealy/PKV Racing/The RoomStore of Phoenix/W.S Deans) will make his second appearance at Elkhart Lake's Road America after posting a seventh-place finish last year.

"I'm looking forward to getting back on the track with Polestar this weekend," said Bessette, who raced in Portland and Montreal this year with two other teams.  "We won a couple of races together last year and went on to finish fourth overall.  I'm glad we were able to put this together for this weekend.  Road America is the fastest track we race on and we're all hoping for a good result."

"We're pretty excited about racing at Road America," said Sciuto, who is ninth overall and the sixth-highest rookie coming into this weekend's Atlantic season finale.  "We had a strong car in Montreal last month and we seem to have found a much better set-up for higher speed courses.  It's been kind of an up and down season for us, but we're giving it all we've got to have a good finish to the year at Road America." zzzz

Bessette, 24, captured two victories, four podiums and one pole last season while driving for Polestar.  He finished outside of the top five in just three events, went on to place third in the 2005 Atlantic Rookie-of-the-Year championship, and received the Gilles Villeneuve award by the Atlantic series.

Orange, California - native Sciuto, 18, was recognized as North America's top shifter kart racer in 2004 before competing in three Atlantic races last year.  He qualified seventh in his series debut in San Jose, then the following week in Denver led both rounds of qualifying to capture his first career Atlantic pole position and establish himself as the youngest-ever Atlantic pole winner at just 17 years of age.

Last year at Road America, Bessette started sixth and finished 13th.  Polestar teammate Katherine Legge finished second after starting third to claim her fifth podium of 2005.  Polestar co-owners Jim Griffith, Pam Griffith and Bruce Potter are all experienced Atlantic veterans, having been instrumental to the Atlantic championship-winning efforts of Barron (1997), Patrick Carpentier (1996) and Buddy Rice (2000).

For 2006, the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, now in it's 33rd year, features an all-new made-in-the-USA Atlantic Swift 016.a chassis powered by a 2.3-liter Mazda-Cosworth engine.  All competitors are vying for an unprecedented $2 million bonus designed for the series champion to use in securing a full-time Champ Car ride in 2007.

This weekend's Gehl Champ Car Atlantic Championship Finale at Road America is scheduled to begin Sunday, September 24 at 10:30 AM local, and will be televised via SPEED on Sunday, October 8 at 5:00 PM ET.  Further information is available on the team's official web site at www.polestarracinggroup.com.

track news
'07 Coca-Cola 600 tickets go on sale '07 Coca-Cola 600 tickets go on saleCONCORD, N.C. - Tickets for all 2007 May NASCAR events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, including the 48th running of the Coca-Cola 600, go on sale Monday, Sept. 18, at 8 a.m.

Fans are encouraged to buy early in order to secure the best seats for the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's only 600-mile event, set to take place on Sunday, May 27.

"There's nothing like the pageantry that surrounds the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway. zzzz

"It's a tradition that includes nearly five decades of NASCAR history, spectacular pre-race shows and patriotic holiday salutes to our armed forces. But most importantly, it's the first points race of the year that pits the NASCAR teams against each other in the shadows of their shops near Charlotte. And you know they want to 'bring it' in front of the home crowd!"

Tickets for the Coca-Cola 600 start at just $39.

Fans can also purchase tickets to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, NASCAR's annual all-star event, scheduled for Saturday night, May 19. With a minimum of $1 million earmarked for the winner, the Challenge is the richest race per mile in motorsports and, with tickets starting at just $21; it's a bargain for the fans.

In addition to the two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, the month of May will include the Quaker Steak & Lube 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on May 18, CTC Pole Night qualifying on May 24 and the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on May 26.

Tickets for all 2007 May events can be obtained by calling the Lowe's Motor Speedway ticket services department toll-free at 1-800-455-FANS, online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or through Ticketmaster outlets.

Q and A with Lewis Hamilton after F1 shakedown Q and A with Lewis Hamilton after F1 shakedown
How has your day been here at Silverstone?
It has been a great day and it was super feeling walking into the garage this morning. I was fairly relaxed when I arrived but when you get on track and realize where you are and what you are doing, it is a phenomenal feeling.

When did you find out that you would be testing?
I was told a few days ago. I was doing some training at the McLaren Technology Centre when I was told and needless to say I was extremely happy.

How did you feel when you left the garage in the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car for the first time today?
The feeling when I went out the first time was amazing. I was in my own suit, helmet and seat. My GP2 season is over and I could really focus on today and enjoy it 100 percent. Every time they started the car I just couldn't help smiling. I tried to be serious but I just had this big grin on my face. When you pull out of the garage for the first time it's a feeling I will treasure particularly as I know it will slowly fade as I become more familiar. I'm just living my dream at the moment. zzzz

How is the Formula 1 car compared to the GP2 car?
It really is too early for me to make comparisons as I was only shaking down the car today. The engine obviously sounds louder but also much cleaner and the shift is just so incredibly quick. I don't really know how good the brakes are yet but I'm sure I will find out tomorrow.

Did the shake down today help you prepare better for the test tomorrow?
I think the in and out laps today did help me to prepare for tomorrow, but I also think I would have been fine anyway. Today just gave me the opportunity to get a good start and get back into the swing of things and become comfortable with the controls in the car and also with the way the team work

Do you feel any pressure?
I don't feel any pressure and the team have actually told me that there is no need for me to feel pressure. They just want me to get started and get some mileage under my belt. It has been a long and hard journey to get here and I really appreciate the opportunity. There is no pressure from anyone for me to go out and be quick straight away. I need to slowly build up my speed as I become more and more used to the car. The team has basically just told me that I have deserved this test and to relax and enjoy it.

It has been an incredible year for you - is this the highlight so far?
The opportunity to drive the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car just tops everything and I can't wait for the next two days.
Greece joins A1GP Greece joins A1GPGreece has become the second new country to join the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport ahead of its second season. Stathis Basios and Dimitris Nafpliotis will lead their national team into the series, bringing with them a long and rich history of motorsport from Greece and abroad.
The Greek team will be supported by experienced drivers such as Stelios Nousias, Takis Kaitatzis, Vasilis Papafilippou Nikos Zahos.
Dimitris Nafpliotis will provide the technical support for A1 Team Greece while also fulfilling the rile of Team Manager. He will be joined by 13 mechanics, five of whom are Greek, while the rest come from other countries. Together, they will form Greece’s multi-national hit team in the A1GP pits. Stathis Basios will be the commercial and operations manager for A1 Team Greece.
A1 Team Greece will make its maiden appearance during the first race of the 2006/07 season which takes place on the 1 October at the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands.
While tickets for the Zandvoort race are now sold out, they are still available for the second race of the season at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic.

[Editor's Note: The series has had some changes over the winter with the withdrawal of the Austrian, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian teams but has signed on Greece, Turkey and Singapore as replacements. 24 countries have signed on for A1GP this winter season.]

Spyker goes Orange Spyker goes OrangeUPDATE More images of the new Orange and Silver Spyker - looks similar to the DP01 test car doesn't it?


09/19/06 Today, Spyker MF1 Racing driver Christijan Albers will be testing at Silverstone with a new livery on the car. The Spyker MF1 Racing is now colored orange and silver.

Industry News
Big 3 could get $20B loan Big 3 could get $20B loanThe Big Three automakers could get up to $20 billion in federally backed loan guarantees to speed the development of "green technologies," including hybrid electric engines, flexible fuels and clean diesel under a bill to be introduced this week in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, said the bill would give domestic automakers cheaper access to capital and spur faster development of technologies to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

"This isn't the dreaded bailout word. This isn't a free pass for them to avoid painful decisions or restructuring," Rogers said Tuesday. "This is a chance for the automakers to compete on a fair playing field with access to the credit markets. This is about supporting real jobs for real Americans through innovation."  More at Detroit News

La Carrera Panamericana and Champ Car La Carrera Panamericana and Champ CarUPDATE We reported this back on August 1st but now hear that Mexico City will be super-special speed stage of the "Carrera Panamericana." The Carrera Panamericana is very popular in Mexico and has a long history. It will be popular with the crowd and it seems Champ Car has moved aggressively to restore its lost luster in Mexico with several key moves recently as they have awaken to the fact that NASCAR will take the Mexican market from them if they let them. We hear Champ Car has been working on improving their relationship with Carlos Slim, and more importantly with Carlos Slim Jr. who looks after the billionaires sports interests.

08/01/06 The Champ Car World Series will arrive to Mexico City next November 10, 11 and 12 to celebrate it's season finale at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but this time they will be sharing the track with one of the most important historic races in the word - La Carrera Panamericana.
The new edition of the famous race of the 50´s started in 1988 and since then a long tradition of new winners and exiting competition from drivers and cars from all around the world race from south to north in the highways of Mexico reaching speeds over 200 mph.
"During the course of the years we have worked really hard to innovate and bring a better show to the fans in our race, the Carrera Panamericana is the first of the surprises we have prepared for this year" said Federico Alaman, promoter of the Gran Premio de Mexico. "In the past the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has held races of the best series like F-1, Champ Car, NASCAR Busch, Grand Am, Prototypes, Superbike and Trans Am among many others. We are very happy that the organization of the Carrera Panamericana accepted our invitation, this will be a great show along with Champ Car for the fans, and we will contribute to the rich history and tradition of the race." zzzz
A total of 100 cars will start the Carrera Panamericana next Friday November 10th in Oaxaca and they will arrive to Mexico City two days later. The promoters have arranged a speed stage around 9:00 am (time to be confirmed). After their participation on the Gran Premio de Mexico, the caravan will continue it's journey until they reach Monterrey on November 16th.
"This is great news for all the participants of the Carrera Panamericana, in the past our event has raced in other racetracks of the country, but this will be our first time at the Autodromo Hermanos. Rodriguez, it's a great opportunity and we are very thankful to OCESA for the invitation, we will contribute to make the Gran Premio de Mexico the biggest motorsport event in Mexico in 2006" said Eduardo Leon, promoter of the Carrera Panamericana.
Winners Carrera Panamericana (Modern Edition)
2005 Juan Carlos Sarmiento - Raúl Villareal (Studebaker)
2004 Juan Carlos Sarmiento - Raúl Villareal (Studebaker)
2003 Pierre de Thoisy - Pierre Schockaert (Studebaker)
2002 Doug Mockett - Alan Baillie (Oldsmobile)
2001 Pierre de Thoisy - Carlos Macaya (Studebaker)
2000 Pierre de Thoisy - Jacques Tropenat (Studebaker)
1999 Pierre de Thoisy - Jean Pierre Gontier (Studebaker)
1998 Pierre de Thoisy - Carlos Macaya (Studebaker)
1997 Phillipe - Pierre de Thoisy (Studebaker)
1996 Phillipe - Pierre de Thoisy (Studebaker)
1995 Kevin Ward - Kimberly Elsnier (Studebaker)
1994 Carlos Anaya - Eduardo Rodríguez (Studebaker)
1993 Carlos Anaya - Eduardo Rodríguez (Studebaker)
1992 Peter Frank - Mark Williams (Mercury)
1991 John Ward - Shirley Ward (Kurtis)
1990 Alan de Cadenet - Gordon Currie (Jaguar)
1989 Guillermo Rojas - Alberto Rojas Jr. (Mercury)
1988 Eduardo Morales - Gael Rodríguez (Ford)
More about Carrera Panamericana : http://www.lacarrerapanamericana.com.mx
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
No Spyker seat for Klien in 2006
Aguri's Montagny tests Toyota
Hamilton plays down de la Rosa 'shootout'
No title hopes for Spyker says Gascoyne
Trulli loses race engineer
Former racer reveals dirty Ferrari trick
Imola faces competition for 18th race of 2007
Vettel to continue BMW role in China
Turkish race still in doubt
track news
Ganassi team testing at Nashville Ganassi team testing at NashvilleAlthough Chip Ganassi Racing does not have a Nextel Cup Series car vying for the "Chase for the Championship" in 2006, that doesn't deter them from looking for a few wins before the season wraps up. #42-Casey Mears and his team is at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway concrete oval today looking to improve their chances to snag a future win at the Kansas Speedway. "We decided to come to the Nashville Superspeedway to basically "shakedown" the Havoline Dodge before we take her to Kansas. #41-Reed Sorenson was coming here anyway with Steve Boyer, our head guy over the "Car of Tomorrow" program at Ganassi Racing, so we decided since Reed would be here testing the COT that it would be a great place to work on the #42 too", explained Mears' crew chief Donnie Wingo. Testing is closed to the public. Nashville Superspeedway PR
Bridgestone offers Road America Package on E-Bay Bridgestone offers Road America Package on E-BayJoin Bridgestone Motorsport at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America in beautiful Elkhart Lake, Wis., and help Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary (CARA) Charities and the Champ Car community "Support the Recovery Efforts of Cristiano da Matta." The winning bidder on this package will receive the following:

Four three-day general admission and paddock tickets to the historic Road America circuit for September 22-24 (total value of $360).

Admission for four to the CARA "Taste of Champ Car" tailgate party and silent auction on Friday, September 22 (total value of $200). Proceeds from the silent auction will go to the CARA fund to "Support the Recovery Efforts of Cristiano da Matta." zzzz

Four Champ Car "Fast Lap" Pace Car Rides around the Road America circuit for Saturday, September 23 (total value of $2,000).

Admission for four to Bridgestone Motorsport's hospitality area on Sunday, September 24.

Four Bridgestone Motorsport golf shirts, hats, credential holders and lanyards. |

Four "Kiki--Push Please" t-shirts.

Click Here to Place Your Bid

Please note that travel and hotel accommodations are not included. All money from the winning bid on this event package will go to CARA's fund - "Support the Recovery Efforts of Cristiano da Matta." The Champ Car driver was injured in a test at Road America on August 3, 2006 and is recovering at Theda Clark Memorial Hospital in Neenah, Wis.

To place your bid on this great package click the link above or go to www.ebay.com and bid on item #200027287678

For more information, please visit www.champcarworldseries.com, www.roadamerica.com, and www.caracharities.org.

track news
Watkins Glen announces '07 schedule Watkins Glen announces '07 scheduleWatkins Glen, NY – Watkins Glen International is set to host eight event weekends throughout 2007, highlighted by the Watkins Glen Grand Prix move to July 8.  The highly anticipated NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend will run on its traditional weekend, August 9-12, and will include the NASCAR Busch Series Zippo 200 and Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen will return as a stand-alone event, June 8-10.

The season begins with Toyota Opening Day on April 29, marking the advance sale deadline for all race weekend tickets. Fans can once again take on the twists and turns of the famed road course in their own vehicles, or take a ride in a pace car. Proceeds from this event to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a NASCAR Foundation supported charity.

The first racing action will take place during a stand-alone Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series event, June 8-10, and will celebrate the 26th running of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on its traditional June weekend.  This event was coupled with the IndyCar Series in 2006.  zzzz

The Watkins Glen Grand Prix IndyCar Series weekend returns to the legendary 3.4-mile road course on its new date, July 6-8. The Indy Pro Series, Zippo Historic Grand Prix and Grand-Am Cup Series will also take on the historic 3.4-mile long course during the weekend. The Soul of American Road Racing will offer a variety of 4th of July-themed fan activities at the track including a large fireworks display to celebrate Independence Day.

“The fans at Watkins Glen International are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate Grand American fans that we have anywhere we race,” said Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson. “By popular demand, we will bring the Grand-Am Cup Series back to Watkins Glen next July, while the annual Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen will once again be on a ‘stand-alone’ weekend in June. Likewise, we will once again run a race for Daytona Prototypes only in support of the NASCAR weekend in August, giving the Watkins Glen faithful three chances to see our exciting brand of road racing. I think our fans in Watkins Glen will be extremely pleased with our 2007 schedule.”

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will turn left and right at The Glen during its traditional weekend, August 9-12, on Sunday, August 12.  Fans can see NASCAR Nextel Cup Series stars challenge the famed 2.45-mile track in the NASCAR Busch Series Zippo 200, August 11. The weekend action kicks off as the Daytona Prototypes of the Grand American Rolex Series make their second appearance at The Glen, August 10.

The Historic Sportscar Racing weekend will also return to The Glen in 2007, June 16-17. The event will once again be open to the public and will feature some of racing’s most historic sports cars.

The SCCA Glen Nationals, the longest-running event at The Glen, returns July 14-15, followed immediately by the Finger Lakes Wine Festival supported by The Corning Museum of Glass, July 20-22.   The event features over 70 wineries from around the region, pouring over 500 different wines combined with some of the areas best arts & crafts, food, music and the Hot Glass demonstrations from The Corning Museum of Glass.

The 2007 season will close with the traditional season finale – the Zippo U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 7-9.  This event celebrates racing’s history and continues to be the largest vintage racing event in the country featuring historic cars of the past from as far back as the 1930’s and is held in conjunction with the Grand Prix Festival in the Village of Watkins Glen.  Both the track and the festival will feature BMW as the weekend’s featured marque.  

Mexican stock car movie Mexican stock car movieNext week the production of the movie "Desafio" will begin in Mexico. The movie will focus on the on-track and off-track adventures of 3 fictional drivers of "Desafio Corona", the Mexican stock car series. The movie will have the backing of very important companies like Telmex, Corona, Panasonic, Fundacion Televisa and Goodyear.  The release date is July 2007. 

Sounds like NASCAR influence behind this movie.  As they bought CASCAR in Canada, rumor has it that NASCAR will eventually buy the Mexican stock car series after they build it up behind the scenes like they did with CASCAR. Jose Arrambide reporting from Mexico

ALMS year-end fan voting continues ALMS year-end fan voting continuesVoting for two of the most coveted awards in the American Le Mans Series – Most Popular Driver and From the Fans – remain open through midnight Oct. 1 to coincide with the conclusion of the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7 weekend from Sept. 27-30. You can access fan polls here. The field for the ‘From the Fans’ award – given to the person or group that has made the biggest impact in sports car racing – also has been narrowed down to the final five finalists, based on fan nominations. They are (in no particular order):
  • Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing
  • Dale White, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing
  • Gary Pratt, Corvette Racing
  • Intersport Racing
  • John Hindhaugh, American Le Mans Radio

In addition, Series television partner MotorsTV is giving away a trip for two to the Monterey Sports Car Championships as part of the group’s “Most Popular Driver” award. Nominations can be made through September 15.

track news
Champ Car returns to Road America Champ Car returns to Road AmericaElkhart Lake, WI - The Champ Car Grand Prix returns to Road America, September 22- 24, 2006 for a three-day festival of speed and OktoberFAST celebration. This is Champ Car's last domestic event before the finish the year in Australia and Mexico. The Champ Car World Series will be joined by the Champ Car Atlantics, Mazda MX-5, Cooper Tires FF2000, Skip Barber National, and the Mazda Extreme Street Show. At the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex the Champ Car Rotax Kart Challenge and the Aprilia AMA Supermoto Shoot-Out will run on Friday and Saturday.

The Champ Car field of 17 entries will have practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday. Points leader Sebastien Bourdais will enter the race with a chance at winning an early series championship. Bourdais leads the championship by 62 points, with three races to go, giving him a cushion of nearly two full races' worth of points under the Champ Car scoring system. A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson are tied for second place with a strong lead over the remaining drivers. Practice and qualifying sessions will be held both Friday and Saturday. The race starts on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. CST. Pre-race activities will include a welcome by honored guest Wisconsin State Senator Joe Liebham, a Champ Car driver introduction in a parade of Corvette convertibles, live music and a military flyover.  zzzz

Atlantics, Champ Car's feeder series, is also bringing a strong contest to Road America. Simon Pagenaud has a 12-point lead over Graham Rahal and this race will decide who wins the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship. The two rookies are considered the two top competitors in one of the most talented Atlantic fields in series' history.

The FF2000 series has long been one of the first rungs on the professional open-wheel auto racing ladder in North America. Among current top-line drivers who have graduated through FF2000 are Champ Car World Series title-winners Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy. The new MX-5 Cup Challenge, with its bumper-to-bumper racing, has been very popular across North America. Skip Barber National is a 14-race professional series positioned as a primary steppingstone for young drivers whose next step could be Champ Car Atlantic. Champ Car's A.J. Allmendinger is a former Skip Barber National star.

Another feeder series is the Champ Car Rotax Kart Challenge. Many drivers spend their younger years in karts, learning driving fundamentals in a competitive setting. Karting is one of the fastest growing and exciting events in extreme sports, and this series attracts drivers from around the country who aspire to make it to the international level. Held at Road America's Briggs & Stratton Motorplex, this event will host drivers from around the world.

More extreme racing takes to the motorplex with the Aprilia AMA Supermoto Shoot-Out. Three classes run in the event: Supermoto, Lites and Unlimited. All three groups practice on Friday and qualify on Saturday. The finals will be held under the lights Saturday evening. Jeff Ward, leader of the AMA Supermoto Championship, has roots in both worlds. Not only a legend in motorcycle racing. Ward has also raced Indy Cars and was Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 1997. The AMA Supermoto Unlimited class has become a three-rider battle and includes Wisconsin's own Ben Carlson, of West Bend.

On Sunday fans can see another growing segment of motorsports, the Mazda Extreme Street Show. This event creates awareness of the sport compact car market in a race setting. Passionate car enthusiasts display and demonstrate their high-quality aftermarket vehicles. The show will be located

Road America has combined the excitement of racing with the spirit of Octoberfest for an OktoberFAST- themed weekend. The festivities kick-off Thursday evening, September 21st, with an OktoberFAST party at Siebkens in Elkhart Lake, WI, 6-11 p.m. The public is invited to enjoy an evening of live entertainment by Smashing Tubas and K!CK, with appearances by Champ Car and Atlantics drivers, and the Jagermeister Girls.

On Saturday and Sunday, fans can watch the racing action from the OktoberFAST biergarten, complete with free entertainment, closed-circuit television, and contests for Best Costume and Top Yodeler. A variety of entertainment includes the Junge Kameraden, an authentic 50-piece high school German band from Plymouth, Wisconsin. The Junge Kameraden will also participate in Champ Car's pre-race activities and will perform the national anthem. Other performers are Polka Potion, Bill Schwartz on Stump Fiddle, Dan Ognavic on keyboard and violin, and Roger Winterberg on Accordian. Food, beverages and snacks will be available for purchase

Admission is $25 Friday, $40 Saturday and $60 Sunday. Tickets include admission to events at the Motorplex. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. On-site camping is available at Gate 4. Races run rain or shine. For more information, go to www.roadamerica.com or call 800/365-7223. Road America

Industry News
Seeing huge losses, Chrysler slashes production Seeing huge losses, Chrysler slashes productionDogged by slumping sales of sport utility vehicles, the Chrysler Group said today that it would cut production by 16 percent the rest of this year, and it confirmed that it expected to lose $1.26 billion on operations in 2006.

DaimlerChrysler’s chief executive, Dieter Zetsche, also said the company would continue to press the United Automobile Workers union to agree to concessions on health care benefits, even though the union said earlier this month that it would not reach a deal with the automaker.

MF1 Racing news MF1 Racing newsMF1 Racing - soon to be Spyker MF1, will continue their two-day test at Silverstone on Wednesday 20th September with Ronnie Quintarelli driving the M16 car. Quintarelli has shown great promise in the Japanese Formula Nippon series and is a driver the team has been interested in testing for some time.

27 year old Quintarelli has been driving for the Inging Motorsport team in Japan for the last 5 years before competing in the European Formula Renault 2000 series. Born in Negrar, Italy and graduating through a number of karting championships in his home country Ronnie is a driver with a great deal of potential.

At this crucial stage in the season the team have chosen to assess the talents of a number of emerging drivers as part of their development program.

Colin Kolles (Team Principal) said: "I am very happy to have Quintarelli driving for the team this week. I keep a close eye on the Japanese Formula Nippon Series as it has a good crop of emerging talent and I hope that Ronnie has a successful test with the team.

Ronnie Quintarelli said: "I am very happy to have the opportunity to drive an F1 car as this is an excellent step for my career. I have had some successful seasons in Japan and this is a great way to take a step forward. I would like to thank Dr Kolles and the team for the opportunity to test and the Inging Motorsport team in Japan for their support."

China, Japan and Brazil GP: 3rd Drivers

The team is pleased to confirm that the drivers for its third car for the remaining races of the 2006 FIA F1 World Championship will be: zzzz

Alexandre Premat (24, France - right) who recently clinched third place in the 2006 GP2 Championship, one place higher than in 2005. www.alexandrepremat.com

Adrian Sutil (23, Germany) current leader of the Japanese F3 championship and runner-up in the 2005 F3 Euroseries. www.adrian-sutil.com

Ernesto Viso (21, Venezuela - right) finished in sixth place in the 2006 GP2 series with two wins following his 11th place in 2005. www.ernestoviso.com

Additional information

Alexandre will test the MF1-Toyota at Silverstone on 20 September while Ernesto will have his first taste of F1 at the same venue on October 11. Adrian has already completed two highly successful Friday tests at Nurburgring and Magny Cours. Midland MF1 Racing

Industry News
Study finds threat to the future of Ford Study finds threat to the future of FordThe carmaker will burn through its cash reserves if it fails to act quickly to raise fuel economy, according to the report.

By John O'Dell, LA Times

Financially strapped Ford Motor Co. says it will boost introduction of new and revamped cars and trucks. But only by increasing the fuel economy of its vehicles well beyond federal requirements will the automaker avoid going under, a study from a respected academic and former industry insider said Monday.

Ford — with the worst overall mileage ratings in the industry and the most models to improve — needs to significantly boost its fuel economy, said Walter McManus, author of the University of Michigan study and director of the transportation institute's automotive analysis division.

The company has to act now, though, because with costs of $1 billion to $3 billion to significantly revamp existing models and develop new ones, Ford would burn through its $20 billion in available cash by the time it retools its entire model lineup in the next four years, he said.

"If they don't bring out vehicles that fit the market this time, they don't have another shot," said McManus, a former General Motors Corp. economist and chief automotive market forecaster for J.D Power & Associates before joining the university.  More at LA Times

CTE Racing-HVM announces Bradford White as sponsor CTE Racing-HVM announces Bradford White as sponsorIndianapolis, IN  – CTE Racing HVM today announced the return of Bradford White, as an associate sponsor for this weekend’s Champ Car Grand Prix at Road America.

Both the #4 (Nelson Philippe) and #14 (Dan Clarke) CTE Racing HVM Champ Car World Series entries will carry the Bradford White logo throughout the Champ Car Grand Prix, team owner, Keith Wiggins commented on the continued relationship, “It is great to continue working with Bradford White. As we extend our marketing relationship together, the opportunities and benefits will grow for both of us. Plus the Discovery Channel project featuring our team at the event this weekend in ‘Kohler’ country should put their competition in ‘hot water’!”

With a long and successful history dating back to 1881 Bradford White is one of the most technologically advanced water heater manufacturers in the world.  A leader in water heaters for residential, commercial and hydronic space heating, consumers can “Count on Bradford White for Everything Hot Water,” for more information on Bradford White, visit www.BradfordWhite.com.    “We’re proud of our association with CTE Racing HVM and look forward to a great race on Sunday. Best of luck to both Nelson and Dan and the rest of the CTE HVM Team,” said Fred Vattimo, Director of Marketing for Bradford White.

The Champ Car Grand Prix will air live on SPEED at 2:00pm ET on Sunday, September 24, 2007.  Follow all the action at www.cteracing.com or http://www.champcar.ws/.

Williams slow with Toyota engine Williams slow with Toyota engineWilliams ran a Toyota engine for the first time as testing got underway at Silverstone on Tuesday.

Indian Narain Karthikeyan was at the wheel as the Grove team tried out the power unit it will use next season as well as its prototype 2007 gearbox.

However, teething troubles with the new technical package restricted Karthikeyan’s running to just seven laps, and he was the slowest of the eight cars present.

“We completed some short runs for systems checks and encountered various teething issues on the chassis side that we will rectify for tomorrow’s running,” said test team manager Mike Condliffe.

“As with most new projects, there are plenty of items that need work.

“Tomorrow, Alex Wurz joins Narain on track.”

Silverstone test Day 1: Kovalainen on top Silverstone test Day 1: Kovalainen on top
1. Heikki Kovalainen Renault-Renault 1min 19.125secs 91 laps
2. Ricardo Zonta Toyota-Toyota 1min 19.381secs 46 laps
3. Franck Montagny Toyota-Toyota 1min 19.654secs 38 laps
4. Nelson Piquet Jnr Renault-Renault 1min 19.723secs 71 laps
5. Christijan Albers Spyker-Toyota 1min 21.115secs 48 laps
6. Sakon Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda 1min 24.361secs 50 laps
7. Adrian Valles Spyker-Toyota 1min 25.401secs 56 laps
8. Narain Karthikeyan Williams-Toyota 1min 28.284secs 6 laps
Industry News
Ford falls further into Junk Status Ford falls further into Junk StatusFord Motor Co. had its debt rating cut further into junk status by Standard & Poor's after the company accelerated job cuts and other restructuring moves for its unprofitable North American operations.

S&P today lowered Ford's corporate long-term rating one step to B, or five levels below investment grade, from B+. The move ``reflects the seemingly relentless deterioration in Ford's North American automotive operations,'' S&P said in a statement.

Sutil to drive third Spyker in Japan Sutil to drive third Spyker in JapanAdrian Sutil will be the third driver for Spyker-Midland in the Japanese Grand Prix, the team reported today.

"Suzuka is a fantastic track with very high requirement for drivers," he said. "I think it would be great fun to drive there with an F1 car and I hope I can do a good job as I did at the Nurburgring and in Magny-Cours.

"I think also that our car in Suzuka will work well.  It is very important at the end of the season to show your skills, because in Formula One what you did yesterday does not count for anything."

It looks like Christian Klien has been shut out in his quest to drive for the Midland Spyker team.

Premat to drive third Spyker in China Premat to drive third Spyker in ChinaFrench GP2 driver Alexandre Premat has been drafted as Spyker-Midland's third driver for the Chinese Grand Prix next week, and the Frenchman will begin testing for the team at Silverstone tomorrow, the team confirmed today.

"This is a great opportunity to try an F1 car at MF1 Racing (Spyker)," Premat said. "I've been waiting for this day since I first started racing as a young boy.

"I've worked so hard for this opportunity and am determined to show my full potential at Shanghai and show I have earned it.

"I'm looking forward to helping the team develop the car both on the Friday at Shanghai, and during the test at Silverstone."

This yet another race that Christian Klien gets overlooked. 

RCR Signs Timothy Peters RCR Signs Timothy PetersRichard Childress Racing (RCR) has signed Timothy Peters as a driver for its 2007 NASCAR Busch Series program.  Peters, 26, of Providence, N.C., raced the past two seasons in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for Bobby Hamilton Racing. He was the 2004 Late Model champion at South Boston (Va.) Speedway and earned consecutive Late Model championships the previous two seasons (2002-03) at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C. He also earned 10 World Karting Association national championships in a driver career that began at age seven.

“Richard Childress Racing is an organization that has been on its game for a long time and knows how to win championships,” said Peters. “I have confidence in myself with the opportunity Richard has given me to showcase my talents. I know it’s going to be tougher than what I’m used to but I adapt pretty well to new challenges and will enjoy getting in there and learning a few things. All it’s going to do is make me a better driver.” zzzz

A determination is forthcoming as to which of RCR’s Busch teams he will drive for. RCR is also scheduled to field a car for Peters in the Oct. 7 ARCA race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

“We see a lot of potential in Timothy and look forward to giving him the opportunity to showcase his talents in the NASCAR Busch Series, said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “We’ll get him in an ARCA car at Talladega to get his feet wet and get a head start on next season.”

Quintarelli to test for Spyker Quintarelli to test for Spyker27-year old Italian Ronnie Quintarelli will test for the Spyker F1 team tomorrow with an eye toward a possible ride in 2007.  Quintarelli currently drives in the Formula Nippon Series.  The test will be at Silverstone.  It looks like Christian Klien has a number of challengers for that seat.
New dates announced for Kansas and Watkins Glen New dates announced for Kansas and Watkins GlenThe IndyCar® Series races at Kansas Speedway and Watkins Glen International will have new dates in 2007, series officials announced.

The IndyCar Series' stop at Kansas moves to April 29, while the Watkins Glen event will move to the July 8 date previously occupied by Kansas. A 100-mile Indy Pro SeriesT race will be held in conjunction with the IndyCar Series event at Watkins Glen International.

"Moving these two races will maximize the potential of the 2007 schedule," said Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series "We'd like to thank Jeff Berger, Craig Rust and everyone at ISC for their flexibility and their assistance in building our 2007 schedule."

The announcement brings the confirmed number of 2007 events to nine. The IndyCar Series has raced at the 1.5-mile oval at Kansas Speedway since 2001, and it is the site of three of the closest finishes in series history. Officials with Kansas Speedway requested the date change due to oppressive heat at recent events. zzzz

"Our race fans come first," said Jeff Berger, president of Kansas Speedway. "They've really stuck with us over the past six years because that's how exciting IndyCar Series racing is. But moving this race weekend to the springtime will make the weekend even more spectacular. It will be cooler for fans, the drivers, the media and the staff."

The shift of the 300-mile event at Kansas Speedway gives the IndyCar Series an extra event prior to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 2002.

"We're excited to make this date change announcement in conjunction with Kansas Speedway and pleased to assist Jeff and his staff respond to their fan base's desire for a race date offering cooler temperatures," Barnhart said. "Putting Kansas Speedway on the schedule right before the Indianapolis 500 allows an already successful event to grow even more in stature while offering the IndyCar Series a great platform heading in to the month of May."

With Kansas' shift, the historic 3.37-mile road course at Watkins Glen International will have its third date in as many years. Despite the change, track officials hope to make the IndyCar Series event weekend a mid-summer institution.

"The 4th of July weekend has always been one of our preferred choices for the IndyCar Series weekend," Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust said. "We are thrilled to have worked with Kansas Speedway and the Indy Racing League on this date change and hope that it will become a tradition that our fans can enjoy with their families each year surrounding the holiday weekend."

Watkins Glen is already planning several fan activities throughout the new July weekend including a large display of fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.

"We are pleased to give Craig Rust and his staff at Watkins Glen International a date they have long preferred and thank him for his flexibility the past couple of years," said Barnhart. "In just two years, The Glen has quickly become an anticipated race on the IndyCar Series schedule, and we look forward to building on not only the track but the region's open-wheel racing legacy." IRL
BMW goes it alone on Day 1 at Jerez BMW goes it alone on Day 1 at JerezThe BMW Sauber team had to wait for an hour in the morning for the fog to clear before starting the test, but after that it was dry and sunny. Sebastian Vettel was working on electronics for next year. For him it was a day of shaking down the car so he did not do as many miles as Robert Kubica. Robert was working on development issues for the forthcoming races, with the team concentrating on the suspension, dampers, set-up and new aero parts.

Tomorrow Nick Heidfeld will take over from Sebastian Vettel and do the next two days of the test with Robert Kubica. The team will not make a decision on what work Nick will do until it has been able to analyze the results of the work done by Sebastian. Robert will continue doing set-up work for the remaining races. The team will also do scanning work on the tires on both cars for the remaining races. The Honda F1 Team will also be testing at Jerez tomorrow.

Robert Kubica: 1:17.566 min (on lap 81)
Sebastian Vettel: 1:18.931 min (on lap 64)

Industry News
Ford takes option on Land Rover Ford takes option on Land RoverFord said Monday it had exercised a right to acquire the Rover brand from BMW AG, part of the original deal it made with BMW when it purchased Land Rover in 2000.

The British brand has struggled through several incarnations in its 103-year history, most recently under a private investment group that went bankrupt in April 2005. BMW acquired the rights to the Rover name when it purchased Land Rover in 1994, and the rights reverted after the bankruptcy.

Last year, BMW agreed to sell the designs of the Rover vehicles to Chinese automaker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. for 67 million pounds ($116 million), and had agreed to sell the rights to the Rover name for 11 million pounds if Ford did not exercise its rights.

Cosworth on hunt for 2007 partner Cosworth on hunt for 2007 partner(GMM)  Cosworth is struggling to find a formula one partner to power beyond the 2006 season.

The last independent engine supplier on the grid, Northampton-based Cosworth is set to lose for 2007 the custom of current teams Williams (Toyota) and Scuderia Toro Rosso (Renault or Ferrari).

Presently Toyota-powered Spyker-MF1 was believed to have been in talks with Cosworth chiefs, but is now closer to signing a Ferrari deal for next year.

Cosworth's Head of F1 Development, Alex Hitzinger, told Motor Sport Aktuell: ''At the moment we have not signed a contract with any team.''

Loeb, Button Coulthard confirmed for ROC Loeb, Button Coulthard confirmed for ROCSébastien Loeb (27 world class rally wins; a new record), DTM Champion Mattias Ekström and Tom Kristensen (7 Le Mans 24 Hours wins; a record) all return to the Stade France in Paris to defend their 2005 ROC and Nations Cup titles

Jenson Button will bid to uphold English honor against fellow F1 star David Coulthard and former WRC champ Colin McRae in first ever England versus Scotland Nations Cup clash. Button's teammate will be confirmed shortly.

Others who are already confirmed are the winner of the competition in 2004 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland), Denmark's multiple Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, Sweden's Mattias Ekstrom plus NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson and biker-turned-rally driver Travis Pastrana. More names will be announced soon.

Race of Champions organizer Fredrik Johnsson was in Monza recently talking to F1 stars and is hoping to get Michael Schumacher or Fernando Alonso.

The 19th edition of the Race of Champions-Nations Cup, a unique and spectacular competition that opposes motor sport champions and superstars from across the world, returns to the Stade de France in Paris, France, for the third year running on Saturday December 16, 2006.

Brazil announces A1GP line-up Brazil announces A1GP line-upA1 Team Brazil is delighted to announce today a dynamic driver line-up that will see the squad supporting the careers of young Brazilian drivers. After a summer of planning and establishing this new mission, Team Principal and Seatholder Emerson Fittipaldi is thrilled to confirm that Christiano ‘Tuka’ Rocha will take on the main driving duties for the team for the first three races in Zandvoort, Brno and Beijing. He can also confirm that the reserve drivers will be Ruben Carrapatoso in The Netherlands, Alexandre ‘Xandi’ Negrão for the Czech Republic race, and Raphael Matos in China.
The drivers will continue to be evaluated through the opening part of the season, and the team will announce the line-up after this period for the remainder of the season. Other young talents are still under consideration. zzzz
Tuka Rocha deputized for Nelson Piquet Jr and Christian Fittipaldi in last year’s championship, and will begin this season as the team’s lead driver, a strong measure of the success that he has achieved since the close of the 05/06 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. After joining the Euro 3000 series he made an instant impact, notching up several podium finishes. He improved that with a thrilling victory at Silverstone this year, the first win for his team in 25 years, at the same time marking him out as a real talent for the future.
Tuka will be supported in the first three rounds by Ruben, Xandi and Raphael. These three young drivers are a part of the up-and-coming Brazilian motor racing generation, and A1 Team Brazil is happy to give them a chance to perform on the world stage as they form a solid support to the team’s 06/07 title ambitions.
Emerson Fittipaldi: "I’m very excited at the prospect of this second season with A1 Team Brazil. I am looking forward to bringing together the experience we gained during the inaugural season with an incredible new crop of talented Brazilian drivers, and I think we have an excellent chance to battle for the title. The idea of giving new drivers an opportunity to compete for our country is fantastic, and it is making me very happy to be involved in A1GP.”
Tuka Rocha: “I am so happy that I have been given this opportunity. Now I have got to do a good job and get the team off to a good start. This is everything I have dreamed of since last year and now it’s coming true so I couldn’t be happier. I hope I can make everyone in Brazil proud of the team.”
Ruben Carrapatoso: “I would like to thank Emerson for the opportunity to represent Brazil in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. It will be a great pleasure for me to be a part of the Brazilian team. I hope that the team can score some great results for our country, and I will be giving my all to help the team achieve victory.”
Xandi Negrão: “I am really looking forward to Brno. I want to perform well for the team and to be involved throughout the season. I did half a day of testing at Silverstone in the car which was good, I really enjoyed driving the car and can’t wait until I get to the race weekend.”
Raphael Matos: “This is a unique opportunity for me as a driver as I have been developing my career in the USA since 2002. The test at Silverstone was a good chance to get an idea of the car and the atmosphere of the series, and I felt very comfortable straight away. I really believe in the potential of the A1 Team Brazil development program, and I will be contributing as much as I can. I can’t wait to drive the car in Beijing.”
Monday's F1 agreements Monday's F1 agreementsThe FIA met with representatives of all of the F1 teams, together with the manufacturers involved in F1 and the GPMA in Paris Monday. The meeting reached unanimous agreement on the following:
  • The FIA to prepare draft regulations for the recovery and reuse of energy for introduction in 2009;
  • The Manufacturers to prepare draft regulations for devices to use waste heat and exhaust gases to assist the engines in propelling the cars;
  • That the objective of all new Formula One regulations should be to maintain F1 as the pinnacle of motor sport and to satisfy at least one of the following criteria: to improve the show, to improve cost effectiveness, to improve safety, to promote technology relevant to society at large, to facilitate brand recognition;
  • Establishment of a Working Group to discuss means to restrict the use of wind tunnels, simulators (test rigs), simulations and where appropriate, the numbers of personnel;
  • That the 2008 regulation restricting testing to 30,000 km per team should also apply in 2007 by voluntary agreement;

Subject to World Motor Sport Council approval:

  • A number of detailed changes to the 2008 Technical regulations;
  • To defer the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations from 2008 until 2009 to allow the FIA, in co-operation with the F1 teams, to optimize new bodywork designs.

Subject to Formula One Commission and World Motor Sport Council approval:

  • Homologated engine regulations already in force for 2008 to apply for 2007. The homologated engine to be that used at the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, subject to retuning for a maximum of 19,000 rpm. Full details of the retuning to be submitted to the FIA no later than December 15, 2006, and the definitive engine to be delivered by March 1, 2007.
  • 18 races to be held in 2007. FIA
McLaren delay Hamilton test McLaren delay Hamilton testAutosport.com reports that a mixture of damp track conditions, and the late arrival of new Mercedes-Benz engines from their Brixworth factory, has resulted in McLaren delaying the start of their 2-day F1 test with GP2 champion Lewis Hamilton.

Meanwhile Frenchman Franck Montagny made his test debut for Toyota.

Turkey GP fined $5M Turkey GP fined $5MThe World Motor Sport Council has found against the National Sporting Authority of Turkey (TOSFED) and the Organizers of the Turkish Grand Prix (MSO) on all counts.

The organizations have been fined a combined total of $5 million over a controversial podium ceremony at last month's race in Istanbul.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who was introduced to millions of viewers around the world as the 'President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus', presented the winner's trophy to Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa.

Cyprus has been split since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the northern part of the Mediterranean island after a brief, Greek-inspired coup. Only Turkey recognizes the north.

It is the biggest monetary penalty ever handed down in motor sport, towering over Ferrari's $1 million fine after Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello swapped places on the Austrian grand prix podium in 2002.

Turkish officials, however, accepted the sanction.

''What was important for us was to keep the races at the Istanbul track going on,'' a member of the organizers’' board told the Anatolia news agency.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
FIA, teams give Imola hope
F1 delays 'twin' wing, agrees new test limit
Turkey braces for FIA penalty
Byrne to stay at Ferrari until 2009
Rosberg gets motorbike license
Ralf defends brother over Alonso insult
Kimi crosses fingers for Ferrari
Schu is sport's king of charity
F1 set for exciting final tests
Alonso lands new Spanish sponsor
Webber says team switch is right decision
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