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Bolin to be Kenseth’s new crew chief

Matt Kenseth

Veteran Roush Fenway Racing car chief Chip Bolin will replace Robbie Reiser as crew chief for Matt Kenseth's No. 17 Ford in 2008, Kenseth confirmed Friday. Reiser has been promoted to general manager of NASCAR Nextel Cup team operations for Roush Fenway. Bolin took Reiser's place on the pit box earlier this year after NASCAR suspended Reiser for four races for rules infractions discovered during inspection before the season-opening Daytona 500.

Though Reiser is the only crew chief Kenseth has worked with in the Cup series, the driver believes the transition will be seamless. 

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Gilmore returns to Earnhardt Childress
Richie Gilmore returned to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. this week after suffering an aneurysm Oct. 5. Gilmore, 43, the chief operating officer of Earnhardt Childress Racing Technology, said it "feels good" to be back at the shop, even if it was part-time.

"I have such a passion for what I do," Gilmore said. "I was so excited about getting back to work. We had a meeting at DEI on Wednesday with Teresa (Earnhardt), Richard (Childress) and they bussed in the RCR guys so I was able to speak with all the new employees under one roof.  "I thought about coming down to Homestead this weekend, but the doctors don't want me to fly yet. Right now I have a lot of catching up to do."


Burton wins final NASCAR Busch Series Race
Jeff Burton won the NASCAR Busch Series owners' championship for Richard Childress Racing when he took the green flag for Saturday's Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Two hundred laps later, he won the race, notching his fifth win of the year and the 27th of his career in the final event in the series under Anheuser-Busch sponsorship.

Burton denied former Roush Racing teammate Mark Martin a chance to win the final series race. Martin, the all-time series leader with 47 victories, finished 1.718 seconds behind Burton but held off current
Roush Fenway drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, who came home third and fourth, respectively.

Though Edwards had clinched the NASCAR Busch Series title two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway, Saturday brought the official trophy presentation for the final championship before the series takes on sponsorship from Nationwide Insurance next year.

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Bourdais Feted at Champ Car World Series Banquet

Bourdais with his 4th Vanderbilt Cup

In a whirlwind week that saw him win in Mexico City, fly across the Atlantic Ocean to test an F1 car in Europe and then fly back to Indianapolis, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's Sebastien Bourdais officially closed his Champ Car World Series career Friday night at the organization’s year-end banquet at the Westin Hotel where the Series bid him an emotional farewell.

Bourdais, who clinched an unprecedented fourth straight Champ Car title after winning in Australia in October, won in his final Champ Car start this past Sunday in Mexico City before spending part of the week testing his Toro Rosso Formula One car in Barcelona, Spain. The 27-year-old Frenchman returned to Indianapolis in time to collect the $500,000 bonus as Series Champion along with the Champion’s ring and the Vanderbilt Cup.

When came time for Bourdais to give his Champion’s speech, it was a difficult task.

“I didn’t prepare a speech because I knew I wouldn’t get through it,” said Bourdais as he was fighting back the tears. “It’s been the best five years of my life.”

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Ford drivers capture Ford pole
Was it computer generated again? David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion won the pole for Saturday's Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Ragan captured his first NASCAR Busch Series pole earlier at the Texas spring race. Teammate Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Scotts Ford Fusion will start alongside Ragan.


Speedcar demo run wows Dubai crowd
Speedcar provided nail-biting excitement and showed off incredible driving prowess to the visitors at the Dubai Autodrome during their demonstration run this weekend on the 16th and 17th. Race fans are now geared up for the Series that begins on the 26th of January in Dubai, the Speedcar home turf.

Visitors were treated to an up close and personal meeting with great names from the international circuit. The renowned ex F1, stockcar and rally drivers mingled with fans during autograph sessions and grid formations over both days. The 14 drivers participating this weekend were: Jean Alesi, Nico Caldarola, Fabien Giroux, Johnny Herbert, Stefan Johansson, Ukyo Katayama, Mathias Lauda, Hasher Al Maktoum, Alexander Maus, Ananda Mikola, Gianni Morbidelli, Nicolas Navarro, Moreno Soeprapto and David Terrien.

The track action proved to be in competitive yet good spirits among all the drivers with attention being paid to giving spectators a taste of stockcar racing – the first of its kind in the region. The only local driver, Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum fared very well on his home track and received high praise from Johnny Herbert who said “It is an honour driving with him and I am pleased to see him doing so wellâ€.

This demonstration at the Motorsport Festival sees the end of Speedcar track action for the year 2007. The Series begins in January 2008 and runs over the Middle East and Asia.


Toro Rosso to start 2008 with old car
(GMM) Toro Rosso will begin the 2008 season with the year-old 'STR2' single seater.

The Faenza based outfit's team principal Franz Tost revealed that the old car, practically identical to parent team Red Bull Racing's RB3, will be used by Toro Rosso for at least "the first four races" of 2008.

He said the policy is partly to ensure better reliability next season, because if the "new car has problems, then we have time to react".

Also to the Austrian newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung, Tost seemed to confirm speculation that "talks" are ongoing between Red Bull and double world champion Fernando Alonso.

"The fact is that Alonso is still without a fixed contract, and for each team he is of great interest.

"As far as I know, there are talks between Red Bull and Alonso," Tost added.

However, he played down rumors that David Coulthard could be slotted into a Toro Rosso seat next year to make room at the senior team for the Spaniard.

"We have contracts with Vettel and Bourdais," he said. "That is the facts, and everything else is conjecture."


Hayden fastest on Day 3 at Sepang
Repsol Honda Team rider Nicky Hayden recording the fastest overall time of the three-day MotoGP test at Sepang today. Using Michelin qualifying tires during his final run on the 2007 RC212V, Hayden made the most of favorable track conditions to post a lap time of 2m 00.592s – a remarkable 1.3s inside the 2m 01.877s Malaysian Grand Prix pole position time set by his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa in October.

The 26-year-old American then swapped to the new 2008 machine and completed a further 63 laps to evaluate engine settings, test race tire options and gather valuable data for the HRC technicians in preparation for the coming season. Following this positive track time at Sepang, the factory Honda squad now looks forward to a further three-day test at the Jerez circuit in Spain, beginning on November 27, where Hayden will once again be joined in the garage by Pedrosa. The intense 2007 schedule is then finally brought to a close by the winter MotoGP test ban which runs from December 1 2007 until January 20 2008.

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Tander wins Race 1
Toll HSV driver Garth Tander took a huge stride towards securing a maiden V8 Supercar Championship Series title with a commanding win in the first race of the Falken Tasmania Challenge in Launceston today.

The lanky West Australian made the field look as though they were standing still on the same track he won all three races at this time last year. Already this year he has had clean sweeps at Queensland Raceway and Barbagallo in Perth.

He is clearly now the Championship favorite with a 31-point lead over Craig Lowndes, depending on what happens in tomorrow’s two races. He streeted Team Vodafone’s Jamie Whincup and Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom today.

But he won’t have a word of Championships, although he did say he would like a comfortable buffer going into the Dunlop Grand Finale at Phillip Island in a fortnight.

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Wrigley and Texaco to co-primary sponsor #42
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced that the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and its iconic Wrigley's Brands- Big Red, Juicy Fruit, Winterfresh, Doublemint and Spearmint - will join with 21-year NASCAR sponsor Texaco/Havoline as co-primary sponsors of Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Dodge Avenger for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. Together, the two companies will combine to be on the car every time Montoya takes to the track in the #42 Dodge in 2008. For every race that Texaco/Havoline is the primary sponsor, Wrigley's will be the associate sponsor on the car and vice versa when Wrigley's is the primary sponsor. The global brands will each hold the primary role in 18 races next season. In addition, Texaco/Havoline and Wrigley's will look to combine forces wherever possible in order to better promote their associations with Montoya, the #42 team and CGRFS. CGRFS PR


Benson’s Toyota spoils Ford’s parade

Johnny Benson celebrates

Johnny Benson driving a Toyota won the Ford 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race with a last-lap pass on a green-white-checkered-flag restart that sent the event four laps beyond its posted distance; in the process, Ron Hornaday Jr. won his third series championship when the anticipated shootout between Hornaday and points leader Mike Skinner failed to materialize.

Skinner entered the race with a 29-point lead but exited the season finale 54 points behind Hornaday. Johnson will take the green flag in Sunday's Ford 400 Nextel Cup race with an 86-point lead over teammate Jeff Gordon.

Benson passed runner-up Kyle Busch on the final lap at the 1.5-mile track after Chris Jones' spin on Lap 133 brought out the fourth and final caution of the race. Benson crossed the finish line .60 seconds ahead of Busch, with Rick Crawford finishing third, Kevin Harvick (Hornaday's truck owner) fourth and Jason Leffler fifth.

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Macau: Jarvis wins qualification race

Oliver Jarvis

Briton Oliver Jarvis won a shortened qualification race for the Polytec Macau Formula Three Grand Prix after a thrilling battle with closest rival Marko Asmer.

The TOM’S Toyota driver, who started from pole position, lost the lead at the start to Asmer but wasted little time in recovering his position.

An attempt to overtake Asmer was aborted on lap two because of yellow flags, but following a brief safety car period to allow marshals to retrieve the stranded car of Esteban Guerrieri who had crashed at Mandarin Bend on the first lap, Jarvis started really hounding Asmer.

Oliver Jarvis (car #5) was lucky at the 1st corner ... on his way to win the 1st race.  The others are (left to right): Mortara, Buemi and Tsukakoshi
Photo by Gargantini

He duly made his decisive move on lap five after slipstreaming Asmer down the main straight and he overtook him around the outside into Lisboa Bend. Jarvis then pulled clear to open out a 2.3 second lead before the race was red flagged on lap nine following a series of accidents.

Bruno Senna and Nico Hulkenberg had a big coming together at Mandarin Bend on lap seven, and then just one lap later Atte Mustonen clouted the tire wall at R-Bend and his car was left stranded in the middle of the track.

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Ferrari satisfied McLaren lost appeal
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro is completely satisfied with today's decision of the International Court of Appeal which confirms the result of the Brazilian Grand Prix, as a consequence of which Kimi Raikkonen won the Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship. "The decision of the ICA finally brings to an end a very intense season, both on and off the track," declared Jean Todt, Ferrari CEO. "Today, a final and desperate attempt to change the result obtained on the track was rejected. Now, all our efforts are focused on preparing for next season."


NASCAR Chase not sold out
The NASCAR Chase has seen plummeting TV ratings and now comes word that of the 10 Chase races, only four have sold out (Homestead, New Hampshire, Kansas and Phoenix) and none with more than 92,000 seats.


McLaren loses appeal UPDATE (GMM)  McLaren's appeal over the 'cool fuel' issue was deemed inadmissible by the FIA court on Friday, thus confirming that Kimi Raikkonen is officially the 2007 world champion.

Kimi Raikkonen can breathe a sigh of relief now

The FIA's four-man appeals panel met in London on Thursday and then reconvened in Paris on Friday to deliberate.

McLaren had appealed a ruling of the stewards at the final race of the season at Interlagos last month, where four cars were found to have possibly been using fuel that was illegally cold.

The stewards ultimately decided in Brazil that there was "sufficient doubt as to both the temperature of the fuel on board the car and to the true ambient temperature" of the four BMW-Sauber and Williams runners.

Had the cars been excluded from the classification, and the other runners promoted up the order, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton would have been crowned champion.

The FIA Court of Appeal said in a statement on Friday: "Having heard the explanations of both parties and having examined the various documents and other evidence, the Court decided that the appeal lodged by (McLaren) is inadmissible."

The full text of the decision is not yet available, but Williams revealed in a statement that McLaren "failed to follow the correct and clearly documented protest procedure".

McLaren was nonetheless disappointed with the outcome.

"The FIA's Steward, Tony Scott Andrews, accepted McLaren's appeal when it was presented to him after the race in the Interlagos paddock, (but) the FIA International Court of Appeal has decided that the appeal was not admissible," a statement read.

"This was despite the Stewards making the official results subject to our appeal," McLaren added.

Also in media statements, Ferrari said it is "completely satisfied" with the outcome of the appeal, and Williams "welcomed the findings".

"A final and desperate attempt to change the result obtained on the track was rejected," Ferrari CEO Jean Todt said.

Williams added: "(The) team did not transgress the regulations (or) demonstrate any intent or gain any competitive advantage in relation to the management of its race fuels."

11/16/07 The FIA's International Court of Appeal has rejected McLaren's case over the fuel temperatures of the BMW and Williams cars in last month's Brazilian Grand Prix saying that the case was rejected because McLaren's appeal is inadmissible.

Therefore the results of the Brazilian GP are unchanged and Kimi Raikkonen is officially the 2007 F1 World Driving Champion.


Roush announced Colin Braun

Colin Braun

Roush Fenway Racing announced Colin Braun will drive the No. 6 Ford F-150 in the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Braun talks about his sponsor Con-way Freight and his transition from sports cars to stock cars.

COLIN BRAUN - No.  6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 - CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING DRIVING THE No. 6 TRUCK FOR 2008. "Thank you very much.  I'm really excited about it.  I'm really looking forward to driving for such a great team and have a great sponsor."

YOU'VE BEEN IN THE ROUSH TRUCK THIS YEAR FOR ONE RACE, TALK ABOUT RACING A FULL SEASON.  "I'm going to be driving the No. 6 truck next year full time next year for Roush Fenway Racing and Con-way Freight. I'm very excited about it.  I'll be working with guys like Mike Beam [crew chief] and the entire number 6 crew.  Those are a great group of guys. They've got a lot of experience and they've certainly had quite a few good drivers go through that program.  I'm looking forward to learning a lot from everybody at Con-way Freight and the number 6 truck."

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IRL news tidbits
IndyCar Series drivers Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira are among the drivers who will compete in the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs. The event, which is hosted by Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa, takes place in the Brazilian city of Florianopolis on Nov. 24-25 and includes Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran and Indianapolis 500 veteran Roberto Moreno in the 25-driver field.  Hideki Mutoh will drive an IndyCar Series car during Super Aguri/ARTA Festa at Twin Ring Motegi on Nov. 22-23. Super Aguri/ARTA Festa is an annual fan "thank you" event that features cars and drivers supported by Aguri Suzuki's ARTA project.


ALMS poll
The American Le Mans Series is preparing for its 10th anniversary season and is asking its fans around the world to help pick its greatest moments. A poll on the Series’ web site (americanlemans.com) will allow users to vote for their 10 favorite moments in Series history, dating back to the first race at Sebring in 1999.

There are multiple phases planned with the starting field reduced down to 40 after two weeks of voting with write-ins welcome during the first round. From then on, the choices will be reduced by 10 every two weeks with fans having the chance to rank the top 10 moments starting January 11. These final 10 will be featured on americanlemans.com and during Series television broadcasts throughout the year.

The poll url is http://www.americanlemans.com/poll/poll.aspx.

Preparations for the 2008 American Le Mans Series, its 10th season of world-class sports car racing, begin January 28-30 with the annual Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway. The 2008 season opens with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 15.


Champ Car drivers deliver safety message at HSE High School
Champ Car racers have a message for teen drivers, put down the cell phone and keep your hands on the wheel. Four rising stars in the open-wheel racing series took that message Hamilton Southeastern High School Friday.

“Champ Car gets involved in lots of good causes, but this is one we’re really passionate about,” Legge said. “It’s one that’s really predominate in a lot of young people’s minds.”

The campaign specifically warns of the dangers of sending text messages while driving. According to statistics provided by Champ Car, 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes are caused by distracted drivers. Fifteen states have outlawed text messaging while driving. Indiana is not among them.

The program encourages drivers to take simple steps to avoid distraction, sign an online pledge at www.handsonthewheel.org and follow guidelines set forth in the “Hands on the Wheel” campaign.“

When you’re driving a 200-mph Champ Car, you absolutely have to concentrate on what you’re doing,” said Power, who won two Champ Car races in 2007. “But just because you’re going slower while driving your regular car on public roads doesn’t mean you don’t have to concentrate. You need to be focused any time you get behind the wheel of any car.”


Wood wins truck pole in Homestead
Jon Wood, driver of the No. 21 CarRacing.com Ford F-150 will lead the field for Friday night's Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Wood set a new track qualifying record of 31.18 seconds (173.199 mph).  This is Wood's third pole position in his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career.

"I only ran one and it didn't really feel all that fast.  That's what is so astonishing (Was it computer generated?  After all Ford is the sponsor.).  We had an awesome draw and going out last was a huge plus.  It's just optimum conditions.  We had a good truck and a good draw and that's just the way it works out," said Jon Wood.


Williams team happy with McLaren protest ruling
Williams F1 today welcomed the findings of the FIA’s International Court of Appeal (ICA), investigating the matter of the fuel temperatures recorded at the Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this year.

The outcome of the hearing means that the Steward’s decision in Brazil in relation to this matter remains in force and valid. The AT&T Williams team did not transgress the regulations, demonstrate any intent or gain any competitive advantage in relation to the management of its race fuels.

In order to respect the Court of Appeal process, Williams has refrained from making any public statement until a conclusion had been reached. The team can now confirm that the facts of this case are as follows:-
1. Article 6.5.4 of the FIA Technical Regulations states that no fuel on- board the car may be more than 10 0 C below ambient temperature.
2. There is no specified source for the ambient temperature measurement, and there is no homologated and sealed sensor for measuring fuel temperature either in the fuel rigs or on-board the cars.
3. Meteo France, who provide official temperature measurements for the FIA and Formula One teams, recorded a maximum ambient temperature during the Brazilian GP of 33 0 C.
4. The lowest temperatures recorded by Williams’ precise on-board sensors in the fuel tank and in the fuel injection rail on either of its cars during the Grand Prix were 31 0 C and 35 0 C respectively.
5. Consequently, as the Stewards found, there was no breach of the regulations.
6. All of the preceding points are consistent with all of the clarifications and opinions related to fuel temperatures expressed in Team Managers’ Meetings and other such forums. The views offered in these meetings fully support Williams’ case as presented to the FIA ICA.

These facts lay behind the Steward’s decision in Brazil. Williams was pleased to be able to present these facts to the ICA and see the Steward’s decision upheld, confirming that both Williams race cars were legal throughout the course of the Brazilian Grand Prix. In the event, the appeal of the Steward’s decision was found to be inadmissible as McLaren failed to follow the correct and clearly documented protest procedure.


Helio in People magazine "Sexiest Man Alive" issue

Helio Castroneves

There's a double dose of IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves currently on newsstands. The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and dance partner Julianne Hough are featured on the cover of TV Guide magazine, and Castroneves is included in People magazine's annual "Sexiest Man Alive" issue.

Castroneves and Hough are semifinalists on the top-rated ABC show "Dancing with the Stars." They will perform two dances November 19 (8 p.m. ET) with the goal of reaching the finals.

Castroneves is touted as the "Sexiest Speed Demon" and is making his second appearance in the special issue of People. Other celebrities include Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Vision Racing co-owner Patrick Dempsey. "I'm excited about it," said Castroneves, who notes in the feature story that women love "my smile and my dimples. It's an opportunity that I don't think it depends upon my look but it's about the way I am, which I think is great. People see that. You don't have to try to be someone else to be sexy. You can be yourself, have fun and still be sexy. I'm honored to be a part of it."

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NASCAR TV ratings plummet yet again UPDATE The final rating for last weekend's Nextel Cup race at Phoenix was a 3.8, down 19.5% from last year's 4.7 final rating.

11/12/07 The overnight TV Rating for the Subway 500 at Phoenix Sunday on ABC was a 3.4, down 17.1% from last year's overnight rating of 4.1/ share on NBC.  The final rating last year was a 4.7/9 share so we'll see how they do when the final ratings are tallied.

track news

Hespen Named Mazda Raceway PR Manager
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca announced today that Patrick Hespen has taken the position of Public Relations Manager, to handle communications efforts at the legendary Monterey Peninsula road course. Patrick is the second new hire in as many months as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca expands its work force to take on the growing popularity of the racing facility and its events.

Hespen brings four years experience in the automotive and marketing industries to the organization. He comes to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from his position as Media Relations Specialist for Audi of America, Inc. and Audi Sport North America. He started as an intern with Audi of America, Inc. in 2004, eventually becoming a public relations team member responsible for product, technology, corporate, and motorsports communications. Hespen also spent time as a Mobile Marketing Tour Manager for Momentum Worldwide handling a Coca-Cola Football Town U.S.A. mobile tour in 2004. In addition, Hespen is a ten-year veteran of the United States Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard where he was an Electrical Power Production Journeyman.

Hespen will handle the day-to-day public relations for the facility, while the track’s Press Officer, Ed Nicholls, will focus his efforts on the five major events.

“We are delighted to have Patrick on board,” said Gill Campbell, CEO/General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “Patrick will boost our communications efforts alongside Ed Nicholls to help make the track and our events even more prominent to the media and the entire racing industry.”

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Jim Beam re-signs with Gordon
Jim Beam today announced that it will continue its relationship with Robby Gordon Motorsports as the primary sponsor of the No. 7 Ford driven by Robby Gordon for 13 Sprint Cup and 2 Nationwide Series races in ’08.  It will be the fourth year of the company’s partnership with RGM


Update to MIS August NASCAR story
AutoRacing1.com readers might remember the August NASCAR race at Michigan Speedway, which finally ran in the fog after 3 days of steady rain.  As part of the news coverage, a NASCAR official announced that, should the race not happen on Tuesday, it would be held "on the weekend after the Homestead race."

  Yeah, well, that might work if you're racing at Daytona, but it generally doesn't work in Michigan.  Next weekend's weather forecast calls for cloudy skies, 34 degrees, after 4 days of rain and snow.  Obviously the Goodyear tire people are relieved that they don't have to provide snow tires, and car builders are happy that they don't have to install defrosters inside of the cars. 

  Perhaps this potential debacle will cause NASCAR to look at some real contingency plans in case of a complete rain out at a northern track! Tim Wohlford


Partial SPEED World Challenge '08 schedule
Date                Track/Venue
April 18 - 20 Grand Prix of Long Beach (GT only)
April 25 - 27 VIRginia International Raceway (Touring Car only)
May 16 - 18 Miller Motorsports Park
June 5 - 8 Watkins Glen International
July 17 - 20 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
August 21 - 24 Mosport


Glock free to race for Toyota in 2008

Timo Glock

(GMM)  Timo Glock is free to race for Toyota in 2008, the German media sources SID news agency and Bild-Zeitung newspaper reported on Friday.

It emerged earlier this month that the newly crowned GP2 champion, who tested for BMW-Sauber this season, was the subject of a tug-of-war between the two formula one teams.

But despite BMW claiming an ongoing contractual hold on the 25-year-old, the Contract Recognition Board has now apparently ruled that Glock is free to formalize his three-year deal with Toyota.

Toyota is yet to confirm the news, but the Cologne based team's president John Howett said recently: "We have a binding agreement with Glock.

"His management company and the lawyers believe that he is available," the Briton added.

Despite Jarno Trulli having a contract to stay at the team next year, the Glock news interestingly coincides with a report in the Spanish newspaper Marca that says Fernando Alonso's representatives this week met with Toyota chiefs.

Bild-Zeitung said last month that Glock's Toyota deal is worth more than (US) $7 million.

The newspaper added on Friday that BMW has agreed to dissolve its contractual hold on the driver.


Drug addict NASCAR driver pledges anti-drug campaign
The arrest of a NASCAR driver on drug charges may have at least temporarily tanked his promising career, but he says it probably saved his life - and inspired him to put together an anti-drug program dubbed "Racing Against Drugs."

Aaron Fike, arrested this summer after he and his girlfriend were caught with heroin at Kings Island amusement park in Mason, says he's serious about reviving his career. He's using his status to start a program to combat drug abuse among young people.

"One day, I was a NASCAR race car driver, with people asking me for my autograph - and the next day, I was in handcuffs, lying on the floor of a jail cell, going through the absolute agony of heroin withdrawal," Fike, 24, wrote in a statement prepared for a court hearing.

"After four months of intense rehabilitation, I know that if it were not for my arrest, I would be dead."

During one of his drug highs, Fike once stopped breathing and nearly died, his statement says, adding, "sooner or later, my luck would have run out."

As part of a plea deal that his lawyer, Charlie Rittgers of Lebanon, worked out, Fike avoided a jail sentence and felony conviction by pledging to start the non-profit group.

"The judge did something kind of creative with him, with our permission," said Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel.

Under the deal that Judge Neal Bronson accepted this month, Fike pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors - possession of a drug abuse instrument and a reduced charge of attempted possession of heroin.  More at Cincinnati Enquirer


Reiser appointed General Manager at Roush
Roush Fenway Racing announced Thursday that championship crew chief, Robbie Reiser, has been appointed General Manager of Roush Fenway Racing’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team operations.

“This is a great opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to the next phase of my racing career,” Reiser said.  “If it’s anywhere near as fun, competitive, and successful as the previous phase, then we’re going to be in good shape.  It wasn’t an easy decision to stop being the crew chief of the No. 17 team, but now I get to work with all of our Cup teams and help improve our performance as a whole.  I’m looking forward to the new challenge.”

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Sepang testing Day 2: Hopkins fastest
The MotoGP teams again dodged the rain at Sepang in Malaysia today as they continued testing in preparation for the 2008 season. A wet track in the morning delayed the start of testing and it was 12.30pm before the first riders hit the track.  Kawasaki's John Hopkins ended up fastest on Day 2.


Rider Team Time Laps
1 John Hopkins Kawasaki Racing Team 2m 02.200s 63
2 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2m 02.344s 70
3 Randy de Puniet Honda LCR 2m 02.550s 71
4 Andrea Dovizioso JiR Scot Honda 2m 02.591s 55
5 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2m 02.698s 65
6 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 2m 02.800s 65
7 Colin Edwards Yamaha Tech 3 2m 02.831s 52
8 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team 2m 03.093s 71
9 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 2m 04.021s 47
10 James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 2m 04.278s 60

industry news

Tahoe hybrid named Green Car of the Year
The odds were in General Motors Corp.'s favor, considering that three of the five finalists for Green Car of the Year came from the General.  The Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid, however, made the biggest impression with the judges who selected the full-sized SUV as this year's winner at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Thursday.

"This is a milestone in many respects," said Ron Cogan, Green Car Journal editor and publisher.

That's because SUVs typically don't garner consideration for the award. However, Coogan added, the Tahoe, with a 6-liter engine and two-mode hybrid system hits 21 mpg in city driving -- a 50 percent improvement.

"The importance of GM's accomplishment can't be overstated," Cogan said. "For years, consumers have been buying SUVs in increasing numbers because of their functionality, making them the No. 1 class of vehicle on the market."

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Alternative fuel in NASCAR has carmakers’ support
If NASCAR goes green, 31-time manufacturers' champion Chevrolet will be there for the green flag.

In an exclusive interview with The Republic last week, NASCAR Chairman Brian France raised the possibility of an alternative-fuel series. "It's going to vary from the actual fuel we use to power the cars to looking at a green series . . . that we might launch," he said.

Terry Dolan, Chevy Racing manager, said, "We would be in full support of NASCAR's efforts to explore and develop a green series. We welcome the opportunity to share our technological expertise in alternative fuel powertrains currently developed for our production vehicles.

"There's no better way to raise the awareness of the energy and environmental benefits of E85 than through the excitement of NASCAR."

Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology, offered support.

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New F1 rules will cause more accidents
Ferrari driver Felipe Massa hints that F1 drivers are not the best in the world by stating without computer aids that practically drive the car for them, they will crash more. 

New Formula One rules for next season will lead to more accidents on wet tracks, Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has said.  Cars will be without traction control and so-called driver aids for 2008, leading Ferrari to test with retired world champion Michael Schumacher, who is used to cars without aids and set the pace in testing in Spain on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"The fact is I didn't have any experience without traction control and I was rubbish," Brazil's Massa was quoted as saying in Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

"First the accelerator is like a button. You have to be as soft as possible. But from a safety point of view, these limitations on the use of electronics seem a step backwards. In wet races we will have a lot more accidents."


Pearson, Marcis, Gant back racing in 2008
Racing legends David Pearson, Dave Marcis, Harry Gant, James Hylton, Geoff Bodine and more have signed up to race in The Old School Racing Champions Tour (OSRCT) in 2008. Scheduled to run ten races in 2008, starting on May 18, 2008. Driver safety is priority number one with the OSRCT. All tracks on the schedule are ¾ a mile or less and include such venues as two-time Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway, the Music City Motorplex, Southside Speedway, Hickory Motor Speedway, South Boston Speedway, Flat Rock Speedway and the Springport Speedway. (OSRCT) is a new racing series debuting in 2008 that will have retired and semi-retired champion drivers competing in a 10 race regular season schedule followed by a “Last Chance Race” and a “Championship Race”. OSRCT

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The full Saturday and Sunday TV listings are now shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
12:30am-1:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Homestead-Miami
10:00am-10:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Practice Homestead-Miami
10:30am-11:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Homestead-Miami
11:30am-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Practice Homestead-Miami
1:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
Go or Go Home Homestead-Miami
2:30pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
2:30pm-3:00pm ESPN2
Not listed on ESPN2, but listed elsewhere
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Homestead-Miami
3:00pm-5:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Qualifying  Homestead-Miami
5:00pm-6:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck - Finale Ford 200 Homestead-Miami
7:30pm-8:00pm   (L) - Pre-race
8:00pm-10:30pm (L) - Race SPEED
Trackside Homestead-Miami
10:30pm-11:30pm SPEED

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Jarvis takes pole in final Macau qualifying

Oliver Jarvis

Oliver Jarvis edged British F3 champion Marko Asmer, who had won the provisional pole yesterday, in final qualifying to claim pole position for the Macau F3 race.


1 5 Oliver JARVIS GBR Team Reckless Tom's 2:11.696 18
2 11 Marko ASMER EST Hitech Racing 2:11.888 15 0.192
3 21 Kodai TSUKAKOSHI JPN Manor Motorsport 2:11.912 16 0.216
4 2 Sebastien BUEMI SUI Raikkonen-Robertson Racing 2:12.061 16 0.365
5 24 Edoardo MORTARA ITA Signature Plus 2:12.238 14 0.542
6 7 Romain GROSJEAN FRA ASM F3 2:12.248 17 0.552
7 9 Kamui KOBAYASHI JPN ASM F3 2:12.332 17 0.636
8 6 Kazuya OSHIMA JPN Team Reckless Tom's 2:12.477 16 0.781
9 22 Robert STREIT BRA Prema Powerteam 2:12.560 15 0.864
10 20 Yelmer BUURMAN NED Manor Motorsport 2:12.895 16 1.199
11 18 James JAKES GBR Manor Motorsport 2:13.168 12 1.472
12 25 Esteban GUERRIERI ARG Signature Plus 2:13.229 15 1.533
13 1 Stephen JELLEY GBR Raikkonen-Robertson Racing 2:13.324 13 1.628
14 27 Carlo van DAM NED HBR Motorsport 2:13.351 17 1.655
15 8 Nico HULKENBERG GER ASM F3 2:13.735 7 2.039
16 15 Sam BIRD GBR Carlin Motorsport 2:13.736 17 2.040
17 16 Niall BREEN IRL Carlin Motorsport 2:13.852 15 2.156
18 3 Bruno SENNA BRA Raikkonen-Robertson with Galaxy 2:13.856 17 2.160
19 4 Jonathan KENNARD GBR Raikkonen-Robertson Racing 2:14.432 17 2.736
20 26 Atte MUSTONEN FIN Signature Plus 2:14.902 9 3.206
21 14 Brendon HARTLEY NZL Carlin Motorsport 2:15.031 10 3.335
22 19 Frank MAILLEUX FRA Manor Motorsport 2:15.750 8 4.054
23 23 Renger van der ZANDE NED Prema Powerteam 2:15.910 4 4.214
24 31 Takuya IZAWA JPN Fortec Motorsport 2:16.213 16 4.517
25 12 Michael HO MAC Hitech Racing 2:17.273 15 5.577
26 28 Rodolfo AVILA MAC HBR Motorsport 2:17.392 13 5.696
27 10 Walter GRUBMULLER AUT Hitech Racing 2:18.511 11 6.815
28 29 CHEONG Lou Meng MAC Swiss Racing Team 2:22.154 4 10.458
29 17 LEI Kit Meng MAC Carlin Motorsport 2:24.317 11 12.621
30 30 Jo MERSZEI MAC Swiss Racing Team 2:24.527 8 12.831


Latest F1 news in brief
  • McLaren 'hypocrites', Ferrari lawyer blasts
  • Massa, not Kovalainen, quickest in Spain
  • Promoter beaten to India GP contract
  • Singapore signs title sponsor for GP
  • Kobayashi replaces Montagny at Toyota
  • Jordan 'glad' to be out of F1

McLaren 'hypocrites', Ferrari lawyer blasts
(GMM)  McLaren are "shameless hypocrites devoid of any integrity", according to a lawyer representing Ferrari at the so-called cool-fuel appeal in London on Thursday.

Nigel Tozzi, who also acted for the Maranello based team in the recent espionage scandal, argued vigorously that Kimi Raikkonen should not be stripped of his title if up to four rival cars are excluded from the Brazilian GP classification for fuel temperature discrepancies.

Tozzi's charge of hypocrisy follows McLaren figures' consistent comments recently that the appeal is not a desperate off-track attempt to win the championship for British rookie Lewis Hamilton.

But McLaren lawyer Ian Mill had told the four-man FIA panel on Thursday: "The driver may be entirely innocent ... but he has the benefit of the infringing car."

In September, Mill argued precisely the reverse -- that Hamilton and his teammate Fernando Alonso should be left in contention for the 2007 crown despite the allegation against McLaren of spying.

The Woking based team's chief executive Martin Whitmarsh, present in London, defended McLaren's lawyer.

"Any lawyer has to make the case, he has to be robust in pursuing a win," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"Nevertheless, I asked Ian Mill to back off on this point.  I believe he pursued the point without vigor but inevitably he has to make the case.

"Whilst this was the only appropriate argument from a legal point of view, it's not our ultimate goal in respect of today's hearing," Whitmarsh said.

Ferrari's Tozzi, however, slammed McLaren's argument as "grubby maneuvering by lawyers".

BMW-Sauber's lawyer Ian Meakin joined the tirade, accusing McLaren of waging "naked opportunism" in wanting the Swiss team and Williams' runners excluded for the breach.

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tv news

Helio and Julianne on Entertainment Tonight
Helio Castroneves and dancing partner, Julianne Hough, will interview each other during a segment of "Entertainment Tonight" on Friday night, November 16. Of course, the most pressing question on everybody's mind is: How would Julianne rate the kiss that the Indy winner planted on her at the end of their perfect scoring quickstep on Monday night? Helio and Julianne have advanced to the semifinals of "Dancing with the Stars" to be held next Monday at 8:00 pm ET on ABC. Please check your local listing for "Entertainment Tonight" on Friday night, November 16, as the broadcast time and network varies.


Montagny says goodbye to Toyota

Franck Montagny

Franck Montagny has left Toyota after completing his final test for the team at Barcelona on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Frenchman, a veteran of 13 grands prix starts for Jordan and Super Aguri, has been on the fringes of the F1 grid for five years but has never been able to secure a permanent race drive.

After a frustrating season where teams' testers have been left on the sidelines as GP weekend rule changes favored input from race drivers, Montagny is off to pursue fresh challenges.

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Doug Yates and Max Jones join forces
Yates Racing announced Thursday that Max Jones, long-time general manager for Roush Fenway Racing and former road-racing driver has joined Yates Racing as a co-owner and will also assume the role of General Manager. Jones, a native of Long Beach, Calif., joins Yates Racing after serving as general manager for Roush Fenway Racing’s Cup program in 2007. “We’re thrilled to have someone as respected as Max join Yates Racing,” said Yates Racing owner, Doug Yates. “With his experience in the sport and working with such a large and successful organization as Roush Fenway Racing for so many years, he will immediately step in and improve our race operations. As we continue to improve and restructure in preparation for a successful 2008 season, having someone with Max’s experience and credibility only accelerates the process of getting Yates Racing back to where it needs to be and that’s competing for wins and championships on a weekly basis.” Jones will add his experience to one of the most successful operations in motorsports. Since venturing into NASCAR’s Cup series in 1989, Yates Racing has recorded 57 wins, 269 top fives, and 427 top-10 finishes, including the Cup series championship in 1999. Roush Fenway Racing PR


Honda Young Driver Program
The Honda Young Driver Programme ran GP2 drivers Andi Zuber, Luca Filippi and Mike Conway at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this week. As part of the team’s commitment to the development of young motorsport talent, each driver had the opportunity to drive the Honda race car for one day as the team took a closer look at their potential to assist with future testing requirements.

Andi Zuber was first up on Tuesday for his first drive in a Formula One car. The 24 year old Austrian completed 77 laps over the course of the day, with the programme focused on acclimatization to the car and controls with a combination of long runs and short qualifying simulations.

Luca Filippi took over the car on Wednesday. Luca, 22, was taking part in his first full F1 test after a short run-out with Minardi in 2005. He spent his early laps getting used to the car, then followed a similar programme to Andi in the afternoon, on a much improved track, completing 72 laps.

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McLaren lawyer seeks Hamilton title at appeal UPDATE A decision over whether to reverse the decision not to punish BMW and Williams over fuel irregularities at Interlagos has been put back until tomorrow.

The governing body of formula one, the FIA, has been hearing the case from both sides today following an appeal by McLaren after the Brazilian grand prix last month.

Both the BMW and Williams teams were found to have fuel temperatures below the required levels after their cars finished the final race of the 2007 F1 season.

The decision over whether or not to strip the points from the teams and drivers in that race and promote those who placed further down the classification can have a significant impact on the final drivers' world championship standings.

11/15/07 (GMM) The lead lawyer representing McLaren at the 'cool fuel' appeal on Thursday morning has called for Lewis Hamilton to be handed the title.

"The principle is clear," barrister Ian Mill told the four-judge panel in London.

"If there was a breach, it was performance-enhancing. The sanction, I'm afraid, has to be disqualification.

"I ask you to address this as though it was any team at any stage of the season," he added.

"Whenever in the past there has been a disqualification, there has been a re-classification. All we ask you to do is what normally happens.

"It must be right that if the team is disqualified, the driver loses the points as well."

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Wallets stolen at Phoenix
At least five Craftsman Truck drivers had their wallets stolen during a practice session for the Arizona Casino 200 at PIR. Hours later, credit cards were used in Fountain Hills, Ariz. to buy gift cards. They were taken off team transporters while the teams were on pit road during the session. Stacy Compton was one of the drivers. He spent Friday trying to figure out how he was going to get through security at the airport to fly home after the race. “In a 40-minute span, whoever it was went to town,” Compton said. “They bought as many gift cards as they could. They got everything - my driver’s license, my credit cards, everything.”


Heavy rain at Sepang
Heavy rain in Sepang drastically limited track time for the Fiat Yamaha Team today, as they began three days of testing in Malaysia alongside several other MotoGP teams.


Rider Team Time
1 Randy de Puniet Honda LCR 2m 03.033s
2 Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2m 03.357s
3 Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 2m 03.406s
4 Andrea Dovizioso JiR Scot Honda 2m 03.607s
5 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2m 03.748s
6 Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team 2m 04.068s
7 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team 2m 04.164s
8 John Hopkins Kawasaki Racing Team 2m 04.316s
9 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 2m 04.433s
10 James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 2m 05.438s


Massa fastest on Day 3 at Barcelona

Felipe Massa

Today was the third and final day of testing this week for the F1 teams, working again today at the Catalunya Circuit. Felipe Massa ended the day on top with a best time of 1.21.044.


Pos Driver Team Tires Time Laps
1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:21.044 92
2. Kovalainen Renault (B) 1:21.136 82
3. Montagny Toyota (B) 1:21.363 85
4. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:21.486 67
5. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:21.555 82
6. Badoer Ferrari (B) 1:21.741 74
7. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:21.805 33
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:21.820 69
9. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:21.939 84
10. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:22.070 31
11. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:22.460 53
12. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:22.706 52
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:23.039 126
14. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:23.064 52
15. Klien Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:23.084 83
16. Button Honda (B) 1:23.118 96
17. Liuzzi Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:23.206 92
18. Conway Honda (B) 1:23.729 72
19. Rossiter Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:23.931 61
20. Doornbos Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:24.102 61


Valles to issue Force India 'ultimatum'
(GMM)  Spanish youngster Adrian Valles plans to issue an ultimatum to Force India bosses on Thursday, according to the local news agency EFE.

It is reported that this year's occasional Spyker test driver, and his sponsors, are upset to have been left out of serious consideration so far for a race seat in 2008.

He is scheduled to meet with team chiefs on Thursday, during which he intends to demand an official role for 2008 or go on the market for a drive elsewhere.

"We are going to talk to other teams as well," Valles said, also refusing to rule out returning to GP2.

'EFE' said Valles is angry about a lack of support by Spyker, Force India's
Dutch-owned predecessor, in 2007.

"Then they said Roldan (Rodriguez) is going to be their official driver when this is
not true, and it hurt me a lot.

"It is a pity that after working so hard, I have not been given even half the
opportunity of some others," he added.


Renault to sign Alonso, Horner predicts
(GMM)  Renault is the most likely team to accommodate McLaren refugee Fernando Alonso in 2008.

That is the insistence of Christian Horner, who ruled Red Bull Racing out of the
running to woo the 26-year-old double world champion despite the speculation of
recent weeks.

Horner, Red Bull team principal, told the Spanish radio programme 'Al Primer Toque' that he believes "Fernando is going to end up at Renault" next year.

"We are delighted that Alonso has been linked with us," he added, "because it
demonstrates the progress we have made over the past two seasons.

"But our drivers have contracts for 2008."

Horner pointed out that, of the other teams that might be attractive to Alonso, only
Renault and Toyota are yet to fully confirm their 2008 lineups.

"Fernando appears to be very close to those options," the Briton observed.


AGR hires Christian Fittipaldi

Christian Fittipaldi

Eager to jump into championship contention in the American Le Mans Series’ LMP2 class in 2008, Andretti Green Racing has signed Christian Fittipaldi to fill out its full-season lineup in the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura. Fittipaldi, a member of another of racing’s premier families, will team with Bryan Herta for the 12-round season.

Fittipaldi is the latest driver from Formula 1 to enter the American Le Mans Series, having made 40 starts from 1992-94 for Arrows and Minardi. He is the son of former Grand Prix driver and team owner Wilson Fittipaldi and the nephew of two-time F1 World Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi.

Getting Andretti Green and Acura back on the top step of the P2 podium is Fittipaldi’s top goal. The team scored a class win at Sebring this year and finished second overall in the American Le Mans Series debut for both AGR and Acura. Herta went on to finish seventh in the P2 championship with podium finishes at Houston and Mosport.

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More NASCAR on ESPN as ratings plummet
There may not have been sirens and flashing lights inside of the ESPN Broadcast Center, but there was clearly a "NASCAR state of emergency" declared last Friday afternoon that has continued through today [as viewers get even more disgusted with NASCAR oversaturation and switch off NASCAR with abandon].

Whatever happened, and who ever did it, the effects have been sweeping across the ESPN networks and programs. Suddenly, NASCAR discussions are taking place on programs that have openly mocked the sport for years. Suddenly, NASCAR promos are being read by announcers at college football games that do not know Jimmie Johnson from Junior Johnson or Darlington from Daytona.

The NASCAR comments originating from some ESPN announcers are actually finding their way onto the Internet courtesy of alert NASCAR fans. Note to ESPN: Do not let college football announcers talk NASCAR unless they are prepared to live on YouTube forever.

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Goodyear going to slightly softer tire

Will softer Goodyear tires blow up more frequently than they already do?

While some drivers have said that Goodyear needs to change the tires to help teams with the Car of Tomorrow, a Goodyear official says changes for next season will be slight. Rich Heinrich, product manager for Goodyear, says that tires will be slightly softer to provide more grip at intermediate tracks. The Car of Tomorrow, which ran in 16 races this season, did not run on such tracks this season. Heinrich said that the tire company is likely to keep the same tires that were used at COT races this year for next season. Roanoke Times


Jimmie Johnson testing for Rolex 24
On his way to Homestead-Miami Speedway to potentially claim his second consecutive NASCAR Nextel Cup championship, Jimmie Johnson stopped by Daytona International Speedway to spend the afternoon testing the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley.

Johnson climbed behind the wheel of the Daytona Prototype early Wednesday afternoon and ran two full stints in the 2007 Rolex Series Championship-winning machine, turning laps just off the pace of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. Gurney and Fogarty, of course, are coming off of a championship season in which they captured seven victories on the 14-race calendar.

"This is the best thing I can do to get my mind off the championship," Johnson said. "I came down to have some fun in one of these DP cars. I really, really enjoy the Rolex Series. I've been at three (Rolex 24 At Daytona) events, and hopefully I will come back and run in it in 2008. I just want to get some seat time, get used to the car, and Bob Stallings and the GAINSCO group were nice enough to let me come down, work with them, get some seat time and get a feel for things. So I'm having a great time."

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Macau: Asmer tops Qualifying Session 1
British Formula Three champion Marko Asmer topped Romain Grosjean to grab provisional pole position for the Macau Grand Prix on Thursday.


1 11 Marko ASMER EST Hitech Racing 2:13.122 14
2 7 Romain GROSJEAN FRA ASM F3 2:13.329 9 0.207
3 20 Yelmer BUURMAN NED Manor Motorsport 2:13.405 13 0.283
4 2 Sebastien BUEMI SUI Raikkonen-Robertson Racing 2:13.436 18 0.314
5 25 Esteban GUERRIERI ARG Signature Plus 2:13.733 16 0.611
6 21 Kodai TSUKAKOSHI JPN Manor Motorsport 2:13.888 17 0.766
7 9 Kamui KOBAYASHI JPN ASM F3 2:13.925 16 0.803
8 18 James JAKES GBR Manor Motorsport 2:14.106 17 0.984
9 22 Robert STREIT BRA Prema Powerteam 2:14.128 16 1.006
10 1 Stephen JELLEY GBR Raikkonen-Robertson Racing 2:14.142 17 1.020
11 5 Oliver JARVIS GBR Team Reckless Tom's 2:14.149 18 1.027
12 24 Edoardo MORTARA ITA Signature Plus 2:14.265 18 1.143
13 6 Kazuya OSHIMA JPN Team Reckless Tom's 2:14.353 19 1.231
14 8 Nico HULKENBERG GER ASM F3 2:14.570 17 1.448
15 16 Niall BREEN IRL Carlin Motorsport 2:14.688 18 1.566
16 26 Atte MUSTONEN FIN Signature Plus 2:14.750 10 1.628
17 4 Jonathan KENNARD GBR Raikkonen-Robertson Racing 2:14.843 15 1.721
18 27 Carlo van DAM NED HBR Motorsport 2:15.325 17 2.203
19 23 Renger van der ZANDE NED Prema Powerteam 2:15.551 16 2.429
20 3 Bruno SENNA BRA Raikkonen-Robertson with Galaxy 2:16.120 9 2.998
21 15 Sam BIRD GBR Carlin Motorsport 2:16.231 6 3.109
22 19 Frank MAILLEUX FRA Manor Motorsport 2:16.292 17 3.170
23 14 Brendon HARTLEY NZL Carlin Motorsport 2:16.442 18 3.320
24 10 Walter GRUBMULLER AUT Hitech Racing 2:18.456 17 5.334
25 31 Takuya IZAWA JPN Fortec Motorsport 2:18.574 9 5.452
26 28 Rodolfo AVILA MAC HBR Motorsport 2:19.758 16 6.636
27 12 Michael HO MAC Hitech Racing 2:19.947 16 6.825
28 17 LEI Kit Meng MAC Carlin Motorsport 2:24.360 16 11.238
29 29 CHEONG Lou Meng MAC Swiss Racing Team 2:26.254 6 13.132
Qualification Maxima 2:26.434
30 Jo MERSZEI MAC Swiss Racing Team 2:27.440 10 14.318


Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1 braces for 'cool fuel' appeal
  • Schu could test again says manager
  • Force India may have two free seats - Kolles
  • Italian actress claims affair with Raikkonen
  • De la Rosa plays down hopes for McLaren seat
  • TC ban a 'backwards step' says de la Rosa

F1 braces for 'cool fuel' appeal
(GMM)  Today's 'cool fuel' appeal lodged by McLaren could be dismissed on a technicality, according to speculation.

It is expected that lawyers for BMW-Sauber and Williams, the two teams faced with the prospect of exclusion or other penalties for allegedly using colder fuel than is allowed at Interlagos last month, will argue that Ron Dennis' outfit did not follow the proper appeal procedures.

According to reports, McLaren's main problem is that it did not actually protest the outcome of the title finale, relying instead on merely taking issue with the stewards' ruling.

Bernie Ecclestone told The Times that he hoped the BMW and Williams lawyers are proved correct.  "That would be exactly right," he agreed.

To the Guardian newspaper, McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh insists that the Court of Appeal action in London is not a desperate attempt to install Lewis Hamilton as world champion.

"Victory for us would be a clarification of the rationale behind the FIA stewards' decision," he told the newspaper.

The Evening Standard quoted him as saying: "Like all true devotees of motor sport we would never like to see a drivers' championship decided in court."

Michael Schumacher, speaking with reporters after again going quickest at the Barcelona test on Wednesday, said he hoped his Ferrari successor Kimi Raikkonen's title is upheld.

"If you start to change the classification (now), I think it would be bad for formula one because it had been finished fair and square on the track," the retired German said.

The Spanish newspaper 'Marca' quoted him as also saying: "Perhaps McLaren lost the title because Raikkonen and Massa are better."

His opinion that Raikkonen's title is fairly safe is also shared by his former title nemesis, 1996 world champion Damon Hill.

"I think it's very, very unlikely that will happen," the Briton said when he was asked if Raikkonen's title is in danger.

Hill added to the Daily Star tabloid: "However, I think it's worth a shot, having a go, at least, just to establish a principle."

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racing news

Panoz announces new appointments
Panoz Motor Sports Group announced today that is has promoted David Tetzlaff to Chief Financial Officer and named Suzanne Thompson Director of Human Resources. Tetzlaff has served as the company's Controller since 2001. Thompson joins PMSG from Liberty Mutual Group where she has served as Principal Human Resources Generalist since May 2002.

Tetzlaff will oversee the financials for all the companies within the Panoz Motor Sports Group that includes the American Le Mans Series, International Motorsports Association, Elan Technologies - comprised of  Elan Composites, Elan Power Products, Elan Precision Engineering and Van Dieman - Road Atlanta, Sebring International Raceway and Mosport International Raceway. Those responsibilities include accounting, payables, receiving and invoicing as well as management of the corporation's budget. He has an accounting degree from Georgia State University and has worked for Electrolux, Avon Products and Storage Technology Corporation prior to PMSG.

Thompson will oversee all aspects of human resources including personnel, insurance and benefits for the multi-faceted motorsports group. At Liberty Mutual, she headed human resources for the Eastern Division Underwriting and Claims offices in five states (Georgia, Florida, Kansas, New York and Texas), a group that totaled 375 employees, including 38 managers. A graduate from Valdosta State University, she holds PHR Certification as well as a Human Resources Generalist Certificate and a Certificate in Employee Relations Law.

baja 1000

Post’s Ford Trophy Truck wins overall title

Mark Post

Mark Post of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., capped off a sensational 2007 SCORE Desert Series Wednesday by driving his Ford F-150 SCORE Trophy-Truck to the overall victory in the 40th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races.  Only 30 vehicles had completed the course in the first 32 hours of the grueling 1,296.39-mile race. With a 53-hour time limit in the elapsed-time race that started early Tuesday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, racing will continue until the course closes officially at 6 p.m. (PST) Thursday.

Post, 49, teamed with veteran drivers Rob MacCachren of Las Vegas and Carl Renezeder of Laguna Beach, Calif., to record the fastest overall speed in a four-wheel vehicle on down the length of the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico.  Post’s Rivera Racing No. 3 Ford averaged 51.13 miles per hour in covering the distance in 25 hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds despite rain and dust throughout the distance.

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ARCA RE/MAX Series headed to New Jersey Motorsports Park
Long recognized as the most versatile touring sanction in motorsports, the ARCA RE/MAX Series has left very little doubt for 2008. 

Aerial view of track under construction

Among the standard combination of superspeedways, short tracks and dirt tracks, the series, headed toward its 56th consecutive season, is going road course racing with an event at the brand new 2.3-mile New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) road course in Millville, New Jersey on September 28th, 2008.  Grand-Am will be racing there in 2008 as well.

"We started this project (NJMP) in 1992 with the dream of bringing world class racing to New Jersey," said NJMP Founder Green Flag Committee Don Fauerbach (lower right), who fielded a two-car ARCA RE/MAX Series team in 2000 with drivers' Mark Gibson and Joe Cooksey. "It's so gratifying to see it finally come to fruition. The paving is going down November 19th.

"I've been a proud member of the ARCA family for years and I can't tell you how thrilling this will be to welcome the ARCA family back to my hometown of Millville. I've been on cloud nine ever since we sealed the deal."

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Nigel Mansell talks about sons move to Champ Car

Nigel Mansell talks to Bourdais at a Champ Car test this year in Sebring

MODERATOR:    Hello, everybody, good afternoon.  Good morning to those on the West coast.  Good late afternoon to those from Europe.  We have a full roster of guests today, which we're very pleased to introduce.

I'm going to turn it over first to Walker Racing owner, Derrick Walker who is calling in from Los Angeles where he's at the Auto Show with his brand‑new red, white and blue car that looks fabulous.

Derrick, why don't you introduce the special occasion today.

DERRICK WALKER:  Well, first of all, good morning, everybody.  And thank you for joining us this morning.  We're very pleased in our third year of the Atlantic series to announce we're expanding our program next year to include one more driver, and that makes a total of three.

Today's announcement is about two of those drivers which I think is very exciting both for the team and for the series, and hopefully for them to participate in the Atlantic series.

Today's announcement announces officially that the Mansell sons of Nigel Mansell, Leo and Greg will join the Atlantic Series next year for competition in the Atlantic formula.

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Reiser moving up to be Roush Fenway GM
One of the longest tenured crew chief-driver relationships in Nextel Cup will end after Sunday's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Robbie Reiser, who has been #17-Matt Kenseth's crew chief since they entered NASCAR's premier series in 2000 and long before that in the Busch Series, will become the general manager at Roush Fenway Racing. He will replace Max Jones, who will move into the GM role at Robert Yates Racing [will just be Yates Racing in 2008]. RYR and Roush recently formed an alliance that basically will allow them to work as a seven-car operation without violating NASCAR's four-car cap. Reiser will follow in the footsteps of his father, who was the general manager of Roush's Busch Series and Truck Series teams. The elder Reiser lost a battle with cancer prior to the Homestead race two years ago, which prompted his son to consider a move that would allow him more time with his family. "You look at things that you do in the long term," he said late last season. "Family becomes more important. ... My dad spent a lot of time with my kids. When he isn't around anymore somebody has to fill that void." Reiser hoped to get the Roush GM job last season that ultimately went to Jones. "I've done this for [13] years for Matt," he said at the time. "Not that I'm sick and tired of it or don't enjoy it or any of that, but somewhere along the line you've got to move to the next challenge. And the next challenge probably would be to oversee an operation in the garage. That's something I want to do down the road." ESPN.com


Bill Davis Racing not moving
Mike Brown, general manager for Bill Davis Racing, says the team is not looking to move to the Charlotte area.  The team, based in High Point, N.C., is one of the few Cup teams based outside the Charlotte area. Petty Enterprises announced last week it would move from Level Cross to Mooresville, N.C., after this season, in part to be able to be closer to the Charlotte area in hopes of attracting more crew members.  “I understand what the Pettys are doing and if that’s right for them, that’s good,” Brown said. “Right now, we don’t see that as something that we’re entertaining.”  Brown estimates that 25 percent of the team’s 300 employees are based in the Charlotte area. “We’re really happy with where we’re at,” Brown said. Scenedaily.com


Bobby Labonte forms marketing agency
#43-Bobby Labonte has announced the formation of a full-service marketing agency, Breaking Limits, LLC. Labonte will serve as president of the company. Breaking Limits mission is to go above and beyond expectations for every partner with business professionals that have the integrity, morals and values that Labonte encompasses. Breaking Limits will offer sales, marketing and public and media relations capabilities to assist partners in exceeding their goals and objectives. Breaking Limits has commenced business effective immediately and will operate out of Huntersville, N.C. Three key employees of Breaking Limits have been announced; Mark Hughes, Chief Financial Officer, Julie Busha, Director of Marketing and Jeff Dennison, Director of Public and Media Relations. This is not Labonte's first business venture. He currently owns and operates Bobby Labonte Enterprises and Bobby Labonte Racing both headquartered in Archdale, NC. Breaking Limits PR

Industry news

UAW ratifies Ford contract
The UAW announced Wednesday morning that its members have voted to ratify a new labor agreement with Ford Motor Co.

The union said 79% of UAW members voted in favor of the contract. Union production workers voted 81% in favor of the four-year pact. Skilled trades workers approved the contract by 71%, the union said.

“Our bargaining team negotiated a contract that protects wages, benefits and seniority for our active members and provides income and health care security for our retired members,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement announcing the ratification.

The Ford deal brings ratification of labor agreements at all three Detroit automakers to a close, after four months of difficult negotiations, two short strikes and hard-fought battles over ratification.

track news

Schwartz named as IMS vice president of marketing
Veteran motorsports executive Chris Schwartz is joining the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as vice president of marketing, IMS President Joie Chitwood announced Nov. 14.

Schwartz, who joins IMS after a distinguished tenure at Penske Racing, will be responsible for all marketing activities for IMS and its three world-class events, the Indianapolis 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP. He will begin his new role Nov. 26.

"I am pleased to bring Chris on board as vice president of marketing," Chitwood said. "His experiences in the motorsports industry will be a great addition to the team we have at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

Schwartz succeeds Terry Angstadt, who earlier this year became Indy Racing League president, commercial division.

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Schumacher blows lesser drivers into weeds
With no traction control, meaning skill is now required in F1 again, Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher continued to steal the show at Barcelona, where he finished on top of the times for the second day in a row.  Schumacher's best time of 1:21.486 put him nearly four tenths of a second ahead of McLaren's test driver Pedro de la Rosa, second fastest today.

Why he retired is beyond us because it's clear he is still head and shoulders above all other drivers, and now that traction control is eliminated he would easily win an 8th, 9th or 10th title.

For Sebastien Bourdais, today similar to yesterday's test with German Seb at the wheel of a car with the 2008 common ECU and French Seb driving a car with 2007 electronics, but with  traction  control  and  engine  braking  switched  off.  However,  in  the  middle  of  the morning  the  two  men  swapped  cockpits,  primarily  so  that  Bourdais  could  try  the  new suspension fitted on Vettel's car. In the afternoon, they reverted to their original chassis and  Bourdais'  afternoon  program  also  included  some  aero  testing  while  both  men continued to evaluate new brake materials.

Results Wednesday


Driver Team Time Laps
1. M.Schumacher Ferrari 1:21.486 90
2. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.857 60
3. Kovalainen Renault 1:21.894 65
4. Massa Ferrari 1:22.044 56
5. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.293 57
6. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:22.333 64
7. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:22.555 74
8. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:22.946 102
9. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:23.031 77
10. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.187 74
11. Chandhok Red Bull-Renault 1:23.255 57
12. Button Honda 1:23.358 79
13. Trulli Toyota 1:23.465 54
14. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:23.488 37
15. Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:23.547 80
16. Filippi Honda 1:23.596 74
17. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.753 72
18. Montagny Toyota 1:23.977 45
19. Klien Force India-Ferrari 1:24.446 56
20. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:24.537 105
21. Liuzzi Force India-Ferrari 1:24.555 55


Walker racing signs Mansell brothers

Leo, Nigel and Greg Mansell
Champ Car

With the 2008 season right around the corner, Walker Racing is pleased to announce that it has completed its driver line up adding two more cars to the stable, as Leo and Greg Mansell will join the team to compete in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

Walker Racing is both flattered and excited to have the Mansell duo, sons of 1993 Champ Car and 1992 Formula One champion Nigel Mansell.  After spending two years competing in Europe, the Mansells wanted to give American open-wheel racing a try after completing a very successful test in the Walker Racing machines back in October.

“The decision by Greg, Leo and Nigel is a huge one in making the next step in their racing career by coming to the Atlantic series. The Atlantic series has a lot to offer and sends a positive message that this formula is the place to go.  For Walker Racing it’s going to be a pleasure and an honor to be working with the Mansells.  The whole team is really looking forward to working with all three of them and I think it’s going to be a great season,” stated Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker.

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racing news

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 11-14-07
Pos.  (LW) Driver (Series)            Pts
1. (1) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 8.955
2. (2) Kimi Raikkonen (F1)* 8.499
3. (4) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)* 8.183
4. (3) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 8.068
5. (5) Dario Franchitti (IRL)* 7.632
6. (8) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.506
7. (6) Scott Dixon (IRL)* 7.272
8. (13) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.269
9. (7) Kyle Busch (NASCAR) 7.254
10. (9) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR) 7.246
11. (10) Jeff Burton (NASCAR) 7.001
12. (18) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.783
13. (15) Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.760
14. (NR) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.707
15. (11) Tony Kanaan (IRL)* 6.693
16. (17) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR) 6.645
17. (16) Fernando Alonso (F1)* 6.422
18. (14) Kurt Busch (NASCAR) 6.357
19. (19) Felipe Massa (F1)* 6.231
20. (25) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 6.148

Dropped out: Justin Wilson (CCWS)*, Carl Edwards (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.

Racing news

Bob Holbert Dies
Robert McCormick Holbert, one of the first Porsche dealers in the country and a prominent Porsche race driver in the 1950’s and 1960’s, died in his native Warrington, Penn., on Monday, Nov. 12.

Born in Warrington in 1923, Bob opened a general purpose automotive garage in the late ‘40’s, moving to the more famous Holbert’s Garage building across the street in 1951 when he started a repair and parts business specializing in foreign and sports cars.  In 1954, Holbert’s Garage became one of the first authorized Porsche dealers in the country, and continues today as one of the most well-known and oldest Porsche dealerships in America.

Holbert’s love and knowledge of cars included a distinguished racing career with awards ranging from The New York Times “Best Sports Car Driver” three separate years to top finishes in the 12 Hours of Sebring. He drove to a record six class victories at Sebring including second overall in 1960.  His racing career started in 1953 in an MG, then moved to Porsches in 1957 after seeing driver Jack McAfee pass seven drivers – all cars with bigger engine displacements – in a Porsche 550 Spyder at Cumberland Raceway.  His subsequent racing activities in Porsche RS-550 and RSK led to four SCCA National Championships, and a podium finish at Le Mans with Masten Gregory.  Holbert also sold Roger Penske his first race car (1958).

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Schu still quick on day two in Spain
After stealing the show on Tuesday, Michael Schumacher topped the time sheets once again as testing broke for lunch on Wednesday at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Not only did the retired seven time world champion improve his best Tuesday lap time by about four tenths, he was so far on Wednesday nearly a full second faster than McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa at the lunch hour.  While lesser drivers have little car control and are struggling with no traction control, Schumacher's skill is just too much for the others.  If he were to unretire he probably could win the next three world titles and make it an even 10.

It was not all smooth sailing with the Ferrari team, however, as Schumacher ran into the gravel at one point, while Felipe Massa's sister F2007 had to be returned to the pits on the back of a truck.

Also in action at the circuit near Barcelona on Wednesday morning, alongside runners for every formula one team, was former Honda test driver Christian Klien, who is bidding to return to the grid next season with Force India.


25th year for Macau GP

Macau GP Street circuit

This year marks the 25th running of the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix, where the world’s best Formula 3 drivers assemble at Macau to do battle for the coveted title, and step in to the fast lane to the FIA Formula One World Championship.

The Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix is the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup, the only race in the category to hold the title, and the reason why it is perceived as the world cup of Formula 3.

Because the race is the focus of the international motorsport community, Formula 3 drivers across the globe are keen to have a seat on the grid, hoping to show their talent, draw the attention of a Formula One team, and realize the dream of racing at the pinnacle of the sport.

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

  • Ecclestone threatens to quit over McLaren appeal
  • Schu won't test at Jerez says Ferrari
  • Sutil would 'love' McLaren seat
  • Honda to build on 'earth car' concept
  • Toyota to launch new car on January 10 New
  • Ecclestone says McLaren could drop fuel appeal New

Ecclestone threatens to quit over McLaren appeal
(GMM)  F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has threatened to quit if Kimi Raikkonen's newly-won world championship is on Thursday snatched away.

McLaren appealed Brazilian GP stewards' decision last month to not penalize four rival cars despite their fuel being found arguably colder than the regulations allow.

Should the FIA Court of Appeal in London exclude three of the four cars and promote Lewis Hamilton up the Interlagos finishing-order, the 22-year-old rookie could be belatedly handed the championship.

Briton Hamilton, however, has said he does not want to win a title away from the race tracks, and Ecclestone now reveals that such a scenario could compel him into retirement, 35 years after he bought the Brabham team in 1972.

"If anyone thinks that's the best thing for formula one then I'd have very serious thoughts about me retiring," the 77-year-old is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Schu won't test at Jerez says Ferrari
(GMM)  Despite falling in line behind Michael Schumacher's fastest lap, the German's rivals heard some good news late on Monday at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"Schumacher will not be testing in Jerez in December," a Ferrari spokeswoman said, refuting speculation that the retired 38-year-old might also travel with the team to the next post-season test.

Under Barcelona's cloudy skies, and after a two-week training regime to re-strengthen his neck, Schumacher put in a full day's effort of 64 laps and outpaced the next non-Ferrari runner by nearly eight tenths.

"It looks as though he's got talent.  He will make his way to F1," Schumacher's contemporary David Coulthard, present for Red Bull, joked.

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MotoGP set for first nighttime GP
Barely two months after the announcement that next season's MotoGP curtain raiser in Qatar would be run under floodlights, subject to approval from the Riders' Safety Commission, a successful test at the Losail International Circuit this evening gave the project its final go-ahead.

As such the 2008 Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar will become the first motorsports World Championship Grand Prix to take place at night, an historic moment for MotoGP and Qatar. Five MotoGP riders were present at the night test on Monday, which took place at 7:30pm at the circuit on the outskirts of Qatar's capital city Doha. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki), Marco Melandri (Ducati), James Toseland (Yamaha), Anthony West (Kawasaki) and Alex de Angelis (Honda) all did several laps of the circuit and were unanimously in favor of next season's race taking place in the dark.

"It's going to be so exciting to race under floodlights," said MotoGP veteran Loris Capirossi. "The difference from when we first tested here at night is amazing. Back then I wasn't too sure what was possible, but the lighting is perfect out there! There's hardly any difference between day and night riding in these conditions, and of course it's going to be more exciting to race at night. There's no problems with shadows or reflections, I'm very happy with this."

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industry news

Chrysler adds hybrids to SUVs
Chrysler is thinking big with its first entry into the hybrid market place. The automaker is using the Los Angeles auto show to launch hybrid powertrain versions of the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen SUVs.

The hybrid Durango and Aspen use the Two Mode hybrid system that the automaker developed in cooperation with Daimler AG, General Motors and BMW AG.

That hybrid powertrain is mated with a 5.7-liter, 385 hp V8 with cylinder deactivation. Chrysler says the hybrid SUVs get 25 percent better fuel economy overall and 40 percent better fuel mileage in the city, compared with models powered by the conventional 5.7-liter V8.

An electric continuously variable transmission with controller determines which of the two hybrid modes to operate in and offer seamless changes between modes and acceleration. AutoWeek

Industry News

CEO Says No Partners for Ford
Ford Motor Co. chief executive Alan Mulally says Ford doesn't need a partnership with another automaker as it works to expand globally and turn around its struggling operations.

"Any kind of linkup would be a distraction," Ford's president said Tuesday night at a dinner with reporters on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The show opens to the public Friday after two days of media previews.

Mulally said he believes Ford will still be on its own in five years. Ford posted a third-quarter loss of $380 million. A bright spot was a strong performance in Europe and South America.

"Ford has tremendous assets around the world, and the most important thing Ford does is integrate Ford," he said.

Carlos Ghosn, who heads the Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. and France's Renault SA, said late last month that he remains interested in a partnership with a major U.S. automaker, although he is not in talks or aggressively looking just yet.  ABC News


Overall TV ratings down 2nd straight year
NASCAR ends its season Sunday with ratings down again this year. And while it has fan interest beyond its Southern base, it's still an also-ran in big cities outside the South. This season's NASCAR Nextel Cup races — airing on Fox, TNT, ESPN and ABC — are averaging 4.2% of U.S. TV households — down 9% from last year's average and off 21% from 2005. ABC's Checker Auto Parts 500 on Sunday — when Jimmie Johnson virtually nailed down the season points title — showed interest still is largely regional. The race drew 10.5% of households in Greenville, S.C., 9.1% in Knoxville, Tenn. and 7.8% in Birmingham, Ala. But it drew just 1.3% in New York, 1.9% in Los Angeles and 2.4% in Chicago. Dick Glover, NASCAR vice president/broadcasting, notes the average NASCAR race ratings in New York (1.9%), Los Angeles (2.1%) and Chicago (2.9%) — which together constitute about 15% of TV households in the USA — are up slightly or even with last year. He concedes there's no silver bullet to win over more major-market eyeballs: "All you can do is expose your product and see if people like it." But Glenn Enoch, ESPN vice president/research, suggests NASCAR's viewer drop-off has an asterisk. Ratings this season among males age 18-34 — whom advertisers covet because they haven't always formed brand loyalties and are seen as more susceptible to advertising — are "virtually flat." The big losses came among viewers older than 55. Since NASCAR's biggest stars all appear in a single weekend race, its ratings are more indicative of overall viewer interest than ratings for sports such as football, basketball and baseball, where audiences get splintered across lots of time slots. And NASCAR's stand-alone race ratings make the sport's TV appeal seem pretty big — until you compare them to the cumulative appeal of other sports. Consider that weekend college football games just on Disney's ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 can produce total ratings about five times bigger than NASCAR's 4.2% race average. And NFL games each week typically produce total ratings well over 10 times bigger than the NASCAR race average. USA Today


New win record for Chevy
With a win by Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Impala SS, at Phoenix last weekend, Team Chevy surpassed its season win record of 25 victories set in 1958. Now, with one race left in the season, Chevy is gunning for 27 wins in one season which would give the bow-tie brand the impressive statistic of having won exactly 75 percent of all points-paying races in 2007. The win was also the 13th victory in 16 appearances for the Impala SS race car, which made its debut this season. Equally as noteworthy is the win statistic for the Monte Carlo SS, which has 13 wins in its final season of competition (out of 19 races). The Monte Carlo SS will run its last race in this weekend's Nextel Cup event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. GM Racing PR


Chevy Monte Carlo ends era

Jeff Burton Monte Carlo

The final Nextel Cup Series race of the 2007 season will mark the end of an era for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS - the winningest nameplate for the bow-tie brand in NASCAR competition. Since its NASCAR introduction in May 1971, the legendary Monte Carlo/Monte Carlo SS contributed to 24 of the 31 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturers' championship won by Chevrolet. Of the 23 NASCAR Cup driver's championships won by Chevrolet drivers, 16 of the champions powered their way to the top prize with the help of the Monte Carlo collecting 396 wins in the process. Chevy's key partners in NASCAR Cup competition are quick to recognize the contribution of the Monte Carlo/Monte Carlo SS to the success their organizations have enjoyed through the years. Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion, has been an exclusive Chevrolet driver throughout his remarkable career. With 81 wins, 233 top-five and 316 top-10 finishes on his Chevrolet Cup career resume, Gordon leads the distinguished list of drivers who have enjoyed success in the Monte Carlo/Monte Carlo SS. The Monte Carlo SS will be gone from NASCAR Sprint Cup series competition, replaced full-time in 2008 by another legend in the Chevrolet lineup, the Impala SS. However, the strong, winning tradition of Monte Carlo SS will continue in the NASCAR Nationwide Series starting at Daytona 2008. GM Racing PR


Last race for No. 25
The #25 Chevrolet will make its final start for Hendrick Motorsports Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports first entered the #25 Chevy in the 1986 Daytona 500 with Tim Richmond behind the wheel. The #25 has had 11 different drivers, including car owner Rick Hendrick, in 656 starts. Six drivers have visited victory lane with the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, with Casey Mears adding win No. 17 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May. Hendrick Motorsports PR


Carpentier still trying to get used to Cup cars

Patrick Carpentier

The “foreign invasion” is a big story this NASCAR season, and Patrick Carpentier, one of the newest, from Montreal, did pretty well Sunday at Phoenix in his first oval track NASCAR run.

“You have to be so smooth that it’s almost impossible,” Carpentier said. “You have to go in hard and then get off the throttle. You abuse the car … and then as soon as you do that for 10 laps you are done. The car just slides.

“Every time they put new tires on, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is good. Oh, I got it. I get the picture.’ Then 10 laps later I was back to battling the car.”

Kenny Schrader is coaching Carpentier for car owner Ray Evernham.

“Kenny said if you do 310 laps, you’ve achieved a really good weekend, so we did it,” Carpentier said. “I just want to be nice with the guys. I didn’t want to be in anybody’s way. I gave a lot of hand waves to go by, and that is important for future races.” Winston Salem Journal

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