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Practice 3: Schumacher fastest, then crashes Practice 3: Schumacher fastest, then crashesThey say that rain is the great equalizer. Michael Schumacher showed he is still the most talented driver in F1 despite his age as he lapped the wet 5.807km Suzuka circuit over two second faster than anyone else Saturday morning, but then lost control of his F2005 on his second timed lap and crashed.

Despite going off and damaging the front left of his Ferrari, Schumacher and the team will be encouraged to note their wet weather pace, especially as the rain is expected to hit not just the fourth and final practice session, but the all-important qualifying session later on today.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'46"543 196.214 Km/h
 2. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'48"729 + 0'02"186
 3. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'49"097 + 0'02"554
 4. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'49"484 + 0'02"941
 5. 8 PIZZONIA Williams BMW M 1'50"537 + 0'03"994
 6. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'50"811 + 0'04"268
 7. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'50"846 + 0'04"303
 8. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'51"884 + 0'05"341
 9. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'52"023 + 0'05"480
10. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'52"700 + 0'06"157
11. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'53"346 + 0'06"803
12. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'53"454 + 0'06"911
13. 15 KLIEN RedBull Cosworth M 1'54"348 + 0'07"805

Truex Jr. wins Kansas Busch pole Truex Jr. wins Kansas Busch poleMartin Truex Jr. has won the Busch Pole for Saturday's United Way 300 at Kansas Speedway, his second pole of the season and the ninth of his Busch Series career. Truex toured the 1.5-mile Kansas oval in 30.178 seconds, an average speed of 178.938 mph. Jon Wood will start second after clocking in at 178.832/30.196. Clint Bowyer, who trails Truex Jr. by 26 points for the Busch Series lead, will start 10th.
Jönsson on Top After Rainy Friday Jönsson on Top After Rainy FridayHeavy rainfall throughout much of the morning made the track at Virginia International Raceway slick, but overcast skies stayed dry enough for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series to complete the first practice sessions for this weekend’s VIR 400 (Sunday, October 9, SPEED Channel, LIVE, 1:00 p.m. ET) without any major incidents but plenty of on-track action.

The weather hardly slowed No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG co-driver Nic Jönsson, who recorded the fastest lap of the day with a 2:04.464 (94.582 mph).  Jönsson, co-driving with team co-owner Tracy Krohn this weekend in Round 13 of the 14-race 2005 schedule, is looking for his second victory of the season.  His earlier triumph came in a rainy victory with Krohn at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen this past June.

“We were fighting a small hesitation in the motor at the beginning of the session, but the guys were able to fix it,” Jönsson said.  “We were not too bad, it is really slippery out there today.  I concentrate on being smooth with the brake, maybe one gear higher everywhere and easy on the power.  Maybe we can have a repeat of the Sahlen’s Glen race in June when we won.” zzzz

Jönsson edged Daytona Prototype championship co-leader Max Angelelli, who recorded a 2:04.725 (94.384 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley late in the afternoon session to claim the second overall spot.  Angelelli and teammate Wayne Taylor come into VIR with a 39-point championship lead over No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Lexus Riley teammates Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz (379-340).

“It was very difficult with the weather and a bit of traffic during the session,” Angelelli said. “I couldn’t see anything in front of me, but hopefully by Sunday we’ll have a dry race.  The car was very good, I was really happy with it.  It was fast out there during the wet conditions and will probably be even better on a dry track.”  

Memo Gidley powered the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley to the third overall spot with a quick lap of 2:05.332 (93.927 mph).  The No. 99 Gainsco/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley was fourth, with a 2:06.419 (93.119 mph) by Alex Gurney.  Matteo Bobbi rounded out the top five in the No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve Ford Doran and a lap time of 2:07.095 (92.624 mph).

IndyCar Series represented at A1GP event IndyCar Series represented at A1GP eventScott Dixon is not the only Indy Racing League competitor visiting the A1 Grand Prix of Nations event at EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany this weekend. Panther Racing drivers Tomas Enge and Tomas Scheckter will compete for the Czech Republic and South Africa, respectively in the event, while Scott Sharp will attend the event to provide A1 Team USA and driver Scott Speed guidance and counsel.  "With this talented assembly of professionals, I'm looking forward to attending my first A1 Grand Prix race with the objective of getting Scott Speed up on the winner's podium," said Sharp. "This series is going to be competitive and I'm ready to get to work for A1 Team USA."
Castroneves profiled in Sports Illustrated Castroneves profiled in Sports IllustratedMarlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves is one of three racers profiled in the SI Players section of the Oct. 10 issue of Sports Illustrated.  The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner joins NASCAR Nextel Cup standouts Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the "My Best Friend...In Another Sport" feature.  Castroneves' best friend is Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez, whom he met at the Super Bowl in February. The two, who both own homes in Miami, have lunch together in Coral Gables at the Italian restaurant Carmelo's.  "He's a hell of a driver," says Rodriguez of the two-time Indy 500 champ, whom he phones before races to wish luck.  Although Rodriguez made his 12th All-Star team this year, his skill remains lost on Castroneves. "I watch games," he says, "but I don't understand."
Drive for Diversity names Kryder Drive for Diversity names KryderDrive for Diversity has named Bryan Kryder its program director, effective Oct. 17. The announcement was made by Greg Calhoun, CEO of Access Marketing & Communications, which manages the program. Kryder will take over the position following the program’s 2006 Driver Evaluation and Testing Combine.

Kryder comes to Drive for Diversity from International Speedway Corporation, where he served as Director, Consumer Marketing – New Business.  He worked with a variety of clients to develop and implement marketing plans to activate sports sponsorships.  Kryder began his career in the Indianapolis area, working in a variety of areas, including a race team, sports marketing agency and a media property.  Kryder is noted by Access to have the experience and knowledge to succeed in the Program Director role.

“Bryan brings the voice of experience and knowledge of the industry to the important Drive for Diversity role,” Calhoun said. “He is a dedicated, exceptional person who will do great justice to the program. Bryan understands the opportunities we are offering ethnic and gender minority driver and crew member candidates, and brings an exhilarating attitude towards his new position.  We are excited to have him leading our Drive for Diversity team.”

No. 15 to stay with DEI No. 15 to stay with DEIDEI VP of Motorsports, Richie Gilmore told Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio - that the #15 is not going anywhere: "We're going to run the 1, 8, and 15 again next year and we're working on some sponsorship right now. We have some sponsor stuff in place to run the 15 next year on a partial schedule. There is some possibilities...there's a real small window you know probably by Charlotte everybody has to have their deal signed up. But we have enough stuff right now sponsorship in place to run at least ten races with the 15. But we're just looking at our options of maybe running three (cars) full time. So we haven't ruled that out but it's a short time frame where we close that window."

Gilmore said the benefits of having at least a partial schedule with the #15 are that doing so would give Paul Menard more time at the cup level. They would run him at Daytona and have three partners down there to draft and it would also help them use the full test schedule with all three teams. And as to NAPA taking the 15 number with Michael Waltrip - "That is something Dale (Earnhardt) personally went to Bud Moore and put together and had, has a lot of pride in that number and so does Theresa," Gilmore told Claire B. Lang. "We've had fans both ways saying Michael deserves that number and if they know the history of DEI they know that's not true. That's our number. We have a lot of pride in it as a company and that number will stay with DEI."

CBL: "You're sure you won't give number up:?

Gilmore: "I'm positive. That number will stay with DEI. Yes, we appreciate the time we've had with NAPA and with Michael but just because Michael was there for five years in that car I don't see where he deserves that number. He was in the number 30. Go get that," Gilmore said. He added that Waltrip talked to DEI about it and wanted to reassure Theresa. that it was something that NAPA wanted because they had equity in it but that he was fine looking at other numbers. XM Satellite NASCAR Radio

Racing News
Max Papis on Speedfreaks Radio Saturday Max Papis on Speedfreaks Radio SaturdayMax Papis, driver of the number 66/Krohn Racing/TRG/Pontiac Riley will make a return to the Speedfreaks radio program on Saturday, October 8th at approximately 4:20 p.m. EST.  The Miami, Florida resident will discuss the season to date, his participation in this weekend’s Grand American Rolex Series VIR 400, as well as his exploits in the Speed Channel World Challenge Series, American Le Mans Series and the IROC Series.  He will discuss his full racing schedule with Speedfreaks Stat Mann Caruthers, Crash Gladys, Kenny Sargent and Lugg Nuttz.  The show is broadcast on 200 radio stations around the country, including Sirius Satellite.

Speedfreaks is broadcast from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT on Saturdays and Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT.  Please refer to www.speedfreaks.tv for a listing of affiliate radio stations in your area that carry the program.

A1 Grand Prix
A1 GP Friday results A1 GP Friday resultsThe close competition between A1 Teams proved for an exciting start to the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Germany as their positions continued to change throughout the two sessions.

A1 Team Great Britain recorded the fastest lap for the first official practice session with driver, Robbie Kerr saying: 'Obviously it went well in the first session as I was quickest but we have still got work to do. It was good that the time was fast enough to put us third overall at the end of the day. For session 2 we worked on getting a balance on older tires. We ended up sixth fastest in the second session which isn't too bad but not where we want to be. We know what is making the difference now and so can move forward and tomorrow we are determined to stay at the top of the time sheets.'

The fastest lap in the second session was recorded by A1 Team France's Nicolas Lapierre. He commented: 'It has been a good day. This morning was difficult because the team has never been here and nor have I. This made it difficult to find some marks but the team did a really good job this afternoon. We had a small problem on the front wing so had to change it and also a problem with the brakes, but these were very small problems. So far so good, we have to keep pushing tomorrow morning and then we will go for qualifying.'

Recording the second fastest lap over all A1 Team Ireland's Ralph Firman, who will make his A1GP race debut this weekend, said: 'It was okay but on this circuit there are no quick corners, they are just very, very long corners and we are struggling with oversteer. It is nice to be back in a single seater although it felt a bit alien to start with. I am slowly getting back to being used to driving a single seater after not driving one properly for two years. I think everyone has now done more days testing than I have so now are ahead of us. It was a good start but there is more to come.'

Official Practice Session 1 (13.00 - 14.00)

 A1 Team Driver Time No. Laps
1 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 1.34.675 19
2 France Nicholas Lapierre 1.34.698 22
3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. 1.34.784 23
4 Germany Timo Scheider 1.35.043 21
5 Switzerland Neel Jani 1.35.063 25
6 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1.35.125 17
7 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 1.35.155 19
8 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 1.35.321 22
9 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 1.35.543 20
10 Canada Sean McIntosh 1.35.614 28
11 USA Scott Speed 1.35.631 18
12 Ireland Ralph Firman 1.35.795 22
13 New Zealand Jonny Reid 1.35.961 23
14 Pakistan Adam Khan 1.36.000 21
15 Portugal Alvaro Parente 1.36.198 19
16 Mexico David Martinez 1.36.313 23
17 Malaysia Alex Yoong 1.36.723 20
18 Austria Mathias Lauda 1.37.012 11
19 Japan Hideki Noda 1.37.125 21
20 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 1.37.408 11r
21 India Armaan Ebrahim 1.37.739 24
22 Lebanon Khalil Beschir 1.37.788 18
23 Australia Christian Jones 1.37.913 22
24 China Tengyi Jiang 1.38.594 21

Official Practice session 2 (16.00 - 17.00)
 A1 Team Driver Time No. Laps
1 France Nicolas Lapierre 1.34.150 18
2 Ireland Ralph Firman 1.34.525 25
3 Germany Timo Scheider 1.34.722 24
4 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 1.34.783 22
5 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1.34.788 12
6 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 1.34.800 20
7 Switzerland Neel Jani 1.34.864 21
8 USA Scott Speed 1.34.932 20
9 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. 1.34.988 23
10 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 1.35.047 19
11 Canada Sean McIntosh 1.35.054 22
12 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 1.35.375 24
13 New Zealand Jonny Reid 1.35.390 25
14 Pakistan Adam Khan 1.35.877 11
15 Portugal Alvaro Parente 1.36.057 17
16 Mexico David Martinez 1.36.167 23
17 Malaysia Faruz Fazuy 1.36.242 19
18 Japan Hideki Noda 1.36.284 25
19 China Tengyi Jiang 1.37.231 28
20 India Karun Chandhok 1.37.452 21
21 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 1.37.497 12
22 Austria Mathias Lauda 1.37.571 22
23 Australia Christian Jones 1.37.632 24

The times for A1 Team Lebanon were disallowed following a regulation infringement in which the Team failed to notify A1 Grand Prix of a change to the nominated driver.

Foyt IV quits IRL Foyt IV quits IRLA.J. Foyt IV will relinquish his role as driver of A.J. Foyt’s No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Chevrolet. Foyt IV is being released from his contract with A.J. Foyt Enterprises effective after the IRL IndyCar Series’ final race at California Speedway Sunday, October 16th

“Anthony wants to try his hand at NASCAR,” said family patriarch and Indy car team owner A.J. Foyt. “He’s learned a lot since we began working together in 2002 but now it’s time for him to learn from someone else. He’s still young and I’m sure some of the advice I’ve given him will start to sink in when he hears it from someone other than me. I admit I’m a little nervous about trusting him to the world because he is young. At the same time, I think we both realize it’s time for him to spread his wings. I’ll still keep an eye on him no matter where he goes because he is my grandson and that will never change.”

“I will always appreciate the chance my grandfather has given me,” said Foyt IV, who turned 21 this past May. “I’ve learned tons working with him and his team, especially how you have to keep working together to make progress. My grandfather has shown a lot of faith in me by allowing me to drive his cars and by sticking by me when times got rough. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am today. Now I have an opportunity to try something different which I’m excited about and I hope works out well.”

Foyt indicated that there are several veteran drivers who are candidates for the full-time ride in the ABC Supply No. 14 car next year but he is in no rush to name Foyt IV’s successor.

While driving for Foyt Enterprises, young Foyt won numerous karting titles as well as the 2001 Formula Continental Southwest Regional title and the 2002 IRL Infiniti Pro Series title. He began driving junior dragsters when he was nine and moved into karts two years later. In the IndyCar Series, he holds the record for being the youngest driver ever to compete in the Indianapolis 500 which he did on his 19th birthday in 2003 and the youngest driver ever to compete in the IRL IndyCar Series. To date, his career best start is sixth at Chicagoland Speedway (last year) while his career best finish is ninth, posted at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Kentucky Speedway this season.

Sato 'expects' 2006 ride Sato 'expects' 2006 rideTakuma Sato says he is 'expecting' to still be on the '06 F1 grid. The Japanese driver, recently told he would not be required at Honda-owned BAR beyond this season, admitted an 'offer' from the mysterious Honda b-team, but also says he has 'more options' to keep racing.

''I can't say a lot,'' Sato, 28, remarked at Suzuka.  ''I'm obviously excited about this offer. I am expecting to race in 2006, whether with a new team or an existing team. So having had this great opportunity and more options, it's just such exciting information.  It is a shame I can't stay at BAR-Honda, but now I have more open doors and I can develop my own future.''

USAC taking risk with new Speedway cars USAC taking risk with new Speedway carsThis Indy Star article talks about the risks associated with racing tube framed, front engine, open wheel cars on fast high banked ovals.  Let's cut right to the chase.  We hope they don't kill too many drivers.  This is just the France family's influence to get everyone to think of 'racing' as stadium-style oval track racing on banked tracks.....conveniently owned by the France family.  Dirt racing may eventually be a thing of the past.
Rahal slams the IRL Rahal slams the IRLUPDATE A reader adds, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I listened to the Rahal interview. Graham is like a breath of fresh air and I look forward to seeing him in Champ Car someday. It should be noted that Rahal and Matos smoked Marco Andretti, the IRL's next poster boy, in Star Mazda all year. These two are Champ Car material. If Michael Andretti wants to endanger his son by running on the ludicrous high banked tracks in fast open wheel cars, so be it. I pray he doesn't kill himself. Stan Lurch, Pittsburgh, PA

10/06/05 Graham Rahal, son of racing legend Bobby Rahal, slams the IRL in this exclusive interview with AutoRacing1.com. "I don't want to spend my life on ovals, and IRL needs to face that." said Rahal.

"I love Champ Cars. I grew up a Champ Car fan. I have always been biased against the ovals. Indy would be fun once, but I am not going to spend my life on ovals because it's not worth my life. By no means am I in a rush to drive IRL cars.

"This may cause issues, but my dad doesn't want me driving IRL cars because he doesn't want me driving on ovals." If that isn't enough to whet your appetite, listen to the rest of this provocative interview.

[Editor's Note: When you listen to this 16-year old you will realize he's mature beyond his years.  He's already firm in what he believes in, despite what his famous father says.  It will be interesting to see if the Andretti family puts Marco Andretti in the above situation, or thinks twice and moves him to Champ Cars as well in 2007, to do battle with Graham Rahal and Al Unser III.....while Danica Patrick goes head-to-head with Katherine Legge.  It could be exciting and many are hoping the mass exodus from the IRL will lead to a capitulation by the IRL followed by a reinvigorated united IndyCar/Champ Car series.] 

France wants Bubbas to burn their flags France wants Bubbas to burn their flagsNASCAR CEO Brian France doesn't like fans flying Confederate flags at races as he tries to make stock-car racing more appealing to minorities and women.

"It's not a flag that I look at with anything favorable. That's for sure," he said in an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes to be aired Sunday. "I can't tell people what flag to fly. I can tell you the flag we get behind: It's the American flag."

France is trying to broaden stock-car racing's appeal with minorities in places like Los Angeles, where France moved the important Labor Day NASCAR event last year, and New York, soon to have a track.

"(Reaching out to minorities) is something I work on every day. I work on it personally," France said.

Among those efforts, France counts running a NASCAR event in Mexico and establishing a training program for female and minority drivers. And he doesn't believe the racial stereotypes associated with the Confederate flag will affect NASCAR.  "I think it's a fading image," France said. USA Today

Dodge: More Cup less Trucks Dodge: More Cup less TrucksDodge, which has fielded teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since its inception in 1995, will instead focus more on Nextel Cup Series next season. 

"Dodge has competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for many years and has won three manufacturer's titles and one driver's championship," said Bob Wildberger, senior manager for Dodge Motorsports' NASCAR operations.

"But our primary focus in NASCAR is to win more NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races and the Nextel Cup Series manufacturer and driver's championships."

Wildberger called the move a "business decision." Dodge has not decided what level of support the manufacturer would continue to provide teams in the Truck series.

A1 Grand Prix
A1 GP drivers for Germany A1 GP drivers for GermanyAll A1 Teams have now announced their drivers that may take part in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, EuroSpeedway Lausitz.

A1 Team Driver 1 Driver 2
Australia Christian Jones
Austria Mathias Lauda
Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr Fabio Carbone
Canada Sean McIntosh
China Qinghua Ma Tengyi Jiang
Czech Republic Tomas Enge
France Nicholas Lapierre Alexandre Premat
Germany Timo Scheider
Great Britain Robbie Kerr
India Karun Chandhok Armaan Ebrahim
Indonesia Ananda Mikola
Ireland Ralph Firman
Italy Enricco Toccacelo Richard Antinucci
Japan Hideki Noda
Lebanon Khalil Beschir Basil Shaaban
Malaysia Alex Yoong Fairuz Fauzy
Mexico David Martinez
Netherlands Jos Verstappen Jeroen Bleekemolen
New Zealand Jonny Reid
Pakistan Adam Khan
Portugal Alvaro Parente Joao Urbano
South Africa Tomas Scheckter Stephen Simpson
Switzerland Neel Jani
USA Scott Speed

Panasonic renews with Toyota F1 team Panasonic renews with Toyota F1 teamPanasonic and Toyota announced today that they have agreed and signed a contract to renew Panasonic's title sponsorship of the Formula One program.

Panasonic has been Toyota F1's title sponsor since the team entered into the series in 2002, and the current contract is valid through the end of 2006. The renewed, three-year contract is valid through the end of 2009. The team, the name of which — Panasonic Toyota Racing — remains the same, will continue challenging Formula One Championships at circuits around the world.

Panasonic and TMC have been building a longstanding business relationship through such activities as joint development of automotive AV equipment and batteries for hybrid cars, and both partners hope to continue strengthening their cooperation through the F1 program.

Japanese GP: Friday Press Conference and Quotes Japanese GP: Friday Press Conference and QuotesParticipating in Friday's Japanese GP Press Conference: Jarno Trulli (Toyota), Takuma Sato (BAR-Honda), Yasuhiro Wada (Honda), Tsutomu Tomita (Toyota). Transcript Team Quotes
Ferrari 2nd but under no illusions Ferrari 2nd but under no illusionsSecond place for Michael Schumacher and fourth for Rubens Barrichello at the end of the first day of practice for the penultimate grand prix of the year. It looks good on paper, but the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team and its drivers are not under any illusions about the performance level of their package. The apparently good times are due mainly to different approaches taken to the two hours of track time by the teams. Ferrari’s weather forecast turned out to be a touch more accurate than that of its rivals. They all expected rain early in the afternoon and therefore did more running on new tires in the morning. Michael and Rubens did things in reverse and completed a high number of dry laps in the afternoon on new tires, as the rain arrived only towards the end of the second hour. Even if this performance can therefore be seen as optimistic, both drivers were happy with the balance of their cars and the general performance level of the F2005 package. Ferrari.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ferrari to start '06 with new car
'Nothing's changed' - Alonso
Another blow for Kimi
'Schu's still no.1' - rivals
JV drives for his F1 career
Suzuka set to get wet
Schu's note to Alonso
Button's '100:0' statistic
'We'll blow Renault away'
Honda to leave BAR structure alone
Piston failure for Kimi
Ferrari run 'Turin 2006' logo
Zonta thrills Japanese in practice 2 in Japan Zonta thrills Japanese in practice 2 in JapanSome elements of today followed the usual Friday pattern with team third drivers dominant: Ricardo Zonta was quickest for Toyota, while Pedro de la Rosa was third for McLaren-Mercedes. Fifth was Kimi Raikkonen, unfortunately following a “tradition” his team would like to see the back of, as the Finn will be penalized ten places on the starting grid, for the fourth time this year, after he suffered an engine failure in the morning. Rounding off the top six is the Toyota of Ralf Schumacher.

Some drivers, like Montoya who saw his teammates engine blow in the first session, elected to run very few laps to save their engines.

There was one new name on the time sheet: Sakon Yamamoto drove the third car for Jordan and the local boy did rather well, setting the 17th time, beating a Sauber and a Red Bull as well as both Minardis and his own teammates.

Kimi Raikkonen suffered an engine failure towards the end of the first practice session necessitating an engine change, which means - yet again - he will lose ten places on the grid for Sunday's race.

Luckily for Mercedes though, Kimi's only a tad upset by it all.

"Obviously I'm a bit disappointed with the engine failure which stopped my first practice session prematurely," he said in the understatement of the season.

"However, we managed to get some running in the second practice, and there is still plenty of time left tomorrow morning."

And, on the bright side, at least the Finn's McLaren MP4-20 isn't giving him any problems: "The balance is basically okay."

Although Raikkonen did add that a lot would "depend on what the weather will do for the rest of the weekend." 
Pos Driver Team Tires Time Gap Laps
 1. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:30.682 21
 2. M. Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:31.716 + 1.034 16
 3. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:31.821 + 1.139 28
 4. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:32.267 + 1.585 15
 5. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:32.849 + 2.167 13
 6. R. Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:32.917 + 2.235 13
 7. Trulli Toyota (M) 1:33.122 + 2.440 13
 8. Alonso Renault (M) 1:33.259 + 2.577 7
 9. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:33.453 + 2.771 20
10. Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:33.520 + 2.838 14
11. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:33.563 + 2.881 11
12. Pizzonia Williams-BMW (M) 1:33.679 + 2.997 14
13. Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:34.330 + 3.648 16
14. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:34.400 + 3.718 7
15. Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:34.421 + 3.739 17
16. Klien Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:34.707 + 4.025 12
17. Yamamoto Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:34.829 + 4.147 19
18. Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:34.874 + 4.192 18
19. Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:34.977 + 4.295 7
20. Doornbos Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:35.150 + 4.468 8
21. Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:35.388 + 4.706 12
22. Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:37.371 + 6.689 5
23. Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:37.626 + 6.944 7
24. Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:38.034 + 7.352 7

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
FORMULA ONE - Qualifying
Japanese Grand Prix
12:00 a.m.-1:30 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'Inside Grand Prix'
Japanese Grand Prix
1:30 a.m.-2:00 a.m. ET, SPEED
'NASCAR Live!'
Kansas Speedway
11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Banquet 400
Kansas Speedway
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'Champ Car Garage'
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET (Replay) SPEED
United Way 300
Kansas Speedway
2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (Live) NBC
'Race Car Driver'
Episodes 5 and 6, Cleveland and Toronto
7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Replay) WGN
'NASCAR Live!'
Kansas Speedway
7:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED

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

McLaren and de la Rosa top practice 1 in Japan McLaren and de la Rosa top practice 1 in JapanWhile Kimi Raikkonen had another of his Mercedes engines blow up (take 10 grid positions off his qualifying position now), test driver Pedro de la Rosa turned the fastest lap time of the session to bring the Woking squad some joy.   Results of the Friday morning practice for the Japanese GP at Suzuka.:
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 35 DE LA ROSA McLaren Mercedes M 1'30"532 230.915 Km/h
 2. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'31"075 + 0'00"543
 3. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'32"043 + 0'01"511
 4. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'32"229 + 0'01"697
 5. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'32"321 + 0'01"789
 6. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'32"370 + 0'01"838
 7. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'32"470 + 0'01"938
 8. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'32"791 + 0'02"259
 9. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'33"098 + 0'02"566
10. 15 KLIEN RedBull Cosworth M 1'33"139 + 0'02"607
11. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'33"257 + 0'02"725
12. 37 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'33"441 + 0'02"909
13. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'33"486 + 0'02"954
14. 8 PIZZONIA Williams BMW M 1'33"528 + 0'02"996
15. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'33"645 + 0'03"113
16. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'33"700 + 0'03"168
17. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'33"735 + 0'03"203
18. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'33"886 + 0'03"354
19. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'34"535 + 0'04"003
20. 39 YAMAMOTO Jordan Toyota B 1'36"295 + 0'05"763
21. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'37"153 + 0'06"621
22. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'37"154 + 0'06"622
23. 20 DOORNBOS Minardi Cosworth B 1'37"816 + 0'07"284
24. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'38"250 + 0'07"718
CeddyBear liked Champ Car's global appeal CeddyBear liked Champ Car's global appealNew Champ Car team co-owner Cedric the Entertainer (lovingly called CeddyBear from the comedy roles he played on Hollywood) picked Champ Car over NASCAR and the IRL to become involved as a team owner. 

"I definitely would say that Champ Car was the most appealing to me. One, I thought it offered me the most opportunity. Especially here in the United States, the NASCAR series attracts a lot of people.  But the Champ Car Series, it seems to offer the most opportunity for me to come in and be able to make a difference, make an immediate mark and bring something to the team. The profile of the Champ Car Series is definitely growing.

"I also found it beneficial to me in the sense that it had international appeal. I thought that that would really help. I could use that in both ways, both as a movie star and also being involved in the world of racing to be able to just increase the profile of the Champ Car Series, mixing it with my celebrity status, as well as taking my celebrity status and using it in this international media of racing and be able to gain appeal all around the world like that.

"I was excited about that and thought it offered me the best opportunity, then the opportunity, again, to make an immediate impact in this world. That's why I really looked at Champ Car."

CTE-HVM team hospitality will be the place to be CTE-HVM team hospitality will be the place to beComedian Cedric The Entertainer plans to make the CTE-HVM team hospitality a fun place to be. "Oh, I definitely plan to be involved according to how my schedule permits. I enjoy the races. I definitely am excited about the opportunity of making our hospitality fun and entertaining when we're at the races and I want to be a part of that, to get in and mingle with the crowds, these huge crowds that come out to see the auto racing, to be part of that energy, that live energy."
Cheever Group names new director of partnership development Cheever Group names new director of partnership developmentKent Thomas has joined Cheever Group as its new director of partnership development.  In this role, Thomas will work with the organization’s existing partners to help them maximize bottom-line returns on their sponsorship investment.  In addition, searching for new partners with promotional aspirations in motorsports also will be a focal point of his efforts. [Editor's Note: We wonder if this includes looking for a replacement for Red Bull]
Thomas has been involved in the business of motorsports for the past 14 years, primarily from the corporate sponsorship development side.  He has specialized in the packaging and activation of many successful corporate partnerships in various forms of professional motorsports, including the Indy Racing League, NASCAR and Grand Am.  Successful consumer and business-to-business promotions are a hallmark of his motorsports strategies, built on behalf of many well-known, national brands. Thomas joins the company after most recently working as the chief marketing officer for Indianapolis-based motorsports agency, Just Marketing.
“It has long been my belief that in order to achieve the best possible result, one must employ the best talent available. This is true both on the racetrack and in the boardroom. Kent’s experience and passion for the commercial aspects of racing will be a great asset to our organization,” said Cheever Group president and CEO, Eddie Cheever Jr.
Cheever Group is a conglomerate of companies owned by Indianapolis 500 winner, Eddie Cheever Jr. that specializes in technology, operations and marketing services in the American motorsports industry. The organization includes Red Bull Cheever Racing, which is completing its 10th season in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series and Alleanza, a marketing and public relations agency.
A useful gap in the schedule for Penske A useful gap in the schedule for PenskeWith two weekends away from the track, Team Penske has utilized its time wisely to not only ensure they are thoroughly prepared for the final IndyCar Series event at California Speedway, but to also look ahead to the final checkered flag of the 2005 IndyCar Series season.

“The break in the race schedule allows us the time to get caught up as well as look ahead to what we need to accomplish during the off-season,” explained Team Manager Tom Wurtz. “After Watkins Glen, we had a lot of work to do to repair the chassis of the cars Helio and Sam damaged during the race weekend. With this gap in the schedule, the crew has ample time to make sure that the cars are repaired adequately as well as changed over to a superspeedway set-up from the road course set-up to compete in Fontana.”

The two weeks that they have at their shop in Reading, PA is definitely welcomed by the Team Penske crew as there was extensive damage done to the primary cars when Sam Hornish Jr. was involved in a Saturday incident and Helio Castroneves was involved in an accident on the final lap of the race at the historic road course in Watkins Glen. zzzz
With the rigors of the schedule, the repair process is usually a hectic one as the chassis not only needs to be repaired, but re- painted as well. While the chassis is being re-painted the crew is helpless to do any additional work to it, so there's often a lot of pressure on the painters to finish because the car needs to be prepared to go back out on the track. Fortunately, there was enough time to not only fix the chassis, but have it re-painted as well without a time pressure adding to the workload.

In addition to the repairs that needed to be made after Watkins Glen, the Team was also able to carefully crack check and inventory all of the road course components for next year, which got them ahead of the game as it's one less thing that will need to be completed in the off-season. Aside from dealing with road course components, the Team also finished a few projects left over from the last oval race at Chicagoland Speedway.

With the time away from the track, the team was able to rotate the primary and back-up cars, touch up the paint on the back-up cars and conduct extensive tests on all of the team's equipment and components.

"Another helpful thing that these couple weeks allow us is the chance to look ahead to the off-season,” Wurtz continued. “The pace has slowed down a bit and we can settle back into our normal routine. We'll begin inspecting our inventory and determine what equipment needs to be updated or replaced. We also have the chance to take a look at what we'll need to accomplish in the off-season as far as testing, scheduling and any other planning that needs to be done.”

Clearly, while the IndyCar Series may not be competing on the track, Team Penske is hard at work making sure that they are not only maintaining their focus for the season finale in Fontana, but also staying ahead of the game by beginning to plan for next season. Team Penske

NASCAR suspends DEI driver NASCAR suspends DEI driverRyan Moore, a regular in the NASCAR Busch North Series and development driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc., has been suspended from all NASCAR series through Oct. 31 for an incident in last weekend's Busch North race in Lakeville, Conn.  The suspension is the result of a post race incident between Moore and series rookie Sean Caisse.

The suspension will mean Moore will miss the season-finale this weekend. Moore is currently third in points, trailing leader Andy Santerre and Mike Stefanik.

Moore has driven a limited Busch Series schedule for DEI this season. His next scheduled race with them was the series-finale at Homestead, Fla., next month.

However, Moore will likely miss a Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta DEI was attempting to put together for him, DEI's vice president for motorsports, Richie Gilmore said.

"I don't have a lot of comment other than to say Mike Helton has made it very clear that NASCAR is not going to tolerate retaliation. Unfortunately, I think Ryan had to learn a hard lesson," Gilmore said. ThatsRacin.com

NASCAR suspends another drug user NASCAR suspends another drug userNASCAR on Thursday suspended crew chief Glenn Darrow indefinitely for violating its substance abuse policy.  Darrow, crew chief for Tony Raines' Nextel Cup car, was tested for banned substances last Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway. The results were positive, leading to an automatic suspension.  NASCAR did not identify the substance and several series officials did not immediately return phone messages left Thursday.

Darrow becomes the second person suspended by NASCAR this season for failing a substance abuse test.   Busch Series regular Shane Hmiel will not be allowed to return to NASCAR before 2007 after failing a test earlier this season. It is Hmiel's second suspension - he also failed a test in September 2003.

NASCAR's substance abuse policy, based on ``reasonable suspicion,'' allows the sanctioning organization to broadly administer tests anytime, anywhere.

Danica can't head down Anna Kournikova road Danica can't head down Anna Kournikova roadDanicamania reached a fever pitch as she placed fourth in the Indianapolis 500 May 29, after leading with seven laps to go. The race brought ABC a 6.6 TV rating, up 40 percent from last year and the highest-rated Indy 500 since 1996. ESPN, which splits coverage of IRL races with ABC, had its two highest-rated IRL broadcasts in races Patrick was part of after Indy.

While IRL tracks don't release attendance figures media estimates peg crowds at up to 30 percent above last year's levels at races this year.  All of these gains are thanks to Danica, experts agree. "I don't think you can point to anything else that's spiked ratings," says Bob Williams, president of Burns Sports & Celebrities in Evanston, Ill., a sports marketing firm.

And it's the All-American good looks of the 5-foot-2, 100-pound Patrick that have brought much of the attention. The Roscoe, Ill. native showed off most of her body in an FHM photo spread. Web sites featuring the provocative FHM pictures of Patrick on the hood of a car received so many hits from viewers during the week of the Indy 500 that several of the sites crashed.

"Clearly we live in an age where looks create interest, and she certainly has been able to take advantage of that," says Paul Swangard, director of the University of Oregon's sports marketing center.

Already Patrick has alienated some of her fellow drivers with the outsized attention she has drawn without winning a race. Four racers, including Indy 500 champ Dan Wheldon, refused to participate in an autograph session this summer in Milwaukee after IRL set up a separate signing area for Patrick.

"You look at someone like Wheldon, he's having a great year, but USA Today ran a story a few weeks ago about who is this guy?" said Mark Howell, author of numerous books and articles about auto racing and a professor of communications at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.

If Patrick doesn't win any races soon, it won't just be a matter of bruised egos for her competitors. It will also lead IRL's new fans to abandon the racing series, experts say.

"She's in danger of the Anna Kournikova syndrome," Howell says of Patrick. Kournikova, who is now retired from competitive tennis, built up an impressive endorsement portfolio and fan base thanks to her good looks, but never won a pro tournament.  More at Fox Sports

NASCAR Talladega TV rating NASCAR Talladega TV ratingUPDATE NBC drew a 5.3 national 'final' rating and 11 share for last week's NASCAR Nextel Cup Racing from Talladega, off slightly from 2004 (5.4/12) and representing a 77 percent increase over 2000, the last year before NBC began broadcasting the event (3.0 converted national rating on ESPN). NBC & TNT's average 2005 rating is a 4.6 through 12 races, up 2 percent over 2004 and up 59 percent over 2000 (2.9 through 13 races). The top ten metered markets for NBC's Talladega broadcast are as follows: 1) Greensboro, NC 13.1; 2) Greenville, SC 12.7; 3) Knoxville, TN 12.6; 4) Birmingham, AL 12.0; 5) Charlotte, NC 10.9; 6) Louisville, KY 9.8; 7) Atlanta, GA 9.3; 8) Jacksonville, FL 8.5; 9) Raleigh-Durham, NC 8.3; t10) Indianapolis, IN 7.8; t10) Richmond, VA 7.8. NBC PR 10/03/05 NBC’s NASCAR Nextel Cup UAW-Ford 500 preview show had an overnight TV rating on NBC of 2.5/6 share, up 8.0% from a 2.3/5 in ’04, while race coverage was even with last year at a 4.6/9 share.
DHL to sponsor Penske Porsche DHL to sponsor Penske PorscheThe excitement surrounding the worldwide race debut of Porsche’s new prototype on the American Le Mans Series grid next week at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was heightened today with the announcement by Penske Motorsports that global mail service provider DHL Global Mail will serve as its primary sponsor in the ALMS.

The No. 6 Penske Motorsports Porsche RS Spyder will be adorned in a livery of DHL’s vivid yellow and red colors at the Oct. 15 race and throughout the 2006 season, when the team will field two cars. Piloting the car at the Monterey Sports Car Championships will be Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr, who teamed to win ALMS GT2 championships in 2002 and ’03.

“The long anticipated debut of the Porsche prototype just keeps getting better and better with this type of announcement,” said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “We knew that Roger Penske and his operation would conduct that program at an extremely high level. Adding a world-renowned sponsor like DHL further punctuates the quality exemplified by both Penske and Porsche.

“DHL certainly reflects the type of high-quality companies that are becoming more and more a hallmark of the American Le Mans Series,” Atherton added. “Like virtually all of the premium brands that have invested in the American Le Mans Series, we are confident DHL also will realize benefits from their involvement that are unmatched in the industry.”

Photos courtesy Porsche

The head of DHL also expressed his pleasure in the partnership between his company, Penske Motorsports and Porsche. “We are excited to be associated with Porsche, as we are both known and share a passion for high quality, reliability at any speed and solutions that fit our customers’ needs. Our goal is to use this platform to help build our customer relationships in a meaningful way,” said Joe Phelan, president and COO of DHL Smart & Global Mail. “A recognized car brand like Porsche together with the highly professional team of Penske Motorsports is a perfect fit to a worldwide leading logistics provider like DHL.” zzzz

DHL Global Mail is the leading one-stop solution for high volume mailers, providing domestic and international mail solutions. Through its global distribution network of 40 processing centers the company provides secure, reliable distribution of business correspondence, direct mail, catalogues, publications and parcels worldwide. Value-added services include production services, online tracking and reporting, address correction, mail activity reports and chargeback systems.

“DHL Global Mail is a world-class organization and we are proud to represent them in our maiden American Le Mans Series competition,” commented Roger Penske, the Chairman of Penske Motorsports. “Over the years we have been fortunate to have partners that are leaders in their field and DHL & Global Mail is no exception.”

Commissioned by Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) and Porsche Motorsport North America for racing customers who compete in the LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) class of the ALMS, the Porsche RS Spyder features a completely new Porsche engine, transmission and chassis, all incorporating the latest in Porsche automotive technology and created to conform to new 2006 rules and regulations of international sanctioning body Automobil Club de l’Ouest (ACO).

Things to look for in ALMS finale Things to look for in ALMS finaleThe world premier of Porsche's new prototype!   Under the direction of Penske Motorsports, Porsche rolls out its next generation, state-of-the-art LMP2 prototype as it prepares for its 2006 assault on the ALMS circuit. World class drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr pilot the Penske Porsche. Maassen and Luhr won the ALMS GT2 championship in 2002 and 2003.

Three of the four class championships are still up for grabs - LMP2, GT1 and GT2.

In LMP2, Clint Field leads Guy Cosmo and Jamie Bach (ALMS' Rookies of the Year) by 22 points.  All Field and Intersport Racing has to do Saturday is finish 70% of race laps and he will win the championship.  His co-driver, Liz Halliday, has helped him win three times this year.  She is the only female to have won this year on a major racing circuit.

In GT1, Corvette Racing has wrapped up the Manufacturers title but it remains to be seen which of the Corvettes will win the title.  #4 Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta (known as the 2 "Ollies") leads sister car #3 of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, the defending champions, by 15 points.  With 23 points available to the Laguna winner, Fellows and O'Connell still have a chance.

In GT2, the privateer team of Petersen White Lightning (Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister) holds a 22-point lead over Alex Job Racing's factory Porsche #23 team of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas (156 vs. 134).

In LMP1, Champion Audi drivers Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro dethroned defending champions JJ Lehto and Marco Werner (also of Champion Racing) with a win at Petit Le Mans Oct. 1.

ALMS TV time change ALMS TV time changeSPEED Channel has revised its telecast time for the grand finale of the 2005 American Le Mans Series, the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The race, run Saturday Oct. 15, will be aired in its entirety from 1 to 5 p.m. EDT on Sunday Oct. 16.  It was originally scheduled to air from 3 to 7 p.m. that day. 

The final round of the 2005 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships on Oct. 15 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. The race is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. PDT on Oct. 15. Qualifying scheduled for 2:10 p.m. PDT on Oct. 14. American Le Mans Radio, and IMSA Live Timing and Scoring, will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

Montoya: We will blow Renault away Montoya: We will blow Renault awayJuan Pablo Montoya expects his McLaren team to "blow Renault away" in this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.  "I think Renault might have a little bit in their hand, but I don’t think they’ve got enough." he told ITV-F1's Ted Kravitz.  "On a circuit like Suzuka, it should be a McLaren winning. It’s a track where you need a lot of stability, and we’ve got that.  It will really suit our car, and if we can get it balanced in the right way, we should be able to blow them away."
Industry News
Can a driverless race car be far behind? Can a driverless race car be far behind?Prospect 11 — the completely autonomous vehicle designed by a group of Princeton engineering students — has qualified for the finals of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) competition, contest organizers announced Wednesday at a ceremony in Fontana, Calif.

The modified GMC Canyon pickup will compete Saturday against 22 other autonomous vehicles, all of which navigate without a driver or remote control, at the DARPA Grand Challenge in the Mojave Desert near Primm, Nevada.

Eight students from the Prospect 11 team have been in California this week competing against 42 other teams in the semifinals. Those vehicles were selected from among 195 entrants through a series of qualifying events and in-person site visits during the past six months.

DARPA, a branch of the Department of Defense, is offering a $2 million grand prize to the team that designs the unmanned vehicle that completes the 150-mile desert obstacle course the fastest within 10 hours. More....

AMD signs multi-year deal with NASCAR AMD signs multi-year deal with NASCARAdvanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced today that it has signed a multi-year deal to become the official technology partner of NASCAR. Terms were not released, but industry insiders said the agreement is a four-year deal valued in the mid-seven figures per year, which likely includes a team commitment in addition to the rights fee. AMD’s solutions will help improve timing and scoring, research and development, wind-tunnel testing and crash simulation. The company plans to create mobile timing-and-scoring command centers that will travel to every Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series event.  [Editor's Note: AMD and Intel are really at war and doing a lot in the racing world.  It will be interesting to see who gets Champ Car and F1, Intel or AMD]
Tiago impatient to discover Suzuka! Tiago impatient to discover Suzuka!The final stretch of the 2005 Formula One world championship sends the teams and drivers to Asia: Japan this weekend, China a week later and Tiago Monteiro is impatient to get back behind the wheel after recording his first retirement of the year at the Brazilian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

The Jordan rookie suffered a rare engine failure during the Interlagos event, finishing his record of consistent finishes for a rookie driver at 16, a brilliant achievement by anyone’s standards! Despite this, Tiago remains by far the best rookie of the season, with 7 points on the scoreboard.

“The Brazilian GP leaves a bitter taste and mitigated emotions: on one hand I recorded the best ever grid position by a Portuguese driver, then a gearbox problem caused me to start the race from the pits, then a hydraulic system failure prevented me from seeing the checkered flag," explained the Jordan driver.

Tiago is now impatient to discover Japan, particularly the Suzuka circuit, one of most technical and physical tracks of the season, as often explained by all his colleagues in the series…

"I have never put a foot in Japan and I am therefore impatient to enjoy this new adventure," he smiled. "I am curious to taste real Sushi, of which I love."

"Like Spa, Suzuka is an extremely technical and demanding layout, and as I have never lapped this circuit, it will be necessary for me to acclimatize and learn it during the opening practice sessions on Friday, which should take me all of the first hour. Narain already knows the circuit and will obviously get into a good rhythm quicker than me, but I hope that maybe he will be able to help me. Maybe the weather will turn in our favor also as the forecast states that there is a 60% chance of rain on all three days!"

Tiago had a good experience on the damp Spa-Francorchamps circuit with Bridgestone tires that made it possible best to put in a strong performance under the conditions, the Oporto native crossing the line in a brilliant eighth place as a result.

"I want to finish the season on a good note and I am determined to give the best of myself at Suzuka, a circuit where the driver can really make the difference."

Japanese GP: Thursday Press Conference Japanese GP: Thursday Press ConferenceParticipating: Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren-Mercedes), Fernando Alonso (Renault), Flavio Briatore (Renault). Transcript
Alonso hopes to repeat in 2006 Alonso hopes to repeat in 2006Everybody wants to know: what does it feel like to be world champion? Fernando’s answer is simple – pretty similar to before!

So Fernando, ‘World Champion’. What’s changed for you?
Honestly? Nothing! I think what we have done this year is a fantastic story, and now we need to keep going in the last races.

Will you be less conservative in the final races?
In terms of performance it will be similar – you know, when you put the helmet on, and close the visor, you always go for it and push to the maximum. But maybe some parts will be different…

For example?
I think I will be harder to overtake! You know, in Brazil, at the start or when Montoya overtook me, that was not the time to take risks. Now, I can afford to…

What was the most important moment in your year?
It was all important, but I think really the first races, when I built up a 20 point lead and we then managed the gap in the second half of the year. Australia was a good race – I only finished third, but I was fighting all the way, even with bad luck in qualifying. That was when I knew we had a good chance this year.

Has this season taught you something?
Yes – that to win, you need a good car! In 2003, I fought with the R23 which was a good car but still missing something, and I won one race. Last year with the R24, it was difficult to drive but I finished 4th. We were missing something, and this year with the car, the team, the whole package, we found it.

What about Japan – can you fight with McLaren?
We know they are a bit faster, so it will be tough. It is them who have the pressure, though, to finish with both cars and try to win the title. And we will be making sure to keep the pressure on them…

What about 2006 – can you do it again?
Well I hope so! When you are fighting for the championship, it is an exciting feeling, you enjoy all the races and have a very high level of motivation. So next year, I hope we can arrive in the final races with some options to fight for the championship. But it is a new challenge, with new rules, so let’s see what happens. Renault

Japan race important to many Japan race important to many24 hours ahead of the first practice session, Renault and McLaren are preparing their cars – and ready to fight for the constructors’ title.

Two weeks have passed since Fernando Alonso concluded the battle for the world drivers’ championship with a podium finish in Brazil. Now, the F1 circus has arrived in Suzuka for the penultimate round of the 2005 championship – the longest in the sport’s history, with 19 rounds. And even though the battle between Fernando and Kimi has been resolved in the Spaniard’s favor, there is still plenty to play for this weekend.

First of all, everything is still to play for in the constructors’ championship between Renault and McLaren. The men in grey took the lead in the title race for the first time in 2005 after the last race in Brazil, but the gap is just two points: with a maximum of 36 points still to be won, nothing is fixed. Further behind, third place is also still in the balance – Ferrari’s total of 98 points is just 17 ahead of Toyota.

On the drivers’ front, Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher are now on equal points for third place in the drivers’ championship. The Colombian has the momentum right now, having won more races than the German since Melbourne. Giancarlo Fisichella, fifth on 45 points, will also be looking out for Jarno Trulli in 6th place, and just two points behind him,

Finally, the Japanese round of the championship is an important weekend for lots of different people. Renault will be keen to perform well at the home race of their title sponsor, Mild Seven; Toyota and Honda are also on home turf and eager to put in an impressive performance; while Bridgestone will want to erase the memories of a difficult season. Ferrari showed signs of good form in Brazil, and the Scuderia will be hoping to shine this weekend before turning its sights to 2006.

BAT warn against Marlboro plan BAT warn against Marlboro planDeparting F1 team owner and sponsor British American Tobacco has warned Ferrari against trying to dodge the European tobacco-ad ban by running a blank 'subliminal' paintjob.

While BAR-Honda's 'Lucky Strike' will drive off the F1 grid at the end of 2006, rival brand Marlboro - owned by Philip Morris - have signed a new Ferrari deal to 2011.

To dodge the ban, speculation suggests, Ferrari and Marlboro are planning to unveil a plain red and white livery -- with no sponsor names visible.  Subliminally, goes the idea, track and TV spectators will make the connection with the tobacco brand.

''We're not into that,'' BAT's head of sponsorship, Gary Carey, told the Autosport website.

He continued: ''You can't have nothing on the car.  As far as we're concerned, you're either branded or unbranded (and) anyone who tries to do anything different will be caught up with eventually.''

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Schu talks tough in Tokyo
Renault dumps Montagny

Rossi to test rally car
Heidfeld 'still injured'
Second Indian racing to F1
Red Bull rip Japan
Piquet 'lives' for F1 dream
Alonso is 'a new Michael'
Mercedes boss wants F1 gong

Carlos Pace
Fisi to stay at Renault
Champ Car gamers clamor for new racing sim Champ Car gamers clamor for new racing simIndependent Develops Team (IDT) has quickly become recognized in the sim community for releasing quality projects (such as Virtual GT) for the dedicated sim fan:  Champ Car Challenge 2005, the upcoming Superpatch that will include the 2005 Toyota Atlantics and Champ Car seasons, and various tracks from around the world. Their modelers and track makers put an amazing amount of attention to detail and their accuracy is based on first-hand knowledge and the input of the drivers and teams that are involved with IDT.  The game is available as a free download for PC's, and has in the past couple of months been downloaded more than 58,000 times.
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for Friday
FORMULA ONE - Practice
Japanese Grand Prix
1:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'NASCAR Live!'
Kansas Speedway
2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. (Live) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP - Final Practice
Banquet 400
Kansas Speedway
3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
United Way 300
Kansas Speedway
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Kansas Speedway
Guest: Jack Roush
Guest: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED

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

A1 Grand Prix
A1 GP gears up for round 2 A1 GP gears up for round 2Still buzzing from the success of its inaugural race, the World Cup of Motorsport has arrived in Germany for the next A1 Grand Prix of Nations at EuroSpeedway, Lausitz.

While the race teams prepared the A1 cars for another weekend of fierce competition, some of the drivers headed for nearby Berlin to see the Olympic Stadium, host to a number of matches in the next soccer World Cup. Striving for victory on the track, the A1 drivers showed their competitive spirit on the football field as well when a bit of last minute training resulted in a number of 100m Sprint races.

A1 Team Germany’s driver, Timo Scheider spoke confidently about the prospect of racing at his home track. ‘I am very happy to be driving in front of the German spectators and I am looking forward to the feeling when I see the German flags on the grandstands for the first time – it was a strange feeling at Brands Hatch when Robbie Kerr went out and all the home fans started waving their flags. I am sure it really is going to be very special. I have already driven at EuroSpeedway, Lausitz three times in DTM so that means I have a lot of experience at the track. For me it is going to be a very different story compared to Brands Hatch as there, first of all, I had to learn the track. Everything was very new for me – the Team, the car, the track. When I go to EuroSpeedway on Friday and put my first set of new tires on, I will know immediately the line I have to take and the set up of the car. This is the first time since ‘99 that I have been back in a single seater, I feel quite confident although the car is completely different in driving style to the GT that I am currently racing.’ zzzz

Meanwhile, A1 Team Czech Republic took the opportunity to show off their A1 race car, emblazoned in the red, white and blue of their national flag to the public they hope will support them as they travel the globe with the A1GP series.

In a mini tour of the capital city, the A1 car was displayed to Prime Minister Jiri Paroubeck in the parliament building gardens before heading to the home of the country’s President, Prague Castle where Aston Villa and Czech international player Milan Baros was shown around the car.

Antonin Charouz, A1 Team Czech Republic’s seat holder said: ‘I think that today’s presentation was very good one and I have a good feeling about it. The fact, that His Highness Sheikh Maktoum was here even though his is very busy man, and that we had a meeting with the Czech Prime Minister Paroubek, makes evident that it is a very special moment and the media interest was corresponding. I presume that motorsport never had such publicity before in the Czech Republic. We have seen once again that the decision to count on national pride, which is the aim behind the World Cup of Motorsport, can do unprecedented things. I would like to ask many Czech fans to come to EuroSpeedway this weekend. The track is quite near from our north border and they can see the second race live.’

Tomas Enge, A1 Team Czech Republic’s main driver who will take to the EuroSpeedway track this weekend said: ‘We are all proud that we will represent the Czech Republic and we will do our maximum to score the best possible results. Today’s events have been very varied and we very appreciate that His Highness Sheikh Maktoum and the Prime Minister Paroubek took part in it. I hope that the Czech fans will welcome the idea of competition of nations and that many of them will support as at EuroSpeedway this weekend.’

Speaking at a reception for A1 Team Czech Republic, A1 Grand Prix Founder, President and Chairman Sheikh Maktoum said: ‘For the Czech Republic to be among the 25 national teams competing in the World Cup of Motorsport, having been selected from the 207 countries in the world, is tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of Antonin Charouz and people of the Czech Republic. With A1 Grand Prix, the people of the Czech Republic now have a national motorsport team to support with the same passion that they have demonstrated in their commitment to their national ice hockey team. A1 Team Czech Republic performed admirably in their first A1 Grand Prix of Nations less than two weeks ago and I am looking forward to seeing Tomas Enge compete this weekend at EuroSpeedway. Our first race was a huge success and I hope the Czech people will make the journey across the border to support their national team and help make our second event as atmospheric as the first.’

Long Beach expects 65K just for Saturday Long Beach expects 65K just for SaturdayWe probably have to up that number now based on the package we put together for Saturday. We would look for somewhere in the neighborhood of about 60,000 to 65,000 people here just for the Saturday show. Jim Michaelian, President Long Beach GP
Formula Renault 2000
Milka Duno To Be Featured on Girl Racers Milka Duno To Be Featured on Girl RacersUPDATE #3 Reminder: the last episode of this 4-part special will air Thursday night. 09/29/05 Reminder that the 3rd episode of this 4-part special will air tonight. 09/21/05 Reminder that the 2nd episode of this 4-part special will air Thursday night. 09/16/05 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race-winning driver Milka Duno will be featured among eight female drivers in the four-part documentary Girl Racers airing on The Biography Channel starting Thursday, September 15 at 10 p.m. ET.

The series, hosted by racing enthusiast Jason Priestley, will take an in-depth look at Duno's experiences during the 2004 Rolex Series season as well as Indy Racing League IndyCar Series rising star Danica Patrick, among others. The first episode will re-air on September 16 at 2:00 a.m. ET and the remaining three segments will be shown on successive Thursdays starting September 22.

Duno--who regularly co-drives the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford with Andy Wallace--has claimed three Daytona Prototype victories in 23 career starts in the Rolex Series, including a sweep of both Rolex Series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2004 and an overall victory this season at Mont-Tremblant. Her victory alongside Wallace in the Grand Prix of Miami made Duno the first woman to claim an overall victory in a major North American sports car race. She is currently ranked 12th in the Daytona Prototype driver standings after 11 rounds of the 14-race 2005 Rolex Series championship.

The Rolex Series heads to Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. next weekend for the Crown Royal 250 on September 24 (SPEED Channel, Live, 3:00 p.m. ET).

The Screen Siren Pictures documentary was produced by Stephanie Symns, while Trish Dolman served as executive producer. More information on the documentary is available at www.girl-racers.com.

Brundle says Schumacher's time has passed Brundle says Schumacher's time has passedMartin Brundle says Michael Schumacher has lost his drive. Not only has the Ferrari driver lost his World title, but he's even struggling to hold onto third place in the Drivers' Championship having won just one of the 17 races already held.

"Schumacher, for the first time in his career, has looked at times this year as though the trials and setbacks of the season have robbed him of some energy," Brundle told The Times.

"It's only natural after seven World titles and 84 grand prix wins. Don't write him off, though - if he gets into a fully competitive Ferrari V8 next year, he is still more than capable of stealing victories from under Alonso and Raikkonen's noses."

"But the baton has been passed."

"Time takes its toll, just as surely as sated desire, and at 36 and with more success than any driver in the sport's history, Schumacher's absolute best is behind him.

"I remember when we were teammates in 1992. He used to make fun of me because I was ten years his senior at 34, and I constantly warned him that it would be upon him faster than he could imagine."

"During one of the practice sessions for last week's Brazilian Grand Prix, I watched from Ferradura corner, a very fast uphill double apex right-hander."

"It's the sort of place where you view in excited anticipation of Schumacher, waiting to see that acrobatic style of his, that ability to allow the car to move beneath him and still retain complete control..."

"But for the first time I didn't see it. To my surprise he appeared to lack commitment and confidence."

"It's the first time I can recall him looking ordinary."

Rolex Series drivers comment on Long Beach Rolex Series drivers comment on Long BeachFollowing this afternoon’s announcement that the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototypes will race on Saturday, April 8, 2006 at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, several of the category’s top drivers with previous experience at Long Beach weighed in with their thoughts. What follows below are their comments.

SCOTT PRUETT (No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley):  “Grand-Am brings a lot of very familiar names that ALMS doesn't have currently to a lot of the fans at Long Beach.  Myself and my teammates—Stefan Johansson and Luis Diaz—and a lot of names that have been there in a number of different cars. I think there's familiarity there with who the drivers are. This year has been nothing less than spectacular with the racing.  The wheel‑to‑wheel combat we've had this year, the hard racing, even our last race between myself and Max Angelelli was right down to the checkered flag when we were going at it tooth‑and‑nail.  I think that's what Grand-Am racing is about and we continue to make that mark.  If we can take a show like that to Long Beach in a 90‑minute format with a driver change, it's going to be nothing less than exciting.”

MAX PAPIS (No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley):  “As a Rolex Series defending champion, I am excited to go to Long Beach.  Long Beach is the greatest American street race weekend.  The last time I was there, I was on the podium in Champ Car.  Last year I won the Pro/Celebrity Race with Toyota.  This is a big commitment on the part of Grand American and we will put on a fantastic show.  It is a great event.  The Rolex Series will surely add extra excitement to the event with close racing and a lot action.  It is a great place to have Grand American’s first street race.”  zzzz

OSWALDO NEGRI JR. (No. 60 Flight Options/Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley):  “I ran Long Beach twice in Indy Lights, and it’s an absolutely fantastic venue. It is a fans race, with amazing attendance and lots of racing fanatics. It’s also a special race for a driver because of all the history and the environment is so exciting. Driving on a street course is a new challenge for the Rolex Series, and I think we are going to impress a lot of the fans with the show we put on. I can’t wait to drive that weekend!”

MEMO GIDLEY (No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance/Finlay Motorsports BMW Riley):  “Wow, more than 20 Daytona Prototypes taking the green flag at Long Beach, what an experience that's going to be!  It’s one I'm really looking forward to, because I've run a lot of races there and won an Atlantic race there in the rain.  I think this is a huge step forward in the evolution of the Rolex Series because 100,000 road racing fans who have never seen Daytona Prototypes will get to see what great racing this is.  A lot of companies that are interested in motorsports but don't really know about Grand American or the Rolex Series are going to be thinking, ‘we'd better check this out.’”

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley):  “I think it is going to be great having a Rolex Series event on the streets of Long Beach, even though my record of a best finish of fifth and a bunch of DNFs is not that great. The California crowds love racing and I think it’s going to be awesome to see us race with Champ Car. The Daytona Prototype cars will do just fine. They are similar to Champ Cars in a couple of ways, the biggest is they are designed to be even, so I don't anticipate any problem. They will adapt well to the circuit because they are very robust.”

MICHAEL VALIANTE (No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance/Finlay Motorsports BMW Riley):  This is very exciting news, and I think this is just the kind of race that Grand American needs to be at to accelerate their popularity among the fans.  Having won a race there in the Atlantic series, I don't see any problem with running a Daytona Prototype on the same circuit.  The needs are the same; the car has to turn in well, go over the bumps and stop quickly.  Because the cars are bigger, there's less of a margin for error, but some of the top drivers in the world are racing in the Rolex Series, and I think they'll put on a tremendous show.”

Industry News
Hulman-George family to receive award Hulman-George family to receive awardThe Hulman-George family will receive the prestigious Dusty Brandel President's Award at the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association annual All-America Team dinner presented by Sprint NEXTEL on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.

The 36th annual dinner is moving from its longtime base in the Los Angeles area this year to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. The dinner officially will conclude the 50th Anniversary Celebration for AARWBA, the oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals in America.

"AARWBA has been a strong force in reporting and promoting auto racing for 50 years," said Mari Hulman George, IMS chairman of the board. "All of my family, beginning with my father, Tony Hulman, has been supporters of AARWBA, and we are pleased to have played a role in its growth and influence. On behalf of my family, thank you for the recognition."  zzzz

Terre Haute, Ind., businessman Tony Hulman purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Nov. 14, 1945. The facility had deteriorated since the Indianapolis 500 was suspended from 1942-45 due to America's participation in World War II.

But Hulman's vision and leadership helped restore the Speedway to its position as the leading motorsports facility in the world, as the Indianapolis 500 resumed in 1946 and has continued annually as the world's most prestigious auto race.

Hulman guided the Speedway until his death in October 1977. His wife, Mary Fendrich Hulman, became chairman of the board after his death, and their daughter, Mari Hulman George, became chairman of the board in 1988, a position she holds today.

Mari Hulman George's son, Anton Hulman "Tony" George, became president of the Speedway in January 1990 and now is chief executive officer of IMS and the Indy Racing League. Under Tony George's leadership, the Speedway has expanded its schedule to become the only racing facility to play host to the world's three major racing series, with the Indianapolis 500 for the IRL IndyCar® Series, United States Grand Prix for Formula One and Allstate 400 at the Brickyard for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

"For 50 years, AARWBA has had the respect of the Hulman-George family," AARWBA President Dusty Brandel said. "Tony Hulman was a member and always attended our breakfast meeting the day before the Indy 500. This cooperation has continued over the decades.

"Tony George has been fully supportive, and both IMS and the IRL are official sponsors of the 50th Anniversary Celebration. And, of course, the Speedway became the sponsor of our annual journalism contest. Since the All-America Team dinner will be the official end of AARWBA's first half-century, it's appropriate to recognize the Hulman-George family on that occasion."

The All-America Team of drivers is elected by AARWBA members. The top vote-getter from the various classes will be announced at the dinner as winner of AARWBA's No. 1 honor, the Jerry Titus Memorial Award. 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan was the 2004 Titus winner and attended last January's team dinner to accept.

Longtime motorsports broadcaster Bob Jenkins, who among his duties has been the IMS Radio Network "Voice of the Indianapolis 500" and has worked on the IMS Public Address team, will be the master of ceremonies at the dinner.

Tickets, for the general public as well as media and sponsors, are available by contacting Brandel at (818) 842-7005 or AARWBA@compuserve.com. Dinner and hotel information also is available www.aarwba.org by clicking on the Banquet link.

SLiME on History Channel SLiME on History ChannelA marketing partner of the American Le Mans Series will be featured tonight on History Channel’s hit show “Modern Marvels.” The episode  highlighting SLiME, the ALMS’ official tire care and repair sponsor, will air at 9 p.m. EDT. “The Auto Store” will re-air at 1 a.m. EDT Thursday.

SLiME is a revolutionary product that threatens to replace the spare tire. It can be used to repair a flat tire or a slow leak by simply removing the valve core from a tire, injecting SLiME, reinflating and rotating the tire. It’s that easy!

Once installed into the tire, SLiME remains liquid, evenly coating the inside. When a puncture occurs, the escaping air forces SLiME into the hole where it creates a long lasting, flexible plug. SLiME also can be installed as a pretreatment before a puncture occurs.

The SLiME brand sealant is the most widely distributed liquid sealant in the world. The company's products are distributed in more than 36 countries, and SLiME is sold at more than 50,000 retail distribution points worldwide.

With distribution facilities in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia, major OEMs in the automotive, motorcycle and bicycle markets have come to rely on SLiME sealant to repair flat tires. The SLiME formula is manufactured in-house using automated technology and undergoes extreme product testing to ensure reliability.

SLiME also sponsors the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage C65 that competes in the ALMS.

Waltrip's penalty overturned Waltrip's penalty overturnedBy a 2-1 vote Wednesday, the National Stock Car Racing Commission overturned a penalty on NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Michael Waltrip, who was accused of using an obscene gesture during the national TV broadcast of the Oct. 18 race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Waltrip was originally fined $10,000 and was stripped of 25 driver points and owner Teresa Earnhardt docked 25 owner points.

In its statement regarding the appeal, the Commission said it "reviewed the broadcast footage numerous times and different Commission members saw different things. Two of the three members found the footage inconclusive.

"Therefore, by majority vote, the National Stock Car Racing Commission has decided to rescind the penalties."

Wednesday's decision marks only the fifth time the Commission has totally rescinded a NASCAR penalty in the nearly 60 appeals it has heard.

Richard Childress Statement Regarding NASCAR Penalty Richard Childress Statement Regarding NASCAR PenaltyThe following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing (RCR), regarding NASCAR’s penalty to RCR crew chief Todd Berrier for a rules infraction Sept. 30 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway:

“After several discussions with the crew of the No. 29 team, we have decided to appeal NASCAR’s ruling. We feel we have a responsibility to GM Goodwrench and all of our sponsors, as well as all of our fans, to stand up for what we think is right. Regardless of the outcome, we can’t let it get in the way of what the No. 29 team is trying to accomplish this season. The goal is to finish 11th in the point standings. That’s where they are now and that will remain their focus.”

SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver RankingSPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 10-5-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 9.717
2. (2) Fernando Alonso (F1) 8.473
3. (11) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 8.308
4. (3) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.233
5. (5) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 7.595
6. (6) Juan Pablo Montoya (F1) 7.541
7. (7) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 7.472
8. (22) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.460
9. (8) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 7.413
10. (13) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 7.250
11. (16) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 7.101
12. (20) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.820
13. (14) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.656
14. (23) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 6.634
15. (NR) Dale Jarrett (NASCAR) 6.569
16. (NR) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.494
17. (10) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.471
18. (4) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 6.464
19. (17) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 6.336
20. (18) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 6.291
Dropped out: Kyle Busch (NASCAR), Elliott Sadler (NASCAR), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Mark Martin (NASCAR)
Last week’s ranking in parenthesis
Provided by STATS Inc.
Red Bull Junior
Americans Come Up Short at Red Bull Junior Team Test Americans Come Up Short at Red Bull Junior Team TestA total of twenty-one drivers from fifteen different countries participated in the Red Bull Junior Team test at the Autodromo Fernanda Pires Da Silva in Estoril, Portugal. The drivers were vying for a coveted spot on the Team as they tested Formula BMW, Formula Renault, and Formula 3 cars on the famous circuit.

Casey Neal (17) of Middletown, Ohio, and Ryan Phinny (15) of Carmel Valley, California, earned their tickets to the intense two-day test by being selected as the 2005 Red Bull Driver Search Finalists. Neal and Phinny participated alongside the other international racers and proved to be extremely competitive during the test, but it wasn’t to be for the young pair. Three other drivers were selected for the Junior Team, but none bear the Stars and Stripes on their helmet or in their hearts.

The Red Bull Junior Team, has two American members, 2004 Red Bull Driver Search winner John Edwards and 2003 Red Bull Driver Search winner Colin Fleming. The Junior Team places drivers in a variety of open-wheel categories to develop their skills and prepare them for a possible move up the racing ladder.

Industry News
Toyota throws GM a bone Toyota throws GM a boneToyota Motor Corp. has agreed to buy an 8.7 percent stake in rival Japanese automaker Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars, from General Motors Corp. for about $315 million, officials from the companies said Wednesday.

GM, the world's biggest automaker, also plans to sell its remaining 11.4 percent Fuji stake and dissolve its alliance with Fuji, the companies said. GM said "there were not enough collaborative projects" to sustain the alliance and that it planned to find other partners and markets in the Asia Pacific region for its resources.

Once GM's sales are completed, Toyota, Japan's biggest automaker, will be the top shareholder in Fuji.  The sales come in the wake of the U.S. automaker's losses of $1.1 billion in the first quarter and another $286 million in the second quarter.  But Toyota Executive Vice President Mitsuo Kinoshita denied the move was a bailout for GM.

"We absolutely do not have help for GM in mind," he told reporters at a Tokyo hotel, where he appeared with Fuji Heavy President Kyoji Takenaka to announce a new alliance between the Japanese automakers.  More at AP article

ppc Racing GM resigns ppc Racing GM resignsTeam officials announced today that Keith Barnwell has resigned as General Manager of ppc Racing effective immediately because he has accepted a position with another team.  Barnwell has served as team General Manager since 1999, and has been a part of a Busch Series Championship and multiple wins with a number of top-notch drivers, crew chiefs and mechanics. “I have enjoyed working with Keith, and am sorry to lose a friend to another team” said Greg Pollex, ppc Racing’s owner. “Keith will always be a part of ppc Racing’s great history.” 

“I want to thank Greg Pollex for giving me the opportunities that he has with ppc Racing,” Barnwell said. “It has been a successful six years and we have accomplished a lot as a team.  I am looking forward to new challenges in the series.”

A1 Grand Prix
Martinez to drive for Team Mexico Martinez to drive for Team MexicoTeam Mexico has announced that Toyota Atlantic regular David Martinez will take over the squad’s Lola-Zytek at Lausitz.  “We reviewed our possibilities and concluded that Martinez was without a doubt our best option for Germany,” franchise holder Julio Jauregui stated. “Yet Salvador showed the world that, at just 19 years old, he is ready for great things with our national team.”
Busch Race Extended At Bristol Busch Race Extended At BristolThe NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway March 25, 2006, will be increased from 250 laps to 300 laps. The event has drawn more than100,000 fans in 10 of the past 12 years. This is the first time in the track's history that a 300-lap Busch Series race has taken place.
Ferrari seek improved form ahead of the off-season Ferrari seek improved form ahead of the off-seasonThe final two races of the season take place this weekend in Japan and then the following weekend in China. Michael Schumacher is already looking ahead to the first of the two meets to be run in Japan this weekend.

“After the Grand Prix of Brazil we want to see if we can continue our improvement at Suzuka," said Schumacher who finished in fourth position at Interlagos. "There is no doubt that this is what we are looking for and this is why we are going into the last two races, in Japan and China, very charged up."

The Suzuka circuit is one of the most interesting in the calendar and Schumacher doesn’t hide his liking for the Japanese track.

“Present factors aside, Suzuka is a race that I always enjoy going into as the circuit is a very demanding one. Apart from Spa, Monaco and Suzuka are tracks that I, as a driver, consider the most difficult, above all from a technical point of view. I like it a lot."

“We tested again last week and we are anxious to see whether we can put into practice what we have learnt.” said Schumacher with reference to the Paul Ricard test. "In any case, I don’t want to make any predictions. As ever, we will be giving our all. We have not given up all hope for the season. We would like to make the most of the last two races to build up as much experience as possible so that we are ready for next year." Source Ferrari

Williams only independent F1 team Williams only independent F1 teamWith Honda completing the purchase of BAR team and following the announcements from BMW and Red Bull in the summer, WilliamsF1 are now the only real non-manufacturer / multinational-conglomerate team in Formula One.
Button happy with Honda purchase Button happy with Honda purchase"It's the final piece of the jigsaw for me," the Mirror newspaper report Jenson Button as saying. "I really believe we're going to be a big force next season. It's fantastic news. I can't wait for next season."
Industry news
Quaker State to sell racing oil to consumers Quaker State to sell racing oil to consumersQuaker State has launched the blend of oil with the help of Charlotte-based Hendrick Motorsports. It's another effort by companies to attract the attention and money of NASCAR's 75 million fans.  Like oil used in Hendrick race cars, the Q line oil is specially engineered to work well at high temperatures. But it differs in one aspect from what's in Jeff Gordon's Number 24 car: Gordon doesn't have to worry about pollution controls.
Driver News
CSS Stellar to manage Karun Chandhok CSS Stellar to manage Karun ChandhokIndian racing star Karun Chandhok's goal of reaching the pinnacle of motor sport received a boost with CSS Stellar Management signing up the Chennai-based driver as one of their elite group of clients.

According to a press release by the high profile sports management company, Chandhok has been identified as one of the leading young talents in motor sports.

Speaking on the deal, the 21-year-old Chandok, backed by JK Tires, Tata Group and Ucal Mikuni, said "I feel privileged to be part of their portfolio of clients. CSS have a history in Motor sport and I do believe that they will be a great benefit in guiding my career path from here onwards."

Tim Sice, Managing Director of the Sports Talent Management division of the Company, said in the release "we are delighted to sign Karun as a client. We have identified him as one of the leading young talents in motor sport and we firmly believe that he has a very promising future ahead of him."

The tie-up with CSS Stellar provides Chandhok, who is the lead driver for India's A1 Grand Prix campaign and drives the World Series by Renault, an opportunity to join the elite group of personalities including World Rally Driver Sebastian Loeb and Mclaren's F1 star Juan Pablo Montoya.

The high profile sportsmen managed by the company include IRL Champion, Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti, the England Football team and Sir Bobby Robson, among others.

The Company established their reputation in motor sport through their successful management of the careers of two of Formula One's all time greats Alain Prost and late Ayrton Senna.

Race Car Driver gets international distribution Race Car Driver gets international distributionCanadian distributor re:think Entertainment has taken on the exclusive international distribution rights to Race Car Driver, a new 14x30-minute sport reality series from Texas-based AMS Production Group.  The series launched in the U.S. in early September on WGN Superstation. It goes behind the scenes of the 2005 International Champ Car racing circuit. re:think's founding partner Susan Boshcoff notes, "Race Car has all of the elements to appeal to international buyers in this genre—strong characters, high-stakes competition and a peek behind the scenes of a lifestyle that most people can only dream of.”
Grand Prix Masters
Q and A with Dr. Steve Olvey Q and A with Dr. Steve OlveyYou have had a long and highly respected career in motorsports medical care. Why did you choose to get involved with the Grand Prix Masters series?
"The Grand Prix Masters series appealed to me for three reasons. Firstly, and this is the racing fan in me showing through, I just believe it is a really exciting proposition and exactly what is needed in motorsport right now. Also, on a personal note, I have become great friends with many of the drivers involved when they came to race in America and it will be good to see them back on track."

"From a professional standpoint I am very interested in showing that age should not be a barrier to anybody, whatever sport or pastime they would like to participate in. So many sports have consigned their biggest heroes to the sidelines at an incredibly young age. It seems that as soon as you hit 40+ you are considered too old to be of any use and told it is time to spectate instead. I believe Grand Prix Masters will prove that age is no barrier to providing competitive and spectacular racing."

Is there any medical or physical reason why drivers in the series should not be able to race as well as they did in their heyday?
"None whatsoever! Studies have shown that there is no reason for people to stop competing in very vigorous sports, even when they are well into their sixties. We have a very famous guy in America called ‘Banana George’ Blair, who is 90 years old and still barefoot water skis all around the world. He even learnt to snowboard aged 75. It just goes to show that you are only as old as you feel."

"And from a physiological standpoint there is no evidence to show that our drivers will not be able to cope with the demands of driving a high-speed racing car. Sure, they will be pulling large g-forces, but nothing compared to what an astronaut experiences and one of our most famous astronauts, Senator John Glenn returned to space on the Space Shuttle when he was well into his seventies. Similarly, Chuck Yeager, the most famous jet test pilot of them all, was regularly flying prototype jet aircraft in his fifties."

"What is more important to us is ensuring that every driver is fit and well before he takes to the track. It’s an unavoidable fact that there is a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease as people get older. Obviously we wouldn’t send them out into competition if we were not happy that such a risk had been checked out. A heart attack at 200mph with other cars around you is not good!"

Can you quantify just how hard a driver has to work behind the wheel of a 200mph single-seater racing car?
"Very easily, in fact. When I was the Director of Medical Affairs for the CART racing series in North America we used a metabolic monitor to see exactly how hard a driver was working during a test session. This monitor measures the amount of energy the driver expends as he is driving and gives you a simple numerical read-out. On the scale a ‘1’ would be simply sitting still. In the test session our driver was peaking at a reading as high as 12, which is equivalent to the sort of work rate you might see from an Olympic 1500-metre swimmer or a professional tennis player during a hard singles match."

"It’s worth noting that this was during a test session, rather than a race where you would see drivers probably exerting themselves even more. And don’t forget, as well, that unlike so many sports, racing drivers don’t get time outs! They are asked to concentrate and work simultaneously for the entire length of the race. At 200mph you are traveling the length of a soccer pitch in one second – that demands full concentration and high physical fitness."

What other factors will play a part in determining how hard the drivers have to work?
"Obviously the type of track is a clear determinant in how hard the drivers are worked. Road courses like Kyalami in South Africa, where the series kicks off on 13th November, are more demanding than oval circuits simply because they are more twisty and subject the drivers to high g-forces under braking as well as cornering. Environmental factors also play a large part. As the ambient temperature rises, so does the driver’s fluid loss."

"We studied weight loss on CART drivers and found that during a hot race drivers could easily lose as much as 2 liters of fluids. Obviously this can severely hinder their performance, which is why we make sure that they have drinks bottles with isotonic sports drinks, which not only replace water but also make sure their electrolyte levels are kept in check."

Things must have really changed since you began giving medical care at race tracks nearly 40 years ago?
"More than you could ever believe! My very first race as a track doctor was the 1966 Indianapolis 500. I was stationed trackside and a horn would sound when a car crashed which was our signal to head out and attend the incident." "My first crash just happened to be Graham Hill, who was then the reigning Formula One World Champion. When the horn sounded I went to jump into the ambulance – which was actually a hearse! – but the driver pulled away as I was climbing aboard and I was thrown around the back of the hearse and in the process cut both my elbows quite badly."

"When we got to the scene of the crash we soon saw that Graham had spun quite harmlessly and was in fact sitting calmly in the car! I walked over to him, blood running down my arms, and asked if he was okay. He looked at me and said: “I’m fine, but you look bloody awful!” I think it’s fair to say that things have changed a bit since then..."

What level of medical care will be present at the Altech Grand Prix Masters South Africa race on 11th-13th Nov?
"I am determined that it will be as good as any current, modern race series such as Formula One or the Indy Racing League. I will oversee the medical team at the race and it will be my job to co-ordinate the local medical services, the hospital, the trackside doctors and so on. Obviously, if we have an incident, then I will be on hand to ensure that the right level of care is administered as soon as possible."

"Grand Prix Masters cars will have safety standards every bit as good as other series. The cockpit design, car construction, restraint systems and so on are of the highest standard and we will also require all drivers to wear the HANS device, which is a relatively new piece of safety equipment. Fixed around the driver’s neck and shoulders, it has tethers which attach to his helmet and prevent the neck suffering severed whiplash trauma in the event of a serious accident. HANS is one of the most impressive innovations in motorsport safety in many years and has already proved its worth time and again." Grand Prix Masters
Montagny leaves Renault Montagny leaves RenaultFrenchman Franck Montagny has left the Renault team and is now in talks with Jordan over a racing seat for the 2006 season.  Montagny had been Renault's test and reserve drive since 2003 but he is expected to be replaced by Finn Heikki Kovalainen for the 2006 season. Autosport-Atlas
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'Alonso worth $66m' - manager
McLaren could seal title
Newey to race at Silverstone
'Ferrari monopoly to blame'
Another son of a champ
Button is 'purple pole'
Minardi can stay - Mateschitz
Lucky Strike to stay in '06
China get help for F1 dream
Schu should race on - Lauda
Jose Froilan Gonzalez
DC set for lasting F1 role
NASCAR fines more of its cheaters NASCAR fines more of its cheatersTony Gibson, crew chief of the #15 Chevrolet driven by Michael Waltrip, was fined $10,000. During pre-qualifying inspection last Friday, the #15 was found to have an unapproved air directional device and unapproved wheel spacers – violations of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q.  Tony Eury Jr., crew chief of the #8 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., was fined $2,500. During opening day inspection last Thursday, the #8 was found to have unapproved fuel cell foam, violating 12-4-A and 12-4-Q.  Dustin Smith, crew chief of the #89 Dodge driven by Morgan Shepherd, was fined $2,500. During opening-day inspection, the #89 also had unapproved fuel cell foam. NASCAR PR
NASCAR slams and boots its latest cheater NASCAR slams and boots its latest cheaterNASCAR announced today that NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief Todd Berrier has been suspended, fined and placed on probation because of rule violations this past weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Berrier, crew chief of the #29 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, was suspended from NASCAR competition until Oct. 19, fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. During post-qualifying inspection last Friday, the #29 was found to have an unapproved aerodynamic modification and an unapproved fuel cell vent mounting – violations of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components, and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) in the series rule book. NASCAR PR
SunTrust duo eye title at VIR 400 SunTrust duo eye title at VIR 400At the conclusion of this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley co-drivers Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor could wrap-up the 2005 Daytona Prototype team championship with a strong performance in Sunday’s VIR 400 (SPEED Channel, Live, 1:00 p.m. ET).

Angelelli and Taylor currently lead the Daytona Prototype driver standings by 39 points (379-340) over defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Scott Pruett and his No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-driver Luis Diaz. The No. 10 team also leads the No. 01 team by the same margin in the team championship standings.

If Taylor and Angelelli leave Virginia International Raceway with a lead of more than 35 points, they will clinch the team championship for the SunTrust operation and will also be the only drivers eligible to win the Daytona Prototype driver championship. However, in order to share the prestigious driver title, both drivers will need to drive under green flag conditions in the season finale at Mexico City on November 5. zzzz

Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger, who co-drive the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford for Howard-Boss Motorsports, also remain in contention for the Daytona Prototype title heading into the VIR 400, although they are currently 62 points in arrears of Taylor and Angelelli. Nevertheless, look for all three teams to pull out all the stops at VIR to stay in the title chase heading to Mexico.

Having already won a Rolex Series-leading five times this season, the SunTrust duo is riding a hot streak into VIR. In addition to their victories, Angelelli and Taylor have finished on the podium in each of their past six starts. They also have fond memories of their last visit to VIR, as the No. 10 co-drivers claimed a victory at the historic, 3.27-mile circuit in dramatic fashion last October.

In what was then the closest finish in Rolex Series history, Angelelli held off Pruett by a scant 0.87 seconds to earn their third win of the 2004 campaign. That record has since been surpassed on three occasions, with Pruett and Diaz now holding the record with their 0.096-second triumph over Angelelli and Taylor in the Ferrari Maserati 400 at California Speedway in April.

TV News
Earnhardt and Roush on Trackside Earnhardt and Roush on TracksideTeam owner Jack Roush and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be SPEED Channel’s guests on this week’s edition of Trackside. The program will be live from the SPEED Channel Stage Truck on Friday at 7 p.m. ET outside the main grandstand at Kansas Speedway.  Hosted by Steve Byrnes, the Trackside panel includes Rusty Wallace, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond.
IPS Series
Menards Infiniti Pro Series adds two awards Menards Infiniti Pro Series adds two awardsA $5,000 payout to the driver who leads the most laps in 2005 is among two new awards in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. The series also will offer a "hard charger" award for the California 100.

The Oxley Financial Advisory Group of Raymond James & Associates Lap Leader Award will pay the driver who leads the most laps in the 2005 season $5,000 and also will offer a trophy. Heading into the Oct. 16 50-lap finale on the 2-mile California Speedway, Travis Gregg, driver of the No. 7 Lucas Oil Products/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry, holds a 222-174 advantage over Jeff Simmons.

The FedEx Hard Charger Award will pay $1,000 to the driver who advances the most positions during the California 100. Chris Festa won the Hard Charger Award at the Liberty Challenge in June.

Briscoe continuing recovery in Italy Briscoe continuing recovery in ItalyIndyCar Series rookie Ryan Briscoe has traveled to Italy to continue his recovery from injuries sustained in a racing accident at Chicagoland Speedway last month.

Briscoe, who suffered several fractures, is being treated at the Formula Medicine clinic in Viareggio, Italy under the care of Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli and his staff. Briscoe has been treated with an intensive eight hours per day therapy regime, which includes light activity work in the gym.

"Our aim is to reduce as much as possible the rehabilitation time," Dr. Ceccarelli told Autosport.com. "We are trying to have Ryan in top form to be able to drive a racing car again by November."

By the numbers: Petit LeMans By the numbers: Petit LeMansThe key to winning the American Le Mans Series’ LMP1 championship? For the past three years, it has been consistency. Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro demonstrated that again this year in their championship run that concluded Saturday at Petit Le Mans.

Biela and Pirro never finished off the P1 podium in their No. 2 Champion Racing Audi R8. The tally: four wins (including Petit Le Mans), a pair of seconds and three third-place finishes. The totals don’t include a third-place overall finish at Le Mans, as well.

The trend of a season’s worth of podiums has held true for a few years. JJ Lehto and Marco Werner finished all nine races of 2004 in the top three, and Werner and Biela did the same in 2003. In his championship run of 2001, Pirro came close to accomplishing the feat with seven podiums in eight events. zzzz

Considering this was the first year with Champion Racing for Biela and Pirro, being as consistent as they have been is more remarkable.

“We didn't look that strong as a driving pair for the first couple of races, and I was thinking I just wanted to win one (race),” Pirro said. “And now we have the entire championship. I am so proud and happy, and to be sharing this car with an old champ like Frank. We started this season with a crew with lot of motivation, but little experience. They had all worked together in SPEED World Challenge. Now it seems like those guys are setting the standards.”

JON KNOWS ATLANTA: When the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola took the checkered flag for a P2 victory Saturday, team owner Jon Field joined some elite company by winning for the fifth time at Road Atlanta.

Of the 649 drivers who have competed in the ALMS (106 have won at least one race), only Field, Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Lucas Luhr have taken victories at the same venue five times. Saturday, Field teamed with son Clint and Liz Halliday in Intersport’s AER-powered Lola B05/40, which has been the car to beat this season with five victories.

“This was a great day for the team,” Jon Field said. “To drive with this team is special. There is a lot of luck that goes into these 10-hour races. Our crew did a great job reacting and keeping us on the track.”

NO ROOM: For the first time in its history, Road Atlanta had to close its infield parking for the immense crowds that flooded the track for Saturday’s race. The event has grown steadily each year, a trend that other ALMS venues have shared this season.

“The quality of racing on the race tracks I don’t think has ever been better,” said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “This championship has never been better for our fans. We’ve become appointment-type racing and people know we are coming.”

AROUND THE PADDOCK: Olivier Beretta is quietly climbing up the ALMS records for career wins. He has 23 career ALMS victories after winning in GT1 Saturday with Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen in Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Corvette C6-R. He has tied Champion Racing’s JJ Lehto for third on the wins list and trails only Corvette Racing teammates Johnny O’Connell and Ron Fellows, who each have 24 wins. … Beretta also won his 17th career pole, best in ALMS history. … Timo Bernhard posted his 15th career fast lap Saturday in Alex Job Racing’s No. 23 Porsche. He trails only – guess who? – Beretta for the series lead. … AJR’s No. 24 Porsche has posted back-to-back runner-up finishes after placing second in GT2 at Petit Le Mans. Ian Baas teamed with Marcel Tiemman and factory driver Emmanuel Collard on Saturday. “The 24 car ran a good smart race,” Job said. “The drivers did not put a wheel wrong and were able to avoid incidents. Marcel and Emmanuel got along really well with Ian and the team.” … Biela and Pirro led all but seven laps Saturday.

The final round of the 2005 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships on Oct. 15 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. The race is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. PDT Oct. 15, with SPEED TV broadcasting the race from 3 to 7 p.m. EDT Oct. 16. Qualifying scheduled for 2:10 p.m. PDT. Oct. 14. American Le Mans Radio, and IMSA Live Timing and Scoring, will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

Andretti won first-ever Japanese GP Andretti won first-ever Japanese GPAlthough Japan's motorsport tradition - with Formula 1 and motorcycle racing - started in the early sixties, the first Formula One Grand Prix in the country was not held until 1976.

Mario Andretti won the race in a Lotus-Ford, while James Hunt in a McLaren-Ford clinched the Drivers' World Championship with a third-place finish. He beat Niki Lauda by one point as the Austrian retired after two laps in torrential rain due to safety reasons. One year later, James Hunt drove his McLaren-Ford to victory and the runner-up position in the championship behind Niki Lauda. After the first two Grands Prix, which took place at the Mount Fuji track, it took ten years until Formula One returned to Japan at the Suzuka circuit.

Since 1987, Suzuka has been the regular venue for the Japanese Grand Prix, which is being held for the 21st time this year. The Suzuka circuit was established in 1962. Today it is more than a race track, the attached resort offers a variety of hotels and restaurants as well as a leisure park. On many pictures published from the Japanese Grand Prix, the big wheel is the most significant landmark.

McLaren going for the Constructors' Title McLaren going for the Constructors' TitleTeam McLaren Mercedes arrives at the legendary Suzuka circuit this week for the penultimate race of the 2005 season, the Japanese Grand Prix, heading the Constructors' Championship by two points from Renault.

The team took the lead for the first time this season at the Brazilian Grand Prix, where Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen secured the 14th one-two finish for the Team McLaren Mercedes partnership and the 40th in McLaren's Formula One history.

There are a maximum of 36 points to be won over the remaining two races, with China taking place seven days after the Japanese race. The Constructors' title could be won by Team McLaren Mercedes in Japan if the drivers score a one-two finish and Renault take only one point. As a result of the two point advantage held by Team McLaren Mercedes going into the race, Renault cannot win the Constructor's Championship at Suzuka. zzzz

Following Montoya's victory at Brazil, Team McLaren Mercedes has now won nine out of the last 12 Grands Prix. The team has led 586 of the season's 1,071 laps, which equals 2,830 lead kilometres out of a total of 5,166 (54.8 percent) over the 17 races so far. Kimi has a record of 369 laps and 1,688 kms (32.7 percent) in the lead whilst Juan Pablo's record is 217 laps and 1,143 kms (22.1 percent). Fernando Alonso led for 281 laps and 1,395 kms (27.0 percent).
At Suzuka, Team McLaren Mercedes won the Drivers' Championships in 1998 and 1999 with Mika Häkkinen and clinched the Constructors' title in 1998.

Kimi Raikkonen - "We will give it our all to win the Constructors' World Championship by aiming to score the best possible results in Japan and China, and I think we have the package to achieve this. Juan Pablo and I had a good battle in Brazil and I am looking forward to continuing it this weekend! The Drivers' title fight is over for this year and now we want to win the Constructors'. Suzuka is a great track; it is fun to drive and really allows you to push the limits. 130R corner was modified before last year's race, but it is still a good challenge. It is quite difficult to overtake here though. There are tight hairpins, sweeping corners and long straights, so set-up is a compromise, mainly with the slower sections to ensure we can be flat out through the esses, which is key for a quick lap time. It is a low grip track though, so we do need quite a bit of downforce to handle this."

Juan Pablo Montoya - "With two races remaining, myself and Kimi need to take as many points away as possible from both Grands Prix to clinch the Constructors' World Championship. The car felt really quick in Brazil and there are some modifications coming on board after the recent tests, so we need to maximize this on track. All the different sections of Suzuka have their own unique characteristics. You know you have to be smooth with good balance and power through the esses, traction and braking stability for the chicane and high downforce at Spoon and 130R. So we need a compromise and we have a medium downforce set-up. As with Brazil, the fans in Japan are crazy about Formula One; they are always so excited, which is great fun."

Pedro de la Rosa - "Suzuka is my favorite track by far and I would say it is like my second Home GP as I raced in Japan for three years before Formula One. The Suzuka Circuit is long, fast and has many types of corners to both sides, right and left, which makes it very demanding for the driver and for the tires. I expect our package to be very competitive at this very special track, where I will focus as always on tire selection with Michelin."

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren CEO - "We have some developments coming onto MP4-20 for Japan and China and we are continuing to push hard. We have a fast car and a strong team and we want to finish the season with a title that befits our current performance. Following the typhoon that was forecast last year, everyone is hoping for a less eventful Grand Prix weather wise! Suzuka is a technical track with characteristics similar to Spa, for example the elevation changes. There is an abrasive track surface, so it can be fairly tough on tires and as a result we will be selecting from the mid-hard compound Michelin range."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes VP - "Suzuka is the second longest circuit on the calendar after Spa-Francorchamps. The first sector with the uphill Esses is a unique challenge and also the rest of the track requires excellent driving skills and a good handling car. Suzuka really shows the strengths and weaknesses of each driver/car combination like probably no other circuit. We have achieved 11 podium finishes at Suzuka in the 10 years we have been working together with McLaren. Everybody in the team is working very hard in order to continue our trend of the last five races." McLaren Mercedes

Johnson accepts blame Johnson accepts blameJimmie Johnson acknowledged Tuesday he was at fault for an eight-car crash at Talladega Superspeedway that scuttled at least one other driver's championship hopes. Johnson had denied responsibility immediately after Sunday's accident, which cost both himself and Mark Martin valuable ground in the race for the Nextel Cup title. After watching tape of the accident that occurred 20 laps into the race, Johnson said he realized he ran into the back of leader Elliott Sadler to start the wreck. Johnson initially claimed he was pushed into Sadler by Dale Earnhardt Jr. "I feel bad, I don't know what else I can say," Johnson said. "I started a wreck and took out a lot of good cars. That was the last thing I intended to do and I feel horrible for it. So I'm taking the responsibility. I needed to see the video to really understand what took place." Johnson was widely blamed by the other drivers in the accident, especially Sadler. "I guess he's trying to keep his streak alive -- he caused a big wreck here last year and he caused a big one again this year," Sadler snapped. "Maybe that's his way of racing here at Talladega ... try to get rid of everybody so he can win the race." Johnson said he has apologized to Sadler, and left a message for Michael Waltrip, who flipped several times during the accident. He now believes the accident was caused because he got too close to Sadler entering the first turn, causing Sadler's car to bobble. Sadler had to slow to save it, and Johnson rammed into the back of him. Earnhardt then hit Johnson, starting the chain-reaction crash. "That's the last thing in the world I wanted to do," Johnson said. "I went and spoke to Elliott immediately after the race and he knew. Even though he was upset, he apologized for saying some harsh things, but he knew what took place and that I got him loose before I actually got into him. I apologized." Johnson was also blamed for starting a 25-car accident at Talladega in April, a wreck that led Earnhardt to call him an "idiot" and create a wave of criticism about Johnson's driving style. ESPN.com/AP
Car of Tomorrow tests at 'Dega Car of Tomorrow tests at 'DegaNASCAR's "car of tomorrow" [COT] looks and drives a lot like today's race cars. But the redesigned car could prevent injuries and provide better racing down the road. Officials and teams tested prototype versions of the redesigned car at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday. Roush Racing driver Carl Edwards tested a Ford, Kyle Petty tested a Petty Enterprises-built Dodge and Brett Bodine tested a Chevrolet that was built by NASCAR's own engineering staff. Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of research and development, said the cars will make their full-scale debut in 2007 but might be used in one race next season. "Today's a big step toward that," he said. The redesigned car is slightly larger, and the driver's seat has been shifted about 4 inches toward the center of the car. The changes provide extra room for new energy-absorbing blocks of metal that NASCAR has been developing since the death of star driver Dale Earnhardt in February 2001. The new car's roll cage, a steel skeleton that protects the driver, also has been beefed up. The new car's body intentionally has been designed to be boxier than current cars; officials hope less aerodynamic cars will be able to pass each other more easily on the track. USA Today
Career start No. 700 for Rusty Career start No. 700 for RustySunday's Banquet 400 at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway will mark #2-Rusty Wallace's 700 th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career start and it will be his final career in his native Midwestern area of the country. Both of those facts have contributed to the abundance of confidence the driver of the Miller Lite Dodge has entering this weekend. Rusty Wallace enters Kansas third in the point standings, trailing leader Tony Stewart by 76 points. He has eight top-five finishes, 16 top-10 finishes and 23 top-15 finishes (leads all drivers in top-15s). He has an average start of 16.4 and an average finish of 11.4. He has had no DNFs this season. After 29 races had been completed last year, Wallace was 17 th in points and a whopping 475 points behind 11 th-place Jamie McMurray. He had three top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He had a 15.2 average start and a 19.5 average finish with three DNFs. Rusty Wallace has been running at the finish in 42 consecutive races - since Bristol last fall, the longest current streak. Rusty Wallace has competed in all four NEXTEL Cup races held at Kansas Speedway. He has scored three top-10 finishes. He currently has a 15.8 average start and an 8.5 average finish on the 1.5-mile track. Wallace has currently led 19,940 laps in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition and lacks only 60 laps to reach an unbelievable 20,000 laps led. Tom Roberts PR
The rubber will meet the road The rubber will meet the roadLowe's Motor Speedway President H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler said the speedway has made plans to lay fresh rubber on the track if it rains prior to the start of next week's Nextel Cup/Busch series weekend.  "It looks like we're going to have some rain this week and that will likely wash the rubber off," Wheeler said. "We will have rubber back on the track when (the drivers) get on it. We'll be sure we do that."

Several big Caterpillar tires were dragged around the track before last week's Busch Series testing. The additional rubber on the surface improved conditions from the Cup test the week before, when several drivers complained about the track surface.  The same tire-dragging procedure will be used if it rains before the start of Thursday's track activity. ThatsRacin.com

Lowe's purse vs. price of gas Lowe's purse vs. price of gas“Gas is 12 times higher than it was 45 years ago, but the $4.9[M] race purse is 108 times greater” – SMI President & COO Humpy Wheeler, on the record amount of prize money to be awarded at the October 15 NASCAR Nextel Cup UAW-GM Quality 500. Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Paul Newman slams Legault and the IRL Paul Newman slams Legault and the IRLPaul Newman is unabashed in his criticism of Montreal race promoter Normand Legault.

"I'm really disappointed about what's gone on in Montreal," he began. "I hope there's a lawsuit. I hope all of them get what they deserve. They did everything they possibly could to subvert a marvelous race that has drawn huge crowds. They did their best to kill it.

"He's actually screwing all the really loyal race fans in Montreal," Newman declares. "He's abdicating his responsibility to the very people who have supported racing and him in the first place. How does he get away with that?

"And the other thing is Montreal and the province of Quebec is a great market for both Champ Car and Formula Atlantic. Atlantic has a great history in Montreal and Quebec as a whole so he's turning his back on two of the province's favorite racing categories."

After a short pause, Newman says he wants to add something about the IRL.

"It seems to me," he grins, "every time the IRL tries to do something underhanded like buying what was left of CART, or Long Beach, or Montreal, either the courts throw them out or they step on themselves." ChampCar website

Patrick inks deal with Swiss watchmaker Patrick inks deal with Swiss watchmakerSwiss watchmaker Tissot formally announced that it has signed IRL driver Danica Patrick to an endorsement deal. Patrick will appear in marketing and advertising beginning in November, and her face will appear in materials at all of the brand’s points of sale. Tissot
Industry News
GM and Ford headed further into 'junk' status GM and Ford headed further into 'junk' statusStandard & Poor's Ratings Services said Tuesday it is reviewing the credit ratings of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. and could downgrade them further into "junk" status as early as mid-January.

S&P placed Ford and GM's ratings below investment grade earlier this year, a change that makes it more difficult for the two largest U.S. automakers to borrow money. GM's debt totaled $284 billion as of June 30, while Ford's debt stood at $158 billion, S&P said.

Analyst Scott Sprinzen said S&P probably won't downgrade Ford more than one notch, but it could take more drastic action with GM.  "We see Ford as the better of the two credits. The earnings and cash flow of Ford are holding up better than General Motors this year," Sprinzen said.

Ford said it wouldn't comment on the review. GM said it is taking action to improve its position.  "We continue to focus on North America and improving our business as quickly as possible," GM spokeswoman Gina Proia said. More from AP

Servia to finish season with Newman/Haas Servia to finish season with Newman/HaasThe Newman-Haas team has confirmed that Oriol Servia will see out the 2005 Champ Car season aboard the PacifiCare-backed No. 2 Lola-Ford.

“I’m very satisfied with the team’s decision to keep me on the car until the end of the season,” celebrated Servia, who took his maiden career win with Newman/Haas at Montreal in August. “I see it as the consequence of a job well done.

“We must now stay on the same path and not concede anything in order to achieve our priority of placing both Newman/Haas cars in the top-two positions in the championship.”

With the Ansan race being cancelled, Servia is pretty much a lock on the No. 2 championship finishing position. And with Bourdais winning the title, the team can carry No. 1 and No. 2 on their cars in 2006. 

NASCAR confiscates eight engines NASCAR confiscates eight enginesUPDATE After the race, NASCAR took the engines from the following cars: Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Elliott Sadler, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray and Kasey Kahne. NASCAR will test the engines on its dyno to evaluate relative horsepower. Speed Channel 10/03/05 NASCAR confiscated eight engines from various cars after the race at Talladega on Sunday, including the engine of Jamie McMurray. Speed Channel's NASCAR Victory Lane/Bob Dillner
Group to help build motorsports in China Group to help build motorsports in ChinaGianpaolo Dallara, Jean-Claude Migeot, Bruno Engelric and Luca Birindelli have joined forces to create Asia Racing Technologies, which aims to assist China to nurture its up-and-coming motorsport industry.

The project is being headed by Italian lawyer Luca Birindelli, the managing partner of Birindelli e Associati, an Italian law firm which is focused on the Asia-Pacific region. The core activities of the firm are in the China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam.

Birindelli has recruited chassis manufacturer Gianpaolo Dallara, aerodynamics expert Jean-Claude Migeot and Bruno Engelric, who runs Del West Europe, supplier of valve-train components to most of the motorsport industry, to the company which intends to play a key role in developing a motorsport industry in China. Their plans include a young engineer training scheme in Europe and the establishment of a research facility at the Shanghai International Circuit. The group will also be assisting the Chinese motorsport federation to launch a program to find young drivers, the establishment of a Chinese Formula 3 Championship in 2008 and establishing companies to build the first Chinese F3 cars and engines.

"Our mission," says Birindelli, "is to provide our Chinese partners with the right training, technology and logistics to fast-track the development of the Chinese motorsport industry. If we do not involve Chinese nationals, provide them with a solid foundation of motorsport knowledge and guide them towards the top of the industry, it is feasible that it will remain an untapped possibility. Our program will require major investment, both human and financial, but we know this is the best way forward for China and its motor racing industry." More at Grandprix.com

Hirohide Hamashima talks of Bridgestone's season Hirohide Hamashima talks of Bridgestone's seasonFerrari and Bridgestone spent a week testing at the Le Castellet circuit in the South of France and the main item on the agenda was tires for the final two races of the season. Despite an intensive tire testing program which has run through most of the year, the Ferrari-Bridgestone package has, with just a few exceptions, not been competitive enough.

“One of the reasons for that situation is this year’s dramatic change to the regulations,” reckoned Hirohide Hamashima, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development. The new rules effectively required the tire manufacturers to produce a tire that would produce competitive lap times combined with durability over a complete race distance.

“At first, we concentrated on producing a construction of tire that had the durability to deal with the regulations,” continued Hamashima. “Of course, this is a very important factor, especially from the safety point of view. Only once we felt we had reached a satisfactory point in that side of the development, we began to work on the compound side." zzzz

"But this year we have to check the durability of a compound over a distance of around 350 kilometres, whereas last year, over that distance we could have tested three types of compound or specification. In effect, having to test a compound over a much greater distance has greatly increased the time it takes to evaluate a tire compound. That is why it has taken us a long time to develop a new specification and that has delayed our progress.”

Just as the team designers have been working on their 2006 cars for some time now, so too, the tire engineers have been preparing for next season. Apart from making full use of all the data acquired during testing with Ferrari, Bridgestone will also benefit from one instant improvement next season. Next year more the Japanese company will have more top teams on its books, which means more chassis, more wheels and more drivers to test its tires.

“This is a very important factor,” agreed Hamashima. “The new teams have already indicated that they want to cooperate, not only with us but also with Ferrari as well. So their technical directors will all be involved in discussions and I would like to see a sharing of data from testing going on in our trucks. I believe our development speed will get much quicker because of this factor.”

If the fact that Ferrari has been Bridgestone’s only front-running team has proved a disadvantage this year, in the past, with different F1 tire rules, it has proved very advantageous in other ways. Hamashima is keen for this special relationship to continue.

“I would like to see this collaboration and good relationship continue in the future,” he said. “We learn so much from Ferrari, from its high technology knowledge and that is very important for our company in terms of developing our product. With the other teams joining us in 2006, if they wish to collaborate with us we will do so. But we will not reduce the resources we put into Ferrari.”

Before the Grand Prix weekend, the Ferrari drivers will pay a visit to Bridgestone’s Japanese headquarters. Always a tradition, this year Hamashima feels it will have special significance.

“It is particularly important because the results this year have not been too good. Despite this, our company employees have still been cheering on our efforts with Ferrari this year. So, the opportunity for the drivers to visit our facility is very important for Bridgestone. One of the reasons we entered F1 was to take advantage in terms of internal motivation and direction to develop. The visit to headquarters shows the collaboration between our two companies is still very strong, even if the results have been lacking on track.”

So, what can one expect from the Ferrari-Bridgestone combination at the fantastic Suzuka track. “At every race, our target is the same, namely to stand on the top step of the podium, but it will be difficult to make such a big step forward from where we are at the moment,” admitted Hamashima. “However, I feel it is important that we should put on a strong showing in Suzuka, to make a positive connection to next year’s work. That is very important. At the moment, our test team with Ferrari, and particularly Luca Badoer and Marc Gené, are continuing to develop our tires so I want to show the spectators and fans in Japan some new things and some positive signs for the future.”

In the technology driven world of motor sport there is little room for sentiment and superstition, but in recent weeks, a red machine built in Italy and running on Bridgestone tires has won two races, one of them in Japan. Ducati and Bridgestone seem to be experiencing an upturn in performance in recent weeks in MotoGP. Is that an encouraging sign? “Of course, it is very good news,” said Hamashima with a smile. “But of course, it also puts the Bridgestone Formula One team under more pressure!” Source Ferrari

Theissen satisfied with Vettel’s progress Theissen satisfied with Vettel’s progressLast week Sebastian Vettel had his first Formula One test at Jerez when he completed 25 laps in a BMW Williams FW27. The 18 year-old is regarded as one of Germany's biggest racing talents by BMW, currently running fifth in the Formula 3 Euro Series, and still in with a chance of third place.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen is convinced of Vettel's talent. “I am very satisfied with his performances in the Formula 3 Euro Series," Theissen said. "He had to adapt to the new car and a new team during the first half of the season, but now he is making us very happy. We have even seen him on the podium a couple of times. I am sure that he will be one of the favorites for next year's Formula 3 Euro Series championship.”

Vettel has been successfully battling a recent decision to exclude him from the 16th round of the Championship when his car was allegedly under-weight. McLaren protégé Lewis Hamilton has already tied up the Championship and Vettel is seeking the Rookie of the Year honors. Expect BMW to be running Vettel in some tests next year. Source BMW Williams

Schumacher realistic on his chances Schumacher realistic on his chancesAfter five years Formula One has a new champion. Following six seasons of unqualified success, Ferrari is ending a not-too-positive year in Japan and China. However, the team is as motivated as ever and as ever, Michael Schumacher is vowing to do his best.

Soon after returning from Brazil, Schumacher was soon back behind the wheel of the F2005. Two test days were arranged at short notice for the out-going Champion on the Paul Ricard circuit to test Bridgestone tires for the final two rounds of the season. Schumacher described the tests as 'positive' after setting competitive lap times and having no mechanical dramas.

Schumacher is tied with Juan Pablo Montoya in the championship on 60 points but as a result of the Colombian's great number of race wins, is fourth in the Drivers' Championship with Rubens Barrichello down in seventh.

The team however looks set to claim third position in the Constructors' Championship as they are 17 points clear of nearest rival Toyota.

Michael Schumacher - 'I will never tire of saying that we had to expect that things would go like this. The world of racing is like life: one goes through good times and bad. It is all about cycles and this should not frighten us. I can also say that the way that each of is going about his work makes it apparent that the situation is highly stimulating for us. We are facing a new challenge, one that will lead from the 'low' we are now in to once more going for the title next year.”

"I am curious to see how we do in the final two races of the season. Changes in performance are often witnessed over the course of a season and this could repeat itself again. Naturally, it would have been nice to have come out of it by the end of the year. However, we cannot force things too much. Our motivations for next year do not depend on the last two races but, rather, on other things. Now we are off to Japan to try to do our best. Then we will see how things go.” Source Ferrari

BAT branding to remain for the 2006 season BAT branding to remain for the 2006 seasonBritish American Tobacco (BAT) today confirms that it has agreed the sale of its 55 per cent stake in BAR Honda to Honda Motor Co. Ltd. The sale is expected to take effect by 31 December 2005.

With Honda’s existing 45 per cent shareholding, purchased in January 2005, this transaction will give Honda complete ownership of the team.

The BAR Honda team (then British American Racing) was established by BAT in 1997. After a challenging first few years it rose to second place in the 2004 FIA Constructors’ World Championship, one of the quickest ascents of a F1 team.

BAT intends to remain as the title sponsor, through Lucky Strike, for the 2006 season, but will honor its long-standing commitment to exit Formula One sponsorship at the end of that season. This is consistent with the International Tobacco Marketing Standards, to which British American Tobacco voluntarily subscribed in 2001, along with its major international competitors.

“It will be sad to end our association but it is immensely satisfying to leave the team in the competent hands of Honda who are proven winners in the sport," commented Jimmi Rembiszewski, Marketing Director. "We wish Honda every success for the future and look forward to our last year of sponsorship.” Source BAT

Ferrari mechanic killed Ferrari mechanic killedAutosport-Atlas reports that a Ferrari test team mechanic has been killed in a car crash near the outfit's Maranello factory.  Ivan Petterlini's Fiat Punto was in collision with an Audi A4 on Sunday night, while he was en route to Maranello, where he lived.  33-year old Petterlini was killed instantly in the accident while the two Moldovan occupants of the Audi were taken to hospital with serious injuries.  Petterlini was the brother of Gianni, who is the chief mechanic of the Ferrari test team.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Advantage Bernie in F1 row
BAR postpone F1 speed bid
New champ vows 'full power'
Flav aimed fire at Schu
Schu silent on Suzuka speed
Trulli to carry Olympic torch
Wet weather for Suzuka
Denny Hulme
'Minardi spirit' to drive on
Honda buys BAR Honda race team Honda buys BAR Honda race teamHonda Motor Co., Ltd has underlined its determination to win the Formula One World Championship with its acquisition of the full 100% shareholding in the B*A*R Honda F1 team.

Less than a year after purchasing a 45% share in B*A*RH Limited, Honda has agreed to acquire founding owner British American Tobacco's 55% majority share. Honda will complete the purchase of the remaining shares by the end of 2005.

The acquisition was announced in a press conference held by Honda in Tokyo today, ahead of its home grand prix at Suzuka this weekend. This race will also mark Honda's 100th grand prix with the B*A*R Honda team.

During the course of the past six seasons with the B*A*R Honda team, Honda's F1 program has gone from strength to strength. In 2000, Honda returned to the F1 World Championship, having entered into a contract with B*A*R to supply engines and jointly develop chassis technology. In December 2001, a new 3-year contract, effective from 2002, was signed, the provisions of which included the strengthening of the joint chassis development project. In July 2004, an agreement was reached to extend the contract period to the end of the 2007, with the additional aim of further strengthening the partnership's structure for technological development.

The 2004 season marked the 40th anniversary of Honda's inaugural F1 campaign and saw B*A*R Honda achieve second place in the Constructors' World Championship.

Honda now considers 100% ownership of the team to be a crucial step in its ambition to win the Constructors' World Championship in the next few years.

The team will continue to conduct operations from its current base in Brackley, Northamptonshire, UK, working together with Honda Racing Development Ltd., located in Berkshire.

Hiroshi Oshima, Operating Officer, Corporate Communications and Motor Sports, Honda Motor Co., Ltd, commented: "After discussing Honda's future F1 participation, we have decided that Honda should own 100% of the team. We greatly appreciate the partnership of BAT, which has managed the team with us until now, and we wish BAT the best of luck in its future endeavors. From next season, we will be even more energetic in our F1 activities, working hard as a team in order to improve our technology, develop our young engineers and achieve our goal of winning the World Championship. We look forward to your continued support."

Jimmi Rembiszewski, British American Tobacco Director, Marketing, commented: "It will be sad to end our association but it is immensely satisfying to leave the team in the competent hands of Honda who are proven winners in the sport. We wish Honda every success for the future and look forward to our last year of sponsorship."

ALMS announces 10-race schedule for 2006 ALMS announces 10-race schedule for 2006UPDATE
March 18, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring, Fla., SPEED
May 12, Lone Star Grand Prix, Houston, CBS Sports
May 21, American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, Lexington, Ohio, CBS Sports
July 1, New England Grand Prix, Lakeville, Conn., CBS Sports
July 15, Grand Prix of Utah, Toole, Utah, CBS Sports
July 22, Portland Grand Prix, Portland, CBS Sports
Aug. 20, Generac 500 at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis., SPEED
Sept. 3, Grand Prix of Mosport, Bowmanville, Ontario, SPEED
Sept. 30, Petit Le Mans, Braselton, Ga., SPEED 
Oct. 21, Monterey Sports Car Championships, Monterey, Calif., SPEED
See also our 2006 Composite Schedule
 10/01/05 Featuring two new venues in highly sought after markets and an enhanced television broadcast package involving both CBS Sports and SPEED Channel, the American Le Mans Series announced its 10-race schedule for 2006 today during its annual “State of the Series” address.

The address was made at Road Atlanta, site of this weekend’s Petit Le Mans and Round 9 of the ALMS.

“We could not be more pleased about our 2006 event schedule,” said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “The combination of venues, markets and television package we were able to assemble further cements the American Le Mans Series as the premier sports car racing series in North America.”  zzzz

New events for 2006 include the Houston Grand Prix in May, at the city’s downtown street course, and the Grand Prix of Utah at the new Miller Motorsports Park, an impressive, expansive road course just outside Salt Lake City.

On the television side, the American Le Mans Series will appear on CBS Sports five times in 2006, the most network appearances for the series in its history. Rounds 2 through 6 will be shown on CBS Sports, offering continuity on network television the ALMS hasn’t seen in its lifetime.

In addition, SPEED Channel will continue its long-standing partnership with the ALMS with five broadcasts.

“When we started the process of forming our schedule for 2006, the markets impacted and expansion of our national TV broadcast package were key components,” Atherton said. “Today, we have realized all of those. I feel very comfortable saying that the 2006 schedule is the strongest overall we have ever had in the history of the American Le Mans Series and confirms our continued growth and vitality.”

At 4.5 miles, Miller Motorsports Park, located just outside Salt Lake City in Tooele, Utah, will be the longest track in the ALMS, as well as the longest in the United States, featuring a 3,500-foot main straight. The configuration also will feature 24 turns, again an ALMS record. The track is located on a 511-acre site in Tooele County’s Deseret Peak Complex, which is 25 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Houston played host to its first street racing event in 1998. The new 1.7-mile temporary street circuit will be located at Reliant Park and will mark the first street race for the ALMS since Miami in 2003. An added bonus is Houston as a market. It is the fourth largest city in the United States in terms of population, and it is a top-10 TV market.

“This is a schedule on which we have worked long and hard,” said Tim Mayer, COO of IMSA. “It has everything a fan, sponsor and team of the ALMS could want: new events, an enhanced television package and incredible new opportunities in Salt Lake City and Houston.”

Also included in the 2006 schedule is the traditional season-opener at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway and the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. As has been in the past, SPEED Channel will continue to provide consistent live coverage of the ALMS’ two premier events, as well as the season-ending Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The series also will return to many of its traditional stops which have become popular with fans since the formation of the ALMS in 1999: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lime Rock Park, Portland International Raceway, Road America and Mosport International Raceway.

All rounds of the 2006 ALMS will be within 250 miles of the total metropolitan population in the United States, based on the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

As was the case in 2005, drivers and teams will enjoy a schedule that allows for recovery time between events. More importantly, teams that compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans will have ample time between Round 3 at Mid-Ohio and Round 4 at Lime Rock to prepare for the historic French endurance classic. This season, series teams captured three class titles and nine podium spots in the historic French classic. The 14 ALMS teams that made the journey to Le Mans represented the largest contingent from one country in this season’s race.

A lap around Suzuka with Juan Montoya A lap around Suzuka with Juan MontoyaAfter taking a strong victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix just over a week ago, McLaren driver Juan Pablo Montoya is aiming to make it a double with a win at the Suzuka circuit in Japan this coming Sunday, the penultimate round of the 2005 championship season. Here the Colombian racer describes just how he plans to lap the famous Japanese circuit that is loved by almost every racer in the series…

“Accelerating along the downhill pit straight at Suzuka, you reach 312km/h in seventh gear, before lifting slightly for the fast, fifth gear right of First Curve. Your speed decreases only slightly to 260km/h. The track continues to bend to the right through the second corner, which is much tighter and negotiated at 153km/h in third gear.

A quick burst on the throttle to some 245km/h, sees you reach the snake section. The track flicks left-right-left-right through this fourth gear complex. Your speed ranges from 210km/h at the start, to some 140km/h for the final right-hander. The challenging, long left of Dunlop Curve is next. Taken at 217km/h, Dunlop is quite bumpy on the entry and is nearly flat out.

On the following straight you reach 290km/h in seventh on the approach to the Degner Curve. The first section of this double right-hander is taken at 185km/h in fourth gear, before dabbing the brakes for the tighter turn nine, which is taken at 120km/h in second. A short straight follows, and you flow under the bridge at speeds of 225km/h in fifth gear, as the track kinks to the right slightly leading into the tide hairpin. Braking hard you drop to 64km/h in first gear for the 180-degree left-hander.

On the throttle as you exit, the circuit begins to sweep right through the long curve of turn twelve. You reach speeds of 297km/h in seventh, before braking for the double apex of Spoon Curve. The first left-hander is entered at 180km/h in fourth. As you continue round the corner, your speed increases slightly before a dab on the brakes takes your speed down to 140km/h in third for the second apex. It is important to maintain good momentum through the Spoon Curve, as the exit takes you out onto the longest, straight of the track.

Powering up through the gears, you are traveling at 312km/h in seventh as you crossover the track below on the approach to the 130R. Either flat out or with only a slight lift for the fast left-hander, your speed stays around the 275km/h mark in the corner. Another straight leads to the Casino Triangle chicane. You then sweep back via a long right hander onto the start-finish straight.”

Industry news
GM and Ford announce sales decline GM and Ford announce sales declineGeneral Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. on Monday posted big declines in U.S. vehicle sales in September as employee pricing discount programs lost their allure and sales of traditional SUVs plunged on higher gasoline prices after hurricanes ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast.  And U.S. automakers don't see sales getting any better this month as the generous summer deals pulled fall and winter customers into the market earlier.

"I expect October to be a bit rocky," Paul Ballew, GM's head of global market and industry analysis, said, adding that industry sales on a seasonally adjusted annual basis will be around 16.4 million vehicles in September.

By contrast, Asian rivals Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., and Nissan Motor Corp. posted double-digit gains, and Toyota said its third-quarter sales were the best-ever in the United States. 

"Detroit has been trying to stimulate sales, basically pull sales from the future, by reducing prices while their competitors overseas have focused on producing better products," said Thomas Leritz, portfolio manager with Argent Capital Management in Clayton, Missouri. He doesn't own automaker stocks, but follows the industry closely.

"It's history repeating itself," he added. "You go back to the '70s, during those oil shocks the Japanese took market share." Reuters

Schumacher targets ’06 title...then retirement Schumacher targets ’06 title...then retirementMichael Schumacher says he intends to reclaim the drivers' world championship title in 2006 and that Ferrari has been motivated, rather than deflated, by its heavy defeat this season.  Speaking on his official website he claims he has set himself and his team the target of returning to form as quickly as possible.

"I can't repeat enough that this was to be expected," Michael said of his disappointing year.  Racing is very much like life, there are ups and downs. And when you experience as many ups as we did over the course of the past years, it's clear that there has to be a down sooner or later. 

"It comes in waves, so you shouldn't be discouraged by it. And when I see each and every one of us continue working, I can say that everyone is anything but discouraged.  Our new challenge will be to not let the down last very long. We want to fight for the championship again next year."

It's expected that Schumacher would like nothing more than to close out his brilliant career with a record 8th World Championship and go out on a high.

CNN special on NASCAR CNN special on NASCARCNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta gets behind the wheel to examine safety and athletic performance in NASCAR racing, "NASCAR: Driven to Extremes," Sunday, October 16, 10 p.m. ETPreview

"Driving in NASCAR is a lot more than hitting the gas and turning left, as I learned working on NASCAR: Driven to Extremes."  -- Dr. Gupta

Wheldon, Andretti featured guests at Beam Family VIP Experience Wheldon, Andretti featured guests at Beam Family VIP ExperienceNewly crowned IRL IndyCar® Series champion Dan Wheldon was among the celebrities who attended the Beam Family VIP Experience at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Ky., on Oct. 3.

Wheldon, the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series title in the same season, was joined by Andretti Green Racing co-owner Michael Andretti at the event.

Other celebrities included country music band Montgomery Gentry and actor George Wendt, best known for playing Norm on the long-running television show "Cheers."

Track News
Long Beach GP gets former marketing head back Long Beach GP gets former marketing head backGrand Prix Association of Long Beach CEO Jim Michaelian announced today that Michael S. Clark has been named Director of Marketing, as it ramps up for the April 7-9, 2006 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. 

Clark joins the GPALB from Original Productions of Burbank, where he was Vice President, Marketing.  Original Productions is one of the largest producers of reality programming - including the hit show "Monster Garage" - for TV's The Discovery Channel.

He replaces Kevin O'Brien, who has resigned to pursue other career options.

The 52-year-old Clark, a native of Dallas, is no stranger to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.  From 1988-2000, he served in a similar marketing capacity for the famed seaside race before becoming Vice President of Marketing for the Panoz Motorsports Group in Georgia, which stages the American LeMans sports car series.

"Mike's familiarity with the event and the Grand Prix team means he will be 'up to speed' very quickly and making a major contribution as he heads up our marketing effort for the 2006 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach," Michaelian said.  "I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Kevin O'Brien for all his efforts, and wish him well in his future endeavors."

Clark is a graduate of the University of Texas, and currently resides in Rancho Palos Verdes with his wife, Jo Beth.

"I am excited to again be associated with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach," Clark said. "It is the benchmark for street racing in North America and one of Southern California's premier events. I look forward to helping it become even bigger and better."

The GPALB also announced that tickets for the 32nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 7-9, 2006 officially go on sale today.

Loss of Tobacco helping F1 gain new sponsors Loss of Tobacco helping F1 gain new sponsorsFormula One is gaining new sponsors rapidly. While in last five years many fans turned away from the sport because Michael Schumacher was dominating the sport, the real issue for a lot of sponsors is that they did not want to be associated with tobacco sponsorship, which was/is prevalent in F1. Now that F1 is beginning to kick the tobacco habit, sponsors are taking a renewed interest in the series. NASCAR saw a similar phenomena when they dropped Winston.

More and more major companies see an interest in the sport. Red Bull bought even two teams to promote its brand worldwide. Viewing figures have increased worldwide so the possible exposure for sponsors in F1 is getting more and more interesting. Hilton has signed a contract with McLaren, while Coca Cola is in talks with Williams according to the latest gossip.

GR8Industries (www.gr8industries.com) is one of the companies that help other companies to promote their brands in Formula One. They are responsible for the various sponsorship deals of Christijan Albers and the Minardi F1 team. "The interest in F1 compared to last year is amazing," said GR8 CEO Lodewijk Varossieau. "We see a movement in the kind of brands that are interested in Formula 1. More and more consumer brands are interested in the sport and to reach a huge audience."

Trulli to carry Olympic Torch Trulli to carry Olympic TorchJarno Trulli has been selected to carry the Olympic Torch when it passes through his home town early next year for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Toyota's Italian Formula 1 star has been given the honor of lighting the Olympic tripod in Pescara on January 8 as the flame is carried towards the Winter Olympics in Turin next February, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

According to Pescara's tourism councilor Moreno di Pietrantonio, Trulli was chosen because he was the ''most representative person from Pesaro at an international level''. The Olympic flame will be lit in Olympia next month before making its away across Greece and Italy through the winter.

Corvette Racing Wins Petit Le Mans GT-1 class Corvette Racing Wins Petit Le Mans GT-1 classCorvette Racing beat the heat, beat the clock and beat its rivals to win Saturday's 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta. Corvette Racing teammates Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen duplicated their earlier win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with their No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R. The trio completed 379 laps, finishing one lap ahead of the No. 57 Aston Martin DBR9 and third overall.

Gavin and Beretta scored their sixth win in their last seven starts and took a 15-point lead (173-158) over their Corvette Racing teammates Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell in the GT1 championship standings. The No. 3 Compuware Corvette of Fellows, O'Connell and Max Papis retired after 357 laps and was credited with a sixth-place finish in the GT1 division.

Beretta started on the GT1 pole and the yellow Corvette was in control throughout the event. The race took a decisive turn shortly after the 4-hour mark when Gavin gained a one-lap advantage on his closest pursuer. The team was able to maintain that margin throughout the remainder of the 9-hour, 17-minute race despite a pit stop for a splash of fuel in the final minutes. zzzz

The race started in cool and cloudy conditions, but bright sunshine in the afternoon hours put a premium on grip and car control.

"It's been hard, it's been hot, it's been everything you would expect of Petit Le Mans," said Gavin. "Aston Martin pushed us all the way. At times the track got very slick and everyone in the class was struggling. A few things went our way today, and we were able to take those opportunities with both hands. The team did a fantastic job with the race strategy and tire selection today. As always, the Corvette C6.R performed brilliantly.

"My heart was in my throat when Olivier made that final pit stop because anything can happen," Gavin admitted. "Fortunately it went like clockwork."

"Now we have won the big Le Mans and the small Le Mans in one year!" said Beretta, who scored his 23rd career ALMS victory. "Olly and Jan are fast and clever teammates; they know when to push and when it is time to save the car. The Corvette C6.R has shown it's the car to have in GT1. This race was quite hard because of the traffic, but we didn't have contact once today. At the end I was just taking care of the car."

Magnussen was unable to join the victory celebration because he departed for Denmark after his final stint. He was scheduled to compete in the season finale of the Dutch Touring Car championship on Sunday.

"I'm so proud to be involved with this program and with a team that is as professional as this one," said Magnussen as he left to catch a private jet for his trans-Atlantic journey.

While the No. 4 car had a trouble-free day, the No. 3 car was beset by handling problems early and a valve train issue that ultimately ended its race.

"We haven't had good luck at this race, but congratulations to the team on the No. 4 Corvette," said O'Connell. "It was a difficult weekend for us, but everyone gave 110 percent. We have one more race to run this season, and we'll go to Laguna Seca to see if we can't get No. 3 back in the winner's circle."

"At the end of the day, there's still a yellow car in the winner's circle, and that's good news for Corvette Racing," added Fellows. "Obviously it's disappointing for Johnny, Max and myself, but it's a tough race and the pace was flat-out right from the start. That's why Corvette Racing has two cars in the race because you never know if you're going to have a problem. Often it's a 1-2 finish, but not today."

Today's result marked Corvette Racing's fifth Petit Le Mans victory in six years.

"I think the race lived up to expectations, with great race cars, great teams and great drivers," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "Any time you get a mix like that, this is the kind of exciting show you're going to get.

"We knew the race would be a formidable challenge and we were as well prepared as we could possibly be," Fehan noted. "In the end, Corvette Racing prevailed."

Corvette Racing's next event is the season-ending Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, Oct. 15, starting at 3:15 p.m. PDT. The 4-hour race will be televised tape-delayed on the SPEED Channel on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m. EDT. Corvette Racing

Zipadelli Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award Zipadelli Wins Crew Chief of the Race AwardTony Stewart may not have won the UAW-Ford 500 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, but he performed in award-winning fashion.  Stewart led the parade 11 times for a race high total of 65 laps before claiming second-place in one of the season’s most thrilling finishes.  Stewart’s big day brought his crew chief Greg Zipadelli the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.

Although Stewart made his top-five run look easy, but his finish didn’t come without a roadblock. The Home Depot Chevrolet seemed to battle overheating problems from the start of the race.  Despite pulling all of the tape off the grill of the #20 machine, the temperature continued to climb before finally reaching 275 degrees.  Water began to leave the engine, which gave Zipadelli no choice but to sacrifice his driver’s track position and attempt fix the problem.  The team made an extended stop on pit road to refill the engine and cool the motor.  Zipadelli’s plan got Stewart back on the track without losing any laps. zzzz

Stewart battled back to claim second-place.  More importantly, his race day comeback put him back on top of the championship point standings.  “The Home Depot Chevrolet was pretty good, but we had an overheating problem,” said Zipadelli.  “We probably had a little too much tape on it and in traffic it got too hot.  It pushed some water out, so we had to put some water in it.  I think we got an air bubble in it.  Once we got that worked out, we went to the front and led a bunch of laps afterwards.  Everybody on the team did a great job today and we got the points lead back.  That’s the most important thing.”

The panel of voters, including a WYPALL® Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr., agreed that Zipadelli deserved WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race honors for his incredible comeback.  “It’s a pretty big problem to deal with when your car’s overheating, but Greg (Zipadelli) kept it under control.” said Eury Sr.  “The crew got it fixed before it cooked the motor and got him back on the track without losing a lap.  Stewart went back on the track and nearly won the race.  It was almost like the problem never happened.”

Doug Richert leads the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson and Greg Zipadelli are tied for second-place with three wins. Bob Osborne, Jimmy Fennig, Robbie Reiser and Robbie Loomis are tied for third-place with two wins.  Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Greg Erwin, Slugger Labbe, Chad Knaus and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for fourth place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000.

Rain washes out BAR Honda record speed attempt Rain washes out BAR Honda record speed attemptA sudden spell of rain in north-west Utah, USA has forced B*A*R Honda to postpone Bonneville 400, its attempt to set the first official Formula One land speed record.   The project team is on standby to return at the earliest opportunity once the Bonneville Salt Flats have dried.

Up to an inch of standing water presently covers the seven-mile course on the legendary salt flats, and meteorological reports and forecasts suggest that the ambient temperature in the region will not be sufficient over the next week to evaporate the water to allow the scheduled running on the 5-8th October.

Senior members of the Bonneville 400 project team have flown out to the venue to assess the conditions on the flats and determine when a return to make the record attempt will be possible.

B*A*R Honda Sporting Director Gil de Ferran said of the postponement, "The adverse weather conditions in Bonneville have given us no other option but to postpone the scheduled running of the B*A*R Honda 067 on the Bonneville Salt Flats. This is a short term disappointment to the team, but the very nature of attempting to run a car at speeds in excess of 400 km/h on a natural surface means it is always susceptible to bad weather and we were fully prepared for this eventuality. We will be rescheduling our record attempt once our observation team returns to Brackley, but are determined to get back out to Utah again as soon as possible." 

Mike Cook of the Southern California Timing Association who is assisting the team on its attempt, said; "Unfortunately, B*A*R Honda is the latest victim of the unpredictable weather in this area. Bonneville has a unique micro-climate and it is impossible to predict the long range weather conditions around here with any accuracy. It may come as some consolation for the team to know they aren't alone. Throughout the prestigious history of land speed record attempts here, many have been adversely affected by the weather. It's almost a spiritual rite of passage for record setters at Bonneville and will represent a test of the team's mettle. But having met them all, I know they'll be back to set the record."

An update on the revised timing for the Bonneville 400 record attempt will be provided as soon as it is available.

McMurray's car fails post-race inspection at Talladega McMurray's car fails post-race inspection at TalladegaFollowing a weekend of rules controversies, Jamie McMurray’s #42 Chip Ganassi-owned Dodge flunked post-race inspection when right-rear quarter panel didn’t meet the minimum height requirement. No penalty will be issued, NASCAR officials said, because McMurray’s car was one of many that had been damaged in a wreck during the race. Speed Channel
NASCAR confiscates parts NASCAR confiscates partsMichael Waltrip's #15 NAPA Chevrolet had a steel spacer confiscated by NASCAR at Talladega, measuring 14 inches across which blocked the holes in the wheel/rim. It fit between the wheel and the hub. NASCAR rules make it illegal to block the rim openings, according to [DEI's] Steve Hmiel teams use to tape the openings closed allowing the cars to go faster. NASCAR allows a spacer but only 7 inches in diameter. Insider Racing News
Car of Tomorrow test at Talladega today Car of Tomorrow test at Talladega todayNASCAR will test the so-called “Car of Tomorrow” at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday, according to NASCAR’s Managing Director of Research & Development Gary Nelson. Three cars, one built by NASCAR at its Concord, N.C., R&D facility and the other two built by race teams, will take part in the test, Nelson said. The new car is designed to be safer and less expensive to build. It’s also designed to create a bigger aerodynamic footprint, which will improve drafting and reduce “aero push,” the tendency of cars behind the leader to lose front downforce and therefore be unable to pass. One huge change: Aerodynamic trim, including the front valence panel and the rear spoiler, will be bolt on, making it easier and much cheaper to fine-tune the aerodynamic characteristics of the cars. “The aero stuff is all bolt on, so we can bolt on any size spoiler we want,” Nelson said. “We can match the aero (characteristics) of the car that’s on the track today or go to a less number with cheap, bolt-on front and rear spoilers. Today, to move those (aero) numbers around requires building a whole new car.” In terms of size, the new cars will be “a couple of inches taller, four inches wider and a little longer,” Nelson said. Look for a 2007 debut, Nelson said, adding that race teams already have built or are completing 10 of the new cars. Nelson said feedback from the teams so far has been “a third, a third and a third. A third of the teams love it, a third of the teams don’t care” and a third oppose it. As far as reactions go on rules changes, “it’s pretty normal,” Nelson said. Speed Channel
Q and A with Alonso, Fisichella, and Bell Q and A with Alonso, Fisichella, and BellRenault heads to Suzuka with Fernando Alonso already the World Champion for 2005. However, the team has dropped behind rivals McLaren Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship and with just the Japanese and Chinese races remaining, need a strong showing if they are to take both titles.

Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella and Technical Director Bob Bell talk of the Suzuka challenge

Fernando, looking at the Japanese Grand Prix – is it just another race, or the start of a new era for you?
"Both, I think. I expect there will be a lot of attention, a lot of questions, a lot of cameras when we get there. But when I get in the car, then I will be working like normal. We have a race to do, and another championship to win. I believe the truth is that we have been the best in this 2005 season, and I will be working at full power now, with Fisi, to win the constructors' title too. I think we can do it."

Do you enjoy Suzuka?
"Oh yes, I always enjoy Japan. It is very technical and complex, and all the drivers feel very good there – there are lots of high speed corners, and that is a big challenge. It is very complicated for the engineers as well, and getting the set-up right is a good challenge for them. Plus we always enjoy the weekend because there are so many fans there supporting F1, which means we have a great atmosphere."

There is always the risk of bad weather – last year, we had a typhoon…!
"That's not a problem. We saw already in Spa that the tires are fantastic this year, and we managed the whole race there with the same type of tire. It started wet, it was dry at the end, and the tires were working well. Bad weather could be a key part of the weekend, but with Michelin tires, we are ready for any challenge. They have done a fantastic job this year."

Fisico, how did things go for you in Brazil?
"Obviously, it was a great weekend for the team, with Fernando's win: I helped him celebrate late into the night! But from my point of view, it was a tough afternoon on Sunday. The car had oversteer from the start, and it was hard work with that and the tires to get a good pace all the way through the race. In the end, I think the best I could have finished was fourth, so we only lost one point, but it definitely wasn't as good as I had hoped on Saturday night."

So what about Japan – it is a big battle for the constructors' title…
"Yes, it will be a big fight. Japan is another really great circuit, with a very challenging first sector and lots of long left-hand corners that can be hard for the neck. You need a good engine because there are a few long flat out sections, good downforce and good traction to get speed out of the last corner and over the start-finish line."

Will you enjoy the weekend?
"For sure – we are not at McLaren's level in terms of pure speed, but we are closer. I have a great feeling at this circuit, because it is one of my favorite tracks, and the fans are fantastic. I have a fan club in Japan, who I will be seeing on Friday night, and that adds something special to the weekend as well. I am really looking forward to racing in Suzuka."

Bob, can you tell us about the atmosphere within the team at the moment?
"It is just fantastic. There was a great function at Enstone on Sunday, with 150 people watching the race, and the feeling spilled over into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… Morale is at an all-time high."

Have people forgotten about the other championship?
"That is what has been interesting: there is no sign anybody is now thinking they can relax. We are determined to go win the constructors' title, to do whatever it takes, but also happy in the knowledge of what has already been achieved. There is a lightness to the approach, but it hasn't undermined our determination and resolve."

Fernando was in the factory on Tuesday – that must have meant a lot…
"It did – it meant a huge amount to people. He came in earlier this year after the win in France, and that was really appreciated. It really is special for the people who don't get to travel to the races, and there was a fantastic atmosphere on Tuesday."

Are there still technical developments coming on the car?
"We have got a suspension update in Japan, and some new aero parts – we are transferring things we find during the development of the R26 where possible. Of course, the main update to come is the E spec engine in China, which should be a good step forward."

Will the team's approach change in the final races?
"I think our risk management may change a little, but not much. The reality is that the team which drops a race finish from either car in the last two races will probably lose the title. So we cannot afford to forget any of our attention to detail, or compromise our reliability in an attempt to be more aggressive on performance. But we will certainly push harder than we have in recent races."

And how about Fernando? Surely he can drive differently now?
"Certainly I think he will be more aggressive in his driving style now – he won't be an easy man to overtake in Japan and China. But his real strength is that he is an intelligent guy, and knows when it is right and safe to push. He will carry on doing that, I am sure."

What about Giancarlo – his result in Brazil seemed slightly lost amidst the celebrations…
"I don't think Fisi had a great race, but that happens sometimes. For whatever reason, the way the tires performed during the race suited him less well than Fernando. But Fisi has clearly proved that he is as good as anybody on his day. His driver at Spa was stunning – he may have gone off, but he was really on it in the opening laps. He had a good race in Japan last year, and he will have a big role to play in these last races."

Finally, the wind tunnel model of the R26 now sports a number ‘1' on its nose, painted on Sunday night… how is development going?
"It is progressing well. The project timing is on schedule. On the performance side, the stable aero regulations mean that gains are harder to find than they were this time last year, but the development is ticking along nicely." Renault
V8 Supercars
Stoddart turns to Aussie V8s Stoddart turns to Aussie V8sDeparting F1 team owner Paul Stoddart will turn to Australia's domestic 'V8 Supercar' series to continue to promote his new Ozjet airline.

The blue and black Ozjet logo, seen on Melbourne-born Stoddart's Minardi cars throughout 2005, will now be displayed on the side of the 'Ford Performance Racing' car from this weekend's Bathurst race.

Stoddart, team principal of the Faenza based F1 squad, has sold his back of the grid F1 outfit to energy drink Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz.

The new V8/Ozjet sponsorship will extend to the final rounds of the 2005 Supercar series.

Ford Performance Racing, incidentally, is run by the David Richards-owned Prodrive company.  ''I did a bit of production saloon racing in Oz in the late 1970s,'' Paul grinned.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ferrari 'making progress'
Trulli to race 'b' Toyota
Ferrari may join test pact
Schu reign 'over' - Brundle
Francois Cevert
Button's toothache
BMW struggling with V8
No F1 ride for Wheldon
NHRA's answer to Danica Patrick NHRA's answer to Danica PatrickAnything new is news in the NHRA. Introducing 21 year old Erica Enders out of the Junior Drag Racing program, today unquestionably NHRA’s answer to Danica Mania at IRL. Pro Stock driver Erica Enders first trip to Route 66 Raceway as a professional driver last June didn’t go quite as planned. With a strong field of 33 Pro Stock cars vying for 16 spots, Enders found herself outside looking in after qualifying was complete.

Now with more horsepower under the hood of a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, and a new sponsor on the car, Slammers Ultimate Milk, Enders finds herself in the finals of the NHRA – Pro Stock Class for the first time and could become the very first woman to win the coveted Wally in this class.

Enders is about to take on Jason Line in his Summit Racing GTO Pontiac. Weather is threatening in Joliet and NHRA has issued a hurry up and race command to the Funny Car and Top Fuel classes.

Driver Enders is just now backing out of her pit and Jason Line is sitting in the staging area patiently waiting. And the winner is Jason Line, Erica red lights the start.

In an accelerated race to beat the weather, Tony Schumacher has just beaten Doug Herbert as the Sarge stretches out his lead to the championship title.

Ron Capps beats Tony Pedregon who has only one event win in two years.

American GT Challenge
80-year old Newman 5th 80-year old Newman 5thActor Paul Newman finished fifth of 12 cars in the first 28-lap American GT Challenge event at Lime Rock Park Sunday. Newman was as high as fourth, but faded because of tire issues. 

“We were going all right the first half dozen laps, but then the pressures went,” Newman said. “Our tire pressures were way off.”

Newman’s car suffered from a cracked engine block in the afternoon qualifying session on Friday. Michael Brockman drove the team’s remaining car to a fifth-place finish in the 2nd race. The First and second American GT Challenge races were won by Lluch over Joey Scarallo and Jack Busch of Torrington.. 

Newman, 80, said he was unsure how much racing he would be doing next year. He said he raced four times this year.

"I haven't made up mind," Newman said. "Who knows?"

Newman's wife, actress Joanne Woodward, was succinct in her assessment.  "He needs a better car," Woodward said. "And he should drive more often."

Said Newman: "She told me either I've got to do it more or just stop doing it. She said you can't get in a car five times a year." Courant.com 

World Series by Renault
Race 1: Good day’s work for Epsilon Euskadi Race 1: Good day’s work for Epsilon EuskadiJust a few hours after Robert Kubica claimed the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 title, the Epsilon Euskadi team saw two of its drivers make it onto the podium in the second race. Felix Porteiro (right) won for the second time this season, in front of Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA) and Kubica. The Basque country organization also got their hands on the Team championship. The Portuguese round of the World Series by Renault attracted more than 70,000 spectators over the weekend. .

Felix Porteiro: “The car was skidding all over at the start but Andreas was still behind me, so there was no problem. Then he made several attempts to get past but I held onto the lead. This race was perfect, particularly after the pit stops when no-one could attack me.”

Markus Winkelhock: “I had a good start but there were three cars in front of me and I just couldn’t overtake. We lost a bit of time during my pit stop but I caught up the time on Robert. He was understeering a lot on the Parabolica and I knew that was where I could get past him.”

Robert Kubica: “I had a good start but I was poorly positioned on the outside of the corner. The car’s handling gradually got worse and worse as the race went on and I had to be cautious to make sure that we won the team championship.”

See AutoRacing1.com photos.

World Series by Renault
Race 1: Zuber wins, but Kubica is champion Race 1: Zuber wins, but Kubica is championAndreas Zuber (Carlin Motorsport) took his first win of the season in Estoril after leading from start to finish. The Austrian finished ahead of Robert Kubica (Epsilon Euskadi), who secured the title with three races still to go! Third-placed Tristan Gommendy (KTR) took back second place overall from Adrian Valles.

Andreas Zuber: “I made the perfect start to the perfect race in a perfect car! Thanks to the team, who helped me to win so easily.”

Robert Kubica: “The race was difficult because my tires were very worn. The more I attacked, the slower I went. I have won the championship earlier than I expected. It’s down to having been consistent throughout the season. Even though I couldn’t win every race, I’ve always picked up points. Obviously, I’d like to thank the whole team, as well as the Renault organization which has supported us throughout.”

See AutoRacing1.com photos.

Silverstone to get $1 billion facelift Silverstone to get $1 billion faceliftSilverstone, the home of British motor sport, is to get a $1 billion overhaul in a move designed to wave the checkered flag at years of uncertainty over the future of the Northamptonshire circuit. The British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), Silverstone’s owner, is drawing up a short list of consortiums to redevelop and operate the site on a 125-year lease. Talks on the proposed overhaul have already taken place with Richard Caborn, the sports minister.
A preferred bidder is to be selected this month by KPMG Corporate Finance, the BRDC’s adviser. Part of the 800-acre estate is likely to be converted to residential and leisure use. Private-sector companies said to have expressed an interest include British Land, Helical Bar and Hilton Group.

Alex Hooton, BRDC chief executive, has been appointed chairman and chief executive of Silverstone Estates, responsible for managing the site.

In a letter to the BRDC’s 800 members, seen by The Sunday Times, its chairman, Stuart Rolt, said that redevelopment was essential.

“I fully understand the emotional attachment that so many members feel to Silverstone (but) the existing model will not support the club’s objectives of keeping the British Grand Prix and optimizing members’ facilities at the circuit,” he said.

Owners, drivers still angry at NASCAR Owners, drivers still angry at NASCARThis Winston Salem Journal article says, Sorry NASCAR, Dale Jarrett said. Not buying that botched post-race inspection deal at Dover. Not buying the too-easy brush off. It's the second time this season that Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch finished one-two with cars that failed NASCAR's post-race inspection, Jarrett said, and he's angry about that. And Jarrett's got plenty of support in questioning NASCAR's credibility. That credibility took yet another blow yesterday morning with the unexpected and unexplained suspension of crew chief Todd Berrier, apparently for flippant comments he made to NASCAR officials about the Johnson-Busch inspection fiasco, after Kevin Harvick's second-fastest run in Friday qualifying was disallowed over a minor fuel-filler tube issue. Richard Childress, Berrier's car owner, was livid over Berrier's suspension - NASCAR officials were using the term "ejected," but without further explanation - and decried "NASCAR's inconsistencies," referring pointedly to NASCAR's no-call at Dover.

Berrier was already on his way home and couldn't be reached for comment. Berrier, like other crew chiefs here, had complained Friday about what many see as a double standard of justice meted out by NASCAR officials. Berrier had been suspended in March at Las Vegas for a hefty four weeks for a similarly minor infraction before qualifying there - perhaps again more for his comments to NASCAR than his actions. That suspension has been widely contrasted to the relative slap-on-the-wrist penalties that NASCAR gave Johnson and Busch for failing post-race inspection at that track after running one-two. Gil Martin is to be atop Harvick's pit box as crew chief in today's UAW-Ford 500. Childress said that Berrier's precise situation was unclear: "He was just told he needed to leave. "I gave my opinion to NASCAR. They know my feelings on the situation that's happened over the past few weeks. I was very outspoken with NASCAR, and I'm going to leave it at that. I'm biting my tongue." Jarrett wasn't. He ripped NASCAR officials for their inaction at Dover, although he said he expected to get into trouble with NASCAR for voicing his opinions. And Jarrett, on the front row with teammate Elliott Sadler for today's 2:30 p.m. start, castigated the media for not digging deeper into NASCAR's inspection mess. He said that NASCAR played up the Loudon fracases in order to sell tickets while sweeping under the rug the highly disputed decision to let stand a second Johnson win this season with a car that failed inspection after the race. Johnson, the Nextel Cup tour leader, shrugged off the furor: "A lot of hard work goes into things to find an advantage and find some speed. Evidently they saw something they don't want out on the track. But there weren't any repercussions. We had a perfectly legal car through tech. So we'll just go on.". Zzzz

But not without criticism. "At Loudon, when everything went on, that's all you read in newspapers, that's all that you heard on TV," Jarrett said. "I think it was even on the Oprah show, that was such a big story of how we're so out of control as drivers "And then an issue comes up where the first two cars last week are so obviously doing something on the racetrack that is of benefit to them. Then they roll through inspection, they don't pass inspection, they're allowed to sit there and jump up and down on their cars and whatever they need to do to get it right, and I'll be damned if everything I saw was either on the back page or the next-to-the-last page. "So I'm sorry, but I'm not understanding what you all are doing here." Jarrett pointed out this Dover situation was almost an exact replay of what happened at Las Vegas earlier this season with Johnson and Busch. "You talk about rules. If you're going to have height sticks and requirements when you roll through there, I didn't realize they had a 24-hour period they could wait for these damn things to settle down," Jarrett said. "I'm fired up about this. I don't understand it. I wanted to say a lot more on TV but I wasn't allowed to. Not that it does any good. "They (NASCAR) fed you all the information you wanted the week before (after Loudon's temper tantrums) about fines and all of that. So does that tell you what sells tickets?
Ungar latest casualty in Champ Car/IRL bloodbath Ungar latest casualty in Champ Car/IRL bloodbathRegardless of what caused Tony George to show senior vice president of business affairs Ken Ungar the door last week (the 2006 schedule, not getting a race in Canada, not wrestling Long Beach from Champ Car, not finding a series sponsor), it's simply the latest execution in the endless bloodbath on the top floors of open wheel racing.

You think whales are an endangered species? Try sales and marketing executives for the Indy Racing League and Champ Car.

Both series have had more turnover at the top than Burger King goes through fry cooks in a year. No less than two dozen vice presidents or directors of marketing or sales have come and gone during the past decade. More at SpeedTV.com
TV News
Miller to co-host Wind Tunnel Miller to co-host Wind TunnelRobin Miller will co-host Wind Tunnel Tonight with Dave Despain and provide some insight on the open wheel wars.
RCR jackman update RCR jackman updateDuring the Aaron's 499 at Talladega in May, Josh Yost, the jackman for Jeff Burton's #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, was injured in the pits when hit by Rusty Wallace's car. Yost has had several surgeries to repair damage to tendons in his ankle. He started walking again in July and is working with a physical therapist at least twice a week. He hopes to receive medical clearance to return to work at the Richard Childress Racing shop next month. Alabama Live
Jarrett criticizes Media for being easy on NASCAR Jarrett criticizes Media for being easy on NASCARDale Jarrett yesterday took NASCAR to task for its subjective rules enforcement and blamed the media for not holding officials more accountable. Jarrett was furious over the fact that Jimmie Johnson's car failed a post-race height inspection after last Sunday's win at Dover, yet NASCAR took no action against the Nextel Cup points leader. "They don't pass inspection, they're allowed to sit there and jump up and down on their cars and whatever they need to do … everything I saw (reported) was either on the back page or the next-to-last page," Jarrett fumed after qualifying second for tomorrow's UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. "I'm sorry, but I'm not understanding what you all (media) are doing here." Jarrett, who failed to make the Chase for the Nextel Cup, continued: "You talk about rules — if you're gonna have (height) requirements I didn't realize they had a 24-hour waiting period for these … things to settle down. I'm fired up about this. I don't understand it." The Tennessean
Kyle Busch calls NASCAR shock rule "silly" Kyle Busch calls NASCAR shock rule "silly"Kyle Busch said he thinks NASCAR was wrong to change rules on how shock absorbers can be built to address the shocks that were on his car and teammate Jimmie Johnson's at Dover a week ago. "The Dale Earnhardt Inc. gang has found something that really helps them on the restrictor-plate tracks, and they're able to dominate," Busch said. "Probably three years or so they've been able to use whatever they use and win races. "But in the downforce races, which are most of the season, we found a little advantage there. It's not that the other teams don't have an opportunity to find that ... it's just that they haven't worked as hard as we have. "For any advantage to be taken away from me is honestly silly."" ThatsRacin [Editor's Note: Of course Busch would say this, he had the shocks that made his car faster during the race by making it illegally high in the back.]
Defending Rolex 24 team prepare for 2006 Defending Rolex 24 team prepare for 2006While 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winners Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor look to wrap-up their first Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype championship in next weekend's VIR 400, the duo already has its eye on 2006.

Before heading to Virginia International Raceway next weekend, the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley co-drivers will put their machine through testing paces at Daytona International Speedway on Monday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 4. As defending champions of North America's most prestigious endurance race--which is also the continent's only 24-hour event--Angelelli and Taylor will be looking to become the first drivers to take back-to-back victories in the twice-around-the-clock classic since Al Holbert, Derek Bell and Al Unser Jr. claimed overall victories in 1986 and 1987. In addition to preparing for the 2006 season with the Monday testing, the SunTrust team will also use that opportunity for a photo shoot of the popular blue and orange sunburst-liveried car. zzzz

Taylor--who makes his home in nearby Altamonte Springs, Fla.--and Angelelli will be joined at the "World Center of Racing" on Tuesday by Rolex Series stalwarts CB Motorsports and Team Seattle/Synergy Racing. The CB Motorsports and Seattle/Synergy teams are expected to test on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5, with other teams also slated to participate on Tuesday and Wednesday. While Monday will be a private test day for the SunTrust team, Tuesday and Wednesday's sessions are free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.

The 44th Rolex 24 At Daytona has been moved-up one week from its traditional early February date and will run on the weekend of January 26-29, 2006. Tickets for the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona are available now by visiting www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

The entire Rolex Series, as well as the Grand-Am Cup Series, returns to action next weekend at Virginia International Raceway for 2005 Grand-Am Cup season finale on Saturday, October 8 and the penultimate round of the 2005 Rolex Series schedule on Sunday, October 9. SPEED Channel will provide live television coverage of the Rolex Series VIR 400 beginning at 1 p.m. ET on October 9, with tape-delayed coverage of the Grand-Am Cup Series VIR 20 slated for Sunday, November 13 at 3 p.m. ET.

Tickets for the VIR 400 are available by calling (434) 822-7700. More information is also available at the Virginia International Raceway web site, www.virclub.com.

The 14-race 2005 Rolex Series schedule and the 11-race Grand-Am Cup calendar deliver professional sports car racing to key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED Channel and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA, the Rolex Sports Car Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand American at www.grandamerican.com.

Michelin hoping to trounce Bridgestone in Japan Michelin hoping to trounce Bridgestone in JapanFernando Alonso might have put the Formula One crown beyond his rivals’ reach with a controlled drive to third place in Brazil, but one fierce title battle has still to be resolved as teams prepare for the final races of the campaign in Japan and China.

Michelin partners McLaren Mercedes and Renault are separated by just two points in the world championship for constructors. Team McLaren Mercedes could wrap it up at Suzuka this weekend – but even with a one-two finish it would have to rely on Renault failing to place either of its cars in the top six.

Lying about 30 miles south-west of Nagoya – Japan’s third city – Suzuka is owned by Honda and forms part of an entertainment complex that includes a large funfair. Originally opened in 1962, it is a fast, challenging track that ranks as one of the drivers’ traditional favorites. Suzuka’s figure-of-eight configuration is unique within the world championship – and the Japanese GP is also unusual in F1 terms because Michelin has yet to win it.

Although the race featured on the calendar in 1977, when Michelin made its F1 debut, its lone partner Renault did not take part. The race was subsequently dropped from the schedule until 1987, by which time Michelin had taken an F1 sabbatical.

Consequently, the company did not compete in Japan’s annual showpiece until 2001. Since then it has challenged for victory – notably in 2003, when Juan Pablo Montoya led comfortably prior to a hydraulic problem in his BMW Williams – but has yet to break its duck.

Meanwhile, Sunday September 25, 2005 will go down in history as the day Michelin scored a unique double- World Championship, winning the Formula One and MotoGP titles on different parts of the planet. Yamaha-Michelin’s Valentino Rossi captured his fifth consecutive premier-class title in Malaysia, with four races still remaining. Some 12 hours later, Fernando Alonso (Renault- Michelin) made history as the youngest winner of the FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Championship in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin Motorsport Director
“The season is ending with a spectacular flourish, at a series of circuits drivers really enjoy. They include Spa, Monza, Interlagos, Shanghai... and Suzuka, which demands great finesse yet is also one of the most demanding tracks on the calendar. It poses a real headache for aerodynamicists, who have to work out a set-up that offers the best compromise for high- and low-speed corners plus some long straights. One of Suzuka’s key features is a succession of sweeping corners, where any loss of rhythm can be very costly in terms of lap time.

“From a tire perspective, Suzuka has one unique – and significant – characteristic. It is the only circuit on the calendar with a figure-of-eight layout, which provides an equal balance of left- and right-hand corners. That creates an even load across the tread and makes the circuit less critical than you might imagine in terms of tire wear. The important thing is to focus on transverse loads at high speeds rather that straight-line traction."

“There is one other thing to bear in mind: the track tends to evolve significantly during the course of the weekend, which helps to ease the load on tires by Sunday afternoon. Having prepared for Suzuka and considered its high-speed nature and relatively abrasive surface, we have selected compounds from the medium-hard sector of our range.”

Takuma Sato, BAR Honda
“The 2005 regulations have made it vital to get the chassis set-up right at every circuit – not just Suzuka. If the car lacks balance, it will slide around and that accelerates the rate of tire wear. Given that we only have one set to last a full race distance, this is clearly something we have to avoid."

“Suzuka has some very fast, challenging corners– a bit like Silverstone – but during recent tests we have evaluated some Michelin tire compounds that combined good high-speed grip with excellent durability, so I think we’ll have a strong package.” Michelin
Track News
Bahrain trying to attract non-racing business Bahrain trying to attract non-racing businessGlobal car giants could soon be staging global or regional launches in Bahrain, pumping millions into the economy.  The attraction is the world-class Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), Middle East home to Formula One racing.

BIC is in discussion with several leading car manufacturers interested in staging their global or regional product launches here.

General manager Martin Whitaker said that it was too early to name the companies, but that if the circuit got the business, it would have a significant impact on the economy.

"The companies spend millions on these launches, flying in the media, clients and others to the event," he said.

"The attraction is the facilities at the BIC, which is the most advanced circuit in the world, but obviously while they are here they will be using Bahrain's other facilities."

He was speaking to the GDN following his presentation at the Invest in Bahrain seminar.

Mr Whitaker said that there are also other companies interested in setting up shop at the BIC's upcoming business park, which will include retail outlets and perhaps even a hotel.

"Most of them are related to the automotive industry, particularly motorsports," he said. The BIC is also planning to launch a road show soon to attract investment from around the Gulf in the business park. Gulf Daily News [Editor's Note: Can't see auto giants sending their top execs to that part of the world for a car launch unless the terrorist suicide bombers are stopped.] 

Petit: Crash wipes out entire front row on lap 1 Petit: Crash wipes out entire front row on lap 1It was "bad news" for the front row cars at the start of the Petit LeMans Saturday at Road Atlanta.   When the green flag dropped at 11:20 a.m., JJ Lehto (Audi) in the front row charged hard into Turn 1 trying to overtake the pole-sitter Hayanari Schimoda in the Zytek car.  As Lehto was about to make the pass, he was hit in the side and rear by the Zytek and punted off the track.  Part of the problem had to do with the No. 16 Dyson car (James Weaver) trying to squeeze inside both cars and ultimately shoving both off as they went three-wide going into Turn 1.  

JJ Lehto was not pleased.  "Schimoda (Zytek) was very slow into the first corner and was braking far too early.  So I took the outside line, James Weaver (Dyson) took the inside, and then Shimoda moved over on me.  I was outside and I was already ahead of them but I was the one who got collected." 

For this incident the crew for the No. 1 Audi replaced both front corners, the nose box and the clutch master.  There was no structural damage to the car as only bolt on parts were replaced.  Troubles would not end there for the No. 1 team.

After fighting feverishly to make up lost time (30 laps/45 minutes) and climbing back into third position in the P1 class, Lehto was touched a second time by Tomas Enge in an Aston Martin as the two cars headed into the Esses on lap 240.  Lehto had to return to the pits and have the tow linkage in the left rear replaced.  Fortunately, the repair time was minimal and Lehto was back on the track in a flash.

At the end of the 9:16 hour race, Lehto and Werner had to settle for 3rd in the LMP1 class and 7th overall.

Track News
ISC buys Pikes Peak, will plow it under ISC buys Pikes Peak, will plow it underUPDATE This is good news for Champ Car as the IRL race at this track has been just one week after the Champ Car race in nearby Denver and we are sure some fans had to choose which race they could afford to buy tickets for.  Champ Car should gain a few fans in Denver next August. 09/30/05 International Speedway Corporation ("ISC") today announced that Rocky Mountain Speedway Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of ISC, has entered into an agreement to purchase the assets of Pikes Peak International Raceway ("Pikes Peak"). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. ISC plans to petition NASCAR to realign the facility's NASCAR Busch Series event to Martinsville Speedway for 2006.

The transaction is expected to close within the next week, and is expected to have minimal impact on the Company's future earnings. The purchase price is fully supported by the appraised value of Pikes Peak's tangible assets, including land and certain fixed assets ISC intends to relocate to other facilities in its portfolio. These assets include grandstand seating and other structures that can be utilized for future speedway expansion projects.

"This purchase further strengthens our ability to capitalize on future growth opportunities, including internal expansion initiatives," commented John R. Saunders, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "In addition, assuming NASCAR approves our request for realignment, we believe we can successfully grow the Busch event over the long term at a quicker rate than in its current venue."

ISC will honor all of Pikes Peak's currently scheduled community uses and rentals through October 31, 2005. After that date, ISC expects to close the facility and begin to market the approximate 1,200-acre parcel for sale, with the requirement that the property not be used for motorsports-related events. ISC

TV News
Eurosport Signs With LiveEvents Wireless Eurosport Signs With LiveEvents WirelessEurosport, the leading European sports media broadcaster based in Paris, France, today signed an agreement with Australian based technology company, LiveEvents Wireless to implement a world-first, global, multi-dimensional real-time sports score alert service.

The service, to be launched as "EuroSportSMS" will be targeted at the mobile phones of millions of sports fans that watch and subscribe to Eurosport media properties across mainland Europe and the rest of the world.

Utilizing the LiveInform SMS middleware platform, which is powered by LiveEvents’ flagship LiveReact high-speed transaction engine, Eurosport will launch the new service in the first week of October 2005 at www.eurosportsms.com.

Subscribers will be able to fully customize their own personal profile to receive specific real-time alert sports information such as competitions, rounds, league, team, player, driver, rider, game, match or variations of these including match updates, player updates and team statistics. Alerts will be sent via SMS (text message) to the subscribers mobile phone in either real-time as they happen or delayed based on time-zone parameters they set. EuroSportSMS will provide the end subscriber with a multitude of alerts across all major sport types, including all major English and European football leagues, all golf tournaments, tennis tournaments, cricket competitions, cycling races, rugby league and rugby union competitions, motorsports seasons including Formula 1 and MotoGP. In fact, the service is the most comprehensive sports alerts product available in the world.

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