Hot News
for your iPhone
for your iPad
Go to our forums to discuss this news
DATE News (chronologically)
Kinser nips Krisiloff at Talladega Kinser nips Krisiloff at TalladegaKraig Kinser stole the show Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway by winning the ARCA RE/MAX race in dominating fashion.
Driving the U.S. Army/CENTRIX Financial/Rally's Chevrolet as a member of MB2 Motorsports driver development program, Kinser started from the pole and led 83 of 113 laps.
"This is sweet," said the 20-year-old son of many-time World of Outlaws sprint car champion Steve Kinser. "MB2 gave me a great car and the Hendrick engine was awesome."
Kinser, who took the checkered flag 0.168 seconds ahead of Kyle Krisiloff, didn't have much time to enjoy the Food World 300 victory. Following the customary Victory Lane photos and media interviews, he boarded a private airplane for Williams Grove, Pa. to compete in Saturday night's World of Outlaws main feature.  zzzz
The only glitch for Kinser at Talladega's 2.66-mile oval was when he violated the blend line rule as he was exiting pit road near the mid-point of the race. The penalty relegated him from first to 17th place.  
"I made a mistake but it turned out to be a good thing because it gave me more experience working the draft," said Kinser, who led 49 of the first 51 laps.
Kinser, who was competing in only his second career ARCA race, sliced and diced his way back to the front with the precision of a savvy veteran. He regained the lead on Lap 80 and held the front-running position for the remainder of the race.
"Kraig did a fantastic job -- he was incredibly poised for his first superspeedway race," said Doug Randolph, who handled the crew chief duties. "He made that one mistake, but he didn't get flustered. He only got better as the race went on. He's been a pleasure to work with."
Along with guidance from Randolph and team spotter Roman Pemberton, Kinser also received advice from 75-year-old Hall of Fame driver, Red Farmer, who called Kinser in Victory Lane to congratulate him.
"Red is a great teacher and I really appreciate the time he spent with me during our test session at Talladega," said Kinser.
Kinser's father, who won an IROC race at Talladega in 1994, was back in Pennsylvania preparing for Saturday night's sprint car race. He was given a play-by-play of the closing laps via cell phone from his boyhood friend and team pilot Chuck Myers.
"Steve didn't say much, but I've known him for many years and knew he was very happy and very proud of his son," said Myers.
Kinser, who won the prestigious Knoxville Nationals sprint car race in central Iowa in August, was asked about his future in post-race interviews.
"I'd like to become a stock car driver," he said. "I am very happy with my affiliation with MB2 and hope to progress with its driver development program."
In Kinser's first ARCA race in August at Michigan International Speedway, he qualified second and finished eighth.
"No question, Kraig has the racing DNA," said Jay Frye, MB2's CEO and general manager. "We're proud of not only the way he has competed for us, but also the professional and humble way he conducts himself both on and off the track."
Rossi takes another win in Qatar Rossi takes another win in QatarWorld Champion Valentino Rossi took victory in today’s Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar, scoring his tenth win of the season after a thrilling duel against Italian compatriot Marco Melandri.  [Rossi pictured right (C) with Melandri (L) and Nicky Hayden (R)]

The two Italians diced for the lead in the late stages of the race [pictured left] after Melandri snatched first position from teammate Sete Gibernau with five laps to go. The Spaniard from the Movistar Honda team saw his hopes of victory vanishing when he was forced out of the track by his teammate.

Rossi assumed the lead with two laps to go and survived a last-lap charge from Melandri, as the Honda rider went wide trying to pass the World Champion. Nicky Hayden rode a steady race to take third behind Rossi and Melandri, and ahead of Colin Edwards and Sete Gibernau. zzzz

Carlos Checa took the flag in sixth, over eleven seconds adrift from the winner, followed by Shinya Nakano, Toni Elias and Alex Barros. After winning the previous two rounds, pole man Loris Capirossi couldn’t make the hat-trick; after a blazing first lap, the Italian conceded the lead and gradually lost ground. An off-track excursion saw him moving down to 12th but he eventually grabbed 10th.

"What a race! For me that was the best of the season, it was so much fun. I had bad memories from this circuit from last year so I really wanted to win and after practice yesterday I knew it was not impossible," Rossi explained.

The last laps were a fantastic battle between both Italian riders. "Marco Melandri was very strong and we had a great battle. He tried to pass me on the last lap but I was able to hold on and win," said Rossi.

"I had two great rivals and all three of us showed that we were in very good shape until the end. We gave more than 100% and had a fantastic battle from the beginning to the end," the champion said, while he added: "I have to thank Yamaha and my whole team because my bike was very fast over the final few laps. My tenth of the season. I am very, very happy".

"That was the best race of the season for me," commented Melandri, happy being back on the podium.

"I didn't get a good start in the race, took it calmly for the first few laps and lost a bit of time as I made up the positions. I passed Edwards and Hayden to catch up with the leaders, the bike was running perfectly and my only thought was to finish on the podium," said Melandri.

"I tried to pass Valentino on the last lap but I made a mistake and ran off track," continued the Honda rider about the move in the end of the race as he tried to take the victory. "Despite that it was an incredible race and I'm really pleased to be back on the podium after a tough couple of weeks with the injury."

Graham Rahal Confirmed as Youngest Driver Graham Rahal Confirmed as Youngest DriverFor all the accolades his famous father Bobby accumulated in his career, Graham Rahal will always have a one-up on  his dad.  At the age of 16 years, nine months and 20 days, Graham Rahal, of New  Albany, Ohio, became the youngest SCCA National Championship Runoffs winner in  the club's history when he captured his first title in Formula Atlantic last  Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, exactly three decades after Bobby  won his only Runoffs title in the Formula Atlantic precursor, then called  Formula B.   

Rahal is approximately two months younger than the previous youngest winner, Jonathan Rufener, who was 17 years and 11 days old when he won the  Formula Vee Championship in 1997. 

Last Friday's win capped off a nearly perfect week for Rahal, as he led every session in both practice and qualifying, set new Formula Atlantic records both for qualifying and race lap, and overcame an engine misfire  early in the race to win his title.   

With both Rahals now owning a championship, they place their already storied name into distinct company as one of the most successful families in Runoffs history.  Others, such as the Beasleys (father Al and sons Al Jr. and Ben), have also accomplished the feat.  For more information about SCCA and the SCCA National Championship
Runoffs, visit scca.com.

IRL TV ratings for Watkins Glen IRL TV ratings for Watkins GlenUPDATE The final rating for the IRL race at the Glen on ABC dropped from the overnights to a 0.7/1 share.  Not a stellar rating for network TV. 09/26/05 The overnight TV ratings for the IRL race Sunday on ABC from Watkins Glen was a 0.8/2 share.
NASCAR slammed with another lawsuit NASCAR slammed with another lawsuitTwo Middle Tennessee video producers are taking on NASCAR, claiming that the company stole their ideas for a reality television show they pitched in 2001. Andrew Baird, who resides in Sumner County, and Bill Balsley, of Williamson County, say the television program NASCAR Drivers: 360, now in its second season on cable's FX Network, is based on an idea they'd hatched. Baird and Balsley have sued NASCAR, its associated firms NASCAR Images and NASCAR Digital Entertainment, and Dave Hall, an agent who was to broker the deal. Yesterday several motions were heard in the suit in Sumner County Circuit Court as both sides prepare for a trial next August. "We allege that my clients went to NASCAR with the ideas, that they spoke with upper levels of management and that we had an oral agreement with them,'' said Andy Allman, attorney for Baird and Balsley. NASCAR's Nashville attorney, Eddie Wayland, said, "We feel the lawsuit is without merit and we intend to vigorously defend them against the lawsuit." The lawsuit, which seeks $20 million and punitive damages, alleges that Baird and Balsley created a program they titled Drafting. Each week, Drafting would follow two to three NASCAR drivers behind the scenes as they prepared for the upcoming weekend's race. They contend they first broached the ideas for the programs with Hall, former president of cable's now-defunct The Nashville Network. In August 2001, the pair said Hall agreed to represent them as an agent to push these "unique ideas to NASCAR," the suit states. A few months later, the two allege that Hall told them NASCAR was going to fund the proposed shows. 

NASCAR Drivers: 360 sends camera crews to follow a trio of stars from NASCAR's Nextel Cup and Busch series, giving a fly-on-the-wall perspective into their ups and downs on the track, at home, on the road and in the boardroom. More at the Tennessean

Newman slams NASCAR Newman slams NASCARIt still doesn't add up for Ryan Newman. Consider the evidence: The Hendrick car of Brian Vickers was confiscated at New Hampshire after failing pre-race inspection. Johnson's car never made it through inspection before qualifying at Indianapolis. Johnson and Busch were penalized following their 1-2 finish at Las Vegas for failure to meet post-race height requirements.

"If you look back to Las Vegas . . . they were illegal after the race, and were told the crew chief was supposed to be suspended for four races, and they appealed and won the appeal after the car was illegal," Newman said.

"It makes you wonder what's going on. It doesn't take anything away from their win (at Dover). It takes away from the other teams."

Newman also questioned NASCAR's post-race process.  "It all depends on what mood the inspectors are in," he said. "I'll commend them on the fact that what they (Hendrick teams) did was smart as far as what they did on the racetrack. But when they didn't meet the rules coming back to the house after the race, then it isn't fair anymore. And even if he waits an extra half-hour or whatever it was, it's still not fair.

"It didn't pass the first time through, and I didn't see anything in the rule book that says, 'Cars will be given three opportunities to be made legal as they come through the house.' Obviously, NASCAR is going to make some kind of decision as far as shocks or the process, but it's a little late for nine other teams right now."

As Newman pointed out, there are no rules governing a car's height on the racetrack during a race. Even if there were, it would be impossible to measure and/or enforce.

Rules kick in the moment the race ends.  "The rule is before the race and after the race," Newman said. "So, as long as you can meet those guidelines. And there's a high potential for gray area there because we're tuning on the race cars during the race. You can put eight rounds in the right-rear during the race, as long as you take six or seven of them out before you come back into the inspection after the race. It's something I'm sure they're considering looking at.

"I think the obvious tool the No. 48 (Johnson) and the No. 5 (Busch) used . . . were the rear shocks."

As Newman sees it, the fault lies with NASCAR's rules.  "It's been that way for 50 years, and it's getting better every year," he said. "So, all I guess the competitors can ask is that they make the proper changes to ensure that the situation doesn't happen again, because it is such a hot topic and a topic that's a negative in a lot of people's eyes.  More at Florida Today (Related article)

Racing News
Motor racing’s remarkable doctor Motor racing’s remarkable doctorThey say in life that when one door closes, another opens. When the subject of Dr. Hugh Scully and the advancement of motorsport medicine in Canada comes up, that adage is never truer.

Scully — whose life and accomplishments could just about fill this section of the newspaper — was president of the Ontario Race Physicians in September, 1974 (a group he founded in the late 1960s), and on duty at Mosport for the Grand Prix of Canada, when he struck up a friendship with Helmut Koinigg, a 26-year-old Austrian sports-car driver making his first start in Formula One.

"We hit it off,'' Scully said recently during an interview at Toronto General Hospital, where he is senior staff surgeon.

"Helmut came to Toronto and stayed with us for a few days after the Mosport race (where he finished 10th in a Surtees-Cosworth) and he then invited us to attend the U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen as his guest the following weekend. We agreed to go.''

On Oct. 6, exactly two weeks after the Canadian GP and nine laps into the U.S. race, Helmut Koinigg lost control of his car and crashed into a guardrail. He was killed instantly. It was a defining moment in the young life of Dr. Hugh Scully, who was 33 at the time.  More at the Toronto Star

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
'NASCAR This Morning'
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Silverstone  (8/12/05 - 8/13/05)
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
UAW-Ford 500
1:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET (Live) NBC
Road America  (8/20/05)
2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
MotoGP 250
Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar (10-1-05)
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (Delayed) SPEED
Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar (10-1-05)
4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET (Delayed) SPEED
'NASCAR Victory Lane'
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-host: Robin Miller
Featured Interview: Donnie Allison
Featured Interview: Brian Carter
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Japan  (9/29/05 - 10/2/05)
11:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET (SDD) SPEED

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

Kanaan completes F1 joy ride Kanaan completes F1 joy rideUPDATE Here are some photos from Kanaan's F1 test:


09/30/05 2004 IRL Indy Car champion Tony Kanaan joined the BAR Honda team at the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain on Thursday.

It was the Brazilian's first opportunity to drive a Formula One car and the invitation was extended to him in recognition of his achievements in the IRL series last year.

On a very hot day in Jerez with ambient temperatures reaching 30 Degrees C, Tony began running shortly after 9am in chassis 007-01, which is the team's 2006 development car. He completed 18 laps in the morning session familiarizing himself with the car and the circuit. Unfortunately an electrical problem cost him some running time early in the session.

Kanaan got back on track at the start of the afternoon session and despite a couple of spins, he continued to improve his lap times, completing a total of 51 laps. A gearbox problem towards the end of the afternoon ended his running slightly early.

How did it go?
"It was a good day. I had no major expectations before I came here and just wanted to enjoy the experience and try to help the team if I could. It was a short day for us, a long one in terms of time, but short runs. We had a couple of things we had to address in the car which took a long time. But overall I completed 51 laps and it felt really good."  zzzz

You had a few interruptions then?
"I tried to keep calm. I wanted to run obviously but race cars are like that, especially when you are testing, sometimes they have problems and sometimes they break so you've just got to fix it. So no, it wasn't frustrating, I just tried to calm myself and not be too anxious when it came to driving again. I've been racing for many years and I know what happens, sometimes you have problems like that."

How did you find the circuit?
"It was fun and very challenging, a fast track with very hard braking corners. It's also very abrasive so you lose the grip on the tires after a couple of laps. I had already practiced driving the circuit on a computer game but it was more fun to do it live. It's a driver's circuit for sure."

Did you find it tough physically?
"I knew a couple of months ago about the test so I've been preparing myself for a long time. It was different to what I am used to. The G loads are higher than in Indy Car but the steering is a lot lighter which makes my life easier. On the neck I couldn't feel a lot, probably because I prepared myself pretty good to come here. I didn't do a long run so I imagine it does get tougher! It's as physical as Indy Cars but in a different way."

How did the BAR Honda 007 handle?
"The car was good. We made some changes and if we'd had more time, I would have changed a couple more things to suit my driving style. We got a good starting set-up from work that Anthony had done on the car previously so that made things a lot easier."

Was there anything that surprised you about the car?
"How good the brakes are. I know everybody says the same thing and obviously I got told that I was going to be impressed, but I was very impressed with the brakes."

Your final thoughts on the experience?
"Overall it was a very fun day and I've got to thank BAR Honda for the opportunity and particularly Wada-san, Gil and Robert Clarke back in America for making it happen. And a big thanks also to the guys who ran my car today for all their support. It really has been a dream come true for me." Source BAR Honda
Interview with Heikki Kovalainen Interview with Heikki KovalainenFollowing the outcome of the GP2 Series championship, the Renault Driver Development member, Heikki Kovalainen, took time to talk about the day's event in Bahrain.

Heikki, you and Nico Rosberg have had a good battle towards the end of the season. In your opinion, what made the difference for him to snatch the title from you?
“Clearly, his team has found some serious pace towards mid-season and we haven't been able to match it. We haven't had any specific technical problems, but compared to Nico's team, we did not find the solution which would have helped us fight at the same level with them by the end of the season. Overall, it's been really close competition between Nico and me: I won four Saturday races and 1 Sunday race; he, on the other hand, won more Sunday races and earned a lot of extra bonus points for fastest lap and pole position. That must be another big reason why I did not win the title.”  zzzz

It must be quite a disappointment for you to have lead the championship since the beginning the season and then lose so many points in Spa with only one final round to go…
“Of course, it is really disappointing to lose the championship especially because we were not quick enough. Like yesterday in Bahrain, I did everything I could to keep up with both Nico and Prémat, but I just couldn't stay close to them… What happened in Spa was just bad luck: we gambled and if it had rained like we hoped it would then maybe it would have been a different story. But, what's done is done and there's no reason to have regrets: we tried this strategy in Spa because Nico's car competitiveness made us take risks… As the title has been decided on the last round, you can say it's been a really close competition between us and I'm really frustrated that we could not improve the performance of our car so that we can match with them. But, you know, we all have the same car and the same engine so it was up to us to find the solutions… Still, even though I am disappointed that I did not win the title, I'm still satisfied with my season: I have shown some good driving abilities and put in strong performances. I have learned a lot this year and I know this experience will help me in the future.”

Indeed, you've had a great season. What do you think were the highlights?
“I would say my wins under challenging circumstances such as the one in Nürburgring when I started 17th and won, or my fight with Pantano during that same race. I loved getting pole in Monaco, even if the outcome of the race did not work out as planned… All in all, I will look back over this season and feel proud with what I achieved.”

What are your views on the first year of the GP2 Series as a whole?
“It's definitely a good championship: it provides a lot of action and close racing. The fact that we all have the same car to begin with ensures that the driver has a big role in the outcome of the championship. This year has been really competitive with a lot of talented young drivers. Any of us could have won a race and that's what's been very interesting. I believe that the GP2 Series has a serious future ahead of it.” Press Release Renault
100th GP for Honda and BAR at Suzuka 100th GP for Honda and BAR at SuzukaFormula One heads east again next week for Round 18 of the 2005 World Championship at the Japanese Grand Prix. BAR Honda regards this as another 'home race' alongside Silverstone and this year's event in Suzuka will have even greater significance than usual as Honda celebrates the milestone of its 100th Grand Prix with the BAR Honda team.

In preparation for the race next weekend, the team has been testing in Jerez this week. During the two-day, two-car test third driver Anthony Davidson and James Rossiter, member of the team's Young Driver Program, put the 007's latest aero, cooling and brake upgrade packages through their paces in readiness for the high downforce circuit at Suzuka. 2004 IRL Indy Car champion Tony Kanaan joined the team in Jerez on Thursday. It was the Brazilian’s first opportunity to drive a Formula One car and the invitation was extended to him in recognition of his achievements in the IRL series last year. zzzz

The Honda-owned Suzuka Racing Circuit is situated on Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands, and is widely regarded as a true drivers' circuit. The 18-turn, figure-of-eight circuit is unique in Formula One. It begins with a fast 7th gear bend that tightens to lead into a series of fast S-bends. Spoon Curve and the legendary '130R' are the other great challenges of the track, with overtaking opportunities in the 50mph Casio Triangle chicane and occasionally at the 140mph first corner or, for the brave, at the Turn 11 Hairpin.
Built by Honda as a test circuit in 1962, the Suzuka circuit was designed by John Hugenholtz, a Dutchman who also produced Zandvoort and Jarama. The circuit is just one component of a giant amusement park and other facilities, and is situated on Honshu, by far the largest of the Japanese islands, which is also home to Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

In 2002, the circuit was reduced in length, courtesy of the realigning of several key corners to provide greater run-off areas. Retaining walls were also moved back and the track slightly altered at the S-Curves and Dunlop Curves. For 2003, this program of modernization and re-profiling continued with 130R, tweaked into a two-radii sweeper to provide a faster and more fluent corner with an earlier turn-in. More changes were made at the revised Casino Triangle chicane. These alterations added about 3 meters to the overall lap, but the lap record was still comprehensively beaten in 2003.

Jenson Button - "Suzuka is special because it's Honda's home circuit. I've had good support there in the past, especially since I've been involved with Honda and the B*A*R Honda team. I'm excited about going back, and I think if we sort out the issues we had in Brazil, we'll be reasonably quick. Suzuka is a very tough circuit, mentally and physically. You have to be very precise around there, and also very consistent, which is difficult. It is definitely one of my favorite circuits."

Takuma Sato - "The Japanese Grand Prix is a very special race for many reasons. I love the layout of the Suzuka circuit as it follows the natural lay of the land and of course the atmosphere over the race weekend is fantastic. The corners and combinations of the track are very challenging, but a lot of fun to drive. As there are many corners through the speed range, from low to very high speed, making up the unique figure-of-eight, it is important to get the set-up of the car right. You also need a good balance, especially for Turns 1 and 2 and into the S's as most of your time is spent cornering. Obviously I am always very excited when I come back to Suzuka and am looking forward to a great race in front of my home crowd next weekend."

Gil de Ferran - "Together with Silverstone this is one of our most important grands prix as it can be considered as one of our home races - not only because of Honda but because of Takuma also. The Suzuka track is a legendary drivers' circuit. For this race both Jenson and Taku will be driving the latest spec engine from Honda and we will have further developments on the car. We welcome the opportunity to perform next weekend, not only in front of the great number of F1 fans in Japan, but also in front of the supporters within our Honda family."

Shuhei Nakamoto, HRD Engineering Director - "It goes without saying that this is a big weekend for everyone. We are all determined to put on a good show for all our fans in Japan. To that end we have introduced an upgrade - Taku has already used the Suzuka spec engine in Brazil - but we will be fitting a new engine in Jenson's car for this race." BAR Honda

Montagny tops final test day at Jerez Montagny tops final test day at JerezFrank Montagny led the way as testing at Jerez - the final big F1 test of the season - came to its conclusion after four days of on-track action.

The Renault test driver clocked up the most laps of any of the seven drivers out on track, setting a best time of one minute 16.227secs as the French team completed preparations for the two vital races in Japan and China that will decide who clinches the constructors' championship.

Lap Times
Frank Montagny Renault-Renault 1m 16.227s 151 laps
Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda 1m 16.491s 150 laps
Jarno Trulli Toyota-Toyota 1m 17.047s 91 laps
Ricardo Zonta Toyota-Toyota 1m 17.079s 132 laps
David Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth 1m 17.720s 65 laps
James Rossiter BAR-Honda 1m 18.103s 85 laps
Lucas di Grassi Renault-Renault 1m 19.470s 94 laps

Formula BMW
Philippe wins Formula BMW title Philippe wins Formula BMW title
Robbie Pecorari goes wire-to-wire at Road Atlanta Robbie Pecorari goes wire-to-wire at Road AtlantaBraselton, Georgia. Robbie Pecorari drove away from the field in his SAI Hydraulics Andersen Walko Racing Mazda to score his second victory of the season in Round Eleven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear this afternoon at Road Atlanta during the American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans Weekend. Pecorari was joined on the podium by his Andersen Walko Racing teammate Graham Rahal, in the Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Mazda, and championship points leader Raphael Matos, in the Ocean Tomo Racing Mazda.

Pecorari came into the penultimate round of the championship on a mission to score maximum points as he looks to chase down Matos for the crown, and with a strong qualifying run and a blistering pace early in today's 30-lap race he was able to close the gap as the series moves to the finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "The Andersen Walko racing crew gave me the best car I've had all season and we were fast from the start of practice," the 18-year old from Aston, Pennsylvania explained. "The car was perfect for the first half of the race and I was able to open up a gap on Graham and then hold on to the finish. We did everything we needed to and will now need a little help if we are to catch Raphael as he has been consistent all season."  zzzz

Finishing second to Pecorari for the second time this season, Rahal, who tasted victory himself at Portland International Raceway earlier this season, found himself in a late race duel with Matos for the second spot on the podium. "Robbie and I definitely had the fastest cars today and we planned on opening a gap but Robbie opened up the gap to quick," Rahal explained. "My car was strong as well but in the second half of the race the tires went a way a bit and the car started sliding around. Raphael was able to close up on me a bit as he was definitely quicker than me through turn six so I made sure my car was perfectly straight every lap through turn seven so I could get the power down. We both were closing up on Robbie towards the end but there was no way I was going to let Raphael get around me."

Matos, who has topped the championship battle from the first race of the season at Sebring International Raceway, and won the spring race here in a drive which saw him climb from ninth at the start, would line up fourth on the grid this time, and after losing a few spots early he would begin a steady climb to the podium. "Coming into the race I am always looking for the win but a couple of times out there I was thinking of the championship," the Belo Horizonte, Brazil-native explained. "I lost a couple of spots on the opening laps protecting the corners of my car but the Ocean Tomo racing Mazda was strong in the closing laps."

Coming into the weekend three drivers, Matos, Pecorari and James Hinchcliffe, still had a shot at the championship, and while Matos and Pecorari were racing for the podium, Hinchcliffe, in the AIM Autosport NOCO/Mobil 1 Mazda, was recovering from a difficult qualifying session which would find him fifteenth on the starting grid. "I knew I would have my work cut out for me today after qualifying in the middle of the pack," Hinchcliffe said. "We discovered a disconnected plug lead after qualifying so I was starting around some drivers that I haven't raced with much. Fortunately I was able to fight past six cars on the opening lap and was back racing with some people that I've had good battles with this year and finally make my way up to fifth at the end."

Road Atlanta also featured several other drives of distinction. Returning to the championship after he was forced to miss several rounds with a broken foot, the result of a boating mishap, Mark Wilkins moved from crutches to the cockpit of his AIM Autosport Mazda to finish just off the podium in fourth place. MJ Motorsports teammates Marco Andretti and Ross Smith both sliced their way through the field after encountering mechanical problems in qualifying. Andretti, who lined up 28th out of the 30 cars would finish ninth while Smith would move from 30th to 12th by the end without the benefit of a caution flag.

Heading into the final round of the championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Matos, with 424 points holds onto the championship lead over Pecorari though the margin has closed to seventeen points. Hinchcliffe also remains in the championship hunt with 388 points.

In the expert series championship, for drivers aged 30-44, Mike Anderson, driving the Team HASA Racing Mazda, returned after a two race absence to claim the victory ahead of the newly crowned champion, Micky Gilbert. Rounding out top three for the expert series battle was Jim Malackowski in the second Ocean Tomo Racing Mazda.

In the Masters Championship, for drivers aged 45 and older, John Pew, driving the Velocity Motorsports Mazda, captured his fourth victory of the season to maintain his grip on the points lead with 174 points while John Faulkner in the Peregrine Motorsports Mazda would finish second in class and points with 167. Doug Peterson, who entered the weekend third in points, would finish seventh on the day and fall out of championship contention.

The series now heads to Monterey, California for the final round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 13-15. Round Eleven from Road Atlanta is scheduled to be broadcast by Speed Channel on Sunday, November 6th at 1:00PM Eastern Time.

Pos No. Name Laps Total Tm Diff Best Tm In Lap
1 23 Robbie Pecorari 30 41:12.902   1:21.396 6
2 12 Graham Rahal 30 41:18.146 5.244 1:21.490 8
3 7 Raphael Matos 30 41:19.283 6.381 1:21.863 16
4 96 Mark Wilkins 30 41:25.792 12.890 1:21.812 5
5 98 James Hinchcliffe 30 41:27.532 14.630 1:21.829 8
6 38 Ryan Justice 30 41:28.860 15.958 1:21.708 7
7 22 Pablo Donoso 30 41:29.074 16.172 1:22.176 9
8 26 Jonathan Klein 30 41:38.451 25.549 1:22.373 4
9 11 Marco Andretti 30 41:41.131 28.229 1:21.832 24
10 6 Jonathan Branam 30 41:44.764 31.862 1:22.182 24
11 42 Mike Anderson 30 41:51.428 38.526 1:22.380 4
12 20 Ross Smith 30 41:53.239 40.337 1:22.308 7
13 54 Mickey Gilbert 30 41:58.241 45.339 1:22.451 6
14 97 Brandon Thomas 30 41:59.359 46.457 1:22.565 6
15 18 Adrian Carrio 30 42:03.668 50.766 1:23.003 9
16 45 Mark Pavan 30 42:11.943 59.041 1:23.208 25
17 75 John Pew 30 42:12.363 59.461 1:23.504 25
18 37 Jim Malackowski 30 42:16.498 1:03.596 1:23.116 15
19 77 Brian Thienes 30 42:23.712 1:10.810 1:23.474 4
20 44 John Faulkner 30 42:27.019 1:14.117 1:23.411 27
21 41 Sean Guthrie 30 42:28.703 1:15.801 1:22.920 9
22 73 Mark Patterson 30 42:35.304 1:22.402 1:23.962 21
23 24 Jon Brownson 29 41:16.465 --1 Lap-- 1:23.761 28
24 36 Mark Arseneau 29 42:02.002 45.537 1:25.479 12
25 56 Dan Tomlin III 29 42:09.067 52.602 1:24.738 26
26 58 Dan Tomlin Jr. 29 42:09.210 52.745 1:25.101 20
27 67 Richard Haskell 29 42:10.822 54.357 1:25.037 25
28 87 Doug Peterson 26 37:12.695 --4 Laps-- 1:23.547 9
29 55 John Chism 21 31:48.401 --9 Laps-- 1:27.414 5
30 74 Phil Saville 12 17:11.434 --18 Laps-- 1:23.463 9

Q and A with Dale Jarrett at Talladega Q and A with Dale Jarrett at Talladega"We worked extremely hard on this part of our program.  For a lot of years it was kind of our bread and butter and then we seemed to fall off a little bit, so we've been working extremely hard on that.  Hopefully, we can find that things that we've done, you know we've qualified well before, but it seems that when we untape these Fords that it becomes a little bit of an issue and we have a hard time leading laps.  Elliott led a few here in the first race, so we tried to duplicate a car like he had here and, obviously; they did a good job with that.  The engine room always works hard, so the guys are to be commended for the hard work and effort that they've made to try to get our program back.  I hope when we get in drafting practice tomorrow that the car drives as good as it did today and that we can have something that we can race with and have a lot of fun with on Sunday." 

 FORD IS LONG OVERDUE TO WIN A PLATE RACE.  "It's been a dry spell for the Fords.  That's a long time going at a race track without a make of car winning a race.  I don't know like it's been that close for anybody.  I know Kurt Busch has had some success here and Elliott has had a couple of good runs here and there, but we've just had a hard time leading.  These guys know that in these other cars, so that makes it more difficult then to get the drafting help that we certainly need, but I think we've made gains in that direction.  Yeah, it would be nice, especially since Ford is a sponsor of the race.  I think that was part of the plan that maybe we could somehow move some magic over here to help the Fords.  It'll be interesting to see if it works." zzzz

IS YOUR CREW CHIEF SITUATION INTERIM, TEMPORARY?  WHAT'S THE DEAL?  "We're always trying out.  I don't know that there's a secure job over there.  We're all auditioning all the time.  We're just trying to find something, there again, as we said last week - trying to find and exhaust all the opportunities within our organization right now because there are no opportunities that you're gonna go out and get the person that you may want, if indeed we do need someone else at this point in time during the season so we need to exhaust that and see if the combination of Todd and myself and some new engineering, if that can be something that could work.  Todd and I have a good relationship and it would mean a lot to me if we could make that work for these next couple of years, but, again, we're all fighting for our job." 

EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE NOT IN THE CHASE THIS IS PROOF YOU HAVEN'T GIVEN UP.  "It's never been any different than any other year.  If you were outside the top 10 or wherever you were in years past, you don't give up.  We get paid to race and race hard, regardless of the circumstances.  We're fighting all the time to try to make things better and I know we haven't won a race in a while, so we're gonna use this opportunity if we can possibly do that to try to get ourselves back to Victory Lane." 

DO YOU FAVOR A STRICT INTERPRETATION OF THE NASCAR RULE BOOK WHERE THINGS ARE EITHER YES OR NO, OR DO YOU THINK NASCAR IS RIGHT TO HAVE A COMMONSENSE APPROACH WHERE THEY ALLOW THEMSELVES SOME ROOM TO TRY TO FACTOR IN LOGIC TO MAKING A DECISION?  "I'm glad you asked the question because if that was gonna be the last question I was gonna ask you all why the week before at Loudon when everything went on that's all you read in newspapers, that's all that you heard on TV.  It didn't make any difference.  I think it was on the Oprah show.  I'm not positive about that, but that was such a big story of how we're so out of control as drivers, and then an issue comes up where the first two cars last week are so obviously doing something on the race track that is of benefit to them, the roll through inspection, they don't pass inspection, they're allowed to sit there and jump up and down on their cars and whatever they need to do to get it, and I'll be damned if everything I saw was either on the back page or the next-to-the-last page.  So I'm sorry, I'm not understanding what you all are doing here." 

ON THE FACT THE CAR THAT WON LAST WEEK HAD ALREADY BEEN THROUGH THIS ISSUE.  "Yeah, both of the cars.  I think at Las Vegas were they not both?  You talk about rules, if you're gonna have height sticks and requirements that you have to have, you roll through there - I didn't realize they had a 24-hour period they could wait for these damn things to settle down.  I'm fired up about this.  I don't understand it.  I wanted to say a lot more on the TV show yesterday, but I wasn't allowed to.  Not that it does any good.  I'm just venting right now.  My wife and kids have heard this all week, so now you all have to."  UNTIL WE GOT HERE TO TALK TO NASCAR PEOPLE WE COULDN'T GET ANYBODY TO CALL US BACK?  "So does that tell you what sells tickets now?  They feed you all the information you wanted the week before about fines and all of that.  No, I do think that we need rules.  We've got to have rules.  We've got to go by that.  Hey, don't get me wrong, I applaud them for the ingenuity and for being innovative there to find out what they needed to do that they could certainly take advantage of all the aero rules that you could possibly do, and what they were doing, there's nothing illegal about what they did.  I don't mean to say that.  There was nothing illegal as far as that goes as long as they pass inspection after the race is over.  Again, to those guys that was pretty cool.  I'm sure they couldn't see out their back window - not that they needed to because there wasn't anybody close (laughter).  You have to applaud them for that, but I think you still have to pass inspection when it's over."

Harvick disqualified Harvick disqualifiedKevin Harvick qualified second for Sunday's race at 189.032, but was sent to the back of the 43-car field after his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet failed inspection. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said a post-qualifying inspection found "several violations in the trunk area of the car."
Toyota to debut new engine in Japan Toyota to debut new engine in JapanAfter a successful testing session at the Jerez circuit in Southern Spain this week, Panasonic Toyota Racing drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli will debut the new TF105B in the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix, the team’s home event.

Ralf completed a full testing program at the wheel of the new car, completing a total of 88 laps, or 389.6 kilometres, to record a best overall time of 1:17.603. The German driver classed it as a ‘useful day’ and managed to grasp a good idea of how the car felt compared to the standard chassis.

"The car felt good. I think it suits me better and has addressed some of the issues that I had found more difficult with the standard car during the season,” he said. “That was pleasing and I will be using the car in Japan."

Teammate Jarno Trulli managed a total of 182 laps, or 805 kilometres, during his time in Spain to record a best overall time of 1:17.047, the Italian driver undertaking an extended test with the new TF105…

"We started off doing some set-up work and then I had a good opportunity to do the whole second and third days and carry out a good comparison,” he said.

Like Ralf, Jarno will be racing the new car at Suzuka next weekend despite speculation that he would opt to remain with the old chassis. It was a hard decision to make, but the consistency displayed made it the obvious choice…

"Yes. For me the choice was a bit more difficult because I don't necessarily get more out of the car over one lap,” he said. “But, over a long run the car is more consistent, has more potential, and should prove quicker over a race distance. I will go for it also because it is the car that we are going to use in the winter tests and then as a basis for next year."

Capirossi puts Ducati on pole in Qatar Capirossi puts Ducati on pole in QatarLoris Capirossi took his third pole position in as many weeks with a scintillating series of laps at the end of today’s qualifying session for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar. After starting from the front of the grid and going on to win the race at both Motegi and Sepang, the Ducati rider is on course for an incredible hat-trick at the fourteenth round of the season, where he will be joined on the front row by Sete Gibernau and Valentino Rossi.

“This is a difficult track for us but we made quite a good job during the practice,” said Capirossi, whose time of 1’56.917 was more than two seconds quicker than last year’s pole time, set by his current team-mate Carlos Checa. “We tested a lot of rear tires and found the best solution for the front one, but for the race it will be very difficult. For sure, 21 laps in these conditions will be tough for everybody but we will see in the morning. I am very happy with this pole position, especially because it’s not so easy to overtake at this track.” zzzz

Gibernau, the winner of last year’s inaugural race at the Losail International Circuit, ended the session just 0.077 seconds adrift of the Italian and was the only serious challenger for pole, with recently-crowned World Champion Rossi a further 0.366 seconds back. Colin Edwards, who finished second to Gibernau last season, had held on to top spot for lengthy spells during the session but eventually dropped back to fourth place in the late push for times on qualifying tires.

Edwards is joined on the second row of the grid by Marco Melandri, who set the quickest time in the morning free practice session despite still riding with 35 stitches in the foot injury he sustained in a crash with Rossi at Motegi less than two weeks ago. Carlos Checa snatched the final second row spot from Shinya Nakano with a quick final lap that saw the Japanese rider relegated to seventh place.

Nakano will be the only Kawasaki rider on the grid tomorrow after Olivier Jacque was flown back to Europe for further checks on a back injury he sustained in a crash yesterday morning. The former 250cc World Champion, riding in place of the injured Alex Hofmann, was released from hospital but requires further diagnostic tests before beginning an intense recovery period ahead of the next round at Phillip Island, Australia, in two weeks’ time.

Nicky Hayden was unable to extend his run of top six grid positions beyond eleven races after qualifying eighth fastest and joins Nakano on the third row, as does Toni Elías, the weekend’s surprise package so far. Elías has lapped consistently amongst the top riders and today managed the ninth fastest time despite running into the gravel trap early in the afternoon session. The Spanish youngster starts tomorrow’s race looking to emulate the achievement of his current Yamaha team-mate Ruben Xaus, who took a shock podium finish here last season when riding for Ducati.
1 L. Capirossi Ducati ITA 1' 56.917
2 S. Gibernau Honda ESP 1' 56.994
3 V. Rossi Yamaha ITA 1' 57.360
4 C. Edwards Yamaha USA 1' 57.447
5 M. Melandri Honda ITA 1' 57.468
6 C. Checa Ducati ESP 1' 57.481
7 S. Nakano Kawasaki JPN 1' 57.697
8 N. Hayden Honda USA 1' 57.872
9 T. Elias Yamaha ESP 1' 57.902
10 M. Tamada Honda JPN 1' 58.317
11 K. Roberts Suzuki USA 1' 58.329
12 J. Hopkins Suzuki USA 1' 58.527
13 M. Biaggi Honda ITA 1' 58.622
14 A. Barros Honda BRA 1' 59.084
15 R. Rolfo Ducati ITA 1' 59.392
16 R. Xaus Yamaha ESP 1' 59.482

2006 Long Beach GP ticket sales to start 2006 Long Beach GP ticket sales to startUPDATE “To clarify our ticket-buying process for the 2006 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Grand Prix ticket office is conducting business as usual. Customers can call (888) 82-SPEED, choose their seats and buy tickets from our regular, knowledgeable customer service personnel just as they always have. In addition, our downtown ticket office will again open in March 2006 to facilitate walk-up sales and will call through race weekend. Ticketmaster is our online partner, providing greater convenience and enhanced capability for customers who wish to purchase their tickets online as well as through their retail locations.”  Jim Michaelian, CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach 09/29/05 LONG BEACH, Calif. --- Spring officially gets a head start on Oct. 3. That’s when tickets go on sale for the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 7-9, 2006.  And, Southern California’s “Official Spring Brake” will be even bigger and better this time around!

Headlining the Grand Prix weekend – the only open-wheel racing event in Southern California in 2006 - are the cars and stars of the Champ Car World Series. Among them: Sebastien Bourdais, 2005 Long Beach race winner and ‘04 series champion; Paul Tracy, four-time winner on the famed seaside racing circuit; Bruno Junqueira, Justin Wilson, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and the rest of the Champ Car hot shoes.

The 30th anniversary of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race promises to again feature some of your favorite TV/film/sports celebrities battling each other in a 10-lap race for charity that is always a fan favorite. zzzz 

Tomorrow’s racing stars will flash their skill in the Champ Car Atlantic Series.   Last year’s big hit – “Drifting” – will be back again to wow the more than 175,000 fans with their smoking tires and on-the-edge slides through corners. More races will be announced shortly.

“The Champ Car World Series is back … and it’s here to stay,” said Jim Michaelian, CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, which recently signed a new five-year sponsorship agreement with Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and the Southern California Toyota Dealers Association.  “We’re looking to make this our biggest racing weekend ever. Plus, we’re expanding our schedule of family-oriented activities.

 “Combined with the many tremendous things to see and do in downtown Long Beach, the Toyota Grand Prix is guaranteed to give fans their most enjoyable motorsports experience in Southern California … just as it’s been for the past 31 years.”

Included – and free to all race ticketholders – is the always-fun Lifestyle Expo, which will again feature a special Kid’s Fun Zone and the latest high-tech products and services , race cars, games and simulators, not to mention extreme sports demonstrations and BMX Motocross action.  And the public go-kart track will again be in operation to test the skills of any would-be Bourdais or Tracy.

Friday evenings, the spotlight turns to the Tecate Fiesta Friday concert featuring the hottest Latin bands.  Taking center stage Saturday night is the popular “Rock-N-Roar” Concert which, in the past, has presented such hit bands as Third Eye Blind, Everclear and Goo Goo Dolls.  Both concerts are free to race ticketholders, as is Saturday’s Tecate Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pageant that takes place after the Rock-N-Roar Concert.

The 1.97-mile, 11-turn race circuit on the downtown streets of Long Beach winds around and past the Aquarium of the Pacific, Pike at Rainbow Harbor and the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.  Eighteen grandstands lining the circuit include reserved seating, limited general admission seating and various club and entertainment package locations.

Ticket prices for the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach range from $35 for  Friday/Saturday general admission up to $115 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seats in upper levels of the grandstands.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available when ordering through the Grand Prix Ticket Office.

Credit card orders will be accepted starting Monday by calling the toll-free ticket hotline at (888) 82-SPEED.  A handy ticket brochure – which includes circuit map, grandstand and parking locations, ticket prices and order form – can be obtained by calling the ticket hotline. Tickets will be available online at longbeachgp.com or ticketmaster.com as well as Ticketmaster retail Ticket Center locations throughout Southern California, including all Tower Records, Robinsons-May, Ritmo Latino, Wherehouse Music, and select FYE stores.

Handicapped seating, Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, super photo tickets and a variety of hospitality club packages will also be available.

Hendrick Motorsports forced to pay Hendrick Motorsports forced to payNASCAR racing's Hendrick Motorsports Inc. will pay $351,783 in back overtime wages to 214 of its employees, following federal Department of Labor investigation.
The Cabarrus County company cooperated with the Labor Department, which determined Hendrick violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The company acknowledged that it failed to pay salaried production workers overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week between July 2003 and July this year.

In the course of working with Labor Department, "We identified certain salaried employees who were entitled to additional overtime pay," Hendrick spokesman Jesse Essex said in an e-mail Friday. "We certainly wanted to make sure our employees received any compensation to which they were entitled so we were glad to make the appropriate payments. We've updated our internal policies and do not anticipate any ongoing issues." ThatsRacin.com

NASCAR inspectors lower the hammer at 'Dega NASCAR inspectors lower the hammer at 'DegaNASCAR officials confiscated unapproved fuel cell foam from the No. 8 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and No. 89 Dodge of Morgan Shepherd during pre-qualifying inspections at Talladega Superspeedway.  An unapproved window net was also taken from the No. 25 Chevrolet of Brian Vickers. ThatsRacin.com
Grand Prix Masters
Grand Prix Masters conduct shakedown Grand Prix Masters conduct shakedownUPDATE Images of Grand Prix Masters car.  Look like an old Reynard Champ Car with an airbox?  It is and it has a reworked normally aspirated Champ Car V8 under the bonnet.  The car looks good with its tidy airbox and in our opinion a Champ Car with a tidy airbox like this with a normally aspirated engine underneath would be acceptable to race fans.  Unlike the ugly IRL and A1GP airboxes, this airbox is done properly and provides valuable real estate for additional sponsorship or the car number.  Just one of the many reasons we were pushing for the screaming normally aspirated V10 engine. 09/30/05 You are currently putting the finishing touches to the very powerful new Grand Prix Masters race car which has undergone a successful two-day shakedown this week. Can you please provide a technical overview?
"It’s a state-of-the-art single-seater racing car powered by a 3.4-litre V8 engine that has been built by the renowned engine suppliers Nicholson-McLaren. It is based on the superb Cosworth XB engine that won many (Champ Car) races in North America and we have developed it so that it can now produce well in excess of 600 horsepower without the use of a turbocharger (which the XB originally ran with)."

"The engine is controlled by an electronic management system and can rev to over 10,000rpm – although the engine will not have an automatic limiter on it, so drivers will have to ensure they don’t over-rev when changing gear."

"The transmission has been designed and built by Ricardo and is a six-speed sequential unit that uses an Equipmake paddle-shift system, with the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel, just like a Formula One car. The drivers will use a conventional foot clutch to pull away from a standstill but after that all gear changes will be clutchless and will come at the flick of the paddle. To allow the gears to engage smoothly, the system automatically blips the throttle during downshifts to prevent the rear wheels locking."

"The chassis is made from an incredibly strong mix of carbon-fiber and aluminum honeycomb. We are using the very latest construction techniques to apply high-density foam to large parts of the driver’s ‘tub’. This ensures an excellent level of energy absorption in the event of an accident and means we will comply with the most stringent standards in terms of side intrusion, side impact, front impact and rear crashbox testing."

"The brakes are produced by AP and consist of cast iron brake discs and carbon-metallic brake pads that ensure excellent braking without an undue risk of fade. We have not opted for full carbon brake discs as part of the attraction of the Grand Prix Masters series will be proper overtaking – something that is incredibly hard when you have the very short braking distances that carbon discs allow."

"And finally our tires will be a control slick tire built by Avon. We are currently evaluating a series of different compounds during a testing program before the first race. We intend to have one grade of tire for each event – again preventing one driver getting an advantage over another simply because of his choice of tires."  zzzz

What design philosophy did you take before starting work on the new Grand Prix Masters car?
"This series is all about close, exciting racing that provides entertainment to everyone watching. For that reason we have designed a car that is seriously quick but also balanced and stable – something that allows the drivers to use their skill to drive on the limit."

"We will also keep a close eye on how much drivers can adjust their cars. The plan is only to allow limited adjustment in areas such as aerodynamics, ride height, suspension settings and so on. We will even choose gearbox ratios before we get to the track to ensure that all the cars are as closely matched as possible. I think you can compare them to a modern GP2 car and say that while in performance terms they will be very equal our cars will be more driver-friendly and certainly will slide around a bit more because we will be able to control the set-up and development at every race."

"In the interest of equality we will also guarantee that every car that starts the race will weight exactly the same. We have weighed every driver during seat fittings and will do so again at every race. We will then add ballast to the lighter cars to make sure that no-one has a weight advantage. Even with all this factored in, these cars will be seriously lightweight racers – no more than 600kg before the driver climbs aboard."

Can you say exactly how fast the cars will go and what sort of performance we can expect to see?
"Obviously that depends on the kind of circuit we are racing on, but at a race track with really high top speeds like Monza we expect the GP Masters cars to touch 200mph on the long straights."

"They will corner really well and that means that over a long race drivers will be subjected to some serious g- forces. Consequently one of the key aims of our test program so far has been to ensure that the steering is not too heavy. I’m pleased to say that Bob Berridge, who is acting as a consultant to Grand Prix Masters, tells us that the car is really easy to drive at high speeds. Bob has driven many powerful Formula One cars in his racing career, so we are very pleased to with his feedback so far."

What sort of test program have you got planned for the cars?
"It is pretty intense from here to the first race. We have already conducted the scheduled shakedown work (at the Pembrey race track in South Wales) and the next stage is to generate serious mileage to see how it holds up. We will work every area of the car as hard as we can – in reality the object is to try and break it – so that we can find out if we need to make any adjustments or changes before the first race in Kyalami on 13th November."

How excited are you to be involved in a project like Grand Prix Masters?
"Everybody at Delta Motorsport is thrilled to be involved. We are very proud to have been asked to build and run the cars for Grand Prix Masters and equally pleased that everything is going according to plan. Projects like this really pick up momentum as the first race approaches and it has been a hectic but very rewarding experience so far. We can’t wait to see some of the world’s greatest drivers battling it out at Kyalami in around six weeks from now." Press Release Grand Prix Masters
Ungar resigned with no other job offer Ungar resigned with no other job offerCurt Cavin on Ken Ungar's resignation from the IRL:
Question: What's to be made of Ken Ungar's resignation? Is the Indy Racing League crumbling within its own walls or did he have a better opportunity elsewhere? (Jason from Zionsville, Ind.)

Answer: As best I can tell, Ken announced his resignation without another job lined up. But worry not, he'll land something; he's sharp.

As for the first part of your question, the IRL has the same problems it's always had: It is having trouble selling its strong on-track product to a country fixed on NASCAR. On a personal side, Ungar hasn't been the same since Tony George elevated Brian Barnhart to the presidency last year. Before that, Ungar and Barnhart were on the same level of the staff chart. Indy Star

Tracy signed through 2007 Tracy signed through 2007The 36-year-old Paul Tracy is slated to try to qualify a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Oct. 30.

But Forsythe might have plans to make Tracy an offer he can't refuse, because the thought of losing its most marketable star to NASCAR isn't going down well around the Champ Car boardroom.

Contacted by The Sun, Forsythe public relations specialist Joe Kirklin was adamant that Tracy would be with the team in 2006 and even 2007.

"Paul has a multi-year agreement with Forsythe for this year and beyond," Kirklin told the Sun. "We look forward to continuing to battle for the championship this season and winning more championships with Paul in the future." Toronto Sun
Rosberg makes clean-sweep in Bahrain Rosberg makes clean-sweep in BahrainNico Rosberg has won an unprecedented second race at the Bahrain International Circuit to claim a clean sweep for his championship-winning weekend. Nico Rosberg has put the icing on his championship cake in Bahrain by winning race two ahead of Ernest Viso and Alex Premat, the first man to win both races in a race weekend.

Rosberg started from eighth courtesy of the reversed grid for race two, but was too fast for everybody else – he muscled his way through the field in a dominating drive, while teammate Premat tried to emulate but only got to third behind an impressively fast Viso.

Viso was the first man through turn one after starting on pole, with teammate Hiroki Yoshimoto dropping one place to third after Giorgio Pantano muscled his way through at the corner. zzzz

Heikki Kovalainen didn't get any further than that – he spun on the exit from turn one and was out of the race immediately. Teammate Nicolas Lapierre followed the first three around the lap, followed by a fast starting Rosberg and Premat.

Rosberg was able to carry far more speed through turn one, and it was only a matter of time before he got past Lapierre – two laps later and the move was made on the back straight.

Another lap later and it was Premat's turn – he pushed past Lapierre on the back straight and held him up just enough at the next turn that Jose Maria Lopez was also able to squeeze through.

Ahead of them and Rosberg was flying – he was able to easily dispatch Yoshimoto, who had a wayward looking car, and was already on the podium.

With Scott Speed starting from the pits and setting fastest lap early in the race, Premat now needed to finish in second place to take third in the championship away from the American.

The ART cars were flying, and Rosberg blew past Pantano for second as Premat forced his way inside Yoshimoto at turn one and headed off towards Pantano. Lapierre suffered a delaminated tire on lap ten, compounding a tough weekend for Arden.

One lap later and Premat was on the podium – he pushed past Pantano for third while his teammate was all over the back of Viso and looking for yet another win.

Viso was driving superbly – he was wide but clean, and despite Rosberg's clear car advantage the Venezuelan kept him behind for lap after lap. But it was only a matter of time – Rosberg surgically passed Viso into turn one after a strong battle between the pair, and history beckoned.

Further back and Yoshimoto was having a tough day at the office – he was driving incredibly well, but it was clear that his car was not up to his expectations – Juan Cruz Alvarez and Adam Carroll were taking turns in trying to force him into a mistake.

Behind them there was a gaggle of cars passing and repassing each other on every lap – the cars from sixth to thirteenth were split by mere seconds, and despite their proximity to each other there were no collisions in the bunch.

With Rosberg pulling away in the lead Viso now had Premat to contend with – the Frenchman was determined to take second, but Viso was equally adamant that he could resist.

And so it proved – Rosberg took the first ever back to back win in GP2 history, but Viso held on for second despite unrelenting pressure from Premat, who was behind a lapped Speed on the last lap but eventually got by to finish a second back from the Venezuelan.

Lopez was next across the line, having forced his way past Pantano a few laps earlier, and Yoshimoto held on for the final point from Clivio Piccione and Adam Carroll, while Speed's two points for fastest lap allowed him to just hold on to third in the championship from Premat.

Zytek posts fast time in night practice for Petit LeMans Zytek posts fast time in night practice for Petit LeMansAfter posting one lap this morning and only 12 in the afternoon, the No. 15 Zytek Engineering 04S rocketed to the top of the speed chart in night practice Thursday for Petit Le Mans.

The car of Hayanari Shimoda and Tom Chilton toured Road Atlanta's 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit in 1:12.570, the best time in either of the three practice sessions for Round 9 of the American Le Mans Series. The car debuted in the ALMS at Mid-Ohio in May, starting on the pole before suffering a variety of problems and finishing fourth.

"I love the track, and it's even better in the dark," Chilton said. "I've got in about 10 laps or so in this afternoon and I've just gotten some more. Coming through 10A and 10B and then under the bridge is quite exciting at night. You can't the see the track for a second and then, boom, it's over the edge."

The European entry was 0.603 seconds better than the No. 2 Champion Racing Audi R8 of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, the LMP1 drivers championship leaders. Next was Champion's other Audi, the No. 1 R8 of Marco Werner and JJ Lehto. zzzz

The No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 of Jon Field, Clint Field and Liz Halliday was the class of P2, thanks to Jon Field's 1:14.053 lap. Next was the Barazi-Kruse Motorsport Courage of Phil Bennett, Juan Barazi and Elton Julian at 1:16.447. Third was the class-leading Miracle Motorsports Courage of Jeff Bucknum, Chris McMurry and James Gue.

For the third time in four sessions, Corvette Racing's No. 4 Corvette C6-R of Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen was the quickest car in class at 1:17.835. That was a tick faster than the No. 58 Aston Martin Racing DBR9 of Peter Kox, Pedro Lamy and Tomas Enge. ACEMCO Motorsports' No. 63 Saleen S7R held strong in third at 1:18.399.

Also in class, Aston Martin also reported that its No. 57 DBR9 was fully repaired and ready to go for Friday morning's practice session and the afternoon's qualifying.

Panoz Motor Sports' No. 50 Panoz Esperante GTLM, which won the Grand Prix of Atlanta in April, was quickest in GT2 Thursday night. The entry of Bill Auberlen, Robin Liddell and Scott Maxwell went around the track in 1:23.114, 0.381 seconds better than the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche. Next was the class championship leading No. 31 Porsche from Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing.

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

Roush wants Hendrick's trick shocks outlawed Roush wants Hendrick's trick shocks outlawedRoush Racing president Geoff Smith said he expects NASCAR officials to issue a technical bulletin as early as Friday outlawing the trick shock absorbers used by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch in their 1-2 finish Sunday at Dover International Speedway. Instead of soaking up bumps, as shocks normally are designed to do, Smith said the Hendrick cars' shocks were designed almost to work in reverse; every time they hit a bump, the shocks jacked up the car's rear end for about 15 seconds. Because cars encounter frequent bumps at Dover, the shocks apparently kept the Hendrick cars' tails elevated about an inch beyond what NASCAR rules allow for most of the race, directing more air to the cars' rear spoilers and creating extra aerodynamic "downforce" that helped the cars stick to the track. Cheating? Not exactly, Smith said. "It was clearly an ingenious engineering exercise, and they ought to be commended for their ingenuity," he said. Johnson's team declined comment through a spokesperson.

This explains why the two Hendrick cars failed an initial technical inspection by NASCAR officials Sunday night but passed the maximum-height requirement after they "settled," as NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston explained this week. Officials confiscated the Hendrick cars' shocks after the race, along with shocks from four other cars.

Smith expects NASCAR to prohibit all teams from using such shocks beginning with the Oct. 9 race at Kansas Speedway. The Hendrick shocks wouldn't help in this weekend's race because downforce isn't a major concern at Talladega and teams typically try to get their cars as low to the ground as possible without violating NASCAR's minimum height requirements. Smith figures that Busch, a rookie, has been testing the system all season. "That didn't show up for a championship (contender) the day before Dover," Smith said. "That required a lot of effort, a lot of testing." Penske Racing president Don Miller, meanwhile, wondered why the Hendrick cars apparently were given a second chance to pass officials' maximum-height measurement. "All I can say is, if it comes in as too high, it should be black and white," Miller said. Said Poston, via e-mail: "When the (No.) 48 went up on the platform, it was initially high, but in a matter of seconds the car settled and it made the required height. Absolutely no one made an adjustment to the car; however, as often is the case, an inspector was under the car but did not touch it. The 48 only made one trip through inspection." USA Today

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Date set for Karthikeyan run
McLaren rule at Jerez
Minardi will stay at Faenza
Kanaan won't make F1 switch
Rosberg takes another F1 step
'B' car for Ralf, not Jarno
Ron covets F1 drivers' title
Zonta slates 'boring' V8s
2006-spec 'Midland M16'
No second tunnel for Renault
Bernie wants Bahrain test
On 30 September
Senna and Schumacher
Trulli talks Interlagos and Suzuka Trulli talks Interlagos and SuzukaCharacter building is one phrase that springs to mind when trying to sum up Jarno Trulli’s Brazilian Grand Prix. An engine change left the Italian 18th on the grid and one lap from the end he was coasting with another Pneumatic problem. Still it has been a fantastic season for Trulli as he looks back on Interlagos and then ahead to Suzuka.

How was your Brazilian Grand Prix?
"I like Interlagos, it's quite a technical circuit and I was hoping that I would have a strong race but unfortunately we needed to change an engine in practice, which meant that I went back 10 places on the grid and started in 18th place."

And that was a new experience for you?
"Definitely! Although we have had to use engines for two races in 2005, our reliability has been excellent and the engine department has done a superb job. This was the first time that we have had any kind of penalty and, as we have seen, it has happened to some of the top teams a lot more often. When you look at my qualifying positions this year I have been in the top five 13 times in 16 races before Brazil and never outside the top 10, so yes, it was different territory for me!"

What are the characteristics of Interlagos?
"From Turn 12, Juncao, to Turn 1 is flat-out, with quite a steep uphill section. The track is run in an anti-clockwise direction and so that can be tough on the neck as the race goes on, and as far as the car is concerned, it demands a strong engine. The back straight is quite long too, but then the infield section is very tight. That demands a compromise set-up. You want downforce for the twisty parts but not for the straights. There is only one real passing opportunity, into Turn 1, and so you have to make sure you don't run so much rear wing that you become an easy target on the straight. The ideal one lap set-up for the best lap time, therefore, would perhaps have more downforce than a race set-up, where you have to worry about overtaking. But these days, of course, we have to race with the same set-up that we finish qualifying." zzzz

Once you knew that you had a grid penalty, did the team fuel you up for a long first stint in order to try and make up places?
"That was basically the plan, yes. It meant that I was actually quite proud to qualify eighth fastest before my penalty. In the race I ran as far as lap 32 before my first pit stop, which was only three before half distance. That shows how heavy with fuel the car was. The difficult thing about is that it becomes very hard to pass people."

Why did you stop on the last lap?
"I had an pneumatic problem. They were planning to make a proper investigation later before seeing if we need to put in a new engine for Suzuka."

Are you looking forward to going to Japan for Toyota?
"I actually really like racing in Japan. Suzuka is a great circuit to drive and it was in Japan last year where I took a 'provisional pole' for Toyota when we had both of the sessions on Sunday morning before the race. That was when we were expecting a typhoon in the Suzuka region and it was decided to abandon the Saturday. We had the very unusual situation of all the drivers hanging around at the Circuit Hotel waiting for a storm that never came. But I suppose it was better than being wise after the event! And we got a chance to do some bowling and have a meal together."

What is so special about Suzuka?
"It is sweeping and fast and you have to have both good rhythm and strong commitment. The Esses in sector are a challenge to the drivers and the 130R bend, although slightly modified now, is still very fast."

Do the Japanese fans have a special affinity with the sport?
"They seem to. The race used to be even better-attended than it is now and I think that they used to receive something like six times as many requests as they had tickets, so they held a kind of ballot to see who got them. I remember seeing fans sleeping outside on tables in the pouring rain to be guaranteed a good place to watch."

When will you go to Japan?
"I arrive on the Tuesday before the race, which will give me some time to adjust to the different time zones. It is actually quite tough because after Brazil, which is five hours behind Europe, I go back to Spain to test this week at Jerez, before heading on to Japan, which is eight hours the other way. With all the traveling it is important to try to eat at the correct times, sleep at the correct times and keep the body well hydrated to minimize the effects of jet lag and changing time zones."

With just the far eastern races remaining, how do you assess your season?
"It has been extremely good. Over the last few races we were hoping to challenge Ferrari for third place in the constructors championship because there was no doubt we had the capability. But things haven't quite gone our way. Overall though, the season has been better than I could have expected and I'd say the highlight was the second place at race two in Malaysia and then repeating it in Bahrain."

What did you think of the way the championship was won?
"It seems a long time since we have had a different world champion, it was almost as if Michael Schumacher had taken over private ownership of the title! I think Fernando Alonso has driven a very good season. Both he and his team have shown very strong reliability and consistency and, as my old team mate of course, I'd like to offer him my sincere congratulations!"

What does Toyota need to do to challenge for the title?
"More of the same, I'd say. We made very significant progress this year to be challenging for a top three finish in the manufacturers' championship and you have to remember that the team is still relatively young. We will have done four seasons at the end of this year and if you add to together the collective experience of Ferrari, McLaren and Renault, it comes to almost 125 years!" Source Toyota
Kovalainen congratulates Rosberg Kovalainen congratulates RosbergHeikki Kovalainen finished third in the penultimate GP2 round in Bahrain yesterday. Nine points behind Rosberg with just one round remaining later today, Kovalainen takes the runner up spot in the Championship.

"I would like to congratulate both Nico and the ART Grand Prix team for their title," said Kovalainen. "They've worked really hard during this season and they deserve it."

"As for me, I pushed really hard and did everything I could, but it was just not enough today," he continued. "My tires were deteriorating quite rapidly and my water temperature was rising too. I am disappointed that the season is over, but I'm still glad that I finished second of the championship."

"I have had a strong season and I've learned at lot. There have been great battles and tough competition. I think the GP2 Series has a great future ahead of it."

The final round of this year's GP2 Championship takes place later today. Following that Kovalainen will be kept busy through the winter months testing for Renault F1 in preparation for the 2006 season. Renault

Q and A with GP2 champ Rosberg Q and A with GP2 champ RosbergBy winning the penultimate race of the season yesterday in Bahrain with title rival Heikki Kovalainen finishing third, Nico Rosberg claimed the GP2 Championship. What follows is a Q&A session between Rosberg and GP2.

Nico Rosberg, GP2 Series Champion. How does that feel?
There's worse things than that, for sure! It's an unbelievably happy moment for me, to have won the GP2 championship, it's unreal – when you look at the list of names in the series you think 'this is going to be a difficult one to win'. To have had a difficult start and then come out on top at the end is just amazing."

It looked like a fairly easy win for you today – was it?
"Yeah, it was pretty easy. The start was fairly difficult, and then to get the rhythm going and everything isn't too easy, but we got the car spot on again – we've done a fantastic job with the car this weekend, because it was very difficult to get a good balance. In the morning it was just a complete catastrophe but then qualifying was good, and we used the out lap before the race which was again a complete catastrophe, and we just got it spot on for the race again, and it just worked out fantastic."

About the only unusual moment for you was when Heikki came in so early – what were you thinking at that stage?
"When I saw that I thought 'what is he doing?' – I knew that was it, that that was going to win it for us, because even if a safety car came then I'd still come into the pits and I wouldn't lose anything. I really didn't understand that, especially since I knew the tires would suffer a lot on this track. After that I thought 'what the hell are they doing?', and that it was good that they messed up their strategy once in the season too!" zzzz

When you came out after your stop you were ahead of him, and you were able to pull away fairly easily – what were those last laps like for you?
"I knew that I had better tires, so even if I relaxed I could still pull away, and from then on it was the longest time I've ever had in my entire life – it took so long it was just unbelievable – it was so difficult to concentrate because lap after lap it was getting hotter in the car, and it was so hard to keep my concentration. I went a little bit into a sort of automatic mode, where it was just the same all the time because I wasn't attacking, I was shifting early, and I went somewhere else in my head – it was good."

You've got the title, ART has the team's title – what does it mean for you and the team after the year you've had?
"It was a great season, and we were quick probably from the second race onwards – in Barcelona I had the fastest lap by a country mile – and we just progressively got faster and faster. Then we went to testing and got a lot better, and I hardly made any mistakes – I made a few, of course, but very few compared to last year. I think I've really improved myself, and I've got this qualifying thing where I've done a great job and got five poles, and I really enjoy it to go balls out for one lap. Everything worked out fine."

And now Formula One beckons?
"Yeah, definitely that's the next step, and I can't believe I'm actually talking about it like that! That seems the next step, and for sure I'll have a good chance for next year – at least a test driver, and maybe even a race drive. I'm still talking to Williams and BMW, but I think probably at Williams as a test driver for sure, and maybe even a race drive is a small possibility – it hasn't been spoken about really, but who knows..." Source GP2 Series
"Wanted" IRL drivers hunted down "Wanted" IRL drivers hunted downIndy car drivers have had nicknames over the past decades. Everything from “Lone Star JR” to “Rocket Rick” to “Spider Man” have been associated with many of the sport’s greatest drivers.

But all of the current and past Indy car stars will get new nicknames for the Oct. 14 Raceway Rendezvous “Guns & Garters” charity affair presented by CARA Charities at California Speedway. The event kicks off the IRL IndyCar Series finale weekend.

CARA’s annual season-end extravaganza brings a unique western theme to this year’s event that raises thousands of dollars for needy causes including the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Crystal and Sam Hornish Jr. are the honorary chairpersons for this year’s charity hoedown in “Miss Kitty’s Saloon” with Buddy Rice hosting the Celebrity Texas Hold Em Poker Tournament. zzzz

Special “Wanted Posters” of the Indy car drivers (with their autographs) will be auctioned in one of the many activities set for Friday night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the turn four parking area (Toyota Hospitality Tent) at California Speedway.

“We have a some new ‘cowboy’ type nicknames for the drivers with the wanted posters,” said Barbara Butz, president of CARA Charities. “Each driver and former champion has a special ‘Wanted’ posters with a great photo and nicknames to represent them of this year’s Raceway Rendezvous. Some of the photos and names are very funny and will be collector’s items for our racing fans. The posters will be some of the many highlights for the evening and the auction will let us donate more money to the many causes that need help.”

Among the new nicknames for the Indy car drivers at Raceway Rendezvous include “Four Aces Foyt” for A.J. Foyt IV, “Snake Eye Sam” for Sam Hornish Jr., “Sun Dan Kid” for Dan Wheldon, “Quick Draw” for Helio Castroneves, “Vicious Vic” for Vitor Meira, “Desperado” for Danica Patrick, “Sharp Shooter” for Scott Sharp, “Six Gun” for Tomas Scheckter, “Renegade” for Buddy Rice, “Bryan Cassidy” for Bryan Herta and “Tony the Rogue” for Tony Kanaan.

In addition, the event will auction off a “one of a kind” Cobra Motors scooter that includes a special paint design and autographs from the entire IndyCar Series field.

The “Raceway Rendezvous” event will feature music, a grand food spread, a silent motorsports auction and a variety of western contests and games including a celebrity poker tournament.

Tickets for this year’s “Raceway Rendezvous” can be purchased by calling the CARA Charities office at 317-299-2277, by e-mail at carachar@aol.com or on-line the CARA website at www.caracharities.org. Individual tickets are $100 with special sponsorships and corporate tables are also available.

Racing News
Racing companies support hurricane victims Racing companies support hurricane victimsJesse Sammons, Spencer Cagle and Phil Simerly are marketing and technology professionals from around the United States with little in common other than a desire to help people impacted by the recent hurricane catastrophes.  Yet they combined their skills to form an ad hoc hurricane relief team and today departed from Atlanta on a mission to aid communities recovering from the storms.  The relief team is traveling to Gulfport, Miss., where their satellite-equipped Mobile Computing Unit (MCU) will serve as a law enforcement command center for seven to 10 days before transition to a disaster recovery operation center.  The relief team will provide access to vital communication tools including computers, the Internet and a technical staff to support federal, state and local response efforts.

The advance teams – from Atlanta; Vernon Hills, Ill.; and Herndon, Va. – met on September 7 to begin initial preparations for the operation.  Sammons is an event management professional with Next Marketing, Inc., an Atlanta-based sports and event marketing agency specializing in motor sports and mobile marketing.  Cagle and Simerly are system engineers with CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G), a subsidiary of Chicago-based CDW Corporation.  Both have experience in delivering technology solutions to government customers – including the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. zzzz

Sammons, as well as Next Marketing’s Martin Mueller and Shane McAdams, made final preparations on the MCU, which typically supports events such as the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl and industry tech show Internet World.  The team worked along with CDW-G technical specialists Mukul Mather, Adam Smarackeck and Simerly, who configured and installed 50 laptops and flat-panel displays donated by HP, preparing the unit for transport to the affected region.  Fully self-contained, the trailer is outfitted with a 110kw diesel generator, HVAC systems and, most importantly, a Tachyon Satellite Internet system capable of providing 45 high-speed connections, enabling network connectivity where it would otherwise be unavailable.  The tractor-trailer, which expands to a 1,000-square-foot computing center, also served as a command module at Ground Zero in New York after September 11, 2001.

“Every individual and organization in the United States is capable of providing assistance to this unprecedented catastrophe in their own way,” said Henry Rischitelli, program coordinator and President of Next Marketing.  “While the material, service and in-kind contributions from Next Marketing, CDW Corporation and HP certainly empowered the effort, it is the personal sacrifice of the crew that makes this mission possible.” 

Additional support is being provided by T/K Media Services, Tachyon and RuSPORT.

For more information about the team or their progress, please contact Elke Martin Brandware Public Relations 770-225-2383 emartin@brandwaregroup.com

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Petit LeMans - Part 1
Road Atlanta
11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Busch North Series
Lime Rock Park
1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET (Live) HDNet
'NASCAR Live!'
Talladega, AL
5:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP - Final Practice
UAW-Ford 500
Talladega, AL
5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
'Race Car Driver'
Episode 5, Cleveland
6:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET (Replay) WGN
Petit LeMans - Part 2
Road Atlanta
7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Ford World 300
Talladega, AL
9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Shawano, WI
NeWave Motorsports Hour
11:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. (Replay) The Outdoor Channel

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

Kinser wins Talladega pole Kinser wins Talladega poleKraig Kinser, a member of MB2 Motorsports development program, claimed the pole for Saturday's ARCA RE/MAX race at Talladega Superspeedway.  Driving the No. 10 U.S. Army/CENTRIX Financial/Rally's Chevrolet, Kinser dropped the hammer in Thursday's qualifying run, posting the fastest speed of 185.04 miles per hour.
The World of Outlaws sprint car star is competing in only his second ARCA race. At his ARCA debut in August at Michigan International Speedway, he qualified second and finished eighth in the race.
"This is exciting," said Kinser. "We knew we had a good car and it was just a matter of getting the handling down. I just let it rip." zzzz
Kinser, the 20-year-old son of sprint car legend Steve Kinser, said that his immediate focus is Friday's practice session, which will be his first experience in superspeedway drafting.
"This is all new to me, so I'm just going to take it easy out there and get as much quality drafting time as I can," said Kinser. "I'm surrounded by a great team and that is comforting."
Kinser's ARCA team is a joint venture between MB2 Motorsports and Andy Hillenburg Racing.
Robbie Pecorari captures pole position at Road Atlanta Robbie Pecorari captures pole position at Road AtlantaBraselton, Georgia. Sitting second in points with two races remaining, Robbie Pecorari, of Aston, Pennsylvania, powered his SAI Hydraulics/Andersen Walko Racing Mazda around the 2.5-mile Road Atlanta circuit in a time of 1:20.554 to capture his first pole position of the season in qualifying for Round Eleven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. ( Robbie Pecorari, above right, navigates turn five enroute to his first pole position of the season in qualifying this afternoon for Round Eleven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Photo Credit - Eric McCombs)

Joining Pecorari on the front row with a time of 1:20.948, making it an all Andersen Walko Racing front row, will be Graham Rahal, of New Albany, Ohio, in the Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Mazda. Ryan Justice, who led the first half of the spring event at Road Atlanta qualified third in his Sikkens AKZO_Nobel Northwest Autosports Mazda with a time of 1:21.069.

"We didn't change a thing from practice, we just had new tires," Pecorari, who topped the time sheets in the final practice session ahead of qualifying, explained. "The car is the best it's been, not only this weekend but also all year. It's perfect, I couldn't ask for more. Now all I can do is try to get as many points as possible and see what (Raphael) Matos does."

With the pole position Pecorari inches one point closer to championship points leader Rapahel Matos, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, who qualified fourth overall in his Ocean Tomo Racing Mazda. James Hinchcliffe, of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, entered the weekend third in points with an eye on the championship but will face an uphill battle after he could only post the fifteenth fastest time in his NOCO Mobil 1 AIM Autosport Mazda.

The penultimate round of the championship, being held this weekend as part of the American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans festivities, is scheduled for thirty laps with a starting time of 2:50 PM Eastern Time on Friday, September 30th.

Qualifying Results
Pos No. Name Best Tm In Lap Last Tm Laps Best Spd
1 23 Robbie Pecorari 1:20.554 6 1:43.394 8 113.514
2 12 Graham Rahal 1:20.948 14 1:41.413 15 112.961
3 38 Ryan Justice 1:21.069 9 1:42.323 14 112.793
4 7 Raphael Matos 1:21.117 10 1:36.223 14 112.726
5 96 Mark Wilkins 1:21.126 10 1:36.364 14 112.714
6 22 Pablo Donoso 1:21.312 7 1:57.661 10 112.456
7 26 Jonathan Klein 1:21.561 7 1:54.359 13 112.112
8 42 Mike Anderson 1:21.697 8 1:42.964 15 111.926
9 54 Mickey Gilbert 1:21.869 7 1:46.709 13 111.691
10 18 Adrian Carrio 1:21.904 9 1:22.386 14 111.643
11 97 Brandon Thomas 1:21.908 5 1:22.375 14 111.637
12 6 Jonathan Branam 1:21.914 8 1:39.550 14 111.629
13 77 Brian Thienes 1:21.934 8 1:58.286 13 111.602
14 41 Sean Guthrie 1:22.006 9 1:38.471 13 111.504
15 98 James Hinchcliffe 1:22.104 12 1:39.476 13 111.371
16 75 John Pew 1:22.297 10 1:45.544 13 111.110
17 45 Mark Pavan 1:22.370 6 1:47.188 12 111.011
18 44 John Faulkner 1:22.550 4 1:52.141 13 110.769
19 37 Jim Malackowski 1:22.616 10 1:55.771 11 110.681
20 73 Mark Patterson 1:22.739 5 1:43.087 9 110.516
21 74 Phil Saville 1:22.858 6 1:52.061 13 110.357
22 87 Doug Peterson 1:23.169 7 1:44.384 12 109.945
23 24 Jon Brownson 1:23.887 11 1:54.725 12 109.004
24 56 Dan Tomlin III 1:24.354 9 1:45.165 11 108.400
25 36 Mark Arseneau 1:24.465 6 1:48.687 11 108.258
26 58 Dan Tomlin Jr. 1:25.117 11 1:51.690 12 107.429
27 67 Richard Haskell 1:26.363 7 1:54.276 12 105.879
28 20 Marco Andretti 2:05.939 1 2:05.939 1 72.607
29 55 John Chism 5:59.498 2 5:59.498 2 25.435

Formula BMW
Piscopo Takes his Third Win of the Season Piscopo Takes his Third Win of the Season17-year old Italian Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational - Antonio Ferrari's team that is Champ Car bound) continued to make the front of the Formula BMW USA field his second home, taking the Round 13 victory today at Road Atlanta, in Braselton, Ga. Starting from outside the front row, Piscopo passed polesitter Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) on the second lap of the 13-lap contest to take the win by .328 seconds over Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA). The win was Piscopo's third in his last four starts and moves him to fifth in the Championship and Rookie point standings.

Stevens drove a steady race from the fourth starting position, moving into third on lap three and second on lap five. Today's finish was Steven's fourth podium appearance of the season and consolidates his hold on the sixth position in the Championship standings.

Finishing third was Australian James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA) after a fine drive from his seventh starting position. He moved into fifth on the fourth lap and made the move of the race on lap seven when he passed both Kevin Lacroix and Richard Philippe for third as the three negotiated Road Atlanta's challenging downhill final turn.

Both polesitter Lacroix and third place starter Philippe fell steadily back as the race developed. Racing closely together in the fifth and fourth positions respectively, Lacroix got by Philippe for fourth on the final lap of the race to knot the two at the top of the Championship points. Philippe was credited with the fastest lap (1:29.212) on lap 11.

The top finishing Rookies were Piscopo (P1), Stevens (P2), Davison (P3), Lacroix (P4) and Philippe (P5). Philippe continues to lead the Rookie points by three points over Lacroix. Wickens still stands third, Davison fourth and Piscopo fifth.

"I didn't really expect to win because it is my first time at Road Atlanta," said a satisfied Piscopo. "I was not the fastest, but I was very consistent. I kept focusing on making no mistakes because the others were really pushing hard. My aim was to arrive here in Atlanta and become fifth in the Championship after the two final rounds. I already have fifth, so I have good expectations for tomorrow."

Stevens said, "Fighting with Richard today was pretty easy. I made a mistake that almost cost me the position to him, but once my car came up to temperature, I was able to pass and drive away from him. The fight with Kevin was quite hard, but after I passed him, I opened up a gap and that allowed me to focus on Edoardo. I pushed extremely hard, really hoping for the win. Unfortunately the car developed an understeer and, combined with mistakes by both of us, I was not quite sure who was going to come out on top. Ultimately, I didn't have enough tires left at the end for the win."

Davison added, "I managed to get Richard and Kevin in one move and catch up to Reed and Edoardo. My team gave me a great car and I was able to take advantage of it. Tomorrow, I am starting two positions farther up the grid. The important thing will be that if Edoardo wins I must finish second to keep my fourth position in the Championship."

After 13 rounds over seven weekends, the race for the 2005 Formula BMW USA Overall and Rookie Championships has come down to three BMW Junior drivers, Kevin Lacroix, Richard Philippe and Robert Wickens, and the 13 laps of Round 14.

The Round 14 race is scheduled to begin at 12:45 p.m. tomorrow.

Round 13 - Results (13 laps)
1 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational 19:33.007
2 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 19:33.335
3 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 19:33.947
4 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport 19:34.389
5 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 19:35.415
6 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 19:37.549
7 Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 19:38.163
8 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 19:38.398
9 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing 19:42.355
10 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 19:47.811
11 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 19:48.333
12 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 19:51.919
13 John Zartarian (R) Gelles Racing 19:53.603
14 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 19:59.945
15 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 20:13.838
16 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 20:19.867
17 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 20:22.529
18 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 11 laps

Championship points after 13 of 14 races:
1. Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport, 136), 2. Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica, 136), 3. Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA, 120), 4. James Davison (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 104), 5. Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational, 96), 6. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 90), 7. Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing, 83), 8. Tom Sutherland (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 39), 9. Race Johnson (HBR Motorsport Team USA, 36), 10. Rob Bunker (AIM Autosport, 31), 11. Justin Moon (Gelles Racing, 31), 12. John Zartarian (Jensen MotorSport, 23), 13. Tobias

Danica Patrick honored among top 100 women Danica Patrick honored among top 100 womenIndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick is being recognized with other women who are leaders in the automotive field at a dinner Sept. 28 in Detroit by the magazine Automotive News. A special section recognizing the honorees also is in the current issue of the magazine.

Each honoree will be recognized on stage, with brief remarks from Adriane Brown, president and CEO, Honeywell Transportation Systems; Cheryl Jones, project general manager, Baja California, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc.; and Maureen Kempston Darkes, group vice president and president, GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East, General Motors among others.

Patrick also is featured on the cover of the current issue of ESPN: The Magazine. Patrick and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade are featured on a split cover for the “Hot and Cool” issue of the magazine.
McLaren drivers continue to dominate McLaren drivers continue to dominateToday marked the second and final day of the Team McLaren Mercedes testing program in Jerez, Spain. Pedro de la Rosa and Alex Wurz continued work at the circuit today, behind the wheel of two MP4-20s focusing on a Michelin tire program for the Chinese Grand Prix and aerodynamic work respectively.

De la Rosa racked up 108 laps and set the fastest time of the day on a 1:15.737 with Wurz second fastest, just under seven-tenths of a second off the pace.

"With the Chinese Grand Prix just a few weeks away, this test has been important in making sure we make the correct Michelin tire choice for the race," explained the Spanish test driver. "I will be the team's Friday driver out in Shanghai, and am looking forward to seeing how the work we have done here at Jerez will help us out on the racetrack."

Over at Paul Ricard, Ferrari continued its test program with Michael Schumacher taking to the test circuit in his F2005. The out-going Champion worked on the Bridgestone tire development program ahead of the final two races of the season completing 83 laps with a best time of 1:11.193s.

Thursday Times
1 . P. de la Rosa - McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 - 1:15.737 (+ 0.000 ) - 108 laps
2 . A. Wurz - McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 - 1:16.417 (+ 0.680 ) - 118 laps
3 . F. Montagny - Renault R25 - 1:16.526 (+ 0.789 ) - 122 laps
4 . C. Klien - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:16.789 (+ 1.052 ) - 122 laps
5 . A. Davidson - BAR Honda 007 - 1:17.522 (+ 1.785 ) - 95 laps
6 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF105 - 1:18.833 (+ 3.096 ) - 90 laps
7 . T. Kanaan - BAR Honda 007 - 1:19.108 (+ 3.371 ) - 51 laps
8 . R. Zonta - Toyota TF105 V8 - 1:20.106 (+ 4.369 ) - 59 laps
9 . L. Di Grassi - Renault R25 - 1:21.504 (+ 5.767 ) - 51 laps.

Formula BMW
Philippe Will Race for Championship from Round 14 Pole Philippe Will Race for Championship from Round 14 PoleRichard Philippe (Team Autotecnica) will start the final race of the 2005 Formula BMW USA season from the same position he began the first race - the pole. The 15-year old Junior driver, and current Overall and Rookie points leader, scored his sixth pole of the season in today's 30-minute Round 14 qualifying session. He set a new qualifying record of 1:28.543 minutes around the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course. Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA) qualified second (1:28.668), equaling his best effort of the season. Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational), the most recent Formula BMW USA winner and front row starter in this afternoon's Round 13 contest, will start third (1:28.923).

Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA), also in the hunt for the Overall and Rookie titles, will start seventh. Round 13 polesitter Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport), currently second in the Championship standings, was sixth fastest in the session, but will start at the rear of the field after his time was disallowed following post- qualifying inspection.

Philippe said, "My strategy for tomorrow's race is start first and finish first - simple as that. It is good to have the pole position. It is less stress for me because I don't have any doubt about my speed. I am here to win the Championship." zzzz

Stevens added, "The track changed a little bit from yesterday. There was some more grip in turn five and turn seven, so we came in and made some adjustments to the car. When I went back out I was quick right away. We really wanted the pole position today, but second is not so bad. If everything goes perfectly this weekend a third place in the Championship is possible, but I hope to end up at least inside the top-five."

Piscopo said, "We made a mistake today by using the tires from yesterday. It was very difficult to improve my lap times. I do feel I have established a good rhythm and think in the race we will have a close fight. Unfortunately I cannot aim for more than the fifth position in the Championship because I missed the first rounds." The quickest Rookies in Round 13 qualifying were Philippe (P1), Stevens (P2), Piscopo (P3), Davison (P5) and Bunker (P6).

The Round 13 race is scheduled to start at 3:20 p.m. today. The Round 14 race is scheduled to start at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, and the Championship Banquet will begin at 6:00 p.m. that evening.

Qualifying: Round 14
1 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 1:28.543 (103.272 mph)
2 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:28.668
3 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational 1:28.923
4 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 1:29.078
5 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:29.098
6 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 1:29.229
7 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 1:29.276
8 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 1:29.279
9 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing 1:29.338
10 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:29.494
11 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:30.597
12 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 1:29.861
13 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 1:30.101
14 John Zartarian (R) Gelles Racing 1:30.169
15 Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 1:30.206
16 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 1:31.102
17 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 1:31.173
18 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport

Nextel to back Richards in Mexico City Nextel to back Richards in Mexico CityUPDATE Added photo of Homero Richards. 09/29/05 Nextel de Mexico, leader in the integrated digital communications industry, has announced today that Homero Richards will be the driver to represent the Nextel Racing Team at the Champ Car World Series 2005 finale, as part of the HVM Team during the last date to be held on November 6 in Mexico City.

Nextel joins again the international car racing events and reiterates its commitment to the new talents by giving its drivers the opportunity to participate in all kinds of categories beyond domestic races. Thus, Nextel provides the opportunity to another Mexican driver to take part at the Champ Car World Series that began on April 10th, 2005 in Long Beach, California, and it is now about to end.

“In the past, the participation of the Nextel Racing Team drivers in the Champ Car has been a pleasant experience and we are sure that it will continue to be”, said Víctor Tiburcio, Chief Marketing Officer, Nextel de México. “At Nextel we are very excited to support young Mexican sportsmen like Homero Richards, who throughout his career has succeeded as a professional”, Tiburcio added.  zzzz 

With Nextel’s support, Homero has taken part for three consecutive years in the Formula Renault where he became champion twice, individually and as a team. In recognition of his success, a year ago Nextel gave Richards the opportunity to take part in a test like the current one in order to be able to officially drive the Nextel Racing car number 50.

This clearly shows that, despite he is very young, Homero Richards’s experience as a racing driver is significant both at a domestic and international level, and he will seek together with his co-teamers, the Mexican Rodolfo Lavín and the Italian Fabrizio Del Monte, to achieve the highest score for the HVM Team.

“I want to thank Nextel for its support in this great step as a professional driver. We had a good training session, which was crucial to earn their trust and this opportunity”, said Homero Richards. “We have been working hard to obtain the best scores for Nextel, the HVM Team and Mexico. This encourages me to be patient and smart enough to give my best performance”, said Richards.

HVM Racing has continuously taken part since 2000 in the Champ Car World Series, therefore, it is supported by the great experience and background of its owner, Keith Wiggins and the excellent performance in the last five years after having won three times, having ranked eight times in the first places, and obtained one pole position.

“The HVM Team welcomes Homero and Nextel to the racing event that will be held in Mexico. We have been discussing with the company for the last few years in order to work together and we now feel satisfied with the conclusion of the negotiations. We expect to do a great job as a team”, said Keith Wiggins, owner and director of the HVM Racing Team. “We are very pleased to work with Mexican companies and we have a significant experience, supported by our work in that country. This race is a great business opportunity for companies in Mexico, for our team and for the Champ Car World Series as well”, he added.

“Nextel, like the HVM Team is a solid organization with a great history of car racing activities”, Víctor Tiburcio explained. “With the experience and support of a professional team like HVM, fans in Mexico will be able to watch at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez racing track the combination of leading edge technology with competitiveness, the key factors to reach successful results”, he pointed out.

The participation of Nextel Racing drivers in the various serials is part of Nextel de Mexico’s effort as a distinguished car racing promoter, besides offering the fans the opportunity to watch at the track the convergence of two relevant aspects: wireless communication and speed. Additionally, it is worth to mention that throughout the 2005 season, the Nextel Racing Team has been present in four domestic car racing categories.

Zonta ridicules new F1 V8's Zonta ridicules new F1 V8'sToyota test driver Ricardo Zonta says the power reduction that he has experienced when testing the new F1 V8's has made the cars too easy to drive (900bhp with V10 down to around 730-750bhp with new V8).

“It is just like a video game,” the Brazilian told Autosport-Atlas.  “It is dead easy to drive, not physical at all, therefore not a challenge. A little girl could drive that car.  It is not technical and you can afford to make mistakes, because you can still make the corner on the line, there is so much time available.  I suppose everyone would have this, but it is a bit boring.”  [Editor's Note: Will Danicamania soon hit F1?]

One day left to bid on Ride with Dale Jr. One day left to bid on Ride with Dale Jr.With the deadline fast approaching, the online auction activity for three laps in a race car with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has started to increase.

The final bids will be accepted on www.ebay.com until 8 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (PT) on Friday, September 30. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation and Wrangler have teamed to provide the highest bidder with a very unique opportunity.

After confirming the winning bid, that person will climb into the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet on Wednesday, October 26 with 2004 Daytona 500 champion Earnhardt, Jr. behind the wheel. They will take to the 1.5-mile oval of Lowe’s Motor Speedway to benefit the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund.

“We had a dramatic increase in activity when initial bidding started last Friday,” said Dick Baker, Executive Director of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. “As expected, things slowed down during the week. But, with the deadline fast approaching we expect the bidding to get real interesting in the closing hours and minutes.” zzzz

The winner and a guest will receive roundtrip airfare to Charlotte, NC, one night’s accommodations and ground transportation. In addition to the Ride with Dale Jr. for the winner, they and their guest will also take part in the Richard Petty Rookie Driving Experience at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that same day.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, they will head to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. for an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the team’s headquarters in Mooresville, NC. They will also dine in the Trophy Room; the company’s exclusive dining facility at DEI.

As of Thursday (Sept. 29) morning, the bidding had topped the $40,000 mark. Almost 45,000 visitors have checked out the online auction at www.ebay.com which can be found under Item No. 5255979027 on their website.

Rosberg wins race, title Rosberg wins race, titleNico Rosberg (pictured right) is the inaugural GP2 Champion after winning race one at the Bahrain International Circuit, with teammate Alex Premat protecting him from title rival Heikki Kovalainen. The championship challengers filled the front row on the grid, and pole sitter Rosberg led the way down to turn one as the lights went out, slightly blocking Kovalainen's path and allowing Nicolas Lapierre into second.

One corner later and order was restored, with Kovalainen pushing hard to catch the German. The pair were almost immediately together as a result of the safety car coming out on track in response to three stranded cars on the front straight – Jose Maria Lopez, Giorgio Mondini and Can Artam all stalled at the start.

The cars were removed by the time the field filed past the finish line for the first time, and one lap later they were released again, with Rosberg making a good start and Kovalainen following the safety car in to make his compulsory pitstop. zzzz

It was a risky strategy, but one that had worked in the past – Kovalainen came out twentieth but with clean air in front of him, and set about pushing as hard as he could as he waited for the rest of the grid to peel off into the pitlane.

Back on track the order at the front of the race was Rosberg from Lapierre, Premat and a fast starting Ernesto Viso. Behind the Venezuelan Giorgio Pantano was pushing hard for fourth, and after a lap on his tail he eased by into turn one.

Borja Garcia was in second place among the early stoppers, but Scott Speed was pushing him hard – the pressure worked, and on lap six he was able to slip by Garcia at turn one, clearly the most popular place to make an overtaking move.

Two laps later Gimmi Bruni slowed dramatically on the front straight but continued on. It was to no avail – the Italian had to pull over at turn ten to abandon his car and find his way back to the pit under his own power.

Speed wasn't to remain in the race for much longer – on lap ten he spun out of the race at turn one, with the car seemingly unable to slow and running straight before stopping next to the barriers.

With the pitstops working out in Kovalainen's favor the Finn was now up to eighth place, and Rosberg's engineers obviously decided enough was enough – they brought their driver in on lap eleven, followed closely by most of the lead drivers.

Rosberg's stop was conservative but good enough – he rejoined the track just ahead of Kovalainen, and was able to pull away almost immediately. The German wasn't the only fast driver on track – teammate Premat was able to push past Kovalainen on lap 16 at turn one after just failing to hold the same move one lap earlier.

Within a few laps every driver had made their stop, and the order at the front was Rosberg from Premat, Kovalainen and Monfardini, the Italian having driven a remarkably impressive race after his recent dramas to be in fourth place on the road.

Heartbreakingly it didn't last – on lap 21 Monfardini stopped at turn eight with a broken car, waving his hands in pain as he realized that he best result had just be taken from his grasp.

Back on track Rosberg looked untouchable, easily pulling away from Kovalainen on every lap. With four points between the pair the title was now effectively over, and Premat setting the fastest lap on lap 25 was salt in the Finn's wounds.

However, a glimmer of hope appeared for Kovalainen as Premat's car started smoking, potentially throwing everything into the air – if the Frenchman failed to finish it would put Kovalainen just two points behind in the championship, with fastest lap going to Olivier Pla.

Kovalainen pushed hard, but he was chasing a dream – after two laps the smoke stopped and Premat's car had sorted itself, and the title was gone. The few remaining laps rolled by and Rosberg took the checkered flag with both hands in the air, followed by teammate Premat and rival Kovalainen.

Jose Maria Lopez was best of the rest, having run a solid race to take fourth ahead of Pantano and Lapierre. Hiroki Yoshimoto was next through, immediately followed by teammate Viso – the BCN pair looked as though they were running as slowly as possible to take tomorrow's pole, and Viso will lead an all BCN front row in the final race of the 2005 championship.

1. Nico Rosberg ART 34 laps 1hr 03m 34.327s
2. Alex Premat ART +11.500secs
3. Heikki Kovalainen Arden +18.700secs
4. Jose Maria Lopez DAMS +33.600secs
5. Giorgio Pantano Super Nova +38.200secs
6. Nicolas Lapierre Arden +43.700secs
7. Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN +53.800secs
8. Ernesto Viso BCN +54.200secs

9. Adam Carroll Super Nova +55.700secs
10. Juan Cruz Alvarez Campos +67.300secs
11. Fairuz Fauzy DAMS +69.000secs
12. Alexandre Negrao Hitech Piquet +69.600secs
13. Clivio Piccione Durango +74.500secs
14. Mathias Lauda Coloni +81.700secs
15. Sergio Hernandez Campos +86.600secs
16. Neel Jani Racing Engineering +92.600secs
17. Can Artam iSport +96.400secs

Rtd Giorgio Mondini DPR 33 laps completed
Rtd Borja Garcia Racing Engineering 31 laps completed
Rtd Olivier Pla DPR 29 laps completed
Rtd Ferdinando Monfardini Coloni 20 laps completed
Rtd Nelson Piquet Jr Hitech Piquet 13 laps completed
Rtd Scott Speed iSport 10 laps completed
Rtd Gianmaria Bruni Durango 7 laps completed

Fastest lap: Alex Premat ART 1min 47.766secs
Pole position: Nico Rosberg ART 1min 44.643secs

Champ Car Participates In IUPUI Motorsports Day Champ Car Participates In IUPUI Motorsports DayThe Champ Car World Series has always been a destination for the world’s top young driving talent, but on Friday the focus will shift toward finding the next generation of  those that make the Champ Cars run.

The series will look to expose aspiring engineers to the world of Champ Car racing by participating in Motorsports at IUPUI Day on the downtown campus of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. The program, put together by the Purdue School of Engineering & Technology, will feature exhibits from Champ Car, Cosworth Racing, SCCA, USAC and Formula BMW in a four-hour program designed to show prospective engineering students some of the opportunities available to them in racing.

Champ Car World Series Director of Technology Scot Elkins will address the students and teachers from 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. while current Champ Car team engineers Robert Gue and Brenden Cleave will speak at noon to share their experiences.

Team Australia will have its Champ Car on display along with the Pi Research cut-away car, which allows fans to get a one-of-a-kind look at all of the components that make up a Champ Car. In addition, one of the Cosworth XFE engines that power the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford machines will be exhibited.

The inaugural Motorsports at IUPUI day will run from 10am - 2pm, at the University College Courtyard on the grounds of IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis. For more information, contact Terri Talbert-Hatch, (317) 274-8703

Minardi to stay in Italy Minardi to stay in ItalyOwner Dietrich Mateschitz and Minardi recently announced that Red Bull's billionaire owner had purchased the Faenza-based outfit from current team boss Paul Stoddart and would be running it as a junior team in 2006.

The change of ownership raised concerns amongst the Minardi faithful who feared Mateschitz would move the team's base from Italy to England. However, the good news is, he won't.

"For me, they are an Italian team and they should remain in Faenza," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.  But the team must become competitive and avoid being always last on the starting grid. We will change their image. It will be a mixture of entertainment and performance."

The Austrian denied reports that former F1 driver Gerhard Berger would be filling the role of team boss at Minardi.  "We will not take them (management) from Red Bull," he said.   "That would be a mistake because we are not the best team in Formula One. We need expert people, but it will not be (former BMW motorsport head) Gerhard Berger.  We need someone who can dedicate himself full time to the team and he (Berger) already has other commitments."

Glen attendance is anyone's guess Glen attendance is anyone's guessThe first question I've been asked by people this week has been: "How was the Indy Racing League event at Watkins Glen International?"  And I've been saying by all accounts the return of open-wheel racing at Watkins Glen International was a smashing success. The race was first-rate, with plenty of close racing. Scott Dixon made two quality passes on his way to his first win in two years.

"We feel like our cars competed very well here and our drivers just loved the event," said John Griffen, the IRL's vice president of public relations. "The buzz that was around the community was very, very impressive to us. We feel like we (the IRL and the Glen) came together and hit a home run out of the box."

Invariably, the next question that comes up is "How big was the crowd?"

With my more than 30 years of attending Glen races, I think I have a pretty good idea of how many fans show up. So my response to that question has been "I guess about 35,000."

However, I can't give anyone an accurate number because - as is the case for most racing events - no official attendance figures are released.

NASCAR, which sanctions the Nextel Cup Series, started to give out attendance figures at its events this year. It was a surprise to see they estimated only 85,000 fans for last month's Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen. Some media estimates topped 160,000.

I turned to the Indy Racing League for a head count, but they don't give out crowd estimates either.

Said Griffen: "From our standpoint, it looked like a great crowd out there. I was very impressed with the number of RVs on site."

I thought I'd try to get a larger sample of estimates to achieve a more educated guess, so I did an informal pole among the media at the Glen. I heard anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000. I laughed when I heard 60,000.

In searching newspaper Web site stories on the Glen IRL event, I found the Indianapolis Star published a 40,000 figure while the Buffalo News published 35,000.

But no matter what the attendance really was, the bottom line for the racetrack and the IRL was that the fans there had a good time.  The event is sure to grow, not just from its favorable 2005 race date the week after the Indy 500, but from word of mouth from fans who left feeling it was great to see major open-wheel racing back at the Glen. Star Gazette

NBC takes over for final Chase run NBC takes over for final Chase runNBC Sports begins its exclusive coverage of the final eight races in NASCAR's "Chase for the Nextel Cup" on Sunday live from Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. at 1:30pm/et with the "Bank of America Countdown to Green" pre-race show, followed by green flag racing at 2:00pm/et. NBC Sports will use 40 cameras to cover the action at Talladega this weekend, including 24 in-car cameras and a "Crew Cam" in the pits. Bill Weber hosts the "Bank of America Countdown to Green" pre-race show and serves as play-by-play commentator for NASCAR on NBC. Parsons and Wally Dallenbach provide analysis. Allen Bestwick is the lead pit reporter and Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum are pit reporters. NASCAR's "Chase for the Nextel Cup" continues on NBC next Sunday, Oct. 9 from Kansas Speedway and concludes Sunday, November 20 with the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway. NBC PR
Indians are Danica Patrick of baseball Indians are Danica Patrick of baseballThe Cleveland Indians are becoming the baseball equivalent of Danica Patrick.  Good story. Great to look at. The wholesome Midwestern entrant every right-thinking American wishes to see crossing the finish line with the checkered flag waving.

But, like the darling of the Indianapolis 500, it appears the Indians have run out of gas with the finish line in sight.

Cleveland suffered its third consecutive loss Wednesday, being shut out by Tampa Bay, 1-0, at Jacobs Field. The Tribe’s first three-game losing streak since being swept by the Devil Rays in mid-August has resulted in their postseason hopes being wheeled toward the emergency room. More at Cantonrep.com

Tony Kanaan prepares for F1 test Tony Kanaan prepares for F1 test2004 IRL IndyCar Champion Tony Kanaan has his first drive in a F1 car today with the BAR Honda.

How has your season been going in the IRL Indy Car series this year?
“It's a different season for sure than last year. When you win a championship, you come into the following season expecting to do the same otherwise you are really doing worse. It's been a good season so far for the team which is great, we won ten races, Dan Wheldon won the championship and I am sitting second right now. So I think it has been a positive year, not probably the way I wanted it to be, but you know this is racing and you can't win every year and as long as we are competitive and on the chase for the championship then I feel good.”

Do you think you can keep your second position overall at the final race?
“I have to! That's possible and we have a fair advantage over the third guy - 26 points. But there is 50 points for a win so we have to watch out a little bit but it's very achievable.”

How does an Indy car differ from an F1 car?
“The technology in F1 is completely different. Our Indy Cars are a little heavier and our top speeds are probably a little higher. We don't have a lot of the technology of F1. The biggest difference is that we race mainly on the ovals where we average speeds of over 400 kph for two hours. That doesn't happen here in F1 where you have a lot of braking, shifting and cornering.” zzzz

And what about the circuits - most of your races are on ovals but you also have some road races?
“We do. Our record is pretty good at the road races, out of the three this year we have finished second, first and second so it's not that bad! We just added the road courses to the Indy Car series this year. We have one street course, which is our Monaco - at St Petersburg in Florida - and then we have two road races that are permanent courses. It's a lot of fun so hopefully they are going to add some more.”

Are your race plans finalized for next season?
“Yes, I have a contract with Andretti Green Racing until 2008 so I am staying there for a long time, I hope. The goal is to try and win the championship again.”

Has it always been a dream of yours to drive an F1 car?
“I've always followed F1, I'm very good friends with Rubens and I knew Ayrton Senna well and used to go to the races with him. I raced in Europe as well in 1993, 1994 and 1995. My main goal when I was little was to come to Formula One and obviously as time goes by, you don't get a good opportunity or a chance to do it so you've got to try to make a living out of racing. I've got a good opportunity in America but F1 has always been a dream and this test, thanks to Honda, is definitely a dream come true from me.”

What are you expecting from your first drive in the car?
"I want to have fun and enjoy the opportunity. There's no pressure, I'm not here to be tested and I just want enjoy something that I earned. It started between myself, Wada-san and Robert Clarke, who runs Honda Performance Development in America, that if I won the championship they would give me a test. I'm expecting to enjoy it a lot and be able to tell my friends, and probably my kids one day, that I've driven an F1 car.”

Tell us a bit about your relationship with Honda and the successes that you've had with them?
“I started with Honda in 1998, left for a year in 2000 and then returned in 2001, so basically all of my years in the big series, Indy Car and CART, have been with Honda. I won the most important championship of my life with Honda. I gave them their first win in Indy Car and their first pole position so there's a lot of history between us. Wada-san has been a big part of my career, helping me and believing in me. Through the hard times he pulled me up, kept me in the Honda family and gave me the opportunity to have a good car. So between himself and Robert Clarke I've got to thank them a lot.”

You used to race against BAR Honda's Sporting Director, Gil de Ferran, what was he like as a racer?
“Gil was a tough racer. He was the type of guy that if you were following him and putting pressure on to pass him, he would never make a mistake. He's very methodical and very talented. It's good to race against good racers and Gil as definitely one of them.”

Has he given you any advice about this drive?
“To enjoy it! It is going to be my dream come true - like when you take a kid to Disneyland. I'm going to take it seriously obviously, I want to help the team if I can with the testing, but I'm going to enjoy myself.” BAR Honda
Bahrain: Qualifying 2 report Bahrain: Qualifying 2 reportNico Rosberg will start this afternoon's GP2 series race from pole position, with Heikki Kovalainen second and Nicolas Lapierre third. Nico Rosberg has set the fastest time in second qualifying to take pole for this afternoon's first race at the Bahrain International Circuit, and will be joined by championship rival Heikki Kovalainen on the front row.

With almost all of the drivers improving their lap times in the second session Rosberg claimed the top spot with a time of 1:44.643, just 0.675 ahead of Kovalainen, who lines up ahead of teammate Nicolas Lapierre and Giorgio Pantano.

There was heartbreak for Neel Jani however – he came to Bahrain with a new car as a result of his huge crash in race two at Spa, but the Swiss driver was unable to get out on track in the second session and may have to sit out the races after failing to set a lap time.

Nelson Piquet Jr was the first man on track and immediately made up for his lack of running in the first session by putting in the fifth fastest time just before Ernesto Viso staking his claim by running fastest overall.

The session then became a battle between Arden and ART – Lapierre took provisional pole, with Kovalainen failing to get ahead after losing time to a weaving Can Artam at the back of the circuit.

With ten minutes to go Rosberg annexed pole with a lap time that was never bettered, setting up a title challenge that everyone was relishing before the start of the session – both rivals will lead the remainder of the grid away when the lights go out this afternoon in race one.

Bahrain: Qualifying Report 1 Bahrain: Qualifying Report 1Heikki Kovalainen leads championship rival Nico Rosberg in Qualifying 1 in Bahrain. Heikki Kovalainen has stated his intentions for the weekend by claiming the top spot in the first qualifying session at the Bahrain International Circuit, just ahead of championship rival Nico Rosberg and Scott Speed.

Kovalainen, who had never driven at the circuit before today, set a time of 1:46.205, three tenths ahead of Rosberg.

Rosberg's teammate Alex Premat was the first man to set fastest lap before spinning at turn eight and sparking a red flag period after stalling in the middle of the corner. After the restart Rosberg took over at the top of the timesheets, but with ten minutes remaining in the session Kovalainen went fastest and was never headed.

The session saw few incidents on track after Premat's spin, but neither Nelson Piquet Jr or Neel Jani were able to set a time – Jani ran one installation lap and came back into the pits, as did Piquet.

The top five drivers were separated by just one second, with another second covering the grid down to fourteenth position. With pole position for this afternoon's race set by the fastest time in either qualifying session this morning, Rosberg still has time to strike back against his rival.

Rosberg on Bahrain pole Rosberg on Bahrain poleNico Rosberg has set the fastest laptime in today's two combined qualifying sessions in Bahrain. Heikki Kovalainen finished second. The combined times of today's two qualifying sessions have seen Nico Rosberg take pole position from Heikki Kovalainen, thus extending his championship lead to five points. The drivers' laptimes are as follows:

1 N. Rosberg 1:44.643
2 H. Kovalainen 1:45.318
3 N. Lapierre 1:45.532
4 G. Pantano 1:45.541
5 A. Premat 1:45.581
6 E. Viso 1:45.713
7 N. Piquet Jr 1:45.734
8 S. Speed 1:45.790
9 F. Monfardini 1:45.958
10 G. Bruni 1:45.967
11 A. Carroll 1:46.029
12 J. Lopez 1:46.031
13 B. Garcia 1:46.254
14 C. Piccione 1:46.466
15 J. Alvarez 1:46.634
16 H. Yoshimoto 1:46.847
17 O. Pla 1:47.072
18 G. Mondini 1:47.101
19 S. Hernandez 1:47.125
20 F. Fauzy 1:47.259
21 M. Lauda 1:47.555
22 C. Artam 1:47.885
23 A. Negrao 1:49.044
24 Neel Jani no time

Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier diecast Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier diecastUPDATE Below is a 2004 final Champ Car ride for Patrick Carpentier, with new Lola mold. Whereas all previous diecasts started as a Reynard because that is the only 'base' car that was manufactured, this is this first true Lola prototype made and will be part of the new 2006 custom hand-builts made by Chapparrel's Diecast.


09/17/05 Below is the latest diecast produced by Chapparrel's Diecast. It is Paul Tracy's 2003 Toronto winner. This was one of his most dominating drives in his career. At one point he had a 36 second lead in this race.

Horag-Lista crash setback Horag-Lista crash setbackHorag-Lista Racing's high hopes for a good finish in Saturday's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta were dashed Wednesday afternoon when its Lola B05/40 Judd No. 27 was the victim of a freak accident in an early practice session. The car will have to be returned to its constructor for repairs, so the team was forced to withdraw from Saturday's race.  Lead driver Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz. had just turned the car over to Eric van de Poele of Sart Risbart, Belgium after about 30 minutes of practice.  As van de Poele was attempting to leave the pits to begin his stint, the Aston Martin DB9 No. 57 driven by Jonny Kane of Comber, Ireland crashed hard into the left side of the Horag-Lista Lola.  Kane, who was on the track at speed, reportedly did not see van de Poele until it was too late.  Luckily neither driver was hurt.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Pizzonia racing on
Nick 'not fit' to return
Nico admits F1 debut 'risky'
'Breakaway' still on
Last tests drive on
Alonso at Enstone

di Grassi to test Renault car
Beijing, Shanghai, unite
Mansell renews F1 attack
Head hisses at BMW's Theissen
Star lineup for RoC
Kanaan tests BAR at Jerez

Love letters for Alonso
BMW to get Cosworth beating?
Industry News
Mercedes to cut 8,500 jobs Mercedes to cut 8,500 jobsDaimlerChrysler AG said Wednesday it will cut 8,500 jobs at its Mercedes Car Group in a bid to return the troubled brand to profitability.  The company said the cuts, which will take place in Germany, will come through voluntary termination agreements over the next 12 months and result in charges of 950 million euros ($1.11 billion).

The announcement from the company's headquarters in Stuttgart came after Dieter Zetsche, who took control of Mercedes this month and is set to become chief executive of DaimlerChrysler at the beginning of 2006, outlined the plan to the company's supervisory board in the United States earlier in the day.

Rumors of the cuts had pushed shares of DaimlerChrysler up nearly 3 percent to 45.21 euros ($54.27) in Frankfurt trading Wednesday. The company's U.S.-traded shares gained $1.97, or 3.7 percent, to $54.80 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Mercedes division was once the pride of DaimlerChrysler, and industry watchers are keen to see if Zetsche can invigorate it the way he did Chrysler, which posted its eighth straight quarterly operating profit in July. Detroit Free Press 

Q and A with Brabham and O'Connell Q and A with Brabham and O'Connell
Formula BMW
Lacroix tops Round 13 timesheets Lacroix tops Round 13 timesheetsKevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) scored his second pole position of the season in today's 30-minute qualifying session for Round 13 of the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship. His time of 1:28.842 minutes around the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit bested the field of 18, in which the top-13 qualified within one second of Lacroix's pole time.  Lacroix trails point leader Richard Philippe by two points in the overall Championship heading into tomorrow's penultimate race of the season. 

Edoardo Piscopo (EuroInternational) scored the outside front row starting spot in the final minutes of the session with a lap of 1:28.973 minutes. Piscopo and Lacroix were the only two drivers in the 1:28 bracket.  Overall and Rookie points leader Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica) took the third starting position with a 1:29.015 minute lap. 

Separated by only .173 seconds, and Piscopo in the middle, the Philippe vs. Lacroix Round 13 battle is sure to be an exciting one. The third Championship contender, Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA), third overall and second in rookie points, qualified ninth. Robert Bunker (AIM Autosport) qualified a season's best sixth. 

"I am really happy to have the pole position," said Lacroix. "Richard is starting third, but the race is not done yet so we must try to finish first. Having the pole position means less pressure for me. If I were behind Richard it would be harder for me."  Piscopo said, "I aimed for the pole position, but it was really difficult because I have never driven at Road Atlanta before. The other guys have been here for testing in March. I had to learn the track, and the team the setup, today and we improved every lap. I qualified second and I think we can aim for the pole in tomorrow's Round 14 qualifying because we discovered other interesting things on the car we  will work on. In the race, I plan to make a perfect start, go immediately to the lead and fly away." 

Philippe added, "I am not disappointed with my effort. I would have rather been first, but the good thing is that now there is more pressure on Kevin. He was only slightly faster, so I am really not worried about the race. "  The quickest Rookies in Round 13 qualifying were Lacroix (P1), Piscopo (P2), Philippe (P3), Stevens (P4) and Bunker (P6).  Round 14 qualifying will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday with the Round 13 race scheduled to start at 3:20 p.m. The Round 14 race is scheduled to start at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, and the Championship Banquet will begin at 6:00 p.m. that evening.

Qualifying: Round 13
1 Kevin Lacroix (R) AIM Autosport 1:28.842 (102.924)
2 Edoardo Piscopo (R) EuroInternational 1:28.973
3 Richard Philippe (R) Team Autotecnica 1:29.015
4 Reed Stevens (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:29.066
5 Daniel Herrington Jensen MotorSport 1:29.122
6 Rob Bunker (R) AIM Autosport 1:29.278
7 James Davison (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:29.310
8 Matthew Lee (R) Twintooth/BRM Motorsport 1:29.366
9 Robert Wickens (R) Team Apex Racing USA 1:29.391
10 Doug Boyer (R) Jensen MotorSport 1:29.478
11 Adrien Herberts (R) Atlantic Racing Team 1:29.502
12 Justin Moon (R) Gelles Racing 1:29.537
13 Maxime Soulet Gelles Racing 1:29.933
14 Tom Sutherland HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:29.981
15 John Zartarian (R) Gelles Racing 1:30.075
16 Race Johnson (R) HBR Motorsport Team USA 1:30.132
17 Ryan Campbell (R) Gelles Racing 1:32.371
18 Derek Burseth Burseth Racing 1:33.003

De la Rosa tops Jerez test De la Rosa tops Jerez testPedro de la Rosa set the pace on second day of testing at Jerez, outpacing his rivals by a quarter of a second. The McLaren test driver kicked off the team's two-day test on Wednesday and clocked a 1:16.410 during his 83 laps. However, it wasn't all smooth sailing for de la Rosa as he suffered an engine failure on the end of the day's running.

Sam Michael, Williams' technical director, said: "Today marked the end of our in-season testing program."

"The WilliamsF1 test team has worked hard all year at various venues to progress the reliability and performance of the FW27. They will now take a well earned break before starting again at the end of November."

"Mark, Antonio and Nico spent the two day test concentrating on brake and electronics testing as well as set-up options. The drivers also ran tire evaluations to select the compounds for Shanghai."

Wednesday times
1 P. de la Rosa McLaren 1:16.410 83 laps
2 M. Webber Williams 1:16.734 103 laps
3 A. Pizzonia Williams 1:16.790 79 laps
4 A. Wurz McLaren 1:16.834 71 laps
5 V. Liuzzi Red Bull 1:17.019 109 laps
6 R. Schumacher Toyota 1:17.652 87 laps
7 R. Zonta Toyota 1:20.762 70 laps

Industry News
Luxury carmakers streaming to Vegas Luxury carmakers streaming to VegasLuxury brand makers are cashing in on the high-end lifestyle in Las Vegas, where celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney are buying condos and Steve Wynn is catering to the wealthiest of high rollers at his $2.7 billion Strip resort.

With a population nearing 2 million, and 37 million visitors a year coming to town , Las Vegas is becoming a city of luxury on par with New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

More than ever, the rich and famous are making Las Vegas their home and looking for all the accoutrements they're accustomed to having. You see it in the upscale restaurants, boutique retailers and million-dollar condos being developed.

The auto industry has taken notice.

Lamborghini, one of the most revered names in sports car history, has opened an 18,000-square-foot dealership in Las Vegas at 7770 S. Industrial Road, at the Safari Business Park.

That follows the Ferrari-Maserati dealership at Wynn Las Vegas and Exotic Cars at Caesars Palace, both of which opened in April. Towbin Motorcars has a Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealership at 2550 S. Jones Blvd.

Mexican to drive for HVM in Mexico City Mexican to drive for HVM in Mexico CityMexican Homero Richards will drive a third HVM entry in the season finale Champ Car race in Mexico City in November.  Richards recently tested with the team at Sebring.
Buying tickets for Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach just got easier Buying tickets for Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach just got easierThe Grand Prix Association of Long Beach announced today that it has signed an agreement with Ticketmaster, whereby Ticketmaster will serve as the authorized ticketing company for the sale and distribution of Grand Prix event tickets.  The Grand Prix Association’s selection of Ticketmaster as its new full-service ticketing provider will offer greater convenience for customers, who can now buy tickets in ANY desired seating area online, in person and by phone. 

“The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is one of the most unique annual sporting events in Southern California,” said Kathy Frazer, Sr. General Manager, Ticketmaster Southern California.  “We are excited to expand our successful relationship with the Grand Prix Association and we look forward to providing racing fans with excellent access to tickets and event information.”

“We feel strongly that this new relationship will not only result in a more effective way to provide ticket services to our fans but will also be an opportunity to take advantage of Ticketmaster’s excellent promotional outreach in the Southern California market,” said Jim Michaelian, CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 3, tickets for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will run April 7-9 and again feature the Champ Car World Series, can be purchased by calling the toll-free ticket hotline at (888) 82-SPEED.  The ticket hotline will also offer ticket brochure packages, which include a circuit map with grandstand and parking locations as well as ticket prices and a ticket order form. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.longbeachgp.com or ticketmaster.com or at Ticketmaster retail Ticket Center locations throughout Southern California, including all Tower Records, Robinsons-May, Ritmo Latino, Wherehouse Music, and select FYE stores.

Ticket prices for the three-day event range from $35 for a Friday/Saturday general admission ticket to $115 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in upper levels of the grandstands. Pre-paid parking packages are available and can be purchased when ordering tickets through the Grand Prix ticket office.  Tickets and pre-paid parking are subject to availability plus applicable service charges.  ADA Accessible seating, Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, super photo tickets and several hospitality club packages are also available.

For the seventh consecutive year, the 1.97-mile, 11-turn race circuit configuration on the downtown streets of Long Beach encompassing the Aquarium of the Pacific, Pike at Rainbow Harbor and Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center is unchanged. Sixteen grandstands line the circuit, which includes reserved seats, a limited number of general admission seats and seating for various club ticket packages.

For up-to-date ticket information, descriptions of the various club ticket packages, or for announcements of special Grand Prix event activities, visit the official Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Web site at www.longbeachgp.com.

Ticketmaster is the world's leading ticketing company, providing ticket sales and distribution through www.ticketmaster.com, one of the largest e-commerce sites on the Internet; approximately 3,300 retail Ticket Center outlets; 19 worldwide telephone call centers; and a broad online and offline marketing network.  Ticketmaster serves more than 9,000 clients worldwide across multiple event categories, providing exclusive ticketing services for hundreds of leading arenas, stadiums, performing arts venues, museums, and theaters, and sold 98 million tickets valued at $5 billion in 2004.  Ticketmaster is headquartered in West Hollywood, California and is an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI).

Paul Newman, 80 years, 160 MPH Paul Newman, 80 years, 160 MPHThis is a nice story about 80-year old Champ Car team owner Paul Newman who still races at 160 MPH.
Danica Featured In New Honda TV Spot Danica Featured In New Honda TV SpotHonda broke a new national ad featuring IRL driver Danica Patrick this past Sunday. The spot, available to run until August ’06, will be broadcast nationally on ABC during races, as well as on other programming. It has been running on all three network morning shows this week. Rubin Postaer & Associates created the ad, which is titled “Ticket” and promotes the new Civic Coupe. The spot opens with Patrick walking towards her red Civic Coupe and speaking on her cell phone, telling the person on the other end, “I’ll be there in five minutes.” Patrick, speeding to get where she is going, sees police lights in her rear view mirror and is pulled over. She proceeds to primp herself — fixing her hair, her shirt, her lipstick and unzipping her Honda-logoed black jacket to partially reveal a low-cut, pink laced top, apparently ready to charm a male cop to avoid getting a ticket. She says to herself, “Showtime.” Unfortunately for Patrick, the police officer is a woman. The ad ends with the officer walking back to her squad car with Patrick’s drivers’ license mumbling, “Rookie” THE DAILY
Champ Car cancels South Korea race again Champ Car cancels South Korea race againThe Champ Car World Series announced today that the inaugural Ansan Champ Car Grand Prix scheduled for October 14-16 in Ansan, South Korea has been deferred to 2006. 

The event will not take place as scheduled as part of the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford calendar, but will remain as part of the previously-released 2006 Champ Car schedule. The Racing Korea (TRK), the local promoter, caused this decision by a lack of operational preparation and failure to comply with contract requirements.

Champ Car has a strong relationship with the Mayor of Ansan and is quite confident in the city’s ability to move forward with the race in 2006.

“We made every effort to avoid this deferment and have been working very closely with the promoter as well as Mayor Song Jin Seop and the City of Ansan in finding a solution that would allow us to run this event as scheduled,” said Champ Car Executive Vice-President of Development, Governmental Affairs and Planning Joe Chrnelich. “We have a lot of equity in this market and there are many positive indicators, including interest from major title sponsors, a supportive Mayor and a great circuit that is near completion. This demonstrates to us that we can have successful events in Ansan provided we show patience and continued confidence in the Korean marketplace, and we will.”

“It is regrettable that we have to remove a race from what has been a very successful season” said Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven.  “But we believe that this decision will help build a stronger event in the long-term future. We remain focused on bringing our series to Asia and the Pacific Rim, and will continue to build toward our goal of conducting world-class events in these regions.”

Alonso visits Enstone Alonso visits EnstoneRenault's Fernando Alonso visited his colleagues in Enstone yesterday. The reception was... rapturous!

At today's post-race debrief, things had a very normal air... to begin with. Pat Symonds, the team's Executive Director of Engineering, climbed onto to the stage and, as usual, opened proceedings. "For once, I am not going to stand up here waffling on about what happened in the race!" he joked. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have something a little more important to celebrate, so let me ask Flavio and Fernando to come and say a few words."

With almost every member of the team crammed into Enstone's conference centre, the 2005 world champion took the microphone to the sound of thunderous applause. "What can I say?" said Fernando, still comprehending his achievement.

"Thank you to every one of you, we have done a fantastic job together this year. I think the truth is that we have been the best in the 2005 season. We have proved we have a champion car, and Fisico and I are confident for the constructors. We will be going at full power in the next two races, and I think we can do it!"

As the audience happily sipped victory champagne, Managing Director Flavio Briatore -- fresh from a lightning trip to the engine base in Viry-Châtillon yesterday -- took the lead. "I am so, so proud of this -- what we have done together this year is like a miracle."

"We started the adventure in 2001, and now we are part of history. It is an emotional moment, to win like we did this year against the very best. Fernando has done an incredible story with us: he deserves the success and the effort you give, and you deserve a guy like him."

"We cannot forget Viry either, they are really happy too, and we have got the right package and the right people to do the job. Fernando now has a free mind, Fisico has done a fantastic job this season, and we are going to go and fight for the next championship in these last races."

Twenty minutes later, normality resumed as the bus arrived to take the test team out to Jerez for the final session of the year -- one that could prove crucial in the battle for the constructors' championship. Two days with Franck Montagny and RDD driver Lucas Di Grassi at the wheel of the R25, the Brazilian making his debut in an F1 car.

They will be choosing tires for the last races, and putting valuable testing mileage on further updates to both chassis and engine. Fernando won't be there: he is in Oxford, quietly reflecting on the weekend's amazing events -- as well as preparing for the next race in Japan.

No doubt, by the time he gets there, the phrase "World Champion" will feel a little more comfortable alongside the name "Fernando Alonso". Until then, he will just continue drinking in the gratitude and appreciation of millions of fans, and hundreds of richly rewarded colleagues. Renault

Industry News
Delphi asks GM for $6 billion bailout Delphi asks GM for $6 billion bailoutDelphi Corp., the biggest U.S. supplier of auto parts, has asked General Motors Corp. for an aid package worth $6 billion to help avoid a bankruptcy filing, people familiar with the situation said.

Delphi aims to use the cash from GM to reduce expenses by offering some longtime workers bonuses to retire, quit or accept lower pay, the people said. The money would also be used to pay for pensions and health care for the retirees, they said.

GM, the largest customer and former parent of Delphi, is considering a request for assistance, said spokesman Jerry Dubrowski, who wouldn't confirm the amount or other details. GM's decision will hinge in part on concessions it wrests from the UAW, the people said. GM is asking unions to help trim $5.6 billion in annual health-care expenses.

"The problem for GM's labor negotiators is to show the board of directors how helping Delphi will pay for itself," said analyst Sean McAlinden of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. Detroit Free Press

MJ Motorsports expands into new Atlantics Series MJ Motorsports expands into new Atlantics SeriesMichael James, Team Principal for Gardena, California-based MJ Motorsports, announced plans today to expand his teams’ operations beyond the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with an additional two-car effort in the Champ Car Atlantic Series, having placed deposits for two of the upcoming Swift Atlantic chassis.

Recently announced by Champ Car, the new Swift 016.a chassis will feature a 300-horsepower, 2.3 liter Cosworth engine, Pi Electronics, and additional regulations aimed at keeping costs reasonable. At the same time the Champ Car Atlantic Series has announced an incentive program that will provide the series champion with a $2 million to be used in assisting that driver into a Champ Car ride.

“One of the my core motivations for creating MJ Motorsports was the desire to create an organization that would be dedicated to developing the future generation of both drivers and crew members,” James, a graduate of Santa Clara University explained. “In our first year as a team we have built a core group of individuals to make this vision a reality, with the announcement of the new Swift chassis for the 2006 Atlantic championship we felt this was the perfect time to continue our expansion plans.”

“With the new chassis both existing teams and incoming teams will start on equal footing,” James explained. “Rather than wait, and allow others a head start in developing the new chassis, we believe we have the team that can develop this new car into a race winner as well.”

While understanding that there will be a lot of work involved in the expansion process, James has put together a crew of veterans to help maintain a level of excellence in both programs, with former DSTP team advisor and engineer Kent Stacy leading the Atlantic effort and Danny Gagliano, Team Manager for several Team Bucknum Racing championship winning efforts heading the Star Mazda Championship campaign.

Stacy, himself a championship winning driver, has engineered multiple championship winning cars in the Star Mazda Championship and helped guide one of those champions, Joey Hand, to the Atlantic Series Rookie-of-the-Year title in 2001, a process he looks to repeat with this organization. “With these series as competitive as they are, you need every possible advantage you can get,” Stacy explained. “This organization will allow us to groom drivers in the Star Mazda Championship, getting them familiar with how we communicate, and as they develop bring them up to the Atlantic Series where they can continue to grow, without having to adjust to different teams and their ways of working.”

To guarantee that the Star Mazda Championship, featuring the 240-horsepower Mazda rotary engine, continues as an effective training tool will be the responsibility of Gagliano, who’s experience with Team Bucknum Racing, which competed in both the Star Mazda and American Le Mans Series, gives him an understanding of what it takes to remained focused when a team is competing in two places. “Communication is critical to the success of a team, whether it is between a driver and engineer, or manager and crew member,” Gagliano said. “This season Kent, MJ and I have worked together laying the first layer of the MJ Motorsports plan, by creating a team that can communicate clearly and effectively. Now as Kent and MJ work on shaping the Atlantic program I have been given the task of continuing to build the Mazda program.”

With the course laid out, James now looks to start putting the pieces together, starting with the acquisition of a Swift 014 Atlantic chassis to begin an aggressive winter testing campaign, focused on laying a solid foundation of communication between team and drivers. “We are in talks with drivers for both seats of our Atlantic effort as well as our four-car Mazda campaign and looking to outline the winter testing program,” James said.

Drivers interested in participating in the MJ Motorsports program should send inquiries to:

Michael James
Team Principal
MJ Motorsports Inc.
16422 S. Avalon Blvd
Gardena, Ca 90248
PH: (310) 538-2689
FAX: (310) 538-2693

Breakaway F1 series remains united Breakaway F1 series remains unitedToday, a meeting between five major car manufacturers (BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Renault, Toyota) and seven teams (BAR, McLaren, Minardi, Renault, Sauber, Toyota, Williams) who currently participate in Formula One took place close to Munich. The five manufacturers and their teams entered into a binding agreement to race together only in a series which satisfies the fundamental principles of a clear and equitable World Championship. All teams not party to this agreement are encouraged to participate in a constructive process to form the premier motor sport series. Whilst the group remains open and willing to discuss with the current commercial rights holder and the FIA on the future of Grand Prix motor racing beyond 2007, the current uncertainty leaves them with no option other than to progress preparatory work for the New Series. Although the team principals and manufacturers agreed that some progress was made in the recent meetings, they considered it was not sufficient to delay the preparations for the New Series. As a result, International Sports & Entertainment AG (iSe), the company that was appointed October 2004 as an operating partner for the alliance of teams and manufacturers, will advance strategic and commercial negotiations with key parties. Press Release
A1 Grand Prix
Heitzler hired to bring GP race to Texas Heitzler hired to bring GP race to TexasHollyHills Development, a Los Angeles-based company known for two real estate mega projects in Bexar County, announced Tuesday its purchase of the upper two floors of the downtown Broadway Bank building to establish its Texas headquarters.

As it moves into the bank at 425 Soledad St., HollyHills also plans to develop a sports and entertainment division. Branching into sports would allow the company to take advantage of the experience of its new president and CEO, Joseph Heitzler.

Heitzler, 60, was chief executive officer of Championship Auto Racing Teams in 2001 and 2002 and before that CEO of National Mobile Television Productions. He was a CBS Sports television executive and has been involved in sports entertainment for 30 years.

Heitzler's position at CART was short-lived and turbulent. He led the organization for about a year and was demoted after being criticized for CART's loss of two major racing events.

More recently, Heitzler took positions as CEO of the Tecate-Telmex Grand Prix at Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico, and the Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

HollyHills Chairman Dan Bailey brought in Heitzler about six months ago "because he wanted a strong and seasoned CEO that was respected on Wall Street to oversee all of the related companies' ventures," said T.J. Connolly, a public relations representative.

The company is looking to bring a grand prix racing event to Texas, though it might not be in San Antonio, Connolly said.

Dan and Marlene Bailey, HollyHills' owners, have been quietly floating proposals for a major entertainment and sports-related development near the SBC Center.

Dan Bailey, 52, pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud in 1987 in relation to a failed mortgage investment company and resumed his real estate career after leaving prison in 1991.

Heitzler lives in Los Angeles, but he has been coming to San Antonio every couple of weeks, Connolly said. His presence here will increase as more Texas projects get under way, he added. MySanAntonio.com [Editor's Note: This may be where the rumors of an A1GP race in San Antonio are coming from.]

Fans call for Sid Watkins Knighthood Fans call for Sid Watkins KnighthoodA group of fans have got together to campaign and lobby for a Knighthood for Professor Sid Watkins the former FIA medical delegate in recognition of his services to motorsport.

The first stage is an online petition which has already been signed by many hundred fans and F1 employees including 1996 world champion Damon Hill, multiple race winner Johnny Herbert, Prodrive boss David Richards, world championship winning engineer Pat Symonds, ex F1 driver Perry McCarthy and McLaren Managing Director Martin Whitmarsh. Stage 2 will involve political lobbying.

Campaign coordinator Chris Thompson is keen that people interested should visit www.sidwatkins.co.uk and the petition will be presented to the Culture Secretary Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP at a later date.

How GP2 championship shakes out How GP2 championship shakes outIn just seven days, the GP2 series could be crowning its first ever drivers’ champion. Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen will arrive in Bahrain separated by just three points (102 to 99 points), and come the end of the first day of racing, either of them could hold an unassailable lead in the championship. The complexities of this eventuality are vast (see table at the base of the story)… but it is possible.

Essentially, the championship battle boils down to two simple statements.

1. If the results of Race 1 see Nico hold an advantage of nine points or more over Heikki, Nico will be champion.

2. If the results of Race 1 see Heikki hold an advantage of eight points or more over Nico, Heikki will be champion. zzzz

But the possibilities of each driver achieving such a lead depend not only on race results, but on the two points for fastest lap and pole position. In Race 2 a maximum of eight points are available, meaning that for Nico, a nine point advantage after Race 1 will be sufficient for glory. For Heikki however, he need only finish the season on equal points to Nico as his win tally is greater at 5:3. (Should Nico match the five wins notched up by Heikki, his points haul would be unbeatable, so this factor only comes in to play on a level-points situation.) Thus should Heikki lead Nico by eight points after Race 1, it is the Finn who will be champion.

With points awarded to the top eight finishers, as well as for pole and fastest lap, a full explanation of how things could pan out in Race 1 would take up more page space than a mathematics thesis, so for now, we will look solely at what happens if either driver wins Race 1, and how things change if we throw fastest lap and pole position points into the mix.

Nico Rosberg

If Nico lands pole position, fastest lap and the win in Race 1, he will have a total of 116 points and will be crowned champion regardless of where Heikki finishes. Even with the Finn following Nico home in second place, Nico would hold an unbeatable nine-point advantage.

If Nico takes pole position and the win in Race 1, but misses out on fastest lap, he will have a total of 114 points. He will be crowned champion if Heikki finishes third or lower without setting fastest lap. Should Heikki set fastest lap, however, Nico will still be champion if Heikki finishes 5th or lower.

If Nico misses out on pole and fastest lap but still wins Race 1, he will have 112 points and will be crowned champion if Heikki finishes fifth or lower without fastest lap. Should Heikki land fastest lap, Nico will still be champion if the Finn finishes seventh or lower. The situation is the same if Heikki takes pole but not fastest lap. However, if Heikki takes pole and fastest lap, but Nico wins Race 1, Heikki must score a point in order to take the battle down to the final race.

If Nico takes pole, Heikki cannot win the title in Race 1.

Heikki Kovalainen

If Heikki takes pole, fastest lap and the win in Race 1, he will have a total of 113 points. He will be champion if Nico finishes sixth or lower.

If Heikki takes pole position and the win in Race 1, he will have 111 points. If Nico finishes eight or lower without taking fastest lap, Heikki will be champion. If Nico does take fastest lap, however, the battle continues to the last race.

If Heikki misses out on pole and fastest lap but does secure the win in Race 1, the title will be decided in the final race regardless of whether Nico scores a single point, as Heikki’s tally of 109 is just seven points more than Nico takes into the weekend.

Whatever happens, we are set for a thrilling final round and two final races at the Bahrain International Circuit as we await to crown the first ever GP2 series champion.


Race 1 points possibilities

Nico Heikki

pole 104 pole 101 
with pole FL with pole FL
1st 114 116 1st 111 113
2nd 112 114 2nd 109 111
3rd 110 112 3rd 107 109
4th 109 111 4th 106 108
5th 108 110 5th 105 107
6th 107 109 6th 104 106
7th 106 108 7th 103 105
8th 105 107 8th 102 103

no pole FL no pole FL
1st 112 114 1st 109 111
2nd 110 112 2nd 107 109
3rd 108 110 3rd 105 107
4th 107 109 4th 104 106
5th 106 108 5th 103 105
6th 105 107 6th 102 104
7th 104 106 7th 101 103
8th 103 105 8th 100 102

Track News
Speedway raises $200K for Hurricane Relief Speedway raises $200K for Hurricane ReliefIn the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the need to assist our fellow Americans, race fans in Southern California bonded together to help those affected by this natural disaster. 

According to figures released by the American Red Cross, race fans, California Speedway and speedway partners came together to raise and estimated $200,000 to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina relief efforts during the course of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series SONY HD 500 on Labor Day weekend.  zzzz

Led by a call to action by fellow International Speedway Corporation (ISC) facility Talladega Superspeedway, California Speedway officials made plans to incorporate an American Red Cross drive for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts at the Labor Day race weekend.  Booths were set up behind the grandstands at the speedway's main gates with the Inland Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross and San Bernardino County professional firefighters association members collecting monetary donations.  FedEx IT also made it possible for credit card donations to be made at the gates, though these donations are not included in the final number.

Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series sponsor, Ameriquest, also collected funds for the American Red Cross at their booths on the California Speedway midway.  They pledged to match all monies collected at the booths.

Additionally, Sony donated thousands of Ryan Newman SONY HDTV hats to be sold with 100-percent of the purchased price going to the American Red Cross. 

California Speedway also gave a cash donation that brought the entire weekend's total to $200,000.  Many NASCAR drivers and teams pledged their support during the weekend, including Carl Edwards (winner of the Ameriquest 300), Kyle Busch (winner of the SONY HD 500) and their respective team owners who committed to donating their race winnings to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

"We are extremely thankful to the great race fans, the speedway, sponsors and the entire racing community that supported our efforts for Hurricane Katrina relief," said Sandy Silva, CEO of Inland Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.  "The American Red Cross has been on this disaster since the beginning and will remain until all needs of the victims are met.  The local chapter looks for support from companies like California Speedway and their partners, and this effort will continue for months ahead."

This event marks the second time California Speedway and the Inland Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross have joined together to benefit those in need.  During the Fall of 2003, California Speedway became a donation drop off site to benefit those affected by the Southern California wild fires.

Monetary donations can still be made to the American Red Cross for its Hurricane Katrina relief efforts at ISC-owned tracks during upcoming event weekends.  Dates and locations include:

Talladega Superspeedway:  October 1st weekend
Kansas Speedway:  October 7th weekend
Martinsville Speedway:  October 21st weekend
Phoenix International Raceway:  November 11th weekend
Homestead-Miami Speedway:  November 18th weekend

Race fans not attending these events may still pledge their support by logging onto www.racefanshelp.com.

Champ Car auction raises $23K Champ Car auction raises $23KThe hurricane tragedies that caused great devastation throughout the Gulf Coast region rallied all parts of the United States to give aid to the stricken areas, and the Champ Car community immediately lent its support as well.

The teams, drivers, sponsors and promoters that make up the Champ Car World Series donated more than 100 items to an online auction that ended Tuesday evening, raising $22,290. All of those funds will go directly toward the relief effort, with 25 percent of the total coming in the form of infant car seats that will be donated through CARA Charities’ Buckle Up Baby program, which gives car seats to disadvantaged families that need them.

Champ Car fans responded in massive numbers to the 10-day auction, as 3,364 bids were placed on the list of items which included tickets and suite passes to events on the 2006 Champ Car calendar, autographed items of all kinds including race-worn gloves and firesuits, pace-car and two-seater rides along with VIP packages to series events which included hotel accommodations.

“It is very gratifying to see so many people come together and lend their support to a great cause,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “It was great to see so many people from throughout the Champ Car community rally together and I am very proud of the effort that was made in helping the hurricane victims.”

The money raised in the auction will go to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund, along with funds raised over the past weekend as part of the Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Champ Car proceeds from the race will be donated to the relief effort, along with funds donated by series presenting sponsor Bridgestone. In addition, series points leader and Las Vegas race winner Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) donated the $5,000 that he earned for winning the Bridgestone Pole Award to the relief effort.

TNT NASCAR ratings up 11% TNT NASCAR ratings up 11%Turner Network Television’s (TNT) seven-race NASCAR coverage drove home record-setting ratings this season, boasting an 11 percent increase for NEXTEL Cup races on the network over the prior year.   

TNT’s banner year for race coverage included televising cable’s top three NASCAR races of all time in household delivery, including the July 24th NEXTEL Cup race from Pocono, PA (5,137,000 HH, 4.7 US rating), the July 17th NEXTEL Cup race from Loudon, NH (4,954,000 HH, 4.5 US rating) and the August 21st NEXTEL Cup race from Brooklyn, MI (4,889,000 HH, 4.5 US rating).

NASCAR Dover TV rating down NASCAR Dover TV rating downTNT says its coverage of Sunday's MBNA Racepoints 400 from Dover International Speedway earned a 3.1/4,842,000 viewers U.S. rating, down from 3.2/5,001,000 viewers in 2004, but says its average for its seven Cup races this season was up 11% from 2004.
Racing News
SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 9-28-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series)   Pts
1. (2) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 9.717
2. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 8.473
3. (7) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.233
4. (9) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 7.639
5. (3) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 7.595
6. (NR) Juan Pablo Montoya (F1) 7.541
7. (13) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 7.472
8. (8) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 7.413
9. (10) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 7.369
10. (5) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.351
11. (4) Tony Stewart(NASCAR) 7.308
12. (15) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.135
13. (11) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.812
14. (14) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.808
15. (NR) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 6.730
16. (20) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.563
17. (31) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 6.336
18. (12) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 6.291
19. (NR) Elliott Sadler (NASCAR) 6.278
20. (22) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.262
Dropped out: Matt Kenseth (NASCAR), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR), Helio Castroneves (IRL), Justin Wilson (CCWS), Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)
Last week’s ranking in parenthesis

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.
Provided by STATS Inc.
Chance to win a piece of IRL history Chance to win a piece of IRL historyLadies and gentlemen, prepare to start your bidding. Oct. 3 is the kickoff for the two-week eBay auction of a limited edition Firestone 10th Anniversary poster signed by all 61 IndyCar Series race winners.

Proceeds from the winning bid will be split between the CARA Charities and the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. Twenty-five posters were produced to commemorate Firestone’s 10th anniversary as the official tire of the Indy Racing League and the IndyCar Series.

Beginning in Michigan at the Firestone Indy 400, the Firestone 10th Anniversary poster has traveled across the country and halfway around the world to have drivers affix their signatures. It was at Watkins Glen International this past weekend, having recently returned from the Formula One event at Monza, Italy, for the signatures of Juan Pablo Montoya (2002 Indianapolis 500) and Gil de Ferran (Pikes Peak, Gateway 2002 and Indianapolis 500, Nashville, Texas 2003).

It soon will be in Brazil to collect the signatures of Airton Dare (Kansas 2002) and Felipe Giaffone (Kentucky 2002).   A link to the eBay auction site will be on indycar.com soon. IRL

MB2 ready to move to new shop MB2 ready to move to new shopThe NASCAR Nextel Cup teams of MB2 Motorsports are scheduled to move into their new facility in Mooresville, N.C. the week of Oct. 10.  The 144,000-square foot complex will give the multi-team organization more than three times the space of its current shop in Concord, N.C.
"This will be our third shop since MB2 Motorsports was founded in the summer of 1996," said Jay Frye, MB2's CEO and general manager. "Our first shop was in Mooresville, and when we look back at the size of that facility at 8,000 square feet and compare it to what we're about to move into, it really hits home how far we have come in a relatively short period of time."
The state-of-the-art new MB2 headquarters, located in Iredell County east of I 77 at exit 33,  will also include a fan-friendly viewing area of the spacious race shop.
Grand Prix Masters
Q and A with Nigel Mansell (Britain) Q and A with Nigel Mansell (Britain)
What attracted you to the Grand Prix Masters series? A series like the Grand Prix Masters has been talked about for several years but until now no-one had turned that talking into action. I'm glad they have, because having spoken at length with the organizers I can tell you that the concept is absolutely fantastic. I visited the factory last week to look at the GP Masters car and everything about it is first class. The chassis and engine are really going to shock people when they see and hear them for the first time. It's far better than any Formula One car from the 1980s, for sure, and is exactly the sort of car we drivers dream of! First and foremost it puts the skill factor back into the hands of the driver, not just the car designers and engineers. Just looking at them you can see they have been professionally designed and built and will provide every driver with a level playing field - something that will be a breath of fresh air for motor racing fans the world over.

How will that level playing field manifest itself to fans watching? Well, the cars are firstly not overly complicated. They have no traction control, for example, which means you can spin if you try too hard and damage your tires if you are not careful with you driving style. Everything about them is equal, so ride-height and suspensions settings and tire choice will be dictated by the organizers to ensure that no-one can gain an advantage on anyone else. I think this, more than anything, is what has captured the imagination of all the drivers who are keen to participate.

The format of the race weekend is also very well thought out. We have enough practice time to get the cars well set-up and have a proper qualifying session where we can do as many laps as we like, which is great for the drivers and spectators. It won't be like the current Formula One one-lap qualifying format, which is rubbish if you ask me.

So how do you think you will perform at the inaugural Altech Grand Prix Masters South Africa race on 11th - 13th November? The first race is really just something that we will all need to get through. Until people see the cars in action I don’t think they will understand how quick they will be, which means they are going to be tiring to drive. So fitness will be a major factor in the first race and I think that will play into the hands of drivers who have been racing recently, rather than people like me who haven't raced properly for a decade. I don't think it would be wrong to say I am not one of the favorites to start with.

How important do you think it is to provide entertainment to race fans? It is the be all and end all. Every GP Masters race will stand out because we will be available for fans, media and sponsors. Accessibility to famous racing drivers has vanished in modern motorsport and Grand Prix Masters will be something tangible, a series that opens up the drivers and cars to everybody. Compared to modern Formula One it will be so different. Everything has been sterilized in Formula One now; the whole thing is controlled too much. Grand Prix Masters drivers have reached the top of the ladder and have nothing left to prove. We can compete without fear of offending anyone.

What will it be like to be racing against one of your biggest rivals Alain Prost again? Prost will start as the hot favorite, have no doubt. He has been racing a lot recently and I haven't been in a car for a long time. But I like being the underdog. I always was in my Formula One career and I will be again at the start of the Grand Prix Masters on November 13th in Kyalami, South Africa.

Note: Nigel Mansell says that his old rival Alain Prost will start as the favorite for the Grand Prix Masters race at Kyalami on November11-13.

"Prost will start as the hot favorite, have no doubt," says Mansell. "He has been racing a lot recently and I haven't been in a car for a long time. But I like being the underdog. I always was in my Formula 1 career."

The Grand Prix Masters series currently features just one event but claims to have a list of stars including Mansell, Prost, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ricardo Patrese, Alan Jones, Stefan Johansson, Andrea de Cesaris, Rene Arnoux, Jan Lammers and Christian Danner. A full series is planned for 2006. The drivers will be competing for a prize fund worth $500,000 in specially-built chassis designed and built by Delta Motorsport and powered by Nicholson McLaren Cosworth engines.

Track News
Lowe’s to be repaved Lowe’s to be repavedUPDATE After laser-grinding the Lowes Motor Speedway track to help get another year of wear out of the 1.5-mile layout, track President Humpy Wheeler says the surface will have to be repaved for 2006. Wheeler said “I think what we’ve gotta do though is to study real hard, not just go pave over what we’ve got. I think we probably need to change some of the banking a little bit. Maybe put a different asphalt mix in to make it more stable and get ready for the new car NASCAR is going to bring out. That graduated banking has been around for a long time and it is affective in creating a second groove. What we want to do here is to make sure we have a second groove so you can have passing and lead swapping.” As for a published report concerning the use of restrictor plates after the track is repaved Wheeler said "I'm all for it, let's do it! It just makes better racing. You slow the cars down and you always have better racing. I don't think they're gonna do it...but...keep the rumor going!" PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show 

09/23/05 Lowe's Motor Speedway president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler said Thursday that despite a crash-marred, two-day NASCAR Nextel Cup test session this week, he thinks "everything is going to be OK" for UAW-GM 500 weekend on Oct. 13-15.  But, Wheeler said, there's "no question" the track will need to be repaved next year.  "It's not going to be as easy to get around here as it was a year ago," Wheeler said of races next month at the 1.5-mile track, "but I think it certainly will be easier than it was for the Coca-Cola 600."

"I think there's no question sometime in 2006 we will be repaving the track," Wheeler said. "We need to make sure when we do it we make the right mix. There are new asphalt polymers that are doing for race tracks what Tifton Bermuda grass has done for golf courses.

"We will also look at the possibility of changing some of the banking. The challenge is how we can create a second groove that's as fast as the first groove, and we need to find out if there is a way to do the second groove and make it just as fast."

Track News
ISC seeks director ISC seeks directorISC Motorsports is running ads seeking a director for its consumer development and diversity sales and marketing; Fan development programs. The job is in Daytona.
Barnes livid with IRL Barnes livid with IRLChris Economaki reports he went by the Panther garage in Watkins Glen to check out reports team co-owner John Barnes is so incensed at the IRL’s schedule revisions, he was considering moving the Panther team to either Champ Car or switching to a Busch GN effort. A crew member said Barnes is so upset he didn’t come to The Glen and remained in Indianapolis.
Di Grassi to get Renault test Di Grassi to get Renault testBrazilian Lucas Di Grassi is to get his chance to test drive a Formula 1 car this week at Jerez de la Frontera. The 21-year-old , a member of Renault's Driver Development program, is currently competing in the Formula 3 Euroseries and is currently third overall, although he is under threat from Franck Perera and Sebastian Vettel. Di Grassi will join Franck Montagny in the test. It is not yet clear who will be the team's test driver in the future but Heikki Kovalainen is believed to be in the running. Grandprix.com
Huge TV audience in Spain to cheer local hero Huge TV audience in Spain to cheer local heroFernando Alonso's success is causing a boom in interest in F1 in Spain, similar to the boom the sport has enjoyed in Germany thanks to the success of Michael Schumacher. More than 10 million Spaniards watched Alonso become the country's first World Champion on Sunday, making the Brazilian GP the most viewed sporting even of the year, outstripping even soccer which traditionally dominates the ratings. This amounted to an audience share of nearly 75% of all TV viewers at the time. Grandprix.com [Editor's Note:  More proof that heroes make a sport.  F1 gets it.  NASCAR gets it.  The IRL gets it with Danica Patrick.  Other obscure racing series simply don't get it.]
Wirdheim will stay in USA to look for another ride Wirdheim will stay in USA to look for another rideBjorn Wirdheim on his departing of ways with HVM, "I believe that the team have the potential and experience to win races and fight for the championship. The financial circumstances have meant that this was not possible in 2005, but there is no doubt in my mind that given the right conditions they can win.

"I have enjoyed my time with HVM where I've made some really good friends, but unfortunately the financial situation has had an effect on our race results, mainly because we were not able to carry out the testing program as planned and this meant that problems came up during the race weekends that could have been avoided.

"Because of this I feel that I wasn't able to show what I am really capable of in my rookie year in America - given this, and that the team was unable to guarantee any improvement in the situation this year, we have agreed to terminate our agreement for 2005."

"I will stay in America, and it is my intention to continue to race here next year, as I have really enjoyed my time here and see a lot of potential for the future. I am now talking to a number of teams in Champ Car and in other series about next year, and given the right circumstances I would of course like to work with HVM again."

Pizzonia confirmed for Japan and China Pizzonia confirmed for Japan and ChinaBMW Williams has confirmed that Antonio Pizzonia will race in the last two Grand Prix of the 2005 season for the team alongside Mark Webber.

Pizzonia, the team’s long-standing reserve and test driver, has been nominated for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai which take place on the 9th and 16th of October, respectively.

The Brazilian driver, who competed in the last three Grand Prix for the team, said, “I am delighted to be racing for another two races, especially after last weekend at my home race when I was the innocent victim of a start line accident. The two tracks in Japan and China are real drivers’ circuits and I hope to be able to validate this vote of confidence from the team.”

BMW Williams Team Principal, Frank Williams said, “On the strength of his races for the team thus far this season, we know he will serve us well in the next two Grand Prix.”

The news effectively ends Nick Heidfeld's short time with WilliamsF1 in which he secured the team's best result of the season, second position at Monte Carlo. The German will race with the new BMW squad in 2006 and beyond. BMW Williams

A1 Grand Prix outdraws Indy 500 A1 Grand Prix outdraws Indy 500The TV coverage of the inaugural A1 Grand Prix meeting at Brands Hatch broke records in the United Kingdom.  Autosport-Atlas reports that 480,000 people watched Sky Sports' coverage of the inaugural race in the World Cup of Motorsport at its peak, which is the highest figure for any motor racing program ever aired on the satellite channel.

The News International-owned corporation did a deal with A1 Grand Prix more than a year ago for exclusive access to the series on the channel, which includes live coverage of every qualifying session and race. Sky Sports declined to comment on exact audience figures.

The channel also broadcasts live coverage of the Indy Racing League and the Indy 500.

Racing News
Hunter’s Hope fundraiser Hunter’s Hope fundraiserCombining their acclaimed talents from the world of professional football, acting and country music, Jim Kelly, John Amos and David Grey announced today that they will be creating a unique entertainment project to benefit the Hunter’s Hope Foundation.

The three stars in their respective entertainment industries will establish the Cowboys & Engines country music tour to be built around a Grey-produced and directed album and DVD. In addition, Amos will expand the performance schedule for his critically acclaimed Halley’s Comet one-man show. Proceeds from these events will be donated to the Hunter’s Hope Foundation while also providing Kelly and his wife, Jill, with a platform on which to continue their campaign for the establishment of universal newborn screening throughout the United States.

The Hunter’s Hope Foundation was established in 1997 by the Kellys in the name of their son, Hunter, who lost his 8 ½-year battle with the terminal Krabbe disease, a leukodystrophy that attacks the brain matter, last August 5. A former star quarterback with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills and a Hall of Fame inductee in 2002, Kelly and his wife have raised more than $7 million for the Foundation that earmarks funds for medical research to identify new treatments, therapies and hopefully a cure for Krabbe disease.

“3,000 infants die in this country every year because they are simply born in the wrong state”, Kelly said. “My son Hunter is now one of them, and we need to change this so that other children get a chance at a quality of life that they deserve. We hope that this new and exciting project will enable us to deliver that message strongly and swiftly throughout America”.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Vettel stars at last '05 test
'Take a hike, F1'
Minardi and Michelin
Longer calendar for 2006
Williams to confirm Pizzonia
Indian to drive F1 in Mumbai
Renault want teams' crown too
'F1 title hasn't sunk in'
Champion Alonso to attack
Ferrari's 'old' tires
Button rues tire problem
Hakkinen turns 37
Praise for Flavio
Hot News Archives
2000 2001 2002 2003

Search Hot News
Search Help
AutoRacing1 Inc. BBB Business Review