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NASCAR test times from TMS NASCAR test times from TMSUnofficial Test Session Top Speeds
#44    Terry Labonte, 189.474 mph
#  5    Kyle Busch, 189.341 mph
#31    Jeff Burton, 188.153 mph
#91    Jeremy Mayfield, 188.153 mph
#24    Jeff Gordon, 187.500 mph
NASCAR Busch Series
#38    A.J. Foyt IV, 188.153 mph
#20    Denny Hamlin, 184.932 mph
#78    Jerry Robertson, 184.932 mph
Test session was incident-free.
Bourdais tests IROC car Bourdais tests IROC carTwo-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais was back behind the wheel of an IROC car Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway where he is getting ready for the season's final race.  Having never driven at Atlanta, the seat time was extra important for the Frenchman.
4 Nominees Announced For '05 Greg Moore Legacy Award 4 Nominees Announced For '05 Greg Moore Legacy AwardChamp Car has selected the four nominees for the 2005 Greg Moore Legacy Award and also is announcing a change in the way the award is decided as Champ Car’s fans will now hold one of the five votes used to select the winner.  This year’s nominees include 1996 Champion Jimmy Vasser, Oriol Servia, Andrew Ranger and 2005 Toyota Atlantic Champion Charles Zwolsman.

This year’s crop of nominees all are deserving of the award.  1996 Champ Car titlist Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) continues to run at the front of the pack earning two podium finishes this season as well as the Bridgestone Pole Award at Milwaukee.  Vasser is also the ironman of the Champ Car World Series as he is in the midst of a series-record streak of 208 consecutive starts.  Oriol Servia ( #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) stepped into the Newman/Haas ride at the third event of the season and has earned seven podiums including his first career win at Montreal.  Servia also claimed his first career Bridgestone Pole at Australia.  Rookie Andrew Ranger has made only 12 starts in the Champ Car World Series but has already opened a lot of eyes.  The young Canadian’s run to the podium in Monterrey, Mexico in only his second start made him the youngest driver to reach a Champ Car podium.  The final nominee is 2005 Toyota Atlantic Champion Charles Zwolsman.  The Dutch Rookie in the Atlantic Championship won three races, five pole positions and garnered eight podium finishes to earn a one-off ride at Mexico City in a Champ Car.

"This is an extremely special award, and all of the drivers who have been nominated should feel tremendously honored,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson.  “This year’s nominees for the Greg Moore Legacy Award have shown the same spirit and dedication throughout this season that Greg had throughout his too-brief career.”

The Greg Moore Legacy Award is presented to one of the four nominees who are chosen by a select board from the Champ Car World Series and the Toyota Atlantic Championship.   Five different rankings then choose the winner.  Champ Car co-owner and team owner Gerald Forsythe, Champ Car vice president of operations Tony Cotman and Toyota Atlantic managing director Vicki O’Connor each rank the drivers along with a selection committee made up of Champ Car media members.  The fifth ranking has been added this year as Champ Car fans can vote for the most deserving driver on the Champ Car World Series Website www.champcar.ws

The Greg Moore Legacy Award has been presented at Champ Car’s season ending banquet for the past five years and is awarded to the Champ Car driver who most exemplifies Moore’s distinctive combination of outstanding on-track talent and dynamic personality.  The award honors the legacy of the former Indy Lights Champion and rising Champ Car star who lost his life in a 1999 racing accident.

The recipient of the Greg Moore Legacy Award will be announced on Sunday, November 6 at the 2005  Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford Awards Celebration.  The winner will receive a custom painting entitled “Victory” by motorsports artist Bill Dixon and the Greg Moore Legacy Award trophy.  Past winners of the award include Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, Patrick Carpentier, Sebastien Bourdais, and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Massa tests Ferrari V8 Massa tests Ferrari V8First day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working today at the Vallelunga circuit, near Rome. Felipe Massa began a development program with the V8 engine, at the wheel of an F2004. The Brazilian driver ran on a new version of the Roman circuit, covering a total of 46 laps. The best time on the day was a 1.14.366. Testing at this circuit continues tomorrow, again with Felipe Massa on track. Ferrari
World Council approves F1 changes World Council approves F1 changesThe World Motor Sport Council met in Rome today. The following decisions were taken:


Each driver will be permitted to use seven sets of dry-weather tires for each event. All tires used for qualifying and race must be of the same specification. Tire changes will be permitted at any time during the race.

Qualifying format

All cars are permitted on the track. At the end of the first 15-minute period the slowest five cars can take no further part in qualifying. These cars will make up the last five grid positions in the order of their times, the fastest occupying 16th position.

The times for the fifteen remaining cars are reset for the next session. At the end of the second 15-minute period the slowest five cars can take no further part in qualifying. These cars will make up the grid in positions eleven to fifteen in the order of their times, the fastest occupying 11th position.

The times for the ten remaining cars will be reset for the next session. For the final period, lasting 20 minutes, the cars will be arranged on the grid in positions one to ten in the order of their times, the fastest occupying pole position

Cars will be under parc ferme conditions from the time they enter the track for the first time during qualifying until the start of the race. Changing tires and adding fuel will no longer be part of the parc ferme regulations

Fuel may be added to cars at any time during the first 40 minutes of qualifying and any car eliminated during the first two periods may then be refueled at any time until the pit lane opens for the race. Teams will be required to fill cars taking part in the final 20-minute period with the amount of fuel with which they intend to start the race. Any fuel used during the 20-minute period may be replaced before the start of the race.

If 22 cars are eligible to take part in the Event, six cars will drop out after each of the fifteen minute periods leaving ten for the final 20 minutes. If twenty four cars are eligible to take part in the Event, six cars will drop out after each of the fifteen minute periods leaving twelve for the final 20 minutes.


A package of measures were approved for the 2008 Championship. These include the introduction of a Centerline Downwash Generating wing, larger wheels with slick tires and a single tire supplier. The package will be brought forward to 2007 if an 80% majority of the Formula One Technical Working Group agree to do so before the end of December 2005.


Approved the creation of an FIA Commission on Future Technologies. It will look at the introduction of new and future road-relevant technologies into motor sport. Each major car manufacturer will be invited to nominate two members (a senior employee plus an academic) to join the commission.


Team personnel and spectators will be prohibited from climbing on the pit wall debris fence during or after any circuit race.

Schumacher inks 5-year extension with Omega Schumacher inks 5-year extension with OmegaSwatch Group’s Omega has signed a five-year extension with F1 driver Michael Schumacher, who will remain as an int’l ambassador for the brand. Schumacher has endorsed the brand’s products since ’95. Omega will continue to use Schumacher in advertising, on its Web site and in POS materials. Schumacher is currently featured in a print ad campaign that broke last week featuring the driver in a tuxedo in front of his numerous F1 trophies. Omega President Stephen Urquhart said marketing efforts featuring Schumacher will be primarily focused in Europe, but noted there will be some emphasis on Asia, as interest in F1 in that region is “unbelievable.” Urquhart: “The enthusiasm ... is incredible.” He also noted Schumacher’s driving contract with Scuderia Ferrari runs through the next two years and said Omega has “some ideas” to continue the relationship beyond his racing career THE DAILY
SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 10-26-05
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (1) Fernando Alonso (F1) 11.140
2. (2) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 10.247
3. (3) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.289
4. (13) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 8.158
5. (4) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 7.664
6. (6) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.660
7. (8) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 7.341
8. (12) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 7.277
9. (10) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 7.064
10. (5) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.985
11. (11) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.960
12. (21) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 6.854
13. (7) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 6.854
14. (NR) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.456
15. (18) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 6.452
16. (20) Ricky Rudd (NASCAR) 6.443
17. (17) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 6.385
18. (14) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.324
19. (27) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.299
20. (NR) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR) 6.158
Dropped out: Joe Nemechek (NASCAR), Brian Vickers (NASCAR), Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR), Mark Martin (NASCAR)
Last week’s ranking in parenthesis
Provided by STATS Inc.
German DTM
DTM - Frentzen Suffers Concussion DTM - Frentzen Suffers ConcussionUPDATE #2 Frentzen has been released from the hospital. "It was getting boring here," Frentzen told reporters at the hospital in Ludwigshafen. "I asked the doctors if they could do the CT scan planned for Thursday today and they agreed. After seeing the results they told me I could leave. "I'm glad that I'm better." 10/24/05 Opel's Heinz-Harald Frentzen will remain in hospital for the next couple of days in Ludwigshafen, Germany, as doctors would like to keep him under observation. An Opel spokesman told Autosport-Atlas: "Heinz-Harald is still shaken and suffering a severe headache. The doctors suggested that he doesn't fly, and he agrees. He is walking around, and has no other problems, but he will stay there for the next one or two days." 10/24/05 Former F1 race winner and Opel DTM driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen is hospitalized after suffering a concussion in the final round of the DTM championship yesterday (Sunday), at the Hockenheim circuit in Germany.

Frentzen has been diagnosed with a concussion and will remain under observation for the next few days. His Opel Vectra crashed hard at Hockenheim’s Sudkurve, and the German driver was found unconscious following the sideways impact against the side barriers. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he regained consciousness, but still has no recollection of the incident. Frentzen’s also complaining of headaches. More at SpeedTV
2006 F1 schedule released 2006 F1 schedule releasedBahrain will be the opening Grand Prix in a 19-race Formula One Championship next year. The Gulf Kingdom will start the season on March 12, with Malaysia following a week later on March 19 and then Australia on April 2.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to showcase our organizational and technical abilities on the world's most prestigious motorsport stage," said Bahrain International Circuit general manager Martin Whitaker in a statement.

The Australian Grand Prix has been the season-opener since 1996 but has been pushed back to avoid a clash with the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Mar 12 Bahrain
Mar. 19 Malaysia
Apr 02 Australia
Apr 23 San Marino
May 07 Europe
May 14 Spain
May 28 Monaco
Jun 11 Britain
Jun 25 Canada
Jul 02 USA
Jul 16 France
Jul 30 Germany 
Aug 06 Hungary
Aug 27 Turkey 27
Sep 10 Italy
Sep 17 Belgium
Oct 01 Japan
Oct 08 China
Oct 22 Brazil*
*Subject to contract approval

NASCAR Strikes Deal For Prepaid Visa Card NASCAR Strikes Deal For Prepaid Visa CardNext Estate Communications and NASCAR have entered into a licensing partnership to launch the NASCAR prepaid Visa card.  In addition to providing cardholders with flexibility and freedom to pay for purchases at stores, online or over the phone, the new cards have the convenience of withdrawing funds from more than one million Visa/Plus ATMs worldwide.
Impound Races For Talladega Impound Races For TalladegaTalladega Superspeedway Vice-President Rick Humphrey announced that both the spring and fall NASCAR Nextel Cup weekends at the track will be three-day events, meaning that the races will be "impound races."  The spring race will be held April 28-30, with Nextel Cup and Busch Series racing. The fall race will be held Oct. 6-8, with the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the track's first Craftsman Truck Series race and the fourth race in The Chase for the Nextel Cup.
Chevy clinches manufacturers championship Chevy clinches manufacturers championshipAs a result of Jeff Gordon's win at Martinsville this past weekend, Chevrolet collected its 29th manufacturers crown and the 25th of NASCAR's Modern Era, which began in 1972. Since that year, GM Racing has earned 27 of the 34 manufacturers titles, with Chevrolet collecting 25 of those for an impressive 0.79 winning percentage (Buick has won the title twice). To date, Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with 572 race wins, 448 occurring in the Modern Era. "To clinch the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Manufacturers Championship with four races remaining in the season is an impressive accomplishment," said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. "It has truly been a group effort with six different drivers, along with their respective teams and our team at GM Racing, contributing to this win for Chevrolet." GM Racing PR
All-time IROC team to be announced All-time IROC team to be announcedOn Friday, October 28, 2005, In celebration of nearly 30 years of IROC racing and to honor the series' all-time great champion drivers, IROC and title sponsor, Crown Royal, will announce the four drivers named to the Crown Royal IROC Legends of Victory Lane - the series' first ever all-time IROC team as voted by race fans. The four-member team, which represents the three main racing disciplines of IROC racing - stock car, open-wheel and road racing - will be presented with a custom crystal IROC trophy by IROC and Crown Royal officials. From April to September, fans 21 and over had the opportunity to vote for the all-time team by visiting kiosks stationed in the Crown Royal Experience at NASCAR events or via the Internet at www.crownroyalracing.com. Nearly a quarter-million votes were cast during this period. Alan Taylor Communications
NASCAR slams yet more cheaters NASCAR slams yet more cheatersNASCAR announced Tuesday that Steve Kuykendall, crew chief of the No. 92 Dodge driven by Charlie Bradberry, was fined $500 after brake rotors failed to meet the minimum for thickness. He was found in violation of sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules). Also, Mike Harmon, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet, was fined $500 for violating 12-4-A and 12-4-Q. Officials said the car's steering idler arm was not solid.
Feds indict Michigan man on fraud changes in NASCAR scam Feds indict Michigan man on fraud changes in NASCAR scamA Michigan businessman has been indicted on federal charges accusing him of defrauding a NASCAR racing team, several air charter companies and a credit union.  Franklin Ray, who opened Marlin Transport Inc. and MNR Productions, was named in a six-count felony indictment Friday.  He's accused of defrauding Florida businessman Anthony Morgenthau and several charter companies of at least $285,000. Morgenthau co-owns BAM Racing, sponsor of a Nextel Cup team.

Ray faces charges of bank fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property and four counts of wire fraud.  Among accusations is that Ray posed as an agent for NASCAR and several country music performers in 2002, agreeing to co-sponsor NASCAR races and to schedule music concerts for race weekends. ThatsRacin

Industry News
Delphi wants workers to take huge pay cut Delphi wants workers to take huge pay cutIf Delphi Corp. has its way, workers for the nation's largest auto parts supplier would be paid as little as $9 per hour under 65% wage cuts, and be hit with a tenfold increase in health-care costs, no dental and vision care and other sharp reductions in benefits, according to a proposal revealed on the Web site of a UAW local.

The document shows for the first time the severity of the cuts the bankrupt company has told the union it needs to survive.

The cuts are even stiffer than the company's final proposal to the union before it filed for Chapter 11 on Oct. 8, further infuriating workers already angered by the threats to their livelihood.

"How in the hell do they expect anybody to live?" asked Andy Loughran, a 54-year-old Delphi worker from Dayton, Ohio. "You think you're going to get a good quality product at $9 an hour?"

Loughran, who has worked for General Motors Corp. or Delphi for 33 years, makes $28 an hour. He said if his wages are reduced under Delphi's most recent proposal to $9.50 an hour, he will not work.

"I spent all my life in these wages," Loughran said. "How do they expect me to live in my house?"

According to the proposal, Delphi wants new hires to accept wages as low as $9 an hour, compared with $14 an hour today. The company wants hourly workers making $25 to $27 an hour to accept wages between $9.50 and $10.50 an hour. Delphi also wants overtime to be accrued after working a full week, as opposed to a full day.  More at Detroit Free Press

Industry News
United Auto Group earnings up United Auto Group earnings upUnited Auto Group earned $32.8 million, or 70 cents per share, on revenues of $2.8 billion in the third quarter of 2005. The Bloomfield Hills-based automotive retailer earned $27.5 million, or 60 cents per share, on revenues of $2.5 billion in the same period last year.
Bourdais confirms he is staying with Newman/Haas Bourdais confirms he is staying with Newman/HaasThe 26-year-old Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais revealed in a media teleconference Tuesday that he’s signed a one-year extension to remain with Newman/Haas Racing for ‘06.

“There's always more to come, I hope,” Bourdais revealed about his motivation for next season. “To have a triple consecutive winner in the championship would be pretty cool, to put my name on this very, very short list of drivers who win three in a row.

“Bruno and Oriol are both good friends and very good drivers,” the Frenchman continued. “They have achieved a lot of things with Newman/Haas Racing and I guess the thing that would make a lot of sense would be to try and keep them in the organization. I am pretty sure Bruno will be back because obviously he got hurt in a Newman/Haas car and it makes all the sense in the world to have him back to show how good he is, and Oriol has done a fantastic job to take over what was in front of him."

“So obviously the target was to try and put a third car and I know the team is working really, really hard to have a title sponsor for a third car and to make it happen.”

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
FIA wing 'good idea' - Lauda
Schu won't cut winter break
Paffett wins F1 test

Button sexism slammed
More 'zip' for qualifying
Williams to run 'Friday' car
Stoddart to walk away
Final Ferrari farewell
More F1 meetings
Minardi's big mistake
A 'fairer' safety car rule
October 26, 1997
Frentzen to leave hospital
One more year for Pedro
RB not 'scared' of JB
Funny Stuff
The Gynecologist The GynecologistA gynecologist had become fed up with malpractice insurance and was on the verge of being burned out. Hoping to try another career where skillful hands would be beneficial, he decided to change careers and become a mechanic.  

He found out from the local technical college what was involved, signed up for evening classes, attended diligently, and learned all he could.  

When the time for the practical exam approached, the gynecologist prepared carefully for weeks, and completed the exam with tremendous skill. When the results came back, he was surprised to find that he had obtained a score of 150%.  

Fearing an error, he called the instructor, saying "I don't want to appear ungrateful for such an outstanding result, but I wondered if there had been an error which needed adjusting."  

The instructor said, "During the exam, you took the engine apart perfectly, which was worth 50% of the total mark.  

You put the engine back together again perfectly, which is also worth 50% of the mark." The instructor went on to say, " I gave you an extra 50% because you did all of it through the muffler."

Track News
Infineon Raceway announces 2006 schedule Infineon Raceway announces 2006 schedule 
  • Ferrari Challenge: May 12-14.
  • Kawasaki AMA Superbike Showdown, presented by Supercuts: May 19-21.
  • Jaguar Wine Country Classic Vintage Car Races: June 3-4.
  • Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup:  June 23-25.
  • Goodguys Nitro Nationals Nostalgia Drag Races: July 1-2.
  • Infineon Technologies Cougar Mountain Classic (cycling): July 14-16.
  • FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals, presented by Supercuts: July 28-30.
  • NHRA Summernationals Division 7 Drag Races: Aug. 4-6.
  • IRL IndyCar® Series: Aug. 25-27.
Jim Russell Racing year-end runoffs Jim Russell Racing year-end runoffsThough teen sensation Dane Cameron had already wrapped up the overall SCCA Formula Russell Championship presented by Yokohama last month, there was still plenty to race for during the final weekend of the season at Infineon Raceway – and Stephen Hill and Larry Schnur were the big winners.

Hill, who finished second overall to Cameron (179 points) with 153 on the year, clinched the Masters Division championship with a win in the Group A race. Division runner-up Chuck Hulse (131) trailed Hill by 14 points heading into the final event but could get no closer.

Hulse finished third in Saturday’s race, shaping up the Top 5 on the season as Cameron (179), Hill (153), rookie Eddie Caballero (147), Hulse (131) and another rookie, Jess Peterson (130). Caballero was second in Saturday’s race.

Kjell Kallman, the vice president and general manager for the Jim Russell Schools, said that "2005 was another outstanding season for the series. Three of the top five finishers in the series competed in our Road Racing Scholarships last year, and the divisional championships weren’t decided until the final event. This shows that the Jim Russell system works for both aspiring professionals and amateur racers that want not only a good value but also good competition." More.....

Williams confirms 3rd car for 2006 Williams confirms 3rd car for 2006Williams F1 has confirmed that it intends to run a third car on the Fridays in 2006, after failing to finish a season among the top four constructors for the first time since 1999. Only teams outside the top-four are allowed to add a third car and driver for Friday’s two practice sessions on the following season.  "It is going to be a financial penalty that we are not particularly well equipped to handle, but we believe we have to participate in that and we will deal with it," Sir Frank Williams told Autosport-Atlas.
Complete IRL Indy Car team For Sale Complete IRL Indy Car team For SaleThe crash damage from racing expensive open wheel IRL Indy Cars on oval tracks did in this team quite some time ago.  Now you can bid on Meijer Racing at this auction website.
Triple duty for Hamilton at Atlanta Triple duty for Hamilton at AtlantaBobby Hamilton is going to attempt to qualify and run the Nextel Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend in his #04 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge. Hamilton also ran at Indy, starting 35th and finishing 27th. Hamilton will run in the in the Crown Royal IROC race and in the Truck Series race where he is seeking to repeat as the Truck Series Champ in the #04 Dodge Ram and is 5th in points. Hamilton tested at Atlanta in a truck and a Cup car. BHR PR
Q and A with '05 Champ Sebastien Bourdais Q and A with '05 Champ Sebastien BourdaisNewly crowned 2005 Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais was a guest on today's Champ Car media teleconference. Transcript
A1GP continues to struggle with attendance A1GP continues to struggle with attendanceA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I went to the Estoril A1GP race in Portugal last Sunday and I am sorry to report that for the second race in a row the attendance was low.  After a promising start in Brands Hatch where I can only assume they plastered the country with free tickets, it's clear that this series is being viewed by the fans as a 'support' series and a training platform for the big leagues. Martin Thatcher, London
Patrick, Luyendyk honored by DownForce Patrick, Luyendyk honored by DownForceDanica Patrick and Arie Luyendyk Jr. were honored as the Most Popular Driver in the IRL IndyCar® Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Series, respectively, at the DownForce Banquet Oct. 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The awards were determined by the vote of the fans at all Indy Racing League events throughout the season. DownForce, the IRL's official fan club, facilitates the balloting.

It was the first Most Popular Driver Award for Patrick, who also captured the Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award in the IndyCar Series. Previous winners for the IndyCar Series include Sam Hornish Jr. (2004), Sarah Fisher (2001-2003), Al Unser Jr. (2000), Scott Goodyear (1999) and Arie Luyendyk (1997-1998).

"It has been quite a year," said Patrick, who was unable to attend the ceremony due to her upcoming wedding to Paul Hospenthal. "It means so much that (the fans) support me. I've been so blessed and I'm so grateful to have such great fans. It means a lot."
Luyendyk Jr. has won the award for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in each of the three years it has been given. He told the crowd gathered that he was honored and surprised he won the award for a third time.

Wheldon, Dismore team to win karting event Wheldon, Dismore team to win karting eventDan Wheldon figured he'd hook up with old friend Mark Dismore Jr., have some fun driving a TaG USA kart on a one-mile serpentine track and exchange karting stories after the Oct. 22 event. That was before the IndyCar Series champion's competitive juices began flowing on a chilly fall day.  Sure he had fun returning to his racing roots - especially when he teamed up with Dismore to set the pace early and win the second annual 200-mile endurance race at New Castle (Ind.) Motorsports Park. The 3-hour, 51-minute race also featured 2003 IndyCar Series driver Scott Dixon and Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Boris Said to race in Baja 1000 Boris Said to race in Baja 1000Boris Said and Team All German Motorsports are to team up for the “TECATE SCORE Baja 1000” - November 17-20, 2005. The team drew the number one starting position in class for this race making their car number #101. Boris Said (Carlsbad, CA), Martin Christensen (Escondido, CA) and Dave Mason (Valley Center, CA) will share the driving duties in the All German Motorsports BMW-powered Unlimited Class 1 Car in the 2005 Baja 1000. Said is a world-renowned race car driver currently focusing his efforts in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series where he is driving the #36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet. Martin Christensen and Dave Mason have been teamed up racing the All German Motorsports BMW M5-powered Unlimited Class 1 Car for the 2005 SCORE season and prior to that achieved great success in racing the All German Motorsports Class 10 Car to multiple class victories including a Baja 1000 win in 2004 and the 2002 and 2003 season championships.     

When asked about the opportunity to race in the Baja 1000 Boris stated “This is something that has always been on my list. I am excited to race in the Baja 1000 especially after I did some prerunning for last year’s Baja 1000 and my recent participation in the CORR Nissan Off Road Nationals, also after I saw the “Dust to Glory” movie I really got motivated to race the Baja 1000.”

German DTM
Paffett earns McLaren test Paffett earns McLaren testYoung British hopeful Gary Paffett has earned himself a test in a McLaren-Mercedes after winning the DTM touring car series for the German manufacturer. “I can savor the achievement of winning the championship and look forward to the test, because it is a step in the right direction to Formula 1, which is where I want to be eventually," he said on his website. "Let’s see what happens. At the moment, it looks like I’ll be defending my title in the DTM, because there are no race seats available in F1 next year.”
Airplus Insoles Returns to ppc Racing Airplus Insoles Returns to ppc Racingppc Racing officials announced today Implus Footcare, makers of Airplus Insoles, will return as an associate sponsor on its No. 10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International race team.  Implus Footcare has been a part of ppc Racing’s Family of Sponsors since 2002 and has made select appearances in the NASCAR Busch Series as a primary sponsor.

“We are pleased to return to ppc Racing’s truck program with driver Terry Cook,” said John Andrews, vice president of marketing at Implus Footcare, the makers of Airplus Insoles.  “At the beginning of this year, we moved our motorsports sponsorship around Greg’s (Pollex, owner of ppc Racing) car and truck programs and saw a void in one of the toughest, most competitive series NASCAR has to offer; the Craftsman Truck Series.  Our continuation with ppc Racing allows Airplus Footcare to reach a greater audience.”

“ppc Racing is about a family of sponsors and we consider Implus Footcare to be a strong part,” said Pollex.  “We sat down with John and his staff and saw a greater need for exposure and offered a return sponsorship with the Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International race team.  With our operations competing in more than just one series, it allows sponsors like Implus Footcare to generate additional exposure and growth in NASCAR.”

Track News
D3 lands event management role for A1GP D3 lands event management role for A1GPWe may not have heard from the D3 clan in a while, but they sure have been busy! The renown specialists in motor racing development and track design have again proven they’ve got what it takes to play in the big league, after securing a deal with new motor racing series A1.

The deal comes after negotiations with A1 founder, His Highness Sheik Maktoum, which sees D3 overseeing global event management for the series.

D3 began managing the A1 events at the start of the series’ premier season, which commenced late September and will continue, in the F1 off-season, to finish in July 2006. zzzz

D3’s role is to oversee global event management for the series, which features races in 12 countries around the world. D3’s experience spans globally to include the elite, most successful first-class motor racing facilities in the world, and they will be responsible for all sectors that make a motor racing event a success.

Jeremy Dickson, Director of D3 Motorsport, heads the A1 operations and expressed his enthusiasm of aligning with the A1 series. “This is a very exciting phase for D3, and we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be involved with a world uniting series, and a dedicated and enthusiastic group of people. This series has already proven to be successful and we will continue to work with A1 to ensure its success in the future.”

The company continues to pursue track development roles within other areas of the industry, and have recently secured a separate deal with the A1 series, to develop the South African street circuit to be held in the city of Durban.

D3 currently have people in Durban finalizing track design and are expected to commence construction in early November. The Durban event is scheduled for 29th January 2006, and is the only street circuit on this seasons A1 calendar.

For more information on what’s happening with D3 Motorsport Development and other tracks and series they’re involved in, visit the website at www.d3motorsport.com

Funny Stuff
Try doing it with the engine running Try doing it with the engine runningA mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Mercedes engine when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in the shop.

The surgeon was there waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his car when the mechanic shouted across the garage.  "Hey Doc, can I ask you a question?"

The surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working on the car.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked,  "So Doc, look at this engine.  I open its heart, take the valves out, repair any damage, and then put them back in, and when I finish, it works just like new.  So, how come I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The surgeon paused, smiled and leaned over, and whispered to the mechanic...."Try doing it with the engine running.."

U.S. Micro to sponsor Spencer at Atlanta U.S. Micro to sponsor Spencer at AtlantaU.S. Micro Corporation announced that, for the second year in a row, it has become the primary sponsor of the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 in Atlanta this week with Jimmy Spencer behind the wheel. U.S. Micro, a national IT asset management company, has been a NASCAR Nextel Cup sponsor for three seasons, as well as the "official computer provider" for the #50 Dodge team of Arnold Motorsports and primary sponsor for Atlanta's spring event. More information about U.S. Micro is available online at usmicrocorp.com. Arnold Motorsports PR
Q and A with Luca Marmorini Q and A with Luca MarmoriniToyota Engine Technical Director Luca Marmorini was faced with the task of making the RVX-05 V10 powerplant reliable for two races under the 2005 regulations. By his own admission this was not an easy task but with the exception of Melbourne and Indianapolis at least one Toyota made it home in the points.

How much of a challenge has this year's two-race engine rule been?
"It has been tough, even though the results of all the teams have been very impressive. All the problems we had to solve in between the two races were new and unpredictable and you cannot believe how many times we really had to work. You could call it a controlled emergency situation!"

Looking back at the results of the season, what were your particular highlights?
"Purely from a results point of view, the races in Malaysia and Bahrain were incredible. To see the Toyota cars on the front row of the grid was special enough, but to see them finish on the podium as well was a really pleasurable sight for the whole team."

Did those initial results have an effect on the team morale?
"Coming into the factory on Monday morning after the race, you could see on everybody's face that the podium results had provided a big motivational boost. We always give our best whatever the result, but finishing on the podium always makes it easier to give even more." zzzz 

Did you have any nerves after the first two races in Australia-Malaysia when the engine had to run the second race weekend for the first time?
"Honestly, yes. I was confident in the job that my team had done to get the engine as reliable and competitive as possible for the first races. But as we were nearing the end of the Malaysian GP and Jarno was 2nd with Ralf 5th I did start to get a bit nervous and I admit that I watched the remaining few laps with some mixed emotions, all of which changed to happiness when the drivers reached the checkered flag."

Have you experienced any major issues during the season?
"I can't go into detail but certainly what we learned this year is that the quality of parts with a longer-life engine became a very serious issue. In the past you had new component and you designed it, tested it and that was fine. With a 400km engine you were safe. But with a much longer mileage we found that the quality had to be controlled at a much higher level. To perform long-runs over 1500kms during the season took a lot."

"In the past we could check an engine in one day but now it sometimes takes a week to check one engine. And one engine does not provide a statistical base, you have to test at least two. So the reaction time can become very slow and that was a big change. It added a lot of inertia on creativity because in the past we were much more aggressive in introducing new things. We had a problem with a part we had used since the beginning without any issue and struggled to be able to solve it during the season."

With the advantage of longer stints, how big an issue was fuel economy?
"We worked a lot. In some races we also used engines with extreme mapping in order to be able to do one or two laps more at the end of a stint. The typical optimization during the engine development is based on improving the specific fuel consumption. Normally you are speaking about small margins as one or two percent is a big number, and the way you use the fuel over the lap is much more significant. You can save up to 10% that way, so we worked mostly on the track and on the dyno only to see if there was any impact on reliability. You always want to reduce the specific fuel consumption – that is the target of an engine man. But it won't bring a big advantage. When you are talking about getting an extra lap on a stint of 10, you are obviously talking about 10%."

How much do you vary the fuel maps and what is the effect on power?
"We have a lot of maps available. Typically there is one for maximum rpm/performance and then we work down, linked to fuel consumption. They will range from a map where, for example, you just save a little bit of fuel and maybe compromise a tenth of a second on a lap, to a very extreme one where you can save up to 10% but you have to make a big compromise on lap time."

"It sometimes happens that a driver is following another car and can't overtake but will be able to by going one lap further at a pit stop. We have several set-ups, all under the driver's control. Ralf and Jarno have both been really brilliant at managing it, for instance going into fuel saving mode. Who better than them to know how much performance they need in a certain moment?"

Have you been happy with the drivers' performance?
"Yes. Ralf is very critical of himself in terms of qualifying performance but he's picked up a lot of points. Jarno has been fantastic in qualifying and in races where we've given him a consistent car. He really rues those missed podiums opportunities in Monaco, Nürburgring and Canada."

You have worked with both before. Was their level what you expected?
"They are both above what they were. Certainly Jarno is a better driver than when I worked with him before, and Ralf too, has matured. They have still both got the talent they had but they are more complete drivers." Toyota

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
All-change for F1 '06
'Breakaway' still on track
Midland name 'Friday' driver
Ferrari hope Schu will stay
Former F1 driver in hospital
Schu tests MotoGP bike
Happy birthday Mr. E
Junior series wants F1 link
Alonso won't 'settle'
Massa, Piquet, for 'RoC'
2006 MotoGP Calendar 2006 MotoGP CalendarThe 2006 MotoGP season will start two weeks earlier than this year but retain the same 17-race format.  The 2006 calendar has the season starting in Jerez, Spain, on 26 March and ending in the same country at Valencia on 6 November.

MotoGP calendar 2006:
Mar 26 Spain (Jerez)
Apr 8 Qatar (Doha)
Apr 23 Turkey (Istanbul)
May 7 China (Shanghai)
May 21 France (Le Mans)
June 4 Italy (Mugello)
Jun 11 Catalonia (Circuit de Catalunya, Spain)
Jun 24 Dutch TT (Assen)
Jul 2 Germany (Sachsenring)
Jul 16 Britain (Donington Park)
July 23 USA (Laguna Seca)
Aug 20 Czech Republic (Brno)
Sept 10 Malaysia (Sepang)
Sept 17 Australia (Phillip Island)
Sept 24 Japan (Motegi)
Oct 8 Portugal (Estoril)
Oct 29 Valencia (Valencia)

Racing News
Former Andretti sponsor, Hanna, dies Former Andretti sponsor, Hanna, diesDaniel C. Hanna, the prolific entrepreneur who founded Rub-a-Dub Car Wash and the subsequent Hanna Car Wash franchise as well as Hanna Enterprises, a worldwide provider of car wash equipment, died in Portland on October 19, 2005, from complications of cancer. He was 70.

Hanna parlayed a youthful passion for cars and high-speed racing into a series of highly successful Oregon businesses, including Hanna Auto Wash, the state's largest car wash chain. At the peak of its growth, the company had more than 50 facilities worldwide, including 31 in Portland. He also created Hanna Car Wash International, an innovative manufacturer of car wash equipment that provided products to his and other franchises around the world. He held more than 100 patents in the car wash equipment industry and was widely considered the father of the modern car wash.

In 1967, Hanna opened the first car wash in Japan and, in 1973, he opened a facility in the Soviet Union at a special exhibition attended by Premier Leonid Brezhnev. Governor Tom McCall appointed Hanna Commissioner of Mass Transportation, and he also served on the Federal Energy Commission.

Recognizing the growth and innovation of the Hanna franchises, Entrepreneur Magazine named the company the Number One Franchise in the world in 1982, ahead of McDonald's.

By 1989, Hanna Car Wash International equipment was in use in 20,000 locations in 71 countries. That same year, the company sponsored Mario Andretti's race team, which won the pole position at the Indianapolis 500. It was later a sponsor of Paul Newman's race team.  zzzz

In 1990, the creditors of Hanna Car Wash International took control of the companies. However, Hanna moved on to create and operate the "Care Wash" franchise in Portland and Salem, and Dan Hanna Products, a manufacturer of car wash equipment that he designed. He also assisted in the development of the "Washman" car wash chain in Portland.

Daniel Hanna was born in Portland on October 26, 1934, the son of Margaret and Charles Hanna. His parents and his two siblings, Katherine and George, are deceased. Hanna graduated from Milwaukee High School where he developed skills in engineering, and a love of cars that would underlie his high-speed endeavors in business, auto racing and jet aviation. He began drag racing at the Portland Speedway in the early 1950s. In 1955, he married Betty Simonis, and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in July this year.

In 1955, his mother Margaret mortgaged the family home to finance his first car wash facility, which became the foundation of the Hanna Auto Wash chain. In 1967, he purchased his first Lear Jet, which he piloted around the country and across the Atlantic. In the early 1970s, Hanna took up auto racing again, and never lost a race in the "A" Sports Racing category. He set a single lap speed record at Portland International Raceway that stood for several years.     On June 10, 1978, Hanna's love for racing took a tragic turn. During a practice lap for the Portland Rose Cup race at PIR, his 760 horsepower McLaren race car lost a tire, struck a tree and snapped in half. Hanna was critically injured and remained in a coma for 30 days. After extensive rehabilitation, he returned to his business ventures just a year later. Exactly 10 years after the accident, Hanna set a world record in a Lear Jet by climbing from 0 to 10,000 feet in 1 minute 13 seconds.

Hanna is survived by his wife of 50 years, Betty Simonis, four sons -- Daniel Jr., Mark, Kirk and Derek -- and five grandchildren. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, October 26, 3:00 p.m., at St. Mary's Cathedral, N.W. 18th and Davis Street. Contributions in his honor may be made at any Key Bank branch to the Daniel C. Hanna Memorial Fund.

NASCAR mind games NASCAR mind gamesThe mind games started way before Sunday.   With Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson tied for the lead in the Nextel Cup standings and just five races remaining, Johnson's crew chief decided to have some fun, talking over his radio about how Johnson's car was better and how he could beat Stewart. Stewart's crew heard what Chad Knaus said and was less than amused.  "I wouldn't do it to Jimmie," Stewart said, despite characterizing the remarks as similar to ones he made as a sprint-car racer, hoping to get in competitors' heads.  "It's like being inside a kindergarten room listening to it," Stewart said.  Johnson said he wasn't aware of what Knaus said but surmised that the comments were made more to inspire his team than to try to get Stewart off his game.  "Being positive and trying to pump the team, stuff gets said on the radio like we've got a better car or we've got those guys frustrated," he said.  "It's stuff that takes place all the time," he continued. ". . . it's your guys' job to twist it and turn it and find something to write about and have fun with it."  Later, Johnson asked -- and was told -- what Knaus was overheard saying.  "If we can run with them (in practice) and get them thinking about us or talking about us, I guess we're doing our job," Johnson said. Indy Star
New F1 qualifying format approved New F1 qualifying format approvedChanges to race qualifying were approved at an F1 Commission meeting in London today following criticism by teams and broadcasters of its current single-lap format, where cars run “alone against the clock.” Qualifying will now take part in three phases, “with five cars dropping out after a first 15-minute session and another five following a second stint.” The final ten cars will compete for pole position in a 20-minute finale “designed to maximize TV excitement” BBC SPORT
Star Mazda Champion to test with ALMS team Star Mazda Champion to test with ALMS teamB-K Motorsports' preparation for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is about to begin. Newly crowned Star Mazda Championship winner Raphael Matos has a test session scheduled with the team's Mazda-powered No. 8 Courage C65, his reward for winning the open-wheel season title.

The test will take place Wednesday at California's Buttonwillow Raceway between Los Angeles and San Jose. Should Matos' test go well, he would be considered for a spot at Sebring as B-K's third driver with Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo, the reigning ALMS Rookies of the Year and themselves former Star Mazda competitors. zzzz

At the ALMS' May stop in Mid-Ohio, Mazda North America, B-K Motorsports and Star Mazda announced the deal that would put the Star Mazda season champion in the Mazda-powered Courage for a test session. Matos clearly set himself apart from the rest of the Star Mazda Championship field with four victories and four poles on the season.

"When we announced this P2 testing opportunity for a top Star Mazda Championship driver back at Mid-Ohio, it meant a great deal for us as it is a direct tie-in with Formula Mazda and the ALMS for a special growth ladder within Mazda's motorsports effort," said John Doonan, manager of motorsports team development, Mazda North American Operations. "With Jamie and Guy, both former Formula Mazda Champions, receiving the 2005 ALMS Rookie of the Year awards, it just shows the quality of talent coming out of Star Mazda.
"Raphael had a terrific season in Star Mazda and we are pleased to give him the chance to test the car," Doonan added. "What a special opportunity for these young drivers...it goes right along with our philosophy of the Mazda racing traditions of the past and the promising future we have ahead of us."

B-K Motorsports' entry at Sebring will bring the team's ALMS venture back full circle. It was there in March that the team announced it was partnering with Mazda for the Japanese manufacturer's return to top-level sports car racing, having won the overall title at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991.

Bach and Cosmo posted their first LMP2 class victory at Mid-Ohio and also finished on the class podium eight times in 2005. They finished third in the ALMS LMP2 drivers championship, as did B-K in the team standings.
Schumacher tries MotoGP Schumacher tries MotoGPFollowing the trail blazed by MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi, Michael Schumacher switched disciplines on Monday, trading his Ferrari Formula 1 car for a grand prix motorcycle.

Schumacher spent the day testing a Ducati Desmosedici MotoGP bike at the Mugello circuit in Italy.

According to reports, he played himself in gently initially, lapping in the 2m40s range, before stepping up the pace and getting down to approximately 2m10s by the end of his run.

That compares to the pole position time of 1m49.223s at this year’s Italian MotoGP race, set by Rossi on his Yamaha.

“It was just for fun,” a Ferrari spokesman told Reuters. zzzz

Schumacher told the news agency that he found the experience hugely enjoyable.

“I’d been looking forward to this for a long time,” he said. “It was worth it, super fun.”

Ducati is based in Bologna, just down the road from the Ferrari factory at Maranello, and the two teams share the same title sponsor (Marlboro), tire company (Bridgestone) and fuel supplier (Shell).

It is understood Mugello was chosen as the venue for the test partly because, as one of Ferrari’s two private test tracks, it is a circuit Schumacher knows like the back of his hand.

The recent cross-pollination between MotoGP and F1 began when Rossi had his first test for Ferrari in the spring of 2004.

The Italian has tried the F1 car several times, impressing Ferrari enough that technical director Ross Brawn talked over the Italian GP weekend of signing him up to a testing contract.

Rossi, however, has been enigmatic over his future plans, stating only that he is interested in exploring “new challenges” once his current MotoGP contract runs out at the end of 2006. (itv-f1.com)

Pastorelli Gets Third Midland F1 Seat Pastorelli Gets Third Midland F1 SeatNicky Pastorelli is the first name confirmed on Midland F1’s inaugural driving lineup, the Russian-backed team formerly known as Jordan confirmed this Monday.

Dutchman Pastorelli, 22, was already involved with the operation as an occasional test driver for Jordan this season. He will perform Friday testing duties in '06.

"I am very happy to be given this great opportunity to drive for Midland in 2006 as the official test and Friday driver," Pastorelli stated. "During 2005, I have come to know and appreciate the team and I am delighted to be able to continue working with them in 2006.

"This also means that they were happy with the job I have done; so for me, this is very encouraging. I am really looking forward to 2006 and to doing my best for the team." More at SpeedTV
New proposed aerodynamics for Formula 1 New proposed aerodynamics for Formula 1UPDATE Added images of new wing below. 10/24/05  Formula One yesterday unveiled a car designed to revolutionize the sport in the name of entertainment. The sport’s ten teams will be handed designs today for a car that will overturn conventional thinking and wipe out plans now on the drawing boards in an effort to promote overtaking and bring excitement back to Formula One.

Engineers, using sophisticated computers and wind tunnels, are designing Formula One cars faster than ever but they are so aerodynamically efficient and fast that cars behind cannot get close enough to overtake, turning races into dull processions. Now the FIA, the governing body, has turned technology back on the teams by employing experts and a super-computer to design a new type of car that it claims will make overtaking easier without seriously affecting speeds. zzzz

The most radical part of the design is to abolish the conventional rear wing, which causes most of the problems. It is replaced by two separate wings that cause less turbulence behind the car, which will allow chasing drivers to get into the slipstream and catapult themselves ahead in the kind of spectacular overtaking maneuver that helped to forge Formula One’s reputation in years past. Out also will go the grooved, thin tires of today to be replaced by fat “slicks” — tires with no tread but which give incredible adhesion to the track.

There is likely to be a sharp intake of breath among the ten team principals when the designs are put in front of them later today at a hotel in London’s Park Lane. They have spent tens of millions of pounds on complex software programs, employed dozens of aerodynamicists and built huge wind tunnels, costing up to £20 million each, in the race to shave tenths of seconds off lap times. Now they face being handed designs that could force them to bin years of development and start all over again.

Formula One has been a battleground between the designers and the regulators with technology often racing ahead of the rules throughout the sport’s 55-year history. But the twin-wing car is the result of a long struggle to restrain the advance with a series of plans, first revealed to The Times in April 2004. Many of those plans are now in place but this is the final push by Max Mosley, the FIA president. He insists the teams will still be able to develop the new twin-wing design but gives warning that millions of fans around the world are demanding a sport that features overtaking on the track and not one that allows drivers to get ahead by artificial means, such as in pitstops.

That means radical action is needed now, although his timescale of having the new design ready as early as 2007, and certainly by 2008, could frighten the more entrenched teams.

“This new research is important for the future of Formula One,” Mosley said last night. “By introducing the new wing we can give motorsport fans exactly what they have asked for — wheel-to-wheel racing with much more overtaking. It is our hope that the teams will collaborate with us in the optimization of this radical new idea, so that the aerodynamic benefits can be introduced into Formula One in 2007 rather than having to wait.”  More at The Times

Stewart not at all pleased with ’idiot’ Biffle Stewart not at all pleased with ’idiot’ BiffleTony Stewart wasn't at all happy with the way Greg Biffle, who was fighting to stay on the lead lap, raced him near the end of Sunday's Subway 400.  "He's an idiot," Stewart said. "I don't really understand why he held up Jimmie (Johnson) first and then held me up.  It's no wonder that Kevin Harvick has wanted to kill him so many times. "They name streets after guys like that - 'One Way' and 'Dead End.' I like him, I've played poker with him and all. But if he walked over here right now I think I'd have to strangle him." ThatsRacin
Tribe sets sights on a casino at proposed NASCAR track Tribe sets sights on a casino at proposed NASCAR trackThe Skokomish Tribe wants to build a new casino on or near a proposed NASCAR raceway in Kitsap County, according to a letter sent this week to Gov. Christine Gregoire. Tribal council leaders want to offer gaming at several off-reservation sites, including the proposed 81,500-seat racetrack south of the Bremerton National Airport, according to the letter dated Thursday.

The tribe already operates the Lucky Dog Casino on its reservation near Shelton. It's also pursuing increased betting limits, longer operating hours and more gambling activities.

International Speedway Corp., based in Daytona, Fla., is proposing the new $300 million track and has already talked with the Skokomish and Squaxin Island tribes about the raceway, company officials said.

"We understand their goals," ISC Vice President Grant Lynch said Friday. "We think they'd be a good neighbor."

He later added, "If it's something on Washington's radar, and it's something the citizens of Washington and Kitsap County want, we would be fine with it."

ISC hasn't submitted a formal proposal for the speedway, and local officials on Friday said they were unaware of such discussions between the company and the tribe until questioned about the issue.

"I am stunned," said Chris Endresen, chairwoman of the Kitsap County Commission. "I am not a fan of gambling. I'm a supporter of Native American treaty rights, but I don't think I would support off-reservation gaming."

The tribe's letter comes roughly two weeks after the state and Spokane Tribe of Indians negotiated a tentative gaming compact that would provide for revenue-sharing with the state - a first in Washington. It would allow the Spokane Tribe to pursue plans for a casino on trust land near a Spokane suburb, as well as remove betting limits at some of their card tables and allow more than twice as many pseudo-slot machines and casinos as other tribes.

That agreement must have federal, state and county approval. But it could have an "adverse economic impact" on the Skokomish, Denese LaClair, the council's vice chairwoman, said in the letter to Gregoire.

A telephone message requesting further comment from Skokomish Tribe officials was not returned Friday.

For now, it's too soon to know if the tribe's proposal a casino near the raceway is viable, said Arlene Dennistoun, a spokeswoman and attorney with the state Gambling Commission.

"On the face of it, no, but we'd have to examine the language provided in the Skokomish's compact in addition to the Indian Gaming Act," Dennistoun said. (ThatsRacin.com)

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Rubens' last red blast
Max's latest radical plot
Toyota target 2006 win
Spain flocks to Alonso
Schu's still on it - DC
EJ spurns Kimi-Ferrari 'spin'
Kimi not 'bitter'
Champion trio ogle F1
Red Bull's next F1 rookie
Jo Siffert
Button's long winter
Four more years for Max
DC to race beyond 2006
Q and A with Mike Gascoyne Q and A with Mike GascoyneToyota's Mike Gascoyne says he is happy with the performance of both the teams drivers, Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher, this year and will be hoping they will improve further next year...

Q: Do you think Toyota's strong early season performance surprised people?

Mike Gascoyne: "We launched very much a roll-out specification car, very similar to last year's, which was commented on a lot. That was deliberate because we knew we had a big new aero update for the Australian GP. We knew we had a lot of performance coming. Pre-season testing was pleasing apart from one difficult test at Barcelona, which had been resurfaced. Given the fuel loads we had been carrying, I felt that we were okay."

"I said that we were aiming to be the second or third quickest car by the end of the season and it was trumpeted as an idiotic thing to say, but I was confident. The first race had wet qualifying and we were on the front row. Jarno had some tire drop-off issues but his first stint looked very competitive. Everyone treated that as a flash in the pan but we thought it showed the car's genuine pace. We were not surprised to do it on merit in Malaysia and Bahrain, and get a pair of second places. " (Planet-F1) zzzz

Q: How do you assess the way the year evolved?

MG: "We were three or four tenths behind Renault at the start of the season and flattered by McLaren under-performing early on. We had aero updates at every race at that stage of the season and development has been constant. We have lightened the car step-by-step. In the middle of the season we struggled with consistency at the rear end at a few races but with some developments on the car we improved and over the last five or six races were very consistent."

" I find this perception that we started well but didn't develop as well as other teams unfair. I think we have consistently been the third quickest car in a lot of races close to the end of the season. And we are probably the same 0.3-0.4s behind Renault that we were at the start. I don't see that we have dropped off."

Q: Why do you think you were unable to maintain the early momentum?

MG: "We definitely missed out on some results. Monaco was going to be very strong but then Ralf had his qualifying accident, which affected Jarno, who was next out. I think we would certainly have had a podium there. At Nürburgring, Jarno would have been on the podium but we couldn't get the car started in time, and in Canada he was in a podium position when he had a brake failure. In Hungary we were third and fourth and were competitive again in the wet at Spa but made an incorrect strategy call."

"I am reasonably happy but I do rue the missed opportunities because they, combined with Indy, mean we did not finish third in the championship, which I would have been very happy with. But overall you have to say we are the most improved team, we have done a good job and we are in a good position for next year given that we have been able to introduce the B car even before the end of the season."

Q: What is the thinking behind the TF105B's front suspension?

MG: "The TF105B does have a different front suspension and in the wind tunnel we saw quite a sizeable performance gain -- more than we expected. Mechanically, it is quite difficult to implement and I didn't want to risk trying to do it next January. If you have problems at that stage, it is too late to fix it before the season, so we decided we would implement it on the TF105. That involved some compromise but it was primarily meant as a test car. When you do everything the second time, you do a much better job because you discover all the problems first time. That was really the driving force to do it, with the proviso that we could probably take it to the last few races."

"There are some mechanical difficulties with this type of front suspension. You get the aerodynamic gain but you may be trading off some mechanical losses. We had a couple of problems at the first test but really it has proved to be a positive step, probably more than we expected. With the test break coming up it was sensible to race the car and learn from it."

Q: Have you been happy with the drivers' performance?

MG: "Yes. Ralf is very critical of himself in terms of qualifying performance but he's picked up a lot of points. Jarno has been fantastic in qualifying and in races where we've given him a consistent car. He really rues those missed podiums opportunities in Monaco, Nürburgring and Canada."

Q: You have worked with both before. Was their level what you expected?

MG: "They are both above what they were. Certainly Jarno is a better driver than when I worked with him before, and Ralf too, has matured. They have still both got the talent they had but they are more complete drivers."

Melandri rides to first victory in Istanbul Melandri rides to first victory in IstanbulMarco Melandri today scored his maiden MotoGP victory, as he took first place in the Grand Prix of Turkey, held at Istanbul Park Circuit. 2005 champion Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden completed the podium. "It was an incredible day to cap a great weekend. I can't describe my happiness. I have not won since Valencia in 2002 (in the 250cc class), and since then I've had a difficult couple of years due to injury and misfortune. This win in the MotoGP class feels different to winning in the 250s", commented the winner.

The former 250cc world champion was a major candidate for the win. The Italian rider had dominated all the practice sessions and was very close to the pole position yesterday. "I liked this track from the first moment I tried it and the team did a great job. After dominating the free sessions I knew I could have a good race, but it's not always that easy", Melandri said.

Melandri showed a strong pace from the beginning taking the lead from his teammate in the Movistar Honda, Sete Gibernau. The Spaniard would later re-take first place until he ran wide on the track losing places in the classification. "I went off after a mistake; I went into a corner too quickly and tried to brake but couldn't", would explain latter Gibernau. From that point on, Melandri jumped to the lead, a position he would hold until the chequered flag, despite the pressure of Rossi and Hayden during the rest of the race. zzzz

"When I found myself on my own at the front and I just concentrated on maintaining my rhythm. I want to enjoy this moment and thank Fausto for the confidence he has shown in me, Fabrizio Cecchini, my chief mechanic and everyone at Honda and Michelin", Melandri mentioned.

Melandri made his debut in MotoGP at the Japan GP in 2003 riding a Yamaha. Last season he reached the podium two times for third and the move to Honda in 2005 has allowed him to confirm all the potential shown during his days in 250cc, where he took the championship in 2002.

With the result, the Italian now has nine points over Hayden in the battle for the sub-championship.

Newly-crowned champion Rossi again placed his Gauloises Yamaha on the podium for the 15th time this season after 16 races with just one event remaining on the 2005 calendar.

The Italian had a bad start from fifth place losing a couple of places in the first move, yet he is the champion for a reason. Rossi had to fight all race with the setup problems in his Yamaha.

"On Friday and Saturday we struggled to find a good setting for the bike; yesterday morning I felt like I wanted to go home! It wasn't until qualifying practice yesterday afternoon that we began to understand what the problem was", Rossi said, while he added: "We made some more steps forward in the warm-up this morning and went in a slightly different direction with the setting, which in the end wasn't so bad".

The five-time MotoGP champion recovered from his bad start to reach second place on lap eight behind Melandri. From that moment, Rossi wasn't able to put on a strong attack on his countryman.

"Unfortunately I made a big mistake at the start and conceded a couple of seconds to the leader, which proved to be a big gap to make up. Melandri was very fast throughout the race and in certain points of the track I knew he was faster than me, so it would have been very hard to pass him", explained Rossi.

Today's second place made it a total of 80 podiums for Rossi during his MotoGP career. Rossi will have one last chance in the final round to match Mike Doohan's record of 12 victories in one season.

Hayden completed the podium on his Honda RC211V for the Repsol Honda team. Third place seemed to be all the North American rider could accomplished in Istanbul from when the field received the green lights.

"That's the first time in MotoGP I've had three consecutive podiums so that's definitely a step forward but to be honest I haven't really had the pace all weekend. In the race I came through much faster than we'd managed during the practice days and for that I'm happy", Hayden stated.

The 24 year-old driver managed to keep third place in the start behind both Movistar Honda riders. When Gibernau lost the lead, Hayden was able to take second until Rossi left him on final step of the podium.

Hayden has now only one shot to take the sub-championship -- at the season closure in Valencia. The nine points adrift of Melandri makes it a not easy goal to accomplish.

"I'm disappointed for the points situation. With Marco having such a great ride - congratulations to him, he definitely deserves it - we now have a little gap to second place," commented Hayden who then dedicated his podium finish to a friend.

"I want to dedicate this podium to a very special friend of mine back home. We all recently found out he's been taken ill and wish him all our best. He's had a huge influence in my career I wouldn't be where I am today without him. Our thoughts are with him", he expressed.

Top six places were completed by Gibernau, Carlos Checa, and Toni Elias who his had best final result in MotoGP riding the Fortuna Yamaha.

In two weeks, the Continental Circus will return to Europe for the final round of the season to be hold on the Comunitat Valenciana Circuit, located in Valencia, Spain, on November 6th. (Motorsport.com)

Formula 1 future depends on vote Formula 1 future depends on voteThe short-term future of Grand Prix racing will be put to a vote on Monday when the Formula 1 commission meets to discuss radical regulation changes for the 2006 season.

A brand new qualifying format and the re-introduction of tire changes during races are top of the agenda for the long awaited meeting between the sport’s biggest names, which will take place in central London.

Max Mosley, the president of the sport’s governing body, the FIA, and F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone will meet with the team bosses as well as the representatives of the key sponsors and promoters.

They have been debating on how to dispose of the unpopular single-lap qualifying and are finally set to make a recommendation to be put to the ultimate decision makers, the FIA World Council on Wednesday. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “As far as Red Bull is concerned qualifying at the moment does not really work for the fans, there is limited interest. (The Telegraph) zzzz

“I think it is important that the spectacle is improved but we will wait and see the latest proposals. A knockout format could be interesting but I honestly don’t know if it will go through.”

The proposed knockout format for qualifying will see five cars knocked out after 15 minutes then another five out after a second 15-minute session before the remaining cars battle for the top grid spots.

The sticking point has been over the use of race fuel in qualifying, which was introduced with the single-lap format in 2003 and has proved a successful way of mixing up the grid and making races more exciting.

Some team chiefs want to make qualifying more eventful but none want it to be the detriment of racing and the latest solution is to run light cars in the two knock-out stages then fuel the remaining cars up for the final runs.

Some opposition to the re-introduction of tire regulations is expected, a plan that was revealed when the FIA released their provisional 2006 regulations in Brazil in early October.

But Horner added: “There are pros and cons to a return to tire changing and it is intrinsically linked with qualifying so we will have to see what happens in that area first.”

The teams will also debate banning spare cars and the use of third cars in Friday practice.

Mosley met the team chiefs at the season-ending Chinese GP last weekend and was confident their discussions were heading in the right direction.

At the Shanghai circuit Mosley said: “From our point of view I don’t see difficulties in the future, I think it is all going to end up quite peaceful. There is a lot of progress being made.

“At the moment I think there are even more proposals for qualifying than there are teams so I have no idea what is going to come out of that, I just hope it is not too complicated.”

Grand Prix Masters
Mansell too fat for Masters? Mansell too fat for Masters?Former World Champion Nigel Mansell fears his weight may be against him when the upcoming Grand Prix Masters series kicks off in South Africa next month!

Mansell, who also won the US CART Championship in 1993, is concentrating on his fitness in order to compete against fellow ex-Champions Alain Prost, Emerson Fittipaldi and Alan Jones who are also due to race in the new series.

Grand Prix Masters is open to drivers over the age of 45, and will see the former stars compete against each other in identical cars bereft of 'driver aids' in a series that begins at Kyalami and is due to take in several further races next year.

"The cars are tough to drive so I am working really hard on my fitness. My plan is to get within seven or eight pounds of the weight I was when I won my titles."

Also signed up for the series are, among others, seasoned campaigners Rene Arnoux and Riccardo Patrese. (F1 Central)
Bill Davis Racing beats Dodge in Court again Bill Davis Racing beats Dodge in Court againBill Davis Racing has won another round in court against Dodge, which sued BDR over its building of Toyota Trucks and giving info to them. A judge rejected Dodge's request that the judge reconsider his July ruling that BDR didn't violate terms of their agreement by building trucks in 2003. The only matter to be disputed is if BDR gave confidential information to Toyota and is scheduled to go to trial in December at Michigan. NASCAR Scene Magazine
A1 Grand Prix
Premat doubles up in Portugal Premat doubles up in PortugalFrance were again ready for the start, this time from a standing position and made no mistake by being on the inside for corner one and coming out ahead of Portugal and the Czech Republic. However, behind them sitting on the grid, they had left the Netherlands, Brazil and Russia. This brought out the first safety car period while the cars were pushed off the grid and into the pit lane. The safety car stayed out for just the one lap and as it peeled off at the end of lap two was instantly followed by 10 of the competitors who chose to do their mandatory pit stop for tires at this point. Again it was France leading the way, followed by Portugal and the Czech Republic.

Italy had made a storming start from eleventh on the grid but unfortunately it was too good to last as they were subsequently given a drive through penalty which lost them their fourth place. Indonesia was having a great race and on lap 13 managed to overtake both Great Britain and South Africa, unfortunately it was a short-lived advantage as the car immediately spun off and retired.

For A1 Team Mexico, the race came to an end on lap 10 when Canada ran into the back of their car which was seen by the millions of viewers worldwide via the on- board cameras. The safety car was deployed again to remove the stricken Mexican car, which was in turn one, and during this time the Portuguese car stalled during a pit stop and lost second place. The safety car lasted until the end of lap 16 and during this period, the South African car pulled off the track with a broken rear suspension, which had happened after contact with another car on the very first corner of the race. zzzz

France made another great start when the safety car pulled off to keep the lead, however the safety car was soon out again as in a move that was described by A1 Team Netherlands' driver as 'over ambitious' the car speared into that of A1 Team Germany and they both retired on the spot.

The safety car was brought in at the end of lap 20 and again it was the car carrying the French Tricolore that led into the first corner, followed by Switzerland and Ireland who went on to take their first podium of the season. A1 Team Czech Republic moved up but fourth place was not destined to be theirs as a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane dropped them down to an eventual ninth place.

It was obvious that Alvaro Parente wanted to do well in front of his home crowd and after an exciting battle with first A1 Team Italy and then A1 Team Australia, he moved up to fifth place. Due to the amount of time spent under the safety car, the race ran for its full hour and at that point, France was seven seconds in the lead and scored its fourth win out of the six A1 Grand Prix races to date and bought its points tally at the head of the series to 50 with Brazil second on 42 and Switzerland third on 34.

A1 Team Driver Time
1 France Alexandre Premat
2 Switzerland Neel Jani
3 Ireland Ralph Firman
4 USA Scott Speed
5 Portugal Alvaro Parente
6 Australia Will Davison
7 Italy Enrico Toccacelo
8 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr.
9 Czech Republic Tomas Enge
10 Austria Mathias Lauda
11 Lebanon Basil Shabaan
12 GB Robbie Kerr
13 India Armaan Ebrahim
14 China Tengyi Jiang
15 Pakistan Adam Khan
16 New Zealand Matt Halliday 35 laps
17 Russia Mikhail Aleshin 35 laps
18 Canada Sean McIntosh 20 laps
19 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 18 laps
20 Germany Adrian Sutil 17 laps
21 Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy 15 laps
22 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 14 laps
23 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 3 laps
24 Mexico Salvador Duran 2 laps

The fastest lap of the Feature race was recorded by A1 Team France on the twenty- third lap with a time of 1.31.106. Commenting on his performance, driver Alexandre Premat said: 'The race was great, I had another good start - although the re-starts varied, some were good and some were bad, it was hard to keep Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet behind me. The car was great to drive again, I did the fastest laps and we are leading the series. I wish Nicolas Lapierre good luck for the next race.'

Second place finisher, A1 Team Switzerland's Neel Jani said: 'I had a good start, but nearly got pushed into the wall and had to be careful not to crash. I suffered from oversteer in the beginning of the race but after the pit stop the car got better. I nearly took first place during a re-start - but again nearly got pushed into the wall and was lucky not to crash. I'm looking forward to winning a race, we seem to be getting better and better every race, we are definitely progressing.' Recording Ireland's best race position, Ralph Firman said: 'It has been a good weekend, despite having problems with the gearbox in Qualifying and I lost my front wing in the Sprint race. I went off the track trying to get past Canada, and thought my race was over, but I managed to get back on track and had a great pit stop which really helped a lot. I overtook Scott Speed during one of the re- starts, which was fantastic. The luck of the Irish seems to be working. I won't be driving in Australia, but I'm really looking forward to getting in the car in Malaysia.'

A1 Team Series Points
1 France 50
2 Brazil 42
3 Switzerland 34
4 New Zealand 29
5 Australia 21
6 Canada 18
7 Ireland 16
8 Mexico 16
9 Great Britain 15
10 Netherlands 15
11 Malaysia 14
12 Portugal 14
13 Czech Republic 8
14 Germany 8
15 USA 7
16 Japan 6
17 South Africa 6
18 Indonesia 4
19 Pakistan 4
20 Italy 4
21 Austria 1

German DTM
Paffett closes in on German title Paffett closes in on German titleAccording to this BBC article Gary Paffett took another step towards becoming the first Briton to win the German DTM Championship when he secured sixth spot in qualifying in Hockenheim.  Paffett needs just a single point to secure the title and kept out of trouble on the slippery surface.

His only title rival is Audi's reigning champion Mattias Ekstrom, who needs to win to stand any chance, but he qualified in a distant 15th place.

Scot Allan McNish had a disappointing final session and he finished in 16th.

Gibernau tops Turkish qualifying Gibernau tops Turkish qualifyingSete Gibernau has picked up his fourth pole position of the season after edging out team-mate Marco Melandri ahead of the first Turkish Grand Prix.  Despite three previous poles, the Spaniard has yet to pick up a win.

His time of one minute 52.334 seconds was 0.129 secs quicker than his team-mate, who helped boost his chances of finishing second in the title race.

Melandri faces a three-way fight for the runners-up spot with Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards.

World champion Valentino Rossi struggled to adapt to the Istanbul Otodrom circuit and will line up for Sunday's race in fourth, one place ahead of team-mate Edwards.

Toni Elias clocked a stunning late lap on his Fortuna Yamaha to claim the best qualifying position of his MotoGP career with sixth place.

Max Biaggi's problems at Repsol Honda continued with only the 12th fastest qualifying time.

Britain's James Ellison will start the race 18th on his Blata WCM. (BBC)

Suzuki Drop Former Champ Roberts Suzuki Drop Former Champ RobertsAccording to this BBC article former world champion Kenny Roberts has been dropped by Suzuki for next season, casting doubts over his MotoGP future. Roberts, who won the title in 2000, has struggled with his form since - only finishing in the top 10 once since that championship victory.

He could find himself on the sidelines next season with no obvious drives.

Roberts is currently 12th in the world championship standings, thanks mainly to his second-place finish at the British Grand Prix at Donington Park.

"I could easily sit here and talk for hours about all the great times I have had with Suzuki," he said. "They have always been honest and have given me their best.

"I will of course miss many people. Over the years I have made many friends here at Suzuki, from the engineering level, to the management and of course within the team. zzzz

"I am eternally grateful for what Suzuki has done for me. They have given me the chance to win a world championship and I wish them the best. I know they can achieve whatever they wish to do."

Team boss Paul Denning insisted the team had made the decision because "it must look to the future".

"We need to place Suzuki back at the forefront of grand prix racing and we must take a fresh and new approach in order to achieve that," said Denning.

A1 Grand Prix
A1 Grand Prix Of Nations Sprint Race Results A1 Grand Prix Of Nations Sprint Race ResultsFrom the moment the cars crossed the start line it was a three way rush to the first corner with France on the inside, Brazil in the middle and Switzerland on the outside. France won this race and the one that saw Alexandre Premat's car take the checkered flag 18 laps later.

A1 Team France's Alexandre Premat said: 'It was a very good race, I used the PowerBoost quite a lot. In the first corner I passed Nelson, I went up the inside and braked very late, and the car was great. I hope to do just as well in the second race. The PowerBoost button is really good. If you are close to the car in front, it helps you overtake. It's a great idea. I hope to win both races today, as Nelson did at Brands Hatch and Nicolas did at EuroSpeedway.'

It was a very short-lived race for Australia, Mexico and Pakistan as in the second turn an accident saw all three cars retire after going off into the gravel trap. While France was never challenged, there were some fine battles going on further down the field. Germany was the target for Great Britain with the two battling for position. This battle came to an end when the Irish car clipped the rear of Great Britain and forced Robbie Kerr to pull off with a right-rear puncture. A1 Team Ireland was then forced to pit for over a minute for a new front wing so was out of contention for series points. However, A1 Team Germany's Adrian Sutil, in his first race of the Series was not allowed any breathing space as 'We the People' representing the USA was soon on his tail and making every effort to overtake. Despite them swapping places at one point, it was the German car that crossed the line to claim twelfth spot. zzzz

Another driver having his first A1 Grand Prix race, Basil Shaaban for A1 Team Lebanon had a great tussle with A1 Team Austria in the closing laps but lost out and finished eighteenth.

A1 Team Netherlands had their best finish to date as Jos Verstappen managed to take two positions going into the first corner and this gave the usual large contingent of Dutch fans something to shout about.

A1 Team Driver Time
 1 France Alexandre 27.46.488
 2 Brazil Nelson Piquet 27.48.543
 3 Switzerland Neel Jani 27.49.777
 4 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 27.59.973
 5 Czech Tomas Enge 28.00.416
 6 Portugal Alvaro Parente 28.05.149
 7 Canada Sean McIntosh 28.07.785
 8 Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy 28.18.641
 9 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 28.23.855
10 South Tomas 28.26.210
Africa Scheckter
11 Italy Enrico 28.26.581
12 Germany Adrian Sutil 28.28.314
13 USA Scott Speed 28.28.403
14 New Zealand Matt Halliday 28.29.666
15 Russia Mikhail 28.38.156
16 Austria Mathias Lauda 28.53.215
17 India Armaan Ebrahim 28.55.302
18 Lebanon Basil Shaaban 29.02.610
19 Ireland Ralph Firman 17 laps
20 Great Robbie Kerr 5 laps
21 China Tengyi Jiang 1 lap
22 Australia Will Davison 0 laps
23 Mexico Salvador Duran 0 laps
24 Pakistan Adam Khan 0 laps

Q and A with Jarno Trulli Q and A with Jarno TrulliJarno Trulli finished his first full season in seventh position in the championship. The season started very well with three podium positions in the first five races but the end of the season was a disappointment for the Italian who did not score in the final four rounds.

How would you assess your first season with Toyota?
"I'd give myself eight or nine out of ten. I think I raced well and qualified very well and always did my maximum out of the car as well."

What would it take to get a maximum score?
"The last part of the season was not so good and I had a few problems mid-season when I lost at least three or four potential podiums. If I had achieved those podiums I think I could probably mark myself at 9.9. It's only 10 if you win the championship!"

Have you been positively surprised by Toyota this season?
"Moving to this team is the best thing I have done in my life. I found new people with a lot of commitment, very hard working and really passionate about the sport. I could never have expected such a high profile from this team and such good performance in general from the car and such good attitude. Starting the season so well I thought that if we were able to use all our potential we were going to blow everybody away, but unfortunately experience plays an important role in Formula 1. The resources are there but we are still a young team and we have to learn to use them properly. By mid season other teams had caught us up. It was a difficult end of the season, I’d say, but nevertheless I was always fighting to qualify in the top five positions. That was extremely good and I could never have dreamed of doing that at the beginning of the season." zzzz

What were the biggest issues to overcome?
"There were no big problems to be honest. The team was new and we settled down quite quickly together. The car was okay and the main problem was bad luck in several races. Spa was a big disappointment, then in Canada with just seven laps to go I had the brake problem when the podium was there for the taking, at Nürburgring I could have fought for a win if we hadn't had the problem starting the car, and at Monaco I think I could have been on the podium as well."

What would you say was your best race this year?
"It's difficult. Obviously when you get on the podium it is a good race but I've done so many good races this year that it's hard to pick out the best. At Barcelona I had a very good race, at Spa I was going very, very well, and then there was Malaysia and Bahrain. Nurburgring and Canada would have been good. The problem is that the result is important for the people but as a driver you have to analyze the race. The result is just a number."

Where can Toyota improve? Is it just experience?
"I think with research and development the team has been good but you can always be harder working and quicker reacting. On the aerodynamics we can be better too. It's important that reaction rates throughout the season get quicker and quicker because although it's important to build a good car at the beginning, it's also important to maintain strong development throughout the year if you want to win the championship."

After Japan though, didn't you praise the new parts in time for China?
"Absolutely. That's what's great and I really appreciate that. It makes a driver feel good when the team listens to him and reacts in just two days. They couldn't have done more than they did and that's the mentality that I want and appreciate."

Why are you so fast in qualifying – is it instinctive feel for grip levels?
"I don't actually know! I think the car itself is extremely quick in qualifying. But I think in qualifying I can sometimes produce a bit more than the others because I am better able to use the new tires. It is just small things and perhaps only drivers who are as sensitive as I am to the car can find those limits. I feel normal when I drive, I don't feel I am doing anything different, but it looks like I am a little better." Toyota
Q and A with Ralf Schumacher Q and A with Ralf SchumacherIn complete contrast to team-mate Jarno Trulli, Ralf Schumacher's season picked up momentum with each race with both of his podiums coming in the second half of the season. Schumacher would pip Trulli to sixth position in the standings at the final race of the season.

Looking back at the season, have you been positively surprised?
"I must say that the results have been really good but unfortunately we haven't been where we wanted to be performance-wise in the last three races. Apart from that it has been a very successful season."

What have been your high and low points of the season?
"There have been only highs really. Podiums in Budapest and then Shanghai were great, as was taking pole position at Suzuka. But I suppose you could say that it was also a low point starting from pole and then not finishing better than eighth, but there wasn't much I could do about that. It was an aggressive three-stop strategy that helped us get pole but then the Safety Car meant that I couldn't capitalize on it. There was the qualifying crash at Monaco as well, but you can't really call it a low point when you start last and finish sixth!"

Is it fair to say that you prefer a car with a more positive front end than the original TF105 possessed?
"Yes. That has always been the case with me. Some drivers prefer understeer while others, like me, prefer an oversteery car. The change to the front suspension on the TF105B is a good first step in the right direction, but we know there is still work to do."

What has most impressed you about Toyota this year?
"The team itself. I came from Williams, a very experienced team, to one where I thought there might still be work to do, but I arrived at a team that is a lot better organized than I have experienced before. They are very motivated people, with a great spirit. People on the outside say that the team looks too big to react quickly but it is structured very well and there is such a hunger to do well that it is very enjoyable place to work."

If you were to be critical, where can the team still improve?
"If you are being very critical there are perhaps some races where we might have done better with different strategies, but having said that, we had some perfect races as well, so it's an ever-evolving learning process. Not just for us, but for every team. And then our aerodynamic performance was not as good as it could be. But when you look at last year that couldn't really be expected. The step that the team made from last year to this was really incredible and highly commendable."

What's a realistic target for you in 2006?
"We're looking to win some races. That's what our target should be and let's hope it's a realistic one!" Toyota
From worst to first From worst to firstDespite a qualifying crash that sent him to the rear of the starting grid, Clint Bowyer raced through the field and dominated the Sam's Town 250 Busch Series race at Memphis on Saturday. Points leader Martin Truex Jr. was third in a race that featured 15 cautions.
NASCAR releases 2006 Busch schedule NASCAR releases 2006 Busch scheduleNASCAR released its 2006 Busch Series schedule on Saturday and, as expected, Martinsville Speedway replaces Pikes Peak's date. The Busch Series will also return to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico for the second consecutive year on March 5.

2006 NASCAR Busch Series schedule zzzz

• Feb. 18: Daytona International Speedway
• Feb. 25: California Speedway
• March 5: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
• March 11: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
• March 18: Atlanta Motor Speedway
• March 25: Bristol Motor Speedway
• April 8: Texas Motor Speedway
• April 15: Nashville Superspeedway
• April 21: Phoenix International Raceway
• April 29: Talladega Superspeedway
• May 5: Richmond International Raceway
• May 12: Darlington Raceway
• May 27: Lowe's Motor Speedway
• June 3: Dover International Speedway
• June 10: Nashville Superspeedway
• June 17: Kentucky Speedway
• June 24: Milwaukee Mile
• June 30: Daytona International Speedway
• July 8: Chicagoland Speedway
• July 15: New Hampshire International Speedway
• July 22: Martinsville Speedway
• July 29: Gateway International Raceway
• Aug. 5: Indianapolis Raceway Park
• Aug. 12: Watkins Glen International
• Aug. 19: Michigan International Speedway
• Aug. 25: Bristol Motor Speedway
• Sept. 2: California Speedway
• Sept. 8 Richmond International Raceway
• Sept. 23: Dover International Speedway
• Sept. 30: Kansas Speedway
• Oct. 13: Lowe's Motor Speedway
• Oct. 28: Memphis Motorsports Park
• Nov. 4: Texas Motor Speedway
• Nov. 11: Phoenix International Raceway
• Nov. 18: Homestead-Miami Speedway

Surfers Paradise postscript Surfers Paradise postscriptSebastien Bourdais is the third driver in the last four years to clinch the series title with a victory, and is the first driver to clinch the championship with a victory at Surfers Paradise. He has a streak of nine consecutive top-five finishers that he will carry to Mexico City.

Today’s event attendance of 105,297 brings the final Lexmark Indy 300 attendance to 316,459 – a new record for the Surfers Paradise event.

Paul Tracy led 19 laps today, bringing his season total to a series-leading 512. This marks the fourth season that Tracy has led as many as 500 laps in a season.

Bourdais again finished every lap of the event and has failed to complete just one of the year’s 1,240 laps.

France takes a commanding lead in the Nation’s Cup standings with today’s performance, carrying a 32-point lead over Canada to the season finale. France will be looking to seal its first victory in the 10 years of Nation’s Cup competition.

Bourdais became the 15th driver to win consecutive Champ Car titles with today’s win. Ted Horn (1946-48) is the only driver to win three consecutive Champ Car crowns.

Harder Bridgestone tires faster Harder Bridgestone tires fasterBridgestone's Al Speyer told AutoRacing1.com that the compound Bridgestone brought to Surfers Paradise was slightly harder than last year, but the cars were faster because they hit the sweet spot for the track surface. 

“Our congratulations go to Sebastien and the Newman/Haas team for once again showing just how incredibly talented they all are. It’s difficult enough to win one championship, much less two in a row, so we applaud their effort. Bridgestone brought a new tire to Australia this year and it performed quite well. The tires were so consistent and lasted so long that Sebastien ran the race’s fastest lap on a set with some 50 miles on them, and that lap was a full half-second quicker than the pole-winning time Saturday. Alex Tagliani put more than 80 miles on his final set of Potenzas and he was still able to push hard to take fourth place. All in all, it was another memorable weekend in Surfers Paradise.”

Glock wraps up Rookie-of-Year title Glock wraps up Rookie-of-Year titleWith two events left on the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule, rookie Timo Glock had the chance to wrap up the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year this afternoon, and did so with a sixth place finish as his new teammate, Michael McDowell, made his Champ Car debut finishing successfully in the twelfth spot.

Earning 19 championship points, Glock was able to clinch the 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year title, despite one race left in the season. The total amount of points that one driver could possibly earn during a race weekend is 35, so Glock had to be 35 points ahead of Ronnie Bremer in order to clinch the title. He leaves Australia 43 points ahead of Bremer, and will go down in Champ Car history as the 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year.

Surfers attendance spikes upward Surfers attendance spikes upwardUPDATE #5 Sunday's official attendance was announced as 105,297 for a record event total of 316,459. 10/22/05 The announced attendance in Surfers Paradise Saturday was 90,265 (a record for Saturday), up 4,525 from the 2004 figure.  The overall attendance is up 8,900 over 2004.  This brings the three-day total of 211,162. The total attendance record for a Surfers Paradise event can be broken with a race-day crowd of 98,421 on Sunday.. Mark C. 10/21/05 Despite the rain, the suites (right) were packed on Friday and crowds of people were everywhere.  Saturday morning has dawned bright and sunny and another record crowd is anticipated. 10/21/05 Friday's attendance was announced as a record crowd of 64,111, up from 62,943 last year, this despite the rain. 10/20/05 Thursday attendance was announced as 56,786, up 3,208 from 2004 when 53,578 attended on Thursday.  The 2005 figure is a record attendance, this despite the all-day rain. Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager James O’Brien:  A record first day crowd, exciting racing, well-attended off track events and plenty of on track entertainment has set a great platform for the Lexmark Indy 300 for the next three days. Despite a bit of much-needed rain for Queensland this afternoon, patrons including the thousands of students in attendance enjoyed the bumper-to-bumper racing in the support categories, and the new Speed Comparison initiative which provided a great spectacle on the track. There is already plenty of green and gold support right around the circuit, and the inclusion of three Team Australia Champ Cars, a Team Australia Aussie Racing Car and Team Australia V8 Ute is generating a new wave of support for the Event. The Official Off Track events held this week have also received overwhelming support from fans. These have really transformed the Gold Coast into a carnival creating plenty of Indy Fever.” Mark C. 10/20/05 Despite an all-day rain in Surfers Paradise on Thursday there were fans everywhere watching some of the support series practice. Aussies know how to party and they love their racing. There appeared to be well over 40,000 at the track Thursday and we will have the official attendance figures shortly. The garages shown to the right and the suites above are all temporary structures. What used to take 192 days to set up, the track setup and dismantling is now done in just over 90 days total. A monumental job considering the huge number of structures erected for the event. So high are the costs that the Queensland government invests $11 million in the event each year, but gets back over $50 million just in sales tax revenues alone. Not a bad return on their investment. Mark C.
Del Monte finds a bit of speed Del Monte finds a bit of speedMorning warm-ups have just concluded in Surfers Paradise and Italian rookie Fabrizio Del Monte ended up 12th fastest at 1:35.827, 1/2 second faster that his qualifying time which saw him last on the grid at 1:36.268.
German DTM
Green takes his second DTM pole Green takes his second DTM poleThe showdown in the battle for the 2005 DTM title is on. In front of crowded grandstands, the 20 DTM drivers contested the 2005 season’s final fight for the grid positions, with Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green turning out to be the most successful man. On the drying track, the Briton set the fastest lap time of the ten drivers that were the fastest in the qualifying session, thus qualifying for the single-lap shoot-out. By lapping the 4.574-kilometre Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg in 1:45.294 minutes the 23-year old defeated all his rivals and secured pole position.

“The lap wasn’t perfect but good enough to gain pole,” beamed Green who was delighted to have taken his second pole position of the season. Denmark’s Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt) was just 0.076 slower than the pole-sitter and will share the first row on the grid with Green, while Bernd Schneider, who won last year’s race at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, qualified third, in his AMG-Mercedes C-Class. zzzz

In the close battle for the championship between Sweden’s Audi driver Mattias Ekström and Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett, the Briton clearly improved his promising initial position regarding the championship. While reigning DTM Champion Ekström failed to qualify for the Super Pole, for the first time in 2005, and had to settle for 15th grid position for the 37-lap race (169,238 kilometers) that will start tomorrow at 14:00hrs (ARD live coverage from 13:45hrs), Paffett, who holds a nine-point lead over Ekström, will be sixth on the grid for the season finale at the Hockenheimring.

For the third time this season, Heinz-Harald Frentzen was the best qualifier of the Opel drivers. In the Super Pole, the German took his Opel Vectra GTS V8 to fourth position on the grid, with Frank Stippler in his Audi A4 DTM qualifying fifth. Thanks to Marcel Fässler and Laurent Aiello taking eighth and tenth grid positions respectively, three Opels made it to the top ten.

Audi driver Martin Tomczyk (seventh) and Mika Häkkinen (ninth), the idol of the public, completed the top ten on the grid for the race on Sunday.

Jamie Green (Pole position, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes): “The lap wasn’t perfect but good enough to secure pole. During the course of the Super Pole, the track dried more and more, hence, I knew that the conditions were going to improve consistently. But I also benefited from Bernd Schneider’s mistake that helped me to take pole position.”

Tom Kristensen (2nd grid position, Audi Sport Team Abt): “This was a rather difficult qualifying session. I was too aggressive in turn one, hence, I went wide. I will be great to be on the first row on the grid for tomorrow's race, in front of the great Hockenheim crowds.”

Bernd Schneider (3rd grid position, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes): “My qualifying set-up was very good. I knew that it would be more difficult, on the drying track. My lap was quite alright until I entered the Motodrom, but unfortunately I made a mistake in the penultimate corner. Now I want to win tomorrow’s race.” DTM

Alonso honored in Spain Alonso honored in SpainNot content with winning the Formula One World Championship and helping Renault clinch the Constructors' title, Fernando Alonso has received the 2005 Prince of Asturias Award for Sports from H.R.H. Prince Philip of Spain.

"Fernando Alonso has combined his intelligence, bravery and work ethic without losing his head or his naturalness along the way," Prince Phillip stated.

The Prince also said that Alonso belonged to a generation of young Spanish sportsmen, "who are at the forefront of their respective sports, and are exercising a positive influence on the habits of our society."  The ceremony took place yesterday in Oviedo, Spain. PFA

Sunday weather in Surfers Sunday weather in SurfersThe day has dawned bright and sunny again Sunday morning in beautiful Surfers Paradise. Similar weather to Saturday is forecast but some clouds could roll in later in the day. There is a slight chance of precipitation.

The masses were partying hard last night in and around the circuit. The downtown area was a sea of people. Think of it as Long Beach but three times bigger and certainly more spectacular. The fly-bys in the USA are wimpy compared to in Australia where the F-111's come past a couple of hundred feet above the crowd and then dump fuel and take off like a rocket into the sky, a bright flame burning all the way up. At night it's really spectacular and you can feel the heat push you back on the ground as the ground shakes. And they maneuver between the downtown high-rise buildings while doing all this. The people in the high-rises are actually looking down on the jets. Never in America.

A1 Grand Prix
Piquet takes pole in Portugal Piquet takes pole in PortugalA1 Team Brazil has taken its second Sprint race podium of the A1 Grand Prix series with Nelson Piquet Jr recording the fastest aggregate time in qualifying despite spinning off in the first of the four sessions. In a reversal of fortunes for Switzerland and France, the two teams leapt to the top of the Sprint race grid after being placed at the very bottom of the time sheet in this morning's official practice session. 

A1 Team Brazil's Nelson Piquet Jr said (pictured right with team boss Emerson Fittipaldi.  Photo courtesy A1GP): 'We had to work very hard here as we were all struggling due to the bad weather. When we went out for Qualifying this was the first time we had been out on a hundred per cent dry track with new tires. On my first run I pushed and made a silly mistake. We then worked on the car and got it better and better and at the end I had to make sure I had a final safe lap. It is great to have done so well here in Portugal as we did not have a really good weekend in Germany, so we stepped back to see what we did wrong there so we could put it right here.'  zzzz

Recording the team's best-ever result in a Qualifying session, A1 Team Switzerland's Neel Jani said: 'We had a very good second run on the first set of new tires, but we had already had a good run in the first session on old tires. I was hoping to snatch pole but the final run was not perfect although good enough for second. I had a lot of traffic on my out laps but it was not so bad on my quick laps.' 

Switzerland's Team Principal, Max Welti said: I am very happy that Switzerland is part of this World Cup, the first real professional nations cup. I like the philosophy behind it and it's great that Switzerland from the start is actually able to be among the best.' 

A1 Team France's Alexandre Premat said: 'In the first qualifying I was quicker than the others, which was great. But after that the car was harder to drive as I had both understeer and oversteer. It was tough and on my final run I made two mistakes. We now have some work to do for the races as we need to sit down and look at our data to check what needs to be done for tomorrow.'  Due to A1 Team Austria failing to comply with the weighing procedure during Qualifying, their fastest lap time has been withdrawn and they will therefore drop one place on the grid from twenty-first to twenty-second place.

A1 Team Driver Aggregate Time
1 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr 3.01.316
2 Switzerland Neel Jani 3.01.830
3 France Alexandre Premat 3.02.550
4 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 3.02.948
5 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 3.03.210
6 Portugal Alvaro Parente 3.03.301
7 Canada Sean McIntosh 3.03.367
8 Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy 3.03.467
9 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 3.04.001
10 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 3.04.164
11 Germany Adrian Sutil 3.04.181
12 Mexico Salvador Duran 3.04.447
13 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 3.04.716
14 New Zealand Matt Halliday 3.04.909
15 USA Scott Speed 3.05.024
16 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 3.05.518
17 Russia Mikhail Aleshin 3.06.287
18 Ireland Ralph Firman 3.07.289
19 Australia Will Davison  3.07.327
20 China Tengyi Jiang 3.07.543
21 Austria Mathias Lauda 3.07.918
22 Pakistan Adam Khan 3.08.976
23 Lebanon Basil Shaaban 3.10.318
24 India Armaan Ebrahim 3.10.949

The Sprint race will be contested over 50 miles lasting up to 30 minutes in duration. With a rolling start at 13.30 BST, tomorrow’s race will be run over 18 laps at the Circuito Estoril near Lisbon, Portugal. The outcome of the race determines the grid position for the Feature race which will start at 15.00 BST with a standing start. The Feature race will be run over 100 miles (36 laps) lasting up to 60 minutes in duration.

F1's times are changing F1's times are changingThe future of the cash-troubled Belgian grand prix has descended into serious doubt -- and Spa-Francorchamps' most likely savior has indicated that it will not leap to the rescue.

''Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has stated ...that the current budgetary situation does not allow Luxembourg's authorities to participate financially in this event,'' a statement read.

Current race promoter 'Didier Defourney Grand Prix' is $18m in debt after the local Walloon government bailed it out for '05.  ''There could be other partners involved,'' a close source insisted.

In more promising news for the pinnacle of motor sport, the Spanish government might have joined the chase for F1's eleventh and twelfth slots in pitlane by helping to fund a 2008 debut for current GP2 team Racing Engineering.

Spanish companies Repsol and Telefonica are reportedly involved in the so-called 'Team Espana' project, buoyed by the success of local hero Fernando Alonso.

More immediately, however, F1's major players will meet in London on Monday for a rare 'F1 Commission', where qualifying and other rule changes are likely to be implemented for the 2006 season. On Wednesday, the draft 2006 GP calendar is due.

Then, an FIA general assembly in Rome next Friday is tipped to re-elect the unpopular but redoubtable Max Mosley as the governing body's president.

Fernando Alonso gets Spain’s Prince of Asturias prize Fernando Alonso gets Spain’s Prince of Asturias prizeFernando Alonso, the Formula One world champion, was one of eight people to receive this year's Prince of Asturias prize Friday from the heir to the Spanish crown.

Alonso, 24, is the youngest person ever to the receive one of the prestigious awards, which honor work in such areas as science, art, communications, literature, international co-operation, as well as sport.

The Formula One driver won the Prince of Asturias sports award for the "years of sacrifice," he has spent to reach the peak of his sport and become "an example for the world's youth," organizers said.

Alonso, who is also the youngest person to win the Formula One title and the first Spaniard to do so, was greeted by thousands of fans outside the Campoamor Theatre.

Previous sports award winners include American sprinter Carl Lewis, German tennis player Steffi Graf and Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj.

The prizes, announced throughout the year, include a check for 50,000 Euros ($134,000 Cdn) and a sculpture. canada.com
Martin forced to backup car Martin forced to backup carMark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, was involved in a practice accident and will be forced to a back-up for tomorrow's race. Martin, who qualified 35th, will have to drop all the way to the rear of the field.

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus - "I just got high to let the 09 go by me and then it just went straight coming off the corner like a right-front went down and then I hit the wall. Then when I hit the wall I broke a brake rotor and didn't have any brakes, so I couldn't get it stopped." NO INNER-LINERS AT THIS TRACK. WOULD THAT HAVE HELPED? "I might have been alright. I moved up into the second lane to let the 09 go by me and then when I stepped on the gas to come off the corner it just went straight. There wasn't anything I could do." YOU WERE ALREADY IN THE BACK. "Well, it's a few more spots. We're not off to a good weekend so far, but this team is gonna fight to the bitter end."
A1 Grand Prix
Enge leads practice 3 in Estoril Enge leads practice 3 in EstorilAfter 10mm of rain fell in 24 hours yesterday, A1 Grand Prix was preparing for another wet day on track. However, mid-morning the clouds parted and the Estoril track began to dry and 24 A1 Teams left the pits for the final official practice session in the third round of the World Cup of

A1 Team Czech Republic' Tomas Enge recorded the fastest lap of the session, and the fastest of the weekend so far with a time of 1.32.781 recorded just as the chequered flag fell.

 A1 Team Driver Time No. Laps
1 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 1.32.781 22
2 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr 1.33.414 17
3 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 1.33.477 17
4 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 1.33.627 17
5 Germany Adrian Sutil 1.33.792 17
6 USA Scott Speed 1.34.021 20
7 Portugal Alvaro Parente 1.34.075 14
8 Canada Sean McIntosh 1.34.191 20
9 Ireland Ralph Firman 1.34.739 24
10 Mexico Salvador Duran 1.34.786 22
11 Australia Will Davison 1.34.829 14
12 Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy 1.34.838 22
13 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 1.34.993 15
14 New Zealand Matt Halliday 1.35.345 24
15 Austria Mathias Lauda 1.35.498 25
16 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 1.35.811 19
17 Russia Mikhail Aleshin 1.36.008 17
18 Lebanon Basil Shaaban 1.36.487 27
19 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1.36.672 17
20 Pakistan Adam Khan 1.36.696 14
21 China Tengyi Jiang 1.38.742 22
22 India Armaan Ebrahim 1.39.878 21
23 Switzerland Neel Jani 1.49.812 10
24 France Alexandre Premat 1.50.114 8

Jeff Gordon slams NASCAR Jeff Gordon slams NASCARJeff Gordon says that NASCAR executives dropped the ball at Lowe's Motor Speedway by not keeping a closer eye on track promoter Humpy Wheeler, whose controversial 'levigation' track resurfacing over the summer led to last weekend's debacle.

"I can't understand how anybody can touch a track without NASCAR knowing about it or being able to provide input," Gordon said. "And it seems like only after we have major issues do we see them get involved.

"NASCAR needs to have experts (involved) who really know a lot about these tracks and these tires. NASCAR has to have somebody representing NASCAR in these things ... and Goodyear, and race teams too. The more we work together, the fewer issues we'll have."

Gordon said that NASCAR officials should occasionally hold "a real drivers meeting ... to let people talk, whether it be about safety or the rules.

"They did it once at Richmond, I thought it was one of the best things they ever did. It was about safety. But there are other concerns just as vital to this sport - competition, respect on the track, and issues with tracks."

Goodyear, in reaction to last weekend's tires, has scheduled a major test at Charlotte within the next two weeks to computer-baseline the track and right-front tire loads with more sophisticated equipment. The data will be used to help the company design new tires for that track's planned new asphalt for next May's race and all-star races.

NASCAR officials were upset with Goodyear for not testing at Charlotte before last weekend's race. Drivers, in turn, are upset with NASCAR officials for not paying more attention to what was going on with the asphalt at Charlotte.

Some crew chiefs, after testing this week at Atlanta, are now worried about more tire problems next weekend. Mike Skinner blew a right-front tire, J. J. Yeley shredded a tire, and Dave Blaney had Atlanta tire issues too.

So NASCAR officials are considering a new rule mandating minimum tire pressures at Atlanta, even though crew chiefs insist that tire pressures aren't part of the problem.

"These new tires don't like lower pressures, not like the tires a few years ago, so nobody really goes down on tire pressures," one top car chief said. "I blistered tires at Charlotte while running the recommended pressures," another crew chief said.

Mark Martin said: "We tested and knew tires would be a problem. I had one go down in testing.... We saw a number of others that did. So we did our best to address it.

"'So-and-so said he was running 80 percent. How hard were you running?' I was running as hard as I thought I could get away with ... same as I do every week. It's just this time I was further away from all-the-way.

"But I don't run these front tires like these young boys do. Ever, ever. Because you know what - if they ever get a long green, like at Kansas, I'm usually coming back.

"These guys don't have experience; they didn't race in the tire war, they didn't race when tires blew out like that - a lot - and you hit concrete walls. It really, really, really hurt."

Gordon said that Charlotte's problem "was another perfect example of a racetrack (owner) basically feeling they can do whatever they want to the track without really understanding the circumstances that can come along with that. There should be certain policies they have to live up to.

"If you get the right engineers and drivers and people from NASCAR, you won't see as many of those things popping up as we have seen. You need people from NASCAR and from the teams involved; we need to be in it together when they're redesigning or repaving a track. Unfortunately there seems to have been gap, and information hasn't been shared."

F1 bosses to discuss quali change F1 bosses to discuss quali changeF1 bosses will meet on Monday to discuss the new qualifying system for the 2006 season. There is a general feeling that the one-lap qualifying should be scrapped and most likely will be replaced with three separate sessions on Saturday. Team bosses, FIA president Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone, sponsors and promoters will meet on Monday in London. Bernie Ecclestone is proposing the three-session qualifying and that the first two should be a knockout - with the slowest five cars dropping out in each. They would then fill the positions from 11-20 and the remaining ten drivers would fight for pole in the final twenty-minute session, having to start the race with only the fuel left in their tank. The bottom ten cars would be allowed to refuel.

Some team bosses are sceptical that this might be even more confusing than the current system. We will wait to see what happens on Monday. Next week the FIA will also formally announce the 2006 F1 calendar.
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Britain (9/16/05 - 9/18/05)
Japan  (9/30/05 - 10/2/05)
2:00 a.m.-3:30 a.m. ET (Britain Replay) SPEED
3:30 a.m.-5:00 a.m. ET (Japan Replay) SPEED
Sprint and Feature Race
Estoril, Portugal
8:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. ET (Live) Setanta Sports
'NASCAR This Morning'
Martinsville, VA
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
2005 IndyCar Series Season Celebration
Paramount Theatre, Los Angeles
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Subway 500
Martinsville, VA
12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (Live) NBC
Mosport, Canada  (9/3/05)
1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
MotoGP 250
Istanbul, Turkey
2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Istanbul, Turkey
3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
Lexmark Indy 300
Surfers Paradise, Australia (10/22/05)
4:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
Lexmark Indy 300
Surfers Paradise, Australia
4:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
'NASCAR Victory Lane'
Martinsville, VA
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-host: Mike Joy
Featured Interview: Ricky Carmichael
Featured Interview: Dennis Setzer
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Tour de Corse
Corsica, France (10/21/05 - 10/23/05)
11:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET, SPEED

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

Gaunt eyes Atlantics for 2006 Gaunt eyes Atlantics for 2006Scott Speed look-alike Daniel Gaunt from Auckland, New Zealand (Photo right by Mark Cipolloni) is eyeing a move up to the Champ Car Atlantic series in 2006. Gaunt, who is currently racing and winning in the Toyota Racing Series (similar to Formula Renault) has tested this year's Atlantic car at Buttonwillow for the US RaceTronics team.

"The test went very well," said Gaunt. "I am hoping to hook up with an existing Champ Car or Atlantic team for next year. We race in Australia and New Zealand during your winter and I would be ready to move to the States and start in Atlantics at Long Beach if I can put everything together."

Sunny and Hot in Surfers Sunny and Hot in SurfersAs final pole qualifying gets underway for the Lexmark Indy 300 the southern hemishere sun is burning bright and hot as Australia moves from spring toward their summer months. Air temperature is in the low 80's.
NASCAR ratings unaffected by football NASCAR ratings unaffected by footballNASCAR's television ratings are still increasing this late in the season, when there is so much competition from the NFL, Major League Baseball and other sports. Last Saturday's night race at Charlotte, N.C., drew its highest-rated overnight rating, a slight increase over the year before. The race at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 9 had a 7.1-percent increase from a year ago.  NBC, which will no longer carry races next season, reported a 10-percent increase overall in ratings through September.  Just when it seemed like maybe the NASCAR season was too long -- the final race is Nov. 20 -- the TV ratings prove otherwise.  So much for some who think a racing series should end their season around Labor Day to avoid football.  If your racing series has enough "heroes" like NASCAR does, the fans will tune in week in and week out. 
Track News
Widened roads reopen west of PIR Widened roads reopen west of PIRA two-mile stretch of roadway west of Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) reopened Sunday after a half-year widening job.  Workers have met a deadline to complete the project before a series of NASCAR and other races set at the track for Nov. 10-13.
Seen in Australia - II Seen in Australia - IIThe sponsor on Michael McDowell's car, Commercial Defeasance, is a company owned by 35-year old Rob Finlay that gets companies out of a lease or other financial debt early by setting aside securities that can be drawn down on over the full term of the lease/loan. That enables the bank or financer to make their full return and gets the original borrower out of the debt early. Finlay came up with a new way of doing it and has made him a very wealthy man. He is partially backing McDowell these last two races of the year.

Finlay also races (he met McDowell at a Bob Bondurant class) in Grand-Am and runs Michael Valiante as well. McDowell, who started Finlay Racing with Rob's money is very high on Valiante. "We tested a lot of young drivers when we started the team, drivers everyone would know," said McDowell. "Over a few days I was fastest by a comfortable margin and then Valiante showed up and was within 7/10ths of a second of my fast time on his out lap. Simply incredible."

Who knows, with Finlay's money, if McDowell shows he has what it takes in Champ Car, he may decide to start a Champ Car team in a couple of years with McDowell and Valiante at the wheel. BTW, we spent a good bit of time with McDowell here in Surfers (he beat teammate Timo Glock in practice Saturday morning, this his first day out) and found him to be an outgoing, well spoken bright young man that is going to be a PR dream for any team he's with.

DeHart joins Foyt Racing DeHart joins Foyt RacingBrian DeHart, formerly the director of the NASCAR Busch Series, has signed on as general manager of Foyt Racing. The team, co-owned by A.J. Foyt and Larry Foyt, plans to run Busch Series races in 2006 with a goal to return to Nextel Cup beyond that.  "I thought long and hard about my return to the sport," said DeHart, 37. "It'll be a challenge because we're behind the eight ball right now but I believe I made the right decision.  "We have to lock down a primary sponsor, determine which manufacturer and engine program will fit our team, hire a crew chief and crew members and start building race cars."
Servia tops Saturday practice Down Under Servia tops Saturday practice Down UnderOriol Servia turned a lap of 1:33.971 to lead Saturday morning practice in Surfers Paradise by almost 1/2 second on a bright and sunny day. Paul Tracy was second and Mario Dominguez third. Up next is qualifying before a huge crowd.
Estoril Preview:USA Estoril Preview:USATires and tired. Those will be the two main concerns for the men behind the wheel - such as Team USA driver Scott Speed this weekend at Circuito Estoril in Portugal, the third stop on the inaugural A1 Grand Prix of Nations competition.

A regular stop on the Formula 1 circuit between 1984 and 1996, Circuito Estoril has a track layout very similar to its Iberian counterpart at Barcelona. And that means long-sweeping turns that are not only tough on tires, but very tiring for drivers.

"Every track has its unique challenges, but Circuito Estoril is one of the most difficult tracks because it is physically grueling, both for your tires and yourself as a driver," said Speed, who hopes to move the U.S. up in the standings with an impressive showing. "But it's the same for everybody. The driver who is physically up to the task and the team that is quick in the pits will win this race.

"Fortunately, we have great tires for this type of race. The surface of these slick Cooper A1 tires can become almost gel-like with the high track temperatures, and the way that they 'squash' into the track surfaces really helps with grip and cornering."

Located nearly four miles northwest of Lisbon on the northern coast of the estuary of the River Tagus, the track can be found in the hills behind the once-glamorous resort town of Estoril and the small fishing port of Cascais.

The 192-plus-mile race will include 71 laps. Drivers will attempt to break the track record for fastest lap (1:14.859) turned in by Damon Hill in 1993. Alain Prost was the first Grand Prix winner at this track, in 1984, while Jacques Villeneuve was the most recent, in 1996.
Fans become online race directors with Acer and Intel Fans become online race directors with Acer and IntelAs part of Acer and Intel's major sponsorship of the Lexmark Indy 300, race fans around the world will have free access to Champ Car's extensive online live application, Race Director, streaming up-to-the-second action from the Lexmark Indy 300.

Normally a subscription-only service, Race Director gives motor sport fans access to live streaming audio and video as well as live timing and scoring of all on-track Champ Car sessions. Race Director also provides live in-car audio coverage, giving fans a cockpit view as their favourite drivers and teams work their way around the Gold Coast circuit.

Race Director allows online users to:
- Switch between six live channels of streaming racing video and audio;
- Keep a finger on the racing pulse with live leader board timing and scoring;
- Get the full story with lap-by-lap race commentary;
- Relive favourite moments with exclusive access to the multimedia archives from the 2001-2005 seasons;
- View Real Time Web Telemetry featuring track map position, throttle, speed, gear, braking and RPM information!

The Acer and Intel free trial of Race Director can be accessed at the official Champ Car World Series website during the Lexmark Indy 300.

Acer and Intel are also the primary sponsors of the RuSport Champ Cars #9 (Justin Wilson) and #10 (A.J Allmendinger). Indy.com.au
A1 Grand Prix
Cracks begin to form in A1GP Cracks begin to form in A1GPA lack of sponsorship funds is the reason why A1 Team Japan will miss this weekend's third round of the series at Estoril.  "Notice was given to the team at a very late stage and there was insufficient time to find a replacement driver to enable the team to run the car," said the team in a statement.

"A1 Team Japan hopes that sufficient funds will be made available and paid in good time before the next round in Australia, Eastern Creek by either the current drivers and their sponsors or any other eligible Japanese racing driver."

Regular ride-buyers Hideki Noda and Ryo Fukuda had other race commitments and there was not time for the team to find a third replacement ride-buyer.

Dupasquier stays on at Michelin Dupasquier stays on at MichelinPierre Dupasquier had his last appearance as Michelin's Competition Director during last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai. The 68 year-old Frenchman is set to retire from the sport. However, he will not leave Michelin completely. Dupasquier will remain an advisor to the company, although not directly involved in the operational business. Pierre Dupasquier "The truth is that I am absolutely delighted to understand that what has been done for years in the motorsport department has a value for Michelin, and they still want me to pass that message and behavior to the rest of the company." F1Technical.net
NASCAR Charlotte TV rating NASCAR Charlotte TV ratingUPDATE The final rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup race last weekend from Lowe's was a stout 5.1/10 share on NBC during Prime Time Saturday night. 10/17/05 NBC's broadcast of the NASCAR Nextel Cup race on Saturday night (Oct. 15) was the highest overnight rating ever for the televised event. The race --from Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.-- delivered a 4.8 overnight rating and 8 share, up from a 4.6/8 last year, according to Nielsen Media Research data. The top-rated local markets were Greensboro, Greenville and Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Indianapolis MediaWeek
2005 IRL Season: By the numbers 2005 IRL Season: By the numbersWith the 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series season in the books and Dan Wheldon crowned the champion, let's take a look at some statistics of note from the season that began at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March and ended Oct. 16 at California Speedway.  Along the way, drivers competed on short ovals, superspeedways, one temporary street course and two road courses to test their skills. Competition was the operative word as there were an average of 12.2 lead changes per race (about one every 16 laps at the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway), an average of 5.8 leaders per race, and 27 lead changes in the 89th Indianapolis 500.  Wheldon, buoyed by four victories in the initial five races - including the Indianapolis 500 - came out on top. Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan was second in the standings, with two-time series champion Sam Hornish Jr. finishing third.

Here are some numbers to note:

0 - First-time winners in 2005, the first season there has not been one.
1 - 1-2-3-4 sweep by Andretti Green Racing (St. Petersburg), a series first
3 - Consecutive victories by Dan Wheldon (St. Petersburg, Motegi, Indianapolis), which tied Kenny Brack's 1998 record.
6 - Wins by Dan Wheldon, most in a season in IndyCar Series history.
8 - different pole and race winners - second most in IndyCar Series history.
16 -- Top-10 starts by Dario Franchitti, most in a season
18 - Cars on lead lap at finish of race at Kansas, most in series history.
628 - Points earned by Wheldon, most in a single season
$3,721,005 - Earned by Wheldon, most in a single season.

Some other statistics of distinction:

  • Patrick Carpentier was running at the finish in 16 of the 17 races. Next was Wheldon with 15.
  • Carpentier has a streak of 12 consecutive races in which he has been running at the finish.
  • Wheldon and Kanaan shared honors with 12 top-5 finishes, which tied for second-most in series history. Hornish. was third with nine.
  • Carpentier led with 3,081 laps completed of 3,140. Wheldon was second with 3,007.
  • Hornish, Bryan Herta, Danica Patrick and Tomas Scheckter set the pace with three pole starts each.
  • Wheldon led 15 races, a series record. Kanaan, the 2004 series champion, led 13.
  • Wheldon has led eight consecutive races. The series record is 12 held by Kanaan
  • Wheldon topped the laps led chart at 752, fourth most in series history.
  • Wheldon scored 15 top-10 finishes, second most in series history. 
  •  Scott Sharp has made 107 consecutive starts. He has made 115 starts.
  • Four times the MBNA Pole Award winner went on to win the race.
  • It was the second year in a row in which Andretti Green Racing teammates Wheldon and Kanaan finished 1-2 in the standings. Last year, the order was reversed.
A1 Grand Prix
Bad weather hits A1GP test Bad weather hits A1GP testAtrocious weather conditions affected the first day's running of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations at the Circuito Estoril near Lisbon. While the morning's additional test sessions and the first official practice session were held on a wet to damp track, the final session of the day was delayed by 25 minutes due to standing water.

It was local hero and newly crowned Formula 3 champion, Alvaro Parente (right, photo courtesy of A1 Grand Prix) who led the time sheet after the first test of the day. Two additional sessions were added to the race program for Estoril and the Portuguese driver set a time of 1.54.918 in the first one that kicked off at 09.30. At the end of the second of the two 40 minute sessions, it was fellow Portuguese speaker Nelson Piquet Jr representing A1 Team Brazil who was fastest with a time of 1.51.916.

A1 Team Portugal's Alvaro Parente said of his local track: 'In 2002 I had my first and only race at Estoril, I know a lot of British tracks better than this one. I have done some testing here, I like the track and we seem to have improved on the car. There have been some changes that have been made which have improved the car a lot and I think that we can be competitive here.'

It was business as usual for A1 Team France who won both races in Germany but this time it was Alexandre Premat behind the wheel setting the fastest time of the day on a much drier but still damp track during the first official practice session. His best time of 1.33.024 was nearly seventh tenths of a second quicker than second placed A1 Team Germany who for the first time this season, have Adrian Sutil as their race driver.

Even though practice session two got away 25 minutes late, the conditions ensured that all the times were considerably slower. A1 Team France kept their momentum recording the fastest time in the second session as well at 1.52.037.

Commenting on the day's action, A1 Team France's Alexandre Premat said: 'Conditions were very difficult during the shakedown and practice sessions. For session one the track was bit wet and dry, which made it difficult sometimes, but I did a good time with the new tires. In the second session we did a lot of work on the wet set-up, the car has not been good in the wet, the team did a really good job and now it is now much better. I am confident for qualifying tomorrow, although a lot of work still needs to be done.' zzzz

Official Practice Session 1 (13.00 - 14.00)

A1 Team Driver Time No. Laps
1 France Alexandre Premat 1.33.024 14
2 Germany Adrian Sutil 1.33.700 17
3 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 1.33.734 19
4 Australia Will Davison 1.34.065 16
5 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. 1.34.085 16
6 Portugal Alvaro Parente 1.34.699 16
7 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 1.35.283 17
8 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 1.35.302 15
9 Switzerland Neel Jani 1.35.590 15
10 Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy 1.35.915 15
11 Ireland Ralph Firman 1.35.992 10
12 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 1.36.055 16
13 Russia Alexander Turumin 1.36.367 20
14 Canada Sean McIntosh 1.36.374 12
15 Austria Mathias Lauda 1.36.482 21
16 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 1.36.777 17
17 USA Scott Speed 1.37.534 11
18 Pakistan Adam Khan 1.38.978 7
19 New Zealand Matt Halliday 1.39.361 17
20 Lebanon Basil Shaaban 1.41.157 16
21 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1.44.914 10
22 India Armaan Ebrahim 1.45.263 23
23 China Tengji Jiang 1.45.388 8
24 Mexico Salvador Duran 1.45.400 12

Official Practice session 2 (16.25 - 17.25)

 A1 Team Driver Time No. Laps
1 France Alexandre Premat 1.52.037 5
2 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. 1.53.777 5
3 Portugal Alvaro Parente 1.53.895 11
4 Switzerland Neel Jani 1.53.930 5
5 USA Scott Speed 1.54.316 10
6 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 1.54.973 7
7 Ireland Ralph Firman 1.54.975 4
8 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 1.55.091 6
9 Germany Adrian Sutil 1.55.483 5
10 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1.55.610 2
11 Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy 1.56.084 2
12 Canada Sean McIntosh 1.56.264 7
13 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 1.56.424 10
14 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 1.56.518 8
15 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 1.57.805 5
16 Austria Mathias Lauda 1.58.060 9
17 New Zealand Matt Halliday 1.58.552 5
18 Mexico Salvador Duran 1.58.808 2
19 Pakistan Adam Khan 2.00.332 6
20 India Armaan Ebrahim 2.00.695 8
21 Russia Alexander Turumin 2.01.074 5
22 China Tengyi Jiang 2.02.105 10
23 Lebanon Basil Shaaban 2.02.622 3

A1 Team Australia chose not to participate in the second official practice session due to their concerns over the track conditions.

GP Masters
Emmo Ready for GP Masters Debut Emmo Ready for GP Masters DebutAccording to this SpeedTV article Although touted, alongside fellow F1 World Champions Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell, as one of the main attractions of the upcoming GP Masters series, Emerson Fittipaldi has not yet decided whether he will line up on the grid for GPM’s inaugural event, at Kyalami in South Africa on November 11-13.

Emmo, 58, has been cleared by his and series’ doctor Steve Olvey, but won’t commit to the Kyalami race until after his first taste of the series’ 650-horsepower machines, set to go down next Monday at Silverstone.

"I really want to participate in the first race, but it will all come down to how I feel after the test,” said the Brazilian, who's at Portugal this weekend managing Team Brazil's A1GP effort. Emerson has been out of single-seater racing since his 1996 crash at Michigan Speedway, the final outing of his CART IndyCar career - Fittipaldi suffered spinal fractures at the accident.

So far the only “Masters” to have sampled the series’ machine - basically a 1999-spec Reynard Champ Car sans turbocharger, updated with features such as steering-wheel paddle shifters by British firm Delta Motorsport - are Mansell and Rene Arnoux.
The 1992 F1 and 1993 CART champion reckoned the car will demand plenty from the drivers physically.

"These cars are going to surprise a few people. They are tough to drive and you really have to work at it, they remind me of late '80s and early '90s Grand Prix cars,” Mansell revealed.

"With no fancy electronics or driver aids there is a lot going on - wheelspin, opposite lock, slides - and that is going to play into the hands of a guy like Alain [Prost], who is super fit and has been competing in ice racing and GTs.

"I am already working on my fitness, and my plan is by next March to get within seven or eight pounds of the weight I was when I won my world titles."

O’Connell, Corvette’s Z06 On Speed Channel’s “Test Drive” O’Connell, Corvette’s Z06 On Speed Channel’s “Test Drive”Two-time American Le Mans Series GT1 champion Johnny O’Connell and Corvette’s newest supercar, the Z06, will be featured on an episode of SPEED Channel’s “Test Drive” this weekend.

The program airs at 6 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Oct. 22 and will profile Corvette’s sixth-generation Z06. O’Connell and show host Tommy Kendall will offer their takes on the car, with Kendall taking the Z06 on a ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia. It’s a journey that shows the Z06’s power and handling, the heart of a true sports car, with the luxury features that put the “super” in supercar.

Then, it’s off to Le Mans where Corvette Racing weathered challenges from Aston Martin and Ferrari to win the 24 Hours for the fourth time in five seasons in the Corvette C6-R. While at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Corvette Chief engineer Dave Hill explains the two-way relationship between the racing program and production Corvettes, with additional commentary from O’Connell. zzzz

Once back in the U.S., Kendall and O’Connell hit the track with the Z06 at Road Atlanta, just a few minutes from O’Connell’s home in Flowery Branch, Ga. They are joined by Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, who shares his impressions on how far Corvette has come, how it compares to the world’s other top sports cars and how the car is not only easy on the eyes but performs like no other. Gordon joins Kendall on the track for a few laps, only to be joined by O’Connell and his No. 3 Corvette Racing C6-R!

Kendall wraps up the show with a visit to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., to see how the Corvette is manufactured, delivered and revered.

The Corvette Z06 is a 505 hp, 7.0-liter beast of a car that can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. The Z06 “Test Drive” episode will re-air at 12:30 a.m. ET Nov. 5 and 3:30 p.m. ET Nov. 12.

Bad publicity good for Bridgestone Bad publicity good for BridgestoneDespite getting smoked by Michelin in F1 this year Bridgestone is having a good year. Speaking to the Guardian newspaper Taka Horio revealed that while the company did not have success in Formula One this year, it has no real effect on the sales of tires to the general public.

"I don't think we have experienced any effect on our sales," the Guardian reports Horio as saying. "The F1 business has been very positive for our business, especially in Europe where our sales are increasing."

Advantage Gommendy after World Series test. Advantage Gommendy after World Series test.According to this Crash.net article Pre-race practice specialist Tristan Gommendy produced the day's outstanding performance as the World Series by Renault field converged on Monza, the KTR driver finishing ahead of Draco's Markus Winkelhock, one of his main rivals in the fight for the runner's up spot behind champion Robert Kubica.

While the third contender, Pons Racing's Adrian Valles, could do no better than eighth, Gommendy set out his stall early on, but admitted that there was still a long way to go before he could confirm second spot.

"It's going well, but it's only Thursday today," the Frenchman insisted, "I drove very well in both the wet and dry conditions and, although I didn't do that many laps this afternoon, I still managed to set the fastest time with worn tires. I'll just have to reproduce that kind of form on Saturday with new tires."

Second fastest, Winkelhock also reported a good day, as did Draco team-mate Christian Montanari, but things went less well for Valles who, hampered by engine problems, didn't bother fitting new tires.

Many drivers were taking to the track for the first time, either at Monza or in one of the World Series cars, and the first session being held on a wet track hardly made matters any easier for them.

"It's a bit like been thrown in at the deep end when you can't swim," Britain's Danny Watts said of his first outing with Eurointernational, which yielded 18th fastest time, "This is my first experience of the track, the car and the team, but I have really enjoyed driving the World Series machine. The car has a lot of potential and I think we can have a good weekend. In fact, I don't think I've ever driven a better car!" zzzz

Over at Interwetten.com, Carlos Iaconelli's assessment was almost identical, the Argentine ending the day 23rd fastest.

"It's not easy starting in the rain, but I improved significantly this afternoon in dry conditions," the Formula Renault graduate commented, "I am here to test out the car, with a view to taking part in the 2006 championship."
At DAMS, GP2 regular Ferdinando Monfardini was also making his debut in the category, and was able to make a direct comparison between the classes even though his fitness was the main focus of the test.

"I had an operation just after the GP2 race in Bahrain, and decided to take part in this race to see if everything is okay before embarking on winter testing," the Italian revealed, having set the 27th best time, "The car is fun to drive, and corners extremely well thanks to the aerodynamics and the tires. I think we're on the right track as regards the set-up."

The fourth debutant, Italian-American Richard Antinucci, reported that he already felt at home in the Victory Engineering team, despite having been tipped to make his World Series bow at the start of the year.

"The first couple of hours were frustrating and, whether you drive in the rain or don't drive, it makes little difference really," he commented after finishing the second session 21st overall, "In the end, the second session was a lot more productive, and we made some good progress. It's a good test for 2006."

The real surprise of the day came from GD Racing's Patrick Pilet, who was consistently among the leading positions, before ending the day in third spot.

"I was there or thereabouts in both the wet and dry conditions," the Frenchman confirmed, "We all worked well together - my engineer, my team-mate and myself. Milos [Pavlovic] has often found himself alone in trying to improve the car, but things are better now!"

As for champion Kubica, he appeared his usually calm and relaxed self as he slotted into fifth spot.

"I'd like to finish the season with a good performance this weekend," the Pole said, "but I'm not paying much attention to the times because everyone almost everybody was cutting across the chicane...."

Montanari, in fourth, and the returning Eric Salignon sandwiched Kubica, with Ryan Sharp getting a late-season fillip by recording the seventh fastest time to edge ahead of Valles. Pavlovic and youngster Giovanni Tedeschi rounded out the top ten.

RuSport Provisional Qualifying Complete RuSport Provisional Qualifying CompleteProvisional qualifying is now complete for the Lexmark Indy 300.  The track was very tricky this afternoon as heavy rain showers made for a wet surface.  As the session progressed, the track continued to dry but never enough for the RuSPORT team to mount slick Bridgestone tires.   Sebastien Bourdais is on provisional pole with a time of 1:45.739 and one step closer to the 2005 Championship title while Alex Tagliani is in second with a time of 1:46.010 and Paul Tracy stands in third with a time of 1:46.920.   The drivers will return to the track tomorrow morning at 10:15 a.m. for a practice session and qualifying resumes at 1:45 p.m. local time.

Justin Wilson

“It was a disappointing session. Today everything went bad for us. We had last minute problems with the car so we had to work on that during the session. Overall though, we need to find more grip, more speed and more balance under braking.  It is clear we still have work to do, but I am confident that we will get where we want to be. We were quicker this morning than we were during the qualifying session, so I think we are not that far, we just need to work in a couple of things and expect a little more luck in our favor for tomorrow”.

A.J. Allmendinger

“It was a very tough day. We started pretty well and early on I was surprised by the time we did under wet conditions. Actually it could have been better because the rain tires today were only good for one run and at that moment I didn’t know that, so I went a little easy on that first stint trying to go faster in the second one. In our second try when I was on my hot lap the red flag came out so we missed the opportunity to improve our position.  Overall I think we have a good car to work with so I think we will be okay for tomorrow’s final qualifying session”. zzzz

Jeremy Dale, Team President

“Today the weather played an important roll for everybody on pit lane. It was really difficult to adapt to the constant changes. At the middle of the session AJ was doing really well (in fact he was quickest at one point), after that all the weather factors played against us. On the other hand I think that the crew of the #10 car has found a good setup. They have the speed and a general good setup to develop it to the next level. We need to work on Justin’s car, that’s a fact. He needs more traction and more grip so he can drive the car aggressively. I am sure that the guys on the # 9 car will find the way to get Justin’s car into better shape so he can get the most out of it. Fortunately tomorrow the weather forecast says that we will have a better day, so we are feeling really positive and looking forward to it”.

Paul Dana Returns to Cockpit for a Test Paul Dana Returns to Cockpit for a TestPaul Dana has returned to the cockpit over the last several weeks for private testing as he prepares to return to full time competition for the 2006 Indy Racing League IndyCar® Series. Dana, a rookie in the IndyCar® Series, broke his back during a practice accident while preparing for this year's Indianapolis 500. The St. Louis native sustained compression fractures of his T7 and T8 vertebrae which sidelining him for the remainder of the 2005 season.

Dana spent three months in a back brace while recovering from his injuries. In mid-August he was freed from the brace and over the following weeks began more aggressive workouts as well as outings in a shifter kart and a Formula Mazda car, a smaller version of an open-wheel car similar in construction to an IndyCar.

Last week he and the crew from Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing did two half-day tests at the nearby Putnam Park road course in western Indiana, using an Indy Lights chassis, which is similar in size, weight and power to the IRL's Menards Infiniti Pro Series. The series of tests at escalating G-loads and physical effort are designed to allow Dr. Terry Trammel to evaluate the progress of his rehabilitation. zzzz

"I'd like to thank Jimmy Kite for taking over this year and doing a good job for the Ethanol team. It's great to be back in the car, and great to be back on a road course," Dana said. "I'm really looking forward to doing a few more tests and then moving on to the IndyCar, hopefully in mid-November."

In addition to his on-track outings, Dana has begun working with renowned driver fitness specialist Jim Leo of PitFit Inc., to speed his progress via intense two-a- day workouts.

"Paul had a decent base level of fitness when he came to us, considering what he had been through, but we could see he was weak in a number of areas," said Leo. "He's already made great strides and we are happy to be able to help him return to competition."

Dana expects the doctors to give him a clean bill of health for the IndyCar by mid-November at which time he will be able to participate in whatever off-season testing is permitted under IRL rules. TE/HR

Renault partners RoC Renault partners RoCAccording to this Motorsport article Renault, recently crowned 2005 FIA Formula One Constructors' and Drivers' World Champion, announces its partnership with the Race Of Champions - Nations Cup 2005, on December 3rd at the Stade de France

A Formula 1 car in the Stade de France For the first time in the history of the Race Of Champions and the Stade de France, and to celebrate its titles, the Formula 1 World Championship-winning team will be on display on the track. The Formula 1 car and its V10 will roar one more time for all the spectators

Megane Trophy racecars for the races Megane Trophy racecars will take part to the races that will consecrate the Champion of Champions' driver of the different worldwide motorsport categories, after hard-fought battles on the track designed inside the stadium.

Patrick Faure, Renault F1 Team President: "We are proud to be a partner to The Race Of Champions 2005. After the Renault F1 Team's World Championship victories and the popular success of the Megane Trophy races during the World Series by Renault, it will be an excellent way to finish the year: it will offer a good show to the public, to Renault's employees and the dealer network, who are associated to the event. And don't forget that the current Champion of Champions, Heikki Kovalainen, is a member of the Renault family through our Renault Driver Development program.

Villeneuve thankful to Peter Sauber Villeneuve thankful to Peter SauberIt was not a perfect season for Jacques Villeneuve, with rumours at Imola suggesting he would be dropped from the squad in favour of the then BAR Honda test driver Anthony Davidson. The former Champion kept his head down and as the season progressed, was on equal terms most of the time with Sauber Petronas team-mate Felipe Massa.

"Peter gave me the chance to continue to drive in F1 in 2005 and I wanted to thank him for this," Villeneuve stated on his personal website JV-World. "He is a real passionate guy, he loves racing and I am sure that we will continue to see him around. He has put a very efficient team together with a much a smaller budget than most of the teams in the paddock."

Of course Villeneuve's contract with Peter Sauber was a two-year one and was signed before BMW moved into the frame and purchased the team. BMW has already confirmed that Nick Heidfeld will be in one of its cars next season and Mario Theissen has gone on record as saying that Villeneuve was 'under evaluation' in the final races of the season.

It remains to be seen whether BMW will race Villeneuve next year or not. Villeneuve himself believes the team will and says he is very happy to be part of the project. F1Live.com
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP - Final Practice
Subway 500
Martinsville, VA
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Sam's Town 250
Memphis, TN
12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Kroger 200
Martinsville, VA
1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
Sam's Town 250
Memphis, TN
3:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET (Live) TNT
Drivers:  Tommy Kendall,
    Johnny O'Connell and Jeff Gordon
6:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
'Race Car Driver'
Episodes 7 and 8, Edmonton and San Jose
7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Replay) WGN
'NASCAR Live!'
Martinsville, VA
7:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
'Derby Dreams: The 68th Soap Box Derby'
Akron, Ohio  (7/30/05)
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET SPEED

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

A1 Grand Prix
A1 teams testing at Estoril today A1 teams testing at Estoril todayIn preparation for the two additional A1 Team test sessions to be held this morning at the Circuito Estoril, the A1 Teams have announced their drivers for the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Circuito Estoril, Portugal earlier than usual.

A1 Team Driver 1 Driver 2
Australia Christian Jones Will Davidson
Austria Mathias Lauda
Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr Tuka Rocha
Canada Sean McIntosh
China Tengyi Jiang
Czech Republic Tomas Enge Jan Charouz
France Alexandre Premat Nicolas Lapierre
Germany Adrian Sutil
Great Britain Robbie Kerr Alex Lloyd
India Armaan Ebrahim
Indonesia Ananda Mikola
Ireland Ralph Firman Michael Devaney
Italy Enrico Toccacelo Matteo Cressoni
Lebanon Basil Shaaban Khalil Beschir
Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy
Mexico Salvador Duran
Netherlands Jos Verstappen Jeroen Bleekemolen
New Zealand Jonny Reid Matt Halliday
Pakistan Adam Khan
Portugal Alvaro Parente Joao Barbosa
Russia Alexander Truryumin Mikhail Aleshin
South Africa Stephen Simpson Tomas Scheckter
Switzerland Neel Jani
USA Scott Speed

Due to prior commitments made before joining the World Cup of Motorsport, A1 Team Japan will not take part in this weekend's event.

Agrees with Team Australia concept Agrees with Team Australia conceptUPDATE No sooner did we publish our articles suggesting that Champ Car adopt the Team Australia concept throughout its lineup comes word the same exact idea is now taking hold in F1. Not only was Minardi and Ferrari always "home" teams to Italy, now comes word that the Spanish government is evaluating entering a part-state funded team in Formula One from 2008 onwards. According to F1 Racing's November issue, Spain is keen to capitalize on the Fernando Alonso-effect after national television viewing figures went stratospheric during the Renault driver's championship-winning season in 2005.

GP2 squad Racing Engineering (a Spanish team) has been asked to do a feasibility study on a likely 'Team Espana' – potentially backed by Spanish oil company Repsol and telecommunications giant Telefonica.

Racing Engineering owner Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon has told the magazine that the project has a 50:50 chance of reaching fruition. The team would probably be based at one of Spain's two F1 venues, Barcelona or Jerez, and could well opt to buy customer chassis if such FIA proposals are mandated in the 2008 regulations.

10/20/05 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I enjoyed your two articles on the Australia race promotion with Brett Murray and the duplication of the Walker Racing Team Australia concept. Champ Car needs to bottle up these two success stories and follow through on the concepts put forth everywhere. Dave Keller. Rockville, MD.
A1 Grand Prix
India team hires 16-year old driver India team hires 16-year old driverA1 Team India will field Armaan Ebrahim in this weekend's A1GP Race in Portugal, making him the youngest driver at the age of 16 to participate in the A1GP championship.  The Champ Car Atlantic Series, which is a similar "training" or "feeder" series as A1GP, also allows 16-year olds to race.  That would not be allowed in Champ Car or F1, the two top open wheel series in the world.
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
DC still raring to race
Sato future looking safe
JB win taking 'a long time'
Bad week for 'Irv'
Reliability cost McLaren
F1's 'worthy' champ - Lauda
Now Renault deny 'block' ploy
Kimi the 'cobra'
Nico gets Grove nod - report
'Williams must lift game'
Honda wanted Champ Car to dump their turbo Honda wanted Champ Car to dump their turboAccording to this SPEEDTV article by Robin Miller, and confirmed to AutoRacing1.com by Tony Cotman, Honda's Robert Clarke met with Champ Car's Tony Cotman and Kevin Kalkhoven last month in Las Vegas. They said Clarke wanted them to change to the normally-aspirated Cosworth for '07 so Honda could return to the series it dominated from 1996-2001.

The answer to Honda- thanks, but no thanks.

The decision by Honda to stay with the Indy Racing League through 2009 was packaged as a vote of confidence for Tony George's series and the extension of a perfect partnership.

But wasn't it really more like two people on a deserted island who were basically stuck with each other?  Yes, Gilligan, that's what happened.

Surfers race important to Queensland Surfers race important to QueenslandThe Premier (equivalent to a Governor in the USA) of the state of Queensland, Australia, Peter Beattie, addressed the media Friday in Surfers Paradise and assured everyone that the "Indy" will continue for a very long time. Why? Because of the huge economic benefit to the economy. Tourism is big business in Queensland and Beattie said, "The amount of money that it would cost Queensland to buy the equivalent TV exposure (to promote tourism) we get by having this race beamed to over 150 countries around the world would be enormous. It has a positive effect on our multi-billion dollar tourism industry plus a direct and indirect tax benefit just from the race itself of over $50 million."

We also found out that in 1997 when the race switched from March to October of the following year (an 18 month span) many of the businesses in Queensland were complaining that their business was off significantly from the previous year. They realized then that the race had a bigger affect than they ever realized. Since then the race has enjoyed widespread support. Mark C.

New faces in Champ Car paddock New faces in Champ Car paddockThe new faces in the Champ Car paddock at Surfers this weekend.

(L to R) Italian Fabrizio Del Monte, American Michael McDowell, and Australian Will Power

Tracy confirms Champ Car ride for 2006 Tracy confirms Champ Car ride for 2006Paul Tracy stated at Thursday's breakfast fan forum in Surfers Paradise that he will be back in Champ Car in 2006.....as we expected.
Praise for Webber from Williams Praise for Webber from WilliamsMark Webber has gone on record saying that his 'stock has gone down' this year but Frank Williams remains relatively happy with the Australian's performances with the team, despite the odd concern.

Webber finished tenth in the standings this year with 36 points, eight clear of Nick Heidfeld who missed the final five races of the season with the squad.

“It is easy to say he has had a difficult season, and I suppose some of his race results have been disappointing, but some of the incidents have been racing incidents,” Williams stated. “His qualifyings have been absolutely outstanding, and he is clearly a very quick driver. If you take him to a sponsor day, there is no agro. At the end of the day, if you don't please the sponsors you are out of business."

Webber's best result of the season was his third position at Monaco just behind then team-mate Heidfeld. Source BMW Williams .

Allmendinger leads Marshall in wet opening practice Allmendinger leads Marshall in wet opening practiceAJ Allmendinger lead a mostly wet Friday morning practice session in Surfers Paradise for the Champ Cars with a lap of 1:41.542. Local favorite Marcus Marshall was a surprise 2nd quick, but a full 9/10ths of a second back. German Timo Glock was third quick in his DHL machine.  Another rookie, Will Power, also from Australia and driving in his first ever Champ Car race, was a surprise 6th quick.
Pit crew member injured at Fontana Pit crew member injured at FontanaUPDATE Cody is now wearing a very large cast on his leg.  We are told his Tibia was fractured. Get well soon Cody. 10/16/05 Cody Selman, a left rear wheel changer pit crew member for the No. 24 Dreyer and Reinbold car driven by Roger Yasukawa,  was run over on the first round of pitstops in today's IRL race in Fontana.  He was carried off on a stretcher and complaining of leg and neck pains.
IPS Series
Cunningham penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct Cunningham penalized for unsportsmanlike conductThe Indy Racing League penalized IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion Wade Cunningham 15 driver points and fined him an undisclosed amount for reckless and overly aggressive driving during the California 100 at California Speedway on Oct. 16. On the last lap of the race, Cunningham touched wheels with second-place finisher Jeff Simmons to defend his position. Cunningham clinched the series championship with his first victory in the race. Despite the penalty he retains a 30-point advantage over Simmons in the final point standings. Cunningham was penalized for violating Rule 1.2 (B) of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Rule Book. Cunningham may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the protest and appeal procedures in the Rule Book. This may result in an increase, decrease or no change to the penalty.
TV ratings bump for IRL finale TV ratings bump for IRL finaleRatings for IRL IndyCar® Series season finale increase 293 percent: The Toyota Indy 400 from the California Speedway recorded a 293 percent ratings increase compared to the 2004 race according to Nielsen Media Research, and season-long ratings on ESPN finished 33 percent ahead of races in 2004.  The Oct. 16 race, which was won by Dario Franchitti, recorded a 0.6 rating and peaked at 0.8 at 6 p.m. EDT.

Across all three networks covering the IndyCar Series, ratings improved from the 2004 season:
.ABC Sports showed a 53 percent rating and 54 percent viewership increase compared to the 2004 season. Ratings on ABC Sports averaged a 2.0 in 2005 compared to a 1.3 in 2004.
.ESPN's IndyCar Series ratings averaged a 0.6, up from a 0.4 in 2004 for a 33 percent ratings increase as well as a 35 percent increase in viewership.

.ESPN2 IndyCar Series ratings climbed 50 percent to 0.3 in 2005 up from 0.2 in 2004. Viewership was up 86 percent.

"We are thrilled with the final ratings report for the 2005 IndyCar Series season," said Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer for the Indy Racing League. "With the introduction of the more compact schedule in 2006, we look forward to working with ABC Sports and ESPN to help grow the IndyCar Series ratings again next season."

Foyt IV to make debut. Foyt IV to make debut.Former IRL IndyCar Series driver Anthony Foyt will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut this weekend at Memphis Motorsports Park just one week after making his final IndyCar start at the California Speedway.

“I'm excited for my first NASCAR Busch race,” said Foyt IV, who recorded two top ten finishes in IRL competition this year. “We were able to test Memphis a few weeks ago, and I feel like everything went really well. It gave me a chance to meet the guys on the team and help us to get comfortable with one another.”

“I'm trying not to have too many expectations for this weekend,” continued Foyt, who will contest several other Busch races before the end of the year. “My main goal is to come out of this weekend with a good solid run and learn everything that I can so that I can go to Texas with some confidence.”

Dennis Questions Crammed Calendar Dennis Questions Crammed CalendarAccording this itv.com article McLaren team principal Ron Dennis has spoken out against an expanded Formula 1 calendar in 2006.  Dennis told Autosport this week that this year's crammed schedule pushed teams to the limit of endurance and questioned the wisdom of such a long season.

"Everybody has increased their workloads and it is probably more exhausting for the mechanics than it is for the principals," he said.

"There's a point where we have got to reach a moral position and say, 'you are asking too much'."

Speculation persists that the calendar may be extended to 20 races with the Toyota-owned Fuji race track expected to be included at some point in the future.

But Dennis has warned against such a measure.  "I think it would be unfair of the team principals to quickly endorse a broader calendar," he said.  "Having more races really is changing the character of a grand prix team."

Bridgestone’s Image Tarnished Bridgestone’s Image TarnishedAccording to this F1 Central article Bridgestone's bleak 2005 season in formula one will hit the Japanese tire supplier where it hurts -- sales. That's the belief of tire rival Michelin's retiring F1 boss Pierre Dupasquier, who reckons the losses with Ferrari will ultimately damage 'credibility' and 'image'.

''Whether you're a success or you screw up at this level,'' the Frenchman, 67, told the British 'Guardian' newspaper, ''it will mean something to the driver of any type of car.''

Predictably, Bridgestone UK's Taka Horio denied the charge, claiming that business in Europe is 'increasing' rather than starting to hit the dirt.

''At the moment our tire performance is not as good as we expected,'' the Japanese admitted, ''but because of the positive elements of formula one, our brand awareness is still expanding.''

Head of Bridgestone tire development Hirohide Hamashima, at least, does see a link between poor results and poor image. But he insisted to Gazzetta dello Sport that the marque 'is not inferior' to French champion Michelin.

''We take some blame for what happened,'' he continued, ''but Ferrari's overall package wasn't so competitive.

''I don't want to blame the car (but) it's certainly been difficult to find the right balance.''

Hamashima also denied that Bridgestone lobbied the FIA to re-allow tire changing in 2006. ''We didn't ask anything like this,'' he insisted, although admitting that it would be a better regulation for 'spectacle' and 'safety'.

Midland offer Sato 2006 contract Midland offer Sato 2006 contractIn this BBC article The new Midland Formula One team has offered Japan's Takuma Sato a contract for next year.  Team boss Colin Kolles told Autosport magazine that the Japanese driver, who lost his drive with BAR at the end of the season, had been offered a deal.

"It is up to him and if he wants to sign, he could be a Midland driver next year," said Kolles about the driver who scored just one point this season.

"We offered him the contract in Brazil and we are still waiting to hear."

Toyota-powered Midland take over from Jordan next year after Russian-born Canadian billionaire Alex Shnaider bought the team last January.  Sato was also linked with a new mystery 11th team planning to make their debut next year with Honda engines.

"Whether it's a new team or an existing team, I'm determined to race in 2006 anyway," he said at last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

"I've got to believe in my heart 100% but you never know until you get a contract.  "If the new team doesn't happen we are still in contact with existing teams and there are still possibilities. I have to choose what is the best option for me in 2006."

Carpentier future with Cheever uncertain Carpentier future with Cheever uncertainAccording to this TSN.ca article Patrick Carpentier's future with Cheever Racing is in some doubt after the Indy Racing League team confirmed it has lost title sponsorship from Red Bull.

The Austrian energy drink maker gave no reason for its decision to end the four year association but the company recently purchased its second Formula One operation and appears to be consolidating its efforts in that series.

"We wish (Red Bull) 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," said team owner Eddie Cheever Jr.

Cheever says he plans to continue his racing operation in Indianapolis and is currently in talks regarding several racing endeavors, such as a sports car program. There was no mention made of the IRL but Toyota has reportedly agreed to supply the team with engines in 2006 if they return. zzzz

"I have no idea what I'll be doing next year," Carpentier tells Robin Miller of SpeedTV.com. "I'd like to stay with this team and in the IRL because I think we made some great improvements from the start of the season. Right now, I keep hearing a lot teams want me, but I wish one of them would offer me something." Carpentier finished 10th in his first season in the IRL and was the series leader in laps completed.

Cheever and A.J. Foyt are the only remaining original IRL teams and the former Indy 500 winners admits the economics of fielding a team in the series is getting harder and harder every year.

"When I won Indy I think we did the whole season for $1.4 or $1.6 million and it wasn't that long ago," Cheever tells Miller. "Now it's so much more expensive and it's just money we're throwing away.

"There's nothing wrong with driving the cost of racing down because we need more teams competing in this series."

Carpentier's teammate Alex Barron doesn't figure to be in the team's future if it returns, noting that the series has turned into "what the IRL supposedly didn't want to see".

Danica Mania steals Wheldon’s thunder Danica Mania steals Wheldon’s thunderAccording to this TSN.ca article Wheldon became the first Indy Racing League driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and the series championship in the same year. He set a record for victories in a season with six, and proved in every way that he's a world-class driver.

Unfortunately for the talented 27-year-old Englishman, he chose 2005 in which to do it.

Even as Wheldon dominated the IndyCar Series, the spotlight was on Danica Patrick, the 23-year-old rookie who created a national phenomenon dubbed Danica Mania.

Patrick, the only woman in the IRL's top series, began the season needing to prove she belonged after a so-so couple of years in the developmental Toyota Atlantic Series, where Patrick generally competed among the top 10 but never won a race.  It was something of a surprise when Bobby Rahal, a Hall of Fame driver and now co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing, announced the team would field an IndyCar full time for Patrick in 2005.

''My instructions to her were very simple,'' Rahal said. ''I told her over and over, the idea was to take care of the car and finish races this year. Seat time was more important than anything for somebody with no experience in these cars. She obviously did more than we expected of her.''

Patrick, whose only real claim to fame going into the season was a sexy photo layout in 2004 in a men's magazine, said she would follow Rahal's instructions and was determined to reward him for the trust in her.

Hunter-Reay: Money led to dismissal Hunter-Reay: Money led to dismissalAccording to this TSN.ca article Ryan Hunter-Reay says Rocketsports decision to replace him for the final two races of the season were for "commercial" reasons and not performance related.

"Apparently, I will not be driving for Rocketsports Racing in the final two races of the 2005 Champ Car World Series," said Hunter-Reay in a statement on his website.

"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, as well as Mexico where I qualified 5th last year and posted the fastest race lap in my inaugural race there."

After losing his seat at Herdez due to financial difficulties, the promising American was placed at Rocketsports through the efforts of Champ Car co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe.

Gentilozzi has opted to use fellow American Michael McDowell for the final two races of the season and the team will use the events to evaluate his 2006 options.

Hunter-Reay says after coming into this season looking to build upon the successes of the past two years, this year has proven to be "very frustrating".  In 11 starts this year, his best result was a pair of sixth place finishes in Toronto and Denver and his 110 points leave him 14th in the championship. Hunter-Reay says he will now turn his attention to securing a competitive ride for the 2006 season.

Ferrari head back to work next week Ferrari head back to work next weekAccording to this GP2005 article After finishing what can only be described as a miserable season by their standards, the Scuderia Ferrari team will be back in action early this year when just weeks after the finale came to a close in China, they will hit the test track to begin their preparations for the new 2006 championship.

According to our spies in China, testing for the Maranello based squad will get underway next week, the last week of October, where their new signing for 2006, Felipe Massa, will be put through his paces at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy.

Massa will take over from Rubens Barrichello, who, although not released from Ferrari until the end of December so that he can join his new team, Honda, will not be allowed to conduct any testing. Meanwhile, the rest of their colleagues have opted to stick to the testing agreement and will not be back in action until the end of next month.

Samson Stone Parting Ways With Glynn Motorsports Samson Stone Parting Ways With Glynn MotorsportsSamson Stone will part ways with the Glynn Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series team effective with this weekend’s event at the Memphis Motorsports Park.  While Samson Stone is interested in pursuing another sponsorship opportunity within the NBS, the organization would like to pursue relationships with teams who can produce a benefit to Samson Stone and their customers.

“We have been very pleased with our relationship with the NASCAR Busch Series and are looking to continue within the series,” said Brett Mills, President of Samson Stone.  “We are actively pursuing relationships with other NBS teams who would like to work with Samson Stone in beneficial capacities for the organization as well as for the race team.  While the relationship with Glynn Motorsports was beneficial from an exposure perspective, Samson Stone feels it is necessary to look to other avenues with our future in the NASCAR Busch Series.  Regan Smith was a great driver to work with and we wish him the best for the remainder of the season and for his future.”

Samson Stone is also the proud sponsor of the No. 29 K Automotive Motorsports team and has committed to support their NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry through the 2006 season and beyond.  The No. 29 Samson Stone Ford driven by Brad Keselowski will compete in this weekend’s Kroger 200 at the Martinsville Speedway on Saturday afternoon.

TMS spring race date could be earlier TMS spring race date could be earlierTexas Motor Speedway officials are considering a request from NASCAR to move the TMS spring event next season to one week earlier on April 2.

The 2006 Samsung/RadioShack 500 Nextel Cup race at TMS is scheduled for April 9. Fox television officials asked NASCAR if TMS could flip-flop dates with Martinsville Speedway so the Texas event would not go head-to-head with The Masters.

"Fox wants to maximize its TV ratings for the Samsung/RadioShack 500, which is one of the NASCAR's marquee events," said TMS president Eddie Gossage. "NASCAR is talking to us about it, but no decision has been made."

TMS has started selling tickets for the April 8-9 weekend, which includes the O'Reilly 300 Busch Series race on April 8.

"We have some issues to work through before we can do this," Gossage said. "I would emphasize to fans not to change their hotel reservations yet. If we do this, we'll decide quickly so the change would be as easy as possible for everyone."

TV ratings for the spring Cup race at TMS usually rank among top five NASCAR events of the season.

"I think it's a great compliment to our race that Fox and NASCAR want to do this," Gossage said. "But we'll have to wait and see it all the details can be worked out."  Dallas Morning News

Newton-John eyes Champ Car Atlantic series Newton-John eyes Champ Car Atlantic seriesMackey Marketing Group (MMG) announces that Emerson Newton-John has joined the Mackey Marketing Group roster of motorsport clients.  Newton-John has most recently competed in the USA with prior experience in various races across Europe and Australia.

"I'm excited to welcome Emerson Newton-John to our roster," noted Brian Mackey, president of Mackey Marketing Group.  "He comes to our client list with an exceptionally strong racing record.  Many of his competitors can testify that this American is one fast racecar driver.  With his marketing skills, he is a very strong addition to our client list.  I look forward to working with him."

Newton-John has been active in motorsports for a number of racing seasons.  His international experience includes a very successful Australian Formula Holden Championship, Australia's top domestic open-wheel series, where he scored one 2nd place, three 3rd place, one 4th place and one 7th place finishes.  In addition Newton-John was the first American to win a round of the all-French Renault Megan Series.  He has tested Formula 3, Toyota Atlantic, Australian V8 Supercar and even competed in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck event in 2003.  Newton-John hopes to compete in the Champ Car Atlantic Series or other premier sports car division.

"I am really pleased to have someone of Brian's experience and ability working with me to get may racing career on track," said Newton-John.  "I've been racing since 1991 and this is the first time I have had a specialist management team working to help direct and further my racing career.  I'm excited about it and look forward to a great working partnership."

Industry news
Ford reports loss of $284 million Ford reports loss of $284 millionFord Motor Co. reported a third-quarter loss of $284 million on Thursday, dragged down by its North American division where it lost more than $1 billion.

The nation's second biggest automaker lost 15 cents per share for the three months ended Sept. 30 in contrast to a profit of $266 million, or 15 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $40.9 billion from $39.1 billion in 2004.

Excluding special items, Ford lost $191 million, or 10 cents per share. Those items included charges related to Ford's agreement to take back some unprofitable plants from Visteon Corp., its former parts division.

Wall Street had predicted a loss of 10 cents per share, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Ford said full-year earnings likely will be at the low end of the current guidance of $1.00 to $1.25 per share.

"As our results indicate, we face many challenges in this competitive and difficult environment," Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford said.

Ford reported a $1.2 billion pretax loss in its North American automotive operations, compared to a $481 million loss a year ago. The automaker said lower dealer inventories, lower net pricing and higher material and warranty costs contributed to the decline.

Ford Motor Credit Co., the company's finance arm, reported a profit of $577 million, down $157 million from a year ago. The decrease was due to higher borrowing costs, the company said.

Head demands Williams revival Head demands Williams revivalAccording to this Setanta article Williams co-owner Patrick Head has admitted that his team has gone backwards this season, and believes that they must improve in 2006 or face losing their status as one of the biggest names in F1.

The Grove-based outfit dominated the sport in the mid-90s, but their fortunes have taken a turn for the worse since the turn of the millennium, and a disastrous effort this year saw them end up fifth in the Constructors' standings.

It was a desperately disappointing display from Williams, and Head feels it is essential that they get back to winning ways next year.

"Williams is an independent company and it cannot continue to survive as a competitive force in F1 with the sort of seasons we have had in 2004 and 2005," he told Autosport magazine.

"Anyone can keep running a team down until it's dead in the water, but that's not what Williams is about. We were fourth last year and won a race, this year was more difficult.

"It's too long ago that we won a title and that's something we have to correct if we want to be taken seriously as a competitive force in GP racing."

However, Head feels that the team have the necessary strength and desire to get back where they belong.

"We're a company that has survived on action rather than talk and we must deliver next year," said Head.

"Anybody who thinks we are a spent force would be making a rash judgment."

Ferrari hires Michelin Man Ferrari hires Michelin ManGerald Brussoz, a 39-year-old Frenchman who has been with Michelin since 1993 and with the Competition Department since 1997. In recent years he has been in charge of F1 tire development. Brussoz will join Ferrari where his job will be to improve the way in which the tires interact with the chassis, a major problem this year
Bourdais labels Tracy ’an idiot’ Bourdais labels Tracy ’an idiot’INDY [Champ] Car champion elect Sebastien Bourdais has launched an extraordinary counterattack on rival driver Paul Tracy, claiming the Canadian has lost titles by "behaving like an idiot". The feud between the runaway series leader, and Tracy has escalated to a crescendo, lighting the fuse for an explosive weekend of racing at Surfers Paradise.

"He's been feeling like the persecuted guy all his career and he's lost a bunch of championships by behaving like an idiot," Bourdais said about Tracy at the Champ Car drivers' breakfast at Jupiters Casino this morning.

"If he wants to keep going like that until the end of his career, fair enough, I'll take the championships he wants to throw away."

Bourdais needs only to claim two points in the qualifying sessions tomorrow and Saturday to clinch the world title.  Tracy still feels resentment towards Bourdais, saying today the relationship between the pair, while never that strong, had "pretty much soured".

"It was just one of those things where I was lucky not to get hurt," Tracy said about the Las Vegas incident.  "It was a big shock at (320km/h), and a hard hit.

"Obviously we've had some run-ins this year, and I've come out on the short end of the stick, but that only motivates me further for next year."

Bourdais, 26, refused to adopt a diplomatic approach in replying to Tracy's comments.  "It's actually very funny now because I called him the other day and he was fine with it," he said.  "Everytime there's a microphone coming in front of his mouth, he brings it up.  If he wants to play with that, screw him. I couldn't care anymore.  I've done nothing wrong."  More at The Courier Mail

Martinsville brings back bad memories for Hendrick Martinsville brings back bad memories for HendrickCar owner Rick Hendrick won't decide until Sunday whether he’ll travel to Martinsville for the Subway 500 cup race. It was one year ago this weekend when a Hendrick Motorsports plane crashed into Bull mountain near Martinsville while attempting to land in foggy conditions.10 people lost their lives, including his son Ricky, brother John and head engine builder Randy Dorton. Hendrick told PRN'S Garagepass; “I’ve learned since the accident that I have to take things day by day. I can have three or four days great and then I’ll get really down and thinking about things. It could be somebody’s birthday or Ricky’s daughter comes over to the house or whatever and it just unleashes a lot of emotions so I just try not to make too many plans. I want to go back to support the guys and I also feel like you just can’t run from it. But, if that morning if it doesn’t feel right then I won’t go.” PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show
Thursday test results from Atlanta Thursday test results from AtlantaNEXTEL Cup cars were on the track again Thursday testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the speed charts today in his Budweiser Chevrolet, with a lap of 189.215 mph, (29.30 seconds). The #36 Chevrolet of Boris Said was second fastest. Accompanying Earnhardt Jr. and Said were #48-Jimmie Johnson, and #1-Martin Truex Jr. Testing their Craftsman trucks today were Joey Miller, Jack Sprague and Johnny Benson. There was one incident of note during the day-long test. Said spun exiting turn two, but did not hit anything. Below are the unofficial speeds recorded during the test:
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - #15 Chevrolet / NNCS = 189.215 mph
Boris Said - #36 Chevrolet / NNCS = 188.571 mph
Jimmie Johnson - #48 Chevrolet / NNCS = 187.361mph
Martin Truex, Jr. - #1 Chevrolet / NNCS = 187.108 mph
Great seats are still available for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend. Make sure to catch all of the weekend's festivities, including Georgia-Pacific Qualifying Night with the Atlanta Invitational Legends race on Friday, and the Crown Royal IROC race followed by the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday. Contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 770-946-4211 or via www.ticketmaster.com. AMS PR
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'Schu keep going' - Bernie
Renault to avoid rivals' errors
'Coke' denies F1 talks
Bridgestone 'image' blasted
Massa set for Ferrari test
Red Bull pull another plug
JV's goodbye to Sauber, Massa
Bernie gives F1 '95/100'
Schu will be back - Alonso
Indian F1 demo delayed
Wirdheim eyes IRL Wirdheim eyes IRLOut of a ride in Champ Car, Bjorn Wirdheim is eyeing a possible seat in the IRL for 2006.  While he struggled on the road courses in 2005, his best races were the oval events.  He told Autosport Magazine, "I don't want to waste the experience I've gained this year so I'd love to get back into Champ Cars. However, my best two races have been on oval tracks, so I will also be talking to IRL teams about 2006."  He will join fellow former F3000 drivers Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge in scouring the IRL paddock for a ride in 2006.
Intel and Acer sponsor Allmendinger’s car Intel and Acer sponsor Allmendinger’s carAcer computers and Intel (again) are sponsoring AJ Allmendinger's car this weekend in Surfers.  The two companies are doing a joint marketing effort and Race Director is again free on the internet to race fans this weekend, courtesy of the two companies.  It appears Intel is taking a keen interest in Champ Car, though we still expect them to announce a very major sponsorship deal with the McLaren team shortly.

Photos and text by Mark Cipolloni

CTE Racing makes first appearance with Del Monte CTE Racing makes first appearance with Del MonteCTE Racing (Cedric The Entertainer) is prominently displayed on the HVM car of Fabrizio Del Monte in Surfers this weekend. Cedric The Entertainer recently announced a partnership with the team, his role being to bring sponsorship to the team.....so eventually the CTE will be relocated to another area on the car and the primary sponsor placed on the sidepod. Mark C.
Team Australia out in full force in Surfers Team Australia out in full force in SurfersTeam Australia and their yellow and green colors are everywhere here in Surfers Paradise.  The country concept a la A1GP is a big hit in Australia and it gives the local fans something to really cheer about.  At the Fan Forum held at the Conrad Jupiter Casino in Surfers Thursday morning the team Australia drivers - Will Power, Marcus Marshall and Alex Tagliani were dressed for the occasion and the fans were loving it.  Alex Tagliani went as far as having his face painted in the team colors.
Lexmark Indy News Bits Lexmark Indy News Bits
Back-to-Back Bourdais? – 2004 Champ Car titlist Sebastien Bourdais needs only to score three points in this weekend’s race to clinch his second consecutive series championship. He could clinch on Saturday by leading both qualifying sessions, becoming the first driver since Gil de Ferran (2000-01) to win consecutive Champ Car crowns. He would be the eighth driver in the last 40 years to perform the feat.

Unpredictable Oz – The 2.795-mile Surfers Paradise street course holds the series record for most consecutive races without a repeat winner. 14 different drivers have visited Victory Lane in the 14 years of the event, the longest streak of any track in Champ Car history. Paul Tracy, Mario Dominguez, Cristiano da Matta and Jimmy Vasser are the drivers in this year’s event that have a chance to end that run in 2005.

Finishing What He Starts – Sebastien Bourdais has been running at the finish of each of the 11 events this season and is the only driver to do so this year. Remarkably, since 1956, only four drivers have started and been running at the finish of every race on the schedule. Jimmy Vasser is most recent driver to accomplish the feat in his 1996 championship season. The others are Al Unser Jr. (1992), A.J. Foyt (1963) and Jim McElreath (1963). zzzz

At Home Down Under - Since 1991 there have only been three Australian drivers compete in the Champ Car race on the Gold Coast, Gary Brabham (1992 and 93); Jason Bright (2000); and David Besnard (2004). Besnard’s seventh placing has been the highest by an Australian. This year two more Aussies will have a chance to add their names to the list. Driving for Team Australia, Marcus Marshall was born and lives on the Gold Coast, so racing on the streets of Surfers Paradise makes him truly at home. Fellow Aussie Will Power a native of Toowoomba and will be making his first Champ Car start this weekend in a third car for Team Australia.

Champ Car Debutantes – 20-year-old American Michael McDowell will make his Champ Car debut this weekend, taking over the #31 Rocketsports machine. McDowell is a former WKA national champion who won the Star Mazda title a year ago before moving into the Grand American Rolex Sportscar Series. He will be joined by Australian Will Power, who will drive the #25 Team Australia car in his debut. The 24-year-old Power is a veteran of open-wheel racing, winning races in Formula Ford, British F3 and the World Series Powered by Renault.

Youth Is Served – Michael McDowell will become the sixth-youngest driver ever to start a Champ Car World Series event when he takes the green flag in Australia at the age of 20 years, 10 months and two days. Interestingly, three of the six drivers on that list will be in this race, McDowell joining Andrew Ranger and Nelson Philippe, who are 1-2 respectively on the list.

Aussie Crowd Control – The Lexmark Indy 300 is one of the biggest events in all of Australia, drawing hundreds of thousands of fans to see the turbocharged Champ Cars. Last season, an event record 309,583 came through the gates during the event, including 107,321 on Race Day.

PT’s Qualifying Prowess – Paul Tracy has but one win to his credit in Australia, but his qualifying success is unquestioned on the Gold Coast. Tracy has qualified in the first four spots in each of the last nine starts at Surfers Paradise, including a pole winning run one year ago.

$10K Per Step – Behind the title contenders, a fierce battle goes on for spots six through 10 in the final Champ Car point standings, with the drivers holding the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth spots separated by just 11 points. Jimmy Vasser, A.J. Allmendinger, Alex Tagliani and Timo Glock hold the spots right now, but position is important as each step up the standings pays an additional $10,000 in year-end bonus money.

Do We Hear Twenty? – Alex Tagliani was the first driver to retire from the Lexmark Indy 300 last year, ending his day after Lap 19 contact. Remarkably, 19 laps was the deepest that any Champ Car race in Australia had gone before a retirement in its previous 14 seasons.

Against the Glock– Time is running out in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year battle. With two events remaining, Timo Glock leads the way aided by his first podium finish of the season in Montreal. 40 points behind is Ronnie Bremer meaning that Glock clinches rookie honors in Australia unless Bremer gains five points on the Rocketsports driver. Glock would be the first German driver to win the Jim Trueman Rookie-of-the-Year trophy.

I Am Iron Man – Jimmy Vasser will make his 13th Surfers Paradise start with this year’s visit, a race that will mark his 209th consecutive start. The streak is a series record and Vasser will be making his 230th overall Champ Car start, tying him with 1973 champion Roger McCluskey for 11th on the all-time list.

France First – Nation’s Cup standings are warming up with only two more races on the calendar. Currently France leads the standings in the chase for its first-ever Nation’s Cup, with Canada only 23 points behind. Third is Spain who is 36 markers behind the Great White North.

Servia Breaks Through – On his 95th career start Oriol Servia broke though and recorded his first career win in Montreal. The Spaniard has had a career building season in 2005 recording seven podium finishes in nine races and has vaulted himself into second in the series standings, since taking over the Newman/Haas seat in the #2 PacifiCare-sponsored car for the injured Bruno Junqueira. This weekend Servia will be driving the mount that Junqueira took to victory in Australia a year ago.

All for safety – The Champ Car Safety Team and the on-site, state-of-the-art medical team led by Dr. Chris Pinderski, combined with the skill of the drivers and teams of the series have put Champ Car at the top of the list as one of the safest racing series in the world. The 2005 season has been incident-free 10 races into the season; in fact the last driver to miss a race due to an injury sustained in a Champ Car event was in Cleveland in 2003 when Tiago Monteiro was sidelined for one race by a mild concussion.

Berrier's suspension upheld Berrier's suspension upheldOn October 19, 2005, the National Stock Car Racing Commission [Brad Daugherty, Richard Gore, and George Silbermann, Chairman] heard and considered the appeal of Todd Berrier, crew chief for the #29 car. The appeal pertained to a penalty issued by NASCAR under Section 12-4-A of the Rule Book "Actions detrimental to stock car racing" and Section 12-4-Q "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: Unapproved aerodynamic modifications and unapproved fuel cell vent mounting." The penalty stemmed from post-qualifying inspection at Talladega Superspeedway for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event on September 30, 2005.

The penalty assessed was:
* $10,000 fine; suspension from NASCAR until October 19, 2005; probation until December 31, 2005.
* Upon the request of the Appellant, the Commission deferred the original penalty until the hearing could be conducted.
Taken individually, each of the components that failed to conform to the rules had plausible explanations, but taken collectively, constituted a serious violation of the rules. Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalty issued by NASCAR. The period of the suspension will be adjusted to commence from the date of this hearing. The Appellant has the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner. NASCAR

Industry News
Shanghai invests heavily in cars Shanghai invests heavily in carsThis Grandprix.com article says, The Shanghai's city authorities have announced plans to develop their automobile industry so that it becomes less dependent on foreign partners. The automobile industry is seen as being at the centre of the city's five-year plan which begins next year. The news was announced by Le Jingpeng, the Deputy Director of the Shanghai Municipal People's Government's Economic Commission. SAIC owns intellectual property acquired from MG Rover last year, and aims to increase the proportion of non-VW or GM branded cars it manufactures to 30% by 2010. The longer term aim is for SAIC to produce its own engines by 2015. The company will also do more research into hybrid and fuel cell cars. The drive towards a stronger automobile industry underscores the investment made at the Shanghai International Circuit which was designed to promote the city's car business around the world.
Dutch feud in F1 Dutch feud in F1A common language apparently did not help Dutchmen Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos to live in harmony during the eight GPs that the duo shared at Minardi this season.

According to Albers, his previous teammate Patrick Friesacher made a greater contribution to the development of the squad’s PS05 challenger than Doornbos, who replaced the Austrian when Friesacher’s sponsorship dollars ran dry after the British Grand Prix.

"Doornbos is being hyped by the Dutch press as if he's a huge talent. But I keep beating him, so what does that make me? Superman?" Albers fumed to the Dutch press.

"The most important part of driving for a team is improving the car and he hasn't done that at all - actually he hasn't made one improvement at Minardi since he joined us. F1 is all about improving the car. Not about telling everyone how much you enjoyed the GP weekend over and over again.

“Robert isn't a bad driver, but he just didn't help the team to go forward. Patrick helped the team go forward- with him we kept improving the car and since Doornbos joined we didn't develop the car that quickly any more…"  More at SPEEDTV.com

Q and A with Katherine Legge Q and A with Katherine LeggeChamp Car followers have long been saying she is the real deal, after her three Toyota Atlantic victories this season - including one at her very first '05 race at Long Beach.

In little over than one month's time, however, Katherine Legge will have the opportunity to show the whole racing world just how good she is. Two opportunities, in fact.

As confirmed yesterday, the 25-year-old Briton will be testing a Minardi/Toro Rosso Formula 1 machine and a Champ Car in an interval of little over a week late in November, becoming the first woman since Giovana Amati's ill-fated experience with Brabham in the early '90s to have a proper run in an F1 car - an opportunity earned through her own talent, plus the influence wielded by her "mentor" Kevin Kalkhoven (through Minardi's engine supplier Cosworth) and, to some extent, Minardi boss Paul Stoddart's own desire to cash in on the recent trend of women drivers, known stateside as "Danicamania."

While it's definitely too soon to be picturing "Leggemania" sweeping through Europe, a quick conversation with the Briton is more than enough to convince one of her seriousness about making an impression, in America and abroad, in next month's "doubleheader."

Q: How did the Formula 1 opportunity came about? Who called whom, between Paul Stoddart and Kevin Kalkhoven?  More at SPEEDTV.com
Coca-Cola Not to Sponsor F1 Coca-Cola Not to Sponsor F1According to this GrandPrix.com source Coca-Cola has no plans to sponsor Formula 1, according to the company's Director of Communications Philipp Bodzenta.

"Going into Formula 1 sponsorship, in whatever form, is currently not under discussion," Bodzenta told German media, adding that this did not exclude the possibility that there might be discussions about the idea in the future.

Coca-Cola is currently involved as a major sponsor with the FIFA World Cup. This deal has been ongoing for eight years and will run out after next year's World Cup. Coca-Cola says it wants to continue that arrangement. Coca-Cola has been linked to international football for more than 70 years, and has been an official FIFA partner since 1974.

Star Mazda Champion to Test with Spirit of Daytona Star Mazda Champion to Test with Spirit of DaytonaA potential Grand American Rolex Star will be testing with the Spirit of Daytona at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Raphael Matos, winner of the 2005 Star Mazda Championship will get a chance to test in the 09 Daytona Prototype (DP) on December 5-6. Matos, won the Star Mazda Championship by eleven points on Oct. 15, after competing in the last Star Mazda race of the season at Laguna Seca. He placed 8th overall in the race but had enough series points to keep him in the lead. Matos has had four victories, three pole positions, and nine podium visits in the past twelve race series and is now looking to test his skills behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype.

Matos, native to Brazil, drives for Ocean Tomo Racing and has been competing in the Star Mazda series for the last two years. In 2004 he placed 7th overall in the series even after he missed the first race of the season. Before joining up with the Star Mazda Series, Matos raced in the Barber Dodge Series. He won the Skip Barber scholarship and went on to win the Dodge National Championship.

Matos originally started racing go-karts in Brazil at age eleven. He raced karts for seven years and won the Brazilian go-kart championships. He then moved to the US in 2002 to gain more racing experience. He raced in the Skip Barber Series for three seasons and won the Skip Barber Shoot Out and rookie of the year in 2002. He then raced in his first Star Mazda season in 2004. Matos was originally only going to race part of the 2005 Star Mazda season, but after the first, second, and third races of the season, Ocean Tomo signed him for the entire 2005 series. zzzz

The 24-year-old Brazilian now calls Sunny Isles Beach, FL his home. When he is not racing Matos enjoys mountain biking at Oleta Park in Miami and does tire testing for Bridgestone tires. He also teaches at driving schools and at go-kart schools throughout South Florida.

With his Star Mazda season complete, Matos is currently looking for a new team to race with. His testing with the Spirit of Daytona this December could mean a new team number for him to wear in the 2006 Rolex Series. Matos is excited and looking forward to his testing sessions in the 09 DP.

“I love the series (Rolex Series) and I love the way the cars look. I have never done endurance racing and it is a completely different approach. With racing you have to constantly be trying different approaches. One of my best friends, Oswaldo Negri (Negri co-driver of the No. 60 Flight Options Lexus Riley for Michael Shank Racing) told me that Grand Am is one of the best places to race in because of the support the series receives. There are good teams in the series and it is growing fast.

Hopefully we can put a program together with the Spirit of Daytona and I can be new blood for the Rolex Grand-Am Series.”

Matos is also familiar with Rolex driver and past Star Mazda driver Michael McDowell.

 “(I) raced against him in the 2004 Star Mazda Series and he won the championships. We had good battles throughout the season. After his championship season he moved to DPs and is now one of the top drivers in the series. I hope that I have the same opportunities as him and get a shot at the DPs for 2006.”

Troy Flis, team owner/manager, was at the Star Mazda Championship Banquet to congratulate Matos.

“I am excited to see how Matos will handle our DP. I saw him in action during the final at Laguna Seca and was impressed with his driving. He is coming from a series with exceptional talent and I would not be surprised if he takes with him his winning history and successes into our series. I welcome the possibilities of working with Matos in the future.”

Star Mazda is a professional racing series with the main objective to develop new racing and driver talent. The series competes across North America at tracks such as Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Trois-Rivières and Mosport. The series consists of 12 races a year and averages 39 entrants per race. The Star Mazda cars are all one design ensuring to highlight driver skill rather than building the best racecar.

For more information on Spirit of Daytona visit: www.spiritofdaytona.com
For more information on Star Mazda visit: http://www.starmazda.com/

Infineon Raceway Named Promoter of the Year by IRL Infineon Raceway Named Promoter of the Year by IRLInfineon Raceway was honored as  Promoter of the Year by the IRL IndyCar® Series on Monday night during a league awards ceremony in Hollywood.

The awards ceremony, which took place at Paramount Pictures Studio, featured a number of awards presentations, highlighted by Dan Wheldon (Andretti Green Racing), who was officially crowned the 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series champion.

Infineon Raceway, which hosted the first event on a permanent road course in the 10-year history of the IRL in August, was recognized for its efforts in promoting the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix. Infineon Raceway was one of 17 facilities eligible for the prestigious award.

The featured event during the many race-week festivities was the Chocolate Mini Grand Prix, which boasted IRL drivers Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice piloting their Argent Mortgage IndyCars around the streets at historic Ghirardelli Square under a full San Francisco Police Department escort.

Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway, accepted the award on Monday night in Hollywood.

“Our staff put a tremendous amount of creative energy into building this new event and it's terrific to see this recognition of their efforts,” Page said. “We appreciate all of the promotional support we received from the league, the racing teams and all of the drivers.”

The IRL IndyCar® Series will return to Infineon Raceway in 2006 (Aug. 25-27), with Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing) looking for his second consecutive victory on the twisting 12-turn, 2.26-mile road course.  The weekend will also feature the exciting debut of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series in the Sonoma Valley, as well as a doubleheader of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. For ticket information, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.

SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Rankings SPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Rankings
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (2) Fernando Alonso (F1) 11.140
2. (1) Kimi Raikkonen (F1) 10.247
3. (3) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 8.233
4. (7) Tony Kanaan (IRL) 7.664
5. (6) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 7.626
6. (13) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.620
7. (10) Oriol Servia (CCWS) 7.413
8. (16) Dario Franchitti (IRL) 7.341
9. (8) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 7.139
10. (5) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 7.064
11. (19) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 7.030
12. (17) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 7.009
13. (4) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 6.907
14. (12) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.834
15. (NR) Joe Nemechek (NASCAR) 6.691
16. (14) Jeremy Mayfield (NASCAR) 6.675
17. (18) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 6.385
18. (11) Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 6.285
19. (20) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 6.275
20. (22) Ricky Rudd (NASCAR) 6.244
Dropped out: Giancarlo Fisichella (F1), Matt Kenseth (NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth at the Martinsville Speedway Matt Kenseth at the Martinsville SpeedwayWith an average finish of 17th over 11 starts, Matt Kenseth’s record at the Martinsville Speedway is not stellar.  This weekend’s Subway 500 at the half-mile paper-clip shaped track marks the sixth of ten races to determine the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion.  Over the past year and a half of Nextel Cup competition Kenseth has finished eighth, 16th, and 11th, in races comprised of track disintegration, tragedy and yellow flags.

The Advance Auto Parts 500, run April 18, 2004, was the first race at the Martinsville Speedway under the Nextel banner.  It was a memorable and controversial event as the race had to be stopped for more than an hour to repair the track that was crumbling under the racecars.  Kenseth rolled off 29th after two dismal practice sessions and a sub par qualifying effort.  Braced for the worst, the car was a pleasant surprise as it ran much better than it had in the previous practice sessions, particularly on long runs.  Kenseth broke into the top-ten by lap 127.  Kenseth settled in and fluctuated between the eighth and 11th spots.  On lap 290, however, a large chunk of concrete broke loose from the track surface and was kicked up and into the No. 24 driven by Jeff Gordon.  The action on the track was halted and NASCAR threw a red flag for safety crews to patch the hole in the track.  Over an hour and fifteen minutes later, competition resumed and Kenseth was able to hold for an eighth-place finish. zzzz

The circuit returned to the Martinsville Speedway for the Subway 500 on October 24, 2004.  The event would set a record for the number of cautions at 17.  Kenseth started the race in the 25th position and fighting a loose racecar.  The crew made adjustments throughout the day but just past the halfway point had a new obstacle to face – they would have to install a new battery in the No. 17 DEWALT Ford.  Kenseth went two laps down as his crew worked to install the new battery but fortunately, because of the number of subsequent caution flags, was able to get his laps back.  Kenseth managed to avoid trouble in the remaining laps beset with yellow flags, and brought home a 16th-place finish.  This day would be overshadowed by tragedy, however, as competitors learned at the conclusion of the event that a Hendrick Motorsports jet had crashed with team owner Rick Hendrick’s brother and son on board, along with eight other persons. 

The first stop at the Martinsville Speedway in the 2005 season was on April 10, 2005, for the Advance Auto Parts 500.  As is typical for Kenseth at Martinsville, the DEWALT team struggled with the set-up during the practice sessions and qualified mid-way through the field in the 18th spot.  Kenseth made the most of the 16 cautions that slowed the race to come down pit road for much needed adjustments.  He would lose a lap on two different occasions but managed to return to the lead lap each time.  With his brakes fading towards the end of the event, Kenseth held on for an 11th-place finish.

Kenseth and the DEWALT team will be bringing car number 23 to race in the Subway 500 this weekend in Martinsville.  In the 2005 season this car has raced at Phoenix, both races at Loudon and the fall race in Richmond.  In its’ four runs, it has posted two top-five and three top-ten finishes.  Looking ahead to the race weekend, Kenseth said, “To be truthful, Martinsville is a track I go to with some trepidation.  We have historically struggled there.  We tested at the track back in the spring but I’m not sure how much progress we’ve made on the set-up.  On top of that, you have to be careful and somewhat lucky to avoid being caught up in a wreck.  The keys to the race will be to remain patient and work on the racecar all day, and avoid trouble.”

Biffle slams NASCAR Biffle slams NASCAR"If they go to the Car of the Future in 2007 or 2008, they are going to ruin the racing anyway," said Greg Biffle. "You will be seeing restrictor plate, IROC racing everywhere. It's just a matter of them assigning the cars because they will be identical. What's the point? There is no reason for Ford, General Motors or Dodge to be involved other than a decal [Editor's Note:  What does it take to convert a Chevy into a Ford in NASCAR?  Just change the headlight decal.].

"Maybe it will be different than I think but they are restricting us on every nut, bolt, body part, location, windshield, driver's seat, shifter -- everything will be purely identical to every single car in the garage. I'm not so sure where that is going to lead.  I like to do more than just hold the wheel and step on the gas."

IPS Series
Medeiros blows what could be only chance Medeiros blows what could be only chanceOnce again the useless IPS Series has taught their driver nothing.  Thiago Medeiros, who set the world on fire in the IPS Series in 2004, was set to make his IndyCar debut in Sunday's race at California Speedway, but he crashed in Saturday's practice. The car was damaged beyond repair and Medeiros was parked......another IPS champion down in flames.  Why?  Because a 100% throttle training series is a waste of everyone's time and an insult to our intelligence.

"It's very frustrating to not race," Medeiros said. "I just didn't have enough time to get comfortable in the car. I learned a lot. It had been a long time since I was in the car, and I should have been more conservative in learning the steps. It was just one time when we were trying to make improvements in the car, and we had the rear end come around. I'm very disappointed."  [Editor's Note:  Thiago, want to learn how to drive?  Do a year in Champ Car Atlantics.  End of story.]

Dana to return Dana to returnJimmy Kite will give up his seat at Hemelgarn Racing in 2006 when Paul Dana returns from injuries suffered in a crash in practice for this year's Indianapolis 500.  "I guess this is my going-away party," Kite said. "I don't know what I'm going to be doing next season. Paul will be back in the car next year. I've talked to the team about running a second car for the Indy 500. I hate that this season is over. I had a really good time. We've made a lot of gains with the team.  I wish there were more races so we could show how improved we are." NSSN
Industry News
ISC stock rating downgraded ISC stock rating downgradedDespite reporting revenue records for the third quarter and the first nine months of its 2005 fiscal year, the stock of International Speedway Corp. has been downgraded from a "strong buy" to a "hold." Given as a reason for the downgrade by Standard & Poor's was ISC's recent purchases of Action Performance and Pikes Peak Int'l Raceway.

Standard & Poor's cut ISC's rating from "Figure Five Star" grade to a "Figure Three Star." Analysts said Action Performance is a lackluster company and the raceway purchase came just before its permanent closing.

Total revenue for the third quarter reached $166.5 million against $154.8 million for the 2004 period. For the nine months ending Aug. 31, total revenue increased to $503.4 million, up from $416.6 million in 2004.

Standard & Poor's said the acquisitions are "unimpressive." ISC stock ended the week of Oct. 14 at $51.86 compared to its 52-week high of $60.59.

Track News
Atlanta reconstruction complete Atlanta reconstruction completeReconstruction is finally coming to a close at Atlanta Motor Speedway, just three months after the facility was severely damaged by a tornado July 6.  Crews have been working around to clock to repair the damage in preparation for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 race weekend on Oct. 29-30.
Dyson says ALMS more professional Dyson says ALMS more professionalAsked to compare Grand Am and ALMS from an entrant’s perspective, Rob Dyson, who competes in both series, took a while to reply, finally terming the ALMS more professional and more traditional, while the Grand Am operates “as if there is a lot of prize money and sponsor dollars involved, which there aren’t.” As an afterthought he threw in, “and its officials like to officiate.” National Speed Sport News
Jeff Gordon to test drive Corvette Jeff Gordon to test drive CorvetteJeff Gordon gets behind the wheel of the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 at Road Atlanta with SPEED Channel’s popular “Test Drive” program and host Tommy Kendall on Oct. 22 at 6:00pm/et. “I had never been to Road Atlanta and I got the opportunity to drive one of the best Corvettes they’ve ever brought out,” Gordon said on SPEED’s “NASCAR This Morning.” “(The Z06) has a lot of power, handles fantastic and looks great -- I had a blast.” Footage was also shot at the famed Le Mans road course in France with Corvette factory driver Johnny O’Connell. Hendrick Motorsport
Andrew Ranger’s team wins volleyball tournament Andrew Ranger’s team wins volleyball tournamentWednesday in Surfers Paradise the Champ Car drivers got to frolic on the beach with the Miss Indy contest women in a Volleyball tournament.  Each team consisted of one driver and the rest women, beautiful women. At the end of two hours of difficult work that saw the drivers refrain from grabbing the women instead of the ball, Andrew Ranger's team prevailed in the finals against Cristiano da Matta's team.  Photos can be found on our home page. Mark C. 
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Todt downplays budget plunge
A new 'drain pain' theory
A clever V10 engine
F1 boss wants rule rethink
Michelin man joins Ferrari
McLaren miss 'Stirling' prize

Rubens on 'gardening leave'
F1 appeal 'high' - report
Fisi was told to 'block'
Bahrain to open season '06
Who's F1's top Brit?
Legge to test F1 - official
Melbourne GP makes $130m
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