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Ferrari ready for China
Tuesday, the cars with which Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa finished the Japanese Grand Prix in third and sixth place respectively, were already available to the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro crews to start work at the Shanghai International Circuit, in preparation for this Sunday's penultimate round of the World Championship.

Shanghai is another of the new generation of race circuits designed by Hermann Tilke whose work provided such a thrilling race in Mount Fuji just a few days ago. It can be considered a track where the driver plays a more significant role than at many other venues. It boasts a variety of very interesting corners that feature radius and camber changes, as well as some high speed corners. Therefore, although the cars are the same F2007 as used at the Fuji Speedway, they will be set up to run with higher levels of downforce.

The track provides some useful overtaking opportunities, thanks in part to a long main straight. However, this combination of a very long straight with much tighter turns brings the usual difficulties in finding the right compromises in the aero package. Grip levels are high here and the long lap (5.451 km), in terms of distance, means that fuel effect is quite important at this track, while it is easy on the brakes.

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IRL 'TEAM' Press Conference Transcript
T. Angstadt, B. Barnhart, J. Chitwood
MODERATOR: Good morning, everyone. I want to welcome everybody assembled here in the room, and we are also on a teleconference and live via indycar.com. We want to welcome you all.

Our announcement here today is a very significant one. We have representatives, of course, from the Indy Racing League and from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway present. We will hear from each of our three guests and then open it up for questions. After that you may do one-on-ones with the three guests.

Introducing first on my immediate left is the president and COO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Joie Chitwood. Next to him is the president of the Indy Racing League for competition and operations, Brian Barnhart. And on my far left is the president of the IRL for commercial division, Terry Angstadt.

We will begin with some comments from Brian.

BRIAN BARNHART: Thanks. Good morning, everyone. Looking to the 2008 IndyCar Series and beyond, we're excited to introduce IndyCar TEAM, which stands for Team Enhancement and Allocation Matrix, a new distribution of the basic IndyCar awards. This program is designed to enhance participation in the IndyCar Series by allocating funds to each full-time team.

IndyCar TEAM is an extension of the Series' Leader's Circle program, which has been in place since 2002. The Leader's Circle goal has been to control costs and provide an opportunity for entrants to be competitive. The program leverages relationships built by the League with its partners, sponsors and suppliers to provide benefits directly to the entrants.

An example of this has been the benefits teams receive from Firestone with preferred pricing on tires as members of the Leader's Circle. And now with TEAM, we're enhancing participation in the IndyCar Series while also making entry into the IndyCar Series more attractive to potential new teams.

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Spare car for Fernando in China
The penultimate race of the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship takes place this coming weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit. This year will mark the fourth running of the Chinese Grand Prix, which due to its positioning towards the end of the season, has often seen exciting racing as Championship battles are drawn to a close.

Following this weekend’s race, Formula 1 will travel to Interlagos for the final race of the season. The Brazilian Grand Prix takes place on Sunday 21st October.

As fans will remember, Fernando Alonso’s McLaren was extensively damaged when he aquaplaned during the Japanese grand prix, so with just a few days turn around before China, where will the repairs take place to the Spaniard’s car?

“As the Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix are back to back races, a replacement chassis (MP4-22 01) was dispatched from the McLaren Technology Centre on Sunday 30th September for China,” the team explained. “This chassis will become the spare, with Fernando using the spare chassis from Japan as his race car (MP4-22 03). Fernando’s damaged car was sent back due to significant damage to the chassis, which is not reparable at the track.”

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Hamilton to become the highest-earning Brit
PR guru Max Clifford believes Lewis Hamilton is on course to become the highest-earning British sportsman of all time.

Hamilton is on the brink of crowning a sensational debut season in Formula One by clinching the world title.

The 22-year-old has a 12-point lead over Fernando Alonso with two races remaining following his victory at the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend.

It has been suggested that Hamilton's success could see his basic wage at McLaren increase to around £20million and Clifford believes the next decade will see him enter the top league.

Clifford, Britain's best-known celebrity publicist, said: "Potentially he could be one of the highest-earning sports stars in the world.

"If he is world champion in one of the most lucrative sports in the world - and it looks like he has got a very good chance of being - he could easily, in the next 10 years, be worth £100million.

"That is obviously dependent on him continuing to be successful but (Michael) Schumacher retired at 37, so he could have more than 10 years at the top.

"He has shown he has got the ability and is improving all the time. He could up there with the Tiger Woods and Roger Federers. He has the potential to even overshadow David Beckham. He is going to be a very rich man.

"He could be the highest-earning British sportsman ever if his ability and good fortune continues." More at Sporting Life


Eury Sr. replaces Ward as JR Motorsports' crew chief
JR Motorsports officials announced Tuesday that Tony Eury Sr. would take over as crew chief of the No. 88 Busch Series Chevrolet driven by Brad Keselowski. The team said it chose not to renew the contract of former crew chief Wes Ward, who has been given the "opportunity to pursue other options."


Leicht to part ways with Yates after season
Robert Yates Racing released Busch Series driver Stephen Leicht, effective as of the end of the 2007 season, the driver announced on his Web site.

Leicht drove a partial Busch schedule as well as one Nextel Cup race in 2006 before making a run at the championship this season.

"I have had a great run with RYR," Leicht said. "Robert and Doug [Yates] gave me my start in NASCAR and I have learned a lot from them. I wish them nothing but the best in 2008."


Hard to overtake at Shanghai
For the BMW Sauber F1 Team and Robert Kubica, the Chinese GP represents the last of this year's back-to-back race weekends. The BMW Sauber F1 Team driver recalls his Shanghai debut in 2006 and describes the best overtaking opportunities at the 5.451-kilometre circuit.

In 2006, Robert was ninth on the starting grid and subsequently finished 13th. At the end of the day, a startline incident and an untimely pit stop prevented him from securing a better result.

"Last year's Chinese Grand Prix was pretty interesting for me," says Robert Kubica, "what with qualifying in the wet and then having a close encounter with Robert Doornbos at the start. I gained a lot of positions but then when the track was drying we made our change to dry weather tires too early."

The "Shanghai International Circuit" is popular with Robert although overtaking is difficult here - but this applies to many other Formula One circuits. Robert gives his impression of the venue of the 2007 season's penultimate round: "Quite a nice track and again, it features a very long straight. Maybe there is an overtaking opportunity at the end of the long back straight. It is very long but overtaking will be anything but easy, nevertheless. It is very difficult to follow a car very closely in the really fast right-hander, you have to corner right before entering the straight."

industry news

GM sales dwarf Audi
General Motors Corp. reported September U.S. sales that were essentially flat — at just shy of 338,000 — compared with the same month a year ago.

The nation’s largest automaker reports that it sold 337,640 vehicles in September compared with 338,380 in September 2006, for a 0.2% decline. GM reported retail sales of 255,274 for the month, up 3.4% not adjusted for selling days, compared with retail sales of 246,797 in the same month last year.

GM said in a news release that it “bucked industry trends, led by brisk retail sales of full-size trucks, mid-utility crossovers, the Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Cobalt.”

“Our market share performance of more than 25% over the last quarter demonstrates strong consumer acceptance of our new products and the continued progress we’ve made in our North America turnaround strategy,” said Mark LaNeve, GM North America vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing.

Audi of America Inc. today said it sold 8,021 vehicles in September, a slight sales gain of 0.2 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

However, the company posted double-digit gains n some large markets, including New York (25.7 percent), Chicago (21.2 percent), Miami (22.8 percent) and Los Angeles (22.1 percent.)

Year to date, the company has sold 68,479 vehicles in the United States.


Highcroft still riding momentum of last year
If there were any doubts as to whether Highcroft Racing belonged in the Acura factory camp, Duncan Dayton’s team put them to rest a year ago at Petit Le Mans. A third-place overall finish at Road Atlanta for the independent team from Connecticut turned out to be one of the most memorable stories of last season and set the tone for what has been a dynamic 2007 season as part of the Acura family.

Now firmly entrenched among the elite teams of the American Le Mans Series, Highcroft now rolls into Petit Le Mans with factory support, nearly five times the manpower and a hold on third place in the P2 team championship. With 49 points available over the final two rounds, there definitely is a chance of catching Dyson Racing for second place.

“We had a fulltime staff of six last year and have 26 this year. Pretty much all of the guys that were part of that finish are still on the team this year,” said Dayton, who will send David Brabham, Stefan Johansson and Robbie Kerr out in the No. 9 Highcroft Acura at the 10th running of Petit Le Mans.

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Risi-Krohn Ferrari back for Petit Le Mans
Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione are back together for the 10th Annual Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta this Saturday, October 6th. The two Houston, Texas-based racing entities joined forces earlier this year to run five races, including the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Houston Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Petit Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) finale at Laguna Seca.

This weekend’s No. 61 Risi-Krohn Racing Ferrari 430 GT entry for Petit Le Mans will feature Krohn Racing owner/driver, Tracy W. Krohn, Krohn team regular Nic Jönsson and team newcomer Darren Turner. The Petit Le Mans is a 1000-kilometer or 10-hour race, whichever comes first, and is Round 11 of 12 on the popular American Le Mans Series.

The 2.54-mile, 12-turn challenging Road Atlanta circuit in Braselton, Georgia is home to the Petit Le Mans. The No. 62 sister car, the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT of Mika Salo, Jamie Melo and Johnny Mowlem, currently lead the ALMS GT 2 class, capturing 7 of 10 race victories this season. Ferrari also leads the manufacturer’s points championship.

The two-car Daytona Prototype Krohn Racing team recently finished fourth and 12th in the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Krohn was awarded with the prestigious Jim Trueman Award for the top executive racer of the Series.


Knaus wins Crew Chief of the Race Award
Through the mayhem of rain delays, a race shortened from 267 to 210 laps and wrecking cars, Chad Knaus, crew chief for the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team, avoided all prevailing problems to snare a top-five finish in the LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway. For Knaus and driver, Jimmie Johnson, the day would begin with adversity, having to start the race from the rear of the field in a backup car. However, the duo did not allow Mother Nature, their back of the pack start nor the multiple pile ups occurring around them to dampen their day. For his calm under the storm and race day come from behind finish, Knaus was awarded the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.

After a practice session mishap on Saturday that had Johnson hitting the wall with the No. 48 Chevrolet, Knaus and his Hendrick Motorsports crew went to work on their backup car. Within 15 minutes, Knaus had Johnson back on the track setting cause for the race as the wrecked primary car was rolled onto the hauler. Knaus and Johnson had already shown they would be tough to handle this weekend, having won the pole for the 400 mile race. Throughout the day, Knaus called for steady changes to the car’s setup, in an effort to give Johnson every opportunity to climb to the front. After a lengthy mid-race rain delay parked the racecars for more than an hour, one of two red flags for the race, Johnson proved the team was definite championship contenders, racing his way to a third place finish and the top of the Nextel Cup standings.

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Villeneuve to test at Gateway
Gateway International Speedway officials say former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve is scheduled to test at the track Oct. 16.  Villeneuve is making the move to NASCAR and will attempt his Nextel Cup debut this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. He is also racing in the remaining Craftsman Truck Series races this year.  Villeneuve and Bill Davis Racing teammate Dave Blaney will test at Gateway according to a track press release.

track news

Rockingham track to be auctioned Oct. 2 UPDATE #2 Andy Hillenburg, a former racer who owns a driving school, submitted the winning bid of $4 million for the North Carolina Speedway when it went on the auction block today.  Hillenburg has said that he wants to bring a lower-tiered racing event to the former NASCAR speedway. NASCAR abandoned the track in 2004.

10/01/07 “I’ve been doing this 30 years,” said William Bone, whose company is handling the auction, “and I’ve never seen it.”

What doomed Rockingham was the fact it is some 70 miles east of Charlotte, is more than a hour from the Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh metro areas, and the Richmond County population is less than 50,000.

“We looked at it and tried to figure out what to do with it,” said H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports. “Nothing that we do fits there.”

While not surprising, closing of The Rock was tough, said Rockingham Mayor Gene McLaurin, who went to the speedway’s first race in 1965 when he was 9.

“I’ve actually got a program,” he said. “It hurts, no question about it.”

The loss “was more status and morale,” said Richmond County Manager Jim Haynes.

“We didn’t see the economic slap that we thought we might."

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track news

Bruton threatens City Council to leave Concord
This WSOC Charlotte article says -- Bruton Smith, owner of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., said Tuesday that if Concord does not work with him on a controversial drag strip, he’ll take Lowe’s Motor Speedway somewhere else.

Smith told Eyewitness News he is already looking for plots of land in the Charlotte area. He said he’ll close Lowe’s and build a new speedway and his own airport so that race car drivers will easily be able to fly in and out of town.

Concord doesn’t look like it’s going to be a place for him to grow, he said, so if city leaders don’t change their minds, he will take his business and go. Smith said he’s dumbfounded that the Concord City Council voted against a proposed drag strip near the speedway on Monday night, effectively changing the area’s zoning rules. Workers had already started grading the land to make way for the strip.

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Gordon expects Dega to be spectacular
According to Jeff Gordon, Talladega Superspeedway got pretty dicey at times. And that was with only 20 cars running in a pack. During testing. In September, NASCAR held a Car of Tomorrow (CoT) test at the 2.66-mile Alabama track in advance of the new generation cars debut in a restrictor-plate race. If that test was any sort of preview to the UAW-Ford 500, Gordon expects Sundays race to be even more entertaining for the fans than previous races at the high-banked superspeedway.

"The CoT is going to change everything here, said Gordon, who will run a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet Impala SS in the 188-lap race.

"Its going to be spectacular. During the test, we had 20-car packs and it got pretty dicey at times. When you put 43 cars out there battling for the lead and the win, its going to be crazy. I dont think NASCARs intention in creating the CoT was Talladega, but the track is going to benefit from its use. The new body style allows us to run a bigger restrictor plate and, with the wing and the wicker, its only going to enhance the entertainment here. I expect it to be pretty wild, pretty crazy and it should be a heck of a show for the fans."

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IRL announces new payout structure to teams UPDATE Statement from Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage on today’s announcement from officials from the Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the restructuring of earnings distribution for the 2008 IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500. Texas Motor Speedway, which has played host to IndyCar Series races since the facility opened in 1997, will host the Bombardier Learjet 550k on June 7, 2008.

“If this program assures full Indy car fields for promoters and stability for the team owners, I think this move is a great concept for the health of the sport. I think all IndyCar fans want to see 30-car fields from a competition standpoint as do the promoters. The key to the success of this program, however, will be whether or not this reduces the incentive to battle for positions from race to race with most of the money already up front and the top five only being paid per race and year end in bonuses. I’m optimistic that the teams and drivers will continue to have the incentive to race hard every lap regardless of payout.”

10/02/07 The IndyCar® Series announced a restructuring of its earnings distribution designed to provide a financial foundation for new and existing teams committed to running the entire IndyCar Series schedule.

Beginning in 2008, the program, called IndyCar TEAM: Team Enhancement and Allocation Matrix, will award a minimum of $1.2 million to each car entered to compete the entire season, including the Indianapolis 500. By implementing IndyCar TEAM, the Indy Racing League will dissolve its existing event purse formula.

"Today's introduction of IndyCar TEAM is an expansion of the Series' Leader's Circle Program and further enhances the value of racing in the IndyCar Series for all of our team entrants," said Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations division of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series. "This is a baseline program designed to increase as the series grows and as we are successful in attracting sponsors and enhancing league revenues."

In conjunction with the announcement of the IndyCar TEAM program, officials with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that the purse for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 will increase to at least $13.4 million, a 25 percent increase over the record $10.67 million purse for the 2007 race.

"As the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway approach some historic milestones in 2009 and 2011, it's only appropriate we strengthen the incentive to compete in 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'" said Joie Chitwood, president and COO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The new purse structure for the Indy 500 will help all entries earn more money than ever during the Month of May."

The winner of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 could receive at least $2.5 million, a 42 percent increase over the record winner's payout of $1.76 million awarded to Buddy Rice in 2004. The runner-up could earn at least $1.25 million, with the third-place finisher earning at least $750,000. Fourth- and fifth-place finishing cars will be guaranteed bonuses of $475,000 and $375,000, respectively.

The IndyCar Series champion will continue to receive a $1 million bonus, as in past seasons, with second through fifth place in the final point standings getting end-of-season bonuses of $250,000, $175,000, $125,000 and $75,000.

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Wallace to drive No. 88
Fifty-one cars are on the preliminary entry list for Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Mike Wallace is on the entry list replacing Ricky Rudd in the No. 88 Robert Yates Racing Ford that had been driven in recent weeks by Wallace's brother Kenny.

As expected, former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve is entered in the No. 27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota.

Among other entries in addition to Villeneuve to the list of regular full-time drivers/teams are Sam Hornish in the No. 06 Penske Racing Dodge, Sterling Marlin in the No. 09 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, Kevin Lepage in the No. 37 Front Row Motorsports Dodge and Boris Said in the No. 60 No Fear Racing Ford.

Aric Almirola is listed as the driver of the No. 01 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, and Ken Schrader is in the No. 21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford,

Sixteen drivers will have to make the race on speed: Villeneuve, Hornish, Marlin, Lepage, Said, David Reutimann (Michael Waltrip Racing), Ward Burton (Morgan-McClure Motorsports), Scott Riggs (Valvoline Evernham Racing), Dave Blaney (Bill Davis Racing), Jeremy Mayfield (BDR) Dale Jarrett (MWR), John Andretti (BAM Racing), Michael Waltrip (MWR), Joe Nemechek (Furniture Row Racing), Brian Vickers (Team Red Bull) and AJ Allmendinger (TRB). Scenedaily


Ticket rush continues for British GP
The Lewis Hamilton effect continues to send British interest in Formula 1 through the roof – with Silverstone already reporting soaring ticket sales for next year’s British Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who could clinch the world championship in his debut season with a win in China this weekend, had already sparked a surge in ticket sales for this year’s race back in July.

And that level of interest is continuing as Silverstone has announced that 10,000 fans have already bought tickets for the 2008 British GP – twice as many fans as at this stage last year.

“Thanks to Lewis Hamilton F1 is cool again, and we are seeing just how much it means to the British public to be able to get behind a potential British world champion,” said Silverstone’s managing director, Richard Phillips.

“Our ticket sales following his win in Japan were the highest since this year’s British Grand Prix and double the daily average for September.

“That’s the impact Hamilton is having on both the British public and the sport in general.”

Several areas of grandstand seating for the 4-6 July event are already sold out.

“We strongly advise fans wishing to book seats overlooking their favorite section of the track, to purchase their tickets as soon as possible to avoid any potential disappointment,” Phillips added.

For more information on the available tickets for the 2008 British GP visit the Silverstone website or call 08704 588 300.


Kovalainen - I will be in F1 next year
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has announced that he will still be a formula one driver in 2008.

Following his maiden podium in the rain-drenched Japanese grand prix last Sunday, the Finn wrote in his column for the BBC that he hopes to have his contract extended with Renault.

"I will stay in formula one next year and I hope that will be with Renault but the team is yet to make a decision," 25-year-old Kovalainen said.

He admits that his Renault bosses, along with "everyone" in pitlane, is presently waiting to see if Fernando Alonso stays at McLaren or looks for an alternate cockpit for 2008.

"If any team could get him I am sure they would take him," Kovalainen wrote.

He also played down the impact that his second place behind Lewis Hamilton at Fuji Speedway will have on his future.

"Finishing second was a very important result to have but I do not think my future was dependent on this result," he said.

"It has been looking good for me since the last six or seven races and I have not been too worried.

"We had problems at the beginning of the season but I have managed to show people what I can do.

"In any case, I feel I am in a strong position.  I have improved throughout the year and I have a good future in F1.

"I hope to be in a competitive team next season and hopefully I can fight more regularly for these kind of positions."


Bernie advises McLaren to consider Rosberg
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has advised Mercedes-powered McLaren to plug the potential hole vacated by Fernando Alonso for 2008 with Nico Rosberg.

"If Alonso goes, I would pick Rosberg," F1's chief executive is quoted as saying by the German news agency 'sid'.

"He speaks German and, in every other regard, would be a perfect fit."

Ecclestone, 76, revealed at Fuji Speedway that he has been "told" that Alonso switching to Ferrari in 2009 - after a sabbatical - is a possibility.

Spaniard Alonso, however, ruled out missing next season, but admitted that the Ferrari option is also not likely.

"I don't have any news about Ferrari," he told the Spanish radio station Cadena SER after the Japanese grand prix.

22-year-old Rosberg, however - although under contract to Williams also for next year - seems keen on the idea of replacing him.

"Like Ferrari, they are a great team with much history," he said of McLaren.  "One day, I would gladly drive for them.

Rosberg also insisted that he would get along well with potential teammate Lewis Hamilton, after they were teammates in their go-karting days.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug commented: "Nico is very much an impressive driver, who in the last two years with Williams has learned a great deal."

industry news

Delphi loses $100 million in August
Troy-based auto parts supplier Delphi Corp. lost $94 million in August and disclosed that at least 320 more union employees opted to leave the company, according to the company's latest monthly operating report filed late Friday.

Delphi's net loss in August was $100 million. Year to date in 2007, the company has lost $1.6 billion on revenue of $10.7 billion.

In August, 60 percent of Delphi's net sales -- $925 million -- were to its former parent General Motors Corp.

Delphi also said that 300 United Auto Workers employees agreed to leave and 20 members of the IUE-CWA have agreed, under a special attrition program announced in late June and largely funded by GM. Under the deal, certain Delphi hourly employees could get lump sump incentive payments of $35,000, while others could get buyouts worth as much as $140,000.

Delphi said the departure of 280 employees would cost the company $21 million. In total, more than 20,000 hourly workers at Delphi have left the company, including 10,000 that elected to flow back to GM and retire.

Industry News

Every model to offer alternative-fuel version
Chrysler LLC's new top product strategist said today that the automaker plans to eventually introduce alternative-fuel versions of every model it makes.

James Press, the Chrysler vice chairman recruited last month from Toyota Motor Corp., told The Detroit News today that Chrysler "absolutely" expects to provide a hybrid, diesel or other environmentally-friendly version of each of its cars and trucks.

"Every car will be impacted by advances in power-train," Press said in an interview with The News. "Plug-in hybrid, diesel hybrid, fuel-cell hybrid, a petrol hybrid they’re all in the mix."

Press declined to identify a time frame, but emphasized that Chrysler is accelerating its "greener" vehicle development after lagging behind rivals such as Toyota and Honda Motor Co.

He said that Cerberus Capital Management, the new owner of privately held Chrysler, is committed to spending heavily on advanced power-train designs that use less fuel and preserve the environment.

"Cerberus has opened up the wallet to make (capital expenditures) especially in the area of product development and technology," Press said.


Video: ING race Index for Chinese GP
Ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on October 7, ING issues its Race Index, which assesses race features including the circuit itself, level of driver difficulty, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, the Chinese Grand Prix, which was first held in 2004, obtains 58 points, occupying the 12th position among the 17 circuits. Watch Video: ING Race Index - China


BMW ready for challenging Shanghai track
Only a few days and a good three hours’ flight separate the Japanese Grand Prix, that has just ended, and the penultimate World Championship race of the season in Shanghai this Sunday. From the picturesque setting at the foot of Mount Fuji, Formula One now heads for a booming metropolis.

Nick Heidfeld: “Turns one, two and three are among my favorite sections in the race calendar. You approach the first turn at high speed, go into it flat out, but then the corner increasingly tightens up and you have to shift right down to second. Making a clean exit will be even more interesting next year when we’ll be driving without traction control again. Overall I’m rather fond of this circuit. Although it’s so new, the track layout has a natural feel and a character about it. The paddock and the grandstands are also very distinctive and absolutely huge in size.

“The same goes for a number of buildings in downtown Shanghai, but the ultramodern skyscrapers, hotels and restaurants along the Bund are just part of the picture. In a lot of districts and in the surrounding areas you’ll come across grinding poverty. This year my family will be joining me for the Asian tour and I hope we’ll find a little time to visit the nicer sides of the city together.”

Robert Kubica: “After Fuji we go straight to China. Last year’s Grand Prix was pretty interesting for me with qualifying wet and then touching with Robert Doornbos at the start of the race. I gained a lot of positions but then when the track was drying we put the grooved tires on too early. Quite a nice track with, again, a very long straight. Maybe there is an overtaking possibility at the end of the long back straight. This is very long, but it is not easy because before the straight there is a really quick right hand corner and it is always difficult to follow the cars very closely there.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “After the race in Fuji, it’s straight on to the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. Back-to-back events like this put quite a strain on the whole team – all the more so when the two consecutive races take place in Asia. It’s the logistics personnel above all who feel the pressure. We are looking forward to the penultimate race of the season.

“The sheer size of the Shanghai complex is unmatched and the track layout is challenging. From the point of view of BMW as a car producer, as well as all our partners, the Chinese Grand Prix holds tremendous commercial interest. It’s a market with massive growth potential. In 2006 BMW recorded over 40 percent growth compared with the previous year. BMW also has its own production plant in China where BMW 3 Series and 5 Series models are built.”

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: “Shanghai is an interesting and challenging track. It offers overtaking opportunities and has safe run off areas. The circuit is characterized by some very long low and mid speed corners, which causes high tire degradation. For a good race pace it is important to get the mechanical set-up right in order to make best use of the tires over a distance. Another important factor is the aerodynamic efficiency because of the combination of the long straight with the twisty infield.”


Bidding war begins for Earnhardt chopper
The bidding war has begun on NASCAR.com for the Dale Earnhardt Jr. custom chopper, built by Orange County Choppers and donated by Sunoco for the eighth annual Dale Jr. Celebrity Sports Auction presented by Bass Pro Shops. The proceeds of the auction will benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina through the NASCAR Foundation.

The one-of-a-kind chopper was built exclusively for Earnhardt Jr. as part of the Sunoco/Orange County Choppers Custom Chopper Series and was designed to reflect the red, black and white paint scheme of his No. 8 Chevrolet. The online auction kicked off Sept. 21 and will run 88 days through Dec. 18.

“The OCC guys always build cool bikes, and my chopper is no different,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’m impressed with the work they did on it.”

The 2007 Dale Jr. Celebrity Sports Auction is Oct. 23 at Founder’s Hall in Charlotte, N.C. Celebrities appearing with Earnhardt Jr. will be fellow NASCAR drivers Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, and Casey Mears. Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme is also scheduled to attend.

A limited number of tickets for the event are still available and can be purchased online at www.celebritysportsauction.com.


AMD cancels NASCAR deal
Advanced Micro Devices, which entered NASCAR as the official technology partner late in 2005, has obtained a release from its deal and decided to exit the sport. Travis Bullard, a spokesman for AMD, said the company's $5.4 billion acquisition of ATI Technologies last year led to a re-evaluation of AMD's marketing strategy and partnerships. Tissot remains NASCAR's official timekeeper. Alabama Live/Sports Business Journal


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Sainz thinks Alonso should quit McLaren
  • Boss enraged as title slips away from Ferrari
  • Fuji apologizes for grand prix problems
  • Haug stamps out Ralf-to-McLaren rumors
  • Lauda excuses Vettel for Fuji howler
  • Hamilton to 'wait' for pay-rise - father

Sainz thinks Alonso should quit McLaren
(GMM) Retired world rally champion Carlos Sainz has advised his countryman Fernando Alonso to quit McLaren.

The 45-year-old compared Alonso's difficult relationship alongside a British teammate at a British team to his controversial tenure at Subaru, with Colin McRae, in the mid nineties.

"The pressure from the English press was tremendous," Sainz told the Spanish newspaper Diario As. "What they said and what they did.

"Each event, each section, each test, they tried and tried to make their driver seem like the better one. It is an unbearable situation to be in."

Sainz said he was reluctant to comment specifically on Alonso's tenure at Woking based McLaren, but he clearly sympathizes with the reigning world champion.

"In order to do really well it is necessary to be happy in your situation," he continued. "To me, it mattered more to feel comfortable in the team than to have the best car.

"Fernando knows better than anyone what is going on, but from where I stand, staying at McLaren for him is practically impossible. I am sure he will make the right decision."

Boss enraged as title slips away from Ferrari
(GMM) Luca di Montezemolo has continued to fume at the outcome of the espionage saga involving Ferrari's runaway championship rival McLaren.

After Lewis Hamilton's win at Fuji Speedway last Sunday, and in the light of the tire rule email controversy, the Ferrari president has amplified the view that the FIA was wrong not to totally exclude the British team.

"I still think it was a serious error to not also disqualify the drivers," the Italian is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"All I want to say is that if Hamilton wins the world championship, he will have won it thanks to Ferrari, because within his car there is plenty of our team."

Montezemolo was also critical of the FIA's allegedly "unprofessional" behavior in not properly informing Ferrari of a pre-race tire rule change, but speculation says he is even angrier with team boss Jean Todt.

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racing news

PitFit Training accepting applications
PitFit Training (PitFit) today announced it is now accepting applications for the PitFit Training Driver Memorial Scholarship for the 2008 race season. The scholarship program is now entering its third year, offering deserving young drivers the opportunity to bring their racing fitness to optimal levels.

Applications for the Scholarship will be accepted until December 1, 2007.Winners will be announced by December 15, 2007 with Scholarship rewards beginning January 1, 2008. The selection criterion is stringent with a varied focus on race performance, community service, academics, and ability to maintain a focus on fitness. Applicants must submit an application which includes two essay questions on current topics of interest from today’s news. Those in consideration for the scholarship must be between 12 and 20 years of age and have completed at least one year of racing competition. Stars of Karting Champions in the 80cc and 125cc divisions are automatically awarded scholarships.

Scholarship winners will receive 10 months of on-line training, two complete fitness evaluations, up to two training sessions per month at PitFit headquarters in Indianapolis, Theraband® products, a Bodyblade® Classic, a neck strengthening device, training gear, discounts on Cannondale Bicycles and a bio on PitFit’s web site with a link to their own.

To learn more or for a scholarship application go to http://www.pitfit.com/ and click on programs.

track news

Derek Daly to design race tracks
Derek Daly announced in Indianapolis today that he has recently launched a new race track design partnership with Paxton Waters, a nationally known race track facility architect and planner. Under the banner, Derek Daly Design (DDD), Derek will specialize in bringing back some of the character of the great race tracks of the world that has been lost over the past two decades.

“Contemporary designs have eliminated some of the character from what we call road courses” said Derek. “the great corners around the world have either been eliminated and/or disfigured.  Formula One drivers from my era have long mourned the loss of such signature corners”. DDD’s aim is to bring back some of the lost character and create what we call “signature” areas in new designs for the enjoyment of the modern-day driver and enthusiast. “The time has come for a fresh approach to road course design and Derek’s vast experience as a professional driver at the highest levels will provide us with a new perspective on what the future designs need to encompass” ” said Paxton, 

The first joint project will be the Bluegrass Motorsports Club and Road Course in Sparta, Kentucky.

By partnering with Paxton Waters, Derek joins with the pre-eminent designer of race facilities in America. Paxton Waters has designed facilities such as; the California Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Pikes Peak International Raceway and the planned Riverside Motorsports Park.


Castroneves back in the ballroom on "Dancing With The Stars"
IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves hopes to follow up his grand opening on "Dancing With The Stars" with another standout performance.

Castroneves and his professional dancing partner Julianne Hough scored the highest score of the six male celebrities  -- and second-best overall -- on the ABC show in week 1. The couple will perform their second dance - the mambo - during the second episode on Oct. 1.

"We have been working hard on the (mambo) this week, and I'm enjoying every minute of it," said the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. "I hope the mambo is going to be an advantage for me since I'm Brazilian, but I'm a race car driver too. My hips don't move. In a race car, you don't want your hips to move because it can be dangerous. It's something very different for me."

Castroneves and Hough, along with the other 10 couples, will perform during the Oct. 1 episode. The result show will air on Oct. 2. Castroneves refused to make predictions about the competition but said he's surprised by the competitive nature of the show.

"I have to say the women are very competitive," he said. "The men are all about having a good time. The women are like, 'We have to win this thing.'"


F1 organizer to refund fans 350 mil. yen
The organizer of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway in Oyamacho, Shizuoka Prefecture, has decided to refund a total of 350 million yen paid for reserved seat tickets for the event after receiving complaints from spectators that they could not see the race from their seats.

Fuji International Speedway Co. plans to refund 50,000 yen to each of about 7,000 spectators who bought tickets for the seats. The company will also reimburse the full cost of tickets, transportation, hotel and other expenses for 85 visitors who could not make it to the start of Sunday's race due to shuttle bus service delays.

The refunds due to poor visibility apply to visitors who bought tickets for reserved seats temporarily set up at the rear of the permanent stands on the first turn. These tickets were valid for admission to all three days of the event, which started Friday. They cost 61,000 yen, with the reserved seat accounting for 50,000 yen of the price.

While these were the second most expensive tickets available, following the 71,000 yen seats on the upper tier of the main stand, they were sold out as the area was said to be a good spot for viewing overtaking action.

Compared with the permanent seats in the same area, however, the temporary seats were set on a gently sloping stand that many spectators said did not give a clear view of the track over the permanent stands.

The organizer explained that the mistake occurred after they fell behind in erecting the temporary stand, leaving no time to check the view from the seats.

Hiroaki Kato, president of Fuji International Speedway Co., apologized saying: "I'm deeply sorry that our lack of experience has led to so many problems. We plan to investigate the cause of the problems to prevent them from recurring next year."

The Formula One race was being held at Fuji Speedway for the first time in 30 years, and even before the event there had been concerns about whether it would run smoothly. Source


Growing with speed
Champ Car World Series, an open-wheel auto racing organization, has emerged as an unlikely challenger to mainstream U.S. sports for the attention of the affluent Hispanic consumer.

A 2006 study conducted by Scarborough Research revealed that 14 percent of Champ Car's TV viewing audience is Hispanic. That ties the racing series for No. 2 with the NBA for the highest percentage of Hispanic viewers. And while the company uses different methods to reach Hispanic fans, Garrett Mudd, vice-president of marketing for Champ Car, notes that none of their broadcasts are aired in Spanish.

"Fourteen percent of our audience is Hispanic, and we're not broadcasting on ESPN Deportes or doing special Spanish-language broadcasts," he says. "We're building on our audience and we're doing it in English. I think that's indicative that Hispanic Champ Car fans consume English media."

Then known as Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), the franchise made a push to broaden its Hispanic fan base in 2001 by showcasing its Latin drivers – Adrian Fernandez and Michel Jourdain Jr. – and staging races in key U.S. markets. It also expanded its race schedule to include events in Mexico, and incorporated sponsors with clout in the Hispanic marketplace.

"We have always had a significant Hispanic following, especially when we've had good Hispanic drivers as full-time competitors. That's why we've been popular," says Mr. Mudd. "There has always been a strong motor sports culture in Mexico and South America. When we started racing one event in Mexico, it drew 200,000 people. Now, it's one of our largest events on the regular schedule." More at HispanicBusiness.com


Conquest Racing announces new sponsor
Conquest racing is pleased to announce a partnership agreement with leading financial services firm, Opes Prime Group Ltd, for the #34 car of the Champ Car World Series. Opes Prime is a stock broking and asset management firm based in Australia and Singapore, which specializes in securities lending, equity financing, structured products, trade execution and corporate advisory for sophisticated investors.

Anthony Blumberg Quote
“I feel the partnership that we have entered with the Conquest Racing team will be a prosperous venture for both groups involved,” said Anthony Blumberg, Opes Prime Executive Director. “We’re particularly excited to support Conquest at the Lexmark 300 on the Gold Coast and see Conquest in line with Opes Prime - both young ventures with great teams that aspire to dominate our respective areas of expertise. As we move into the US we believe our support of Conquest will pay dividends in exposing the Opes Prime brand to the US public.”

Eric Bachelart Quote
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Opes Prime for the final two races of the season,” said Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing Team Owner. “Their energy and expertise focuses on delivering quality service through state of the art technology and we feel that this commitment to excellence mirrors our competitive drive within the Champ Car World Series. We welcome Opes Prime to the Conquest Racing team and look forward to a successful future.”

About Opes Prime
Opes Prime specializes in providing securities lending and equity financing, trade execution, structured products, corporate advisory and asset management services to sophisticated market players, including other stockbrokers, banks, advisers, fund managers, corporations and individuals. Opes Prime has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Singapore. Additional information is available at www.opesprime.com.


McLaren ready to supply Prodrive, says Dennis
(GMM)  McLaren and Prodrive are in agreement about 2008 and are merely awaiting confirmation about the 2008 regulations, Ron Dennis said in Japan.

The two teams have long discussed a possible collaboration about sharing a chassis-engine package for Prodrive's formula one debut next year.

The only uncertainty is the pending definition of so-called 'non constructors'.

Trackside team boss meetings this year have now resulted in an unanimous definition of a full 'constructor', but the distribution of income for the other teams - to presumably also include Toro Rosso and Super Aguri in 2008 - is still to be clarified.

"If there is a possibility for 2008, then there is a detailed commercial agreement between the companies involved, and it's there to be go or no-go," Dennis is quoted as telling Racer magazine.

It is believed the delay is linked with Spyker's arbitration proceedings against STR and Super Aguri, which relates not only to the distribution of income this year but also will have implications for the future.

Alex Wurz, who is on the driver market for 2008, said recently that he saw the end of September as a sort of final "deadline" for Prodrive to send a strong signal about its readiness for 2008.

Dennis in Japan admitted that the project is "squeezed on time".

"They have a little more time when they can seek clarity, and when that's done we will move to the possible execution of this agreement, subject to final approval of our company's respective shareholders," he revealed.

TV News

SPEED to go High-Def
SPEED will make its move to High Definition in 2008, beginning Feb. 7 with 100 hours of NASCAR on SPEED HD from Daytona Speedweeks.

“With the Gatorade Duel 150’s on SPEED, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, NASCAR RaceDay and all of the other programming SPEED will deliver surrounding the 50th Anniversary of the Daytona 500, this is one of our most visible times of the year for the network and the perfect time to launch our move to HD,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “SPEED already offers some of the most action-filled programming on television and the move to HD in 2008 enhances all of it exponentially.”

Topping the 70-million U.S. household mark and coming off four consecutive years of ratings growth in 2007, the move to High Definition is the next step in the evolution of a network that has added more than 30 million homes since being fully acquired by Fox Cable Networks in 2001.

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Quitting McLaren would be 'great' - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso said on Monday that he would be "delighted" if he did not have to be Lewis Hamilton's teammate also in 2008.

After runaway championship leader Hamilton at Fuji repeatedly expressed his desire for Alonso to leave McLaren at the end of the season, the 26-year-old Spaniard told the radio station Cadena SER that he is willing to oblige.

"I'd be delighted if I didn't carry on with Hamilton," he was quoted as telling the Spanish network.

"If we are not together next season and I can go to a good car, then great. If we have to carry on together then we will have another great battle."

With Ferrari contractually locked out for next year, Renault has bounced back as the most likely destination for Alonso -- if he is granted a release from his contract by boss Ron Dennis.

Flavio Briatore no longer conceals his desire to reunite the French team he leads with Alonso, telling La Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday that it would be "stupid" to deny it.

The irresistible incentive for Alonso is Briatore's promise of clear number one status.

"These days it's important that the roles, number one and two, are clear, otherwise you risk to destabilize the team," he told the Italian sports newspaper.

"If you hire a world champion, then you must give him the number one status."

Alonso, meanwhile, played down Bernie Ecclestone's intimation at Fuji that he might sit out the 2008 season before joining Ferrari in 2009.

"However and wherever, I love to race and that's what I want."


Ralf - I’m leaving Toyota
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher has announced that he will not race for Toyota in 2008.

The German veteran, who joined the Japanese giant in 2005 but has particularly struggled this year, said he is seeking a "new challenge" for the future.

"I have been waiting years for a competitive car," he said from Shanghai, where on Sunday he will drive his penultimate grand prix for the Cologne based team.

Despite vowing to move on, however, 32-year-old Schumacher insists that he will still push hard at the last two races of 2007, in China and Brazil.

"I will give my very best to at least finish this difficult season on a high, with and for Toyota."

He refused to give any hints about the future, but revealed that he plans to have "several conversations" in the coming weeks before making an announcement when the season is over.

"For me, the financial aspect is far less important than the chance of being involved in the development of a car and being successful afterwards," Ralf added.


Inside a F1 car: Materials in F1
To succeed in Formula 1, every element of the car and the team must be at the very highest level, and that applies to the materials which make up the car. The Panasonic Toyota Racing team uses space-age technology to optimize every part of its TF107. Materials are chosen for their lightness, strength and durability, with careful consideration given to performance, as well as reliability. Video: Toyota - F1 Materials


Earnhardt Jr. takes Kyle Busch out of race
Kyle Busch crashed early in Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway after Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit him from behind. Busch, who was fourth in the Chase standings going into the LifeLock 400, said he tried to let Earnhardt Jr. pass when the contact was made fewer than 30 laps into the race.

“I just left him a lane to try to let him go on the outside, because I knew he was going to have a run off the corner,” Busch said. “And I got run into the back of, and got spun down the back straightaway for absolutely no reason. It was a pretty stupid move on his part.”

“I am sure these guys aren’t very appreciative that the guy who is going to be racing for them next year just dumped their car that has a great shot for the championship, where he doesn’t,” Busch said.

Earnhardt Jr. acknowledged his responsibility for the wreck.

“He just moved up and I got into him,” the driver said. “I should have been able to get out of his car, and I was screaming as I was going by for him to save it, but he couldn’t gather it up. It was my fault.”


Q and A with Heikki Kovalainen
Yesterday's 2007 Japanese Grand Prix saw Renault F1 Team driver Heikki Kovalainen take his first ever F1 podium finish. This came exactly 731 days (that's two years and a day) after his last podium in top-line motorsport, at the penultimate round of the 2005 GP2 series championship in Bahrain.

By finishing second, Heikki became only the second driver from a team other than McLaren or Ferrari to make it onto the second step of the podium this year. Indeed, he is just the fourth man from outside those two teams to score a podium of any kind in 2007 (the others being Heidfeld, Wurz and Webber).

This was Heikki's seventh consecutive points finish (his unbroken streak runs back to Silverstone in July), and his eleventh points-scoring finish of his debut F1 season. He has been classified in every race of 2007.

Heikki, describe your feelings after your first F1 podium…
First of all, I am very happy for the team. They deserve this result: they have been used to winning championships in the last two years, so it has been a tough season, but everybody has worked incredibly hard. I am really pleased for all the guys. As for myself, I came into the year hoping for more regular podiums, and I have been wanting this since Melbourne. I think this was a good way to do it: in difficult conditions, at a tricky race, fighting all the way to the end and beating Ferrari in a straight fight. I am very happy with my race.

How will you be celebrating?
With a debrief, and some time in the gym before Shanghai! We are racing again on Sunday, so we need to learn what we can from this weekend, and start again. It sounds pretty boring, I know, but I want to do my preparation properly, give myself the best chance next week – and make sure we can get the same advantage again, if we are faced with the same conditions.

The conditions on Sunday were appalling. What was your view?
I think it was one of the wettest races I have ever been in. I think it was correct to start behind the safety car, but also the right decision to start the race when we did. It was very wet, but they were raceable conditions.

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Audi driver Allan McNish about Road Atlanta
The tenth running of the "Petit Le Mans" endurance race is held at Road Atlanta (US state of Georgia) on the first weekend in October. Audi "factory" driver Allan McNish holds the track lap-record around the 4.088 kilometer (2.540 miles) circuit with a time of 1m 10.379s since the year 2000.
Will your track lap-record last another year?
"I’m afraid that my qualifying record will be broken this time. The circuit was completely resurfaced and the surface changes that existed have now disappeared. The circuit is now much flatter, less bumpy and more consistent and faster as a result."
Where on the circuit is the new surface most noticeable?
"Previously, the worst place was over the crest in Turn 5. On turn-in you had plenty of grip and in the corner itself absolutely none whatsoever. The grip only improved on the exit of the corner. This made the section very tricky."
What’s your general opinion of Road Atlanta?
"Road Atlanta is one of my favorite circuits in America. The circuit is technically challenging and from the layout naturally fast, which you particularly notice in the first off-camber corner. A key point is the right-hand corner that leads onto the back straight where you have to get the power down well under acceleration so as not to lose too much time on the following straight."

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NASCAR Statement on end of Kansas Race
Statement from Ramsey Poston, NASCAR Managing Director, Corporate Communications: “When the caution came out on Lap 207 the field was frozen. At the time of the caution, the #16 was in the lead and maintained a reasonable speed and was declared the race winner. There is no passing under caution. “By rule, cars under caution need to maintain a reasonable speed, which the #16 did. If it hadn’t maintained a reasonable speed or the car had come to a stop, then that car would not have won the race. In this instance the #16 maintained a reasonable speed, crossed the finish and won the race.” NASCAR PR


DEI moves into Ginn facility
Max Siegel, president of Global Operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc., said the facility DEI inherited in the merger with Ginn Racing has been renamed DEI West. Siegel said Sunday that the #15 Chevy team and the #01 Chevy operation already have moved to the DEI West building. The #8 team and the #1 operation will stay at DEI headquarters until the end of the season. After all the Cup teams move to the new facility, current DEI headquarters will house all the administrative offices, along with the Busch Series team and Busch East operation. Siegel also said he hopes to make an announcement within two weeks on a new sponsor for the #01 Chevy. Siegel confirmed that DEI has decided to continue to use 01 as the number. ESPN.com


Dennis denies foul play on Alonso’s pit stop
Ron Dennis has denied that there was any foul play from McLaren in Sunday's Japanese GP after Fernando Alonso's pit stop saw him thrown into the midst of traffic while Lewis Hamilton's stop was near-perfect.

Alonso came in for his first pit stop on Lap 27 while running in second place but when the McLaren driver came out he found himself stuck at the back of a battle raging between four slower drivers and down in eighth place.

However, when his teammate Lewis Hamilton pitted a lap later, the same fate did not befall the McLaren rookie who got out ahead of that battle.

This raised some eyebrows the P-F1 office, although Dennis has subsequently denied there was any foul play involved.

"There was nothing wrong with the stop, it was just very long because we put fuel for the end of the race and he came out between three or four slow cars which hampered his progress through the field," said the McLaren team boss.

"Lewis had the benefit of that extra bit of distance which meant that when he stopped, he came out in front of that pack.

"The stopping point was determined by the range of fuel not a switch in the strategy.

"We went as far as we could, we conserved a lot of fuel behind the Safety Car and we were very nervous about the Safety Car being deployed at a time when we were vulnerable to losing the race because of it."

As for Alonso's heavy shunt that put him out of the race, Dennis believes it may have been the result of the damage Alonso's car suffered when he was hit by Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel seven laps earlier.

"Once his car had been damaged, it was very difficult for him to drive and keep the pace but he did a good job," said Dennis.

"And it just got away from him when the water got a little heavier, so it's just one of those things."  PlanetF1.com


Gordon "fired up" about Jacques Villeneuve UPDATE Jacques Villeneuve made the call to run at Talladega next Sunday, Mike Brown, the general manager for Bill Davis’ Toyota team, said.  The Villeneuve move puts him smack in the middle of this year’s Nextel Cup championship, at one of the tour’s trickiest tracks, and men like Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch have expressed sharp disapproval.

“We evaluated where we stood with him, after the Talladega Car of Tomorrow test, and after the Truck race (at Las Vegas), and he actually was the one who came to us and said ‘Hey, I’d like to run the Cup race at Talladega,’” Brown said.

“We expressed the same concerns that all the drivers had. But in restrictor-plate racing, so far we’ve hardly run a plate race without a big wreck … and to my knowledge JV didn’t cause any of those.

“I could probably name 10 or 15 drivers in the field here today who need to take a good hard look at how they approach restrictor-plate racing.

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FIA to send written notifications
The FIA issued the following statement after the Japanese GP in response to Ferraris claim that they did not receive the directive to use extreme wet tires until after the race started.

A communication from the Stewards requiring all competitors to fit extreme wet-weather tires for safety reasons was sent to all teams by email at 12:35 hrs local time today. Save for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, all competitors have confirmed that they received the email at 12:37 hrs.

It is understood that Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro did not receive the email at the same time as other competitors. As a result, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro was the only team which did not start on extreme wet-weather tires.

The 2007 Formula One Sporting Regulations (Art. 15.1) state that in exceptional circumstances Stewards or Race Director may give instructions to Competitors by means of special circulars in accordance with the Code and these circulars will be distributed to all competitors who must acknowledge receipt.

At a meeting of the Formula One Sporting Working Group held in Monaco on 7th December 2006, all teams agreed to an electronic distribution system to ensure that all competitors received communications simultaneously, with no time advantage for a team by virtue of their location in the pit lane. This system has been used throughout the current championship year.

To avoid any recurrence of today's problem the agreed method of using electronic communications will continue to be used but in future will be backed up by the traditional method of written communication.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Fuji not 'saddest' moment - Alonso
  • BMW to launch 2008 car in January
  • Britain hails champion-elect Hamilton
  • Spyker sale 'as good as done' - spokesman
  • Publisher withdraws Stepney book
  • Toro Rosso confirm Liuzzi penalty appeal
  • Alonso can still win the title - Dennis

Fuji not 'saddest' moment - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has denied that crashing out of the crucial Japanese grand prix on Sunday was the worst moment in his motor racing career.

The high speed crash, caused by aquaplaning on the treacherous Fuji Speedway, gives his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton a near-unassailable lead in the drivers' championship with just two races to go.

But the double world champion says he has had "sadder" moments -- even in his go-karting days.

"I remember being in karts and if I did not win a championship I would have had to go back to school because we would have run out of money," the Spaniard told the newspaper Diario As.

"But now, even if I finish second, third or fifth, I am going to keep racing, I am going to keep on getting paid, and I can go home in a relaxed way," he added.

Alonso, 26, was also asked about Hamilton's verbal assaults in Japan last weekend, in which the championship leader said he would be happier if he gets a new teammate for 2008.

"Lately he talks more about me than anything else," Alonso replied, "but I am not going to say anything about it.

"What he or anyone says doesn't affect me, especially once I have closed the visor."

BMW to launch 2008 car in January
(GMM) BMW-Sauber will launch its 2008 contender, the F1.08, on 14-15 January next year.

The Swiss based team, having stopped development of its current car to focus exclusively on its successor, is the first to unveil its launch date for 2008.

BMW did not also reveal the location for the launch, but in 2006 and this year, the German carmaker took the wraps of its new single seater in the Spanish port city of Valencia.

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racing news

Quotes of the week
MARK WEBBER, Formula One driver, Red Bull
"It's kids isn't it?" Webber said, amid talk that Vettel's separate earlier collision with Fernando Alonso may have contributed to the Spaniard's almost certainly title-ending spin and high speed crash.  Webber, adding that he noticed Vettel being "a bit wild" in his mirrors, continued: "They have not got enough experience -- they do a good job and then they f-ck it all up. He did a very good job of hitting me very hard."

ANTHONY HAMILTON, father of Lewis Hamilton, F1 World Driver's Championship points leader, McLaren Mercedes
"You know me -- I get on with everybody," Anthony said.  "You need to ask Fernando's dad [Jose Luis Alonso] that question -- how does he get along with me?  He won't shake my hand for some reason.  I've offered my hand to him on many occasions and he always turns me down.  At least three times.  No explanation, no discussion.  Even when his lad wins.  If he's got an issue with me, I've got no idea what it is, other than maybe (the fact that) my son's leading the world championship."  Asked jokingly about the 'happy family' at the Woking team this year, Anthony laughed: "You've been reading some kind of funny book!  Obviously that would be a dream -- that's the way it's supposed to me, but it's not quite how it is.  But we're open to it."

CHRIS DYER, race engineer for Kimi Raikkonen, F1 driver, Ferrari
The Australian said FIA race control "f-cked our race" before he was stopped by a Ferrari PR representative.  (An FIA email informing Ferrari of a late tire-rule change arrived seven minutes too late, a team spokesman said on Sunday.  After Kimi Raikkonen's comments following the race, Luca Colajanni confirmed that the Maranello based team was not aware until 1.37pm - seven minutes after the race began behind the safety car - that it had not been allowed to fit intermediate tires.)

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN, F1 driver, Renault
"It has been a roller-coaster year for me, and it was like that again this weekend. We took a risk with the setup yesterday, hoping for better conditions and when we got up this morning and saw the rain falling, we didn't expect to have a fantastic afternoon. But it just goes to show that no matter how bad you think the situation is, you never give up. The strategy worked perfectly today, and the team deserves at least one podium today! Everybody has asked me about the last few laps with Kimi, but my mirrors had steamed up completely and I couldn't see him. I was watching the pit-board though, and every lap the gap was coming down, so I knew he would try something. He got past me into turn 6 on the final lap, but I wanted P2 so much that I went back round the outside on the way down to turn 10. The car was aquaplaning all over the place, but I kept my foot in and got back ahead, hoping I wouldn't lose the car. It is a fantastic feeling to score my first podium. Now, we need to try and maintain the momentum in Shanghai."  (Kovalainen finished 2nd in the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji.  It was the first career podium for Kovalainen and the first time ever that two Finns (he and Raikkonen) have finished on the podium.)

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industry news

Volkswagen recalls 340K cars
Volkswagen AG said Friday it was recalling 340,000 passenger cars in the United States because the head lights failed to comply with federal safety standards. The recall includes 2005-2008 Jetta models and 2006-2008 Rabbit, GTI and R32 passenger cars

There have been no crashes linked to the issue, a company spokesman said.

Some of the head lamps may be missing required caps in the sockets of the low beam horizontal and vertical aiming screws, the automaker said.

Owners are expected to be notified of the recall beginning in late October.


Rain delay in Kansas UPDATE After a second rain delay of two hours and 13 minutes, the skies have cleared and the LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway has been shortened to 225 laps.

09/30/07 Rain his hit the Kansas Speedway for the second time and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series LifeLock 400 is under a red flag at lap 148 with Tony Stewart in front. The race is past the halfway mark and would become official, should weather not allow NASCAR officials to restart the event. USA ABC TV coverage has stopped and picked back up on ESPN2.


NASCAR plans to review Stewart’s latest incident UPDATE Tony Stewart will not be penalized for uttering an obscenity Saturday morning during the ESPN2 telecast of the Nextel Cup practice session, NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

"It's unfortunate, but there's a lot of other noise when you see the tape," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications. "If you run it over and over, you get it. But if our viewers and ESPN's viewers are sitting at home watching it, there's a chance they might not have heard that."

Hunter said the decision not to penalize Stewart is in line with similar decisions when drivers said an obscenity outside a formal interview session.

"That's our position," Hunter said. "It wasn't an interview. But we certainly have had some conversations with Tony. The truth is we don't want anyone to hear language like that."

09/29/07 NASCAR officials plan to review an incident Saturday when Tony Stewart uttered an obscenity during the ESPN2 telecast of the Saturday morning Nextel Cup practice session at Kansas Speedway.

Stewart was talking to driver Robby Gordon before walking toward two ESPN camera operators. Stewart looked at one camera operator and said: "What? Get the [expletive] away from me."

Jennifer Powell, NASCAR's senior manager of broadcast communications, said NASCAR officials would review the videotape before making any decisions about a possible penalty for Stewart.

George McNeilly, senior director of communications for ESPN/ABC, said the broadcast team handled the situation properly.

"It was an unfortunate incident," McNeilly said. "Immediately after the words were spoken, Dr. Jerry Punch [lead announcer] apologized to the viewers on ESPN2. In our view, the photographer was doing his job."

McNeilly was asked why a tape-delay was not used on the telecast.

"We use a tape-delay system for two-way radio conversations, much the same way you would use a tape delay for a radio talk show with random callers," McNeilly said. "We don't feel the need to use a tape-delay system when working with professional athletes."


Aon SA appointed A1GP Risk Management Partner
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has appointed Aon South Africa to be its official risk management provider for the 2007/08 season.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, Aon South Africa is a leading provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human capital and management consulting, and specialty insurance underwriting. Aon South Africa forms part of Aon Corporation, the world's largest insurance broker.

The exciting new partnership between A1GP and Aon South Africa includes sponsorship at various rounds and commences visibly this weekend at the A1GP season opening race at Zandvoort in the Netherlands.


Jarvis gives GB team win in Dutch feature race
A1 Team Great Britain won the Feature race at this afternoon's 2007/08 season-opener at AquaSP A1GP Zandvoort, the Netherlands. Oliver Jarvis took the chequered flag and his second Feature race win after a stunning drive in perfect weather conditions, ahead of South Africa and Switzerland.

Displaying the Scottish flag on the rear wing of the newly-liveried GBR challenger in tribute to the late World Rally Champion Colin McRae, Jarvis defended third place off the grid despite an early challenge from the Swiss car and by lap three the British star had moved up into second behind pole-sitter South Africa.

A1 Team Germany, closely followed by Switzerland, France, Mexico and New Zealand were hot on the heels of the leading duo. Meanwhile, Portuguese rookie Joao Urbano spun off the track and slammed into the tyre barriers, blocking the pit lane entrance briefly and bringing out the yellow flags until the end of lap five.

It didn't take long for Jarvis to reel in Zaugg, who had romped into the distance at the start of the 45-lap race, and by lap six the South African was firmly in his sights. As the first pit stop window opened at the end of lap eight, Great Britain and Germany were the first teams to head in for their mandatory stops, both pitting on lap nine from second and third place respectively, rejoining the action in the same order.

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Latest F1 news in brief - 2
  • FIA vows to improve notification methods
  • Wurz is father for third time

    FIA vows to improve notification methods
    (GMM) The FIA on Sunday promised to improve its method for advising teams of important rule changes.

    Ferrari claimed after the Japanese grand prix that it was the only team that did not use extreme wet tyres for the start of the Japanese grand prix because it did not receive an email from the stewards.

    The FIA said "all competitors" with the exception of Ferrari received the email at 12:37pm -- more than an hour before the race started.

    "To avoid any recurrence of today's problem the agreed method of using electronic communications will continue to be used but in future will be backed up by the traditional method of written communication," F1's governing body said in a statement.

    It also emerged late on Sunday that Toro Rosso has decided to appeal the stewards ruling that cost Tonio Liuzzi, who was found to have overtaken Adrian Sutil under a yellow flag, a point.

    Wurz is father for third time
    (GMM) After crashing out of the Japanese grand prix, Alex Wurz's grim mood was boosted by some good news from back home.

    His wife Julia, whom Wurz met when she worked as Benetton's press lady some years ago, gave birth on Sunday to their third son.

    "Mother and baby are absolutely fine," the 33-year-old Austrian said, revealing that the latest addition to his family is named Oscar.

    Wurz will now return to Europe to see his wife and son before flying to Shanghai for the weekend's Chinese grand prix.


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

  • Ralf under fire after deer hunt
  • Dennis blames FIA for Alonso mix-up
  • Wurz frustrated with media at wet Fuji
  • Only miracle can save title now - Alonso
  • Webber slams 'kid' Vettel after crash
  • Todt says no room for Alonso at Ferrari
  • Alonso's dad won't shake my hand says Hamilton Snr
  • Kimi blames FIA for wrong tires gaffe
  • Tearful Vettel takes blame for Webber smash
  • Late email cost Ferrari dear - spokesman
  • Drivers say GP should not have started
  • Haug - no sympathy after Ferrari gaffe
  • A busy evening for Fuji stewards New
  • Alonso can come to Ferrari in future - Todt New

Ralf under fire after deer hunt
(GMM)  Struggling Toyota racer Ralf Schumacher has come under fire from an animal rights group.

PETA, supported by the 32-year-old German's brother Michael and his wife Corinna, reportedly wrote Ralf a scathing letter after it was discovered that he recently embarked on a deer-hunt in Serbia.

Cologne newspaper Express claims that PETA was outraged when it heard that Schumacher successfully shot and killed three animals.

PETA chairman Ingrid Newkirk was quoted as saying in the fax to Ralf: "Leave the deer in peace."

At the deer range in question, the location of the animals is apparently controlled so that well-paying amateur hunters are guaranteed a successful day.

Newkirk said a hunt of this type requires "about as much talent as shooting fish in a barrel", and urged Ralf to "follow the good example of your brother; not only regarding the winning or races but also in terms of kindness to animals".

Schumacher responded by telling Express that he always abides the law on hunts, and that they are not solely about killing animals.

Dennis blames FIA for Alonso mix-up
(GMM)  Ron Dennis has blamed the bad transcription of the World Motor Sport Council hearings for a misunderstanding with McLaren driver Fernando Alonso.

Alonso, 26, expressed surprise earlier this weekend when he denied Dennis' apparent admission to the Paris meeting that they were not on speaking terms.

"That was not true," the Spaniard had said.

Dennis responded by telling the Spanish news agency EFE at Fuji Speedway that the "transcription of the World Council was not very good" in quoting him as describing his chilly relationship with Alonso.

"The feeling inside the team is tense and competitive, but the emphasis that is being put on all of this (by the media) is ridiculous," he added.

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Australia race to be shown live in USA
Champ Car's Australian event on October 21st will be shown live in the USA at 11:30 PM (EDT) Saturday night, Oct. 20th on ESPN Classic. We originally had this race tape delayed on ESPN2 on our 2007 Champ Car race schedule page. ESPN Classic should ensure that another Champ Car race will get miniscule TV ratings in the USA.

Of course, ESPN Classic has recently (just in the last 4-6 weeks) been moved off of the basic or standard tier of most cable systems in the US, so despite the fact that ESPN execs stood up in front of all Champ Car promoters and race owners in February and promised to treat CCWS just like the IRL, they have failed and Champ Car has failed to hold them to their promises.

One would hope that in 2008 Champ Car gets their race schedule together early enough to avoid races on ESPN Classic. Because they finalize their next schedules so late in the season Champ Car has habitually been forced to take whatever TV inventory is left over.


Second season victory for Buemi
Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi (Mücke Motorsport) claimed victory in the 18th season round of the Formula 3 Euro Series at the 3.636 kilometres long Circuit Paul Armagnac. Kamui Kobayashi (ASM Formule 3) and Nico Hülkenberg (ASM Formule 3) finished second and third respectively in the race at Nogaro. Points leader Romain Grosjean (ASM Formule 3) didn’t finish any better than fifth and thus failed in deciding the title race early. With two rounds to go, he has a seven points’ margin over Buemi, who is his only remaining rival.

From fifth position on the grid, Buemi had a good start and was already second after the opening lap. On lap 13, he took the lead as erstwhile leader, Italian Edoardo Mortara (Signature-Plus) came in for a drive-through penalty because of a jump start. Until taking the checkered flag after 29 laps, the Mücke Motorsport driver remained under continuous pressure from Kobayashi. However, the 18-year old Swiss successfully held off all attacks and just drove his second victory of the season home ahead of the Japanese.

Sébastien Buemi (Mücke Motorsport): “I had a good start but I couldn’t keep up with Mortara. I took the lead as he came in for his penalty. It was a very difficult race, because Kobayashi kept putting me under pressure and I couldn’t make any mistakes. This victory is very important for me. Now, the battle for the title will be decided at Hockenheim.”

Kamui Kobayashi (ASM Formule 3): “It was a nice race that was real fun. I was faster than Buemi and tried to overtake him many times. However, there is only one place here where you can do so. Towards the end, I didn’t take all the risk anymore because I didn’t want to jeopardize my podium finish.”

Nico Hülkenberg (ASM Formule 3): “I had a great view of the battle that was going on in front of me between the two leaders. Unfortunately, they didn’t make any mistakes. Still, climbing up from sixth on the grid to third is quite a good performance.”

F3 Euroseries standings (after round 18 of 20):
1. Romain Grosjean 92
2. Sebastian Buemi 85
3. Nico Hulkenberg 62
4. Kamui Kobayashi 55

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Glock wins GP2 finale, title
Timo Glock claimed the GP2 championship in perfect style by dominating the final race of the season at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, controlling the pace from the start to win from local drivers Javier Villa and Andy Soucek.

With the title all but mathematically done the pressure was off the German, who responded with a storming start before walking away into the distance, slowing slightly in the closing laps to take the checkered flag by 5.4 seconds.

Villa started the second race from his familiar pole position, but when the lights went out Glock easily overtook his fellow front row starter to lead the field into the first turn, while behind the pair Soucek moved left from third on the grid to cover Borja Garcia, handing a clean run up the right hand side of the long straight to Marcos Martinez, who started like a rocket to put himself third position at the first corner.

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Jarrett considering variety of options for 2008
About two months ago, #44-Dale Jarrett approached officials from his sponsor, UPS, and essentially put his racing future in their hands. Together, they are mulling a number of options, including running a limited schedule next season or, perhaps, leaving the ride. "There's so many [scenarios], we couldn't get into it," Jarrett said Saturday at [Kansas] Speedway. "The only thing I can tell you, it can be anywhere from one to 36 races. The biggest factor, obviously we want to make Michael Waltrip Racing better, [but] the biggest thing, mainly, is what's best for UPS. It would be totally unfair to say they're forcing me to do something because that's not the case whatsoever. I want them to be able to do what's best, and they want me to do what's best. I have a tremendous relationship there. I feel fortunate to have the best sponsor in the business at the end of my career, and I want to do and give them what is best for them and what they deserve." Jarrett has been working television broadcasts with ESPN and ABC, but stressed his potential television career would not be a factor in his decision-making. What he has found this season is that while it has been disappointing not qualifying for races, he has enjoyed his time away from the track. "I have a whole different outlook on things now, I think my mindset is if they tell me that running the Daytona 500 and we do something different from that point, I'd be perfectly happy with that. If they say our program is built around you and our people really want you to run all 36 races, I can do that again, too. I'm happy with all of that." Jarrett said he would have a decision regarding his future within the next couple weeks. ESPN.com


Zaugg all the way in A1GP sprint
A1 Team South Africa has won the first race of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season at Circuit Park Zandvoort in The Netherlands, dominating the 12 lap race from start to finish. Zaugg was joined on the podium by A1 Team France and home nation A1 Team Netherlands in second and third position respectively.

Pole-sitter South Africa's Adrian Zaugg took the advantage as the pack crossed the line for the rolling start of the 20 minute Sprint race in mild but dry conditions. The field got away well as the rain clouds cleared, the only exception being A1 Team Australia's Ian Dyk who started from pit lane after stalling on the grid.

By lap three Zaugg had pulled out an impressive 2.5 second lead on A1 Team France and the South African continued to storm away from Loic Duval and third placed A1 Team Mexico. Zaugg was never really under threat from the rest of the field and by lap nine he had a comfortable lead over Duval of over five seconds. The gap was up to an incredible seven seconds by the penultimate lap and one lap later A1 Team South Africa took the chequered flag in first place, winning the season-opening Sprint race from pole for the second consecutive year.

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Q and A with NASCAR’s Robin Pemberton
Robin Pemberton is NASCAR’s vice president of competition, and as such oversees rules and regulations. That makes him NASCAR’s top cop. On Friday, he took a few minutes to answer some questions for The Kansas City Star.

Are you happy with the progress of the Car of Tomorrow?

Yes, very. I think the teams have adjusted well. I think the safety speaks for itself. I think last week at Dover it was quite evident that the car was very durable and did what it needed to do.

Is the Car of Tomorrow accomplishing its other goals of improving competition and reducing costs?

It seems to be. On the competition side, people judge races differently sometimes. Some only watch lead changes, and others watch racing as it goes on through the field — and that has surely improved. The entire field has gotten closer. I think when you look at the cost side, many of the teams have only raced only two chassis in all the races previous to the race last week, so the opportunity for cutting down the stable of cars that is needed to race for the year, it definitely shows that it has that ability.

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NASCAR again lets cheater keep race win
Kyle Busch's race-winning car in the Yellow Transportation 300 failed post-race inspection at Kansas Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Saturday night. Although NASCAR originally indicated the Hendrick Motorsports car passed but the intake manifold was being taken back to its Research and Development Center for further evaluation, NASCAR later determined that the intake manifold did indeed fail for not meeting NASCAR specifications. NASCAR still will confiscate the manifold for further evaluation.

Any penalties will be announced next week, but even though he probably would not have won the race with the illegal manifold, Busch will be allowed to keep the race win because this is NASCAR where cheaters get to keep their name in the winners column for the history book and sponsors still get all their post-race publicity. Frankly, if you are a team owner you have to wonder if it's not better to cheat and win every race. The record book will show you undefeated for the season and your sponsor will get their photo in all the race winner circle photos. Fans will leave the track and TV viewers will switch channels thinking the same guy wins week in and week out.

Sometimes it looks as if NASCAR just shoots from the hip, content to keep all these crews off-guard.

Rattling off the list of points-penalties and suspensions reads like a who’s who:

  • Gordon and Johnson were both hit with 100-point docks at Sonoma in June for fiddling with the front fenders of their Cars of Tomorrow, and their crew chiefs were suspended for six weeks.
  • Kurt Busch was docked 100 points for reckless driving on pit road at Dover in June.
  • Earnhardt took a 100-point hit messing with the rear wing on his Car of Tomorrow before the race at Darlington, and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. was suspended for six weeks.
  • Waltrip lost 100 points and his crew chief was suspended indefinitely after Waltrip's car was discovered pre-qualifying with an illegal gas additive at Daytona.
  • Kasey Kahne lost 50 points for a pre-race body violation at Daytona in February, and his crew chief was suspended for four races.
  • Matt Kenseth lost 50 points too for a pre-race body violation at Daytona, and his crew chief too was suspended four races.
  • Scott Riggs and teammate Elliott Sadler both lost 25 points and their crew chiefs were suspended two races for a similar pre-race Daytona violation.
  • Kyle Busch and Johnny Sauter both lost 25 points for their cars of tomorrow being too low on the nose post-race at Loudon in July.
  • Robby Gordon was docked 25 points for fiddling with an in-car TV camera at Daytona, discovered pre-race.
  • Tony Stewart was docked 25 points for using bad language on TV after winning at Indianapolis.
  • Jeremy Mayfield was docked 25 points for having illegal weight in his car at California, discovered in pre-qualifying inspection.
  • And in the playoffs, Edwards has just been docked 25 points.

Is there any consistency? What has NASCAR been trying to say in all this?


Hertz partners with A1GP Zandvoort race
Hertz Netherlands has been confirmed as the official rental car partner to the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport for its 2007/08 season opener at the Circuit Park Zandvoort from 28-30 September 2007.

Hertz activated its partnership with the event though trackside signage branding, corporate hospitality and the display of Premium Hertz rental cars in the paddock and public areas.

A1GP's chief executive officer, Pete da Silva said; 'I am delighted to welcome Hertz as the official rental car partner to the A1GP Zandvoort event. Hertz is a well known premium international brand and the world's leading vehicle renting organization. Following our successful relationship around the 2006 event, Hertz has once again recognized our international values and aspirations and we are certainly pleased to have their association.'

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