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DATE News (chronologically)
09/28/06
f1

F1 Quiz
1. Before the Chinese Grand Prix was established at the Shanghai International circuit, there was a time when it was believed Formula 1 would be going to a different Chinese track. Which one ?

a. Goldenport in Beijing
b. Guia in Macau
c. Zhuhai in Guandong
d. Comp-Speed in Yinglin
e. Pudong in Shanghai
 
2. Which driver took his last win at Shanghai in 2004 ?

a. Rubens Barrichello
b. Giancarlo Fisichella
c. Juan Pablo Montoya
d. Kimi Räikkönen
e. Jarno Trulli

3. At the same time as Jacques Villeneuve at Renault, another driver had the chance to contest the final three Grands Prix of the 2004 season, starting in China, in his case for Jordan. Which driver ?

a. Zsolt Baumgartner
b. Patrick Friesacher
c. Timo Glock
d. Giorgio Pantano
e. Antonio Pizzonia

4. What is the name of the young Chinese driver, educated in the Netherlands, whose performances in Formula BMW have already earned him a test in a Williams-BMW ?

a. Chow Gang Kongi
b. Ho Pin Tung
c. Wong Kar-wai
d. Yao Ming
e. Zang Sanfeng

5. Two Japanese drivers spent two seasons in Formula 1 and then later reappeared for two more seasons in the CART championship, Who are they ?

a. Ukyo Katayama and Aguri Suzuki
b. Hideki Noda and Hideshi Matsuda
c. Saturo Nakajima and Toshio Suzuki
d. Taki Inoue and Hiro Matsushita
e. Shinji Nakano and Tora Takagi

6. Which world champion won the very first Japanese Grand Prix in 1976 ?

a. Mario Andretti
b. Emerson Fittipaldi
c. James Hunt
d. Niki Lauda
e. Jody Scheckter

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09/28/06
Industry News

Fiat to take 90% position in Ferrari
Ferrari will soon be 90% Fiat's, Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne said.  Italian news reports, covering Marchionne at the world auto show in Paris, quoted Marchionne as saying that at the end of the month, Fiat will acquire the 29 per cent share of Ferrari now held by Mediobanca, an Italian merchant bank. Marchionne told reporters that Fiat will pay "about 800 million euros ($A1.36 billion) for the shares, the Italian news agency ANSA said.  Pierro Ferrari and the family own 10% of the company with no option for Fiat to purchase.  They will never sell.

Comment
09/28/06
gp2

DAMS signs Lapierre for 2007
The DAMS Team is pleased to announce that it has signed Nicolas Lapierre as one of his driver for the GP2 Series for the 2007 season. The 22-year-old, from Thonon-les Bains, France, will thus attend a testing session during the first week of October on the Paul Ricard HTT circuit.

GP2 series testing kicks off next week at Circuit Paul Ricard on October 3-4, with the second winter test planned to take place at the same venue on October 31-November 1. Testing resumes one week later in Jerez on November 6-7, with the final test of 2006 taking place where this season kicked off, in Valencia on December 1-2.

“I have decided for Nicolas Lapierre,” said Jean-Paul Driot. “I have seen him race last year in the A1 GP winter Series. We will do a good job together. He is a tough driver”.

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09/28/06
wrc

Broken arm sidelines Loeb UPDATE World rally champion Sebastien Loeb has had surgery after breaking his right arm in a fall off his mountain bike, his Kronos team said.

"I underwent surgery on Wednesday morning," Frenchman Loeb said on the Kronos Web site.

"Then I talked to the doctor who gave me comforting news about my injury. The surgery went fairly well but I won't be able to take part to the rally in Turkey," he said. "I hope to be back in action soon.

"I was riding down a path in a forest when the front wheel of my bike hit a rock. I went over the handlebars and landed on the shoulder. I broke my arm. It's a pity." Loeb said.

09/27/06 Frenchman Sebastien Loeb broke his arm on Wednesday and has pulled out of the Turkish rally next month, a Kronos team spokesman said.

"Loeb was riding a mountain bike when he fell and got injured on Wednesday," said the spokesman who confirmed the driver will be absent from the rally starting on October 13.

Comment
09/28/06
cc

Milwaukee Mile statement on Champ Car schedule UPDATE A reader responds, After going to the Milwaukee race for 12 years, which is in the middle of graduation time, and seeing little or no advertising for years, I can see why attendance was low and the race failed. This year in the Madison, WI. market Road America was advertised for 3 to 4 weeks. There were ticket giveaways on at least 3 radio stations, at least they tried to promote the race rather than give it lip service. Greg Sylvester, Waunakee, WI.

09/28/06 The Milwaukee Mile has hosted an event on the Champ Car World Series annually dating back to the series’ inception 27 years ago.  Today's series schedule announcement ends the rich auto racing history connecting The Milwaukee Mile and the Champ Car World Series, due to the series moving away from oval tracks.

Some of the best open wheel races at America’s Legendary Oval have flown under the CART/Champ Car banner.

We appreciate the support Champ Car officials and teams have provided to us and our loyal fans.  We continue to dialogue with Champ Car President Steve Johnson and will certainly entertain the opportunity to host a Champ Car event that would be amenable to both the series and The Milwaukee Mile in the future.

We encourage Wisconsin Champ Car fans to support their return to Road America in Elkhart Lake this coming season.

Race fans can visit our website, www.milwaukeemile.com for the full 2007 Milwaukee Mile season schedule in the very near future. Milwaukee Mile President & CEO Andy Randall

Comment
09/28/06
motogp

Amendment to MotoGP tire regulations
The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Claude Danis (FIM), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Mr. Paul Butler (Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on September 23 at the circuit of Twin Ring Motegi, unanimously decided to introduce the following amendments to the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations – application as from 1st January 2007.

Technical Regulations
2.9. Tire restrictions for MotoGP

2.9.1 Wet tires are not subject to supply restriction.

A wet tire is defined as a tire which has a land to sea ratio of at least 20% overall, and a minimum ratio of 7% in each third of the section profile.

The tire may be molded or hand cut, but each groove must have a minimum depth of three millimeters over 90% of its length.

Any tire with a land to sea ratio of less than 20% will be deemed a slick tire. In case of dispute the decision of the Technical Director will be final.

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09/28/06
starmazda

Money sidelines Varsha
Atlanta - Racing is an expensive proposition at any level. With bills mounting, and no financial help in sight, Matt Varsha’s bid for the 2006 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear has been shelved indefinitely. Making the news even sadder is the fact that next round of the series takes place this weekend on the 19-year old driver’s home track: Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.

Racing the #45 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda in Varsha’s rookie season in the series without significant financial support has been a compromise, forcing the team to forgo testing for example. But the REM team’s hard work and ingenuity, harnessed to Varsha’s driving ability, has produced seven top-ten finishes in the season’s ten races to date, including a victory on the streets of Trois Rivières, Quebec, and a runner-up finish in Montreal. Along the way Varsha has developed a well-earned reputation for exciting drives, attracting television exposure by posting a startlingly high number of passes in the races the 45 car finished, including a dazzling dash from 36th to 4th at the season opener in Sebring, Florida.

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09/28/06
f1

Chinese GP: Ferrari preview
The saying goes that a year is a long time in politics and the past twelve months have demonstrated the saying also holds good in Formula 1. In 2005, the Shanghai rendezvous marked the end of a tough season in which Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro failed to hang on to the titles it had monopolized in recent years. Testing carried out in the run up to that year's two events in the Far East was already focusing on the clean sheet of paper that was 2006 and in commercial terms, China was a very new market for the Prancing Horse road cars.

Roll the clock forward to this weekend's event and a very different picture emerges. The Shanghai event will not be the finale, but instead marks the start of the final trio of grands prix and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro is very much in the hunt for both the Drivers' (with Michael Schumacher) and Constructors' titles. Therefore, last week's testing, had a sharp focus with new mechanical and aerodynamic components and Bridgestone tires all being evaluated for use in these important races.

And as for the sale of the gran turismo cars, one month after last year's Chinese GP, Ferrari announced the creation of its Asia-Pacific Division to cover twelve markets in that part of the world and that is due to be fully operational in the next month. Current sales figures for this region are around the 800 car mark, representing approximately 13% of the company's global sales.

Shanghai will be hosting the third Chinese Grand Prix, showing that the world of Formula 1 was quick to realize the potential of the Chinese market, along with its enthusiasm for top level motor sport. Ferrari President and CEO, Luca di Montezemolo was only recently here in Shanghai when the media and important customers were given a sneak preview of the new 599 car, "This market is a key one for us and we tackle this crucial area, knowing that this year, 2006, we have to date sold 120 cars in China, which is around double of what we sold last year," revealed the President.

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09/28/06
alms

Audi on top in Petit practice 2
Pos Car Class Drivers Car Time
1. 1 P1 F.Biela, E.Pirro, M.Werner Audi R10 TDI 1:12.781
2. 15 P1 S.Johansson, J.Mowlem, H.Kurosawa Zytek 06S Zytek 1:12.998
3. 2 P1 R.Capello, A.McNish Audi R10 TDI 1:13.362
4. 6 P2 S.Maassen, T.Bernhard, E.Collard Porsche RS Spyder 1:13.482
5. 16 P1 J.Weaver, B.Leitzinger, A.Wallace Lola B06/10 AER 1:13.667
6. 88 P1 N.Minassian, H.Primat, J.Campbell Creation CA06/H-01 Judd 1:13.732
7. 20 P1 C.Dyson, G.Smith Lola B06/10 AER 1:13.814
8. 9 P1 D.Dayton, M.Gidley, V.Meira Lola EX257 AER 1:14.077
9. 7 P2 L.Luhr, R.Dumas, M.Rockenfeller Porsche RS Spyder 1:14.370
10. 19 P2 G.van der Steur, B.Devlin, T.Grea Radical SR9 AER 1:15.968
11. 27 P2 F.Lienhard, D.Theys, E.Van de Poe Lola R05/40 Judd 1:17.210
12. 009 GT1 P.Lamy, S.Sarrazin Aston Martin DB9 1:18.659
13. 007 GT1 T.Enge, D.Turner Aston Martin DB9 1:19.107
14. 3 GT1 R.Fellows, J.O'Connell, M.Papis Corvette C6-R 1:19.340
15. 4 GT1 O.Gavin, O.Beretta, J.Magnussen Corvette C6-R 1:19.717
16. 8 P2 J.Bach, G.Cosmo, E.Forbes-Robinso Courage C65 Mazda 1:20.439
17. 12 P1 M.Lewis, C.McMurry, B.Willman Lola EX257 AER 1:20.679
18. 31 GT2 J.Bergmeister, P.Long, N.Jonsson Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:23.652
19. 62 GT2 R.Kellenrs, S.Ortelli, M.Palttala Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta 1:23.759
20. 51 GT2 G.Jeannette, T.Milner, A.Lally Panoz Esperante GTLM 1:24.004
21. 61 GT2 A.Lazzaro, M.Mediani, M.Franchitt Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta 1:24.143
22. 50 GT2 S.Maxwell, D.Brabham, S.Bourdais Panoz Esperante GTLM 1:24.433
23. 44 GT2 L.Pechnik, S.Neiman, D.Law Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:24.447
24. 23 GT2 D.Farnbacher, M.Tiemann, R.Liddel Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:24.681
25. 21 GT2 B.Auberlen, J.Hand, B.Said BMW E46 M3 1:25.209
26. 22 GT2 J.Marks, B.Sellers, I.James BMW E46 M3 1:25.714
27. 45 GT2 J.Van Overbeek, W.Henzler, M.Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:28.581

Comment
09/28/06
alms

Minassian leads Petit practice 1
Pos Car Class Drivers Car Time
1. 88 P1 N.Minassian, H.Primat, J.Campbell Creation CA06/H-01 Judd 1:12.006
2. 2 P1 R.Capello, A.McNish Audi R10 TDI 1:12.076
3. 1 P1 F.Biela, E.Pirro, M.Werner Audi R10 TDI 1:12.397
4. 16 P1 J.Weaver, B.Leitzinger, A.Wallace Lola B06/10 AER 1:12.636
5. 15 P1 S.Johansson, J.Mowlem, H.Kurosawa Zytek 06S Zytek 1:12.699
6. 20 P1 C.Dyson, G.Smith Lola B06/10 AER 1:12.900
7. 6 P2 S.Maassen, T.Bernhard, E.Collard Porsche RS Spyder 1:13.276
8. 7 P2 L.Luhr, R.Dumas, M.Rockenfeller Porsche RS Spyder 1:13.302
9. 9 P1 D.Dayton, M.Gidley, V.Meira Lola EX257 AER 1:14.363
10. 12 P1 M.Lewis, C.McMurry, B.Willman Lola EX257 AER 1:15.352
11. 27 P2 F.Lienhard, D.Theys, E.Van de Poe Lola R05/40 Judd 1:17.176
12. 007 GT1 T.Enge, D.Turner Aston Martin DB9 1:18.738
13. 009 GT1 P.Lamy, S.Sarrazin Aston Martin DB9 1:18.815
14. 4 GT1 O.Gavin, O.Beretta, J.Magnussen Corvette C6-R 1:19.567
15. 3 GT1 R.Fellows, J.O'Connell, M.Papis Corvette C6-R 1:19.767
16. 8 P2 J.Bach, G.Cosmo, E.Forbes-Robinso Courage C65 Mazda 1:20.232
17. 21 GT2 B.Auberlen, J.Hand, B.Said BMW E46 M3 1:23.339
18. 61 GT2 A.Lazzaro, M.Mediani, M.Franchitt Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta 1:23.630
19. 31 GT2 J.Bergmeister, P.Long, N.Jonsson Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:23.632
20. 51 GT2 G.Jeannette, T.Milner, A.Lally Panoz Esperante GTLM 1:23.888
21. 23 GT2 D.Farnbacher, M.Tiemann, R.Liddel Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:23.920
22. 45 GT2 J.Van Overbeek, W.Henzler, M.Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:23.925
23. 50 GT2 S.Maxwell, D.Brabham, S.Bourdais Panoz Esperante GTLM 1:23.928
24. 44 GT2 L.Pechnik, S.Neiman, D.Law Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:24.048
25. 62 GT2 R.Kellenrs, S.Ortelli, M.Palttala Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta 1:24.320
26. 22 GT2 J.Marks, B.Sellers, I.James BMW E46 M3 1:24.833
27. 19 P2 G.van der Steur, B.Devlin, T.Grea Radical SR9 AER 1:42.465

Comment
09/28/06
cc

Briscoe, Bremer testing with RuSPORT UPDATE #3 British driver Adam Carroll will test with the team on Friday and Katherine Legge will also be on track for PKV to make sure she has no ill-affects from her horrific crash at Road America last Sunday. They are putting her right back into the saddle.

09/28/06 We hear that Ryan Briscoe did a good job yesterday and Bremer is doing a good job today.  Bremer's website made note of today's test.

09/28/06 Look for Ronnie Bremer to be testing with RuSPORT today in Sebring following Ryan Briscoe's test yesterday.

09/27/06 Ex-Formula One Toyota test driver and ex-Ganassi Racing IRL driver Ryan Briscoe is testing for the vacant Cristiano da Matta Champ Car RuSPORT seat today at Sebring.  A 2nd driver is expected tomorrow.  Today's weather is sunny, hot and sticky.

Comment
09/28/06
cc

Johnson, Clagett discuss 2007 Champ Car schedule
Champ Car President Steve Johnson (pictured right), and Vice-president of Venue Development John Clagett were guests on today's Champ Car media teleconference.  The topic of the discussion was the 2007 Champ Car schedule.  Some interesting items were discussed including - possible more races in Canada coming, no ovals unless they make business sense, will announce Europe races in 1 to 2 weeks, never any plans for doubleheaders with the IRL, and more.....  Transcript

Comment
09/28/06
tv news
SWC

SCCA World Challenge, Runoffs stay on SPEED in 2007
BRASELTON, Ga. – Sports Car Club of America announced today that its hallmark road racing properties, the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge® and SCCA Club Racing National Championship Runoffs®, have finalized contract extensions with SPEED Channel for 2007.

All SCCA SPEED GT and Touring Car Championship races will continue to be broadcast on SPEED, as they have been each year since the network’s inception in 1996. SPEED will also retain the title sponsorship of the series for the eighth-straight season with the option to relinquish naming rights should another entity come along.

“We’re excited to announce our continued partnership with SPEED Channel, and this should put to rest any rumors that may have been floating around about the future of the series,” said Jim Julow, SCCA, Inc. President and CEO and Acting President of SCCA Pro Racing. “SPEED World Challenge is, without a doubt, the most relevant racing property in North America to automotive enthusiasts, and we’re proud to continue the series into its 18th season in 2007.”

Read more & Comment...
09/28/06
cc

CARA raises more than $40K for da Matta
SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Champ Car fans turned out in force at the famed Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., last Friday and Saturday to aid CARA Charities in its fundraising activities to “Support the Recovery Efforts of Cristiano da Matta.”

RuSPORT driver da Matta suffered serious head injuries when his car hit a deer during testing at the scenic Wisconsin track on August 3. He underwent surgery, recovery and rehabilitation at the Theda Clark Medical Center in nearby Neenah, Wisconsin following the incident and was able to return home to Miami for further rehabilitation just one day prior to the start of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America weekend.

On Friday evening, Sept. 22, the hospitality area at Road America was filled with hundreds of fans, team members, drivers and Champ Car personnel as the Champ Car Tailgate Party kicked off the evening of fundraising. Great food, fellowship and lively music set the tone as twilight fell over the track. The RuSPORT tent was the site of the silent auction featuring dozens of autographed items and memorabilia. Everything from driving gloves to a full race simulator was available for some frantic bidding action. It was difficult to move in the area as the clock ticked down to the end of the auction and fans waited to get that winning number on the bid sheet.

The following evening CARA Charities teamed with RuSPORT to conduct the “CARA Cruise for Cristiano.” This event allowed the public to ride their bicycles alongside the stars of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car Series Powered by Ford as well as drivers from the Champ Car Atlantic Series. Fans were able to tour the 4.048-mile Road America layout in spite of heavy rains that fell just prior to the event. In fact, just as the Cruise was set to begin, the skies began to clear and a rare double rainbow appeared over the track.

The auction and the bicycle “Cruise” were coupled with sales of  “Kiki – Push Please” t-shirts as well as an exciting weekend Champ Car race package provided by Bridgestone that was auctioned on Ebay. All of these efforts combined with donations raised more than $40,000 to support Cristiano as he continues his amazing recovery.

CARA Charities’ President Vicki Faivre was thrilled with the results from the weekend.

“We could not have achieved such an amazing outcome without the help and support of Bridgestone, Champ Car, the teams, drivers, hospitality staffs, Abler Meats and Chalk Hill Winery,” said Farivre. “On behalf of CARA I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of these events.”

Comment
09/28/06
cca

Pagenaud and Team Australia reap Post-Season rewards
INDIANAPOLIS – Following last Sunday’s exciting season finale of the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, the best and the brightest of 2006 series competitors were honored for their accomplishments this season.

As the capacity crowd at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin looked on at the annual Atlantic Championship Awards Banquet and Celebration, the top performers both on and off the track in North America’s premiere open-wheel development series were presented with their awards following one of the most competitive seasons in the 33-year history of Atlantic racing.

In addition to the impressive hardware earned by the 2006 Award class, the Atlantic Championship also boasted one of the top purses in all of racing this season. Including the unique $2 million bonus earned by the series champion to help fund a ride in the 2007 Champ Car World Series, the total Atlantic prize money for ’06 measured $3,712,000.00

Highlighting the awards presented at Sunday evening’s festivities, as expected, was 2006 Champ Car Atlantic champion Simon Pagenaud (#15 Team Australia/Location U/Cons. Gen. Vienne) and his title-winning squad – Team Australia. The French series rookie and the first-year Atlantic team walked away from the evening with a total of four separate honors after wrapping up the series title Sunday at Road America in the final race of the season.

In addition to Pagenaud being crowned series champion after producing a victory, a pole position, six podium results and a series-high nine top-five finishes in 12 races, the 22-year-old native of Montmorillon, France also earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors leading a crop of what was arguably the finest selection of first-year drivers in series history. Team Australia co-owners Derrick Walker – the longtime Champ Car team owner – and Craig Gore were named Atlantic Team Owners of the Year. In addition, Ryan Negron earned the Snap-On Tools Top/Wrench Award annually presented to the lead mechanic on the series championship-winning car.

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09/28/06
f1

Chinese GP: Thursday Press Conference
Participating: Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren Mercedes), Nico Rosberg (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari).

Q. Robert, podium in the last race, what effect has that had on you, what effect has that had on Poland, your country?

Robert Kubica: Well, as you say, we finished third in the Monza race. It was a good result for me and for the team as well. It was only the third race in my career. It was a good race, good place, good car, everything went really smoothly and no problems. For Poland, it was a good result, I think. I think it's good to have a good result for there and it definitely creates more interest in the country.

Q. Has it gone a bit crazy?

RK: I don't know. I haven't been there.

Q. You say you're not particularly emotional, yourself, about these things?

RK: It's true, I'm a racing driver and I like to race. What's going on around the world, or around Poland - it's of secondary importance. I'm concentrated on my driving and working with my team and that's the way I am.

Q. The car has obviously made fantastic progress over the summer.

RK: Yeah, for sure we weren't expecting to be so competitive. Nick was on the second row after qualifying. Unfortunately I had not such a good lap in third qualifying in Monza, so I was starting from the third row but we knew we had good tyres for the race distance.

We made a really good start and then it was important just to look after the tyres and go ahead. The car worked really well. I think Monza is something special, because it's a low downforce track so we have to wait and see how it goes here. For sure, the last test in Jerez went really well so we are making good progress.

Q. And the prospects next year for you?

RK: I don't know. 

Read more & Comment...
09/28/06
irl

Panther Racing to be featured in TV spot Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira and the No. 4 Lincoln Tech Honda-powered Dallara are featured in a PING golf commercial that is airing on The Golf Channel.

The commercial, filmed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, shows Meira as he speeds around the historic 2.5-mile oval while golfers “test drive” new golf clubs. The spot is part of PING’s “Drive Across America” campaign, where the PING van visits different landmarks across the United States.

“It was a fun day for all of us,” Meira said. “Anytime I can go to Indianapolis and turn laps I get excited about it. It was fun when I was running by myself at over 200 mph, but it was difficult when we shot the scenes with the PING van and I had to keep the car under 100 mph. It felt so slow it was painful. All that made me want to do was get back to IMS in May so I can go fast again.”

It was the first time PING has utilized motorsports in its commercials. IndyCar.com

Comment
09/28/06
track news

Gateway track GM resigns
Madison, IL - Gateway International Raceway announced today that Vice President and General Manager Matt Strelo has resigned his position effective October 4, 2006. 

Strelo has spent the past five years at the track overseeing all business and day-to-day operations of the facility.  Under his watch the track had the most successful seasons in its 10-year history, highlighted by the 2005 Wallace Family Tribute 250 NASCAR Busch Series Race which honored St. Louis natives Rusty, Mike and Kenny Wallace. 

"I owe a great deal of gratitude to Denis McGlynn and everyone at Dover Motorsports, Inc.," Strelo said.  "The hardest part in this decision is having to leave the extraordinary group of people that I have been privileged to lead over the past five years at Gateway." 

Gateway International Raceway is owned by Dover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE: DVD), a leading promoter of motorsports events in the United States. DVD subsidiaries operate tracks in three states, and present more than 500 motorsports events each year. This includes 15 major, national events which operate under the auspices of three of the premier sanctioning bodies in the U.S. - NASCAR, NHRA, and IRL. Dover Motorsports, Inc. also owns and operates Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del., Nashville Superspeedway near Nashville, Tenn., and Memphis Motorsports Park in Memphis, Tenn.

Comment
09/28/06
Industry News

Toyota not phased by Alliance talks
TOKYO — The president of Toyota Motor Corp. said his company’s business strategy won’t be affected by a possible three-way alliance between General Motors, Nissan and Renault, according to a news report Thursday.

Regardless of the outcome of the talks, which could result in an automotive juggernaut spanning the globe, “Toyota will keep carrying on its strategy,” Katsuaki Watanabe was reported as saying by Kyodo News agency from France, where he planned to attend the Paris auto show.

Watanabe said it’s more important to focus on quality instead of quantity because sales volume will eventually increase if the product is good, Kyodo said.

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09/28/06
f1

De la Rosa expected Hamilton to race in China
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa admits that he expected newly crowned GP2 champion Lewis Hamilton, who practiced pit stops and race starts at last week's test, to take his McLaren seat for the last grands prix of 2006.

To the 'Marca' newspaper, the Spaniard admitted surprise that he, and not 21-year-old Briton Hamilton, was called up to drive in China.

De la Rosa, 35, is also guaranteed the seat at Suzuka next Sunday, giving rise to speculation that Hamilton could be granted a one-off debut at the Brazilian GP finale.

''I assume that they considered letting him race here, otherwise they would not have taken so long to confirm me,'' Pedro said in Shanghai on Thursday.

''Last week I was 70 per cent certain that I would not be driving here; I really did not expect it.''

Whether Hamilton will be promoted for the Interlagos event depends almost entirely on de la Rosa's performance on the Asian tour.  McLaren chiefs will take their decision only after Japan.

De la Rosa added that he got the nod for the China-Japan double header because of his pace at the Silverstone test, also attended by Hamilton and interpreted by some as a head-to-head shoot out.

He confirmed: ''If it had not gone well for me, then I would not be here now.''

Comment
09/28/06
alms
lmes

Peugeot 908 LMP1 LeMans racer unveiled
On June 14, 2005, Peugeot announced its decision to accept a new technological challenge: to win one of the world’s most prestigious and demanding motor races, the Le Mans 24 Hours, with a car powered by an HDi diesel engine equipped with a diesel particulate filter system (DPFS).

This legendary race, which every year attracts more than 200,000 spectators, will provide Peugeot with an opportunity to express fully the values enshrined in its philosophy: excellence, demonstrated by the choice of endurance coupled with reliability, dynamism, emphasized by a team challenge based on performance, looks, illustrated by the car’s feline profile, and lastly innovation, expressed amongst other ways through the use of technology designed to protect the environment.

The car that will display the Peugeot colors in the Le Mans 24 Hours race and in the “Le Mans Series” in 2007 will be the Peugeot 908. The choice of number comes from, “90” designating an exceptional Peugeot model and 8 the next number in sequence after the 907 concept car.

The choice of body style is that of a closed car, in line with changes to the regulations announced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest on 16 June 2006. Equally there was also a desire to keep a link with the two-times winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1992 and 1993, the Peugeot 905.

While from a technical point of view this solution presents a number of drawbacks (weight, height of the centre of gravity, operational problems), the Peugeot Sport team felt that it also offers advantages, particularly in terms of chassis rigidity and aerodynamics.

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09/28/06
Racing News

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 9-27-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Michael Schumacher (F1) 8.992
2. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.200
3. (9) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.759
4. (4) Matt Kenseth(NASCAR) 7.706
5. (5) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.618
6. (25) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 7.515
7. (7) Dan Wheldon (IRL)* 7.438
8. (6) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.369
9. (18) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 7.156
10. (16) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.747
11. (10) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.606
12. (13) Scott Dixon (IRL)* 6.553
13. (NR) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 6.486
14. (3) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.460
15. (14) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL)* 6.426
16. (11) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.316
17. (26) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.297
18. (15) Helio Castroneves (IRL)* 6.250
19. (NR) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR) 6.096
20. (NR) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.088
 
*Season complete

Dropped out: Tony Stewart (NASCAR), Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Elliott Sadler (NASCAR), Brian Vickers (NASCAR), Dave Blaney (NASCAR)

Provided by STATS Inc.

Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

Comment
09/28/06
track news

MIS to add enhanced seating for 2007
Race fans will see the first of many improvements at Michigan International Speedway in 2007, starting with the enhancement of two grandstands in Turn One, track President Roger Curtis announced today.

MIS will replace two existing grandstands in Turn One with new, fan friendly grandstands. The new grandstands will offer race fans premium seating and amazing sightlines of the two-mile oval.

This ambitious project has already begun and is expected to be completed by the start of the 2007 race season at MIS.

“These new grandstands will be the first of several improvements that will enhance the overall fan experience at MIS,” Curtis said. “We are making it a priority to increase fan amenities and improve the total race experience for all our fans — from the moment they leave their homes to the moment they return after the race and everything in between.”

Seats in the new grandstands are four inches wider than the seats in the old grandstands, and will allow fans to have more leg room. In addition, all of the new seats are bench-style with seat backs.

Read more & Comment...
09/28/06
f1

Johnny Herbert loses F1 job
(GMM)  The Silverstone based team's sporting director, Johnny Herbert, will not have his contract renewed by new owners Spyker.

The former grand prix driver was employed by Midland last year in an image-enhancing role, so as to present a familiar and friendly face predominantly to the British press.

But Herbert, 42, has failed to achieve a contract extension by Dutch carmaker Spyker, who at Monza completed their takeover of the team.

Herbert's contract runs out on Saturday.

''Spyker-MF1 is a new team with a new image,'' the team's manager of business affairs, Ian Phillips, was quoted as saying by Formule 1 RaceReport.

Comment
09/28/06
f1

Paddock news from Shanghai: 2
(GMM)  Honda has turned out in Shanghai with its now-traditional livery change for the Chinese grand prix.

Because Lucky Strike cigarettes are not widely promoted in the country, the team is showing off sponsor BAT's sister brand, 555, by adding an element of blue to the usually white and red car.

The mechanics and drivers are also wearing blue and yellow clothing and overalls, rather than their usual white.

--

Michael Schumacher has refused to respond to championship rival Fernando Alonso's recent claim that the retiring German is the most 'unsporting' driver in formula one history.

After drawing a blank in the official FIA press conference on Thursday, reporters - once again - asked the Ferrari driver in the Shanghai paddock if he had a reply.

''I don't like to comment on people's opinions,'' he said.  ''Everyone is free to say what they want, but it does not mean that you always have to reply.''

Comment
09/28/06
f1

Renault team concludes deal with PVAXX
Renault F1 Team is delighted to announce that it has concluded a multi-year partnership with PVAXX®. Signed last week in London by team Managing Director Flavio Briatore and PVAXX founder Henry Stevens, the agreement will provide PVAXX with a dynamic global platform from which to promote its worldwide product rollout, beginning in the second quarter of 2007.

PVAXX is a material science and technology group operating in a wide range of logistical, household and recreational product fields. They are currently amalgamating the global pallet manufacturing industry, a $30bn market that represents a significant commercial opportunity for the world-class PVAXX vision - a combination of advanced proprietary manufacturing and materials technologies with next-generation environmental responsibility.

Read more & Comment...
09/28/06
Industry News

GM says it gets short end of stick
Shortly after a three-hour-plus meeting Wednesday in which he and General Motors Corp. Chairman Rick Wagoner weighed the possibility of forming an unprecedented automaking alliance, Renault-Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn insisted he remains optimistic despite GM's doubts about the proposal.

For the first time, GM said emphatically that it was not satisfied with the plan as is. GM sees a smaller payoff for its shareholders than for those of Renault and Nissan, GM spokesman Brian Akre said, and is seeking compensation for that imbalance as part of any deal.

"The benefits identified so far are disproportionate among the companies," Akre said. "GM would be looking at ways to alleviate that concern. Speaking hypothetically, that could include a payment, that could include a number of different options."

Ghosn and Wagoner agreed, however, for talks to continue until Oct. 15.  More at Detroit Free Press

Comment
09/28/06
f1

Karthikeyan back with Williams
Oxford, UK - WilliamsF1 today confirmed the re-appointment of Narain Karthikeyan (IND) as one of the team’s official test drivers for the 2007 season.

Karthikeyan, who joined the squad in 2006, will add a vital element of continuity to the team’s test and development programme as WilliamsF1 forms a new technical alliance with Toyota in 2007. Narain piloted the partnership’s first collaborative efforts on track at Silverstone earlier this month with an interim FW28B carrying the Toyota V8 and the new Williams gearbox and he will continue to spearhead the intensive testing programme into 2007 with the launch of the FW29.

As Formula One moves to a single tire supplier for next season, Narain’s detailed Bridgestone experience will be invaluable to the team, given his racing experience with the Toyota-powered Jordan and Bridgestone in 2005 and testing with Williams in 2006.

Read more & Comment...
09/28/06
f1

Paddock news from Shanghai
(GMM)  India's Narain Karthikeyan will stay at Williams as a test driver in 2007, the team announced on Thursday.

--

World champion Fernando Alonso told reporters in China that he is happy to have been beaten in popularity by Michael Schumacher and other rivals in the FIA survey.

''I don't want to be popular,'' said the Spaniard, ''I only want to drive the car and win.''

--

Takuma Sato will take a ten-position penalty after qualifying on Saturday because Super Aguri had to change his faulty Honda 2.4ltr engine.

--

Renault will fit a revised Monza-specification engine to Fernando Alonso's single seater this weekend after an updated version was deemed too risky in terms of reliability.

The Spaniard's power plant failed at the Italian grand prix, but the French team has installed remedies in the original spec for China.

--

BMW-Sauber's rookie 'Friday' driver Sebastian Vettel admitted on Thursday that a racing ride in 2007 may be a 'little early'.

The German is tipped to graduate to GP2 next year, as well as continue testing for BMW.

Comment
09/28/06
track news
cc
V8 Supercars

Lexmark Indy 300 Circuit Under Construction
Work is underway on the Lexmark Indy 300 street circuit for the October 19 to 22 event, with this year's construction schedule including a revamped spectator area in Surfers Paradise, a new pedestrian bridge and increased safety fencing.

Fans will benefit from a new V8 Supercar merchandise area to be located in the Cypress Avenue car park precinct at the southern end of the track in Surfers Paradise.

This fan area will be supplemented by a go-kart track and a big screen to make it another major hub of entertainment.

Access to this V8 Supercar merchandise area will be streamlined with the construction of a new pedestrian bridge to cross over the race track from Cypress Avenue to the inside of the track.

Here there will be a range merchandisers, a showcase of Australian Defense Force artillery vehicles, equipment and recruitment displays, plus some new amenities to be finalized shortly.

Read more & Comment...
09/28/06
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
Midland sale now official
F1 needs 'fresh' supremo - Briatore
Renault agonize over engine choice
Alonso admits 'love' for Renault faded
Michelin vow final push for 2006 title
Alonso piles pressure on Schu

Comment
09/28/06
TV News

USA TV reminders for Friday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

Formula 1 Practice China
2:00am-3:00am (L) SPEED
Formula 1 Practice China
12:00pm-1:00pm (R) SPEED
Inside Grand Prix China
1:00pm-1:30pm SPEED
REAL Sports With Bryant Gumbel -Danica Patrick
1:00pm-2:00pm (R) HBO
NASCAR Live! Kansas City
3:30pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Kansas City
4:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Kansas City
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED

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

Comment
09/28/06
cc

Champ Car Announces 2007 schedule UPDATE We have prepared our 2007 Champ Car detailed schedule page based on the information in this press release plus what we know about the two European races that will be added. Detailed schedule pages for other series will be created as time allows. You can reference all race schedules using the schedules button on the main menu at the top of every page.

09/27/06 The Champ Car World Series will venture into a new era in 2007 with a brand-new car, an influx of new teams, and now a new-look schedule that will see the series visit a number of exciting markets throughout the world. 

The 15-race slate will open and close with inaugural events in Las Vegas and Phoenix respectively, will see the Champ Cars visit historic Mont Tremblant in St. Jovite, Canada for the first time since 1968, and features a groundbreaking event in Zhuhai, China (right) – marking the first time that a major American sports organization will hold a regular-season event in mainland China. 

"We have put together a solid schedule of events for 2007 that will provide great racing for our fans and strong challenges for our teams and drivers," said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. "This schedule, combined with the new DP01 and the arrival of new Champ Car teams, gives us great momentum as we build toward a bright future." 

"Champ Car is one of the top international racing series in the world with a focus on driver and team performances and we are proud to bring it to China," said France Corbeil, CEO FRC USA LLC. "The on-track racing resulting from strategies related to pit stops, power-to-pass, tire choice and driver’s skills, is surely the most fun. We believe the Chinese racing fans will embrace the full Champ Car World Series and a high number of them will watch each race on their preferred TV channel starting next year." 

The 2007 campaign will begin April 8 with the inaugural Vegas Grand Prix, to be run on a downtown street course in the Gaming Capital of the World. The Vegas event kicks off a slate of three races in three weeks, as Vegas is directly followed by the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach April 15 and the second running of the Grand Prix of Houston on Sunday April 22. 

"We are excited to open the Champ Car season with this new world-class event in Las Vegas," said Vegas Grand Prix CEO Jim Freudenberg. "This will be a festival of speed like no other. In a city where first-class events happen every day, we will be expected to maintain that caliber and are prepared to do that." 

Champ Car makes its groundbreaking trip to Zhuhai, China on May 20, before heading back stateside for the June 10 Portland Grand Prix and the 26th running of the Grand Prix of Cleveland. The Cleveland race, which is the longest-running event in the series, launches a second stint of three races in three weeks as teams travel from Cleveland to Circuit Mont Tremblant for a July 1 event on Canada Day. The Mont Tremblant race also starts a run of three consecutive Champ Car races in Canada.

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
alms

Allan McNish quickest at Road Atlanta
Braselton, Ga. – Audi hasn't lost an American Le Mans Series race at Road Atlanta since its debut in 2000. Through the first day of the ninth annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7, it appears the German manufacturer will continue its unbeaten streak.

Allan McNish, racing in Petit Le Mans for the first time since winning in 2000, turned in the fastest time during Wednesday's opening test session for the 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic at 1:12.271 (126.524 mph). McNish's LMP1-championship winning No. 2 Audi R10 TDI, which he will share with Dindo Capello, was 0.485 seconds ahead of the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola of James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace.

McNish's explanation of Audi's success at the Georgia road course was rather simplistic. "It's the same as why Audi has been so successful at all the other venues," said the Scot, who holds the Series qualifying record of 1:10.379 set in 2000. "Here it is amplified. It's a more intense circuit than Sebring, and that makes everything you do more critical."

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
arca

Montoya stock car debut set
Juan Pablo Montoya will compete in his first stock-car event when he attempts to qualify for the Oct. 6 Food World 250 ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway, Chip Ganassi Racing officials announced today.

Montoya tested at the track Monday. The former Formula One star is scheduled to drive the team's No. 42 Nextel Cup car full time next season. The ARCA race will give him a taste of how to compete on a high-banked oval in the draft.

Montoya likely will compete in selected Busch and Nextel Cup events through the end of the season, but his schedule beyond the ARCA race has not been announced.

"This is, I think, a very different oval from anything else we would run normally," Montoya said in a break from testing Monday at Talladega. "Here you are just flat out the whole time and at the end of the race, it is pretty straightforward.

"For me, it is pretty exciting, still, here because I need to learn to run high to run low. You need to run one lap high to build up the speed. All those things are new for me."

Comment
09/27/06
nascar

GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program
Detroit (MI) - GM Racing is in the process of hosting a three-stage Development Driver Evaluation Program. The purpose is to place a group of select young drivers in a controlled environment to give Chevy Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series racing teams the opportunity to meet the drivers and observe their on-track skills.
 
All Chevrolet teams have been invited to attend and observe the drivers.  GM Racing engineers along with Pratt-Miller staff members are in attendance at all three stages to accurately gather data for review by Chevy team representatives.
 
A total of 16 drivers with a wide variety of racing backgrounds were invited to participate in the first two stages of the program: Chase Austin, Colin Braun, Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Jay Gerst, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Lagano, Tim McCreadie, Chad McCumbee, Josh Richards, Jason Sarvis and Kody Swanson.

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
irl

Honda 3.5-Liter V-8 runs smoothly Ethanol
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The IRL IndyCar® Series completed a successful two-day testing session Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway as the new 3.5-liter Honda V-8 ran flawlessly on 100 percent fuel grade ethanol.

Past series champions Sam Hornish Jr. and Tony Kanaan utilized the new engine configuration in their respective racing machines, the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Honda Dallara Firestone and the No. 11 7-Eleven Honda Dallara Firestone, during the first runs at Daytona since 1959 when IndyCars competed on the fame 2.5-mile oval. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Hornish Jr. and Kanaan, along with Vitor Meira, Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon in 2006 model Honda-powered cars, drove on the 2.73-mile road course inside the oval track. 

There were no official times during the two days but Kanaan’s best lap of one minute, 13.4 seconds was unofficially the quickest of the event.

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
a1gp

A1GP confirms 2006/2007 schedule
  Location Circuit Date
1 Netherlands Circuit Park Zandvoort 1 October 2006
2 Czech Republic Auto Motodrom Brno 8 October 2006
3 China Beijing 12 November 2006
4 Malaysia Sepang International Circuit 26 November 2006
5 Indonesia Sentul 10 December 2006*
6 New Zealand Taupo 21 January 2007
7 Australia Eastern Creek 4 February 2007**
8 South Africa Durban (street race) 25 February 2007
9 Brazil 18 March 2007*
10 Mexico Mexico City 25 March 2007
11 China Shanghai International Circuit 15 April 2007
12 Great Britain Brands Hatch  29 April 2007
*     Venue subject to approval
**   Subject to reaching a satisfactory agreement for support of the event.

Comment
09/27/06
nascar

Saturday RaceDay Gets Green Flag
ESPN Radio will pull a new, two-hour NASCAR show into its Saturday morning programming garage on September 30 when Saturday RaceDay starts its engine at 7 a.m. ET. The debut coincides with the third of the final 10 races of the 2006 season -- the “Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup” – then NASCAR Now will remain a weekly, year-round show.

Pat Patterson will serve as host for Saturday RaceDay, usually anchoring from Daytona Beach, Fla., home of NASCAR headquarters and Daytona International Speedway where two of NASCAR’s biggest events – February’s Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 on July 4 weekend – are run. Patterson will also broadcast from the tracks of key races several times each season.

ESPN Radio’s Saturday RaceDay listeners can expect a news-filled opening hour, previewing that weekend’s NASCAR races, and analyzing the previous week’s news and results.  The 8-9 a.m. hour will be more personality “driven,” providing profiles and interviews with NASCAR’s biggest names and newsmakers, and involving listeners via calls and e-mails. 

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
Industry News

7-Eleven tells Chavez to keep his oil
Convenience store operator 7-Eleven Inc. is dropping Venezuela-backed CITGO as its gasoline supplier at more than 2,100 locations and switching to its own brand of fuel.

The retailer said Wednesday it will purchase fuel from several distributors, including Tower Energy Group of Torrance, Calif., Sinclair Oil of Salt Lake City, and Houston-based Frontier Oil Corp.

A spokeswoman for Dallas-based 7-Eleven said its 20-year contract with CITGO Petroleum Corp. ends next week. About 2,100 of 7-Eleven's 5,300 U.S. stores sell gasoline. CITGO is a Houston-based subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, and the foreign parent became a public-relations issue for 7-Eleven because of comments by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez has called President George W. Bush the devil and an alcoholic. The U.S. government has warned that Chavez is a destabilizing force in Latin America.

7-Eleven spokesman Margaret Chabris said that, "Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concern over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez."

Comment
09/27/06
irl

Hornish, Meira crash at Daytona
Sam Hornish brought out the only extended full-course yellow in the morning session at Daytona today when the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske car spun entering the chicane on the backstretch and backed into a tire barrier. Hornish said he didn’t expect how aerodynamic changes would affect the car entering the high-speed chicane.  There also was an extended caution period after Meira's No. 4 Panther Racing car made contact with the SAFER Barrier exiting the chicane. Both drivers were checked at the infield care center and cleared to drive. IndyCar.com

Comment
09/27/06
alms

Liz Halliday Grid Girls auction
She’s won more times than any other female in the history of the American Le Mans Series. She’s finished higher at the historic Mobil 1Twelve Hours of Sebring than any female in history, surpassing greats such as Janet Guthrie and Lyn St. James. She’s fighting, along with teammate Clint Field, for an outright American Le Mans Series championship in LMP2.

Liz Halliday is recognized as the world’s premier female sports car driver and her quest also to become a member of the USA Olympic Equestrian team may make her the world’s top two-sport female athlete. This week’s Salvation Army Grid Kids auction on Ebay.com features three autographed items by this top young talent: 

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
a1gp

Verstappen fans can get ticket refund
The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport organization has expressed its disappointed that Jos Verstappen will not be competing in the 2006/07 season and is concerned that the decision has come just days ahead of the season opener at Circuit Park Zandvoort, the Netherlands.

While driver negotiations and agreements remain the sole responsibility of the individual A1 Team, A1GP CEO Bruce Holmes, joined discussions at the request of A1 Team Netherlands’ seat holder, Jan Lammers, in a bid to secure a successful resolution for all involved. Unfortunately terms between team and driver could not be concluded and a final agreement was not reached.

“A1GP is ultimately a team sport where cars represent their national flag above any individual. There will be a competitive Dutch team on the track in Zandvoort which the sell out crowd will doubtless be enthusiastically supporting to win,” Mr. Holmes said. “We’ve a fantastic weekend of racing ahead.”

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
cc

More on Phoenix race approval
PHOENIX - Brace for a high-speed car race through the streets of downtown Phoenix starting in November 2007.

On a 7-2 vote Tuesday, the City Council gave Arizona Grand Prix the green light to use the downtown streets for a three-day festival of speed and the Champ Car World Series race.

"I'm very, very pleased," said Dale Jensen, one of the promoters of the race who was beaming after council approved the five-year deal. "It's up to us now to follow through on what we've said, and we're confident that we can do that."

The vote ends a fierce battle between competing organizations: Phoenix International Race, which hosts a NASCAR championship race in November, and Champ Car, which runs races all over the country.

PIR executives, who were concerned about losing attendance at their November race in Avondale, and Champ officials agreed to greater time separation between the two events and promoting each other's events.

A sound expert testified that the race would have no noise impact on Maricopa County's emergency call center, which sits on the corner of the racetrack. His testimony was an attempt to assuage concerns critics have raised about adverse effects from the sound of the cars.

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
f1

Hockenheim to return in 2008, 2010
(GMM)  For the first time since 1986, Hockenheim is set to miss out on hosting a grand prix next year, but the German venue will return to the formula one calendar in 2008, a spokesperson said.

German agencies 'Sport-Informations-Dienst' and 'Deutsche Presse Agentur' quoted Hockenheim's Hartmut Tessereaux as explaining that an arrangement with Bernie Ecclestone and the Nurburgring has been reached to annually alternate the German grand prix.

Hockenheim is reportedly already guaranteed races in 2008 and 2010, with Nurburgring set for 2007 and 2009, even if the actual contracts have not yet been signed.

Hockenheim mayor Dieter Gummer said: ''We are glad that we could reach an agreement.''

Comment
09/27/06
irl

IRL goes under lights for season opener
Homestead-Miami Speedway president Curtis Gray announced today that the track will kick off the IndyCar® Series season for the sixth consecutive year on March 24, 2007.  And for the first time in the history of the IndyCar Series, the season will open with a night race held under the lights, promising fans even more excitement than ever before.

“The only thing more spectacular than watching these cars race at 200 miles per hour is watching them race at night,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway president Curtis Gray.  “South Florida is famous for its fast-paced nightlife, so it was only fitting for the Speedway to host this event under the lights for the first time.  We encourage everyone to order their tickets early and guarantee their spot to kick off the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.”

Open-wheel racing’s biggest stars will meet again to race side-by-side at speeds over 200 miles-per-hour on the Speedway’s state-of-the-art, 18-20-degree variable banking. In March, the Speedway was the site of the closest finish of the 2006 IndyCar Series season, when Dan Wheldon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing edged Miami-resident Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske to win by just .0147 seconds. Wheldon and Castroneves are just two of the drivers expected to compete on March 24.

“We were the first open-wheel series to race under the lights and now we are the first to open our season under the lights,” said Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer of the Indy Racing League. “Homestead-Miami Speedway has always produced exciting races and close finishes. Miami continues to be an important market, especially with the number of IndyCar Series drivers that consider it home.”

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
cc

Nationwide news blitz follows Legge crash
On Sunday, viewers sat transfixed as they saw the video of Champ Car World Series rookie Katherine Legge’s (#20 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) violent-looking crash at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America, and cheered as she emerged unharmed.

On Monday, everyone wanted to talk to her about it.

Legge, who is the first female driver to run full-time in the Champ Car World Series, appeared on every major network morning show in the U.S. as well as the biggest morning show in her native Britain in the days after the crash as viewers wanted to hear from the woman that walked away unscathed from the car-shredding accident.

The PKV Racing pilot was interviewed on CBS’ The Early Show, NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s Good Morning America to start her day, and also appeared on ABC’s World News Tonight in its ‘First Person’ segment. Legge also appeared on Inside Edition, The Insider and Entertainment Tonight as well as on CNBC’s The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch.

Katherine also appeared in front of her home-country fans this morning with an interview on GMTV and was also interviewed live on ESPN’s Cold Pizza. In addition, ABC affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis along with NBC affiliate WTHR did lengthy interviews with the Indianapolis-based driver.

Upon completion of her interviews, Legge will get back to the business of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford she heads to Sebring International Raceway for a test session on Friday. Her and the rest of the Champ Car World Series field will then head to Australia for the 13th race of the 2006 schedule – the October 20-22 Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise. Champ Car

Comment
09/27/06
Industry News

GM Statement on alliance discussions
General Motors, Renault and Nissan today said that a meeting was held between Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Renault, SAS and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Rick Wagoner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, Corp., regarding ongoing discussions concerning the possibility of creating an industrial alliance among these three companies.

Through the work of the three study teams, our companies continue to explore the potential opportunities of an industrial alliance. The teams are conducting a thorough and objective analysis of potential synergies between all three companies with a focus on how an alliance could generate significant shareholder value for each company. Following today's meeting, it has been confirmed that the teams will continue the studies through to the planned mid-October completion date.

No further information will be provided at this time.  GM

Comment
09/27/06
a1gp

Hinchcliffe to lead A1 Team Canada in Holland
Montreal, Québec – Toronto’s James Hinchcliffe, fresh off the back of finishing 10th overall and highest ranked Canadian in his rookie Champ Car Atlantic Championship season, now heads to Circuit Park Zandvoort in Holland for the opening round of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October. 

James (19) will lead A1 Team Canada’s challenge in Round 1 as 24 nations gather at the start of the 13-round A1GP World Cup of Motorsport which pitches nation against nation in identical 550bhp V8-powered A1GP race cars from October through to April visiting the likes of Australia, China, South Africa, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and Great Britain along the way.

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
cca

2007 Atlantic champion to again earn $2M
INDIANAPOLIS – There was no price that could be put on the smile that adorned the face of French racer Simon Pagenaud (#15 Team Australia/Location U/Cons. Gen. Vienne) after he captured the Yokohama Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda title last Sunday in the season finale at Road America.

Secure in the knowledge that he had just won the championship in one of the most challenging series in all of motorsports, Pagenaud was ecstatic because he was that much closer to his dream of competing in the Champ Car World Series. Thanks to the unprecedented $2 million Atlantic champion’s bonus put in place this season to help the series title-winner secure a ride in Champ Car in ’07, the French racer will get the opportunity to fulfill his dream next year.

Another talented young Atlantic racer will get a chance to experience that same kind of joy in 2007 with the announcement that the $2 million Champ Car incentive bonus will return next season for the Atlantic series champion.
At the annual post-season Atlantic Awards Banquet and Celebration last Sunday evening Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven congratulated all of this season’s competitors and informed the packed house that the $2 million prize would be in effect again in 2007.

“We’re happy to announce that once again the Atlantic series champion will earn a bonus of $2 million to be used toward competing in the Champ Car World Series in 2008,” said Kalkhoven, whose staunch support of the Atlantic Championship, along with the rest of Champ Car management, keyed a strong resurgence by the series this season. “The Atlantic Championship is crucial to the overall development and growth of Champ Car. Atlantics cultivates the next generation of great Champ Car racers and it’s important that we make sure that the door is wide open for the top Atlantic drivers to graduate to Champ Car. The champion’s bonus was put in place to make sure that the top Atlantic racer will have every opportunity to succeed at the next level. Simon certainly earned that opportunity with his performance this season and we want to continue to provide that incentive as we move forward.”

With the impressive championship prize and a dynamic new competition package featuring the new Swift 016.a Atlantic car powered by the new 300-horsepower Mazda-Cosworth racing engine, the Atlantic Championship experienced an influx of new talent from across the globe in 2006. New teams joined existing Atlantic squads and 45 drivers from 14 different countries worldwide competed in series action this season.

“The revitalized Atlantic series attracted some of the top teams and drivers from around the world,” added Kalkhoven. “The result was an extremely exciting and competitive championship. With the series champion’s bonus in place again next season and another talented crop of young rising stars looking to make their mark on their way to Champ Car, Atlantics will continue to be the best destination for developing open-wheel racers.”  Champ Car

Comment
09/27/06
track news

More Seats Added To Homestead-Miami
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Homestead-Miami Speedway will construct temporary grandstand seating near turn four for the NASCAR Ford Championship Weekend at the track Nov. 17-19. Tickets went on sale Saturday for those seats. This year's season finale experienced its earliest race sellout ever, nearly five months prior to the event.

"Since we announced a sellout in June, there have been non-stop ticket requests from passionate sports fans in South Florida and across the country," said track president Curtis Gray. " We're excited that we can help meet such a strong demand."

For ticket information, call 1-866-409-RACE or log on to www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com or www.racetickets.com.

Comment
09/27/06
starmazda

Carrio fastest in Unofficial Practice
Braselton, Georgia. After a three week hiatus the drivers of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear have taken to the Road Atlanta circuit as practice begins for Round Eleven, the penultimate round of the 2006 championship. Under sunny skies, a marked contrast from their race at Mosport as the remnants of tropical storm Ernesto swept through, thirty-six competitors participated in today's three unofficial practice sessions, with championship points leader Adrian Carrio posting the fastest time of the day.

Driving the #14 World Speed Motorsports Rockford Fosgate Mazda, the seventeen-year old Carrio lapped the 2.54-mile, twelve turn circuit in a time of 1:20.908 (113.017 MPH) in the first of the day's three practice sessions. Ron White, from Santa Clara, California, topped the final session, posting the second fastest time of the day with a lap of 1:21.065 (112.798 MPH) in the #69 Ross Smith Racing Maxwell Paper Products Mazda. Mark Wilkins, led the second practice session and finished with the third fastest time overall at 1:21.531 (112.154 MPH) in the #3 AIM Autosport Bluetooth Mazda.

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
nascar
TV News

NASCAR signs deal with ESPN International
ESPN International will be the exclusive international sales agent for all US motor racing series NASCAR’s event programming.

The deal is part of ESPN’s recently signed eight-year contract for NASCAR rights in the USA, starting February 2007.

ESPN International will handle all television syndication rights outside of North America and help identify broadcast partnerships on a country-by-country basis. The rights include the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series, including live rights, qualifying and Happy Hour, from February until November.

Comment
09/27/06
irl

IRL cars run on 100% Ethanol for first time
A new era was unleashed Tuesday for IndyCar racing.

The new Honda 3.5-liter V-8 racing engine made a successful debut on the 2.73-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway with two cars making a “trouble free” testing session.

It marked the first time in open-wheel competition that IndyCar engines ran on 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol as former series champions Tony Kanaan and Sam Hornish Jr. made impressive runs with the IndyCar Series’ latest engine configuration. The IRL IndyCar® Series will be the first major auto racing series to utilize a renewable fuel source in all of its racing cars during the 2007 racing campaign. 

Read more & Comment...
09/27/06
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
De la Rosa 'can't wait' for Chinese GP
Red Bull confirm Ammermuller for two races
Turkey to appeal $5m FIA fine - reports
Nurburgring to host only German F1 race in 2007
Kimi quiet about Ferrari move
Cosworth lose tech chief Hitzinger
Spyker-MF1 meet Ferrari at Maranello

Comment
09/27/06
a1gp

Verstappen will not race in front of home fans
A1 Team Netherlands and Jos Verstappen had already agreed on most of the details for the upcoming A1GP season, but yesterday evening Huub Rothengatter, Jan Lammers and Bruce Holmes, A1GP CEO, did not succeed in closing the deal.

The biggest breaking point proved to be a guarantee that was demanded by Huub Rothengatter on behalf of Jos Verstappen. Huub's argument was; "We want to avoid the hassle of last year. Jan Lammers responded with the following question; "Huub, explain to me. Do you mean hassle with the fact that Jos is popular again, has won a race and has close to 1 million dollars in his bank account?

What followed was an evasive answer. Jan then asked; "Huub, what would you rather do, another season like last year's, or don't drive". Huub's answer was very clear; 'don't drive'.

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09/26/06
cc

Live from Phoenix - race approved UPDATE #3 Downtown Phoenix is getting back on the racing circuit.

The Phoenix City Council said "yes" late Tuesday to a request by Grand Prix Arizona Festival organizers Dale Jensen and Brad Yonover to hold Champ Car street races in the southeastern portion of the downtown beginning in November 2007.

Race promoters initially floated the idea in May proposing the race as an anchor for a three-day festival in downtown Phoenix. Controversy swirled around the plan from the beginning, with forces at Phoenix International Raceway heading the opposition. The main objection was proximity of the proposed Champ Car race dates to PIR's NASCAR events.

The council gave the green light to the race in a seven-to-two vote following a two-hour session that included a staff report recommending approval of the proposal, subject to certain conditions related to costs, noise and other considerations. Dissenting votes on the five-year agreement came from Peggy Bilsten and Tom Simplot.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio also vocalized his opposition to the race threatening to park a tank in the middle of the track.

Yonover said he was "cautiously optimistic" going into Tuesday's meeting after coming to terms on race dates with PIR. Race dates are Nov. 30 and Dec. 1-2 for 2007 and Nov. 21-23 for 2008.

The next step, Yonover, said is to negotiate a final agreement with the city spelling out details. He said he didn't expect any of the remaining concerns to jeopardize the deal. Grand Prix Arizona is footing 100 percent of the costs, he added.

Yonover said he expects the 2007 race and related activities to draw at least 150,000 spectators -- including about 40 to 50 percent from out of town. In addition to the Champ Car race, the festival will include supporting races and exhibitions, such as celebrity and drifting competitions, as well as food and informational exhibits.  Phoenix Business Journal

09/26/06 It took 2.5 hours of debate but the Phoenix Champ Car street race is now official. Phoenix International Raceway's Bryan Sperber didn't look too happy afterwards. Champ Car race promoter Dale Jensen just had too much power in Phoenix, even for NASCAR and the France family, who are not used to getting beat by that pesky Champ Car, which is like the Energizer Bunny that keeps running, and running, and running. The City of Phoenix did not want to let this opportunity go.

09/26/06 The Phoenix race has just been approved by the City Council.  More later....

09/26/06 Support at the Phoenix City Council meeting looks very favorable for the Champ Car race to get approved this afternoon. There is a big turnout of people. The vote will come soon. Stay tuned....

Comment
09/26/06
arca

ARCA Driver Jumps Through Foe’s Windshield
A wild fight broke out during a stock-car race in which a driver took a running leap and jumped with both feet through the plastic windshield of another car.

One driver tossed his helmet at the other, and the two then traded punches. Both were suspended indefinitely.

The mayhem Sunday began on the 112th lap of the Great Lakes Chevy Dealers/Budweiser Glass City 200 at Toledo Speedway.

A car driven by Michael Simko hit the wall after he dueled for position with Don St. Denis. Simko got out of his car and ran toward St. Denis' car, which by that time was stopped on the track, according to a video and an account on the Web site of the Automobile Racing Club of America. The club sanctioned the race.

At a full run, Simko jumped through the windshield. Simko then fell from the car to the ground, got up and hurled his helmet at St. Denis, who was still in the driver's seat.  More from AP report (Video)

Comment
09/26/06
irl

Indy Car’s first day of Daytona testing
Panther Racing's Vitor Meira turned the first official IndyCar Series lap at Daytona International Speedway as the series began a two-day compatibility test on the 10-turn, 2.73-mile road course.

Meira was joined by three-time IndyCar Series champion and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr., 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and 2003 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon. Dan Wheldon, the 2005 IndyCar Series champion, is scheduled to join the test on Sept. 27.

"It's pretty cool (to be here)," said Dixon, who won here in January when he teamed with Wheldon and Casey Mears to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona. " I think it's a very special day for the IndyCar Series to bring an open-wheel car to Daytona. It's definitely exciting to race around here and drive on the banking. The difference from when I have been here in the past in the 24-hour cars is a lot different."

Kanaan and Hornish debuted the 3.5-liter Honda Indy V-8 engine powered by 100 fuel-grade ethanol during the test, and had little trouble adjusting to the new package, which will be used by the entire field in 2007. 

Read more & Comment...
09/26/06
nascar

Record purse for Lowe's race
Lowe's Motor Speedway officials have announced that NASCAR drivers will be competing for more than $6 million in prize money during the Oct. 13 race weekend at the track.

The record $6,322,23 purse for the Oct. 13 Dollar General 300 Busch Series race and the Oct. 14 Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup Series race is $188,425 more than last year's events paid.

The Bank of America 500 purse is worth $5,078,500, and the Dollar General 300 purse is set at $1,243,731.

Comment
09/26/06
cc

Legge to appear on Early Show UPDATE #3 Two links for those who want to see Legge's interviews this morning:
http://tinyurl.com/s6uno
http://tinyurl.com/nje5z


09/26/06 Katherine gave excellent interviews on The Early Show and Today Show this morning.  As you can imagine, the hosts on both shows were amazed that she survived that horrific accident.  She told how all her bits and pieces were still intact, and that her insides felt like a washing machine during the incident.  She said that Champ Car builds a very strong race car, and that the Safety and Medical teams do a fantastic job.  Katherine said if her crew could have repaired the car, she would have liked to have finished the race!  She's looking forward to racing next month in Australia.  She explained Ford Motor Company's Warriors in Pink program to promote breast cancer awareness month.  She was an excellent ambassador for Champ Car.

09/26/06 Legge will be live on The Today Show at approximately 6:40 a.m. and then on The Early Show at approximately 7:30 a.m.

09/25/06 Katherine Legge will be on The Early Show on CBS tomorrow morning between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. ET to talk about racing, her accident at Elkhart Lake and her wins last season in the Champ Car Atlantic Series.

Comment
09/26/06
track news

Superbikes return to Mid-Ohio
The AMA Superbike Championship returns to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the second time in 2006 to crown its champion at the inaugural AMA Superbike Shootout, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1.

The Lexington, Ohio, road course has long hosted the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire, a mid-season doubleheader for the Superbike series.  The AMA Superbike Shootout will be the track’s first time hosting the season finale.  A unique qualifying format has been designed specifically for this championship-deciding event. 

The qualifying format will feature three Dunlop Tire Heat Races and a Dunlop Tire Last Chance Qualifier.  The top five riders from each heat race and the last-chance qualifier will make up the grid for the exclusive 20-rider final.  Those riders not making the final will compete in a consolation race immediately following the Superbike Shootout.

The Dunlop Tire qualifying races will be held on Saturday of race weekend, while the AMA Superbike Shootout and consolation race will be run on Sunday.  In addition to six Superbike races, the weekend also will feature season-ending events in the AMA Supersport, Superstock and Formula Xtreme classes.  A select group of amateur riders from the previous weekend’s AMA Road Race Grand Championships also will compete in a special AMA Sports 600cc Superstock Shootout on Sunday. 

“This is truly the signature moment of the season for the AMA Superbike Championship, and we’re pleased to join the AMA in bringing it to life,” said TrueSports, Incorporated President Michelle Trueman Gajoch.  “The championship chase couldn’t possibly be more exciting, and the fans are in for an exciting weekend from start to finish.”

Comment
09/26/06
cc
nascar

Champ Car, ISC reach compromise in Phoenix
The finish line is in sight for a proposed Indy-style street race that would send cars speeding as fast as 180 mph through the streets of downtown Phoenix.

A last-minute compromise helped race promoters shake their staunchest opponent.

Representatives of Arizona Grand Prix, the group promoting the Champ Car World Series race, and Phoenix International Raceway, which hosts the NASCAR Checker Auto Parts 500, agreed on a greater time separation between the two events. 
 
"We no longer oppose the race," said Jason Rose, a spokesman for PIR.

Both sides ended their fierce battle over whether city officials should wave a green flag for the race that would start in November 2007.

The last hurdle for this race is the City Council. But that is expected to be easier now that the opposition has been appeased.

The compromise came less than a day before today's City Council vote on the fate of the street race and on the heels of a failed attempt to negotiate a similar truce last week.

"I'm grateful," Mayor Phil Gordon said. "They've made this a win-win for the entire Valley."

If approved, the Champ Car race would bring racecars to a two-mile track winding around Chase Field, US Airways Center, Phoenix Convention Center and other landmarks. The three-day festival of speed, concerts and family events would take place annually for at least five years.

Steve Roman, a spokesman for Grand Prix Arizona, said that, with council approval of the race, the compromise would mean:

• The 2007 race would be moved to Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 2, which is 21 days from its original proposed date.

• The 2008 race would take place on Nov. 21, 22, and 23, two weeks after the NASCAR race in Avondale.

• The two groups also agreed to promote each other's events, work on "appropriate dates" for races after 2008 and go to arbitration if they are deadlocked on race dates.

The street race was initially proposed to take place less than a week after the NASCAR race, which is what prompted PIR executives to oppose it.  More at Arizona Republic

Comment
09/26/06
f1

Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE
Klien would consider works test seat
Alonso never considered Ferrari switch
Schu signs new sponsor for $23m

09/26/06
Schu warns media off 'R'-word
Schu denies team switch rumors
Ammermuller set for Red Bull drive
Brother 'accepts' Schu's quit decision
Montoya makes NASCAR test debut
Schu is not Ferrari's new Todt - manager
Carlos Sainz tips Schu to win title
Rain forecast for Chinese GP
FIA publish results of fans' survey

Comment
09/26/06
nascar

BOA and Lowe's to honor champions
Bank of America and Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS) today announced their plans to honor past champions from this marquee event on the NASCAR schedule prior to the Bank of America 500 on Saturday, October 14. The special, pre-race ceremony will showcase many of the greatest moments at LMS, and will celebrate the thrilling achievements of both former and current drivers, including Junior Johnson, Fred Lorenzen, Buddy Baker, Charlie Glotzbach, Bobby and Donnie Allison, Richard Petty, Benny Parsons, Darrell Waltrip, Harry Gant, Rusty Wallace, Geoffrey Bodine, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon.

"These racing legends, whose achievements embody our company's values of teamwork, leadership and winning, have had an important impact on the sport, contributing to its success and helping to build the loyalty of its fans," said Ray Bednar, Sponsorship Executive for Bank of America. "It is our great privilege to use our sponsorship of the Bank of America 500 to mark their victories at Lowe's Motor Speedway and to celebrate their place in the annals of racing."

Read more & Comment...
09/26/06
nascar

NASCAR Dover TV rating
NASCAR TV ratings continued to tumble this past weekend where the live broadcast from Dover on TNT garnered a 2.7 overnight rating, down 7% from last year's 2.9 overnight rating.

Comment
09/26/06
nascar
ARCA

Montoya’s first stock car test UPDATE Montoya was 6th fastest in his stock car debut against a pretty lightweight field:

 Driver Time Speed
1 Mark Mitchell  51.000 187.768
2 Mario Gosselin  51.070 187.507
3 Cale Gale  51.140 187.251
4 Doug Reid  51.190 187.068
5 Steve Wallace  51.220 186.958
6 Juan Pablo Montoya  51.300 186.667
7 Jason Keller  51.300 186.667
8 Johnny Jackson  51.330 186.558
9 Phillip McGilton  51.350 186.485
10 Justin Marks 51.500 185.942
11 Justin Allgaier  51.510 185.906
12 Matt Hagans  51.610 185.545
13 Michael Faulk  51.770 184.972
14 Kelly Bires  51.870 184.615
15 Blake Bjorkland  51.890 184.580
16 Chase Miller  51.920 184.438
17 Michael McDowell  51.950 184.331
18 Frank Kimmel  52.030 184.048
19 Justin South  52.050 183.977
20 Craig Butts  52.190 183.483
21 Skip Cummings  52.200 183.168
22 Bryan Silas  52.310 183.063
23 Justin Diercks  52.330 182.993
24 Ricky Sanders  52.400 182.748
25 Jeremy Clements  52.620 181.984
26 Mike Harmon  52.680 181.159
27 Butch Jarvis  53.320 179.595
28 Pierre Bourque  53.360 179.460
29 Brett Rowe  53.450 179.158
30 Amanda Gogel  54.850 174.585
31 Gabi DeCarlos  56.150 170.543

09/25/06 The process of transforming Juan Pablo Montoya from a top-flight Formula One driver into a NASCAR regular began Monday as the South American driver participated in an Automobile Racing Club of America test session at Talladega Superspeedway.

Montoya ran laps in a Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge Charger as Ganassi, crew chief Donnie Wingo and much of the Ganassi hierarchy looked on. Although official speeds were not released, team members said Montoya ran laps in the 187-mile-per-hour range.

"I went out on the track for the first time, and it was like, 'Oh, my God,'" Montoya said. "I went into [Turn] 3 and 4 and started to lift, but I said, 'Oh, let's just try it.' I went into 1 pretty fast. They told me running flat [full speed around the track] here was easy. I did it, and it felt pretty quick.

"The car moves around a lot more than I'm used to, but I'm getting there. It will take some time."  Scenedaily.com

Comment
09/26/06
nascar

Who's Hot - Kansas
• Jeff Gordon has scored two top-five finishes in the first two races in The Chase, the only driver to do so.
• Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin have each scored top-10 finishes in the first two races in The Chase.
• Jeff Gordon has climbed from ninth to second in the point standings in the last two races. His second-place points position is his highest in 2006 and highest since he ranked second after Darlington in May 2005. The last time he led the point standings was after his victory in the 2005 Daytona 500.
• Denny Hamlin has posted 15 top-10 finishes this season and ranks fourth in the Championship point standings after the second race of The Chase. He is second in points earned over the past 10 races - earning 1,482 points – just three less than Kevin Harvick over the 10-race period. Hamlin remains on track with other notable rookies including Ryan Newman who posted 22 top-10 finishes in his rookie season and Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart who both posted 21 top-10 finishes in their rookie seasons.
• Matt Kenseth has posted 13 top-five finishes in 2006 and ranks third in the point standings.
• Matt Kenseth has posted six straight top-10 finishes, the longest current streak.
• Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth have each scored a top-15 finish in 23 of the 28 races in 2006, the most of all drivers (82 percent).
• Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth are the only drivers to score 18 top-10 finishes in the first 28 races of 2006.
• Kasey Kahne has won five races in 2006, the most of all drivers.
• Denny Hamlin has scored top-15 finishes in 18 of the last 19 races.
• Mark Martin has been running at the finish in the last 35 races, since Kansas one year ago, the longest current streak.
• Dave Blaney has posted three straight top-15 finishes and four in his last five races. NASCAR

Comment
09/26/06
cc

Road America replay
Reminder that the Grand Prix of Road America Champ Car race will be replayed on Wednesday, September 27 at 12:00 pm-2:30 pm ET on SPEED.

Comment
09/26/06
irl

IRL cars to run 'parachutes' at Daytona
This Indy Star article talks about how Daytona was too dangerous for Indy Cars because of the transition between the turns and the straights. 

Ordinarily, Indy cars could reach 230 mph on such an oval track, but in this case the cars will be equipped with larger wings that will reduce speeds in the faster sections but increase them in the slower infield section. Wings act much like cars pulling parachutes, adding air drag. In this case, the extra resistance equates to about 2,500 pounds.

Hence, the 185 mph limit. [Editor's Note: 100% throttle steep banking driving requires zero driver skill.]

"They'll be flat (on the accelerator), easy, coming off the fourth corner," Ganassi Racing engineer Mitch Davis said of the drivers. "With those wings, the IRL can make the cars as fast or as slow as they want them.

"This should be just about right, but that's what the test is for."

The 31-degree banking will be the steepest Indy cars have faced since 1959, seven degrees more than Texas Motor Speedway and 11 degrees more than Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway's corners are banked at nine degrees.
IRL officials will use the next two days as a precursor to at least a winter testing program in the future. But if all goes well and track officials agree, Indy cars could have a road course race at the facility as early as the 2008 season.

Comment
09/26/06
f1
cc

F1's Jani confirms Champ Car move
(GMM)  Neel Jani will shortly be confirmed as a full time runner in the Champ Car category for 2007, following Christian Klien's decision to turn down the drive and focus on F1.

Jani, the 22-year-old from Switzerland, has been the 'Friday' driver for Red Bull Racing's sister team Toro Rosso in the 2006 season.

''I had hoped to drive in formula one next year,'' Jani said, ''but I did not want to be a test driver for ever so at the moment the Champ Car series is my best option.''

According to Switzerland's Blick newspaper, he has signed a one-year contract, and later this year will once again represent his country in the 'A1' category.

Comment
09/26/06
cc

Healthy crowd at Road America UPDATE #4 A tip of the hat to the Champ Car fans at Road America over the weekend. All 61,031 of you.

You refused to let two days of rain and a day of sun, but cool temperatures — not to mention a Packers game and other interesting NFL matchups — dissuade you from venturing to the historic racetrack in Elkhart Lake.

You also came back a year after the series didn't.

I've sometimes questioned whether Champ Car (drivers excluded) truly wants to be at Road America, the rustic venue that will never be confused with the likes of Long Beach, Calif., or Surfers Paradise, Australia.

There's little question, however, what the series' fans want.

A total of 61,031 made that pretty clear. The Sheboygan Press

09/25/06 The 61K represented an increase of about 25% over 2004, when Champ Car last raced at Road America.

09/25/06 A reader adds, Just wondering if the Champ Car attendance figures includes children under 12.  I took my son to Road America this weekend and he is under 12 so no ticket was required for his entrance. While the obvious increase in attendance was noticeable, so was the amount of children attending the race!  It was fantastic to see so many young fans who were decked out in Champ Car apparel as well as their favorite Champ Car driver/team apparel.

We had a fantastic weekend and the hospitality of the Champ Car employees was overwhelming.  My son (already an avid CC fan) asked if he could bring his friends next year. Looks like I'm going to have to rent an RV in 2007... Pat Toner

PS. We witnessed Katherine Legge lift up a young fan in the Paddock in order to pose with her for a picture - less than 45 minutes after we witnessed Katherine in one of the most horrific auto racing accidents ever. Simply amazing!

09/24/06 Attendance was announced as 61,301 for the weekend, but with the rain Friday and Saturday, the majority of the 61K attended Sunday.

09/24/06 Sunday has dawned bright, clear and cool here in Elkhart Lake and the fans have responded. This is the largest Champ Car attendance at Road America in quite some time, which bodes well for the future of this popular venue.

Comment
09/25/06
f1

Briatore slams Mercedes and Toyota
Flavio Briatore has launched a scathing attack on McLaren and Toyota for wasting money and providing little to the Formula One show, claiming they are more interested in developing secret gizmos for their cars than trying to make races more thrilling.

"Formula One is a big TV event and making it as good as it can be is our business," he told F1 Racing.

"Technology is important but we need to take more care of our customers - the people who watch the television event - and that's why F1 should be all about entertainment.

"Hollywood needs top-class engineers, cameramen and special effects but those guys aren't what Hollywood is about. They just make it happen," he said.

"Unfortunately in some other teams the senior people started as engineers - and engineers don't care about making F1 a successful business.

"They care about achieving their own happiness from finding a new aerodynamic step or something. The people in charge should be businessmen, not ex-engineers. Nothing costs more money and delivers less entertainment than hidden technology.

"F1 is a very special dream which excites people's imagination. Where does that dream come from? Not from the complexities inside the gearbox."

Comment
09/25/06
nascar

Elliott reunited with Melling
Twenty-Five years after they first became one of the most dominating duos in NASCAR history, Bill Elliott and the Melling family reunite in the Nextel Cup Series Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods October 1, 2006 at the Kansas Speedway. Mark Melling, now CEO of the Melling Family business, made the announcement today about the two getting back together with Melling providing a one race sponsorship of the #37 R&J Racing Dodge. The car will feature a retro red and white paint scheme from Bills first year driving with Melling funding in 1982. Over a span of a decade with Melling backing(1982-1991) Bill racked up 39 poles, 34 victories, the 1985 Winston Million Dollar Bonus, and the 1988 Championship. Because of this success, Mark Mellings late father Harry Melling was named one of the 40 most important people in NASCAR history in 1997. Mark Melling noted he is thrilled to associate with the #37 team and sponsor their entry at the Kansas Race for the 25th anniversary season of Mellings original relationship with Bill Elliott. Melling Engine Parts is a world-class designer, manufacturer, and distributor of oil pumps and internal engine parts to the automotive aftermarket, performance, and original Equipment industries. Our catalog contains oil pumps, camshafts, timing components, valve train, and cylinder sleeves. More info at melling.com. Melling Engine Parts PR

Comment
09/25/06
cc

Meeting to be held in support of Phoenix race
The Phoenix City Council has called a special meeting on Tuesday, September 26 to decide whether the proposed Champ Car street race will be held in 2007.  The special meeting will be held on Tuesday in the Phoenix City Council Chambers at 200 West Jefferson.  The doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the meeting convenes at 2:00 p.m.

Grand Prix Arizona will be a three-day festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday featuring major concerts, community displays, big name boxing as well as a nationally and internationally televised Champ Car race, all of which brings tremendous exposure to Downtown Phoenix.  Similar Champ Car festivals draw more than 150,000 fans to their events and it is estimated that the Grand Prix will bring more than $65 million in economic impact to the Phoenix region.

The promoters of the Grand Prix also plan to develop a privately funded $300 million entertainment district in the vicinity of Chase Field and US Airways Center.  They are NOT asking for any subsidy from the City of Phoenix - they are only asking for a permit to stage the Festival.

Comment
09/25/06
irl

Andretti Green Racing Reorganizes Executive Team
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Andretti Green Racing, the winningest team in Indy Racing League history, announced today it has restructured its executive management in response to the recent growth of the company. 

Co-owners Michael Andretti (right), Kim Green and Kevin Savoree have all assumed new roles as part of the move. Andretti is now Andretti Green Racing's chairman, while Green moves from the position of president to that of chief executive officer. Savoree, who was chief operating officer (COO) and vice president finance, will continue as COO and is also now president of Andretti Green. 

In addition, J-F Thormann, a member of the board of directors of Andretti Green since it began competing in 2003, has assumed the newly-created position of executive vice president. The position includes managerial, administrative, and business development duties at Andretti Green, as well as responsibilities as the owners' representative with Andretti Green's recently-announced single-car entry into the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). 

Andretti Green Racing, which won the 2004 and 2005 IndyCar Series championships and the 2005 Indianapolis 500, has won 27 Indy Racing League events in four seasons, including 23 in the IndyCar Series and four in the Indy Pro Series. 

Read more & Comment...
09/25/06
irl

The IndyCar® Series will return to Japan in 2007.
The fifth Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi will be held on Saturday, April 21, bringing the confirmed number of races to 12.

"We look forward to our return to Twin Ring Motegi," said Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. "The staff there has done an incredible job in hosting our drivers, teams, staff and sponsors. Motegi is particularly important to us, as it gives both Honda and Firestone an opportunity to showcase our sport in front of its corporate leaders."

The unique 1.5-mile oval located in Motegi, Japan - 90 miles northeast of Tokyo - has hosted IndyCar Series racing since 2003. It was the first venue outside the United States to host the IndyCar Series.

The IndyCar Series has previously announced the following events for 2007:
. April 1 - Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.*
. April 29 - Kansas Speedway
. May 27 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway*
. June 3 - The Milwaukee Mile*
. June 9 - Texas Motor Speedway
. June 24 - Iowa Speedway*
. June 30 - Richmond International Raceway
. July 8 - Watkins Glen International*
. July  14 - Nashville Superspeedway*
. Aug. 11 - Kentucky Speedway*
. Sept. 9 - Chicagoland Speedway
The remainder of the 2007 IndyCar Series schedule will be announced at a later date.

Comment
09/25/06
nascar

NASCAR announces '07 testing schedule
NASCAR has set its 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing schedule that includes seven different venues that will provide the teams an opportunity to prepare for the various track layouts and surfaces that they will face over the course of the season. NASCAR determined the test schedule with the input and cooperation of each of the teams’ crew chiefs.

The testing sessions begin at Daytona International Speedway with the NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona, beginning Monday, Jan. 8 running through Wednesday, Jan. 10 for approximately half the teams. Thursday, Jan. 11 is the rain date, if necessary. Test sessions will resume Monday, Jan. 15 through Wednesday, Jan. 17, with Thursday, Jan. 18 as the rain date for the remaining teams. Test sessions at Daytona are scheduled for 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., weather permitting, with an hour lunch break from noon until 1 p.m.

The remaining six tracks that will host test sessions are:

* Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Jan. 29-30 (rain date is Jan. 31)
* Bristol Motor Speedway – Feb. 28-March 1 (rain date is March 2)
* Richmond International Raceway – April 3-4 (rain date is April 5)
* Lowe’s Motor Speedway – May 7-8 (rain date is May 9)
* Dover International Speedway – May 14-15 (rain date is May 16)
* Talladega Superspeedway – Sept. 10-11 (rain date is Sept. 12)

NASCAR instituted a new track testing policy in 2006 that pre-sets a schedule for when and where NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tests are to be conducted. The scheduled tests are the only opportunities teams will have to test at NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tracks. The policy was implemented to serve as an aid to maintain better overall competitive balance for the teams and contain costs.

“NASCAR received input and recommendations from each of the crew chiefs that was valuable to our decision making process,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president for competition. “The seven tracks that were selected provide the teams with a wide variety of layouts, surfaces, and track characteristics that should provide them with an opportunity to have success in 2007.”

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09/25/06
tv news

SPEED re-signs Earnhardt
SPEED is bringing back Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Back in the Day for another season, signing a deal with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series star’s production company, Hammerhead Entertainment, for another 13 episodes of the 30-minute homage to NASCAR races of the 1960s and ‘70s. New shows will debut during Daytona Speedweeks in 2007.

“I think it’s important to show our history of the sport and to have a platform like Back in the Day to share them with everybody is cool,” Earnhardt Jr., said. “We’re going through the library of shows for another season and will add a few surprises along the way.  I’m looking forward to get it started.”

Season One DVDs of Back in the Day, a modern adaptation of the vintage race program Car and Track with Bud Lindemann, will be available in November.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with this show,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED EVP & General Manager. “It’s cool to work on a project with one of the most popular and talented drivers in motor sports. Dale really knows the history of the sport … he literally grew up surrounded by the legends of NASCAR. So, teaming for a second season of Back in the Day is great news for Earnhardt fans and SPEED viewers.”

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09/25/06
alms

Petit LeMans factoids
· The 2006 Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7 is the ninth annual 1,000-mile/10-hour race at historic Road Atlanta. The first Petit Le Mans in 1998 provided the foundation for the American Le Mans Series, which launched the next year with the 12 Hours of Sebring. In addition to the glory of winning one of the globe's most prestigious motor races, class winners also receive a much coveted automatic invitation to next year's 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's greatest sports car race. Since 1999, nine (9) Series teams have used their victory at Petit Le Mans as a springboard for a class win at the 24 Hours the following year.

· Road Atlanta, the only Series circuit to hold more than one race in a single season, has played host to more American Le Mans Series events than any circuit in Series history - this year's Petit Le Mans will make 10. In addition to six previous 1,000-mile races from 1999-2005, the track also has played host to the Grand Prix of Atlanta, a two-hour, 45-minute sprint, in 2005, 2003 and 1999.

· The unique format for Petit Le Mans involves a race of 1,000 miles (394 laps) or 10 hours, whichever comes first. It is the only American Le Mans Series race of 2006 that is distance-measured rather than time-measured. In eight previous Petit Le Mans competitions, the longest race has been nine (9) hours and 48 minutes (the inaugural event in 1998) with the shortest covering eight (8) hours and 56 minutes (1999). A summary of previous Petit Le Mans race lengths:

2005: 9:16.20.630
2004: 9:35.41.562
2003: 9:31.10.608
2002: 9:27.39.594
2001: 9:15.57.547
2000: 9:08.40.619
1999: 8:56.31.991
1998: 9:48.24.340

· Twelve (12) drivers who drove in the inaugural Petit Le Mans (1998) are slated to compete in 2006: Bill Auberlen, David Brabham, Emmanuel Collard (won first event in a Ferrari 333SP), Ron Fellows, Jon Field, Stefan Johansson, Darren Law, Butch Leitzinger, Stephane Ortelli, Didier Theys, Eric van de Poele and Andy Wallace.

Ortelli, now driving for Risi Competizione and a winner at Mosport, is making his first Petit Le Mans start since 1998, and Allan McNish, is making his first start at Road Atlanta since 2000. 

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09/25/06
Industry News

Honda Unveils 'Super-Clean' Diesel Engine
TOCHIGI, Japan — Honda Motor Co. says it has developed the first diesel passenger car engine capable of meeting California's tough 2009 air-quality standards, one that produces almost none of the emissions that have sullied the fuel's image.

The "super-clean" diesel's emissions will be no greater than those of a gasoline engine, Honda said.

The automaker unveiled a four-cylinder engine capable of propelling an Accord sedan to speeds well in excess of 120 mph during a weekend technology demonstration at its research center in this rural town about 100 miles north of Tokyo.

Honda, the world's largest engine maker and second behind Toyota Motor Corp. in production of gasoline-electric hybrid power systems, intends to add four- and six-cylinder diesel engines to its arsenal to help set it apart from rivals.

"This is just what you'd expect from Honda," said Ron Cogan, the San Luis Obispo-based publisher of Green Car Journal.

"They were the first to meet the 1970 federal gas engine emissions without a catalyst, they had a near-zero-emissions gas engine for the Accord in the early 1990s and now they're doing it with diesels."  More at LA Times

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09/25/06
f1

No Chinese debut for Hamilton
(GMM) After Lewis Hamilton's maiden test and speculation linking him with a Chinese debut, McLaren has nonetheless confirmed that Pedro de la Rosa will remain in the race seat in Shanghai.

The rumor mill is not likely to stay quiet for long, however, as the Woking based squad stopped short of securing the 35-year-old Spaniard's role for the last two races of 2006.

But race day in China and Friday practice for the Japanese grand prix are separated by just four days, meaning that the seat is still likely to be de la Rosa's at Suzuka.

The last grand prix of the season, in Brazil, is scheduled for October 22 at Interlagos.

Williams, meanwhile, announced on Monday that team sponsor Royal Bank of Scotland's Chinese partner, Bank of China, will be represented this weekend on the car's livery in Shanghai.

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09/25/06
f1

Williams adds sponsor for China
The Royal Bank of China and RBS will provide dual branding on the Williams F1 cars this weekend in Shanghai.

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09/25/06
dtm

Alesi slapped with fine
For an unnecessary braking maneuver on the main straight at Barcelona Sunday, Jean Alesi (stern AMG-Mercedes) was given a penalty by the stewards of the meeting. For the strong and unexpected move, the Frenchman has to pay a fine of 7,000 euros. According to the stewards, Alesi had brought the following driver Mika Häkkinen in a dangerous situation by his action. For a similar maneuver, Uwe Alzen had to pay 10,000 Deutschmarks at Zandvoort in 2001.

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09/25/06
track news

Stewart buys into track
Recently, provisions were made to welcome Stewart as a fourth partner in Paducah International Raceway along with Ken Schrader, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Bob Sargent. This expansion will only benefit the track, local community and dirt racing industry and we look forward to having Tony onboard. We are all committed to building upon the successes of this inaugural year and optimistic about the 2007 racing season. Paducahinternationalraceway.com PR

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09/25/06
Racing News

Quotes of the Week
CRISTIANO DA MATTA, RuSPORT, Champ Car driver
“I would like to give thanks for everything to everybody who is watching this right now.  I give good luck to everybody.  I appreciate everything.  Thank you very much."  And then Cristiano gave the command to start the Grand Prix of Road America Champ Car race at Elkhart Lake where he had his serious accident on August 3 when his race car collided with a deer during a test session, "Drivers start your engines!”  (Cristiano expressed his sincere gratitude to everyone for their concern and support during his hospitalization.  He has now returned to his Miami home to continue his rehabilitation.)


ANTONIO DA MATTA, Father of Cristiano da Matta, RuSPORT Champ Car driver
"We are most thankful to have our son back.  As we all know, he was hurt very badly and almost died. When he started to get better and to wake up, then you just pray that he can be normal again, or close to it. But this is just amazing. As you can see, he's the same old Cristiano.  Dr. Johnson calls him 'A walking miracle.'"  (Antonio da Matta, the patriarch of this close-knit Brazilian family, with wife Maria and sons Felipe and Gustavo, camped outside Cristiano's hospital room for the better part of seven weeks after Cristiano's serious accident when his race car collided with a deer during a test session at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.)
 
KATHERINE LEGGE, PKV Racing, Champ Car driver
“I am a bit shaken, but I’m okay as you can see.  All my bits are intact so that’s good.  That goes to show how strong Champ Cars are.  It was a big impact, but hopefully everything will be fine for the next race at Surfers Paradise.  I don’t think I was really aware of what was going on.  All of a sudden the car just sped up and hit the wall.  Then I saw ground and dirt was coming in and I saw the fence.  Honestly you are thinking what is going to happen next.  I think I saw bits breaking off and going all around me.  And I think that I saw the engine split away because the car caught on fire.  The thing that scared me the most was, Oh my God it’s going to catch fire.  Then when the engine went away, I thought okay that’s good.  So it was a bit scary.  I think I had my eyes closed for a lot of it to be honest.  I just banged my knee.  When you get thrown around in the car upside down, you bang your legs on the bulkhead and on the steering column.  Just a bit of bruising which won’t look too attractive in my dress at the Atlantic’s banquet tonight."  She asked kiddingly, “I don’t think the crew will be able to fix the car, will they?”  When she was asked to explain her mindset of getting back in a race car that can do that, Katherine said, “I’d get back in and finish the race.  I think you have to be a bit detached to be a race car driver, right?  You have to have a bit of a screw loose.  Honestly, it’s just one of those things.  It goes to show how strong the Champ Cars are.  Yes, it was scary.  And yes, that’s the chance I take when I drive one of these cars.  It’s what I do.  It’s probably more dangerous riding horses or something like that.  You just have to put it to one side and have a healthy respect for it, but meanwhile keep doing what you do.”  (Commenting about the horrific accident in the Grand Prix of Road America Champ Car race at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin when the rear wing came off her car.) 

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09/25/06
nascar

More problems for ISC
It looks like more trouble for the France family's International Speedway Corp. in its New York Speedway plans.  The ISC has reportedly lost its state permits to haul fill dirt to the Staten Island track site after questions were raised during an inspection of the soil being brought in. It is unclear what possible problem there could be with the fill dirt.  The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers may investigate.  Winston Salem Journal

Comment
09/25/06
cca

Team retains Matos, adds 2nd car
Minden, NV – Based upon his remarkable talent and proven speed, Raphael Matos will continue to represent the Sierra Sierra team in the quest for the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic Championship.
 
Matos had a strong rookie season with Sierra Sierra and the team is excited to have him back.  His accolades in 2006 include:
-          4 Pole Starts
-          4 Podium finishes
-          1 Win
-          4th place in the Championship points race
-          3rd place in the Rookie of the Year race
 
“I only have good things to say about the team.  I’m really excited about next year.  It’s a very competitive series and this gives me and the team the opportunity to correct the mistakes we made this year,” said Matos.
 
“I’m super excited to know that Raphael will be back.  We learned a lot being together this year and with the changes that we are making, I really believe that Rafa will be the guy to beat,” said Dave Empringham, Driver Development Coach for Sierra Sierra Enterprises.

Read more & Comment...
09/25/06
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
Zanardi, Senna, Hakkinen, Vettel
Lauda tips Schu for final crown
Honda to race 2007 engine in Japan
Alonso stands by 'emotional' outbursts
Kubica revs up Beijing
Hakk says Schu will come back
De la Rosa admits Hamilton debut possible
Renault want 'poor race' from Schu

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