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Pocono Raceway to Enter New Era in Ticketing
The Pocono Raceway, the two-and-a-half-mile super speedway in Long Pond, PA, has selected New Era Tickets, the full-service ticketing subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor, as their full-service ticketing system and marketing partner for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the ARCA RE/MAX Series events.

Powered by New Era Tickets, ComcastTIX also provides full service ticketing for numerous public assembly facilities and events throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region, including the Wachovia Center and Wachovia Spectrum. In addition, New Era Tickets’ marketing services will assist the Pocono Raceway team with dedicated high-level attention to fostering long-term customers and generating new fans.

“By selling our tickets through ComcastTIX, we’re able to capitalize on some of the web traffic of other browsers looking for shows at the Wachovia Center, as well as create new synergistic opportunities with these venues,” said Brandon Igdalsky, President of Pocono Raceway. “We are proud to welcome New Era Tickets and ComcastTIX to the raceway family here at Pocono Raceway, the Tricky Triangle.”

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Creation can't wait for Petit Le Mans
The British Creation team is preparing to return to the American Le Mans Series for the third time in four years, and everyone can’t wait. The midnight blue Creation CA07-Judd, which has been campaigned by the team in this year’s Le Mans Series in Europe, will be on the grid in the LMP1 class at Petit Le Mans and at Laguna Seca. It will be driven by the very experienced trio of Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB), Harold Primat (CH) and Christophe Tinseau (F).

“Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca have, in the past, been the setting for some of our best performances,” said Team Principal Ian Bickerton. “We just love everything about racing in the American Le Mans Series, and I believe that we have once again put together a really strong driver line up for our 2007 appearances. To do well again at either, or both, of these races would be a great reward for all the hard work put in by everyone at Creation this year.”

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IndyCar Series announces fall test
IndyCar® Series officials announced the series will conduct a technical test at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa on Oct. 3-4.

Drivers from Andretti Green Racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske will work with series officials to refine the aerodynamic package currently used at the .875-mile oval. The IndyCar Series held its inaugural race at Iowa Speedway in June with eventual series champion Dario Franchitti claiming victory by .0681 of a second over teammate Marco Andretti.

"While we are quite pleased with the results from our first visit to Iowa, we want to take time this off-season to look at our current areo-package for this track," said Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. "Iowa Speedway is like nothing else currently on our circuit. It combines the characteristics of a short oval with those of a banked superspeedway. We want to make sure we're providing the best possible on-track product for our drivers and our fans when we return to Iowa Speedway next season."

The IndyCar Series is scheduled to return to Iowa Speedway for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 June 22, 2008.

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IRL sponsor loses 2 copyright infringement lawsuits
A federal jury yesterday ordered Vonage (Andretti Green Racing associate sponsor) Holdings to pay Sprint Nextel (NASCAR sponsor) $69.5 million in damages for violating six of its patents, prompting analysts to question whether the troubled Internet phone company could survive.

Vonage, which lost another major patent case earlier this year, said it would appeal the decision that sent its shares plummeting 33 percent.

Vonage must also pay Sprint a 5 percent royalty on future revenue, the jury decided after the three-week trial in U.S. District Court in Kansas. Sprint, which is based in Reston, said it planned to ask the court to permanently ban Vonage from using its patented technology, and District Judge John Lungstrum can triple the damage award if he agrees with the jury's decision that Vonage deliberately infringed the patents.

In a statement, Sprint said it was pleased with the verdict and viewed it as a "validation of the strength and depth of its patent portfolio."

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Champ Car report card feedback UPDATE Another reader writes, Dear Mark,  I wanted to respond to your comments regarding the Grand Prix of Houston in AutoRacing1.com’s  “Champ Car Report Card 2007”.

The opportunity to host the Grand Prix at a world-class sports and entertainment facility like Reliant Park provides tremendous advantages which far outweigh any possible aesthetic shortcomings. Reliant Park offers built-in infrastructure such as an abundance of parking lots, two air-conditioned buildings (Reliant Arena and Reliant Stadium), and in-house services including catering, staffing, and security. The location also enables us to put on the event without contending with public street closures, local business interruptions, and costly street improvements that can be detrimental to a temporary street circuit.

Houstonians have embraced the opportunity to watch world-class racing around Reliant Stadium and the famous Reliant Astrodome and we’re looking forward to a great future at JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park. We are also planning to grow with the facility, as plans are currently being developed that would transform the Astrodome into a multi-attraction luxury destination hotel. The anticipation of this $500 million development was a major factor in our decision to select Reliant Park for the race. The new construction would significantly improve our racetrack while adding the ambience to the entire setting making it unique and appealing. And the good news is that the developer has guaranteed no interruption in our race.

Chuck M. Kosich
General Manager, Grand Prix of Houston / Cleveland

09/26/07 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Your latest article "Champ Car Report Card 2007" is pretty much spot on.  I read with interest about your Tony Cochrane rumor.  If Champ Car is going more global as you say, they will need someone with his track record and experience at the helm.  You won't see races being cancelled under his watch.  This alone has severely hurt Champ Car's reputation.  Bring him on!  Dave West


Pacific Coast Motorsports Wraps Final Test
Alex Figge and Mario Dominguez wrapped the final test session of the team’s rookie season yesterday at Sebring International Raceway.  It was a very productive test for the California based team, rookie Alex Figge ran in the top-six both days and his new teammate, Mexican Mario Dominguez set the third fastest time of the 13 cars on track. “It was our most productive test of the season and Alex did a fantastic job developing a consistent and quick package for both cars,” commented team manager Michael Harvey.  “Although Alex ran out of miles yesterday morning, he and his crew worked on packages that should make a difference the rest of the season.  Mario and his boys got re-acquainted, and they were able to benefit by the developments of Alex and the #29 crew.  This sport is about teamwork and we are focused on moving forward.”  As a rookie, Alex Figge was allotted 900 test miles this year, he completed his final 245 miles at Sebring this week, while teammate Dominguez completed 266 trouble-free miles.

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Funeral held for Colin McRae
GLASGOW, Scotland - About 200 mourners gathered Wednesday for the funeral of former world rally champion Colin McRae and his five-year-old son, who both died in a helicopter crash earlier this month.

The two were carried in the same coffin to the private service at a crematorium near Glasgow.

McRae's widow, Alison, and their nine-year-old daughter, Hollie, were joined by former three-time Formula One champion Jackie Stewart, IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and Scotland soccer captain Barry Ferguson at the service.

"It's a sad loss for Scotland of a real hero and an immensely popular friend," Stewart said.


Scott Speed Talladega test summary
Scott Speed, former Formula 1 Scuderia Toro Rosso driver, got behind the wheel of a stock car for the first time ever in today's ARCA RE/MAX Series test at Talladega Superspeedway. Team Red Bull recently announced that Speed will make his stock car racing debut in the No. 21 Red Bull Toyota in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 5, 2007.

Describe your first day of testing.

"The banking here is pretty incredible and intimidating. Having never sat in a stock car and to just go out there and run the first lap flat against the wall -- I'd be lying if I said that was easy! That took a bit of bravery. The banking here is just super."

"The car is so much heavier than a Formula 1 car and you feel so much more movement. This car is about three times the weight of a Formula 1 car, so it moves a lot on the springs and tires. It's just a big moving mass and you feel really tiny inside of it. A Formula 1 car is so small and stiff, if you even think about wanting to go right - you're going right."

"It's interesting to see how the team works together. This whole scene reminds me more of my karting days how the guys would work on the car and you're standing right there watching them. Also, the other teams were so willing to come over and share information and that just doesn't happen in Formula 1."

"It was a pretty easy test for me because I was just driving flat out the whole time. I feel like the crew worked so hard and I just got in the car and drove. Being fast at Talladega has more to do with the car than the driver. The team worked all day making small changes to the car just trying to find more speed."

What surprised you the most from today's test?

"That they fill up the cars at a normal gas pump at the race track that looks like one you'd pull into if you were just driving down the road. That was so bizarre for me!"

"Also, in open-wheel racing, you always have someone on the team who buckles you into your seat. I got into my seat today waiting for someone to buckle me in and then after awhile realized I was supposed to buckle myself in. I'm not used to bringing my own helmet to the car either!"

"The most surprising thing is that I just don't dress like these people yet (sarcastic). I got harassed by some of the ARCA officials for my shorts -- which I wasn't supposed to be wearing in the garage -- and for my hat because it's what Europe would call high fashion, but I guess it's not considered that here."

What's the biggest challenge you'll face going into your first ARCA race next week?

"It will be so intense to race here. You're just hauling ass because it's so fast. It's not going to be easy to throw that thing into a corner at 170 mph. I have to learn how to draft and how to race these cars too. Learning how to run so close together with so many guys will be wild."   Team Red Bull

track news

Why Chicagoland added lights
Chicagoland Speedway has installed lights for the ’08 season, when the track will host the July 11 Busch Series and July 12 Sprint Cup races at night. The track will become the tenth Cup venue capable of hosting night racing.  The Cup race, traditionally run on Sunday afternoon, will be moved to Saturday night, and the Busch race will be shifted from Saturday afternoon to Friday night.  Chicagoland Speedway President Matthew Alexander said, “Night racing is one of the most thrilling experiences for fans to be a part of, and now we will be able to bring that type of buzz and exciting atmosphere to our facility” Chicagoland Speedway


Why A-B cut back on their NASCAR sponsorship
Anheuser-Busch VP/Global Media & Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo indicated that A-B decided to end its title sponsorship of NASCAR's Busch series and its role as the official beer of NASCAR "so that it could invest more in entertainment and the digital space," according to Gail Schiller of the Hollywood Reporter.


Publisher confirms journalist to join McLaren
(GMM)  A British magazine publishing company has confirmed that high profile formula one journalist Matt Bishop has accepted an offer to work for McLaren.

It was reported on Wednesday that 44-year-old Bishop, editor of the popular magazine F1 Racing, will from 2008 take up the role as the Woking based team's Group Head of Communications and PR.

A spokesman for the magazine's publisher, for whom Bishop has worked since 1996, confirmed that Bishop has decided to leave Haymarket.

"After 11 years leading F1 Racing magazine, Matt Bishop has accepted a unique opportunity within one of formula one's outstanding teams," said publishing director Peter Higham.

He added: "In Matt, McLaren is gaining a very skilled communicator and we wish him well with the new challenges that lie ahead."


FIA to raise F1 cockpit sides
The has FIA revealed plans to raise cockpit sides to improve protection for Formula 1 drivers next season. The issue was raised after a number of drivers were concerned about their safety in the cockpit.

GPDA director Mark Webber told autosport.com: "It will be great for us. If you look at someone like Tonio Liuzzi, he is not getting the support that he needs, and I am borderline as well. There are a few guys that don't get the protection.

"Both the guys involved in that nasty accident in Australia, Alex and David, were the two guys pushing it very hard. David obviously felt something had to be done after sliding across the car, and Alex felt the same after having an F1 car pass his visor."


Petty won't be penalized for garage incident at Dover
NASCAR will not penalize Kyle Petty for slapping the visor of Denny Hamlin in the garage area following their accident in Sunday's Dodge Dealers 400, a NASCAR spokesman said.  Petty was angry after Hamlin hit his rear bumper, sending him into the wall Sunday at Dover International Speedway. After being released from the infield medical center, Petty went over to Hamlin's car in the garage, unhooked Hamlin's window net, yelled at him and slapped his visor. Hamlin got out of his car but was restrained by crew members and NASCAR officials.


2008 NASCAR schedule announced
The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule was announced today, a 36-race slate that kicks off with the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. The 2008 season also marks NASCAR’s 60th year as stock car racing’s longest operating sanctioning body. Following the “Great American Race” the series travels to Southern California, then to the bright lights of Las Vegas before returning to the southeast for races at Atlanta and Bristol. The first scheduled off date for the series will be in March during the Easter holiday. Following the race in Martinsville, the series makes another swing to the southwest, racing at Texas and Phoenix in early April.

The second scheduled off weekend occurs in mid-April. The series then picks back up with races at Talladega, Richmond and Darlington prior to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “By running five consecutive points events before the first scheduled break in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the 2008 schedule is designed to be even more fan friendly,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. Another adjustment to the 2008 schedule is that the Chicago race will be run Saturday night. “Night racing provides an additional element of intrigue and excitement,” said France. “Running under the lights at Chicagoland on a Saturday night will be even more exciting for the fans in the stands as well as those watching from home.”

Other key dates:
* The 30th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be held on Feb. 9.
* On Sunday, July 27, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
* On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 6, Richmond International Raceway will be the last opportunity for drivers to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
* The week after Richmond, on Sunday, Sept. 14, New Hampshire again will have the kick-off event in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which covers the season’s last 10 races and determines the series champion.
* On Sunday, Nov. 16, Homestead-Miami Speedway will again host the season finale, where the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be crowned. NASCAR PR

Date Site
Feb 9 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona – Daytona International Speedway*
Feb 17 Daytona International Speedway
Feb 24 California Speedway
Mar 2 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Mar 9 Atlanta Motor Speedway
Mar 16 Bristol Motor Speedway
Mar 30 Martinsville Speedway
Apr 6 Texas Motor Speedway
Apr 12 Phoenix International Raceway
Apr 27 Talladega Superspeedway
May 3 Richmond International Raceway
May 10 Darlington Raceway
May 17 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge – Lowe’s Motor Speedway*
May 25 Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Jun 1 Dover International Speedway
Jun 8 Pocono Raceway
Jun 15 Michigan International Speedway
Jun 22 Infineon Raceway
Jun 29 New Hampshire International Speedway
Jul 5 Daytona International Speedway
Jul 12 Chicagoland Speedway
Jul 27 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug 3 Pocono Raceway
Aug 10 Watkins Glen International
Aug 17 Michigan International Speedway
Aug 23 Bristol Motor Speedway
Aug 31 California Speedway
Sep 6 Richmond International Raceway
Sep 14 New Hampshire International Speedway
Sep 21 Dover International Speedway
Sep 28 Kansas Speedway
Oct 5 Talladega Superspeedway
Oct 11 Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Oct 19 Martinsville Speedway
Oct 26 Atlanta Motor Speedway
Nov 2 Texas Motor Speedway
Nov 9 Phoenix International Raceway
Nov 16 Homestead-Miami Speedway
*Non-championship points events Tentative-Subject to Change.(9-26-2007)


Hamilton vows to regain cool for title zenith
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton says he needs to be "relaxed and calm" as the formula one title chase reaches its zenith outside of Europe over the next three weeks.

The British championship leader is now just two points ahead of his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso, and he appeared to shows signs of struggling to cope with the pressure after the pair diced for track position at Spa-Francorchamps two weeks ago.

Hamilton, who has also struggled to match Alonso's pace at recent races, lashed out at the Spaniard's driving tactics immediately following the Belgian grand prix, and then clarified his comments.

"I have been immensely impressed with Lewis," observed Renault's Pat Symonds, who worked with Alonso at the French team between 2002 and last year, "but we may have seen a little chink in his armor after Spa.

"As for Fernando, we know how strong he is psychologically. I am looking forward to seeing how their battle unfolds over the final races," he added.

Ahead of the Asian double header that begins in Japan this weekend, Hamilton suggests that he has taken stock after the end of the European season.

"It's important to stay relaxed and calm and to remember it is my first year in formula one," the rookie said this week, "and I'm still 22."


Two Russians in GP2
Now there will be two Russian drivers in GP2  - Vitaly Petrov being the other one.  Mikhail Aleshin (pictured right) will drive for ART for the second time this season at Valencia, where he will replace Sebastien Buemi this weekend.  Buemi is unavailable for the season finale this weekend, because he has a commitment in the F3 Euro Series, where he has a chance to win the title heading into the penultimate round at Nogaro.


Albuquerque to replace Zaugg in Valencia
Portuguese driver Filipe Albuquerque will replace Arden’s South African driver Adrian Zaugg for the GP2 Season finale weekend in Valencia on 29th September. Albuquerque has been chosen to replace fellow Red Bull driver Zaugg due to his commitments with A1 Team South Africa, the A1Grand Prix at Zandvoort clashing with the GP2 weekend in Valencia.
Albuquerque currently races in World Series by Renault and is currently 4th in the Drivers Championship having won in Hungary recently. He also substituted Ernesto Viso (Racing Engineering) at Silverstone GP Race following Viso’s accident in Magny Cours.
Filipe Albuquerque: I want to thank Red Bull and Arden Motorsport for the opportunity. This will be my second time in a GP2 car and I know the track so I'm very excited to get a good result, although I know that will be hard.
Adrian Zaugg: I would like to thank the team for the great experience and a valuable first season in the GP2 car. I have chosen the A1 Grand Prix path and to represent South Africa once again is a great opportunity.
Arden International Press Release


Sergio returns for Trident
Trident Racing is proud to announce the agreement reached with Spanish driver Sergio Hernandez, who’ll join Kohei Hirate in the final race of the 2007 season, planned for next weekend at Valencia. Hernandez raced in the GP2 Series back in 2005 and 2006, before entering the WTCC with BMW. Trident Racing was really glad to have the deal done, giving Sergio the opportunity to shine in front of his home crowd.
Sergio Hernandez
"Having the chance to get back behind the wheel of an open-wheel car in the GP2 Series is a dream coming true, as my main goal has always been to reach Formula 1 and there’s no better way to do it than having a try in GP2. I’ll also have the chance to be back on my home track, at Valencia. I know it very well and, in addition, I’ll be surrounded by the most important people in my racing career. I understand it won’t be easy, because some time has passed since my last GP2 outing, and my rivals will have a full year of racing behind their shoulders. I’m glad to be partnering Trident Racing, that’s definitely one of the best GP2 teams around. I also know that this weekend will be crucial for the future of my career".
Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Principal
"In the two years he spent in the GP2 Series, I always known and appreciated Hernandez for being an highly professional driver, very fast but also very nice and positive in human relationships. It seemed a natural choice for me to rely on him for his home race at Valencia; I’m sure he’ll be able to compensate the long absence with track knowledge. Maybe it’ll be complicated to drive straight to a top-position but, as we shown after the unfortunate injury occurred to Pastor Maldonado, Trident Racing always provide drivers with the best possible technical material, to let them exploit their full potential. We’re entering this race with Sergio and Kohei in the same way we would have done it with a chance of winning the championship. We want to repay the trust that Sergio and his sponsors put on us, and end a complicate season in a positive way. I hope that all the fans of Sergio will reach us on-track, supporting the `Comunitat Valenciana` car".


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Bernie backs spy saga conclusion
  • Ferrari must determine teams' title value - Haug
  • Raikkonen's neck now fully recovered

Bernie backs spy saga conclusion
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has thrown his support behind the FIA's decision to penalize McLaren for spying.

"There was a process, and the process showed that they did something wrong," F1's chief executive told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

He reiterated: "Information transferred from another team to theirs on a nearly daily basis."

The 76-year-old thinks the $100 million fine and championship exclusion is a good deterrent for the future.

Ecclestone said he believes every team boss in pitlane will currently be ramping up their outfits' internal processes to "ensure that such a thing does not happen to them".

"The judgment is a clear warning: don't do it!" Bernie added, despite backing the decision to leave Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in the fight for the drivers' title.

Referring to Max Mosley's offering of immunity for the McLaren drivers in exchange for information, Ecclestone said: "If he had taken their points away, he would have broken his promise."

Ferrari must determine teams' title value - Haug
(GMM) Norbert Haug says he refuses to judge the value of Ferrari's inherited victory in the 2007 constructors' world championship.

With former runaway leader McLaren kicked out for espionage, engine partner Mercedes-Benz's competition director said: "That can only be determined by the team that has benefited.

"For us, we are finished with this issue," Haug, who fully backed the decision not to appeal the World Motor Sport Council's sanctions, told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

The German, however, seemed to question how satisfied Ferrari could be with the achievement of winning effectively by default.

"We had collected our points advantage in the races before Spa in a sporting way and with a legal car. I cannot imagine that our points lead would have been caught up," Haug said.

"We are now concentrated on the fight for the drivers' title."

Haug also declined to predict what value will be placed upon the winner of the drivers' championship; particularly if Hamilton or Alonso emerge with the trophy, but hoped it will have more "shine" than "shadow".

What is clear, however, is McLaren's anger with its suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan, who might soon be facing another problem.

Haug suggested that the team may choose to pursue the rogue Briton civilly, as well as hand out some sort of other "punishment" for getting McLaren into such hot water for his actions.

Raikkonen's neck now fully recovered
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen says his neck is now fully recovered following his high speed practice at Monza.

The Finn subsequently struggled through qualifying and the Italian grand prix with a stiff and sore neck, and he even told reporters after Spa-Francorchamps a week later that his neck still was "not perfect".

Raikkonen, 28, fully rested the injury by not testing after Belgium, and now says it is feeling "perfectly fine".

"After the Belgian GP I took a short break," he said. "Now my neck is perfectly fine and I can move my head without any problem. I played some hockey with my friends to stay fit."

Raikkonen arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Industry News

4-mile NJ road course groundbreaking UPDATE #7 A formal ground breaking took place last week for this track. An opening race is planned for June of next year. This track is not near any major urban centers so it's doubtful anything other than Nextel Cup would draw a big crowd there, but it certainly should be a venue Champ Car looks at given it wants a race on the east coast and Millville is less than one hour from Philadelphia and 2.5 hours from NY. Construction Photos

06/13/07 Plans for Thunderbolt Raceway on a 702-acre parcel abutting the Millville Airport in NJ are going forward, and construction has begun. Working in concert with New Jersey’s SCCA regions, plans call for 2.2-mile and 1.9-mile linkable road courses on the property. Completion is anticipated in time for a 2008 opening race.

11/28/06 State senators pushed forward legislation Monday to help bring an auto racing track to Cumberland County.

The legislation twice passed the Assembly, but hadn't received recent Senate consideration until it was released today by a Senate economic growth committee. The measure would help bring a 700-acre race track complex to Millville.

Under the bill, a sports and entertainment district would be created and the town could charge an additional 2 percent sales tax within the district, including on sales of food and drink, hotel rooms and event tickets. Money from the tax would be put into a fund to either back bonds issued to build the $100 million track or cover financial assistance for a developer.

Officials hope to start building the track early next year.

"This motor park would be an economic benefit to South Jersey in particular and to the state as a whole and would be paid for entirely by levies on the users of the facilities inside the motor park," said sponsor Sen. Nicholas Asselta, R-Cumberland. AP Article

05/23/06 TRENTON -- Reviving a project that has languished for five years, the Assembly on Monday passed a bill creating a $100 million motorsports and entertainment district in Cumberland County.

The measure would allow a public-private effort to fund sports related projects in Bridgeton, Millville and Vineland.

Under the bill, both the municipal government and state treasurer would need to sign off on any plans to create a district in the communities.

After they are operating, towns would be authorized to collect a two percent local sales tax on all sales within the area, according to the legislation.

"Auto racing is the nation's fastest-growing spectator sport and offers Cumberland County a unique opportunity to become an East Coast sports mecca," said Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, DEP May, who sponsored the bill alongside fellow Democrat Assemblyman Nelson Albano.

"Our region is uniquely situated to take advantage of this growth industry and good jobs and economic development that can follow."

A race track in Cumberland County was first floated in 2001 as part of a plan by then acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco to make a proposed Newark arena for the NBA's Nets politically palatable. Many legislators decried the involvement of public funds in a private arena.

In the motor sport bill, Van Drew said at least $20 million in state seed money would be paired with private dollars.

In a statement issued after the Assembly vote, Van Drew and Albano said the bill would allow construction of a race track hosting national NASCAR events. However, on the Assembly floor Van Drew said the track would not be NASCAR regulation.

Republicans pounced on the financial details of the legislation.  "In today's world and today's economy in the state of New Jersey, this is almost mind boggling,: said Assemblyman Guy Gregg, R-Sussex. NJ.com 

11/30/05 City planners gave N.J. Motorsports Park LLC a green light on its $100 million resort project after a hearing Monday night that was painstaking but largely painless for developers. The Planning Board vote, after a little more than an hour's testimony and questioning, was a praise-filled and unanimous 8-0. "I have a two-line answer for that," member William McLaughlin said when polled. "Ladies and gentleman, start your engines! Yes!"

"With my vote, I also want to say thank you to the developers," said member George Mitchell. Not every developer would have been as persistent or as considerate, he observed.

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Big Bill finally gets his revenge on Indy 500
While William Henry Getting France ruled as first czar of NASCAR, the organization's logo had an extra word in it that is no longer there.

"NASCAR International," the trademark read.

This was largely ludicrous, unless you counted the handful of non-Carolina drivers from Alabama and Georgia as foreigners. The word "international" was merely a statement of Big Bill's most distant dream.

In 1955 he was thrown out of Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the 500 for not having proper credentials, and legend has it that he growled to those escorting him off the grounds, "I'll own this place someday."

Duly riled, he returned to Florida and built his own 2.5-mile track, much higher-banked than Indy, and dubbed it Daytona International Speedway when he opened it in 1959 to drivers from as far away as Iowa.

His more pragmatic son, Bill France Jr., the second czar, removed the extraneous "international" from the logo.

Now maybe his grandson, third czar Brian France, ought to bring it back.

"NASCAR International" finally fits.

In the NASCAR garages next year, the Scottish burr of Dario Franchitti and the Quebecois accent of Jacques Villeneuve will join the Latino accent of Juan Pablo Montoya, full time.

All three have won Indy 500s.

Brian France does not own the hallowed Indy track, nor does he need to. It lies prostrate at his feet, beholden to him. Without Indy's NASCAR race, the Allstate 400, speedway chieftain Tony George could ill afford to keep pouring money down the hole of his folly, the Indy Racing League.

Time was when there was no greater achievement for a driver, anywhere, than winning the Indianapolis 500. Now, it might get you a NASCAR ride, with zero guarantee of success there.

I say might because only two of the last three Indy 500 winners, Franchitti from this year and Sam Hornish Jr. from last year, are headed into NASCAR next year.  More at the Orlando Sentinel


Panis joins A1 Team France
Former Formula One race winner Olivier Panis will join A1 Team France this season. Panis is one of France's most well-known racing drivers. He retired from racing at the end of 2005 after 157 Grands Prix.

He will joining the French squad in an advisory capacity, and work directly with seat holder Jean-Paul Driot at several races in the 2007/08 season.

It was announced to the local media that he was joining the team at a special season launch at the Hotel de Crillon on Place de la Concorde in Paris.

A1 Team France general manager Eric Boullier said: 'It is great to have someone like Oliver joining the team. I know his expertise and knowledge can play a vital role in helping A1 Team France recapture the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport title.'


Hornish to test at Kentucky Wednesday
Sam Hornish, Jr., is scheduled to continue his stock car racing experience during a Sept. 26 test at Kentucky Speedway. Testing usually begins at 9:00am and ends at 5:00pm. Times will vary based on team goals. Fans can watch testing for free from the designated area outside the track Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N in Sparta, Ky. Kentucky Speedway PR


Aussie Indy races to 300,000 mark
The Indy carnival is on track to smash the 300,000 crowd barrier again, with confirmation yesterday that ticket sales are continuing to soar.

Lexmark Indy 300 general manager Greg Hooton said the precinct would be completed on time, with near capacity crowds across the four days of racing.

"Ticket sales are certainly tracking to last year's figures. Our aim is the 300,000-plus mark and that's where we're certainly heading," he said.

"The grandstand sales are doing really well and the general admissions are tracking along."

News of strong ticket sales came as Porsche was announced as the official vehicle of the carnival.

Porsche vehicles will be used for off-track VIP transportation and official on-track duties. The cars will be supplied by local dealer Terry Knight.

The Indy precinct is rapidly going up in the middle of the glitter strip, but Mr. Hooton said construction was having limited impact on residents in the area.

"Our plan is to make sure that we minimize our impact on the community," he said.

"At the same time, it brings in a lot of dollars and a lot of work for the community, so you've got to balance that off. We don't act in isolation when we do this event. We understand that we're part of the fabric of the community and we've got to work within that fabric."

Mr. Hooton said construction of the track was a huge logistical operation.

"It's huge not only from making sure you get the timing right, but the safety aspect -- we're operating in the middle of highways and roads."

The Indy carnival runs from October 18 to 21. Goldcoast.com.au

industry news

GM and UAW reach tentative agreement
DETROIT, Mich. - General Motors and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement on a new national labor contract, covering approximately 74,000 represented employees.  The agreement is subject to UAW member ratification. 

The tentative agreement includes a memorandum of understanding to establish an independent retiree health care trust, as well as other changes to the national agreement. Following ratification, implementation of the memorandum of understanding is subject to approval by the courts, and satisfactory review of accounting treatment with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

"There's no question this was one of the most complex and difficult bargaining sessions in the history of the GM/UAW relationship," said Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO.  "I'd like to thank UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, UAW Vice President Cal Rapson and their bargaining team for their leadership and hard work in negotiating the agreement." 

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IRL plans token boost to Indy 500 purse
The Indianapolis 500 might be the biggest winner in the Indy Racing League financial structure expected to be unveiled next week. Brian Barnhart, the IRL's president of competition, said the 500 is in line for major increases in the money it pays participants, including the winner. The boosts come as a result of increases in race ticket sales and sponsorship commitments, he said.

"I think you're going to like Indy," he said Tuesday, declining to divulge specifics. "Consistent with the centennial celebration (of Indianapolis Motor Speedway), you need a record purse. This will be that, both overall and the winner's share."

The total 500 payout reached $10 million in 2002 but rose to only $10.66 million for this year's race. By comparison, NASCAR's marquee event, the Daytona 500, swelled from $12.31 million to $18.38 million during that same period.

Dario Franchitti received $1.64 million for winning the 500 in May, but Buddy Rice (2004) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2006) received more for their victories. In 1997, Arie Luyendyk earned $1.56 million.  More at Indy Star


BMW concentrating on 2008 car
The BMW Sauber F1 Team has already achieved its season goals prior to the final overseas races. According to BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen, the team is now concentrating on the development of the new car. Three races remain in the 2007 Formula One season but it is already clear that the BMW Sauber F1 Team will end its second year in the pinnacle of motorsports as the third strongest team. Twice Nick Heidfeld was able to achieve a podium finish, together the BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers managed to finish among the top four on ten occasions.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen explains: "We are basically ahead of our development. Since the season has been going so well, we have already been able to fully concentrate on the new car for the next year." The BMW Sauber F1 Team already tested new components for the 2008 season during testing programs in Spa-Francorchamps in the middle of September.

"The last step to the absolute top is definitely the most difficult one," the BMW Motorsport Director warns not to expect too much of the next season. After all, "Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes at the top are hard nuts to crack."


Penske adds a race for Hornish
Sam Hornish Jr. has added at least one race to his Nextel Cup schedule in the #06 Penske Racing Dodge. Hornish has attempted two races [New Hampshire and Dover] but has yet to make the field for a Cup race. He was already scheduled to try to make the field in the remaining races featuring the car of tomorrow: Talladega, Martinsville and Phoenix. Now, according to a team spokesman, Hornish will enter the Oct. 13 race at Lowe's Motor Speedway and might add the season-ending race at Miami-Homestead Speedway. SceneDaily.com


Bernie was source of FIA tip-off says Mosley
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone was the source of the tip-off about "compromising" emails that reopened the espionage saga and led to McLaren's FIA sanctions, Max Mosley has confirmed.

Ron Dennis initially claimed that he first alerted the FIA president to the existence of the electronic exchanges between Pedro de la Rosa and Fernando Alonso.

But it emerged in the September 13 hearings in Paris that Ecclestone, F1's chief executive, may actually have alerted Mosley first.

Ferrari's lawyer Nigel Tozzi told the World Motor Sport Council that a disgruntled Alonso had "shown the documents to Mr. Ecclestone".

Referring to Ecclestone, Mosley told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday: "Yes, he spoke to me about them and told me they were compromising.

"I don't know who gave them to him, but I have a suspicion."


Ferrari guaranteed drivers’ title says Montezemolo
(GMM) Even if the Maranello based team is beaten to the checkered flag this year, "a little bit of Ferrari" is guaranteed the 2007 drivers' world championship.

That was the droll assessment on Tuesday of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who referred to the World Motor Sport Council's decision recently to allow McLaren to stay in the championship despite being found effectively guilty of espionage.

"Whoever wins the drivers' title will do so either with a little bit of Ferrari or with a proper Ferrari," the Italian cynically told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, meanwhile, insists the team is still a worthy winner of this year's constructors' championship, despite former runaway leader McLaren's exclusion.

"If we have won the championship because another team has not followed the rules, then we can say we did follow those rules and we won," he is quoted as saying by The Guardian in Britain.

"I am pleased with this result, even if it would have been better to win in a different way."

The Brazilian suggested to Gazzetta, meanwhile, that he suspects McLaren decided not to appeal the FIA sanctions for fear of even heftier penalties.

26-year-old Massa said: "My feeling is that our adversary understood that it would not have been a good idea to push further."


Apples and Oranges
This SPEEDtv.com article explains why the replacement of Oriol Servia with David Martinez at Forsythe Championship Racing is vastly different that the replacement of Ryan Dalziel with Mario Dominguez at PCM.


NASCAR lets cheaters keep win UPDATE Carl Edwards, winner of this past Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, has been penalized 25 driver championship points due to rule violations found in post-race inspection. The loss of points dropped Edwards from third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings to sixth, 28 points behind leader Jeff Gordon. The #99 Ford driven by Edwards was found to be too low in the right rear area, which violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment not conforming to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8.1C (failed to meet minimum rear car heights) of NASCAR Car of Tomorrow Technical Bulletin #3 dated April 10, 2007. In addition, those infractions have resulted in a $25,000 fine for Edwards’ crew chief Bob Osborne, plus a penalty of 25 car owner championship points for Roush Fenway Racing. Osborne also has been placed on probation until Dec. 31. NASCAR PR

09/23/07 Carl Edwards' race-winning Roush Fenway Racing Ford failed postrace inspection Sunday at Dover International Speedway.  Edwards won the Dodge Dealers 400 earlier today, but the right rear of his car fell below the 1/2-inch tolerance for height, NASCAR said. The victory most likely will stand, but Edwards' team is expected to be penalized later this week.

Team owner Jack Roush said that there were no changes made to the right side of the car and that he believes NASCAR will find the car is bent. He added it was his understanding that the right-rear was 3/8ths of an inch low, which doesn't make sense to him.

"The springs we were using were used before," Roush said. "Normally a spring, if it's going to sag or do something like that, that would occur when it was a brand-new part."

Edwards, who is third in the standings, three points behind leader Jeff Gordon, said a penalty is definitely possible.

"Because of the nature of the thing, it looks like [we could be penalized]," Edwards said Sunday night. "We're hopeful for the worst case, [which] would be 25 points. The right rear being low, any crew chief or engineer in the garage will tell you, that's the last thing you want. You want the right rear to be high. The only thing I can think of is at the end of the race, [teammate] Greg [Biffle] came up and gave me a couple of love taps to say, 'Good job' and 'Good race' and hopefully they find that bent the tail of the car down a little bit. Hopefully that's what they find."  Scenedaily.com

[Editor's Note: BS, the nose of the car following is lower than the rear and if anything would lift the rear up.]


Roush Fenway Racing to appeal #99 penalty
NASCAR advised Roush Fenway Racing today that it will issue penalties against Carl Edwards (25 driver points), Jack Roush (25 owner points) and crew chief Bob Osborne ($25,000) for violating a rear fender height rule following Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. Roush Fenway Racing president, Geoff Smith gave a statement following NASCAR's announcement: "We have the misfortune of violating a rule which makes no sense. It was promulgated to address restrictor plate races, not downforce races. I say misfortune because we are being penalized for a violation that actually impaired the car's performance. We intend to appeal the unfair assessment of the point's penalty. What is unfair is that Carl is receiving a penalty that is 250% greater in its effect than a similarly assessed penalty against a non-'Chase' driver. 'Chase' drivers are competing for a total of 1,950 points. All drivers competed for 5,070 points in the first 26 races. Do the math. The net effect is that a 25 point penalty falls unfairly hard on a 'Chase' contender. That's simply not right. To equalize the penalty impact on all competitors not more than 10 points should have been taken from a 'Chase' contender." Roush Fenway Racing PR


Goodyear returns to DIS
Goodyear returned on Tuesday September 25 to Daytona International Speedway for tire testing with NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow in preparation for the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 17. Rain slowed Goodyear's two-day test last week at DIS. Goodyear, testing different tire compounds and structures for the 50th running of the Daytona 500, only got on the track for an afternoon session on the first day. On Tuesday, four drivers participated in the test: #40-David Stremme in Dodge, Mark Green in a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, Hendrick Motorsports' Casey Mears in a Chevrolet and a Dodge with Kyle Petty. NASCAR tickets for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks 2008 events are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. DIS PR


Crown Prince vows funds for F1
Crown Prince and BDF Commander-in-Chief Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa has pledged £100,000 (BD76,000) to a trust that supports Grand Prix mechanics in times of need.

He will contribute £20,000 (BD15,200) a year to the London-based Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust for the next five years.

The donation was announced by the trust's chairman and three-times Formula One world champion Jackie Stewart at its 20th anniversary celebrations, which took place in Brooklands, a disused motor circuit and airfield near Weybridge, Surrey.

The trust was created in February 1987 bringing together more than 160 former mechanics, including some from the 1950s, with the aim of supporting current and former Grand Prix mechanics in times of need.

Mr. Stewart, in an interview with ITV-F1.com, described the Crown Prince's donation as "a very nice gesture coming from a man who is responsible for creating the grand prix circuit in Bahrain and, therefore, the first in the Middle East."


Force progressing, could be released
Tuesday, 1 p.m. CT: Fourteen-time NHRA POWERade Funny Car world champ John Force, seriously injured in a high-speed accident Sept. 23 in Dallas, hopes to be released from Baylor University Medical Center Friday and return to his Southern California base to continue his recovery.

Force has been undergoing daily physical therapy in a walker to begin to rehabilitate his broken left ankle and deeply lacerated right knee.

The challenges of getting ambulatory are incredibly difficult because he has a cast on his left foot and his right leg is bandaged from below the knee up his thigh. His left hand and wrist are in a cast, and the fingers on his right hand are heavily swollen.

Well-wishes have been pouring in from sponsors, including Tom McKernan of the Automobile Club of Southern California, Dan Davis of Ford, and Bob Lawrence of Brand Source; fellow NHRA racers from all eras, including former Funny Car racer John Collins, who was involved in a two-car accident at the 1984 Cajun Nationals; and racers from all walks of motorsports, including former Texas Indy car great "Lone Star J.R." Rutherford.

"John's doing great for all that he went through," said Dave Densmore, public relations director of John Force Racing, who noted that Force is especially pleased that all of the work the team has done in padding the roll cage really paid off. "He told me that anytime he'd ever hit the wall before his neck was sore for weeks, and his neck is not sore at all after this accident where he got thrown around quite a bit."

Although Force still insists he would love to compete at the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals in Virginia to protect his hard-won spot in the Countdown to Four, it's highly unlikely given his medical condition and approvals that would need to be obtained from his doctors and NHRA officials. "I'm not trying to be no hero," he insists, just trying to keep the dream of a 15th championship alive.

The team is expected to have an official update later today.


Tuesday, 5 p.m. CT: John Force interviews from his hospital bed in Dallas, including an insightful nine-minute interview with CBS 11 News in Dallas.

Force also did interviews with NBC 5 Dallas and ABC8 News in Dallas


Raines penalized for throwing helmet
Tony Raines was fined $15,000 and docked 25 Busch Series points on Tuesday for throwing his helmet at Robby Gordon's car.  Raines was angry at Gordon after Gordon knocked him out of Saturday's race at Dover International Speedway, and he waited on the track for Gordon to pass by under caution. Raines then hurled his helmet at Gordon's car.


NASCAR fines truck series cheater
Larry J. Pryor, crew chief for Scott Lynch, was fined $5,000 for an infraction discovered during pre-qualifying inspection for the Smith's Las Vegas 350 Craftsman Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend.  NASCAR found unapproved modifications to the plenum area of the intake manifold in the engine of Lynch's truck.


Pescarolo changes mind, will race in Brazil
Sports car legend Henri Pescarolo has reversed his decision not to take his team to Brazil, the final round of the European-based Le Mans Series. Pescarolo Sport will run one car because the team still has a chance of retaining its LMP1 prototype crown.

Peugeot drivers Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy looked like a lock for the title prior to the penultimate round of the series at Silverstone earlier this month, but their retirement from second place in the race's closing stages means the battle will go down to the wire at the 1000-mile Mil Milhas at Interlagos, home of Brazilian Grand Prix, on Nov. 10. They had to stop because their car was missing piece of bodywork that rules state must be in place at all times.

The lead Pescarolo-Judd 01 driven by Emmanuel Collard and Jean-Christophe Boullion inherited second place, which left them just two points behind the Peugeot duo. The French manufacturer's second pairing, Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene, are a further six points adrift.

"It would be difficult to give Peugeot the championship," Pescarolo said. "I would hate to read in the newspaper that they have had a problem. It is difficult for us to do the race from a financial point of view, but we have to take a risk." AutoWeek

industry news

Speeding ticket costs driver a quarter-million dollars
Driving 11 miles over the speed limit cost one driver more than a quarter-million dollars this weekend — at least for now.

A State Patrol trooper spotted a Honda Accord speeding southbound on Interstate 5 on Friday, according to State Patrol spokesman Jeff Merrill. It was raining, and the driver was cruising down the freeway at 71 mph. So the trooper pulled the driver over, Merrill said.

The 35-year-old from British Columbia, who had a valid driver's license, struggled to tell the trooper where he was going and how long he had been in Washington, prompting the trooper to search his car, Merrill said.

The trooper found two suitcases in the trunk — one filled with $276,640 in cash. The driver claimed he won the stacks of dollar bills at 23 casinos in Washington, California and Nevada, but he was unable to produce any receipts, according to Merrill.

The money was confiscated as the State Patrol investigates the incident. Merrill said if it is determined the man obtained the money legally it will be returned to him. Seattle Times


Champ Car teams wrap up last day of testing
SEBRING, Fla. – In hot and humid conditions in South Florida, Champ Car teams wrapped up the final day of testing at the 1.67-mile Sebring International Raceway.

Home Field Advantage: With the next Champ Car event slated for Surfers Paradise, Team Australia is certainly hoping for some home-field advantage.  Last year, Will Power put the green and yellow Aussie Vineyards machine on pole position and nearly won the event in his native land.  This year, Power is joined by French rookie Simon Pagenaud, who will be making his first trip “Down Under.”  The Team Aussie duo were first and fourth fastest at Sebring with Power leading the way after a lap at 51.51 seconds.  Pagenaud feels the team gained a lot during the test.

“I expect a big crowd in Australia rooting for both Will and myself,” said Pagenaud. “Our test this week was good and we learned lots of things and that is important.  It was also good to show our strength heading into the next event because we both want to do well for Aussie Vineyards.”

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racing News

Quotes of the Week UPDATE #2 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Your comment in today's news included in the Mike Hull comment should  be cast in stone and sent to Indy.  "What he fails to mention is that  Barnhart's boss Tony George created the IRL, ripped a hole through  the core of USA open wheel racing, destroyed all that CART had built,  and now open wheel racing is a mere shadow of its former self to the point NASCAR is sucking away all the talent and money.  There really is nothing more to it".  What you stated was so simple and brilliant,  it should be the beginning statement in all future articles about the decline of open wheel in the US.  Again, fantastic job. Mike Ditmer

MIKE HULL, Target Chip Ganassi Racing managing director
“I think that should be a wakeup call to Brian Barnhart and all of his people to what we need to be doing here with partnerships and value back so that we can keep all of these guys in this series and promote the brand.” (Commenting on IRL drivers switching to NASCAR. What he fails to mention is that Barnhart's boss Tony George created the IRL, ripped a hole through the core of USA open wheel racing, destroyed all that CART had built, and now open wheel racing is a mere shadow of its former self to the point NASCAR is sucking away all the talent and money.  There really is nothing more to it)

JON FOGARTY, Grand Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype champion
"I didn't like ovals – I was a road racer – so I turned it down [offer to drive for Bobby Rahal in 2004], and that was either ballsy or stupid because I had nothing," said Fogarty with a chuckle. "I mean, I appreciated Bobby giving me an opportunity and I think Buddy Rice (the 2004 Indy 500 winner for Rahal/Letterman) was happy I turned it down.  But Bobby deserves big props for keeping American drivers in open wheel. He hired Ryan (Hunter-Reay, another Atlantic grad) halfway through this year and I think he believes in us because that's where he came from (Atlantics).  Right now Champ Car is just a blip on the radar and we don't have a huge desire to do it," said Fogarty. "We've got families and we want to be in something with a future.  This is good racing and we've got a helluva team."

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Fisher featured in Honda's new national advertising campaign
IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher (who has won so many Indy Car races she now deserves to be featured in a national ad campaign....not.) is featured in American Honda Motors' first national broadcast corporate image campaign in two years. 

The 30-second commercial, shows Honda jet planes, solar racers, test-track racing with Fisher and safety researchers, all in home video-style movement to The Who's "I Can See for Miles." All the video images are "shot" by Asimo, Honda's walking robot. Tagline: "See what we see."  It's the first time the Torrance, Calif.-based automaker has used national advertising for corporate image since the "Safety for everyone" campaign in October 2005.
The new spot is slated to run during the "Dancing With the Stars" season premiere and can also be seen during the season premieres such as "Brothers & Sisters," "Cane" and "Chuck." The commercial will also run during the Major League Baseball playoffs and the World Series.


IndyCar Series joins "What's New College Tour"
The IndyCar Series is featured as part of Popular Science's "What's New" College Tour, which is visiting some the country's top college campuses with the latest must-have electronics.

The Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series branding are featured in the high-tech mobile dorm room, which is outfitted out with sophisticated surround sound systems, wireless gaming, computers and flat-panel TVs.

Students can also learn about the series' partnership with the ethanol industry through interactive displays and experience what it's like to drive an IndyCar Series car by testing out an IndyCar Series simulator.

"This is an exciting opportunity to showcase our sport to an important demographic," said John Lewis, vice president of league development and marketing for the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. "The partnership with Popular Science's College Tour is a great way to highlight our brand attributes to a technologically savvy audience in a variety of markets across the country."

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Fourth Annual Petit Le Mans Charity Motorcycle Ride
On Sunday morning, October 7, 2007, any motorcyclist can ride with Professional Race Car Drivers, Team Owners and Crew from the ALMS, SPEED World Challenge and Grand-Am Series for a 118-mile ride through scenic country roads in Georgia. Fans, drivers, and crew will take part in the 4th Annual Post Petite Le Mans Motorcycle Charity Ride, hosted by Chili Pepper Racing and the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.

Each rider will receive one raffle ticket for  a 2007 Suzuki GSX-750-R plus a 2-Day enrollment in Kevin Schwantz’s Suzuki motorcycle riding School in the Chili Pepper Racing Team Raffle. Additional tickets can be purchased at Road Atlanta during the 10th Annual Petit Le Mans race weekend. The lucky winner will be drawn on Sunday, October 7. The raffle is limited to 1000 tickets.

Interested in the ride?  To register for the Post Petit Le Mans Charity Motorcycle Ride, visit http://www.chilipepperracing.org. Charity Ride will start with a trackside brunch with ALMS / World Challenge / Grand-Am Series drivers, take a lap around the famous 2.54 mile ,12 turn Road Atlanta track, then head off on to the scenic roads of north Georgia.

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Stewart bows out of Knoxville Nationals
Two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart will not race in the Knoxville Late Model Nationals, which runs Thursday through Saturday in Knoxville Iowa.

He will however sign autographs for the first 750 fans to fill Knoxville Raceway's grandstands for Saturday's championship show.

"As much as I wanted to race in the Late Model Nationals at Knoxville, I thought it would take away my main focus of winning a Nextel Cup championship," Stewart, who will compete in Sunday's Cup race at Kansas Speedway, said in a news release Monday night. "We have over 400 people back at Joe Gibbs Racing pouring everything they have into giving me the best race cars possible to win a third championship. I owe it to them to remain healthy and focused on achieving that goal."


Osborne wins Crew Chief of the Race
Race number two of ten for the  Nextel Cup Championship chase on the concrete mile at Dover  International Speedway, kept crew chiefs battling down to the checked  flag.  Amidst the record 13 cautions and a lot of bent metal, crew  chief Bob Osborne and the No. 99 Office Depot team emerged victorious  earning a hard fought crucial win and gaining valuable points in the  race for the cup.  For his tactical race planning and mid race  decisions, Osborne was awarded the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the  Race.

Osborne and the No. 99 crew faced early worries with their Ford  Fusion as driver Carl Edwards radioed in problems with a sticking  throttle.  During a yellow flag pit stop on lap 150, Osborne directed  his crew as they lifted the hood and went to work.  With the problem  fixed Osborne returned to the task of getting the most out the Ford  and catching the lead pack.  By lap 230, Edwards was once again  racing in the top five, eventually taking over the lead as the final  laps were run.  Osborne avoided the temptation of a tire change  during a late race caution with 20 laps remaining, keeping Edwards on  the track.  The ploy was successful as Edwards was able to hold off  all charges earning the team its third win of the season.

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Q and A with Mike Gascoyne
Chief technical officer of the Spyker Formula One team, Mike Gascoyne has reviewed the recent Belgian Grand Prix where the team’s driver Adrian Sutil put in the drive of his life. He also looks ahead to the upcoming fifteenth round at the newly revamped Fuji circuit where he expects the updated car to perform even better.

Were you satisfied with the results of the Belgian GP?
The whole team was certainly buoyed by the progress in Spa. In Qualifying we were stronger, and without a small error on his quickest lap Adrian could have finished even higher up the order. We then converted that on race day into a good performance. Adrian in particular had a fantastic race, with the only disappointment not being able to get past Coulthard on his one-stop strategy, which cost us a couple of places.

Qualifying pace in particular was better than in previous races, with Adrian just missing out on Q2 by less than half a second.
I think we still need to work on it, but there was a definite improvement. Adrian is undoubtedly getting more comfortable with the car and almost getting the most out of it in Qualifying and Sakon getting more used to the car. People forget that we still have two very inexperienced drivers mostly going to circuits for the first time, but in Japan we should have an advantage as both drivers have a lot of experience of the circuit. The other drivers don't have any experience of the track so the playing field should be more level.

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Michelin, now Bridgestone want tire competition
Occupying almost as many column inches this weekend as Casey Stoner’s maiden MotoGP World Championship triumph, the announcement on Saturday of a proposal having been submitted for a single-tire MotoGP class set tongues wagging in the Motegi paddock and beyond.

Whilst nothing has been decided upon yet, and will not be until the weekend of the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix next month, the possibility of a change in tire regulations has provoked much comment, including from Bridgestone’s Hiroshi Yamada.

Eager to continue with the current set-up, brought in at the start of Bridgestone’s triumphant 2007 season, Yamada has his doubts about a potential switch. Speaking to motogp.com in Japan, he gave his thoughts on the idea of a control tire.

“At moment we know about the proposal, but of course it hasn’t been decided upon,” said Yamada. “We would like to continue with the current situation which is competition. This allows us to improve our technical development of tires. If we have a one-brand race then this changes. We don’t like the idea of this happening.”

In the event of a single-tire rule being adopted next season, Bridgestone would certainly be amongst the frontrunners as the sole supplier after their recent successes. The chance to supply every rider on the grid is something that Yamada does not rule out.

“At the moment anything is possible, but as honestly speaking we didn’t expect this situation we would have to wait for the verdict and then discuss it internally.”


Conquest Racing welcomes Julie Murphy
Conquest racing announced the appointment of Julie Murphy to the position of Sales and Marketing Director.  Julie joins Conquest with over ten years of successful sales and marketing experience in both the US and European markets.
During her career, she consistently received top awards for her excellence in performance, leadership, execution, tactical planning, and dedication. In addition, Julie brings in seven years of event planning experience working with the ATP Men's Pro Tennis Tour.   
Julie received a Bachelor of Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA as well obtaining a Master's Certificate Development Management, Open University, Nottinghamshire, England.
Julie Murphy Quote
"It is an honor to be joining Conquest Racing.  I look forward to turning challenges in to successes as well as developing business, increasing visibility, and identity of the team."
Eric Bachelart Quote
”I am very pleased to have Julie on board with the team.  We have known each other for many years and I have witnessed her success in her previous sales and marketing positions.  She will be a great addition to our team. We all look forward to developing Conquest Racing's corporate sales and marketing within the Champ Car World Series for years to come."


Bernie criticizes Mosley's hybrid plans
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has criticized fellow F1 powerbroker Max Mosley's plans to introduce hybrid engines to formula one in 2010.

The specialist German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports on Tuesday that a deal has now been struck between the FIA president and the carmakers, who are unhappy with the current 'engine freeze' formula.

The new formula will reportedly involve 675 horse power V8 engines featuring an energy-recovery system that reuses energy stored under braking in the form of a cockpit-mounted 'boost button'.

Mosley reportedly also wants to extend the current one-engine-per-two-races engine formula to four races, in exchange for allowing the carmakers to freely introduce an engine development step once per season.

The small teams will benefit from the agreement by receiving guaranteed customer engine supplies for no more than 10m euros a year.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however, is quoted as objecting to the idea of hybrid engines for grand prix racing.

"I believe we are already green enough," the 76-year-old said, adding that he also doubts that hybrids "will make the manufacturers happy".


Stepney to get last word in espionage saga
(GMM)  Nigel Stepney may have triggered the espionage scandal, but he could also get the last word when his autobiography is published next year.

To be called 'Red Mist', publisher Red Mist Books declared that it will detail the sacked Ferrari chief mechanic's "own account of the 'Stepneygate' saga" that rocked formula one this year.

It will be released in the spring of 2008.

Stepney and his alleged espionage accomplice Mike Coughlan are being pursued not only by the FIA's legal department regarding a ban on them ever working again in motor sport, but also by the Italian and British legal systems.

FIA president Max Mosley warned the duo that "heavy penalties" are likely to await as a furious Ferrari bays for justice.

"No one will hire them anymore in F1, that's for sure," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, adding that the civil and criminal proceedings will differ to the recently concluded World Motor Sport Council hearings in which McLaren was fined and kicked out of the 2007 championship.

Mosley said: "Ours was a sporting trial.  In the other ones, astonishing things will come out.  Many of them."


Toyota's '08 lineup not decided yet - boss
(GMM) Toyota is unlikely to finalize its race driver lineup for 2008 during the course of the last three grands prix of this season.

That was the admission of the Cologne based team's principal Tadashi Yamashina in Japan on Tuesday, amid new rumors that a seat is being left open for Felipe Massa in the event that Fernando Alonso drops a bomb on the silly-season by leaving McLaren and switching to Ferrari.

The Japanese said he expects Toyota's decision to not be taken until "the end of the season", according to the German news agency dpa.

Toyota has already confirmed Jarno Trulli for 2008 but is wavering on Ralf Schumacher, who has struggled this year during the last season of his current contract.

Ahead of the first Japanese grand prix for 30 years at the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway, Tadashi told mostly Japanese reporters: "We continue to contemplate all possibilities. We have still made no decision."

He laughed when asked about the Massa rumors. "I know nothing about it," he added.

32-year-old Schumacher also gave nothing away.

"For the moment everyone negotiates with everyone, but that is completely normal," the German said.


Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Minardi tester bruised after car-bomb attack
  • Focus on costs, not Concorde says Mosley
  • Mosley ridicules 'halfwit' Stewart
  • Heidfeld prepared for setback in 2008
  • Karthikeyan admits new Spyker talks New
  • McLaren may yet be banned warns Mosley New

Minardi tester bruised after car-bomb attack
(GMM) Former Minardi test driver Sergey Zlobin miraculously escaped a car-bombing in Moscow with only bruises, a spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

It was reported briefly on Monday that the Russian's silver Mercedes-Benz jeep-style vehicle exploded in the Russian capital when he turned the ignition.

Police found explosives underneath the car and are treating the case as attempted murder. Photographs of the scene show that Zlobin's car is largely intact.

The Moscow Times also quoted a city prosecutor spokesman as saying Zlobin escaped with only minor bruises and is otherwise unhurt.

"The floor was torn apart and struck me in the legs," Zlobin told NTV television. "I can't even imagine who would do this or what they would want from me."

With connections to large sponsors like the state controlled oil company Gazprom, Zlobin became the first Russian formula one driver when he occasionally tested for Minardi in 2002-2005.

Focus on costs, not Concorde says Mosley
(GMM) Max Mosley has urged formula one team bosses to stop arguing about making more money and focus instead on saving some of the vast sums that are being wasted.

Amid prolonged talks about a new Concorde Agreement for 2008, including the heated row about how much income so-called 'customer teams' should receive, the FIA president last week wrote a letter to every team boss in pitlane.

In a leaked copy that emerged following a media lunch in London on Monday, Mosley argues that there is already plenty of money swilling about in F1.

"Until the basic problem of costs has been resolved, time should not be wasted discussing how the money is to be distributed," he wrote.

Mosley referred to the pending new Concorde Agreement, which is due to replace the expiring one at the end of 2007, by saying it is a "secondary matter" compared with cutting costs.

He added: "The same applies to debating the level of technical cooperation allowed between teams."

Mosley's letter coincides with an interview given this week by Renault boss Flavio Briatore to Germany's Sport Auto, in which the Italian says formula one has "lost focus" on its ideals.

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Mosley convinced McLaren team cheated way to front
The McLaren team will be thrown out of the 2008 Formula One championship if a shred of evidence linking them to Ferrari is found on their new car.

That was the warning from FIA president Max Mosley, who despite the espionage row which has cost McLaren a £50million fine and exclusion from this year’s constructors’ championship which they looked certain to win, believes the sport has not been damaged.

But Mosley also warned that he believes criminal investigations in Italy into how a 780-page Ferrari dossier went from their chief mechanic Nigel Stepney to McLaren’s chief designer could uncover more wrongdoing.

“Everything will come out in detail and we will all be surprised,” said Mosley. “I feel the only way to have a fair championship in 2008 would have been to exclude McLaren but that would probably have put them out of business.

“It would have been correct to throw Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton out of this year’s drivers’ championship but in the World Motor Sport Council, hearts ruled heads. If there was serious evidence of Ferrari’s influence in any McLaren design, however, we would have to take action.

“We don’t want this to drag on but I don’t feel it has harmed F1. The fans and sponsors who are putting in huge sums of money want to know the sport is honest.”

Ferrari should have been light years ahead of McLaren and all the Michelin shod teams this year based on their experience with Bridgestone tires. They are except for the British McLaren team who cheated their way to equality with Ferrari by copying all their secrets based on the Ferrari secrets fed to them by 'Englishman' Nigel Stepney. Therefore, Mosley is 100% correct, their drivers have used an illegal car and should be excluded from the championship.


NC drivers could be shut out
Kyle Petty - "I have been asked, on several occasions, my opinion on the fact that no driver from the state of North Carolina has won a race yet this season. If you look, there are probably fewer of us now than at any point in the history of NASCAR. It's just a part of the evolution of the sport. I think North Carolina, as a whole, definitely played a large role in getting Nextel Cup racing to the level it is today. At the same time we're heading to Kansas the home of Sprint, our series title sponsor in 2008. The sport has changed and it has grown much bigger and better. That is no way a negative." Petty Racing PR


Schumacher confident he can land another ride
A dismal 2007 season has done little to dampen Ralf Schumacher's hopes of getting behind the wheel of a Formula One title contender again.  "To call it a tough year is a very nice description of it," the disgruntled Toyota driver told Reuters on Tuesday.

"I just want to finish off the season. It's true I have been talking to other teams.

"I won't be more specific than that -- right now I want to get the last few races over with."

"When I joined Toyota I knew it was a very big task but it has not developed the way we expected," said Schumacher, who won six races with Williams before joining Toyota in 2005.

"To be honest, things just haven't happened. We expected points and podiums but we didn't make it. Still, the possibility is there and anything can change in Formula One."

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The ING Race Index for the Japanese Grand Prix
Ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix in Fuji on September 30, ING issues its Race Index, which assesses race features including the circuit itself, level of driver difficulty, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, the Japanese Grand Prix, which has only been held twice on this circuit, obtains 57 points, occupying the 15th position among the 17 circuits. Video: ING Race Index for Japan


Motegi MotoGP Test – Day 2
The Repsol Honda Team completed its second day of testing at Motegi today with Nicky Hayden on top as he gathered more valuable data ahead of the final three races of the 2007 season. The Team continued its evaluation of Michelin’s latest tire technology along with further tests of a new fairing and clutch parts. When the track closed at 4.45pm, Hayden had completed another 89 laps and shaved his fastest Motegi lap time down to 1m 47.277s – a useful improvement of 0.617s over yesterday.

After two races on successive weekends, followed by this two-day test, the hard-working Repsol Honda squad now takes a breath before its next intercontinental adventure. The back-to-back Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix take place on October 14 and October 21, with the final race of the season at Valencia, Spain scheduled for November 4.

Nicky Hayden   Best lap time: 1m 47.277s –  89 laps
“Well, we almost had Motegi to ourselves – there weren’t a lot of guys going around out there. We did a lot more work today, testing the new fairing and some clutch parts. It was not so much parts we might be using this year but more likely some items for next season. It went pretty well and we were able to start stringing the 1m 47s laps together and I got down a lot deeper into the 47s than I was able to over the race weekend. We also tested some Michelins and I found a front tire that was an improvement for me. With the tire rule it’s always going to be a bit of a gamble deciding if you want to put something new into your allocation though, especially at Phillip Island because you’ve got be ready for everything with the changeable weather there. Anyway, a big thanks to the team for staying here and working hard again – right now we need to make all the progress we can. Now we get to head home, which doesn’t sound like a bad place to be. The last few weeks have been pretty hectic so it’s time to just chill out for a while and wait it out until Friday morning at Phillip Island where we’ll get another crack at these boys. We’ve got three more chances and we’ll being going all out.”

Unofficial lap times

Pos Rider            Team                Time     
 1 Nicky Hayden     Repsol Honda Team   1m 47.277s
 2 Kousuke Akiyoshi Rizla Suzuki Team   1m 48.040s
 3 Chris Vermeulen  Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 48.141s
 4 Tadayuki Okada   HRC Test Rider      1m 49.062s
 5 Nobuatsu Aoki    Suzuki Test Rider   1m 50.211s


Q and A with Colin Kolles
The FIA Formula One World Championship now goes into its closing stages, with the next stop on the calendar, the Japanese Grand Prix, being round 15 of the 17-event series. The race will be held at the Fuji Speedway, the first time the circuit has held the Japanese round of the championship since 1977.

As such, many teams and drivers have no experience of the track, however the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team holds one advantage; both race drivers Adrian Sutil and Sakon Yamamoto have extensive experience of racing at the circuit from their time in Japanese Formula 3 and Formula Nippon.

Set against the stunningly atmospheric backdrop of Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, the speedway brought the first Formula 1 race to Japan at the end of the 1976 season. It later lost the championship to Suzuka, and in 2003 the circuit was closed down to accommodate a major reprofiling of the track using a new design from Hermann Tilke. Reopened in 2005, the track now features a tight, technical section and also the longest straight of the championship at 1.5km.

The last round of the championship at Spa was a storming race for the Etihad Aldar Spyker team with Adrian Sutil fighting hard to get to 12th position on his first stint and eventually finishing 14th. With the advantage of 'local' knowledge and a new aero upgrade scheduled for Fuji, the team will be hoping for the same, or better, step in performance.

Team principal and managing director Colin Kolles answers a few questions about the season to date, the final races and their driver line up for next year.

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IRL testing at Newton again next week
Three top IndyCar Series teams will be back at Iowa Speedway next week testing wing packages, tires and aerodynamic settings, said Craig Armstrong, the Newton track’s vice president and general manager.

Armstrong said today the testing is tentatively slated to run Oct. 3 and 4, with Oct. 5 serving as a rain date.

He said what drivers will test is not determined, but representatives of Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti Green Racing and Team Penske appear most likely to be on the track at Newton.

“The object is to come out here and do some tweaking with the wings, the set-ups and the tires to make it a little bit more likely they can race side-by-side and three-wide,” Armstrong said. “They want to avoid the one groove approach.

"Obviously, you have to run a race first to know what you can do and they’ve already done that. The race was still an excellent race, but still not as good as they’d like to have it.”Des Moines Register


David Martinez completes successful first test day
Even though it had been almost a year since David Martinez was behind the wheel of a Champ Car, today he proved that he is ready to compete against the top drivers in the Series alter completing a successful first day of testing at Sebring International Raceway which he lapped only a few tenths slower than the front runners.  

Martinez used his first laps to get used to the car and the track before the team began their test plan in preparation for the race in Surfers Paradise, Australia.  Halfway through the test an engine problem surfaced which kept him off the track for a few hours, and just as the car was ready to go the rain started which limited his track time even more. 

Despite the problems Martinez managed to get back on track and turned a quick lap of 52.96s.  The Forsythe Team used the test to teach the young rookie the different race techniques that he will use in Mexico and Australia like fuel saving, pit stops, qualifying simulations and standing starts.

The Mexican driver completed a total of 112 laps today and will continue with another full day of testing tomorrow alongside his teammate Paul Tracy.

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Bourdais leads testing at Sebring
With two rounds remaining on the 2007 Champ Car World Series schedule, a majority of the teams headed down to Sebring International Raceway in Florida for a last chance at testing.  Rain showers interrupted the day in the early afternoon, but when the track dried and the cars returned, the times began to fall.

Top of the Time Sheet: Three-time champion Sebastien Bourdais finished his final day of Champ Car testing in a familiar position - at the top.  The French driver recorded a lap of 52.15 seconds around the 1.67-mile Sebring road course.  Throughout his Champ Car career, Bourdais has spent much of the time at or around the top of the time sheets.  Bourdais will not run tomorrow after using all of his allotted miles for the season.

Back to School: Before coming to the Champ Car test in Sebring, Florida, 18-year-old Graham Rahal was in the Chicago area to participate in the Grand Opening festivities of the 200th Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes store. Rahal also took some time to visit with students from the Dwight D. Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Illinois, to raise awareness of safe driving through Champ Car’s Hands on the Wheel campaign. The visit was done without the presence of the media, just Graham, the students and the teacher.

The classroom couldn’t have been a better fit for Graham as he met with the students of an advanced automotive class. “I wish I would’ve had a class like this when I was in New Albany,” Rahal said with a huge grin on his face. The classroom was located in a garage and Graham felt at home amongst the car parts and motors spread across the room with even the smell of grease and oil in the air.

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John Force Update
Monday, 6:45p.m. CT: John Force, seriously injured Sunday in the crash of his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car during the 22nd annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, was undergoing physical therapy Monday at Baylor University Medical Center following six hours of reconstructive surgery Sunday night on his feet, legs and hands.

The 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion suffered a compound fracture of the left ankle, a deep laceration of the left knee down to the bone, broken fingers and lacerations on the right hand and a dislocated left wrist that originally was diagnosed as a dislocation and break.

 The 125-time tour winner's injuries were tended by Alan Jones, M.D., orthopedic traumatologist, Michael Foreman, M.D., chief of trauma services, and David Zehr, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and hand specialist.

 “We don't really know what went wrong,” Force said Monday after viewing video of the crash for the first time. “I don't remember much. I remember thinking that I had to cut a light to beat (rival) Kenny Bernstein. The next thing I remember is them trying to get me out of the car.”

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Fuji race from the technical side
The new venue of the Japanese Grand Prix mixes very slow corners with a long main straight designed to encourage overtaking manoeuvres. This may well produce good racing, but Fuji is unlikely to enter the pantheon of classic drivers' circuits.

The new Fuji circuit is dominated by slow-speed corners, so mechanical grip will be a critical factor. This is likely to push the teams towards a relatively soft overall set-up, much like in Bahrain for example, although achieving a good change of direction will be important in the tight, slow-speed sections, which may push teams towards a stiffer front end. Traction will be a critical parameter, as cars performing poorly on the exit of turn 16 will be vulnerable to overtaking manoeuvres on the main straight, or into turn 1.

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Gillett Evernham to open office in New York City
Gillett Evernham Motorsports is opening a New York office to handle the sales and service of its sponsorships, making Gillett Evernham Motorsports the first NASCAR team to establish a branch in Manhattan. The move is part of new owner George Gillett Jr.'s effort to increase staffing and broaden the team's presence. Gillett Evernham Motorsports also has hired Mark Schelde of Gravity Sports Marketing, Beaver Creek, Colo., as a consultant. Schelde has worked on a variety of marketing projects, including AOL's sponsorship at Richard Childress Racing.

"We felt that having somebody in New York would be more fruitful than adding another person down here" in Statesville, N.C., where Gillett Evernham Motorsports is headquartered, said David Jessey, vice president of marketing and sales for the team. "Mr. Gillett is making a commitment to build up sales and service in a major way."

Jim Tucker, a senior account manager for partnership marketing in NASCAR's New York office, will be the first employee in Gillett Evernham Motorsport’s New York branch. Tucker has worked on the Masterfoods, Nicoderm, Office Depot, Toyota, Yardman and Tylenol accounts for NASCAR and previously worked in industry sales, assisting teams in their search for sponsors. He also previously worked in partnership marketing and sales at the NFL. Tucker and Gillett Evernham Motorsports are searching for office space in Manhattan.

"This will start out as a one-man show, but we anticipate it growing," Jessey said. "We need to be where the agencies and clients are. We need to invest in the marketing and servicing of our sponsors and we're seeing an influx of resources, which is very exciting to us." Michael Smith is a reporter with SportsBusiness Journal.


Godnai joins Indy Racing League
The Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series, announced that Aaron Godnai has been named Director of Sales.

Godnai will report to Greg Gruning, Indy Racing League Vice President of Sales and will be responsible for securing sponsorships for the Indy Racing League, IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series.

"We're excited to add Aaron to our team," Gruning said. "While Aaron's primary focus will be on securing and maintaining partners for the League, he'll also be an asset to the department as we help find partners for our drivers, teams and tracks."

Godnai, a 1995 graduate of The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn., joins the Indy Racing League from NewPage Corp. where he served as group sales director for the South Central Region and was responsible for managing a 12-state, 8-sales representative region with more than $300 million in sales forecast.

He also served as NewPage's commercial printing marketing manager, and worked closely with the company's NASCAR sponsorship and helped develop its business-to-business council, which allowed companies within the sport to identify reciprocal relationships and learn best practices on how other partners leverage their sponsorship. The council is recognized within sports properties as an industry leader.

From 1996-2003, Godnai worked at Mead where he advanced from being a marketing generalist to marketing manager.


Zytek enters final two ALMS races
Zytek Motorsport has entered the final two rounds of the American Le Mans Series with its incredibly rapid LMP2 contender. Having proved to be the fastest car in its class in Europe, the Zytek 07S will now take on the might of Porsche, Audi and Acura at the Petit Le Mans and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca races.

The announcement that the factory 07S will cross the Atlantic follows a week after a pair of such cars finished a dominant first and second place in the LMP2 class at the Silverstone 1,000kms. The 07S entered for the two US races is the one that, early on, led all the other gasoline-fuelled cars in the race, only to be forced to the back of the field by an alternator problem. Drivers Danny Watts and Tom Kimber-Smith then proved to be the class of the field as they carved their way back to second in the LMP2 category behind the similar Zytek 07S of the Gulf Barazi Epsilon team. The same car also came second in class at this year’s Le Mans 24-hour race behind another Zytek ZG348-engined contender.

The car is the same that Adrian Fernandez, Robbie Kerr and Haruki Kurosawa drove to a second-place P2 finish at Le Mans in June.

Englishman Watts will again drive this 07S in the Petit Le Mans event, a prestigious 1,000-mile or 10-hour race at Road Atlanta on October 6. He will be joined by Germany’s Stefan Mucke and Czech Jan Charouz who have, this season, stunned the Le Mans Series regulars in Europe with their speed in the Charouz Racing System LMP1 car.

Former DTM racer Mucke will again drive the Zytek 07S at Laguna Seca in the four-hour event there on October 20. A second, very quick driver, whose name has yet to be released, has been confirmed for this race.

industry news

GM signs agreement for $800 Million export to China
General Motors Corp. and its Shanghai General Motors joint venture today signed a multi-year agreement worth more than $800 million to export U.S.-built Buick Enclave premium crossover sport utility vehicles along with other vehicles and components to China beginning in 2008.

The agreement was signed in the presence of China’s Assistant Vice Minister of Commerce Chen Jian, Chinese Embassy officials, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Israel Hernandez, GM Vice President of Global Sales, Service and Marketing Operations John Middlebrook, and Shanghai GM Executive Vice President Robert Socia.

The all-new Buick Enclave is built at GM’s Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan. Enclave is one of GM’s most sought-after vehicles in North America because of its stylish, modern design and high level of standard features. Introduced earlier this year, the Enclave has received enthusiastic reviews and has helped lead General Motors’ recent sales increase in its home market.

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Stewart says F1 drivers need coaches
“The majority of grand prix drivers don’t think they need help, and he (Hamilton) has learned that you do need help no matter how good you are – and that help has certainly paid off,” former GP champion Jackie Stewart said in an interview with ITV-F1.com.

Stewart believes that F1 drivers would benefit from having professional coaches just as much as any other sportsmen.

“Why are Formula 1 grand prix drivers not in need of help, advice, coaching or instruction?” he said.

“They seem to know too much.

“I don’t know of this situation in any other sport.

“In golf everybody has their coach with them, and it’s the same in tennis, in football, in rugby, in cricket, in baseball, in ice hockey, in baseball…

“But F1 drivers are so special that they don’t need it. It’s so stupid.”


Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE #2 2nd round of updates shown in Red below

09/24/07 Updates shown in Red below.

  • No way to prevent new spy sagas - Theissen
  • Rodriguez race deal not done yet - Kolles
  • 'I didn't call Alonso a dog' - Lauda
  • Former F1 tester survives Russian car-bomb
  • Briatore urges Alonso back to Renault
  • Coulthard to race McRae's helmet colors New
  • Fisi waits for Alonso future - manager New

No way to prevent new spy sagas - Theissen
(GMM) There is little a formula one team can do to prevent a repeat of this year's espionage scandal in the future, according to Mario Theissen.

The boss of BMW-Sauber says his Hinwil based outfit already has in place systems that are designed to make it harder for potentially rogue employees to cheat.

McLaren, fined $100m and kicked out of the constructors' championship, said in a statement last week: "We will now review and further strengthen our internal compliance structures and processes."

But Theissen insists that it is impossible to reign-in those with criminal intentions.

"No matter what they do, banks are still robbed," he pointed out in the German press.

"You can do what you want (but) criminal energy can always overcome the obstacles."

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner agreed, saying he feels "slightly sorry" for McLaren.

"The actions of a few reckless individuals have obviously hit them with a pretty Draconian penalty," he added.

The Mercedes-powered team found no sympathy in the Italian press, however. 'Tuttosport' compared McLaren's decision not to appeal the World Motor Sport Council's verdict to "raising the white flag".

And La Gazzetta dello Sport observed: "All that remains are a set of mysteries that the law is now left to solve."

Read more & Comment...
industry news

GM workers go on strike
UAW members started picketing at Hamtramck, Lansing and Orion and other locations when the union’s 11 a.m. deadline for a new labor agreement with General Motors Corp. passed.

A news conference is planned at 12:15 p.m. at the UAW's Solidarity House in downtown Detroit.

Carole Garcia, driving out of the Hamtramck plant with a picket sign sticking out of her sunroof, said she supports Ron Gettelfinger and believes executives are overpaid while workers are being asked to make sacrifices. You gotta do what you gotta do,” she said.

While strikers and sympathizers honked horns, workers streamed out of the plant at their regularly scheduled lunch hour. They hustled to pick up signs and head to their posts at three gates to the plant, which usually makes Buicks and Cadillac DTS sedans.

Greg Kelly, a union members with 29 years at GM, said he doesn’t think either side could with stand more than a two-week shutdown, but he is “proud” of his union.
“I think it’s what we need to be doing,” he said.

GM Statement: We are disappointed in the UAW's decision to call a national strike. The bargaining involves complex, difficult issues that affect the job security of our U.S. work force and the long-term viability of the company. We are fully committed to working with the UAW to develop solutions together to address the competitive challenges facing General Motors


Briatore - no sympathy for McLaren plight
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore says a new espionage saga involving the Renault team is in the FIA's hands.

It was reported recently that, upon switching from McLaren to Renault, engineer Phil Mackereth took with him three disks of technical information about the Woking based team.

In an interview with Sport Auto, Renault principal Briatore played down the comparison with the Stepneygate saga.

"What happened is what happens probably all the time," he said.  "It cannot be controlled.  I don't want to say anything, because it is now something for the FIA to judge."

But Briatore suggests that the information was only leaked to the media in the midst of McLaren's deep involvement in the spy saga.

"They made noises that something with us is not right.  Why did they say that to the media?  If they have proof then they should just give it to the FIA.

"We have given everything that we know about the case to the FIA and also to McLaren," he added.

Briatore declined to answer whether he feels compassion for Ron Dennis after his team was fined $100m and kicked out of the 2007 constructors' title.

"I don't want to play the judge," said the Italian.  "If Ron Dennis believes firmly that he did nothing wrong, then he should appeal.

"I can only comment on what I see.  Last year McLaren were nowhere, and now they drive for the title.  I am not the one who can judge from where this performance jump came from.

"This was not a case of an engineer carrying a bit of data from another team.  If you read the detail of the World Council meetings, it becomes clear that a constant flow of information took place over a period of months," Briatore said.


Villeneuve impresses in NASCAR race debut
The anonymous plain white crash helmet confused some, but the trademark ‘baggy-fit’ race suit was a sign that Jacques Villeneuve was in town for his NASCAR race debut. On Saturday night he finished his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Race, the ‘Smith’s Las Vegas 350’ in 21st position, one lap down on the race winner, Travis Kvapil. The end result said little about the facts behind his race, and the ultra-competitive Canadian’s smile was among the brightest as he climbed from his Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra having completed 145 laps of the 1.5 mile oval, located just 10 miles from the city’s famous ‘Strip’.

Having spent most of the week fulfilling media obligations, Villeneuve’s arrival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on race-day morning was greeted by a frenzy of fan and media interest. Turning his attention to the on-track action, first practice was rained off, leaving the entire grid with just a single practice before the two-lap qualifying runs. Focused on the basics, by the end of practice Villeneuve had clocked the 21st fastest time before moving on to qualifying. To the surprise of the most hardened NASCAR experts, he put together two super-smooth fast laps, and qualified his No.

27 truck in 7th position, ahead of 29 other drivers.

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The last laugh is all Ranger’s
[Editor’s Note: Let's make this clear upfront. Ranger wasn't good enough to win in Champ Car, regularly getting outpaced by his faster teammates, so NASCAR was his only option.]

Andrew Ranger has a message for all those people who said he made a mistake quitting the Champ Car World Series to go NASCAR racing.

"It was the best mistake I ever made," the 20-year-old from Roxton Pond, Que., said yesterday at Kawartha Speedway.

Ranger won in only his second start in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series this season and has not finished outside of the top 10 since then.

He was leading the championship race going into last night's Dodge Charger 250 by a slim 41 points over the No. 17 Castrol Dodge of D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas.

And when the checkered flag dropped to end NASCAR's first season of weekly racing in Canada under the Canadian Tire banner, Ranger became the first champion of the new series.

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F1 profits plummet
Formula One’s commercial profits have fallen to just $6 million since the sport's commercial rights were acquired by the private equity company, CVC, according to UK press reports.

The Daily Telegraph said that profits in Alpha D2, the UK company in which CVC has a majority stake, have slumped from $312.7m due to ‘debt payments totaling $220m to service the $2.5bn secured by CVC to finance its acquisition’.

The profit figures are revealed in Alpha D2's latest accounts. Alpha D2's accounts cover a nine-month period from late March until the end of last year, which included 16 of the 18 F1 races held in 2006.

CVC acquired Slec, the ultimate parent of F1's commercial rights holding company, Formula One Administration, in 2005.


Video: Partnering the Challenge - Sponsorship in Formula 1
The Panasonic Toyota Racing team is comprised of more than just drivers and technicians; sponsors play a vital role as well. Formula 1 reaches almost three billion viewers in 180 countries and more than 3.5 million people at the race track every season, making it an immediate attraction to companies wanting to increase brand awareness or drive business objectives on a global level. Panasonic Toyota Racing's partners take advantage of that reach, and numerous other partnership benefits, as part of their sponsorship of the team. Video: Toyota Sponsor Partnering


Baby girl for Ambrose family
Marcos Ambrose’s decision to pass up an opportunity to make his NASCAR Nextel Cup debut at Dover today was justified when his wife Sonja gave birth to their second child at 3pm in Charlotte, North Carolina today (6am Australian Eastern Standard Time).

Ambrose finished 20th in the NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday in his #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion and then flew directly back to Charlotte to be with his wife.

Ambrose had been offered the chance to make his Nextel Cup debut in a second Robby Gordon Motorsport entry, but kindly declined the opportunity because he knew it would be “cutting it fine” with the impending birth.

Sonja went into labor at 8am this morning and was driven to hospital where Adelaide Elizabeth Ambrose arrived at 3.04pm weighting 7lbs 11 ounces. 

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Q and A with Renault's Fabrice Lom

Q. Fabrice, Fuji is a brand new circuit on this year's calendar. The Renault F1 Team did a Roadshow event there last year... will Red Bull Racing benefit from that experience?

Fabrice Lom, Principal Engineer, Red Bull Racing Trackside Engine Support: It's an important point. The rules of our partnership are very clear, and it is only an engine partnership. The only information from Renault F1 Team that is shared with Red Bull Racing, concerns the engine itself.

Of course, we can provide advice and our opinions from what we saw during last year's Roadshow at Fuji, but we cannot give any kind of information about parameters such as downforce levels for example… And we respect that agreement absolutely. On the engine side, we know how the RS27 should behave and we are completely open with our partner on this level.

Q. Looking at your simulations and what you already know of the circuit, will it be demanding for the engine?

FL: Not particularly, no, and especially coming after Monza and Spa. There is a very long straight of around 1.5km, but it is preceded by a slow corner and the longest period spent at full throttle is under 20 seconds - compared to 25 seconds in Spa. The predicted percentage of the lap at full throttle is around 50%, which is below the annual average.

So that means we have no particular worries about engine reliability, particularly because the track lies around 500m above sea level, which makes life easier for the V8: the engine develops less power, the loads on the pistons are reduced… But that doesn't mean we won't be paying our usual attention to reliability.

Q. Formula One is returning to Fuji for the first time in 30 years… Are you pleased?

FL: Yes because it is always interesting to learn new circuits and tackle new challenges. Suzuka may be a legendary circuit, and I must confess that on a personal level, I have never particularly enjoyed the surrounding area. So for me at least, it will fun to see what Fuji is like!


Wimmer to run Busch Series for RCR
Scott Wimmer has finalized a deal with Richard Childress Racing that will put him in at least 23 Busch Series races in 2008 and position himself for a full-time Nextel Cup ride.  Wimmer will drive 23 races in the No. 29 Holiday Inn car and there’s potential to put him in the No. 2 driven by Clint Bowyer for the remaining 12 Busch events so he can compete for a championship.  He also could run five to 10 Nextel Cup events if the organization doesn’t go fulltime with a fourth team in NASCAR’s premier series.


Motegi MotoGP Test – Day 1
Several MotoGP teams remained at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit on Monday for a day of testing following yesterday’s eventful Grand Prix of Japan. The conditions were considerably cooler than the 30+ degree heat experienced on Friday and Saturday here.  After his heavy crash in the rain-affected race, Dani Pedrosa did not test today. The 21-year-old Spaniard who lies third in the MotoGP World Championship instead took a flight back to Barcelona this morning where he will have further x-rays on his left foot to determine if he has sustained a fracture.

Teams return tomorrow for another day at Motegi before MotoGP takes a two weekend break ahead of the Australian GP which takes place on October 14.

Pos Rider            Team                 Time     
  1 Chris Vermeulen  Rizla Suzuki MotoGP  1m 47.894s
  2 Colin Edwards    Fiat Yamaha Team     1m 47.947s
  3 Nicky Hayden     Repsol Honda Team    1m 48.065s
  4 Valentino Rossi  Fiat Yamaha Team     1m 48.213s
  5 Kousuke Akiyoshi Rizla Suzuki Team    1m 49.090s
  6 Akira Yanagawa   Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 50.229s
  7 Tadayuki Okada   HRC Test Rider       1m 50.641s
  8 Nobuatsu Aoki    Suzuki Test Rider    1m 50.675s

Formula Nippon

Zytek EGS to be supplied to Formula Nippon
Zytek is to supply its Electrically-operated Gearshift System (EGS) to Japan’s major single seater racing series, Formula Nippon. All the cars racing in the championship will be fitted with the EGS, Zytek supplying twenty five systems in total for next season.

The EGS has already demonstrated its reliability after successfully completing two seasons fitted on all the cars in the A1GP series. The lightweight, high performance system has also been used on Zytek’s own LMP1 and LMP2 sportscars in 2004-2007 in endurance racing worldwide, as well as the renowned Le Mans 24 hour race. This season the system has been used in the three Acura teams racing in the American Le Mans Series.

The Zytek EGS is lighter and more straightforward than alternative pneumatic or hydraulic systems and the all-electric operation offers engine downshift protection, reliability, simple integration and improved gearbox life. The EGS can produce individual gearshifts in less than 40ms and up to five downshifts in less than one second.

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Barrett scores another double, seals title
Sonoma, Calif. – Infineon Raceway rates as a happy hunting ground for Patrick Barrett.

In 2006, the talented teenager won the Formula Russell Championship, based at the wine country venue, and romped to an impressive double victory on his debut in the Pacific F2000 Championship.

One year on, Barrett, 18, from Los Osos on the central California coast, showed no mercy on the Pacific F2000 field as he returned to score two more handsome race wins, each time from the pole, with PR1 Motorsports’ #3 Jim Russell Racing School/Alpinestars Van Diemen. The double triumph was enough to clinch the championship title with two races still remaining.

"Accomplishing what I did here this weekend is a great feeling," said Barrett. "These wins are very special to me because of the history I have here from the Jim Russell Racing Schools. Also, this is where I competed in and won my first Pacific F2000 events last year so I was really motivated to perform well here again."

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John Force injured in Funny Car accident UPDATE #4 Good news from Baylor University Medical Center where doctors operating on 14-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force were able to set his broken left ankle and determined that his wrist was not broken but just severely dislocated.

According to team spokesman Elon Werner, doctors inserted three pins into Force's ankle to set it, and also inserted three temporary pins to stabilize his wrist.

Force came through the surgery well. A full update will be issued by the team midday Monday.

09/23/07 Fourteen-time NHRA POWERade Funny Car champion John Force is undergoing surgery at Baylor University Medical Center to repair damage to his knee, ankle, and wrist sustained in a high-speed collision with fellow competitor Kenny Bernstein in the second round of eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex.

Force entered surgery at 9 p.m. Central time for what is expected to be a four-hour surgery, according to team publicist Dave Densmore.

"First of all, I just pray that John's going to be OK," said Bernstein, who wasn't injured in the accident. "I know he's hurt and the main thing I'm praying for is that he gets 100-percent recovery. That's more important than anything right now for me, Sheryl, and our team. I know he was talking to me there and he was asking if he hurt me. That's typical John right there. He'll be OK. He's a strong-willed man. He'll be fine."

Top Fuel winner Larry Dixon spoke about Force.

"I'm glad that (John Force is) alive," Dixon said. "From that point you can fix anything. A lot of credit goes to the Safety Safari, the medical team, and the rules package for the way the cars have to be built so that you can survive an accident like that. I feel safer in my car that goes 330 mph than I do in my rental car going 55 mph on the way to the track. I feel like I could run over a nuclear bomb, and I trust in that. He'll be back racing one day. You can count on that."

09/23/07 Video of Crash

"John has very, very serious injuries to his hands, his legs, and his feet that will require extensive work-up and treatment," said NHRA doctor Dwight Shewchuk, who was first on the scene with the Safety Safari. "Nothing appears life-threatening at this time but he certainly has significant injuries so he's been taking to Baylor Hospital where he'll be further evaluated. "Although he was alert and conscious throughout the whole thing he was demonstrating some signs of a concussion as he was asking the same question over and over. But his vital signs were stable and he's on his way." Daughter Ashley Force, who won her second-round race with Del Worsham, opted not to compete in the semifinals.

09/23/07 Bernstein is not injured. He said, "I did have a little headache right when I stopped, and I want to say that because of John's work in that area, of new head pads, I want to give John and his team credit. It was a pretty violent head movement but if not for those new pads it could have been a lot worse."

John Force is heading to Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He has two severely broken legs, some hand damage to one hand, and a possible concussion. The extent of any internal injuries is unknown pending further evaluation. His wife Laurie is with him.

"I know John was talking to me, he was worrying about whether I was hurt....typical John. I told him I was fine, but I'm not sure how much of it he remembers."

"I kept turning and correcting it, and it kept sticking. I just couldn't get it to come back....we about wadded up together....I saw my car body and John's car body coming apart and going past me....I saw John's car hit the wall really hard," said Bernstein."

09/23/07 John Force and Kenny Bernstein made contact with each other and then the wall during Funny Car eliminations at the Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex today.  Bernstein got out of his car, alert and appears to be fine. Force is conscious, awake and alert, talking to the medical crew, but is going to be airlifted to a nearby hospital for observation and evaluation.

tv news

"Dancing with the Stars" with Castroneves premieres Monday
The season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" starts Monday night, September 24, with a three night premiere event.  The first show on Monday introduces the female contestants.  Tuesday will be the first night of dancing for the six male contestants.  Helio Castroneves, IRL driver with Team Penske, will partner with Julianne Hough.  The show airs at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm ET on ABC.  Please check local listings for your location and time zone.  See related article.  


100th win for Roush
Twenty-eight year old Carl Edwards hit another historical marker today winning his seventh career NEXTEL Cup race at Dover International Speedway and claiming win number 100 for Jack Roush and Roush Fenway Racing in NASCAR’s elite series. Photo courtesy of Ford

Roush’s first NEXTEL Cup win came in 1989 with Mark Martin in the No. 6 Stroh’s Light Ford.  Martin claimed Roush Fenway Racing’s first win at Rockingham Speedway and now, 18 year’s later, Edwards’ has brought home win number 100 in the No. 99 Office Depot Ford.  Roush has won with seven different drivers in NASCAR’s top series, all in Ford’s.  Three of the seven have moved on but not before leaving their mark in Roush Fenway’s history books.

Martin has the most wins of the seven drivers with 35 while Jeff Burton took home 17 wins during his seven years at the company.  Burton won his first race with Roush at Texas Motor Speedway in 1997 which was also the inaugural race at the track.  In 2001, Burton brought home Cup win number 50 for Roush Fenway at Phoenix International Raceway, another milestone in the company’s history.  Kurt Busch also claimed his share of wins beginning in 2002 at the first Bristol race.  Busch went on to win a total of 14 Cup races under the Roush umbrella as well as Roush Fenway’s second Cup championship in 2004 (the very first NEXTEL Cup championship).

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Franchitti to start NASCAR career at Talladega
[Editor's Note: Recall we had this rumor as 'fact' a week ago. It's a done deal.] The move of reigning IRL champion Dario Franchitti to the Nextel Cup Series with Chip Ganassi Racing is expected to begin in two weeks at the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway. Ganassi is using the same plan he implemented a year ago when he broke former Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya into NASCAR's premier series at the Alabama track.

"We're trying to get him in [the ARCA race]," Ganassi said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "We have a few little hurdles left to get done before we can announce something.

"We're feverishly working at it, and we're confident that we're going to be able to put something together with him. Much like with Juan last year, if and when we get to that point, it's going to be a work in progress and you're going to have to constantly adjust and readjust."

Franchitti is expected to move into the No. 40 Cup car driven by David Stremme, whose option for next season was not picked up when Ganassi couldn't get a commitment from sponsor Coors Light.

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Andretti says Champ Car, IRL should eye MMP
TOOELE - Mario Andretti, perhaps the most recognized race car driver in the world, will have a message when he runs into his motorsports cronies as he travels the world making appearances for Texaco and working on a handful of his other business ventures.
There's this new road course race track in Utah "that you have got to see to believe," Andretti says.

Of course, the famed, semi-retired racer is talking about Miller Motorsports Park, having visited the facility last weekend to be the grand marshal for the Sunchaser 1000, a stop on the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Andretti gave the command to start engines for the Saturday endurance race, drove a Ford GT to lead the parade lap and waved the green flag, among other activities.

He said he is "surprised" that officials from the two primary open-wheel series in the United States - Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series - haven't expressed more interest in making MMP a stop on one of their circuits.

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Marco Werner has married
Audi "factory" driver Marco Werner has married his long-standing partner Annett at Lake Constance on 15 September. There is, however, no time for a honeymoon: Last weekend, the triple Le Mans winner competed with an Audi quattro in a hill-climb for historical cars in Switzerland. Before departing for the American Le Mans Series race at Road Atlanta, Marco Werner will participate in an Audi Golf tournament.


AUDI pulls out of DTM race at Barcelona . . . during the race! UPDATE The title decision in the 2007 DTM will only be made in the finale at Hockenheim on the 14th of October. 42,000 spectators at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona (Spain) witnessed an excessively rough race today in which one Audi driver after another was bumped off the track by Mercedes drivers – among them all four drivers of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline including the two candidates for the title, Mattias Ekström (Sweden) and Martin Tomczyk (Germany). When the situation threatened to escalate, Audi decided to withdraw all seven Audi A4 DTM cars that were still in the race.  

From the start, the quickest in qualifying, Martin Tomczyk, had taken the lead before being bumped off the track on lap seven by the two-time Formula World Champion Mika Häkkinen. After the incident, Tomczyk was at first able to continue the race in eleventh place but later had to retire because the radiator of his Audi A4 DTM was damaged in the collision. 

Leader of the standings Mattias Ekström had advanced from tenth to sixth place after the start and was very quick after an early first tire change. While overtaking Daniel la Rosa, who had not pitted yet, he was hit hard by the Mercedes driver. This meant the end of the race for the Swede as well. 

Previously, on the starting lap, Tom Kristensen had been turned around by Mercedes driver Gary Paffett. When Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller, who was running in third position, also were pushed off the track by Mercedes drivers, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich – after consultation with the Chairman of the Board of AUDI AG, Rupert Stadler – decided to withdraw all seven Audi cars remaining in the race to send a clear message in favour of fair racing. 

"What happened on the race track today was simply unacceptable," stated Rupert Stadler, who witnessed the race live at the team garage of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline. "We’re proceeding from the assumption that emotions will cool down again before the Hockenheim race and that spectators will see a finale with fair sport. It’s also clear that we continue to be committed to the DTM. But a few things will probably have to change." 

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Rossi gracious in defeat
After another complicated race today at the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan for Valentino Rossi brought about the reality that for the second year in succession he will not be World Champion, the Fiat Yamaha rider paid tribute to the new title holder Casey Stoner.

A combination of unpredictable track conditions and tire issues brought about an end to Rossi’s slim title chances, as he finished 13th in Motegi despite a heroic effort which saw him lead the race at one point.

With the track still wet after a morning of light rain in Japan, the race started with wet-weather tires being used on a fast drying track. Rossi made a poor start from second on the grid and at the end of lap one was in seventh place, but a great comeback The Doctor saw him fight his way up to the front, taking the lead on lap 14. 

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Success with the wind tunnel and super computer
The second place in this year' manufacturers' classification is all but secured for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The hard work prior to and during the 2007 Formula One season has been rewarded. BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen conveys which technical aids helped achieve this leap in development.
Albert2 commenced operations in Hinwil in December 2006. Weighing 21 tons, the computer on the ground floor of the Swiss team site supports the BMW Sauber F1 Team in the area of Computational Fluid Dynamics, CFD.

Mario Theissen comments: "We have taken a major step earlier this year with the increase of our computing power. I think for the time being we have the biggest CFD computer running and we have managed to align experimental work in the wind tunnel and theoretical work on the computer. These components push each other."

Although most of the development work still takes place in the wind tunnel, Albert2 has proved indispensable in order to achieve a better understanding of the physics of the collected data. "You need both components and the ability to align them in a way that they support each other," Theissen says. "It does not make sense to double or triple the number of runs in the wind tunnel without understanding what goes on. This would always be a trial and error approach whereas the computer provides you with inside information."  Source BMW Sauber


Villeneuve 21st in NASCAR debut
Jacques Villeneuve finished 21st in his NASCAR debut in the Craftsman Truck Series race in Las Vegas Saturday night.

The former F1 and Indianapolis 500 champion started seventh in the Bill Davis Racing Toyota and was racing as high as 16th before getting involved in an incident on lap 46. Villeneuve hit rookie Brian Scott from behind, forcing him to pit for repairs. He finished a lap behind the leaders.

"I was running high and I ended up getting sideways," Villeneuve said. "You can actually slide those trucks a lot without crashing, so that's quite good. I'm surprised because it wasn't a big hit at all, but it did significant damage."

"But I learned a lot. I made a big mistake on the first restart, and I will be sure not to do that again. I also learned that these guys run very hard from the very beginning. Even though the truck was damaged, it was a big learning experience for us."

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Japan: Capirossi wins, Stoner clinches
Casey Stoner is the new MotoGP World Champion after he finished sixth at the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan on a great day for Ducati Marlboro, with the Australian’s colleague Loris Capirossi completing a hat-trick of Motegi wins.

Stoner took the title after a complicated contest in which Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi came home an unlucky 13th due to tire problems. The Italian lost time after he entered the pits twice, with the Japanese track drying after some morning rain which saw the riders required to change from wet tires midrace – Rossi uncomfortable after his swap of bikes.

Kawasaki’s Randy de Puniet got his first MotoGP podium finish as he crossed the line second, ahead of Honda Gresini’s remarkable Toni Elias who was third despite still suffering due to his Assen injury.

Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3’s Sylvain Guintoli rode brilliantly for his best ever premier class result too, missing out on a rookie season podium by just 0.666s.

Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini) was fifth having led the race, whilst sixth place was good enough to give Stoner the World Championship. De Puniet’s team-mate Anthony West also led at one stage but was called in for a ride through penalty after a jump start and eventually crossed the line a creditable seventh. Pramac d’Antin’s Alex Barros, 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden and Rizla Suzuki rider John Hopkins completed the top ten, with Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3’s Makoto Tamada the highest placed Japanese rider in 12th on a good day for his team.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa did not complete the race due to a nasty highside crash on lap 15.

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Dutch youngster wins 2nd Euro F3 race
Dutchman Renger van der Zande won the 2nd F3 Euroseries race this weekend at Barcelona in convincing style in his Q-Dance Mercedes-Benz powered Dallara.  After pole man and Red Bull protege Edoardo Piscopo stalled his car at the start, his stranded car caused a massive 9-car pile up. This obviously brought out the safety car for 6 laps before all the carnage was lifted away. Amongst the victims were yesterday's winner Edoardo Mortara and Jonathan Summerton from Kissimmee, Fl. in his VW powered Dallara.

At the restart van der Zande took the lead and never looked back, winning the race with an almost 6 sec lead from Frenchmen Tom Dillmann and Patrick Mailleux. Fourth place went to local hero, Spaniard Dani Clos in front of Czech driver Filip Salaquarda and Swiss driver Sebastian Buemi. Championship leader Nico Hulkenberg could only manage 8th this time. All these drivers were using the Dallara Mercedes-Benz combination. The only surviving VW powered Dallara car of Maxi Gotz finished in a creditable 10th position.
Pos  Driver            Car                 Time/Behind
 1.  R.van der Zande   Dallara-Mercedes    40:34.663
 2.  Tom Dillmann      Dallara-Mercedes     +  5.560
 3.  Franck Mailleux   Dallara-Mercedes     +  6.515
 4.  Daniel Clos       Dallara-Mercedes     + 12.918
 5.  Filip Salaquarda  Dallara-Mercedes     + 19.596
 6.  Sebastien Buemi   Dallara-Mercedes     + 20.263
 7.  James Jakes       Dallara-Mercedes     + 20.374
 8.  N.Hulkenberg      Dallara-Mercedes     + 20.700
 9.  H.Schlegelmilch   Dallara-Mercedes     + 23.298
10.  Maximilian Gotz   Dallara-Volkswagen   + 24.107
11.  Yelmer Buurman    Dallara-Mercedes     + 24.949
12.  Sergei Afanasiev  Dallara-Mercedes     + 28.736
13.  Euan Hankey       Dallara-Mercedes     + 29.292
14.  Yann Clairay      Dallara-Mercedes     +  1 lap

Not classified/retirements:

     Driver            Car                 Laps
     Romain Grosjean   Dallara-Mercedes    DSQ
     Kamui Kobayashi   Dallara-Mercedes    1
     Edoardo Piscopo   Dallara-Mercedes    0
     Edoardo Mortara   Dallara-Mercedes    0
     Tim Sandtler      Dallara-Mercedes    0
     Marco Holzer      Dallara-Volkswagen  0
     Cyndie Allemann   Dallara-Mercedes    0
     J.Summerton       Dallara-Volkswagen  0
     Michael Patrizi   Dallara-Mercedes    0
     Basil Shaaban     Dallara-Mercedes    0
     Jean-Karl Vernay  Dallara-Mercedes    0


Falling profits affecting F1 - report
(GMM)  A sharp fall in profits intensified formula one's need to push outside of Europe and also drop the US grand prix, according to a report.

Britain's Daily Telegraph revealed that, because of high debt repayments, profits crashed $306.7m to just $6m since the sport's commercial rights were taken over by CVC in 2005.

"The huge burden ... has had a material impact on the sport of motor racing," the report claimed.

The Telegraph said formula one, still overseen by chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, has had to look increasingly outside of Europe because governments in Asia and the Middle East can afford to pay higher sanctioning fees.

Indianapolis, scrapped after an eighth consecutive race in June, is the "first big casualty", with destinations including Sough Korea, India, Abu Dhabi and Singapore likely to replace other current grands prix in the near future, despite the teams' reliance on established markets.


FIA leaks McLaren, Ferrari secrets UPDATE #2
Highlights of the document
  • Coughlan’s Salary: 300-400k British Pounds annually
  • The gas Ferrari were using in their tires: CO2
  • “…Ferrari system based on a….double rear master cylinder with a spring…”
  • It's rather impressive at the level of technical competency that is evident of the F1 drivers from reading the transcripts. They completely understand the most technical details of the mechanical systems, aero, mechanical balance, even discussing esoteric elasticity concepts used on the wings. Their aero knowledge is very precise and minute.
  • The simulators in use are obviously something totally beyond comprehension - able to simulate not only different tracks precisely but how a single click of a damper, turning vane adjustment, or pound of air impacts every other aspect of the cars handling not just speed.
  • Coughlan was an idiot for telling de la Rosa it was Stepney that was giving him the information. This guy has the top specific info from the opposition and he tells a driver where he got it from. Does he not realize a driver may very well be working for the opposition in a few seasons time, is susceptible to pressure, and is the last person someone should tell where the magic rabbit hole is?
  • It is extraordinary to see Mosley in action. He is literally Judge, Prosecutor, Jury, and Executioner. Whenever the Ferrari lawyers miss a point he is quick to bring it to the front, when he feels the Ferrari lawyers have not constructed an issue in as damning a way as possible he does it himself. Extraordinary. We thought he was the guy that was supposed to oversee a ‘fair’ hearing? Seems he doesn’t much care for Mr. Dennis as he is almost gleeful the way he goes about running the whole tribunal.

09/22/07 Here is the PDF the FIA accidently published.  Copy the blacked out areas to MS Word and the words will be visible.

09/22/07 (GMM) With seemingly no end to the espionage saga, it now emerges that F1's governing body earlier this week contributed to the widespread distribution of dozens more McLaren and Ferrari secrets.

A day before releasing the nearly 200 pages of World Motor Sport Council transcripts to the public on Wednesday, the FIA had sent the documents to both teams so that confidential technical and financial information could be redacted.

But when the PDF documents were initially made available on the internet, it soon became clear that the blackened sections could easily be revealed if copy-pasted into another text editor.

The offending copies were quickly removed from the FIA website and replaced.

But a plethora of sensitive information, including not only technical team and car details but private figures such as suspended McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan's annual salary, and the precise weight distribution of the MP4-22 and also systems adopted by Ferrari, is therefore now widely known in various corners of the formula one world.

The philosophy of variable brake balance systems on both the McLaren and the Ferrari was also inadvertently revealed by the FIA, as well as details about Ferrari's unique method of inflating its tires, and other secrets.

We can confirm that some of those in possession of the formerly private information have been approached by motor racing figures asking to be let in on the secrets.

An FIA spokeswoman admits that the Paris based Federation is aware of the mistake.

She would not comment further, but the FIA confirmed last week that the transcripts had been recorded by a professional stenographer and formatted by an independent transcription company.


Hamilton feels strain of life with enemy within
Although he might not see it this way, Fernando Alonso can count himself fortunate to have Ron Dennis as a boss. Very few managers in any sport would tolerate a player who threatens to blackmail the entire team in order to get his way and then limits future conversation to the minimum when the ploy has failed. It might have been an understandable fit of pique that drove Alonso to intimidate Dennis after the Spaniard had been penalized for his part in a row that had been started by Lewis Hamilton, but the inherent menace exposed a hitherto unseen side of Alonso's character. Incensed over the punishment for blocking Hamilton in the pit lane in Hungary, Alonso tried to gain respect for his position as reigning world champion by threatening to tell the FIA, the sport's governing body, about the full extent of McLaren's involvement in the Ferrari spy scandal. Dennis steadfastly refused either to be intimidated or to change his policy of equality for both drivers. Alonso quickly retracted his words. According to Dennis, he has hardly spoken at all since the incident on 5 August. Yet Dennis, driven by an almost crippling desire to be even-handed, has continued to ensure that Alonso has parity even though most team principals would feel inclined to favor Hamilton and relieve Alonso of his duties. More at the Guardian

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