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DATE News (chronologically)
12/31/04
f1
Button parts company with manager Button parts company with managerJenson Button has split with the manager who advised him during the tug-of-war over his services between the BAR and Williams teams in 2004.  John Byfield has left his position as boss of Essentially Sport as part of a deal that has seen Button extend his contract with the group by three years.  Button's attempted move to Williams was blocked by Formula One's contracts recognition board in September.  Essentially Sport has yet to appoint a permanent replacement for Byfield.  Until it does, director Duncan Hickman will take on his role on a temporary basis. BBC Sport
12/31/04
Porsche Cup
Americans take 7 of top 15 places Americans take 7 of top 15 placesFor the 35th time since its inception in 1970, the Porsche Cup was presented to the world’s most successful private entry Porsche drivers at the annual Porsche motorsports dinner in Germany last week, and American racers took seven of the top 15 positions.

Craig Stanton (right), from Long Beach, Calif., who won the GS class in Grand-Am Cup in Nonnamaker Porsche 911 and finished fifth in the GT class in the American Le Mans Series in the White Lightning/Petersen Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, was in the running for the title all year, but finished second in the points to Monaco’s Stephane Ortelli. Stanton took home 23,000 Euros ($27,600) for his efforts.

Ortelli was a co-driver in the last Porsche to win Le Mans overall in 1998. The 34-year-old secured the trophy after his successes competing for private racing teams in the FIA N-GT championship, the American Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 hour race (France).

The new Cup winner received a coveted silver-gold trophy as well as 37,000 Euros ($44,400) in prize money. The Porsche Cup is endowed with prize money totaling 153,000 Euros ($183,600).

Frenchman Emmanuel Collard was third in points, followed by Stanton’s ALMS teammate David Murry, from Atlanta, Georgia, who finished fourth. Other Americans finishing in the top 15 among Porsche drivers worldwide included Johannes van Overbeek, from San Francisco, Calif., fifth place in the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (ALMS); his teammate Darren Law, from Phoenix, Arizona, sixth place; The Racer’s Group Porsche ALMS driver Patrick Long, from Oak Park, California, seventh; his teammate and 1999 Porsche Cup winner Cort Wagner, from Los Angeles, California, 11th; and Atlanta’s Justin Jackson, in the J3 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 14th.

Besides Wagner, Americans who have won the Porsche Cup previously include Price Cobb (1994), Mike Fitzgerald (2000), and Kevin Buckler (2002). A complete list of the 2004 winners, plus a listing of all the overall winners going back to 1970, follows this release.

2004 Porsche Cup Results
1. Stéphane Ortelli (Monaco)
Freisinger Yukos Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 9,670 points
Prize money €37,000
Runner-up of the FIA N-GT Championship; class victory amongst others at the Spa
Francorchamps 24 hour race; third in the LM-GT category at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
2. Craig Stanton (USA)
Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing RaceSite.com-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR/911 GT3 Cup 8,510 points
Prize money €23,000
Champion of the Grand-Am Cup (USA GS category) with six wins from ten races. Fifth overall in the ALMS (GT category) after six podium results, including third in the GT class at the Sebring.
12 hour race (USA).
3. Emmanuel Collard (France)
Freisinger Yukos Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 8,120 points
Prize money €18,000
Runner-up in the FIA N-GT Championship; class victory amongst others in the Spa
Francorchamps 24 hour race.
4. David Murry (USA)
Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing RaceSite.com-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR/911 GT3 Cup 7,515 points
Prize money €13,000
Three wins in the Grand-Am Cup (USA GS class). Fifth overall in the ALMS (GT category) after six podium results, including third in the GT class at the Sebring 12 hour race (USA).
5. Johannes van Overbeek (USA)
Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 7,100 points
Prize money €10,000
Second place GT in the ALMS after a win in Mid Ohio and six other podium results. Third overall at the Daytona 24 hour race, second in his class.
6. Darren Law (USA)
Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RS 6,410 points
Prize money €9,000
Second place in the ALMS after a win in Mid Ohio and six other podium results. Fourth overall at the Sebring 12 hour race.
7. Patrick Long (USA)
The Racer’s Group Petersen Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
6,100 points
Prize money €8,000
Winner in the LM-GT class at the Le Mans 24 hour race, sixth in the GT drivers‘ ALMS championship.
8. Tim Sugden (Great Britain)
Gruppe M Racing J3 Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
5,930 points
Prize money €7,500
Vice champion in the British GT championship. Good results and ninth in the GT category of the American Le Mans Series, 17th in the drivers‘ standings of the FIA N-GT Championship.
9. Christian Ried (Germany)
Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4,180 points
Prize money €6,500
Eighth in the FIA N-GT drivers‘ championship after taking points from all eleven rounds of the series.
10. Gerold Ried (Germany)
Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4,180 points
Prize money €6,500
Eighth in the FIA N-GT drivers‘ championship after taking points from all eleven rounds of the
series.
11. Cort Wagner (USA)
The Racer’s Group Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 3,820 points
Prize money €6,000
Sixth in the GT drivers‘ championship of the American Le Mans Series.
12. Alexei Vasiliev (Russia)
Freisinger Yukos Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 3,710 points
Prize money €2,500
Second in the N-GT class at the Spa 24 hour race; Sixth in the FIA N-GT final results.
13. Jonathan Cocker (Great Britain)
Gruppe M Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 3,050 points
Prize money €2,500
Winner of the British GT Championship with six victories and ten points results from 16 rounds. Also results in the FIA N-GT Championship.
14. Justin Jackson (USA)
J3 Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 2,800 points
Prize money €2,500
Good placings in the American Le Mans Series with ninth in the drivers‘ championship (GT category).
15. Nicolai Fomenko (Russia)
Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 2,780 points
Prize money €2,500
Sixth in the FIA N-GT final rankings.

12/31/04
Industry News
Happy New Year from AutoRacing1 Happy New Year from AutoRacing1AutoRacing1.com would like to wish all of our customers a very Happy New Year.  May all your racing dreams be fulfilled in 2005. Play Greeting
12/31/04
f1
'Dangerous' tire limit - JB 'Dangerous' tire limit - JB(GMM) A limit of two sets of rain tire per grand prix weekend in 2005 'will be dangerous,' English F1 driver Jenson Button has claimed. BAR's number one said that, for safety's sake, each competitor needs more than just a single spare wet-weather selection -- especially if it's also wet in practice and qualifying and only one set is available for the race proper. 25-year-old JB told Autosport magazine: ''As soon as you lose tread on wets, you aquaplane.''
12/31/04
f1
Red Bull to have F1 'edge' Red Bull to have F1 'edge'(GMM)  Red Bull will approach Formula One with 'a bit of an edge,' according to former Jaguar Racing principal Tony Purnell.  The Englishman, to maintain the role under the ownership of the fizzy energy drink brand, notes that Dietrich Mateschitz's is the only 'marketing company' involved at the pinnacle of motor sport.

''There are six manufacturers (on the grid),'' he noted, ''(but) Red Bull is a marketing company -- the presentation of the team will (therefore) be handled differently.''

It might, he cheekily suggested, explain why Salzburg (Austria) is keeping a lid on the identity of David Coulthard's 2005 teammate.  Asked about one of the hottest topics in New Year F1, Purnell smiled: ''When we are ready, we will make an announcement.''

12/31/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Aussie missed Jordan deadline
Schu's the oldest
Ferrari habit 'crazy'
How to reduce F1 shunts
'05 to be Schu-fest, too
Dakar rally set for kick-off
'Cosworth Technology' sold
F1 principal honored
F1 champion's son to graduate
China to get F1 alternative
'Rossi would be F1 winner'
12/30/04
nascar
usac
Tony Stewart Wins 60 lap dash Tony Stewart Wins 60 lap dashTony Stewart fought off the advances of Dave Darland Wednesday night to win the Midget feature event in the "Rumble in Fort Wayne" at the Fort Wayne, Indiana - Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. Stewart started second in the 60 lap race, took the lead on the 14th lap and never looked back. The top-five finishers were: 1. Tony Stewart, 2. Dave Darland, 3. Rich Corson, 4. Tony Elliott, 5. Mel Kenyon  Insider Racing News
12/30/04
nascar
Dodge Charger Unveiled and Daytona Preseason Testing Dodge Charger Unveiled and Daytona Preseason TestingReigning NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, four-time series champ Jeff Gordon and defending Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be among the featured drivers during the first session of NASCAR Preseason Thunder scheduled for Jan. 11-13 at Daytona International Speedway. The first of two Nextel Cup Preseason Thunder sessions consists of the drivers whose owners finished in the odd-numbered positions of their respective championship standings. Some drivers, however, have switched sessions with NASCAR's approval. Each test day runs from approximately 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting. The opening session of NASCAR Preseason Thunder kicks off Tuesday, Jan. 11, with the official unveiling of the new Dodge Charger that will compete in the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. FoxSports
12/30/04
Industry News
grandam
New Infield To Open With Rolex 24 At Daytona Festivities New Infield To Open With Rolex 24 At Daytona FestivitiesThis weeks NASCAR Scene reports that Travis Kvapil, recently released from the #77 Penske Racing team that is taking the year off, is rumored to be a candidate for the #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports Lucas Oil Chevy ride.
12/30/04
grandam
Roberto Moreno lands Rolex 24 ride Roberto Moreno lands Rolex 24 rideSpirit of Daytona Racing team principals Doug Goad and Troy Flis are excited to announce the addition of the #07 Crawford Pontiac Daytona Prototype to its team for the 2005 season which will compete alongside the #09 Crawford Daytona Prototype driven by Doug Goad and Stephan Gregoire. #07 team owner/driver Bob Ward purchased the car from Crawford Race Cars and recently tested at Homestead/Miami Speedway in preparation for the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Bob's co-driver in 2005 will be former CART driver Roberto Moreno.

Bob Ward is an accomplished racer in the Rolex Grand Am Series most recently competing in the SGS Class and Grand Am Cup GSII and STII Classes. Bob's best results include three straight podium finishes in the Grand Am Cup GS 2 at California Speedway, Watkins Glen Raceway and Mid Ohio. Bob has contracted the Spirit of Daytona Racing team to prepare and service the #07 car for selected races in 2005 in preparation for a full schedule in 2006. Bob's co-driver Roberto Moreno is no stranger to professional racing. He has competed in everything from Formula 1 to Champ Car and the IRL as well as sports cars during his career with victories in multiple series of racing and will be an invaluable asset to the team because of his experience.

"We are very happy to have closed this deal with Bob for selected races in 2005," said Spirit of Daytona Racing Owner/Team Manager Troy Flis. "This second car will allow the team to test more set-ups at the race-track and get double the driver feedback of a single car team, this will help our overall effort during the season."

"I am very happy that we were able to come to terms with Troy and Doug to prepare the car for selected races this year in the Rolex Grand Am Series," said owner/driver Bob Ward. "This strategy will enable us to establish ourselves in the Daytona Prototype Class with a team that has the ability to run up front and compete for race wins."

12/30/04
Industry News
Why SPEED does what SPEED does Why SPEED does what SPEED doesUPDATE A reader retorts, Mr. Liberatore makes some very good points - and should above all else be thanked for SPEED, too much of this, not enough of that or whatever anybody else thinks - but he fails to address a pretty significant issue facing some of the dropped shows he references; production value, or lack thereof. Shows such as "Fifth Gear," the horrifically awful "Tuner Transformation" and "Sports Car Revolution" (the best of the three) are SO FAR off-target, base and tone vis-à-vis the markets they allegedly attempted to tap it's no surprise the ratings are not there.

The alternate markets (read: younger car enthusiasts passionate about cars and performance, if not always/yet racing) worked very hard to grow their respective segments of the world and overcame some pretty significant obstacles, opposition, negativity and naivety to reach their current size(s) - as such, these audiences are protective of their world and after so many failed attempts (of which now, sadly, SPEED now claims a few victims and has no doubt damaged its image to a very large sub-30 year-old audience) the "tuner" world and other young enthusiasts DEMAND that their passion be represented by those who participate in it and positively contribute. Unknowledgeable, unknown and uncool dudes standing around in some unknown shop in Canada putting JC Whitney parts onto a Ford Focus is a far cry from the way to approach a well-developed and well-covered industry...

The only way to properly integrate markets varied from the uber-established NASCAR crowds and other older, moneyed Barrett-Jackson viewership is to support, not exploit, and to do it from the inside-out. Just because SPEED is SPEED does not mean that it can throw $hit at a market and expect to be taken seriously or achieve any degree of market penetration, retention and success.

On a more positive note, hopefully "Unique Whips" via the wise decision to involve an established player (Will Castro) and a reputable shop will make clear that SPEED and Mr. Liberatore are indeed aware of past mistakes and intend to go about non-NASCAR markets properly. As for WRC, yeah the footage is great and the racing's bitchin', but every other manufacturer has already figured out that cool as rally is to us core enthusiasts, it simply doesn't seem to work for Americans...Peter Stark MediaWide Marketing LLC

12/30/04 This letter appeared on the SPEED TV forums from SPEED's President Jim Liberatore to their forum members. It gives readers some insight as to why SPEED Channel makes certain decisions with regard to programming.

It has been a long time since I have posted this type of reply but I will again... While I appreciate completely, how much you guys love the various types of racing, you need to know, most of it we still carry, but for this conversation I will discuss the ones we have dropped.

You guys must understand somewhere in your hearts that various series and shows are dropped having nothing to do with NASCAR, but instead, the series themselves and how few are watching the stuff we drop.

Imagine if a car regularly finished in the back of the pack. always losing, lots of DNF's. Yet to put that car on the track every week was just as costly as those cars winning and running up front. Sponsorship for the car has gone away, the car gets no TV time, and is losing a ton of cash. Now even if this car had a small group of really passionate fans, it still mikes no sense to keep the car running. The owner is not in the business of losing money, so he drops the car or replaces the driver.

The changes in our programming have nothing to do with NASCAR and everything to do with how many people are watching a given show. That is why Barrett Jackson coverage has gone from 16 hours to 24 and we added a BJ show. That is why we are producing new "American Muscle Car shows", why we are adding programs this year such as "Pinks", "Unique Whips" and "Build or Bust".

In any business "too much" is determined by demand. We have added NASCAR shows only because when we do, we get large audiences telling us there is a demand for more NASCAR. When we add a show like "Fifth Gear", air it in prime and ratings are near zero, that tells us something too. When we expand WRC from the one night Speedvision carried, to four, and it does near zeros, that tells us something.

NASCAR does not own this channel and in fact, has no input in our schedule or programming, (although they freely give it!). We are not required to add NASCAR programming, we do it willingly because the audience supports those shows. Plus, as a 24/7 network, there is room for everything that works, NASCAR or anything else.

With that said, we have re-upped ALMS, we still carry Grand Am, F1, tons of motorcycle series and about thirty other racing series. Series that if we were not carrying, no one would. Some of these series are seriously ratings challenged, you guys have to know what is happening on ABC/ESPN with IRL...it is a tough environment for these series, very tough. With that said, we still carry many of them, but we cannot carry every single racing series and ignore performance and demand, we just cannot. This is a business.

Looking to the future, and realizing that non-NASCAR series are struggling, we are considering a second, racing only channel, but that will not be tomorrow and if it happens, will cost something. We will continue to support as many series as we can, absorb the losses for various series because that is still a strategic differentiation of Speed to all other networks.

I would not ask anyone to pay for a network they do not watch or like, but as you can tell from the "supply and demand" scenario, dropping Speed because we do not carry all of what you like, really is not the answer.

We will continue to support as many series as possible, but that does not include all of them.

Merry Christmas, and while I understand some will not see this as true, we understand it is the passion of our fans that fuels Speed. Thank you for those who simply do not watch what you do not like, but see Speed as valuable and the network as a place for a lot of stuff you do love, and will find no where else.

Have a safe Holiday....drive slow....and sober! God Bless racers and all lovers of speed

12/30/04
grandam
Papis to drive for Racer’s Group in Rolex 24 Papis to drive for Racer’s Group in Rolex 24Krohn Racing and The Racer's Group (TRG) will join forces to enter two Daytona Prototype cars in the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series, under the combined management of team owners Tracy Krohn of Houston, Texas, and Kevin Buckler of Sonoma, Calif. The DP team will operate from the Krohn Racing / TRG race shops in Indianapolis and Sonoma, Calif.

2004 Rolex Series DP co-champion Max Papis of Miami Beach, Fla., will drive the No. 66 Krohn/TRG car in selected races, starting with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Feb. 5 and 6. Jörg Bergmeister of Langenfeld, Germany, has signed to drive the car for the full season and Oliver Gavin of Northamptonshire, England, will join for the Daytona race.

2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice of Phoenix will also drive at Daytona, sharing the No. 67 DP with its full-time drivers Krohn and Nic Jönsson of Buford, Ga.

The Krohn/TRG cars will be Riley chassis with Pontiac power. The chassis is a change from the TRG Crawford chassis previously announced, due to modifications that couldn't be completed in time for the season-opening race.

Tracy Krohn, owner: "In speaking with Kevin over the last few months, it became evident that combining efforts in what is certainly the fastest-growing sports-car series in all of motorsports is a winning idea for both of us. I am a firm believer that good things happen when talented people get together and work hard. This will be a pivotal year for this team and this series and I am very pleased to be a part of it."

Kevin Buckler, owner: "It's pretty cool because Tracy and I had our teams parked next to each other all year. Just recently, we started casually talking and I said, 'Why don't we make this the Racing Brady Bunch?' We're slowly but surely assembling a group of all-stars for our program; we have the same vision and the same goals. I'm really excited about what the future holds together."

Max Papis, driver, No. 66: "I'm looking forward to this new challenge as a GM works driver and I'm particularly proud of being back at Daytona as a Rolex sports-car champion. I'm looking forward to contributing to this new challenge with all the guys at TRG who are putting together a really strong program for '05."

Buddy Rice, driver, No. 67: "After winning this year's Indianapolis 500, I have had a chance to really think about the importance of winning such an historic event, and in racing there are only a handful of really historic races like that. The Rolex 24 Hours is definitely one of them. I think the level of competition will be higher than ever this year; to have the opportunity to participate with such a great program as The Racer's Group is something I am really looking forward to."

TRG DP drivers – 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona
No. 66
Jörg Bergmeister                        Langenfeld, Germany
Oliver Gavin                                Northamptonshire, England
Max Papis                                 Miami Beach, Fla.

No. 67
Nic Jönsson                               Buford, Ga.
Tracy Krohn                               Houston, Texas
Buddy Rice                                Phoenix, Ariz.

12/30/04
f1
F1 in Shanghai is catching on F1 in Shanghai is catching onAfter managing to make Shanghai the final stop of the Formula One in 2005, Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit (SIC), is focusing on how to sell Formula One tickets and attract more fans. "We will build camps around the circuit during the 2005 Formula One China Grand Prix," said Yu. "Many spectators came to watch the race out of curiosity this year. We are not sure if they will come again next year. What we should do is continue inspiring their curiosity and turn them into loyal Formula One fans."

The Formula One debut in China in September sparked many Chinese's passion for the world-famous race. Even though the high ticket price prevented many Chinese fans from enjoying the race at the circuit itself, Formula One has nevertheless become a term synonymous with fashion, dreams and the chic life-style.

Fans will have more to expect in 2005. As well as Formula One, Shanghai will host a series of top ranking racing events including MotoGP, the V8 Supercar Championship Series, and the Formula One water motorbike race. "More and more racing events are looking for the opportunity to enter Shanghai following its success in hosting F1," said Qiu Weichang, deputy director of the Shanghai Sports Administration. "We just can't believe they've come so soon," said Wang Wei, an official from the Shanghai-based Oriental International Holdings. "What could be seen only on TV in the past will appear right in front of our eyes."

After watching the race at SIC, Wang said he instantly fell in love with the sport. "My room is now crowded with car models, posters and books on auto sports," he said. "Auto sports have become part of my life."

Wang is not the only one who has been transformed into an auto sport fan. Passion and interest in the sport is obvious throughout the city. Theme bars and fan associations have mushroomed and TVs in bars and restaurants have been tuned to channels featuring the sport. Shops featuring F1-related merchandise and souvenirs are crowded with customers.

The Ferrari franchise that opened earlier this year has seen sales rocketing since July. "T-shirts, flags and souvenirs with the Ferrari symbol sell well," said Li Yongjiang, general manager of the franchise. An F1 theme park is planned to be built near Shanghai International Circuit.

"An auto sports culture is emerging in the city," said Li. "I hope China will have its own F1 racers in three years. A local racer is a guarantee of a solid base of fans," said Yu.

The SIC also plans to build its own F1 team. The FRD Grandtour Tire team has been established in association with FRD to cultivate future F1 drivers. However, experts worried the expensive tickets would scare a large number of fans away. The average prices of a ticket to the three-day race in 2004 were between 1,800 to 2,500 Yuan (US $216-301). A ticket for a spot on the grass around the circuit was priced 438 Yuan (US $52). According to the SIC, the ticket prices of 2005 Formula One China Grand Prix will increase by 10 percent, except for tickets on grass.

"It is a traditional rule of F1," said Yu Zhifei. "But we also take into consideration the purchase ability of F1 fans. The biggest source of fans in the future will be young people, especially university students," said Chen Xiyao, director of Shanghai Auto Sport Research Centre. "But they can hardly afford the expensive tickets. A solution to this problem is to increase the high-end prices while lower the price of tickets on the grass," said Chen. More at China Daily

12/30/04
grandam
Marc Goossens signs deal for Rolex 24 Marc Goossens signs deal for Rolex 24Marc Goossens signed a deal with Jim Matthews and Orbit Racing to race at the Daytona Rolex 24. After that he has a deal with SRT to continue in the Belcar championship with the Ambi Pur Car Corvette C5-R and the Spa 24Hour race.
12/30/04
grandam
Racers Group to field 6 cars Racers Group to field 6 carsThe Racer's Group (TRG) will field six Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona. The fleet will be driven by a talented international group.

TRG team owner Kevin Buckler of Sonoma, Calif., will join 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series SGS champions Marc Bunting of Monkton, Md., and Andy Lally of Dacula, Ga., in the No. 65 (champions) Porsche. Carlos de Quesada of Coral Gables, Fla., and Hugh Plumb of Chadds Ford, Pa., will also drive with them in the 24-hour endurance race.

Father and son Joe and Jay Policastro of Latrobe, Pa., will return to defend their 2004 GT win at Daytona, this time driving the No. 64 (Daytona defenders) Porsche. In 2004, their Classic Industries Porsche led all but 97 minutes of the 24-hour race, won the GT class and finished second overall. Their 2005 Daytona partners will be Miguel Amaral and Pedro Couceiro of Lisbon, Portugal, who finished third in the 2004 Spanish GT Championship.

The No. 61 (Canadian) entry will also feature a father-and-son duo. Greg and Mark Wilkins of Toronto will drive with Dave Lacey of Toronto and David Shep of Caledon, Ont. The Wilkins and Lacey scored an SGS podium finish at Daytona in 2004.

Top Porsche Club of America drivers Derek Clark of Corona del Mar, Calif., Pat Flanagan of Aliso Viejo, Calif., and Dave Master of Houston, Texas, and Santa Fe, N.M., will team with Marc Sluszny of Antwerp, Belgium, in the No. 63 (traders) Porsche. All four work in the financial industry, so they will be able to trade driving and business tips between race stints.

TRG will also welcome an all-Japanese driver lineup – Akira Fujita of Yokohama, Akira Hirakawa of Hiroshima and Takashi Inoue, Kiichi Takahashi and Hiroshi Wada, all of Tokyo, will share driving duty in the No. 62 (Porsche Club Japan) Porsche.

As previously announced, the No. 16 (Team16) Porsche will be driven by Brad Coleman of Martinsville, Va., Colin Braun of Ovalo, Texas, Adrian Carrio of Monument, Colo., and Ross Bentley of Redmond, Wash.

"After 11 years of competing at the Rolex, TRG just keeps gathering more and more momentum. I'm really excited about putting together this fantastic group of drivers and friends under our banner," Buckler said. "This will definitely be no easy task, but I think the size of our team will serve us well in sharing a lot of technology and resources. From our engineering to our catering, the whole effort will be first class, and I'm looking for a real strong result."

12/30/04
nascar
Dodge Charger to be unveiled at Daytona Dodge Charger to be unveiled at DaytonaThe Dodge Charger will return to Daytona International Speedway on January 11th with the historic #43 Dodge Charger and Richard Petty and the new #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger with Jeremy Mayfield. Clear Blue PR
12/30/04
nascar
Racing Electronics Renews Racing Electronics RenewsAlthough Racing Electronics (RE) still had one year left on its contract, the racing communications leader added a two-year extension to its support of the Hooters ProCup Series during the PRI Trade Show, making RE the "Official Radio Communication Company" of the Hooters ProCup Series through 2008. In addition to allowing fans to eavesdrop on their favorite drivers, RE is planning to add another element to the racing experience. In 2005, RE plans to offer AM/FM headsets at the USAR Merchandise Trailer to allow fans to tune into the live race broadcast by ProCup emcees Gene Crane and Larry Jewett at the track. Racing Electronics PR
12/30/04
alms
irl
champcar
TV Exposure Excels for ALMS Sponsors TV Exposure Excels for ALMS SponsorsThe American Le Mans Series proved to be one of the best associations in motorsports in 2004 according to recent Joyce Julius reports. Nearly 600 team, series, event and associate sponsors received mention and recognition via ALMS' comprehensive television package, totaling $98,577,050 million.

Porsche led the way with nearly $9.5 million in documented exposure via ALMS television partners CBS, NBC and Speed as the series continued to position itself as not only delivering a high value for sponsors but also becoming the fastest growing race series in America.

While Porsche achieved the pinnacle on the year-end team sponsorship chart, acquiring 6:24.09 for a total of $9,467,875 in television-valued exposure, a total of 22 companies associated with ALMS achieved more than $1 million of mentions. Rounding out the Top Five were Audi ($7,815,775), Michelin ($5,140,725), Corvette ($4,275,550) and ADT Security Services ($4,113,650).

The Top 25 team, associate, series and event sponsors in ALMS's nine (9) races garnered $79,385,675 of exposure versus $14,994,350 for Champ Car's 14 events and a mere $7,058,055 for Grand Am's 12 events.

In addition, ALMS' network television ratings were 25% higher than IRL's network ratings (excluding the Indy 500). The Grand Am and Champ Car series have no events on network television. Cable ratings for ALMS were 50% higher than IRL's and Champ Car's cable ratings and 300% higher than Grand Am's telecasts.  [Editor's Note:  The IRL is in serious trouble as they arguably have the best TV package outside of NASCAR with ABC and ESPN.  If their ratings are that bad, plan the funeral.  As for Champ Car, the decision to cancel the CBS deal that CART had signed before it went bankrupt and go with SPIKE last year turned out to be a disaster for sponsors and although next year's TV deal with CBS, NBC and presumably SPEED will be much better, the fact that it's not done and finalized yet means many teams have been unable to land sponsor deals.  January is upon us and we still don't see a completed 2005 schedule, TV deal, and team driver lineups.  Champ Car's procrastination on just about everything will once again haunt it in 2005 requiring OWRS to again open up their checkbooks to support the series.]

12/30/04
f1
Liuzzi hopes to land seat Liuzzi hopes to land seatWinning the Formula 3000 championship does not give any race driver the automatic right to move up to Formula One. Vitantonio Liuzzi is aware of this and despite being backed by Red Bull is not currently under contract to race with the new Red Bull Racing squad in 2005.

Liuzzi returned to the UK before Christmas to continue with his physical preparations and will be testing with Red Bull Racing in the New Year. With David Coulthard already under contract to one of the race seats, both Liuzzi and last year’s Jaguar racer Christian Klien are battling for the remaining seat.

However, the team could chose to race both Liuzzi and Klien next year as the two drivers share a car in a manner similar to that at Ligier in 1995 when Aguri Suzuki and Martin Brundle shared the ride. While Liuzzi will continue to test with the team in January, he admits that testing is one thing and a race deal is another.

“There remains five free seats in F1,” Liuzzi told Gazzetta dello Sport. “However I must say I have an excellent relationship with Red Bull and would love to continue with them.”  Source Thys

12/30/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'F1 drivers take cocaine'
'10' star to attend Oz GP
Belgian for Minardi job
Shake-up at A1
RB 'determined' to seat share
'I'm not quitting' - Schu
'Red Bull must succeed' - DC
Liuzzi to resume testing
'Jordan' popular on 'net
China to increase F1 fee
12/29/04
nascar
Delphi to continue sponsoring the No. 5 car Delphi to continue sponsoring the No. 5 car[Editor's Note:  This is the latest in a long line of former IRL/Champ Car sponsors that have made their way to NASCAR ever since Tony George created the IRL, split Indy Car racing in two and destroyed the sport of open wheel racing in the USA.] In 2005, Delphi will continue its partnership with Hendrick Motorsports and will be an associate sponsor of the Kellogg No. 5 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. At the CES media briefing [Jan 5th], Delphi will introduce Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 5 car, who will be available for autographs. "Delphi is proud to continue its associate sponsorship of the No. 5 Chevy with Kellogg's and Hendrick Motorsports for the 2005 NASCAR season," said Francisco A. (Frank) Ordonez, president, Delphi Product & Service Solutions and vice president, Delphi Corporation. "We look forward to supporting Kyle Busch and his quest for the NASCAR championship." Delphi will be prominently featured on the No. 5 Chevy in all Nextel races in 2005. In addition, Delphi will be the primary sponsor of the car at four races of the 2005 season, including races at Texas Motor Speedway (April 17), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Aug. 7), Richmond International Raceway (Sept. 10) and Lowe's Motor Speedway (Oct. 15). PR Newswire
12/29/04
nascar
CADCA's Open Letter to NASCAR CADCA's Open Letter to NASCARIn response to a recent decision by NASCAR to allow liquor company sponsorships, CADCA Chairman and CEO Arthur T. Dean sent a letter to NASCAR executives opposing the decision. As the Chairman and CEO of CADCA, a national organization that represents the interests of more than 5,000 community anti-drug coalitions, I am writing to express my dismay with your decision to allow liquor companies to sponsor NASCAR vehicles.  Mr. Helton has made the case that such sponsorship will only target adults with messages that include information about responsible alcohol use but this is a false claim. Messages about one sponsor, Crown Royal Whisky, are already being displayed on toy cars for sale on the NASCAR website. Furthermore, there is no way to prevent the development of brand awareness among young NASCAR fans who will see liquor sponsors’ names on vehicles during every race. CADCA
12/29/04
nascar
CARQUEST to sponsor No. 5 team CARQUEST to sponsor No. 5 teamHendrick Motorsports today announced a multi-year agreement that will feature CARQUEST Auto Parts as a major associate sponsor of the No. 5 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team with driver Kyle Busch.  Along with associate-sponsorship status on the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolets throughout the schedule, the pact will showcase primary CARQUEST color-schemes on the car in 10 NEXTEL Cup events, divided equally between the 2005 and 2006 seasons.  "All of us at CARQUEST Auto Parts are proud to continue our association with Hendrick Motorsports as their Official Auto Parts Supplier," said Art Lottes III, president of CARQUEST.  "Hendrick Motorsports is a world-class organization and we look forward in 2005 to continued success with Kyle Busch and our new relationship with the No. 5 team."

Raleigh-based CARQUEST, the Official Auto Parts Supplier of Hendrick Motorsports since 2002, began its association with Busch this past season as primary sponsor of Hendrick's No. 84 NEXTEL Cup effort.  The six-race initiative marked the series debut of Busch at his hometown track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, along with additional events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, California Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.  "I'm real excited to have CARQUEST back on the hood in 2005," said Busch, who will compete for the 2005 NEXTEL Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year award.  "They've been a great supporter of my racing career with Hendrick Motorsports and I look forward to continuing that relationship in my rookie year in the NEXTEL Cup Series with the No. 5 team."

12/29/04
f1
McLaren shifts IT security up a gear McLaren shifts IT security up a gearFormula One teams take information security as seriously as a place at the top the podium - as executives from McLaren explained recently, protecting data is vital to keeping ahead of your rivals. McLaren Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen makes a living by trusting his life to technology. During a race last season, the Finn was warned by his support team there had been a serious accident up ahead. One of the cars in front had exploded in a crash, blocking part of the road with burning debris. To add to the fun, an oil leak had caused a thick, smoky fire that was impossible to see through.

After warning their driver of the wreck ahead, Raikkonen's support team waited for the in-car telemetry to report their man was preparing to brake in the zero-visibility conditions. But nothing happened. Instead, the driver known as the Ice Man calmly enquired over his helmet intercom which side of the road the crash was on. After being told the left, Raikkonen banked hard to the right and thrashed his McLaren clear of danger. Later analysis revealed his speed and heart rate didn't change one iota throughout.

Accurate information is obviously crucial to drivers on Grand Prix day but it's also the competitive edge which the racing whole team relies on. Maintaining the integrity and secrecy of its data is crucially important to a top Formula One team like McLaren Mercedes. The team's headquarters in Surrey, the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC), looks like a James Bond villain's secret lair – and has a similar approach to security. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, the architect behind London's gherkin-shaped Swiss Re building, the MTC's glass facade oozes sophistication and style.

But while its HQ may be transparent, McLaren's approach to security is anything but. For any racing team, having the best technology can mean the difference between a shower of champagne and a dejected cuppa in the team caravan. The information riding on that technology has to be a closely guarded secret but available at all times to team members. Constant vigilance is necessary to protect data from industrial espionage – including spies for rival teams who use long-lens cameras to photograph time sheets and car parts. Even rubbish is a security risk.

"Waste management is very important," said Jonathan Neale, CEO of McLaren. "If you leave oily rags in the pit, it doesn't take much to analyze the type of fuel you are using. Data security is important for us because lots of people in the world like to get hold of it. If you look at our business, it's not hard to see how people take data around. We've got engineers who take laptops around the world with them. And only two years ago, Renault reported being hacked into and having their data stolen."

Formula One espionage is an old concept – Neale even admits to having his own team of sneaky photographers - but as technology has evolved, the means of stealing data have too. This year, McLaren has seen the number of malware attacks against its company nearly double. In 2003, it received an average of 80 email viruses a day, but that number has increased to 150 a day in 2004.

"We work in a data rich environment," says Neale. "Systems reliability, real-time reporting, data growth, storage and security are all essential. The worst place to run a race is from the pit wall. It's very difficult because you can hardly hear the driver. So we have a decision-making process here.  On the car we have hundreds of sensors that we derive our data from," he adds. "We are streaming statistics off the car at four megabits per second. Our competitors are also very interested in that data so we have to encrypt it. All primary sensor data is processed back here in Woking. We run the scenarios and theories on games, where we are the characters of the drivers. We try to project to see what might happen through the race. That information then goes back to the decision makers."  More at ZDNet

12/29/04
nascar
NASCAR movie hits $20 million NASCAR movie hits $20 millionWarner Bros. Pictures' "NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience" has achieved a box office milestone, surpassing $20 million in total gross receipts, IMAX Corporation announced today. The high-octane film is the second highest grossing documentary of the year, set box office records for an original IMAX production when it was released in March 2004, and has played in more than 100 IMAX theatres around the world - including engagements in Japan, Australia, and Poland. The movie is the first original Warner Bros. Pictures' IMAX 3D production and has been well received in both commercial and institutional venues, helping to increase awareness of NASCAR (The National Association of Stock Car Racing), as well as lead-sponsor America Online. Comingsoon.net
12/29/04
Industry News
Toyota to become No. 3 in USA by '09 Toyota to become No. 3 in USA by '09Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. is likely to overtake DaimlerChrysler AG as the third-leading U.S. seller of cars and light trucks by the end of the decade, a forecasting firm says.  CSM Worldwide said Tuesday its long-range forecast has Toyota, including the Lexus and Scion brands, accounting for 14.1 percent of the U.S. market by 2009, slightly ahead of DaimlerChrysler's 14 percent. The DaimlerChrysler tally includes domestic brands Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep as well as Mercedes-Benz, said Joe Barker, CSM's manager of North American sales analysis.  "Robust growth from Toyota will stem from an unrelenting product offensive, an intensified effort in the luxury market, incremental volume from Scion and strong brand equity," Barker said.


Such growth would be nothing new for Japan's No. 1 automaker, whose U.S. sales rose 6.3 percent last year and were up 9.3 percent for the first 11 months of 2004.  At the same time, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., the nation's two largest carmakers, have lost business to foreign brands despite spending far more on consumer incentives in hopes of lifting sales.  By 2009, CSM predicts GM to account for 25 percent of the U.S. market, followed by Ford at 19.2 percent -- both still well ahead of Toyota and DaimlerChrysler. 


Through November, GM's total U.S. market share was 27.5 percent, Ford 19.7 percent, DaimlerChrysler 14.3 percent and Toyota 12.2 percent, the research firm Autodata Corp. reports.  Many forecasters also predict significant U.S. growth for South Korea's Hyundai and Kia in the coming years as they capitalize on much-improved quality and ever-growing product portfolios. Bloomberg

12/29/04
Industry News
Ford expects to set sales record Ford expects to set sales recordFord Motor Co. expects to sell a record number of its F-Series large pickup trucks this year, fending off a challenge from Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. in a market segment that accounts for more than a quarter of the No. 2 U.S. automaker's domestic sales.  Ford, whose share of the U.S. car market has fallen to the lowest since 1981, is "very confident we'll break the record" for full-size pickup sales, spokesman Jon Harmon said. Sales of F-Series vehicles through last week were just 20,000 behind the peak of 911,597 in 2001, he said.  Beating the Japanese in trucks "gives them some bragging rights," said Erich Merkle, an analyst at consulting firm IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids. "They still need product outside of the F-Series pickup. That's the challenge at the end of the day for Ford."  Ford is counting on new and redesigned vehicles such as the Five Hundred sedan to stem a 14-percent drop in car sales this year, led by the Taurus and Thunderbird. The Dearborn company was the only U.S.-based automaker not to lose share in large pickups to Nissan's Titan and Toyota's Tundra. Bloomberg
12/29/04
irl
Dreyer and Reinbold get Honda engines Dreyer and Reinbold get Honda enginesDreyer and Reinbold Racing  has landed a supply Honda engines for next year’s IRL IndyCar Series. The deal has been brought to the team by Japanese-American driver Roger Yasukawa, who has strong ties with the Japanese giant. He will drive D&R’s lone Dallara chassis in his first full IndyCar season since his rookie campaign with Fernandez Racing in 2003. This means the only confirmed Chevrolet user for ’05 is Panther Racing. Autosport Magazine 
12/29/04
f1
French GP ducat price cut French GP ducat price cutCheap tickets for the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours have gone on sale to help boost attendance for the 2005 race. The cheapest race day tickets for the July 3 event will cost $80 if bought before February 15. Jacques Regis, president of the FFSA, which promotes the French GP, said: “The sport needs to generate more enthusiasm and attract new spectators. We believe that bringing down the prices will help achieve this.”
12/29/04
nascar
Mike Wallace faces uncertain future Mike Wallace faces uncertain future"Scrooged" does not even begin to describe how Mike Wallace feels about being rideless for the holidays in 2004.  On the day after Thanksgiving, Wallace was released from his Busch Series ride with Biagi Brothers Racing, despite being a minority owner of the team. He finds himself out of work on the verge of New Year's Eve and the 2005 NASCAR season.  "Without a doubt it's heartbreaking, is actually what it is," Wallace said. "It caught me totally off guard.  "There's a tremendous amount of concern, without a doubt, for a multitude of reasons. Number one, I just want to race. Then, I can't afford to just sit around -- I can't retire or anything like that." NASCAR.com
12/29/04
nascar
Kahne to be featured in seatbelt commercials Kahne to be featured in seatbelt commercialsThe Washington State Patrol (WSP) and Nextel Communications Inc., the title sponsor of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, announced a statewide campaign to promote safe driving, including the dangers of drinking and driving, aggressive driving, distracted driving, as well as the importance of wearing seatbelts. Central to the campaign are television commercials, which feature Washington native Kasey Kahne, NASCAR's Rookie of the Year for 2004. WSP and Nextel unveiled the commercials Tuesday at the Washington Motorsports Racing Celebration of Champions in Everett, Wash. Auto Channel
12/29/04
nascar
Post-It to sponsor Biffle Post-It to sponsor BifflePost-It will be the primary sponsor for the No.16 Roush Racing Ford that Greg Biffle drives.  The following ten races are scheduled:   California (Feb), Atlanta (Mar), Texas (Apr), Darlington, Pocono (June), Sonoma, Chicago, Talladega (Oct), Phoenix (Nov).
12/29/04
A1 Grand Prix
A1 Grand Prix expansion A1 Grand Prix expansionThe President and Chairman of A1 Grand Prix, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, today announced a number of personnel changes to A1 Grand Prix.

Sheikh Maktoum said, "A1 Grand Prix has expanded and developed in such a way that we have now reached the point where my focus has shifted towards the management of our franchises, race promotion and the functions involved with running the Championship itself. The Company is now established to the level where I am pleased to be able to promote those people around me who have understood my vision and who can carry it forward from where A1 Grand Prix is today. They have each earned their new appointments and will take a more active role in the Company from now on and I congratulate them. I am also delighted to welcome our recent new appointments to the staff at A1 Grand Prix".

Tony Teixeira has been promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer, whilst additionally retaining his role as an Executive Director. John Wickham has been promoted to Global Operations Manager.

With the Championship now gaining momentum, the London office, which houses the commercial, marketing and media functions, has expanded its operation. Richard Dorfman has been promoted to Commercial and Broadcast Director and is Managing Director of the London office, assisted by Guy Nicholls who has been recruited as Marketing and Communications Manager. Kathrin Ritter and Antonia Malt also join the team in the roles of Account Executive, Client and Commercial Services and Adam Barr has been promoted to Manager of Internet Operations.

12/29/04
f1
Ferrari still the one to beat Ferrari still the one to beatThey're all strong teams, and I think it will be tight at the top next year,” said Williams BMW's technical director Sam Michael, who is convinced that Ferrari will still be the ones to beat in 05.  “There's going to be three or four teams that are all trying to knock Ferrari off their perch. Ferrari will still be strong; there is no doubt about that."
12/29/04
f1
Schumacher has no thoughts of retirement Schumacher has no thoughts of retirementMany write that Michael Schumacher will soon retire because he has captured just about every F1 record there is, but Schumacher continues to state he has no thoughts of retirement.   "I don’t know why everyone keeps speculating about that – because I make a point of saying how much I enjoy my sport and how good I feel being a part of it every chance I get," Schumacher told RTL.. "I am definitely not thinking about quitting. Like I said: I enjoy what I do, it’s fun and I love my sport. Nothing could be a stronger motivation! And in regard to the successes all I can say is: that doesn’t count in sports. You can’t rest on your achievements. The next race is always the most important."
12/29/04
f1
Sauber keeping options open Sauber keeping options openAlthough they have been using the Ferrari V10 engine in recent years, Sauber wants to keep its options open for the new for 2006 V8 engine.  “The ’06 engine regulations mean there might be different opportunities for our team,” Peter Sauber told F1 Racing magazine. “I will begin to evaluate all out options, which will naturally include Ferrari, in the New Year.”
12/29/04
f1
Stewart slam for Ford pullout Stewart slam for Ford pullout(GMM) Ford made a mistake by selling Jaguar and racing out of Formula One, according to Sir Jackie Stewart. The Scot, whose four decade-long ambassadorial role with the US-owned car making giant is at an end, criticized the decision as 'an oversight.'

Triple world champion Stewart added: ''One of the great things about Ford is that the company was a global thinker. I believe not having a presence in Formula One will have long-term implications for the company.''

The 65-year-old admitted to feeling 'total shock' when he discovered that Ford would not fund Jaguar or Cosworth Racing beyond 2004. ''Even if it is not the case in America,'' he commented, ''grand prix racing still draws the biggest (global) TV audience.''

Ford powered Stewart, founder of the Milton Keynes-based F1 team he later sold to the carmaker to be renamed Jaguar in 2000, to three drivers' F1 titles -- in 1969, '71 and '73.

12/29/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 squirrel 'wreaked havoc'
Sepang appoint Saatchi
Pantano in Minardi frame
Montagny drive secure
McLaren warn Chinese hopeful
'I can win title' - Button
Webber wants 'immediate' win
Lego Ferrari F1 on sale
Motor racing legend dies
Byrne 'safe' - spokesman
12/28/04
champcar
Kenny Ferris Memorial details Kenny Ferris Memorial detailsThere will be a viewing for Kenny Ferris this Wednesday, December 29th from 4:00 - 8:00 pm at the Dan O'Reilly Funeral Home in Indianapolis, Indiana.  A memorial service for Kenny will take place on Thursday, December 30th at 5:00 pm.   Kenny and fellow HVM teammate Vitor Pinto were killed in an auto accident on December 22nd.  A memorial for Kenny and Vitor will take place after the first of the year in Indianapolis.  Further details will follow as they become available.
Dan O'Reilly Funeral Home
6107 S. East Street
Indianapolis, IN  46227
317-787-8224
Viewing: Wednesday, 12/29 4:00 - 8:00 pm
Memorial: Thursday, 12/30 5:00 pm
12/28/04
f1
Coulthard admits wetting himself Coulthard admits wetting himselfDavid Coulthard has admitted that he finds driving on roads boring.  Speaking on tonight’s Frank Skinner show, Coulthard reveals that he drives a Smart car and covers less than 2,000 miles per year.  He said: “I don’t like driving. You are controlled on the open road. On the track you can go as fast as you can. I don’t drive much.”  Coulthard also reveals that he once wet himself during a race.  He said: “There are physical forces on the body. Some people wet themselves, some don’t. I peed myself once during a race.” ITV-F1
12/28/04
nascar
NASCAR IMAX film coming on DVD NASCAR IMAX film coming on DVDNew songs from LeAnn Rimes and Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell are among the offerings on the "NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience" film soundtrack. The Shout! Factory disc will also boast previously released tracks from Sheryl Crow, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band, among others. The soundtrack audio disc and the auto-racing documentary Warner Home Video DVD will be available exclusively through retail giant Wal-Mart from Feb. 1 to March 14, and through most retailers after that date. Harwell's "You'll Never Catch Me" is a previously unreleased song, while Rimes' "I Got It Bad" appears on her forthcoming album "This Woman," due Jan. 14 via Curb. Rimes also contributes a version of the "Star Spangled Banner" to the soundtrack. Other songs on the 14-track "NASCAR" album include P.O.D.'s "Boom!," Crow's "Steve McQueen," Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and the Allman Brothers' "Firing Line." Warner Bros Pictures' "NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience" was released in IMAX theatres in March, and has grossed $19 million to date at the U.S. box office, according to Nielsen EDI. Warner Bros. will re-release the film in IMAX theaters in January. Billboard.com
12/28/04
Industry News
John Lemmo dies John Lemmo diesJohn Lemmo passed away Sunday morning at 12:01 AM.  John Lemmo was probably the best announcer/promoter of auto racing in the Northern Ohio area ever.  His career started back in the 1940s announcing midget racing and stock car racing at Sportsman Park in Bedford, Ohio.  His talents were soon in demand and he took on duties at Canfield, Jefferson, and other area race tracks.  His reputation as an announcer got him the position of announcing the races at the then new Daytona International Speedway along with his friend Chris Economaki, Publisher Emeritus of the National Speed Sport News.  When a new track was being built in Cleveland, John stepped in, redesigned the place and promoted and announced races there up to 1977.  Lemmo then went to work for Nick Mileti, supervising the construction of the Coliseum at Richfield, which he managed until the day it closed down.   John then took over running the Cleveland Municipal Stadium for Art Model and served as Network TV Coordinator for game day telecasts.  I'm proud to say that I knew John from the time I was a youngster sneaking into the races at Sportsman Park back in the 50's and later worked for him at Cloverleaf Speedway.  John Lemmo was a real gentleman, a man on many interests and a good family man.  His passing leaves a huge void in Northern Ohio's auto racing community.  He was responsible for much of the success the sport had and the impact he had on racers and fans was huge. Times for services have yet to be determined.  Ferfolia Funeral Home in Northfield will be handling the arrangements.  Please join me as our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Denny Hudock
12/28/04
Industry News
Idea Sports and Lin Liu Int’l to bring USA to Beijing Idea Sports and Lin Liu Int’l to bring USA to BeijingIdea Sports Entertainment Group, Inc. (OTCBB:ISPO) Chairman and CEO William C. Morris and Mr. Robert J. Wussler announced today that the company has entered into a partnership relationship with Chinese Beijing Lin Liu International (Lin Liu International). Lin Liu International is the only full powered multi-cultural project agency in Asia supported by government leaders from different levels. Their professional expertise in bringing high quality goods, services, and entertainment to China has earned the necessary Government backing enabling companies to conduct business in China.

Initial projects under this relationship include the development of "Hollywood 21 Century Digital Theme Park" in Beijing, China, in conjunction with the Beijing Government. The theme park, designed by US-based Land Mark, will be located within Beijing, and will be equipped with the latest of technological advances for fun family enjoyment. Idea is currently negotiating with potential US-based companies to be involved in the development, finance, construction, content, and US marketing of the theme park.

Additional projects include: 24 Hr International Digital TV Channel, Movie (DVD), Music (CD), Video & Audio Distribution Network, International Sports, International Music Concerts, Movie & TV Documentary Programs, and US-China Cultural Exchange Speaking Forum, and other Sports, Entertainment, Travel, and Tourism projects.

Madam Lin Liu commented, "Our company is very excited to have this relationship with Idea Sports Entertainment. We have been looking for a US-based sports and entertainment company to assist us in our endeavors to bring cultural/entertainment projects to the city of Beijing. We believe that Idea's network of entertainment, sports, and business relationships will be invaluable as we move forward with the Hollywood 21 Century Digital Theme Park" in Beijing. In addition, "America's Top Driver Racing Series" is of specific interest to us due to the increasing motorsport fan base in China, and the need for quality motorsports events, both live and broadcast."

Mr. Robert Wussler added, "This is indeed a unique opportunity for Idea to work with a Chinese government-backed company to bring entertainment and media projects to Beijing, and other markets in China. When you look at Beijing's population of 12 million, as compared to New York City's of 8 million, it clearly shows the opportunities that this partnership created. I'm also thrilled to announce this relationship because of my admiration for Madam Lin Liu. She is a first-class business woman, artist, and entrepreneur."

12/28/04
nascar
Burton to appear on Wildlife show Burton to appear on Wildlife showNASCAR NEXTEL CUP veteran Ward Burton, 43, will appear on The NASCAR Professor and Mary Ann Show to discuss his wildlife foundation as well conservation issues and his life on the NASCAR circuit.  Burton is founder of the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, an organization dedicated to wildlife conservation, habitat enhancement, and proper stewardship of our natural resources.  The NASCAR Professor and Mary Ann show is hosted by husband and wife team Sean and Amy Ann Cole. An internet program, the program is a local show with a national appeal, and a part of the Monks Media Radio Network.  Listen every Monday night as Sean and Mary Ann Cole are live from the Monks media studios in Noblesville, Indiana, along with Joe Davidson, as they talk NASCAR racing with both local and national racing personalities, and take your phone calls. Available only on! the Monks Media Radio Network.
12/28/04
f1
DC admitted McLaren 'failing' DC admitted McLaren 'failing'(GMM) David Coulthard might still be a McLaren driver had he adapted better to the new single-lap qualifying system. The Scot, whose career has been given a one-year redemption by Red Bull Racing, admitted that McLaren CEO Ron Dennis' decision to dump him in favor of Juan Pablo Montoya in 2005 is justifiable. Coulthard said: ''There was a failing on my part last year when I couldn't deal with the one-lap qualifying. That's what forced (McLaren) to make the decision.'' Now, the 33-year-old Scotsman hopes more than a decade on the grand prix grid can power Milton-Keynes' formerly Ford-owned squad closer to the front running action. ''What I've seen so far is positive,'' DC remarked after testing and a visit to Dieter Mateschitz's Salzburg (Austria) HQ, ''and when you consider the development program put together by (Red Bull), it's fair to say 2005 will be very interesting.''
12/28/04
f1
GP winner's F1 auction GP winner's F1 auction(GMM)  Fancy a 1970-spec Formula One car?  Former grand prix winner Jean-Pierre Beltoise is offering for auction part of his own racing car collection.   Auction house Bonhams will handle the sale in Paris in mid-February (13th).  The Matra MS120, steered by teammate Henri Pescarolo in 1970, is one of the stars of 67-year-old French-born Beltoise's collection.  Jean-Pierre raced in Formula One from 1966 to 1974, winning just once -- in BRM's last ever grand prix at Monaco.  He was the brother-in-law of Jackie Stewart's French teammate Francois Cevert.
12/28/04
f1
2005 driver lineup 2005 driver lineup
Ferrari
No.1- Michael Schumacher (Germany) - confirmed
No.2- Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) - confirmed
Test- Luca Badoer (Italy), Marc Gene (Spain)

BAR-Honda
No.3- Jenson Button (England) - confirmed
No.4- Takuma Sato (Japan) - confirmed
Test- Anthony Davidson (England)

Renault
No.5- Fernando Alonso (Spain) - confirmed
No.6- Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) - confirmed
Test- Franck Montagny (France)

BMW-WilliamsF1
No.7- Mark Webber (Australia) - confirmed
No.8- TO BE CONFIRMED (Antonio Pizzonia/Nick Heidfeld)

McLaren-Mercedes
No.9- Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) - confirmed
No.10- Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia) - confirmed
Test- Alex Wurz (Austria), Pedro de la Rosa (Spain)

Sauber-Petronas
No.11- Jacques Villeneuve (Canada) - confirmed
No.12- Felipe Massa (Brazil) - confirmed

Jaguar-Cosworth (Red Bull Racing-Cosworth)
No.14- David Coulthard (Scotland) - confirmed
No.15- TO BE CONFIRMED (Christian Klien/Vitantonio Liuzzi)

Toyota
No.16- Jarno Trulli (Italy) - confirmed
No.17- Ralf Schumacher (Germany) - confirmed
Test- Ricardo Zonta (Brazil), Olivier Panis (France)

Jordan-Toyota
No.18- TO BE CONFIRMED (Robert Doornbos)
No.19- TO BE CONFIRMED (Nick Heidfeld)

Minardi-Cosworth
No.20- Christijan Albers (Holland) - confirmed
No.21- TO BE CONFIRMED (Zsolt Baumgartner/Franck Montagny/Nicolas Kiesa)

12/28/04
champcar
transam
Denver GP news Denver GP newsSPEED World Challenge will be part of the Denver GP weekend in 2005, joining the Champ Car World Series, Trans Am, Toyota Atlantic and Formula BMW.  There will be evening racing this time.  There will also be a Concours de Elegance on Thursday as part of the kick off Street Party. The winners will be on display all weekend.
12/28/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
'We could have beaten FIA'
Trulli's the 'calmer' Juan
Late debut for new Minardi
Todt not engaged - girlfriend
BMW to seek customer deal
Byrne unhurt in tsunami
'I'd rather not drive' - DC
McLaren staff face redundancy
'Cheers!' - Sato
Line-up completed on Jan.31
Rossi set for rally switch
JB's F1 'advantage' - Brundle
Ralf squeezes a smile
DC given eternal wings
Button's 'not ready' - legend
No loss in V10 grunt - BMW
12/27/04
Dakar Rally
Arciero to race in Dakar Arciero to race in DakarFresh off his third Baja 1000 victory, Ryan Arciero readies to compete in the 27th running of the world-renowned Dakar Rally with "Toyota Team Challenge," beginning December 31, 2004.  The Arciero effort is supported by Outdoor Life Network (OLN), EOS Estate Winery and FABTECH.

Driving in the T.1 class with a specially built Toyota Land Cruiser, Arciero will begin the race in Barcelona, Spain, and then traverse through four African countries including Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal.   The rally covers more than 5,565 miles over 17 days and 16 stages, and finishes in Dakar, Senegal on January 16, 2005. 

"The Dakar Rally is an awesome adventure, and I've always dreamed of being a part of it," explained Arciero.  "It has huge international prestige, and the timing seems to be ideal as off-road racing is gaining in popularity and exposure. My hope this year is to do well for OLN and Team Toyota." 

Arciero, with longtime teammate Mark Miller, are hoping to add to their Baja success with an Arciero/Miller team entry into Dakar as early as next year.   "Mark and I have been planning to build an all-American entry for Dakar for some time." Arciero said.  "Mark has already been there twice, so this year's race is another step toward this effort."

The race will air on Outdoor Life Network (OLN) in six, one-hour episodes in January, 2005.  In addition, same-day stage results can be followed online at www.dakar.com

Dakar Rally Quick Facts
3 stages in Spain
2 stages in Morocco
6 stages in Mauritania
2 stages in Mali
3 stages in Senegal
The longest stage: Barcelona to Grenade (571 miles)
The shortest stage: Barcelona to Barcelona (11 miles)
The longest special: Zouérat to Tichit (410 miles)
The shortest special: Barcelona to Barcelona (2.5 miles)

12/27/04
champcar
RuSPORT's Wilson signs with CTS RuSPORT's Wilson signs with CTSJustin Wilson, a Champ Car World Series driver on Carl Russo’s RuSPORT team, has signed on to work with Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) Premier Coach Craig Griffin in an effort to gain an endurance edge on his competitors. The physical demands of auto racing have long been overlooked, yet ambitious drivers and teams have begun to see the benefits endurance training can have on their performance in the car. Justin’s RuSPORT teammate, 2004 Champ Car World Series Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger, was the first of the group to benefit from endurance conditioning with CTS.

Like Allmendinger, Wilson, age 26, is a rising star rookie in the Champ Car circuit, even though he has a wealth of racing experience from other leagues. In 2001, Wilson was the Formula 3000 Champion and in 2003 he raced for top Formula One teams Jaguar and Minardi. Following a year of Formula One racing, Wilson began looking for other racing opportunities and was recruited to Champ Car racing. He joined the Mi-Jack Racing squad in 2004. His season results were impressive - he qualified third in his second Champ Car race in Monterrey, Mexico; second in Cleveland, Ohio; and had three top-six finishes.

In an effort to reach the top of the podium in his second season on the Champ Car circuit, Wilson, a native of England, decided to focus on endurance training so he is better prepared to endure the physical stresses of long races. At a height of 6’3’’, Wilson faces additional challenges from having to squeeze his large frame into the small confines of a racecar cockpit. As a result of the work CTS Coaches have done with other motorsports athletes, Griffin expects Wilson to see improved performance due to greater aerobic endurance, muscular strength, and perhaps most of all, increased mental freshness. Improving Wilson’s aerobic engine and tailoring his nutrition program to the demands of racing will give him the energy reserves racers need for making split-second decisions in the final laps of long races. By following a periodized training schedule, Wilson’s training will be closely integrated into his race schedule to ensure he optimally prepared to reach his goals.

Founded by former Olympian, US Olympic Committee Coach of the Year, and bestselling author, Chris Carmichael in 1999, Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) is a community of athletes and coaches dedicated to improving the lives of active individuals though enhanced fitness and nutrition coaching programs. Providing guidance, education, and programs for individuals of all abilities, CTS has also paved the way for some of the world’s greatest athletes including six-time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong, 2000 Olympic Time Trial Silver Medalist and World Champion Mari Holden, Montreal Canadians Captain Saku Koivu, 2001 Mountain Bike World Champion Alison Dunlap, and Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Ed Moses. CTS is also the official coaching authority of the US Postal Service Cycling Team and the official coaching service for the US Paralympic cycling team.

12/27/04
nascar
NASCAR statement on passing of Reggie White NASCAR statement on passing of Reggie WhiteThe passing of Reggie White is a loss for the NASCAR community.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the White family, Joe Gibbs Racing, and everyone who had the pleasure of working with Reggie.  The Reggie White/Joe Gibbs Racing team helped to further diversify NASCAR by providing opportunities to drivers such as Chris Bristol and Aric Almirola. NASCAR
12/27/04
f1
MotoGP
Who is best, Schumacher or Rossi Who is best, Schumacher or RossiThis Eurosport.com article does a comparison between F1 star Michael Schumacher and MotoGP star Valentino Rossi as to who is the better overall athlete and driver.  The vote goes to Rossi because of his versatility.
12/27/04
grandam
Chris Bingham announces a Lexus/Riley DP for 2005 Chris Bingham announces a Lexus/Riley DP for 2005Former two-time Grand-American Road Racing Association GTS class driver’s Champion Chris Bingham has announced that a new team will enter the Daytona Prototype class in early 2005.  C.B. Motorsports will field a brand new Riley MKXI Daytona Prototype, powered by a Lexus (TRD) 4.3L V8 engine.

Car and Team Owner Bingham is looking forward to returning to the series that first brought him significant success and he expects the proven Lexus-Riley combination will give his team a competitive edge right out of the box.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time racing in the Grand-Am series (with Park Place Racing, 2-time GTS team champion) and, with the explosive growth of the Daytona Prototype class, I fully expect the challenges ahead will be equally as rewarding.  While we have no preconceived notions of moving to the front of the pack in our first race, we aren’t going racing just to watch brake lights flashing in front of us! While we are a small team we hope to be the underdog that comes out ahead.”

Delivery of the new Riley chassis (Chassis #015) is expected in March of 2005.  The team plans to compete in the entire 2005 season beginning with the April Grand-American 400 at California Speedway in Fontana, California. “We expect to take delivery of the car in mid-March.  If we have enough time before the California race we will do some testing.”

12/27/04
grandam
Brumos team changes for 2005 Rolex Brumos team changes for 2005 RolexBrumos Racing team owner Bob Snodgrass is looking back to his Porsche roots for the upcoming Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona with revamped race cars and five additional championship drivers to bolster his effort.  "People have short memories, and they forget that the Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcars won five races in 2003, or that Hurley Haywood and J.C. France were the first drivers to win a Rolex Grand-Am event in a Daytona Prototype.. People also forget that Porsches have won the Rolex 24 overall 20 times - many more than any manufacturer, and Brumos driver Hurley Haywood has won the race five times - more than any other driver. And we have five world-class European drivers joining our already-strong drivers' group for the 2005 event," said Snodgrass.  Germans Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr, the most successful driver pair in American road racing history since the Brumos Porsche team of Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg, will join the #58 Brumos Racing Red Bull Porsche Fabcar driver team of David Donohue and Darren Law, while the #59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar will be driven by regulars Hurley Haywood and J.C. France, with Germans Mike Rockenfeller and Timo Bernhard, and Frenchman Romain Dumas also entered.
12/27/04
LMES
ALMS
Minassian ranked 4th best Minassian ranked 4th bestNicolas Minassian took every opportunity to mix it with the Audi runners in 2004 and is looking forward to showing his LMES rivals a thing or two next season as he teams up once again with Creation Autosportif and Jamie Campbell Walter.   The Christmas edition of Autosport magazine pays tribute to Minassian’s drives. Minassian is listed fourth amongst their Prototype Top 10 drivers.  “In among the Audi boys is Nicolas Minassian. The Frenchman was super quick in Creation’s DBA4-Zytek and should be an established top-liner at this level.”  Sebring winner Allan McNish topped the magazine’s listing with ALMS champions JJ Lehto and Marco Werner second and third.
12/27/04
grandam
Ambrose to race in Rolex 24 Ambrose to race in Rolex 24Australian Ford driver Marcos Ambrose will race a Porsche GT3 in the Rolex 24, with Australian V8 Supercar drivers Craig Baird and Paul Morris as well as John Teulan.
12/27/04
nascar
Sara Lee Donates to VJGC Sara Lee Donates to VJGCThe Victory Junction Gang Camp, which provides year-round camp sessions for children aged 7-15 with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, today announced a donation of $10,000 from the Sara Lee Corporation. The donation will sponsor camperships for children from the Triad attending camp in Summer 2005. Of the over 500 campers served in 2004, Victory Junction served fifty-six children from the Triad area. The Victory Junction Gang Camp charges no fees to parents and children to attend camp. The Sara Lee Corporation will make it possible for six children to experience what it is to laugh, play and explore the full range of fun and pleasure that "healthy" kids might experience at camp. "We are so grateful for the Sara Lee Corporation's generosity to Victory Junction," says co-founder Pattie Petty. "With their support, more children will be able to experience the magic of camp!" Victory Junction Gang Camp
12/27/04
nascar
Crosby to Race all BUSCH races Crosby to Race all BUSCH racesEx-drag racer Kim Crosby will run all 35 Busch Series races next year, making her the third woman to compete full-time in NASCAR’s top auxiliary series.  Crosby, from Slidell, La., competed in five races last year and has also competed in four ARCA races. Her sponsor will be Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, a baby product. Shawna Robinson and Patty Moise are the only other woman drivers who have competed full-time in the Busch Series.  “She is not only a terrific driver, but is a model spokesperson for our product,” noted Dr. George Boudreaux, representing the sponsor. “She is intelligent, attractive and has high moral standards, all qualities that align well with the Boudreaux’s Butt Paste brand.” StarOnline
12/27/04
f1
New Minardi won't debut until April New Minardi won't debut until April"Because of the new rules, we will have to start the new season with the old car but it will be powered by the new engine," confirmed Minardi team owner Paul Stoddart. "The PS05 should arrive only at Imola, on the 24th of April." Now that Ford has sold Cosworth to Champ Car owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, the company can supply their best engines to all customers whereas before they were obligated to give their best engines to the Jaguar team, a team owned by Ford.
12/27/04
f1
Trulli upbeat for 2005 Trulli upbeat for 2005"There are obviously a few things to be improved for next season, but I see a lot of potential," the BBC report new Toyota driver Jarno Trulli as saying. "Over the winter, we will be testing as much as possible to prepare for 2005 - it will certainly be very busy.  It has been a year in which I achieved an ambition and won my first Grand Prix," Trulli continued. "And the fact that I did it from pole position, in Monte Carlo, made it even more special. Then there was my Spa pole position as well, followed by the chance to join Toyota straight away and be quick and competitive.  I couldn't have had a better season, but I am anticipating even greater things to come with Toyota."
12/26/04
nascar
Gibbs statement on passing of Reggie White Gibbs statement on passing of Reggie WhiteReggie White, a former defensive star in the NFL and a partner in the Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program, passed away Dec. 26 in Huntersville, N.C. He was 43.White, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles early in his career while JGR Owner Joe Gibbs was in his first stint as head coach of the Washington Redskins, partnered with JGR to form a diversity program in 2003. White was instrumental in the successful beginning of the program. In 2004, under the leadership of White and Gibbs, Chris Bristol, an African-American, competed in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at Caraway Speedway in Ashboro, N.C., while Aric Almirola, a Hispanic, competed in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. Bristol scored one victory and finished fourth in the Caraway Speedway point standings, while Almirola won three races and finished 11th in points at Ace Speedway. The following is a statement from J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, about the passing of Reggie White: J.D. GIBBS (President, Joe Gibbs Racing): "On behalf my dad and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing family, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Sara and the White family for their loss. He was much more than a great football player. He excelled as a husband and father and he honored the Lord with his life. It was a true pleasure to collaborate with him on the Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program. I know that my father and I, as well as all the employees of JGR, were looking forward to a long relationship with Reggie through this program. All of us at Joe Gibbs Racing will ensure that his vision to cultivate a diversity program within NASCAR will continue. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his family during this difficult time."
12/26/04
Brazilan Stock Car
Ecclestone to help Stock Car team Ecclestone to help Stock Car teamThe RC3-Bassani Brazilian Stock Car team has announced that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has agreed to become associated with the team and help it find sponsorship for 2005. The RC3 team is a partnership between Robert Carlos and experienced engineer Eduardo Bassani. It was Carlos who made the contact with Ecclestone at last year's Hungarian GP. The Brazilian Stock Car series has become very popular in Brazil and former F1 drivers Luciano Burti and Christian Fittipaldi will participate next year. The question remains how many years will it be before NASCAR buys and own the stock car series in Canada, Europe, and Mexico to go with its USA Nextel Division in an attempt to control world motorsports.
12/26/04
nascar
Hermie Sadler Finds Cup Sponsorship Hermie Sadler Finds Cup SponsorshipPeak Fitness has announced that they have acquired the assets of the SCORE Motorsports Nextel Cup Team and will be the primary sponsor of the "Cup" car for the full 2005 and 2006 seasons. Hermie Sadler will be the driver and James Ince has been hired as the crew chief. "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," said Jeff Stec, CEO of Peak Fitness. "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." SportsNetwork
12/26/04
nascar
RJ Reynolds Winston To Be Honored RJ Reynolds Winston To Be HonoredAnother stock-car racing museum is moving closer to reality. This one, to be located in Winston-Salem [NC], will chronicle R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s 33-year Winston cigarette sponsorship of NASCAR's premier series. The run ended at the end of 2003 when Reynolds withdrew and was replaced by Nextel. The museum is the undertaking of Winston-Salem businessman Will Spencer, whose company produced show cars, banners and other Winston Cup promotional material for RJR and now is doing the same for Cup sponsor Nextel. Spencer has been working on the project for two years. High Point
12/26/04
nascar
DEWALT Crowns Pit Crew Champions DEWALT Crowns Pit Crew ChampionsDEWALT, a leading manufacturer of power tools, recently announced the results of its 1st annual Pit Crew Challenge Championship.  Wayne Laliberte from San Jose, California and his son, Tommy Laliberte from San Jose, California, took a page from the Tortoise and Hair fable to successfully change the front and rear tires on a modified DEWALT racecar to beat their competitors Brian Timmins and Tim Christ both from Millersvale, PA, with a time of 26.29 second and 10 tight lug nuts. Timmons and Christ posted a 21.00 second time, but one of the 10 lug nuts was not tightened to the required minimum of 20 foot pounds of torque. The Laliberte team each took home a $55,000 Roush Stage 3 Mustang, $2,000 in DEWALT tools and a trip to the 2005 Daytona 500 in yesterday's competition. The nine teams were chosen from previous Pit Crew competitions held at eight locations across the country, beginning in August 2004. Dewalt PR
12/26/04
f1
Ralf uses porn money for charity Ralf uses porn money for charityToyota F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has ended his legal action against Stefan Raab after the TV star made fun of his investment in a chain of sex shops. The comedian dubbed the F1 star ‘Porn Ralf’ and his wife ‘Hard Cora’.  The pressure forced Ralf to back out of the porn deal.  But after a series of Ralf-based T-shirts and caps proved popular with fans, Schumacher appeared on Raab’s TV show and the comedian has agreed to donate all proceeds from the T-shirts to charity.   “Putting this case at rest was my personal part of Christmas amnesty," said Ralf, "but there was much more than simply putting aside this little quarrel. There was also a rather outstanding income from all those shirts and caps – more than 100,000 Euros!  We have made sure that goes to charity. I do not have no sense of humor.”
12/25/04
NHRA
"Diamond" Jim Annin dies "Diamond" Jim Annin dies"Diamond" Jim Annin died December 22nd.  He passed away peacefully in his sleep, at his home in Acton, California.  He was 65.  Jim was plenty tough and lasted much longer than anyone had ever expected.  According to his own wishes, there will be no funeral.  A memorial gathering, in celebration of Jim's life, will be held at the NHRA Museum on Sunday, January 16th, at 2 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend.  You all knew DJ...you can bet this get together will have more laughs than tears, so bring your best stories to share.  T-shirts and jeans to Hawaiian shirts and short pants....just like he would want it.  Anyone with a street rod is asked to bring it along.  Please feel free to pass this information along.   Cards can be sent to: The Annin Family, 3965 Sourdough Road, Acton, CA  93510.  [Editor's Note: Diamond Jim Annin was also involved in boat racing and attended our reunions at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.  "Diamond" Jim raced the Lil Dragon, while his brother, John Annin, raced Ondalay, Ondalay's Ghost, and Whisker Biscuit. The address is: The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, 1101 W. McKinley Avenue, Pomona, California.  Call 909-622-2133 or go on-line to www.NHRA.com/Museum  The Museum is located between White Avenue and Fairplex Drive, on McKinley Avenue, right next door to the Sheraton Hotel, on the Los Angeles County Fairplex grounds. Use Gate #1] 
12/25/04
irl
Wheldon to appear in mainstream mags Wheldon to appear in mainstream magsKlein Tools/Jim Beam driver Dan Wheldon recently returned from a day's worth of media work in New York City. Dan met with executives from ABC and editorial staff members from several mainstream publications, including TV Guide, Maxim, Men's Health and Men's Journal. Be sure to look for Dan in the upcoming issues of these publications.
12/25/04
champcar
The story with Laguna Seca The story with Laguna SecaThis Monterey Herald article titled 'Laguna Seca in the midst of a divorce' talks about the fact that Champ Car is shopping Laguna's September 11th date to Argentina, which you would have known from our rumors page. The article talks about the fact that Champ Car is waiting for a bill to be approved in the Legislature. If approved the bill will allow auto racing in the streets of Buenos Aires for 'special' events like a Champ Car race. Until that bill comes up for vote Champ Car cannot add the race to their 2005 calendar. If not, Laguna Seca could possibly get their date back. The article suggests that Laguna Seca should give Champ Car an ultimatum. If attendance was large at the last three races that might mean something, but the attendance has been so embarrassing we doubt Champ Car would flinch should such an ultimatum be made. Champ Car wants to return to South America, both to Argentina and Brazil. While Argentina is close to happening, Brazil is still 50/50 at best. We look for Brazil in 2006, but one never knows what could happen. We suspect if Interlagos were to materialize, they would get the September 11th date and Argentina would shift to September 18th, because Interlagos has an F1 race on September 25th and we doubt they would want to run both races on consecutive weekends, but maybe they would. Champ Car also has a race in Vegas on the weekend of September 25th, so racing on the 18th in South America would make it near impossible to be back in Vegas for the night of the 24th. Hence we just don't see Brazil fitting in for 2005.
12/25/04
f1
A Christmas wish from Williams BMW A Christmas wish from Williams BMWAt the end of a long year of motor racing, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team would like to wish all its partners, friends and fans from all over the world a Merry Christmas.

Following a difficult 2004 season, the Grove based squad is highly motivated as it prepares for the forthcoming FIA Formula One World Championship. For 2005, the team is determined to close the gap to the teams that finished the 2004 season Constructors’ Championship ahead of the Anglo-German partnership.

An important event for the team is scheduled to take place right at the beginning of 2005: On the sixth and seventh of January, at the ‘Bahrain International Circuit’, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team will launch the WilliamsF1 BMW car’s new livery for 2005.

The next official event takes place on the 31st January, when the BMW WilliamsF1 Team will officially announce its driver line up for the 2005 season and will also launch its 2005 challenger, the WilliamsF1 BMW FW27, with Valencia’s ‘Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo’ being the venue.

Following many successful years, the team bids farewell to Ralf Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya and Marc Gene and wishes the three drivers all the best for their future. Williams BMW

12/25/04
f1
Brundle praises Button Brundle praises ButtonITV commentator and former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle told Autosport's sister publication Motorsport News that he believed Button to be the driver "that least goes off the road" in F1.  "That is a good championship advantage to have," said Brundle. "But sometimes you just wonder if the absolute total raw pace is there, although it would be easy to take a pot shot at that theory after 2004.  Raikkonen can put a very consistent weekend together," he said. "I think he can put three quarters of a consistent season together. He doesn't make many mistakes.  Alonso is like Kimi but I don't see Fernando putting a whole season together. If Kimi puts three-quarters of a season together, Alonso will put a third of a season together."
12/25/04
f1
Moss predicts Schumacher champ again in 2005 Moss predicts Schumacher champ again in 2005Michael Schumacher will be world champion in 2005 according to Stirling Moss. "I can't see a change in the order," he said. "Not in the short term. One hopes that BAR and Jenson might come up, or Renault, but Ferrari are so good and have got such a good complete team with a brilliant driver leading them. I don't think Michael is as good as Fangio or Senna, but you cannot really compare because I don't think Michael would make as many mistakes if he raced in our era as he does now," said Moss. "He makes loads of mistakes but it doesn't matter, so why should he not do it, so I don't think it is fair to criticize him for it."
12/25/04
Japanese GT
irl
transam
Japanese GT series outdraws IRL at Fontana Japanese GT series outdraws IRL at FontanaUPDATE The latest issue of AutoWeek writes - Grube sees a bigger picture in it all, though. "It's Trans-Am from the 60's," he said. "Remember - all those kids drove Mustangs and Camaros and then they started racing them. In a sense, this is kind of like a rebirth of road racing in the USA." But, you say, we still have road racing in America. Well, we have Daytona Prototypes that look kind of goofy (butt ugly is a better term) and we have ALMS cars that are so expensive, all anyone can do is buy a 5-year old Audi to compete. JGTC is based on cars that look like cars you could maybe even afford, but are loaded with technology under the skin. And another thing, look at the crowds at a Grand-Am or ALMS race in the States. The demographic skews toward the middle-aged, middle class engineer. The average age at GT Live had to have been under 25, the holy grail demographic for anyone selling anything in America. [Editor's Note: Should Trans-Am in the USA embrace JGTC and become the America version? Hear what Paul Gentilozzi has to say on this topic in an upcoming exclusive interview with AutoRacing1.com.  Can Trans-Am make a comeback?  What does the future hold for this once popular series?]

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

12/20/04 How unpopular is the IRL?  This LA Times article says, Randy Grube stopped short of calling himself giddy. "Too tired," he said Sunday after three days of signing checks, putting out brush fires and accepting congratulations during the frantic first weekend of the GT Live event at California Speedway.  "The general concept," said event organizer Grube, "is X Games for cars."   Southern California car culture — and that in the U.S. in general — is being influenced more and more by imports such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

For an event that primarily revolved around Japanese racers and Japanese cars, an estimated 45,000 showed up over the weekend to watch, making it the third-largest attended this year at the speedway, trailing two NASCAR races and at least matching if not exceeding an Indy Racing League event. The most impressive sight came Sunday night when about 15,000 jammed the grandstands — and beyond — near Turn 3 to watch a drifting exhibition pitting Japanese vs. American drivers.

With things to do at every turn during the weekend festival — drive go-karts, R/C cars, autocross, lifestyle expo — and most on-track events lasting about an hour, there was plenty to do and little opportunity for boredom.

Top billing was shared by the Japan GT Championship series, which had all-star events Saturday and Sunday, and the D1 Grand Prix U.S. vs. Japan drifting exhibition.

Grube, a Santa Monica marketer, spent more than $2 million on a gamble, renting the track and putting together the event infrastructure. He just wanted to be around racing and cars. Turned out he's not the only one.  "It's hot-rodding all over again, except it's Asian kids with Asian cars," Grube said. "Our target audience was 50% import tuner, 25% road racing fan, 25% everything else."

Brothers Dan and Jeff Parker drove from Fremont, Calif., and arrived at the track at 7:30 a.m. Saturday to watch the Japan GT Championship because it was the series' first venture onto American soil.

"They sound fantastic," said Dan, 25, a draftsman who drives a Honda CRX. "You've got different makes and models. NASCAR, they all look and sound the same." Two other brothers, one from Westchester, the other from Las Vegas, were still in temporary grandstands at 9 p.m. Saturday night to watch drifting practice.   "What a great idea to do a major event all at once instead of just a car show," said Carl Corbett, of Las Vegas. "Pretty smart."

The racing? Logistic problems dogged the JGTC from the moment it arrived Wednesday. The two-man team that took the checkered flag Saturday, Andre Lotterer and Tsugio Matsuda, were assessed a 60-second penalty about two hours after their apparent GT 500 victory, which gave the win to Nissan Z drivers Toshihiro Aneishi and Erik Comas.

After that fiasco, the JGTC changed the format of Sunday's two sprint races at the last minute. Instead of starting position based on the previous night's result, the first sprint became a qualifying session. Lotterer qualified first and then won the 24-minute sprint.

Despite problems, drivers believed in the event's merit. "It has the potential to be huge," said Irishman Richard Lyons, who was fastest in every practice and qualifying session in his Nismo for Saturday's 87-lap race, only to watch his teammate get spun and T-boned on Lap 11. "Coming over here, it's an eye-opener for the Japanese teams."

Grube, who worked with the Japan-based GT Assn. to bring the series to America, acknowledged there were plenty of glitches. "The concept was right, the execution had issues," he said. Crowding in the garage area, parking and shuttle problems, about 500 too few competitor passes — he printed 1,000 — were the major problems.   "We had more cars, more people than we were able to handle," he said, "but it's easy to fix."

A return next year to California Speedway, and possibly a change of venue in 2006 — think downtown L.A. street race around Staples Center, a la X Games, Grube said — could come after that. [Editor's Note:  Possibly in conjunction with Champ Car if the IRL steals Long Beach from Champ Car.  The event would be run on the same weekend as the IRL Long Beach race, thereby killing it.] More....

12/25/04
champcar
 irl
A gift that could have saved open-wheel racing A gift that could have saved open-wheel racingThis Arizona Republic article says, Here are some gifts we'd like some people to find beneath their trees this holiday season:  Some intervention from the scarecrow, tin man and lion for Indy Racing League founder Tony George and co-owners of the Champ Car World Series.  George and company need to huddle and fix the mess that encompasses open-wheel racing, which means they need to show they have enough brains, heart and courage to do it.  This isn't about being pro-IRL or pro-Champ Car. It's about repairing a sport that's been fractured since the 1996 birth of the IRL.  Television ratings stink, and attendance at some venues is woeful.  Two major open-wheel circuits simply cannot - repeat, cannot - co-exist and grow at a time when NASCAR is attracting many of its top drivers.  Since when does NASCAR have the market cornered on creativity? George and Champ Car owners have pit roads full of smart people working for them, and a more appealing setup certainly is within reach.  So do it. [Editor's Note:  As long as Tony George is in charge of the IRL, and not just the Indy Speedway as he should be, this will NEVER happen.  By creating the IRL the man sunk open wheel racing in the USA (as we predicted he would back in 1995) and OWRS is not about to do business with him, especially given the fact he continues to try and put Champ Car out of business, which is now apparent he won't be able to accomplish.  Meanwhile Champ Car can and will succeed despite the IRL.  It's a global economy now, and there is plenty of room in the world for Champ Car to succeed if they play their cards right.]
12/25/04
champcar
Mi-Jack Conquest tests two drivers Mi-Jack Conquest tests two driversUPDATE Photos of Ricardo Sperafico and Romain Dumas were added below.  Of the three Sperafico's, Ricardo is the fastest having won a number of F3000 races.  If Champ Car does land a race in Brazil in 2005 Sperafico told AutoRacing1.com that his chances of landing a sponsor would increase dramatically. 12/23/04 While many are scrambling to get their last-minute Christmas shopping done, the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing team has been hard at work, preparing for the 2005 Champ Car season with some winter testing. This week, Brazilian ex-F3000 standout Ricardo Sperafico and French Porsche factory ace Romain Dumas took their first laps in a Champ Car in testing at Sebring International Raceway.

The test was a reunion of sorts, as Dumas and Sperafico had both tested with the team when it contested the Indy Lights series, and had kept in touch with affable team owner Eric Bachelart, who liked what he saw during the two days of running. "Romain and Ricardo both did well, particularly considering it was the first time either of them had been in a Champ Car," said Bachelart. "I think both drivers are talented, and despite the fact that neither had been in open wheel cars for quite some time, they were on the pace quickly, and we were able to work through our program without any issues so it was very positive for the team."

Sperafico (pictured right) took a close look at competing in Indy Lights before making the commitment to race in Europe, where he scored the Italian F3000 championship in 2000 and went on to prove himself as a race winner in the F3000 ranks against drivers with names familiar to Champ Car fans including Sebastien Bourdais, Mario Haberfeld, and Justin Wilson. After taking second in the 2003 F3000 championship, he has been restless to get back into a competitive environment, and his first Champ Car experience left him looking for more. "I think it was a good test after not being in a race car for so long," said Sperafico. "The car was very good - it has a lot more power than an F3000 car, and the brakes were also quite good too. This was a great opportunity for me, and I was really impressed with the team. It was good to be working with Eric again as well, so I am hoping that this is the start to a good relationship."

Dumas (pictured right) has an extensive open-wheel resume as well, as he took the runner-up spot in the 2002 European F3000 championship before making a one-off appearance with Scuadra Fortia in the Toyota Atlantics ranks in 2003. Dumas shared Sperafico's enthusiasm for his first introduction to Champ Car.

"We improved lap after lap, and my times kept coming down, so it was encouraging. It has been quite some time since I have driven a car like this!" said Dumas, who took three wins this year in his Alex Job Porsche in the American Le Mans Series. "I wasn't that surprised by the engine - sure it's a lot of power, but it was ok to manage it. For me, it just took some time to find the limits of the car's braking. I wasn't really taking any risks, as I just wanted to focus on improving every lap."

Dumas believes that international interest in Champ Car is going to continue to increase, and that the new television package for the series, which will see several Champ Car races broadcast live in Europe, will only help.

"I am looking at several options for next season, and Champ Car would be a strong consideration for sure, and even more so with Bachelart, because we have a good relationship, and I was impressed with the team. Even though we were just testing, all the guys were working hard to improve the whole time and it was a very positive atmosphere."

Team owner Bachelart has been working hard to put his 2005 team lineup in place, and knows that he now has two more names on the list of possibilities.

"I have known these guys for quite a while, and this test confirmed the feeling that I had from working with them before--that they were both quick," said Bachelart. "It would be nice to work together with either of these drivers, they would both fit very well within the team with their attitudes and their talent."

1991 Indy Lights Champion Eric Bachelart started Conquest Racing in 1997 to compete in the Indy Lights series, scoring a podium finish with driver Christophe Tinseau in the team's first season. Conquest Racing competed in the next four seasons in Indy Lights, winning races with Felipe Giaffone and Kristian Kolby. Mike Lanigan, President of Mi-Jack Products, an intermodal Chicago-based company became a co-owner in 2002. Mi-Jack Conquest Racing contested the 2002 Indy Racing League season with rookie Laurent Redon, netting a podium finish in just the third race of the season and clinching the Rookie of the year award.

Mi-Jack Conquest Racing rejoined the Champ Car family in 2003, stepping up to the Champ Car World Series with Brazilian Mario Haberfeld and scoring eleven top-ten finishes despite competing with a Reynard. Mi-Jack Conquest Racing continued its tradition of working well with young drivers in 2004 as Justin Wilson took second in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year battle, with Nelson Philippe scoring two top-ten finishes after joining the team in the closing stages of the season. The team is looking forward to contesting its third season in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, and is currently developing its plans for 2005.

12/24/04
champcar
HVM team mourns tragic deaths HVM team mourns tragic deaths[Editor's Note:  AutoRacing1.com extends its sincere condolences to the team and to each family.  AutoRacing1.com was told yesterday that the accident happened in a snowstorm in Arkansas and apparently their vehicle was involved in a head-on collision.]  The entire HVM team (formerly Herdez) wants to extend its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Kenny Ferris (bottom left) and Vitor Pinto (bottom right)whose lives ended tragically in an auto accident in Arkansas on Wednesday, December 22, 2004. Both were admired and important members of the HVM team and will be deeply missed both for their inspiring personalities and professional contributions. Memorial details will be released as soon as they become available. – HVM Inc.

12/24/04
champcar
Champ Car hires new PR director Champ Car hires new PR directorThis SPEED TV article says, Steve Shunck is back in open wheel racing after being named director of communication for Champ Car last week.  Shunck, who began his motorsports career working for ABC at the Indy 500 in 1989 before moving on to NASCAR and CART, had been public relations director at Michigan International Speedway the past two years.  His duties at Champ Car will include television, PR, special promotions, marketing and special projects.
12/24/04
irl
Foyt hurts himself again Foyt hurts himself againAccording to this Indy Star article, Still recovering from a torn rotator cuff suffered when he fell off a tractor, four-time Indy 500 winner AJ Foyt suffered multiple facial scratches when he got caught in a tree limb while working on his ranch.  "I look like I was in a fight with the wrong end of the shovel," he said. [Editor's Note:  How do you get yourself caught in a tree limb?  Sounds like he was driving his farm tractor and ran into a tree because, as an oval tracker, he only knew how to turn left, forgot the tractor had a brake pedal, and smacked the concrete wall....oops we mean tree.]
12/24/04
Industry News
Seasons Greetings from AutoRacing1.com Seasons Greetings from AutoRacing1.comAnother successful year of racing is behind us and we anxiously await the start of 2005. We here at AutoRacing1.com would like to wish our readers, the race drivers, the team personnel and everyone involved in this sport a very Merry Christmas and our best wishes for 2005.

We will be providing our readers with whatever news there is right on through the holidays, though it may be a bit more spotty because the racing world is on holiday. Mark Cipolloni, President

12/24/04
Baja 1000
2004 SCORE Baja 1000 to be featured Christmas Eve 2004 SCORE Baja 1000 to be featured Christmas EveThis year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 will be featured Friday at 6 p.m. (EST) on a CNBC Special Report that will be re-aired on New Year's Eve in the same time slot, it was announced today by Los Angeles-based SCORE International. The half-hour special was produced by the popular CNBC Bullseye show, hosted by Dylan Ratigan. Ratigan also participated in the race as a co-driver in the No. 2 SCORE Trophy-Truck of Pete Sohren. The granddaddy of all desert races was held Nov. 18-20 as a 1,013.57-mile peninsula run down Mexico's majestic Baja California peninsula from Ensenada to La Paz. The race featured 284 starters, competing in 26 Pro and 5 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. Competitors came from 31 U.S. States and 11 countries. A race-record 190 vehicles finished within the 40-hour time limit in the elapsed-time race. The overall motorcycle champions were the team of Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif./Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif./Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif. with a time of 15 hours 57 minutes, 37 seconds on a Honda XR650R, averaging an event record 63.51 miles per hour. The overall four-wheel vehicle champions were the team of Troy Herbst, Las Vegas/Larry Roeseler, Hesperia, Calif., with a time of 16:18:14, averaging 62.17mph. The legendary Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 is the annual season-finale of the five-race SCORE Desert Series. For more information on SCORE International, visit www.score-international.com
12/24/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Albers' to get Jan. teammate
Ralf could be 2007 champ
Montoya is 'a risk' - McLaren
BMW 'delight' at Jag rescue
Santa at Silverstone
Speed to test for RB in '05
Klien backed for RB role
Minardi's Jan. 'launch party'
12/23/04
Industry News
Laguna Seca Bridge to move Thursday Laguna Seca Bridge to move ThursdayUPDATE As part of preparations for next year's return of the MotoGP World Championship to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix July 8-10, the Turn 9 bridge was relocated approximately 440 feet up the track toward the signature Corkscrew turn today in order to increase the Turn 9 run-off area.

Moving the bridge allows for the excavation of 35,000 cubic yards of dirt from the hillside on the right side of Turn 9 to create up to an additional 175 feet of run-off room in the impact area on the outside of the turn, also known as Rainey Curve in honor of three-time motorcycle world champion and Monterey resident Wayne Rainey who was present for today's relocation.

The Turn 9 project is the first of several changes mandated by the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM), the worldwide governing body for motorcycle racing, including the MotoGP World Championship.  Those changes include improving run-off areas, replacing curbing and widening a portion of the front straight.  The track will shut down between May 2 and June 15 to complete the changes.  The improvements, funded by Yamaha Motor Corporation USA, will not affect the configuration of the world-renowned 11-turn, 2.238-mile permanent road course.

Wednesday (Dec. 22), the 150-foot bridge was lifted from its previous location and rotated clockwise 90 degrees.  One end of the bridge was placed on a purpose-built "rear" trailer and the other end was placed on a separate trailer that was attached to a normal road-going semi-type truck.  The special rig transported the bridge near its new location.

Today, the two cranes hoisted and placed the bridge in its new location, between its previous home at Turn 9 and the exit of Turn 8A (the right-hand portion of the left-right Corkscrew turn).

"Today is a significant milestone on the road to bringing the MotoGP World Championship back to the USA," said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  "I'd like to thank our track operations staff, supporting engineers and contractors, Monterey County Parks Dept., our friends at Dorna and Yamaha, and, of course, our fans for making today a reality.  It will only be a matter of months before we'll get to see Valentino Rossi (reigning MotoGP World Champion) and our American riders Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden, John Hopkins and Kenny Roberts Jr. plunging down the Corkscrew at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix."

"We are thrilled to see the work beginning and this event coming closer to reality.  The anticipation and enthusiasm from each and every employee at Yamaha, our customers, and American fans has been building since the announcement," said Bob Starr, Corporate Communications Manager at Yamaha Motor Corp. "Plus, with our 50th anniversary celebration beginning in just a few days, we've got one very exciting year ahead of us."

"Moving the Turn 9 bridge will have a huge visual impact for both the riders and the fans," Rainey said.  "Rainey Curve, which I've always considered the most demanding corner on the circuit, just got more challenging for the racers.  With the bridge moved and additional run-off area being created, riders will have nothing to distract them and will be totally focused on maximizing their speed through the corner. And for the fans, the bridge will no longer obstruct their view as the bikes go through the turn."

Support events for next season's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, round nine of 17 in the 2005 MotoGP World Championship, include the AMA U.S. Superbike Championship, BMW Motorrad Cup and Super Stars of Super Karts.  Additional AMA support events will be announced in the near future.

Tickets for the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix are on sale now via the track's ticket office - 1-800-327-SECA (7322) - during normal business hours or online at www.laguna-seca.com/Tickets.

12/21/04 As part of the preparations for the return of the MotoGP World Championship to the USA, two large cranes will place the Turn 9 bridge at Laguna Seca approximately 150 yards up the track from its current location.  The moving of the bridge will take place on Thursday morning and allow for the expansion of the Turn 9 run-off area. It is the first of several safety improvements being made for the Red Bull US Grand Prix, which will take place on July 8-10, 2005.   The Turn 9 bridge is being moved closer to the exit of the right-hand portion of the world famous left-right (Turn 8 and Turn 8A) Corkscrew turn. The bridge relocation is part of a major improvement program that includes increasing and improving run-off areas, replacing curbing and widening a portion of the front straight.   None of the safety improvements will alter the configuration of the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course.
12/23/04
f1
F1 open seats dwindling F1 open seats dwindlingWith Albers announced as one of the Minardi drivers today, there remains just five open F1 seats for 2005.  Current 2005 F1 lineup :

BAR-Honda
Jenson Button
Takuma Sato

Ferrari
Michael Schumacher
Rubens Barrichello

Jordan-Toyota
TBA
TBA

McLaren-Mercedes
Kimi Raikkonen
Juan Pablo Montoya

Minardi-Cosworth
Christijan Albers
TBA

Renault
Fernando Alonso
Giancarlo Fisichella

Red Bull-Cosworth
David Coulthard
TBA

Sauber-Petronas
Jacques Villeneuve
Felipe Massa

Toyota -Toyota
Jarno Trulli
Ralf Schumacher

Williams-BMW
Mark Webber
TBA

12/23/04
cartatlantic
Atlantic Series introduces shock absorber cost reduction rule Atlantic Series introduces shock absorber cost reduction ruleLast season the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama used a series-specified shock absorber for the first time in competition. Today, series officials announced that they will further refine the rules and specifications for the TT44 five-way adjustable shock designed by Ohlins USA in an effort to curb costs and ensure competitors are on an even playing field when it comes to shock performance.

All aspects of the shock, including main and reservoir valving, will be specified to all Atlantic championship competitors and Ohlins will supply all series entrants a spec card that will detail all allowed shock spec components and spare parts for the upcoming season.

Toyota Atlantic teams will be responsible for all maintenance as it relates to their specific shock absorbers but the teams must comply with the designated series specifications and Atlantic officials may inspect any car’s shocks at any time during the course of the season to ensure that the team is in compliance.

The refinement of the shocks will still enable competitors to adjust to a range of setups during competition, but it limits the amount of internal adjustments and combinations available to teams. These restrictions will also help lower the costs of shock research and development for Atlantic teams.

Any Atlantic championship entrant that is found to not be in compliance with the new specifications will be penalized with a loss of championship points and a monetary fine along with any other penalties to be determined by the series race director.

Atlantic officials encourage each 2005 season competitor to submit their shocks to Ohlins to verify that all components and dimensions are in compliance with the new series guidelines.

12/23/04
f1
Christijan Albers joins Minardi Christijan Albers joins MinardiUPDATE According to this Dutch website article, Albers will bring $5 million to Minardi. 12/23/04 Formula One fans in the Netherlands can celebrate a little earlier than normal this festive season with the announcement today that Christijan Albers is to drive for the Minardi Cosworth team in 2005.

The identity of the first of Minardi’s two race drivers for the new season was announced this morning to a packed press conference at the prestigious Bilderberg Garden Hotel in Amsterdam.

Albers, who is now an established star in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM), is also well known to Minardi personnel, both as a regular driver of the team’s exciting two-seater F1 cars and as a former member of the European Formula Racing F3000 team, owned at the time by Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. More recently, Albers took part in the Faenza squad’s Misano test last month, driving a 2004-specification Minardi Cosworth PS04B. He impressed team members by setting the fastest time of the week-long session in just 20 laps.

Alber's move to Formula One in 2005 has been made possible by the support of a number of enthusiastic commercial backers, who will be revealed at a special, pre-season F1 launch party to be held on January 27th, at a secret location in Amsterdam.
 
Leading investor is Lost Boys and Media Republic founder Michiel Mol, who comments: “This is my Christmas present to all Dutch F1 fans.”

Aside from the sponsors, the Essentially Group and John Byfield have fulfilled an important consultancy role to both the driver and his backers, as has GR8 Industries, Alber's official management company for the past four years, which is run by Lodewijk Varossieau. In addition, ABN AMRO Corporate Finance acted as financial adviser during negotiations with the team.

“We are very pleased to be able to announce Christijan as one of our two race drivers for 2005,” commented Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. “He has always been a naturally quick driver, but it is clear there is now an added maturity and focus with that speed. In short, we believe he is absolutely ready for Formula One, and we fully expect him to surprise a few people this coming season, particularly since Minardi also has ambitious plans."

"From a personal point of view, it is very gratifying to see a number of Dutch companies getting behind a talented young driver in order to help him take that final, and most difficult, step to the highest level of motor racing. Knowing Christijan as I do, I’m certain he will reward the faith placed in him.”

Christijan Albers - Profile 
Date of birth - 16/04/1979
Born - Eindhoven, Netherlands
Lives - Laren, Netherlands
Marital status - Single
Height - 1.76 m
Weight - 68 kg

Race Career 
1997 - Champion - Dutch National Kart (ICA 100cc) - Champion - Formula Ford 1800 (Holland) - Champion - Formula Ford 1800 (Belgium) - Champion - Renault Megane Marlboro Masters
1998 - German F3 Championship - 5th place overall (2 wins, 5 podiums)
1999 - German F3 Championship - Champion (6 wins, 10 poles)
2000 - F3000 International Championship, European Formula Racing
2001 - DTM Mercedes (one 2nd place) - Formula One, Test and Reserve driver, European Minardi
2002 - DTM Mercedes, Team Rosberg - Formula One, Test Driver KL Minardi Asiatech
2003 - DTM Mercedes, Team HWA (4 wins, at Adria, Nürburgring, Norisring, Zandvoort), runner-up DTM, scored the most victories
2004 - DTM Mercedes, Team DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes (1 win, 6 podium finishes), 3rd place overall.  Minardi

12/23/04
f1
Signing JPM was a risk worth taking Signing JPM was a risk worth takingAlthough Ron Dennis claims Juan Pablo Montoya will improve as a driver while at McLaren, he does concede that there's some risk involved when a driver swaps teams.  Montoya, a former Indianapolis 500 winner, showed glimpses of brilliance during his four-year stint at Williams. However, the team allowed him to move to McLaren after failing to regularly challenge Ferrari's Michael Schumacher. Dennis, though, believes there is much more to come from the Colombian than his four wins from 68 grand prix starts since his debut in 2001.  The McLaren team boss signed Montoya to replace David Coulthard before the 2004 F1 season even started and he is confident he made the right choice.

"There are times within the team when opportunities present themselves and you have to take them. It was a decision quickly taken," Dennis said.  "Juan Pablo is still on the up and we believe he will be a better racing driver with our team.  There's always a risk with any change but we think it's a very balanced and calculated risk and we believe he will be a better racing driver with the team.  I am fairly convinced it will be a different environment he will find himself in and one that will get the best out of him, which is yet to come." Planet-F1

12/23/04
nascar
Harvick and Schrader to run Copper Classic Harvick and Schrader to run Copper ClassicThe Copper World Classic will make its triumphant return as the nation's best four-races-in-one day event, and the first 'major' race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway January 29-30, 2005. The NASCAR Grand National, West Series and NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series events will not only be the first race of the season for NASCAR fans, but it will also feature some of the most skilled drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the INDY Racing League. Racing from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will be Ken Schrader and Kevin Harvick, while former Indy Racing League standout Sarah Fisher, is expected to be in the starting lineup for the West series race. Other NEXTEL Cup or Busch Series drivers could join the field in the weeks ahead. FoxSports
12/23/04
irl
 gp2
f1
Scott Speed rejects IRL, aims for GP2 - and F1 Scott Speed rejects IRL, aims for GP2 - and F1American Scott Speed has had a great year in Europe, winning the German and Eurocup Formula Renault titles as part of his third season in the Red Bull Driver Search program. Now Speed is setting his sights on GP2 and hopes to be testing for Red Bull Racing before the year is out. The 21-year-old from Manteca, California, has yet to announce his plans for 2005 and recently tested an Indy Racing League for Eddie Cheever.

"My plans have yet to be decided," Speed said, "but GP2 is looking like the biggest possibility. And, along with that, I am sure that I will be testing the Red Bull F1 car and getting ready for 06. But I don't know anything for sure yet."

Speed is not the only young American making an impression in Europe as his fellow Red Bull Driver Search winner Colin Fleming, a 20-year-old from San Diego, has also been making waves. Speed's team mate with the Motopark Academy team (and his roommate in Salzburg, Austria) he was just beaten by Speed in the German Formula Renault series and finished third in the Eurocup. The chances are that he will race in the Renault V6 World Series in 2005 and hopes to move from there to GP2 in 2006. Grandprix.com

12/23/04
f1
Mario Theissen admits team could have run three cars Mario Theissen admits team could have run three carsTheissen admits that 2004 was a poor season. When it comes to the cost reduction issue, BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen believes that Formula One is on the right track. According to the BMW Motorsport Director, BMW had to intensify the test stand development for the 2004 season when engines had to last for an entire Grand Prix weekend for the first time.

“We had to do so as the engines had to cope with new demands," the official WilliamsF1 site quote Theissen as saying.  "But at the same time, this offered us the opportunity of building a reduced number of test and race engines. At the end of the day, this meant a cost reduction of several percent. This trend will be continued in 2005. In Grand Prix Racing, the peak regarding the engine costs is in the past.”

For the 2005 season, when the engines will have to last for two Grand Prix weekends, the German doesn’t expect that the engine performance will suffer massively. “I don’t expect a pronounced performance loss,” Theissen continued, “Yet I think that the teams will opt for an even more purposeful use of their engines. For the tire evaluation tests on Friday, for example, it’s irrelevant if the engines rev to 18,000 or 19,000 rpm.”
 
Furthermore, Theissen is convinced that BMW will supply the BMW WilliamsF1 Team with a competitive engine for the 2006 season, when the new 2.4-litre V8 engine regulations come into force.

“At BMW, the change of concept has caused high pressure and the respective cost increase. The development program had to be condensed,” revealed Theissen, “Currently, I’m not able to state a date for the engine’s first test stand run, but the team that has produced the benchmark for Formula One engines in recent years will also successfully solve this task.”

Regarding the 2005 season, Theissen expressed his delight that there will once again be ten teams on the grid. “Obviously we would be able to enter three cars,” he said, “nevertheless I am delighted that we will once again see ten teams on the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship grid. Formula One needs the mixture of works teams and independent squads, and the involvement of Red Bull is a meaningful signal for the sport’s future.” Source WilliamsF1

12/23/04
f1
Positives for British Motorsport Positives for British MotorsportAfter a shaky start, things are looking up at Silverstone.  Christmas came early for Silverstone as Sports Minister Richard Caborn opened a £4.2M innovation centre at the F1 circuit earlier in the month on the eve of news that the track had sealed a deal to host the British Grand Prix for the next five years.

“It is so important that we underpin the excellence that we have here in the UK by establishing a centre of this kind," said Caborn. "Developing the motorsport industry is about growing sustainable and quality jobs as well. This is the first step in a real consolidation of Motorsport Valley."

“Bringing the sport and industry together is very important. We have a vested interest in ensuring that this centre is successful. The Silverstone Grand Prix is very important to the local economy and that’s why we must make sure we can develop Silverstone to have a sustainable motorsport industry in this country.”

The business centre – on Silverstone Technology Park which forms part of a master plan for the circuit currently under consideration - is a joint venture between track owners the British Racing Drivers’ Club and East Midlands Development Agency (emda), which has invested £1.8 million in the project.
 
Now open for business, it will house up to 40 high performance engineering start-up companies as well as more established, growing businesses operating in motorsport and related industries. It will also generate year-round business for the race circuit and provide a major boost to the UK’s burgeoning motorsport industry, which boasts 2,200 businesses and an annual turnover of £4.6 billion, locally, regionally and nationally.

Derek Mapp, outgoing chairman of emda, said: “A significant number of highly flexible and creative precision engineering companies ‘do business’ in Motorsport Valley and we are committed to supporting such motorsport companies whether their preference is to race on two, three, four or more wheels!

“That is why we’re delighted to be associated with the economic development of key regional motorsport assets such as Silverstone, in the form of the innovation centre. We are confident that it will make a major contribution to the region in attracting, supporting, nurturing and ‘graduating’ young high performance engineering companies, which will create high performance engineering companies which will generate high tech, high skilled employment at the centre of the Motorsport Valley cluster."

The centre will include 16 ‘incubator’ units which will be let on flexible terms with start-up companies receiving a time-limited package of support. There will also be 27 suites for growing companies rentable for periods of three to five years, and tenant firms will be encouraged to get involved with other activities designed to boost their competitiveness. Source EMDA

12/23/04
f1
More races = more exposure=more value More races = more exposure=more valueDespite lower audiences, F1 was better value in 2004.  With 18 races on the schedule in 2004, Formula One sponsors gained additional exposure in 2004. According to Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) sponsor exposure was up 17 percent in 2004 over 2003 figures.   In addition on board cameras helped car exposure jump 29 percent. Despite lower audiences overall, sponsor value increased by 11 percent, giving excellent value for brands according to the 'Global Formula One report' produced by Sports Marketing Surveys.  “Formula One still is one of the most watched sports in the World, giving sponsors and brands excellent exposure," stated Sports Marketing Surveys Director, Nigel Geach. "Audiences have dropped in the latter part of the season, but the additional races have compensated in terms of value for sponsors."   2006 will see an unprecedented 19 races on the calendar. Source SMS
12/23/04
f1
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Rookie to sign for Minardi
Williams' 'major' message
Sauber clock timely deal
BAR gearbox 'not banned'

'Excellent' value in F1
Schumacher slammed

Red Bull tire deal close
New F1 'Concorde' posted
Red Bull deny 'ban' report
Hopeful won Bernie meeting
Grove 'shootout' to continue
Ron - 'I'm amused'
BMW will build top V8
Power to continue 'F1 push'
Heidfeld support for FIA push
12/23/04
Industry News
champcar
China’s thirst for fuel takes it to USA’s doorstep China’s thirst for fuel takes it to USA’s doorstep[Editor's Note: This NY Times article talks about China's insatiable appetite for oil fueled by its booming automotive industry. It won't be long before Chinese car companies begin to enter racing in a big way.  Will Champ Car's rumored China race ever materialize so it can capitalize on the opportunity, or will procrastination lead to a missed opportunity?] China's thirst for oil has brought it to the doorstep of the United States. Chinese energy companies are on the verge of striking ambitious deals in Canada in efforts to win access to some of the most prized oil reserves in North America. The deals may create unease for the first time since the 1970s in the traditionally smooth energy relationship between the United States and Canada.
 
Canada, the largest source of imported oil for the United States, has historically sent almost all its exports of oil south by pipeline to help quench America's thirst for energy. But that arrangement may be about to change as China, which has surpassed Japan as the second-largest market for oil, flexes its muscle in attempts to secure oil, even in places like the cold boreal forests of northern Alberta, where the oil has to be sucked out of the sticky, sandy soil.

"The China outlet would change our dynamic," said Murray Smith, a former Alberta energy minister who was appointed this month to be the province's representative in Washington, a new position. Mr. Smith said he estimated that Canada could eventually export as many as one million barrels a day to China out of potential exports of more than three million barrels a day.

"Our main link would still be with the U.S. but this would give us multiple markets and competition for a prized resource," Mr. Smith said. Delegations of senior executives from China's largest oil companies have been making frequent appearances in recent weeks here in Calgary, Canada's bustling energy capital, for talks on ventures that would send oil extracted from the oil sands in the northern reaches of the energy-rich province of Alberta to new ports in western Canada and onward by tanker to China. More....

01/03/05
champcar
 Team USA
Champ Car drivers to support Team USA Champ Car drivers to support Team USAThe path to racing stardom can be an expensive one, and a number of current Champ Car and Toyota Atlantic stars have not forgotten how unforgiving the trip to the top can be for a young driver.

To that end, Jimmy Vasser, A.J. Allmendinger and Bryan Sellers have pledged their support to the same Team USA Scholarship program that helped launch their careers, aiding in securing sponsorship for 18-year-old Oklahoma driver Slade Miller in six upcoming races of the Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship.

The Team USA Scholarship program has helped the careers of a number of America’s top drivers ever since its inception in 1990, giving the best and brightest young talents a chance to compete on an international stage. The program has been championed over the years by noted racing journalist Jeremy Shaw as well as Champ Car team owner Dale Coyne, former Tasman Motorsports owners Steve and Christine Horne, Ivey Engines, Sparco racewear and RACER magazine.

PKV Racing co-owner and 1996 Champ Car title winner Vasser was part of the first Team USA Scholarship Team in 1990, while Allmendinger and Sellers were teammates in 2001 during the month-long championship that includes the prestigious New Zealand Grand Prix. The three drivers as well as former Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice have pledged sponsorship dollars for this year’s championship to aid Miller’s cause.

“Winning a Team USA Scholarship meant so much to me,” Allmendinger said. “I learned a lot of lessons about myself and about what I needed to do to move on up the racing ladder. I'm very grateful to all the people who helped me and I'm happy to be able to help someone else get the same opportunity.”

The program has aided a number of young racers throughout North America, with graduates of the program currently finding success in nearly every racing series in the United States. Former Champ Car drivers Memo Gidley and Bryan Herta were beneficiaries of the program as were NASCAR drivers Jerry Nadeau and Ashton Lewis.

Miller is currently in New Zealand, and today will start testing his Stealth/Van Diemen chassis in preparation for a trio of races next weekend at Levels Raceway, Timaru. His shot at claiming victory in one of the Southern Hemisphere's most prestigious races, the New Zealand Grand Prix, will come January 15-16 at Teretonga Park, Invercargill.

01/03/05
Karting
Schumacher says karting too expensive Schumacher says karting too expensiveSeven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher, recently appointed by the FIA to its Karting Commission, says he would like karting to be cheaper and more accessible.  “The sport of karting is meant to be affordable for a large group of kids,” Schumacher said on his official Web site. “The more kids know how much fun this sport is, the better – for them and for the sport.  Karting is a good solid background for any kind of motor sports, but if it is made accessible only to a select few, that's no help to anyone. At the moment, karting is unfortunately going in a direction of being a very select and expensive sport, and we want to change that.”
01/03/05
nascar
NASCAR bans Hutchens Device NASCAR bans Hutchens DeviceNASCAR will require drivers in the Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series to wear the HANS (Head and Neck Support) device during practice, qualifying and race competition, thatsracin.com reports. The Web story says drivers will no longer be able to use the Hutchens device to meet NASCAR's requirement to use a head-and-neck restraint. The story says the Hutchens device failed to meet minimum standards in tests conducted by SFI Foundation Inc. The Hutchens device, which was developed by Richard Childress Racing team manager Bobby Hutchens, has been used by some drivers who have said it gives them more freedom of movement inside their cars.
01/03/05
champcar
Champ Car announces new hires Champ Car announces new hiresThe Champ Car World Series today announced the addition of two public relations veterans to the Champ Car Public Relations staff, including the hiring of Steve Shunck as the Director of Public Relations.

Shunck takes over as the Director of Public Relations after serving in a similar post at Michigan International Speedway for the past two seasons. A former Champ Car employee, and graduate of Bowling Green State University, who served as Director of Broadcast P.R. until the 2002 season, Shunck will be tasked not only with leading the Public Relations Department, but also with aspects of Champ Car’s 2005 television operation.

“It is great to be re-joining the Champ Car staff,” said Shunck. “I look forward to working with all of the Champ Car community – owners, drivers, teams and promoters. I truly believe the Champ Car Public Relations staff is one of the best in the business and we look forward to building upon the heritage and tradition of Champ Car.”

Also joining the Champ Car Public Relations staff is Tom McGovern, who served on the public relations staff of Team Green during its time in Champ Car. A graduate of the University of Florida, McGovern most recently served on the communications staff at Andretti Green Racing in the Indy Racing League, but joins Champ Car as a Public Relations Specialist responsible for a number of projects including the creation of news and features for the series website.

“I firmly believe that Steve and Tom are well equipped to provide Champ Car with the experience, energy and knowledge necessary to raise the level of service provided by our Public Relations Department,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “I am very excited that they have joined our team as we continue to move toward what will be an exciting future.”

The new hires join News Manager Eric Mauk, News Associate Heather Haupt and Community Relations and Video Services Manager Kathi Reichert on the Champ Car Public Relations staff that is currently preparing for the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season.

01/03/05
nascar
SPEED Channel to cover Daytona testing SPEED Channel to cover Daytona testingSPEED Channel will be providing nightly 30-minute shows from NASCAR test sessions in Daytona. The air dates and times are:
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (all shows begin at 7 p.m. ET)
Jan. 11-13
Jan. 18-20
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Jan. 16  (7 p.m. ET)
NASCAR Busch Series
Jan. 24 (7 p.m. ET)
01/03/05
irl
Rice and Herta give back to Team USA Rice and Herta give back to Team USABuddy Rice says winning the 1997 Team USA Scholarship was an important step in his development as a race car driver. Now the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner says it's important that he give back to the fund. The Rahal Letterman Racing driver, who finished third in the 2004 IRL IndyCar Series standings, is among the contributors to the Team USA Scholarship fund, which this year is sponsoring 18-year-old Oklahoma driver Slade Miller in six upcoming races of the Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship. Andretti Green Racing's Bryan Herta, the 1991 winner of the award, also is a contributor. "It seems like a long time ago now, but winning the Team USA Scholarship was a big help to my career," said Rice, 28, from Phoenix. "I met a lot of influential people, and racing overseas for the first time taught me a lot about what I needed to do for the future. It's taken awhile, but I'm really happy to be able to put something back into a program that has done so much for young drivers like me over the years." IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers Jeff Simmons and Phil Giebler also are former winners of the Team USA Scholarship. IRL
01/03/05
irl
IRL Ads Featured Throughout Bowl Season IRL Ads Featured Throughout Bowl SeasonThe Indy Racing League is using the college football bowl season to showcase its new "Adrenaline. Amplified" advertising campaign.  Full-page ads ran on the back cover of game programs at the Plains Capital Fort Worth Bowl on Dec. 23, Emerald Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 31 and Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 1.  Additional ads are planned at the Orange Bowl in Miami on Jan. 4 and Gridiron Classic all-star game in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 15. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will attend the Orange Bowl game between Oklahoma and Southern California on Jan. 4 in Miami.  The IRL ad featuring 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan also was used in a Capital One Bowl in-game promotion. A fan attending the game won an IRL prize package for having Kanaan's signature on the ad. IRL
01/03/05
f1
Prost back with Toyota Prost back with ToyotaFOUR-Time World Formula 1 Champion Alain Prost has returned to his passion of ice racing at the wheel of a specially prepared Toyota Corolla.

Prost is contesting the 2004-2005 Andros Trophy series in France. The legendary Frenchman returned to racing in last year’s series and finished runner-up, beaten only by eight-time ice racing champion Yvan Muller, who is known as ‘The Ice King’.

The new season started on December 4-5 at the Val Thorne’s resort and Prost shared the honors with Muller, winning one round apiece over the weekend. Ice racing is a huge sport in France and is conducted on specially constructed tracks carved in the ice.

The grand final will be held at the Stade de France in Paris on January 29 in front of 60,000 fans. It takes three days to turn the famed sports stadium into an ice racing track, with 20,000 blocks of ice weighing 700 tons joined together using liquid nitrogen.

Prost, 49, who won 51 Grands Prix (second only to Michael Schumacher) in a 14-year Formula 1 career, ended a ten-year retirement to go ice racing. Known throughout his career as ‘The Professor’, Prost’s legendary smooth driving made him an instant star in his new form of racing. “Ice racing started as a vacation for me,” said Prost, “but as soon as you start to drive and look at lap times you take it more seriously, and you get more pleasure from anything when you begin to master it.”

“The Andros Trophy is more relaxed than Formula 1, but it is still a very professional sport.” Prost is driving a specially adapted Toyota Corolla built for him by Team Oreca Toyota with support from Toyota France. The Corolla is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 engine driving through all four wheels for optimum traction on the slippery ice tracks.

01/03/05
Dakar Rally
 NASCAR
Dakar Update: Gordon wins Stage 4 Dakar Update: Gordon wins Stage 4Robby Gordon (VW – n°317) has just clocked the fastest time of the day's 123km special between Rabat and Agadir. The US driver managed a time of 1h14'01" beating Peterhansel (MIT – n°306) by 53" and Saby (VW – n°307) at 1'08". Gordon assumes the new overall lead ahead of Peterhansel, 1 min adrift.
Dakar Rally, after Stage 4 Rabat-Agadir special stage:
1) Gordon/von Zitzewitz, VW Touareg, 1h26m24s
2) Peterhansel/Cottret, Mitsubishi V60, 1h27m23s
3) Saby/Perin, VW Touareg, 1h27m38s
4) Alphand/Picard, Mitsubishi Pajero Evo, 1h27m56s
5) Kleinschmidt/Pons, VW Touareg, 1h28m56s
6) de Villiers/Lurquin, Nissan Pick Up, 1h29m23s
7) Kankunnen/Repo, VW Touareg, 1h29m45s
8) de Mevius/Dubois, Nissan Pick Up, 1h29m52s
9) Vatanen/Siviero, Nissan Pick Up, 1h30m02s
10) McRae/Thorner, Nissan Pick Up, 1h30m10s
01/03/05
Industry News
champcar
Bourdais selected Champion of Champions Bourdais selected Champion of ChampionsUPDATE Champ Car Press Release: Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scored just one of his seven Champ Car World Series victories in Canada this season but the Newman/Haas Racing pilot made a big impression with Canadian racing fans on his way to winning the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford championship. Bourdais was selected as the Champion of Champions in voting conducted on the TSN website, official website of the Canadian sports cable network. The Frenchman received 51 percent of the votes to outdistance Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher, who scored 32 percent of the vote.

Bourdais won from pole at last year’s Molson Indy Toronto, leading 75 of 84 laps en route to the victory. He led laps at each of the Canadian events in 2004 including a race-high 26 in Montreal in a race where he won the pole. He started third and scored a top-five finish in Vancouver as well and has led laps in four of the six Champ Car races he has run on Canadian soil. The honor marks the second consecutive season that TSN.ca voters have named the Champ Car World Series champion as their choice, as Ontario native Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) took the honor in 2003 after claiming his first Champ Car title.

World Rally Championship titlist Sebastien Loeb finished third in the voting followed by NASCAR champ Kurt Busch, Indy Racing League winner Tony Kanaan, World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser and NHRA Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher. The honor adds to the growing list of accolades for the Champ Car title winner as Bourdais was named North American open-wheel driver of the year by ESPN.com and was also selected as a first-team All-American by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

12/23/04 Sebastien Bourdais is the overwhelming choice in TSN.ca's Champion of Champion's poll. The native of Le Mans, France, received 51 percent of the votes cast to defeat Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, who picked up 32 percent of all votes cast. Bourdais becomes the second Champ Car driver to earn the most votes in the year end poll. Canadian Paul Tracy was last year's runaway winner.

Bourdais, who finished runner-up to Tracy last year in the former CART series, improved on his rookie season, winning seven times and starting on the pole eight different occasions to claim trophy in the newly formed Champ Car series.

Despite the uncertainty which surrounded the series following bankruptcy proceedings, Bourdais showed clarity and focus on the track. He started no worse than third and suffered just two DNFs the entire season.

Bourdais took over first place in the points race following the Toronto Molson Indy which capped a streak of three consecutive wins. The highlight of his championship winning season may have been the Champ Car race in Denver. After starting on the pole, Bourdais found himself at the back of the pack following a first corner incident. He fought back and passed ever car on the track to claim the checkered flag, increasing his lead atop the standings to 168 points.

While he went on to win just two of the remaining five events, a new points system which rewards consistency helped Bourdais maintain top spot in the series.  "Dominated in a tough field," was Steve Devonport's succinct explanation for choosing Bourdais.

Michael Schumacher's 13 win season clearly made him the dominant force among series champions featured on our list. And that sentiment was echoed in various comments submitted. "For open wheel racing there is no comparison to Formula One and to the accomplishments of Michael Schumacher," said Kraig Sellars of Winnipeg.

"It is the only racing that is truly free, with no controlled laps or pit schedules, where the best team and driver can truly shine. Formula One is the ultimate in motorsports and Schumacher is currently the ultimate driver in the world."

Rally car champion Sebastien Loeb finished third in the balloting with 8 percent of the vote followed by NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch and IRL champion Tony Kanaan, who both finished tied with 3 percent of all votes cast.

"He (Busch) had the most competition with the most equal equipment," wrote Keith Seguin. "I picked Tony Kanaan of the IRL, because he is likeable, competitive, and consistent," remarked John Harvey. "His accomplishment is extraordinary, considering the depth of competition. I cannot vote for the F1 candidate, because it was a cakewalk with zero effort. That cannot be said for Tony."  World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser and NHRA champion Tony Schumacher rounded out the balloting with 2 percent and 1 percent of the vote respectfully.

01/03/05
SPEED World Challenge
Papis to drive for Cadillac Papis to drive for CadillacCadillac announced today that 2004 Grand American Daytona Prototype champion Max Papis is joining its CTS-V race team on a full time basis. Cadillac will return to the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series for the 2005 racing season.

Papis will drive the #16 CTS-V, and returning driver Andy Pilgrim will again pilot the #8 car. Max Angelelli will concentrate on Pontiac's effort in the Grand Am Daytona Prototype series.

"Max Papis is a strong addition to our CTS-V race team," said Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager. " His racing experience speaks for itself, and his international following will help expose the Cadillac brand to a whole new group of auto enthusiasts."

Papis is widely recognized as one of the world's best racing drivers and has found success in both sports car racing and single-seater competition. In 2004, Chevrolet chose Papis to join the factory Corvette program as an endurance partner for the team's three long-distance events. Papis won the Grand American Rolex championship in 2004 in the Daytona Prototype class driving a Lexus/Riley. Earlier this month, Papis received the Golden Helmet Award as Italy's best driver for 2004.

"To race the CTS-V is very exciting for me", said Papis. "I followed the team last year, and I could see the excitement that was generated among the fans. After winning the Rolex Grand-Am Championship, I'm looking forward to providing all my determination and experience to bring home a championship for Cadillac in 2005."

Cadillac had a successful debut season in SPEED GT, capturing four pole positions, five podium finishes and three wins in ten races. "These are outstanding results for a first season and have helped improve the perception of Cadillac among performance car buyers," said Taylor. "We are racing to help sell cars and change the image of Cadillac. The championship was a goal, and we are disappointed we didn't win, but it does not diminish what we did on and off the track. Our success has also built enthusiasm for Cadillac among our dealers, employees and customers."

"Max Angelelli has been an integral and important part of Cadillac for several years," added Taylor. "We'll never forget that incredible win in Cadillac's first race at Sebring last year, and his tremendous win at Road Atlanta. We're very pleased that Max will still be a part of the GM Racing family, and don't be surprised if he stops by the track this season."

"We're also thrilled to have Andy back in 2005," Taylor added. "He is a real fan favorite and provides continuity going into our second season."  Team Cadillac will open the 2005 season at Sebring International Raceway on March 18, 2005.

01/03/05
alms
ACEMCO Motorsports is ready for ’05 ACEMCO Motorsports is ready for ’05ACEMCO Motorsports announced today that they will run their number 63/ACEMCO Motorsports/Saleen S7-R GT1 racer in the entire ten race  American Le Mans Series in 2005.  The coming season will also see the ACEMCO GT1 shod with Michelin rubber, giving the team the edge they needed to go ahead and take on the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

The Michigan based team is hungry to improve on their 2004 ALMS GTS points finish of third and get the drivers up on the top step of the podium in ’05.  “Michelin has been able to keep up with the technology of the cars and engineer their tires to be consistent over long runs, which endurance racing demands,” said Jeff Giangrande, ACEMCO Motorsports team owner.  "I believe that to be able to compete for wins with the factory teams and the quality privateers you have to run the car on Michelin tires.  I am sure that with our driver lineup and the improvements that we have made to the car along with the tires we will be in an excellent position to compete for overall GT1 victories this coming season.”

ACEMCO Motorsports will also tackle the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005.  “We ran Le Mans for the first time in 2003 and we were able to lead our class for a period,” continued Giangrande.  “Le Mans will be a challenge; we will see Corvette with their new cars and a new entry from Aston Martin.  I am hoping that the year of competition we have under our belts with the Saleen, plus the improvements in the off season will put us on par with those teams come June.  We are preparing our second car for Le Mans and we will keep one car here for ALMS.”

Drivers Terry Borcheller and Johnny Mowlem are set to return to the team for the coming season.  The duo posted consistent top three finishes in GTS while continuing to make improvements to the Saleen and its Elan powerplant in 2004.

“I am looking forward to starting the season with ACEMCO and the revitalized car,” said driver Terry Borcheller.  “Jeff has done a great job in the off season to address the needs of the car and the team.  We have the pieces in place to move forward.  The Michelin tires are an essential part to running a competitive car.  The GT1 class has been dominated by the Corvette; you still have to believe that their new car will be faster.  I don’t think that the bar has gotten any lower, but we will be in a position to compete.  Le Mans will be a challenge.  This will be my third time at Le Mans in the S7-R.  Le Mans demands the complete package of aero, motor, dependability and teamwork.  It will be great to see how we match up with the Le Mans hopefuls come Sebring in March.”

“Jeff negotiating to have his ACEMCO Saleen run on Michelin tires in 2005 is huge!” said driver Johnny Mowlem. “I think this is a ringing endorsement of the team and everyone involved – now we will be expected to deliver.  Obviously going back to Le Mans is going to be a highlight for the whole team. I first drove for Jeff at Le Mans in his Ferrari 360 in 2003, and was fortunate enough to lead the class for him before an engine failure. Coincidentally the last time I was at Le Mans in a Saleen, I also led but eventually DNF'd, so this time I'm hoping that we'll be leading that all important lap... the last one! Ultimately any success requires a certain amount of luck, but we'll hopefully be in a position to make our own luck this year.  I am hoping we can be a major factor at all the races next season, and then I'll consider 2005 to have been a success.”

01/03/05
Industry News
Toyota to expand production and sales Toyota to expand production and salesToyota Motor Corp. President Fujio Cho said the automaker plans to expand production and sales in 2005 to make "steady, overall progress" as the world's biggest automaker by market value pursues a 15-percent market share in the next decade, up from about 12 percent now.  "We must not be complacent about our achievements and must remain aware of the need for further progress," Cho said as part of his New Year's Day greeting on Toyota's Web site.  Cho is expanding production in the United States, eastern Europe and Asia, in part to boost global market share and meet its sales forecast of 8.5 million vehicles in 2006.
01/03/05
f1
GPWC breakaway still alive after Bernie’s offer GPWC breakaway still alive after Bernie’s offerRecently Bernie Ecclestone offered the existing F1 teams 1/2 billion dollars to extend the existing Concorde Agreement now, past the current termination date of December 2007. The Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC) - is offering a major incentive to the teams contesting the Formula One World Championship, in a clear attempt to win them over.

"The GPWC racing series is not a dream, it is reality," says the group's commercial head, George Taylor. "It has already started." According to The Times, a spokesman for GPWC was at pains to point out that though there is much respect for what Ecclestone has achieved, F1 appears to have lost its way. "We are not here to criticize Bernie Ecclestone because he has done an unbelievable job with Formula One," he said. "But it doesn't work as well as it could or should. There are a lot of things that are right, but there are increasingly a lot of things that are not right. We have to move quickly because, realistically, things need to be in place during 2005 if we are to be ready in time.

"There is no use me worrying about Mr Ecclestone," he added. "We are listening to what the teams, the fans and the broadcasters are telling us so that we can produce a series with a structure and a transparency that benefits all stakeholders and not just one. We need a more balanced economic model that benefits the teams more, the customers more and gives the advertisers a global platform."  More at The Times

01/03/05
nascar
FedEx ’Driving force’ rocks with NASCAR FedEx ’Driving force’ rocks with NASCARFedEx will have a presence at NASCAR for the first time next season, sponsoring the No. 11 car driven by Jason Leffler for Joe Gibbs Racing. Industry people say such sponsorships are estimated in the $16 million range and generate about $50 million worth of TV exposure for a top-25 team.  J.D. Gibbs, son of the Washington Redskins coach and president of the racing operation, says the FedEx tie to the team's stadium had no role in the partnership. The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal cited reports that the deal is worth $205 million over 27 years.

"Us and half the world had been trying to get FedEx as a NASCAR sponsor," Gibbs says. He adds that his one essential weekly mission will be to finish ahead of the car sponsored by FedEx rival UPS, driven by Dale Jarrett, formerly with the Gibbs team.  "That kind of goes without saying," says Gibbs. "We could probably lose to every other car except that one."

Demsky says the NASCAR deal will provide 4,500 "hospitality opportunities" for FedEx. It also will mark the first time FedEx aligns with a specific athlete.  "NASCAR is a little different in that fans of the sport recognize that sponsors are integral to the sport," says Demsky. "They identify with the sponsors, and they feel like the sponsors are part of the team. No other sport has that connection with sponsors and the on-field action. That was very attractive to us.   This was a little less risky way to more closely tie in, more closely associate ourselves with a single entity, as opposed to a football player or basketball player."

FedEx also expects NASCAR to become a big part of its rewards system that sends 20,000 company employees to sports events every year.  Given that it has a lot of wannabe NASCAR drivers in its trucks, Glenn says: "We had more requests from our employees to be involved in NASCAR than anything we've ever done. You would have thought I was a rock star at the sales meeting where I announced our relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing." USA Today

01/03/05
champcar
 irl
IRL driver to show off Champ Car IRL driver to show off Champ CarUPDATE From what we can ascertain, the San Jose's website article that Castroneves will be at the car show to promote the Champ Car race was simply some PR person's mistake. 01/01/05 San Jose Grand Prix at the 2005 San Jose International Car Show
Wednesday January 5 - Sunday January 9th
McEnery Convention Center
150 W. San Carlos Street - Downtown San Jose
In an effort to promote the San Jose Grand Prix, Indy 500 champion (2001 & 2002) Helio Castroneves will display his car from the 1999 season.  Information for the San Jose Grand Prix will be available on the lobby level, including ticket information, hospitality opportunities, merchandise and more!   The show is open Wednesday and Thursday 12pm - 10pm, Friday and Saturday 10am - 10pm, Sunday from 10am - 7pm. SanJoseGrandprix.com
01/03/05
f1
cartatlantic
irl
From the too funny department From the too funny departmentThe Autosport's "Top ten" F1 ladder series drivers:

  Driver Series Result
 1st Vitantonio Liuzzi Champion of the Formula 3000
2nd Heikki Kovalainen Champion of the World Series by Nissan
3rd Richard Lyons Champion of the Formula Nippon
4th Andre Lotterer Vice-champion of the Formula Nippon
5th Tiago Monteiro Vice-champion of the World Series by Nissan
6th Jonny Reid Classified fourth in the Euro 3000 Series
7th Enrico Toccacelo Vice-champion in the Formula 3000
8th Alex Lloyd Classified sixth in the Euro 3000 Series
9th PJ Chesson Classified fourth in the Infiniti Pro Series
10th Jon Fogarty Champion of the Toyota Atlantic

Ranking PJ Chesson, an oval tracker who is clueless how to drive and win on road courses, ahead of Toyota Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty who would blow Chesson into the weeds on any day, has to be one of the funniest things we have seen in a very long time.  The remainder of the list looks reasonable.

01/03/05
f1
Did Coulthard solve qualifying problem? Did Coulthard solve qualifying problem?David Coulthard admitted recently that his problems coming to grip with the new one lap qualifying system helped the McLaren squad make up their mind to replace him with Juan Pablo Montoya for the 2005 season. Now he thinks he solved the problem. “I was able to improve on the difficulties I had with qualifying in 2003. One-lap qualifying really caught me out,” he told ITV. “I think I was able to improve on 2003 but that’s still an area I need to improve on. When you analyze all the sessions, you can see very clearly that the pace is still there. I haven’t lost any inherent pace to drive a motor racing car. But when it comes to that one lap, if you are not in that relaxed zone then it is possible to lose a tenth or so at almost every corner. The time can just slip away.”
01/03/05
Dakar Rally
 NASCAR
Gordon’s birthday wish from Dakar Gordon’s birthday wish from DakarNASCAR driver Robby Gordon was 36-years old on Sunday. He commented after being in 2nd place just one second behind leader Colin McRae after three stages - "I won't have any time for a party, but I did ask my team colleagues whether or not they could give me the second stage victory", said the American jokingly. On the closing European special stage (Stage 3), a ten kilometer track on a proving ground in Granada, Gordon, the quickest Volkswagen driver, set fifth fastest time. "The track was great. We set the Race-Touareg up a little softer today and it handled perfectly. As first car on the stage we had a clear view and no traffic."
01/03/05
grandam
Knobel Racing announces plans for 2005 season Knobel Racing announces plans for 2005 seasonKnobel Racing, based in Ft. Lauderdale Florida has announced its intentions to participate in the Grand Am Cup series in 2005 with its Porsche 996. Knobel Racing entered its first Grand Am Cup race late in the 2004 season at the "hurricane-delayed" Miami 250 in Homestead Florida.  Although it was the team's first Grand Am Cup event and the lack of series points left them starting from the back of the grid with the condensed, no-qualifying format, the team finished a strong second place with the help of good pit stops and solid strategy.  Drivers for the #88 GS class Porsche will be Fraser Wellon of Mississauga, Ontario Canada, Frank Rossi from Kleinberg Ontario, and Barry Ellis of Ft. Lauderdale Florida. All three drivers have been regulars in the Panoz Racing Series the last two years with Ellis capturing the overall series championship! in 2003 and 2004.

Ellis says, "We are very excited about the Grand Am Cup program for 2005 although we expect there to be a steep learning curve for all of us. We will have to learn some new tracks and really focus on car set-up to be able to compete with the talent and experience that exists in this series."   Sponsors already signed on for the Knobel Racing Porsche for 2005 are, Hop- A-Jet Worldwide Jet Charter, Cayman Overseas Development and Stone Technique. Additional support for the new team is expected to materialize prior to the opening round of the Grand Am Cup series in Daytona this February. Knobel Racing

01/03/05
LMES
alms
Minassian says no to Audi Minassian says no to AudiUPDATE Following the release of an article in the December 30th edition of Autosport entitled 'Minassian says no to Audi Drive', Nicolas Minassian would like to clarify that this is misleading in its content and inference.  "How can I say no if I have not been offered the drive," stated Minassian. "Of course I am committed to Creation Autosportif and have signed with them for the 2005 season, but if Audi want me for Le Mans 24 Hours, well all I can say is, they have my number."   There has understandably been a great deal of speculation regarding who will join the all French, high profile teaming of two established names (ORECA and Audi) in the Le Mans classic event, but currently no official announcement of drivers has been made. JARL Motorsport 12/29/04 Former Champ Car racer Nicolas Minassian has passed up the opportunity of a Le Mans 24 Hours drive with the ORECA Audi squad in favor of remaining with the British Creation team. The Frenchman, who starred in Creation’s DBA Zytek 03S last season, has signed up to race for the team in the Le Mans Endurance Series and the Le Mans 24 Hours, if it gains an entry to the French event. Minassian will again share the car with Britain’s Jamie Campbell-Walter, who has also signed up for the full season. Minassian, who raced with ORECA at Le Mans in 2000 and ’02, said: “Whatever Creation does this year, I will do. I have long-standing links with ORECA, but I want to win the LMES crown with Creation. I believe we can score some victories next season.” Autosport Magazine
01/03/05
f1
Old man Schumacher still young at heart Old man Schumacher still young at heartMichael Schumacher insists that he is still more than capable of taking on and beating F1’s new generation.  Olivier Panis’s retirement means that Schumacher is now the oldest man on the F1 grid. The great German is 36 today.  He told his personal website: "Of course I have the odd small ache or pain every now and then but they are only small ones.  All in all, I feel very, very fit and to be perfectly honest, much younger than almost 36.  I play soccer with my colleagues quite often, with people like Fernando Alonso who is 10 years younger than I am and I don't see much of a difference.  No, I am not getting worn out and especially not psychologically. I still enjoy what I do immensely.  I'm starting off the new season just like all the others before, with a hunger, fully motivated and looking forward to the fights that lie ahead.  I have fun, I love my sport and I love being challenged. The things I've achieved so far have nothing to do with it.  In sport, you can't rest on your past victories. You have to take the challenge again and again."
01/03/05
Formula BMW
Gelles Testing: Time To Get Busy Gelles Testing: Time To Get BusyWith the New Year celebrations barely over, Virginia-based Gelles Racing will head down South to Sebring Raceway and Savannah Motorsports to hold a real shoot-out for a number of young drivers aiming to enter the coveted 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship. In fact, no less than fourteen drivers will participate in the Gelles fleet of racing cars over a length of six days commencing January 4th. Some drivers are returning for extensive testing and will prepare for the final session Formula BMW USA will be conducting next week in Valencia, Spain while others coming from as far as South America will be testing with Gelles for the first time.

“We will have very productive sessions," says team owner Bob Gelles. "Our engineers have prepared a program for each of these young talents and they will be able to work with different setups on two interesting race tracks. We will have our full crew and a new transporter/lounge to accommodate the young drivers that will experience our cars from one to three days, with up to seven sessions every day. Among them, four Formula BMW FB2 cars will be available.”

Many race situations expected  “At this time of the year, weather in the Southeast Atlantic area is unpredictable," continues Gelles. "It can be warm or cool, sunny or rainy, sometimes all in the same day. Drivers will go to work with different setups on their cars and will try to improve their times.  Trygve Rangen, our proven test engineer, is a specialist in the business when it comes to car preparation for an event like this. Young drivers appreciate working with him. Our head engineer, Lolo Perdomo, will carry on with them, assessing, analyzing and evaluating their sessions in our new state-of-the-art engineer/driver station.  Tim Jennings, newcomer to Gelles Racing will contribute his engineering skills during the Savannah portion of the schedule.”

Formula BMW scholarship invitees   Among the drivers testing with Gelles Racing are nine contenders for the BMW 2005 scholarships:  Jordan Dick - Adrien Herberts - Race Johnson - Michael McGrath - Darin Marcus - Justin Moon - Keith Spicer - Robert Wickens and Jonathan Ziegelman. The highest points returning driver from the 2004 Formula BMW USA championship, Billy Johnson, will be on hand and so will Colombian kart champion, Diego Jose Vazquez.  Brazilian Formula Ford 1800 vice-champion,  Humberto Donato will also join the current leader in the Formula Dodge Eastern championship, Matt Varsha, Stars of Karting ace driver, Jon Branam and 2005 Red Bull driver, John Edwards.

“We believe each of these young men deserves a seat in this very competitive series," adds Gelles. "Competition will be fierce but this it what they expect. They want to be ready for the Spanish final session and when the season starts in a few months.”

01/02/05
nascar
Bodine weds Bodine wedsBrett Bodine married Canadian Kathi Lirette on Dec. 13th, his brothers, Todd and Geoffrey, attended the ceremony. Bodine, a former NASCAR Nextel Cup driver, joined NASCAR's research and development facility last spring as director of cost research. Bodine's former wife, Diane, was a co-owner of Brett Bodine Racing, which disbanded earlier this year. Elmira Star Gazette
01/02/05
Team USA
Rice, Allmendinger lend support to Team USA Rice, Allmendinger lend support to Team USAChristchurch, New Zealand (January 3, 2005) -- Two of North America's brightest auto racing rising stars have made a commitment to help other talented youngsters follow in their footsteps by contributing to the Team USA Scholarship fund, which this year is sponsoring 18-year-old Oklahoma driver Slade Miller in six upcoming races of the Talley's New Zealand Formula Ford Championship.

Buddy Rice, winner of the 2004 Indianapolis 500 for Rahal Letterman Racing, and A.J. Allmendinger, who claimed the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year Award in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, driving for RuSPORT, are both former winners of the Team USA Scholarship, which was founded in 1990. Rice, 28, claimed his prize in 1997, while Allmendinger, 23, won a Team USA Scholarship in 2001. The pair join fellow former recipients Jimmy Vasser (1990), Bryan Herta (1991) and Bryan Sellers (2001) in contributing sponsorship dollars.

Other supporters of one of the sport's most prized traditions include Doug Mockett & Company, a Torrance, California-based producer and supplier of "Fine Architectural Hardware For Your Fine Furniture," Champ Car team owner Dale Coyne and noted public relations representative Dan Layton, as well as long-time program advocates Steve and Christine Horne, Ivey Engines, Sparco racewear and RACER magazine.

"It seems like a long time ago now, but winning the Team USA Scholarship was a big help to my career," said Rice, from Phoenix, Arizona. "I met a lot of influential people, and racing overseas for the first time taught me a lot about what I needed to do for the future. It's taken a while, but I'm really happy to be able to put something back into a program that has done so much for young drivers like me over the years."

Added Denver, Colorado, resident Allmendinger: "Winning a Team USA Scholarship meant so much to me. I learned a lot of lessons about myself and about what I needed to do to move on up the racing ladder. I'm very grateful to all the people who helped me and I'm happy to be able to help someone else get the same opportunity."

Other drivers who have benefited from the Team USA Scholarship since its inception in 1990 include Ashton Lewis (1992), who in 2004 finished among the top 10 in the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series with his family-run team; Memo Gidley (1995), who recently signed a deal to contest the 2005 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series with Finlay Motorsports; Andy Lally (1999), who claimed the 2004 Grand-Am Super Grand Sports (SGS) series championship in a TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup; Jeff Simmons (1999), who made an impressive Indy Racing League debut at the Indianapolis 500 with Mo Nunn Racing; and Phil Giebler (1999), who won the 2004 season-opening Infiniti Pro Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, driving for Keith Duesenberg Racing.

This year's Team USA Scholarship winner, Slade Miller, is currently in New Zealand, and today will start testing his Stealth/Van Diemen chassis in preparation for a trio of races next weekend at Levels Raceway, Timaru. Miller also will contest one of the Southern Hemisphere's most prestigious races, the New Zealand Grand Prix, at Teretonga Park, Invercargill, the weekend of January 15/16.

01/02/05
nascar
Edwards, Gunselman dissolve partnership Edwards, Gunselman dissolve partnershipMACH 1, Inc. announced that effective immediately, team owner Chris Edwards and co-owner, Larry Gunselman have chosen to pursue individual careers, thus dissolving their partnership.  Edwards remains with the team as owner and president. Mike Steuer will continue as crew chief for the No. 98 team. Edwards intends to run the entire 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series beginning with the Daytona 500.  "We are 100% focused on preparing for Daytona," Edwards said. "Last year was our first year in Nextel Cup. It was a building year for us, our rookie year so to speak. We are working hard to become more competitive and improve our race team."  An announcement concerning a full time driver for the No. 98 team will be made during the month of January. MACH 1 is currently seeking primary and associate sponsorship for the 2005 season.
01/02/05
grandam
DP list grows to 33 DP list grows to 33The number of Daytona Prototypes signed up for the Rolex 24 continues to grow.  The list of total entries (PDF file) has reached 74 with 33 being Prototypes.
01/02/05
usac
Hessert to run Midgets, Sprints and Silver Crown in '05 Hessert to run Midgets, Sprints and Silver Crown in '05Tom Hessert could very well be one of the busiest professional auto racers in the business during 2005. The 18-year-old Cherry Hill, NJ racer will be racing the full United States Auto Club National Midget Championship Series, a full schedule of USAC Sprint car events and the USAC Silver Crown Series. The schedule will have Hessert racking up airline miles as he travels back and forth across the nation. In addition Tom will be attending classes at  Philadelphia’s Drexel University where he will major in sports management.

At present Hessert is the only East Coast racing talent planning to be part of the three USAC Series.   This week Hessert heads to Tulsa, Oklahoma, along with more than 200 other midget auto racers, to be part of the famous Chili Bowl. The indoor midget auto racing classic, run on an indoor dirt track, attracts just about every top name in midget auto racing competition along with racers like NASCAR Nextel Cup star Tony Stewart. 

Hessert, a veteran of previous Chili Bowl efforts, is optimistic that he will be able to put his Cherry Hill Classic Cars Mopar powered Beast midget in the field for the big feature race on Saturday, January 8th and have a chance at the win.  Qualifying events leading up to the Saturday finale get started on Wednesday, January 5th.

The young racing talent is coming off an outstanding season in USAC National Midget Championship competition finishing third in the final standings. He tabs his third in the Belleville Nationals and his sixth in the Turkey Night Classic at Irwindale, California as two highlights of his midget racing season. Without the mechanical problems that caused them to miss being around for some finishes Hessert feels he might have been able to improve on that third place finish in the national standings.

The Cherry Hill, NJ racer’s first effort in a Silver Crown car will be in the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway, January 29 and 30th. The two day show will feature the USAC Midgets, USAC Silver Crown cars, NASCAR Grand National West stock cars and NASCAR AutoZone Elite stock cars.   Hessert, who has never raced on the one mile track at Phoenix, will have the opportunity to get a feel for the track as he takes part in a test session on Tuesday, January 4th.   Fans can keep track of Hessert and his very busy 2005 racing season by checking in at www.tomhessertmotorsports.com

01/02/05
Dakar Rally
nascar
Robby Gordon Dakar update Robby Gordon Dakar updateUPDATE #2 Scotland's Colin McRae won Sunday's third stage of the Dakar Rally to take the overall lead in the two-continent race as the event completed its route through Spain and headed to Africa.  McRae, a former World Rally champion, completed the day's 6-mile stage outside Grenada in 7 minutes, 48 seconds, six seconds faster than defending champion Stephane Peterhansel of France, to climb atop the cars division with an overall time of 12:22.  American Robby Gordon, who won the first stage and held the overall lead, finished fifth in Sunday's stage in his Volkswagen, 15 seconds behind McRae, and slipped to No. 2 by one second.  South Africa's Giniel De Villiers was third, two seconds back, with Peterhansel fourth, another five seconds back. 12/31/04 Readers have asked if the Dakar rally will be televised in the USA this year.  The answer is yes, but not on SPEED Channel but on Outdoor Life Network (OLN) which outbid SPEED for the broadcast.  Check for listings at their website.  As we understand it, look for a series of broadcasts on OLN in January. 12/31/04 After all competitors took off for the first stage of the Dakar in the car category, Robby Gordon in his Volkswagen race Touareg has officially won the super special beating Masuoka (MIT – n°309) by 2sec and De Villiers (NIS – n°314) by 3sec. Gordon becomes the first American to win a Dakar stage in a car."
Dakar Rally, Stage 1 - Barcelona, 6km
1. Robbie Gordon/Dirk von Zitzewitz, VW Touareg, 4m20s
2. Hiroshi Masuoka/Andreas Schulz, Mitsubishi V60, 4m22s
3. Giniel de Villiers/Jean-Marie Lurquin, Nissan Pick Up, 4m23s
4. Bruno Saby/Michel Perin, VW Touareg, 4m25s
5. Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard, Mitsubishi Pajero Evo, 4m28s
6. Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons, VW Touareg, 4m30s
7. Ari Vatanen/Tiziano Siviero, Nissan Pick Up, 4m32s
8. Colin McRae/Tina Thorner, Nissan Pick Up, 4m34s
9. Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret, Mitsubishi V60, 4m35s
10. Josep-Maria Servia/Arnaud Debron, Ford, 4m37s
01/02/05
f1
Honda committed to F1 and BAR Honda committed to F1 and BARHonda finally purchased an equity stake in the British American Racing team late in 2004, the Japanese engine giant is now a 40% owner of the Brackley based squad.  "We wanted to show that we were committed to the team,” President of Honda Racing, Shoichi Tanaka, told People. "As just an engine supplier, people might think we can just up and leave the team, so we wanted to show how committed we are to turning BAR into a world championship-winning outfit."
01/02/05
f1
Purnell sticks by his idea Purnell sticks by his ideaRed Bull team chief Tony Purnell still thinks his idea of a series of mini races over the Grand Prix weekend followed by a lottery to decide the grid for the first qualifying race and then the positions reversed for the second event would be good for F1. 
 
"I still perceive F1 as a big business but under-pinned by entertaining people," Purnell told Autosport.com. "The suggestions I made for qualifying were wholeheartedly aimed at providing better entertainment for people who go to the races, especially on the Friday and Saturday, and for television viewers in general."

"I thought that to have Schumacher show he is the best driver in the world in every circumstance would be great. The public love it when Schumacher qualified badly because there is real interest there. So I am not saying the qualifying was a panacea but it was meant to be a constructive idea to entertain the public with."

"I thought it was a good idea and no-one has told me why it was a bad idea," he added. "The surprising thing is that what a lot of people were side-stepped by was that it was a bit leftfield, but I have been surprised by the number of people who have said, 'now I have thought that through and actually given where we are, it could well work rather well'. The only constructive criticism I have heard is that it could be more expensive because we have more crashed cars and I think to myself…what does Joe Public love and would we be able to cope? Of course we could."

01/02/05
Industry News
Chinese automaker to begin exporting cars to the U.S. Chinese automaker to begin exporting cars to the U.S.[Editor's Note: In the past few days we predicted China would begin to export cars to the USA, and in 10 to 15 years be a major force to be reckoned with. The process has begun, and although their cars won't be the best to begin with, it's just a matter of time until they catch up.  This is just the first of many Chinese car manufacturers that will eventually sell cars in the USA.] A newly formed company led by auto entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin and the investment banking firm Allen & Co. has signed the first-ever deal to import cars made in China for sale in the United States. Bricklin, known best for bringing the ultra-cheap Yugo car to the U.S. market in the 1980s, is expected to announce the agreement today between New York-based Visionary Vehicles LLC and Chery Automobile Co., one of the fastest-growing players in the fledgling Chinese auto industry. The deal to import up to 250,000 Chinese-made cars annually beginning in 2007 was finalized Dec. 16 at Chery's corporate headquarters in Anhui Province in eastern China, Bricklin told The Detroit News in an interview.

"We have an exclusive North American distribution agreement with Chery to bring in five brand-new models for delivery in 2006 to go on sale January of 2007," Bricklin told The News. "We are shooting for 250,000 vehicles the first year."

The sale of the first Chinese vehicles to American consumers will be a watershed event both in the United States, where Asian automakers have been steadily taking market share from Detroit's Big Three, and in China, where hard-charging manufacturers like Chery are eager to expand globally.

While Bricklin is chief executive officer of Visionary Vehicles, its management board is chaired by William vanden Heuvel, a senior advisor to Allen & Co. and former deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations.  In a recent interview with The News, vanden Heuvel compared the potential of bringing Chinese cars to the United States to the entrance of Japanese automakers into the American market more than 30 years ago.  "We think the opportunity is huge to be the first to go to market," vanden Heuvel said. "It's exactly the situation that Japan was in starting out."

Chery is still considered a second-tier Chinese auto manufacturer behind Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.'s joint ventures with industry giants GM and Volkswagen AG.  "Their quality still isn't as good as that of the joint ventures, but it's improving," said Yale Zhang, the Shanghai-based head of forecasting for the research firm CSM Worldwide.

Visionary Vehicles has hired Troy-based manufacturing expert Ron Harbour, publisher of the influential Harbour Report on auto productivity, to assess Chery's assembly processes and manufacturing operations.  "It is inevitable that Chinese cars will be imported into this country within the next five years," Harbour said in an interview. "If it wasn't Malcolm doing it, it would be somebody else."

Bricklin said that Chery has engaged the Italian design houses Pininfarina and Bertone to design its U.S. models, and has contracted with the Austrian engineering firm AVL to develop new engines. 

Bricklin expects the automotive world to be skeptical of Chinese imports in the United States, just as it was when he brought in Subarus and Yugos. But with the signing of the Chery agreement, the aging automotive impresario believes he can make history.  "You know, if we don't make sure these cars are among the best in the world, we're going to get our ass handed to us," he said. "But if we do what we're supposed to do, this could be the deal that changes the industry."   Detroit News

01/02/05
f1
Schuey predicts a very different F1 Schuey predicts a very different F1With new for 2005 F1 rules dictating less downforce, engines that last two events and harder tires, lap times will increase in 2005 and the drivers will have to adapt.  "We’ll all have to get used to the changes next year," Schumacher told RTL. "I already got a little taste of it when I drove the last test at Jerez with the configurations for 2005 – it all seemed extremely slow in the beginning. It will be a different Formula One, and everyone will have to adjust to it. Right now, I would say that the cars will be two, or more likely, three seconds slower per lap. So it will be different, but it will also be interesting.  In sports, you can’t rest on your past victories, you have to take on the challenge again and again.  It’s always all about the next race."
01/02/05
f1
Klien hopes for birthday wish Klien hopes for birthday wishChristian Klien still does not know if he will race with the Red Bull team alongside David Coulthard or if F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi will get the nod for 2005.

"I am happy about the news that David Coulthard will join the team in 2005," said Klien. "I think he is a great guy, also very disciplined and fun to work with. Of course it would have been nice to find a contract for next season under the Christmas tree, but let us see, my Birthday is in February. Maybe then? No just kidding!  Seriously, I have shown my best during the recent practices, tests and training. Everyone seemed pleased and content (so) now it's up to the team to decide. Hopefully the New Year will bring the decision in my favor."

Red Bull Racing will unveil its 2005 challenger - the RB1 - on February 7th at Jerez, the same day Klien was born in1983.  A coincidence?  Perhaps.

01/01/05
champcar
Final Edmonton Track layout Final Edmonton Track layoutFinning International Speedway has published their final track layout (right) which has race day capacity for about 80,000.  Looking at all those grandstands that appears like it could be a reasonably close number.  Edmonton is a real "sports" loving town and it is expected this event will easily outdraw the Vancouver race it replaces, a race that saw a decline in attendance the past several years.  And beyond a doubt, this layout looks very racy.  Champ Car has hit another home run on this track.  Let's hope the days of implementing Mickey Mouse, follow-the-leader, send the fans to the exits, tracks are a thing of their past. Mark C.
01/01/05
Industry News
The basics for getting motorsports sponsorship The basics for getting motorsports sponsorship. . . "The reason most racers are not successful at securing sponsorship support is that they never try," was the comment by Ernie Saxton, considered a sponsorship expert and is publisher of the monthly sponsorship marketing newsletter titled Motorsports Sponsorship Marketing News. "We get calls every day from racers looking for the easy road to sponsorship. We explain what it takes and that there is a time, effort and expense involved, and they seem to give up before they even get started." Saxton points out that sponsorship marketing is not really brain surgery. With a little effort, some time and money invested, the rewards can be fantastic.

A recent article in IEG Sponsorship Report forecasted that sponsorship spending by North American companies will increase by 8.8% to more than $12 BILLION in 2005. Racers should be anxious to get their share of that impressive amount of money. "Many racers seem to think that sponsorship is only available to those who are successful on the speedway. That is not true. Sure if you are successful on the track that helps. However the real secret of sponsorship marketing success is what the racer is willing to put into the marketing package and use to make the sponsorship successful. We have been involved in the sponsorship marketing business for a lot of years and we have seen many racers find sponsorship success without being outstanding performers on the track," said Saxton. "The success, serious sponsorship support, comes to those who are willing to make the effort. You have to be willing to work at it. Often times it takes as much effort, maybe more, that the effort being spent on the actual racing. However the stress level in the sport will be lot less with sponsorship in hand." On Friday, January 14th, Saxton will offer a "BASICS IN SPONSORSHIP SUCCESS" seminar, about 55 minutes of what he thinks racers should be doing to be successful at sponsorship marketing, starting at 4:30 p.m. It will be the 20th year that Saxton has offered this free seminar as part of the huge Motorsports 2005 Presented by Sunoco motorsports extravaganza. Saxton will also include a question and answer session along with offering some of his sponsorship marketing materials at a discounted rate for just seminar attendees.

And on Friday, February 18th, 9 a.m. Saxton will offer his three hour SPONSORSHIP MARKETING A TO Z seminar in Daytona Beach, Florida. Saxton has offered the in-depth session, much like a workshop, for more than a dozen years during SpeedWeek activities. The Daytona seminar includes just about everything he can squeeze into three hours that will help racers, event organizers, organization officials and others reach sponsorship success. The seminar is designed for those who are local and regional racers. A question and answer session is included and Saxton will be happy to review sponsorship marketing proposals for attendees at no additional cost.

The price for the Daytona Beach seminar is $149.95 and will include a generic sponsorship proposal and a subscription to Saxton’s Motorsports Sponsorship Marketing News. Just 25 reservations are taken for the February 18th Daytona Beach seminar. For information or to make a reservation telephone 215.752.7797 or 215.752.2392.

For more information on Ernie Saxton and his sponsorship services and materials check in at www.saxtonsponsormarket.com. And for those who can not attend his seminar he does have a special offer available that includes a recent sponsorship seminar on video (two hours) plus a one year subscription to his Motorsports Sponsorship Marketing News for just $99.95 plus $6.00 for postage and handling. The regular price would be $240.

Saxton also presents sponsorship seminars, helping race teams, organizations and speedways, to raise funds. Seminars are easy to arrange and can be very profitable. Saxton has offered his seminars in Alaska, California, Florida, Nevada and many other states plus Canada. Ernie Saxton Communications, Inc. is located in Langhorne, PA.
01/01/05
Industry News
VW offers buyers free car insurance VW offers buyers free car insuranceVolkswagen AG, in its third straight year of declining U.S. sales, will offer free auto insurance in Illinois and Wisconsin to attract buyers, dealers said.  From Tuesday through March 31, the German automaker will test the program by offering 12 months of free insurance to people with valid driver's licenses who buy or lease new Golfs, Beetle coupes and Beetle convertibles, Illinois and Wisconsin dealers say.  Volkswagen spokesman Tony Fouladpour wouldn't comment on the program.


"It's definitely original and unique, and I think it will be a lure for college graduates and first-time buyers," said Harry Nesbitt, sales manager at D'Arcy Volkswagen in Joliet, Ill. "It's a way to get people in the dealership without sounding like everyone else."  Automakers in the United States have boosted incentive spending 7.2 percent this year, with rebates as high as $8,000 on some models, to lure shoppers conditioned to expect deals. Volkswagen turned to low-interest loans and reduced-price leases in March for the first time in several years to boost demand as its models aged.  Volkswagen's U.S. sales fell 17.6 percent through November. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, based in Munich, this year could outsell Volkswagen, of Wolfsburg, Germany, for the second time since Volkswagen entered the United States in 1949. Bloomberg

01/01/05
Industry News
Toyota to break 2 million mark in USA Toyota to break 2 million mark in USAToyota Motor Corp. is poised to become the first non-U.S. automaker to sell more than 2 million cars and trucks in a year in the United States as new models steal buyers from Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.  Toyota has sold an average of 170,000 Toyota, Lexus and Scion brand vehicles a month through November and needs 127,885 sales in December to top 2 million to join Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group at the 2-million mark.  Asian carmakers led by Toyota are expected to post another gain in U.S. market share in December as U.S. industry sales probably rose from November and were about the same as December 2003, according to analysts and economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Full-year sales are also likely to top 2003's 16.7 million, analysts said. Automakers report U.S. sales Tuesday.  "It's impossible to make the argument that Toyota is in any way poised to decline," said Michael Schmall, managing partner at the Planning Edge, a consulting firm in Birmingham. "With any other automaker, you could see a possibility of a decline, but Toyota is certainly in line to be No. 1 in the world." Bloomberg  [Editor's Note: Prediction - 10 to 15 years from now the Chinese car manufacturers, many of whom have formed joint ventures with American, Japanese and German car giants in China, will be a force to be reckoned with in the global marketplace and Toyota's No. 1 status might be short lived.  While they are just trying to meet a huge demand for cars in China now, once they catch up look for China, with its 1.6 billion population, to crank out vehicles cheaper and with high quality.  With labor costs so low and a workforce that is highly disciplined, can China be stopped?]  
01/01/05
Industry News
Kyalami sold Kyalami soldUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Why doesn't Champ Car race at Kyalami? It appears to be a great track begging for a big race. Kyle Willoughby, Little Rock AR. Dear Kyle, Kyalami is trying to get an F1 race, but we don't see how Bernie Ecclestone is going to fit it into an already crowded 19-race schedule. He has already signed a contract with South Korea for a 2009 race and Toyota wants a race at its revamped Fuji circuit. What about Cancun, Russia and a host of other countries looking for an F1 race. If OWRS plays its cards right, they will step in and fill the void. Kyalami certainly can be one of them because South Africans do love their motorsports, at least F1. Kevin Kalkhoven, Dick Eidswick and their entourage spent the holidays in South Africa. Was it purely recreational? Mark C. 07/14/04 Former South African GP venue Kyalami has been sold for $7.1 million to a consortium of businessmen and racing men who have vowed to preserve the circuit. The new owners are a consortium of businessmen including both businessmen and property developers. It is expected that the circuit will continue to be managed by the new owners but that other parts of the facility will be redeveloped. One of the partners is the Imperial Group, a listed company which is involved in tourism, transportation, the motor trade, leasing, finance and property. The group also includes motorcycle champions Mike Fogg and Jim Redman, and Dave McGregor, a man who has played an important role in motor racing in South Africa for many years. The track was previously owned by the Automobile Association of South Africa, which acquired the venue 11 years ago after financial problems surrounding the South Africa Grand Prix resulted in the collapse of the company which owned the circuit. "The preservation of Kyalami as a world-renowned motorsport icon is of paramount importance to us.," says Mike Fogg. "At the same time we intend developing the property as a unique home for all facets of motoring, from the sport through to the retailing of motor vehicles. The track will remain central to the motoring theme." Grandprix.com [Editor's Note: If Champ Car is serious about racing in South Africa, they should race at a proper road course like Kyalami rather than another crash fest street circuit in Durban.]
01/01/05
Historic
Blast from the past - II Blast from the past - II 


LA Times Grand Prix, Riverside, CA, 1966. Mario Andretti (#1) Lola T70-Ford, equipped with a Ford 427 cid experimental engine and a semi-automatic transmission. Photo:Ford


Daytona Testing, Daytona, FL, 1966. Bruce McLaren and Mario Andretti test the Ford J car. Photo: Ford


Can Am, 1969. Mario Andretti drove the Holman Moody 429 car. Photo: Ford


CART: Fontana 1999 - Note the large crowd vs. today's IRL races at Fontana.  Michael Andretti leads the field at the restart. Photo: Ford

01/01/05
Historic
Blast from the past - I Blast from the past - I 


When CART Champ Car had all the big name drivers - CART Portland 06-23-00 Ford drivers represent three of the seven different winners in the first seven CART events this year. Ford drivers Max Papis (left), Adrian Fernandez (third from left) and Michael Andretti (fourth from left) are joined at Portland by Paul Tracy, Gil de Ferran, Juan Montoya and Helio Castroneves (left to right). Photo:Ford


CART Laguna Seca 09-10-00 Max Papis runs ahead of Helio Castroneves in The Corkscrew at Laguna Seca. Photo: Ford


CART Gateway 09-17-00 Adrian Fernandez brought his Reynard Ford home in 10th place after running ahead of Patrick Carpentier, Kenny Brack and Helio Castroneves earlier in the race. Photo: Ford

01/01/05
USAC
Darland bests “Rumble in Ft. Wayne” contingent Darland bests “Rumble in Ft. Wayne” contingentOne night after USAC Triple Crown champion and NASCAR titlist Tony Stewart provided fans with a touch of drama, another USAC Triple Crown winner added some histrionics of his own.  Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind., who started eighth and survived a spin early, won Thursday’s wild 60-lap “Rumble in Ft. Wayne” USAC special midget feature at the Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Memorial Coliseum, leading the final 19 laps for his second indoor midget triumph of 2004.  “I hit everything but the pace car out there I think tonight,” said Darland, who won at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis in February. “I’m surprised the thing’s still rolling.”  Darland’s win came in spite of eight cautions, including three within the final two laps. Darland’s misfortune came within the first five laps, as he spun to avoid Mike Nigh, who had just reentered the race after spinning into the infield. The four-time USAC national champion was put at the tail of the 14-car field, but didn’t stay there for long.
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