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DATE News (chronologically)
11/21/06
racing news
Quotes of the week Quotes of the weekUPDATE
Kevin Kalkhoven, Champ Car co-owner
Tonight is going to be short and sweet," series co-principal Kevin Kalkhoven promised in his opening remarks. "No hammer -- we don't need one." (Saturday night at the Champ Car Awards Banquet obviously referring to Tony George's "I bring my hammer to work every day" quote three years ago and Kalkhoven's follow-up to that at the Champ Car banquet two years ago where he pulled out a hammer and said "We stole Tony's hammer" (right) after the series was saved from George's failed attempts to kill it.)

Kevin Kalkhoven, Champ Car co-owner
If we can't have open-wheel unification, at least we can have a common broadcast partner. For motor racing fans, it's a very good thing because now American open-wheel racing is at a place where fans can find it. Speed Channel has become so NASCAR-centric that we were just a speed bump in their day. "ESPN also offers a total package for sports fans, with the Web site and the magazine," he added. "I'm actually very pleased by the whole deal." (Commenting on Champ Car's new TV deal with ABC/ESPN)

11/19/06
MARK WEBBER, Williams, F1 driver
"There's 550 people at Williams and no one's reputation was really enhanced in the last 24 months - and I was included in that," he admitted. "Every year's a make or break - you can very easily derail any career if it doesn't go right for you - and I was very fortunate to come out of Williams unscathed, to be honest."  (Mark Webber claims that he was lucky anyone wanted to employ him for the 2007 Formula One season after his spell at Williams failed to live up to expectation -- as he prepares to join Red Bull Racing next season)
 
ANTONIO PIZZONIA, Rocketsports Racing, Champ Car driver; former Formula 1 driver
“I worked four years for Williams and I never had a problem. They always listened to me. It is a team that has won a lot.   Mark Webber, as usual, talks bad about everything. I think he has to do better on the track and do less talking.” 
 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, NASCAR driver; former F1 driver
"You start passing these guys and it seems as though they don't see you … they play dumb," Montoya said. "When you run up front, the guys up front run a lot cleaner and smarter. The guys in the back are just too dumb.  I probably have more experience than everybody on this grid," Montoya said in a matter-of-fact manner. "You know, I've driven more things than anybody here.  I'm trying to be as friendly as I can be and whether they like it or not, I'm here for the long run," Montoya said. "So it's their problem, not mine."  (After the Busch race in Phoenix, Montoya explained that, although he might be a rookie in NASCAR, he certainly isn't a neophyte to racing and isn't at all pleased with his reception into the NASCAR club)

RYAN Newman, Penske Racing South NASCAR Driver
"He never touched me other than when we were both going for the same real estate. His bumper went across my nose and that spun him right around. What happened off turn four was totally my fault. I lost the car. I got into him and we got door to door and that spun me around. Down here, it was anybody but racing's fault in my opinion. His car came across the nose of mine. I felt bad for the situation because, obviously, it looked like I was retaliating, but that's not the case. That's what we just talked about." IF NASCAR THOUGHT YOU WERE RETALIATING, WOULDN'T YOU HAVE GOTTEN A PENALTY DURING THE RACE? "That's the way it usually works. That's the way it worked in Martinsville. I felt for Juan. I felt bad for the situation and him catching on fire and everything. I did not crash him on purpose and we'll go on." WHY WERE YOU CALLED INTO THE NASCAR TRAILER? "There was direct conversation about what happened and to make sure it wasn't intentional."

GREG BIFFLE, Roush Racing NASCAR driver
"I tell you, this Ford Fusion race car is just so awesome. This is the same car I've won with three years in a row and these fans down here at Homestead-Miami race track are something else also. I'm pretty excited to come down here. I love this place and I hope we put on a good show for all the fans tonight. Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson on his first championship and hopefully we'll be in that position next year."

11/21/06
nascar
Johnson on Letterman tonight Johnson on Letterman tonightJimmie Johnson will appear tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman, CBS at 11:35pm/et.
11/21/06
motogp
Hayden hid shoulder injury to win MotoGP title Hayden hid shoulder injury to win MotoGP titleAfter a glorious World Championship winning season, Nicky Hayden’s 2006 has come to a slightly premature end. The Kentucky Kid will miss next week’s test in Jerez, the final 800cc event of the year, as a result of a shoulder injury.

In a surprising twist, the shoulder condition was aggravated by the crash that Hayden suffered in Estoril alongside team-mate Dani Pedrosa, one of the most dramatic moments of the season. Hayden kept the injury under wraps ahead of the Valencia Grand Prix so as not to lose any psychological advantage in the title race, and took his first MotoGP accolade.

After undertaking two post-season tests, Hayden now returns to the US to have the injury assessed. No date has yet been set for possible surgery, which may entail the removal of a metal previously inserted in his shoulder.

11/21/06
F2000
2007 F2000 schedule 2007 F2000 scheduleFollowing the successful inaugural campaign in 2006, the F2000 Championship Series has announced a tentative six weekend-12 race series for 2007.

Starting in March with Round 1 at the Road Atlanta circuit for the series initial appearance at the North Georgia circuit, the series features one double race weekend per month for six months.
 
The series will then follow the spring weather north with Round 2 at Virginia International Raceway in April. VIR was the site of the first ever F2000 Championship Series event also in April of 2006.

The series will next visit Summit Point Raceway in May for Round 3 at the West Virginia track which hosted the second ever F2000 Championship Series event in 2006.

June will see the series joining the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series at Watkins Glen on the traditional 6 Hour race weekend. With Watkins Glen being almost every driver’s favorite track, this weekend is sure to be a standout for all competitors as well as the always substantial spectator turnout.

In July the series returns to the Mid Ohio Sportscar Course for a repeat engagement at one of the nation’s finest facilities.

The finale is scheduled for Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park on the newly dated NASCAR Busch East date in August to wind up the season.

With final rules and specifications to be announced soon, as well as new commercial relationships and sponsorships, the series looks forward to entering the second season with Hankook Tires returning as the Official Tire and sole supplier for the F2000 Championship Series.

March 16-18, Road Atlanta
April 13-15, Virginia International Raceway
May 18-20, Summit Point Raceway
June 8-10, Watkins Glen International
July  13-15, Mid Ohio Sportscar Course
August 17-18, Lime Rock Park

11/21/06
nascar
MB2 Becomes Ginn Racing MB2 Becomes Ginn RacingMB2 Motorsports has changed its name to Ginn Racing, effective immediately. The name change is a result of the team's new owner Bobby Ginn, who purchased majority interest in the racing organization in July. Regarding the pronunciation of Ginn -- it is GHIN as in the second syllable of begin. The company's web site address is: (www.ginnracing.com). MB2 Motorsports began operations in July 1996. -- Ginn Racing will field three full-time Nextel Cup teams in 2007 with drivers Mark Martin/Regan Smith sharing the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet ride, Joe Nemechek in the No. 13 Chevrolet and Sterling Marlin in the No. 14 Chevrolet. The organization will also field a full-time Busch Series team with Smith and Kraig Kinser co-driving a Ginn Racing Chevrolet. The team's development program includes drivers Jesus Hernandez and Ricky Carmichael. Ginn Racing is based in Mooresville, N.C.
11/21/06
Industry News
Foreign cars sweep annual safety survey Foreign cars sweep annual safety surveyForeign vehicles swept every category on a list of the safest 2007 models released Tuesday by an influential insurance industry group, mainly because the group toughened its criteria for being named a top safety pick. The Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety bases its annual ranking on the results of front, side and rear crash tests. This year, the institute also mandated that winning vehicles be equipped with electronic stability control, or ESC, which prevents vehicles from rolling over.

Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG fell off the list this year, mainly because many of their models don't have ESC.

VW, which offers electronic stability control on all 2007 models and is optional on the Rabbit and some Jettas, saw the Passat and Jetta fall off the list because of low ratings for head restraints, the institute said. "We are tightening criteria in order to encourage more safety improvements," said Adrian Lund, president of the insurance institute. Detroit News

11/21/06
nascar
O'Quinn beats Andretti for ROY O'Quinn beats Andretti for ROYDanny O'Quinn Jr. beat out longtime racer John Andretti for the NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year Award.  The two drivers entered Saturday's final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway tied for first place. Although Andretti beat O'Quinn on the track in the season finale, judges gave the award to the 21-year-old.

"It feels awesome," O'Quinn said. "I was just sitting back at the trailer there, and we were all kind of nervous and shaking and didn't know what was going to happen. It's just an awesome program."

O'Quinn, who had one top five and five top 10s in 33 races, finished 19th in the standings. Andretti, who was eligible for rookie honors despite having won races in Nextel Cup, open-wheel, sports cars and Indy cars, was 12th in the points with one top five and four top 10s. zzzz

But it's OK with him that O'Quinn is the top rookie.

"That was never our goal," Andretti said. "He deserves rookie of the year. All we've been trying to do is develop our team and work toward the future."

O'Quinn had praise for the 43-year-old Andretti.

"Racing with John definitely brought a little extra-added competition to it, him being at a lot of these tracks before," O'Quinn said. "He helped all of us rookies a lot. When we went to the rookie meetings and things, he would come out and tell us things about the tracks and stuff."

11/21/06
ips
Andersen Racing Shakes Down new IPS Car Andersen Racing Shakes Down new IPS CarFAIRFIELD, N.J. - Andersen Racing, one of the few teams expected to have a new chassis for the 2007 Indy Racing League Indy Pro Series, shook its new car down last week at Roebling Road Raceway in Bloomingdale, Ga.

Current Star Mazda drivers Brad Jaeger and Ryan Justice were the lucky drivers.

"Although it was just a shake-down and not a serious test, it accomplished what we wanted it to, and the boys did set some pretty impressive lap times on the newly repaved circuit," said team owner Dan Andersen.

"John Andersen, recently departed from his duties as competition director for the Cooper Zetec series, was on hand in his new role as managing director of our Indy Pro Series operation," Andersen added. zzzz

The team is considering running more than one car in the Indy Pro Series next year, and is currently interviewing drivers.

Andersen Racing offers a unique, three-tiered approach to groom drivers for careers as IndyCar or Champ Car World Series drivers.  In 2007 the team plans to compete in the Hankook Tires FF2000 series, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, and the Indy Pro Series.

11/21/06
ips
Crawford awards test to karting standout Crawford awards test to karting standoutWhen Michael Crawford went to Las Vegas the weekend of Nov. 10-12, it was for some of the least gambling he's done all year.

The first-year team owner in the Indy Pro Series put everything he had - savings, house, job - on the line late last year to form Michael Crawford Motorsports. He made sure the team made it to the racetrack with two cars for all 12 events in 2006, and his team made enough in prize money and sponsorships for Crawford to breathe a bit easier - just a bit - as he looks forward to 2007 from a new 7,500-square-foot race shop near the Indianapolis International Airport.

Hence the trip to Las Vegas. The 39-year-old wasn't there to put his 2006 winnings on red or black on the roulette wheel, he was there to scout talent at the SuperKarts! USA Super Nationals. zzzz

More than 300 drivers competed in seven classes of karts on a 12-turn, 0.8-mile course at Sam Boyd Stadium. In the end, Crawford awarded the event's "Rising Star Award" winner, San Jose, Calif., native Ron White, a free test in an Indy Pro Series car later this winter.

"I've seen the future, and it's definitely bright," Crawford said after the event. "There were a lot of talented people there.

"We identified Ron as the Rising Star and are looking forward to testing him early next year. Like a lot of guys out there, he deserves a chance at the next level."

White, the 2002 Super Nationals champion, competed in the Star Mazda Championship this season, finishing fifth in the title chase. The 25-year-old won three of the series' final four races and had six top-five finishes overall.

11/21/06
irl
Castroneves wins "Golden Helmet" Castroneves wins "Golden Helmet"Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was among the winners at the 10th Capacete de Ouro Awards in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Nov. 20.  Castroneves edged Vitor Meira and Tony Kanaan in the voting in the TOP category, which honors the top Brazilian racing in the United States. All three drivers are past winners of Capacete de Ouro.  Kanaan and Castroneves were also nominated for a special "Driver of the Decade," which was won by Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello.  A panel of Brazilian journalists vote for Capacete de Ouro awards in 13 categories. They are considered the "Academy Awards" of Brazilian auto racing.
11/21/06
ips
Schmidt inks Lloyd for Indy Pro Series seat Schmidt inks Lloyd for Indy Pro Series seatTwo-time Indy Pro Series race winner Alex Lloyd will drive for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Indy Pro Series in 2007, the team announced.

Lloyd, who turns 22 in December, won two races and recorded six top-five finishes in nine starts for AFS Racing in 2006. He finished seventh in the championship point standings despite missing three races.

"I am thrilled to join Sam Schmidt Motorsports," said Lloyd, a native of the United Kingdom who recently relocated to Indianapolis. "The team has won two of the past three driver championships in the Indy Pro Series and is the most successful team in the series' history. For me to be a part of this organization is fantastic and a great opportunity. Everyone within the team is very professional and easy to get on with so I am sure we are going to have a lot of fun and a lot of success." zzzz

"Obviously we are extremely pleased to announce that Alex will be competing with our team for the full season," team owner Sam Schmidt said. "Observing him throughout 2006, I know that he has the talent to compete for wins and the championship. He is also a quality individual, and I know our team will enjoy working with him next year."

Lloyd debuted in the Indy Pro Series in the doubleheader event on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. After qualifying on the front row, he recorded 10th- and third-place finishes. Lloyd's victories came on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he passed for the lead with two laps to go, and at Infineon Raceway, where he moved from fifth to first in the first eight laps.

Lloyd won the British Open Championship karting title at age 14. In 2003, he was the Formula Renault UK Vice Champion and received the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.  He has tested a McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 Car and was chosen as a driver for Team Great Britain in the A1GP in 2005.

"Our expectations for the year are simply to win the championship," Lloyd said. "Last year I was able to win two races in the nine that I competed in the Indy Pro Series, and this season I will be in the championship-winning car. All the elements are in place for a very successful year and I can't wait to begin work for the upcoming season."

11/21/06
track news
Chevrolet to unveil all-new 2008 Malibu in January Chevrolet to unveil all-new 2008 Malibu in JanuaryDETROIT, Mich. – Chevrolet confirmed today that the all-new 2008 Malibu will be unveiled in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and released a sneak peek of one of the car’s available two-tone interiors, which demonstrates a new level of refinement in the extremely competitive mid-size car segment.

“The next-generation Chevrolet Malibu's interior showcases the precision and detailed execution that will differentiate it among the mid-size car segment,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet General Manager. “The 2008 Chevy Malibu will offer a number of striking and progressive interiors that use premium materials to demonstrate quality and value not seen before in this segment.”

In the sneak peek photograph, the roomier Malibu cabin showcases Chevy's classic dual cockpit design.

The new Malibu builds on the success of its current model, which garnered many awards such as the 2005 J.D. Power Initial Quality Award and the 2006 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety “Top Safety Picks” silver medal.

11/21/06
track news
irl
alms
Honda to sponsor Mid-Ohio races Honda to sponsor Mid-Ohio racesDUBLIN, Ohio – TrueSports, Inc. has announced a three-year partnership with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. that will begin with the manufacturer serving as title sponsor of the joint American Le Mans Series/IndyCar Series race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 20-22, 2007.

The partnership is reflected in the titling of Round 7 of the 2007 American Le Mans Series: the Acura Sportscar Challenge, and Round 12 of the 2007 IndyCar Series: The Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio. 

“There are many reasons why this monumental racing weekend is such a great fit for Honda and Acura,” said John Mendel, senior vice president of auto operations for American Honda.  “There is our long-time presence in Ohio as a manufacturer, Honda’s tradition in open wheel racing, currently as single engine supplier to the IndyCar Series; and now in the American Le Mans Series, where Acura will be powering multiple teams in its first year of competition.

“Add to that our decade-plus partnerships with both Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School, which has brought us tremendous exposure as Official Vehicle and Official Pace Car,” Mendel continued.  “Finally, we’re bringing Honda’s and Acura’s highest-profile domestic racing programs virtually into the backyards of more than 15,000 company associates who are based at our plants in Marysville, East Liberty and Anna.  We’re thrilled to play a significant role in this historic racing weekend, and we are extremely grateful to our partners at IndyCar, the American Le Mans Series and Mid-Ohio for helping to make it happen.” zzzz

“We’ve enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Honda and are thrilled with their involvement in this new event,” said Michelle Trueman Gajoch, president of TrueSports, Inc.  “Honda’s passion for performance, combined with our rich tradition in motorsports, will undoubtedly translate into a thrilling weekend for our fans and the thousands of Honda associates that work and live in Ohio.”

The joint-event weekend is fitting for American Honda Motor Co., Inc., as tits involvement has grown in both the American Le Mans and IndyCar Series, and its partnership with TrueSports, Inc. has spanned thirteen years.  Honda is the Official Vehicle and Official Pace Car of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School, and American Honda Motor Co., Inc. plays a vital role as title sponsor to six of The Mid-Ohio School’s defensive and high-performance driving programs.

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. most recently became involved with the American Le Mans Series through the company’s luxury Acura division, which will debut a three-car factory prototype program in 2007.  The three-car Acura entourage will showcase the latest in advanced technology and cutting-edge innovation during the Acura Sportscar Challenge on Saturday, July 21.  This two-hour and forty-five minute race will be broadcast on CBS Sports.

On Sunday, July 22, Honda power will be featured during the Honda 200 IndyCar event at Mid-Ohio.  This will be the first open-wheel race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course since 2003, and the first visit to Ohio for the IndyCar Series.  ABC Sports will broadcast live during this 85-lap race.

The dual-event weekend is not only poised to become the largest and most significant motorsports event in the state of Ohio, but may also become the world’s largest gathering of Honda employees.  Honda’s companies in Ohio employ more than 15,000 workers, approximately two-thirds of all Honda employees in the United States. 

A comprehensive motorsports facility, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course features a permanent road-racing circuit with two primary configurations: a 2.4-mile, 15-turn, and a 2.25-mile, 13-turn circuit.  The park-like, 330-acre complex in Lexington, Ohio also features an amateur motocross venue.  Located 60 miles north of Columbus and 75 miles south of Cleveland near Mansfield, the track has been called the most competitive in the U.S. and annually hosts a diversity of locally, regionally and nationally sanctioned racing events for amateur, club and professional riders and drivers.

Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, TrueSports, Incorporated is a privately held motorsports entertainment enterprise.  The company owns and operates Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School, and promotes a wide variety of motor racing, driver instruction, corporate, and family entertainment events throughout the year. 

Following three seasons of competition against General Motors and Toyota, Honda became the single engine provider for the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series in 2006, with 84 Honda HI6R Indy V-8 engines built, prepared and maintained over the course of the 14-race season.  Forty drivers logged a total of 171,179 miles at racing speeds in 2006, with only three race-day failures during the entire season.

The Acura Motorsports program in the American Le Mans Series will feature the first racing engine completely designed and developed in-house by Honda Performance Development of Santa Clarita, California, Honda’s wholly-owned racing subsidiary.  Three teams will campaign Acura-powered LMP2 entries:  Andretti Green Racing, Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing, Ltd.

The 2007 season will mark the first time HPD has taken on multiple, concurrent motorsports programs in both the Indy Car Series and American Le Mans Series.

11/21/06
nascar
Jimmie Johnson an unpopular champion Jimmie Johnson an unpopular championJohnson is NASCAR's nicest guy and its newest champion, but he's far from a fan favorite.

With 23 career victories and his first Nextel Cup championship, Johnson's still working on winning over fans: He ranked a distant 10th last season in final voting for NASCAR's most popular driver.

Routinely booed during pre-race introductions, he's had more than one Victory Lane celebration spoiled by debris raining down from the grandstands. Although that didn't happen Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he hardly was embraced. His haters didn't even bother sticking around, making the final trophy presentation somewhat muted.

"He is a genuine person, the kind that fans should embrace," said Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Hampton, who attended eight races this season, including Sunday's finale, as Johnson's guest. zzzz

"Instead, he's kind of the poster guy when things look too good, you say 'Man, I've got to break this down and figure out what's wrong with him.' But the honest answer is there's nothing. He treats the valet the exact same way he would treat the President of the United States. You don't get that a lot in professional athletes, but with Jimmie, what you see is what you get."   More at AP article.

11/21/06
cc
Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team to test two Frenchmen Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team to test two FrenchmenIndianapolis – The 2006 Champ Car season has barely come to an end that the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Team is already hard at work in preparation for the 2007 season. While awaiting the arrival of the new DP01 car the team will be busy with two days of testing scheduled for next week at the MSR Houston circuit. The Conquest Champ Car team will be testing F3 Euro Series driver Guillaume Moreau and GP2 driver Alexandre Premat on November 28 and 29.

Moreau of Limoges, France will get two days of testing while Premat of Juvisy-sur-Orge, France will be in the car on Tuesday, November 28. Despite having driven in different racing series, it will be the first time that they get behind the wheel of a Champ Car.

Guillaume Moreau competed in the F3 Euro Series the last two seasons. In 2006, he scored six top-five finishes including two podiums and ended the season ninth in the Championship. He finished eighth in the 2005 standings scoring one victory and two podiums. The 23-year-old also competed in the French and European Formula Renault Championship from 2002 to 2004 and since 1995 the Frenchman has accumulated numerous victories in go-karting events. zzzz

An F1 test driver for the Spyker Formula 1 team at the Chinese Grand Prix this year, Alexandre Premat finished third in the final standings of the 2006 GP2 Championship, behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton and Nelson Piquet Jr., obtaining eight podiums and a win. Premat also drove for the Championship winning team of France in the A1GP series last season capturing seven wins. In 2005, the 24-year-old clinched fourth place in the GP2 Championship standings with seven podiums including two victories. The Frenchman scored three wins in ’04 in the F3 Euro Series and was runner-up in the Championship. That season he also won the MACAU Grand Prix and the Marlboro Masters of Zandvoort.

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing co-owner Eric Bachelart is looking forward to working with and evaluating both drivers. “I’m very pleased to be giving these two young, talented, French drivers a chance to test our Champ Car. I think they will be a good fit in these cars. Alexandre has driven an A1GP car, a GP2 car and an F1 car all in one year so I am confident he will do well in a Champ Car,” said Bachelart. “Guillaume might have less experience in powerful cars, although he tested a GP2 car lately, but he has proven results in F3 that allow me to think he will adapt quickly and also do well in a Champ Car. I’m anxious to see how they both perform next week.”

11/21/06
wsr
Vettel signs with Carlin Motorsport for World Series Vettel signs with Carlin Motorsport for World SeriesSebastian Vettel has signed with Carlin Motorsport to compete in the 2007 World Series by Renault championship. Vettel, who last week raced with Carlin at the 53rd Macau Grand Prix, also won two World Series races for the team in the 2006 season.

The 19 year-old German competed with Carlin at the Misano and Spa rounds of the 2006 World Series Championship as part of the Red Bull junior driver program. In his first outing in the World Series car, Vettel took pole position and two race wins from Misano while a hand injury put an end to his second event at Spa.

As well as winning two races in the World Series championship in 2006, Vettel also challenged for the F3 Euroseries title, losing out to eventual winner Paul di Resta at the final round in Hockenheim.

Commenting on his new team, Sebastian said, “I’m really looking forward to racing with Carlin in World Series next year. I drove for the team at the Misano round where we managed two race wins and again in Spa where we were challenging for the lead when a hand injury left me unable to race. Judging from those experiences, I’m sure we will be competitive. I’m very happy that I’ll be racing next season in addition to my F1 program.” zzzz

Keen to increase his racing experience, Vettel will compete in the World Series by Renault championship with Carlin as well as taking up his duties as reserve and test driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said, “With this program Sebastian will get more racing experience and extend his overall experience as well. This is an important factor in the career of such a young driver.”

Carlin Motorsport Team Principal, Trevor Carlin commented “I’m delighted to be able to confirm that Sebastian will be driving for our World Series team in 2007. Sebastian drove for us at the Misano round of the World Series championship this year and his performance was flawless.

“He has demonstrated both in the F3 Euroseries and in his time testing in F1, that he has the talent and determination to succeed. I’m sure we can help to develop Sebastian as a driver and challenge for the championship next season.”

Vettel will continue his winter testing program this week with Carlin at the collective World Series test at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy.

11/21/06
gp2
Zuber confirmed at iSport Zuber confirmed at iSportGP2 race winner Andreas Zuber is the first driver to be confirmed at iSport for 2007.
The 23-year-old took his maiden victory in the series at Turkey last year for Trident, and, after a solid end to his rookie season, he is hoping for a lot more with one of the strongest teams in the series.

"I am sure we can push for the championship," he said. "I have made some good friends at iSport already in testing and I can't wait to start working with them."

A statement from the team said: "Andreas has been impressive in testing and we believe that he will be able to fight for the championship.

"Following his maiden win in Turkey, he is poised to make a real impression in 2007."

Zuber finished 14th in the 2006 drivers' standings. Aside from his victory in Turkey, he scored points on two other occasions with the brand new Trident outfit, but retired from 10 of the 21 races during the season.

For further information : http://www.andreas-zuber.com/

11/21/06
cc
Day 1: Pacific Coast Champ Car test Day 1: Pacific Coast Champ Car testMonday was the first day of testing for the Pacific Coast Motorsports team using Rocketsports Lolas. It was the first time Alex Figge has driven a Champ Car in three years, and for Alex Figge it was just his second day ever in a Champ Car. Rocketsports is running the test, so this is not really the Pacific Coast team in full.

The MSR Houston track layout has changed, so lap times are meaningless compared to last year's times. What we can tell you is each driver ran over 100 miles on Monday with a strong performance by both Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge. A few minor spins but no accidents etc.

11/21/06
nascar
Statistics: NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson Statistics: NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson
• Jimmie Johnson - 31 years old from El Cajon, Calif. – won the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship. He became the 28th driver to win the championship on NASCAR’s premier series, winning the championship by 56 points over Matt Kenseth.
• Johnson is the seventh different NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion in the last eight years. Only Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) has repeated as series champion since 1998.
• His championship comes in his fifth full season of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition. Johnson’s previous best season finish of second occurred in 2003 and 2004. He has finished in the top five in points in all five of his full-time seasons.
• Johnson won five races in 2006 (Daytona, Las Vegas, Talladega, Indianapolis and second Martinsville). He has 23 career victories in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
• Johnson also recorded one Bud Pole, 13 top-five finishes, 24 top-10 finishes this season. zzzz
• Johnson led the standings a four times for a total of 25 races in 2006, including the final three. Johnson took the lead following Race No. 1 (Daytona) and held the lead for the first four races. He then dropped to third for one race, retaking the point lead after Race 6 (Martinsville) for two races. He was second after Race No. 8 (Phoenix) but came back to take the lead for 16 races the next event. He dropped out of the lead following Race No. 25 (California) but retook the lead following Race no. 34 (Texas).
• Johnson’s worst points position prior to the Chase was third following Race No. 5 (Bristol). He began the Chase in the second position and dropped to ninth following a 39th-place finish in the first Chase race (New Hampshire). Ranked eighth entering Charlotte, he posted three second-places finishes and one third to move back into the points lead following Race No. 34 (Texas). Another second-place finish at Phoenix and a ninth at Homestead secured his championship.
• Johnson’s point lead of 124 points over Matt Kenseth following Race No. 22 (Watkins Glen) was the largest by any driver this season.
• Johnson has ranked in the top-10 in the championship point standings for 105 races, the sixth-longest streak in the top-10 since the point system modification in 1975.
• Johnson won the season opening Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. The winner of the Daytona 500 has won the championship that season eight times. The winner of the Brickyard 400 has won the championship that season six times, including four consecutive years (1998 through 2001) and the past two seasons.
• This is Jeff Gordon’s first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship in his fifth season as an owner. Gordon co-owns the Lowe’s Chevrolet with Rick Hendrick, making this the sixth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup owner championship for Hendrick Motorsports.
• This is the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title for Chad Knaus in his fifth full season as a crew chief, all with Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports. Knaus is 35 years old and from Rockford, Ill. NASCAR Statistical Services
11/21/06
a1gp
Competition heats up as A1GP heads to Malaysia Competition heats up as A1GP heads to MalaysiaFollowing the success of its ground-breaking Beijing street race, A1GP World Cup of Motorsport returns to the Far East next week to the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, for the fourth of the 12 round series. The series made history one and a half weeks ago when it co-hosted the first-ever street race in the Chinese capital, but this week, however, it returns to a circuit for a second consecutive year following last season’s November round at the Kuala Lumpur track.

The Sepang International Circuit on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital opened in 1999 to host the Malaysian round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. A modern-day motor racing classic, the 5.5km circuit comprises 15 corners and eight straights with a width of up to 25m in places, which provides many overtaking opportunities. zzzz

Designed by renowned circuit constructor Hermann Tilke in consultation with seven-times Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher, the state-of-the-art circuit was built on a 260 hectare former palm oil plantation near to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The race will be one of the toughest of the year for drivers as the hot, exceptionally humid weather saps strength and stamina, putting an emphasis on driver fitness.

“Sepang will be a tough race for drivers, but I’m confident it will be very smooth running for A1GP,” A1GP chief operating executive David Clare said, “This is the second time we have been to the circuit so we will be up to speed straight away. So far, as a series, we’ve had to learn as we’ve been going along visiting new circuits, but at Sepang we can really consolidate our experience and show how far we’ve come.”

Last year’s A1GP races were welcomed by an enthusiastic Malaysian crowd, who were delighted to see their team finish eighth in the Sprint race and fifth in the Feature race. This year, buoyed by Malaysia’s double win in Brno, expectations of the home team are high, “Last year we had a small but enthusiastic crowd, this year we expect a big and enthusiastic crowd. For any driver it’s a great thrill to race in front of your home crowd,” Malaysia’s lead driver Alex Yoong commented, “Sepang is a good mix of fast and slow corners and all drivers I know really enjoy driving it. No team has ever won its home race, and we look forward to changing that, so the more people we have the better.”

Currently fifth, only seven points off leaders Mexico, a strong result in Sepang could catapult Malaysia to the top of the series’ standings. A1 Team Mexico will, however be looking to consolidate their consistent performance this season, “It’s been an outstanding season for us so far,” added driver Salvador Duran, “We knew we had learnt a lot since last year, but to have already achieved three podiums in six races is beyond our expectations, particularly with the series being so competitive this year. Of course, we’re now putting ourselves under even more pressure – the only thing we haven’t achieved is our first win this season!”

The weekend’s racing action kicks off with the rookie driver and developing nations’ session on Friday 24 November from 11.00 to 12.00. All teams can take part in the later practice session from 14.00 to 15.00. Final practice and qualifying for the Sprint race will take place on Saturday, with the Sprint and Feature races scheduled for Sunday 26 November at 11.00 and 15.00 respectively.

This time last season in Sepang… - Switzerland and France raced wheel-to-wheel in both the Sprint and Feature race, however it was France who took victory in both en route to the 2005/06 series title. Great Britain and Czech Republic were third in the Sprint and Feature races respectively. The Feature race was also notable for A1 Team China, whose car rolled several times after contact with Portugal.

Eastern Promise – With only two weeks between the Beijing and Sepang races, many drivers elected to stay out in the Far East. Great Britain’s Oliver Jarvis and Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi were just two drivers who went to the island of Macau to compete in the famed Formula 3 race. Although they didn’t follow in the footsteps of other A1GP drivers including France’s Alexandre Premat and Nicolas Lapierre, who took the spoils in 2004 and 2003 respectively, and Great Britain’s Darren Manning, who won in 1999, the pair still achieved respectable results. Buemi claimed fourth position, with Jarvis finishing 15th.

Going Dutch? – Jeroen Bleekemolen’s Beijing Sprint race victory was the Dutchman’s first single-seater victory since 1998. His pole position was also his first single-seater front of the grid start since the 2000 German Formula 3 championship; the 25-year-old has since focused more on sportscars and touring cars, laterally racing in FIA GT with the Spyker Squadron.

That elusive win – A1 Team Canada have led more races than any other team this year. Sean McIntosh and James Hinchcliffe have spent 55 laps in the lead in the three events held so far, however have yet to seal that elusive first 2006/07 win. The Canadians will no doubt be looking to rectify that score this time round in Malaysia, or at least better their 2005/06 15th place in the Malaysian Sprint and retirement in the Feature race!

The old and the new - The Sepang complex blends modern technology with the Malaysian culture. The unique double-fronted main grandstand roof resembles a banana leaf, while the Canopy Tower, nestling at the tip of the V-shaped double grandstand, has a roof similar to the Malaysian national flower, the hibiscus. Seats here give a view of 70% of the track.

Yoong at heart – Alex Yoong became the first Malaysian to race in Formula 1 when he made his debut in 2001. His 15 races in 2001 and 2002 yielded a best result of seventh in the 2002 Australian Grand Prix and a 10th in the 2002 French Grand Prix. Yoong’s team mate Fairuz Fauzy is yet to make it to Formula 1, but aims to reach the top echelons of the sport. This season Fauzy competed in GP2 with Super Nova International, his best result coming at Silverstone when he finished seventh.

The knowledge - Selected A1GP drivers will have the chance to visit the 452 meter-Petronas Towers, the landmark attraction in Kuala Lumpur, over race week when they head over for a press conference. Other drivers will have a slightly more off-the-wall experience when they head to try out an indoor rollercoaster at one of KL’s largest shopping malls. Not for the faint-hearted!

Singapore scores – Singapore’s eighth place in the Beijing Feature race was the tiny nation’s first-ever A1GP points. Team principal Ravi Sasikumar is used to breaking records, however; he was an international footballer with the Singapore National Team and scored the winning goal in a major competition that gave Singapore its first international win in the history of the country.

11/21/06
karting news
Schumacher heads home for 24 hr kart race Schumacher heads home for 24 hr kart raceSeven time F1 world champion, Michael Schumacher will return to his home town in Kerpen for a twenty four hour go-kart race on December 1st and 2nd.  Eighteen teams will take part, some of which are made up of Michael’s long time friends while others, such as former F1 racer and GP2 driver, Timo Glock, who is also set to test for BMW later this month, and current DTM champion, Bernd Schneider will also take part
11/21/06
f1
Coulthard critical of Barrichello, Rosberg Coulthard critical of Barrichello, Rosberg(GMM) David Coulthard (right) has attacked F1 rivals Rubens Barrichello and Nico Rosberg for refusing to be nominated as directors for the recent Grand Prix Drivers' Association election.

With the Scot wanting to step down as chairman after more than a decade in the role, and the retirement of fellow 'GPDA' director Michael Schumacher, the safety-oriented body in late September voted in Fernando Alonso, Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber.

But Coulthard, 35, criticized drivers including Honda's Barrichello and Williams driver Rosberg for 'just taking' from their sport.

"Michael has taken a lot (from F1), but he's given a lot too," he told the British monthly F1 Racing. "I've taken less, and given less, but I've certainly given."

Coulthard, who races for Red Bull, continued: "There are others who just take. An example is Rubens. I've raced against him for years and years, and he's a nice guy, and talented, but he just turns up, does his race and buggers off."

Coulthard said he also approached 21-year-old Rosberg about the directorship, but he revealed that the German rookie simply answered: 'No way!'

Coulthard added: "(The GPDA) is the only route via which they can influence their sport and yet they don't seem to want to know.

"I just can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to be active in the only forum via which he can increase the likelihood of his going home safe and sound at the end of a day spent caning one of the 22 fastest cars in the world around a race track.

"So when someone like Nico says he isn't ready, well, that's bollocks," Coulthard said.

11/21/06
f1
STR goal to reach ’midfield’ - Berger STR goal to reach ’midfield’ - Berger(GMM)  Scuderia Toro Rosso's three-season target is to become a midfield force in Formula One.

That is the insistence of the team's co-owner Gerhard Berger, who revealed that he and fellow shareholder Dietrich Mateschitz were content with the former Minardi squad's ninth place in the 2006 constructors' standings.

"Our goal for the first three years is to advance into the centre zone," former driver Berger, a winner of ten grands prix, told the Austrian magazine 'Kicker'.

He said: "That may not sound very ambitious, but remember that our competitors have 1000 employees, like Toyota, or have won multiple championships, as have Williams.

"We must be realistic.  We achieved our maximum this year."

Vitantonio Liuzzi scored Faenza based Toro Rosso's maiden point at Indianapolis in July, but Berger insists that arguably the biggest achievements were elsewhere.

"We improved the car, we were consistent, and many times we reached the finish line.  Last year Minardi was the fifth best team for reliability, but this year we nearly always brought the cars home.

"You have to remember where we came from," said Berger.  "The conditions we started with for our first year were not brilliant, but for us the season was absolutely fine."

11/21/06
f1
Karthikeyan to test ’FW28B’ this week Karthikeyan to test ’FW28B’ this week(GMM)  Williams test driver Narain Karthikeyan will shake down the Oxfordshire based team's 'interim' car for the winter at an English circuit this week.

On a trip to western city Mumbai this week, the Indian told reporters that, in preparation for the first winter test of the 2007 pre-season beginning next Tuesday, he is scheduled to run the Toyota-powered 'FW28B' at the Kemble airfield in Gloucestershire.

"Basically, it will be checking software," Karthikeyan, 29, added, revealing that he will drive at Kemble on Thursday.

Although slotted into the secondary test spot this year, and forced to be content again with a shared role in 2007, Narain insists that leaving Jordan to join Williams was the right move.

"I don't regret joining Williams," he said, denying that he is considering becoming a race driver in the A1 GP series.

"I should have probably started off as a test driver (in 2005) but I'm still young enough to have a long career in F1."

11/21/06
f1
Davidson expects tough fight with 'Taku' Davidson expects tough fight with 'Taku'(GMM)  Anthony Davidson has admitted that his former F3 teammate Takuma Sato might initially get the better of him at Super Aguri in 2007.

The 27-year-old and long time Honda test driver was also at the Carlin team in 2001 when Japanese Sato convincingly won the British F3 title.  Since then, the pair has worked together at BAR/Honda, principally with Sato in the race seat.

"By the end of the year I hope to be pushing Taku really hard," Briton Davidson answered in a Q&A provided by Leafield-based Super Aguri on Monday.

Sato joined the Honda-powered team at its inception last year.

Davidson said: "Hopefully we will be in a competitive environment with our car (next year).  The ultimate goal has to be scoring points in your first year and I believe that this is realistic."

11/21/06
f1
Webber returns to UK for seat fitting Webber returns to UK for seat fitting(GMM)  Mark Webber is due at Red Bull's UK factory this week, according to the Milton-Keynes based team.

Having secured an early release from his Williams contract, and after completing a trip to his native Australia, 30-year-old Webber will have a seat fitted for the 2006 'RB2' and then make his debut at Barcelona late next week, a team document read.

According to reports, the man he replaces at Red Bull - Christian Klien - also had a new seat fitted this week.  The Austrian was due at Honda's Brackley factory and will similarly debut at Spain's Circuit de Catalunya.

The first three day test of the 'winter' period kicks off next Tuesday.

11/21/06
f1
Work to upgrade Imola underway Work to upgrade Imola underway(GMM)  Work to renovate the 'Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari' at Imola began this week, despite the Italian circuit losing hosting rights for the traditional San Marino grand prix in 2007.

"(Bernie) Ecclestone has guaranteed to me that once the works are finished, F1 will return in 2008," the north-central Italian town's mayor, Massimo Marchignoli, told sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 'CP' and 'AP' news agencies said the first work on Sunday was to destroy the ageing media box and paddock with explosives, with the total overhaul reported to be costing $13m.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in April.

Work is now also underway at Spa-Francorchamps, as the popular Belgian venue returns to the F1 calendar after an absence.

Photographs show trucks carrying the demolished remains of the old pitlane buildings down the front straight.  The famous 'Bus Stop' chicane will be re-profiled and moved back, while the first hairpin 'La Source' is to be moved forwards to make room for a new paddock and longer pit straight.

11/20/06
nascar
Brian France Addresses ’State of NASCAR’ Brian France Addresses ’State of NASCAR’Brian France Addresses ‘State of NASCAR’ Questions on NASCAR RaceDay

NASCAR President Brian France joined the NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED crew during the NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway this past weekend. France addressed the state of the sport, and what to look forward to in 2007 and beyond.

Host John Roberts led a panel of questioners which included drivers Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace, along with former crew chiefs Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammonds. Here is what France had to say:  zzzz

Roberts: This is quite a scene to have all three of your touring series complete their seasons here at Homestead.

France: I can’t think of a better place to have the finale than here in south Florida.

Roberts: It’s been the buzz around the garage area, and around the shows we’ve been doing, USA Today, front page Wednesday afternoon, you see the headline, ‘After 15 Years in the Fast Lane, NASCAR Slowing Down.’ I’m sure you are aware of those numbers, is it cause for alarm?

France: I think they know part of the story. There’s no question ratings are down a little bit, off of historic highs of last year. Ratings on your network (SPEED) are up; Truck ratings are up, qualifying is up, lots of things are up. The truth is; I think a little bit is anticipation for ’07. There are so many things that are going on, but they all happen in ’07. Not taking anything away from this year, but we have Juan Montoya (who made his Cup debut at Homestead) and he’ll be full time. You’ve got Toyota entering the series. You have a different network package in the second half. You have the car of tomorrow. You have a lot of things that are building some anticipation for ’07. We’re excited about it.

Spencer: You made a change that had everyone saying, ‘Man Brian, why would you do such a thing.’ Now, we have all the people saying that it’s not exciting. How can you think that they would even say that?’

France: When you get a little criticism, that’s part of it. But look, the racing is good, we’re really happy with it. It’s side by side, its NASCAR style. I think the ‘car of tomorrow’ is going to, at least, give us better racing. With the testing that’s been done, it’s already showing that.

Wallace: They said that having Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Jeff Gordon in the Championship Chase would make everything euphoric – and it didn’t. Junior said to shorten the races. You have always said we can adjust. Have you ever looked at shortening the races?

France: We have shortened races from time to time – Dover is an example. Let me give you one statistic, this year, out of 34 events, NASCAR was either number one or number two as the largest sporting event on television. Nobody needs to have a pause for concern. We’re a sport on the move and we have a lot of things for ’07 that I think there’s a little lull before the storm. The racing is good.

Spencer: Why are people against this ‘car of tomorrow?’

France: People just don’t like change by definition. In fairness, we have to get the car out and they have to get comfortable with it. It doesn’t bother us to hear various points of view. Listen, we have a lot of people with various points of view. Our fans have opinions, big opinions. Drivers certainly do, and we can’t make every decision with everyone in total agreement.

McReynolds: I did read something in that article (USA Today) that (John Roberts) mentioned - that I guess I never thought about because I’m here all the time - but maybe the length of the schedule, going Valentine’s to Thanksgiving, do you think maybe the schedule is too long?

France: Larry, I’m going to let you tell one of these tracks that host one of these events that they are coming off the schedule. We’ve always had a long season, but I think it works to our advantage in a lot of ways. It gives corporations a chance to market to a 10-month season. Now, we only have one event per week. We don’t have 180 games, or any of that business. I think we’re okay and things are just fine with the length of schedule – and the racing’s great.

Hammonds: The Busch Series champion was decided many weeks ago. I think you need to make some adjustments to at least that series to make sure you come in here and have a little bit more of a competitive deal. Do you see some things in the Busch Series to make that happen?

France: We have looked at it and we’ll continue to look at it. We like the uniqueness it gives the Nextel Cup, that’s the premium series, obviously, in motorsports. We like to distinguish the divisions when we can and crowning the champions is one way of doing it. We’ll take a look at it, but we’re pretty comfortable with things right now.

Wallace: Do you think some people are jealous of NASCAR’s success? And are quick to point it out when NASCAR falters a little bit.

France: It’s always a thing with the media…

Wallace: Why would it make the front page of USA Today?

France: I thought their timing was really poor - crowning our champions this week. I thought that article was inaccurate and the timing was bad. Look guys, its one article and everybody wants to pile on. I don’t think any of these fans here today are worried about what the USA Today says.

11/20/06
racing news
Bryan Clauson nominated for ROY Bryan Clauson nominated for ROYChip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) development driver and USAC National Sprint and Midget Car Series star Bryan Clauson was recently nominated for RACER Magazine’s Rookie of the Year Award which will be presented during this year’s SPEED Performance Awards.

Clauson’s nomination pits him against the best young talent motor racing has to offer worldwide, as evidenced by the selections of Marco Andretti (Indy Racing League), Colin Braun (Grand American), Dan Clarke (Champ Car), Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) and Robert Kubica (Formula One).

At just 16 years of age, Clauson (now 17) became the youngest driver in USAC history to win both a National Sprint Car Series and National feature Midget race– topping a list of USAC’s all-time greats including Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. zzzz

After an injury in September in Wheatland, Mo. sidelined him for the remainder of 2006, Clauson still finished in the Top 10 in both Sprint and Midget points. He also won selected USAC Regional Midget Car Series events in 2006.

The RACER Rookie of the Year winner will be featured in the April edition of the magazine. Beginning this week, SPEED will present nominees for the fan-vote categories, allowing viewers to vote for their favorites at SPEEDtv.com. The winners will be announced as part of a 60-minute special in February.

Also, CGRFS recently signed 16-year-old open wheel standout Brady Bacon to the team’s driver development program. Bacon has been the feature driver at Keith Kunz Motorsports, filling in for Clauson as he continues to recover from his aforementioned accident. Bacon is the 2006 Southern Midget Racing Series champion, and recently finished third in the USAC National Sprint Car race in his first outing at Eldora Speedway in Ohio.

11/20/06
nascar
NASCAR finale called a snooze fest NASCAR finale called a snooze festHOMESTEAD, Fla. - The Ford 400 will be one of the most talked about races of all time. As long as there is beer and wings and the freedom to debate the worst race ever run, fans will discuss this one.

If you would like to replicate the thrills at Homestead-Miami Speedway, do two things.

(1) Go to Wendy's.

(2) Check the action in the drive-through lane.

There has to be a better way to end a season, because this one isn't working. You want to leave fans asking for more. They should be demanding it. This was nothing more than a Sunday drive. zzzz

The chase for the championship, the playoff system Nextel Cup created three years ago, was a great idea. And it was great the first season. And it should be good every season. But it has inexplicably failed the past two.

The sport takes the top 10 drivers, reduces the season to 10 races and unleashes them.

Johnson initially could not break free. Then he turned brilliant, finishing no lower than second the five races before Sunday's.

He came in with a 63-point lead, and his biggest challenge was avoiding a spring that fell off Kurt Busch's Dodge.

He did.

Thanks for coming, folks. He won by 56 points.

Johnson is a worthy champion. If he isn't the best driver on the circuit, Tony Stewart is. It's Jimmie and Tony and everybody else.

All afternoon and into the evening, drivers backed off and gave Johnson room to move. Teammate and good friend Jeff Gordon occasionally slipped behind Johnson, the fullback to Johnson's tailback, the ultimate wingman.

It's if the champion shared the track with van-driving mommies on their way to soccer practice and SUV dads on their way to, well, Lowe's.

Hey, guys, on the way to the finish line, can you stop for groceries?

OK!

Problems began before the race did.

In an interview with the SPEED Channel, NASCAR czar Brian France ripped a USA Today story that last week attempted to measure Nextel Cup's season-long decline in television ratings and attendance.

The TV ratings are self-evident. There is no more accurate barometer of interest than those ratings. NASCAR does not release attendance figures.

They don't have to.

Empty seats don't lie.  More at Charlotte Observer

11/20/06
track news
Milwaukee Mile New Merchandise Website Launched Milwaukee Mile New Merchandise Website LaunchedRace fans will have an opportunity to go shopping 24/7 for Milwaukee Mile merchandise through the speedway’s newly-launched website, www.milwaukeemilestore.com, in conjunction with Event Merchandising Inc (EMI), the official merchandiser of The Milwaukee Mile.

Cultivating and managing the relationship that began with the 2006 season between the historic speedway and EMI is Jeff Simpson, EMI Retail Sports Development, based in Concord, NC.  Simpson is the son of racing safety innovator Bill Simpson and is a former professional race car driver.

“We have learned a lot this year working with The Milwaukee Mile staff in EMI’s first motorsports property opportunity.  As a racer myself and with our relationship within the industry, including dealings with Motorsports Authentics, we will continue to build from our initial efforts to create attractive merchandise available on www.milwaukeemilestore.com and at The Mile,” Simpson said.  “Thanks in large part to the efforts of EMI staff at the Bradley Center led by Kevin Fisk, we have solid direction and I think the fans will like what we have in store gearing up for next season.” zzzz

After starting from scratch for the 2006 season at The Mile, EMI produced good results, with a 16.3% increase in net profit margin.  As a privately-held company, Milwaukee Mile Marketing does not disclose financial figures.

“Our partnership with EMI has been very positive, generating low-six figures in sales considering all their start-up costs and what they all produced for throughout the year,” commented Milwaukee Mile chairman Craig Stoehr.  “We have invested a lot of time, effort and money in our first season promoting The Milwaukee Mile.  The launch of www.milwaukeemilestore.com is one of several initiatives going forward for us in connecting with our fans, parallel with our ticket initiatives to further the interest in world-class events at America’s Legendary Oval.”

Event Merchandising, Inc. is also the merchandiser for the Milwaukee Bucks, Bradley Center, Milwaukee Admirals, and numerous concert events, professional sports teams, the NCAA Frozen Four and 56 indoor and outdoor entertainment venues throughout the country and Puerto Rico.  For details, visit www.eventmerchinc.com. Milwaukee Mile PR

11/20/06
cc
Champ Car testing slated at MSR Houston Champ Car testing slated at MSR HoustonUPDATE Today and tomorrow in Houston, next week in Houston and then the week after in Fontana, Pacific Coast Motorsports will be testing.  We hear this team is really making every effort to do things right!

11/19/06 Starting Monday, Pacific Coast and Rocketsports will test; then starting the week after Thanksgiving, Walker Racing, PKV, Forsythe and Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing will be in town; and between then and the middle of December, Newman/Haas and RuSPORT finish up the testing session.
11/20/06
cc
Sebastien Bourdais Collects Champion's Check Sebastien Bourdais Collects Champion's CheckINDIANAPOLIS – As part of the bounty for winning the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford title, Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was awarded a new Ford Edge at Saturday’s Champ Car Awards Banquet. The vehicle would come in handy by the end of the night as Bourdais would fill the new Ford with a myriad of trophies after winning his third consecutive series championship.

Bourdais received Ford’s newest crossover vehicle via a video tribute delivered by Ford Chairman Edsel Ford, who congratulated Champ Car and Newman/Haas Racing before telling Bourdais that Ford settled on the Edge as an appropriate gift not only for Sebastien, but for his wife Claire and their soon-to-be-delivered baby girl.

The Frenchman also scored his third Vanderbilt Cup and the $500,000 prize that went along with it, as well as the Hole In The Wall Camps Lap Leader Award, which is given to the driver that leads the most laps of competition over the season. The three-time series champ also earned the season-long Bridgestone Pole Award, leading the series by winning seven of the year’s 14 pole positions. zzzz 

Bridgestone also made news during the evening, announcing a multi-year agreement with the Champ Car World Series that will see the fabled tire manufacturer serve as the exclusive tire supplier to the series, continuing a relationship with Champ Car that began in 1995.

“We are very pleased to announce this multiyear extension tonight, on the heels of such a successful 2006 Champ Car season,” said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Motorsports, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT). “We will continue the alternate tire program, we will continue to host hundreds of guests at hospitality units at races, and we will feature new ads in the new and exciting television package. Most importantly, our ongoing commitment to design, develop, produce and deliver the highest quality tires for Champ Car racing has not and will not change. The Bridgestone brand will be very visible to the fans and teams.”

Will Power (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and his Team Australia crew scored more than their share of hardware over the evening despite having just completed one season of Champ Car competition. Power took home the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year Award as well as the Bridgestone Passion For Excellence Award, becoming the first driver other than Bourdais to win the award in its four-year history. Team Australia also earned acclaim by winning the inaugural Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes ‘It’s All In The Finish’ Award, which goes to the team with the most well-designed livery over the season.

Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) came up second in the standings and took home an additional $250,000, but the spirit he displayed in chasing Bourdais all year - even with a broken wrist at the season finale – earned him the Greg Moore Legacy Award. The award honors the late Champ Car star and goes to the driver that most displays the determination, passion and skill that typified Moore’s days as a racer.

“I'm very proud and honored,” Wilson said. “Although I never got to meet Greg myself, from the races I watched and what people have said he was obviously a great driver and a great guy.  It means a lot to receive this award and the recognition that comes with it.”

Nelson Philippe (#4 CTE Racing – HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) set a series record earlier in the year by becoming the youngest driver ever to win a Champ Car race, and Saturday night he achieved another first. The young Frenchman was named as the recipient of the Bosch Most Improved Driver Award, becoming the first driver ever to win the award in back-to-back seasons. He also teamed with Bourdais to lead France to the Nations Cup title for the second consecutive year. Champ Car

11/20/06
nascar
Only 1 of 16 COT's pass NASCAR inspection Only 1 of 16 COT's pass NASCAR inspectionOnly one of 16 “car of tomorrow” entries submitted to NASCAR by Nextel Cup Series teams for pre-certification has received clearance so far, NASCAR officials confirmed Saturday. NASCAR is currently going down a list by car owner points and allowing teams to take completed versions of the “car of tomorrow” – which will be used in 16 Cup races next season – to its research and development center in Concord, N.C., for precertification.
The process is required for any “car of tomorrow” to be used next season and must be completed before the car appears at the track for a race, said Brett Bodine, a member of NASCAR’s R&D team and director of cost containment.

"A Chevrolet from Hendrick Motorsports is the only car to pass thus far," Bodine said. “The rest didn’t meet the all of the criteria that is being checked,” he said. “The criteria are to make sure the chassis is built to the specifications on the blueprint.

“Most of the rejections have been caused by metal thickness – the part being too thin. The cars we’ve seen have been built correctly. That’s a good thing. It’s mostly just replacing some sheet metal, or a bar or two here and getting it up to specifications.”

Bodine said only one of the cars NASCAR officials had seen thus far would be what he considered non-repairable.” Mercurynews.com  [Editor's Note: Here we go already, the cheaters in NASCAR already starting to cut corners to cheat the rules.  When is the cheating mentality going to stop in NASCAR?  It's so engrained in the culture it may never go away.  The NASCAR apologists call it pushing the limit to win.  Spare us the insult.]

11/20/06
irl
Exposing another ethanol fallacy Exposing another ethanol fallacyUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Ethanol produced from any biomass (including corn) is to a great extent carbon neutral. All living plant matter ingest carbon dioxide to build their cell structure. Any CO2 emissions due to burning this fuel simply return to the atmosphere the CO2 the plant originally took away. In theory, it adds nothing to the greenhouse effect. However, there is certainly some CO2-add due to gasoline and other carbon that is used in growing or fermenting the corn. The bigger and better question is how energy neutral corn-based ethanol might be. On that, the jury is certainly out. Please withhold name.

Dear No Name, Crops to make ethanol are grown in rural areas where greenhouse effects are not an issue. They are, however, an issue in congested rural areas where, cough, cough, ethanol pollutes more than gasoline. Mark C.

11/18/06 Referring to the emission of carbon dioxide, which is the predominant greenhouse gas produced during combustion of fuel. The only correct way of comparing the relative amounts of carbon dioxide produced by combustion of ethanol against gasoline as automotive fuel is the one based on the relative calorific values (amount of heat generated by a given mass of fuel when it is completely burned) of the two fuels (which are directly related to mileage per gallon) and also after taking into account the amount of carbon dioxide emitted when ethanol is produced by the fermentation process from sugarcane or corn.

Ethanol's calorific value is only 0.6 times that of gasoline on a per unit weight basis. A careful study of the chemistry involved in fermentation and combustion processes and a simple calculation will show that, to generate the same amount of energy, the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted when ethanol is used as fuel will be 1.56 times the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted when gasoline is used as fuel.

Hence it is grossly misleading to propagate the view that ethanol is a more environmentally desirable automotive fuel, at least in relation to carbon dioxide emissions, which is the largest contributor of the greenhouse effects. V. Nagarajan, Ph.D., Chemical Engineer, Plano, Texas
11/20/06
nascar
USA Today article predicts NASCAR’s downfall USA Today article predicts NASCAR’s downfallUPDATE #2 NASCAR chairman Brian France said the pulse of NASCAR is strong despite lagging television ratings and attendance, and took aim at recent negative media coverage. He ripped USA Today for publishing a story entitled, ``NASCAR's growth slows after 15 years in the fast lane.''

The story, which ran on the front page of the newspaper Wednesday, stated that NASCAR's popularity has hit a plateau evidenced by fewer than half of the Cup races this season selling out.

''I think that was done in incredibly poor taste,'' France said Sunday. ``The timing was wrong.''

He also criticized USA Today for burying its coverage of Ford Championship weekend in Friday's editions.

Despite being the second-most watched sport in the country, France said NASCAR is the most ``undercovered sport in the country.'' Miami Herald

Meanwhile NBC calls Brian France, well basically a liar for blaming them for falling ratings.

NBC ended its six-year NASCAR contract with last night's Ford 400. Sam Flood, the NBC sports producer whose work this year fashioned the highest-rated Daytona 500 in history, and director Mike Wells, have been hurt by complaints about the network's work this season.  "We put on the best show we can every week, and we're really proud of what we've done," Flood said "This is our last year, but we love NASCAR and we wish we were still in it. We've enjoyed every minute being part of this sport. It's a great sport.  "When I look at the ratings, three of the four races that were up were on our network. Talladega was up, Daytona was up, and Atlanta was up."  Flood's final NASCAR production was the Brickyard 400, and he has been running Football Night in America this fall. Winston Salem Journal

11/16/06 This Sports Illustrated article says pretty much the same thing that the USA Today article says, i.e. that NASCAR's popularity is falling because the season is too long, the races are too long and ticket prices are too high.  What they fail to address is the fact that their traditional redneck fans do not like all the foreigners coming in and as each Montoya, each Toyota and each non-traditional NASCAR entity comes in, the rednecks will continue to push away.

11/15/06 The headline in today's edition of USA Today (Front page of main section) - "NASCAR's growth slows after 15 years in the fast lane" - does not bode well for the France family or the future of the series - at all. Reporter Nate Ryan agrees with what we have been saying all year, that NASCAR has reached its plateau. From a noticeable decline in attendance (a third of the NASCAR races had lower numbers with fewer than half being sellouts - a staggering figure), to television ratings that dropped for 30 out of the 34 races, and for 16 of those races the decline was at least 10 percent, according to Ryan's reported figures.

Kyle Petty said in the article, "I'm an idiot, and this is all I've ever done, but my God, 36 freaking races a year? Even I'm not going to tune in every week." Truer words were never spoken.

Brian France was quoted in the article "We're in a little bit of a lull. We have a lot of different things that are very significant going on, but they're all coming next year."  A "little bit of a lull"?  We think not.  NASCAR no longer appeals to the younger generation.

11/20/06
British F3
macaugp
gp2
Macau win adds to Conway’s resume, eyes GP2 Macau win adds to Conway’s resume, eyes GP2British Formula Three champion Mike Conway won the Polytec Macau Formula Three Grand Prix in style today with a commanding win over the field of 32 drivers, adding another prestigious title to his racing accolades.

The 23-year-old British driver took the lead of the race at Lisboa corner on the first lap after the three leading cars all slid down the escape road. After staying clear of trouble, Conway set about opening up an early one-second lead over his rivals, but the Safety Car was called out to negate this.

The race restarted on lap five and Conway once again pushed hard to open up an early advantage, although he nearly came to grief after brushing the wall near Maternity Bend on lap six. From there Conway was able to keep his advantage, while the cars behind him were locked in a fierce battle for the remaining podium positions. Photo left to right: American Richard Antinucci (second), British Mike Conway (winner), German Adrian Sutil (third)

American Richard Antinucci was the only driver to mount a challenge on Conway trying to close down his lead in the final stages, but after losing time behind a backmarker on the penultimate lap, he ran out of time. zzzz

Conway said after taking his victory, “I knew we had the pace to challenge for the top spot, but I also knew the cars ahead of me on the grid were all very competitive as well. I was lucky that the three cars went out on the first lap, but it was still a high pressure race, you can never relax and I was still being challenged at the end. You have to stay focused every minute of every lap, as one small mistake can mean disaster.

“I had a bit of a heart-stopping moment when I brushed the wall and it was lucky that it only caused a little damage that didn’t affect my pace. I just continued to stay focused and kept my head down to the checkered flag. I’m delighted to have won here, particularly with such a strong field; it’s a great result.”

2MB, the sports management company founded by Mark Blundell and Martin Brundle handle Conway’s racing career. Blundell praised his protégé saying, “It’s a fantastic achievement for Mike to finish off his season in such convincing style and demonstrates once again the caliber of driver that he is, and the huge potential that he offers. I’m sure that there’ll be a few more industry observers watching and taking notice of this highly talented young racer. Well done Mike!”

Conway started racing at the age of eight at Rye House in Hertfordshire. His first triumph was the Formula A British Karting Championship, and he then went on to be Formula Renault Champion in 2004. With third place in the 2005 British Formula 3 series and top British driver he continued to show his racing talent. In 2006 Conway challenged for the British F3 title with Räikkönen Robertson Racing and with ten pole positions and ten victories, he took the championship crown in dominant style. His attentions are now focused on a winter GP2 testing program.

11/20/06
nascar
NASCAR goes lead-free NASCAR goes lead-freeThe 2007 Daytona 500 will be the last-ever NASCAR race on leaded gasoline. All other 2007 NASCAR races will be on unleaded gasoline.  Why run just one race on leaded fuel and then switch?  What is the savings in that decision for the teams?
11/20/06
f1
Q and A with Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson Q and A with Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson
Q:  Welcome to SAF1 Team Anthony! How do you feel at the moment?

AD: I feel very welcome. It is such a fantastic feeling to be here! I am so glad that it has all come together and I am looking forward to building on an already great relationship with the team and to moving on to really good things.

Q:  What does it feel like to finally have a permanent Formula One race seat?

AD: It is an amazing feeling - it is what I have dreamt of since I was a little kid doing karting. To finally get your lucky break, because that’s what it is at the end of the day, being in the right place at the right time. It is literally a dream come true. zzzz

Q:  What are your first impressions of your new team and the SAF1 Team factory at Leafield?

AD: My first impressions are that it is a very hard working, small team – a smaller team than I have been used to for the past few years – and it is really nice. There is an extremely friendly atmosphere and all the guys on the factory floor are really motivated to do a good job and I am looking forward to being right there with them.

Q:  What do you think it will be like working and competing with Taku (Takuma Sato) again?

AD: It feels a bit strange. I obviously competed with him in Formula 3 and then worked with him at the B·A·R team as it was then. So it will feel a bit strange, but also this time I will be competing directly against him in a way! It will be a fun year, we get on really well and we know each others strengths and weaknesses and hopefully, like in any good team, we will push everybody on to bigger and better things.

Q:  What are your personal objectives and expectations for the 2007 season?

AD: Obviously I know how the race weekend format runs from not only my role driving on a Friday but from the three races that I have competed in. Testing is one thing, but racing is another. You can do the lap times in testing, but it is very difficult to do it in the race. I haven’t finished a race yet due to various circumstances, so my first objective is to finish my first race with the team in Melbourne and then go from there – build up the learning blocks. Even though I know the format I am still going to be learning. By the end of the year I hope to be pushing Taku really hard and hopefully we will be in a competitive environment with our car. The ultimate goal has to be scoring points in your first year and I believe that this is now a realistic goal.”

11/20/06
woo
Sprint car split over, Kinser returns to WoO Sprint car split over, Kinser returns to WoOThere is little debate Steve Kinser is the greatest sprint car driver in history. In 2007, Kinser will be aiming to add to his legendary career as he returns to the World of Outlaws and competes for his 21st championship.

One of the original World of Outlaws competitors in 1978, Kinser has earned a series record 533 victories in a racing career that has spanned four decades with the Outlaws. In 2005, he was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

But Kinser isn’t resting on his laurels. Instead, 2007 will be a bit of a rebirth for him. Not only is he returning to World of Outlaws competition, he also has renewed a deal with long-time partner Quaker State, through its Q brand, to power his Steve Kinser Racing No. 11 Maxim. In addition, his Steve Kinser Racing No. 11k Maxim also will be chasing the World of Outlaws championship.

“I’ve had a good partnership with Quaker State since I started my own race team in 1995,” said Kinser, of Bloomington, Ind. “I hope to continue with them the rest of my racing career and maybe with Steve Kinser Racing after that.” zzzz

Ultimately, Kinser’s return to the World of Outlaws brings him back to the series he helped to build and where he experienced his most memorable moments, many of which he shared with series founder Ted Johnson, who passed away in October.

 
“Ted and I talked quite a bit,” Kinser said. “We talked probably every day, especially since the Knoxville Nationals. Ted’s wishes were to get back together with the World of Outlaws, something he founded and something that, to be honest with you, I was a big part of all my racing career. Me and Rick Ferkel and a lot of guys the first few years spent a lot time at television stations and radio stations trying to build this thing and get it off the ground. I had a good relationship with Ted over the years. We had a working partnership. Over 28 years, Ted and I had a lot of great times together and he was a great friend of mine.”

“We welcome Steve and his return to the World of Outlaws,” said DIRT MotorSports President and CEO Tom Deery. “Not only is he a proven champion, he’s also concerned about what’s best for the future of sprint car racing. We’re excited for our fans that he once again is part of the Greatest Show on Dirt.”

Kinser’s return to the World of Outlaws also has him eager to put his focus back on his two-car team.

“It’s been a hard situation for me to race with all the confusion that’s been going on the last year,” he said. “I just want to get back and relax and worry about my race team more than anything, worry about making my racecars fast and be in the right frame of mind when I hit the racetrack. It’s no fun for me going to the races when I’m worried about scheduling and trying to run a race organization. I will definitely look at the racing part of it a lot different from the way I did before because I’ve been on all ends of it — not that I haven’t been on those sides before, but not to the extent I was last year. Now I’ll just have to worry about my two race teams.”

There is little doubt that Steve Kinser Racing’s return to the World of Outlaws will add to the highly competitive series.

“It’s not going to be easy because there’s a lot of good race teams out there now with a lot of good drivers,” Kinser said. “It’ll be tougher than it’s ever been.”

With two national touring series in 2006, several young teams jumped at the opportunity to race with the World of Outlaws, giving them experience that will no doubt raise the level of competition next year. All of the teams that competed full-time with the series last season already have signed on to compete in 2007.

“That was probably the only good part about having two national organizations,” Kinser said. “It did give a few teams a chance to get out there and get a taste of what was going on out on the road and see what it was like. It can get pretty tough. There are a lot of good race teams on both sides of it and when you put it all back together, it strengthens them. I can remember back when they first started running the Gumout Series. They took some of those drivers and they started winning races. When they came back to the World of Outlaws, they came back with confidence. That means a lot for race teams, when they build that confidence. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to get them beat back down.”

Given the unparalleled competitiveness in the World of Outlaws, Kinser certainly will have his work cut out for him and looks forward to the challenge.

11/20/06
cc
Bridgestone pulls Champ Car sponsorship Bridgestone pulls Champ Car sponsorshipBridgestone-Firestone said it will no longer be the presenting sponsor of US motor racing’s Champ Car World Series but will remain the sole tire supplier for the open-wheel racing series.

The company announced a multi-year extension of its contract to provide tires for the series.

"While the restructured contract does not include provisions for the Bridgestone brand to remain presenting sponsor ... our ongoing commitment to design, develop, produce and deliver the highest quality tires for Champ Car racing has not and will not change," said Al Speyer, Bridgestone's North American director of motorsports.

Terms of the new deal were not disclosed, so we don't know if Bridgestone will supply tires for free or if they will make a tidy profit off of Champ Car and its teams.  The bottom line is that Champ Car does not have many sponsors left as most have gone to NASCAR or F1.  One has to wonder if Champ Car might have received a better tire deal, including one that would have sponsored the series, had it opened their tire supply up to bid.

11/20/06
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Bridgestone confirm Suganuma departure
Schu nominated for top German honor
Red Bull made early decision to bin 2006
No early Renault release for Alonso
Webber flies at 400kph in Perth
11/20/06
cc
Power collects three post-season awards Power collects three post-season awardsTeam Australia has collected numerous awards at this year’s Champ Car Gala Banquet in Indianapolis over the weekend.

Fresh from his debut Champ Car podium in Mexico City, Will Power collected three accolades over the night.

The Australian driver received his Roshfrans Rookie of the Year trophy and US$15,000 check, becoming the first Australian to win the prestigious award. Previous recipients include Sebastien Bourdais, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alex Zanardi, Gil de Ferran, Jacques Villeneuve, Nigel Mansell, Arie Luyendyk and Bobby Rahal.

Power also collected the Bridgestone Passion for Excellence Award for completing the fastest aggregate race lap around every circuit on the 2006 Champ Car World Series schedule. zzzz

That is, if all 14 tracks were laid end to end, the driver with the fastest cumulative lap, based on his or her best race lap at each track, earns the Bridgestone Passion for Excellence Award.

Power received a custom-made painting by Jim Swintal, motoring artist and Champ Car Clerk of Course, depicting the Toowoomba-born driver’s brilliant pole position at his home event, the Lexmark Indy 300.

“This is certainly the most unique trophy I have ever received and I have to thank Bridgestone and Jim Swintal for this great painting,” said Power.

“The picture will remind me of one of the most special weekends in my life and I’m grateful to have won this award.

“I will never forget my first Champ Car pole at Surfers Paradise and my rookie season in Champ Car and this painting will always be a reminder of this season.”

Power also received his trophy for sixth in this year’s Champ Car World Series, making Power the highest placed Australian in the history of the championship.

Team Australia’s striking green and gold Aussie Vineyards Champ Cars won US$10,000 best presented car awards at the Houston, San Jose and Montreal events as well as taking the overall award of US$20,000.

Team Australia’s paint shop manager Scott Turner has already had his superb talents and efforts recognized once this year when he was asked to paint the first new Panoz DP01 Champ Car for its unveiling in San Jose.

Turner says that the Sherwin-Williams Awards help spur on teams to keep outdoing each other in terms of car presentation.

“What can I say, I'm very excited,” said Turner.

“It’s great that Sherwin-Williams has given painters this initiative.

“It gives us something extra to shoot for. I hope that this continues.

“It’s been great for the series and it adds more competition for the series. I’m really excited that our hard work has paid off and is noticed.” Team Australia

11/19/06
nascar
Montoya's cup debut ends in ball of flames Montoya's cup debut ends in ball of flamesJuan Pablo Montoya's NASCAR Cup debut ended in a ball of flames when his Dodge Charger was tapped from behind on lap 252 of a 267-lap race at Miami Speedway on Sunday.  The Colombian former McLaren Formula One driver climbed out uninjured after spinning following a tap from veteran Ryan Newman who lost control of his car when he ran out of talent.

"The 12 car (Newman) tapped me in the back, I'm not sure," Montoya told reporters.

"We proved we could run all day, but it's gonna be hard.  I still have a lot to learn"

"What I said to the guys when I signed with Chip was that it won't be easy," said Montoya.  "I think I've been getting better race by race."

11/19/06
wtcc
Macau: Priaulx takes title as Muller wins race Macau: Priaulx takes title as Muller wins raceJorg Muller dominated the second FIA World Touring Car Championship race at Macau but it was not enough to prevent BMW teammate Andy Priaulx from taking his second successive world crown.

Muller moved to the front of the field at the start after making a brilliant getaway, but he was immediately put under pressure from title rival Augusto Farfus Jr. who was tucked right in his slipstream. Farfus got sideways going through Mandarin Bend, though, and swiped the barriers – damaging his car and putting himself out of the race.

That left the way open for Muller to charge clear at the front, but the Safety Car was brought out following a collision between Gabriele Tarquini and Rob Huff that partially blocked the track. zzzz

At the restart, Muller was gifted a massive lead after second placed Peter Terting slowed with a misfire and the pursuing cars all had to back off until the SEAT driver pulled over. By the time that happened, Muller was more than five seconds clear and he maintained that advantage to the flag.

Second place eventually went to Yvan Muller, who fought off race-long pressure from the pursuing Tom Coronel until the checkered flag, while SEAT’s James Thompson finished fourth.

Behind him, Priaulx took fifth place, which was enough for him to take the WTCC title by one point from Muller. After fighting off a tough challenge from eventual sixth placed finisher Fabrizio Giovanardi, Priaulx claimed it was the ‘hardest and best’ race of his career.

“It is almost too much to take in,” said Priaulx, who had earlier won the first race. “The pressure was unbearable. I could not have gone another lap. It means a lot more to me now having won the first race. I came fifth in the second race with no help from anyone at all.”

11/19/06
wtcc
Macau: Priaulx takes victory in race one Macau: Priaulx takes victory in race oneAndy Priaulx converted his pole position into a dominant victory in the first FIA World Touring Car Championship race at Macau to seize the lead of the title chase.

The BMW driver made a good start from pole position and, despite attempts by Dirk Muller and Duncan Huisman to wrest the lead on the run down to Lisboa, the Briton was comfortably ahead by the braking zone.

He then set about pulling away and, despite a worrying moment on lap two when he was forced to reduce his speed to a crawl at the Melco Hairpin after coming up behind a very slow Stefano D’Aste, he comfortably edged out a lead to finish 1.020 seconds ahead of Huisman.

“I am very pleased to have got the win from pole position, but obviously we have still got to perform in the second race,” said Priaulx, who was relieved that the following Huisman was protecting his position. “It was great to have Duncan behind me and he allowed me to build up a little lead.” zzzz

The result provided a major boost for Priaulx’s championship ambitions, especially with many of his title rivals hitting trouble. Yvan Muller’s third place was not enough to keep him in the fight, while Dirk Muller’s hopes were wrecked when he was spun around by Fabrizio Giovanardi at Lisboa on lap one. He recovered to finish 14th.

The only other men still able to win the championship after the race were Augusto Farfus. Jr, who finished fifth behind Giovanardi, and Jorg Muller who took sixth.

The race provided plenty of drama. SEAT’s James Thompson collided with Chevrolet’s Alain Menu at the hairpin on lap two before crashing into Nicola Larini at Lisboa on lap seven. Larini recovered only to smash his car against the barriers at San Francisco.

Priaulx and Huisman’s result, allied to trouble for several SEAT drivers, helped BMW clinch the manufacturers’ championship.

11/19/06
nascar
Roush continues to build NASCAR empire Roush continues to build NASCAR empireBesides its four Nextel Cup teams, Roush Racing has settled on three full-time Busch teams and three full-time truck teams for 2007, with the possibility of an additional part-time Busch team, team president Geoff Smith said Saturday.

David Ragan and Carl Edwards will run the entire schedule, Smith confirmed. Todd Kluever and Greg Biffle will share the season in another car, as previously announced. Jamie McMurray will drive for Brewco Motorsports, splitting the schedule with Biffle.

Roush Racing is exploring fielding one more Busch car, and Michel Jourdain also could end up in a Busch Series ride.

As of now, rookie Danny O'Quinn will not have a ride.

"The best we're able to do for him right now is to have him in the loop, like Todd Kluever, for a part-time ride," Smith said. "We are not settled with him at all right now. ... He's the man out right now. We hope it doesn't end up that way."

As for the trucks, Smith said the plan is to go with Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell and development driver Peter Shepherd for the three Roush teams. Scenedaily.com

11/19/06
nascar
Montoya refuses Mears' help Montoya refuses Mears' helpCasey Mears will be making his final start with Chip Ganassi Racing in Sunday's Ford 400. Mears' replacement in the No. 42 Dodge in 2007 will be Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya will be making his Cup debut Sunday in the No. 30 Dodge.

Mears said Saturday that he has offered to help Montoya with his transition from open wheel cars to full-bodied stock cars, but that Montoya seemed less than receptive.

"Anytime I can, I've tried to help him," Mears said. "I've told Chip I'll do anything I can to help him get up to speed quicker, but there's not as much communication. If I was in his position, there would be more communication. I'd be trying to learn as much as I could." Sporting News

11/19/06
wrc
Ford wraps up rally title Ford wraps up rally titleThe BP Ford World Rally team secured the manufacturers' title in New Zealand on Sunday, after Marcus Gronholm led home a one-two for the M-Sport-run squad. (Right, Marcus Gronholm (FIN) / Timo Rautiainen - and their winning Ford Focus RS WRC 06)

"It's thrilling and rewarding to see Ford as world champions again, especially in the first year of competition for the new Ford Focus RS World Rally Car," said Jost Capito, Director of Ford TeamRS. "This title was only possible due to an outstanding effort from every single member of the team and would not have been won without the most significant members of the team delivering superb results over and over. The BP-Ford World Rally Team pairings of Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen plus Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen have driven with determination, perseverance and world class ability. We are very proud of them. Over the years, I believe the team has developed into one of the best squads in the Motorsport business. zzzz

"This victory means a great deal to the team, but it is also a huge reward to all of the Ford employees, Ford Motorsport fans and Ford performance vehicle enthusiasts worldwide who have given us amazing support at every event." Malcolm Wilson meanwhile was equally chuffed to see his M-Sport-run squad finally deliver Ford the title it has craved for so long. The fact this was Ford's 75th consecutive points scoring finish in the WRC, a record unrivalled in the sport's history and dating back to the opening round of the 2002 championship, just added extra icing onto the cake.

"This title gives me great personal satisfaction. I've spent my rally career with Ford, and the company has been so close to winning the manufacturers' title on many occasions but it has always eluded us," he added. "I'm proud to be able to deliver it now, and it has been a huge effort by everyone, not only all the employees at M-Sport, but also our partners at B F Goodrich and all the other partners and suppliers who have contributed to and supported the team. It is the culmination of many years of building a world class team, with an infrastructure and resource capable of becoming the world's best."

11/19/06
racing news
Six new members announced for HOF Six new members announced for HOFThe Board of Directors of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame announced their Class of 2007 in the Hall of Fame next to Talladega Superspeedway. The six member class, comprised of visionaries, is one that no other class has equaled. First, while there is a distinct NASCAR flavor to this class, only one of them has ever won a Nextel Cup race, and that was as a car owner. There are plenty of championships, however, with five in the NASCAR Busch Series, six in NHRA Pro Stocks and five in two separate motorcycle circuits. The Class of 2007 is as follows: Car Owner Junie Donlavey; modified/late model driver Ray Hendrick; Busch Series Pioneer Jack Ingram; NHRA Legend Warren Johnson; Motorcycle legend Wayne Rainey; and Race Track mogul Bruton Smith. These six men will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday night, April 26th, 2007, in a ceremony at the Hall of Fame's Speed Dome. Reservations for tickets may be made now by calling the Hall of Fame office at 256/362-5002. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. International Motorsports Hall of Fame PR
11/19/06
iroc
IROC Needs a Sponsor IROC Needs a SponsorThe International Race of Champions will need a sponsor for 2007 for the series to continue, Crown Royal is not returning and IROC President Jay Signore said Friday he was seeking a new sponsor for the series to embark on its 31st season in 2007. "We need a sponsor to support all of those great drivers," Signore said while in the garage of Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We're on a sponsor search. We're working hard at it. Hopefully we'll get something done by February." The IROC Series invites drivers from various forms of racing in equally prepared cars for four events throughout the year. Tony Stewart won the 2006 IROC title. Signore said he hopes the series will return to Daytona, Texas and Atlanta next year but his tentative schedule does not include the Daytona road course. He would like to have another road course, but the 10 p.m. Thursday slot during the summer race weekend at Daytona was not a good fit. "That Thursday night at 10 o'clock was tough on everybody," Signore said. "We're going to try to get a road course in. We have to look at it. We wanted to keep a spot open for the sponsor that it would like to help support the series." SceneDaily.com
11/19/06
f1
Court orders less testing at British venue Court orders less testing at British venue(GMM)  British based Formula One teams may have to search for a new venue for 'straight-line' testing.

Although village residents near York asked the judge for a total ban, they have won a ruling to limit the running of noisy grand prix cars at Elvington Airfield.

It means that in 2007 and beyond, the venue - scene of regular aerodynamic testing on its long runways - may not host F1 cars for more than ten days a year.

Sixteen days of Formula One testing at the airfield took place in 2006, council officials said.

In York's local newspaper The Press, one resident compared the noise of a grand prix-spec V8 to 'howling banshees whipping through the house'.

A spokesman for Elvington Park Ltd declined to comment on whether the company would appeal.

11/19/06
nascar
Kenseth beats Edwards for Busch win Kenseth beats Edwards for Busch winUPDATE Another NASCAR coincidence, Ford sponsors the truck race on Friday and a Ford wins, Ford sponsors the Busch race and a Ford wins. Will a Ford win today since they are also sponsoring the Cup race? I have a Chevy, Ford and Jeep in my garage, so you can see I don't have brand preference......... Tim DeCesaro

Dear Tim, They say everything happens in NASCAR for a reason. After a disastrous year that saw Ford lose teams, and with the company bleeding red ink, rumors of their exit from the sport have arisen. But Ford motorsport boss Dan Davis loves NASCAR, so I doubt they are going anywhere, even if all the cars they race in NASCAR don't sell well with the buying public, leading some to be discontinued. Mark C.

11/18/06 Matt Kenseth closed out the 25th Anniversary season of the NASCAR Busch Series with a victory in the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was Kenseth’s second consecutive win of the year and his third of the season. Roush teammate Carl Edwards joined Kenseth in a rousing battle for the win during the closing laps of the event which ended under caution due to a spin on the last lap by Jay Sauter.

Kevin Harvick, 2006 series champion and race pole sitter led the field down to the green flag with the first caution of the event coming out on lap 2 after reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish, Jr. tagged the wall. The scariest moment of the race came on lap 45 when Reed Sorenson blew an engine with the oil igniting into a spectacular blaze. Sorenson spun the car into the grass on the backstretch and emerged unscathed.

The event was slowed seven times by cautions with a total of 11 drivers swapping the lead 15 times. The top five finishers were Kenseth followed by Edwards, Paul Menard, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley. The Ford 300 was Matt Kenseth’s 21st career NASCAR Busch Series victory. zzzz

The real story of the evening, however, was the official crowning of series champion Kevin Harvick, who set series records this season for his dominance of the competition. Harvick clinched his second championship with four races remaining - the earliest for any series champion. Harvick’s point margin over runner-up Carl Edwards was a whopping 824, another series record. Kevin Harvick and his Richard Childress-owned team ended the year with nine wins, just one shy of tying the all-time record of 10 set by Sam Ard nearly a quarter of a century ago. Harvick also had 23 top five finishes and 32 top 10s in 35 starts. At this point Harvick has no plans to defend his title next season. The top five in series points for 2006 were Harvick followed by Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley.

The NASCAR Busch Series will kick off its 2007 season with the annual 300 miler at Daytona International Speedway this coming February.

Fin Car Driver Laps Status
1 #17 Matt Kenseth 198 Running
2 #60 Carl Edwards 198 Running
3 #11 Paul Menard 198 Running
4 #20 Denny Hamlin 198 Running
5 #18 J.J. Yeley 198 Running
6 #21 Kevin Harvick 198 Running
7 #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 198 Running
8 #9 Kasey Kahne 198 Running
9 #06 Todd Kluever* 198 Running
10 #00 Johnny Sauter 198 Running
11 #2 Clint Bowyer 197 Running
12 #99 David Reutimann 197 Running
13 #157 Brian Vickers 197 Running
14 #42 Juan Montoya 197 Running
15 #66 Scott Wimmer 197 Running
16 #10 John Andretti* 197 Running
17 #59 Stacy Compton 196 Running
18 #47 Jon Wood 196 Running
19 #138 Jason Leffler 196 Running
20 #25 Ashton Lewis 196 Running
21 #27 Casey Atwood 196 Running
22 #64 Steve Wallace 196 Running
23 #87 Joe Nemechek 195 Running
24 #112 Mike Skinner 195 Running
25 #1 Mike Wallace 195 Running
26 #22 Kenny Wallace 195 Running
27 #01 Jay Sauter 195 Running
28 #90 Stephen Leicht 195 Running
29 #43 Erin Crocker 195 Running
30 #77 Bobby Labonte 195 Running
31 #35 Regan Smith 194 Running
32 #4 Auggie Vidovich 194 Running
33 #114 Carlos Contreras 194 Running
34 #36 Brent Sherman 179 Running
35 #50 Danny O'Quinn Jr.* 177 Running
36 #33 Ron Hornaday 172 Running
37 #88 Shane Huffman 163 Running
38 #16 Greg Biffle 161 Running
39 #23 Brad Keselowski 127 Out of Race
40 #163 Jorge Goeters* 84 Out of Race
41 #5 Kyle Busch 66 Out of Race
42 #41 Reed Sorenson 43 Out of Race
43 #139 Sam Hornish Jr. 20 Out of Race

11/19/06
macaugp
Conway holds off Antinucci and Sutil in Macau Conway holds off Antinucci and Sutil in MacauOn his first-ever appearance in Macau, American driver Richard Antinucci (ASM Formule 3, Dallara Mercedes-HWA pictured right) was the best-placed representative from the ranks of the Formula 3 Euro Series at the 6.12 kilometres long street circuit in the former Portuguese colony.

Antinucci, who won two races on his way to finish sixth in this year’s Formula 3 Euro Series, was only beaten by the reigning British Formula 3 champion, Mike Conway (Räikkönen-Robertson Racing, Dallara-Mercedes-HWA) in the 53rd running of the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix. The two were joined on the podium by German driver, Adrian Sutil (TOM’s, Dallara Toyota-TOM’s), who won the Japanese Formula 3 title this year after having been runner-up in last year’s Formula 3 Euro Series.

With Swiss Sébastien Buemi (Carlin Motorsport, Dallara Honda-Mugen NB) in fourth and Frenchman Romain Grosjean (Signature Plus, Dallara Mercedes-HWA) in fifth, three drivers from the world’s toughest junior racing series made it into the top five in the action-packed 15 lap race. zzzz

The opening lap already had plenty of action (From left to right: Richard Antinucci - Mike Conway - Adrian Sutil) . Pole-sitter Kamui Kobayashi (ASM Formule 3, Dallara Mercedes-HWA), who had won the qualifying race one day earlier, took the lead at the start, but he went straight on with Estonian Marko Asmer (Hitech Racing, Dallara Mercedes-HWA) and reigning Formula 3 Euro Series champion, Paul di Resta (ASM Formule 3, Dallara Mercedes-HWA) under braking for the Lisboa right-hander in the battle for the lead. This allowed Conway to take the lead, which he wasn’t to lose anymore until the checkered flag was out. A little later on the first lap, Paul di Resta hit the wall at Fisherman’s Bend which finally put him out of the race.

Racing resumed after a three lap safety car intervention to allow for di Resta’s damaged car to be removed. After that, there were great position fights for second through fourth place involving Kohei Hirate (Manor Motorsport, Dallara Mercedes-HWA), Sutil, Kazuki Nakajima (Manor Motorsport, Dallara Mercedes-HWA), Antinucci und Kodai Tsukakoshi (Prema Powerteam, Dallara Mercedes-HWA). Both Japanese Manor Motorsport drivers retired after hitting the barrier, Nakajima at Maternity Bend on lap 10 and Hirate at Police on lap 14. Tsakukoshi was also out after a head-on impact at the R-Bend. A charging drive finally put Antinucci up into second place which made him the best-placed Macau rookie, finishing ahead of Adrian Sutil. Formula 3 Euro Series drivers Sébastien Buemi and Romain Grosjean completed the top five.

Victory at Macau also meant another major success for engine manufacturer Mercedes-Benz after already having won the titles in the British Formula 3 championship and the Formula 3 Euro Series and also having locked out the podium during the BP Ultimate Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort. In Macau Mercedes-Benz battled it out against four other engine manufactures: Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Opel.

Mike Conway (Räikkönen-Robertson Racing Dallara Mercedes-HWA, winner): “Winning such a big race is a great feeling. Of course, I smiled when I saw the others driving straight on in front of me. After the safety-car, I tried to pull clear as soon as I could and from then on, I had a trouble-free race.”

Richard Antinucci (ASM Formule 3 Dallara Mercedes-HWA, 2nd place): “From the cockpit, it probably was even scarier than it was from the outside, but I had a really good run, gaining one place after another. Sometimes, it was really on the limit, but I made the best out of it and I am very happy with this result. I also would like to thank the ASM-team. They really are the best Formula 3 team in the world and it is great that I got the opportunity to do this race with them.”

Adrian Sutil (TOM’s Dallara Toyota-TOM’s, 3rd place): “I had a good start, but had some problems at the re-start. After that, I had a lot of fights. Antinucci’s overtaking maneuver was hard, but okay. I am really happy with my Macau debut.“

Sébastien Buemi (Carlin Motorsport Dallara Honda-Mugen NB, 4th place): “The start was okay and I could make up a couple places on the opening lap already. After the safety car, I had a nice race. Fourth on my debut in Macau is quite good, I guess.”

Romain Grosjean (Signature Plus Dallara Mercedes-HWA, 5th place): “Starting fifteenth and finishing fifth is a performance that makes me quite happy. Too bad that I didn’t do any better yesterday. We were quick here, it was a great experience and this circuit is just beautiful!”

POS NO DRIVER NAT LAPS GAP BEST
 1 26 Mike CONWAY GBR 15 2:13.403
 2 4 Richard ANTINUCCI USA 15 1.489 2:12.538
 3 7 Adrian SUTIL GER 15 2.055 2:13.055
 4 11 Sebastien BUEMI SUI 15 7.409 2:13.008
 5 16 Romain GROSJEAN FRA 15 8.752 2:13.088
 6 3 James JAKES GBR 15 23.963 2:13.786
 7 8 Kazuya OSHIMA JPN 15 29.948 2:14.582
 8 15 Yelmer BUURMAN NED 15 35.978 2:14.263
 9 12 Maro ENGEL GER 15 36.494 2:14.523
 10 14 Fabio CARBONE BRA 15 36.904 2:13.878 zzzz
 11 27 Stephen JELLEY GBR 15 44.681 2:13.434
 12 33 James WINSLOW GBR 15 45.128 2:16.285
 13 18 Marko ASMER EST 15 45.466 2:13.102
 14 29 Mauro MASSIRONI ITA 15 50.021 2:16.106
 15 10 Oliver JARVIS GBR 15 50.142 2:13.873
 16 24 Jonathan KENNARD GBR 15 54.400 2:15.272
 17 19 Roldan RODRIGUEZ ESP 15 56.547 2:15.354
 18 32 Daisuke IKEDA JPN 15 58.457 2:16.032
 19 6 Kamui KOBAYASHI JPN 15 1:02.141 2:12.782
 20 28 Michael HO MAC 15 1:46.823 2:20.933
 21 17 Charlie KIMBALL USA 15 2:03.556 2:14.793
 22 25 CHEONG Lou Meng MAC 15 2:06.282 2:21.973
 23 9 Sebastian VETTEL GER 14 1 LAP 2:13.405
 24 22 Robert STREIT BRA 14 1 LAP 2:12.527
 25 30 Jo MERSZEI MAC 14 1 LAP 2:28.214
 26 31 LEI Kit Meng MAC 14 1 LAP 2:27.905
 27 1 Kohei HIRATE JPN 13 2 LAPS 2:13.858
 Not Classified
 21 Kodai TSUKAKOSHI JPN 12 D.N.F. 2:13.499
 2 Kazuki NAKAJIMA JPN 10 D.N.F. 2:14.754
 5 Paul DI RESTA GBR 0 D.N.F.
 23 Rodolfo AVILA MAC 0 D.N.F.
 20 Maximo CORTES ESP 0 D.N.F.
 Fastest Lap
 22 Robert STREIT 12 103.30mph

11/19/06
cc
irl
IRL and Champ Car TV conflicts IRL and Champ Car TV conflicts
11/18/06
Industry News
Honda to build jets Honda to build jetsUPDATE Popular Science magazine has named the HondaJet as the winner of the publication's 2006 "Best of What's New" Award in the Aviation & Space category. The HondaJet was chosen from among dozens of aviation products for its breakthrough design and innovative features, representing a significant step forward in its category.

"We're honored that HondaJet was selected for this respected award," said Michimasa Fujino, who led the HondaJet development team and is now president & CEO of Honda Aircraft Company, Inc. "Our objective was to design and develop an advanced light jet that would create new value for personal and business aviation. We appreciate this award recognizing our success in creating something truly innovative."

HondaJet, which recently entered the "very light jet" market, features several innovations that help it achieve far better fuel efficiency, larger cabin and luggage space and higher cruise speed than conventional aircraft in its class. Innovations include a patented over-the-wing engine-mount, a natural-laminar flow (NLF) wing and fuselage nose, and an advanced all-composite fuselage structure.

07/26/06 Japan's Honda Motor Co. plans to produce a small jet -- its first foray into the aircraft market -- in the United States and sell it in a partnership with industry pioneer Piper Aircraft Inc.

The HondaJet, a lightweight craft that seats seven, including the pilot, features the kind of innovations that characterize the Japanese automaker's vehicles.

The plane's engines are mounted on pylons extending above the wings in a configuration patented by Honda that leaves more cabin room in the fuselage.

Honda says the plane is also about a third more fuel-efficient than anything in its class.

"Aviation has been an important dream of Honda for more than four decades," Satoshi Toshida, senior managing director at Honda, said Tuesday at a news conference at the AirVenture 2006 show in Oshkosh, Wis.

"Our goal is consistent with the philosophy of other Honda products -- to provide convenient and efficient transportation that will make people's lives better."

Honda officials did not say where in the United States the plane would be built. They said they were not planning joint manufacturing with Vero Beach, Fla.-based Piper.

The alliance with Piper, founded nearly 70 years ago, will focus on sales and service, officials from the companies said. More at Detroit News

11/18/06
cc
Philippe, Wilson win awards Philippe, Wilson win awardsAt tonight's Champ Car banquet Nelson Philippe has again been named the most improved driver for the second year in a row. Justin Wilson was named recipient of the Greg Moore award.
11/18/06
cc
Bridgestone renews with Champ Car Bridgestone renews with Champ CarUPDATE One of the longest and most successful supplier relationships in U.S. open-wheel racing will continue into 2007 and beyond, with tonight’s news that Bridgestone Motorsport has agreed to a multiyear extension to serve as the exclusive tire supplier for the Champ Car World Series.

Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven made the announcement to an appreciative crowd at the Champ Car World Series Awards Celebration. The deal extends the partnership between Champ Car and Bridgestone that began in 1995 when the series was named CART and the tire brand was Firestone.

“We are very pleased to announce this multiyear extension tonight, on the heels of such a successful 2006 Champ Car season,” said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Motorsports, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT). “Having just completed the 12th season for the Bridgestone Firestone family of tires competing in the series, we have developed a wonderful partnership with Champ Car. We know now that the alliance will carry into 2007 and beyond, where we all can continue sharing success together.”

“The Bridgestone brand has been an integral part of Champ Car’s success and we are pleased to be able to continue our relationship with one of the top companies in all of motorsports,” said Steve Johnson, Champ Car president. “Innovations such as the alternate tire have made Champ Car racing even more exciting for the fans and shows the forward-thinking mentality that makes BFNT such a great partner for Champ Car.”  zzzz

Bridgestone became the Official Tire of Champ Car in 2002, following seven years of tremendous achievement by the Firestone brand that included winning 70 percent of the races in five seasons before the competition withdrew. Regardless of whether it was Bridgestone or Firestone, the tires have been renowned in motorsports for their tremendous durability and consistency. BFNT has also set the standard for engineering and service in the paddock and pit lane.

In 2004, BFNT conceived and developed the popular “alternate tire” concept, where each car is allotted a minimal number of “softer,” faster Potenzas (identified by bright red sidewalls) in addition to the standard specification tires – making for intriguing and dramatic strategy decisions as teams decide when and how long to use each spec during a race. The concept took off like wildfire and, at Champ Car’s request, Bridgestone alternate tires will again be supplied at every 2007 event.

“While the restructured contract does not include provisions for the Bridgestone brand to remain presenting sponsor of the series, we will still be highly integrated in many, many Champ Car activities,” Speyer explained. “We will continue the alternate tire program, Bridgestone will procure official tire status at specific events, we will continue to host hundreds of guests at hospitality units at races, and we will feature new ads in the new and exciting television package. Most importantly, our ongoing commitment to design, develop, produce and deliver the highest quality tires for Champ Car racing has not and will not change. The Bridgestone brand will be very visible to the fans and teams.”

11/18/06 At tonight's Champ Car Awards banquet Bridgestone's Al Speyer has announced a multi-year deal to stay with Champ Car. Alternate tires will again be provided in 2007.
11/18/06
wrc
M Grönholm/T Rautiainen continue to lead M Grönholm/T Rautiainen continue to leadForty-three of the original 44 starters left a blustery and overcast Hamilton this morning for the second leg of this penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Four of the starters are competing under SupeRally regulations having retired on yesterday's opening leg. This morning's action comprised three speed tests north-east of Hamilton, two of which were new and the third which has not been used since 1982. After lunchtime service two long stages precede a second pass over the Mystery Creek spectator test close to the city.

http://www.autoracing1.com/Images/2006/OtherSeries/WRCNZ1.jpgBP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen (right) restarted with a 31.2sec advantage in their Focus RS World Rally Car over team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen. Both opted for BFGoodrich's medium compound tires as they left service but by the time competitors arrived at the opening special stage almost 2hr 30min later, it was pouring with rain.

Grönholm was fastest on the opening 18.18km Port Waikato test, his sixth straight stage win. As conditions worsened and the rain became torrential, the 38-year-old Finn exercised caution through the following 13.88km Klondyke and the 31.58km Wairamarama, posting second and third fastest times respectively. He returned to service having extended his lead over Hirvonen to 41.8sec. zzzz

"It has been a really wet morning and the stages are not enjoyable to drive in these conditions but there is no panic," said 38-year-old Grönholm. "The weather changed hugely after we made our tire choice so a softer compound would have been better. But we are not under severe pressure and not having to drive flat out, so it wasn't a big problem. I'm trying to keep a good rhythm, not so slow and not too fast."

Hirvonen was third fastest through Port Waikato and fourth through the following two tests in his similar BP Ultimate and Castrol-branded Focus RS. "I had really good sideways grip but we would have been better on a softer compound tire in that rain," he said. "There was so much rain that we had a lot of water coming in through the roof. I couldn't see properly for the final 10km of the last stage because the windscreen was misted. There was a lot of standing water on the roads as well so I had to be careful. I'm happier with the car set-up so I won't make more changes," he said.

Leaderboard after stage 8 of 17
1. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 16min 31.8sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 2hr 17min 13.6sec
3. D Sordo/M Marti E Citroen Xsara 2hr 18min 00.7sec
4. M Stohl/I Minor A Peugeot 307 2hr 18min 12.9sec
5. X Pons/C Del Barrio E Citroen Xsara 2hr 18min 20.3sec
6. P Solberg/P Mills N Subaru Impreza 2hr 19min 24.1sec
7. H Solberg/C Menkerud N Peugeot 307 2hr 19min 56.4sec
8. C Atkinson/G MacNeall AUS Subaru Impreza 2hr 20min 02.5sec
9. L Perez Companc/J-M Volta ARG Ford Focus RS 2hr 23min 17.7sec
10 J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Subaru Impreza 2hr 24min 37.6sec

11/18/06
nascar
Dodge's 2007 NASCAR plans Dodge's 2007 NASCAR plansWith Chevrolet celebrating its 26th manufacturer's championship in the past 35 years, Dodge Motorsports decided to make dramatic changes for 2007. The Dodge Charger will come back with a new front nose that's supposed to give it more downforce in traffic. The car company also will move to the Dodge Avenger for all of the Car of Tomorrow races. The new car will be phased into the sport starting next year. It's taller and wider to enhance competition and safety. Chevrolet decided to use the Monte Carlo at non-Car of Tomorrow races and the Impala at the rest, and Dodge will make a similar switch. Augusta Chronicle
11/18/06
ga
Wayne Taylor Dons Owner Hat Wayne Taylor Dons Owner HatHOMESTEAD, Fla. - Throughout his career as a professional sports car driver, Wayne Taylor has worn many hats - racer, father, champion, ambassador, businessman, promoter, negotiator and spokesman to name just a few.  Without taking away any of the aforementioned titles, add owner of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Team in the Daytona Prototype division of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series to Taylor's hat collection.

After a three-year partnership with constructor Riley Technologies that netted the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series championship, Taylor has formed his own race team, known simply as Wayne Taylor Racing.

"Instead of just contracting someone to run the team, the time was right for me to take on a larger role and create Wayne Taylor Racing," said Taylor, who will continue to function as both owner and driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley.  "Thanks to SunTrust's support, we've been able to make Wayne Taylor Racing a reality."

Racing is a sport where the number of variables you can't control is limitless, while the variables you can control are few.  Ownership falls into the latter category.  For Taylor, the ability to control one's destiny and shape the team into a successful entity that can one day be passed on to his children is the driving force behind a racing career that spans almost two decades. zzzz

"I've been involved with sports car racing my whole life, and thanks to sound advice and a lot of support from both individuals and sponsors such as SunTrust and Pontiac through GM Racing, I've enjoyed a great deal of success," said Taylor, whose teenage sons, Ricky and Jordan, are following in their father's Nomex-clad footsteps.  "I'm now at a point where I feel like there aren't too many things in motorsports I haven't experienced.  And after winning races and championships as a driver, I want to do the same as an owner."

While ownership is a big step, Taylor has the necessary pedigree to know what will make his team competitive.

Before coming to the United States to further his racing career, Taylor was the 1986 South African F2 champion.  By 1990, he was racing in the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) GTP Series for the factory Chevrolet team.  In 1994, Taylor was the IMSA World Sports Car champion, a feat he duplicated in 1996 thanks to wins in the 24 Hours at Daytona (Fla.) and the 12 Hours of Sebring (Fla.).  Wins in the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP class and the Petit Le Mans in a Ferrari 333SP also grace Taylor's resume.

Today, Taylor is a mainstay in the Rolex Sports Car Series.  His 2005 championship with co-driver Max Angelelli is bookended by a runner-up result in the 2004 championship standings and a third-place finish in this year's title chase.  In those three years of competition, Taylor's No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley has scored nine wins, five poles, 21 podiums, 28 top-fives and 34 top-10s. 

Wayne Taylor Racing will be based in Indianapolis, with many of the people behind those statistics joining Taylor's new endeavor.  Returnees include crew chief Marc Scott, a 33-year racing veteran who spent time in Formula 1 and Indy cars before coming to Grand-Am, and engineer Travis Jacobson, who will serve as the team's technical director.

Also providing continuity to the organization will be Taylor's friend and long-time co-driver, Angelelli.

"You don't win races with parts and pieces.  You win with people," said Taylor.  "We have some of the best people in all of motorsports - at the wheel and under the hood.  I'll put them up against anyone."

Taylor will get his first look as to how his team stacks up on sports car racing's biggest stage - the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona Jan. 27-28 at Daytona International Speedway.  For that race, Taylor the owner/driver will team with four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, Angelelli and a still to be determined fourth driver.  The foursome will look to earn a second Rolex 24 Hour victory to the one SunTrust Racing earned in 2005.

"With Jeff Gordon, we'll have one of the strongest lineups in what is probably the strongest Daytona Prototype field in Grand-Am's history," said Taylor, whose new team turned the fastest lap in Daytona testing Nov. 6-7 with Angelelli in the seat.  "It'll be a huge test for us, but it's one we're ready for."

"Racing and having a chance to win the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona is something I've wanted to do for a long time," said Gordon, a winner of 75 Nextel Cup races.  "Wayne Taylor has a proven track record at Daytona, and when the opportunity presented itself to race with him and Max Angelelli, the decision was an easy one."

The 2007 season will include 14 races at 12 venues, with the Rolex Sports Car Series season finale Sept. 15 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.

11/18/06
ga
SunTrust renews with Grand-Am SunTrust renews with Grand-AmContinuing a relationship that has been in place since 2004, officials from SunTrust Banks Inc. and the Grand American Road Racing Association today announced that SunTrust will continue its status as the "Official Bank of Grand American" through the 2009 season.  

"SunTrust is one of Grand American’s most enthusiastic partners and we are pleased to announce the continuation of SunTrust’s sponsorship through 2009," said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. "Many of our teams in the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve and the KONI Challenge Series utilize the fantastic services offered by SunTrust Motorsports Banking, making this a win-win situation for all involved. SunTrust has been instrumental in growth of Grand American over the years and we are thrilled to have SunTrust’s backing as we continue to move forward." Zzzz  

The announcement was made as part of a press gathering at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in which SunTrust’s considerable motorsports portfolio was unveiled. In addition to its status as "Official Bank of Grand American" and primary sponsor of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley in the Rolex Series, SunTrust also is the title sponsor of the SunTrust MOTO-ST motorcycle racing series for which Grand American provides administrative and commercial support. SunTrust is also active in NASCAR, the Indy Racing League and selected racing facilities.  

"Through multiple sponsorships in a wide-array of racing-related endeavors, SunTrust has become the official bank of motorsports by bringing its resources and initiatives to all corners of the racing community," said Craig Kelly, Corporate Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, SunTrust Banks, Inc. "Whether it’s entry-level motorsports via the Snap-on Stars of Karting, the top divisions of sports car and motorcycle racing or the premier venues of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the IRL IndyCar Series, SunTrust is there."

  SunTrust also reasserted its commitment to the new Wayne Taylor Racing team, which will make its Rolex Series debut in the 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona. In 2005, Max Angelelli and owner/driver Wayne Taylor co-drove the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley to the Daytona Prototype team and driver championships in addition to opening the season with a victory in the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"SunTrust understands the business of racing," said Taylor. "They’ve turned the motorsports industry around by offering financial solutions that are in tune with the complexities of racing for a living."
11/18/06
f1
F1 to stay ’free’ to viewing public F1 to stay ’free’ to viewing public(GMM)  The president of F1's governing body has allayed fears that the sport could disappear from 'free-to-air' television in the future.

The Finnish and Portuguese TV rights holders are reportedly already preparing to switch to subscriber-only 'pay-per-view' for live broadcasts in 2007, even though the current Concorde Agreement reportedly protects the rights of viewers in principal countries.

The agreement, however, terminates at the end of next year, and there is no guarantee that the same clause will be included in a new one.  Indeed, there is even speculation that Formula One may proceed without a new Concorde.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis thinks a reduction in free-to-air broadcasts will affect the F1 audience -- which would diminish a team's ability to attract big sponsors.

"I think there is nothing more certain that if it was pay (only), then the audience would drop for F1," he said.

FIA president Max Mosley, however, responded this week: "The Formula One images should be freely available to the public.  That is fundamental to the manufacturers and to us."

11/18/06
TV News
USA TV reminders for Sunday USA TV reminders for Sunday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

NASCAR Live! Homestead-Miami
9:00am-10:00am (L) SPEED
Wind Tunnel Special Edition -The State of NASCAR
10:00am-11:00am SPEED
NASCAR RaceDay Homestead-Miami
11:00am-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NHRA 2Day
11:30am-12:00pm ESPN2
Inside Drag Racing
12:00pm-12:30pm ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup  Homestead-Miami Ford 400
2:00pm-7:00pm (L) NBC
Le Mans Endurance Series  Jarama
5:00pm-6:00pm (9/24/06)  SPEED
NASCAR Victory Lane Homestead-Miami
7:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
The SPEED Report
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain
Bob Varsha (SPEED Racing Analyst)
Mike Joy (NASCAR on FOX)
Robin Miller (SPEED Open-Wheel Racing Analyst)
2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion
9:00pm-10:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Drivers Non-Stop
10:00pm-11:00pm ESPN2

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
11/18/06
a1gp
A1GP appoints new CEO A1GP appoints new CEOUPDATE Added photo of new A1GP Chief Executive Officer Pete da Silva, right.

11/13/06 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is pleased to announce the appointment of Pete da Silva as Chief Executive Officer of A1 Holdings Ltd, the company behind the FIA-sanctioned, international motorsport series.

Da Silva joins A1GP in January 2007 from his current position as Group CEO, Siemens in South Africa. He will take overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of the series, overseeing its future growth and development with particular attention to the company's forthcoming IPO.

Commenting on his new appointment, da Silva said: 'I am looking forward to further developing the many accomplishments of A1GP as it expands into new markets, forges new commercial partnerships and develops as a business. A1GP has created a unique product in motorsport that delivers an outstanding entertainment package so for me, this is a great opportunity to combine my business experience with a personal passion for the sport.' zzzz

On behalf of A1GP, deputy chairman Tony Teixeira commented: 'Pete da Silva has extensive experience in business development and I believe he will be a great asset to the series, significantly contributing to its future as we  work to maintain and strengthen our position in both the motorsport and business arenas.'

Biography:
Pete da Silva (48) will join A1GP as Chief Executive Officer in January 2007. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and now residing in South Africa, da Silva is fluent in English, Portuguese and German.

To date, da Silva's career has been exclusively with the German multinational, Siemens. After studying Light Current Engineering, da Silva joined Siemens as a trainee engineer in the telecommunications field. He progressed in the Software development field and soon headed up the Siemens development centre in South Africa, also spending time overseas in Germany, USA, Argentina and Australia on various Siemens projects.

In the early nineties, da Silva headed up the Siemens Business Development team in the sales environment, thereafter assuming the position firstly of COO and then CEO of Siemens Telecommunications South Africa, during which time he grew the company to position one in the market. Pete remained CEO until 2004.

Since 2005, Pete has been Group CEO for Siemens in Southern Africa, which includes Telecommunications and outsourcing, Medical, Power and Automation and Control. During his tenure, Siemens has outgrown the market and is firmly in number one position in most of its market segments.

Throughout his time at Siemens, da Silva also held the position of Chairman at Siemens Telecommunications, Siemens Business Services and Siemens Mechanical Services. In addition he holds board positions on most of its subsidiaries.

Outside of his responsibilities to Siemens, Da Silva is a senior council member of the German Chamber, a board member of National Business Initiative (NBI), Business Trust (BT) and Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA).

Pete is married with two children. He is an avid follower of all forms of motorsport and time permitting, can be seen on his MX bike or Ducati 998R at weekends.

11/18/06
nascar
Martin isn't emotional about last race in No. 6 Martin isn't emotional about last race in No. 6Mark Martin said Friday that he isn’t particularly emotional or sentimental about Sunday’s Ford 400 being his final race in the No. 6 Fords.

“I don't know why,” said Martin. “I can't answer that. ...I'm here racing and doing the best that I can to have a good time. It's been a long run and the time is up.

"I don't know. It’s sad that things have to come to an end. (But) I'm excited about next year – very excited about next year.”

"Just because I stayed in the 6 car 19 years doesn't make it wrong for me to move on,” Martin said.

“It just makes it weird. ...Our situation there has been right for me all through the years and now there's a different situation that's right for me." ThatsRacin.com

11/18/06
nascar
NASCAR again failing Ford NASCAR again failing FordAfter deep-sixing the Ford Taurus due to lack of sales after years of racing this grandmother car in NASCAR, Ford is now offering a $1,000 bonus on the 2007 Ford Fusion to help boost demand. Ford now races the Fusion in NASCAR and apparently it's not helping their sales of this model either. We wonder how long before they have to deep-six this model as well.

Toyota, already the sales leader, will come into NASCAR Nextel Cup and maintain their No. 1 sales position, but in fact NASCAR won't help to sell even one additional car. They're racing the grandmother/grandfather Camry, the one you see puttering down the road at 55 mph in a 65 zone. Too funny.

11/18/06
wrc
Grönholm leads as Fords dominate Grönholm leads as Fords dominateBP-Ford World Rally Team dominated today's opening leg of Rally New Zealand as Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen and team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen powered into first and second respectively. Grönholm completed a clean sweep by winning all five speed tests in his Focus RS World Rally Car to lead the similar vehicle of Hirvonen, who was second fastest on four special stages, by 31.2sec.

Today's action was located south-west of Hamilton, 130km south of Auckland and the new base for 2006. It comprised two identical loops of two gravel tests which gently twisted through the lush, green countryside followed by a short stage surrounding the service park outside the city – a total of 131.66km of competition. The leg included the Te Koraha test, at 43.88km the longest of the championship season.

The roads have not been used since 1998 and were new to virtually everyone. But they contained the same smooth and flowing characteristics which have earned North Island its reputation for hosting some of the best stages in the championship and ones drivers love to attack. zzzz

Overnight rain compacted the loose surface gravel and benefited the two BP-Ford drivers who were the first two starters. Although muddy this morning, the roads gave better grip than loose gravel would have offered. Despite overcast conditions all day, there was no more rain and the roads dried for the afternoon tests. BFGoodrich's tires were perfectly matched to the conditions, the BP-Ford duo choosing soft compound rubber this morning and a harder version this afternoon.

Grönholm opened a 17.7sec advantage over Hirvonen during the first two stages, despite clipping a fence post on the opening stage and puncturing a tire. However, BFGoodrich's mousse system worked perfectly to keep the tire inflated and the 38-year-old Finn dropped no time. He extended his advantage over the afternoon tests as the Focus RS WRC duo pulled clear of their rivals.

"I've been driving steadily rather than at maximum pace so to be leading is a good position," said 38-year-old Grönholm. "The biggest pressure has come from Mikko. He has good confidence and is driving well. I would really like to win this rally so I will try hard to stay ahead of him. It was muddy this morning but drier with good grip this afternoon. Last night's rain helped me with my road position. I hit a few stones but nothing to worry about. The first three stages tomorrow are new but I know the afternoon stages well so I will push hard through those tests."

Hirvonen admitted the stages were difficult but nevertheless he enjoyed driving them. "They are heavily cambered and this morning I was braking the wrong side of the camber which made the car slide into the corners. I made a new differential map last week on the Rally GB test which worked well in the UK. However, the stages are different here and it didn't work so well for me so I made changes at the lunchtime service.

"Dani Sordo is pushing hard but he is 45sec behind so tomorrow I hope I can ease off a little and concentrate on gaining good manufacturer points. The 43km stage is the longest in the championship and required huge concentration and it felt like it was never going to end. Tomorrow morning's stages are new for us all so I need to concentrate hard and trust my pace notes," he added.

BP-Ford team director Malcolm Wilson said today was better than expected. "Both drivers knew what they had to do in terms of earning manufacturer points. They weren't pushing flat out so to be in this position represents an excellent day's work," he said.

Manfred Stohl (Peugeot) was the closest challenger to the BP-Ford duo, the Austrian holding third throughout the day. However, he spun and hit a bank on the fourth stage, causing overheating problems, and Dani Sordo (Citroen) slipped by into third on the final stage. Petter Solberg (Subaru) struggled with a lack of traction, especially this morning. The Norwegian held fifth initially but Xevi Pons (Citroen) moved ahead this afternoon, the Spaniard recovering from handling problems and two spins on the first stage. Henning Solberg (Peugeot) was seventh, despite water leaking from the engine onto his feet this morning. Chris Atkinson (Subaru) also struggled for traction and lost more time with a first stage spin. The Australian is ninth. The only major retirement was Matthew Wilson (Ford), who stopped near the finish of stage three after an impact with a rock caused water loss from the engine and overheating.

Saturday’s Route

The second leg journeys north-west of Hamilton for two different loops of three speed tests on more classic roads. The afternoon loop includes two tests of more than 31km each and is likely to be one of the key sections of the rally. The day ends with a second and final pass over the short Mystery Creek test surrounding the service park. Drivers leave Hamilton at 07.00 and return at 19.13 after 131.34km of competition.

Leaderboard after Leg 1
1. M Grönholm/T Rautiainen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 31min 58.0sec
2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 1hr 32min 29.2sec
3. D Sordo/M Marti E Citroen Xsara 1hr 33min 14.2sec
4. M Stohl/I Minor A Peugeot 307 1hr 33min 16.4sec
5. X Pons/C Del Barrio E Citroen Xsara 1hr 33min 40.5sec
6. P Solberg/P Mills N Subaru Impreza 1hr 33min 46.3sec
7. H Solberg/C Menkerud N Peugeot 307 1hr 34min 41.5sec
8. L Perez Companc/J-M Volta ARG Ford Focus RS 1hr 35min 21.8sec
9. C Atkinson/G MacNeall AUS Subaru Impreza 1hr 35min 46.8sec
10 J Hanninen/M Sallinen FIN Mitsubishi Lancer 1hr 37min 33.5sec

11/18/06
nascar
Yeley to drive Busch for Phoenix Racing Yeley to drive Busch for Phoenix RacingJ.J. Yeley will drive Phoenix Racing's No. 1 Chevrolet in the Busch Series next season, with a possible run for the championship.  A spokesman for Yeley confirmed the move at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday. Yeley drives for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series, but Yeley was told recently a sponsorship deal to keep Yeley in a JGR Busch deal couldn't be worked out.

Phoenix Racing announced a switch to Chevrolet for 2007, and is running Mike Wallace in a Monte Carlo this weekend in the Ford 300. Since Yeley has a personal-services contract with Chevrolet, driving for another manufacturer in the Busch Series wasn't possible.

11/18/06
nascar
Roush buys out Martin's share of No. 17 team Roush buys out Martin's share of No. 17 teamJack Roush has bought Mark Martin's share of the #17 Nextel Cup team that Matt Kenseth drives. Martin is listed as the owner of the car, though it was Roush that sat at the head table with driver Matt Kenseth when the team won the 2003 championship, and it is the Roush Racing umbrella under which the team competes. Martin is leaving Roush after this season as he stops competing full time in NASCAR, at least for next season. Martin plans to share the Bobby Ginn-owned MB2 Motorsports #01 with rookie Regan Smith next season, with Martin driving in 22 races. SceneDaily.com
11/18/06
f1
Ferrari issue title 'promise' for 2007 Ferrari issue title 'promise' for 2007(GMM)  Ferrari and Fiat president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has promised the Tifosi a championship crown in 2007.

Although multiple champion Michael Schumacher - runner-up this year - will be replaced by Kimi Raikkonen when the circus reconvenes next March, Maranello-based Ferrari's chief was resolute in setting a goal for the coming season.

"I promise that we will win the next championships (in 2007)," Sport-Informations-Dienst quoted Montezemolo as saying.

He added: "I commit myself to this goal at any price and am ready to work for it day and night."

11/18/06
f1
Brawn on playboy Kimi - 'wait and see' Brawn on playboy Kimi - 'wait and see'(GMM)  Ross Brawn has refused to speculate about how Ferrari intends to handle new team driver Kimi Raikkonen's 'playboy' reputation.

Maranello's departing technical director was asked by 'Racer' magazine whether he was worried that seven time world champion Michael Schumacher's replacement for 2007 is often mired by the tabloid media's attention.

"We have to wait and see how that all evolves at Ferrari," Racer - referring to Finn Raikkonen's reportedly notorious affection for a wild party - quoted Brawn as saying.

He added: "Let's wait and see what happens -- I might dig myself into a hole if I say anything."

Renault boss Flavio Briatore, meanwhile - despite earlier wanting to put the 27-year-old in an Enstone-built car for 2007 - observed that Raikkonen might not be a guarantee for continued success at Ferrari.

Referring to Kimi's five year McLaren career, he insisted: "The guy has never won anything.  He was in a very good team."

11/18/06
f1
Speed eyes points in 2007 Speed eyes points in 2007(GMM) Scott Speed has fended off speculation that he might be replaced at Toro Rosso next year by predicting that his first Formula One points will be scored in 2007.

As the partly Gerhard Berger-owned team is one of only three squads yet to officially name its next driver lineup, rumors suggest that Toro Rosso is toying with the idea of slotting Robert Doornbos alongside Vitantonio Liuzzi.

But on a visit to the US this week, Californian 23-year-old Speed told the newspaper 'Indianapolis Star' that he was confident of becoming a points scorner next season.

Italian Liuzzi scored Faenza based STR's sole point at the 2006 US GP.

"The best thing for us was to gain as much experience for next year when we'll have a real opportunity to score some points on a regular basis," Speed said.

He added that Toro Rosso was planning a new single seater for next year that will be powered by a Ferrari V8.

Speed said: "We had an incredible season, a really great year. (Except for) losing the point in Australia, I think it was a perfect first year for us."

11/18/06
nascar
Martin Wins for Sixth Time, Bodine Is Champion Martin Wins for Sixth Time, Bodine Is ChampionMark Martin (right, photos courtesy CIA Stock Photo) ended the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck season the way he started it – with a victory in Friday night’s Ford 200 at Homestead Miami Speedway.

And Todd Bodine (below left), despite finishing a lap off the pace in 21st-place, wrapped up the series championship, the first NASCAR national touring series title for the Bodine family.

Martin, who began the year in Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway, broke out of a dramatic, late-race duel with Brendan Gaughan’s South Point Resort Dodge to win for a series-high sixth time. He raced side-by-side with Gaughan for two consecutive laps around the 1.5-mile speedway before pulling away to win by 2.613 seconds.

In doing so, Martin became the track’s 11th consecutive different series winner to match New Hampshire International Speedway’s record set in September.

Martin’s share of a $632,301 purse was $55,550. He led a race high 57 laps after starting his Scotts Ford from the No. 6 position, holding the point on five different occasions.

The winning pass came on the 113th of 134 laps. "We've been on a roll all year with that thing," he said. "It's just pretty special. It's great people and great equipment and it's been a lot of fun." zzzz

Gaughan turned in his best finish of the season – and tops since his last victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 2003. It also ranked as Dodge’s high point of the campaign.

“To battle with Mark Martin and Roush Racing you know that your race team can say its ready to compete again,” said the Las Vegas native.

Raybestos Rookie of the Year Erik Darnell – Roush’s fifth freshman to claim the award – finished third in the Woolrich Ford followed by Bobby Hamilton Jr. and Jack Sprague. The finish was the first in the top five by Hamilton, who took over his father’s Fastenal Dodge when Bobby Sr. was forced to undergo cancer therapy in late March.

Joe Nemechek, David Starr, David Reutimann, Dennis Setzer and Terry Cook filled out the second five finishing positions as 19th of 31 drivers running at the checkered flag completed all 134 laps.

The lead changed hands 14 times among eight drivers, the most lead changes in a series race at the track since 2001.

There were five caution periods consuming 17 laps as Martin averaged 126.019 for the 201-mile distance. The final yellow, on lap 96, saw Johnny Benson’s long shot chance of winning the title end when his Exide Batteries Toyota was hit by a spinning Chase Miller.

“It was such a small, outside chance (anyway),” said Benson of his hope of overcoming a deficit of 112 points. He said of the accident, “It didn’t matter anyway; the points would have been the same.” Bodine's final victory margin of 127 points is third largest in the 12 years of the series.

Bodine, meanwhile, claimed a championship in the 1,852nd start by himself and brothers Geoffrey and Brett. Despite 55 wins and combined winnings of nearly $49 million, the trio had come close to – but never won – a national title.

“For what this family’s gone through … it’s very special for us,” said the champion. “I told my mom (on the cell phone), ‘we finally did it!’ It’s the first time a family member has done something so important.”

Bodine admitted it was difficult racing for points after winning the Ford 200 in 2003 and three times in the series this season. “It’s a shame to have to race that way but we did what we had to do,” he said.

Bodine led the points for a record 21 consecutive races in 2006. His log shows three wins, 12 top fives and 16 top-10 finishes. The $13,990 he won Friday night boosted his season winnings to more than $600,000.

He’ll add considerably to the total on Dec. 10 when he receives his championship trophy and other season-ending bonuses at the Champions Banquet at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando, Fla. Bodine is the series’ seventh different champion in the past nine seasons.

11/18/06
macaugp
Kobayashi wins qualifying race Kobayashi wins qualifying raceJapan’s Kamui Kobayashi (right) converted his pole position into a dominant victory in the Macau Grand Prix qualification race on Saturday, eventually finishing 3.3 seconds ahead of Marko Asmer.

The ASM driver briefly lost the lead at the start to front-row starter Kohei Hirate but was able to move back to the front on the run down through Mandarin Bend and into Lisboa. From there he pushed hard to extend his lead over the early stages before controlling the gap until the chequered flag.

“I pushed really hard on the first and second lap to build up a lead,” he said. “After about five laps it was okay, so I am confident for tomorrow.”

Having moved up to second at the start, Asmer was unable to respond to Kobayashi’s early pace. The Estonian then came under late-race pressure from Hirate, who had recovered from dropping behind Kodai Tsukakoshi to challenge for second spot.

Hirate found his speed was compromised by a collision with the barriers at Hospital on the formation lap that damaged a front wheel, and he could not find a way past so finished third.

F3 Euroseries champion Paul di Resta finished fourth, having lost ground at the start when he lost momentum avoiding the stalled Romain Grosjean on the grid and found himself boxed in on the run down to Lisboa. He also suffered minor damage to his suspension after rubbing wheels with Kodai Tsukakoshi on lap three. zzzz

Tsukakoshi, who had a brilliant start as he jumped from 10th on the grid to grab third, lost places to Hirate and di Resta, but overcame a strong challenge from Adrian Sutil to take fifth. British F3 champion Mike Conway finished right behind the pair in seventh.

There was disappointment for BMW-Sauber test driver Sebastian Vettel, who crashed out on the penultimate lap. He had struggled for pace in the race after slightly damaging his front wing early on.

Pos Driver Make Time
 1. Kamui Kobayashi (J) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 22:45.199
 2. Marko Asmer (EST) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 3.333
 3. Kohei Hirate (J) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 3.935
 4. Paul Di Resta (GB) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 6.715
 5. Kodai Tsukakoshi (J) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 9.714
 6. Adrian Sutil (D) Dallara Toyota-TOM'S + 10.328
 7. Mike Conway (GB) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 10.892
 8. Kazuki Nakajima (J) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 12.686
 9. Richard Antinucci (USA) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 15.517
10. Charlie Kimball (USA) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 15.950
11. Oliver Jarvis (GB) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB + 17.756
12. Sebastien Buemi (CH) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB + 19.495
13. Stephen Jelley (GB) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 20.181
14. Daisuke Ikeda (J) Dallara Toyota-TOM'S + 21.526
15. Romain Grosjean (F) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 22.476
16. Kazuya Oshima (J) Dallara Toyota-TOM'S + 35.924
17. Mauro Massironi (I) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB + 42.497
18. Maximo Cortes (E) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 42.802
19. James Winslow (GB) Dallara Toyota-TOM'S + 45.174
20. James Jakes (GB) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 45.486
21. Roldan Rodriguez (E) Dallara Mercedes-HWA + 46.310
22. Fabio Carbone (BR) Dallara Nissan + 1:09.008
23. Michael Ho (MAC) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB + 1:19.886
24. Rodolfo Avila (MAC) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB + 1:30.749
25. Cheong Lou Meng (MAC) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB + 1:50.156
26. Lei Kit Meng (MAC) Dallara Opel-Spiess + 2:16.132
27. Jo Merszei (MAC) Dallara Toyota-TOM's + 1 LAP

DNF:

 Sebastian Vettel (D) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB D.N.F.
 Jonathan Kennard (GB) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB D.N.F.
 Yelmer Buurman (NL) Dallara Mercedes-HWA D.N.F.
 Robert Streit (BR) Dallara Mercedes-HWA D.N.F.
 Maro Engel (D) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB D.N.F.

Fastest Lap: Mike Conway (GB)Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:13.457

11/18/06
cc
track news
Lexmark Indy 300 wins award for 5th time Lexmark Indy 300 wins award for 5th timeThe Lexmark Indy 300 continues to set major milestones by winning its fifth Queensland Tourism Award at the 2006 Queensland Tourism Awards held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last night (17 November).

The Lexmark Indy 300 took out the prestigious award for the category Major Festivals and Special Events. It was also a winner of this award in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005.

In 2002, the Lexmark Indy 300 was inducted into the Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame for winning the award for three successive years.

This year’s award for Major Festivals and Special Events recognized the Lexmark Indy 300’s achievements for the 2005 event.

A record crowd of 316, 459 witnessed Champ Cars and V8 Supercars headline an action-packed four day entertainment program on the Gold Coast, which injected more than $60 million into the Queensland economy. zzzz

Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager Greg Hooton said the presentation of a fifth Queensland Tourism Award capped off another magnificent year for the event.

“This year’s Queensland Tourism Award is tremendous recognition of the success that the Lexmark Indy 300 has had over the past 16 years and continues to have,” said Hooton.

“Each year the Lexmark Indy 300 just gets bigger and better. The planning and organization of the event is first class, the teams and drivers love it, the region receives a massive tourism and economic injection and it showcases the beauty of Queensland and the Gold Coast to the world.

“I wish to acknowledge the work of our staff, the 1700 volunteers who dedicate their time over the event, the Queensland Government and our vital sponsors.”

The annual Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast is a partnership between the Queensland Government and IMG. The 2007 Lexmark Indy 300 will be held from October 18 to 21.

11/17/06
nascar
Montoya qualifies for first Cup race Montoya qualifies for first Cup raceJuan Pablo Montoya posted a lap of 175.581 mph, good enough for the 29th spot in Sunday's Nextel Cup finale in Homestead, Florida.

"It's not about nervous, it's just the stress," he said. "You don't want to come out here and look like an idiot because you didn't make the show. It's good because we can now relax and really focus on getting a good race car."

"As stressful as this exercise was today, I still think it will be invaluable when you look back on it a year or two from now," Chip Ganassi said. "I think today's experience for his learning curve will be invaluable."

Montoya, who now lives in Miami, will make his debut at his hometown speedway. His wife, brother and father were on hand to watch qualifying, and his father said more would be around Sunday to see Montoya make history.

The small crowd watched nervously as Montoya prepared to drive the No. 30 Dodge, which had flames painted on it in the colors of the Colombian flag.

"He's always confident, but you never know what's going to happen qualifying," father Pablo Montoya said just before his son thundered out of the pits.

"Driving the car by itself, it hasn't been a big problem. But the other thing you don't understand is, when you come from open-wheel, if somebody's behind you it can actually affect the car in front," he said. "We're not used to that. In open wheel, a guy's behind you, gets all of your dirty air and that's it, you're fine.

"Here it really affects where the other car is, and you need to always pay a lot of attention to your spotter."

11/17/06
Industry News
GM's goal is 10% of Asian market GM's goal is 10% of Asian marketGeneral Motors Corp., its market share shrinking at home, is turning to Asia to boost its profits, and aims to capture 10% of the region's market by 2010, the U.S. automaker's regional chief said 10%.

Top target markets are China and India, where rapid economic growth is fueling demand for cars, said Nick Reilly, president of GM Asia Pacific.

GM aims to sell 1.3 million vehicles in Asia this year to grab a 6.5% market share, two-thirds of which is expected to come from China, he said. Last year, GM's sales hit just over 1 million units in Asia for the first time, giving it a market share of 5.7%.

The company also plans to strengthen its presence in South Korea and Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia and Indonesia, Reilly told the Associated Press in an interview on the sidelines of a regional business forum here.

''We hope to increase our market share from 6.5% to nearer 10% over the next five years,'' said Reilly, who was appointed as GM vice president and put in charge of the Asia-Pacific market in July.

''We think that in 10 years' time, China market may well be the largest in the world, overtaking the U.S. ... so to win in Asia-Pacific, you really have to win in China,'' he said. Detroit Free Press

11/17/06
cca
Walker Racing signs De Silvestro Walker Racing signs De SilvestroIndianapolis, IN - Walker Racing announced today that it has signed a multi-year contract with  Formula BMW USA driver, Simona De Silvestro, who will join the team’s three car lineup for the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

De Silvestro, a native of Lausanne, Switzerland, is the second woman to race for the team and joins a list of drivers that have competed for Walker Racing, which includes Sarah Fisher.  The young woman really made an impression on the team.  “We are very happy to have Simona on board with us for next season.  I was able to watch her compete in the Formula BMW races this year and was very impressed with her talent and then we tested Simona at MSR in Houston where she did very well. We are looking forward to having her on board for the 2007 season,” Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker.

The 18-year-old Swiss, joins the Champ Car Atlantic Series from the competitive Formula BMW USA championship, where she won at Lime Rock, earned six podiums and scored 11 top-ten finishes in 14 races, finishing fourth in the overall championship.  She also made history as she was the first woman to ever get on the podium in Indianapolis Motor Speedway, at the USGP back in June.  Prior to that De Silvestro participated in the Italian Formula Renault 2000 championship where she won the Super Course of the Italian Racing Federation “Young Drivers”. zzzz

“I’m very excited about the chance to race in the Atlantic Series and to join Walker Racing for next season.  They are a great team to work with and we will be pushing hard to run up front next season and to win rookie of the year,” exclaimed De Silvestro.

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

De Silvestro participated in the first series of tests that Walker Racing held back in October and marks the first driver to fill one of the spots for the 2007 lineup.

11/17/06
cc
Katherine Legge has surgery Katherine Legge has surgeryPKV Racing’s Katherine Legge had surgery to insert two screws in the joint of her right thumb yesterday, November 16 at Ortho Indy Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Legge, who complained of pain in the thumb following last weekend’s Gran Premio Telmex at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico, was diagnosed at the Champ Car Medical Unit on-site with a fracture in the joint of the right thumb by Dr. Chris Pinderski.  The injury occurred during a first lap incident, which forced Legge to pit for repairs.  She returned to competition and was running at the end of the 66 lap contest.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Dickie and according to medical reports the injury will not affect any future use of the thumb nor will it affect Legge’s ability to drive in the future.

Commenting on the surgery Legge, who is currently recovering at home in Indianapolis where she resides, said, “I just can’t say enough about Champ Car medical staff.  They do a great job and it is very comforting knowing they are there for the drivers.  I also want to thank Dr. Dickie, who performed the surgery.  He did a fantastic job.  I have a bit of pain right now, but that is to be expected.  The good news is that when I recover I will be 100%.”

Legge, a Champ Car World Series rookie, made 14 starts for PKV Racing driving the #20 Bell Micro – PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry.  The native of Britain earned four top-10 finishes in the 14 races placing a season, and career, high sixth at Milwaukee, eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach eighth in Cleveland and ninth in Denver.   She qualified in the top-10 twice (eighth on the oval in Milwaukee and on the Road America road course).  Legge finished third in laps completed (1094 of 1185) and ninth in laps led with 11.  She placed 16th in the final championship standings with 128 points and fifth in the Roshrans Rookie of the Year race.

11/17/06
cc
Champ Car signs TV deal with ABC/ESPN Champ Car signs TV deal with ABC/ESPNUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, You had always said that one of the big drawbacks to a merger of Champ Car and IRL was the TV contracts. It appears that potential conflict is removed.  James Allen, Virginia

Dear James, Indeed one significant barrier has now been removed.  However, all parties deny a merger is anywhere near to being done.  In fact there are no signs they are even talking, yet things appear to be falling into place one at a time to allow it to happen should the powers to be say it should. Mark C. 

11/16/06 The Champ Car World Series today announced the formation of a new television partnership that will see the events of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford carried on ABC/ESPN beginning in 2007.

The multi-year agreement will cover the Champ Car World Series as well as the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda and includes Spanish-language broadcast rights as well. ABC/ESPN will begin its partnership with Champ Car and Atlantic events in 2007, and will be become the exclusive broadcast partner for both series beginning in 2008.

“Champ Car is moving into a bright new era in 2007 with four new venues and a newly-developed car for the series, and this new television agreement gives us even more reason to be optimistic about the future,” said Champ Car President Steve Johnson. “This agreement allows us to bring the excitement of Champ Car racing to a greater number of fans while providing a stronger delivery platform for our sponsors and corporate partners.”

ABC/ESPN partnered with the Champ Car World Series as far back as 1983 and was a mainstay of the series through the 2001 season.  Many of the great moments in the history of the series were seen live on ABC/ESPN including Alex Zanardi’s 1997 win in Cleveland where he introduced the world to victory doughnuts and Mario Andretti’s final Champ Car win at Phoenix in 1993. zzzz

“Having the Champ Car World Series back on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC is a tremendous addition,” said John Wildhack, senior vice president of programming and acquisitions for ESPN. “This series produces close, competitive and exciting racing and adds more strength to the lineup of world-class motorsports and automotive programming we are offering our viewers, particularly on ESPN2 as it becomes the destination for motorsports fans.”

As part of the deal, Champ Car and ABC/ESPN will also pursue strategies to exploit digital media applications as they pertain to the Champ Car World Series, including internet and wireless media opportunities.

“We have been very happy with the treatment that the series has gotten from our television partners, but the opportunity to reach a long-term agreement with one network was attractive to us,” said series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven. “There are a great number of reasons to be excited about the future of Champ Car racing and this television package will make the series even more enticing to teams, drivers and sponsors.”

The full, detailed schedule of events with television networks and air times for both the Champ Car World Series and the Champ Car Atlantic Championship will be released in the near future. The 2007 Champ Car season begins with the Grand Prix of Las Vegas April 6-8. The first of 11 Champ Car events to be broadcast on ABC/ESPN will come with the April 20-22 Grand Prix of Houston.

11/17/06
TV News
NASCAR Phoenix TV rating down NASCAR Phoenix TV rating downUPDATE #2 The final TV rating for NASCAR's Phoenix Nextel Cup race last Sunday was a 4.7/9 share, down 6% from last year's 5.0/10 share. NASCAR's downward trend continues. Did you know that NASCAR's TV ratings in the big cities is horrible? While NASCAR works for the rednecks, the sophisticated, more wealthy clientele who live in the big cities have little interest in NASCAR. So while NASCAR is striking out with the so-called big-city white collar folks, it is driving its traditional redneck fans away with its diversity efforts (rednecks hate minorities and Japanese foreigners like Toyota) hence why NASCAR's future appears to be bleak......it's lost focus on its core redneck fan base, which is what got NASCAR to where it is today in the first place.

11/14/06 NASCAR is a flop in the USA's two largest markets, drawing 2% of homes in New York and 1.9% in Los Angeles.  Both have a large minority population, who could care less about NASCAR.  Their favorite athletes all play stick and ball sports.

11/13/06 NBC's broadcast of Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.1 and an 8 market share, 2.5 percent higher than the 4.0 NBC earned overnight for the 2005 Phoenix race.
11/17/06
SCORE
Robby Gordon wins Baja 1000 Robby Gordon wins Baja 1000Robby Gordon and Andy McMillin turned in a virtually perfect performance over a nearly 19-and-a-half-hour time span in dominating the 39th Baja 1000 in their Red Bull Chevrolet CK1500. 

The victory is Gordon’s third Baja 1000 win, while this marks the 19-year-old McMillin’s first win in the granddaddy of all off-road races.  It was the first Baja 1000 victory for one of Gordon’s primary sponsors, Toyo Tires, who knocked BFGoodrich from its 21-year rein as the overall winner of one of racing’s premier events.

“We had a flawless run,” said Gordon upon his arrival in Miami, Fla., at 9 a.m. Friday for this weekend’s season-ending NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race.  “We had absolutely no issues and I’m really happy that Andy was able to get his first win with us, and I’m pumped that we got a win on Toyo Tires.” zzzz

Gordon, who started 31st in the field of 36 Trophy Trucks, the race’s premier class, drove the first 725 miles of the 1,050.83-mile course before giving way to McMillin.  Gordon took the overall lead on adjusted time after approximately 450 miles and had passed every four-wheeled vehicle in the field at approximately 600 miles.  Nearly 450 cars, trucks, motorcycles and quads started the race.

Gordon’s navigator was Andy Grider, the former motorcycle champion who will also navigate for Gordon in January’s Dakar Rally.  McMillin was assisted by long-time Gordon navigator Gregg Till.

“We could barely see out the front window to the nose of the truck for the first eight hours because of all the dust,” Gordon said.  “We started so deep in the field that we were basically driving blind until we got out in front.  It was just a great run for us.”

While official results are not yet available, it appears Gordon’s Red Bull-sponsored Trophy Truck crossed the line as the first four-wheeled vehicle overall, followed by the class-1 car of Larry Roeseler and Troy Herbst and then the Trophy Truck of B.J. Baldwin.

The Trophy Trucks are unlimited production full-sized pickups sporting more than 800 horsepower.

Gordon’s race started Thursday at 10:45 a.m. (PST) in Ensenada, Mexico, approximately 65 miles south of San Diego, and ended Friday morning with McMillin behind the wheel in La Paz at the southern end of the Baja California peninsula.

A one-hour race recap will be shown on NBC Sports Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m. EST.

11/17/06
Skip Barber
iRacing.com and Skip Barber Alliance iRacing.com and Skip Barber AllianceBEDFORD, Mass. – iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations and Skip Barber Racing School today announced a strategic alliance blending the latest in simulation technology with the real-world training expertise of the world’s most well-known racing school. The two companies will collaborate on an online racing school and entry-level, open-wheel series to be offered as part of iRacing.com’s simulation, and Skip Barber students will have a new way to acquire and hone their racing skills, even when away from the track. “iRacing.com and Skip Barber are both in the business of teaching aspiring drivers how to race and giving them the opportunity to compete,” said Brett Roubinek, chief operating officer for iRacing.com. zzzz

“With their history and accumulated knowledge of driver education, there’s no question that they are experts. The fact that they see the value of our simulation as a training tool for racers and the potential of our online racing service to advance not only driver education but motorsport as a whole is a huge vote of confidence for our technology and our vision. We look forward to working with the SBRS staff and tapping into their expertise.” With a curriculum adapted from the proven-effective lessons of Skip Barber’s famous three-day racing school, iRacing.com members will learn many of the same terms, techniques and secrets of speed that have launched the careers of stars like A.J. Allmendinger, Marco Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya. And through a special online version of Skip Barber’s entry-level, open-wheel road racing series, iRacing.com drivers will have the opportunity to practice those skills as they compete wheel-to-wheel with drivers from all over the world. “Skip Barber Racing School is the world’s most recognized and most experienced professional organization dedicated to training race drivers,” said George Ayres, president of Skip Barber Racing School.

“Dave Kaemmer and the rest of the team behind iRacing.com are just as accomplished in their field. Their simulation technology and our instructional expertise are a perfect fit.” In addition to the lesson plans, iRacing.com drivers will also experience the same machinery as Skip Barber drivers. The online driving school and the first rung on iRacing.com’s open-wheel road racing ladder will feature the 150-horsepower R/T 2000 formula car currently used for all six Skip Barber Race Series championships. “As every racer knows, whether they are just starting out or have been at it for years, seat-time is the key,” said Roubinek.

“Now, though, that seat can be the cockpit of an R/T 2000 or the desk chair in your home office.”

11/17/06
irl
Castroneves in the news Castroneves in the newsSouth Florida resident Helio Castroneves is currently featured in the November issue of Avenue Magazine, a national publication focusing on luxury lifestyle in major cities of the United States.

According to the Magazine, the two- time Indianapolis 500 winner was selected as one of the "Most Stylish Miamians" because "His style is as sleek as his cars. He epitomizes timeless European style with a modern edge." In conjunction with the article, Castroneves attended a launch party last week in Miami.

"Miami is such a Mecca for style and fashion, so it's quite an honor to be recognized in this way by Avenue Magazine," Castroneves said. "Anytime you can attract the attention of a publication that doesn't focus primarily on sports or racing, that's a great thing for open-wheel racing; not just for me." zzzz

Castroneves will return to his native Brazil this weekend to watch his Brazilian Stock Car team in its attempt to win the V8 Series Championship. This Sunday's race in Rio de Janeiro is the next to last race of the season and finds NasrCastroneves Racing drivers Hoover Orsi and David Muffato in third and 13th respectively in the Championship point standings, with Orsi only 15 points out of first place. The season concludes with a race in Castroneves' hometown of Sao Paulo on December 10th. "Obviously this is a very close battle for the Championship, and hopefully we'll be able to find that extra something on race day that will put the Team in a position to win," Castroneves said. "We've had a great season so far, but this is where it really counts -- in the chase for the title." In addition to providing counsel to his team, Castroneves will also be returning to the broadcast booth to provide commentary on the race for the Brazilian television network O Globo.

While in Brazil, Castroneves will attend the Golden Helmet Awards ceremony on November 20th in Sao Paulo. The award, sponsored by Revista Racing Magazine, recognizes the top Brazilian driver over various forms of racing. Castroneves joins nominees including Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello, Caca Bueno, Bruno Senna and Nelson Piquet Jr. as they compete for this prestigious award.

"With Brazil being a hotbed for racing talent around the world, this is a very prestigious award, which I was lucky enough to win in 2002," Castroneves said. "Having won four IndyCar Series races and five poles this year, I'd like to think that I have a pretty good chance of bringing home the trophy, but my competition is also very good, so we'll have to see what happens." Team Penske

11/17/06
macaugp
Japanese 1-2 in Macau qualifying Japanese 1-2 in Macau qualifyingUPDATE American Richard Antinucci will lose 10 places on the grid and drop to 15th as a result of his yellow flag infringement in Thursday's free practice session for the Macau Grand Prix. That decision means Antinucci loses all his laps from the second qualifying, the fastest of which would have put him fourth overall, and instead will start based on his 2:15.242 effort from the first session.

11/17/06 Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi claimed pole position for the Macau Grand Prix on Friday in a dramatic qualifying session that ended with him crashing into the barriers.

The ASM driver moved to the top of the timesheets with 14 minutes of qualifying remaining and was helped in his task of holding onto the top spot when light rain began falling during a red flag period.

Although all drivers attempted to knock Kobayashi off the top spot, none of the front-runners were able to improve. “I am just really happy to be on pole,” said Kobayashi. “I was always confident I could do well here and my team and car have been fantastic.”

However, in his efforts to ensure that he was ready if the track conditions improved Kobayashi continued pushing hard and then lost control through the Esses – getting sideways before clouting the barriers on the right-hand side.

Manor Motorsport’s Kohei Hirate will line up second, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean taking third spot – having also damaged his car after clipping a barrier in the closing seconds of the session.

Marko Asmer, who had been on provisional pole, was fourth fastest, while F3 Euroseries champion Paul di Resta escaped a brush with the tire barrier at R Bend to set the fifth quickest time, ahead of Roberto Streit.

Qualifying was red flagged three times as drivers pushed to the limit and beyond in their efforts to improve. British F3 champion Mike Conway smashed into the barriers at R Bend on his quickest lap, while Japanese F3 champion Adrian Sutil crashed into the barriers at Police. The third red flag was caused by Charlie Kimball, who crashed at R Bend.

Pos Driver Car Time Laps
 1. Kamui Kobayashi (J) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:13.449 14
 2. Kohei Hirate (J) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:13.566 + 0.117 13
 3. Romain Grosjean (F) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:13.930 + 0.481 11
 4. Richard Antinucci (USA) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:14.105 + 0.656 15
 5. Paul Di Resta (GB) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:14.175 + 0.726 14
 6. Robert Streit (BR) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:14.217 + 0.768 15
 7. Kazuki Nakajima (J) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:14.231 + 0.782 14
 8. Charlie Kimball (USA) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:14.379 + 0.930 8
 9. Sebastian Vettel (D) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB 2:14.390 + 0.941 15
10. Kodai Tsukakoshi (J) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:14.553 + 1.104 15
11. Mike Conway (GB) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:14.578 + 1.129 5
12. Fabio Carbone (BR) Dallara Nissan 2:14.853 + 1.404 16
13. Maro Engel (D) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB 2:14.857 + 1.408 16
14. Marko Asmer (EST) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:15.108 + 1.659 13
15. Adrian Sutil (D) Dallara Toyota-TOM'S 2:15.159 + 1.710 5
16. Stephen Jelley (GB) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:15.490 + 2.041 18
17. Sebastien Buemi (CH) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB 2:15.614 + 2.165 15
18. Daisuke Ikeda (J) Dallara Toyota-TOM'S 2:15.786 + 2.337 15
19. James Jakes (GB) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:16.010 + 2.561 12
20. Jonathan Kennard (GB) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB 2:16.644 + 3.195 16
21. Oliver Jarvis (GB) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB 2:16.945 + 3.496 16
22. Yelmer Buurman (NL) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:17.091 + 3.642 15
23. Maximo Cortes (E) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:17.191 + 3.742 16
24. Roldan Rodriguez (E) Dallara Mercedes-HWA 2:17.286 + 3.837 16
25. Mauro Massironi (I) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB 2:18.494 + 5.045 16
26. James Winslow (GB) Dallara Toyota-TOM'S 2:18.957 + 5.508 12
27. Rodolfo Avila (MAC) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB 2:19.016 + 5.567 10
28. Michael Ho (MAC) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB 2:20.590 + 7.141 16
29. Cheong Lou Meng (MAC) Dallara Honda-Mugen NB 2:25.917 + 12.468 11
30. Jo Merszei (MAC) Dallara Toyota-Tom's 2:26.326 + 12.877 9
31. Kazuya Oshima (J) Dallara Toyota-TOM'S No time
32. Lei Kit Meng (MAC) Dallara Opel-Spiess No time

11/17/06
cc
CDW runs WSJ ad on Wilson CDW runs WSJ ad on WilsonCould not help but notice that CDW ran a full-page ad in today's Wall Street Journal congratulating Champ Car driver Justin Wilson on his performance during the 2006 season.
11/17/06
Racing News
Motor Sport Business Forum grows 100% Motor Sport Business Forum grows 100%The 2006 Motor Sport Business Forum is set to achieve 100 per cent growth this year. The Forum has doubled in size in every area with over 500 delegates and exhibitors preparing to converge in Monaco, on 6-7 December 2006, for what will be the industry event of the year.

Event director Simon Berger commented: “It was always important that we take the Forum to the next level this year and I think we will achieve that. I am delighted with the huge interest we’ve received from delegates and exhibitors. I’m also extremely pleased with the high quality of the conference program, which now reads like a who’s who of the major players in motor sport. It proves that the Forum has become the must-attend event for the motor sport industry.”

The exhibition area has more than doubled in size from last year and is now 95 per cent booked.

With Spyker MF1’s team principal Colin Kolles participating in the conference program, the team will also display this season’s Spyker MF1 M16-03 car. Other exhibitors include the Bahrain International Circuit, Circuit de Catalunya, FIA Institute, Edmiston Yachts, Haymarket, Breitling, Aviaxess, and the Paul Ricard High-Tech Test Track. zzzz

The delegate list has also doubled in size from last year with representatives from all of the major championships in motor sport, including Formula One, World Rally Championship, MotoGP, NASCAR, Champ Car, A1 Grand Prix and GP2.

The Forum welcomes an especially strong presence from motor sport’s major sponsors. RenaultF1’s new title sponsor ING, which will be represented on the conference program by sport sponsorship manager Yoeri Geerits, is just one of the major sponsors participating in and attending the event. Others include Allianz, AMD, Bacardi, Credit Suisse, Diageo, Intel, LVMH, Magneti Marelli, Martini, SAP, TAG Heuer and Total.

A limited number of delegate places are still available. For further information please go to www.motorsportbusinessforum.com or contact the organizers directly on the numbers below.

The Motor Sport Business Forum is the must-attend event for motor sport’s global commercial community. It offers a unique opportunity to hear about new ideas, discuss sponsorship initiatives, debate current issues, network, and negotiate deals. It is an event that no professional involved in the sport can afford to miss.

This year’s Forum will take place on 6-7 December 2006 to coincide with the FIA Gala Awards Dinner. A number of hotel rooms have been reserved for delegates at Le Meridian Beach Plaza hotel, a short walk from the Grimaldi Forum. These can be booked through the Motor Sport Business Forum’s partner Irvine Motorsport Associates. The hotel will also be the venue for the event’s champagne cocktail reception, hosted by Amber Lounge.

11/17/06
f1
New McLaren 'similar' to old car - de la Rosa New McLaren 'similar' to old car - de la Rosa(GMM) McLaren's new formula one car will be 'better' than the 2006-specification MP4-21, according to 2007 race or test driver Pedro de la Rosa.

The 35-year-old, whose role at the Surrey-based team for next year is presently undefined, revealed to the Spanish news agency 'EFE' that he has already sat in the single seater that will be known as the 'MP4-22'.

If de la Rosa lands the second Mercedes-powered race seat, his teammate in 2007 will be countryman Fernando Alonso. GP2 champion Lewis Hamilton is also in the running for the drive.

He said the silver and red racer appears visibly 'very similar' to the MP4-21, which failed to win a single grand prix this year in the hands of Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya, and de la Rosa.

"Some parts around the cockpit are different," Pedro said, revealing that he will spend 'many hours' in the driving simulator at Woking fed by the new car's data.

"I am feeling good about (the new car). We have got rid of the things that did not work in our favor this year," he added.

Pedro said: "Usually McLaren are not bad for two years in a row. With a team like ours, it would be difficult to repeat a season without wins like this."

Despite his optimism about the new McLaren, however, de la Rosa answered 'Ferrari' when asked which team will enter the first races of next year as favorite for the titles.

"I see them having a small advantage because they already have a lot of experience with Bridgestone. It is difficult to know how we are going to adapt our car to the (2007) tires.

"Nonetheless, I see it as an open and close championship," de la Rosa insisted.

11/17/06
f1
Williams appoints new CEO Williams appoints new CEOThe Williams team have appointed Adam Parras as their Chief Executive Officer, following the exit of Chris Chapple earlier this week.  Parras will take up his position on 27th November and will be a part of the Senior Management Group.

Parras, a Cambridge graduate, started his career at the Japan desk of Barclays Investment Bank before joining Rio Tinto, a mining company, in 1990. He is s also a qualified barrister.

"I have followed Williams for many years and feel privileged to be able to work with the team," said Parras.

"Next season marks the beginning of a new era for us and I am particularly excited about the opportunity to develop our partnerships with Toyota and the existing sponsor community."

Team boss Frank Williams added: "Adam has been known to me for a long time. He is a passionate supporter of Formula One and Williams and I am confident that, with his wealth of experience, Adam will make a considerable contribution to the future progression of the business."

11/17/06
Industry News
Lincoln to sell cars thru Amazon.com Lincoln to sell cars thru Amazon.comBeginning Monday, Ford Motor Co. will begin selling its luxury Lincoln brand through the online retailer.

The MKZ sedan, MKX crossover and new Navigator will each have their own product pages on the popular Web site, and prospective customers can initiate a purchase with just a single click.

Doing so will connect them to a Lincoln page where they can select options and price their vehicle and connect with a live "Lincoln personal assistant" who will act as their go-between with a traditional bricks-and-mortar dealer to complete the transaction. Actual sales will be handled through the closest Lincoln dealership to the customer, based on the zip code they enter. zzzz

The aim is to connect with prospective customers in a new and different way that rises above the advertising static of the Web. But some marketing experts say the strategy is poorly thought out.

"This is patently absurd. The logic eludes me," said John Henke, president of Planning Perspective Inc. and a professor of marketing at Oakland University. "This isn't something you can buy on the Web. You're going to want to test drive, to sit in it. The personal interface on a high-priced product is extremely important. You need the reassurance that the salesperson can give you."

Moreover, since the customer ultimately has to go to a dealership to handle their trade-in and pick up their new vehicle, he sees little benefit to the new system.

Henke said this is just the latest in a series of recent marketing missteps by Ford. The automaker recently revamped its "Bold Moves" marketing campaign for its Blue Oval brand because dealers complained the unconventional ads did little to highlight the features of Ford's products. Detroit News

11/17/06
nascar
Kasey Kahne "Dream Job" Sweepstakes Kasey Kahne "Dream Job" SweepstakesSo you always wanted to be Kasey Kahne´s right hand person, now you have a chance to see that dream come true. Dodge Motorsports is offering the opportunity to one lucky fan to be Kahne´s assistant the 2007 Dodge Charger 400 race at Darlington Raceway.

To register for the contest, fans visit www.kaseykahnedreamjob.com to complete a questionnaire to show why they would be the best candidate to be Kahne´s assistant. A panel of judges will review the applications and select the top nine candidates to be the semi-finalists. The nine semi-finalists will then respond to questions submitted by Dodge on video and return the tapes to Dodge. The video will be used on the official website of the contest, and fans will have an opportunity to vote online for the best contestants. zzzz

The three contestants with the most votes will be flown to Las Vegas for in-person interviews with the judging panel during the UAW/DaimlerChrysler 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9-11, 2007. Airfare, lodging, race tickets and rental cars will be provided to the finalists as well as $500 spending money for the weekend. The grand prize winner will be announced on March 26.

The grand prize winner will spend four days at the Evernham Motorsports headquarters in Statesville, NC and work with the Marketing Department scheduling Kahne´s at-track activities for the Dodge Charger 400 at Darlington Raceway. They also will work with the marketing and public relations team to get Kahne to all the appearances, media interviews, on-track and NASCAR-mandated responsibilities on his schedule for that weekend. Additional prizes will also be awarded to the grand prize winner.

Contest begins November 10, 2006 and ends March 11, 2007.

To register and for additional information visit: www.kaseykahnedreamjob.com

11/17/06
WoO
2007 World of Outlaws schedule 2007 World of Outlaws scheduleAll 16 teams have signed to return for the 2007 World of Outlaws schedule.

2.9.2007 36th Annual Winternationals Volusia Speedway Park
2.10.2007 36th Annual Winternationals Volusia Speedway Park
2.11.2007 36th Annual Winternationals Volusia Speedway Park
2.17.2007 Houston Raceway Park Houston Raceway Park
3.2.2007 USA Race Park USA Race Park
3.3.2007 4th Annual Cactus Classic Manzanita Speedway
3.17.2007 Pike County Speedway Pike County Speedway
3.30.2007 Volunteer Speedway Volunteer Speedway
3.31.2007 Dixie Speedway Dixie Speedway
4.6.2007 Paducah International Raceway Paducah International Raceway
4.7.2007 I-55 Raceway I-55 Raceway
4.13.2007 Eldora Preliminary Eldora Speedway
4.14.2007 Eldora Feature Eldora Speedway
4.21.2007 Tri-State Speedway Tri-City Speedway
4.28.2007 Knoxville Raceway Knoxville Raceway zzzz
5.4.2007 Tri-City Speedway Tri-City Speedway
5.5.2007 Riverside International Speedway Riverside International Raceway
5.11.2007 Missouri High-Bank Nationals US 36 Raceway
5.12.2007 Lake Ozark Speedway Lake Ozark Speedway
5.15.2007 Lernerville Speedway Lernerville Speedway
5.17.2007 Williams Grove Preliminary Williams Grove Speedway
5.18.2007 Williams Grove Feature Williams Grove Speedway
5.19.2007 Orange County Fair Speedway Orange Co. Fair Speedway
5.22.2007 Grandview Speedway Grandview Speedway
5.25.2007 Outlaw Showdown The Dirt Track at LMS
5.26.2007 Hagerstown Speedway Hagerstown Speedway
5.28.2007 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Rolling Wheels Raceway
6.1.2007 Sharon Speedway Sharon Speedway
6.2.2007 Eldora Speedway Eldora Speedway
6.8.2007 Eagle Raceway Preliminary Eagle Raceway
6.9.2007 Eagle Raceway Feature Eagle Raceway
6.16.2007 Knoxville Raceway Knoxville Raceway
6.17.2007 Heartland Park Topeka Heartland Park Topeka
6.22.2007 Boot Hill Showdown Preliminary Dodge City Raceway Park
6.23.2007 Boot Hill Showdown Feature Dodge City Raceway Park
6.25.2007 Black Hills Speedway Black Hills Speedway
6.29.2007 Nodak Speedway Nodak Speedway
6.30.2007 Red River Valley Speedway Red River Valley Speedway
7.3.2007 Huset's Speedway Huset's Speedway
7.6.2007 Route 66 Raceway Route 66 Raceway
7.7.2007 I-55 Raceway I-55 Raceway
7.11.2007 Brad Doty Classic Limaland Motorsports Park
7.13.2007 Knight Before the King's Royal Eldora Speedway
7.14.2007 24th Annual King's Royal by Crown Royal Eldora Speedway
7.17.2007 Lernerville Speedway Lernerville Speedway
7.19.2007 Summer Nationals Opener Williams Grove Speedway
7.20.2007 Summer Nationals Night 2 Williams Grove Speedway
7.21.2007 Summer Nationals Williams Grove Speedway
7.22.2007 Lebanon Valley Speedway Lebanon Valley Speedway
7.24.2007 Fulton Speedway Fulton Speedway
7.27.2007 I-96 Speedway I-96 Speedway
7.28.2007 K-C Raceway K-C Raceway
8.3.2007 Powercom Park Preliminary The Raceway at Powercom
8.4.2007 Powercom Park Feature The Raceway at Powercom
8.17.2007 Castrol Raceway Preliminary Castrol Raceway
8.18.2007 Castrol Raceway Feature Castrol Raceway
8.24.2007 Skagit Preliminary Skagit Speedway
8.25.2007 Skagit Feature Skagit Speedway
8.29.2007 Southern Oregon Speedway Southern Oregon Speedway
9.1.2007 Harvest Classic Preliminary Calistoga Speedway
9.2.2007 Harvest Classic Feature Calistoga Speedway
9.6.2007 Gold Cup Race of Champions Preliminary #1 Silver Dollar Speedway
9.7.2007 Gold Cup Race of Champions Preliminary #2 Silver Dollar Speedway
9.8.2007 Gold Cup Race of Champions Finale Silver Dollar Speedway
9.14.2007 1/3-Mile Short Track Nationals Eagle Raceway
9.15.2007 Lake Ozark Speedway Lake Ozark Speedway
9.21.2007 Eldora Speedway Eldora Speedway
9.22.2007 Wilmot Speedway Wilmot Speedway
9.23.2007 Kokomo Speedway Kokomo Speedway
9.28.2007 Williams Grove National Open Preliminary Williams Grove Speedway
9.29.2007 Williams Grove National Open Finale Williams Grove Speedway
10.5.2007 Princeton Nationals Opener Princeton Speedway
10.6.2007 Princeton Nationals Princeton Speedway
10.12.2007 USA Raceway Park USA Race Park
10.13.2007 Manzanita Speedway Manzanita Speedway

11/17/06
f1
Davidson to earn just $250,000 in 2007 Davidson to earn just $250,000 in 2007(GMM)  Anthony Davidson will earn just under (US) $250,000 during his first full season on the F1 grid next year, according to British tabloid The Mirror.

The London-based daily contrasted Davidson's apparent Super Aguri salary with the debut of Michael Schumacher in 1991, when the eventual seven time world champion actually had to pay a similar amount to Eddie Jordan for a single race at Spa.

"The Super Aguri team are so convinced the 27-year-old (Davidson) has the same star quality he hasn't had to find a penny," the newspaper commentary read.

Diminutive Briton Davidson was a Brackley-based test driver for six years.

Sporting director Gil de Ferran said: "Whilst we are sad to lose such a valuable asset, we wish him all the very best of luck and are pleased to know that he will be remaining within the Honda family."

11/17/06
macaugp
Macau: Conway tops practice as Esmer crashes out Macau: Conway tops practice as Esmer crashes outMike Conway topped the times in final practice for the Polytec Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, but all eyes were on provisional pole position man Marko Esmer who badly damaged his car in a crash at the end of the session.

Conway, the British Formula 3 champion, was consistently setting best times despite being held up by traffic early in the session. He eventually ended up 0.075 seconds ahead of his closest challenger Richard Antinucci, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean third quickest.

But the session had to be brought to a premature halt when Esmer ran wide at San Francisco Bend and heavily clouted the barriers on the exit. That incident is a major blow to the Estonian’s preparations for this afternoon’s qualifying session, with the Hitech driver having topped the times in first qualifying on Thursday.

Esmer was not the only driver who ended the session with a badly damaged car. Sebastien Buemi damaged the front left wheel and suspension of his car when he nosed into the barriers at Police Bend. zzzz

TOM’S driver Kazuya Oshima brought the red flags out for the first time, with 10 minutes of the session remaining, after running wide at R Bend and smashing into the barriers on the exit.

Behind fourth fastest James Jakes, Japanese F3 champion Adrian Sutil was back up to speed after his TOM’S team had spent the night repairing his car following his accident in first qualifying.

Kazuki Nakajima was sixth fastest, while seventh quickest Sebastian Vettel thankfully reported no repeat of the misfire problem that had dogged him all day on Thursday. “The engine is fine now, but we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “It is going to be a very difficult qualifying, but I am sure we can go quicker than we managed yesterday.”

11/17/06
nascar
Another long-time NASCAR sponsor leaves Another long-time NASCAR sponsor leavesGoody's Headache Powders, a staple in NASCAR since 1977, will be replaced by Tylenol next season as the sport's official pain reliever. It's yet another break the stock car racing series is making from its longtime, but regional, partners.

``NASCAR has been trying to align itself with the leaders in their category, and those that have a national footprint,'' Steve Phelps, NASCAR's chief marketing officer, told The Associated Press on Thursday. ``Doing so obviously requires some tough decisions, and Goody's is one of the toughest -- if not the toughest.'' Goody's were formulated in Winston-Salem, N.C., by pharmacist Martin ``Goody'' Goodman in 1932. The formula was sold in 1936 to A. Thad Lewallen Sr., who marketed the powders by passing them out to factory workers during their shift changes. It created a dedicated following throughout the South and was touted for its speed of relief.

That led the company to partner with NASCAR in 1977, becoming one of the first non-automotive sponsors in the sport. Seven-time series champion Richard Petty became the official spokesman, and Goody's became ``The Official Pain Reliever of NASCAR.'' Yahoo!Sports

11/17/06
ga
Rolex 24 Grand Marshal Rolex 24 Grand MarshalA reader writes, The news of Richard Petty for Grand Marshal of the Daytona 24 hour race shows once again how out of touch the France family is with "real sports car fans". When I think of sports car racing legends I think of Jackie Ickx, Brian Redman, Derek Bell, Henri Pescarolo, Dan Gurney, Jackie Oliver, etc. Last year they had Benny Parsons, this year another stock car driver who never even raced in the 24. Maybe next year they will have Darrell Waltrip and the year after Cale Yarborough. What makes me feel bad is how great this race used to be. Doug Ferguson

Dear Doug, Actually Buffet Benny Parsons HAS raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona - co-drove a GT class BMW 3.5 CSL with David Hobbs to 10th overall and 9th in class in 1976. He commented on this publicly several times while appearing as the grand marshal last year.

11/17/06
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com

NASCAR Live! Homestead-Miami
12:00pm-12:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Performance
12:30pm-1:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Homestead-Miami
1:00pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Homestead-Miami
2:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Homestead-Miami
2:30pm-3:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Homestead-Miami
3:30pm-5:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Homestead-Miami
5:30pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Homestead-Miami
7:00pm-10:00pm (L) TNT
The SPEED Report -Busch Season Wrap-up
10:00pm-11:00pm (L) SPEED
Movie: Stroker Ace (1983)
11:00pm-1:00am SPEED

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

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