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Speed confirmed for F1 seat Speed confirmed for F1 seatAmerican Scott Speed was named as a regular driver for Red Bull Racing, which will field two Formula One teams next season after acquiring Minardi in September. A star in Red Bull Racing's talent development program that paves the way for young drivers to get a full-time ride on the Formula One circuit, the 22-year-old Speed will become the first American to compete in a full Grand Prix season since Michael Andretti in 1993.

Speed participated in test runs here during the weekend of the United States Grand Prix in June. He will be among five Red Bull drivers entered in the event in July.

"Red Bull Racing's objectives are totally clear, going forward, to move further up the field," team principal Christian Horner said.

Fellow GP2 series driver Neel Jani of Switzerland also will drive on the Formula One circuit for Red Bull next year. [Editor's Note: The first American in F1 since Michael Andretti in 1993 and he lands a ride in the slowest car/team on the grid. A great way to show the world how inferior Americans are.]

Scenes from Wednesday in Surfers Paradise Scenes from Wednesday in Surfers ParadisePlease find our Wednesday morning photos from Surfers Paradise on our Home Page.
Seen in Australia Seen in AustraliaAutoRacing1.com spotted former Champ Car Technical Director Lee Dykstra in Surfers Paradise Wednesday.  Derrick Walker confirmed, "Yes, Lee will engineer Will Power's car this weekend.  Lee has worked with us before and he knows us and we know him.  Lee is familiar with these cars and technically he is very solid, and as a rookie Will needs that."  

On the subject of putting Will Power in his third car with very little seat time in what is sure to be a pressure cooker situation. (Right, Power talks to team co-owner Craig Gore Wednesday in the Surfers garage area)

Walker said, "We tested him in Portland and he was very fast.  In fact he was in a Reynard and would have been 12th on the grid this year.  If he was testing a Lola we think he would have been as high as 8th on this year's grid.  Technically and mentally he is very solid."

On the topic of staying with three cars next year, Walker said maybe.

"If the money could be raised, sure we would do it, but right now the plan is for two cars, plus our Atlantic and Formula BMW programs."

Renault V10 most powerful ever Renault V10 most powerful everDenis Chevrier, Renault F1 Team’s Head of Engine Operations, talks about the emotion of 100% Renault championship victory.

Denis, what was the emotion like on Sunday night?
“It was a dream finish to the year. We had a superb weekend in China. We went there with the ambition to win the race, and gave ourselves the best possible means to do it. Luck had nothing to with it on Sunday. We started from pole, and led every lap. We overcame the safety car periods that negated our advantage. The real satisfaction is to have surprised our competitors, and to have been stronger than them at the final race.”

It was suggested that Renault was winning titles without panache. Is this the perfect response?
“I think so. Through the summer, we played things defensively, did what we had to, took no unnecessary risks and scored the points we needed. That was our priority, to win the drivers’ championship then once we had done that, we put all our efforts into the constructors’ title.”

What can you say about the performance of the E spec RS25 engine?
“We built the engines to this specification in order to provide the best possible level of performance at this final race. Indeed, we only made partial use of the engine’s potential owing the unusual circumstances of the race. It didn’t show everything it was capable of, but it did plenty enough…”

Renault pioneered the V10 in Formula One, and it won the final V10 championship. What does that mean?
“We are now World Champions, and that is the main emotion. The fact that this is also the final V10 gives us a feeling of nostalgia, and we celebrated it afterwards in the garage This was the most powerful V10 engine we have ever produced, so it was fitting that it should play a decisive role in winning the championship.”

You have spent twenty years at Renault – what does this title mean?
“When we win at the track, our first thoughts are for all of those people who we know are back at the factory, and putting all their energy into making our performances possible. The real difference in having a Renault diamond on the nose of the car, rather than being an engine supplier, is the number of people involved in the victory. Not only those people we know, but all those we don’t who have enjoyed it as well. It is a proud feeling to have won it for them.” Renault F1 Team
Behind the scenes at the Chinese GP Behind the scenes at the Chinese GPIt was a long night in Shanghai after the final grand prix of the season, with several teams hosting end of year parties, although without wishing to blow our own trumpet, it’s fair to say that ours was the hot ticket of the night, with some very important F1 movers and shakers almost groveling for invites on race day in the paddock.

No one who turned up would have been disappointed as it was one of those perfect nights when the weather was just right, there was the right crowd and no crowding and the drink never ran out.

An army of locals had been employed to erect an authentic-looking Chinese bamboo village on the banks of the river that slices through the heart of the city of Shanghai. The party could boast no less a dignitary than FIA President Max Mosley, who was on stage to assist Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz in announcing the winner of this year’s Formula Una Award.

Several F1 drivers were present, but their year-round alcohol abstinence program meant that one glass of champagne and negotiating the steps up onto stage proved a touch beyond their capabilities. All except our very own David Coulthard who is made of sterner stuff. Oh dear, we nearly forgot to tell you who won the Formula Una thing. Well, would you believe it, the jury found it almost impossible to split the girls and with the Hungarian representative only edging ahead by 0.1%, all 20 girls will be given the winner’s prize of a round the world trip!

A straw pole among F1 people agreed that the other great party of the weekend was the one staged by Minardi, who said farewell to the paddock with an Aussie-style barbecue on Saturday night. Actually, it wasn’t really a typically Australian outdoor meal, as no one died of alcohol poisoning, no one was dragged into the undergrowth and eaten by dingo dogs, nor did anyone drive a car into a swimming pool! Red Bull Racing

Servia only man between Bourdais and title Servia only man between Bourdais and titleLike the 2004 event here, McDonald’s® driver Sebastien Bourdais will arrive to the 2.795-mile temporary street course in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia with a chance to clinch the Champ Car World Series’ most prized honor – the Vanderbilt Cup.  Also similar to the 2004 season is the fact that the only driver standing in his way is his teammate and pilot of the PacifiCare-sponsored entry.   Due to an accident not of his own making, that driver is not Bruno Junqueira but Spaniard Oriol Servia, who has impressed many since joining the team while Junqueira recovers from an accident in the Indy 500 on May 29.

Bourdais (photo right courtesy of Champ Car) entered the 2004 weekend with a slimmer margin of 27 points over second place but this year he holds a nearly-insurmountable lead of 67 points (310-243) over Servia with a maximum of 70 left in the two races this season.  It’s only the second time in Newman/Haas Racing’s (NHR) 23-year history that the title fight is between its two drivers.  Servia could remain a contender until Mexico City if he earned the maximum of 35 points in Australia (fastest in both qualifying sessions, setting the fastest race lap, leading the event and winning) if Bourdais doesn’t earn any points in qualifying, doesn’t lead a race lap or set the fastest lap and finished last in the 19 car field (two points) or is 36 points or less in arrears.   Although an unlikely scenario, the Surfers Paradise track has a history for unpredictability with 14th different winners in the 14 events held here. zzzz

“I haven’t really thought out a strategy heading into the race in Australia,” said Bourdais, who won the 2004 title in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford title with seven wins and eight poles.  “I’m just going to treat it as another race; try to go for it and win.  For me the work is done on my side.  Setting the fastest time in qualifying on Friday or Saturday is just going to change the time frame of when I clinch because it should take place at some time over the weekend.  The McDonald’s team is just going to try to win both poles which is what we try to do every weekend.   I don’t race for championships; I keep in mind that I need to finish each of the races but if I have a winning car I try to get that result.  If I don’t have a winning car, I just try to get best out of it and hope for a podium.   It’s a testament to how good Newman/Haas Racing is that they have been able to give me a car that is capable of winning so many times.”

“It’s great to be a contender for the championship even if I only have a slim chance,” added Servia, 31.  “The team believed in me from the start and so did PacifiCare so I am glad to give them all the podiums so far and especially the win in Montreal and put them in the position of fighting for another 1-2 finish in the championship.  There are two races left and two opportunities to win and were going to try our best to do this.  Bruno brought PacifiCare wins in Montreal and Australia last year and it would be nice if I could do that for them again this year.”

If Bourdais and Servia have their way, the 15th running of the Lexmark Indy 300 will have its 15th different winner as neither driver has won here.  In the 14 previous races here, NHR has earned four wins (Junqueira 2004, Da Matta 2001, Tracy 1995, Mansell 1993), six poles (Bourdais 2003, Da Matta 2002, Mi. Andretti 1995 & 1991, Mansell 1993-1994) and eight podium finishes here.  Bourdais was the polesitter here in 2003 and the provisional polesitter in 2004 which guaranteed a front row start despite being third fastest in qualifying here last year.  Contact limited his finish to 17th place in 2003 and he lost the lead to Junqueira after the final stop in 2004 en route to second place.  He’s hoping to not only celebrate a championship on Sunday night but also a race win on what he considers one of the most challenging courses of the season as well as on of the best events.

“The Surfers Paradise track is great and the Aussie’s are really deep into racing,” said Bourdais who has played an integral role in possibly bringing France their first win in the Nation’s Cup in the 10 years of Champ Car’s special award.  “It’s one of the best street courses we race on for sure.  It’s long, really challenging, really fast and technically challenging.  There are a lot of things to figure out, just one of the best venues in the series and a nice trip.  It’s a big party in Surfers; the streets are all full of people.  There is a lot of beer flowing and quite a bit of excitement.  The fans have a great time and we do too because of the proximity of everything.  The beach is right there and it’s the end of the season and everything is a little more laid back even if there is a lot of pressure.”

Q and A with Greg Biffle Q and A with Greg BiffleGreg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus, is only 11 points out of first place in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. As the series heads to Martinsville Speedway this weekend, Biffle spoke about his recent test session there and how he has tried to improve on the half-mile short track.

GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus -- HOW WAS YOUR MARTINSVILLE TEST? "Very good. I feel extremely better (going into Martinsville). I ran really fast laps. I could get in a rhythm and I think being decent enough on the brakes and running lap after lap. I still need some improving on some things that I do - driving characteristics - but I think I learned a tremendous amount and I'm way better."

HOW BIG IS THAT RACE FOR YOU? "I think we can lose a lot of points there, but I'm pretty optimistic about it. I think we're gonna end up gaining points there. I feel that's one of the race tracks now - after testing there - I feel I can gain points there."

HOW HAVE YOU GOTTEN BETTER? "We took a different car there. We worked on a chassis setup. We changed spindles. We found some things with front spindles that get the car down on the track that really worked for us. Plus, I just got a bunch of laps there. I think I did about 350-400 laps of practice just trying different things - different corner entry, braking different, looking at the data. What I have a habit of doing is starting to stop too early and not press on the brake pedal hard enough. It sounds kind of crazy, but what happens is I heat the brakes up. I start slowing down for the stop light too soon and just ease the brakes for a long period of time versus getting closer, stopping, and then getting off of them. You've got to think. We go around the track in 20 seconds, so if you spend six of those seconds on the brake pedal, I'm spending eight and it doesn't give you 14 seconds for them to cool back down so you're shortening that cool down time. The brakes work so well that when you push on them hard they stop quick."

Tambay says to replace Fisichella Tambay says to replace FisichellaPatrick Tambay. The winner of just two grands prix reckons 32-year-old Giancarlo Fisichella is a weakness in the Renault team after scoring 75 points less than F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso.  ''Perhaps the technical problems at the beginning of the season affected his confidence,'' said 56-year-old Tambay, who drove for the works Renault F1 team in the mid-80s.  He told the French daily 'L'Equipe' newspaper: ''Maybe it's time Renault tried its luck with a French born driver.''

Renault president Patrick Faure admits that a French driver at the wheel would 'be a bonus', but pointed to a current dearth of home grown talent.  Renault has let French F1 test driver Franck Montagny leave. ''Just being French,'' Faure told the Reuters agency, ''isn't good enough.''

Cosmo wins ALMS ROY award Cosmo wins ALMS ROY awardAfter taking their eighth podium finish of the season in their Mazda-powered Sportsbook.com Courage during this weekends season-finale race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Guy Cosmo and teammate Jamie Bach capped their break out season by being named as winners of the 2005 American Le Mans Series Rookie of the Year award.

The honors, which included a Jim Swintal-penned rendering of Cosmo behind the wheel of the yellow and blue Sportsbook.com machine at Road Atlanta, were awarded at the season-ending banquet for the American Le Mans Series following the Laguna race.

“Jamie and I are absolutely honored to be named as Rookie of the Year - this is the most meaningful award I’ve ever won,” Cosmo said of the Swintel artwork. “To have this season commemorated like this is very special and I am proud to have been a part of this effort. I want to thank Mazda for their support of grassroots motorsports in this country, and for helping drivers like Jamie and I get the opportunity to chase our dreams and race at this level of the sport. I wish this were a team of the year award, as everyone here at B-K Motorsports had put in such an incredible amount of time, effort and passion into making this season a reality.  This is a great way to finish our debut season in ALMS, and we look forward to greater accomplishments next year.”

Midland boss says private teams can't win Midland boss says private teams can't winMidland owner Alex Shnaider has urged Formula One chiefs to amend the current competition regulations in order to close the divide between the manufacturers and the private teams. Shnaider is adamant that changes must be made to the current set-up to avoid the monopolization of the sport which he believes would be harmful in the long term, not only to the smaller teams, but also to the public popularity of the sport.

"Can we win in Formula One? Eventually, why not, but things have to change," said Shnaider, whose team finished 179 points behind this year's constructors' champions Renault. The rules have to change because for a private team to compete with the manufacturers is impossible. The resources the manufacturers have are much greater than a private team can have, no matter how rich the backers are. It doesn't make any economic sense."

Industry News
USA Automotive industry in for wild ride USA Automotive industry in for wild rideThose in the U.S. automotive industry should hang on for a wild ride. That's according to a research report by the investment firm Merrill Lynch.

The bankruptcy of automotive parts supplier Delphi Corp., billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's growing stake in General Motors Corp. and New York financier Wilbur Ross' bid to create a massive auto supplier are only the beginning of dramatic changes, the report said.

"Like steel, textiles, airlines and other U.S. industries that have undergone radical restructurings, we expect an increasingly volatile and difficult environment for the companies involved and for their shareholders," Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa said in a research report. "The domestic auto industry's structure is not stable, and simply put, we expect it will get worse before it gets better."  More at Detroit Free Press

NASCAR slams yet another cheater NASCAR slams yet another cheaterNASCAR announced Tuesday that Busch Series Joe Shear Jr., already on probation, has been suspended and fined for violations discovered last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  Shear, crew chief for the No. 43 Dodge driven by Aaron Fike in the NASCAR Busch Series, was penalized along with Brad Pickens, crew chief for the No. 57 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Busch. Those violations also came to light at Charlotte.

Shear, who was placed on probation April 16, has been suspended from NASCAR events until Oct. 26, including the next NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday at Memphis. Shear was cited under sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (unapproved hubs, offset) of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book.

Shear's probation will continue until Dec. 31. He was also fined $1,000 for the infraction, which was found during opening day inspection on Oct. 13.

During pre-qualifying inspection on Oct. 14, Pickens was found in violation of 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (unapproved fuel cell installation), which resulted in a $1,000 fine. He was penalized an additional $1,000 for violating 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (unapproved usage of two tires) during the race, also on Oct. 14.

DirecTV announces NASCAR deal DirecTV announces NASCAR dealUPDATE DirecTV has signed a multi-year deal to become the official satellite provider of NASCAR, according to SportsBusiness Journal’s Scott Warfield in a special to THE DAILY. DirecTV and NASCAR execs would not discuss terms of the deal, but industry insiders said DirecTV is committing $20-25M, including a significant media buy, over the next five years. DirecTV VP/Marketing Christopher Brush said the company will use the sponsorship to drive subscriptions and retain customers. The contract calls for a team commitment, but the company has yet to make any announcement THE DAILY. I

The deal with NASCAR runs through 2010. The team sponsorship will likely be with Richard Childress Racing. Fox Sports TV Group Chair & CEO and DirecTV Entertainment Group President David Hill said, “How this all came about was that I went to Charlotte in May for the [Coca-Cola] 600 to see if Richard Childress was telling me the truth about his wine” CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

10/18/05 DirecTV today announced a multi-year deal with NASCAR that runs through early 2010 for exclusive rights among subscription TV distributors “to use the NASCAR brand in marketing, advertising and promotions.”  In addition, DirecTV will have a sponsorship position with a Nextel Cup team, possibly Richard Childress Racing’s No. 07 Chevrolet, to be driven by Clint Bowyer.
No 2005 return for Junqueira No 2005 return for JunqueiraAccording to Junqueira’s personal website, his Newman/Haas squad opted to keep a two-car effort for Sebastien Bourdais and Oriol Servia in the final two events of the season, at Australia this weekend and Mexico on November 4-6, and then test the Brazilian aboard a Lola-Ford on a calmer environment in the off-season.

“Surfers Paradise is my favorite race in Champ Car’s calendar and it pains me not to go there,” admitted Junqueira, who won’t travel to the Gold Coast.

"At this point, five months after my accident, I have already resumed all of my life’s normal activities - except for driving a Champ Car,” he lamented. “I’m anxious to get back in the car but the team and I have decided to wait until next season for my return to racing. We should test the car still this year, however.”

Junqueira also confirmed that he will attend the Mexico City finale.

Marshall’s job could be on the line Marshall’s job could be on the lineGold Coast Indy car driver Marcus Marshall has warned Australian fans to be realistic about Team Australia's chance of claiming a podium finish at Surfers Paradise on Sunday.

Marshall and his teammates – fellow Queenslander Will Power and Canadian Alex Tagliani – enjoyed a horse ride on Main Beach, Southport, early today before launching full-scale preparations for Indy 300, which starts on Thursday.

Of the three drivers, only Tagliani is an experienced campaigner in Champ Cars, having driven them for the past five years.  Marshall, 26, is close to completing his rookie season while Power has never before driven in the series.

Gold Coast businessmen Craig Gore and John Fish - joint owners of the fledgling Team Australia - have been encouraging a wave of parochialism towards their drivers in the lead-up to this week's event.

Marshall said he was pleased to have such a high level of support from fans, but he added they should not expect miracles from a team still in its infancy.  "There's got to be a little bit of patience there from the public," Marshall, who won the Silverstone race in the British Formula 3 Championship last year, said.

"Every time we go somewhere we're guessing our set-ups in a sense because we've never been there before with this sort of car (a Lola chassis). The Australian [Editor's Note:  If Power outperforms Marshall in these last two races, Marshall's job could be on the line in 2006.]

Fundraiser makes $20K for Petty camp Fundraiser makes $20K for Petty campA fundraiser held by Jasper Engines and Transmissions - an associate sponsor on Travis Kvapil's No. 77 Kodak/Jasper Dodge Charger - has raised $20,000 for Kyle and Pattie Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Rolex Series sets test date Rolex Series sets test dateJust one month after the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series concludes with La Gran Final de la Serie Rolex Sports Car at the historic Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, preparations for the 2006 campaign will get underway in earnest at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a two-day test session on December 5-6.

The test days at the 2.3-mile South Florida road circuit will be open to all teams competing in the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype and GT classes, and will likely be the first showcase for new teams, drivers and race cars for the 2006 season. It will be the first of two preseason tests scheduled for the Rolex Series, as the annual Daytona Test Days are slated for January 4-7, 2006.

The tests will be open to media as well as the public. Race fans interested in attending may do so free of charge, and may view the proceedings from the Club Grandstands along the front straightaway.

The amazing Cosworth V10 The amazing Cosworth V10Last weekend's Grand Prix of China concluded the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship and also marked the end after 16 years of the 3.0-litre V10 engine era in Formula One. Next season will see the introduction of 2.4-litre V8 engines with Cosworth entering a wide-ranging partnership agreement for the provision and development of V8 engines for WilliamsF1's entry in the Formula One World Championship.

Before then, however, did you know that in 2005?

Cosworth enjoyed its strongest season in F1 since 1999.


Typical engine life increased from a maximum of 350km (pre-2004) to 650km (2004) to 1300km maximum (2005). Engine life has therefore almost quadrupled in just two seasons!


The rate of engine performance development continued to increase despite the demanding increases to engine life. The TJ2005 Series 10 engine used by Red Bull Racing at the 2005 Australian Grand Prix was a significant gain (+25BHP & +300RPM) in qualifying over the Series 8 engine used in the final race of 2004 (Brazilian Grand Prix)

The Series 12 engine introduced exclusively with Red Bull Racing at the U.S. Grand Prix (17th-19th June) represented the biggest performance gains Cosworth has ever delivered as a mid-season upgrade (+30BHP & +700RPM) to take peak power to well over 900BHP throughout the races & maximum engine speed to 19000RPM.

The TJ2005 Series 12 engines raced in Shanghai last weekend were run to an optimized 'single event' duty cycle to give maximum performance over their one event life. These two engines were the highest performance V10 engines ever raced by Cosworth.


Cosworth made no unscheduled engine changes with Red Bull Racing throughout the 2005 race season. No other team in F1 achieved this in 2005.

Cosworth experienced one single engine failure in competition in 2005. (The engine was on its second event with Red Bull Racing's David Coulthard at the Belgian Grand Prix on 11th September).

Minardi introduced the TJ2005 Series 10 powered PS05 chassis at the San Marino Grand Prix (22nd-24th April) & enjoyed the same levels of engine reliability as Red Bull Racing.


The first two TJ2005 Series 10 engines raced by Red Bull Racing scored points in both their debut races (David Coulthard & Christian Klien in Australia & Malaysia respectively). In 38 race starts Cosworth powered Red Bull Racing to 21 top 10 finishes, 15 points finishes & 4 double points finishes. Best finishes were David Coulthard's 4th places at Melbourne & Nurburgring. Cosworth

Ferrari won't let Rubens go early Ferrari won't let Rubens go early"We leave each other with affection: he contributed in marking an important era in our history," Ferrari team boss Jean Todt was quoted as saying in Gazzetta dello Sport. "We had highs and lows like every couple, but the highs surpass the lows."

When asked whether he would allow Barrichello to test for BAR before January, Todt said: "No. He is a Ferrari driver until the end of the year."

"I rate Jenson very highly as a driver but I think Rubens is much more together right now," said former champion Jackie Stewart in an interview with The Mail on Sunday. "Rubens has got the peripheral lifestyle right, the focus, commitment and knowledge. "And he has won races, so he had broken that barrier. Both are desperate to be World Champions but Rubens knows how to be World Champion better."

Bridgestone has the rain tires ready in Surfers Bridgestone has the rain tires ready in SurfersPotenza Race Tires Supplied: Bridgestone delivered via cargo ship 666 dry-condition and 304 wet-condition Potenza race tires for use this weekend. All were produced at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio, U.S. For this event, Bridgestone has brought a single dry-tire specification and a single wet-tire specification, allowing every driver equal footing on the racetrack.  Rain showers are possible Friday and Saturday.
   * Dry-condition tires ("slicks"): Each car receives eight sets of slicks (32 tires) for the weekend, to use in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. Bridgestone Motorsport shipped a new tire specification for use Down Under this weekend that relies on some old Potenza street-course favorite compounds and constructions. The compound formula is the same as utilized last year at Surfers Paradise, while the tire construction mimics that of the 2003 Australia spec. The tread-area compound's "softness" is slightly harder (midrange) than what has been run on the series' other temporary street courses this season to accommodate for the length of the Surfers circuit and its long, high-speed straightaways.
   * Wet-condition tires ("rains"): Each car receives up to four new sets of grooved-tread Potenza rain tires per weekend on road and street courses, as needed. In addition, each car may use two sets of same-spec rain tires issued at a previous event. Bridgestone has two rain-tire specifications at its disposal, a more durable one for the faster road circuits and a softer version for the slower, tighter tracks. The softer rain tire is available this weekend.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Surfers Paradise is one of the most enjoyable racing locales for any series, anywhere, and we're glad to be coming back Down Under. While Bridgestone is bringing a new race tire that has never been run a full race weekend before, this specification did receive a sneak peek here last year. We allowed each car in 2004 to run one set of this spec during the Friday practice session, using the data gathered from that exercise to confirm the worthiness of this spec. So it was like a mini-tire test session, something rare and quite beneficial for us on a temporary circuit, and the spec passed with flying colors. We expect this new Potenza to stand up quite well to the rigors of this tight yet fast street course."

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'Schu set for second shocker'
Fisi is Renault 'weakness'
Bernie doubts F1 'breakaway'
V10 gets fitting send-off
Girl racer gets F1 test
Barrichello backed to beat Button
Toyota 'must win' - Gascoyne
Red Bull call off search
Williams decision due 'soon'
An eerie F1 parallel
Germans switch Schu off
Monaco, the highlight of Williams' season Monaco, the highlight of Williams' seasonThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team had set itself ambitious goals for the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship season, but soon it became obvious that its fellow competitors had made bigger steps forward in the off-season.

Mark Webber, Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Pizzonia had no real chance of becoming a factor in the battles for the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships.

Nevertheless, the team succeeded in adding some highlights to its season. At the Nürburgring, Nick secured the maiden pole position of his Formula One career and finished runner-up. The German took three podium finishes, with Mark making it to the podium once.

In Monaco, he shared the podium with his second-placed team-mate, thus making for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team’s best result in the event which represents the highlight of the Formula One season.

An injury forced Nick to miss the five final rounds of the season, and he was replaced by the team’s test and reserve driver, Antonio Pizzonia. The Brazilian scored two championship points but suffered a dose of bad luck. Several times, collisions in the opening stages put an early end to his races.

At the end of the season, Nick scored 28 points while Mark had 36 points to his tally. In the Constructors’ Championship, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team scored a total of 66 points to finish fifth. BMW WilliamsF1 Team

Red Bull concludes driver search Red Bull concludes driver searchIt took just four short years for the Red Bull Driver Search to successfully place an American driver at the pinnacle of world motorsport, Formula 1. Next season, 2002 Red Bull Driver Search winner, Scott Speed will take his seat in Formula 1 with one of Red Bull’s Formula 1 Teams, Red Bull Racing or Squadra Toro Rosso.

With its primary goal complete, the Driver Search will not continue to operate in its current format for 2006. We will not conduct a formal or organized Search, but Red Bull will continue to monitor upcoming American racing talent. Current Driver Search graduates, Scott Speed, Colin Fleming and John Edwards, will continue to be supported by Red Bull as they pursue their dreams of Formula 1.

Since its inception in 2002, the Red Bull Driver Search has offered an unparalleled opportunity to thousands of aspiring, American racecar drivers, providing many with the experience of a lifetime and helping several others to advance their racing careers.

The History of the Red Bull Driver Search
In the inaugural year 2002, an elite class of 13 drivers competed for four coveted seats on the Red Bull Junior Team. Paul Edwards, Scott Speed, Grant Maiman, and Joel Nelson edged out the competition to earn a drive in Europe for the 2003 racing season.
In 2003, the Red Bull Driver Search expanded to the grassroots of motorsports, enabling young aspirants to qualify for selection through a series of nationwide karting qualifiers. After the dust settled on the Finals in Estoril, Colin Fleming, Dominique Claessens and Matt Jaskol were selected, joining Scott Speed as members of the 2004 Red Bull Junior Team.

Additional qualifying centers were added in 2004, further broadening the reach of the Program. John Edwards was selected as the winner, while Speed and Fleming dominated the Formula Renault ranks in Europe during the 2004 racing season.

Speed moved up to GP2 in 2005 and Fleming took on the World Series by Renault. Edwards honed his skills in the Italian Karting Championship and European Formula Renault. Back in the U.S. the Search continued but 2005 proved to be a less fruitful year for the Program. Two drivers from the class of 2005 were selected to travel to the Red Bull Junior Team test in Europe, but neither was successful in earning a seat on the team.

The Red Bull Driver Search has put American drivers back on the map in the top tiers of European open-wheel racing, and most importantly, the Program has achieved the significant feat of placing an American in the leading category of world motorsport, Formula 1. Globally, Red Bull continues to be one of the leading supporters of open-wheel racing. Red Bull Driver Search

Scenes from Surfers - Tuesday Scenes from Surfers - TuesdayThe Champ Car contingent has arrived in force in Surfers Paradise and AutoRacing1.com captured these photos from the track Tuesday as work crews were still setting up the circuit.  First cars are on track Thursday.
Pit entrance still barricaded off
Chicane on backstraight
Homeowner is ready for race fans
Note the glare into last corner
Start of main straight.  Note suite over track
Main straight.  Pit-in on left
View along backstraight
Cars are still wrapped in shipping plastic
Main straight in front of pits.
Cars are still wrapped in shipping plastic
Formula BMW
Eurointernational to run Gonzales Eurointernational to run GonzalesEurointernational is proud to announce that 17 years old Mexican  Arturo Gonzales will become the driver of the second Team’s entry in the 2006 Formula BMW USA Championship.

The Monterrey, Mexico, native, is looking forward to compete in the high competitive Formula BMW Championship with  Eurointernational. “ After the two FBMW tryout in Valencia, Spain, I am totally dedicated to prepare my car racing debut in the FBMWUSA Championship” said Arturo Gonzales” I have already tested with Eurointernational and I will use the off-season for learn the FBMW car and the tracks with my Team to arrive prepared for the 2006 season”.

Arturo Gonzales, who is studying at the high school Bachillerato Anahuac of Monterrey, already has 8 years in karting, winning in 1998 and 1999 the Bixstraton Regional Championship, while in 2000 was the Yamaha sportsman Regional Champion and the Yamaha Heavy Class Champion in 2003. Arturo was the 2004 and 2005 Rotax Max Regional Champion. Eurointernational

Ganassi loses another car Ganassi loses another carUPDATE Running a pink paint scheme in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness didn't change Target/Ganassi Racing's luck because Lazier's crash was unofficially the 28th of the season for the team. Steve Chassey, an insurance executive who raced Indy cars in the 1970s and '80s, estimated Ganassi's crash damage tab for the season is higher than for the entire Champ Car World Series field. ESPN.com [Editor's Note:  Who can afford to race in the IRL with those sort of crash-damage costs?  Just wait for when all the manufacturer subsidies dry up but the wall banging will continue - you'll see teams going bankrupt left and right.] 10/16/05 When Jaques Lazier and Danica Patrick got together and crashed at California Speedway Sunday afternoon with 15 laps to go, it marked the 28th car Ganassi Racing has lost this year in the IRL.  Neither driver was hurt.
Wheldon pockets cool $1 million Wheldon pockets cool $1 millionOne day after completing a record-shattering IRL IndyCar® Series season, Dan Wheldon got to celebrate his IndyCar Series championship – again.

This time, the IndyCar Series champion and newly crowned Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham – along with other drivers, teams and manufacturers – were recognized during the Indy Racing League Championship Celebration at Paramount Pictures Studio. Emmy Award winner Dennis Miller hosted the awards show at the Paramount Theatre, with a dinner and party afterward on the studio grounds. The program will be broadcast at Noon (EST) Oct. 23 on ESPN2.

“In this day and age of motor racing, it’s difficult to win races alone – in particular in the IndyCar Series because of how competitive it is,” said Wheldon, who drove the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone to a single-season-record six victories and led a series-record 15 races. zzzz

“To be able to win the Indianapolis 500 and the championship is an unbelievable achievement. The season has been 17 races and we’ve been on every different type of track you could imagine – street course, permanent road course, short ovals, big ovals, the intermediate ones. To put together a season in which we’ve won a lot and been very consistent truly means a lot.

“Having champion on your resume can never be taken away, and I think a championship is important to team owners and everybody from the person who sweeps the shop floors to the bosses. It pays people back that put a lot of faith in you.”

IRL founder and CEO Tony George presented Wheldon a $1 million championship bonus check and a replica of the IndyCar Series championship trophy. A mini IndyCar Series championship trophy also was awarded to Andretti Green Racing.

Danica Patrick of Rahal Letterman Racing accepted the $50,000 Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award, while Andretti Green Racing’s Dario Franchitti received $25,000 for winning the Argent Mortgage Fastest Lap Award. Patrick Carpentier of Red Bull Cheever Racing won The Rising Star trophy.

“It is a big honor to be both Indy 500 (JP Morgan Chase Rookie of the Year) and IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year,” said Patrick, the second (Kosuke Matsuura in 2004) to accomplish that feat. “That is the goal of every rookie driver.”

Carpentier received his award, which honors the late Tony Renna, from IRL President and COO Brian Barnhart and Debbie Savini. Franchitti clinched the season-long Argent Mortgage Fastest Lap award with four fastest laps during the 2005 season. Argent Mortgage, the official mortgage company of the Indy Racing League, awarded $25,000 to Andretti Green Racing for Franchitti’s accomplishment. As part of the award, Franchitti will visit Camp Heartland, a Minneapolis-based charity that makes a profound year-round and lifelong difference for children, teenagers and young adults impacted by HIV/AIDS. Argent has supported Camp Heartland for three consecutive years and is the organization's largest cumulative donor to date.

Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Horning Jr. accepted the $20,000 BOSCH Platinum Award and the $20,000 Marlboro Pole Award. Mike Horvath of Andretti Green Racing won the Chief Mechanic of the Year Award and its $25,000 prize. XM Satellite Radio was named the league’s Marketer of the Year, and Infineon Raceway was named the Promoter of the Year. The facility in Sonoma, Calif., hosted the first permanent road-course event in series history, and the successful August event was a harbinger of growth.

Cunningham accepted the Firestone Firehawk Cup along with a $5,000 award from Lincoln Electric Co. as champion of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. The driver from New Zealand gave Brian Stewart Racing its first series title.

IndyCar Series award winners
Championship driver: Dan Wheldon
Herff Jones Championship Driver Award (ring): Dan Wheldon
TAG Heuer Championship Driver Award (watch): Dan Wheldon
Championship team: Andretti Green Racing
Championship team sponsor: Klein Tools, Jim Beam
Championship team manager: John Anderson
Chief Mechanic of the Year Award ($25,000): Mike Horvath, Andretti Green Racing
Engine manufacturer champion: Honda
Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award ($50,000): Danica Patrick
The Rising Star Award: Patrick Carpentier
Argent Mortgage Fastest Lap Award ($25,000): Dario Franchitti
Second place championship driver: Tony Kanaan
Second place championship team: Andretti Green Racing
Third place championship driver: Sam Hornish Jr.
Third place championship team: Marlboro Team Penske
BOSCH Platinum Award ($20,000): Sam Hornish Jr.
Marlboro Pole Award ($20,000): Sam Hornish Jr.
Manufacturer Recognition Awards: Firestone Racing, Delphi, Dallara, Panoz, Xtrac, Chevrolet, Toyota, K&N Filters.
Delphi Safety Award: Bob Falcon
IRL Marketer of the Year Award: XM Satellite Radio
Promoter of the Year Award: Infineon Raceway
Menards Infiniti Pro Series award winners
Championship driver (mini Firehawk Cup): Wade Cunningham
Herff Jones Championship Driver Award (ring): Wade Cunningham
Lincoln Electric Company Championship Driver Award ($5,000): Wade Cunningham
Championship team (mini Firehawk Cup): Brian Stewart Racing
Lincoln Electric Company Championship Team Award (welding product): Brian Stewart Racing
Second place championship driver: Jeff Simmons
Second place championship team: Kenn Hardley Racing
Lincoln Electric Company Second Place Championship Team Award (welding
product): Kenn Hardley Racing
Third place championship driver: Travis Gregg
Third place championship team: Sam Schmidt Motorsports
Lincoln Electric Company Third Place Championship Team Award (welding product): Sam Schmidt Motorsports
The Oxley Financial Advisory Group of Raymond James and Associates Lap Leader Award ($5,000): Travis Gregg

Danica Patrick Swings Back Danica Patrick Swings BackUPDATE The Indy-car season came to an end Sunday at California Speedway with a bang. Or was it a punch, or a poke? What's indisputable is that series rookie Danica Patrick made some kind of physical contact with fellow Indy Racing League driver Jaques Lazier in the rescue vehicle after they crashed together near the end of the Toyota Indy 400. Lazier initially called it a punch, then later allowed Patrick's explanation of a poke to the forehead to stand as the truth.  "Look, we had a difference of opinion about what happened, and we were both emotional," Lazier said Sunday evening. "If she said she hit me on the temple with her fingers, that's fine. It doesn't matter."  It does to IRL officials, who vowed to investigate the incident.  A spokesman for Patrick said she was appalled that Lazier would claim he was punched. She was trying to tell him to use his head next time.  "So you're telling me that Jaques is saying he got beat up by a girl?" Patrick said through Rahal Letterman Racing's Brent Maurer. Dr. Kevin Scheid was driving the rescue vehicle and told the two drivers to settle down. But he would not settle the punch/poke debate.  "I'm not going to break that tie," he said, laughing. Indy Star 10/17/05 The heaviest question following Sunday's IRL race at California Speedway wasn't about the winner or the IRL IndyCar Series champion. Instead, the question was, "Did she slap or tap?"

Danica Patrick allegedly slapped Jaques Lazier as the two drivers rode in an ambulance to the infield care center after their cars crashed on the 186th lap of the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway. Patrick's engineer, Ray Leto, told a reporter that Patrick slapped Lazier, but a Rahal Letterman Racing publicist said Patrick only tapped Lazier on the forehead and said, "You need to use your head." Neither Patrick nor Lazier was available when news of the incident began to spread following Sunday's race, which was won by Dario Franchitti. But the damage -- and the insults -- had already been tossed out for public consumption.

Seconds after the crash, Chip Ganassi, owner of Lazier's car, accused Patrick on live TV of causing the crash. "That girl's been pinching him down all the time. She's been pinching him below the white line."

Minutes -- and apparently a slap -- later, Patrick fired back at Ganassi.

"He's had how many millions of dollars in damage at that team?" she said. "Yeah, OK. I think they've crashed out of every race."  More at SpeedTV

Toyota must start winning Toyota must start winningToyota must step into the Formula One winners' circle next year after becoming one of the top four teams, says technical director Mike Gascoyne.  "We've got to start winning some races," the Briton told Reuters after the season-ending Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. "We were fourth (in the championship) but it should have been third.  Without Indianapolis, and really off our own backs, we should have finished third. With four or five races to go, we were quick enough to finish third."
Organizers declare Shanghai race a success Organizers declare Shanghai race a successOrganizers declared the season-ending Chinese Grand Prix's second edition a success Monday, despite a dip in attendance and a stray drain cover that one team said might have determined the outcome.

"The Shanghai stop is getting more and more mature," said Yu Zhifei, general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit, the most impressive - and expensive - of four new tracks that have entered Formula One since 1999. "Last year it was just gawking at a spectacle, but this year it was about watching the drivers' technique," Yu said.

Attendance on the final day at Shanghai was 130,000, according to circuit management, down from last year's inaugural event's full house of 150,000.

That was in line with reports from hotels and travel agencies, who said an aggressive sales push in the final weeks before Sunday's race hadn't succeeded in taking up the slack from the loss of the race's novelty value.

Zhou Weihong, vice-manager of Shanghai Spring travel agency, said ticket sales were down about 20 per cent but Formula One fans still provided a substantial market.

"So we won't give up exploring this market," said Zhou, adding that tickets at either extreme of the pricing scale sold the best, with the mid-priced seats much slower to sell.

Still, hotels reported brisk GP business.

Xu Wen, public relations manager at Shanghai's Grand Hyatt Hotel, said most four and five star hotels in the city had been booked solid months ahead of the race.

"I think F-1 benefits Shanghai a great deal. A lot of industries benefit alongside the actual race," Xu said.

Fen Xiafang, PR manager at the upmarket Garden Hotel, said price rises of up to 50 per cent on rooms at the hotel didn't seem to deter customers. Other hotels even doubled their prices and still had substantial business.

Wu Derong, who handles Formula One packages at Shanghai China Youth Travel Service Co., said demand was also growing from Chinese fans wanting to travel abroad to see races.

"The whole thing is helping us, helping Shanghai become more international," Wu said. More at Autonet.ca

Elf Race Fuels ready for showcase Champ Car race Elf Race Fuels ready for showcase Champ Car raceThe Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast this weekend will be the culmination of twelve months of work for Elf Race Fuels Australia, supplier of the control methanol race fuel that will be used by the Champ Cars at the event.

A massive logistical and organizational undertaking will all be put to the test on Friday morning, when cars from the Champ Car World Series take to the track for their first practice session of the weekend.

“We started on this journey twelve months ago, before the event last year, discussing the possibility of putting our hand up to do this job,” said Phillip Mutton, Elf Race Fuels Australia distributor in Queensland.

“We spoke to the Champ Car technical people at the event last year and I got a response from them about ten days after the event. It fell off the radar a little until February, when I got back in touch with Champ Car, and within two days we were in discussion with IMG [Lexmark Indy 300 event organizers].” zzzz

Since the decision to tender for the control methanol race fuel supplier role, a lot has been organized and put in place well ahead of this weekends racing. People, equipment and – of course – Elf's premium quality racing methanol, are all among the things which needed to be organized.

“It has been a large undertaking, but not an insurmountable one,” says Mutton.

“For myself, it has been a large learning curve, but quite an enjoyable one, I must say.

“If we are successful for the next few years, which we would certainly like to be, I would find it a lot easier next time, because we will be able to use experience and knowledge we have gained from this year."

During the course of the race weekend, the Champ Car field will use over 23,000 liters of Elf’s premium quality methanol race fuel. On hand to oversee the operations during the weekend will be around a dozen staff representing Elf Australia.

“In addition to the Elf Race Fuels Australia staff, we have trained personnel such as a tanker driver and forklift operator, which will play a part in the weekend’s operations.

“We have two tankers organized. One will be a stationary tanker for the pits; the other is a mobile tanker. Representatives from our chemical supply company will be coming onsite to ensure that it’s all correct and right.

“Two of our crew will be at the track on Tuesday evening to put the tanker in place. On Wednesday morning we’ll be back to ensure that it’s all safe and well. We will drain and clean the supply hoses to ensure that they are clean and there is no contamination, and we’ll be there in force from about 6:30 on Thursday morning.”

The event is an important part of Elf Race Fuels Australia’s involvement in Australian motorsport, which also includes the roles of control fuel suppliers to championships such as the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship and the Kumho Tires Australian Formula 3 Championship.

“This is our showcase event,” said Elf Race Fuels Australia’s Tony Hatton.

“All Elf Australia distributors are working together for this event, to show the world that we as Elf Race Fuels Australia are a strong, united and professional operation. Our interest is motorsport and our primary interest is in supplying a complete, perfect product.

“We have all been involved in motorsport for many years and all our hearts are in motorsport, so we have worked hard and to ensure that it is all correct and that our role in the event goes smoothly.”

F1 powers to a party F1 powers to a party'F1 2005' partied to a conclusion in the wee hours of Sunday evening in and around Shanghai. The place to be was Red Bull's 'full-on' end of year bash in a purpose-built bamboo village on the Huangpu river.

At midnight, 1500 party-goers representing all ten teams watched the 'Formula Una Awards' -- a prize going to the prettiest Red Bull pit girl.

Earlier, while still in the paddock, Jordan showed it had not completely lost its sense of humor when the team - to become 'Midland' for 2006 - posed for an end of year photo.

Just as the much-criticized team boss Colin Kolles had in Australia, every team member wore a Burberry cap for the snap. Kolles' custom made T-shirt even read 'Chavski' - his unwanted nickname - on the back.

At the Minardi barbeque, Paul Stoddart laid on plenty of beer and hamburgers -- and a tasty looking shark as a table centerpiece. In tribute to the departing Aussie boss' rows with the FIA president, someone scrawled 'Max' on the shark's side. ''Never has so much been achieved by so few with so little,'' an emotional Paul said.

'Rookie of the year' 'Rookie of the year'Tiago Monteiro has claimed the 'rookie of the year' tag after finishing eleventh in China. The Portuguese driver, who finished a record 18 of the 19 grands prix in 2005, reckons he did a better season-long job than Jordan teammate Narain Karthikeyan, and other rookies like Christian Albers, Robert Doornbos (both Minardi) and Vitantonio Liuzzi (Red Bull).

He said: ''To finish the season with ... best rookie of the year (and) man of the race in Spa ... is unbelievable.''

Monteiro, 28, also climbed onto the podium in the six-car Bridgestone benefit at Indy.

Meanwhile, the local 'Shanghai Daily' newspaper reports that 130,000 spectators gathered at the Chinese grand prix on Sunday -- a 20,000 drop over last year.

Another smelly soundbite Another smelly soundbiteMany F1 reporters will be happy if Ferrari return to form next year -- if only to avoid the usually polite Jean Todt's now traditionally odious sitting. After every grand prix, good or bad, the French boss sits down with a selection of journalists to chew over the race.

But 2005 has been a scarlet-clad nightmare, resulting in the single (farcical) Indy win, and culminating in the sheer embarrassment of Michael Schumacher's Shanghai shunts.

''It's better to get all the shit in one year and start better for next year,'' Todt had said a week ago in Suzuka.

Now, after the Chinese quagmire - including Rubens Barrichello's valiant but fruitless effort on knackered Bridgestones - Jean Todt adds: ''Sometimes when you're bad, it's good to have your nose in the shit so that you smell it clearly and you react.''

Indian in Chinese 'KO' Indian in Chinese 'KO'Jordan rookie Narain Karthikeyan is recovering on Monday from a mammoth smash in the Chinese finale.  He reports a sore neck, and was given pain killers after a visit to the medical centre.  India's 'Hindustan Times' newspaper added on Monday that the 28-year-old was actually unconscious for a few seconds after the 250kmh hit.

''I don't know what happened and how it happened,'' he told the newspaper. ''All I can say is that when I opened my eyes, I saw my car on fire.''

Narain added: ''Instinct and the sight of other speeding cars drove me out of the seat.

''Now, I'm on painkillers and doctors have told me that if I have nausea to report to them.''

Karthikeyan, who has had a mixed first year at the pinnacle of racing, admits to not yet having a contract to continue with the renamed 'Midland F1' camp next season.

Asked about 2006, NK said: ''I'm hopeful.

''Right now, I just need to find out that all is fine with me.''

Race at Lowe's almost shortened Race at Lowe's almost shortenedJimmie Johnson might not have won his fourth consecutive points race at Lowe's Motor Speedway had NASCAR officials shortened Saturday's event as they considered because of numerous tire problems. The 336-lap race never had more than 30 laps of green-flag racing between cautions -- many for accidents caused by blown tires. NASCAR president Mike Helton said series officials debated what to do, including shortening the race, as the carnage raged. Roanoke Times
Schumacher suffers final farce Schumacher suffers final farceMichael Schumacher denies that he wants to retire but a miserable Chinese Grand Prix yesterday could force him to contemplate it for the first time. The final race of the Formula One season was the last straw for Schumacher, who managed to crash before he reached the starting grid in one of the more bizarre episodes in his turbulent history. The Crown Prince of Formula One then compounded the felony by spinning off into early retirement from the race when he was not even racing. He was simply following the safety car in a lowly tenth place when he decided to warm up his tyres and whizzed off into the gravel. The long walk back gave him plenty of time to think about the giggles up and down the pitlane as the seven- times world champion was brought to the lowest ebb of what he describes as his "worst " season in ten years of driving for Ferrari.

If that was not bad enough, he couldn't take an early flight home on his private jet to his lakeside mansion in Switzerland. The race stewards made him hang around until after the race to slap his wrists for pulling across in front of Christian Albers' Minardi as the pair made their way to the start line, even before the race was officially under orders.

Schumacher said wearily: "I intend to go home and have some time off. I suppose the ending here summed up the entire season. For the accident, I was going slowly, warming up the tyres and I don't know whether Albers saw me, but there was suddenly a big bang."

It was an oddball incident, which forced Schumacher to take Ferrari's spare car into the race. But what happened next was the stuff of farce: the race controlled by the safety car, Schumacher was following Felipe Massa's Sauber. Massa's pit crew warned their driver: "Schumacher is behind you. He will try to go at you." A second later, they said: "Er, Schumacher has gone off." Sure enough, a lapse in concentration from a driver who has won a record 84 races had been as fatal as it was embarrassing.

The descent from hero to zero has been rapid and remarkable this season. Schumacher's third place in the championship more reflects the failure of competing teams than his success. His single win came amid the farcical scenes of the United States Grand Prix that never was as seven teams boycotted the race in a protest over tyre safety.

At the age of 36, Schumacher has had to witness the arrival of a confident new breed of drivers, led by Fernando Alonso, his successor as world champion and winner yesterday, and Kimi Räikkönen.

He does not want to retire, he says, because he still loves the sport but another season like this would be difficult to swallow. Schumacher has made an estimated £150 million from his 14 years in Formula One, is one of the most famous faces in the world and probably Germany's greatest sporting product. But in Shanghai yesterday, he was reduced to being a sideshow. How much longer he can stomach that remains to be seen. TimesOnline.com
Industry news
Consumer Car Sales Sliding Consumer Car Sales SlidingAccording to this AutoWeek article current consumer car sales are sliding.  Two weeks into a move to value pricing by Ford Motor Co. and General Motors, vehicle sales have collapsed and panic is settling in among dealers.

"We're all very, very worried," says Bob Fusco, president of Roslyn Buick-Pontiac-GMC in Roslyn, N.Y. "It's about as serious as it can be."

Fusco, chairman of the 650-store Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, says, "I've been in business 24 years, and I don't believe I've ever seen it this slow."

In the Chicago area, an internal GM sales report shows that in the first 12 days of October, Chevrolet dealers had reported sales of 576 new vehicles, including other GM brands in the same store, just 12 percent of the company's goal for the month. Many Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealers had reported no October sales at all.

One dealer feeling the pain after the Big 3 summer employee-pricing extravaganza is retired Ford Motor CFO Allan Gilmour, principal owner of Gilmour Ford-Chrysler in St. Johnsbury, Vt.

Speaking Thursday, Oct. 13, about October sales, Gilmour said, "There are no sales. We have done reasonably well in used, but there are literally no sales."

By Friday, the store, which normally would sell about 50 new vehicles in October, had sold "six or seven" this month, a dealership manager said.

Value pricing emphasizes lower sticker prices rather than big incentives. At GM and Ford, it faces a rough start in the wake of the employee discount sales binge. Customers are waiting for the next big pricing program.

The Chrysler group has been trying to use a value-pricing strategy for several years.

The Power Information Network says U.S. retail new-car sales dropped 33 percent in the first nine days of October compared with a modestly weak October a year ago.

While most major automakers were down a bit, GM sales plunged 57 percent and Ford Motor sales fell 45 percent, according to Power Information Network data.
Champ Car ’counting’ on New Car Sales Champ Car ’counting’ on New Car SalesIt's much the same for car manufacturers making our everyday drivers: you introduce a new model, you hope to sell boatloads of them.  That's what Champ Car hopes to do with their new 2007 chassis.

It's about increasing car counts. It's about the continued rebuilding process of the racing series that made an emphatic debut in Edmonton this summer. It's about what all racing series - especially the fractured open wheel variety - have to do right now: decrease costs and increase numbers.

"Obviously one of our goals and objectives," said Champ Car president Steve Johnson in response to one of my allotted questions during Tuesday's media conference call.

"The answer is yes, it will increase the car counts. This package is going to be very attractive for drivers worldwide. Don't know how many, but we do know that it will increase the car counts." zzzz

As the series strives to survive and, soon they hope, thrive in the void created by the infamous Indy vs. CART split in the late '90s, it has become increasingly focused on staging event-style street races. "Festivals of speed," they call them. (The Indy split remains like an oil spill on the landscape of open wheel that nobody has figured out how to - or could be bothered to - clean up.)

But one of the clear weaknesses of Champ Car that still needs addressing is car count. Being under 18 isn't illegal. But it's the least you can show up with if you are attempting to stage a major-league racing series. And sometimes Champ Car has had to resort to using fake ID to make 18.

Again, like most new cars today, the sales pitch for the DP01 is "smaller, lighter, safer, more nimble," said David Bowes, CEO of Elan Motorsports Technologies, Panoz's partners in the design.

(Don Panoz , by the way, is a racing geek from Georgia who sunk cartons of money he made from owning the rights to the nicotine patch into the research and development of several race cars and programs.)


But the key factor with the new ride (which will house the next generation of Ford Cosworth engines) is that it will be cheaper.

"The main purpose of this project was to reduce the operating costs of racing for our teams," said Champ Car's tech director, Scot Elkins. "This economic environment has required that. This new car is about 35% less expensive than what our current car is right now ... In addition to that, we're also building in about a 50% reduction in the cost of parts, the parts that everyone goes through every weekend, the wishbones, the uprights, the very much consumable parts."

Champ Car believes they have a successful blueprint right in their own house. With 40 on order, the recently introduced Atlantic is proving an early sales smash straight off of the showroom floor.

"We basically used the same criteria (and) design process," Elkins said in response to my second query, regarding the tie-in with their feeder series. "The Atlantic car actually is a forerunner for what we're doing with the Champ Car."

Champ Car hopes to be counting their cars on more than two people's fingers and toes. Edmonton Sun

Industry news
GM posts 1.6 billion third-quarter loss GM posts 1.6 billion third-quarter lossGeneral Motors Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner laid out today a series of aggressive cost-cutting moves as the company posted third-quarter losses of $1.6 billion.  The automaker's plan includes:

* An agreement with the UAW, also announced today, to reduce the automaker's health care costs by $1 billion a year.

* Selling a controlling interest in GMAC, the company's financing unit and one of its few highly profitable operations.

* Closing plants and eliminating 25,000 hourly manufacturing workers by 2008.

Wagoner first proposed that at GM's annual shareholder meeting in June, but Monday he said he wanted to have a plan in place by the end of the year.  zzzz

* Putting a freeze on pay for salaried and contract employees, which means no salary increases and no bonuses in 2005. GM has cut the number of U.S. salaried jobs by 30 percent over the past five years to 36,000 currently, and further cuts will be made in 2006.

* Reduce what it pays for parts and materials by another $2 billion in 2006, despite higher prices for commodities such as steel and oil. After accounting for the increased costs of adding more features to its vehicles, the cost reductions will result in savings of $1 billion annually.

Wagoner has been under increasing pressure from investors and analysts to get GM's core business, making and selling cars, closer to making money.

Including Monday's report, the company has lost $3.8 billion in the first nine months of 2005. GM's biggest drag on profits continues to be the North American automotive unit, where it lost $1.6 billion in the third quarter. Total revenue was $47 billion for the quarter, up from $44.8 billion in 2004.

The losses for July, August and September came while GM was selling most of its cars and trucks in the United States at "employee prices." While those deep discounts sold a lot of vehicles, they cut into profits.

While Wagoner said the results were disappointing, the company is confident its new vehicles, including a new lineup of more fuel efficient SUVs, "is moving in the right direction in the execution of new products we are putting into the market-place.''

The total result of all the plans announced on Monday will save $5 billion annually by the end of 2006, GM said.

"While this sounds like a large number, we recognize that it only goes part of the way we need to go to put GM North America in the fully competitive position that is necessary to maintain and enhance our future viability and growth," Wagoner said. More at Detroit Free Press

Statement from Hunter-Reay Statement from Hunter-Reay"Apparently, I will not be driving for Rocketsports Racing in the final two races of the 2005 Champ Car World Series. While Paul (Gentilozzi) has made a commercial decision for his team I am, naturally, disappointed to miss the Surfers Paradise race where I took my first Champ Car victory in 2003 and finished 5th last year, as well as Mexico where I qualified 5th and posted the fastest race lap in my inaugural race there.

After the last two years where I have had some great results it has been a very frustrating season as I thought I was going to be in a situation where I could build on these previous successes.

I apologise to all my fans in Australia and Mexico that I won't be driving there for them to cheer on this year however, I have an incredible fan base that have supported me throughout my Champ Car career and I look forward to celebrating great results with them in the future.

I will now focus my efforts on securing a competitive drive for 2006."
Interview with the ALMS champions Interview with the ALMS champions
-Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro discuss the 2005 season
-Seasoned campaigners want to race on
-Audi R8 is of special importance for both drivers.

Frank Biela (41) and Emanuele Pirro (43) won the 2005 American Le Mans series (ALMS) Drivers' Championship in the team ADT Champion Racing Audi R8. They were presented with their trophy at the ALMS championship gala in Monterey (California) on Sunday evening. The two Audi works drivers discuss their winning streak in the USA and their plans for the future.

What does winning the title mean to you?
Frank Biela: "An enormous amount. Every title is great. However, after the difficult DTM year, this 'comeback' feels particularly good. It's fair to say that the self-confidence did suffer a little last season.?
Emanuele Pirro: "After last season didn't run as expected, it was important for me to be competitive again, and we were exactly that the whole year. That we also won the championship is obviously fantastic. It gave me confidence and motivation back.'

How difficult was the jump from the Audi A4 DTM back to the R8?
Biela: "I didn't find it as difficult as the jump the other way. I think that my driving style suits the R8 more than that required in the DTM at the moment. I couldn't change the driving style I'd been born with. That's why stepping back into the sportscar was much easier. After two or three races I felt completely at home again.?
Pirro: "I often drove in different race series at the same time earlier in my career and never had a problem getting used to the various cars. In the DTM I had to force myself to change my driving style. The DTM demands a special driving style, on which I worked for a year. That's why I had to rediscover my normal driving style for the R8. But it didn't take very long.? zzzz

The Audi R8 will now be put out to pasture, what meaning did the R8 have for your career?
Pirro: "Everybody knows that the Audi R8 is an extraordinary car. But as is usually the case, you'll realize only much later just how unique the Audi's run of success really was. I'm proud to have been a part of the project. I won the first race, took the first Le Mans victory and also now the last championship for the R8.?
Biela: "The Audi R8 has a very special place in my career - simply because of the six long years that I spent driving the car. And obviously because of the sweet success: Le Mans, American Le Mans, Sebring and and and - I've won a lot of great races and championships with the R8.'

From your point of view how was the 2005 season?
Biela: "Very good. There was a short acclimatization period in the first three races. The turning point came after Le Mans with three successive victories. Everything ran very smoothly. The team works extremely well. The atmosphere in the team is incredibly good. The season was big fun. Winning the championship was the icing on the cake.'
Pirro: "Things improved constantly. We started the season with a couple of question marks hanging in the air. After two or three races they were gone. Things actually went better than expected. At the end it was almost too easy, we won the championship at the penultimate race of the season.'

What is the special charm of endurance racing and the American Le Mans series?
Pirro: "The best thing is that you have to drive flat out all the time in today's long-distance races. In a modern long-distance race every tenth of a second counts, even in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the past, it never occurred to me to look after the car and tires during a long-distance race. Furthermore, it's a great feeling to have a team mate with who you get on so well. The races in America are something very special. The circuits are fabulous. You don't have as much fun on the modern European circuits. There is also a fantastic atmosphere in America.'
Biela: "First and foremost the type of race car is excellent. Driving a sportscar is a huge amount of fun, and the races are interesting. There are driver changes, and strategy plays an important role. The American race tracks are fantastic. Flying backwards and forwards across the Atlantic is stressful, but the races in the USA are simply great fun.'

In the meantime you are both over 40. How much longer do you want to drive?
Biela: "It's clear that this question is posed more frequently when you are over 40. I'm now 41. I hope that I have another two, three or four competitive years in me. We'll see what I do afterwards, just how competitive I'll still be and whether I'm still enjoying myself. At the moment I definitely want to continue driving.'
Pirro: "I’d like to drive for a few more years. I'd certainly like to finish my career at Audi. I owe Audi a great deal, but have also given Audi a lot. I'd like to sit down with Dr Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport) and decide together when the time is ripe to retire. However, at the moment I feel top fit and in good form. And I still have a lot of fun racing.'
Flavio Flaunts a Different Trophy Flavio Flaunts a Different TrophyFlavio Briatore says he would have quit Renault if the team had not won the 2005 world championship. The flamboyant team principal, whose current contract with the French carmaker runs out this year, extended the deal for at least one more season in April. But he told the Italian 'La Reppublica newspaper: ''In 2001 I arrived at Renault and said, 'we'll become champions in 2005'.''We did it, otherwise in December I would have resigned.''Briatore added yet another trophy to the cabinet with Fernando Alonso's Shanghai success -- the constructors' double.

But the Renault boss, renowned in the society pages for courting beautiful models, was showing something else off in China - Australian model Rachel Swaney. The pair met while Swaney was the 'Face of Foster's' in Melbourne earlier this year, and are believed to have wined and dined in Shanghai, according to Italian press sources.

Champ Car in Partnership with SE Games Champ Car in Partnership with SE GamesThe Champ Car World Series has agreed a long-term partnership with SE GAMES and Jester Interactive Publishing to develop exclusively licensed video games and related merchandise.

The Champ Car-themed games are slated to be developed for use across a number of personal gaming platforms with further game release details to be announced. Said Champ Car president Steve Johnson: "Champ Car is all about entertainment and video games afford us the ability to extend the range of entertainment offerings to our fans."

SE GAMES president and CEO, Michael Donaldson, said: "Champ Car has become the most engaging form of open-wheel racing today and now we, along with Jester Interactive, can bring this high level of entertainment to households around the globe, on the most popular interactive platforms."

Bahrain Hopeful of Formula One Theme Park Bahrain Hopeful of Formula One Theme ParkContrary to the belief that the proposed Formula One theme park being built in Dubai could herald the switch of the Middle East's grand prix to the kingdom, Bahrain International Circuit is confident that the project will be good for both venues.

Formula One Administration announced the deal to build the 'Formula One World' theme park, to be located in Dubai's MotorCity, over the Chinese GP weekend, and many immediately claimed that the $360m project - featuring state-of-the-art entertainment, a hotel and conference centre - would spell the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix, with the race switching to Dubai at the end of the race's current contract in 2009, a year after completion is expected on the theme park.

However, according to representatives of the BIC, the theme park is 'good news' for Bahrain, as 'it will generate greater awareness for the sport in the region and drive many more enthusiastic supporters of the world's fastest sport to the Kingdom for the annual race'. zzzz

"We see the development of the entertainment park in Dubai as being extremely beneficial to Bahrain at a time when the awareness and enthusiasm for the Formula One world championship is growing in the region," circuit general manager Martin Whitaker continued, "Having the security of a long-term contract to stage the Middle East's only grand prix is vitally important to the circuit and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

"We are now entering a new phase in the development of the sport and associated business activities here in Bahrain. The circuit has a strong portfolio of international
and regional racing, the pinnacle of which is Formula One, while our business focus is now on the ongoing development, in Bahrain, of the region's first active exhibition and business centre."

Having already staged both the F1 world championship and the GP2 finale this season, Bahrain International is now preparing for the last round of the FIA GT Championship, the inaugural Formula BMW World Finals and the European Drag Racing Championship, as well as looking forward to the addition of the Australian V8 Supercar series to its 2006 schedule.

The company working alongside the FOA in planning the theme park, Union Properties, is the same company that built the highly-regarded Dubai Autodrome, which opened in 2004, the same as Bahrain.

Statements from Inside IRL Statements from Inside IRLThere are always question marks at the end of any racing season but it seems like an epidemic of uncertainty in the Indy Racing League.

Panther Racing, a two-time series champion that's been an IRL cornerstone since 1997, is losing Pennzoil as the major sponsor of Tomas Scheckter. "We've got some issues but we hope to have a handle on things in 30 days," said Gary Pedigo, one of Panther's co owners. "We've got some partial deals in the works but nothing signed."

Red Bull, partners with Eddie Cheever the past four years, is throwing its resources into Formula One and leaving his IRL team. "I can't answer that right now but Red Bull has just purchased its second Formula One team and it appears right now their focus is on F-1," replied Cheever when asked if Red Bull would be back. "If their strategy has changed, yes it could affect us but we've had a great relationship." zzzz

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which received free Honda engines this year for running Roger Yasukawa, is probably going to have to find an extra $2 million for its engine program in 2006 since Yasukawa won't be invited back. "Does an engine deal matter? Of course it does," said Robbie Buhl, who co-owns the team with Dennis Reinbold. "It's the difference of finding four million dollars or six million and that's a huge difference in this tough economical environment."

A.J. Foyt does have ABC Supply as title for two more years but must make a deal with Honda because Toyota will not provide power for the four-time Indy 500 winner. "I'll be here next year but I don't know who's going to be driving or what we're doing for engines just yet," said Foyt, whose anti-Toyota comments sparked their wrath.  More at SPEEDTV.com

Driver Shuffles in Busch Driver Shuffles in BuschMike Bliss is the latest driver to learn he's out after the season finale at Homestead. Jeff Green appears to be the top candidate for Bliss' #0 Haas CNC ride. If he gets it, the dominoes really would start to fall. The most curious possible replacement? Bobby Labonte for the Petty Enterprises ride Green would vacate. Labonte, who drives the #18 for Joe Gibbs Racing, has been less than thrilled lately, and his name was mentioned earlier as a candidate for the Penske Racing #2 and Richard Childress Racing #29. Gibbs is auditioning Busch drivers Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley for the #11 Chevrolet. Hamlin finished eighth in Saturday night's crashfest at Charlotte, so give him the nod. But should Labonte leave, it would open the door for both drivers to move up to Cup in 2006.(Sporting News)
Debate over Lowe's Motor Speedway Debate over Lowe's Motor Speedway#48-Jimmie Johnson might not have won his fourth consecutive points race at Lowe's Motor Speedway had NASCAR officials shortened Saturday's event as they considered because of numerous tire problems. The 336-lap race never had more than 30 laps of green-flag racing between cautions -- many for accidents caused by blown tires. NASCAR president Mike Helton said series officials debated what to do, including shortening the race, as the carnage raged. (Roanoke Times)
Big Changes for Vision Racing Big Changes for Vision RacingTony George, the IRL founder who Sunday completed his first season as a team owner, acknowledged that big changes are in the works for Vision Racing. George said he is close to announcing that actor Patrick Dempsey will become a partner in the team.

George said he is planning for a two-car Indy-car team, with two more cars in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. No sponsor has been signed, but George hopes to have one in place before the end of the year. George also hopes to have a Grand Am program to run in the three races that will be held in conjunction with the IRL next season. He hopes to help drive the car along with stepson Ed Carpenter and perhaps Dempsey. Indy Star

Cheever undergoes change Cheever undergoes changeAccording to this IndyStar article The loss of its sponsor and the Indy Racing League's condensed 2006 schedule will force changes at Cheever Racing. No longer will the Indianapolis-based team be powered by Red Bull's funding. Eddie Cheever confirmed Sunday that he does not have a sponsor for his two-car operation, but he has a contract with Toyota to return to the series.
As for the five-month layoff before the season-opening race, Cheever said he will form a sports-car team to keep his employees busy until the Indy-car season begins March 26 at Homestead, Fla.  "Our (IRL) schedule allows us to do that; it almost forces us to do that," Cheever said at California Speedway, where the Indy-car season ended Sunday. "I like the new schedule, but it's very hard for us to keep a full workforce together through the winter. That's too much time to sit and hypothesize about what we might do in the race." Cheever said the sports-car team will have multiple cars, and he intends to be one of the drivers. The Grand American Road Racing Series begins Jan. 26-27 with the Rolex 24 of Daytona (Fla.).

Tony George, the IRL founder who Sunday completed his first season as a team owner, acknowledged that big changes are in the works for Vision Racing. George said he is close to announcing that actor Patrick Dempsey will become a partner in the team. George said he is planning for a two-car Indy-car team, with two more cars in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.

Wheldon's head getting too big Wheldon's head getting too bigOn Thursday, Dan Wheldon refused accommodations at a Marriott Hotel arranged by Honda when he came to greater Los Angeles for an official function at Honda's corporate headquarters in Torrance, causing a logistical nightmare. The nine other Honda drivers had no problems with the facilities at the Marriott. Wheldon was also the only Honda driver to turn up late for a scheduled photo shoot.

On Saturday, he stormed out of a joint television interview with Danica Patrick when Patrick asked pointed questions about Wheldon's love life. The Indianapolis Star has reported that Wheldon is dating Nicole Manske, a pit reporter for the IndyCar Series radio network who also serves as a sports anchor for WISH-TV, the Indianapolis CBS affiliate. ESPN.com

Benny Parsons found out about NBC decision in paper Benny Parsons found out about NBC decision in paperBenny Parsons, NBC’s analyst, said he knew nothing about the network’s decision to bow out of NASCAR coverage until he read it in the newspaper. Parsons then called his bosses, who confirmed that the network had pulled out of the bidding process for the contract that begins in 2007. “They just weren’t prepared to pay the kind of money NASCAR wanted,” said Parsons, a former champion driver. “I’ll be 65 when this contract ends in 14 months,” he added. “I don’t think it’s as important for me as it is for some of the younger guys on our broadcasts. They’ll be scrambling.” Gaston Gazette
RCR: No plans to run Tracy RCR: No plans to run TracyRichard Childress Racing gave Champ Car driver Paul Tracy a two-day test at Michigan in August and said he would let him race at that track if the session went well. The two ultimately decided not to enter the race. Now Childress says there have been no further discussions. "Paul and I haven't talked in about a month," Childress said. "We're just trying to get our in-house program put together for next year." ESPN.com/RPM
IPS Series
Cunningham wins IPS race, championship Cunningham wins IPS race, championshipWade Cunningham wins the California 100 and the IPS series Championship!  Results Sunday of the California 100 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series event at the 2-mile California Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any) and money earned: 
1. (5) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Infiniti, 50, Running
2. (7) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Infiniti, 50, Running
3. (1) Travis Gregg, Dallara-Infiniti, 50, Running
4. (3) Chris Festa, Dallara-Infiniti, 50, Running
5. (6) Nick Bussell, Dallara-Infiniti, 50, Running
6. (10) Arie Luyendyk Jr., Dallara-Infiniti, 50, Running
7. (4) Marty Roth, Dallara-Infiniti, 50, Running
8. (14) P.J. Abbott, Dallara-Infiniti, 49, Running
9. (13) Jon Herb, Dallara-Infiniti, 47, Running
10. (2) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Infiniti, 45, Running
11. (9) Taylor Fletcher, Dallara-Infiniti, 7, Accident
12. (12) Jay Drake, Dallara-Infiniti, 0, Accident
13. (8) Bobby Wilson, Dallara-Infiniti, 0, Did not start
14. (11) Geoff Dodge, Dallara-Infiniti, 0, Did not start         
Race Statistics      
Winner's average speed: 139.170 mph      
Time of race: 43:06.7644      
Margin of victory: 0.1067 of a second      
Cautions: 3 cautions for 13 laps       
Lead changes: 15 among 2 drivers      
Lap leaders: Gregg 1-5, Cunningham 6, Gregg 7-13, Cunningham 14-17, Gregg 18, Cunningham 19-20, Gregg 21, Cunningham 22-23, Gregg 24-25, Cunningham 26, Gregg 27-28, Cunningham 29-31, Gregg 32-33, Cunningham 34-40, Gregg 41-42, Cunningham 43-50.      
Point standings: Cunningham 519, Simmons 474, Gregg 462, Bussell 430, Camara 403, Festa 387, Herb 364, Roth 355, Drake 341, Andretti 250. zzzz

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 33 Motorsport New Zealand Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, winner California 100 and 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship): "No matter what happened we could keep going straight to the front. The car was just so strong all day. The gears were just right. The car was just on the edge of being a little bit too loose. I'm just super proud of the guys. We hung with it all season and finally got the win we deserved."

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished second): "We had a tough first half of the year but came back strong with Team ISI. The guys at Kenn Hardley Racing did a great job. We had a good car. We had another race winning car today. Hopefully we've impressed (the IndyCar Series) team owners enough to have them take a real serious look at me. Hopefully they see I can race on every kind of track, and I can race clean."

TRAVIS GREGG (No. 7 Lucas Oil Products/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished third): "We started good, but ended up a little short.  It was fun to battle with Wade (Cunningham) and Jeff (Simmons) during the race.  I thought we had it on that last restart, but I just couldn't keep up with their momentum when they went by together.  I didn't really feel alone out there until the last eight laps, but the first 42 laps I was pretty busy.  It was pretty fun."

CHRIS FESTA (No. 19 SpacePak/CareCentric/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished fourth): "We're disappointed we dropped to fourth after starting third, but it was a hard race the entire time. We're happy to maintain fourth with the battle we were in the entire time.  The car was understeering a little, which made it unable to keep up with the front three. That's the way it goes, sometimes you just don't have a car that's fast enough, but we were able to end the year better than we started.  It was a good hard race."

NICK BUSSELL (No. 9 Vision Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished fifth): "It was interesting. It was not the outcome we wanted. We finished fifth again. It was a little bit crazy. The car was good for the most part. We just were a little off, and it was pretty competitive. We got separated from the pack in the middle of the race and a couple of guys got together, and I didn't really have a chance to catch up. The restart wasn't so good."

Ticket sales up for IRL race Ticket sales up for IRL raceUPDATE So much for ticket sales being up for this race.  The attendance was horrible, estimated at 14,000 or 15,000. 10/01/05 It would have been easy - and with cause - for the staff at California Speedway to half-heartedly promote the Oct. 15-16 Indy Lame Duck 400. After all, the Indy Racing League shot itself in the foot earlier this month by announcing Fontana was not on the schedule for 2006. Before the 2005 race.

Nice marketing touch.

Rather than lick its wounds and go away, the speedway staff has been aggressive in selling the open-wheel race. President Gillian Zucker is not backing off. It's her goal to continue growing the event and perhaps sell more tickets for an IRL race outside of Indianapolis or any track that doesn't tie the IRL to a NASCAR Nextel Cup event.

At Fontana, per the IRL's wishes, the Indy Toyota 400 stands on its own. There is a super season-ticket package available for every competitive event at the speedway, but you don't have to buy an IRL ticket to get a seat for the NASCAR Nextel Cup race.

California wanted to keep the IRL, but not on the same date the sanctioning body wanted. The speedway made its intentions known, and it wasn't all talk.

Zucker and staff are spending money to draw fans to the race, along with its partners. Images of Tony Kanaan appear at 7-11 stores throughout Southern California, and Argent is activating its sponsorship in its back yard along with Toyota.

The efforts are paying off. According to Roger Curtis, speedway vice president of marketing and sales, ticket sales for the IRL race are up 25 percent from a year ago (Danicamania?). Given the numbers from the past three IRL races at Fontana, a crowd of 50,000 is certainly within reach. More at SBSun.com  [Editor's Note:: Ticket sales up 50%? Does this mean Marlboro, Honda and Toyota have bought more tickets this year to giveaway? After you give away tickets in a market for years nobody is going to buy a ticket. It kills the market forever. So if they did sell 50% more tickets, for all we know it could mean 150 fans bought tickets vs. 100 this time next year. A 50% increase must be quantified.]

Honda's IRL commitment Honda's IRL commitmentA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Let me start off by saying that I have been a subscriber since 02' and I really enjoy visiting your website on a daily basis. I grew up in Eastern Virginia (Ricky Rudd got his start at our local track) with a father who is a holdover from the old time USAC Championship Trail days. Needless to say, I have been bred to support open wheel racing. Memorial Day was a special event around my house. When the split happened in 95, Pops went one way, I went the other and remained loyal to CART and thrilled with the direction that OWRS is taking the series.

Turning to the latest news, why in the name of good sense is Honda re-upping with the IRL for three more years? I have tried to figure this one out, but for the life of me, I just can't see the logic in it. Unless, of course, Tony George is paying Honda to stay or is going to pay all of their support costs. I suppose what saddens me the most, besides the entire sport moving backward thirty plus years, is the unwillingness of the manufacturers to act and put a stop to this insidious split. Ford could have done it before the IRL even got off the ground. Goodyear and Firestone have had numerous opportunities. Now the official position of Honda HPD is that unification is in everyone's best interest. Yet, when it's time to put up or shut up, they do a 180 and commit to continue supplying the series. I was just curious as to your take on this. Keep up the good work, and continue telling the REAL story. I really appreciate it. Massey Hemenway, Nashville, Tennessee

Dear Massey, Our theory is that HPD has tripled the size of their faculty and they have a lot of employees on salary. We believe an exclusive engine supply contract with the IRL will turn HPD from a cost center to a profit center. So although Honda says they like competition, making a profit is always a good thing. We look for Honda to enter other racing series such as ALMS to satisfy their competition need. Mark C.

Red Bull ends Team Cheever's IRL sponsorship Red Bull ends Team Cheever's IRL sponsorshipAfter a successful four-year partnership, Cheever Racing and Red Bull will not renew its marketing partnership for the 2006 IndyCar Series season.
During the partnership, which began with the 2002 season, both companies have enjoyed many successes. Team accomplishments during the period include 43 top-10 finishes, 13 top fives, poles at Texas, Kansas, Michigan and California in 2002 and a victory at Michigan in 2002.
"I would like to sincerely thank Red Bull and in particular Dietrich Mateschitz for the partnership we have developed over the past four years. Our deal with Red Bull came just a few years after they first introduced their product in the U.S. marketplace. As one of their first major national sponsorship programs in the United States we have grown together these past four years. I remember when we would have five Red Bull guests at each IndyCar Series race. This season we had at least 250 people and the always-exciting Red Bull Energy Station at almost every race. We wish them all the success in their future endeavors and, who knows, perhaps it will make business sense and our paths will cross again in the future,” team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. said.
Cheever Racing will continue its operation in Indianapolis and is currently in negotiations with future partners on several racing endeavors. Information on 2006 programs will be released as soon as all details are finalized.
Red Bull remains one of the largest global supporters of open-wheel racing as evidenced through the continued support of young drivers like American Scott Speed and the recent ownership acquisition of a second Formula 1 racing team. Team Cheever
AJ Foyt IV crashes hard at Fontana AJ Foyt IV crashes hard at FontanaUPDATE Foyt has been released from the hospital with no reported injuries. 10/16/05 In his final IRL race before moving to NASCAR, AJ Foyt IV hit the turn 2 wall hard at the California Speedway early in the Indy Car Racing event today and destroyed another AJ Foyt Enterprise car. The 21-year old Foyt looked to be in some pain and was placed on a backboard and stretcher and rushed off to the infield medical unit, the latest in a long line of oval track victims.  He was groggy, and complaining of knee pain.  He is being airlifted to Loma Linda Hospital.
Red Bull Racing rocks Shanghai Red Bull Racing rocks ShanghaiThe longest season in the history of Formula 1 came to a close in Shanghai, China on Sunday evening as the Red Bull Racing team hosted a full-on end of season party.

It took 200 people, working round the clock for four days to build a temporary bamboo village as the party venue on the bank of the Huangpu River that runs through the centre of the city. Over sixteen thousand pieces of bamboo were used to create an authentic Chinese feel. F1 drivers, bosses, officials and personnel from all ten teams made up a crowd of fifteen hundred who sauntered up the red carpet to tackle an evening combining the best of old and new China; the old represented by demonstrations of traditional skills such as martial arts, Ming dynasty drumming and calligraphy, the new by the ultra-modern Shanghai skyline.

Then, close to midnight, came the big moment of the evening when the overall winner of the Formula Una Awards 2005 was announced. There were 20 finalists - one from each country that hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix - plus one Una from Austria, home of Red Bull - who made the trip to Shanghai. The girls were picked for their feisty nature, elegance and humor and their willingness to step into the unknown world of grand prix racing.

To announce the winner Red Bull´s Dietrich Mateschitz was joined on stage by several F1 celebrities, including the team’s number one driver, David Coulthard. Amazingly, the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. So, in a fit of generosity, Red Bull Racing decided to award the winning prize to all twenty girls, who will now be going on a once-in-a-lifetime around the world trip.

"I can’t believe we are all going together," said Hungary’s Kitti Kellemen, speaking on behalf of all the girls. "We have all got to know each other so well over the past few days in Shanghai, that it will make the prize even better sharing it with everyone."

7-Eleven renews with AGR 7-Eleven renews with AGR7-Eleven, Inc. has announced an extension of its sponsorship agreement with Andretti Green Racing (AGR). The company will continue in its role as the chief supporter of the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone. 7-Eleven has served as the primary sponsor for the Andretti Green entry driven by 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan for the past three seasons. During that time, 7-Eleven has also been an associate sponsor on the #7 XM Satellite Radio car driven by two-time race winner Bryan Herta, the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam machine piloted by 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2005 IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon and the #27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone three- time race winner Dario Franchitti, all of which are Andretti Green entries. "We're excited to continue our lead sponsorship of Team 7-Eleven, and be a part of this great American racing tradition," said Jim Keyes, president and chief executive officer for 7-Eleven, Inc.
An end in Shanghai An end in ShanghaiAn awful lot of emotional, weary, foiled or euphoric men ambled out of the Shanghai formula one paddock late on Sunday afternoon -- and some won't be back.

Youngster Felipe Massa, off to Ferrari, gave his boss Peter Sauber a dignified exit after 36 years in motor sport with a solid sixth. In return, Sauber - the 62-year-old Swiss - promised the Ferrari-bound driver his very own car to keep.

''It's a wonderful way to thank him and this great team,'' said a jubilant Massa.

India's first F1 driver, Narain Karthikeyan, exited the race with a huge thump, and most wondered just how he managed to wreck his Jordan on a straight. ''I don't know what happened,'' said the 28-year-old, but he seemed to accept the blame.

Will he be back in 2006?: ''We're still speaking with Midland,'' Karthikeyan mumbled, ''and some other things.''

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella had mixed emotions -- he undoubtedly contributed to the team's against-the-odds constructors' triumph, but was left nursing an FIA wallop for deliberately holding up a McLaren in pitlane.

''Raikkonen did the same in Belgium and nothing happened to him,'' said the Roman, who will be back on the grid for Renault next year.

67-year-old Pierre Dupasquier, after leading Michelin's racing division for nearly half his life, will not be back. A statement said the popular Frenchman ruled 'with an iron fist in a velvet glove' and 'with an impish smile and a sense of humor'.

Christijan Albers stopped short of triggering a war of words, but his thoughts were relatively clear on the reconnaissance-lap shunt with Michael Schumacher. ''I think everyone saw what happened,'' said the Dutchman. For those who didn't, Germany's deposed champion seemed to sloppily turn left while on a hazardously slow lap to the grid. zzzz

Schumacher's five year reign as F1 champion then indignantly, weirdly and somehow appropriately ended when he spun behind a Safety Car on totally knackered Bridgestone tires.

''Now, let's look ahead to putting things right,'' said the Ferrari driver, who will fulfill his '06 contract.

Nearer the front of the action, Kimi Raikkonen will remember 2005 as the year that could - and perhaps should - have been his. Ironically, Shanghai was the first grand prix for a while in which he was really and truly beaten by the champion, Fernando Alonso.

Aptly summing up his season, though - paradoxically - was the Chinese fate of Kimi's teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya. Although his retirement seemed to have something to do with striking a loose manhole cover, the Colombian actually rolled to rest after a blown Mercedes engine.

Chinese GP: post-race press conference Chinese GP: post-race press conference1st Fernando Alonso (Renault), 1h39m53.618s; 2nd Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren), 1h39m57.633s; 3rd Ralf Schumacher (Toyota), 1h40m18.994s. Transcript
Quote of The Week Quote of The Week"I need a renewal of my life insurance policy, to tell you the truth," Tony Stewart told his crew when asked late in the Lowe's crashfest what he needed.  "I just can't wait for this thing to be over so I can get out of here and hopefully not be hurt."
Fernando and Kimi to take winter break Fernando and Kimi to take winter breakNeither Fernando Alonso nor Kimi Raikkonen will test this year, once the winter test season resumes. They will both enjoy a well-deserve break after the longest season in Formula 1 history.

"I am next testing in January sometime, so that is fine for me," said Kimi. "It doesn’t really matter if you’re testing or not but of course after the season it is always nice to have something else to do rather than thinking about racing and then you are more interested at the start of the next year."

Fernando concluded: "The same for me. With seasons of 19 or 20 races long, you need to start the season as far away as you can and I think my first test will be in the middle or end of January as I did this year. Until then I hope to relax and enjoy my family."

Hinchcliffe victorious as Matos captures championship Hinchcliffe victorious as Matos captures championshipMonterey, California. James Hinchcliffe, of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, went flag-to-flag to earn his third victory of the season today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the final round of the 2005 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Driving the #98 NOCO/Mobil 1 AIM Autosport Mazda, Hinchcliffe was never tested during the 21-lap race interrupted by five caution periods. Joining Hinchcliffe on the podium were Jonathan Klein in the #26 Nexus Distribution Andersen Walko Racing Mazda and Graham Rahal in the #12 Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Andersen Walko Racing Mazda.
"Well I did everything I needed to do today to try and capture the championship but Raphael and Robbie didn't cooperate," Hinchcliffe, who captured his third pole position of the season earlier in the day, explained. "With all the caution periods this race was pretty uneventful, and while I can't complain about winning this race, you never like to finish under the yellow flag. I have to thank everyone at AIM Autosport for all their hard work this season and to come here and wrap up the season with maximum points."
While Hinchcliffe was rolling to victory, Matos, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, was battling the traffic to finish eighth place in his #7 Ocean Tomo Racing Mazda earning enough points to secure the championship by eleven points over Robbie Pecorari in the #23 SAI Hydraulics Andersen Walko Racing Mazda, who finished fourth on the day. "We came in here this weekend to win the race as well as the championship and we were fastest in both practice sessions before qualifying so I knew I had a great car," Matos said. "The Ocean Tomo crew gave me the fastest car out there today but the caution flags didn't give us a chance to race. As the race continued we knew we wouldn't get a chance for the victory so we focused on where Robbie was on he track and where I needed to be to claim the title. I have to thank my engineers Rick and Steve Cameron, Mylon Stockton, James Malackowski and all my sponsors for getting me to the top."
Klein, voted the Most-Improved Driver of the 2004 championship has had a hard luck season but finished strong with his first podium of the season, at a track he has grown fond of. "I've always run really well here at Mazda Raceway and this weekend was no exception," the University of Dayton freshman explained. "This season has been difficult as I've received several penalties from the officials so it feels good to come here and close out the season with a podium finish. Finishing second will also help me get out of trouble with my dad for forgetting I have a paper due Monday!" zzzz
With his sixth trip to the podium this season, Rahal, from New Albany, Ohio, has emerged as a future motorsports star as he looks to continue the legacy of his father, 3-time IndyCar Champion Bobby Rahal. Rahal would spend the majority of the race in second place but would get knocked back into third when he was tapped by Michael Potekhen on the fourth restart. "I'm not really sure what he was trying but unfortunately it moved me back a position," Rahal explained. "Fortunately I was able to continue and still finish up on the podium."
Finishing just off of the podium in fourth place, Pecorari, from Aston, Pennsylvania, couldn't wrestle the championship away from Matos but was able to score enough points to finish second in the championship and claim the Rookie-of-the-Year honors. "I wish I had been more aggressive to start the season to keep Matos from building up that early lead but it has been a good season," Pecorari said. "We didn't have many green flag laps but when we did I was able to pass a car every time. At one point Raphael and I were going wheel to wheel, but we both knew if we took each other out then Hinchcliffe would win the championship so there wasn't too much contact!"
As the final championship points are calculated, Matos, with four victories, three pole positions, and nine podium visits in the twelve events, captured the championship with a total of 452 points. Pecorari, with two victories, one pole position and seven podium finishes earned 441 points for second place. Hinchcliffe, with three victories, three pole positions, and six podium finishes captured 433 points to secure third in the championship. Both Pecorari and Hinchcliffe were models of consistency, finishing in the top ten in all twelve races, and along with Matos completed every lap of every race.
In the expert series championship, for drivers aged 30-44, Brian Thienes, driving the Thienes Engineering Hearn Motorsports Mazda, finished ahead of the recently crowned champion, Micky Gilbert in the Gilbert Engineering Eurosport Racing Mazda. Rounding out top three for the expert series battle was Mike Anderson in the HASA Pool Products Mazda. In the points battle Gilbert emerged on top with 199 points, Thienes finished second with 156, and James Malackowski would finish third with 148 points in the second Ocean Tomo Racing Mazda.
In the Masters Championship, for drivers aged 45 and older, Jon Brownson, in the Westridge Development Eurosport Racing Mazda, would capture his first victory of the season ahead of Emmett Murphy. John Pew, driving the NVG Velocity Motorsports Mazda would finish third and capture the Championship with 188 points over defending champion John Faulkner in his Peregrine Motorsports Mazda. Another former champion, Doug Peterson, would finish third this season in his 3-Dimensional Services American Speed Factory Mazda.
Pos No. Name Laps Diff
1 98 James Hinchcliffe 21
2 26 Jonathan Klein 21 0.145
3 12 Graham Rahal 21 1.513
4 23 Robbie Pecorari 21 1.925
5 38 Ryan Justice 21 2.744
6 11 Marco Andretti 21 3.583
7 96 Mark Wilkins 21 5.245
8 7 Raphael Matos 21 6.787
9 18 Adrian Carrio 21 7.556
10 77 Brian Thienes 21 8.701
11 54 Mickey Gilbert 21 9.356
12 41 Sean Guthrie 21 9.980
13 45 Mark Pavan 21 10.848
14 42 Mike Anderson 21 11.770
15 29 Phil Fogg Jr. 21 12.435
16 20 Ross Smith 21 13.484
17 6 Jonathan Branam 21 14.313
18 24 Jon Brownson 21 14.970
19 70 Ryan Spencer-Smith 21 15.471
20 52 Ken Losch 21 16.684
21 66 Emmett Murphy 21 17.639
22 75 John Pew 21 18.430
23 44 John Faulkner 21 19.593
24 64 Patrick O'Neill 21 20.455
25 50 Brian Johnson 21 21.243
26 37 Jim Malackowski 21 25.248
27 74 Phil Saville 21 26.457
28 14 Frank McCormick 21 28.456
29 27 Claudio Cornali 21 29.283
30 19 Michael Guasch 21 30.024
31 67 Richard Haskell 21 33.732
32 73 Mark Patterson 20 --1 Lap--
33 87 Doug Peterson 20 1.051
34 53 Mike Potekhen 19 --2 Laps--
35 35 Tom Mabey 19 4:17.889
36 97 Brandon Thomas 18 --3 Laps--
37 51 Brad Jaeger 14 --7 Laps--
38 22 Pablo Donoso 14 10.993
39 48 Stan Kohls 12 --9 Laps--
40 56 Dan Tomlin III 3 --18 Laps--
41 58 Dan Tomlin Jr. 0 --21 Laps--
Michelin basks in F1 double Michelin basks in F1 doubleMichelin has completed its clean sweep of this year's Formula One titles after partner Renault clinched the championship for constructors in today's season-closing Chinese Grand Prix. Its drivers Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella finished first and fourth respectively at the Shanghai International Circuit - enough to put the team nine points clear of McLaren Mercedes. 

Michelin's one-two in the F1 world championship for constructors is the latest success during a season in which the company has totally dominated top-class international motorsport. Alonso made history three weeks ago, in Brazil, when he became the youngest driver ever to clinch the F1 title and the fourth to do so with Bibendum. 

Michelin and its seven teams have absolutely dominated the F1 campaign, winning 18 of the 19 races, recording 18 pole positions and setting 16 fastest laps. Its partners have taken 47 podium finishes from a possible 57 and scored 619 of the 741 available points. zzzz

Michelin has achieved its F1 title double in the first year of revised regulations that obliged drivers to use a single set of tires for qualifying and a full race distance of about 300 kilometers (186 miles). During a 19-event campaign on five continents, Michelin's tires have provided unrivalled performance and consistency. In today's finale, all seven Michelin teams scored championship points. 

The company's 2005 successes have not been restricted to F1, either. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) won the MotoGP title, Michelin's 14th consecutive success - and a 25th in all - in motorcycle racing's top division, Sébastien Loeb (Citroën) has taken the World Rally Championship for the second time - Michelin's 37th WRC title - and Tom Kristensen, Marco Werner and JJ Lehto (Audi) netted Michelin's 13th outright victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours, extending an unbeaten run that stretches back to 1998. This has been an unforgettable campaign for Michelin. No matter what the conditions, the company has underlined its unmatched motorsport versatility on two wheels and four. 

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director "I'd like to congratulate Flavio Briatore and the whole Renault team on their second F1 title success. They have put together a fantastic package that has given them a vital edge over the course of the season. Fernando Alonso drove an absolutely faultless race today. He is extremely fast when he needs to be but understands how to manage his speed over a race distance - we have seen that many times this year. "It would also be fitting to compliment all our partners for their contributions during what has been an incredible year for Michelin. I might be retiring at the end of the season, but I will leave with many warm memories of an exceptional farewell campaign. Michelin won't rest on its laurels, however. Our team will be hard at work again by Tuesday as it seeks to do it all again in 2006. To them and all our partners, I offer my very best wishes for the future." 

Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities "What can I say? This was another fantastic demonstration by Michelin and its teams. I'd like to endorse Pierre's comments by extending my congratulations to Renault and my sincere thanks to all our partners, who have contributed to such a successful season. Michelin

Lowe's race a disaster, should have been cancelled Lowe's race a disaster, should have been cancelledSaturday night's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway should never have been held. Sure, it would have cost millions of dollars in refunds, but if NASCAR knew how bad the race was going to be, it should have stepped in and done one of two things:

Either demand that the track be completely repaved before Saturday night – a repaving already is scheduled to occur – or cancel the race outright.

There was no other choice. What more evidence did NASCAR need? Not only did we have the five-hour, 13-minute fiasco called the Coca-Cola 600 in May – more than a quarter of that race (107 of 400 laps) was run under caution – we also had several drivers crash during testing at LMS a few weeks back. And let's not forget Friday night's excruciating Busch Series race.

What more evidence was needed to predict Saturday night's mess, which featured blown tire after blown tire after blown tire?

And while it might seem a no-brainer to point fingers at Goodyear's tires, drivers and crew chiefs agreed the tires themselves weren't the problem.

"It's not Goodyear's fault, it's just too fast for what we've got," said Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for Kasey Kahne. "They don't make a tire for this place. [The track] did it [levigation] without telling anybody."

Added Mike Bliss, who was one of those collected in one of the tire-related wrecks, "It's not a Goodyear problem." Tony Stewart was among others who echoed that sentiment.

The diamond-ground levigation of Lowe's 1½-mile surface was supposed to smooth out some of the race track's notorious and legendary bumps and dips. But instead of fixing what had been a problem for years, the process created a whole new problem: unmanageably high speeds that the tires couldn't handle.  More at Yahoo! Sports

Patrick on verge of becoming yesterday's news Patrick on verge of becoming yesterday's newsThis Indy Star article talks about Danica Patrick's winless season and how if she doesn't win soon, is on the verge of becoming yesterday's news. The team blames the Panoz chassis for not being as competitive this year, especially in traffic (Scott Dixon won with one at The Glen with a Toyota engine). 

Jeff Stauffer, the vice president of marketing for Old World Industries, arranged a sponsorship contract with Patrick, just as he did several years ago with the IRL's first full-time female driver, Sarah Fisher.

But with no disrespect to Fisher, who moved to one of NASCAR's lower divisions last year when her Indy-car career flattened out, Stauffer believes Patrick, who finished fourth at Indy, is an athlete with staying power.

"Danica has a much wider appeal for a lot of reasons, and she can relate to every demographic," he said. "She's not only young and attractive, but she's a female do-it-yourselfer."

At 5-1 and no more than 100 pounds, Patrick is pixie like a 12-year-old girl but able to stand above the men she competes against by being feisty in the cockpit and yet above the petty silliness of the sport.

"It's all about creating momentum and then keeping that going by being focused," Patrick said. "You do what you can and let the commercials keep running so people don't forget about you during the down times."

Kournikova factor

It can be argued that Patrick needs to win a race to keep from becoming a pretty face without credible results -- the Anna Kournikova of auto racing. "There's nothing older than yesterday's news," said Mike Harris, an Associated Press reporter for 37 years, including the past 26 in motor sports. "Danica is going to have to win soon to avoid that."

The pressure of the moment is today, the last race of Patrick's 17-race rookie season. It will be five months before her next opportunity to quiet critics.  "If she doesn't win, the Danica fizzle is going to be pretty flat by next April," said Tom Weisenbach, the director of business development for Keystone Marketing, which works mostly in NASCAR.

Weisenbach has had an insider's view of Patrick's meteoric rise, having recently worked as the IRL's national sales manager. He feels, as many do, that Patrick needs to win to validate the attention she's received.

Rossi again in Australia Rossi again in AustraliaWho else but Valentino Rossi could sum up the special nature of the 2005 Polini Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island?

"Phillip Island for me is always magic," said the 26-year-old Italian after winning a thrilling MotoGP race from American Nicky Hayden.

For Rossi it was his second straight win at the Island on his Yamaha, his fifth in a row here in the premier class, and his seventh overall.

Rossi's superb day was witnessed by a crowd of 43,402, taking the aggregate attendance to 88,961 - the best since 1999.

"Every race at this track is different, is magic," said a smiling Rossi, who took the lead on lap three of the 27, saw Hayden fight back but reclaimed it with eight to go and stayed there till the end.

"I won a lot of important races for my career here and I love this track."

One of the surprise packages of the weekend, Carlos Checa, won a breath-taking sprint to the finish line to force his mighty Ducati past the Honda of Marco Melandri and claim his first podium at Phillip Island.

Katherine Legge to test F1 car Katherine Legge to test F1 carBritain's top female racer Katherine Legge is to test for the Minardi team at Vallelunga at the end of this month. The 25-year-old from Northampton will be the first woman to have a meaningful F1 test since the days of Giovanna Amati back 1991. Legge has made a big impression this year in her first year as a professional racer, driving in the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Legge has been setting new standards throughout her career, dating back to 2000 when she was the first woman to take pole position in a British Formula Ford race. She struggled to find money to compete in Britain and in 2004 went to the United States to race in the North American Formula Renault. She then convinced Kevin Kalkhoven to sponsor her this season with his PKV Racing team. Legge made the most of it with three Atlantic wins as a rookie, notably in her first race at Long Beach where she went from seventh on the grid to win. This was followed by wins in Edmonton and San Jose, and ended the year third in the championship.

Legge plans to compete in the Atlantic series again next year and hopes to move up to Champ Car in 2007. However, if she can impress in Formula 1 she may be able to fulfill her original ambition to become an F1 driver. The test has come about because of Legge's connections with Kalkhoven who, in addition to running PKV Racing, is also the owner of Cosworth, which supplies engines to Minardi.

Legge will be joined by three other young drivers in the Vallelunga test. Grandprix.com

Audi clinches 6th straight title Audi clinches 6th straight titleFor the sixth consecutive time, Audi has won all three titles in the top class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). By finishing second in a thrilling finale at Laguna Seca (California), Audi clinched the LM P1 Manufacturers´ title, while Audi´s American customer Team ADT Champion Racing took the Team Championship. Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro had already secured the Drivers´ title.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Why rise to watch Schu?
'Flav' is 'Man of the Year'
White, blue and red for BMW

Prost hits out at F1
F1 'theme park' in Dubai
'F1 should expect new rules' 'F1 should expect new rules'F1 should expect 'knockout' qualifying and the return of tire changing in 2006, FIA president Max Mosley said in Shanghai. ''I think we will end up with a different qualifying system,'' the Englishman said, urging a sensible upcoming meeting of the F1 Commission.

''(And) now we've got the smaller (V8) engines, if they want to change tires, that's fine,'' Mosley told 'Speed TV'.

The FIA's support of scrapping the one-tire per race rule, however, has led to predictable speculation that it's all about helping Bridgestone and Ferrari bounce back. Max replied: ''It's a fallacy. It's up and down all the time -- you don't know who's going to get more out of what.''

Ferrari's Ross Brawn agrees that changes will be made 'in the name of the spectacle', rather than to help the red team. ''In the last six years,'' he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, ''the only aim of new regulations was to fight our superiority.''

It's no surprise, however, that Ferrari wholeheartedly support the proposed restoration of F1 tire changing. But Britain's Brawn insisted: ''Only McLaren is definitely against it -- as you'd expect.''

Schu shunts Schu shuntsMichael Schumacher will start the Chinese grand prix from pitlane after colliding with Minardi's Christian Albers while on the way to the start grid.  About a half-hour before the green light at Shanghai, the collision caused substantial damage to both cars.  Ferrari's former world champion was due to start sixth.
Tactics aplenty at F1 finale Tactics aplenty at F1 finaleGiancarlo Fisichella could turn into a championship-winning 'mobile chicane' in today's Chinese GP, it is suggested.

With low fuel and therefore a grid spot ahead of both title challenging (and quicker) silver McLarens, the theory is that the Roman could slow-up Kimi Raikkonen, allowing pole sitter Fernando Alonso to roar into an unassailable lead.

Renault hold a two point edge over McLaren in the constructors' finale at Shanghai.

''They could do (that),'' McLaren's 'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh admitted, ''but I hope they won't play that game.''

Anyway, Kimi - who passed Fisichella on the last lap to win in Suzuka a week ago and has a heavy fuel load in China - might not be too worried about the slow-going Roman.

Whitmarsh told crash.net: ''I think keeping Kimi behind isn't Fisichella's strong suit!''

A lot of the paddock thinks the blue and yellows are low on fuel, but world champion Alonso also reckons he simply pounded in a 'perfect' pole lap.

''I can't think of a single corner at which I could find more speed,'' said the Spaniard.

There might also have been a few tactics going on even during single-lap qualifying -- Raikkonen, on his hot lap, nearly caught a slow-going Fisichella.

Schumacher anxious to steer clear of more rules changes Schumacher anxious to steer clear of more rules changesThe atmosphere was building for an end-of-term party as the cheerleaders danced and the bands played during rehearsals yesterday for the opening ceremony of the Chinese Grand Prix. This exotic race at the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday marks the end of an exhausting Formula One season and the ten teams who have spent eight months flying around the world want to end it in style.

But the draining round of farewell parties are being overshadowed by fears for the future and no sooner do the teams land back on home soil than the regulators will get to work on yet more changes to the rules for next season. At the head of the list is a new qualifying format so dizzying in its complexity that even the seven-times world champion believes that its introduction could have television viewers switching off in droves.

"We changed qualifying for the first time five years ago," Michael Schumacher said. "There will now be seven different changes and none of them pleases everyone. Whatever we decide on, we should stick with it. As soon as people don't understand the sport, they will lose interest and then they will stop following it. To me, this is a fact that should be considered before people chop and change for the sake of changing."

Max Mosley, the president of the FAI, is likely to impose a new system that is sure to lead to a lot of head-scratching for the casual observer and Ron Dennis, McLaren's team principal, has already given warning that Formula One would be "thrown into disarray" if the teams do not stand up to Mosley.

The days of the fastest car taking pole position in qualifying are long gone: now the cars are loaded with fuel and tyres for the race and then allowed just one flying lap. That way, nobody knows who is fastest or who might have a light fuel load and is exchanging grid position for the disadvantage of an early pitstop in the race.

Under the proposed new rules, the complexity will be even deeper with qualifying split into four quarters. The five slowest cars will drop out after each 15 minutes until the fastest five are left. The fastest ten will then have a fuel restriction placed upon them to give the slowest ten some advantage - an elaborate form of handicapping. Dennis and Schumacher are not alone in thinking that this system will demand too much knowledge of the workings of the sport. TimesOnline.com
IRL to End Season and Run at Fontana IRL to End Season and Run at FontanaToyota Indy 400 comes to California Speedway with no return of open-wheel racing in sight there and the title already decided.

The Lame Duck 400, a.k.a. the Toyota Indy 400, will not only close out the Indy Racing League season Sunday at California Speedway but also will end open-wheel, oval-track racing in Southern California - at least for the foreseeable future.

The IRL has shrunk its season next year and among the tracks left without a race was California Speedway. It will be the first season since the Fontana track was opened in 1997 that there will be no open-wheel race scheduled.

There also is no championship to be decided. Dan Wheldon, the Englishman who won the Indianapolis 500 - no, it wasn't Danica Patrick - also won five other races and clinched the IRL title last month.zzzz

Wheldon says the circumstances - no future for the race and no championship at issue - will make the Toyota Indy 400 better than ever on California Speedway's super fast D-shaped two-mile oval.

"I think everybody is going to be going for broke," he said. "It's the kind of track that encourages that to happen because it's so wide and so big that it can allow for very, very close racing. I think you're going to see a lot of people driving very, very aggressively.

"I know it's going to be a race that everybody is gunning to win because it's going to be the last race for a little while at California Speedway."

Wheldon demonstrated his versatility in winning an IRL-record six races in 16 starts with victories in a street race in St. Petersburg and on a road course at Watkins Glen besides on ovals at Indy, Homestead-Miami, Pikes Peak and Motegi, Japan.

This weekend's season finale will be packaged into a two-day show with practice and qualifying Saturday and two races Sunday. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series 100 will precede the main event, which will start at 12:45 p.m.

Dropping the Fontana race next year surprised the 27-year-old Brit who finished third last year behind Adrian Fernandez and teammate Tony Kanaan in a Honda-powered Dallara.

"I'm definitely disappointed," he said. "I think a lot of people are. To tell you the truth, I think obviously the California market is very important to anybody involved in the sport in general. I lived in California for a year when I drove for Cal Wells in the Toyota Atlantic series.

"It's an important race for [Andretti Green Racing] because HPD [Honda Performance Development] and Honda Motor Co. are both based just down the road. I know they bring a lot of people to the racetrack. If you've got a big, fast engine you want to be able to show it off."

HPD is in Santa Clarita and Honda Motor Co. in Torrance.

"I love the place, I really do," he said about the Fontana track. "The thing that makes it so good is that it's very fast. It is one of the fastest racetracks that we go to. That's what, it seems to me, the people that come to watch a race love to see. They love to see fast cars running close together.

"From a pure driver's perspective, you can run close, but if you don't have the setup pretty close to perfect, you'll lose track of somebody. That's what is great about the track. It's a superspeedway so you get cars running close together at high speeds, but it also rewards a car with a good setup."

Besides Wheldon's six wins, Andretti Green won four other races. Kanaan won at Kansas and Infineon, Dario Franchitti at Nashville and Bryan Herta at Michigan.

Competition among teammates keeps Andretti Green dominant, according to Wheldon.

"An example is our open test at Phoenix," he said. "I would go out, set a fast time. Dario would then better it, Bryan would better that and then Tony would go out and be faster still. That's the beauty of the relationship that all four of us have. We push each other harder than anybody out there, yet as competitive as all four of us have been, the relationships have all stayed very, very close, and I enjoy that."



Toyota Indy 400

When: Saturday, qualifying, 3 p.m.; Sunday, race (ESPN, 12:30 p.m.).

Where: California Speedway (D-shaped oval, two miles, 14 degrees banking in turns), Fontana.

Race distance: 400 miles, 200 laps.

Tickets: (800) 944-7223 LATimes.com
Franchitti Claims First Pole Of Season At California Franchitti Claims First Pole Of Season At CaliforniaDario Franchitti claimed his first Marlboro Pole Award of the season - and second of his IndyCar Series career - as he claimed the pole position for the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway. Franchitti recorded a quick lap of 219.398 mph on the 2-mile D-shaped oval in the No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone. He set an IndyCar Series record with his 16th top-10 start of the season and became the eighth different pole winner this season.

The pole is the 13th for Andretti Green Racing in the 17 events. Tomas Scheckter will make his fifth front-row start of the season in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone after a lap of 218.902 mph. Sam Hornish Jr. (218.602) and Bombardier Rookie of the Year winner Danica Patrick (218.199) will occupy Row 2. Dan Wheldon, who wrapped up the IndyCar Series championship at Watkins Glen International on Sept. 25, will start seventh.

2004 Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion Thiago Medeiros, who is making his IndyCar Series debut this weekend, crashed during practice and did not make a qualifying attempt. Also on Oct. 15, Travis Gregg recorded a quick lap of 188.831 mph (38.1293 seconds) to secure his sixth SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award of the season in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. All three of Gregg's victories in the No. 7 Lucas Oil Products Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone have come from the point.
Championship contenders Wade Cunningham and Jeff Simmons qualified fifth and seventh, respectively.  zzzz


DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 ArcaEx Dallara/Honda/Firestone, winner Marlboro Pole Award): ""We're happy with the car and that run. It just takes the slightest thing to affect your car at a place like this. A lot of it is luck, honestly. But we knew we had a good car all day. We still need to do a little homework tonight, but we like our car. This track is more of a mental challenge than physical, and 400 miles can be challenging." (About winning the pole): "Qualifying at these type of tracks is really geared towards the engineers and the engine guys. Our engineer absolutely hit the balance and the level of grip, and the engine was incredibly strong. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow. Hopefully we'll have a good car and we'll see what we can do."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, qualified second): "It was a good run. I mean, that's all we had. We had a bit of a pickup problem in practice, so we were only able to do one run, and that was just a (non-qualifying) run. We actually thought we were going to have to run qualifying with our race engine, but the guys worked really hard and were able to figure out what was causing the problem. We ended up doing three laps before the green instead of our normal two so that if we had the problem again, we could get it sorted out and go back to qualify. Not exactly the way we wanted to do it, but that's all we had."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, qualified third): "Once we got the gearing right, the Marlboro Team Penske car was exactly where we needed it to be for qualifying.  You can win from anywhere on the grid, but it is always nice to start up front to avoid any problems on the start.  The race is what counts and the California Speedway has always been good to me.  I'd love to end the season with another win here."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent/Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, qualified fourth): "The wind was a factor in qualifying today. We were trying for a two-gear strategy in qualifying, and we just ran the one gear this time. There is no way to predict the wind. Qualifying is a whole different thing than the race. I think we'll be in good shape for the race on Sunday. I thought we had a good chance for the pole, but it didn't get it today. I'm a little disappointed, but I have won three poles this year. I was looking for the rookie record with four poles. But now, I'd take a win in my rookie year on Sunday. This track is like many of the tracks we have raced this year, and we have been competitive. The race is a little longer than most at 400 miles, and we will have a lot of time to work with the car in the 200 laps.  I think we will have a chance to win, but so will Buddy (Rice) and Vitor (Meira). They have good cars too."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Argent/Pioneer Panoz/Honda/Firestone, qualified fifth): "We really didn't do any qualifying runs until the end of the last practice session. We worked on race setup each practice today. It was a pretty decent run for not trying to do any qualifying setup. This is a big handling track during the race, and that is what we worked on for all of practice. It would be great to finish off with a win after the tough season we have had this year. We'll have to play out the race strategy. Last year, Helio (Castroneves), Tony (Kanaan)  and myself ran away from the field, and I felt I had a car to win. We had a little problem late in the race, and I lost the speed we had earlier in the race, so we faded to fifth at the end. We need to stay in the draft and see how everything plays out. There could be rain in the forecast, too, so that could change the strategy for us. But overall, I think we can race with the leaders throughout the race and plan for the final 20 laps."  

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, qualified sixth): ""I'm happy with our qualifying effort today.  We made changes to the Marlboro Team Penske car after the warm-up based on the conditions we expected for this afternoon and our speed (217.765 mph) was exactly what we anticipated.  It would have been nice to continue our streak and get three consecutive poles at California Speedway, but it will be even better if we can get our first win here tomorrow."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified seventh): "We just don't seem to be very quick. I'm sure the Klein Tools/Jim Beam team is good enough to make sure we have a reasonable car in the race, I'm just not sure how good the car will be. I'm just really happy to see Dario (Franchitti) on the pole."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified eighth): "The XM Satellite Radio car felt the best it has been all weekend. It just didn't make the number we were hoping for.  We put Dario's (Franchitti) setup on and the car felt good. I was comfortable, the speed wasn't there, but hopefully we'll finish well."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, qualified 10th): "We really struggle in qualifying as a team. But, we are all on different setups, that's why you see all of us quick at different times. If you look at our qualifying setups, they are all different.  Nothing is similar. We know that Team 7-Eleven has a good race car, so we're not too worried."

Toyota Indy 400 IRL Starting Lineup Toyota Indy 400 IRL Starting LineupQualifying Saturday for the Toyota Indy 400 IRL IndyCar Series event on the 2.0-mile California Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed: 

1. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 219.398
2. (4) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 218.902
3. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Toyota, 218.602
4. (16) Danica Patrick, Panoz-Honda, 218.199
5. (15) Buddy Rice, Panoz-Honda, 218.029
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 217.765
7. (26) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 217.702
8. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 217.408
9. (8) Scott Sharp, Panoz-Honda, 217.261
10. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 217.170
11. (2) Tomas Enge, Dallara-Chevrolet, 217.143
12. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Panoz-Honda, 217.037
13. (17) Vitor Meira, Panoz-Honda, 216.585
14. (10) Jaques Lazier, Panoz-Toyota, 216.491
15. (9) Scott Dixon, Panoz-Toyota, 216.318
16. (83) Patrick Carpentier, Dallara-Toyota, 215.704
17. (51) Alex Barron, Dallara-Toyota, 215.631
18. (14) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Chevrolet, 215.622
19. (91) Jimmy Kite, Dallara-Toyota, 215.602
20. (24) Roger Yasukawa, Dallara-Honda, 214.676
21. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Toyota, 212.411
22. (44) Thiago Medeiros, Dallara-Honda, no speed
Industry news
Valeo Engineers Researching Camless Technology Valeo Engineers Researching Camless TechnologyAccording to this Autoweek article Valeo SA engineers say they are close to perfecting camless technology for traditional gasoline engines.

A camless gasoline engine would reduce fuel consumption drastically -- 20 percent, according to Valeo -- challenging hybrids and diesels in the race to improve fuel economy.

Tough technical challenges have kept camless technology off the market. Engineers have grappled with a variety of issues, such as precisely opening and closing the valves electronically, packaging the system to fit inside the engine and developing the software to operate the valves. Cost also has been an issue.

Valeo CEO Thierry Morin says his company has two development contracts for the system.

"As far as we are concerned, we are between 14 and 16 months from market. So you see that we are there," Morin said in a recent interview. He said he expects to have the system in production in North America and Europe as early as 2008.

Valeo engineers have built and are testing two Peugeot 407s with the system. Morin says both cars have worked well in different weather extremes and under strenuous testing. zzzz

How it works

In all automobile engines, the crankshaft is connected to the camshaft with a belt, chain or gears. As the crankshaft spins, it turns the camshaft, which in turn opens the intake and exhaust valves in sequence. Much of the energy produced by the engine is lost because the crankshaft has to spin the camshaft.

In a camless engine, the valves are opened and closed electronically.

The advantages are numerous:


Internal friction is reduced greatly because there are fewer moving parts. At low speeds, about 25 percent of an engine's friction is caused by the valvetrain.

Horsepower, torque and fuel economy are improved because the crankshaft's power is driving only the wheels.

Emissions are reduced because the computer-controlled valve timing is infinitely variable. Each valve in each cylinder can be opened and closed independently, something not possible with a traditional engine.

Valeo's system uses electromagnetic actuators to open and close the valves. The actuators are placed on top of each valve under the valve cover.

Valeo, of Paris, specializes in transmissions, motors, actuators, switches and electronics. The company would not say who its customers are, but it's likely PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA would be a customer. Valeo already supplies a mild hybrid for a Citroen model.

Valeo ranks No. 13 on the Automotive News list of top 100 global suppliers with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $9.9 billion in 2004.

The Holy Grail

Camless engine technology long has been a holy grail of engineers from automakers and suppliers. BMW AG, for instance, has spent millions trying to perfect a camless system. But no one has developed a camless engine system that delivers the reliability of the camshaft for anywhere near the same price.

But Morin says the reliability and cost are no longer the biggest obstacles. "With a camless system there is a strong need for the automaker to change the architecture of its engine. And this is what is time-consuming. It will have to start initially on low-volume engines," Morin says.

Peter Brown, vice president of powertrain engineering and design for Ricardo Inc. of Detroit, says his company also is working on a camless engine system. He says a 20 percent reduction in fuel usage is more than Ricardo engineers would expect a camless system to deliver.

Brown says perfecting a camless engine is one of his company's most important projects. With fuel prices hovering at $3 per gallon, there is a renewed emphasis on developing such a system, he says.

Engine improvements rarely yield more than a few percentage points of fuel economy gains. To get 20 percent with just one system would be a colossal jump.

"It comes to down to complexity and cost," Brown says. "Technically there is enough knowledge. People have experimented with all sorts of techniques."

Brown also warns of the dangers of camless engines. A computer glitch or electrical problem, for instance, might cause a vehicle to fail to meet emissions standards. Or worse, if the valves opened at the wrong time, the pistons might hit them, destroying the engine.

Briscoe to decide on return next week Briscoe to decide on return next weekAccording to Autosport-Atlas, Ryan Briscoe will decide next week whether he will get back in an Indy Racing League car later this year or not, as he continues to recover from the injuries he suffered in a crash at Chicago.

The Australian continues to show progress during his rehabilitation at the Formula Medicine clinic in Italy and has this week been able to take part in more strenuous exercise, including swimming.

The doctors at the clinic, including head Dr. Ceccarelli - as well as Briscoe himself and his manager Max Angelelli - will sit down next week to work out just when they believe Briscoe will be fit enough to drive. It is hoped he can return to testing in November.

Carlo Lazzari, who is overseeing Briscoe's progress at Formula Medicine, said: "I've been working with Ryan for a few years now and he continues to surprise me. Two years ago he won the Euroseries F3 Championship and as a pastime was a triathlete of high performance.

"Today, just one month after his terrifying accident, he suffers and sweats in the gym eight hours a day as though it is the most natural thing to be doing. This is not for everyone."

Star Mazda to team with ALMS and Champ Car in ’06 Star Mazda to team with ALMS and Champ Car in ’06
Mar 17-18 Sebring International Raceway ALMS
May 13-14 Houston (Temp. Circuit) Champ Car/ALMS
May 20-21 Mid Ohio Sports Car Course ALMS
Jun 3-4 Milwaukee Mile (Oval) Champ Car
Jun TBD Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Formula One
Jul 15-16 Miller Motorsports Park ALMS
Jul 22-23 Portland International Raceway ALMS
Aug 5-6 Trois Rivieres (Temp.Circuit) Feature
Aug 18-20 Road America ALMS
Sep 2-3 Mosport International Raceway ALMS
Sep 29-30 Road Atlanta ALMS
Oct21-22 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca ALMS
Industry News
Dover Motorsports redeems bonds Dover Motorsports redeems bondsDover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE: DVD - News) redeemed $11,908,000 of its Southwestern Illinois Development Authority (SWIDA) bonds for $14,587,000 plus accrued interest. This transaction represented 67% of its outstanding bonds. The weighted average interest rate on these bonds was 9.18%, with maturities ranging from August 1, 2008 to August 1, 2017. A total of $5,777,000 of SWIDA bonds remain outstanding after this transaction.
Financing for this transaction was provided by available cash and borrowings under the Company's bank line of credit, which was expanded today to $80 million and which currently provides funds at interest rates between 5.27% and 6.50%. The Company's fourth quarter 2005 results will reflect the premium paid on the redemption.
Speed World Challenge
Papis puts Cadillac on Front Row Papis puts Cadillac on Front RowMax Papis put Team Cadillac in position to win its first SCCA SPEED World Challenge manufacturers championship in Sunday's season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Papis qualified his Cadillac CTS-V on the front row, lapping the 2.238-mile road course in 1:30.539 (88.987 mph). Wolf Henzler edged Papis by .152-second to take the pole in a Porsche 911 Cup, setting up a shootout for the title between the two manufacturers.

Andy Pilgrim will start his bid for the SPEED GT drivers championship from 12th on the starting grid, and Team Cadillac guest driver Max Angelelli will start 10th.

IRL statement on Honda renewal IRL statement on Honda renewalHonda Performance Development, a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., has renewed its commitment to supply engines for the IRL IndyCar® Series, HPD President Robert Clarke announced today. 

Honda's new three-year contract ensures Honda's continued involvement as an engine supplier in IndyCar racing through the 2009 racing season. Its current agreement with the IRL, which was signed when it joined the series in 2003, expires at the end of 2006.
"We are pleased to announce that Honda will continue its role as an engine supplier to teams participating in the IRL IndyCar Series," Clarke said. "In the three years that Honda has been a part of the IRL, we've had a great deal of success against strong competition from other auto manufacturers.  But, with or without that competition in future seasons, we wish to remain in IndyCar racing as it provides both a technical challenge for our engineers and a showcase for Honda products in the premier open-wheel racing series in this country."
In three years of IndyCar Series competition, Honda, its drivers and teams have compiled an enviable record of achievement. They include IRL engine manufacturers' championships in 2004 and 2005; a pair of Indianapolis 500 triumphs (Buddy Rice in 2004 and Dan Wheldon in 2005); two drivers' championships (Tony Kanaan in 2004 and Wheldon in 2005); three Bombardier Rookies of the Year Awards (Wheldon in 2003, Kosuke Matsuura in 2004 and Danica Patrick in 2005); and 27 IndyCar Series race victories.

"I am very excited about Honda's decision today as it brings stability and continuity to a very competitive racing package," said Tony George, chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League. "We look forward to continuing our partnership with Honda.  We're encouraged by their multi-year commitment to the IRL, and their willingness to assist us in growing the series both on and off the race track." IRL

IPS Series
Gregg wins IPS pole in Fontana Gregg wins IPS pole in Fontana
Pos Driver Diff B Time B Speed

1 Travis Gregg (7) ... 38.1293 188.831
2 Jaime Camara (1) 0.1126 38.2419 188.275
3 Chris Festa (19) 0.2287 38.3580 187.705
4 Marty Roth (4) 0.4032 38.5325 186.855
5 Wade Cunningham (33) 0.4137 38.5430 186.804
6 Nick Bussell (9) 0.5285 38.6578 186.250
7 Jeff Simmons (24) 0.6513 38.7806 185.660
8 Bobby Wilson (3) 0.7406 38.8699 185.233
9 Taylor Fletcher (23) 0.7638 38.8931 185.123
10 Arie Luyendyk Jr. (25) 0.8615 38.9908 184.659
11 Geoff Dodge (27) 0.9134 39.0427 184.413
12 Jay Drake (20) 1.1846 39.3139 183.141
13 Jon Herb (6) 1.2945 39.4238 182.631
14 P.J. Abbott (11) 2.0303 40.1596 179.285
Honda extends engine deal with the IRL Honda extends engine deal with the IRL[Editor's Note:  With this announcement Honda has committed to continue the split in Indy Car Racing through 2009.]  In a press conference at California Speedway, HPD president Robert Clarke announced that Honda, which won its second consecutive manufacturer’s championship this season, has committed to remain an IndyCar Series engine supplier through the 2009 season.

Honda Performance Development (HPD), a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., has renewed its commitment to the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series for engine supply in 2007, HPD President Robert Clarke announced today. 

Honda joined the IRL at the start of the 2003 season, and its current agreement with the sanctioning body expires at the end of 2006.  The new three-year contract with the IRL will ensure Honda's continued involvement as an engine supplier in IndyCar racing through the 2009 racing season. 

"We are pleased to announce that Honda will continue its role as an engine supplier to teams participating in the IRL IndyCar Series," Clarke said in making the announcement.  "In the three years that Honda has been a part of the IRL, we've had a great deal of success against strong competition from other auto manufacturers.  But, with or without that competition in future seasons, we wish to remain in IndyCar racing as it provides both a technical challenge for our engineers and a showcase for Honda products in the premier open-wheel racing series in this country." 

In three years of IndyCar competition, Honda, its drivers and teams have compiled an enviable record of achievement. They include IRL Manufacturers' Championships for Honda in 2004 and 2005; a pair of Indianapolis 500 triumphs (Buddy Rice in 2004 and Dan Wheldon in 2005); two Drivers' Championships (Tony Kanaan in 2004 and Wheldon in 2005); three Rookies of the Year (Wheldon in 2003, Kosuke Matsuura in 2004 and Danica Patrick in 2005); and a total of 27 IndyCar Series race victories. 

"I am very excited about Honda's decision today as it brings stability and continuity to a very competitive racing package," said Tony George, chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League.  "We look forward to continuing our partnership with Honda.  We're encouraged by their multi-year commitment to the IRL, and their willingness to assist us in growing the series both on and off the race track." 

In 2004, Honda greatly expanded the role and abilities of its racing subsidiary, HPD, including opening a new, 123,000-square-foot facility in Santa Clarita, California.  Almost triple the size of HPD's original building, this two-story structure houses comprehensive Research & Development operations, including engine design, prototype and production parts manufacturing, machining operations, development engineering, material analysis and multiple dyno test cells in addition to HPD's previous engine preparation and rebuilding capabilities.  Honda

AirTran and AGR extend agreement AirTran and AGR extend agreementAndretti Green Racing announced today it is continuing its partnership with AirTran Airways, beginning with Sunday's Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series season finale at California Speedway and extending through the 2006 IndyCar Series campaign. Earlier this season, AirTran Airways aligned itself with Andretti Green as an associate sponsor for three consecutive events, which included the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 and races at Texas Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway.

AirTran Airways, which uses Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as its operational hub, is one of America's largest low-fare airlines.

"Andretti Green and AirTran Airways enjoyed a very successful partnership earlier this year and we're very excited to have them back with us," said Michael Andretti, who co-owns Andretti Green Racing with partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. "AirTran Airways is one of the leaders in the airline industry and is exactly the type of successful company we like to be associated with." zzzz

AirTran Airways will continue to serve as an associate sponsor with the two-time defending IndyCar Series champions, which will once again feature a four-car lineup in 2006. The four cars are driven by 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2005 IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan, Nashville race winner Dario Franchitti and Michigan winner Bryan Herta. The four drivers have combined to win 20 races since the team joined Indy Racing League competition in 2003. Andretti Green is the winningest team in IndyCar Series history and has also won three Menards Infiniti Pro Series events in six attempts in 2005 with driver Marco Andretti.

"At AirTran Airways, we only partner with the best brands in the business and there is no better brand than Andretti Green Racing," said Robert L. Fornaro, president and chief operating officer of AirTran Airways. "In a short period of time earlier this year, we shared an Indy 500 victory and then teamed up for a successful launch of our service in Richmond, Va. We're looking forward to more great results for both AirTran Airways and Andretti Green in the future."

In addition to its partnership with Andretti Green, AirTran Airways also boasts a relationship with XM Satellite Radio, which serves as the major sponsor for the #7 Honda-powered machine driven by Herta. AirTran Airways is the first carrier to install XM Satellite Radio on a commercial aircraft.
Jack Daniels extends with RCR Jack Daniels extends with RCRRichard Childress Racing (RCR) and the Jack Daniel Distillery announced today that Jack Daniel's has extended its primary sponsorship of RCR's No. 07 Chevrolet through 2009.

At the same time, both organizations announced that Clint Bowyer, a native of Emporia, Kansas, will drive the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet for the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series campaign.

Bowyer, currently second in the NASCAR Busch Series championship chase, will be accompanied by crew chief Gil Martin as the proven duo pursue the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award. Bowyer will also race for the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series title returning to the seat of RCR's No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet. zzzz

"RCR is very pleased to take our partnership with Jack Daniel's to the next level," commented Richard Childress, President and CEO of RCR. "Clint Bowyer has done an exceptional job driving the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet in the Busch Series and has certainly proven himself worthy of this opportunity. I have no doubt he's ready to take the next step and move to the NEXTEL Cup Series. Clint and Gil (Martin) have great chemistry and have demonstrated they are a winning combination. We have very high expectations for this program and are confident that both Clint and Gil will be excellent representatives for Jack Daniel's both on and off the track."

"I would also like to thank Dave Blaney for everything he's done, not only for RCR but for all he's done for Jack Daniel's as well," added Childress. "Dave is a first class driver and I'm proud to say he drove for RCR. We were lucky to have him and wish him nothing but the best."

Bowyer, 26, made his NEXTEL Cup Series debut earlier this season at Phoenix International Raceway, posting a 22nd-place finish driving the No. 33 Sylvania Chevrolet. A veteran of 48 NASCAR Busch Series starts, Bowyer scored his first career Busch Series win earlier this season at Nashville Superspeedway. The Emporia, Kan., driver also owns 14 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes in a scorecard that reads like that of a NASCAR journeyman.

"It's a dream come true for me," explained Bowyer. "This is exactly what I've worked my whole life for - trying to get a shot. Fortunately, I'm getting a shot with one of the best car owners in the business and one of the newest and coolest sponsors in the series. I'm really excited to be a part of it. At the same time I'm excited about what Gil and I have built on the Busch side with the ACDelco team. Hopefully we can continue that success and take it to the next level in the NEXTEL Cup Series."

"We can't thank Richard Childress and his team enough for everything they've done to make our entry into NASCAR racing so special," said John Hayes, Vice President Americas Brand Director for Jack Daniel's. "We couldn't have chosen a better partner than RCR, and we are excited to extend this relationship and continue to build excitement around the Jack Daniel's racing team, the 07 Chevy and our 'Pace Yourself. Drink Responsibly.' message."

"Richard Childress is a winner. Clint Bowyer is a winner. And we're confident it won't be long until the Jack Daniel's Chevy pulls into Victory Lane."

Bowyer will make his debut in the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet at the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 19, 2006 at Daytona International Speedway.
Boyer To Run Cup in 2006, RCR Extends Sponsorship Boyer To Run Cup in 2006, RCR Extends SponsorshipRichard Childress Racing has announced that NASCAR Busch Series standout Clint Boyer will take over the driving duties of the no. 07 Chevrolet for the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.

The team also announced that primary sponsor Jack Daniel's has extended its sponsorship of the no. 07 car through the 2009 season. Jack Daniel's joined RCR for the 2005 campaign with driver Dave Blaney

Boyer, currently second in the NASCAR Busch Series standings, will be joined by crew chief Gil Martin in his bid for the 2006 Rookie of the Year award. Pete McCole
Stanley Tools Joins Valvoline/Evernham for 2006 Stanley Tools Joins Valvoline/Evernham for 2006Valvoline/Evernham Racing have announced a new partnership with Stanley Tools to become the co-primary sponsor of the no. 10 Dodge Charger and driver Scott Riggs for the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. 

Stanley tools will serve as co-primary sponsor for 10 races in 2006, and will serve as a major associate sponsor alongside primary sponsor Valvoline for 24 races. The remaining races will feature a new primary sponsor yet to be named.

Valvoline will also serve as co-owner of the team as well as primary sponsor - a relationship they currently share with MBV Motorsports. Valvoline and Riggs will leave MBV following the 2005 season and join Evernham Motorsports for 2006, joining drivers Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield. Pete McCole

Victory Motorsports Racing joins forces with Morgan-McClure Victory Motorsports Racing joins forces with Morgan-McClureUPDATE Morgan-McClure Motorsports is partnering with former NFL wide receiver Terance Mathis to form Victory Motorsports Racing, L.L.C. The new team, with Mathis as the majority owner, will move into the Abingdon, Va., shop of Morgan-McClure. "We want to have a second team and we can share information," Morgan-McClure owner McClure said. "It will make things better. Plus, we want to attract the minority population and have them support our race team." Morgan-McClure still will run its #4 Chevrolet, which currently is driven by Mike Wallace. McClure said the new group hopes to run its second team full time next season but said it's not a done deal. "That's our plan. We're already behind the 8-ball, but we have to do it some time," McClure said. "This opportunity came up, and if the sponsorship comes together in the next two weeks, then we'll be able to go." Richmond Times Dispatch

10/14/05 Terance Mathis, former NFL All-Pro Wide Receiver, and NASCAR's newest minority owner, has formed an alliance with Morgan-McClure Motorsports to unveil Victory Motorsports Racing, LLC. "I am very excited about the new venture between teams. Morgan-McClure has experienced great success in the NASCAR arena, and they bring years of experience to the table. This new venture will allow Victory Motorsports Racing, an opportunity to be a competitive team in the 2006 Nextel Cup Race season," says Terance Mathis, Majority Partner of Victory Motorsports Racing. The mission of Victory Motorsports Racing is simple, WIN. Victory Motorsports Racing is a new breed of racing, which will bring excitement, entertainment and fun to NASCAR. One major goal is to bring the minority community to NASCAR, and in turn bring NASCAR to the minority community. Not only will Victory Motorsports Racing be standing in the Winner's Circle, but they will also stand there with integrity, equality and respect. Morgan-McClure Motorsports, based in Abington, Virginia, is a 14-time winner in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series, including three victories in the prestigious Daytona 500 event in 1991, 1994 and 1995.(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR), more info on Victory Motorsports, see victorymotorsportsllc.com

NASCAR tries new Uni-Template NASCAR tries new Uni-TemplateNASCAR demonstrated its interlocking “uni-template” to at least some of the Nextel Cup teams recently, according to a source who was present at the test. The uni-template is a series of about 20 slotted individual templates that interlock on top of the car’s body to form an exoskeleton. The idea is that with the uni-template in place, NASCAR will be able to check every dimensional and aerodynamic measurement in one fell swoop. According to the source who was present at the test, when the uni-template was put on the car, there was “up to half an inch of wiggle room in some of the individual templates.” The bottom line, the source said, was “the uni-template actually gives NASCAR less control” over aerodynamic fudging than the system they have now, since some of the templates can be moved around so much. Presumably, NASCAR will get around to fixing that prior to the uni-template going into service late next year or early in 2007. Speed Channel
NASCAR, Molson suspend talks over Canada NASCAR, Molson suspend talks over CanadaMolson is no longer negotiating with NASCAR for a Canadian race. That doesn't mean that down the road, if NASCAR decides to come to Canada, that Molson wouldn't be interested in sponsoring a race, but there's nothing in the works any more.   Toronto Star
Industry news
GM to offer gas cards GM to offer gas cardsGeneral Motors Corp. -- facing an abysmal drop-off in auto sales, critical labor discussions through the weekend and a high-pressure earnings announcement on Monday -- will kick off yet another round of discounts today. Several auto dealers told the Free Press that GM will begin offering consumers $500 gas cards on SUVs and a lease pull-ahead program, among other deals. The end of the wildly popular Employee Discount for Everyone program at the end of September, combined with rising gas prices, caused auto sales to collapse at the beginning of October. Detroit Free Press
Ruhlman voted most improved driver Ruhlman voted most improved driverRandy Ruhlman has been named the 2005 Trans-Am Series’ BBS Most Improved Driver in a vote by his fellow competitors. Ruhlman, who finished a career-best second in points this season in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette, earned the honor for the second time, after winning in 2002.

Ruhlman had a nearly picture-perfect season in 2005. He started off by earning his first career victory in the season opener at Long Beach and backed that up with a thrilling back-to-front win at Cleveland. Ruhlman’s consistency showed as he completed all but one lap this season and he led the points for the most of the year.

“I have mixed emotions; I’ve been doing this for so long, you’d think I’d have figured out how to do this right by now,” laughed Ruhlman, who completed his 15th season of Trans-Am competition in 2005. “Seriously, though, we’ve learned so much over the past three years with the Derhaag Motorsports team, and this award really belongs to them. Earning this award twice in four years says more about the team than the driver.

“It’s always special when other competitors take notice of your success,” added Ruhlman. “Racing is a very selfish sport. Week in and week out, you’re doing it for yourself, your team and your sponsor, so for others to notice means a lot. The group of drivers that competed in 2005 was one of the most talented Trans-Am has seen in a long time. The overall count may have been down, but the talent level was unprecedented. To be in the company of those drivers and to have their approval, makes this a true honor.”

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
'NASCAR Victory Lane'
Concord, NC
12:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. ET SPEED
Chinese Grand Prix
1:30 a.m.-4:00 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Polini Australian Grand Prix
Phillip Island
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Bahrain (9/29/05 - 9/30/05)
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET (Replay) SPEED
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (10/15/05)
1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET SPEED
Toyota Indy 400
California Speedway
3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. (Live) ESPN
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
GT: 5:00 P.M.-6:00 P.M. ET (Live) SPEED
Touring: 6:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M. ET (SDD) SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-host: Ben Blake
Featured Interview: Jack Roush
Featured Interview: Ron Capps
Expert Analyst: Bob Varsha
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'NASCAR: Driven to Extremes'
10:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET CNN
'Champ Car Garage'
11:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET (Replay) SPEED

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

Hayden on pole in Australia Hayden on pole in AustraliaAll weekend we wondered if someone would break the magic 1 minute 30 second barrier at Phillip Island.  In the end not one MotoGP rider but five went below the milestone mark as Nicky Hayden swept to his third pole of the season on the #69 Honda.

Hayden's effort ruined an otherwise stunning birthday for Spanish Ducati star Carlos Checa.

Turning 33 today, Checa eclipsed the previous top lap speed at the Island when he was clocked at over 333 km/h in the final free practice session this morning.

Checa then made history as the first rider officially timed in the 1:29s in the qualifying hour and looked set to hang on to what would have been his first pole position since Qatar last season.

But first Hayden, then Valentino Rossi's Yamaha nudged him backwards, and when Sete Gibernau's Honda also got in on the act Carlos found himself on the second row.

The other man to break 1:30 was Rossi's American team-mate Colin Edwards.

Bowyer in, Blaney out Bowyer in, Blaney outDave Blaney is looking for a new job now that Busch Series driver Clint Bowyer is taking his seat at Richard Childress Racing. The Bowyer announcement is scheduled for Saturday, but Blaney is already working the garage looking for new work. "I don't know where I'm going to be at next year. That's all I know," Blaney said. "There's still a lot things that could happen with other things going on, obviously with Penske and Roush and Ganassi and all that. So, who knows? Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we'll know." ESPN.com/AP
Newman wins record 5th straight Newman wins record 5th straightRyan Newman won his fifth consecutive Busch Series race Friday night, avoiding a track-record 14 cautions en route to the victory at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Kimi says no Ferrari deal yet
F1 trying to woo China
JV 'annoyed' at DC
A parting shot (or three)
Rosberg's in for 2006
Renault 'built for Fernando'
McLaren pen Intel deal
McLaren b-team 'deadline'
F1 in 'peace' talks - Mosley
Saturday notes - Shanghai Saturday notes - ShanghaiThe word in the warm and sunny Shanghai pitlane is that Kimi Raikkonen, who qualified behind both Renaults on Saturday afternoon, is carrying a pretty mega fuel load.

''I don't think we have anything to worry about,'' said McLaren's Finn, who did make the odd mistake or two. ''We're positioned well to get the result we need to win the (constructors') championship.''

Pole man Fernando Alonso is definitely running less fuel, but is confident he is a match for the silver package anyway. ''For these final races,'' said the Spaniard, ''we've been able to be aggressive and it's paying off.''

Fuel or no fuel, Jacques Villeneuve's performance was lacking, despite him needing to convince BMW bosses that he should be retained for 2006.

''I'm sure he's disappointed with his lap,'' said Peter Sauber, at his last of 217 races.

Still, 34-year-old JV insists that BMW must keep him on board. ''Sauber didn't go bankrupt,'' the Canadian - with a 2005-6 contract - said.

Also woefully slow is Takuma Sato, in the Japanese's last grand prix for BAR-Honda. After his Suzuka shunts, the 28-year-old - like Juan Pablo Montoya - did have to qualify early, but even so, the gap to Jenson Button is a huge one.

And, Jarno Trulli criticism aside, he vowed to push just as hard in Shanghai. ''I'd rather not have the aggravation,'' said Sato, ''but I always have to be aggressive.''

Button, by the way, insists that a bit of food poisoning won't put him in doubt for Sunday's GP. ''I've lost something like 2kg,'' the BAR driver - who qualified well behind the Renaults and Raikkonen - smiled, ''but I'm ok.''

Red Bull chose Saturday afternoon to officially confirm that 'Squadra Toro Rosso' would be the new name for Minardi next year, and also that Neel Jani and Scott Speed will slide somewhere into the two F1 teams' lineup.

On track, Red Bull's Christian Klien had to sit out the first morning practice because he'd run out of tires. The Austrian had a punctured Michelin on Friday, meaning that one of his four permitted sets was written off.

A little further down pitlane, it's Jordan's 250th grand prix this weekend, and also the last for the name and color scheme founded by former team owner Eddie Jordan. As ever, the 2005 incarnation failed to shine in Shanghai, but Narain Karthikeyan (fifteenth) at least outqualified Villeneuve.

Bridgestone pays Ford $240m Bridgestone pays Ford $240mThe Bridgestone company has agreed to pay the Ford Motor Company $240m to end the five-year dispute between the two firms relating to tyre failures on Ford sport utility vehicles, which resulted in the deaths of 271 people in accidents caused when the tyres fitted to Ford SUV's failed. Ford does not use tyres made by Firestone, Bridgestone's US division but does employ Bridgestone products on some of its vehicles in Europe and Asia. The problem had an important effect on F1 because it removed Jac Nasser from his role as Ford's chief executive and weakened the resolve of the company to be successful in F1. The company drifted in F1 after Nasser departed and finally withdrew at the end of last year, selling the Jaguar team to Red Bull Grandprix.com
Raikkonen leads practice 4 in China Raikkonen leads practice 4 in China
P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'33"864 209.064 Km/h
 2. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'33"891 + 0'00"027
 3. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'33"953 + 0'00"089
 4. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'34"813 + 0'00"949
 5. 8 PIZZONIA Williams BMW M 1'34"813 + 0'00"949
 6. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'34"953 + 0'01"089
 7. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'34"985 + 0'01"121
 8. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'35"031 + 0'01"167
 9. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'35"063 + 0'01"199
10. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'35"156 + 0'01"292
11. 15 KLIEN RedBull Cosworth M 1'35"266 + 0'01"402
12. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'35"578 + 0'01"714
13. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'35"750 + 0'01"886
14. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'35"828 + 0'01"964
15. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'35"859 + 0'01"995
16. 20 DOORNBOS Minardi Cosworth B 1'36"574 + 0'02"710
17. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'36"578 + 0'02"714
18. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'36"650 + 0'02"786
19. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'37"313 + 0'03"449
Raikkonen, Montoya lead practice 3 in China Raikkonen, Montoya lead practice 3 in China
P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'34"253 208.201 Km/h
 2. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'34"446 + 0'00"193
 3. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'34"472 + 0'00"219
 4. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'34"631 + 0'00"378
 5. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'34"749 + 0'00"496
 6. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'35"004 + 0'00"751
 7. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'35"296 + 0'01"043
 8. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'35"461 + 0'01"208
 9. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'35"578 + 0'01"325
10. 8 PIZZONIA Williams BMW M 1'35"675 + 0'01"422
11. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'35"981 + 0'01"728
12. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'35"982 + 0'01"729
13. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'35"994 + 0'01"741
14. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'36"100 + 0'01"847
15. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'36"251 + 0'01"998
16. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'37"555 + 0'03"302
17. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'37"563 + 0'03"310
18. 20 DOORNBOS Minardi Cosworth B 1'38"072 + 0'03"819
19. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'38"697 + 0'04"444
In their own words: Team Penske In their own words: Team PenskeSo now the world has seen Porsche’s new LMP2 on the race track. The debut of Penske Motorsports’ No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder has been a good one so far, posting the fastest time in practice Thursday. On Friday, drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr, team manager Jeff Swartwout and Penske Motorsports President Tim Cindric met with members of the media to discuss the Penske-Porsche partnership, the car’s development and expectations, among other topics. Here’s what they had to say: More....
Reigning Star Mazda Champion Inks Champ Car Deal Reigning Star Mazda Champion Inks Champ Car DealOn the anniversary weekend of his championship success in the 2004 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, Michael McDowell announced today that he has been signed to a deal with the Rocketsports Champ Car effort to compete in the final two rounds of the Champ Car World Series.

“This is an extreme opportunity that goes well beyond any racing driver’s wildest dream, and for that I’d like to thank the men who made it possible, Rob Finlay and Paul Gentilozzi,” says McDowell.  “I also owe thanks to my Finlay Motorsports co-driver Memo Gidley, the fittest, fastest driver I know for setting a standard of personal and professional excellence that gave me the strength to believe I could do this.  And thanks also to Finlay Motorsports team manager and driver coach Steve Cameron, and engineer Rick Cameron for helping make me into a driver that can be an asset to two top teams in two top series.  I’ll do my very best to make sure that everyone involved agrees this was a good idea.”

McDowell, from Glendale, Arizona, charged through the Star Mazda ranks, finishing second in the 2003 championship, capturing Rookie-of-the-Year honors in the process, then returned in 2004 to claim the crown for himself with seven victories and eight pole positions in the ten-race championship. He moved up to the Grand Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype class in 2005, and became the youngest driver ever to finish on the podium at a Rolex Series event when he and Gidley finished 2nd in the Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park on July 31st. 

“I consider Michael McDowell to be the finest young American driving talent racing in North America today,” says team owner Rob Finlay.  “He’s just 20 years old, he's already won a championship in a highly competitive open-wheel series, and he has a bright career ahead of him.  His performances this season in the Finlay Motorsports Rolex Series Daytona Prototype against some of the best and most experienced drivers from around the world demonstrate clearly that he is a champion in the making, and I’m delighted to help provide him with this opportunity to showcase his talent with a competitive and professional Champ Car team like Rocketsports.”

Two-time Indy 500 driver dies Two-time Indy 500 driver diesWayne Weiler, a lifelong cotton farmer from Phoenix who competed in the Indianapolis 500 in 1960 and 1961, passed away Oct. 13 due to an apparent heart attack near his home. He was 70.

Weiler started racing as a teen-ager on Arizona dirt tracks in 1951 and went on to compete in 19 USAC National Championship events before suffering serious head injuries in a USAC Sprint Car race June 11, 1961 at Terre Haute, Ind. While he made a brief comeback on the West Coast in the late 1960s, he never again competed with USAC.

Weiler had 10 finishes of 10th or higher in Championship competition, the best a third place at the Arizona State Fairgrounds 1-mile dirt track in Phoenix in 1960. He also had one fifth-place and three seventh-place finishes that year, placing 13th in the point standings. An excellent dirt track driver, he ranked sixth in the East Coast Sprint car standings the same season.

He drove several races for current Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chairman of the Board Mari George and won his lone career Championship pole position, in 1959 at Sacramento, Calif., with her famous HOW Special. He also drove for Mari George in his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1960 but was eliminated by an accident after 103 laps with the Ansted-Rotary Special she fielded in partnership with Bill Ansted. In 1961, Weiler completed 147 laps for car owner Lindsey Hopkins and finished 15th.

Services are pending.
Finlay statement on McDowell to Rocketsports Finlay statement on McDowell to RocketsportsFinlay Motorsports, in association with Rocketsports Racing, today announced that Michael McDowell will drive #31 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth Bridgestone Lola in the final two rounds of the 2005 Champ Car season – the Lexmark Indy 300 on October 23, and the Gran Primo de México on November 6.

McDowell will also continue as co-driver, with Champ Car veteran Memo Gidley, of the Finlay Motorsports #19 Air Force Reserve / Make-A-Wish Foundation / Commercial Defeasance Dinan-powered Riley Daytona Prototype in the final race of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Season, the Mexico City 250 on November 5.

In racing both sports cars and open-wheel cars during the same season, McDowell, 20, from Phoenix, Arizona, will be joining the ranks of such multi-talented legends as Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt. In racing both during the same weekend at the same track, he may well be unique; top motorsports historians cannot recall a similar ‘double’ on the same weekend.

“This is an extreme opportunity that goes well beyond any racing driver’s wildest dream, and for that I’d like to thank the men who made it possible, Rob Finlay and Paul Gentilozzi,” says McDowell. “I also owe thanks to my Finlay Motorsports co-driver Memo Gidley, the fittest, fastest driver I know for setting a standard of personal and professional excellence that gave me the strength to believe I could do this. And thanks also to Finlay Motorsports team manager and driver coach Steve Cameron, and engineer Rick Cameron for helping make me into a driver that can be an asset to two top teams in two top series. I’ll do my very best to make sure that everyone involved agrees this was a good idea.” zzzz

McDowell, a karting champion who was the Star Formula Mazda Rookie of the year in 2003, won the Mazda championship with seven victories and eight pole positions in 2004. He moved up to the Grand Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype class in 2004, and became the youngest driver ever to finish on the podium at a Rolex Series event when he and Gidley finished 2nd in the Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park on July 31st.

The duo of McDowell and Memo Gidley (who also drove two races for the Rocketsports Champ Car team in 2004), has produced one podium, four top-4, six top-6 and ten top-10 finishes so far in 2005. The Finlay Motorsports team, in its first year of Rolex Series competition, is currently 6th in the championship.

“I consider Michael McDowell to be the finest young American driving talent racing in North America today,” says team owner Rob Finlay. “He’s just 20 years old, he's already won a championship in a highly competitive open-wheel series, and he has a bright career ahead of him. His performances this season in the Finlay Motorsports Rolex Series Daytona Prototype against some of the best and most experienced drivers from around the world demonstrate clearly that he is a champion in the making, and I’m delighted to help provide him with this opportunity to showcase his talent with a competitive and professional Champ Car team like Rocketsports.”

McDowell will test the #31 Rocketsports Racing Champ Car today and tomorrow at the 1.766-mile, 10-turn Putnum Park, in Mt. Meridian, Indiana. Engineering the car will be John Gentilozzi.

“Michael came highly recommended to us from Rob Finlay and others in the racing industry,” said Rocketsports Racing team owner Paul Gentilozzi on how the deal came about. “He shows great potential and the desire to learn to be competitive in anything he races. We are looking forward to the next two races to allow him to get comfortable with the car and crew in preparation for 2006. His eagerness to be in the race car and to win, along with the team’s desire to put Rocketsports back in to victory circle should prove to be a winning combination.”

After a few hours running in the morning, McDowell was both amazed and awed by the performance of the Rocketsports Champ Car.

“I have a new level of respect for the guys who can drive a Champ Car for three hours at a time,” he admits. “It’s an extremely physical experience and I really like the fact that it doesn’t have power steering and traction control like a Daytona Prototype because that makes it much easier to feel the track and the changes you’re making to the car. Going back and forth between the two different types of cars, particularly in Mexico where I’ll be driving both during the same weekend, will be a challenge, but with two of the best teams in motorsports today backing me up, I’m ready.”

DEI pays tribute to the loss of an employee DEI pays tribute to the loss of an employeeOn Thursday, October 13, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. lost a friend and co-worker. Angie M. Safrit, 33, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. She started with the company in 1994. This weekend, her teammates will pay tribute to her life by placing a memorial decal on their race cars. The decal will be displayed on the "C" posts of the #8 Budweiser and #15 NAPA Chevrolets in the Nextel Cup Series. They will also be on the #8 Bass Pro Shops, #11 Menards and #81 Menards Chevrolet in the Busch Series race. The flags in front of DEI's corporate headquarters are flying at half mast in Angie's honor, as well. "Angie was an integral part of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. for the last decade," said Judy Queen, Vice President of Operations. "She started out in the brick building with Dale and Teresa and was a major part of DEI's growth." Angie is survived by her husband, Scott Safrit, and a three-year old daughter, Rachel. She is also survived by her parents, Jimmy and Phyllis Miller of Kannapolis and grandmother, Clara Kidd. DEI
Chinese GP: Friday Press Conference Chinese GP: Friday Press ConferenceParticipating: Ron Dennis (McLaren-Mercedes), Nick Fry (BAR-Honda), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing), Jean Todt (Ferrari). Transcript
NASCAR Kansas TV ratings NASCAR Kansas TV ratingsUPDATE The final rating for the Kansas Cup race was a 4.5/9 share.  This compares to 4.1 in 2003 and 4.4 in 2002.  We don't have the 2004 rating yet. 10/11/05 NBC's broadcast of Sunday's Banquet 400 Nextel Cup race from Kansas Speedway earned a 3.6 overnight rating and a 7 share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The preliminary rating from the nation's largest television markets is down 11.1% from the 4.0/8 overnight in 2004. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
Rossi fastest in Australia Rossi fastest in AustraliaValentino Rossi is back where he likes being most-out in front heading into the business end of the 2005 Polini Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Rossi was fastest on the day for Yamaha in bright sunshine in front of 17,936 fans at Phillip Island, the biggest day one crowd since 1999.

The World Champion's best time of 1:30.349 in the two hours of MotoGP free practice left him just over quarter of a second clear of Carlos Checa, the Ducati veteran who turns 33 on Saturday. zzzz

But the man who thrilled home fans was debutant Chris Vermeulen, riding a Honda in place of the injured Troy Bayliss.

While 14th-fastest may not look spectacular, Vermeulen impressed everyone with the way he came to grips with a machine he had never ridden before.

The Brisbane rider peeled a second off his times between the two sessions and was up-beat about his opening MotoGP day.

"If that keeps up we'll soon be the quickest!" joked Vermeulen.  "I'll be happy as long as we can improve every session. I'm just learning a lot and having a lot of fun. You can do a lot more with this bike (than the Superbike). It's an easy bike to ride but I have a feeling it may be hard to go really fast on."

Two big names to miss MotoGP

The field for Sunday's 2005 Polini Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix has been cut to 18 as a result of spectacular accidents to Kenny Roberts and Loris Capirossi.

Suzuki ace Roberts and Ducati's in-form Italian both came off in high-speed tumbles at Turn 1 in the opening free practice hour.

Roberts was able to walk away but suffered a fractured wrist-the second year in a row that injury will make him miss the Island date.

Capirossi was taken to the circuit Medical Centre and on to hospital for checks on internal bruising as initial hopes that he might be able to race proved ill-founded.

Just to show that these things come in threes, Aussie wildcard Mark Rowling came off his Yamaha at the start of 250cc qualifying and broke his right ankle-the third year running the Turramurra rider has crashed out of a wildcard spot.

That leaves only Mick Kelly to fight for a wildcard race start in the 250s, with hard work ahead to beat the 107% barrier.

Teenage Aussies Blake Leigh-Smith, Tom Hatton and Brent Rigoli are still in contention for a grid spot in the 125s. 

New partners for Drive for Diversity New partners for Drive for DiversityThe Drive for Diversity program, managed by Access Marketing & Communications, officially announced three new team partnerships for the 2006 season.  The new team owners joining Drive for Diversity are drag racing icon Frank Pedregon, Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR driver Jeff Spraker.  Further team announcements for the 2006 season are forthcoming.
New and returning team partners will attend the 2006 Drive for Diversity Motorsports Testing & Evaluation Combine at South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va. on Monday, Oct. 17 and Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2005.  During the combine 19 ethnic and gender minority drivers, selected from a competitive pool of over 300 applicants, will contend for the opportunity to participate in the Drive for Diversity program throughout the 2006 season.
“Our goal is to become an initial step in motorsports diversity.  The new teams we have been fortunate enough to partner with and the partners returning to the program will help us take, although an initial step, a major step this season in diversity and development,” said Greg Calhoun, CEO of Access Marketing & Communications.  “Our team partners bring their own unique experiences and a wealth of knowledge to the program and we are excited about the diverse audience of people we will reach together.” zzzz
Drive for Diversity is an ethnic and gender minority driver and crew development program. In 2004, the first year of the program, five drivers earned spots in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series.  This season the number of drivers increased to eight. There will again be eight drivers participating in the program in 2006.
Frank Pedregon will become the first Hispanic owner to be affiliated with the Drive for Diversity program. Pedregon comes from a racing family – his father was known as “The World’s Fastest Mexican” and his two brothers also compete on the drag racing circuit.
“My dream has been diversity,” Pedregon said.  “The NHRA has been great and I am so excited to join the NASCAR family, a sport that is truly working to bring us all together to do what we love. Tish Sheets (NASCAR Director of Diversity) along with the entire NASCAR team have made my experience great so far and I am eager to work with Access Marketing and the Drive for Diversity program throughout the 2006 season.”
While Joe Gibbs Racing may be new to Drive for Diversity, the organization is experienced in minority driver development programs. The Joe Gibbs Racing/Reggie White Diversity Program started in May 2003 when Joe Gibbs Racing teamed up with the late NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White to create a grassroots stock car team that would identify and assist minorities with the desire and talent to make a career in motorsports.  The program has had two successful seasons on-track and will look to continue its success with Drive for Diversity in 2006. 
“The diversity program is a real source of pride for all of us at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said J.D. Gibbs, team president.  “Reggie had the vision years ago to put a plan together to give young drivers a chance to break into NASCAR that would have never had the chance otherwise. But it’s well beyond that now.  It’s a proving ground for young drivers. The success Aric Almorola and Chris Bristol have had in the past few years has laid the foundation for many more individuals to realize their dreams and bring more diversity to our sport.”
Jeff Spraker began his racing career in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series and Featherlite Modified Tour in upstate New York and has competed as a driver and owner in several series such as the NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch North Series.   Jeff Spraker and Spraker Racing Enterprises has been an asset to the Drive for Diversity program during 2005.  Spraker’s Mooresville, N.C. shop housed and maintained current Drive for Diversity driver Michaels Gallegos' car throughout the season.
“Spraker Racing Enterprises is pleased to be a part of the Drive for Diversity,” Spraker said.  “We are really looking forward to working with the program in 2006.”
Friday notes - Shanghai Friday notes - ShanghaiJenson Button is recovering from food poisoning in Shanghai, but BAR's English driver - notching up 100 grands prix in China - made it through Friday and should be ok for the rest of the season finale. ''I'm feeling a little drained,'' the 25-year-old admitted.

Antonio Pizzonia's practice woe was rear suspension failure on the FW27 Williams. ''It's especially disappointing,'' said the Brazilian, ''as I'm just learning this circuit.''

Further up the grid, McLaren set a dominant pace to look favorite to snare the constructors' crown, even if Renault maintain a two point advantage. But world champion Fernando Alonso isn't giving up yet. ''We have two more practice sessions,'' the Spaniard noted, ''to get things right.''

Rubens Barrichello is driving a red Ferrari for the last time in China, and - suitably - proved a match and then more for seven time world champion teammate Michael Schumacher. ''We need to understand why Michael is a little slower than him,'' technical director Ross Brawn said.

Meanwhile, it's the retiring Pierre Dupasquier's last ever grand prix. He spent Friday evening mulling over Christian Klien's burst right-rear tire. ''The hole in the tread,'' said the Michelin boss, ''was far too big to have been caused by a shard of carbon.''

It was an unexpectedly hazy, cool, humid and windy day in Shanghai on Friday. Saturday should be a bit warmer.

Champ Car announces game developer deal Champ Car announces game developer dealThe Champ Car World Series today announced a long-term partnership with SE GAMES and Jester Interactive Publishing to develop exclusively licensed video games and related merchandise to series fans and gamers worldwide for Champ Car and its support series brands.

The multi-year agreement was announced today, leading up to the Lexmark Indy 300, Round 12 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, which runs October 21-23 along the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Australia. The Champ Car-themed games are slated to be developed for use across a number of personal gaming platforms with further game release details to be announced.

“Champ Car is very pleased to announce this strategic partnership,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “Champ Car is all about entertainment and video games afford us the ability to extend the range of entertainment offerings to our fans. This is another important step as we continue to build a solid future for the Champ Car World Series.”

“SE GAMES is extremely proud of the association with Champ Car and its support series brands,” said SE GAMES President and CEO, Michael Donaldson. “Thanks to Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerry Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi, Champ Car has become the most engaging form of open-wheel racing today and now we, along with Jester Interactive, can bring this high level of entertainment to households around the globe, on the most popular interactive platforms. It’s truly a very exciting time for the Series and fans.”

“Jester Interactive Publishing is very pleased to conclude this exclusive partnership and Champ Car is without a doubt one of the most exciting close action racing series today” commented Clark Evans of Jester Interactive.  “Securing the Champ Car World Series and its support series brands collectively expands our racing game portfolio significantly and presents Jester with a great opportunity. At this very early stage, we anticipate progressing the design of what we believe will be a realistic and fun game to play.” 

SE GAMES/Simulation Elements, Inc. is a Jacksonville, Florida based Executive Producer and Game Developer of racing video games, interactive content and game events. To learn more about SE GAMES, go to www.s-egames.com or contact them at mail@s-egames.com.
Jester Interactive Publishing Ltd is a UK based privately owned Publisher and Developer of computer video games. Jester created the Innovative and Award winning Music game series, Music3000, MTV Music Generator and Digital Hitz Factory. The company recently released SuperTrucks Racing and Suzuki TT Superbikes in the U.S.A, part of Jester’s racing game portfolio. To learn more about Jester Interactive Publishing contact clark.evans@jesterinteractive.com www.jesterinteractive.com Champ Car 

Zytek fastest, Penske Porsche impresses Zytek fastest, Penske Porsche impressesTwo of the American Le Mans Series' newest entries stole the show during practice Thursday for the season-ending Monterey Sports Car Championships.

The No. 15 Zytek 04S of Hayanari Shimoda and Tom Chilton posted the day's fastest time with a 1:16.605 during a one-hour nighttime practice session at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Zytek, which sat on the pole at Mid-Ohio and Petit Le Mans, was about 0.3 seconds better than the day's next best time, a 1:16.929 by the No. 2 Champion Racing Audi R8 of LMP1 drivers champions Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. That time was the best of the afternoon test session.

Next was the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola of Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver at 1:17.027, also posted during the day.

To no one's surprise, Penske Motorsports' No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder got down to business at dusk. Lucas Luhr posted the fastest LMP2 lap of the day in the night practice, a 1:17.763 that put the new car third overall in the evening session.  zzzz

The second-best time of the day came from the No. 7 Intersport Racing Lola B05/40 of Clint Field, Jon Field and Liz Halliday. The car turned in a time of 1:18.329 in the afternoon session, giving a hint as to how tight of a battle the P2 race could be come Saturday.

In GT1, Corvette Racing's No. 3 Corvette C6-R of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell was quickest in both sessions. The best time was a 1:22.212 in the evening, followed closely by the championship-leading No. 4 sister car of Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin. That car went around in 1:22.545, also in the evening.

The third-fastest GT1 time was the No. 63 ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R of Terry Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem at 1:22.627.

The No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche, desperate to keep its class championship hopes alive, started the weekend off well with a class-best lap of 1:26.751. About 0.1 seconds back of Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard was the No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche of championship leaders Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long.

Third on Thursday was the No. 43 BAM! Porsche of Mike Rockenfeller and Wolf Henzler, which posted a time of 1:27.131 during the afternoon session.

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.

Nicorette to sponsor Jeff Gordon in 2006 Nicorette to sponsor Jeff Gordon in 2006Jeff Gordon will be sponsored by Nicorette gum as primary sponsor on the #24 Chevrolet for two events in 2006. DuPont will sponsor Gordon for 32 races, while Pepsi is on board as lead sponsor for two events [usually May Talladega and Daytona in July]. The stop-smoking gum product also will be an associate sponsor all year for Gordon's team. The white and green Nicorette logo adorned Casey Mears' #41 car in limited events during 2005. "NASCAR has done great things for us, and we're trying to take it to the next level," said Steve Kapur, of GlaxoSmithKline. "The more people the program is visible to and the more people we have talking about it, the better connection we'll have with NASCAR fans." GSK has a "Winners' Circle" display at NASCAR tracks where counselors talk with race fans about quitting smoking. "Our goal going in was to talk to 2,000 people per weekend," Kapur said. "Actually, we're getting more than 4,000 a week asking us for advice on how to quit or on how to help somebody they care about quit." The company also plans to set up stop-smoking programs with with Hendrick Motorsports. Gordonline.com
Roshfrans to sponsor Dominguez Roshfrans to sponsor DominguezForsythe Championship Racing is proud to announce that Roshfrans, the official lubricant of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, will become the primary sponsor for the #7 Forsythe entry driven by Mexico City native Mario Dominguez at the November 6th Telmex/Tecate Grand Prix of Mexico presented by Banamex. The race takes place at the magnificent Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, a high-speed 2.786-mi / 4.484-km road course in the heart of Mexico City.

Forsythe Championship Racing owner Gerald R. Forsythe expressed great enthusiasm for the new team partner. "Roshfrans is the premier lubricant company in all of Mexico and to have them join us for the Gran Premio de Mexico City is an honor to our entire organization. We look forward to seeing Mario Dominguez take the #7 Roshfrans car to the front of the pack on November 6th and we know that we'll have all of Mexico behind us. I want to express my thanks to Sergio Platonoff and everyone involved with Roshfrans for their support of our team and driver in this great event."

Roshfrans' Commercial Vice President Sergio Platonoff says of the relationship "We are very excited to be able to participate in Mario's competition in his home town with one of the most competitive teams in Champ Car". And Driver Mario Dominguez is equally enthused. "I am thrilled to have the privilege of wearing the Roshfrans colors on the #7 car and on my driving suit for our home town event. We're going to give it everything we've got to bring home a top finish and give millions of Mexican fans a great day!"

The Mexico City event is the final race on the 2005 Champ Car World Series calendar and has become the biggest sporting event in all of Mexico. Mario Dominguez will be joined by Paul Tracy in the #3 Indeck Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car as Team Forsythe seeks to finish the year at the front of the pack.

Will Power lands full-time Champ Car ride Will Power lands full-time Champ Car ride
Barrichello: a last Thursday in red Barrichello: a last Thursday in redFor the final time in his career, Rubens Barrichello took part in his usual Thursday afternoon meeting with the media, dressed in Ferrari red, outside the team’s office on stilts in the Shanghai paddock. “I do not feel any particular emotion at the moment, but I am sure that will be different on Sunday,” said the Brazilian. “Standing on the podium here last year, alongside Luca di Montezemolo was one of the best moments of my career,” recalled the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver. “In fact, Montezemolo does not come to the race track very often but has often been there for important moments for me, like my first pole at Silverstone and my wins in Monza and China. But although I say Sunday will be emotional, it is not sad, because I have now chosen a different path after six years with Ferrari. I remember as though it was yesterday the first day I came to the Fiorano track and saw my name on the side of the car. It was snowing and I had to wait for the snow to melt from the track before I could drive. That was a memory I will keep for ever, as I will also remember the warmth of the crowd, which I will miss especially at Imola and Monza and I also recall the smiles of my mechanics when I got a good result for them.”

Barrichello pointed out that Ferrari was not very successful in his early days there. “I arrived when it was having a difficult time and I am proud to have contributed to its growth.” Asked to pick out his worse moment with the team, he replied: “That would be the time I ran out of fuel while leading in Brazil,” he said, referring to the 2003 race. “That still sticks in my throat.”

The Jordan name disappears from F1 this Sunday, as the team will be called Midland next year. “I will remember Eddie Jordan for all the laughter we had together,” said Rubens of the team boss who brought him into F1. “Gary Anderson (the team’s technical director at the time) was fundamental to my growing up as a driver and I remember the mechanics were all very good and hard working. It is sad to see the name go, but that is the way of the world now, not just in F1.” With the season coming to a close, Barrichello’s last official function for the Scuderia will be the Ferrari World Finals at Mugello next weekend. After that, he is planning a special final farewell at Fiorano. “I am bringing all my family to Fiorano to take them out in the 3-seater F1 car. That will be my bye-bye to Ferrari.”

Schumacher: 'We had a successful time together' Schumacher: 'We had a successful time together'Michael Schumacher was in philosophical mood when he met the media in the Shanghai paddock this afternoon. “Even without the results, there have been some good moments and some fun moments this season,” said the outgoing champion. “Monaco for example was a race I enjoyed. But we knew our situation would have to change sooner or later. But if you look at the end result, this year is not so bad. We have claimed third in the Constructors’ championship and I am currently third in the Drivers.’” The question of the qualifying format has been a major topic of discussion in recent weeks and Schumacher was asked for his opinion. “I think there have been about seven format changes in the last five years,” he calculated. “I think that shows there is no optimum solution and so the matter should be given a lot of thought before a decision is made.”
And the obvious question: would he miss Barrichello after this weekend? “Miss him? I don’t know if that is the right word, because he is not leaving the sport,” commented Michael. “But he will not be my team-mate and we did have a good time together, but I really don’t feel he is gone and I am sure I will still see as much if not more of him at parties and other events. We had a successful time together and I hope that continues with Felipe.”

As for this weekend, Michael was not sure what to expect: “It could be like Brazil, or it could turn out like Japan.” Next weekend, he too will be at Mugello for the Ferrari World Finals. “This has always been an important event and a way to say thank you to the fans,” he stated. “In fact, it will be even more important to do that this year, than in the past when we were winning.”

Bernie says Asia is the future Bernie says Asia is the futureBernie Ecclestone hailed Asia as the future of motor racing Friday, warning that Europe had already fallen into the ranks of the "Third World."

"It (Asia) is the most important part of the world and I mean most important," Ecclestone, Formula One's largest commercial rights holder, said at business conference here ahead of Sunday's season-ending Grand Prix. "Europe has become a bit of a Third World - when you see what people are doing here it's quite incredible."

For years many have considered Monaco to be the prince of races, but the new Shanghai International Circuit, with its two-billion dollar space-age facilities, is rapidly becoming the new standard, Ecclestone said.

"People now say we want something like Shanghai... it is absolutely the new frontier and model," he said.

A1 Grand Prix
Extra practice sessions planned Extra practice sessions plannedA1 Grand Prix have added extra practice sessions at next week's Estoril race to allow teams to shake down their second cars.  The two forty-minute sessions will take place next Friday morning, before the official free practice sessions for the race weekend begin.
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
FORMULA ONE - Qualifying
Chinese Grand Prix
1:00 a.m.-2:30 a.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Concord, NC
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Rounds 11 and 12
Italy and Belgium
1:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET SPEED
Phoenix International Raceway
(9/8/05 - 9/10/05)
2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (Replay) SPEED
'NASCAR This Morning'
Concord, NC
5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'Race Car Driver'
Episodes 6 and 7, Toronto and Edmonton
Feature: Katherine Legge, Toyota Atlantic,
6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (Replay) WGN
UAW-GM Quality 500
Lowe's Motor Speedway
7:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) NBC
   West Series
Mesa Marin
Bakersfield, CA
11:30 p.m.-1:00 a.m. ET (Live) HDNet

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

Pedro tops Practice 2 in China Pedro tops Practice 2 in ChinaTeam McLaren Mercedes driver Pedro de la Rosa finished his last two practice sessions of the 2005 season fastest overall with a time of 1m32.834 and completed 20 and 30 laps in the two practice sessions at the Shanghai circuit.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 35 DE LA ROSA McLaren Mercedes M 1'32"834 211.384 Km/h
 2. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'32"977 + 0'00"143
 3. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'34"092 + 0'01"258
 4. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'34"226 + 0'01"392
 5. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'34"541 + 0'01"707
 6. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'34"618 + 0'01"784
 7. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'34"932 + 0'02"098
 8. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'35"035 + 0'02"201
 9. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'35"072 + 0'02"238
10. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'35"196 + 0'02"362
11. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'35"201 + 0'02"367
12. 37 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'35"306 + 0'02"472
13. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'35"397 + 0'02"563
14. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'35"567 + 0'02"733
15. 15 KLIEN RedBull Cosworth M 1'35"613 + 0'02"779
16. 8 PIZZONIA Williams BMW M 1'35"709 + 0'02"875
17. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'35"894 + 0'03"060
18. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'36"051 + 0'03"217
19. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'36"079 + 0'03"245
20. 39 KIESA Jordan Toyota B 1'36"644 + 0'03"810
21. 20 DOORNBOS Minardi Cosworth B 1'36"993 + 0'04"159
22. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'37"173 + 0'04"339
23. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'37"435 + 0'04"601
24. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'37"467 + 0'04"633
Savage hailstorm pounds Gold Coast Savage hailstorm pounds Gold CoastChamp Car is reported to be happy their race in Surfers Paradise wasn't this weekend.  Hundreds of homes and cars have been damaged by a severe hail and thunderstorm on Queensland's Gold Coast, home of Surfers Paradise and next weekend's big Champ Car race.

The storm swept through northern parts of the region this afternoon, leaving a trail of destruction.

Diane Curwood from Helensvale says there was little warning.

"It sounded like horses galloping towards me and the rain hit and hail the size of golf balls and some of them actually were as big as cricket balls," she said.  More than 300 State Emergency Service (SES) crews are responding to hundreds of calls for assistance.

Gold Coast SES controller Peter Linnell says the Southport centre received more than 200 calls within 90 minutes of the storm.  "We have whole roofs removed," he said.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ralf slates 'knockout' plan
Schu - '2005 world champ'
Peter Sauber's goodbye bash 
Rubens aims to be Honda boost
JV penalty too lenient
Webber's 'rep' takes a hit
Teams' title 'not crucial'
Williams to sell F1 cars
Red Bull and Franz Tost
Rules not to blame - Schu
Bernie buys Swiss glacier
Small crowd greets F1 action
Rubens to try 3-seat Ferrari
Pedro de la Rosa puts McLaren on top in Practice 1 Pedro de la Rosa puts McLaren on top in Practice 1McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa put McLaren Mercedes at the head of the T&S charts for practice 1 of Sunday's Chinese GP  Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello, driving in his final race for the Italian team, was a surprising second..  Toyota tester Ricardo Zonta was third and Raikkonen fourth ahead of Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. The top 10 was completed by David Coulthard in his Red Bull and Jenson Button in the BAR-Honda.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 35 DE LA ROSA McLaren Mercedes M 1'33"463 209.961 Km/h
 2. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'35"303 + 0'01"840
 3. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'35"373 + 0'01"910
 4. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'35"481 + 0'02"018
 5. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'35"494 + 0'02"031
 6. 10 MONTOYA McLaren Mercedes M 1'35"521 + 0'02"058
 7. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'35"605 + 0'02"142
 8. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'35"945 + 0'02"482
 9. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'36"089 + 0'02"626
10. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'36"096 + 0'02"633
11. 8 PIZZONIA Williams BMW M 1'36"208 + 0'02"745
12. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'36"829 + 0'03"366
13. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'36"866 + 0'03"403
14. 37 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'37"119 + 0'03"656
15. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'37"123 + 0'03"660
16. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'37"143 + 0'03"680
17. 15 KLIEN RedBull Cosworth M 1'37"490 + 0'04"027
18. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'37"688 + 0'04"225
19. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'37"764 + 0'04"301
20. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'38"308 + 0'04"845
21. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'39"088 + 0'05"625
22. 39 KIESA Jordan Toyota B 1'39"687 + 0'06"224
23. 20 DOORNBOS Minardi Cosworth B 1'40"724 + 0'07"261
24. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'40"787 + 0'07"324
China formally ratifies anti-tobacco treaty China formally ratifies anti-tobacco treatyThe Chinese government announced on Thursday that it has now formally ratified the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the international treaty which aims to stub out tobacco advertising. The news came in a joint statement from 13 Chinese governmental offices, including the Ministry of Health.

Tobacco advertising at sports facilities is banned in China - and has been since the passage of the 1994 Advertising Law, which states that the use of "radio, movies, television, newspaper and magazines to disseminate tobacco advertisements is banned. The setting up of tobacco advertisements in public places, including all kinds of waiting rooms, cinemas and theatres, meeting rooms and halls, sports stadia, etc, is banned."

Despite protests of anti-tobacco campaigners, the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix went ahead last year with full tobacco liveries on the cars, the Chinese government apparently keener to get F1 than to obey its own laws.

The announcement means that the law will now be specifically tightened with a ban on cigarette vending machines and on smoking in public places. Grandprix.com
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