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GM being tight-lipped about who makes final cut GM being tight-lipped about who makes final cut
Racing News
Quotes of the week Quotes of the week
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA,  Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, NASCAR driver
“I haven’t had this much fun in a race for a long time. I’m not saying F-1 is bad or anything. I think it’s great racing as well. The cars are unbelievable, but I haven’t had this much fun in a long time. I passed probably 40 cars today easily. It’s outrageous.”  (Commenting on his 3rd place finish in his first stock car race at Talladega Superspeedway in the ARCA/REMAX race)
CHIP GANASSI, Co-owner, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
“As far as I’m concerned it was one solid step toward what we want to do. Mission Accomplished. We were hoping we were going to get another restart there at the end. I think he understands Cup is going to be more difficult. Everything is a learning curve. I’d give him a 9 (on a scale of 1-10 today).”  (Commenting on Juan Montoya's performance in his stock car debut at Talladega Superspeedway in the ARCA/REMAX race.)
FERNANDO ALONSO, 2005 Formula 1 World Champion, Renault F1 driver
''They wanted us to finish second and third because they do not want me to take the number one to a different team.''  He said there is 'no doubt' that the constructors' championship is therefore more important to Renault in 2006, and added that only 'some' in blue and yellow uniforms were disappointed to lose the Chinese GP to Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.  ''Some others are happy,'' Alonso continued, ''because we went past Ferrari in the team battle.  They are not helping me as much as they could.''  (After the Chinese GP, Alonso had accused his Renault team of not helping him to win the 2006 drivers' championship.  He reckoned the French squad - to lose Alonso to McLaren at the end of the season - is focusing instead on the constructors' title, now led by Renault after the 2-3 finish in China)
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER, 7 times Formula 1 World Champion, Ferrari F1 driver
"We are a great team. Our guys are the best and I have a great affection for everyone at Ferrari and am always more than satisfied in the way we work. Incidents like today's can happen and they are part of racing. You win together but you also lose together. Today we did our best, I was leading the race and then my engine broke. That's the simplest way to sum it up. That is Formula 1. We can be proud of what we have achieved since Canada: we were twenty five points behind and no one could have thought we would be back in the fight for the championship, but we did it. Now we are nine points behind in the Constructors' classification and we will do all we can to win this title in Brazil. As for the Drivers,' it is lost. I don't want to head off for a race, hoping that my rival has to retire. That is not the way in which I want to win the title." (Commenting on the results of the Japanese Grand Prix when his Ferrari engine blew on lap 37 when he was leading the race.)  
RON DENNIS, Chairman and CEO McLaren Group, Team Principal McLaren F1 team
''People can say what they like, but his (Flavio Briatore) comments are not born out by the facts.  I am a shareholder in McLaren so my objective is to be successful and deliver enhanced shareholder value," referring to his personal 30 per cent ownership of the McLaren Group, while he pointed out that Briatore is 'only an employee' of the French carmaker.  Dennis also hit out at those who pedal the lie that McLaren is 'heavily in debt', after he recently insisted to journalists that the real figure is about $20m rather than $700m.  (Dennis replied to Flavio Briatore's comments after the Italian boss of Renault attacked the Woking based team for wasting money on a lavish motor home and factory.  Referring recently to Dennis' $350m Lord Foster-designed McLaren Technology Centre, which is nicknamed 'paragon', Briatore slammed: ''What good did it do his team?  The bigger the factory, the less efficient it is -- you probably need a taxi to go from one department to another.'')
JEFF BURTON, current NASCAR Nextel Cup Series points leader, Richard Childress Racing
"It’s something I’ve kicked around a lot and have talked to a lot of people about it. There are a few people I have consulted with and it is something I’m interested in. Politics in America has kind of gone the wrong way the last 10 years. I think people don’t have anything to lose. That’s the deal with Arnold Schwarzenegger – you may like him or you may not – but the cool thing about him is that he’s not doing it for a living; he’s doing it for what he believes are the right reasons. I think I could be in that situation as well. It’s something we’re looking at, but its way down the road. It’s not next year or anything; it’s maybe 10 years from now."  (Commenting on the possibility of a political future)

JEFF GORDON, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver, Hendrick Motorsports
"The thing I don't understand is that NASCAR has been talking about bump- drafting for I don't know how many times we've come here and to Daytona, and they said it in the driver's meeting and they weren't doing a thing about it out there. I mean guys were bump-drafting and the more they do it the more they get away with it, and the less they seem to care.  I know they care, but they're just not doing anything about it. You've got to stop it when it starts." (Commenting after getting wrecked at Talladega Sunday)

Karting News
Fisher and Legge to team up Fisher and Legge to team upOpen-wheel stars Sarah Fisher and Katherine Legge will team up for the first time to form a rare IndyCar and Champ Car united team for a go-kart race in New Castle, Indiana on October 15.

IndyCar Series driver Fisher signed on for the deal to race in the 2006 RoboPong.com 200 at New Castle Motorsports Park as the opportunity was presented to her through a mutual friend of Champ Car Series driver Legge.

"Katherine is a real racer at heart and I'm really looking forward to teaming up with her at New Castle, said Fisher, who turned 26 this past Wednesday.

"It's the first time I've ever had a female teammate and I'm sure we'll produce a great result. It will be a blast to be back on the go-kart track where the fundamentals of racing begin. New Castle is one of the tracks where I run my shifter kart at to get ready for road course racing and to just stay sharp. New Castle is also where I have worked with Kyle O'Gara my fiancé's little brother, for the past two years as he is an up-and-coming go-kart racer." zzzz

Fisher will be joined on the track by four other IndyCar Series drivers--Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Tomas Scheckter, and former IndyCar driver Robby McGehee. Fisher of course competed in two IndyCar Series events this year at Kentucky and Chicago.

The 200-mile endurance race is expected to field 56 karts for the Sunday afternoon race on October 15. The tentative schedule for the event is as follows:

Practice - 8am to 9:15am
Qualifying - 9:30am to 10:30am
Last Chance Race - 10:50am
RoboPong.com 200 - 12:00pm

Admission for the event is free and the race will be televised on SpeedTV at a later date. Dreyer and Reinbold Mini Cooper will be the official pace car of the event.

Q and A with Renault's Pat Symonds Q and A with Renault's Pat Symonds
Q: Pat, all victories are equal in mathematical terms, but that must have been a particularly satisfying one...

Pat Symonds: "It was. Ever since Hungary two months ago, we have been threatening to win again, and it has been frustrating for the whole team that it hasn't happened.

"That makes today's win particularly sweet. Of course, it comes at a critical time of the championship, but it certainly feels like a reward for the disappointment of the past two months."

Q: Michael Schumacher has almost conceded the drivers' championship after this race. Does that make your life any easier?

Symonds: "It doesn't change a thing! Today's result makes our approach for Brazil easier, but while Michael might be playing down his chances, it is still statistically possible for him to win and we must acknowledge that fact. I am sure he will be racing just as hard, as well.

"As always, our strategy for Brazil will be grounded in solid reliability, and giving ourselves the tools to finish races. We are in a position were we do not need to take undue risks." zzzz

Q: The key moment in today's race clearly came when Michael's engine failed. Looking in your crystal ball, what might have happened without that failure?

Symonds: "Fernando seemed to be catching Michael quite convincingly in that middle stint, and the projection was that he would have caught him - but the performance differential between the two cars would probably not have been enough to overtake on a circuit like Suzuka.

"I think Michael's failure probably robbed us of a classic Alonso-Schumacher battle in the closing laps..."

Q: Fernando's race was flawless from start to finish. What about Giancarlo, who finished third?

Symonds: "Fisi drove a brilliantly controlled race, he was really very good this afternoon. He pushed at the right times to make the strategy work, and a podium finish was a just reward for his efforts."

Q: This is the final visit to Suzuka for the foreseeable future. Are you sad to be losing this circuit from the calendar?

Symonds: "I really am, yes, because it is such a fantastic circuit. And that sadness is compounded by the fact that the new venue does not seem to have anything like the same character or challenge.

"The facilities at Suzuka are not the best, but ultimately we go to any track to race. It is a special place and I think today's race gave it the send-off it deserved."

Q: Looking ahead to the championship decider, who will have the advantage in the final race at Interlagos?

Symonds: "I think it is going to be very even, and the team with the advantage will be the one whose tires are working better, on that track surface, on the day in question, with the ambient temperatures at the time.

"Both teams have had a lot of success there, including Fernando's championship win last year, and we know the circuit well. It will be a fascinating battle." Renault

Diaz Jr. smokes Trans-Am field Diaz Jr. smokes Trans-Am fieldTOPEKA, Kan. – Jorge Diaz Jr., of San Juan, Puerto Rico, overcame a penalty in qualifying to win the second Thunder In the Park Trans-Am race at Heartland Park. Paul Gentilozzi, of Lansing, Mich., and Phillip Simms, of Orlando, Fla., completed the all-Jaguar podium. Photo right: No. 8 Diaz Jr. leads No. 10 Gentilozzi Credit: SCCA/Mark Weber

Although Diaz Jr. beat the track record in Saturday’s qualifying, the bodywork on the No. 08 Panasonic Car Audio Jaguar XKR failed post-race inspection. Race stewards issued Diaz Jr. a two-position penalty, putting him fourth on the grid following the Aristocrat Jaguar Fast Five® invert.

Diaz Jr. gained a position on the grid before the green flag was even thrown, when the No. 5 Jaguar XKR of Tommy Drissi pulled into the pits on the warm-up lap with a loose plug wire. When the green flag finally dropped after one wave-off, Diaz rocketed into the lead past the No. 23 McNicholsCo./Safety Today/Cenwal Chevrolet Corvette polesitter of Amy Ruman and the No. 10 Jaguar XKR of Gentilozzi between Turns One and Two and never looked back, resetting the lap record throughout the race. zzzz

“The last race we had here we were a little bit frustrated,” Diaz said. “Some mechanical things happened, so for this race we came in with the mindset that we really have to do well and everything that my crew changed was a thousand times perfect. There was nothing on my car I could change to make it faster. It was precisely how it had to be from the first lap to the last lap.”

Although Gentilozzi and Diaz Jr. exchanged fast laps in the first half of the race, Diaz Jr.’s pace proved too much for Gentilozzi, as the gap between the two continued to open past the halfway mark.

“I thought I had a shot at the start,” Gentilozzi said. “At that point, I have a 310 [cubic inch engine], he has a 331, so he’s faster on the straight, and you have to be in front at the start to win those kinds of races, so it was difficult. I could catch up at a couple times, he was through the gravel or going over the corners, but I didn’t want to take any chance…I thought, well I’ll just ride along, cause I knew what the objective was and he had a fast car so he won the race.”

With the second-place finish Gentilozzi also wins the brief 2006 Trans-Am Championship with 63 points over the 52 of Diaz Jr.

“I have to count this championship as an asterisk, because it was only two races,” Gentilozzi commented. “But it was great fun and I have huge respect for Ray Irwin and the whole Heartland Park staff as well as Jim Julow and everybody at SCCA that allowed me to pull my body out of mothballs.”

Finishing out the podium was the No. 18 Jaguar XKR of Phillip Simms, who took delivery of the Jaguar earlier this week and got his first seat time in qualifying.

Completing the top five were Ruman, of Kent, OH, and the No. 76 Sunset Hill Vineyard Chevrolet Corvette of Mike Canney, from Placida, Fla. The pair of Corvettes were originally a trio fighting for fourth, including No. 06 Joey Scarallo of Hauppauge, N.Y., but on lap 22 Scarallo was bitten with a mechanical bug that brought him into the pits and out of the race. Runman and Canney continued the fight in the closing laps. Following a brief caution period, Canney had the run on Runman, but Runman reclaimed the spot on the final lap.

Sports Car Club of America, Inc. and Heartland Park Topeka reached an agreement earlier this year for the track to promote two Trans-Am races in 2006. This marks the 40th anniversary of the series, which is the longest continuously-running road racing series in North America. The previous race, held in September, was won by Gentilozzi.


1. (4) Jorge Diaz Jr., Puerto Rico, Jaguar XKR, 25.
2. (3) Paul Gentilozzi, Lansing, Mich., Jaguar XKR 25.
3. (5) Phillip Simms, Orlando, Fla., Jaguar XKR, 25.
4. (1) Amy Ruman, Kent, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 25.
5. (8) Mike Canney, Placida, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 25.
6. (7) John Baucom, Matthews, N.C., Ford Mustang, 24.
7. (11) Bryan Long, Peoria, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 24.
8. (2) Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Jaguar XKR, 24.
9. (12) David Fershtand, Ft. Worth, Texas, Ford Mustang, 24.
10. (19) Gene Nicholas, Lowell, Ariz., Chevrolet Camaro, 23.
11. (10) Eugene Kraus, Lake Forest, Ill., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 23.
12. (15) Dan Robson, Moore, S.C., Mazda Miata, 22.
13. (10) Joey Scarallo, Hauppauge, N.Y., Chevrolet Corvette, 20.
14. (13) Ron Tambourine, Lake Forest, Ill., Mazda RX-7, 19.
15. (20) Max Lagod, Barrington, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette, 2.

Time of Race: 44 minutes, 14.932 seconds.
Margin of victory: 0.675 seconds.
Average race speed: 84.748 mph
Lap leaders: lap 1, #23 Ruman; laps 2-25, #8 Diaz Jr.
Fastest Race Lap: 1:37.759 (92.063 mph), #10 Paul Gentilozzi
Fastest Qualifier: 1:38.752 (91.143 mph), #8 Jorge Diaz Jr.
Cautions: Two for four laps.

V8 Supercars
Drivers fighting for lives, 1 dies Drivers fighting for lives, 1 diesUPDATE Race driver Mark Porter died today after he suffered massive injuries in a crash at Mount Panorama on Friday while preparing for the Bathurst 1000. Porter died at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney today after suffering serious head and chest injuries in a 180kph crash with David Clark during a second tier V8 race at the Bathurst 1000 meeting. The Gold Coast based New Zealander leaves behind his wife Adrienne and one-year-old son Flynn. He was 31. V8 Supercars Australia said they would launch a thorough investigation into the crash. Herald Sun

10/06/06 Hyundai Construction Racing driver Mark Porter has been flown to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney today after a horrific accident at McPhilliamy Park on Mount Panorama in the opening race for this weekend's Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series round at Bathurst.

Porter, having spun out, was initially hit in the back of his VY Commodore by Chris Alajajian before the Ford Falcon of David Clark was unable to miss the stranded Porter and slammed into the driver's side of him.

At estimated speeds of 200 kilometers per hour, the crash between Clark's Optima Sport Falcon and the M-Sport Commodore of Porter saw the race red-flagged.

Clark was airlifted to Nepean Hospital with serious head and neck injuries and remains in critical condition, whilst New Zealand-born Porter has been taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital after stabilization treatment at Bathurst Base Hospital, and is believed to be suffering from the same condition.

We wonder if both drivers were wearing a HANS Device?

Driver dies in auto wreck Driver dies in auto wreckUp-and-coming Chelsea race car driver Charlie Bradberry died after a Saturday morning automobile accident. Alabama State Trooper spokesman Sgt. Tim Sartain said Bradberry, 24, was driving a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup that went off Shelby County 11 and overturned inside the Chelsea city limits at 7:05am Saturday. Bradberry was transported to UAB Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:30am. The driver of the bright red #78 car in the Super Late Model racing series had a career in high gear since first climbing behind the wheel of a go-kart in 1994 at the age of 12. Bradberry had six wins in 24 races this year, mostly on the Super Late Model circuit. After visiting with friends at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday morning, Bradberry spent the rest of the day tooling with his race car at his Chelsea garage, trying to get it dialed in for upcoming races. He was on his way home Saturday morning when the accident occurred a couple of miles from his garage. Bradberry, the younger brother of former NASCAR Winston Cup driver Gary Bradberry, hoped to earn himself a spot in NASCAR's Busch Series next year, Richard Walton of Walton Motorsports Marketing said. "His career was really taking off. The season was going phenomenally well," Walton said. Bradberry spent early 2004 racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series before shifting to Super Late Models and, at times, the NASCAR Southeast Series and Hooters Pro Cup Series. His wife, Brandi, is expecting the couple's first child this February. Birmingham News
Montoya to Compete in ARCA Event at Iowa Speedway Montoya to Compete in ARCA Event at Iowa SpeedwayChip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today Juan Pablo Montoya will continue his stock car education next weekend in the ARCA RE/MAX Series event at the Rusty Wallace designed and owned Iowa Speedway. Montoya will pilot the #4 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for his second start in a stock car. "Iowa Speedway is a tough track and will be a real test for me," said Montoya. "The hardest thing for me during the test session last week was the braking. I got up to speed pretty quick, but I wasn't racing with anyone else. I'm looking forward to the short track experience, especially at such a great facility. Rusty (Wallace) built a great race track." Montoya made his stock car debut on Friday in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway. He started on the outside pole before taking the checkered flag in the third position. Montoya and the Texaco/Havoline team also tested at Iowa Speedway last week as part of his preparation to take over the driving duties of the #42 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2007. The Prairie Meadows 250 is scheduled to begin at 2:30pm/et on Sunday, October 15 and will air live on Speed Channel. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR
Yoong doubles up at Brno Yoong doubles up at BrnoA1 Team Malaysia secured a double victory today in Brno as Alex Yoong added the Feature race spoils to his Sprint race win. A1 Team Czech Republic's Tomas Enge clinched second position, with Mexican Salvador Duran completing the podium in third.

Malaysian Yoong started the race from pole position, however a lightning start from A1 Team Canada dropped him back to second after the first corner. Rookie James Hinchcliffe belied his relative lack of A1GP experience as he pulled out a five second gap over the next 15 laps. Yoong however kept in touch and was finally able to seize his chance on lap 32 when Hinchcliffe ran slightly wide through turn eight. As Hinchcliffe was pitched into a spin, Yoong powered up the inside to snatch the lead. Yoong credited his Canadian rookie rival, "James defended quite hard but he was fair. I had a four second gap to him after the pit stop and I knew he was about two tenths of a second per lap faster, so the most important thing was to keep in touch and see what happened. When he ran wide I got through and took the lead. I'm really happy with the weekend's results, the team did a great job for both races." zzzz

Hinchcliffe was able to rejoin after his spin, but with dirty tires he was soon caught by the chasing cars of Czech Enge and Mexican Duran and dropped to fourth. Germany's Nico Hülkenberg similarly saw his opportunity and squeezed past the Canadian into fourth. Hinchcliffe kept his composure to hold fifth until the flag despite heavy pressure from A1 Team Great Britain's Robbie Kerr and New Zealand's Jonny Reid.

The 28,000 Czech fans that had crowded into the natural amphitheatre surrounding the Brno circuit were delighted to see Tomas Enge secure the Czech team's first podium finish of the season. Thanks to a slick tire change on lap nine, the Czech was able to squeeze past Duran when the Mexican pitted two laps later. Duran pushed Enge hard to regain position, but the Brno specialist kept his line until the finish. "It was a strong performance," Enge said, "I had to get used to the car again after so long away, I had to get used to a new engineer, but everyone did a great job and I'm really happy with the result. I don't know if I'll celebrate too much tonight though - it's been a tough week!"

Duran enjoyed his battle with the Czech ace, "I followed Tomas all the way, the team did a great pit stop and it was so close when I came out the pit lane, but we were just a little too late and lost the position. We had a strong weekend though, the car was very demanding but it was awesome."

A1 Team Germany retained their championship lead, thanks to 19-year-old Hülkenberg's charge up the field to fourth position from 16th on the grid. The German rookie flew off the line to ninth after the first corner and pushed ahead of Great Britain into eighth on lap 14. An error by A1 Team China's Congfu Cheng on the following lap allowed both Germany and Great Britain into fifth and sixth respectively and able to capitalize on Hinchcliffe's misfortune in the latter stages of the race.

Great Britain, New Zealand and China completed the top eight, however a notable absence from the top ten were defending 2005/06 A1GP champions France whose challenging weekend continued when Nicolas Lapierre retired on the first lap with engine troubles.

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport now takes a four-week break before returning to action on a circuit around the streets of Beijing, China from 10-12 November. Tickets for the Beijing race are now available on www.a1gp.com.

 A1 Team Driver Gap first
1 Malaysia Alex Yoong -
2 Czech Republic Tomas Enge +7.336
3 Mexico Salvador Duran +8.965
4 Germany Nico Hülkenberg +9.842
5 Canada James Hinchcliffe +12.984
6 Great Britain Robbie Kerr +14.042
7 New Zealand Jonny Reid +14.619
8 China Congfu Cheng +31.375
9 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen +32.262
10 Switzerland Sebastien Buemi +33.253
11 South Africa Stephen Simpson +33.921
12 Lebanon Graham Rahal +35.201
13 Ireland Michael Devaney +51.994
14 Brazil Tuka Rocha +52.456
15 Indonesia Ananda Mikola +53.670
16 Australia Karl Reindler +1:05.687
17 USA Philip Giebler +1:28.689
18 India Armaan Ebrahim 
19 Singapore Denis Lian 
20 Italy Pier Guidi Alessandro 
21 Greece Takis Kaitazis 
22 Pakistan Nur Ali 
23 France Nicolas Lapierre 

Yoong wins sprint race for Malaysia Yoong wins sprint race for MalaysiaBrno - A1 Team Malaysia has secured a comprehensive lights-to-flag victory in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Sprint race at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic. Canada, driven consistently by rookie James Hinchcliffe, came an impressive second, one second ahead of 2005/06 champions A1 Team France.

Malaysia's Alex Yoong edged ahead at the rolling start after polesitter New Zealand and second-placed Germany clashed before the first corner. Nico Hülkenberg roared away from the lights to pull even with Jonny Reid at the end of the pit straight, but Reid jinked to the left to take the racing line and nudged into the German car. The impact sent Hülkenberg wide onto the grass, into the barriers and retirement, while Reid picked up a left-rear puncture. The black car returned to the pits for inspection, but the damage was too extensive and Reid also retired from the race.

With a clear track ahead Yoong was able to pull out a one second advantage by the end of the first lap over A1 Team Canada, who had leapfrogged ahead of China at the start. France was the big winners away from the lights however, jumping from eighth to third by the second turn. Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre commented, "It was not an easy start, but thankfully I had a good one and was able to keep out of the trouble until the end." zzzz

Yoong continued to ease away from the field over the remaining nine laps to secure victory by 1.6secs. The ex-Formula 1 driver was delighted to seal his first victory of the year and the second A1GP win for Malaysia following their triumph in the Shanghai Sprint race last season, "I actually benefited from a slow start, which put me clear of the trouble. We've had a tough start to the new season and I'm delighted to bounce back here at Brno. As we don't have a rookie driver, we don't benefit from the extra track time in the Friday session, but the combination of my previous experience here and the team's incredible effort overcame this."

James Hinchcliffe kept out of trouble at the start and kept his nerve to finish his third-ever A1GP race in a fine second position. "I managed to stay clear of the acrobatics after the lights and carried on the momentum to the end. It's a phenomenal result in only our second event together. I only came here to do the rookie session but I'm proud to be able to race all weekend. This result is a real bonus."

Chinese driver Congfu Cheng had a steady race behind the frontrunners to finish a comfortable fourth, A1 Team China's highest A1GP finish so far, while A1 Team Czech Republic's Tomas Enge used his local knowledge to the full to secure fifth despite sustained pressure from the blue and red USA car. Last week's Sprint race winners South Africa were however unable to repeat their Zandvoort success when the master switch failed on the fourth lap, bringing Stephen Simpson's race to a premature end.

A1 Team Malaysia will now start the 28 lap Feature race on pole position. The grid for the race is determined by a unique points-scoring position that allocates points according to teams' finishing position, qualifying position and lap times in the Sprint race. One point is awarded to the winner, two to the runner-up, three to the third-placed finisher, running down to the 23rd classified finisher, who is awarded 23 points. The same points system is applied to the qualifying and fastest lap classifications. The points are added together; the driver with the lowest amount of points starts the Feature race on pole.

The Feature race will start at 15.00 local time this afternoon.

Sprint race results

  A1 Team Driver Time
1 Malaysia Alex Yoong 18:02.946
2 Canada James Hinchcliffe 18:04.580
3 France Nicolas Lapierre 18.05.677
4 China Congfu Cheng 18:07.608
5 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 18:09.038
6 USA Philip Giebler 18:09.629
7 Mexico Salvador Duran 18:13.702
8 Switzerland Sebastien Buemi 18:15.376
9 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 18:16.350
10 Brazil Tuka Rocha 18:17.965
11 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 18:18.444
12 Lebanon Graham Rahal 18:22.439
13 Ireland Michael Devaney 18:24.590
14 Italy Pier Guidi Alessandro 18:27.685
15 Australia Karl Reindler 18:35.868
16 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 18:37.457
17 India Armaan Ebrahim 18:37.794
18 Singapore Denis Lian 18:48.030
19 Greece Nikos Zachos 18:48.642
20 Pakistan Nur Ali 19:05.312
21 South Africa Stephen Simpson 4 laps
22 New Zealand Jonny Reid 1 lap
23 Germany Nico Hülkenberg 0 laps

Amended A1GP qualifying results Amended A1GP qualifying resultsBrno - A1 Team Great Britain's fastest time from the A1GP Brno, Czech Republic, qualifying sessions has been disallowed after post-qualifying scrutineering checks confirmed the British car contravened Article 3.4 of the A1GP Technical Regulations.

The Article states that the overall width of the car, including complete wheels, must not exceed 1930mm. The British car was found to be 4mm over the permitted limit.

The Stewards decided to disallow the team's fastest time set in the fourth segment of qualifying resulting in a new aggregate time of 3.32.787. As a result of this decision, A1 Team Great Britain will start tomorrow's Sprint Race from 10th on the grid.

Amended grid

  A1 Team Driver Aggregate Time
1 NEW ZEALAND Jonny Reid 3:30.053
2 GERMANY Nico Hulkenberg 3:30.524
3 MALAYSIA Alex Yoong 3:31.051
4 CHINA Congfu Cheng 3:31.531
5 CANADA James Hinchcliffe 3:31.673
6 USA Philip Giebler 3:31.743
7 CZECH REPUBLIC Tomas Enge 3:32.016
8 FRANCE Nicolas Lapierre 3:32.227
9 SWITZERLAND Sebastien Buemi 3:32.774
10 GREAT BRITAIN Robbie Kerr 3.32.787
11 MEXICO Salvador Duran 3:32.943
12 NETHERLANDS Jeroen Bleekemolen 3:32.976
13 LEBANON Graham Rahal 3:33.360
14 SOUTH AFRICA Stephen Simpson 3:33.676
15 BRAZIL Tuka Rocha 3:33.732
16 INDONESIA Ananda Mikola 3:34.079
17 ITALY Pier Guidi Alessandro 3:34.897
18 IRELAND Michael Devaney 3:35.306
19 INDIA Armaan Ebrahim 3:36.076
20 AUSTRALIA Karl Reindler 3:37.495
21 GREECE Takis Kaitazis 3:38.020
22 SINGAPORE Denis Lian 3:38.767
23 PAKISTAN Nur Ali 3:42.593

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Button predicts title assault in 2007
Coulthard 'nervous' about 2007
Ralf not bothered by unpopular vote
Paper puts F1 rivals' feet in spotlight
Kimi ill
Brawn vows to fight on in Brazil
Berger drives 1991 McLaren at Suzuka
Fisi friend passes away
Schu admits title fight is over
Cosworth plan last hurrah for Brazil
Suzuka sold out
12-Race Grand-Am Cup Schedule 12-Race Grand-Am Cup ScheduleDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – On the heels of a 2006 season that saw the Grand-Am Cup Series attract an average of nearly 75 race cars per event, Grand-Am Cup Series officials today announced an expanded 12-race 2007 schedule that will allow those teams significantly more time to race, as well as a return to some popular venues.

Every 2007 Grand-Am Cup Series event has a minimum scheduled distance of 400 kilometers, which is also the standard “sprint race” distance on next year’s calendar for the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, which was announced earlier this week. The Grand-Am Cup season will open and close with timed events, including a new-for-2007 three-hour event at Daytona International Speedway, as well as Twin Six-Hour season finales—one each for the Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) classes—at Virginia International Raceway, which is hosting similar events for the first time this weekend. The 2007 lineup of 12 races is the biggest in Grand-Am Cup history, surpassing the 11 race calendar that was contested in 2003.

Date Venue Distance
January 26 Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Fla. * 3 Hours
April 15 Homestead-Miami Speedway – Homestead, Fla. 400 K
April 21 Iowa Speedway – Newton, Iowa 400 K
May 19-20 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, Calif. 400 K
May 26-28 Lime Rock Park – Lakeville, Conn. 400 K
June 16-17 Mosport International Raceway – Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada 400 K
June 23-24 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Lexington, Ohio 400 K
July 7 Watkins Glen International – Watkins Glen, N.Y. * 400 K
July 21 Barber Motorsports Park – Birmingham, Ala. 400 K
August 18-19 Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres – Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada 400 K
September 14-15 Miller Motorsports Park – Tooele, Utah * 400 K
October 6-7 Virginia International Raceway – Alton, Va. 6 Hours
* - Grand Sport and Street Tuner combined races

Virgin backs Super Aguri team in Japan Virgin backs Super Aguri team in JapanSUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is pleased to announce its partnership with Virgin Atlantic (Japan) for the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

The one-race agreement sees the Virgin Atlantic branding on the team’s SA06 cars and Takuma Sato’s race helmet for Round 17 of the FIA Formula One™ World Championship this weekend. Virgin Atlantic and SAF1 Team driver Takuma Sato have already enjoyed a three-year personal partnership and are happy to extend this relationship to incorporate the team this weekend.

Virgin Atlantic recently announced that it has teamed up with ANA (All Nippon Airways), an existing partner of the SAF1 Team. This new collaboration will allow Virgin Atlantic passengers to fly onwards in Japan on ANA’s domestic services. The deal will also allow ANA travelers to fly on Virgin Atlantic services from ANA destinations on the Virgin route network. In addition to this arrangement, Virgin Atlantic Airways and ANA will be releasing a special joint round the world (RTW) fare utilizing the networks of both carriers.

Skies clearing at dry Suzuka Skies clearing at dry Suzuka(GMM)  Wire press reports on Sunday morning suggested that 'grey skies and a chance of rain' loomed above Suzuka on race day.

The truthful outlook, however, with less than two hours until the red lights go out, is a little brighter than that.

Only a very small chance of rain exists for 2pm, and the morning cloud has almost completely lifted.  It remains quite windy at the scene of the Japanese GP.

Martin wins, Allmendinger 5th at Talladega Martin wins, Allmendinger 5th at TalladegaMark Martin overcame early overheating woes then held off two dozen rivals Saturday to become the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner at Talladega Superspeedway.

Martin, who started from the Budweiser Pole, led the first five laps of the John Deere 250 but went a lap down after a plastic tear-off covered the grille of his Scotts Ford sending the truck to pit road on lap 16.

The race’s first of six cautions at lap 24, however, allowed Martin to regain his lost serial and begin a methodical march through the field.

Martin took the lead for the fourth and final time on the 91st of 94 laps – powering past defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ted Musgrave at the head of the 2.66-mile track’s backstretch. Musgrave had taken the point at lap 86 after Germain Racing partner Todd Bodine was black-flagged for going below the out-of-bounds line in Turn 1 as he passed Martin’s Ford. zzzz

Martin was home free when a multiple truck accident in Turn 3 brought out the yellow flag midway through the final lap.

The victory was the 47-year-old driver’s fifth of the season and sixth in the series. Martin now has swept all three of NASCAR’s national touring series at four different tracks – adding Talladega to a list that previously included Daytona, California and Bristol.

Martin’s 138.207 mph average speed was more than 40 mph slower than the record lap of 182.320 in winning the pole. Before caution waved at lap 24 for debris on the racetrack, the race average had exceeded 190 mph.

Martin, who won $71,650, saw Bodine as his chief rival as the laps wound down and was going to do everything possible to protect the bottom groove of the freshly repaved track.

“Todd got a big run and I wasn’t going to give him the inside,” said the winner. “He wasn’t going to get inside me at the end of the race.”

Mike Skinner, who also went a lap down early in the race after pitting under green to replace a right-side window panel, finished second. Skinner triggered the final lap melee when his Toyota Tundra Toyota hoisted Mike Wallace’s GEICO Chevrolet out of second place and into the Turn 3 safety barrier.

Musgrave finished third in the Team ASE Toyota trailed by Bodine, who – amazingly – went from 27th to fourth after serving his penalty.

Open wheel star A.J. Allmendinger was fifth in just his second NASCAR appearance. David Reutimann, David Ragan, Chad Chaffin, Johnny Benson and Ron Hornaday Jr. completed the top 10 finishers among 25 drivers running all 94 laps comprising the 250.04-mile distance.

Benson, who led 32 laps, dropped a number of positions in the last-lap skirmish after closing Bodine’s championship lead to 18 points when racing resumed with four laps remaining. Bodine, however, extended a 91 point margin to 113 in the final accounting as just five races remain on the 2005 schedule.

There were 12 lead changes among six drivers with caution consuming 23 laps. Although the lap 94 accident eliminated two drivers – Wallace and Derrike Cope – the inaugural Talladega event was remarkably free of major incident.

“It was a really, really great race; a clean race,” said winner Martin. “The drivers did a spectacular job.”

Next event, after a one week layoff, is the Oct. 21 Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway.

Fin Car Driver Make Laps Status
1 #6 Mark Martin Ford 94 Running
2 #5 Mike Skinner Toyota 94 Running
3 #9 Ted Musgrave Toyota 94 Running
4 #30 Todd Bodine Toyota 94 Running
5 #124 A J Allmendinger Toyota 94 Running
6 #17 David Reutimann Toyota 94 Running
7 #50 David Ragan Ford 94 Running
8 #59 Chad Chaffin Toyota 94 Running
9 #33 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 94 Running
10 #85 Dennis Setzer Chevrolet 94 Running
11 #23 Johnny Benson Toyota 94 Running
12 #77 Brendan Gaughan Dodge 94 Running
13 #10 Terry Cook Ford 94 Running
14 #18 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Dodge 94 Running
15 #14 Rick Crawford Ford 94 Running
16 #1 Robert Richardson, II * Chevrolet 94 Running
17 #20 Marcos Ambrose * Ford 94 Running
18 #88 Matt Crafton Chevrolet 94 Running
19 #99 Erik Darnell * Ford 94 Running
20 #98 Erin Crocker * Dodge 94 Running
21 #4 Chase Miller Dodge 94 Running
22 #75 Aric Almirola * Chevrolet 94 Running
23 #22 Bill Lester Toyota 94 Running
23 #21 Bobby East * Ford 94 Running
24 #11 David Starr Toyota 94 Running
25 #16 Mike Bliss Chevrolet 94 Running
26 #15 Mike Wallace Chevrolet 93 Accident
27 #40 Derrike Cope Chevrolet 93 Accident
28 #46 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 93 Running
29 #25 Boston Reid * Dodge 85 Accident
30 #08 Chad McCumbee * Chevrolet 78 Fuel Pump
32 #07 Sean Murphy * Chevrolet 50 Engine
33 #60 Jack Sprague Toyota 40 Engine
34 #04 Scott Lagasse Jr. * Dodge 33 Engine
35 #103 Wayne Edwards Chevrolet 4 Electrical
36 #13 Kerry Earnhardt * Chevrolet 4 Engine

Dyson to field one car at Laguna Dyson to field one car at LagunaPOUGHKEEPSIE NY - Chris Dyson and James Weaver will drive together in the #16 Thetford/Norcold AER-powered Lola for the final race of the 2006 American Le Mans Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 21st. Dyson Racing will field only one car following the crash of the #20 car at the last race, the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

"The crash has created difficulties in fielding two cars for the Laguna race," said Chris Dyson. "When we analyzed the time frame to get parts from England, repair the car and travel from one coast to another, we realized that the logistics were working against us. This is the last race of the season and with championship points at stake, the team decided it was better to focus our resources on the one car."

Dyson last paired with Weaver in the 2002 Rolex Series' Daytona Finale, where they scored their fourth overall win of that season together. "I look forward to getting back in a car with James," stated Dyson. "We've had some fantastic races together as teammates in the past, and the car should be mega around Laguna." zzzz 

Dyson Racing has been building on the momentum of speed and reliability since mid-season at Salt Lake City with four podiums in the last five races. At Mosport, Dyson and Guy Smith finished second with Smith closing to within 2.7 seconds of the wining Audi and setting the fastest race lap. At the preceding race at Road America, Butch Leitzinger and Weaver finished third with Leitzinger bringing the car home just .713 seconds behind the two Audis. That was the closest finish for an ALMS race at Road America.

"Last weekend, James set the fastest lap at the Petit Le Mans," noted Dyson. "The team has put their all into getting the cars to this point. They had done an incredible job this season. We're going to end things on a high note."

Last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Dyson finished third, securing second place in the American Le Mans Series championship. This year's four-hour race into the dusk will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED Channel starting at 1:00 PM EST on October 21st, and will conclude the year-long celebration of 50 years of racing at the famed Monterey, CA track. Dyson Racing

formula bmw
HWR tests 3 drivers at Putnam Park HWR tests 3 drivers at Putnam ParkIndianapolis, IN – The 2006 season may be over for Formula BMW USA team, Haberfeld and Walker Racing, but the search for aspiring talent has begun for 2007.  Earlier this week the team kicked off the first of many tests as they tested three young hopefuls at Putnam Park in Indiana.

HWR has shifted gears as they search for future talent with the help of driver development programs and other racing initiatives.  Taking part in the test earlier this week was Rotax Max Challenge winner, Mackenzie Johnson.  The 16 year old California native, benefited from the initiative created by Champ Car and Rotax Max which allows young drivers the opportunity to move forward with their racing careers.  Johnson won the challenge and the opportunity to test in the HWR Formula BMW car, at the Rotax Max Grand Nationals at the Champ Car World Series Road America event, which took place September 22-24.

Also among the young driver that tested with HWR this week was female Australian sprint car driver, and student in the Lyn St. James driver development program, 23 year old Veronica McCann.  Completing the round of testing was Mitch Cobb, 16 year old Colorado native.  Cobb currently races in the ICA karting class.

“This week was the first of many test for the team and we had some great talents testing with us.  Now that the season is over we have shifted our gears for 2007 and have begun our search for young talent,” stated HWR co-owner Derrick Walker.

Shell replaces GM Goodwrench for Harvick Shell replaces GM Goodwrench for HarvickShell Oil Company announced the brand’s return to NASCAR today through a multi-year primary sponsorship of Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Through the sponsorship both Shell and Pennzoil brands will be featured on the No. 29 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS to be driven by Kevin Harvick in the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series. Shell will also be the associate sponsor on other RCR cars including the No. 31 Cup car driven by Jeff Burton and the No. 07 Cup car driven by Clint Bowyer.

"We’re proud to have Shell come on-board as the primary sponsor of RCR’s No. 29 team with Kevin Harvick,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “Shell has a long history in motorsports throughout the world and we look forward to adding to that winning tradition. We’re fortunate to once again have a sponsor for the No. 29 team that is committed to supporting its racing program in a lot of exciting ways. We're also proud to be continuing our relationship with GM Goodwrench and the winning tradition we've had together for more than two decades."

The company’s technological leaders have helped position Shell as the "preferred partner" both on and off the track for some of the auto industry's top companies including General Motors (GM), Ferrari and Audi. The new alliance with Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick bring together the market share leader in fuels and lubricants with a #1 team, which makes a formidable combination. Zzzz

"Our plan with RCR and Kevin Harvick is pretty simple; have fun with our employees, wholesalers, retailers, distributors and customers through a sport we all love," said John Hofmeister, president, Shell Oil Company. "It's also about aligning the leading fuels and lubricants brands with a winner on the track so we can create innovative marketing platforms and products that drive business. NASCAR fans and Shell customers are one in the same, and rejoining Shell with the NASCAR family is the next logical step in our global motorsports platform."

Shell has a storied history of motorsports successes and 2006 has built on that legacy. This year, Shell continues to enjoy success as Ferrari's longtime technical partner in Formula One, it recently debuted a unique diesel racing fuel that powered the Audi R10 to victories in both the American Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans and recently re-signed with Ducati to continue together in the MotoGP Series. The sponsorship with RCR marks an exciting moment in Pennzoil racing history with more than 70 years of motorsports success, including the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup. Alignment with such a strong team and a leading driver, like Kevin Harvick, will allow Shell and Pennzoil brands to expand their NASCAR presence while growing stronger business opportunities.

Kevin Harvick has quickly become one of the top NASCAR stars, a career that began with an incredible run in 2001 when he earned rookie-of-the year honors, finished ninth in the Cup point standings and won the Busch Series championship. He is also at the doorstep of winning the Busch Series Championship and is in contention to become the first driver to win both the Cup and Busch Series Championship in the same season.

"Being associated with Shell and Pennzoil, with their longstanding support of motorsports, is a true vote of confidence for me as a driver," said Kevin Harvick. "It's every driver's dream to have a sponsor that is equally passionate and knowledgeable about the sport. Plus, it's not every day that you get the chance to carry the flag for a company that has over 20,000 employees and more than 13,000 locations across the country. That's quite a fan base!"

Shell lubricant brands, Pennzoil, Quaker State and ROTELLA T, have all been collectively active in NASCAR for several decades. Additionally, Pennzoil has maintained a variety of sponsorships and technical partnerships with DEI and Roush Racing, while Quaker State has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 1995. This season, ROTELLA T and Morgan Dollar Racing with Dennis Setzer are partners in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

GM Goodwrench, currently the primary sponsor of Harvick's No. 29 car, will also continue to support RCR racing and Kevin Harvick as an associate sponsor.

"We're pleased that GM Goodwrench will continue to have a presence on the car," added Hofmeister. "To be associated with a sponsor with a strong history in motorsports is really the icing on the cake. This new relationship on the track will complement the many programs we have with General Motors off the track. We're working together to make hydrogen available to consumers through a local Shell station in Washington, D.C; in Chicago we have a joint test pilot to gauge consumer interest in E85, and we provide supply for some of GM's lubricants needs."

While no immediate plans were shared with regard to the company's marketing efforts in NASCAR, Shell officials said more news will be forthcoming on activations plans surrounding Richard Childress Racing and the No. 29 Shell car.
Red Bull team to debut Red Bull team to debutTeam Red Bull will make its racing debut next weekend with Bill Elliott at the wheel and its research and development manager Randy Cox serving as crew chief at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Cox, who most recently was a crew chief at ppc Racing and has previously worked with Chip Ganassi Racing, will serve as crew chief for the three races that Elliott will drive this year, said TRB General Manager Marty Gaunt while at Talladega Superspeedway. The car will be a Dodge as the team begins a three-race schedule to get ready for its Toyota debut in 2007. Brian Vickers will drive the #83 car next year with his teammate still to be announced. Gaunt said he hopes to have the second driver named within 30 days. "Everybody right now is in the candidate pool," Gaunt said. "We haven't found a second driver. We are still looking at everybody who is available out there who we can put in it. We haven't ruled anybody out as of yet." SceneDaily.com
NASCAR issues smaller plates NASCAR issues smaller platesNASCAR will issue restrictor plates with smaller holes for the rest of the UAW-Ford 500 weekend as teams scrambled Saturday morning to get their cars ready for qualifying. The new restrictor plates will have four holes of seven-eighths of an inch in diameter, one-64th of an inch smaller than the ones used in practice Friday when #24-Jeff Gordon reached a speed of 198.689 mph in the opening session at Talladega Superspeedway. The change should slow the speeds by 2-5 mph, according to crew chiefs,. Teams were informed of the change Saturday morning. There are no practice sessions left on the schedule and the cars will be impounded after qualifying. NASCAR officials are expected to address the media concerning the change later this morning. The speeds are higher than they have been at Talladega because of the repaved surface, which is much smoother than the old surface. SceneDaily.com
New Zealand’s Jonny Reid dominates Brno qualifying New Zealand’s Jonny Reid dominates Brno qualifyingBrno - A1 Team New Zealand has secured pole position for tomorrow's Sprint race at Brno in dominant style. Kiwi driver Jonny Reid was fastest in all four qualifying segments to secure the first spot on the grid with an aggregate time 0.4secs faster than A1 Team Germany.

New Zealand set the early pace in the first three 15 minute sessions, but a flying lap by Nico Hülkenberg in the final segment looked set to hand the aggregate pole to the Germans. Reid however held his nerve to complete a flying lap just seconds before the checkered flag to seize the top spot, the team's first-ever A1GP pole position.

The pole came after the New Zealand car completed just five laps in the morning's free practice session. Reid commented, "We had picked up some rear suspension damage in Zandvoort last week and the rear wishbone seemed to give way today; luckily in practice, not qualifying! It must have been when we were fighting hard with Brazil on the last corner. It was a really intense run out there this afternoon - we were waiting and waiting from the start of the session but I knew that if I got within two tenths of my best time on that lap, we'd be pretty hard to beat. Everyone in the team did a great job and we're looking forward to tomorrow." zzzz

Rising star Hülkenberg, the winner of last week's Feature race, pushed Reid hard throughout the afternoon, but was ultimately denied by the New Zealander's last-gasp hot lap. Nineteen-year old Hülkenberg was disappointed not to secure the pole, but hopeful of improving tomorrow, "I was pushing but just not hard enough. It's now up to me for the races."

A1 Team Malaysia will start the Sprint race from third following Alex Yoong's flying lap at the end of qualifying. The ex-Formula 1 driver posted a time just 0.187secs slower than Reid in the last segment to jump ahead of A1 Teams Great Britain and China. Yoong was pleased with his team's progress over the weekend, "The last race was hard for me and we were struggling a bit yesterday too. There are new people on the team, but we are getting there. It's a great circuit and I enjoy the challenge; it's unique with so many medium speed corners but hardly any short or long so you have to drive with a different style - very different from Zandvoort."

A1 Teams Great Britain and China (Congfu Cheng pictured left) secured fourth and fifth spots on the grid respectively, with Canadian rookie James Hinchcliffe a surprise sixth. A1 Team Lebanon's Graham Rahal, son of American racing legend Bobby Rahal, was not able to repeat his earlier practice pace, which catapulted him to the top of the times. The Lebanese pilot will start the Sprint race from 13th on the grid.

Canada's James Hinchcliffe, who drove this year for Forsythe Racing in the Champ Car Atlantic series and finished a creditable 10th, will be sixth on tomorrow's grid. Phil Giebler did an excellent job for Team USA, resulting in a 7th position on the grid, ahead of local boy Thomas Enge in eighth.

The 20-minute, 10 lap Sprint race will start on Sunday 8 October at 11.00 local time. The grid for the later Feature race will be determined by a unique scoring system that allocates points to a driver's finishing and qualifying positions and fastest laps in the Sprint race.

 A1 Team Driver Aggregate Time
1 NEW ZEALAND Jonny Reid 3:30.053
2 GERMANY Nico Hulkenberg 3:30.524
3 MALAYSIA Alex Yoong 3:31.051
4 GREAT BRITAIN Robbie Kerr 3:31.400
5 CHINA Congfu Cheng 3:31.531
6 CANADA James Hinchcliffe 3:31.673
7 USA Philip Giebler 3:31.743
8 CZECH REPUBLIC Tomas Enge 3:32.016
9 FRANCE Nicolas Lapierre 3:32.227
10 SWITZERLAND Sebastien Buemi 3:32.774
11 MEXICO Salvador Duran 3:32.943
12 NETHERLANDS Jeroen Bleekemolen 3:32.976
13 LEBANON Graham Rahal 3:33.360
14 SOUTH AFRICA Stephen Simpson 3:33.676
15 BRAZIL Tuka Rocha 3:33.732
16 INDONESIA Ananda Mikola 3:34.079
17 ITALY Pier Guidi Alessandro 3:34.897
18 IRELAND Michael Devaney 3:35.306
19 INDIA Armaan Ebrahim 3:36.076
20 AUSTRALIA Karl Reindler 3:37.495
21 GREECE Takis Kaitazis 3:38.020
22 SINGAPORE Denis Lian 3:38.767
23 PAKISTAN Nur Ali 3:42.593

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE #2
Haug - no problem with Alonso outburst
BMW back FIA over Massa 'block'
News brief: V8s set record pace at Suzuka
Ralf vows no favors for brother
News brief: Williams slams lazy Kimi

Ammermuller hopes for F1 finale
Next McLaren to be better - de la Rosa
Symonds slams Brawn for team order taunt
Massa joins Alonso in Fisi criticism
Ferrari expect no penalty for Massa tactic
Flavio furious
'No excuse' for worst qualifying - Haug
Schu to test at Jerez next week
No new Bridgestone wets in Japan - report
Toyota light says Symonds
Massa not penalized at Suzuka
Suzuka weather to improve for race day

Symonds predicts dry qualifying
Schu will miss F1 - Hakkinen
Suzuka a total sellout Suzuka a total selloutThe combination of Michael Schumacher’s imminent retirement, a nail-biting championship duel and Suzuka’s last race for the foreseeable future has ensured that tickets for the Japanese Grand Prix are hot property - in fact, every day of the weekend has sold out.
On Friday there were 64,000 visitors - a record for the opening day - despite the inclement weather. On Saturday 120,000 turned out to see a thrilling qualifying session, while on Sunday 160,000 are due to attend the race, which could in theory see Schumacher crowned champion for an eighth time.  More at Formula1.com
NASCAR approves new Chevy engine NASCAR approves new Chevy engineNASCAR has finally approved a new Chevrolet engine for the 2007 Cup season, for the first time in eight years. Chevy's venerable SB2 engine is the oldest model on the stock-car tour.  Toyota will have a new engine for its 2007 Nextel Cup debut, though it still hasn't been approved.

Dodge and Ford were both given opportunities to submit new Nextel Cup engines for 2007, but both withdrew their submissions six weeks ago, for some still questioned reasons.

When NASCAR officials in late 2004 first proposed an engine-of-the-future to go with its car-of-tomorrow, teams developed a list of 40-odd specific parameters for NASCAR to enforce. Part of that engine project was designed to cut 100 horsepower out of the engines, which produce 850 hp out of the long-standard 358-cubic-inch block.

However after studying the issue, Ford teams expressed complaints about the engine project as too expensive, and NASCAR dropped the engine-of-the-future. Winston Salem Journal

Hamilton's F1 debut still up in air Hamilton's F1 debut still up in airMcLaren will wait on making a decision about whether to hand Lewis Hamilton his Grand Prix debut in Brazil until after the Briton's test at Jerez in Spain next week according to autosport.com.

"Lewis will test this week, he will participate in that test, but whether anything comes out of it to change our current thinking for the Brazilian Grand Prix, time will tell," said Dennis.

"We are not going into that test as being an evaluation of his capabilities as a driver. That is not the objective.

"It is to give him more mileage on a different type of circuit and to learn things that are important for us, as regards the Brazilian event. So no decision has been taken but as and when we will announce it."

Industry News
Toyota outlines plans to overtake GM Toyota outlines plans to overtake GMToyota Motor Corp. outlined to Wall Street analysts on Friday its plans to spur its global profits, saying it was targeting roughly $8.5 billion in cost cuts and considering whether it needed new plants in North America.

The Japanese automaker, which could pass General Motors Corp. as the world's largest automaker as soon as the end of this year, has been spending the past few weeks drawing out its plans to investors around the world.

While GM and Ford Motor Co. struggle to end losses in North America, Toyota expects to boost its profit margins to 10%, among the highest for any automaker in the world.

Mitsuo Kinoshita, Toyota's executive vice president for finance, said the company had cut its parts costs by 30%, or about $8.5 billion at today's exchange rates, since 2000. The new cost-cutting plan has the same goal during a shorter, unspecified time period.

Kinoshita said in this round, rather than simply scrutinize each part for savings, Toyota and its suppliers would review their design systems and find ways to use two parts instead of three, for example.

Toyota has said it expects to sell 8.85 million vehicles worldwide this year, up 9% from last year, and 9.8 million by 2008. Toyota also boosted its profit estimates for the first half of its fiscal year, which began in April, by 32% to about $4.3 billion, in part because of a weaker-than-expected Japanese yen.  More at Detroit Free Press

Rahal tops Saturday practice at Brno Rahal tops Saturday practice at BrnoChamp Car bound Graham Rahal topped Saturday morning's final A1 Grand Prix practice session ahead of qualifying for tomorrow's second round of the 2006/7 season at Brno in the Czech Republic.

The Team Lebanon driver pipped Team Great Britain's Robbie Kerr in the closing stages of the session with a time of 1:48.252.

Pos Team Driver Time
1 LEBANON Graham RAHAL 1:48.252
2 GREAT BRITAIN Robbie KERR 1:48.350
3 FRANCE Nicolas LAPIERRE 1:48.353
5 ITALY Pier Guidi ALESSANDRO 1:48.715
6 MEXICO Salvador DURAN 1:48.799
7 USA Philip GIEBLER 1:48.836
8 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 1:48.990
9 CHINA Congfu CHENG 1:49.031
10 CZECH REPUBLIC Tomas ENGE 1:49.082
11 BRAZIL Tuka ROCHA 1:49.248
12 MALAYSIA Alex YOONG 1:49.261
14 CANADA James HINCHCLIFFE 1:49.492
15 SWITZERLAND Sebastien BUEMI 1:49.719
16 SOUTH AFRICA Stephen SIMPSON 1:49.842
17 IRELAND Michael DEVANEY 1:50.021
18 INDONESIA Ananda MIKOLA 1:50.342
20 GREECE Nikos ZACHOS 1:51.548
21 INDIA Armaan EBRAHIM 1:51.919
22 PAKISTAN Nur ALI 1:53.094
23 SINGAPORE Denis LIAN 1:53.847

NASCAR at the North Pole NASCAR at the North PoleLowe's stores already have their Christmas decorations for sale.  They have a huge inflatable #48 stock car Christmas decoration with Santa as the driver and two elves as the pit crew.  If you have a Lowe's near where you live, you'll have to check it out.  NASCAR is everywhere!
Ganassi and Montoya Q and A Ganassi and Montoya Q and ACHIP GANASSI (Car owner Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)


“As far as I’m concerned it was one solid step toward what we want to do. Mission Accomplished. We were hoping we were going to get another restart there at the end. I think he understands Cup is going to be more difficult. Everything is a learning curve. I’d give him a 9 (on a scale of 1-10 today).”

“I thought he did great. He led a little bit. He went to the back, got a little crash, had some pit stops. He learned a lot. Another restart might have been a lot of fun, but I thought all-in-all it was a great day. I’ll take that. The nice thing was he maintained his composure in the draft. That’s a big thing. I’m happy. I would think we’d try to see if there’s something on the calendar next weekend.”

COMMENT ON SAVE MONTOYA MADE IN THE CRASH “Did you guys expect anything different from him?  We had that incident, had to go to the back of the queue – he called it the queue by the way – that’s line for all you guys in NASCAR. He came up through the thing and that was good.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 4 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) – 3rd

“It was good. Initially I was a little bit careful. I was staying low just to get comfortable. Then we fell back. We were in the middle of the pack. They said, ‘watch out, watch out, watch out.’. They came straight at me, and I was pretty lucky. The car went one way and the other and for some reason the car didn’t spin. I was pretty pleased with that. zzzz

“I think the Texaco/Havoline Dodge today behaved pretty good. After that the guys fixed the car pretty good. I was in the back of the pack. We moved a little bit. We were running probably 15th or so and Steven (Wallace) and I got together. I said I was going to push him all the way and I did. We pushed and pushed and pushed until we got to the front.

“They were pushing the 46 (Frank Kimmel) and he pretty much cut off and left everyone dry. I was kinda shocked to see that, but that’s racing. I told if we get a chance we need to get him back. If it was going green I was pushing.

“In Formula One if you go to the back you stay in the back. You can be two seconds quicker than any other car and you still cannot pass him. It’s great to see that whatever happens… I got hit and had to fix the car. I came to the pits four times to fix it and even after that you go out and you’re in the back of a 30-car queue or line or whatever you want to call it and you still can get up front, and that’s really, really nice.”

“It was pretty hard to keep up with him (Steven Wallace), but a couple of times when someone would get behind me I had enough momentum to hit him. Before I hit him a couple of times I thought I was coming too fast, and I clipped the brakes. It was just exciting. It’s really nice to see a little push, you can just touch him, and you can go past two cars. It’s great.

“You’re running three-four abreast. You’re running high for a few laps and then you run low. The next five laps you’re in the middle. We discussed a little bit whether I would go to the middle. They said it’s pretty wild out there. I said I’m just going to go for it and see what happens. You’ve got to really look the car inside and make sure you give him enough room. At the same time, you don’t want to clip off the guy on the outside. It just makes it real exciting.

“I’m here Monday testing the car of tomorrow. On Tuesday I’m testing in Memphis. As we get comfortable we’ll see. I think the plan is to go to Iowa and see what happens. Here drafting is important. You need to learn that before you go to Daytona, but I think I need to do longer runs on small ovals. For one lap I can go fast. No big deal. What’s going to happen when I have to go 100 laps on the same set of tires? Am I pushing the tires too hard? I’m going to have to learn that before I’m ready for next year. The more miles we do, and the more experience I get, the better it’s going to be.

“I haven’t have this much fun in a race for a long time. I’m not saying F-1 is bad or anything. I think it’s great racing as well. The cars are unbelievable, but I haven’t had this much fun in a long time. I passed probably 40 cars today easily. It’s outrageous.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE CLOSE TO BEING READY FOR THE 2007 DAYTONA 500? “Yeah, it’s nice that Chip got me here because it was definitely necessary to come here. You’ve got to live it and experience it well. All the Cup guys are here and it’s all about getting experience and playing smart. You’ve got to play smart. It doesn’t matter how you push or what you do, but if you don’t bring the car home it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you have the fastest car or whatever. You’ve got to be at the right place at the right time.

Montoya causing quite a stir Montoya causing quite a stirTALLADEGA, Ala. -- Beer is flowing and campfires are roaring along the side of the road in front of Talladega Superspeedway. Almost as many Confederate flags are flying as American ones.
Half the men are shirtless and half the women are willing to be for another set of beads that are as plentiful here as they are on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

It's called the Redneck Riviera.

It's a far cry from the French Riviera.

But this 2.66-mile oasis, where five-star hotels and restaurants are as foreign as a Waffle House in Monaco, is where Juan Pablo Montoya has chosen to begin his transition from open-wheel racing of Formula One to NASCAR.

Friday's ARCA race was the first real test for the 31-year-old native of Bogota, Colombia, who next season will replace Casey Mears in the No. 42 Nextel Cup car for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

But Montoya, whose resume includes a victory in the 2000 Indianapolis 500 and a Champ Car World Series title, already is making an impact on a sport that was born of good ol' boys and moonshine.

Six countries -- Russia, Japan, Greece, Poland, Canada and Colombia -- have made orders for merchandise that has been on the Ganassi Racing Web site less than a week.

That speaks volumes considering 97 percent of current NASCAR merchandise sales are inside the U.S., with half of the other three percent sold in Canada, according to NASCAR.COM sales.

Talladega Superspeedway received credential requests from Spain, France and Italy, countries that normally don't recognize NASCAR as a sport. Montoya's P.R. representative had so many foreign interview requests that she got international calling on her cell phone.  More at NASCAR.com

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula 1 Japan
12:30am-3:00am (L) SPEED
NASCAR RaceDay Talladega
11:30am-1:30pm (L) SPEED
Inside Drag Racing
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
12:30pm-1:00pm WGN
12:30pm-1:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Talladega UAW-Ford 500
1:00pm-6:00pm (L) NBC
Formula 1 Japan
1:30pm-4:00pm (R) SPEED
Superbike World Championship France
4:00pm-5:00pm (SDD) -Race 1
3:00pm-4:00pm (Tuesday) -Race 2 SPEED
Champ Car Atlantic Road America
5:00pm-6:00pm (9/24/06) SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Talladega
7:00pm-8:00pm (SDD) SPEED
NHRA Richmond, VA Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals
7:00pm-10:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
The SPEED Report
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Robin Miller (Open-Wheel Analyst)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Japanese GP: Schu sets fast time in practice 3 Japanese GP: Schu sets fast time in practice 3(GMM) Michael Schumacher has moved to within striking distance of pole position at Suzuka, as Ferrari's tire supplier Bridgestone appeared to dominate under a Japanese sun.

In the last pre-qualifying practice session on Saturday morning, the German was more than a second quicker than his similarly Bridgestone-shod brother Ralf, in a Toyota.

Championship rival Fernando Alonso, with Michelin tires and his Renault, struggled to get within two seconds of the pace, while in seventh place Nico Rosberg (Williams) reinforced Bridgestone's dominance by matching the pace of Michelin shod Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren).

Vitantonio Liuzzi's spin in the Degner curve was the only notable incident, apart from the gusting winds and a looming rain cloud.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:30.653 13
 2. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:31.863 + 1.210 15
 3. Button Honda (M) 1:32.310 + 1.657 12
 4. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:32.527 + 1.874 13
 5. Alonso Renault (M) 1:32.555 + 1.902 14
 6. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:32.590 + 1.937 15
 7. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:32.730 + 2.077 18
 8. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:32.730 + 2.077 12
 9. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:32.787 + 2.134 17
10. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:32.790 + 2.137 15
11. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:32.977 + 2.324 20
12. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:33.163 + 2.510 12
13. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:33.213 + 2.560 20
14. Albers Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:33.270 + 2.617 23
15. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:33.339 + 2.686 17
16. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:33.451 + 2.798 16
17. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:33.663 + 3.010 12
18. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:33.748 + 3.095 16
19. Monteiro Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:33.824 + 3.171 19
20. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:34.118 + 3.465 15
21. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:34.646 + 3.993 10
22. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:34.727 + 4.074 20

Meira to test at Iowa Meira to test at IowaVitor Meira of Panther Racing and a driver representing Rahal Letterman Racing will drive Iowa Speedway's 7/8-mile asphalt surface Monday as part of an Indy Racing League tire test.

The public can watch the testing — slated for two sessions, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. — from a viewing area situated near the northeast corner of the Newton track.

Meira, who finished fifth in the 2006 IndyCar Series standings, will help determine what package the IRL's cars will need to utilize in order to maximize performance on the relatively short track.

The drivers also will try various tire compounds to ascertain what will hold up best when the IRL races at Iowa Speedway, June 22-24, 2007. DeMoinesRegister.com

Montoya finishes impressive third in ARCA stock car debut Montoya finishes impressive third in ARCA stock car debutTALLADEGA, Ala. -- Maybe these stock cars won't be so hard for Juan Pablo Montoya, after all.

The Formula One defector completed an impressive stock car racing debut Friday night, overcoming an early accident to finish third in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway.

"I never had so much fun in my life," Montoya said. "It's freaky. You are always on the edge, but it was fun."

The race was called because of darkness 14 laps from the finish, interrupting a debate Montoya was having with his Chip Ganassi Racing team on whether or not he should try to run down Steve Kimmel and Steve Wallace for the win.

Asked afterward what he thought about his new driver's first race, Ganassi was blunt.

"I thought the race stopped a little short for me," the car owner said.

But other than that?

"It was mission accomplished, it what was what we came here to do and more," Ganassi said. "He went to the back, he came back to the front. My biggest nightmare was that he would end up leading every lap here today."

Muniz to continue Atlantic testing for ’07 Season Muniz to continue Atlantic testing for ’07 SeasonTV star Frankie Muniz hits the track for another four test days the week of October 9th - 13th. Muniz (20) will drive Jensen Motorsport’s 2005 specification Swift Atlantic race car at the Shannonville circuit, which is 2 hours east of Toronto Canada.
Epson Team Jensen engineer Adam Marchitto states, "It's terrific that we are already set with Frankie to drive our #2 car for the 2007 ChampCar Atlantic season. We have an extensive testing schedule planned for the fall & winter to provide Frankie with a tremendous amount of seat time. Frankie has done really well in his Atlantic testing thus far, and we expect his driving to improve a great deal with all this winter testing".
Frankie Muniz is driving Jensen Motorsport’s #2 entry in the 2007 ChampCar Atlantic series. The team expects to announce the roster of sponsors for Frankie's car by mid-November.
For more details about Frankie Muniz' racing, or about Epson Team Jensen, visit us online at www.jensenmotorsport.com or contact us via e-mail at team@jensenmotorsport.com
Industry News
York resigns from GM board in wake of failed alliance talks York resigns from GM board in wake of failed alliance talksGM has received Mr. York’s resignation from the GM Board of Directors, effective today.

Under the direction of the GM Board, we remain focused on our North America turnaround, where we are making real progress, progress that is well ahead of what some skeptics thought possible. Over the past 12 months, we have implemented several fundamental moves – in health care, manufacturing capacity, hourly attrition, salaried and executive headcount and benefits, asset sales and liquidity enhancements, acceleration of key product launches, introduction of the industry's best warranty, and completely revamping our marketing strategy. These actions are already yielding very significant and needed improvement in our results – more than $9 billion in yearly cost savings on a running rate basis by the end of 2006, and record revenues in the first two quarters of this year, to name but two significant ones.

General Motors is focused today on several other key matters, as well: The successful resolution of Delphi and closing the GMAC transaction in the fourth quarter; on the acceleration of the GM Europe turnaround; and continued profitable growth, especially in Asia and South America. zzzz 

With respect to the comments on the Renault-Nissan alliance study in Tracinda’s 13D filing, it’s appropriate to note that the decision to end the equity alliance discussions was unanimously approved by the GM Board, which consists of 12 directors, 11 of whom are independent of management. This decision was made after a comprehensive process that included joint synergy evaluation by the management of all three companies and receipt of advice on the proposal by two prominent financial advisers.

The GM Board concluded that the alliance framework required by Renault-Nissan would substantially disadvantage GM shareholders. This structure included the potential joint projects, which we agreed could yield significant aggregate synergies, but which were highly skewed to Renault-Nissan. The structure also included the requirement to sell a substantial equity stake in GM at no premium, along with preferential rights, which could have had the practical effect of foreclosing GM from entering equity alliances with other OEMs. Renault-Nissan made it clear they were unwilling to pay any premium in any of these areas.

Through its support and actions, the GM Board has indicated the best way to drive value is to continue to remain focused and vigilant in our stated turnaround program. GM PR 

TV News
NASCAR Kansas TV rating NASCAR Kansas TV ratingUPDATE The final rating for the Banquet 400 NASCAR Cup race on NBC was a 4.0/9 share, down 11.2% from last year's 4.5 final ratings.  NASCAR's decline continues.

10/02/06 The overnight domestic TV rating for Sunday's Nextel Cup Banquet 400 race from Kansas on NBC was a 3.4/7 share, down 6% from last year's 3.6 overnight rating.
German team leads opening practice at Brno German team leads opening practice at BrnoBrno – The second round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport got underway today at the 5.41km Brno circuit, Czech Republic, with two 25-minute rookie sessions and the first of two official free practice hours.

Twenty-three countries took to the fast, flowing track through the Moravian forests in the south east of the country, but it was A1 Team Germany who shone on the opening day of competition. Nineteen-year old Nico Hülkenberg recorded the third-fastest time in the rookie practices, completing nine laps over the two sessions. The young German from the town of Emmerich, close to the Belgian border, stepped up a gear in the later practice hour as he set a scintillating time of 1:46.600 on only his second lap. Despite strong pressure from A1 Teams Switzerland and France, Hülkenberg’s early rapid pace was not bettered and he finished the session on top, nearly one second faster than Swiss Sebastien Buemi.

Hülkenberg commented, “I didn’t think that my lap was good, but then when I saw the time! It depends on the weather of course, but if it stays dry we could go even faster tomorrow.”

To the right is a photo of Nico Hülkenberg. He won the first A1GP feature race this season at Zandvoort and leads the standings. He also was fastest again in today's first practice at Brno (CZ) for this weekends 2nd A1GP meeting.

A1 Team France once again demonstrated the pace that won them the 2005/06 championship title as rookie Loic Duval posted the fastest time in the rookie sessions and Nicolas Lapierre the third fastest in practice. Duval was pleased with his result, “Fortunately I know the track quite well as I competed in some races here a couple of years ago - it’s a great circuit and I like it a lot,” added the Frenchman, “We found a good set-up, so I hope that the weekend will end better than it ultimately did in the Netherlands.” zzzz

Team principal Jean-Paul Driot confirmed his team would be aiming for a better result than last week’s race, in which Lapierre retired 11 laps from the finish following a mechanical failure. “We had some bad luck in Zandvoort, which was disappointing, but the car is fast here as I think we have found a good set-up. We should be competitive and could be at the top end of the field if everything goes OK.”

The Czech fans were not left disappointed however as lead driver Tomas Enge, the only Czech driver to have driven a Formula 1 car, secured the fourth fastest time in the practice session. “I’m really happy to be here for my home crowd,” Enge commented, “It was a shame I couldn’t have driven the car in Zandvoort, but I don’t think that will be a disadvantage here. We have to find a set-up with a lot of downforce and grip for the car to go well into the medium-speed corners. The team fitted a new set of Cooper tires for the last run and Janis did a great job earlier in the rookie sessions to prepare the car so, for the moment, we’re happy with the progress we’re making.”

The racing action resumes tomorrow with a further free practice session and four 15 minute qualifying segments that will determine the grid for Sunday’s Sprint race. The 70-minute Feature race grid will be decided using a unique points-scoring system where drivers are awarded points according to their qualifying and finish positions and fastest laps in the Sprint race.

Pos Team Driver Time
2 SUI SWITZERLAND Sebastien BUEMI 1:47.501
3 FRA FRANCE Nicolas LAPIERRE 1:47.552
5 GBR GREAT BRITAIN Robbie KERR 1:48.152
6 CHN CHINA Congfu CHENG 1:48.186
7 MEX MEXICO Salvador DURAN 1:48.424
8 NZL NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 1:48.513
9 ITA ITALY Pier Guidi ALESSANDRO 1:49.169
10 RSA SOUTH AFRICA Stephen SIMPSON 1:49.265
12 BRA BRAZIL Tuka ROCHA 1:49.450
13 USA USA Philip GIEBLER 1:49.500
14 IRL IRELAND Michael DEVANEY 1:49.536
15 MAL MALAYSIA Alex YOONG 1:50.059
16 LEB LEBANON Graham RAHAL 1:50.250
17 CAN CANADA Sean McINTOSH 1:50.261
18 INA INDONESIA Ananda MIKOLA 1:50.411
19 SIN SINGAPORE Christian MURCHISON 1:50.896
20 IND INDIA Armaan EBRAHIM 1:51.215
21 GRE GREECE Takis KAITAZIS 1:51.476
23 PAK PAKISTAN Nur ALI 1:52.366

Martin opts for part-time Cup role Martin opts for part-time Cup roleMark Martin announced today that he will continue in the Nextel Cup Series next season, driving the No. 01 MB2 Chevrolet on a limited basis in 2007.

“I consider Mark Martin a personal friend and over the last 20 years we have had a fantastic relationship professionally and personally,” Roush said. “Mark will always hold a special place in my heart and a special place in Roush Racing, and I truly wish him all the best in his future plans.”

“Jack Roush and I have enjoyed a very special relationship for the past 20 years,” said Martin. “Jack afforded me the opportunity to chase my dreams, and there is no way to put in words what he has meant to me, my life and my career.

“The deal to come back with Roush in the No. 6 with AAA really worked out great and gave me one of the best and most rewarding years of my career,” Martin added. “AAA has been great to work with and it’s really been awesome to work on such important issues. I’m really glad I was able to come back a year and help those guys and Jack out, and we are going to do everything we can to keep chasing after that Nextel Cup for the next seven races.”  zzzz

"When Mark finally reconciled his somewhat conflicting desires, he settled on staying in Cup and running a 20-race schedule. We had no way of accommodating that desire since all of our Cup programs were previously committed," said Roush Racing president Geoff Smith.

"And, NASCAR team limits prevented Roush Racing from putting together an additional team for Mark, so in the end Mark had to move on - in order to stay in the Cup series. He's meant a great deal to this organization and we certainly wish him the best in whatever he chooses to do down the road."

Martin reiterated that his focus over the next seven races will remain on the “Chase” for the Nextel Cup Championship.

“Our focus is on winning this championship,” Martin said. “I’ve been fighting this fight in the No. 6 car for 19 years now, and we aren’t about to give up anytime soon. It’s the complete focus of our attention, and we’ll fight down to the very end for it.” Roush Racing

Brawn tells Renault to fight fair Brawn tells Renault to fight fair(GMM)  Ferrari's Ross Brawn has urged Renault to play fair as the 2006 battle winds down to a two-race duel.

Confessing to the irony of preaching against blocking or team orders, the Maranello based team's technical director nonetheless said the employment of those tactics would be 'unfortunate and unacceptable' this year as Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso go head-to-head for the crown.

Referring to Ferrari's prior indiscretions, Brawn told reporters at Suzuka: ''It was considered normal practice a few years ago.

''(But) it's been deemed to be unacceptable now so we understand that.''

The Briton said teammates Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa should stay out of the fight, particularly in terms of blocking and tactically slow driving.

But Brawn's comments are even more paradoxical in contrast to team boss Jean Todt's claim after Shanghai that Ferrari now knows 'what we can do' following the apparent precision driving by Renault in China.

track news
Kentucky Speedway attendance dropped Kentucky Speedway attendance droppedAfter a 2006 season that saw the Kentucky Speedway lose more than 45,000 fans for two of its biggest races, track officials say they need to rethink their philosophy.

"We came out of the August events and we went right to work," said Kentucky Speedway executive vice president and general manager Mark Cassis. "Some people say you never look back; I'm not in that camp. I think you need to look back and see what you do right, but also see what's not so right."

Cassis unveiled the speedway's 2007 schedule Thursday, while also outlining what the track can do to win back fans. The plan calls for a more aggressive marketing campaign featuring promotions and discounts for families and also focuses on what the speedway does best - hosting races.

Last season the track saw two of the smallest crowds in its history - 21,889 for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and 35,814 for the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series. More than 45,000 more fans came to see the two races in 2005.

"We lost focus," Cassis said of the drop-off. "... We fought a lot of things - the economy, the heat - but I put the blame on us, too. We weren't aggressive in the promotions of those events, and it showed." More at Enquirer.com

Ford fallout: Canadian races lose backing Ford fallout: Canadian races lose backingThe Ford Motor Company has pulled its sponsorship from Canada's three Champ Car World Series events, the Toronto Sun reports.

Ford, which has suffered a number of financial setbacks in the past two years, still will have some sort of association with the events in Toronto, Edmonton and Mount Tremblant next season but it won't be as a primary sponsor [Editor's Note: They never were a primary sponsor, but this author has a history of trying to make Champ Car look bad].

This is the second major blow to the Grand Prix of Toronto, which last month had its 22-year relationship with Molson Breweries snapped when the beer giant pulled its title sponsorship from the event just a year after handing over the running of the race to Champ Car.

"Ford has been very earnest with us," Toronto Grand Prix communications director Shannon Davidson said yesterday. "Ford stressed that this was a business decision and didn't reflect any negativity about any of the three events."

Ford has announced severe cut backs -- up to one-third of its workforce face layoffs -- in the past month and has installed a new CEO, Alan Mulally, who turned around the commercial airplanes division of The Boeing Company.

Audi R10 TDI to drive through New York City Audi R10 TDI to drive through New York CityIt remains unbeaten on the race track to date and now it conquers the streets of Manhattan: Le Mans winner Marco Werner takes time out this coming Wednesday (11 October) between two American Le Mans Series races to drive the Audi R10 TDI along Park Avenue in the American metropolis of New York. The revolutionary diesel race car will be accompanied by a police escort, the new Audi R8 sportscar, which celebrates its US début in New York, and a 1939 Auto Union Type D driven by Audi "factory” driver Emanuele Pirro.
The reason for this extraordinary Audi parade through Manhattan is the grand opening of the new Audi Forum New York City at the corner of Park Avenue and 47th Street by the Lord Mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg.
The Audi R10 TDI was in action over the final weekend in September during the "Petit Le Mans” at Road Atlanta (Georgia). Immediately after cruising through Manhattan on Wednesday at 10 a.m. local time, the powerful 650 hp diesel race car begins a 3,000 mile journey right across the USA to California, where it will compete in the American Le Mans Series finale 21 October. Audi has won every individual title with the R10 TDI before the last race in the most important sportscar championship.
Japanese GP: Friday Press Conference Japanese GP: Friday Press ConferenceParticipating: Aguri Suzuki (Super Aguri), Tsutomu Tomita (Toyota), Yasuhiro Wada (Honda), Hiroshi Yasukawa (Bridgestone). Transcript
Illien turns to MotoGP Illien turns to MotoGPUPDATE MotoGP's newest team, Ilmor, a joint venture between Ilmor and Suter Racing Technology (SRT), has completed a successful two day test at Jerez ahead of its race debut at the penultimate round of the 2006 world championship on October 13-15.

Testing in Jerez gave the team another opportunity to learn more about how its brand new 800cc V4 powered 'Ilmor X3' performs on different tracks. Over the past couple of days the Ilmor crew, in conjunction with SRT, the chassis designers, have made final adjustments and fine tuned the bike's race set-up in preparation for next weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.

08/21/06 The Formula One engine designer Mario Illien is planning to break the Japanese and Italian domination of grand prix motorcycling and give Britain a championship-winning bike for the first time since the 1950s.

Illien, 57, has built an 800cc V4 motorcycle at Brixworth in Northamptonshire that will debut in the Portuguese round of the MotoGP series on 15 October. He will then launch a team for the 2007 season with the aim of challenging Yamaha, Honda and Ducati for the world title by 2010.

"We have demonstrated in Formula One and in the USA that we can do the job as well as larger organizations," Illien said yesterday. Ilmor engines designed by Illien have already won two Formula One titles with McLaren-Mercedes and 11 Indianapolis 500 races.

He hopes to recruit the MotoGP veterans Alex Barros and Max Biaggi to evaluate his bike in the last two rounds of this year's championship. The Swiss engineer Eskil Suter, who has worked with Kawasaki, designed the chassis.

Norton was the last UK manufacturer to win the premier class in grand prix racing, then for 500cc bikes, with Geoff Duke in 1951. Independent.co.uk

Bridgestone hope for ’red tire’ rule Bridgestone hope for ’red tire’ rule(GMM) Bridgestone is still hoping that F1's governing body adopts its suggestion to impose a 'red tire' rule for the 2007 season.

To coincide with its monopoly on tire supply next year, the Japanese company would like the Champ Car-style (right) regulation because it would reduce tire wastage.

The rule would make it compulsory for every driver to use both 'hard' and 'soft' compounds in every race, with red tire walls differentiating the tires.

At present, the FIA rule for 2007 involves the availability of two tire specs, but not the requirement to use both.

''This decision is made by all the teams and the FIA, so we listen to them and their decisions,'' said Bridgestone's director of motor sport, Hiroshi Yasukawa, at Suzuka on Friday.

''But if we are concerned about fairness, then I think it's a good idea.''

Schumacher committed to win title Schumacher committed to win titleHe isn't the most successful driver in F1 history for no reason.  Michael Schumacher has cancelled plans for a post-race celebration at the Japanese Grand Prix so he can fly back to Europe to test, autosport.com reports.

Schumacher had originally been set to skip next week's pre-Brazilian GP test at Jerez but since the title fight with Alonso is so tight Schumacher will test.

Instead of staying for the annual post-race Log Cabin party, Schumacher will fly out of Japan on Sunday evening and test in Spain on Wednesday and Thursday.

track news
A race without spectators A race without spectatorsOCESA, which has been the organizer of the Champ Car races in Monterrey and Mexico City, has a policy of not opening the gates before 9:00 am.  This year is no exception. Ironically they always schedule a few events before 9:00 am, but this year in Mexico City will be just ridiculous  Sunday at 8:00 am the "Carrera Panamericana" race will begin, not a warm up, not a practice, the actual race. The race is scheduled to end at 9:30, which means that after the fans walk to their seats they will only be able to catch the last few minutes of the race.  What is the point in staging a race before opening time? J.J. Arrambide
Not the first time for Champ Car at Mont-Tremblant Not the first time for Champ Car at Mont-TremblantUPDATE It may sound nice to remember Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Saint-Jovite, but the once bigger Saint-Jovite village does not exist anymore. A few years ago both municipalities merged after a referendum. Since Mont-Tremblant has outgrown exponentially the other, Saint-Jovite was dropped.  Nowadays, the only trace left of Saint-Jovite is the name that was given to the main street in the former village.

10/05/06 When Champ Car races at the picturesque Mt. Tremblant in St. Jovite, Canada next July it won't be the first time for the Champ Cars there.  In 1967 and 1968 USAC brought the Champ Car series to town and held twin 100-mile races both years. 

A young Mario Andretti had a field day taking pole position both years and winning both 100-milers in 1967 and then repeating the feat again in 1968 leading every single lap.  He had a field day and showed his road racing prowess against the established veterans, a prowess that would eventually lead him to the world driving championship in 1978.

Built in 1964, Le Circuit Mont Tremblant is an exciting, high speed road course located near St. Jovite, Quebec, Canada, about 1 hour northwest of Montreal.

The 15-turn "long course" is 2.65 miles in length and is characterized by dramatic elevation changes and fast, sweeping corners. Several of these corners crest blind brows, resulting in intimidating blind-apex high speed turns that require the driver to commit to the corner well before the apex is visible. As a driver's circuit, Mont Tremblant ranks among the very best of all North American road courses.

Le Circuit was completely rebuilt during 2000-2001. The new track follows the layout of the old course but is wider and smoother, with large runoff areas, FIA-style curbs, and two chicanes. Banking has been removed from some corners. The track surface has been widened from 28 feet to 36 feet, and the new pit straight is 42 feet wide.

In its early years, Le Circuit hosted two Formula 1 Grands Prix, four USAC races (all won by Mario Andretti) and several Can-Am, Formula Atlantic, and Trans Am races, including the first Can-Am race ever, in 1966.

Major improvements are planned for the track now that they have landed a 'signature' event - Champ Car.  A future announcement will reveal the plans.

Schumacher honored by Bridgestone Schumacher honored by Bridgestone
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Renault play down pit reshuffle
McLaren don't covet Alonso's No.1
Sarcastic Massa
JV's NASCAR switch not done yet
Weber vows to avoid 1997 mistake
Flag tells Schu son to race
McLaren to record unhappy statistic
Bridgestone use new wets at Suzuka
Todt 'edgy' over Renault progress
Alonso backtracks on team criticism
Alonso gets engine boost
Vettel clocks 301kph in 130R
Schu 'not good' for F1 - Hill
Schu says Raikkonen win unlikely
Sutil cops $1000 fine
Japan: Fisichella tops practice 2 times Japan: Fisichella tops practice 2 timesFerrari found itself in a Renault sandwich at Suzuka, as a drying track inspired some quick practice lap times on Friday afternoon.

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella set the pace, with his reigning champion teammate fourth fastest. In between the blue and yellow clad pair were Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher, who both drive red Ferraris.

The quartet amassed a combined 33 laps, a tally nearly eclipsed by the day's busiest Friday competitor Sebastian Vettel, who did 30 laps in his BMW-Sauber.

Slowest of the twenty nine runners was part time Spyker-MF1 test driver Adrian Sutil, who suffered a blown engine.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:34.337 8
 2. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:34.408 + 0.071 10
 3. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:34.565 + 0.228 10
 4. Alonso Renault (M) 1:34.863 + 0.526 5
 5. Davidson Honda (M) 1:34.906 + 0.569 23
 6. Vettel BMW-Sauber (M) 1:34.912 + 0.575 30
 7. Button Honda (M) 1:35.002 + 0.665 6
 8. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:35.064 + 0.727 6
 9. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:35.343 + 1.006 12
10. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:35.367 + 1.030 5
11. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:35.375 + 1.038 12
12. Ammermuller Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:35.433 + 1.096 25
13. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:35.528 + 1.191 10
14. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:35.866 + 1.529 5
15. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:36.176 + 1.839 10
16. Albers Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:36.180 + 1.843 4
17. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:36.234 + 1.897 25
18. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:36.299 + 1.962 5
19. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:37.354 + 3.017 20
20. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:37.441 + 3.104 15
21. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:37.501 + 3.164 16
22. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:37.596 + 3.259 6
23. Monteiro Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:37.702 + 3.365 9
24. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:37.741 + 3.404 26
25. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:37.788 + 3.451 9
26. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:38.533 + 4.196 18
27. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:38.779 + 4.442 5
28. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:38.955 + 4.618 14
29. Sutil Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:43.914 + 9.577 14

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula 1 Qualifying Japan
1:00am-2:30am (L) SPEED
Inside Grand Prix Japan
2:30am-3:00am SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Talladega
12:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
Drive Like Hell -Baja 1000
1:00pm-2:30pm HDNet
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Talladega
2:30pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
IHRA Drag Racing Toronto
6:00pm-7:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Performance
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
Tradin' Paint Talladega
8:00pm-8:30pm SPEED
Knoxville Nationals Late Model Races Knoxville, IA
8:30pm-10:30pm SPEED
NHRA Qualifying Richmond, VA
10:00pm-12:00am ESPN2

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

Renault try to diffuse Alonso bomb Renault try to diffuse Alonso bomb(GMM)  Flavio Briatore and his team are working feverishly to play down the public spat between Renault and its reigning champion, Fernando Alonso.

Briatore, the Italian boss, was spotted in absorbed conversation with Pat Symonds and Alonso at Suzuka, after the Spanish racer hit out at team members and Giancarlo Fisichella for not supporting his quest for the drivers' title.

''I told them both, Fisico and Fernando, I want it to be peaceful and quiet (this weekend),'' Briatore said.

Reportedly, however, Fisichella's manager Enrico Zanarini fumed at Briatore after hearing the Alonso tirade on Thursday, while Fisichella himself revealed his 'surprise' at the comments.

''Fernando is a nice guy,'' he added.  ''Maybe he is feeling the pressure.''

Renault's press officer was also scratching his head at the scene of the Japanese grand prix, and speculated that Alonso's original comments last week had been 'misinterpreted' by those who published them.

Umbrellas but little action at Suzuka Umbrellas but little action at Suzuka(GMM)  Plenty of umbrellas but very few race drivers appeared as a wet Suzuka track kicked off practice at Suzuka on Friday morning.

''It looks like today the weather is pretty bad,'' said McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa, among eighteen race drivers who failed to do more than an out-lap or two in the drenched conditions, ''but Saturday and Sunday should be a lot better.''

The two Ferraris failed to emerge from the garage even once, even though it stopped raining during the session.  Michael Schumacher was spotted in the paddock giving an autograph.

Franck Montagny lasted only 13 laps before beaching his Super Aguri in the Degner gravel.  His 'Friday' colleagues hogged the top five places. zzzz

Practice 1 Results

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Davidson Honda (M) 1:45.349 18
 2. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:46.138 + 0.789 21
 3. Vettel BMW-Sauber (M) 1:46.585 + 1.236 20
 4. Ammermuller Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:47.162 + 1.813 21
 5. Sutil Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:47.773 + 2.424 21
 6. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:47.814 + 2.465 7
 7. Albers Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) 1:47.838 + 2.489 6
 8. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:47.918 + 2.569 13
 9. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:47.919 + 2.570 19
10. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:48.042 + 2.693 11
11. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:50.479 + 5.130 9
12. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) No time 1
13. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) No time 1
14. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) No time 1
15. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) No time 2
16. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
17. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) No time 1
18. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
19. Alonso Renault (M) No time 1
20. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) No time 1
21. Fisichella Renault (M) No time 1
22. Monteiro Spyker MF1-Toyota (B) No time 4
23. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) No time 1
24. Barrichello Honda (M) No time 1
25. Trulli Toyota (B) No time 1
26. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) No time 1
27. Button Honda (M) No time 1
28. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) No time
29. Massa Ferrari (B) No time

Ferrari drivers meet press in Japan Ferrari drivers meet press in JapanIt was almost dark by the time Michael Schumacher fulfilled his usual 4.30 appointment with the media today and in fact the meeting had to be cut short when torrential rain came down. Those same media had been very complimentary about the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver's performance in Shanghai, describing it as one of his best races ever, but the German did not seem to want to make much of a fuss about it.
"I have seen the race in China and I have to say it was a good one," was his modest assessment. "Everything worked well and also we had an element of luck that helped us. It is nice to be leading the world championship again, but it does not really mean much at this stage. It is more important to be in this position at the end and not just for the Drivers championship but in the Constructors' too."

"It was a bit unfortunate that we lost the lead in the Constructors and that was just because Felipe was unable to finish the race in China. The conditions were very difficult, but we still have two more races and I know I can rely on my team-mate to be very motivated, not just for the Constructors but also for himself in his fight for third position." zzzz

Level on points with Alonso with two races to go, but Michael was quick to point out this was not a new experience. "I have been in this situation for many many years so I know pretty much how to handle it," he laughed. "This is not the first time and I have been around for sixteen years! Let's hope it works out. This track is one of my favorites, even if unfortunately we did not get to race at my number one favorite in Spa this year."

"I think the weather is due to improve, but even in the wet, we have taken steps to improve our situation, although it would probably be better and easier if we don't have the conditions that require us to show that we have made this improvement. It would be better to have a dry race for us, but we will take it as it comes. We come here with a lot of motivation and a very good feeling because we believe this track might be even better for us than China was."

Naturally, the Japanese media are particularly concerned about this year's race being the last at Suzuka, at least for the time being. Schumacher had this to say on the subject. "It is sad that this is the last time we come to Suzuka for some time at least, although you must remember that it does not make much difference for me, as I am not coming back anyway. I don't know what Fuji is like, but we do know that most drivers like to race here."

Having arrived from Tokyo this afternoon, Felipe Massa met the media just a few days after unfortunately failing to finish the Chinese GP, when a collision with Coulthard meant he was forced to retire when heading for a points finish. As the press told him that the Scottish driver blamed him for the incident, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro man said, "I am sure David is right, because he is the one who always does things right," Massa laughing to show he was being ironic.

"We saw one another after the race and he is entitled to his opinions, but that is over now and it does not matter." However, the Brazilian did admit it made things a bit harder in the title fights. "There is more pressure now, after my negative result in China, but it is still an open situation and everything is possible. I hope to exploit all the opportunities I am presented with this weekend and to do the best possible to be at the front and to put us into the lead of both championships."

With rain beginning to fall at Suzuka this Thursday night, the subject naturally turned to the level of competitiveness of the F 248 package in the wet. "It is true that a wet weekend would not suit us particularly well, but it is also true that this appeared to be the case a few days ago in China, but in the end things did not turn out too bad," commented Felipe. "Michael drove an incredible race and I was having a good one too when I had overtaken several cars and was heading for a good finish position. But in the end although that did not happen, we still produced a race result that had not been expected from us."

For the Japanese press there is the added question of this being the home race for tire supplier, Bridgestone and Massa had this to say on the subject: "This Japanese Grand Prix is also important because of our close connection with a big Japanese company. We and Bridgestone have worked hard together and have done a good job together and it would be fantastic for Ferrari for Bridgestone and for the Japanese people if we could get a victory here on Sunday. That would be the best way to achieve our targets of leading the Constructors' and personally for me to fight for third place in the Drivers.'" Ferrari

Gerhart Edges Montoya for Pole at Talladega Gerhart Edges Montoya for Pole at TalladegaARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Bobby Gerhart is known as the “Restrictor Plate King” for good reason. The Pennsylvania native is the 2001 ARCA RE/MAX Series Talladega race winner, and has won at Daytona International Speedway four times (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006). Gerhart showed off his superspeedway prowess Thursday afternoon at Talladega, where he claimed his third career Talladega Pork Pole and ninth overall with a speed of 189.485 mph (50.537 seconds) around the 2.66-mile superspeedway. He sits on the Pork Pole for Friday’s Food World 250 ARCA RE/MAX Series race alongside Juan Pablo Montoya.

“We came here and tested a few weeks ago and the track was a lot faster than I expected it would be so we actually went back to the shop and decided to bring a whole different car here this weekend,” said Gerhart. “Talladega did a beautiful job with the repaving job. It’s really an honor just to be here.”

Formula 1 veteran Montoya, who has entered this weekend’s ARCA RE/MAX Series race to help make the transition from open wheel cars to stock cars, qualified second in a No. 4 Texaco-Havoline Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing. Montoya, with an average speed of 189.451 mph, missed the pole by one, one-hundredth of a second. zzzz

Matt Hagans, Frank Kimmel and AJ Henriksen rounded out the top-five.

The ARCA RE/MAX Series will hold a final practice session on Friday from 9-10 a.m. Limited impound procedures will be in place for the one-hour practice session in which teams can only make a limited number of pre-approved adjustments. The Food World 250 is slated to roll off at 4:30 p.m. local central time. The race will be aired same-day on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern.


1 5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA Lucas Oil Chevrolet 50.537 189.485
2 4 Juan Montoya/Bogota Colombia Texaco-Havoline Dodge 50.546 189.451
3 9 Matt Hagans/Indianapolis IN Eagle Creek Aviation-1st Wing Aircraft Mgt Dodge 50.612 189.204
4 46 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN Pork The Other White Meat Ford 50.868 188.252
5 7 AJ Henriksen/Mooresville NC Engineered Components Chevrolet 50.910 188.097
6 25 Billy Venturini/Chicago IL Hamptons Luxury Homes Chevrolet 50.970 187.875
7 09 Mike Wallace/St. Louis MO Miccosukee Indian Gaming & Resort Dodge 50.995 187.783
8 99 Kelly Bires/Hartland WI Ken Schrader Racing Ford 51.060 187.544
9 90 Brett Rowe/Barboursville WV Spectra Metals-FMI Fireplaces Chevrolet 51.127 187.298
10 72 Justin South/Hueytown AL Freedom Grill Chevrolet 51.205 187.013
11 61 Steve Wallace/Mooresville NC Nu South Lemonade-Hantz Group Dodge 51.215 186.976
12 31 Timothy Peters/Providence NC Okuma Chevrolet 51.248 186.856
13 39 Pete Shepherd/Brampton ON Griddly Headz Games-BeavEx-Reliance Tool Ford 51.442 186.151
14 2 Michael McDowell/Phoenix AZ Z-Line Dodge 51.493 185.967
15 50 Craig Butts/Grove Hill AL Palomar Insurance-Southwest Alabama Cnstrctn Dodge 51.502 185.935
16 11 Bryan Silas/Stuart FL Fast Track Driving School-PBG Chevrolet 51.609 185.549
17 14 Michael Faulk/Ocala FL Cobs Homes-Cal Bay International Dodge 51.637 185.448
18 78 Doug Reid/Hueytown AL 3-D Motorsports Chevrolet 51.673 185.319
19 70 Justin Diercks/Davenport IA Hoodia 57 Chevrolet 51.678 185.301
20 65 Justin Marks/Rocklin CA Construct Corps-CarMax Dodge 51.686 185.273
21 6 Dexter Bean/Westby WI Five Star Telecom Chevrolet 51.716 185.165
22 47 Ryan Foster/Lowell AR Frank Kimmel Ford 51.752 185.036
23 22 Chase Miller/Canton GA Dodge Motorsports Dodge 51.772 184.965
24 32 Blake Bjorklund/Isanti MN Academy Sports & Outdoors-Red Line Oil Dodge 51.781 184.933
25 12 Mario Gosselin/St. Marie Quebec Mighty Ezy Cleaner & Degreaser Chevrolet 51.802 184.858
26 10 Boston Reid/Indianapolis IN Fast Track Driving School Chevrolet 51.816 184.808
27 04 Brent Sherman/Barrington IL Serta Mattress Ford 51.841 184.719
28 16 Justin Allgaier/Springfield IL AG Tech-K&N Filters Chevrolet 51.973 184.250
29 87 Tony Ave/Hurley WI Cyberspeed Racing Chevrolet 52.061 183.938
30 59 Ryan Howard/Tipp City OH HD Supply Chevrolet 52.061 183.938
31 8 Marc Mitchell/Tallahassee FL Ergon Pontiac 52.111 183.762
32 97 Skip Cummins/Grove City PA Cyberspeed Racing Chevrolet 52.189 183.487
33 62 Brian Kaltreider/Reading PA Adobe Connect-Independent Graphics Ford Provisional
34 21 Todd Bowsher/Springfield OH Safe Auto Insurance Ford Provisional
35 08 Jason Hedlesky/Clinton MI Hardcore Motorsports Dodge Provisional
36 84 Norm Benning/Pittsburgh PA Shodeen.com Chevrolet Provisional
37 34 Darrell Basham/Henryville IN Anti Monkey Butt Powder Chevrolet Provisional
38 26 Brad Smith/Belleville MI Koolmat Ford Provisional
39 38 Mike Harmon/Birmingport AL Oostlander Racing Chevrolet Provisional
40 23 Ricky Sanders/Stockbridge GA ARCASimRacing.com Chevrolet Provisional
41 48 James Hylton/Inman SC Loretta Lynn-Mountain Rock Music Ford Provisional

Firestone aims for product improvement Firestone aims for product improvementFor almost 100 years, Firestone hasn't rested on its racing laurels. Faster cars, variable banking and various road/street course configurations require rubber that not only meets the road but stands up to its demands.

That's why Firestone engineers recruited four IndyCar Series teams/drivers to pound out laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week. A one-day tire test also is scheduled for Oct. 9 at Iowa Speedway with drivers representing Panther Racing and Rahal Letterman Racing.

IndyCar Series champions Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan joined two-time 500-Mile Race winner Helio Castroneves and Team Ethanol driver Jeff Simmons at the Speedway.

"We have tested here a lot and run here a lot," said Page Mader, general manager of race tire development for Firestone. "We're doing two things: Compound testing and a little construction work. We're trying to make it better for next year."

Firestone has a continually expanding inventory of compounds and constructions for the different racetracks on the IndyCar Series circuit. Grip and sidewall strength are key components in determining which tire to use at each venue. At Iowa, according to Mader, information garnered during a compatibility test in August was applied to a plan for this test in conjunction with IndyCar Series aerodynamic testing.

"We ran the short oval set-up from Milwaukee and Richmond this year (at the compatibility test)," he said. "It worked very well. We'll do a little compound test with more grip primarily on the left side. We're doing a little bit to work to come up with the right specification for Iowa and a complement to maybe try something different at Richmond next year." IRL

Montoya 4th in practice Montoya 4th in practiceJuan Pablo Montoya was fourth fastest in ARCA practice Thursday  in preparation for the Food World 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.  He turned a lap of 191.765 mph in the draft. He was behind Mike Wallace (192.432 mph), Bires (192.177 mph) and Kimmel (191.792 mph).

"He did a great job," said his crew chief, Brad Parrott. "He enjoyed it, but we're here for the Daytona 500 2007. What he learned today is a valuable lesson; what he learns tomorrow will be a valuable lesson."

Qualifying is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT today.

"We're not here to win the race," Parrott said. "We're here to win the Daytona 500 in 2007. [He's learning] how close he can get to the cars and if he can bump-draft.

"He's going to learn the most staying in the draft. If we're leading the race by ourselves, we're probably going to drop back to get into the draft."

Racing News
Goodyear works may strike Goodyear works may strikeUPDATE Goodyear today said that the United Steelworkers declared a strike against the company after the union rejected a comprehensive proposal from Goodyear that would improve its competitive position while maintaining substantial commitment to manufacturing in North America.

Negotiations stalled after the union’s proposals to Goodyear did not include key items found in their agreements with competitors.

"We simply cannot accept a contract that knowingly creates a competitive disadvantage vs. our foreign-owned competition and increases our cost disadvantage vs. imports," said Jim Allen, Goodyear’s chief negotiator.

10/04/06 United Steelworkers of America, which represents about 13,000 hourly Goodyear employees, says that because it sees no progress in the talks taking place in Cincinnati, it will end a day-to-day contract extension as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Meanwhile, the Akron tire maker and the union say they will continue talking. Sticking points include Goodyear wanting the ability to close what it calls costly, less productive U.S. plants, while the USW has been insisting that union plants remain open and that the company protect pensions and retiree health care. More at Ohio.com

[Editor's Note: Labor unions prevent Goodyear and other USA automobile related manufacturers from competing with other companies around the world.  The American products are hindered by huge pension funds and old factories.  This story, whereby the unions refuse to allow old factories to close down so Goodyear can modernize, underscores just how bad these unions are.  Perhaps the only way for American car manufacturers to compete on the world market is to bankrupt them all, put all the union workers and their pension plans out on the street, restructure the companies and re-emerge leaner and meaner.]

Sierra Sierra team hires Dykstra Sierra Sierra team hires DykstraLee Dykstra will join the Sierra Sierra Enterprises team as Chief Engineer. Lee comes to the team with a long history in open wheel racing and recent success in the Champ Car Atlantic Series.
Having top talent is paramount to a winning team. Dykstra brings with him the right mix of knowledge, experience and talent. He has designed more than fourteen complete race cars and won seven championships, five of which were in cars he designed. Furthermore, many of the specifications on the current Atlantic Car and 2007 Champ Car were initiated while Dykstra was Director of Technology at Champ Car.
"Once again Sierra Sierra Enterprises is able to attract key personnel in their endeavor to win the 2007 Atlantic Championship. It will be a pleasure working with Lee. He is an engineer with much experience in so many forms of racing,” said Richard Raeder, Team Manager. zzzz
“I am genuinely excited about joining Sierra Sierra. They are a unified team with a proven winning record. With Raphael Matos, Team Manager Richard Raeder and Driver Coach David Empringham, the team will be a major contender for the 2007 $2 Million Atlantic-Champ Car incentive. Raphael Matos has proven he can race competitively, consistently and he definitely wants to win,” commented Dykstra on his view of the upcoming 2007 season with Sierra Sierra.
A winning combination requires technical expertise, experience and the right mix of team chemistry. Dykstra carries with him an instant familiarity: “An additional bonus is being reunited with David Empringham [Sierra Sierra Driver Development Coach] who I engineered to a Championship win in the 1996 Indy Lites series,” commented Dykstra.
“I am really excited that we have been able to secure Lee as our Lead Engineer. Reuniting with him gives me confidence that we will give our drivers a championship winning effort in 2007.”
Sierra Sierra Enterprises is expanding to a two car team for the 2007 season. Raphael Matos will continue with the team and an additional driver will be selected and announced in the upcoming months. Sierra Sierra PR
track news
ISC profits decline ISC profits declineInternational Speedway Corp. today announced record third-quarter revenues, but President Lesa France Kennedy said attendance at several events fell bellow expectations, and net income for the period declined.  ISC reported revenues increased from $166.5 million in the same period a year earlier to $178.9 million, but net income fell from $36.8 million in the 2005 quarter to $34.3 million, or 64 cents per diluted share. Bloomberg reports analysts had expected earnings of 65 cents per share.  "Double-digit increases in sponsorship, television broadcast rights and advertising fees helped significantly offset less than expected attendance-related revenues for certain events during the quarter," Kennedy said in the company press release.
Industry News
Nissan, Renault stock rise after GM talks fail Nissan, Renault stock rise after GM talks failShares of Nissan and Renault rose Thursday as investors reacted with relief to news that General Motors called off talks on possibly creating a three-way alliance.

The three-month-long talks came undone as Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA of France declined to pay a premium for reaping what General Motors Corp. said would have been a disproportionate share of the benefits, according to a joint statement issued by the companies.

"We've somewhat expected the outcome so we just take it as is," Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga told public broadcaster NHK. "A deal like this is difficult unless each participant is positive about an alliance as a benefit." More from AP Story

Alex Tagliani rejoins Blackforest for VIR finale Alex Tagliani rejoins Blackforest for VIR finaleDeLand, FL - The 2006 Grand-Am Cup Series season will race to its conclusion this weekend with a six-hour enduro at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia.
Blackforest Motorsports, which recently announced plans for a 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series GT campaign with a Prep2 Ford Mustang Cobra, will bring a three-car assault to the event with nine drivers sharing the driving duties in the Ford Mustang FR500C. The VIR round marks the final race of Valerie Limoges’ rookie Grand-Am Cup season and the Canadian, who sits 15th out of over one hundred Grand Am Cup drivers in the points standings, is looking to close out her rookie year on a high note.
The team nearly added to the Ford Mustang win tally earlier this season, as the USG Sheetrock entry of David Empringham and Limoges crossed the finish line in first position at VIR in April, but was subsequently penalized after the race and relegated to a tenth position in the final results. Limoges will once again team with fellow Quebecois Alex Tagliani as well as Travis Walker of Ontario. zzzz 
“It’s been an up and down year for us for sure, but I’ve learned a lot and after nearly winning here earlier this season, it would be great to come back and be able to get that victory,” said Limoges. “I know that our team is going to be strong here again so long as we can save the car for the finish. I’m glad to be driving with Alex and Travis this weekend and I think the Blackforest cars should be fast.”

Team Australia racer Tagliani has proven to be a quick study in the Mustangs in his two previous outings with the team,  as he has led races and run competitively, although his results have been damped by some procedural penalties.

“I am looking forward to racing the Mustang again with Blackforest,” said Tagliani. “Brian Nott does a fantastic job, and we’ve run up front every time. If we can just avoid getting any penalties this time, I think we should be strong. I’ve never been to VIR, but it looks like a great track, so hopefully we can get a win for Blackforest and Ford to finish their season.”

Massa revels in Renault discord Massa revels in Renault discord(GMM) Ferrari could capitalize on the apparent turmoil within the championship challenging Renault team.

That was the hint to reporters of Brazil's Felipe Massa at Suzuka on Thursday, as his teammate Michael Schumacher - who picked up a slight cold in the few days since Shanghai - moves within striking distance of reigning champion Fernando Alonso's drivers' crown.

''I have heard something about that,'' Massa said, referring to Alonso's continuing query in Japan about the will of Renault, and teammate Giancarlo Fisichella, to help him beat Schumacher to the crown.

''I don't want to comment too much about it,'' 25-year-old Massa insisted, ''except to say that at Ferrari we cooperate in total harmony.

''We are 100 per cent motivated to deliver a good result here and also in Brazil.''

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE 
Renault remove pit mechanic
Davidson waits on Honda
Rain no lift for Alonso mood
Heidfeld says sorry
Schu has no party plan
Ralf tips brother for title

Karthikeyan not 'guaranteed' reserve role
Journalist says sorry to Schu manager
Pele to honor Schumacher finale
Spyker admit pay-driver option for 2007
Bernie tells McLaren to sign Hamilton
Ferrari urge Massa to score points
Paddock snapshot from Suzuka
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for FridayCourtesy of TVRacer.com

Formula 1 Practice Japan
1:00am-2:00am (L) SPEED
The Chase is On -Talladega Preview Talladega
7:00am-7:30am (R) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Talladega
3:00pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice  Talladega
4:00pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Talladega
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
ARCA RE/MAX Talladega (Montoya's Stock Car debut)
8:00pm-11:00pm (SDD) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Japanese GP: Thursday Press Conference Japanese GP: Thursday Press ConferenceParticipating: Fernando Alonso (Renault), Jenson Button (Honda), Takuma Sato (Super Aguri), Jarno Trulli (Toyota), Sakon Yamamoto (Super Aguri). Transcript
Raikkonen will do a great job for Ferrari Raikkonen will do a great job for FerrariMichael Schumacher will head into retirement confident he leaves the future of his Ferrari team in good hands when he is replaced next season by McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.

"I don't think it will be difficult at all," said Schumacher, who is chasing a sixth win in eight races at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka this weekend.

"Firstly, he is very talented and secondly Ferrari have taken Kimi on board because that is in their interests and they therefore want to be successful with him. They will do everything required for that.

"The other way around, I can only imagine it will be the same, so the two have the same interests and it will be easy."

Industry News
Why GM walked Why GM walkedGeneral Motors Corp. on Wednesday ended talks on forming a global alliance with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., after GM determined that the deal would do more for its potential partners than for its own shareholders.

Ultimately, it came down to a matter of money. GM said its investors wouldn't see enough savings or investment to make a fair deal for all three partners.

"In the end, following a comprehensive review and discussion, the GM board determined that the alliance structure proposed by Renault-Nissan was not in the best interest of our shareholders," GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner said Wednesday from a podium at GM's Renaissance Center headquarters.

The decision, approved unanimously by GM's board of directors, signaled support for Wagoner's strategy over the alliance concept proposed by Kirk Kerkorian, the company's largest individual shareholder. More at Detroit Free Press

LeasePlan to sponsor Spyker team LeasePlan to sponsor Spyker team[Editor's Note: LeasePlan was a sponsor for Champ Car driver Nelson Philippe and unconfirmed reports say the Philippe family owns or is involved with LeasePlan in some way, shape or form.  Nelson  Philippe told us over a year ago that F1 could be in his future someday.  Might that someday be 2007?  The Spyker team has admitted to looking for a pay driver for their 2nd seat.  To the best of our knowledge Philippe is not signed in Champ Car for 2007 yet.....]

Spyker MF1 Team is pleased to announce the arrival of LeasePlan as an Official Sponsor for the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship and beyond. As part of the same 3-year partnership LeasePlan will also become an Official Supplier to the Spyker MF1 Team.

The LeasePlan logo will appear on all of the team's race cars and drivers' overalls together with branding on all other official partner locations. During this time Spyker's factory race team, Spyker Squadron, will also carry LeasePlan branding throughout all of their races, tests and events. LeasePlan branding will first be seen on the Spyker MF1 Team's cars at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix.

LeasePlan Netherlands, established in 1963, is a market leader in operational car leasing in the Netherlands with a total fleet of approximately 130,000 vehicles. zzzz

Colin Kolles (Team Principal, Spyker MF1 Team) said "This is a great partnership for the team, not only will LeasePlan be with us from the start, but as an official supplier they will be actively involved in the achievements of the team. LeasePlan has recognized our vision and shares the determination needed to make Spyker MF1 Team a success in 2007 and beyond.

Edward Vis (Commercial Director, LeasePlan NL) "With the arrival of Spyker MF1 Team The Netherlands will finally have their own team in the Formula 1 World Championship. This is a fantastic venture and we are very proud to become an Official Sponsor of Spyker MF1 Team. I have listened to the ambitions of Victor Muller, Michiel Mol and Colin Kolles and have no doubt that what they are planning to achieve will be both exciting and hugely beneficial to LeasePlan Netherlands."

Victor Muller (CEO Spyker Cars NV and Spyker MF1 Team) said: "I am very proud to have this Dutch sponsor join our Dutch team and having them on board as our official supplier underlines our mutual commitment to success. I’m convinced that we will meet LeasePlan Netherlands` expectations of this wonderful partnership."

The sponsorship between LeasePlan and Spyker MF1 Team was facilitated by Gr8industries, brand and marketing agency in the Benelux region (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg).

track news
'07 Long Beach tickets on sale Friday '07 Long Beach tickets on sale FridayTickets for the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach officially go on sale Friday, Oct. 6.

That sets the stage for April 13-15, 2007, three days of non-stop GO at the ocean's edge that will be filled with free concerts, Lifestyle Expo, the Tecate Miss Grand Prix beauty pageant, autograph sessions and - always - the best racing in California!

Feature billing for Grand Prix weekend goes to the cars and stars of the Champ Car World Series, including: Sebastien Bourdais, twice a winner at Long Beach and two-time series champion; A. J. Allmendinger, who is chasing Bourdais right down to the wire for the 2006 crown; Paul Tracy, four-time winner on the famed seaside racing circuit; Bruno Junqueira, Justin Wilson, Katherine Legge and the rest of the Champ Car hot shoes.

A pack of 20-plus television, film and sports celebrities will again be going fender-to-fender in the 31st Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, a 10-lap race for charity that is always a fan favorite. zzzz

The enormously popular "Drifting" competition will be back again, with drivers smoking their tires and sliding on-the-edge through corners to wow the more than 175,000 fans who annually make the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach their "Official Spring Brake."

And, they'll enjoy the Long Beach debut of the American Le Mans Series, featuring close racing from a wide variety of sports car makes and engines.  More racing series will be announced shortly.

"Along with the usual enjoyable things to do and see in the great city of Long Beach, we've expanded our menu of activities to make the weekend exciting for all race attendees," said  Jim Michaelian, CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "With the addition of the American Le Mans Series - plus more surprises we'll be announcing soon - it underscores our continuing goal of giving our fans the best motorsports experience possible."

Every race ticket holder can enjoy admittance to these free happenings - among others! - on race weekend:
· The Lifestyle Expo, with a special Kid's Fun Zone and the latest high-tech products and services, race cars, games and simulators and  extreme sports demonstrations;

· Tecate's annual "Fiesta Friday Concert" which features the hottest Latin bands such as past performers "Conjunto Primavera" and "El Tri;"

· Saturday night "Rock-N-Roar" Concert, which in the past has starred such hot groups as "Third Eye Blind," "Everclear," "Pennywise" and "Goo Goo Dolls;"

· The Tecate Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach pageant, immediately following the Rock-N-Roar Concert;
· Driver autograph sessions.

In addition, fans can test their race driver potential on a public go-kart track that, for a small fee, offers instruction and hot laps.

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

Ticket prices for the 33rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach range from $20 for  Friday general admission up to $120 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seats in upper levels of the grandstands.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available when ordering through the Grand Prix Ticket Office.

Credit card orders will be accepted starting Friday, Oct. 6 by calling the toll-free ticket hotline at (888) 82-SPEED or visiting the official Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Web site at longbeachgp.com. 

A colorful ticket brochure - which includes circuit map, grandstand and parking locations, ticket prices and order form - can also be obtained by calling the ticket hotline. Handicapped seating, Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, super photo tickets and a variety of hospitality club packages are also available.

Ambrose lands ’07 Busch ride Ambrose lands ’07 Busch rideTHE US racing career of Australian motorsport ace Marcos Ambrose has taken another dramatic step with the Tasmanian being confirmed as a full-time NASCAR Busch driver in 2007.

Ambrose will step up into the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion for a full 35-race program, including three road course events at Mexico City, Montreal in Canada and Watkins Glen.

The Busch Series is one step up from his current NASCAR Craftsman Truck commitments and the next in his end goal of a full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup drive.

Ambrose’s current list of sponsors for the 2007 season include Kingsford® Charcoal, Hidden Valley® Salad Dressing, KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce, Bush’s Best Baked Beans and Glad Food Storage Bags.

Wood Brothers/JTG Racing is currently in negotiations with Craig Gore’s Aussie Vineyards and Team Australia organization, which is the naming rights sponsor of Ambrose’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck that he will campaign at Talladega this weekend and then the remaining five races of the season. An announcement on an ongoing relationship is expected in the near future.

Ambrose was obviously delighted when Wood Brothers/JTG Racing confirmed his Busch ride yesterday. zzzz

Kingsford Charcoal® will celebrate its 10th season as a NASCAR Busch Series sponsor with Ambrose behind the wheel.

“Everyone at Wood Brothers/JTG Racing has been fantastic in my first season of NASCAR competition and I look forward to taking the next step of my career in the #59 Kingsford® Charcoal Ford in 2007,” said Ambrose.

“I guess if there is one thing Australians know how to do, its BBQ, and when you look at all the sponsors associated with my car for next season then we could have one terrific cook out.

“The support of Len and Eddie Wood, co-owners Jodi and Tad Geschickter and the whole Wood Brothers/JTG Racing operation has been fantastic and I look forward to a long and successful relationship with the team. The NASCAR family has also made me feel very welcome.

“It is great to be continuing my relationship with Ford and I look forward to building on a strong 2006 in what will be yet another rookie season.

“This is definitely a major step up, but I am looking forward to the challenge and continuing what has been an amazing learning curve.”

Andy Grider Joins Team Dakar USA Andy Grider Joins Team Dakar USAANAHEIM, Calif.  – Andy Grider, a native of Long Beach, California, will join Team Dakar USA and Robby Gordon as navigator in their bid to be the first American effort to capture the overall title in the famed endurance race -- the 2007 Dakar Rally. 

Grider’s multiple credits include a runner-up finish in the second stage of last year’s Dakar Rally, an overall title in the 2002 Baja 1000, and third overall in the 2005 Tunisian Rally. 

Grider, who made his inaugural run during last year’s Dakar Rally for the KTM Factory motorcycle team, will be tasked with guiding Gordon as they maneuver their way through two continents, six countries and 6,000 miles of some of the world’s most uninhabitable terrain.  As part of the team that will carry the banner for General Motors’ HUMMER brand and Toyo Tires, Gordon and Grider will compete alongside hundreds of entries from six of the world’s continents. zzzz

For nearly 30 years, adventurers from every corner of the globe have been making the journey to Europe to take on the challenge of the world’s most grueling race.  Beginning Jan. 6, 2007, competitors will spend 17 days battling the environment and the terrain to make the trek south from Lisbon, Portugal towards the African continent and then to Dakar, Senegal.

Each year Dakar presents new challenges, far beyond those of just the driver and the car, but a test of man.  The 6,000 mile race is run on everything from paved roads to sand to terrain covered in jagged rocks, without the aid of GPS, making the navigator an integral part of the success or failure of a team.  Competitors leave behind all the comforts of home and make the African wilderness their home during the almost three-week-long event. 

 “I’m very excited about reaching a lifetime goal with Team Dakar USA and looking forward to standing on the podium in Dakar,” said Grider, 33.  “The HUMMER H3 is one of the more technically advanced off-road vehicles out there and it will be a thrill to navigate it through Africa.”

Gordon, owner of Team Dakar USA and driver of the HUMMER H3, will make his third appearance in the Dakar Rally in as many years.  A two-time Dakar stage winner and the only American to do so, Gordon has been competing in off-road endurance races since the early 1980’s.  Himself a two-time winner of the esteemed Baja 1000 along with countless other victories within North American borders, Gordon will attempt to be the first American to get the overall win in the race’s history.

Gordon began Team Dakar USA in 2005 in an effort to showcase American ingenuity and technology in one of the world’s most popular sporting events.  Although participating in the 2004 Dakar Rally for Volkswagen, last year’s Rally was Gordon’s first attempt as an independent owner.  During last year’s Rally, Gordon was forced to make an early exit from competition during the seventh stage due to a punctured radiator which sidelined the team for the remainder of the event.

 “We are excited to have Andy come onboard and join our effort in Dakar,” said Gordon.  “Dakar is a test of endurance and Andy has proven he's capable.  Obviously as a former motorcycle competitor in Dakar he knows his way through the Rally and knows how grueling an event it can be. 

“We’ve been working hard on putting the best possible program together and I feel like this year we have a better opportunity to go over there and win stages and capture the overall title, and Andy will definitely be able to help us out with that goal.”

Zuber ends Ricard test on top Zuber ends Ricard test on topAndreas Zuber has topped this afternoon's timesheets at Paul Ricard to record the fastest lap of the test overall - a 1:13.763. The Austrian, who races under the flag of UAE, was instantly on the pace this morning, and carried through the promise he showed in the first session to lead a number of other drivers who managed to dip into the 1:13s this afternoon.

Giorgio Pantano rounded off a very positive first test with Campos Racing in second position, with this morning's pace setter Antonio Pizzonia third, just 0.04 seconds off the Italian. Fairuz Fauzy was mega once again in fourth, completing a stunning test with Durango as Jose Maria Lopez took his mended BCN Competicion car to fifth, with Lucas di Grassi sixth for Super Nova.

The only major incident of the afternoon was a shunt for Nakajima in the ART Grand Prix car. zzzz

The GP2 series now takes a rest for the remainder of the month, before testing resumes back here at Circuit Paul Ricard on October 31st.

 Driver Team Time Laps
1 Andreas Zuber iSport International 1:13.763 24
2 Giorgio Pantano Campos Racing 1:13.920 27
3 Antonio Pizzonia FMS International 1:13.963 29
4 Fairuz Fauzy Durango 1:13.996 33
5 Jose Maria Lopez BCN Competicion 1:14.017 26
6 Lucas Di Grassi Super Nova International 1:14.283 35
7 Kohei Hirate Dams 1:14.424 32
8 Sergio Hernandez Racing Engineering 1:14.459 33
9 Xandi Negrao Piquet Sports 1:14.510 35
10 Luca Filippi BCN Competicion 1:14.590 30
11 Nicolas Lapierre Dams 1:14.608 34
12 Bruno Senna DPR 1:14.731 25
13 Adrian Zaugg Arden International 1:14.853 22
14 Ernesto Viso Trident Racing 1:14.862 31
15 Marco Bonanomi Durango 1:14.898 35
16 Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1:14.910 27
17 Mike Conway Arden International 1:14.959 21
18 Guillaume Moreau ART Grand Prix 1:15.169 39
19 Charlie Kimball Trident Racing 1:15.344 27
20 Kaziki Nakajima ART Grand Prix 1:15.413 8
21 Jason Tahinci FMS International 1:15.612 29
22 Roldan Rodriguez Campos Racing 1:15.785 40
23 Tuka Rocha Piquet Sports 1:16.416 55
24 Michael Patrizi DPR 1:16.643 30
25 Vitaly Petrov Super Nova International 1:16.842 22

Industry News
GM/Nissan/Renault merger talks off GM/Nissan/Renault merger talks offUPDATE “The parties mutually recognized that significant aggregate synergies might result from the alliance,” the joint statement said. “However, the parties did not agree on either the total amount of aggregate synergies or the distribution of those benefits.”

A Renault official in Paris suggested its focus would now shift to talks with Ford Motor Co.

“Mr. Ghosn made quite clear that if GM didn’t want an alliance, we would not go forward,” the source said, requesting anonymity because Ghosn’s office has not responded yet.

“We’re still interested in having a North American partner,” he continued. “I think we can all guess what that means,” a clear reference to Ford.

“We won’t initiate” new discussions, he added, “but if the phone rings, we’ll answer.”

10/04/06 GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner will hold a news conference today (Wednesday) to discuss GM's decision to terminate the discussions on proposed alliance with Renault/Nissan.
TV News
ISC expects higher TV revenue ISC expects higher TV revenueInternational Speedway Corp. has released the expected 2007 industry revenue from the new television contract NASCAR signed last December with Fox, ABC/ESPN, TNT and Speed. The revenue for 2007 is estimated at $473 million for Nextel Cup races, $29 million for Busch races and $3 million for Craftsman Truck Series events.

The average increase for each season will be approximately 3 percent through 2014.

While the total package of the contract represents an estimated 40 percent increase over the average of the current contract, the actual revenues for 2007 will be less than 2006 because 2007 is the first year of a new deal. The total television revenue of $505 million for 2007 is about $70 million less than the estimated revenue for 2006. Scenedaily.com

[Editor's Note: With TV ratings falling and networks already losing money because they are paying NASCAR too much, it appears the TV networks that signed the NASCAR deal are in for a real financial bloodbath. This is why NBC dropped their NASCAR deal and refused to even re-bid. They are not stupid. How does the saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.]

Champ Car Rookie Legge slated to speak Champ Car Rookie Legge slated to speakINDIANAPOLIS - Every career in motorsports starts with a dream and Katherine Legge (#20 Bell-Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was no different. Since starting to drive go-karts as a hobby in 1990, Katherine has risen through the ranks to become the first woman to win a major open-wheel race, the first female to ever lead a Champ Car race, and she also holds the status of having the best finish for a female in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. This Friday Katherine will be taking time out of her busy schedule to share her story with students during IUPUI’s (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) Motorsports Day.

Champ Car will have a large presence during the event as there will be a display with show cars and several people from the Champ Car community taking time out of their work days to share their experiences in motorsports with students.  Scot Elkins, Champ Car Technology Director will be speaking during The Technology of Motorsports Session from 10:30-11:00. During the Women of Motorsports session from 12:30 to 1:00 Vicki O’Connor director of the Champ Car Atlantic Series will be talking about her experiences along with Cathie Lyon, Director of the Fast Lap Pace Car Program. All will be on hand after their sessions for student questions. zzzz

This will be the second year that Motorsports Day has been held on the Campus of IUPUI.  Anticipated growth in Indiana’s motorsports industry prompted the establishment of IUPUI’s Motorsports Engineering Technology Certificate program, which has opened the doors for students to gain experience in the field of motorsports. Last year’s exhibition was held primarily for current IUPUI students to build awareness for the program. This year’s event is open to prospective students who have an interest in pursuing a career in motorsports.

Currently IUPUI is the only program in the state of Indiana with an emphasis on Motorsports Engineering. The 26 hour certificate program allows students to obtain the certificate as a stand alone or as part of a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Champ Car has supported the program since its introduction by offering internships to three students who have spent the 2006 Champ Car season working under the tutelage of Champ Car Technology Director, Scot Elkins. During Motorsports Day students can learn about the intern’s experiences by attending The Internship Experience session from 2:00 to 3:00 PM. 

IUPUI is an urban research campus, with 22 schools and academic units which grant degrees in more than 200 programs from both Indiana University and Purdue University. The school was created in 1969 as a partnership between Indiana and Purdue universities, with IU as the managing partner. With more than 29,000 students, IUPUI is the second-largest campus in the Indiana University statewide system.

For more information on attending Motorsports Day, visit http://www.engr.iupui.edu/racing/motorsports_day.pdf.  For additional information about the IUPUI Motorsports Certificate, visit http://www.engr.iupui.edu/met/fmotorsports.shtml

Neel Jani talks about his move to Champ Car Neel Jani talks about his move to Champ Car“I learnt a lot about all aspects of F1, from the preparation before the weekend to what goes on over the race weekend itself. On Friday I had to adapt to setting up the car quickly and understanding the various possibilities of the traction control and the differential settings. There are things specific to F1, such as the fact that you need to warm up your tires a lot more than in any other category of racing I have competed in. There was a lot to learn, but over the course of the year, I got comfortable with it.

"For sure, the big highlight of the season was the very first race in Bahrain. It was a special feeling, sitting in the car in the garage on Friday morning then going out on track with everyone else in an official Grand Prix practice session, with guys like Michael Schumacher and the others. The worst part is the rest of the weekend, especially the flyaway events as you have to stay right to the end usually. At least in Europe I can normally go home on Saturday night, which makes the experience easier to survive. Because there is no race driver in the world who likes to be at a race track if he is not racing.

"Apart from the driving side, I have also had to learn how to fit in with the team’s marketing and media programs, which is something you don’t get much of in the other formulae. Maybe some of this work is not the most exciting, but at the end of the day, in my mind, I always ask myself what it would be like if I had another job, if I was working nine to five, sitting in an office. I don’t think I would like that but I love what I do now.

"Now for next year, I seem to be heading off to race in Champ Cars in the United States. If I like racing there, maybe I can stay and continue my career there. You have to stay where you like your job best. If it goes well and I could come back to Formula 1 in a good team, then I would do it of course. Driving in F1 is good of course, but if you are racing at the back of the pack there is very little personal satisfaction to be had from it. You are only there to make up the numbers, whereas in Champ Cars I hope to be able to fight for wins. At the moment, it was the only way I could make a step forward in my career, as my most likely other options in F1 were to stay doing pretty much the same job as this year. There were no F1 race seats available, but we will see what happens. I still am happy to keep my connection with Red Bull."

Kerr replaces Manning Kerr replaces ManningSitting seventh in the A1GP Nations Standings following the opening round of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport last weekend in Holland, A1 Team Great Britain now heads to the Czech Republic and the Auto Motodrom near Brno for Round 2 of the 12-round global series, Friday 6th – Sunday 8th October.

Darren Manning’s points scoring finishes in Round 1’s Sprint and Feature races, where he finished fifth and seventh respectively, netted a total of six points to open A1 Team GBR’s title attack having finished third overall in the inaugural championship last year behind World Champion’s A1 Team France and second placed A1 Team Switzerland.

Last weekend’s opener at Circuit Park Zandvoort, before an impressive Sunday gate of 75,000 spirited race fans, reflected the true nature of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport with 23 nations present and two new winners in the form of A1 Team South Africa, who triumphed in the Sprint race with Adrian Zaugg driving, and A1 Team Germany, winner’s of the Feature race courtesy of Niko Hülkenberg and early points leaders heading into this weekend’s second round in the Czech Republic. zzzz

A1 Team Great Britain will be represented at the 3.36-mile, Brno-based Auto Motodrom by series returnee Robbie Kerr and rookie racer Oliver Jarvis. Kerr (27), the 2002 British F3 Champion and current 2006 World Series by Renault competitor, makes a welcome return having raced for A1 Team GBR through the first ten rounds of the 2005-06 A1GP season, scoring a total of seven podium finishes along the way before handing over to former BAR-Honda F1 test driver, Darren Manning, for the final round in China last April.

In addition to Kerr’s presence, Cambridgeshire’s Oliver Jarvis (22) will be fielded once again in Friday’s ‘Rookie Session’ having fulfilled the role for the first time in Holland last weekend before dashing back across the English Channel to Thruxton for the final round of the British F3 Championship. Looking to seal the deal on second place in the Driver Standings behind newly-crowned Champion Mike Conway, Jarvis, winner of the 2005 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award, duly delivered to clinch his 11th podium of the season to beat Bruno Senna to the runner-up spot in an impressive rookie year which included three wins.

Jarvis takes to the track first on Friday in the rookie session before Kerr takes the wheel for the afternoon’s official practice session.

A1 Team Great Britain Team Principal John Surtees is keen for a strong showing this weekend to build on the foundation laid by Darren Manning in Holland last time out:

“It was important that as a team we came together at Zandvoort and got off to a strong start straight out of the box so to speak. Consistency is rewarded in A1GP and while our results weren’t maybe quite what we had hoped for given our pace earlier in the weekend in practice and in qualifying, we came away with points in both races to get ourselves established in the running. In Robbie and Oliver, and of course Darren, we have a terrific talent pool from which to make our driver selection for the races.” UK A1GP Team

Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 10-4-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Michael Schumacher (F1) 8.860
2. (2) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.200
3. (6) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 7.515
4. (NR) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.472
5. (7) Dan Wheldon (IRL)* 7.438
6. (3) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.387
7. (11) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 7.252
8. (28) Fernando Alonso (F1) 6.988
9. (14) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.864
10. (9) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.804
11. (8)Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 6.730
12. (16) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.729
13. (4) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 6.698
14. (NR) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 6.563
15. (12) Scott Dixon (IRL)* 6.553
16. (NR) Casey Mears (NASCAR) 6.521
17. (13) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 6.433
18. (15) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL)* 6.426
19. (19) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR) 6.335
20. (10) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.325
*Season complete

Dropped out: Jeff Gordon (NASCAR), Justin Wilson (CCWS), Helio Castroneves (IRL), Kurt Busch (NASCAR)

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

New Comet Engine Propels Bachelart New Comet Engine Propels BachelartIndianapolis, Indiana – It was a productive doubleheader Sunday for Eliott Bachelart at New Castle Motorsports Park. With his new Comet engine, the young Bachelart finished second in the Yamaha Jr. Can #1 and took the top honors in the Yamaha Jr. Can #2.

Bachelart turned about 20 laps on Saturday in an unofficial practice to test his engine and get the feel of the race track before rain fell. The track was still damp for the start of the official practice sessions Sunday morning. The teenager took advantage of all the track time he could get during the three practice sessions and he was about two tenths off the quickest time by the end of the last practice.

When qualifying for the Yamaha Jr. Can # 1 race started the track was dry and the sun was out. Bachelart qualified second for this race. He was only 0.056 of a second off the pole position. The 14-year-old had a good start and moved up to first after the second corner. However on the same lap he was passed by Jimmy Simpson with who Bachelart engaged in an exciting battle for the remainder of the race. Bachelart was on Simpson’s back bumper trying to take advantage of the draft on the straightaway but he was never quite close enough to get by. The son of Eric Bachelart, co-owner of the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team, finished second, only 15 hundredths behind the race winner. zzzz

For the second race, the Yamaha Jr. Can #2, Bachelart qualified third, a quarter of a second from the pole position. On the first lap of the 12 lap race, the driver of the #34 kart once again moved up a position, this time into second place. A couple of laps later, Bachelart moved into first place passing Jimmy Simpson with who he had battled in the first race. Once he was in the lead he maintained a fast and consistent pace and built up a gap of four seconds over second place by the time the checkered flag was waved.

"I’m extremely happy with my weekend. Mark, my tuner, did an awesome job preparing and tuning the karts on Saturday and Sunday. Our new Comet engine worked very well,” said Bachelart. “I would like to thank Comet Kart Sales and Mark Dismore for their help, as well as my dad. The weekend went really smooth without any problems.”

What’s up next for Eliott Bachelart? “We are thinking of doing the Tag World Championships which is this following Friday, Saturday and Sunday at New Castle Motorsports Park and we would like to work with Mark and Comet again."

For more information on Eliott Bachelart please visit his new website at www.eliottbachelart.com.

Industry News
VW buys 15% stake in MAN trucks VW buys 15% stake in MAN trucksVolkswagen AG said it has acquired a 15.06 percent stake in MAN AG but that the acquisition should not be interpreted as an attempt for a full takeover of the commercial vehicle manufacturer.  The investment should allow Volkswagen to secure its strategic interest in the truck sector and should make possible a friendly and jointly developed solution, which achieves maximum synergies, Volkswagen said in a written statement.  Volkswagen said the acquisition is not intended in any way to be hostile. In light of the attempts of third parties to take over MAN, the investment is essential to secure Volkswagen's interest, the automaker said.
Special engines for Honda at Suzuka Special engines for Honda at SuzukaAs they do for every Japanese GP, Honda senior technical director, Shuhei Nakamoto has stated that they will introduce a 'Suzuka special engine' this coming weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix, as they look to secure home glory.

"The Honda Racing F1 Team heads home to Japan in good heart. This will be our team's second home race of the season and the support of the Japanese fans makes it a place we always look forward to visiting. It would be great to win at Suzuka and sing the national anthem with the fans in the grandstand! We will be introducing our upgraded Suzuka special engine, which will be the culmination of all our development work on the V8 unit," confirmed Nakamoto.

"At our last test in Jerez, we also introduced a new aero package and further mechanical developments too, which will be the baseline for the chassis set-up work at Suzuka."

Chinese GP postscript Chinese GP postscriptINDIANAPOLIS - Fernando Alonso has predicted a very close fight with championship rival Michael Schumacher in the last two races of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Schumacher won the Chinese Grand Prix on Oct. 1 in his Ferrari while Alonso finished second in his Mild Seven Renault. They are now tied in the points with 116 each.

"We will try to improve and to win every race," Alonso said. "Sometimes we can and sometimes not. (In China) we had a great opportunity, and we lost at the end with weather conditions that were not favorable for us.

"For Japan and Brazil, we need to believe in our tire. At the moment both cars, Renault and Ferrari, have been since quite similar in terms of performance, and each race is dominated by the tires. So hopefully Michelin can give us something more for the last two races."

The Japanese Grand Prix will be Oct. 8 and the season finale in Brazil will be Oct. 22. Next year's United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be June 17.

Constructors Championship wide open: Renault leads with Constructors World Championship by one point over Ferrari, 179-178. Last year, Renault won the title for the first time as the maker of both the chassis and engine. Ferrari has won the championship a record 14 times.

Schumacher closes on impressive feat: Michael Schumacher's victory in China was the 91st of his career that includes five wins in the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

If he can win one of the two remaining races this season, Schumacher will tie the combined victory total of the two drivers who are second and third in the record books. Alain Prost earned 51 wins, and Ayrton Senna won 41 times.

Having announced that he will retire at the end of the season, these will be the last two F1 races of Schumacher's career. zzzz

Speed hammer: There is a massive amount of construction going on in China, and some of it was happening very, very close to American F1 driver Scott Speed.

"I stayed right next to the circuit in a hotel that is under construction because they seem to like to hammer above me and on all sides of me throughout the night!" he said.

Spyker confirms engines and driver: Spyker, the new owners of Midland MF1 Racing, have announced that the team will switch from Toyota to Ferrari engines next year.

"This announcement completes the first chapter of Spyker MF1 team and I believe truly illustrates our commitment and ambition," team director Michiel Mol said. "We are in F1 to be competitive."
Driver Christijan Albers has been confirmed for another season.

"This is just crazily exciting," Albers said. "First I get to keep my place in the team, then it becomes a Dutch team and, best of all, they've agreed to pay me. It doesn't get better than that going into the third year of my F1 career."

New directors: The Grand Prix Drivers Association, the drivers' group that helps promote driver and circuit safety and oversees other driver interests, has elected a new board of directors. Fernando Alonso, Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber replace David Coulthard, Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli.

"We have 22 drivers," Alonso said, "and we all have a lot of respect for each other. Safety is the GPDA's main thing. All 22 drivers work perfectly OK, and there is only one direction to go and to promote safety for drivers in F1. To work with Mark and Ralf will be good."

Karthikeyan remains at Williams: Narain Karthikeyan, who last year became the first F1 driver from India, will remain with WilliamsF1 in 2007 in the same testing role he has this season.

Korea to join championship: A Korean Grand Prix will be part of the FIA Formula One World Championship starting in 2010, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Korean officials announced Oct. 2.

2007 USGP tickets: Three-day "Season Passes" for the 2007 United States Grand Prix, June 15-17, are on sale for $60 to all customers. All other reserved seats will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Ticket information can be found any time at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-4639 or (317) 492-6700. Ticket Office hours are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday. USGP

Industry News
GM flat, Toyota sets September sales record GM flat, Toyota sets September sales recordUPDATE Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. auto sales rose 4.7 percent in September on demand for passenger cars, while DaimlerChrysler AG's fell 2.3 percent and Nissan Motor Co.'s declined 5.6 percent.

DaimlerChrysler's results included a drop of 3.8 percent at its Chrysler unit from September 2005 and a 13 percent increase at Mercedes-Benz. Ford's passenger-car sales jumped 26 percent.

10/03/06 General Motors' dealers in the United States sold 338,380 new cars and trucks in September. The company sold 1,385 more retail vehicles retail in September than the year before.

While other automakers continued to see mostly flat sales last month, Toyota Motor Corp. reported its best September ever in each of its divisions.

The world’s most profitable automaker reported a 25% increase in retail sales — the best in the industry — compared with the same month last year.

The automaker reported sales of 222,950 vehicles in September, up from 178,417 vehicles in the same month last year.

Car sales were up 18.4% in September over the same month in 2005. September truck sales rose 34.9% in year-over-year comparisons.

“While crossovers, hybrids and small cars continue to show strength, our SUVs and full-size trucks also posted solid gains,” Jim Lentz, executive vice president of Toyota’s U.S. sales arm, said in a news release. "It's the breadth of our lineup that enables us to satisfy today’s buyers." Detroit Free Press

Kanaan tops test, just 1 crash Kanaan tops test, just 1 crashJeff Simmons' accident in the second turn at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the only incident of Firestone's two-day Indy-car test that concluded Tuesday. He was not injured.  Tony Kanaan had the fastest lap of the four participating drivers at 224.3 mph. Indy Star
Evernham to speak Evernham to speakNASCAR team-owner Ray Evernham will be a speaker at the Phoenix Int'l Raceway Business Summit Nov. 10. The summit offers businesses an in-depth look at NASCAR and serves to educate businesses on opportunities available through the sport and to expose their products and services to the brand-loyal fans.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Bank rejects Renault sponsor reports
Alonso urges Michelin to improve tires
Renault play down Alonso rift
News brief: Minardi returns to GP2
Williams tells McLaren to sign Hamilton
Dennis slams Briatore over factory jibe
Fuji safer than Suzuka - Zonta
Schu's Shanghai shindig
Alonso turns attack to Fisichella
Aus GP reveals record loss
McRae to Replace Loeb in Turkey McRae to Replace Loeb in TurkeyBrussels - Kronos Total Citroën announced earlier today that Colin McRae has been selected to replace Sébastien Loeb (who suffered a broken arm in a mountain bike accident last week) behind the wheel of the Xsara WRC in the forthcoming Rally of Turkey (12-15 October).

Colin McRae commented: “It was a shock to hear about Seb’s accident and I can only imagine how he must be feeling at this time, especially being so close to a third world title. However I am delighted to have been chosen to replace Seb for the Rally of Turkey and am looking forward to having the opportunity to drive for the Kronos Total Citroen WRT, back behind the wheel of the Citroen Xsara WRC. The challenge will be to protect the positions of both Seb in the drivers and Kronos Total Citroën in the manufacturers championships, by preventing the opposition taking advantage of Seb’s temporary absence. Together with Nicky Grist, who will once again be my codriver, we will do our utmost to help Loeb and the team in their efforts to secure the 2006 WRC titles”.

Colin McRae (38) is one of the most successful rally drivers in history. The Scot has won 25 WRC events and was World Rally Champion in 1995. Colin has of course already driven the Citroen Xsara WRC in 2003, when he was a member of the Citroën manufacturers team alongside Sébastian Loeb and Carlos Sainz. That year, Colin claimed points in all but three of the WRC events. Colin’s last participation in a WRC rally was in Australia last year, driving a Škoda Fabia WRC 05.

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