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Raikkonen could break tie with Prost Raikkonen could break tie with ProstIf Kimi Raikkonen wins the season-ending Chinese Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday that could be good news for his team but will be bad news for him.   The fast Finn is currently tied with Frenchman Alain Prost on having achieved the most season victories – seven – without winning the world title. Success in Shanghai would put Raikkonen top of this list with eight wins. 

While Prost had to bow to Niki Lauda (five victories) in 1984, Raikkonen fell short of the 2005 title which went to Fernando Alonso, who has topped the podium six times.   “That's never happened before, that a driver who possibly wins eight races doesn't win the world title,” said McLaren boss Ron Dennis. 

Chase For The Nextel Cup becoming a flop Chase For The Nextel Cup becoming a flopNASCAR’s Chase for the Nextel Cup “remains a fledgling format in the minds of advertisers and has yet to command a premium as far as advertising rates go,” according to Erik Spanberg of NASCAR SCENE. Media buyers said that 30-second spots on NBC’s NASCAR schedule cost $100,000-172,000, “including those in the Chase.” On TNT, rates are $20,000-65,000. The highest ad rates are $200,000-300,000 for the Daytona 500 and Pepsi 400, neither of which is part of the Chase. Kagan Research analyst John Mansell, on ads for Chase races not selling at a premium: “The only explanation for NASCAR is that it’s going to take a while. It is still a very new postseason to a lot of people” NASCAR SCENE

This SPEEDTV.com article by Ben Blake really hammers NASCAR and their Chase.

Swiss Driver Tobias Blaettler Tests with Condor Motorsports Swiss Driver Tobias Blaettler Tests with Condor MotorsportsButtonwillow Raceway Park:  Swiss Formula 3 driver, Tobias Blaettler tested with Condor Motorsports driving their Toyota Atlantic Swift .014 in a one-day test at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on October 12, 2005.

"I am really excited to test with Condor Motorsports," said Blaettler.  "As 2005 Toyota Atlantic champions, I have the very best competitive team on my side.  It is the perfect opportunity to experience driving a Toyota Atlantic car in the USA.  I want to thank both Carlos Bobeda of Condor Motorsports as well as my management team at Mackey Marketing Group for helping make this possible."

"Tobias did an excellent job for us," said Condor Motorsports team owner, Carlos Bobeda.  "We only had available the one day, but Tobias quickly adjusted to the higher downforce and more physical ride of a Toyota Atlantic car compared to a F3.  The car was well sorted so Tobias quickly got down to competitive times in a very few number of laps.  He will be a formidable challenger in the new Atlantic series should he decide to race here."

Blaettler hopes to capitalize on his test with a full season of Champ Car Atlantic racing in 2006.  "I hope this is the first step towards a full season of racing in the USA.  We're working on a number of options that could see me race in the United States.  After today's test, I am even more excited about the prospects here," added Blaettler.

Tobias Blaettler has been competing in European formula car races for the past five years.  Most of his experience is in the highly competitive Formula 3 division.  In 2001 and 2002 he competed in the Swiss F3 Championship and more recently in the 2005 German F3 Championship, where he recorded two wins and four pole positions.

Mackey Marketing Group is a full service motorsport marketing agency located in Atlanta, GA.  The veteran agency has often represented clients from international racing series.

TV News
TV Ratings up for ARCA series TV Ratings up for ARCA seriesNielsen Ratings for the ARCA RE/MAX Series are up 13 percent on SPEED Channel, with the 2005 season average settling in at .43 (271,000 Households). SPEED Channel aired 13 of the 14 ARCA television events live in 2005, seeing significant ratings increases in seven of 10 events that also aired in 2004.

“It is no wonder that ARCA performs in the ratings, as they perform on the track,” said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel SVP Programming/Production and Executive Producer. “It is a great series that draws competitors from all areas in racing and at all stages of their careers.  The key role the series is playing in the driver development world only adds to its excitement.”

Ratings winners in 2005 included Pocono in June (up 100 percent), Kentucky in July (up 90 percent), Michigan in June (up 85 percent) and Nashville in March (up 83 percent).

Although the season opener from Daytona was down slightly from 2004, it remained the series No. 1 ratings earner at 1.11 (701,000 households), positioning it among the top-rated programs on SPEED Channel in 2005.

"SPEED Channel and ARCA have worked together to increase the viewing audience for ARCA RE/MAX Series races on SPEED, and this is confirmation that those efforts have produced results," said ARCA President Ron Drager. "A strong bond with our television partner is important to the long term success of the series, and there is a solid commitment between ARCA and SPEED to strengthen and grow our relationship, not only in 2006 but through the 2007 season."

SPEED Channel and the ARCA RE/MAX Series recently extended their contract through the 2007 season.

Added Drager: "We look forward to the release of the 2006 telecast schedule in December and to the first telecast of 2006 at Daytona in February."

F1 world keeps turning F1 world keeps turningEven in the short and sharp journey from Japan to China, the non-stop world of formula one has continued to evolve at speed. Perhaps for the first time in 2005, Toyota's Jarno Trulli was outpaced by his teammate Ralf Schumacher at Suzuka -- he blamed the new 'b' car.

In the three or four days since the Japanese checker, the Cologne factory reacted to Italian Trulli's complaint and have developed a totally revised power steering system for him.

''Hopefully I can run it here,'' Jarno, 31, said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Williams' Sam Michael hinted that the seemingly agreed October/November test ban will not be honored, when he spoke about the Grove team's frantic program to adjust to new Cosworth power and Bridgestone tires.

''Then our new car will be out in February sometime,'' he added.

Ferrari will also flout the supposed test moratorium with sessions at Vallelunga (Italy) in October and November, and then - believe it or not - in Bahrain.

The other major development since Japan is a rumbling spat between Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve. The latter Canadian was penalized 25 seconds after a nudge put McLaren's Montoya in the wall.

''I was next to you,'' Colombian Juan Pablo said of their Suzuka stoush. ''No, you weren't,'' Villeneuve retorted. ''I find the stewards' decision a little bit difficult to accept.''

And, clearly, world champion Fernando Alonso isn't over-excited about Renault's two-point lead over McLaren at the finale of the constructors' battle.

The Spaniard said in China: ''If we win, it's okay. If not, it's okay. (It's) really not a crucial point.''

Sadler tops opening practice Sadler tops opening practiceElliott Sadler and Tony Stewart were the only drivers to break the 190 mph barrier in the first practice session for Saturday night's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series UAW-GM Quality 500.

No. Driver Make Sponsor Time Speed Behind
1  38 Elliott Sadler Ford M&M's 190.779 28.305 Leader
2  20 Tony Stewart Chevy The Home Depot 190.449 28.354 -0.049
3  48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy Lowe's 189.980 28.424 -0.119
4   6 Mark Martin Ford Viagra 189.294 28.527 -0.222
5  10 Scott Riggs Chevy Valvoline 189.202 28.541 -0.236
6   0 Mike Bliss Chevy NetZero 188.990 28.573 -0.268
7  12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL 188.976 28.575 -0.270
8  01 Joe Nemechek Chevy U.S. Army 188.633 28.627 -0.322
9  24 Jeff Gordon Chevy DuPont 188.567 28.637 -0.332
10  9 Johnny Sauter Dodge Miccosukee 188.469 28.652 -0.347
11 97 Kurt Busch Ford IRWIN Vise-Grip 188.147 28.701 -0.396
12 16 Greg Biffle Ford National Guard 187.787 28.756 -0.451
13 31 Jeff Burton Chevy Cingular 187.748 28.762 -0.457
14 66 Kevin Lepage Ford Peak Fitness 187.487 28.802 -0.497
15  2 Rusty Wallace Dodge Miller Lite 187.422 28.812 -0.507
16 41 Casey Mears Dodge Target 187.324 28.827 -0.522
17 99 Carl Edwards Ford Scotts 186.864 28.898 -0.593
18  8 D. Earnhardt Jr Chevy Budweiser 186.754 28.915 -0.610
19 22 Scott Wimmer Dodge Caterpillar 186.322 28.982 -0.677
20 21 Ricky Rudd Ford Motorcraft 186.098 29.017 -0.712
21  7 Robby Gordon Chevy Jim Beam 185.912 29.046 -0.741
22 88 Dale Jarrett Ford UPS 185.906 29.047 -0.742
23 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Carhartt 185.861 29.054 -0.749
24 45 Kyle Petty Dodge Georgia-Pacific 185.644 29.088 -0.783
25 36 Boris Said Chevy CENTRIX 185.580 29.098 -0.793
26  5 Kyle Busch Chevy Kellogg's 185.421 29.123 -0.818
27 39 David Stremme Dodge Commit Lozenges 185.255 29.149 -0.844
28 29 Kevin Harvick Chevy Snap-On Tools 185.230 29.153 -0.848
29  4 Mike Wallace Chevy Lucas Oil 185.160 29.164 -0.859
30 42 Jamie McMurray Dodge Texaco/Havoline 185.147 29.166 -0.861
31 40 Sterling Marlin Dodge Coors Light 185.014 29.187 -0.882
32 25 Brian Vickers Chevy GMAC/ditech.com 184.855 29.212 -0.907
33 77 Travis Kvapil Dodge Kodak 184.837 29.215 -0.910
34 11 Denny Hamlin Chevy FedEx Express 184.704 29.236 -0.931
35 19 Jeremy Mayfield Dodge Dodge Dealers 184.634 29.247 -0.942
36 15 Michael Waltrip Chevy NAPA Auto Parts 184.603 29.252 -0.947
37 07 Dave Blaney Chevy Jack Daniel's 184.565 29.258 -0.953
38 18 Bobby Labonte Chevy Interstate 184.414 29.282 -0.977
39 37 Mike Garvey Dodge BoSPOKER.net 184.219 29.313 -1.008
40  9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers 183.943 29.357 -1.052
41 49 Ken Schrader Dodge Schwan's 183.680 29.399 -1.094
42 50 Jimmy Spencer Dodge Allied Steel 183.517 29.425 -1.120
43 32 B. Hamilton Jr Chevy Tide 183.281 29.463 -1.158
44 43 Jeff Green Dodge Petty Fan Fest 182.952 29.516 -1.211
45 00 David Reutimann Chevy State Fair 182.890 29.526 -1.221
46 92 P.J. Jones Chevy Front Row 179.970 30.005 -1.700
47 80 Carl Long Dodge Royal Admin. 147.698 36.561 -8.256

Barron’s future in question at Cheever, raises concerns with the IRL Barron’s future in question at Cheever, raises concerns with the IRLThis San Diego Union-Tribune article about Alex Barron says the Red Bull Cheever team's future is uncertain (recall our rumors about Red Bull to Champ Car) and he is looking elsewhere for a ride.  Barron also says the IRL's direction in recent years has hurt some teams.

Like almost everyone else in the Indy Racing League, Alex Barron has no idea what the future holds.  Two short years ago, the IRL had pushed the rival Champ Car World Series tour to the brink of extinction. Now that tour has caught its second wind while the IRL appears to be slipping backward.

"They've kind of turned this series into what the IRL didn't want to happen," Barron said of a circuit now dominated by three big teams (Andretti-Green, Marlboro Team Penske and Rahal-Letterman) and an engine manufacturer (Honda).

"The smaller teams now find it difficult to run up front in the IRL. A couple of teams that have been there with the IRL since the start are going to struggle to be there next year."

Several, Hemelgarn Racing for example, already have fallen by the wayside – pushed out by the big-buck refugees from CART.

Barron thinks the problem starts with the engine manufacturers.

"In my personal opinion, when the engine companies come in, they put a lot of money into certain cars. They don't even spread it among all the teams running their engines.

"Honda has poured millions into subsidizing Andretti-Green. That is Honda's development team. When that happens, all the other teams, including the other Honda teams, suffer.

"And with one engine being as dominant as Honda is this year, there is a great disparity in performance even among groups under the same engine banner.

"Six or seven years ago, a small team could win in the IRL. Now, the small teams have been pushed to the side. They have very little chance."

WilliamsF1 to sell some old cars WilliamsF1 to sell some old carsBonhams has been appointed by one of the world's leading Formula One teams, WilliamsF1, to hold a sale at its factory headquarters in Grove, Oxfordshire, on 14 December 2005.

A hand-picked selection of more than 20 of the WilliamsF1's Reserve Collection of Formula One cars and memorabilia, spanning the company's entire 28-year history, will be sold.

WilliamsF1's HQ in Oxfordshire is home to one of the world's foremost private collections of Formula One cars, tracing the seminal moments in the team's history over a quarter of a century. Exhibited in a purpose-built interactive museum opened in 2002, the Williams Grand Prix Collection is a commitment to preserve and maintain a detailed account of the company's illustrious past.

The company's inventory has grown relentlessly, with every season of competition adding a number of chassis which have been retained by the company. Over the past two years, plans have been developed to consolidate the museum displays, and it is the WilliamsF1 Reserve Collection which is now to be offered for sale by Bonhams. zzzz

Star lots to be offered will include the Williams Honda FW10B in which Nigel Mansell won his inaugural Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1985, Mansell's FW14B in which he won six Grands Prix en route to his World Championship title in 1992, Damon Hill's FW18 from his World Championship season in 1996 as well as cars with Grand Prix winning history in the hands of drivers such as Riccardo Patrese, Alain Prost, Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher.

WilliamsF1's Team Principal, Frank Williams, said: "I am delighted our long-standing policy of retaining our race cars allows us to both maintain a world-class museum collection and release some race cars with impeccable provenance from our Reserve collection to private collectors. In addition to the 20 race cars, there are some interesting additional items such as Renault Clio Williams chassis no 0001 and around one hundred other items which I hope will make the sale of great interest."

Sir Frank Williams' entry into Formula One began modestly with a lone private-owner car in 1969, and after eight seasons of solid endeavor, he founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977. His inspired leadership then combined with the technical expertise and similarly relentless commitment of Technical Director, Patrick Head, to see the Williams team become the best in the world within just three years. The team achieved its first Grand Prix victory in 1979 - with Clay Regazzoni driving a Williams FW07 at Silverstone - and its first World Championship title in 1980 - with Australian star driver, Alan Jones.

Since this time, Williams has won no fewer than 16 Formula One World titles - nine Formula One Constructors' World Championships plus seven Formula One Drivers' World Championship crowns. The team first made its mark in the period1977-80 using Cosworth engine power and with this original Cosworth partnership being renewed next season, the great British team is looking to add to its already immensely impressive record of 113 Grands Prix victories.

This auction by such a leading current Formula One team offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for enthusiasts, collectors and would-be competitors in historic Formula One series alike to buy a piece of the remarkable WilliamsF1 story.

Along with the complete cars and rolling chassis to be offered from the Reserve Collection, the Sale will include some 100 plus lots of factory parts and associated memorabilia from the team's own archives ranging from the damaged wishbone from Damon Hill's clash with Michael Schumacher in the 1994 Australian Grand Prix to the race suit in which Jacques Villeneuve claimed the 1997 World Championship in Jerez. Press release Bonhams

Danica Patrick promotion race in NY City Danica Patrick promotion race in NY CityCome see Danica Patrick, the Indy Racing League’s rising star, as she races against a prominent New York celebrity in Union Square Park, on October 20, 2005 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.! 

Get ready to move into the fast lane! Network Solutions is giving you the chance to meet a real racing pro. On Thursday, October 20, 2005, race over to New York City's Union Square to meet Danica Patrick, the IndyCar Series' sensation.

Danica will share her inspirational story of success, challenge an iconic New York celebrity to a quick go-kart race down the Network Solutions track and sign autographs for her fans.

Don't miss this opportunity to meet the racing world's hottest star and learn how to enter for a chance to win a brand new Honda Insight Hybrid from Network Solutions! Network Solutions

New TV deal in works for NASCAR New TV deal in works for NASCARUPDATE RacingOne has learned that ABC/ESPN is in negotiations to acquire a significant portion of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series TV package beginning with the 2007 season. The network would join current partners FOX and NBC rather than replace either. A new "Race to the Chase" portion of the season is being considered, giving ABC/ESPN a mid-summer run of ten events, beginning with the Independence Day weekend Pepsi 400 at Daytona and ending with the September race at Richmond, the final event for drivers to qualify for the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup." That would keep the first portion of the season, beginning with the Daytona 500 and ending at Infineon Raceway at the end of June, on FOX. NBC/TNT's portion of the schedule would then focus entirely on the ten race "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" championship season. NBC begins its new "Sunday Night Football" NFL package in 2007 and the pairing of NASCAR's championship season Sunday afternoons, leading into the prime-time NFL kick-off, could provide the network with a stellar ratings doubleheader. RacingOne

10/09/05 Negotiations for a new Nextel Cup television contract could be completed before the end of the season, NASCAR chairman Brian France said. The current $2.6 billion, six-year contract, with Fox and NBC splitting the season, expires at the end of the 2006 season. "We're getting down to the wire," France said Saturday at Kansas Speedway. "Looks to be in the next four to six weeks or sooner there will be some firm announcements of where we'll land."

France would not comment on which networks are part of the negotiations, but speculation has centered on ESPN and ABC, its parent company, joining Fox and NBC, each of the entities taking one-third of the season. FOX would get the Daytona 500 and the first third of the season, ESPN and ABC would divvy up the middle third, including the Brickyard race, and NBC would televise the 10-race Chase for the championship. "It's competitive," France said of the bargaining. "But the last three, four weeks we've been very surprised at all the interest in network to cable. The package may change and look a little different, but we're very convinced we'll get proper value. We're more concerned about getting the right partners. We've got great ones now, but we want to make sure whatever happens we get partners who treat us like our current partners do."

He also noted that the Busch Series, with its viewership up nearly 30% this year, is also in line for a new TV deal. "The Busch Series is quietly doing NBA or regular season baseball numbers," France said. "It's wearing out other sports. Busch will never be the Cup Series, but we would like the new agreement for that to be a franchise of its own, treated with promotion and announcers that differentiate that series a little better as we go down the road." ESPN.com/AP

New American Le Mans Series Champions Photo Collection New American Le Mans Series Champions Photo CollectionMotorsports photographer, John Thawley, announced today the release of a new series of collectibles commemorating the 2005 American Le Mans Drivers' Championship. The 2005 Collection, Champions will pay tribute to the Champion, 2nd, and 3rd runners-up in each of the four racing classes.

"I'm really excited about this collection," expressed Thawley. "I've gone to extraordinary lengths to insure the quality of each and every element of these items. I wanted to be sure each item in the Champions suite was representative of the high quality fans have come to expect from the American Le Mans Series brand."

"The American Le Mans Series has truly had an outstanding year and many of those exciting moments that capture the essence of our Champions are reflected in John's book," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "It is a product that reflects the high quality of our series and all those who support it." zzzz

"We are always interested in partnering with entities that reflect the premier standards that our brand represents and to which our fans, manufacturers, teams, and sponsors have become accustomed," added Atherton.

"We started with our book program and completely turned it inside out," Thawley continued. "From the page design to the bindery, every detail has been revisited, changed and audited. We are using the finest Italian linens for our covers, smooth high-quality matte 100# cover stock for each and every page, and design elements typically reserved for only the finest art books. One of the most exciting features of the books are the full-bleed border-less images including several two-page spreads. The images truly remain faithful in reproduction to their photographic counterparts. In addition, I am offering the book in a leather bound foil stamped Collector's Edition in limited numbers."

"The true piece de resistance," added Thawley, is the Limited Edition Boxed Set of prints. What I've done is selected 12 images from the book, and created 11 x 14 photographic prints on archival Kodak Endura Metallic paper. They will come with a black protective acid free presentation folder and placed in a spectacular brushed aluminum portfolio box. Each print will be signed and match-numbered. The set will also included a large full color booklet depicting each of the 12 images in the collection and be accompanied by a signed and numbered certificate of authentication."

"We are only producing 100 of the boxed sets," said Thawley, "and four of them will be presented at the American Le Mans Series Awards Banquet to each team owner from the winning car in the drivers' championship. That means only 96 sets will be available to the public."

The 2005 Collection, Champions captures all the action, color and excitement of the 2005 American Le Mans season. Crisscrossing North America, Thawley’s photographs will allow you to relive the season for many years to come.

The 2005 Collection, Champions can be purchased in any of the three different presentations.

• A beautiful 52 page book is available hand-crafted with a black Italian linen hard bound cover. Each page is meticulously printed with full bleed four color images on heavy 100lb. cover stock. $70.

• For the collector, The 2005 Collection, Champions is also available in a leather bound Collector’s Edition. Hand bound in ultra-fine garment leather with silver foil debossed title art, this book will only be produced in limited numbers. $139.

• A commemorative collection of photographs celebrating the 2005 American Le Mans Series Drivers’ Championship. Serious collectors will definitely want to own The 2005 Collection, Champions boxed set of limited edition prints. Only 100 sets will be produced.

Packaged in a beautiful brushed aluminum case, each 11x14 photograph is printed on Kodak Endura Metallic paper and individually signed and match numbered. The set comes complete with a large full color booklet indexing each of the 12 images and a signed certificate of authenticity. Only 96 sets will be made available to the public. $299.

Starting October 16th, The 2005 Collection, Champions will be available for pre-order at ALMS SHOPPE www.americanlemans.com or www.trackbytes.com. Shipping is slated to begin October 26.

Renault inks deal with Xansa Renault inks deal with XansaRenault announced this morning that Xansa will become the team's Official Supplier of Software Development and Consulting. Growing from a successful project collaboration during the team's championship winning 2005 season, this multi-year agreement will harness Xansa's leading edge technology to deliver enhanced off-car data analysis systems, ultimately leading to improved on-track performance.

F1 cars process huge amounts of critical data, with on-board systems capable of operating at rates of up to 2000 MIPS (million instructions per second) and Xansa will help the team to improve its performance through the capture and use of such data.

Xansa's expertise in designing bespoke software systems, coupled with its extensive development capability in India, will expedite the team's capacity to manage, analyze and act upon this data accurately. The partnership will enable the creation of more intelligent interfaces between critical off-car systems, and increased automation of data analysis; this enhanced data analysis capacity will allow the team to operate with greater agility and accuracy in its track-side operations. zzzz
Bob Bell, Technical Director
"In order to obtain maximum performance on the track, it is important that we possess the off-track tools we need to quickly interpret the data collected from the cars, and act upon it. We are delighted to be entering into a relationship with Xansa which will offer us fantastic creative freedom in how we design data analysis applications, and the ability to do so quickly through Xansa's in-house software expertise."

"Our championship win with Fernando Alonso in 2005 is only a starting point for the team, and we fully intend to continue pushing in every area to maintain our competitive advantage. Xansa is a leader in its market too, and we know that the desire to be the best, and the constant drive to improve performance, is a culture shared by both companies."

Alistair Cox, Xansa CEO
"It is our job in Xansa to help our partners be the best at whatever they do. It is very exciting and appropriate therefore to be working with the new World Champion in Formula 1. I am delighted that we have now extended our relationship and are able to use our systems and expertise to help the Renault F1 Team to enhance their on-track operations and keep Renault at the pinnacle of Formula 1." Renault

Lap record for Piquet in GP2 Lap record for Piquet in GP2Nelson Piquet Jr got a great start to his 2005/06 GP2 winter testing program this week with two full days at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the South of France for his Piquet Sports team.

He recorded consistently fast times throughout the test, despite numerous mechanical problems, and topped off a productive test by claiming the GP2 lap record with a time of 1:15.565 on Wednesday afternoon, half a second quicker than second-placed Gimmi Bruni.

On Tuesday Nelson set the fastest time of the morning session with a time of 1:17.139, after completing 47 laps. He notched up a further 22 laps in the afternoon and finished second quickest with a time of 1:16.616. Nelson took to the wheel again today, completing just 20 laps in this morning's sessions, yet still recording the second fastest time with a 1:16.448. This afternoon he completed another 23 laps, and claimed his lap record.

Nelson Piquet Jr "I would say it's been good for about 80% of the time. The car has broken down quite a bit, we didn't get to use the tires much today and the engine broke yesterday. It has been good though and we were first or second quickest the whole time. We were half a second quicker than anyone else this afternoon and set the circuit record which is a good start for us to the winter program."

Tuesday morning times
1. N. Piquet Piquet Sports 1:17.139 47 laps
2. E. Viso Coloni Motorsport 1:17.175 42 laps
3. O. Pla DPR 1:17.314 32 laps
4. A. Parente DAMS 1:17.610 41 laps
5. A. Zuber iSport International 1:17.643 43 laps

Tuesday afternoon times
1. J. M. Lopez ART Grand Prix 1:16.047 31 laps
2. N. Piquet Piquet Sports 1:16.616 22 laps
3. A. Zuber iSport International 1:16.899 36 laps
4. R. Kubika Durango 1:16.937 39 laps
5. H. Yoshimoto DPR 1:17.045 42 laps

Wednesday morning times
1. A. Valles BCN Competicion 1:16.378 16 laps
2. N. Piquet Piquet Sports 1:16.448 20 laps
3. A. Parente iSport International 1:16.478 20 laps
4. R. Kubica Durango 1:16.517 51 laps
5. A. Zuber iSport International 1:16.568 52 laps

Wednesday afternoon times
1. N. Piquet Piquet Sports 1:15.565 23 laps
2. G. Bruni Durango 1:16.077 47 laps
3. F. Perera ART Grand Prix 1:16.243 44 laps
4. O. Pla DPR 1:16.499 49 laps
5. C. Piccione DPR 1:16.601 36 laps

Piquet sets fastest lap in winter test Piquet sets fastest lap in winter testAll 12 teams were in attendance, and alongside some of 2005’s well known faces, there were 16 drivers making their debuts in the series. Their number included champions and race winners from some of Europe’s most competitive junior racing formulas, each of whom was eager to make the first step up the ladder to the GP2 series.

The two-day test saw four half-day sessions on the 3.853km “3D” track solution, with Nelson Piquet Jr topping the time sheets in the first session for Hitech Piquet Sports. The afternoon’s test saw another 2005 GP2 series race-winner leading the way, as Jose Maria Lopez finished top of the pile driving for ART Grand Prix. On day two, the clear skies of the previous day disappeared behind clouds and wind. In the colder conditions, it was new-boy Adrian Valles who led the first session for BCN Competicion, before Nelson closed the test at the top of the table, where he had started on Tuesday. He set the fastest lap of the test on the final afternoon, with a 1:15.565. zzzz

GP2 Series Winter Test Times: October 11-12, Circuit Paul Ricard

Best Lap Times of the test...

1 N. Piquet BRA Hitech Piquet Sports 1:15.565
2 J.M. Lopez ARG ART Grand Prix 1:16.047
3 G. Bruni ITA Durango 1:16.077
4 F. Perera FRA ART Grand Prix 1:16.243
5 A. Valles ESP BCN Competicion 1:16.378
6 A. Parente POR iSport International 1:16.478
7 O. Pla FRA DPR 1:16.499
8 R. Kubica POL Durango 1:16.517
9 A. Zuber AUT iSport International 1:16.568
10 C. Piccione MC DPR 1:16.601
11 E. Viso VEN Coloni Motorsport 1:16.631
12 L. Filippi ITA Coloni Motorsport 1:16.698
13 T. Kostka CZ ART Grand Prix 1:16.704
14 M. Ammermuller GER Arden International 1:16.720
15 N. Lapierre FRA Arden International 1:16.727
16 L. Di Grassi BRA DAMS 1:16.814
17 F. Fauzy MAL Super Nova International 1:16.885
18 R. Kubica POL Super Nova International 1:16.886
19 H. Yoshimoto JPN Arden International 1:16.957
20 A. Garcia ESP Campos Racing 1:16.981
21 A. Negrao BRA Hitech Piquet Sports 1:16.998
22 H. Yoshimoto JPN DPR 1:17.045
23 A. Parente POR DAMS 1:17.211
24 G. Mondini ITA Durango 1:17.212
25 H. Shimoda JPN iSport International 1:17.299
26 J. Rossiter GBR DAMS 1:17.390
27 J. Villa ESP Racing Engineering 1:17.473
28 C. Piccione MC Arden International 1:17.626
29 A. Barba ESP Campos Racing 1:17.767
30 G. Van de Garde NED DAMS 1:17.905
31 R. Rodriguez ESP Campos Racing 1:18.431
32 A. Nunez ESP Racing Engineering 1:18.480

Montoya and Villeneuve disagree on Japan accident Montoya and Villeneuve disagree on Japan accidentAt Thursday's Chinese GP press conference, Juan Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve debated who was to blame for the accident at Suzuka that saw Montoya crash and Villeneuve get slapped with a penalty from the race stewards.

"I was a bit surprised when I saw Juan Pablo in the wall," said Villeneuve, sitting with Montoya in the press conference. "When you're racing and you go through a corner, you only leave room if the guy's next to you.

"If the person is still behind you just take your line and you expect the other person to lift, because he hasn't won the corner. That's all.

"I was concentrating on the straight line and once I got on the straight, I looked in the mirrors to see where he was and I saw him in the wall so I was a bit surprised. I guess Juan Pablo judged that he would be next to me by the time we got to the exit..."  zzzz

When Montoya claimed that he was alongside him, Villeneuve responded: "No you weren't. If you had been next to me, it would have been front wheel against front wheel.

"Being next to one means that your front wheel is next to his front wheel. If you're behind the front wheel, then you're not next to the person, you're not in the line of sight."

He added: "I spent all my career always accepting blame when I've done something wrong, and this time I won't accept blame and I find it very, very disappointing because the next step is when someone tries to overtake you, you just lift in the middle of the straight line and let him by.

"I find that a little bit dangerous, mostly when you see that some drivers will put another one on the grass in the middle of a straight-line and there's no punishment for that.  So I find that a little bit difficult to accept."

Montoya still believes Villeneuve was to blame for the crash, however, and claims he went off the track in a bid to avoid a bigger collision.

"The rules are so inconsistent with everybody that it's very hard to judge," said the McLaren driver. "In a way he got a penalty, but in a way he didn't.

"He got a 25 second penalty when he finished 12th. What does that matter? It doesn't change anything. It's kind of ridiculous that you give a penalty to someone who finished 12th which is probably going to drop him a place. Wow, 13th."

He added: "I think I was side-by-side with Jacques. When I came out of the chicane, he came across the track to block me. I went the other way... on the video, when I came down the circuit I was beside him. It doesn't matter. It happens.

"He said he didn't see me and when he looked it was too late but... I tried not to hit wheels. If you touch wheels you would probably end up in the grandstand or something and I would just rather finish one car in the wall than one in the grandstand."

Williams to start testing in November Williams to start testing in NovemberWilliams technical director Sam Michael revealed on Thursday that the team's new car will be handed a February debut but admitted their winter testing plan is "not ideal" following their split with BMW.

Williams will begin brand new partnerships with both engine supplier Cosworth and tire supplier Bridgestone when the season ends in Shanghai on Sunday and will begin testing with a whole new package in November.

And Michael admitted to Autosport-Atlas: "For the first test we will have a new Cosworth, a new gearbox and new tires, so a hell of a lot of stuff that is new on the car. It won't be boring that's for sure. It is not ideal.

"In an ideal world you would continue running a B-spec car or something that you could do tire testing on but we don't have that, we will have finished our engine situation with BMW and that is what we have got."

"All the way through November and December we will be in Spain testing with Bridgestone, doing tire testing but also we have a new gearbox and engine package. I can see November and December being a bit of a groundhog day."

Chinese GP: Thursday press conference Chinese GP: Thursday press conferenceParticipating in Thursday press conference ahead of the Chinese GP: Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren Mercedes), Jarno Trulli (Toyota), Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber Petronas) Transcript
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
No rain in Shanghai
FIA to reveal downforce plan
Big names race out of pitlane
Ralf revels, Trulli topples
Legend doubts Rossi switch
Fiat boss in drug overdose
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for Friday
FORMULA ONE - Practice
Chinese Grand Prix
2:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'NASCAR Live!'
Concord, NC
2:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Dollar General 300
Lowe's Motor Speedway
2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP - Final Practice
UAW-GM Quality 500
Lowe's Motor Speedway
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Guests: Roger Penske,
   Ray Evernham and Erin Crocker
Concord, NC
7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Dollar General 300
Lowe's Motor Speedway
8:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
'Inside Grand Prix'
Chinese Grand Prix
10:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET, SPEED

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

IPS Series
Abbott returns to Menards Infiniti Pro Series Abbott returns to Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesP.J. Abbott will drive the No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry Oct. 16 in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series California 100.  The race will be Abbott's fourth career start in the series and his second this season. The 41-year-old from Grand Prairie, Texas, debuted in the series with a seventh-place finish at the 2-mile oval last year. This season, he finished 11th at Texas Motor Speedway in June.

"I'm really excited to be running at California Speedway again this year," Abbott said. "I have a home about a mile-and-a-half from the track, and I spend a lot of time out there. I know the track well, so it'll just be a matter of getting the car dialed in."  The car will display the American Red Cross emblem on the sidepods in an effort to continue raising funds for hurricane victims.

"I have a lot of friends and a lot of our fellow Americans who still need our assistance," said Abbott, who has business interests in the gulf coast region. "I'm excited to work with the American Red Cross to help on this effort."  Representatives of the local Red Cross, as well as hurricane evacuees who made it to California, are expected to attend the race.

IRL fans can gas up with Ethanol in SoCal IRL fans can gas up with Ethanol in SoCalSouthern California drivers will have the opportunity to receive pit stop service from 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series champion Tony Kanaan and Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing drivers Paul Dana and Jimmy Kite during the IndyCar Series Pit Stop Pump Tour on Friday, Oct. 14. The drivers will pump ethanol-enriched mid-grade fuel, sign autographs and hand out free race merchandise at 7-Eleven convenience stores in Ontario, Calif. and Pomona, Calif. Gas will be discounted to $2.20 per gallon of fuel during the 90- minute stops, a tie-in to IndyCar Series cars racing at 220 miles per hour.

The Ethanol/7-Eleven fuel promotion on Friday will kick off an action packed weekend for the Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing drivers. Friday evening CARA Charities will hold their third annual fund raising event at the California Speedway. Paul Dana and other IndyCar drivers, as well as CHIPs star Erik Estrada will be on hand to help raise funds for CARA Charities and CHP's Child Passenger Safety Program. zzzz

Saturday the action finally moves to the track where with two practice sessions, qualifying and the driver autograph session. Sunday will have Jimmy Kite and the #91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone taking the track for the 400-mile race starting at 12:45 p.m. Pacific Time on the 2-mile superspeedway. ESPN will broadcast the season finale race live with coverage beginning at 12:30 Pacific Time.

Monday night will see both Dana and Kite in attendance at the Indy Racing League's Championship Celebration at Paramount Studios in Hollywood to conclude what promises to be one of the busiest weekends of the season.

Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing is backed by a group of companies within the fast- growing ethanol industry, led by the major ethanol design-build firms Fagen Inc., ICM Inc., and Broin Companies. Ethanol is a high octane, high performance fuel that is clean burning, renewable and made in America. As a growing component of the United States' gasoline supply, ethanol delivers improved vehicle performance while reducing emissions and improving air quality. The IndyCar Series has announced that it will switch to ethanol as its fuel source beginning with a 10% blend in 2006 and moving to 100% fuel-grade ethanol in 2007.

LMP2 title within reach for Field LMP2 title within reach for FieldAlthough he may not think so, fate certainly owes Clint Field a favor. How else can you explain six class wins in 2004 but no LMP2 drivers championship? After falling 14 points shy last season, Field is now on the doorstep of a title that some consider to be long overdue.

Just don’t count Intersport Racing’s 22-year-old star as one of those, though.

“You just have to hope for the best and expect the worst,” said Field, who will team with father Jon and Liz Halliday in Intersport’s No. 37 Lola at the Monterey Sports Car Championships, the final round of the 2005 American Le Mans Series. “We’ve had a great year so far. It’s what everybody dreams about, winning five times. I’m happy to be out there winning. Winning the championship would be icing on the cake.”

All Field needs to do is complete 70 percent of the four-hour race (a little less than three hours) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to sew up the championship for himself and the team title for Intersport, both of which would be firsts. If the car falters, the B-K Motorsports pairing of Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo in the No. 8 Mazda-powered Courage, must win the race to overtake Field.

Other challenges are expected to come from the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage and the No. 6 Penske Motorsports Porsche RS Spyder, making its highly anticipated debut.

“If we don’t win it, we don’t win,” Field said. “You have to race every time as hard as you can. For sure, we deserve it. Our guys have had a lot of adversity this with gearbox problems and the fire (at Road America). All I know is that our guys have done a great job. If we win, it will be for them.”

Throughout the season, Intersport’s Lola B05/40 has been the fastest P2 car in the ALMS in 2005. But keeping the new car on track is a challenge the team has been up to for much of the season. That has been the key in Field’s championship run, he said.

“It’s always hard going with a new car and trying to do the best,” Field said. “It’s a brand new P2 car. It had never been ran before. It’s new to us and new to everybody. It’s a lot harder, and we feel like we’ve accomplished a lot more from last year. There is a lot more competition this year with Miracle. Mazda has won a couple of this year. There were some good cars at Petit.”

Many are looking at this weekend’s race as perhaps the defining moment of the season for both Field and Intersport, mainly because of the appearance of Porsche’s P2. Since the program was announced in April, ALMS fans have been waiting to see how the Intersport Lola would compete.

The only time the two cars have been together was at pre-event testing for Petit Le Mans. Although no times were official, Field said the Intersport car was just as fast, if not faster, than the RS Spyder. Now, the world will see if that holds up this weekend.

“That may be more satisfying to beat them,” Field said. “If we can beat them outright with them finishing the race, it would be awesome. It would start us off on the right foot. It’ll be difficult, but I believe we’ll be able to do it. We were pretty close to where they were if not quicker than they were at Petit. It will be a good race.”

The final round of the 2005 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. The race is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. PDT, with SPEED TV broadcasting the race from 1 to 5 p.m. EDT Sunday. Qualifying scheduled for 2:10 p.m. PDT. Friday. American Le Mans Radio, and IMSA Live Timing and Scoring, will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

CBS’ 60 Minutes hammers NASCAR CBS’ 60 Minutes hammers NASCARUPDATE A reader adds, What News Busters didn’t say was how Lesley called it right on the incestuous relationship between NASCAR and ISC.  She clearly pointed out that a large number of the races go to tracks owned by the France Family. Gary Shell 10/12/05 Even when journalists try, they just don’t understand Middle America. CBS proved the point with a story on the multi-billion dollar business of NASCAR. Even in a story made possible by the enormous success of the sport, CBS’s “60 Minutes” depicted racing promotions as “hucksterism” and advertisers as “not wholesome” while the product itself was portrayed as a “good ol’ boy Southern Confederate flag sport” hostile to minorities.

Reporter Lesley Stahl’s October 9 piece described the depths of the free market that NASCAR was willing to delve into: “They'll even rename a race for a sponsor. Warner brothers got the “Batman Begins 400” this summer.” Stahl overlooked the fact that sporting events, like college football bowl games, are often named after advertisers.

Stahl also criticized NASCAR’s aggressive marketing, telling CEO Brian France, part of the sport’s founding family “You are unabashed in the hucksterism category.” France had nothing to apologize for. According to a September 5 Fortune magazine story, “NASCAR had total corporate sponsorship revenue last year of $1.5 billion, compared with $445 million for the NFL and $340 million for Major League Baseball.” Fortune added that 106 of Fortune 500 companies are involved as sponsors – “more than any other sport.”

That wasn’t enough to keep Stahl from criticizing NASCAR’s sponsors. When France told her, “I mean, we have limits,” about which sponsors are accepted, Stahl replied: “You do? Could’ve fooled me.” The exchange continued and Stahl complained that “You do Viagra, you do liquor.” Stahl then got to the heart of her critique: “You promote this sport as family values. You are sponsored by things that are just not wholesome. I mean, for years it was cigarettes. I mean, come on. Now it's liquor.” Stahl never mentioned that all of the products she criticized were legal. She was unhappy because they were “just not wholesome.”

Fortunately, NASCAR’s all-time winningest driver Richard Petty was on hand to explain the free market beauty of the sport and its founding family. “They took nothing, and kept working. And over 55 or 60 years this is what you see, okay? That's capitalism.” News Busters

Lola responds to losing Champ Car bid Lola responds to losing Champ Car bidFollowing the recent announcement by Champ Car regarding their future chassis supply, Lola Cars International would like to make the following statement.

Lola have been building Champ Cars in their various guises since the late 1970's. In the time since Lola was acquired by Martin Birrane, the company conquered the competitive marketplace and went on to supply the entire grid with exciting and challenging race cars.

The level of mutual respect, professionalism and technical partnership with the organization and the teams has been a shared experience over this long period of time. There was no better illustration of this, than in the last four years, when Lola provided absolute support of the re generated series in difficult times and at a significant cost to itself.

As ever in the global motorsport marketplace, Lola offered a very competitive tender but in the end it was not accepted. Lola will continue to supply Champ Car and its customers for the remainder of 2005 and for the 2006 season.

Lola would like to take this opportunity to wish Champ Car every success for its future and for a continuation of spirited competition that it is renowned for throughout the world.

Lola Group Executive Chairman, Martin Birrane said: "I have great admiration for the way Kevin Kalkhoven and his colleagues have picked up the challenges of Champ Car since they have taken over, although I am surprised at their decision not to choose Lola as their partner for the 2007 series. Looking forward, Lola has embarked on several successful programs for 2005 and beyond. The A1 Grand Prix series, Formula Nippon and LMP1 sportscars are just three projects that have been or are about to be launched. Lola's existing Formula Three and LMP2 sportscars have enjoyed noteworthy success this season and associated businesses within the Lola Group are flourishing. Lola continue to be a world leader in many industries which is a result of sound business principles providing technical innovation and excellence."

Legge on Race Car Driver tonight Legge on Race Car Driver tonightIn her rookie season in the Atlantic championship, Katherine Legge experienced her share of highs and lows. The talented and personable British racer endured some growing pains in her first season competing in North America’s premier open-wheel development series, but she also turned in some brilliant performances on her way to a third-place finish in the final 2005 Atlantic championship standings.

Viewers across the United States will get an opportunity to see the challenges and emotions experienced by Legge and her Polestar Racing Group team on this week’s episode of Race Car Driver, the reality-based television series that chronicles life behind the scenes in the Champ Car World Series.

The Race Car Driver cameras followed Legge and her team as they conquered the elements and a challenging new circuit in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on this week’s show, scheduled to air nationwide at 8 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday on Superstation WGN.

The Race Car Driver program began airing on WGN in early September and throughout this season the show has closely followed the exploits of 2003 Champ Car champion Paul Tracy and his Forsythe Championship Racing teammate Mario Dominguez as they face new obstacles every week on the trail of the 2005 Champ Car World Series. The weekly show, which has given fans a better insight of what it takes to compete at the top of the motorsport ladder, has also profiled some of the other interesting personalities in Champ Car, such as defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais of Newman/Haas Racing along with PKV Racing drivers Jimmy Vasser and Cristiano da Matta.

This week’s episode, featuring Legge, will be re-broadcast on Saturday evening October 15 on Superstation WGN (check local listings for times and channels). For more information on Race Car Driver, visit the official Web site of the series at www.racecartv.com. To learn more about the Champ Car Atlantic Championship, log on to www.champcaratlantic.com.

Q and A with Ryan Newman Q and A with Ryan Newman
Busch not happy with teammate Busch not happy with teammateUPDATE Matt Kenseth admits he should have allowed teammate Kurt Busch to pass him for the lead early in Sunday's race at Kansas so Busch could gain the five bonus points for leading a lap. Kenseth didn't do that and defended his actions over his team's radio. "When it gets to the chase, we're all racing each other for the championship, and I'm not going to get beat by four points at the end of the year because I gave away a free five (points) somewhere," Kenseth said during the race. Tuesday, Kenseth changed his tune after talking with Busch and Busch's crew chief, Jimmy Fennig. "I think what I probably did wrong is when he was all over me, I probably should have let him lead a lap just because we were both abusing our cars. He ended up blowing a tire, and I ended up losing some track position because I was running so hard and my car didn't handle the way I thought it would and it ended up getting real tight. Things happen when you're in the car and the racer comes out in you, and that's what it's about is racing. I was looking behind me and I saw five (championship) chase cars behind me and I certainly didn't want everybody to get up there and get a bunch of points that they didn't have to." Greensboro News and Record 10/10/05 Kurt Busch wasn't happy with his teammate, Matt Kenseth, early in Sunday's race because he wouldn't let him lead a single lap - and gain five bonus points in the championship race. Kenseth said there are no company orders to help teammates, especially when that teammate is a competitor in the playoffs. "When you get in the Chase you've got to get all the points you can," Kenseth said. "You can't give points away. I'm sure (Busch) is mad at me." Jack Roush said he doesn't want his drivers to play favorites. "I don't expect them to do that," he said. "In fact, I'd be disappointed if they did that." Augusta Chronicle
Carl Edwards on CNN Special Carl Edwards on CNN SpecialSome might think that a Saturday night race leaves them with no NASCAR on Sunday and therefore, nothing to watch on TV. Well this weekend CNN will bring NASCAR into living rooms of fans across the country as they present the special, "NASCAR: Driven to Extremes" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The special takes fans into the lives of several NASCAR drivers including rising star Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford.

Edwards met up with Dr. Gupta in Charlotte back in June for a mountain bike ride, burrito and interview then Dr. Gupta's crew followed Edwards on a whirlwind tour that took them from one coast to the other. In the span of four days, Edwards traveled from Charlotte to San Francisco to Milwaukee and back to San Francisco. The team documented all of Edwards' activities including workouts, eating, appearances, eating, travels, and eating. Edwards previewed the special for the first time this week after he made guest appearances on CNN Headline News and CNN to promote the upcoming special.

"I'm really proud to be a part of this project," said Edwards. "Dr. Gupta and the entire CNN group did a fantastic job of explaining that there's more that goes into racing than meets the eye. You can tell that they really took their time and did their homework. I think the special will leave people with something to talk about for sure. It's really awesome and I hope that everyone has the opportunity to watch it."

The special takes fans behind the scenes of NASCAR showing how drivers prepare for their on-track activities through diet and exercise. The special also discusses medical research that showed among other things, a driver can sustain a heart rate of 80 to 85 percent of their maximum, similar to that of a long-distance runner. It's an hour of information that fans won't want to miss.

Watch "NASCAR: Driven to Extreme" hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta this Sunday, October 16 on CNN at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia Mich., based Roush Industries that operates 10 motor sports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards; three in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth and Edwards, and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Ricky Craven and Todd Kluever. For more information on Carl Edwards and the No. 99 team or any of the Roush Racing drivers and teams log onto www.roushracing.com

SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver RankingUpdated 10-12-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 10.531
2. (2) Fernando Alonso (F1) 9.144
3. (4) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.233
4. (3) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 8.072
5. (5) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 7.595
6. (17) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.588
7. (7) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 7.472
8. (NR) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 7.458
9. (8) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.423
10. (9) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 7.413
11. (18) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 7.195
12. (11) Carl Edwards(NASCAR) 7.173
13. (24) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 6.820
14. (13) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.595
15. (37) Giancarlo Fisichella (F1) 6.400
16. (19) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 6.336
17. (12) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.307
18. (20) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 6.291
19. (10) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.183
20. (14) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 6.812
Dropped out: Kevin Harvick (NASCAR), Dale Jarrett (NASCAR), Juan Pablo Montoya (F1)
Last week’s ranking in parenthesis
Provided by STATS Inc.
Industry News
Delphi could cost GM $billions Delphi could cost GM $billionsUPDATE #2 Delphi Corp. won approval in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday for a $950-million loan to help keep its U.S. plants operating while the Troy-based auto supplier reorganizes. Judge Robert D. Drain approved the financing during the first day of hearings in Delphi's bankruptcy case.

The auto supplier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Saturday, after its efforts to win concessions from its labor unions and a multibillion-dollar bailout from former parent company General Motors Corp. failed.

The Chapter 11 filing gives the company relief from its creditors while it develops a plan that will include closing plants and imposing lower wages and benefits on workers. Delphi expects to emerge from bankruptcy in 2007. Detroit Free Press

10/10/05 General Motors Corp. shares shed almost 9% Monday after Delphi Corp.'s bankruptcy prompted at least one Wall Street analyst to raise what he sees as the odds that the world's largest automaker would have to resort to a similar filing.  Standard & Poor's added to the selling pressure, pushing its rating on GM's $284 billion in debt deeper into junk status, with analyst Scott Sprinzen citing repercussions that "could impede GM's efforts to turn around its ailing North American automotive operations."

In afternoon trading, shares of GM gave up $2.39 to $25.90, touching on their lowest level in five months. Delphi's battered stock plunged to 43 cents, down 61.6%.

In a yet another blow for the parts sector, Dana Corp. said it would restate some financial results to reflect improper accounting and would delay the release of its third-quarter financial report.

Banc of America's Rod Tadross cut his price target on GM's stock to $18 from $32 and slashed his rating to sell from neutral, pegging the likelihood of a Chapter 11 filing by the automaker at 30%, up from his prior view of 10%. More.....

10/10/05 General Motors Corp. might ultimately lose more than $12 billion from Delphi Corp.'s bankruptcy filing on Saturday -- or it might cost the automaker nothing significant.  The only thing for certain is that it will end up as one of the many issues to be sorted out in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, where proceedings for Delphi are to begin Tuesday.

At the extreme, GM estimated that it could be forced to pay Delphi up to $11 billion in the future for the pension, health care and other benefits that Delphi's retirees expect over the remainder of their lives, the automaker said in a news release late Saturday.

Under that scenario -- part of a guarantee GM gave its major unions in the event of a Delphi bankruptcy -- those costs would wipe out GM's $12-billion profit since 2000.

In addition to that, GM estimates Delphi owes it about $1.2 billion. That will most likely be money down the drain now that Delphi doesn't have to pay all its bills.

But if all goes right for GM, it could recover its money from Delphi and duck any retirement costs.

A more probable estimate, GM said it may ultimately be on the hook for half of the $11 billion in retirement benefits, an incredible amount for a company that lost $1.4 billion through the first six months this year.

More than six years after parting ways with Delphi, the supplier's inability to compete head-on against leaner, more efficient rivals has come back to haunt GM. More at Detroit News

A lap of Shanghai with Kimi Raikkonen A lap of Shanghai with Kimi RaikkonenMcLaren's Kimi Raikkonen describes a lap of the Shanghai circuit

"The lap starts on the long pit straight, we power along the 600 meter section reaching speeds of 305km/h in sixth gear as we pass underneath the impressive grandstand walkway." (Track diagram courtesy eTracksOnline)

"As we reach the first corner we are down to fifth gear traveling at 234km/h, here we should pull 3.4G. This corner is very long as it sweeps round to the right, it is immediately followed by the right then left of turns two and three."

"Our speeds drop quite low through here to 107km/h as it is quite tight and we need to be in second gear. As we exit turn three, we will have to push on the throttle to build up speed as we pass through the slight kinks of turns four and five that gently flick the track first left then right on the run down to turn six."

"We hit about 291km/h along here reaching sixth gear before braking hard for the hairpin of six, which will see us drop down into second gear and 102km/h. Coming out of the hairpin there is a short straight that leads to a long, wide, sweeping S of seven and eight, with the track first curving to the left and then to the right. This is a chance to get the speed back up again and we reach 265km/h over turn seven and only lifting slightly for the apex of eight."

"The two almost 90-degree bends of nine and ten follow which see us drop down to second gear and 137km/h before coming onto the short straight which leads to the tight left of eleven. We can reach speeds of 284km/h coming into turn 11 but drop down to second gear and 91km/h for the turn."

"This then takes you onto another long sweeping right hander, similar to the complex at the end of the pit straight. This double-apex bend swings us back round on ourselves onto a straight that runs parallel to the one we were just on. The corner is the widest section of the track and it is fairly long so we are able to increase our speed to 249km/h as we drive through it and are back in fifth gear as we exit onto the back straight."

"This corner is particularly important for a quick lap time, as it swings round onto the longest straight, which is just over one kilometer. We need to ensure we have the maximum speed possible as we exit the corner so that we have the momentum to power along the back straight at speeds nearing 330km/h in seventh."

"A hard braking zone at the end of the straight for the two rights of fourteen and fifteen as we descend to second gear and 88km/h for these corners. Again on the power for a short straight that takes you to the final corner, a 90-degree left-hander taken at 181km/h in third gear returning you to the pit straight." McLaren

Salazar Starts Silver Crown Speedway Car Team Salazar Starts Silver Crown Speedway Car TeamSix-time Indianapolis 500 starter Eliseo Salazar and longtime USAC participant Johnny Vance will co-own a new-generation USAC Silver Crown Series car for the 2006 season. The pair purchased a chassis from Riley Technologies, the first sold by the company that designed the new machine.  Chilean driver Pablo Donoso, who competes in the Star Mazda Series, has been selected as the team's driver. 
Q and A with Ralf Schumacher about Suzuka Q and A with Ralf Schumacher about SuzukaToyota put a light load of fuel into Ralf Schumacher's revised TF105B for qualifying in Japan and with a little good fortune in terms of the track conditions, Schumacher took the Pole Position of Toyota's home race.

After the safety car period in the race, Schumacher dived to the pits on lap 14 of the 53 lap event signaling his three stop strategy. The team maintain that the six laps behind the safety car ruined their strategy, but as it was, Schumacher crossed the line in eighth position, 15 seconds behind brother Michael.

What follows is a question and answer session with Ralf Schumacher.

Pole position on Toyota's home ground at Suzuka. That must have been very satisfying for you?
"It was extremely satisfying to get Pole in Suzuka for Toyota's home Grand Prix! After the last test at Jerez the team made the decision to take the TF105B to Suzuka and it was a great start for the car. It feels quite a bit different from the standard car and so I did more laps on Friday than I normally would. I felt that we were in pretty good shape right from the beginning." zzzz

Was it a risk taking the revised car to Japan?
"Yes and no. It was a sensible decision because our chances of overtaking Ferrari to finish third in the constructors' championship were pretty slim and as the TF105B will form the basis of our winter testing program and of next year's car, it made sense to gather some data from the final two races. On top of that, we knew that the car would prove more consistent over a race distance. The only downside was that we obviously did not have as many spares for the 105B and logistically it could have been a bit difficult coping with something unforeseen at the flyaway races. But we knew we had the standard TF105s to fall back on and so it made sense."

Do you have a special feeling for Suzuka?
"Yes, it's my favorite track. Drivers tend not to like developing ‘favorite' circuits because we have to do a professional job on all of them, but Suzuka is such a fast and challenging track that it definitely gives you an extra special buzz when you get it right."

What is so special about it?
"It is both fast and technical and it rewards commitment from the driver. The section known as ‘The Esses', which is basically all the way from the exit of Turn 2 to Turn 7, is tremendous to drive, one of the most challenging sequences of corners anywhere on the F1 schedule. If you make any kind of mistake early in the sequence, you pay for it all the way to the end, and you are in that section for quite a long time."

How much did the planned three-stop strategy help you get pole?
"Well obviously a lighter fuel load helps but we looked at it carefully and decided that it was also a good move from the point of view of race strategy. We knew that qualifying was going to be on a damp or wet track and in those conditions fuel effect is even more significant. We also knew that we were close enough to the pace that we stood a chance of qualifying first or second, which was crucial to making the strategy work. It put the pressure on but we decided to be aggressive. The surface was really slippery and the car had a lot of oversteer. It was a fine line between pushing hard enough and overdoing it, but happily I made it work."

How much did the early Safety Car unravel your plans?
"Totally. It was a disaster for us. We were aware that there has quite often been Safety Cars early in the race at Suzuka but we were hoping that there wouldn't be. And certainly not such a long Safety Car period. It did seem to take an awful long time to get my ex-team mate's damaged car out of the way and we were following the Safety Car all the way to the end of lap seven!"

Especially frustrating for you after such a good start?
"Exactly. I was confident that I would beat Jenson Button into turn one and I got a great start. I managed to open up a 2s gap on the first lap and things were looking pretty good. Of course it was crucial to my strategy that I opened up as big an advantage as possible on my light fuel load so that I didn't drop too far back into the traffic when I made my first pit stop. The Safety Car meant that all my two-stopping rivals were able to cruise around at my pace, taking away all the benefits of our strategy. The longer the Safety Car stayed out, the worse it became."

Did you think about changing to a two-stop strategy after that?
"The team looked into it but the damage was already done. I was obviously going to fall much further back into traffic than if I'd been able to run at my own pace and then with a heavy fuel load it was unlikely that I would have been able to make progress. We stuck with the three-stop and at least I was able to drive hard throughout and salvage a point. But that wasn't exactly the result we wanted. We had been aiming at the podium."

How do you feel about finishing the season in China?
"It has been a long year, at 19 races the biggest calendar in F1 history. But in a way that has been balanced by having a better season than expected. For Toyota to finish so close to the defending champions in just its fourth season is a good effort from everyone in Cologne and everyone in Japan. It will be nice for everyone to have a short break after China but then we will be back at it again, full throttle, trying to perform even more strongly next year. The Chinese have done an incredible job with their facilities and I just hope we can put on as good a show for them as we did for the Japanese!" Source Toyota
Formula BMW
Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain features 34 drivers Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain features 34 driversThe season's final rounds in the four international Formula BMW series are fast approaching, and preparations are in full swing for the Formula BMW World Final. Two months before the inaugural event the field of starters has been confirmed: from 13th to 16th December at the Bahrain International Circuit, 34 drivers from 15 nations will be vying for the honor of fastest Formula BMW driver in the world. Awaiting the winner is an invaluable prize: a test drive with the BMW run Formula One team.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "Top drivers from the four Formula BMW series are taking part in the Formula BMW World Final. I'm looking forward to some high-caliber and thrilling motor racing in Bahrain. To take the World Final title you've got to beat drivers from four continents. It's going to be a tough piece of work winning that Formula One test drive!"

The contestants, some of them no older than 16, will be pitting their skills in a number of preliminary heats before the final on 16th December. Along with the leaders in the Formula BMW ADAC Championship - Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Huelkenberg - the Formula BMW Asia front-runner Salman Al Khalifa, as well as the top drivers in the Formula BMW UK Championship and Formula BMW USA, will also be competing in the World Final.

The following drivers have signed up for the event: zzzz

Driver Nation Team
Al Fardan, Hamad Bahrain Bison Team Meritus
Al Khalifa, Salman Bahrain Team E-Rain
Antunes, Nathan Australia Motaworld Racing
Bird, Sam UK Fortec Motorsport
Boughey, Robert Thailand Bison Team Meritus
Buemi, Sébastien Switzerland ASL Team Mücke Motorsport
Coletti, Stefano Monaco ASL Team Mücke Motorsport
Curnow, Ross UK Nexa Racing
Davison, James Australia Bison Team Meritus
Dzikevic, Andzej Lithuania 4speed Media GmbH
Ebrahim, Armaan India Team E-Rain
Glew, Philip UK Promatecme/Soper Sport
Hankey, Euan UK Nexa Racing
Harris, Matt UK Team SWR
Hegewald, Tobias Germany ASL Team Mücke Motorsport
Herberts, Adrien Canada Atlantic Racing Team
Holzer, Marco Germany AM Holzer Motorsport GmbH
Howson, Matt UK Filsell Motorsport
Hülkenberg, Nicolas Germany Josef Kaufmann Racing
Johnson, Race USA Bison Team Meritus
Lee, Matt USA Autotecnica
Legris, Jonathan UK Mark Burdett Motorsport
Onidi, Fabio Italy ASL Team Mücke Motorsport
Piscopo, Edoardo Italy Eurointernational
Schlegelmilch, Harald Latvia 4speed Media GmbH
Smith, Dean UK Coles Racing
Sorlie, Stian Norway Fortec Motorsport
Stevens, Reed USA Bison Team Meritus
Summerton, Jonathan USA ASL Team Mücke Motorsport
Turvey, Oliver UK Team SWR
Urbano, Joao Portugal ASL Team Mücke Motorsport
Wasem, Dominik Germany AM Holzer Rennsport GmbH
Wickens, Robert Canada Autotecnica
Wise, Jordan UK Motaworld Racing

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Massa eyes Sauber 'gift'
Two banks sell F1 shares
The 'gorilla' on JB's back
China 'expect' F1 sellout
Todt pans 'reverse grid' idea
Fisi's '05 'not terrible'

Sauber, BMW, 'won't clash'
Medeiros ready for IndyCar Series debut Medeiros ready for IndyCar Series debutA year ago, Thiago Medeiros ran away with the Firehawk Cup, claiming the 2004 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series on the strength of six wins in 12 starts. But unlike previous series champions, A.J. Foyt IV and Mark Taylor, Medeiros has yet to graduate to the IndyCar Series.

That will change this weekend as Medeiros joins Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in a second Honda-powered Dallara for the Toyota Indy 400 on Oct. 16 at California Speedway. Medeiros will team with regular Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Roger Yasukawa.

"I've really been waiting for this since the end of last year," said Medeiros, who remained visible in the IndyCar Series paddock through a position with BAND Sports, the IRL's Brazilian television partner. "I can't wait to get in the car for the first practice. It's been a long year and a very tough year, but this is a big opportunity for me to start racing an IndyCar and get ready to build for 2006." zzzz

In order to prepare for his IndyCar Series debut, Medeiros has been training every day for a month. He's also been visiting the team's race shop to help his team in any way he can.

"I think I'm in my best shape ever, and I need to be to do a 400-mile race," he said. "It's the longest race I've ever done, and pit stops will be new for me. But I've been to the shop over the last few days and watched them load my car on the truck and leave for California. I just wanted to show the crew they can trust me."

Medeiros feels he needs that trust because he will have to make pit stops for the first time in his career. Medeiros, who has tested with the team twice since the end of last season, said he was a little concerned with the pit stops, but is confident the work he's done to prepare will help.

"I've done some (pit stop) simulations with the team," he said. "It was little harder than I expected. The first time we tested, I couldn't see my marks because the steering wheel was a little high. But we've made a different seat, so I will be in a very comfortable position for the race and see a little better. We've done some more simulations with a car ahead and one behind this week, and it's difficult to hit the marks when you are full-lock to the left to come in and full-lock right when you exit."

The track, however, won't be new. Medeiros claimed the Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship at California Speedway last season and said he only has good memories of the facility.

"I won the pole and led the most laps there last year," he said. "It was a very good race last year, with the exception of the accident I had late in the race. I was in position to win the race, when the accident happened, so I only have good memories."
But he also knows he will only have one chance to make a good first impression.

"I hope to do as well as possible," he said. "I want to finish the race. I want to do all the pit stops right. I'm very thankful to Robbie (Buhl), Dennis (Reinbold) and Honda for the opportunity, and I just want to do it all right."

A change of control in F1 A change of control in F1The Bayerische Landesbank has taken sole control of the Speed Investments Ltd, the company which controls the commercial rights of Formula 1 motor racing. The group includes Formula One Asset Management Ltd, Formula One World Championship Ltd, Formula One Holding Ltd, Formula One Administration Ltd, Petara Ltd. (Jersey), Formula One Management Ltd, Formula One Licensing BV, Formula One Productions Ltd, Formula One World Travel Ltd, Mirren Holdings Ltd and Formula 1.com Ltd. The agreement terminates the Memorandum of Cooperation between the three banks. It has been cleared by the European Commission Competition Directorate.

The deal means that the two smaller banks involved - Lehmann Brothers and JP Morgan Chase - have left the sport. This makes sense as they have both already written off their investment in F1 and would probably be keen to get the risk off their books. The deal also makes sense for Bayerische Landesbank as it means that a deal with a third party would be easier and will probably mean that the bank will get more of its money back in the longer term. Grandprix.com
Comparison of old vs. new Champ Car Comparison of old vs. new Champ CarThe illustration to the right shows a comparison between the existing Champ Car and the new 2007 Champ Car. Not shown is the 25 or more horsepower increase.

Cheever team adds sponsor for California event Cheever team adds sponsor for California eventIn an effort to promote its CREDITZ brand, CEO America, Inc. will join Red Bull Cheever Racing as a team sponsor for the Toyota Indy 400 on Oct. 16 at California Speedway. Both the No. 51 car driven by Alex Barron and the No. 83 car driven by Patrick Carpentier will feature the CREDITZ Digital Currency logo.  CEO America is the exclusive licensed operator of the CREDITZ System in the United States. CREDITZ is the world's first digital currency system. The system combines digital payment processing, customer intelligence, loyalty and marketing communications into one coherent services platform, which provides benefits for consumers, retailers, marketers, transaction processors and the electronic payment industry.
IPS Series
Luyendyk to race at California Luyendyk to race at CaliforniaArie Luyendyk Jr. will be back in a familiar place next weekend, piloting the No. 25 AFS Racing machine in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series California 100. Luyendyk is looking forward to returning to the AFS team. Last year, he recorded four top-five finishes in five starts with the team.  "I am looking forward to representing Automatic Fire Sprinklers and running up front again with the AFS Racing crew," Luyendyk Jr. said. "Last year we had the win taken from us in California. Hopefully this year the cards will fall our way. I am excited about the preparation AFS Racing has taken for this event, and I am ready for the challenge."   In the 2004 California 100, Luyendyk started second and led 24 laps until he suffered a cut tire on Lap 27. Luyendyk's tire deflated and sent his car into a spin entering Turn 3, ending his day in 14th place.
NASCAR issues weekly cheater penalty bulletin NASCAR issues weekly cheater penalty bulletinNASCAR announced Tuesday that fines have been issued to two NASCAR Busch Series crew chiefs resulting from rule violations during opening day inspection at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 6. Jeff Britt, crew chief of the No. 23 Chevrolet driven by Mark Green, was fined $1,000 after being found in violation of sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (unapproved lower A-Frame: unequal length) of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book.

Additionally, Joel Shear Jr., crew chief for the No. 43 Ford driven by Aaron Fike, was fined $500 for also violating 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (unapproved fuel filler neck: inside diameter exceeded maximum size).

Kubica gets Renault test Kubica gets Renault testRenault Sport confirmed that Robert Kubica will test the World Championship-winning R25 with the Renault F1 team in Barcelona, on December 2.   The 20 year-old Pole, who drives for the Epsilon Euskadi team, was recently crowned 2005 winner of the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 championship. The F1 test comes as a reward for his title, wrapped up at the penultimate race in Estoril.

The test is to take place at the Circuit of Catalunya (Spain) on December 2. Alongside Robert Kubica, who has dominated the Formula Renault 3.5 championship so far this year (4 victories, 11 podiums, 3 pole positions to date) will be Italian driver Giorgio Mondini, winner of the Eurocup Formula Renault V6 in 2004.

Robert Kubica:  "This is a very important opportunity for me. It will be my first drive in a Formula 1 car and I hope it will be not the last! Of course this test comes as a prize for my title in the World Series by Renault, but I will be focusing on completing as many laps as possible".

Jean Paul Mari, Head of Competition and Communications:  "Never before has a Polish driver reached quite such a high level in Motorsport. Robert Kubica has showed impeccable consistency throughout the season and is already a legitimate contender for a Formula 1 drive."

Estimate of how much faster new Champ Car will be Estimate of how much faster new Champ Car will beUPDATE Correction, estimate assumes current aero, 165 pound lighter car, and 25 more HP from the Ford Cosworth.  Also, gear adjustment was made for higher speed. 10/11/05 Tom Smith and the clever engineers at Newman/Haas Racing came up with this formula for the track at Surfers Paradise:  Assuming the Champ Car World Series ran the same aerodynamic package in 2007, the Surfers Paradise track remained the same and minor mechanical parts of the car were slightly changed to adapt to the new chassis/engine configuration, the 2007 cars would be 2.1 seconds quicker and 3.1 mph faster on this course than they currently are. Estimate is approximate. This assumes the same horsepower level as now.
Champ Car announces new car/engine Champ Car announces new car/engineUPDATE Some highlights from today's media conference on the new car:
  • It will be an entirely new car, nothing retained from old car.
  • Simon Marshall will be the Chief Designer. Elan is the largest supplier of race cars worldwide
  • New car will have a 4 to 5 inch shorter wheelbase, around 125 inches. Track will be reduced by 3 inches, but sidepods will retain the same width to reduce wheel interlocking.
  • The goal is for more HP w/o sacrificing reliability, more push-to-pass power (we hear 75 HP or more), new electronics.
  • Gearbox supplier - has not been chosen - box will be very similar to existing box, 6-speed, same orientation as existing gearbox.
  • Raised nose gives better crushability in head-on collision
  • The deal is for three years.
  • No distributor has been chosen yet, if any. Full transcript.
10/11/05 See feature story on our Home Page for text and artist renderings of the new 2007 Champ Car.  Immediate reaction is very favorable.


  • The Panoz DP01 chassis will be built by Élan Motorsports Technologies
  • The new Panoz DP01 takes much of its look from the current Champ Car chassis
  • Cutting-edge technology designed into the package incorporates many new aerodynamic features that make this car better suited to the urban race tracks which host Champ Car’s highly successful three-day festivals of speed.
  • The Panoz DP01 is smaller than the current Champ Car in both length and width and weighs 165 pounds less than the current machine, providing a more nimble and quicker machine that will put driver skills at a premium.
  • The new chassis will allow for more passing via smaller wings and bigger tunnels which will create less turbulence for cars in traffic. 
  • Addition of an on-board starter which will allow for less yellow-flag time during events.
  • Safety innovations that include upgrades to the head surround and seat back areas as well as increased leg padding.
  • Collapsible steering column, new side intrusion panels and a two-stage nose crush and a rear crash structure for oval events.
  •  A next generation of the fabled turbocharged Ford-Cosworth V8 engine will maintain the unique high-pitched engine note that sets Champ Cars apart.
  • The 2007 package is also designed to reduce operating costs for both present and future Champ Car teams.  A new rolling chassis will cost approximately 35 percent less than the current car while the costs of spare parts are expected to yield a savings to teams of nearly 50 percent.
  • Carbon brakes which will allow for even more cost savings over the life of the car.
  • The lighter, smaller car means teams will rely even more on the drivers to achieve maximum performance.
Interview with Peter Sauber Interview with Peter SauberThe Chinese Grand Prix will mark the last time that Peter Sauber will be sitting at the helm. At the end of the season he'll be handing over his life's work to BMW. The pioneer reflects on 35 years of motorsports. And hazards a look toward the future.

When the new Formula One season gets underway in March 2006, we won't find you sitting at the command post you've occupied for the last 13 years. Aren't you worried about any withdrawal symptoms?
“That could happen – I'm anxious to find out too.”

What are you going to miss most? The adrenaline rush?
“That too, but you get past that after a while. I'll miss the people most of all, particularly the employees, but also all the others in the paddock – even those that I argued with once or twice over the years.”

But you're not completely disappearing from the scene. You'll be on-hand as an advisor to the new team. What will that involve actually?
“I'll primarily be available to the sponsors, above all Credit Suisse.” zzzz

So no longer an operational role?
“No. I think it's important and right that I no longer have anything to do with the operational side. That wasn't just what BMW wanted, I felt that way too.”

In the wedding between BMW and the British-based Williams team, the cultural differences were often cited as reasons for divorce. Is there less danger in the Munich-Hinwil relationship?
“From a cultural perspective, I see no reason for worry. After all, there are already a number of Germans working on the team, and they've settled in well here. Where there definitely could be some friction – and BMW has nothing to do with it – is the challenge of merging a medium-sized operation into a large company. The important point here is that you can adopt the positive aspects of the small partner and apply them as well as possible in environment of a multinational. The attitude will also have to change: The new team is no longer a little David who stands up to the big guys once in a while. At the end of the day, BMW is a giant that you expect victories from.”

In the final analysis, what was more important for the decision by BMW to buy the Sauber team: the ultra-modern wind tunnel, or the expertise of the team's employees?
“The wind tunnel most certainly played a role, after all it's an excellent tool, a very attractive one at that, and lends itself well to serving as a venue for events. Still, it's just a tool. Our most important asset is the employees and their expertise. BMW has also emphasized that point.”

Which of the cars in your big collection of race cars would you most like to show your grandson one day?
“Hard to say. I'm actually not that attached to my cars. I'm also not a collector – I just have a collection. If I really had to pick one, then it would have to be the C9 or the C11. We won in Le Mans with the C9, and with the C11 we won the Sportscar World Championship for the second time.”

If there isn't actually a favorite car, is there at least a favorite driver?
“No. Each was special in his own right. And many of them were excellent. I helped a few of them get their start in racing, including Karl Wendlinger, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Michael Schumacher, and later also Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa. Frentzen drove for us the longest, and also earned the most points for the team. I definitely had a good relationship with him. With Karl Wendlinger the connection was perhaps a bit deeper. That's also due to his serious crash. But I still get along great with Jean Alesi even though we had a tough time with him in his second season with us, and we also had a few rather heated debates. And of course I have fond memories of the time with Johnny Herbert: He had a really sunny disposition and was very fast as well.”

Your team did a superb job developing talent throughout the years. In Kimi Räikkönen's case, his jump to the top went perfectly. But that's not the case with Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Why?
“From a talent perspective, both were in much the same situation. But they have totally different characters. Kimi is a very special case. He's incredibly goal-oriented. That most definitely helps him. Perhaps that's the difference.”

What category does Felipe Massa belong in?
“I think he'll enjoy being with Ferrari. He's not far off being another Michael Schumacher. And anything that's even close to Michael is considered good in Formula One circles.”

As a Team Principal you'll never experience a Grand Prix victory. When do you expect to see the new BMW team get its first win?
“I don't want to make predictions on that. Today, the competition is so fierce that it's not easy to move up to become one of the front-runners. You see it now with the Williams team, which is having a hard time catching up with the leaders again.”

Assuming a BMW car wins a race. Would you feel as if a Sauber car had won the race?
“I'd be really delighted. But to be honest, being on-hand at the command post to experience a victory would be completely different from watching on TV at home.”

It's pretty much the same with your fans. A lot of them are mourning the departure of the only Swiss Formula One team. What do you say to these people?
“We continue to have a Formula One team in Switzerland, based in Hinwil, and most of the employees are staying with the team. The advantages are so much greater that you can get used to any differences quickly.”

Will the Sauber name live on?
“I really don't know. And I'm not even sure if BMW has made a decision on that yet. That'll be a decision for the marketing side to make. You can't forget that the global market is so huge that Switzerland plays only a minor role in it. On the other hand BMW isn't anxious to take anything away from the Swiss. They'll weigh the decision very carefully." Source Credit Suisse
Formula One entourage arrives in Shanghai Formula One entourage arrives in ShanghaiEighteen races have been competed so far in a Formula One season that has seen 24 drivers battle it out on tracks across the World. However the saying ‘last but not least’ has never found itself sitting as comfortably as it does when referring to the Shanghai International Circuit’s hosting of the final round of the Formula One World Championship 2005.

Although the Drivers’ Championship was decided in Brazil with Fernando Alonso becoming the sport’s youngest ever champion, the 2005 Constructors. Championship still remains on a knife edge.

There are just two points separating the two leading teams, McLaren and Renault, in the race to claim the Constructors’ Championship. For McLaren it will be a record 12th success, while Renault are aiming to claim the Championship for only the second time in the team’s history. zzzz

Renault are currently in the driving seat at the top of the Championship table, on 176 points, while McLaren are biting at their heals, two points behind, on 174. For Renault it would be the first time they picked up the prestigious award since taking the title in 1995 under Michael Schumacher’s guidance.
McLaren on the other hand have had little luck in recent years and have the right to feel slightly aggrieved that this year hasn’t bought them more fortune. Raikkonen’s constant engine troubles have meant that the Drivers’ Championship has eluded the team for another year, however has added fuel to their desire to regain the team prize.

General Manager of the SIC Management and Development Company, Yu Zhifei commented: “The Constructors Championship is hanging in the balance between these two fantastically competitive teams - it could go either way. I think it’s great for both the sport and China that the Championship had remained open until the final race of the season.”

Shanghai is buzzing with excitement throughout the city as final preparations are underway for Sunday’s showpiece. A sell-out crowd of 190,000 is expected to witness Shanghai’s second Formula One race and the decider for this year’s Constructors’ Championship. SIC

Briscoe recovering from injuries quickly Briscoe recovering from injuries quicklyJust one month after Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Ryan Briscoe’s accident during the Chicago IndyCar Series race (Sept.11), the young Aussie is showing significant improvement to the injuries he incurred after only two weeks of adhering to a strict rehabilitation program outlined by Formula Medicine, a rehabilitation center in Italy for drivers.

His latest clavicular X-rays show the fractured bones are healing nicely. Formula Medicine’s staff orthopaedist, Dr. Vito Maiolino, believes that Briscoe will be able to train without the aid of any support bandages or brace within the next 10 to 15 days.

Thanks to a daily physiotherapy regime, Briscoe's discomfort and hematomas (bruises on his back) have been reduced further and thus is improving the pace at which he will be able to return to top physical condition. A big factor in the recovery process has been Briscoe strong determination and total devotion to the program that the doctors at Formula Medicine have prepared for him.

In the past few days and much earlier than anticipated, Ryan has also begun to do some light movements at a computerized steering wheel simulator. This is the same piece of equipment that enabled another driver, Robert Kubica, newly crowned Formula Renault World Champion, to make a rapid return to competition following a multi-fracture injury to an arm.

“Considering the vast improvements that we have seen in Ryan’s physical condition,” said Aldo Fenu, head of the rehabilitation department at Formula Medicine, “we are even more optimistic about his recovery period being further shortened, allowing him the possibility to get into a race car earlier than might be expected.”

Schumacher hoping for a podium in China Schumacher hoping for a podium in ChinaIn the cold light of day following the race, it was easier to appreciate Michael Schumacher's performance in the Grand Prix of Japan. His seventh place assured that the Scuderia would take third spot in the Constructors' championship.

Immediately after the race the positive aspects of the weekend were obscured by the below par performance: "We have to see things as they really are," declared Michael. "Our year has been anything other than good. We have never been competitive and never really been in a position to compete for the title, one that has been ours in recent times. In the end we will end the year with a third place and I am still in third place in the Drivers' standings. It has never been this bad.

“If we recognize that this is Ferrari's worst result for ten years then the criticism can be seen relatively. However, this should not be misinterpreted: we have never been in with a chance this year and we want to be competitive again next year but we shouldn't hide from reality. This shows the class of our team. Even when things don't go well we have to bring out the best. This I why I am not too happy to be in third in the Constructors' championship."
Michael left Suzuka yesterday after the race but he stayed in Japan. He will fly to Shanghai and in the late afternoon will have two appointments in his role as the Scuderia's representative. On Thursday there will be three sponsor events before preparations for the race get underway.

"A podium at the end of the season would be wonderful but we have to realize that the chances of obtaining that are not too high. We will not make any modifications before Japan and so I don't think things will go any differently. Our performance here was nothing too special and we cannot hope to make a forward step. But who knows? We have to wait until Friday even if we have already had some indication of our form from Shanghai. In any case, we will be trying our best to end the season in the best of ways." Ferrari

Behind the scenes at the Japanese GP Behind the scenes at the Japanese GPTrains and boats and planes – the scramble to leave Suzuka got underway almost immediately after the Japanese Grand Prix ended. This partly to do with the fact that this is a bit of a one horse town and is also down to the fact that Suzuka is not particularly well located when it comes to reaching airports.

Some F1 types headed for the “Shinkansen” or “Bullet Train” to Tokyo, while others went for a mixture of rail routes to get to Osaka or Nagoya Airports and Formula 1’s own travel agency laid on literally dozens of buses to deliver team personnel to their departure points.

It’s a tiring journey, because Japanese train stations are not particularly well served with escalators or travelators and with two weeks worth of dirty laundry to haul around there was a lot of puffing, panting and heavy breathing from team personnel who seem to be not quite as fit as the race drivers they look after. Those drivers of course live on a different planet to normal people and most of them were busy hopping on helicopters and private jets to get to Tokyo for a night of partying before heading off to Shanghai.

There was plenty of partying going on at the famous Log Cabin bar at the Suzuka Circuit Hotel which meant the sound of snoring dominated the airport buses as sleep was not on the agenda on Sunday night. It proved a dangerous experience for a group of F1 photographers who bravely bicycled from their hotel to the party and, on attempting the return journey in the early hours of the morning, all crashed into one another at the bottom of a particularly steep hill. Of course, being photographers, they didn’t feel a thing!

While the aforementioned Shinkansen is famous for its efficiency and speed, even it cannot match the train that whisks passengers from Shanghai Airport to the outskirts of the city. Here, a magnetic monorail train which leans over dramatically as it goes round corners, takes just seven minutes to complete the journey, hitting an amazing top speed of 431 km/h! That is considerably faster than the F1 boys have traveled this season. Red Bull Racing

Track News
New highway to Speedway New highway to SpeedwayA new Georgia Highway 20 opened Monday afternoon just in time for the (Oct. 28-30) Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. And the hope is that the days of congested traffic both in and out of AMS will equally come to a halt.

Several Henry and Clayton county representatives were on hand to dedicate the opening of the highway in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.

”It's a great day for this race track,“ said Harold Linnenkohl, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, to which Perdue agreed.

”Harold, it is a good day,“ Perdue added. ”Build it, and they will come. You built it, and they will come. It is truly an economic development project. Not even a tornado can stop this place.“
The four-lane divided stretch from Interstate 75 to the Atlanta Motor Speedway was named the Bruton Smith Parkway, after the Speedway Motorsports, Inc., CEO.

The $35 million project, which was coordinated by two contractors, represents the second major artery to the speedway that should help on race days. It joins Georgia Highway 19/41 and I-75 before it leads race goers to the southern corner of the speedway.  More at News-Daily.com

Track News
Speedway Motorsports Declares $0.32 Cash Dividend Speedway Motorsports Declares $0.32 Cash DividendSpeedway Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE:TRK) declared a cash dividend of $0.32 per share of common stock. The annual dividend will be payable on Nov. 21, 2005 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 8, 2005. This is the fourth consecutive year that Speedway Motorsports has paid a cash dividend to its stockholders and the fourth year the dividend increased over the prior year. The Board of Directors of the motorsports entertainment company unanimously decided to declare the dividend after reviewing the market for the Company's stock, current business conditions and future prospects of the Company.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Pat Symonds backs Fisichella
Ron fumes at Flavio
China won't be F1 sellout
Ferrari expect unhappy finale
End of F1's V10 era
Eeckelaert leaves Sauber
No Friday drive for Kubica
Newey tenth at Silverstone
Alonso laments Minardi exit
Renault boss defends Fisichella Renault boss defends FisichellaRenault engineering boss Pat Symonds has defended Giancarlo Fisichella after he was denied victory by Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap at Suzuka Sunday. "It was difficult to see Giancarlo lose on the final lap, but we know he was pushing all the way," said Symonds. "Fernando Alonso and Kimi were able to look after their tires when they were following slower cars, while Giancarlo never had that luxury."
Shanghai and Beijing working together Shanghai and Beijing working togetherUPDATE International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge is due to attend Sunday’s Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, a city sports official said Monday.

The GP, being held for the second year, is one of the highest profile sporting events being staged in China in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. With Olympic preparations now well underway, China is eager to show it has the ability to make sure such events go off without a hitch. Rogge will greet the crowd via and wish racers success via the Shanghai circuit’s large screen televisions, Shanghai sports bureau deputy director Qiu Weichang said at a news conference.

The circuit will reciprocate with banners saying “Beijing welcomes you in 2008,” Qiu said. “This is really a historical moment and we want to help promote the Beijing games,” Qiu said. Rogge is also visiting Beijing and the eastern city of Nanjing this week. Shanghai International Circuit general manager Yu Zhifei said more than 100,000 people were expected to attend the three days of practice sessions and races starting Friday. While he refused to provide exact figures, turnout was expected to be lower than last year when organizers claimed to have sold all 150,000 tickets.

However, Rogge said more sponsors had been attracted than last year and all of the circuit’s deluxe VIP viewing boxes had sold out. Attendance at F1 races has been down this season compared to previous years, but Yu has said he expects the season-ending Shanghai event will have at least as many viewers as races elsewhere. Daily Times

09/28/05 Shanghai International Circuit (SIC) is delighted to announce that they have formed a partnership with the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOOC) for the 2008 Olympic Games. The new alliance will be unveiled at the Shanghai-based circuit during an extravagant opening ceremony for the FIA Formula One World Championship Final 2005 on 16 October.

The partnership marks the strengthening relationship between China’s two main cities (Shanghai and Beijing) and the increasing recognition of the power of the rapidly developing sports industry and associated potential for economic growth. zzzz

The International Olympic Committee’s President, Jacques Rogge will participate in the unveiling of the new joint venture during the festivities prior to the race at SIC. For Yu Zhifei, General Manager of SIC Management and Development Company the collaboration between the circuit and the Beijing Olympics is the realization of months of arduous planning and negotiating.

"Naturally I'm delighted that both SIC and the Beijing 2008 Olympics are working so closely together," he said. "With two such big sporting events such as the Games and a Formula One Grand Prix, it would be easy to get lost in the battle for spectators, however after much discussion we decided that the best way forward was an alliance."
"Sport in China is growing at a phenomenal rate, with all manner of motorsports and other sporting events becoming more and more prevalent. Chinese consumers are exceptionally quick to pick up on new sports and have an insatiable appetite for competition - both the Olympic Games and events at the SIC will be very well received."

Only last week FIA President Max Mosley highlighted the unique international reach both Formula One and the Olympic Games share. Alongside football, these three sports are widely believed to be the most dominant on a global level. Shanghai International Circuit

[Editor's Note: So much for Champ Car forming an alliance with Beijing and the Olympics. Champ Car struggles to land a race in Beijing because they have not established an office in Beijing with strong Chinese political connections - that's analogous to Toyota selling cars in the USA via dealerships in Japan. Meanwhile F1 swooped in via its office in Shanghai and has now stolen a key aspect of Champ Car's hope of riding on the coattails of the Olympics in Beijing. Not having an office in South Korea has caused the cancellation of one South Korean race and the second one is in danger of not happening as well. Ditto for Mexico and Canada, two markets Champ Car is under attack in because they have no local representation looking after their interests. If Champ Car wants to be an international sports property they had better start acting like one. If not they should stay home and do business in the USA.]

Mexico City ticket sales running at record pace Mexico City ticket sales running at record paceTicket sales for the Mexico City Champ Car race in November are running at a record pace with 48,435 sold as of October 2nd (the first few weeks the tickets were on sale) according to this article.  The pre-sale was only open to Banamex credit card holders.  Now that tickets are on sale to the general population, the number is expected to rise rapidly.  The article also says at least 22 Champ Cars are expected to start the race, making it the largest starting grid of the year.
IRL extends chassis contracts IRL extends chassis contractsIn its continuing effort to maximize competitive balance, the Indy Racing League announced a contract extension through 2006 with IRL IndyCar® Series chassis manufacturers Dallara and Panoz.

Both Dallara and Panoz have served as chassis manufacturers with the IndyCar Series since 1997 and their current three-year chassis suppliers’ agreement was signed in 2003. “We have seen an incredibly balanced level of racing the past few years in the IndyCar Series and look forward to even more of that in 2006,” said Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer for the Indy Racing League. “Extending our current chassis program with Dallara and Panoz provides our teams maximum value for their investment.”

The Indy Racing League is currently in the process of determining whether to permit modifications to the current IndyCar Series chassis for 2006.

Founded in 1972 near Parma, Italy, Dallara has an enviable record of success around the world, designing and manufacturing cars for a range of different motorsports series and formulas.

Panoz was founded in 1990 as G Force and is now owned by American company Elan Motorsport Technologies and is based out of Braselton, Ga.

Fernandez to be honored at California Speedway Fernandez to be honored at California SpeedwayIndyCar Series team owner Adrian Fernandez, who won the 2004 Toyota Indy 400, will be recognized in California Speedway's Walk of Fame this weekend.

In six open-wheel events at the 2-mile, D-shaped oval, Fernandez has five top-5 finishes, including two victories. Spectators can watch the ceremony at Gate 14 at 9:35 a.m. (PDT) Oct. 16. His footprints, signature and a bronze plaque with the race date and his likeness, will be placed in cement.

In 2004 IndyCar Series competition, Fernandez won three times despite missing the first race of the season, and finished fifth in the standings. The 0.0183-of-a-second margin of victory over series champion Tony Kanaan is a California Speedway record.

This year, Fernandez has concentrated on his ownership role in the Fernandez Racing and Super Aguri Fernandez Racing teams with Scott Sharp and Kosuke Matsuura as the drivers.

Elway to serve as California honorary starter Elway to serve as California honorary starterFormer Denver Broncos quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway will serve as honorary starter of the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway on Oct. 16.

Elway will wave the green flag to start the IRL IndyCar® Series' season-ending event, a 200-lap, 400-mile race broadcast live on ESPN (3:30 pm EDT).

"I am truly honored to be selected to wave the green flag this year at the Toyota Indy 400," Elway said. "It's great being back in Southern California, and I am looking forward to a very exciting race."

As quarterback of the Denver Broncos, Elway led his team to back-to-back Super Bowl victories (1998 and 1999) and five AFC Championships (1986, 1987, 1989, 1997 and 1998). He amassed 47 come-from-behind drives in the fourth quarter and recorded 4,123 completions (third all-time), 7,250 passes attempted (second all-time), 51,475 passing yards (second all-time) and 300 touchdown passes.

Elway was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Super Bowl XXXIII (1999), a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and was league MVP in 1987. In 2004, in his first year of eligibility, Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Wheldon hopes to run No. 1 next season Wheldon hopes to run No. 1 next seasonNewly crowned IRL IndyCar® Series champion Dan Wheldon hopes to run the No. 1 on his Klein Tools/Jim Beam Honda-powered Dallara in 2006.  As champion, Wheldon's team is entitled to the run the number, which has been reserved for champions by the IRL. Only four of the previous 10 champions in the IndyCar Series have run No. 1 as they defended their championship: Scott Sharp (Used No. 1 in 1997), Tony Stewart (Used No. 1 in 1998), Greg Ray (Used No. 1 in 2000) and Scott Dixon (Used No. 1 in 2004).

"In England, if you win the championship, that enables you to run the No. 1 the following year, and you do it because it somewhat takes the value of winning the championship away if you're not going to use the No. 1," Wheldon said. "That's how it's perceived certainly with the people I know in Europe. My intention would be to run it if I'm allowed. Certainly that's what I'm going to push for." 

Though he considers himself extremely superstitious, Wheldon said he doesn't fear any "No. 1 jinx.  I know it certainly didn't fare well for Scott Dixon, but I don't think that was through any fault of his own," Wheldon said. "That year, things didn't go their way. They had some bad luck. I don't think that was down to Scott."

Ganassi teams to wear pink for Breast Cancer cause Ganassi teams to wear pink for Breast Cancer causeIn honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, for the second year in a row, Target Chip Ganassi Racing will once again sport new paint schemes for their race cars competing in both the Indy Racing League’s IndyCar series and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup during the month of October. In partnership with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), Target will use the team’s race cars as vehicles to help promote breast cancer awareness to racing fans across the country.

Target’s IndyCar team will be completely in the pink as both the no.9 and no.10 Toyota Panoz race cars will undergo a complete transformation and take to the track October 15-16 for the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway in Fontana, California for their season finale. Both Target drivers, Scott Dixon and Jaques Lazier, will also sport special pink highlighted firesuits for the occasion.

“I had the privilege to drive the pink Target car in last year’s race at California Speedway and I was really impressed with the overwhelming response we had from fans, media and other teams as well,” said Dixon. “ It’s a cause that touches us all and it’s great that the team was able to take it a step further this year and field two pink cars. We hope to make an even greater impact in this year’s race and certainly a trip to victory circle would help that effort and bring our 2005 season to a much more satisfying end.”  zzzz

“Driving a pink race car attracts a certain amount of attention and I’m very proud to be part of the team’s initiative to bring this worthy cause to the forefront,” said Lazier.  “Raising awareness is just so important in the fight against breast cancer and I’m proud to do this for the women in my life, like my mom and my wife, and for our race fans both men and women that are touched by this terrible disease. We’re hoping we can make a difference in the fight for prevention and a cure just by getting the message out there.”

Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver Casey Mears launched the team’s efforts this month at the helm of a pink No. 41 Dodge for five NASCAR Nextel Cup races in October, which include Talladega Superspeedway (October 2), Kansas Speedway (October 9), Lowe’s Motor Speedway (October 15), Martinsville Speedway (October 23) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (October 30).

“It’s great to know that we have the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives and help The Breast Cancer Research Foundation,” said Mears.  “Last year I didn’t know what to think about driving a pink car, now I can’t wait to race it.  I was touched by so many stories that fans shared with me last year, that it is an honor to be part of Target’s initiative again to raise awareness and money for a foundation that will ultimately save lives.”

Target and Action Performance have created special Target/BCRF t-shirts and hats.  These items will be sold online and at the Target Chip Ganassi Racing trackside trailer during the Toyota Indy 400 race weekend.  Target, Action, And TCGR have all agreed to donate the profits from the sale of these items to the BCRF.

Target has unveiled, for the second consecutive year, an exclusive line of pink-themed products. The collection includes everything from polo shirts and cashmere flip-flops to a game set and photo frame key chain. One hundred percent of the net profits benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). The pink product collection will be available online at www.target.com/breastcancer with select items available in stores starting October 1 through October 31.  Prices range from $1.00 to $30.00.

The mission of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in this lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and genetic research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health. For more information about BCRF visit www.bcrfcure.org.

All Target Racing team members in both series will also take part in the promotion by wearing pink ribbons on their firesuits/crew shirts and special pink bracelets to show their support to those touched by breast cancer, as well as raise awareness and encourage fans to help raise vital funds for BCRF. The racing.target.com team website has undergone a pink make-over for the entire month as well.

Target fans can tune in to watch the Toyota Indy 400 on ESPN Live at 3:30 pm (EDT) on Sunday, October 16. The race will also be broadcast on the IMS Radio Network and available on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). TCGR

Sprague to drive Toyota Sprague to drive ToyotaWyler Racing has announced that effective immediately Jack Sprague will take over the wheel of the team's No. 60 Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Sprague, the only three-time champion that the series has seen, replaces Chad Chaffin, who has been with the team since its debut earlier this year in Milwaukee.

Sprague has been signed through the 2006 season.

"I am very excited about this opportunity with the Wyler's and Toyota Motorsports," Sprague said. "My time with XPress was awesome but we just decided it was time to part ways and luckily this position with Wyler became available to me.

"Jeff Wyler reminds me a lot of Rick Hendrick, and that was the most comfortable situation I have ever had in my career. I have worked with Tony Furr (No. 60 crew chief) in the past and we really had fun so I expect some good times ahead for us. The Toyota trucks have been awesome all year, and trust me I have noticed them as they passed me."

Tryson Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award Tryson Wins Crew Chief of the Race AwardPat Tryson’s decision to service the No. 6 Viagra Ford with two tires during the early stages of the Banquet 400 paid dividends. His strategy put Mark Martin up front long enough to lead more than half of the event before he beat teammate Greg Biffle to the checkered flag. Not only did Tryson bring his team a win, but his efforts earned him the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.

After starting in 19th place, Tryson improved Martin’s track position with a two-tire stop on an early round of pit stops. The move catapulted Martin to the front of the pack, where he stayed for the rest of the day. “It was early enough in the race for us to take two tires and see how they did,” said Tryson. “We didn’t have a lot of laps on our left-sides and it was a good opportunity for us to do it. I’m surprised more teams didn’t try the same thing, but I’m glad they didn’t.”

The panel of voters, including Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star, a WYPALL® Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr., all voted for Tryson as the crew chief that did the best job. “Pat (Tryson) took a gamble early in the race and it paid off,” said Eury Sr. “Everybody else played it conservative and the 6 team took advantage of that. That move won Mark Martin the race.”

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

Newman crewman injury update Newman crewman injury updateMitch Lash, the jackman for the No. 12 Alltel Dodge driven by Ryan Newman, was injured during a lap 95 pit stop on Sunday at Kansas Speedway. Lash received multiple injuries to the muscle tissue in his right foot, including a severe sprain to his right ankle. Lash will begin physical therapy in the Charlotte area this week. Britt Goodrich, former jackman for the team, will take over jacking duties until Lash can return.
Suzuka : Monday morning debrief Suzuka : Monday morning debriefThe 2005 Japanese Grand Prix was, undoubtedly, the race of the season. Here's a look back at the Renault F1 Team's race – and a glance forward to the coming weekend in Shanghai…

What goes around comes around
The disappointment in the Renault F1 Team garage at losing the Suzuka victory on the final lap, was genuine and deeply-felt. But hidden beneath it all was a neat mirror image of a race earlier this season in the Nurbürgring, when Fernando Alonso took victory after claiming the lead from Kimi Raikkonen at the first corner of the last lap.

This time, it was Renault's turn to feel the sting of defeat as the Finn returned the compliment, but the mood afterwards was philosophical, as Pat Symonds explained : "I think we will take heart from the pace the car has shown today. It was a race where traffic played a big part, but even so, the table of fastest laps is revealing – and it shows Fernando and Kimi separated by very little indeed (RAI: 1:31.540; ALO: 1:31.599). It was difficult to see Giancarlo lose the lead on the final lap, but we know he was pushing all the way. Indeed, the rhythm of his race may have had something to do with the lack of grip he reported towards the end, because he had been pushing from the opening laps – and putting a lot of energy through his tires. Fernando and Kimi both were able to look after their tires at various points when they were following slower cars, while Giancarlo never had that luxury. That could have made quite a difference…"

Two race engines and an odd number of races
The final race this weekend in Shanghai brings with it a curious anomaly: in a season of two-weekend engines, this single race offers the chance to build an engine to a shorter than usual life-cycle, assuming the driver who will use it is still 'on schedule'.

This presents an interesting anomaly, as both Renault drivers are eligible for a new V10, as is Montoya, while Raikkonen will continue to use the engine he ran in yesterday's race in Suzuka.

"There is no doubt that Kimi used his engine very hard through the race," explains Pat Symonds. "That may introduce some compromises into how they run that V10 in China. It is good news from our point of view, because we have a better engine – the E specification – at our disposal for the final race, and we are optimistic that it might move us a little closer."

The Renault F1 Team's Head of Engine Operations, Denis Chevrier, explained the benefits of the new RS25E : "It gives us a better overall performance package. Which means, not only is it an intrinsically more powerful engine, but it gives us more options in how we use the engine over the race weekend."

It's just one more ingredient to throw into the mix of the title showdown…

The end of an era
The forthcoming Chinese Grand Prix will see the end of an F1 era, as the Minardi name disappears from the grid following the team's purchase by Red Bull. So we asked Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso, both Minardi alumni, for their thoughts on seeing the famous name disappear from the grid.

Giancarlo : "I am very sad to see them go. My first test was there, my first F1 race too, and I have to say thank you to Giancarlo Minardi for the opportunity. The atmosphere was fantastic, with the Italian mechanics, and we laughed all the time. It is a great team, and they will always have a place in my heart."

As for Spaniard Fernando Alonso, he made his F1 debut with the Faenza team in 2001, and has fond memories of his time there. "I think Minardi has always been an example for a lot of people. It is not the power of money that gives them their fighting spirit, it is the power of the people. They were a good thing for F1 : now, it is often all about business, but with Minardi, everything was just about motor racing." Renault F1 Team

Todt expected to be more competitive in Japan Todt expected to be more competitive in JapanFerrari’s Jean Todt admitted that he expected to be more competitive in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, after Michael Schumacher finished seventh and Rubens Barrichello an eventual eleventh.

“Qualifying mainly went to our disadvantage but it’s better to get all the shit in one year and start better for next year, but it happens. We have been so successful, so fortunate in the past so it’s just a bad cycle. For us, we just have to learn from it and improve where we have to improve.”

Todt explained that after an initial burst of performance, when Michael Schumacher rose from 14th on the grid to fifth in 14 laps, the Ferrari’s pace dropped off. “Since the start of the season, in these conditions, we’ve had a loss of performance at the end of the first third of the race and it’s hard to resist to quicker cars when they’re behind us.” zzzz

That dropped Schumacher to his eventual seventh place, but Todt thought it should have been worth more. “I think Michael, once again, deserved more than sixth place because he fought for sixth place but finished seventh and it was for him something that was very important. It was his fighting spirit and doing as much as he could for the team, because he loves his job, he loves his team and he loves the sport.”
Sealing third in the Constructors’ championship, however, was not much reward for Todt. The drivers, he said, had done what they could. “We know that Formula One is a mechanical sport where to win a race or score a good result you need a good package: reliability, team, chassis, tires and engine.

“So our third place in the Constructors’ championship is fairly significant. Having said that, two teams have been more competitive than Ferrari-Bridgestone so we knew that it’s something that could happen one day. Unfortunately after six wins in the Constructors’ championship and five Drivers’ championships with Michael it makes little difference whether you finish third or fourth in the championship.”

Looking forward to next year, Todt said that “we’re preparing as well as we can – I can’t say that we can prepare more thoroughly but we are attempting to reply to the problems that we’ve had this year. Even if next year’s car won’t be in its latest specification for the beginning of the season, considering the introduction of the new V8, 2.4 liter engine, we have decided to introduce the car as early as possible which is why we will introduce it by mid-January ’06.”

Todt then discussed the various changes that had been proposed and discussed during the weekend. “Basically it was a meeting called by the drivers, and we tackled a number of subjects among which was qualifying. According to the information that we have, there has been a drop in the TV audience. Media and television have been complaining that there is no spectacle when it comes to qualifying. But we are going to wait for the Formula One Commission which will meet on October 24 when decisions will be made.”

Todt said that he would wait to find out which of the features would work in favor of Ferrari. “I want to have internal meetings first, to see what is in favor and what is against, compared to the current situation.”

He was, however, in favor of reversing some rule changes made this year which he considered to be dangerous, in particular, the use of one tire throughout qualifying and the race. But attempting to copy the success of the Japanese Grand Prix, where some competitors started at the back of the grid due to adverse weather conditions in qualifying would simply make Formula One a circus, said Todt. “It was a situation which arose, but if Formula One is to remain a sport then I think it’s logical to allow those who are quickest to start in front.” Ferrari

Four new drivers to test GP2 Four new drivers to test GP2Just two weeks since the 2005 champions were crowned in Bahrain, the GP2 series begins its 2006 season tomorrow at Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT in the south of France. Our 12 teams will use this first winter test as their first opportunity to test new drivers as they look for potential racers for the 2006 season.

Among these drivers will be Alvaro Parente, the 2005 British Formula Three Champion. Alvaro is expected to test with two teams: iSport International and DAMS. The Portuguese driver will be joined at the test by fellow 2005 champion Luca Filippe, who won this season's F3000 Italia championship. His test with Coloni Motorsport is part of his winner's prize.

Over at Racing Engineering, the current Spanish F3 leader, Javier Villa, will be testing. Javier has attended a number of GP2 series races in 2005 with the team (for whom he drives in F3), and gets his first taste of the GP2 series car this week.

BAR F1 Development Driver James Rossiter will also be testing. The F3 EuroSeries Race winner will be running alongside Parente at DAMS.

Martinsville Testing Martinsville TestingAt least a dozen drivers are expected to test this week at Martinsville, including Sterling Marlin, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler, Bobby Labonte and Chasers Edwards, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson. Sporting News
China final race for Williams BMW partnership China final race for Williams BMW partnershipFormula One remains in Asia after the Japanese Grand Prix, and travels west to China for the final round of this year’s Championship. Following its successful debut on the F1 calendar last year, the team returns to one of the more favored GP.

The close of the 2005 season also marks the end of the alliance between BMW and WilliamsF1. After six seasons, the partnership has celebrated ten Grands Prix victories together.

Mark Webber
“Last year’s inaugural Chinese Grand Prix was one I enjoyed a lot. I went to Beijing beforehand and visited the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. All those monuments and venues are very interesting and one really must go and see that part of the world. I think it’s a good thing that China is hosting a Formula One race, especially in Shanghai, which is an incredibly modern city.

“The circuit itself is unique, especially the first sector which has a great layout and includes a long back straight where you can get some good overtaking done. The facilities are world class and the atmosphere at the track is better than we anticipated it to be for a new venue. I enjoyed last year’s event and I’m now looking forward to returning.”

Antonio Pizzonia
“Shanghai is another new track for me, just like Suzuka, and another learning curve. I went to last year’s race though so I have some idea of what the track looks like. To get to know the layout a bit better I’ve been on the simulator in Grove and will watch last year’s GP, as I always do before a race. Most of the drivers say they enjoy the circuit so I am really looking forward to this, the last race of the year. Hopefully we can close the season with a good result for the team.”

Sam Michael, Technical Director, WilliamsF1
“Shanghai circuit has a unique layout, particularly at the first corner, with a good mixture of corner speeds and straights. It is quite twisty in areas and the back straight leads into a corner where you can overtake under the right circumstances. Strategy will be straight forward as we can apply the rule changes to last year’s race results.

After Suzuka, we are looking forward to finishing the year well. Although this year has not yielded the results that would be satisfactory for WilliamsF1, it has given us added incentive to correct our position in 2006. In China, we also bid farewell to BMW with whom we have enjoyed many successful races over the last six years.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director
“In Shanghai, both cars will have fresh BMW P84/5 engines for the very last time, as the Chinese Grand Prix will be the final race for the V10. No doubt we will shed some tears over the end of this era but are now looking ahead to the challenges we will face with the new V8s. China also marks the last race with our long-term partner, WilliamsF1. We have a six year history together, during which both parties benefited and learnt a lot from each other. Together, we have won ten Grands Prix and, in 2003, we were fighting for the Constructors’ title right up until the last race of the season. Unfortunately, we did not reach our mutual goal of winning the World Championship together. I’m hoping for a good final race to close our partnership.

“China is one of BMW’s fastest growing markets with enormous potential. BMW actually produces cars in China. Compared with 2004, our sales have grown by 25 percent in the region. In 2003, BMW started its first motor sport project in China with the Formula BMW Asia Championship. Ho-Pin Tung, who won the series’ first drivers’ title, later became the first Chinese driver to ever test a Formula One car when he drove the Williams BMW FW24 in 2003. Formula BMW will again feature in this year’s support package. In China, curiosity and interest in motor racing are intense and it’s going to be exciting to see how this will develop in years to come.” Williams BMW
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Credit Suisse sign BMW deal
Tire change makes F1 noise
Alonso is F1's Pass-Master
BAR's big blue - Button
Senna 'no' to Williams test
Sato makes no apology
Flav backs FIA proposal
Frank hails Bridgestone future
Schu to get number '5' in '06
Suzuki denies F1 team bid
Bruised and sizzled
Ron doubts Kimi switch
Finger pointing at Suzuka Finger pointing at SuzukaSuzuka's F1 hero Takuma Sato was excluded from the Japanese grand prix after his clash with Jarno Trulli and a stewards' investigation.  Trulli was furious after the 'impossible' attempt at the chicane, and Toyota boss Tsutomu Tomita called it a 'hopelessly ambitious' pass.

''A driver should be aggressive but fair,'' Sato's compatriot continued.

It was an ignominious BAR-Honda exit on home turf for the Japanese, but he wasn't alone. 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve was docked 25 seconds for forcing Juan Pablo Montoya into the wall.  ''I had no idea what happened until I saw the video in the stewards' room,'' the French Canadian claimed.

The post-race finger pointing continued when Mark Webber blew the whistle on David Coulthard, who the Australian said jumped the start by 'two weeks'.

''With the technology we have, they have to do something,'' he said. ''One thousand per cent, he went before the lights went out.''

Renault's gripe at the FIA involved a brief email that landed on the pitwall after Fernando Alonso passed Christian Klien by jumping over the chicane. When the email arrived, Alonso had already let Klien re-pass him.  Alonso had to slow down and let the Red Bull pass him again.

''He lost seven seconds in the middle of the second stint,'' read a Renault statement.  Flavio Briatore said: ''We don't understand why, but the FIA asked him to do it again. Without the delay, he could have been in front of Raikkonen after the second stop.''

The only thing Ferrari have to boast about, as F1 departs Suzuka bound for Shanghai, is that third place in the constructors' championship is at least tied up.  ''In the ten years I've been with Ferrari,'' said dethroned world champion Michael Schumacher, ''this has been our worst season.''

Formula Ford 2000
Sciuto Takes First F2000 Win While Howard Clinches Title Sciuto Takes First F2000 Win While Howard Clinches TitleAlton, Va. - Teenaged Californian Alan Sciuto and newly crowned series champion Jay Howard shared the honors in the final two rounds of the Cooper Tires Championship Series for Formula Ford 2000 cars held today at Virginia International Raceway.

Sciuto, 17, from Orange, Calif., took full advantage of a first-lap incident between Howard and British rival Joey Foster to take the lead in treacherously slick conditions this morning. Making his very first F2000 start aboard P-1 Racing's #31 Napa Auto Parts/Denso/Pro Series Starters & Alternators Van Diemen RF05, Sciuto gratefully moved into the lead after qualifying an impressive second behind Howard, then led throughout the 13-lap race around the undulating and challenging 3.27-mile road course in rural Virginia.

"I'm a little bummed out that they crashed because I think it would've been a pretty good race between me, Joey and Jay. I think we had a good enough car to race with them," reckoned Sciuto. The youngster had his chance later in the afternoon, when he started from the pole by virtue of posting the fastest lap in the morning race. But it took the amazing Howard only three laps to move into the lead with Aiken Racing's #1 www.newhoneys.com Van Diemen RF03, and Sciuto was unable to respond.

Quite simply, Howard put on another driving clinic as he scythed from the back to the front, then controlled the proceedings to claim his ninth win in just 12 races this year. Sciuto chased hard in second place - despite having not driven his car in dry conditions prior to the race - while P-1 Racing teammate J.R. Hildebrand, from Sausalito, Calif., drove equally well to climb from 10th on the grid to third.

"I knew these [California] guys were going to be quick, so I had to push, push, push from the start," related Howard. "I must admit, I got there a lot quicker than I thought I would. zzzz

"It was an action-packed race," he continued, "because first of all one of my head restraints blew out, then the radio antenna blew off and finally a bunch of tape holding the bonnet in place went flying past my head. It seemed like the car was falling apart, but fortunately it all held together. It's been a great year for me and this is the perfect way to finish it off."

Sciuto was content with his second-place finish in Race 2, especially given his almost total lack of experience of driving the car in the dry.

"I just needed another dry session to get more used to the car," said the former shifter kart star. "It's hard when you go out for your first dry session and it's in the race. But it was a good race and a good weekend."

Hildebrand was equally pleased to bounce back from an incident in the first race in which he was inadvertently forced off the road while attempting to pass a slower car. He had been running a close second, hot on Sciuto's tail, at the time.

Hildebrand had another scare this afternoon when a hard-charging Foster (#3 Bradfords/BRDC/Keenpine/ Woodpecker Pine Van Diemen RF01) clattered over his right-rear wheel while trying to make a pass on lap 3. This time, fortunately, his car was largely unscathed. (Foster's, however, was not, and the Englishman's disappointing weekend once again ended with a retirement.) Hildebrand lost a couple of places but quickly claimed them back, then stormed from sixth to fourth place, which became third when early race leader Christopher Guerrieri made a mistake in Turn One.

Guerrieri, from Pickering, Ont., Canada, held on for fourth in his #11 Aiken Racing Van Diemen RF05.

Others to shine during the day included another Cooper Series debutant, Robert Podlesni. The 17-year-old from Thousand Oaks, Calif., finished a fine second in the first race with Dave Freitas Racing's #84 Prudential California Van Diemen RF03, despite being handicapped by a balky gearbox. Sadly, the transmission proved even more troublesome in the second race, so Podlesni, who had been running a good fourth, wisely pulled into the pits to save the gearbox from further damage.
Yet another rookie, Nick Boulle, from Dallas, Texas, finished a career-best third in the morning race with the #2 deBoulle Jewelry/Cape Motorsports Van Diemen RF01. Boulle couldn't match that performance in the dry but still finished a respectable eighth in the afternoon race.

A delighted Craig Clawson, from Corning, N.Y., scooped a pair of victories in the Cooper Gold Cup class, for older Pinto-engined cars. Clawson took advantage of a rare error from series veteran Bill Jordan, from Syosset, N.Y., on the final lap of the morning race, then overcame some gearbox problems before the start of the afternoon encounter to claim his second win of the day.

Results from Round 11:

1. Alan Sciuto (Van Diemen RF05); 2. Robert Podlesni (Van Diemen RF03); 3. Nick Boulle (Van Diemen RF01); 4. Chris Meredith  (Van Diemen RF02); 5. Nick Haye (Van Diemen RF01); 6. Chris Guerrieri (Van Diemen RF05); 7. Doug Smith (Van Diemen RF03); 8. Jason Byers (Van Diemen RF03); 9. Gerald Kraut (Van Diemen RF03); 10. Dwight Rider (Van Diemen RF02); 11. David Clarke (Van Diemen RF05); 12. Rich Zober (Van Diemen RF05); 13. Craig Clawson (Van Diemen RF01-Pinto*); 14. Bill Jordan (Van Diemen RF00-Pinto*); 15. Chuck Lessick (Van Diemen RF05); 16. Doug Kniffin (Van Diemen RF01); 17. J.R. Hildebrand (Van Diemen RF02), -6 laps, accident; 18. Noah Bystrom (Van Diemen RF05), -7 laps, not running; 19. Brendon Puderbach (Van Diemen RF97-Pinto*), -9 laps, not running; 20. Ira Fierberg (Van Diemen RF01), - 9 laps, engine; 21. Jay Howard (Van Diemen RF03), -13 laps, accident; 22. Joey Foster (Van Diemen RF01), -13 laps, accident.
* = Cooper Gold Cup contestants (for Pinto-engined cars)

Winner's race time: 27 minutes 18.677 seconds
Race distance: 13 laps/42.51 miles
Winner's average speed: 94.060 mph
Margin of victory: 13.755 seconds
Fastest qualifier: Howard, 2m 09.092s, 91.191 mph
Fastest race lap: Sciuto, 2m 02.762s, 95.893 mph

Results from Round 12:

1. Howard; 2. Sciuto; 3. Hildebrand; 4. Guerrieri; 5. Smith; 6. Byers; 7. Haye; 8. Boulle; 9. Meredith; 10. Bystrom; 11. Kraut; 12. Rider; 13. Zober; 14. Lessick; 15. Clawson*; 16. Puderbach*; 17. Kniffin; 18. Jordan; 19. Podlesni, -5 laps; not running, gearbox; 20. Fierberg, -10 laps, not running, engine; 21. Foster, -12 laps, not running, accident; NS. Clarke.
Note: * = Cooper Gold Cup contestants (for Pinto-engined cars)

Winner's race time: 27 minutes 08.876 seconds
Race distance: 14 laps/45.78 miles
Winner's average speed: 101.179 mph
Margin of victory: 7.607 seconds
Pole-winner: Sciuto, 2m 02.762s, 95.893 mph
Fastest race lap: Howard, 1m 54.480s, 102.830mph

Unofficial championship positions (After 12 of 12 rounds): 1. Howard, 307; 2. Foster, 215; 3. Guerrieri, 180; 4. Byers, 164; 5. Meredith, 133; 6. Smith, 132; 7. Matthew McDonough, 128; 8. Kraut, 116; 9. Haye, 116; 10. Boulle, 113; etc.

Bubba speak Bubba speakA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Why do almost all quotes I see from NASCAR have the word "gonna" in them? Last time I checked that isn't a word in the English language dictionary. It must be the number one used word in the Bubba vocabulary. I'm appalled. Why don't you edit them? Claire Weaver, Chicago, IL Dear Claire, We publish the exact quotes from the NASCAR drivers. They use the word "gonna" in every other sentence. It's a Bubba thing. Mark C.
Pruett and Diaz win at VIR Pruett and Diaz win at VIRScott Pruett and Luis Diaz of CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates had to gain at least five points on Rolex Series challenger SunTrust Racing at Virginia International Raceway in order to give the team a chance to repeat as Daytona Prototype champions heading into next month’s season finale at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. The CompUSA tandem was again able to extend the fiercely-contested two-horse race, gaining seven championship markers on their rivals– and did so in fine fashion, crossing the VIR finish line 2.181 seconds ahead of the no.2 CITGO Pontiac-Crawford of Andy Wallace to win their third race of the 2005 Grand American season.

Diaz started the race from the front row based on championship point standings after Saturday’s qualifying session was nixed due to inclement weather, but dropped to third on the start. The Mexico City native was able to recover, pedaling his 500hp Lexus-powered machine back up to second by Lap 6 of 74. By Lap 10 he was hounding his aforementioned championship foe for the point, and bossed his way by the no.10 car for the lead on Lap 12, but not before some door-to-door contact. zzzz

Diaz pushed on to Lap 30 when the CompUSA team made their first of two perfect pit stops, and co-driver Pruett took the helm. The Californian took on four fresh Hoosier tires and a full load of fuel and reentered the fray looking to rule the Rolex Series roost after the pit cycle shuffled through. The turning point of the race came on Lap 37 when the SunTrust machine was forced to make an unscheduled stop for a flat left rear tire while turning comparative lap times just two positions in arrears of Pruett, dropping them to 20th.

While in second, the pit cycle came back around to Pruett on Lap 53, and the no.77 Daytona Prototype was the only thing standing between him and the team’s third victory of the season (Fontana, Laguna Seca). But the veteran pilot remained calm, consistently turned the fastest laps of the race, and bided his time before making a bid for the top of the scoring pylon.

The move of the race came for Pruett on Lap 63 when he overtook the no.77 car in Turn 11, getting on the inside and executing a clean pass of the race leader. Making it look easy, as he’s often done over his illustrious career, the defending Rolex Series champion went on to stretch his legs to the tune of 2.181 seconds for a stellar seventh career win in just 25 Grand American starts.

The rival SunTrust machine finished fourth, and now stand 32-markers ahead (407-375) of the CompUSA team as they enter the season finale in Diaz’ native Mexico City for the series’ first trip South of the Border. 35 points are awarded to the winner in Rolex Sports Car Series competition.

“This CompUSA car was just really awesome today,” said Pruett, who notched his second VIR podium after finishing second in 2004. “I had great pit stops from my guys, and that’s what got it done for us. We were able to pick our spots on the track and make our moves in a very calculating fashion. We felt we had all of our bases covered coming into the race, and it paid off this afternoon. Luis did a fabulous job again and I can’t wait to get to Mexico City to what I think will be a groundbreaking event for the Rolex Sports Car Series.”

The win for Diaz is the third of his Rolex Series career (24 starts), and gives him a tremendous amount of momentum and confidence heading to Mexico. As the only full-time Mexican in the series, he will undoubtedly be among the headlining drivers on a weekend that runs in conjunction with the popular Champ Car World Series.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am for this result today,” said Diaz. “We have a championship battle heading into the season finale, and that’s all I could have hoped for. It’s great for CompUSA, Telmex and our sponsors to be a part of the Mexico City race, and having a shot at the championship will bring that much more excitement to the race. You can expect about half a million people for the weekend, so be prepared for a great show if you’ve never seen a race in my country.”

Fans of CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can follow the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley all season long by logging onto the Rolex Sports Car Series website at www.grandamerican.com for free live timing, and keep up with the team’s successes throughout the 2005 season by logging onto the official website at www.chipganassiracing.com for news, features, photos and much more. Next up for the team is the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez in Mexico City, Saturday, November 5th (LIVE, SPEED Channel, 4:00 pm ET) for the final round of the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series.

Labonte denies Hall of Fame ride Labonte denies Hall of Fame rideNative Texan Terry Labonte said he is not a candidate for the Cup ride at Hall of Fame Racing, the start-up team co-owned by former Cowboys quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. "I've got a job," said Labonte, a two-time Cup champ who plans to retire in 2006. "I'm going to run 10 races for Hendrick Motorsports next year. That's for sure." Labonte's name surfaced here as a good fit for the Staubach-Aikman ride. The native of Corpus Christi carries with him a champion's provisional that would guarantee the team a starting spot in the season-opening Daytona 500 -- NASCAR's Super Bowl. Fort Worth Star Telegram
Bowyer in, Tracy on hold Bowyer in, Tracy on holdThe Paul Tracy experiment in NASCAR is on hold, according to team owner Richard Childress. Childress, who tested the Champ Car driver in August, is focused on helping Nextel Cup driver Kevin Harvick win the $1 million bonus for finishing 11th (his current position) and Clint Bowyer win his first Busch Series title. Bowyer is 49 points behind Martin Truex Jr. following Saturday's United Way 300 at Kansas. Childress said he would rather give Bowyer -- and not Tracy -- a chance in a Cup race before the season ends. "I think he's ready," he said. Indianapolis Star
2006 Grand-Am Rolex Series Schedule 2006 Grand-Am Rolex Series ScheduleOfficials from the Grand American Road Racing Association announced Sunday a 14-race Rolex Sports Car Series schedule following today’s VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway. Schedule highlights include three new venues, new dates for two established events, a return to a familiar venue and a season in total that will start earlier – late January with the Rolex 24 At Daytona – and end sooner – Labor Day Weekend with the SunChaser 9-Hour at the debuting Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City – than any other season since Grand American’s inaugural year of competition in 2000.

In addition to the nine-hour race in Salt Lake on Saturday, Sept. 2, other new venues include Infineon Raceway one week earlier (August 24 – 26) and a Saturday race at the nation’s premier street road racing event, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 8.

New dates have been established for existing races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (June 23 – 24) and the VIR 400 here at Virginia International Raceway that will be moved to the spring (April 21 – 23) after recent races in the fall.

The Rolex Series also returns to Lime Rock Park where the GT class will headline the traditional sport car event at that venue on Memorial Day Weekend, with the race slated for the Monday holiday.

The 2006 season begins one week earlier than this year’s calendar with the kick-off Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 26 – 29. The schedule move takes the premier endurance race off of Super Bowl weekend and will now be run on the open weekend between the NFL finale and that league’s championship weekend.

Daytona will once again host two races with a return visit with NASCAR on Thursday of July 4th weekend (June 29), while Watkins Glen also doubles up with Rolex Series races with the Sahlen’s Six Hour (June 2 – 3) and the traditional Friday night race with NASCAR (Aug. 10 – 11).

In addition to the pair of races with NASCAR and the shared card with the Champ Car World Series at Long Beach, the Rolex Series will join the IRL IndyCar Series for three races. Both the Infineon Raceway event and June Watkins Glen race are on shared weekends with IndyCar as is the traditional race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (March 23 – 25).

Other races on the 2006 card include Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (May 5 -7), Phoenix International Raceway (May 12 – 13) and Barber Motorsports Park (July 28 – 30).

Mexico City is on the schedule for a Saturday race on the NASCAR weekend, March 2 – 4, although the final date for that event will be determined in the near future. The 2005 season will conclude this November on a race weekend shared with the Champ Car World Series and the possibility exists for a return of that combination in 2006.

The Grand American Road Racing Association, which operates and sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup Series, is the premier road racing organization in North America. The 14-race 2006 Rolex Series schedule and the 10-race Grand-Am Cup calendar deliver professional sports car racing to key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED Channel and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA, the Rolex Sports Car Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand American at www.grandamerican.com.

2006 Rolex Sports Car Series Schedule
January 4 – 7, 2006 Daytona Test Days Daytona International Speedway
January 26 – 29, 2006 24 Hours Daytona International Speedway
March 2 – 4, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours Mexico City, Mexico+
March 23-25, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours Homestead-Miami Speedway
April 7 – 8, 2006 1 ½ Hours Long Beach, California***
April 21 – 23, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours* Virginia International Raceway
May 5 – 7, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours* Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
May 12 – 13, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours* Phoenix International Raceway
May 27 – 29, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours* Lime Rock Park**
June 2 – 3, 2006 6 Hours Watkins Glen International Raceway
June 23 – 24, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours* Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
June 29, 2006 250 Miles/2 ½ Hours Daytona International Speedway
July 28 – 30, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours* Barber Motorsports Park
August 10 – 11, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours Watkins Glen International Raceway***
August 24 – 26, 2006 200 Miles/2 ½ Hours Infineon Raceway
August 31 – Sept. 2, 2006 9 Hours Miller Motorsports Park
+Race date subject to change
*Points-paying heat races to set field for final event.
**Grand Touring Only
***Daytona Prototypes Only

Albers admits he caused pit lane fire Albers admits he caused pit lane fireMinardi rookie Christijan Albers apologized to his team for triggering a pit fire in the Japanese Grand Prix. The Dutchman overshot his marks as he came in for his second stop on lap 35. That caused a problem locating the refueling nozzle, with the result that a small amount of fuel spilled onto the bodywork and immediately burst into flames. The fire was swiftly extinguished and no crew members were injured, but Albers lost two laps in the process.

“I was having a really good battle with the Jordans and had a faster car, but unfortunately I made a mistake when I overshot the marks during my second pit stop,” said Albers. “That led to a refueling problem and the fire, which effectively put paid to my race. Apologies to the team, and in particular to the front jack man, Sandro Parrini, and the refuelers.”

Fisi: Nothing I could do to hold off Kimi Fisi: Nothing I could do to hold off KimiGiancarlo Fisichella claimed that there was nothing he could have done to stop Kimi Raikkonen winning the Japanese Grand Prix.  After leading for most of the race in Suzuka, the Renault driver lost the lead to Raikkonen in Turn 1 on the last lap.

"I knew Kimi was quick and was catching me up," he said afterwards.  "Honestly I was pushing 100% but he was much quicker than me. Maybe because I was a bit slow on the exit of the chicane and the hairpin.  Anyway I did my best and second is still good for me. We are ahead again in the constructors' championship which is good."

"I was talking with the team and the first part I was doing my pace," he said.  "Then they told me to push a little bit more and I was doing that. I did my best but after the middle of the race I lost rear grip and it was a bit slow in the slow chicanes and the low speed corners and even under traction."

Disappointing attendance for A1GP in Germany Disappointing attendance for A1GP in GermanyAs can be see from the image to the right (Photo courtesy A1GP) and from a number of images on our soon-to-be published photo page for the A1 Grand Prix race at EuroSpeedway, the attendance was a huge disappointment after a great crowd at Brands Hatch for the inaugural race two weeks ago. The A1GP press release said 34,000 were in attendance, which is preposterous given the evidence. Makes us wonder how many really showed up at Brands Hatch. The attendance at EuroSpeedway today looks to be about 1/20th of what Champ Car drew for this race (See Champ Car photo to left). Champ Car in their great wisdom abandoned the European market, supposedly because Bernie Ecclestone asked them to wait. We are of the opinion Champ Car would do well in countries like Holland and Germany. And the street race in Manchester, England would have been huge too. As for A1GP, the school is still out as to whether it will ever be anything more than support series given the size and horsepower of their cars.
A1 Grand Prix
France wins German sprint race France wins German sprint raceAfter an exciting start to the Sprint race at the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, EuroSpeedway Lausitz, the grid for the Feature event has been set.

 A1 Team Driver Time
1 France Nicolas Lapierre 30:10.429
2 Switzerland Neel Jani 30:12.442
3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr 30:12.887
4 New Zealand Jonny Reid 30:18.475
5 Germany Timo Scheider 30:19.280
6 Malaysia Alex Yoong 30:33.848
7 Canada Sean McIntosh 30:34.438
8 Mexico David Martinez 30:35.838
9 Ireland Ralph Firman 30:37.010
10 Japan Hideki Noda 30:38.271
11 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 30:38.671
12 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 30:50.690
13 Austria Mathias Lauda 30:51.436
14 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 30:53.064
15 Australia Christian Jones 30:53.885
16 India Karun Chandhok 30:54.308
17 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 30:59.954
18 China Tengyi Jiang 16 Laps
19 Lebanon Khalil Beschir 7 laps
20 Portugal Alvaro Parente 3 laps
21 Pakistan Adam Khan 2 laps
22 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 1 lap
23 USA Scott Speed 0 laps
24 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 0 laps  zzzz

A1 Team France's Nicolas Lapierre retained pole position for the Feature race. 'I had a big gap on the first lap which was fantastic for me and then I just tried to manage that gap. Then the safety car came out and I had a good race start after that and the situation was under control. The balance of the car was not perfect but I was still able to win the race so it's good for the next one. The next race is going to be more difficult at the start because it is the standing start so we need to make a good start. It is more difficult because we have a pit stop strategy but the team is fantastic for pit stops.  They did some very good practices but we will have to see what happens this race. It is my first race for A1GP and the team gave me a car to win the race so it is a fantastic start for us, but now we have to focus on the second one which is as well very important and we will see tonight where we are.'

The second slot on the Feature race grid goes to A1 Team Switzerland who moved up four positions from sixth on the grid for the Sprint race when A1 Teams USA and Great Britain collided on the first turn. Driver Neel Jani said: 'I made quite a good start and I was on the inside. I just saw a lot of smoke so I stayed on the inside and everybody else went out so there was a nice gap for me to go through to second. Through the race, I was not allowed to do any mistakes because Nelson would have overtaken me for sure.  I just had to concentrate and make sure I did not do any mistakes and try to do quick laps.'

Double winner at the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Brands Hatch, A1 Team Brazil took third place in the Sprint race and also managed to set the fastest lap with a time of 1.34.736 on lap 14. Driver, Nelson Piquet Jr said: 'I did a little mistake at the start, I went out in the wrong gear and I lost a lot of positions at the start. I am not going to say that I was lucky, as for the cars that crashed it was a bit unlucky, but I gained the positions that I lost at the start and went to third. Throughout the race I was quicker than Jani so it was difficult to follow him. This circuit is quite difficult to follow and it is not easy to overtake. I tried to make some gaps from the drivers behind and tried for quickest lap and the last thing I heard on the radio was that I had fastest

A1 Team Italy was given a 25 second penalty for overtaking under a waved yellow flag which demoted them from 8th to 17th position.

The pole position for the Sprint race was changed from the right side to the left side of the grid for the rolling start, but the Feature Race pole will be back on the right.

Before the start of the Sprint race all the A1 Teams and Drivers observed a minute's silence in memory of the earthquake victims in Pakistan and India.

Raikkonen and Alonso easily the fastest in Japan Raikkonen and Alonso easily the fastest in JapanA look at the fastest laps of the race tells the story of the penultimate race of the season - Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were the class of the field.   Raikkonen lapped the 5.807km circuit on lap 44 with a best time of 1:31.540.  Second place finisher Giancarlo Fisichella had nothing set the third best time of the race on lap 21, but it was almost a second down on what Raikkonen’s best pace and significantly, almost a second down on what Renault teammate Fernando Alonso achieved.
1 . K. Raikkonen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 - 1:31.540 (+ 0.000 ) - Lap 44
2 . F. Alonso - Renault R25 - 1:31.599 (+ 0.059 ) - Lap 21
3 . G. Fisichella - Renault R25 - 1:32.522 (+ 0.982 ) - Lap 19
4 . J. Button - BAR Honda 007 - 1:32.754 (+ 1.214 ) - Lap 19
5 . M. Schumacher - Ferrari F2005 - 1:32.763 (+ 1.223 ) - Lap 25
6 . R. Schumacher - Toyota TF105B - 1:32.795 (+ 1.255 ) - Lap 9
7 . M. Webber - BMW Williams FW27 - 1:33.022 (+ 1.482 ) - Lap 21
8 . D. Coulthard - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:33.023 (+ 1.483 ) - Lap 18
9 . R. Barrichello - Ferrari F2005 - 1:33.133 (+ 1.593 ) - Lap 52
10 . F. Massa - Sauber Petronas C24 - 1:33.232 (+ 1.692 ) - Lap 42
11 . J. Villeneuve - Sauber Petronas C24 - 1:33.288 (+ 1.748 ) - Lap 50
12 . C. Klien - Red Bull Racing RB1 - 1:33.499 (+ 1.959 ) - Lap 49
13 . T. Sato - BAR Honda 007 - 1:34.186 (+ 2.646 ) - Lap 28
14 . T. Monteiro - Jordan Toyota EJ15 - 1:35.458 (+ 3.918 ) - Lap 17
15 . N. Karthikeyan - Jordan Toyota EJ15 - 1:35.887 (+ 4.347 ) - Lap 11
16 . C. Albers - Minardi Cosworth PS05 - 1:36.039 (+ 4.499 ) - Lap 33
17 . R. Doornbos - Minardi Cosworth PS05 - 1:36.574 (+ 5.034 ) - Lap 50
18 . A. Pizzonia - BMW Williams FW27 - 1:36.711 (+ 5.171 ) - Lap 9
19 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF105B - 1:37.428 (+ 5.888 ) - Lap 9
FIA slams Villeneuve FIA slams VilleneuveJacques Villeneuve has been handed a 25-second penalty after race stewards ruled he was to blame for the accident that put Juan Pablo Montoya out of the race on lap 1 of the Japanese GP Sunday. "After the race the stewards viewed the video of the incident and presented the same to Juan Pablo Montoya and his team manager Dave Ryan and independently to Jacques Villeneuve and his team manager Beat Zehnder," said an FIA statement.

"Having heard both parties the stewards independently conclude that Jacques Villeneuve was involved in an incident 'forcing the driver of Car number 10 off track' and therefore impose a 25-second time penalty to the elapsed race time of Jacques Villeneuve." 

"That was a real disappointment for me and the team because we probably could have had a one-two today which would have been fantastic," Montoya said. "I got off the line well but I think Kimi and I touched but nothing happened. Then Villeneuve missed the chicane, pushed me off the track, and that was the end."

"I never even saw Montoya so I have no idea what he might have been trying to do when he went off," Villeneuve stated. 

Villeneuve thus has been moved back to 12th position, though it doesn't matter much as his teammate Massa beat him again anyway, which won't look good in BMW's eyes as Villeneuve fights for his ride at Sauber next year.  2006 contract or not, it's expected BMW will pay Villeneuve his full salary to sit home and plant flowers in his garden.

Sato excluded from Japanese GP results Sato excluded from Japanese GP resultsTakuma Sato has been excluded from the Japanese GP after a collision with Italian Toyota driver Jarno Trulli during the race. In a statement, the FIA said: "The Stewards viewed the video of the incident and presented the same to Takuma Sato and his Team Manager Ron Meadows and independently to Jarno Trulli and his team manager Richard Cregan.

"Having heard both parties the stewards independently conclude that Takuma Sato was involved in an incident 'forcing the driver of car number 16 off the track' and therefore reprimand Sato and order that he be excluded from the results."

"I'm extremely annoyed," Toyota team boss Tsutomu Tomita told Reuters. "What Sato did is just not on. It was reckless. I'm all in favor of aggressive driving but Sato goes way beyond what is acceptable," fumed Tomita. "You have to abide by the rules. He goes beyond being enthusiastic. It's flat-out dangerous. We're shocked to be the victims of that sort of thing," he said. "We want to see fair play and rules kept. At Spa Sato hit a red car (Schumacher's Ferrari) too. Being aggressive and putting people at risk are two separate things. What Sato did was unfair. It was completely out of order."

Trulli called Sato a liability. "Sato tried a maneuver that was obviously impossible," he said. "There was no reason to try that move. I don't know what he was thinking. He's been causing problems for a long time and the FIA has to take action to stop it."

"Obviously we were very close and I was going to the inside and braking but there was not enough room and we turned into one another," he said. "We have a different view on it but it's just a racing incident," countered Sato.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Theissen slams Head claims
More detail of Max's plan
No Webber rift, says Frank
Frank Williams' signature
Schu to retire in a red car
Montoya slams quali format
Mercedes boss says sorry
Seen in Suzuka Seen in SuzukaSuzuka habitually draws familiar racing faces and 2005 has been no exception. Both Jean Alesi and Aguri Suzuki have been finding themselves even more popular than ever, as both have been linked with the rumored new Honda-affiliated 11th team for 2006.
The Frenchman, who drove his last Formula One race here in 2002 for Jordan, laughed and said, “I have never had so many young drivers coming up to speak with me about possible drives!”

Sir Frank Williams finally made it here, but not before his plane went technical in mid-air over Siberia en route on Wednesday, much to the consternation of Frank and his chief executive Chris Chapple. The pilot was obliged to make a three-hour return trip to Helsinki for suitable repairs to be effected. Technical director Sam Michael couldn’t wait that long, but was able to hitch a ride on Flavio Briatore’s private jet.

Other famous faces in the paddock included ‘Gentleman’ Jacques Lafitte and German television commentator Christian Danner, along with Katsuaki Watanabe, the new president of Toyota Motor Corporation, here to see one of his company’s cars on pole position at Suzuka for the first time.

Kahne Captures victory by inches over Biffle Kahne Captures victory by inches over BiffleKasey Kahne and Greg Biffle raced side-by-side throughout the final lap before Kahne just edged the nose of his No. 6 Dodge across the start-finish line to claim Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series United Way 300 at Kansas Speedway before a raucous sellout crowd.

The two drivers bumped and banged each other on the last of 200 laps around the 1.5-mile track before Kahne found enough to blast past Biffle at the checkered flag. Kahne had captured the lead from Johnny Sauter with 12 laps to go, and held off Biffle, the 2002 series champion, following a restart with three laps left.

The win was the second for Kahne this season, but it was his first – and the first series victory – for Evernham Motorsports. The consistent Biffle, who was starting only his 23rd race this year in the No. 66 Ford for Brewco Motorsports, moved into the top 10 in the point standings in this, the 30th event in the 35-race season.

Martin Truex Jr., the defending series champion, escaped Kansas with a 49-point lead over second-place Clint Bowyer in the point standings with only five races to go. Truex finished ninth while Bowyer, a native of Emporia racing at his hometown track, fell back to 16th-place when a loose wheel caused him to pit with seven laps to go. He was running sixth at the time. Bowyer’s deficit could have been much worse – he missed pit road on his initial attempt to pit, but was saved when a caution involving Mike Wallace and Jason Leffler allowed him to salvage his stop under the yellow flag.

Truex came into the event with a precarious 26-point lead over Bowyer and looked as though he would leave in second place for the first time in 12 races when his crew chief, Kevin Manion, called for him to pit on Lap 173. Truex, running in the top 10 at the time, hesitated but followed his orders. He was the only lead lap car to pit under a caution caused by Brent Sherman. Truex, the Busch Pole winner, re-started 17th, while Bowyer was fourth. Bowyer actually held the championship points lead twice during the race.

Johnny Sauter finished third, 2001 series champion Kevin Harvick was fourth and Jon Wood was fifth, his best finish since a runner-up result at Talladega back in April. Reed Sorenson, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Truex and J.J. Yeley finished sixth through 10th, respectively.

The NASCAR Busch Series competes at Charlotte next Friday night at 8:00 p.m. ET and can be seen live on TNT.

Frantic race in store Frantic race in storeA frantic Japanese grand prix, with much of the action occurring a long way down the order, is in store today at Suzuka. Already, whispers from pitlane suggest that guys like Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren) - in the dash for constructors' glory against Renault - might start from pitlane with a full tank. ''It's unlikely,'' Ron Dennis said.

Another big question-mark is the weather. It absolutely poured in Suzuka after qualifying, but most weather men agree that Sunday should stay dry. ''The risk of (Sunday) rain has been diminishing throughout the weekend,'' agreed Toyota's Mike Gascoyne.

Wet or dry, Renault seem to have the race-advantage, with at least one car - Giancarlo Fisichella - near the front of the grid. Most players admit that Fernando Alonso, Kimi and Juan Pablo don't stand a chance of actually winning.

''I think we have a little advantage for the constructors' (championship),'' said Alonso, ''but it will be very difficult for me to be in the points.

''Overtaking the Minardis and Jordans won't be too difficult, but with Saubers and Williams' ... it gets harder. It is very difficult to find an overtaking place here. We just have to do better than McLaren.''

Pole man Ralf Schumacher and fellow front row resident Jenson Button, though, harbor real ambitions to win. ''We've often been pretty close to Fisi's pace this season,'' Toyota technical director Gascoyne continued, ''and we've beaten Button more times than not in recent races.''

A cracked rib for Crocker A cracked rib for CrockerPart-time Busch Series driver Erin Crocker has been diagnosed with a cracked rib, an injury left over from a hard crash she had in the Sept. 26 Busch race at Dover, Del.   According to team officials, Crocker, 24, had been a little sore since the accident and was diagnosed with the rib injury following a doctor visit this weekend. ThatsRacin.com
France and Helton reset NASCAR’s agenda France and Helton reset NASCAR’s agendaNASCAR chairman Brian France and president Mike Helton – to reset the sport's agenda. France and Helton gathered a cadre of motorsports beat writers and basically laid out NASCAR's position on major issues that could shape the sport for years to come.

Among the highlights:

  1. NASCAR will soon announce policies designed to limit the number of teams a Nextel Cup car owner can own. France indicated the limit, designed to help keep smaller teams in the sport and allow new car owners to come in without worrying they can't compete unless they start multicar operations, would be no more than three teams. Jack Roush currently owns five full-time Cup teams, while Rick Hendrick owns four and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates plans four for next season. The team limits would be phased in over a period of years.

    "We don't like the fact that an independent team, or in particular a new owner looking at coming in the door, has a daunting task…of having to have five teams or three teams," France said. "That means the opportunities aren't there for young drivers (or) to create the next Rick Hendrick. And it ultimately means that we don't field as many competitive cars as we'd like to field. We're going to have to address that."

    "Jack Roush has absolutely played by the rules," Helton said. "He's done everything correctly. He's done it well ... and he's showing signs of success from it. And there's nothing wrong with that. We've got no problem with that.

    "The problem is what the future of the sport is going to look like. ... That's the only problem we've got with it. We don't care if Jack's got five, six or 10 cars if it were good for the sport. But we don't think it's good for the sport and we have to address that." zzzz
  2. The so-called "car of tomorrow," a new version of the Nextel Cup car with a boxier shape, a larger driver's compartment and various changes aimed at improving safety and increasing standardization, will be phased into use whether team owners like it or not. The car's first race could come as soon as Talladega in October 2006 and it is scheduled to be in wide use at all types of tracks in 2007.

    "We want to box that thing up, bring it back into the old days where you might have a slingshot pass, more along the style of racing the trucks have," France said. "It's pretty simple. ... There will be some cost but there won't be a lot. We wouldn't saddle the teams with some big, giant cost. That wouldn't be in our best interest. But we want to get all those benefits of the car of tomorrow and we're not going to wait forever to do it."

    "We've captured those things to where NASCAR going down the road can police the sport better," he said, "so that Richard Childress or Cal Wells or Eddie Wood or anybody doesn't have to jump through hoops to stay competitive out here more consistently, and don't have to go after enormous money to chase being competitive."

    With regard to making all the cars identical a la IROC, "I think that's good," France said. "We want it to be the best drivers and teams on the track. We don't want engineers winning races. ... There's always an engineering side, but if we can diminish that, we're all for that. If you want to be in a technology contest, we're not the place for you anyway. We want competitive, side-by-side, the best racing in world. The Formula One and other series rightfully say they're the technology people. That's true. We don't want to be."
  3. Helton defended the post race inspection process, insisting that Jimmie Johnson's race-winning car at Dover passed inspection under the same scrutiny given to any other car after any other race, despite rival teams' complaints to the contrary. Helton said he thought some of those competitors were complaining about the Dover issue "because they got beat."
  4. France said announcements about a new television deal within a matter of weeks. He hinted the season could be apportioned differently than the current deal, in which Fox/FX share the first half and NBC/TNT the second, with a mid-summer package, presumably for ABC/ESPN, to be added. France also wants the Busch Series to have its own broadcast "identity," which means it could have its own separate deal. ThatsRacin.com
Foyt IV to move up to Busch in 2006 Foyt IV to move up to Busch in 2006A.J. Foyt IV will drive in the NASCAR Busch Series in two weeks.  Akins Motorsports owner Doug Stringer named Foyt IV as the driver of the No. 38 Dodge for the last four races of 2005 and the entire 2006 Busch Series season.

The 21-year-old Foyt IV left his grandfather's IRL team to join NASCAR. A.J. Foyt Enterprises released Foyt IV from his contract on Friday, effective after the IRL IndyCar Series' final race at California Speedway on October 16. Foyt IV will race in his first Busch Series event - the Sam's Town 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park - on October 22.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to drive the No. 38 Great Clips Dodge," Foyt IV said. "I'm thrilled that I have the opportunity to associate myself with a team such as Akins Motorsports. I'm hoping that the last four races this season will help me get dialed in for a full season next year."

"I tested with Akins Motorsports in Memphis a few weeks ago and everything went really well," Foyt IV said. "With the support of Great Clips and Evernham Engines, we should be a strong contender for rookie of the year."

Taylor on VIR 400 Pole After Rain Washes Out Qualifying Taylor on VIR 400 Pole After Rain Washes Out QualifyingALTON, Va. – Due to the persistent rain that has plagued Virginia International Raceway all weekend, Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400 (Sunday, October 9, 1:00 p.m. ET, LIVE on SPEED Channel) qualifying was cancelled today and championship co-leader Wayne Taylor will start from the pole position in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley after the race lineup was determined by team point standings.

With a 39-point lead over No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, Taylor and teammate Max Angelelli can clinch the 2005 Rolex Series team championship with a victory this weekend. Taylor will be starting on the pole for the second time this season, also qualifying first in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in June.

“The goal for this race will be the same for every other racing,” Taylor said.  “It doesn’t change if we’re on the pole or we aren’t, we want to be ahead of the No. 01 car.  These races go down to the last 20 minutes, so the priority is to bring the car in a good position and give Max a good car so we can do what we have to do at the end.” zzzz

In the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen two weeks ago, Taylor and Angelelli became the winningest Daytona Prototype drivers in Rolex Series history with their eighth career victories, moving ahead of 2003 champion Terry Borcheller.  The two have claimed five overall victories this season, including a triumph at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in February.  They have not finished lower than sixth in 12 starts this year.

Diaz will start the No. 01 Lexus on the outside of Row 1, looking to use the 3.27-mile,17-turn circuit to close the gap on the SunTrust duo with just two of 14 races remaining on the 2005 schedule.  He and Pruett have won two races this season, in Round 3 at California Speedway and the following race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 

“I’m not sure if we would have been able to get the car on the front row or not if the session was dry, but we’ll take what we’re given,” Diaz said. “We were able to get a better feel for the car and make some more changes, so hopefully we can apply what we learned today to tomorrow’s race.”

Elliott Forbes-Robinson will start the two-hour and 45-minute or 77-lap race third in the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford.  Forbes-Robinson and teammate Butch Leitzinger are the only drivers besides Diaz and Pruett in title contention with the No. 10 SunTrust duo. Jorg Bergmeister will be fourth on the starting grid in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley.

Michael McDowell rounds out the top five, starting the No. 19 Finlay Motorsports BMW Riley on the inside of Row 3.  The rookie comes to VIR after serving a one-race suspension two weeks ago at Watkins Glen for a series of on-track incidents this season.

Hamlin and Kahne crash Hamlin and Kahne crashKasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin will both start in the back of the field Sunday at Kansas after both drivers slapped the wall during Saturday's Bud Pole Qualifying session.
Industry News
Delphi files for bankruptcy Delphi files for bankruptcyDelphi Corp., the nation’s largest automotive parts supplier and employer of 14,700 in Michigan, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy today after months of negotiations with General Motors Corp. and the UAW failed to produce a deal to stop the financially strapped company from bleeding money.

The bankruptcy, the largest ever in Michigan, will result in the closure, sale or consolidation of a "substantial segment" of Delphi's U.S. plants, threatening the livelihood of thousands of workers, while dealing another blow the to state's economy already struggling with a high unemployment rate.

The giant auto supplier, spun off from General Motors Corp. in 1999, and 38 of its subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for reorganization in New York. Delphi will continue to operate in bankruptcy, which will keep its creditors at bay while it reorganizes its business, and expects to emerge from Chapter 11 in early to mid-2007.

"There are some substantial plant closings that are probably going to have to take place,“ Delphi Chairman and Chief Executive Robert S. (Steve) Miller told the Free Press in an interview. That and the future size and structure of the company will be decided in bankruptcy court over the next few months, he said. [Editor's Note: In bankruptcy it's doubtful the judge overseeing the case will allow money to be spent on a frivolous IRL sponsorship when people are losing their jobs. This could be yet another team in jeopardy for 2006.]

A1 Grand Prix
France nips USA for sprint race pole in Germany France nips USA for sprint race pole in GermanyThe grid positions for the Sprint race for the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Germany have been decided following four 15 minute Qualifying sessions this afternoon.

 A1 Team Driver Aggregate Time
1 France Nicholas Lapierre 3.05.332
2 USA Scott Speed 3.05.388
3 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr 3.05.586
4 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 3.06.201
5 Germany Timo Schneider 3.06.209
6 Switzerland Neel Jani 3.06.455
7 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 3.07.009
8 Ireland Ralph Firman 3.07.035
9 Portugal Alvaro Parente 3.07.373
10 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 3.07.391
11 Mexico David Martinez 3.07.425
12 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 3.07.449
13 Canada Sean McIntosh 3.07.584
14 New Zealand Jonny Reid 3.07.679
15 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 3.07.729
16 Pakistan Adam Khan 3.08.559
17 India Karun Chandhok 3.09.255
18 Malaysia Alex Yoong 3.09.499
19 Austria Mathias Lauda 3.09.720
20 China Tengyi Jiang 3.10.161
21 Japan Hideki Noda 3.10.345
22 Australia Christian Jones 3.10.371
23 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 3.10.524
24 Lebanon Kahlil Beschir 3.12.255

zzzz A1 Team France recorded the fastest lap of the four qualifying sessions and the fastest aggregate time putting them on pole position for tomorrow’s Sprint race. Jean Paul Driot, Team Principal said: ‘I think this was a good performance as this kind of qualifying is very tough. It is also interesting and exciting as the driver cannot make a single mistake. I think it is more difficult than just a single lap. I think Nicolas did a great job as he put in three times within two tenths of each other.’

A1 Team France’s driver, Nicolas Lapierre said: ‘I am very happy with what happened today. From the start this morning I knew we had a good car that would go well on new tires. I felt a lot of pressure in the last session but was able to keep at the top of the time sheets.’

USA flew up the time sheet from the last A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Brands Hatch taking the second slot on the grid at EuroSpeedway Lausitz. Seat Holder, Rick Weidinger said: ‘This has proved a fantastic format and now as a team we are beginning to understand it fully. A1 Team USA feels as if it is back, especially after the bad luck we had in Brands Hatch.’

Driver, Scott Speed commented: ‘I have been under quite a bit of pressure since Brands Hatch. However, I know seem to be back on the pace and so everyone is very happy.’

The winner of both the Sprint and Feature races at the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Brands Hatch, Great Britain, A1 Team Brazil’s Nelson Piquet Jr, took third place on the grid saying: ‘This is a real track, it is a bigger circuit and the structure is good for us. The circuit seems to be well prepared to receive A1GP. It is easier when you arrive at the circuit with a good car. I felt I could have been quicker on my last lap if I had not been caught in traffic. The team has to keep improving all the time as everyone else is improving and this is the way to keep on top.’

Joint Seat Holder for the team, Emerson Fittipaldi, himself a champion driver said: ‘We are very pleased and we have had a great reception in Brazil where they now know A1. I want to congratulate France and the USA on what they did today. Nelsinho was in traffic on his fast lap.’

Despite a regulation which allows A1 Teams to switch drivers between Qualifying and the Sprint race, all teams have decided to retain their qualifying selection and there will be no driver changes.

The Sprint race will be contested over 50 miles lasting up to 30 minutes in duration. With a rolling start at 13.30 CEST, tomorrow’s race will be run over 18 laps at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. The outcome of the race determines the grid position of the Feature race which will start at 15.00 CEST with a standing start. The Feature race will be run over 100 miles (36 laps) lasting up to 60 minutes in duration. A1 Grand Prix

Max drops rules bombshell Max drops rules bombshellF1 bosses and - rarely - also the drivers, met at Suzuka on Saturday after Max Mosley distributed a set of radical proposals for season '06.

Mosley, the FIA president, apparently wants the proposals - including a 'knockout' qualifying format - to go through an upcoming F1 Commission meeting, then to the World Council.

Also among the proposals, according to speculation, is the scrapping of 'Friday' cars, and spare cars. Some sources said Mosley's qualifying format is more complicated than the one proposed by Bernie Ecclestone.

''I have no comment on it,'' said departing Minardi boss, and staunch Mosley adversary, Paul Stoddart in the Suzuka paddock. ''A no comment from me means it's a crock of shit.''

Meanwhile, not on Max's agenda but supported by most teams, is a push to rid the sport of the '05-style 'single tire per race' rule.

Hearing set for RCR Appeal Hearing set for RCR AppealCar owner Richard Childress said the team's appeal of NASCAR penalties issued to crew chief Todd Berrier has been set for Oct. 19. NASCAR suspended Berrier, crew chief for Kevin Harvick, two races, fined him $10,000 and placed him on probation until Dec. 31. Officials found that Harvick's car had an unapproved aerodynamic modification and fuel cell at Talladega. Roanoke Times
Wimmer staying with Bill Davis in 2006 Wimmer staying with Bill Davis in 2006General Manager Mike Brown said Friday that Scott Wimmer will remain with Bill Davis Racing next season. Wimmer's contract goes through next season. There had been speculation that Wimmer, 33rd in the point standings, might not remain with the team after this season. Roanoke Times
Loomis to stay at Hendrick until December Loomis to stay at Hendrick until DecemberRobbie Loomis, Jeff Gordon's former crew chief, will take two weeks off after the Nextel Cup season before moving to Petty Enterprises to become vice president of race operations. Loomis, who has been Gordon's crew chief since the middle of the 2000 Winston Cup season, stepped down last month after Gordon did not qualify for the Chase for the Nextel Cup championship. He is staying on as a consultant for Gordon and car owner Rick Hendrick until the season ends. "Right now, I'm able to take a step back and look at things a little differently, and that's really good," Loomis said Friday after a practice session for Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway. "The on-track stuff I'm concentrating on is all with the Hendrick team, but I can think a little bit about the big-picture stuff with the Pettys." ESPN.com RPM
No Cup for Lester in 2005 No Cup for Lester in 2005Bill Lester's bid to become the first African-American driver to compete in NASCAR's top series since 1986 will be delayed until next season. Mike Brown, general manager for Bill Davis Racing, had said the team hoped to have Lester compete in select races this season, depending on sponsorship. Brown said Friday at Kansas Speedway that Lester's debut likely will take place early next year. It could happen at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a track Bill Davis Racing excels. "We do have some plans for Lester in '06,'' Brown said. "Right now, it's hard to say what it will be, one or two races or as many as 10. It just hasn't really come together as fast as we hoped. The key is we want to do it right. Another six months is not going to make a huge difference to try to do it the right way.'' The 44-year-old Lester competes in the Craftsman Truck series for Bill Davis Racing. He ranks 18th in the points. No African-American has competed in the Cup series since Willy T. Ribbs. He drove in three races in 1986. Roanoke Times
Despite rain Japan crowd huge Despite rain Japan crowd hugeDespite rain falling both Friday and Saturday at Suzuka, the Japanese fans turned out in large numbers to see Saturday qualifying for Sunday's Japanese GP. The long Suzuka circuit has grandstands for well over 100,000 spectators and they were at least 75% full Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Ferrari)
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Kimi 'lucky' - champion
Grove to name Webber teammate soon
Slippery at Suzuka
Pedro slams F1's V8 switch
Firman fancies F1 fortune
F2006 to get early debut
Suzuka fans 'crazy' - JB
'F1 should scrap points system'
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
 'Inside Grand Prix'
Japanese Grand Prix
12:00 a.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, SPEED
Japanese Grand Prix
12:30 a.m.-3:00 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Lausitz, Germany
7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. ET (Live) Setanta Sports
'NASCAR This Morning'
Kansas City
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
VIR 400
Virginia International Raceway
1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Banquet 400
Kansas Speedway
1:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET (Live) NBC
Rounds 9 & 10
Germany and Hungary
6:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
'NASCAR Victory Lane'
Kansas Speedway
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-Host: Bob Jenkins
Featured Interview: Byron Hines
Featured Interview: Pat Abold
Expert Analyst: Steve Matchett
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED

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

Fisichella tops wet practice 4 Fisichella tops wet practice 4Heavy rain continued for the first half of the fourth practice session this morning at Suzuka. By the end of the 45-minute session the lap times were coming down as the teams attempted simulated qualifying runs around the 5.807km circuit and it was Giancarlo Fisichella who topped the timesheets with a best lap of 1:50.136s. While Fisichella and Renault led the way, three of the top six runners were on Bridgestone tires, known for the great rain tires.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'50"136 189.813 Km/h
 2. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'50"150 + 0'00"014
 3. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'50"369 + 0'00"233
 4. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'50"920 + 0'00"784
 5. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'50"994 + 0'00"858
 6. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'51"223 + 0'01"087
 7. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'51"274 + 0'01"138
 8. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'51"503 + 0'01"367
 9. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'51"710 + 0'01"574
10. 20 DOORNBOS Minardi Cosworth B 1'51"971 + 0'01"835
11. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'52"667 + 0'02"531
12. 15 KLIEN RedBull Cosworth M 1'52"897 + 0'02"761
13. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'53"460 + 0'03"324
14. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'53"739 + 0'03"603
15. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'53"842 + 0'03"706
16. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'54"307 + 0'04"171
17. 8 PIZZONIA Williams BMW M 2'01"075 + 0'10"939
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