Hot News
for your iPhone
for your iPad
Go to our forums to discuss this news
DATE News (chronologically)
Bodine takes over for Wimmer in No. 4 car Bodine takes over for Wimmer in No. 4 carMorgan-McClure Motorsports has released driver Scott Wimmer and will employ Todd Bodine behind the seat of the No. 4 Chevrolet for the next two races, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.

"We are sorry to lose Scott, but at the same time we all have to do what is best for each of us," team co-owner and president Larry McClure said in a team news release. "He is one of the nicest young men I've had the opportunity to work with and we enjoyed having him with us this year and getting to know him and his family."
2007 Rolex series schedule 2007 Rolex series schedule
Dutch team announces Van der Zande Dutch team announces Van der ZandeThe Dutch A1GP team have just announced their 'reserve' driver for this winter's A1GP championship. It will be 20-year old Renger van der Zande (pictured on left next to his teammate Jeroen Bleekemolen) from Nijmegen (NL).  This year Renger competed in the German F3 championship, finishing 4th overall with 7 podiums (3 x 2nd and 4 x 3rd), with SMS (Seyfarth Motorsport) in a Dallara F306 -Mercedes-Benz HWA.  In 2004 Renger won the Dutch Formula Renault 2.0 championship in convincing style.
114K for Zandvoort 114K for ZandvoortThe A1GP Zandvoort, the Netherlands’ race attracted a capacity crowd this past weekend, with more than 114,000 fans traveling from all over Europe to watch their nations compete on a level playing field. Over 75,000 fans packed the track on Sunday alone, making the race one of the biggest sporting events the country has ever seen.
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende showed his support for his country’s round of the 12-event series by joining the legions of fans today at the circuit. As a guest of A1GP deputy chairman, Tony Texeira, Mr. Balkenende watched both the incident-filled races from the comfort of A1GP’s hospitality lounge, Pangaea.
Pantano tops GP2 test times Pantano tops GP2 test timesThe Giorgio Pantano train shows no sign of slowing down at the moment. Not content with winning both of the final races of the 2006 season in Monza, the Italian has finished the first day of winter testing as the fastest man of the day on his debut with the Campos Racing squad.

Giorgio’s lap of 1:14.390 pushed Andreas Zuber into second position for Trident Racing on a 1:14.624 with Fairuz Fauzy an impressive third on his first day with Durango.

This afternoon’s action started off under a rain storm, and with fog engulfing the track few drivers went out. Bruno Senna however was not one about to waste his running time, and the British F3 driver who has seen so much success this season in the wet was the quickest of the runners on the soaking track.

However, no sooner had the rain stopped than bright, blinding sunshine baked the circuit, drying up the damp patches and allowing everyone out into the kind of conditions for which they had all been waiting. zzzz

A fine battle ensued between Fauzy and Hirate at the top of the standings, before di Grassi and Pantano entered the mix. Giorgio set his quickest lap with just minutes of the session left, after Jose Maria Lopez had found the barriers at the “S” on the back straight, tearing off his front and rear wings and making a nasty mess of his gearbox.

Testing resumes at 09:00 local time tomorrow, with a number of new drivers making their debuts, and many other drivers swapping teams for the final day of the first post-season test.

 Driver Team Time Laps
1 Giorgio Pantano Campos Racing 1:14.390 25
2 Andreas Zuber Trident Racing 1:14.624 35
3 Fairuz Fauzy Durango 1:14.931 32
4 Kaziki Nakajima DAMS 1:15.066 28
5 Lucas Di Grassi Super Nova International 1:15.081 21
6 Alexandre Negrao Piquet Sports 1:15.169 20
7 Sergio Hernandez Racing Engineering 1:15.249 16
8 Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1:15.327 31
9 Mike Conway Arden International 1:15.514 26
10 Ernesto Viso BCN Competicion 1:15.540 21
11 Kohei Hirate ART Grand Prix 1:15.641 21
12 Marco Bonanomi Durango 1:15.647 29
13 Antonio Pizzonia FMS International 1:15.688 20
14 Luca Filippi Super Nova International 1:15.724 27
15 Charlie Kimball Arden International 1:16.092 26
16 Jason Tahinci FMS International 1:16.092 30
17 Roldan Rodriguez Campos Racing 1:16.101 30
18 Chris Van der Drift Trident Racing 1:16.653 32
19 Bruno Senna DPR 1:16.654 36
20 Alberto Valerio Piquet Sports 1:16.758 41
21 Gavin Cronje DAMS 1:16.763 27
22 Vitaly Petrov ART Grand Prix 1:16.829 21
23 Christian Bakkerud iSport International 1:16.977 27
24 Jose Maria Lopez BCN Competicion 1:17.526 12
25 Michael Patrizi DPR 1:17.565 34

Houston we have a problem Houston we have a problemAccording to this USA Today article, it now costs $20M per year per car to be competitive in Nextel Cup, and that's before Toyota comes in and pushes the numbers even higher.  Ultimately this could be the downfall of NASCAR if they can't sustain the TV ratings necessary to justify sponsorship costs to companies..

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Ray Evernham believes the clock is ticking on Nextel Cup owners who aren't aligned with deep-pocketed partners, and the timepiece on his left wrist tells him why. "I have the stainless Rolex," Evernham said with a smile. "I've only got so much money. I'm not a billionaire. I know a lot of billionaires who went racing and became millionaires. But I don't know any thousandaires who became billionaires. You've got to spend your money wisely."

From hardscrabble beginnings as a scruffy mechanic and fledgling Modified driver in Hazlet, N.J., Evernham has invested well while building the foundation for a championship-caliber empire in NASCAR. After winning three championships as a crew chief with Jeff Gordon from 1995-98 at Hendrick Motorsports, Evernham started his own team when Dodge re-entered NASCAR's premier series in 2001.

Evernham Motorsports has won a race in each of its six seasons and qualified for all three editions of the Chase for the Nextel Cup. But success has come with a price. Once able to field cars with $10 million apiece annually and about 60 crewmembers, Evernham has a staff of 330 and says he needs $20 million a car to be competitive. More at USA Today.

Bliss in, Lepage out Bliss in, Lepage outBAM Racing announced that former Truck Series Champion Mike Bliss as driver of the #49 Dodge for the remainder of the 2006 season beginning this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway replacing Kevin Lepage. Bliss joins BAM Racing in light of the recent restructuring efforts of the team. Recently, David Hyder returned to the team as crew chief and WhatsOnline.com joined BAM Racing as a repeat primary sponsor for 2006 and 2007. “I’m excited to have this opportunity with BAM Racing and to return to racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,” commented Bliss. “This team is making great strides in preparing for the 2007 season and I am happy to be part of the process. As one of the few single-car teams, the challenges we face are greater than those of multi-car teams but so are the rewards. I look forward to being a part of the team that is being assembled by BAM Racing.” Bliss will be making his first Nextel Cup Series start of the 2006 season this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. He has four starts at the track with an average starting position of 28.0 and average finish of 25.2 at the 2.66-mile tri-oval with one top-10 finish. “We are pleased to have Mike Bliss behind the wheel of the BAM Racing Dodge,” said team co-owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. “Our team has been in a restructuring period for weeks now. As we look to the future, we feel that Mike has the determination and enthusiasm it takes to be successful. The final races of this season are important building blocks for us and Mike will be an integral part of our continued reorganization.” BAM Racing site
TV News
Legge on Ellen DeGeneres Show this Tuesday Legge on Ellen DeGeneres Show this TuesdayUPDATE #2 The first thing Ellen asked Katherine was to show her the bruises on her knees. Ellen was amazed that she only ended up with bruised knees from that horrific accident during the Grand Prix of Road America Champ Car race at Elkhart Lake. Katherine explained how she was having a good race and was in sixth place during the final laps of the race. She was going down the backstraight and the car suddenly picked up speed and swapped ends. She was headed toward the tire barrier at 180 mph. Katherine thought, "Holy, what's happening there!" She explained how she lost a thousand pounds of downforce on the back of the car when the rear wing flew off. Katherine said she remembered every second of the accident. She said when she hit the barrier, it took the momentum out of the car so she didn't have a big impact. She was very grateful when the engine flew off because it burst into flames. The quick response of the Safety Team impressed Katherine as they were there immediately. As soon as they turned the cockpit right side up and got her out of the car, she asked them to let her dad know she was ok as he travels from England to all the races. When she went to the Medical Center, she asked for a cup of tea because being English, tea makes everything better! When she saw her bruised knees, the first thing she thought of was that she was going to be wearing a dress to the Champ Car Atlantic banquet that night! Ellen told the audience that Katherine will be in an upcoming reality series called Star Racer on the Discovery Channel.

10/02/06 Reminder that Katherine Legge will be a guest on this show on Tuesday, October 3.  Please check your local listings.

10/01/06 The always charming Ted Danson visits with Ellen DeGeneres and chats about his return to television with his new sitcom "Help Me Help You." Napoleon Dynamite himself. Plus, professional racecar driver Katherine Legge shares her near-death experience when she survived one of the most horrific crashes in the sport's history. Check local listing for exact time.
Piquet Sports and Minardi merge Piquet Sports and Minardi mergePiquet Sports has announced today a merger with the Minardi Team.

The team is preparing to enter its third year in the prestigious GP2 series, which it has been involved with since the series’ launch in 2005, and finished second in both the teams and drivers championship in 2006 with Nelson Piquet Jr.

The Minardi Team will join forces with Piquet Sports for the 2007 season, during which time it will continue its commitment to the Euroseries 3000 Championship.

The Piquet Sports structure, which is currently located in England, will be moving to a new factory in Veggiano, Italy, which has been built to specification to house the GP2 series and Euroseries 3000 staff and equipment.

Piquet Sports’ Felipe Vargas will continue to manage the technical aspects of the new team, with the general management to be overseen by Minardi’s Tancredi Pagiaro.

Felipe Vargas
“The association with the Minardi Team is a great honor for Piquet Sports and brings together two very important names in the history of international motor sport. Working with them will only add to our challenge, as GP2 is a high quality and very demanding championship.
The people and resources that we have put together in this association will make us a much stronger racing team, laying the foundations that safeguard our future and upon which we can grow.”

Tancredi Pagiaro
“This is an agreement which allows us to be present at the highest levels of motor racing beneath Formula One. The GP2 series has proved itself as a very strong championship and we are proud to participate with our new structure. We are delighted to be merging with Piquet Sports, one of the most competitive teams in the GP2 series. Moreover, bringing the Minardi team back to the top level of racing makes me very happy and gives me a great responsibility with such an important team at a national and international level. It’s a difficult challenge, but we have the capability to win.”

"The people and resources that we have put together in this association will make us a much stronger team," he said, "laying the foundations to safeguard our future and upon which we can grow." Piquet Sports

track news
ISC partners with GMI in Canada ISC partners with GMI in CanadaInternational Speedway Corp. has entered into a limited partnership with Groupe motorise international (GMI) to organize, promote and hold certain events at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The partnership includes the debut NASCAR Busch Series race at the track next season, slated for Aug. 4.  That weekend also includes a Grand American Rolex Series Sports Car Race and will mark the first time the Busch Series has raced in Canada.

"Our group is pleased to announce that it has concluded a partnership with one of the world's most successful motorsports entertainment companies, ISC," Martin Spalding, General Manager of GMI, said at a press conference today in Montreal.

"Not only are we fully confident that the numerous fans of NASCAR racing in Quebec and Canada will come witness exciting racing on a legendary course such as Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, we are expecting that a large number of American fans will want to try Montreal and experience its unique way of entertaining visitors."

Fans can register immediately for tickets for the race by calling (514) 397-0007 or visiting www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca.

Q and A with Pascal Vasselon Q and A with Pascal VasselonPanasonic Toyota Racing’s Technical Director Pascal Vasselon has looked ahead to the team’s home race that will take place this coming weekend at the Suzuka circuit in Japan. Naturally things will have a more electric atmosphere due to the fact that they are performing in front of their loyal home fans with just that added bit of pressure for a good result…

Is Suzuka, as Toyota's home race, a special event?
The pressure is on at every single race but we still try to raise our level for Suzuka. Obviously we will have a lot of Toyota spectators there and we want to give them something they can be proud of, which gives us extra motivation.

Do you agree with Suzuka's reputation as a real driver's circuit...
When you talk to drivers they have two circuits which are outstanding for them: Suzuka and Spa. The drivers just love Suzuka and it's true that it's a very challenging place where technique is massively important. It's such a difficult circuit that you do have Suzuka specialists, definitely. The Japanese drivers are especially strong because they have spent so much time there. Knowing the intricacies of the circuit often means a driver can achieve a better result at Suzuka.

Is that especially true in the wet?
Absolutely, because a key point for a driver is to know where the puddles are and the lines where there is less standing water. Suzuka is very tough and very challenging.

So Ralf's experience there should stand him in good stead?
Ralf had his schooling in cars with downforce at Suzuka when he started in Formula Nippon in the mid nineties, so he has strong experience, which is a big help, yes. zzzz

What are the most significant considerations, set-up wise?
You need a good high-speed balance because there are a lot of medium and high speed changes of direction. Grip is always massively important, of course, but in Suzuka you might even compromise a little bit of grip in order to get a better balance. Handling is very important and the driver needs to feel confident, which ultimately gives you lap time.

Do you need good braking stability at the chicane?
You do, but actually Suzuka is one of the two lightest circuits on brakes overall, because you don't have the combination long straight/low speed corner which hurts the brakes. You also have good brake cooling because the average speed is quite high. So it's light on brakes and tough on tires.

Because of the high speeds?
Yes. In terms of tire demands it is very similar to Silverstone, one step gentler but still with rubber from the hard end of the range. The limitations are usually dictated by front tire performance.

Is it tough for engines too?
I'd say it's a circuit in the average in term of engine power influence on lap time: 10 bhp give you around 0.17 sec.

What are your thoughts about it being Suzuka's last race, then Fuji?
I'm very aware of the Suzuka history but I also really enjoy the challenge of discovering new circuits. When we went to Bahrain, Shanghai and Turkey, I found it both interesting and challenging to attack a new venue.

What do you know about Fuji?
It's an interesting new challenge where we will have even more Toyota people watching us! The circuit has changed quite a lot because it has been effectively redesigned for F1. I have a lot of personal experience at Fuji from other categories of racing. In GTs and Super Touring I have probably been there more than 20 times.

You had some problems in China. How do you expect Toyota to perform in Suzuka?
In normal conditions, Suzuka well suits the characteristic of our car. Silverstone mirrors Suzuka in so many ways and we were competitive there. Obviously our experiences in the last two wet weather races have been quite difficult and we are chasing some tire grip in these conditions. For sure, if we have wet conditions in Suzuka we will expect a tough weekend. But we have been working and thinking hard with Bridgestone about the right compound decisions for Japan and we still expect to see improvements if we get it right.

You had some aerodynamic developments in China. Were they difficult to evaluate?
In the circumstances, with wet qualifying conditions and then traffic in the race, that was certainly the case. It was hard to know where you were because conditions changed throughout every practice session and the race and we came away without any firm conclusions. The only thing we can say is that the drivers were very pleased with the handling and the balance even if events conspired against them.

Will you have any further developments for Suzuka?
We will have a few bits coming for Suzuka, yes. One extra week is not that much but it is the last rush of the season! We will then fully focus on next year car.

Honda to retain both drivers Honda to retain both drivers(GMM)  Honda look set to race beyond the 2006 season with the same driver lineup, team officials suggested on Tuesday.

The Japanese carmaker's president of racing development, Yasuhiro Wada, tipped Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello to stay in the white and red cars next year.

''We don't plan any changes,'' he said.

Team principal Nick Fry was also sending out messages at the press call with reporters in Tokyo, insisting that the current pairing has worked 'extremely well' in 2006.

But Wada-san had to confess that the results in 2006 have fallen below expectations, with Button's breakthrough win in Hungary only heightening the pressure.

The Japanese said: ''We should be looking to win races and hopefully we can start at Suzuka this week.''

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Suzuka not likely to decide titles - Todt
More wet weather for Suzuka race
Sadness as Suzuka says Sayonara
Ferrari warn Renault about dirty tactics
Praise won't reverse Schu's quit decision
De la Rosa 'likely' for Brazil seat
News brief: McLaren to sell F1 software
News brief: Fiat buy more Ferrari
News brief: Pizzonia to test Fisi's GP2
Sato denies blame for Shanghai clash
Racing News
Girl, 17, dies from jet car crash Girl, 17, dies from jet car crashUPDATE Family members believe Hebert's death may have been preventable and a malfunctioning seatbelt was at fault.  The vehicle's frame apparently held up quite well considering the impact, said Barry Paton, a fellow race car enthusiast and close family friend. "The seatbelt, its only purpose in life is to save you in a situation like this and it failed," he said. "The actual metal part ripped apart, and that should not happen."  Paton said seatbelts undergo rigorous testing and the seatbelts in Hebert's new vehicle were around six weeks old.  He believes if Hebert had not been ejected from the car, she may have survived.

10/02/06 CAYUGA, Ont. - A 17-year-old Windsor-area girl was killed yesterday afternoon when the jet-powered car she was piloting crashed at a race track near Cayuga.

Provincial police say Kendall Hebert of Tecumseh, who has been racing since she was nine, was traveling at more than 500 km/h on the quarter-mile track when the vehicle veered off the end of the strip.

The vehicle then crashed into a concrete barrier, bounced over the wall and rolled several times, ejecting her from the vehicle.

Emergency personnel at the track transported her to West Haldimand Hospital in Hagersville, where she was pronounced dead.

The Toronto Motorsport Track is just outside the city of Hamilton.

Hebert was a Windsor high school student who started in Junior Dragsters and worked her way up to Top Dragster class, where runs hit 290 k/ph.

There are about 50 of the much faster jet cars in North America.

Alonso slams Renault for title sabotage Alonso slams Renault for title sabotage(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has accused his Renault team of not helping him to win the 2006 drivers' championship.

To the Spanish press, the 25-year-old reckoned the French squad - to lose Alonso to McLaren at the end of the season - is focusing instead on the constructors' title, now led by Renault after the 2-3 finish in China.

Evidence of Renault's lack of interest in putting Spaniard Alonso on the top step of the podium might be Sunday's strategy and pit errors.

'AS' newspaper quoted Alonso as saying: ''They wanted us to finish second and third because they do not want me to take the number one to a different team.''

He said there is 'no doubt' that the constructors' championship is therefore more important to Renault in 2006, and added that only 'some' in blue and yellow uniforms were disappointed to lose the Chinese GP to Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.

''Some others are happy,'' Alonso continued, ''because we went past Ferrari in the team battle.

''They are not helping me as much as they could.''

NASCAR announces Montreal Busch race NASCAR announces Montreal Busch raceMONTREAL - NASCAR is about to invade Canada. The stock car racing series once centered in the American south will run a Busch Series event Aug. 4 at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, a track more used to the whine of sleek Formula One cars. Photo right - CART race in 2002. When Normand Legault actually promoted the race it drew a huge crowd. When he stopped promoting it, the attendance shrunk.

The two-day event announced Monday will see a Grand-Am Series race on Friday, Aug. 3, with the 750 horsepower Busch Series cars taking over the following day.

"It's a great setting and we're excited to be here next August," said NASCAR CEO Brian France, who flew in with top executives and a driver from each series for the announcement.

NASCAR has already placed Busch series events in Mexico and sees moving into Canada as a means to cover the entire North American market.

He said thousands of fans in Canada will get "a chance to see side-by-side stock car racing on their home soil."

NASCAR announced last week that it would put the Montreal event on its 35-race Busch Series schedule for 2007, but organizers delayed the official announcement until all details were resolved.

"Getting everything right on both ends was difficult, but we got the right outcome," added France, who has worked on the project for two years.

France was accompanied by vice-president John Saunders, Grand-Am president Roger Edmonson, Grand-Am driver David Donohue and Busch veteran Kenny Wallace. More at Canada.com

Grand-Am announces ’07 Montreal race Grand-Am announces ’07 Montreal raceUPDATE A Friday race will almost assure a low spectator turnout for the Grand-Am race as it is a workday.  However, all Grand-Am races are poorly attended, so it should look quite normal.

10/02/06 A major piece of the 2007 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve schedule was unveiled today as series officials announced that the Rolex Series will make its first appearance at Montreal’s famed Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Friday, August 3, 2007.
Daytona Prototypes and GT machines will take on the same 2.709-mile, 15-turn permanent road course that has hosted a round of the Formula 1 World Championship every year since 1978. The Rolex Series will partner with the NASCAR Busch Series at Montreal, which is the second major North American city to host a Rolex Series/Busch Series event weekend. The Rolex Series also competed in Mexico City alongside the Busch Series for the first time in 2006.
“With the tremendous racing history and passionate race fans in Montreal, it is truly an honor for the Rolex Series to race at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve,” said Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson. “Canada is an extremely important market for the Rolex Series, and this event reinforces our position as the premier road racing organization in North America. We are thrilled to partner once again with the NASCAR Busch Series as we have done in Mexico City, and we feel strongly that the fans in Montreal will be treated to a unique and exciting weekend of racing next August.” zzzz
The Montreal event will mark the return of the Rolex Series to Quebec after a one-year absence. From 2002 through 2005, the Rolex Series contested six-hour events at Circuit Mont-Tremblant, 90 miles northwest of Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. The scheduled distance for the inaugural Rolex Series event in Montreal will be 400 km.
“I think it is great that we’re going to Montreal,” said Canadian racing star Patrick Carpentier, who made two Rolex Series starts in 2006 and plans to compete in the full 2007 campaign. “I haven’t been back there in a while, but it’s a very tough track with a lot of action. These cars have very good brakes, which will suit the track very well. Since it’s a home race for me, it will be extra special. I think the fans are really going to like the racing.”
The addition of Montreal means that the Rolex Series will once again contest events in all three North American nations. Mexico City has hosted a Rolex Series round since 2005, and 12 of the 14 events on the 2007 calendar will be held in the United States.
Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is the second new addition to the 2007 schedule. Montreal joins the new Iowa Speedway, which announced in July that it will host the Rolex Series and the MOTO-ST motorcycle endurance racing series on July 13-14. The complete 2007 Rolex Series schedule will be announced on Tuesday, October 3. Grand-Am
A1GP signs 3-year deal in Holland A1GP signs 3-year deal in HollandUPDATE Our Dutch sources write to tell us a Champ Car/A1GP doubleheader in Holland would be "huge."

10/02/06 A1GP has signed a 3-year deal with Zandvoort it was announced today.  The Zandvoort race is a week after the to-be-announced Champ Car race in Assen next year.  And a week before the Assen race will be the Spa F1 race on September 16th.  That is three races all within easy driving distance of one another.  While this may be utopia for race fans who can afford all three, one has to wonder if attendance will suffer for one or all three of them.

What would be better from our perspective, is for Champ Car and A1GP to team up for a weekend doubleheader at either Assen or Zandvoort, but we suspect both want to be the headline Sunday event. 

Canadian driver ga-ga over Busch race announcement Canadian driver ga-ga over Busch race announcementThe National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today the sanction will take another step to compete internationally by competing at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada with the NASCAR Busch Series on August 4, 2007.

With today’s announcement Canada is the third country to host a NASCAR Busch Series race next season. In addition to the United States, the NBS will return to Mexico competing at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, in Mexico City, Mexico for a third consecutive season on March 4, 2007.

Pierre Bourque, a native of Ottawa, Ontario has spent the 2006 season competing in the NASCAR Busch East Series and plans to attempt to make the NASCAR Busch Series race in Montreal next year.

Bourque, the only full-time Canadian competing in NASCAR this season offered this statement about today’s exciting announcement:

"This is absolutely fantastic news for Canadian Motorsports fans. NASCAR is the most exciting form of racing in the world. We're in for a heck of a treat! I know the track and I know the cars. I will be entering that race, aiming to be extremely competitive, and hoping for a top five finish next year."

Indy test of new ethanol fuel, Honda engine Indy test of new ethanol fuel, Honda engineINDIANAPOLIS - Two of the four IndyCar Series drivers testing Oct. 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway offered a sneak peek at the 2007 Indianapolis 500, running the 3.5-liter Honda engine and 100-percent ethanol fuel that all cars will use next May in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Drivers Jeff Simmons of Rahal Letterman Racing and Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing drove Dallara/Honda/Firestone cars powered by ethanol and the 3.5-liter engine, the first time that package was tested at Indy. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske and 2005 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing drove cars outfitted with a 2006-model 3.0-liter engine, using an ethanol-methanol fuel blend. (Audio Clip - MP3)

For 2007, ethanol will power Honda's new 3.5-litre IndyCar Series engine, including the 91st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27. This breaks ground as the first use of ethanol, a renewable fuel derived from corn and other agricultural products, as the primary fuel in a major-league motor racing series.

In 2006, the IndyCar Series used a fuel mixture of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent methanol.

Simmons, who drives the No. 17 Ethanol-sponsored car co-owned by 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and late-night talk show legend Dave Letterman, said changes in the performance of the car, with the new fuel and engine combination, are noticeable.

"There's a difference, and it's all been positive so far," Simmons said. "It's great to be one of the guys to have the chance to run the new motor next year with the 100 percent ethanol. zzzz

"It seems to me, so far, we've got a broader power band. We're going through the corners better. It allows us to do some things with gearing whereas you had to be really precise with the gearing last year. We're able (today) to pull some really good speed even if we're a little off on the gearing."

Although his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car wasn't equipped with the IndyCar Series' future engine and fuel blend, Wheldon was happy to help Firestone test tire compounds.

"It's their way to keep up with safety and the development of the race cars," Wheldon said of Firestone's test. "The engineers and race teams these days are moving things very fast, and it's important because it is such a competitive series. We're just looking at coming out strong next year."

Wheldon hopes to win the "500" after a disappointing finish in 2006. After winning the race with Andretti Green Racing in 2005, he returned in 2006 with the Ganassi team, qualified third, led 148 of 200 laps but finished fourth.

"I've seen this place (the Speedway) be absolutely great to me, and I've seen it wrench my heart from my body," Wheldon said. "Hopefully it won't do that again, and this (test) is a good step for making us competitive for next year."

All four drivers will return for a second day of testing Oct. 3. IMS

A lap of Suzuka with Alex Wurz A lap of Suzuka with Alex WurzAlexander Wurz only has two more events in the role of third driver before he moves up into the full time race driver role for the Grove based squad in 2007, the next of which is the Japanese Grand Prix, the second half of the final round of back-to-back events for the year. Here the Austrian driver takes us around the Suzuka circuit where the F1 circus will visit for what could be the final event on this unique circuit this coming weekend….

"The lap starts on the downhill 6th gear section leading to turn 1. Turn 1 is an extremely fast corner taken in 5th gear at around 250k/h. Then I brake hard into the tightening section, which is in 3rd gear at 175k/h this leads into the very awkward continuous S's, which go up the hill behind the pits. The first three corners of the sequence are taken in 4th gear at around 215k/h, 175k/h and 190 k/h respectively.

"I then brake for the long right hand 3rd gear corner taken at 140 k/h before accelerating again into the very tricky left-hand corner, which finishes this section, this is taken in 4th gear at 215k/h and is very nearly flat. Before reaching the flyover there are two right-hand corners, first one taken in 4th gear at over 190k/h and then shortly afterwards a difficult 2nd gear 115k/h corner leads under the bridge.

"A short straight where I reach 260k/h in 5th gear leads to the very slow 1st gear left-hand hairpin, which takes at around 65k/h. Traction out of this corner is very important as I then accelerate round a long right-hand corner reaching a speed of just under 210k/h in 5th gear before going into a very long two part spoon curve. First part of this is taken at around 180k/h in 4th gear, I then have to reduce the speed to around 130k/h in 3rd gear for the second part.

"It is very important to minimize the understeer through this corner which is not easy as this leads on to the back straight. Half way down the back straight there is a very challenging R130 corner, which is taken at 275k/h in 6th gear, which is very nearly flat. At the end of the straight I will be doing over 290k/h 6th gear before braking hard for the 1st gear chicane, both parts taken at around 60k/h and this follows back on to the pit straight."

'07 NASCAR Busch schedule released '07 NASCAR Busch schedule releasedDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 26th season of NASCAR Busch Series competition will begin on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway, include two international stops, and end Saturday, Nov. 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The 2007 schedule features a second international event on Aug. 4 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. For a third consecutive year, the schedule also includes a race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City, Mexico on March 4.

The NASCAR Busch Series is scheduled for 26 combination events with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2007. The NASCAR Busch Series will race together with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series twice. There are 26 race tracks on the current schedule divided among 21 states, Canada and Mexico.

There will be eight NASCAR Busch Series “stand-alone” events: Mexico City (March 4), Nashville (April 7 and June 9), Kentucky (June 16), Milwaukee (June 23), Indianapolis (July 28), Montreal and Memphis (Oct. 27).

The 2007 schedule contains some changes in the order of events from 2006: zzzz

In April, Nashville Superspeedway’s race will precede Texas Motor Speedway’s event (April 14), a change necessitated by where Easter Sunday falls on the calendar. (The Texas weekend also features a Sunday NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event.)
The order of a six-week midsummer string of events has also been altered. In 2007, New Hampshire International Speedway will have a June 30 race, followed on the schedule by Daytona (July 6), Chicagoland Speedway (July 14), Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis (July 21), O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The 2006 schedule had a Daytona-Chicago-New Hampshire-Martinsville-St. Louis-Indianapolis order.
 (The 2007 schedule follows. Starting times and television information will be available at a later date.)

Date Site
Feb 17 Daytona International Speedway
Feb 24 California Speedway
Mar 4 Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Mar 10 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Mar 17 Atlanta Motor Speedway
Mar 24 Bristol Motor Speedway
Apr 7 Nashville Superspeedway
Apr 14 Texas Motor Speedway
Apr 20 Phoenix International Raceway
Apr 28 Talladega Superspeedway
May 4 Richmond International Raceway
May 11 Darlington Raceway
May 26 Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Jun 2 Dover International Speedway
Jun 9 Nashville Superspeedway
Jun 16 Kentucky Speedway
Jun 23 The Milwaukee Mile
Jun 30 New Hampshire International Speedway
Jul 6 Daytona International Speedway
Jul 14 Chicagoland Speedway
Jul 21 Gateway International Raceway
Jul 28 O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis
Aug 4 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Aug 11 Watkins Glen International
Aug 18 Michigan International Speedway
Aug 24 Bristol Motor Speedway
Sep 1 California Speedway
Sep 7 Richmond International Raceway
Sep 22 Dover International Speedway
Sep 29 Kansas Speedway
Oct 12 Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Oct 27 Memphis Motorsports Park
Nov 3 Texas Motor Speedway
Nov 10 Phoenix International Raceway
Nov 17 Homestead-Miami Speedway

NAPA Auto Parts to sponsor Toyota truck NAPA Auto Parts to sponsor Toyota truckBill Davis Racing announced today that NAPA AUTO PARTS will serve as the primary sponsor of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship contending No. 23 Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Benson at two upcoming races.  The leader in auto parts will join the No. 23 Bill Davis Racing team at both Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway in October.  NAPA AUTO PARTS will also continue to serve as the primary sponsor of Michael Waltrip and the No. 55 team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.  "NAPA has been such a great partner in 2006, and with the No. 23 Toyota Tundra's success in 2006, we felt like it was a great fit," said team owner Bill Davis.  "All the guys who work on the NAPA racing program have really been supportive of Bill Davis Racing, and we wanted to show them we really appreciate it.  Johnny has had a fantastic year and is vying for the championship, and we believe adding NAPA AUTO PARTS to the lineup would add value to their program.  NAPA has already won a couple of championships in the NASCAR Truck Series in their infancy as a sponsor, and we would like to be a part of another championship in 2006."  "We are excited to be a part of this championship run as Johnny Benson and Bill Davis Racing continue to close in on the points lead.  Bill Davis Racing has been instrumental in the development of Toyota in the NASCAR Truck Series and we look forward to the NAPA Toyota Tundra running up front" said NAPA President, Bob Susor.
Spanish press turns on Renault Spanish press turns on Renault(GMM) The Italian press on Monday marveled at Michael Schumacher's Shanghai 'masterpiece' as the 37-year-old nears the end of his formula one career.

''In Japan he could again be crowned world champion,'' wrote the Gazzetta dello Sport daily.

The headline of 'Tuttosport' read simply: 'Schumi: a legend', while La Stampa ran with 'Schumi and Ferrari -- the miracle in China'.

The sports newspaper Tuttosport also observed that, 'two races from the end of his career, he is friendlier and more cheerful'.

In Spain, meanwhile, the newspaper 'Marca' turned on Renault, whose decision to change pole sitter and Schumacher's championship rival Fernando Alonso's front tires at a pit stop crippled his winning pace.

''Alonso's enemies can be found within his own team,'' Marca claimed, as the 25-year-old Spaniard lost his title lead for the first time in hundreds of days.

The Spanish 'Sport' publication concurred: ''Renault cost Alonso victory.''

Zipadelli Wins Crew Chief Award Zipadelli Wins Crew Chief AwardKansas City, Kansas – Greg Zipadelli’s gas gamble in the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway paid off big time.  While most crew chiefs elected to have their drivers pit for fuel one more time following the final caution period, Zipadelli made the call to leave Tony Stewart on the track.  His decision brought the Home Depot team their third win of the season and earned him the WypAll® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.

The final caution period of the race lasted from laps 196 to 199.  Sixty-eight laps remained in the race, which put most drivers outside of their fuel window.  Nearly everyone made an additional trip down pit lane to top off with gas, however Zipadelli rolled the dice and elected not to bring the No. 20 Chevrolet into the pits.  Stewart ran out of fuel after exiting turn 2 on the final lap, but was able to coast across the finish line over 10 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Casey Mears. zzzz

“We were definitely a third or fourth-place car today,” said Stewart after the event.  “We had to roll the dice to get here.  I would much rather roll the dice to take a chance on winning than coming in and finish third or fourth today playing it safe.  I would have rather ran out of fuel than not take a chance.”

“Boy was it close, but we had nothing to lose,” said Zipadelli.  “I am really proud of this team; they did a great car.  We had a top-three or four car all day.  The No. 48 car was definitely the class of the field there at the end.  We did what we had to do.  We probably cut it a little close but it worked for us.”

A panel of voters, including Tony Eury Sr., a member of the local media and a WYPALL® Wipers representative, all voted for Zipadelli as the Crew Chief of the Race.  “Zipadelli’s call to stay out won his team the race,” said Eury Sr.  “He took a risk, but it paid off.  He knew his fuel mileage and how far his car could go on a tank, and he pressed the limit.  It worked out perfect for those guys.”

German F3
Final German F3 points tally Final German F3 points tallyBelow are the final point standings of the German F3 championship. At the end of the day a convincing and impressive championship victory for Dutch-Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung with 9 wins, 4 poles and 5 fastest laps. His Dutch teammate, Ferdinand Kool (JB Motorsport), finished 2nd in the championship, 46 points adrift.

1. Ho-Pin Tung / CHN 145
2. Ferdinand Kool / NED 99
3. Harald Schlegelmilch / LAT 91
4. Renger van der Zande / NED 89
5. Nico Hülkenberg / GER 78
6. Joey Foster / GBR 76
7. Recardo Bruins / KOR 38
8. Riccardo Azzoli / ITA 38
9. Cyndie Allemann / SUI 30
10. Nathan Antunes / AUS 25
11. Johnny Cecotto / VEN 20
12. Marcello Thomaz / BRA 17
13. Natacha Gachnang / SUI 11
14. Johannes Theobald / GER 11
15. Salvatore Gatto / ITA 10
16. Dominik Schraml / GER 8
17. Ronny Wechselberger / GER 7
18. Marcel Schuler / GER 5
19. Leonardo Valois / SVK 5
20. Rolf Biland / SUI 4
21. Hiroyuki Matsumura / JPN 3
22. Marko Nevalainen / FIN 3
23. Dominick Muermans / NED 3
24. Martin Konrad / AUT 2
25. Norman Knop / GER 2

China is F1’s most expensive race China is F1’s most expensive race(GMM)  China is the most expensive grand prix on the formula one calendar, according to a magazine.

'Sport Business' has published a list showing that new events in Shanghai, Bahrain and Turkey attract the largest annual fees, payable to Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management, with China topping the charts at 21.7 million EUR ($26.6M).

At number five and 15 million EUR, meanwhile, Nurburgring in Germany is the most expensive European race, while Indianapolis is one of the cheapest, at 13 million ($16.5M).

[Editor's Note: Given that most Chinese GP tickets were given away for free because no one was buying them (Chinese can't afford them) don't think for one moment that the Chinese GP wasn't a financial bloodbath for the promoter. Ditto for Tony George and the Indy Motor Speedway.  Even though Bernie is giving them the lowest sanction fee just to be in the USA, Tony did not sell enough tickets to come close to breaking even.]

Tires to decide F1 Champion Tires to decide F1 ChampionRoss Brawn is still worried that Michelin could hand Renault the advantage in the remaining two events of the season.

With six victories in seven races, Ferrari are in the driving seat and with five of those wins having gone to Michael Schumacher, the Scuderia also holds the head in the Drivers' Championship and are only one point behind Renault in the race for the teams' title.

"It is down to the tires," he said. "We have got to have the right tires in the next couple of races, and we have got reasons to be optimistic. But it can still swing either way."

track news
2007 Indy 500 tickets on sale today 2007 Indy 500 tickets on sale todayTickets for the 91st Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 27, 2007, will go on sale Sunday, Oct. 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Web site, www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

Fans also can purchase tickets by phone or at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office starting Monday, Oct. 2.

The IMS Ticket Office can be contacted at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally. Ticket Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Ticket Office is located in the IMS Administration Building, at the intersection of 16th Street and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis.

Parking and camping permits for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” also can be purchased online, by phone or at the Ticket Office.

tv news
12 Outlaws races on SPEED 12 Outlaws races on SPEEDThe World of Outlaws announced another significant step in expanding its broadcast reach by moving 12 World of Outlaws Sprint Series broadcasts to SPEED in 2007.

"SPEED has been home to the Knoxville Nationals since 2003 with a solid fan following," said Hunter Nickell, SPEED Executive Vice President and General Manager. "When we learned World of Outlaws broadcasts would be available, it was something we immediately had an interest in. Building on the Knoxville Nationals and carrying through the World of Outlaws championship run on SPEED is something we know sprint car racing fans will embrace." zzzz

"The World of Outlaws new broadcast agreement with SPEED is another major move forward for our sport," said DIRT MotorSports CEO and President Tom Deery. "It has been a top priority to expand our TV reach. Combine this new SPEED relationship with the previously announced ‘Summer of Money’ on ESPN2, and the foundation is much better to grow the fan base while allowing our teams, track operators and series to capitalize on sponsorship opportunities."

Reaction from the competitors is extremely positive.

"It's one more way DIRT MotorSports is showing they have the World of Outlaws headed in the right direction," said 2006 Gold Cup champion Daryn Pittman. "With SPEED and ESPN, it's the best television package sprint car racing has ever seen. It not only gives us confidence going in to talk to potential sponsors, but providing a package that includes SPEED is definitely an attention-getter."

"It's huge," said 2006 Kings Royal champion Joey Saldana. "SPEED is the home of big league motorsports and for the World of Outlaws to be on SPEED in 2007 puts us in good company."

"The Outdoor Channel was a nice TV package that kept the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series on TV," said Craig Dollansky, a six-time winner this season. "But to go from 25 million households to more than 70 million on SPEED is a pretty amazing jump, and it will be a benefit to the teams and the series in retaining sponsorship."

Racing News
Quotes of this past week Quotes of this past week
NIKI LAUDA, three time Formula One World Champion
''Raikkonen can drive fast, but he can't do anything else.  McLaren is not an emotional team like Ferrari.  Italians look for excuses by nature and that's why Kimi risks a lot -- one beer too many and he becomes the scapegoat for everything.''  (Lauda prophesized about the future of Schumacher's Ferrari team, which is to be headed by new number one driver Kimi Raikkonen until at least 2009.)
FLAVIO BRIATORE, Managing Director, Renault F1 team
Briatore told F1 Racing, "Formula One is a big TV event and making it as good as it can be is our business.  Technology is important but we need to take more care of our customers - the people who watch the television event - and that's why F1 should be all about entertainment.  Hollywood needs top-class engineers, cameramen and special effects but those guys aren't what Hollywood is about. They just make it happen.  Unfortunately in some other teams the senior people started as engineers, and engineers don't care about making F1 a successful business.  They care about achieving their own happiness from finding a new aerodynamic step or something. The people in charge should be businessmen, not ex-engineers. Nothing costs more money and delivers less entertainment than hidden technology.  F1 is a very special dream which excites people's imagination. Where does that dream come from? Not from the complexities inside the gearbox."  Briatore also urged Bernie Ecclestone to think simply such as providing teams with more passes so as to get more 'babes' in the pits.  He added, ''It raises an important point. Formula one is about the show, the glamour -- not just greasy mechanics and gearboxes.''
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, NASCAR driver
"The Texaco Havoline Dodge has been actually really good to me.  It was a bit shocking. The last test at Talladega was pretty simple. I think anyone can drive Talladega. You just put your foot down and go around.  It's been really interesting. It's about feeling that momentum and learning it. Everyone from open wheel racing who comes (to stock cars) and just tries too hard. You try too hard, and then you slow down. I'm so conscious of that. I even told Rusty that I need to take it easy."
Why is Schumacher retiring? Why is Schumacher retiring?UPDATE "His victory in China was one of the most brilliant things that Schumi ever pulled off," Monday's Bild newspaper said. "He showed the world who's the best, cuts Alonso to shreds and shuts Flavio Briatore's trap. His 91st victory in his 248th Grand Prix was simply one of his best races ever. A lot of fans are now asking: Why the heck is he going to retire now?"

10/01/06 Dear AutoRacing1.com, Why is Michael Schumacher retiring? This weekend in Shanghai, where clearly the Michelin shod car had a huge advantage, Schumacher showed his superiority by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. On Saturday Schumacher qualified 6th on his Bridgestones while the next fastest Bridgestone driver, his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa, was way down in 13th. Then on Sunday, when no other Bridgestone shod car was anywhere near the front, Schumacher comes through on a wet track and not only outdrives one, but both Renault drivers on Michelin tires.

It just goes to show you how much better than Massa Schumacher is, even at his age. I have watched this guy race since the early '90s and he is beyond a doubt head and shoulders above all the rest. It will be a sad day for the sport when he steps out of the car for the final time in Brazil while still at the top of his game, knowing that another year would have seen him top the magical 100-win mark. When he stepped out of his Ferrari today in China, the enthusiasm he shared with the entire Ferrari crew was heartwarming. Can you imagine how dull parc ferme will be with the monotone Kimi Raikkonen (who talks like he has marbles in his mouth) in it. I predict that without Michael Schumacher, Ferrari will return to the losing team that they were when he joined them, and F1 will be far worse off without him. It will be a sad day indeed. Doug Malone, Seattle, WA
track news
Atlanta spring race tickets on sale now Atlanta spring race tickets on sale nowTickets for the March 16-18, 2007 NEXTEL Cup race weekend go on sale today.  NASCAR's top three series will return to the fastest track on the circuit and great seats start at just $60.  AMS
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
South Korea to host grand prix in 2010
Alonso was 'difficult' GPDA recruit - Ralf
Heidfeld slammed the wrong Aguri
Bridgestone order new wet tire for Suzuka
Brawn responds to Symonds' dig
Rosberg supports tire monopoly rule
Seen in Shanghai - II Seen in Shanghai - IIRobert Doornbos is shown with his financial backer Harry Muermans in Shanghai Saturday.  Muermans will sponsor Doornbos in Champ Car next year if they cannot find a ride for him in F1.  Doornbos performed fairly well this weekend in Shanghai, filling in for the fired Christian Klien. Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Seen in Shanghai - I Seen in Shanghai - IJohannes Klien is seen here talking to Bernie Ecclestone in Shanghai Sunday. Klien is desperate to find a ride in F1 for his son Christian Klien who was let go by Red Bull for not accepting a Champ Car ride. His only hope is to land a ride with the Midland, now Spyker, F1 team. This will enable him to be a field filler for Bernie's fodder.
British F3
Flying Dutchman wins at Thruxton Flying Dutchman wins at Thruxton
Busch Series Montreal announcement Monday Busch Series Montreal announcement MondayNASCAR will announce their first foray into Canada Monday at a 5 PM press conference.  Those in attendance will give you some hint as to what series will be racing that weekend in Montreal:

-Brian France, Chairman & CEO, NASCAR
-Martin Spalding, General Manager, GMI (Groupe Motorise International)
-John Saunders, Executive Vice President & COO, ISC
-Roger Edmondson, President, Grand American Road Racing Association
-Other distinguished guests including drivers from the NASCAR Busch Series

German F3
Ho-Pin Tung ends season with two wins Ho-Pin Tung ends season with two winsOschersleben – This weekend the Dutch Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung ended the 2006 season with two wins, two pole positions and two fastest race laps. The 2006 F3 Champion has enjoyed a very successful season in which he won nine races. JB Motorsport teammate Ferdinand Kool made it a perfect score for the team as he ends the season in second place.

Ho-Pin: "It was a very good weekend in which I have scored maximum points and dominated the races. There is no better way to end the season and my relationship with JB Motorsport".

The 2006 Recaro Formula 3 Champion finished his Lola B06-30 Opel Spiess in both qualifying sessions in pole position, increasing his championship lead with another two points. During the second qualifying session the track was drying but in the later stages Ho-Pin drove another pole position and finished ahead of Harald Schlegelmilch and Recardo Bruins. zzzz

HO-PIN: “The qualifying session were great. In both sessions I waited before I drove some fast laps. In the beginning of the second session I was very carefully because the track was drying. I won the pole position after I improved my lap time with my very last lap".

The first race on the 3,667 km long circuit became a dominant 8th victory of the season for Ho-Pin Tung who not only started the race from pole position but also drove the fastest lap time of the race. In the last Formula 3 weekend of the season three drivers are still competing for second place in the championship: Renger van der Zande, Harald Schlegelmilch and JB Motorsport teammate Ferdinand Kool. In the second race we will know who finished the championship in second place behind Ho-Pin Tung.

HO-PIN: “It was an easy and dominant win for me. I made a very good start and in the beginning of the race I was pushing and opened a gap. After that I could drive easily to the finish line and win my 8th race of the year in front of Renger van der Zande".

The second race of the weekend at Oschersleben started and finished exactly the same as the day before for Ho-Pin Tung. This time the Dutch Chinese driver finished ahead of Recardo Bruins and Nathan Antunes. Teammate Ferdinand Kool finished in fifth place securing his second place in the championship. This has been a fantastic season for the JB Motorsport team, winning half of the races and finishing first and second in the championship.

HO-PIN: “I had a perfect race. I made a good start and like yesterday I started pushing to open a gap. This time I kept pushing until the end and I finished the race with a big lead. I might have looked like a boring race but I love to win races like this!”.

Ho-Pin Tung has ended a very successful 2006 season in the Recaro Formula 3 Cup; 9 victories, 4 pole positions, 5 fastest laps in the race, 145 points and winning the championship.

Ho-Pin: "This year I had a chance to compete in the F3 series with equal equipment to the other competitors. I have shown my potential by winning nine races. Together with teammate Ferdinand Kool we won 10 out of 20 races for the JB Motorsport team. We started the season without testing and with a new car. During the season we kept developing the car and finally we could dominate the races and I had a great season".

Germany defeats USA in A1GP feature race Germany defeats USA in A1GP feature race
Race Stewards disqualify Sato Race Stewards disqualify Sato(GMM) After investigating the last-lap carnage at Shanghai, Chinese grand prix stewards disqualified Super Aguri's Takuma Sato.

The Japanese was found guilty of ignoring blue flags and blocking quicker drivers, so he was excluded from the results following an earlier reprimand in 2006.

Spyker's Christijan Albers was also penalized, but he received only a 25 second penalty because it is his first offence.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, meanwhile, escaped sanction for his collision with Nick Heidfeld, but Honda principal Nick Fry dismissed as 'ludicrous' any suggestion that the Japanese carmaker used its connection with Super Aguri to ask Sato to block Heidfeld for a lap.

The incident occurred only after the two works Hondas caught Heidfeld, who was running in fourth at the start of the last lap, and a BMW-Sauber statement that hinted at 'dubious maneuvers'.

''To think that is complete rubbish,'' Fry told reporters.

Engine freeze rules modified Engine freeze rules modifiedFormula One manufacturers and FIA, the governing body of the sport, have reportedly come to an agreement which will see them make changes to their engines right up until the start of the 2007 season.

Under a previous proposal, FIA had asked that each engine maker submit the final plans for their 2007 powerplant following the Japanese or Brazilian Grand Prix. Those engines would then be frozen for next season. However, the manufacturers were lobbying for changes which would allow them to make minor modifications despite the freeze.

According to autosport.com, an agreement has been reached which will see the manufacturers submit a "retuning list" by December 15 whereby they would indicate which parts of the engine they would like to modify. Once that list is approved by FIA, only those parts can be worked on by the engine makers until March 1st, 2007 when a full engine freeze would take place.

Teams will then race with that final engine specification through 2007 and 2008 before a new plan is finalized for 2009. TSN.ca

Tennis accident was Montoya’s downfall Tennis accident was Montoya’s downfallMcLaren team boss says Juan Pablo Montoya's tennis accident last year, which sidelined him for two races early in the 2005 season, was the beginning of the end of the Colombian's F1 career.” The accident that hurt his shoulder was very counterproductive," Dennis told reporters at Shanghai. "It took that year out of play and created some tensions, but not any that anyone created other than the circumstances that existed as a result of it."

Dennis went on to praise Montoya as a very quick driver adding that, "he brought more color to the team and to the sport."

[Editor's Note: McLaren has been nowhere since Montoya left the team so it appears he brought more to the team than meets the eye. If Ron Dennis held it against Montoya for falling while playing tennis, thereby straining the relationship, it just underscores what a horrible manager he really is. Playing tennis is not that risky of a sport, and if Montoya got hurt from an innocent fall playing a sport that would help to keep him in shape, Dennis deserves to lose him. We feel sorry for Fernando Alonso. The guy is leaving a winning combination at Renault to drive for a team managed by Dennis that has clearly lost its way.  So far the team is winless this year, the first time in a decade.]

South African draws first blood South African draws first bloodThe 2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season kicked off in thrilling style today at the 4.18km Zandvoort circuit in the west of the Netherlands. A1 Team South Africa sealed victory in the 12-lap, 20 minute Sprint race, just 2.2 seconds ahead of A1 Team Mexico and A1 Team France. Germany, Great Britain and New Zealand rounded off the top six. (L to R Salvador Duran- 2nd, Adrian Zaugg - 1st, and Nicolas Lapierre - 3rd)

An impressive 23 teams from six continents competed for the pride of their nations in the race, which was watched by thousands of fervent fans. Anticipation grew as yesterday's bright sunshine and warm temperatures were replaced by overcast, grey skies and light rain that made the track conditions unpredictable.

South Africa's Adrian Zaugg started the 12-lap race from pole position following his last-gasp flying lap in yesterday's qualifying sessions that denied Mexico the top spot by a mere 0.1secs. A1 Team France lined up third with Nicolas Lapierre ahead of Germany's Nico Hülkenberg. Zaugg held the advantage into the first bend, but Mexico, on the drier outside line, was able to squeeze inside and take the lead on the exit.

The two cars clashed (left) as they tussled for position, with the South African car's bodywork picking up a deep gouge on the left-hand side.
Competing in his first-ever A1GP race, Zaugg immediately fought back to retake the lead in the second corner and pushed hard to pull out a one second advantage by the end of the first lap, "I made a good start," Zaugg said after the race. "It was hard but fair, and I had to push hard to get back in front of Duran." zzzz

Further down the starting order, A1 Team Italy and A1 Team India were early retirements as cars ran three-abreast coming into Zandvoort's famous first corner, Tarzan. A1 Team New Zealand however was able to move up three positions into sixth ahead of Dutch rookie Jeroen Bleekemolen. The local favorite was disappointed to lose position, however was optimistic of improving in the following Feature race this afternoon, "It was a difficult start as I made a small mistake at the start that dropped me down a position. We had the speed, but it's always hard to overtake here. If we get a good strategy for the Feature race we could do well."

By the end of the second lap, the fight for the lead had developed into a three-way battle between South Africa, Mexico and France. With less than three seconds covering the trio, third-placed France pushed Mexico hard, and dived into the inside of Tarzan corner to try and take position from the green and red car. Mexican Duran however kept his line and stayed ahead. One team who made a move stick however was A1 Team China, who took Malaysia for 11th position.

As the skies cleared and the track became drier, competitors became bolder and on lap four Indonesia's Ananda Mikola tried an audacious move on the inside of Tarzan corner. The 26-year-old from Jakarta dived inside A1 Team Singapore's Christian Murchison, however braked too late and ran into the side of the red and gold Singaporean car. Murchison spun off the track and into retirement and Mikola found himself hit with a drive-through penalty that dropped the Indonesians to 19th overall. Mikola's indiscretion elevated the Czech team into 17th and the Greek team to 18th.

A1 Team Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen tried hard to regain his eighth place starting position from Canada, however strong pressure from A1 Team Switzerland meant the Dutchman was forced to defend his line throughout the race. On lap six, Swiss driver Buemi dived inside the brightly-colored orange car, but Bleekemolen held his line and position to finish the race ninth.

Zaugg started to ease away from the field with a string of fastest laps. In an impressive debut for the rookie, Zaugg recorded the fastest lap of the race ahead of last year's Laguna Seca double race-winner Duran and series regular Nicolas Lapierre. Sealing victory by over two seconds, the Capetonian said, "I remember watching the series last season and seeing how skilled the drivers were, and now it feels so great to be standing here in the middle of it all. I admire everyone here, particularly Duran after his performance at Laguna Seca, and the team have done a really brilliant job and we can improve and build on it for the future."

Duran was pleased with his second position, "In these difficult conditions there was more grip on the outside line and it was hard to overtake by going off line, even though I tried hard. It was a fair racing and no one wants to put anyone else out of the race. This result is good for the team as we head into the Feature race."

Frenchman Lapierre fought for second until the very end, however had to settle for third at the checkered flag. "I had a good start and there was lots of action at the beginning of the race. I think I was quicker than Duran but it was difficult to overtake. The most important thing is that we have a competitive grid position for the race and everything goes smoothly with the standing start and pit stops so we can get a podium position."

A1 Team South Africa will now start the second A1GP race of the weekend, the 45 lap Feature race, on pole position. The grid for the race will be determined by a unique points-scoring position that allocates points according to teams' finishing position, qualifying position and lap times in the Sprint race. One point is awarded to the winner, two to the runner-up, three to the third-placed finisher, running down to the 23rd classified finisher, who will be awarded 23 points. The same points system is applied to the qualifying and fastest lap classifications. The points are added together; the driver with the lowest amount of points will start the Feature race on pole.

Sprint race results
A1 Team Driver Time
1 South Africa Adrian Zaugg 18.03.570
2 Mexico Salvador Duran 18.05.842
3 France Nicolas Lapierre 18.06.504
4 Germany Nico Hulkenberg 18.09.760
5 Great Britain Darren Manning 18.15.577
6 New Zealand Matt Halliday 18.18.510
7 USA Philip Giebler 18.26.008
8 Canada James Hinchcliffe 18.27.341
9 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 18.27.851
10 Switzerland Sebastien Buemi 18.28.348
11 China Congfu Cheng 18.28.895
12 Malaysia Alex Yoong 18.29.455
13 Australia Ryan Briscoe 18.30.236
14 Brazil Tuka Rocha 18.31.887
15 Ireland Michael Devaney 18.41.921
16 Lebanon Basil Shaaban 18.47.735
17 Czech Republic Tomas Kostka 18.48.333
18 Greece Takis Kaitazis 19.13.239
19 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 19.18.509
20 Pakistan Nur Ali 11 laps
21 Singapore Christian Murchison 4 laps
22 India Armaan Ebrahim 0 laps
23 Italy Pier Guidi Alessandro 0 laps

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Tobacco axe falls on Aus GP
Cosworth to exit formula one
Honda push Davidson for Super Aguri seat
De la Rosa annoyed with Shanghai stewards
Doornbos offered Champ Car seat
China drenched for race start
Stewards probe last lap antics
Petit LeMans attendance up 26% Petit LeMans attendance up 26%Tickets to the Petit LeMans event at Road Atlanta were still being counted late Saturday.  Road Atlanta officials estimated an attendance of more than 90,000 – up 26 percent from 2005.
Rookie Coleman to hospital Rookie Coleman to hospitalKANSAS CITY, Kan. - Brad Coleman was transported to a local hospital after a hard crash during the Yellow Transportation 300 Busch Series race Saturday at Kansas Speedway.

The race was red-flagged on lap 45 following his accident. Coleman eventually walked out of his car and was alert and stable, according to NASCAR officials. He was transported to the hospital for observation.

Harvick’s Seventh Win Extends Series Lead Harvick’s Seventh Win Extends Series LeadKevin Harvick took the lead with 15 laps to go to win his seventh NASCAR Busch Series race of the season and extend his lead in the point standings to 729 points over Carl Edwards, who finished sixth. Harvick started seventh and ran in the top five most of the race before passing Kyle Busch for the lead.

The day seemed to belong to Matt Kenseth who started on the pole and led 145 of the 200 laps. Kenseth lost the lead for good, however, when he was beat off pit road by Busch during the sixth caution of the afternoon (Lap 165) after Busch gambled and took only two tires. Busch led the next 19 laps but couldn’t hold off the dominating Harvick and finished third.

Kenseth was looking to make history at Kansas Speedway. No driver that has led the most laps in a NASCAR Busch Series race at the track has ever won. The winner has never come from the pole position either.

Rookie Aric Almirola led 13 laps, the third highest total of the race. Almirola, who is currently 17th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings, was making his seventh NASCAR Busch Series start. He was involved in an accident on Lap 139 and finished 39th.

US series gets green light for China US series gets green light for ChinaChina is set to embrace another international motor racing series.  A senior Zhuhai International Circuit (ZIC) official confirmed the North America-based Champ Car World Series will next year set up a ranking event at the Guangdong venue, the oldest racetrack in the country. The Champ Car Zhuhai round, slated for May 20, 2007, as one stop of the 15-leg 2007 Champ Car season, would mark the first time a major American sports organization holds a regular-season event on the mainland.

"We have everything set up, except for a few modifications to the track," said Benjamin Grenon, ZIC sales and marketing director.

"The Champ Car China race will carve out its own niche by being more accessible to the public than other international motorsport meets in China and will take full advantage of the economic and sporting dynamism of the Pearl River Delta region."

Talk of a venture into China by the Ford-powered Champ Car machines, capable of producing a maximum 750 horsepower and of attaining maximum speeds of over 370km/h, have been circulating among Chinese industry insiders for some time.

Netherlands-born Chinese driver Tung Ho-pin, who won the German Formula Three championship three weeks ago, is said to be likely to drive for one of the 12 teams in the series.

"Yes, Tung has been in talks with Champ Car over a possible shift to the United States, but no substantial agreement is yet in place," said Wang Yifei, spokeswoman for the 24-year-old.

The 2006 Champ Car season, with two races remaining, is led by Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais, who also won the previous two drivers' titles. South China Morning Post

NASCAR Dover TV rating NASCAR Dover TV ratingThe final TV rating for last Sunday's Dover NASCAR Nextel Cup race on TNT was a 3.8, up 22.5% from last year's 3.1 final rating.
The IRL’s Mickey Mouse version of Belle Isle The IRL’s Mickey Mouse version of Belle Isle
Instead of using the longer version of the Belle Isle circuit in Detroit that CART used (Below, left) when it raced there, the IRL is going with a version (Below, right) that has no straight section long enough to even attempt a pass.  It should be a real procession.


Amended Zandvoort starting grid Amended Zandvoort starting gridZandvoort - A1 Team Switzerland’s fastest time from the A1GP Zandvoort qualifying sessions has been disallowed after post-qualifying scrutineering checks confirmed the Swiss car ran throughout the afternoon with one rear anti-roll bar canister instead of the required two.

When questioned by the Stewards of the meeting, the team confirmed the omission was the result of an oversight and did not entail any performance gain.

While the Stewards accepted the team did not gain any increase in performance, it was decided to disallow the team’s fastest time from the earlier qualifying sessions to enforce the importance of conforming to technical regulations.  zzzz

As a result of this decision, A1 Team Switzerland will start tomorrow’s Sprint Race from 11th on the grid.

Amended grid
  A1 Team Driver Aggregate Time
1 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian Zaugg 2:55.531
2 MEXICO Salvador Duran 2:55.636
3 FRANCE Nicolas Lapierre 2:55.688
4 GERMANY Niko Hulkenberg 2:55.805
5 GREAT BRITAIN Darren Manning 2:56.080
6 USA Philip Giebler 2:56.288
7 CANADA James Hinchcliffe 2:56.307
8 NETHERLANDS Jeroen Bleekemolen 2:56.618
9 NEW ZEALAND Matt Halliday 2:56.645
10 MALAYSIA Alex Yoong 2:56.896
11 SWITZERLAND Sebastien Buemi 2.56.075
12 INDONESIA Ananda Mikola 2:57.188
13 AUSTRALIA Ryan Briscoe 2:57.309
14 CHINA Congfu Cheng 2:57.447
15 IRELAND Michael Devaney 2:58.165
16 BRAZIL Tuka Rocha 2:58.418
17 ITALY Pier Guidi Alessandro 2:58.467
18 INDIA Armaan Ebrahim 2:58.987
19 LEBANON Basil Shaaban 3:00.008
20 SINGAPORE Christian Murchison 3:00.626
21 GREECE Takis Kaitazis 3:01.382
22 CZECH REPUBLIC Tomas Kostka 3:01.573
23 PAKISTAN Nur Ali 3:07.812

South African wins A1GP pole South African wins A1GP poleZandvoort – A1 Team South Africa has secured pole position for the Sprint race at the opening round of the 2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Zandvoort, just 0.1 seconds faster than A1 Teams Mexico and France. Under blue skies and blazing sunshine, South African Adrian Zaugg (right) recorded the best aggregate over four thrilling 15 minute qualifying sessions in which Mexico, the USA and South Africa all traded fastest times.

Nineteen-year-old Zaugg snatched pole position from Mexican Salvador Duran in the final session of the afternoon when he blitzed round the 4.18km Zandvoort circuit in a blistering 1:27.349secs. Zaugg, who participated in yesterday’s rookie practice sessions, was thrilled to put his home country back in the sporting spotlight, “I am just so happy for the team and everyone supporting us at home in South Africa. I never expected to do so well and it’s emotional for both me and the team. I’m pleased to see A1 Team South Africa on pole for tomorrow and happy to have achieved this much so far.” The young Capetonian is clearly relishing his opportunity to lead the field, “I’ve never done a rolling start before, but it’s similar to starts behind the safety car so I know what to expect and know that I’ll cope with it.” zzzz

A1 Team Mexico’s Salvador Duran set the early pace with the fastest time in the first session of the day and continued to perform consistently throughout the afternoon, also setting the second fastest time of the final 15 minutes. However the Mexican was ultimately denied by Zaugg’s lightning pace in the final minutes of qualifying. “I am delighted with this result,” Duran commented. “We have a strong team in place, with a good set of people, who want Mexico to lead the way. I know that we can go quicker and we need to keep pushing and work hard, to keep in front tomorrow.”

In a hint of the high level of competition expected in this year’s championship, A1 Team France’s Nicolas Lapierre was just 0.05 seconds slower than Duran. Lapierre, who was quickest during the morning’s practice session, was pleased with his afternoon’s performance, “It was definitely a good qualifying session. I really felt the pressure because the track was getting faster and faster. It’s a great start for the team and puts us in a good position for tomorrow.”

A1GP newcomers Singapore and Greece continued their steady improvement in qualifying. Respective drivers Christian Murchison and Takis Kaitazis shaved almost two seconds from their previous best lap times over the four sessions and will start the Sprint race in 20th and 21st positions. A1 Team Greece’s last flying lap was however interrupted when he was forced to lift off to avoid A1 Team Pakistan’s Nur Ali who had spun into the middle of the track.

Local hero Jeroen Bleekemolen participated in his first-ever qualifying session in front of the thousands of passionate Dutch fans who had flocked to the circuit on the shores of the North Sea to see their national racing team in action. Bleekemolen recorded the second-fastest time in the second segment and will start the Sprint race in ninth position.

The 20-minute, 12 lap Sprint race will start on Sunday 1 October at 11.00 local time. The grid for the later Feature race will be determined by a unique scoring system that allocates points to a driver’s finishing and qualifying positions and fastest laps in the Sprint race.

 A1 Team Driver Aggregate Time
1 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian Zaugg 2:55.531
2 MEXICO Salvador Duran 2:55.636
3 FRANCE Nicolas Lapierre 2:55.688
4 GERMANY Niko Hulkenberg 2:55.805
5 SWITZERLAND Sebastien Buemi 2.56.075
6 GREAT BRITAIN Darren Manning 2:56.080
7 USA Philip Giebler 2:56.288
8 CANADA James Hinchcliffe 2:56.307
9 NETHERLANDS Jeroen Bleekemolen 2:56.618
10 NEW ZEALAND Matt Halliday 2:56.645
11 MALAYSIA Alex Yoong 2:56.896
12 INDONESIA Ananda Mikola 2:57.188
13 AUSTRALIA Ryan Briscoe 2:57.309
14 CHINA Congfu Cheng 2:57.447
15 IRELAND Michael Devaney 2:58.165
16 BRAZIL Tuka Rocha 2:58.418
17 ITALY Pier Guidi Alessandro 2:58.467
18 INDIA Armaan Ebrahim 2:58.987
19 LEBANON Basil Shaaban 3:00.008
20 SINGAPORE Christian Murchison 3:00.626
21 GREECE Takis Kaitazis 3:01.382
22 CZECH REPUBLIC Tomas Kostka 3:01.573
23 PAKISTAN Nur Ali 3:07.812

Atherton paints bright picture for ALMS Atherton paints bright picture for ALMSBraselton, Ga. - While three new venues on the 2007 American Le Mans Series schedule were the highlight of the annual State of the Series press conference, Series President and CEO Scott Atherton (right) also provided a glimpse of other significant accomplishments and coming endeavors.

Among the many topics that Atherton addressed were Series growth, a ground-breaking development with the Series' relationship with the ACO, and the growing relevance of the technology that the Series' cars represent and the direct connection that exists from the racetrack to the showroom floor.

Atherton emphasized increases in attendance (+4 percent); television viewership (+42 percent); web traffic (up nearly 100 percent) much to the thanks of Web site redesign and new functions; and corporate partner return on investment. In addition, a recent Nielsen Media Research study revealed an enhanced quality Series demographic profile. Among its findings were that 48 percent of American Le Mans Series fans earned more than $90,000 a year with 51 percent in the coveted 25-49 age group and an upward trending 30 percent in the 18-34 group. zzzz

The ACO, which organizes and operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans, provides the American Le Mans Series with its rulebook. In a revolutionary development the ACO has acknowledged that its rules, which are optimized for a single 24-hour event, must show some flexibility for a multi-event series featuring diverse venues. In addition, IMSA and the ACO recently reached an agreement for the need to adjust performance of certain cars to ensure quality competition over the length of the series. It limited areas of adjustment to weight, fuel capacity, boost and restrictor size. No more than two adjustments will be allowed during the course of the season. The two groups also made a mutual commitment to enable top level independent teams to reasonably compete with full manufacturer programs and to have the procedures for all such adjustments apply to both the American Le Mans Series and the ACO administered Le Mans Series in Europe.

The ACO rule book also provides incentives and encourages manufacturers to embrace alternative fuels and new automotive technologies. As a result, the American Le Mans Series has announced that it will devote significant attention to this unique positioning as the relevance of such technology has captured the attention of the entire population. The Series expects to align with a fuel partner to showcase the cutting edge technology of its participating manufacturers. A standardized gasoline, diesel and ethanol blend will be the centerpiece of this platform. The energy content within the race cars's fuel cells will be equalized to ensure relative competitiveness among the various energy choices.
Race team licensed to compete in NASCAR Race team licensed to compete in NASCARWest Virginia fans of NASCAR racing will have a home-grown reason to cheer in the 2007 race season – a West Virginia-based race team and a chance to be there when it all begins next season. Revelocity Racing, LP, created by four West Virginia natives, was established to provide much needed exposure for the state of West Virginia via competition in the Nextel Cup Series. Revelocity Racing was sanctioned by NASCAR earlier this summer and was assigned #73 for the Nextel Cup Series. The team is currently in negotiations with potential drivers for the 2007 season but has committed to the “Car of Tomorrow” schedule which includes 16 races in 2007. To choose that lucky fellow West Virginian, the team is hosting the “Ultimate Fan Experience” contest for one lucky fan. The prize package will feature Hot Passes and access to the REVELOCITY RACING team and driver for the premiere race at Bristol next year. To sign up, interested participants should attend the final race at Ona Speedway in Milton on Saturday evening beginning at 6:00 p.m. or visit www.revelocityracing.com to enter. MetroNews Radio Network
Giebler puts Team USA on top in final practice Giebler puts Team USA on top in final practiceTeam USA driver Philip Giebler (right) recorded the fastest time in the final practice session for Sunday's A1 GP season opener at Zandvoort ahead of a surprising Congfu Cheng of China.

Pos Team Driver Time
 1. USA Philip Giebler 1:29.605
 2. China Congfu Cheng 1:29.686 + 0.081
 3. Australia Ryan Briscoe 1:30.284 + 0.679
 4. Great Britain Darren Manning 1:30.323 + 0.718
 5. Brazil Tuka Rocha 1:30.433 + 0.828
 6. South Africa Adrian Zaugg 1:30.515 + 0.910
 7. Mexico Salvador Duran 1:30.753 + 1.148
 8. Switzerland Sebastien Buemi 1:30.779 + 1.174
 9. France Nicolas Lapierre 1:30.861 + 1.256
10. New Zealand Matt Halliday 1:30.964 + 1.359
11. Germany Niko Hulkenberg 1:31.224 + 1.619
12. Canada James Hinchcliffe 1:31.362 + 1.757
13. Malaysia Alex Yoong 1:31.431 + 1.826
14. Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 1:31.558 + 1.953
15. India Armaan Ebrahim 1:31.968 + 2.363
16. Italy PG Alessandro 1:31.973 + 2.368
17. Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1:32.157 + 2.552
18. Czech Republic Tomas Kostka 1:32.672 + 3.067
19. Singapore Christian Murchison 1:33.371 + 3.766
20. Lebanon Basil Shaaban 1:33.423 + 3.818
21. Greece Vasilis Papafilippoy 1:34.540 + 4.935
22. Pakistan Nur Ali 1:36.116 + 6.511
23. Ireland Michael Devaney no time

Alonso: I was pushed Alonso: I was pushedWorld champion Fernando Alonso says he was 'pushed' to become a director of the GPDA union.

''The drivers pushed me to go into this role,'' the Spaniard explained in Shanghai, ''and I agreed because it is a pleasure to be there.''

Stewards send Albers to rear of grid Stewards send Albers to rear of grid(GMM)  Shanghai stewards have sent Spyker-MF1's Christijan Albers to the back of the grid for ignoring an official call to the weighbridge.

The 27-year-old Dutchman qualified nineteenth, but because of Felipe Massa's engine change penalty, was due to start the Chinese grand prix from 18th.

Stewards deleted his qualifying lap times.

It is understood that the stewards were also investigating Rubens Barrichello for allegedly impeding McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa during qualifying, but the Brazilian - who qualified third - appears to have escaped sanction.

Chinese GP: Saturday press conference Chinese GP: Saturday press conference
Vickers excluded from team meetings Vickers excluded from team meetingsNextel Cup driver Brian Vickers, who is leaving Hendrick Motorsports to join Team Red Bull next season, is no longer allowed to participate in Hendrick’s post-practice team debriefings so as not to give away the latest team secrets to Toyota.

“You know, it’s unfortunate. I would like to be involved in them, but it’s not my call,” Vickers said Friday at Kansas Speedway.

Asked if his exclusion was a result of his move to a Toyota team, he said: “I would think that would be a safe assumption. I don’t think it completely caught me off guard but at the same time I did expect to be there. It is what it is.”

German F3
Ho-Pin Tung wins pole at Oschersleben Ho-Pin Tung wins pole at OscherslebenGerman F3 champion Ho-Pin Tung has won pole position for Saturday's race 1 at Oschersleben, in Germany.

Not intent on resting on his laurels, Tung, who has already clinched the title, is intent on adding race wins to his resume.

Pos. No. Driver Nat. Team Car Engine Laps Time Speed (KPH)
1 6 Ho-Pin Tung CHN JB Motorsport Lola B06-30 Opel-Spiess 13 1:19.867 165.290
2 4 R Harald Schlegelmilch LAT HS Technik Motorsport Lola B06-30 Opel-Spiess 18 1:20.064 00.197 164.883
3 5 Ferdinand Kool NED JB Motorsport Lola B06-30 Opel-Spiess 14 1:20.171 00.304 164.663
4 8 R Renger van der Zande NED SMS Seyffarth Motorsport Dallara F 306 Mercedes-HWA 18 1:20.251 00.384 164.499
5 2 R Nathan Antunes AUS HS Technik Motorsport Lola B06-30 Opel-Spiess 14 1:20.551 00.684 163.886
6 16 R Recardo Bruins KOR van Amersfoort Racing Dallara F 306 Opel-Spiess 18 1:20.577 00.710 163.833
7 9 R Cyndie Allemann SUI SMS Seyffarth Motorsport Dallara F 306 Mercedes-HWA 16 1:20.725 00.858 163.533
8 29 R Natacha Gachnang SUI Bordoli Motorsport Dallara F 306 Opel-Spiess 20 1:20.824 00.957 163.333
9 17 R Dominick Muermans NED van Amersfoort Racing Dallara F 306 Opel-Spiess 19 1:20.851 00.984 163.278
10 13 Marcello Thomaz BRA Swiss Racing Team SLC R1-006 Opel-Spiess 17 1:21.128 01.261 162.721
11 42 R Ronny Wechselberger GER Prinz Schwadtke Dallara F 304 Opel-Spiess 16 1:21.209 01.342 162.558
12 12 R Max Nilsson SWE Swiss Racing Team Dallara F 306 Opel-Spiess 17 1:21.298 01.431 162.380
13 54 R Rolf Biland SUI Schuler, Motorsport Dallara F 304 Opel-Spiess 19 1:22.498 02.631 160.018
14 22 R Mattia Pavoni ITA Ombra Racing Dallara F 306 Mugen-Honda 19 1:22.595 02.728 159.830
15 53 R Marcel Schuler GER Schuler Motorsport Dallara F 304 Tom’s-Toyota 20 1:22.763 02.896 159.506
16 20 R Benjamin Leuchter GER Rennsport Rössler Dallara F 306 Opel-Spiess 15 1:22.833 02.966 159.371
17 47 R Leonardo Valois SVK KFR Team F3 Dallara F 304 Opel-Spiess 19 1:23.273 03.406 158.529
18 41 Johannes Theobald GER SMS Seyffarth Motorsport Dallara F 304 Mercedes-HWA 4 1:23.516 03.649 158.068
19 18 Norman Knop GER Team rhino’s Leipert Dallara F 306 Opel-Spiess 12 1:24.367 04.500 156.474
20 35 Martin Konrad AUT Franz Wöss Racing Dallara F 304 Opel-Spiess 18 1:24.745 04.878 155.776
21 24 R Massimo Rossi ITA Ombra Racing Dallara F 306 Mugen-Honda 11 1:24.920 05.053 155.455
22 57 R Michael Klein GER Swiss Racing Team Dallara F 304 Opel-Spiess 4 1:25.186 05.319 154.969
23 58 Bernd Deuling GER Deuling Bernd Dallara F 304 Opel-Spiess 13 1:27.786 07.919 150.379
24 45 Luca Iannaccone ITA Team rhino’s Leipert Dallara F 304 Renault-Sodemo 15 1:28.129 08.262 149.794

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Haug plays down Raikkonen struggle
Ferrari confirm 'no talks' with Alonso
Schu unlikely to be test driver - Brawn
Schu hopes weather man is right
Saturday Paddock news from Shanghai Saturday Paddock news from Shanghai(GMM)  Norbert Haug has denied gossip in the Shanghai paddock that McLaren-Mercedes is planning to help future team driver Fernando Alonso to win the 2006 title for Renault.

If Alonso beats Ferrari's Michael Schumacher to the drivers' crown, he will take the number 1 to McLaren next year, but competition director Haug told 'Premiere': ''We will race for ourself.

''This is a normal grand prix for us.''


After Felipe Massa's problems on Friday, Ross Brawn said on Saturday that Ferrari was not overly worried about the engine mounted in the car of 2006 championship challenger Michael Schumacher.

''We do not have any specific concerns,'' he told us in Shanghai.

Spyker tab Ferrari power for 2007 Spyker tab Ferrari power for 2007(GMM) The Spyker team will definitely use Ferrari power next year, it emerged in Shanghai on Saturday.

With the Italian works outfit and either Toro Rosso or Red Bull, the news means that Spyker is the third team to be powered by Ferrari for 2007.

Spyker-MF1 chiefs met at Ferrari's Maranello factory last week, but using a Cosworth V8 engine remained an option until Friday night.

A one-year deal with options for up to two further seasons is understood to have been finally signed this morning, according to sources in the Chinese paddock. zzzz

Press Release

Spyker MF1 Team , a 100% subsidiary of Spyker Cars N.V., is proud to announce it has agreed an engine supply agreement with Ferrari.

Under this contract, Ferrari will supply its V8 engines to Spyker MF1 Team as well as the required technical assistance to run the engines in all races and tests.

Victor Muller, Spyker Cars and Spyker MF1 CEO: "To reach agreement with the number one name in the Formula One world for over 50 years is a milestone in the history of our company. I am convinced that the co-operation of Spyker MF1 Team with Ferrari and its dedicated staff will bear fruit for the 2007 season. Mike Gascoyne`s input as Chief Technology Officer, effective November 1, 2006, leads me to believe that Spyker will become a serious contender in the F1 seasons to come."

Michiel Mol, Director of F1 Racing - Spyker Cars and Spyker MF1: `After the completion of the sale yesterday this announcement completes the first chapter of Spyker MF1 team and I believe truly illustrates our commitment and ambition. We are in F1 to be competitive.

Quote Colin Kolles: `It has been an agonizing wait for this decision but I think it reflects the new found stature of our team under the Spyker ownership. The most important element for our technical team is that for the first time in many years they have long-term stability which is something which has hurt our design process in recent years. There is a lot of work to do before we get running in early 2007 but we all love a challenge!.`

Spyker MF1 Team Directors Victor Muller, Michiel Mol and Team Principal Colin Kolles will be available for all media interviews at 1600hrs in the Spyker MF1 Team hospitality unit in the Paddock.

A photocall with Victor Muller and Michiel Mol at the Spyker MF1Team garage will be at 1615hrs

Spyker MF1 Team is a 100% subsidiary of Spyker Cars N.V., the Dutch manufacturer of high-end sports cars. The team colors are orange and silver.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula 1 China
1:30am-4:00am (L) SPEED
NASCAR RaceDay Kansas City
11:30am-1:30pm (L) SPEED
Inside Drag Racing  
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Angels  
12:30pm-1:00pm  WGN
NHRA 2Day  
12:30pm-1:00pm ESPN2
Formula 1 China
1:30pm-4:00pm (R) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Kansas City Banquet 400 
1:30pm-6:00pm (L) NBC
AMA Superbike  Mid-Ohio
6:00pm-7:00pm (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Kansas City
7:00pm-8:00pm (SDD) SPEED
NHRA Reading, PA Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals
7:00pm-10:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
The SPEED Report  
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
David Hobbs (SPEED F1 Analyst)
Tom Deery (CEO, DIRT Motorsports)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Schumacher tops wet practice 3 in China Schumacher tops wet practice 3 in ChinaA sodden track surprised much of the formula one fraternity in Shanghai on Saturday morning, but championship protagonists Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso drove through the spray to top the times.

Ferrari's Ross Brawn, however, was not in an optimistic mood as he predicted that the Chinese grand prix may be a difficult race for the Italian team.

''Yesterday we had some tire graining, so we don't really know where we are,'' said the English technical director.

The temperatures are also cooler than expected, leading Brawn to observe that Ferrari wishes 'it was a bit warmer'.

''I am not sure that we are going to have the same advantage as we have had in past races.''

Michelin runners, however, also struggled to get the right heat into their tires on Friday, even though they are likely to enjoy an advantage if the track remains wet.

 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 5 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'40"193 195.858 Km/h
 2. 1 ALONSO Renault M 1'40"365 + 0'00"172
 3. 12 BUTTON Honda M 1'40"590 + 0'00"397
 4. 20 LIUZZI Toro Rosso Cosw. M 1'40"795 + 0'00"602
 5. 21 SPEED Toro Rosso Cosw. M 1'41"150 + 0'00"957
 6. 9 WEBBER Williams Cosworth B 1'41"287 + 0'01"094
 7. 19 ALBERS Midland Toyota B 1'41"463 + 0'01"270
 8. 2 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'41"691 + 0'01"498
 9. 4 DE LA ROSA McLaren Mercedes M 1'41"833 + 0'01"640
10. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Ferrari M 1'41"836 + 0'01"643
11. 10 ROSBERG Williams Cosworth B 1'42"588 + 0'02"395
12. 18 MONTEIRO Midland Toyota B 1'42"612 + 0'02"419
13. 16 HEIDFELD BMW Sauber M 1'43"216 + 0'03"023
14. 11 BARRICHELLO Honda M 1'43"448 + 0'03"255
15. 6 MASSA Ferrari B 1'43"500 + 0'03"307
16. 22 SATO S. Aguri F1 Honda B 1'43"722 + 0'03"529
17. 8 TRULLI Toyota B 1'44"027 + 0'03"834
18. 15 DOORNBOS RedBull Ferrari M 1'45"434 + 0'05"241
19. 7 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota B 1'46"023 + 0'05"830
20. 23 YAMAMOTO S. Aguri F1 Honda B 1'46"850 + 0'06"657

Rain in China Rain in ChinaAfter a cold day on Friday, rain shows at the Shanghai circuit Saturday morning have thrown havoc into the F1 teams and tire manufacturers plans for Sunday's race.
Legge tests at Sebring Legge tests at SebringFive days after walking away unscathed from a horrific crash at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, PKV Racing’s Katherine Legge showed no hesitation today during a test session at Sebring International Raceway.

Legge, who was sporting a new pink paint scheme on the #20 Bell Micro – PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry at Road America to support Ford Motor Company’s Warriors in Pink program, which is dedicated to eradicating breast cancer through Ford’s commitment to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Series, was having an impressive race running solidly in sixth when, with just five laps remaining in the 51-lap contest, part of her rear wing broke.  The car launched into the retaining wall, up the catch fence and, in flames, began cart-wheeling through the air coming to rest alongside the track.  Despite massive damage to the car the talented 26-year-old rookie walked away from the crash with only bruises on her legs. zzzz

Today’s test, which was conducted in a back-up PKV Racing machine, marked the first time Legge has driven a Champ Car since the incident.  She ran 150 miles on the 1.66-mile Sebring “short course” with a very competitive time of 51.8 seconds.

“It was good to get back in the PKV Racing car,” said Legge.  “There were some things the team wanted to test for Surfers Paradise and I had a test day available, so it seemed like the logical thing for me to get back in the car.  We accomplished a lot today and I feel good about the results.”

Commenting on being back in a Champ Car for the first time since the spectacular crash at Road America Legge said, “As soon as I drove out of pit lane for the first run, I felt like I always have.  I had no issues getting back in the car…it actually felt good.  The Bell Micro – PKV Racing crew did a great job today and I am looking forward to racing at Surfers Paradise in a couple of weeks.”

PKV Racing General Manager Mark Johnson said, “We are very pleased with the way the test went today.  Of course, one of our goals was to get Katherine back in the car as quick as possible.  There was no apprehension whatsoever on her part and she was right up to speed.  In addition, we wanted to test some things and get ready for Surfers Paradise.  The test went very well, Katherine did a great job and the whole PKV Racing team is looking forward to the race in Australia.” 

Bavaria Beer sponsor Zandvoort race Bavaria Beer sponsor Zandvoort raceBavaria, the Netherlands’ second largest beer brewer, today announced its sponsorship of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport race at Circuit Park Zandvoort, which takes place this weekend.

As part of the deal, Bavaria will give the A1 Team Netherlands an additional boost with leading Dutch models acting as the official Grid Girls for this weekend’s action.

Bavaria are also sponsoring the Bayesian Lounge on Saturday night where international celebrity Dannii Minogue, will be performing. Dannii Minogue is also expected to attend the Sunday race event. zzzz

Peer Swinkels of Bavaria commented, “In A1GP, we see a willingness for adventure, daring and excitement. We are delighted to extend our partnership with A1GP following the great response of Dutch fans to the appearance of A1 Team Netherlands at last month’s Bavaria City Racing event in Rotterdam.”

Richard Dorfman, Executive Director of A1GP, added, “It is great that a leading Dutch company can recognize the value of being associated with a truly global event. More than 140 countries worldwide will see the Bavaria brand and the spirit of the Dutch fans through global TV coverage.”

Bavaria beer, brewed in the Netherlands, is distributed in more than 100 countries worldwide and has a long and established reputation of supporting motor racing.

Creation team beats Audi for Petit pole Creation team beats Audi for Petit pole
Pos Pos No. Class Drivers Time Lap Speed Diff Laps Car Make
1 1 88 LMP1 Minassian/ Primat/ Cambell-Walter 1:10.829 5 129.100 -- 10 Creation CAD6/H-01/ Judd
2 2 2 LMP1 Capello/ McNish 1:10.910 6 128.952 0.081 12 Audi R10/TDI Power
3 3 15 LMP1 Johansson/ Mowlem/ Kurosawa 1:11.090 12 128.626 0.261 13 Zytek 06S/Zytek
4 4 1 LMP1 Biela/ Pirro/Werner 1:11.372 3 128.117 0.543 8 Audi R10/TDI Power
5 1 7 LMP2 Luhr/ Dumas/ Rockenfeller 1:11.409 3 128.051 0.580 6 Porsche RS Spyder
6 2 6 LMP2 Maassen/ Bernhard/ Collard 1:11.631 6 127.654 0.802 7 Porsche RS Spyder
7 5 16 LMP1 Weaver/ Leitzinger/ Wallace 1:11.738 2 127.464 0.909 3 Lola B06/10/AER
8 6 20 LMP1 C.Dyson/ G.Smith 1:12.007 8 126.988 1.178 12 Lola B06/10/AER
9 7 9 LMP1 Dayton/ Gidley/ Meira 1:12.316 6 126.445 1.487 8 Lola EX257/AER
10 3 37 LMP2 C.Field/ Halliday/J.Field 1:13.396 4 124.584 2.567 7 Lola B05 40/AER
11 4 19 LMP2 van der Steur/ Devlin/ Greaves 1:13.533 13 124.352 2.704 14 Radical SR9/AER
12 8 12 LMP1 Lewis/ McMurry/ Willman 1:13.772 9 123.949 2.943 10 Lola EX257/AER
13 5 27 LMP2 Lienhard/ Theys/ van de Poele 1:15.767 5 120.686 4.938 7 Lola R05/40 / Judd
14 1 3 LMGT1 Fellows/ O'Connell/ Papis 1:18.210 2 116.916 7.381 4 Corvette C6-R
15 2 4 LMGT1 Gavin/ Beretta/ Magnussen 1:18.460 4 116.543 7.631 5 Corvette C6-R
16 3 009 LMGT1 Sarrazin/ Lamy 1:18.547 2 116.414 7.718 3 Aston Martin DBR9
17 6 8 LMP2 Bach/ Cosmo/ Forbes-Robinson 1:18.710 5 116.173 7.881 8 Courage C-65/Mazda
18 4 007 LMGT1 Enge/ Turner 1:18.859 1 115.954 8.030 2 Aston Martin DBR9
19 1 62 LMGT2 Ortelli/ Kelleners/ Palttala 1:22.422 7 110.941 11.593 8 Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta
20 2 31 LMGT2 J Bergmeister/ Jonsson/ Long 1:22.545 3 110.776 11.716 5 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
21 3 61 LMGT2 Lazzaro/ Mediani/ Franchitti 1:22.749 9 110.503 11.920 9 Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta
22 4 50 LMGT2 Maxwell/ Brabham/ Bourdais 1:23.070 4 110.076 12.241 8 Panoz Esperante GTLM/Ford
23 5 21 LMGT2 Auberlen/ Hand/ Said 1:23.092 2 110.047 12.263 6 BMW E46 M3
24 6 51 LMGT2 Jeannette/ Milner/ Lally 1:23.149 3 109.971 12.320 9 Panoz Esperante GTLM/Ford
25 7 45 LMGT2 van Overbeek/ Lieb/ Henzler 1:23.151 3 109.969 12.322 13 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
26 8 44 LMGT2 Pechnik/ Neiman/ Law 1:23.294 4 109.780 12.465 6 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
27 9 22 LMGT2 Marks/ Sellers/ James 1:23.307 2 109.763 12.478 3 BMW E46 M3
28 10 23 LMGT2 Farnbacher/ Tiemann/ Liddell 1:23.514 6 109.491 12.685 9 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
Chinese GP: Friday Press Conference Chinese GP: Friday Press ConferenceParticipating: Flavio Briatore (Renault), Nick Fry (Honda), Colin Kolles (Spyker MF1), Mario Theissen (BMW Sauber).

Q. Colin, what has been the effect of the Spyker take-over, has it already made a difference?

Colin Kolles:
Well, obviously everybody is very motivated. I think there is a very clear direction. We are associated with a car manufacturer, it's not the largest car manufacturer in this world but it's still a much better position for us than before.

Q. We've seen that already, they've changed the livery for instance, and are advertising for many more people, is there going to be much more investment in terms of recruitment?

CK: No, we were actually recruiting people all the time but obviously, now, we will run the wind tunnel 24 hours a day and we will have certain requirements and therefore we placed this advertisement.

Q. What other financial effect has it had in terms of development?

Well, we always put, as efficiently as possible, all the money into development. Obviously we don't have the same funds as the big manufacturers but we try to do the best and work in an efficient way and we will see what we will achieve.

Q. Do you think there will be a 'Gascoyne effect' when Mike joins; will he ask for more people?

No, we are very clear with Mike in this direction. I think it's not the quantity, it's the quality of the people. More......
tv news
Telemundo May Start Mexican Network Telemundo May Start Mexican NetworkMEXICO CITY — NBC's Spanish-language unit, Telemundo, could launch a new broadcast television network in Mexico within two years, the company's president said Thursday.

The Mexican market is currently dominated by Televisa, with rival TV Azteca a distant second, but Telemundo wants to join the battle.

"I would think that the way things are going, it is possible within a year or two that there will be a third network," Telemundo President Don Browne said in Mexico City.

Last week, Telemundo and its Mexican partner, Grupo Xtra, asked Mexico's government to auction more frequency bands so that they could enter the TV market here, and Mexico's telecom regulator says there is room for at least one more national broadcast network.

Browne said Telemundo's expansion in Mexico, Latin America's No. 2 economy, was a key initiative for NBC.

NBC is 80% owned by General Electric Co. and 20% by Vivendi Universal. It is vying to rise from last place in U.S. television ratings, and investors are concerned about its performance in the 2006-07 broadcast season, which began last week.  More from Reuters article

Firestone Tire Test Oct. 2-3 At IMS Firestone Tire Test Oct. 2-3 At IMSFour IRL IndyCar Series drivers, including two Indianapolis 500 winners and two series champions, will participate in a Firestone tire test Monday, Oct. 2 and Tuesday, Oct. 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The test will be open to the media during the lunch break from noon-1 p.m. (ET) each day, and television media and photo journalists can shoot on-track footage for 30 minutes before and after the lunch break from pit lane.

The drivers participating in the test are 2001-02 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, 2005 "500" winner and IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and Jeff Simmons, who drives the Ethanol-sponsored Rahal Letterman Racing entry.

In addition to testing tire compounds for Firestone, the test has added significance for the IndyCar Series as Kanaan and Simmons will turn laps with the new 3.5-liter engine and 100-percent Ethanol fuel that will be used during the 2007 season, including the 91st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27.

track news
Seating capacity to shrink at MIS Seating capacity to shrink at MISDecades of rapid growth at Michigan International Speedway will reverse slightly with two "fan-friendly" projects that cut seating capacity.

MIS will replace two grandstands with wider seats and remove a grandstand near pit road because it has poor sight lines.

"It's not about how many people we can get in here," said MIS President Roger Curtis. "It's about how many people we can get in here for a great experience that will make them want to come back again and again."

Both projects were announced Thursday and will be completed for the 2007 season. Curtis said the cost is $2 million to $3 million.

Track spokesman Dennis Worden said grandstand seating capacity -- now 137,243 -- will fall by "maybe a few thousand."  "We don't know the exact number yet," Worden said. "We won't know until we get a ticket manifest."

MIS seating capacity soared from 34,463 in 1985 but has essentially stabilized since 2000. This year a NASCAR race failed to sell out for the first time in more than a decade.  "We feel like we're at a comfortable level seating-wise," said Worden.

Two grandstands south of the tunnel entrance going into turn one will be replaced by grandstands moved from the defunct Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania. More at Mlive.com

Bourdais joins Multimatic team Bourdais joins Multimatic teamBraselton - GA   Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz has begun its assault on this year's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta with a strong showing in initial practice sessions.

The venue for the first ever victory by the Panoz Esperante GTLM, Road Atlanta is located only a short distance from the home of Panoz Auto Developments where the Esperante road cars are built.

American young guns Gunnar Jeannette and Tom Milner have impressed in the four on-track sessions staged to date – finishing in the top four in GT2 on three occasions.

The duo are joined this weekend by recently-crowned Rolex Series GT Champion Andy Lally. The Atlanta-based Panoz debutant only completed a handful of laps in initial preparations but used last night's evening session to get more accustomed to the Esperante.

David Brabham, Scott Maxwell and fellow Sebring 12-Hour GT2 winner Sebastien Bourdais have made steady improvement throughout the week – moving up the time sheets from 8th to 7th to 5th in the three daytime sessions.

The evening session last night was also used by Bourdais to reacclimatize himself with the Panoz and learn the Road Atlanta circuit. The two-time Champ Car World Series title winner is competing at Road Atlanta for the first time this weekend.

The competition in GT2 is extremely fierce between Panoz, Porsche, Ferrari and BMW. The top eight cars in yesterday's opening practice session were covered by less than 7/10ths of a second.

All teams will have a final practice session this morning at 9.30am before qualifying kicks off at 2.50pm.

Tomorrow's Petit Le Mans event greets the green flag at 11.45am

2007 ALMS schedule (with IRL and Champ Car) 2007 ALMS schedule (with IRL and Champ Car)
Champ Car Atlantic’s Hinchcliffe leads opening day at Zandvoort Champ Car Atlantic’s Hinchcliffe leads opening day at ZandvoortZandvoort – Huge crowds flocked to the Zandvoort circuit, the Netherlands, today for the start of the 2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, packing the circuit’s grandstands and sand dunes close to the North Sea.

Two rookie practice sessions opened the season’s action. A new introduction for this year, the sessions gave young drivers the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the demanding 4.18km Zandvoort track and the powerful 550bhp A1GP cars. Frenchman Loic Duval was fastest of the twenty rookies who participated in the two 25 minute sessions, with a lap just 0.618 seconds quicker than Dutch star Jeroen Bleekemolen.

Duval commented, “This morning went well. Fortunately it was a good session as the car was set up perfectly for me. The first time I drove was last year at Silverstone, so this has been a great experience to test here. I'm confident that Nicolas Lapierre will do a good race this weekend and it will be an excellent opportunity for me to watch and learn."

Bleekemolen was similarly exhilarated by his first experience of an A1GP car on his ‘home’ track. “It’s been a long time since I’ve driven an open-wheel car at Zandvoort, so it was very good to be up there at the front,” the 23-year-old Dutchman commented. “I know the track well, it’s only five minutes from my home, but the A1GP car was definitely the fastest thing I’ve driven around here. I spent the first 25 minutes familiarizing myself with the track and the car and then the final session going for the times. It should be a very exciting race and I hope I can do well in front of all these fans. It's a great feeling to be in Zandvoort - the people are here to support me and the team - it was just amazing to hear all the people and see the orange flags on the hills - I don't think we have seen anything like it at Zandvoort.”

Another rookie, A1 Team Canada’s James Hinchcliffe, was to shine in the later practice session. The 19-year-old Canadian topped the timesheets, just 0.046 seconds quicker than A1 Team Great Britain’s Darren Manning. Hinchcliffe commented, “It is a remarkable result for the team. This year we had everything in place early, we were well prepared, and the team could give me a brilliant car. I have never seen so may fans turn up for a Friday session - we are having a blast." Hinchcliffe benefited from his earlier track experience, "It's part of the job to learn the track, you learn to push the limits. It really forces drivers to come to grips quickly with the track and it's phenomenal that the team has given me a car to do that." zzzz

Manning, who competed for the team for the first time in the 2005/06 season finale in Shanghai, completed three laps of the circuit with a best time of 1:29.040secs. A1 Team South Africa recorded the third-fastest time over the one hour session with new recruit, Adrian Zaugg, at the wheel. The free practice sessions also gave fans their first glimpse of A1 Teams Greece and Singapore, who enter the World Cup of Motorsport for the first time this year.

The racing action resumes tomorrow with a further free practice session and four 15 minute qualifying sessions that will determine the grid for Sunday’s sprint race.

James Hinchcliffe: “The team did a phenomenal job today, they gave me a great race car and I’m just excited to be here racing for A1 Team Canada for the first time. Zandvoort’s an awesome track and the number of fans here today for a Friday practice session is just incredible! I’m still learning little nuisances with the car and the track’s still new to me but to get a car capable of going fastest on my competitive debut is a great testament to the team.”

Pos Team Driver Time Laps
 1. Canada James Hinchcliffe 1:28.994 23
 2. Great Britain Darren Manning 1:29.040 + 0.046 3
 3. South Africa Adrian Zaugg 1:29.267 + 0.273 20
 4. Germany Niko Hulkenberg 1:29.873 + 0.879 25
 5. Switzerland Sebastien Buemi 1:30.059 + 1.065 24
 6. Mexico Salvador Duran 1:30.339 + 1.345 21
 7. Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 1:30.382 + 1.388 19
 8. France Nicolas Lapierre 1:30.844 + 1.850 16
 9. New Zealand Matt Halliday 1:31.123 + 2.129 22
10. Brazil Tuka Rocha 1:31.462 + 2.468 19
11. China Congfu Cheng 1:31.568 + 2.574 23
12. Ireland Michael Devaney 1:31.602 + 2.608 20
13. USA Philip Giebler 1:31.898 + 2.904 24
14. Malaysia Alex Yoong 1:32.172 + 3.178 22
15. Australia Ryan Briscoe 1:32.271 + 3.277 19
16. Czech Republic Tomas Kostka 1:32.483 + 3.489 26
17. Italy P. G. Alessandro 1:32.737 + 3.743 21
18. India Armaan Ebrahim 1:33.865 + 4.871 13
19. Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1:33.922 + 4.928 17
20. Lebanon Basil Shaaban 1:34.448 + 5.454 4
21. Singapore Denis Lian 1:37.508 + 8.514 13
22. Pakistan Nur Ali 1:45.461 + 16.467 16
23. Greece Stelios Nousias No time 1

Champ Car back to Laguna Seca...sort of Champ Car back to Laguna Seca...sort ofUPDATE Champ Car Spring Training at Laguna Seca will be March 7-10 with the Atlantic teams there also.  All teams and drivers will be there as testing is limited and this is one of the planned "official" Champ Car test sessions - teams will need this test before the season opener on April 8th in Las Vegas.  One could expect to see new sponsor liveries unveiled at this event as well.

09/25/06 Champ Car is coming back to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. No, it won't be for a race, but it will be for the next best thing, "Spring Training."

An e-mail was sent Friday to Champ Car teams encouraging them to participate (it is an open test session and not mandatory). The e-mail indicated that it would include fan and media activities and tickets would be sold to fans wanting to attend. Monterey Herald

A1GP drivers for this weekend A1GP drivers for this weekend
A1 Team Driver 1 Driver 2 Driver 3
Australia Karl Reindler* Ian Dyk Ryan Briscoe
Brazil Tuka Rocha Ruben Carrapatso*
Canada James Hinchcliffe*
China Teng Xi Jiang Congfu Cheng*
Czech Republic Tomas Kostka Jan Charouz*
France Loic Duval* Nicolas Lapierre
Germany Nico Hülkenberg*
Great Britain Oliver Jarvis* Darren Manning
Greece Takis Kaitazis* Vasilis Papafilippoy Stelios Nousias
India Armaan Ebrahim*
Indonesia Ananda Mikola Moreno Soeprapto*
Ireland Michael Devaney John O’Hara*
Italy Michele Rugolo* Pier Guidi Alessandro
Lebanon Alex Khateeb* Basil Shaaban
Malaysia Alex Yoong
Mexico Sergio Perez* Salvador Duran
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen*
New Zealand Matt Halliday
Pakistan Nur Ali
Singapore Hafiz Koh Christian Murchison Denis Lian*
South Africa Adrian Zaugg* Stephen Simpson
Switzerland Sebastien Buemi*
USA Philip Giebler Jonathan Summerton*
Cooper Series Formula Ford 2007 Chassis Cooper Series Formula Ford 2007 ChassisNext year the Cooper Series Formula Ford will run the Dallara F3 chassis with a beefed up version of the Ford 2 liter Zetec motor. It's a hot package. Gorgeous car!
Silverstone gears up for BTCC finale Silverstone gears up for BTCC finaleThe countdown has begun: there is now little more than two weeks to go before the UK’s most popular motor racing series, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), arrives at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire on 15 October for what will be the thrilling title-deciding rounds of the 2006 season.

After 27 gripping rounds covered by ITV1 this year, Matt Neal, Jason Plato and Colin Turkington can all be crowned Champion at Silverstone where one of the biggest BTCC grids in almost 20 years is expected to do battle in three nail-biting races around the short National circuit.

Incredibly, Silverstone’s admission prices to arguably the most exciting day on the BTCC calendar are the cheapest of the year – children aged 16 and under get in for free and adults booking in advance for just £15.00. This can be done via the Silverstone website www.silverstone.co.uk or ticket hotline 08704 588 260.

That price includes a grandstand seat and access to the Pit Lane Walkabout during Sunday lunchtime when the public – including children – are invited to meet the teams and drivers for autographs in their pit garages. zzzz

Silverstone’s location – off the A43 dual carriageway that links the M1 and M40 motorways – also makes it accessible for millions of people, with a catchment area that includes North London up to Birmingham and Northampton across to Oxford.

In addition to the BTCC Drivers’ Champion being crowned, the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ titles will also be decided in front of the Silverstone crowds. And on top of three BTCC rounds, there will be another eight more races for the public to savor from the supporting Formula BMW, Porsche Carrera Cup, Formula Renault, Renault Clio Cup and SEAT Cupra championships.

BTCC Series Director Alan Gow says: "The BTCC, the most exciting form of car racing in Britain, in action around the classic Silverstone National circuit – what a fantastic way to decide the title.

"At just a minute a lap, the crowds, particularly those in the grandstands around the final half of the lap, will see some of the most entertaining racing of the season. With so much at stake and nerves on edge, the atmosphere is going to be electric.

"Silverstone should be applauded for its pricing structure that will be hugely attractive to the public, including many families, who are looking for a top-class day out.

"I’m also delighted to see that Silverstone will show the racing on its big TV screen that overlooks the final few corners – enabling paying spectators to keep fully abreast with all the action and providing them with even more value for money.

"The BTCC very much looks forward to meeting the public at Silverstone on 15 October."

Astronaut Melnick part of Petit festivities Astronaut Melnick part of Petit festivitiesAs an experienced orbiter of Earth, former NASA astronaut and retired U.S. Coast Guard officer Bruce Melnick knows a thing or two about circling speed. On Saturday he'll get a new perspective when he gets the privilege to experience land-based circling speed from the closest seat in the house — the Road Atlanta starter's stand.

Melnick, a veteran of two space flights, will drop the green flag as the honorary starter for the Panoz Racing Series race.

"This is just a real honor for me," admitted Melnick. "Starting a race like this is going to be awesome. It's one of those things that very few people get to do."

Among the elite group of the less than 400 humans who have flown in space, Melnick has logged more than 300 hours of space flight. In 1990 he was a member of the five-man crew that flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-41 mission that totaled 66 orbits of the earth. In 1992 he was the flight engineer aboard the maiden flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour, which made 141 orbits of the earth during the STS-49 mission. zzzz

"The experience is indescribable," Melnick said of his Space Shuttle missions that amassed 12.98 days in space. "That kind of velocity and Gs, and the sheer acceleration when you lift off is amazing."

A long-time Florida native and current Merritt Island resident, Melnick currently serves as a Vice President with Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems group, which is in charge of Boeing's Florida operations at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. Throughout his distinguished career, the 20-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard has received numerous awards, including two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Department of National Defense Distinguished Service Medals and a NASA Space Flight Medal.

Although he is a fan of the American Le Mans Series, the 2006 Petit Le Mans event will be the first round he has attended during the eight-year history of the world-class racing series.

"I watch the Series on TV," said Melnick. "Years ago I used to go to Sebring once a year, but this race is going to be the first one that I've seen in person in a long time."

Melnick proudly has a particular interest in one American Le Mans Series car — Corvette Racing's C6.R. During the week he will be participating in a number of Corvette Corral events, including the Corvette Corral Parade Lap around the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit.

"You can feel the speed and performance in a Corvette," he said. "I have had Corvettes over the years, and I have a brand new 2007 one that I picked up in July." ALMS

Alonso replaces Schumacher in GPDA Alonso replaces Schumacher in GPDAFernando Alonso's manager has confirmed reports that the world champion and Spaniard was in Shanghai voted to become one of three new 'GPDA' directors in 2007.

The other two, elected at a drivers' meeting at the scene of the Chinese grand prix, are Ralf Schumacher - replacing David Coulthard as chairman - and Australia's Mark Webber, according to Reuters.

Jarno Trulli is the other former director, while Michael Schumacher is set to retire at the end of the year.

Referring to 25-year-old Alonso, Coulthard told the website of British magazine Autosport: ''It is important to have the current world champion on there.''

The GPDA, or 'Grand Prix Drivers' Association', represents F1 drivers particularly on matters of safety.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula 1 Practice China
1:00am-2:00am SPEED
Formula 1 Qualifying China
2:00am-3:30am (L) SPEED
American Le Mans Series Braselton, GA Petit Le Mans
11:30am-1:00pm (L)
Continues 3:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Kansas City
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Kansas City
2:00pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Kansas City
3:00pm-6:00pm (L) TNT
American Le Mans Series Braselton, GA Petit Le Mans
3:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Reading, PA
4:00pm-6:00pm ESPN2
Tradin' Paint Kansas City
10:00pm-10:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Performance
10:30pm-11:00pm SPEED

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

More F1 news in brief More F1 news in briefUPDATE
Haug says nationality no obstacle to '07 seat
Honda, Brawn, reject 2007 rumor

Shanghai enjoy Schu quit boost
Renault deny penalty caused Monza blow-up
Engine woe sends Massa down grid
Friday post-practice quotes
Paddock news from Shanghai: 3 Paddock news from Shanghai: 3(GMM)  The Spyker-MF1 team distributed a press release in Shanghai on Friday confirming incumbent Dutchman and racer Christijan Albers' contract for 2007.


In another Friday statement, Ferrari confirmed that Felipe Massa's damaged engine will need to be changed ahead of qualifying, resulting in a ten-grid penalty.

Technical director Ross Brawn said: ''It is a real pity given our performance level is pretty good.''


Bruno Senna, the nephew of late triple world champion Ayrton, is scheduled to test for English GP2 team 'DPR' at Paul Ricard next week.

Also in France, former Jaguar and Williams driver Antonio Pizzonia, who raced in Champ Car this year, is slated to appear for Giancarlo Fisichella's team.


A journalist contact at the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend suggested that an imbalance was in play on Friday -- a packed media centre, but barely a Chinese soul in the grandstands.

The increased press attention this weekend is understandable, given the now two-point gap between championship protagonists Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.

The spectator deficit, meanwhile, is explained by Shanghai locals' inability to afford entry to the mega facility.

Patrick featured in Travel Magazine Patrick featured in Travel MagazineIndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick is featured in the latest issue of Travel Girl magazine, which -- as its title implies -- focuses on travel and interesting women.

That would fit the Phoenix resident, who will drive for Andretti Green Racing in the 2007 IndyCar Series season. The article says the subject of its cover photo “radiates lifestyle.” In the context of the feature, readers also receive a crash course on the excitement of the IndyCar Series.

Patrick and the IndyCar Series featured in a travel magazine. Makes sense for the varied event locales the series visits and the thousands of miles put on the cars.

Patrick to christen Honda Center

Southern California’s premier entertainment and sports venue, the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, becomes Honda Center on Oct. 3.

Patrick will be a special guest at the announcement of the new naming agreement between Anaheim Arena Management and American Honda – christening the Honda Center in dramatic fashion. IndyCar.com

McNish, Audi top night practice McNish, Audi top night practiceBraselton, Ga. – Darkness fell in Northeast Georgia as the cars and stars of the American Le Mans Series came out for a two-hour night practice at Road Atlanta and Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda CX-7. And no one shined brighter than Audi Sport North America's Allan McNish, racing for the first time at Road Atlanta since 2000.

McNish set the pace with a 1:12.531 in the No. 2 Audi R10 TDI he will share with Dindo Capello. The session began with a damp track following a late-day shower but completely dried about midway through the session.

"It is difficult with darkness falling to see where the wet patches are," McNish said. "It's one of those tricky situations to go either way. We were just practicing pit stops and things like that. You never know what the weather is going to be like so it's just to be expected to work on everything."

Next on the time chart was the No. 88 Creation-Judd of Nic Minassian, Harold Primat and Jamie Walter-Campbell. The British entry was a slim 0.022 seconds behind the diesel-powered Audi but was 0.2 seconds ahead of the No. 7 third-place Porsche RS Spyder of Romain Dumas.

Dumas' best lap of 1:12.744 put him in the top spot of LMP2 for Penske Racing. Another half-second back was the No. 6 sister car of Sascha Maassen, Timo Bernhard and Emmanuel Collard. Fifth overall – and third in LMP1 – was the Le Mans-winning trio of Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner in the No. 1 Audi. Third in LMP2, eighth overall, was the Horag Racing Lola-Judd of Didier Theys, Fredy Lienhard and Eric van de Poele. zzzz

Aston Martin Racing continued its stranglehold on GT1 with the top two spots. Tomas Enge was the fastest driver in the No. 007 Aston Martin DBR9, an effort of 1:19.138 that was a half second ahead of the No. 009 sister car of Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy. The No. 4 Corvette C6.R of defending race winners Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen were third in class Thursday night at 1:23.237.

Risi Competizione's No. 1 Ferrari F430GT paced the GT2 field. Maurizio Mediani, who will team with Anthony Lazzaro and Marino Franchitti, posted his first career fast lap in the Series at 1:23.928. The No. 21 BMW Team PTG BMW M3 of Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand and Boris said continued its stellar weekend with a second-place showing, just ahead of the other Risi Ferrari.

"The car is going pretty good. Were trying to make the car go on long runs, obviously," Hand said. "Right now we're making some progress. Ultimate speed is not the goal. The track was already pretty dry when we started, so we went out on slicks. Every time we get a chance we try something. On race day I think we could be a surprise."

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

Pos Car Class Drivers Car Time
1. 2 P1 R.Capello, A.McNish Audi R10 TDI 1:12.530
2. 88 P1 N.Minassian, H.Primat, J.Campbell Creation CA06/H-01 Judd 1:12.552
3. 7 P2 L.Luhr, R.Dumas, M.Rockenfeller Porsche RS Spyder 1:12.744
4. 6 P2 S.Maassen, T.Bernhard, E.Collard Porsche RS Spyder 1:13.082
5. 1 P1 F.Biela, E.Pirro, M.Werner Audi R10 TDI 1:13.266
6. 15 P1 S.Johansson, J.Mowlem, H.Kurosawa Zytek 06S Zytek 1:14.109
7. 9 P1 D.Dayton, M.Gidley, V.Meira Lola EX257 AER 1:15.719
8. 27 P2 F.Lienhard, D.Theys, E.Van de Poe Lola R05/40 Judd 1:16.773
9. 007 GT1 T.Enge, D.Turner Aston Martin DB9 1:19.138
10. 009 GT1 P.Lamy, S.Sarrazin Aston Martin DB9 1:19.675
11. 4 GT1 O.Gavin, O.Beretta, J.Magnussen Corvette C6-R 1:23.237
12. 61 GT2 A.Lazzaro, M.Mediani, M.Franchitt Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta 1:23.928
13. 21 GT2 B.Auberlen, J.Hand, B.Said BMW E46 M3 1:23.984
14. 62 GT2 R.Kellenrs, S.Ortelli, M.Palttala Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta 1:24.106
15. 23 GT2 D.Farnbacher, M.Tiemann, R.Liddel Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:24.196
16. 45 GT2 J.Van Overbeek, W.Henzler, M.Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:25.311
17. 50 GT2 S.Maxwell, D.Brabham, S.Bourdais Panoz Esperante GTLM 1:25.464
18. 19 P2 G.van der Steur, B.Devlin, T.Grea Radical SR9 AER 1:25.577
19. 16 P1 J.Weaver, B.Leitzinger, A.Wallace Lola B06/10 AER 1:26.282
20. 22 GT2 J.Marks, B.Sellers, I.James BMW E46 M3 1:27.064
21. 3 GT1 R.Fellows, J.O'Connell, M.Papis Corvette C6-R 1:27.390
22. 51 GT2 G.Jeannette, T.Milner, A.Lally Panoz Esperante GTLM 1:29.727
23. 12 P1 M.Lewis, C.McMurry, B.Willman Lola EX257 AER 1:30.025
24. 8 P2 J.Bach, G.Cosmo, E.Forbes-Robinso Courage C65 Mazda 1:33.264
25. 31 GT2 J.Bergmeister, P.Long, N.Jonsson Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:34.020
26. 20 P1 C.Dyson, G.Smith Lola B06/10 AER 1:34.914
27. 44 GT2 L.Pechnik, S.Neiman, D.Law Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 1:40.506

ALMS drops Portland ALMS drops PortlandWhile the return of Champ Car is good news for Portland racing fans, the city's major league racing reputation took a hit Wednesday with the news that the American Le Mans Series will not return.

ALMS president Scott Atherton issued a statement that noted, "While we regret that we are not able to return to Portland in 2007, we want to thank the great fans in the Pacific Northwest for their support these last several years and we hope we have the chance to return in the future."

The ALMS -- which now has come and gone twice from the Portland market -- will announce its new schedule Friday. It appears the sports car racing organization jettisoned Portland for a better deal with another venue at the behest of a major manufacturer, but ALMS officials would not comment Wednesday on which city is taking Portland's usual July dates.

"There will be another race in that time slot," said Bob Dickinson, the ALMS vice president of media and communications. Dickinson said there were two or perhaps three new races on the 2007 schedule.

Atherton's statement also mentioned "certain business developments accompanied by a realignment of priorities that are the result of several new constituents joining the series have created opportunities in new markets for us."

A crowd estimated at 15,000 watched the Saturday night ALMS race this summer. The race marked the end of a three-year deal, and afterward Atherton said Portland's low attendance and poor sponsorship numbers were a source of frustration.

Portland's history with big-time sports car racing goes back to 1978, and interest peaked in the early 1990s when the lightning-quick International Motor Sports Association grand prototypes were popular.

Nealy, who also promotes the ALMS event, said "(ALMS) would like to come back (at some point) and we would love to have them back." Portland Oregonian

Champ Car moves Portland date for Rose Festival Champ Car moves Portland date for Rose FestivalThe Champ Car World Series' 2007 schedule was announced Wednesday, with Portland's 24th open-wheel race scheduled for June 10 at Portland International Raceway.

Promoter Mike Nealy said the Portland race dates were chosen specifically to coincide with the Portland Rose Festival's 100th anniversary.

"We're excited about it," Nealy said.

The 2007 race will be the third race in a three-year contract between the city and Champ Car.

New races in 2007 will be staged in Las Vegas, Phoenix and China.

The competition among cities vying for Champ Car races has become intense, and there seems to be speculation every year that Champ Car will leave Portland and seek a bigger, more lucrative market.

Champ Car's chief rival, the Indy Racing League, had Portland on its short list of possible road course events in 2004, but former city commissioner Jim Francesconi didn't take the IRL interest seriously and pushed for a new contract with Champ Car.  zzzz

After years of declines, the race at PIR has shown gains in attendance and sponsorship revenue for two consecutive years. In June, an announced crowd of 44,065 watched U.S. driver A.J. Allmendinger win his first Champ Car race.

Champ Car president Steve Johnson has said he wants more fans, more corporate support and a more enthusiastic response from city leaders, but Johnson said he also values Northwest racing fans and takes Portland's open-wheel history into consideration. The race has been a fixture here since 1984.

"I think Champ Car sees the growth," said Nealy, whose major sponsor is longtime supporter G.I. Joe's. Portland Oregonian

Bliss sues Haas Racing Bliss sues Haas RacingMike Bliss is hoping to claim $1.15 million in salary, and possibly more in damages, in a dispute with Haas CNC Racing scheduled for trial Oct. 2 in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte, according to a story in NASCAR Scene. In his complaint, Bliss said he thought in August 2005 he was going to continue to drive the Haas CNC Racing Nextel Cup car in 2006, so he didn't pursue a possible opportunity to drive for another team. Team general manager Joe Custer told him in October that he wouldn't be back for the next year. Bliss has filed suit and wants his salary for 2006 ($500,000) and 2007 ($650,000) and more in damages. In its court filings, the team claims that it invoked a clause in the contract that allowed Bliss to be terminated at the end of any season without the team having to pay the remainder of the deal. In court documents, Custer said he never "unequivocally told Bliss he was Haas' driver for 2006." The contract is part of the court file. The original three-year deal had Bliss getting paid $400,000 base in 2005 plus 40 percent of race purse and 30 percent of souvenir royalties. According to documents in the court file, Bliss had been approached by Hall of Fame Racing [#96 Chevy] during 2005 but did not pursue the deal because he believed he did not have to fear for his job. Bliss has driven mostly for [#16] Xpress Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series this year. One part of Bliss' complaint already has been decided. A claim against Haas for breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act was dismissed by the court in August. Custer declined comment Sept. 23. SceneDaily.com
No more Marlboro sponsorship for Penske No more Marlboro sponsorship for PenskeUPDATE Indy-car racing won't have a tobacco company shown as the primary sponsor of a team next season as the Marlboro logo will be removed from Team Penske's cars. However, Marlboro will continue to have a presence at events as its parent company, Philip Morris USA, will continue to support Roger Penske's two-car outfit and cater to smokers at races. The cars will continue to be white with orange, a team spokesman said. IndyStar

09/25/06 The recently completed IRL IndyCar Series season marked the end of an era in American motor sports and, in turn, the beginning of one.

For the first time in decades, no cigarette brand will be the sponsor of any car, race or series in major U.S. racing with the announcement Friday that Philip Morris' Marlboro will no longer be emblazoned on Team Penske's two Indy cars next season.

"From a nostalgic standpoint, it will be different," Penske Performance president Tim Cindric said Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Philip Morris will remain as the primary sponsor of the two-car effort, and the company still will invite its cigarette customers to IRL races, according to a release. Marlboro and Team Penske had been linked for 16 seasons. More at USA Today

[Editor's Note: So in essence Marlboro will continue to offer a bribe of free IRL race tickets in coming years to entice the poor hapless race fans to buy their cancer sticks. Over the years, one has to wonder how many hundred of thousands of race fans died prematurely due to the use of their cancer causing, habit addicting, product.]

Spyker engine to be unveiled 'shortly' Spyker engine to be unveiled 'shortly'(GMM)  Christijan Albers, 27, says his new deal to race for the Spyker team in 2007 means that he is no longer a pay-driver.

As the Dutchman enthused on Friday about his extended contract at Shanghai, he was quoted by the local Xinhua news agency as revealing that his Dutch bosses have 'agreed to pay me'.

Albers is linked closely with the financiers of the Spyker and Michiel Mol-led buyout, principally Roel Kooijman, who is the father of Albers' pretty girlfriend Liselore.

He has also been personally backed for some time by Mol's internet company, Lost Boys.

Sources in China, meanwhile, confirmed reports that the identity of Spyker's next engine supplier - either Ferrari or Cosworth for 2007 - will be announced 'shortly'.

Mol said he was 'delighted and proud to have a Dutch driver in a Dutch team'.

Paddock news from Shanghai: 2 Paddock news from Shanghai: 2(GMM) The Brazilian grand prix will take place next month, despite uncertainty following a recent circuit safety examination carried out by the FIA's Charlie Whiting.

It is understood that, in the post-race report last year, Whiting demanded certain improvements to the Interlagos circuit, including upgraded tire barriers and asphalted run off areas, that were not completed in time for the inspection.

With the late modifications now in place, however, Brazil is definitely set to host the 2006 championship finale on October 20-22, which will be Michael Schumacher's last grand prix.


Germany's 'Bild' newspaper has weighed into the debate about who will be crowned F1's world champion of 2006.

The popular tabloid employed the use of psychologist Dr. Peter Breidenbach in claiming that, after studying their casual clothes and body language on Thursday in Shanghai, Ferrari's Schumacher is the more likely to triumph.

The Bild report referred to Schumacher's open-neck shirt, shaved chest and huge necklace, and compared it with Spaniard Alonso's faded t-shirt and goatee beard.

Paddock news from Shanghai Paddock news from Shanghai(GMM) Michael Schumacher drew first blood at Shanghai by being the second-fastest race driver in opening Friday practice, but his championship rival Fernando Alonso decided to not even do an out lap.

On a cloudy, warm and humid Chinese morning, Williams' 'Friday' driver Alex Wurz set the pace but had a moment towards the end of one lap.

Similarly, Honda's Anthony Davidson spun out an out lap but still ended high on the time sheets. Robert Kubica had a sweaty moment when he locked his brakes behind Ferrari's Schumacher, while Spyker-MF1 debutant Alexandre Premat visibly had trouble keeping his neck up in corners.


If they were betting men, a swarm of fellow Germans say they would put their money on Michael Schumacher for the title.

''I see Michael in front of Fernando (Alonso),'' said brother Ralf. ''He has the better package, including a better engine and tires.''

Nick Heidfeld concurred that the Ferrari is the 'strongest car' in the field, while BMW-Sauber colleague Sebastian Vettel agreed that the Italian team is a 'step ahead' of rivals Renault.


2005 world champion Fernando Alonso steered clear of accusing Ferrari of cheating after Michelin and Renault took photos at Monza of a suspiciously-clothed Bridgestone technician.

When asked about the story in Shanghai, the Spaniard said: ''I am not going to say anything. Everyone must draw their own conclusion.

''Let's see how (Ferrari's tires) look here.''

Albers reveals 2007 Spyker deal Albers reveals 2007 Spyker deal(GMM)  Christijan Albers admitted on Friday morning that he has signed a new contract to race for the Dutch-owned Spyker team in 2007.  We have updated our 2007 F1 Silly Season Page.

An official press release will be issued from Shanghai in the afternoon.

Among the candidates for the sister seat are Dutchman Albers' current teammate Tiago Monteiro, Red Bull refugee Christian Klien - who this weekend is watching the event on television in Austria - and third drivers including Adrian Sutil and Alexandre Premat.

Chinese GP: Wurz also tops practice 2 Chinese GP: Wurz also tops practice 2Spots of rain pattered down in Shanghai as championship challengers Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso shifted into a higher gear in afternoon free practice for the Chinese grand prix.

Renault's Alonso seemed like the man under pressure, however, as he spun at one point and was nearly collected by Sebastian Vettel's third BMW-Sauber.

Both blue and yellow cars seemed trickily balanced, with teammate Giancarlo Fisichella and Alonso locking up their brakes more than once.

Alonso, 25, finished the session sixth quickest, almost exactly one tenth slower than Schumacher's red Ferrari.

There were a few incidents; Neel Jani's Toro Rosso broke down and had to be returned at the end of the session on the back of a truck.

David Coulthard had a scary moment in his Red Bull at close to full speed when a plastic bag landed on his visor.

Franck Montagny, meanwhile, raised a few eyebrows by being the fourth quickest race driver; a boost for the Super Aguri team whose plan to use a works Honda chassis next year was recently ruled out by the FIA.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:35.539 26
 2. Vettel BMW-Sauber (M) 1:35.579 + 0.040 23
 3. Davidson Honda (M) 1:35.714 + 0.175 30
 4. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:36.599 + 1.060 8
 5. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:36.641 + 1.102 12
 6. Alonso Renault (M) 1:36.739 + 1.200 10
 7. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:37.278 + 1.739 26
 8. Ammermuller Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:37.678 + 2.139 26
 9. Monteiro Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:37.698 + 2.159 13
10. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:37.718 + 2.179 12
11. Button Honda (M) 1:37.861 + 2.322 10
12. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:38.022 + 2.483 9
13. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:38.045 + 2.506 6
14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:38.062 + 2.523 11
15. Premat Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:38.098 + 2.559 26
16. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:38.276 + 2.737 16
17. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:38.888 + 3.349 14
18. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:38.959 + 3.420 11
19. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:39.080 + 3.541 18
20. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:39.118 + 3.579 28
21. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:39.179 + 3.640 4
22. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:39.217 + 3.678 5
23. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:39.522 + 3.983 15
24. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:39.570 + 4.031 20
25. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:39.636 + 4.097 22
26. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:40.155 + 4.616 15
27. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:40.214 + 4.675 15
28. Albers Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:40.319 + 4.780 14
29. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:41.315 + 5.776 9

Chinese GP: Wurz tops practice 1 Chinese GP: Wurz tops practice 1
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:35.574 21
 2. Davidson Honda (M) 1:35.591 + 0.017 26
 3. Button Honda (M) 1:37.291 + 1.717 4
 4. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:37.712 + 2.138 4
 5. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:37.734 + 2.160 21
 6. Premat Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:37.787 + 2.213 24
 7. Vettel BMW-Sauber (M) 1:37.913 + 2.339 24
 8. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:38.062 + 2.488 6
 9. Ammermuller Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:38.460 + 2.886 18
10. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:38.464 + 2.890 19
11. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:39.000 + 3.426 6
12. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:39.217 + 3.643 4
13. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:39.428 + 3.854 7
14. Albers Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:39.494 + 3.920 6
15. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:39.887 + 4.313 8
16. Monteiro Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:39.947 + 4.373 7
17. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:41.415 + 5.841 10
18. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:45.890 + 10.316 4
19. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) No time 1
20. Trulli Toyota (B) No time 2
21. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) No time 2
22. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
23. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 2
24. Alonso Renault (M) No time
25. Fisichella Renault (M) No time
26. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) No time
27. Massa Ferrari (B) No time
28. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) No time
29. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) No time
Hot News Archives
2000 2001 2002 2003

Search Hot News
Search Help
AutoRacing1 Inc. BBB Business Review