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DATE News (chronologically)
12/22/04
nascar
Mexico City NASCAR track revealed Mexico City NASCAR track revealedBelow left is the shortened 4.054 km track diagram released today by Mexico City for next year's inaugural Busch Series race. To the right is the Champ Car track. The NASCAR version is easier on the brakes because there was a fear the NASCAR brakes could not take the punishment.

12/22/04
Formula BMW
BMW of Sterling home base for Gelles Racing BMW of Sterling home base for Gelles RacingGelles Racing announced today a partnership with Virginia-based dealer, BMW of Sterling. BMW of Sterling is a very large BMW/MINI facility in the Washington Metropolitan area already involved in racing and looking for more visibility across North America with Gelles Racing entering the 2005 Formula BMW USA championship. "BMW of Sterling is among the best dealers on the Eastern Coast," says team owner Bob Gelles, "and we have two things in common: BMW products and racing. With our team entering four cars in the Champ Car ladder series and BMW of Sterling entering a MINI in the Grand-Am championship, it was only natural we could team up to promote these great products." “We are happy to have Gelles Racing showcase our name in this exciting open wheel series," continues BMW of Sterling principal Thomas A. Moorehead. "BMW has a long tradition in motorsport and we think it was fit to put our name on these open wheel highly technological marvels and help young talented drivers start their racing careers in road racing.”
12/22/04
World Rally
Pictures wanted Pictures wantedMcKlein Photographic has an expanding race and rally archive, dating from the present day back to the 1960s.  In the interests of expanding this library, McKlein would be interested in purchasing total or even partial copyright to good-quality images from international rallying and racing from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.  McKlein have more than one million rally images in stock, with a nice selection presented for viewing at www.mcklein.de. They can be contacted via e-mail at klein@mcklein.de.
12/22/04
irl
Jon Herb to run IPS in 2005 Jon Herb to run IPS in 2005Racing Professionals will return to the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series for the full season in 2005 following a three-race debut in the series in 2004.

Team owner Jon Herb will drive the team's primary car and will search for sponsorship to fund a second car.

"I'm going to drive in all 14 races, but we're looking to add another car to increase our competitive advantage," Herb said. "Our objective is to make this a viable business. We want to be competitive on the track, draw in funded drivers and capitalize on other sponsorship and business opportunities."

Herb made 13 starts in the IRL IndyCar Series from 2000-2002. Thirteen of those starts came under the Racing Professionals banner, including a top finish of ninth at Texas Motor Speedway in 2001.

The team debuted in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2004, qualifying 10th. The team recorded top-10 finishes in each of the final two races of the season.

Primary sponsorship for Herb's car belongs to Aercon Industries, a company for which Herb serves as director of residential marketing. Aercon Industries manufactures a lightweight autoclaved aerated concrete which offers benefits such as fire, termite and mold resistance. Additionally it can lower energy costs, speed construction and reduce labor costs. Herb also is a partner in Perfect Home Realty LLC, a Florida residential construction company that utilizes the unique Aercon product in its building plans.

12/22/04
f1
Sauber signs watch deal Sauber signs watch dealSauber have signed a sponsorship deal with Swiss sport watch brand Certina. Team boss Peter Sauber said: "Certina and Sauber Petronas – these are two brands that ideally fit together.  Gaining a Swiss company as a partner is always something very special for me.”  The company will become an official partner of Sauber, and the entire team will be equipped with their watches.
12/22/04
Industry News
Ford recalls all GT's Ford recalls all GT'sFord Motor Co. recalled all 448 of its $140,000 GT sports cars built to date to fix a suspension part that can crack.  Ford discovered the problem while inspecting a GT this month and decided to do the voluntary recall, spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said Tuesday. The company hasn't received reports of accidents or complaints related to the problem, she said.  If the part, known as a control arm, "were to crack at high speed, it could affect handling," she said. The problem occurred at a supplier, Kinley said, declining to identify the company. Ford began selling the GT this year.  "It's an issue Ford doesn't need from an image perspective," said Erich Merkle, an auto analyst for consulting firm IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids. "The GT gets such a following from the press." Detroit Free Press
12/22/04
Industry News
GM becoming a true global enterprise GM becoming a true global enterpriseUPDATE #2 In the latest Detroit Free Press article, "GM and the New World: Banking on China" we learn more about GM's big push in China and some of the hurdles it must overcome.  Relationships are a key to success in China. 12/21/04 As a follow-up to yesterday's article, here is another Detroit Free Press article, this one titled, "Driven to India, Great potential, huge hurdles await GM." The story, carried across a continent in more than a dozen languages, goes like this: Two shoe salesmen arrive in the same far-flung land, where everyone is barefoot. One wires back to the home office: "Nobody here wears shoes. I'm coming home." The other wires back: "Nobody here wears shoes. Send shoes!" It is now told as the story of the auto industry in India. GM is hoping to be the visionary in this tale.

India, beyond its reputation as a tempting land of cheap labor, is emerging as a potential car market for GM, perhaps second only to China in importance to the company's future in Asia. But India has disappointed the carmaker before. When GM arrived in India for first time in 1928, it found a burgeoning population that moved overwhelmingly on two wheels. Evicted by anti-foreign trade laws in the 1950s after the nation won independence, the automaker returned four decades later in 1994 after the policies ended. And found a nation of nearly one billion people moving overwhelmingly on two wheels.

GM's challenge is to overcome a stubborn paradox: India's potential is also its pitfall. It is a great, untapped market, but has been untapped for a reason. No money for cars. No place to drive them. With the world's second-fastest-growing economy, India's fortunes are changing. It boasts a liberal, democratic government and emerging middle class. The outsourcing phenomenon -- with jobs flowing in from foreign business -- has produced a young, progressive generation with money to spend. Programmers in their 20s work for Dell, order lunch from Pizza Hut, drink Pepsi, buy Eminem CDs and fantasize about owning a car. A carmaker's dream. More.....

12/20/04 For years AutoRacing1.com has preached, "It's a global economy stupid,"  This Detroit Free Press article is an excellent read about General Motors and how important China and India are to its future.   If nothing else it gives sometimes myopic Americans a better sense of where the future lies.  This is a story about one company, three countries and a world of uncertainty.  And how global forces are pushing an American icon into new ways of competing.  As General Motors nears its second century of life, it's adapting to the new global age by working to transform its empire into an efficient, unified, international enterprise. It is determined, as well, to lead in a region where a pair of billion-watt stars are emerging in the world economy: China and India.  For Americans crushed in the cogs of change, those countries mean pain and loss. But GM says they also mean something else: opportunity.  Not what you want to hear if you've been cut out of the new economic order. But if you count on a paycheck, a retirement check, health care or supply deals from the world's biggest automaker, you're hoping GM is on the right track.
12/22/04
nascar
Super 8 extends with PPI Super 8 extends with PPISuper 8 Motels has announced the renewal of its associate sponsorship of PPI Motorsports' #32 Chevrolet for Bobby Hamilton Jr. in the Nextel Cup Series. Financial terms of the deal were not announced. NASCAR Scene Daily
12/22/04
nascar
PA to get NASCAR license plates PA to get NASCAR license platesPennsylvania NASCAR fans will soon have license to support their favorite drivers in a brand new way. PennDOT's Specialty Plate Program will make available Pennsylvania license plates featuring as many as 33 NASCAR drivers, according to a news release from Rep. Keith McCall (D-Carbon). "Not only are (NASCAR races) a favorite spectator sport for many Pennsylvanians, but they also play an important part in the region's economy," stated McCall, the minority chairman of the House Transportation Committee. Each plate features a NASCAR driver's number, signature and team logo on the left side, with the NASCAR logo across the bottom. According to a sample plate released by PennDOT, a Dale Earnhardt Sr. plate will be available. Plates will cost $54 each. Of that, $34 will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a charitable organization that enriches the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. The camp was founded, in part, by driver Kyle Petty as a way to honor his son Adam, who died in a 2000 crash. The plates will be available for purchase in January. At that time, customers may fill out a plate application form online at www.dmv.state.pa.us. York Daily
12/22/04
nascar
Davis-Dodge Lawsuit on hold Davis-Dodge Lawsuit on holdThe start date for the trial in the Daimler-Chrysler/Bill Davis Racing lawsuit has been postponed once again. The trial, which was set to begin May 3, will now start June 21 at 9 a.m. in federal district court in Detroit. Judge George Steeh granted the delay Friday after attorneys for both sides requested it. The deadline for filing depositions is now Feb. 1. Final pre-trial orders are to be filed by June 6 with the final pre-trial conference slated for June 13. The new trial date is 25 months after Daimler-Chrysler sued BDR in Michigan district court in May 2003. The suit alleges BDR breached its contract for Dodge support for its Cup team for helping Toyota with development work as it prepared for entry in the NASCAR truck series this year. Daimler-Chrysler terminated its Dodge support of BDR's Cup team and is requesting return of over $1 million in factory support for the balance of 2003. BDR succeeded in moving the trial to federal court in June 2003 and later that month counter-sued, alleging Daimler-Chrysler had no basis to terminate the contract because Toyota is not a rival of Dodge in the Cup series. Toyota is a rival of Dodge in the truck series. The trial was first scheduled for August 17 of this year, originally delayed to Dec. 20 and then moved to May 3 of 2005. High Point Enterprise
12/22/04
nascar
Harvick to get early start to '05 season Harvick to get early start to '05 seasonNextel Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick will get an early start to his 2005 NASCAR season.  Harvick and his Kevin Harvick Inc. organization have entered the Jan. 30 NASCAR Grand National West division race at Phoenix International Raceway.  Harvick is using the race to help prepare his Busch Series team for the 2005 season. KHI is fielding a full-time Truck team with driver Ron Hornaday and a full-time Busch team with drivers Tony Stewart and Tony Raines.  "I wanted to give all the guys that are going to be on the Busch car a chance to work together before we get to Daytona in February," Harvick said.  "I was going to be on the West coast for some Cup testing around the time of the West race, so we looked at what we had in the shop, and figured out a way to get here. We're doing it without any sponsorship right now, but hopefully we can find something before we get out there to help us out." Charlotte.com
12/22/04
f1
2005 F1 launch dates 2005 F1 launch dates2005 Formula 1 launch dates announced so far:
BMW-Williams - January 7
TOYOTA - January 8
SAUBER - January 11
BAR-Honda - January 16
RENAULT - February 1
RED BULL - February 7
MINARDI - March 3
12/22/04
irl
2004 IRL highlights 2004 IRL highlightsThe 2004 Indy Racing League season featured the close competition which has become synonymous with the league's competition and saw two Brazilians come away with series titles. Tony Kanaan (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone) capped one of the most dominating seasons in IRL IndyCar® Series history by claiming the 2004 IndyCar Series championship with one race to go at California. Thiago Medeiros (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone) rewrote the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series record book, scoring six victories and winning the championship by a 134-point margin. More....
12/22/04
irl
Cheever Racing test notes from Sebring Cheever Racing test notes from SebringPatrick Carpentier completed his first round of testing with Red Bull Cheever Racing at Sebring International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.   "I really liked driving the car," explained Carpentier of his Sebring test. "At first I was skeptical about how it would perform on a road course, but as soon as I got a feel for the car it proved me wrong. The braking was a little different, but it handled well and was pretty smooth around the corners."

Carpentier in his No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Toyota-powered entry logged over 100 laps on both the 1.45-mile Sebring road-course and the 1.5-mile Homestead oval.

"Patrick completed two very successful testing sessions," said team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. "He had the opportunity to learn how an IndyCar performs on both a road course and an oval and accumulated lots of important data to analyze over the winter."

Canadian-born Carpentier was ecstatic about his first oval test in an IndyCar.   "I can't believe how fast the car was at Homestead," Carpentier said. "I've driven on ovals before in ChampCar, but it was even more exciting in an IndyCar. I'm sure it will be different racing with a big pack of cars, but it was still a great experience. I can't imagine what it will be like at a track like Richmond where it's only three-fourths of a mile. It must be crazy!"

Teammate Alex Barron in the No. 51 Toyota-powered machine also participated in the road-course test at Sebring and attended the Homestead test.   The first open test of the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series 2005 season takes place January 18 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Red Bull Cheever Racing

12/22/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 Bull banned in France
Sepang to woo with beauty
'We didn't steal' - Toyota
Pizza-girl delivered
Ferrari man 'owes Minardi'
Zanardi - 'I prefer MotoGP'
Facelift for Donington
BAR's '8 out of 10'
Jaguar and Ford at it again
Toyota went to court
Decision 'not made' - BMW
12/21/04
irl
Castroneves meets Pope John Paul II Castroneves meets Pope John Paul IILast Thursday, Marlboro Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Pope John Paul II while he was in the Vatican for the 7th Congress of Circus Workers.   The 29 year-old Brazilian was invited to speak at the conference which was studying how parishes can support the faithful who work in the entertainment world and whose schedules force them to be away from home for extended periods of time. A group of about 100 people, including bishops, attended the meeting in order to examine "the type of reception that the local Church, the Catholic community and the parish can offer these people who are passing through, in constant change." Castroneves addressed the group about the role that his faith has had in his life and career as a racecar driver.

"I'm so blessed to have had the opportunity to meet the Pope," said Castroneves. "To be in that position was one of the most incredible achievements of my life. It’s difficult to put into words. It was also a wonderful experience to be able to speak to the group about what God and religion have meant to me in my personal life.  My faith has always been so important to me.  I'm just so fortunate to have been a part of the whole event."

12/21/04
grandam
Call it the "Team of Champions" Call it the "Team of Champions"UPDATE Here is the transcript of the December 21st media teleconference with Greg Biffle, Scott Maxwell and Larry Holt.  Biffle and Maxwell will join NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champions Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth in driving the No. 49 Crown Royal Ford Multimatic Daytona Prototype in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, February 3 - 6, 2005. 12/21/04 That's an appropriate name for the new Crown Royal Special Reserve/Multimatic Ford entry in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the twice-around-the-clock road racing classic Feb. 5-6, 2005.

The special team will feature three NASCAR champion drivers from Ford and Roush Racing:  2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch, 2003 NASCAR Cup Champion Matt Kenseth, and NASCAR Busch (2002) and Craftsman Truck (2000) Champion Greg Biffle.

The three Roush Racing Ford pilots will be joined by Multimatic Ford driver Scott Maxwell, who has won six professional road racing championships in his career, but may be best known for his victories in both the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The potent foursome will look to capture an overall victory in the 2005 season-opener of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, it was announced today.

"It's a dream team, that's for sure," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology.  "We started talking last summer about getting a chance to put this type of team together for the Rolex 24, and because of the cooperation of Roush Racing, Multimatic, and Crown Royal Special Reserve, we have an effort and a class of drivers that will be able to make a run for the overall win."

The Crown Royal Special Reserve Multimatic Ford is an updated version of the race car that won the Daytona Prototype class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2003.  A Ford Modular Cammer V-8 motor prepared by Roush-Yates Engines will power it.

"Multimatic is proud to be working with Ford Racing and Crown Royal Special Reserve to put together this great entry for the Rolex 24," said Larry Holt, vice president of engineering for Multimatic, and the man who oversees racing operations.  "We're happy to have such great cooperation from Roush Racing and its drivers to come in and partner with Scott on this program.   We're committed to going for the overall win."

12/21/04
champcar
 irl
Car count woes in IRL and Champ Car Car count woes in IRL and Champ CarThis SPEEDTV article outlines the gloomy car-count outlook for both the IRL and Champ Car in 2005.   While the NASCAR juggernaut continues to suck up sponsor dollars faster than a Eureka, open wheel team owners are left to scrimp and scratch for every last dollar to stay afloat.  Once the biggest form of motorsports in the USA as recent as 1995, Tony George's decision to split the sport has left Indy Car Racing in shambles.  
12/21/04
champcar
grandam
With an eye on Champ Car, Valiante enters Rolex 24 With an eye on Champ Car, Valiante enters Rolex 24Rising Canadian open-wheel racing star Michael Valiante shifted his career into a higher gear by out-qualifying and then out-racing a number of vastly more experienced drivers in his Champ Car debut with Walker Racing in Mexico City.

As a result of that performance – and a year of behind-the-scenes work -- Valiante was invited to participate in a test at Sebring with Dale Coyne’s Champ Car team, where he was the fastest of six drivers being tested by two different teams.

In a second development, Valiante (pictured right testing Ten Motorsports car at Daytona) has signed a deal with Rob Finaly’s Ten Motorsports to co-drive the team’s #19 Riley/BMW Daytona Prototype in the 2005 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona February 3 – 6. He tests with the Ten Motorsports team January 5, 6 7 at Daytona.

“Things were stuck in neutral for a while; there was a lot of interest from various teams, and I flew to some races expecting to drive, but somehow I never seemed to get in the car,” says Valiante, who finished 2nd in the super-competitive Atlantic championship in 2002, and 3rd in 2003. “The Mexico City race seems to have broken the log jam, and two different Champ Car teams are working to find the funding to run me in 2005. I’m also pleased to add a page to my resume with a drive at Daytona with a team that is not only capable of winning, but is made up of people I know and have worked with before. It’s too early for congratulations, and I have to keep up my own sponsor-hunting efforts, but I’m feeling cautiously optimistic.” The Dale Coyne Champ Car test took place on the 1.67-mile road circuit in Sebring, Florida. Also testing during the same 2-day period were Valiante’s former Lynx Racing Atlantic teammate, American Bryan Sellers and Australian F3 and F3000 veteran Marcus Marshall. Also testing at the same time was the Forsythe Indeck Champ Car team, who ran Canadian Atlantic hot shoe Andrew Ranger and Monterrey, Mexico Atlantic winner Alex Figge.

Valiante was able to complete 110 laps in Coyne’s #11 yokeTV.com Ford- Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, and posted the fastest time of the two-day test with a lap of 51.88 seconds. (Note: In earlier testing with the Walker Racing team, Valiante was also faster than 2004 Atlantic runner-up Ryan Dalziel and Jordan F1 driver Timo Glock).

“The day went very well and with just a bit more time to make adjustments we could have been a good bit quicker,” said Valiante. “We had a few minor mechanical issues at the start that we had to work through, but the Coyne team is very professional and we just kept getting faster and faster. Dale Coyne is well known for his ability to spot and develop talent, and I want to thank him for giving me another chance to prove that I deserve a spot on the Champ Car grid for 2005.” Valiante went directly from his Champ Car test at Sebring to the Ten Motorsports Daytona Prototype test at Homestead Raceway south of Miami.

There, after familiarizing himself with the first fendered, hard-top race car he has ever driven, he turned comparable times to Ten Motorsports’ 2005 driver team, Champ Car veteran (and fellow Lynx Racing graduate) Memo Gidley, as well as Michael McDowell, who won the 2004 Star Formula Mazda championship with a dominant performance of six pole positions and seven victories.

“Driving a car with fenders and a roof for the first time was a really different experience,” says Valiante. “We were running the car really hard, but from the driver’s seat, things happen more slowly than in an open-wheel car. It’s a different kind of challenge, to balance speed with mechanical reliability and race strategy to make sure you’re in front when the checkered flag finally drops. The great thing about this team is that we’re all equally fast, and will be working with top professionals on the other side of the wall.” The management, driver coaching and engineering staff on the Ten Motorsports team includes brothers Steve and Rick Cameron, who have served the same functions for all three drivers previously. The duo guided the early open wheel careers of both Gidley and Valiante at the prestigious Lynx Racing driver development program, helped develop the current generation of Star Mazda race cars, and provided consulting services to the Valley Motorsports team with which McDowell won his championship.

“The advantage that Ten Motorsports brings to Daytona and to the chase for the 2005 Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series championship is these drivers,” says Ten Motorsports team manager Steve Cameron. “To be competitive in this series, you have to be able to run these cars at the limit for hours at a time without breaking the hardware or going off the road. All three of these drivers – and one more whom we’ll announce soon -- have proved they can do that in open wheel cars, and we’re confident they can transfer those talents to this particular form of racing.” Valiante is enthused about his opportunity to go head-to-head with many of the world’s greatest drivers at the Daytona race on February 3 – 7, but he also wants to be certain that no one mistakes where his focus lies.

“I’m excited about getting to drive at Daytona, and perhaps at some of the other long races that don’t conflict with the Champ Car schedule,” says Valiante.

“Champ Car is what I’ve been working towards all along in my career; it’s where I wanted to be and it’s where I continue to put my focus. I’m just starting to get a little traction there, and I think that the series has some strength now where the costs are under control and it has something to offer sponsors with network television in the U.S. and Canada and major cable channels in Europe, South America, Asia and around the world. In the next few years, Champ Cars – along with Formula One – will be ‘it’ for the top drivers in the world, and that’s where I want to be.” Valiante competed in the Mexico City Champ Car race with sponsorship from JV Investments, Lynx Racing, Italkart, Wasteco, Serengeti Design Group, CMSI Canadian Mortgage Strategies & Investments and Premier Pacific Developments. He hopes to involve many of those same companies in his 2005 Champ Car program, but additional companies interested in sponsorship opportunities can find more information at www.MichaelValiante.com.

Valiante and Memo Gidley (who has also driven for Dale Coyne during his Champ Car career) are graduates of Lynx Racing, the most unique and successful driver development program in the history of open-wheel racing.

12/21/04
f1
Pizzonia is a Dad Pizzonia is a DadAntonio Pizzonia has become a father for the first time. His girlfriend, the international long jumping star Maurren Maggi gave birth today to a daughter, named Sofia, in Pizzonia's hometown of Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon jungle.
12/21/04
nascar
Cottman Transmission to sponsor No. 40 Cottman Transmission to sponsor No. 40Cottman Transmission Systems today inked a one-year sponsorship deal with Busch Series team FitzBradshaw Racing for the ’05 season. Cottman will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 40 car for eight races and associate sponsor for 27. Additionally, Cottman will feature FitzBradshaw and team co-Owner Terry Bradshaw in its ‘05 ad campaign FitzBradshaw
12/21/04
nascar
Busch team extends Butt Paste sponsor deal Busch team extends Butt Paste sponsor dealFrom the too funny department, NASCAR Busch Series team GIC/PSE-3 today inked an extension of its primary sponsorship agreement with Louisiana-based Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. The diaper rash reliever will sponsor the No. 93 car driven by Kim Crosby, who becomes the third full-time female driver in Busch Series history GIC/PSE-3
12/21/04
nascar
Saturday qualifying at Fontana in '05 Saturday qualifying at Fontana in '05California Speedway announced today that it will be the first speedway on the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series season schedule to implement Saturday qualifying during the February 25-27 NASCAR Tripleheader Weekend, which also includes a Friday night NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.  The Auto Club 500 race weekend takes place one week after the season-opening Daytona 500.

NASCAR announced a new rule in mid-November stipulating a change in the 2005 qualifying procedures where all cars will be impounded following their qualifying session, meaning teams will not be permitted to work on the cars and will have to focus their efforts on preparing for race set-ups starting with the all-important practice sessions on Friday.

Qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Auto Club 500 is slated for 12:10 p.m. on Saturday, February 26.  Cup qualifying is sandwiched between NASCAR Busch Series qualifying, which kicks off the day at 10:00 a.m., and the NASCAR Busch Series 300-mile race, which starts at 3:00 p.m. and will likely finish "Under the Lights."  Saturday concludes with the Miller Lite Rock 'n Racing Concert, which is free for all guests with a Saturday ticket, followed by a spectacular fireworks show by PyroSpectaculars.  In addition, 2004 Auto Club 500 champion Jeff Gordon will be inducted into the speedway's Walk of Fame at Gate 12 either prior to or after NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying.

"Saturday qualifying adds a new twist to what we've always believed was a spectacular day of on-track and off-track activity at California Speedway," said Bill Miller, president of California Speedway.  "It will be a new experience for everyone, but one we believe the fans will enjoy as they cheer for their favorite driver to take the pole position, all leading up to the Busch Series race with a later start time.  For those fans that attended last year's Labor Day weekend NEXTEL Cup Series race, they know first hand how exciting the race was as the drivers battled the track changes late in the day as the lights came on.  We're confident the Busch Series drivers will put on a great show as well."

Tickets for Saturday are just $40 in the lower level reserve section and $50 in the upper level reserve section.  While Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying has moved to Saturday, Friday remains full of on-track action with a new, first-ever Friday night NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, which joins the Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup Series races for this new NASCAR Tripleheader Weekend.  Craftsman Truck Series qualifying for the American Racing Wheels 200 starts the day at 10:00 a.m.  Two Busch Series practice sessions will be held from Noon to 1:10 p.m. and from 2:50 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.  The NEXTEL Cup Series stars will also have two practice sessions to fine-tune their machines from 1:20 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. and a final practice session from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., setting the stage for the American Racing Wheels 200 at 6:15 p.m.

"Friday is action-packed.  There is no other way to describe it," Miller said.  "It's all day and now all evening of cars and trucks on track.  It's also a tension filled day for all the drivers, especially the Busch and Cup competitors who will have to work on their race set-up and practice in packs to see how their cars handle in the draft.  It may look like a mini-race out there, and for the truck series drivers, they will have a full day of building anticipation for their main event, the second time that series will run wire-to-wire under the lights at California Speedway."

Tickets for Friday are general admission and just $30 with children 12 and under free.  Two other new NASCAR rules are scheduled to be in effect at California Speedway during the February weekend aimed at bringing the NASCAR competition closer.  A new gear rule for NASCAR's top three premier racing series will limit the maximum RPMs that all engines will be able to produce in competition.  The other new rule, a reduction of the rear spoiler by an inch at all non-restrictor plate tracks, effects just the NEXTEL Cup Series teams.  The spoilers will be 4.5 inches in height, reducing aero-push and enhancing the passing ability of the cars.

Tickets are on sale now at 800-944-RACE [7223] or online at www.californiaspeedway.com for this February Tripleheader Weekend. Pre-race Pit passes and Party Zone passes, California Speedway's fan hospitality featuring several NASCAR stars, are also on sale.

12/21/04
cartatlantic
Toyota expands C2 category for '05 Toyota expands C2 category for '05The Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama is expanding its C2 category for the 2005 season to allow more teams and drivers the opportunity to compete in the top open-wheel development series in North America.

The C2 classification was reinstated last season in the Atlantic series as a more cost-effective option for competing in the championship by using existing Atlantic cars and equipment. For the upcoming 2005 season, the Toyota Atlantic series will permit multiple types of chassis designs and a less-restrictive engine configuration to be eligible for C2 competition, making it easier for teams and drivers to compete at Atlantic events. Cars equipped with a Swift 008.a chassis with various gearbox and bodywork upgrades will be allowed to compete in C2 next season, along with a heavier design of the Swift 014.a chassis, which is currently used in overall Atlantic series championship competition. In 2004, only the 008.a chassis with extensive engine specifications were allowed in the C2 category.

“We’ve heard from many teams and drivers that are interested in joining the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2005 but because of limited budgets they aren’t able to purchase new equipment to compete in the full-season championship,” said Vicki O’Connor, Managing Director of the Toyota Atlantic series. “By expanding the C2 category, we’re making it much easier for teams that have existing Atlantic configurations to enter the Toyota Atlantic Championship and experience the high-level of competition and the outstanding venues that the series is known for.”

In addition to meeting the expanded chassis requirements, 2005 Atlantic C2 entrants may use alternate engine builders but must comply with the basic Toyota 4-AG 1600 engine specifications and be equipped with Yokohama ADVAN Racing Slick tires in order to compete. Series officials have also expanded the engine configurations to make it easier for competitors to conform to series guidelines. All Toyota Atlantic cars, including C2 entrants, must have an engine soft rev limiter set at 9600 RPM in ’05.

“In the past, C2 entrants would have had to build a separate motor to compete in the series,” said Steve Sewell, Champ Car Support Series Manager of Technology. “The changes we’ve made to the C2 program for 2005 basically mean that if you’re running a different configuration you don’t have to rebuild your car in order to compete, you just have to make a few external and electronic changes in order to go racing in the Atlantic series.”

The C2 category will continue to be a “championship within a championship” in 2005 as the classification will have its own championship scoring system and a separate $10,000 purse fund for each race. Points will be earned for each C2 competitor at every event and the point system will be scored in a manner consistent with both the Atlantic championship category and the Champ Car World Series. The top C2 finisher will earn 31 points for each race with second place earning 27 points and third place claiming 25 points. The scoring will go down in two-point increments throughout the finishing order with points being awarded through the 10th position. A single point will be awarded for claiming the C2 pole position in each round of qualifying and a bonus point will also be available for posting the fastest lap in each race.

The top seven season results from each competitor among all 12 Toyota Atlantic Championship events in 2005 will be used to determine the 2005 Atlantic C2 champion. The C2 title winner will earn a $5,000 bonus and the top three C2 point scorers will be honored at the season-ending Toyota Atlantic Championship banquet.

This marks the sixth season for the C2 category in Toyota Atlantic competition. The classification was used from 1995-97, during the 1999 season and in 2004 when Cam Binder claimed the C2 title.  For more information or to register for the C2 category in 2005, please contact Vicki O’Connor at (317) 715-4100.

12/21/04
nascar
Sadler gets new sponsor Sadler gets new sponsorPeak Fitness has announced that the corporation has acquired the assets of the SCORE Motorsports NEXTEL Cup Team and will be the primary sponsor of a NEXTEL Cup car for the full 2005 and 2006  NEXTEL Cup seasons, with the car to be driven by Hermie Sadler. James Ince has been hired as the crew chief.

Jeff Stec, CEO of Peak Fitness is excited at the prospect of building a competitive NEXTEL Cup team to form the nucleus of a national marketing strategy to offer franchise opportunities worldwide.

"We have been searching for the right vehicle in order to move our corporation into a multi-national franchise and I believe that the powerful branding associated with NASCAR marketing affords us that opportunity. It makes a lot of sense to partner with a talented, professional driver, top engine builder, championship car manufacturer and NEXTEL Cup crew chief James Ince. We find ourselves in rather a unique position as both NEXTEL Cup team owner and primary sponsor and we are actively seeking strong partners that want to reap the benefits of a national marketing program," Stec said.

For Hermie Sadler, the 1993 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, this will mark his first full-time NEXTEL Cup ride, a welcome change for Sadler who has struggled to run limited schedules the past few seasons.

"This is very exciting for me and my family. To partner with a strong corporation like Peak Fitness, CEO Jeff Stec, and a proven winner like James Ince as crew chief is my best opportunity to make it in NEXTEL Cup racing. I will retain an interest in the new corporation, Peak Performance Motorsports, and will continue to be involved in the daily operations. I feel confident this team will surprise many people. Nobody knows what to expect from us, but Jeff Stec has a great vision for the future of the team and the upcoming announcement about our choice of car manufacturer and engine program will be a clear indication of the level of commitment Jeff has made to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series," said Sadler.

Peak Fitness is the number one health club in the Charlotte area and will launch its National Franchise Campaign in January 2005.

12/21/04
Industry News
Bernie continues to lose tobacco battle Bernie continues to lose tobacco battleThe German government has joined the list of 47 countries that have now ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This means that the German government has now committed itself to stamping out tobacco sponsorship. This is important as Germany hosts two F1 races each year - the German GP and the European GP..
12/21/04
Formula 3
Another young and fast Brazilian Another young and fast BrazilianThe HiTech Racing GP2 team will go into 2005 with two Formula 3 champions on its books: Nelson Piquet Jr, who won the British Formula 3 Championship, and Xandinho Negrao, who last weekend won the SudAm F3 Championship at Interlagos, beating his championship rival Gustavo Foizer by just two points. Negrao follows in the footsteps of a list of well known drivers who have won the SudAm F3 title, including Christian Fittipaldi (1990), Ricardo Zonta (1995), Bruno Junqueira (1997), Vitor Meira (2000), Piquet (2002) and Danilo Dirani (2003). Grandprix.com
12/21/04
f1
How did Mosley get Big 3 to back down? How did Mosley get Big 3 to back down?The most sought-after document at the moment is the minutes of the meeting between FIA President Max Mosley and the representatives of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Honda when they met recently in Monaco to discuss the question of arbitration. The three firms were threatening to take the FIA to the International Chamber of Commerce because it had broken commitments in the Concorde Agreement which should have seen Formula 1 running to 3-litre V10 rules until the end of the current agreement. There is no question that the FIA agreed to such a deal but decided to change the regulations nonetheless. Mosley has dismissed the challenge as "footling" but the three car companies had seemed intent on going ahead, if only to show the FIA President that it should stick to commitments he had made. Logically, the companies had much to lose because moving ahead with the arbitration would mean that they would have to develop their V10 engines but at the same time could not run the risk of losing and so would have to build and develop V8s as well. This was going to be very expensive. They knew also that pushing ahead with the action would lead to strains between them and the other manufacturers which had fallen into line with Mosley's wishes and begun work on V8 engines.

But, even so, the three companies seemed intent on pushing ahead until the meeting with Mosley in Monaco and there are many who would now like to see how it was that Mosley pulled off this particular coup. For the moment the manufacturers involved are not giving anything away but it is hard to imagine that Mosley offered them any concessions in which case he must have had some very good arguments to convince them to back off. Grandprix.com

12/21/04
f1
Banks accept Bernie's leading role Banks accept Bernie's leading roleBernie Ecclestone has received a strong endorsement from the three banks which two weeks ago won a legal action to wrest voting control of his companies from the formula one commercial rights holder. It seems that the Bayerische Landesbank, JP Morgan Chase and Lehman Brothers have recognized that without the 74-year-old entrepreneur at the helm the business of grand prix racing would be too complicated to administer. But they do want him to toe the line more obviously than he has done in the past.

Gerhard Gribkowsky, chairman of the formula one holding company SLEC and a member of the board of management at the Bayerische Landesbank, has acknowledged the banks would be foolish to try to replace Ecclestone. "We would be badly advised if we were to exclude Ecclestone," he said. "Over more than three decades he has established extensive contracts within the industry, sponsors, circuit operators and other involved parties. "But there are limits. We will no longer allow ourselves to be pressed into a role in which we carry all the equity risk without saying a word."

The banks inherited a 75% stake in SLEC after the Kirch media group, to which they had loaned $1.6bn (£821m) to purchase a stake in Ecclestone's company, went into liquidation owing them the money. They sued Ecclestone because they did not have control which reflected their majority shareholding, not because they wanted to get rid of him.

Now all the parties involved are trying to find a solution to the prospect of a breakaway world championship in 2008 organized by GPWC, the confederation of major car manufacturers. They want more than the 24% of formula one's estimated annual £400m commercial rights income they currently get. "We take the issue very seriously," said Gribkowsky. "I think the market is too small and that a power struggle between the two series would harm both. But I don't think the doors are closed yet." He admitted that, properly managed, formula one still offered huge commercial potential. "The moves into China and Bahrain were without doubt right," he said. "It would also be desirable to go to Russia and India. With only two races in North America we are under-represented compared to purchasing power." The Guardian

12/21/04
ALMS
ALMS Interview With Mike Petersen ALMS Interview With Mike PetersenThe American Le Mans Series recently sat down with GT2 class team owner Michael Petersen to get his unique perspective on international sports car racing. We asked Petersen, owner/ driver of the No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, about his team's first full season of ALMS racing, its relationship with manufacturer Porsche, the state of GT racing and much more. As the owner of the 2003 and 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans LM GT class winning Porsche, as well as a six-time visitor to the ALMS podium in 2004, Petersen's opinion of this largely privateer class is particularly relevant entering the 2005 season. This one-time highly successful off-road racer, who still turns competitive times while testing for the 2003 Road America 500 winning team, was happy to answer in the honest, insightful and humorous manner in which those in the paddock have become accustom since he first entered the ALMS in 1999. He even offered to answer your questions. More....
12/21/04
champcar
Champ Car survival was big story for 2004 Champ Car survival was big story for 2004The big story of 2004 was the survival of the Champ Car World Series.  Given up for dead by just about everybody except the most zealous of fans, Champ Car (née CART) was rescued by two guys with really deep pockets and a third who doesn't have as much money but oozes charm. The three — Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerald Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi — fought off IRL founder Tony George last January and convinced an Indianapolis bankruptcy court judge to let them have one more kick at the can.

Gentilozzi was spokesperson for the Three Amigos (as they came to be known by the faithful). He said they knew why CART had failed and vowed they would not make the same mistakes. He told anyone who would listen that they had a business plan and would stick to it. He promised a television contract, swore they would open the season at Long Beach, Calif., with 18 cars (the contractual minimum) and declared that the season would be a success.

Those three guys pulled it off. But boy, it was close at times.

Just before the season started, long-time CART runners and team owners Adrián Fernández and Bobby Rahal defected to the IRL. Columnists (including me) counted noses, determined there was no way 18 cars would show up at Long Beach and called for the white towel to be waved. And Spike TV? Who were these guys kidding?

Spike TV aside, everything else they promised happened. And it was an exciting season of racing, too. Newman/Haas teammates Sébastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira had a great fight for the championship with Bourdais finally winning it. Canadians Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy finished third and fourth in the standings. Rookies A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson turned heads.

The season ended on an incredibly high note. Kalkhoven and Forsythe purchased Ford-Cosworth, thus guaranteeing a supply of engines. Although Vancouver was dropped from the schedule, Edmonton became a member of the Champ Car family. And time-buys on CBS and NBC for next year guarantee U.S. network television exposure once again for important races like Long Beach, Milwaukee and the Molson Indy Toronto. Toronto Star

12/21/04
nascar
Stoddard to help Boris Said Stoddard to help Boris Said MB/Sutton Motorsports has hired veteran crew chief Frank Stoddard  to run a Nextel Cup team for driver Boris Said.  "I am surprised a guy that good would want to work with me," Said said. "I am flabbergasted. He is one of the best and I am sure I will learn a lot from him.  I am very happy about Frank being our crew chief, but it's also a little scary for me because that's one less excuse I have."  Said will run a minimum of 10 races in 2004 in a brand new team that will be part of the MB2 Motorsports team. 
12/21/04
nascar
Chaffin, not Bodine will drive No. 30 Toyota Chaffin, not Bodine will drive No. 30 ToyotaGermain/Arnold Racing announced Monday that veteran driver Chad Chaffin has signed to pilot the team's No. 30 Toyota Tundra in the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

In effect, the announcement, which indicated Todd Bodine would not return to the seat he held in 2004, involves one two-race winner for another.

Chaffin, who drove for Bobby Hamilton Racing in 2004, won at Dover and Indianapolis Raceway Park; while Bodine won Germain / Arnold's first two races, at California and Texas.

Chaffin finished 10th in the 2004 Truck Series championship. He began his career in 1981 at the age of 13 and, with 57 Truck Series starts including 11 top-five and 22 top-10 career finishes under his belt, Chaffin brings a wealth of experience to the Germain / Arnold Racing team.

"We're very fortunate to have Chad join the team," said co-owner Bob Germain. "He's an experienced driver who knows how to win. We feel that Chad's a perfect fit for this team and will provide us with a race winning operation in 2005."
 
"I am pleased to have Chad Chaffin and his wonderful family as part of the Germain / Arnold family," co-owner Don Arnold said. "I am certain Chad will make Germain / Arnold Racing and Toyota very proud."

"I'm extremely excited about being a part of the Germain / Arnold Racing team and tickled pink to be part of the Toyota family," Chaffin said. "Toyota proved to have one of the highest performance levels in 2004 and I feel that we have the strongest package in the series.

"I'm looking forward to winning a lot of races this year. I'm also really excited to be teamed with a veteran crew chief like Mike Hillman. I know he can put a race winning truck underneath me."

12/21/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Ford complete F1 retreat
Davison out of Minardi race
Chinese driver back in saddle
Toyota to launch
Merc-Benz shelve V8 threat
Heidfeld got the nod
'05 not prelude to retirement
Montezemolo's own proposal
Sato to sell beauty
Renault admit BAR defeat
Mrs. Ralf's 'worst moment'
Banks hope to avoid breakaway
Pity Schu's on cruise - champ
Ferrari can't be stopped - JT
Nick's got a job - BMW
'We'll get along' - Ralf S.
Banks may 'leave' F1
12/20/04
AMA Superbike
champcar
Even AMA is reeling Even AMA is reelingIt's probably not the kind of thing a sanctioning body wants publicized when their series is without a sponsor for the next season, but it is doubtful that there will be AMA Superbike rounds at Brainerd or Virginia International Raceway in 2005.  Beyond the damage of possibly losing two rounds (to an already short in most persons' eyes series), losing rounds on good old fashioned road courses like Brainerd and VIR is especially painful for the purist fan. SuperbikePlanet  [Editor's Note:  This sounds all-too reminiscent of Champ Car as the purist fans lament over a short 14-race schedule and the loss of Mid-Ohio, Road America and Laguna Seca.]
12/20/04
nascar
New Dodge Charger to test at Kentucky New Dodge Charger to test at KentuckyKentucky Speedway was host to 10 teams, including Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Jason Leffler. Evernham Motorsports was testing its new Chargers at Kentucky with Bill Elliott, Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne. Evernham was instrumental in the development of the new Charger, which is expected to have less drag and be considerably stronger on superspeedways. FoxSports/Sporting News
12/20/04
nascar
Shelmerdine to run full ’05 season Shelmerdine to run full ’05 seasonKirk Shelmerdine has announced that his independent NASCAR Nextel Cup team, No. 72 Kirk Shelmerdine Racing, will attempt to run the full NASCAR Nextel Cup Schedule in 2005. Currently, the team is looking for primary and associate sponsors to offset the escalating costs of running in the Nextel Cup series. Kirk Shelmerdine earned his reputation powering Dale Earnhardt to four Winston Cup titles from 1984-1992, before retiring to form his own team in 1993. With the rising operating costs in NASCAR, it is imperative for Kirk Shelmerdine Racing to have sponsors to compete. Full sponsorship and associate sponsorship packages are available and very affordable. Any interested parties should visit the website at: www.ShelmerdineRacing.com
12/20/04
Industry News
Wind Tunnel moves to Sunday nights Wind Tunnel moves to Sunday nightsSPEED Channel is making several changes to its popular call-in show Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain for the 2005 race season. Beginning in February, Wind Tunnel will be expanded to two hours, anchoring the Sunday night Prime Time lineup at 9 p.m. ET.

 "We want to hear from the fans when they're still excited, still angry and still eager to talk about what they've just watched," said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel's Sr. VP of Programming/Production and Executive Producer. "It's no secret that the only thing more passionate than a race fan is a race fan on race day.

"In addition, we'd like to get Dave out from behind the desk during the week, letting him expand on opportunities to do exclusive SPEED Channel interviews with some of the biggest names in racing," Miner added. "Wind Tunnel originally was designed as a show for the fans and we believe this new format will allow us to be even more aggressive in that mission."

The new format will include the show's traditional long-form interviews, along with multiple short-form interviews via phone, satellite and in-studio guest appearances.

"I really like the idea of a Sunday night show," said Despain, who recently inked a three-year contract extension with SPEED Channel.  "We'll talk to the fans while they're still fired up from the racing weekend, and talk to the newsmakers while the news is still hot.  Add the fact that the two-hour format will enable us to do a lot of things we simply didn't have time for in the past, and I think it will be a lot of fun."

Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain will hit original episode No. 250 early next season.

SPEED Channel is the nation's first and foremost cable network dedicated to motor sports and the passion for everything automotive. From racing to restoration, motorcycles to movies, SPEED Channel delivers quality programming from the track to the garage. Now available in more than 68 million homes in North America, SPEED Channel is among the fastest growing sports cable networks in the country. SPEED Channel  [Editor's Note:  So Wind Tunnel goes from 4-hours per week to 2-hours per week and this is progress?  We think not.]

12/20/04
champcar
 cartatlantic
Champ Car to give ride to Toyota Atlantic champion Champ Car to give ride to Toyota Atlantic championRecognizing the wealth of talent in recent years from the Toyota Atlantic Championship and the value of promoting within its own driver development system, officials from the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford today announced initiatives that will further open doors for Atlantic series competitors to graduate into Champ Car.

Recent Toyota Atlantic graduates have proven to be very competitive when given the opportunity in the Champ Car World Series. 2003 Atlantic champion A.J. Allmendinger earned Champ Car Rookie of the Year honors after recording five top-five finishes last season and Atlantic grads Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alex Tagliani also earned Champ Car wins in 2004. Those are just three recent examples of Atlantic success stories and today’s announcement will help ensure that next season’s top Atlantic drivers will also get opportunities to shine at the next level.

The driver development initiatives announced today call for some of the top competitors from the 2005 Toyota Atlantic series each to receive a test with a Champ Car team following completion of the ’05 Champ Car season. These tests will be by invitation only and the details and format of the testing will be announced during the course of the upcoming season.

In addition, the driver that wins the Toyota Atlantic Championship next season will also have the opportunity to compete in the November 6 Champ Car season finale at Mexico City – literally earning a one-race Champ Car ride – to close out their championship campaign.

“Champ Car certainly recognizes the talented drivers that compete year-in and year-out in the Toyota Atlantic Championship and we need to reward that talent and give some of the top young drivers coming up through the system an opportunity to grow and succeed in the Champ Car World Series,” said John Lopes, Champ Car Executive Vice President of Operations. “By making sure that the top Atlantic drivers get a chance to showcase their skills in a Champ Car we are continuing to show our commitment to developing the rising stars of our sport within the Champ Car system.”

Several Toyota Atlantic graduates have already shined in post-season Champ Car testing in the last several weeks as they endeavor to reach the Champ Car World Series next season. Two-time Atlantic series runner-up Ryan Dalziel was very impressive in a test with PKV Racing in mid November and both 2004 Atlantic Rookie of the Year Andrew Ranger and 2002 Atlantic series runner-up Michael Valiante led the way among six drivers that tested recently at Sebring International Raceway. In all, six Toyota Atlantic competitors have earned Champ Car tests this off-season and several more could continue to test in the coming weeks.

12/20/04
champcar
San Jose gambles on race to spur economy San Jose gambles on race to spur economyThis San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article says San Jose officials are betting that a grand prix car race roaring through downtown will be the economic engine that revs up hotels and restaurants suffering from the lingering Silicon Valley slump and a Sharks hockey season stuck in the deep freeze.

City officials say investing $690,000 in startup money -- which race promoters agreed to repay in five years -- will pay off when a hoped-for 100, 000 speed freaks flock to San Jose next summer and spend more than $20 million during a weeklong grand prix "festival," culminating with the July 31 road race around HP Pavilion. It's the same HP Pavilion that is known as "the Shark Tank," when the Sharks aren't locking out their players as part of the National Hockey League labor dispute.

While the Champ Car World Series race circuit has yet to finalize next season's TV schedule, Mayor Ron Gonzales thrills to the idea of a race broadcast showcasing downtown's array of new museums and hotels, theaters and skyscrapers, built in part with $1 billion in city redevelopment funding.

"The San Jose Grand Prix will bring world-class racing excitement to our downtown streets,'' Gonzales said recently. "It's not very often that we have the opportunity of our downtown skyline being flashed on television screens across the country and the world."

Gonzales called the $690,000 in city funding to jump-start the $3 million racecourse construction "a good investment. It's not a giveaway.''

While city leaders point to the longtime success of the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Champ Car series, which now spans 14 cities in four countries, there are financial warning flags, too. Champ Car's predecessor was forced to declare bankruptcy last year, and Denver got stiffed 13 years ago when a grand prix operation crashed and burned.

However, the goals of the San Jose Grand Prix go beyond fast cars and finish lines.

It's the brainchild of Don Listwin, a former high-tech executive who hit on the idea of using the car race -- and the wealthy fans he hopes to attract -- to raise money for research in early cancer detection after this mother died of ovarian cancer. While the race isn't expected to make money the first few years, any profits as well donations that Listwin plans to raise from tech tycoons will go his Canary Fund charity. More...

12/20/04
irl
cartatlantic
Festa joins Infiniti Pro Series Festa joins Infiniti Pro SeriesAmerican Chris Festa will drive for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2005 as the team defends its Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship. Festa, 19, finished eighth in the Toyota Atlantic championship as a rookie in 2004. He earned a top finish of sixth at Portland driving for Rahal Letterman Racing.

"Chris did a great job in the Toyota Atlantic Series this past year, competing with Rahal Letterman Racing and impressed a lot of people, including Bobby (Rahal)," said team owner Sam Schmidt. "He has already done an excellent job in winter testing. We were able to run the oval at Phoenix, where he was very mature for his age and ran lap times that would have qualified him for the front row. We also think he will be able to provide valuable feedback as the series will involve four road course events in 2005."

Festa, a native of Atlanta, recorded more than 60 karting victories from 1998-2002. He was a factory driver for Paul Tracy Karting in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, he scored a pair of top-five finishes in the U.S. Formula Ford Zetec Championship.

"We've been watching the growth of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, as well as last year's domination by Sam Schmidt Motorsports," Festa said. "When Sam called, we knew that he had a program that could win races and a championship. The addition of four road courses was also very appealing.

"It's always difficult to continually run new cars, on new tracks, in new series every year instead of staying for consecutive years. However, we think the transition from Atlantics to the Menards Infiniti Pro Series will be somewhat closer and allow us to be a front runner from the start. I've also had the chance to get to know Sam and the team over the past 30 days, and they run a first-class operation."

12/20/04
irl
champcar
Carpentier: IRL car as fast as Champ Car Carpentier: IRL car as fast as Champ CarUPDATE Pat Carpentier's times were within 2.5 seconds of a Champ Car at the recent Sebring tests, this is true.   However, those were rookie Champ Car drivers testing a Champ Car for the first time.  Other drivers with experience are about an extra 1.5 seconds quicker...
Patrick Carpentier mid 54's..
Paul Tracy mid 50's
The gap is a little wider than first thought......4 seconds per lap is an eternity (around 750 feet per lap.)  They have a lot of room to make up. 12/20/04 [Editor's Note:  As long as the IRL cars are as fast as Champ Cars on road and street circuits they will have the ammunition to continue to undermine Champ Car in every market, i.e. offer basically the same product for less money.  Hence this is why we have been calling for Champ Cars to go on a diet and to redefine their product into something superior to the Indy Cars.   As long as there is no discernable difference between the two the fans will continue to be confused and reject both.  Unfortunately we won't see a new Champ Car until 2007 and by then we expect the IRL to have made further inroads into Champ Car's bread and butter.]  In this Autonet.ca article, Patrick Carpentier says Now, just a month after his final Champ Car race, Carpentier was testing the Red Bull Toyota-powered Dallara last week at the road course at Sebring International Raceway and the oval at Miami-Homestead Speedway, home of the IRL opening day race next March.   "I was really surprised at the car," Carpentier said. "Honestly, I thought the car would be pretty bad compared to a Champ Car, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was smoother than a Champ Car over the bumps and it's a fun car to drive."  Carpentier said he quickly put to rest his fears that the IRL car would not be able to handle a road course. "We were only 2.5 seconds off what a Champ Car would do on the same road course (Sebring) -- which is pretty good in that we are still running an oval package," he said. "I think we will get the same speed as Champ Car when we get the season under way." 
12/20/04
Industry News
Chrysler makes big push of Sirius Radio Chrysler makes big push of Sirius RadioSIRIUS Satellite Radio and the Chrysler Group today announced the completion of the launch of the 2005 model year lineup of Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge vehicles.   "Production rates for 2004 are on-par with our 100,000 unit goal," said Mike Kane, Director, Feature Innovation and Advanced Technology Strategy, Chrysler Group.  Availability on additional Chrysler Group models is anticipated, and total volumes of over 500,000 SIRIUS equipped-vehicles are expected over the next model year.

Starting with the launch of the award winning Chrysler 300 Series and Dodge Magnum in April, 2004, Chrysler Group further instituted factory installations on 13 high-volume vehicle lines for the 2005 model year:
Chrysler 300
Dodge Ram Pickup
Chrysler PT Cruiser
Dodge Magnum
Chrysler Town and Country
Dodge Dakota Pickup
Chrysler Pacifica
Dodge Stratus
Chrysler Sebring
Dodge Durango
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Dodge Caravan
Jeep Liberty

"This broad and successful factory program is very exciting for SIRIUS, as we build our subscriber base through our exclusive partnership with DaimlerChrysler," said Doug Wilsterman, Senior Vice President of Automotive OEM for SIRIUS. "We are pleased to participate in the continuing offensive from the Chrysler Group."

The Chrysler Group offers the SIRIUS Satellite Radio factory-installed option on 2005 Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles for $195 MSRP, the best offer in the industry.  This price includes a one-year subscription to the full SIRIUS service: 65 commercial-free music channels and 60 channels of news, sports, entertainment, traffic and weather. As an additional customer benefit to Chrysler customers, there is no activation fee to initiate the service after vehicle delivery. Customers may also stream SIRIUS music programming over a high-speed internet connection at the home or office at no additional charge.

12/20/04
f1
Toyota sets launch date Toyota sets launch dateToyota will launch their new car in Barcelona at the beginning of next month.  The TF105 will be unveiled at the Circuit de Catalunya on January 8, the team confirmed on Monday.
12/20/04
f1
Schumacher garners yet another award Schumacher garners yet another awardFormula One World Champion Michael Schumacher was elected '2004 German Sportsperson of the Year' along with Kayak Olympic Champion Birgit Fischer. In a celebration put on in Baden-Baden last Sunday, Schumacher and Fischer won the honors, in front of Cross-Country Skiing World Cup Champion René Sommerfeldt and cyclist Andreas Kloeden.
12/20/04
nascar
Kvapil tests at Lakeland Kvapil tests at LakelandNew Penske Racing rookie Travis Kvapil tested with the #77 Kodak team at Lakeland, FL. FoxSports/Sporting News
12/20/04
irl
f1
F1 hopefuls test IRL cars F1 hopefuls test IRL carsUPDATE #2 Apparently Scott Speed's IRL test was just to fulfill a Red Bull commitment and Speed has no interest in the IRL. F1 is his goal.  Whether he does Champ Car first remains to be seen. 12/17/04 A reader writes, Please say it isn't so!  Scott Speed tested for Red Bull Cheever and he may get a drive?  If he does that, he can kiss any hope of Formula 1 good-bye. Why doesn't Red Bull wake up and realize the IRL is nowhere to send an American if he wants to further his road racing skills?  Joe Angers, Boston, MA  Another writes, Tony Kanaan is going to get a F1 test as a reward for winning the IRL championship?  That's as close to an F1 ride he will ever get.  A career in the IRL is a dead-end street. Just ask Dario and Scott. Michael Neubauer, Ohio 12/17/04 With the chances available to drivers in Formula 1 now almost entirely dependent on money, the men who cannot afford to buy a drive are having to look elsewhere and a number have been looking to the Indy Racing League. Ryan Briscoe has a deal with Target Chip Ganassi Racing and former Jaguar Racing test driver Andre Lotterer, who has been racing in Japan of late, will next week test for the Panther Racing IRL team. It is also worth noting that Eddie Cheever has tested Red Bull hopeful Scott Speed and says he would like to run the American in a few races this year. This would be a surprise given that Red Bull has been teaching Speed the ropes in Europe and has high hopes that he will one day be the first American driver in a generation to get a regular seat in Formula 1. Grandprix.com
12/20/04
nascar
Pocono races to become 2-day affairs Pocono races to become 2-day affairsQualifying for the two NASCAR races at Pocono Raceway will now take place on Saturday, the track said Friday.  Qualifying for the Pocono 500 in June and the Pennsylvania 500 in July had previously been held on Fridays.  Immediately following Saturday qualifying, NASCAR will impound the race cars. Teams will not be permitted to work on the cars except in cases approved by NASCAR.  The Pocono 500 weekend is set for June 10-12, 2005 and the Pennsylvania 500 weekend is set for July 22-24, 2005. AP Story
12/20/04
f1
gp2
F3000
Below F1 things get confusing Below F1 things get confusingThis Grandprix.com article says, The plethora of novice championships surrounding Formula 1 is very confusing - even to the experienced race fan. There was a time when the racing world was neatly structured with Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3. The disappeared in the 1980s when the FIA adopted the illogical concept of Formula 3000 to differentiate the new series from the old F2. Now the FIA has abandoned Formula 3000 and agreed to let a privately-owned (although who knows by whom) championship called GP2 take over the role of being the primary feeder series to Formula 1. This has attracted 12 teams but must now prove its viability by delivering (and maintaining) 24 cars. Most of the teams seem to be dependent on drivers bringing money and there is currently something of a dearth of youngsters wandering around with the kind of money needed for GP2.

GP2 will be seen at most of the European Grands Prix this year but has a decent rival in the new Formula Superfund which has attracted some of the old Formula 3000 teams such as Ma-Con, Astromega and GP Racing plus teams which will switch from the Euro 3000 series. These will probably include John Village Automotive, Euronova and Draco. There will also be a new team called Bradrive. Some of the old Euro 3000 teams cannot afford to move to Formula Superfund and instead plan to run in a series called the 3000 ProSeries. The series will run with the existing cars and will keep the same regulations until the end of 2007. To complicate matters some of the Formula Superfund teams will be running their old cars in this series. In addition to this there is to be a new Italian Formula 3000 Championship which will take in the teams that continue to run older F3000 machinery.

The merger of the Nissan World Series with the Renault V6 Eurocup has created another choice for rising stars. The new World Series by Renault will feature a mixture of the team Nissan and Renault teams which have not moved up to GP2. These include Nissan champions Pons Racing, Carlin Motorsport, Epsilon Euskadi, Draco, Eurointernational, GD Racing, Interwetten, Cram Competition, KTR, Signature and RC Motorsport.

And, of course, we have the new A1 Grand Prix series which will start in September 2005 and will run through the winter of 2005-2006. Many of these cars will be run by teams mentioned above, A1 providing them with a good chance to improve their cash-flow over the winter and (hopefully) bringing new drivers and new money into the sport from countries which traditionally have not had any involvement in the sport. [Editor's Note: With so many junior formulae in Europe, all of them will struggle to survive. Worse yet, where will all these ride-buyers go after that? F1 has limited seats so perhaps Champ Car, but Champ Car has no races in Europe, so......]

12/20/04
Industry News
Famed Winchester Speedway to reopen Famed Winchester Speedway to reopenOfficials from Winchester Speedway and track managers Champion Racing Association (CRA) have released the 2005 schedule for the legendary high banked ½ mile track in Indiana. Speedway owner Charlie Shaw recently secured CRA to promote and manage the Speedway in 2005, and CRA leaders R. J. Scott and Glenn Luckett have prepared a diverse and entertaining six-race schedule for the coming year.

For decades, Winchester Speedway fans have been a mix of open wheel and/or stock car traditionalists. With that in mind, officials have scheduled the Sunday, April 24th Grand Re-Opening event to be enjoyed by both groups. The USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series and the CRA Super Series Late Models will headline the show. The open wheel cars have brought some of the greatest names in racing to the fabled high banks as recent stars like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne all honed their racing skills at Winchester Speedway. On the stock car side, NASCAR stalwarts like Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and late Champion Alan Kulwicki all used the high banks at Winchester to prepare themselves for success at racing's highest level. USAC and CRA Super Series officials are pleased to be part of the track's Grand Re-Opening Day and recall that the only other event they co-headlined together was very successful. The CRA Street Stocks will also be on hand to round out the day's racing.

Details on season tickets and rules for the CRA Street Stocks, Sportsman and SuperTrucks, will be posted on the Winchester Speedway and CRA websites in late January. For more information about the Speedway please visit www.winchesterspeedway.com or call 812-883-0455.

2005 Winchester Speedway Grand Re-Opening Schedule
Sat. Apr 23                Open Practice All Divisions
Sun. Apr 24                USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series,
                           CRA Super Series Late Models, CRA Street Stocks
Sun. May 22                "King of the Wings" -- Outlaw Winged Sprint Cars
                           (AVSS, HOSS, TBARA, USCS), USA Modifieds
Sun. Jun 12                USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series, area SuperTrucks,
                           CRA Street Stocks
Sun. Aug 14                Outlaw Super Late Models (Main Event Racing Series),
                           ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series, CRA Street Stocks
Sat. Sep 3                Open Practice "World Stock Car Festival"
Sun-Mon Sep 4-5           "World Stock Car Festival" -- CRA Super Series Late Models,
                           Outlaw Super Late Models, USA Modifieds, Sportsman,
                           area SuperTrucks, and CRA Street Stocks
Sun Sep 18                CRA Street Stock 200 -- 200 laps / $5000 to win

12/20/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 future is near - Ferrari
Kiesa report inaccurate
Date shifted for F1
Schu's 'no better' than rest
DC could earn $40m in 2005
Stewart and Ford split
Ralf 'like a woman' driver
Barcelona 'will be ready'
Schu voted top German
Renault can win '05 title
Webber 'coup' - magazine
Enzo museum to 'resemble F1'
Bernie will stay - 'F1' bank
Test limit 'stupid' - LdM
Red Bull will 'surprise' - DC
Fisi's 'last chance' - boss
F1 beaten to Russia
12/19/04
nascar
NASCAR driver on David Letterman Tuesday NASCAR driver on David Letterman TuesdayFormer NASCAR racing champion Rusty Wallace is scheduled to be a featured guest on Tuesday’s (Dec. 21) edition of CBS's LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN. Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR champ and 55-race winner, announced last August that the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season would be his last as a driver. A season-long celebration of his illustrious career is planned and the popular driver’s final tour behind the wheel of his Miller Lite Dodge has been dubbed “Rusty’s Last Call.” “Even though we’re not officially into the 2005 season just yet, we’re looking at this appearance on Dave’s show as our kickoff for the big year ahead,” said Wallace, 48, of Letterman’s popular late night show that first aired on August 30, 1993 and has since garnered eight Emmy Awards and 39 Emmy nominations. “David Letterman is known as a big racing enthusiast and we’re really looking forward to being a guest on his show. He is a part owner of an IRL team with Bobby Rahal and we’re hoping to be able to shed a little light on NASCAR racing during our visit. It could be a wild night and it could be very unpredictable. But one thing is for sure and that’s the fact that we’re going to have a ton of fun while we’re there.” Joining Wallace as a guest on Tuesday’s LATE SHOW will be award winning actor Dennis Quaid, known for his diverse acting roles in films such as “The Big Easy,” “Far From Heaven,” “The Right Stuff” and “Any Given Sunday.” Also included on the bill with Letterman will be The Calling, the popular Los Angeles rock quintet featuring lead singer Alex Band. Tuesday’s LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN is set to air at 11:30 p.m. ET on CBS-TV.
12/19/04
f1
Sauber launches Albert the Supercomputer Sauber launches Albert the SupercomputerSauber Petronas is continuing its offensive in the field of aerodynamics: Only nine months after the launch of its ultra-modern wind tunnel, the Swiss team presented a new supercomputer for CFD calculations to international media representatives at its headquarters in Hinwil. "Albert", as the machine has been christened, is one of the most powerful in Formula 1 as well as the automotive industry as a whole. The supercomputer was built by the Swiss company DALCO and has a total of 530 AMD Opteron processors installed in High-Density Cooling Enclosures supplied by American Power Conversion (APC). The software is provided by Fluent. Sauber has established technology partnership agreements with all four companies.

CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) serves to analyze and design aerodynamic components and is an important complement to wind tunnel work. "Aerodynamics has been steadily gaining importance in recent years, accounting for roughly three quarters of the performance of a Formula 1 car today. This also means that Computational Fluid Dynamics has become increasingly important," Team Principal Peter Sauber said.

Sauber Petronas has been working with a supercomputer for years. However, the growing complexity of the tasks has drastically raised the demands made on computing power. Hence, the new supercomputer is nearly 30 times more powerful than the one previously used by Sauber. This enormous power reduces computing times considerably as well as enabling much more complex tasks to be solved. More....

12/19/04
irl
Newlyweds NewlywedsCongratulations, Weddings:
September 29 - Al Unser Jr.  and Gina Soto
November 6 - Carol Wilkins (Kool fame, now Andretti Green) and Tony Cotman (Andretti Green)
12/19/04
irl
Dixon unsure whether Toyota will catch up Dixon unsure whether Toyota will catch upScott Dixon was just a few hours into the unofficial beginning of the Indy Racing League season and he already had seen enough to know how the whole thing could turn out - just as badly as in 2004.

Red fire suit rolled to his waist, cell phone pressed to his ear, Dixon was killing time between runs at a Toyota engine test on Monday at Sebring International Raceway and wondering if the manufacturer was somehow formulating a way to counter the dominance rival Honda established last season. With the tools he had now, Dixon said, he had little hope of reclaiming the driver championship he won as a series newcomer in 2003.  "I think we'll be closer," said Dixon, 10th in points last season. "But I think with the difference between the two (engines), if they stay the same, no."

Honda's blitz on the IRL precipitated Dixon's plummet last season. He led the circuit in wins (three), poles (five), races led (14) and laps led (748) in 2003 but finished as high as second just once last season. Honda drivers won 14 of 16 races and claimed seven of the top 10 spots (including the top three) in points. "All you want as a driver is to have fair stuff, the same as everybody else," said Dixon, 24. "And when you have a big deficit like that, it's pretty hard, and most of the time you push it too much and you step on your toes and make things worse."

Toyota engineers refused to discuss any upcoming changes, and crewmen from the Ganassi, Penske and Cheever teams participating in the Sebring test were quick to intercept anyone wandering too close to their work areas. St. Petersburg Times

12/19/04
f1
F1's future to be decided in '05 F1's future to be decided in '05The head of Ferrari says the future of Formula One will be decided next year and that the manufacturers could walk away if they are unhappy with any deal. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper there would be "no war or rival races" after 2007 when the current contracts governing Formula One end, but the manufacturers want a big share of future revenues.

"From 2008 there will only be one Formula One World Championships and the decision on this will fall in 2005. I don't care whether this world championship series is called Golden Series, Championships League, or whatever," di Montezemolo was quoted as saying. I know that Ecclestone has certain rights in relationship to the Formula One name but that's not a problem for me. But whoever rules over the new Formula One must know that there must be big changes to profit sharing and the say of the teams and manufacturers," he added. I must talk to Bernie to be clear who is on charge of F1 now - him or the banks.

"We expect proposals....from the person who will be in charge of the Formula One business," he said. "They must be aware that after 2007 the value of the old Formula One will fall to zero if there's no consensus. They would be left standing like a Hollywood producer without any actors. If there's no solution then from 2008 there will be a new series organized on our behalf," he added.

12/19/04
champcar
f1
Wilson banks on Champ Car not F1 Wilson banks on Champ Car not F1This article appears in today's Sunday Times (UK) - "A formula for Success"  There comes a time in every young professional athlete’s career when it is no longer enough to be told how good you are. Body, soul and the bank manager crave a more practical demonstration of one’s worth. Talk to Justin Wilson and it is apparent that signing a long-term contract with a top motorsport team can do more for a driver’s self-belief than any amount of sports psychology.

The 26-year-old Yorkshireman is relaxed and confident, and after his first season in America’s Champ Car World Series he is ready to talk in terms of championships, which is rather different to the way he felt after a season in Formula One, during which he raised £1m in public sponsorship, demonstrated huge talent in difficult cars for two teams and tried to say the right things, but still found himself out on his ear at the end of it.

Lacking sufficient sponsorship to fund a drive with Minardi, Wilson’s manager, the former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer, came up with the idea of raising cash through public subscription.

Thousands of British fans who had seen Wilson dominate the International Formula 3000 championship bought shares in him and enjoyed the ride as he excelled for Paul Stoddart’s team, leaving faster cars trailing before the Minardi’s lack of power told. Such was his impact that Jaguar brought him in to replace the struggling Antonio Pizzonia for the final five races of the season. When it came to securing a 2004 drive, Wilson could not compete with the sponsorship package that Christian Klien, an unproven Austrian, brought to Jaguar. Disillusioned, he headed for America and the more level playing field offered by Champ Cars, where, at a price, Eric Bachelart’s Conquest Racing team offered him a seat.

At times the team’s inexperience was apparent, but so was Wilson’s ability, never more so than in the final race of the season in Mexico City, when he qualified third and finished fourth. The result was the offer of a contract with RuSPORT, a young but competitive team that ran one of its drivers, AJ Allmendinger, into sixth place in the championship.

For the first time, Wilson is being paid a decent retainer, and with the right results, he can expect to earn $500,000 (£257,505).

“They could have gone for a paying driver with financial backing, but this is a strong team saying, ‘This guy’s good enough to be worth paying’,” explains Wilson. “That means a lot. I can’t wait to get into the car and I’m not ruling out winning the championship.”

Racing in America has cleared his head. Frustrated at the lack of opportunities in F1, he is not the only young British driver to cross the Atlantic, joining more experienced racers such as Dario Franchitti in races designed to ensure that driving ability is a much bigger factor than in F1.

“If a driver is 5-10% of the equation in F1, in Champ Cars it’s nearer 40%,” says Wilson. “Engineering is 30% and budget/development about the same, so if you have a good driver and engineering team, you have a chance of not getting blown away by wealthier teams.”

His thousands of shareholders have remained so loyal that Palmer is organizing a trip to watch their man compete in the States next year. Wilson is all for it: “It’s like having a very involved fan club. I don’t feel under financial pressure, because I know what’s good for my career is in the long term good for them, too. Whether I’ll drive in F1 again, who knows, but things are changing for the better. They need to.”

12/19/04
World Series by Renault
27 drivers complete test at Paul Ricard 27 drivers complete test at Paul RicardThe World Series by Renault teams yesterday concluded their third and last testing day in the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit. This first collective test had offered the teams the opportunity for evaluating possible future drivers. 27 different drivers from 17 countries were on duty.

“We have enjoyed three days of good work. It is a success to have 27 drivers in our first test," said Kurt Mollekens. "We have also discovered the new car. I’m really impressed by the Formula Renault 3.5. You can see that it is a clear step forward from the old car and looking at the diffuser, it is clear that it will have more downforce.”

The majority of the drivers spent some time learning the Paul Ricard circuit and adapting to the Renault powered Dallara. 17 year-old Giovanni Tedeschi set the fastest lap in 1.17.911s with the RC Motorsport Dallara-Nissan car, followed by the winner of the FRV6, Giorgio Mondini (Eurointernational), with 1.18.062. The British driver Robbie Kerr lapped in 1.18.207, the third quickest lap.

“Overall it has been a very positive test in Paul Ricard," said Giovanni Tedeschi of RC MotorSport. "The work with the Team RC it has been fantastic. I have spent the first day trying to learn the track and finally this afternoon I could improve my lap time quite a lot”. Renault

12/19/04
Industry News
Donington Park to be renovated Donington Park to be renovatedDonington Park announced it will build a new media center, race control and paddock in a £4m redevelopment plan for the circuit.  Donington hosted a F1 race in 1993 where Ayrton Senna drove arguably his greatest race in the pouring rain.
12/18/04
grandam
Daytona doings Daytona doingsAs the 43rd Rolex 24 At Daytona draws ever closer, sports car news from Daytona International Speedway was plentiful this week. On Tuesday, the World Center of Racing announced that sports car racing legend Derek Bell has been named Grand Marshal for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“It’s an honor to have Derek Bell preside as Grand Marshal in the toughest and most demanding sports car endurance race in the world,” said DIS President Robin Braig. “His success at Daytona International Speedway speaks for itself and we’re looking forward to his starting command for the twice-around-the-clock challenge.”

Bell made his first of 20 Rolex 24 At Daytona starts in 1971 and was an overall winner in 1986, 1987 and 1990. He owns 19 IMSA race victories, including the 1984 season finale at Daytona.

“It’s a great honor and I hope to fulfill the role correctly,” said the British driver. “Winning the race three times was a great honor. I’ve had my share of luck, obviously, but I’ve had my share of bad luck also.”


Also on Tuesday, Braig joined with another sports car racing great, Hurley Haywood, to give a final update to the media on the progress of the extensive infield renovation project at the Speedway. The media event featured a tour of the new DIS garage area and the new tunnel in Turn 1.

“I’m really looking forward to the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” Haywood said. “Being here for 36 years, you knew where all the bathrooms and the good parking spaces were. I had my own secret parking space with my secret identification to get me in here. Now it’s all new and God knows what I’m going to do. The 24-hour race is going to be special because this is going to be the inaugural race for this facility. Even though the pavement is not new, it’s a whole new look and it’s going to be really exciting for the competitors and the fans.”

The Rolex 24 At Daytona is scheduled for February 3-6, but the track will also be busy on January 7-9 when the Rolex Series holds its annual “Daytona Test Days” at the famed circuit. Tickets for the Rolex 24 At Daytona can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

12/18/04
grandam
Tafel to be featured on Radical Sabbatical Tafel to be featured on Radical SabbaticalThe Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will once again be featured on a national television network in a featured prime time special when the Fine Living Network's Radical Sabbatical showcases Baldwin-Tafel Racing and driver Jim Tafel in the premier episode of "Race Car Driver" this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

This past season Tafel teamed with veteran road racing champion Jack Baldwin and fielded their No. 73 Porsche in the SGS class. Though the pair competed in only six of 12 races, they finished a respectable 16th in driver points and in the top 10 in the team championship.

The special will allow viewers to take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a race car driver, both off and on the track, in the fastest growing road racing series in North America. The segment features at-event footage as well as up close interviews and insight from Tafel, Baldwin and other members of the Rolex Series community.

The show will be rebroadcast Dec. 20 at 12 a.m., Dec. 21 at 10 a.m., Dec. 22 at 9 p.m. and 12 a.m., and Dec. 26 at 5:30 p.m. (All times are ET).

In addition to Radical Sabbatical, the Rolex Series and CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports driver Milka Duno are also featured in a currently running four-part special on The Discovery Channel Latin America. Additional programs featuring Duno and the series are also in the works.

12/18/04
grandam
Bobbi and Gollin to drive for Doran Bobbi and Gollin to drive for DoranDoran Racing announced this week that FIA GT World Champions Fabrizio Gollin and Matteo Bobbi have been signed to drive the team’s No. 77 Lexus Doran for the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series. Gollin earned the 2004 FIA GT title alongside co-driver Luca Cappellari, while Bobbi claimed the same title in 2003 and finished second in FIA GT this year.

“Both Gollin and Bobbi have solid résumés, and I’m sure they’ll be great additions to the Grand American Rolex Series,” said Doran Racing owner/car builder Kevin Doran. “We’re looking forward to a competitive 2005 season, and especially the Rolex 24.”

Bobbi and Gollin drove Ferrari 550 Maranello Prodrives for the BMS Scuderia Italia team, and both drivers will get their first Daytona Prototype seat time this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I’m very excited to race in the United States,” Gollin said. “It’s a new challenge for me. I am very impressed with how the Daytona Prototype class has grown in the last two years. I’m sure that this will be a big step forward for my career.”

“Some people will be very surprised to learn that I left Ferrari in order to compete in a Lexus Doran in Grand American’s Daytona Prototype division,” Bobbi added. “But racing in America has always been my dream since I was a kid. I know Kevin Doran’s excellent reputation and his achievements with both the Ferrari 333 and the Dallara, and I’m looking forward to driving his Doran JE4.”

12/18/04
f1
Briatore speaks out Briatore speaks outIn a wide ranging interview with the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Briatore spoke about the past season and his hopes for the upcoming campaign.

"Our goal was to finish in the top-three," said Briatore from his winter estate in Kenya, Africa. "With our new engine structure, our priority was finishing races rather than winning.  (In 2005) we'll contend for the title. We're taking it one step at a time: two years ago, our target was becoming one of the big four teams. This season, we wanted a top-three. Next year..."

"I have no hard feelings. To end our relationship was a joint decision, so that he could race for Toyota still in 2004. Everybody won. When he left our squad, he hadn't scored a single point in five consecutive races."

As for re-hiring Giancarlo Fisichella to replace Trulli, Briatore admits the move surprised him as well.  "I confess it doesn't seem logical to re-hire Giancarlo after letting him go in 2001. But our disagreement back then was purely financial.  This will be, finally, his big break - his last opportunity at greatness."

12/18/04
alms
ALMS hires Bob Dickinson ALMS hires Bob DickinsonThe American Le Mans Series has named Bob Dickinson its Vice President of Media and Communications effective immediately. Dickinson, a 30-year communications veteran, brings extensive media and communications experience and expertise in sports, television and motorsports, including the National Football League, Turner Broadcasting, and several Olympic games.

"Bob comes to American Le Mans with not only a solid background in motorsports but as one who knows and has experience with the many constituents and levels with which our sport needs to communicate and interact," says ALMS CEO and President Scott Atherton. "We believe that ALMS is poised to continue making a pronounced impact within the motorsports industry over the next several years, and we believe the relationships Bob is capable of fostering with the media will play an instrumental role in communicating that."

At Turner Broadcasting, he initially headed worldwide public relations efforts for the 1990 Goodwill Games, garnering a documented $50 million worth of exposure for the international event. He has also worked two Olympic Games - Atlanta ('96) and Athens ('04) - as Venue Information Manager dealing with international media. During the recent Olympic games, he oversaw media for the first medal given at the Games - in Shooting - which received attention worldwide.

After his success with the '90 Goodwill Games, Dickinson was named Director of Program Acquisition for Turner Sports where he focused on building the company's motorsports programming into one of the most profitable elements in its sports program lineup. In addition, he played a significant role in the development of Turner's racecar programs for The Cartoon Network and WCW. In his role as chairperson of Turner's international sports committee, he helped the network obtain rights to the first ever NASCAR race in Japan and Latin America rights for the NBA.

Prior to Turner, Dickinson spent five years in the National Football League with the Atlanta Falcons' public relations and marketing office. In addition to media relations, he proposed and headed an economic development study for the Falcons, which led to the city's proposal for the Georgia Dome.

Early in his career, he worked as a college sports information director at Tennessee Tech, University of Richmond, and The Citadel. He began is public relations career with the Charlotte Hornets in the World Football League as its assistant director of public relations.

He comes to ALMS having most recently operated his own sports development group based in Charlotte, NC where he concentrated on public relations and marketing overlays for emerging companies within the sports and entertainment industries. His client list included Marvel Entertainment/Fleer Skybox, Sheraton NYC, Shoney's, Food Lion, Al Copeland, Inc., A&E/WE Networks, and Global Music & Media, Inc.

12/18/04
nascar
NASCAR Nextel Cup driver drops drunk driving appeal NASCAR Nextel Cup driver drops drunk driving appealNextel Cup driver Scott Wimmer, convicted of driving while impaired in June, has given up efforts to appeal that conviction less than a month after the conclusion of racing season. Wimmer appeared in Guilford County Superior Court in High Point on Thursday for a brief appearance that was hastily scheduled. "I just got a phone call that they were interested in remanding it. I said fine. I didn't have any objection," said Assistant District Attorney Brandon Goldsborough, who handled the case. Wimmer's court appearance was sudden enough that the NASCAR driver's name didn't appear on that day's docket of cases. "It was about a five-minute session," Goldsborough said. Now, the original decision by District Court Judge William K. Hunter will stand. Wimmer, who drives for High Point-based Bill Davis Racing, was charged with driving while impaired and failure to stop at the scene of an accident in connection with the Jan. 31 crash of a pickup truck owned by his employer. Hunter found Wimmer guilty during the June trial and sentenced the then-28-year-old to 60 days behind bars, but suspended that sentence for one year -- a period during which Wimmer will remain on unsupervised probation. Greensboro News-Record
12/18/04
f1
Ralf drives like a woman Ralf drives like a womanCora Schumacher revealed that her husband Ralf Schumacher drives like a woman. Speaking on a German TV show, Cora said: “There have been a number of little accidents when it comes to getting into and out of parking spots. “Ralf causes the sort of accidents you might expect from women drivers.” Cora said that things had got even since worse Ralf traded in his BMW for a Toyota, which is not equipped with parking sensors. She said: “Ralf was waiting for the beep to let him know how close he was to the car behind him — but we heard a different noise.”
12/18/04
Industry News
Two Indy champions to be inducted into Hall Thursday Two Indy champions to be inducted into Hall ThursdayFormer Indianapolis 500 champions Bobby Rahal and Johnnie Parsons are among a group of seven that will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on Thursday.  Rahal was the rookie of the year on the Indy circuit in 1982, and won the most popular auto race in the world in 1986. Rahal is co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing, which won the 500 in May with driver Buddy Rice. As a driver, Rahal also won two CART series championships.   Parsons won the race in 1950, and had 11 Indy car victories in his career. He also had a fourth-place finish in 1956. He passed away in 1984.  Also to be inducted Thursday in Novi, Michigan are NASCAR executive Bill France Jr., NHRA Top Fuel champion Joe Amato, multiclass sports car champ Geoff Brabham, driver/designer/builder Don Vesco and Los Angeles Times motorsports writer Shav Glick. Houston Chronicle
12/18/04
Japanese GT
champcar
Champ Car hopeful Lyons fastest in Fontana Champ Car hopeful Lyons fastest in FontanaChamp Car hopeful Richard Lyons set the fastest time in both practice sessions for the debut of the Japanese GT Championship on Friday at California Speedway road course.  Lyons had a fast lap of 1:23.812 (98.792 miles per hour) in the No. 1 NISMO Nissan 350 Z Turbo.  Andre Lotterer was second fastest today in the GT500 No. 32 PIAA Honda NSX with a time of 1:23.915 (98.671 mph). Third quick in GT500 was Ryo Michigami and Sebastien Philippe in the No. Takata Dome Honda NSX with a time of 1:24.776 (97.669 mph).   The GT300 class leader was Morio Nitta in the No. 43 ARTA Garaiya with a time of 1:30.204 (91.782 mph).  Lyons, who already won two Championships in 2004 (this series plus Formula Nippon) hopes to land a Champ Car test in early 2005.

 
GT500 cars (Left) and GT300 cars (Right)
Posters by Dick Pong

12/18/04
gp2
Two more seats filled in GP2 Two more seats filled in GP2Another two seats have been filled for the first season of the GP2 Series, following the news that Jose-Maria Lopez and Fairuz Fauzy have signed deals to drive for the DAMS team in 2005. 2002 Italian Formula Renault 2000 and 2003 Formula Renault V6 Champion Jose-Maria LOPEZ (Argentina) and young British F3 rising talent Fairuz FAUZY (Malaysia) will join triple F3000 and 2003 FRV6 Champion DAMS Team for the 2005 GP2 Series.

Jean-Paul DRIOT, CEO of DAMS : "The combination of DAMS, LOPEZ and Eric BOULLIER was a great experience in 2003 which resulted with the title win. The level of Teams and drivers in this coming season is expected to be very high. DAMS is coming in GP2 to win and we wanted to put together the maximum chances of success. Jose-Maria LOPEZ was making part of our plans to make the best combination we could, and I am really delighted today to see him back in our Team. Fairuz is young and talented, he has shown a great potential this season in England and this first season in GP2 will be the year to confirm at a higher level."

Eric BOULLIER, Managing Director of DAMS : "After the fantastic year we had together in 2003 Jose is coming back, I am really happy and excited by this challenge. His approach to racing is very professional and both his feedback and interaction with the team had improved when he came back for the last 2 races of FRV6 this year. The fact that we know perfectly each other and that Jose has 1 year of experience in F3000 could be a little advantage. Fairuz impressed with his performances in British F3 in 2004 - particularly his second place to Piquet Jr at Oulton Park - we are convinced that his undoubted talent will translate effectively into GP2 next season. We know how tough the competition is going to be, the team is ready and focused for one of the greatest challenge of DAMS history."

12/18/04
alms
Mid-America to run Corvettes in ALMS Mid-America to run Corvettes in ALMSMid America Motorworks, a supplier of Corvette parts and accessories, has decided to run a Corvette C5R car in the 10-race, 2005 American Le Mans Series. The car will be co-driven by Michael Yager, 19, and Blake Yager, 18, the sons of Mike and Laurie Yager, owners of Mid America Motorworks.   "Mid America Motorworks has always been known for our passion for the Corvette hobby and Corvette racing. We are now taking our passion to the next level, owning and running a Corvette C5R in the American Le Mans Series," said Mike Yager, founder and "Chief Cheerleader" of Mid America Motorworks.
12/18/04
champcar
Dumas to test for Conquest Dumas to test for ConquestThe list of European drivers testing Champ Cars for the first time is set to expand next week as Frenchman Romain Dumas has accepted an invitation from Conquest Racing owner Eric Bachelart to test the team’s Ford Cosworth-powered Lola at Sebring International Raceway, beginning on Wednesday.  “It is a privilege to be invited by Eric to these tests, the more so as it will not be matter of one brief run. Eric and I already know each other a little because we have stayed in contact since the tests I did with his Indy Lights team four years ago, and I am flattered that he thought of me for these tests.”  Dumas, 27, raced in the Toyota Atlantic series for Scuadra Fortia in 2003 but switched back to GT racing this season, running in the American Le Mans Series for the Alex Job Porsche team. He won three ALMS races with co-driver Marc Lieb, and finished fourth in points in the GT class.  “Although I did a Formula 1 test with Renault two years ago, I have not driven single-seaters much since,” said Dumas, admitting his Champ Car test will require some quick adaptation.  “I hope to have my 2005 program fixed about Jan. 15,” he added. SPEEDTV.com
12/18/04
World Series by Renault
Renault series uses Nissan cars for test Renault series uses Nissan cars for testThe World Series by Renault entered Teams had continued their collective test in the Paul Ricard HTTT, completing his second testing day with the Dallara Nissan and the FRV6 cars.  Friday started cold and sunny before rain fell as the day progressed. The main objective of the test was to introduce the Dallara chassis powered by Nissan to all the Formula V6 teams.  The merger of the World Series by Nissan championship with Renault Sport has led these teams to be testing similar cars of the introduced today the next 2005 season. The big difference will be the engine, of course, powered by Renault Sport.  Robert Kubika, driving for Epsilon Euskadi, has shown his motivation achieving the fastest lap, 1:17.394. The Galician driver Celso Míguez, driving one of the cars of the winner 2004 Team in the WS, Pons Racing, has been second fastest with a 1:17.622 followed by Álvaro Parente (Carlin Motorsport) with 1:17.866. Renault
12/18/04
Industry News
Barcelona resurfacing on-target Barcelona resurfacing on-targetCircuit de Catalunya’s new asphalt will be ready for action come January 15th and the circuit have taken the pause in proceedings to modify the run-off areas at the Elf and Seat turns. In addition, the circuit are replacing seats in Grandstand G, the oldest stand at the circuit.  While the asphalt may have been 15 years old, it is not the first time the circuit have upgraded its facilities. The Nissan chicane was removed in 1995 while changes were made to La Caixa last year.  The circuit also announced that 764,000 spectators visited the circuit in 2004 making it the most popular race circuit in Spain. Both Formula One and MotoGP attracted over 100,000 fans to the circuit.  Formula One testing resumes on Tuesday January 18th. Circuit de Catalunya

  

12/17/04
nascar
Gibbs announces own oil Gibbs announces own oilOn Dec 9th at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Joe Gibbs Performance announced the introduction of Joe Gibbs Performance Brand Racing Oil, the same synthetic racing oil used by Joe Gibbs Racing and two time Champion engine builder Mark Cronquist. "Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil delivers uncompromised power, protection and performance for our race cars at every level of competition," said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Over the past five years we have invested substantial resources in developing our own racing oil and now racers at every level can use the oil we use in all our race engines." Used in every Joe Gibbs Racing engine since 1999, Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil puts five years of R&D and championship proven performance in the hands of professional engine builders and local racers throughout the United States. "We looked for a product that could provide the wear protection we needed without sacrificing horsepower," said Mark Cronquist. "We were not pleased with the performance of the racing oils that were on the market, so we contracted a world leader in lubrication technology to custom blend synthetic oils to meet our extreme needs. We designed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil to control valve train wear in our flat tappet Nextel Cup engines. Before we developed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil, we were seeing wear in the valve train that kept us from being as aggressive as we wanted to be. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil solved our valve train wear problems, and we've seen significant horsepower and torque gains when we've tested Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil against other race oils." Now, engine builders and racers across the United States can now use the same racing oil that Cronquist himself relies on to power Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart's NASCAR Nextel Cup race cars. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil will be available for shipment in mid December and can be purchased direct from Joe Gibbs Racing or through CV Products. For more information or to place an order, visit http://www.joegibbsracingoil.com/ Orders can also be placed by calling 866-611-1820 or contact CV Products. JGR PR
12/17/04
nascar
NASCAR revamps Twin 125’s NASCAR revamps Twin 125’sUPDATE The traditional qualifying races for the Daytona 500 will have a new name and a new distance during Speedweeks 2005 in preparation for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 20.

The twin qualifying races, which since 1969 have been 125 miles each, will be extended to 150 miles, or about 10 laps each, and will now be known as the Gatorade Duel at Daytona. The races will be held Thursday, Feb. 17.

The qualifying races will determine the final starting positions for the Daytona 500. The extra 10 laps will force many teams to re-think their pits strategies and fuel mileage.

"We're excited about adding a new twist into an already exciting day of racing," said Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig,  "The new distance to the Gatorade Duel At Daytona will give Daytona 500 entrants 10 more laps to fight to make the field for NASCAR's signature event."
The Daytona 500 uses a different qualifying procedure than any other race in the world. On Budweiser Pole Day, Sunday Feb. 13, only the fastest two cars solidify their starting spots for the Daytona 500.

The fastest qualifier will earn the pole for both the Daytona 500 and the first 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race. The second fastest qualifier earns the outside pole for the Daytona 500 and will start on the pole for the second 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race, held on Thursday, Feb. 17.

Drivers qualifying in odd-number positions will compete in the first Gatorade Duel race while drivers that qualify in even-number positions duke it out in the second Gatorade Duel race.
The top-14 finishers in each race, minus the drivers who qualified on the front row, will make up the top 30 drivers to start the Daytona 500.

The next eight Daytona 500 starting positions (31-38) are awarded to the drivers with the fastest speed after pole qualifying. The final five positions (39-43) are given to teams that are entitled to a provisional. Pete McCole

12/17/04 Qualifying races that help set the field for the Daytona 500 will be 25 miles longer and have a new name in 2005. The races, formerly called the Gatorade 125s, will now be known as the Gatorade Duel at Daytona. Each race will now go for 150 miles, a move that could force teams to adjust their pit-stop strategies at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. There also will be a longer break between the races, which will be held on Thursday, Feb. 17, during Speedweeks in 2005. Qualifying for the 2005 Daytona 500 will begin on Sunday, Feb. 13. Only the two fastest cars secure starting spots for the 500 on that day, the front-row spots on the starting grid. Speeds from that qualifying session are used to determine the lineup for the Gatorade Duel, with drivers in odd-numbered positions in the qualifying results in the first 150-miler and those in the even-numbered slots going into the second qualifying race. The top-14 finishers - aside from the driver already assured of a front-row spot in the 500 - in each qualifier will line up in order of finish starting with Row 2 for the 500. Finishers from the first Duel race will get the inside spots on each row, with finishers from the second getting the outside spots. The remaining spots in the 43-car field are awarded based on qualifying speeds and provisionals [which supposedly in 2005 will only be a past champ] ThatsRacin.com
12/17/04
irl
IRL helps Purdue course get off the ground IRL helps Purdue course get off the groundUPDATE Here is Part 2 of the story. 12/17/04 This Indy Star article says, Joseph F. Kmec hopes to be involved in writing a college textbook emphasizing technical aspects of the IRL IndyCar® Series. But with the series' dynamics as fast-paced as the cars on the tracks, yearly revisions would be in order.

In the meantime, there is MET 490F – Fundamentals of Motorsports. A burgeoning industry plus persistent student and alumni interest led Purdue University College of Technology officials to offer the course for the first time this semester with assistance from the IndyCar Series.

“We really are trying to emphasize the fundamentals because this topic of motorsports is so complex and truly belongs at an advanced level,” said Kmec, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology and lead instructor of the senior-level course at the West Lafayette, Ind., campus.

“My students know a lot. They have taken a lot of core engineering courses. What we’re doing is taking some of the knowledge they’ve acquired and applying it specifically to open-wheel racing.” More.....

12/17/04
irl
IRL drivers win awards IRL drivers win awardsIRL IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion Thiago Medeiros have been named to the Auto Racing All-America Team by the members of the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association.

Kanaan, who became the first driver in a major North American series to complete every possible lap during the 2004 season, was the leading vote getter in the open wheel category, which also included Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and IndyCar Series runner-up Dan Wheldon.

Rice also earned All-America honors by placing on the second team after finishing third in the open wheel vote. Rice, who was a first-team selection in 2000, narrowly missed earning first team honors for the second time in his career, falling three votes shy of second place.

Medeiros, who rewrote the Menards Infiniti Pro Series record books with six wins and eight pole positions in 2004, was also involved in a close vote. The 22-year-old Brazilian edged promising road-racer Scott Speed by one vote to earn first-team honors in the at-large division.

12/17/04
transam
Trans-Am drivers win awards Trans-Am drivers win awardsTrans-Am Series veterans Paul Gentilozzi, Tommy Kendall, Ron Fellows and Scott Pruett were named to the First and Second Teams of the 2004 American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association' All-America Team. They were part of the Road Racing category. The four drivers, with more than 98 victories in 46 combined years of Trans-Am competition, are among 37 drivers honored on the All-America Team. The tally was determined in a vote by more than 300 members of the motorsports press. Virtually tied in for Second Team All-America voting are Gentilozzi and Kendall, who also finished in a dead heat in final 2004 Trans-Am points, a feat not achieved in 38 previous years of competition. Gentilozzi, who won a record-tying fourth Trans-Am title by virtue of his five 2004 wins, finished just one vote ahead of Kendall. Gentilozzi's record season was highlighted by his tying the record career win total of 29 victories held by the late Trans-Am legend Mark Donohue.
12/17/04
f1
Coulthard signs 1-year deal with Red Bull Coulthard signs 1-year deal with Red BullToday in Salzburg Austria, 33-year-old Scot David Coulthard signed a one-year contract to drive for Red Bull Racing.  Coulthard's co-drivers will be announced in the New Year.  2005 will mark David's eleventh full season on the grand prix grid, and first since 1996 at the wheel of anything other than a McLaren.
12/17/04
Industry News
Mario Andretti named Grand Marshal Mario Andretti named Grand MarshalWorld Champion, Driver of the Century, racing patriarch and racing ambassador Mario Andretti will be grand marshal of Road America's Brian Redman International Challenge Presented by Jaguar, (BRIC) July 14-17.  The legendary Andretti will appear at various activities throughout the weekend, including fan autograph sessions.  A Super Ticket, for all four days is $70, and includes parking and access to the paddock, where the teams, shops and autograph sessions will be located.  Daily ticket prices are Thursday, $10; Friday, $15, Saturday, $35 and Sunday, $35.  Children 12 and under will be free when accompanied by a paid adult.  Tickets and/or gift cards can be ordered online at www.roadamerica.com

Road America's offices will be closed Dec. 20 through Jan. 3, although Internet Christmas merchandise and gift card orders can be shipped express until Dec. 22.

The July vintage event, one of the largest in the U.S., will feature a Formula One and a Can-Am race, both series in which Andretti competed, plus other classes for vintage sports cars.  In addition to on-track activities, Road America will organize a race car concours (car show) on Friday evening and a sports car concours on Saturday evening, both in the Village of Elkhart Lake and free to spectators.

Mario Andretti is often referred to as the greatest race car driver of all time, having proven himself a winner at all levels of competition.  His skilled and versatile driving produced some of racing history's most legendary accomplishments:  he won the Indy 500, the Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championship.  He won the Champ Car National Championship four times and was a three-time winner at Sebring.

Andretti took the checkered flag 111 times during his career - a career that stretched five decades.  And he was competitive for all of those years:  he was named Driver of the Year in three different decades (the 60s, 70s, 80s), Driver of the Quarter Century (in the 90s) and Driver of the Century in January, 2000.

He is the leader in Champ Car pole positions with 67, Champ Car starts with 407 and he is the Champ Car lap leader, with 7,587.  He is the only Champ Car driver to win races in four decades.

Andretti won two Formula 5000 races at Road America in 1974 and 1975 and three Champ Car races, in 1983, 1984 and 1987, all of which he started from the pole. Son Michael and grandson Marco have also seen the checkered flag at Road America.

Although Andretti retired from the Champ Car series in 1994, he remains active in the racing industry and in business.  Other interests include the Andretti Winery in Napa Valley, Calif.; Andretti Toyota in Coraopolis, Penn.; a petroleum company in northern California and the Mario Andretti Racing School in Las Vegas.                Road America hosted its first race in 1955 and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2005.

The 2005 race schedule is:
April 22-24 - Champion Cup Series (CCS) - top amateur motorcycle racing
May 13-15 - Sports Car Vintage Racing Assoc. (SVRA) - vintage sports car racing featuring the Australian -U.S. Austin Healey Challenge
June 2-5 - American Motorcyclist Assoc. (AMA) - Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader, featuring top professional motorcycle racing
June 23-26 - Kohler/Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints  - top amateur sports car racing, one of the largest SCCA races in the U.S.; 50th running in 2005
July 14-17 - Brian Redman International Challenge (BRIC) - Grand Marshal Mario Andretti.  One of the largest vintage races in the U.S.  Featuring F-1 and Can-Am races.
Aug. 5-7 - Ferrari Maserati Racing Days - current and historic Ferraris and Maseratis.
Aug. 18-21 - American Le Mans Series (ALMS) - Exotic prototypes and production cars; some teams will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
Sept. 16-18 - Vintage Sports Car Drivers Assoc. (VSCDA) - Bugatti is the featured marque along with an Elva Reunion

A Champ Car World Series weekend remains in discussion, and the schedule is subject to change.

12/17/04
nascar
NASCAR statement on Sprint/Nextel merger NASCAR statement on Sprint/Nextel mergerSprint and Nextel announced yesterday a merger of equals between the two wireless telecommunications companies. Together, Sprint Nextel will be a larger, stronger company with more resources, which will be better positioned to transform our vision of a wireless future into a reality. There are obvious questions as to the impact this could have on Nextel's NASCAR sponsorship. Nextel stands by its belief that the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series is one of the best brand and sponsorship investments Nextel has ever made. Nextel has invested significant resources throughout 2004 to find ways to enhance the sport and provide a more dynamic fan experience. Nextel expects no rebranding of logos or signage in 2005 and will continue to honor that commitment as Series sponsor and the programs initiated in 2004 will only continue to evolve. We expect our relationship with NASCAR to continue and to prosper and the new Sprint Nextel team is enthusiastic about the NASCAR relationship. Both groups are focused on building on the success of the Nextel Cup's first year. The merger is expected to close in the second half of 2005 and is subject to approval by the shareholders of both companies, approval by various federal and state regulatory agencies, possible foreign governmental approvals and other customary closing conditions.  NASCAR
12/17/04
champcar
Bourdais and Tracy win racing writers honors Bourdais and Tracy win racing writers honorsSebastien Bourdais put together a dominant campaign in taking the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford championship, and has seen that season recognized with a number of post-season awards.  Another accolade came on Friday as Bourdais, who scored his first Champ Car title this year on the strength of seven wins, was named Friday as a first-team All-American in the Open Wheel category of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-American team.  In addition, the all-time winningest active driver in American open-wheel racing, Paul Tracy was named to the second team by the AARWBA membership, marking the eighth time in his 14-year Champ Car career that he has been honored in the voting.

“It’s great obviously to be recognized for our performance last year as the McDonald’s team has such a dominant season,” Bourdais said Friday from his home in Le Mans, France. “We had an exceptional season, leading the series in wins and poles and taking the championship and it makes me very happy to see that Newman/Haas Racing and the McDonald’s team are getting some recognition from the membership of the AARWBA.”

In addition, Champ Car World Series co-owner Paul Gentilozzi was also honored by the AARWBA voters after scoring the Trans-Am championship in 2004. Gentilozzi was named to the second team in the Road Racing category along with Rocketsports Racing teammate and Champ Car broadcaster Tommy Kendall. It was the fifth time that Gentilozzi has been selected to either the first or second teams by the AARWBA members. Toyota Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty was tabbed with honorable mention status after winning the 2004 title, scoring the second Atlantic championship of his career.

The awards will be presented at the AARWBA All-American Team Banquet, which will be held January 15 in Pomona, California. The AARWBA will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2005, and the Champ Car World Series is one of many racing organizations to serve as an official sponsor of the year-long celebration.

12/17/04
nascar
Kerr named Crew Chief for Bang! Kerr named Crew Chief for Bang!Bang! Racing today announced that Frank Kerr has been named crew chief of the organization’s 2005 NASCAR Busch Series team with driver Travis Kvapil.  Prior to joining Bang! Racing, Kerr helped lead Robby Gordon in the No. 55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet to one win and 10 top-10 finishes in 25 starts initially as car chief. He was later tapped crew chief of the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series effort, a role he also held at ST Motorsports with driver Stacy Compton and Curb Agajanian Motorsports with driver Jay Sauter. Overall, Kerr brings more than 23 years of racing experience to the second-year team as well as a unique, hands-on perspective as a former four-time championship sprint car driver who has amassed more than 200 wins in the World of Outlaws, USAC and All Star series, including a prestigious USAC Non-Wing World Championship series event in 1999.
12/17/04
MotoGP
Parts Unlimited to sponsor USGP Parts Unlimited to sponsor USGPMazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Dorna Sports, the Spanish-based company that holds the commercial and TV rights to the FIM MotoGP World Championships, have announced that Parts Unlimited has been named Proud Sponsor of the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix July 8-10, 2005. “We are very excited to be involved in bringing MotoGP, the world’s premier form of motorcycle road race competition, back to America,” said Jeff Fox, President and CEO of Parts Unlimited. “Our involvement will surely enhance the Parts Unlimited brand image from exposure both on-site and through the worldwide television coverage of the event. It will be a perfect marriage with the ‘We Support The Sport’ campaign that we conduct in all major aspects of motorcycle racing in the United States. We look forward to an exciting weekend of action that will include dealer hospitality viewing from the Turn Five Chalet.”
12/17/04
champcar
Scenes from Sebring Testing Scenes from Sebring TestingJarek Janis tested for Forsythe Racing on Wednesday of this week in Sebring and turned laps within 1/2 second of Paul Tracy's lap times at Sebring.  The team was happy with his performance.  Likewise Christijan Albers had a chance to test Walker Racing's Reynard before they buy Lolas for 2005.  He turned competitive lap times in his first ever test in a Champ Car.  Photos courtesy of Champ Car.

   
Jarek Janis

   
Christijan Albers

12/17/04
champcar
Cleveland ticket sale plan announced Cleveland ticket sale plan announcedReserved ticket plan packages for the 2005 Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland were mailed to prospective ticket buyers this week.  The 24th annual "Roar by the Shore" Champ Car race will be held Friday-Sunday, June 24-26 at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport. The race returns to a traditional weekend format in 2005 and the on-track competition will be fierce, featuring the turbocharged open-wheel machines of the Champ Car World Series, along with exciting support series races from the Toyota Atlantic Championship and the Motorock Trans-Am tour.

The ticket plans available for this summer's Grand Prix include premium seating and some exclusive benefits never before offered to event ticket holders.  Race organizers are proud to announce the Cleveland Champions Club, available to Grand Prix ticket buyers for the first time in 2005. A new ticket plan is being introduced in '05, allowing for reserved grandstand tickets to be purchased in one-, two- or three-day increments. Customers who purchase tickets for all three days of the Grand Prix will automatically become members of the Cleveland Champions Club.

Membership in the Champions Club includes not only some of the best seats available to watch the wheel-to-wheel racing action all weekend long, but it also provides access to the Champions Club tent, conveniently located behind the grandstands. This exclusive location, ideal for entertaining clients or for families enjoying the weekend, features an area to relax and unwind with food and beverages available at moderate prices, closed-circuit television coverage of the on-track action and visits from the actual race car drivers competing throughout the course of the weekend.

Cleveland Champions Club members will also have access to exclusive news and information surrounding the 2005 Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland through a special password-protected area of the event's official website - grandprixofcleveland.com.

Returning race-goers interested in purchasing tickets for one of Cleveland's most popular summertime celebrations are guaranteed to secure their same seat locations from 2004 if they complete the renewal form and submit it by Monday, January 31, 2005.

Also new this summer, ticket holders that renew by the January 31st deadline will have the opportunity to purchase an on-site VIP parking pass for the Grand Prix. There are only a limited number of parking passes available so fans should renew quickly in order to reserve their spot.

Grand Prix tickets may be purchased through event gift certificates, ideal for the holiday shopping season. To buy gift certificates contact Steve Legerski at (216) 619-RACE (7223). Anyone that purchases tickets by the end of 2004 will receive a free Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland event hat.  Those ticket buyers that act quickly and purchase their seats by Friday, January 21, 2005 will be eligible to win a thrilling Fast Laps Pace Car ride on the Burke Lakefront race circuit during Grand Prix weekend.

Individual tickets for the 2005 Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland will go on sale to the public in early February.  For more information on ticket plans, contact the new Grand Prix business office, located in the United Way Building in downtown Cleveland at (216) 619-RACE (7223) or visit www.grandprixofcleveland.com.  [Editor's Note: As long as the GP continues to use high school quality grandstands that do not rise at a steep enough angle, fans will only be able to see 1/2 the flat airport track.]

 

12/17/04
nascar
Johnson ties the knot Johnson ties the knotJimmie Johnson is now a married man. The wedding of the Nextel Cup driver and model Chandra Lynn Janway took place last weekend on the island of St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies.
12/17/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
France cut F1 ticket price
Trial 'won't affect Minardi'
Montoya in Miami
BRDC take Silverstone
Sauber snub not sinister
New BAR 'must win' - Willis
Fisi's 'still motivated'
Jani has Red Bull contract
Webber is 'third best' in F1
JV out to restore 'pride'
12/16/04
champcar
Lola boss praises Champ Car recovery Lola boss praises Champ Car recoveryRupert Mainwaring, the managing director of Lola Cars, has praised the owners of the Champ Car World Series for the way the championship has recovered from the dark days of twelve months ago – when there was a serious possibility that the series could go to the wall.

With Mi-Jack Conquest becoming a two car Lola team mid-season, and Walker set to follow suit for 2005, the new Champ Car World Series season should be an all Lola affair, something Mainwaring admitted was pleasing for the company – although he also stated his belief that the next few years were vitally important for Champ Cars as a whole.

“I'm bound to say it but I do think it's a good thing that Lola will have the whole field,” he told Crash.net. “In Champ Cars the teams are very sophisticated so, although all the teams will be using a Lola, they have done lots of development work and testing on the car so it is the teams themselves that generate the competition.

“The next few years are critical to Champ. The championship has performed a remarkable recovery from a year ago and it is important for us to make sure that we deliver to the teams cost effective, exciting cars that they can develop and create an exciting series with. We need to be extremely aware over the next two, three, four years of what the Champ Car market needs and costs so I am just as excited about it being something of a one make series as I would be if there was more competition.”

Mainwaring also said that he feels that the open wheel battle in America between the Champ Car World Series and the IRL will be interesting over the coming seasons.

“I think the new owners of Champ Cars are totally committed to the series,” he said, “and they can offer something that is different to the IRL which is more dependent on manufacturer involvement and marketing spend.

“Champ Cars has something that is a solid platform to build on and is different to the IRL so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in the battle between them in two or three years time.” Crash.net [Editor's Note: Lola is rolling in money these days. They have an exclusive agreement with the A1 GP series and just signed the biggest motorsport order in the history of the sport. They are also sole-supplier to several lower formula series and will enjoy a monopoly in Champ Car in 2005. While they may not be supplying many new cars to Champ Car in 2005, the parts business will be booming. We also can't help but wonder if Champ Car delayed their new car until 2007 because Lola could not supply the entire Champ Car grid in time for 2006 given their massive A1 GP order of 50 complete cars that must be fulfilled before the series kicks off next winter.]

12/16/04
cartatlantic
irl
No Atlantics for Rahal Letterman No Atlantics for Rahal LettermanAccording to this Indy Star article, Bobby Rahal's team will not field an Atlantics program in 2005, according to team general manager Scott Roembke. Instead, it will focus on a three-car IndyCar series program. As for the Pro Series, Roembke said Rahal continues to be an advocate of driver development and will look to have a team in the future (but not in 2005).  As for 19-year-old Chris Festa of Atlanta, word on the street is that he'll race somewhere in the Pro Series next year.
12/16/04
Industry News
Toyota wins Truck of Year Award Toyota wins Truck of Year AwardMOTOR TREND magazine, the world's number one automotive authority and part of the PRIMEDIA Consumer Automotive Group, today announced the selection of the Toyota Tacoma as the 2005 MOTOR TREND Truck of the Year. Each year, MOTOR TREND evaluates all new eligible pickup trucks and awards the coveted Golden Calipers to the one that most clearly raises the bar in the category, specifically in terms of significance, superiority and value.   "The new Tacoma is a good example of Toyota listening to its customers and delivering the best materials, fit and finish for its price class," said Angus MacKenzie, editor in chief of MOTOR TREND. "Buyers get Toyota's legendary durability and quality in a beautifully built little truck. Proving there is no penalty for buying a reasonably priced, more fuel-efficient truck, especially significant in this time of rising fuel prices, the 2005 Toyota Tacoma is truly deserving of the title of MOTOR TREND Truck of the Year."
12/16/04
Industry News
Bruton Smith gets $1M bonus Bruton Smith gets $1M bonusCEO Bruton Smith, who makes regular appearances on the Forbes magazine list of billionaires, now has another $1 million to his name.  Smith earned a $1 million cash bonus for helping Speedway Motorsports Inc. exceed earnings expectations. Smith is also CEO of Fortune 500 auto dealership chain Sonic Automotive Corp.  Speedway Motorsports, operator of Lowe's Motor Speedway and five other race tracks, disclosed bonuses to Smith and three other executives in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week.  Speedway Motorsports President H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler earned $550,000. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer William Brooks earned $400,000. Executive Vice President Marcus Smith, Bruton Smith's son, will earn a $532,000 bonus if the company meets year-end sales goals. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the company earned $60.1 million, compared with $47.5 million in the same period last year. Charlotte Observer
12/16/04
champcar
ITLA renews sponsorship of Long Beach race ITLA renews sponsorship of Long Beach raceThe Grand Prix Association of Long Beach today announced that ITLA Capital Corporation ("ITLA") with its wholly owned subsidiary, Imperial Capital Bank, has renewed its status as Official Bank and Financial Services Provider of the 31st Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

As part of the agreement, Imperial Capital Bank will also become the title sponsor of the Toyota Atlantic Championship race during Grand Prix weekend. The race will now be known as the "Imperial Capital Bank Challenge for the Toyota Atlantic Championship."

Imperial Capital Bank was a highly visible first-year sponsor of the Grand Prix in 2004, with its logo and name garnering a lot of media attention on the pedestrian bridge near the Turn 11 hairpin and as title sponsor of the Historic Grand Prix support race.

"This year, we successfully utilized the Grand Prix to cultivate new business relationships," said George W. Haligowski, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Imperial Capital Bank. "We were able to capitalize on the event's opportunities to brand our company name and promote our business and consumer banking services to a demographically attractive audience. We plan to do even more next year. Imperial Capital Bank is extremely excited and proud of being involved once again with this fabulous event."

"It's great to have Imperial Capital Bank back with our family of sponsors," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "Like the Grand Prix, Imperial Capital Bank has a strong heritage in Southern California and a 31-year history of customer service excellence."

With total assets in excess of $2 billion, ITLA Capital Corporation, formed in 1996 and headquartered in La Jolla, Calif., is the largest diversified bank holding company headquartered in San Diego, California. ITLA conducts its banking operations through Imperial Capital Bank ("ICB"), a California state-chartered commercial bank, and the Imperial Capital Real Estate Investment Trust. ITLA's stock is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange and trades under the symbol "ITLA". 

Imperial Capital Bank is a 31-year-old FDIC-insured financial institution which serves customers through seven retail branch locations and twenty-one lending offices located in California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Texas, the Southeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the Metro-New York area, the Ohio Valley area and New England. GPALB

12/16/04
champcar
irl
Open Wheel to stay two horse race Open Wheel to stay two horse race"Bottom Line: Anyone still entertaining thoughts that CART-turned-Champ Car is a temporary phenomenon should have his head examined. The owners are committed to the series, and they have the resources to back it up. For better or worse, the open-wheel scene in North America remains a two-horse show for at least the next two seasons, and probably beyond". AutoWeek
12/16/04
Formula BMW
SPEED to air Formula BMW review SPEED to air Formula BMW reviewA 30-minute, season review of the 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship will be aired on Speed Channel, Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 10:30 p.m. ET. The program will be repeated at 4:30 a.m. ET on Monday, January 24th. Check www.formulabmwusa.com or www.speedtv.com for additional air dates.
12/16/04
F1
Britain ratifies anti-tobacco treaty Britain ratifies anti-tobacco treatyThe British Department of Health has issued a statement saying that the United Kingdom has become the latest country to ratify the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control - the first global health treaty. This commits the government to enact strict tobacco control measures. The convention will become international law on February 28 2005. The treaty binds the nations involved to enact comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, ban the use of misleading terms such as "light" and "mild" and to increase tobacco taxation. Campaigners are already asking the Secretary of State for Health what planning mechanisms will be put in place to ensure the UK complies with the requirements. The announcement was hidden away in a statement about a reduction in the number of smokers in the UK.

"On the same day as these statistics were published," the release says, "the UK ratified the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This is the first international treaty on public health and has the potential to make a real difference in tobacco control at a global level." Grandprix.com
12/16/04
Industry News
Keeping score of sports sponsorships Keeping score of sports sponsorshipsThis Forbes.com article says, [Excerpts - for Auto Racing they are talking primarily about the value of track signage] With nearly every inch of professional sports emblazoned with some sort of sponsorship, it may seem like a stretch to say that this segment of the marketing world has yet to meet its full potential. But sports marketing executives contend that the size of the sport sponsorship industry is in fact being held back by the absence of a standardized method of measuring and valuing the exposure that, say, Coca-Cola gets with an ad placed just behind home plate in Yankee Stadium during a game that's broadcast on News Corp.'s Fox network.

A new service called Sponsorship Scorecard from Nielsen, the television ratings icon, is aiming to change that. And should it succeed in doing so, the $7.7 billion sports sponsorship industry--which is still dwarfed by $156 billion in total ad spending--will surely get a hefty boost.

The Nielsen service, which debuted in July, measures sponsorships as they're seen in any televised sporting event--baseball, basketball, football, NASCAR and more. Scorecard picks up any promotional element in a stadium or arena, including those that are superimposed electronically by the networks, as long as it is visible for at least one second and is legible. Nielsen then matches each sponsorship impression to the television ratings to the nearest quarter hour.

"It will be much easier for advertisers to place money against a medium that's measured. Until now, it's been a guestimate," says Nielsen Ventures General Manager Ron Schneier. "Is the value of home plate five times or three times greater than the value of the right field wall?" Scorecard lets clients compare sponsorships between stadiums and even sports.

"We're hopeful that Scorecard can expand and accelerate that value of sports television," says Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president of research and sales at The Walt Disney Co.'s sports network ESPN.

Smaller sports marketing companies, including Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Joyce Julius Associates, already assess the value of sports sponsorships. But Nielsen's stature as the gold standard in television audience measurement gives it the kind of credibility necessary to make it the currency for buying and selling sponsorships, according to Bulgrin.

"What Nielsen brings to the table is its ability to seamlessly marry the sponsorship exposures to its ratings database," he says. "I think they'll deliver a higher degree of accuracy and rigor."

And Nielsen's ability to do that will only become more marketable as digital video recorders and video-on-demand continue to decrease the likelihood that viewers will see regular commercials. Says Bulgrin: "That makes being inside an event much more valuable to marketers."

12/16/04
F1
French GP bids for British spectators French GP bids for British spectatorsThe Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile has announced the prices for tickets for the French Grand Prix and some of the other European races are going to have to sit up and take notice. The cheapest ticket for the July 3 race at Magny-Cours will be just $84. This will give spectators access to the circuit and to the spectator mounds at the back of the track. The tickets must be purchased before February 15.

The tickets for the British GP on July 10 also went on sale this week and the cheapest deal for a ticket is $184 for a three-day ticket. If you want a seat at Silverstone the cheapest you can hope for is $269 while at Magny-Cours the cheapest three-day ticket with a seat is $227.

"Our aim is to bring Formula 1 to a wider audience", said Jacques Regis, President of the FFSA, promoter of the Grand Prix. "The sport needs to generate more enthusiasm and attract new spectators. We believe that bringing down the prices will help achieve this." Grandprix.com
12/16/04
f1
Mercedes, BMW and Honda drop arbitration Mercedes, BMW and Honda drop arbitrationUPDATE BMW and Honda have dropped their opposition to Formula One's 2006 engine regulations after deciding a legal challenge would be bad for motor racing.  "The BMW WilliamsF1 team has decided, in accord with BAR Honda, not to appeal against the engine regulations ... scheduled for 2006," BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said on Thursday.  "A legal challenge to the content and form of the modified regulations would take up too much time -- time in which all manufacturers would be forced to undertake costly parallel developments.  That would not be in the interests of the sport, whose future we aim to strengthen. With this decision we want to contribute to a united position of the engine manufacturers in Formula One." 12/15/04 Mercedes has abandoned plans to participate in an arbitration action against the FIA over changes to the 2005 and ’06 engine regulations. It had joined forces with BMW and Honda to protest against the introduction of long-life engines in 2005 and 2.4-litre V8s in ’06. It believed the FIA had acted outside its remit in introducing the changes on the grounds of safety. BMW wants the V10 format to be retained, while Honda wants the ’06 regulations to allow greater technical freedom. Mercedes would not comment on its decision. Autosport Magazine
12/16/04
Industry News
Derek Daly school featured on Discovery Channel Derek Daly school featured on Discovery ChannelDerek Daly Academy was recently filmed for the new reality television series No Opportunity Wasted airing on the Discovery Channel.  Hosted by the creator of The Amazing Race Phil Keoghan, the show will feature a contestant facing her fears and living her dream of driving an open wheel race car.  Filmed at the Academy’s facility at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the show will air at 8:00 pm Thursday December 16, 2004 on the Discovery Channel.  Check your local listings for details.
12/16/04
nascar
irl
Speedway officials have high hopes for expensive seats Speedway officials have high hopes for expensive seatsSight unseen, fans are buying into the renovation of Michigan International Speedway.  MIS President Brett Shelton unveiled plans for a multimillion-dollar face-lift to the speedway at a press conference Tuesday, and officials announced that more than 600 of the 870 new upscale, club-level seats already have been sold.

Tickets for the club-level seats, priced at $450 for the two NASCAR weekends at MIS and $120 for the speedway's Indy Racing League weekend, were made available to 2004 ticket-holders in advance of sale to the general public that is set to begin Feb. 12.
 
"When we sat down to price it, we looked at other facilities in the state and around the country that offered something similar," said John Moreland, director of ticketing at MIS. "We didn't know if we were going to sell two or if we were going to sell 700."

The renovation that began earlier this fall includes 16 luxury suites near the start-finish line, club-level seating above the existing main grandstand, and a new entrance that will engulf nearly 26 acres behind the main grandstand. The renovation is the second-largest project in the works by International Speedway Corp. -- second to work under way at Daytona International Speedway to add a tunnel under the track wide enough for NASCAR transporters -- and is being completely funded by the company.

Shelton declined to place a price tag on the project, other than to say, "It's a lot of money."  "We've sold better than 600 of the club-level seats for our (Nextel) Cup weekends and nearly 500 for our IRL weekend," Shelton said. "Sales are going pretty fast. I think we'll still have a few left when our general sale begins on Feb. 12." MLive.com

12/16/04
irl
Hornish Gets Unique Gift From Father Hornish Gets Unique Gift From FatherIn 2000, PDM Racing gave Sam Hornish Jr. the opportunity to compete in the IRL IndyCar® Series a year after the Defiance, Ohio, native won Rookie of the Year honors in the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Two series championships and an IndyCar Series-leading 12 victories later, Hornish will soon be reunited with the No. 18 entry that he drove in his first three IndyCar Series races. His father, Sam, purchased the car from PDM Racing principal owner Paul Diatlovich, and IndyCar Series technical manager Kevin Blanch is restoring it to driving condition.

"This race car is very special to me," said Hornish, who won one race in 2004 in his first season driving the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. "It's the car in which I passed my IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 rookie tests and earned my first podium finish."

One of last of the series' first-generation G Force chassis, it will be displayed in the headquarters of the family's trucking business.  "I just never imagined he'd make it to that level," said Sam Hornish, whose Hornish Brothers Trucking Co. was the car's co-sponsor with Advantage Power Coating. "I thought (buying and displaying the car) would be something neat to do."

The project evolved into something more than building a show car. "Sam (Sr.) asked if I could put it back as close to the way it was when Sam drove it," said Blanch, the crew chief at Panther Racing when Hornish won consecutive IndyCar Series titles. "He said, 'I'd like to in 20 years be able to start it up and let the boy drive it because it's the first IndyCar (Series) car he drove.'  "For his family, that car has a lot of memories of Sam's first step into big-time auto racing."

Rebuilding the engine, recovering the seat, painting and decaling were among Blanch's list of refurbishments.  "I called everybody who was involved with that car when it was running and asked if they could help," Blanch said. "I didn't want to take the motor out, paint it, put it all back together and let you have it. So I just went through it slowly and got it to where in 20 years they can put some methanol in it and drive the car around."

Blanch said delivery should be at the beginning of 2005.  "It's basically done," he said. "It's just a matter of putting it back together. Because the car won't be running next week, I have to make sure that 10-12 years from now everything is preserved and won't go to waste. I'll spray the fuel cell to keep it from drying out and rotting and pickle the fuel pump. I want to make sure everything works and is lubricated and will last for 20 years until they decide to run it.

"It's something I wanted to do for his father. It's an honor because his son is a champion and will continue to be a champion for a long time. For me to be associated with that car that started him out adds to my career."  The younger Hornish is looking forward to seeing - and sitting in - the car.  "My dad bought the car, my former crew chief is restoring the car and Speedway Engine Development is doing the engine work," he said. "Each of their efforts means a lot to me because they were all instrumental in my growth as a race car driver.  I think it's a great thing to have the resources to restore such a meaningful part of my racing background, and I can't wait until I have kids so that I can fire up the engine to show them what got my career in the IndyCar Series started."

12/16/04
Industry News
ISC buys Staten Island site for $100M ISC buys Staten Island site for $100MUPDATE International Speedway Corporation has paid 100 (M) million dollars to buy land in Staten Island to build a New York City racetrack. The company owns or operates eleven of NASCAR's major tracks. It hopes to build a 600 (M) million dollar track on industrial property near the Goethals Bridge. Officials say it could represent the largest construction project the motorsports giant has ever undertaken.  International Speedway President Lesa France Kennedy says the company has to complete a feasibility study before deciding whether to build the facility. Speedway officials are expected to elaborate on their New York plans today in a call with financial analysts.  The track probably won't be completed until 2009 or 2010.  In all, Speedway wants to acquire 660 acres, which it said would be the largest undeveloped block of land within New York City.  The land would house not only a three-quarter-mile track with 80-thousand seats but also a 50-acre group of nationally known stores.  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has voiced concern about traffic jams that might be generated by the track. Several Staten Island political leaders, including borough President James Molinaro, like the track -- saying it would rejuvenate a defunct oil tank farm. 12/16/04 GATX Corporation (NYSE:GMT) today announced that it completed the sale of its property on Staten Island to 380 Development, LLC, a majority-owned subsidiary of International Speedway Corporation. The purchase price for the property was approximately $99 million. GATX indicated that the sale will result in an after-tax gain in the range of $35-$45 million, dependent upon final determination of an environmental remediation reserve. The gain will be recorded in the 2004 fourth quarter.   The property is approximately 450 acres and was the site of a terminalling facility last operated by GATX Terminals, until the site was decommissioned in 1999. GATX Terminals, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GATX Corporation, was sold in 2001, but GATX Corporation, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, retained ownership of the Staten Island property.
12/16/04
champcar
Albers completes first Champ Car test Albers completes first Champ Car testUPDATE We have added photos from Albers test below.  Will we see the Trust sponsorship in Champ Car in 2005? 12/16/04 Dutch driver Christijan Albers and the Walker Racing team completed his first Champ Car test at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida today.  The driver took his first laps in a 750 horsepower Champ Car in unusually cold conditions for this time of the year.  The test is in preparation for the 2005 season, which will be the 16th consecutive season for the experienced Walker Racing team.

Derrick Walker, team owner of Walker Racing, said “the windy, cold conditions are not the best for his first Champ Car test, but Christijan did very well considering the weather.  He quickly got down to some very respectable lap times and even though the test was one day, we managed to accomplish a lot”.   “It is encouraging that there are a number of talented drivers who are now considering the Champ Car series as a viable alternative to Formula One.  It provides exciting, competitive racing for drivers and teams while providing exceptional value for corporate sponsors” continued Walker.

Driver Christijan Albers was impressed with his first test in a Champ Car “we had a good day, given the cold weather conditions.  I have to say the power of the engine was incredible, and I was surprised how smooth the turbo was giving the power.  I am used to tire warmers, so it took a little time to get used to driving such a powerful car on cold tires”.  Albers continued “the car has more technology than I expected and has quite a lot of downforce, but overall the car is very fun to drive”.

After completing almost 100 laps in very cold conditions at the Sebring course today, Christijan has a good impression of the Champ Car series and the Walker team.  “The guys on the team and the engineering were all great, and Mr. Walker wants to win races just as I do, so we have common goals for the future.  I think Champ Cars and Walker Racing are a good option for Christijan Albers for 2005”.

The Indianapolis-based team is making the transition to the Lola chassis for 2005, and the test is one of the last runs for the reliable Reynard chassis.  “For 2005, we are focusing our efforts on developing a two-car effort with Lola chassis and world-class drivers” said Walker.  “Champ Car’s second season with new ownership should continue to grow its world-wide audience, and thus lead to potentially new sponsors coming into the sport looking to reach those fans” added Walker.

12/16/04
alms
Panoz signs Auberlen for 2005 Panoz signs Auberlen for 2005Panoz Motor Sports brought Bill Auberlen to a frigid Road Atlanta circuit to announce that the experienced sportscar ace has signed with the team for the 2005 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 title chase. For Auberlen, who hails from Redondo Beach, Calif., it was a bit of a return to the Panoz fold. Bill last piloted a Panoz Le Mans Prototype in the 2002 season.  "The Panoz Esperante is powerful and comfortable to drive fast", said Auberlen. "The track was below freezing for pretty much the whole morning, so we were only able to put in a couple of hours of track time in the afternoon. I'm excited to have been invited to help take the GT LM to the next competitive level. The car really has loads of potential and they've only scratched the surface. It's great to be back with the Panoz boys and we're all looking forward to racing against the Porsches this year. Based on this brief first outing, I expect we'll bring some excitement to the GT2 battleground next year."
12/16/04
Formula BMW
cartatlantic
Hinchcliffe stays busy Hinchcliffe stays busyFormula BMW USA Rookie-of-the-Year, James Hinchcliffe has been extremely busy the past couple of weeks. With tests in a Pro Formula Mazda and Toyota Atlantic the young Canadian also traveled across the pond to Austria as a guest of BMW’s motorsports announcement.

The first on-track activity took place at BeaveRun Raceway as Hinchcliffe reunited with his Rookie-of-the-Year championship winning team AIM Autosport. Hinchcliffe joined four other pilots for the early November test and managed to out pace both in his first time in the car. 

“Those cars are amazing” stated Hinchcliffe. “I can’t believe the power and the overall grip that the cars have. I am sure they would be a blast to drive during race competition.  The team did a great job with the new car and it is definitely a car I can see myself racing this year.”

Next on Hinchcliffe’s jam packed schedule was a trip south for a November 29th and 30th test in a Toyota Atlantic. Joining Hinchcliffe at Sebring Raceway were a handful of Champ Car teams and Polestar Racing Group, the team that would provide the Canadian with this amazing opportunity. The always professional Polestar team brought their race crew to the test as well as driver Ronnie Bremer who was on hand to provide support to the young Canadian. As a result of the Rookie-of-the-Year championship, Hinchcliffe received this two day test from BMW and proved to be extremely fast in his first time in the car.

“Everything about these cars are incredible. The acceleration, corning and top speeds were truly amazing.” expressed and excited Hinchcliffe. “The braking was the hardest thing to master but with the support from Polestar and the information provided by the team engineer and Ronnie Bremer, I was able to get up to speed quickly.”

By the time the second day came to a close, Hinchcliffe had completed over 350 miles in the car and gained a wealth of knowledge. After the final session the Oakville, ON resident learned that he had circuited the nine turn Sebring Raceway faster then any other previous test completed at the same Sebring track by Polestar.

“I would like to take this time to thank everyone who has been involved in my career to date. I would also like to thank both AIM Autosport and Polestar for the generous tests that were provided.” James also went on to say, “The tests were a great learning experience for me and with them now complete, it will be time to determine what the plans are for next season.”

Next up for Hinchcliffe was a trip to Austria where the aspiring motorsports star was a guest of the BMW Motorsports. Hinchcliffe traveled half way across the world to represent Formula BMW USA in the BMW conference.

12/16/04
Industry News
NBC’s Dick Ebersol escapes fatal plane crash NBC’s Dick Ebersol escapes fatal plane crashUPDATE #2 NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol and family will hold a memorial service today for Teddy Ebersol, who died in the November 28 plane crash in Colorado. The N.Y. TIMES reports that Dick is expected to attend the service, and he is recuperating from injuries that are “more serious” than originally reported. He will not be able to “stand on his own for several more weeks.” Initial reports said that Ebersol had fractured his sternum and three ribs, but he also “has a fractured pelvis, a fractured coccyx and six broken vertebrae in his back” N.Y. TIMES 12/07/04 Dick Ebersol and his son Charlie were discharged today from St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., and are continuing their recuperation. NBC Universal PR 11/29/04 A charter plane carrying NBC Sports and Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol crashed and burst into flames during take-off yesterday ( Sunday) from a southwest Colorado airport, killing at least two people and seriously injuring Ebersol and one of his sons. Rescue crews were searching for another son. Ebersol, 57, and son Charles Ebersol survived the crash at the Montrose Regional Airport, NBC said in a statement through its Denver affiliate KUSA-TV. An eyewitness Chuck Distel said Charles helped his father out through the front of the plane, whose cockpit had been ripped off by the force of the crash. The station said crews searched for Edward "Teddy" Ebersol, 14, by helicopter and on the ground. NBC said the plane seat was missing from the wreckage. A local TV station said Ebersol's wife, actress Susan St. James, was not on the plane. Dick Ebersol has a long history at NBC. He became director of late-night programming at NBC in 1974 and replaced Lorne Michaels for a rocky tenure as executive producer of "Saturday Night Live" in the early 1980s. He became president of NBC Sports in 1989 and recently signed a contract that keeps him at the network through 2012. Ebersol worked as an ABC researcher at the Grenoble Olympics in 1968. That began his love affair with the multisport event.
12/16/04
A1 Grand Prix
A1 GP places biggest order in history A1 GP places biggest order in historyThe A1 Grand Prix race series completed one of its most significant steps to date in the run up to the first Championship in autumn 2005, when it activated a contract with Lola Cars International for the production and purchase of 50 A1 Grand Prix cars. This agreement, added to the order already signed between A1 Grand Prix and Zytek Engineering for 58 A1 Grand Prix engines, makes this the largest single racing car order in the history of motorsport. The original agreement with Lola for 30 cars was increased to 50 due to the demand by countries wishing to acquire national seats in the Championship. Founder and President of A1 Grand Prix, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, is thrilled to have attained this milestone, saying "We created a concept a sound business model and a dream. This has today turned into a reality and has surpassed all of my expectations. The business model is proving itself as we already have 13 countries signed up to participate in the first World Cup of Motorsport and are negotiating with a further 19." Lola's Managing Director, Rupert Mainwaring said, "" This is certainly one of the most significant contracts that Lola has ever been involved with and we are ready to deliver the usual excellent standards to which Lola has become synonymous with over the years. We have been involved from the very concept stage of A1 Grand Prix and feel confident that the close relationship that we have with Sheikh Maktoum and his organization will prosper for many years to come." The contract has been agreed following a successful testing and development program, which has seen the car and engine arrive at their final production configuration barely a year since the project's inception. John Manchester, Operations Director at Zytek commented on the impact the order will make to their operation "It is the largest single order for racing engines that Zytek has ever received and will generate additional business benefits in terms of manufacturing, assembly and support service as well as offering further employment opportunities". John Wickham, A1 Grand Prix's Technical and Operations Manager, has overseen the testing and development of the car and will work closely with both Lola and Zytek. "We have complete confidence that Lola and Zytek will prove to be ideal partners to A1 Grand Prix. They are both vastly experienced in high level motorsport programs and have proven their design and production capabilities many times over. We have worked closely with them throughout our exhaustive test program this year and have an excellent relationship with their engineers."
12/16/04
Industry News
Management reshuffle at Silverstone Management reshuffle at SilverstoneSilverstone's first steps towards a future that should lead to it becoming one of the best tracks in the world moved closer on Thursday when the track confirmed a management reshuffle.  Following the decision by former British Grand Prix promoters Interpublic to get out of its motor sport commitments, Silverstone's owner the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has now taken over full operation and promotion of the venue.  As part of this move, the BRDC has also appointed Richard Phillips as the new managing director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, following the decision of predecessor Andrew Waller to stand-down from his role at the venue.    The BRDC's chief executive Alex Hooton said: “Becoming the operator and promoter of Silverstone, through Silverstone Circuits Ltd, as well as being the circuit owner, gives us complete control over the future of the venue and a strong influence over the various events we host. “Together with our new five year agreement to host the British Grand Prix, these changes ensure that the circuit has a very bright future.” Autosport.com
12/16/04
f1
Trulli looks forward to short break Trulli looks forward to short breakThe life of a Grand Prix driver is certainly not a nine to five kind of profession. However, this time of the year most race drivers are looking forward to some time with their families. Jarno Trulli is no exception.

"I am basically free from Christmas time until the first test in January or the launch of the new car," Trulli explained. "This year, I will go back to my family home in Pescara in Italy around 23 December. I plan to stay there for about four or five days. Then for New Year's Eve I will go skiing in Switzerland with my wife and some friends.”

"The one thing I like to do around Christmas is nothing! For Formula One drivers it is our main chance of the year to really stay at home and relax... I just try to get together with friends and family and have fun. The most strenuous thing we do is play cards. I guess the Christmas present I would really like would be a fast car for 2005...”

Trulli is joined at Toyota by Ralf Schumacher in 2005. ToyotaF1

12/16/04
f1
Vodafone extends Ferrari deal Vodafone extends Ferrari dealVodafone today announced that it has extended its sponsorship of the Ferrari Team for the next two calendar years, 2005 and 2006. According to the company, the extension of the sponsorship agreement is part of Vodafone's ongoing strategy to align its brand with high profile sporting properties.

The agreement will continue to involve significant branding on both the cars and drivers' and pit crews' overalls and helmets.

Commenting on the new agreement Peter Bamford, Vodafone's Chief Marketing Officer said, "We are very happy to continue our partnership with Ferrari, which has greatly enhanced our global brand profile and will enable us to continue to build Vodafone as one of the world's leading brands. We are looking forward to continuing our successful relationship, generating greater affinity for the Vodafone brand, and our products and services with our customers."

Ferrari Team Principal Jean Todt added, "We are happy to extend our agreement with Vodafone for a further two years. Over the three year period which ends this year, our partnership with Vodafone has played a key role in our success and we are firm believers in this association between two brands that represent excellence in their respective areas of activity."

12/16/04
f1
Renault talks testing Renault talks testingAfter the conclusion of Renault’s final winter testing session in Jerez, Chief Test Engineer Christian Silk explained what the team has accomplished so far and why they did not opt to run a hybrid chassis. More....
12/16/04
champcar
cartatlantic
Kasemets completes 2nd of 2 day Champ Car Test Kasemets completes 2nd of 2 day Champ Car TestUPDATE Here are a couple of more images of Kasemets in one of Dale Coyne's Lolas at Sebring from Wednesday by Pierre DuCharme.

 

12/16/04 Thanks to Dale Coyne Racing, Estonia now has a 1st in Motor Sports and Tonis Kasemets has a “taste of the future”.  The 2nd day of Champ Car testing at Sebring “went very well” says Tonis.  “I’m very happy for the chance to drive a Champ Car.  I’m very appreciative to Mr. Coyne for the opportunity to test, I thank him for trusting me and my abilities in one of his Champ Cars.”  Tonis hails from Parnu Estonia, but has planted his roots in  the United States since 1994.  And Tonis is the 1st Estonian to ever step in to a Champ Car, therefore making some History along with “pursuing my dream.” 

Kasemets piloted the #19 of Dale Coyne Racing around the “short” course  at Sebring = 1.67 miles; logging another 100+ miles today. 

On a personal level, Tonis adds:  “I’m quite happy with the results.  Thanks to Stefan Dominic and the crew.  They all did a great job, especially fixing and cleaning up… it was, well… a SPIN fest.”  (Not all of Tonis’ spins were in the same turns either.)  “That’s why it’s a test ”.  Don’t ask Tonis about the very cool and breezy weather conditions affecting his performance, as he has “nothing but pride to show for my results.  No excuses.”

“The Coyne Engineering staff were very easy to work with.  No stubbornness or egos, it was just so easy to get along.  I hope in the future more opportunities like this are available as I’d like to continue to have a chance at Champ Car.  The Team thought we can do it.  And I proved I can do it.”

As for Team Tonis 2005 plans:  “We are working 110% towards the full season in Toyota Atlantic Championship Series.  The chance with Champ Car is because of Toyota Atlantics.  Otherwise I would not have gotten the opportunity to get a peek at the next Chapter.”   For more information about Team Tonis, visit www.toniskasemets.com Photos courtesy of Champ Car

12/16/04
champcar
f1
Mario Andretti voted best-ever Mario Andretti voted best-everAutosport Magazine has voted Mario Andretti as the best all-around driver of all-time. He beat Stirling Moss, Jimmy Clark, Jackie Ickx, Dan Gurney, John Surtees and AJ Foyt in that order. Although Moss gave Andretti a good run for his money, in the end it was Andretti's ability to win races even in his 50's and the F1 World Championship at the ripe old age of 38 that was the deciding factor. They also noted that he sat on pole in his very first F1 race at Watkins Glen in 1968 and his next-to-last F1 race at Monza for Ferrari in 1982, which to this day still brought the loudest and longest cheer the historic circuit has ever witnessed.

He won his very first modified stock car race he ever ran in 1958. But early on his aim to race in Europe, to follow compatriot Dan Gurney’s lead, also demanded that Mario learn about turning right as well as left. Which is why, when he overcame inferior equipment to beat Mark Donohue and win his first ever road-course race, at Lime Rock in ’63, it gave him a bigger thrill than any previous victory: “I thought I was in heaven. Man, I felt like Fangio!”

“To win in every category you’ve got to have that desire to succeed – but the other important thing is to keep an open mind. I did the first two races of ’65in the [front-engined] roadster– led the first, finished second in the other, but then switched for Indy to the [rear-engined] Hawk. And yet despite being a rookie ,my first attempt at a qualifying run put me up into the top three, mixing it with Jimmy Clark, AJ Foyt and Dan Gurney. Even though everything was different about the handling, once I got the Hawk how I wanted it I was someone to be reckoned with. The rear-engined car had the potential to go quicker through the turns, so if you turned in at roadster pace you could feel the rear-engined car inviting you to go quicker. If it feels right you can push and push to the limit of the car. And once you get there it gives you messages telling you what it needs to make it go even quicker, and that’s when you start chasing those last fractions of a second to fine-tune it.

“That’s the other important factor if you want to be successful in every type of car: acquiring and using technical knowledge. You’ve gotta give 100 percent at the wheel, but also 100 percent on the technical side," said Andretti. "When Holman & Moody asked me to drive their Ford for the 1967 Daytona 500, I asked them for a basic set-up they knew worked and I’d adapt it to how I wanted it. I changed it from having a little bit of understeer, adjusted the ride-height, softened the anti-roll bar and adjusted the camber and crossweights so I hardly had to turn the wheel to turn into the corner. It was just rotating around the inside front, with just a slight tail-end drift. He dominated the race and won. The headline in one of the local newspaper read "All of Dixie mourns Andretti victory at Daytona." A small Italian immigrant with a heavy accent came down from the north and beat the best of NASCAR at their own game.

We could never revisit the careers of Stirling Moss and Mario Andretti in five pages. For that, read their biographies. But we can attempt to come to a conclusion about which of them is the greatest all-rounder.

Moss, it must be said, was the master of anything he turned his hand to. For example, his margin over Fangio in sportscars was far greater than Fangio’s was over Moss in F1– if that latter margin existed at all. Andretti, by contrast, had five or six drivers his equal in grand prix racing, at least in terms of outright pace. But then that was only half his game: even by the mid ’70s, raw driving talent was not enough to succeed in F1and Mario’s technical knowledge was second to none. Yet he was quick too: he started his first grand prix(Watkins Glen in 1968) and his penultimate grand prix(Monza,’82)from pole. And remember how long he was competitive in Champ Cars, winning in both his second year,1965,and his penultimate, 1993. In that span of28 years, there were at most four Champ Car drivers who could say they were as good as Andretti.

You can hardly criticize Moss for not having a longer career. He was only32 when he crashed at Goodwood in 1962,and it’s reasonable to suppose he’d have fought Clark, then Stewart for another eight years in F1– and, intriguingly, raced Andretti in sportscars in the early’70s.

One could also assume Moss would have been hot in a Champ Car. But we don’t know – just as we’ll never know if Don Bradman could have become the greatest baseball player and Babe Ruth the greatest cricketer. And that’s why Andretti has to get the nod as the greatest all-rounder of all time. Stirling had the greater raw talent for driving fast, but Mario spread his talent further for longer. AutoRacing1.com Mario Andretti tribute.

12/16/04
grandam
Doran announces '05 driver lineup Doran announces '05 driver lineupDoran Racing is pleased to announce that it has signed the champions of the last two FIA GT world championships to drive one of its DORAN JE4s in the complete 2005 Grand American Rolex Series.Fabrizio Gollin, who tied with his teammate, Luca Cappellari, for the 2004 FIA GT world driver championship, and Matteo Bobbi, who finished second in the series this year and won the championship in 2003, will drive a Doran Racing DORAN JE4 in all 14 Grand American Rolex Series races next year.  The car will be powered by a Lexus engine and will carry the number 77. Primary sponsorship for the entry will be announced soon, as will the name of one additional driver who will share the car with Gollin and Bobbi in the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Feb. 3-6.In Europe both men have been part of the famed BMS Scuderia Italia team, competing in Ferrari 550 Maranello Prodrives.
12/16/04
nascar
Radio station to become NASCAR voice in Chicago Radio station to become NASCAR voice in ChicagoWUSN-FM radio (99.5 FM) has announced that it will become the VOICE OF NASCAR for the Chicago Metro Area. In a multi-year agreement, WUSN adds NASCAR-related programming to the 2005 broadcast schedule. This includes radio broadcasts of 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Races between February and November of 2005, as well as daily updates on the NASCAR scene.  WUSN Vice President and General Manager Dave Robbins said, “Offering live broadcasts of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing is a perfect fit for WUSN and provides Chicagoland listeners with unprecedented coverage of America’s fastest growing sport.” Robbins added that “millions of racing fans now have an FM radio outlet to experience the thrill of NASCAR, live as it happens.”   Programming will start with the Daytona 500 on February 20, 2005, through the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Race from Homestead Florida on November 20, 2005. Twenty-six of the races will be broadcast via the Motor Racing Network (MRN), the Official Radio Network of NASCAR. "We are excited to add WUSN in Chicago to our ever-growing family of affiliates," said MRN Radio President David Hyatt. "We look forward to providing quality NASCAR programming to their listeners each week. We are proud to be associated with such a first-class organization."   Ten additional races will be broadcast via the Performance Racing Network (PRN). According to John Napolitano, Director of Affiliates for PRN, “This is a great day for PRN and for NASCAR fans all over Chicago. We are proud to be working with WUSN to bring our award winning coverage of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series to the 3rd largest market in America.”
12/16/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Minardi's Merry wish
'F1 viewership in decline'
Boris Yeltsin and F1
No 'interim' no drawback
Schu bought Jordan
Schu convicted of 'F1 murder'
Minardi court trial began
Juan Pablo's on a diet
BAR man eyes Ferrari future
Ferrari owner in dispute
Albers in America
Shake-up at Renault
Want an ex-Schu F1 Ferrari?
Mario Dominguez signed Midland deal
Repsol keen to return
12/16/04
champcar
Pastorelli/Walker Racing test report and photos Pastorelli/Walker Racing test report and photosUPDATE Here are some photos, courtesy of Champ Car, of the Pastorelli/Walker Racing test.

   
 

12/14/04 The Walker Racing Team completed a successful day of testing at Sebring International Raceway in Florida with 2004 Euro F3000 Champion, Nicky Pastorelli.  The driver from The Netherlands took to the track for his first laps in a Champ Car and his first time at the famous Sebring track.  The 2005 Champ Car season will be the 16th consecutive season for the Walker Racing team, and the test may provide a glimpse of things to come for Walker Racing as it expands to a two-car effort.

Derrick Walker, team owner of Walker Racing, said “We had a good, productive test with Nicky as his clear feedback and smooth, tidy driving style allowed him to adapt to the Champ Car quickly and post some very good lap times in spite of the cool Florida conditions.”  Derrick Walker added “the Champ Car World Series continues to be one of the best formulas in the world.  When you consider the car, the engine, and the racing cost versus value, Champ Car is second to none in my opinion, and I think it is a great option for European drivers in their quest for Formula One.”

Driver Nicky Pastorelli adapted quickly to the 750 horsepower Champ Cars, and was quite surprised by the power of the Ford-Cosworth engine “the power was huge, but very controlled.  It is a fun car to drive, but a very serious race car, it is almost an F1 car”.  Pastorelli added “I was very happy with the team, they are very professional like teams in Europe.  The engineers and I worked very well together, as we made changes we went faster each time, I felt very comfortable with the team”. 

After driving over 210 miles at the Sebring course today, Nicky feels that Champ Cars is where he would like his future to be “I think the Champ Car series and the team would be a great place for me to continue my career, to gain more experience, and win races in the future.”  “The series provides a great platform for drivers to learn and prepare for a potential F1 drive” Nicky said.

The Indianapolis-based team is giving the Reynard chassis its final run at the test, as the team prepares its switch to the Lola chassis in 2005.  “The areas of focus for 2005 are an upgrade to the Lola chassis and expanding back to a two-car program with a competitive driver” said Walker.  “The second year of the “new” Champ Car stands to be yet another year where we beat the odds and show that Champ Car is on the right track to deliver this unique brand of American formula racing to passionate fans” added Walker.

12/15/04
grandam
Bell named Grand Marshal for Rolex 24 Bell named Grand Marshal for Rolex 24Derek Bell, a three-time Rolex 24 At Daytona champion and one of the most popular drivers in international sports car racing history, will serve as the Grand Marshal of the 43rd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona at historic Daytona International Speedway.

"It's an honor to have Derek Bell preside as Grand Marshal in the toughest and most demanding sports car endurance race in the world," Speedway President Robin Braig said. "His success at Daytona International Speedway speaks for itself and we're looking forward to his starting command for the twice-around-the-clock challenge."

"With his long and distinguished career in sports car racing, we're delighted to have Derek Bell serve as grand marshal of America's most historic road race," President and CEO Rolex Watch USA Allen Brill said.

12/15/04
Industry News
Fiat and GM fail to reach agreement Fiat and GM fail to reach agreementFiat and General Motors will move to mediation after executives failed to reach agreement over the Italian company's option to compel GM to buy its troubled auto division.
Fiat said Wednesday there was no agreement "on financial and industrial subjects relevant to the alliance" between the companies, and GM would request a mediation process with the aim of "resolving the dispute before resorting to other means, including legal ones."

Executives from both companies met Tuesday at an undisclosed location, where Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne was expected to insist to GM chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner that the U.S. automaker honor a "put option," part of a 2000 deal under which Fiat has the right to sell its car business to GM.

The statement came on the day Fiat can begin legal action against General Motors regarding the 2000 contract, which says the Italian company can legally compel GM to acquire the 90% it does not already own of Fiat Auto, the unprofitable car division of Fiat. AP

12/15/04
f1
Boris Yeltsin Jr. joins Midland Boris Yeltsin Jr. joins MidlandFormer Russian president Boris Yeltsin's grandson, also called Boris, will play a part in helping promote the new Russian-backed Formula 1 team Midland F1 after taking an executive role with the team. Yeltsin has been tasked with the responsibility for liaising with the team's foreign sponsors and organizing promotional events. Midland F1's managing director Aleksandr Radunsky said: “Judging by his personal qualities, Boris Yeltsin junior is an ideal man for this job "He speaks excellent English, and he is a very amicable person with great communication skills. Besides, Boris Yeltsin is such a great brand.” Autosport.com
12/15/04
nascar
SPEED to air Truck Series review SPEED to air Truck Series reviewUPDATE Please note the corrected day for this week's NCTS Year in Racing special, as well as additional Year in Racing air dates/times

SPEED Channel will air the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Year in Racing special Friday at 9 p.m., ET. SPEED's Rick Allen will host the program with highlights from all 25 races of the 2004 season. Several of the top stars of the series, including Bobby Hamilton, Dennis Setzer and Carl Edwards will be featured throughout the show.

The NASCAR Busch Series Year in Racing will follow at 10 p.m. ET. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Year in Racing will air Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. ET, followed by the Formula One Year in Racing at 10 p.m. ET. On Jan. 7, SPEED Channel will offer Year in Racing specials for Rolex/Grand Am Cup (9 p.m. ET) and AMA/FIM motorcycles (10 p.m. ET). On Jan. 14, SPEED will review the seasons for the American Le Mans Series (9 p.m. ET) and the SPEED World Challenge (10 p.m. ET). The final Year in Racing special will air Jan. 21 and focus on the 2004 ARCA season.

12/14/04 SPEED Channel will air the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Year in Racing special Saturday at 9 p.m., ET. SPEED's Rick Allen will host the program with highlights from all 25 races of the 2004 season. Several of the top stars of the series, including Bobby Hamilton, Dennis Setzer and Carl Edwards will be featured throughout the show.
12/15/04
Industry News
Mario Andretti documentary a must-see Mario Andretti documentary a must-seeUPDATE #2 Reminder that the two showings of this documentary are today. 12/13/04 Champ Car press release - The rise of Mario Andretti from immigrant child to one of the finest drivers ever to turn a wheel in a race car has been chronicled many times, but fans will get a chance to see some never-before-seen footage and learn some things they may not know about the life of the Champ Car legend this coming Wednesday.

Adam Friedman’s Traveling Light Media production company and Mario Andretti biographer Gordon Kirby have collaborated on a biography of the four-time Champ Car title winner, which will premiere on the A&E Network Wednesday, December 15. The show will first air at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and will be shown again at 4 p.m. on the same day.

The biography, which has been in the works for nearly a full year, contains video footage from four decades of racing and celebrates not only Andretti’s many Champ Car triumphs, but also those of his Formula 1 World Championship career as well as his successes in NASCAR and sportscar racing. Paul Newman, Dan Gurney, Ashley Judd, Jay Leno and a host of luminaries both in racing and the entertainment world share their thoughts on what Mario meant to them and to the sport of racing.

Andretti is the all-time Champ Car leader in poles with 67 and starts with 407 and is second in victories with 52. He is one of only four drivers to ever win Champ Car and Formula 1 championships, and also scored victories in the Daytona 500 as well as in sports-car endurance races in Sebring, Daytona and Brands Hatch.

12/11/04 We had the opportunity to see an advance screening of the A&E documentary on Mario Andretti to be shown December 15th at 10:00 AM and 4PM on A&E. If you can't be home, be sure to set your VCR's and DVR's to record this show. A creation of Traveling Light Media, it's a must see for every race fan. Not only does it chronicle the life of America's greatest-ever race car driver, it contains video footage from four decades, some never before seen by race fans. Paul Newman, Dan Gurney, Ashley Judd, Jay Leno and a whole host of other famous people talk about what Mario meant to them and to the sport of racing. How this Italian immigrant came over from Italy and slayed the giant of racing, American AJ Foyt, to become an American hero himself. Mario Andretti transcends the sport of Auto Racing and you won't want to miss it.   A few years ago AutoRacing1.com did a feature on Mario Andretti, which depicts his career in photos.
12/15/04
f1
Q and A: Christian Silk Q and A: Christian SilkRenault's chief test engineer Christian Silk explains what the team accomplished during their end of season winter test program...
Q: What were the teams objectives for pre-Christmas testing?
CS: Firstly, to allow Giancarlo to acclimatize to the car, tires and team; secondly to test the 2005 specification Michelin dry and wet weather tires; and finally, to develop the electronic hardware and software for the 2005 car using the R24. We tested for twelve days, completed over 6,000 km and apart from some bad weather in Jerez in the second week, everything went very successfully.

Q: How has Giancarlo performed in these first sessions?
CS: Extremely well. He was worked very hard and his motivation has been impressive: he is clearly enjoying being back with the team after three years away. Of course, it helped that we have worked with him before and know him well, but he has already made a valuable contribution.

Q: What about tire development?
CS: We completed our first race distance on the tires in the final Jerez test and the endurance runs looked promising. Michelin have made very good progress on both the wet and dry tires and looking at the advances we have made, we are pretty confident. There is a good baseline from which to start development in 2005.

Q: The team has chosen not to run a hybrid car - is that a disadvantage?
CS: There are pros and cons to both methods, and it is a question of how you choose to allocate your resources. Although the car we have been running is superficially an R24, we have conducted a lot of work for next season, notably in terms of familiarizing the drivers with the revised downforce levels, testing 2005 transmission components and developing the new electronic systems. We have made plenty of progress.

Q: What impact have the rule changes had on testing?
CS: Firstly, the drivers have been acclimatizing to the loss of grip from the reduced downforce levels. This has been particularly noticeable under braking and traction, as well as through the quicker corners, but they adapted quite quickly. From the team’s point of view, we had to re-learn how to set the car up with the revised levels of downforce and aerodynamic balance, while the different tire usage will mean there are major changes to how we work at tests.

Q: Testing will recommence on 11 January at Jerez: what will be your goals for that period?
CS: Initially, we will concentrate on tire and electronic development. Our aim is to complete our electronic development using the R24, to ensure that our systems are ready for when the 2005 car begins running. Tire development, on the other hand, will be on-going until the opening race of the year in Melbourne. The major step after Christmas will come when the new car tests for the first time in late January.

12/15/04
nascar
f1
F1 still dwarfs NASCAR F1 still dwarfs NASCARWith NASCAR enjoying a big TV audience in the USA, with each race averaging around 7 million viewers, how did it do compared to F1 in 2004? According to data from Intiative Europe accounts for 75 percent of the global TV audience for Formula One. Intiative claim that average audience per race in 2004 was 800 million viewers, down six percent on the previous season although the additional races did push the total figure above 2003 totals. 800 million per race vs. 7 million. F1 wins again in 2004.
12/15/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'F1 team for sale'
McLaren deny West split
McLaren's 'optimized' cockpit
McLaren may lose Mobil

Schu doesn't score
Ferrari house to be museum
2005 will be 'slippery'
Minardi lecture
McLaren to run 'third' car
Malaysia's next F1 star
Brit GP ticket offer
DC deal 'could go wrong'
2005 car is 'fun' - Davidson
Montagny - 'I can't wait'
Bull's budget 'to increase'
From F1 to MC12
Ferrari 'fixed' F1 flaw
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