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USA team nominates Giebler and Hunter-Reay USA team nominates Giebler and Hunter-ReayA1 TEAM USA returns to A1 GP—Worldcup of Motorsport action in Beijing, China for the third race--and the first street race--of the 2006-07 season.

Driver Phil Giebler will return for his third race this season.  Giebler, who earned a second place finish for A1 TEAM USA in the season-opener in Zandvoort, The Netherlands, is cautiously optimistic about the race ahead.

“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to race on a track that no one has ever raced on before,” Giebler said. “Because it’s a street race, none of the drivers have an advantage--none have ever driven it.  It’s going to be a game of who can figure out the track the fastest and which team can get their car set up the best for this track.  Every practice session is going to mean a lot.”

With so much emphasis on learning the track, A1 TEAM USA will be relying heavily on their new rookie driver.  Friday will mark Ryan Hunter-Reay’s first time at the wheel of A1 TEAM USA’s “We the People” car as he participates in the morning’s two 25-minute practice sessions.  zzzz

Hunter-Reay, from Boca Raton, FL, brings with him a wealth of professional racing experience.  The 25-year-old began racing karts at age 12 in Florida, and went on to make his mark in Champ Car racing.  In 2003, Hunter-Reay became the first American Rookie in over 20 years to win a Champ Car Race (Surfers Paradise, Australia).  In Champ Car, he also became the second youngest driver to ever win a street race, and the youngest American to ever win an oval race.

Team owner, Rick Weidinger, hand-picked Hunter-Reay for this race after meeting him earlier this year.

“Ryan and I have been visiting since the Laguna race last March when he came to Laguna to visit the team and wish us well. We are anxious to get him in the Team USA car to see how comfortable he is and what he thinks of the competition in the A1 GP Series. He is a very good and experienced professional driver.”

Weidinger is also very conscious of the role that Hunter-Reay’s feedback will play as the team prepares for Sunday’s race.

“One of the features of street circuits is that they take a long time to rubber in,” Weidinger commented. “Cars go out for the first time and basically sweep the track. Our first set of tires will be wasted. During this process the car will tend to slide and the handling is rough. It is critically important to have an experienced driver who can handle the situation. Of course, we are very comfortable with Ryan’s ability and look forward to hear his feedback and see his approach. This is going to be a challenging track, so Ryan’s feedback is going to be crucial.”

The A1GP in Beijing begins Friday with rookie practice, followed by a one hour practice for the veterans. There is a one-hour practice Saturday prior to qualifying, comprised of four 15-minute sessions with the best two laps for each driver establishing the grid. Sunday's races are the 20-minute sprint in the morning and the 70-minute feature in the afternoon.

Team USA
Americans excel in Europe Americans excel in EuropeUPDATE Below we have added photos of Dane Cameron winning the Palmer-Audi race with Team USA... As an interesting side note on the idea of "its in the genes' when it comes to racing talent -- Dane Cameron is the son of Rick Cameron, the engineer for the late, lamented Lynx Racing driver development program.  Rick has been instrumental in the early careers of such notable racers as Patrick Carpentier, Alex Barron, Buddy Rice, Michael Valiante and Bryan Sellers, as well as Michael McDowell.

11/05/06 Team USA Scholarship winners Dane Cameron and Robert Podlesni provided most of the highlights during today’s opening three rounds of the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy series which took place at the famed Snetterton track in England.

Cameron, from Sonoma, Calif., earned a win and a pair of second-place finishes, while Podlesni, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., fought his way to 10th after an incident in the first race and then followed up with a pair of strong fourths.

"The boys are obviously very talented," said ex-Formula 1 driver Jonathan Palmer who runs the FPA series and owns the race track. "They both did a good job this weekend, especially Dane, and they provided a real education for the [young] Brits, who don’t have the same level of dedication or maturity. They’re just so committed and so professional."

Race One this morning saw Cameron, who started fourth, quickly moving toward the front. He passed series veteran Stephen Young and debutant Alex Brundle (son of ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle), and was closing on race leader Luciano Bacheta when the full-course caution flags waved following an incident farther back in the pack. Cameron did not make the best restart but maintained his second place and set the fastest lap as he chased Bacheta to the finish line. zzzz

Podlesni also made excellent progress, up to fourth from sixth, before being taken off in an incident at the Esses soon after the restart. Podlesni resumed in 20th, then charged back to 10th in the remaining four laps.

Cameron started on the pole for Race Two and was never headed en route to his first international win.

"Hearing the US National Anthem in a foreign country is something that I will never forget," said Cameron.

Podlesni again was on the move, moving from seventh to fourth before another late-race caution. At the ensuing restart, the American found himself on the outside of a thrilling three-wide battle with Bacheta and ex-Formula BMW UK Scholarship winner Aaron Steele heading down the back straightaway.

"Consistency is the key in this series and there was no one pressing from behind, so I dropped back to save the points," recounted Podlesni, who wisely settled for fourth. "It was more important to finish all three races than to risk totaling the car in a banzai move. "

The grid for the third and final race of the afternoon was set according to each competitor’s fastest lap from Race Two. Cameron lined up second behind Bacheta, while Podlesni started fifth.

"I was able to stay with the leader but did not quite have enough to try to make a pass on him," said Cameron. "We had another safety car period and I was hoping that would be my chance but I didn't quite have enough to make a pass. I finished a solid second place and I now lie second in points, two points behind [Bacheta] with three races to go.

"Overall, my first European race weekend went better than I could have hoped," he continued. "I can’t wait to get to Brands Hatch and try to win the Autumn Trophy Championship. I learned quite a bit about saving tires and boost as well as racing and strategy, and I think it will make me more prepared when I get to Brands next weekend."

Podlesni claimed another fourth-place finish and lies fourth in the points table, 22 markers behind Cameron.

"This whole weekend has been just a tremendous experience," summarized Podlesni. "Dane did a fantastic job, I’m so proud of him, and I’m really looking forward to running up front with him at Brands Hatch."

Team USA Scholarship supporters include Mockett.com, a Torrance, Calif.-based producer and supplier of "Fine Architectural Hardware For Your Fine Furniture," American Honda, Snap-on Tools, "Stars of Karting," Highcroft Racing, Sparco USA, RACER magazine, FormulaCar Magazine, Speedstar Management and an array of past Scholarship winners including Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Buddy Rice, A.J. Allmendinger and J.R. Hildebrand.

Racing News
Quotes of the Week Quotes of the Week
Bump at TMS of major concern to drivers Bump at TMS of major concern to driversThe dip-of-a-bump between Turns 1 and 2 at Texas Motor Speedway?

It's still there. Still wiggling rear ends. Still challenging the NASCAR drivers and crew chiefs. Beginning with record-setting pole sitter Brian Vickers, The Dip -- and how to get through it -- has remained the topic du jour of Race No. 8 of the Chase for the Nextel Cup.

"It's a very valid point," said Vickers, who shattered the Cup qualifying record with a lap at 196.235 mph Friday afternoon. "It's something that probably needs to be addressed sooner rather than later."

Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, who has competed in all 11 previous Cup races on the 1.5-mile quadoval, termed The Dip "significant." In fact, Gordon used that term during three separate explanations of the problem as he sees and feels it inside the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.

"It's something that upsets the car," said Gordon, sixth in Chase points entering today's scheduled 334-lapper. "The primary thing we are working on is getting through the bump. That's on our mind, definitely." Star Telegram

industry News
China is too big to ignore China is too big to ignoreChina is a huge threat, a giant untapped opportunity, a destroyer of American jobs, the money-saving engine behind Wal-Mart's everyday low prices, a spigot of profits for General Motors Corp. at a time when GM isn't making money at home.

China is a tease, a technology pirate, a currency manipulator.

Think whatever you will of China.

Just don't ignore her. She has grown way too big and powerful for that.

If it's hard to fathom why the likes of GM, Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler, Delphi Corp., Lear Corp. and Visteon Corp. are so enthralled with China, all it takes is one look at the latest forecast of CSM Worldwide, the Novi-based automotive research firm.

It's all about growth.

Between now and 2012, the world's car and truck production will grow to nearly 78 million from about 62 million vehicles last year.

That's the equivalent of adding almost the size of today's entire U.S. auto market to the world total in seven years.

But this growth won't be happening in the United States. Indeed, of the 16 million extra sets of wheels being built by 2012, fewer than 1 million will come from North America. More than half the world's growth will occur in China and south Asian nations such as India, Thailand and Malaysia.

China alone will grow its output by 106%, from 4.7 million to nearly 9.8 million vehicles annually in that period, while growth in the heretofore "developed world" of North America and western Europe will be only 5% or so, according to CSM.  More at Detroit Free Press

Franchitti says no interest in NASCAR Franchitti says no interest in NASCARDuring Saturday's Nextel Cup Happy Hour practice session at Texas Motor Speedway, open wheel veteran Dario Franchitti was an observer on top of Jeff Burton's hauler. His visit was purely business. Franchitti shares a business relationship with one of Burton's team sponsors and the Scotsman was invited to attend and speak at a dinner in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Yahoo's Bob Margolis had a chance to chat with Franchitti, and the conversation turned to Franchitti's future. There had been some speculation during the summer that Franchitti perhaps was interested in a NASCAR ride. Obviously the interest was in passing – or maybe a way to leverage a better deal from his current team – as Franchitti acknowledged that he would be back in his Indy Racing League ride with Andretti Green Racing for the entire 2007 season. He also expects to race the entire season in the American Le Mans Series with AGR teammate Bryan Herta in AGR's recently announced Acura/Courage program. Might there be a NASCAR ride somewhere down the road for Franchitti? "Not in the immediate future," Franchitti said. Yahoo Sports
Will Power closes on rookie title Will Power closes on rookie titleTeam Australia star Will Power had a clear goal at the beginning of the 2006 Champ Car World Series – to become the first Australian driver to win the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year award.

The Toowoomba-born driver has had a strong first season in Champ Car this season and enters Mexico lying eighth in the overall championship, coming off the back of a breakthrough weekend at his home event, the Lexmark Indy 300 on Australia’s spectacular Gold Coast.

Power became the first Australian to win pole position for a Champ Car race since 1993 Le Mans 24 Hour winner Geoff Brabham claimed the pole at Riverside, California on the 30th of August in 1981.

The Australian driver was in the best position of his young Champ Car career in the early stages of the race until being the innocent victim of a clash with Sebastien Bourdais, damaging the #5 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Lola and ruining any chance of not only clinching his Champ Car podium and perhaps victory, but also capturing the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year title on home soil.

Next weekend in Mexico City, Power will aim to etch his name into the Champ Car history books yet again, aiming to become the first Australian driver to win the Roshfrans Champ Car Rookie of the Year title in its 28-year history. zzzz

“It’s been typical of a rookie season in a lot of ways,” says Power.

“We’ve been in some bad situations this year that have cost us results and in some ways I should have had the rookie title wrapped up by now. Some of them were things that occurred while I was learning in the early part of the season, but being crashed out in the last two races has been none of our fault.

“Despite everything that’s happened we go into Mexico with a 15 point lead in the rookie standings and we are going back to a track that I have raced at before. That will help a little and I think we will definitely have a better set-up than last year at Mexico City because I have a year’s racing in Champ Car under my belt and the team has been very strong on road courses all year.

“I’m not really thinking about the rookie points or the championship. The goal I have in my head at the moment is to get a top four result in qualifying, a really strong qualifying result. We showed in Surfers what we are capable of and I will be pushing hard to back that up.

“I haven’t thought of the rookie title since Surfers. We had such a strong run there and we were in contention all weekend. After that race I really want to show that I can do that consistently, but having said that I will probably have a quiet think to myself about the rookie points situation over the race weekend.

“That’s the thing with this final round – there is not a lot of point thinking about the points until after qualifying. Your plans change if you qualify on pole position because you know you can race for the win, but if you start deep in the pack you have to be a little more conservative and think about how many points you need to take the rookie title.

“I think the best thing for me to do is to think of this as a normal race and push hard from the start. We showed a lot in Surfers and this team is on the rise and has a lot of momentum. I’m confident we can get things done, but we’ll have to see what happens.”


Team Australia sensation Will Power has been nominated by world-renowned motorsport publication Autosport for its annual Rookie of the Year Award.

Will is one of ten drivers from motorsport all around to be nominated for the prestigious award, with drivers from Formula 1, the World Rally Championship, NASCAR, the GP2 Series, Indy Racing League and British Formula 3 all nominated.

The award is decided by fans voting through the Autosport.com website, so go there now to vote for Will.

Click Here: www.autosport.com.

Once at the Autosport website, click on the Autosport Rookie of the Year link.

Champ Car World Series
2006 Roshfrans Rookie of the Year standi

Rank Driver Nationality Team Points
1. Will Power Australia Team Australia 188
2. Dan Clarke England CTE Racing-HVM 173
3. Charles Zwolsman Holland Mi-Jack Conquest Racing 151
4. Jan Heylen Belgium Dale Coyne Racing 132
5. Katherine Legge England PKV Racing 128
6. Nicky Pastorelli Holland Rocketsports Racing 73
7. Antonio Pizzonia Brazil Rocketsports Racing 34
8. Tonis Kasemets Estonia Rocketsports Racing 34
9. Andreas Wirth Germany Dale Coyne Racing 13
10. Ryan Briscoe Australia RuSPORT 10

Champ Car World Series
Roshfrans Rookie of the Year winners

2005 Timo Glock
2004 A.J. Allmendinger
2003 Sebastien Bourdais
2002 Mario Dominguez
2001 Scott Dixon
2000 Kenny Brack
1999 Juan Montoya
1998 Tony Kanaan
1997 Patrick Carpentier
1996 Alex Zanardi
1995 Gil de Ferran
1994 Jacques Villeneuve
1993 Nigel Mansell
1992 Stefan Johansson
1991 Jeff Andretti
1990 Eddie Cheever
1989 Bernard Jourdain
1988 John Jones
1987 Fabrizio Barbazza
1986 Dominic Dobson
1985 Arie Luyendyk
1984 Roberto Guerrero
1983 Teo Fabi
1982 Bobby Rahal
1981 Bob Lazier
1980 Dennis Firestone
1979 Bill Alsup

Boss urges McLaren-Mercedes to win 2007 title Boss urges McLaren-Mercedes to win 2007 title(GMM)  Dieter Zetsche has urged McLaren-Mercedes to go two better in 2007.

The CEO of Mercedes' parent company, DaimlerChrysler, rued the silver collaboration's distant third place in the recently concluded Formula One constructors' title.

"Quite simply, Mercedes must be in front," he was quoted as saying by Sport-Informations-Dienst at the traditional Stars & Cars event in Stuttgart.

Zetsche added on Saturday: "I will only be content if we are two places better in 2007."

50,000 spectators attended the event, at which the Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen appeared for the last time.  By competition chief Norbert Haug, he was presented a motocross helmet in his distinct design.

The Finn said: "I am a little bit sad.  I had a good five years with this team."

His countryman Mika Hakkinen was also in attendance, and he indicated that a new contract with the marque in the DTM touring car series was likely.

But Hakkinen warned: "We are still working on it."

Hero to Zero: Montoya crashes again Hero to Zero: Montoya crashes againJuan Montoya qualified 10th for Saturday's Busch Series race in Texas, but started near the rear of the 43-car field after having to make a stop during the pace laps to realign the front valance on his Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge. When the race began, he moved steadily through the pack and was up to 25th before slipping up the banking and bouncing hard off the wall.

That sent Montoya to the pits for repairs and left him 41st, two laps off the pace. Driving a damaged car that couldn't keep up with the leaders, Montoya stayed on track to the end, finishing 28th -- three laps behind Harvick.

``We had a top-10 car, but the problem at the beginning made it really hard,'' said Montoya, who finished 11th in his Busch and NASCAR debut a week ago at Memphis. ``It was good experience, though, and, if I had more time in the car, it could have been a little better.'' (Photo left courtesy of Dodge)

Asked about hitting the wall, the Colombian driver said, ``I was trying to pass somebody on the outside. People say I give myself a lot of room out there, so I calculated how far I could go.

``I calculated about this much,'' he added, holding his hands about 2 feet apart, ``and the wall was there.'' Yahoo! Sports

Harvick wins 9th Busch race Harvick wins 9th Busch raceKevin Harvick (right leading Tony Stewart, photo by CIA stock photo) put together another dominant performance, leading 145 of 200 laps en route to winning the O’Reilly Challenge 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. Harvick has won both races since clinching the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series championship at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. 

This win was yet another highlight in what has been one of the top seasons in NASCAR Busch Series history. Harvick now has nine wins in 2006, one short of the series record set by Sam Ard in 1983. The finish was his 30th top-10 finish of the year (in 32 races), tying Ard for most top-10 finishes in one season (1983).  Harvick can top Ard’s win record by taking the checkered flag at Phoenix next weekend and then the season final at Homestead.

Although Harvick’s car was one of the fastest on the track, he needed some fuel-mileage luck to hold off Tony Stewart. Crew chief Shane Wilson had warned Harvick to save gas near the end of the race – he ran out at the start/finish line. zzzz

“Its just been one of those years where everything has gone right,” Harvick said.

“That was way close,” said Shane Wilson, Harvick’s crew chief. “I probably shouldn’t have been that aggressive, but we said we were going to try to win as many of these last three (races) as we can and we did it today.”

Stewart finished second ahead of Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Ron Hornaday.

Juan Pablo Montoya, running his second career NASCAR Busch Series race finished 28th, three laps off the pace. He finished 11th in last week’s debut at Memphis Motorsports Park.

Fin Car Driver Make Laps Status
1 #21  Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 200 Running
2 #19  Tony Stewart Chevrolet 200 Running
3 #29  Jeff Burton Chevrolet 200 Running
4 #6  Mark Martin Ford 200 Running
5 #33  Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 200 Running
6 #18  J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 200 Running
7 #60  Carl Edwards Ford 200 Running
8 #20  Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 200 Running
9 #77  Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 199 Running
10 #06  Todd Kluever* Ford 199 Running
11 #66  Scott Wimmer Ford 199 Running
12 #47  Jon Wood Ford 199 Running
13 #1  Mike Wallace Dodge 199 Running
14 #99  David Reutimann Dodge 199 Running
15 #10  John Andretti* Ford 199 Running
16 #22  Kenny Wallace Ford 199 Running
17 #2  Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 199 Running
18 #9  Kasey Kahne Dodge 198 Running
19 #27  Casey Atwood Ford 198 Running
20 #90  Stephen Leicht Ford 198 Running
21 #25  Ashton Lewis Ford 198 Running
22 #35  Regan Smith Ford 198 Running
23 #112  Mike Skinner Dodge 198 Running
24 #59  Stacy Compton Ford 198 Running
25 #16  Greg Biffle Ford 198 Running
26 #17  Matt Kenseth Ford 197 Running
27 #11  Paul Menard Chevrolet 197 Running
28 #42  Juan Montoya Dodge 297 Running
29 #23  Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 197 Running
30 #50  Danny O'Quinn Jr.* Ford 197 Running
31 #64  Steve Wallace Dodge 196 Running
32 #5  Kyle Busch Chevrolet 196 Running
33 #195  Chad Chaffin Dodge 195 Running
34 #114  Ted Musgrave Dodge 193 Running
35 #00  Johnny Sauter Chevrolet 193 Running
36 #41  Reed Sorenson Dodge 131 Out of Race
37 #0  Kertus Davis Chevrolet 105 Out of Race
38 #4  Auggie Vidovich Dodge 87 Out of Race
39 #01  Jay Sauter Chevrolet 77 Out of Race
40 #36  Max Papis Chevrolet 76 Out of Race
41 #137  Randy LaJoie Chevrolet 68 Out of Race
42 #88  Shane Huffman Chevrolet 63 Out of Race
43 #138  Jason Leffler Chevrolet 55 Out of Race

Rice and Martinez Complete Successful First Test with Forsythe Rice and Martinez Complete Successful First Test with ForsytheHouston, Texas – Buddy Rice and David Martinez completed over 400 trouble free miles in their first test with the Forsythe Championship Racing Team at the MSR Houston road course only a few miles south of Houston, Texas.  The purpose of the test was to acclimatize both rookie drivers with the Forsythe Team and prepare them for their first career Champ Car start which will take place at the season finale in Mexico City, November 10th – 12th, as Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

The last time Rice was in the cockpit of a Champ Car was almost six years ago when he tested one of the 750 horsepower turbo-charged machines after capturing the Champ Car Atlantic Championship in 2000.  For Martinez, also a Champ Car Atlantic graduate, it was the first time behind the wheel of a Champ Car.  The young Mexican driver however is no stranger to adapting to new type of race cars as he has driven in the last few years in Champ Car Atlantic, A1GP, Formula Renault V6, Barber Dodge Pro Series, and Formula 3.  zzzz

Buddy Rice #7 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone/Lola
“I feel really good, everything went just as planned.  I’m very glad that we were able to get out there and get some laps under our belt before we get to Mexico, it’s a big benefit and it will definitely help our performance during the race.  I really enjoyed working with the Forsythe Team and getting to know my engineers and the rest of the Team.  I mean these guys are really well organized and everybody is very professional so that has just made the transitions to Champ Car much easier.  We were able to get up to speed right away, getting used to the turbo lag takes a little while, also to the brakes which work extremely well, but after only a few laps I got very comfortable and was able to push hard.  Everything went smooth, now we just have to get down to Mexico and get back on track and keep gaining speed so we can have a strong result.”

David Martinez #33 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone/Lola
“I’m very satisfied and very happy with the test; we were able to run over 200 miles without any problems.  I also want to thank the Forsythe Team because they gave me an excellent car and they made my first day in a Champ Car as easy as possible.  Driving these cars is an amazing experience, the power, the aerodynamics, the brakes, everything is just top notch.  My engineer and I developed a very good relationship throughout the day, we took it easy at first and gradually got faster and by the end of the day we were turning very competitive laps.  We basically did a lot of different tests to prepare me for a full race weekend, including simulated qualifying runs with new tires, pit stops, and long runs with full tanks so I could feel the wear of the tires and the change in the balance of the car as the fuel burns. 

I’m feeling very relaxed after this test.  It’s never easy to come into a world class series as a rookie, but after driving the car I have a better idea of what to expect and that’s going to be a big help for Mexico.”

Phil LePan, Team Manager
“It was a very successful test for both guys.  They both turned over 200 miles without any problems and the whole Team worked very well together.  With David we didn’t make too many changes, we just wanted him to get used to the car and get a lot of laps in so he could get his confidence up and get ready to start working on setups in Mexico.  Buddy has more experience in big horsepower cars so we worked on some adjustments with him including some damper and geometry changes.  We didn’t do anything drastic but it seems like all the changes were very effective.”

team usa
Dane Cameron Snares the Pole at Snetterton Dane Cameron Snares the Pole at SnettertonAttleborough, England –– Dane Cameron (right) stunned the Formula Palmer Audi series regulars this afternoon by qualifying his red, white and blue Team USA Scholarship car on the pole for tomorrow’s second round of the FPA Autumn Trophy at Snetterton. Cameron will start fourth for Race One, while teammate Robert Podlesni will start sixth and seventh for the first two (of three) races after being caught in traffic on his best laps.

"I am elated to be on pole," said 18-year-old Cameron, from Sonoma, Calif. "I couldn’t be happier. This is my first time at Snetterton as well as my first proper day in the car so it is fantastic. I really want to thank everyone who supports the Team USA Scholarship program and made this possible."

Cameron and Podlesni, from Thousand Oaks, Calif., had only a very brief shakedown session – in damp conditions – earlier in the week at Bedford Autodrome to get used to the 300hp FPA cars, so were facing a steep learning curve when they arrived at Snetterton in eastern England.

They were able to gain some knowledge of the track yesterday after being invited to drive a Spirit Formula Ford car. FPA series officials also granted an extra 20-minute practice session this morning to enable all newcomers to gain more experience in the tricky-to-handle cars, but it was still a tall order for Cameron and Podlesni to match the speed of 20 other competitors who had extensive experience of either the cars or the track, or both. zzzz

The two Americans, however, were quickly on the pace. Cameron posted the fastest time in the second 20-minute practice session and was fourth in the first of two qualifying periods, which set the grid for the first of three races to be held on Sunday. Podlesni was close behind in sixth. Later, in the second qualifying session, Cameron stormed back to the top of the charts to secure the inside front row grid position for tomorrow’s second race.

"In the first qualifying session I had a little bit of trouble finding a clear lap and I also made a couple mistakes so I never put in a lap that I was happy with and I ended up fourth," related Cameron. "In the second qualifying I made a big effort to try and make sure that I could get at least one clear lap. The session went red after a few minutes and I was in P5 when I went back out. I had to slow down and build a gap a number of times in an attempt to put in a good lap. Towards the very end of the session I got a few laps in succession and was able to get pole on my final flying lap."

Podlesni (right), who was presented with a cake earlier in the day by the FPA team in celebration of his 19th birthday, found the going a little tougher but still qualified a respectable sixth and seventh among a capacity 22-car field. In fact, he had posted the second-fastest time immediately prior to the red flag in the second period of qualifying.

"Today was an eye-opening experience," admitted Podlesni. "Practice was a balance of getting used to the car, the track and taking care of the tires. Having to run seven sessions on one set of tires is a huge change. In the second [qualifying] session I had a good run going but was held up by traffic in the last chicane. It was disappointing going from second to eighth after the red, but it was a great lesson on ensuring a proper gap in qualifying. I think I had a lap good enough for second or third, but will have to think a bit about how to get out of traffic more quickly."

Cameron and Podlesni were cheered on today by 2003 Team USA Scholarship winner and current Formula 3 Euro Series front-runner Charlie Kimball, who now lives in England and has been moving closer and closer to his dream of driving in Formula 1 since winning the 2004 New Zealand International Formula Ford Championship for Team USA.

Team USA Scholarship supporters include Mockett.com, a Torrance, Calif.-based producer and supplier of "Fine Architectural Hardware For Your Fine Furniture," American Honda, Snap-on Tools, "Stars of Karting," Highcroft Racing, Sparco USA, RACER magazine, FormulaCar Magazine, Speedstar Management and an array of past Scholarship winners including Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Buddy Rice, A.J. Allmendinger and J.R. Hildebrand.

Bliss leads Happy Hour, Raines crashes Martin Bliss leads Happy Hour, Raines crashes MartinMike Bliss was the surprise leader during final round of NASCAR Nextel Cup practice at Texas Motor Speedway, piloting the BAM Racing Dodge to a speed of 188.180 mph while Chase contender Mark Martin damaged his primary Roush Racing car in an incident midway through the session.

Martin (right, photo by Ford) was taking the low line out of Turn 4 when Tony Raines, intending to go to pit road, came down into the side of his car. Martin's Ford suffered significant right front damage, and the team quickly prepared a backup car. The backup saw action earlier this year, finishing second at Atlanta in the spring and ninth at Texas in April. Before the incident, Martin had posted the 10th-fastest time in the session.

"We're gonna run the other car because there's enough damage to the primary car that it would be tough to fix," said Martin's crew chief, Pat Tryson. "These things are so aero sensitive that even though we might be able to fix it, you won't get it back right and that could make for a real long day.

"We'll see what we've got with this and see if we can get it as close as we can. ... It wouldn't be so bad if it was just racing, but when somebody is trying to come on pit road and they're not on the bottom and they turn into you, it's pretty sad." More at Scenedaily.com

Waltrip to enter Toyotas in Busch series too Waltrip to enter Toyotas in Busch series tooMichael Waltrip Racing officially announced today that it will be one of three Toyota Camry teams to enter into full-time NASCAR Busch Series competition in 2007. Michael Waltrip Racing will field one NASCAR Busch Series entry - the No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine - with driver David Reutimann competing for the championship.   

"Our ability to partner with Toyota in the NASCAR Busch Series will take our team to a championship level," Waltrip said. "When Toyota entered the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, everybody realized it was just a matter of time before they were in the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.  

"We’ve competed and won with our Aaron’s Dream Machine team," continued Waltrip. "Before Toyota, we really didn’t have any wind tunnel or engineering support. We’ve got all those things now. We’ve been running well without and we’re going to run even better with it. We’ve got Reutimann behind the wheel and I think we’ll have a good year." Zzzz  

Reutimann has experience with Toyota as a regular in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and is ready to make the journey with Toyota into the NASCAR Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series next season.  

"I was really excited to be a part of Toyota’s entry into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and now I have another opportunity to be on the ground floor with the NASCAR Busch Series program," Reutimann said. "Toyota has been building some good horsepower in the trucks and we are getting engineering support. I think that will carry over. It will be a real good match."  

Reutimann’s NASCAR Busch Series sponsor agrees.

"Everyone at Aaron’s is really looking forward to the new 2007 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry," stated Ken Butler, President of Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership. "Michael Waltrip has been a mainstay of Aaron’s marketing program over the past few years, and we fully support what he and Toyota are putting together. With David Reutimann as our new driver and Toyota as the new manufacturer, the combination has the potential to put the Dream Machine back out in the front."  

"Based on our motorsports experience in sports cars and open-wheel racing, in addition to the Craftsman Truck Series, we know the importance of working with experienced teams and partners," says Rick Lantz, TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) Busch Series Program Manager. "We have developed a tremendous relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing and David Reutimann, and believe the team’s NASCAR Busch Series experience will prove invaluable as we bring the Toyota Camry to the series next season."  

This season, Toyota has already collected 11 wins in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition, and the manufacturer has scored 24 wins since entering the Series in 2004. Toyota captured its first manufacturers championship Friday evening at Texas Motor Speedway.
Aus GP to let 10,000 kids in for free Aus GP to let 10,000 kids in for free(GMM)  After promising to sell cheaper tickets to single women, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation is going to let 10,000 schoolchildren into the F1 event at Albert Park next year for free.

The number has been raised from 4000 in 2006.

"Anywhere else, this might be seen as massaging limp attendance figures, but we know our dear old AGPC better than that," a sarcastic journalist for Melbourne's The Age newspaper wrote.

Eligible children will reportedly complete worksheets, including - for example - a challenge for students to design a new logo and catchphrase for the race.

An evening with Paul Stoddart An evening with Paul StoddartFormula One fans will get the chance to pose questions to one of the most outspoken men in the sport, in a unique evening at the Donington Grand Prix Collection. Paul Stoddart, charismatic owner and team principal of the Minardi F1x2 racing team (and possible soon-to-be Champ Car team owner), will talk about his career, F1 experiences and his thoughts on the future of Grand Prix racing at this special event organized by the Redliners -- the official motor sport club of the Donington Collection and GPlive, who will host a three-day festival of Grand Prix racing at Donington next May.

In addition to offering the chance to quiz one of the great personalities of recent Grand Prix racing, visitors will have the opportunity of a select private viewing of the stunning array of Grand Prix cars at the Collection, the largest in the world. zzzz

As CEO of European Aviation Group, Paul first became involved with Formula One in the mid 1990s, both as a competitor in the BOSS series for historic Grand Prix cars and as a sponsor of the Tyrrell Racing Organization. When the latter team was sold to BAT in 1997, he bought most of the Tyrrell assets and they were moved to his Ledbury headquarters. He then also took over control of the Minardi F1 operation in Italy, giving career opportunities to rising stars, including Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.

Stoddart launched his unique Minardi F1x2 program in 2000, with the fleet of two-seat Grand Prix car having their first event at Donington Park. Since then, the cars have thrilled passengers and crowds alike in 12 countries and the cars have been driven by five F1 World Champions, including Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. Hear direct from Stoddart on how he thinks they compare!

Paul's desire to bring F1 closer to the fans has led him to join forces with the GPlive event, to be held at Donington Park on 18-20 May 2007, when the entire Minardi F1x2 team will be taking part.

"We are very pleased to support GPlive," said Stoddart. "I genuinely believe GPlive is an inspired concept, and -- like many great ideas -- you are left wondering why someone hasn't thought of it already. One of the key objectives for the F1x2 Team from its inception, and for the Minardi F1 Team while I was the owner, was to try to make Formula One more accessible to the fans, so there is very much a unity of purpose about what we are trying to achieve." "This evening event gives an exciting taste of what GPlive is all about," said Richard Morgan, the initiator of GPlive. "The event will give unprecedented access to the fastest cars and the greatest stars in a high-octane celebration, featuring what will probably be the largest gathering of former Grand Prix cars and stars in the world. Over its three days, the GPlive event will combine races and on-track demonstrations from historic cars and drivers who remain motor sport legends."

Tickets for the evening with Paul Stoddart are just £10, and are only available in advance by booking with a credit/debit card, via the ticket hotline on 01296 680303.

Mexico City race promotion continues Mexico City race promotion continuesA parade will take place this Sunday in Mexico City with Mexican drivers Mario Dominguez, David Martinez, the sponsors of the race, and the finalists of the Face of Champ Car.  After the parade there will be a media conference.  We hear ticket sales are well ahead of last year.
Earnhardt Jr. again criticizes TMS Earnhardt Jr. again criticizes TMSDale Earnhardt Jr. on Friday reiterated concerns he expressed last weekend about the racing surface at Texas Motor Speedway, which he has called one of his favorite NASCAR tracks.  Earnhardt told reporters that a bump between Turns 1 and 2 of the 1.5-mile quadoval will "hold this place back for years to come."  Earnhardt said the bump discourages two- and three-wide racing through the 24-degree-banked corner. Star Telegram
Earnhardt admits all NASCAR drivers cheat Earnhardt admits all NASCAR drivers cheatRobby Gordon and crew chief Greg Erwin weren't saying much yesterday about this week's NASCAR penalty for throwing a piece of roll-bar padding on the track on Sunday in Hampton, Ga.  One top driver said he was curious why NASCAR wasn't able to determine that the debris was only roll-bar padding before throwing the yellow.

However, Dale Earnhardt Jr. echoed Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth in dismissing the affair as not much of an issue: "That's something that's happened before. I don't know if there is a driver in the garage that hasn't done that. So I don't think it's something that deserves a real steep penalty.

"But it ain't something you want to condone, so it's good they penalized him and set an example for the rest of us.

"The points (a 50-point penalty) are a lot. The money (Gordon got a $25,000 penalty) is never really going to make a big dent, never going to get your attention unless they start in the hundreds of thousands of dollars." Winston Salem Journal

[Editor's Note: It never fails to amaze us just how pervasive the cheat to win mentality is in NASCAR.  Many suggest that winning in NASCAR comes down to who can cheat the rules best and not get caught.  If true, then NASCAR as a sport is a complete and utter farce.]

Ganassi team picks up TUMS sponsorship Ganassi team picks up TUMS sponsorshipAfter providing Americans with fast heartburn relief for more than 75 years, TUMS is speeding into NASCAR Nextel Cup racing as an associate sponsor with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). The brand has signed a two-year deal that begins with the 2007 season.

As part of the deal, the TUMS logo will appear on the rear deck lid of the No. 41 Dodge, driven by Reed Sorenson, throughout the season. In addition, the car will feature a TUMS paint scheme during the April race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. David Stremme’s No. 40 Dodge will carry the TUMS logo on its B post throughout the season and also will feature a full TUMS paint scheme at Chicagoland Speedway in July. TUMS branding also will be visible on driver and crew uniforms and on team equipment.

“TUMS is all about speed and providing fast heartburn relief, so sponsoring these two NASCAR Nextel Cup cars is a great fit for us,” said Bill Kollitz, TUMS brand manager. “Our core consumers are NASCAR fans – folks who like speed on the track and speed in relieving their heartburn – and we feel this sponsorship will be a great way to reach them.” zzzz

TUMS is already a familiar friend to NASCAR fans. During the past two seasons TUMS has reached out to them with sampling programs at several tracks featuring a fleet of golf carts. Samplers on the golf carts traveled around the track and into the campgrounds, meeting fans where heartburn strikes.

According to Kollitz, many fans, after a day or night of eating their favorite foods, sought out the samplers. “TUMS provides fast heartburn relief so folks can get on with enjoying the things they love to do – like watching NASCAR Nextel Cup racing,” he said.

“We are excited that TUMS decided to increase their involvement in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series with us,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. “Their participation in NASCAR and specifically with our team makes sense. Both CGRFS and TUMS are all about speed.”

For the Ganassi team the TUMS partnership is a good one because the need for speed extends outside the racetrack. “The nature of our business requires us to eat out a lot and deal with plenty of stress,” Ganassi said, “so it’s good to know that TUMS will be there to provide fast heartburn relief.”

Since its development more than 75 years ago, TUMS has become America’s favorite antacid. It is used by more consumers than any other stomach remedy because it works fast, neutralizing acid on contact. Plus, it is a good source of calcium, something everyone needs but most adults don’t get enough of. TUMS is available in a variety of flavors, including the new TUMS Smoothies™ Berry Fusion.

New Acuras test at Road America New Acuras test at Road AmericaUPDATE Some photos of the Fernandez Racing Lola Acura from the Road America test being driven by Luis Diaz.

Photos by Mike Levitt/LAT

10/31/06 All three Acura LMP2 teams conducted a two-day test at Road America last week.  Temperatures hovered around 42 degrees F.  Andretti-Green and Highcroft with their Courage LC75s and Lowe’s Fernandez with its Lola all took laps around the four mile circuit in Wisconsin.

"Absolutely impressive," Duncan Dayton said of his first laps in Highcroft Racing's new Courage-Acura LMP2 challenger for the 2007 American Le Mans Series.

"For being straight out of the box, the car was incredibly well-sorted and responsive to feedback," he added.

"It was different in certain respects," he admitted of his first time in a Courage. "The layout of the cars are pretty similar. The switch positions are slightly different but not totally unfamiliar."

"Having all three cars together showed the synergy of all three Acura teams, and having Michelin there was helpful too,” Dayton concluded.

The Acura LMP2s are expected to make their public debut on track in the Sebring winter test in late January.

No Plates planned at Texas No Plates planned at TexasDespite Brian Vickers blistering Texas Motor Speedway with a pole-winning speed in excess of 196mph, NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter said restrictor plates will not be used in Sunday’s Dickies 500 to slow the speeds of the cars down. Probably not, anyway. At Talladega last month, NASCAR said it wouldn’t slow the cars down either, but reversed themselves on race morning, when they issued smaller restrictor plates. “That was Talladega and this was Texas,” Hunter said. “But if you’re asking me, ‘Is this in concrete?’ No it isn’t.” Hunter said the qualifying speeds were unusually high because of the extremely cool weather late in the day, when the sun had set. During Saturday’s practice, speeds should drop into the low- to mid-190 mph range. Speed Channel
Industry News
Kalkhoven and Forsythe offload part of Pi Group Kalkhoven and Forsythe offload part of Pi GroupUPDATE The deal is rumored to have been worth around $10m to Pi owners Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven.

11/02/06 Pi Group, one of the most successful automotive sector companies to emerge from the East of England is selling its road car division (Pi Technologies) to niche South African electronics firm, Control Instruments (CI).  Partner to practically all the world’s leading carmakers and suppliers, Pi Technology is awaiting South African Reserve Bank approval before its assets are transferred to CI in a £5 million deal with parent firm, Pi Group.

CI will use the acquisition to cement its position in the UK and underpin its own global ambitions.

No announcement has yet been made on CI’s plans for the site most associated with the Pi Group, Milton Hall.

The Ford Motor Company, which bought the Pi Group in 2000, brought together Pi Research, Cosworth Racing and Jaguar Racing to form the new Ford Premier Performance Division, ready for Jaguar’s assault on Formula 1.

After Ford’s decision to withdraw from Formula 1 in 2004, Pi Group was purchased by 21st Century Racing LLC, owned by Champ Car owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe. They are retaining the racing portion of Pi called Pi Research. BusinessWeekly.com

Silverado 350K: Clint Bowyer Wins in Texas Silverado 350K: Clint Bowyer Wins in TexasBudweiser Pole winner Clint Bowyer held off fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitor Kyle Busch in a two-lap shootout to win Friday night’s Silverado 350K at Texas Motor Speedway.

The victory was the first in the series for the Kansas native who was making just his third appearance of the 2006 season.

Bowyer, Busch and fifth-place finisher Ron Hornaday Jr. gave the race sponsoring Chevrolets the majority of the top-five finishing positions but Mike Skinner’s third-place performance clinched the 2006 manufacturer championship for Toyota – the first time the manufacturer has won a title in a NASCAR national touring series.

Bowyer and Skinner traded the lead twice with the winner heading the most laps – 103. He took the lead for the final time on lap 95 by beating Skinner’s Tundra off pit road. Skinner, who started from the outside front row, made one late attempt to pass his rival but wound up running through the grass exiting Turn 4. zzzz

The off-course excursion dropped Skinner back to third where he finished.

“It wasn’t a very sportsmanlike move,” said Skinner, who complained that the winner’s block was inappropriate at that stage of the race.

Said Bowyer, “I thought I left him plenty of real estate up top. I wasn’t going to give him the bottom.”

Bowyer, who won $67,550, became the season’s 12th different winner and second first-time winner of 2006. The victory was the first of the year for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, a championship contending team the last two seasons that has struggled through the this year’s first 22 races.

The win was the 13th for owner David Dollar and seventh for crew chief Eric Phillips.

Seven cautions that consumed 30 laps held Bowyer’s winning average speed to 124.895 mph. The final yellow – for Kerry Earnhardt’s backstretch accident at lap 143 – extended the scheduled, 147-lap distance by one turn around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Busch was unable to overhaul Bowyer and finished .279 seconds – about two truck lengths – off the leader’s tailgate.

Former Texas winner Jack Sprague finished fourth to claim the final spot in the top five as he advanced his Toyota from 16th at the start. The second five was comprised of David Ragan, David Reutimann, Terry Cook, Raybestos Rookie of the Year leader Erik Darnell and Marcos Ambrose.

The first 15 finishers completed all 148 laps.

Todd Bodine’s hold on the championship lead strengthened with 137 points now separating him from runner-up Johnny Benson with races at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami Speedway remaining. Bodine, forced to the rear at the start by carburetor problems, rallied to seventh but ultimately fell to 14th.

That was good enough to add to a previous lead of 86 as Benson, running in the top five at lap 116, suffered engine woes that ultimately left the Michigan challenger 31st with the season’s first DNF. David Reutimann maintained an outside shot at the title as he trails Bodine by 165.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR RaceDay Texas
12:30pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
Inside Drag Racing
1:00pm-1:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Fort Worth Texas Motor Speedway Dickies 500
2:30pm-7:00pm (L) NBC
NASCAR Victory Lane Texas
7:00pm-8:00pm (SDD) SPEED
The SPEED Report
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Tony Schumacher (NHRA)
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop
10:00pm-11:00pm ESPN2

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Allmendinger - Hero to Zero Allmendinger - Hero to ZeroUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I noticed that AJ's qualifying time was exactly 1.500 seconds off pole time.  It wasn't 1.499 or 1.501, but exactly 1.500.  I always suspected that NASCAR qualifying was rigged with the computer putting up bogus times to manipulate qualifying.  There is no onboard computers nor electronic technology between the car and the team, so there is no way for a team to verify the times.  Was AJ made to look like a monkey to prove NASCAR drivers are the best? Dale Thompson, Houston, Texas.

Dear Dale, An interesting observation that it was exactly 1.500 sec. difference, but we think it was probably more a case of AJ being with a new team that does not have their act together. Mark C.

11/03/06 AJ Allmendinger went from being a hero and contending for the championship title in Champ Car to a zero in NASCAR, but he's a rich zero. Now with perhaps the worst team in NASCAR, the new Red Bull Team, Allmendinger was the slowest driver to make a qualifying attempt Friday in Texas where he was trying to qualify for his first Nextel Cup race. As such he failed to make the field and now must go home and ponder just what it is he has done to his racing career. The good news is that he can drown his sorrows in the millions of dollars Red Bull and Toyota are paying him to qualify dead last.
Texas Busch: Martin on pole, Montoya 10th Texas Busch: Martin on pole, Montoya 10thVeteran Mark Martin will start from the pole for Saturday's Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway ahead of Kyle Busch. Juan Montoya, making his Busch Series debut, will start 10th.

Pos. Car Driver Make Speed
1 6 Mark Martin Ford 192.589
2 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet 191.986
3 90 Stephen Leicht Ford 191.625
4 21 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 191.211
5 19 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 190.934
6 60 Carl Edwards Ford 190.349
7 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 190.241
8 11 Paul Menard Chevrolet 190.161
9 33 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 189.927
10 42 Juan Montoya Dodge 189.813
11 10 John Andretti* Ford 189.620
12 2 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 189.460
13 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge 189.440
14 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 189.268
15 112 Mike Skinner Dodge 189.215
16 27 Casey Atwood Ford 189.155
17 20 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 189.076
18 16 Greg Biffle Ford 188.917
19 25 Ashton Lewis Ford 188.791
20 29 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 188.752 zzzz
21 99 David Reutimann Dodge 188.699
22 47 Jon Wood Ford 188.429
23 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge 188.376
24 195 Chad Chaffin Dodge 188.212
25 66 Scott Wimmer Ford 188.212
26 22 Kenny Wallace Ford 188.212
27 06 Todd Kluever* Ford 188.212
28 77 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 188.009
29 138 Jason Leffler Chevrolet 187.963
30 88 Shane Huffman Chevrolet 187.800
31 35 Regan Smith Ford 187.500
32 36 Max Papis Chevrolet 187.311
33 59 Stacy Compton Ford 187.136
34 114 Ted Musgrave Dodge 186.793
35 1 Mike Wallace Dodge 186.445
36 00 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet 186.278
37 64 Steve Wallace Dodge 186.258
38 23 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 186.258
39 50 Danny O'Quinn Jr.* Ford 186.226
40 4 Auggie Vidovich Dodge 186.156
41 0 Kertus Davis Chevrolet 185.982
42 01 Jay Sauter+ Chevrolet 184.370
43 137 Randy LaJoie Chevrolet
44 270 Justin Diercks Chevrolet 185.567
45 180 Robert Richardson, II Chevrolet 184.837
46 178 Jerry Robertson Chevrolet 184.099
47 49 Derrike Cope Ford 182.340
48 163 Jorge Goeters* Chevrolet 181.947

Ford to hold festival in Ft. Lauderdale for Ford 500 Ford to hold festival in Ft. Lauderdale for Ford 500The fifth annual Ford Racefest returns to the streets of downtown Ft. Lauderdale at Las Olas Riverfront on Thursday, Nov. 16 from Noon – 10 p.m.  This free-to-the-public event, presented by Homestead-Miami Speedway, features Ford NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver autograph sessions, a live performance by nationally renowned recording artist Foghat performing their classic hit “Slow Ride”, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series trophy on display, NASCAR show cars, interactive racing displays, Official NASCAR souvenirs, Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders and Florida Marlin Mermaids autograph sessions and performances, food and beverage, and much more. 

Ford Racefest is the centerpiece of a week-long schedule of NASCAR-themed concerts, festivals, parties, fund-raisers, and special events at a variety of locations throughout South Florida. These events culminate with Ford Championship Weekend, November 17-19, the season finales for all three NASCAR series.

“As Ford Championship Weekend continues to grow into one of the world’s elite sporting events, Ford Racefest anchors a myriad of exciting week-long events,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray.  “Ford Racefest, in beautiful downtown Fort Lauderdale is the perfect location to kick-off Ford Championship Weekend.  We encourage everyone to take part in this incredible, free-to-the-public event celebrating NASCAR and Ford Championship Week.”  zzzz

The City of Ft. Lauderdale welcomes Ford Racefest and NASCAR fans traveling from all 50 states to take part in Ford Championship Weekend.

"We are excited to welcome Ford Racefest and Homestead-Miami Speedway back to downtown Ft. Lauderdale," said City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Angle.  “Every year this event gets bigger and the excitement from Fort Lauderdale merchants and residents is overwhelming.” 

At Ford Racefest, fans will have the opportunity to meet several of their favorite Ford NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers, including Matt Kenneth, Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Greg Baffle, Jamie McMurray, and Ken Schrader* who will be available for autograph and question and answer sessions throughout the day. 

Latin NASCAR Busch Series driver Carlos Contreras, and Busch East Series driver Ruben Pardon, the first minority driver ever to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title in any NASCAR series, will also be conducting autograph sessions and meeting with fans at Ford Racefest.

Fans will have the opportunity to explore the Ford Tech Tour and the NEXTEL Mini-Experience racing simulators, take a picture with the real NASCAR NEXTEL Cup trophy, purchase tickets for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 and NASCAR Busch Series Ford 300, and visit Official NASCAR merchandise trailers.  Several of the latest Ford production vehicles will also be on display.

Bennett Auto Supply has joined this year’s Ford Racefest as an associate sponsor.  Fans can stop by the Bennett Auto Supply display and receive information on all their products, including Motor craft Parts.  The Miami Herald is also an associate sponsor, and will have several locations throughout the event.

Don’t miss South Florida’s largest ‘Motorsports festival – Ford Racefest in downtown Ft. Lauderdale.   The Chase for The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway November 17-19 as the world's best drivers take their shot at becoming the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion. All three NASCAR Series, the Craftsman Truck, Busch, and Nextel Cup will crown champions under the lights during Ford Championship Weekend. To purchase tickets to events at HMS, or for more information, please visit www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com or call (866) 409-RACE.

Allmendinger struggles in opening Cup practice Allmendinger struggles in opening Cup practicePractice 1 times from Texas Motor Speedway:
Pos No Driver Make Speed
1. 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge 193.278
2. 25 Brian Vickers Chevrolet 192.616
3. 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 192.321
4. 10 Scott Riggs Dodge 192.055
5. 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet 191.768
6. 01 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 191.734
7. 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 191.666
8. 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 191.646
9. 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge 191.612
10. 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 191.598 zzzz 
11. 66 Jeff Green Chevrolet 191.503
12. 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge 191.394
13. 38 David Gilliland Ford 191.394
14. 1 Martin Truex Jr.* Chevrolet 191.306
15. 07 Clint Bowyer* Chevrolet 191.293
16. 45 Kyle Petty Dodge 191.266
17. 22 Dave Blaney Dodge 191.150
18. 49 Mike Bliss Dodge 191.123
19. 7 Robby Gordon Chevrolet 191.103
20. 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 191.069
21. 11 Denny Hamlin* Chevrolet 191.022
22. 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 190.894
23. 18 J.J. Yeley* Chevrolet 190.792
24. 42 Casey Mears Dodge 190.766
25. 40 David Stremme* Dodge 190.631
26. 41 Reed Sorenson* Dodge 190.557
27. 99 Carl Edwards Ford 190.422
28. 72 Mike Skinner Chevrolet 190.355
29. 6 Mark Martin Ford 190.181
30. 21 Ken Schrader Ford 189.900
31. 15 Paul Menard Chevrolet 189.900
32. 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 189.853
33. 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 189.294
34. 88 Dale Jarrett Ford 189.162
35. 55 Michael Waltrip Dodge 189.142
36. 14 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet 188.692
37. 44 Terry Labonte Chevrolet 188.627
38. 16 Greg Biffle Ford 188.475
39. 160 David Ragan Ford 188.475
40. 32 Travis Kvapil Chevrolet 188.147
41. 37 Bill Elliott Dodge 188.088
42. 26 Jamie McMurray Ford 188.055
43. 34 Chad Chaffin Dodge 187.990
44. 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet 187.957
45. 61 Kevin Lepage Dodge 187.715
46. 84 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge 187.266
47. 178 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 186.929
48. 4 Ward Burton Chevrolet 186.271
49. 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 184.995
50. 74 Derrike Cope Dodge 184.951
RCR announces Lenox Tools deal RCR announces Lenox Tools dealLENOX® Industrial Tools, a leading manufacturer of premium band saw blades, power tool accessories, hand tools and torches announced today that the East Longmeadow, Mass., based company has partnered with Richard Childress Racing and driver Jeff Burton in a multi-year sponsorship agreement beginning with the 2007 NASCAR Cup season.

LENOX will be an associate sponsor throughout the season on Burton's No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. The LENOX logo will appear on the rear quarter panels of the car just behind the rear wheels.

In addition, LENOX will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 31 in two races during the 2007 season - May 5 at Richmond International Raceway and July 1 at New Hampshire International Speedway (located less than 150 miles from LENOX's home headquarters).  This season's July New Hampshire event was known as the LENOX Industrial Tools 300. zzzz

"Becoming a sponsor of the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team and Jeff Burton is an exciting step for our company," said Eric Pinkham, Director of Motorsports for LENOX Industrial Tools. "Both Richard and Jeff are proven winners on and off the racetrack and we couldn't be happier about joining forces with them. LENOX has been involved in NASCAR since 2003 and we are looking forward to strengthening our commitment to the sport and its fans through this partnership with RCR. There are certainly no teams more committed to quality, innovation, and extreme performance than LENOX Industrial Tools and Richard Childress Racing."

LENOX, which will utilize the partnership through marketing and advertising initiatives, has an extensive product line including the LENOX Gold bi-metal reciprocating saw blades; LENOX Gold bi-metal utility blades and knives; LENOX ARMOR Rx®+ bi-metal coated band saw blades for cutting structurals and tubing; and the LENOX all-in-one screwdriver, just to mention a few.

"We're proud to have LENOX join the RCR family of sponsors and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet team with Jeff Burton," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. "Their commitment to producing high quality saw blades and hand tools carries over to their commitment to RCR through the many marketing and promotional programs they have planned. LENOX is a very welcomed addition to the No. 31 team's sponsorship group."

INCAT lands key work for Williams F1 INCAT lands key work for Williams F1INCAT(R) announced today that it is engaged with the Williams Formula 1 racing team on two projects involving production engineering and design work for the team's 2007 race car.

In an October 1 interview published in Autocar Professional magazine, Alex Burns, Chief Operating Officer - Williams F1, talked about the engagement.

"INCAT is engaged on two projects.  The first is production engineering of some elements of the 2007 race car.  We redesign a complete car every year where about 98 percent of the components are new.  We are in the design phase of that car now and INCAT employees in Pune, India, will production-engineer some of the parts we are designing," Burns said.

The second project is design work for a new transmission test rig, according to Burns.  "A Formula 1 car will do 4g lateral acceleration in cornering and up to 5g acceleration in braking.  This can cause problems with the ongoing lubrication of the gear box.  We test this on an articulated rig which is a sophisticated piece of engineering," he said. zzzz

The choice of INCAT was a result of two key factors, according to Burns -- expertise and cost.  INCAT has the skills needed to execute on the Williams F1 projects and, through its unique Global Delivery Model, is able to execute more cost-effectively than other resources available to Williams F1, he indicated.

"Our engagement with Williams F1 demonstrates the value of our global engineering and design capabilities," said INCAT President Warren Harris, "and it demonstrates the industry-leading expertise that INCAT professionals worldwide bring to clients in every sector in which we are engaged -- automotive, aerospace, industrial manufacturing and consumer products.  We help clients realize superior products, whatever their industry."

Burns talked about the synergies found working with INCAT.  "We share a similar culture, attitude and approach with INCAT.  Like us, they are very competitive.  They have good, strong customer focus and an attitude about excellence which is quite rare.  With us working at the extreme end of engineering, we like to think we work at a very high standard of excellence," he said.  "We see the same attributes in INCAT and the people we meet.  They want to do absolutely the best job."

To read the full Autocar Professional magazine interview with Alex Burns, COO - Williams F1, go to http://www.incat.com and click on the Williams F1 icon on the home page.

Danica Patrick out of Rolex 24 ride Danica Patrick out of Rolex 24 rideHoward Motorsports, which had entered Danica Patrick to drive both its No. 2 Crawford Composites Inc. Pontiac Crawford and the No. 20 Crawford Race Cars LLC Pontiac Crawford alongside co-drivers Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger in next week’s test sessions at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona, has withdrawn Patrick from the entries. Rick Howard, President of Howard Motorsports, issued the following statement.

“Howard Motorsports was recently informed that Danica Patrick is not available to participate in the upcoming test at Daytona International Speedway due to unforeseen circumstances. Prior to filing the entries, the team had every assurance that Danica would participate, and based on conversations between Danica and members of Howard Motorsports, Danica was excited about joining the team once again after making her Rolex 24 At Daytona in the team’s No. 2 Callaway Golf Pontiac Crawford earlier this year. Unfortunately, entities outside of Danica and the Howard Motorsports team have determined that she cannot participate in the test.”

“We are disappointed to say the least, as we truly enjoy working with Danica and her family. The entire Howard Motorsports organization was looking forward to having her as part of an extremely strong driver lineup in our cars. The team will forge ahead with Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger for the test. Butch and Andy are both three-time overall winners of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and we have no question that they will give our team a great opportunity to challenge for the overall victory once again in 2007.”

NASCAR Atlanta TV ratings NASCAR Atlanta TV ratingsUPDATE The final TV rating for last Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Atlanta on NBC was a 4.8/10 share, up just 2% over last year's 4.7/10 share.  As miniscule as that increase is, that is five Nextel Cup events this season that have seen ratings increases, while 28 have dropped.

The Sam's Town 250 Busch Series race final TV rating was a 1.6/4 share, also on NBC.

10/30/06 The overnight TV rating for NASCAR Nextel Cup Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta on NBC was a 4.2/8 share, up 7.7% from last year's 3.9/ 8 share.

The overnight TV rating on NBC for the NASCAR Busch Series: Sam's Town 250 from Memphis was 1.4/ 3 share.
3M Announces 2007 NASCAR Sponsorship 3M Announces 2007 NASCAR SponsorshipCONCORD, N.C. --  3M Company and Roush Racing announced today that 3M will sponsor the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion in seven NASCAR Nextel Cup races and the full Busch Series in 2007. Greg Biffle will represent 3M in the Nextel Cup Series and will share driving responsibilities with Todd Kluever in the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion for the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series.  Biffle is scheduled to drive 19 Busch races for 3M in the 2007 season.  Kluever will drive the remainder of the schedule, beginning with the season-opening race February 17th at Daytona International Speedway.

"With Greg and Todd on board, we're tremendously excited about 2007," said Bob MacDonald, 3M senior vice president, marketing. "We're delighted to be back on the track with Greg again and we couldn't be happier with the way Todd has represented our company in 2006 with fans, customers and employees alike."

"I'm really looking forward to driving the 3M Ford Fusion again in 2007," said Kluever. "Everyone at 3M has been so supportive and I'm confident we can take our performance to new levels next year to make 3M's racing program even more successful." zzzz

Biffle drove the No. 16 3M Post-it Ford in nine NASCAR Nextel Cup races in 2005, winning at California and Texas on his way to finishing second in the Nextel Cup Championship.
"The No. 16 team enjoyed great success with 3M in 2005, so it'll be great to be back with them next year," said Biffle. "3M is a terrific sponsor and I couldn't be happier."

"Everyone on the 3M Motorsports team is working really hard to drive sales growth and brand awareness through our association with NASCAR and Roush Racing," MacDonald added. "I'm personally grateful to Jack Roush for helping us advance an already effective NASCAR sponsorship program."

In 2007, 3M will again activate its sponsorship through a comprehensive marketing communications programs on several levels throughout the year, including customer hospitality, product promotions and at-track marketing.

Industry News
Bridgestone sales up, profits down Bridgestone sales up, profits downBridgestone Corp.'s net sales for the first nine months of 2006 totaled $18.3 billion, up from the same period last year. In the Americas, Bridgestone's sales grew 18% to $8.4 billion due to improved brand and product mix and higher selling prices.

However, Bridgestone's overall operating income fell 19% to $1 billion yen due to high raw material prices and other factors. Meanwhile, Bridgestone's ordinary income fell 29% to $871 million while its net income dropped 69% from previous-year levels to $424 million.

Bridgestone took a loss of $151 million during the first nine months of the year "in connection with the announced closure of two tire plants in the Americas," according to Bridgestone officials.

It also suffered a loss of $245 million "due mainly to a payment made in connection with a settlement agreement between Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC."

Formula BMW
Gelles Racing adds another sponsor Gelles Racing adds another sponsorFront Royal, Virginia –   Gelles Racing and Hi-Rev Skincare will become partners in 2007 with the launch of a high-performance men's skin care product line.  The collaboration includes Hi-Rev Skincare's sponsorship of the Virginia-based team in Formula BMW USA and Champ Car Atlantic. Both presidents, team principal Bob Gelles and John Peoples, also executive vice president of Pure and Simple, Inc., announced today that race cars will bear the Hi-Rev Skin Care logo.   The new custom-designed line for drivers and racing fans worldwide debuts in early '07 during race season pre-testing.  Gelles Racing will take to the track with Hi-Rev FB02 machines in the BMW USA series and Mazda-Cosworth powered Swift .016a machines in the Champ Car Atlantic championship.

“We will proudly boast the Hi-Rev Skin Care logos and products at the twenty racing facilities we will visit in 2007", declared team owner Bob Gelles. Open wheel racing is enjoying more and more visibility across North America. Formula BMW USA is recognized as the best entry-level racing series and features two Formula One events, two Champ Car World Series and ALMS programs on its calendar. The new Champ Car Atlantic championship clearly demonstrated this year how competitive it can be with an international roster. The new Champ Car series will be more global than ever with new cars, drivers and venues. Hi-Rev Skincare fits in perfectly since it addresses our men's audience and I’m positive it will benefit from this growth.” zzzz 

“As a principal of a major high-end skin care company catering internationally to spas and salons", continues John Peoples, "we started looking at a crossover line of skin care products that addresses the needs of the male audience as well. Having been involved in professional motorsports for over 30 years, first as a driver and then as a fan, it became obvious that the demographics that the prestigious Champ Car World Series offers is a perfect fit with our new high-performance, affordable line of men’s skin care products, Hi-Rev Skincare.” 

 “We are thrilled to become sponsors with Gelles Racing, Inc. in both the Champ Car Atlantic and Formula BMW USA Series as we launch this new division of Pure and Simple, Inc.  We look forward to a very exciting season!”

Sally Peoples, President and Founder of Pure and Simple Inc., says “Having an exclusive opportunity to design the perfect skincare line for the younger, tuned-in male audience is a dream for me and having the Champ Car sponsorship means that my husband and co-owner John and I can spend a lot more time at the races!”

Hi-Rev Skincare at the testing season
With the Formula BMW World Finals due next month in Valencia, Spain and the testing season fast approaching in both series, Gelles Racing will have the cars starring the Hi-Rev Skin Care and Pure and Simple logos. “With the season over, adds Gelles, we are now in 2007 mode and we are proud to show our new colors.”

Industry News
Nissan to sell luxury cars in China Nissan to sell luxury cars in ChinaNissan Motor, the Japanese carmaker, has unveiled its Infiniti luxury brand in China in a bid to get a piece of the increasingly competitive high-end segment of the country's auto market.

Nissan said it plans to launch its first cars under the Infiniti brand in China next year. Two models will be sold initially, a sedan and a sports utility vehicle, Nissan said, without providing sales forecasts.

The cars will be made in Japan, it added.

"The overall (China) market is becoming more mature and diversified and the luxury segment is no exception," said Yukihisa Kayashima, president of Nissan (China) Investment Co Ltd.

"China's automotive market has great potential ... we have great confidence we can compete in this market," he added.

The construction of the first Infiniti showroom in China was started in October in Shanghai and will cover an area of 8,000 square meters (86,000 square feet), local media said last month.

Team Australia tests potential Atlantic drivers Team Australia tests potential Atlantic driversIndianapolis, IN -  Preparations for the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic season have already gotten underway for Walker Racing, as the they completed their first series of tests earlier this week at MSR Houston. The team embarked on their search for interested drivers to complete their 2007 lineup.  Walker Racing tested four standout drivers, each with a unique racing background.  The first batch of talent to test with the team included Formula BMW USA star Simona De Silvestro, Star Mazda talent Canadian Kevin Lacroix, Formula Palmer Audi Champion, Englishman Joe Tandy, and British Formula 3 standout, South African Cristiano Morgado.

Walker Racing made the jump to run an Atlantic team last season, announcing the move at the Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise Australia.  2006 marked the first year for the team and a very good season at that, as they brought home the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship title with Frenchman rookie Simon Pagenaud.   

This week’s test marks the first in a series of tests for the Indianapolis based squad as they continue to make efforts to formulate the 2007 lineup.  Keeping another championship title in mind, Walker Racing is looking to expand the two car operation and to sign multi-year contracts to build longer lasting relationships with the drivers.  “We are currently testing a number of interested drivers.  The team looks forward to the 2007 season as we plan to expand the Atlantic program and increase the number of cars,” stated Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker. zzzz

All four drivers liked working with the team, enjoyed their time in the Atlantic cars and hope to be in the Champ Car Atlantic Series next season as they got the opportunity to sample the Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016.a car October 28-31.

Making her mark in Houston was Swiss, Simona De Silvestro.  The 18-year-old just came off of a successful 2006 Formula BMW USA season with one win, six podiums and 11 top-ten finishes in 14 races finishing 4th in the overall championship.  The young Swiss showed her talent as she made huge improvements and really took to the team and the Atlantic car throughout the two day test.

“Testing was great,” exclaimed De Silvestro (pictured below).  “The car was quite impressive because there is a lot more horsepower and down force, which is a lot different from what I’m used to driving.  It took some getting used to the Atlantic car, but I improved a lot in two days and the whole Walker Racing team was very helpful and showed great teamwork. I really had a great time and loved it.”

Jumping aboard the Atlantic car for the first time as well was former Formula Palmer Audi champion, 23-year-old Englishman Joe Tandy.  Tandy had great success in 2005 as he scored six wins, and 11 podiums, finishing first in the overall championship.  The young Brit took to the Atlantic car as he continued to get quicker throughout the day as he learned the car.  Excited to have the opportunity, Tandy had a full day of testing.

Kevin Lacroix is a 17-year-old Canadian who competed in his first season in the Star Mazda series this year finishing 2nd in the championship scoring five podiums and 11 top-ten finishes out of twelve races.  In 2005, Lacroix attended BMW driving school in Valencia, Spain earning a scholarship for the Formula BMW USA series where he scored 4 victories, 6 top-five and 10 top-ten finishes.  The young Canadian was on a roll this week as he adjusted quickly to the Atlantic car and to the team.

“What a nice car to drive.  It’s a lot different compared to the Mazda.  Driving the Atlantic car is like driving a big boat, but it’s a lot faster and more stable.  In the first run I was slower, but I took more time to learn the car and once I got used to the power, I was fast.  The whole Walker Racing team is so helpful.  The engineers are young and have a lot of experience, which is great.  The test went really well and I really enjoyed the opportunity,” stated Lacroix (pictured right). 

The fourth driver testing the Walker Racing Atlantic car was 27-year-old South African, Cristiano Morgado who progressed nicely throughout the afternoon of testing.  The former two-time Rotax Max World Kart Champion just recently completed his rookie season in British Formula 3 where he scored four victories.  Morgado spent a whole day learning and adjusting to the car as he spent the first day warming up and the latter part making changes. 

The test proved successful as it gave each driver a taste in the Atlantic car.  Walker Racing will continue preparing for the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic season with another series of tests as they search for interested drivers to complete the lineup for next season.  For more updates on the team visit www.walkerracing.com.

track news
Toronto adds SCCA SPEED World Challenge Toronto adds SCCA SPEED World ChallengeToronto, Ontario: The 2006 Champ Car World Series is barely coming to a close, however the Grand Prix of Toronto is on its way to securing one of the best on-track lineups in the event’s 21-year history, ensuring another REVolutionary year of racing on Toronto’s streets.  The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the Grand Prix Association of Toronto announced today that the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Championships will race on the Exhibition Place track July 6th, 7th at 8th, 2007.

“We are committed to delivering world-class racing to people who attend our event,” says Charlie Johnstone, president and CEO, Grand Prix Association of Toronto.  “The SCCA SPEED World Challenge Championships are a natural fit.  We already feature the premier open-wheel racing series in North America with the Champ Car World Series and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and now it will be complemented with the most relevant, top production car road racing series in the world.”

The SCCA SPEED World Challenge Championships are broken into two distinct sub-series that run separately from one another— SCCA SPEED GT and SCCA SPEED Touring Car.  These sub-series each feature an impressive field of up to 30 cars including the Aston Martin DB9, Cadillac CTS-V, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Porsche 911, Acura TSX, Audi A4, BMW 325i, Dodge SRT-4 and Mazda 6.   Class horsepower range is 425-525 brake horsepower (bhp) for SCCA SPEED GT and 250-300 bhp for SCCA SPEED Touring Car with speeds reaching up to 240 km/h on the Grand Prix of Toronto track.

“We’re very excited to be a part of the Grand Prix of Toronto, which is one of the top motorsports events in North America,” SCCA President and CEO Jim Julow said. “We believe the race fans will enjoy our brand of racing with the SPEED World Challenge, which feature some of the most exciting production-based cars in the world.”

Foyt scaling back to one car in 2007 Foyt scaling back to one car in 2007A.J. Foyt Racing will run only one car next season in the Indy Racing League, and officials are looking at a pool of drivers that includes Darren Manning, Tomas Enge and Townsend Bell. Jeff Bucknum was the team's driver this past season. Indy Star [Editor's Note: It's interesting that "officials" are looking at a pool of drivers.  What officials, IRL?  Since when does AJ not do the hiring and firing for his team?]
DC not fazed by Webber head-to-head DC not fazed by Webber head-to-head(GMM)  David Coulthard says he is not worried about going head to head with Mark Webber at Red Bull in 2007.

Having spent the majority of his career alongside top McLaren drivers including Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen, the Formula One veteran lined up against the likes of Christian Klien, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Robert Doornbos in his first two years at Red Bull.

Scotland's Coulthard insists that the incoming Mark Webber is not a daunting prospect.

"I don't worry about who my teammate is," he told Eurosport MotorMagazin.  "I have driven with Hakkinen and Raikkonen, who are both very fast.

"It is Red Bull's job to determine the driving pairing.  I respect my teammates and want to work with them to develop the package."

Coulthard, meanwhile, rued the fact that departed Klien's time with the energy drink owned squad ended with an internal spat this year.

He said of the situation that led to the young Austrian's premature departure: "It weakened us and strengthened our rivals."

Allmendinger takes pay cut to go NASCAR racing Allmendinger takes pay cut to go NASCAR racingUPDATE Allmendinger says that while he will make more money in NASCAR, it was not an important factor in his decision to leave open wheel racing.

"I will make more money, but that is because I will be doing double the races," he said. "I'm doing more media, I'm doing more things off the track, and because of that I have to earn more money."

Sounds like he realizes that in effect he is taking a pay cut when you look at it on a per mile basis, in fact it's a substantial cut.

10/26/06 How can that be you ask?  His NASCAR offer is reported to be $3M per year while the Forsythe offer was said to be $1M to $1.5M, however, on a per mile basis Allmendinger will be getting paid far less in NASCAR than Champ Car. 

In NASCAR he will do 38 races per year at 400 miles avg per race = 15,200 miles per year plus testing.

In Champ Car he would have done 17 races at 175 miles avg. per race = 2,975 miles per year plus testing.

League       Salary       Miles    Salary/Mile
NASCAR      $3M      15,200   $197 per mile
Champ Car $1.5M       2,975   $504 per mile

Conclusion: Allmendinger will make more money overall in NASCAR (as will his agent), but certainly he will work hard to earn it, being away from home much more and sucking in exhaust fumes for many more hours in a hot tin-top race car.
British F3
Vettel to lead Carlin in Macau Vettel to lead Carlin in MacauGerman Sebastian Vettel will head Carlin's attack at the 53rd Macau Grand Prix next month. Vettel, the BMW Sauber team's third driver, will lead the four-car team of Oliver Jarvis, Maro Engel and Sebastien Buemi.

Vettel finished in third place in last year's race, and team boss Trevor Carlin admitted they want victory this time.

"The Macau Grand Prix has long been a favorite event of Carlin Motorsport and this year is no different," said Carlin.

"We go to Macau with a balanced driver lineup, Oliver and Maro from our British F3 team and two drivers from the Red Bull program, which has served us so well this year.

"I'm delighted to have Sebastian Vettel back in the team after his brilliant performance with us in World Series. I'm sure the other drivers will benefit from his experience at this very tough track.

"We were very unlucky not to win the race last year with Robert Kubica, losing the lead in the final laps. Hopefully, we will go one better this year and take the victory." Carlin Motorsports

Symonds says 2006 was toughest yet Symonds says 2006 was toughest yetRenault engineering director Pat Symonds says the 2006 season in which his team eventually succeeded in defending both the drivers' and constructors' championships was the toughest challenge of his career. The battle on track was tough," said Symonds who also helped Michael Schumacher to his first two F1 titles in 1994 and 1995.

"Our rivals didn't seem to have any weaknesses, or almost none. We had to seize every little opportunity. And it was a difficult season politically as well. It was hard to come to terms with events like the mass damper affair and Fernando's penalty in Monza."

"We worked very hard to keep everybody motivated," he added. "We explained the situation to them, and made sure everybody remained confident. They were already world champions, and there was no reason why they could not do it again."

Bowyer Breaks Texas Truck Record Bowyer Breaks Texas Truck RecordClint Bowyer set a new Craftsman Truck Series track record at Texas Motor Speedway Thursday night by winning the pole for the Silverado 350.  Bowyer turned a lap of 184.464 mph to set the new record in his Chevy Silverado.

"I was a little nervous coming here," Bowyer said. "I've never been in a truck on a mile and a half and was wondering what to expect. The Morgan-Dollar guys gave me a great truck. They've had a little bit of a rough season so hopefully we can turn it around for them tomorrow."

Pos. Car Driver Make Speed
1 46 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 184.464
2 5 Mike Skinner Toyota 184.332
3 10 Terry Cook Ford 184.074
4 21 Bobby East* Ford 184.011
5 17 David Reutimann Toyota 183.667
6 9 Ted Musgrave Toyota 183.580
7 14 Rick Crawford Ford 183.436
8 15 Kyle Busch Chevrolet 183.436
9 33 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 183.331
10 22 Bill Lester Toyota 183.001 zzzz
11 23 Johnny Benson Toyota 182.902
12 99 Erik Darnell* Ford 182.803
13 77 Brendan Gaughan Dodge 182.753
14 85 Dennis Setzer Chevrolet 182.679
15 13 Kerry Earnhardt* Chevrolet 182.543
16 60 Jack Sprague Toyota 182.488
17 08 Chad McCumbee* Dodge 182.488
18 20 Marcos Ambrose* Ford 182.278
19 98 Erin Crocker* Dodge 182.186
20 4 Chase Miller Dodge 182.119
21 6 David Ragan Ford 182.076
22 124 Justin Labonte Toyota 181.849
23 18 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Dodge 181.781
24 59 Chad Chaffin Toyota 181.586
25 16 Mike Bliss Chevrolet 181.336
26 30 Todd Bodine Toyota 181.099
27 11 David Starr Toyota 180.977
28 75 Aric Almirola* Chevrolet 180.397
29 88 Matt Crafton Chevrolet 179.952
30 50 Michel Jourdain Jr.* Ford 179.892
31 07 John Mickel Chevrolet 179.104
32 25 Damon Lusk Dodge 178.873
33 40 Shane Huffman Chevrolet 177.667
34 103 Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 176.893
35 1 Robert Richardson, II* Chevrolet 175.205
36 76 Chris Wimmer Chevrolet 173.924

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ferrari-bound Kimi to say 'goodbye'
Alonso to face title drought - Jordan
Alonso to be 'class' of 2007 - Webber
Webber 'praying' for Red Bull boost
Honda lose senior aerodynamicist
Speed, Liuzzi, told to miss kart race
Industry News
Smart car coming to USA in 2008 Smart car coming to USA in 2008Smart GmbH and United Auto Group Inc. said Thursday they will bring the two-seat smart fortwo to the U.S. in early 2008.

Boeblingen-based Smart, part of DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes Car Group, said President Ulrich Walker had signed a general distributor agreement with United Auto Chairman Roger Penske on Wednesday.

"This is absolutely the right car in the right place at the right time. It embodies the unique combination of a lifestyle and design-oriented vehicle that is ecologically appealing," Walker said. "Smart is uniquely designed, offers the lowest cost of ownership and is very fun to drive."

The agreement outlines all aspects of the model's sale in the United States, including sales, service and the initial launch.

The first dealerships to carry the car are expected to be announced in the second half of 2007, with the car available to buyers during the first quarter of 2008.

Lots of big names out for Rolex 24 test Lots of big names out for Rolex 24 testIf next week’s Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve test sessions at Daytona International Speedway are any indication, the 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona—which has attracted star-studded lineups for the past several years—will be bigger and better than ever.

The two-day test session on the 3.56-mile road course at the “World Center of Racing” scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, November 6-7, has drawn 41 entries as teams familiarize themselves with the new BOSCH Engine Control Unit (ECU) that will be required on all Rolex Series cars in 2007. The field includes 22 Daytona Prototypes and an impressive driver roster for the first of three series-sanctioned preseason tests before the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 27-28.

Heading the list are Daytona Prototype champions Scott Pruett, Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor. Pruett, the 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champion, will return to the cockpit of the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley to begin preparations for a 2007 season in which he will have a new co-driver. zzzz

Angelelli and Taylor, meanwhile, will put the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley through its testing paces as they prepare to welcome four-time NASCAR champion and Rolex 24 At Daytona rookie Jeff Gordon as their co-driver for the twice-around-the-clock classic in 2007. Gordon will not participate in this test session owing to his NASCAR commitments, but is expected to test the No. 10 machine prior to the race.

The test will also feature three high-profile women piloting Daytona Prototypes, as three-time Rolex Series race winner Milka Duno, 2005 Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick and 2006 Champ Car rookie standout Katherine Legge have all been entered. Duno will share the No. 11 CITGO/SAMAX Motorsport Pontiac Riley with five-time Champ Car race-winner Patrick Carpentier during the test. Carpentier recently announced his intentions to compete alongside Duno in the No. 11 machine for the entire 2007 season, which will be the Canadian’s first full-year of Rolex Series competition.

Patrick is entered in two different Daytona Prototypes for Howard Motorsports, the No. 2 Crawford Composites Inc. Pontiac Crawford and the No. 20 Crawford Race Cars LLC Pontiac Crawford, alongside a pair of three-time Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winners, Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger. Patrick made her Rolex 24 debut with much fanfare in 2006, sharing the No. 2 Callaway Golf Pontiac Crawford with 1989 NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace and sports car aces Allan McNish and Jan Lammers.

Legge, who earned three Toyota Atlantic victories in 2005, will be getting acquainted with a Daytona Prototype for the first time during the test. She has been entered to co-drive the No. 84 Robinson Racing/74 Ranch Resort Pontiac Riley with George Robinson and Paul Dallenbach.

The test will also feature almost every Daytona Prototype team that earned victories during the 2006 season. In addition to the aforementioned No. 01 and No. 10 teams, Patrick Long is entered in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford, Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri Jr. are slated to once again share the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley and Colin Braun is listed as the driver of the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley.

Long and 2006 co-driver Mike Rockenfeller earned Rolex Series victories at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Virginia International Raceway in the Ruby Tuesday machine. He returns to Daytona next week looking to build upon the team’s third-place run in the 2006 Rolex 24, where the No. 23 Porsche Crawford was seemingly the fastest car but mechanical problems prevented the team from going to Victory Lane.

After finishing second in the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona alongside then-Champ Car teammates Justin Wilson and A.J. Allmendinger, Negri and Patterson return to Daytona with memories of their maiden Rolex Series victory in the nine-hour Rolex Series season finale at Miller Motorsports Park still fresh in their minds. The team has also scheduled a press conference on Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. ET during which the full 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona driver lineup for the No. 60 machine will be unveiled.

Braun, who celebrated his 18th birthday in September, also returns to Daytona with fond memories. Alongside co-driver Jörg Bergmeister, who earned the 2006 Daytona Prototype title, Braun picked up his first career Rolex Series victory in his last visit to the high banks of Daytona in June’s Brumos Porsche 250. The victory made Braun the youngest winner of a major league auto race in North America at the age of 17 years, nine months and seven days.

Also entered to test Daytona Prototypes are Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens in the No. 91 Riley Motorsports Pontiac Riley, Harrison Brix and Fabrizio Gollin in the No. 77 Doran Racing Ford Doran, Tracy Krohn and Nic Jönsson aboard the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley, five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner Hurley Haywood and JC France in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley, the No. 58 Red Bull/Brumos Racing Porsche Riley of David Donohue and Darren Law, 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever and 2004 Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner Christian Fittipaldi in both the No. 39 Cheever Racing Porsche Crawford and the No. 51 Cheever Racing Porsche Fabcar, the No. 47 TruSpeed Motorsports Porsche Riley of Rob and Charles Morgan, Rob Finlay and Michael Valiante in both the No. 19 Ford Crawford and the No. 5 Ford Crawford for Finlay Motorsports, Roger Schramm and Jack Baldwin sharing the No. 12 RVO Motorsports Pontiac Riley, the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley of Henri Zogaib and Ian James and the No. 05 Sigalsport BMW Riley in the hands of Matthew Alhadeff and two-time Rolex Series GT champion Bill Auberlen.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is also expected to make his first appearance in a Daytona Prototype during the two-day test. Other notable drivers from the worlds of open-wheel racing and NASCAR may also make appearances on either Monday or Tuesday.

The GT class boasts a 21-car entry list for the test, including five Porsche GT3s from 2005 and 2006 Rolex Series GT team champion and 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winners TRG, three Porsches from 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona GT winners Farnbacher Loles Motorsports, and the No. 72 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 in the hands of team owner Jim Tafel, 18-year-old Eric Lux and 2006 Rolex Series GT runner-up Wolf Henzler.

The GT field will also include the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 of Randy Pobst, David Haskell and team owner Sylvain Tremblay, and four entries from Team Sahlen including a pair of Pontiac GTOs, one Chevrolet Corvette and one Porsche GT3.

Testing gets underway at 9:00 a.m. ET on both Monday and Tuesday, with an hour-long lunch break scheduled from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m. on both days. Selected drivers will be made available to media in attendance on both days of the test. Monday’s afternoon session will conclude at 5:00 p.m. with the checkered flag falling at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

ESPN/ABC NASCAR Coverage to Rock with Aerosmith ESPN/ABC NASCAR Coverage to Rock with AerosmithAmerica’s most successful rock band of all time – Aerosmith -- is collaborating with ESPN/ABC on its coverage of NASCAR for 2007. 

While full details of the Aerosmith alliance with ESPN/ABC will be revealed later, the band is recording a special live version of its immortal “Back In The Saddle” that will be an integral part of the network’s NASCAR telecasts in 2007. The taping will take place Saturday, Nov. 4 at the band’s concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“Other than being an astronaut, there are two things I can think of that can give you the same rush as sitting on a rocket: driving down the straightaway at Talladega at 200 miles an hour, and being the lead singer in Aerosmith,” said Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.

The members of Aerosmith – Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer -- are all NASCAR enthusiasts, and their relationship with the sport was highlighted in 1999 when driver Kenny Wallace drove the Aerosmith-sponsored #55 Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Phoenix International Raceway. zzzz

ESPN and ABC will have live coverage of the final 17 races of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, including the entire 10-race “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup” on ABC. In addition, ESPN2 will be the home of the NASCAR Busch Series, starting with the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 17.

”The magnitude of having the legendary American rock and roll band Aerosmith involved in our NASCAR coverage speaks volumes,” said Rich Feinberg, ESPN senior coordinating producer. “The sheer energy and stage personality that they bring to the screen will greatly enhance our telecasts and their enthusiasm for this project will serve our viewers throughout 2007.”

Richard Sturm, MGM MIRAGE president of sports & entertainment added, "Over the past 10 years MGM MIRAGE has had a prosperous partnership with both ESPN and Aerosmith. Saturday night's filming inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena will not only be exciting for the fans in attendance but for the television viewers as well."

TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

Movie: Driven (2001)
10:00am-12:15pm TNT
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Texas
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Texas
1:00pm-2:00pm (L)  SPEED
Le Mans Endurance Series  Nurburgring
2:00pm-3:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series  Fort Worth Texas Motor Speedway
2:00pm-4:30pm (L) TNT
IHRA Drag Racing Toronto
6:00pm-7:00pm  SPEED
NASCAR Performance  
7:30pm-8:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Tradin' Paint Texas
8:00pm-8:30pm SPEED
Behind the Headlights -Mark IV GT40
9:00pm-10:00pm SPEED

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

tv news
ESPN2 Garage to Feature Automotive, Motorsports shows ESPN2 Garage to Feature Automotive, Motorsports shows
Oliver Jarvis Q and A – Chinese Challenge Oliver Jarvis Q and A – Chinese ChallengeLondon, England – A1 Team Great Britain fields a new face come race day in Round 3 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Beijing, China next weekend, 10 – 12 November, with series rookie Oliver Jarvis taking the reigns of the British A1GP challenger.

The 22-year-old from Cambridgeshire is no stranger to the A1 Team GBR set-up having fulfilled driving duties in the rookie-only sessions on Friday’s at the opening two rounds of this season’s nation versus nation championship in Holland and the Czech Republic before handing over to Darren Manning and Robbie Kerr respectively to race in those events.

Now it’s Jarvis’ turn to represent the Union Jack in the heat of battle and with no-less accomplishments than the 2005 Formula Renault UK Championship and 2005 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award to his credit, combined with a fantastic rookie effort in the 2006 British F3 Championship where he finished series runner-up, Oliver’s talents now await the hot-bed of A1GP competition.

Oliver took time out to preview his A1GP race debut and give a little insight into his role as A1 Team Great Britain’s ‘rookie’ racer! zzzz

Q: After two rookie sessions how does it feel to be selected to race in China?

OJ: “Well it’s obviously nice to know that the team thinks you’ve done a good enough job to merit getting the race seat. They’re taking a little bit of a chance on me being the rookie of the three drivers but it’s a fantastic feeling to know I’ll be racing for A1 Team Great Britain next weekend in China and I hope to show them what I’m capable of.”

Q: What have you learned from your time in the rookie sessions in Holland and the Czech Republic?

OJ: “Fundamentally I’ve got to know the A1GP car a lot better as well as how the team works. In turn they’ve been able to see how I like to go about things in terms of set-up and how to get the best out of the car. The car’s totally different from anything I’ve driven before so the rookie sessions have afforded me time to get used to its characteristics. It’s been great getting to know and work with the team and I think those experiences will be put to good use in China.”

Q: How does the A1GP car differ to the cars you’ve raced in your career to-date?

OJ: “The A1GP car is certainly quite a bit quicker than anything I’ve raced so far. The ‘power to grip’ ratio is significant and it requires a slightly unique driving style but key to A1GP competition is to get the most out of a new set of tires, not least in the aggregate qualifying system used to set the grid for the Sprint race.”

Q: What’s the single biggest challenge facing you ahead of China?

OJ: “Well it really goes back to the one-lap qualifying system as I’ve never been involved in anything like it in any other championship. You really have to focus to get the best out of the car and of course yourself but you have to get all that done at the one time to really nail it in qualifying. Obviously the circuit’s going to be completely new to me as well but that’s the case for everyone.”

Q: What do you know about the track layout in Beijing and China’s enthusiasm for A1GP?

OJ: “I’ve seen a bit of a mock-up of the circuit but nothing to really form too much of an opinion on. It looks like it’ll be quite a short layout but like I said I haven’t seen a final plan so it’ll be new to all of us when we get there. That’s probably a good thing as it will hopefully mean there’s more of a level playing field as nobody has the advantage of track knowledge heading into Friday practice.

“From what I hear the Chinese have really got behind the A1GP concept and that’s probably been helped more so since the new season began with A1 Team China getting off to a pretty decent start.”

Q: Have you raced on a street circuit before, would you have preferred to make your A1GP race debut at a permanent track?

OJ: “I’ve been fortunate enough to have raced at Pau in France in an F3 car. It really is a unique experience, you get really close to the walls and it’s just a fantastic racing experience. I probably would have preferred to have made my A1GP debut on a normal circuit as street racing presents fairly unique challenges but I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to race for A1 Team Great Britain and I look forward to doing a solid job despite it potentially being a difficult first race.”

Q: What are your impressions of this season’s A1GP Series?

OJ: “I think this season’s it’s really taken off and captured the imaginations of a lot more fans and sponsors. The concept is just fantastic, it’s really grown since last season’s inaugural competition and hopefully it will continue to flourish and become a very strong international championship for years to come.

“The competition level in A1GP has increased massively even since last year! There are a lot of new drivers that have come in to the series, not necessarily big names but very competitive and experienced young drivers with a real desire to go out and win and showcase their potential on the world stage.”

Q: What’s the camaraderie like between the British drivers, how was it working with Darren and Robbie in Rounds 1 and 2 when you knew you were only testing?

OJ: “I took a very different approach going into the first two rounds. I knew I was there to aide the team with the rookie session and it was important to me that I fulfilled that objective. I was there to help both Darren and Robbie in terms of relaying track information and set-up’s and so on so I took that into account and did my best for the whole team.

“The relationship between all three of us is pretty good but as you’d expect we’re all very competitive individuals and at the end of the day we’re all fighting for the same job and we all want to try and establish ourselves as the lead driver. The system certainly keeps us all on our toes and hopefully that competitive element keeps driving the team forward as we’re all trying to get the best from ourselves in order to win races and fight for the championship.”

Q: You’ve obviously had a fantastic couple of season’s competing in Britain, what are your plans for 2007?

OJ: “I’m really only focusing on the rest of the A1GP season right now but with a view to 2007 I’m looking at things like the World Series by Renault. I’m not discounting a return to Formula Three and the GP2 Series is certainly an option I’d be interested in pursuing but like most drivers it’s all about trying to find the budget and sponsors to keep racing but I’m optimistic for next season.

“I’ve raced mainly in England throughout my career to-date and the opportunity to race for A1 Team Great Britain in A1GP offers me a great chance to get my name recognized on a global stage. Achieving results in A1GP can only help your career in other formulas. As I said before, I think it’s a great concept and for a young driver like myself it’s a great way to compete internationally for your country. I can’t wait to get going in China!”

TV News
Jeff Gordon on Live with Regis and Kelly Jeff Gordon on Live with Regis and KellyUPDATE Jeff Gordon explained to Regis and Kelly how the points system works in the Chase for the Cup. He mentioned that he is currently in seventh place with three races to go before the winner is decided. Kelly told Jeff that he had better win the Chase because he has a wedding coming up to pay for (referring to the upcoming nuptials of Jeff and his fiancée, Ingrid Vandebosch)! Kelly noticed that the audience included die-hard Jeff Gordon fans who were dressed like him or his pit crew. Jeff promoted the new book written by Joe Garner, "Speed, Guts and Glory: 100 Unforgettable Moments in NASCAR History." A clip from the DVD that accompanies the book was shown of a 28 car crash at Talladega in 2005. Jeff did the narration for the DVD.

11/01/06 Jeff Gordon will be a guest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show Thursday morning.  The network varies, so please check your local listings for your location and time zone.
NASCAR and Hollywood teaming up NASCAR and Hollywood teaming upEnglewood, Colo.- “Gentlemen, start your engines” and rev up for fast cars and a day at the races with “NASCAR & Hollywood” a “Starz The Hollywood Reporter” original news special focusing on the NASCAR marketing machine – a multi-billion dollar business – and how Hollywood is getting in on the action. This 30-minute exclusive premieres on Starz Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT). Catch this special edition earlier on Vongo, Starz’ broadband video download entertainment service, beginning Nov. 3. 

Viewers will get an inside look at the turbo-charged relationship between Tinseltown and NASCAR and how each is tapping into the other’s loyal fan base. The show features actress/model Carmen Electra, country music singer Brad Paisley and scenes from Disney’s “Cars” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” from Sony Pictures. This exclusive report also features the racing world’s Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Rusty Wallace and includes interviews with retired NASCAR driver Richard “The King” Petty and Kurt Busch, Nextel Cup Series 2004 Champion driver.

“The NASCAR phenomenon has been growing for years and Hollywood wants in on the action,” said Michael Ruggiero, vice president of original programming. “This ‘Starz The Hollywood Reporter’ exclusive will show viewers the power of the racing world and the influence it has over millions of people.” zzzz 

The show focuses on how 58 year-old NASCAR has attracted a fan base of more than 75 million people who are known for their loyal support of their favorite drivers – and their sponsors. With NASCAR’s growing popularity and shift into mainstream culture, Hollywood’s attraction to NASCAR’s rabid and passionate fans has grown as well.

In recent years, NASCAR has been actively involved with “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience” (Warner Bros.), “Herbie: Fully Loaded” (Disney), “Cars” (Disney) and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (Sony Pictures), allowing the NASCAR message to get out to millions of moviegoers – including those who may not be familiar with the sport.

As the Hollywood and NASCAR partnership grows, it will continue to offer unique opportunities to promote each other’s agenda, helping to fatten the bottom line and put both entities on the fast track straight to the bank.

Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie service provider operating in the United States. It offers 16 movie channels including the flagship Starz® and Encore® brands with approximately 15.1 million and 27.1 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs more than 1,000 movies per month across its pay TV channels and offers advanced services including Starz HD, Starz On Demand and VongoSM. Starz Entertainment is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation that is attributed to Liberty Capital Group, http://www.starz.com/.

Dan Clarke, Nominated for the Autosport Award Dan Clarke, Nominated for the Autosport AwardDan Clarke, driver of the #14 CTE Racing HVM/Ford-Cosworth/Lola in the Champ Car World Series, has been nominated for the Autosport Rookie of the Year Award and needs your votes to take the coveted title.

The award, which started in 2000, is voted for exclusively by autosport.com readers. The honor is one of the most prestigious accolades in International motorsport and recognizes achievements of drivers in their first, rookie, season of a motor racing championship. F1 drivers Jenson Button, Juan Pablo Montoya and Mark Webber are among the previous winners of this Award.

Clarke’s nomination for the Award follows an outstanding first season of Champ Car racing, with the 23-year-old driver celebrating a podium finish earlier this year, the only rookie in the Series to achieve this. He was also the first rookie to score pole position.

Clarke is eager to take the rookie award saying, “Being nominated for this Award is, in itself, recognition of the success I’ve been having this year, so I’m pleased that my achievements have been noted. It would be the icing on the cake to win this award and I hope that my fans both at home and abroad will take a couple of minutes and head to the Autosport website to vote for me.”

The winner of the award will be announced at the Autosport Awards gala evening in London on December 3rd. Dan Clarke fans can vote for him at www.autosport.com.

Racing News
Mickey Thompson murder trial update Mickey Thompson murder trial update
Ecclestone confirms Imola axe Ecclestone confirms Imola axeUPDATE Bernie Ecclestone has not ruled out a return of F1 to Imola in 2008 if track upgrades are made as promised.

"Out of habit I don't use the word 'never' in life, so I don't rule out anything in the future. For 2007 the question is closed, if and when the works are finished, we'll see," Ecclestone told Italian Autosprint magazine.

10/26/06 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that Imola will not feature on the formula one calendar of 2007.

After the traditional San Marino GP was still missing from the latest provisional calendar, the F1 supremo told an Italian newspaper on Thursday that Imola's 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari' circuit would indeed not host a race next year.

The venue was reportedly in doubt due to delayed circuit renovations, but also a rumored increase in Ecclestone's annual fees.

"I'm sorry, but we have lost Imola," 75-year-old Ecclestone was quoted as saying by the Corriere della Sera daily.

The Italian newswire 'Ansa' added that Imola mayor Massimo Marcignoli has just returned from meetings with Bernie in London with a personal letter confirming the non-renewal of the Imola contract.

But Ansa also asserted that Imola could return in 2008 with a different organizer, following the expiry of the 'Sagis' deal, and if new paddock and pit facilities have been erected.

Industry News
Delphi losses mount Delphi losses mountDelphi Corp. filed a report showing that the auto parts maker's monthly losses grew in September to $673 million from $508 million in August. The Troy company is working to cut costs as it tries to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

It reported $1.37 billion in revenue for the month and $2.05 billion in operating expenses. Of the total sales, $803 million came from General Motors Corp. and its affiliates. GM was Delphi's parent company until a 1999 spin-off. The automaker remains its biggest customer.

track news
Grand Prix of Toronto tickets on sale now Grand Prix of Toronto tickets on sale nowToronto, Ontario: Whether it’s for the sports enthusiast, car fanatic, racing guru, the die-hard event goer or the person who enjoys the excitement of a live sporting event on your holiday gift giving list, Grand Prix of Toronto tickets are the perfect gift. The stars and cars of Champ Car World Series will descend upon Toronto for the 22nd year of open wheel racing at the Exhibition Place track on July 6th, 7th and 8th, 2007. Tickets are now available by visiting www.grandprixtoronto.com or calling 416.588.RACE (7223).

The Grand Prix of Toronto is known as a week-long festival of speed that is a favorite among race fans and Champ Car drivers alike. On- track, race goers will witness Champ Car World Series stars including Toronto’s own Paul Tracy, 2006 Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais and the only female driver in the Champ Car World Series Katherine Legge as they battle it out on the Exhibition Place circuit.

Off-track, the Grand Prix of Toronto features the popular Thunder Alley featuring the Champ Car Paddock, live music and entertainment, interactive exhibits, autograph sessions and much more. Across the track, the GPT Auto Expo is back by popular demand and is the ideal place to take a break from the heat in the air-conditioned Direct Energy Centre featuring the support series paddocks, interactive games, exhibits and show cars.

With 11 turns and cars reaching speeds of up to 300 km/h, each Grand Prix of Toronto grandstand offers a thrilling view of some of the best open-wheel racing in North America. zzzz

Gold Grandstand - $199.00 (three-day, includes Champ Car Paddock Pass)
Located behind pit lane, these grandstand seats provide an eagle-eye view of one of the most dramatic moments in sport – the pit stop – where fractions of a second count.

Silver Grandstand – $139.00 (three-day)
Catch the action of the opening ceremonies on race day and the excitement as the green and checkered flags are waved in this grandstand located along the start/finish straightaway.

Bronze Grandstand - $75.00 (three-day)
The Exhibition Place track is known among the drivers for its many turns and technical difficulty that provide great racing action for fans. The Bronze grandstands located in Turn 2 and Turn 7 provide a prime view of the skill required for drivers to make these turns at speeds in excess of 250 km/h.

Thunder Alley Grandstand - $59.00 (three-day; general admission style seating)
Located along the fastest part of the track, the spectators in Thunder Alley grandstand will witness the Champ Cars as they tackle the Lake Shore Straightaway at speeds of up to 300 km/h.

Champ Car Paddock Pass - $25.00 (three-day)
One of the most popular off-track features is the Champ Car Paddock. Guests will have a unique chance to get up-close-and-personal with the cars and stars of the Champ Car World Series. This is the hottest spot for photo and autograph opportunities.

The Champ Car World Series REVolution
The Champ Car World Series will venture into a new era in 2007 with a brand-new car, an influx of new teams, and now a new schedule that will see the series visit new venues throughout the world bringing the total to 15 events across three continents and five countries – Canada, United States, Mexico, Australia and China. The North-of-the-Border line-up features Canada Month which kicks off Canada Day at the new Mont Tremblant event on July 1st, followed by the Grand Prix of Toronto taking place July 6th, 7th and 8th and Edmonton closing the tour on July 22nd.

Conor Daly begins transition to Race Cars Conor Daly begins transition to Race CarsAfter an outstanding karting season which saw him win multiple junior and senior titles in the same year, Cytomax driver Conor Daly began to make the transition to Race Cars recently by completing his first three day school at the Bertil Roos Racing School at Moroso Motorsports Park, Florida.  The Roos school had a total of eleven on track session during the three days which covered all aspects of race car dynamics….and included straight line speeds in excess of 115 MPH.


A1GP sporting regulation changes A1GP sporting regulation changesFollowing feedback from fans and consultation with the 23 national A1 Teams, A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has conducted a thorough review of its sporting regulations.

With effect from the A1GP Beijing race, from 10 to 12 November 2006, the grid for the 70-minute Feature race will be determined by the finishing results of the earlier 20-minute Sprint race. The winner of the Sprint race will start the Feature race in pole position as in the 2005/06 season, simplifying the qualifying system and making the results more immediate to the fans in the grandstand.

Also in effect from Beijing will be a change to the eligibility of Rookie drivers and the Friday format. The Rookie session, to be held between 11.00 and 12.00 with a ten minute break midway, will now be open to drivers under the age of 28 or any driver from a developing motorsport nation.

The new regulations will allow drivers and countries with little motorsport experience to come to terms with the powerful 550-bhp A1GP cars and challenging tracks, while the move to an earlier slot will allow teams more time to analyze performance in the sessions and optimize race set-up. The Rookie session will be followed by the second official practice session open to all teams and drivers between 14.00 and 15.00. A1GP

NASCAR hammers another one of its cheaters NASCAR hammers another one of its cheatersUPDATE #2 A reader writes, "'It is a very serious matter when a team attempts to manipulate the outcome of a race,' NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Wednesday" 
... but I guess it is okay when NASCAR themselves does it.  Randy Stocker

11/02/06 The Robby Gordon team released a statement Wednesday night that did not address whether Gordon was innocent but indicated it would appeal the penalty.  "We strongly believe the penalty imposed on the team, crew chief and driver, Robby Gordon, are excessive and fall well outside of any reasonable precedence set by NASCAR in dealing with many similar incidents in the past," Gordon's team said in a statement. "We do intend to appeal the severity of this penalty."

11/01/06 NASCAR announced Wednesday that Robby Gordon has been fined and issued two point-standing penalties, for rule infractions during this past Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Gordon, the driver and owner of the No. 7 Chevrolet, has been fined $15,000; he also has been penalized with the loss of 50 driver championship points and 50 car owner championship points. Gordon also has been placed on probation by NASCAR until Dec. 31.

Gordon violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-N (intentionally causing a caution condition during the race) – of the NASCAR Rule Book.

In addition, Gordon’s crew chief Greg Erwin has been fined $10,000 due to violations of Sections 12-A and 12-4-N – and 9-4-A (crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his/her driver, car owner and team members). Erwin also has been placed on probation until Dec. 31.

HUMMER Sponsors Gordon's Return to Dakar HUMMER Sponsors Gordon's Return to DakarDETROIT -- HUMMER is proud to once again sponsor Robby Gordon Motorsports' Team Dakar USA effort to take on the Dakar Rally, widely considered to be the most grueling off-road race in the world due to its brutal terrain and extreme environmental conditions. HUMMER first sponsored Team Dakar USA's inaugural Dakar Rally entry in 2006

Gordon will pilot his own vehicle, a purpose-built HUMMER H3, in the 16-stage event operating under the banner of Team Dakar USA.  During last year's Rally, Gordon was forced to make an early exit from competition when an encounter with the devilish terrain during the seventh stage punctured the radiator and sidelined the team for the remainder of the race.

"Team Dakar USA's main objective will be to prove that American innovation and determination can compete on the world stage," said Gordon. "We learned a lot about the vehicle and logistical challenges at last year's Rally, and I know we are prepared and ready to take on the Dakar in 2007." zzzz

Gordon's H3 consists of an H3-shaped body paired with a specially developed chassis featuring a suspension designed by him and his Off-Road team. The H3 will be a tube-chassis vehicle similar to Trophy Trucks races in the famed Baja 1000, except that it will have a fully enclosed air-conditioned cockpit, including windshield and side windows. It will be powered by a production-based General Motors V8 engine.

According to Martin Walsh, HUMMER general manager, HUMMER's involvement at this international race is a natural fit. "With the recent launch of H3 production in South Africa, we now sell HUMMERs in 34 countries around the globe," said Walsh. "The extreme nature of the Dakar Rally, as well as global exposure of the race provides a natural environment in which to promote the HUMMER brand's DNA."

The 16-stage Dakar race covers more than 6,000 miles (nearly 10,000 km) in just over two weeks. While the event is gaining popularity in the United States, it has a broad following around the globe. The 2007 Dakar begins on January 6, 2007, in Lisbon, Portugal and runs through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, and Guinea before finishing in the capital city of Dakar, in Senegal. The race covers all types of terrain, from mountains to sea level and farmland to desert. Competitors can encounter snow and sub-zero temperatures as well as sandstorms and searing heat in the desert. More information on the Dakar race is available at www.teamdakarusa.com or www.dakar.com.

Robby Gordon was named by Off-Road retailer magazine in 2004 as one of the five most influential people in the off-road industry. He has successfully owned and operated teams in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series, CART, IRL and SCORE.

Toyota Camry Approved for ARCA Competition Toyota Camry Approved for ARCA CompetitionLAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) and Toyota officials announced today at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas that the Toyota Camry has been approved for competition in the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series. 

The move broadens Toyota’s base of stock car racing participation, which began with the Goody’s Dash Series in 2000. The auto manufacturer moved up to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004 and previously announced its plans to participate in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series in 2007. 

"We're excited to be welcomed into the ARCA RE/MAX Series,” said David Wilson, TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) group vice president of finance, operations and planning. “ARCA has a rich history and has played a role in developing drivers through the years.”   zzzz

The ARCA RE/MAX Series, established in 1953, features 3400 pound, steel-bodied stock cars with corresponding auto manufacturer engine and body configuration. Drivers and teams compete for the national championship in a 22-24 race tour featuring a diverse mix of racetracks ranging in size from .4375 to 2.66 miles in length on paved, concrete and dirt surfaces. Races in the series are televised nationally (available in 68.3 million US homes) and internationally in more than 80 countries on SPEED television network, in addition to average race attendance of 600,000 per season. The series has long been recognized as a top driver development series for professional stock car racing teams.

“As the ARCA RE/MAX Series has grown and evolved, we’ve worked hard to maintain a sense of tradition while incorporating cutting edge opportunities,” said ARCA President Ron Drager. “A true measure of that balance is reflected in the range of participation of track venues, driver and team participation, marketing partnerships and on-track competition. Welcoming Toyota, a global leader in the automotive industry, will certainly make our on-track product better and stronger as we move forward.” 

The 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series season kicks off at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 10, with the 44th running of the Daytona ARCA 200.

track news
PIR noise survey finds mixed views PIR noise survey finds mixed viewsNoise from Portland International Raceway is not a problem for the majority of residents in North Portland, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The phone survey of 300 residents, which was funded by the city and conducted in September, showed that about two-thirds of respondents said noise from PIR is a not a concern. It mirrors a similar study earlier this year that showed that most North Portland residents don't care much, if at all, about noise produced at the racetrack.

The surveys follow vocal protests from a group of PIR neighbors who have asked the city to limit races at the track. Their complaints prompted Mayor Tom Potter to ask how much it would cost to move the track, a proposal later deemed too expensive.

The survey released Tuesday showed PIR was at the top of the list of noise generators in North Portland. But only 13 percent of respondents called it a "very serious" concern.

And, compared with the first survey, the number of people who say the track is a problem increased by just 10 percent, despite the fact that the most recent study was conducted during PIR's busiest racing season, when residents are more likely to be outside or have their windows open. zzzz

City Commissioner Sam Adams, who has convened a citizens panel to study noise in North Portland, said the latest survey results surprised him.

"I thought there would be more complaints in the open-window season about PIR," Adams said. "I thought there would more complaints in the neighborhoods right around PIR."

"It's pretty obvious to me that the vast majority of people it doesn't bother," said Gary Bockman, a PIR supporter and a member of the citizens committee.

The committee is trying to determine how to limit noise from a variety of sources, Adams said, including the track, Portland International Airport and trains. Portland Oregonian

Another interview with AJ Allmendinger Another interview with AJ Allmendinger
Sydney gears up for A1GP spectacular Sydney gears up for A1GP spectacularAustralia – Following a hugely successful inaugural season, the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport today reaffirmed the Series’ return to Sydney’s Eastern Creek International Raceway for Round Seven of the 2006/07 season.
The NSW Government has confirmed its commitment to A1GP with plans to monitor the race in 2007 with a view to grow the event in the coming years.
Alan Evans, President of NRMA Motoring and Services in his capacity as Chairman of A1GP Australia, explained, “The A1GP draws on the national patriotism instilled in every person on the planet and not only attracts traditional motorsport and sporting fans but also excites anyone who is passionate about their heritage, country and fellow countrymen. The first season proved the power of A1GP to entice interest from spectators globally and the Sydney event in February 2007 is set to build on this success and provide a platform for future growth.”
The Sydney race weekend will run from Friday 2 February – Sunday 4 February and, in addition to the three days of on-track action, spectators can expect to enjoy a host of activities in a carnival-style atmosphere. zzzz
Super screens will be placed around the track, giving everyone access to the thrills of the race maneuvers, while on and off-track entertainment to suit motorsport fans, families and children alike will run across all race days and an opening ceremony will bring the global buzz of the A1GP direct to Australian spectators.
Alan Jones, Seat Holder for A1 Team Australia and 1980 Formula 1 World Champion, said “Although we hope to see a wash of green and gold fans when we come to Sydney, you’ll definitely see a strong swell of support for every nation in the race. Because each team is competing on a level playing field, the anticipation and excitement for every race is always high and with that many great nations in such close competition, Sydney is bound to be another tight battle for the podium”.
Securing a podium finish at the first race for the season in Zandvoort, the Netherlands, A1 Team Australia is preparing for the third race scheduled to take place in Beijing, China on 12 November.
Jones added, “A1 Team Australia is already off to a blistering start to the season and has the strength of solid drivers Ryan Briscoe, Ian Dyk, Karl Reindler and Barton Mawer to bring home the title to Australia this year.”
Free admission will be offered to all for Friday’s event, and children under 12 will gain free entry to the race throughout the weekend. General admission for adults starts at AUS $49.
Tickets can be purchased through Ticketek www.ticketek.com.au or www.a1gp.com.
TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for FridayCourtesy of TVRacer.com

NASCAR Live! Texas
4:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Texas
4:30pm-6:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Texas
6:30pm-8:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Fort Worth Texas Motor Speedway
8:30pm-11:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Trackside Texas
11:30pm-12:30am (L) SPEED

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Andy Graves to Toyota Andy Graves to ToyotaUPDATE Andy Graves will be formally introduced Friday at Texas Motor Speedway as the director of Toyota’s Nextel Cup efforts for 2007. Graves, who spent the better part of a decade at Hendrick Motorsports before becoming team manager at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, has experience with Toyota, having worked with the Japanese automaker in 2000, when he worked with Ganassi’s CART open-wheel program. In addition to Graves talking about his new gig, Toyota is also expected to introduce its NASCAR Busch Series lineup for 2007. SpeedTV.com

10/28/06 Toyota yesterday signed Andy Graves to be the company's NASCAR field manager for its 2007 Nextel Cup debut season. Graves spent the past five years managing Chip Ganassi's Dodge teams. Winston Salem Journal (Photo courtesy of Dodge)
Johnson's Crew Takes Lead in Drive-Thru Challenge Johnson's Crew Takes Lead in Drive-Thru ChallengeJimmie Johnson's over-the-wall crew took over sole possession of first place in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition by taking top honors in Sunday's NEXTEL Cup event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was the fifth pit crew win of the season for Johnson's team and it broke a three-way tie with Tony Stewart's and Kyle Busch's crews. Johnson's crew, which spent 316.721 seconds on pit road, will earn $10,500 for the weekly honor and is one step closer to the $105,000 bonus Checkers/Rally's will present to the crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Johnson's No. 46 over-the-wall crew, which spent only 109.657 seconds on Atlanta's pit road includes: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man). The crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule will be presented with a $100,500 bonus. Checkers/Rally's will present the crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule with a $100,500 bonus. To date, Checkers/Rally's has paid out $346,500 in Nextel Cup Series prize money during this season. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com. DMF Communications PR
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Senna, Pizzonia, at GP2 test
Gascoyne starts work at Spyker
Aus GP boss allays fear of F1 fizzer
Ex-F1 boss close to Champ Car switch
F1's privateer era is over - Stoddart
Ralf's wife wants another baby
Hunt Jr eyes life in father's wheel-tracks
King visits Spyker - report
Webber lands in Oz for annual race
Team USA announced for ROC Team USA announced for ROCThe organizers of the 2006 Race of Champions - Nations Cup, a unique and spectacular competition that opposes motor sport champions and superstars from across the world, are delighted to confirm the return of NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson and multiple X-Games Champ Travis Pastrana to spearhead the USA's bid to win the coveted Nations Cup.

Johnson, currently 2nd in NASCAR’s title Chase and winner of both this year’s Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, was a member of Team USA in 2002 that claimed America’s first Nations Cup title in the Canary Islands with teammates Jeff Gordon and Colin Edwards. The 31-year old Californian will participate in his third ROC event (2002 and 2004) and return to the Stade de France in Paris on December 16.

"I’m thrilled about being able to represent Team USA again this season,” explained Johnson. "It's a great event that pits the top drivers in Motorsports from around the world from every discipline. Typically you don’t get the chance to race against the top competitors from Formula One, off-road, rally and Champ cars, but this event allows you to do it with its creative format. I’m looking forward to getting out there and representing the United States and NASCAR." zzzz

Johnson is excited about teaming together with another ROC veteran, and motorsports star in Pastrana.

"I've been a big fan of his (Pastrana) for a long time,” said Johnson. “He's been doing a tremendous job moving to four wheels and learning the rally cars this year. He just won the North American Rally championship this year, which is very impressive when you consider his background is motocross. Travis and I are going to try and get together here within the next couple of weeks and get some practice so we are prepared to take on the top competition from around the world."

Currently best-known for his exploits on motorbikes, Travis himself competed in the ROC-Nations Cup in 2003 and in Paris last year. Since then, his career on four-wheels has progressed at an extremely fast rate of knots.

With one event still to run, Pastrana has already clinched the North American Rally America series title this year. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles last August, he took the gold medal in the inaugural X-Games Rally 12, beating in the process none other than former World Rally Champion Colin McRae from Scotland!

"I am glad to have another opportunity to race with the best drivers in the world and I expect to be a contender," promises the 23-year old from Maryland. "Last year I was off the pace but with a year more experience under my belt and coming off a win at the X-games as well as winning the Rally America Championship, I feel much more confident and ready. Jimmie has always been an inspiration to me the way he has come from his motocross and off-road racing background to being a dominant force in NASCAR. It is a privilege to have him on Team USA. With a little luck, I believe we have the ability to pull off an upset in this year's Nations Cup."

Jim Hancock, promoter of ROC Team USA - feels the third time will be the charm with Johnson and Pastrana. "This is our third year in Paris and once again we have the best drivers in the world competing in head to head competition. I am certain that this year's Team USA with Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana have what it takes to bring the Nations Cup home with them.”

Other drivers that have committed to participate in the 2006 ROC event include Formula 1 stars Jenson Button, David Coulthard, Rally World Champions Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm and Colin McRae, Dakar Champion Stephane Peterhansel, World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, DTM Champion Bernd Schneider, 7-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, Champ Car Champion Sebastien Bourdais, etc.).

Sportscar racing loses its Schumacher Sportscar racing loses its SchumacherOn the weekend that Formula 1 lost its finest driver, so did sports car racing. And like Michael Schumacher, James Weaver went out on top. Weaver’s last race was the season-ending American Le Mans race at Laguna Seca on October 21. Each time he brought the car into the Laguna pits, it was from the lead. At the prior race at Road Atlanta, he set fastest lap. At Mosport, he broke the track record in qualifying. He finished second in the championship. 

Weaver left the sport as he lived. He did not want any fan fare or attention. The focus was always on the team, not himself. He told the team of his retirement after the race was over and thanked the emotional gathering for all of his success. The next day was spent shopping for his daughter. The family comes first, not feeding the star-making machine.. More.... (PDF)
NASCAR fines Busch Series crew chief NASCAR fines Busch Series crew chiefNASCAR officials have penalized Fred Wanke, crew chief for the No. 01 Keith Duesenberg & Leik Motorsports Busch Series entry driven by Jay Sauter, for rule violations found at Memphis Motorsports Park.  Wanke was fined $2,500 for violating the rule stating that a crew member who steps into the car-servicing area must wear a fire-resistant uniform. The violation came during the Oct. 28 race at Memphis.
racing news
James Hunt's son starts racing career James Hunt's son starts racing careerFreddie Hunt has become the latest son of a British Formula 1 world champion to follow in his great father's footsteps.  According to weekly newspaper Motorsport News, on sale today, nineteen-year-old son of 1976 world champion James Hunt competed in his first car race as part of a Silverstone Motorsport Academy course at the British Grand Prix venue.  Freddie, who finished second in class and fourth overall in his first race, used the experience as a chance to evaluate a potential career in the sport.
Roger Penske talks about ALMS effort Roger Penske talks about ALMS effortRoger Penske's full-season return to road racing with Porsche went – more or less – as planned. Penske Racing won the American Le Mans Series' LMP2 team and manufacturer championships with the Porsche RS Spyder as well as the drivers title with Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr. Despite winning seven of 10 races (a Series record in LMP2), the Porsche RS Spyder and Penske faced a huge challenge from Intersport Racing.

The task for 2007 appears to be even more daunting with the addition of three Acura-powered P2s, along with revamped efforts from Intersport, van der Steur Racing and B-K Motorsports on the horizon. Here are Penske's thoughts looking back … and looking ahead to 2007 with a new version of the RS Spyder. We had the opportunity recently to sit down with Mr. Penske, who wanted to share some candid thoughts and opinions.

Question: How would you gauge your success this season?

Answer: I always wish we were racing in LMP1, but this keeps us on our toes. Long-distance racing really fits our shoes. We've had success at Indianapolis because you get to use your strategy. And it's about reliability. This year has been a real learning curve for us because you have to run 12 hours at a place like Sebring to be successful.

Q: Have you seen the new Porsche RS Spyder?

Penske Racing will return to the Series' LMP2 class in 2007 with the new Porsche RS Spyder.
A: I've seen all the technical drawings of the car and have seen all the pictures. I haven't been to Weissach to see it. We felt we needed to stay focused on the current RS Spyder. The new car was shown at the Paris Auto Show which we thought was an exciting thing to let people see it for the first time. But we have strong competition coming in next year with teams like Andretti-Green and Fernandez. We're going to have a real fight on our hands.

One thing I wish in the Series – and I've talked to Scott Atherton and Tim Mayer, and I'd like to talk to Don Panoz about it – is that we're in America and people want to see racing. I'm not sure people understand all these classes. Sometimes I don't understand it sometimes. But overall it's been a fantastic Series and from a Penske Racing perspective, it gives us an opportunity to compete in long-distance events and use our strategy. zzzz 

Q: Why are big-name teams from other motorsports avenues following your lead by entering the American Le Mans Series?

A: What's happening is that you're seeing Honda adding interest as they had an engine they were looking at building for the Indy Car Series, and that engine fits the LMP2 specs. They were able to go to teams that had been related to Honda during the Indy Car Series and as people wanted to expand their programs this was a great opportunity. They'll come with different chassis whereas Porsche is vertically integrated with engine, transmission, driveline and chassis.

Roger Penske says there are no plans to take his team to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2007.
This really is a great Series. Road racing has always been at the heart of the United States. Oval racing obviously has taken the lead over the years but I think you're seeing a resurgence in sports car racing. There's a good balance. And the fact that we have multiple manufacturers makes it very interesting for a promoter rather than just one is very important.

The Series has a lot of momentum, and I think the management knows what we need to do. The new tracks next year, we're looking forward to having – including the city of Detroit and Belle Isle. It's going to be a great weekend and gives us an opportunity to bring different fans to the track, and that's what you need today. With all of the competition in sports – and auto racing in my mind is at the top – you need that kind of diversity.

Q: One of the questions we're asked most often regard the team's plans of going to Le Mans? Is that part of the program for the next couple of years?

A: We get the same questions. Le Mans is a completely different kettle of fish. It's a 24-hour race, and it's a huge expense. That's a decision that Porsche has to make. We haven't raced there since the 1970s with the Ferrari 512. I'd love to go back. But again with the cost of racing today and the availability of sponsorships and only being able to run in LMP2, I don't think we'd be ready to go until we could challenge for leadership in LMP1. I'm not indicating whether we're going or not going. It's really not my decision. It's up to Wolfgang Durheimer, the Porsche board and management, and the motorsports department.

Q: Another question we frequently get: Are you aware of any plans to move up to LMP1?

A: Again, next year our plan is to remain in LMP2. So that would have to be a 2008 decision. I don't see it in the cards right now. It's a new car and a new engine. If you're going to start competing with diesel engines and hybrids and other things coming, it really starts to cloud the future because the expense to convert from one engine configuration to another is very large. And I'm not sure you get the value of that from the fans sitting around in the paddock and around the track.

I'd like to see a consistent series where we have a set of rules that would be for five years. The American Le Mans Series is being dictated by a rulebook from the ACO (which drives Le Mans). We are a lot different with four-hour races and one or two 12-hour ones versus a 24-hour race. It's not completely consistent. I'm of the mind that we need to have one pure prototype class and one for coupes like the Corvettes and Porsches and Aston Martins. I think the excitement of the racing if everybody had the same power and had different looking chassis and different looking engine, I think it would take the sport another 100 feet high.

An interview with Jeff Burton An interview with Jeff BurtonOn the mysterious caution flag at Atlanta caused by someone throwing roll hoop padding onto the race track, "Some people put roll bar padding where other people don't.  The only problem with my theory is that someone could not have a piece of roll bar padding somewhere that someone else does have it.  And there is a possibility of someone saying, I never had a piece of roll bar padding there and they were telling the truth.  That's the only problem that I have with that." Transcript 
NASCAR again exposed for "The Call" NASCAR again exposed for "The Call"UPDATE True story: At the race, sheets are always handed out that detail the caution laps, what the caution was for, etc. When we got the second one at Atlanta -- the one after the Lap 83 debris caution that got Junior back on the lead lap -- the sheet had the reason for the caution listed as "TBD." NASCAR.com  NASCAR will gain immensely if Earnhardt Jr. wins the title and it's quite possible they are doing everything in their power to ensure that happens.

10/31/06 HAMPTON, Ga. - Some day, perhaps, NASCAR's integrity will be beyond reproach.

Some day, it might be possible to watch a race and believe with every confidence that the people who are deciding whether a caution flag should be displayed are looking solely at whether the track is safe for racing in making that call.

That, of course, is the only reason a yellow flag should ever be thrown, and one should be thrown every single time there's an unsafe situation on the track, regardless of other consequences. It shouldn't matter who an early caution might help or who a late one might hurt.

That day is not here.

When you look at what happened in Sunday's Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, you can't help but wonder about some things.

Why did NASCAR throw a yellow for debris that nobody but NASCAR seemed to see just before Dale Earnhardt Jr. got trapped a lap down for a second time early in the race? More at The Charlotte Observer

[Editor's Note: As we have said on many occasions, EVERYTHING happens in NASCAR for a reason, everything. One could write a book on these sort of shenanigans that occur "conveniently" throughout the history of NASCAR.]

Koni shocks to sponsor GA series Koni shocks to sponsor GA seriesAs part of the 40th SEMA show in Las Vegas—the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world—one of the world’s leading brands of shock absorbers and North America’s premier road racing organization joined forces, as officials from KONI and the Grand American Road Racing Association today announced that KONI has become the title sponsor of the Grand-Am Cup Series, which will be renamed the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series.

  The three-year agreement calls for KONI shocks to be used on all KONI Challenge race cars starting in 2009. Beginning in 2007, the KONI Challenge will include a separate points race for competitors using KONI shocks, which will be considered an independent championship throughout the season. This “championship within a championship” will be worth $10,000 to the top point earners in both the Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) classes using KONI shocks.
IndyCar Series' switch to ethanol featured IndyCar Series' switch to ethanol featuredFusion of power and innovation has been a hallmark of the IndyCar Series since its inception. In 2007, the series again will be a technological pioneer with the introduction of 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in its Honda Indy V-8 engines.

Embracing an alternative fuel produced in the United States has struck a chord with consumers and has caught the attention of editors of Popular Science magazine, who have invited the IndyCar Series to showcase its association with ethanol at the 19th annual "Best of What's New" show Nov. 7-9 in New York City.

The IndyCar Series utilizing ethanol in its 650-horsepower racing engines certainly fits the theme of the event, "The Future Now," in Vanderbilt Hall of the cavernous Grand Central Station (42nd Street at Park Avenue). zzzz

"We are honored to be playing such an integral role in Popular Science's 'Best of What's New' show," said Brian Barnhart, president and COO of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series. "The anticipation and momentum building towards ethanol's 100 percent fuel-grade debut in 2007 exemplifies the regard held that the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are innovators in motorsports safety and technology."

Ethanol, made from a variety of plants including corn, milo/sorghum, sugar cane and switch grass, has proven to burn cleaner than methanol and gasoline, the majority of current racing fuels. On-track testing of the 3.5-liter Honda Indy V-8 engines fueled by ethanol also has shown increased mileage over methanol.

The 100 percent non-toxic and biodegradable fuel is rapidly gaining favor in the United States as an alternative source of energy. Ethanol production facilities across the country are being built, and E-85 pumps (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) for flex-fuel vehicles are becoming more readily available.

"The Indy Racing League has always been an early adopter of technologies that increase performance," said Tom Slunecka, executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. "Choosing ethanol to fuel IndyCar Series cars has demonstrated ethanol is a performance fuel. It has helped to raise awareness among consumers that ethanol will perform in their vehicles.

"We look forward to seeing those technologies developed for the IndyCar Series to capitalize on ethanol's attributes, implemented in the passenger fleet."

In July, President George W. Bush praised the IndyCar Series as being "leading edge" for its use of ethanol. It drew the interest of the editors of Popular Science magazine. Each year, they review thousands of products in search of the top 100 tech innovations -- breakthrough products and technologies that represent a significant leap in their categories.
The best are displayed in New York and featured in the December issue of the magazine. Last year, the "Best of What's New" show drew more than 150,000 visitors in addition to the one million-plus who pass through Grand Central Station each day.

IndyCar Series driver Jeff Simmons will make an appearance at the event on Nov. 7 and a Team Ethanol IndyCar Series simulator will be part of the display for visitors to try their hand racing on the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indy Racing League's trackside Timing and Scoring station, which shows real-time track data on monitors, also will be part of the display. IRL

Scheckter to race in karting event Scheckter to race in karting eventTomas Scheckter is the third IndyCar Series driver to commit to the All-Stars Karting Classic Dec. 14 in Orlando, Fla., joining Marco Andretti and Bryan Herta.

The race, put on by the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League, is held the first evening of the Performance Racing Industry trade show.

"I am really looking forward to working with First Kart and everyone there," said Scheckter, who drove the No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone in 2006. "First Kart has a proven record of success. I am also very excited about joining the Stars of Karting Series. The series has a lot of good, young, talented drivers. The competition should be quite good."
Herta, a co-owner of Snap-on Stars of Karting, can't wait to see the South African in action in Orlando.

"Tomas is always one of the most aggressive guys on the track no matter where we go, and I don't expect anything to change in Orlando," Herta said. "I know he has a lot of experience in a kart, and I expect him to be one of the top competitors in the event."

Filippi back on top as test ends in France Filippi back on top as test ends in FranceLuca Filippi made it an almost perfect two day test as he finished this afternoon's final session with the quickest lap, having done so in both of yesterday's sessions. Today the Italian was with Arden International, and the British team finished the Ricard test on a high with Bruno Senna classified as the top rookie of the afternoon in third place. Franck Perera repeated his fine form from this morning in second for Durango, while Giorgio Pantano had all his times for the day taken from him after his car was found to be underweight.

Antonio Pizzonia finished this afternoon's session in fourth place, with Nicolas Lapierre fifth for his new team Dams. Jose Maria Lopez was again in the top six for BCN Competicion, while GP2 returnee Borja Garcia was seventh for iSport International. Xandi Negrao was eighth fastest in the afternoon session with Kohei Hirate ninth and Paul di Resta tenth. zzzz

The teams will now make their way to Jerez where the next test kicks off in just over one week's time.

 Driver Team Time Laps
1 Luca Filippi Arden International 1:13.827 30
2 Franck Perera Durango 1:13.837 36
3 Bruno Senna Arden International 1:13.871 33
4 Antonio Pizzonia Petrol Ofisi FMS International 1:14.132 31
5 Nicolas Lapierre DAMS 1:14.138 25
6 Jose Maria Lopez BCN Competicion 1:14.203 40
7 Borja Garcia Isport International 1:14.275 26
8 Alexandre Negrao Piquet Sports 1:14.276 35
9 Kohei Hirate Trident Racing 1:14.309 35
10 Paul Di Resta Trident Racing 1:14.429 52
11 Javier Villa Racing Engineering 1:14.439 28
12 Kaziki Nakajima DAMS 1:14.466 33
13 Guillaume Moreau Racing Engineering 1:14.687 35
14 Hiroki Yoshimoto Super Nova 1:14.851 29
15 Vitaly Petrov Petrol Ofisi FMS International 1:15.063 30
16 Mike Conway DPR 1:15.074 24
17 Ricardo Risatti BCN Competicion 1:15.083 19
18 Roldan Rodriguez Campos Racing 1:15.164 39
19 Dominick Muermans Durango 1:15.420 37
20 Jonny Reid Super Nova International 1:15.458 29
21 Christian Bakkerud Isport International 1:15.770 11
22 Tomas Kostka Piquet Sports 1:16.129 35
23 Michael Patrizi DPR 1:16.682 30

Q and A with Mike Gascoyne Q and A with Mike GascoyneThe former Tyrrell, Renault and Toyota man brings an enormous amount of experience to the task, and will play a key role in improving the team's level of performance in the future. It's also homecoming of sorts for Mike, who previously worked at Jordan, and was one of the main influences on that team's most competitive season in 1999. We asked him for his thoughts on his new challenge.

Q: After you left Toyota you probably didn't expect to be back in F1 so soon. How do you feel about your new role with Spyker?

Mike Gascoyne: "I think initially it's nice to have a break, and at first you think I don't want to do it again! But then you come out of that. It's in the blood, and over the months I made the decision that I wanted to come back. Then Spyker turned up and made the right offer with the right challenge."

Q: How much were you influenced by the fact that you had been at Jordan, so you knew the Silverstone factory and a lot of the people?

MG: I think that was important, the fact that you know there are good people there, and you've got all the elements that you need to go forward. The key thing is do the Spyker people have realistic ambitions? And they certainly do. It's also a chance to enjoy your motor racing again. You'll always enjoy motor racing when you start getting good results!

Q: Did you look at other options? zzzz

MG: There were other options, but none of them really got beyond the preliminary stage, because Spyker was the right option for me

Q: Would you have considered going back to a manufacturer team?

MG: No, I think the challenge for me was to come back to my roots, like Tyrrell and Jordan. The challenge was to come to a small team, and make it an efficient, close-knit group, and try and build it up.

Q: Is it fair to say that when at a manufacturer team you're always going to be a small cog in a big organization, and it's hard to get things done?

MG: Inevitably if you look at a team of 1000 people or a team of 200, lines of communication are going to be very different. But also your aspirations have to be different. You can't go and do what they can do. The top teams are looking to win races and win the World Championship, and that's not something we can sit here and say that we can do in three years. We can build up into becoming a big team, but your aspirations over the next couple years have to be different. Our aspirations are to start scoring points, and nick the odd podium when there's a race once or twice a year where everything gets mixed up.

Q: There are other teams where there are several key technical people with slightly different roles. How will things work with technical director James Key?

MG: I obviously know James from when I was at Jordan before. I know the guy very well, and we get on well together. I said to him at Monza that it's really an opportunity for him to learn his trade without all the pressure, and I think he'll end up being a much better technical director in three years' time, because he'll have benefited from my influence and experience -- very much as I did at Tyrrell with Harvey Postlethwaite, when I was deputy technical director. These days it's very hard for young guys to learn their trade as a technical director, because there's so much pressure. You can't hide at the back of the grid any more. So for James I think it's an ideal solution.

Q: How will the workload be split between James and yourself?

MG: I'll take responsibility for all the technical decisions, but part of being a good manager is that you leave your guys free to do their jobs. I always use to describe how things worked with Harvey like this - he grew old and didn't want to run to 100 meters any more! He wanted a young guy to run it for him. But when you veered out of your lane he tapped you on the shoulder and said, 'That way, mate!' I think probably it's a similar type of role.'

Q: We know wind tunnels are your specialty. Is organizing the program one of your main tasks with Spyker?

MG: Obviously it's the key area of performance in any F1 team. If you're going to perform, that has to be working properly. We proved with Jordan in 1999 that we could design a car in that wind tunnel that was pretty good. We've got an update program, and for sure it's going to be one of the priorities.

Q: To what extent will you actually be involved with the car?

MG: I'll be in every design meeting, and I'll be making all the key designs decisions. But the new car is already pretty much finished as of November 1, so I think what we can do for the start of 2007 is fairly limited. The engine deal was finalized quite late, and I'm coming in even later, so you can't expect that we'll have gone anywhere by March next year. But what's important is no matter how much money you put into building the house, if you don't dig the foundations properly, it falls down. So you've got to do the basics right before you start changing the on-track performance.

Q: Is November 1 really too late to have an influence on next year?

MG: I think the performance in the first race is fixed, but by mid-season you can have a significant influence, and that's what I'll be looking to do.

Q: So at first you'll let the guys get on with the car while you look at the bigger picture?

MG: I think that's pretty much it. If you go in and start changing everything all that will mean is they won't actually finish it, and everything will be half and half. Obviously I'll have some advice to give, but James needs to carry on and finish the car. The key thing is to put the structures in place, get the priorities set, get the wind tunnel working well, get the drawing office working well, go to testing, see how they operate, go to the first couple of races, see how they operate, and then start putting things in place.

Q: Do you expect to be strengthening the staff?

MG: Obviously budgets are improved and we are going to pull in key people, but I need to see what they've got and where we need to put those people. No one who is currently at Spyker has any need to worry about anything. The teams I've built have always got on very well together and been successful, and there are people who know how I operate, and I'm sure they'll be those who want to work with me in the future.

Q: After your break, are you fully recharged?

MG: Pretty much so! I've got the energy back and I want to take on a big challenge. But I think in that challenge there are things that really appeal to me, working in a small team environment.

Q: A bit like Adrian Newey at Red Bull?

MG: Yes, and it's interesting for F1, because the more teams doing it correctly and the more competitive it is, the better the racing will be. The guys were very keen to make the announcement that I was coming along because it sends out a clear message -- we're not just repainting the cars, it's going to go somewhere. I think that's the right message, and it's fun for me to be involved with it.

Q: Would you be interested in getting involved in Spyker's road cars, like Gordon Murray at McLaren?

MG: No, I'm not a road car man! It's motor racing flat out until I stop, and then I'll do nothing... Spyker MF1

Open-Wheeler, Soccer Player and Skydiver... Open-Wheeler, Soccer Player and Skydiver...Heading (excuse the pun) into this weekend’s Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, Team Red Bull is partnering with the New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer team to roll out a soccer-themed paint scheme for the No. 84 race car. With his keen eyes, New York Red Bulls goalkeeper and avid NASCAR fan Jon Conway gets to indulge in tin-top racing from his perch on top the Team Red Bull pit box.

"I’m excited to join Team Red Bull this weekend and support AJ Allmendinger and the New York Red Bulls No. 84 car,” said Conway, who led all MLS goalkeepers in Goals Against Average this past season and posted a 7-2-3 record. “I’ve seen the positive impact Red Bull has had on our soccer club and am looking forward to seeing what they have in store for NASCAR. I’ve been a NASCAR fan for a long time and it is an honor for me to represent our team at this race."

Driven by now-former, American open-wheel sensation AJ Allmendinger, the blue No. 84 Dodge features the New York Red Bulls logo on the hood and side panels and the dynamic bull and soccer ball on the rear quarter panel. The car also features a logo decal of The MLS Cup, which is the league’s championship finale slated for the following Sunday, November 12 at Pizza Hut Park in nearby Frisco, Texas. Then on Saturday and Sunday, the Red Bull Air Force skydiving team joins the party as they drop in from the skies above Texas Motor Speedway prior to the start of the Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup Series races. zzzz

Under the guidance of OJ Lawrence, the Red Bull Air Force team of national champion skydivers John DeVore, Charles Bryan, Andy Farrington, and Francisco Neri perform fast-action skydiving maneuvers, including their signature “swooping” landing maneuver that brings them in hot, skimming the ground at over 70 mph. About the New York Red Bulls: Under the direction of Head Coach and former U.S. National Team manager Bruce Arena, the New York Red Bulls made a successful run to the Major League Soccer playoffs in 2006.

Once in the postseason, New York dropped a close 2-1 aggregate goal decision in its Eastern Conference Semifinal Series against D.C. United. Off the field, the club recently broke ground on their own 25,000 seat soccer stadium- Red Bull Park- in Harrison, NJ. Red Bull Park is expected to open in the summer of 2008.

Industry News
GM reports huge sales increase GM reports huge sales increaseGeneral Motors dealers in the United States sold 301,317 new cars and trucks in October, a 22 percent increase compared with last year. Retail sales were up 36 percent on a sales-day adjusted basis. Retail truck sales were up 52 percent, led by a doubling of full-size pickup retail sales such as Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra and a 46 percent increase in luxury utility retail sales, including the entire Cadillac Escalade lineup.
The Renault R26 in numbers The Renault R26 in numbersSince taking championship victory for the second consecutive team in Brazil last weekend, the Renault F1 Team has been on cloud nine. So let’s take the opportunity to look at the hard numbers about the R26…

It took nearly 18 months from drawing board, or rather computer screen, to race debut. Before it even turned a wheel, it demanded nearly 10,000 drawings and around 6,500 components! An F1 car of this kind is a like a giant, full-scale puzzle of which up to 80% is made of carbon fiber, the favorite material of F1 designers. Six chassis were produced this season for use in races and testing – that equates to about 21km of carbon fiber textile!

With aero developments coming on stream at each race, the R26 was constantly evolving throughout the season in order to achieve the objectives announced long ago in January: double championship victory.

The job has now been done, and the R26 took 8 Grand Prix wins, 7 pole positions, 5 fastest laps, 3 100% Renault front rows and scored 206 points in total. It led 520 laps during the season, which equates to nearly 2,485km of the 10,394km raced in total during the year. The numbers leave no doubt about it: the R26 more than deserves its crown, just like the 550 women and men at Enstone who worked unstintingly to achieve their goal.

But in Formula 1, nothing ever stands still… Even as the R26 returned from Brazil several days ago, the factory is already hard at work on its new baby, the R27, of which the first example should be ready to break cover early in the new year… There’s no rest for the wicked… or the world champions! Renault

Racing News
SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 11-1-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (7) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.865
2. (1) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.802
3. (6) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.595
4. (2) Dan Wheldon (IRL)* 7.438
5. (19) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 7.397
6. (3) Fernando Alonso (F1)* 7.375
7. (4) Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car) 7.254
8. (9) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 7.215
9. (5) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 6.880
10. (12) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.622
11. (13) Michael Schumacher (F1)* 6.588
12. (14) Nelson Philippe (CCWS) 6.584
13. (15) Felipe Massa (F1)* 6.570
14. (16) Scott Dixon (IRL)* 6.553
15. (NR) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 6.520
16. (18) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL)* 6.426
17. (10) Bobby Labonte (NASCAR) 6.325
18. (20) Helio Castroneves (IRL)* 6.250
19. (NR) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.062
20. (23) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 6.033

*Season complete
Dropped out: Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Kevin Harvick (NASCAR), Casey Mears (NASCAR)
Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

Barrichello to push for 'change' at Honda Barrichello to push for 'change' at Honda(GMM) Rubens Barrichello, while effectively blaming the Japanese marque for his mediocre season, has vowed to push for 'change' at Honda in 2007.

The Brazilian spent six years as Michael Schumacher's teammate at Ferrari, but struggled with his new car after switching to Honda and failed to reach the podium this season.

Barrichello told Italian magazine Autosprint: "Here we do too much PR and we think too little about driving.

"I'm fighting to change this situation."

The 34-year-old hit out specifically at the Honda car's inferior traction control system and says he spent too much time working to improve it.

Barrichello also struggled to adapt after developing an unique braking setup at Ferrari, and criticized Brackley based Honda for not listening to his requests for changes.

He said: "They didn't want to change the system. Besides, you know, you can't just arrive in a new team and start beating your fists on the table to impose your will. Now that I'm more accustomed, I can do that."

Alonso buys new home in Switzerland Alonso buys new home in Switzerland(GMM) Retired seven time title winner Michael Schumacher, who lives in tranquil Switzerland, has a new neighbor.

Swiss newspaper 'Tribune de Geneve' reports on Wednesday that the 25-year-old Spaniard has bought a villa in Mont-Sur-Rolle.

Earlier this year, Alonso denied press claims that he had bought a two-storey mansion in the country. The latest reports assert that Alonso's new villa is in the Vaud region, in the west of Switzerland and merely twelve kilometers from Schumacher's home in Vufflens-le-Chateau.

Alonso's pad, apparently also close to where world rally champion Sebastien Loeb lives, reportedly cost $1.5m.

karting news
Mansell loses battle to extend track Mansell loses battle to extend trackPlans by Formula One racing legend Nigel Mansell to extend his kart racing circuit into an area of outstanding natural beauty have been refused.

Council officials have refused planning permission for a £3million upgrade of the circuit at Dunkeswell in east Devon.

East Devon district council turned down the project because the proposed buildings would have an adverse effect on the Blackdown Hills area and the potential for light pollution would detract from the dark night time environment of an area of outstanding natural beauty.

After the meeting, members of a "Cancel Mansell" protest group said they were delighted with the result and that it was a "great victory for country parks".

Group spokesman Peter Adams, who lives half a mile from the kart track, said: "We are feeling very good - it was a unanimous decision to refuse the plan. More at 24dash.com

karting news
Fisher wins karting event Fisher wins karting eventIndy Racing League driver and three-time World Karting Association Grand National Champion Sarah Fisher won a 100-mile Halloween Grand Prix karting event in Norway, Ill. Saturday.  Fisher, teaming with her fiancé, Andy O'Gara, took first place in the 30-kart Yamaha Supercan division. The victory comes two weeks after Sarah teamed with Champ Car World Series rookie Katherine Legge at NewCastle MotorSports Park for a go-kart endurance race. Fisher and Legge finished 31st in that race after a broken chain forced extensive repairs.

“I had so much fun this weekend as I partnered with my fiancé, Andy, to compete in the 100 mile endurance race in Norway,” said Fisher. “The speedway really has a great facility and it is a really nice place to race at. It’s a really fast track yet is very technical—which I love! You can go through the corners with momentum and you really have to utilize your skills to hang onto it. I’ve been entering as many races during the off-season as I can to get experience on the road courses to prepare myself for 2007.Go-karts really teach and hone your skills as they have a lot of the elements the big cars use. I definitely want to take my brother-in-law, Kyle, there and run him to get some additional experience. It’s a great place to teach someone about the line.”

Briatore's latest squeeze poses Briatore's latest squeeze posesRenault F1 team boss Flavio Briatore's lust for younger, beautiful woman continues unabated.  His latest girlfriend, Elisabetta Gregoraci, poses for a 2007 calendar.  Gregoraci began her career as a dancer for the Italian TV show 'Libero' before replacing top model Eva Herzigova for the Wonderbra campaign.  She has posed for many publications over the years, many times naked.
Zanardi thinks Schu wanted to race on Zanardi thinks Schu wanted to race on(GMM)  Alex Zanardi has backed seven time world champion Michael Schumacher's decision to quit Formula One.

The 40-year-old Italian, who shared a grand prix track with Schumacher in the nineties before returning to race in America, reckons the great German called it quits while he was 'still on top of his game'.

"Quite frankly I think deep in his mind he would have loved to continue," Zanardi said.

"But the reality is that a guy like him had everything to lose and nothing more to gain.

"If he had a great season (in the future) but one bad race, everyone would have said he's finished, he's done."

Zanardi concluded: "I guess he made the logical, sensible decision."

BMW-Sauber confirmed this week that Zanardi, who lost both legs in an horror Champ Car crash in 2001, would become the first ever double amputee to test a Formula One car at Valencia on November 24.

He said: "Of course, I know that I won't get a contract with the Formula One team but having the chance to drive an F1 racer again is just incredible."

Schu to appear in comic book movie Schu to appear in comic book movie(GMM)  Retired world champion Michael Schumacher has now signed an agreement to feature in the comic-book movie 'Asterix and Obelix at the Olympic Games'.

After earlier this year denying that his appearance was guaranteed, whispers from the filming of the movie in Spain now suggest that Schumacher will indeed star in the film alongside football's similarly retired Zinedine Zidane.

Filming will finish in two weeks, with Schumacher - who made his movie debut with a voice-over for the animation 'Cars' - tipped to travel to the city of Alicante in the coming days.

A fellow Asterix actor is quoted in the Spanish press as revealing that Schumacher is set to appear in 'several scenes' although he said he did not know when the German would arrive.

The film's budget is estimated at up to $100m.

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