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DATE News (chronologically)
11/01/05
f1
Ferrari back on the testing trail Ferrari back on the testing trailAfter two days of running last week, Ferrari returned to the track today at the 4.085 KM Vallelunga circuit.  In overcast conditions Ferrari had both new recruit Felipe Massa and veteran test driver Luca Badoer in action running both the V8 F2004 chassis and the V10 F2005 package.

The two drivers took turns at the wheel of the F2004 and the F2005, for a series of comparative tests.  The test was conducted in front of around a thousand spectators with Massa and Badoer completing 53 and 21 laps respectively.

Ferrari did not specify which specification of chassis and engine package the times were set in but Massa recorded a 1:14.262s, approximately 1.2s off his own best from last week while Badoer, presumably in the V8 car, recorded a 1:16.322s lap.   Ferrari is the only team to test so far in the off-season and testing continues at this circuit tomorrow, once again with Badoer and Massa. Ferrari

11/01/05
cc
Mi-Jack Conquest drivers look forward to Mexico Mi-Jack Conquest drivers look forward to Mexico“Viva Mexico! I am ecstatic about going to Mexico City for our final race,” said Nelson Philippe. “I feel at home there and I love the people. This year I will be wearing the Mexico colors on my helmet as a tribute to all their great fans. It's also our last race of the year and I am still looking for a very strong result. Luck hasn't been on my side this year but we continue to push and move forward because we know we are not far away. The Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team has been fantastic all year and I feel that we have all improved in every aspect of racing. We will be sharp, confident and I will do my best this weekend to ensure a great finish.”
 
The race weekend will mark the first visit to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez facility for rookie Andrew Ranger, who has continued to improve his consistency as he has shown remarkable pace in his Tide/Mi-Jack Conquest Racing machine. Ranger, who took a season-best qualifying of fourth on the grid in Cleveland, has taken top-ten finishes in two of the last four events, and is hoping to collect more points this weekend and move up in the final standings.
 
“It’s great to return to the country where I scored my best result of the season when I placed second at Monterrey back in May,” said Ranger. “It certainly puts the team in a good frame of mind as we try to close out the year with a solid showing. It’s been a challenging season with many ups and downs, but I am proud of my crew and the whole team for pulling together. It would be a fantastic reward for everyone involved to finish in the top-10 in the overall standings, a goal that is within reach with only 11 points separating us from Ronnie (Bremer) for 10th spot.”
11/01/05
A1 Grand Prix
A1 Grand Prix heads to Australia A1 Grand Prix heads to AustraliaA1 Grand Prix reached a landmark in Estoril. It was three races old, had completed the first quarter of its inaugural season and is heading to Australia for its first fly-away event. Asia and Dubai will follow soon after making up the next three rounds in the 12 race Series that will finish in China next April.

It was less than two years ago that Sheikh Maktoum launched his dream on the world of motorsport. He had come up with a unique concept where the worlds of motorsport and business met and the participants were there for the pride of their nations. This was the first ever World Cup of Motorsport.

The concept burst into reality at Brands Hatch on 25 September this year. In the first race 25 teams tip toed round the famous Kent circuit finding their way and coming to terms with their machinery. The 72,000-strong crowd created an electric atmosphere as people from every country and every walk waved flags showing their support and cheering for victory in the first nation versus nation motorsport event. zzzz

This first experience for race fans was quickly followed by races in the next four weeks in Germany and Portugal. The German stop on the world tour was at the EuroSpeedway near to Dresden while the Portuguese one was at the Estoril track on the Atlantic coast a 30 minute drive from Lisbon.

In Germany it was an explosion of speed, noise and entertainment. A1 Grand Prix had arrived. Exceptional drivers began to show their mettle making names for themselves on an international stage, many for the first time. Names previously only known to the motorsport fraternity are becoming household names in the country they represent, carrying the pride of their nation to the delight of its people.

As the Series moved to Portugal the playing field became even closer as young up and coming drivers took on their adversaries in an action-packed hour of magnificent overtaking and exciting maneuvers.

After the first six races the score in wins was four to France and two to Brazil. However, this was only part of the story. The nations who had never been known for their motorsport prowess were delivering on the track. Pakistan, Lebanon, the Czech Republic, China and Russia were taking on the nations with decades of motorsport heritage such as Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and the USA.

This Series takes its competitors to the four corners of the world and it will reach eighty per cent of the world’s population via television. It is only just over a month since 72,000 excited fans packed into Brands Hatch, but already over 100 countries have TV deals and on a daily basis this number is being added to.

The Series knows no barriers. In Germany ancient adversaries India and Pakistan stood side by side to honor its earthquake victims. Australia and New Zealand have garages a few yards apart, while the slogan on the USA car – We The People – says it all about who these drivers are racing for.

Twenty five identical cars are driven by drivers who are happy to remain anonymous while plying their trade. The commentators talk about Italy being overtaken by Portugal and not Enrico Toccacelo being overtaken by Alvaro Parente. It has young drivers on their way up – Parente is the newly crowned British Formula 3 champion – taking on national heroes of many year’s standing – Jos Verstappen has a personal fan club of over 10,000 Dutch people many of whom are traveling to the races.

As the Series heads to Australia, the host nation needs only eight points to put itself level with historic rivals New Zealand, who currently lay one place ahead in the points table. ‘We hope the Australian people will come to support their national team and cheer them on in what will be a tough race for all involved. With such a small gap between A1 Team Australia and New Zealand, we hope an energetic Aussie crowd will push our team on to achieve a podium position at our home race’, said A1 Team Australia’s Seatholder, Alan Jones.

Sheikh Maktoum, a member of the Dubai ruling family, has backing from the business world with South African entrepreneur, Tony Teixeira, happy to put money garnered from the exploration of oil, gas and diamonds behind what he considers a sound business venture. This unlikely business partnership has worked and they are both now happy to watch their ‘baby’ grow. A1GP

11/01/05
nascar
Q and A with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Q and A with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
11/01/05
nascar
NASCAR delays start of Texas race NASCAR delays start of Texas raceNASCAR has delayed the start time for Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway by 40 minutes to 2:50pm CT to ensure the race ends under the lights Texas Motor Speedway.
11/01/05
nascar
Roush to keep sponsors despite Busch departure Roush to keep sponsors despite Busch departureNewell Rubbermaid Dir of Motorsports Eric Pinkham said that both Irwin Industrial Tools and Sharpie next season will remain as primary sponsors of Roush Racing’s No. 97 Ford and that Crown Royal will be involved in a very significant way. Kurt Busch, who currently drives the No. 97 car, will move from Roush to Penske Racing South in ’06, replacing Rusty Wallace. Jamie McMurray, who raced for Chip Ganassi Racing this season, will replace Busch on the Roush team THE DAILY
11/01/05
cc
Q and A with Glock, McDowell and Zwolsman Q and A with Glock, McDowell and ZwolsmanToday's Champ Car media teleconference featured 2005 Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year Timo Glock and his Rocketsports Racing teammate Michael McDowell. They will be joined by 2005 Toyota Atlantic champion Charles Zwolsman, who will be making his Champ Car debut in Mexico City as part of Team Australia. Transcript
11/01/05
nascar
NASCAR trucks doing well with SPEED Channel NASCAR trucks doing well with SPEED ChannelThe NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race from Atlanta scored a Nielsen rating of 1.09 (697,000 households), making it the fourth most watched NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on SPEED since the series moved to the network in 2003. A look at the top-rated NCTS races on SPEED (households in parenthesis):

 1. Daytona 2005 2.10 (1,330,000)
 2. Daytona 2004 1.61 (980,000)
 3. Charlotte 2005 1.18 (750,000)
 4. Atlanta 2005 1.09 (697,000)
 5. Daytona 2003 1.03 (576,000)
 6. Fontana 2005 1.00 (632,000)
 7. Martinsville 2005 .99 (623,000)
 8. Martinsville 2003 .99 (564,000)
 9. Atlanta 2004 .93 (564,000)
10. Charlotte 2003 .92 (531,000)

SPEED CONTINUES GROWTH: SPEED Channel added 371,000 households in October according to Nielsen Media Research. The network now reaches a total of 64,542,000 U.S. households, up 1,197,000 from a year ago. SPEED also reaches 4.9 million households in Canada and SPEED programming is distributed in Latin America through Fox International Channel.
 
SPEED Channel’s weekly live or same-day delay race broadcast lineup
Friday, Nov. 4
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying (4 p.m. ET, LIVE) Fort Worth, Texas
NASCAR Busch Series qualifying (6 p.m. ET, LIVE) Fort Worth
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (9 p.m. ET, LIVE) Fort Worth

Saturday, Nov. 5
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series final practice (noon ET, LIVE) Fort Worth
Rolex Sports Car Series (4 p.m. ET, LIVE) Mexico City

Sunday, Nov. 6
MotoGP 250 (2 p.m. ET, SDD) Valencia, Spain
Champ Car World Series (3:30 p.m. ET, LIVE) Mexico City
MotoGP World Championship (6 p.m. ET, SDD) Valencia

11/01/05
nascar
NASCAR To Launch Platform Aimed At Preschoolers NASCAR To Launch Platform Aimed At PreschoolersNASCAR is developing a multimedia platform for preschoolers called NASCAR Jr., which will include an animated series, books, DVDs and other product spin-offs, according to Alan Buckman of the N.Y. POST. NASCAR said the series will feature “a circle of friends who, in the tradition of NASCAR teams and pit crews, discover the value of teamwork and friendship during the course of their adventures.” NASCAR VP/Broadcasting & New Media Dick Glover said, “NASCAR is a family business and always has been and is one that does try to espouse family values. We’re not just reaching out to the preschoolers but we are reaching out to their entire family.” Buckman notes that NASCAR “has not yet lined up a network to air the proposed show,” but is working with Dallas-based Reel FX Entertainment Exec VP Dennis DeShazer, who was a co-creator of “Barney and Friends” N.Y. POST
11/01/05
f1
cc
Hunter-Reay to drive 2-seat F1 car for charity Hunter-Reay to drive 2-seat F1 car for charityWith just a week to go before the drivers begin arriving at Kyalami, the organizers of the Altech South African Grand Prix are delighted to announce the addition of some American flavor to the event. Representing North America is Champ Car winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and for South America, Brazil's Tarso Marques.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY RARING TO GO
Twenty four year-old American, Ryan Hunter-Reay, is a star of the Champ Car World Series. After a meteoric rise through the CART Ladder System, he took his first victory during his Rookie season in 2002, the first American to do so in 20 years. His record-breaking continued when he beat Nigel Mansell's record of most consistent laps lead in a single race (207 in 1993) with his posting of 250 laps when he won his second Champ Car race at Milwaukee in 2004. Ryan has stated a clear ambition to race in F1 so he is itching to get his hands on the F1x2 car at Kyalami.

"This is a great opportunity for me as I get to do something I love whilst also helping out two worthwhile charities," said Hunter-Reay. "From what I have heard the Altech South African F1x2 Grand Prix is going to be a blast, especially headlining alongside the first Grand Prix Masters race. There will be a lot of people there who I can't wait to meet; I think we have a fun week in store!"

TARSO MARQUES FLYING IN FROM BRAZIL
Tarso Marques started his racing career in karting at the age of 11. He progressed to Formula Chevrolet in 1992, winning the title that same year, before moving up to the South American Formula 3 Championship. He completed a year in F3 before making the move across the Atlantic to the Formula 3000 Championship. Instantly successful, he became the youngest driver to win a F3000 race, mirroring his achievement the previous year of being the youngest to win an F3 race. Marques' F1 debut was with Minardi in 1996, after which his career saw him move from Minardi to Bridgestone as a test driver, and back again to Minardi. He went Stateside in 1999 for a two-year stint in Champ Cars before returning to Minardi in 2001. zzzz

"I was very happy to accept the invitation to race at Kyalami," commented Marques. "The two-seaters are a lot of fun so I can't wait to get back behind the wheel and start racing!"

The build-up to the 2005 Altech South African Grand Prix begins next week at Kyalami. Zsolt Baumgartner and Patrick Friesacher are also set to take to the starting grid alongside the rest of the F1x2 drivers when the event gets underway.

The Altech South African Grand Prix takes place at Kyalami from 11-13 November 2005. The two main events are the Grand Prix Masters race and the F1x2 races.

The Altech Grand Prix Masters supports Unite Against Hunger and The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund in the fight against AIDS. Proceeds will go to alleviating the AIDS pandemic in South Africa.

11/01/05
cc
Molson hands over Indy to Champ Car Molson hands over Indy to Champ CarUPDATE According to Exhibition Place sources, Champ Car will rent the track for the 3 day weekends at $500k plus other charges of $250k+.  What is included in that cost is not certain.  For example, does it include security, setting up of the barriers and fencing, grandstands, etc, or is it just rental of the grounds.  We suspect the cost includes some or all of the above. 11/01/05 The Toronto Sun reports that Molson Breweries will hand over the keys to the Toronto Molson Indy to the Champ Car World Series at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City this weekend.

According to the Sun, the memorandum of agreement to sell the assets of the race was to be finalized Monday.

Sources also told the paper that while all of the due diligence has been completed, both sides wanted to wait until Friday to announce the deal.

The deal will not change the setup of the Molson Indy and Molson Sports and Entertainment staff maintain that the transfer over to the new promoters will be done with ease.

11/01/05
nascar
First Photos - Car of Tomorrow First Photos - Car of TomorrowUPDATE NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter said the new cars were about a second per lap slower than the current cars, a sign, he said, that the new-spec car is working according to plan.

"I think we're moving along," Hunter said. "I think so far the tests are showing what we hoped would happen."

The boxier car also will have room for more safety improvements. "Safety tops the list of things that are different about this car," said Gary Nelson, NASCAR's vice president of research and development, in a news release. "We have done a lot of things in the last four years to improve safety that are car-of-tomorrow items, but we put them on the car of today if they would fit. You can't just fit a bigger roll-cage, a different frame or different exhaust. The average race fan is going to see a taller, wider car that has been designed to enhance competition on the track."

10/31/05 NASCAR tested its new Car of Tomorrow today at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Here are the first photos of a Dodge and a Chevy.

Drivers Jeff Burton, Brian Vickers, Kyle Petty, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. joined NASCAR pace car driver Brett Bodine on the track for single-lap runs in the morning. They were expected to run together on the track Monday afternoon.

The cars are wider (by 4½ inches) and taller (by 2 inches) than the manufacturer models used in Sunday's race, won by Edwards. They also come with enhanced safety features and the driver's seat has been moved four inches closer to the center of the car.

The biggest differences in style come in the cars' "boxier look" and their noses, which are strikingly similar to Craftsman Truck Series entries.

"The design of the front of car was to address something we are seeing on the track, which is front travel," said Gary Nelson, NASCAR's vice president for research and development and a former Cup crew chief.

"With the current air dam, when it travels it just scrapes away and the goal of the crew chief is to push the air dam against the track. The lower the air dam, the faster the speed."

  
Photos courtesy of NASCAR

11/01/05
cc
Mexico City expected to attract 350K Mexico City expected to attract 350KChamp Car's season-capping weekend in Mexico City is settling into a pleasant routine for the open-wheel series and for promoters alike: another race, another 300,000-plus spectators.

Attendance at the event starting Friday should be "pretty close to last year's numbers ... obviously over 300,000," said Federico Alaman, director of sports events for the promotion company OCESA, in an interview on Monday.

About 348,000 people turned out last year — down from the series-record 402,413 that turned out in 2003, the second Champ Car race in Mexico City USA Today

11/01/05
f1
Tost named as Red Bull Minardi F1 chief Tost named as Red Bull Minardi F1 chiefBMW's Franz Tost will become F1 principal next year at the team formerly known as Minardi. Red Bull, which took formal control of its new Italian acquisition from Paul Stoddart on Tuesday, said the 49-year-old Austrian would take up the role on 1 January after five years as BMW 'track operation manager'.

Tost, who was once a Formula Ford and Formula 3 race driver, has also worked as a manager - under Willi Weber - for Ralf Schumacher.

A statement explained that, until Tost's 2005 BMW contract runs out, 'Red Bull GmbH is overseeing the day-to-day running of the team.'

11/01/05
f1
GPMA: Drivers, sponsors will commit to our teams GPMA: Drivers, sponsors will commit to our teamsUPDATE There has been much talk in recent days of compromise and the various FIA meetings appear to have gone off without any major blow-ups but that does not mean that the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association has gone away, or indeed altered any of its stated goals. Our sources tell us that, if anything, the resolve has hardened in recent weeks because the car manufacturers know that they must get down to the serious business of putting together a championship rather than just talking about it.

We believe that the GPMA is moving quietly ahead with its plans to run its own championship in 2008 and will soon name a front man for the organisation. As soon as that has been done it is anticipated that they will start talking to circuits about deals and while the Formula One group may have a lot of circuits under contract, there are a lot of others which would like to be involved in the world's top single-seater championship, whether or not it is called Formula 1 or not. One thinks, for example, of Adelaide in Australia; Dubai in the Middle East and various European tracks such as Estoril which have not been able to compete for F1 races because of the high cost of fees which must be paid to Formula One Management. The interesting point is that if a new championship did get up and running and offered more reasonable deals whether some of the existing F1 circuits would jump ship. Spa, for example, is struggling to survive as an F1 venue and tracks like Magny-Cours, Silverstone and Imola are also on the limit financially.

The interesting question in all of this is how long Formula One Management would let a new championship plan before doing a deal because the more the momentum, the less need there would be for the GPMA to negotiate. FOM still only has Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Jordan signed up. The revamped Minardi team (Squadra Toro Rosso) will almost certainly sign with FOM. Williams remains in the middle ground and needs to be convinced that the manufacturers are serious while the other five teams (McLaren, BMW, Honda, Toyota and Renault) are all in the manufacturer camp. GrandPrix.com 10/07/05 Speaking to news agency Reuters, BMW board member Burkhard Goeschel claimed that the prestige of being associated with a manufacturer would outweigh the desire to remain within the current F1 fold, despite more teams having committed to the latter in recent weeks.

While the five manufacturers - BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Renault, Honda and Toyota remain united in their opposition to the existing set-up, privateer teams Red Bull and Minardi have signed up to the extended Concorde Agreement, joining Ferrari and Jordan, while Williams remains caught between the two groups, believing in the ideals proposed by the manufacturers, but having become a customer team after the loss of its BMW deal.

"The most important sponsors in future will be committed to brand values linked to manufacturers," Goeschel insisted, "Those companies want to be connected with the big car manufacturers and this is also our strength. I think we will also have the best drivers."

Despite the stance, however, Goeschel admitted that he did not think that the sport would be split down the middle, suggesting that common ground would be discovered before the 2008 deadline, despite sticking points on which the two parties remain divided.

"We have nearly reached the point of no return," he said of plans to press ahead with the breakaway, "The contracts with circuits and sponsors is a two-year approach. The decision should happen within this year. The series is on track, going forward and the five manufacturers are united. Honda has bought BAR and now own the team. We are five manufacturers and each one owns a team. We also own the technology."

"We just don't want to be connected with those parties that have an agreement [where] no-one knows what is in the contract," he added, underlining that the carmakers would only accept FIA involvement as a 'refereeing body' and not as rule makers, "On this point we are saying that we are not flexible.

"I don't think that there will be a split in the future," he said, "We are strongly interested in having the independent teams with us, and will have conditions for them which are really attractive - and much better than the existing series."

[Editor's Note:  The manufacturers are buying teams and creating or buying 'B' teams to show Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley that they can field an entire grid of cars without Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams.]

11/01/05
f1
Theissen talks of the V8 engine format Theissen talks of the V8 engine formatV8 engines will lead the way in 2006 with all bar one team ditching the V10 format in favor of the new formula. BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen explains that the new powerplants are not simply a ten cylinder engine reduced in capacity.

"The V8 may look like a sawn-off V10 with the same cylinder angle, but technically it is an entirely separate concept," Theissen began.

"The ignition sequence and intervals are different and this means a new situation in terms of vibrations. The critical area for a V10 lies between 12,000 and 14,000 rpm – not a rev band where the engines spend a lot of time. Instead, they operate mostly at peak revs and that creates problems in the V8. Vibrations enter a critical area at 16,000 rpm and continue to increase from there onwards. The best V8 will be the one which boasts the most effective solution to the vibrations issue."

"From 2006 the regulations stipulate a fixed duct length for the intake pipes," Theissen continued. "Variable intake pipes used to allow us to optimize the torque curve. Now we have to find a compromise between maximum power and drivability. Here, factors such as the nature of the track and even the weather conditions play a role. In theory you need different pipe lengths to suit different conditions."

One of the reasons that the FIA pushed through the V8 formula for 2006 was to reduce speed and to reduce costs for the manufacturers. Few manufacturers agree with the latter and Theissen is no exception. "In practical terms, the switch to V8 engines flies in the face of the goal to reduce costs," Theissen stated. BMW

11/01/05
f1
Suzuki announces new Formula One team Suzuki announces new Formula One teamFormer grand prix driver Aguri Suzuki has lifted the lid on plans for a once-mysterious Honda-backed team. (Photo right courtesy of Honda)

The Japanese says he has lodged an application with the FIA to debut in 2006, and would race under the 'Super Aguri F1' banner with Bridgestone tires, a Honda engine and a base at Arrows' old Leafield factory.

But the 45-year-old, who has a team in the Indy Racing League and last raced in F1 in 1995, admitted in Tokyo: ''There is a huge amount of work left.''

Takuma Sato is all but guaranteed a seat, but Anthony Davidson, Adam Carroll and 'Super Aguri' IRL driver Kosuke Matsuura - Japanese like Sato - are all linked with the other car.

''It could be two Japanese drivers or one Japanese driver,'' Suzuki said. ''It could even be two foreign drivers.''

A more pressing hurdle, however, is clearance from the governing body to allow the use of a 'customer' 2006 BAR-Honda chassis, a practice that is – in theory – currently prohibited.

The FIA will not formalize Super Aguri's 2006 application until early December.

"I'm filled with the desire to hoist Japan's flag on the podium as a constructor or team," Suzuki, who became in 1990 the first Japanese to score a podium finish in a World Championship round, said. "I have joined many races. If I look at them as mountains, F1 is like climbing Mount Everest. No one knows what will be waiting for us ahead ... but I will do my best," he said.

Asked about news reports that Japanese Internet firm Softbank would provide financing, he said: "I would be grateful if such a major, wonderful company becomes our sponsor."

"On October 26, I submitted the application," he said. "But I will not know if it is approved or not until early December.

"If it is approved I will plan to have an entry confirmation presentation at the end of January or beginning of February.

"But as far as the chassis (to be called Super Aguri) is concerned there is no way we can compete unless there is help from Honda (and BAR). I'm just hoping that we will have a workforce of at least 100 before the season opener."

11/01/05
f1
Albers confirmed at Midland Albers confirmed at MidlandDutch driver Christijan Albers will race for the newly-branded 'Midland' team in 2006, the Silverstone based formula one outfit said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the team known as Jordan in 2005 also announced that it would 're-launch ... under its own banner' on November 15, ahead of 26-year-old Albers' first test in December.

''I have known Christijan since 1999, when he was driving successfully in Formula 3 in Germany,'' team boss Colin Kolles said in reference to the Minardi rookie.

Albers, who is backed by a swathe of Dutch companies, tested a Jordan about a year ago.

Albers will conduct his first test with the team on 7 December 2005 at Jerez, Spain.

"I am really happy to be taking the next step in my F1 career with the Midland team," said Albers. "I appreciate all I have learned with Minardi this season, and look on this move as a step forward. It is by far the most challenging option for the future.

"I know the team a little bit already, as I tested with them in December 2004; and I have known Colin since 1999, when I had a very successful F3 season in Germany. I am impressed by the way the team, along with partners Bridgestone and Toyota, are developing the new car."

11/01/05
irl
Penske closing Reading IndyCar shop Penske closing Reading IndyCar shopPenske Racing is moving its headquarters next year, and also going back to Honda.
Indy-car racing's second-oldest team will leave Reading, Pa., after the 2006 Indy Racing League season concludes, relocating to the company's new NASCAR facility in Mooresville, N.C.
 
The move will allow the organization to consolidate its stock-car, Indy-car and sports-car teams in the 424,000-square-foot facility Roger Penske opened last year in the Charlotte suburb.

"There is certainly a lot of crossover capabilities," said Tim Cindric, the president of the team's Indy-car program. "Definitely one of the motives is to put everything under one roof."
Penske set his team's roots in Reading in 1973 after it spent its first seven seasons in Newtown Square, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia.

Only A.J. Foyt Racing, which is now based in the Houston suburb of Waller, Texas, has stayed in one area longer. Foyt's team was founded in 1965 in Houston.

Penske's Indy-car team has about 90 employees, most of whom are Pennsylvania natives. Cindric doesn't know how many people will follow the team.

"It's one of those things where it depends what seat you're sitting in," he said. "A lot of people are from this area and don't want to leave. But there are people who are really looking forward to the opportunity of being in an environment where there are other racing (programs)." Indy Star

11/01/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 bank urges peace
'B' team to be unveiled
Albers set for Midland drive
'Honda' to launch in January
'Minardi' is no more
The car in front is a V8
Kimi out for a month
November 1, 1998
Honda query radical FIA wing
10/31/05
nascar
Andretti says mind games nothing new Andretti says mind games nothing newChad Knaus and Tony Stewart traded verbal jabs this week, both proclaiming words would never hurt them. No big deal, said one racing legend who has seen this before.

The spat between the championship leader and his closest competitor's crew chief is just the most public and recent example of the behind the scenes mind games in the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage. The quiet battle has intensified as the championship chase heads into the final four races, beginning with Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

It's nothing new, according to Mario Andretti.

"It's a normal game. That goes on every day in your life as a driver," said Andretti, who was at the speedway to be named to the IROC Legends of Victory Lane team.

"Whether it's a drivers meeting, whether it's idle conversation, that's totally normal. That's why when I had my own son as a teammate, I said, 'Oh how different it is. Now I can be honest.'" Andretti said. "Normally you can have your best friend as your teammate and you're always playing with each other's head."

"Obviously, it's intensified by the fact that you have this 10-race runoff. Everybody is just very edgy about it and rightfully so," Andretti said.

"Technically you have a very short season. You've got 10 races to accomplish what, hopefully, you started a season for."

Andretti said he has warmed to the Nextel Cup championship format, which pits the top 10 drivers against each other over the final 10 races.

"As a driver, you like to see the whole season count," Andretti said. "But watching it as a fan, there's something to this. There's a lot of merit to the series the way it is now, with the runoff." Macon.com

10/31/05
Industry news
Honda cuts pickup truck production Honda cuts pickup truck productionWith Ridgeline sales starting out slower than expected, Honda Motor Co. is cutting production of the new pickup.  Honda is taking 3,000 units out of its January-March production plan. The full-year target was 50,000.

Unlike American companies that give away cars at zero-profit and then see future sales plummet and the companies pushed toward bankruptcy, the Japanese in most cases refuse to cut their prices, and instead simply cut their costs by reducing production.  They then sit back and laugh while the incompetent American companies bankrupt themselves.

10/31/05
irl
Honda to supply engines to Penske Honda to supply engines to PenskePenske Racing, one of the most successful teams in IndyCar racing history, will return to using Honda Indy V-8 engines in the 2006 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, officials with the team and Honda Performance Development announced today. 

Headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania, Penske Racing has amassed 124 IndyCar race wins, including a record 13 Indianapolis 500 victories, plus 154 pole positions and 11 national championships.  In 2005, drivers Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish, Jr., combined for three race wins and five poles, the highest total for any non-Honda-powered team in the IndyCar Series. 

"We're thrilled to have Team Penske back in the Honda fold," said Robert Clarke, president of Honda Performance Development.  "With the departure of General Motors from the IndyCar Series, we had expected to expand our lineup in 2006, and adding Team Penske is certainly an impressive way to begin. We had a very successful relationship with them in the CART series, and now look forward to renewing our partnership in the IndyCar Series." 

Penske Racing previously used Honda power in the 2000 and 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series. That association produced 10 race victories, 16 pole positions and back-to-back drivers' championships for Gil de Ferran, as well as the CART Manufacturers' Championship for Honda in 2001. 

Honda joined the IRL in 2003, after nine years of CART competition. Earlier this month, Honda reaffirmed its commitment to IndyCar racing and the Indy Racing League, agreeing to continue supplying engines to teams competing in the series through the 2009 season. 

"Honda's long-term commitment to the IndyCar Series was an absolute factor in our decision," said Penske Racing team owner Roger Penske.  "As it became clear that Toyota was re-allocating its resources, we had to look beyond 2006 and make the best decision for our future." Honda Performance Development 

10/31/05
cc
ga
McDowell first since Mario to pull double McDowell first since Mario to pull doubleMichael McDowell will drive in both the Rolex Series event on Saturday and the Champ Car race on Sunday in Mexico City; this is the first time a driver has competed in both a major sports car and open-wheel race in the same weekend since Mario Andretti did it in 1975. 

In racing both sports cars and open-wheel cars during the same season, McDowell, 20, from Phoenix, Arizona, will be joining the ranks of such multi-talented legends as Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt.  In racing both during the same weekend at the same track, one has to go back 30 years and more to find an example.

According to motorsports historians, on April 4-5, 1959 at Daytona, A.J. Foyt, Jim and Dick Rathman and Len Sutton all participated in both a 100-mile USAC Champ Car race and a 1,000km sports car race; and on July 13-14, 1974 at Watkins Glen, Sam Posey and David Hobbs co-drove in an 8-hour sports car endurance race, then ran the F5000 open-wheel race.  Mario Andretti did the same double in 1975.

10/31/05
f1
Minardi sale complete Minardi sale completeMinardi boss Paul Stoddart handed over his Formula One team to new owners Red Bull after the sale was completed on Monday.  "It's all done, they own it. They didn't mess around," the Australian aviation entrepreneur said from the team's Faenza factory.  "It's a very sad day and I really wish there was another solution."

Red Bull said that although an announcement was likely in the next few days, the new boss would not be able to take charge of the team until the New Year because of existing contractual commitments.  In the meantime it would be run by Red Bull from their Austrian headquarters.

10/31/05
nascar
Goodwrench and Hershey’s to sponsor Harvick Goodwrench and Hershey’s to sponsor HarvickRichard Childress Racing (RCR) today announced that GM Goodwrench and Hershey’s Reese’s brand will serve as co-primary sponsors of the Nextel Cup Series No. 29 Chevy driven by Kevin Harvick for the ’06 season.  GM Goodwrench will sponsor 24 races, including the Daytona 500, and Reese’s will sponsor 12 races, including the Brickyard 400. Richard Childress Racing

Hershey will also sponsor the season-opening ’06 NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona Int’l Speedway, which will be called the Hershey’s Kissables 300.  For the race, RCR will field a car with a Hershey Kissables paint scheme that will be driven by Harvick. Hershey

10/31/05
IPS Series
IPS purses increased significantly IPS purses increased significantlyThe Indy Racing League, in an effort to encourage broader participation and taking its Menards Infiniti Pro Series to the next level, has announced that its average race purse for its 12 races in 2006 will be tripled, offering participants $3 million in race prize money overall.
Two of the 12 races, the Freedom 100 and Liberty Challenge, which are hosted by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will offer $300,000 race purses next season.

Events at St. Petersburg and Infineon Raceway, which will consist of two races on the same weekend, will offer $187,500 in race purses for each of the races held.

The remaining six races on the schedule - Homestead-Miami Speedway, Watkins Glen International, Nashville Speedway, The Milwaukee Mile, Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway - will offer $275,000 in race prize money. zzzz

After debuting on road and street-style events in 2005, the 2006 Menards Infiniti Pro Series schedule will feature a mix of six ovals and six road-course races, including both racing surfaces at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and doubleheaders at St. Petersburg, Fla., and Infineon Raceway.

"Today's announcement reinforces our commitment to making the Menards Infiniti Pro Series the perfect stepping stone into the IndyCar Series," said Brian Barnhart, president of the Indy Racing League. "The combination of a nice blend of oval and road-style events combined with the dramatic increase in race purse prize money will appeal to an even greater number of team owners and young, talented drivers."

"The distribution of the per race prize money is designed to benefit each and every team that takes the green flag," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. "In the coming weeks we will continue to rollout exciting news and enhancements that will further position the Menards Infiniti Pro Series as 'The Fast Track to Indy.'"

"This is a very positive development," said Brian Stewart, 2005 championship-winning team owner. "If there's a driver with a strong track record, a proven winner in some of the classes on the way up such as Formula Ford or Star Mazda, and I think they can win, the prize money can be a big part of the budget."

The Menards Infiniti Pro Series is the primary ladder series for the IRL IndyCar Series using Dallara chassis, Infiniti Q45 engines and Firestone Firehawk tires exclusively on all cars.

Past series champions A.J. Foyt (2002) and Mark Taylor (2003), along with Ed Carpenter, winner of the inaugural Freedom 100, have all graduated to the IndyCar Series since the Menards Infiniti Pro Series inception in 2002.  All Menards Infiniti Pro Series races are televised by ESPN2 and distributed worldwide via ESPN International.

10/31/05
nascar
Osborne Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award Osborne Wins Crew Chief of the Race AwardBob Osborne, crew chief of the #99 Office Depot Ford, and Carl Edwards notched their third victory of 2005 this weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.  This was the duo’s second Nextel Cup win of the year at Atlanta, giving them a clean sweep of the season’s action at the track.  Edwards led the race eight times for 115 laps, including the final 36, before taking the checkered flag of the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.  For bringing Edwards the win, Osborne was voted the WYPALL® Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.

In the early stages of the event, Edwards didn’t appear to be as stout as the other cars in the top-five.  But as the race went on, the #99 Taurus only got stronger and stronger.  “There were a lot of good cars in the race today,” said Osborne after the event.  “We started out loose.  Most of the cars running up front were neutral at first and we couldn’t get up to them, but they started to tighten up through the race.  We did too, but that’s what we needed.  The car was its best at the end.  This team has worked so hard and this weekend is a real testament to that.”

The panel of voters, including a WYPALL® Wipers representative, Robbie Reiser and Tony Eury Sr., all voted for Osborne as the crew chief that did the best job.  “Bob (Osborne) did everything right today,” said Reiser.  “He set the car up to get better as the track conditions changed and that’s what made the difference.  He anticipated what was to come and prepared for it.  That’s what won him the race.”

10/31/05
nascar
TV News
SPEED to ramp up NASCAR coverage SPEED to ramp up NASCAR coverageSPEED Channel will elevate its coverage of the final event in the NASCAR Chase for the NEXTEL Cup with a week’s worth of at-track and off-site programming from South Florida, culminating with a four-hour live pre-race package Nov. 20 beginning at 11 a.m.

“NASCAR’s Chase format has elevated the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to a new level of relevance in the sports world,” said SPEED VP Chris Long, who brings experience from multiple Super Bowls, World Series and Daytona 500s with Fox Sports to SPEED Channel’s production team. “Under the old points system, the championship was often realistically decided long before the season ended, leaving Homestead with an anticlimactic event. Now, South Florida is virtually assured of being the home of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship every season and SPEED Channel has every intention of giving the event and the city coverage commensurate with the elevated status of a major national sports championship.”

In addition to multiple live programs from the track, SPEED Channel also will bring several of its studio shows to Miami, embracing the city’s personality and style. zzzz

Backseat Drivers (Nov. 16, 7 p.m. ET) with NASCAR.com’s Marty Smith and Shannon Spake will be shot on-location at a Miami-area sports bar, The Chase is On (Nov. 17, 8 p.m. ET) with Ralph Sheheen and 1999 Cup champion Dale Jarrett will set up shop poolside at the Sheraton Bal Harbour and the crew from NASCAR Nation will soak up the star-studded nightlife of South Beach with NASCAR Nation On Location on Nov. 19 at 9 p.m. ET.

“Miami and South Beach carry such an electric vibe already,” Smith said. “That can only be heightened by the culmination of the Chase. Last year’s Chase for the NEXTEL Cup came down to the very last lap, lifting Homestead-Miami Speedway to premier destination status on the NASCAR circuit.”

Monday’s popular Inside NEXTEL Cup with Dave Despain, Michael Waltrip, Ken Schrader and Brian Vickers also will be shot on location at Homestead.

On-track coverage will be highlighted by live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season finale Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. ET. SPEED plans 20 hours of programming from South Florida, up from 14 hours a year ago.

“What a perfect way to bookend the NASCAR season,” said Spake, who grew up in South Florida. “The city of Daytona has always been synonymous with NASCAR racing, and I believe Miami and its surrounding communities will rise to the occasion and embrace the sport like never before. It’s great for me to be able to come back home and be a part of all the excitement SPEED is bringing to the event.”

10/31/05
f1
Banks want F1 deal Banks want F1 dealFormula One's controlling banks remain hopeful that a deal can be done to end the threat of a rival championship being planned by major carmakers. "We see it as a crucial issue for all constituents of Formula One to end the discussions on two series," Bayerische Landesbank's Gerhard Gribkowsky told the official Formula One website on Monday.

Gribkowsky, whose bank recently took over the voting rights of Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers on the SLEC holding company, said all parties needed to ensure a stable platform for the future of the sport.

"We believe that the outstanding issues can be solved in dialogue between the parties," he said.

"Mr. Ecclestone and the shareholders are committed to continuing this dialogue and to finding solutions."

Gribkowsky said the banks, who inherited their stakes after lending $1.6 billion to Germany's failed Kirch media empire, supported Ecclestone as Formula One's effective chief executive.

"We have agreed a framework with Mr. Ecclestone in which we as shareholders coordinate and agree key issues and decisions with him," he said.

Asked about a possible divestment of the bank's holding, Gribkowsky replied: "A divestiture of the bank's holding is currently not a relevant issue.

"All shareholders need to act concertedly to support the future development of the sport and that is exactly what we are doing," he said. More at Reuters

10/31/05
nascar
Car of Tomorrow today Car of Tomorrow todayNASCAR's proposed car-of-the-future is to be tested today at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with Ford's Carl Edward, Chevy drivers Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton and Martin Truex Jr., and Dodge's Kyle Petty, along with NASCAR's Brett Bodine. The bigger, boxier car has been controversial, and some people in the NASCAR garage are insisting that it will never make to a starting line. NASCAR officials insist they hope to debut it next October at Talladega, with a full rollout in 2007. Winston Salem Journal
10/31/05
a1gp
Minister welcomes the A1 Grand Prix to Sydney Minister welcomes the A1 Grand Prix to SydneyMinister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Sandra Nori today welcomed Alan Jones, Formula 1 racing legend and Chairman of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Australia along with the Australian team in a sneak preview of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations at the Eastern Creek International Raceway today.

"It's exciting to see the cars competing in this weekend's event in action," she said.

"This is a great preview of both the cars and the Australian team which I am sure the people of Sydney will be getting behind on race day, this Sunday 6 November. zzzz

Ms Nori said that it was exciting for Sydney to be hosting the newest event on the world motor racing scene. The A1 Grand Prix of Nations was started by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum. Each driving team represents a country and drive exactly the same model car.

"Sydney is the natural city to hold the 'World Cup of Motorsports' and it's exciting to have such a fabulous new international event in Sydney.

"The global nature of the race will ensure world-wide coverage, with images of Sydney being transmitted across 50 countries, with 290 million potential viewers," she said.

Ms Nori said Sydney is fast becoming one of the world's best known big event cities.

"Our experience in hosting such events as the Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup makes Sydney the natural place to host the Australian leg of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations," she said.

The NSW Government has provided $400,000 to upgrade the Eastern Creek International Raceway to ensure that Sydney has the only permanent motor racing circuit in Australia with a level two international licence.

There are 12 races in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations. The first race was at Brands Hatch on 25 September 2005 and the series will conclude in Shanghai on 2 April 2006.
10/31/05
f1
Nick Fry determined to win with BAR Honda Nick Fry determined to win with BAR Honda
10/31/05
irl
Formula 3
Briscoe back behind wheel Briscoe back behind wheelRyan Briscoe has returned to the cockpit for the first time after his high-speed crash in Chicago in September.

Continuing his impressive rehabilitation process at Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli's Formula Medicine practice in Italy, Ryan was given the chance to test go-karts at the Parma Kartodromo on Tuesday 25 October just 45 days after his crash at the IRL race at the Chicagoland Speedway.

Go-karting was selected for Ryan's first foray back into the driving seat because of its extremely rigid state which allows for verification of the driver's spine and shoulder strength under intensive stress.

In order to seat Ryan comfortably in the 100cc FA kart, Dr. Ceccarelli molded a bespoke spine protection for the Australian from gel. Ryan was quickly up to speed, reaching lap times in line with the times obtained by his friend Nico Rosberg, who went to the Parma track to catch up with him.

With such promising results, Ryan was able to make another step forward returning to the cockpit of an F3 car for the first time since he won the inaugural F3 Euroseries championship in 2003. Ryan lapped the Lausitzring in Germany in a Dallara supplied by his former championship-winning squad, Prema Powerteam.

"We're very happy Ryan was able to drive the racing car so early in his recovery," commented Dr. Ceccarelli, "even if he has not yet absolutely fully recovered. This was certainly made possible with Ryan because of his strong-will and strong-mindedness, characteristics which don't let pain slow him down," he added.

"From our point of view these two tests have been fundamental to define the last necessary steps of his rehabilitative program. I'm sure that with another two more weeks of intensive work he will be completely recovered both mentally and physically."

On Saturday 29 October, in a medical scientific research program on professional racing car drivers that Formula Medicine is leading with Pisa University and the National Institute for Researches, Briscoe was also submitted to a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI), a new method to analyze driver's brain reactions during cognitive and emotional stress. The results of this examination represented for us a further confirmation of Ryan's total recovery of long term concentration abilities.

Ryan Briscoe and Formula Medicine would like to thank Dino Chiesa, owner of Chiesa Corse go-kart team and Angelo Rosin from Prema Powerteam, for their spontaneous and anticipated offer to supply the go-kart and the F3 car used for the above mentioned tests and for their logistic support.

10/31/05
f1
Ex-Telefonica head to kick off F1 sponsorship forum Ex-Telefonica head to kick off F1 sponsorship forumJuan Villalonga, the man who brought telecommunications giant Telefónica into Formula One, will deliver the opening keynote address at the Formula One Sponsorship Forum on Monaco.

Villalonga, the former chairman of Telefónica and one of Europe’s most influential business executives, still has close links to Formula One and is very knowledgeable about the sports business.

He said: “The sponsorship forum is the perfect opportunity for a potential sponsor to meet all the right people and do all its research within a concentrated two-day period.”

Joining Villalonga at the event will be hundreds of delegates from multi-national companies worldwide. Companies registered to attend Allianz, AMD, British American Tobacco, BMW, Credit Suisse, Diageo, Intel, Panasonic, Petronas, SAP, Shell, Ford, Siemens, Emirates, Toyota Motor Corporation and Vodafone.

There will be two keynote conference sessions given by globally recognized industry leaders and 40 seminars taking place throughout the two-day period, chaired by well-known experts across a range of different sectors.

The Formula One Sponsorship Forum is organized by IM2 GmbH (Switzerland).

To find out more information contact: Sales: 00 351 91 840 4041; Sponsorship: 00 351 91 917 2287; Fax: 0044 207 900 1547 ; Email: simon@im2events.com; Web : www.f1sponsorshipforum.com; Web: www.im2events.com sportbusiness.com

10/31/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Surgery for Kimi
'Bonneville' moves on

Wheldon bound for F1 - report
Massa relieved after V8 run
Webber not concerned
Rejoice at axed tire rule
Zip your lip, Button
Lineup set for 'F1x2'
'Knockout' gets wary welcome
Renault defend late V8 call
10/30/05
ga
Tracy Krohn Lays Down First Tracks in Mexico City Tracy Krohn Lays Down First Tracks in Mexico CityMexico City, Mexico. – Tracy Krohn, driver of the number 67/Krohn Racing/TRG/Pontiac Riley, took to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track in the heart of Mexico City for two days of running to promote next week's final round of the Grand American Rolex Series race to be held on Saturday, November 5th.

After the track was cleared of joggers, bikers and walkers, the circuit - which also doubles as a city park-was turned over to Krohn. The Texan was able to familiarize himself with the 2.786-mile circuit with its 17-turns and what it will take to have success there next week. (photo credit Grant Stoddard)

“I like the layout of the track,” said Krohn. “It has a lot of turns and the straight is almost a mile long, we will have to brush up on our drafting technique to maximize our opportunities into turn one. The esses are a fun rhythm section that, if you can nail the handling, will just keep getting faster. The elevation here affects the power of the motor; it was noticeable from the first lap on Friday. With our running over the past two days we were just going at about 65% so it is hard to get a real feel for the handling, but I am glad I had the opportunity to lay down first tracks before the race weekend. There are plenty of places to pass so it will be a very exciting event for the spectators. I understand that they expect close to 200,000 race fans during the weekend, which is hard to imagine. The baseball stadium section has to be the most unique in racing. We enter the 5,000 seat stadium along first baseline and exit in left field with a turn thrown in at center field to make it interesting. With the seats filled it will be quite a spectacle.”

On the weekend Krohn provided over 30 rides to journalists, VIP guests and sponsors, giving them a taste of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit and a first hand feel of the number 67/Krohn Racing/TRG/Pontiac Riley as it will be run in Saturday’s race, sans the passenger seat.

Krohn will return during the week and educate his co-driver Nic Jönnsson and teammates Jörg Bergmeister and Max Papis on the nuances of the Central American track that once hosted Formula 1.

The final round of the Grand American Rolex Series will be run on November 5th and televised live on the Speed Channel starting at 4:00 p.m. EST from Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

10/30/05
nascar
cc
Mark Martin bullish on Bourdais Mark Martin bullish on BourdaisMark Martin brags about few things, the record fifth International Race of Champions title he won Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway is not among them, but he is quite proud of his eye for talent.

The 46-year-old Nextel Cup veteran pointed out an obscure Wisconsinite named Matt Kenseth to team-owner Jack Roush in 1999, discovering the 2003 series champion. Martin identified 15-year-old USAR Pro Cup prodigy Joey Logano, who has since been signed to Joe Gibbs Racing's developmental program.

Now Martin has a new project.

"If someone doesn't give Sebastien Bourdais a ride in NASCAR, they need their heads examined," Martin said about his fellow IROC racer. "He is the real deal."

In fairness, this one was easier to spot. The St. Petersburg resident has, after all, won consecutive Champ Car titles. But after competing against Bourdais in IROC's equally prepared stock cars, and watching him win his second race in the series this year at Texas, Martin wants to see Bourdais in a Nextel Cup stock car.

"I know what I'm talking about with Sebastien Bourdais," he said.

Bourdais, who finished fifth in the final IROC standings, said he would be interested in exploring NASCAR but has never been offered a test. He signed an extension with Newman/Haas Racing through 2006 but is open to anything thereafter, he said.

"I think I could do pretty well at this (NASCAR) thing," said Bourdais, a six-time winner in the Champ Car series this season. "I think it is a question of opportunity. If something good shows up at the door, we have to consider it. So far there has not been anything." St. Petersburg Times

10/30/05
nascar
Hamilton in the No. 32 Hamilton in the No. 32PPI Motorsports (PPIM) through a partnership with car owner Bob Jenkins raced the #32 Tide/Downy Chevrolet with driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. in today’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “Bob and I forged a relationship at Talladega a few weeks ago,” said Wells. “And he was gracious enough to continue the partnership with PPIM at Atlanta.” PPI Motorsports
10/30/05
ga
Valiante signed by Finlay Motorsports Valiante signed by Finlay MotorsportsFinlay Motorsports today announced that it has signed rising Canadian racing star Michael Valiante as a full-time driver beginning immediately.

Valiante will make his debut as a Finlay Motorsports driver next weekend in Mexico City at the 2005 Grand American Rolex Series season finale co-driving with Rob Finlay in a second Finlay Motorsports Daytona Prototype under the Essex racing banner.

Valiante, who has had three ‘guest’ drives with the Finlay team this year, and Finlay, who will be making his debut as a Prototype driver after running the full season in Grand Am Cup, will race the #5 Ford-Crawford prepared for this event by Essex Racing.

Next to them in pit lane at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City this weekend will be Finlay Motorsports’ regular driving duo of Memo Gidley and Michael McDowell in the #19 Air Force Reserve/Make-A-Wish Foundation/Commercial Defeasance Dinan-powered Riley.

Finlay Motorsports will expand to a 2-car team of Ford-Crawford prototypes next season, and while driver assignments have yet to be finalized, Valiante will be an integral part of the team’s plan to compete for the 2006 Grand American Rolex Series championship. zzzz

 “Finlay Motorsports is a top team with the focus, talent and resources to compete for the championship, and I’m delighted to be a part it,” says Valiante.  “My background is open-wheel racing, so I’m still relatively new to prototypes, but I’ve worked with many of the team members and other drivers previously, and the chemistry is excellent.  I’ve already spent a  day testing the Ford-Crawford we’ll be racing in Mexico and all next season, and it’s a really good package with winning potential.  Add that to the support we’ll be getting from our new technical partners and 2006 looks pretty exciting.”

Like so many top young drivers, Valiante started in karting, and became an international champion before graduating to cars in 1997.  He is best-known as an extremely-talented open-wheel racer and rising through the Skip Barber Racing School scholarship system to become a standout in the intensely competitive Toyota Atlantic series.  He finished on the podium in only his second Atlantic race and over the course of two-and-a-half seasons, won six races.  He finished 2nd in the 2002 Toyota Atlantic championship, and 3rd in 2003. 

Valiante moved up to Champ Car in 2004, running the season finale in Mexico City with Walker Racing.  He also ran the Portland race for Dale Coyne Racing in 2005, and has been a test driver with the RuSport Champ Car team.

Valiante’s first drive in a Grand American Rolex Series Daytona Prototype came earlier this year when he co-drove, along with Michael McDowell, Memo Gidley and Jonathan Bomarito in the series-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Several months later, when Gidley had a schedule conflict with another series, Valiante stepped in to co-drive with McDowell in the Ferrari/Maserati 400 at California Speedway qualifying the car 7th on the grid.  He set the fastest race lap and led 22 of the race’s 84 laps on the way to a 7th place finish.  Most recently, when McDowell had to sit out the September Watkins Glen race, Valiante stepped in and co-drove with Gidley.

“Michael Valiante is an extremely talented driver who has been a tremendous asset to our team during the 2005 season and I’m happy to be sharing a car with him for my DP debut in Mexico City,” says Finlay Motorsports team owner Rob Finlay.  “We’ve made major commitments to compete for the 2006 Rolex Series championship, including new cars and engines.  Adding a driver of Michael’s caliber was another essential element because of what he can bring to our testing and development program and because he’s a proven winner, a team player and as fast as any driver in the series.”

Though a new team, Finlay Motorsports has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the well-ordered world of Grand American Rolex Series racing.  The team’s 2005 record includes five top-5 and four top-10 finishes, leading seven races and a 2nd-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park on July 31.  With one race yet to run, Finlay Motorsports currently 6th in the 2005 Rolex Series championship battle.

“Michael Valiante and I graduated from the Lynx driver development program and we have an excellent relationship both in and out of the car,” says Gidley.  “Chemistry between the drivers, between the drivers and the engineers and between the drivers and the team members is critical in a front-running effort like ours.  Valiante already has those relationships, and that should make for a very smooth transition.  His technical feedback is impressive, he’s fast and he’s going to help make us into an even more competitive team.”

On track activities begin with a Rolex series practice session from 8:30 am to 9:30 am Friday morning.  The 15-minute qualifying for the Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes takes place from 5:30 pm to 5:45 pm Friday afternoon.  The 250-mile/2 ¾-hour Rolex Sports Car Series 250 is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:00 pm Saturday afternoon.  The race will be broadcast live on the SPEED Channel beginning at 4:00 pm ET.

10/30/05
nascar
Wood Brothers moving shop again Wood Brothers moving shop againThe Wood Brothers Racing #21 team is moving to its third shop in the past two years. When the team decided to move from its long-time base in Stuart, Va., closer to the racing mecca around Concord, N.C., where most NASCAR teams are located, it took over Ricky Rudd's old shop in Mooresville, NC. But those quarters proved to be too cramped. Team co-owner Len Wood said the new shop — which the team will share with ST Motorsports, a Busch Series team now working with the Woods — is 129,000 square feet versus the 30,000-square-foot building that now houses the team. It is about four miles from Lowe's Motor Speedway. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
10/30/05
nascar
NASCAR implements new tire pressure rule NASCAR implements new tire pressure ruleUPDATE NASCAR made Goodyear's recommended air pressures mandatory for yesterday's Craftsman Truck race and also will hold teams to the rule in today's Cup race. One truck crew chief called the policy ridiculous. The tire-blowing debacle two weeks ago at Lowe's Motor Speedway was cited as a reason behind the decision. But team owner Richard Childress believes the problems stem from NASCAR instituting a shorter spoiler this year. "It hasn't done anything for racing but cost the owners a lot of money," Childress said. "And to offset it, they put on a soft tire, and what do you get there? You get track records and high cornering speeds everywhere. It hasn't been nothing but a disaster." Richmond Times Dispatch 08/22/05 Beginning this past weekend at Michigan, Nextel Cup teams had to have the air pressure set in their front tires prior to the start of the national anthem, at which time NASCAR inspectors recorded the pressures.  Teams were not allowed to make air pressure changes from that period until their first pit stop.   John Darby, Cup series director, said NASCAR is simply gathering information at this time, keeping tract of where each team starts the race on air pressure to see if any trends develop. The air pressure information will not be shared with teams.  The new procedure was announced during Sunday's drivers' meeting at Michigan International Speedway.
10/30/05
IROC
Truex wins final IROC race, Martin crown Truex wins final IROC race, Martin crownOne driver put an exclamation point on a long and storied career, while the other continued his rise to becoming a racing superstar.  NASCAR drivers swept the top three positions in the Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday, led by Martin Truex Jr., who won his first series title in his rookie IROC season.

NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Mark Martin (right) clinched a record-breaking fifth series title with his second-place race finish, followed by Matt Kenseth, IRL Indy Car driver Helio Castroneves and World of Outlaws driver Danny Lasoski.

Truex Jr., who is chasing his second consecutive NASCAR Busch Series crown, led 43 of 65 laps of the 100.1-mile race, which saw a two-car crash on the final lap between Scott Pruett and Bobby Hamilton. Pruett, who suffered a sore ankle in the crash, was checked and released from the infield care center.

“I am really excited about my first IROC victory,” said Truex Jr. (Left), who secured second place in the final points standings with the win. “IROC is one of the things that is just really cool to be a part of. It is something you watch growing up and all the best drivers in the world are in it.”

Martin, who started the race in the 12th and final position, didn’t waste much time making his move to the front of the field, taking over the top spot on Lap 9 and eventually leading 10 laps. He fell short in his attempt to become just the fourth driver to record three victories in the four-race IROC season (Daytona and Richmond), but was satisfied with performance and the milestone.

“IROC has been the highlight of my driving career and I am most proud of this accomplishment,” said Martin, who earned $1 million from series title sponsor, Crown Royal, for the 2005 title. “The most special thing about the IROC Series is the relationships you build along the way. I wouldn’t have had a chance probably to even talk to all these guys if I hadn’t been invited to race IROC. That is the coolest thing about IROC in my mind.”  zzzz

Kenseth, the 2004 Crown Royal IROC Series titlist, completed a strong season with his third top-four showing, clinching third in the final points standings.

Open-wheel competitors Castroneves and Lasoski registered season-best top- five finishes. For Lasoski, the open-wheel sprint car competitor, it was his fourth top-seven finish of the season.

“I wish they would build five more of these Atlanta’s,” quipped Lasoski.” “Next to Daytona…this is about much fun as you can have racing.”

The bottom half of the top 10 included: two-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais, followed by Buddy Rice (IRL Indy Car), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), Max Papis and Bobby Hamilton. Bourdais, Papis and Hamilton each registered strong performances and led a lap.

Bourdais (right with Kurt Busch) was in contention and ran near the top during the first half of race, holding the third position when the competitor’s yellow flag came out on Lap 40, before falling back fast shortly after the restart.

“We started at the middle of the pack, went to the very back at the start and never really got the help we needed,” said a frustrated Bourdais. “The NASCAR drivers work together to help themselves. When they have a choice between me or Mark Martin or anybody else, they pick the guys from the same series. We (the non-NASCAR drivers) need all the help we can find out there.”

Results

Pos. Start Driver Car Laps Status
1 9 Martin Truex Jr. #8 Black 65 Running
2 12 Mark Martin*  #6 Olympic Blue 65 Running
3 10 Matt Kenseth* #17 Purple 65 Running
4 2 Helio Castroneves #03 Day-glo 65 Running
5 5 Danny Lasoski #20 Orange 65 Running
6 7 Sebastien Bourdais #2 Yellow 65 Running
7 8 Buddy Rice #15 Burgundy 65 Running
8 3 Steve Kinser #11 Green 65 Running
9 4 Max Papis #16 Magenta 65 Running
10 6 Bobby Hamilton #4 Blue 64 Accident
11 1 Scott Pruett #01 Gold 64 Accident
12 11 Kurt Busch* #97 Red 64 Running

Final Standings

POS. NAME:REPRESENTING: TOTAL POINTS
1 Mark Martin NASCAR Nextel Cup 89
2 Martin Truex Jr. NASCAR Busch Series  68
3 Matt KensethNASCAR Nextel Cup 55
4 Buddy Rice IRL Indy Car Series 46
Tie Sebastien Bourdais Champ Car World Series  46
6 Kurt Busch NASCAR Nextel Cup 43
7 Bobby Hamilton NASCAR Craftsman Truck 34
8 Danny Lasoski World of Outlaws 34
9 Helio CastronevesIRL Indy Car Series 32
10 Max Papis Grand-Am Road Racing  30
11 Steve Kinser World of Outlaws 29
12 Scott Pruett Grand-Am Road Racing  22

10/30/05
A1GP
cc
Durban to host A1 Grand Prix next year Durban to host A1 Grand Prix next year[Editor's Note:  At one time this was going to be a Champ Car race.] KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sibusiso Ndebele has confirmed that Durban is to host the South African round of the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motor sport in January next year.

Premier Ndebele made the announcement at a joint press conference held with eThekwini Mayor Obed Mlaba and businessman and chairperson of A1 Team South Africa, Tokyo Sexwale.

Ndebele said: "Durban is South Africa's own Monaco, and it is appropriate that the event should take the form of a Monaco-style street race along one of the most beautiful beachfronts in the world."

Ndebele said although 25 countries took part in the World Cup of motor sport, only 12 were given a chance to host a round of the series.

"It is of great significance that South Africa is one of them. It is roads that build the economy and not the economy that builds roads. This is in context of what the spin off will be with the event being held in the Province. This event will benefit both the Province and the City and moreover the people of KwaZulu-Natal," said Ndebele.

The cost of staging the event including broadcasting to at least 14 countries around the world, the creation of a street track in eThekweni and all other infrastructure and management coasts will be around R91.6 million ($13.6M).

Mayor Mlaba said the municipality's estimates were that at least 100,000 spectators would attend the event, with half of these being from outside the province and the country.

"This will be A1 Grand Prix's only street race, and the first race of its kind to be staged in the city. Durban has shown a deep passion for sport, whether it be soccer, rugby, cricket or other sports codes.

"We are more than confident that these sports fans - as well as those who traditionally watch sport from the comfort of their armchairs - will join us on the streets on the 29th of January as proud hosts of this exciting event." zzzz

"A1 Grand Prix is more than just a sport. It unites nations and encourages patriotism. We therefore see this as an opportunity to generate great excitement, passion and pride among South Africans," said Mlaba.

Mlaba said the event would attract visitors from across the county, and would assist in building the profile of the province.

"Durban is South Africa's playground for world class sporting events. And we are even more confident that with the World Cup Soccer on our doorstep Durban will once again be showcased as a city that will attract even one of the major games to be played here.

"We see long-lasting economic benefits from this event, and appreciate the confidence in our province that has been expressed by A1 Grand Prix South Africa," the Mayor added.

Sexwale said the event would spark immense business confidence in the Province and attract major investment, locally and internationally.

"This is the Grand Prix of Nations, the World Cup of Motorsports - driver versus driver, with high octane excitement in technologically advanced motor racing cars," Sexwale said.

"A1 Grand Prix is more than just a sport. It unites nations and encourages patriotism. We therefore see this as an opportunity to generate great excitement, passion and pride among South Africans," he said. South African Cities Network

10/30/05
cc
Ranger’s Tide Car diecast Ranger’s Tide Car diecastChapparrel's latest, and perhaps most difficult, Champ Car diecast was of Andrew Ranger's Toronto Tide Coldwater car.

   

10/30/05
Industry news
Full success for Ferrari's 15,000 Red Miles Tour Full success for Ferrari's 15,000 Red Miles TourFerrari's 15,000 Red Miles Tour, an unprecedented adventure which has seen two 612 Scaglietti travel all over China, is concluding today in Shanghai, in front of Fiat Group's Vice President John Elkann and a numerous group of Ferrari's lovers and supporters. On such an occasion, Shanghai's architectural symbol, the Oriental Pearl Tower, a 468 meter high amazing building, lights up in red to celebrate the end of the tour as well as the first year of Ferrari's presence in China.

Last year Ferrari received an important award: for the first time an Italian brand was given the title of "Renowned Brand" by the Chinese Office for Trade Marks. Honored by this important tribute, President Luca di Montezemolo has declared: "I dreamt of Ferrari being in China since 1993 even though the restrictions on imports were enormous. Today the situation has changed and Ferrari now has its own trading organization with complete customer support, and may as well aspire to turn China into one of the six leading world markets. Shanghai's tribute to Ferrari, after New York's Empire State Building was lit up in red last year, confirms once again Ferrari's capability of arising passion all over the world".

The 15,000 Red Miles Tour is a formidable challenge, never before undertaken by any automotive company: 51 Chinese and international journalists alternating at the steering wheel, more than 24,000 kilometres done, of which 1,600 on very rough roads, 5,231 meters of height reached in Tibet, 45 five days traveling, 420 hours driving, up to 900 kilometres per day, 37 towns crossed; all this gone through with just two rims damaged due to the holes in the ground and two set of snow tires for the most impervious regions. Neither a motor oil refill was needed. Notwithstanding the low quality of fuel in some areas, the often critical conditions of the roads and the astonishing heights reached, all this was realized by the two Scaglietti. zzzz

Difficulties and strongly different settings, with an amount of extreme situations for climate, roads and environmental obstacles characterized this tour: starting in Shanghai, the expedition first headed north, then east towards Manchuria, and finally south-west to Beijing to drive on along the Great Wall to Lanzhou.

After having crossed Tibet up till Lhasa, the two Scaglietti turned west through the Gobi desert and reached Kashi, the ancient town on the Silk Way described by Marco Polo and the most continental site on earth. Driving further across the desert, they reached Urumqi and then down to the tropical region to Guangzhou, better known as Canton. Here the route turned to the most western and modern part of China till the conclusion today in Shanghai.

The expedition was welcomed enthusiastically in every single town, thus confirming Ferrari's notoriety throughout the country. A plate of the Prancing Horse, as a token of friendship, was offered to local authorities, while the team brought presents and educational material in the schools.

Ferrari has benefited by the precious support of Chinese Authorities and has availed herself of Fiat China's logistical assistance for the organization of this journey, sponsored by some of her most faithful partners, such as Shell (fuel and lubricants, with specific assistance in the most difficult areas), Puma (for the team's clothing), Alcoa (technical partner and 612's aluminum chassis supplier), Pirelli (special tires for the different stages of the tour) and Saima Avandero (cars' and spare parts' shipping). A Chinese partner as well took part in the enterprise, Xin Yu Watch & Clock, Swiss watches' main distributor in China. Two PowerDaily Iveco as a support and one Iveco 4x4 VM40.10 for technical assistance, tires' and spare parts' transport and two Fiat Palio Weekend for video and photo shooting.

Ferrari in China

Ferrari has been present in China since 1993: initially with an importer in Hong Kong and, since last year, with a joint venture. Ferrari Maserati Cars International Trading, in which Ferrari and Maserati are the main shareholders, was set up in October 2004.

Ferrari Maserati Cars International Trading is the exclusive importer of Ferrari and Maserati cars in China, and is responsible for the marketing activities, sales to the dealer network, spare parts, accessories and technical support for both brands. Local personnel is directly trained by Italian Headquarters, in order to grant clients the best assistance, up to Ferrari and Maserati standards. The dealer network should be up and running by November in ten major Chinese cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Panyu, Shenzen, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Chengdu, Xiamen and Chongqing).

Looking at China's dynamic growth is possible for Ferrari to foresee that this market may strongly develop in the next future; the current allocation of 90 Ferrari cars for 2005 may quickly rise in the next two or three years to make China one of the leading six markets for the Prancing Horse. Ferrari

10/29/05
CART
CART to finally be liquidated CART to finally be liquidated
10/29/05
cca
cc
Atlantic champion to get Champ Car start Atlantic champion to get Champ Car startTeam Australia has announced that it will campaign a third car for this year’s Toyota Atlantic Champion Charles Zwolsman in this weekend’s final round of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford in Mexico City.

The talented 26 year-old Dutchman took this year’s Atlantic series by storm winning three races, five poles and eight podiums during the 12-round series.

Zwolsman will have his first taste of a Champ Car in a special session in Mexico from 10am-4pm on Thursday, which has been designed for him personally. More....

10/29/05
f1
Stoddart’s last word . . . for now Stoddart’s last word . . . for nowWith the sale of the Minardi F1 Team to Red Bull GmbH due to be concluded on Monday, October 31, the Team Principal for the past five years, Paul Stoddart, today issues the following statement:

“As the time for the handover of the team to its new owners approaches, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Minardi staff, both on the race team and at the factory, in Italy and the UK, for their support over the last five years, and for the incredible job they have done, given the available resources.

“I would also like to thank all those who have driven for us in 2005 – Patrick Friesacher, Christijan Albers, Robert Doornbos, Chanoch Nissany and Enrico Toccacelo – for their valuable contribution to the team. I would particularly like to single out Robert for the fine job he has done in what might best be described as difficult circumstances. He only joined the team at the 12th round, in Hockenheim, and despite not having driven the Minardi Cosworth PS05 previously or taken part in a Grand Prix, he settled in quickly, got to grips with the car and the team, and was soon on the pace.

“In the eight rounds in which he competed for us, he displayed a high level of driving skill, a consistently positive attitude and excellent technical ability. In fact, despite his relatively short time with us, there is no doubt Robert’s feedback made a significant contribution to the development of the new car.
 
“I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to our engine partner, Cosworth, to our commercial and technical partners, and to the thousands of Minardi fans around the world, for their unconditional support of the hard-trying little team from Faenza over the years.

“Finally, I want to thank Gian Carlo Minardi. Unless he had possessed the vision and the bravery to strike out into Formula One in the first place, and the resilience to deal with the innumerable problems and difficulties that arose along the way, the team would undoubtedly have suffered the same fate as many well-known, and frequently better funded organizations, and simply fallen by the wayside. Regrettably, the Minardi name will now disappear from the sport, but I firmly believe the competitive spirit that has burned brightly within this team for the past 21 years will live on under its new owners.” Minardi

10/29/05
f1
Interview with Renault’s Bob Bell Interview with Renault’s Bob BellThe Renault F1 Team’s Chassis Technical Director, Bob Bell, is adamant that reliability – alongside improved speed – were the keys to success in 2005.

Bob, was the R25 a successful car?
“Looking at the results, yes! In engineering terms, for a car to be considered successful, you cannot afford to have any weaknesses in the technical package. The same thing is true on a human level with the team. If you have a problem in one area, it can have a serious effect on overall performance. And our car didn’t have any obvious weaknesses, neither with the engine nor the chassis.”

When you are in the design phase, how can you be sure you haven’t taken too many – or too few – risks?
“You can never be completely sure of anything. There are still lots of unknown factors when it comes to getting the best out of a Formula 1 car. Our job is to manage the risks. If you don’t take any, then you go backwards. If you take too many, then you can have serious reliability problems. The 2005 season showed we had found a good compromise with the R25. We innovated in some areas, but we did it in a controlled way.” zzzz

Was that one of the car’s secrets?
“Perhaps. We always tried to consider reliability as our priority, and to improve performance without endangering our ability to finish races. That strategy paid off: the R25 may not have been the quickest car at every race weekend, but it was the most competitive over the whole season.”

Is the search for reliability a constant preoccupation at Renault?
“You can never take reliability for granted. A part may have performed perfectly during 7 races, but you always need to ask whether it will last for race number 8. Performance is constantly increasing, and that means the safety margin on each part must be sufficient – but small. It is easy to go over the limit. For example, if you make the car easier to drive, that allows the driver to attack more, to use the curbs: when that happens, something might break without warning. In our minds, it is not a question solving problems so much as anticipating them by trying to imagine every scenario. It is a continuous challenge.”

For 2006, Renault will not run its V8 engine until the new car is ready. Is that a worry in terms of reliability?
“I don’t think so. We are not at all complacent about the work involved in making the new package reliable for the opening races, but we have adjusted our project timing to take account of this. Our new car will run early in 2006, and we will get two chassis running as quickly as possible to maximize our track testing time. We believe this is the most effective and balanced use of our resources, taking into account the fact we had to develop the R25 until the end of 2005 in order to secure the championships and that our engine architecture will change for 2006. Our priority is to produce a competitive package with which to defend our titles next year.” Renault F1 Team
10/29/05
f1
Renault’s reaction to the new sporting regulations Renault’s reaction to the new sporting regulationsFollowing the decisions announced by the FIA World Motorsport Council, Formula 1 will once again approach a new season with fresh challenges to be understood and mastered.

Not only will almost the entire field be running brand new 2.4 liter V8 engines, but they will be tackling a revised qualifying format – which includes significantly more running than the previous one-lap version – and tire changes will also make a return in race conditions. So, we will have engines that last 1400 km, tires for 100 km and a complex new qualifying format. What will it all mean for the engineers who will be tackling the challenge?

Reacting and adapting
“It may seem obvious, but the first thing to say is that the changes are fact,” explains Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering. “So what we have to concentrate on now is how best to respond. We had major changes to the technical and sporting regulations for 2005, and I think we proved that we adapt very well: the car was competitive from the first race.
 
And it wasn’t just the team, our partners did the same, Elf for example with the extended engine life, or Michelin and how they responded to the single-race tire regulations. It goes without saying that when you are winning, you don’t want to change anything. But I think our team – and our partners – thrive on the challenge that change presents, and we will tackle the 2006 season with the same determination we did 2005,” added Symonds.

Tire changes
“Had we known about this regulation change some time ago, then I think the design of the cars would have been optimized differently,” analyses Chassis Technical Director Bob Bell. “But in reality, it is too late to make any changes to the car, so it fundamentally has no impact. It is certainly a manageable change, because if anything you would want to reduce the fuel tank size relative to the single-tire formula to take advantage of the likelihood of shorter race stints. But the real problem is the huge burden it places on the tire companies, who will have to make significant investments to meet the new regulations. The question is whether that is appropriate in the current climate where all parties are talking about the importance of cutting costs?” zzzz

Knock-out qualifying
“The format has been conceived to increase the interest of the viewing public, and if it achieves that, then it will be very positive,” comments Bob Bell. “It is, though, a more complicated format, and there are some subtle complications within it – the tactical advantages that could be gained from qualifying around the fringes of the top ten rather than tenth, for example. We will need to present and explain the format carefully, to make sure that complication doesn’t become confusion for the general public.”
 
Changing engines, changing formats
“As engine builders, any changes to the regulations lead us to a rapid evaluation of each area that might have an impact on our work,” explains Head of Engine Operations Denis Chevrier. “It is clear that the revised qualifying format carries the inherent implication of a higher mileage life cycle, which we can estimate as an increase of around 10%. Subsequently, multiple tire changes will also lead us to re-assess how and when we use the engine’s performance in the race, to take strategic advantage of new tires. The changes will mean we adjust our dyno and track running during the winter to simulate these conditions but at this stage of the development process, they do not provide any insurmountable problems.” Renault F1 Team

10/29/05
f1
Honda’s hopes for 2nd team dead, maybe not Honda’s hopes for 2nd team dead, maybe notUPDATE AutoRacing1.com has learned that the Honda B team is still hiring personnel so the report that it's dead is premature.  They may not be able to buy a car, so perhaps they are going to design their own, or modify the design of the Honda A team's car enough to satisfy the FIA.  10/29/05 Honda's hopes of getting their second Formula One team off the ground appear to be faltering, following the decision this week to not allow teams to run customer cars before 2008, autosport.com reports.

FIA president Max Mosley told autosport.com that there was no chance of customer cars being allowed in F1 for another two years.

"Not until 2008," he said. "The thing of selling the cars and parts in 2008 is that there is no Concorde Agreement (beyond then) so unless we renew that restriction as part of the Concorde Agreement, that limit has gone.

"But until then, you must have the intellectual property rights to your car, and the parts must not be designed or manufactured by another constructor. They can be (made) by a third party like Lola, but not a constructor. You cannot just buy a car."

10/29/05
nascar
GM Goodwrench, Hershey Join Forces on RCR's No. 29 GM Goodwrench, Hershey Join Forces on RCR's No. 29Richard Childress Racing (RCR) announced today that GM Goodwrench and The Hershey Company have joined forces as co-primary sponsors of RCR's No. 29 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS driven by Kevin Harvick in the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season.

GM Goodwrench will be the primary sponsor for 24 races, including the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Hershey Company, through its Reese's brand, will be the primary sponsor for 12 races, including the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"We see this as a great opportunity to extend our NASCAR program with a brand like REESE'S," said Jim Moloney, General Director, GM Service and Parts Operations Marketing. "We have had a relationship with The Hershey Company through our involvement with Richard Childress Racing for five years now and it continues to grow and prosper.
10/29/05
nascar
Wimmer feels cheated Wimmer feels cheatedNextel Cup driver Scott Wimmer remains upset at how he learned of his release from Bill Davis Racing's No. 22 Dodges at the end of the season. Wimmer said he only became aware of his release when he and his wife, Jody, returned home Tuesday and discovered the Postal Service had attempted to deliver a certified letter from BDR. "I picked it up Wednesday morning and found out I wouldn't be driving the car next year," Wimmer said. "Two weeks ago I was going to be in the car and now I'm not. "I'm just upset with how it all went down, getting a letter in the mail and also knowing so late in the game. I think a lot of rides were opened up a month ago, and now several have closed the door.". ThatsRacin
10/29/05
f1
Renault questions tire change Renault questions tire changeRenault technical director Bob Bell has questioned the wisdom of Formula 1’s decision to reintroduce tire changing for 2006 in view of the financial implications for the tire companies. “The real problem is the huge burden it places on the tire companies, who will have to make significant investments to meet the new regulations,” said Bell. “The question is whether that is appropriate in the current climate where all parties are talking about the importance of cutting costs?” The same point was made – more forcibly – by Renault’s tire supplier Michelin on Friday, when it blasted the new tire rules as “incoherent with the FIA’ s proclaimed policy to reduce costs”. The French manufacturer claimed costs will rise by 15 percent as a result of having to design “an entirely new generation of tires”. ITV/F1
10/29/05
f1
Massa happy with first V8 test Massa happy with first V8 testNew Ferrari driver Felipe Massa is happy with the results of the first test of the new V8 engine. in regard to the fact that the V8 is a lot different to the V10 power he has been driving for years now, Felipe admitted that it was not as bad as he thought it might have been…. "It was fun, I expected worse. I like it," the Brazilian told the Gazzetta dello Sport. "Obviously there's still a lot of work to do, but it seems very drivable. It's definitely better than I expected. Compared to the V10 it's pretty different: with two cylinders less there's a lot less power, but it's fast anyway. After having got used to a lot of horsepower, I feared a big worsening. I'm happy about how testing has gone: two sunny days and lots of kilometres done. And every lap I learned something on the car."
10/29/05
cca
gp2
Atlantic driver Bessette invited to test with GP2 Champion Team Atlantic driver Bessette invited to test with GP2 Champion TeamLooking to fill the seat left empty by 2005 GP2 champion Nico Rosberg who is heading to Formula One with Williams-Cosworth, ART Grand Prix team has invited Canadian driver Antoine Bessette for a two-day testing session at the circuit Paul-Ricard next December 1st and 2nd. For the 23 year-old driver from St-Bruno, Quebec who won two rounds of the Toyota Formula Atlantic Championship in Toronto and Montreal while finishing third in the standings, this is a unique opportunity to join the GP2 series, Formula One ladder series. GP2 stars as undercard in eleven grand prix weekends out of twelve programs.

 “This is an honor to be invited to test with a GP2 team, said Bessette, especially with the 2005 champion team, ART Grand Prix. I know they have a very short list of candidates because they can only test for six days in the off-season. We are presently negotiating and I hope we come to terms for the benefits of both parties. What an exciting opportunity this would be to race in the GP2 series. I feel I can hold my ground after my Atlantic season. I know I can drive at this level.”

10/29/05
nascar
Vickers to test Car of Tomorrow Vickers to test Car of TomorrowFollowing Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway #25-Brian Vickers will remain in Atlanta to conduct a test session for NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports. He will be driving the next-generation NEXTEL Cup Series car, known as the "car of tomorrow." Several other teams that have built the new cars will be testing as well. Hendrick Motorsports
10/29/05
nascar
Stewart does deal with Goody's Stewart does deal with Goody'sTony Stewart is keeping some pretty fast company these days.  The 2002 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion and current Chase points leader has become the latest resident of "Mr. Petty's Neighborhood" in Goody's Country - the place where speed reigns supreme. Stewart has joined seven-time NASCAR champion and long-time Goody's Headache Powders spokesperson Richard Petty and his son Kyle in the new Goody's advertising campaign. The campaign features a series of commercials that provide a glimpse into life in "Mr. Petty's Neighborhood," including Stewart's move-in day and his reaction to the speedy pace of life there. Everything is fast in "Mr. Petty's Neighborhood."  The traffic lights are always green, the family dog is a greyhound, the pizza delivery boys drive low-riding hot rods, speed bumps are outlawed and the only pain reliever for the residents is Goody's Headache Powders - the Official Pain Reliever of NASCAR.  The commercial was filmed Oct. 11 and 12 in Greensboro, N.C. "Making the commercial with Richard was great," said Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet.  "I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he's accomplished in life and on the race track.  The Pettys are synonymous with going fast and Goody's, so when the opportunity arose to join Richard and Kyle in this new Goody's campaign, I was all for it." "I had a lot of fun working with Tony on the commercial shoot," said Richard Petty.  "He certainly knows all about going fast, and with a little more practice and a few more pointers, I think he may become as good an actor as I am."
10/29/05
f1
Mosley's re-election ratified Mosley's re-election ratifiedMax Mosley has been elected President of the FIA for a further term by the FIA General Assembly which met in Rome, today (October 28). It is the fourth consecutive term for Mr. Mosley.

Mr. Mosley was first elected President of FISA (Federation Internationale du Sport Automobile), the FIA's then sport division, in 1991 and re-elected in 1992. In 1993, after FISA was merged with the main body of the FIA, Mr. Mosley was elected President of the FIA for the first time. He was re-elected in 1997, 2001 and again today.

The General Assembly, the supreme executive body of the FIA, which consists of the presidents of each of the FIA's member clubs and national organizations, voted unanimously for Mr. Mosley’s re-election. FIA

10/29/05
f1
FIA response to Michelin FIA response to MichelinThe FIA has noted the latest press statement made by Michelin regarding the 2006 Formula One regulations.

The decision to reintroduce tire changes in Formula One was supported by an overwhelming majority of the Formula One Commission members and by a unanimous vote of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

The Formula One Commission is made up of all the F1 stakeholders including representatives of the teams (10), event promoters (8), engine suppliers (1), tire suppliers (1), sponsors (2) and just one representative each from the governing body and the commercial rights holder.

Michelin are clearly confused, but it is difficult to understand which part of the very basic and entirely democratic voting procedures adopted by the FIA that Michelin is perplexed by. As Michelin themselves point out this is the same regulation as in 2004 when, we must remind them, their tires ran without problem at Indianapolis.

10/29/05
f1
Mosley selects cabinet members Mosley selects cabinet membersAfter winning re-election as FIA president, Max Mosley has chosen the following cabinet members - former Ferrari sporting director Marco Piccinini remains as the FIA Deputy President for Sport, while the seven men who will act as FIA Vice Presidents for Sport are Mexico's Jose Abed, Monaco's Michel Boeri, India's Nazir Hoosein, Jordan's Derek Ledger, Uganda's Shekhar Mehta, France's Jacques Regis and Germany's Hermann Tomczyk. FIA
10/29/05
f1
12-year old has sights set on F1 12-year old has sights set on F1When Alex Bowman looks into his rearview mirror, he is sure to see a pack of quarter-midgets.  Often it is because Bowman is the one crossing the finish line first.  Bowman, 12, has won three national victories, 10 track championships, 120 main events and has broken 11 track records since he began racing at the age of 7.   "The reason I started was because I always watched it on TV," Bowman said. "I thought it was cool."   Bowman's dominance on the national level hit the asphalt with his first win at the Western Grand National in Portland, Ore., on July 9.   In the light-160 division, Bowman set a track record with a time of 5.84 seconds.  The momentum continued with a July 15 win at the Gasoline Alley National at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  More....  [Editor's Note:  The article says he wants to be the first American to win the F1 title.  He would be the third.]
10/29/05
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for SundayDon't forget to set clocks back 1 hour at 2 AM Sunday.
MOTORSPORT MUNDIAL
Porsche RS Spyder at Laguna Seca
Australian V-8s, Round 7, Queensland, Australia
7:30 a.m.-8:00 a.m. ET, SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'NASCAR This Morning'
Atlanta Motor Speedway
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500
Atlanta Motor Speedway
12:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (Live) NBC
GRAND-AM CUP
Phoenix - GS (9/10/05)
1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
STAR MAZDA SERIES
Road Atlanta (9/30/05)
5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET, SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'NASCAR Victory Lane'
Atlanta Motor Speedway
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. ET (SDD) SPEED
WIND TUNNEL with Dave Despain
Guest Co-host: Kurt Busch
Featured Interview: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Featured Interview: Michael McDowell
Featured Interview: Gary Scelzi
9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
FIA WORLD RALLY
Rallye de Catalunya
Costa Daurada, Spain (10/28/05 - 10/30/05)
11:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET (SDD) SPEED

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

10/29/05
irl
IRL clears Kanaan IRL clears KanaanIf Tony Kanaan intentionally slowed down Oct. 16 to give a teammate a victory at California Speedway, his car's computer showed no sign of it, an Indy Racing League official said Friday. Kanaan appeared to lift off the throttle just before the finish in the Toyota Indy 400, allowing Andretti Green Racing teammate Dario Franchitti to win.   Franchitti won by 0.117 seconds, a distance of about 10 feet.  Kanaan said he meant to push the steering wheel button that gives his engine extra power to pass, but he mistakenly hit the one that slows the car down on pit road. "It was an honest mistake; I did the same thing leaving the pits at Watkins Glen (in the race Sept. 25)," Kanaan said after the race.  IRL officials couldn't prove otherwise.  "There is no conclusive evidence," said John Griffin, the IRL's vice president of public relations. "The matter is closed." Indy Star  [Editor's Note:  It's quite easy to manipulate the data log file before the IRL got it so we guess we'll never know for sure.]
10/29/05
nascar
Evernham statement on Labbe’s departure Evernham statement on Labbe’s departureUPDATE Slugger Labbe said he went to team owner Ray Evernham and told him "it was time to do something different" than serve as Jeremy Mayfield's crew chief but there wasn't another opportunity to continue to work at Evernham Motorsports.   Labbe was released Thursday by Evernham. Team director Kenny Francis and car chief Mike Shiplett are sharing crew chief duties this weekend. 

"I wanted to stay with the company," Labbe said. "I wanted to know what my options were in the company, and what he presented me was not what I wanted to do. So, I'm doing something different."

Asked what it was he wanted to do, Labbe replied: "As a crew chief, I want to win races and contend for top-fives every week, not top-15s."

Labbe said his future should be clear by next week, and he expected to be at the Nextel Cup race at Texas. Sources say Labbe is likely headed to Robert Yates Racing, but in what capacity remains unclear.

10/27/05 Statement from Ray Evernham on the Leadership for the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger

"We have decided to make a change on the leadership team for the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger driven by Jeremy Mayfield. The team, led by Team Director Kenny Francis for the past three years, has shown great promise and potential. We've qualified for the Chase for the Championship for the second year in a row. But, we have high expectations for this team, both for the remainder of the 2005 season and for next year.

"We still have four races to run this season, all of which are on tracks where we've been successful. We're confident that we can re-energize this team to bring home solid finishes in these last four races and move up in the Chase for the Championship. We are already planning for next year, and we recognize that we need to make several changes to regain the momentum this team had earlier in the year and to ensure we have the right people in the right places to win races and a championship.

"As part of this change, Richard "Slugger" Labbe will no longer serve as crew chief for the team. Kenny Francis will continue to lead the team as he has the last three years, and Mike Shiplett, currently the car chief for the team, will share Labbe's duties with Francis. Slugger Labbe made good contributions to this team this year, and we wish him well as he pursues other opportunities."

10/29/05
f1
Mansell tells Button to watch his words Mansell tells Button to watch his wordsBritish F1 legend Nigel Mansell has told Jenson to button it after the Honda star made controversial comments about female racing drivers in a leading men's magazine.  Button told FHM that women racers could never make it in Formula 1 because their bodies wouldn't be able to cope with the G-forces involved.  But a furious Mansell says Jenson should give more thought to the comments he makes in public.

"When you look at Jenson, having just done his 100th grand prix, I think he gets away with murder at times," he said.  "I don't thank him for the press chasing me around for his stupid remarks about women drivers.  I think he scored another home goal there. If you can't say the right things, say nothing."

10/29/05
f1
Bridgestone supports FIA changes Bridgestone supports FIA changesBridgestone has announced that they completely support the FIA's new changes in tire regulations. After Michelin's financially motivated move to oppose the new rule, Bridgestone wants to make clear that they support it for the fans.
Bridgestone Statement
"The changes in regulations have been made for several reasons. Firstly, television viewers and spectators have made it clear that they would prefer to see tire changes as it adds to the excitement of Formula One. Secondly, from a tire point of view, allowing tire changes increases safety and for Bridgestone, safety is a priority. Bridgestone did not request a change to the regulations and we were willing to compete under the existing regulations if that is what the FIA and teams wanted as it would have given us the opportunity to try to beat our opposition under the single tire rule. However, the FIA and teams have opted for a change and we are happy to meet these new challenges."
10/29/05
f1
JPM in Mobil 1 event back home JPM in Mobil 1 event back homeTeam McLaren Mercedes driver, Juan Pablo Montoya will take part today in an event for Mobil 1 at the “Autódromo de Tocancipá” in Colombia in front of thousands of fans and Mobil 1 guests.

The event follows a promotion run by Mobil 1 in Colombia. Customers purchasing one liter bottles of special edition Mobil 1 lubricant featuring Juan Pablo’s image were automatically invited to attend the event.

As well as speaking to the fans about the 2005 Formula One season and his preparations for 2006, Juan Pablo will also treat some of Mobil 1’s VIP guests and fans to a passenger ride around the circuit in a Mercedes-Benz AMG car.

Later Juan Pablo will also play video games with a group of children who will compete head-to head against the driver for the opportunity to win some prizes.

10/28/05
alms
8 ALMS drivers nominated 8 ALMS drivers nominatedEight current and former champions from the American Le Mans Series have been nominated to the prestigious American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's All-America Auto Racing Team. The ALMS has the greatest number of nominees among all U.S. road-racing series on the ballot, which was released Friday.

ALMS nominees are Champion Racing's Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro, LMP1 champions; Corvette Racing's Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin, who won their first GT1 championship together, and past champions Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell; and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing drivers Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister, the ALMS' GT2 drivers champions.

After a period away from full-time ALMS competition, Pirro and Biela won four times this year to earn their first championship together and second for each. With each race, Pirro, Biela and their crew grew more and more comfortable in the No. 2 Audi R8, and it showed with podium finishes in all 10 ALMS races.

10/28/05
Funny Stuff
Pope gets nailed going 105 MPH Pope gets nailed going 105 MPHAfter getting all of the new Pope's luggage loaded into the limo, (and He doesn't travel light), the driver notices that the Pope is still standing on the curb.

"Excuse me, Your Holiness," says the driver, "Would you please take your seat so we can leave?"

"Well, to tell you the truth," says the Pope, "they never let me drive at the Vatican, and I'd really like to drive today."

"I'm sorry but I cannot let you do that. I'd lose my job! And what if something should happen?" protests the driver, wishing he'd never gone to work that morning.

"There might be something extra in it for you," says the Pope.

Reluctantly, the driver gets in the back as the Pope climbs in behind the wheel. The driver quickly regrets his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Pontiff floors it, accelerating the limo to 105 mph.  zzzz

" Please slow down, Your Holiness!!!" pleads the worried driver, but the Pope keeps the pedal to the metal until they hear sirens.

"Oh, dear God, I'm gonna lose my license," moans the driver.

The Pope pulls over and rolls down the window as the cop approaches, but the cop takes one look at him, goes back to his motorcycle, and gets on the radio. "I need to talk to the Chief," he says to the dispatcher.

The Chief gets on the radio and the cop tells him that he's stopped a limo going a hundred and five.

“So bust him," says the Chief.

"I don't think we want to do that, he's really important," said the cop.

The Chief exclaimed," All the more reason!"

"No, I mean really important," said the cop.

The Chief then asked, "Who ya got there, the Mayor?"

Cop: "Bigger."

Chief: "Governor?"

Cop: "Bigger."

"Well," said the Chief, "Who is it?"

Cop: "I think it's God!"

Chief: "What makes you think it's God?"

Cop: "He's got the Pope as a chauffeur!!"

10/28/05
IROC
All-Time IROC team named All-Time IROC team namedAfter nearly three decades of championship racing, the International Race of Champions (IROC) and title sponsor Crown Royal made history today by announcing its first ever all-time IROC team dubbed the "Crown Royal IROC Legends of Victory Lane." Mario Andretti, the late Dale Earnhardt, Scott Pruett and Steve Kinser were named to the all-time team and were honored in a ceremony held at the year's final IROC race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The all-time IROC team represents the three main racing disciplines - open-wheel, stock car and road racing. Andretti (open-wheel), Earnhardt (stock car) and Pruett (road racing) garnered the most fan votes to win their respective categories, while Kinser (open-wheel) earned the fans' wild card selection by amassing the most votes among all categories outside of the three winners. Nearly a quarter-million votes were cast during the five-month voting period.

The four members of the Legends of Victory Lane team were presented with a custom crystal trophy by IROC Series President Jay Signore and Crown Royal Senior Brand Manager James Lorenz. Fans voted for the Legends team from a list of 12 finalists selected by a veteran, three-person media panel, which has covered motorsports for a combined 100-plus years. Finalists were determined by panel nominations based primarily on drivers' IROC career performance and included: Andretti, Kinser, Al Unser Jr. and Bobby Unser (open-wheel); Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin and Cale Yarborough (stock car); and Pruett, Hurley Haywood, Tom Kendall and Mark Donohue (road racing). From April to September, fans 21 years of age and older had the opportunity to vote for one driver in each of three categories by visiting kiosks stationed at the Crown Royal Experience at NASCAR events or via the Internet at www.crownroyalracing.com.

In its second year as title sponsor, Crown Royal continues to promote responsible drinking with its "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly." campaign. At the conclusion of the Atlanta race, the IROC champion is awarded a $1 million first-place purse from Crown Royal. Mark Martin, winner of the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway in February and IROC Race #3 at Richmond International Raceway in September, leads the current Crown Royal IROC points standings. Champ Car World Series driver Sebastien Bourdais claimed Race #2 at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Alan Taylor Communications

10/28/05
nascar
NASCAR Martinsville TV Rating NASCAR Martinsville TV RatingUPDATE The final rating for the Subway 400 was a 4.7/10 share, up 6.8% from a 4.4/10 share in 2004. 10/24/05 The overnight rating for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race on NBC was a 3.8/8 share.  The rating is 5% lower than the 4.0 overnight that the race drew last year.
10/28/05
irl
4 IndyCar Series drivers nominated 4 IndyCar Series drivers nominatedIndyCar Series standouts Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr., Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon are among eight open-wheel drivers nominated for the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters All-America Team.

Nearly 300 members of the motorsports media will vote to select the team. The top two vote-getters will be selected to the first team, the next two to the second team and any other driver receiving at least 5 percent of the vote will receive honorable mention honors. The top vote-getter among all categories - Open-Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Short Track, Touring Series, At Large - will earn the Jerry Titus Award.

Wheldon, the IndyCar Series champion, earned six race victories in 2005, including the Indianapolis 500. He earned Second Team honors in 2003.

Kanaan, the 2004 Jerry Titus winner, finished second in the IndyCar Series championship and had two race victories.

Hornish and Franchitti, third and fourth, respectively, in the IndyCar Series in 2005 each won two races.

The All-America Team will be announced Dec. 3 during the annual AARWBA banquet in Indianapolis.

10/28/05
ga
Grand-Am drivers nominated Grand-Am drivers nominatedThree pairs of Grand American Road Racing Association drivers have been nominated for 2005 American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-America consideration for their achievements in both the Rolex Sports Car Series and Grand-Am Cup Series.

Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, co-drivers of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley and co-leaders in the Daytona Prototype point standings, have been nominated in the “Road Racing” category of the ballot.  Angelelli and Taylor have claimed five victories in 2005 and carry a 32-point championship lead heading into the Rolex Series finale at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City (November 5, Live on SPEED Channel).

Also nominated in the “Road Racing” category are co-pilots of the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz.  The duo has three wins and seven podium finishes in 13 races this season.  Pruett, the 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion, was selected as an All-American last season, and was joined on the 2004 All-America first team by teammate and co-champion Max Papis and GT class champion Bill Auberlen.

On the heels of a second-consecutive Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring (ST) class team title, No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 co-drivers Sylvain Tremblay and David Haskell were nominated in the “At Large” category, after claiming five class wins in 10 races this season.  Haskell is the two-time defending ST champion.  Other nominees in the “At Large” category include Rolex Series regulars Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long, who were nominated for accomplishments in other series.

The ballot includes drivers from seven different motorsports categories, including: open wheel, stock car, road racing, drag racing, short track, Touring Series and at large.  There are 28 drivers on the ballot who could be first-time All-Americans.

10/28/05
cc
Four Champ Car drivers nominated Four Champ Car drivers nominatedThe end of any sporting season not only gives competitors a chance to reflect on their performances, it affords the rest of the world an opportunity to laud their accomplishments.

One of the oldest and most prestigious of those honors is the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-America Team, which has recognized great accomplishments throughout the world of motorsports since 1970. Ballots were distributed throughout its membership today for the 2006 All-America team, and featured a quartet of stars from the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford nominated in the open-wheel category.

Two-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) heads the list after clinching the 2005 title last weekend in Australia. Bourdais leads the series with six wins and five poles and has run the fastest race lap in seven events this year. He has completed all but one of the 1,240 race laps run to date, with one race remaining on the schedule and has nine consecutive top-five finishes. Bourdais is no stranger to the AARWBA membership, having earned first-team All-America status last season after winning his first championship.

His Newman/Haas Racing teammate Oriol Servia (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) earned his first All-America nomination this year, coming off a year that has seen him earn his first Champ Car victory and his first series pole position. The Spaniard took over the NHR ride for the injured Bruno Junqueira at the year’s third race and climbed to a career-best second in the standings with seven podium finishes in 10 starts.

Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is the most decorated of any nominee in the open-wheel category with eight previous AARWBA awards, including three appearances on the first-team list. Tracy joins Bourdais as the only driver to earn multiple wins and poles this season and leads the series in laps led with 512, marking the fourth time in his career that the Canadian star has led more than 500 race laps.

Joining Servia on the list of first-time Champ Car race and pole winners in 2005, Justin Wilson (#9 Intel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) earns his first AARWBA nomination. Currently third in the series point standings, Wilson has seven top-four finishes punctuated by a win in Toronto, the win bringing his RuSPORT team its first-ever Champ Car victory.

The two drivers gaining the most votes in each of the seven categories will earn first-team status, with the third- and fourth-placed drivers earning second-team berths. Any driver that receives at least five percent of the vote without falling into the above categories, will earn honorable mention status. The leading vote getter among the 56 nominees will receive the Jerry Titus Award, which honors AARWBA’s driver of the year. The first-team honorees will be feted at the annual AARWBA banquet, to be held in Indianapolis on December 3.

10/28/05
f1
Attack and defend Attack and defendMax Mosley will spend a fourth term as FIA president, a statement after the General Assembly met in Rome said on Friday.

Although the governing body explained that Mosley was re-elected unanimously, no candidate stood against him.

Mosley's first task of his new term was to take a sledgehammer to the complaint of Michelin, which accused the FIA of having 'hidden motivations' behind re-introducing tire changes in formula one next year.

A reaction, probably drafted by Mosley who is an astute lawyer, said the rule changes were 'supported by an overwhelming majority of the (F1) Commission members.

''Michelin are clearly confused,'' a statement explained, ''but it is difficult to understand which part of the ... voting procedures ... that (Michelin) is perplexed by.''

''This is the same regulation as in 2004 ... when ... their tires ran without problem at Indianapolis.''

2005 world champion Renault, however, appears to have sided with its French supplier. Technical director Bob Bell said in an official document on Friday that the reinstated rule will place a 'huge burden' on the tire companies.

''The question,'' he continued, ''is whether that is appropriate in the current climate where all parties are talking about the importance of cutting costs.''

On the subject of defending friends, Paul Stoddart - the departing Minardi owner - seemed to also do just that when he singled out 2005 driver Robert Doornbos in the midst of a farewell message.

Seemingly in response to Doornbos' teammate Christijan Albers who had launched an attack on his countryman's inability to develop a car, Stoddart said Robert did a 'fine job' after joining the Faenza based team in round 12.

''There is no doubt Robert's feedback made a significant contribution to the development of the new car,'' the Australian insisted.

10/28/05
cc
Indiana State University Honors Champ Car Director Indiana State University Honors Champ Car DirectorA Champ Car World Series Director has been announced as a recipient of an Indiana State University Alumni Association G.O.L.D. (Graduate of the Last Decade) Award.  The G.O.L.D. Award was created as a means of recognizing the achievements of recent alumni. Scot Elkins will be honored at a reception and banquet on Friday, Nov. 4, in Dede III in Hulman Memorial Student Union. 

Elkins, who received an Associate of Science in manufacturing supervision in 1996 and a Bachelor of Science degree in manufacturing technology in 2000, was recently appointed Director of Technology for Champ Car World Series in Indianapolis, in 2005. 

Elkins accepted a position with Barber Dodge Pro Series in Lakeville, Conn., after completing his Associate of Science degree at Indiana State, and after completing his Bachelor of Science, became an engineering team manager for Robert Yates Racing in Mooresville, N.C. Over the years, Elkins has held positions with notable Indiana companies such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing, PI Research, Inc. and RM/CONTI Racing.

A member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Elkins became involved in hands-on education relating to his field soon after beginning a professional career of his own.  He served as a volunteer classroom consultant for Junior Achievement of the Wabash Valley and currently serves in the same position for Junior Achievement of Gibson County. 

While at ISU on an academic scholarship, Elkins served as vice president of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.  He remains active at ISU as the chairman of the Automotive Technology Advisory Committee through the College of Technology and as a charter life member of the ISU Alumni Association.  Elkins currently resides in Evansville, Ind.

10/28/05
Grand Prix Masters
GP Masters test times GP Masters test timesUPDATE They were using the south circuit at Silverstone. The circuit itself doesn’t even use the start finish straight of the normal circuit(s). There were race school cars on the national circuit (which does use the start finish straight) that day, so we guess with the short notice they were stuck to testing on the south circuit. 10/28/05 Test times from Silverstone in the Reynard Champ Cars fitted with a normally aspirated V8 and called Grand Prix Masters cars for retired F1 drivers show Andrea de Cesaris upstaging former World Champion Nigel Mansell.  See our Home page for exclusive photos of the test.  The lap times were 20 seconds faster than the F1 pole time this year at Silverstone, so they must have been using a short course at Silverstone.
Pos Driver Time Laps
1. de Cesaris 59.310 90
2. Mansell 59.366 122
3. Johansson 59.623 106
4. Warwick 59.687 150
5. Caffi 60.300 82
6. Stuck 60.700 74
7. Tambay 61.929 146
8. Danner 63.062 40
10/28/05
Industry News
Honda reports record profits Honda reports record profitsHonda Motor Co., Japan's third-largest automaker, reported a record profit for its fiscal half-year Thursday -- up 1% from a year ago -- on the back of strong sales around the world, especially in North America.  At a time when American automakers struggled, losing market share to the Japanese, Honda marked strong global vehicle sales, totaling 1.67 million vehicles for the first half, up 7% from the same period a year ago.
10/28/05
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'NASCAR Live!'
Atlanta Motor Speedway
1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
INTERNATIONAL RACE OF CHAMPIONS
Round 4, Season Finale
Atlanta Motor Speedway
1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK
EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200
Atlanta Motor Speedway
3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'Face to Face'
4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES
'Race Car Driver'
Episodes 8 and 9, San Jose and Denver
7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Replay) WGN
NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
'NASCAR Live!'
Atlanta Motor Speedway
7:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ET (Live) SPEED

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

10/28/05
cc
Marcus Marshall fired Marcus Marshall firedToday it has been decided to terminate the agreement between Marcus Marshall and WPS because of certain breaches. Consequently Marcus Marshall will no longer be driving for Team Australia in the Champ Car World Series.  The breaches were serious and substantial and occurred before the Surfers Paradise event.

Given the significance of the Surfers Paradise event to Champ Car, Queensland and Australia, there was a resolve to defer all decisions until after the Surfers Paradise race. This allowed time for proper consideration of all the circumstances.

After careful consideration of the breaches it was unanimously agreed to by all team owners (Craig Gore, Derrick Walker, John Fish) to terminate Marcus Marshall's driver and sponsorship agreement effective immediately.

It is disappointing for all concerned, however the breaches were considered incapable of being remedied by all team owners.  Given the termination and the form and nature of the agreement, no further comments can be made. Team Australia

10/28/05
Racing News
Mosley re-elected Mosley re-electedMax Mosley has been re-elected president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), a spokesman for motorsport's world governing body said on Friday.   Mosley's re-election was unanimous, with nobody else standing against the 65-year-old Briton.
10/28/05
Industry news
Cash-rich oil companies ripe for picking Cash-rich oil companies ripe for pickingThe oil companies of the world are currently making vast profits as demand for oil soars and profit margins increase. The US giant Exxon Mobil, which sponsors McLaren with its Mobil brand and Toyota with Esso, has just announced an astonishing profit of $9.9bn for the third quarter. This is the largest profit made in US corporate history. The companies revenues are up 32% with sales of more than $100bn. At the same time rival Royal Dutch Shell (which sponsors Ferrari) said it made $9bn net profit in the same quarter.

The oil boom around the world gives F1 and other race series the chance to find large sums of money from an industry which has close links with motorsport.  Of the major oil companies in the world only BP, ChevronTexaco, Conoco-Phillips, Pemex and others are not involved in the sport. Grandprix.com

10/28/05
f1
Dupasquier full of praise for Alonso Dupasquier full of praise for AlonsoPierre Dupasquier is a legend in Formula One circles. The engineer is now Michelin’s competition director, and has worked with some of the sport’s greatest drivers. He was an active part of the group that introduced the radial tire to Formula 1 in the late 1970s with Renault, and since then, his work with Michelin has brought collaborations with many world champions. All of them made a strong impression on him, and Fernando was no different this year.

“I met Fernando Alonso for the first time at the Race of Champions. He wasn’t yet a Formula 1 driver,” explained Dupasquier. “Two things struck me immediately: his modesty, and his determination. Both qualities were still there when we joined forces again at the Renault F1 Team.”

When it comes to Fernando’s work ethic and technical ability, Dupasquier has high praise: “In our job, driver feedback is very important,” Dupasquier said. “Fernando has always been very precise in his comments. First of all, he has an incredible memory: he can recall the reference numbers of tires used in a test several months previously! He does the first part of the technical analysis for us, making selections. That is a rare quality."

“He is now a mature driver. He knows how to win F1 races, battle with drivers like Schumacher and Montoya. What’s more, he sets himself realistic targets: if he knows the car will not let him win, then he will aim for second. He also drives the car intelligently: he doesn’t use up the engine or tires for no reason. He has the technical understanding of a great driver.” Press Release Renault

10/28/05
Track News
FIA Institute appoints Paul Ricard FIA Institute appoints Paul RicardThe Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in Le Castellet, southern France, has been appointed the FIA Institute’s first Centre for Motor Sport Excellence. It will be used to host safety seminars, train motor sport officials, and test new safety features designed by the FIA Institute’s working groups.

The circuit was selected because of its high safety standards and its continual developments in this field. It already boasts a number of unique safety features that are set to become commonplace at circuits around the word. These include 25 acres of run-off areas, made from a special type of abrasive asphalt rather than the gravel beds used at other circuits, and a computerized marshalling system, which uses warning lights activated by transponders on the cars. zzzz

The circuit also houses a state of the art medical centre equipped with its own digital x-ray machine. The medical centre is the most advanced facility of its type for any circuit in the world. Other facilities include a medical helicopter landing pad, a fully equipped resuscitation ambulance, a two-bed observation ward with full medical equipment, full life-support facilities with two emergency sections, and a serious burns unit with appropriate bath.
 
It is managed by chief medical officer Jean Duby, FIA medical delegate for the World Rally Championship. It also employs a further eight permanent staff, including an anesthetist nurse and a number of trained firemen.

Paul Ricard is the first of a number of circuits that will become centers of excellence for safety. It is envisaged that a circuit will be selected in each continent to act as a hub for improving motor sport safety standards in that region.

FIA Institute President Sid Watkins said: “Paul Ricard has proved itself to be one of the safest tracks in the world and its medical facilities are second to none. I am delighted that the FIA Institute is officially recognizing these high safety standards in appointing Paul Ricard as the first Centre of Excellence for Motor Sport Safety.”

Philippe Gurdjian, President & CEO of Paul Ricard, commented: “I am proud that Paul Ricard is to become the first Centre of Excellence for Motor Sport Safety. We look forward to working in partnership with the FIA Institute to assist them in improving safety in motor sports.” Press Release FIA

10/28/05
f1
Massa back on track in the V8 powered F2004 Massa back on track in the V8 powered F2004New Ferrari recruit Felipe Massa was back in action today for the Italian team at the 4.085KM Autodromo di Vallelunga circuit. It was the second day of running for the Brazilian and today's test took place under sunny skies after the morning fog had cleared. Massa continued with a development program of the V8 engine fitted to an F2004 chassis and he covered a total of 71 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.13.007s, some 1.3 seconds faster than his best time in testing on Wednesday. The Scuderia continues testing at this circuit next week. As from 1st November, Luca Badoer and Felipe Massa will be on track. Ferrari
10/28/05
cc
Champ Car breaks record Champ Car breaks recordChamp Car annually sets an attendance record at the Lexmark Indy 300 in Australia and has done so again in 2005.  More than 316,000 fans sampled Champ Car’s festival of speed at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.  A key factor was the addition of Team Australia to the lineup.

Champ Car reached the one million mark in attendance after the first eight races in 2005, and has drawn more than 1,600,000 fans in total following its penultimate race.  The average crowd this year has been nearly 140,000 per event.  The 2005 Champ Car World Series comes to a close in Mexico City on November 6. 

However, with just 13 races in 2005, the series will fall below the 2 million total attendance mark for the first time in a good number of years unless Mexico City draws over 400,000 like it did in 2003, but this is not expected because Champ Car has fallen off in popularity in Mexico due to a horrible TV package that sees races on cable TV (which most Mexicans don't have) and most are just 30-minute highlight shows in the wee hours of the morning.  Champ Car appears to have a death wish in Mexico and hence why the promoter decided to erect less grandstands.  The reason given for the poor TV package is lack of sponsors to buy ad time.  Carlos Slim Jr, who is now running Telmex as his father is pretty much retired (but still one of the richest men in the world) prefers stock car racing, hence except for sponsoring the Mexico City race, isn't doing much in Champ Car.  Our Mexico sources also tell us he is miffed at Gerald Forsythe at the moment.

10/28/05
Formula 3
Rodolfo Avila eyes home win in Macau Rodolfo Avila eyes home win in MacauGeared towards the 52nd Macau GP, 18-year old Macanese star driver Rodolfo Avila concluded two private test sessions, the first at Most, Czech Republic and the latter at EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Germany both with positive and encouraging results.

Backed by HBR Motorsport, the tests were conducted in a Mercedes Benz M271-powered Dallara F305, which Avila has commented to be a very exciting car to drive compared to the more familiar F304 he has been on for the Asian F3 Series.

“The results of both tests are encouraging, to say the least. The relationship and development that ensued with the expertise of my engineer (Knud Rieser) and team manager (Sigi Muller) is quite invaluable and the overall package simply adds more confidence”, remarked Avila, who, is expected to be the youngest of the F3 drivers for the Macau GP.

“The F305 is a bit more physical but a lot more fun to drive compared to my F304 that I’m quite accustomed to but I expect the extra effort to pay well. The Mercedes Benz engine is incredibly powerful. Overall, it simply is a more competitive combination”, added Avila.

The high level of competition intrinsic to every Macau GP keeps Avila focused on his goals stressing that to finish 1st, one has first to finish and this remains the main objective following an evasive previous attempt at the same circuit.

“This is definitely going to be a team effort and while conservatively, I expect to finish the race, realistically, it may very well be on top of the rest of the local drivers”, commented Avila.

The young star carries the cudgels for Macau with his bid supported by the Macau Government, Hotel Fortuna, Macau-Slot.com, the 2nd Asian Indoor Games Cup 2007 Committee, CESL-Asia, Sands Macau, Tong Lei, BNU, CTM, PAL AsiaConsult, Gain Well Group, Restaurante Fat Siu Lau, San Chong Hong, RP Macau and PT Asia.

Following these European tests and as a final step into his preparation, Avila returns to the Far East to see action in the final round of the Asian Formula 3 Series at Batangas, Philippines.

10/28/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Adjusting to an F1 shuffle
Murray Walker back in action
Alonso - 'I have to win'
Spa's F1 promoter bankrupt
DC thirsty for more fizz
More Minardi hopefuls
Massa - 'I have a future'
'Keep the faith' - Webber
Bridgestone vow to stay in F1
'We can trust Bernie'
2005 not hardest year - Schu
Glock wants another F1 go
Button's the boob, girls say
10/28/05
f1
Michelin slams FIA Michelin slams FIAOn October 26, 2005 the FIA's World Motor Sport Council adopted new rules concerning the use of tires in 2006: restoration of tire changes during the race as well as increase in the number of tires allotted per team. This is to be effective immediately for the 2006 season. This urgent change, without advance notice:
  • Is incoherent with the cost reduction objectives sought by the FIA President
  • Is a step backwards in regards to the 2005 regulations presented, at the time, by the FIA solely for cost reduction purposes.

As a result, these new rules will immediately increase tire development, production and logistics costs by 15% since, contrary to what has been said, the 2005 solutions can by no means be adapted to the new 2006 regulation. This decision reveals a lack of technical understanding of the product and of what a tire really is.

In fact, tire wear and grip are calculated to ensure an optimum performance for a specific distance. To switch from a tire designed to run for 350 kms in 2005 to a tire that can be changed every 100 kms (or less) in 2006 will require tire manufacturers to design an entirely new generation of tires and will therefore increase costs.

As many have said and written in the past few weeks, we can only question the meaning behind this decision which negates all of the benefits of Michelin's research in 2005 to design a tire capable of running for 350 kms, allowing its partners to win 18 races throughout the year.

Michelin, therefore, questions the FIA's hidden motivations for the 2006 F1 regulation.

Once again, this event illustrates the F1's problems of incoherent decision-making and lack of transparency.

In light of this situation, Michelin would like to thank its partner teams who did everything possible, unfortunately in vain, to inhibit a last minute new regulation returning, in fact, to previous regulations.

10/28/05
A1 Grand Prix
Devaney to drive for Ireland in Sydney Devaney to drive for Ireland in SydneyFollowing the team’s first podium finish in Portugal last Sunday, A1 Team Ireland is pleased to confirm that Dubliner Michael Devaney will represent Ireland in the 4th round of the A1 Grand Prix series next week at the Eastern Creek circuit in Sydney, Australia. The 20 year old made his A1 Grand Prix debut for Ireland in the opening round of the series in Brands Hatch in September, scoring the Dublin based team its first championship point, and he will again deputize for regular driver Ralph Firman in Australia. Firman will meanwhile be competing in Suzuka, Japan, in the final round of the Japanese Super GT series. He currently leads the championship for Team Honda Racing.

After the race in Sydney Devaney, who finished runner up in this year’s German Formula 3 Championship, will attend the eight remaining A1 Grands Prix as reserve driver to Firman. A1 Team Ireland has this week secured a long term option on Devaney’s services and is working closely with him to help develop his career beyond Formula 3.

“I am delighted to be driving for Ireland at the Eastern Creek race as I’ve already got the experience of Brands Hatch under my belt and the team has made great progress with developing the set-up of the car since then,” said Devaney. “Ralph’s podium finish in Estoril last Sunday showed that the team has the pace, strategy and pit work necessary to compete with the leaders and I’d like to think we can continue the good work in Australia. I’ve had a good look at the circuit and spent some time with the team’s engineer Andy Miller discussing how we will approach it. Knowing the Australian passion for sport I think it’ll be a great event. I’m also looking forward to attending the remaining races as reserve driver because, although I won’t be actually racing, I am sure I’ll learn a lot by the various tracks we visit. Ralph had better watch out, though, as I’ll be hoping he pulls a muscle or catches a bit of a cold so that I can jump in the car again!”

10/28/05
Industry news
GM shares tumble on SEC probe news GM shares tumble on SEC probe newsGeneral Motors Corp. shares fell almost 7 percent late Thursday, the day after the company said it received a Securities and Exchange Commission subpoena for documents about its dealings with parts maker Delphi Corp. and other matters.   GM, the world's largest automaker, announced the SEC actions in a public filing Wednesday.

GM shares fell $1.98, or 6.8 percent, to close at $27.19 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded between $24.67 and $40.82 over the past year.

In its filing, GM said it was cooperating with the SEC "in connection with investigations reported by the media concerning pension and other post-employment benefits ... and certain transactions between General Motors and Delphi."

10/28/05
Track News
Hurricane damages Homestead Hurricane damages HomesteadUPDATE #2 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series testing will take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway with test sessions scheduled for Monday, October 31 - Wednesday, November 2 and Monday, November 7 - Wednesday, November 9. The teams and drivers will be preparing for the upcoming Ford Championship Weekend, the season-finales for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, Nov. 18-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Several drivers currently in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup are expected to participate in the test sessions at Homestead-Miami Speedway including points leader Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson (2nd place), Ryan Newman (3rd), Carl Edwards (5th), Rusty Wallace (6th) , Mark Martin (7th) Kurt Busch (8th) and Matt Kenseth (9th).  Driver participation is tentative and subject to change.

The test sessions are closed to the general public until further notice due to repairs on the Speedway grandstands following Hurricane Wilma.

10/26/05 While the track itself was not damaged, testing was canceled this week for several Cup teams that included championship contenders Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman. Other teams, including Roush Racing's five-car operation, were scheduled to test in the next two weeks.  Gray will know Wednesday when, and if, testing can be held.

But a decision could not be made until the lighting experts arrived from Iowa-based MUSCO to access the damage and time needed to repair 12 custom-built light poles on pit road and another on the back of the grandstand.  Getting the speedway ready for racing takes precedent, but Gray hopes to make a two-day test date available for all.   zzzz

10/24/05 Homestead-Miami Speedway suffered ``significant damage'' to light poles, the grandstands, catch fencing and the garage suites during Hurricane Wilma. But the necessary repairs are expected to be completed in time for the speedway's biggest event, NASCAR's Ford Championship Weekend that runs Nov. 18-20, speedway president Curtis Gray said Monday.   ``Yes, we'll definitely be ready - no doubt about it,'' said Gray, who rode out the storm at the speedway. ``The track itself is fine.''

The major damage was caused by the quarter-mile long garage suites structure, which Gray said literally seemed to be lifted into the air around 6:30 a.m.

The flying structure took out 12 of the custom-built light poles along pit road that are part of a new $8.5 million lighting project for night racing.

Parts of the structure landed in the catch fencing that is in place primarily to prevent airborne cars and flying debris from leaving the racetrack and hitting fans in the grandstands.

One part of the garage suites structure flew over the grandstand and took out another custom-built light pole.

Another part of the structure flew over the grandstand, landing on the outside of the track and doing damage to a sixth-floor suite along the way.

``When it landed it snapped a royal palm tree in half,'' Gray said. As soon as the high winds subsided, assessment of the damage began. No immediate dollar amount was available. Repairs will begin today.  ``Folks from all over the country already are rolling,'' Gray said.

On Monday morning he talked with Bill France Jr., NASCAR's former CEO and current board member of International Speedway Corp., which operates the 1.5-mile speedway.  More at Miami Herald

10/27/05
TV News
Michael McDowell on Wind Tunnel Michael McDowell on Wind TunnelRolex Series and Champ Car rookie driver, Michael McDowell, will be a featured interview on Wind Tunnel this Sunday October 30th.  Other guests include NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kurt Busch, as well as NHRA Funny Car championship leader Gary Scelzi.

After winning the 2004 Star Mazda championship in dominating form, McDowell took his talent to the Rolex Series for 2005. Teaming up with Champ Car veteran Memo Gidley in the Finlay Motorsports #19 Air Force Reserve/Make-A-Wish Foundation/Commercial Defeasance Daytona Prototype, McDowell has been impressive. In 12 series starts, he has earned 9 top 10 finishes including posting a string of 4 top-4 finishes when he got his best result of the year…a 2nd at Barber Motorsports Park, making him the youngest driver ever to finish on the podium in a Daytona Prototype race.

But his ultimate goal is to become a Champ Car Series driver.  And for the final two Champ Car events of the season, that dream has come true.  McDowell made his debut in that series this past Sunday in Australia where he finished 12th driving for Paul Gentilozzi and the Rocketsports team.  He will make his 2nd Champ Car start next week in Mexico City where he will also be racing in the Rolex Series finale.

10/27/05
cc
Q and A with Alex Zanardi Q and A with Alex ZanardiA very special Champ Car media teleconference was held today with two-time Champ Car World Series champion, and 15-time Champ Car race winner, Alex Zanardi. Transcript
10/27/05
Industry News
Corvette Chief Engineer to retire Corvette Chief Engineer to retireThe chief engineer of the Chevrolet Corvette will retire on Jan. 1 after 41 years with General Motors Corp., the automaker said Thursday.   Dave Hill, 62, is only the third chief engineer in the storied sports car's 53-year history. He was named chief engineer for the Corvette in 1993. He led development of the fifth-generation Corvette and launched its successor last year. Hill is also GM's vehicle line executive of performance cars.

"Dave Hill has taken the Corvette to heights that few of us can imagine," said Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman of global product development. "In terms of performance, refinement and value, he has truly helped to make Corvette second to none."  Hill will be replaced by Tom Wallace, 57, who will also assume responsibility for compact rear-wheel-drive performance cars such as the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. Wallace currently is the vehicle lead engineer of small and midsize trucks.

10/27/05
cc
irl
Mario Andretti blames George Mario Andretti blames GeorgeIn this Hutch News article racing legend Mario Andretti says, I definitely think it should be fixed (the open wheel split). I personally tried to get the parties together, working for about three months this year. We were working sort of under the radar screen, and I thought we were getting things done. Then all of a sudden the thing just got derailed.

It's just such a shame because I don't think either side can totally prosper the way they deserve to because open-wheel is a discipline and it should be united. It's open-wheel and it's NASCAR, and on and on and on. Champ Car racing can't really go parallel ways and feel that there is enough sponsorship or enough fans, even.

The bottom line is that everybody agrees that that's the way it should go, except Tony George. He's the only one who doesn't want to create any kind of partnership. So there you have it, and it's a shame - it's a shame because I love this sport so much. Each side is hoping that the other's going to go away, and it's not going to happen.

10/27/05
cca
cc
f1
Atlantic’s Legge earns Champ Car and F1 test Atlantic’s Legge earns Champ Car and F1 testUPDATE This GrandPrix.com article says that Katherine will be joined by four other drivers in the forthcoming Minardi test at Vallelunga. She'll be running alongside Israel's Chanoch Nissany, Uruguayan Juan Caceres, who has shown well in the Italian F3000 series this year; Italian Luca Filippi (20), who has been driving for Fisichella Motorsport in the same series, and 19-year-old Davide Rigon 19 who won this year's Campionato Italiano Formula Azzurra. The five will be out to show that they deserve a chance in F1 in the future. 10/18/05 Rising open-wheel racing star Katherine Legge proudly admitted to living out her lifelong dream this past season while competing in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama. After completing a remarkable rookie Atlantic season that saw Legge become the first woman to win a major open-wheel event in North America, the talented British driver will get a chance to fulfill two more racing dreams over the next several weeks. Later this month, Legge will get a chance to drive a Formula One race car and in mid November she will strap in behind the wheel of a 750-horsepower Champ Car.

Legge, a 25-year-old native of Northampton, England, earned international recognition this past season as she posted three victories and five podium finishes for Polestar Racing Group on her way to a third-place finish in the Atlantic championship, North America’s premier open-wheel driver development series. She burst onto the racing scene when she came from a seventh-place starting position to record a historic win on the streets of Long Beach in her very first Atlantic race in April. After becoming the first woman to claim an open-wheel racing victory since Desire Wilson won in an F1 Aurora series race at England’s Brands Hatch circuit in 1980, Legge didn’t stop there. She earned back-to-back Atlantic wins at Edmonton and San Jose to highlight a magical 2005 season.

As she eyes a return to the Champ Car Atlantic Championship to pursue the series title and the $2 million champion’s Champ Car bonus in 2006, Legge hopes to continue her rapid growth as a driver with the upcoming opportunities to pilot both the Champ Car and the Formula One machine. zzzz

Just a few days after wrapping up third place in the Atlantic championship season standings, Legge accompanied Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven to the F1 Belgian Grand Prix in early September. Legge met with Paul Stoddart, chief of the Minardi F1 team, and the meeting led to a young racer’s chance of a lifetime. The Minardi squad will test at Italy’s Vallelunga road circuit just north of Rome from October 21-24. The team invited Legge to attend the session and offered up the opportunity to drive one of its high-tech Formula One cars.

As a reward for a job well done in Atlantics in 2005, PKV Racing of the Champ Car World Series has also agreed to let Legge showcase her skills in a Champ Car. The PKV team, also co-owned by Kalkhoven, served as the primary sponsor for Legge’s #12 Atlantic entry this season. The squad will run Legge in one of its Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone Champ Cars during a two-day, on-track session at California Speedway’s road course, November 18-19.

“I’m really looking forward to driving both the F1 car and the Champ Car and I'm extremely grateful to both Paul Stoddart and Kevin Kalkhoven for giving me these great opportunities,” said Legge. “These are the two most powerful and challenging cars to drive in the world. Growing up in England, it was always a goal of mine to drive a Formula One car. Now I’ve got my goals set on Champ Car and that’s what I’m focused on, but it will be a tremendous opportunity to drive both cars and see how each one compares.”

While Legge knows that she still has a lot more to learn before she’s ready to make the jump into the Champ Car World Series, she also knows that her driving and her marketability can only benefit from some seat time in both an F1 steed and a turbocharged Champ Car.

“At the moment I’m just climbing the walls to get back into a car,” said Legge. “Until I prove myself some more I know that both Champ Car and Formula One are out of my reach. I hope to be able to show more of my abilities with the chance to drive both the Champ Car and F1 car.”

10/27/05
nascar
New Kurt Busch book New Kurt Busch bookKurt Busch had one goal in mind throughout the 2004 season: winning.  His ups and downs are captured in this unique book series published by Reedy Press.  Through each trial, tribulation and triumph, Busch’s season is captured and revisited in such a way that flipping through the pages to remember the year he garnered his first championship is much like his on-track journey through the 2004 season.

With the use of colorful photos and foldout pages that include additional information, the book highlights Busch’s races in 2004 that led to NASCAR’s first playoff, The Chase for the Nextel Cup.  After underlining Busch’s success before the Nextel Cup Series, the book goes on to talk about Busch’s crew chief Jimmy Fennig, and the owner of the 97 car, Jack Roush.  The 97 team’s successful bond is brought to light while emphasizing the relationship that Busch had with Fennig.

After NASCAR announced the ten-race playoff for the 2004 season, drivers, teams, and fans alike were skeptical of how it would turn out.  For Busch, there was never a doubt in his mind that winning it all was impossible.  After winning the first race of the Chase at Loudon, the book does an exceptional job of explaining each race thereafter when Busch was the most dominant he had been all year.  A foldout page outlining each Chase race along with photos is not only clever but it also captures just how successful Busch was.  The final foldout page, which contains information about the 97 car itself caps off this impressive book. 

This first book of the first annual Reedy Series featuring Kurt Busch is one that highlights Busch’s season, but also shows how maturity and teamwork can take you straight to the top. Kimberly L. Moerschbacher Order Here

10/27/05
Grand Prix Masters
Legendary TV commentator Murray Walker returns Legendary TV commentator Murray Walker returnsAfter having announced his retirement at the 2001 U.S. Grand Prix, legendary TV commentator Murray Walker today returns to the commentary box with new racing series Grand Prix Masters. The fan's favorite is gearing up again to say "Go, Go, Go!" when the inaugural Alltech Grand Prix Masters South Africa race is launched in Kyalami on 11th - 13th November 2005. 'The voice' as he is affectionately known is instantly familiar to millions of viewers around the world and during a historic gathering of Grand Prix Masters drivers at Silverstone today, Murray was emotionally re-acquainted with many of the racers who he so famously commented on during his 53- year reign as the people's favorite. Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ricardo Patrese, Derek Warwick, Andrea de Cesaris, and Patrick Tambay were amongst some of the great names who participated in the two-test session at Silverstone ahead of the inaugural race in two weeks time.

"When I retired in 2001, I vowed never ever to return to the commentary box and I sincerely meant it," said a delighted Murray. "Nobody made me retire but after 53 years I wanted to walk away with dignity while still being at the top of my game. It was a decision taken with a clear and relaxed conscious and since retiring, I have been on the receiving end of many offers including some from several new motor racing championships. I have had the willpower to say 'no' to every offer proposed but my steely resolve melted away when Grand Prix Masters approached me," added Murray. "The Masters concept is a tried, tested and extremely successful formula in other sports and it works because it is personality driven. This series is about people and characters, including some of the most famous names ever to grace a motor racing circuit," added Murray. "Watching Nigel Mansell and many other heroes climb back into thoroughbred grand prix cars this morning was very moving and surreal. It reinforced just how much I have missed being away and the thought of being at Kyalami in two weeks from now sends shivers down my spine! The Grand Masters series will be a huge success I'm sure and after having seen these drivers and cars in action today, the fans are going to be bowled over by the spectacle that awaits them in two weeks from now. These cars boast over 600 horse power which is way beyond what some of these drivers raced in the early 90s. The series will also travel to some fantastic circuits next year and I am thrilled to bringing the show into people's living room's once again," said Murray.

Former Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell (OBE) expressed his delight by saying, "This means everything to me! During his amazing 53-year reign as 'the voice' of Grand Prix racing, Murray achieved tremendous iconic status around the world and this from a man who has never actually raced himself! Murray's partnership with this series is the ultimate credibility endorsement and I am sure fans around the world will be rejoicing at today's news. It simply doesn't get any better than this!"

10/27/05
f1
New Midland delayed until February New Midland delayed until FebruaryThe first Formula One car to bear the Midland name will not appear on track until next February - the month prior to the start of the 2006 season - the team have confirmed.  “Obviously it is sad to see the name of Jordan go from F1, as it is a team which has enjoyed a fair amount of success over the last 15 years,” he said. “However, recent seasons have been tough and this year was compromised by not being able to design an entirely new car. With the change to Midland F1, we now have a new opportunity ahead of us, and, with a new car for the 2006 season, a fresh platform on which to develop.”

“We have to be realistic, as where we are coming from requires a significant step in performance for us to be in the points on a regular basis. Many team members - myself included - are confident that we can once again become a competitive and successful team, as in the past. The M16 will see a lot of development work during the 2006 season and, with the continued improvement of the facilities at the Silverstone HQ, we have a very positive outlook for the future."

10/27/05
nascar
AAA to sponsor Martin AAA to sponsor MartinAAA will become the primary sponsor of Roush Racing’s flagship No. 6 Nextel Cup Ford starting in 2006. In addition, veteran driver Mark Martin will extend his ‘Salute To You’ Tour and return to pilot the car for one more year in 2006, with Todd Kluever set to take over the reigns from Martin in 2007, Roush Racing announced today.

“AAA is very pleased to be associated with the winning team of Roush Racing and Mark Martin.  With the growing popularity of NASCAR, AAA is excited about its ability to contribute to the success of a sport that has captured the imagination and loyalty of tens of millions of fans, including many AAA members,” said AAA President Robert Darbelnet.  

With more than 48 million members in the United States and Canada, AAA is North America’s largest motor club and membership organization.  The not-for-profit association is best known for its legendary roadside assistance, comprehensive leisure travel and information services and its support of improved traffic safety and other consumer issues. 

“I’m real excited about AAA coming in with us,” said team owner Jack Roush. As one of the most well known and respected names in the country, “I think AAA can do a lot for the sport and be a cornerstone of our sponsorship group for years to come.”

Martin has been the mainstay at Roush Racing, teaming up with Jack Roush in 1988 to help start up Roush’s NASCAR operations. Since, Martin and Roush have teamed for what has become one of the most successful partnerships in NASCAR.

10/27/05
nascar
Homestead testing cancelled this week Homestead testing cancelled this weekWhile the Homestead Speedway track surface itself was not damaged from Hurricane Wilma, testing was cancelled this week for several Cup teams that included championship contenders Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman. Other teams, including Roush Racing's five-car operation, were scheduled to test in the next two weeks. Speedway president Curtis Gray will know soon when, and if, testing can be held. But a decision could not be made until the lighting experts arrived from Iowa-based MUSCO to access the damage and time needed to repair 12 custom-built light poles on pit road and another on the back of the grandstand. Getting the speedway ready for racing takes precedent, but Gray hopes to make a two-day test date available for all. Miami Herald
10/27/05
f1
97% mechanical reliability for Jordan 97% mechanical reliability for Jordan
10/27/05
f1
Bahrain delighted to be first Bahrain delighted to be firstYesterday in Rome the FIA revealed that Bahrain will host the opening race of next year’s 19-race season on 12th March 2005. The 2006 opener will mark the third Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), Malaysia is next on schedule as it hosts the second race on March 19 followed by Australia on April 2.

Commenting on the announcement, Martin Whitaker, General Manager of the BIC said: “I’m really pleased for Bahrain, I think this is a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate quite how far the BIC has progressed and developed since our first Grand Prix back in 2004. The first race of the year always attracts considerable media attention and next year will be no exception with added interest in new teams, drivers, sponsors, engines and regulations. The eyes of the World will be upon us on March 12th.”

Despite the relative newness of the BIC it is the most technically advanced racing circuit in the World and the only circuit to host a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship in the Gulf. In the past two years the circuit has made its mark on the Formula One industry winning the prestigious FIA Trophy for the Best Organized Grand Prix in 2004.
 
The Kingdom of Bahrain has a long term agreement with Formula One to stage the only Grand Prix in the Middle East region. The announcement in Rome signifies further good news for the Bahrain International Circuit that is fast becoming one of the World’s premier venues for motorsport and corporate entertainment. zzzz

“This is certainly a huge step forward not only for us at the BIC but also for the Kingdom of Bahrain and the region’s motorsport industry at large,” said Whitaker. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to showcase our organizational and technical abilities on the World’s most prestigious motorsport stage. The Kingdom of Bahrain is now an established member of the World’s most exclusive club and the season opener is an opportunity for the country to showcase its ability to a global audience as well as blue chip investors from all over the world,” he said.

The announcement comes directly on the back of a year in which Formula One has bounced straight back to the top of the sporting ratings. An intensely close fought season witnessed the crowning of the youngest World Champion ever in the form of Spaniard Fernando Alonso while Renault wrestled the Constructors’ Championship title away from McLaren at the very last race in China. The season also saw the end of Ferrari’s dominance and the potential of a new season with fresh driver line-ups, new engines and new regulations is a mouth watering one that fans will be anticipating the world over. The start of the new Formula One racing season in Bahrain promises to be exceptionally dramatic.

“The first race of the season is traditionally one of the most exciting,” said Whitaker. “It is eagerly anticipated around the world and it is great to think that we will have hundreds of millions of TV viewers glued to their television screens watching the race as it unfurls here in Bahrain,” he said. “Last year’s Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix proved an outstanding success with almost every available seat sold out. We are confident that the buzz that is already growing for the forthcoming race will make this the most successful to date, give us the opportunity to display the friendliness and hospitality of the Bahraini people while also making the Kingdom proud."

Last month the circuit announced the signing of a five year deal to host the Vee Eight Supercar Championship from Australia and in just over two weeks holds a long awaited FIA International Drag Racing Exhibition event on the popular Sakhir strip.

The circuit boasts an unparalleled portfolio of international and regional motor racing and alongside looking forward to next year staff at the circuit are currently busy preparing for the final races of 2005 including the FIA Drag Festival and the final rounds of the FIA GT Championship and the Formula BMW World Championship. Press Release BIC

10/27/05
f1
Q and A with Mario Theissen Q and A with Mario TheissenBMW Williams did not win a race in 2005 and ended the season fifth in the Championship standings. The teams best result came at Monaco where Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber finished in second and third position. Overall however it was a frustrating season for Mario Theissen and BMW

What’s your verdict on the Formula One season 2005?
“Our sixth season since BMW’s return to Formula One in 2000 has also been the most challenging. Obviously, BMW and WilliamsF1 are not satisfied with fifth place in the Constructors’ championship.”

Where did things go awry?
“There were many areas where we needed to improve, and the packed Formula One calendar in 2005 – with more races than ever before – didn’t give us the time to do that.”

Can you give us any details?
“The chassis was not up to scratch at the start of the season. We had hoped that the extensive modifications we introduced halfway through the year would allow us to take a step forward, but instead we initially went in the opposite direction. The people in Grove worked tirelessly and their endeavors deserve our respect. In too many races we lacked the speed to pick up points. Added to which, Nick Heidfeld suffered two engine failures. The first came in the heat of Bahrain, and was traced back to a faulty piston. The second was in Canada, a foreseeable scenario where the engine overheated. The engineers thought the air temperature would be lower and the cars weren’t sent out with maximum cooling. Nick drove almost the whole race right up behind another car and the heat this generated was just too much for the engine to withstand. Nine times an accident robbed a driver of any chance of points. In Indianapolis we were undone by the infamous tire problems and in Turkey it was a self-inflicted problem that led to tire side wall damage.” zzzz

Did the official confirmation of the split with WilliamsF1 have an adverse effect on the end-of-season result?
“No. Everybody involved gave one hundred percent – their own futures were also on the line. Extending the partnership into the future would not have made us any faster.”

How are preparations progressing for 2006?
“Our primary focus has been on the current season with our partner WilliamsF1 and we maintained this intensity right up to the last race. Our new project started up in parallel. We have worked systematically to bring the locations in Munich and Hinwil together for the new team and are on schedule. Since the decision by the Board of Management on June 22nd, employees from the various departments have been coming and going between the two locations on an almost daily basis. Our first step was to weigh up the respective resources in the various areas of the team. Then we finalized the relevant targets and put the requisite working processes in place. Recruitment interviews have been held since September, with reinforcements for the aerodynamics department in Hinwil the top priority. We are looking to use the outstanding wind tunnel as frequently as possible, as soon as possible.”

To what extent do you intend to strengthen the team?
“At present, the locations in Munich and Hinwil each employ around 300 people for the Formula One project. We are planning to add another 100 or so people to the team in Hinwil. The aim is to increase the overall workforce to 700.”

How are you going about the recruitment process?
“We’re taking a very thorough approach. A lot of people apply to work in motor sport out of love for the sport, and it’s up to us to look carefully at the expertise, performance and ability to work in a team which those applicants can offer. We are aiming to employ a mixture of BMW employees interested in getting into motor sport, university graduates and established experts from a range of backgrounds.”

How much progress has been made with the chassis and engine for 2006?
“The foundations for next year’s chassis were already in place by the end of the 2005 season and the aerodynamics department in Hinwil has since been working on the optimization of individual components. At the same time, further advances have been made in Munich with the new P86 V8 engine in preparation for winter testing.”

What are the problems involved in the switch from a V10 engine to a V8?
“The V8 may look like a sawn-off V10 with the same cylinder angle, but technically it is an entirely separate concept. The ignition sequence and intervals are different and this means a new situation in terms of vibrations. The critical area for a V10 lies between 12,000 and 14,000 rpm – not a rev band where the engines spend a lot of time. Instead, they operate mostly at peak revs and that creates problems in the V8. Vibrations enter a critical area at 16,000 rpm and continue to increase from there onwards."

"The best V8 will be the one which boasts the most effective solution to the vibrations issue. Calculations and analysis of the individual components and simulation of the overall system are the key tools here. In terms of output – proportional to displacement – we’re talking about a drop of 20 percent. The size of the radiators can also be reduced by 20 percent as a result."

"Engine speeds will remain in around the same band as with the V10. What is more difficult to achieve is good drivability because, from 2006, the regulations stipulate a fixed duct length for the intake pipes. Variable intake pipes used to allow us to optimize the torque curve. Now we have to find a compromise between maximum power and drivability. Here, factors such as the nature of the track and even the weather conditions play a role. In theory you need different pipe lengths to suit different conditions. In practical terms, the switch to V8 engines flies in the face of the goal to reduce costs.”

How does BMW as a company benefit from its involvement in Formula One?
“We see our involvement as very positive both within the company and in terms of how BMW is seen by others. Producing an unusually high proportion of components ‘in-house’ at our Munich location from day one – for everything up to the engine electronics – has allowed us to maximize the transfer of technology between production cars and Formula One and vice-versa."

"Internally, a project with the emotional impact of Formula One has a high motivational value. And according to an independent marketing study in 2005, BMW gains a greater external benefit from its involvement in Formula One than any other manufacturer. Motor sport without BMW is as difficult to imagine as BMW without motor sport. The racetrack is a natural arena for our company, not just in Formula One, but also in touring car competition and the Formula BMW junior series.” BMW

10/27/05
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
19-race calendar unveiled
'M16' to run in February
Massa starts new F1 job
Bourdais and Renault
BMW fixed on new F1 foray
Another thump for JB sexism
Trulli's 'better job' - Ralf
Frentzen out of hospital
Schu takes wife for F1 spin

2005 'not bad' - Karthikeyan
Bernie didn't buy Minardi
Ron Walker causes a stir
10/27/05
nascar
TMS race to have record purse TMS race to have record purseThe Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 6 will have a purse in excess of $6.8 million, the highest payout in the two-year history of the Chase for the Nextel Cup.  The winner’s share probably will exceed $500,000. The total purse of $6,815,880 is the fourth highest in NASCAR behind the Daytona 500, the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis and the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at TMS.
10/27/05
nascar
Texas Tidbits Texas Tidbits2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Bliss and the Xpress Motorsports championship team will be reunited for the Silverado 350k on Friday night, Nov. 4 at Texas Motor Speedway.  Bliss will compete in the Truck Series’ final four 2005 races in the Chevy Trucks Silverado that propelled Jack Sprague to the June CHEX 400k win at Texas. “This team knows how to win races and championships, I think we have a great opportunity to win races before the season ends,” Bliss said….Dave Blaney and Richard Childress Racing will have a special “Pride of Texas” paint scheme for the No. 07 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet in the Dickies 500. Blaney and car owner Richard Childress will debut the paint scheme selected by race fans Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the West Concourse of the American Airlines Center in Dallas prior to the Dallas Stars hockey game….zzzz Craftsman Truck Series regular Terry Cook, one of only two drivers to have started all 15 Truck races at The Great American Speedway, is hoping to visit Victory Lane after the Silverado 350k.  “We definitely had a top-five truck at Texas in June.  Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday and Johnny Benson were really the only drivers that could keep pace with us.  We were going for our third top-five finish in a row at that point but had to settle for seventh.  We’re coming back to Texas for redemption and a win.”….An interested onlooker at this week’s tests was former Funny Car drag racer Raymond Beadle, Rusty Wallace’s NASCAR Cup Series championship car owner in 1989…Buddy Goudy was presented the E.G. Huggins Sportsman of the Year Award as Lone Star Legends rolled out the red carpet for its annual banquet attendees last weekend at The Speedway Club.  Goudy assists numerous teams with race car preparation in addition to driving in Legends Cars and Thunder Roadster competition.  Other special awards announced were Driver of the Year: Don Barnard (Legends), Jordan Webb (Bandolero) and Randy Miles (Thunder Roadster); Mechanic of the Year: Dickie Gilbert (Legends), Mark Webb (Bandolero) and Goudy (Thunder Roadster); Best Looking Car: Barnard (Legends), Jake Kruger (Bandolero) and Evans Shaw (Thunder Roadster).
10/27/05
f1
Speed Demons - For Tire Makers, An Expensive Battle Speed Demons - For Tire Makers, An Expensive BattleThis Wall Street Journal article says (excerpts), For the past five years, French tire maker Michelin SCA and Japan's Bridgestone Corp. have battled one another for the right to brag they produce the world's fastest Formula One racing tires.

At Michelin's research center, one of the largest privately owned chemistry laboratories in Europe, the world's No. 1 tire maker tinkers obsessively with a secret formula for the 150 types of rubbers, oils, resins and other materials that go into its racing tires. At its research center in Tokyo, No. 2 Bridgestone labors to perfect its own recipe.

Both efforts are cloaked in secrecy. The two tire makers send security guards to each Grand Prix racing event to watch over their tires day and night. After each race, the worn tires are shredded. Says Robert Bell, technical director of the Renault racing team: "It's a very black art."

Both companies say Formula One helps them sell more regular tires. But from a marketing standpoint, it is unclear whether either company is winning anything. Michelin spends about $70 million a year on Formula One, Bridgestone more than $100 million, people familiar with the numbers say. Neither company can point to hard evidence of an impact on sales and profits.  zzzz

Edouard Michelin, Michelin's chief executive, expresses faith nevertheless in the value of the effort. "Part of the adrenaline driving the company comes from the desire to win" in Formula One, he says.

Some marketing executives agree with the strategy. "Formula One is expensive but it's as close to global sponsorship as you can get," says Stephen Martin, chief executive of M&C Saatchi Sponsorship in London. It offers a way for Michelin and Bridgestone "to make tires exciting" to consumers around the world, he says.

Down on the tire lots, some retailers don't see it that way. Yoshio Midorikawa, a manager at Tire Shop Bear in Yokohama, Japan, says he can't imagine any of his Japanese customers buying a tire because its maker won a Formula One race. "Formula One racing goes on way above the clouds, and doesn't belong to us down here on earth," he says. 

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Bridgestone's head of motorsport, calls Formula One its most powerful marketing tool. He credits it with boosting European awareness of the Bridgestone brand to 39% of those surveyed in 2004 from 13% in 1996. Bridgestone's European sales have risen 45% between 1999 and 2004.  More at Wall Street Journal

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