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F1 world now awaits judges verdict F1 world now awaits judges verdictTHE judge reserved his ruling today in a vital legal battle for Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.  Ecclestone will have to wait several weeks for the verdict - one which could loosen his decades-long control of the sport.  Three shareholding banks have brought a case disputing the validity of the appointment of two directors to the board of Formula One Holdings (FOH). After two days of legal argument the judge said he will hand down his judgment later in the year.  Bayerische Landesbank, JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers control 75 per cent of the SLEC holding company that owns the commercial rights to Formula One. The other 25 per cent is owned by Bambino Holdings, an Ecclestone family trust.  SLEC owns FOH. The banks are contesting the appointment to the FOH board of Luc Argand and Emmanuele Argand-Rey two years ago, arguing that although the banks own the majority of the shares they do not have control because of the board's composition.   Lawyers for the banks, who acquired their stake in Formula One after Germany's Kirch media empire collapsed owing them $US1.6 billion ($2.05b), had asked the judge for a "summary judgment" in the case.   The case is being closely watched by major carmakers who have threatened to set up their own 'rival' series from 2008 via GPWC Holdings. Reuters  (Related, far more detailed article)
NASCAR TV show cancelled NASCAR TV show cancelled'Pit Bull,' the weekly NASCAR discussion show on Speed featuring a panel of print reporters, will not return for 2005. In an e-mail to the show's participants sent Tuesday, Speed Channel president Rick Miner said "we live by ratings and 'Pit Bull' did not make the cut for 2005." ThatsRacin.com
SuperSport secures F1 TV rights SuperSport secures F1 TV rightsTV pay channel SuperSport has secured a deal that will make it the exclusive broadcaster across Africa of all Formula One grands prix.  From next year, live coverage of all grand prix races, as well as the practice and qualifying rounds leading up to them, will be televised throughout Africa on SuperSport's DStv channels.  Announcing the coup, CEO Heinrich Enslin said a three-year deal had been concluded, which made SuperSport the sole provider of live television coverage of Formula One motor racing on the continent from next year onward.  "For at least the next three years, therefore, only SuperSport will have the rights and the responsibility to broadcast each and every grand prix and practice and qualifying sessions.
Paul Tracy and Forsythe Championship Racing feature on the History Channel Paul Tracy and Forsythe Championship Racing feature on the History ChannelDuring the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey California the History Channel spent time with Paul Tracy and the Forsythe Championship Racing team filming the defending 2003 Series Champion for the prime time television series ‘Tactical to Practical’.   The ‘Tactical to Practical’ History Channel show will air on Tuesday November 30th at 1PM and 7PM Eastern, Noon and 6PM Central, 11AM and 5PM Mountain time – and separately on the West Coast on the same day at 1PM and 7PM Pacific time.  Jonathan Gruber of the History Channel’s production company said “It was a great experience being a part of the Champ Car race in California and we really enjoyed working with Paul Tracy and the Forsythe team – we are very happy with the show we have created and we hope that the fans of the Champ Car World Series, Forsythe Championship Racing and Paul Tracy will enjoy this different perspective of their competitive racing series and their incredible racing cars and teamwork.”  Team spokesman Peter Davies said “This was a good opportunity to work with the globally acclaimed History Channel to showcase our great racing series Champ Car - the most competitive and most technical racing series in North America - and to bring our fans ‘behind the scenes’ with Paul Tracy, his engineers and crew and to take an inside look at some of the technical aspects of the racing cars and Forsythe Racing.  We hope the fans of the team, Paul and Champ Car will enjoy the ‘Tactical to Practical’ History Channel show, and that it will play some small part in exposing this great racing series to a new audience across the United States.”
ESPN2 to televise all IPS races in '05 ESPN2 to televise all IPS races in '05Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series races will air on ESPN2 for the fourth consecutive season in 2005, including live coverage of the Futaba Freedom 100 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27. The series-high, 14-race schedule will be available to more than 83.5 million homes in the United States on a network that features more than 4,800 hours of live and/or original sports programming each year, including coverage of major league baseball, and college football and basketball. The broadcast schedule features two substantial improvements over past years. First, a majority of the races will be aired during a consistent time slot, and, second, broadcasts of the three road-course races and one street-course event will be expanded from 30 minutes to one hour. "We're quite pleased with the television package for 2005," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. "We continue to make great strides regarding the strength of the schedule and the quality of the programming. "Our fans, participants and sponsors will all continue to reap the benefits of our races being on one of the top sports networks in the United States." In addition to the live broadcast of the Futaba Freedom 100, 10 races will air on Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET. Two additional races will air in different time slots on Thursday afternoons, and one race will air on a Friday afternoon. The Futaba Freedom 100 will feature a two-hour broadcast at 2 p.m. EDT. The remaining nine oval races will be packaged into 30-minute shows, while the road- and street-course events will be one-hour shows.
Justin Wilson comments on switch to RuSPORT Justin Wilson comments on switch to RuSPORT”I'm obviously very excited to be joining RuSPORT," said Wilson. “The atmosphere within the team is great and there is such a high level of drive and professionalism. It's like an F1 team!

"I think it's the best place to be to win races and championships. I'm also really looking forward to having AJ as a teammate because we see things similarly. We get on well even though every weekend we were battling head to head.” Wilson missed out on the Champ Car Rookie of the Year title to the 22-year-old Allmendinger after a season-long fight.

“After having a strong first year, I'm even more excited to get in the car and build on what we as a team have accomplished this year,” said Allmendinger. “I'm truly living my dream and I know winning pole positions and races is right around the corner. We came into this year knowing we had a lot to learn; now I'm confident we can contend for the championship.”

RuSPORT announces Allmendinger and Wilson for ’05 RuSPORT announces Allmendinger and Wilson for ’05RuSPORT announced today that they will add British driver Justin Wilson alongside AJ Allmendinger for the 2005 Champ Car season. Both drivers battled tooth and nail for the 2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year honors. Highlights:
  • Carl Russo thinks the two drivers will raise each others game
  • Russo and Jourdain chose to split. It was a mutual decision based on chemistry of both sides. He said that "Michel Jourdain Jr. was thrown into the team at the very last minute and that they were not able to give Michel everything that he needed to run at the front in keeping with his capabilities as a driver. In the end it all comes down to chemistry, and when it isn't working, it is time to make changes that work well for everyone. That there is no statement here that reflects badly on Michel as a driver and a person."
  • Team is still talking to Gigante
  • Looked at three car team but decided on two for now
  • Both drivers will be equal No. 1
  • Testing to start after the new year
  • Wilson stated he looked forward to staying with team for a long time and will look to moving near the team shop in Denver.
  • The team will announce sponsors when the deals are done.
  • Carl Russo commented that AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson are two drivers that can just get in the car and go. They have strong skills and can raise the bar on each other. They also will share information and work well with each other.
  • Russo looked at the option of running three cars, but in the end decided not to.
  • Chemistry is one of the top three things for Carl Russo when choosing a driver for his team. When you walk into the Champ Car paddock, all the drivers are fast and proven. You need to put drivers together with the team and see what happens. When you get to know people over time, you learn who will and will not work well with the "chemistry" of the team. The spirit of dicing back and forth on the track and sharing off the track is very important at RuSport.
  • 97% of the team is returning together in 2005.
  • “We would never make a driver decision based on sponsorship,” said the RuSPORT owner. “In fact, Michel came onboard this year before Gigante did.”
  • “Once we decided to go with a symmetrical two-car operation,” he continued, “we thought A.J. and Justin were our best chance to get to the front. These two gentlemen know how to get in the car and go.”
  • Carl Russo said that Justin Wilson has a silent confidence about himself and a true desire to drive the race car. He is also a very honest individual. He also has a very good rapport with the fans.
  • Carl Russo feels that The Champ Car World Series is the future of high tech motorsports. That what makes the Champ Car World Series is the leadership of the Paul Gentilozzi, Kevin Kalkhoven, and Gerald Forsythe. That the series isn't just hundreds of engineers hovering over a car ensuring that when a driver presses a button for the throttle, that the car does what they want to do. It is a true display of the driver's ability.
  • Justin Wilson has intentions of going back to F1. The Champ Car World Series is where he intends to be for the next few years. He said when he talks to AJ Allmendinger about racing in Formula One, he tells him things about "green grass and a fence."
  • Carl Russo commented that he has no knowledge of where Michel Jourdain Jr. will be driving next season, but "one thing I know for certain is that a driver with Michel's proven ability will definitely be in the paddock with a ride for 2005."
Marc Gene fastest in Ferrari Marc Gene fastest in FerrariUPDATE Marc Gené concluded his first day of testing for Ferrari.  Five other teams are going to join Ferrari, Toyota and Williams tomorrow: McLaren (Montoya, Raikkonen, Wurz and De la Rosa), Renault (Fisichella and Montagny), BAR (Button, Sato and Bernoldi), Sauber (Villeneuve and Massa) and Red Bull (Klien and Liuzzi).
1. Marc Gené - Ferrari - 1'15"662 - 68 laps
2. Jarno Trulli - Toyota - 1'16"477 - 87 laps
3. Luca Badoer - Ferrari - 1'17"676 - 112 laps
4. Mark Webber - Williams BMW - 1'27"953 - 4 laps 11/23/04 Marc Gené must like his new Ferrari ride as he set the best time at midday in Barcelona. The track was dry this morning but the sky remained cloudy.  Williams, McLaren, Renault, BAR, Sauber and Red Bull will start their testing program tomorrow.
1. Marc Gené - Ferrari - 1'16"007 - 37 laps
2. Jarno Trulli - Toyota - 1'16"477 - 43 laps
3. Luca Badoer - Ferrari - 1'17"676 - 28 laps
2004 Spanish Grand Prix Pole: 1'15"022. Track record: 1'13"797.
Crown Royal to sponsor No. 97 in selected races Crown Royal to sponsor No. 97 in selected racesDiageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, today announced its Crown Royal brand will become a primary sponsor of 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch and the No. 97 Roush Racing Sharpie/Irwin car for select races throughout the 2005 season. Crown Royal becomes the first spirits brand to enter the sport since NASCAR recently announced that spirits companies would be allowed to participate as team sponsors.  The Crown Royal sponsorship will be built around Diageo's existing relationship with Roush Racing, which started in 2003 with a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Roush Racing car for Diageo's flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE. That sponsorship continued for part of 2004 before switching to the No. 97 car late in the season. Diageo will utilize the Crown Royal brand's new association with NASCAR to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR's adult fans.  "We're excited that Crown Royal will be entering NASCAR so prominently with a sponsorship of the sport's newest champion, Kurt Busch and Roush Racing," said Mark Waller, Executive Vice President, Consumer Strategy and Marketing, Diageo. "Our association with this world class racing team gives Diageo the opportunity to connect with millions of adult NASCAR fans, and remind them about the importance of responsible drinking. A multi-million dollar marketing budget supporting this sponsorship will include dedicated social responsibility messaging."  Busch, 26, captured his first NASCAR championship on Sunday, November 21 by rallying to finish fifth in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR's newest champion won three races during the 2004 season to increase his career total to 11 NASCAR victories. The championship season marks the second in a row for Roush Racing following last season's championship with Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 car.  "I'm thrilled about the opportunity to continue the partnership with Crown Royal as they further commit to our sport," Busch said. "I know that as the NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion I am in a great position to help Crown Royal reach our fans with the importance of responsible drinking."  Crown Royal's integrated motorsports marketing plan will include primary sponsorship of the No. 97 car at select races during the 2005 season including the Brickyard 400. When Crown Royal is not a primary sponsor, the brand will support Kurt as an associate sponsor of the No. 97 car during the 2005 season. Crown Royal will also continue to engage race fans across the country to "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly." with its 2005 title sponsorship of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions.  For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. For more information on Crow Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com/racing.  Alan Taylor Communications PR
BAR to use new concept car for winter testing BAR to use new concept car for winter testingLucky Strike B·A·R Honda will introduce its '05 Concept car this week at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona as winter testing get underway following the four week testing ban. The Concept car, in the distinctive black and silver livery introduced for the first time last year, will run for the duration of the three-day test.

B·A·R's intensive testing program in November and December will be a crucial step in the evaluation of new technologies before the launch of the B·A·R Honda 007 in January 2005.

The '05 Concept car is designed to manage the transition from one car to the next by testing certain components and innovations, without having to commit to a whole new chassis design for winter testing. The car essentially consists of the front section of the 006 and the rear end of the developing 007 which houses the 2005 specification Honda engine, new gearbox and rear suspension assembly.

The team will run two cars during the three-day test program, the key objectives of which will be to evaluate the performance and reliability of the Concept car and continue development in line with the 2005 regulations. Test driver Enrique Bernoldi will be the first to drive the '05 Concept car on Wednesday and Thursday followed by Jenson Button on Friday. Takuma Sato will join the test on Friday at the wheel of this year's B·A·R Honda 006 with a 2005 aerodynamic and tire package.

B·A·R Technical Director Geoffrey Willis commented: "This week's program at Barcelona is the start of our 2005 season. As was the case last year, the purpose of the '05 Concept car is to evaluate the performance and reliability of our new Honda engine, the transmission and rear end systems. This time, many of the reliability-critical systems are exactly those which will be used for the 007 car. Whilst the 2004 chassis was extremely reliable, we want to improve. We are planning a further increase in testing, over and above the level of testing we ran in the winter of 2003 to 2004.

In addition to the chassis developments, 2005 will also see major changes to the aerodynamics package and to the tires, which now have to last for a full race distance. The '05 Concept car will run in Barcelona using modified 006 aerodynamics designed to simulate the predicted 007 performance. The testing program for the '05 Concept car will cover performance and reliability testing as well as an extensive tire test program.

After achieving 2nd place in the Constructors' Championship this year, the team is determined to repeat its success in 2005. The new car design represents a sizeable improvement which will be needed to compete successfully in what will be an even more intense Championship next year."

Commenting on the start of the winter testing program, Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director for Honda Racing Development, said: "After the months of hard work in design and testing, it's always an exciting feeling to see and hear a new engine on the track for the first time. The Concept car gives us a great chance to make the best use of winter testing as we begin the build-up to the 2005 season, and, as always, we're looking forward to the challenge."

The Champion is Crowned! The Champion is Crowned!Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, today announced its Crown Royal brand will become a primary sponsor of 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch and the #97 Roush Racing Sharpie/Irwin car for select races throughout the 2005 season. Crown Royal becomes the first spirits brand to enter the sport since NASCAR recently announced that spirits companies would be allowed to participate as team sponsors. The Crown Royal sponsorship will be built around Diageo's existing relationship with Roush Racing, which started in 2003 with a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 Roush Racing car for Diageo's flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE. That sponsorship continued for part of 2004 before switching to the #97 car late in the season. Diageo will utilize the Crown Royal brand's new association with NASCAR to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR's adult fans. "We're excited that Crown Royal will be entering NASCAR so prominently with a sponsorship of the sport's newest champion, Kurt Busch and Roush Racing," said Mark Waller, Executive Vice President, Consumer Strategy and Marketing, Diageo. "Our association with this world class racing team gives Diageo the opportunity to connect with millions of adult NASCAR fans, and remind them about the importance of responsible drinking. A multi-million dollar marketing budget supporting this sponsorship will include dedicated social responsibility messaging." Busch, 26, captured his first NASCAR championship on Sunday, November 21 by rallying to finish fifth in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR's newest champion won three races during the 2004 season to increase his career total to 11 NASCAR victories. The championship season marks the second in a row for Roush Racing following last season's championship with Matt Kenseth and the #17 car. "I'm thrilled about the opportunity to continue the partnership with Crown Royal as they further commit to our sport," Busch said. "I know that as the NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion I am in a great position to help Crown Royal reach our fans with the importance of responsible drinking."
Taxpayers reject Washington NASCAR track Taxpayers reject Washington NASCAR trackUPDATE #2 Keep in mind that the residents of Pierce (Tacoma), King (Seattle) and Snohomish (Everett) are all paying $300 million plus interest on their share of Safeco Field, home of the Mariners and all the state is paying down the same amount on the Seahawk's home, Qwest Field. In total, those two stadiums cost almost $1 billion to build. With Vancouver CART history and Portland CART struggling, ISC would have the entire Eugene-Vancouver corridor to themselves. That is at least 8 million people. Their chance of success is rather high. 11/23/04 This Seattle Times article says, Negotiations halted yesterday between local-government officials and a racetrack developer that had planned to build a NASCAR track in Snohomish County.  With project costs rising and time running out to propose a financing deal in the next legislative session, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon said he and Marysville officials withdrew from the talks yesterday because of concerns that the track would be too big a risk for taxpayers.  Florida-based developer International Speedway Corp., while acknowledging the end of negotiations with the county and Marysville, said it would continue to look for a site in the Pacific Northwest.   "While we're disappointed that the site in Marysville was not feasible, our enthusiasm for the area is in no way dampened," said H. Lee Combs, ISC's senior vice president of corporate development, citing continued interest from other communities.  [Editor's Note:  Given the huge profits ISC makes on its race tracks, is it any wonder the taxpayers are questioning why they don't foot the entire bill in Washington?  We are seeing similar resistance for Champ Car's race in San Jose.] 11/23/04 Plans for taxpayer support of a motorsports facility in Snohomish County were called off Monday when local leaders advised International Speedway Corp. that the proposal posed too great a financial risk.  Snohomish County and the City of Marysville are withdrawing from further negotiations on the proposed track, County Executive Aaron Reardon and Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall said in a letter sent to a top ISC official.   "As public officials, our foremost obligation must be to the citizens of Snohomish County, Marysville and Washington state," the two men wrote to Lee Combs, ISC senior vice-president. The letter said the Marysville City Council was in agreement with their action.

A call to ISC offices in Daytona Beach, Fla., went unanswered after business hours Monday.  "Unfortunately, we do not believe that taxpayer safeguards in the financing package have proceeded to our satisfaction, nor as swiftly as we had hoped," the officials said of negotiations for the track that had been planned near Marysville in north Snohomish County.

After months of speculation about a track to stage NASCAR races in western Oregon or Washington, Reardon and Kendall announced Sept. 27 that ISC had chosen a site near Marysville.  But local support was based on a business proposition that benefited all parties, they wrote in their letter Monday.   Two weeks ago, a report commissioned by Marysville officials found that transportation needs for the track could require $85 million US in public financing.   The money was earmarked to rebuild interchanges on Interstate 5 and surrounding roads likely to be used by cars and buses on race days.  The road costs were in addition to the $200 million ISC has already requested from the state Legislature to pay for the track. ISC said it would contribute $50 million. AP Story 

Webber eyes win in Aussie opener Webber eyes win in Aussie openerMelbourne’s 10th anniversary of Formula One will see Australian Mark Webber race at home with the last-start winning Williams-BMW team – and the celebrations will begin with a People’s Day of free General Admission at the 2005 FORMULA 1TM Foster’s Australian Grand Prix.  ...and Webber could make it the Party of all Parties

At the Albert Park track where he made his memorable debut in 2002, 28-year-old Webber will now be a serious contender for victory at the Grand Prix.  At Williams he has joined forces with a 33-year-old fellow Australian, Sam Michael, the team’s technical director with the job of creating Webber’s new $50 million car that needs to be a Ferrari-beater and race winner.

“We will be disappointed if we are not on the podium at the first race, and if the top step is there to be taken then we will fight very hard to be on it,” Webber says.  “We have to race Michael (Schumacher, Ferrari's seven-time world champion). It’s not a big deal. It’s exciting. We’re up for it!”

In many ways Webber and Sam Michael are retracing the steps of two other great Australians who took on the Formula One world more than 40 years ago and conquered it - Sir Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac.  Brabham won three F1 world titles, the third of them in 1966 in a car designed by Tauranac and powered by an Australian-made Repco engine.

Industry News
Muscle Car wars return Muscle Car wars returnUPDATE Another reader chimes in, First and foremost, I will state here and now that I am a NEW Mustang GT freak.   It is just super cool, period!!   But in the back of my mind, ever since seeing the prototype at the Detroit car show two years ago, and waiting to see the real thing (a couple of weeks ago), I have been wondering when Chevy was going to respond.  Oh my God!!!  Yes, this new Camaro definitely deserves to see the street lights of Woodward Avenue alongside the new Mustang.  Let the street wars be renewed! Clare Weaver 11/22/04 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I read with great interest your new article on the return of the muscle car wars. You hit the nail right on the head with many of your comments. As a lifelong Mustang enthusiast and current owner of a 2000 Mustang GT and a 1966 Mustang Fastback V8, I waited with baited breath for the introduction of the 2005 Mustang GT. It was the perfect chance for Ford to turn the Mustang into a truly world class sports coupe on par with anything from Europe and Japan. You can imagine my disappointment when the new Mustang made its debut.
Don't get me wrong, I love the styling and the changes that have been made. I love that the Mustang GT finally has a 300 hp engine (made by one of the most technically advanced production V8's in the world). The new Mustang goes a long way towards rectifying many of the deficiencies of the old Fox platformed Mustang. However, there's one area where Ford seriously missed the mark. No independent rear suspension.
Ford argues that the "old style" live axle rear end is what Mustang owners demanded. That's where Ford went really wrong and missed an opportunity. While Mustang owners are a furiously loyal bunch, they themselves are not going to save Ford or the Mustang nameplate. The Mustang HAS to draw in buyers and enthusiasts outside of Mustang circles. And that means providing features that will draw in non-Mustangers, such as IRS. Ford (and Mustangers) have to realize that the Mustang's competition goes beyond what GM or Chrysler offer. The Mustang's competition is the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, and the Nissan 350Z/Infiniti G35. I've often argued this point with my fellow owners, but many scoff. They don't realize that the people that buy these cars are the same people who could be buying the Mustang, but don't because of the "old" connotation.
If Chevy were smart, they would offer Independent Rear Suspension right from their base model on up. And use that as an aggressive marketing campaign to tout what will more likely be a handling advantage over a live axle Mustang.
And what of us Mustang owners who want IRS in our cars. Well..we'll have to wait until the 2007 Cobra debuts. But...considering what the likely price point for such a car would be...many of us would more likely step up to a BMW M3 than a gussied up Mustang. Joe Angers, Boston, MA
Industry News
James "Tiny" Crabtree dies James "Tiny" Crabtree diesRecently the motor racing community lost a dear friend.  His name was James "Tiny" Crabtree, a regular contributor to our forums, especially to the NASCAR discussion, a place where he made many friends.  Tiny was a freelance motorsports photographer and had been for many years until diabetes forced him to give up traveling and restricted his mobility.  He then channeled his energy and time towards the Internet.  It is in various racing forums that he made friends from all over the world with other race enthusiasts. Confined as he was, this activity became his life, and these friends became family for him.  There is a memorial Fund set up for Tiny at the Victory Junction Camp and set up in his name. We wish to remember him there at a place that is close to the hearts of a lot of people.


You can send your donations directly to:

Victory Junction Gang Camp
4500 Adam's Way
Randleman, NC 27317
United States of America
Put "Tiny Crabtree" in the memo section of your check (USA).
Or please write "Tiny Crabtree" on the outer edge on the check front (all other countries)
Or by Credit Card
On the "donation" page, please Put "Tiny Crabtree" in the NAME box and highlight "In memory of".  There is also a memorial site in Tiny's name www.friendsoftiny.com

Edwards tops Rossi on Day 2 Edwards tops Rossi on Day 2The second day of Yamaha and Suzuki testing at Sepang has ended with Colin Edwards on top - the new factory M1 rider edging out team-mate Valentino Rossi by just 0.04secs after setting the fastest lap of the test so far. With temperatures peaking at 35 degrees, slightly lower than yesterday, the weather once again stayed dry throughout, allowing the teams to complete an uninterrupted day of testing. Both Yamaha riders completed a few laps on the 2005-spec prototype YZR-M1 but spent the majority of the day testing Michelin tires with the 2004-spec bikes.

The Texan's pace setting lap was a substantial 0.69secs faster than his Monday best - putting him 2.153secs clear of his fastest 2004 Malaysian GP race lap on an RCV - while Rossi trimmed 0.09secs from his first day time. The pair completed 51 and 56 laps respectively. "Valentino spent a little time on the 2005-spec bike again, before concentrating on testing Michelin tires on the 2004 bike," stated factory Yamaha team director Davide Brivio.

"Both riders tested quite a few tires today and made some good progress with Michelin. Colin also had a chance to try the new bike, completing just a very few laps on it in order to find a good feeling. It was another productive day," concluded the Italian.

Meanwhile, Edwards and Rossi were again joined on track by the Suzuki test team of Nobuatsu Aoki and Kousuke Akiyoshi, the only other bikes present. Akiyoshi was the quicker of the two with an impressive best time of 2min 3.80secs – a full second inside the fastest GSV-R lap during October's Malaysian Grand Prix and less than 0.6secs from Rossi's fastest race lap. New Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki, who has joined the team for 2005 from Proton KR, set a best time of 2min 5.02secs as he continued to learn the V4 powered racer and its Bridgestone tires. Testing continues tomorrow (Wednesday)...

Sepang test times – Tuesday:

1. Colin Edwards USA Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha 2min 2.41secs
1. Valentino Rossi ITA Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha 2min 2.44secs
3. Kousuke Akiyoshi JPN Team Suzuki 2min 3.80secs
4. Nobuatsu Aoki JPN Team Suzuki 2min 5.02secs

Comparative lap times – 2004 Malaysian GP:

Pole position: Valentino Rossi ITA Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha 2min 1.833secs
Fastest lap: Valentino Rossi ITA Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha 2min 3.253secs

Minardi to launch last in Australia Minardi to launch last in AustraliaMinardi team boss Paul Stoddart, has today agreed to delay the 2005 launch of his Faenza based squad until the third of March, people’s day at the Albert Park circuit, so that the new car can be unveiled in front of the Australian public. Minardi has launched in Australia before.
Ray Mallock announces 2005 plans Ray Mallock announces 2005 plansRML announced today that they will enter the 2005 Le Mans Endurance Series and the 24 Heures du Mans with the MG Lola backed by the AD Group. The existing MG EX257 will undergo an up-grade program during the winter and will enter the series in the LMP2 category. Mike Newton and Tommy Erdos will complete the driver line up for the series and, entry dependant, the team will recruit a third driver for the 24 Heures du Mans. RML are working closely with MG and Lola to finalize the aerodynamic and safety up-grade package for the car. Through MG's association with Engine Developments the car will be fitted with a Judd developed 3.4 liter XV V8 engine. Although the exact chassis designation has not been finalized the car will run as an MG Lola and will be liveried similar to this years LMP1 challenger. Drivers Mike Newton and Tommy Erdos have gained a wealth of experience in the MG having contested this years' LMES and 24 Heures du Mans. Some very strong and competitive performances convinced owner/driver Mike that prototypes were to be his main focus in 2005 and the increased profile of the LMES championship added strength to his decision.

Mike Newton commented "Having contested both the LMES and the FIA GT Championship this year we decided to concentrate our efforts on the prototype. The way things are taking shape I think LMP2 is the place to be next year". RML ran the MG Lola EX257 to 5th place in the Le Mans Endurance Series standings this year and recorded the cars' endurance record at Le Mans completing over 20 hours of the 24 hour race. Ray Mallock commented "We are pleased to be continuing our sportscar program with the AD Group. This will be our second full season in sportscar prototypes and we see it as an important stepping stone to achieving our aim of winning at Le Mans". RML

Industry News
Penske goes the extra mile Penske goes the extra mileWhen BMW of Austin, Texas reached second in the nation in customer satisfaction, owner Roger Penske decided to do something to reward their performance. Penske went to Austin and cooked lunch for the entire service department, barbeque style. Roger is always one to go the extra mile to recognize success from his employees, be it in racing or in his other businesses.
San Marino race secured thru 2009 San Marino race secured thru 2009UPDATE The mayor of Imola says that agreement has been reached to secure the future of the San Marino Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari until at least 2009. Massimo Marcignoli says that the deal was sealed at a meeting in London on Monday.  Mayor Marcignoli and Federico Bendinelli, the president of SAGIS, the company which manages Imola, met Bernie Ecclestone in London on Monday morning and on emerging, Marcignoli said: “In the course of the meeting, agreement was reached until 2009.”  [Editor's Note: With all the current F1 races likely to be secured long-term with new contracts, where will there be room for any new F1 races?  They are already at 19.  We believe what we see happening here is Bernie Ecclestone locking up all the possible F1 venues long-term so that the GPWC has nowhere to race if it does create a breakaway F1 series.] 11/22/04 San Marino's future has been secured after the European country located inside of Italy signed an extended contract with Bernie Ecclestone.  According to the BBC, the race will retain its April 24th place on next year's calendar after signing a new contract that will safeguard its future until 2009.
Industry News
In the future 'we will be a hybrid society' In the future 'we will be a hybrid society'Toyota Motor Corp. plans to develop hybrid versions of every nameplate in its lineup. But the schedule has not been set. "Everything is up in the air," says Shin Kanada, Toyota managing officer in charge of public affairs. Fuel-efficient hybrids use both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to power the wheels.  The decision to assemble the Prius hybrid in China has thrown the previous hybrid launch schedule into turmoil, he says. He would not say when the schedule would be sorted out.

Kanada was commenting on a report in Japan's Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun newspaper about the company's hybrid schedule. That report said Toyota plans to begin producing hybrid versions of the Japan-market Aristo, known as the Lexus GS in the United States, in spring.  The article said a hybrid Camry is coming in 2006; a hybrid Celsior, known as the Lexus LS in the United States, will arrive in 2007; and a hybrid Corolla in 2008 would follow.  Production of hybrid versions of the Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX400h, called the Toyota Harrier in Japan, will begin early next year. U.S. sales of the RX400h start April 15.

Toyota sources also have said the company is considering a hybrid version of the Sienna minivan that is built in the United States.  The schedule "depends on customers' demands," says Kazuo Okamoto, Toyota's senior managing director in charge of product development, design, r&d and technical administration. But "in 20 or 40 years," all of Toyota's lineup will be based on hybrids, he says. "That's our intention. And it won't just be Toyota. All makers will have hybrids."  "The future," he says, "will be a hybrid society." AutoWeek

CENTRIX teams finished in top-5 in Baja 1000 CENTRIX teams finished in top-5 in Baja 1000Team CENTRIX entries locked up the top five finishing positions in the CENTRIX Financial Baja Challenge (BC) class of the 2004 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 race with current Champ Car driver Michel Jourdain Jr., his father Michel Jourdain Sr., and uncles Bernard Jourdain and Jean Pierre Jourdain bringing the BC4 car in for the family’s first win, giving Team CENTRIX its third consecutive BC class victory.

"We are smooth," said Michel Jourdain Jr., referring to the fact that his team had not blown any tires during the 1000-mile event on the rough terrain.  “Winning with my family makes this even more special; we had a great time.  Bob Sutton and everyone at Team CENTRIX put together a great group of drivers and that’s evident since all five teams finished in the top-five.” 

CENTRIX Financial, a national financial services firm, was an event sponsor for the first time as well as sponsor of the CENTRIX Financial Baja Challenge class.  The BC class featured 12 identically-equipped, Porsche-powered Baja Touring cars shod with BFGoodrich tires prepared by Todd Clement and his team at Wide Open Baja. 

“I’m proud of Team CENTRIX’s performance with our drivers finishing first through fifth—we were all winners today,” said Robert E. Sutton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CENTRIX Financial, after his fourth place finish.  “We recruited a skilled team of drivers from many disciplines and they proved up to be up to the task, with the Jourdain family bringing home a victory for Team CENTRIX.  This was truly a unique event that tested our strength, endurance and commitment to teamwork like nothing else, and I want to congratulate everyone who participated in the 2004 Baja Challenge class.”       

Finishing second for Team CENTRIX was 1985 Indy 500 winner Danny Sullivan, Champ Car driver Oriol Servia and retired Indy Racing League driver Roberto Guerrero.  Despite being sidelined for two hours due to damage sustained early in the race, 2004 Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais and US D1 Drifting Championship driver and Pikes Peak Hill Climb winner Rhys Millen finished third.  

“It was a cool experience,” said Bourdais.  “I had a good time.  I caught Michel (Jourdain Jr.) after 70 miles and it was looking good but I started to have a misfire and was concentrating on that and didn’t see the ditch until I hit it.  It broke the rear lower A-arm and we lost almost two hours. Once it was fixed I drove to San Felipe where Rhys (Millen) took over and continued to make up some time to finish third.  Overall it was great fun!”

Sutton, who won the event in 2002 and 2003, finished fourth with co-drivers Paul Newman, co-owner of Champ Car World Series team Newman/Haas Racing, Pikes Peak Hill Climb Winner Rod Millen and Jeff Zwart, Rally Driver and Pikes Peak Hill Climb winner.  After reluctantly handing the driving duties to a teammate Newman remarked “You know, I think I like dirt more than asphalt.”

Five-time Baja 1000 winner Ryan Thomas and his teammates David Sutton, Ryan Millen and Wally Fisk finished fifth for Team CENTRIX.  The race began on Thursday, November 18 at Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and ended Saturday at approximately 12 noon PT in the southern town of La Paz.  Over 300 racers competed for three days over 1,000 miles through the region’s rugged terrain, pristine beaches and rustic towns. Thirty US states and 10 countries were represented.

Three drivers open Minardi test Three drivers open Minardi testThe first day of a five-day Minardi test got under way today at the Autodromo Santamonica in Misano. One of the two Minardi Cosworth PS04B chassis available was driven initially by Tiago Monteiro, who then handed over to Patrick Friesacher, while the other was allocated to Israeli driver, Chanock Nissany.

Monteiro’s task was to work on chassis set-up, while Friesacher and Nissany, who were both having their first experience of an F1 car, spent much of their allocated time on the opening day acclimatizing to the levels of performance and handling available. Nissany is scheduled to continue testing on Tuesday, and will be joined by young Australians, Will Power and Will Davison, fulfilling a promise made to both men by Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, at this year’s Australian Grand Prix.

Patrick Friesacher (best lap: 1 min 11.150 secs, total laps: 42)
“To test a Formula One car is a great experience, and I have to thank the Minardi team and Paul Stoddart for this opportunity. I was just amazed at the speed and the braking of the car when I went out on my first lap, but then, like all race cars, you start to get used to the performance. I think I had a good day and I hope the team is pleased with the job I did.”
Tiago Monteiro (best lap: 1 min 13.240 secs, total laps: 20)
“It was a great pleasure to be back in a Formula One car again, and I have to thank Paul Stoddart, Gian Carlo Minardi and the whole team for the opportunity they have given me today. I had never been to Misano before, so I spent the first couple of laps this morning just familiarizing myself with the circuit. Initially, the conditions were very tricky, as the track surface was extremely dirty. The situation gradually improved, however, so we got on with testing several items and accumulating some useful information. I was also able to set the car up for the other drivers, who don’t have any F1 experience. I’m very pleased to have been back with the Minardi team again, and now we have to work for the future. The next few days will be very important.”

Chanock Nissany (best lap: 1 min 14.780 secs, total laps: 41)
“At the beginning of the test, the track was not in great condition, but the car was behaving well despite this. The surface and the grip improved in the afternoon and the car had a good set-up, which allowed me to get a clear feel for the performance. With the experience I have accumulated today, I hope to improve further tomorrow.”

Massimo Rivola, Team Manager
“The plan today was to keep set-up changes to a minimum and allow the drivers – particularly Patrick and Chanock – to get some experience driving a Formula One car in race configuration. On that basis, I think we have had a very good day, and I want to thank all the drivers for their efforts. Tiago undoubtedly had the toughest job, as he went out first on a cold and dirty track. As we have seen before, though, he approached the situation with great maturity, by starting carefully and then steadily reducing his lap times as he worked on finding a good chassis set-up."

"Chanock lost about 45 minutes this morning, while a potential problem with his car was checked out, but he went on to do a very solid job, especially considering he has only been racing for two years. Patrick was particularly impressive, starting off with laps of 1 min 15 secs and then building up speed quickly. Once he got to the limit, he put in some consistently fast laps. Finally, a special word of thanks to our partner, Bridgestone – Minardi is the only F1 team testing here at Misano, and they are again supporting us brilliantly with tires and technical advice." Minardi

Ferrari resumes testing Ferrari resumes testingScuderia Ferrari Marlboro resumed testing Monday, at Vairano. Under a cool temperature varying between 5 to 9°C, Ferrari-Maserati Group test driver Andrea Bertolini was at the wheel of an F2004 to work on an aerodynamics program aimed at next season. Bertolini covered a total of 226 kilometres. The Scuderia continues testing at this track tomorrow, again with Bertolini. The Italian team will also start testing at the Catalunya Circuit on Tuesday. Ferrari
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Williams launch in Jan.
Gene joined Ferrari
Ferrari back on track
Minardi's Misano run
Coulthard ruled out
Bernie braves the Bank
Imola's safe
'Thrilling' quali - Ralf
Corruption in KL
Yoong won't race again
Webber to eye podium debut
Heikki is top Finn
Terzi blamed?
'Destabilizing' saga
'I miss F1 driving'
Minardi to launch in Oz
Bahrain want 'double'
No quali in GP2?
Williams must win - Sam
Michelin at 'maximum'
'I won't buy a F1 team'
TV deal in Africa
Defending NASCAR Defending NASCARA reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I have always loved racing, in fact my motto pretty much is if it has an engine and wheels then I will watch it go around or down a track.   Although you guys have definitely turned me against the IRL and anything related to that idiot “hammer wielding” guy forever. 

Just renewed my subscription for the 3rd year. Really love the site, in fact it is my home page and I check it at least 4 or 5 times a day. You guys do a stellar job of keeping me informed and up to date with motorsports news and happenings. Alright, enough ass-kissing already.

Ironically, I found out about your site via a link on the Jayski website. I grew up in Daytona Beach and have a somewhat redneck mentality, so naturally I have always been a big fan of stock car and drag racing. Although I followed CART pretty closely, I drifted away following the split when the presence of open wheel racing in this country was greatly reduced. Once I started following your site, I started following CART/OWRS again.  It is great to be excited about open wheel racing again.

A couple of quick notes.

I miss the spread of NASCAR pictures you guys used to publish on Monday following the race. Lately it seems you publish 3 or 4 pictures. I really miss the bigger spreads. It was my source of weekly wallpaper for the computer.

I know you all have a bias towards open wheel road racing (at least legitimate open wheel racing). Sometimes that bias does come out against NASCAR as well. Which I don’t think is not very fair. I truly believe that NASCAR is a viable legitimate form of auto racing. The drivers and team are incredibly talented. To be successful in stockcar racing requires a unique set of skills.

In NASCAR the car setup is critical to the success of the driver on a particular race day. There is no telemetry, but what the driver can communicate to his crew chief and team during practices. The driver needs to be able to talk to his team, describe the handle, adjust to changing track conditions and then go out and bang around some more. The crews have to be able to understand and interpret what the driver is telling them. The teams have to know how to set up and make the car work on whatever track or conditions they are dealing with. Even if a car is off, a talented team has a good chance to adjust and bring the car back around. I don’t think that there is any motorsport that requires that kind of level of communication. There are other challenges as well, the teams have to know how to design and build (or at least who to buy a chassis from) in order to win consistently. A good setup starts with a solid chassis. Although the technology may have its roots in the 60’s, the application of the technology has certainly become 21st century.

Is the series becoming more IROC like? Somewhat, with common templates, but only ½ the templates are the same. So there is some leeway to the design and the shape of the car. Teams still need to build their engines. Even though there are some restrictions to the parts and build of the engine, there are teams that are able to find more horsepower. Common sealed engines are one thing that I don’t think even NASCAR could allow to happen.

Another great aspect of NASCAR racing is the pit stops. Because of the rules and structure of a pit stop, a team can make a few passes and improve their position during a pit stop (or lose a race/championship, ask Jeff Gordon about Darlington). Pit stops are a critical part of a race and crucial to the success of a teams performance at the track. In open wheel racing, with all the tires changed at the same time pit stop speed is not as important. Heaven forbid NASCAR follows through with their proposed solution to increase the length of the pit stops.

It's not perfect, restrictor plate racing leaves a lot to be desired, a rule book that changes “during” the season, a points system that I still don’t feel good about and like any other motorsport money does help make a team better. Nonetheless, I hate to see NASCAR described as dumbed down racing. Because it's not. Dumbed down is crapwagon racing, turn the downforce up and run full throttle (BTW try to avoid the wall). NASCAR is not full throttle high downforce racing, it does require a significant amount of skill in order to win, not only from the driver but from his crew as well.

Anyways, I am done venting. The site is great don’t stop. Granted, I would love to see a little more NASCAR coverage but it won’t stop me from subscribing. Kevin Hafner

Formula 3
Piquet Jr. in secret test Piquet Jr. in secret testAutosport Magazine reports that British F3 champion Nelson Angelo Piquet has been secretly testing a World Series by Nissan car as he prepares to graduate to GP2 next season.   The World Series car is far closer in power and grip levels to the Dallara-built GP2 car than an F3 machine. Autosport understands that the ex-Paul Belmondo Racing cars were run by F3 team Hitech Racing, which plans to compete in GP2 next year. The team refused to comment on the tests, however.

But Piquet revealed the tests had taken place. “The Nissan car is okay,” he said. “It is quicker and it’s something new. I don’t really think these tests will help a lot because the GP2 car will be very different, but it helps to see a couple of the circuits.”   Fellow Brazilian Xandinho Negrão, the South American F3 champ, has also tested the cars.

Tony Stewart miffed at penalty Tony Stewart miffed at penaltyTony Stewart had plenty reason to be upset about Sunday after a questionable penalty for ''disobeying a NASCAR directive'' dropped him from first to 25th on Lap 170, then a miscalculation by his pit crew left him short on fuel four miles from the finish. After climbing out of his car, Stewart had an angry exchange with members of his team, who immediately surrounded the driver to shield him from fans and photographers. As Stewart unclipped his protective harness and pulled off his gloves and other parts of his fire suit, he threw them angrily against the car. ''I'm just upset,'' said Stewart, who needed several minutes to regain his composure. Stewart, who led three times Sunday, lost two of those advantages coming out of cautions, the first when NASCAR officials said he failed to maintain ''a smooth and consistent speed'' before a restart on Lap 170, and the second when his car, desperate for gas, nearly stopped in front of eventual winner #16-Greg Biffle just after the green flag dropped for the final dash to the finish. ''I was lucky I didn't get run over,'' said Stewart, who finished sixth in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. ``I don't know. I don't do fuel mileage. I just drive. I can't launch the space shuttle or anything else. I just drive, all right?'' As for the black-flag penalty, which forced the #20 Home Depot Chevy into the pits, Stewart had even less explanation. ''I'm kind of curious myself right now as to what that penalty was all about,'' said Stewart, who repeatedly has run afoul of NASCAR officials in his short six-year career. ``I'm going to talk to Mike Helton. I'm going to find that out myself.'' Miami Herald
No word on Bang Racing No word on Bang RacingThe weekend passed without the announcement on the future of Bang Racing that owner Alex Meshkin had promised two weeks earlier. Bang fielded trucks for Travis Kvapil and had planned to move to the Busch Series next year. Kvapil has driven in three Nextel Cup races for Penske Racing, though, and that team is working on a deal for him. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Portland raceway Master Plan Portland raceway Master PlanThe Master Plan application for Portland International Raceway was submitted around October 1st and that started the 120-day clock for approval. It has been a long process, but the project will give them a blueprint for the next 10 years for development and management of the Portland International Raceway site. Projects in the master plan include:
  • A vehicle and pedestrian bridge over Turn 8 to the infield. This will allow race participants and fans to cross the track without stopping activities on the track. It will also allow fuller use of the site, with multiple activities on track and on the outside of the racing surface.
  • Repaving and reconfiguring the track. The track surface is old and worn, and for participant safety needs to be repaved. We also plan changing Turn 12 to improve safety. In some place the track may be widened.
  • PIR/Vanport City interpretive center. A interpretive center and community meeting room that honors the important history of the World War II community of Vanport City and the rich racing history of Oregon is planned for a site outside the PIR gates.
  • Commercial buildings. A small series of permanent buildings for PIR businesses are planned for the South Paddock. This would include a home for the racing school, a racing gear "pro shop," a permanent storage and kitchen area for the concessionaire and opportunities for other racing-oriented businesses to locate at the track. Currently the concessionaire and driving schools are located in temporary buildings.
  • Professional racing garages. In the pro pits we are planning a professional garage area for participants. These might also include temporary or permanent "suite" viewing atop the garages.
  • A new pedestrian bridge. We will build a new pedestrian bridge over the track, linking the Turn 5 area and the infield, to improve access for spectators to the West end of the track.
  • Maintenance building. A secure, covered area is needed for all of the maintenance equipment at the track, an office for the maintenance supervisor, and storage for all of the materials we use throughout the year.
  • Remodeled bathrooms. Both the South Paddock and Infield permanent restrooms would be remodeled and enlarged, with the addition of shower facilities.
  • Remodel the Goodyear Tower. The tower will be refurbished, brought up to structural code and enhanced for use by the various organizations that rent the track. The PIR staff offices would move out of the tower and into the Interpretive Center.
  • Relocate Broadacre Ave. North Broadacre (an internal park road connecting to N. Force and leading to the Heron Lakes golf complex) is in bad repair. By relocating it to the north edge of the property we would create a new road, and improve spectator safety, allowing them to enter the track from the north parking area without crossing traffic.

Also: Tri-Met will be building an Interstate MAX stop at PIR, and will build three park and ride lots. Two of them are on PIR property, one on the strip between the entrance road and Expo Road, one that will serve both as a park and ride and visitor parking for the Interpretive Center. PIR

NASCAR TV rating up 47% NASCAR TV rating up 47%UPDATE NBC's coverage of Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway, delivered a 5.6 overnight rating/11 share the best overnight rating in the event's six year history, according to Nielsen Media Research. Kurt Busch held-off Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon to win NASCAR's hotly contested inaugural "Chase for the Nextel Cup."

The 5.6/11 (1-5:30 p.m. ET) for the Ford 400 was a 47 percent gain over the 3.8/8 (1-5:15 p.m. ET) last year when Matt Kenseth clinched the championship at the Ford 400. The 5.6 overnight rating was also a 24 percent improvement over the previous best overnight rating for the event, a 4.5/9 when Tony Stewart clinched the 2002 championship. Since broadcasting the NASCAR Nextel Cup season finale from Homestead-Miami Speedway, NBC has increased the overnight rating 87 percent from a 3.0/7 in 1999.

The 5.6 overnight rating for the Ford 400 also marks the best performance ever against Sunday afternoon football competition. The previous high was a 4.7 overnight rating/9 for the 2003 EA Sports 500 from Talladega.

"We are thrilled with the continued success of NASCAR on NBC and TNT," said Ken Schanzer, President, NBC Sports. "When the top 4 drivers were separated by just nine points with 72 laps to go it proved positively the wisdom of the "Chase." In that moment the sport's burgeoning popularity coupled with the innovative season ending "Chase" and ISC's investment to create a track worthy of hosting a true championship event, all combined to create exceptional drama."

The rating peaked at a 7.1/13 from 5-5:30 p.m. ET as Greg Biffle took the checkered flag to win the race and his teammate Kurt Busch clinched the NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship.   NBC's "Discover Card Countdown to Green" pre-race show (noon-1 p.m. ET) earned a 2.8/7 up 22 percent from a 2.3/5 in 2003. The 2.8/7 also outperformed CBS's "NFL Today" by four percent as the hour-long NFL pre-game show earned a 2.7/7 (noon- 1 p.m. ET).  National ratings will be not be available until next Monday as a result of the Thanksgiving holiday. NBC

11/22/04 NBC earned a 5.6/11 overnight Nielsen rating for the season-ending NASCAR Nextel Cup Ford 400, up 47% from a 3.8/8 for last year’s race. Roush Racing’s Kurt Busch, who finished fifth, won the inaugural Nextel Cup (THE DAILY). Nielsen Media Research Senior VP/Sports Barbara Zidovsky called NASCAR’s gain in ratings “huge,” noting that ratings for many sports, including the NFL, have declined Dustin Long, Greensboro NEWS & RECORD 

In Daytona Beach, Ken Willis writes the new championship format – The Chase for the Nextel Cup — “did what it was supposed to do,” producing the closest points race in NASCAR history and a sellout for Homestead-Miami Speedway (NEWS-JOURNAL). In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes the “new system is a blazing success” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER). In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw gives credit “to NASCAR for a willingness to make radical change even at a time when its sport’s appeal is at an all-time high” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS). In Charlotte, David Poole writes of yesterday’s race, “Every pass meant something. A system that makes it likely that that kind of racing will be needed to win the title is a good thing” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER). In Winston-Salem, Mike Mulhern: “The intensity of this points system has increased. It’s greater than it’s ever been” (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL). But in Richmond, Bob Lipper writes under the header, “Points title doesn’t have same old feel.” Lipper: “You can doctor any contest if you choose. If NASCAR had operated the Triple Crown in 1973, it could’ve stuffed lead in Secretariat’s saddlebags after the Derby and Preakness, and maybe some mule would’ve won the Belmont. Yeah, you get headlines, but something just ain’t kosher” RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH

HDNet to provide USA fans live coverage of ROC HDNet to provide USA fans live coverage of ROCTop NASCAR Drivers face off against F1, WRC, Champ Car and IRL Champions including Michael Schumacher and Sebastien Loeb in International Competition Live from Paris Dec. 4, 10:30 a.m. ET .  HDNet will give U.S. racing fans an exclusive opportunity to watch NASCAR stars Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson as they compete in the 2004 Race of Champions -- Nations Cup, live from the famous Stade de France in Paris. The entire event will be available to U.S. television viewers in the highest quality 1080i high-definition television (HDTV), only on HDNet, Saturday, Dec. 4 at 10:30 a.m. ET, followed by a prime-time encore presentation at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The 17th annual Race of Champions -- Nations Cup is an end-of-season international racing showdown featuring two unique individual and team competitions. First, in the Race of Champions, 16 of the world's best drivers compete in a series of head-to-head heats in identical cars to determine the individual "Champion of Champions." Then, in the Nations Cup the same drivers compete in national teams of two in a bid to determine "The World's Fastest Nation."

Representing Team U.S.A., four-time NASCAR Champ Gordon and 14-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner Johnson will be looking to recapture the ROC Nations Cup, after claiming the first Cup ever for the U.S. in the 2002 competition. Team U.S.A. will be competing against the top European drivers including F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher for Germany, World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb for France, and F1 Grand Prix winner David Coulthard of Great Britain.

"HDNet is proud to be the exclusive broadcast home of the Race of Champions," said Mark Cuban, co-founder and chairman of HDNet. "This is the only event where the best drivers in the U.S. get to represent their country against the best of the rest of the world. It's going to be an intense competition and I'm excited to see Jeff and Jimmie take on Michael Schumacher and bring the championship home. Anyone who doesn't have HDNet and an HDTV should be on the phone right now calling their cable or satellite provider so they don't miss a minute of the fun!"

"As Jeff and I close out an exciting and emotional year competing against each other on the NASCAR circuit, it will be great to be on the same team representing our country at the Nations Cup against the best drivers in the world," said Johnson.

In addition to Gordon and Johnson, Tony Kanaan and Sebastien Bourdais, champions of America's open-wheel race series IRL and Champ Car World Series, have recently joined the line-up and will be representing the Brazilian and French national teams.

"We are very pleased that HDNet has agreed to bring the highly competitive, exciting action of the Race of Champions -- Nations Cup to U.S. viewers live in glorious HDTV," said Fredrik Johnsson, president of event organizers IMP and co-founder of the Race of Champions -- Nations Cup. "Now the more than 75 million fans of NASCAR, Champ Car and IRL will have the opportunity to watch their favorite drivers compete against the best from the major international championships F1, WRC and DTM."

The HDNet racing broadcast team of Leigh Diffey and Pat Patterson will host the coverage, which includes views from 16 high-def cameras throughout the track, and special behind-the-scenes interviews and footage.

Kurt Busch a marketing nightmare? Kurt Busch a marketing nightmare?Kurt Busch is a “marketing nightmare, a pointy headed 26-year-old kid with big ears. He doesn’t smile very much, and when he does it looks fake. He talks like a 26-year-old kid who reads a thesaurus in his spare time.” Busch “has the face of a pharmaceutical salesman, which he went to school for. He has the face of Ichabod Crane, which people in the garage call him behind his back. ... He just might be the new face of NASCAR” Greensboro NEWS & RECORD
Hendrick team announces personnel changes Hendrick team announces personnel changesRacing veterans Jim Long, Lance McGrew and Peter Sospenzo will each assume fresh responsibilities next season, while lead engineer Alan Gustafson has been promoted to crew chief.  As part of the restructuring effort, team executive Brian Whitesell will also transition into a new role.  "With a new shop opening and drivers moving to different teams, it made sense for us to look at our organizational structure in a different light," Hendrick said.  "These changes will create more opportunities for our folks and help us work together more efficiently."


Gustafson, 29, has been named crew chief of Hendrick's No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolets, which next season will feature NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rookie Kyle Busch as driver.  A native of Ormond Beach, Fla., Gustafson cut his racing teeth working as a mechanic at local short tracks in his home state while taking mechanical engineering courses at nearby Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Gustafson moved to North Carolina in 1996 to pursue a career in motor sports, gaining experience with various teams before joining Hendrick's in-house chassis effort in 1999.  He was named lead engineer for the No. 5 Cup Series team the following year.


After leading the No. 5 NEXTEL Cup team for the past three years, Long will slide into the crew chief position with the No. 5 Lowe's-sponsored NASCAR Busch Series operation.  The team has earned a championship, eight victories and six pole positions over the past two seasons.  A native of Toledo, Ohio, Long, 47, is going into his sixth NASCAR campaign with Hendrick Motorsports, including a two-year stint in the mid-1980s.  The 2005 season will mark his 10th as a NASCAR crew chief.  An announcement regarding driving duties for the No. 5 Busch Series team is forthcoming.


A Baton Rouge, La., native, McGrew, 36, has been named crew chief of the NEXTEL Cup No. 25 GMAC Financial Services team, a move that reunites him with driver Brian Vickers.  The duo already has an impressive track record, winning Hendrick Motorsports' first-ever Busch Series championship together in 2003.  After joining Hendrick in 1999, McGrew was soon named crew chief of the organization's part-time Busch Series effort, which quickly led to full-time positions in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (2001) and Busch Series (2002-04).


A three-time winner on the NEXTEL Cup circuit, Sospenzo will work exclusively with two-time Cup Series champion Terry Labonte as crew chief of the new No. 44 Hendrick Motorsports team, which will attempt a 10-race schedule in 2005.  A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Sospenzo led the No. 25 NEXTEL Cup team to one victory, a pair of pole positions and 13 top-10 finishes over the past two-plus seasons.  The 47-year-old came to Hendrick from Penske Racing in 2002.


Whitesell, 40, will take on the newly created position of team manager for the Nos. 5, 25 and 44 NEXTEL Cup teams.  A native of Stuarts Draft, Va., he most recently held an identical post with Hendrick Motorsports' Nos. 24 and 48 efforts.  Best known as one of the architects of Hendrick's No. 24 DuPont team, Whitesell has been with the organization since 1992, following a championship-winning stint with Alan Kulwicki Racing.  He was named No. 24 team manager in 1999 and was a principal influence in building the No. 48 Hendrick squad beginning in 2001.  Shop foreman Mark Thoreson and lead engineer Darian Grubb will share Whitesell's former duties with the "24/48" operation.  The Nos. 5, 25 and 44 teams will be housed together in a new facility adjacent to the 24/48 building on the Hendrick Motorsports grounds.  The new state-of-the-art shop is scheduled to open before the 2005 season.

Bernie and banks in court Monday Bernie and banks in court MondayUPDATE FOH is owned by SLEC Holdings, which in turn is owned 75% by Speed Investments - consisting of three creditor banks - and 25% by Bambino.

Speed and SLEC are challenging the appointment by Bambino two years ago of Swiss nationals Luc Argand and Emmanuele Argand-Rey as directors of FOH. Elizabeth Jones QC, for Speed and SLEC, told Mr Justice Park they were seeking summary judgment against Bambino and the Argands - and an amendment to the register of directors - on the basis that they had no real prospect of successfully defending the claim.

Miss Jones said Bambino, although it owned only 25% of FOH, had "engineered control of the operating companies within the group through various corporate steps taken in the summer of 2002". She said that, under a shareholders agreement, Bambino, as a holder of 'B' shares in FOH, had the right to appoint two subsidiary directors to the board. That right to appoint 'B' subsidiary directors was exhausted by the appointment of Ecclestone and Stephen Mullens, and therefore Bambino had no right to appoint the Argands.

Bambino and FOH have refused to recognize SLEC's two chosen appointees, arguing that Ecclestone and Mullens were and remain ordinary directors and were mistakenly described as 'B' directors in the shareholders agreement. The appointment of the Argands was therefore valid. The dispute over the make-up of the board, set to last several days, is part of an overall battle for the control and future of Formula One racing. Sporting Life

11/19/04 The long-awaited lawsuit between the three banks involved in Formula 1 and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Holdings company will start on Monday morning with Justice Sir Andrew Park scheduled to hear the case. The banks contend that they should have the right to appoint directors to reflect their 75% shareholding in SLEC, the Formula One group's holding company. They argue that this right belonged to previous owner Kirch but was not passed on to them when they acquired the shares in the business.  If the banks win the case it could result in the end of Bernie Ecclestone's direct involvement in running the business as the board of directors of the various companies could remove him from his position.  The case will be watched closely by the whole of Formula 1.  In theory, if the banks win the case the FIA could try to take the 100-year commercial rights deal away from Formula One Holdings, arguing that there has been a change of control. However, this is not an open-and-shut case as it could be argued that the control changed when the banks acquired their shareholdings. If the FIA tried to stop the banks taking over the business there would probably be another lawsuit. Grandprix.com
Michelin boss says aero, not tires, should change Michelin boss says aero, not tires, should changeMichelin boss Pierre Dupasquier says that if the FIA wants to slow F1 cars down, they should start with the aerodynamics not the tires. At the time when the FIA were looking into possible rule changes, it was suggested that only one tire manufacturer be allowed in the sport. But Michelin soon pointed out that if that happens, "Formula One would be reduced to a second class racing series We don't want to be the only supplier," Dupasquier told F1Total adding that they are "looking for other options as to how one can reduce the costs and the performance levels of the cars.

"The FIA have all the power; in the end they do compile the rules. If they want to introduce the rules over a period of time, then it is possible, but they cannot come up with the ideas 24 hours before the new season starts.

"Anything is possible. But when it comes down to that, then we should sit around a table with our partners and discuss possible solutions. In principle everything is possible, I believe. The idea to run the full race distance with only one set of tires is one solution. That's not a problem it's doable," commented the Frenchman.

Many people are questioning the safety of the drivers with teams being limited to only one set of tires per car per race; however, with the harder compounds manufacturers expect the tires to last the entire distance. But damages could occur and in that case, the Michelin boss feels that the new rules need to make provision for that.

"As from Saturday afternoon, the tires are not allowed to be changed, but should something happen after that, then there should be an extra set for emergencies or something in that line. "We've sat with Bridgestone around a table and we agree that it is logical to have one set of tires for qualifying and one set for the race."

As to how much slower the 2005 tires would be compared to that of 2004, Dupasquier cannot say.

"That depends on the circuit. They will be slower on many circuits, however on tracks, like this year at Monza for instance, the tires nearly lasted the whole race distance. But the teams changed tires, as they had to pit for fuel anyway. On the other hand, there are also tracks that are unbelievably hard on the tires where we had to have much harder compounds available."

"Aerodynamics is in any case the area that makes a car fast. Also with 1000PS not much would change, but with the aerodynamics it would," he said. "A while ago I saw a car from the 1930's in a museum - its engine was situated at the back, had smaller tires and was much heavier than our modern cars, however, its lap time on the old Hockenheim circuit, was just as fast as the one Formula Renault car, even with its 800PS engine performance. Let's have a look at all the present Formula One cars on Michelins: the gap amounted to approximately two seconds. These two seconds neither came from the driver nor the engine, but mainly from the aerodynamics. One also can see that in the improvement Sauber made last season due to their new wind tunnel. Aerodynamics is the most important aspect," the Michelin boss stated.

Jeff Gordon would be champion under old system Jeff Gordon would be champion under old systemIf NASCAR kept last year's championship system, Jeff Gordon would have cruised to his fifth Nextel Cup title, just two short of the record shared by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr.  This is the new system," he said. "Those are the points we're going with.  This points system is only going to make drivers and crew members careers' shorter," he said. "The intensity has increased to where it's greater than it's ever been before. The pressure is unreal.  The way I feel right now, I can't wait to get out of this race suit, get away from this race track and not see another one for a few more months."
Williams confirms launch date Williams confirms launch dateThe BMW WilliamsF1 Team today confirmed the dates of their 2005 driver and car presentations   The team's full driver line-up, and their 2005 livery will be unveiled at the Bahrain International Circuit on Friday January 7, 2005.  This event is by selected invitation only, and is primarily intended to generate video and stills collateral which will be syndicated to the media.  The formal car launch will provisionally take place at the Valencia Circuit on Monday, January 31, 2005, with media access for briefings with drivers and senior team personnel. This will include the FW27 running on track for the first time. More details will be issued in due course.
Newman not happy with dirty track Newman not happy with dirty trackNewman's #12 Alltel Dodge appeared to cut a tire, one of several that helped cause a track-record 12 cautions. "It was pretty embarrassing that NASCAR didn't clean up the track when it was in that condition," Newman said. "The track had a lot of debris on it all day. Before the race even started it looked like they couldn't even blow the debris off of it. They made mention in the drivers' meeting that they were going to keep everything clean. It's very disappointing, but it's pretty convenient and on par for NASCAR." Richmond Times Dispatch
Prodrive achieves its goals with BAR Prodrive achieves its goals with BARFriday’s announcement by British American Tobacco of Honda’s purchase of a stake in the B.A.R Formula One team signals the successful completion of Prodrive’s management of the team. Prodrive, the company led by David Richards, was contracted under a consultancy agreement by British American Tobacco in 2001 to restructure the management of the team, place the team on a stable financial footing and put B.A.R into a position to challenge for the world championship.

The move follows B.A.R’s most successful season to date, in which the team achieved second place in the FIA Formula One Constructors’ World Championship. “This has proven Prodrive’s expertise at the very highest level of the sport," said Dave Richards. "Our management ability and delivery of results is second to none, as proven by our track record in every area of motorsport, as well as specialist road car engineering. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at B.A.R, and now look forward to taking on new challenges at Prodrive.”

Nick Fry, currently group managing director of Prodrive, is to be appointed as chief executive of B.A.R. Meanwhile, Prodrive has been recognized as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies in the 2004 ‘Europe’s 500’ listing. The British motorsport and automotive technology business was ranked 66 out of 500 entrepreneurial-driven companies which have seen sustain growth in both employees and turnover since 2000. It was also the highest ranked automotive business. In 2000, Prodrive employed 450 staff on one site with a turnover of £57 million. In 2004, the company has more than doubled its turnover to £125 million and employs more than 900 staff in the UK, USA, Far East and Australia. Prodrive

Industry News
Brainerd for sale Brainerd for saleSports Resorts International Inc. is putting its racetrack in Minnesota up for sale, citing a change to focus on its auto parts manufacturing business.  Brainerd International Raceway & Resort Inc., located near Brainerd, Minn., will go on the market soon, said Craig B. Parr, Sports Resorts' chief executive officer and board chairman.   A listing price hasn't been set.  The motor sports facility - which from May through October holds spectator drag, road and motorcycle racing, including National Hot Rod Association events - has been a drag on the publicly traded company's finances the past few years.  The company turned its first profit since 1998 in 2003, earning $1.19 million, but the racetrack lost $1.78 million.   "Obviously the track has been a source of concern for some time," Parr said. "Our core competency is automobile and truck accessories."
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Romania building F1 venue
'Biggest ever' F1 sale
More to test Jordan
Richards 'not fired'
Monteiro at Misano
BAR to go into administration
'We'll race more' - BMW
'Selling' Red Bull
F1 testing to resume
No Rossi switch - yet
Yoong and A1
F1 spinners at Macau
Schu is Germany's 'best'
Bernie battle to resume
One day, Ron will quit
Look elsewhere for BAR boy
Ralf 'didn't do bad'
F1 wheel nut for sale
Button may stay - BAR
Klien 'to race'
Another title
Brit GP 'safe' - report
Industry News
Plans for another indoor track emerges Plans for another indoor track emergesThis Post-Gazette article says, Struggling U.S. cities often practice copycat economics. They pursue casinos, upgrade convention centers and build giant aquariums, all in hopes of attracting visitors.  The Youngstown-Warren area also wants tourist dollars. But, at least for the moment, it is after something different -- the world's first fully enclosed motor speedway. It would seat 60,000 and have enough room left over to double in size if events at the racetrack revved up the Mahoning Valley's economy.  U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents the region in Congress, has secured $300,000 in federal money to complete a study on whether the racetrack could succeed. The financing was included last month in the U.S. Economic Development Administration's budget.  Even though the federally funded study will not be completed for at least several months, Ryan touts the racetrack as a project that would create 1,300 jobs and have "an estimated economic impact of $100 million annually."  But economists who specialize in the business of sports say the benefits appear overstated. They question whether Ohio taxpayers would ever recoup their money if they subsidize the racetrack.  "Sports do not have a good history of being good economic development projects," said Peter von Allmen, an economics professor at Moravian College. "The reason is stadiums do not provide a lot of full-time, good-paying jobs." More....
Busch third youngest champion Busch third youngest championKurt Busch won the inaugural NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship today and the second straight for car owner Jack Roush and Ford Racing.  As a result, Busch is now the third-youngest driver to win the championship at 26 years, 3 months, 17 days.  Bill Rexford holds the record at 23 years, 8 months and 17 days while Jeff Gordon holds down the second spot after claiming his first championship at 24 years, 3 months and 27 days.  Ironically, Busch and Gordon share the same birthday, August 4.  The driver's championship is the seventh all-time for Ford in NASCAR's top division and marks the second time that the manufacturer has won back-to-back titles.  Busch joins John Force (NHRA Funny Car) and Sebastien Bourdais (CART Champ car) as Ford's other major series champions in 2004. 
  • Ned Jarrett, who is Ford's all-time race winner with 43, won his second series championship in 1965 and the first driver's title for Ford. 
  • Pearson is the manufacturer's only multiple champion as he won 27 races and captured 26 poles en route to back-to-back titles in 1968 and '69. 
  • Bill Elliott registered the first driver's championship for Ford in the modern era, which started in 1972, by 24 points over Rusty Wallace in 1988.
  • The late Alan Kulwicki edged Elliott by the narrowest margin in NASCAR Winston Cup history when he led one more lap than Elliott and clinched the five-point bonus to win the title by 10 points in 1992. 
  • Dale Jarrett clinched his championship one race before the season-ending event in 1999 and eventually won by 201 points.  As a result, the Jarretts joined the Pettys as the only father-son duo to win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship.
  • Like Jarrett, Kenseth claimed the final NASCAR Winston Cup championship early at Rockingham.  Kenseth gave car owner Jack Roush his first series title by posting one win, 11 top-five and a series-best 25 top-10 finishes.  He took the points lead after a fourth-place finish at Atlanta in March and held that advantage for the final 32 weeks.
Interview with BMW’s Mario Theissen Interview with BMW’s Mario TheissenBMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen reveals that he has been massively impressed by the BMW WilliamsF1 Team's fighting spirit.  He also talks about the new rules for 2006. More.....
Reducing talent level to near zero Reducing talent level to near zeroThis SPEED TV article, had some interesting quotes on the IRL's idea of 100% throttle no talent required racing. 

Becca Anderson said. “We turned some pretty good laps the first day and got comfortable. Today when we went out, they made a lot of different changes. They took the flats off the car to take some downforce away and that really picked the speed up on the car and made it a little bit easier to drive, a little bit freer. I think it’s kind of closer to the feel of what it’s going to be if you get a chance to race them.”  Anderson, who races sprint cars in the United Racing Club series, was driving on pavement for one of the few times in her career.  “It was a little bit of an adjustment, the g-forces and how stuck the cars are is the big difference, but you still drive a sprint car the same way,” she said. “You’re trying to be as straight as possible even though they do get sideways, so as far as trying to be smooth and straight, it didn’t really change a whole lot, but the feel is completely different. These cars are just so locked down they don’t budge.”

The diversity in driver backgrounds also included three racers who had never driven on ovals before – Juliana Chiovitti, a World Karting Association national champion; Rossella Manfrinato, a driver of various sports car classes; and Katherine Legge, a Formula Renault racer from Silverstone, England. “First when I went out there, I felt like I had to muscle the car around, and then I just learned to relax and drive it like a couch, like I was sitting on the couch,” said Chiovitti, a 23-year-old Canadian. “Basically after that, it was take your time and let it all come to you.”

So locked down they don't budge, and drive them like a couch?  Scary when you think a sport has been reduced to this level of talent required.

Childress announcements delayed Childress announcements delayedRichard Childress' sponsorship announcements will apparently be postponed until NASCAR's postseason New York City awards banquet. Childress is expected to announce Jack Daniel's as a sponsor, with Dave Blaney as the driver. And Childress is expected to announce renewal of the long-running Goodwrench sponsorship. However, there has been speculation recently that General Motors has been reassessing its Goodwrench sponsorship because Childress' operation hasn't delivered socko returns over the past few years. But GM's Doug Duchardt said his company understands the ups and downs of racing: "This business is cyclical. One thing I see is that there has been some stability since Jeff Burton has come. We've seen them start to run better. How many times have we seen Robby Gordon in the top-five and Kevin Harvick, only to have some issues? "I expect Richard to get back. Kevin was fifth last year in points. So those guys have the potential to do it; they just have to get back on their game." Winston Salem Journal
Earnhardt’s spotter kicked out by NASCAR Earnhardt’s spotter kicked out by NASCARUPDATE Steve Hmiel, technical director for Dale Earnhardt Inc. and the usual weekend spotter for Dale Earnhardt Jr., was told to leave Homestead-Miami Speedway for the remainder of the weekend Saturday morning by NASCAR President Mike Helton. The move is a suspension in fact, if not in name. Hmiel was not allowed to spot for Earnhardt Jr. during two Saturday Nextel Cup practice sessions, or for his son, Shane, in Saturday's Busch Series race. Hmiel is also prohibited from spotting for Earnhardt Jr. in Sunday's Ford 400. Earnhardt Jr. is one of five drivers eligible to win the Chase for the Nextel Cup in the race. Officials with Dale Earnhardt Inc. could not be immediately reached for comment late Saturday. Hmiel was asked to leave for making several "inappropriate remarks" – directed at NASCAR officials – over a team radio during Friday's Truck series race, in which he was spotting for his son. "The comments showed a total lack of respect for NASCAR officials. They were totally inappropriate," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications. At the time of the incident the race was under caution and NASCAR had awarded Shane Hmiel the "free pass" for the first driver not on the lead lap. However, after a review of the circumstances, which included Hmiel crossing the pit road commitment line, NASCAR took back the free pass. Steve Hmiel then lit into NASCAR officials repeatedly over the team radio, including at one point declaring, "NASCAR (expletive) it up." Hmiel reported to the spotter's stand Saturday morning for the first Cup practice session, but was called into a meeting with Helton, during which he was told to leave the track, Hunter said. ThatsRacin.com 11/20/04 NASCAR officials confiscated Dale Earnhardt Inc. Steve Hmiel's hard card on Saturday and escorted him from the garage at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hmiel was reprimanded in the trailer for inappropriate language over the radio during the Craftsman Truck race on Friday. In addition to Hmiel's position of technical director for DEI, he is also Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s spotter. Earnhardt is currently fourth in the Chase, 72 points behind Kurt Busch. Tony Eury Jr., car chief for the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet, says Hmiel's absence is indefinite, and he will not return on Sunday. When asked who will spot for Junior, Eury Jr., replied, "Some guy named Danny." The Sporting News has learned that Danny Culler, who used to spot for the late Dale Earnhardt, will spot for Earnhardt Jr. in Sunday's Ford 400. FoxSports
Scenarios for winning today's Nextel Cup title Scenarios for winning today's Nextel Cup titleHeading into Sunday’s season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, here are some scenarios under which drivers can clinch the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title.  The top five drivers in the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings are separated by 82 points – the closest margin in NASCAR history with one race remaining. It’s also the second-highest number of drivers eligible to win the title with one race remaining (six drivers were separated by 113 points at this stage in 1992). The closest finish in NASCAR history came in 1992, when the late Alan Kulwicki won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title by 10 points over Bill Elliott.

The eventual champion likely must win the Ford 400 (worth 180 points), plus earn all 10 bonus points available (five for leading a lap, five for leading the most laps) to assure himself of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title. Many championship-winning scenarios are possible depending on how the five contenders finish Sunday at Homestead, but the surest path to the 2004 title is via Victory Lane. The Ford 400 is the 10th race of the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup,” the series’ new method for crowning a champion, and race No. 36 of the 36-event NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Below are the drivers eligible to win the 2004 championship:
1. Kurt Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson (trails by 18)
3. Jeff Gordon (trails by 21)
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (trails by 72)
5. Mark Martin (trails by 82)
Kurt Busch (#97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford - starts 1st) will win the championship if he wins the Ford 400. He can also win the championship if he finishes second and earns five bonus points for leading at least one lap.
Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet - starts 39th) can win the championship if he wins the Ford 400 and leads the most laps (for the maximum 190 points), and Busch finishes second without leading a lap, or finishes third but doesn’t lead the most laps, or finishes fourth or lower.
Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet - starts 5th) can win the championship if he wins the Ford 400 and accrues the maximum 10 bonus points. Busch also must finish third or lower and not lead a lap, or finish fourth or lower and lead a lap, or finish fifth or lower and lead the most laps.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#8 Budweiser Chevrolet - starts 16th) can win the championship if he wins the Ford 400 and accrues the maximum 10 bonus points. He also needs Busch to finish 15th or lower and not lead a lap, Johnson to finish 10th or lower and not lead a lap and Gordon to finish ninth or lower and not lead a lap.
Mark Martin (#6 Viagra Ford - starts 11th) can win the championship if he wins the Ford 400 and accrues the maximum 10 bonus points. He also needs Busch to finish 19th or lower and not lead a lap, Johnson to finish 13th or lower and not lead a lap and Gordon to finish 12th or lower and not lead a lap. Earnhardt Jr.’s finish wouldn’t matter as long as he doesn’t lead a lap. If Martin wins the race and Earnhardt Jr. finishes second and leads the most laps, the two would be tied and Earnhardt Jr. would win the tiebreaker (number of 2004 wins). NASCAR PR

Five closest NASCAR title battles Five closest NASCAR title battlesHere are the five closest championship-winning margins in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup history [modern era - 1972-present]:
1. 1992 – Alan Kulwicki wins the title by 10 points over Bill Elliott
2. 1979 – Richard Petty wins the title by 11 points over Darrell Waltrip
3. 1989 – Rusty Wallace wins the title by 12 points over Dale Earnhardt
4. 1997 – Jeff Gordon wins the title by 14 points over Dale Jarrett
5. 1980 – Dale Earnhardt wins the title by 19 points over Cale Yarborough. NASCAR PR
Kenseth and Roush meet the press Kenseth and Roush meet the pressMatt Kenseth and Jack Roush held a Q&A session in the Homestead Miami Speedway infield media center prior to Saturday's two practice sessions and discussed a variety of issues.   Transcript
Tiago Monteiro returns to the wheel of the Minardi Tiago Monteiro returns to the wheel of the MinardiNext Monday (November 22nd) the Minardi F1 team test driver, Tiago Monteiro, returns to the cockpit of the PS04 Cosworth on the Misano track where he will be in charge of preparing the car which will be used for the team to test ten young drivers, between the 22nd and 26th of November.   “I am excited to know that I am going to drive the Minardi again, this time with some alterations since the test in September. The aim is to prepare the car so it can have a neutral, balanced response, making it easy to use by the young, inexperienced Formula 1 drivers who the team has invited for this test,” explained the driver from Porto, recently crowned Vice-Champion in the Nissan World Series.  Tiago Monteiro will also be available to help the young men, who will certainly be nervous at having their first opportunity to drive the Minardi: “I know what they must be feeling, because I’ve been through it too when I got in the cockpit of the Renault R202 in Barcelona two years ago, and the whole team was concentrating on me. Those are unforgettable moments. This is what the drivers invited by Paul Stoddart will be going through next week in Misano.  I still do not know how many laps I will do of the track, it will depend on the type of circuit, which I know absolutely nothing about. But I think that 20 or 30 laps will be enough to adapt the Minardi to the track,” the Portuguese driver concluded.
Minardi auction a success Minardi auction a successThe largest-ever auction of modern F1 cars and memorabilia came to a highly successful conclusion Saturday afternoon with Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, and auctioneers, Bache Treharne LLP, pronouncing themselves extremely pleased with the overall result of the sale.

Aside from the thousands of potential purchasers of F1 merchandise who visited the Ledbury auction site, many thousands more joined the four-day auction in virtual form, bidding on-line from a total of over 30 countries for the more than 6,000 lots that were on offer. Incredibly, bids ranged from $8, for a team tee shirt, to over $180,000, for a 1997 Tyrrell 025 Formula One car in running order.

Adding a further touch of excitement to the proceedings, Minardi Formula One drivers Zsolt Baumgartner and Nicolas Kiesa attended the auction, chatting with bidders and signing autographs. The drivers also assisted with a special daily auction benefiting the BBC Children in Need appeal and the Diana Princess of Wales National Air Ambulance Pediatric Unit. Each of the successful bidders, who collectively contributed $70,000 to the nominated charities, will receive the thrill of a lifetime in a Minardi two-seater F1 car either next week in Italy, at the Autodromo Santamonica near Misano, or at one of the team’s 2005 events.
At the conclusion of the event today, Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, commented, “I’d like to thank Bache Treharne, as well as all our staff, for their fantastic efforts and for the weeks of support that led to thousands of items representing modern F1 history going to good homes in the course of what has been a truly international event. I’d also like to thank Zsolt and Nicolas, who gave freely of their time to attend the event and to assist with the auction of the Minardi two-seater rides, the proceeds of which will benefit two very worthwhile causes. In addition, Nicolas was kind enough to provide Danish translation services on the internet!”

Bache Treharne Chief Auctioneer, Chris Hall, who sold the first lot on Wednesday morning and brought the bidding to a conclusion on Saturday afternoon, said, “With goods sold to customers as far away as Brazil, Australia, the United States, Japan, South Africa, and most western European countries, there is no doubt this has been both a successful and enjoyable event. Everyone at Bache Treharne is very proud to have been involved in what has been undoubtedly the biggest F1 auction ever.” Minardi

Formula 3
Premat wins 51st Macau GP Premat wins 51st Macau GPAlexandre Premat triumphed in an incident-filled Macau Grand Prix on Sunday, with two Safety Car periods and a red flag bringing an early end to the event. The Frenchman withheld intense pressure to head home Poland’s Robert Kubica and Brazilian Lucas di Grassi.

Premat had started from third on the grid and kept that position off the line, as Nico Rosberg moved ahead of pole position man Lewis Hamilton as soon as the lights went out. At Lisboa on lap two, though, both Rosberg and Hamilton ran wide and hit the barriers.

That handed Premat the lead but it almost went completely wrong later that lap when he got sideways through Moorish corner and clouted the barrier heavily. It appeared that he had damaged his ASM car, as the following Kubica closed in on him, but he managed to continue.

The Safety Car was called out on lap three after a heavy accident involving Alvaro Parente at the Solitude Esses, allowing Premat time to check how his car was handling. At the restart from the beginning of lap six Premat put his foot down and managed to get away cleanly.

Behind him Kubica misjudged the restart and lost momentum, allowing Jamie Green to draft past him on the run down to Lisboa and seize second place. But Green’s challenge to win the race was short-lived after he suffered a puncture – probably caused by running over debris. It caused him to run wide at Fishermen’s Bend on lap eight and lose time. He was passed by Kubica and eventually slowed before coming into the pits for a new tire.
That left Premat clear of Kubica at the front with Lucas di Grassi moving up to third, despite having suffered a broken diffuser after being hit from behind by Fabio Carbone, who was running fourth with a damaged front wing.

On lap nine the Safety Car came out for a second time after Christian Jones and Rodolfo Avila were involved at a collision through the Solitude Esses and temporarily blocked the track. The Safety Car came in at the end of lap 11 and, although Premat locked up at the final corner, he managed to get some clean air between himself and Kubica again.

Premat appeared to have everything under control by lap 13 while behind Kubica, Carbone managed to dive past di Grassi at Lisboa Bend for third. That move was worth nothing, however, because the race had to be stopped after a major pile-up at Police Bend caused when Marko Asmer spun across the track and triggered a multi-car pile-up.

Nelson Piquet Jr put in a spectacular drive to climb from 27th place on the grid to a fantastic 10th place finish. Starting near the back of the grid after third placed qualifier Richard Antinucci stalled on the grid in front of him in the qualification race yesterday, Piquet claimed back eight places by the end of the first two corners of the first lap alone. After an accident involving Nico Rosberg on the second lap, Piquet had already climbed to 14th, and gained four more places over the following laps to eventually finish 10th.

 Perhaps the drive of the day was by American Richard Antinucci who came from the back of the grid on the tight street circuit after being involved in a preliminary race accident to finish 9th ahead of the highly touted Nelson Piquet Jr. , Lewis Hamilton and others. Antinucci won last year's race.
1. Alexandre Premat ASM Dallara-Mercedes 37m 13.731s 11 laps
2. Robert Kubica Manor Dallara-Mercedes +0.675s
3. Lucas di Grassi Hitech Dallara-Renault +1.178s
4. Fabio Carbone Three Bond Dallara-Nissan +1.422s
5. Franck Perera Prema Dallara-Opel +1.822s
6. Adam Carroll Menu Dallara-Opel +2.219s
7. Robert Austin Menu Dallara-Opel +3.464s
8. Ronnie Quintarelli Inging Dallara-Toyota +3.633s
9. Richard Antinucci TOM's Dallara-Toyota +4.301s
10. Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet Dallara-Mugen +5.367s
11. Marko Asmer Carlin Dallara-Mugen +6.154s
12. Danny Watts Hitech Dallara-Renault +6.463s
13. Kazuki Nakajima TOM's Dallara-Toyota +6.780s
14. Lewis Hamilton Manor Dallara-Mercedes +7.267s
15. Giedo van der Garde Signature Dallara-Opel +7.690s
16. Ho Pin Tung Hitech Dallara-Renault +8.116s
17. Christian Jones TME Dallara-Toyota +8.505s
18. Marchy Lee Meritus Dallara-Mugen +9.074s
19. Lei Kit Meng Ombra Dallara-Mugen +12.197s
20. Jamie Green ASM Dallara-Mercedes +12.235ss
21. Jo Merszei Swiss Dallara-Opel +14.040s
22. Naoki Yokomizo Inging Dallara-Toyota +1 lap
23. Katsuyuki Hiranaka Prema Dallara-Opel +1 lap
Did not finish:
DNF. Daisuke Ikeda Swiss Dallara-Opel 8 laps completed
DNF. Rodolfo Avila Carlin Dallara-Mugen 8 laps completed
DNF. Michael Ho TME Dallara-Toyota 8 laps completed
DNF. Matteo Cressoni Ombra Dallara-Mugen 2 laps completed
DNF. Nico Rosberg Rosberg Dallara-Opel 1 laps completed
DNF. Alvaro Parente Carlin Dallara-Mugen 1 laps completed
DNF. James Rossiter Signature Dallara-Opel 0 laps completed
DNF. Loic Duval Signature Dallara-Opel 0 laps completed
DNS. Eric Salignon ASM Dallara-Mercedes
Fastest lap: Robert Kubica Manor Dallara-Mercedes 2m 13.215s Lap 9

Industry News
China widens economic role in Latin America China widens economic role in Latin AmericaThis NY Times article is a must-read for anyone interested in the global economy and China's increasing influence in Latin America, Champ Car's new target market.  After reading this Champ Car would be wise to wrap up their race deals in Argentina, Brazil and China ASAP.  The ramifications of a link between NAFTA, Latin America, China and South Korea are mind boggling, and no one understands the global economy better than Kevin Kalkhoven and company.  SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 19 - The expected arrival here on Friday of President Bush, who personifies for Latin Americans the economic and political power of Washington, is being greeted with an uneasy mix of protests and hopes for greater growth.  But while the United States may still regard the region as its backyard, its dominance is no longer unquestioned. Suddenly, the presence of China can be felt everywhere, from the backwaters of the Amazon to mining camps in the Andes.

Driven by one the largest and most sustained economic expansions in history, and facing bottlenecks and shortages in Asia, China is increasingly turning to South America as a supplier. It is busy buying huge quantities of iron ore, bauxite, soybeans, timber, zinc and manganese in Brazil. It is vying for tin in Bolivia, oil in Venezuela and copper here in Chile, where last month it displaced the United States as the leading market for Chilean exports.

While President Bush is spending the weekend here for the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, President Hu Jintao of China is here in the midst of a two-week visit to Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Cuba. In the course of it, he has announced more than $30 billion in new investments and signed long-term contracts that will guarantee China supplies of the vital materials it needs for its factories.

"On the diplomatic side, the Chinese are quietly but persistently and effectively operating just under the U.S. radar screen," said Richard Feinberg, who was the chief Latin America adviser at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. "South America is obviously drifting, and diplomatic flirtations with China would tend to underscore the potential for divergences with Washington."

Chinese investment and purchases are seen as vital for economies short on capital and struggling to emerge from a long slump. In Argentina earlier this week, for example, Mr. Hu announced nearly $20 billion in new investment in railways, oil and gas exploration, construction and communications satellites, a huge boost for a country whose economic vitality has been sapped since a financial collapse in December 2001.

China is also increasingly willing to venture outside the economic realm. In March, for example, after Dominica, in the Caribbean, severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Beijing responded with a $112 million aid package, which includes $6 million in budget support this year and $1 million annually for six years. In Antigua, it has pledged $23 million toward the construction of a new soccer stadium.

Political relations seem to be advancing most rapidly with Brazil, Latin America's most populous nation, where the left-leaning government has repeatedly floated the idea of a "strategic alliance" with Beijing.

The Brazilian government has made clear that it views closer ties with China as a card that can be played to offset American influence and trade dominance. While not suggesting that China could soon replace the United States as Brazil's main customer and partner, the aim is to force trade and other concessions from the United States and rich industrialized nations.

"We want a partnership that integrates our economies and serves as a paradigm for South-South cooperation," President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said in May during a state visit to China during which he was accompanied by nearly 500 Brazilian business executives. "We are two giants without historical, political or economic divergences, free to think only about the future." More.....

Harvick wins Homestead Busch race Harvick wins Homestead Busch raceKevin Harvick held off a hard-charging Jamie McMurray in a green-white-checkered finish to capture the Ford 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.   McMurray, driving the No. 66 Duraflame Dodge for Rusty Wallace Inc., drove deep into Turn 3 on the final lap but didn't have enough to get by Harvick's No. 21 ESGR Chevrolet.  "I knew coming in to the checker that he was going to drive it in for all that it was worth coming into Turn 3, so I just backed off and made sure that I was able to get a good run coming off the corner," Harvick said. "He was outside there in the center of the corner, but I got a good drive off the corner. We did what we had to do."  Harvick, the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion, earned his 13th career victory in the Busch Series by surviving five late-race restarts and a fender rub.  "Jimmy Spencer got into the left-front fender there with 15 or 20 laps to go, and the car got really tight," Harvick said. "From then on, it was a matter of fending (McMurray) him off. It's a good thing we had all those restarts or we would have probably been second or third. To hold him off and do what we had to do was great."  Rounding out the top five were McMurray, Raybestos Rookie of the Year Kyle Busch, Reed Sorenson and Todd Bodine.  Martin Truex Jr., who clinched the NASCAR Busch Series championship last weekend, was officially crowned the champion in the official ceremony.  Truex Jr., who finished ninth after a pit road incident, received his trophy and celebrated with his Chance 2 Motorsports owners Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Group photo from Baja 1000 Group photo from Baja 1000A group photo from the Baja 1000 (L to R):
Jeff Zwart/grey beard, Roberto Guerrero, Michel Jourdain Jr., Oriol Servia, Bob Sutton, Rod Millen, Rhys Millen, Ryan Thomas, Danny Sullivan, Sebastien Bourdais.  (Photo by Tim Mantoani)
Industry News
Vote for Driver of 4th Quarter Vote for Driver of 4th QuarterPlease take the time to vote for the 4th Quarter Driver of the Year on the link below. Voting will end on Wednesday. Vote
San Jose makes tentative Champ Car deal San Jose makes tentative Champ Car dealUPDATE What follows is a statement released by the Champ Car World Series concerning yesterday’s announcement by Canary Fund Enterprises to stage the Silicon Valley race on the streets of San Jose. The statement should be attributed to Joe Chrnelich, Executive Vice President – Development, Government Affairs & Planning.   “We’re delighted to officially acknowledge the great city of San Jose as our newest member of the Champ Car family of venues.  The Bay Area market, and San Jose in particular, offers Champ Car all the elements that make for a long-term, successful event.  “We look forward to working with Canary Fund Enterprises and the city officials in showcasing San Jose for the world to see.” 11/20/04 San Jose city officials said Friday they have reached a tentative agreement to stage a grand prix car race in the streets surrounding HP Pavilion in July.  The deal with the race promoter -- the Woodside-based Canary Fund, a non-profit corporation dedicated to early cancer detection -- is contingent on the city council approving $650,000 from Redevelopment Agency and other non-general fund accounts to help shoulder the $3 million needed to prepare the race course and pay for public safety services.  The promoter will be responsible for funding the remaining $2.35 million to hold the Champ Car World Series event.  The proposal is scheduled for the council's Dec. 7 agenda, said Mayor Ron Gonzales's budget and policy director, Joe Guerra. Mercury News  Full press release - see feature article on our home page.
Richards: Breaking up is (not) hard to do Richards: Breaking up is (not) hard to doDavid Richards will leave British American Racing with his head held high.  "I delivered what I said would take five years in only three, and you cannot look upon that as a down. It's very positive," he said. "The senior directors at BAT are over the moon. It is by mutual wish that I won't be around in 2005. You have to pick your moments, and this was the time. The Prodrive era is over, and I clearly have a lot of obligations to other people. I have often joked that one day you would see me walking off into the sunset. As far as I am concerned, the job we were engaged to do at BAR is done. I can look back with satisfaction. And if and when Jenson wins next year I will be very happy. I will be sitting at home with my feet up, enjoying a beer and celebrating.

"The arrival of Honda is clearly a very solid and positive sign for the team at a time of uncertainty around F1 and its future. For the team the Prodrive era is over. This is the era of the car manufacturer. I like to think that Prodrive has built up the team's competitiveness and financial viability and the challenge always was to take the team to a place where BAT could sell it and move it forward. Personally it's been three years of hard work and high pressure environment here and I can look back with great satisfaction and go on to the next challenge. The BAR car will be extremely competitive next year; Honda has done a great job on the engine and the chassis is looking good. I believe that the elusive win is around the corner and that BAR can challenge Ferrari all the way down the line."

Richards says that it is not financially viable for small companies like Prodrive to invest in F1.  "You either need to be a major car manufacturer or a crazed multi-billionaire and I am neither of them. I am very excited to be taking Aston Martin back to Le Mans next year, and I feel guilty that I have not been able to do more in the WRC. I hope to correct that.   I also hope to spend more time with my family, which I have not done." Grandprix.com
NASCAR to blitz NY City NASCAR to blitz NY CityNASCAR sponsor Nextel plans to have numerous signs throughout New York as part of the sanctioning body's Champions Week celebration Nov. 28-Dec. 3, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. The company's black and yellow colors will be on 10 airport shuttles, 25 taxi tops, 25 phone kiosks around the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, 30 street vendor carts and 250,000 coffee cups around the city. Eight team show cars are scheduled for appearances at numerous locations, including Madison Square Garden, the Plaza Hotel and Times Square, starting Nov. 29. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter
2005 F1 testing begins Monday 2005 F1 testing begins MondayMelbourne may host the first Grand Prix of the 2005 season on March 6th 2005 but preparations of the forthcoming year begin next Monday in Barcelona.  The first session will be on Monday 23rd, with Ferrari and Toyota testing on the Catalan track. Tuesday through to Friday, BMW Williams, McLaren Mercedes, Renault, BAR Honda, Sauber Petronas and Red Bull Racing will be on track.  For fans interested in viewing the test sessions which run from 9am to 5pm local time, can purchase a ticket for just Four Euros and have access to the main grandstand as well as Grandstands E, F, J and K (east area – main straight); and grandstands G, C and H (north area – stadium area). Circuit de Catalunya
Ferrari in the heart of Manhattan Ferrari in the heart of ManhattanIn the year Ferrari celebrates its 50th anniversary in the United States, the Ferrari Maserati Group opens a new exclusive showroom in the place where the prancing horse first began its adventure in North America: New York City.

Park Avenue, one of the most elegant and renowned thoroughfares in the world, will be host to an exclusive factory corporate showroom for both the Ferrari and Maserati brands. The new facility is only blocks away from the site where Luigi Chinetti- winner of the 1949 Le Mans 24 Hours and the first US importer for the prancing horse- opened his atelier in the Spring of 1954. In the spanning 50 years, the United States has become the largest market in the world for both the Ferrari and Maserati brands.

The new showroom at the corner of Park and 55th is a window for the Ferrari Maserati Group in the heart of America’s economic capital. Not a dealership in the traditional sense, the showroom is directly managed by Ferrari Maserati North America, the official importer of both brands in the United States and Canada. Thanks to its prestigious location, the new Ferrari Maserati showroom acts as an ambassador, representing the finest in Italian industry to those in the heart of the US and international business world.
For Maurizio Parlato, President and CEO of Ferrari Maserati North America, the opening of the showroom in Manhattan is yet another chapter in the long and happy relationship between New York City and Ferrari. “I will never forget,” says Mr. Parlato, “the extraordinary emotion that we felt the night of April 7th of this year when the Empire State Building was lit in Ferrari red to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our presence in the United States.”

Of clear Italian design and decisive Italian tastes featuring large image panels capturing key moments of Ferrari's racing victories, while also demonstrating Maserati’s luxurious style and character, the showroom will act as a rendezvous point for meetings with the press, clients, celebrities and VIPs- not only Americans, but those in the international community who are visiting New York.

Clients interested in the latest Ferrari or Maserati products on display at the Park Avenue showroom will be directed to one of the four local dealers: Ferrari Maserati of Long Island; Miller Motorcars in Greenwich, Connecticut; Wide World of Cars in Spring Valley, New York; and Ferrari Maserati of Central New Jersey in Edison, New Jersey.

Ferrari is getting ready to close 2004 with the 12th straight record year. By December sales to clients will be 1400 units, versus 1350 in 2003. Maserati is ending its third year since returning to North America. Enormous is the success of the new Quattroporte which reached the market in mid-September of this year. This success comes also as a result of prestigious projects such as the Neiman Marcus special edition Quattroporte which sold out 60 units in 36 minutes. The flagship sedan was recently featured on the cover of LIFE magazine and has a portfolio of 1300 orders, equal to a waiting list of about one year.  The Ferrari Maserati showroom will open to the public today. Ferrari

Schumacher voted best of century Schumacher voted best of centuryGerman television viewers voted seven-times Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher the country's sportsman of the 20th century Friday. Eight-time Olympic canoe gold medalist Birgit Fischer was second and tennis champion Steffi Graf third in the poll, carried out some four years after most of the rest of the world decided their favorites. Schumacher, 35, has won the world championship seven times while Fischer, 42, won her eight gold medals for both East German and reunited Germany in Olympics over 24 years dating back to Moscow in 1980. Graf, 35, won 22 grand slam titles and was ranked number one in the world for a record 186 consecutive weeks. She held the top ranking for a total of 377 weeks -- another record. "I never would have expected an honor like this," said Schumacher, who won his seventh title this year. "It's a total surprise." More than 100,000 viewers voted in the contest, which was broadcast on ZDF television. Franz Beckenbauer, World Cup-winning captain and coach for West Germany, was fourth, ahead of three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker in fifth. Reuters
More on V10 vs V8 More on V10 vs V8A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, I've been meaning to write this for some time. I recently received an interesting CD as a recent birthday present. The name of the CD is "Exhaust Notes," the Champ Car Test Sessions edition. Having never heard the CD I dropped it into the player and casually cranked up the volume. I was amazed at the beautiful and ear piercing sounds I was hearing! I was so thrilled with the awe inspiring sounds that I sat between both speakers for an entire hour going through all 7 tracks, laughing with delight! This couldn't be right, I thought. Champ Cars just don't sound this good. Then I realized that the sounds were taken from the 1999 Champ Car. These were the 900hp-18,000rpm (Champ Cars never turned 18,000 RPM) engines of the "glory" days. The engines that inspired awe, excitement, and inspiration that what you were hearing was something extremely fast, powerful, and unique. The same engines that had Formula 1 engineers hanging their heads in shame when they first arrived at Indy for the 1st US Grand Prix. "Sadly, we don't quite have the performance from our engines as those in Champ Car," I remember one prominent F1 team manager saying during an interview. My point is that I've been a proponent of Mark C's V-10 formula, but mainly so I can, once again, have something to brag about to my F1 friends (although I also strongly agree with Mark's claims of adding some excitement and distance from the IRL back into the product with the V10). I want something they (the F1 guys) will respect and hopefully, even envy a bit. But, after hearing that CD, I could be persuaded to be content with the turbo V8 if it is spinning at 18,000rpm again producing 900hp. Yes, I understand the sound is a bit muffled compared to a normally aspirated V10, but I'm sure something can be done about that. The purchase of Cosworth by Kalkhoven and Forsythe is such a huge deal it opens up a tremendous amount of different opportunities to Champ Car that I'm still a bit conflicted on this topic at this point. Right now, it has to be either a screaming V10 or super high rpm and horsepower turbo V8........of that, I have no doubt. Derek Hughes, Cincinnati, OH  Dear Derek, First, Champ Cars never turned 18,000 RPM.  It was 17,000 RPM at best, and the Cosworth was closer to 16,000.   I also wonder if what you were hearing was the single-sided turbo engines that Honda and Toyota had.  By eliminating the muffler (turbo) on one side of the engine the wonderful sound was allowed to escape for all to enjoy.  Spinning an engine at 18,000 RPM makes the engine too expensive for Champ Car's use and will never happen, at least not in the near future.  You are right, the purchase of Cosworth by Kalkhoven and Forsythe is a very big deal, all of which will become more evident as time goes on. Mark C. 
World Series by Renault
New car hits track in Italy New car hits track in Italy[Editor's Note: This car is an evolution of last year's World Series by Nissan car and engine. Remember Nissan and Renault are joined at the hip commercially, and essentially Renault has taken over the Nissan program.] With preparations for World Series by Renault in full swing and the new single seater, developed from the Dallara chassis, is right on schedule. Yesterday saw the new car take to the track for the first time at Italy's Vairano circuit, under the keen eye of all the Renault Sport staff and partners. With Jonathan Cochet behind the wheel, the roar of the new 425bhp 3.5L V6 engine was soon to be heard trackside at Vairano, just south of Milan, and the first few kilometers were reassuring to watch. The engine has already demonstrated its potential in the course of exactly 18 hours of bench tests. "We are happy with this first outing, commented development manager Jérôme Mortal. This was very much a warm-up. The result is as expected and we're confident for the future." The new single seater, intended for the 30 drivers participating in the World Series 2005 championship, is now to embark on an exhaustive development process. "On the track, we'll be making sure that the technical performance is compliant with the initial specs," pointed out Jean-Paul Mari, Renault Sport's Motor Racing and Communications director. "Now the car's on the track, we can really roll up our sleeves and get to work on getting the reliability and the dynamics right." With an intensive schedule ahead, the Renault Sport development team has organized several test sessions before the end of the year. Jaime Alguersuari, Chairman of RPM Racing, was keen to stress: "the World Series 2005 is in full swing - racing schedule, teams, the car, we've got everything in place to be able to stage superb meetings next year."
Formula 3
Hamilton wins Macau GP qualifying race Hamilton wins Macau GP qualifying raceStarting from second on the grid, having set the pace in Thursday's first timed session, Lewis Hamilton led from lights to flag, after leaping past teammate Robert Kubica on the opening lap. Although Kubica made marginally the better start from pole position, Hamilton tucked in under his team-mate's rear wing, before making his move at the quick Mandarin bend when the Pole lifted off.

“It was very scary,” Hamilton said of his move, “Robert was covering the inside as I got the tow, so I pulled to the left to pass him. I wasn't quite close enough to get past him - and we could not go through side-by-side - so I hoped to scare him and make him lift, which he did!”

Kubica's hopes of making an instant response were dashed when the safety car appeared, having been summoned to clear the wreckage of a series of start-line incidents. Richard Antinucci, who had won the Korean leg of last year's Far East double-header, had made a slow getaway from third place on the grid and was clouted from behind by Nelson Piquet Jr, but there was a bigger incident further back in the pack.

Eric Salignon, only recently recovered from the road accident that ruled him out of the F3 Euroseries finale, slammed into the back of the stalled Kazuki Nakajima before spearing off into the barrier, while 'local' favourites Marchy Lee, Ho Pin Tung and Rodolfo Avila were also caught up in the shunt. Lee, stepping up to F3 after previous Macau success in Formula Renault, was forced to the right to avoid Nakajima's stranded car, but Tung, who had started directly behind the Meritus driver, was unable to avoid the evasive maneuver and the two clashed, sending Tung into the air and Lee in to the wall.

"I knew from my experience in Macau that the lights would go out quite quickly, and I made a really good start, but this meant I came up on the accident really quickly," Lee recalled, "The only way I could go was to the right and, unfortunately, Ho-Pin hit me."
1. Lewis Hamilton Manor Dallara-Mercedes 10 laps 33m 16.057s
2. Nico Rosberg Rosberg Dallara-Opel +02.284s
3. Alexandre Premat ASM Dallara-Mercedes +03.982s
4. Robert Kubica Manor Dallara-Mercedes +04.984s
5. Jamie Green ASM Dallara-Mercedes +05.454s
6. Fabio Carbone Three Bond Dallara-Nissan +07.551s
7. Loic Duval Signature Dallara-Opel +17.289s
8. Lucas di Grassi Hitech Dallara-Renault +18.888s
9. James Rossiter Signature Dallara-Opel +19.439s
10. Danny Watts Hitech Dallara-Renault +20.513s
11. Adam Carroll Menu Dallara-Opel +21.685s
12. Franck Perera Prema Dallara-Opel +23.761s
13. Katsuyuki Hiranaka Prema Dallara-Opel +24.752s
14. Robert Austin Menu Dallara-Opel +25.335s
15. Naoki Yokomizo Inging Dallara-Toyota +26.494s
16. Ronnie Quintarelli Inging Dallara-Toyota +27.688s
17. Alvaro Parente Carlin Dallara-Mugen +28.012s
18. Daisuke Ikeda Swiss Dallara-Opel +31.813s
19. Marko Asmer Carlin Dallara-Mugen +31.990s
20. Matteo Cressoni Ombra Dallara-Mugen +32.891s
21. Giedo van der Garde Signature Dallara-Opel +34.658s
22. Christian Jones TME Dallara-Toyota +55.774s
23. Michael Ho TME Dallara-Toyota +58.889s
24. Lei Kit Meng Ombra Dallara-Mugen +1m 43.680s
25. Jo Merszei Swiss Dallara-Opel +2m 01.384s
Rtd Richard Antinucci TOM's Dallara-Toyota 8 laps completed
Rtd Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet Dallara-Mugen 1 lap completed
Rtd Eric Salignon ASM Dallara-Mercedes 0 laps completed
Rtd Rodolfo Avila Carlin Dallara-Mugen 0 laps completed
Rtd Kazuki Nakajima TOM's Dallara-Toyota 0 laps completed
Rtd Ho Pin Tung Hitech Dallara-Renault 0 laps completed
Rtd Marchy Lee Meritus Dallara-Mugen 0 laps completed

Fastest lap:
Lewis Hamilton Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes 2min 12.801secs

Kahne wins truck race, Hamilton the Championship Kahne wins truck race, Hamilton the ChampionshipKasey Kahne held off Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave to win Friday's Ford 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Bobby Hamilton finished 16th to clinch the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship.  Kahne edged Musgrave by 1.106 seconds to earn his second straight NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory in his second career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start.   "We just kept getting better and better and worked our way up and had great pit strategy to get us up to the front," said Kahne, who is in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rookie campaign. "We needed to be there. I think if Ted would have started in the front of that final restart he would have won too. They had a great race truck also."

For Hamilton, who serves as both the driver and owner on the No. 4 Square D Dodge, he celebrated his first NASCAR title and the first Craftsman Truck Series championship for Dodge. The last time Dodge won a NASCAR championship was in 1974-75 with Richard Petty in NASCAR's premier series.   Hamilton, who was in a close championship battle with Dennis Setzer and Musgrave, was aware of the points implications throughout the race.  "We pretty much knew what was going on," Hamilton said. "If somebody made up a position or five positions, we pretty much knew what we had to do.  We had a pretty good truck. We just tried to use our heads out there."

Rounding out the top five in the Ford 200 were David Starr, rookie David Reutimann and Matt Crafton. Rounding out the top five in the championship standings were Setzer, Musgrave, Carl Edwards and Crafton.

Scenes from Baja 1000 Scenes from Baja 1000Here are some photos from the Baja 1000 showing Champ Car regulars Paul Newman, Michel Jourdain Jr, Oriol Servia and Sebastien Bourdais.

BajaPaulGettingIn.jpg BajaPaulGetIn.jpg BajaFinishChampGuys.jpg jBajaJurdainWinInCar.jpg BajaGroupPhoto.jpg
BajaPaulFront.jpg BajaBC9Team.jpg BajaNewmanSutMillenZwart.jpg BajaNewmanPrep.jpg BajaJourdainsSuttonHancock.jpg
BajaPaulCar.jpg BajaSebInCar.jpg


BajaPaulAndBob.jpg BajaPaulOut.jpg
BajaStrapIn.jpg BajaStrapIn2.jpg BajawinningteamBC4.jpg BajaServiaAndJourdainJr.jpg
Photos by Tim Mantoani

What’s wrong with the turbo V8’s? What’s wrong with the turbo V8’s?UPDATE Another reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Doesn't the turbo V8 make Champ Car unique in the USA and the tuner kids are hip on turbos. Steve Dickey, Seaside, NJ  Dear Steve,  V8's are commonplace in the USA.  V10's are rather unique.  Champ Car needs to be unique, especially in North America. ALMS has V8 turbos in some of their prototypes.

A V12 sounds better than a V10
A V10 sounds better than a V8
A V8 sounds better than a V6
A V6 sounds better than an I4. 

I question whether Champ Car will win over a lot of Tuner car fans.  I suspect it won't be a big number at all, because they like sideways racing and Champ Car racing is anything but sideways.  To hang ones hat on a turbo because you think it's going to bring in a lot of new fans is a bit naive in my book.  I have a 21-year old and a 16-year old who are into Tuner cars, and I can tell you there is almost zero connection to Champ Car's turbo for them.  The cars look totally different, sound totally different and don't go sideways.  However, when I took them to see an F1 race, they were completely blown away with excitement.  I keep hearing turbo this and turbo that for the tuner crowd, but the one thing almost every tuner car has is an exhaust system that makes them scream loud.  It's the sound, more than anything that counts.  Mark C.

11/19/04 A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I heard Kevin Kalkhoven say on Wind Tunnel that he likes the Champ Car turbo V8 engine, and I like many other fans like them too.  Why have you campaigned for the V10 formula instead? Dave Edwards, Boston, MA.  Dear Dave, To set the record straight, we like the turbo V8.  It's a great engine and has served Champ Car well for a very long time.  It sounds good, makes good power and there is a connection to the tuner car folks who are hip on turbocharged engines.  The series could stay with the existing engine and continue along with the same fan base who has stuck with the series.  However, if they want to inject new excitement into a stale product, and win over a lot of new fans (millions of F1 fans worldwide), they will have to switch over to a screaming V10.  Like it or not, the turbo V8 sounds good, the screaming V10 spectacular.  Sometimes just being good, isn't good enough and judging by the low TV ratings on Spike TV, it's clear the core USA fan base who claims to like those turbos, has become pretty complacent.  There's no silver bullet quick fix to the series woes, and the V10 isn't going to make Champ Car an overnight instant success, but it certainly will make millions stand up and take notice.  We urge anyone who disagrees to take in a F1 race this coming year.  Be prepared to be blown away. Mark C.
Newman and Bourdais Baja update Newman and Bourdais Baja updateUPDATE #2 The infamous face of actor and team co-owner Paul Newman can be seen rough riding through the desert south of the border with his Newman/Haas Racing driver and 2004 Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais, along with other familiar faces from the Champ Car circuit, in this year’s running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.

In addition to Newman and Bourdais, current Champ Car drivers Oriol Servia and Michel Jourdain, Jr. are joined with Champ Car veterans Michel Jourdain, Sr., Bernard Jourdain, and Danny Sullivan to challenge in the 37th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000.  They are competing against nearly 300 racers from 31 states and 10 countries in 26 Pro and five Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs during the great desert race in Mexico.

The November 16-20 rugged peninsula race of 1,016.3 miles in Mexico from Ensenada in Baja California to La Paz, in Baja California Sur will be the first time that Newman, Bourdais, and Sullivan have participated in this extreme desert event.

The aforementioned drivers join twelve other drivers from various forms of auto racing to form this year’s 2004 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Team CENTRIX.  Team CENTRIX is returning for the third consecutive year and is fielding five cars that are identically equipped Wide Open Baja touring cars with 2.4-liter motors to compete in the Baja Challenge Class.  The team is looking for a three-peat this weekend after winning the previous two Baja 1000 events. 

One of those five cars will be filled with the members of the Jourdain family of Mexico City.  Michel Jourdain, Jr. will be joined with his father, Jourdain, Sr., and Uncles Bernard and Jean Pierre in a family racing effort.

For the first time in the history of the running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the desert race will be televised on network television in the United States.  NBC Sports is producing a one-hour special to air on Saturday, December 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET.  This special broadcast will not only be to show the race, but get inside the human interest aspect of the many people involved in this race.

11/19/04   Seb started the race for his respective team while Paul got in on the second stint with Rod Millen as the navigator.  The Jourdain's encountered a boulder or some other obstacle in the opening hours of the race but were able to continue.  It was the first off-road race for Seb and Paul and first Baja for Oriol (not sure if he ran in other off-road races as his dad did Paris-Dakar five times so he/OS might have done some others..).  Oriol was to drive the early morning shift in the same car as Danny Sullivan. 11/19/04 Actor and Champ Car team owner Paul Newman reluctantly got out of the car after his stint in the Baja 1000 -- he wanted to drive more!  Paul made a "pre-run" immediately following the Champ Car Awards Banquet in Mexico City last Sunday (that's why he had to leave early) but Sebastien Bourdais first got in the car on Tuesday and again on Wednesday (but the car broke down limiting his time on Wednesday) before starting the Baja 1000 today.  They both competed for Team Centrix (financial, sponsor of the Denver GP) as did Oriol Servia, Michel Jourdain and others.  Team Centrix consisted of five teams in the Baja Challenge Class and their division of the race started at approx. 10:30 AM Thursday.
What's happening at Walker Racing? What's happening at Walker Racing?From our sources at Walker Racing - Most teams cannot keep 100% of its staff during the off-season if they don't know how many cars they will run next year, etc and it's no different at Walker Racing, who again this year has laid staff off for the winter months. . It is no different than last year at this time.  They would like to add a teammate for Mario Haberfeld and get Lolas in 2005.  It is no secret that they as a company would like to diversify into other areas that make business sense. In addition to looking at NASCAR and Grand-Am opportunities, they would also like to have a Formula BMW program for 2005. Diversification is nothing new for Walker Racing. Mark C.
Kodak renews with Doran team Kodak renews with Doran teamEastman Kodak today announced a renewal of its successful relationship with the Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Racing team in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, extending its sponsorship of the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 54 driven by Forest Barber and Terry Borcheller.
Vancouver race officially terminated Vancouver race officially terminatedUPDATE #2 [Editor's Note:  Champ Car has to be honest with themselves and answer why Vancouver attendance has been soft in recent years and what the real reason is for sponsors not wanting to step up to the plate and sponsor the event. Not having a driver from British Columbia in the race certainly would have helped (Valiante is from British Columbia), but the product is stale and needs a major refresh. Sound is key to the experience.  Sometimes being just good (turbo V8) just isn't good enough.]  Molson Sports & Entertainment has “pulled the plug” on the Champ Car Molson Indy Vancouver after 15 years, according to the CP. Part of the course will be used for the athletes’ village for the 2010 Olympics, and with “no new location on the horizon,” Molson “couldn’t find enough corporate sponsorship to make the event viable.” Molson Sports & Entertainment President Jo-Ann McArthur: “The bottom line is the business model couldn’t work because of the short-term nature of the future of the event. We talked to a number of business partners over the last few months to try to make it happen.” The Molson Indy events in Montreal and Toronto will still be run in ’05 CP. In Vancouver, Lena Sin reports the race “needed major sponsors –- including the Insurance Corp. of B.C. [ICBC] and B.C. Lottery Corp.” B.C. Lottery spokesperson Greg Walker said that the company “had actually increased its sponsorship for 2005 and was prepared to spend ‘several hundred thousands of dollars’” on the race. But ICBC spokesperson Doug Henderson indicated that his company decided not to sponsor the race “because it didn’t fit with the objective of investing in events that directly help reduce crashes –- road-safety initiatives, for example” Vancouver PROVINCE. Also in Vancouver, Gary Kingston notes “major sponsors like Bell Canada have pulled out in recent years and re-directed their financial commitments to the Olympics and Canadian amateur sports teams” VANCOUVER SUN 11/18/04 Molson's statement on cancellation of the Vancouver race - After exhaustive efforts to continue racing in Vancouver, Molson Sports and Entertainment announced today the difficult decision to discontinue the Molson Indy Vancouver.

“The decision to end the Molson Indy in Vancouver after fifteen fabulous years of racing was extremely difficult for all involved," said Jo-Ann McArthur, president, Molson Sports and Entertainment. “We have worked very hard with the Vancouver business community over the past few months to make every effort to continue racing prior to construction of the Olympic Village.”

“The Molson Indy Vancouver has always been a popular stop on our race schedule,” said Joe Chrnelich, Champ Car World Series Executive Vice President – Development, Government Affairs, and Planning. “We love the Vancouver market and very much appreciated the wonderful fan support we received.

“However, there were a variety of factors that contributed to the ultimate decision not to add the event to our 2005 calendar,” continued Chrnelich. “Many elements must be considered when determining the long-term viability of a new or established event and the economics must work for all parties involved. Clearly, planning for the Olympics has had an impact on our situation, but we certainly understand as the Olympics are an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a city.”

As one of the most successful community events in Vancouver, the Molson Indy Vancouver is well known for its contribution to the city’s international profile and economy. Over the race’s fifteen year history, the event contributed in excess of $250 million to the local economy.
“We’re proud of the tremendous impact this event has had on Vancouver and the role we played in bringing the race to the city,” said McArthur. “We sincerely thank our sponsors, the loyal fans and the province and city for their tremendous commitment and contribution to the success of this event. Our employees and REVV volunteers deserve special acknowledgment for all of their hard work to bring the world’s best motorsports to Vancouver.” "The Molson Indy has been a great event for Vancouver and we worked with Molson in their efforts to continue the race," said Vancouver Mayor, Larry Campbell. "While this is disappointing news, we appreciate the role Molson plays in bringing world-class entertainment to B.C., including their support of the 2010 Olympic Bid."

Molson will continue its support of community groups and active involvement in sports and entertainment across the province. To serve as a reminder of the race and the interest and importance it had in the community, Molson has committed a $100,000 legacy donation to the city. Molson will work with the City to allocate the money towards improvements in the neighborhood of the False Creek event site. Molson will also work closely with officials to refurbish the race site and remove all assets.

11/18/04 What follows is a statement released by the Champ Car World Series concerning today’s announcement by Molson Sports and Entertainment to discontinue the Molson Indy Vancouver race. The statement was made by Joe Chrnelich, Executive Vice President – Development, Government Affairs & Planning.  “The Molson Indy Vancouver has always been a popular stop on our race schedule. We love the Vancouver market and very much appreciate the wonderful fan support we received.  However, there were a variety of factors that contributed to the ultimate decision not to add the event to our 2005 calendar. Many elements must be considered when determining the long-term viability of a new or established event and the economics must work for all parties involved. Clearly, planning for the Olympics has had an impact on our situation, but we certainly understand as the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a city.  We will continue to work with Molson Sports and Entertainment on our tremendously successful Molson Indy Toronto event. We wish the city of Vancouver well in its Olympic endeavor and we hope future circumstances will again allow us to bring Champ Car racing back to the streets of Vancouver.”
Jeff Gordon signs fragrance deal Jeff Gordon signs fragrance dealJeff Gordon has signed on as a spokesperson for Elizabeth Arden’s Halston Z-14 men’s and women’s fragrance, according to NASCAR SCENE. A campaign featuring Gordon’s image on Halston Z-14 boxes will debut “at the start of next season.” Elizabeth Arden is sponsoring the “Season of Speed Sweepstakes,” which runs from February-August ‘05, with the grand prize a trip to the ’06 Daytona 500 to meet Gordon. Gordon becomes at least the second NASCAR driver to endorse a fragrance, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a deal with Drakkar Noir NASCAR SCENE
Brian France applauded for The Chase Brian France applauded for The ChaseWith the running of the Nextel Cup Ford 400 Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Brian France completes his first full-season as NASCAR Chair & CEO. In Miami, Cammy Clark writes France implemented “the most significant changes in a single season since the sport was founded” in ‘47 by his grandfather, Bill France Sr. Among the changes: Nextel replacing RJ Reynolds’ Winston brand as title sponsor of NASCAR’s elite series; the new “Chase for the Nextel Cup” points format; and the launch of the “Drive for Diversity” program with Magic Johnson serving as co-Chair. But the “biggest accomplishment of NASCAR as a sport this past year” was settling the antitrust lawsuit filed by SMI stockholder Francis Ferko. France said, “When I make a decision, I get a lot of input, and I’ve always done that. Then at the end of the day, I will make a decision that makes sense for the industry.” NASCAR Nextel Cup team owner Ray Evernham said, “This has been a transition year that will go down in history” MIAMI HERALD.

CHASE MAKES THE GRADE: Five drivers including Mark Martin have a chance to win the ’04 Nextel Cup heading into Sunday’s final race, and Martin said the Chase is “probably the single best thing that has happened for race fans in my era” MIAMI HERALD. France said of the new format, “It’s going as good as we could have hoped for, ... we always said that the second and third year are going to be better than the first as it gets traction and more acceptance.” Team owner Richard Childress added, “It doesn’t matter if I’m at a (sponsor) dinner or (an) autograph session; people want to know about the Chase. So it’s done what it’s supposed to do. It’s caused a lot of excitement. I think it’s refreshed the sport at the end of the year” NASCAR SCENE.

MEDIA EXECS LIKE IT TOO: NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer, on the Chase: “When you make a bold step like this you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. The fact is, what has happened is exactly what Brian France envisioned.” Fox Sports President Ed Goren added, “It’s close to unanimous that this was a brilliant move on NASCAR’s part to create something special” PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS . Schanzer added, “Brian France had a clear vision of how to increase interest in NASCAR. The truly inspired idea for the [Chase] has had its supporters and critics along the way, and we’ve all had to be patient to see the results of the new format. As we approach the final showdown, it is clear that the Chase is a resounding success. It has significantly increased the attention paid to and the audience watching NASCAR” WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL.

COLUMNIST REACTION: The Chase has garnered generally positive reviews among the nation’s media. Here is a sampling: The MIAMI HERALD’s Clark, in a separate piece, writes, “One thing is for certain: NASCAR is the big winner” MIAMI HERALD. In St. Petersburg, John Cotey: “I’m not sure NASCAR attracted any new fans ... but the casual observer’s interest is piqued” ST. PETE TIMES. Also in St. Petersburg, John Romano wrote the Chase “has slapped a new look on an old sport and created something even the most stodgy critic would have to appreciate. ... Looking back, it’s almost comical to see the furor the new points system created” ST. PETE TIMES. In Ft. Worth, John Sturbin: “It has delivered on the promise of increasing interest on all fronts” FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. In Seattle, Holly Cain: “NASCAR’s new-generation leadership has taken some risks, and the changes seem to be paying off” SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER.

Valiante stakes his claim on Champ Car future Valiante stakes his claim on Champ Car futureThis SPEEDTV.com article on Michael Valiante is an excellent overview of his attempt to land a fulltime ride in Champ Car.  His inaugural performance in Mexico City did not go unnoticed.
Jourdain Jr. first in class in Baja 1000 Jourdain Jr. first in class in Baja 1000Mexican Champ Car driver Michel Jourdain Jr. finished first in the Baja 1000 challenge class and 33rd overall. Full results
Roush announces 2005 truck lineup Roush announces 2005 truck lineupRoush Racing announced today its line-up of drivers for the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck season.  Nextel Cup veteran Ricky Craven and Roush’s “Race for the Ride” winner Todd Kluever will pilot Roush’s two Ford F-150s next year.

Craven, 38, comes to Roush with a wealth of experience in NASCAR racing.  He began his NASCAR career in the Busch North Series in 1990, moved up to the Busch Series in 1992 and ran his first full Nextel Cup season in 1995.  He won rookie-of-the-year honors in all three divisions.  Craven has also won two Nextel Cup races, with the most recent being one of the closest finishes in Cup Series history in 2003 when he beat Kurt Busch by .002 seconds, which officials tagged the closest finish in NASCAR since electronic scoring came into use in 1993.

“I am really pleased to join the Roush organization,” Craven said.  “I am looking forward to racing in the Craftsman Truck Series since the competition just gets better every year.  Our goal is to give Roush another truck championship next year, and I’m also excited to work with an outstanding rookie like Todd.  I think the combination will be exceptional.”

Kluever (pronounced Kleever), 26, hails from Sun Prairie, Wisc., where he began racing motorcycles at the age of 14.  In 2000, he began racing super late models in Wisconsin and was the track champion at Madison International Speedway in 2001.  He made the move to ASA in 2002 and has competed in that series for the past three years.   In 50 starts he has earned six top-five and 21 top-10 finishes with his own team.

“I was thrilled when I got the phone call the other day,” Kluever said.  “I left the last test at Darlington trying not to get my hopes up, but to be chosen for this ride is just amazing.  This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I have to thank everyone at Roush for making this happen for me.  I hope I can carry on the Wisconsin tradition of success at Roush that Matt Kenseth started.”

“Our truck program will be very strong next year with the combination of Ricky and Todd,” Jack Roush said.  “We are lucky to get a veteran driver with the talent and experience that Ricky brings to the table.  He will be a huge asset to our program and he will also be a great mentor for Todd.

“I was thoroughly impressed with Todd when I watched him test at North Wilkesboro,” Roush continued.  “He adapted to the truck quickly, and was smooth and patient.  I believe he has a bright future at Roush Racing.”

Formula BMW
Gelles Racing awarded BMW scholarship Gelles Racing awarded BMW scholarshipGelles Racing announced today the delivery of the last of its Formula BMW cars it will enter in the 2005 North American series. Team owner Bob Gelles is also proud to announce that Gelles Racing has secured Official BMW sponsorship. The Virginia-based team is currently undergoing extensive testing in order to evaluate candidates that will likely earn seats in the 2005 championship. Testing schedule can be found on the new Gelles Racing web site at the usual web address, www.gellesracing.com

"We obviously want to position ourselves to be the best team next year, says Gelles. We have been diligently recruiting new talent and will have some very quick drivers coming out of the top karting series across North-America. We plan to evaluate candidates on different race tracks from now until the beginning of the testing ban. We currently have four Formula BMW cars in our stable together with an impressive array of support equipment. I have spent considerable time assessing the merits of all the various junior championships and easily came to the decision, Formula BMW was a championship where I wanted to be in 2005."

"This is fantastic news that Gelles Racing gets involved with four cars! says Jim Bowie, Formula BMW series director. I look forward to working with Gelles for 2005 and beyond. This is one way we can we raise the bar for road racing marketing programs!

Testing sessions and scholarships available

Gelles team was testing recently at Summit Point, its home track, with karting ace drivers Jordan Dick and Robert Wickens, both BMW scholarship contenders. Two other drivers also attended: Brian Novak and Joe D’Agostino. Bob Gelles again: "We have a lot of data at this track and we agree this was not only a successful session but also one of the quickest ever. I was in attendance last summer during the official Formula BMW teams testing day at Summit Point, we were substantially below the times that they were posting. We will continue in the next weeks as many of our seat contenders will be going to Valencia, Spain with hopes of earning one of the coveted BMW scholarships. We have recently concluded a deal with our sponsors whereas any scholar driver will be supersized with $40,000.00, matching the same amount awarded by BMW if he races with Gelles next year.

More testing

Gelles Racing will be heading to Sebring next week for another evaluation/testing session with four more drivers on the famed 12-hours full course. More days are scheduled at Carolina Motorsports Park and Roebling Road Raceway in Georgia in December. Gelles Racing is the reigning 2004 Formula Renault Champion Team.

For more information, you may contact Bob Gelles at (703) 926-2474, email at bob@gellesracing.com or visit the Gelles web site at: www.gellesracing.com

Jarrett gets heart treatment Jarrett gets heart treatmentHickory Cardiology Associates/Western Piedmont Heart Centers announced today that it has completed a new form of therapy to treat Hall of Fame NASCAR driver Ned Jarrett for cardiac ischemia that led to his suffering frequent chest pains and fatigue. EECP(R) therapy, external counterpulsation, is an effective, noninvasive, outpatient treatment indicated for use in cases of angina.  "This therapy helped me greatly," said Jarrett, two-time champion of what is now known as the Nextel Cup series, father of current NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett and known in the NASCAR world as "Gentlemen Ned" for his warm and pleasant personality. "I no longer have chest pain and I have more energy again. It's been great for me and from what I've learned about EECP therapy, it can help a lot of other people, too."
Hattori to make NASCAR debut Hattori to make NASCAR debutUPDATE  Shigeaki Hattori, who had his license yanked by CART because he was too slow, failed to qualify for the truck race.  No surprise there.  Back to the IRL where the 100% throttle, no talent required, racing is more in tune with his ability. 11/18/04 Former CART driver and current part-time Indy Racing League driver Shigeaki Hattori will look to make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut this weekend from Homestead behind the wheel of the #01 Aisin Toyota. Pat Wall is listed as the owner. While never a threat in CART, Hattori from Okayama, Japan does have some solid finishes in his #16 EPSON Honda in IRL. Should he qualify for the event, he will be the only third Japanese driver to compete in an "official" NASCAR sanctioned points event. The other Japanese driver Toshio Suzuki, made his NASCAR Busch Series debut at Nazareth Speedway in 1996 for Joe Bessey. The other, Hideo Fukuyama driving in the now Nextel Cup Series for Travis Carter in 2002 and 2003. Catchfence
A1 Grand Prix
Yoong ready for A1 GP Yoong ready for A1 GPBeginning in September 2005, a brand new top level motorsport series, the A1 Grand Prix, will start a one-make championship that is expected to involve a minimum of 23 countries competing against each other in at least ten races in the winter months between September and March, during the period when Formula One takes a breaks - and Malaysia's former Formula One driver, Alex Yoong, will be running a team after securing the franchise for Malaysia recently.

The new series which is dubbed the World cup of Motorsport was set up with the aim of establishing the first world cup of Motorsport amongst nations. It offers businesses the opportunity to buy the national franchise for their country of origin that then allows them to run a single car in the A1 GP race series. China, Lebanon, Pakistan, Portugal, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada together with Malaysia are the nine countries which have finalized their franchise agreements with the organizers so far with another 6 countries in an advanced state of negotiations.

The aim is to capture the imagination and support of national audiences and inspire the type of national pride traditionally associated with the Olympic Games. To underline the national element, drivers must have family roots in the country they drive for and the cars draped in their national colors.

Yoong has complete confidence that the series is just what the Motorsport industry needs right now. "I think what they're doing is brilliant. As soon as I have read their complete plans, I immediately warmed to the idea," the former Minardi racer began. "It's never been tried before on this scale at this top level. The way they have gone about it and the support they are receiving from the various national teams' respective governments as a result, were very evident at the launches held so far in Dubai, London and South African," said Yoong who was at the South African launch officiated by President Mbeki recently at Johannesburg.

Yoong is confident that this will be the perfect vehicle to significantly increase the awareness of auto racing in his native Malaysia and help up and coming Malaysian talent who is chasing the Formula One dream.

"The A1GP will indeed reinforce Malaysia's efforts to promote Motorsports," he said. Formula One competes at the country's Sepang circuit every March and while it gets its fair share of spectators, the A1GP will increase the grass root activities in the development of Motorsports in the country as it offers another avenue at a high level besides Formula One."

The series will be running up to 30 identical single-seater racing cars built by Lola International. The car weighs only 600 kg and is fitted with Langford Performance Engineering 3.5 liter 520 BHP engine. Yoong also intimated that he will be concentrating on the business aspect of the A1 GP project at this point as it is important to get the right levels of support from Malaysian sponsors. "It goes without saying that results will be important, and so we will be doing everything we can to get the best people to fill the key roles within the team. Another one of our priorities will be grooming future Malaysian talents, whether they are mechanics, engineers, team managers or drivers. Throughout the next six months, we will be identifying potential team members to fill out those positions within the team. There will be a main driver and a reserve driver that will attend each A1 Grand Prix round and we will only confirm who they will be by around mid 2005."

"We need to get it structured right before we even think of that, but A1GP is more about national pride and winning for Malaysia." In addition, the Malaysian A1 GP franchise holder will also be looking at running a Formula BMW team or something similar in order to introduce a ladder system whereby aspiring Malaysian drivers/mechanics/engineers will get a chance to learn their respective craft before graduating to the A1 GP or to Formula One. Yoong Press Office

Fisichella raring to go Fisichella raring to goGiancarlo Fisichella will test the Renault R24 for the first time next Wednesday, and he's raring to go!

Giancarlo, you visited Enstone two weeks ago - what were your feelings then? It was quite an emotional day when I went back there for the first time, but everything went very smoothly. I did my seat fitting, and there were no problems at all getting comfortable in the car, and then met people around the factory. In fact, I left that evening even more excited about next year. I am looking forward to the challenge.

You will begin testing for the team at Barcelona in just under three weeks: what will be your objectives?
The sessions between now and Christmas will be about learning. We are using the old car so it is not my ultimate speed that will be important - it is about getting used to working with the team again, how I can drive the tires and just understanding the whole package. There is a lot of work to do.

How big a task will it be for you to adjust to the Michelin tires?
I think it will be quite a difficult element of our program, to work out and understand their behavior as well as testing the new specification tires for 2005. It is another thing that I need to adapt to, but we have enough time this winter to get on top of it without any problems.

What are your aims for the winter testing period?
By the end of the winter, I want to be completely ready to evaluate the new car as soon as it starts running. We hope that it will be quick straight away and it will be important to get plenty of mileage on it and on the engine before the first race. That will be a demanding period for the entire team and I want to make sure I am fully prepared for it. Renault F1 Team

Formula 3
Kubica takes Macau pole in final minutes Kubica takes Macau pole in final minutesCombined results of qualifying for the 51st Macau GP Formula 3 race.
1. Robert Kubica Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes 2m 12.155s
2. Lewis Hamilton Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes 2m 12.344s
3. Richard Antinucci TOM's Dallara-Toyota 2m 12.512s
4. Nico Rosberg Team Rosberg Dallara-Opel 2m 12.725s
5. Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet Sports Dallara-Mugen 2m 12.834s
6. Jamie Green ASM Formule 3 Dallara-Mercedes 2m 13.051s
7. Fabio Carbone Three Bond Racing Dallara-Nissan 2m 13.093s
8. Alexandre Premat ASM Formule 3 Dallara-Mercedes 2m 13.132s
9. Kazuki Nakajima TOM's Dallara-Toyota 2m 13.160
10. Lucas di Grassi Hitech Racing Dallara-Renault 2m 13.817s
11. Danny Watts Hitech Racing Dallara-Renault 2m 14.161s
12. Loic Duval Opel Signature Dallara-Opel 2m 14.283s
13. Franck Perera Prema Powerteam Dallara-Opel 2m 14.336s
14. Alvaro Parente Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen 2m 14.350s
15. Ronnie Quintarelli Inging Dallara-Toyota 2m 14.400s
16. Naoki Yokomizo Inging Dallara-Toyota 2m 14.435s
17. James Rossiter Opel Signature Dallara-Opel 2m 14.543s
18. Adam Carroll Menu Motorsport Dallara-Opel 2m 14.597s
19. Eric Salignon ASM Formule 3 Dallara-Mercedes 2m 14.597s
20. Katsuyuki Hiranaka Prema Powerteam Dallara-Opel 2m 15.010s
21. Robert Austin Menu Motorsport Dallara-Opel 2m 15.167s
22. Daisuke Ikeda Swiss Racing Team Dallara-Opel 2m 15.230s
23. Matteo Cressoni Ombra SRL Dallara-Mugen 2m 15.291s
24. Marko Asmer Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen 2m 15.824s
25. Marchy Lee Monarch Lubricants Redbull Meritus Dallara-Mugen 2m 16.225s
26. Giedo van der Garde Opel Signature Dallara-Opel 2m 16.712s
27. Ho Pin Tung Hitech Racing Dallara-Renault 2m 16.744s
28. Christian Jones TME Racing Dallara-Toyota 2m 16.871s
29. Michael Ho TME Racing Dallara-Toyota 2m 17.814s
30. Rodolfo Avila Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen 2m 20.074s
31. Lei Kit Meng Ombra SRL Dallara-Mugen 2m 21.298s
32. Jo Merszei Swiss Racing Team Dallara-Opel 2m 23.963s
Bourdais nominated for driver of quarter Bourdais nominated for driver of quarterUPDATE Bourdais is running against NASCAR’s Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR Busch Series driver Martin Truex Jr., Tony Schumacher from the NHRA, Steve Kinser from the World of Outlaws, and IRL driver Tony Kanaan. 11/17/04 Sebastien Bourdais finished the season in style winning from pole in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford’s season finale in Mexico City and is now being recognized for his successful 2004 Champ Car season-end campaign by being nominated for the SPEED Channel Driver of the Quarter. 

The 2004 Series Champion demonstrated astonishing on-track performances en route to his first Champ Car title.  He was the leader in poles, laps led, and victories in 2004.  Scoring eight poles, Bourdais went on to win five of his seven victories from the pole position.  The flying Frenchman took the lead in 11 out of 14 races this season producing a total of 443 laps led.  Bourdais stood on the podium ten times this year.

When he was not on the pole at the start of a race, he was in the top three.  The 2003 Rookie-of-the-Year started on the front row in 11 out of 14 races, making 15 consecutive top-three starts in only his sophomore year.

Born in Le Mans, France, the 25 year-old pilot also competed in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June of 2004 and is scheduled to compete amongst the latest title holders from all avenues of motorsports across the world in the Race of Champions – Nations Cup at the Stade de France in Paris in December.

Racing fans of all disciplines recognized Bourdais for his furious climb to the top as he was voted as the Driver of the Quarter for the third quarter of the 2004 season, winning the fan vote ahead of seven other nominees for the honor.  Despite winning the fan vote, he finished second in the overall ballot. 

“I think that it is great to get nominated again for the second time for this award,” said Bourdais on his nomination for the fourth-quarter voting.  “A big part of it comes from the accomplishments of the Newman/Haas Racing team; thanks to having such a great crew with the McDonald’s team, I was able to have such a great year. It was a very nice surprise to have won the fan vote during the third quarter amongst all of the other popular nominees.  It goes to show that people are watching Champ Car and that is great!  It shall be very interesting to see how the vote pans out this time around, I am very excited.”

In its 38th year, the Driver of the Year award will be determined by an independent vote of an 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on a cumulative tally by fans voting online.

Be sure to vote for the 2004 Champ Car World Series Champ Sebastien Bourdais by logging on to www.speedtv.com.  Fan voting for the 4th Quarter 2004 Speed Channel Driver of the Year will take place online until Noon ET on Wednesday, November 24.  The winner will be announced exclusively on Speed News November 28 at 7 p.m. ET.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Button's new management
Red Bull deal 'highly likely'
BAR and Honda - 'no comment'
Arbitration 'undecided'
Fisi to tackle tricky test
Winning F1 merchandise
BMW have 'stamina'
American up to Speed in F1
Briscoe and Jordan
Sauber tire deal limited
Zanardi in America
Red Bull to stay in England
'Right time' for Ralf exit
Head claim 'unfair' - Jacques
Anderson working with Midland
'No problem' at fitting
'Pleased' with tire advance
Frank hasn't decided - team
Did you know ... ?
Stewart buys a race track Stewart buys a race trackTony Stewart announced on Wind Tunnel that he had purchased the Eldora Speedway from Earl Baltes.
Björn Widheim: "We will see what happens now" Björn Widheim: "We will see what happens now"This Swedish website article has Wirdheim's perspective of the two-day test. Björn Wirdheim has just finished a two-day test with Champ Car team PKV-racing. Next week he will participate in another test - with Red Bull's new F1-team.

Where will Björn Wirdheim race next year? Maybe that will be decided in the two coming weeks. He is on his way back home from the USA and a test at Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama with PKV Racing, where the "V" is for Jimmy Vasser. It was two good days on the new track, says Björn to Racewebb.se

Besides Björn, Ryan Dalziel also tested, a Scotsmen who finished second in the Toyota Atlantic championship. Jimmy Vasser was also said to test, but that was not the case.

Ryan and I drove both days and because it was a new track, the grip improved all the time we were testing. I was fastest the first day. But the next day the team wanted to do a pretty complicated test with me. I believe that Ryan was one or a few tenth's faster than me, says Björn. The team was pleased with my performance, so we'll see what happens

Mears wins Busch pole with record Mears wins Busch pole with recordNASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series hot shoe Casey Mears, driver of the No. 1 Miccosukee Resorts Dodge, shattered the NASCAR Busch Series qualifying record with a lap of 177.936 mph during Thursday's Ford 300 qualifying session.   2004 NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. took the outside pole by posting a lap of 177.009 mph in the No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Chevrolet. Rounding out the top five were Paul Menard (176.916), Kasey Kahne (176.869) and Kyle Busch (176.696).  Mears' qualifying lap snaps the previous track record held by Greg Biffle, who won the Ford 300 pole in 2003 with a lap of 177.416 mph.  "Everything was in our favor there," said Mears of his third career Busch Series pole. "We had a great car and the conditions cooled off there at the end and I think helped us a little bit and it made me hungrier. It was fun, it's cool, anytime you can run a lap like that and set a new track record, that's awesome."  With the Busch Series title secured, Truex Jr. says he can pull out all the tricks in his bag as he tries to win Saturday's Ford 300.  "We're going to try to win the race, which is what we have always tried to do," Truex Jr. said. "But I think we can take some extra gambles if it comes down to fuel mileage or something like that. I think we can make some gutsy calls that we haven't been able to do all year long."
Dalziel smokes Wirdheim Dalziel smokes WirdheimUPDATE A reader adds, I think that your point is well taken about promoting from within. But what you don't put in is that Townsend Bell was promoted but not given much of a chance either, although more than many. If you look at test times between him and Servia you will find T Bell while at Patrick he was almost always faster. Initial testing between T Bell and Wirdheim in F3000 had him, often times, just as fast at tracks he had never seen in equipment he never drove. T Bell was very fast at many tracks in his limited Champ Car career in a Reynard especially at Portland and Laguna Seca. T Bell SMOKED Fogarty in Indy Lights. T Bell stayed right with Scott Dixon in his rookie year in Indy Lights. He also SMOKED Mario Dominquez in Indy Lights and in his rookie year in Champ Car. He had more points in only half a season with Dominquez only getting rookie of the year when he won his fluke victory and now they are talking about him going to F1? I guess my point is that you can be fast like T Bell but you better make the right choice as to what team you go with and make the best of when you are there. T Bell was fast but he was too aggressive trying to make things happen with his outdated Reynard. Good to see that Servia made such an impact in the years since T Bell lost his seat, the victories have really been stacking up. About T Bell knocking on doors in either Champ Car or IRL, he is a driver without a bankroll much like Memo Gidley. He is an unwilling participant in the rift between the two sanctioning bodies. How many drivers who are on the cusp can afford to be too proud and just sit things out. I think he just wants to drive and make a living as a professional race car driver in whatever circumstance he can get. Also, when he tested for Jaguar F1 he was right with Wirdheim and Klien. He definitely has the ability, however, we may never see it. I guess I'm just tired of people bashing the guy who is just looking for the right circumstance to highlight his ability... I'm sure his preference would be to drive in a road racing series but he is probably running into many roadblocks as are many drivers. Like your piece says, give credit where credit is due... Name withheld by request 11/18/04 Give credit where credit is due. Both to the individual driver and to the ladder series Championship that trained him. Despite previous reports, AutoRacing1.com has confirmed that Ryan Dalziel was BOTH days consistently on average MORE than half a second faster than Bjorn Wirdheim. Our understanding is FT to FT on day 1, it was over a full second, and the 2nd day FT to FT was 7/10ths.
On the final day, at the end of the day, the team plugged in the best setup of the drivers choosing gave them sticker tires and Dalziel was immediately half a second faster. In that final, 'put everything together that we have done over the last two days with stickers' FT to FT Dalziel was 4/10ths faster.
This is against the 2003 F3000 Champion who has tested at both Jordan and BAR F1. It should be noted that Wirdheim smoked Townsend Bell in F3000 who is also clamoring to get back into a Champ Car (CC) seat despite beating on every IRL team door. When are the 'old guard' at Champ Car going to realize, accept, understand, and respect the fact that home grown drivers are every bit as capable of competing with Euro drivers if given the right tools.
The fact that Dalziel smoked Wirdheim on a track neither had seen, by the way the track as a platform for testing drivers has probably been eliminated for future driver evaluations because it is so extremely high grip that it does not allow the car to step out or get on edge and with Champ Car racing on predominantly low grip circuits evaluating driver control of the car in those types of situations cannot be done there, and that Dalziel had little high horsepower experience shows that top Atlantic drivers can get the job done if given the chance (Wirdheim previously tested a Champ Car and has high horsepower experience).
What about Jon Fogarty? He beat Dalziel and the field to the Championship last year and is a two time Atlantic Champion. Champ Car wake up and smell the ROSES that are just beneath your noses. Why will drivers queue up to Champ Car ladder Series and gather the million dollars it takes to run at the top (even 500k target price in the coming years is a lot of money for most young drivers to come up with) if even two time Champions don't get serious consideration?   It should be noted that when Michael Valiante tested a Champ Car head-to-head on a low-grip track against Dalziel he was that much faster, but Valiante, another Atlantic driver, was not invited to this test.  Why? Mark C.
IRL car on display at NASCAR event IRL car on display at NASCAR eventA specially decaled IndyCar Series car will be on display Nov. 18-21 on the midway at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the NASCAR event weekend at the track.  The car features the IndyCar Series season-opening Toyota Indy 300 logos and will be used by the track to promote the March 6 event throughout the winter in South Florida.
IRL Partners With Licensing Leader IRL Partners With Licensing LeaderIn an effort to broaden and enhance its licensing reach, the Indy Racing League has signed an agreement with Licensing Partners International, a leading sports and entertainment licensing agency.  Licensing Partners International, which has offices in Florida, Atlanta, Toronto and the New York metropolitan area, will assist the league's current licensing staff in the oversight of the IRL's licensing program.  "We are excited to launch our new partnership with LPI," said Bill Long, vice president of marketing for the Indy Racing League. "Their success with other sports leagues, coupled with their integration with the Collegiate Licensing Company, will provide the resources and relationships needed to take the IRL's licensing program to a new level of success."
National Guard stays with Roush National Guard stays with RoushThe National Guard and Roush Racing are pleased to announce an extension of their NASCAR Nextel Cup partnership into the 2005 season.  The National Guard will maintain its primary role with Roush Racing’s No. 16 NASCAR Nextel Cup entry and driver Greg Biffle.

“We couldn’t be happier with the program at Roush Racing,” said LTG Roger Schultz, Director of the Army National Guard.  “Greg, Doug (Richert, crew chief) and the team there have done an excellent job representing the Guard and we want to continue the relationship we’ve built over the last 10 months.

“The win at Michigan was a milestone for the National Guard as I understand it was the first win for a military-backed team in the Cup Series.  This season has been a morale boost for our soldiers working both here and overseas and I expect we’ll have even more to cheer for in 2005.”

The National Guard began their involvement in NASCAR in 2002 and joined Roush Racing last December.  In a partnership with Subway, Travelodge and Jackson Hewitt, the National Guard took on a primary role with the No. 16 team and debuted their signature red, white and blue Ford shortly before the Daytona 500.

“I was extremely pleased when I learned that the National Guard would continue to be a major part of our Cup program,” said Jack Roush.  “This year, we’ve had the privilege of having soldiers from the Guard at every race.  I have enjoyed the opportunity to thank them personally for what they do for our country and look forward to carrying the relationship into 2005.”

Biffle shares Roush’s appreciation of the unique relationship between the team and the National Guard.   “It means a little bit more when you know there are soldiers up in the middle of the night, overseas, who have stayed up just to cheer for their car in the Nextel Cup race,” said Biffle.  “This season, we’ve had the chance to hear stories and meet soldiers who were either just returning home or were preparing for deployment.  I was happy to put their car in victory lane at Michigan and I look forward to the opportunity to put the National Guard Ford in the winner’s circle a few more times in 2005.”

Alex Sperafico still eyes Champ Car seat Alex Sperafico still eyes Champ Car seatThis SPEEDTV.com article says (excerpts), Being known as “the other” Sperafico through most of his career hasn’t exactly boosted Alexandre Sperafico’s prospects of landing competitive seats.........One Barber Dodge win in 2001 encouraged Alex to join his cousins in F3000 the following year. But the money lasted for only nine championship rounds........After having “several discussions” with team owners during the CCWS season finale at Mexico City, Sperafico is back to Brazil, spending his time with the de rigueur off-season activity of all upcoming drivers: sponsor-chasing.  “Champ Car is now a much better option [for drivers and sponsors] than it was this time last year. The series has managed to survive through ‘04, and [will] grow ever more from now on,” he believes.  Sperafico knows time is of the essence in Champ Car’s wide-open silly season.  “Most seats are still available, but the series’ expected growth has raised the interest of several drivers. It seems like the whole world was in Mexico looking for a ride,” he jokes.  For Alex and other Champ Car wannabes, the clock is ticking: “I definitely want to sort everything before the end of this year,” he says, before hinting he’s done with also-ran status: “But on the other hand, we must also be patient to secure a competitive seat.”
Champ Car, Like a Phoenix Rising from the ashes Champ Car, Like a Phoenix Rising from the ashesRecall the article by AutoRacing1.com over two years ago, CART, Like the Phoenix, about to rise from the ashes.   It's interesting to note that this Globe and Mail article calls Champ Car a Phoenix Rising from the ashes too.
Zanardi book promotion news Zanardi book promotion newsTwo-time Champ Car World Series champion Alex Zanardi will be a busy man during the months of November and December as he heads to the states to promote his new book “Alex Zanardi – My Sweetest Victory” and one of his first stops will be on SPEED Channel’s popular motorsport show “Wind Tunnel” next week.  Zanardi is a racing icon like no other, surviving a horrific accident at the Eurospeedway in Lausitz, Germany where he lost both of his legs, only to recover living life to its fullest despite his handicap and becoming an inspiration to many in more ways than one.  The vibrant Italian will make a guest appearance on “Wind Tunnel” with Dave Despain on Tuesday, November 23 at 10 p.m. ET to discuss his new book with the hopes of sharing his story to his American fans.   In his new book, “My Sweetest Victory”, the 1997 and 1998 series champion takes his fans and readers through his childhood in Italy to the ups and downs of his successful racing career that started in Karting, taking him to Formula 1, and his infamous Champ Car days.  The story also includes his description of the terrible accident back in September of 2001, his long road to recovery, and his triumphant return to Lausitz in 2003 to complete his 13 unfinished laps from the German 500 in a specially modified 750 hp Champ Car.  In addition to his appearance on “Wind Tunnel”, Zanardi is scheduled to appear on the “Late Show with David Letterman” which is scheduled to air on December 3rd and be sure to look for him on various other national and local media outlet during the next two months as well.  Zanardi’s U.S. trip will also include an appearance in Beaver Creek, CO on December 1st where he will make a demonstrative ski run during the Alpine Ski World Championship event.
Kanaan defends da Matta Kanaan defends da MattaSpeaking to a late night talk show in Brazil earlier this week, Tony Kanaan got onto the topic of his friend Cristiano da Matta being let go by the Toyota F1 team.  “There was no Japanese involvement,” he said in regard to the dumping of da Matta. “I am positive this was the works of Europeans trying to justify poor results to the parent company in Japan. With all due respect for Ricardo Zonta and Jarno Trulli, they didn’t do any better after replacing Cristiano. So the issue clearly wasn’t the driver. I think Cristiano eventually paid a high price for speaking his mind that the 2004 Toyota chassis was slower than the 2003 model.”
Talladega rejects weekend schedule change Talladega rejects weekend schedule changeCount Talladega Superspeedway among the tracks holding out on NASCAR's new plan to shorten race weekend schedules during the 2005 Nextel Cup season.   Several tracks are not buying into the plan, which would move qualifying from Fridays to Saturdays at most tracks. Most of the holdouts are tracks that have sponsored qualifying days or typically draw large crowds for the runs for the pole.  "Right now, we have no plans to change anything," Kristi King, director of public relations at Talladega Superspeedway, said. "We're sticking to what we have scheduled. We'll continue to look at it and talk with NASCAR as we go forward."   The Friday qualifying days for both Talladega race weekends are sponsored, in the spring by The Birmingham News and in the fall by Discount Food Mart.
Petty to switch engines Petty to switch enginesPetty Enterprises will begin using Evernham Motorsports engines beginning with testing for the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. The organization fields the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge of driver Jeff Green and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge of driver Kyle Petty. Petty Enterprises is the winningest organization in major league motorsports.  "We are constantly looking for ways to improve our performance and to run better as a team," said Petty, who is also CEO of Petty Enterprises, "We at Petty Enterprises worked very closely with Evernham Motorsports to develop the Dodge program. Ray has been very gracious in his comments about the role of Petty Enterprises in that effort. We have continued to work closely with Evernham and with Dodge on many aspects of our program since then, and we see this alliance in the engine program as a natural evolution of our relationship.  "Evernham Motorsports has really moved into the forefront in regards to Dodge engine development and we're excited to be part of that," Petty continued. "We've made some big strides with our chassis and bodies, so this was obviously the next step."  In its fourth year of operation, Evernham Motorsports has moved to the elite among NASCAR teams. The organization, which has one driver in the Chase For The Championship and a second 12th in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings while leading Rookie of the Year, has 13 poles, five race wins, 45 top fives and 81 top 10s.  "We have been working with Kyle and Petty Enterprises on behalf of Dodge the past four years, and they have a solid organization. The chassis are pretty much where they want them to be," Evernham said. "We feel we can help them on the horsepower side as well, and help them continue to build their program. We're all very excited at working even more closely with Petty Enterprises in 2005." Williams Company PR
Franchitti completes first Infineon test Franchitti completes first Infineon testAfter being rained out last week, Dario Franchitti became the first IRL IndyCar Series driver to test the Infineon Raceway road course during a one-day compatibility test on Wednesday.    The Scot completed nearly 70 laps around the circuit during the test, running at approximately 90-percent of the car's capacity. He suggested fans could expect to see the IRL cars reach top speeds near 160 mph during the IndyCar Series event at Infineon Raceway, August 26-28. This will mark the first permanent road-course race in the 10-year history of the IRL.  The one-day test was completed on the same 12-turn, 2.2-mile circuit that will be used for the inaugural IndyCar Series event at Infineon Raceway.  "I think this is going to be a very physical race for the drivers," said Franchitti, who finished sixth in IndyCar Series points in 2004. "I've never been on a track like this. You're really compromising on every turn.   The tight turns and drastic elevation changes at Infineon Raceway will put increased demand on the cars' brakes and transmissions, necessitating changes to prepare the oval-ready cars for road courses. The compatibility test at Infineon Raceway, which also allowed IRL officials to evaluate the facility, was originally scheduled for Wednesday, November 11, but was rescheduled due to rain.  "This course is really challenging and I was quite taken aback at first," said Franchitti. "The corners are very quick, which makes it difficult. These cars accelerate very quickly, so you're coming into the corners very fast."
ALMS moves Mosport date ALMS moves Mosport dateAfter careful consideration involving fan input, the event promoter, television partner and sponsors, the American Le Mans Series has decided to make a minor adjustment to its 2005 schedule.  Resulting from cooperation between the event organizer and supports series, the ALMS has changed the date of the event at Mosport International Raceway near Toronto from August 26-28 to September 2-4 in order to provide the best possible package of racing, headlined by the ALMS and involving the SCCA SPEED World Challenge. The ALMS race will continue to be televised live by SPEED Channel across North America and on MotorsTV in Europe.   "The American Le Mans Series decided to make this change to further strengthen our annual event at Mosport International Raceway," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "With a small modification to the series schedule, the American Le Mans Series will provide Mosport fans another incredible weekend of the world's best sports car racing. We have enjoyed record crowds the last two years at Mosport and this adjustment is a testament of the American Le Mans Series' continued commitment of truly being 'for the fans.'"  Mosport International Raceway and its fans will benefit from the schedule change as both classes of the SPEED World Challenge will now have the opportunity to take part in the event and bring a full weekend of professional sports car racing to Canadian fans.
REVISED 2005 American Le Mans Series Schedule
Mar. 16-19 - 53rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring (FL) International Raceway, (3.7 mile), 12 hours (SPEED Channel).
Apr. 15-17 - Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA, (2.54 mile), 2 hours 45 minutes (CBS)
May 20-22 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, OH, (2.225 mile), 2 hours 45 minutes (CBS).
July 1-4 - Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, CT (1.54 mile), 2 hours 45 minutes (SPEED Channel).
July 15-17 - Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA (2.53 mile), 2 hours 45 minutes (CBS).
July 29-31 - Portland (OR) International Raceway, (1.944 mile), 2 hours 45 minutes (SPEED Channel).
Aug. 19-21 - Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI (4.048 mile), 2 hours 45 minutes (SPEED Channel).
Sep. 2-4 - Mosport International Raceway, Bowmanville, ON, Canada (2.459 mile), 2 hours 45 minutes (SPEED Channel).
Sept. 29-Oct. 1 - Chevy presents Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA (2.54 mile), 1,000 miles or 10 hours (SPEED Channel).
Oct. 14-16 - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA (2.238 mile), 4 hours (SPEED Channel).
NASCAR street festival in Ft. Lauderdale NASCAR street festival in Ft. LauderdaleFor the third consecutive year, the official kickoff of Ford Championship Weekend - Ford RaceFest - takes over the streets of downtown Ft. Lauderdale at Las Olas Riverfront on Thursday, November 18 from Noon - 11 p.m. This free-to-the-public street festival, presented by Homestead-Miami Speedway, features NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver autograph sessions, NASCAR showcars, interactive racing displays, official NASCAR souvenirs, live musical entertainment, food and beverage, and much more. "Ford RaceFest is always a huge hit as the sport of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup visits the streets of downtown Fort Lauderdale," said Curtis Gray, President Homestead-Miami Speedway. "It's the perfect place to kick off this year's Ford Championship Weekend, the most anticipated race weekend in the history of Homestead-Miami Speedway."
Study claims IRL TV value up Study claims IRL TV value upUPDATE A reader adds, Apparently, this ridiculous study, did not reach "Chevrolet" in time to prevent them from dumping the IRL from their future racing plans when they noted TV ratings had plummeted. Miles Cavendish, Beaconsfield, UK 11/17/04 [Editor's Note: This is amazing. IRL TV ratings went down 20% in 2004 from the previous year yet sponsor TV value went up? A similar claim was made the previous year. At this rate, when viewership reaches zero, which won't be too many years, sponsor value should reach $1 trillion or so. Where do we sign up?] IRL IndyCar® Series sponsors saw a 33 percent increase in the comparable value of their sponsorships during the 2004 IndyCar Series season, according to the year-end report compiled by Joyce Julius and Associates. The report, which tracks exposures for all event telecasts during the season, found that the overall exposure value during the season was $303,536,815 up $76 million over 2003. It also found that overall television time increased by 7 hours, 13 minutes and 55 seconds, a 15 percent increase, while overall sponsor mentions were up 413, a 17 percent increase.
Team sponsors accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total in-focus exposure time and nearly 30 percent of all verbal recognition. The top-25 team sponsors averaged $800,000 more in exposure value for the season than they did in 2003. Leading the team sponsors in exposure was 7-Eleven, the primary sponsor of 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan. The company received $11,730,880 in exposure through its use of in-car cameras, driver uniform, car identity, crew member uniforms and shirts. Overall, 7-Eleven and its Big Gulp brand generated a combined $15,782,765 in comparable value, according to the report.

Target, the primary sponsor of Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Darren Manning, received $8,745,205 in exposure in 2004 through its use of in-car cameras, driver uniforms, verbal references, car identity and crew member uniforms. Pioneer, which served as co-sponsor of Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice's car, and primary sponsor of Tora Takagi received $7,781,640 in exposure.

"Marketing partnerships are an integral part of the league's success and we are very pleased to see the results of league, team, driver and event sponsors in this report," said Ken Ungar, senior vice president, business affairs for the IRL. "With the benefit of long-term television stability with ABC Sports and ESPN we look forward to continuing to maximize benefits to sponsors via the IndyCar Series."

The annual report contains year-end exposure for all entities. During each broadcast, all clear, in-focus exposure time was monitored and tabulated in the Sponsors Report. In addition, mentions of a sponsor's or entity's name or product were counted and valued. To determine a dollar value for each sponsor's exposure, on-screen time and mentions were compared to a network's estimated cost per 30-second commercial rate for each particular telecast.

The Sponsors Report provides comprehensive documentation of in-broadcast brand exposure during sports, special event, and entertainment television programming. Offered by Joyce Julius and Associates since 1985, the Sponsors Report has become the most recognized name in television exposure valuation. IRL

Dubai teamed doomed to also-ran status Dubai teamed doomed to also-ran statusIt looks like the Minardi team will have company at the back of the grid when the Midland and Dubai F1 teams join the grid in 2006. According to Arabian Business the Dubai team is expected to spend a billion dollars in the first seven years of its operation. However, this equates to $143 million a season, significantly less than many current top-line Formula One teams some of who spend over $400 million per year and have decades of experience. McLaren and Mercedes have already gone on record stating that negotiations are ongoing for cooperation between them and the Dubai team. It is expected that the new team will enjoy the use of Mercedes engines (probably year old ones), while speculation suggests that the new team will take over and redevelop the old McLaren factory now that McLaren's new Paragon facility is up and running.
Formula 3
Macau GP Qualifying times Macau GP Qualifying timesThursday first round qualifying times from the F3 race in Macau, China. Interestingly enough, last year's winner, Richard Antinucci from the USA is once again ahead of guys like Nico Rosberg and Nelson Piquet Jr., yet no one in the USA bothers to give the guy a test in a Champ Car.  The Macau GP is the Indy 500 of Formula 3 racing where only the best come to race from Europe and Asia. 
1. Lewis Hamilton Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes 2m 12.344s
2. Jamie Green ASM Formula 3 Dallara-Mercedes 2m 13.372s
3. Fabio Carbone Three Bond Racing Dallara-Nissan 2m 13.786s
4. Richard Antinucci TOM's Dallara-Toyota 2m 13.791s
5. Danny Watts Hitech Racing Dallara-Renault 2m 14.161s
6. Nico Rosberg Team Rosberg Dallara-Opel 2m 14.331s
7. Franck Perera Prema Powerteam Dallara-Opel 2m 14.336s
8. Kazuki Nakajima TOM's Dallara-Toyota 2m 14.345
9. Ronnie Quintarelli Inging Dallara-Toyota 2m 14.400s
10. Alvaro Parente Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen 2m 14.435s
11. Adam Carroll Menu Motorsport Dallara-Opel 2m 14.597s
12. James Rossiter Opel Signature Dallara-Opel 2m 14.655s
13. Alexandre Premat ASM Formula 3 Dallara-Mercedes 2m 14.776s
14. Naoki Yokomizo Inging Dallara-Toyota 2m 14.849s
15. Loic Duval Opel Signature Dallara-Opel 2m 15.263s
16. Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet Sports Dallara-Mugen 2m 15.297s
17. Robert Austin Menu Motorsport Dallara-Opel 2m 16.088s
18. Katsuyuki Hiranaka Prema Powerteam Dallara-Opel 2m 16.623s
19. Ho Pin Tung Hitech Racing Dallara-Renault 2m 16.993s
20. Robert Kubica Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mercedes 2m 17.217s
21. Michael Ho TME Racing Dallara-Toyota 2m 17.814s
22. Matteo Cressoni Ombra SRL Dallara-Mugen 2m 17.875s
23. Daisuke Ikeda Swiss Racing Team Dallara-Opel 2m 18.588s
24. Marchy Lee Monarch Lubricants Redbull Meritus Dallara-Mugen 2m 18.979s
25. Christian Jones TME Racing Dallara-Toyota 2m 19.280s
26. Lucas di Grassi Hitech Racing Dallara-Renault 2m 19.286s
27. Marko Asmer Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen 2m 19.600s
28. Eric Salignon ASM Formula 3 Dallara-Mercedes 2m 20.727s
29. Lei Kit Meng Ombra SRL Dallara-Mugen 2m 21.298s
30. Rodolfo Avila Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen 2m 22.576s
31. Jo Merszei Swiss Racing Team Dallara-Opel 2m 24.250s
32. Giedo van der Garde Opel Signature Dallara-Opel 20m 20.835s
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Honda bought BAR - report
DC to front Dubai - magazine
Want to buy a F1 ride?
Verstappen to return
Liuzzi 'full of potential'
'God Save The ... ?'
Coulthard to test
Red Bull 'offered' tire deal
Pizzonia 'most likely'
Berger to spurn F1 return
Britain to woo youngsters
Did you know ... ?
Will BMW quit?
New members of PKV Racing New members of PKV RacingPhotos, courtesy of Champ Car, of new PKV Racing Team Manager Jim McGee and Steve Krisiloff at Barber Motorsports Park where the team was testing Bjorn Wirdheim and Ryan Dalziel.

Wirdheim test news Wirdheim test newsHere are some photos from Bjorn Wirdheim's test with PKV Racing, courtesy of Champ Car.


Kahne to run No. 2 truck again Kahne to run No. 2 truck againNextel Cup rookie Kasey Kahne will make another start in the #2 Ultra Motorsports Dodge in Friday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kahne won Saturday's truck race at Darlington Raceway in his first-ever start in the Truck Series.
Proper grandstands Proper grandstandsUPDATE A reader adds, I appreciate your comments about grandstand angles. However, please find a photo that does not have trees blocking the view to the right! Race promoters might think that is also a desired effect. Even at Long Beach, the trees block the views. And in 2004 Long Beach made another poor change: They unnecessarily moved all the grandstands near turn one back about fifteen feet, thus, greatly reducing the view of the cars coming down the “straight”. Jeff Skinner, Northridge, CA 11/17/04 We find it appalling when we look at most of the temporary bleachers used at Champ Car street races.  They are set up at too flat of an angle which means 1) The fans can't see well at all, 2) The promoter gets to sell fewer tickets per SF of footprint.  The photo to the right shows a proper temporary bleacher.  Champ Car fans deserve better than what they are currently getting. 
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