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DATE News (chronologically)
10/27/06
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Note: Turn clocks back 1 hour.  Daylight Standard Time begins 2:00 AM Sunday
Inside Drag Racing
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Angels
12:00pm-12:30pm
12:30pm-1:00pm WGN
NHRA 2Day
12:30pm-1:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR RaceDay Atlanta
12:30pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
Star Mazda Laguna Seca
2:30pm-3:30pm (10/21/06) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Atlanta Motor Speedway Bass Pro Shops 500
2:30pm-7:00pm (L) NBC
MotoGP World Championship Spain
3:30pm-4:30pm (SDD) SPEED
MotoGP 250 Spain
4:30pm-5:30pm (SDD) SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Atlanta
7:00pm-8:00pm (SDD) SPEED
The SPEED Report
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
NHRA Las Vegas ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals
8:00pm-11:00pm (SDD) ESPN2
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)
Steve Valdez (Real Racing Online)
Donnie Schatz (WoO)
Nicky Hayden (MotoGP)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
10/27/06
nascar
Chevy’s Car of Tomorrow to Wear Impala SS Badge Chevy’s Car of Tomorrow to Wear Impala SS BadgeUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, After seeing pictures of the Impala SS, I must say the COT looks better in race paint. It does proves that you can put lipstick on a pig, and it’s still a pig. Bob Petitt

Dear Bob, What's even more funny is that they have fake Impala headlight and taillight decals and a fake grille decal and they paint the word Impala SS on it and the car does not look anything like an Impala. The same will be said for the Toyota, Dodge and the Ford. The car is ugly (a pig as you call it) and if anything it degrades the value of the real street car, making it look like, well....a pig. We believe that the COT has the potential to cause NASCAR to plummet as consumers are already becoming increasingly disconnected with the NASCAR product as pointed out elsewhere on this page. Mark C.

10/27/06 ATLANTA - After a decades-long hiatus from stock car racing, Chevy's legendary Impala nameplate - enhanced with the SS performance designation - will once again compete in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) in select races of the 2007 NASCAR season. Chevy's Car of Tomorrow entry, slated to make its first run at Bristol in March of 2007, will be an Impala SS and will share the NNCS schedule next season with the current Monte Carlo SS.

"The decision to return the Impala nameplate to stock-car racing came with NASCAR's announcement that manufacturers are to run two different cars next season," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "The Impala is very successful in the marketplace (best-selling domestic car of 2005) and we wanted to align that success with the accomplishments Chevy has on the race track. The Impala is also a name associated with performance, from the earliest models which raced on the sands and Speedway at Daytona to the newest SS sedan. It's the natural choice for the new Car of Tomorrow."

The Car of Tomorrow will share both the 2007 and 2008 racing seasons with the current race car design until its first full season in 2009. The new car is scheduled to race at sixteen events in 2007, consisting of those at tracks less than a mile and a half in length, the road courses and the second Talladega race. In 2008, all races at tracks two miles or more in length are expected to feature the new design. zzzz

Chevrolet introduced the Impala in 1957 as a 1958 model (50 years ago next year) and drivers immediately took to the big car, racing it first on the beach at Daytona, then at Daytona International Speedway in 1959. Redesigned that year, Bob Welborn scored a victory with the new model for the qualifying race of the 1959 Daytona 500 - the first 500 at the Speedway. Success continued for Impala with consecutive NASCAR championship titles in 1960 (Rex White) and again in 1961 (Ned Jarrett). In 1963, stock-car legend Junior Johnson ran 32 races of the 55-race schedule in the famous white No. 3 Impala owned by Ray Fox and collected seven wins, 12 top-fives, 13 top-tens and nine poles.

The Car of Tomorrow race car concept, to which all manufacturers must conform, is designed to be safer, with the driver moved towards the center of the car and stronger intrusion protection. It will be cheaper and easier to build and will be tunable for all the tracks on the Nextel Cup circuit, thereby eliminating the need for specialized cars for different race tracks.

"The Car of Tomorrow, while still in the development process, illustrates the future of Nextel Cup racing," said Peper. "Chevrolet is committed to that future and we're looking forward to competitive, safe racing with this new car. This is an exciting new chapter for NASCAR and Chevrolet, one that fans are sure to enjoy."

About Impala

While powerful and fast, the Impalas of yesteryear did not have available some of the technology that modern cars employ to increase fuel economy. Today's production Impala SS - boasting 303 horsepower from its 5.3L V8 - still offers 27 miles per gallon on the highway thanks to GM's Active Fuel Management (which switches off four of eight cylinders under light motor load).

With an aggressive front fascia design and rear spoiler, the Impala SS makes its presence known but the SS package is more than just looks and power. Impala SS models receive a FE3 suspension, which includes 18-inch W-rated P235/50R18 AL3 (performance) tires and five-spoke alloy wheels that provide a sporty ride that complements the 5.3L small-block V-8's performance. A 34-mm hollow front stabilizer bar and 18-mm solid rear stabilizer bar combine to provide more roll control than standard trim Impalas. Also, increased stiffness helps reduce body lean and contributes to greater high-speed stability.

Heated leather eight-way power adjustable seats and XM Satellite radio are just some of the comfort features offered on the SS and combined with GM's new 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, buyers get practical performance and comfort with peace of mind.

10/27/06
Industry News
cc
Ford: For Auto Makers, China the new frontier Ford: For Auto Makers, China the new frontierWe present the following excerpt from an article that appeared in today's Wall Street Journal to underscore what we have been saying for years, that China will be a key market for both F1 and now Champ Car.  Given the remarks below, one would think that Ford, a sponsor of Champ Car, will look favorably on the fact that Champ Car will take their name into the Chinese market and race it (and win) in front of many Chinese consumers.  However, if Champ Car doesn't have one or more Chinese drivers behind the wheel of one of their Panoz Ford Cosworths come next May 20th, we doubt Champ Car will be able to capitalize on the great potential that China offers.  We have yet to see them test even one Chinese driver.  In fact they should have had a Chinese driver racing in Mexico City for the season finale to start the PR ball rolling in China. 

As we quoted Kevin Kalkhoven in this news item, “Well, I think that in each of the races we do in different countries it’s important to have Nationals. We see it here in Australia, the impact of a Will Power and a Ryan Briscoe. So we fully recognize the importance of Nationals in each of the countries that we’re in; we’ve got Canadians, we’ve got Mexicans, and in each of the countries we go to we will develop people from that country, because it’s important for the fans." 

We remind him that this is even more important in China than in any other market because at this juncture, the Chinese race fans have no clue what Champ Car is, so there will have to be one to two Chinese drivers on the grid for the season opener in Las Vegas and throughout the years to come so the Chinese fan takes a real interest in the Champ Car product.  Which driver, and for which team, remains to be seen. Mark C.

Wall Street Journal Excerpt
Three days after Ford Motor Co. reported its worst quarterly results in 14 years, company Chairman Bill Ford Jr. arrived in China for a glimpse of what he believes will be the auto maker's future.

On the outskirts of Nanjing in eastern China, 7,000 miles from the company's headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., Ford is finishing work on two sprawling new factories, one to make engines, the other to assemble cars. The facilities are a collaboration with Japanese partner Mazda Motor Corp. and Changan Automobile Group of China. Production, initially for the fast-growing China market, is set to start next year. Ford also has plants in Chongqing in western China and in Thailand. In addition, the company is opening a new research-and-development center in Australia and mulling expanded production in India. zzzz
 
Ford's ambitious growth plans for Asia stand in stark contrast to the painful retreat underway in its home market in North America. Ford last month said it will accelerate plans to cut nearly 58,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada -- about 40% of the total on the payroll at the end of 2005. As it shrinks to fit its diminished U.S. market share, Ford says it will shutter nine factories in North America by the end of 2008, and another seven factories by the end of 2012.

In his first extended comments since he named Alan Mulally, a former top executive at Boeing Co., to succeed him as Ford's chief executive, Mr. Ford said the auto maker's long-term health depends on building more cars and buying more components outside the U.S. "It's a tough industry and it's changing," he said in an interview on a plane ride over China on his way to the plants. "Things have gone global almost over night."

Ford's interest in China mirrors a similar focus by General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group on Asia and other growth markets outside the U.S. Some industry observers argue that, in the future, Detroit's Big Three may have to be less American to survive. This may raise hackles with the United Auto Workers and some American politicians. But Mr. Ford and his counterparts at GM and Chrysler are increasingly open about their shift of focus.
 
As the ranks of the Chinese middle class swell, the country has become the world's fastest-growing major vehicle market. In the first nine months of the year, Ford's sales there have more than doubled from the same period in 2005. "There's going to be no market like China for us," said Mr. Ford, the great grandson of company founder Henry Ford.

"We're barely scratching the surface in China," Mr. Ford said. He said that Ford would even consider manufacturing small cars in China for sale in the U.S. and other markets. "It's certainly possible," he said. "We don't have any plans now. But we'll look at everything." More at The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required)

10/27/06
nascar
NASCAR sponsorship failing Sprint/Nextel NASCAR sponsorship failing Sprint/NextelSo much for NASCAR helping Nextel sell cell phones as was predicted when they sold the idea to their hapless management. Sprint profits have plunged 52% in the third quarter and at a time when Cingular and Verizon are adding more than 1 million new customers each per quarter, Sprint and Nextel managed to lose customers, notes Roger Entner, a wireless analyst at Ovum. "It's pretty bad." Entner blames Nextel for most of Sprints woes, "The Nextel side is near collapse," he says. ""They're still standing, but it's like a technical knockout."

With falling TV ratings and falling attendance, NASCAR is starting to connect less and less with not only the race fans, but also with consumers as what was once thought as a sure bet to increase sales, all of a sudden a NASCAR sponsorship isn't an automatic winner as Toyota will soon find out.

As we noted in this Hot News item, Ford is now taking the Taurus out of production because of lackluster sales after they raced it in NASCAR for years. the Win on Sunday, sell on Monday slogan that worked for years for NASCAR, needs to be rephrased to "Win on Sunday, Line NASCAR's pockets on Monday."

After losing their shirt on their NASCAR TV deal, NBC decided to tell NASCAR where they can shove their TV deals. The only one getting rich on them is NASCAR. With falling TV ratings, the folks who will take over for NBC, namely ABC and ESPN (and to think they paid even more than NBC), must now be wondering how much they are going to lose on their NASCAR deal given NBC lost their shirt and NASCAR TV ad slots will begin to sell at discounted rates.

Cracks are beginning to appear in the NASCAR hull and the ship is beginning to take on water. While it's not time to man the lifeboats just yet, it is time to start the bilge pumps. They still race with carburetors and pushrod engines. Imagine that!  The current and future generations are all about technology and sophistication and the low-tech 1950's NASCAR product is beginning to fall out of touch with today's 21st century consumers. 

There just are not enough NASCAR 'Bubbas' with enough disposable income, to buy what many of the sponsors are selling.  And as the cost of a NASCAR sponsorship keeps rising, the return on investment will become harder and harder to justify.  What's the chance of the NASCAR fan/Bubba to the right buying a Toyota Camry with all its sophistication?  Can you imagine that?  We can't. Mark C.

10/27/06
Industry News
AutoNation to cut Detroit orders by 30% AutoNation to cut Detroit orders by 30%The nation's largest seller of new cars and trucks, AutoNation, Inc., on Friday said it would cut orders for Detroit automakers by 30% during the last three months of the year until it can sell what it called excessively high levels of inventory.

AutoNation spokesman Marc Cannon said the company would continue ordering the same number of foreign-branded vehicles as in the past.

The news comes a day after Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, slammed General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Group for their high levels of stock nationwide, a result of wanting sales. Through September of this year, sales are down 11.3% for GM, 8.6% for Ford and 7.3% for Chrysler.  More at Detroit Free Press

10/27/06
Industry News
BorgWarner reports earnings drop BorgWarner reports earnings dropBorgWarner Inc., a supplier of engine and powertrain components, on Friday said its third-quarter earnings fell 36% because of production cuts by North American automakers.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, BorgWarner earned $39.2 million, or 68 cents per share, down 36% from $61.4 million, or $1.07 per share, during the same period a year earlier.

In the third quarter, BorgWarner had $1.06 billion in sales, up 1% from the same period a year earlier. Sales in the United States fell 14% compared with third quarter 2005, while sales outside in other countries grew 13%. BorgWarner executives said they would continue to diversify their customer base to offset the reduced demand from Detroit’s automakers.

10/27/06
nascar
Rain washes out Cup and Truck qualifying Rain washes out Cup and Truck qualifyingA steady rain washed out all on-track activity at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, forcing NASCAR to use season points to determine the starting lineup for the Bass Pro Shops 500. That put series leader Matt Kenseth on the pole for Sunday's race, runner-up Kevin Harvick alongside and the other eight drivers in the Chase for the championship right behind them.  Qualifying for the Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday also was rained out. NASCAR rescheduled it for Saturday morning. Photo by CIA Stock Photo

NASCAR has announced a revised schedule for tomorrow that includes NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series practice at 9 a.m., Nextel Cup practice for one hour at 10:30 a.m. with the final session from 12:05 to 12:50 p.m. Truck qualifying has been rescheduled for 1:15 p.m.

Bass Pro Shops 500 lineup
1. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, owner points.
2. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, owner points.
3. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, owner points.
4. (11) Denny Hamlin, Chevrolet, owner points.
5. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, owner points.
6. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, owner points.
7. (6) Mark Martin, Ford, owner points.
8. (9) Kasey Kahne, Dodge, owner points.
9. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, owner points.
10. (5) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, owner points.
11. (20) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, owner points.
12. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, owner points.
13. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, owner points.
14. (42) Casey Mears, Dodge, owner points.
15. (25) Brian Vickers, Chevrolet, owner points.
16. (2) Kurt Busch, Dodge, owner points.
17. (12) Ryan Newman, Dodge, owner points.
18. (07) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, owner points.
19. (10) Scott Riggs, Dodge, owner points.
20. (43) Bobby Labonte, Dodge, owner points.  zzzz
21. (1) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, owner points.
22. (26) Jamie McMurray, Ford, owner points.
23. (88) Dale Jarrett, Ford, owner points.
24. (41) Reed Sorenson, Dodge, owner points.
25. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, owner points.
26. (22) Dave Blaney, Dodge, owner points.
27. (96) Tony Raines, Chevrolet, owner points.
28. (66) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, owner points.
29. (7) Robby Gordon, Chevrolet, owner points.
30. (18) J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, owner points.
31. (01) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, owner points.
32. (21) Ken Schrader, Ford, owner points.
33. (40) David Stremme, Dodge, owner points.
34. (19) Elliott Sadler, Dodge, owner points.
35. (14) Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet, owner points.
36. (37) Bill Elliott, Dodge, Attempts/owner points.
37. (45) Kyle Petty, Dodge, Attempts/owner points.
38. (32) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, Attempts/owner points.
39. (55) Michael Waltrip, Dodge, Attempts/owner points.
40. (4) Todd Bodine, Chevrolet, Attempts/owner points.
41. (49) Mike Bliss, Dodge, Attempts/owner points.
42. (61) Kevin Lepage, Chevrolet, Attempts/owner points.
43. (78) Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, Attempts/owner points.
Failed to qualify
44. (74) Derrike Cope, Dodge, Attempts/owner points.
45. (27) Kirk Shelmerdine, Chevrolet, Attempts/owner points.
46. (72) Mike Skinner, Chevrolet, Attempts/owner points.
47. (84) A.J. Allmendinger, Dodge, Attempts/owner points.

10/27/06
irl
IRL tidbits IRL tidbitsSam Hornish Jr. will receive his trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch for winning the third-quarter Driver of the Year balloting on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti is the prohibitive favorite to walk away with one of the awards at the second Scottish Style Awards in Glasgow. At least his wife, actress Ashley Judd, thinks so. Competition in the category includes footballer Steven Pressley, captain of Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premier League, and actor David Tennant. Danica Patrick is called one of auto racing's "leading ladies" in the pages of the November edition of PINK magazine. The 2005 Bombardier Rookie of the Year is featured along with International Speedway Corp. President Lesa France Kennedy in "Driven: Meet auto racing's top women from both sides of the track." The magazine is currently on newsstands. IRL
10/27/06
ips
Several drivers test Indy Pro Series machines Several drivers test Indy Pro Series machinesWhile much of Colorado was under a blizzard warning on Oct. 26, 17-year-old Adrian Carrio was in South Florida.

You might expect that the Monument, Colo., native would have been on the beach enjoying the 85-degree weather. Instead Carrio and two young Californians were at Homestead-Miami Speedway strapped into 450-horsepower Indy Pro Series machines for the first time.

Carrio, the 2006 Star Mazda champion, was joined by 18-year-old JR Hildebrand, a Sausalito, Calif., native who won this year's Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec championship, and 21-year-old Palo Alto, Calif., native Reed Stevens, who was the top race winner in Formula BMW USA.

By rights of their racing accomplishments in 2006, they were awarded a free test in a Sam Schmidt Motorsports-prepared Indy Pro Series car.  zzzz

"There's a reason these three guys were champions and race winners in their respective series," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Indy Pro Series, who was on hand to witness the trio navigate the 13-turn, 2.21-mile road course. "They all displayed quite a lot of talent, speed and consistency. They have the makings of future race winners in the Indy Pro Series."

Carrio and Stevens drove the No. 77 and No. 27 cars, respectively, in the morning.

"It was really good," said Carrio, who just started his senior year of high school. "I actually just drove (the final Star Mazda race) a couple of days ago, so I was pretty fresh in the car. I got acclimated pretty quickly. It was just a couple of changes, the car, the horsepower mainly. I just concentrated on keeping it on the track and getting a good, general overview of how the car felt. It's really well-balanced."

Stevens, who owns a karting business in Sonoma, Calif., was equally impressed.

"I definitely had a great feel for the car - a lot of torque. It's nice to have some good power to get out of the corners," said Stevens, who won four races in his second year of Formula BMW competition. "I had to get warmed up to the car a bit and the older tires, but by the time we had the new set on, it seemed like me and Tim (Neff), the engineer, got some good work done. I was really feeling comfortable and doing some consistent lap times."

The afternoon belonged to Hildebrand, who rewrote the Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec record book with 12 victories and 10 pole positions in 2006.

"It's really enjoyable to drive," said Hildebrand, who recently accepted a two-year deferred enrollment from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). "It's got a lot of horsepower. That's the initial reaction. It's good in the high-speed stuff. It's nice and stuck coming off the banking. Plenty of horsepower to keep you busy everywhere else. That's for sure. I can't thank these guys enough for having me out here to do this."

Earlier in the week, two other drivers passed their oval rookie tests. Jon Brownson and Kevin Krauss tested on the 1.5-mile oval at Chicagoland Speedway on Oct. 24 with Part Sourcing International.

Brownson is a veteran of four seasons in Star Mazda while Krauss has competed in Formula Ford.

"Jon and Kevin both did a good job," said Butch Meyer, technical director for the Indy Pro Series, who observed the test. "They both got up to speed quickly and were able to run consistent lap times."

10/27/06
irl
Bryant to back Kanaan's entry Bryant to back Kanaan's entryBryant Heating & Cooling Systems, the longest non-automotive sponsor of the Indianapolis 500, announced it would sponsor the Andretti Green Racing entry of Tony Kanaan during the 2007 IndyCar Series season.

"We are excited and proud to sponsor Tony Kanaan. He's proven to be a true competitor, and he's backed by one of the strongest teams in the IndyCar Series," said Kevin Dudash, Bryant brand manager. "It's a great opportunity to give visibility to the Bryant brand with a driver and team who truly demonstrate the 'Whatever It Takes' attitude of Bryant dealers across the country."

Bryant's sponsorship at  the Indianapolis 500 dates to 1958, when Indianapolis-based Bryant dealer, Eddie Johnson, became the company's first Indy 500 qualifier.

Since then, Bryant has been a staple at the race for the checkered flag at the Brickyard and its logo has been featured on 50 cars.

"I'm very excited about our new partnership with Bryant," said Kanaan. "Bryant has a great IndyCar racing heritage, and we will certainly do 'Whatever It Takes' to make a run at another championship and an Indy 500 win in 2007."

10/27/06
f1
Michelin: A perfect match Michelin: A perfect matchAfter six years of productive collaboration, Michelin and the Renault F1 Team are going their separate ways. But they are doing so with a spring in their step following further title success. The secret? Mutual confidence.

As the sun sets on Michelin's final Formula One season, the company's staff can leave the paddock in the knowledge that their mission has been accomplished: for the second consecutive season they have fulfilled their objectives by providing tires that played a significant part in the double world championship success of Renault.

The results obtained by the French company and the Renault F1 Team are a perfect illustration of how a collaborative partnership should work. During their time together, the two parties have developed certain methods and systems that have allowed them to react effectively to changing circumstances - the different tire regulations imposed at the start of the past two seasons, for instance. This has inspired tremendous mutual confidence - and that has been the backbone for many race successes all over the world. zzzz

"We were always very keen to work with Michelin again," says Pat Symonds, the Renault F1 Team's executive engineering director, with a smile. "I have always had very happy memories of working with them from my time with Toleman in 1984. I was well aware of the depth of technology Michelin could bring to the sport.

"When the Renault-Michelin alliance began again in 2001, I wasn't disappointed. Motorsport is a deeply rooted part of the culture at Clermont-Ferrand and we quickly established a proper working partnership. Michelin has a genuinely deep appreciation of both tire technology and racing cars. We gradually developed very close links."

Between 2001 and 2006 the two partners worked their way up the F1 hierarchy. As the range of tire products became ever more finely tuned to the car, so performance levels increased. "Throughout our working relationship, greater experience helped us to develop ever greater understanding," Symonds says. "It was an exciting process. On the one hand, Michelin did everything it could to meet our demands - but on the other we were constantly asking for more."

After finishing fourth in the world championship for constructors in 2002 and 2003, Renault moved up to third in 2004 and then fulfilled its objectives in 2005: last season, the French team won both F1 world championship titles.

The key to success? Michelin's F1 director Nick Shorrock says: "In my opinion there were three key factors: development, utilization and the quality of the employees. We faced a steep learning curve at the beginning, while we were coming to terms with the dynamic characteristics of a new car and formulating suitable products. Once we had made the tires, we evaluated them rigorously but methodically, in order to sift out the best options. In that respect, it was advantageous for Michelin to have several partners - we were able to measure all the gains from successive tire evolutions and adapt our range according to the requirements of each partner. After that, it was the quality of dialogue that made the difference."

After those dramatic successes in 2005, just four years after Renault's return to Formula One, the two partners laid down a new challenge: the successful defense of both world titles. "We soon came to realize that winning the championship hadn't diluted Renault's motivation one iota," says Nick. "From the team management to the technical department, I could sense the same will to win that was so apparent beforehand. Michelin was poised to quit F1 at the end of the season and we wanted to bow out on a high note."

For the two partners, another exceptional season lay in wait. Renault scored another eight victories, including Michelin's 100th F1 success (in Montreal, courtesy of Fernando Alonso). "In 2006 I have been hugely impressed by Michelin's efforts," says Pat Symonds. "We have constantly been pushing its engineers and their response has been incredible. The volume of our collective test and development work has been enormous."

As the curtain comes down on a successful partnership, the Renault F1 Team acknowledges Michelin's contribution to its success. As Renault F1 president Alain Dassas points out, "Our championship successes underline the excellent performance of our whole team and prove that Renault and Michelin know how to work and win together." Michelin F1

10/27/06
swc
Driver, family perish in plane crash Driver, family perish in plane crashUPDATE A Cirrus SR-22, that’s the same kind of plane that the Yankees pitcher was in that hit the NY City building a couple of weeks ago.  Once in a spin the SR20 and SR22 are virtually impossible to recover, and unfortunately, as of July 2005, all of the folks who actually needed the parachute to save their lives are in fact dead.  It's basically a plane that’s pretty quick, but some of the pilots who fly it maybe shouldn’t be...(sound familiar??)

10/27/06 MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. – SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car driver Lucho DeCastro (44), his wife and two children were killed in a private plane crash Wednesday in northwestern Arizona, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

According to the AP report, Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the single-engine plane crashed about noon Wednesday about 60 miles east of Las Vegas after its pilot reported icing on the plane's wings.

Search crews from the Mohave County, Ariz., Sheriff's Office spotted the wreckage from a helicopter about 15 miles northeast of Pierce Ferry Airport Wednesday afternoon and saw three bodies.

Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan said search and rescue personnel crossing rugged terrain got close to the site late Wednesday but camped out overnight before continuing on after daybreak. The fourth body was found on Thursday.

Gregor said the plane, a Cirrus SR-22, was on its way to Phoenix from the San Francisco Bay Area. zzzz 

The DeCastro family—Lucho, Laura (41), Nadia (7) and Trevor (4), were reported as the only passengers.

The plane is designed to deploy a parachute in an emergency, but it was unclear whether it deployed.

DeCastro had just completed the season finale of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car Championship. The race was the third of 2006 for the rookie driver. He finished 17th in the race.

DeCastro, who resided in Stone Mountain, Ga., also competed in SCCA Club Racing events in 2006. He acquired a BMW 325i from Turner Motorsport earlier in the season and made his series debut at Mid-Ohio in May, where he recorded what would be his best-ever finish (14th) in his first start. DeCastro also raced at Road Atlanta in September in addition to the October 22 season-finale in Monterey, Calif.

“Coupled with the passing of young Hatch Osborn last week, it has been a difficult time for the World Challenge family away from the race track,” SCCA President and CEO Jim Julow said. “Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the friends and relatives of the DeCastro family.”

This is the second time in three years that an SCCA World Challenge series driver perished in a private plane crash. On October 1, 2003, Paul Mumford was killed in a private plane crash in California, less than a month after Mumford scored his first-ever series win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

10/27/06
nascar
tv news
NASCAR Martinsville TV Rating NASCAR Martinsville TV RatingUPDATE The final rating for the Martinsville race came in at 4.1/9 share down 13% from last year's 4.7/10 share.  The NASCAR slide appears to be worsening, going from 4 to 5% drops each week to now over 10%.

10/23/06 NBC's broadcast of Sunday's Subway 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway earned a 3.5 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating and a 7 market share.  The 3.5 represents a 7.9 percent drop below the 3.8 NBC earned overnight for the 2005 race.
10/27/06
f1
Q and A with Renault’s Rob White Q and A with Renault’s Rob White
Q. Rob, where were you for the final race of the 2006 season?

Rob White - Engine Technical Director:
I was in Renault's Square Com' building in Boulogne, Paris. There were team members from Viry, from Renault and the F1 fan club too. It goes without saying that the atmosphere was wonderful. It was a long, stressful race but we got what we wanted at the end. That was a fantastic moment. We proved that Renault F1 Team is a true top team, that knows how to stay focused and motivated under pressure.

Q. Both cars proved reliable: the E and D5 specifications lasted the distance...

RW:
Yes, and that was particularly satisfying. We took an unusual decision to use two different engines and it worked out well. In general terms, we can be very happy with our season in 2006. It was the first season of V8 engines, and overall, our rivals seemed to suffer many more problems than we did.

Q. The RS26 ran well immediately…

RW:
I think it's main qualities are a direct consequence of the steps we took during the engine's design process. With the project manager Leon Taillieu, we spent a huge amount of time defining the concepts of the engine, understanding its technical challenges - and assessing its impact in terms of our resources.

We worked very hard on the dyno during the winter, and our communication with the chassis team in Enstone was exemplary. Our engine was not the first to run on track – and we were widely criticized for it – but it was the first V8 to win a race in 2006. That was exactly what we wanted.

Q. Was the solitary failure in Monza another proof that reliability can never be taken for granted?

RW: Exactly that. You never stop striving for reliability, and the secret of success is constant vigilance. However, it is wrong to focus solely on being reliable, even at the end of the season.

An engine must performance to the maximum too, and the trade-off between these two independent parameters is what we are seeking to improve every day. Our strength was that we found the best compromise. Renault

10/27/06
Industry News
VW profits plunge 92% VW profits plunge 92%Automaker Volkswagen AG said Friday that its third-quarter net profit plunged 92% because of severance costs and a pensions deal associated with a wide-ranging restructuring.  Volkswagen blamed the profit drop on the restructuring announced last year that has seen it scale back work hours and trim jobs. Spokeswoman Christiane Ritz said the costs of employee buyouts and a deal with union IG Metall to provide one-time payments of $7,944 per person into workers’ pension funds were booked in the third quarter.  So far, approximately 5,000 VW workers have agreed to take buyouts and 11,000 have agreed to early retirement.
10/27/06
motogp
Yamaha re-signs Edwards Yamaha re-signs EdwardsYamaha has officially confirmed that American Colin Edwards will continue with the Factory Yamaha team for a third season in 2007.
10/27/06
cc
track news
Edmonton race gets new GM Edmonton race gets new GMJim Haskins appointed new President/GM of Edmonton's Grand Prix Edmonton, Alberta. Ric Forest, Board Chair, today announced the appointment of Jim Haskins as the new President and General Manager of the Grand Prix of Edmonton. In making his announcement, Forest said: "Our Board is delighted to introduce Jim Haskins as our permanent General Manager. We conducted a thorough search and considered many worthwhile candidates.

Jim excited us because of his record in managing complex operations, his promotional skills, his strong commitment to Edmonton and his passion for racing." Haskins' appointment follows a period of nine months in which Ernie Pasemko served as Acting General Manager. Ric Forest paid tribute to Pasemko's "tireless efforts on our behalf. Ernie always made it clear that when the time was right for the Grand Prix, he needed to go back to his successful advertising agency career in Edmonton."

In accepting the appointment, Jim Haskins said "clearly, part of the attraction is the impact the Grand Prix has had on Edmonton and the way this community has embraced the race. But I would not have accepted this job if I did not believe I could add something to the Grand Prix. I particularly want to build sponsorship support because it is obvious across North America that corporate sponsorship is pivotal to the success of motor sport. I know the race in Edmonton will be even more spectacular in the years to come." GP of Edmonton

10/27/06
motogp
Valencia: Capirossi tops, Hayden over Rossi Valencia: Capirossi tops, Hayden over RossiWhile Capirossi was fastest, but championship contenders Hayden and Rossi, who are in a battle of their own, were 4th and 7th respectively.
1. Capirossi
2. de Puniet
3. Vermeulen
4. Hayden
5. Stoner
6. Pedrosa
7. Rossi
8. Hopkins
9. Nakano
10. Bayliss
11. Edwards
12. Melandri
13. Tamada
14. Roberts
15. Checa
16. Elias
17. Ellison
18. Hofmann
19. Cardoso
20. McCoy
10/27/06
Industry News
Merrill Lynch urges investors to sell GM stock Merrill Lynch urges investors to sell GM stockShares of General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, were downgraded by Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst John Murphy on concerns about the company's third-quarter operating profit and its prospects for next year.  Murphy reduced the shares from "buy" to "sell," saying that improvements at GM are "progressing at a slower pace than we anticipated." He added that the "almost 90% run in the stock off its low in January leads us to believe" that investors have already priced in what success GM has had.
10/27/06
cc
Rice confirmed for Mexico City Rice confirmed for Mexico CityWheeling, Illinois - Forsythe Championship Racing announced today that Buddy Rice will replace A.J. Allmendinger for the last round of the 2006 Champ Car World Series in Mexico City, November 10-12th.

Allmendinger joined the Forsythe Team for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland on June 18th and won his first career Champ Car Victory.  Ever since, Forsythe and Allmendinger enjoyed a great deal of success together; in 9 starts with the Team Allmendinger won 5 races, 1 Pole Position, started on the front row 5 times, and secured 2nd place in the 2006 Champ Car World Series Championship.  After the announcement that the young American will compete in a different series next year, it has been agreed that it is in the best interest of both parties to part ways.  Forsythe Championship Racing would like to wish A.J. Allmendinger the best of luck and success in his future racing career.

Buddy Rice has also had his share of success in the open-wheel racing world.  Rice began his career in Formula 2000 where in 1997 he captured his first victory and won the Valvoline Team USA Scholarship.  He moved up to the Champ Car Atlantic Championship where he competed from 1998 to 2000 winning the prestigious Gilles Villeneuve Memorial Award on his rookie year, placing 5th in the overall standings on his sophomore year, and capturing the Championship on his last year in Champ Car’s development series.  The Arizona native continued climbing the ladder and went on to win the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 from the pole in 2004.  Rice will join the Forsythe Team for the Gran Premio Telmex Presented by Banamex and will drive the #7 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone/Lola in his first career Champ Car World Series start.  zzzz

A.J. Allmendinger
“I would like to thank Jerry Forsythe and the whole Forsythe Team for the opportunity that they gave me.  The last few months of my life have been incredible and I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Team, we had great success and I’ve made great friends.  I am starting a new chapter in my life and I’d like to wish the best of luck to the Team and to Buddy and hope they win in Mexico.”

Buddy Rice #7 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone/Lola
“I’m very excited! It was looking like being a very long off season so I can’t wait to be back in a car and driving again.  Forsythe is one of the top teams out there and there’s no better feeling than knowing that you will be in a competitive car that can run up front and win races.  This will be like a homecoming for me; I won the Champ Car Atlantic Championship in 2000 and that’s where I honed my driving skills, so being back in the Champ Car family is something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.  I’m also super excited about going back to road racing; it’s going to take some adapting specially since I haven’t driven a Champ Car in years and the turbos take some getting used to, but I am confident that we’ll be quick right out of the box.  I have to thank Jerry Forsythe for giving me this huge opportunity; I’m determined to make the most of it!”

Jerry Forsythe, Team Owner
“We are obviously very sad to see A.J. go; we tried to make things work but couldn’t come to an agreement.  As a team we now have to focus on the future and we decided that the best course of action for us and for A.J was to go our own ways immediately.  A.J. is a great driver and I know that he will have great success in the future. Our main goal is to win the 2007 championship and that’s what we will concentrate on from now on.  Buddy has shown great potential throughout his career and he deserves a shot at Champ Car. We must explore our options as we prepare for next year and what better way to give Buddy an audition than by racing for us in Mexico.” Forsythe Championship Racing PR

10/27/06
formula bmw
f1
Youngster to win BMW-Sauber test Youngster to win BMW-Sauber test(GMM)  The world's best formula BMW racer will be given the chance to test a Formula One car this winter.

The winner of the junior open wheel series' 'World Finals' event, staged at Valencia at the end of November, is to earn a drive in the BMW-Sauber.

"Just the thought of getting the chance to drive a BMW-Sauber formula one car keeps me awake at night," said one such eligible youngster, formula BMW USA driver Philip Major.

He will compete against 37 other drivers from 18 nations, who race in the German, British, Asian and North American formula BMW series.

10/27/06
cc
Tracy reiterates allegiance to Champ Car Tracy reiterates allegiance to Champ CarPaul Tracy is Champ Car’s 2003 champion and he leads the series with 30 wins and over 4000 laps led.  He is, without question, the face of Champ Car and has entertained fans globally as the driver of Gerald Forsythe’s #3 Indeck car.  He is a man who has passion for his sport and who is driven to win.  Most importantly, anyone who knows P.T. well will tell you that he is loyal.  In his 15-year career, he has driven for only 4 teams, which is unheard of these days in a sport where drivers are quick to chase the big money and head to where the grass appears to be greener.            

One of the most talented and colorful race car drivers in the business, Tracy has decided to remain loyal to Champ Car and abandon plans to participate in NASCAR in 2007.  Tracy participated in six NASCAR Busch Series races in 2006 and showed signs of potentially having a successful career in stock cars. 

But, Tracy knows where he comes from.   

“I enjoyed my experiences in NASCAR and I appreciate the relationships that I have developed during my first season of stock cars, especially with Sport Clips and American Crew,” Tracy said.  “However, Champ Car is where my heart is and it’s where I come from and it’s what has put me where I am today and what has given my family and me this lifestyle.  I have a great relationship with Gerry Forsythe and I am committed to returning in 2007 and doing whatever I can to give Forsythe Racing another championship.  I have a great team and I am fully committed to working with them to consistently put us in Victory Lane.” 

He continued, “I can’t thank Gordon Logan at Sport Clips and John Mulgrew at American Crew enough for believing in me and giving me my first shot at NASCAR.  I have great relationships with both of them and they will remain personal friends as well as personal sponsors.  I am also appreciative of my relationship with Jim France and everything he did to help facilitate my entry into NASCAR.”   

As for his former open-wheel counterparts defecting to NASCAR, Tracy was supportive but once again loyal to his series. 

“I wish the best for A.J. Allmendinger and Juan Montoya in NASCAR, however I am committed to continuing my career in Champ Car and building the series in order that it will get both the national and global attention that it deserves.  Champ Car is a great series that provides excitement week-in and week-out.  In Australia, we had over 300,000 people there.  Is that not exciting?  Sure it is, and I want to be a part of it.  Next season we open in Las Vegas and we also head to China.  Great things are happening in Champ Car and people need to pay closer attention to what we have going on over here.”

10/27/06
motogp
Valencia: Rossi leads close practice 1 Valencia: Rossi leads close practice 1
1. Valentino Rossi ITA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 33.310 secs
2. Casey Stoner AUS Honda LCR 1min 33.316 secs
3. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team 1min 33.317 secs
4. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 33.474 secs
5. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 33.513 secs
6. Colin Edwards USA Camel Yamaha Team 1min 33.545 secs
7. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team 1min 33.643 secs
8. Troy Bayliss AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 1min 33.699 secs
9. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 33.774 secs
10. Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Honda 1min 33.791 secs
11. Shinya Nakano JPN Kawasaki Racing Team 1min 33.815 secs
12. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1min 33.845 secs
13. Carlos Checa SPA Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 33.860 secs
14. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Team Roberts 1min 33.988 secs
15. Makoto Tamada JPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 34.050 secs
16. Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Honda 1min 34.449 secs
17. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 34.767 secs
18. Jose Luis Cardoso SPA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP 1min 35.947 secs
19. James Ellison GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 1min 36.042 secs
20. Garry McCoy AUS Ilmor SRT (800cc) 1min 36.566 secs
10/27/06
nascar
Maurice Petty, Barney Hall to enter NMPA hall of fame Maurice Petty, Barney Hall to enter NMPA hall of fameAnother member of stock car racing’s “royal” family and the sport’s longtime radio voice make up the National Motorsports Press Association’s hall of fame class for 2007. Maurice Petty was head engine builder for more than 30 years at Petty Enterprises and helped guide his brother, Richard, to 198 of his NASCAR-record 200 career wins, while Barney Hall has been working on radio broadcasts for nearly five decades. Maurice Petty, 67, helped his brother win seven poles, seven Daytona 500s and 120 poles. He also made 26 starts as a driver at the Cup level, with seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes between 1960 and 1964. He stepped away from full-time involvement in 1985, but helped Dodge work with its motors when it returned to NASCAR’s top series. Petty was diagnosed with polio as a child and now needs a walker and a scooter to get around. Hall, now 74, was working for a radio station in his hometown of Elkin when he got a job as the public address announcer at the track in Bristol, Tenn. Within a couple of years, he was working for what would become Motor Racing Network, where he still works today. The NMPA’s hall of fame is part of the Stock Car Racing Museum at Darlington Raceway. Induction ceremonies will be held in Charlotte during the NMPA’s annual convention in January. Thatsracin
10/27/06
iroc
IROC series season concludes at Atlanta IROC series season concludes at AtlantaCrown Royal IROC XXX will conclude the 2006 season on Saturday, October 28, 2006 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The $1 million Race Four finale will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel at 3:00pm/et. The Crown Royal IROC Series returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the third consecutive year to award $1 million to the series’ champion. 2006 will mark IROC’s fifth appearance at AMS, having staged final events in 1979 and 1980. The 2006 championship will be decided among the top four in the current points standings: Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Max Papis and Ryan Newman; all others are mathematically eliminated. The rest of the field are: Martin Truex Jr., Sam Hornish Jr., Frank Kimmel, Mark Martin, Scott Sharp, Wayne Taylor/Max Angelelli, Steve Kinser and Ted Musgrave. By calculation there are nearly 50-million different possible orders of finish. It will come down to bonus points and the final running order before the championship is decided. If Kenseth wins and maximizes the bonus points, as he did in the opener at Daytona, Stewart will need to finish third or better to clinch the title. Stewart was the IROC Series runner-up in 2001. A Crown Royal IROC title in 2006 would give Stewart six different series title to his collection of national championships. His five national titles include: USAC National Midget champion (1994 & ’95), USAC Sprint Car (’95), USAC Silver Crown (’95), IRL IndyCar Series (’97) and NASCAR Nextel Cup (2002 & ’05). Race bonus points in addition to winning the race in Atlanta could make Kenseth the first two-time $1 million Crown Royal IROC champion: He won the inaugural $1 million Crown Royal IROC championship in 2004. Papis and Newman are tied at 39-points. Mathematically, Papis, or Newman, could win the championship if Stewart finishes 11th or worse, Kenseth places out of the top-five, and either driver would have to win the race and collect the maximum bonus points (8). More at IROCRacing.com
10/27/06
nascar
Rookie News and Notes Atlanta Rookie News and Notes Atlanta#11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Oct. 22 Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Hamlin finished second, .544 seconds behind race winner Jimmie Johnson. He claimed his sixth top-five and 16th top-10 finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 15th time this season. Hamlin is fourth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 47 points behind leader Matt Kenseth. He leads fifth-place Jeff Burton by one point and sixth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 47. Hamlin leads Clint Bowyer by 54 points (277-223) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 29 Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 32 races this season. Reed Sorenson was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March race at Atlanta (race No. 4) earlier this season, scoring a 10th-place finish. Kyle Busch was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2005 Bass Pro Shops 500, posting a 12th-place finish. Busch also led the race once for four laps. Since 1975, the late Kenny Irwin is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole at the fall race in Atlanta. Irwin grabbed the top spot for the 1998 Bass Pro Shops 500. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the fall race at Atlanta (since 1975) is second by Dale Earnhardt in 1979. Earnhardt finished one-half car length behind winner Neil Bonnet. Raybestos PR
10/27/06
nascar
Final 2006 race for Jim Beam Final 2006 race for Jim BeamThis weekend's event will mark the final appearance of the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season for Jim Beam as the primary sponsor of Robby Gordon's #7 Chevy. Dedicated to socially responsible drinking, Jim Beam launched its awareness program, drink smart, in 1995 as an educational program that communicates the importance of responsible consumption by adults of legal purchase age that choose to drink. drink smart means: If you're of legal age and you choose to drink, do so responsibly; Do not drink if you're under 21; Don't drive drunk; If you can't drink smart - don't drink at all. Harrah's, Menards and CarLoan.com will serve as associates. RGM PR
10/27/06
nascar
Ward Burton back in No. 4 Ward Burton back in No. 4Ward Burton will return to drive the #4 Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 5. Morgan-mcclure.com will provide performance & media updates throughout the weekend. Ward Burton #4 t-shirts will be available for sale through www.morgan-mcclure.com in the coming days. Any individual or company who would like to support Ward Burton and Morgan-McClure, see www.morgan-mcclure.com. Morgan McClure Motorsports
10/27/06
f1
Renault remembers Jacques Villeneuve Renault remembers Jacques VilleneuveOn 26 October 1997, Jacques Villeneuve won the world title in his Williams-Renault at Jerez, where the dramatic events of the European Grand Prix were unfolding. The fight for the drivers’ title was at its peak: Michael Schumacher, on 78 points, was leading Jacques Villeneuve by a single point. Everything was still to play for in the final round.

As if to notch up the pressure a little more, the Canadian was on pole position… ahead of his rival. At the start, Schumacher shot into the lead ahead of Frentzen and Villeneuve. The championship rivals made their first stops on laps 22 and 23, with the Ferrari emerging in the lead – and the Canadian’s Williams moving up to second. The second round of stops came and went, on laps 43 and 44, and the order remained unchanged. However, Villeneuve was closing in on his target… As he closed on the Ferrari, he attempted to overtake at the end of the back straight. Schumacher didn’t budge, and even appeared to try and cause a collision. The cars touched, and the Ferrari retired – while the damaged Williams continued.

From that point on, Villeneuve no longer needed a victory to win. He backed off in the final part of the race, letting the McLarens of Hakkinen and Coulthard pass – indeed, that race was Hakkinen’s first Grand Prix win. Villeneuve became champion, while Schumacher was ultimately disqualified from the championship for his actions.

Nine years ago, Renault won its fifth drivers’ title and sixth constructors’ and today they are celebrating their seventh drivers’ crown and eighth constructors’ after last weekend’s dramatic win in Brazil. Renault

10/27/06
f1
Renault committed to F1 thru 2012 Renault committed to F1 thru 2012Renault’s President Carlos Ghosn is delighted with his team’s F1 championship victory.

What are you feelings following the Renault F1 Team’s double championship victory?
Obviously I am very happy with this victory, and very proud of the entire team. I want to take this opportunity to thank all those people who have made a strong contribution to this performance: obviously our two drivers, our Managing Director Flavio Briatore, the President of Renault F1 Team Alain Dassas, and every member of our teams both in Enstone and Viry-Châtillon. And that’s not forgetting all our supporters, both within Renault and beyond.

Why is it important that Renault has won this double championship victory?
It is an important victory because it justifies the investment Renault has made in Formula 1, and will make in the future. More and more, Formula 1 is working as an investment for us, not a loss.

How would you describe the benefit of Formula 1 and this win for Renault as a major manufacturer?
Firstly, it helps to grow awareness of our brand in markets where we are little known and looking to grow. Secondly, in markets where the brand in known, it strengthens our image. It gives us a youthful, competitive personality, its shows we are a company with cutting-edge technology, that we are brave enough to take part in a competition against most of the other major manufacturers and, most importantly, capable of winning. It also brings an image of reliability because our cars finished almost all the races, not just when they won but also in the other positions. This win brings a lot to Renault, and now it’s our job to transform that into a sales victory through the current products, but also in the product offensive that begins in the coming months.

What will be Renault’s position in the future?
We are in Formula 1 to stay, and we have made that clear. New regulations will come into force from 2007 and in the following years, and we are familiar with them as we played a role in framing them. I think these regulations will, in time, help us to offer the public a better show, and bring even more intense competition between the manufacturers. For Renault, this is an investment – and an investment that aids the growth of the Renault brand and Renault’s products.

10/27/06
iroc
Atlanta pre-race IROC driver quotes Atlanta pre-race IROC driver quotesHampton, Ga - Crown Royal IROC XXX will conclude the 2006 season on Saturday, October 28, 2006 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The $1 million Race Four finale will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel at 3:00 p.m. ET. The following quotes were collected between Monday, October 23 and Thursday, October 26.

Sam Hornish Jr.: "Everything went pretty good despite the wind out here today which was moving the cars around a little bit. But I feel pretty comfortable so far for the first day, but no matter how comfortable you get during practice it all changes once we get everybody out there for the race. I certainly would like add an IROC race win to what has been a pretty good year for me."

Frank Kimmel: "We had a really good test (yesterday and today (Wednesday and Thursday)," said Kimmel. "It is great to be back here at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  This is a great race track and I always ran well here in the ARCA cars so it is pretty exciting to get to race the IROC cars around this track.  I would really like to have a good run Saturday to finish out my first season of IROC competition.  I feel like I have had some solid runs in these cars and would like nothing better than to finish the season with a top run here at Atlanta.  The IROC team members have done a great job getting all these cars ready for us and I hate that we lost a motor in one of the test cars that I was driving this afternoon.  But we all put a lot of laps on these cars and they are always in top condition." zzzz

Steve Kinser: "Actually, I feel pretty good. I've been pretty comfortable here in past IROC races, but my results haven't shown it. For the race this year, I'm just going to get out there, have a good time and give it my best shot. Like I said, I'm comfortable enough in the cars to race hard, so hopefully we'll have a good race and a good finish to the season on Saturday."

Max Papis: "It feels great to back in the saddle with IROC. The opportunity IROC offers the drivers by being here all week and making the cars available to get in as many laps as you need before the race really helps out a lot.  I can tell you I'm very excited about this race knowing that I'm actually in contention for the championship. I'm especially proud because I'm the only non-stock car driver in that position. I would really like to get that missing piece of the puzzle -- Celebrating an IROC victory in winner's circle. I know it's going to be tough but I'll give it everything I can."

Scott Sharp: "Things are going great and I'm excited about the race. Jay (Signore) and the IROC team are great about giving us non-stock car regulars as much time as possible to get as comfortable as we can in a short period of time before each of the IROC races. " Sharp continued, "It's been a real fun season for me in IROC. I think every race I've run really well, but unfortunately I've gotten involved in someone else's issue's, but it's still been a lot of fun and hopefully we'll end it on a high-note on Saturday."

Tony Stewart: "Any time you can win a championship it's big.  But the IROC championship… to compete against so many different drivers from so many different disciplines and to beat them in a series where the cars are so evenly matched, that's big.  It really is about driving the cars, and whoever does the best job driving their car is going to win the championship.  If you can beat those guys on talent and not because you've got a better race car, that's a great honor.  It would rank right up there with the rest of the championships I've won, that's for sure."

Wayne Taylor: "I'm feeling so much better than I did the first couple of days, I've had so much to learn. In the last two day's I really started understanding what it is I need to do for this race. The IROC test drivers have been working really well with me and I believe even if we get rained out of practice tomorrow, I'll be ready and looking forward to the race."

10/27/06
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Atlanta
10:30am-11:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Atlanta
11:30am-12:00pm (L)  SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Atlanta
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
Speed World Challenge Laguna Seca 10/22/06
1:00pm-2:00pm -Touring Car
2:00pm-3:00pm -GT SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series, Memphis - Montoya's first Busch race!
2:00pm-4:30pm (L) NBC
IROC Atlanta
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck  Hampton, GA Atlanta Motor Speedway
4:30pm-7:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Performance
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Tradin' Paint Atlanta
8:00pm-8:30pm SPEED
Formula 1 Brazil
8:30pm-11:00pm (R) SPEED
NHRA Budweiser Shootout Las Vegas
10:00pm-10:30pm (SDD) ESPN2
NHRA Qualifying Las Vegas
10:30pm-12:00am ESPN2

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

10/26/06
track news
Daytona to look at ISC expansion plans Daytona to look at ISC expansion plansDAYTONA BEACH -- International Speedway Corp.'s plan to build a "lifestyle village" on the old General Electric campus is being tweaked to give the retail-office center greater tourism appeal.

Speedway planners haven't disclosed, yet, what new facilities they hope to add to previously announced structures plan-needed for a 71-acre site at 1800 W. International Speedway Blvd. However, a memo from ISC President Lesa France Kennedy states the project is being changed "from a retail-focused lifestyles property to more of a destination center." The memo adds that the new concept, which will complement the racetrack and Daytona USA across the street, "will help attract visitors that previously may not have come to the area."

A lifestyle center is one that mixes retail and entertainment with other services in a village-style setting. As part of the revamping, a Sarasota developer, Casto Lifestyle Properties, has bowed out of the project, and Speedway is seeking a new partner for the $100 million redevelopment. Once the new partner is selected, Speedway should have a clearer idea about what it will add to boost the park's entertainment appeal, said spokesman Lenny Santiago.

The redevelopment project will create an 18-screen movie theater with 3,000 seats, 240,000 square feet of retail space, 225,000 square feet of office space, mainly for ISC and NASCAR, a 73-room hotel, 100 condominium units and 1,950 parking spaces. More at Daytona Beach News Journal

10/26/06
f1
USGP tickets on sale Nov. 1st USGP tickets on sale Nov. 1stINDIANAPOLIS - Race Day reserved tickets for the 2007 United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 1, and any fan who buys selected tickets by Friday, Dec. 15 will receive a free, limited-edition gift.

The first 2,500 customers to purchase at least two Race Day reserved tickets or a pair of four-day "Season Pass" tickets from Nov. 1-Dec. 15 will be mailed the Official Formula One Season Review 2006. This is the only opportunity for fans in the United States to get this special full-color book - a $40 value - that features a detailed recap of all 18 Grands Prix in this exciting season, including the USGP.

This special offer makes an ideal holiday gift, so order today.

The eighth annual United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis is scheduled for Sunday, June 17, returning to the third weekend of June on which the race took place in 2004 and 2005. This year's race, won for a record fifth time by the legendary Michael Schumacher, was July 2.  zzzz

Tickets can be purchased through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Web site, www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com. Fans also can purchase tickets by phone or at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office.

The IMS Ticket Office can be contacted at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally. Ticket Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Ticket Office is located in the IMS Administration Building, at the intersection of 16th Street and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis.
Parking and camping permits also can be purchased online, by phone or at the Ticket Office.

"Season Pass" and general admission tickets already are for sale online, via phone or in person at the IMS Ticket Office.

At $60 each, the "Season Pass" represents arguably the best value of any IMS event ticket. It provides general-admission access for all four days of the USGP, starting with the popular Pit Walkabout on Thursday, June 14. Race Day reserved seat holders also will have total access to the Walkabout, which opens the world of F1, its drivers and machines to fans. The USGP schedule continues with practice Friday, June 15, qualifying Saturday, June 16 and Race Day, Sunday, June 17.

USGP fans will receive even more value than ever for a "Season Pass" due to new rules for 2007 that will have F1 cars on track for three hours for Friday practice, up from two hours in 2006.

In another bonus for fans, the rules that limit F1 teams to one engine every two races will apply only to Saturday and Sunday on race weekends in 2007. Teams will have more incentive to turn laps during Friday practice, as they won't have to restrict mileage to conserve engines.

Race Day also could be more exciting due to new Safety Car rules instituted for 2007.

When the Safety Car is deployed, lapped cars between cars running on the lead lap will pass those cars and the Safety Car and move to the rear of the field for the restart. This will put all lead-lap cars nose-to-tail on the track, allowing those drivers to resume duels for position immediately after the restart without interference from lapped cars.

There also will be a host of new driver-team combinations during the 2007 USGP to keep fans intrigued.

Leading those changes are two-time defending World Champion Fernando Alonso, moving to McLaren-Mercedes from Renault, and Kimi Raikkonen, heading to Ferrari from McLaren-Mercedes to replace retired seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher.

California native Scott Speed will return as the only American driver in F1 for his second season with Scuderia Toro Rosso.

10/26/06
f1
Ferrari confirms Brawn is out Ferrari confirms Brawn is outFerrari announces that as of this 1st November, Ferrari S.p.A. C.E.O. Jean Todt, will also take on, as an interim, the role of Managing Director of the Gestione Sportiva, which will be organized as follows:

* Sporting Director - Stefano Domenicali

* Technical Director - Mario Almondo

Technical Department will be made up of Chassis Department, headed up by Aldo Costa, while Gilles Simon will be responsible for Engine Department, with both men reporting to Mario Almondo.

Ferrari offers its most heartfelt thanks to Ross Brawn and Paolo Martinelli for their immense contribution in the drafting of an extraordinary chapter in the history of the Scuderia and motor sport, which has produced a tally of eleven world titles (six Constructors' and five Drivers,' all of these with Michael Schumacher) and of around ninety wins in Formula 1 Grands Prix. After years of hard and demanding work, Ross Brawn has decided to turn his attention to his personal life, while Paolo Martinelli will take on an important role within the FIAT Group: to them go best wishes for a satisfying future.

10/26/06
f1
Trullis has 2nd child Trullis has 2nd childWe would like to congratulate Jarno Trulli and his wife Barbara on the birth of their second son.  Marco was born this morning in Pescara, Italy. He came into the world weighing 5 Lbs 1 Oz and joins one-year-old brother Enzo as part of the Trulli family.  Both mother and baby are doing well.
10/26/06
formula bmw
38 drivers to compete in Formula BMW World Final 38 drivers to compete in Formula BMW World FinalMunich - From 24th to 26th November, Valencia will be the venue for the clash of the most gifted drivers from the four international Formula BMW series. The DELL Formula BMW World Final is contested by 38 drivers from 18 countries. They all just can't wait for the season highlight. After all, they are not going to battle it out for the US$60,000 prize money alone. At the same time, the winner will also be rewarded with a Formula One test with the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

"Just as it was the case last year, the second edition of the World Final will be contested by nearly every driver who succeeded in shining in our entry-level series over the course of the year," says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "I'm delighted we are able to offer the young talents the chance of competing with other drivers from all parts of the world."

Indeed: The international make up of the 2006 DELL Formula BMW World Final entry list is truly remarkable. Drivers from the four regional series held in Germany, Great Britain, Asia and North America are taking part in the event held at Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat", with some of them traveling to Spain's Mediterranean coast from nations as far away as Colombia or Mexico. zzzz

Quite obviously, this year's Formula BMW Champions must be regarded as some of the top favorites. This particularly applies to Christian Vietoris (GER/Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Niall Breen (IRE/Fortec Motorsport) who succeeded in securing the German and British Championship titles respectively with a clear lead over their closest rivals. Vietoris has been victorious in eight of the 18 Formula BMW Germany rounds contested so far, while Breen won nine of the 20 Formula BMW UK Championship races.

However, the two champions will have to cope with competitive opponents from overseas: Robert Wickens (CAN/EuroInternational), who claimed the Formula BMW USA title, proved in last year's World Final he has got what is needed to deliver in style in an international field. In the final race in Bahrain, he performed an impressive chase and worked his way up from 25th position to finish sixth. Furthermore, the 2006 Formula BMW Asia Champion, Earl Bamber (NZL/Team Meritus), will also contest the World Final, thus completing the "Quartet of Formula BMW Champions".

On the other hand, Marco Holzer (GER) proved in the maiden running of the event that dark horses may also hope to win the World Final. At the end of the 2005 Formula BMW Germany season the young gun had to settle for 13th position. In Bahrain, however, he displayed a clearly improved form and secured victory. This year, there are numerous drivers - such as Formula BMW USA Rookie Cup winner Daniel Morad (CAN/AIM Autosport) or Henry Arundel (GBR/Fortec Motorsport), who clinched the British Series' Rookie Cup - who are keen on repeating Holzer's feat. The current leader in the German Rookie Cup, Jens Klingmann (GER/Eiffelland Racing), might also become a factor in the battle for glory in Spain.

Entry List:

Driver Nationality Team
Philip Major Canada AIM Autosport
Daniel Morad Canada AIM Autosport
Nick de Bruijn Netherlands ASL-Team Mücke-Motorsport
Christian Engelhart Germany ASL-Team Mücke-Motorsport
Niall Quinn Ireland AM-Holzer Rennsport GmbH
Matthew Lee USA Team Autotecnica
Jens Klingmann Germany Eifelland Racing
Mika Mäki Finland Eifelland Racing
Martin Ragginger Austria Eifelland Racing
Stefano Coletti Monaco EuroInternational
Robert Wickens Canada EuroInternational
Matt Howson Great Britain Filsell Motorsport
Daniel Murray Ireland Filsell Motorsport
Henry Arundel Great Britain Fortec Motorsport
Niall Breen Ireland Fortec Motorsport
Jack Clarke Great Britain Fortec Motorsport
Euan Hankey Great Britain Fortec Motorsport
Daniel McKenzie Great Britain Fortec Motorsport
Daniel Ricciardo Australia Fortec Motorsport
Ross Curnow Great Britain Gelles Racing
David Garza Mexico Gelles Racing
Adrien Herberts Canada Gelles Racing
Maxime Pelletier France Gelles Racing
Ryan Phinny USA Gelles Racing
Sebastian Saavedra Colombia Gelles Racing
Andrei Harnagea Romania GU-Racing Motorsport Team
Jens Höing Germany GU-Racing Motorsport Team
Maximilian Wissel Germany GU-Racing Motorsport Team
Frankie Muniz USA Jensen Motorsport
Daniel Campos Hull Spain Josef Kaufmann Racing
Josef Kral Czech Republic Josef Kaufmann Racing
Christian Vietoris Germany Josef Kaufmann Racing
Tom Dunstan Great Britain Team Loctite
Oliver Turvey Great Britain Team Loctite
Fabio Leimer Switzerland Matson Motorsport
Earl Bamber New Zealand Team Meritus
Matt Hamilton Great Britain Motaworld Racing
Jonathan Legris Great Britain Motaworld Racing

10/26/06
f1
Aguri to announce drivers in November Aguri to announce drivers in November(GMM)  Super Aguri is expecting to confirm its driver lineup for 2007 next month, a team spokeswoman at the Japanese squad's factory in Leafield said on Thursday morning.

"We anticipate (an announcement in) late November," she said by telephone.

Reports indicate that Anthony Davidson, who is currently Honda's test driver, will join Aguri incumbent Takuma Sato at the team next year.

Sato's Japanese countryman Sakon Yamamoto was his teammate at the end of 2006.

10/26/06
NASCAR
Update on injured crewman Update on injured crewmanPhillip Gee, jack man for the No. 66 Haas CNC Racing entry driven by Jeff Green in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, underwent an MRI examination of his injured left knee on Wednesday morning, October 25. As of this writing, the results of that examination have not been released. Gee, who injured the knee following a pit stop during Sunday's Nextel Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, is expected to be out for the remainder of the season, according to team officials. Gee said doctors did not detect any broken bones in their initial examination, but scheduled the MRI to determine if there is any ligament or cartilage damage to the knee. Mike Casto, who serves as jack man for Haas CNC Racing's No. 00 Busch Series entry, will fill that role on the No. 66 entry during Gee's recuperation.
10/26/06
Industry News
Honda profits slip, sales soar Honda profits slip, sales soarHonda Motor Co. said Wednesday that second-quarter profit slipped 4.3%, but sales were strong especially in North America and Asia, where demand for fuel-efficient Japanese cars has been growing.

Japan’s No. 3 automaker posted a group net profit of 127.9 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for the July-September period, down from 133.7 billion yen the same period a year ago.

Quarterly sales jumped 12.5% to 2.6 trillion yen ($21.8 billion) from 2.3 trillion yen, the Tokyo-based manufacturer said, helping make up for soaring raw material costs and research costs.

It's one thing for Honda profits to be down, but to still make a profit, unlike Ford, GM and Chrysler who actually lose $ billions each quarter.

10/26/06
ga
Finlay Motorsports completes test Finlay Motorsports completes testThe Finlay Motorsports Ford- powered Crawford Daytona Prototype team completed a successful two-day test Tuesday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway in south Florida. Rob Finlay and Michael Valiante, drivers of the Make-A-Wish/Z-Line Designs machine, scored an impressive 5th place finish earlier this season when the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series visited the speedway in March.  

The first day of testing, Monday, was shortened because of rain but Finlay and Valiante still managed to get in some good seat time combining for a total of 84- laps.  Tuesday’s weather was much better and the driving duo lapped the 2.21- mile road course for a total of 160-laps before night fell ending the test. “That was a good test,” said Steve Cameron, President of Operations at Finlay Motorsports.  “We focused on tuning the chassis and were able to gain some valuable knowledge that should help us out when we return in the spring.  Next year will mark our second season with the Crawford chassis and we’re now able to return to tracks that we have some previous data and experience to build on.   “We know that what we learned last season with the chassis will give us a great platform to work from in 2007.” zzzz

The 2006 Grand American Rolex Series season marked the first full season of Daytona Prototype competition for Rob Finlay and Michael Valiante.  The teammates turned several heads showing the competition that they were contenders finishing the season seventh in the overall team point standings. “This test really showed just how well Michael (Valiante) and Rob (Finlay) are working together,” continued Cameron.  “They challenge each other to perform at there best all the time.  Both drivers were quick and continue to gain not just speed but the consistency needed to win races.”

Up next for Finlay Motorsports:  Finlay and Valiante will compete in the Grand American Rolex Series open test November 6-7 at the world renowned Daytona International Speedway as preparations begin for the season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
10/26/06
starmazda
Performance Friction to join forces with Star Mazda Performance Friction to join forces with Star MazdaThe Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and Performance Friction Corporation announced today that Performance Friction will become the official supplier of brake pads, rotors and bobbins for the IMSA sanctioned development series, bringing together North America’s largest open-wheel development series with the world’s preeminent brake manufacturer.

“Performance Friction is one of the leading names in motorsports and we are very thrilled to be able to announce this partnership this weekend,” Star Mazda Championship president Gary Rodrigues explained. ”We look forward to working with them and believe our teams and drivers will be pleased with the performance of their products and technical support.” zzzz

Performance Friction equipped vehicles captured 161 World and National Championships in 2005 and are the official supplier for the Champ Car World Series as well as the Champ Car Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda. In joining with the company the Star Mazda Championship receives the wisdom of what has become the benchmark in brakes in the motorsports world.

“Our products are being used on the world’s top race cars and we are happy to be adding the Star Mazda Championship as a partner,” Derrick Dong, Director of Motorsports for Performance Friction explained. “We are committed to open-wheel racing, as well as the development of young drivers and mechanics, in joining with the Star Mazda Championship we will play a part in the continuing education of this next generation of motorsports talent, both in making the cars faster and in bringing the mechanics and teams the latest in braking technology.”

10/26/06
nascar
Shepherd to race Roush No. 60 Shepherd to race Roush No. 60Roush Racing developmental driver, Peter Shepherd, will practice and qualify Carl Edwards' Busch Series No. 60 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion this weekend in Memphis.  This will be Shepherd's inaugural Busch Series event.  Shepherd has competed in three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races this season for Roush Racing, the first of which was at Memphis.  Shepherd qualified 25th and finished 23rd in that race.

Carl Edwards is part owner of the USAC Silver Crown race car that Shepherd competed in this year and has helped Shepherd out with driving tips throughout the season.  Now Shepherd can return the favor while gaining valuable seat time.  With Edwards in Atlanta for the Nextel Cup race he will miss all Busch practice sessions and qualifying for Saturday's Sam's Town 250.  Shepherd will step in to practice and qualify the car while Edwards fulfills his Nextel Cup responsibilities in the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Shepherd is prepared to start the Busch race if Edwards does not make it to Memphis in time for the green flag. zzzz

"I am really thrilled for this opportunity," Shepherd said.  "Pierre Kuettel (P.K.) and the whole No. 60 team are great at what they do and I can't wait to help out and learn at the same time.  I hope we can get the No. 60 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion handling just right so Carl can jump in and win the race."

Edwards said he had confidence in Shepherd's ability to perform.

"Peter has been doing a great job driving," Edwards said.  "He finished the season driving my RE Technologies Silver Crown USAC Car, and I got a chance to spot for him in Chicago and was really impressed with him, just like everyone else.  He is a super nice kid; he has a great family and will be a great driver.  Peter has tested the Silver Crown car at Memphis and ran the truck there so we thought he would be the perfect guy to get the car set up and ready to race."

10/26/06
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for FridayCourtesy of TVRacer.com

American Le Mans Series Laguna Seca
12:00pm-4:30pm (R) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Atlanta
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying  Atlanta
7:00pm-9:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Atlanta
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
10/26/06
cc
Allmendinger loss will impact San Jose race Allmendinger loss will impact San Jose raceTuesday morning, Allmendinger made his biggest score of 2006. He signed a massive deal to leave Champ Car and join a brand-new NASCAR Nextel Cup team in 2007. One source says Allmendinger will earn $3 million per year for three years to compete for Team Red Bull, sponsored by the energy drink.

If you are counting laps at home, that works out to $9 million worth of caffeinated left turns.

You can't blame Allmendinger for making the jump to NASCAR, the country's most popular racing entity. The offer to keep him with Champ Car was reportedly worth less than half as much.

Unfortunately for his hometown race, Allmendinger's move is not such swell news. His defection to NASCAR means he won't be competing in the 2007 San Jose Grand Prix, for which ticket-renewal forms go out next week. But upon hearing the news, local race officials were taking the high road.

``I wish him all the best,'' San Jose Grand Prix President Dale Jantzen said. ``A.J. has been a great ambassador for our event. But I really do wish him the best, no matter where he goes in racing.''  zzzz

Jantzen said it's unclear exactly how many seats Allmendinger himself sold in San Jose. He certainly knocked himself out trying to sell the race, doing everything but passing out fliers on street corners. A talkative character, Allmendinger once rode around the Grand Prix course with me in a street car, cracking a joke when we passed Peggy Sue's hamburger joint on Park Avenue.

``Hmmmm,'' he mused. ``If I'm hungry during the race under a yellow in the caution period, I may want to check it out.''

Allmendinger's decision to leave Champ Car is a definite bummer for San Jose's race. But in truth, it hurts domestic open-wheel racing in general far more than any one particular event.

Allmendinger is the only American driver on the Champ Car roster. His job transfer merely certifies that whatever NASCAR wants, NASCAR gets. For those of us who prefer the faster and more technologically sophisticated open-wheel cars, it's yet another depressing development.

The Champ Car folks also could not have been delighted to read Allmendinger's statement after he inked his new contract.

``I'm really excited about this next challenge,'' Allmendinger said. ``To race against some of the best drivers in the world in front of fans that are as enthusiastic about racing as I am is going to be a pretty big thrill.''

What, so Champ Car drivers and fans are chopped liver?

On the home front, Allmendinger's loss might not hurt so much. Many fans seem to attend the San Jose Grand Prix for the spectacle as much as the drivers. But the development presents at least a minor challenge for Jantzen. He will take over most of Singleton's duties, after race organizers decided not to renew his contract to operate the race.

Without Allmendinger, who will be the Grand Prix's top attraction?

``It looks like there are going to be at least one and maybe a couple new Americans in the series,'' Jantzen said. ``We'll know soon. And it looks like there will be more cars than we had last year. There will be lots of excitement. I don't expect a lot of impact on the event.''

Nevertheless, when the green flag drops here July 29, the hometown kid will be in Indianapolis, at that weekend's NASCAR event. But perhaps with his new riches, Allmendinger might be persuaded to buy his friends and family a San Jose Grand Prix luxury suite on Park Avenue. You know, across from Peggy Sue's. San Jose Mercury news

10/26/06
nascar
COT testing at Iowa COT testing at IowaUPDATE Two Nextel Cup Teams - Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates - and Penske Racing – successfully tested the “Car of Tomorrow” this week at Iowa Speedway. Penske Team drivers, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch, along with Ganassi Team driver, Kevin Hamlin, tested different models of the “Car of Tomorrow” Tuesday and Wednesday in Iowa. The tests were the first Cup Series tests ever conducted on the new 7/8 mile asphalt oval track designed by former Nextel Cup Champion, Rusty Wallace. Iowa Speedway site

10/24/06 Three NASCAR Nextel Cup Teams - among the top teams in auto racing - will conduct the first Cup Series tests in Iowa racing history this week at Iowa Speedway. Tests begin Tuesday and run through Friday with the public viewing area open each day from 9:00-5:00. Teams from Joe Gibbs Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and Penske Racing will test the Car of Tomorrow beginning at 9:00am Tuesday and continue through 5:00pm Wednesday, weather permitting. The Penske Racing Busch Series Team is scheduled to test Thursday and Friday, 9:00-5:00. Penske Racing drivers #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman are among the drivers scheduled to test drive the "Car of Tomorrow" at Iowa Speedway. Iowa Speedway PR
10/26/06
f1
Barrichello wants 'better car' in 2007 Barrichello wants 'better car' in 2007(GMM)  Honda's Rubens Barrichello has vowed to help the Japanese team build a 'better car' for the 2007 season.

Teammate Jenson Button's win in Hungary aside, the Brackley based squad underachieved in 2006 but have vowed to launch another assault for the title next year.

Honda finished 24 points behind third placed constructor McLaren this season.

Barrichello said: "I have to think about the future and make the car work better for me because this year was so hard."

The 34-year-old struggled initially with the Honda's brakes and traction control in 2006 following six seasons alongside Michael Schumacher at Ferrari.

But he insisted: "I have faith in Honda."

Barrichello said in Sao Paulo last week that he would happily trade in the more comfortable environment within the team for a faster Honda car.

"I'm not under pressure, just relaxed.  (But) I would like to have that pressure back and have the car to win," he explained.

10/26/06
f1
Williams sign 'new blood' for 2007 Williams sign 'new blood' for 2007(GMM) Grove based Williams has signed a raft of new technical appointments, with some aerodynamicists plucked from top teams including McLaren and Renault.

Following the announcement of AT&T as a $50m per year title sponsor, and the semi-works Toyota engine deal, the personnel shake-up is more good news for the beleaguered former champions ahead of 2007.

Williams finished a lowly eighth in the constructors' title of 2006, and in Brazil admitted that technical director Sam Michael's role would be 're-defined' ahead of the first race of next season.

The centerpiece of the new appointments is Renault's deputy head of aerodynamics Jon Tomlinson, and Amit Chakraborty from McLaren.

New chief designer Ed Wood harks from Prodrive, and he will be joined by former Jaguar man John Russell.

Other changes involve the systems support department, team co-owner and engineering director Patrick Head said.

"When you're in a pit without much light at the top and everybody's working like hell and you're not making progress, you've nearly always got to bring in a bit of new blood and so we've had a few changes," the Briton confirmed.

10/26/06
f1
Bridgestone appoint Suganuma successors Bridgestone appoint Suganuma successors(GMM) It is believed that Bridgestone has now appointed two replacements for its departing technical manager, Hisao Suganuma.

It was reported from Sao Paulo last week that the technical manager since 2001 would now return to Japan, as Bridgestone prepare to become formula one's sole tire supplier next year and beyond.

Suganuma's role is to be split between high ranking Bridgestone engineers Kees van der Grint and Jun Matsuzaki.

Dutchman van der Grint's role in 2006 was to liaise between Bridgestone, Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. Matsuzaki fulfilled a similar role involving Schumacher's number two at the Italian team, Felipe Massa.

10/26/06
f1
New sponsor for McLaren New sponsor for McLarenUPDATE (GMM)  A Spanish sponsor will depart Renault and follow Fernando Alonso to his new team - McLaren - in 2007.

Ron Dennis' Mercedes-powered team on Wednesday confirmed that insurance company Mutua Madrilena had signed a 'long term' contract, which is estimated to be worth about $5 million per year.

"Mutua Madrilena will be the first Spanish based company to join our partner group," said team principal Dennis.

The deal includes branding on the MP4-22 car's front wing endplates, drivers' sleeves as well as helmets.

10/25/06 Team McLaren Mercedes and Spanish insurance group Mutua Madrileña are pleased to confirm a long-term partnership. Mutua Madrileña will become Corporate Partner to the team as of 1st January 2006.

Mutua Madrileña is a mutual-profit insurance company based in Madrid, Spain. Founded in 1930, it has more than 2,200,000 policies in force, divided among the different areas in which it does business; car insurances, life insurances, accidents, motorbike insurances and health insurances.

"We are excited to join the Team McLaren Mercedes family as the only Spanish insurance company involved in Formula 1," said Jose Maria Ramirez Pomatta, President of Mutua Madrileña. "This Partnership reaffirms Mutua Madrileña´s belief in creating alliances with companies which are leaders in their respective fields like Team McLaren Mercedes. Team McLaren Mercedes and Mutua Madrileña subscribe to the same beliefs and values and I'm looking forward to a successful partnership."  zzzz

"We are pleased to welcome Mutua Madrileña to our prestigious Partner portfolio," said Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group. "Mutua Madrileña will be the first Spanish based company to join our partner group and, like two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, they believe in the future of our team. Like McLaren, Mutua Madrileña has a desire to be the best and together we look forward to challenging for Championships."

Mutua Madrileña branding will be located on the front wing endplates of the team's 2007 challenger, the MP4-22, on the sleeve of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers as well as their helmets. The Mutua Madrileña branding will be revealed for the first time at the presentation of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team in Valencia, Spain from 14th – 16th January 2007. Press release McLaren

10/25/06
Industry News
Big 3 keep bleeding red ink Big 3 keep bleeding red inkThe Chrysler Group posted a $1.48-billion operating loss for the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with a $393-million operating profit in the same period last year.
10/25/06
f1
nascar
F1 continues to dwarf NASCAR F1 continues to dwarf NASCARUPDATE #2 The 2006 Formula One world championship showdown in Brazil on Sunday attracted huge television audiences around the world, not least in the respective homelands of title protagonists Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.
 
The Interlagos race was watched by a peak of 14.8 million viewers in Germany - the country’s biggest audience in five years and broadcaster RTL's fifth highest Formula One rating ever. The audience share increased from 24% last year to 39.7% this.

Spain too had record viewing figures, with 9.3 million compared to 8 million for the same race last year. French broadcaster TF1 also saw its best ever Formula One audience - a peak of 13.6 million and an average of 8.7 million viewers gave it a 36.9% market share.

Like Germany, Italy and Britain both experienced season-best figures. Italian broadcaster Rai Uno had a 54% audience share, with a peak of 15 million viewers at the end of the race. And on Britain's ITV channel the race was watched by an average of 4.9 million viewers (a 24% audience share), reaching a peak of 6.4 million. F1 PR

10/23/06 The total numbers of viewers that watched the Brazilian GP in Spain Sunday was 24 million

10/23/06 The TV ratings for the F1 finale in Brazil this past weekend are in and F1 continues to dwarf NASCAR. In Italy (12 million viewers watched the race) and Germany (15 million viewers watched the race - 40% share) alone, both much smaller countries than the USA, F1 viewers far outnumbered NASCAR's viewers. If you add up the remainder of the world, it's easy to estimate that F1 gets 100 times more viewers than NASCAR each race. In addition, F1 TV ratings are not falling like NASCAR's.
10/25/06
irl
Things that make you go hmm.... Things that make you go hmm....What was Chip Ganassi's IRL car doing testing at Sebring this week with Goodyear tires on it?  Was it to cheat IRL's testing rules and limits on Firestone tires, or is Goodyear getting back into open wheel racing via the IRL?  Hmm....
10/25/06
cc
Kalkhoven likes Champ Car’s position Kalkhoven likes Champ Car’s positionA very busy weekend in Surfers prevented us from transcribing the entire tape of the interview with Kevin Kalkhoven, Paul Stoddart and a bunch of us media. Here are some key quotes from Kalkhoven:

A true World Championship
“We’re in five countries (USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and China - plus Holland and Germany or Austria to be added) already so we’ve got the opportunity of building an international program that’s really an American representation of open-wheeled sport. It’s not Formula One; it’s our version of it. Close racing—drivers racing, not technology racing.”

2 or 3 cars for PKV Racing
When asked about his driver lineup for next year of Katherine Legge and Oriol Servia, Kalkhoven hinted both would be back. “You may see more than a two-car team,” which stems from the fact that Swiss native Neel Jani may drive for the team with Red Bull backing.

More races with ALMS on the horizon
“I think that the concept of sports car racing on Saturday and Champ Car racing on Sunday is a good formula for our fans. I think we’ll see more joint races in ‘08.”

He admitted that Cosworth has developed an ALMS engine, but won’t say more about it. “We’re under a confidentiality agreement.”

More Americans in Champ Car
“Well, I think that in each of the races we do in different countries it’s important to have Nationals. We see it here in Australia, the impact of a Will Power and a Ryan Briscoe. So we fully recognize the importance of Nationals in each of the countries that we’re in; we’ve got Canadians, we’ve got Mexicans, and in each of the countries we go to we will develop people from that country, because it’s important for the fans.

“I mean, if we’ve got an 18-car grid and we’ve got five countries, there’s only a limited number that you can have each of the countries.

“Obviously in the United States our strategy is very simple: We are going to have many more Americans. I mean, we’ve already got one, Alex Figge coming as well as next year we’re going to have Graham Rahal. We’re going to have more, but we’re going to grow them through the Atlantics program.

“You know, when we started rebuilding this program, we started at the ground up. And the ground up meant that we had to build on the Atlantics program, which has been phenomenally successful. It’s already got us Graham Rahal, and there are several young Americans who will be back in it again next year, developing their experience, and we will then end up with more Americans in ‘08.

“You don’t paper-over cracks. You develop a proper foundation. You develop the training series, you develop the kids out of the training series, and over a period of time you develop a strong field that the fans know. That’s how you build a long-term foundation and a relationship with the fans.”

22 cars or more in 2007
“I think for a start we’re going to have difficulty supplying more than 22 next year, but there’ll be more cars coming online and I hope to get it up to 24 cars the year after.

Las Vegas to be blockbuster
“I think that you’ll see, particularly with the Las Vegas race, over the next few years that it’s going be one of the biggest motorsports events in the United States.” Mark C.

10/25/06
ga
Michael Shank Racing signs Zogaib and James for 2007 Michael Shank Racing signs Zogaib and James for 2007After closing out the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series season with a breakthrough win, Michael Shank Racing is already deep in preparations for 2007.
 
Team owner Mike Shank has announced the signing of Henri Zogaib and Ian James to pilot the Lexus-powered #6 Riley entry, which finished twelfth in the 2006 team championship standings.
 
Zogaib is a Florida-based entrepreneur with four career starts in the Daytona Prototypes, with a best finish of tenth. The thirty-three year old is racing as a passionate pursuit, and has purchased the Riley machine from Paul Mears Jr.
 
“Mike Shank’s record speaks for itself and I couldn’t be more pleased,” said Zogaib. “I think we are going to surprise some people.  Mike and his team have shown that even though the Rolex Series is very competitive, it’s still possible to win with a ‘pro-am’ combination like Ian and myself.”
 
Zogaib will be targeting success not just in the results, but also in the Trueman Award standings. The Trueman Award recognizes the best-performing driver who does not derive their main source of income from racing in the Rolex Series, an award that Mark Patterson won in 2006 for his strong season in the sister #60 Michael Shank Racing entry.
 
“I was following in the footsteps of Mark Patterson in the formula cars, but had to take some time away from racing to focus on business, so now I’m a little behind him,” said Zogaib.  “But I know that this team is going to help me be competitive and I am really confident about working with Lexus and TRD.”
10/25/06
cc
Legge Ford Warriors in Pink video Legge Ford Warriors in Pink videoThis link takes you to the Katherine Legge/Ford Warriors in Pink video feature on the Ford Bold Moves website.
10/25/06
cc
nascar
Allmendinger refuses to criticize Champ Car Allmendinger refuses to criticize Champ CarIn this Yahoo! Sports interview, a departing AJ Allmendinger refuses to throw Champ Car under the bus when fielding leading questions from a NASCAR reporter who was trying to get him to do just that.  AJ has only good things to say about Champ Car.
10/25/06
gp2
Minardi GP2 team names driver Minardi GP2 team names driver21-year old Spanish Euro F3000 driver Roldan Rodriguez has been confirmed at Team Minardi by Piquet Sports for the 2007 GP2 season.
10/25/06
nascar
NASCAR slams another cheater NASCAR slams another cheaterNASCAR on Wednesday fined crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr. for rule violations during last Sunday's Nextel Cup Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

The crew chief for Michael Waltrip's No. 55 Dodge Charger, Baldwin has been fined $5,000 for four separate violations of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book.

Waltrip, 43, has struggled through arguably his worst season on NASCAR's premier circuit. A veteran of 21-plus seasons, Waltrip has not finished inside the top 10 in any of his 30 starts in 2006.

A two-time Daytona 500 winner, Waltrip owns and drives for Michael Waltrip Racing, one of three teams that will drive Toyota Camrys in 2007.

10/25/06
NASCAR
Hamlin's Chevy to feature PGA theme Hamlin's Chevy to feature PGA themeHamlin visited AMS two weeks ago to unveil a special #11 FedExCup Chevrolet with PGA Tour player Davis Love III. After giving Love III a brief on-track tutorial, Hamlin received his own driving lesson when the pair hit the AMS infield for an impromptu golf lesson. The car features a dimpled golf ball theme in honor of the inaugural 2007 FedExCup, a season-long competition where PGA TOUR member players will amass points based on their performance in eligible FedExCup events. "We were at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago to unveil this car and it was a cool experience. I took Davis for a couple laps around the track and then we went out to the infield and hit golf balls. It was fun to celebrate the coming FedExCup - Davis and the Tour players see it the way we see the Chase for the Nextel Cup, a lot of added excitement at the end."FedEx Racing
10/25/06
Industry News
Jean Todt new Chief Executive Officer of Ferrari S.p.A Jean Todt new Chief Executive Officer of Ferrari S.p.AMaranello - The Ferrari S.p.A. Board of Directors, which met today in Turin under the presidency of Luca di Montezemolo, has appointed:

- Jean Todt as Chief Executive Officer of Ferrari S.p.A.
- Amedeo Felisa as General Manager of Ferrari S.p.A.

Amedeo Felisa has joined the Board in place of Renato Pagliaro who has resigned. 

10/25/06
f1
Schu film could be made - manager Schu film could be made - manager(GMM)  The story of Michael Schumacher's life and career could be made into a film, his manager admitted on Wednesday.

Willi Weber told the newspaper 'Abendzeitung' that he had received some enquiries about obtaining the rights to the tale of how the son of a bricklayer redefined success at the pinnacle of motor sport.

"Now we are looking at these enquiries," Weber said.

The news follows reports that an autobiography, ghost written by Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm and simply entitled 'Michael Schumacher', would be published in November.

10/25/06
Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 10-25-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (10) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.721
2. (5) Dan Wheldon (IRL)* 7.438
3. (2) Fernando Alonso (F1)* 7.375
4. (1) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 7.254
5. (22) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.211
6. (8) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.183
7. (11) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.074
8. (6) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.974
9. (9) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 6.875
10. (18) Bobby Labonte (NASCAR) 6.816
11. (13) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.761
12. (23) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.681
13. (26) Michael Schumacher (F1)* 6.588
14. (39) Nelson Philippe (CCWS) 6.584
15. (24) Felipe Massa (F1)* 6.570
16. (14) Scott Dixon (IRL)* 6.553
17. (20) Casey Mears (NASCAR) 6.526
18. (15) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL)* 6.426
19. (7) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.262
20. (19) Helio Castroneves (IRL)* 6.250
*Season complete

Dropped out: Jeff Burton (NASCAR), A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS), Kyle Busch (NASCAR), Brian Vickers (NASCAR), Justin Wilson (CCWS)

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

10/25/06
iroc
IROC testing at Atlanta continues IROC testing at Atlanta continuesHampton, GA.- The Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series continued testing and driver practice on Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the 2006 Race Four championship finale on Saturday.

Tuesday's activities consisted of final testing of the racecars, driver practice and concluded with a blind draw for car assignments conducted by IROC President, Jay Signore among all of the drivers in attendance.

Road Racing and Open Wheel ace, Max Papis joined fellow competitors, IndyCar champion, Sam Hornish Jr., Grand American Sports Car champion, Wayne Taylor and legendary dirt track Sprint Car legend, Steve Kinser for pre-race driver practice. zzzz

Papis is tied with NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Ryan Newman for third in the points standings making up two of the four drivers in contention for the 2006 Crown Royal IROC $1million championship. The other two contenders are NASCAR Nextel champions, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth, first and second, respectively. Papis said, "It feels great to back in the saddle with IROC. The opportunity IROC offers the drivers by being here all week and making the cars available to get in as many laps as you need before the race really helps out a lot.  I can tell you I'm very excited about this race knowing that I'm actually in contention for the championship. I'm especially proud because I'm the only non-stock car driver in that position. I would really like to get that missing piece of the puzzle -- Celebrating an IROC victory in winner's circle. I know it's going to be tough but I'll give it everything I can."

Kinser said, "Actually, I feel pretty good. I've been pretty comfortable here in past IROC races, but my results haven't shown it. For the race this year, I'm just going to get out there, have a good time and give it my best shot. Like I said, I'm comfortable enough in the cars to race hard, so hopefully we'll have a good race and a good finish to the season on Saturday."

Kinser's racing son, Kraig was in attendance watching his dad practice when he suddenly went from spectator to participant. IROC President, Jay Signore surprised the 22-year-old with an invite to suit up and give the IROC cars a try.

"It was a lot of fun and very special for me to get a chance to drive an IROC car," said the younger Kinser. "The cars are very different than anything I've ever driven before -- the steering and just the way they draft. It was a lot of fun to get a chance to drive with my dad out there too. You really can tell how even the cars are and see why the racing is as close as it is."

About running with his son Kraig in the IROC cars, Kinser said, "This is something that is really fun for me as a father. Just to see Kraig get a chance to drive an IROC car, even though he's not racing in the series, I know it will be a memory he'll always treasure. I remember how I felt when I first climbed into an IROC car knowing what the series means to a driver. It makes me proud having the opportunity to get out there with my son and do a few laps with him in the IROC cars, it's something that means a lot to me, it's very special for both of us."

10/25/06
f1
Pedro not worried about future Pedro not worried about futurePedro de la Rosa still isn't sure what his future in Formula One will look like, but he remains positive. Speaking to SpeedTV de la Rosa said: "I honestly don't care. When I started in Magny-Cours I said I'd take it race by race. Here we are in Brazil, I finished the season, and God knows what will happen next year."

"I don't have the feeling it's my last race. If I race fantastic, I'll be the happiest man on earth. But if I don't race I will still be a happy man. I have a good family and I'll still have a good job with the team."

10/25/06
Industry News
GM shows improvements GM shows improvementsGeneral Motors Corp. today reported significantly improved preliminary financial results for the third quarter of 2006. The company posted a profit on an adjusted basis, excluding special items, and generated its third consecutive quarter of record revenue.

GM reported a net loss of $115 million, or $0.20 per share, for the third quarter of 2006, compared with a loss of $1.7 billion, or $2.94 per share, for the year-ago quarter. The net loss for this year’s third quarter included $644 million, or $1.13 per share, in charges for special items, including goodwill impairment at GMAC and an increase to the charge associated with Delphi’s reorganization.

GM reported 2006 third-quarter adjusted net income, excluding special items, of $529 million, or $0.93 per share diluted, on revenue of $48.8 billion. These results represent a $1.6 billion improvement from the year-ago loss of $1.1 billion. GM’s global automotive operations almost fully accounted for the improvement, while lower GMAC results were more than offset by benefits associated with certain tax matters.

10/25/06
NASCAR
Gordon may still have shot at title Gordon may still have shot at titleAfter a shakeup in the point standings following the Martinsville race, "what could have been" might still be for Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont. Gordon, who is ninth in the standings and 141 out of the lead entering this Sunday's Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, gained 75 points on the leader last Sunday following his third top-five finish in six of 10 "Chase" races. While three DNF's during that span have hindered his effort to collect a fifth title this year, Gordon and the No. 24 team still have a chance to sit at the head table at the championship banquet in New York. "Things didn't look too good after our engine failure at Charlotte," said Gordon, who exited that race 10th in the standings, 216 out of the lead. "It changed our mind-set for the remaining races, and I think that showed at Martinsville. "If we had been higher up in points, we probably would have made our final pit stop with the leaders. But we used a different pit strategy, stopped earlier, and we were able to come home with a top-five finish. We can take those types of chances because of the position we're in. We're not out of the championship hunt like I originally thought after Charlotte, but it's still going to be tough."Performance PR Plus
10/25/06
Industry News
Bush to meet with Big 3 Bush to meet with Big 3President Bush will meet next month with the CEOs of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group after more than six months of delays, a senior Bush aide said Tuesday.

Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, told WJR Radio that a meeting was set for next month at the White House. He did not cite a specific date, but auto industry officials said it would likely be Nov. 14, although that could slip a day or two to accommodate the CEOs' schedules. Bush leaves the country Nov. 18.

On the agenda: soaring health care costs, alternative energy and trade. More at Detroit News

10/25/06
Industry News
Honda eclipses Nissan globally Honda eclipses Nissan globallyFueled by strong demand for its fuel-efficient cars, Honda Motor Co. has overtaken Nissan Motor Co. to regain second place among Japan's automakers.

Honda built 1.79 million cars and light trucks worldwide in the first half of the Japanese fiscal year, up 6 percent from year-earlier levels, while Nissan's output fell by 12 percent to 1.52 million vehicles.

In the last fiscal year ended March 31, Nissan outsold Honda by close to 180,000 vehicles worldwide.

This year, however, a dearth of new models undermined Nissan in major markets. In the United States, its freshest models were large vehicles in segments, which suffered when gas prices rose.

Nissan expects to recover its momentum before the end of the year with the launches of the Sentra and Altima sedans. More at Detroit News

10/25/06
nascar
Roush withdraws No. 06 Roush withdraws No. 06Roush Racing has withdrawn its #06 Ford from the entry list for this weekend's Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after driver David Ragan wasn't approved to compete on 1.5-mile tracks at the Nextel Cup level. The team announced last week that Ragan would run both the Craftsman Truck Series race and the Cup race at Atlanta as he prepares to take over for Mark Martin in the team's #6 entry next season. First, though, Ragan needed approval from NASCAR to step up to that level. Currently, he's only cleared to race on tracks 1 mile or less in length in Cup. The 20-year-old has made just two Cup starts thus far, at Dover and this past Sunday at Martinsville. Ragan was involved in two accidents at Dover, where he finished 42nd after completing just 46 laps. He finished all 500 laps at Martinsville on Sunday, but angered a number of his fellow competitors in the process after making contact with Dale Jarrett and Ken Schrader, among others. "Currently he's approved to participate at NASCAR tracks 1 mile in length or less," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Tuesday of Ragan's Cup eligibility. "There is an approval process in place and his status will continue to be reviewed on a weekly basis. "We take a lot of things into consideration: Experience, qualifications, that type of thing. There's a NASCAR committee that convenes on this each week and they'll continue to review any application that he makes regarding the rest of the series." While Ragan is cleared to race the truck series event at Atlanta, he was not on the entry list as of Tuesday afternoon. That, though, could still change by the time practice begins on Friday. SceneDaily.com
10/25/06
alms
cc
Acura activating already Acura activating alreadyA reader writes, Just saw an animated ad on CNN.com for the Acura MDX that uses the new ALMS car in its ad. That car has not even hit the track yet and they are making it work for them. Champ Car needs this kind of activation. It doesn't have to be a manufacturer at all. If Ford is such a good partner, how come we have never seen a Champ Car in one of their ads? Scott Anderson, Tampa
10/25/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Massa warns Kimi to expect 'equal' fight
Williams rule out Glock for test seat
Zanardi to test BMW-Sauber at Valencia
Schu's son already 'super-quick' - friend
Schu loss to hurt German TV
Williams set for Real Madrid deal
Alonso to 'push' for early McLaren test
Coach wants Schu to lace up soccer boots
10/25/06
f1
Another new sponsor for Spyker Another new sponsor for SpykerSpyker MF1 Team is pleased to announce the arrival of RotoZip as an Official Sponsor for the 2007 Formula One World Championship and beyond. As part of the new two-year partnership the team launched RotoZip branding at last weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix. The relationship will see the team's drivers carry RotoZip racesuit branding together with the power tool manufacturer's logo on the cockpit edge.

Aleksander Bursac, General Manager - RotoZip Europe
Quote: "In 2006 we followed our Dutch hero Christijan Albers to the Spyker MF1 Team as an Official Sponsor with our Dremel brand. This has resulted in a very successful year regarding sales and improved brand awareness. When we had to develop our strategy for the introduction of Rotozip in Europe, F1 was a logical choice. Rotozip is high-tech and designed for professional users so there is an excellent consumer and trade connection through this sport. We believe that through F1 and the ambitions of the Spyker MF1 Team that we can achieve our goals and look forward to extending this successful partnership which is gaining momentum."

Colin Kolles, Team Principal and Managing Director - Spyker MF1 Team
Quote: "This is another great partnership for the team. Although the season has ended the hard work for 2007 has already begun. Forming long-lasting partnerships with organizations such as RotoZip certainly strengthens our position to create a competitive package over the winter break. I am very happy to welcome RotoZip and their representatives to the Spyker MF1 Team and am proud to be starting the 2007 World Championship with such an innovative and high-performance organization."

About RotoZip:
In Europe, RotoZip is a new brand for professional construction, home building and home remodeling/improvement applications. RotoZip was founded in the USA in 1972, when a professional drywall contractor decided that there had to be a better way to cut drywall. He set out to build a system of tools and accessories to save time and money, while improving results. Bosch Power Tools acquired RotoZip in 2003. In 2007, Bosch will launch the RotoZip brand into Europe, targeting the professional market. Spyker F1

10/25/06
Track News
Zhuhai Asian Festival of Speed Zhuhai Asian Festival of SpeedOn Oct 22, 2006, after the joys of seeing Hong Kong's Marchy Lee and teenager Adderly Fong finish second and third in the final round of the Formula Asia V6 by Renault, then witnessing Darryl O'Young's championship winning drive in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, the final event of the 2006 Asian Festival of Speed (AFOS) season closed its curtains at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

This exciting event is also the last international race of the year. After four different but exciting international races, the 20,000 strong attendance as well as members of the media went home happy and full of fond memories from ZIC.

Exciting races earned strong praise
As the highest level of Asian motorsports, AFOS is presented as the major event of the year to the spectators. Over 30,000 turned up over the two days, proving that the public are highly appreciative of the event. On 22nd Oct, more than half the main grandstand was occupied before 10am. In the afternoon the main grandstand was completely full. AFOS has reached a new height in China in terms of its popularity.


Apart from the attending spectators' approval, the Federation of Automobile Sport of China (FASC) also think highly of the event. "AFOS is a very high level event. This event in Zhuhai, no matter the atmosphere or the race organization, all demonstrated that the Zhuhai International Circuit has attained a very high standard in race operation and promotion. Other circuit operators and promoters should try to learn from these successful experiences at ZIC." An FASC official said. zzzz

Local races beginning to mature
Zhuhai's racing this year has been about local races, but the operation of the Asian Festival of Speed showed that even the bigger international races can also be operated in such a way. ZIC has proved that its method of promotion works well with spectators all across South China.

Commercial operation
The amount of traffic through the circuit gates brought with them plenty of energy and commercial opportunities. ZIC's VIP suites are once again fully subscribed, lots of businesses opened their booths in the merchandizing area to try to take a share of the circuit's success.

Looking to the future, better and greater things are on their way. The FIA GT Championship and the Champ Car World Series will be coming to ZIC in the first half of 2007, on 24th-25th March and 19th-20th May respectively. The successful operation of AFOS this weekend served as a great appetizer for the fans and media as they await these great and major international races. ZIC is definitely going from strength to strength, watch out for ZIC's events in 2007!

10/24/06
Miscellaneous
Tony Bennett Hole in Wall Gang benefit Tony Bennett Hole in Wall Gang benefitWe would to inform you of a very special event honoring Tony Bennett on the occasion of his 80th birthday and benefiting the Association of Hole in the Wall Gang Camps. On Thursday, November 9th Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, George Clooney, Billy Crystal, Bruce Willis, plus Marc Anthony, Kelly Clarkson, Rascal Flatts, and Madeleine Peyroux will gather at the Kodak Center in Los Angeles to honor Mr. Bennett with the proceeds benefiting some very special children. Invite letter | Registration Form
10/24/06
nascar
Roush team latest to get caught cheating Roush team latest to get caught cheatingNASCAR has penalized Roush Racing crew chief Matthew Puccia $2,500 after finding a rule violation on David Ragan's Ford prior to the Craftsman Truck Series events at Martinsville Speedway.  Ragan's truck had an unapproved transmission gear ratio. The infraction was discovered on Oct. 19, during the opening-day inspection.
10/24/06
Miscellaneous
Dear Darling letter Dear Darling letter
To My Darling Husband,

Before you return from your overseas trip I just want to let you know about the small accident I had with the pickup truck when I turned into the driveway. Fortunately not too bad and I really didn't get hurt, so please don't worry too much about me.

I was coming home from Wal-Mart, and when I turned into the driveway I accidentally pushed down on the accelerator instead of the brake. The garage door is slightly bent but the pickup fortunately came to a halt when it bumped into your car.

I am really sorry but I know with your kind hearted personality you will forgive me. You know how much I love you and care for  you my sweetheart.

I cannot wait to hold you in my arms again.

Your Loving Wife. (Photo)

10/24/06
track news
Speedway tries new gate lures Speedway tries new gate luresFaced with flagging attendance in 2006, the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta hopes to fire up season-ticket sales for 2007 with a number of new events and a customer loyalty card called Racing Rewards.

Racing Rewards offers a discount of up to $100 for 2008 season tickets by crediting points for every credit card or debit card purchase made next year at concession and merchandise stands.

"Families have so many entertainment choices, we have to be more aggressive and grass roots oriented," said Mark Cassis, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway, a $152 million complex that includes a 1.5 mile track with seating for 66,089, 50 luxury suites and two club areas.

Racing Rewards targets season-ticket holders, Personal Seat License holders and Backstretch RV members. About 15,000 people were season-ticket holders in 2006.

Season tickets for the 2007 season went on sale Oct. 16.  Four season-ticket plans range in price for six events from $165 to $255. More at Cincinnati.com

10/24/06
Racing News
Mario Andretti receives prestigious award Mario Andretti receives prestigious awardNew York, NY – A beaming Mario Andretti received the Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana last night in honor of his public service and achievements as a race car driver and his enduring commitment to his Italian heritage. (L to R) Italian Consul General Antonio Bandini, Commendatore Mario Andretti, and Lawrence Auriana)

The Commendatore, as it is less formally known, was presented by Italy’s Consul General to New York, Antonio Bandini, on behalf of Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy.  The ceremony was held in New York City at the Columbus Citizens Foundation.  Andretti had been the Grand Marshal of the Foundation’s 2004 Columbus Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. 

Visibly moved by the ceremony, Andretti, 66 years old, said, “The first thing that came to my mind when I officially heard that I would receive this award was about my father, Gigi [Alvise], and the pride he would have felt, and my mother, Rina, and I know that tonight they invited St. Peter to join them for a cup of grappa.” Grappa is an Italian brandy. 


(L to R) Michael Andretti, Lawrence Auriana, Italian Consul General Antonio Bandini, Commendatore Mario Andretti, Barbie Andretti, Marco Andretti, Jeff Andretti

The ceremony was introduced by Lawrence Auriana, chairman of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, a sports car racing aficionado and good friend of Andretti.  “I have been a fan of Mario Andretti’s since 1966, when he won his first pole position at the Indianapolis 500.  Over time, I came to realize that he was not only a great driver but a great gentleman, one who was equally gracious in victory and defeat.  It is a pleasure to see this great Italian American receive an honor from the Italian government in recognition of Mario’s remarkable career and good character, which have reinforced a positive image of Italians and Italian Americans throughout the world.”  zzzz

In an interview with RAI television before the ceremony, Auriana said, “Mario’s great skill and courage were exemplified by the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix, the final race of the season, in which Niki Lauda, the Ferrari Team driver and World Champion, pulled into the pits and forfeited his chance to retain the championship because of the difficult conditions caused by a monumental downpour and fog.  Mario Andretti continued the race and won.  Two years later, Andretti himself won the World Formula One Driving Championship.” 

Auriana also said, “For United States race fans, Mario’s domination of the skill of automobile racing is best exemplified by the fact that he is the only driver in history to have won the NASCAR Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, and the World Formula One Driving Championship.”   

In a career that spanned an unprecedented five decades, Andretti achieved prominence in almost every category of motor racing.  He was Formula One World Champion, Indy 500 winner, Daytona 500 winner, four-time Champ Car National Champion, USAC National Dirt Track Champion and three-time winner of 12 Hours of Sebring, among others.  He was named Driver of the Year in three different decades, Driver of the Quarter Century, and Driver of the Century by the Associated Press and RACER Magazine. 

Before presenting the Commendatore honor, Ambassador Bandini said that Andretti’s “fantastic achievements in sport are not the only reason we are about to honor him with the most important distinction of the Italian Republic.  Indeed, Mario Andretti has always been a prominent member of the Italian American community [and] extremely proud of his Italian heritage.” 

“It is a great honor for me that the Italian government has bestowed this honor on me,” said Andretti, “and not just for me but for my family and for my profession.” 

Members of the Andretti racing dynasty were present at the event.  His family members included: his twin brother, Aldo, who was part of Andretti’s racing team throughout his career; son Michael, a retired Indy Car Champion and an owner of the Andretti Green Racing Team; son Jeff, who also raced until an accident during the Indy 500 ended his career; and grandson Marco who in 2006 was named Rookie of the Year by the Indy Racing League. 

Also present were Mario Andretti’s wife, Dee Ann, his sister Anna Maria Burley, and his daughter Barbie. 

Among those celebrating the event was Lidia Mattichhio Bastianich, star of the public television series, “Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen,” and author of three cookbooks.  Both Mario and Bastianich are natives of Istria, formerly part of Italy and now divided between Slovenia and Croatia.  A private dinner based on her recipes was served following the ceremony. 

Andretti retired from racing in 1994.  He is now a businessman whose interests include the Andretti Winery in Napa Valley, a petroleum business in California, several car dealerships, the Mario Andretti Racing School in Las Vegas, and the Andretti Indoor Karting and Games facility near Atlanta. 

10/24/06
Industry News
Toyota closer to overtaking GM Toyota closer to overtaking GMToyota Motor Corp.’s global production rose 3.8% in September, putting the company on track to overtake General Motors as the world’s biggest automaker. It was the company’s 23rd consecutive monthly advance.
10/24/06
ips
Three teams to test potential Indy Pro Series drivers Three teams to test potential Indy Pro Series driversThe Indy Pro Series test of the top drivers from three formula car series based in the United States is scheduled for Oct. 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Adrian Carrio, JR Hildebrand and Reed Stevens will test a Sam Schmidt Motorsports machine on the 1.5-mile oval.

"Our team is honored to conduct this test in conjunction with the Indy Pro Series," team owner Sam Schmidt said. "As we see the future of the series involving more road-course racing, we will need to look to series such as Formula Mazda, Formula BMW and Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec for up-and-coming drivers.

"Adrian Carrio, Reed Stevens and JR Hildebrand have each accomplished a great deal in 2006 in extremely competitive environments. They are all capable of advancing to the highest level of open-wheel racing in the United States, and we're hoping this initial test will motivate them to compete in the Indy Pro Series." zzzz

The three drivers will test under the watchful eyes of Indy Pro Series executive director Roger Bailey and technical director Butch Meyer with the hopes of earning their rookie licenses.

Carrio, a 17-year-old from Monument, Colo., won the Star Mazda championship this season on the strength of two victories and six pole positions.

Hildebrand, a 19-year-old Sausalito, Calif. native, dominated the Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec championship, surpassing records set in 2005 by Jay Howard, who captured the Indy Pro Series championship in 2006. Hildebrand won a record seven consecutive races to start the season, and finished with 12 victories and 10 poles.

Stevens led the Formula BMW USA championship with four victories and eight podium finishes. The 21-year-old from Palo Alto, Calif., finished third in the final standings, just seven points behind the champion.

Other teams are also testing potential drivers for 2007. Part Sourcing International, owned by Steve Eppard, expects to test two candidates on the 1.5-mile oval at Chicagoland Speedway on Oct. 24, while Brian Stewart Racing has scheduled a Nov. 21 test at Homestead-Miami Speedway with two Canadian champions.

Patrick Larmour recently captured the Brian Stewart Racing Karting Championship while Shane Jantzi won the Ontario Formula Ford Championship for the fourth time in five years.

"There's some great talent and some great competition in Ontario regional racing," said team owner Brian Stewart, whose team won its second consecutive Indy Pro Series championship in 2006. "Providing the test day for the Formula Ford and karting driver with the highest points total at the end of the season is a way we can support the high-caliber competition."

Indy Pro Series teams are taking advantage of unlimited off-season testing to prepare for 2007.

10/24/06
nascar
Allmendinger NASCAR Cup deal announced Allmendinger NASCAR Cup deal announcedUPDATE “I'm really excited about this next challenge in my racing career. To race against some of the best drivers in the world in front of fans that are as enthusiastic about racing as I am is going to be a pretty big thrill. I know this is going to be a lot of work in the upcoming months, but I couldn't be happier to do it with Team Red Bull. Hopefully, we can all go out and deliver a good show.” MARTY GAUNT – Vice President, General Manager: “AJ has the talent, guts and ambition to be successful in any form of motorsports. He has proven to be one of America’s top young race car drivers in open-wheel racing and we are confident he can accomplish the same in stock car racing over time.” RICK VIERS –Crew Chief: “I see a huge amount of potential in AJ. On the racetrack, he’s smart, patient and definitely not afraid to race. For the first half of next year, AJ must use his patience to learn as much as he can before moving forward in the second half. Hopefully, he’ll be a solid rookie of the year candidate by year’s end.” More info on the Red Bull teams at redbullusa.com. Red Bull Racing PR

10/24/06 Team Red Bull formally announces a multi-year agreement with American open-wheel race car driver AJ Allmendinger to race the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry for the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. AJ completes the 2007 driver line-up for Team Red Bull that already includes 23- year-old Brian Vickers, who’ll pilot the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry. Rick Viers, the veteran crew chief who guided the 24-year-old Californian through two successful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races for Bill Davis Racing earlier this year, also joins Team Red Bull in the same role for 2007. A former Toyota Atlantic champion and Champ Car rookie of the year, AJ currently stands second in the 2006 Champ Car World Series standings with five race wins.  To speed up his acclimation to stock car racing, Bill Elliott has graciously agreed to step aside and let AJ take on driver duties in the Team Red Bull entry for the upcoming 2006 NEXTEL Cup races at Atlanta and Texas. Team Red Bull PR
10/24/06
track news
Milwaukee Mile road course repaved in day Milwaukee Mile road course repaved in dayTrucks unloaded 1,500 tons of asphalt, and paving crews quickly went to work in the blustery, fall chill at The Milwaukee Mile on Monday to install the top coat of asphalt on the historic speedway’s infield road course.

The 0.8-mile road course section inside the one-mile oval was completely rebuilt and widened to 36 feet and paved with a base coat of asphalt in July, 2004.  This is the latest improvement project in what has amounted to over $23 million in improvements to the historic speedway in the last four years, including the erection of a completely new grandstand, the installation of the SAFER Barrier System, the construction of the Froedtert Infield Care and Milton Peck Media Center building, a new scoring pylon, new pit wall, paddock area paving and improved fencing throughout the facility.

A special mix of 600 tons of asphalt containing Rosphault RX was applied in the higher-load portions of the road course, including the tricky hair-pin turn inset of turn two of America’s Legendary Oval.   Rosphault RX is a proven super polymeric additive that is mixed with asphalt to provide a superior wearing surface that will not rut or shove that has been applied to other speedways and airport taxiways. zzzz

To properly install the top coat, a 1.75-inch thick layer of pavement was placed the entire width of the track continuously with no cold joints by using tandem pavers and rollers by Payne & Dolan Inc.

”Within the nearly 90 days of track use at The Mile this past summer was our first SCCA-sanctioned event over Labor Day weekend,” commented Milwaukee Mile Chief Operating Officer Gary Girard.  “With the addition of this top coat of asphalt and Rosphalt RX, SCCA and many other clubs and enthusiasts will get to race on a brand new racing surface at The Milwaukee Mile in a safe and competitive environment for many years to come.”

The project was part of a $1.2 million improvement plan for 2006 which also included the installation of the SAFER Barrier System in March.  The timing of the paving project was scheduled as to not to interfere with the increased track activity through the summer season.

“We are fortunate to have the State of Wisconsin support for these improvements, including the involvement of Wisconsin State Fair Park Engineer Jeff Jacobson,” Girard said.

“We are actively pursuing companies who will work with us to install concrete curbing and finish landscape to complete the job either yet this fall or in early spring.”

The Milwaukee Mile is the oldest active motor speedway in the world, dating back to 1903.  Milwaukee Mile Marketing LLC became the track promoter on January 1, 2006 and will continue to produce world-class auto racing in 2007 and beyond with NASCAR, IndyCar Series, ARCA and other well known sanctioning bodies to provide the highest level of auto racing entertainment.

To find out more about The Milwaukee Mile, visit the speedway’s website, www.milwaukeemile.com.

10/24/06
Miscellaneous
Another California Ferrari Enzo crash Another California Ferrari Enzo crashA 64-year-old man died Saturday when the 2003 Ferrari Enzo he was driving crashed into a tree on Boots Road near Highway 68, the California Highway Patrol said. About 5:55 p.m., Gary Irwin Eisenberg of Incline Village, Nev., failed to safely negotiate a right-hand corner in the road and drove into the tree, the CHP said. The Ferrari caught fire, the CHP said; Eisenberg was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
10/24/06
ChampCar
Reminder: Lexmark Indy 300 replay on Wednesday Reminder: Lexmark Indy 300 replay on WednesdayReminder: The replay of the Lexmark Indy 300 Champ Car race from Surfers Paradise, Australia will be shown on Wednesday, October 25, 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm ET on SPEED.  Derek Daly gives a nice mention of AutoRacing1.com during the broadcast!
10/24/06
NASCAR
Ward Burton Returns to Racing Ward Burton Returns to RacingWard Burton returned to Nextel Cup racing and managed to qualify the Lucas Oil Chevy in the 35th starting position, securing a spot in the event on the first lap around the track as the fans in Martinsville gave him a warm welcome back. The team followed that effort with a 26th place finish on the lead lap after having been down two laps to the leader earlier in the day. Since Burton had not raced since November of 2004, he headed to a nearby short track to give him time in the car to get his seat comfortable, adjust to wearing a HANS device (not required when he left racing) while readying the brakes for Sunday's 500 lap race in Martinsville. Forced to work from under a tent with no hauler in the infield due to being 39th in owner's points, Ward reminisced about his beginnings in the sport. "This takes me back to the beginning (of my career) when we had to get in the car and show what we could do. This isn't the first time I've ever had to qualify a car on time to be in the race. It really makes me more determined to make the race and get our hauler inside here where it belongs," he said just prior to climbing into the car for the first time at Martinsville. "I had a ball. It was a lot of fun getting back in the seat. I really appreciate Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Lucas Oil for allowing me to run their car at Martinsville. For not having any time with the team and my absence from racing, I feel really good and excited about our effort. I think it answered a lot of questions for me and hopefully others that I don't have any rust on me and I'm ready to go racing - it's just like I'd never not been racing. I look forward to hopefully having some more opportunities to race for Morgan-McClure. I just really enjoyed racing.."Morgan McClure Motorsports
10/24/06
nascar
Stoddard turns down ABC/ESPN Stoddard turns down ABC/ESPNCrew chief Frank Stoddard has decided not to be part of the ABC/ESPN team that will cover NASCAR next season.

George McNeilly, a spokesman for the network, said Monday that Stoddard decided he could not fulfill his commitment to help run a NASCAR team in 2007 and be an analyst for the prerace and "NASCAR Now" shows on television. Stoddard has served as crew chief for driver Boris Said's part-time team this season.

"He was concerned he would be spreading himself too thin, and he felt he needed to let us know of his change of heart right away," McNeilly said. "We wish him well."

McNeilly said ESPN is auditioning talent for its NASCAR lineup, and there will be additions for the prerace and studio shows. Brad Daugherty and Shannon Spake will be part of that team, as will veteran broadcaster Brent Musburger for selected events. Charlotte Observer

10/24/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
Turkey asks to withdraw fine appeal
McLaren design 2007 car for Alonso

10/24/06
Spyker confirm name change for 2007
Schu given an island by Dubai prince
Real Madrid to sponsor F1 car in 2007
Kimi makes the wrong headlines again
Boris Becker warns Schu about retirement
BMW reveal extra winter test in 2006
10/24/06
Industry News
Ford posts $5.8B loss Ford posts $5.8B lossUPDATE Ford Motor Co. faces more heavy losses well into next year as it races the clock to fix its foundering North American automotive business.

But despite posting its worst quarterly loss in 14 years reported yesterday, Ford may have yet to hit bottom. With its vehicle sales plunging and cash dwindling, Ford is bracing for a brutal stretch ahead on its road back to profitability.

"I would sure characterize it as a critical time," Alan Mulally, Ford's chief executive officer, said in an interview with The Detroit News. "It absolutely demands decisive action and a clear focus."

10/23/06 Ford Motor today announced a $5.8 billion (£3bn) loss in the third quarter, a 20-fold increase on the $284 million deficit reported for the same period a year ago and the carmaker's largest quarterly loss in more than 14 years. America's second-largest carmaker added that it plans to restate its earnings since 2001. It said that it had discovered that since 2001, some interest rate swaps by Ford Motor Credit Co. to hedge interest rate risk to the group’s debt were accounted incorrectly.

The company expected the restatement would improve results for 2002, but said other periods are under study.

10/24/06
cca
New Atlantic series logo to be unveiled New Atlantic series logo to be unveiledThe site of the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season opener and one of the world’s leading automotive trade shows will be the stage for the unveiling of the new look and feel of the Atlantic Championship.

The new Atlantic series logo and the details of the new relationship with series presenting sponsor and exclusive tire supplier Cooper Tire will be unveiled next week at the world-renowned SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cooper Tire, one of the most recognized and well-respected brands in the automotive industry, will host a press conference at SEMA addressing its vision for the future and focusing on its new partnership with the Atlantic Championship, North America’s premier open-wheel development series. The press conference is scheduled for Tuesday, October 31 shortly after 3 p.m. PT at the Cooper Tire SEMA display area, located at booth #40341 in the lower south hall of the convention center. zzzz

The SEMA Show, held October 31-November 3 in Las Vegas, is the leading automotive specialty products trade event in the world. Some of the brightest minds and hottest products in the automotive community will be featured at the show that’s expected to attract over 100,000 industry leaders from more than 100 countries across the globe. The high-profile international event is an ideal place for both Cooper Tire and Atlantic officials to discuss plans for the 2007 season and beyond. Las Vegas will also serve as the perfect backdrop to reveal the new Atlantic theme for ’07 as the city’s downtown streets will host next year’s season-opening race at the much-anticipated Vegas Grand Prix on April 8.

Joining Atlantic series representatives at the press conference and the week-long show will be some of the top competitors from the recently-completed 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship. Series champion Simon Pagenaud of Team Australia, who claimed the title along with the unprecedented $2 million bonus to help fund a ride in the Champ Car World Series next season, will be in attendance throughout the week. Atlantic 2006 Portland race winner James Hinchcliffe of Forsythe Championship Racing will also be appearing at the show along with this season’s Road America winner Jonathan Bomarito and his PR1 Motorsports teammate Mike Forest. All four drivers will be making appearances on behalf of Atlantic series sponsors Cooper Tire and Mazda throughout the course of the show and each driver will participate in an autograph session on Thursday, November 2 at the Cooper Tire display area.

The new 2007 Atlantic racing package will also be prominently displayed in Vegas during the week of the show. The Swift 016.a Atlantic chassis, featuring the 300-horsepower Mazda-Cosworth engine, and equipped with the new Cooper Atlantic racing slick tires will be featured at four separate locations throughout the week. The Cooper Tire display will feature Forest’s #32 Atlantic entry from this past season while the #37 Forsythe Racing car piloted by Andreas Wirth in ’06 will be included at the Champ Car World Series display area at the SEMA show. Bomarito’s #23 PR1 Motorsports machine will be featured at a special function hosted by both Mazda and Cooper Tire at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Thursday night while a unique carbon Atlantic car, designed by Swift Engineering, will be included at the Mazda display at the show.

Just prior to the start of the SEMA Show, the Atlantic team and car deemed to have the most attractive design and paint scheme this season will also be featured at two special functions for Mazda. The #26 Mathiasen Motorsports car driven by Justin Sofio this season won the Sherwin-Williams “It’s All In The Finish” award in ’06 after the car was voted to have the best livery design among all Atlantic entries. The beautiful machine will be featured at the Mazda Motorsports employee day, designed specifically for Mazda company employees, on October 27. The following day, the Atlantic ride and its driver will participate in the company's Sevenstock vehicle showcase, open to the public. Both events will take place at Mazda headquarters in Irvine, California. Each day’s activities are designed to promote and recognize the wide range of racing cars that carry the Mazda banner and the Atlantic series will be well-represented with both Sofio and the Mathiasen Motorsport car in attendance. Champ Car

10/24/06
f1
Red Bull blows final whistle on season Red Bull blows final whistle on seasonYou only have to do something more than once in Formula 1 for it to be regarded as a tradition, so having hosted a 2005 end-of-year party in Shanghai, Sunday night’s Brazilian bash was being called the traditional Red Bull event. It was billed as a party planned to take the world and passion of football into the Formula 1 universe. Held in the famous Cicero Pompeu de Toledo Morumbi Stadium, usually home to Sao Paulo football team and its hordes of noisy supporters, on Sunday night its turnstiles clicked over to let in around two thousand paddock people: drivers, team personnel, caterers, journalists and anyone else who wanted to come along.

And if Brazil is famous for its beautiful girls, the local talent was boosted by the arrival of the 19 Formula Una girls, from all over the world, who had won the competition at their local races. The famous Samba school “Rosas de Ouro” performed on stage and as their show came to an end, it was time for Party MC, Marina Person from Brazilian MTV to announce the winner who this year is Helena, from Cologne in Germany. The twenty six year old was originally picked as the winning Una at the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring circuit. Helena is a huge F1 fan and is particularly keen on Michael Schumacher. Her prize, presented to her by the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers, is a beautiful globe trophy made especially for the occasion by the lads at Red Bull Racing in Milton Keynes, which opened up to reveal a very classy watch. Probably the best part of the prize is tickets for her and a friend to go on a round the world trip lasting four weeks. zzzz

“I can’t believe I’ve been picked from all these beautiful girls,” said Helena as she stepped off the stage. “It’s a dream come true for me. The prize is really beautiful and I was amazed when I was shown there was an awesome watch inside. As for the trip around the world, that is maybe the best bit of all, but I have not yet had time to think where I would like to go. This has been an amazing experience and I have been looking forward to coming to Brazil, ever since I was picked at the European Grand Prix. Over these past few days I have had a wonderful time meeting so many girls from so many different countries. It has been a fantastic experience and something I will never forget.” Tonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed and Robert Doornbos were there and, at the time of writing, other guests due to arrive included the newly crowned World Champion, Fernando Alonso and the seven times world champion, now retired, Michael Schumacher. Did we say “due to arrive?” Yes, because at the end of a very long season, the people who bring you all these news stories would actually like to go and have a little drink and a dance themselves! So the rest of what follows is what we think might happen later in the Sao Paulo night.

The hallowed turf that has showcased the talents of some of Brazil’s greatest football players will be given over to the fancy deck work of Brazilian and English DJs who will no doubt have the crowds dancing on the pitch, thankfully covered over for the night. The most amazing aspect of the transformation from Football to Funky is the 360-degree screen that went round the entire circle of terraces showing F1 footage. As we write, there is local music too, courtesy of Samba bands and, by the end of the evening, the whole F1 paddock should be up and dancing to famous DJ, Seb Fontaine.

With the noise pumping out across Morumbi into the early hours, the last partygoers will finally discover that their sweat-band invites were actually going to be useful for mopping the sweat off their brows. Next stop, Melbourne!  Red Bull

10/24/06
nascar
Said to run at least 7 races in '07 Said to run at least 7 races in '07Frankie Stoddard, at Martinsville as #06-David Ragan's crew chief, told Yahoo Sports that he and partners Boris Said and Mark Simo have a deal to run seven Nextel Cup races next season with the #60 Ford Fusion. Yahoo Sports
10/24/06
f1
Q and A with BMW's Mario Theissen Q and A with BMW's Mario TheissenOn the heels of BMW's first season as an F1 team owner, BMW Motorsports Director Mario Theissen assesses the past season and the outlook for the next. Transcript.
10/23/06
iroc
IROC drivers prepare for finale IROC drivers prepare for finaleHampton, GA - The Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series began testing over the weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the finale round of the 2006 $1million All-Star series. Race Four will take place on Saturday, October 28 at 3:00 p.m., ET, broadcast live on SPEED Channel.

Dave Marcis, David Donohue, Jim and Jay Sauter, the Crown Royal IROC team of test drivers, have the equalizing process on the fleet of racecars well under way for the Series' third consecutive finale at the 1.54- mile oval. Jay Sauter said, "I think the cars are really good. Today we've got a bit of a wind condition so that can make the cars feel a little tight or a little loose, but overall we've got a great package and the IROC cars are capable of putting on a great race on Saturday."

Donohue began testing with IROC this season and is enjoying his first experience at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "The track is new to me and it's been a lot of fun, but of course I have the best coaches in Dave Marcis and the Sauters (Jim and Jay). I think we have really good racecars with the way we've tuned them so far, and Atlanta Motor Speedway lends itself to great racing, so I think we'll all see another exciting IROC finale this Saturday."

Crown Royal IROC Series competitors Sam Hornish Jr., Steve Kinser and Wayne Taylor arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway to start practicing for the 65-lap season final.

Hornish Jr. has had a stellar season in 2006 winning his first Indianapolis 500, and topping that off by becoming the first three-time IndyCar Series champion. His next quest in 2006 is claiming his first Crown Royal IROC trophy. After an initial day of seat time in the IROC cars Hornish Jr. said, "Everything went pretty good despite the wind out here today which was moving the cars around a little bit. But I feel pretty comfortable so far for the first day, but no matter how comfortable you get during practice it all changes once we get everybody out there for the race. I certainly would like add an IROC race win to what has been a pretty good year for me."

Wayne Taylor is co-representing the 2005 Grand American Sports Car championship along with teammate Max Angelelli in the 2006 Crown Royal IROC Series. Taylor and Angelelli split the IROC season with Taylor racing in the opener at Daytona International Speedway in February and Angelelli taking over the IROC car for Race Two at Texas Motor Speedway, and again in Race Three on the road course at Daytona. Taylor will complete the series for the duo at Atlanta and will spend the week practicing everyday in preparation for his second career oval race. "Atlanta is very different than Daytona, you certainly have to drive a lot harder on this track than you do at Daytona. But as they did back in February, the IROC test drivers have done a great job in getting me up to speed, which happened rather quickly for me here today. I did, unfortunately, get caught up by the wind and spun the car around, luckily without hitting the wall, so it's not the most favorable conditions today. Other than that, the cars are great to drive and a lot of fun, so I'll be looking forward to getting back in tomorrow and doing some more laps."
10/23/06
cc
Power blames Bourdais Power blames BourdaisRising Champ Car Team Australia driver Will Power delivered a blistering verbal attack on three-time series winner Sebastien Bourdais after the Frenchman ended his chances of winning the Indy Car 300 on the Gold Coast yesterday. Power, who set the quickest time in practice and was seemingly in control of the race, saw his hopes of a career first-win disappear after Bourdais collided with the Australian on turn three at the halfway point of the race.

The Frenchman, the first Champ Car driver to win three straight championships since the late 1940s, locked up his brakes before crashing into Power's car, forcing him off the track.

"What can I say, he took me out and just ruined a really good day," Power said.

"I could have won the race. He went for a move that really wasn't on. What the f*** was Bourdais doing?

"He's French, he never takes any blame for any incident that happens on the track. For a three-time champion what he did to me out there was very stupid.

"He'd come from behind and took me out of the race. If there is a positive to take out of this race is that I took pole and I was quick enough to win this race."  More at The Australian

10/23/06
f1
Head pays tribute to Cosworth Head pays tribute to CosworthWilliams had a terrible season and to make matters worse, both its cars retired on the first lap at Interlagos after Nico Rosberg shunted into teammate Mark Webber.

Director of Engineering Patrick Head said afterwards, "It can only get better from here, but obviously the result is massively disappointing. The Bridgestone tire was quite clearly superior today. It's meaningless, but I think we could have had quite a good race. However, we can now only go back and make sure we have a much better car and look forward to a stronger season next year."

Head also paid tribute to Cosworth's efforts in the independent engine-maker's last race in Formula One for now.

"It is very sad that this is the last race for Cosworth in F1 for the immediate future. They have done a great job and have been a pleasure to work with. I hope the Cosworth name returns to F1 very soon."

"Not quite the way that we had envisaged our current involvement in Formula One to draw to a close, but I guess we can genuinely say that we ran both engines at 20,000RPM for the whole race! It really does not seem possible that there will be no Cosworth-powered cars in the F1 paddock in 2007, said Cosworth Engineer Chris Jilbert.  zzzz

"It is an incredibly sad day for everyone who has been involved in making our Cosworth F1 engines so powerful, reliable and successful and I'm sure that these comments will be echoed by the numerous people up and down the pit lane who have either worked at, or with, Cosworth in the past.

"We pride ourselves on being world class and can proudly state that we have been able to deliver what is possibly the most powerful, most reliable engine in Formula One during the 2006 season, despite not having the backing of a manufacturer.

Nonetheless, while the future for Cosworth is uncertain, Jilbert insists they are not going to turn their back on Formula One for good and will instead attempt to find a path back to the sport in the near future.

"Let's hope that Cosworth can return to its rightful place on the grid in the future. My thanks go to everyone at Cosworth for all of their dedication, commitment and resolve through what has been a very difficult couple of months."

10/23/06
f1
Without Michael it won't be the same Without Michael it won't be the sameMaranello - "Now we have to close one chapter and open another one; that's part of the Ferrari history," said Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's team principal Jean Todt after Sunday's season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. It hadn't had the conclusion that Todt might have hoped for; even though Felipe Massa had won a convincing home victory, and Michael Schumacher had fought through from last to fourth after a puncture, Ferrari had won neither Constructors' nor Drivers' title and now Michael Schumacher had driven his last Grand Prix.

"In a way it's a good thing that the championship is over," said Todt. "We feel a certain disappointment, because winning nine Grands Prix out of 18 - seven for Michael, two for Felipe - we would have preferred to bring home the championships, or at least one. At right Michael Schumacher suits up for his last race with Ferrari

"It did not happen. We were facing a very strong competitor, and they simply managed to score more points than we did. Saying that, I think Ferrari has been very strong this year. Probably the biggest reward I can see is the quality of the team, the quality of the people, the atmosphere we have in the team. We have great drivers, great engineers, great mechanics, great partners and it's a chapter which is ending with the decision Michael has taken to retire from Formula One as a driver. I definitely feel sad about that even if I share and understand his decision.

"Michael would probably rather have preferred to finish with a different result this year but I would say that he has demonstrated again what kind of a fighter he is. We were far behind at a certain period of the championship and we came back two races before the end of the championship. But we were not reliable enough in the two last races and it has been paid at a high cost which is fair. So no complaints."  zzzz

Todt wasn't at all surprised by Michael's fight back during the 71 lap Brazilian Grand Prix. "Michael is a fabulous driver. His record is simply unique, so don't ask me if I was surprised about his drive today. I was simply disappointed that Michael has had to fight since yesterday's fuel pump problem, then overtaking Fisichella he had a puncture and was almost lapped. Felipe slowed down a bit to let Michael come back. Michael is unique and he has demonstrated that again today."

But Todt was emphatic that Ferrari would never be the same again. Asked how confident he was that the team can pick itself up from this year and go on without Michael Schumacher, Todt replied "time will tell. We have said that a few changes will be announced in the next few days for next year and we will do that. A few changes will be announced and we will stick to what we have said, but it's a bit too early to start to speak about the Australian race in '07.

"We have about five months before we will start another championship, so we will do our best to start better than we did this year, because we know how important it can be to score points at the beginning of the championship. It will definitely be different, it will never be the same without Michael, particularly for the people who have been working, like me, for so many years with him.

"We have been building, creating such a fantastic relationship, even if Michael will remain in the family, which will be a big asset for all the company, for all the team, but it will definitely be different. We will try our best, as we have always been doing, sometimes with great success, sometimes without success."

Once again, Todt was asked if Michael was the greatest driver in Formula One history. "I don't have any element to be able to say that. How could I allow myself to say whether he's better than Fangio or Clark? He is definitely among the best drivers in the history of motor racing, but to compare things, you must compare them at the same time.

"His period is definitely over. I say that with all the respect, the credit and the admiration I have for Michael. Formula One, fortunately, has become so much safer compared to what it was 15, 20, 30, 40 years ago and it is a great tribute to those who have allowed that, and to the past Formula One drivers."

And so, as Jean Todt explained, one era ends and another one begins. Ferrari

10/23/06
f1
Michelin happy to win both titles Michelin happy to win both titlesMichelin's F1 program director Nick Shorrock was delighted to retain both World titles with Renault as the French manufacturer bid farewell to Formula One after Sunday's Brazilian GP...

Q: Nick, two world titles for Michelin with Fernando Alonso and the Renault F1 Team. You must be pleased...
NS: You bet! They were 71 long laps, I can tell you. But it was also very intense and I think Formula 1 gave a fantastic show today. Michelin has won both world titles for the second consecutive year, just as we retire from Formula 1. It's an emotional moment.

Q: Were you worried to see the track temperatures so high before the start?
NS: Yes, to be honest. We knew that the tires on the McLaren and BMW wouldn't have any problems, but Renault had chosen a specific type of tire whose optimum operating window called for lower temperatures. Everything worked out in the end, but it's fair to say we were a bit worried.

Q: Are you sad to be leaving the sport?
NS: Of course, because we have had so many good memories since we returned in 2001. But our decision was taken some months ago, so it is not a surprise. We wanted to finish on the right note, and we succeeded. So we are leaving with smiles on our faces.

Q: Michelin can be proud to have won world titles in very different circumstances in 2005 and 2006...
NS: That's true, we won titles under two very different sets of regulations: the single tire rule last year, and the return of tire changes in 2006. That demonstrates our technical expertise. What's important is that we never gave up. We worked flat out until the final race, which makes this win all the sweeter. We can be proud of it.
10/23/06
cc
Fuming Tracy makes race fix accusations Fuming Tracy makes race fix accusationsAutosport.com reports that Paul Tracy has accused Champ Car officials of fixing the race at Surfers Paradise this weekend and costing him a victory.

"I'm so pissed off with Champ Car and its officiating," said Tracy. "I feel that the second penalty was just a fix to get one of the Team Australia cars on the podium. It's so clear it's ridiculous.

"With Mario I was avoiding both of us crashing, and I have to drop back because of it. Basically, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't - if you make contact they will penalize you for that also. I can't even describe how upset I am," he said. "This was our race to win, the strategy worked beautifully and then they took it from us."

10/23/06
f1
Schumacher's wife glad he quit Schumacher's wife glad he quitMichael Schumacher's wife says she's glad her husband has ended his Formula One career without serious injury. In a rare interview on German television Corinna Schumacher said she's pleased her 37-year-old husband's only injury was a broken leg.

The German driver missed six races after crashing at the 1999 British Grand Prix.

Schumacher started Formula One racing in 1991 and ended his career with a fourth-place finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday. He won seven world titles from 1994 till 2004, totaling 91 wins and a string of records that may never be beaten.

10/23/06
cc
Gore slams Bourdais Gore slams BourdaisUPDATE #3 Here is an analysis of lap times to see if Bourdais was correct when he said Power's car was damaged and hence "a shadow of its former self." The evidence does not support his claim.

Paul Tracy and Will Power came together on their pitstop on lap 14. This was during a yellow. The next full green lap for Will Power 98.95s (car 5) while Sebastien Bourdais (car 1) clocked a 99.414s lap.
 
Here are the lap times for laps 17 through 19, the green stint immediately following the pit stop contact. As you can see, Will Power was faster in each of those laps.
 
5 17 98.95
1 17 99.414
5 18 97.053
1 18 97.047
5 19 96.724
1 19 97.105

During the next stint of green, before the next set of pitstops Will Power was as fast as Sebastien Bourdais. They traded faster laps back and forth with car 1 faster on laps 24 and 27 but car 5 faster on laps 25, 26, and 28.
 
5 24 98.214
1 24 97.862
5 25 96.018
1 25 96.12
5 26 96.043
1 26 96.099
5 27 95.993
1 27 95.725
5 28 95.369
1 28 95.401

Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power had contact on Lap 29. The lap before the contact, Will Power was running faster than Sebastien Bourdais (slightly) and in the 5 preceding laps, at no time was Power more than 0.4s (on the restart) slower than Bourdais and in most cases, the two cars were within 0.1s.
 
The fastest lap time for lap 27 was 95.114s by eventual winner Nelson Philippe (Car 4). Nelson Philippe also clocked the best time on lap 28 95.342s. Will Power was 0.8s slower than the pace setter on lap 27, but he was still 6th quickest on the lap and on lap 28, he was only 0.027s slower than the pace setter and was the third quickest. Hardly someone 'a second off the pace'.
 
BTW, Will Power, after the contact with Tracy, had the 2nd quickest time on lap 17, and 3rd quickest on laps 18 and 19. Not bad for a car that "... was just a shadow of itself.'' I can think of a number of drivers who would have been happy to have the shadow of the car. Mark C.

10/23/06 Bourdais refused to accept blame for the incident, claiming Power's car was already damaged in an earlier contact with Tracy's machine after the Canadian had left pit lane. Power strongly denied the allegation.

"I wish I hadn't made contact, but the truth is Tracy wrecked his day because from there on his car was just a shadow of itself and he was a second off the pace and he was holding me up," said Bourdais, who was penalized for initiating avoidable contact. I didn't try to take him out. I couldn't stop the car."

10/22/06 The local Gold Coast newspaper has a large color photo of a very miffed Craig Gore giving Sebastien Bourdais the middle finger after he collided with his driver Will Power. Gore goes on to say, "Next year I will make sure one of my boys holds up the trophy."

10/22/06 Team Australia boss Craig Gore was obviously miffed at Sebastien Bourdais after Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300 because he felt the contact between Bourdais and his driver Will Power cost Power the race win. In a post-race press conference he slammed Bourdais.

Gore said, "Contrary to what Sebastien says, Will's times were on a par with Sebastien's. I think Bourdais just snapped a cog and got greedy. When A.J. Allmendinger went out of the race, Sebastien was Champion . I think Will got into his mind this weekend. He outdrove him in practice and qualifying and he outdrove him in the race.

"This is the last time he'll hold that (Vanderbilt Cup) trophy. He's won it three times in a row but the first two were against a fairly depleted field. I mean he really only had to beat Paul Tracy and Paul Tracy always crashes.

"Sebastien isn't in Formula 1 because he's not good enough. He's holding up that trophy today but he doesn't deserve it. What he did today didn't benefit the series or the race, and it was quite stupid in my opinion."

10/23/06
irl
Andretti to compete in karting event Andretti to compete in karting eventIndyCar Series Bombardier Rookie of the Year and Indianapolis 500 runner-up Marco Andretti will compete in the All-Stars Karting Classic on Dec. 14 in Orlando, Fla.

The event, in conjunction with the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, will feature the top drivers and teams from the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League competing in the Karting division. Guest drivers, including Andretti and IndyCar Series veteran Bryan Herta, will participate in the Masters division. The top drivers from both divisions will advance to a final race. Marco is not only (an Andretti Green Racing) teammate but a great friend as well,” said Herta, founder of the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League. “When I asked him if he wanted to race he was very excited to come mix it up in a kart again. What makes it even better is the fact that Marco was racing in our series only a few years ago.”

Marco Andretti, 19, joined his father, Michael, in New York City on Oct. 23 to be present when his grandfather, Mario Andretti, was awarded the title of “Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana” by Antonio Bandini, Italy’s Consul General in New York.

The title of commendatore is the third of six ranks of the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica, an organization similar to Britain’s Order of the British Empire. It is in recognition of his auto racing career and good character, which have reinforced a positive image of Italians throughout the world. Indycar.com

10/23/06
Industry News
General Motors shares hit 52 week high General Motors shares hit 52 week highShares of General Motors Corp. traded at a new 52-week high of $35 on Monday in advance of the automaker’s release of third quarter earnings later this week. Shares of the world’s largest automaker were up $1.36, or 4%, at $34.70 in afternoon trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. Over the past 52 weeks, GM had previously traded between $18.33 and $34.

The automaker Wednesday is expected to release more promising results than Ford Motor Co., which announced a $5.8 billion loss in the third quarter Monday. Thomson Financial’s survey of analysts expects GM to earn 49 cents a share during the third quarter, compared with a loss of $1.92 per share a year ago.

Burnham Securities analyst David Healy said GM has turned the corner with its turnaround plan and said GM’s stock was boosted in comparison to Ford’s third quarter results. “I think there’s going to be quite a contrast there,” Healy said. Detroit Free Press

10/23/06
F1
Bridgestone agree to increase testing Bridgestone agree to increase testingFormula One teams have reached agreement with Bridgestone for a third test to take place this winter, autosport.com has learned. A number of teams were concerned that they would not have enough preparation time for 2007 when only two three-day tests in December were originally pencilled in. However, after a series of discussions between team bosses and the Japanese tyre manufacturer, agreement has now been reached for an extra session to start in Barcelona on November 28. The two original tests will then go ahead at Jerez in Spain over the following weeks.

Although Williams had been one of the key pushers for the extra test, because of their change of engine for 2007, their efforts were supported by a number of other outfits who want to get as much mileage as possible on Bridgestone tyres following their switch from Michelin.
Williams director of engineering Patrick Head said: "All the other teams on Michelin have got to get used to running those tyres and getting the best out of those tyres, so it is not just us that want those nine days of running before the end of the year." Autosport

10/23/06
F1
Real Madrid to Sponsor F1 car Real Madrid to Sponsor F1 carReal Madrid will sponsor a Formula One racing car at the Spanish Grand Prix next year, club president Ramon Calderon said on Tuesday (NZ time). "It's a great project. The design work has been done with cars painted white and carrying the club's crest," Calderon was reported as saying in the Spanish media."The agreement is with a team with a good chance of winning and will be for one or two grands prix, but at Montmelo for sure. It will be especially good fun to see a car racing in Barcelona with a big Real logo on it." zzzz

The idea of Real sponsoring a Formula One car first surfaced in June during the club's presidential election as an idea put forward by aspiring candidate Juan Palacios. Palacios, who has connections with double world champion and Real fan Fernando Alonso, promised to have a Real logo on Alonso's Renault and to make the driver an official ambassador for the club, if he won. Alonso is leaving Renault to race with McLaren next season.

Real beat arch-rivals and Primera Liga leaders Barcelona 2-0 on Sunday to go fourth in the league. Before the game they opened the doors to the Bernabeu early to allow fans in to watch the season-deciding Brazilian Grand Prix live on the giant screens. "We had the idea of getting Fernando to dedicate his victory from Brazil to the Madrid fans but it wasn't to be," Calderon added. "Now we are trying to get him to come and do the honorary kick-off at a match instead." The Spanish Grand Prix is scheduled for May 13 next year. xtramsn

10/23/06
Racing News
EuroInternational News EuroInternational NewsEurointernational Group is pleased to announce the 2007 racing plans which will include championships in Europe, North America and Asia.

In Europe, Eurointernational Srl will continue, for the third year, the team will have a major program, with two cars, in the 2007 WorldSeries by Renault and has already filed the 2007 entries with the two Dallara FR3.5's.  Together with the World Series program, the Italian Team is pleased to announce that it is planning to enter at least two cars the 2007 International Formula Master with the new single-seater N.T. Formula S 2000.

In North America, Euro International Inc. will defend the 2006 FBMWUSA Team and Driver titles entering its 3 FBMW cars in the 2007 FBMWUSA Championship and will conclude the 2006 at the DELL Formula BMW World Final in Valencia, Spain on November 24-26.

Next to the FBMWUSA program, the Indianapolis based Team is planning to enter a second racing program, with two cars, not chosen yet, between a limited schedule in the INDY PRO SERIES, for only road course events, or the entire 2007 Cooper Tires FF2000 Championship with the new Dallara FF07USA.

In Asia, the Eurointernational Group is planning to enter the 2007 Formula V6 Asia series, with the two Renault FRV6 cars used to win both the 2004 FRV6 Eurocup Teams and Drivers titles.  The equipment is already owned already by Euro International Inc. in USA with all spares and equipment needed to run the Series in Asia. The Team will operate from a new own racing facility in China or in partnership with an existing Asian racing team.

"2007 will bring Eurointernational to compete in 3 Continents and 5 Championships with a fleet of 11 race cars « said owner Antonio Ferrari," to realize a global racing program offering to our drivers from different Countries unique opportunities and to our sponsors and partners a world-wide market. We already own most of the cars and equipment needed and we are now investing in human resources employing engineers, technicians and support personnel for the new series. Our winning history and experience in FRV6 and USF3 will make our Team competitive in FV6 Asia, in the new Formula S 2000 in Europe and in FF2000 or IPS in USA»

A new world-wide title sponsor will be announced soon by the Eurointernational Group, helping to reduce the budget of each racing program, which will have ladder incentives for allow young drivers to step up inside the Group’s championships during the years, from FBMW to World Series. A technical partnership with the University « Politecnico » of Turin, will bring new engineers to the Eurointernational’ Teams, dedicated to test and research in support of the several racing programs.

"I believe that our racing history, experience, facilities, equipment and continued investment is the best support for the future international challenges and the foundation for our wins to come," concluded Ferrari. Eurointernational PR

10/23/06
f1
Speed does well in what might be his last F1 race Speed does well in what might be his last F1 raceIf rumors are to be believed, Brazil may have been Scott Speed's last F1 race - after a very lackluster season it is rumored Robert Doornbos will replace Speed.

Scott Speed rounded off his rookie season in Formula One with what his Scuderia Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost called "one of his best races this season" Oct. 22 in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Brazilian Grand Prix was the 18th and final race in the FIA Formula One World Championship for America's only F1 driver. Speed qualified 17th and finished a solid 11th.

"Another new track for me," he said of the 15-turn, 2.677-mile (4.309 km) Interlagos circuit.

Speed, who had a spin, was 26th quickest on the opening day of practice Friday, Oct. 20. zzzz

"It is very tight and right now very slippery," he said. "So going for a full lap without missing a braking point or sliding off line has been difficult.

"I had heard about how bumpy this place is and that fact that it is an anti-clockwise track, but after two hours out there in the car, I'm feeling fine physically. In terms of car performance, it felt on the edge everywhere, and although track conditions will improve, it will always be tough for us as we usually struggle on this type of circuit."

In qualifying the next day, Speed barely missed the cut to reach the second session. He was 17th quickest. His teammate Tonio Liuzzi, who was 16th and advanced, was just .001 of a second faster than Speed.

Speed was encouraged about the progress he and the car had made.

"It was a good qualifying for us," he said. "This morning, we really improved the car from the first day. My compliments to the guys who sorted it out with lots of hard work overnight. I made a small mistake, but I got 99 percent of the potential of the car.

"Before we came here, I thought this might be our worse race, but now I think we have a chance to put up a fight, because the car is a lot better than I thought it would be. I'll be hoping to make a good start and pass a few cars on the first lap."

Speed started the race 17th and was up to 14th at the end of Lap 1 thanks, in part, to the two Williams drivers retiring. From there, Speed climbed to 10th and spent 19 laps in that position before briefly running in ninth until he pitted.

The pit stops dropped him to 13th, but he managed to cross the line in 11th, one lap down, at the end of the race. Teammate Liuzzi, who tangled with another car, finished 13th.

"Scott drove one of his best races this season," Tost said, "with consistent lap times, and he also fought well. The team did a good job with both cars finishing. In reliability terms, we are the fifth best team overall this season and have ended up ninth in the Constructors Championship.

"The team itself has learnt to work together, gathering useful experience over this season, and that will be a good starting point for next year."

On the Monday, Oct. 23, Speed flew back home to California. He planned to immediately start preparing for the 2007 F1 season that includes his home United States Grand Prix on June 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In addition to doing physical training, Speed will keep his skills honed by racing karts before he returns to the cockpit of his F1 car at the first off-season test at the end of November in Spain. USGP

10/23/06
f1
Symonds: Brazil was nerve-wracking Symonds: Brazil was nerve-wrackingRenault's Pat Symonds said to autosport.com that the title showdown in Brazil was the tensest moment he can remember from his career.

"It was so nerve wracking," he explained. "I have had 30 years in the sport and I can never remember anything as nerve wracking as today. We were fighting against a car that was unbelievably quicker than us.

"In a normal race, with the incidents that happen and the situations that happen, with a normal car and normal driver, you would have said by lap 20 that we were okay, we are comfortable.

"But I really didn't feel comfortable until Michael (Schumacher) got past Kimi (Raikkonen) and I looked at the gaps and thought he still had to overtake. That was the first time I thought that maybe it was there."

Thoughts have already started drifting towards next season, when Renault start preparing for life post-Alonso - and with a new tire supplier following the departure of Michelin from F1.

"I was just saying to the Michelin guys that they are quite lucky – I've got to do it again next year, they can have a little rest," smiled Symonds about 2007. "There are so many changes it is going to be interesting who rises to the top, where it all goes.

"I guess I am looking forward to it, but right now I am looking forward to a bit of time off."

10/23/06
nascar
 tv news
NASCAR Charlotte TV - ratings continue to plummet NASCAR Charlotte TV - ratings continue to plummetUPDATE #3 NBC's broadcast of the Oct. 14 Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7, not 4.2 as reported last week.  The 4.7 represents a 7.8 percent drop over NBC's 5.1 for the 2005 fall race at the Charlotte.

10/20/06 NBC's broadcast of last Saturday night's Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.2 and an 8 market share, down 17.3% from last year's 5.1/10 share rating.

10/17/06  The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Saturday night was a 4.1/7 share, down 14.6% from the 4.8/8 that NBC drew overnight for the race last year. There are many reasons for the continued plummet of NASCAR's TV ratings, most of which we have outlined on these pages. #1 is over saturation - NASCAR is everywhere you turn and people are starting to get turned off by it.

10/16/06 NBC's broadcast of Saturday night's Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.1 and a 7 market share.  The rating is down 14.6% from the 4.8/8 that NBC drew overnight for the race last year.
10/23/06
nascar
Wallace replaces McMurray Wallace replaces McMurrayRWI Racing announced today a change in plans for the remaining of the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) season. Steve Wallace will replace Jamie McMurray in the team’s No. 64 at Texas and Homestead. Although Wallace was slated to run those races in the No. 61, the decision to have only one car was made to expedite Wallace’s preparation for 2007. Both McMurray and Wallace will compete in the NBS race in Phoenix in RWI Racing cars.

“We were fully prepared to run two cars in the final three races of the 2006 season,” stated team owner, Rusty Wallace. “However, I felt it was more important to focus on Steve and preparing him for 2007. Cutting out the extra team will allow for more attention and resources to get him ready for next year.”

10/23/06
nascar
Andrews Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award Andrews Wins Crew Chief of the Race AwardMARTINSVILLE, Virginia – Thanks to Paul Andrews’ decision to leave Bobby Labonte on the track during the final round of pit stops in the Subway 500, the No. 43 team scored their best finish of the season.  Andrews’ call put Labonte out front with 100 laps remaining and allowed him to avoid the short track mêlée in the closing stages of the race.  Labonte went on to finish in third-place, his third top-five of the season.  For his efforts, Andrews was voted the WypAll® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.

Three judges, including a member of the local media, Robbie Reiser and a Wypall® Wipers representative, agreed that Andrews deserved Crew Chief of the Race honors.  “Bobby Labonte had a good car today, but it was his pit strategy that got him a top-five,” commented Reiser.  “There were cars that were faster than the (No.) 43 today and they finished behind him.  That’s when you know the crew chief did his job.  Paul Andrews’ decisions are what got them in the top-five.” zzzz

“Even before the race started, we knew we had to have our car good on long runs and be able to stay out,” said Andrews after the event.  “We got in that situation.  We were just fighting for track position all race long.  Once we were good ‘till the end of the race, we just didn’t want to stop any more.”

For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, WYPALL® Wipers presented Andrews $1,000.  At the end of the season, the Nextel Cup crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.  This was Andrew’s first Crew Chief of the Race award, which ties him for fourth-place with Doug Richert, Philippe Lopez, Frankie Stoddard, Alan Gustafson, Kevin Hamlin and Greg Zipadelli.  Mike Ford, Scott Miller, Roy McCauley and Chad Knaus are tied for third-place, all with two wins.  Todd Berrier and Tony Eury Jr. are tied for second-place, both with three wins.  Robbie Reiser and Kenny Francis are tied for first-place, both with four wins.

10/23/06
f1
Renault man loses Alonso bet, hair Renault man loses Alonso bet, hair(GMM)  Renault's press officer lost a bet - and his flowing locks - when Fernando Alonso secured his drivers' championship double at Interlagos on Sunday.

Bradley Lord confirmed on Monday that his wager with British journalists, namely that Michael Schumacher will secure his eighth title, had resulted in a rather short hair-cut.

Prior to the close shave, paddock newspaper the 'Red Bulletin' had mocked Lord for a hair style that resembled the Simpson's Krusty the Clown.

10/23/06
F1
Kimi commits blooper to press Kimi commits blooper to pressKimi Raikkonen committed a massive pre-race blooper in Brazil yesterday. The Finn was the only driver to miss the retirement farewell trophy presentation from Pele to Michael Schumacher.

He was cornered on the grid by ITV commentator Martin Brundle as he returned and told: "You've just missed the trophy presentation from Pele to Michael". The Finn replied live to the biggest F1 audience of the year: "Yes, I was having a sh*t." ITV were inundated with complaints. Mirror

10/23/06
F1
Renault to celebrate titles in Paris Renault to celebrate titles in ParisThe Renault F1 team will celebrate their double victory in this year's championships with an event at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  The French squad will organize an event in the French capital for 500 people tomorrow at 5pm. The celebration will be filmed for broadcast throughout the world. The event will be conducted again the following day on the Esplanade de La Defense, and it will be open to the public. Autosport
10/23/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 helicopter crash in Sao Paulo
Lauda warns Schu about 'boredom'
Alonso champ, Schu 'legend' - press
10/23/06
F1
Renault, Ferrari agree on Fisichella and Schumacher's collision Renault, Ferrari agree on Fisichella and Schumacher's collisionFerrari and Renault both agree that the minor collision between Giancarlo Fisichella and Michael Schumacher in the Brazilian Grand Prix was nothing more than a racing incident. Fisichella's front wing touched Schumacher's left rear wheel as they fought for position on the start of lap nine at Interlagos - causing the Ferrari to suffer a puncture and lose almost a lap as it returned to the pits.

Although that incident almost certainly cost Ferrari a chance of securing a 1-2 finish,, both teams have played down suggestions that Fisichella deliberately caused the collision to help his own team's chances. Renault boss Flavio Briatore said: "Fisichella was defending his position normally. It is normal that something like this happens. And in the end Michael was flying so there was no problem at all."

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn added: "Well, it was unfortunate. I don't think it was a malicious accident, but it was an unfortunate accident and I wish it hadn't have happened." Autosport 

10/23/06
F1
Did debris or Fisichella cut Schumacher's Tire? Did debris or Fisichella cut Schumacher's Tire?Fernando Alonso is world champion, Renault clinched the constructors' crown, the now retired Michael Schumacher's title bid was thwarted by a tyre puncture, and Felipe Massa won his home Brazilian GP at Sao Paulo.  Schumacher, awarded a golden trophy by Pele on the starting grid, slowed with a cut tyre after passing Giancarlo Fisichella, but conspiracy theorists should make note that even Ferrari believe he simply drove over debris.

During the slowing down lap, F1's youngest ever back to back champion Alonso - second across the line - told Renault on the pit-to-car radio: "I wish you all the best for the future." Massa is the first Brazilian winner at Interlagos since Ayrton Senna in 1993, and he commented afterwards: "It was maybe the easiest race of my life."

Schumacher's pace in his last race, meanwhile, was scintillating, after he recovered from dead last on the road to finish fourth, following his mechanical problems in qualifying. Feed Me F1

10/23/06
F1
Spanish press hails Alonso Spanish press hails AlonsoFernando Alonso's second consecutive Formula One world title was described as the start of a new legend by Spanish media on Monday. The Spaniard came in second behind local favourite Felipe Massa at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, as Michael Schumacher's brave attempt to pip him at the post came to nought in the last race of his career.

"Alonso starts his own legend," said El Pais, striking a contrast with the ending of seven-time world champion Schumacher's illustrious career.

Sports daily Marca said: "In Sao Paulo, Alonso registered more than just his second title. He will be remembered as the champion that retired the greatest driver in history." zzzz

Alonso only needed one point from his final race to secure the championship, while Schumacher needed to win to have any chance of overhauling the Spaniard's ten-point lead. A puncture on the ninth lap blew the German's chances, though he went on to drive a thrilling race as he came back from last to finish fourth.

"Schumacher put on a great show for his farewell. He left with his image where it deserved to be," said El Mundo.

The particular merit in his second title was put down to remaining calm under pressure as Schumacher slowly reeled him in in a tense, controversial and nerve-wracking finish to the season. While Alonso's victory was widely reported across all Spanish media on Monday he took second billing to Real Madrid's 2-0 Primera Liga win over Barcelona on the front pages of the sports newspapers.

Football remains the number one sport in Spain though Alonso's success continues to win new fans to Formula One. The fact that Real opened their doors early at the Bernabeu and showed the race live in the stadium before the match, attests to that. With Spanish riders also doing well in motorcycling, one commentator said "the world of motor sports is making a lot of noise." Autosport

10/23/06
nascar
Stewart slams David Ragan Stewart slams David RaganDavid Ragan is slated to replace Mark Martin in the No. 6 car next year for Roush Racing. Judging by comments after yesterday's race, he's not in line to replace Martin as one of the most respected drivers on the track. Ragan was involved in several accidents and was penalized three times - once for pitting before pit road was open, once for speeding exiting the pits and once for passing to the wrong side on a restart. He was definitely noticed on the track. Tony Stewart called him a "dart without feathers" that should have been parked by NASCAR. Tony Raines called him a "new kid on the block" who he thought "was just driving over his head."

And Ragan's contact with Ken Schrader on Lap 332 had the normally affable Schrader noticeably worked up. Schrader took part of his HANS device off his shoulders and slammed it to the track after climbing out of his car, then picked a metal bar that came from his car off the track and threw it at the pit wall in his stall.

Yesterday was the 20-year-old Ragan's second career Cup start. "He ran into a lot of people, so I guess I shouldn't feel singled out," Raines said. "You just need to iron that stuff out before you get into this series." Ragan admitted he doesn't get a lot of respect on the track, but he attributed it to being a rookie driver on a new team.

As for his contact with Schrader, Ragan was apologetic. "That's the last thing I need to do is make enemies out here," he said. "It was my mistake, all 100 percent, and hopefully I can make it up to him in the future." Times Dispatch

10/23/06
alms
Penske Racing rakes in awards Penske Racing rakes in awards Porsche, the most successful manufacturer in the history of the American Le Mans Series, added to its sports car racing legacy by securing six year-end championships as the result of top finishes tonight in the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway.

The four-hour endurance event, which included both daylight and night-time racing action, saw both the Porsche RS Spyder factory cars, prepared by Penske Motorsports, finish one-two in the LMP2 class and wrap up all the championships available, and Jorg Bergmeister, one of the drivers of the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, win the drivers championship in GT2 for the second year in a row.

This marks the first time in the American Le Mans Series’ eight-year history that a manufacturer has won two class driver and manufacturer’s championships in two different classes in the same year. Here’s a summary of the 2006 Porsche American Le Mans Series manufacturer, team and driver titles: zzzz 

--ALMS LMP2 Class Chassis Constructors Championship – Porsche RS Spyder

--ALMS LMP2 Class Engine Championship – Porsche 3.4-liter V-8

--ALMS LMP2 Class Drivers Championship – Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr (tie)

--ALMS LMP2 Class Team Championship – Penske Motorsports

--ALMS GT2 Class Manufacturers Championship – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR

--ALMS GT2 Class Drivers Championship – Jorg Bergmeister

LMP2 – Seven Wins in Ten Races Bring a Title

The Porsche RS Spyder, the car that brought the Porsche factory back to prototype racing for the first time since 1998, won the LMP2 class in seven of the ten 2006 American Le Mans Series races, and finished one-two overall in the event at Mid-Ohio – the only time LMP2 race cars have finished one-two overall in the history of the series.

While Porsche and Penske clinched the manufacturer and team titles several races ago, consistent finishes for the AER-powered Intersport Lola left the drivers title in doubt until the final event. The team split up the long-time driving combination of Maassen and Luhr to maximize its finishing results with four races to go, and the pair had to each win two of the remaining four events (with the other one finishing second) to reach their goal of a shared championship.

“We accepted Porsche’s decision to split the driving assignments, but we then formulated our own plan to try to finish the season with equal points. It is not easy to plan anything that happens on the race track, but the reliable RS Spyder, great work by the Penske team, and some hard driving by our co-drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas all helped us reach our dreams,” said Maassen, who clinched his third ALMS title with Luhr.

“We accomplished the goals we set for ourselves before the season began,” related Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing. “We won a race overall, took home the LMP2 manufacturers championships for Porsche, the LMP2 team title for Penske Motorsports, and the LMP 2 Drivers Championship for our drivers. It was also great to see Sascha and Lucas tie for this honor, especially since they were paired in different cars for the latter part of the season.”

Luhr and Dumas, who won the class and finished fourth overall in the race, gave race winner and LMP1 competitor Alan McNish a chase for the overall lead late in the event, but Lucas, who was in the car at the time, realized he couldn’t afford to take a chance of messing up the points.

“I got close to the Audi, but the greater power of the LMP1 car never allowed me to be in a position to pass. Near the end, I pushed too hard and spun, but was fortunate to get back on the track without losing my class lead. I then concentrated on finishing the race and winning the championship,” said Luhr.

Earlier in the event, Dumas lead the race overall from lap #54 to lap #70, and Luhr led the race overall from lap #99 - #107. It was during that latter stint when Lucas turned the fastest race lap overall – faster than all the more powerful LMP1 cars. Timo Bernhard also led the race overall in the other RS Spyder from lap #87 - #98.

For Porsche, it was the seventh and eighth drivers championship in the eight years of the American Le Mans Series, as well as the seventh, eighth and ninth manufacturers
title.
Porsche competitors have now earned 71 class victories (Porsche RS Spyder, Porsche 911 Turbo, and Porsche 911 GT3 R/RS/RSR) in the American Le Mans Series, and placed their cars on the pole 70 times – outdistancing all other manufacturers by a wide
margin.

For 2007, Penske Motorsports has already announced it will return to the American Le Mans Series to defend its championships in the LMP2 class with updated Porsche RS
Spyders. LMSR 
 

10/23/06
alms
James Weaver retires James Weaver retiresJames Weaver, one of the best sports car racers of all time, announced his retirement today at the conclusion of today's season ending American Le Mans race at Laguna Seca. He closed out his unparalleled career on top, winning second place honors in the 2006 American La Mans series championship.

Weaver has driven for Dyson Racing for twenty years. He has 100 career victories - achieving that milestone at Mosport in 2005. He is one of the world's finest sports car racers: he has claimed sixty seven poles, seventy fastest laps, thirty six lap records, and over 200 podium finishes. "James is phenomenal," said team owner Rob Dyson. "He has been one of the primary factors in our success these past twenty years. James was always willing to put in more hours than any other driver to get the car right, and that is what separated him from everyone else." James won thirty-three races and three championships for Dyson Racing.

Today's race was classic Weaver. The #16 Thetford/Norlcold car started sixth for the four hour race into dusk. Weaver started the car and passed everyone in front of him- twice-- and took advantage of the team's strategy to bring it in first place when pitting at both the one hour and two hour mark. zzzz

The car ended up fourth in class today in the eighth annual race here on the Monterey Peninsula. Chris Dyson got in at the two hour mark and when it went green on lap 97, he executed an Alex Zanardi-like move at the Corkscrew to pass the number two Audi  for second, where he remained for several laps. Unfortunately, the American's set of tires were not consistent, and as the track temperatures fell, the car developed understeer that took away from the optimum handling the car enjoyed the first half of  the race.

But today was more than just a race. It marked an end of an era.

"Driving with James in his last race is a great honor," said Chris Dyson. "He is what every driver aspires to be and more importantly, what every person aspires to be. There is no one more honorable, upstanding and giving as a person. He has been a member of our family, and he's one of the most influential people in my life. That will never change. It's an emotional day for all of us, but we're looking forward to the next challenge. James would have it no other way."

Rob Dyson's thoughts on the 2006 season:

"I think what we have shown this season is that amidst an assimilation of a brand new car and a brand new engine, our team is capable of handling almost anything. I think with the help of Lola and AER and all of our suppliers, we have been able to accomplish quite a bit. The overriding thing I feel is that the guys have done a terrific job in evolving the cars and making them work better. The long and short of it is that we have proven ourselves to be a very innovative team: a bunch of guys who can work very hard in a situation where many components had to be designed, redesigned, run, redesigned, and run again. We put in some very credible results this year.

"Every season has some negatives. We had one with the crash of the #20 car at the Petit Le Mans that was brought about by a component part failure. That is always a fearful and fearsome thing to have occur. But the main thing is that Guy Smith is fine and bouncing his baby girl on his knee even as we speak.

"In racing, it all comes down to people, passion and commitment and I think our guys showed all of that this year in spade. And our drivers are the best. I think this was the year that Guy Smith showed that he was an excellent addition. He came on and did a terrific job for us: he is quick and good with the car. Guy is fully stitched into the fabric of Dyson Racing. This year showed that Chris is coming into his prime. As a set-up driver, he has learned his lessons from the master, James. I think Butch has shown his remarkable ability to do whatever has to be done, when it has to be done with no effort. The highest compliment I can pay to Butch is that he is low maintenance. The guy is a consummate pro, gets in the car, does his job, is great with the crew and great with the car. Andy Wallace joined us for the longer races this year and did a phenomenal job as always. He was busy with some other commitments this year but he was on it every time he returned to our team. When I talk about James, what can I say? He is the complete package. He is the master and has been our team leader for twenty years, a number one's number one. He is the ultimate example of what every team is looking for: capable, disciplined, pays attention to every detail and is constantly striving to make the car better. He never accepts the situation we are in, rather saying we can always do better. And aggressively perusing it in an articulate, calm and enthusiastic way. And in addition, when he gets out on the track, there is no competitor that does it better. He is fast, safe, smart and immensely capable on a race track. It has been a singular honor to have James as a comrade in arms and as a friend for twenty years." LMSR 

10/23/06
F1
Todt finds positive in Ferrari's defeat Todt finds positive in Ferrari's defeatFerrari can have no complaints about losing the world championship to Renault this season, the team's sporting director Jean Todt believes.
Although the Maranello outfit clearly had a car quick enough to beat Renault to the titles, poor reliability in the Japanese Grand Prix and Brazilian qualifying handed the advantage to their rivals. But despite seeing their efforts wasted, Todt thinks the team can still be proud of what they achieved this year - especially having bounced back from a poor start to the season.

"In a way it's a good thing that the championship is over," he explained. "A certain disappointment we have, because winning nine Grands Prix out of 18, seven for Michael [Schumacher], two for Felipe [Massa], we would have preferred to bring home the championships, or at least one. It did not happen, we were facing a very strong competitor, and they managed simply to score more points than we did. Saying that, I think Ferrari have been very strong this year, probably the biggest rewards I can see is the quality of the team, the quality of the people, the atmosphere we have in the team. zzzz

"We were far behind at a certain period of the championship and we came back two races before the end of the championship. We were not reliable enough in the two last races, and it has been paid at a high cost, which is fair. So no complaint, and now we have to close the chapter and open another one, and that's part of the Ferrari history."

Todt also said that there was no question mark about the clash between Giancarlo Fisichella and Michael Schumacher, which resulted in his driver getting a puncture. It's definitely in the overtaking manoeuvre that he got the puncture. We have to see in slow motion. It's definitely a racing incident, but let's say that the overtaking manoeuvre wasn't very much helped, which I can understand. It wasn't very well supported and probably it did not help Michael in his overtaking."

There was also no illusion that a new chapter in Ferrari's history was about to begin following the retirement of Schumacher and imminent staff changes. We have great drivers, great engineers, great mechanics, great partners and it's a chapter which is ending with the decision Michael has taken to retire from Formula One driver," he said. I definitely feel sad about that, even if I share his decision and if I understand his decision. Michael probably would have rather preferred to finish on a different result this year, but I would say that he has demonstrated again what kind of fighter he is." Autosport

10/23/06
F1
Q and A with Jean Todt Q and A with Jean Todt
Jean Todt: "In a way it's a good thing that the championship is over. A certain disappointment we have, because winning nine Grands Prix out of 18 - seven for Michael, two for Felipe - we would have preferred to bring home the championships, or at least one.

"It did not happen, we were facing a very strong competitor, and they managed simply to score more points than we did.  Saying that, I think Ferrari have been very strong this year, probably the biggest rewards I can see is the quality of the team, the quality of the people, the atmosphere we have in the team.

"We have great drivers, great engineers, great mechanics, great partners and it's a chapter which is ending with the decision Michael has taken to retire from Formula One racing. I definitely feel sad about that, even if I share his decision and if I understand his decision.  Michael probably would have rather preferred to finish on a different result this year, but I would say that he has demonstrated again what kind of fighter he is.  We were far behind at a certain period of the championship and we came back two races before the end of the championship, and we were not reliable enough in the two last races, and it has been paid at a high cost, which is fair.  So no complaint, and now we have to close the chapter and open another one, and that's part of the Ferrari history." zzzz

Q: How confident are you that you can start a new chapter next season and carry on from where you left off this season with another nine wins?

Todt: "I would say... you know, first, we are on the 22nd October, so we have about five months before we will start another championship, so we will do our best to start better than we did this year, because we know how important it can be to score points at the beginning of the championship. It will definitely be different, it will never be the same without Michael, particularly for the people who have been working, like me, so many years.  We have been building, creating such a fantastic collaborationship, even if Michael will remain in the family, which will be a big asset for all the company, for all the team, but it will definitely be different.  We will try our best, as we have always been doing, sometimes with great success, sometimes without success."

Q: With Michael being such a great part of Ferrari, how confident are you that the team can pick themselves up from this year and go on without him?

Todt: "Time will tell. Again, I must say that whatever the nationalities, the questions are always the same. It was the same with the Italian journalists. Let's digest for a few hours the '06 championship and then we will talk about the '07 championship.  We have said that a few changes will be announced for next year after the race, in the next days following the race, so we will do that.  A few changes will be announced and we will stick to what we have said, but it's a bit too early to start to speak about the Australian race in '07."

Q: How fitting was it that Michael went out with such a fabulous drive?

Todt: "Michael is a fabulous driver. He won, I think, 91 Grands Prix, seven championships, it's simply unique, so don't ask me if I was surprised about his drive today.  I wonder if some people were surprised. If they were, they are far away from this business. I must say that so many people are living in this business but are far away from this business.  But I was simply disappointed that Michael has had to fight since yesterday, since yesterday with a fuel pump, then, after the overtaking with Fisichella, he had a puncture and he has to start...  He was almost lapped by Felipe, who slowed down a bit to lap Michael and to let Michael come back. So Michael is unique and he has demonstrated that again today."

Q: What did you say on the radio afterwards, were you speaking to him?

Todt: "We gave him the difference to the other drivers on the track."

Q: There were two phases in the race at Turn 9, when Michael lost time, once when he was ahead of Kubica and once when he was behind Fisichella. I understand that you told him to change something on the steering wheel?

Todt: "He went a bit wide, and he lost time twice, but he was giving so much of himself, he was doing over 100 percent of what he could drive, so probably sometimes he over-drove."

Q: Do you know from the telemetry whether Michael touched Fisichella when he first overtook him? And if yes, did that have an effect for the puncture?

Todt: "It's definitely in the overtaking manoeuvre that he got the puncture. We have to see in slow motion. It's definitely a racing incident, but let's say that the overtaking manoeuvre wasn't very much helped, which I can understand. It wasn't very well supported, and probably it did not help Michael in his overtaking."

Q: Is it fair to describe Michael as the greatest driver in Formula One history?

Todt: "I don't have any element to be able to say that. My opinion, as I said to you, how could I allow myself to say whether he's better than Fangio or Clark or... he definitely is among the best drivers in the history of motor racing, but nobody can say... to compare things, you must compare at the same time. Definitely, his period is over.  I would say with all the respect, the credit and the admiration I have for Michael, Formula One fortunately, and we never speak enough about that, has become so much safer compared to what it was 15, 20, 30, 40 years ago, and it is a great tribute to those who have allowed that, and to the past Formula One drivers."

Q: Is there any news on the Toro Rosso engine situation?

Todt: "We are talking, soon we will inform about eventual changes. Soon." Autosport

10/23/06
F1
German media applauds Schumacher's finale German media applauds Schumacher's finaleBERLIN (Reuters) - Even the most cynical skeptics of Michael Schumacher's ability had to be impressed with his daring dash through the field in the final Formula One race of his illustrious career, German newspapers said on Monday. Although most Germans are fans of the seven-times world champion and proudly wear his red Ferrari colors, there have been a fair number of detractors in a home country that has ties to several other Formula One teams. Until Sunday, that is, when the 37-year-old Schumacher's riveting ride through the field from last to fourth at the Brazilian Grand Prix turned the final naysayers into believers, newspapers said.

``Schumi said goodbye with the most thrilling catch-up race of his career,'' wrote Bild newspaper, which devoted three full pages to Schumacher on Monday after 12 on Sunday. ``He fought his way back from last place to fourth with one of the best races in his 16-year career,'' the daily wrote.

The General-Anzeiger in Bonn, near Schumacher's hometown of Kerpen, said his fighting spirit made believers out of his enemies and brought tears to the eyes of his legions of fans. ``Even those who have absolutely no interest in motor sport could not help being captivated by his final run,'' it said of the race watched by 12 million Germans. ``The hopes for an eighth title were minimal but despite technical problems and a punctured tire, the champion raced like a young rookie full of cheek and fury -- chapeau Schumi!'' zzzz

SCHUMACHER MAGIC

The Rheinische Post, published in Duesseldorf, called it ''Schumacher magic, one last time. "Even if he didn't make it to the podium, Schumacher showed one of the best races ever. He squeezed everything out of his Ferrari engine as if he were squeezing on a lemon, had one 'all or nothing' lap after another, and passed rival after rival.''

The Berliner Zeitung said he had deserved a more glamorous farewell with a spot on the podium if not his 92nd career victory. But it added his inspired rally stole the show, especially in passing Giancarlo Fisichella and Kimi Raikkonen. "He drove a fabulous race in his final outing and didn't even make it to the podium,'' it wrote. "With audacious, reckless and truly championship maneuvers, he even passed Fisichella and his Ferrari successor Raikkonnen to grab fourth place.''

Chancellor Angela Merkel paid tribute in an open letter to Bild newspaper, putting him in a line of German sporting heroes with Max Schmeling, Franz Beckenbauer and Steffi Graf. ``You used your talent and your German virtues -- hard-work and a tireless will to succeed --- to get to the top,'' Merkel wrote. ``And even for those outsiders who don't well understand Formula One, you enriched the sport with your brilliance.''

More Articles in Sports » NYTimes

10/23/06
F1
Massa was thinking of Senna Massa was thinking of SennaFelipe Massa became the first Brazilian for 13 years to claim grand prix victory on home soil, and the Ferrari driver admits that the last man to do so occupied his thoughts as he crossed the line at an ecstatic Interlagos.

Massa led from start to finish when team-mate Michael Schumacher hit problems and Renault's Fernando Alonso showed no sign of relinquishing his grip on the world title, and was able to show just what form he will carry into 2007 by romping away from the field to claim a dominant second F1 victory.

Not since Ayrton Senna in 1993 has there been a Brazilian winner at Interlagos, despite the best - and often thwarted - efforts of Massa's predecessor at Maranello, Rubens Barrichello. The success, just like his pole, was cheered to the rafters by a crowd starved of local success, and it was an emotional Massa who took the flag - in more ways than one - at the end of 71 laps.
"When I took the flag, I remembered about Ayrton but I remembered not so much the Brazilian Grand Prix when he took the flag, but the time he did it at Monaco," he revealed after the race, "I always remember that moment and it was very special to see a driver getting the flag from his home country - and, for me, it was special to do it in my home grand prix. I stopped straight away in the first corner to find a flag. zzzz

"I remember when I was in karting and fighting for wins, so I got the flag. I saw the people and I was screaming in my helmet, remembering all the times from my past, particularly the difficult times. The most easy thing to remember is the difficult times, instead of the good times. This is for my family, my friends, the whole crowd and everything..."

Although he has no pretensions of ever matching Senna's popularity in his homeland, Massa admits that he expects to notice some changes now that he has established himself as an F1 race winner.

"I was thinking that, for sure, after today's victory, my life will change a lot, especially in Brazil," he said, "But that's really nice, because I always dream to be here, I always dreamed to be on the top of what I'm doing and, hopefully, I can get a lot of support from Brazil.

"I know Brazilian people love Formula One. Sometimes they are even stronger, because they want to see the result and, today, I had a fantastic result and I'm really happy about that. Hopefully, I can get a lot of support to have a lot more good results like today." CrashNet

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