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DATE News (chronologically)
11/08/07
cc

PCM Tecate cars prepared for season finale


Mario Dominguez in the Tecate car

Hometown Hero: Recently honored with the title “The Official Driver of Mexico City” by mayor Marcelo Ebrard, Mario Dominguez is the hometown hero.   To the delight of his enthusiastic fans, Mario will carry the colors of his country and his primary sponsor, TECATE with a special livery at this weekend’s season finale.

A Mexican Success Story: Mexico has been kind to Alex Figge.  He won his first Atlantic race in Monterrey and finished sixth in Mexico City while making his Grand Am debut.  His team mate, Mario Dominguez knows his way around his home circuit; he finished third at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 2003.

Dominguez and Figge sign autographs for Mexican kids

Creating Race Fans: Mario Dominguez and Alex Figge surprised 81 children this with gifts and words of inspiration at the Adulam Orphange in Mexico City today.  Christmas came early for the children as Bridgestone and PCM donated toys for all of the children.  The kids will visit Mario and Alex at work this weekend as they experience the thrills of Champ Car firsthand.

Meet Alex: Alex Figge and his #29 pit crew will be giving a pitstop demonstration Thursday night at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez.  Fans will get the chance to experience the thrills of pitstops up close and meet Alex!

Read more & Comment...

11/08/07
industry news

Wall Street Wonders as GM Wanders
A day after General Motors Corp. reported a record $39 billion loss for the third quarter, several analysts downplayed its significance but warned that the automaker's profits will continue to be threatened by declining sales and cost pressures. GM said the loss, one of the biggest quarterly corporate deficits ever, was mainly the result of a $38.6 billion noncash charge related to accumulated deferred tax credits.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker also reported a loss of $757 million from its 49 percent stake in GMAC Financial Services, due largely to losses at GMAC's mortgage arm.

The results, which fell dramatically short of Wall Street projections, sent GM shares tumbling $2.11, or 6.1 percent, to close Wednesday at $33.95.

The drop continued Thursday, with GM shares falling another $1.22, or 3.6 percent, to $32.73 in afternoon trading. Over the past 52 weeks, the Detroit-based automaker's shares have traded between $28.49 and $43.20. cnbc.com

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11/08/07
track news

Sutcliffe backs Silverstone Bid
Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has thrown his weight behind plans to redevelop Silverstone and warned it would be a "massive blow" were the country to lose the British Grand Prix. (We hear these stupid rumors/threats every year. England will never lose its GP.)

Sutcliffe visited the circuit to see the plans for redevelopment that are currently being considered by two councils.

Silverstone's owners insist the future of the British Grand Prix hinges on permission for the redevelopment being given - and without a lengthy delay - and Sutcliffe promised his support.

Sutcliffe said: "We have talked about this fantastic decade of sport in Britain coming up with the Olympics, possibly the Commonwealth Games and the rugby and football World Cup bids, and to lose the British Grand Prix would be a massive blow and we really don't want to do that.

"We realize that other countries will be making bids as well so it is vitally important that Silverstone has a united front.

"We have said we are prepared to help in any way we could." More at Sporting Life

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11/08/07
cc

Au Revoir Sebastien

Bourdais' last Champ Car race car livery for Mexico City

Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has created a commemorative "Au Revoir Sebastien" livery for the Gran Premio Tecate Presented by Banamex Champ Car season finale this weekend in Mexico City, Mexico.
 
The design scheme on the No. 1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone race car has four Vanderbilt Cup decals on the nose and Champ Car-designed "Win" and "Pole" decals run along each side of the car in the order they were earned beginning with his first pole in St. Petersburg, Fla. in his Champ Car debut in 2003 and his first win in Brands Hatch, England, Round 4 of 18 in 2003.  Since his debut in 2003, he has earned 30 wins and 31 poles in 72 starts. 
 
The regular practice is that decals for the current season be displayed but this car shows all of the wins and poles during his Champ Car career.  The design was suggested by the McDonald's crew, led by Chief Mechanic Pedro Campuzano. NHLR PR

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11/08/07
roc

Alister McRae replaces Colin at RoC
Alister McRae will replace his late brother Colin alongside David Coulthard in Scotland's team at this year's Race of Champions event at Wembley.  Colin McRae was killed along with his five-year-old son Johnny in a helicopter accident near his home in September.

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11/08/07
track news

2008 IMS race tickets go on sale
Tickets for all three world-class events in 2008 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - the 92nd Indianapolis 500, 15th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP - will go on sale Monday, Nov. 12.

The best seats for all three races will sell quickly. This is the first opportunity to buy tickets for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP, the first motorcycle race at IMS since 1909, so fans should hurry to be a part of history.

Fans have three easy methods to purchase tickets starting at 8 a.m. (ET) Nov. 12:

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11/08/07
snaponstars

Buddy Rice to compete in go-kart race UPDATE #2 The Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series and SSC East has announced the SSC East - CRG driver lineup for the 2007 Performance Racing Industry All-Stars Karting Classic to be held in Orlando, Florida. Competing in the Masters division will be Nextel Cup standout Jamie McMurray, NASCAR and Indy car racer John Andretti, and former Stars of Karting driver and current NASCAR Nextel Cup driver for Team Red Bull A.J. Allmendinger.

“This event is really starting to gain some momentum,” said Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series President Paul Zalud. “These three drivers have an extensive karting background and should all be contenders in the Masters division. It’s great to see them return to their roots and take part in our event.”  More at SPEEDtv.com.

11/06/07 See related PRI article for additional drivers added to the lineup including Marco Andretti, Memo Gidley, Joey Hand, Bryan Herta, Steve Johnson, Patrick Long and Wayne Taylor.

11/06/07 The Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series is pleased to announce the defending All-Stars Karting Classic champion, Buddy Rice and four-time World Road Racing Champion Eddie Lawson will compete with the Tony Kart USA Racing Team at this year’s Performance Racing Industry show to be held in Orlando, Florida.

Rice, who was the 2004 Indianapolis 500 Champion, will get back behind the wheel of a Tony Kart and look to defend the Master’s Division Crown he took at the 2006 event. The three-time IndyCar Series race winner will look to use his experience to once again take home the victory in the Masters class in Orlando. Once again, he will race with support from Tony Kart USA and the Racerworld Kartsports shop that he and his father Bud own in Phoenix, AZ.

Lawson, who will go down in history as one of the greatest motorcycle road racers of all time, will join Rice behind the wheel of a Tony Kart. Throughout his career Lawson has secured four 500cc World Road Racing Championships, 31 victories, 78 podium results, 18 pole positions and 21 Grand Prix fast lap awards. Lawson also has a strong pedigree on four wheels, having competed in the ChampCar World Series in the 1990’s.

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11/08/07
nascar

NASCAR's downfall leads to huge SMI loss
Speedway Motorsports Inc. reported its first quarterly loss in three years Wednesday, but executives said neither that nor a pending race track purchase would necessarily prevent Bruton Smith from building a new speedway in the Charlotte area.

Smith, chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, has threatened to close Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord -- where he and local leaders have sparred over a proposed drag strip -- and build a $350 million track elsewhere in the region. He also announced last week that his company will buy the New Hampshire International Speedway for $340 million in cash.

Amid those planned and potential expenses, Speedway Motorsports showed a loss of about $13.6 million for the third quarter -- down from a profit of $4.7 million in the same period last year. The company's 2007 net income through Sept. 30 dipped to $58.6 million, down 29 percent from $82.4 million in 2006.

Shares in Concord-based Speedway Motorsports closed Wednesday at $35.39, down almost 8 percent.

Executives blamed the third-quarter decline mostly on losses at Motorsports Authentics, a joint merchandising venture with rival International Speedway Corp., saying Speedway Motorsports otherwise would have had a $4.4 million profit. [If NASCAR was still as popular as it once was, merchandise sales would not be off so much]

In addition, the third quarter usually is the company's least profitable. Only two major NASCAR races are held at its venues -- the company has six large speedways -- between July 1 and Sept. 30, while other quarters have five or six races.

Still, the fact that Speedway Motorsports reported its first loss since the fall of 2004 as Smith considers nearly $700 million between two projects raises the question of whether he could pull both of them off. More at Charlotte Observer

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11/08/07
nascar

New crew chief for Menard
Dale Earnhardt Inc. continued to strengthen its motorsports operation with the promotion of several key industry experts and the addition of a veteran crew chief to its roster. Dave Charpentier, current crew chief of the #15 Menards Chevy, has been promoted to technical director, and Doug Randolph, current crew chief of the #43 Petty Enterprises car driven by Bobby Labonte, will take over as crew chief for Paul Menard and the #15. Charpentier, a long-time Dale Earnhardt Inc. employee, will oversee all aspects of engineering for the four-car Nextel Cup Series operation. He was trained as a nuclear engineer during a seven-year career in the United States Navy, and since 1989 has served in an engineering capacity with multiple NASCAR teams. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in nuclear science. Randolph is a University of Tennessee graduate and served as a crew chief at MB2 Motorsports/Ginn Racing for the previous four seasons. He will join the team on November 26. Walter Giles, current race engineer on the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, was named Director of Race Engineering and Jason Anderson was named Director of Design and Project Engineering. Giles and Anderson will report to Charpentier. In addition, Rex Garrett has been promoted to Director of Motorsports Operations. The nine-year Dale Earnhardt Inc. veteran will oversee the day-to-day activities of the race shop. DEI PR

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11/08/07
track news

Smith now owns 100% of North Wilkesboro
As part of his purchase of NHIS from Bahre, Smith also became "100 percent owner" of defunct North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. Bahre and Smith had been reluctant co-owners of the track for 10 years. "I offered to give that to Bob for a Christmas present," Smith quipped, "and he said, 'Go to hell!'"  ThatsRacin

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11/08/07
industry news

Ford beats expectations with loss
Ford Motor Co. surprised Wall Street this morning with better than expected results, posting a $380 million loss for the third quarter of 2007.

That represents a major improvement over the same period in 2006, when Ford lost $5.2 billion. Analysts had expected the company to lose about $1.17 billion before taxes for the quarter, according to a survey conducted by Bloomberg.

The company's third-quarter loss from continuing operations, excluding special items, was just a penny per share, or $24 million, compared with a loss of 45 cents per share, or $850 million, for the same three-month period a year ago. A survey of 14 analysts predicted an average loss of 47.2 cents per share. Our third quarter performance is very encouraging," said CEO Alan Mulally. "We can see our plan taking hold with significant improvement continuing in our core automotive operations. We remain committed to executing the four priorities of our plan -- restructuring the business to operate profitably, accelerating the development of new products that our customers want and value, funding our plan and improving our balance sheet, and working even more effectively together as one Ford team, leveraging our global assets."

Most of Ford's gains came from its foreign operations, where a weak dollar and new products fueled a surge in revenues. However, even its North American automobile operations showed significant improvement over last year.

Ford's North American auto operations reported a pre-tax loss of $1 billion, compared with a pre-tax loss of $2.1 billion a year ago.  Detroit News

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11/08/07
nascar

Villeneuve to attempt Phoenix Cup race
Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make his second career Nextel Cup Series start behind the wheel of the #27 Toyota at Phoenix International Raceway. Richard "Slugger" Labbe will once again serve as crew chief. BDR PR

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11/08/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Nakajima says pace, not Toyota, won him F1 seat
  • Rodriguez hopes to tie up Force India seat
  • Cosworth return unlikely says Stewart

Nakajima says pace, not Toyota, won him F1 seat
(GMM)  Kazuki Nakajima has played down suggestions that he only secured the sister Williams seat alongside Nico Rosberg for 2008 due to the team's association with Toyota.

The 22-year-old is a longtime member of the Japanese giant's Driver Development Program, and a 'Reuters' report on Wednesday revealed that Nakajima's new contract is a collaboration between Toyota and Sir Frank Williams' team.

"It's a bit complicated but for me personally it doesn't matter," he said.

In an interview with the British broadcaster ITV, he denied that his Toyota connection alone motivated Williams to sign him.

"I believe it (the drive) has come from my performances," said Nakajima, who made his debut last month in the season-ending Brazilian grand prix, and previously was Williams' Friday test driver.

Read more & Comment...
11/08/07
formula bmw

Diverse program at Formula BMW World Final 2007
When 35 drivers from around the world gather at the "Circuit de la Comunitat" in Valencia (ESP) for the Formula BMW World Final, hoping to be crowned champion and win a unique chance to take a Formula 1 test drive, it is not only the Spanish motorsport fans trackside who will be able to enjoy the show. Alongside BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, a multitude of stars from motorsport's elite class will also be present as the spectacular highlight of the Formula BMW season is staged for the third time. BMW Sauber F1 Team driver Nick Heidfeld (GER) will be in Valencia, together with GP2 champion Timo Glock (GER) and Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel (GER), both former Formula BMW champions themselves.

On Thursday, Christian Vietoris (GER) will be temporarily promoted to the F1 squad for a day: as reward for victory in the 2006 Formula BMW World Final in Valencia, the 18-year-old now has the opportunity to test a BMW Sauber F1 Team car. From Friday, the competitors in this year's World Final will take centre stage, as they aim to follow in Vietoris' footsteps. Demonstrations in impressive BMW racing cars from throughout BMW's successful motor racing history complete the exciting program in Valencia.

Read more & Comment...
11/08/07
nascar

Hendrick lawsuits head to trial
A trial concerning the October 2004 Hendrick Motorsports plane crash is scheduled to begin in January in U.S. District Court in Greensboro, N.C.

The trial involved lawsuits brought by three widows of men killed in the crash, Dianne Dorton, Linda Turner and Tracy Lathram.

At issue is who bears fault for the accident. According to the National Transportation Safety Board and court documents, the crash happened when the pilots overshot the runway and then didn't perform the proper missed-approach procedure. Government officials blame the pilots, while Hendrick and the widows blame, at least in part, the actions of the air-traffic controllers that were also cited in the NTSB report.

Ten people, including team owner Rick Hendrick's brother, son and two nieces, were killed in the plane crash on the way to a Nextel Cup race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Scenedaily.com

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11/08/07
track news

Watkins Glen to celebrate 60 years


The Glen from the air

Road racing at Watkins Glen has been a tradition in upstate N.Y. ever since, October 2, 1948, “The Day They Stopped the Trains” for the first post-World War II road race in the United States.  Each year the Grand Prix Festival, held in conjunction with the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, pays tribute to the first road race by hosting a race reenactment in the village. This has become a tradition that is enjoyed by motorsports enthusiasts from around the country. In 2008, Watkins Glen International will be honoring their diamond anniversary and 60 years of road-racing. The celebration is expected to begin on Opening Day at the track, April 27, and will last until the season’s finale during the country’s largest vintage racing event the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 5-7. 

“We are extremely proud of our motorsports heritage and the opportunity to celebrate 60 years is an outstanding accomplishment,” stated Craig Rust, President of Watkins Glen International. “The Glen has had the privilege of hosting virtually every major racing series in the world covering all forms of motorsports throughout our storied history, and we will strive to continue our leadership role in American road racing.”

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11/08/07
cc

Tracy energized about what lies ahead


Paul Tracy

Race wins have come fewer and farther between for Paul Tracy over the past couple of years. But the feisty Canadian is still the biggest draw in the Champ Car World Series.

The 2007 season has been one Tracy would rather forget. With one race to go, he's 11th in the standings, with a victory at Cleveland the sole highlight. "PT" hasn't even made the headlines with an outrageous quote or a wrestling match with another driver.

While some say he has lost focus or desire just a month or so away from his 39th birthday, Tracy appears relaxed about the situation. He's convinced that team owner Gerald Forsythe is prepared to give him the tools with which to challenge for a second series championship in 2008 to match the one they claimed in 2003.

That's a fundamental change from the start of this year, when Forsythe played hardball and resisted fielding a second car on his own nickel until the 11th hour.

"It was everybody's opinion that we should run a two-car program, but Gerry was adamant that he didn't want to do that," Tracy recounted. "He felt that we could do it on a one-car program and concentrate on my car only. Then right at the last minute he threw a second car in with a week to go before we went to Vegas. That kind of started the scrambling effect of trying to find quality people to do the job." More at ESPN.com

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11/08/07
cc

Rahal Aims for his first Champ Car win


Graham Rahal

While Bourdais is close to finishing his Champ Car career, Medi | Zone driver Graham Rahal is still just beginning his.  The 18-year-old has one more event in his rookie season and one more opportunity to meet a goal he set – to win a race this year.  In 13 races this season, he has finished on the podium four times including becoming the youngest podium finisher with his second place in Houston.  In 10 of the 13 races, he has been in contention for the win by running in the top-five, including leading three races and setting the fastest lap of the race for the first time in the previous event in Australia.  The 17-turn, 2.7-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez layout couldn’t suit his style more if he had designed the course himself.

“I’m looking forward to racing in Mexico City for the first time,” said Rahal, who started his rookie season by splitting time being a professional race car driver and high school senior.  “The track definitely suits my style because it has very fast corners and is very windy for a long duration.  It’s definitely quick and favors my style so hopefully the Medi | Zone team can finish the season with a good result and hang on to fifth place.” 

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11/08/07
cc

Bourdais aims for his last Champ Car win


Sebastien Bourdais

With his fourth consecutive title wrapped up and only one race to go before he departs to live his lifelong dream of competing in Formula One, McDonald’s driver Sebastien Bourdais could take it easy this weekend and rest on his laurels that include a 42 percent win average, 43 percent average of starting from pole and an amazing 60 percent average of finishing on the podium in his 72 Champ Car races to date.  But Bourdais, true to form and a true champion, will do everything in his power to end this weekend’s Gran Premio Tecate Presented by Banamex season finale – and Champ Car career – on the top spot of the victory podium in what is sure to be an emotional event for all of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR).

“I hope the McDonald’s team can put on a good show again in Mexico City,” said Bourdais who clinched his first title in 2004 with a win at the 2.7 mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and followed it up with another here last year.  “Obviously you don’t want to finish your career in the series with some frustration or regret.  We’ll give our very best and hope we can finish in style.  Obviously I owe these guys my total dedication.  We've been working really hard together for these past five years.  You know, I just couldn't stand myself if I didn't give it all I had until the very end.  They deserve the very best, and we're going to do just that until the very end.”

Read more & Comment...

11/08/07
track news

TSW launches Indy 500-branded wheels
TSW, a world leader in one-piece, staggered wheel applications, has launched an officially licensed, co-branded TSW Indy 500 wheel.

The TSW Indy 500 Wheel - the first wheel officially licensed by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - will be available in both chrome and painted finishes in sizes ranging from 17 to 20 inches. The wheels will be built in staggered applications to allow enthusiasts the opportunity run wider wheels on the back of their cars and narrower wheels on the front of their cars, inspired by the IndyCar Series cars that compete in the Indianapolis 500 every Memorial Day weekend on the historic 2.5-mile oval at IMS.

"It's a perfect match, given TSW's long history of involvement in motorsports and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's consistent association with quality products," said Terence Scheckter, TSW chief executive officer. "We are very excited to be associated with 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.'"

Read more & Comment...
11/08/07
nascar

Franchitti entered in last 2 Busch races

Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti will contest the final two races of the NASCAR Busch Series schedule, Chip Ganassi Racing announced on Wednesday.  The 2007 IndyCar Series champion, who has already contested two races in NASCAR's second-tier championship, will race at Phoenix this weekend and Homestead a week later.  He hopes to contest for rookie of year in the 2008 Sprint Cup series.

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11/08/07
cc

Bridgestone Mexico City Fast Facts
Race Details: Timed event - 1 hour, 45 minutes. Track distance is 2.774 miles (4.464 kilometers).

Television Broadcast: Live - Sunday, November 11, at 2 p.m. EST on ESPN2.

Bridgestone Potenza Tires Supplied:
* Primary (black-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 586, each car gets seven sets.

* Alternate (red-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 178, each car gets two sets.

* Wet-condition (rain) tires: 320 with tread pattern, each car gets four sets.

* In a normal dry-condition race, each car must use at least one set of primary and one set of alternate Potenzas. The primary and alternate tires' construction is identical, but the alternates possess a tread compound with better grip ("softer"), making them faster but possibly not as durable. The alternates are identified with bright red sidewalls.

* Bridgestone Motorsport is bringing its medium-grip primary road-course Potenza specification to Mexico City, along with a higher-grip road-course alternate spec. The wet-condition tire is the more durable road-course rain tire.  The dry-condition specifications are identical to those used at Mexico City in 2006. The primary spec served in the same role earlier this season at Cleveland and Edmonton. The alternate spec also was used as the alternate tire at Portland.

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Hard to believe, but another exciting Champ Car season is coming to a close. The Mexico City events are perennially great because of the tremendous racetrack and the many, many passionate fans who attend. This year's race takes on special status because it will also be the final Champ Car event for four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais, an incredible driver and loyal Bridgestone friend. Fortunately, Sebastien is taking his great talent to another Bridgestone program in Formula One. As good a driver as he is, you know the rest of the field would like nothing better than to beat Bourdais one more time before he goes. While we are now closing the 2007 season, the 2008 Champ Car schedule has just been announced and Bridgestone is already preparing for great racing next year."

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11/08/07
f1

FIA begins probe into 2008 McLaren
(GMM)  FIA inspections probing the legality of McLaren's next formula one car have now begun, according to a report.

Britain's Daily Mail described the activity at the team's Woking headquarters over the last two days as a "raid" carried out by a "high-powered squad of independent legal and technical experts".

McLaren in September was excluded from the 2007 constructors' championship and fined $100m for possessing Ferrari secrets.

Part of the ruling was that the team's 2008 car, the MP4-23, must be inspected by FIA officials to either clear its legitimacy or face further sanctions, possibly including a negative initial points score.

The Daily Mail reports that the FIA inspectors this week examined computers and design records, and took away boxes of data for further analysis.

Their findings will be released at the World Motor Sport Council hearing in Monaco on December 7.

A spokesman for F1's governing body said: "We will not comment on the details of an ongoing investigation."

A McLaren spokeswoman added: "We have no comment other than that we will cooperate fully with the FIA."

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11/08/07
f1

Pedro de la Rosa wants Alonso ride UPDATE

Pedro de la Rosa

(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa has counted himself in the running to replace his countryman Fernando Alonso at McLaren for 2008.

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo said 36-year-old de la Rosa is a friend of Emilio Botin, the boss of McLaren's Spanish sponsor Santander who is reportedly unhappy about Alonso's team exit.

"Everybody wants to be a McLaren driver," de la Rosa told Spanish press on Wednesday at Madrid's International Exhibition of Information Technology.

The Barcelona born driver is guaranteed McLaren's continuing primary test seat next year and also in 2009.

He substituted for Juan Pablo Montoya last year and subsequently hoped to be granted the seat that ultimately in 2007 was occupied by Lewis Hamilton.

"My dream has always been to race and, naturally, it is that possibility that keeps me going as a test driver," the Spaniard continued.

"I'll try, of course I will.  At the moment the team is in no rush and neither am I.

"If they need a driver, I'm ready and willing, that's for sure," de la Rosa said.

With Williams' Nico Rosberg now out of the running, also tenuously linked with the drive is 24-year-old French-Canadian DTM driver Bruno Spengler, who was thought to be a candidate for a Prodrive seat next year.

11/07/07 Pedro de la Rosa has put himself in the frame to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren for the 2008 season.

Spaniard De la Rosa has worked as McLaren's test and development driver since 2003 and contested the final eight races of the 2006 season after Juan Pablo Montoya left the team to pursue a career in NASCAR. The 36-year-old former Arrows and Jaguar driver was in the running to land the coveted drive on a permanent basis at the end of last season before team principal Ron Dennis hired Britain's Lewis Hamilton.

De la Rosa told El Pais newspaper: "At the moment the team is in no rush and neither am I. What's 100% certain is that I will be a McLaren test driver and that I have two years left of my contract.

"If the team needs a driver, I'm ready and willing, that's for sure." Alonso left the Woking-based team just 12 months into a three-year deal last week following a turbulent season that saw the 26-year-old finish third in the title race behind Hamilton and new world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

The double world champion is now the subject of feverish speculation as to who he will drive for next season - with Renault and Red Bull Racing the favorites to secure his services - but De la Rosa was tight-lipped on his compatriot's future plans.

"It's a personal decision which I prefer not to discuss because I'm nobody to say anything," he said. "To me it was a pleasure to work with him, he's a great champion. "Fernando is not my team-mate any more and it would be wrong to talk about his future." Sporting Life

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11/07/07
nascar

The King was last holdout to move shop
Petty Enterprises has announced beginning in December the race organization will relocate to Mooresville, North Carolina.  They have entered a two-year agreement to lease race shop space currently used by Robert Yates Racing.

The #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil/Wells Fargo/Tire Kingdom Dodge will both compete from this location in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. 

The move will begin in December and is intended to be completed by the end of the year.  The shop is 85,000 square feet with 30,000 additional square feet for fabrication.  Petty Enterprises currently has a Fabrication Shop in Thomasville, North Carolina.  It is expected that every facet of Petty Enterprises, including fabrication, will move to Mooresville.

This is the first move for the organization since its inception 1949.  268 wins, 10 championships and nine Daytona 500 championships have come from Level Cross.

This move continues the commitment to winning by Petty Enterprises.

I’d like to let Richard say a few words about this decision:

“Good morning everyone.  This is something that a lot of people knew back in the spring when they had the media tour at the shop.  Robbie (Loomis) kind of let it out of the bag that we were looking to move to a different part of the country.  Since then, we have looked for some land and looked for some buildings.  The Robert Yates building came up a little while ago and we said, ‘Hey, this might be a good place to go see if it will work like we want to before we go spend a lot of money and all that stuff.’  It’s not exactly a location that we would choose, but it’s closer than Level Cross. 

“We are going to go over to Robert’s and see what is going on.  Maybe try to look in the near future to buy some land and make our own building in another area- maybe between Mooresville and Level Cross.  We just felt like, over a period of years, we’ve been in Level Cross for 50 or 60 years, and it worked for us, but over a period of time the face of racing has changed so much.  As it changed, we didn’t change as quickly as some of it. We said, ‘OK, we’ve got to get back into the fold here.’  I think everyone got together. 

“We got together with our partners, our sponsors and said, ‘What do you think is the best deal?’  I think everyone agreed, even the guys in the shop and stuff, that we hate to leave Level Cross, but for us to get more competitive we feel like we need to move. So that’s what we are doing right now.  As soon as Robert can get his stuff out we’ll get our stuff in.

Read more & Comment...
11/07/07
irl

IRL news tidbits
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman declared the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 2 as Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week as a tribute to the spirit of Indy Pro Series team owner Sam Schmidt. "Having a Spinal Cord Injury Week in Nevada is very special, and I applaud Mayor Goodman for making it happen," said Schmidt, whose team has fielded three championship-winning drivers in the last four years. "Due to Nevada's climate and active residents, we have a larger than normal section of the population living with spinal cord injuries, and they will be honored by this recognition. Every day, we are battling to cure neurological disorders as well as provide proper insurance coverage and employment opportunities for those who are disabled. This week will bring a local and national awareness to our cause, which is greatly needed.".......Buddy Rice will return to defend his Master's Division title in the Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by the IndyCar Series All-Stars Karting Classic on Dec. 6 in Orlando, Fla. Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion who competed for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the IndyCar Series this season, will join a driver lineup also featuring Marco Andretti and Bryan Herta. Admission to the event adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center is free....A.J. Foyt Racing driver Darren Manning will co-drive the No. 45 Embassy Racing LMP2 car with Warren Hughes and Mario Haberfeld in the Le Mans Series finale at Interlagos in Brazil this weekend.

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11/07/07
industry news

GM reports biggest loss in history UPDATE General Motors Corp. posted a company record $39-billion loss in the third quarter, as a charge involving unused tax credits brought an abrupt end to string of three profitable quarters for America's largest auto maker.  The loss reported Wednesday was one of the biggest quarterly corporate deficits ever and it sent GM's shares down more than 8 per cent in pre-market trading.

The loss was attributed to a $38.6-billion non-cash charge largely related to establishing a valuation allowance against deferred tax assets in the U.S., Canada and Germany, as well as mortgage losses at GM's former financial arm, GMAC Financial Services.

11/07/07 General Motors Corp. today announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2007, marked by record global sales, further improvement in its core automotive business driven by solid financial performance in key growth markets around the world and improved liquidity.

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11/07/07
industry news

Toyota reports record profits
Toyota Motor Corp. reported this morning record earnings and raised estimates for its full-year sales and profits.  The Japanese automaker posted net income of 451 billion yen, or $4 billion, for its fiscal second quarter, which ended Sept. 30. That was up 11.1% from the same period a year ago and led Toyota to a record first half of its fiscal year.

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11/07/07
ips

Stewart tests Canadian champions
Indy Pro Series team owner Brian Stewart, a former Canadian Formula Ford champion, continues to offer opportunities to his countrymen.

Two Canadian champions passed their Indy Pro Series rookie tests in a Brian Stewart Racing machine at Nashville Superspeedway on Nov. 1.
Matt White, the Ontario Formula Ford champion, and Michael Mora, who won a shootout of top drivers in the Brian Stewart Racing Karting Championship, earned their licenses on the 1.33-mile concrete oval.

"Matt and Michael both did a great job," said Indy Pro Series technical director Butch Meyer, who supervised the test and approved their licenses. "They got up to speed quickly, ran competitive speeds and were very smooth."

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11/07/07
motogp

Valencia Day 2 test: Stoner again on top
Official lap times:

Pos

Rider Team Time Laps
1 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 32.095s 55
2 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 32.434s 92
3 Randy de Puniet Honda LCR 1m 32.625s 83
4 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 32.718s 88
5 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 32.979s 88
6 John Hopkins Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 33.058s 59
7 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 33.163s 64
8 Toni Elias Pramac d’Antin Ducati 1m 33.294s 74
9 Shinya Nakano Honda Gresini 1m 33.465s 92
10 Sylvain Guintoli Pramac d’Antin 1m 33.571s 80
11 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 33.588s 69
12 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 33.695s 99
13 Marco Melandri Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 33.835s 87
14 Andrea Dovizioso JiR Scot Honda 1m 33.991s 82
15 Alex de Angelis Honda Gresini 1m 34.060s 84
16 Nobuatsu Aoki Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 35.043s 61
17 Vito Guareschi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 35.840s 59

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11/07/07
ips

Andersen Racing relocating to Florida
Andersen Racing, which campaigns drivers in three levels of open-wheel racing including the Indy Pro Series, is relocating from New Jersey to Florida.

The team purchased Group Four Test Track in Palmetto, Fla., and will rename the facility Andersen Race Park.

The 18-acre facility is 15 minutes from St. Petersburg and includes an 8,000-square-foot shop that will be the new home of the team's Indy Pro Series, Star Mazda and F2000 cars. Two dozen additional garages are also located adjacent to pit lane. The facility also features a 1-mile road course.

The track is already a favorite of kart racers, other teams in various series that wish to conduct private test sessions and amateurs participating in formula car "arrive-and-drive" programs.

Read more & Comment...
11/07/07
irl

Hornish cheers for Helio in person
Helio Castroneves didn't have to look far for familiar faces when he performed on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" on Nov. 5.

Amongst the audience for the show were Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for the Indy Racing League, Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing and three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., who has been Castroneves' teammate at Team Penske since 2004.

"When I heard that he was going to do the show, I said, 'That's totally Helio,' " Hornish said. "Everyone who knows him would expect him to be able to come out here and do great. He's one of the most charismatic people I know. He's an entertainer. He's always dancing around."

Hornish said the show has given Castroneves something that should help him with his racing.

"A good release," he said. "I knew he would be dedicated. The guys on the team tell me that they have a hard time figuring out what he wants to do more - drive a race car or practice his dancing. But it's been fun to turn on the TV on Monday nights and see him do so well." 

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11/07/07
cc

Champ Car announces Greg Moore award nominees
The close to any season provides a time for reflection as consideration is given to the recipients of various awards that are presented following the final race. The 2007 Champ Car World Series offers a number of year-end awards, but perhaps the one that carries the most emotion is the one that recognizes those who helped make Champ Car one of the world’s most popular form of auto racing.  

Remembering Greg Moore

With that in mind, the annual Greg Moore Legacy Award allows the Champ Car organization to honor the late great Canadian star who lost his life during the 1999 California 500, as well as pay tribute to its past. Now in its eighth year, the award honors the driver “who most typifies Moore’s distinctive combination of on-track talent and dynamic personality” that led him to become a favorite among the fans, media and members of the Champ Car community. The award winner is determined by a select board of Champ Car personnel, along with media and fan voting, with the honoree being chosen from a list of four nominees.

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11/07/07
cc

PCM and Tecate form partnership
Pacific Coast Motorsports is proud to announce their partnership with TECATE for this weekend’s Gran Premio TECATE Presentado Por Banamex, the final round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series. 

TECATE will be the primary sponsor of the #28 TECATE/Cosworth/Bridgestone driven by Mexican Superstar, Mario Dominguez.  Teammate Alex Figge will also carry TECATE branding as an associate partner on his #29 PCM/Cosworth/Bridgestone.  Team Director, Tyler Tadevic commented on the partnership, “It’s an honor to represent the colors of Mexico and TECATE.  We are proud to have a driver of Mario’s caliber and as the “Official Driver of Mexico City” we know he will represent the TECATE brand well.”

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11/07/07
nascar

Weekly NASCAR cheating report
NASCAR officials announced today that it has penalized two Busch Series crew chiefs for rules violations at Texas Motor Speedway.

Chad Walker, crew chief of Hendrick Motorsports' No. 24 Chevrolet driven by Casey Mears, and Tony Eury Sr., crew chief of JR Motorsports' No. 88 Chevrolet driven by Brad Keselowski, were both fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for using lug nuts that had the threads removed.

The infractions were discovered during the Nov. 3 prerace inspections.

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11/07/07
cc

New 5-year deal for Cleveland GP

Sebastien Bourdais on the Cleveland airport track

For twenty-six consecutive years, the shores of Lake Erie have come alive each summer when the Grand Prix of Cleveland roars into town for the annual celebration of speed at Burke Lakefront Airport. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Grand Prix officials announced today that this tradition will continue, thanks to a new five-year agreement between the City and the Grand Prix to hold the event at Burke through 2012. Organizers also announced that the 2008 event, the first under the new agreement, will take place June 20 - 22.

"The Grand Prix is a significant annual event for the City of Cleveland. It is a popular attraction that puts Cleveland on the world stage and delivers an annual economic impact of some $30 million," said Mayor Frank G. Jackson.

"The Grand Prix of Cleveland is one of the City's unique assets," said Council President Martin J. Sweeney. "We are pleased to have a healthy partnership with the Grand Prix and look forward to many races to come."

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11/07/07
racing news

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 11-7-07
Pos.  (LW) Driver (Series)                     Pts
1. (1) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)                 8.659
2. (2) Kimi Raikkonen (F1)*                    8.499
3. (3) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                    8.125
4. (4) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)               7.985
5. (5) Dario Franchitti (IRL)*                 7.632
6. (7) Scott Dixon (IRL)*                      7.272
7. (19) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)                    7.210
8. (14) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR)                  7.026
9. (6) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)                   6.780
10. (11) Jeff Burton (NASCAR)                  6.710
11. (9) Tony Kanaan (IRL)*                     6.693
12. (10) Justin Wilson (CCWS)                  6.650
13. (24) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                 6.629
14. (12) Kurt Busch (NASCAR)                   6.482
15. (NR) Ryan Newman (NASCAR)                  6.427
16. (15) Fernando Alonso (F1)*                 6.422
17. (NR) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR)             6.409
18. (18) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)                6.251
19. (17) Felipe Massa (F1)*                    6.231
20. (8) Carl Edwards (NASACR)                  6.055
 
Dropped out: Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Casey Mears (NASCAR), Reed Sorenson (NASCAR)

*Season complete

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.

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11/07/07
alms

Minister quits to race in Le Mans
Defense Minister Lord Drayson has taken a "leave of absence" from the government in a bid to take part in the world-famous 24-hour Le Mans race.
The 47-year-old is resigning from his unpaid post to take part in a series of qualifying events in the United States.

A government spokesman said it was "a key step towards his eventual dream of success" in Le Mans.

But a mother whose son died in Iraq because of a lack of proper kit said: "It's really insensitive timing."

A coroner has ruled that an Army logistics failure led to the unlawful killing Fusilier Gordon Gentle, 19, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in June 2004.

'Priorities'?

His mother, Rose, 43, from Glasgow, said of Lord Drayson's move: "He should be at his desk, not trotting off to some race. It just shows another breakdown in the chain of command.

"I think the servicemen and women are more important than him doing a motor race."  More at BBC

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11/07/07
nascar

Petty Enterprises To Relocate Nextel Cup Operation
The winningest organization in NASCAR announces its first move since its inception in 1949.  Richard and Kyle Petty, in efforts to garner continued wins and championships, have agreed to move Petty Enterprises closer to the center of NASCAR activities in the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area. 

They have reached a multi-year lease agreement for shop space located in the city of Mooresville.  The space was formerly occupied by Robert Yates Racing and its two-car Nextel Cup operation. 

Petty Enterprises, founded by Richard’s father, Lee, in 1949 as Lee Petty Engineering, is currently headquartered in Level Cross, North Carolina.  At that location, the 60,000-square foot sprawling facility has become one of the most successful in motorsports’ history.  The organization has won 268 NASCAR Nextel Cup races, 10 NASCAR Nextel Cup titles and nine Daytona 500 championships from inside the hallowed ground. 

Read more & Comment...
11/07/07
IRL

Helio safe for another week, told to trust 'mechanic'
Helio Castroneves released a deep breath as it was announced he and Julianne Hough were "safe" to compete during Week 8 of "Dancing with the Stars."

Five competitors, each of whom will perform two dances on the Nov. 12 (8 p.m. ET on ABC), remain. A few seconds after Castroneves heard his fate, actress Jane Seymour was eliminated from the competition based on the combination of scoring from the three-judge panel and viewer voting.

Castroneves received some pearls of wisdom from judge Len Goodman, who has stressed technique as the fifth season of the popular show drives to a conclusion. The couple received a 27 (of 30) for their Samba performance and 25 for the Tango.

"Remember that you are the race car driver and Julianne is the mechanic. Trust in her. You have to nail the technique," Goodman said.  More at IndyCar.com

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11/07/07
alms

ALMS to Phase In LMP2 Weight Gain
The American Le Mans Series looks certain to phase in the 50 kg weight increase mandated for LMP2 prototypes over the next two seasons.

The ALMS and its sanctioning body, IMSA, previously reserved judgment on the increase of the class minimum to 825 kg, announced by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest-the Le Mans organizer-in June. Now, they have signaled that they are unlikely to implement the full 50-kg increase, which would give LMP2 cars little chance of challenging LMP1 machinery, for next season.

IMSA executive director Doug Robinson said his organization and the ALMS would "use commonsense" in introducing the new Le Mans weight limit.

"We want to keep our fans happy and keep the competition between the two prototype classes," he said. "We haven't announced a decision, but phasing-in what Le Mans has decided over the next couple of years could be the right solution."

An announcement should follow the publication of the 2008 Le Mans rulebook in November. AutoWeek

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11/07/07
f1

Toyota confirms ’agreement’ with Glock

Timo Glock

(GMM) Toyota has confirmed that it has signed a contract with Timo Glock and wants the newly crowned GP2 champion to race for the Japanese team next season.

It has emerged that the 25-year-old German's future is currently in the hands of the Contract Recognition Board (CRB), because his newly-lodged - and unannounced - Toyota contract supposedly clashes with his BMW test driving deal.

While BMW-Sauber cannot offer Glock a race seat next year, the Hinwil based team is reportedly not keen to release him because Toyota wants to lock him into a three-year contract.

"We were informed by the CRB that a conflicting contract was filed," BMW motor sport director Mario Theissen recently confirmed.

"We will wait for their decision."

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

Read more & Comment...
11/07/07
Racing News

New wind tunnel in NC
Gov. Mike Easley announced that Wind Tunnel eXtreme , an automotive research and development firm, will open a facility in Salisbury, creating 29 jobs and investing $60 million during the next three years. The announcement was made possible in part by a $30,000 One North Carolina Fund grant. "Wind Tunnel eXtreme's new facility in Rowan County will be an important addition to North Carolina's motorsports industry," Easley said. "Motorsports is a growing area of the state's economy, contributing $6 billion annually." Wind Tunnel eXtreme is a research and development group that tests and designs aerodynamic features for automobiles. The company will also provide aerodynamic testing and validation services. While wages will vary by job function, the average weekly wage of the new jobs will be $1,515 plus benefits, which is more than the Rowan County average weekly wage of $611, not including benefits. Other partners who helped make this announcement possible include the N.C. Department of Commerce, Rowan County, the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission and Duke Energy. Salisbury Post

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11/07/07
nascar

Chevy ties its NASCAR record
When #48-Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flat at Texas Motor Speedway to score his ninth victory this season he also achieved a major milestone for Chevrolet - helping the brand tie its all-time win record in the NASCAR Cup Series. Team Chevy drivers have scored 25 victories in 34 races [74%] this season - 13 with the Monte Carlo SS and 12 with the new generation Impala SS race car - which ties the bowtie brand's win record set in 1958. GM Racing PR

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11/07/07
lmes

Wurz focussed on LeMans
Alexander Wurz says that returning to the Le Mans 24 Hours is his top priority following his retirement from Formula One this year.

"I always said that after F1 I would want to go back to Le Mans," Wurz told autosport.com. "It's a dream race for me. "I have a connection with it, and like Peter Sauber, during my time in F1 I always followed it, even on a Grand Prix weekend." The 33-year-old added that he would only return with a squad capable of winning the race, and he believes that more manufacturers could be joining Audi and Peugeot in the near future. I'm looking at the sportscar scene for the next three to four years, to see what's going to happen in that time frame," he said. "I think there are two more manufacturers that are seriously looking at it, and I'm looking at what my options could be."

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11/07/07
lmes

Another Porsche for LeMans
Former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner John Nielsen's team will run a Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 Prototype in Europe next season. Team Essex, which will move up from touring cars in Denmark, will announce shortly that it has become the third team to sign up to run the Porsche prototype in the Le Mans Series in Europe, and will also apply for an entry for Le Mans.

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11/07/07
f1

Video: Nakajima joins Rosberg

Click for video

The AT&T Williams team confirmed that their driver lineup for the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship would be Nico Rosberg, partnered by Kazuki Nakajima. After two seasons of racing for AT&T Williams, Rosberg is an established talent and he will form the mainstay of the team’s continued drive towards the front of the field. He is joined by Kazuki Nakajima, the 22-year old from Aichi in Japan, who, for the past year, has been the team’s official test and reserve driver.  Interview

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11/07/07
nascar

Keys to Victory Phoenix International Raceway
Kyle Busch says that driving the corners is important at Phoenix International Raceway.  Kevin Harvick says that keeping the car turning through the corners is a key to winning at Phoenix International Raceway.  Todd Berrier, crew chief for Kevin Harvick, talks about the various challenges in setting up the car at Phoenix International Raceway.  Interviews

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11/07/07
f1

Flav wants majority rule in F1
Renault’s managing director Flavio Briatore wants Formula 1’s current unanimity rule on decisions to be scrapped in the new Concorde Agreement in favour of a majority-rule system.

Briatore insists the current process to implement changes is “crazy” and must be revised.

“Personally, I wish F1 could be run by Bernie [Ecclestone], supported by Max [Mosley], as a dictatorship,” he told the latest issue of F1 Racing magazine (on sale now).

“That isn’t possible any more, because the F1 world has become so corporate.

“So we must introduce a majority-rule system with the new Concorde Agreement.

“At the moment, nothing can be decided without unanimity.

“You wouldn’t even run the residents’ committee of an apartment block like that, let alone a global $3 billion sport.

“It’s crazy.”

Comment
11/07/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Chandhok hopes for Red Bull test seat in 2008
  • Williams set to announce 2008 drivers
  • Eleventh hour Prodrive rescue fails - report
  • Rookie Briton makes F1 debut
  • Politician axes F1 demo in Austria
  • Williams confirms 2008 driver lineup

Chandhok hopes for Red Bull test seat in 2008
(GMM)  India's Karun Chandhok is hoping to be named official test driver for Red Bull Racing for the 2008 season.

The Austrian team announced on Tuesday that the 23-year-old GP2 racer will make his F1 test debut at Circuit de Catalunya next week.

A statement explained that Chandhok "will be standing in for regular tester, Sebastien Buemi, who is competing in the Macau Formula 3 race".

But the Madras-born driver told the Indian media that he is hoping for a proper testing role.

"I would like to consolidate my position further with GP2 next year, but what I am looking at is a test driver's assignment with Red Bull for the next season," Indian Express quotes him as saying.

"The two duties will not interfere because there is little clash in dates between the two.  I will be able to manage both if allowed," Chandhok added.

F1 teams' interest in Chandhok stepped up a gear when he became the first ever Indian to win a GP2 race in 2007, at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

But he played down suggestions that, because of his nationality, he will shortly be a leading contender for a 'Force India' race seat.

"Vijay Mallya has always been very supportive of me," Chandhok admitted.  "Also he has been a family friend, and he follows what I do closely.

"Of course, I will have to prove myself and only then can I expect to be on contention for any race post," he added.

Chandhok told the Asian Age that he may do some testing for Mallya's Silverstone based team.

"We both agreed not to speak about a racing seat for one more year.  But I will be involved with the team in testing," the Indian revealed.

Read more & Comment...
11/07/07
nascar

NASCAR to unveil new hologram
NASCAR officials announced Tuesday a new hologram to be used on all officially licensed merchandise in 2008.

The new hologram includes the "Track and Trace" enforcement system produced by DuPont Authentication Systems. The system will help NASCAR and its licensees to allow governmental agencies to track serial numbers, more easily discover counterfeit holograms, prevent counterfeit merchandise from entering the United States and investigate bogus products sold in foreign countries, NASCAR said.

"Our enhanced hologram program lets fans know they've purchased High quality, authentic NASCAR-licensed merchandise that supports their favorite drivers and teams," said Blake Davidson, managing director of licensing at NASCAR. "The improved tracking system will bolster enforcement efforts domestically and abroad, particularly as knock-off goods proliferate."

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11/07/07
nascar

Marlin, Nemechek file lawsuit against Ginn Racing, DEI UPDATE #2 Former Ginn Racing drivers Joe Nemechek and Sterling Marlin as well as former crew chiefs Peter Sospenzo and Richard "Slugger" Labbe apparently have reached settlements with former team owner Bobby Ginn. All four cases - filed in North Carolina Superior Court in Concord, N.C. - have been dismissed, indicating that settlements have been reached.  The drivers and crew chiefs were asking for the fulfillment of their contracts. The case files do not indicate how much they were paid, only that the drivers and crew chiefs have dismissed their claims. Scenedaily.com

09/11/07 Bobby Ginn said Tuesday he's surprised by a lawsuit that claims he hasn't honored the contracts for Sterling Marlin, Joe Nemechek and two crew chiefs

All four lost their jobs when Ginn Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in late July. The four filed separate lawsuits against both teams last week in Cabarrus County, claiming they are owed their salaries.

The suits don't specify what the parties are seeking, but claim they have demanded payment, and the teams have either failed or refused to comply.

"Sterling and Joe's contracts ran through the end of the year, and I have paid them through August -- all of their winnings and salary, per the contract," Ginn said. "And I intend to pay through the end of the year. I always have."

Ginn said that crew chiefs Richard "Slugger" Labbe and Peter Sospenzo were given severance packages when they were let go, and said he's honored it and payments are up to date.

"This totally surprised me, and it looks to me like they are trying to ask for something over and above and they are just not entitled to," Ginn said. CBS Sports

09/10/07 Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek have sued Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. for alleged breaches of their contracts, which included a base salary of $1.2 million apiece.

The separate suits, filed Sept. 7 in Cabarrus County, N.C., do not specify how much they have been paid or what they exactly are owed.

Also suing Ginn and DEI are crew chiefs Richard "Slugger" Labbe and Peter Sospenzo.

Ginn and DEI merged prior to the Indianapolis race in July, and Marlin and Nemechek found themselves without a place in the organization. The points of the No. 14 of Marlin ended up moving to the No. 15 of DEI with Paul Menard as the driver, while the No. 13 Nemechek team was eliminated.

"Demand for payment has been made ..., but [Ginn and DEI] have failed and/or refused to pay all or any part," the complaints state.  More at Scenedaily.com

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11/06/07
cc

Date conflict for Portland Champ Car race UPDATE The weekend of July 27th is the big annual brewers festival on the waterfront (http://www.oregonbrewfest.com/) July 24-27, which means downtown Portland will be full of beer drinkers. If you are planning on going to the race you will need to get a hotel reservation very early - the brew fest drew 60,000 people last year and they were not all locals.  If Champ Car were smart, they would do a tie-in with this event promoter and try to get some of the beer drinkers to the track during the day before they get all drunk at night, and vice versa, get the race crowd downtown at night.  If successful, PIR might feel like a NASCAR race that weekend.  Champ Car President Steve Johnson said he was going to Portland soon to finalize plans for the race.  Will he be able to deliver on this perfect synergy?

11/06/07 For Portland, Oregon locals who love the sight of speed and the sound of roaring motors, the weekend of July 25-27 next summer will have great appeal.

Except for one problem: You can't have it all.

Champ Car returns to Portland International Raceway in 2008, revealed Monday when the open-wheel series announced its 14-race schedule for next year. The Portland race, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2008, is slated for July 27.

That also happens to be the date for Clark County's largest sporting event, the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship at Washougal Motocross Park. The AMA Championship has staged its annual race at Washougal since 1980. More at The Colombian

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11/06/07
cc

A different kind of challenge for Zanardi UPDATE

Alex Zanardi

Last Sunday, two-time CART champion and former Formula-1 driver Alex Zanardi embarked on a physical challenge unlike any other in his 41 years. After a nearly-fatal car crash during a race on Sept. 15, 2001, that blew his legs off with the force of a land mine, Zanardi not only learned to walk with two prosthetic legs and knees, he also returned to car racing on the World Touring Car Championship circuit. But he never imagined he'd do a marathon.

Until now. On Sunday, he lined up with more than 100 other hand-cyclists to begin the New York City Marathon. At stake was a silver Tiffany tray for the top three places. Since Zanardi isn't a member of the Achilles track club (normally a prerequisite for hand-cyclists in the race), he was not eligible for a piece of the $1,000 purse. Nonetheless, the Italian was eager to race. He finished an incredible 4th.  

Why did you decide to do the NYC Marathon?
I was talking to my friends at Barilla and when the question was, 'How can we get you involved' in the [prerace] pasta party which they have for Saturday night, I said, 'Well, as long as you don't make me have the check' -- because it's 16,000 people. And next was, 'Well, since I'm there, I may as well do the marathon.' They said, 'Are you crazy? It's impossible!' Up to that point, it was just a joke but when they said it was impossible, something clicked in my head. I said, 'Just get me entered and we'll find out if it's impossible.'

When did you find out you were accepted?
Early September. I was really lucky. I was accepted as they were about to close the entries.

How has your training been going?
I finally got the bike October 6, and October 7, I got my very first training and I'm a crazy man, you know? I went straight for the distance of the marathon. I had to cover it because I'd gone almost 20 miles. If I wanted to go back to my car, I'd have to cover the other 20 miles.

What? You did a marathon on your first day?
Yeah, yeah -- on the very first day I did 54K which is like, 12K more than the distance of the marathon. I tell you, you wouldn't like to see my face at the end of it, but I was alive. I was alive!

Where did you do this training?
I live in Padova, close to Venice, so I'm not far from a river called Po, the biggest river in Italy. On the north side, you've got a tiny little road which goes straight and has no traffic, a lot of trees, and beautiful scenery, so that's where I drove my car, took my bike off, and did most of my training. It's a 50K drive from home.

Do you ever train on old race-car tracks?
I did, in fact. Once in Monza. On October 9, I went back to the circuit to meet with a friend, Vittorio Podesta. He's the manage world champion of the hand-bike. Believe it or not, we met three years ago arguing for a handicapped parking spot in Italy. When I met him, he had just started to do races at high level. He's paraplegic. So when I had this idea [to do the marathon], I took out his business card and called him and was, 'Hey! It's Zanardi. You remember me?' 'Yeah of course.' And that's the way it went. He helped me a lot. 

Read more & Comment...

11/06/07
cc

Grand Prix of Houston sets dates for 2008 race
The Grand Prix of Houston will return to JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park from April 25-27, 2008, featuring a weekend double-header with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) on Saturday and Champ Car World Series on Sunday.

"We are very excited to announce these dates for the 2008 Grand Prix of Houston," said Michael T. Lanigan, owner and chairman of the Grand Prix. "The month of April offers some of the best weather of the year in Houston, and also gives us a great slot in the racing schedules of ALMS and Champ Car.

"Having our event on the same weekend each year will help us with our goal of establishing the Grand Prix as an annual Houston tradition as well as one of the premier racing events in the country."

Read more & Comment...
11/06/07
track news

Nazareth Speedway land deal collapses
The former Nazareth Speedway site is again for sale after a group led by Ashley Development Corp. of Bethlehem defaulted on its purchase option, according to the property's owners.

International Speedway Corp. of Daytona Beach, Fla., terminated Ashley's agreement to buy the 158-acre tract near Routes 191 and 248 in Lower Nazareth on Oct. 9.

Lennie Santiago, a spokesman for the company, said developers defaulted on terms of the $18.8 million sale agreed to in March 2006. He declined to specify conditions that were not met.
Ashley President Lou Pektor was not immediately available for comment.

Santiago said the property's price, originally set at $19 million, is now flexible, depending on real estate market conditions.

''We think it's an attractive property and hope to complete a sale in fiscal 2008, which is probably the end of next year,'' he said.

Township Supervisor Chairman Alan Dilsaver said he is confident another buyer will surface, but isn't sure what a developer may propose.

''We're always concerned about how property is utilized,'' Dilsaver said. ''It depends on the [real estate] environment. Housing starts aren't going too well right now. It's a prime location, but I don't know if the going price is inflated given current conditions.''  The Morning Call

Comment
11/06/07
cc

AXTEL and David Martinez join forces

David Martinez and Ricardo Aladro

David Martinez announced today at a press conference held in Mexico City that AXTEL, a leading Mexican telecommunications company, will be an official sponsor of his Forsythe Racing’s #7 Champ Car at the Gran Premio Tecate, the final round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series.

The Mexican driver will carry the AXTEL brand in his car, firesuit, helmet and hats in what will be his third Champ Car start, and second in 2007.  After sitting on the sidelines for almost a year, Martinez returned to the track with the Forsythe Team only a few weeks ago at the tricky Surfers Paradise, Australia street circuit where he finished in the tenth position. 

Martinez returns to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez this weekend where he made his Champ Car debut last year qualifying and finishing ninth.

Read more & Comment...

11/06/07
track news

Eight-time Indianapolis 500 starter Freeland dies at 82
Don Freeland, an eight-time starter in the Indianapolis 500 from 1953-60 and the third-place finisher in 1956, died Nov. 2 in San Diego after a period of declining health. He was 82.

Freeland had perhaps his best Indianapolis 500 run in 1955, when transmission failure robbed him of finishing second only 22 laps from the end. He also finished seventh in 1954 and 1958.

A U.S. Navy veteran who had served as a diesel mechanic in the South Pacific during World War II, Freeland began his racing career shortly after the war with track roadsters in Southern California. Migrating to the Midwest with many of his colleagues in the early 1950s, he divided his time for a brief period between driving AAA sprint cars and serving as a self-proclaimed "stooge" on the Bob Estes Championship car that was under the joint care of Jud Phillips and A.J. Watson. Whenever Watson and Phillips needed a driver, they all joked, Freeland was ready to jump in, the Estes "ride" becoming his for five of the next six years.

A steady and reliable driver in AAA and USAC National Championship events who was almost invariably around at the finish, the laconic Freeland scored 36 top-10 finishes between 1952-60. He won four poles, led 134 laps of competition and had 10 finishes of either second or third. He ranked third in the 1956 USAC championship points standings.

For several years in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Freeland was one of several drivers who made quite an impact as a member of the Champion Spark Plug Company's Highway Safety program, in which "500" drivers would visit the nation's high schools to give safe-driving tips to students.

He is survived by his wife, Jan, and a daughter, Deana, who reside in Torrance, Calif., where Freeland spent most of his life.

Comment
11/06/07
motogp

Stoner tops MotoGP testing Tuesday
The Repsol Honda Team today revealed the new racing prototype it will use to contest the 2008 MotoGP World Championship as a day and a half of MotoGP testing began at Valencia, Spain. Riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa got their first taste of the all-new Honda RC212V with which they intend to regain the world title for the factory Honda squad. Today’s test, which ran from 2pm to 5pm at the 4.005km (2.487-mile) Ricardo Tormo circuit, gave Pedrosa and Hayden the chance to complete the first installation laps on the new machine ahead of a full day’s testing tomorrow.

Pos

Rider Team Time Laps
1 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 32.348s 26
2 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 1m 33.176s 26
3 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 33.186s 49
4 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 33.266s 34
5 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1m 33.387s 35
6 Toni Elias Pramac d’Antin Ducati 1m 33.508s 42
7 Randy de Puniet Honda LCR 1m 33.563s 59
8 Shinya Nakano Honda Gresini 1m 33.901s 46
9 John Hopkins Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 34.277s 43
10 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 1m 34.330s 50
11 Sylvain Guintoli Pramac d’Antin 1m 34.367s 45
12 Marco Melandri Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 34.433s 44
13 Alex de Angelis Honda Gresini 1m 34.471s 47
14 Andrea Dovizioso JiR Scot Honda 1m 34.760s 48
15 Nobuatsu Aoki Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 35.564s 48
16 Olivier Jacque Kawasaki Racing Team 1m 35.727s 50
17 Vito Guareschi Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 36.115s 29

Comment
11/06/07
Industry news

Self-driving robotic cars

Click on image to watch video

Engineers and students from the nation’s top universities alike are competing to develop a self-driving car. The competition is sponsored by the Department of Defense, with an aim to apply the technology on the battlefield, to keep soldiers out of harms way and help save lives. There are also many civilian uses for the technology. Self-driving cars will be programmed not to crash into each other, they will reduce traffic congestion and they will also reduce stops and starts, saving on energy and reducing emissions. Automotive safety technologies like cruise control, lane departure warning and blind zone alerts already exist, and it won’t be long until cars will start to drive themselves.

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11/06/07
cca

Atlantic schedule features two standalone races
The 2008 Champ Car Atlantic Championship schedule will feature two stand-alone races among its twelve dates, while the idea of a non-championship finale has been resurrected following the cancellation of this year's Phoenix debacle which was the latest in a long line of embarrassing cancellations by the sanctioning body.

The championship, which will celebrate its 35th season next year, has added rounds at the historic Trois-Rivieres circuit in Canada and the Miller Motorsport Park in Utah to its other more established dates, while the non-championship finale will take place alongside the Champ Car showdown at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City in early November.

Trois-Rivières returns to the calendar for the first time since 2003, taking the Atlantics back to a circuit made famous by the exploits of local favorite Gilles Villeneuve, and will serve as the feature race at a mid-August racing festival, pending city council approval later this month.

The first Atlantic event at Miller Motorsports Park, outside Salt Lake City, follows on 21 September, and will bring the curtain on the championship season.

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11/06/07
cc

Gold Coast happy with place on '08 schedule
The Gold Coast Indy 300 (note the sponsor Lexmark is now gone and race is called Gold Coast Indy 300) on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Queensland, will be the penultimate round of next year’s Champ Car World Series on October 23-26, 2008.

Champ Car today released its 2008 schedule, opening the season in Long Beach to celebrate the premier Champ Car race’s Silver Anniversary and introducing a new Champ Car World Series event in Jerez, Spain, to expand its profile in Europe.

The Champ Car World Series, set to conduct its 30th season in 2008, will feature eight permanent road circuits and six temporary circuits.

It will hold six U.S. races, three races in Canada and one race in Mexico to maintain its solid base in North America with 10 races.

The open-wheel racing series also adds one new event in Europe to expand to three European races in 2008.

The Gold Coast Indy 300 will not only be a vital round of the Champ Car World Series, but the weekend will also play an important role in the outcome of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, which will be round 11 of the 14-round touring car battle.

Gold Coast Indy 300 General Manager, Greg Hooton, was pleased to again be provided with the penultimate Champ Car round and was one of the guests on an international phone hook-up this morning.

Read more & Comment...
11/06/07
f1

Schu test 'probably one-off'


Schumacher at recent Fiorano test by Ferrari
Ferrari

(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's first formula one test since he retired will be for two full days next week, his spokeswoman and a spokesman for Ferrari separately confirmed on Tuesday.

It is reported that the 38-year-old German, who retired as the Italian team's race driver last year but attended several grands prix in 2007 as an advisor, will drive the championship-winning F2007 at the Barcelona group test next week.

The Ferrari spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that Schumacher will drive on Tuesday - the first day of the initial post-season test period - and also Wednesday.

"It's half for pleasure, half for technical reasons," he added, while Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm explained that the seven time world champion has "big experience" of driving without electronic aids like traction control.

But Kehm told the BBC: "It's probably a one-off.  Michael does not intend at all to go back to F1."

Meanwhile, Red Bull Racing on Tuesday announced that Indian GP2 driver Karun Chandhok will also test on Tuesday and Wednesday at Spain's Circuit de Catalunya.

The Austrian team said the 23-year-old from Madras is standing in for regular tester Sebastien Buemi, who will be racing in Macau.

"Karun has been supported by Red Bull for a couple of years now and his progress in GP2 this year has been clearly evident, culminating in a win at Spa," said team boss Christian Horner.

"Barcelona presents a good opportunity to put Karun in one of the cars for his first F1 drive," he added.

Comment
11/06/07
f1

Chandhok to test for Red Bull

Karun Chandhok

Karun Chandhok, winner of a GP2 race at the demanding Spa-Francorchamps circuit this year, will test for Red Bull Racing, when F1 testing resumes at the Circuit de Catalunya, (Barcelona) on 13 and 14 November.

The 23 year old Indian, who was born in Madras, will be standing in for regular tester, Sebastien Buemi, who is competing in the Macau Formula 3 race. Winning at Spa was the highlight of Chandhok’s season in GP2, having secured the drive after being crowned the 2006 Asian Formula Renault V6 Champion, with seven wins and nine pole positions.

“This really is a dream come true for me,” said Karun. “Ever since I was four years old I’ve dreamed of being behind the wheel of a Formula One car and this is a day that not just myself, but my family and everyone who has supported me over the years, has thought about for a long time. I really have to thank everyone involved at Red Bull Racing for this opportunity; I’m really looking forward to it.”

“Karun has been supported by Red Bull for a couple of years now and his progress in GP2 this year has been clearly evident, culminating in a win at Spa,” commented team principal Christian Horner. “Barcelona presents a good opportunity to put Karun in one of the cars for his first F1 drive.”

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11/06/07
cc

Portland made it, just barely
Portland made it, just barely, onto Champ Car's 2008 schedule.

It keeps alive an event that first came to Portland in 1984.

"It makes a lot of good strategy sense for us to be in Portland," said Steve Johnson, Champ Car's president. But Johnson also said Monday during a nationwide conference call that there is much work to be done before the city stages its 25th open-wheel race at Portland International Raceway on July 27.

Johnson will visit Portland within two weeks after the Champ Car season finale in Mexico City this weekend to hammer out some details, including the length of Portland's new contract with the series. There also might be a new business plan that includes a different promoter.

Champ Car lost millions of dollars staging races at PIR in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and Johnson has been critical of the event's attendance and corporate support, especially at the local level.

But the overriding theme Monday, as Champ Car announced a 14-race schedule for 2008 -- with an all-time low of six events in the United States -- was that the series was not prepared to pull the plug in Portland and throw away 24 years of tradition.

"We want to be there," said Johnson, who hinted that a 2009 Portland race is a near-certainty, given the obvious marketing hook.  More at OregonLive.com

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11/06/07
track news

Repaving begins at Darlington
Paving crews began the intimidating challenge of repaving NASCAR’s first paved superspeedway, Darlington Raceway.  The $10-million repaving project includes new asphalt around the entire 1.366-mile oval, concrete pit stalls and a new infield access tunnel underneath turn three. All construction will be completed in time for the Dodge Challenger 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, May 8 – 10, 2008.

Comment
11/06/07
irl

IRL reaping huge benefits from Castroneves
Helio Castroneves received a few surprises during Week 7 of "Dancing with the Stars."

First was a video message of encouragement from his parents in Brazil that brought a tear to his eye. Second was the ecstatic reception he received during a "campaign stop" in Indianapolis on Nov. 2. And during the live competition show Nov. 5 on ABC, supporting the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion and dance partner Julianne Hough in the audience were Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. and wife Crystal, motorsports director of Firestone Al Speyer and Indy Racing League president of competition and operations Brian Barnhart.

Not necessarily surprising were the scores from the three-judge panel for the steamy Tango and upbeat Samba: 52 total (of 60).  More at IndyCar.com

Comment
11/06/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • Schu to drive Ferrari at major F1 test
  • Schu stuns with MotoGP pace
  • Kovalainen attains goal in New York marathon
  • British hopefuls to test McLaren on Tuesday
  • Hamilton not involved in teammate decision

Schu to drive Ferrari at major F1 test
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher will drive Ferrari's 2007 formula one car at the upcoming post-season test at Circuit de Catalunya.

The retired seven time world champion has ruled out wild speculation that he might replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren next year.

But it did emerge late on Monday that Schumacher, who raced for the Italian team between 1996 and last year, will emerge from the Ferrari garage early next week at the wheel of the championship-winning F2007 in Barcelona.

At Valencia where the German impressively tested Ducati's MotoGP bike on Monday, Schumacher told the newspaper Bild-Zeitung that he would test the Ferrari not for fun but to contribute to the team's development program ahead of the traction control ban in 2008.

"I am glad that I can help the team," he said.

Schu stuns with MotoGP pace
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher on Monday stunned observers at the Valencia circuit by setting competitive lap times on the saddle of Casey Stoner's championship-winning Ducati MotoGP bike.

As a host of guest riders tested the grand prix machinery at the Spanish circuit following the conclusion of the 2007 season, the former formula one seven time world champion came close to just five seconds off Valencia winner Dani Pedrosa's fastest lap at the end of his 58-lap test.

Schumacher, 38, wearing a plain orange riding suit and white helmet, proved radically improved since his Ducati test in 2005; fully leaning into the corners and putting to good effect the tips of experts he consulted in the pits.

"I remember the last time I was riding and I was about 15 seconds slower than what you could do, so I thought maybe if I could run within ten seconds, that would nice," he said afterwards in Spain, according to Motorcycle News (MCN).

Read more & Comment...
11/05/07
nascar

NASCAR owner gets 2-years in Federal prison
Haas CNC Racing team owner Gene Haas was sentenced today to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of tax fraud in August.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder issued the sentence Monday in accordance with guidelines set in the previously agreed to plea bargain in federal court in Los Angeles. Haas will begin serving his prison term Jan. 14, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Haas, who was arrested in June 2006 after a lengthy investigation, agreed to pay $34.2 million in back taxes for the years 2000 and 2001, as well as a $5-million fine. With statutory penalties and interest on the back taxes, Haas has paid more than $70 million to the government to resolve his tax issues for 2000 and 2001.

"Mr. Haas has now paid the government more than twice the amount of taxes he attempted to avoid paying," said U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien in a statement. "This huge monetary penalty, as well as the two-year prison term, should reassure law-abiding citizens that tax evasion can and will be rooted out, and that there are significant ramifications."

He is required to serve 85 percent of the sentence before being considered for release, so he will have to serve at least 20 months and 12 days in prison.

Comment
11/05/07
cc
cca

Champ Car announces 2008 schedules
Champ Car today released its 2008 schedule, opening the season in Long Beach to celebrate the premier Champ Car race’s Silver Anniversary; introducing a new Champ Car World Series event in Jerez, Spain, to expand its profile in Europe; and featuring an enhanced Atlantic Championship schedule that includes two stand-alone races in Utah and Canada.

“We have succeeded in improving our schedules for next season, offering Champ Car fans, sponsors, teams, drivers, TV broadcasters and other stakeholders a cohesive, strong calendar of events,” said Champ Car CEO and President Steve Johnson. “We will stabilize our base in North America, begin a steady growth plan for Europe, and provide a balance of temporary and permanent circuits.”

The Champ Car World Series, set to conduct its 30th season in 2008, will feature eight permanent road circuits and six temporary circuits. It will hold six U.S. races, three races in Canada and one race in Mexico to maintain its solid base in North America with 10 races. The open-wheel racing series also adds one new event in Europe to expand to three European races in 2008. The schedule is pending ACCUS/FIA approval.

“By pairing Jerez with Zolder and conducting them in June, we now will be in Europe during two different times next season rather than just one as we were in 2007,” Johnson said. “Assen will remain in September, where it was very successful this year. The two 2008 trips expand our reach in Europe and establish two footprints for future growth there.”

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11/05/07
nascar

Harvick becomes all-time Busch Series winner
Kevin Harvick continued to write his name in the history books at Texas Motor Speedway by claming his third consecutive NASCAR Busch Series victory in the O’Reilly Challenge.  Harvick’s fourth NASCAR Busch Series win at Texas Motor Speedway makes him the all-time leader in Busch Series victories at Texas, breaking a tie with Mark Martin. It was Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) 50th series victory, maintaining the second spot in the owner victory standings.  It was also Harvick’s 32nd career victory, now in sole possession of second place on the all-time Busch Series wins list and just 15 behind leader Mark Martin.  He had entered the race tied with Jack Ingram. 

Comment
11/05/07
f1

Toyota promises ’very different’ '08 car
Toyota has promised its 2008 car will be “very different” to this year’s model as it bids to finally make a breakthrough at the front of Formula 1.

The Japanese squad has struggled to break out of the sport’s midfield since its first race in 2002 and, despite a promising 2005 season, has finished sixth in the constructors’ championship in each of the past two campaigns.

When asked if the team is planning on introducing a revolutionary car like Williams for next season, Toyota’s general chassis manager Pascal Vasselon says its TF108 will be notably different – but stops short of calling it radically new.

“Our 2008 car will be very different,” he told the latest issue of F1 Racing magazine.  I wouldn’t say ‘revolutionary’ because nature is continuous.  For instance, you don’t go from being stupid to intelligent, or back again, from one day to the next.  So, although our car will be very different, it will be a normal evolution according to what we've learned through experience – and where we are in terms of understanding our performances.”

“We’re working on a schedule that’s probably similar to the other teams,” he said.  “We started on the 2008 car very early – in January.  Fuji was the last major upgrade for 2007.”

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11/05/07
nascar

NASCAR confiscates 11 Engines
NASCAR selected 11 cars to run on the engine dyno following Sunday night's race.  The cars registered numbers that were quite close. Included were: the No. 12 Dodge (781hp), No. 48 Chevrolet (784hp — a number recorded following his postrace burnout), No. 17 Ford (788hp), No. 1 (786hp) Chevrolet, No. 20 Chevrolet (781hp), No. 31 Chevrolet (788hp), No. 9 Dodge (784hp), No. 88 Ford (780hp), No. 83 Toyota (783hp), No. 22 Toyota (788hp), No. 24 Chevrolet (777hp). NASCAR confiscated the engines from the cars and will conduct further examinations at the Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C

Comment
11/05/07
cca

Macrow to test Atlantic car
Newly crowned Australian Formula 3 Champion Tim Macrow is scheduled to test a Champ Car Atlantic car for Jensen Motorsport later this month.

The 23 year-old will test the Mazda powered Atlantic chassis at Roebling Road Raceway in Georgia following an invitation from owner Eric Jensen.  It will mark the first step towards a possible move by Macrow to the United States next season following three successful years in Australian Formula 3.

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11/05/07
motogp

Repsol Honda team stays on Michelin rubber
The Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) is very pleased to announce today that the Repsol Honda Team will continue its highly successful partnership with Michelin for the 2008 MotoGP season. Michelin and Honda have collaborated in the top class of motorcycle racing since 1982, during which time they have won 14 riders world championships and recorded 193 race wins.

The first race win of this longstanding alliance came in 1982 with Freddie Spencer at the Belgian Grand Prix and the most recent was Dani Pedrosa’s great victory at the Grand Prix of Valencia on Sunday. After a difficult 2007 season, both Honda and Michelin are determined that this new agreement will form the foundation of further success.

Read more & Comment...
11/05/07
f1

Schu rumors ’absurd’ says manager

Michael Schumacher

(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's manager has slammed as "absurd" suggestions that the retired seven time world champion could be shaping up to return to the formula one cockpit.

The rumors were sparked by Patrick Head, while the Williams co-owner countered speculation that McLaren is hoping to replace Fernando Alonso with Nico Rosberg in 2008.

"Michael's still fit -- and probably bored," the Briton told the Mail on Sunday.

But Willi Weber, Schumacher's long time manager, responded: "This is absolutely absurd and wrong.

"Michael has a contract with Ferrari and is doing a job that he likes," the German told the news agency 'sid'.

Schumacher, 38, retired at the end of 2006 after eleven years at Ferrari, and more than fifteen years in total in formula one.

He attended several grands prix this season in his new role as an advisor for the Maranello based team.

Weber continued: "Ferrari is our partner for the coming years.  And if he really feels the itch (to race) again, which looks pretty unlikely, then Ferrari will be his only choice."

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11/05/07
nhra

NHRA champions crowned in season finale
The most dramatic single day in the history of drag racing ended with four new POWERade Champions being crowned at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. Tony Schumacher and Matt Smith needed wins in the final round of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals to clinch their titles. Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon sweated it out until the semifinals before securing his second crown, while Jeg Coughlin wrapped up Pro Stock title No. 3 in the quarterfinals.

For the second year in a row, Schumacher waited until the final pass of the season to steal the title away, this time from "Hot Rod" Fuller. He defeated Bob Vandergriff with the quickest pass of the race, a 4.486 at 328.30 mph. Robert Hight beat fill-in teammate Phil Burkart in the Funny Car final when Burkart smoked his tires 200 feet out. Coughlin punctuated his title with his 38th career win, this one over first-time finalist Justin Humphreys. Smith beat fellow Buell rider Chip Ellis in the final with a whopping 6.944.

 
Tony Schumacher

Schumacher becomes the first Top Fuel racer to win four championships in a row with his second Cinderella finish in as many years. Entering this weekend in fourth place and needing help on many fronts, Schumacher danced his way through to the final in the U.S. Army dragster and blistered Vandergriff's UPS rail, 4.486 to 4.681, to win his fifth POWERade championship by just 19 points.

This was the sixth win for Schumacher in six final-round showings this year and moves his career record to 41-29, just 11 wins shy of the all-time class record held by Joe Amato. Vandergriff completed the season a career-best fifth in the points but set the record for final-round futility with his 0-12 mark. This was his fifth runner-up of the year. 

Read more & Comment...

11/05/07
nascar

DEI's Gilmore back in hospital
Richie Gilmore, vice president of competition for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., is back in the hospital, four weeks after suffering a brain aneurysm, said DEI’s Vice President of Motorsports Operations, John Story. According to Story, Gilmore was scheduled to return to work at DEI on Monday, but after a medical examination was checked into a hospital in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area on Saturday. Sunday morning at Texas Motor Speedway, Story said he had no update on Gilmore’s condition or prognosis for when he might return to work. Gilmore suffered the aneurysm four weeks ago, prior to the Talladega race weekend. He was hospitalized briefly in Birmingham and then returned to his home in North Carolina. SPEEDtv.com

Comment
11/05/07
f1

Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates show in red below.

11/05/07
  • Schu, Berger, to test MotoGP bikes
  • McLaren in no rush to name Alonso successor
  • Hamilton tackles criticism amid book launch
  • Fiat chief crashes Ferrari
  • Schu return would be 'dream' - report New
  • McLaren should have treated Alonso better - Rossi New

Schu, Berger, to test MotoGP bikes
(GMM) Michael Schumacher is reportedly set to climb aboard Casey Stoner's title-winning Ducati MotoGP motorcycle on Monday.

Following the final round of the 2007 season at Valencia last weekend, the post-race MotoGP tests at the Spanish circuit are usually reserved for journalists and former racers to try the two-wheel machines.

Referring to retired Ferrari racer Schumacher's Ducati test, Stoner said: "I hear he's pretty good on a bike so it will be strange to explain something.

"But if he has some questions then maybe I can answer them," he added.

Australia's Stoner, the newly crowned MotoGP champion, also said he would like to one day try a formula one car.

"I'm not ready for this because I've never really driven a car. I've driven karts a lot but not really a car.

"Maybe I'll wait some years yet and for sure it will be nice to get some advice from Michael."

Schumacher, 38, first tested a Ducati MotoGP bike late in 2005.

Italian television Italia1, meanwhile, revealed that former grand prix winner and Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger is preparing to test several MotoGP bikes at Valencia this week.

"The Kawasaki, the Honda, the Ducati," Berger, reportedly asked to conduct the tests for a German motoring magazine, said.

"I like motorbikes a lot," the Austrian veteran added. "It's great stuff, a good show."

McLaren in no rush to name Alonso successor
(GMM) McLaren-Mercedes is in no rush to name a replacement for departed race driver Fernando Alonso, according to team chiefs.

Norbert Haug, who is Mercedes' sporting chief, told reporters at the 'Stars and Cars' event in Stuttgart at the weekend that there is "no time frame" to sign a 2008 teammate for championship runner-up Lewis Hamilton.

The German however said it would "make sense" to have a complete driver line up in time for the resumption of testing later this month.

But he noted that at the same time one year ago, "we had not announced Hamilton".

Amid increasing speculation about the identity of Hamilton's new teammate, Haug said the successful candidate needs to be "quick and inexpensive".

Read more & Comment...
11/05/07
tv news

Alex Zanardi to be guest on The Early Show

Alex Zanardi, right

According to Alex Zanardi's website, Alex will be a guest on The Early Show on Monday morning, November 5.  The program airs at 7:00 am - 9:00 am ET on CBS.  Please check your local listings for your location and time zone.  Alex was very proud to finish in fourth place out of 53 competitors in the handcycle category of the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 4.

Comment
11/05/07
racing news

Quotes of the week
MAX MOSLEY, President FIA
"That (Ferrari data) was in the hands of the chief designer at precisely the moment he was designing the 2008 McLaren," said Mosley.  "The difficulty we have is that you're not going to find on the McLaren a part that was designed by Ferrari.  What you may find are ideas and at this level of technology at this level of motorsport, if the idea is given to the chief designer he will make a component utilizing that idea which bears no relation at all to the component perhaps being used by the other car.  So we will be looking for the ideas. The investigation will be thorough, it will use outside experts and we will do everything we possibly can to make sure that either of the McLarens has no element of Ferrari intellectual property in it or if it does we will then have to consider taking some sort of action.  That would not necessarily be preventing them from running. It would be more likely that they would be given a negative point allocation.  Finding something will not be easy. On the other hand, there are sources we are going to deploy who will give us as good a chance as its possible to have to find it."  (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.  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.)

MAX MOSLEY
Lewis Hamilton burst onto the scene this year and stirred widespread praise and adulation, but Max Mosley thinks "there is a tendency to exaggerate" the importance of the new star.  "There is always somebody new," he said.  "If it wasn't him it would be either Rosberg or Kubica or one of the other new stars, a Vettel, would suddenly be the big one.  So I think there is a tendency to exaggerate the importance of Lewis Hamilton."  Mosley also questioned the perceived innocence of the McLaren newcomer by wondering if he, like the team's other drivers, also knew about the 780-page Ferrari dossier that sparked the spy saga.  "He's not a known quantity to me.  It would be surprising if he didn't know something of what was going on, but I've got absolutely no evidence that he had," Mosley added.

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, British newspaper
"Were he to have walked around the streets of London prodding infants with sticks yesterday, Mosley could not have caused greater offence to the British public."  (Regarding the comments Mosley made about rookie sensation, Lewis Hamilton.  See preceding quote from Max Mosley.)

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