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Power cleared to drive in Mexico City

Will Power

Team Australia driver Will Power has received approval from Champ Car medical officials to race in this week’s Gran Premio Tecate in Mexico City after injuring his wrist in the Lexmark Indy 300 in Australia last month.

Along with receiving the all clear for this weekend’s season finale in Mexico City on November 9-11, as has been done in the past, Champ Car has granted Power 15 minutes prior to the first practice session on Friday to trial a brace that the Australian will wear on his injured left wrist.

Power sustained the injury at the previous round, the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia on October 21. The injury was as a result of an incident with Katherine Legge at Falken Corner on lap 19 of the event. Power was attempting to pass Legge when the two made contact, sending Power’s #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01 into the tire wall with broken rear suspension.

After examination from Champ Car medical officials it has been determined that Power has two small hairline fractures in his left wrist. The fractures are not displaced, meaning the usual healing time is three to four weeks, with no operation required.

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Fiat Yamaha Team finalizes 2008 lineup
Following the conclusion of the 2007 season, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd and Yamaha Motor Racing Srl are pleased to be able to confirm the final lineup of their 2008 Factory Team.
Seven-time World Champion Valentino Rossi and two time 250cc World Champion Jorge Lorenzo will contest the 2008 MotoGP World Championship as teammates in the Fiat Yamaha Team.
Yamaha can also confirm its plan to run Valentino Rossi on Bridgestone tires in 2008, while Jorge Lorenzo will be racing with Michelin tires.

New Yamaha team organization

In order to facilitate the use of both Michelin tires and Bridgestone tires within the Yamaha Factory Team and to ensure confidentiality of data for each tire company, Yamaha will organize separate rider pit boxes, but the Fiat Yamaha Team will continue to operate and race as one team.
As a consequence, the organization of the Team for 2008 will be as shown.


No rest for Miss Lexmark Indy 300

Kate Hockly

There has been no rest for Australia Gold Coast model Kate Hockly after her 2007 Bartercard Miss Indy win. Hockly has been in high demand for corporate functions, fundraisers and media events.

Originally from New Zealand, Kate is a 20-year-old events manager who enjoys cooking, scuba diving, sunbathing and reading.

She flew to Mexico last Friday to compete for the Face of Champ Car title, for which she will battle Grand Prix titleholders from Long Beach, Houston, Edmonton, San Jose and Cleveland.

The week in Mexico includes VIP parties, special appearances, international media interviews, a feature shoot, autograph sessions and parade laps with Champ Car drivers.

If she wins, Hockly will sign a representative contract to act as the ambassador and official representative for the 2008 Champ Car World Series.


Final MotoGP point standings
Rider Standings
Pos., Rider, Manu., Nat., Points
1. Casey Stoner, Ducati, AUS, 367
2. Daniel Pedrosa, Honda, ESP, 242
3. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha, ITA, 241
4. John Hopkins, Suzuki, USA, 189
5. Marco Melandri, Honda, ITA, 187
6. Chris Vermeulen, Suzuki, AUS, 179
7. Loris Capirossi, Ducati, ITA, 166
8. Nicky Hayden, Honda, USA, 127
9. Colin Edwards, Yamaha, USA, 124
10. Alex Barros, Ducati, BRA, 115
11. Randy De Puniet, Kawasaki, FRA, 108
12. Toni Elias, Honda, ESP, 104
13. Alex Hofmann, Ducati, GER, 65
14. Carlos Checa, Honda, ESP, 65
15. Anthony West, Kawasaki, AUS, 59
16. Sylvain Guintoli, Yamaha, FRA, 50
18. Makoto Tamada, Yamaha, JPN, 38

Team Standings
Pos., Team, Points
1. Ducati Marlboro Team, 533
2. Rizla Suzuki, 371
3. Repsol Honda Team, 369
4. FIAT Yamaha Team, 365
5. Honda Gresini, 297
6. Pramac D'Antin, 181
7. Kawasaki Racing Team, 176
8. Tech3 Yamaha, 88
9. Honda LCR, 65
10. Konica Minolta Honda, 47
11. Team Roberts, 14

Manufacturer Standings
Pos., Manufacturer, Points
1. Ducati, 394
2. Honda, 313
3. Yamaha, 283
4. Suzuki, 241
5. Kawasaki, 144
6, KR212V, 14

Racing News

First Grand Opening of a Ferrari Store in the Middle East
The first official grand opening of a Ferrari Store in the Middle East region took place today in Abu Dhabi. Ferrari's President Luca di Montezemolo, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Chairman of ALDAR, Abdullah Abdel Rahim Al Fahim, Chairman of Al Fahim Enterprises and Ferrari's Commercial and Brand Director Dany Bahar, took part in the ribbon-cut ceremony.

The store will be managed by FADAR, a joint venture company between Al Fahim Enterprises and ALDAR Properties.

Located at the renowned Marina Mall, it is the 18th Ferrari Store in the world. On a total floor space of 116 sqm, the Abu Dhabi store offers a broad array of Ferrari products, including apparel and accessories for men, women, and children, leather goods, memorabilia, publications, toy models and electronic goods - some of them exclusively on sale at Ferrari Stores.

The wide goods' selection is on display in a showroom that was designed to offer customers an iconic journey through the areas that characterize the Prancing Horse's boutiques: fan in the first section, the exclusive luxury section and vintage on the left side and the children's section on the right.

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Work begins on Abu Dhabi Ferrari theme park
A Foundation Stone Ceremony was held today in Abu Dhabi to officially signify the start of construction of one of the most multi-dimensional and highly anticipated themed entertainment attractions in the world, the Ferrari Theme Park.

Luca di Montezemolo with Al Sayegh and Al Mubarak, Mubadala Presidente, after the Ceremony. With them, Italian Embassador in Abu Dhabi, Paolo Dionisi, and, on the right, Ron Barrott, CEO of Aldar

Officials and special guests in attendance for today's event included Ferrari's President Luca di Montezemolo and Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Chairman, ALDAR Properties, as well as invited guests representing media, government and business organizations from around the world.

During the Foundation Stone Ceremony a special time capsule was buried, containing a Conrod and Piston of the F2007, the F1 World Champion Ferrari car, together with the first artist's impression of the Ferrari Theme Park on Yas Island. The capsule will be then opened again at Ferrari's 100th anniversary, in 2047.

"This is a very special year for Ferrari" - Mr. Montezemolo said. "Together with the extraordinary commercial success of our GT cars, it brought to Maranello the F1 Constructors World Championship and the F1 Drivers World Championship with Kimi Raikkonen, and I am particularly proud to be present to mark the symbolic start of this great project. Moreover, 2007 is the year of Ferrari's 60th anniversary, and this Ceremony has therefore a further, important meaning".

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Pedrosa dominates before home crowd

(L to R) Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and John Hopkins

A first win on home soil for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) in the premier class saw him snatch second place in the World Championship at the conclusion of his second MotoGP season, at the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana, as Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) was unable to finish the race due to a technical problem.

A crowd of 130,000 Spaniards ecstatically cheered Pedrosa to the victory which saw him overcome a 24 point deficit to secure the 2007 MotoGP runner-up spot, behind World Champion Casey Stoner - who himself finished second in today's race by a 5.447s gap.

Although Pedrosa started on pole Stoner was in the lead in the early stages, but the Repsol Honda man fought back for victory over the young Aussie, while John Hopkins signed off from the Rizla Suzuki team by completing the podium before his move to Kawasaki.

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Rosberg to stay at Williams - Head
(GMM) The British team Williams has once again played down expectations that Nico Rosberg is a front-runner to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren for the 2008 season.

After Spaniard Alonso's contract release was announced last Friday, Lewis Hamilton at the weekend publicly named Rosberg, the impressive 22-year-old German - as well as Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen - among the most likely drivers to race alongside him next year.

But Patrick Head, Williams' technical veteran and a co-owner of the Grove based team, has maintained the outfit's consistent message in the face of the rumours -- that Rosberg is not for sale.

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Q and A: Nico Rosberg season review

Nico Rosberg

Q: What's your view of the season as a whole?
NR: The balance of the year has been positive. In many ways, it's been a good year for me. As is normal during a long season, we had some ups and downs. Races seemed to start off well in the opening rounds of the season, but the results just weren't there. As the season progressed, though, we were able to capitalize on strong starting positions, get some good results and consistently collect championship points. So yes, it was a good year.

Q: The FW29 seemed a stronger proposition from its predecessor, why was that?
NR: We've definitely made progress since last year and achieved that in a number of different ways. A lot of improvement came following some careful restructuring of the existing team and then by bringing a few very skilled and experienced new people on board. From the very first tests, the FW29 was working pretty well which allowed us to further develop it throughout the season, both at the factory and on the track.

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Rossi to try and start despite fractures
After fracturing bones in his right hand and wrist yesterday putting his participation in today’s Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana action in doubt, Fiat Yamaha’s five-time World Champion Valentino Rossi was back on track this morning for the customary MotoGP warm-up.

Having never missed a race in his career Rossi was determined not to sit out today’s proceedings and although he lapped slowest this morning and starts from 17th on the grid, whilst Casey Stoner notched the quickest warm-up time with a lap 2.606s faster than the Italian’s, at least The Doctor keeps his ever present record and will be able to fight for the solitary point he needs to confirm second in the World Championship. Below Ducati Marlboro’s World Champion Stoner in the top five on the timesheet were his team-mate Loris Capirossi, Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki), Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini) and Alex Barros (Pramac d’Antin) – with pole man Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) sixth.

Carlos Checa sat out the morning session but the Honda LCR man will take his place on the grid later for his last MotoGP appearance. 


A resounding success for Speedcar in Bahrain
The world-premiere of the Speedcar Series at the Bahrain International Circuit has been hailed a resounding success by organizers. With a 2-day festival of motorsport providing the ideal backdrop, Speedcar Series had the eyes of the race fans fixed on it as all the competition's drivers performed exhibition laps to entertain members of the public for the very first time.

Due to the demonstration nature of the event, no times or results have been published. Despite the fact the event was acting as a curtain-raiser to the 2008 competition, which begins at the Dubai Autodrome on January 26, all drivers were looking to gain an early psychological edge over their soon-to-be rivals, with many taking the opportunity to put an enjoyable overtaking move on their opponents.

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Weekly NASCAR cheaters report
NASCAR officials confiscated unapproved lug nuts from the Busch Series cars of rookie Brad Keselowski and Nextel Cup driver Casey Mears prior to the start of Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor  Speedway. NASCAR likely will levy additional penalties to the JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports teams sent to the back at the start of the Busch Series race Saturday for lug nuts that did not meet specifications at Texas Motor Speedway.

The No. 88 team with driver Brad Keselowski and the No. 24 team with driver Casey Mears had to replace all of the lug nuts on the tires on the car as well as the on the tires in the pits after NASCAR had an issue with them.

Further penalties are anticipated, said NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp.

JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports are in the process of merging their Busch Series programs, with most of the operation already based at the JR Motorsports shop.

"We had some lug nuts that had a thread turned out of them, just trying to make pit stops faster," said JR Motorsports director of competition Tony Eury Sr. "We've got a Busch crew here against all these Cup crews it's hard to compete against them. We just stepped over the line a little bit trying to be even." Scenedaily.com


McLaren to release 2008 car in January
(GMM)  McLaren's 2008 car, to be driven by Lewis Hamilton and a mystery teammate, will be released by the Woking based outfit in "the second week of January".

Team boss Ron Dennis divulged the information on Saturday afternoon at engine and equity partner Mercedes-Benz's 'Cars and Stars' end of season event in Stuttgart.

The January release date is a few weeks after FIA scrutineers present their report about the legality of the single seater, as per the ruling of the World Motor Sport Council earlier this year in the espionage saga.

The FIA will consider the matter and the scrutineers' report at a meeting on December 7.

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Slim picking’s for Ford in NASCAR
Carl Edwards is only the second Ford driver to win the NASCAR Busch Series championship, dominated usually by Chevy drivers.  Greg Biffle was the first and only other Ford driver to win the title when he achieved the feat in 2002.  Ironically, both drivers were behind the wheel of the No. 60 Ford.

The championship was the 11th for Ford in NASCAR’s three top series combined.  In addition to a pair of Busch Series championships, Ford has one Truck Series crown and eight Nextel Cup Series titles. Compare that to Chevy who has 31 Nextel Cup titles alone on top of the numerous Busch series title.  Clearly Ford is no match for Chevy and the results show on the race track and in the showroom.

Tonight’s championship is the fifth overall NASCAR crown for owner Jack Roush.

2002 – Greg Biffle
2007 – Carl Edwards

2000 – Greg Biffle

1965 – Ned Jarrett
1968 – David Pearson
1969 – David Pearson
1988 – Bill Elliott
1992 – Alan Kulwicki
1999 – Dale Jarrett
2003 – Matt Kenseth
2004 – Kurt Busch 

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Harvick wins race, Edwards clinches title
Kevin Harvick won the battle. Carl Edwards won the war.

Harvick streaked across the finish line 3.486 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch to win Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Harvick won his series-best fourth race at Texas, his sixth of the season and the 32nd of his career, breaking a tie with Jack Ingram for second on the all-time Busch Series win list.

Carl Edwards celebrates Busch series title trophy
CIA Stock Photo

With a 531-point lead entering Saturday's race, Edwards accomplished what had become inevitable, his first series championship. With an 11th-place finish, he closed out second-place David Reutimann to give Roush Fenway Racing its first NASCAR title and Jack Roush his second championship in the Busch Series.

Edwards locked up the title by the time the race reached Lap 162. With Harvick a runaway winner last year, it marked the second straight season a full-time Nextel Cup driver has won the NASCAR Busch Series championship.

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Texas: Final Cup practice speeds
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools 186.981 28.880 Leader
2 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 186.709 28.922 -0.042
3 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 186.677 28.927 -0.047
4 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL 186.638 28.933 -0.053
5 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 186.490 28.956 -0.076
6 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers Lifetime Powertrain Warranty / UAW 186.445 28.963 -0.083
7 01 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 186.290 28.987 -0.107
8 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 186.201 29.001 -0.121
9 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 186.175 29.005 -0.125
10 16 Greg Biffle Ford Jackson Hewitt 185.854 29.055 -0.175
11 15 Paul Menard* Chevrolet Moen / Menards 185.592 29.096 -0.216
12 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 185.293 29.143 -0.263
13 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers Lifetime Powertrain Warranty / UAW 184.678 29.240 -0.360
14 45 Kyle Petty Dodge National Tire & Battery 184.483 29.271 -0.391
15 10 Scott Riggs Dodge Stanley Proto Tools / Valvoline 184.483 29.271 -0.391
16 40 David Stremme Dodge HomeLife Communities 184.030 29.343 -0.463
17 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 183.917 29.361 -0.481
18 21 Bill Elliott Ford Delimex 183.824 29.376 -0.496
19 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC 183.736 29.390 -0.510
20 88 Ricky Rudd Ford Snickers 183.642 29.405 -0.525
21 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser 183.630 29.407 -0.527
22 6 David Ragan* Ford AAA Insurance 183.492 29.429 -0.549
23 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 183.169 29.481 -0.601
24 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Kinko's 182.593 29.574 -0.694
25 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 182.543 29.582 -0.702
26 00 David Reutimann* Toyota Burger King 182.519 29.586 -0.706
27 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet CARQUEST / Kellogg's 182.482 29.592 -0.712
28 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 182.174 29.642 -0.762
29 17 Matt Kenseth Ford USG Sheetrock / DEWALT 182.020 29.667 -0.787
30 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 181.971 29.675 -0.795
31 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 181.935 29.681 -0.801
32 42 Juan Montoya* Dodge Texaco / Havoline 181.586 29.738 -0.858
33 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 181.537 29.746 -0.866
34 84 A.J. Allmendinger* Toyota Red Bull 181.488 29.754 -0.874
35 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal Special Reserve 181.464 29.758 -0.878
36 66 Jeremy Mayfield Chevrolet Best Buy 181.452 29.760 -0.880
37 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories 180.923 29.847 -0.967
38 70 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet FleetPride / Yellow 180.923 29.847 -0.967
39 36 Mike Skinner Toyota 360 OTC 180.578 29.904 -1.024
40 7 Robby Gordon Ford MAPEI / Menards 180.518 29.914 -1.034
41 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 180.132 29.978 -1.098
42 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet DLP HDTV 179.898 30.017 -1.137
43 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS 179.146 30.143 -1.263

team usa

Solid Qualifying Efforts for Barrett and Miller

Patrick Barrett

Snetterton, England – Three intensely competitive qualifying sessions today at Snetterton saw Team USA Scholarship pair Patrick Barrett and Joel Miller regularly within a few tenths of the front-runners in cool, dry conditions but struggling to make it into the top 10.

After languishing more than a second shy of the top contenders during Friday testing, the gifted Americans today made great strides. Indeed, Barrett and Miller topped the time sheets during this morning’s practice session, held in damp conditions. Their positions were not fully representative, since many of the more experienced runners opted not to turn laps on their solitary set of fresh tires which have to last the entire weekend. It was nevertheless a productive session.

"That was a good confidence-booster," noted Barrett. "We didn’t do many laps because we wanted to save our tires but we wanted to try a few things."

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Pedrosa takes 4th consecutive pole

Dani Pedrosa

No one could match Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) here today at Valencia as the Spanish superstar put in a 1m 31.517s lap to put his prowess around this tight 4.005km circuit beyond doubt. Casey Stoner (Ducati) was second fastest and Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) completes the front row.

In temperate conditions with the track surface at 26 degrees and with riders enjoying an ambient temperature of 21 degrees under sunny skies it was Stoner who topped the early order here in Valencia. But his early marker of 1m 33.378s was soon bettered by John Hopkins the Suzuki rider.

With 51 minutes of the hour-long session remaining former World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) crashed heavily coming out of turn one. He broke bones in his right hand and jarred his back in the crash and will make a decision on whether or not to ride tomorrow.

This could have a significant bearing on the destination of runner-up spot in the World Championship. If Rossi does not ride and Dani wins the race, then he would overhaul Rossi for second overall in the points standings. But these are all ‘ifs’ at this stage.

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Jarvis to drive for A1 Team GBR in Malaysia

Oliver Jarvis

A1 Team Great Britain is pleased to announce that Oliver Jarvis will be its lead driver for the third round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, taking place at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on November 25th. The 23 year old took a dominant victory in the season opening Feature Race at Zandvoort, Netherlands in September and is eager to return to the top step of the podium.

With the team currently third in the championship standings, just six points behind leaders New Zealand, Jarvis will be aiming to reduce the deficit and keep the team in title contention. Sepang has been a good venue for the team in previous years, Robbie Kerr finished third in the 2005/06 season Sprint race and went one better with second in the 2006/07 Feature race.

Oliver Jarvis: "I'm delighted to be chosen to drive for GBR in Malaysia. Sepang is an amazing track and I really enjoyed running in the rookie session there last year. I cannot wait to race the A1GP car again and my aim will definitely be to score some strong podium finishes and even another win or two. Hopefully we can leave ahead of New Zealand and South Africa in the championship standings.

Katie Clements; Team Principal: "With Robbie and Olly we've the luxury of having two extremely fast and motivated drivers on the team, both of whom have done very well for us in the opening rounds. The downside of this is we have to choose between them and it is never an easy decision. Whilst Robbie has scored podiums for us in Malaysia in both season one and two, we thought that Olly deserved the opportunity to show what he can do round the Sepang circuit."

team usa

Team USA Scholarship winners Ready for Snetterton Finale
Snetterton, England – Teenaged Californians Patrick Barrett and Joel Miller will face an intensified level of competition when the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy wraps up with three races this weekend at Snetterton in eastern England.

In addition to all the leading contenders from last week at Brands Hatch, several more talented home-grown drivers have entered the fray in the hope of earning a place in the shootout for the prestigious McLaren/Autosport/BRDC Award. The highest placed Briton aged 23 or under will join five other candidates who were selected on the basis of their results during the regular British season.

“The steep competition definitely requires us to raise our game,” said Miller. “We are up against some of England’s best junior formula drivers, so we have to step it up. For me, driving in the rain last weekend was a big eye-opener and a huge learning experience. But that’s fine; that’s why we’re here – to learn.”

Miller, 19, from Hesperia, Calif., and his 18-year-old teammate, Patrick Barrett, from Los Osos, Calif., today completed four test sessions on the flat but challenging 1.952-mile road course situated on a former airfield which was home to the 96th U.S. Air Force Bomber Group during World War II. The pair still have a little time to find, but both made steady progress and are raring to go for the weekend.

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Clarke deems Sebring win greatest HPD achievement

Robert Clarke

As it turns out, Robert Clarke’s greatest achievement in motorsports came in what turned out to be the twilight of his career. The outgoing president of Honda Performance Development told SPEEDtv.com’s Robin Miller that Acura’s win in its American Le Mans Series debut at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Andretti Green Racing takes the cake.

“Winning the first time out at Sebring was the highlight for me,” said Clarke, who announced Thursday he was stepping down. “It represented everything I put into this company and made me so proud.

“HPD did it on our own with no help from Japan or Ilmor. We designed, sourced, developed and maintained the engine. It was totally ours and it won the first time out competing against world-class manufacturers. That is so indicative of where HPD is today.”


Hakkinen retires as DTM race driver

Mika Hakkinen

(GMM)  Double formula one world champion Mika Hakkinen on Saturday announced his retirement as a driver in the German series DTM.

The Finn quit McLaren and the pinnacle of motor sport at the end of 2001, but returned with long term partner Mercedes-Benz in DTM in 2005.

He won three races in the touring car category.

"It's time for me to stop racing in the DTM," Hakkinen announced at Mercedes' 'Stars and Cars' event in Stuttgart. That's the bad news.  The good news is for the other competitors, they can have some peace on the track now," he added.

The 38-year-old added that he would remain involved with Mercedes-Benz.


Mosley warns McLaren UPDATE You quote Max Mosley declaring that the FIA is unlikely to find components in the 2008 McLaren car identical to those found in the 2007 or 2008 Ferrari (McLaren must prove 2008 car has no Ferrari parts, Sport, November 1). Rather, he stated, the FIA will be looking for ideas. One assumes that some expert will examine the McLaren and be asked to see if there are similarities with an equivalent Ferrari component. If there are, what does the expert conclude? In the past, formula one cars were designed by often brilliant engineers such as Colin Chapman or the Cooper Brothers, working on a drafting board employing "hand" calculations based on engineering handbooks and codes. This is no longer the case. Modern F1 cars employ complex computer-simulation codes for analyzing the structure and the aerodynamic flows, supported by advanced design-optimization programs able to automatically seek best-design solutions.

Max Mosley

These are now so advanced that the designer does not need to provide a basic design and can ask the computer to create a component ab initio. Two different engineers confronting the same design problem with access to this technology could well come forward with very similar designs.

This type of integrated design software is commercially available from a number of companies. So, when the FIA expert finds a similarity between a McLaren and a Ferrari component, is this evidence of espionage - or that two designers asked the same question and their integrated design programs came up with similar solutions.
Alan Morris, Emeritus professor of computational structural analysis, Cranfield University

11/01/07 Max Mosley has warned McLaren that they could start next year's campaign on a negative points score if any Ferrari ideas are found in the design of their 2008 car.

McLaren were excluded from the 2007 Constructors' Championship after it was found that their chief designer Mike Coughlan had obtained over 780 pages of the Scuderia's technical secrets from sacked Ferrari mechanic Nigel Stepney.

Aside from the exclusion and the hefty fine handed to McLaren, the FIA also ruled that McLaren's 2008 challenger would face strict scrutineering prior to the start of the new season.

The scrutineering, which will be done by "outside experts", is to ensure that the Woking team doesn't include any of Ferrari's intellectual property in the design of their new car.

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Glock vows to ’fight’ for Toyota seat

Timo Glock

(GMM) Newly crowned GP2 champion Timo Glock has confirmed reports that a contractual dispute with BMW-Sauber is currently standing in the way to his becoming a Toyota race driver in 2008.

It was reported on Friday that F1's Contract Recognition Board is refusing to certify the rookie German's three-year Toyota deal because of a conflict with his existing arrangement with BMW.

Glock was a BMW-Sauber test driver this year, and the Hinwil based team also possesses an option on his services as a test driver for 2008.

Asked by the German newspaper Bild on Saturday if he was disappointed that BMW is apparently blocking his promotion to Toyota, Glock replied: "I have a great chance with another great team to get a cockpit. At the moment BMW can not offer that to me.

"That is why I have to change to somewhere else," he added.

"Of course I am very grateful to BMW. They have helped me, I have helped them. But now I have the chance to take the next step.

"I really hope an solution will be reached," said Glock. "I have the opportunity to go from the bench to a proper position at a different top team -- and I will fight for that."


Williams plans 'early launch' for 2008 car
(GMM) Grove based Williams has scheduled an "early launch" for its 2008 car.

The Toyota-powered team's FW29 challenger was this year launched in February, mere weeks before the start of the 2007 season.

A season review distributed to the media explains that its successor, the FW30, will be released early, primarily to achieve high reliability next year.

A winter "interim car", meanwhile, will be used by Williams at the upcoming post-season tests.

"In terms of overall performance, narrowing the margin to the front runners, having concluded the season an average of eight tenths of a second behind the leading team, will be vital to the principal goal of elevating the team up the constructors' ladder," an excerpt from the season review said.


Furniture Row Racing signs Nemechek to 3 year deal
Furniture Row Racing announced that the Denver (CO)-based Nextel Cup Series organization signed a three-year contract with NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek. Nemechek, who has collected four Nextel Cup Series wins, nine pole awards and numerous front row starting spots since 1997, will drive for Furniture Row Racing’s #78 Nextel Cup Series team and will work with owners in efforts to build a second team in 2008. “We are thrilled to have Joe on board,” said Furniture Row Racing Team Manager Joe Garone. “We’re geared up to win in 2008 and planning for growth as we enter our third Nextel Cup season. After an extensive search and evaluation, we concluded that Joe is the man to get us where we need to be in 2008 and beyond. He is the best qualifier and best average finisher of available drivers. He’s also a great guy and a proven leader. When we put it all together, the choice was easy.” Furniture Row Racing announced plans last July to seek additional sponsorship for car #78 and to ultimately direct Furniture Row Racing sponsorship to formation of a second team. Implementation of the plan will become a priority in 2008, with guidance and support from Nemechek both on and off the track. Business Wire


Winterbottom dominates first Desert 400 race

Mark Winterbottom

Ford Performance Racing has begun the Desert 400 as it did last year with Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon driver Mark "Frosty" Winterbottom sizzling across the Bahrain International Circuit to take an unchallenged Pole position to checkered flag victory ahead of Holden rival Garth Tander and Ford driver Steve Johnson.

On the way to taking this superb victory, which was the second consecutive Bahrain opening race victory for the Prodrive team, 26 year old Winterbottom also set the fastest lap (1:25.258s) by an impressive 7/10ths of a second, on his way to a 7.4 second winning margin over Tander.

It was a different story for Castrol FPR Falcon driver Steve Richards, who after making a superb start from 19th to 13th place on the first lap, crashed into Holden driver Lee Holdsworth at the first caution period (caused by major crash involving Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and Paul Morris) re-start. This caused significant front end damage which required a long stop for repairs. Later in the race the 36 year old driver was given a pit lane drive through penalty for the accident. Richards finished the race in 25th position.

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Zuber stays fastest in GP2 test

Andy Zuber

Andy Zuber has finished the fourth and final day of the last GP2 Series test of 2007 in the position in which he has found himself for the majority of the week, taking the best time of the day, and the test on the final afternoon. Andy was desperately close to taking a new GP2 Series lap record for Super Nova, however that honor remains with Jose Maria Lopez, whose 1:12.547 remains the quickest lap on the 3D track formation.

For a while we thought we would be finishing the test with a new record as Giedo Van Der Garde recorded a 1:12.488, however the Dutchman was found to have cut the final corner and subsequently had his two fastest laps taken from him.

Andy Zuber

Pastor Maldonado was again impressive for Minardi, as Romain Grosjean put in the rookie performance of the test to wind up third. Fourth position went to the very impressive Adrian Zaugg in the BCN while Kazuki Nakajima come home fifth ahead of the equally impressive Yelmer Buurman, Luca Filippi, Borja Garcia, Davide Rigon and Adrian Valles.

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Musgrave wins wild truck race

A happy Ted Musgrave

The bizarre Silverado 350K NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway ended under caution Friday night with Ted Musgrave the race winner and Mike Skinner enjoying an uncharacteristically comfortable cushion over Ron Hornaday in the battle for the series championship.

Both Musgrave and Skinner survived a multi-truck wreck in the first corner on an attempted green-white-checkered-flag restart on Lap 148, when leader Chad McCumbee spun his tires approaching the start/finish line and then attempted to block Jack Sprague, who was running second.

McCumbee spun after contact with Sprague's Toyota, and both trucks hit the outside wall. Rick Crawford, Terry Cook and Erik Darnell also were collected in the wreck, which brought out the seventh and final caution of the race.

Brendan Gaughan was second, and Skinner eluded the spinning trucks to finish third. Mike Bliss came home fourth, followed by Crawford. Skinner left Texas with a 57-point lead over Hornaday, who finished 18th after an earlier wreck that involved both his truck and Skinner's.

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Cosworth forced to shelve ALMS engine

Cosworth XH engine

After three years, Cosworth has revealed to FeedMeSportsCars that their heavily touted 'XH' engine has shelved for lack of buyers. "At the time we believed our engine was a good competitor with power & torque to rival or better the competition but 3 years on with more competition and development who knows now," Ian Bisco said to FeedMeSportsCars.

"[W]e had several so say interested parties at the time but in reality I think they were just all waiting for Honda & Porsche hand outs and perhaps using us as leverage...one guy even signed a contract then disappeared," said Bisco.


No Grand-Am for Dyson in 2008

Andy Wallace in the Dyson Porsche at Sebring

For the new season, the Dysons are setting their sights firmly on the ALMS LMP2 Championship.

"For 2008 we intend to concentrate our energies and resources on the ALMS. Yes, this year we did have some frustration with our partial season in Grand-Am. We weren't running the car consistently enough to get to the point of refining the car, and we did suffer a streak of horrendous luck. It really didn't turn out to be the type of effort we expected," said Chris Dyson.

"We asked how they came to choose to divide their attention between two series.

"In late 2004, when we were running the two Lolas in the ALMS, my dad expressed an interest in driving again after a few years out of the cockpit. He really wanted to get back to Daytona in 2005, which we did with Michael Gue's Essex Racing. Later that spring, Max Crawford let us know he had a car about to become available and so we ran about a half dozen races partnering with Harrison Brix and we signed on for another six events the next year. Guy Smith and I did a few races in 2006 and we had two very competitive and entertaining races at Homestead and VIR. But the primary purpose of our being there was to maintain our family's engagement with the Watkins Glen and Daytona International Speedways. From our standpoint, yes, it was a different experience to have Howard Motorsports taking care of the car rather than our own Dyson Racing crew. We didn't have the logistical resources to run both series in-house, but thanks to Rick Howard and Max and Jan Crawford we were able to be in the Rolex Series on a small scale.

"When you look at what Grand-Am has done, and the level of competition in that series, to compete for a championship there you have to be in the series week in and week out. My dad and I were only able to do a half-dozen races together each year, and there were some great memories in there, but I think anyone who has been watching our team over the years know that we don't go to the races just to show up.

"I think Grand-Am has made some significant strides with their series but they do have some new challenges ahead with several new manufacturers coming in. I think that we will simply be interested observers for a while and see how that all develops. Balancing the new marques coming in will be a challenge for them. But I think that, long term, Grand-Am has to remain on your radar if you are in road racing.

"I think that, if and when we decide to focus on a Grand-Am effort again we will do so on a more engaged level. To be honest, we are a small team with finite resources. I think that next year our top goal has to be to concentrate on an ALMS championship and then we can take it from there. We are certainly committed to the ALMS for 2008."


Statement from Brian France, concerning New Hampshire track sale

Brian France

Today’s announcement that Speedway Motorsports Inc. has purchased New Hampshire International Speedway is yet another indication that the NASCAR industry continues to grow and thrive. Capitalizing on NASCAR’s national appeal and growth, the Bahre family created a passionate fan base and developed a valuable venue that has hosted the largest sporting events in New England including 26 consecutive sellouts.

The success of NHIS, and the desire of the Bahre family to sell, made the track very attractive to SMI and several other interested buyers. SMI has a highly regarded record for hosting some of the most successful and enjoyable race events in all of NASCAR, and there’s no doubt that will continue. While we don’t have any details about SMI’s plans for NHIS, all sanctions for 2008 have been signed and finalized. As a result, there will be no location changes to the 2008 schedule that was released last month. This is important to the fans, competitors, broadcast partners and sponsors who have already made plans for the 2008 races.

Looking beyond 2008, NASCAR will continue to consider requests by any track operator, including SMI, to relocate race dates. Under NASCAR’s “realignment” plan, we have worked with track owners to relocate race dates to meet the needs of our growing national fan base. Ultimately, any change must meet NASCAR’s objectives and serve our fans. The industry owes Bob and Gary Bahre a debt of gratitude for their leadership and commitment to NASCAR. All of NASCAR wishes the Bahre family well during this time of transition. They will always be considered pioneers in NASCAR. NASCAR PR


Coleman signs with Hall of Fame Racing
Rookie driver Brad Coleman, only a few short weeks after signing for a full-time ride with Brewco Motorsports in the Busch Series, has turned around and signed another contract to go Sprint Cup racing in 2008 with Hall of Fame Racing. The 19-year-old Texas native has agreed to become a full-time test driver for the team and run at least seven Cup races at the end of the 2008 season; meaning Hall of Fame will add a second car along side the #96 piloted by J.J. Yeley. Following proper development, Coleman will pilot the Cup ride at Hall of Fame Racing full time in 2009, although a sponsor and number for the entry has yet to be determined. NASCAR.com


Aflac to be primary sponsor of No. 99
Aflac has reached a deal with Office Depot to serve as primary sponsor of Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 99 NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford, which is driven by Carl Edwards, for eight races next season.  Aflac will also be an associate sponsor for all remaining races.  Aflac entered NASCAR this year as the sport’s official supplemental insurance partner and sponsored eight total Nextel Cup and Busch Series races with four RFR drivers  Aflac PR


RoC track layout unveiled

RoC track layout in Wembley Stadium

Race of Champions organizers have revealed the track layout that will be used for this year's event at Wembley in December.

The layout is completely different from the one used in Paris in recent years, and the organizers are upbeat about the new design, which will feature off-camber corners due to the ground level around the edge of the arena.

Event co-founder Michele Mouton said: "We have tested the new layout and from that we can see that it will be very interesting.

"Working at Wembley will prevent some issues we haven't encountered before. The ground slopes away from the pitch and we have to work on this, which will be the main problem for me."

Work begins at the stadium in four weeks' time, and assistant race director Marc Dues believes that the camber will make the action more spectacular.

"We have four corners with opposite camber," he said. "It gives the cars certain roll, they have less grip than in a normal corner so we hope that it will provide even more spectacular racing."

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track news

Rockingham to host ARCA RE/MAX Series

Rockingham when NASCAR ran there

The doors are again swinging at Rockingham Speedway (formerly North Carolina Speedway) in Rockingham, North Carolina, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series is positioned to lead the charge through the gates.

Speedway President Andy Hillenburg has announced the ARCA RE/MAX Series will compete at the historic, high-banked, one-mile oval on Sunday, May 4th, 2008. The event has been named the “Carolina 500” and will be the inaugural event at Rockingham since Hillenburg took ownership of the property on November 1st, 2007.

“Racing has been gone from Rockingham way too long,” said Hillenburg, the 1995 ARCA RE/MAX Series driving champion and one of the few drivers to race in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500.

“We’re really looking forward to hosting the Carolina 500 and making this race one of the cornerstones of the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule as well as the marquis event for Rockingham Speedway.”

Hillenburg also announced that the event, spread out over three days, would feature the largest purse on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour and the largest starting field with 50 cars in the line-up. The event will also include first- and second-round qualifying on Saturday, May 3rd, with a happy hour to follow Saturday afternoon. The race is scheduled to roll off at 12-noon local time Sunday afternoon.

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NASCAR TV ratings continue to plummet UPDATE The final TV rating for last Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup: Pep Boys Auto 500 on ABC was a 4.0, down 17% from last year's 4.8 final on NBC.

10/29/07 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Pep Boys Auto 500 on ABC Sunday was a 3.5, down 17% from last year's overnight of 4.2/8 Share on NBC.  The final last year was a 4.8/10 Share, so it will be interesting to see what this year's final will come in as.  NBC wisely opted not to bid on the contract this time around after losing their shirt on the last contract.  We can only imagine how much money ABC is losing given the even lower TV ratings coupled with all the money they are spending promoting NASCAR on all their various platforms.  It must really sting the bean counters at ABC/ESPN.


Castroneves, Hough waltz into IMS

Helio on last week's show

Without hesitation, Helio Castroneves pointed out both of his likenesses on the Borg-Warner Trophy to "Dancing With The Stars" partner Julianne Hough.

"Of course I know where they are on the trophy," two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves said Nov. 2 after escorting Hough on a brief tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. "I'm sure she's thinking another trophy, and I'm doing my best to make it happen."

What better place to find inspiration for victory as the wildly popular ABC-TV show enters Week 7? And to unearth the drive for seven-plus hours of daily rehearsal? The couple performs the Tango and Samba on the show at 8 p.m. (ET), Monday, Nov. 5.

"I hadn't told her about the Borg-Warner Trophy when we were talking about this trip, but when you're in the Museum you're a legend. And now she'll look at me like a legend," joked Castroneves, flashing the charisma that has made him the top contender to win the celebrity competition.

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track news

SMI buys NHIS for $340M
Speedway Motorsports, Inc. has agreed to purchase New Hampshire International Speedway from Bob and Gary Bahre for $340 million in cash. The agreement was announced today by O. Bruton Smith, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008.

To align with other SMI-owned speedway brands, the track will be renamed New Hampshire Motor Speedway following completion of the acquisition.

The speedway, which opened in 1990 and hosts two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events each year, is located about one hour north of Boston in Loudon, N.H. According to the latest census numbers, the population within 200 miles of the speedway is more than 18 million people. The venue is easily accessible via Interstate highways from all metro areas in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

Located on approximately 1,100 acres, the multi-use complex is the largest sports facility in New England and features a 1.058-mile oval speedway, with chair-back seating for 92,000 spectators, and a 1.6-mile road course.

The speedway hosts the only NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events held in the six-state New England region. Both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races regularly sell out and exceed the NFL Super Bowl in attendance.

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track news

Paving starts on new IMS road course
Asphalt paving has started on the new road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with work underway in Turns 7, 8 and 9 behind the Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

All paving should be completed by the end of November with favorable weather, said Kevin Forbes, IMS director of engineering and construction.

Construction on the new road course began July 30, one day after the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. All construction will be finished by Opening Day for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on May 4, 2008.

The 16-turn course will debut during the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP race Sept. 12-14, 2008.


Crowds thrilled by Speedcar debut
Race tracks across Asia and the Middle-East will never be the same again after the Speedcar Series made its thrilling debut at the Bahrain International Circuit today.

Many supporters flocked to the circuit to see the cars that will take part in the new-for-2008 competition hit the track together for the very first time. Speedcar's drivers have been pushing their cars close to the limit, staging daring overtaking maneuvers on each other.

All Speedcar drivers are on hand during the 2-day meeting, which concludes tomorrow (November 3). The mix of internationally-renowned racers have already taken to the circuit to make a spectacular first impression and show the fans exactly what they can expect when the series begins at the Dubai Autodrome on January 26 next year.

Away from the action, tomorrow visitors will also be able to meet their heroes in person and receive an autograph, adding to their already special memory of being 'there' at the event where Speedcar Series made its stunning entry into worldwide sport.

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McLaren confirms Alonso split UPDATE McLaren Statement in Full:

McLaren have just confirmed the departure of Fernando Alonso in a press release. Here's their statement in full: 'Following a meeting between Fernando Alonso and McLaren, it was agreed that it would be in the best interests of both parties to bring the relationship to an end. 'The mutual parting of ways has not been discussed until now, since it was felt that any such discussion could have seriously disrupted the team's and Fernando's 2007 Formula 1 World Championship challenge. Both parties believe that this was the right decision.


"Since I was a boy I had always wanted to drive for McLaren, but sometimes in life things do not work out. I continue to believe that McLaren is a great team. Yes, we have had our ups and downs during the season, which has made it extra-challenging for all of us, and it is not a secret that I never really felt at home. I know there have been suggestions of favoritism within the team and people say a lot of things in the heat of battle, but in the end I was always provided with an equal opportunity to win. Today's decision allows all of us to focus on 2008, and I wish the team, Vodafone, Banco Santander, Mutua Madrileña and all the other team Partners who I have worked closely with during the year, the best for the future."


"Everybody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, especially McLaren's Spanish Partners Banco Santander and Mutua Madrileña and the team's title partner Vodafone, want to wish Fernando all the best for the future. He is a great driver but for some reason the combination of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Fernando has not really worked out, and in the end we reached a stage where none of us could find a way to move forward. We all believe that our joint decision to part company is for the best, and we will now continue to focus on our 2008 World Championship challenge." Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will announce any additions to its existing driver line-up in due course.'

11/02/07 (GMM) McLaren confirmed reports on Friday that Fernando Alonso has left the team at the end of an acrimonious season.

The Woking based team released a statement to the press explaining that both parties have "agreed to move on".

26-year-old Alonso's manager Luis Garcia Abad told Spanish media that no financial penalties or compensation are part of the split, and that the double world champion is free to join any other team in 2008.

Renault, Red Bull and Williams are reportedly front of the queue to receive the Spaniard next year before joining Ferrari in 2009, it has been speculated over recent days and weeks.

Alonso, explaining that he "never felt at home" at the British team, said in the McLaren statement: "Since I was a boy I had always wanted to drive for McLaren, but sometimes in life things do not work out."

Team boss Ron Dennis added: "He is a great driver but for some reason the combination of McLaren-Mercedes and Fernando has not really worked out, and in the end we reached a stage where none of us could find a way to move forward."

Williams' Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen, who debuted for Renault in 2007, are favourites to replace Alonso at McLaren.


Stoner fastest....again
As has been the case pretty much all year, Casey Stoner turned the fastest lap in Friday practice for this weekend's MotoGP race in Valencia.


Rider Team Time
1 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 32.968s
2 Sylvain Guintoli Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 1m 33.084s
3 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 33.150s
4 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 1m 33.319s
5 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 33.501s
6 Randy de Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 33.519s
7 Alex Barros Pramac D’Antin 1m 33.541s
8 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 33.620s
9 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 33.650s
10 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 33.680s
11 Carlos Checa Honda LCR 1m 33.831s
12 Makoto Tamada Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 1m 33.899s
13 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 33.972s
14 Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 34.000s
15 Toni Elias Honda Gresini 1m 34.218s
16 Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda 1m 34.352s
17 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 34.413s
18 Chaz Davies Pramac D’Antin 1m 35.029s


McLaren seat would be 'dream' - Sutil manager
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil's manager on Friday said there has been "no contact" with McLaren about replacing Fernando Alonso in 2008.

Shortly after the Woking based team on Friday confirmed the departure of double world champion Alonso, Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann was asked by the news agency 'sid' if the German rookie would make an ideal alternative.

The sweetener of the deal would be that, while Alonso clashed with McLaren newcomer Lewis Hamilton in 2007, the British rookie and Sutil are old F3 teammates and still close friends in the paddock.

But Zimmermann told the German agency on Friday: "There has still been no contact with McLaren-Mercedes.

"For Adrian, of course, it would be a dream."

Rookie Sutil often impressed observers with his performances for Spyker this season, and while he has a contract for next year, the parties have not yet confirmed their continuing pairing for 2008.

Indeed, Zimmermann said on Friday that Sutil has several potential options on the table and that he expects a decision in the next two or three weeks.

He added: "We are not in a hurry."


Experts ponder Alonso-McLaren split
(GMM) As formula one fans digest the news that Fernando Alonso is back on the driver market, some of the sport's experts are split over whether the decision is a good move for the Spaniard or McLaren.

"He lost the world championship by one point and if he'd have thought hard enough over the winter I'm sure he could've come back fighting next year with McLaren against (Lewis) Hamilton," Gary Anderson, formerly technical boss at Jaguar and Jordan, told the Irish broadcaster Setanta.

It is speculated that the 26-year-old could be bound for Renault, Williams or Red Bull, while the favorites for Alonso's McLaren seat are Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen.

Anderson said he can imagine a move for Alonso to Red Bull.

"(Renault boss) Flavio Briatore basically manages Mark Webber, so it wouldn't be wrong to see Webber disappearing to Renault and Alonso's coming into Red Bull," he added.

Michael Schumacher, meanwhile, said last week that he doubts Alonso is limbering up for a switch to Ferrari -- even if he has to spend a season at a private team.

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Spanish sponsors set to stay at McLaren
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso's departure from McLaren has blown a hole in the formula one driver market, but apparently not in the British team's budget.

It was reported recently that, should the double world champion depart ahead of the 2008 season, boss Ron Dennis could also be facing an exodus of its Spanish sponsors.

Dennis told Spanish media recently that all of McLaren's contracts with Spanish backers "make no reference" to specific drivers.

He nonetheless travelled recently to Spain, and according to local newspapers dined and played golf with Emilio Botin, the boss of McLaren's biggest Spanish sponsor Santander, a banking group.

Another McLaren backer, the Madrid based insurance company Mutua Madrilena, had followed Alonso from Renault to McLaren at the end of the year, signing a long term contract estimated at $8m per year.

Through quotes attributed to Alonso and Dennis, McLaren on Friday suggested that while the Spanish driver is departing, the sponsors are staying put.

"I wish the team, Vodafone, Banco Santander, Mutua Madrilena and all the other team Partners who I have worked closely with during the year, the best for the future," the statement quoted Alonso as saying.

Dennis added: "Everybody at McLaren Mercedes, especially McLaren's Spanish Partners Banco Santander and Mutua Madrilena and the team's title partner Vodafone, want to wish Fernando all the best for the future."

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The full Saturday and Sunday TV listings are now shown below.  Note that Daylight Savings Time ends at 2:00 am on Sunday.  Set clocks back one hour.


Courtesy of TVRacer.com
The Chase is On -Preview Texas
12:00am-12:30am (R) SPEED
12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Practice Fort Worth
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Fort Worth
1:00pm-2:30pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Fort Worth
2:30pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
2:30pm-3:00pm ESPN2
Go or Go Home Fort Worth
4:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Fort Worth
4:30pm-6:30pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Fort Worth
6:30pm-7:30pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Fort Worth
7:30pm-8:30pm SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Silverado 350K Fort Worth
8:30pm-9:00pm (L) -Pre-race
9:00pm-11:30pm (L) -Race SPEED

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Alonso manager confirms McLaren split
(GMM) Fernando Alonso's manager has confirmed that the 26-year-old Spaniard is free to leave McLaren ahead of the 2008 season.

Widespread Spanish sources - including the news agency EFE and newspapers Diario As, El Mundo Deportivo and Marca - said Alonso's legal representatives successfully negotiated a split in meetings at McLaren's Woking (UK) headquarters on Thursday and Friday morning.

The double world champion, who signed a multi year contract with boss Ron Dennis that began in 2007, reportedly does not need to pay any compensation to McLaren, and is free to join any rival team next year.

"Fernando will no longer be with McLaren," Alonso's manager Luis Garcia Abad is quoted as telling Diario As.

He added: "I can confirm that. He is free to join any other team next season."

A McLaren spokeswoman would not comment on the strengthening reports, but it is expected that the team will make an announcement about the newly vacant seat in the coming hours or days.


Carpentier to test at Memphis Monday
Canadian Patrick Carpentier is scheduled to test the #10 Nextel Cup Series car for Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) on Monday, Nov. 5, at Memphis Motorsports Park. Carpentier will take over the driving duties of the #10 Dodge for the final two Cup races of the season (in Phoenix and Homestead) and full time in 2008. Fans can watch testing sessions at the NASCAR oval from Grandstand G at no charge. The garage and infield are not open to the public. Schedule subject to change. Test times vary. NASCAR returns to Memphis Motorsports Park in June 2008 with the Craftsman Truck Series, and October 2008 with the Nationwide Series. Season tickets are on sale now at MemphisMotorsportsPark.com and by phone toll-free at 1-866-40-SPEED. Memphis Motorsports Park PR


Super Nova sign Christian Bakkerud for GP2 Asia
Just two days before his 23rd birthday, Christian Bakkerud is pleased to confirm that he has signed a deal to race for the top British GP2 squad, Super Nova International Racing, in the GP2 Asia series starting in January 2008


Atlantic female makes GP2 debut
Pastor Maldonado has set the pace on the third afternoon of GP2 Series testing at Circuit Paul Ricard. The Venezuelan who is making his return to the GP2 Series this week after recovering from a broken collar bone which had ruled him out of the final races of the 2007 season, set a best time of 1:13.094 to beat Mike Conway who was testing today for Minardi Piquet Sports by just over a tenth of a second.

Third fastest in the afternoon was Luca Filippi who had another impressive day, this time for Racing Engineering. Ben Hanley was the fastest of the rookies, taking fourth for Minardi Piquet Sports on his first full day of this test. This morning's fastest driver Andi Zuber was fifth fastest in the afternoon and will team up with Luca Filippi tomorrow at Super Nova International, the team which holds the track record on this "3D" circuit layout.

There was much attention this afternoon on the #25 Campos Grand Prix car as Champ Car Atlantic graduate Simona De Silvestro became the first female driver to take part in an official GP2 Series session. She acquitted herself well to her new surroundings, posting a fastest lap of 1:15.049 to finish 22nd, just 1.5 seconds behind her team-mate for the afternoon, Valencia race winner Vitaly Petrov.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • CRB to rule on contract conflict for Glock
  • Rival state approached to poach Melbourne GP
  • Prodrive entry should be reopened - Jordan
  • Kimi deserves title says Mercedes' Haug

CRB to rule on contract conflict for Glock
(GMM)  The immediate future of newly crowned GP2 champion Timo Glock's formula one career is currently in the hands of the sport's Contract Recognition Board (CRB).

The German newspaper Bild-Zeitung reports that Toyota recently lodged a contract with the board so that Glock, 25, can race alongside Jarno Trulli in 2008.

But the CRB subsequently informed BMW-Sauber of the development, because the Hinwil based team has the first option on Glock for next year to retain him as a test driver.

BMW's Mario Theissen, who has already confirmed that Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica will stay in the race cockpits next year, has told Glock that he is free to race in 2008, but apparently only after his new team seeks permission to sign a contract with the German rookie.

Bild claims that Glock's potential Toyota deal is worth more than (US) $7 million -- ten times his potential retainer if he stays as a BMW-Sauber tester.

"Timo has a contract," Theissen clarified to Bild.  "We were informed by the CRB that a conflicting contract was filed.  We will wait for their decision."

Glock's manager, Hans-Bernd Kamps, commented: "In the interests of Timo, we are hoping for a reasonable solution as quickly as possible."

Rival state approached to poach Melbourne GP
(GMM)  Melbourne's grand prix crisis has deepened even further, with reports that formula one officials have approached a rival Australian government with a proposal to move the race from Albert Park.

Following revelations of record losses and the flagging support of the Victorian government, the newspaper Gold Coast Bulletin claims the Queensland government was contacted some time ago by representatives of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

The Queensland government said it would give any proposal "appropriate consideration" but is reluctant to take on "someone else's (A)$35 million bill".

Melbourne's current grand prix contact runs until 2010.

Queensland Events Corporation chairman Des Power confirmed: "It was a clandestine approach but the price tag was enormous."

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track news

Bruton Smith to purchase NHIS
Bruton Smith, Speedway Motorsports Chairman and owner of Lowe's Motor Speedway, has completed a deal to purchase New Hampshire International Speedway from owner Bob Bahre.

A formal announcement of the purchase is expected during a news conference at 12:30 p.m. Eastern on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, site of Sunday's Dickies 500 and one of six tracks Smith currently owns.

On Friday, Smith is expected to announce only the purchase of the track in Loudon, N.H., and not speculate on any plans to move either of its two Nextel Cup Series race dates, multiple sources said.

Smith has previously stated his desire to add a second Cup date to his track in Las Vegas. He also has expressed interest in an earlier date for his second Texas race to avoid a conflict with the opening of white-tail deer hunting season.

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McDowell to make NASCAR Busch Series debut

Michael McDowell in his first of two Champ Car races in 2005

ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie of the Year Michael McDowell will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. A former Star Mazda Series champion, McDowell will pilot the No. 00 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota from the Michael Waltrip Racing stable for the final three races of the Busch Series schedule.

McDowell is coming off a four-win season in ARCA, one that earned him second place honors in the series championship standings. He also recently made his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway.

While McDowell has visited many tracks-thanks in part to his eclectic background of sports car racing, open-wheel racing, and stock cars, this will be his first trek to Texas Motor Speedway. The prospect of making his series debut at the Fort Worth, Texas quad- oval has the Arizona native intrigued:

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Castroneves, Hough will dance in Indianapolis
IndyCar Series star Helio Castroneves and his "Dancing with the Stars" partner Julianne Hough will dance in Indianapolis on Nov. 2.

Helio on last week's show

Castroneves and Hough, who are among six couples still competing on ABC's top-ranked show, will perform during "Indianapolis Motor Speedway Night" at the Indiana Pacers-Miami Heat basketball game at Conseco Fieldhouse.  Prior to the game, Castroneves and Hough will participate in a pre-game "Campaign Rally" hosted by WIBC-AM in the Ober Parking Lot, located just north of Conseco Fieldhouse off Delaware Street. "Vote for Helio" T-shirts and buttons will be available to fans attending the rally. This event is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m.


Andretti Green ready to groom Mutoh
Five years ago IndyCar Series powerhouse Andretti Green Racing had a hole to fill in its driver lineup. With the impending retirement of team co-owner Michael Andretti, the team turned to a young development driver from Panther Racing by the name of Dan Wheldon.

Wheldon, who had two IndyCar Series starts under his belt in 2002, went on to capture Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors for AGR in 2003 before winning the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series championship in 2005.

Five years later, AGR faced a similar situation with the loss of Indianapolis 500 winner and series champion Dario Franchitti. Once again, they've turned to a young development driver from Panther Racing to fill the void.

Hideki Mutoh

Twenty-five-year-old Hideki Mutoh, who won the Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year award in the Indy Pro Series in 2007, will take over the No. 27 machine for AGR.

Mutoh won two Indy Pro Series races and recorded 10 top-five finishes before capping off his first season in the United States with an eighth-place finish in the IndyCar Series season finale at Chicagoland Speedway.

"We believed as a company in the Indy Pro Series since we got involved two years ago," AGR co-owner Kim Green said. "Those race cars are difficult to drive, and a driver that can run up front with those race cars and win can make it to the next step, which is the IndyCar Series. Then it's all about the opportunity.

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industry news

GM reports stronger volume, Ford down
GM dealers in the United States delivered 310,008 vehicles in October, 8,700 more vehicles when compared with year-ago performance, outpacing an industry expected to show a volume decline of about 4 percent.

For the third consecutive month, on an unadjusted basis, total sales increased, with October up 3 percent. When adjusted for selling days, sales declined 1 percent. It is anticipated that GM will see its fourth consecutive month with market share above 24 percent. Since August, market share is up more than 1 point, to 25.1 percent, compared with the same three month period last year.

The month's 229,294 retail deliveries demonstrated solid performance despite continuing industry softness. GM retail sales were led by brisk retail sales of full-size utilities, mid-utility crossovers, the Cadillac CTS, and the Chevrolet Aveo, Cobalt and HHR. The Saturn division showed yet another retail sales increase, up 7 percent.

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racing news

Honda announces leadership changes at HPD

Robert Clarke

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. announced today that effective January 1, 2008, Robert Clarke, President of Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), in Santa Clarita, California, will move to a new executive advisory role at HPD, a position he will hold until his retirement from Honda on June 30, 2008.  Named as the new president of HPD (effective 1/1/08) is Erik Berkman, currently Executive Engineer, Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Raymond, Ohio.

Erik Berkman

Erik Berkman, a 25-year veteran of Honda and one of R&D’s most experienced new model project leaders, brings to HPD a wealth of Honda knowledge and experience.   With a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue University, Erik started his Honda career at the Honda of America Mfg., Inc., Marysville Auto Plant in 1982, managing a variety of quality-control and product-engineering departments.   Following Marysville, Erik moved to the Anna Engine Plant, Anna, Ohio, and continued his work in quality control and product engineering.

In 1991, Erik was transferred to Honda R&D Americas, Inc. to work on the Accord wagon, Honda R&D’s first U.S.-designed and developed vehicle.  In 1996, Erik became Chief Engineer, having led pre-development of the 1999 Odyssey, and served as the Large Project Leader (LPL) of the 1998 Accord coupe.   In 1999, Erik was promoted to Executive Engineer, serving as the LPL for a variety of U.S.-developed vehicles, including the Acura CL and Acura’s very successful and best selling TL.

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Sprint Nextel losing subscribers
Not only is NASCAR's TV ratings and attendance dropping, it's title sponsor Sprint Nextel is also losing subscribers at an alarming rate. Look for them to try and find a way out of their NASCAR contract early because obviously it is not working.

Sprint Nextel's profit fell 77 percent in the third quarter as it lost more subscribers, and it warned of continued weakness in the fourth quarter, sending shares down 5 percent Thursday.

The third-largest U.S. mobile service provider, which is searching for a new chief executive, also reported quarterly revenue that was below Wall Street expectations and withdrew its 2008 forecast for operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA).

"Overall I think they're pretty disappointing results. It seems like all channels were weak in the quarter," said Stanford Group analyst Michael Nelson. "The outlook looks equally disappointing with no real turnaround in sight."

industry news

Chrysler to slash 12,000 jobs
Chrysler LLC said Thursday it would cut 12,000 jobs in North America through 2008, including up to 10,000 hourly workers, as it retrenches in the face of lower than expected demand for its cars and trucks.

In addition to the elimination of shifts at five assembly plants, including Jefferson North and Sterling Heights, Chrysler said it would also trim workers at other plants. The moves come on top of the 13,000 job cuts under announced in February under its previous turnaround plan. Chrysler Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Nardelli said in a statement that the automaker was moving now because it expected industry sales to run “significantly lower” than the 17.2 million vehicles it had expected for 2007, with the weakness stretching into 2008.

“We have to move now to adjust the way our company looks and acts to reflect a smaller market,” said President and Vice Chairman Tom LaSorda in a statement. “That means a cost base that is right-sized and an appropriate level of plant utilization.”


Bill Davis Racing signs Michael Annett
Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced today that Michael Annett will join the team in 2008 to drive a BDR entry in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Annett will compete in 10 ARCA races during the 2008 campaign and will also participate in a very intensive testing program, which competition director Tommy Baldwin will oversee.

The 21-year-old Des Moines, Iowa native has already made his name known in the racing world. For the last several years, Annett has run in the ASA Late Model Series and has an impressive 60 percent top-10 completion rate. In 2007, Annett decided to take a stab at the next level of competition and set his sights on the ARCA RE/MAX Series.  Annett showed the rest of the field he was a natural, compiling one win, one pole, two top-five and four top-10 finishes in only four starts.

“Michael is a natural,” said Bill Davis.  “He is a young, but very talented driver and he showcased that at Talladega earlier this month.  I am thrilled to give him the opportunity to join our program.  I think he is a talent we will hear a lot about in the future.”

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Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE See updates in red below.

  • Hamilton signs $10m computer game deal
  • Villeneuve rules out F1 return
  • I could have matched Hamilton says tester
  • Press slams Mosley's Hamilton 'attack'
  • Hamilton selects luxury pad in Geneva
  • Kovalainen admits 'interesting' options for 2008 New
  • Raikkonen deserves to keep title - Kovalainen New

Hamilton signs $10m computer game deal
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has signed a (US) $10m exclusive licensing deal to feature in his own computer videogame in the near future.

After a debut formula one season in which he regularly spoke about learning circuits and attempting to develop his relationship with Fernando Alonso with the help of a PlayStation, the 2007 championship runner-up and rookie's deal is reportedly with American developer EA (Electronic Arts).

The British newspaper The Sun speculates that releases of the first Hamilton game will be on the "Xbox and PlayStation" consoles.

F1's exclusive video gaming rights, however, currently belong to EA rival Sony Computer Entertainment, leading to speculation about what form the upcoming Hamilton game will take. It is also suggested that the F1 rights could move from Sony to EA.

British newspapers also reveal that the 22-year-old will give his first major television interview next week on veteran host Michael Parkinson's show.

Villeneuve rules out F1 return
(GMM) Jacques Villeneuve has ruled out returning to formula one in the near future.

The 1997 world champion has raced in the famous Le Mans 24 hour race and in American stock car events since being pushed out of his BMW-Sauber seat in favor of Robert Kubica last year.

And whilst preparing to drive in Friday's Craftsman Truck Series race in Texas, the 36-year-old said: "I'm done with F1.

"I spent a lot of years there and gave it everything I had. I don't think I would have energy for F1 right now," Villeneuve added.

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Luca Filippi fastest at Paul Ricard test
Luca Filippi has set the pace in both morning and afternoon sessions at Circuit Paul Ricard for ART Grand Prix Wednesday. The Italian set the fastest lap of the day in the afternoon session with a 1:12.853 narrowly missing out on beating Andi Zuber's best lap from yesterday despite today's running being disrupted by light, intermittent rain.

Second fastest this afternoon was the aforementioned Zuber who had switched over to Campos Grand Prix, while Sebastien Buemi put in a great afternoon to take third for Arden International. Fourth fastest was Andy Soucek for DPR with Vitaly Petrov fifth for Campos. Davide Valsecchi was the quickest rookie in sixth for ART Grand Prix, while Kamui Kobayashi who had impressed in the morning blotted his copy book with a spin into the barriers which took out his left front suspension and relegated him to the bottom of the timesheets.


Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1 Luca Filippi ART Grand Prix 1:12.853 40
2 Andreas Zuber Campos Grand Prix 1:13.084 45
3 Sebastien Buemi Arden International 1:13.300 34
4 Andy Soucek DPR 1:13.447 28
5 Vitaly Petrov Campos Grand Prix 1:13.583 36
6 Davide Valsecchi ART Grand Prix 1:13.587 28
7 Adrian Valles FMS International 1:13.832 51
8 Oliver Jarvis DPR 1:13.904 37
9 Pastor Maldonado iSport International 1:13.944 25
10 Mikhail Aleshin DAMS 1:13.966 31
11 Jerome D'Ambrosio Arden International 1:13.992 33
12 Markus Niemela Racing Engineering 1:14.021 41
13 Dani Clos BCN Competicion 1:14.033 47
14 Matteo Puglisi Minardi Piquet Sports 1:14.081 26
15 Christian Bakkerud Super Nova International 1:14.099 33
16 Marcos Martinez Racing Engineering 1:14.227 42
17 Alberto Valerio Trident Racing 1:14.370 39
18 Paolo Nocera BCN Competicion 1:14.435 25
19 Diego Nunes Minardi Piquet Sports 1:14.546 31
20 Michael Herck Trident Racing 1:14.550 39
21 Carlos Iaconelli Durango 1:14.591 42
22 Jonathan Kennard iSport International 1:14.594 55
23 Maro Engel FMS International 1:14.786 43
24 Celso Miguez Super Nova International 1:14.796 33
25 Vladimr Arabadzhiev Durango 1:16.228 54
26 Kamui Kobayashi DAMS 1:19.099 4

track news

Singapore to also build permanent road course
The Singapore government does not do things by halves. Having agreed to stage a night time Formula 1 street race, it has now decided to build a permanent circuit as well to help boost the country's motor sports industry.

"The government has identified the motor sports industry as a growth industry that will contribute to sports development and the economy in Singapore," says Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister for community development, youth and sports. "In our discussions with the private sector, industry players shared that the development of a permanent racetrack is critical for us to develop a comprehensive motor sports industry."

The government has requested design tenders for a track to be built at Changi (the main airport). The winner bidder would be required to host a minimum of three international races and two national series each year. The facility will be fully funded by the private sector but the bidder will pay the government price for the land. The facility would be a Grade 2 track - not good enough for F1 - and there would be a deal for 30 years. Other facilities will include a racing and driver training school and a top level karting track. The circuit will be built on land by the sea close to Changi Airport.

Balakrishnan also announced a cross-government agency working group, led by the Singapore Sports Council, to develop a comprehensive motorsports industry development plan. Grandprix.com

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